Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Time for Everything: January - March 2015

Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Time for Everything

Chapter 3
1 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
January 2015 is a month we will never forget. Mom to me and my brother and sister, wife to my dad, Gramma to Aubrey, Avery, Aaliyah and Tessa, and friend to many upon many, passed away on Friday January 16th. We are all very sad and miss Mom/Gramma very much already. Aubrey and Avery know that Gramma is in heaven with the angels and baby Jesus. My sweet friend gave me a windchime that hangs outside on our back porch and it is a pleasant reminder that Mom/Gramma is right here beside us, talking to us day in and day out, we just need to listen. I pray that my girls will never forget their sweet memories with Gramma. Below is a short excerpt from the eulogy I wrote to honor Mom. It is just a snapshot of the amazing Mom and Gramma that we know and love.

My mom was one of life's best gifts. She was more than just a special part of my life, she was my mom, my friend, my mentor, my confidant, my cheerleader, my shoulder to cry on, and my support. She was the one that always believed in me. Mom taught me about love, sacrifice, kindness, generosity, the value of hard work, courage and integrity.
My mom always had my best interest at heart, she was such a blessing to me. We all know there was no other like her and no one will ever replace her.
Wherever I went, whatever I did, mom’s love saw me through it all. In all stages of my life, she was invaluable, indispensable and unforgettable. Her spirit will always live inside of me and her love will live on. I will share it with my family, my children, my friends, my coworkers, and my acquaintances. My cherished memories will never fade because those that we love can never be more than a thought apart, for as long as there is a memory, she will always live in my heart.

Mom loved her granddaughters Aubrey and Avery. They brought her so much joy and without a doubt they were a very special part in her life. I’m so thankful that they got to meet their Gramma and have so many fun times with her like going to the splash pad and pool, to the fish hatchery to feed the fish, to the park, jumping in the bounce house, or having more intimate times together like reading books, playing with play dough or painting, snuggling watching the movie Frozen, or building gingerbread houses. It is my prayer that these memories will not fade. I vow to keep her love and memory alive for them. Those that we love never go away but they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near because her spirit will be forever in our hearts.
May God give us peace and comfort as we continue to live on, holding onto our precious memories.
During the midst of our pain and sorrow, God blessed us with welcoming our niece into the world. Tessa is the most precious little gal and I love her to pieces. I will admit, I'm smitten with her! It is hard not to smile when you are in her presence and give her all your love because she just melts your heart. Aimee and Israel welcomed Tessa into their arms on January 30, 2015 and at that time, Aubrey and Avery became two very happy cousins and we became a proud Aunt and Uncle.
Starting in mid February, the girls started in pre-school 3 mornings a week. This has been quite a transition for all of us. While I would love to have them home all the time, we thought they could benefit from a larger social and educational setting. We decided to put the girls in separate classrooms to start to see how they would grow independently. They are doing phenomenal. After spring break being off a full week and they returned to school, I asked Avery what her favorite part of the day was...she gleamed: "School!" Aubrey, who originally wasn't so sure about being away from her momma transitioned after two short weeks. When we returned from spring break, I had some concerns that she might be clingly to me when we needed to go our separate ways. As I'm at the door or her classroom, she turns around to me and says "Mom, I need a hug and a kiss before you go." I gave her a hug and a kiss with my arms wide open and off she went, excited to check out the new grocery store that was now a part of her classroom. I'm so proud of them during this transition. During the first week, I was able to attend their Valentine's Day Party and it was so fun to be a part of that. I look forward to many more events to come. Many pictures included!!!
Below are pictures of my pride and joy:) 
January 2015:
These crazies love their time at gymnastics!

Time to smother daddy with love.
In loving memory of my very special Mom and Gramma I have included a bunch of pictures from our visit home to PA. I have no doubt that Mom had the biggest smile in heaven, as she watched from above, the girls having a blast in the snow. I wish she could have been there to play with them, but I know that she was there in spirit.
While 9 inches of snow on the day of the funeral wasn't quite what we were hoping for in terms of allowing people to attend the funeral, I do know that the girls had a great time in the snow, building a snowman, just like in the movie Frozen. We actually woke them up early before the funeral and got some snowman building time in because the afternoon we expected freezing rain. Luckily the girls had lots of opportunities to play in the snow during their visit.

Day 1 before the snowfall. The girls were so excited to see snow...they had no idea what was in store for them the next day!
Poppy showing Aubrey the rabbit tracks in the snow.

 Viewing: January 23, 2015
Gramma bought the girls these pretty pink and purple jackets for Christmas. Perfect for the colder PA weather.

Snow pictures on Saturday January 24, 2015
(Lots of pictures because we didn't know when they would enjoy snow like this again!)

Building their first snowman with daddy.
Celebration of Mom's and Gramma's life:

Time for a nap and warming up inside. Avery took a great nap, but Aubrey wasn't tired, so she hung out with the adults. 
Great Grandpop and Aubrey
Uncle Mike, Aunt Esther and Aubrey
Aunt Donna imparting wisdom to Aubrey.
Uncle Ron and Aubrey
Poppy and Aubrey.

Aunt Dee Dee and Aubrey.

These smiles are precious.

Back in the snow before the sun goes down!
Aubrey and Avery made their first snow angels.
Check out this big snowman that Daddy, Aunt Dee Dee and Avery made.
 Return to Texas. Making a birthday pie for Aimee!
You need to make sure that the flour is just right!
Time to roll the dough.

January 30, 2015: Tessa is born!
This is a picture of one proud Aunt!
Way to go momma! She is beautiful and precious.

February 2015
5 days old.
8 days old.
Proud Uncle.
First day of Pre-school 3: February 10, 2015

I love how Avery has Aubrey's attention in this picture.

Pre-school Valentine's Day Party:

Silly time!



Aubrey holding up her monster bag she made for her valentines.
 Visit with Poppy 

Someone is the center of attention already!
Avery was over the moon about Poppy on this visit. It was so cute to see her excitement. Here she is snuggling on the couch.
Froberg's Strawberry Picking: We all love doing this every year. The girls always need to make sure they taste test a few strawberries to make sure they are good enough to take home at least 3 buckets worth of strawberries! 

Go Texans Day at Preschool: Born and raised Texans! I would say, they make pretty cute Texans at that!

Giddy Up!

Such happy kids!

These kids crack me up!

March 2015:
Rodeo  and Spring Break: Another fun trip to the Rodeo. The kids were so excited to go this year. Their favorite part was seeing the pigs (by far their #1), cows and sheep. They also seemed to enjoy the funnel cake and ice cream too! They got the chance to be farmers and plant and grow crops, feed the chickens and milk a cow. All in all, another fun family outing. Another outing to the strawberry farm and fun activities like going to the park and finger painting were all a part of our spring break. 

I have such good memories of eating funnel cakes all throughout my childhood with my dad at carnival events. It is so neat to share this fun and delicious memory with my kids!

This is about par for asking them to look at the camera for a picture!


The girls favorite by far was the pigs. They loved seeing the pigs, both momma and babies.

Moving forward without Mom and Gramma in our lives is challenging at best. We have good days and bad days. The permanency is setting in and the girls are beginning to ask for Gramma to come  back from Heaven. Just yesterday we were sitting outside painting suncatchers and the girls say "Gramma is saying hi" because the wind chime was blowing in the wind. It makes my heart smile that they are reminded of her by the simple blowing of the wind and the pretty noise of the wind chime.
I close this blog with an excerpt from my devotional this morning...
"There is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control (and through the loss of mom, I am in the process of learning how to do this, sometimes daily). In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete...As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take away from you." (Sarah Young)