Monday, May 30, 2011

"One Of Those Lives"

What a crazy place that we have been thrown into. Nothing will ever be "the same" and we surely can't be "normal". An aching heart doesn't know how to be "normal" anymore. I am still having a hard time with the stigma of "childhood cancer". I am AMY, the mom of a precious angel. I am not as strong as I seem, I am not as "put together" as it appears. What I am is ME, crazy, chaotic, funny, bitch, sometimes a little off the wall... ME!

I was strong because I had to be. I had no choice, my son needed me. I got through the days because of the precious smile, kisses and love that Bryce gave to me. I put up a good front courtesy of Disney World and the Pixie Dust that is inserted into your blood when you sign the papers to become a "Cast Member". I am no different than any other mother that has a child that needs them. I am honored beyond words that I inspire people. I love finding inspirational quotes to end each blog post with and I hope that I am doing a good job honoring Bryce in my own smiles and laughter. But... my heart is forever broken.

I am not looking for magical answers or pity...that's not my style. What I am looking for is a way to make Bryce proud of his mommy. To make sure that people laugh and smile. To show everyone that there is "No Day But Today" and to get out there and reach for their goals.

Today my friend Karen (who LOVES Brad Paisley) told me about a song on his new album called "One of Those Lives"... She told me I should listen to it because it was about childhood cancer from a "friends perspective". O'WOW... I think I am officially a Brad Paisley fan now. I mean I always liked the songs on the radio, but I don't own any of his CD's or anything like that. This song is absolutely amazing! It really hits home! Honestly, I have said it before "Childhood Cancer" is a conversation killer, it usually stops people in their tracks and they have no idea what to say or how to continue on with a "normal" conversation. To hear this song and know that it is out there on a VERY high profile celebrities new album touches me very deeply. It's like WOW he gets it!

As we try to find "normal" again, we are challenged with trying to keep Bryce a very big part of our everyday. My mom put new pictures up on the mantel of Wade's pre-k graduation and my nephew Brian's 1st grade picture... Hmmmmm.... what to do! So I printed out a bunch of 8 x 10 photos of Bryce so she would have them to "change out" on the mantel. So tonight I will leave you with a quote from Wade. I think it's appropriate to show that our family will forever be changed because of Bryce and that we will always carry him in our hearts. At dinner tonight, out of nowhere Wade said:

"Brycie Is The Spice Of Life" ~ Wade Raub

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Auntie Em Auntie Em... Where the hell is my freaking house on this map?!?!?

I have decided that Florida is MUCH easier when it comes to weather than Texas is. Let me just share a few things from last night and the sheer terror evoked upon my poor 5 year old.

First lets explore Florida. In all the years I lived in Florida I don't think I EVER heard the emergency broadcast system used for anything other than "This is a test". If there really was an issue they just broke into your show and shared it with you. Florida's definition of "Tornado Watch" is conditions are favorable for a tornado stay alert and watch for further updates. Florida's definition of a "Tornado Warning" is there is a tornado ON THE GROUND heading your way and you need to seek shelter immediately. There are NO sirens, there is no additional panic added to an already stressful situation, things are orderly.

Now lets explore Texas... In Texas the emergency broadcast system is used ALL the time. Beep Beep Beep there is a severe thunderstorm warning in a town thats an hour away from you that you probably have never heard of but we thought you should know about it. Really... can't we figure out how to beep beep beep only for my county... As for the other stuff I sure can't figure out what the difference is. A "Tornado Watch" is issued when, well hell I don't know what they use this for... A "Tornado Warning" means conditions are favorable and you should probably seek shelter even though we really haven't seen anything or had reports of anything, your closet might be a good place to go until, um, well, we feel it's ok for you to come out. And forget the Sirens... I have no earthly clue what the hell determines if and when they go off.

I mean really last night was obnoxious. There were Tornado Warnings for every county without actual tornadoes on the ground or reported. The sirens would go off for about 5 minutes and then stop... then an hour later they were going off again for another 5 minutes... Three times we had this... I DON'T UNDERSTAND, am I just supposed to sit in my "safe room" for hours on end because you "think" it could be dangerous... it's no wonder people get hurt because they "don't heed the warnings" they don't understand the damn things and "Chicken Little" isn't helping.

Needless to say last night was a joy. Wade was freaking out, laying in bed with us, with his hands over his ears asking us to put on the news so he could see the weather man (he's 5 by the way). And when the sirens were going off he was about to have a panic attack because a "Tornado was coming"... At one point I was thinking... hmmmmmmm... if we do hear "the train" coming how the heck am I going to get Bryce's urn down from the shelf it's on? We have it on the plant shelf in our bedroom with some stuffed animals around it, yeah totally need a ladder for that, but not about to let it get sucked into the "vortex".... What a mess!

So to sum up the evening:

Texas, to me, is like Chicken Little. They don't have a logical warning system in place, it's all "the sky is falling the sky is falling"!

I need to rethink the location of Bryce's urn so I can "grab it on the fly"!

When one has a new car, one should make room in the garage for it so GOLF BALL size hail will not matter so much!

I am SO much better with Hurricanes than Tornadoes...

And after living in Orlando for so long and having "Disney" on the weather map to give you a reference I have to say... Dear Grand Prairie, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Unless they are using a map with Joe Pool Lake clearly marked on it, I have no freaking clue where we are. General vicinity, yes, exact location, not so much!

Rainbows apologize for angry skies. ~Sylvia Voirol

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Annual Pass to Crazyland

Ok i'm a little early with this post, but that's ok...

10 years ago I married my best friend. 10 years ago George decided it was a good idea to marry "the crazy chic". I can't even believe that it has been 10 years, but WOW what a journey we have taken. In your wedding vows they say For Better, or Worse, In Richer and Poorer, In sickness and in health... YUP pretty sure we have hit ALL those. We have definitely had hurdles to overcome~For better or worse. We have run our credit WAY up and Paid it off~ In Richer and Poorer. And Battled Cancer ~ in sickness and in health! All of our vows have been put to the test over the last 10 years... I'm just glad neither one of us killed each other~ Till death do us part! J/K ! We have had a journey that's for sure. We have had LOTS of fun and LOTS of heartbreak/heartache but we are here, together, standing strong to take on the next 10 years!

We celebrated early with an amazing dinner at Seasons 52 followed by a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean~ On Stranger Tide) with friends. I thought I would share some of the photos and then Brag about our amazing kid!

The Beautiful flowers George bought for me. I LOVE this picture

All smiles for a wonderful night

I can't wait to see wait the next 10 years have in store for us. One thing is for sure, it will be filled with laughs, love, fun, and maybe a surprise or two!!!

And now time to Brag. Wade graduated from Pre-K yesterday. WOW, in the land of "where did the time go" Wade is 5 years old and heading to Kindergarten. I can not believe how fast he is growing up. My little man is not so little anymore! We are SO proud of him and his accomplishments. Wade's such an amazing little guy. Yes he has his temper tantrums, yes he fights with us and drives us crazy sometimes but he's an awesome kid.

You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip. ~Jonathan Carroll, "Outside the Dog Museum"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Isn't Heaven Up there? In the Sky?

It was a beautiful day today so George and I decided to take Wade to the playground. We really had no intention of "playing" we were just going to sit at the picnic table and chat but Wade had other plans, he wanted us to Play. So we decided to take a ton of pictures... Why not right, you can never have too many funtime pictures.

Wade took a great pic of us... <3

Wade and I on the slide

George and Wade having FUN

After the playground we decided to go to Applebee's and have dinner. As we were leaving the restaurant, Wade asks (out of nowhere) "When we get bigger we are going to die right?" George and I were speechless. We said yes honey when we get bigger, a long time from now, we will die, everyone does. He then asked "What will you two do when I die and you don't have me to live with you in the house"... Oh Wade! I have to admit this was a conversation that George and I were not prepared for. We asked him if he was confused about what happened to Bryce, or if he had any questions. We reassured him that it would be a LONG time before that happened and used ourselves as examples... saying that We are "older" and we still have our Mommy's and Daddy's here. We then asked if he had any questions about what happened to Bryce. And tried to explain to him that Bryce died because he had Cancer. The Doctors didn't have the right medicine to make him better, that it was a disease and that it is not something that he should be afraid of. We told him that some babies are really special and God sends them here for a reason, a purpose and that when they have completed their mission they have to go back to heaven. We told him that Bryce was sent here to teach everyone how to love with their whole heart, how to live life to the fullest and how to smile. He was very special and was able to touch A LOT of lives in his short time. Wade said that he missed him and wanted to know if we could send a picture to him in heaven. He said that Bryce would have loved our new car and that we should tie a picture to a balloon and send it to him in heaven. Then he asked how long it was going to be before Bryce sent him a sister. LOL... We told him that it might be a while because Bryce was looking for the perfect sibling for him and that if he finds one that is just right he will send them to us... and that it "might" end up being another Brother... He was ok with that. Wow... that was a heavy conversation... which was followed up with "Why can't we go to heaven and see Bryce"... here we go again. I explained to him that Heaven was very far away and that we can't get there until it's our turn. That we will all be back together one day but until then what he could do was talk out loud to Bryce. I told him that he was always listening, even though he can't answer, and that if he talked to him Bryce would always try and help him, like a guardian angel. Wade's response, can't we just take a Rocket Ship into the sky and visit him, isn't Heaven up there? In the Sky?

It's lonely out in space. On such a timeless flight. And I think it's gonna be a long long time... Rocketman by Elton John

Sunday, May 15, 2011

People are "Hard to follow"... Oh wait it's my own "Biggest Flaw" coming back to bite me... Ouch!

Let' go back to the "Struggles of a Gemini" for just a moment... "Gemini's have a lot of acquaintances but not a lot of really close friends". This seems true for me, I have a lot of friends (acquaintances if you will) but my group of tight friends is very small. So here is the dilemma plaguing me right now. How do you not let it bother you when one of the "close friends" drops out of your club? For no reason at all, no explanation, no fight, nothing... one day everything is great, the next they're gone. I try and think to myself, it's their loss cause I am awesome and if they don't want to be around the coolest chic in town then so be it, but no matter what I tell myself it still bugs me. As much as I think it's totally random and I don't understand... I guess I do, in a sense because I myself have done the very same thing... another downfall of the Gemini. I have walked out (more than once) on one of the most amazing people I know because in my head it was going to happen either way and I wanted it to be on my terms... Thankfully she has allowed me to redeem myself, albeit it was 11 years later but I am grateful (love you A).

Why do I do this. Why do I push people away. Why do I always try and run for the hills 5 steps ahead of my fears. It's like, when I think someone is distancing themselves from me, regardless of the reason I take off running. I do it all the time and now, that it's being done to me I am left confused and well kind of lost. I guess it's a negative trait that I have had all my life and my eyes have been open to it. Perhaps now I will be more conscious of it when I am doing it and stop before I leave someone else lost and confused. Perhaps I am reading to much into nothing... ok I know that's not that case but it made me feel better saying it. Why does it all have to be so damn complicated.

Ok, off my Gemini, whoa is me, soap box and back down on the floor. This has been a hard day for me. Not sure what triggered it, but Bryce has been weighing very heavy on my heart today. I wore his thumbprint necklace today and rubbed my thumb in his, pretty much all day. All I can think about is that amazing smile of his and how he made everyone around him smile. Wade keeps talking about Bryce too, like we are both hurting but don't know how to express it. So I decided we needed a little "Mommy and Wade" time. We had McDonald's in the park and enjoyed a very beautiful day! I ended my day listening to Rascal Flatts songs that make my heart hurt even more and watching a video I took of Bryce playing when we were at the hospital.

God I miss that kid SO much. People always post comments about how "God is Great" and all I can think is "Of course he is... he has MY kid sitting next to him giving him advice".

Today I leave you with this. Cherish your friends, you never know when they will have completed their mission in your life and be gone. Enjoy the time you have with your family, the smallest moments could be the memories that last a lifetime. Take lots of pictures and videos, just in case one day it is all that you have. And find your flaws so that you can work on them, you never know when one of your own flaws will be used against you...the flip side is no fun!

There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won't anymore, and who always will. So, don't worry about people from your past, there's a reason why they didn't make it to your present or future.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Accepting change... And I'm not talking about Coins!

A baby is born, your whole world is turned upside down. You have been given the responsibility of caring for a little person. Making sure they are clothed, fed, happy. You lose countless hours of sleep and think to yourself how am I every going to survive this as you change your whole world so that it revolves around them.

Your baby is diagnosed with Cancer... your whole world is turned upside down. You have now been given the biggest challenge of your life. Nothing else matters, all there is is that child. Everything revolves around them, making sure that they are at all the Dr's appointments, making sure that they take all of their medication, making sure that they don't spike a fever in the middle of the night that would require a trip to the emergency room. You wonder am I ever going to survive sleeping at the hospital, eating all the junk food (why don't hospitals have healthy options?), and not being able to spend time with the rest of your family.

Your baby dies... your whole world is turned upside down. You now have to figure out how to live. Your heart is ripped open, you no longer have obligations, you have A LOT of time on your hands and nothing to fill it with. You don't want to get out of bed (ironic considering your bed is what you have longed for for a very long time). You lose interest in just about everything and find that you don't want to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone... and yet these are the things that you actually yearn for. Friends, to take your mind of things. Places to go, to get you out of bed. Your family, to grab your hand and pull you out of the darkness that has surrounded you.

I thought I was doing well, I thought I had found my way back. I thought that perhaps everything was going to be ok and then I realized I was moping around again. WHY... WHY am I moping around? Why have I reverted back to the doesn't get out of bed, can't take a shower, would rather not see anyone, please leave me alone cranky bitch that I tried so hard to overcome. Oh that's because I have given up all my vices... yes, like a child's security blanket, binky, stuffed animal, etc... I have given up my bad habits and it's making me miserable.

Oh where to start. I have spent my entire life trying to "stop biting my nails" so why not now... Yes my friends I have FINALLY stopped biting my nails. I don't know how this came about, but it has and it's killing me because it was my "comfort". I am also on a diet, which is working but making me miserable. Why you ask... because Bryce was only 25 days old when he was diagnosed with Cancer. I never got a chance to lose the "baby weight" before we were thrown into quick service, hospital cafeterias and junk. Anything you could find that would fill you up for a significant amount of time because you never knew when you would have a chance to grab another meal. So now I have committed to a diet that IS working. I have lost 15 lbs so far and have about 20lbs more to get to my goal. That's awesome I know, thanks... but I want a BURGER, I want BBQ, I want PIZZA... I want to EAT!

So let's recap the "Changes" we have been through the past 4 months... Bryce earned his "angel wings". I stopped biting my nails, we (George and I both) are on a diet... AND we bought a new car and a house. Ok so the house doesn't really count we have lived in it for the last 4 years we just finally (and officially) took over the mortgage. I'm tired and I don't think I can accept anymore changes right now. So if we are out and about please tell them "keep the change"

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tiny Sparrow ~ A Picture of Hope

Our friends at The Tiny Sparrow Foundation are entered in the Pepsi Refresh Project and they need all of our help. Please check out the link below and vote every day in the month of May... Every vote helps: or text to vote at 73774 and put the number 106218 in the text field.. Thank you soo much for helping Tiny Sparrow Foundation have a chance to win $50,000

A little bit about the Tiny Sparrow Foundation: They are a non-profit organization dedicated to providing lasting memories through the beautiful art of photography to families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses. We were very lucky to have them take our families pictures, pictures that now adorn our home, pictures of smiles, laughter and love. We are so grateful to them, not only for the awesome photos that they have taken for us, but for their friendship! Please take a few minutes each day to help them win this!!!!

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born, A Death Certificate shows that we died, Pictures Show that we lived!!!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brycie's just chillin' with Santa Claus!

Today I thought I would share some of Wade's crazy "Bryce" analogies. Can't wait to hear what else Wade comes up with, but here are some of the good ones. I hope they can make you smile!

For those of you that might not have been with us on Caringbridge, or perhaps just forgot... when Bryce passed away Wade's only questions was "If Bryce can't fly on an airplane by himself then how did he get to heaven?" Good Question Wade, very thought provoking.

We were invited to attend a St Baldrick's Event that my friends at Cirque Du Soleil were hosting. As I introduced Wade to my friend J.F. Wade said "Are you shaving your head?" J.F. said Yes and Wade said "So all the other Mommies and Daddies can keep their babies?" Tears started rolling almost instantly on that one.

While in Target Wade and I were passing the toys and he saw an infant toy that he liked and yelled STOP. When I stopped the cart he said "We HAVE to get this" when I said it was for little babies and we didn't need it he said "Well we have to have something at home for the Baby that Bryce sends to us"

George and I were enjoying an nice dinner at the coffee table in the living room, best place to eat dinner! Wade was playing the Wii and he said. "So Mommy, do you think Bryce is looking for the perfect sister for me?" "You know he is going to send us a baby" Oh Wade, I have this vision of Bryce running around in heaven saying "Nope you won't be able to keep up with my crazy brother, next!"

Also while playing the Wii Wade said "Mommy I really miss Bryce, I liked when he played with me, but sometimes he beat me on the Wii and well, then I don't miss him". He's not competitive at all!

When George and I went to the Butterfly Wishes event for "A Wish With Wings" we bought the centerpiece (you could donate money to the foundation and take the centerpiece), it had these really beautiful butterflies on it. Well George took the Butterflies out and put them in a Bonsai like tree we had on the plant shelf in the living room. When Wade noticed it he got all excited and said "WHOOA... are those Butterflies, Did Bryce send them to us?" We went with it and said yes, Bryce sent them. And Wade said "It's perfect, there are 3 Butterflies and there are 3 of us". That's awesome!

Santa's watching! Wade and I were at Burger King for lunch, while we were in the play area he said "Mom what are those", he was looking at the security cameras, so I said "Oh those are video cameras" and his response was "Oh, cameras, So Brycie and Santa Claus can watch us?" Yes Wade... exactly... so Brycie and Santa Claus can watch us. He cracks me up... How Bryce got categorized with Santa I will never know.

Brothers, a bond that can not be broken! EVER! I hope that Wade's silly, yet thought provoking, comments have made you smile today! I hope that everyone can find sometime to step back, look for the butterflies and remember that Brycie and Santa Claus are ALWAYS watching!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there. It's a bitter sweet day for me, I am so honored to be a mommy but heartbroken too. It's hard to hear happy Mother's Day knowing that I won't get to hold Bryce and give him hugs and kisses, but I am sure that Wade will make sure I get extra lovin' tomorrow! He's such an amazing little man!

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No "country gravy" on my mashed potatoes Please!

Have you ever wondered why they insist on smothering perfectly good mashed potatoes with "country gravy"? My dad says this is a "Texas thing" so if you don't know what I am talking about i'm sure you can envision... perfectly good mashed potatoes drowning in a thick blanket of "white gravy". Sure some people like it that way, but I like things simple, a little butter and some pepper... I know what you are thinking, where on earth is she going with this, well, it's my new analogy. I have decided that life is complicated enough without smothering it with unnecessary junk. Why complicate things, why make more out of it than you have to... why put "country gravy" on perfectly good mashed potatoes.

I have been really taking the time to sit back and evaluate life recently. I have already come to the realization that I am not the same person now that I was 2 years ago. Before Bryce got sick I was a total "people pleaser", I was the one that always put everyones needs ahead of my own, making sure that no one was mad at me, that my friends and family were happy regardless of what I had to do to accomplish that! Now, I am putting me first. I have decided that I am the priority and that I need to be happy, to smile and laugh. I don't want things to be complicated, I just want to be able to have a loving relationship with my family, funtimes with my friends and find AMY again. I love to be around people, I love to go out to lunch, to hang out with friends, I love to travel and see new things (ok that sounded a little like a personal add :-) ) I have been so weighed down with the crappy hand that life dealt us that I have forgotten what it is that makes me happy... that is all changing. I am making more time for my friends, more time for myself and more time to get out and see the world (ok maybe just the US cause my passport is expired and I can't afford to get it renewed right now).

The last 2 days have been awesome. I made, or should I say took, the time to hang out with my friends. 2 days in a row, lunch, shopping, chilling on the porch playing with the dogs... just relaxing, not really thought provoking, good times with friends. It has been really nice and shown me that I have been desperately missing that aspect of life! It's kind of rejuvenating, for the first time in a long time I feel like I fit in here in Texas. There are people that I care about that I can rely on and know that it doesn't have to be so complicated. Deep Breathe... dare I say it... life is good right now!

Moral of the story is this, if you want to remain on the "crazy chicks" good side, then don't smother me with "country gravy" keep it simple, don't make things complicated and remember. to laugh. There really is No Day But Today so you might as well fill it with the people that you care about and find a way to make it the best that it can be. Life is tough but it's the people that you choose to surround yourself with that determine how relaxing the "simple moments" can be!

"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just enough baggage." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Struggles of a Gemini

I have been playing a "so called" Tug of War game recently and all I can come up with is... You are a Gemini, it's part of you! The experiences I have had with Bryce have given me so much strength, a lot of independence and shown me that I want to live every moment of my life to the fullest. It has shown me that my needs are important, not just making others happy, which is what I generally do. So the curse of the Gemini "Twins" has set in as I struggle with where I want my life to go.

Let's explore this a little bit. The Gemini loves to entertain, they are magnanimous in offering their friendship to people, they have the gift of gab, they are witty, cunning and can juggle multiple tasks and are usually charismatic. They are possessed of very active minds and bodies, and are often much younger-looking than they really are. But then there is the "other side", the so called TWIN... The Gemini is excessively spontaneous, which can be viewed as reckless and flirtatious. Gemini's can also be very indecisive changing their minds every 15 minutes. Even though they are witty, there are also the times when they cannot simply make up their minds; especially if the matter seems to excite them. They love novelty and change, but in areas concerning love and career, this personality may not work for their own good. The Gemini Likes: Talking, Novelty and the unusual, Variety in life, and multiple projects going at once... The Gemini Dislikes: Feeling Tied Down, Being in a rut, Mental inaction...

So where are you going with this Amy?!? Well, the past few weeks I have been struggling... I feel like I am "in a rut". I feel like I am "tied down" that I need to have "variety in life"... With everything that has happened I kind of feel like I am in a new world, a world where anything is possible and I need to find out what direction I want to go in and where I fit. My whole life I have taken great stride in making sure I keep the "Gemini tendencies" under control. I don't like hearing "Oh you're a Gemini... it's the Twin talking". I have always liked my sign and found that it was fairly true to me, but I have a hard time when people are mad at me so I try and keep the mood swings (per-say) in check. Recently, however, I have found that as i'm searching for my own happiness I am falling into almost every personality trait of the Gemini. As I move forward in my quest for my own happiness I am getting flighty and sporadic, I know what I want hands down, no questions asked one minute and the next I am off in la la land again trying to justify to myself that it would be ok to move forward. I feel like I am in a battle with myself for happiness, trying to figure out how to achieve what I want for me!

"Everyone loves a Gemini because everyone loves a schizophrenic."