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Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28, 2011 – Winding down from the first week back to school…..

Well, the new beginnings started this week and for the most part things went really well! I happen to really like my new job, I’m not to the point of loving it yet, but that will come. I miss my friends in West Orange but I sill get to see most of them quite often so I’ll survive. I am learning the ins and outs of my new district and I have to say I feel confident that I will adjust with very little effort. It seems I have fallen into a job with wonderful co-workers that are willing to help me out when I ask and best of all; I eat lunch for free!!

I have found myself in an odd position concerning Thomas; do I share him with these people or do I keep him to myself?? I think we all know my answer to this one; I share him with anyone that wants to listen. I have pictures of him in my room and I know the topic of him will come up in due time. I have brought him up to a few people already and it feels good to get it off my chest. I have struggled with how to answer the question, “how many kids do you have?” It’s very hard to read people; you never know if they will be excessively uncomfortable at the mention of a child that has passed away or if they will welcome conversations about them. I was in the front office the other day and someone asked me how many kids I had and in that moment of truth I said, “I have two boys, one is 3 ½ years old and my youngest son passed away on May 1st”. I was trying to make eye contact with people in the room to read their reactions while attempting to remain assertive but loving at the same time. I don’t like crying in front of people I know, much less strangers. I was shocked at the warm responses I received! They all sat there listening to our story and when I offered my blog site to one of the ladies standing there, another lady asked if I would write it down for her. What a relief, I’ve made the first step in letting my new co-workers in on a little piece of who I am now.

I really wish I could report such a happy beginning for my boy at his new school, but his week didn’t go so well. He was so very excited about starting his first day of school and I was so proud of how “grown up” he appeared to be; it’s not easy changing schools. I woke him up delicately, he’s just like me, hates mornings! I went in, scooped him up in a blanket and turned on his favorite cartoons while I rocked him until he woke up. When he finally opened his eyes I asked him if he was ready to go to school and he said he was; whew! I fixed his favorite breakfast and sat with him while we both ate. I had to wake up over an hour before I would normally be up just to ensure that this day went just right for him. I took plenty of pictures of a smiling face that was eager to meet new friends at his new school and off we went. As we were driving to Bridge City I noticed he was staring out the window so of course I asked him if everything was ok; his response was, “I’m just looking for my new school”. I was so excited that he was really ready to make this leap in life. His first day went so well; he really seemed to love it. Day two; not so much. I will simply say, it’s amazing that this mommy was able to keep the ugly side under wraps. He will not be going back to that school, ever again!! Our good friend helped us out for the rest of last week and he is now back in Presbyterian Day School in West Orange. I never should have pulled him but I really didn’t want to drive from Beaumont to Orange to drop him off and then head to work in Bridge City only to go back to Orange to pick him back up before being able to head back to Beaumont. I would drive all over the Golden Triangle at this point to make sure I never pick my baby boy up in that state again! He can’t wait to start his “green school” this week!

On to the weekend……

We made a snap decision, along with our really good friends, to head to the lake for the weekend!! Best thing we could have done after the first week back to work; it was relaxing, exciting and an all out blast. I’m so glad we decided to go. I have to say I’ve never been so happy to wake up at the crack of dawn. We didn’t get to the lake house until really late Friday evening and the boys were high on life. They were so excited to be there and they were not having any part of going to sleep so we all partied until around midnight when us old folks couldn’t take it any longer. Saturday morning my sweet boy woke me up with the best words. I was sound asleep when I hear him not so much saying, but singing, “I’m smiling at you”. I checked the time and it was only 7:00; we do not wake up at 7:00 on Saturday mornings in the Bush house so I sweetly told him to go back to sleep. He honored my request for about 30 more minutes when I hear, “I fink the sun is on, I need to go swim in the lake”. I couldn’t be mad, I have to say his excitement made all the difference in the world. We have spent the last 2 days on boats, jet skiis and lounging in the water with people we truly cherish. We were able to just exist for the entire weekend and it was much needed. I really feel refreshed and ready to take on the school year; I wouldn’t be mad if we did that every weekend!

I am blessed beyond measure. I have an amazing family and the best friends I could ask for. We are surrounded by people that love our family and we love them just as much. The only bad thing to come of the weekend; my nice set of raccoon eyes and a fantastic burn that’s causing an incredible amount of discomfort!

I want to close this blog asking for prayers for a friend of mine. She’s a person that Thomas has brought into my life and I’m so proud to “know” her; even if only through FB. She is currently pregnant with her 2nd anencephalic baby and is only 34 weeks. She found out last week that her fluid levels are dangerously high and she will have to be induced in the morning. She weighs heavy on my heart and mind daily. There’s a bond there that can’t be described; I just love my fellow anencephaly mommies. She has handled what God has given her with grace and dignity. She has carried out His tough and what seems unfair will twice now. I would ask that all of you pray; pray for comfort, peace, words to offer her older children, strength for her and her husband and most importantly that her Lily be born alive and she get to spend some time with her angel before she leaves this earth. She KNOWS what’s in store; that doesn’t make it any easier, it might, in fact, make it far more difficult. I may never meet Allison Johnson, but she will forever be in my heart.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011 / Good Times…..New Beginnings…..Big News…..

August 3, 2011 / Good Times…..New Beginnings…..Big News…..

Aaron and I just returned from an amazing weekend away! We have never had the opportunity to get away for so long; just the two of us. We don’t normally splurge on “just us” but after the year we just had we figured it was due time for a bit of splurging. We didn’t go far, only to Gulf Shores, Alabama; it was far enough and the perfect place for a simple get away. We had the most incredible weather and the best time just laughing together; something we haven’t done much of since January 5th. We tried to experience the things that we wouldn’t have been able to if we had brought the kids with us because we aren’t sure when a trip like this might happen again. Our first outing was Parasailing!!! If you haven’t done this, do it! If you’re not interested in it, get interested!! That was the most peaceful thing I’ve ever done. We chose the 1000 foot flight and I was a tad nervous that we might be taking things a bit too far. Turns out, I wouldn’t have it any other way and if there is an option of going even higher, I’d opt for that! Once we were up there we couldn’t hear anything except each other talking, it was so quiet and the view was amazing! The next adventure we decided to embark on was Jet Skiing with the Dolphins; yet another grand idea!!! This particular outing is a 2 hour guided Jet Ski tour; with or without dolphin sightings, it would be incredible! Once we got out there we did, in fact, get to see many dolphins at close range. It took us a while to find them but once we did I felt like a little kid at Christmas; I love dolphins!! The interesting part of this trip is riding the waves on the back of a Jet Ski driven by my husband! He managed to tump us within the first 20 minutes and I have bruises all over my left leg. I spent the majority of our trip airborne and hanging onto his vest for dear life; a blast was had by all, us AND the onlookers! The freedom of being able to just pick up and go felt amazing! I wouldn’t trade Aaden for the world, but it was nice to have a weekend that was just about Aaron and myself. I think we both feel that this vacation was the start of our new beginnings.

Getting ready to parasail

Classic Gulf Shores picture spot

before the dunk


Yesterday was a HUGE day for us! Pretty much since the birth of Thomas we have been wanting to find a way to make things “new” for our family. Ways to get out of things that will constantly remind us of our recent pain. One of these “things” is our house. This house holds so many precious and happy memories so we can’t say it only reminds us of pain, but ultimately, it’s a happy place with some severe trauma mixed in. This is the home we bought in preparation for Aaden’s arrival. This is the home we poured blood sweat and tears into over the last 4 years to get it just right. This is the home that we have made every single family memory in; unfortunately, one of those memories is a huge source of discomfort and gut wrenching pain. We have been talking about selling our house and buying a new one, we just weren’t really sure where. Well, yesterday marked the day that the official decision was made!

As many of you know, I will be leaving my job at West Orange. This decision did not come without a ton of prayer, consideration and long talks with Aaron. I will now be working for Bridge City ISD as their Speech Therapist at the intermediate school and I couldn’t be happier about it. I did not go looking for this job, I did not have my resume out there; this job came to me at the SPAR water park of all places. It was there that I met the Special Education Director of Bridge City and we began talking about a few students that would be moving to her district in the upcoming year. Long story short, she somewhat asked me if I was happy where I was and began sharing with me what my duties and responsibilities would be if I came to work for her. Over the course of a couple of weeks, decisions were made, contracts were signed and I had to say goodbye to a place that meant the world to me. I was very happy at West Orange and I truly don’t feel I would have ever pursued employment elsewhere. Each person at WOSE played a major role in getting me through my journey this year. Those people are my family; they love Aaron, Aaden and myself like we’re all from the same bloodline. There is one little thing I had been agonizing over since we first found out about Thomas; how would I share it with the kids at work? I am the Speech Therapist, so every kid in that school sees me at some point throughout the day; not necessarily as their Therapist, but they see me picking up kids from their classes. Each child knew that I was expecting. My 43 kids knew I was leaving on April 28th to have a baby; none of them knew he wouldn’t survive. I had severe anxiety about answering to my kids. How was I supposed to explain to little children that my baby had passed away? I even thought that maybe I could just say, “he’s perfect” or “he’s just fine” and leave it at that, but these kids wouldn’t take that for an answer. They would want to see ongoing pictures of him, they would want updates, they love me and long to be a part of a family; even if it’s their Speech Therapists family. When I was approached about this job at Bridge City I saw it as my “burning bush”, it was an opportunity to start fresh and it was being dumped in my lap. I felt it was God’s will and His answer to a prayer that I hadn’t even prayed.

From this decision came more decisions, like where we would live. Since I am taking this job, Aaden will attend school there and it simply makes sense that we would live there. As many of you know, Hurricane Ike destroyed Bridge City; homes were completely under water and people are still rebuilding their lives 3 years later. This is super scary for a person that is looking to buy in this community! So, let’s just say, tons of thought went into the selection of the area we would buy in and it’s not in the heart of Bridge City but it’s in a fabulous location. We were driving around one day looking at properties that were for sale and we stumbled on an amazing piece of land. We have never considered it an option to build; we almost got divorced while simply remodeling so we figured building wasn’t an option. This land changed our minds completely. For starters, it’s a corner lot and two lots down from a cul-de-sac; two of the items on my “want list”. The other plus is, it’s 1.23 acres of land that’s already been cleared and 100 loads of dirt have already been brought in to build up the property!! Anyone that knows me might be laughing at the thought of me living on that much land because I’m a “city girl” at heart, but this property feels right! Aaden will love having so much space to play and Aaron can finally have an excuse to buy a fancy lawnmower; it’s a win win for everyone! Yesterday was the day. We went to the bank and finalized loan paperwork for our land and we should close on September 8th, if not sooner!! Once we got that taken care of I decided to get a tattoo. I have one other tattoo that has absolutely no meaning but lots of fun memories attached to it, but this tattoo would mean something. I got one little angel wing on my foot as a constant visible reminder of my angel boy! Some might find tattoos tacky but I happen to love them and I have to say I don’t think I’ll ever regret this one; even when I’m old and wrinkled! It will always be a memorial for my baby boy.

Aaron drew my tattoo based off of a pendant I have on my Thomas necklace
Happy before the pain begins!

Flipper at Flipper's Skin Flix is an all around amazing guy!!


On to the Big News!!! This isn’t MY big news but it’s very close to my heart! Remember my sweet nurse, Lanie?? She has been on quite the journey herself in pursuit of beginning the completion of her family. She and her husband decided to adopt a child from Korea and initially wanted an infant; their minds were changed in an instant. I think it was in October of 2010 they were sent a picture of a toddler; they fell in love. They knew he was their child and if you saw a picture of him you would know why. You can see his soul in his sweet face; may sound strange to some but it’s true. My sweet friends have been waiting since October for the arrival of their precious Andy and he arrived Monday, August 1, 2011. I have spent hours staring at his pictures. When I see him I can’t help but get teary eyed because I know what a blessing he is to them and what a huge blessing they are to him. I light up when I see her name flash across my phone because I know it’s either another picture of him or an update of how his transition is going. There are several reasons why Andy is so important to me, but the main one is that he brought happiness during my lowest time. As I was traveling my very sad and depressing journey, I also got to travel their journey of hope. Lanie got me through each doctor visit. Lanie was the ONLY person that could find Thomas’ heart tones. Lanie responded to every single late night text from Aaron or myself concerning my physical and mental health. She is like my sister and my entire family is eternally grateful for her strategic placement in our lives. I couldn’t be happier for her and Peter. They are two of the kindest people I know and so deserving of this opportunity to raise such a beautiful little boy.

Clearly, terrific things are happening in our lives. Thank you, God, for bringing Thomas into our lives. That little blessing makes the sweet taste sweeter!