Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's a Brutiful Day

You guys know I like to keep it real with you.  I like to assure every one around me that life ain't roses and butterflies all the time.  And if you pretend like it is, well newsflash, we ALL know better.  In our situation, there are a lot of days where I'm not ok with things.  I struggle.  I cry (this we all know, obviously).  I wish more than anything in the history of all wishes that things were different.  Well, last night (and today) was one of those nights.

Perhaps it was the sheer exhaustion of a day with a five year old and two year old.  Perhaps it was my lack of ability to decompress with a glass (or four...keeping it real ya'll) of wine these days.  Perhaps it's that today is Elena's last day of preschool forever and she's getting so tall, pretty and losing all her baby-ness.  Perhaps it's that I'm pregnant and hormonal and emotional and hot (warning, long summer ahead) and that my back hurts like the dickens all day every day and that I have a true love for run-on sentences....but man, I had to have a moment last night (and all day so far today!).

I just get so sad sometimes thinking about all that Elena has to sit by and watch around her.  And no, this doesn't mean I'm not incredibly aware and grateful for all we have been blessed with (which Chad was quick to point out already).  But, sometimes I can't help but just be overtaken by a profound sadness.

My sweet, happy girl sits in her stroller next to Mom while all the neighborhood kids play together and splash around in our oh, so awesome blow up pool.  It stings.  She can't fully participate in the Field Day activities at school (even though they do their very best to include her) because her stander can't roll through the grass or she can't lift her arms to carry something in the relay race.  The pictures of it are little daggers in my soul.  She can't hide and chase her Daddy through the house, giggling and squealing like her little brother does.  I love watching Cal do it, but watching Elena as this occurs breaks my heart.  She can't see the silly dance moves of her Mom and Dad to laugh at during our many all family dance parties. There are literally hundreds of moments each and every day that make my heart break.

Then there is the guilt.  The guilt that I should do more, give her more, engage her more, always more.  And the reality of just being a Mom with another two year old and eventually a newborn is crushing because I know there's less and less time for more of anything with her.  For most kids, that's ok.  But Elena requires more of everything, that's just the nature of a having a child with special needs.  I constantly fight myself internally on what I should be doing with her, what I need to be doing with her.  There's the guilt of what I do with Calvin that I can't do with her.  There are hundreds of these moments, too, each and every day.

When I have days where the sadness and guilt rise up in me, sometimes it's just too much.  My heart hurts for my best girl and my heart hurts for our family.  Everything will be more difficult.  Everything will require more.  Everything will likely have some element of sadness and guilt to it.  There's a fear of how we will do things in the future.  That's just the truth of the matter.

I know there's a whole other side to this.  A side of light and happiness and faith and blessings.  But, just to keep it real you guys, there's always this side too.  I don't always write about it.  I don't like these moments, days.  Honestly, I don't always feel it.  But, it is always there.  The heartbreak always lies there somewhere.  And blame it on the bevvy of reasons listed above, I'm feeling it.

As one of my faves, Glennon Melton of Momastery, says...."Life is brutiful.  It's brutal and beautiful woven so tightly together, they can't be separated."

Oh my heart, she's just the most beautiful girl I ever could imagine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Walking for Dreams Update

Oh my goodness, every year I am SOOO humbled by each of you who lend your support and donate to the Jackson Center fundraiser, Walking for Dreams.  This year is no different.  I am touched by every single one of you and could never say thank you enough for supporting our girl.  I could never fully express what the Jackson Center has done for Elena and the progress she has achieved there.  Knowing that you all are behind her, cheering for her, well, there's just no words for it.  It literally means the world.  

I will give a disclaimer and let you know that we are unable to actually "walk" this year at the event.  But for good reason!  Elena has been participating in a swimming program through a local foundation on Sunday afternoons.  And when I say that she loves it, I mean she loves it more than anything we have ever seen her do before.  Chad and I had to make the executive decision to let her swim this weekend, since she only has a few sessions left.  Just to prove it to you all, we'll take a video of her in action this Sunday so you can see just how much this girl lets loose when she's in the water.  It's pretty great!

That being said, walking or not, the money still goes straight to Elena's therapies at the Jackson Center and we sincerely appreciate every cent!  Not only that, but to all of you who just lend your words of support and prayer to us, means just as much.  Our girl may never know fully how many people love her and cheer for her, but gosh, we do and it is everything.

To donate:

 Under Credit my Donation to, Select "Individual Walker", scroll through and select Hinton, Elena.

Or you can mail a check to the Jackson Center

802 Samuel Moore Pkway
Mooresville, IN 46158

(Just designate Elena Hinton in the memo section)

Love you all!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Coast to Coast

Man, it feels good to be back home again!  The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind.  We have literally been from coast to coast.  This week we are finally settling back into our normal routine.

Two weeks ago, Chad and I got a little break and spent several days in San Diego for a friend's wedding.  I realllllly needed a pause in my normal every day routine and it was great to spend some time without the kids.  We had a great time exploring the area and spent some quality time with our good friends who we only see a couple times a year.  What a great trip!

The Pacific!

A hike through Torrey Pines State Park was beeeeeeautiful!

We returned on Sunday, unpacked and repacked, leaving Wednesday for Florida.  It was a little more chaotic since we took the kids, which is always an adventure when flying.  But, we were going to celebrate Chad's Mom, Sharlene, who passed away in December.  May 5th was her birthday and we celebrated her life that day by returning her ashes to the most beautiful place that she loved.  All of Chad's family was able to be there and it was really special.

Sharlene had lived in Florida and being back there, (a place we had visited often) meant feeling a very palpable hole without her there.  We miss her dearly but were so privileged to not only get to honor her wishes, but remember her when she was full of life in the place she loved most, with the people she loved most.

Boat Babe

He now wants to drive everythinggggg.

The beautiful sandbar on a perfect day.

Our wild crew :)

The next couple weeks don't slow down any with the last day of school, Memorial Day weekend and lots to do in between.  I'm telling you, this summer is going to fly by!  Ahhh, time slow down!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms, Mom-to-be's, Heavenly Moms and Mom's of angel babies!  No matter how you are celebrating today, we all have someone we can thank in our life for influencing us in only the way that a mother can.

I'm thankful for my own Mom who is as selfless as they come.  She is my best friend and I could never make it as a Mom/human without her.  My heart breaks for her today as she has to endure her first Mother's Day without her own best friend, her Mom.  There is a gaping hole in my heart today thinking about my Granny.  I grieve, too, thinking about my dear Chad, who is without his Mom today.  My Mother-in-Law, Sharlene and my Granny have been on my mind, thinking about their contributions in my own life.  I'm so fortunate to have been surrounded by strong women who have no doubt helped shape me into who I am today.

Though certainly a bittersweet day this year, my heart is full thinking of my own sweet babies.  Elena and Cal have made my life more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.  I'm thinking of our tiniest blessing today, too.  This little life I'm carrying will change our lives come August and I couldn't be more thankful for my healthy pregnancy.  Being a Mom has definitely been the most challenging journey imaginable.  I think back to being pregnant with Elena, excited to start our family and giggle at my own naivete.  To think that being a Mom would be like the pictures we all see on social media or in the movies is the greatest joke of all.  No, this is hard.  It requires a patience level that is off the charts, responsibility I never could have imagined, a selflessness that made my 27-year-old self cringe, an iron stomach to endure the poop, pee, spit, vomit and every other bodily fluid that covers me and my house on a daily basis, and every other thing that smacks you upside the head the minute your baby enters this world.  But, I also could have never prepared my heart for the level of love you feel for your children, or how your heart instantly doubles in capacity when your second child is born, or how all the difficult things that come with being a Mom can melt away with a simple hug and an "I love you".  No, no picture could ever quite capture what being a Mom does to you.  But, I'm incredibly content with my imperfect, un-social media worthy life.

There's no one like your Mother.  I'm grateful for mine and I'm grateful to be one, today and every day.

Happy Mother's Day!

 And just to keep it real (what family pictures really look like, am I right Moms??!)