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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Makes sense!

I've been out of sorts lately, and not exactly sure why. Just feeling very low energy (I could sleep forever), unmotivated, unhealthy, and I'm starting to hate myself because of it. I decided it's time to kick myself in the ass.

I'm going to start working out. I'm joining a gym, and hopefully between getting my endorphins flowing, blood pumping and muscles strengthened, I'll start feeling better about myself.

It's actually kind of funny - when I was thinking about it earlier, I was thinking of how I would explain a return to working out, and what I came up with was:

"I haven't worked out regularly since before I got pregnant with my son - about nine years ago now. Had two miscarriages in between my son and daughter, and after I had my daughter, my husband died. Then I moved three times - twice across the country - and here I am. I'm battered and worn, and feel way beyond my years."

And then I wonder why I've been feeling like shit!  Hahaha!!!

Wish me luck...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hat Day.

Continuing with Spirit Week at school, today is Hat Day. Jacob decided to wear the hat that Matt wore often. He feels so good wearing it in honor of Daddy!




As an entertaining little side note, I recently learned that Jacob has declared Thursdays as "Camouflage Thursdays." He's been doing this for some time now. =)-

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Altruism.

I'm not a religious person, but I do believe in God. I think God puts me in places that I need to be, and not just for me, but to help other people. Not sure where I'm going with this... It's just something in my heart that I wanted to write down.

Fancy Nancy

This week at school is "spirit week" where they have to dress a certain way each day. Monday was color day, yesterday was miss-match day, and today is character day where the kids have to dress as their favorite book character and bring a book to school with them.

Jacob already wore the one green shirt he had on Monday, so today he wore an orange shirt to go with the newt in one of his favorite books, Lizards Frogs and Pollywogs. We've been reading that book for YEARS, and every once in a while I'll quote something from it to the kids - their (and my) favorite is the Frozen Frogsicle. I've got it memorized.

Sydney just likes to dress up, so because she didn't have a book to go with her Cleopatra costume from Halloween, she decided to be Fancy Nancy instead. Dressed in all her bling, flowered headband in hair, neclaces, etc. So cute!

I've got to get back to posting pictures here....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Catching up...

I have to say, it feels SO good to be writing again!

The kids and I LOVE our new place - been here since June and settled in just about as quickly here as we did when we moved back to our hometown in October of 2011. This is home to us and it feels right. It's mostly a rural setting - quite similar to what we had when Matt and I built our home (but way less taxes, lower cost of living, less traffic and a beach nearby). There's lots of space - in the house and outside - and we are on a road that is in a private community, so there is very little thru traffic. Our neighbors are great, too. Even our cat Penelope (the one that's left) loves being able to be outside and do things she instinctively loves to do. Pepe Le Pew ran away shortly after we moved here. We're not quite sure what happened to him... Penelope has gained weight since he's gone, though - he used to eat all the food and scare her away from the food dish. He tormented her a lot, too, usually biting her in the rear. =s

Jacob and Sydney are thriving in school. Jacob is in third grade now, and loves his teacher (she is young and pretty, so that might help), and Sydney is in Kindergarten. She only has half-days here, so it's like she's hardly in school.

Jacob is reading chapter books and is so into reading that his nose is always buried in a book. Right now, he's totally into the Box Car Children series. Right up his alley between trains, kids, and mysteries. He's also been very interested in space and technology. He can even explain how a super nova happens. He's also becoming quite the artist! He makes very detailed drawings, and does just one stroke movements. I remember sketching when I was growing up and I rarely made one continuous line the way I wanted it so I was always erasing and continuing the lines in short, jerky strokes. His are smooth, continuous and accurate.

The kid is part monkey and can climb like no one's business. It's nuts. Thank goodness for health insurance just in case! But he's pretty good at it so I don't worry too much. I've got to get him involved in a sport of some kind. I'm looking into options around here.

Sydney is learning to read and knows words beyond the sight words she's learning in school. She would know more if I'd have spent more time with her on reading - I feel a bit guilty about that. I was better about working with Jacob on things like that, but that was in our former life. I'm starting to get into a much better routine with the kids, though, and that is helping. She is so eager to learn to read and takes the initiative to pick out the words she recognizes in anything written around her, and she's always asking "what does *this* spell" and "how do you spell..." Her handwriting is pretty good already, too! It helps a lot that her brother has been such a positive example with his love of reading and learning. Thank goodness! She is interested in taking up gymnastics at some point, so again, something I'm looking into.

And NO MORE switching schools (at least until they move from elementary to middle to high school to college).

I invested quite a bit into a beautiful play structure in our back yard, so not much money is left to work with for lessons or sports at this point. There are only a few parks close by (still kind of a haul to drive to), and it's such a luxury to send the kids right into the back yard to play when I'm getting stuff done in or around the house. It attracts some of the other kids around our community, too, which has been fun.

The other reason I invested in such a great set is the guilt I felt getting rid of the one Matt made for them. After two moves, it was pretty much destroyed. The wood was warped and splitting, and was no longer safe. It broke my heart to dismantle it and I cried with almost every nail and screw I removed, and every piece of wood I brought to the curb.

There's a little girl that goes to their school who lives just a couple doors down from us, and she's a little sweetheart. She rides the bus home with Jacob in the afternoons (she's in 2nd grade), and I've been keeping her at our house until her parents come home from work. My kids love having her around and she loves being around them. Her mom watches my kids on Wednesdays when she's off so I can have one full day for errands, etc. Such a luxury! It's wonderful to have someone so close by that we can count on to help each other out.

We don't plan to travel for Christmas. While we miss our family and friends terribly, I just haven't had the desire or energy for anymore travel. At least for a while... Plus, we have really needed time to establish ourselves here and make this "home" once and for all. It's working!

And while I feel like our friends and family may feel somewhat abandoned by me, they will see in time that I'm finally getting myself together and settled enough that I can get back into their lives more regularly. I just have needed time to find my own.

Well, that's about it for now - more soon! xoxo

Monday, November 26, 2012

Road Rage

After I dropped off the kids at school this morning, I went to the store to pick up a few things. Got finished up and as I was waiting to pull out into traffic, a man was crossing the busy road in front of me (you know, I thought it'd be best to let him get at least get across my lane before running him over). Then I saw the opportunity to pull out. There was another mini van coming a good distance back from the other lane that had to slow down for the guy to cross the street but instead of slowing down, sped up and proceeded to nearly take me and the guy out. She was pissed because she had to slow down, when just up ahead anyway was a stop light. She's speeding by at about 60 mph, only to have to slam on her brakes anyway before hitting the traffic at the light. But yet somehow I did something to really piss her off, so she's gesturing nasty things to me.

I looked at her in disbelief that she got so worked up over something so stupid. I mean, she's making punching motions at me and everything! Would she do that if she was standing in front of me with no metal or glass separating us? Probably not.

As I watched her carry on, I could feel my blood pressure rise and I thought of all the different ways I could respond. Instead, I decided to just (in the kindest way I could muster) gesture to her to calm down, and left it at that.

She's older than me - she should know better. And, she's driving a mini van. Does she have a child in the car while she's gesturing and saying all those nasty things? Is she so worked up that she'll end up in an accident because she's so bent out of shape? And again, would she do that if she was standing in front of me?

I've been making a real concerted effort to have more control over my reactions to people and events, and this morning, I was pretty proud of myself for not flipping her the bird and actually wishing her well instead of harm.

I've got a little decorative piece of paper in the bathroom by the mirror (so I see it every day) that says, "Be the change you want to see in the world" by Mahatma Ghandi, and I'm really trying to live by it. It ain't easy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Almost lost my blog...

Jacob must have tried signing into my Google account using his birthdate, and Google disabled the account saying I wasn't old enough to have one and required me to prove my age. They also said they would delete the account in 30 days if I didn't offer proof.

After a panicky day and a half and lots of different attempts at recovery, it finally worked! PHEW!!

Poor Jacob, though. I asked him if he tried signing into the Google account, and it was written all over his face. I was upset and he felt awful (ran upstairs crying), and I tried keeping myself in check (that damn perspective, you know) and let him know that even though I'm upset, he is still more important to me than my blog. He was relieved when I got it back, too!

Speaking of accounts, does anyone know how my blog ended up on a different URL? Apparently it's worth a lot of money, too... Any ideas on how to remedy this? It makes me uncomfortable... Here's the link for it:

http://www.statscrop.com/www/andreareneeremembers.blogspot.nl


Organizing and Thanksgiving

Finding those cards is a testament to how much I've been organizing in my new home. I had all kinds of cards and miscellaneous stuff just shoved in boxes for a few years and that's where they've remained through all of our moves. Same with our tools and other things from the garage. There were nails, screws, nuts, bolts, picture hanging things and all kinds of other random stuff just thrown into boxes with very little order. Until now.

I went to Home Depot and got a thirty-something drawer organizer for all those tiny items and got everything - down to every little nail - organized. Got another heavy duty shelf for the garage for bins, hung those peg boards (or whatever they're called) for even more organization. I can't tell you how good it feels, and I know Matt's probably happy about it (he's probably thinking it's about damn time!). It's actually nice to go into the garage now, and I can usually find what I'm looking for, too!


Thanksgiving was a couple of days ago and the kids and I had been going to Arizona for Thanksgiving the last four years, but since we were just there in September for Matt's brother Jeff's wedding, we stayed home this time. And I cooked a turkey for the very first time! It turned out pretty great, actually. I prepared a tasty brine for it and had it soaking in it all night before. Had the traditional sides - stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, and this delicious orzo dish that Matt's mom had given me the recipe for. Everything was home made except for the desserts.

It was weird not being with the Row family this year for Thanksgiving. The kids and I missed them a whole lot, and they missed us, but we were all ok.

The kids and I have been feeling very grateful for our blessings, and have a lot to be thankful for. It's nice to finally get to the point where I can feel thankful again.

Like a commenter said in my previous post, I think Matt was saying hello with those cards, and in other little miscellaneous ways over the last week. In fact, one of the cards he gave me said, "Just say when and where and I'll ALWAYS be there!" Bittersweet...

Monday, November 19, 2012

I found all the cards he gave me!! I KNEW I had them somewhere!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's four years today.

I can hardly believe that amount of time has gone by, yet sometimes it feels so fresh. I think I've written that same thing in previous years about this day... I'm guessing that it means no matter how much time passes, my feelings about this day likely won't change.

I've been having some pretty vivid flashbacks this month. Like things that happened just before his death, and just some random things about him I had forgotten. It brings him right back to me, which is cool. Sometimes those moments catch me off guard and throw me and cause me to crumble, but I'll never regret having those moments, because to me, it means his spirit is with me. I'll take that any way I can get it. 

Some things I've learned over these last four years have been extremely valuable. First, having had this experience gives me certain tools. It's a bittersweet thing... When you have a friend facing this kind of devastation, one of the worst feelings is that of helplessness. I now have some tools that can put me in a better position to help, even though there's nothing that can take away the pain. Unfortunately, I have had several friends go through this over the last four years (a couple just recently), but hopefully I've been able to help them through a little. 

I also have a good friend who is faced with her own mortality with breast cancer. Having such an intimate relationship with death through Matt's loss also has helped me to deal a bit better with her situation. I feel like I can talk more freely about things that most people are afraid to verbalize. I also know that death isn't the end all. In this case, I don't know if it's necessarily helped her, but it's helping me a little...

I feel more of a sense of responsibility to use what I've learned to help more than I could have before, and while that's hard, it's rewarding. And it helps to make Matt's loss not such a waste. It proves that something good really can come out of something so bad. 

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation has been an integral part of getting me through and giving me a lot of these resources to help others facing a major loss. I can't talk about this stuff and not mention them. They are amazing, and I've met so many wonderful people and made lifelong friendships through them. 

Another huge lesson I've learned over these years is how to live, and do it mostly without fear. I've moved three times - twice across the country, and the third time over several states. I NEVER would have thought I'd do it once, let alone three times! My kids have been troopers, and we've been on one "adventure" after another. Our adventures from here on out will include travel (not as much as before, though), but no more moving. Thank GOD. I am SO over that. 

There's an inner strength I never knew existed that lives in me. And the more time that goes by, the stronger it seems to get. Just the simple fact that I survived four days let alone four YEARS with Matt's loss is a miracle to me, and I'm finally able to say I'm pretty damn proud of what I've been able to accomplish during that time. Primarily, raising my happy, healthy kids. 

I've lost a certain innocence through all this. It's like Eve taking a bite of the apple, except someone whipped the apple at my head - I didn't voluntarily take a bite... My eyes have been opened and I've gained some important life knowledge, wisdom and perspective. The kind that most old people have. The kind that makes me want to roll my eyes at other grown-ups around my age who have their priorities all out of whack. I'm FAR from perfect, and I've made mistakes and I know I will make more, but this is one thing I feel like I have going for me. 

The most important thing in life is love. Love never dies, and one's capacity to give love and receive love is absolutely limitless. This is perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned so far. 

I miss my husband with everything in me, and I will continue to do so until I take my last breath. But I'll always be grateful for the time we had together and the amazing gifts he has given me - in life and in death.

And I will always hate November 15th. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Novembers

You would think after four years, Novembers would get easier...