March 31, 2012


I got a text from Kayla on Monday asking me to call her, she had something to talk to me about. Now, Kayla and I communicate often but usually text or FaceBook. Neither of us are big phone talkers! I can't remember if I mentioned it earlier or not, but she has a brand new beautiful baby, Brayson James born on the March the 20th. He is SO beautiful! She does good work!

Anyway, she wanted me to call her because she asked us to be Brayson's Godparents. We, of course, agreed. We're so honored. We have been very blessed by this wonderful young lady and grateful for a chance to do something for her.
Can't wait to squeeze this little guy when we go out for his baptism.

State Meet and Disaster

Ended our vacation on a high and a low.
On the high side, Kaleaha did great in her State Meet. She scored pretty high on each individual event and placed well at the end.
Vault 4th place
Bars 2nd place
Beam 5th place
Floor 3rd place
All Around 4th place
These are girls from all over the state. We are so proud of her! If you get a 5th place on a 9.5 score, you know you've got some competition!

After the meet, which Gran and Mamom drove down for, we went to PF Chang's with the Stillman's. They're so fun. Mason and Krennan kinda get along and the girls are big friends, I'm not a chinese fan but everybody else loved the food and I had great company for dinner.

On the way home from the meet apparantly there had been some kind of accident or blow out on I40 and there were tire pieces all over the road. There was also a big tire on the road that Ron had no place to avoid hitting it. I was reading and heard a huge bump. The car appeared to be fine, so we kept going. This happened around Russellville (85 miles away). We got off the interstate at Rogers, stopped at Arby's to feed our starving children and the car started overheating BIGTIME. I wasn't sure we were going to get it home and we only live a few blocks from there.
We very quickly got home and it was late and dark so we unloaded everything and then Ron went out to see what was going on.

Honestly, we can only thank our Heavenly Father for getting us home safely. The front end was buckled up underneath the car and we could tell from the stuff leaking out that something bad was going on with the radiator. Anyway, long story short, we got the thing towed on Monday. We are down to one car for the next two weeks and that stupid tire caused over $2900 in damage.
What a way to end vacation!

March 24, 2012

SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally! A break from our crazy schedule. Piano is finished for a few weeks and gymnastics was moved to the daytime so after practice on Thursday we took a couple of days to go to Branson. We decided to stay at Castle Rock. Usually if we choose that hotel, we pick a Tower room. Those were not available on this trip, only the Atrium rooms were available. They claim that the Atrium rooms are just across the parking lot. Not true... Across two parking lots and did I mention that all of a sudden the winter weather decided to come back? High 50's and rain. Nothing like what it's been for the last several weeks. Lucky us! Nothing like hiking across 2 parking lots being wet from swimming and FREEZING!
We had a good time aside from a couple of small mishaps with the hotel.

Then from Branson to Little Rock for Kaleaha's State Gymnastics Meet. We booked a Comfort Suites in Little Rock and they had an indoor pool with a kids Splash Pad. Krennan loved the Splash Pad and Kaleaha loved the pool. For me, the pool was a LOT warmer.

So now the only event left for this vacation is the meet tomorrow. Go FLAME Level 4 Girls! You've had an awesome year! Let's finish it well!

Life Change...7 years ago

March 14...7 years ago our life changed forever.
We finalized our adoption of Kaleaha and then Matt's bday on the 15th (which I honestly might have forgotten it that year), then on the 16th we closed on our new house. Talk about an amazing week! After years of hoping, praying and doing everything in our power to network, we were finally blessed with this beautiful baby girl. What an amazing gift. Life doesn't get better than parenthood. Yes, of course, there are ups and downs and sleepless nights, but when those sweet little spirits look at you and tell you that they love you, every sacrifice is worth it.

HR Reps meeting 2012

Once a year for work I attend an HR Reps meeting at our corporate office in Pine Bluff. It's a two day event that includes dinner and entertainment at the Country Club. It's always a lot of fun and this year was no exception. The HR girls in PB really outdid themselves. It was a Margaritaville theme in honor of one of the girls that is retiring this year. We were all labeled "Parrotheads" and given appropriate T-shirts to wear. There was great food, great company and a few silly games. We had a fabulous time!

After a couple of days at home, Krennan found one of my souveniers...

Kaleaha's Piano Recital

It's that time of year again! Spring Piano Recital. There are 8 piano's in the class. So we listened to a few group songs and then individual songs from each student. Kaleaha chose to perform "Little Rock" by James Bastian. She, of course, did it flawlessly. Wish I was as talented as she is.

Spring 2012 Report Cards

Today (March 7th) Kaleaha's 1st grade teacher agreed to meet with us a little bit early to discuss her grades. These days, the conferences are student-led, meaning, that the teacher mainly observes and then adds her comments after Kaleaha has walked us through all of the subjects. She did a great job and is currently getting all A's (again!). So proud of her! Especially the fact that she maintains straight A's along with piano and gymnastics. She is a smart little cookie and I hope that her school work always comes as easy for her as it does today.

March 19, 2012

Veggie Tales

Got to see Bob and Larry Live!
A well done performance. Everyone had a great time!

Kaleaha's Talent Show

Kaleaha was selected to perform in the Bonneville Elementary Talent Show for the 2nd year in a row. Last year, she did a gymnastics routine that she created herself and this year, she chose to sing a Sara Evans song titled, "A Little Bit Stronger". She did a great job and I SO envy the fact that she doesn't appear to be nervous at all. She is amazing.

ALC Open House

Can't believe that it's already time to enroll Krennan for school for next year! He'll be in the 3's and that's just CRAZY!
The school hosts an Open House every year and fixes dinner for the ALC families. It's such a great program and we're very blessed that Krennan has such a wonderful place to attend school.

Week of Sickness

Well, February is not over yet. Apparantly, the sickness bug lurkes around our house starting in January and doesn't see fit to leave until March!
Both kids got the stomach bug that was going around. Kaleaha missed two days of school. She felt better Saturday morning and so we attended the annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. We met Mom over there and Krennan went home with her. When we left the breakfast, Kaleaha asked me if this was the street that Papa was buried on. I said yes, that the cemetary was a couple of blocks away. She said that it was time for us to go see Papa, it had already been a week since we've been. We got to the cememtary and eventually found his plot. I think it put her mind at ease knowing that she had a physical place for his body. We stayed for a few minutes then it was time to head out of town. Thinking she was recovered, we went to Fayetteville for the Hopes and Dreams meet. We got there a little early and the meet was running a little late. By the time it was time to perform, she was feeling sick again, so we came home with no chance to compete. I don't know which of us was sadder that she came home with no ribbons that week!

Friends leaving

Right before my dad passed away on Sunday, his good friend, Bob Lee, called to talk to him. Bob had been in the hospital himself and knew that he wouldn't be able to come and visit. They chatted for a few minutes and then he told Mom to let him know when something happened. She did. Then received a call a few days later from Bob's wife saying that he had passed away. So one week was Dad's funeral, the next week was Bob's. I went with Mom and it was hard being there when we were still feeling so emotionally fragile. I don't see us attending anymore funerals for a little while. Just too hard to put ourselves in that situation. Maybe it's selfish on my part, but right now, I'm in survival mode. I'll be "normal" again when I figure out what normal is.

2 years-time flies

Ironically enough today is 2 years ago that Ron's Dad, Sam, died. At the time, I had just gotten out of the hospital with kidney stones and he was in Houston with his dad. It's hard to believe that 2 years has already passed. Shows you how short life really is.

Finally! Something good about this week!

Months ago, we bought (as part of Christmas) tickets to the Rascal Flatts/ Sara Evans concert. We had been looking forward to this day for months, but after this week, its just a little hard to be that excited. We've already made plans for Krennan to stay with Mom on Saturday night and she says she's still up for it. I'm still on pain meds and not really sure I want to go, but it's not like you can ask them to reschedule, right?
So Saturday morning, it occurs to me that it's going to be Mom's first night in the house alone and maybe it's not time for that. So, I call and ask her if she would rather just come with us and watch Krennan in the hotel room. She says yes and we hurriedly pack all of our stuff and head out. We had a great time at the concert and then swimming at the hotel. I think it ended up being exactly the distraction that we all needed.

Day from You-know-Where

It's here.
The day I didn't think I could handle. I was wrong. You handle it because you have to, because he would have. But by far, one of the worst days of my life. Very touched by all those who took off work to be there and support us. By the wonderful things that people had to say about him. His Arvest family was there as well as my Simmons Family. Very comforting to be a part of such a great group of people.
Funeral lasted about 45 minutes then on to the cemetary. Blessing of the grave was done by Matt and we were there less than 30 minutes. Back to the church for the lunch provided by some wonderful friends and then...back to real life.
Mom came home with us again and it has been comforting to me to have her here. I know she knows she has to go back home some time, but for now, I'm glad that she's able to spend some time with us.

Hump Day

It really has been hump day this week. Just one more day to get through then the Funeral. Today we decided since we were off work to go ahead and order the headstone. I know it doesn't have to be done that quickly, but its kinda rare for all of us to be off at the same time. So, Matt and Mom met Ron and Krennan and me to pick out a headstone.
There are lots of options to choose from but for me, I try to visualize something that is not "over-the-top". He wouldn't have wanted that. We also ended up selecting plots at Gracelawn Cemetary instead of the National Cemetary. Lots of drama about that, but I think ultimately I think a better choice for us. We finally found the headstone that we all agreed "looked like" him. Very classy, medium sized with the option of personalization for him. We found a quote that we liked and went with a picture of a trombone above his name. I'll post pics if they ever get it put out there.

On My List of Worst Days

Woke up today not very excited about anything that had to be done. Visitation is today for Dad and I hope I can do him proud and not bawl the whole time. Between the kidney stones and the grief, I really do just want to be curled up in a fetal position. Unfortunately, I can't do that because I have a follow up doctor's appointment and we have to be at the funeral home.
Follow up news= nothing has changed. She set up an appointment with the urologist and said to call if I needed anything else.
We arrived at the funeral home a little early and found the room. They had done a good job getting Dad ready and although it was pretty close to the last place I wanted to be, I know that we were touched by the number of friends and family who showed up to support us. What a wonderful testament to the life that he lived, that so many people loved him and wanted to share in our service for him.

Funeral Prep & Visitation

We all got up early, took the kids to school and headed to the funeral home. We all met and came up with the program and picked out a casket and then headed home. Very emotionally stressful day.

Worst Day Of My Life

Well, as you can see from yesterday, I was doped up all day and we went to bed early. I had checked FaceBook before I went to bed but turned my phone on silent because I didn't want any noises to wake up the kids. I wasn't going to church on Sunday because of the kidney stones anyway, so I didn't bother with an alarm. Usually that wouldn't be an issue, but we heard Ron's phone ringing at about 3 am.
It was Mom telling us that it wouldn't be much longer before Dad was gone. I think Ron had to tell me three times before it actually sunk in. Through the haze of really great meds, I finally realized that I needed to get dressed so that we could leave. He called Kay to come and sit with the kids. We got to Mom's by 3:30 am and it was obvious that it wouldn't be much longer.
I wonder why these things always happen at night? Is it so that when the sun comes up, your spirits lift? You can see the sun and know that it's another day? I'm not sure, but sitting in that room with Mom, Dad, Matt, Mandy and Ron it was a very somber group. We soon found places to light and settled in for however long it would take. We all dozed off and on and then everyone woke up about 8 am and Mandy volunteered to get breakfast for us. She brought breakfast back and we were all still sitting in the same places. Like if we didn't move, then nothing would change.
Finally, we decided to put in a movie about 11:30. Mom noticed at 11:56 that Dad was gone. When she said the words out loud, I don't think any of us knew what to think. We all immediately gathered around the his bed and couldn't believe that he was really gone. Lots of tears, lots of prayers and a whole lot of shock.
Even when you think that you're ready for them to go and finally be free of the pain, the actual reality of your parent being physically gone is heart wrenching. It doesn't seem fair that he is one of the good ones and he's gone. He's told us for several months, "I've had a good life" and "I'll be ready when it's my time", but I'm selfish and I wasn't ready. Not sure that I ever would really be ready to let him go. He is a wonderful man and is sorely missed here now. I know that he's busy where he's at and I'm sure he's still watching out for us, but I wish he was still here with me.
I'm sad for me and of course, Mom, but especially for my children. Kaleaha is the same age as I was when my Papa passed away. I still miss him. We were very close and there's not an event in my life that goes by that I don't miss him. I'm the saddest by the fact that Krennan will never know how awesome Papa was. He was used to "helping" him and sitting on his bed, but he never got to experience the same relationship that Kaleaha did. Papa had been sick most of his little life. Papa would pick Kaleaha up from school and take her to a variety of "their" places. The Nature Center, Creekmore Park (to ride the train) or to get her fingernails painted by Mamom. Every Thursday I believe that they both equally looked forward to spending that after school time together.

That afternoon we had a variety of visitors, special people who went out of their way to come and share their thoughts and feelings with us. We got the photo albums out and started picking out pictures for the video CD that the funeral home does and we had a good time looking at all those old pictures. They brought back a bunch of great memories.

Finally, everyone was going home and we talked Mom into coming to our house so that she wouldn't have to be alone. We all loaded up and headed home and it was very sad, knowing that tomorrow when we popped in he wouldn't be there anymore. I know it's life, it just sucks.

Crappy Times...Part 2

Today, I got up, got ready for work and felt that old familiar pain in my side that indicates that my kidney stones are back. I have to say that they seem to like the month of February. I got Kaleaha to school and barely managed to drop Krennan off with Gran before I found myself back in the walk-in clinic. I got back to the room pretty quickly but because I didn't have a driver, they could not administer a shot to ease the pain. I laid there praying that Ron would call from work on his break at his usual time and not be off of his normal schedule. Thank you, Lord, that he called at his normal time and I asked him to come and get me. In the whole time that he's been at work, I don't think I've ever asked him to leave, so he knew it was serious. He got to the clinic about 30 minutes later and SECONDS later I got my shot. Thank you, Lord, for drugs! He got to play nurse the rest of the day and I slept the majority of it away!
Ron was already scheduled off the next day for one of Kaleaha's meet. I knew that on these drugs there was no way I could go and sit upright for the meet, so once again Mom and Kay kept Krennan and Ron took Kaleaha to her meet. The first one I've missed. Probably would have made me very sad, if I had been awake to realize it. They got home from the meet Saturday evening and we all tried to get in bed early.
Surprisingly, it worked out pretty well.

The Wills

We've been trying for over a year to get Mom and Dad to get their wills completed. Especially as this disease continues and we know that it's not going to get any better. Well, after all this time, we finally got him to sign and got them notarized. WHEW! What a relief! I don't want Mom to have to go through a court proceding to get what little he has. So, such a relief to have that taken care of.

Let the Crappy Times Begin

On Tuesday the 24th, I was out of town for work. On the way home, my throat started getting scratchy. By the next day, I was dizzy and felt really crummy. Called in sick to work and slept almost all day. Felt a little bit better but still not wonderful. Picked up Kaleaha from gymnastics on Thursday and went straight home to bed. I think I conned the kids into watching a movie in Mommy and Daddy's bed. worked! Decided on Friday that I couldn't take the pain anymore, I couldn't even open my mouth. Stopped by the walk-in clinic on Friday morning on my way to work. Hello Strep Throat. Never had that before and really don't want a repeat experience. Went home that day while Kay kept the kids. Mom and Kay kept both kids for me on Saturday and with major antibiotics and lots of sleep I finally felt human again on Sunday.

Monday the 30th started out better. We decided to have Family Home Evening with Mom and Dad. Kaleaha had planned the lesson and Mom did the snacks. I got there a little bit earlier than Ron and the kids since they were coming from piano. Just got into Dad's room checking on him when Ron called. The battery had died at piano. I ended up having to go give them a jump. Then back to Mom and Dad's for the lesson. Kaleaha did a great job and we had fun even though Dad slept through the entire event. (Not sure how he slept through our singing!!) Maybe just pretending??
Then home to begin the bedtime ritual.

More January Gymnastics

Jan 22-Aspire to Dream meet in Fayetteville.
Went to Fayetteville to spend the night for this meet because we had to be at Barnill early the next day. This is my favorite place to go for our meets. I've always loved Barnhill Arena and it's so awesome that I get to be back there several times per year now.
She did awesome again, landing 3rd All Around. She's been pretty possessive of that placing all season. It gets her a trophy or medal every time, so she loves it and I love the fact that she's consistently performing every time.


For my birthday in December, I wanted to go see the movie Courageous. Finally got to go see it New Years Day. MOST AMAZING MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

It came out on DVD on the 18th, I was one of the ones in line to get our copy.
We had told Mom and Dad what a great movie it was, so we took it over to their house first so they could watch it. They started watching it while we were there, but we had to go before it was over. Kiddie bedtime! Sometimes I have foot-in-mouth disease and this was one of those times. We had bragged about what an incredible movie this was and I wanted them to get to see it not really thinking about what kind of reaction the story line would get. I sometimes forget about my Dad's brother who was killed when they were young. If any of you know the Courageous story, then you can imagine how they must have felt watching the movie.

I very anxiously asked the next day what they thought of the movie. My mom said that Dad finished watching it and said it reminded him so much of when James Allen was killed.

I felt like such an idiot. Not my intent, of course, at all, but good grief!

Anyway, still LOVE the movie, but it brings it a lot closer to home to know that this is a situation that my Dad has been though. I'll probably try a little harder to think about things like that before I recommend the movie to someone else though!

Gymnastics in January

This has been a busy month for us with Kaleaha's gymnastics. I love this time of year even if we've filled up every Saturday for the next 3 months! Kaleaha has done so well this year and we're so proud of her.
January 13 is the Yankee Doodle Dandy meet in Pine Bluff. It's become tradition for just the girls to go. We stay at the Hampton Inn in Pine Bluff. I stay there often for work, but Kaleaha loves it. She loves the rooms, the breakfast and especially the breakfast-to-go. Cracks me up that a banana in a bag is her favorite part of a pricey hotel, but whatever makes her happy. It's fun to have some time with just her. We don't get much of that at home these days with our crazy schedule and trying to spend time with Dad. We just do the best we can everyday but I feel like she gets short-changed sometimes. She usually gets the least amount of my time because Krennan needs more things done for him. I love her so much, I just hope she gets it eventually.