This will be a new thing for me to do, "blogging". I have retired from police work after nearly 22 years so I would like to share some insight about work, parenting and just life experiences. With this new adventure I hope to brighten your day, give you some comic relief and maybe share my wisdom! Let's get started with "My New Thing To Do".
It seems I have not talked to you all really since I was leaving to see Michelle in Florida. I still can't believe it all worked out for us to go and as I have said I had a great time. It's not like I didn't expect to have a good time, but I just didn't know what to expect having never done something like this before. I have never met with someone off the Internet, and certainly have never been asked to come attend such a personal event to photograph it. I have not heard from Michelle since I mailed the final pictures, I think she might be out of town right now, so I don't know if she has received the pictures yet or not. I know she won't say she doesn't like them regardless, but I am hoping she REALLY likes them. She was very gracious to bring us there and to allow us a chance to get out of town plus see a BEAUTIFUL community. I loved it.
We did have a couple issues getting to Florida. My husband is NOT tech savy. But he has a GPS system and we took it with us. That being said, I always map quest directions. They do not coincide, let me assure you. So after leaving Olive Branch Mississippi we headed to Destin....not how Map Quest suggested. Ok, he was driving, we went his way, and we got into some place I still do not know where we were and kept driving in circles. I was FURIOUS. I did not lose my cool, I did not yell and scream, but I was boiling. We finally pulled over and got direction....ok, that was at my insistence, he is a man after all AND with a GPS. come to find out there was a brand new road that was not on the map, a really nice new road, and that is how the GPS was trying to get us to. but for some reason it was confusing. The people in the quick shop laughed and said they have had tons of people with GPS's that were lost. Well this was in Alabama, and far as I was concerned we should have stayed in Mississippi and then over to Destin. But I will say this....I love driving around and seeing things. Not when I am on a schedule. I wanted to get to Destin at a certain time to see how the lighting was going to be so we could plan the photo shoot the next night. AND it was HOT. Oh my goodness was it hot.
The night we were to do the photo shoot a huge storm came in. The clouds gathered, and Scott and I had checked out a beach earlier that day, but it was further out than what we realized. So as we were driving around like crazy people trying to get there before the darkness set in, we stopped at an Air Force Private Beach. Thanks to Wes we were able to get in and take pictures, but the guy would only give us about 20 minutes for the beach was closing. Do you know how hard it is to try and do a huge family photo in 20 minutes? It was hard. But I think I got some nice shots. I would love to have everything be just right, all conditions, timing, etc. But it didn't happen. Why this happens to me all the time, I just don't know. But you know what.....???? Everyone was so gracious and went with the flow. We went back to the hotel and took pictures in the lobby and although I didn't like them, they were still cute in some ways. I had to use my flash and that was not good, and I would love to have had my studio lights, but of course I didn't, but you know what.....we made it.
The next day we went to the public beach. I don't like taking pictures with all the "tourist" in the back ground, but it happens. Thank goodness for photo shop. You would not believe all the people I have just erased from this world in those pictures!!! ha ha ha The beaches are beautiful there. I just can't tell you how pretty that place is. But you know what touched me more than anything???? The family WANTED to get together. And the family wanted to do pictures, and the family wanted to spend time together, and the family had fun together. I makes me so sad to see how much fun they had and I can't get my family together for anything with out so many issues. I wish my family would all go somewhere and have fun together. But that is NOT going to happen. That just truly makes me sad. So Michelle, you all are really special and very blessed to have the bond you have.
After leaving Florida we went back to Mississippi and stay a night at a high school friend of mine. Melinda was my maid of honor in my first wedding and we have not stayed in close contact after all of that. Or we have talked a bit, we have seen each other a few times since then, 30 years ago, but not super close contact. It was just like we saw each other yesterday. We hugged, and talked talked talked. We ate lunch out, we picked corn, the processed it. We fixed dinner, it included fresh corn....imagine that! We packed in so much in a very short time and then we had to head home. On the way home we decided to drive a couple hours out of our way and go see TJ. I called him first of course and asked if he would have time to meet with us if we were going to do this. He said yes, so for a two hour drive we spent a couple hours with my son. I have not seen him since Christmas, it seems I see him about two or three times a year now which is very hard for me. but such is life and it is what it is and life goes on. It was a WONDERFUL visit. We met at a Mexican restaurant, ate and visited, and then went to a discount flooring store to look at some possibilities for him and Amanda. It was nice to have him ask Scott's opinion on the flooring and to seek advise since Scott is very knowledgeable in building. but of course the final decision is between TJ and Amanda for it is their home not ours. It was just nice to be a part of his life even if it was just for a few precious minutes. I miss him so much, we used to have good talks, laugh a lot, and just have fun sharing life. I never realized how difficult it is to lose your son to life. But it is sure better than losing him to death as I am sure others can relate to. Nothing prepared me for this stage of life and how I would feel. So Mental momma, Debbie, Joni, having a son is such a blessing, but the empty nest is horrible when they move away and life is so different. Do I hear an Amen on that? I never dreamed when my son married life would change so drastically. I thought I would be gaining a new family member, not losing one. I dreamed we would have a close relationship and would love one another. We would talk, share, laugh and just be friends. I know we love each other, but I sure do miss them not being in our lives. It is the toughest part of motherhood I have experienced so far. But I am thankful for them none the less. In fact, I bought tickets for TJ's birthday to a Ranger vs Red Socs game. But it is in Texas IN AUGUST. and I can't stand the heat. So I bought tickets in the air conditioned area that has leather recliners and a buffet. ok, can you say spoiled??? Yes I am. But if I am going to a game, I want to really enjoy myself. We are doing this for TJ's birthday get together. We were going to go to his house but since they have torn the flooring up and out, they would rather not have company. Her folks got them stuff to stain the concrete once they pulled up the carpet. This was their Christmas gift, but Tj can't get the floor in the right condition to be stained and he has no help so he said he would rather us not come down till he gets it fixed. So we will meet in Dallas and stay the night. Now Beth wants to go, so my dear husband has decided to stay home and take care of the dogs and house while Beth goes with me to see her brother for his birthday. Isn't that one of the most selfLESS acts you have ever heard of? I cried when he suggested it. He heard me trying to get another ticket for Beth to go with us after she called and said she would like to go. She has not seen her brother in nearly two years. and she misses him so much too. So I guess that is what we are going to do. I will drive to the City to pick her up, we will drive to Dallas, go to the game and then go shopping the next day before coming back home. It will be good for Beth and me too! Scott is very kind in making this offer. I really didn't think it was right for him to stay home but after much talking we decided it was the right thing!
We had a gathering for the 4th of July (on the 3rd) . It was a very hectic time as that seems to be my life. I had several photo shoots going on, dealing with a roofer that did not want to finish his job (still has not put the guttering on!) I failed to get every one called and notified about the gathering and I feel HORRIBLE ABOUT IT. I left my nephew out. His parents didn't get to come for Kim had just had surgery about three days before and I didn't contact them knowing she would not be able to come. And darn it, I just flat forgot to call their son who has moved to Stillwater. Darn it. Now I know their are hurt feelings and I feel terrible. But we changed the date a couple times, I was trying to work it where the most people could come ....Beth and my brother Rob, and just flat overlooked my nephew. I feel like a heel. We don't see him very often at all and to make it worse, he has been in Iraq for about a year or more. I don't think he was here last year for the 4th either. In fact, I don't think he has been home for a year yet...I can't believe I forgot to call him.
I have had the grandkids since being back from Florida. I am going to miss those kids when they move away. I have to make the most of the next two years, it will fly by in a blink of an eye. I don't know how I will manage when they move. My heart will be broken. Allie is my girl. Caleb is a sweetheart, but he is getting to the age that grandma is ok, but he is growing up! Allie is still little and loves to cuddle and WANTS her grandma. I love it. It is fun having different relationships with each of the kids. Caleb and I watch a movie each night he is here. We fix popcorn, sit in the recliner, and have our time together. I love that time. and I treasure it. I also treasure the closeness that my step daughter and I have now. I worried that this day may never come....but I always dreamed of the day when she and I would be close. Her mother died when she was 13, what a horrible age to lose your mother, i mean any age is bad, but that is at such a critical time in a girls life. She has developed into a wonderful mother, wife, AND daughter. I am so proud of her.
We have decided to make this the year of travel. We are taking the grand kids to Branson, MO for vacation. We will make it a three day, two night vacation. We are staying at a hotel that has an indoor water park....now what do you think about that? Then plus our little trip to Dallas, and we also think we are going to run up and see Mt. Rushmore. Then we can stop and see my dear dear friend Linda. I love driving and seeing the country side. Our last out of the country dream is Holland to see my Exchange daughter and her two children and husband. We want to run up to Yellowstone, and even the northern CA coast and maybe even Oregon. As much as I love my dogs, they sure do put a damper on our travels.
Ok, I guess I will close with this long post. I am not going to post any pictures right now, maybe later I will show you the turtle that Allie found, the squirrel that the dogs could NOT get, and a couple others I have taken lately. But for now.....hi you guys, how are YOU doing???