Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Wish I Could Have You Back (even if only for a day)


Words can not express how much I miss you.

From the time that I was born, you weren't just my aunt, you were like a second mother to me.  I smile every time mom tells the story of her being unable to nurse me, so you did.  That's how very much you loved me.

3 years ago, our family made the EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL  decision to let you go home - To love you enough to free you from this earthly pain even though it broke our hearts to do so.

In those final days I kept thinking about how glad I was that Kate and I had made the sporadic decision to come spend time with you a few years before that.  As a child I remember the trips we used to take to Bloomington to visit you and Uncle Eric.  Playing with all your Avon make-up, sleeping in your spare room in the daybed (it was such a special treat), and you always making us buttered mashed potatoes (I've still never mastered your recipe).  But the trip with Kate was different.  I was an adult.  The quality of time I got to spend with you was unlike any other throughout the course of my life.  Some of our conversations that week would cement parts of who I have become. 

Little did I know in those deep moments of grief and fear that a few short weeks later, I'd be facing a breast cancer diagnosis too.  That somehow, in the gut wrenching despair I felt over losing you, that I'd feel you with me more strongly than I ever had.  That in those moments when I didn't think my body could possibly take anymore, I'd hear your voice telling me to stay strong.

June 2010 started the beginning of a long road for our family.  A road to the acceptance that even though you were physically gone, you will always be with us in spirit.  A road to Healing.

In 2011 I decided to honor your memory by embarking on a 3 day journey.  Walking 60 miles in the fight against breast cancer.  I was shocked when I was chose to participate in Survivor's Circle, because only 8 survivor's get picked for this honor.  I knew you had a hand in it when I received the email letting me know that the flag chosen for me to carry was none other than 'Healing'. 

 Opening Ceremony. Atlanta, October 2011.
And so I started 'our' journey into the world of the 3-Day.  A world of pink.  A world of hugs, tears, laughter, and joy.  A world where there are other's who understand the pain of the loss that I feel.  A world where there are other's who dedicate their time, their money, and their energy into doing something bold in the face of this ugly disease. 
You and I...we are traveling the US together.
One step at a time.
We honor lost loved ones in the Remembrance Tent. 

Chicago.  August 2012.

Tampa Bay 2012.

It's true...some people think I am just a little crazy for putting my body through months of training to walk 60 miles, but they come to understand when I tell them about you.

I'm not the only one who walks for you... Anastassia and Tonya carry you, too.

We've made some good friends these past couple years, you and I.
Mike took you to Dallas with him in 2012.
And just this past weekend, you were on the west coast. 
In San Francisco with Kamie and Larry.
In October, we're headed to Philadelphia.
Steph, I feel you so close to me in every facet of my life...including my marriage.  I know you've been watching it all unfold, and  I know you had a hand in leading me to Bill. 
One of your favorite things was collecting shot glasses from different cities you visited.  You had so many of them.  And out of all of them, the one I was given was from Charlotte.
I went to Atlanta to honor your memory, and I met him. 
The man from Charlotte.
I just didn't figure out what you were trying to tell me for awhile.
He is the man who understands my pain, and loves me despite the scars.
The man who, the first time I walked in his living room, I got goosebumps because atop his mantel set a lighthouse.  A lighthouse that probably meant little more to him than a piece of decor, but I knew in some cosmic way, it was your sign letting me know that he is 'home'.
You lead me home.

We took a moment of silence to remember you and Bill's lost loved ones at the wedding.
He wore a pink boutonniere - at the suggestion of our wedding coordinator who had NO idea about our history at the time of the suggestion.
And you were my something blue.
I'll carry you with me until my last day.
Today, I saw a picture of you, and as the tears started flowing, I could barely catch my breath.
What I wouldn't give to hear your voice, or see your smile just one more time.
But until then...I'll take comfort in knowing you are in a place where sickness, and fear, and hurt seize to exist.  And that you are watching over all of us.
I love you so very much!


Friday, June 21, 2013


It's FRIDAY!  And the first week-end of the 3-Day Season.  A big shout out to my grandpa, Larry, and sister, Kamie, for volunteering four days of their time to crew the San Francisco walk.  I'm so proud of you both!
1. Pesto, Recipes, and Random Conversations with my husband.  It's possibly the best thing (sauce-wise) ever!  If you have an amazingly, green-thumbed husband like I do, then you are lucky enough to have a large supply of fresh herbs to choose from.  My basil plant was getting a slightly...errrrr...a lot out of control this week so I decided to make a few batches of pesto, and hence came the delicious Seared Chicken Caprese Panini we had for supper last night.  (For the many of you who have asked me to start food-blogging again, here you go. :) )

I could seriously just eat it with a spoon.

Bill wasn't home yet to grill the chicken so, I pan seared it.  You could also use broiled chicken.

I'm pretty sure the first time I ever ate Caprese Salad (tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil) was because my Sister-In-Law's mom, H, made it.  She is the most amazing cook EVER!  Needless to say, I was hooked on it from that day on.  And adding it to a chicken sandwich makes it all the more delicious.

Pop the sandwiches into your grill pan, and top with your press lid.

I had planned on making soup for supper last night, and I think that Mr Price was a bit disappointed that we didn't have it as a side with the sandwich.  Case in point (excerpt from our conversation)
Me: Running to the store to get soup.
Bill:  You should drive, it's a long ways.
Me: What???
Bill: sarcasm.
Me: OH. (I should have known)...because I said 'running'.
Bill: Ding, ding, ding!!! Correct!
Me: Did you know that the sentence 'The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog' uses every letter of the alphabet.
Bill: Yes, I did.  Same as 'Facetious' has every vowel in order.
Me: What object is most choked on by Americans?
Bill: Probably pen tops.
Me: That would make sense, but no.  It's toothpicks.  We should start eating oranges...I read that half an orange a day reduces your risk of heart attack by 50%.
Hours later....
Supper is done.
Bill, reflectively, staring at his plate: I thought you were going to the store to get soup.
Me: I got the stuff the for these sandwiches.
Bill: Oh!
  (Really, I just got so excited about the mozzarella that I completely forgot about the soup.  I'm owning the wife fail.)
Later that night, I look over at Bill's Macbook screen to see him scrolling through list of random facts.
Me:  No wonder you already know all the useless information I try to tell you!
Bill:  Yep, and I retain it all.
I'm not so sure that's a good thing. lol
2. Quirks. A week or so ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of Ava modeling a big, fluffy garden hat at Lowe's.  My friend, Margie, commented that she wonders where Ava gets her 'larger than life' personality.  It could not possibly be a reflection of me.  Nope.  No way.  lol.

During a late night Target run a couple nights ago, while Bill (in true form) was checking out gardening supplies/seeds, I found these awesome gardening shoes.  Which totally matched my yoga tank...and were attached with a string that you can't see in this picture but were only allowing me to spread my feet apart that width.  Bill may have mentioned - through laughter - that he wouldn't be caught dead in public with me with those shoes on.   
Hmmmm....but he's completely okay with being seen in public with me in my yoga attire.  Hahaha.
3.  Life Lessons.

This has been a HUGE life lesson for me this past year.  My life truly began when I realized that love matters more than ANYTHING else.  Suffice it to say, I've never been more happy.
4.  Facetime.  The girls are with their dad, and I am so, so, so thankful for Facetime and getting to see their faces during our weekly chat sessions.  It makes the time apart so much more bearable. 
5.  Dates.  I had forgot what those were.  With the girls at their dads for half their summer break, Bill and I have been taking advantage of being able to have date nights, date lunches, etc. 
What are you all thankful for this week?  What were your 'Roses'?
(I removed the Disqus comment moderator off of my blog so it's easier to post comments now.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love As A Verb


I'm sitting on the patio, watching you access and plan the dimensions of the new walk-way layout you are making from the gate to the firepit, and to put it simply, I honestly can't think of a single thing I'd rather be doing. 

I found myself folding laundry outside this evening, just for the simple fact that at any given point, I could look up and see you working in the yard.

It sounds so cliche to say out loud, but you've changed my life in such a positive way that I realize it must be a reflection of you.  You say your life is better than it's ever been because of us, well, I hope you always know that I feel the exact same way about you.

It's your first Father's Day, and even though the girls are with their dad I know they are so very close to your heart.  You made a trip to Lowe's, and bought flowers to replace the ones Bre planted that didn't survive the heat/lack of watering while we were gone at the beach...just in case she asks to see 'her flowers' when we Facetime her.  I had to walk away as I watched you replant the new ones, because I was on the verge of tears. 

As I sit here, watching you work on something for our entire family to enjoy, I can't help but be humbled by the fact that you not only show them you love them by the direct things you do for them, you are loving them through the example you are showing them in the way you love me.

I think back to Christmastime - you helping me clean the kitchen - when Bre's confusingly asked you what you were doing.  You responded with a simple, "Helping Mommy."  I was a little shocked, and heartbroken when she asked "Why?"  Your response cemented the foundation for which I knew you'd teach the girls of what they should expect out of and be for their helpmate in life.  The ways in which you always follow through with showing what that response meant is something that I know she is already starting to understand.  I see it in all of their desires to help others, and the way they express their love.

Your mother wrote the following message to you today, "I've waited a very long time to get the privilege of saying this to you: HAPPY FATHERS DAY! It's not everyday that a man gets to "father" three girls at once. This I know for sure, you are more than ready for this job and will be the best step dad ever."

Everyone who catches even the slightest glimpse of you with the girls feels that way.  You are absolutely incredible with them.

You love them like they are yours.

Butterfly kisses.


You take time off of work to be there for the important things (like taking them to their last day of school) because you know those are the things they will remember as they grow, and because you know those are moments that you never get back.

I know that the promises you made to them this day are just as important to you as the promise you made to me, and that says everything to me.

You find ways to be a part of the day-to-day when we have to be apart.
(You read Bre this story three times this night because she kept asking you to 'Read it again'...so you did.)

You love them not just in words, but in your every action.

You're teaching them to love as a verb, and there truly is no greater gift that a 'father' can give his daughters than that.

Happy Father's Day!

We love you so very much.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Another week has came and gone, and I have so many blessings to be thankful for that it is going to be hard to decide which five to share.
1. Last Minute Plans to Meet Up With a Dear Friend.  Monday after dropping the girls off with their dad for their summer time, I shot my friend, Pam, a message to see if she was available.  It was the first time I'd be driving through her neck of the woods at a decent time of day. 
Even though she and I talk very often, I haven't seen her in almost two years, so getting to hug her in person was the absolute best part of my day. 
2. Random Text Messages from Starla.  Starla is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  You know those friends that no matter how much time you go between talking, you always pick up like no time has passed, and you have never missed anything?  That's how it is with us.  Sometimes we talk every.single.day, sometimes a few times a week, and sometimes (when life gets crazy busy) we go awhile, but regardless of which one of those describes us currently, our friendship remains the same.  We are in this thing called life - together.
And I have to say that one of my most favorite aspects of our friendship is that no matter what kind of mood I am in, that girl can make me laugh until I can't breathe.  Especially with some of the random text conversations we have. 
3.  Bill.  He makes the list every week, and for good reason.  He loves me (and my girls) well.  I swear he wakes up every day with the thought 'How can I make her life easier today?'...because that is what he does.  Not occasionally, but every.single.day.  Whether it's cooking and cleaning because I've spent all day driving, cleaning my car so said drive would be 'more peaceful and relaxed', running to the grocery store because I realize half-way through cooking that I forgot to buy something, or just sitting up and talking to me because my insomnia is in full swing. I could go on and on and on, but I'd end up writing a book.  I'll suffice it to say, he just gets me.  He gets that to me...it's the little things. 
4. Writing Thank-You Cards.  Yesterday, as I sat down to start writing 'Thank You' notes to everyone who attended the wedding/BBQ/sent gifts, it hit me how very blessed and loved we are.  We simply could not ask for more loving and supportive family and friends.
5.  Clean Sheets.  I think this speaks for itself.  There really are few things in life better than climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets. 

Friday, June 07, 2013


Holy smokes, it's FRIDAY already.  Where has this week gone?  For us, it's consisted of unpacking/re-packing/organizing, Bill going back to work, a Lowe's trip, family meals, walks, ice cream and cupcakes, and a whole lot of laughter.
So, what am I most thankful for this week? 
1. My Girls.  They really are the best part of me.  They are and will always be my greatest contribution to this world.  The growth that I've seen in them in the past 8 months (especially in Ava) blows me away.  When I look at them and see the happiness, security, and love they feel, I know that I am doing right by and for them.
2.  E.  Few people in this world know me as well as she does.  She knows my heart and she knows when to 'read between the lines' into what I can't find the words to say sometimes.  She's been by my side through every joy and hardship I've faced over the past 13 years.  Never judging - just loving.  Having her by my side while I married the man of my dreams was the best gift I could have been given.
3.  My New Family.  I truly feel like the girls and I hit the jackpot.  Bill likes to joke (well, really they all do) that they are a little crazy.  According to him, the less of his family I met pre-wedding, the more likely I was to go through with it.  All joking aside, he, and now the girls and I have an amazing family.  They have welcomed us with open arms, love, and a lot of laughs.  And I'm very grateful for all of them.
4.  iPhone Pictures.  What did we do before we could take pictures with our phones?  I guess we had to actually practice some patience and wait to get them developed.
We had several family members who took pictures with iPhones before, during, and after our ceremony (even though we had two professional photographers taking them as well), and I can.not.quit.looking.at.them.  Our day turned out so much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and I am so thankful for all the photos that captured it for us.
5.  My husband.  It feels almost surreal to be able to call Bill that - my husband.  But according to the state of NC, it is official.  He's mine and I am his.  We received the email from the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, yesterday, telling us so.  We both have had points in our lives where we've questioned why certain things have happened, but I know now that each and every one of those things directly lead us to each other.  I say it often, but before Bill, I never knew life could or should be so easy, and happy.  I never knew it was possible to have someone love all of you, faults and all, and to not be afraid to tell them because you know they will still love you anyways.  And where he really gets me - he loves my girls with every ounce of his being.  So often I catch myself just staring at him, and thinking, "Wow...this is really my life.  How did I get so lucky?"
To put it simply...next to God and his Momma, no one will ever love him more. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Got It Right This Time

I can't believe it's already been a week since we were in Emerald Isle, saying our vows in front of our family and friends.  We seriously better not blink or the girls will be grown and we will be celebrating many years of wedded bliss.

As most of you know, our original plan was to semi-elope... meaning we planned to have our parents, E, Grandma Leola, the girls and ourselves at the wedding with a family get-together at a later date.  BUT...once we made the engagement announcement on Faceb**k, Bill and I were surprised by how many people wanted to share in our special day.  With some quick thinking on my Mother-in-Laws behalf, we were able to secure a wedding planner who was able to put together a more beautifully intimate ceremony than I could have ever imagined.  Thank you again, Krystal!!! 

About a week prior to the ceremony the forecast called for scattered thunderstorms for both Friday and Saturday, but luckily, the weather turned out to be absolutely perfect the entire vacation.

This picture brings me to tears every.single.time I look at it.  The four most important females in my life waiting for me to walk to them.

Walking towards my future, and Bill's smile says it all.

It took every ounce of strength in my body to not start sobbing when Bre kissed Bill after he gave her her locket.
Before giving the girls their lockets, he said to them, "Thank you for sharing your Mommy with me, loving me, and allowing me to love you with all my heart.  I was not there when you took your first steps, but I promise that now I will love and support you in every step that you take in life. These lockets are a symbol of my love and devotion to the three of you."
If there was a dry eye before this point, there wasn't any afterwards. 

This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it because Kinsey looked away while we kissed.

My life.  My loves.

I never knew life could be this happy or easy. 

My Mother-in law, Linda, Father-in-law, Jim, and Sister-in-law, Trish.

This is one of my favorite moments that was captured from the weekend.  The wind was blowing pretty hard, which was great, because it made the temperature perfect.  However, it wasn't so great for my hair - it was all over the place.  Bill kept, very sweetly, brushing it out of my face, because well, that's what husbands do.  :)

I could've stayed just like this - lost in his eyes - for hours.


His kisses make me weak in the knees.

My heart and soul.

Best part of the day... watching them so happy and just being kids.

Ten minutes into this pose.... it was just funny.

Bill actually took this picture while the photographer was adjusting her camera.

During the ceremony, we asked for a moment of silence to remember our lost loved ones.  Bill carried Ramona, Chris, and Lavon's pictures in his pocket, and set them out to sea at the end of the ceremony. 

Trashing the dress.

The loves of my life.

Stephen.  He may be bigger than me now, but he will always be my 'Little Man'.
He along with E were our witnesses.

We did!

Saturday, E, the kids, and I got in some beach time while Bill BBQ'd.  So lucky to have the best best friend ever.

To say this was the best weekend of my life would be an understatement.  The way that Bill loves us still leaves me in awe, and wondering what I've done to deserve this life. And to have Bill's family tell me, 'This is the happiest we have ever seen him' means EVERYTHING! The girls and I are so incredibly blessed to have gained such a wonderful family. 
To put it simply...I GOT IT RIGHT THIS TIME!