Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I went with Evan and the summer school kids to the library this morning. We walked there and back (1.59 miles!). While there, we were able to check out some books and watch the cool reptile show. On the way back we stopped for some ice cream. I was too thirsty to eat ice cream, but Evan enjoyed his cookie dough.

Hudson needed to get a little reading done after his shower. He was so serious about looking through the magazines (Motor Trend and Fitness). I finally had to make him put the magazines down so he could concentrate on what he was on the toilet to do!

Being a mom is never dull.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dad, Kids, Summer

My mom (who doesn't have a blog) certainly has strong opinions about mine! She tells me when I need new pictures, she lets me know if she does or doesn't like my backgrounds, and she certainly gets snippy if I haven't posted in three days or five or 10! I jokingly called her the Blog Administrator! I do it all; she delegates it all!

I was told that it has been three days since my last post and that I should be stepping it up and posting every day during the summer. Sigh. I'll work on it.

This morning the boys and I drove to Chowchilla to attend the very small service to have my dad's ashes placed out at the local cemetery. It was a very nice service. There were nine of us there. It was quite a bit different from last year when there were over 100 people at his funeral. My sister took pictures, but I'll have to wait until she puts them up on Facebook before I can copy them and post them here.

After the service, we had a wonderful breakfast courtesy of my mom's great friend Kay. Thank you, Kay!

Then we headed to Grandma's house for the day. We relaxed, talked, and tried to keep cool. The boys swam in a little pool out back while Mom, Sis, and I lounged around and didn't move all that much.

I don't have any photos of the kids swimming, but I do have a shot of Evan and Hudson in their new bathing suits. Hudson and I bought them at Target last week on clearance...because as we all know bathing suit season is nearly over, and it is time to move on to winter sweaters. Sheesh.

At three in the afternoon, we were all so sticky and hot (Grandma's air conditioner isn't working too well and was no match against 108 degree temperatures) that we decided to go to the grocery store for an hour and enjoy their air conditioner! I'm not joking.

We finally left town at 5 and drove back into Fresno for Evan's T-ball party. Good times. We accidentally followed a teammate home and realized that they live in the EXACT same neighborhood as us. I pass by their house every time I jog! Maybe I'll see them out and about and can say hi in the near future.

The kids received baseball "trophies" for their season of playing. They are actually really cool.

It's even engraved with his name.

Next year we are hoping to get Evan out of T-ball and into machine pitch. Hopefully he'll have the same coach that he did for T-ball. Great guy.

Okay, Mom...or should I say Administrator? Are you happy there is a new post? Tomorrow we'll be walking to the library. I'll do my best to document the morning.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Me and My Chicken

Today was the first time that Hudson and I spent alone time together without Evan around. (I'm not counting short trips to the store or time when I was home on maternity leave.) Evan went to summer school this morning, and Hudson and I headed to Target to buy new swim suits, and then we were off to the zoo! We had a great morning together.

There are a bunch of photos. I had to have proof that I spent time with this child without his brother being around. I know in 15 years he is going to accuse me of never spending time with him like I did with Evan, and I am going to need evidence that I indeed took him somewhere alone!

First stop, as always, was the bird exhibit. I think the boys just like going in and out of the double cage doors. I'm not sure they really care about the birds.

I was bound and determined to get a shot of both us. So what if I cut off half of Hudson's face?!

Checking out the elephants. Hudson yelled at every animal we visited. "Hey elephant!" "Hey Tiger!" "Hey 'mingos (flamingos)!" I had to tell him to pipe down because he wouldn't like it if someone came to his home and started yelling at him!

Not quite as big as a tiger.

Trying to find the giraffes through the periscope.

The zoo has a new archeological dig site that opened not too long ago. Hudson poked around in the dirt for about five minutes and decided that was enough. He wasn't too thrilled. Evan spent over an hour digging when we were on his field trip here last month.

We had to take time for a quick snack. Hudson wasn't interested in the traditional popcorn snack I always get while at the zoo.

Hudson was more interested in dropping my spilled popcorn through the empty umbrella hole in the table. Funny enough, a squirrel was more than happy to run up and snatch the kernels away for a mid morning snack of his own.

Looking at swans. We saw two of them, and I said to Hudson, "Look, he has a friend!" Then I asked him if he had any friends. He thought for a moment and said, "Hmmmm. My brother!" AWWWWWWW!

I think every kid who has ever visited this zoo has this required picture in an album somewhere.

And this one.

We had just enough time to head over to Sting Ray Bay before needing to pick Evan up at school.

As always, before we leave the zoo, we must take a trip up and over these stumps. Forcey Family tradition.

Hudson and I had a great morning together. The two of us will definitely be spending more quality alone time with each other. He is turning into such a fun little guy.

We finally headed back to get Evan, and as soon as Hudson saw his big brother, he raced down the school hallway and threw his arms around him. To my surprise and delight, Evan gave him an equally big hug right back!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Evan started summer school this week. The kids spend half of their morning in the classroom with Mrs. Cochran reviewing math, working on art, and reading. Then the kids switch and spend the other half of the morning with Coach Washington doing basketball camp. (Next week will be volleyball camp and then flag football camp.)

Evan plays HARD. The child doesn't know the meaning of taking it easy.

I have been working on projects in the office all week, so when Evan crashed into his friend while playing on the blacktop outside, he knew where to find me.

I think he took the brunt of his fall on his hip. Ouch! He was a sooty black mess. His hip was scraped, his elbow was raw, and he was covered in blacktop crud. Poor kid.

A while later he came running in telling me it was time for Water Wednesday. I asked him how he was doing. His reply? "I'm good. I'm tough, Mom!"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Gift

Dad and Hudson.

Evan and Dad.

Funny conversation this morning:

Me: Evan, ask Daddy what he wants to do for Father's Day.

Evan: Dad, what do you want to do for Father's Day...go to Chuck E. Cheese?

Dad: (with a great deal of sarcasm) Oh, yes, that is exactly what I wanted to do for Father's Day! However did you know?

Evan: Would you like to go see a movie?

Dad: (with even more sarcasm) Sure. Just what I wanted to do!

Me: Haaaaa haaaa haaaa. (At this point I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe!)

My wonderful husband and amazing father to my two sons is willing to do anything for his family, even if that means going to Chuck E. Cheese and a movie (which we did both of for Evan's kindergarten graduation). However, he hates both of these things, which is why this conversation was so funny to us!

Happy Father's Day, Honey! I know you cooked your own Father's Day breakfast and probably will cook your own Father's Day dinner, but I will definitely work on making a cake! We love you bunches!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gilroy Gardens

We decided to surprise the kids today by taking them to Gilroy Gardens. It is a theme park about 2 1/2 hours away from our house. We had never been there, so we weren't sure what to expect. Turns out...we LOVED it!

The boys were so excited to go inside that they actually hugged one another!

There isn't a character Hudson doesn't love. There is a giant garlic because Gilroy is the garlic capital of the world.

Evan and Eric on the monorail. It was really cool because it went in and out of a giant greenhouse. We also had some great views from there. We were the only ones on the ride at this point at 10:15 in the morning!

Hudson likes the monorail as well. One thing I was super impressed with at this park is the fact that even the smallest of kids could go on most of the rides. There were only 2 or 3 things that Evan couldn't ride. Most of the rides we were able to do as a family. Pretty cool.

Inside the beautiful greenhouse. We never did go back and actually walk through it. Next time.

I could not get over how pretty this place was.

Hudson on a boat.

Evan on a boat.

This child got so much joy out of this place. It was great!

One of the few rides the boys went on by themselves.

I really was there at the park! Eric took this photo with his phone of Hudson and me waiting in line for the balloon ride.

I have to say, we were highly impressed with the park. All the employees were friendly and helpful. The park, while fairly small, was easy to navigate. The biggest draw for us, however, was the fact that we got to do almost everything as a family.

Great day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Child #2

This is my 2-year-old. My sweet baby. My crazy, break-everything-in-sight, kiss giving, stubborn and independent baby.

This child likes to stay up late. Really late. We like him to go to bed. Early.

We have yet to reach a compromise.

He fights going to sleep each and every night and is exhausted come morning.

However, this is the first time I've found him in our room like this in the morning. I walked right by him as I got up and headed to the bathroom. On the way back to bed I saw him on the floor just inside our door. I have no idea how long he was there.

Crazy little boy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Importance of a Year

I have had some strange thoughts over the past few days. I'm going to type them out and hope that my five readers don't think I'm crazy.

This entire year has been a blur. Losing my dad in such a sudden and shocking way was the most horrible thing I have ever been through. Over the year, my emotions and feelings have been all over the board ranging from sadness to anger to acceptance.

The first year is a strange thing. I found myself continually thinking about the next "event" that we had to get through for the first time without my dad. Father's Day was first, and then his birthday in August. Then we started in with grandkid birthdays, Halloween, Tiff's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Easter and finally, the anniversary of his death.

I dreaded the anniversary. I had it built up in my mind to be this ominous and awful day. It wasn't. The day before was harder for me, actually, because it was a Monday, and he died last year on that Monday.

The actual day was filled with normal life stuff: field trip with Evan's class, grading papers, finishing report cards, cleaning a classroom, going to the grocery store, fixing dinner, and taking care of my family. It was just a Tuesday.

And now that Tuesday has come and gone, I am sad for a completely different reason. I am sad that the first year is gone. We have been through all the "firsts" without Dad. We made it through, but it's still hard. (Bear with me, this is hard for me to explain without rambling.)

I guess what I am trying to say is that it has now been over a year, and that fact in and of itself upsets me a lot. The further and further away we get from June 8, 2009, the further away my dad is. It felt okay to say, "My dad died last June," or "My dad died a year ago." Now I'm thinking of it in terms of over a year.

This might sound crass, but the first year is special. The rest are not. I feel like the special part of remembering my dad is gone. I know that isn't true, but it's just the thoughts swirling in my head. No one ever talks about the 3rd Christmas without Dad or the 8th Fourth of July he's missing. It would be weird. I'm not trying to diminish my dad's memory, but I wish time was standing still so we could still be within that one year mark. One year isn't so bad. More than one year is. I can't explain it much more than that. Sorry if I don't make much sense.

Obviously I'd wish for my dad to still be here, but it's as if I know he can't come back. So instead, I'll wish for something else...even though I know that can't happen either. See? I said it didn't make much sense.

In any case, today was the anniversary of dad's funeral. My mom didn't think she could be at church without us, so we were all there. I wasn't sad. No, that's not true. I forced myself not to think about it. I didn't feel like crying today. I'm crying now, though.

I seem to save my tears for myself sitting in the dark.

Dad was cremated, but Mom couldn't figure out what to do with the ashes. They've been sitting on her bookshelf for a year, and that's perfectly okay! However, we've realized that it is sort of hard not to have a place to go to talk to Dad. It would feel strange standing at her bookshelf talking to him.

Last week Mom made arrangements to have his ashes put in a little wall out at the Chowchilla cemetery. We drove out there to see where he'd be. I'm glad she made this decision, but it also makes me sad. It feels so permanent. Sitting on the bookshelf was not permanent. Sitting on the bookshelf was temporary. And I like temporary. Almost like Dad would still be here.

After seeing where he'd be placed, we ate lunch at Pedro's. Dad loved Pedro's. I love Pedro's.

And now I am sitting in the dark crying, typing, and wishing that a full year hasn't gone by. Now I am letting myself feel sad. So sad. Life keeps on going, as it should. But there are days when I wish it would just freeze so no more bad things would happen. Freeze so that I wouldn't have to feel the feelings.

I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow and continue on with the normal day to day stuff. Dad will always be in my heart, but a small part of me is so very sad that more and more days are going by without him.

A year helped to ease some pain, but it has also created a new sort of pain for me. I don't know if these feelings are normal, but I have to figure that anything dealing with the death of a loved one is normal for the person feeling the feelings.

I'm not sure how to end this post. I'll leave it with the thought that grief is a strange thing. I still don't know where this process might take me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

Evan did it! He graduated from kindergarten. We are so very, very proud of him!

I forgot my keys to get into school this morning. Evan made a quick run back to the car for me. He was so happy to be wearing his "fancy clothes."

Evan and his teacher, Mrs. Clark.

Evan and his principal, Mrs. Cochran.

This kid was sooooo excited to wear a tie!

Off to first grade!

Sethena drove Grandma to Clovis to see the graduation. Thank you, Sethena!

Daddy's boy.

I love photos like these.

Mama and Papa came to the graduation.

We had a beautiful morning watching our oldest child complete one phase of his life. So bittersweet. My heart won't be able to handle it when he graduates from 8th grade!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doing okay

Today was sad, but it was also okay. I think yesterday was worse simply because it was Monday.

We were busy from start to finish today. I went with Evan on his field trip to Blackbeard's. Eric and I were very proud of him because he went on the water slides two times even though he was scared. It's neat to see him conquer his fears.

The rest of the afternoon was spent finishing up grades, filling out honor roll certificates, and getting all the awards ready for tomorrow's assembly. I had a nice surprise when my mom and sister came to visit me in my classroom for an hour.

I spent time after school finishing up the awards, we came home, had dinner, and then I went for a run. Rather than be sad, it was more a day for reflection. It's almost a relief that the day has come and gone. It felt like this huge looming sort of day. THE ONE YEAR MARK. I guess I built it up in my head to be that way.

But we were all okay. It was okay.

Monday, June 7, 2010

When does it get easier?

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my dad's death. Today, however, was hard.

It was hard because my dad died on the Monday of my last week of school last year. I remember my mom calling me at 6 in the morning to tell me that dad was headed to the hospital in an ambulance. I remember being concerned, but not scared.

Dad had had several health scares over the previous few months, and everything had always turned out fine. I asked my mom if she needed me with her. She said no. My sister was there, and they would keep me posted.

My dad spent most of the day in the emergency room feeling pretty agitated and disoriented. My sister called me several times throughout the day to keep me posted.

As the day wore on today, I found myself looking at the clock and thinking of how that Monday a year ago progressed.

I was worried, but still feeling confident that my dad would be fine. Then my sister called in the late afternoon to tell me that Dad's lungs weren't working and his kidneys were failing. I remember hearing the words, but not really believing it was happening. I knew those things were very bad.

My principal drove me to the hospital in Madera, and Eric met us there. It was all so unreal. It couldn't be real.

I was able to see my dad in the ICU, but he wasn't able to talk due to the tubes and wires. He knew I was there, though. I told him to fight, and he wiggled his shoulder as if to say, "I am!" That was my last interaction with my dad. I said goodbye after we had eaten dinner, but by that point, Dad wasn't aware of us. I knew once we left that it was the end, but we still left. The doctors gave us hope that surgery in the morning would fix the infection raging through his body. It surely must be okay to leave.

Then we got the call a few hours later that he was gone. We raced back to the hospital, but he was gone. It wasn't my dad anymore in that hospital bed. It was a shell. I didn't even want to see him. I could feel myself closing in and shutting down. It wasn't until Eric was driving us home that I cried as if my heart had split into a million pieces.

An entire year has passed, and it still hurts so much. How is that possible? When does the pain fade? When will I be able to look towards the end of the school year without this shadow hanging over it?

It breaks my heart to think that Dad won't be there for Grandparents' Day, graduations, birthdays, and ball games. And I know he's here in my heart and with me always. But quite honestly, I don't want to hear that. It doesn't help. At least right now that thought doesn't help. I don't want my dad in my heart and memories. I want him here with my family. I want to hold his hand and give him a hug.

I'm sure tomorrow will feel just as bad. Today was just hard because it was Monday. Just like the Monday a year ago.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


This photo really doesn't need a caption, but this was taken last week right before I dropped Chicken off at daycare. He is watching The Wizard of Oz and loving it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have several events to catch up on. I'm going to try to post pics of said events over the next few days.

Yesterday Evan's class had a field trip to the mall in Fresno to sing two songs and pick up some School Cents money that we were awarded.

To keep the kids busy before singing, we gave them all a donut and juice. Kept them occupied for a few minutes, and then they were bouncing off the walls from the sugar high!

This is the girl that Evan wants to marry. Her name is Bella, and she's such a cutie! Evan has had a crush on her all year.

They are holding hands! Wouldn't that be a kick if they did grow up to be sweethearts?!

Getting ready to sing Jesus Loves Me and America the Beautiful. Doesn't Evan look thrilled?

It was a very cute performance by the little guys.