Monday, August 25, 2014

1st Day of Kindergarten

Today was Caden's first day of kindergarten. This was a day I have been both looking forward to and dreading at the same time, but maybe not for the reason other kindergarten moms are. I've been looking forward to Caden being in school. Meeting new friends. Learning new things. And, I have to admit, I've been looking forward to having some time to myself. Grocery shopping is so much easier when I'm by myself.  But I've been dreading it because it reminds me of the past.

It is a day of memories. Memories of taking Caleb to school on his first day of kindergarten. The pictures we took. The excitement on his face as we drove to school. The joy of meeting new friends. Watching him console a classmate who was nervous. The exhaustion at the end of the day for the ride home.

But today, was a time to celebrate Caden. It is the first day of a new step in Caden's school journey and a rite of passage as he continues to grow into a wonderful young man. He's been nervous and excited about school. He's been looking forward to riding the bus and was most excited about that. He's a little hesitant because he's realizing he'll be away from me for almost 8 hours a day.

His teacher said he had a great first day. Richard and I are so proud of him, and I'm sure Caleb is proud of him as well.

The good news is that I made it through the day without crying. The best news is that Caden is still excited about school and ready to go back tomorrow. And, he still wants to ride the bus.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.

Angel, Richard & Caden

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy 9th Birthday, Caleb!

Wow! It's still so hard to believe this is your 4th birthday away from us. I got up this morning and had a hard time realizing you weren't here to enjoy your special day. So, I decided I would spend the day with Caden doing things you liked to do and some things I think you would have liked if you were still here.

We started with going out to breakfast and having donuts. We'd told Caden how much you liked the white sprinkled and pink sprinkled donuts. Caden much prefers the chocolate ones. Of course, he loves just about anything chocolate. I still have trouble believing you never really liked chocolate. Anyway, Caden decided he would have white & pink sprinkled donuts this morning since those were your favorites. He still wanted his chocolate milk to go with it.

For a little boy who normally eats every single bit of donuts and wants more, Caden got full sooner than normal. Surprisingly, he actually ate them more the way you used to - eating all the frosting and sprinkles and then some of the donuts. That was something I had never told him. And, I didn't tell him that until after he was done eating this time. 

After breakfast, we came home and played on the Wii for a bit. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the game of the morning. We turned it off after a couple hours. It is amazing how time flies when you're having fun playing a game together. I didn't even realize we'd played that long.

We went to the store to buy the balloons for the balloon release after dinner. I ordered them and made plans to pick them up at 5:00 p.m.  Since there's a chance Gma and Nana will be here, I got extra balloons. This year, we'll have a full rainbow and 5 gold balloons.

 I also had to get 2 extra blue balloons because Caden still doesn't want to send all the balloons to you. He wants to keep a couple to remember you. He actually still has the two balloons he kept from March's balloon release. They're looking kinda rough, but still have a small bit of air in them. He keeps them on the shelf in his closet so the cat won't mess with them.

When Gma and Nana arrived, we took the balloons to the back yard, took several pictures, said a few words each, and released the balloons. Caden decided at the last minute that he did want to release a couple of them himself. When we did the release in March, he didn't really even want to be outside with us. So, that's a small step in the right direction.

After the release, we went inside for dinner. Dinner/dessert plans changed slightly from what I had planned. I planned fried shrimp and french fries with pineapple upside down cake for dessert. We ended up having the shrimp with tater tots instead. And the cake was a total bust. I just couldn't bring myself to make it for some reason. I'm still trying to figure out why. So, when I went to the store to get the balloons, I bought some Angry Bird cupcakes and ice cream for dessert instead. 

While we were at the store, Caden says, "Mom, did Caleb ever like to have dessert-first nights?"  

"Yes, Caden. He certainly did."

"Well, I think since we're celebrating Caleb's birthday, we should also have dessert first tonight."

And, we did.

We all miss you so very much. Not a day goes by that we don't think of you or talk about you. You are so very loved. Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet boy.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.

Angel, Richard & Caden

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary, Richard!

Sixteen years ago, I married my husband. He was, is, and always will be the love of my life, my best friend, my "more than a dream come true." We promised to love each other through sickness & health, richer or poorer, good times & bad.

And we've definitely had our share of all. We've both dealt with health issues (more me than he). We've gained and lost employment. We gained new family members through marriage and birth. We've lost family members through divorce and death. We've gained and lost friends for various reasons. We've experienced many highs and lows. From the highest highs of our marriage and newlywed years to the lows of infertility. The highs of adopting Caleb, to the lows of struggles in our marriage. Back to the highs of Caden's adoption. Then the absolute depths of the ocean with the diagnosis of DIPG, the 5 1/2 month battle, and death of Caleb.

Throughout it all, we've stood. I won't say it was always easy, because it wasn't. There were times we both wanted to give in and/or give up. But, we didn't. We've weathered the storms. We've persevered. With God's help, we have stayed together.

Looking back, I can't imagine going through all we have without God. He's been the one constant in our lives that's held us together. I am so grateful for God's love, mercy, compassion & grace in our lives.

I'm also so very grateful for Richard's love, mercy, compassion & grace towards me when I've been less than loving, merciful, compassionate & graceful.

He may not be the most handsome man on the earth to anyone else, but he is to me.
He may not be perfect, but he's close enough to perfect for me.

I can't imagine what my life would be like without Richard in it. I pray daily that I never have to find out. And, I can truly say, without a doubt in my mind, that I love him more today than I did when we first married 16 years ago.

I love you, Richard. Here's to the start of the next 16 years (and all the years that follow) in our life journey with each other.


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.

Angel, Richard & Caden