Life Is Just So Daily

Monday, April 30, 2012

You're Doing It Wrong.

See that?
He's supposed to look a bit more like a chia pet with grass hair.

This is actually our SECOND one to try.
First one we brought home: dropped it in the garage before it ever made it indoors. Shattered, and we had to buy another one. Second one: knocked off the table by a friend over to visit. I had to super glue it back together. Now, we're trying to grow his hair, and we've just failed.

He's like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals...


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happier Things.

Life continues.
The sadness continues, but, you know what?
Life brings happiness too.

There were several things I intended to post before Allen died, and I never really got around to it. Before I can post about the good stuff going on now, I need to post about the good stuff that already was...

So, here are some happier things....

Happiness Is...

...wearing earrings from your husband...

...participating in some fitness-thing at your kiddo's school in the middle of the day...

...Sonic Happy Hour with your son...

...watching the calf frolic. {Do cows 'frolic'? This little one seems to. He is so much fun to watch!}

...breakfast in bed, after sleeping in. {And, no, it was for no special day or reason at all! How lucky am I???}

Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a rest, the other one tends to take up the slack. ~Hazelmarie Elliott (“Mattie”)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's been 10 days.

It's been 10 days now since Allen died.

I wake up every day, and I know how many days it has been.

Allen was not my child, but my love for him was huge.

I first held him/met him at DFW Airport. I tried to get to North Carolina in time for his delivery, but the flights didn't work out in my favor. I met him in Dallas, and I was instantly in love.

Allen is biologically my nephew, but he lived with my parent(s) for 13 years, I think. I think it was that long.

So---our relationship is beyond the aunt/nephew relationship. It's just different. But how do you say, "He was brother & nephew" without sounding like an episode of Jerry Springer?
You don't.

I last saw Allen at Easter at my mom's. I am so thankful for that time with him. I haven't posted the Easter pics here on the blog, and to be perfectly honest---I don't know if I will post them all. There were a ton of happy memories made. When a bunch of us were in the woods and fishing, inevitably, a pole would be launched into the water. This time, it was Allen's. He was so frustrated and mad. In the moment, I was trying to calm him down, let him vent his frustration, and just listen for a minute. I'm so glad I did. We sat in the woods and just talked for a bit. You don't get that often with 15 year old boys! I never dreamed that I would be soooooo thankful that he unintentionally threw that fishing pole into the water. If he hadn't, we wouldn't have stopped what we were doing to just---talk.

That Saturday before Easter was a long day. At one point in the evening, I walked into the house and this is what I found...Gage and Allen fast asleep.

Naturally, I couldn't stand it that Allen didn't have a blanket on him, so I covered him up.

When I returned a bit later, I found Gage snuggling up to Allen. And this is the last picture I have of Allen for that Easter weekend. It may be the last picture taken of him.

I still have a hard time believing all of this is real.
I have a hard time believing that this has really happened.

I have all of these thoughts in my head. I have anger. I am angry. And human nature wants me to assign blame and I struggle with the anger and need for blame that I have, because it doesn't align with what my personal beliefs are. Or what I thought my beliefs were. Just the fact that the anger I have doesn't fit in my belief system makes me uncomfortable. It's all very incongruent. It doesn't fit together.
Was it God's plan, or was it somebody's fault?
Is it both?
Where do I put this anger?
Surprisingly, I am not angry at God.
I selfishly wish Allen were still here, if even for just a minute...but I'm not angry with God. I don't blame him for wanting Allen in Heaven at all. But I am angry....

.....and then there's the media coverage of all of this.
As someone who LOVED this child, I do not want to see him laying in a street getting CPR. Who does that? Who puts their need to impress their boss with a 20 video clip above the dignity of a dying child? Where is journalistic integrity in that? The photos of his mangled bike? We can't forget that. And the word, "dragged"? To think of his little body, and knowing what I saw of his little body in the ER, and to repeatedly use that word? Yes, it hurt. Every time to hear it, read it, see it, or just THINK about it HURT.
....maybe at some point I will understand their need for sensationalism, or maybe I'll have some hope that this will all raise awareness for bike safety....or that some good will come of it. But, right now---I don't feel that way.
While I appreciate the efforts in the arena of bike safey, the truth is: Allen was not a member of the avid-bicycle-club. He was not a cyclist per hobby. He was trying to get his ass to school on time. That's the story.
That's it.
Trying to get to school.

And now he's gone, and I'm left with anger, sadness, and appreciation. Yes, I just listed "appreciation." I am so lucky to have ever known him, loved him, heard his laugh, got hugs from him..... I'm just so angry that the rest of his story was never to be told, and the years were just erased. I'm angry about all of the moments that have passed that I didn't smell a little deeper, hug a little longer, or tell him repeatedly how very much I valued his little life.

I just miss him.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Just Barely Resurfacing.

Right now, there is so much locked up in my head, that I want to get out.
I feel like the dam could break any minute, and it would come rushing out, and I wouldn't be able to stop it.

...but somehow, this place is an easy place to purge and I find it cathartic.

I am a big mixed up ball of emotions.
I'm angry.
I am so very fucking angry.
I am sad. Like I just have this new undertone of myself: sadness.
I am judgemental and blame-throwing.
I have things that swim in my head that I want to say, but don't because they would hurt other people, and I actually don't know the cost of making such remarks...
I'm just a mess.

I'm an absolute mess.

And then I busy my hands, and I escape into the laundry and housework and mindless tv. And when I snap back to reality, nothing is changed except that the world has moved on when I don't want to.

And today---I dropped my phone. And it's just black/dead/whatever.
What's on that phone?
Some pictures, but most important to me: the picture of his little hand in the ER. By the time I got there, he was already dead, but as hard as those moments with his little broken body were, I wouldn't trade them for anything under the sun. I held his right hand at Easter time when we sat in the woods and talked about stuff. I held that same right hand in the ER the day he died. And, I held that same right hand and kissed it as much as I could before he was buried. Notes from Nana are tucked into that same right hand. {He's called me "Nana" (Nonna) since he was a baby-baby.}

I've clearly got to head to the AT&T store.
I was waiting on my husband to respond to my email about dropping my phone, but since that hasn't yet happened, and in the midst of typing this post, I've realized what was on that phone. I have to go. Now.

Ricardo at the AT&T store saved me!
Phone is back and fine and everything is there.
And, we're getting a home phone.
It will be set up Friday.
Why? Because not having my cell phone made me instantly think that something terrible might happen and nobody could reach me. That's why. I had a moment of panic, and at least when the home phone gets set up, I'll have a back up phone option.


Allen's obituary

Here is Allen's obituary. I don't ever want to forget it.

Allen Stanford Hall

Allen Stanford Hall, 15, of Tyler passed away on April 16, 2012.

Allen's generous heart, sweet smile and endless sense of humor touched many lives. We will all miss his cheerful spirit and his willingness to help others. In his short time here on Earth, he brought great joy to those who knew him.

Allen was a freshman at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler. "Big Al" as he was known to the baseball team was proud to be a part of high school traditions. He was active with the baseball program at school, and will be missed by many teammates, classmates and friends.

Allen was looking forward to driving school and college. He was a fan of the Longhorns, UT Tyler, and of course, Robert E. Lee sports. He recently began his own lawn mowing business, and was the self-proclaimed "CEO of Big Al's Lawn Mowing Service."

In his life, he lived in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas. He was able to travel with family and see some other parts of the world with different cultures. He brought his friends and family so much joy, and we will treasure the fond memories created during fun times.

Words cannot describe the loss we feel from the passing of such a spirited child. To watch him grow was a blessing. To now realize the brevity of his time here is a tragedy. May his life never be judged by the duration, but rather by the wonderful moments and memories we each have of Allen.

Allen was looking forward to attending college. A scholarship fund has been established in his name. May Allen's legacy live on through these scholarships, providing others the opportunity to achieve higher education. (The Allen Hall Scholarship Fund at Citizens State Bank of Tyler, P.O. Box 7020, Tyler, 75711).

To the witnesses, first responders, nurses and doctors who held and cared for our sweet boy, our love and appreciation is immeasurable. We are all forever changed by this tragedy.

The family will receive friends on Friday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.... Services will be held on Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m....

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today, I just feel broken.

And exhausted.
But I can't sleep.

The details of all this just hurt.
The hurt is in the details.
Not the tasks of what is ahead, or what is in my immediate to-do basket, but just the details about his accident, and his body, and if there are words in the English language to describe all of this or how I am feeling---well, I don't know them.

I just know that I feel broken.

I just want to scream that to the heavens, and I can't.
I want to throw a fit like a child until I get my way.
But those things won't bring him back, and I'm pissed and I'm sad, and I just ache in my core, in my throat, in my eyes.

It's late, and I'm rambly, and exhausted, and I can't really find the words that I need.

Talking out loud sometimes is a whole lot harder than typing, so for this minute right now---this is my outlet.
I'm going to take a bath and bawl and go to bed.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Our sweet little Allen is gone.

Everyone please pray for our family, and the driver that unintentionally struck our sweet Allen yesterday. Allen was riding his bike to school and was struck by a truck. He died yesterday morning in Tyler. Please pray that we all find peace with God's plan during a time when it seems so incomprehensible.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Go Fish.

Currently one of Gage's favorite games.

He NEVER gets tired of playing... unlike his parents.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Tornado Tuesday!

Many have emailed me to ask about the Texas tornadoes that came through here a while back. Yes, we are all okay. Yes, it was a wild weather day.

Gage was at school. I was at home watching the radar.

We got an email all-clear to head to the school to pick up our children after they initially delayed the dismissal.

It was eerily calm here...

Got to the school, and between my departure from the house and my arrival to the school, they started and then stopped dismissal because more storms were headed our way. They were waving us in & instructing us to leave our cars where they were and just come inside. Didn't have to tell me twice! I went in and Ms.P greeted me warmly and there was my sweet, smiling son.

It was hot in there. The kids were hot, and hungry, and thirsty, and all grabby with my purse. "Do you have candy?" "Do you have snacks?" "Did you bring us any drinks?" "Do you keep gum in your purse?" "Where's your iphone?" "Can I play on your iphone?" Ugh.
Some parents came in with younger siblings. They too were hot, thirsty, and some were crying.
Good times.

The mood was light and the kids were safe, so that was good.
It didn't get freaky until the lights were flickering.
It happened several times and the screams followed a half second behind the lights going off. It was difficult to tell if the kids were screaming or cheering. Perhaps the crowd was mixed.

Yes, we ALL got to assume the tornado-ready position...

The storms went over us, and the school was fine.

Two of my friends sent me hail pics; one from Rockwall, one from Forney.

Luckily---our neighborhood was spared.
Gage's school was spared.
We were all safe.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wanna go to the park?

Yes, yes we do!

Gage's fashion sense?
It's all his own.
The Converse shoes? He's in love. Many might actually think that he's into being a skater or some alternate style. Not so much. The love of Converse goes back to this:
The Sandlot.
See Benny? {Bennie???} He has black high top Converse shoes.
...and the love affair began.

Welcome to our little world, where the baseballer is king.

{Gage, you are your own little person. There are times that you say or do something, and you are just like your father. There are times when I see the child I used to be in you. But you----you are all of that and I wouldn't have it any other way. You are the best gift that has ever been given to me. I love you beyond measure. No matter what.}

Gage's Bluebonnet Pictures, 2012.

Well, it's kind of a Texas tradition: take your kid's picture in the bluebonnets. {Of course, we never did it before, but Gage saw others doing it, and he asked, so we made a stop one day on the way home from school. No, it wasn't a big planned event. No, he didn't pick out a special outfit. He wore this to school, and there you have it.}

Now, what is a bluebonnet?

The following information about the bluebonnet is from:
As historian Jack Maguire so aptly wrote, "It's not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat." He goes on to affirm that "The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland."

Here are Gage's bluebonnet pictures. He had fun. I, in turn, had fun.


Cleaning my closet. Be proud of me.

Be proud of me.

Some "before" pictures:

Some "during" pictures:

(yes, I have a lot of shoes. Or, I did. I went through this pile & donated a ton!)

Some "after" pictures:

(Hubby's stuff...which was a LOT easier to organize than mine...)

Now, I wouldn't say it's pinterest-quality, but it's definitely better than it was! And, it's a whole lot lighter. I think that day I donated 6 boxes and 2 bags worth of stuff. Wooohoooo!