Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Toast To 2008...

I just thought that I would write a quick post about the year. There have been many ups and many downs, many trying times and many memorable moments. So let's run through some highlights...

My little boy turned 4 years old! Where has time gone?! And Brooklyn turned 6...which means in 2009, I will have a 7 year old and a 5 year old. Aren't I a little young for that? ;) I love looking back and seeing how far they have come from the year before. Wil started preschool this year, and is doing amazing! Brooklyn had a rough time to start with in 1st grade, but has come so far and is doing so well now. My babies are officially no longer babies.

I got married!! After being with Seth for almost 9 years, we finally exchanged wedding vows and made it official. It honestly was a perfect day and nothing went wrong. I got to share it with my closest friends, and they made it even more memorable for sure. It's a day that I will never forget and hold close to my heart for years to come.

I have learned more about myself in so many ways. I've learned a lot of my weaknesses and why I have them, and I've learned how to grow from them instead of letting them hang over my head. I've learned that I'm much stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes. I've had a couple of friends who have stuck with me and taught me to keep looking forward instead of looking backwards. They are always there for me, no matter how dumb or small my problem may be. They help me keep things in perspective, and to let go of the things that I have no control over. You know who you are, and I appreciate and love you. I'm so glad that in this past year we have grown closer and have come to depend on each other. Thank you :)

In retrospect, 2008 has been a tough year. I am not going to dwell on the bad things that have happened, and just continue to look forward to the good. I'm excited to see what 2009 holds for myself, my family, and my friends. So bring it on 2009! I'm ready!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Story of Brooklyn Faith Allen

My daughter never ceases to amaze me, so she has inspired a blog post. Wil's shall follow soon as well. I've already told you the reasons why I love her so much, so here is her story and how she came to be.

I remember the day that I found out I was pregnant with her. I was working at a gas station at the time with Seth's sister, and also one of my best friends, Angel. I hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days, and she told me I might want to take a test. I wasn't even late yet, but I thought..why not? And it was positive! I was in shock, but in a good way. I knew where I was at in my life was not a good place, and it just kept going downhill. I was not on a good path, and before I found out about Brooklyn, I had no intention to go heading back the right way. But this was my chance to make things right, and to turn myself around back to where I wanted to be. Seth took it a little harder than I did, but got excited quickly.

When we were talking about names, we narrowed it down fairly quickly. Seth chose Brooklyn, and I agreed. I wanted her to have a name that wasn't as common as Jennifer, and something a little different. Faith is a powerful word, and was proven to me when God gave Brooklyn to me, so it only made sense for that to be her middle name. And she has definitely lived up to every part of it.

My water broke at 5:15am on June 14, 2002. Seth took me to the hospital, and then the waiting began. Here is one of Seth's favorite stories to tell of that day: All I could have was ice chips and popsicles, and I was loving them. I asked Seth to go get me one, and he asked what flavor. I said I didn't care, whatever they had. Now if you REALLY know me, you know that I HATE banana anything. And Seth totally knew that, but for some reason brought me back a banana flavored popsicle. I thought about throwing it at his head, but he quickly realized his mistake and went back for grape instead ;) Of course he totally embellishes my reaction and you would have thought I had some sort of satanic being inside of me that day in his version.

After 14 1/2 hours of labor and 15 minutes of pushing, Brooklyn Faith was brought into the world at 7:39pm. She was 6lbs 8oz and 20 inches long. She has been the light of my life ever since. We were always together, 24/7. And as she got older, Seth always wondered why I could never leave a room without her crying. To me, it made my life....just knowing that someone else loves you that much and feels like that they need to always be with you...it can be annoying, yes. But also the greatest feeling in the world.

Brooklyn was such a serious baby. You REALLY had to work for those smiles and giggles. But as she became a toddler, her silliness came out and she was always so much fun to be around. She was also a great, easy going person from day 1. She rarely cried, even when she didn't feel good. I just knew when she was going to be hungry b/c she was so easy to keep on a schedule. And to this day, for the most part, she's still really easy going. She can be a bit high strung as well, but what 6 year old isn't?

I just really admire Brooklyn's carefree spirit. She just wants to have fun wherever she is, and she wants everyone else to have fun with her. Yesterday, Seth's mom and her husband came over and we all played bowling on the Wii. This little girl does gymnastics while she bowls, and usually gets a strike or spare out of it. It's just so funny and entertaining to watch, and she knows it. I'll have to take a video for everyone to see. But anyway..my point is that she is still so innocent and trusting and caring. I just wish that she could take that with her forever.

So there's the short version of Brooklyn. She's an amazing kid with so much going for her, and I can't wait to see where she goes in life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trying So Hard....

So I'm standing at the opening of my "hole", and I'm fighting crawling into it. After the last few days, that's where I want to go and shut the door. However, it's Christmas time and I can't do that. Actually, I could do it...but I WON'T do it. It's not fair to me or anyone else. I'm not going to dwell on the bad, but look to the good. But in order to do that, a great friend gave me some advice - "Empty your burden of thoughts." So that's what I am here to do.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Seth has been having a rough time. He did not get that job due to the "Economy", and has been beating himself up ever since. I told him that it's ok, don't worry...everything will work out, just like it always does. But he blames himself and doesn't feel like a "man" b/c he doesn't feel like he is providing for us. I am trying SO hard to be the positive one, and I can do it in front of him without problem. But when I get alone, and all I have time to do is think, it gets to me. I want to be strong for him, but sometimes I just can't do it. And I was really looking forward to these 2 weeks off, but now I wish it weren't here so that I could work and makes things not so stressful. However, being management means that I get a week paid, and then I can always go in and do other things. So we'll be fine; I honestly believe that.

On another note, I feel incredibly sad and guilty and grateful. I know, a strange mix of emotions for sure. But a friend of mine lost a child yesterday, and it is SO surreal and sad. This was an incredible little girl; a true fighter. She was born with a heart defect, and has been fighting for her life ever since. She had multiple surgeries and overcame many obstacles. But in the end, I guess her little body was just tired. She was only 2 years old. But her mom is an amazingly strong person. Throughout all of it, she always said how blessed she was to have Reagan and to learn from her. She was always so thankful for God giving her that little girl, even when she almost lost her on several occasions. So it is so bittersweet that she brought her into this world, and was holding her when God took her back. So please keep Debbie Kring and her family in your prayers; they need it right now.

Sometimes...do you ever just feel like a failure? Like there is more you could do and you just don't? I can't really explain my emotions right now, but sometimes they just hit so hard that I feel like the wind is knocked out of me and I'm down on my knees. Here is something that I had written back in my writing days, and it captures somewhat how I feel:

A fire still burns
It licks at my heels
It singes the edges
Keeping me moving at a rapid pace
Never letting air come between us.

If I slow
It engulfs me
To the very core of myself
And it takes hold
Squeezing until the rawness burns with numbness.

When I fall to my knees
I am completely defeated
I press my cheek to the cold earth
Trying to embrace all that I have lost
What I can never get back.

The flames slide over my body
Forcing me to scream in absolute anguish
To release any emotion inside of myself
To haltingly rise to my feet
And begin the endless cycle of life all over again.

This was basically my way of reminding myself that no matter how hard things are, there will always be harder things down the road. Life can be difficult, but don't close yourself off and don't hide your emotions. Let them out or they will burn you up inside. Dig down deep inside of yourself and find that strength to keep going. I guess I just needed that reminder.

Thanks, Ash. I just unburdened my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Something Bad, There Is Always Something Good...

This is what I keep telling myself. There is no reason to not feel blessed or thankful right now. All the things that are not going my way are little things, insignificant things in the grand scheme of things, but honestly...they are still pulling me down. But every bad thing that happens, there are always good things to follow...

My laptop got all moody on me a couple of weeks ago, but talked to the company and they said that there is a default in that series of notebooks, so they will fix it for free. Today I get a call that there is nothing they can do and to take it to a 3rd party. Seriously?! So I'm in the midst of convincing them that they are wrong and hopefully they will see that and take pity on me. On a good note, my mom has let me borrow hers for now. I'm not sure how much longer, but I'll take whatever I can get.

Brooklyn has a couple of Christmas programs coming up, and they have asked that they wear white, red, or green. I was thinking well, great...she doesn't have anything, and I'm as broke as I can be right now. BUT...one of my kids at work gave me a $20 Target gift card yesterday, so sweet! I go today, but all they have in her size (or even remotely close to her size) was a black shirt with white snowflakes. Yes, it's cute...but she asked for a red one. I had to get it anyway. I know Brooklyn won't care, but it still makes me sad for her. But the good thing here is that my daughter knows that I try my hardest to make everything possible, so she'll just give me a hug and tell me that it doesn't matter to her. She's pretty awesome like that.

Seth has finally run out of work. That last couple of weeks have been pretty stressful, and honestly...we still have so much to get for X-mas for the kids. Everyone else is just getting some homemade goodies. The good news is that he put in an application today and they said they would be calling him by the end of the week.

So there...I was able to find something positive for everything. And Willie's Christmas program was SO cute this morning! I got some pics, but those will have to wait. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Forgive & To Forget...

Is it possible to really do both? 2 different concepts that are expected to go hand in hand. I truly believe that both are possible, I'm just not sure that it is possible at the same time.

In every situation in my life (and I mean major, not minor) that I have had to forgive someone of something, it definitely does not mean that I forget it. Sometimes it is easier to push it aside and forget about it, but other times...not so much. Sometimes the consequences of some one's actions are brutal, hurtful, and deep. That means that every time you think of that person, those actions and the pain that they caused, pops into your mind and plays right in front of your eyes. It can be so overwhelming that you can't even look at that person...well, at least for me. I'm just saying that it is a lot to ask of someone.

It's true that the pain can dull and subside. We only know that it's what we hope for, so that the healing process can begin. Sometimes it is a long road back to where things can be good again. It will never be the same, unfortunately, but it can be something new, and if you are REALLY lucky...something better.

I am not the type of person who holds grudges. Actually, I can't stand the thought of someone being mad at me. And I am willing to fight for my friends and the people that I care about. But it takes 2 people to be friends, and if you are the only one fighting for the friendship..what's the point? Why should you put everything you have into something when the other person isn't willing to do the same? It means that there is no friendship there anymore because something was lost along the way. Trust? Honesty? Maybe something else? Who really knows...it doesn't really matter what was lost. The point is that it WAS lost. Period.

As a good friend said to me, "Actions speak louder than words". That is so true. The road back is long, hard, and frustrating. The walls are back up, and rightfully so. Part of the consequences to the actions, if you will.

So is it possible to forgive and to forget at the same time?