That Thing About Grief

This week has been hard. It’s hard because of our nutty schedule. Bria has soccer practice or a game 6 out of 7 days this week. Jack’s early morning speech appointments are hard when it’s already a nightmare to get everyone up on a normal school day. Since SOL testing is done, Arleigh especially is loaded down with end of school projects. Both big girls have finals all next week. Let’s not forget I added swim. Now, I’m not complaining. I do like my full days. I realize a time will come when no one will need me to drive them around, cook 6 pounds of taco meat for Mexico day or generally want to be seen with me in public. It was also hard because grief has a funny way of sneaking up on you.

This week Tye would’ve turned 40. I can’t imagine the party. Of course, as my cousin pointed out Tye (autocorrect tried to change Tye to turd when I didn’t use capitalization. 😂😂😂 I can’t tell you how much I love that!) and Prince shared a birthday so I’m sure he’s still having a great time. The actual day didn’t bother me so much, maybe because I know he’s in a better place free to be happy. The day before… The reminder that popped up on my computer that said remember to call Tye for his birthday…that stopped me in my tracks. So many times this week I wanted to call him. To tell him Bria made the travel team or she met a professional player, to cry about having to go to Jack’s IEP or how well it went, to talk about how to deal with the boy in Arleigh’s life if only so he could make me laugh, Hanan’s concert, the special needs kiddos I got to help…at least 1,000 times a day I have a reason to call or text him. I didn’t need the reminder.

It’s been hard because memories pop up on my phone.

I’ve been in a mood. It’s not just me. We all have. This morning I’m thinking it’s the festering wound of something missing…somethings missing. 

Tye’s birthday has never been my favorite day because it was my reminder of the anniversary of Dad’s death. Sigh… So now I also imagine Dad at Bria’s games. He would lose his mind watching her try a maradona. He’d scare the life out of Josh and take Hanan for a run. He’d be all over the swing and trampoline with Jack. 

That festering wound that is grief is open again because of anniversaries. It’s not that it’s ever not there, in the busy moments of my life it’s just easier to ignore. Talking about it seems to provide a release valve. Thanks for indulging me. Time to put my big girl panties on. We have a life to live.

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We’ve Got Spirit

Tonight Bria went to a soccer clinic and two members of Washington Spirit came out to work with her and about 400 other kids. Bria was thrilled to pass a ball with Tori Huster.

Look… It’s like a game of Where’s Waldo. Can you find Bria?

We’ve started our new autograph ball. We have hopes of catching lots more soccer super stars and getting their signatures. Caprice Dydasco is at the top of our list because she’s from Hawaii. No, Grandma. There is no one from Kentucky on the team. 

As for Bria, she’s decided that her presidential campaign can wait. First she needs to conquer the World Cup. Look out Alex Morgan! She’s coming for you!

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Things I Learned At School Today

Just thought I’d list a few things I learned at school today.

  • Fifth grade boys need deodorant. Moms, for the love…put it in their backpacks so they can reapply after things like recess and PE.
  • Pooping is apparently hard when there is a lot of it. Really hard if you believe my new friends. It gets harder if you don’t want to participate in what the class is doing.
  • The kids that are super allergic to bees are oddly not as afraid of bees as some of the kids that aren’t allergic to anything. 
  • After Memorial Day everyone basically gives up… EVERYONE.
  • When I’m at school there oddly isn’t a vacuum fairy at my house. If you see her, please let her know she missed us. I also missed the bathroom cleaning fairy, the kitchen fairy and well, you get the idea.
  • I have the most fun with these kids. It really is a great gig with something new every day. I almost wish I’d started earlier…almost.
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The Obligatory Back to Blog Update

So to sum up… Really I need to sum up everything that has been happening since spring break. I’m not quite sure how to accomplish that.

You may have read that I’m a substitute teacher now. I waited until the end of the year to start. I thought this is perfect. I’ll just work the days I want to work. Hahahahahahahahahaha. That’s funny. It’s the end of the year. Teachers are testing and spending days off. They have graduations and end of year ceremonies to attend. I was told not to turn them down too often when you start. So… I already know I’m going in again today. Thankfully it’s a half day so I might get a little done at home. We went to the grocery yesterday and picked up a few things just to make it to the middle of the week. I forgot how much I despise shopping at a grocery on the weekend and we went after church with 4 5 kids. I’m perfectly fine with claiming that I have 5 children after walking through the ice cream aisle with Ray. 

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Enough about me. With the exception of band banquet Arleigh’s band season has come to an end. Her final concert included a solo that I unfortunately had to miss. The good news is that we thought Ray might miss it too because he was returning from travel. Thankfully the boys in blue weren’t looking as he drove like a bat out of hell from Norfolk. He slid into his seat moments before her solo. I’ve been told that Arleigh did a fabulous job. I’m taking Ray’s word for it since he didn’t think to video it. Sigh… I did get this photo of her after the performance though. She said some fan stopped by to ask for her autograph. Funny. He must be stalking her because I’ve seen him hanging around my house a lot lately. Good thing he’s such a great kid. Wait. Maybe I should ask him if he videoed the concert…





IMG_3761Hanan performed in her final concert with eighth grade chorus. They won several awards at their end of year competition at Kings Dominion. She wasn’t really happy when we left feeling like she could’ve performed better. I thought she was great. I couldn’t be prouder. I certainly couldn’t stand in front of a large group of people and sing by myself. She even had a solo in one of the songs and couple of times she stepped out with small groups. There was one hiccup when one of the soloists bumped into her and she couldn’t get around that girl for her part. It was a great life lesson though about having the show go on. It certainly did. I love Dr. Newell. One poor girl totally flubbed her solo and became so flustered she couldn’t finish. He just turned around with a huge smile on his face and finished it for her without missing a beat. His song choice for the end of the year were great. How can you not love Journey? I will say trying to perform Queen was quite the task for a middle school group but they stepped up and did a great job. 


IMG_3774Bria has been busy. We decided to stick her on the swim team this year to help improve her swimming. She’s slightly frustrated that she isn’t a natural super star. I think we’re stepping into another life lesson. She is ending her recreational soccer career and starting travel. We’re dipping our toes in while she’s young and won’t have too terribly far to travel. She was excited to get a letter (that looked an awful lot like a college acceptance letter and may or may not have given her mama a nervous breakdown) before the tryouts are over. As crazy as most people think travel is, her parents are excited because commitment to one team will actually free up our schedule after a crazy year. Soccer’s age brackets are changing. So currently Bria is playing with her rec team. She was asked to play on an All Star team from the rec team so we also practice with that team for a tournament on father’s day weekend. In addition, the travel team she was being invited to join is already playing together since her October birthday will mean playing up. They asked her to practice with them before try outs. So one team, even if they do travel sounds like a breeze right now. Ask me about it again in the fall. Another sad moment was to realize that Sammie and Bria won’t play together anymore. They’ve been on the same teams and in the same class at school since we arrived in NOVA but their birthdays will put them in different brackets and Sammie is switching schools next year. Saturday was bittersweet. 

IMG_3742Then there’s Jack. Bless his heart, he’s trying to keep up with all of this. His favorite thing right now is the pool. If he could swing at the pool that would be his heaven. He can swim when Bria makes it to her meets and I plan on finding someone who can help with lessons this summer. He’s had a rough couple of weeks. Changes are always difficult and as the school year comes to and end, lots of things start to change. Specials change with the end of year testing, the library closes, plus mom started working. He’s been off his game. Tomorrow we have another IEP meeting at the school which gives me hives. I can’t help but think about the things I’m not getting done at times like this. What I wish we’ve been doing. I’m hoping we find a plan for the summer that works out to set him up for success next year. As always, prayers for that dang IEP are appreciated. 

Ray and I got to visit with lots of friends at a wedding over memorial weekend. It was just the sweetest most well done wedding. We love Sam and Paige like they are our own. I can’t believe I’m old enough to watch that sweet girl walk down the aisle. Bonus, most of our Hampton Roads friends got to be there for a quick visit. I wish I could take each one of those families and sit down with them for a weekend by themselves and catch up. Lucky us, we got the opportunity to do just that when one of our favorite families were passing through for a Nats game. 

I know I’m leaving lots out but that’s the short version. We’ve braced and ready to power through to the end of the school year that comes…wait for it… on June 23rd. Heaven help us all. We need summer!

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Where Did My Blog Go…

It seems like I’m posting this again. Facebook ate my blog…we’re so busy…blah, blah blah. 

Since spring break we’ve managed SOLs, I completed my training, orientation in doc process to be a substitute teacher, Bria decided to join a travel soccer team AND the swim team, we’ve been blessed with multiple sets of visitors, we entered the mad dash of concerts, programs, ceremonies and banquets that is the end of school and I’m basically currently working full time but with no notice. Yikes!

And so as I sit here on my supposed to be half hour that might be 20 minute lunch break, I want to tell you something. After being in this school as a substitute in a special needs classroom… One God wants me to know I need more patience. 2… I’m so disappointed with the world as whole. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen kids do miraculous things for these kids that can be so frustrating to be around. More often than not I’ve see kids be downright mean. So far, the worst are the girls. I nearly teared up in a sixth grade math class yesterday thinking in four short years Jack would have to endure that.

So a couple of weeks ago I was nervous for Bria who has to try out for soccer with girls that are basically a year older and a grade ahead. Today I realized I need to worry about Jack every single day. I  pray that he’s good at school but I should’ve been praying for his heart to be protected. 

That’s all… I just wanted to get it off my chest before my recess duty. Please teach your kids to be kind, Always.

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E Pluribus Unum

So this post was started on my phone almost one month ago. Yikes! Today it should be 85. Quite the difference. Back in April I had the opportunity to tour the capital with some of Hanan’s civics class. It may be my favorite tour here. If you plan on visiting D.C. I strongly suggest you call your congressman. You can almost always reserve a private tour in advance.

It was a cold day in…D.C. What did you think I was going to say? Although a temperature reading of 32 degrees in April does sound quite hellish… I’m just glad God blessed me with sunshine.

I got to ride a bus with 50 something middle schoolers into just after rush hour which is still a nightmare traffic. Our mission…tour the capital and hopefully see Congress in session and get a peak at the Library Of Congress. My girl was most excited about the last two things. Who am I kidding? So was I! 

In the end, due to traffic and other constraints we were only able to tour the capital. It’s all good because we spotted a little aloha when we got there. 

Well hello there King Kamehameha! Long time no see. 

We got to go into the crypt room where we learned lots of interesting things about Robert E Lee. It has peaked my curiosity. I think I need to do a little more research about him. I think he gets a really bad rap for picking the wrong side and no real credit for his work to unify the country. That’s a whole other blog post.  


The building is under construction to renovate it before the next inauguration. It’s being restored from a lovely ’70’s palette to match its original colors, particularly in the dome.

Our guide was fabulous. He showed us the whisper spot. His knowledge was incredible. Each state is allowed to donate two statues. They must be bronze or marble (I think it’s been awhile since our visit) and the person depicted must be dead. He knew both people from each state and where you could find it. Father Damien was Hawaii’s second contribution. Sadly, he resides in an unaccessable area. 

I stood outside Paul Ryan’s office hoping he would come out. I have a few budgetary concerns regarding military families that I’d love to discuss with him. 

I hope to go back soon. Hanan really wanted to see The Library of Congress and a brief session. It really was a great day!


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