Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yearly Birthday Letter

My Beautiful Boy:

Every year when I sit down to write this letter to you I can not believe another year has already passed. To be completely honest, this year I didn't get to spend as much time with you as I had in previous years. And that's because you have been in Kindergarten every day! I have missed you many days and struggled to let you go. You, on the other hand, have had no problems adjusting and thriving in your new routine and environment. You have excelled and done so amazing with this change and embraced all that it has brought your way. Your sweet teachers, Ms. Spaeth and Mrs. Redd love you and have taken such amazing care and time with you. You have made SO MANY new friends, which I am excited to watch you grow up with :) A few of your closest friends are Robert Lyons, Lyric Halacheff, Chance Mebane, and Noah Denson. You guys are so funny together! There has also been a little girl in your class that you have taken a big interest in. Macy Stevenson has sat beside you since the first day of school and she is as cute as a button! Big brown eyes and blonde hair! She adores you and calls you Henny and Snickerdoodle. Your reaction to her is so cute with that sweet smile and blushed cheeks! Since your school is a K-12 and fairly a small school, I love to think about how fun it will be to look back on the memories you have with these kids now and how they develop over the years!

This year you have developed many new interests. Mario took a back seat (finally!!!) mid year. The days of the Angry Birds has started to dwindle and it's on to more "big kid" stuff like video games, bowling, basketball, fishing, nerf guns, zombies, sports and most of all MINECRAFT! It (like all things you get interested in) has become an OBSESSION! You have really surprised us with your creativity that has been sparked since you started playing this game. It's been a great learning tool! Your love for Lego's has only grown and you can spend hours sitting at your Lego table in front of the big window in the living building and creating entire villages!!

You made amazing strides in football this year, your grades at school, and gymnastics! You learned to tie you shoes and to ride a bike with no training wheels!!! You seem to excel in all things that you put your mind to and we are excited to see how awesome you do in the Spring while playing baseball and this Summer in a break dance class you have been dying to take!

This year wasn't without sadness or loss. We lost your extraordinary great grandmother. It was a very difficult time and you handled it all very well and it only showed us more of your compassion and kindness. You talk about her often and always reassure us that you will never forget her! She loved you with all her heart and every time she seen you her face lit up :) You were a huge delight in her life especially in the last few months. There was little that made her cheerful with all the doctors and medicine and pain in the end but you, you always made her smile. She always looked forward to you. I know that she is ALWAYS watching over you and rooting for you. She is proud in all that you do.

We spent the summer this year's summer mostly at the waterpark and it was a huge success. You loved spending those beautiful summer days under water in the pool or going head first down the water slide. Soaking up the sun and spending those lazy afternoons with you poolside watching you laugh and play. It was a perfect way to soak up all that extra time with you before the big world of kindergarten headed our way. Watching your freckles multiply by the day from all the sunlight and seeing you be able to hold your breath longer and longer each time you dove down in the clear blue water. You were fearless and content and I was oh so grateful to be there with you.

Your favorite foods are string cheese and crackers, lunchables, and any and all fruit (esp. watermelon). Anytime you are allowed to pick where we eat your answer is the same: Jimmy Johns or Soup and Salad!!  You shot your first gun and caught your first 4 fish!!!!! Your best buddies are Hunter, Nate, Gavin, Aden, Joesph, Lemuel, and Will Coltrane. We have had many outings with all these guys over the past year, everything from ice skating, to movies, to dinner dates. It's been a fun, wild and exciting year and it wouldn't have been the same with all these boys that are not only your friends, but like family!

I still watch you sleep. I still carry you when you ask. I am amazed by how tall you are insert height here and how much you have grown. You are loving and sweet. Independent and strong. You are OH so predictable. Those freckles and that smile get me every time. And speaking of have two VERY LOOSE teeth that have been loose for months! They will probably fall out before your birthday! I'll never get over how cute that little smile is. You are still a cuddly little boy. Always willing to curl up next me on the couch and settle in. One more pretty awesome accomplishment you made this year was sleeping in your bed! It was a big one. For the longest time you have nuzzled in between Daddy and I in our bed each and every night. Even after getting a cool big boy loft bed last year with a wasn't enough to convince you. After months of telling us that a TV in your room would make all the difference, we gave in. We got the TV. Hooked up the cable. And prayed! We prayed it would work. And surprisingly did!! You have been a champ! Drifting off to sleep each night with your stars lit up on the ceiling and Ruff Ruff (your stuffed Build a Bear dog) tucked under your arm. Always asking us, when we leave the room after a story and prayers, to please come back in 59 seconds. And when we do each and every are already fast asleep :)

Your a magical little boy Hensley. With the most beautiful blue eyes always full of life. You are passionate and funny. We are blessed to be your parents. You have been our greatest gift in life. You are the air my our lungs and the beats in our hearts. Nothing is better then coming home to your hugs or listening to you talk about your hopes and dreams. We are so so proud of you and we can't wait to see what this next year holds for you sweet boy!  

 Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, February 26, 2015


This week we got our BIG snow!!! We don't always get a really good snow here it's usually sleet, freezing rain, and a little snow mixed it. We don't usually get lots of the powdery, fluffy, great snow!! But this week we did and we got a lot of it (a lot in our standards anyway). We awoke Thursday morning to 8 to 10 inches of awesome snow!!!!!

Hensley's reaction to first seeing the snow 

We spent the morning admiring the beauty of it all and eating cereal and playing board games :) 

Hensley and Sophie snuggled on the couch

It was absolutely beautiful and otherwise would have been a truly magical day at home playing and eating and watching it all out of our window, but, we had no power! :(

After a few hours of moping around about not having power we decided since the roads near us had been scraped and our sweet friends had power, we would grab some lunch and head over to their place for some snow day fun!!! 
And I am so thankful we did because it was beautiful :) 

Snowball fights with Gavin :) 

Our friends the Williams' have a great hill in front of their house to sled :) It made for a lot of fun for the kids! 

Then we got the bright idea to build a snowman...but not just any snowman!  A GIANT SNOWMAN!

Watch the video below to see some of the ideas the guys used to get the snow man built!!!

And our verison of Frosty the snowman was done :) We were pretty proud of him :)  It was a perfect snow day spent with friends. Listening to our babies laugh and watch them play and be so happy :) Nothing's better! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Love Day 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!!!! We had a great one this year because it was on a Saturday and we were all able to be together the whole day :) It was great except for one little set back....Hensley had the flu :(

He was in great spirits though and even from the couch with his little vomit bucket he was happy and smiling :) 

We opened some gift and had some breakfast made by my sweet husband :) I spent most of the day cuddling Hensley on the couch, cleaning the vomit bucket, washing EVERYTHING in our ENTIRE house! Andy was great he ran some errands for me and was right there to get whatever Hensley needed. 

Andy ran out to pick up some meds and some food for us and came home with the sweetest card and some chocolates :) He let me take a nice long nap and waking up to these made a tough day a little better :)

To the man who loves me with all his heart even though at times i can sure make it hard. He works harder then anyone i know. Thank you for giving me the best little boy in the whole wide world. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me my happily ever after. I loved you yesterday. I love you today. I will love you always.

By the end of the day we had a happy smiling boy who was ready to play some video games with Dad. It was a nice day to remember to take a step back and just spend time together. It doesn't have to include going anywhere or doing anything crazy it was just a great day at home with the ones I love the most and those who love me back unconditionally. 
Happy Love Day :) 
Today and everyday! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

A new normal

I haven't updated the blog in a while about my mom's progress on her cancer and the treatments. The last time I did she was mid way through her chemo and radiation was just beginning. It was a hard road. April through December wasn't a fun time. She missed out on a lot of stuff due to the reaction to the chemotherapy and once the radiation started a whole new set of issues began. 

Radiation treatment is different for everyone and for my mom is was six weeks of 5 days a week treatment. It was a very strong dose that near the end really began to effect her phyically. It literally burned her from the inside out. She felt a lot of pain and by the end of the six weeks we could see the burn on her skin. It was hard to watch her go through that but it was harder knowing that after this strong treatment she had to once again start up with the chemo. 

She missed out a lot on the summer time fun we all usually have. We weren't able to lay by the pool. Or go out all day and have fun. She was tired a lot and sick a lot. The fact that she was not able to be with us like she usually is during those few months was hard on her mentally as well and she did go though a brief period where she pulled away from all of us and stayed to herself a lot. She wasn't the fun, free spirited mom she had always been. She was sad and depressed and a lot of days she had given up on feeling good again. 

Chemotherapy was always a challenge and after an allergic reaction to her chemo meds she had to switch up her treatment plan a little. Her doctors had originally told her that near Thanksgiving she should be done with all treatment but after a few tests they decided to be safe and do them until Christmas. It was a struggle to keep her spirits up and keep her going for those last few treatments. Her hands and feet were having a lot of pain and numbness in them more often and the days after treatments go harder with prolonged periods of sickness. 

My stepdad's job started in Texas and with them having such amazing centers down there for cancer she decided to go there to get a second opinion and finishing her treatments if necessary. After having several scans and tests done we got the news that we had so longed to hear ever since this journey began 6 months ago. Mom is in REMISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing was more of relief then to hear that!! They told her it is very possible it can come back. If it stays gone for 5 years the chance of it coming back decreases a lot! I continue to pray that she will stay healthy and that this will not be something she ever has to go through again. I know it was tough on her physically but now that some time has passed those things that were effected by the chemotherapy treatments are starting to fade away. She is starting to return to her old self physically. 

Mentally though, I'm still waiting to see my mom. I'm still waiting for her to come back to us. She left for Texas in part to be with my stepdad but she also left because she thought all the bad things here would disappear. That it wouldn't all be real. The cancer. My Grandma dying. Being alone here without my stepdad with her. But I don't think she has realized yet that what she left behind was more important then what she was trying to avoid. She has been gone for 2 and half months now. Feels like 2 years to me. I was so happy she got to come home and spend Christmas with us. It meant a lot to me. She is home this week too which is what reminded me to write this cancer update. She is here for 6 days. Doesn't seem long enough. Lots of people to try to see before she off again. She won't be back until the end of March hopefully in time for Hensley's birthday party. I am trying to be strong. To not think about the fact that my mom who I usually see everyday is just....gone. Off to another state. Only coming home for short week long trips. On this trip home she talked a lot about them getting rid of their home here in NC. Three miles from our home. A place I always feel comfortable going. Where Hensley has a room with all his stuff inside and where we all have a ton of memories. Not having a house here anymore means one thing....this is no longer home. It's hard for me to even comprehend that. I hope it's something that won't happen. I know it's something I'll have a very hard time with. 

During all of this I have tried to do one thing......not be selfish. I have had days were she calls and I don't answer the phone because I am missing her so much that I am angry and I don't want to be angry towards her. So it's easier to just not answer. Which isn't fair to her. I am happy she is able to go and see new places. Spend time with my stepdad. Meet new people and experience new things. But as happy as I am for her I am equally angry and sad and lonely. I never know from day to day how I will feel. It changes daily. I want her here with us. Attending special days at Hensley's school. Coming over to hang out with me or go get lunch. Summer is coming soon. It will be hard to have another summer without her at the pool. Taking Hensley to do fun things. Just being here. I don't want to be angry. I want to be happy. I want to be happy her cancer is gone. I want to be happy she is seeing the country. I want to be happy to see her come home. But in the back of my mind when she is here all I think about is her leaving again. I miss her. Phone calls, and video chats just aren't the same. Through this whole experience I always thought after the cancer was gone we would all move on with everything and things would go back to normal. I thought hearing the word remission would mean I get my mother back. Instead she's gone anyway. 

I guess it's time to end this post that started as a cancer update and ending in a therapy session. This too shall pass..........right? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Homecoming 2015

Hensley going to a charter school I have noticed they do several things a lot different. And since they have a school that houses Kindergarten through 12th grade they include everyone in events such as homecoming.

When Hensley came home a few weeks ago with a slip in his binder saying his teacher had nominated him for the homecoming court I was so excited :) More excited then he was I think!!!

We invited all our friends and family and picked out a super cute outfit for Hensley. They were having a dinner at the school beforehand and a ceremony afterward with a performance by the schools band. 

They did a great job with setting things up and making it all run smoothly. Hensley was paired up with a little girl in his class named Laura Grace and she was extremely excited (and super adorable)!!! 

Hensley and Laura Grace

It was very fun and such an honor for him to on the Homecoming court. Being the type A personality I am and seeing all these pictures I think about how cute it would be for him to be on the Homecoming court as a high schooler and seeing these pictures such a long time from now :) 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 2014

It's December and that means....IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!! Christmas, parties, lots of food, the return of Benny the elf, sitting on Santa's lap, vacation from school....the list goes on and on of all the fun stuff wrapped up in this month!!! :)

First this month we visited the Festival of Lights in downtown Greensboro. We went last year and it was a ton a fun. This year it was a little less crowded which made it even better!!

We put up some outdoor Christmas decorations this year which we normally don't do. The boys absolutely loved the reindeer!!

We also put our tree up and this year we went back and forth between going fake or sticking with our tradition of putting up a real one. In the end the real tree won. We tried a fake tree and I knew immediately it wasn't going to work. We are just real tree people and it was beautiful :) 

We spent an evening at a local church supporting one of Hensley's favorite friends, Will, and his baseball team. They were raising money for a huge trip they are taking in the summer and they offered up an awesome dinner and silent auction :) It was a ton of fun and Hensley ran for hours up and down the stairs playing games with the other boys.

Our friends, the Williams' came over for some dinner one evening which we do often. I figured since we had all the kids there it was the perfect time to make some cinnamon ornaments. It brought back a lot of memories from my childhood. We use to always make these with my Grandma :) She would have loves to have seen these. We let the kids use some cookie cutters to make some candy canes, and snowmen, but at the end we did some handprints :) We did these a few years ago with Hensley and we still have them on our tree each year. They are a very special memory :) 

We had a pretty fun bath night pretending to be Santa and PawPaw :) 

Hensley was pretty into two things during Christmas break from school :
1. Wrapping gifts with his hand tape dispenser
2. Playing Crazy 8's

This month a lot is going on in Hensley's little mouth. He has two loose teeth and two HUGE molars coming in on his right side. I noticed them one night while brushing his teethe. He had not complained about them at all. I was shocked at how big they were :) In with the new out with the old :) 

I volunteered at Hensley's school this month in the Santa Store. It is a really cute idea they do each year where the library is transformed into a little store filled with all sorts of goodies. The kids get to bring money from home and purchase gifts for their friends and family members. The items are prices from .50 cent to 5.00 dollars. Each gift they buy is wrapped by volunteers there and they are able to take those wrapped gifts home to put under the tree and on Christmas they have their very own gifts to hand out. It's awesome to see the looks on all their faces. They are so excited and proud to be buying these for the people they love :) It's for sure something I'll continue to help with next year. 

Hensley's Christmas party at school was coming up and I was at a loss for what to get his teachers this year. I didn't want to get the usual gifts. I wanted something different....yet easy. My friend Jill suggested baking something. Sounded easy enough.......4 Hours later we had a TON of goodies not just for his teachers but for family and some for ourselves too :) It wasn't exactly easy BUT it was one of the most fun nights EVER!!! We made so many memories and laughed so much!! I can't wait to do it again next year. Even if we don't give them as teacher gifts we will for sure be making this baking session a yearly tradition :) It was too fun not too. Having my grandma's cookbook with me made it pretty special too.

We packaged them up beautifully in tin boxes, wrapped them in ribbon and attached the monogram ornaments I made for his teachers. It was a huge success. 

Mrs. Redd and Ms. Spaeth loved them!!

Andy was out of town all week and Hensley was pretty happy to have his Daddy home for two whole weeks :) 

We kept our yearly tradition of a family photo in front of the tree. It was quite the evening this time around. I love seeing Hensley grow through these pictures.

I love these two :)

Aunt Jill came over one night for dinner and a game night. Hensley is in LOVE with board games and Monopoly was right up his alley. We had a blast!

Excuse the front facing camera graininess but I love this picture after we all played Fibber! 

We spent several days at the mall which I was dreading but once we got there it was a lot of fun. It really put us in the mood for the season and Hensley loved all the decorations and picking out gifts for our family.

Christmas Eve is always a sweet time. We spent it with my parents who had come in town for a few days from Texas and ate dinner and hung out. We had missed them a lot. 
Hensley wasn't ready to say goodbye to his elf but we left him out for Santa to scoop up along with a little note some cookies and milk and of course carrots for the reindeer :) 

Finally it was Christmas Day!!!! We were having our whole family over and some friends too! We had a ton of great food and lots of gifts to open :) It was a beautiful day outside and Hensley got to play with his favorite gift from Santa, his basketball goal :) And I cooked an awesome ham :)

Hensley actually slept in until almost 9 am! We soon found out why...he threw up everywhere for about an hour after he woke up...and then he was totally fine :) 
He was so excited to see what Santa brought!!!


Jill surprised me by stopping by Christmas day. I had no idea she was coming and I was so glad to see her. She always brightens my day and she brought some pretty amazing gifts :) 
At the end of the day it was an awesome holiday season and when I looked around at everyone there to celebrate with us I felt so blessed. 

My house is a disaster. My kitchen is upside down. I am so exhausted. But none of it matters. Every single one of the people I love dearly were here today in our home. Eating amazing food. Taking photos. Laughing. Talking. Opening gifts. Showing each other how much we love them. Hensley is the happiest boy on earth right now. He was overwhelmed with gifts. He doesn't even know how much he is truly loved. I am so grateful for today and everyone in my life. Merry Christmas all.