Monday, March 29, 2010

Still Here

I used to try to post every time we did something especially fun as a family and a lot of times in between, but I guess I've just been too busy LIVING to jot it all down lately, plus I'm still at a loss about Billy, and it makes posting about other things feel strange. However, today's odd morning discovery motivated me to share a little something.

I had a rough night/morning with Logan. He started playing games around 3:00 or 3:30 and continued, off and on, until about 5:30, at which time I finally couldn't take it any more and stumbled downstairs to make a bottle. Of course by the time I made it back upstairs he was wide awake and ready to start the day. I changed him and talked to him quietly, but he really just wanted me to hold him up so that he was standing, and I was SO TIRED. By 6:00 or 6:30 he was wailing again (the bottle was NOT his desire), and I was so out of it that I just held him on my shoulder and patted his back even though it clearly wasn't helping. I was turning into a zombie.

Before I go on, let me make an important note that Brian did help by taking Logan at one point. He also comforted Gabe, who screamed repeatedly at peak volume after I woke him up by stopping by the bathroom on my quest for a bottle.

I finally dragged us both downstairs around 6:45 or 7:00 and buttered some blueberry muffins for Tommy and Gabe. Once I, myself, had a half a muffin and a cup of decaf I started to feel much better. As I opened the front door for Tommy and said goodbye I took a moment to ponder the joy that comes with spring; even the rain couldn't get me down when the birds were chirping. I was completely over my early morning struggles and thought it was a great start to my day--and to my week.

A few minutes later, Brian uttered some sound of surprise and concern in the kitchen. I thought either something important had broken... or maybe we had a mouse(?) He told me to come and then directed me to look out the window. I took about half of a second to spot the gaping hole in the middle of our back yard. I believe my exact words were, "Umm... huh. That can't be good." The look on Brian's face agreed. He left his water to boil and stepped outside long enough to take a peek.

He didn't see much, but the hole wasn't terribly far from our septic tank and sat right over our leach field, so we called a septic company to take a look. I later watched a man climb down into the hole and poke at the deepest areas with his foot. He said it was dry and didn't smell, so it probably wasn't due to anything emergent and we should be safe to just fill it in without further worry, though we may want to just lift up some of the fallen sod to check underneath first.

Brian stopped by Lowe's on his way home and picked up a whole bunch of little orange flags, so our back yard is very... bright now! I'm just glad no one was in the back yard when it sunk, and I'm happy that it didn't happen in the front yard, as there were many kids out playing this afternoon, as there are just about every day.

Our neighbor's cat seemed to have a pretty good handle on things today though. He guarded the hole for quite some time, and when he finally did leave his post he slowly circled the perimeter of our yard and jumped up on the fence in the far corner to survey the entire area.

Yes, I was easily amused.

The hole will be filled in as soon as we can do so. In the mean time, I'm just hoping it doesn't sink in any more.

As for my lack of posting about so many other goings on, I can only offer one suggestion: take a look at my photo blog. You may want to ignore some of the extremely odd and/or boring photos; taking at least one photo every single day has found its way of making me a little bit crazy at times. ...Most of the time it's no problem for me; as you all know, I'm picture crazy anyway. However, when I am all settled under the covers at 11:40 PM and then look over at the clock and meet the sudden realization that I did not actually take any photos yet this day, I have a momentary panic, and then I find myself wondering what kind of numskull I am to be that committed to what may be a really silly idea in the first place. Yet day in and day out I continue on with my plan. I admit to have slipped twice. Both days I didn't have any good ideas, but I knew what my backup plan would be, so the following day I just photographed what I was going to photograph the day before, in no special light or anything, as I figure by this point I haven't had a chance to really make this a true photography lesson anyway. Instead the photos I take now will help me look back at all that happened over the course of 2010 for my family.

I have to say that on the first day that I missed my goal I was disappointed, but the second time I just accepted it. I decided that I would still continue on, however, and put my best foot forward. That said, on those nights when I do sneak back downstairs at 11:45 to snap a picture in the dark, my pictures end up turning into strange editing projects the following day, some of which I actually have quite a bit of fun with... others not so much. Those "not so much" photos really just make me feel like a freak, but the fun ones are somehow worth it. :) Ah, the oh-so-unimportant stuff I obsess over! I think it's time for bed.

Until next time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Thoughts

I'm thinking of Jessi tonight and every night, and that's all I have to say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tommy's Birthday

That's right. Thomas is EIGHT. I want to ask where the time went, but at the same time his birth does seem like a long time ago. So much has happened since then. I thought it might be fun to look at pictures of him on every birthday plus one picture from the hospital, so here's a quick look back through time:

In another eight years, Logan will be eight, Gabe will be ten, and Thomas will be SIXTEEN. Yikes.

I've compiled a whole bunch of pictures from Tommy's big day here. It couldn't be beat.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Where do I find the words?

I expect I'll start this post over and over again and never be fully satisfied with it because that's what happens when I try to write about something so serious. I totally copped out a few years ago when a close childhood friend passed away unexpectedly. I had a million words I wanted to say when I was nowhere near my computer, but when I sat down to put it all on my blog every phrase had left my mind, and nothing I could think of could even begin to express how I felt or what I wanted to say about my friend. Now I'm sad that I didn't write more because she deserved it, and I still think of her all the time.

...Most of you already know that my sister's husband passed away unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. We were and are all still shocked and devastated. Not only was he my sister's true love and father to their four amazing young children; he was a spirited, good man who knew the true value of friendship and passed that on to everyone. Brian and I always thought of him as a good friend and enjoyed all the times we would sit down with a beer and talk the nights away. Whenever we visited he always went out of his way to make us feel comfortable; I stopped staying up late after having kids, but when I stayed at Jessi & Bill's, I would stay up until 3 AM just talking to Billy. There was never any doubt in my mind as to how much he loved Jessi and the kids, and he had a sense of humor that Brian and I could totally appreciate. He wasn't afraid to tell things like they were or joke about things that the rest of us might take too seriously some times.

I am happy that he was able to come to Gabe's birthday party in January and see our new house. It was a good day, and he and Jessi stayed with the kids after some of the other guests left, so we got a chance to relax and catch up a bit. We hadn't done that in a while, what with the craziness of life with young families, and it left some good, fresh memories in my mind. -And if we ever get that huge flat screen TV and put it on our side wall that Billy thought was just screaming for a flat screen, we'll smile and think of him as put it in.

At the same time, that somehow makes it even harder to stomach his loss. When we were at Jessi's a couple of weeks ago I just couldn't get it through my head that Billy wasn't actually there. My sister Becky said she just kept expecting him to walk in the door, and Brian and I felt the same way. This wasn't supposed to happen to him, and it certainly wasn't supposed to happen to Jessi or the kids - or to any of his family or friends. Especially not now.

I know Jessi is a strong woman, and even in weak moments she'll have the kids to pull her through, and if she ever wants to reach out for a hug or a talk she's got about a million close friends and family who only wish we could do more to help. For now, though, that doesn't make it easier.

Jessi, just know how much we all love you. No one can take away your memories or your love for Billy. It's through you that Liam, Caelyn, Alana, and Rian will remember their daddy. I wish you were not given this lifetime struggle, but I will always be here if you need a shoulder to cry on, or if you need ANYTHING at all.

Right before I got the news I took my picture for the day (thank goodness), shown below, and I'll copy now what I wrote as its caption when I uploaded it after returning home one week ago.

"I took this photo when I saw the morning light streaming in on February 22. Soon after, I received word that my brother in law had just suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in his home. My sister was with him. It was their oldest son's sixth birthday. One week later, it's still hard to believe he is no longer here. It's even harder to imagine my nieces and nephew growing up without his physical presence. One thing I remember, though, is my sister's words when I went down to spend some time with her. She said she liked to think that Billy met our great grandmother. I thought about that later and smiled when I pictured how well they would get along. I could just hear both their voices and the conversations they would share. This photo reminds me of the light that shines even through the darkest of times, and it makes me think of a wonderful heaven, where our loved ones might find warmth in the company of one another and share an eternity of love and laughter."

Billy, you are and will continue to be missed. Thank you for all the smiles and laughter you gave me, and most of all, thank you for loving my Jessi so much and giving her four wonderful, beautiful, amazing children. Your legacy will live on.

P.S. Go Red Sox.

For those looking to help, an education trust fund has been set up for the kids in Billy's name. For information, see