Friday, June 8, 2018

Nine Years

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It has been nine years today since my dad unexpectedly passed away. Nine years of life that just kept moving on without him. Nine years of highs, lows, sickness, successes, sports, graduations, pets, holidays, birthdays and accomplishments. Nine years of life he didn't get to share with us here on Earth. I know he is sharing it with us from Heaven, but let's be honest...that just isn't the same.

I don't get overly emotional about the death of my dad anymore. It's been nine years. I've had a lot of time to process, to grieve, to remember, and to cry. If I'm being honest, June 8 rolls around each year, and I sort of forget it's the date of his death, but then I panic thinking I forgot it, and I have to poke around the internet to remind myself that his death did indeed occur on June 8. I don't like to remember this particular date. I'll never forget his birthday. I'll never forget my mom and dad's anniversary. But the date of his death? I don't like to remember it.

I get emotional over my dad on unexpected days. For instance, I can be driving near Fresno State in the Fall with the Bulldogs getting ready to play a big football game. That has reduced me to sobs. Another "out of the blue" crying jag will hit me when I heard any song by Josh Groban. I swear it's my dad talking to me through his songs! I think of you when I see cows and trains. In my head, I count the train car colors and thank the cows for my milk. I think of you when I see mailmen. I think of you when I go on a candy binge and eat circus peanuts. I think of you when I see old fashioned hard Christmas candy.

Dad, we miss you so very, very much. Gosh, you would have been so stinking proud of Evan and Hudson. Evan's graduation day was hard without you there. You would have been beaming with pride to see your grandson earning the most awards and reading his letter to the whole congregation. You would have loved seeing Evan play basketball. You would have been so excited to see him win contests this year. It's been a really neat year for that kid. We still have that little sea lion that you gave Evan from the post office. I don't keep a lot of things, but I'll never give that away.

Hudson reminds me of you quite a bit. I see those dark brown eyes of his and remember those last pictures I have of you and him at Easter with you wearing bunny ears. You would have been the best grandpa to sit and listen to Hudson's crazy long-winded stories. You would have loved to see him play flag football and basketball. You would have been so proud of what an amazing reader this kid is. You would have been so proud of him getting straight A's in school.

I hope you would have been proud of me. I'm finally going back to school to get my administrative credential. I'm not sure of my plans for the future, but I want to be ready for it if an opportunity presents itself. I hope you would have been proud of me as a mom and wife. I hope you would have been proud of me as a teacher.

Sometimes I think back and wonder if you were aware of what was happening that last day. I also wonder if you were in pain before that day, but for reasons only you will know, you didn't go to the doctor to have it checked out. You were in pain most of your life. It hurts my heart to think of you being scared on that last day. It happened so fast. No warning. No idea that you were hurting. I know that you heard me when I saw you in the hospital that night. You squeezed my hand and made a little squeak to let me know you were with me.

I know you are still with me. I just wish it was here. It sucks not having you here. I am having a hard time processing the fact that you have been gone for nine years. That first year was filled with so many "first times without Dad" moments. Then life moves forward and we get busy with the day-to-day job of bills, school, grades, dinner, sports, and more.

I just wish we had had more time. It comforts me to think of you watching us from Heaven. There was one very specific incident where you "spoke" to me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that you were telling me that you were with me. I'd love to "hear" from you again!

I just want you to know that we are good. Eric and I have been married for 15 years, we are raising two incredible boys, and we have puppies. Oh my word you would LOVE the puppies! My great sadness is that Evan's memories of you are fading and Hudson was only a year and a half when you left. I keep you alive through stories. The kids know you. I just wish they had had the chance to know you here.

Keep watching over us. I love you, Dad.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

April 2018 Recap

The month of April feels like it was so long ago given the fact that May was CRAZY busy, hectic, emotional, and long. I'll post several different stories about our May happenings later this week...or at least that's my goal!

I enjoyed Easter Break. Coffee in bed with the first coffee cup I ever purchased. Side note: I go through phases where I break free of caffeine. I think I have gotten myself to a point where I enjoy one cup of coffee each morning...but no more. Afternoon caffeine headaches are not fun.

Hudson enjoyed late mornings snuggling in my bed.

For the first time in many years, my school held a Mother/Son Dance. I went to one with Evan when he was in first grade. #hatedit  All we did at that dance was run around like loons and sweat. I wasn't overly interested in attending this year's dance, but Hudson was quite adamant that he wanted to go.

Actually, the conversation went something like this:

Mom: Hey Hudson, were you wanting to go to the Mother/Son Dance?
Hudson: Of course I want to go! Why wouldn't we go?
Mom: (fake cheer) Oh yes, we'll go! 

I wasn't about to disappoint the child, so Eric and Evan headed to Evan's basketball game and Hudson and I got ready to dance the night away. If anything, it gave me a reason to do my hair and makeup.

Just a bit of truth body image is at an all-time low at the moment, so I try to appreciate the times when I feel positive about myself. I liked how I looked for Hudson's dance.

Silly faces before we head out.

It's hard to understand how my youngest is 10 and getting ready for 6th grade. When they are little it feels like they'll never grow up.

I was glad that the theme of the dance was "sports." I had a Warriors shirt on and Hudson wore a basketball shirt. However, I apparently didn't get the memo of being "matchy-matchy." Honestly, it didn't even occur to me to try to match each other, but it seemed EVERY OTHER MOM instinctively knew to do this. There were matching mom/son outfits everywhere. #mamatried

The dance had super cute decorations. The big hit of the night was the bowls filled with bubble gum. We took lots of gum home. There wasn't much dancing. Hudson and I literally only danced ONE time. I tried to get him to dance more, but he was much more interested in hanging out with his friends and running around outside. At least I didn't have to tie a balloon to my ankle and have small children try to pop it like I did years ago.  That was horrible.

I sat at my table eating candy and talking with an aide that works at our school that I haven't had a chance to get to know very well. It was nice learning more about Monica, so I'll call the dance a success, even if there wasn't much dancing.

The rest of April consisted of lots of AAU basketball games for both kids. We had Friday/Saturday night games pretty much every weekend.

We were really proud of Evan this year because he got selected for the "B" team, but through hard work and dedication, he worked his way up to the "A" team and got a lot of praise from his coaches. Often times, they used him for both the A and B teams. There were some weekends where we were going to seven basketball games between the two kids!

Hudson had a fun AAU season and has steadily improved in his basketball skills. He enjoys his friends that he has made on the team and helped lead his team to a couple of wins. 

Spring AAU is over, but we have moved into the high school level AAU for the summer league. That is only for Evan. He is training anywhere from 2-4 times a week and will be starting daily weight training and skill classes. I really have fun watching his basketball games, even though they are getting more and more stressful as the play becomes more and more intense.

Apparently, we had a cold April day where I broke out a heavy winter sweater!

I did a little bit of exercise. Clearly, I enjoy it. #noidont

Sometimes I ate healthy meals.

My little Huddy Buddy. He still gives me great hugs.

Eric and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. Wow! Feels like an eternity, and it feels like yesterday all at the same time. We have grown so much together in 15 years. And we looked so young!

We don't typically do gifts for our anniversary, so I was super surprised when I got roses delivered to me at school!  I gotta admit, I really loved it! Getting flowers delivered is such a girly thing that makes me all gooey inside!

We spent our anniversary at my school's Open House. Then we went out to a late dinner at Tahoe Joe's, so that part was fun!

That's the wrap up for April. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Heather Goes Back to College

My view every morning when I get up early and work on college stuff. I don't turn the tv on while I"m working. It's on only because I'm on Spring Break.

I started back to school this past January to obtain my Administrative Credential.  Boy is it rough!  Not the classes.  They aren't rough. The classes are great. I like the teachers, I am enjoying the books, and I like the time spent with the other students working in discussion groups.

What is rough is the time spent on all of it. Hours and hours of time on top of an already decently busy life.

I have to give ALL the credit to Eric for literally taking care of everything from the house to the laundry to the cooking to the kids to me. He is taking this on like a true hero. I try to help out, but I never quite feel like I am doing enough. The extra time spent reading, writing papers, and physical time in class is just a lot for all of us, and there is no way I could do it without help from my family.

It's taken me a few months to figure out, but what seems to be working best for me is getting up at my normal 4 a.m. time and working on the reading and paper writing until 5 a.m. This is taking the place of what used to be my personal pleasure reading time, but I had to make a sacrifice with something. I am pretty worthless in the evenings, so working in the morning is helping me get stuff done.

One of the seven(!) books we are reading for Wednesday night's class. I am internally struggling because we haven't yet read any one book in its entirety! What?! I keep telling myself I am going to go back and finish up these books...because I really like them. These types of books are right in my wheelhouse. I'm just not sure when I'll have the time to do this...this year, anyhow.

The classes are every Wednesday and every other Monday. They are in Visalia from 5:15 to 8:45ish. That is rough for someone who is worthless in the evenings and who goes to bed in the 8 o'clock hour!  I'm somehow making it though. Thursday used to be my favorite school day because I like my schedule that day. Now it's my most tired day!

This is the second book we are reading for Monday night's class. I'm working on the paper for this class that is due on Monday.

The program is one year. I'll be done before Christmas next year. I'm not sure what I'll do with the credential after I get it, but it will allow me to have options should I want them.

The toughest part (besides the time spent) was teaching myself how to "write" again. Writing a blog post or a letter or a lesson plan or even an accreditation document is very different than writing papers for school. And I've had to write papers EVERY SINGLE WEEK! I've also had to learn to be less wordy. We generally read 1-2 chapters out of a book and then need to summarize and reflect on the reading in 1-2 pages!  One to two pages?! I have so much more to say! It has been a learning process to cut through the junk and get to the point in a concise and clear way.

We are less than a month from finishing our first semester. We take one class in the summer and then finish up with two more classes in the fall. I know I'll look back next year and be proud of doing this.  Right now, it's a struggle to keep up with life!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Life Lately: In Pictures and shortish captions

It's been a while since I posted, and since I like my blog for family purposes, I figured I'd take a few minutes to update our life.

In June we worked out together as a family at the gym. And Eric made breakfast.

Hudson and I played a lot of board games during the long summer afternoons.

We got a bowling summer pass that allowed us to play three games each day. I got pretty good at bowling!

We went to Universal Studios in July to see Harry Potter Land. It was Hudson's dream vacation.

We splurged and stayed in the nice hotel. It was walking distance from the park, which made it nice to take an afternoon nap.

I started a third round of Whole30 when we got home. Spoiler: I didn't finish this round.

In August we got ready to go back to school. It's Evan's last year of uniforms.

Both boys got the experience of a facial and haircut. They loved it.

First day of school: fifth grade, 8th grade teacher, 8th grade.

I realized that it will be all too soon before these two are no longer sitting at my breakfast table.

The kids got to see the solar eclipse at school. It was really cool.

Having Evan in my 8th grade class has been fun.

The boys hanging out in my classroom.

Hudson turns 10.

Eric gets a Goldwing.

Eric bought me a record player so I can listen to my dad's old records.

Eric got a new Goldwing. There were issues with the white one, so he got a newer red one for a great price. Her name is Lucille. We took her to Nevada to buy her a special seat.

Evan turned 13 in October.

Eric took Hudson to school and the field trip to the fair on Lucille.

Eric and I took a day trip to Sequoia National Park.

Having a good hair/makeup day.

Hudson and I dressed up for Wacky Day during Red Ribbon Week.

Probably my favorite picture of myself this year.

Eric and Hudson made his costume.

I was Mrs. Potato Head for Halloween.

The 8th grade students were the toy soldiers from Toy Story.

Both boys got trophies for flag football.

I started drinking hot tea.

Eric turned 49.

Evan's artwork was selected for the month of June in the Valley Air District calendar.

Coach Washington got me the best T-shirt ever! Everyone at school pretty much knows I don't like to be touched. 

The boys altar served at the Christmas Eve Mass.

New pajamas for the Forcey Family.

The boys both got hover boards! 

Mom and I had a great lunch and movie day. Animals flock to her. It's almost like they know she is the one person who doesn't want to touch them!

I became obsessed with this movie and saw it three times in the theater!

We took a second trip to Universal Studios in January.

Hudson was in the school Talent Show in February.

I turned 43 and the junior high threw me a surprise party and made me a princess.

Evan took his graduation photos in March. I seriously cannot believe that he is going to graduate from 8th grade and go into high school in less than five months.

I finished the yearbook. This page was my favorite layout of the year.