Monday, April 30, 2012

Missing someone...

Saw this on FaceBook. 
Pretty much sums up how I catch myself missing Jim at such random times...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Break

During spring break this year, Marley and I kept busy.
We visited Grandpa D. at his home, and Papaw at his library.  Marley was excited that she knew how to use the programs on Papaw's computer because they have the same one on her computer at preschool.
She got to stay with different friends three days that week, because I had classes.  The local firemen came and flushed the hydrants at our apartment complex, which she thought was incredibly cool.  They brought a couple of fire engines and an ambulance for the kids to see.  Marley wanted her picture taken with the fire Chief (who happens to be the father of one of my friends!).
They handed out coloring books and fire helmets...
...which she promptly filled with dandelions!

It was a great week.  We got to spend a lot of quality time together, and I was blessed by those who reached out to watch her while I was in classes.  Moving to Indiana has been tough at times, and it's nice to know there are people here who, just like in Michigan, have my back when it comes to helping me in a rough patch.  I love you, my friends and family!
That being said~ I think we were both happy to see Monday roll back around with its familiar routines and structure!

Monday, April 23, 2012


This year Marley got to participate in two Easter egg hunts- one with the daughter of our family friends, and the other at Mom and Dad's.  It's so fun to watch her as she searched for the eggs, and her excitied squeals when she found them...

Last year we had Easter dinner with Jim's family.  It was the first holiday we'd had since he passed away.  This year we spent the day with my family.

I didn't realize until I saw this picture just how big she's getting!  There's no mistaking the little person who is in many ways still a toddler in my mind as the beautiful little girl she has become.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pretty Girl in the Evening Sun

Marley and I spend a lot of time on the patio...blowing bubbles, grilling, playing in the mud after the rain, watching the ducks and geese.  I can't get over how quickly she is growing up...

Friday, April 20, 2012


In February I had the opportunity to take Marley and a couple of her cousins to a small circus that came to town.  Before it got started, we had popcorn and snowcones (which my little darling promptly spilled down her front).  I still can't get over the fact that we were in shorts in February!  The kids were in awe of the lions and the other animals.

The girls especially enjoyed the dances and acrobatic feats of the women.   

This woman was hanging by her hair...ouch...and WOW!

We all loved the THREE motorcycles that drove at ridiculous speeds in an impossibly small cage...
Some of the things Marley saw made her just get up and dance!
What a great time we had!  Marley is still asking when she can go to the circus again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Celebrating Daddy

Yesterday was Jim's birthday.  A year ago on his birthday, a bunch of his friends, Marley, and I met up for dinner.  Not even three months removed from his passing, we tried to celebrate, but mostly we were just sad.  As his birthday approached this year, I put a lot of thought into how I wanted Marley and I to celebrate Jim's birthday from here on out.  Jim loved birthdays so much...
I want it to be a day for her to be happy
and remember her daddy. 
So, after school we headed to the store to buy some balloons and birthday cake.  Marley was just sure that we needed four balloons~ one for me to let go, two for her, and one to keep at home, just for fun.  We both wrote notes...

...and headed to the cemetery to send notes off to Daddy in Heaven.  I just love her precious notes so much!  She came up with them both on her own (because ONE just wasn't enough!), and she told me what to write so that she could trace the words.
Once we got to the cemetery, she just could not contain her excitement at taking the balloons out of the Jeep
and sending them skyward.
She squeeled and giggled as they headed off.
At first they dipped down low over the newly-planted field and I was afraid that they would get snagged up in the trees in the distance.  Then right at the last second, an updraft sent them soaring high into the sky.  We watched until they were out of sight.
After that we went back to Jim's stone and chatted about his picture on the stone and the crocus' we had planted there last fall.
Right about then, one of Jim's childhood friends showed up, two beers in hand.  We hadn't planned to meet there, but I was so relieved to see him. 
He'd come to "have a beer with Jim". 
I helped Jim drink some of his. 
We hugged and cried and talked for a bit while Marley ran around with the happy abandon only a child can possess, smiling over the pictures on the stones, the flowers, and just how FAST she can run.  At one point she climbed up on the foundation of Jim's stone and traced the etching of his face.
"Oh Daddy, I miss you, Daddy."
After a bit, we headed back to our vehicles and went our separate ways, Jim's beer perched for now beside his stone.
Once we got back home, we were treated to an incredible grilled steak dinner, courtesy of Jim's oldest nephew.  Wow, can he cook! 
After that, it was time for

Next, a little bit of playing with her balloon, a quick shower, and off to bed for Marley.

She's been making a big deal out of being my daughter.  I don't know if she's just just figuring out what that word means, but she kept telling me over and over that she's my daughter. 

And Daddy's daughter.

I love this little girl with

Throughout the day, I heard from friends and family...calling, emailing, FaceBook, texting.  I'm not going to lie- this year Jim's birthday had some rough spots for me.

But it was also the start of a beautiful tradition of joy and remembering...

...with my daughter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Dear Jim,
Today you would have been forty-two years old.
I'm so glad we were able to throw you a surprise 40th birthday party when we lived in Michigan.  Last year, Marley and I went out to dinner with friends to remember your birthday.  I don't know what we'll do this year, but I will be thinking about you and remembering with Marley about you today, for sure!

You are still missed every day by your family and friends...

Marley misses the fun the two of you used to have together.  She often asks me to tell her stories about funny things you used to do. 
She adds what she can remember.

We miss you at holidays and birthdays.
She's growing up so fast, and I can't help but think about how much fun you would be having with her now- riding bikes, talking, playing, and just hanging out.

I miss you terribly when we do something new, or when she impresses me with all the things she's learning. 
You would be so proud of your little girl!
We've kept up traditions that we started with you, like decorating pumpkins...
We continue to celebrate holidays, and though it can be painful without you,
I work really hard to make each one memorable for her, just like you would have wanted...
Christmas 2011

We used to pose for family pictures as a three-some
...and now it's just the two of us.
Things are different these days. 
The fact that you're not here is never far from my mind.
The other day, Marley was pretending to talk to you while we were driving somewhere.
"Daddy, can I come up to Heaven with you?  I CAN?!?
And will you give me hugs and kisses when I get there? You WILL?? 
Oh, thank you, Daddy!
And can we swing? Great!
And I will bring my stuffed animals with me so we can play.
Mama, he says you can come too!"

We miss your quiet comfort and presence.
We miss the way we felt protected by you.
We miss your laugh and your hugs.
We miss your biscuits and gravy too.
Happy birthday, Sugar.
We still love you!

*Professional photos taken by Julie Abston.