Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Kohen

Mimi came to see Kohen and give him his gifts the day before his birthday.  (She was out of town on his birthday)

She got some GOOD Kohen hugs an kisses :)

 On his birthday I woke him up singing Happy Birthday to You.  He was BEAMING!  He was grinning from ear to ear.  He said "Mommy?  It's MY birthday?  I'm 4???"  I said "Yes Baby!  It's your birthday and you are FOUR!!!"

We started the day off with his preschool class on a field trip to one of the teachers houses.  There were pumpkins, animals and snacks.  He loved it!


 I don't guess I got a picture of the goat and chickens!

 Poor Saylor had a doctor appointment and had 6 shots that morning...  Jason brought her to the party after the appointment.

Kohen was SOOOO excited when I told him he could ride the bus back to school!  This momma had to give up some control and overprotection to allow this to happen!  Luckily the school was only a few blocks away!  Plus I knew he was in very good hands :)

 He barely told me bye, he was so excited to get on!

Kohen was super excited when his Daddy came to pick him up from school on his birthday!

While Jason was picking him up, I was getting his little "Family Party" set up.  We didn't have a big party this year.  I just have not been in a good state of mind to get a big party together.  Kohen is so shy that I figured he would enjoy the one on one time with his mommy and daddy more.

This is Kohen coming in the kitchen realizing that one of his dreams has come true... a Star Wars birthday cake!

This kid LOVES Darth Vadar!  I don't even know if I spelled that right but I had to document it!  I don't think he knows he's a "bad guy"... He hasn't even seen Star Wars... but he loves him & anything Star Wars!!!  So I got him Darth Vadar balloons and a cake.

When we started singing Happy Birthday, he got VERY shy!  He wouldn't uncover his eyes!

He loved his #4 candle :)

  By the way, Saylor slept through the whole thing!  I don't think Kohen even noticed, lol

Birthday Kiss :)

 Later that day we took Kohen to Play Time Pizza.  We were pretty much the only people there the whole time!

This, hands down, was his favorite game.  All he wanted to do was play the airplane game!

Roller Coaster game


 High five!

So he's a little past the line... Oh well!  It's his Birthday!

The pizza was too hot!  He kept saying "blow it mommy!"

Cooling off his pizza :)

Now it's just right!

 Love my baby boy!
 and....Back to the airplane game!

Jason took off work ALL day to spend with Kohen!

Kohen Pryor Smith,
I love you more than you'll ever know.  I love that you look like your Daddy but have the attitude of your Momma!  You are HILARIOUS and make me belly laugh everyday.  You are SO smart.  I can tell you a small simple detail about something random and you will remember it MONTHS later.  Your memory is unbelievable.  You just amaze me!  You love school, you love your sister and you love your mommy and daddy.  We are so lucky that God chose you to be our son!  You don't know how much you have helped me the past 6 months.  You are always concerned when Mommy is sad and you always make sure that you tell me "It's all ok, Mommy".  You wrap your arms around me and give the best hugs.  You make me so happy.  I love it when you make me dance in the car to the many songs of Rio, I love when you make me race around the car to try and beat you to your seat and say "I got first place" when I open the door.  You love taking a bath.  You love super heros, toy guns (ugh), swords, airplanes, the Wii, snacks, playing with friends and running around like a wild child.  You love to sing and when Saylor is crying, you always sing to her and she immediately stops crying.  You are such a good big brother.  I am so so so very proud of you sweet baby boy. 
 I Love You, 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grief Share

I have been going to grief counseling every Sunday since the day after Saylor's first birthday.  My Mom and I go together.  I can't tell you how scary it was the first time I walked into that grief share room.  The chairs were in a small circle with a small group of people.  When the meeting started, I was the first one to talk.  I said "My name is Stephanie Smith, I'm from Conway and my Dad died".  My Mom immediately started crying.  She said through her sobs that she was "sorry and she hated to hear me even say those words".  My mom told everyone what happened to my Dad.  There were lots of tears from both of us.  We left that meeting not really knowing if it helped or hurt us.  The next week, we went again to give it another try.  From that meeting on, we pretty much live for our Sunday afternoon Grief Share small group.  We have become a very close group.  We feel safe when we're together and we can say anything.  I usually completely break down in front of everyone and cry while trying to talk.  That sounds awful, but it's good to get it out.  I like listening to their stories too.  Several have lost a parent and several have lost a husband or wife, two have lost a child.  It's good to hear how they are coping and what works for them and what doesn't work for them.
One of the best pieces of advise I've learned in coping with the death of my Dad is "Do the Next Thing".  My mom and I live by this.  When we find ourselves completely overwhelmed with grief we tell ourselves "Do the next thing"... for me that's usually changing a diaper or starting a load of laundry.  I go.  I do it.  Then I do the next thing, and the next and the next.  Those words are what gets me through the day.
I did not attend my meeting last Sunday.  That was the day I found out about my friend Matt.  I just couldn't do it.  I needed to stay home with my husband and kids.  My Mom went by herself.  Yesterday's meeting was a good one.  It was about forgiving people who don't understand.  I get so angry sometimes when people tell me they know how I feel (and they don't). Or when they say things like "he's in a better place" or "It was his time".  True or not, it's NOT what I want to hear.  Also in the meeting, they touched on the subject of regret.  I regret going home after Cindy's wedding and not going to the hospital for the last 15 minutes of visiting hours the night he died.  I was just so tired.  I knew I would be back at the hospital at 6am the next morning and be there all day.  Little did I know he would be gone a few hours later.  
For the people who don't understand, I'm sure they are thinking I should be better by now.  It's been 5 1/2 months.  But I'm not better.  The grief is still as raw as it was the night it happened.  I don't see that ending any time soon.  Also in my meeting we've discussed how some people try to rush your grief.  They are just ready for you to be happy again.  Unfortunately you can't rush your grief.  It takes as long as it takes.
So today it Monday, which means it's going to be a long time until my next meeting on Sunday.  So, for now, I'm going to "do the next thing" and clean my messy kitchen.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Matt Turner

A good friend of mine died in a car accident this past Saturday.  Matt Turner.  I've known Matt since we were in Mrs. Clark's class together in kindergarten.  I can still remember Matt wearing this tall black fuzzy "British" hat with a strap around his chin in Mrs. Clark's class.  He would go around the room to the girls, take it off and say "Good Day".  Ever since kindergarten, Matt has been one of the funniest people I know.  I will never forget, in fourth grade, Mrs. Linn's class, Matt decided it would be funny to hide underneath the big "world"bean bag.  He would make noises during class and make Mrs. Linn question what was going on.  When she figured out that Matt was underneath that bean bag, she sent for his mother (who was secretary at the school at the time).  Matt was not allowed to get out from underneath that bean bag until him mother got there...  He WAS the class clown throughout our WHOLE K-12.  In high school, I was lucky to be close to Matt.  I credit a lot of that friendship due to the fact that I was dating one of his really good friends.  He ALWAYS respected me and I respected him as well.  His mom was now secretary at our high school and she would always allow me to call my mom and get permission to "go home and use the bathroom" LOL!!!  We LOVED having Mrs. Turner at our school!  One of my best memories is Spanish class and that dang iguana....  I guess Matt and Tony will only know what happened to that thing...such an ordeal!  Matt always signed EVERYTHING with his football number.  I've gone back and read all my yearbook signatures... even back in elementary school and he ALWAYS had a number!  The one I remember the most... #8.  Matt was our quarterback.  I was a cheerleader so I cheered and cheered and cheered for him as well as cheering on my boyfriend.  He was/is one of a kind.  Fast-forwarding... not only did Matt make an impact on my life, his Dad did too.  Years after high school, my "fiance" and I were struggling.  We went to talk to Matt's Dad, Gary.  He was so kind.  He helped me/us more then he will ever know.  When Matt's father passed away, I was living in Kansas City and was unable to make it to the funeral.  I emailed my mom and dad a message I wanted them to print out and give to Matt at his dad's visitation.  It basically told Matt how appreciative I was of his Dad and how he helped my then ex fiance and I move on.  This family is just amazing.  And to add to it...  Matt's wife Julee is one of the most beautiful, sweetest people I know.  She has such a kind heart.  I'll never forget when Julee published on her blog that she and Matt had been struggling to have a baby.... and I became pregnant with Saylor around the same time... she was the first person I emailed about me being pregnant.  I felt so guilty that I got pregnant so quickly and she and Matt had been struggling.  She was so sweet and told me that "God had a plan for her and Matt" and that she knew that this "next year would be great".  And it was.  About 3 months after that conversation, she announced that she was indeed pregnant!!!  I was SO SO SO SO SO excited.  I've enjoyed getting closer to Julee through our blogs.  I've enjoyed watching Matt as the new anchor man on channel 11.
How I found out...
I was sleeping and I heard my sisters' ring tone early in the morning this past Sunday.  I didn't answer.  My phone was in the kitchen.  I heard her call again and I thought to myself "She's just calling back to leave a message".  Then the THIRD time it rang, I quickly got out of bed and answered the phone.  She said "Have you heard?".  I said "no.....but if it's bad news, I can't handle it".  She said, ok, I won't tell you.  Then I was curious...  never imagining what I would hear next, I said "tell me".  She said "Matt Turner was killed in a car accident last night".  I said "No".  Then I yelled "NO".  Then I was screaming and crying "NOOO".  All I could say was "JULEE!!!! PRESLEE!!!! LISA!!!! ANDY!!!!!!!NOOOOO".  THIS IS HORRIBLE, THIS IS AWFUL, THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!!!!!!  NOT TO THEM!!!!!  Jason immediately rushed out of our bedroom because he could hear me in the kitchen.   It woke Kohen up as well and he just kept saying "What's wrong Mommy?"... poor baby knows all too well about death at such a young age.  He understood that Mommy's friend was in heaven just like PopPop.  I had Jason drive me to my mom's house.  I needed her so bad even though I knew it would upset her so much to hear this news.  Her heart already ached for Lisa because of the loss of Gary and now Lisa has lost her son.  Unimaginable.
The past couple of days have just been heartbreaking.  I hate knowing that they are having to pick out a suit and tie to burry him in.  I hate that they're having to sit around that awful table at the funeral home and make sure all the spelling and dates are correct on the obituary.  I hate that they're having to decide on songs and the order of events during the ceremony.  I hate that Julee's having to decide if her 32 year old husband will be buried with his wedding ring or not.  I hate that Preslee lost her Daddy that loved her so much.  I hate that Julee lost her husband, I hate that Lisa lost her son, I hate that Andy lost his brother and I hate that my friend is gone.  I do not understand.