Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Been a While

There are many reasons why I haven't blogged since Novemeber, I won't go into all of them. Or any of them! I thought I was blogging here, but it turns out I had logged into an old blog of mine, and have been blogging there for the last few weeks. I have no explanation.

But let me catch you up on what's been going on. 

This was Christmas morning. I love that they line up in the hallway until we tell them they can look at their gifts. They're so cute!

Samuel made All Conference (2nd team) in football. Crazy!

Samuel has played baseball. He made All Confernce for that too.

Anna has loved her dolls well. 

And has turned into a beautiful 11 year old girl.

Daniel is 14 and is as funny as ever.

David is 14 too, of course. They are both driving, and doing great in school. They'll be freshman next year. And by next year I mean in August. Yikes!

Stephen is losing weight like crazy. (Samuel preached on this night)

And I'm loving my kids, (and Stephen of course but he took this picture and couldn't be in it.)

School is out and we're ready for summer. Fun times and lots of sunshine. We're ready!!


A Tree Tail

We have lived in Jonesboro for 7 years now. We have lived here the whole time and like our little area of the world. People ask me if I ever get house envy and as a whole I really don't. I envy nice screened porches, laundry rooms and large front porches, but never has there been a house that I felt I had to have. Ok so there was 1 house we both liked and almost purchased my first summer in real estate but God never gave us complete peace. I love that about our Savior. 

We needed to do tree work when we bought our home but put it off year after year. This past month Randall said to call and get it that I did. I try to do what he says, you know. 

We have taken lots of pictures with our cute boy between these 2 oak trees. It has provided lots of giggles and smiles. I took this picture the day before the tree came down. It was like or little ode to the oak. 

The best part of the oak was that it held this swing that swang my sweet baby day after day.  In fact, when they cut it down the string that held the swing was still in the tree. Henry Patton adored swinging on this oak tree. Honestly, that's why we've kept it...we hated tearing it down for sentimental reasons. We are sappy suckers. 

It's now gone. Henry was checking it out after school as you can see. Our tree guy was raking the last of it up in the background. It was surreal and exciting to see it gone. 

At the road we had 2 ridiculous pine trees uprooting our driveway. We had no sentimental value attached to these and were anxious to see them gone. Bye bye to never ending pine needles. 

Here is the view without the pines. Yay.  Henry had his umbrella checking it out and watching the guys work. He loved coming home from school the two days they were here and observing it all. It was cute and they were most patient and kind to Henry. I appreciated that. 

Here is our home with 3 less trees in the front. We are glad to see more sunlight hit our flowerbeds now because we might actually get good growth on some plants. We were so pleased with the service we received and the ease it was to get it done. 
Ok, this is probably the most boring post in the history of Life With My Sister but I had to record this for my sake. So,  if you plant a tree for tomorrow in honor of John Denver please think about its placement and what it will do when it matures. That's my public service announcement. 

Abby Jo

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"So, Did We Sell It?"

I never mention work much and how it's going. It's been 2 years since I became a Realtor and hit the ground running. I have sold about 5 million in real estate so far and been fortunate to help many wonderful people. I won my first RE/MAX award for my performance in 2014. I wanted this plaque for my office wall so badly and I got it! Now the heat is on to perform at that level or higher. Yikes. It's not like what you watch on HGTV and if it ever resembles that I get scared because that means something is fishy! Ha. It's building relationships through proving myself,  serving as an unlicensed marriage and financial counselor, a logistics coordinator, a stager/decorator, tour guide, and if I do all these right, becoming a friend in the end. It's hard work. It's not 8-5 work. It's round the clock work. I return texts to the stressed out client at 11 pm if need be. I wake up early to catch the night shift nurse before they go to bed if need be. I meet them where they are the best I can. I fail daily but thankfully I succeed enough to keep doing it the next day. 

If it weren't for this man I would have given up and be working at Wendy's by now. Ok, maybe not Wendy's but I'm not sure I would have survived the first year without him guiding me on each transaction. He has the same personality and temperament as Randall so somedays I want to shoot them both or myself. It's quite humorous at times. He helps me reason through the speed bumps and wants me to succeed. There are many other new agents he could have chosen to mentor but he came and chose me after seeing me work hard those first few months. For that I am forever grateful. 

Being able to pick this silly dude up everyday in early carline and bring him home for the day is the best part of it all. I sometimes find myself totally distracted with work while I'm with him in the afternoons and evenings, but I'm weeding through controlling that the best I can. This child knows the real estate lingo better than many adults. He's the best assistant because he's honest. My buyers love him. I don't take him with me unless I have to and only if I have an established relationship with them. I never take him to a listing though because that's just wrong. I like the time he recently asked, "so, did we sell it?" when we got in the car after showing a house. ;) 

This is my headshot I use on everything. I take my safety seriously. I know it's been of great concern lately. I've had one situation that made me uneasy and I corrected it from ever happening again. I don't show to men by myself and I don't meet new clients at dark by myself.  My husband is a great chauffeur at times like these. Everyday is a new day in this business. I just brace myself for the fun and challenges that await me. So, that's an update on work and a big reason I haven't posted regularly in a longtime. I'm trying to change that and become less distracted so I can do this more. Lucky for you 4 people who still read this!! Lol 

Abby Jo 

Friday, May 15, 2015

It Is Well With Me

I thought I would write about my surgery for anyone who reads this that might wonder what the scar was from in my Mother's Day post. The photo above is from the day before my surgery in the snow with my guys. It's the last shot of my neck without a scar. 

This was about 24 hours after the previous snow photo. I was half a thyroid less and looking mighty fine. I was so glad to wake up and hear my mama and husband tell me it was not cancer  and the surgeon left half of it, which means no daily meds. I was prepared for the worst and ready to tackle it head on, but I was so grateful to not have to in the end. The recovery was painful but my generous support system made it bearable. We did not cook a meal for 7 days because our friends rock at reaching out in times of need. We had so much we invited friends over to help us eat it all. My mom came to sit with me a few days and my mil took Henry home for a few days. It was nice to recoup without responsibility. 

I wore a scarf for a week or two because my wound was open and it was a bit gross to look at. I told Randall I felt like Mama June (honey boo boos mom) with my neck oozing stuff time to time and not being able to clean it out real good at first . So Gross but funny. 
I would sit on the couch as much as I could because lying flat was torture for about 3 weeks. It was unreal to think that this little surgery could affect one so much physically. The above picture was taken the day after I got home from the hospital. 

I now just go about life normally. People notice the scar. I wear necklaces over it now but I don't try to hide it. It's life and will be for about 2 years until it fades. People amaze me though. Total strangers (and usually men )will stop me randomly and ask what happened to my neck. I also get the concerned question from  time to time in a shameful low tone, "oh, thyroid?" And I am told how good or bad it looks and how they have a friend who had it done in 1998 etc, blah blah.  I want to answer with something wild to catch them off guard but I'm just too honest and nice. 

My thyroid nodules were discovered through a chest CT that was done because my annual monogram read odd. I am so grateful for modern technology, healthcare and a Savior that carried me through it all.  I found out about it and had the surgery within a few weeks time. 

This link is to the song that was my anthem during this unnerving time of waiting and then having it removed. A sweet friend sent it to me one night and it was perfect. My little Henry knows the chorus well. He listened with me and dried a few tears for me as I processed the situation prior to surgery. I am as good as gold now. Henry asks me everyday when the scar will go away and tells me he doesn't like it. He's a funny guy. 

Randall took  Henry to the hospital gift shop to buy me a little happy. Randall got persuaded into buying me  "Stuffie" . I held on to the neck of that thing my entire hospital say. It was comforting. All in all, this surgery was just a little hiccup in our life and for that we are most grateful! 

Abby Jo

Who's Yo Mama

 This was my 7th Mother's Day being a mama. I love being this boy's mama more than anything. The joy is unmeasurable and so are the gray hairs! 

My husband is the best gift giver and does not skimp on showering me with what I love best  to excessive proportions. He knows it's my love language. The ladies in both of the gift shops know him now and know what I have and don't have yet in my various collections. It really makes my heart melt. I love him for it.  I'm a sucker for a collection. 

The new domed glass "I love you" charm for my necklace was the best. My neck is not the prettiest thing anymore since my surgery but these boys of mine keep adorning it with charms! It's my battle scar and to me it says "it was not cancer so BOOM!" 

After church they took me to downtown Memphis for the day. They know that's my place and we were in need of a Redbirds game before it gets too hot outside. They were giving away shirts for kids to personalize why they love their mother. My sweet Henry said because I play with him.  Yet on his questionare from school he said I loved working all the time and I was 98 years old. Convicting! 

Rocky was posing with some mamas and I hopped on in there and got me one. I have several pictures with Rocky over the years. You have to love that ole bird. Henry would not partake in the photo. Punching his ticket for not going to Disney anytime soon. Saving us money! Lol 

Randall ended our day at The Peabody splitting coconut cake with me and taking me to the roof just like old times. Henry got an ice cream cone. It was fun to show Henry the view from the roof for the first time and see the ducks. 

The icing on the day were these cans from a coke promo at the baseball game. A Coke family of my very own. That's the fizziest and sweetest way to a mother's heart! 

And celebrating these two angels was a pretty joyous thing. We are beyond blessed to have them do life with us daily through texts, calls, face to face visits, Facebook and always being our loudest cheerleaders. 

Abby Jo 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I met Amy Grant and Michael W Smith

My love for all things Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant are real. I saw they were coming together to Memphis for the debut night of their Hymns tour and I was online ready to buy tickets when it went live for purchase. I got front row seats and meet and greet tickets. I bought 2 tickets and asked my friend Autumn to escort me. She's a nurse and good at CPR and knows my health history pretty fair in case I fainted or hit my head if I passed out. 
We were sitting this close. That has no zoom on it. It was unreal and I think I smiled all night and belted out every word with them as they sang. I'm sure the man next to me hated me for it. Amy sang "I got my hopes set high" and I was over the moon ecstatic and then Smitty started playing and singing "Place in this World". It was like my teenage years came alive in my soul. Autumn did not know me then nor did we even have parallel lives back  then so I'm sure she was rethinking the whole CPR thing at that point. I'm glad I didn't need it. She's a great friend to go with me and I'm a pretty cool friend to invite her, truth be told! :) 

  We stood in line for meet and greet for about 1 hour. We meet Michael first. He was quiet and reserved. We are neither of those things. I felt sorry for him when we cut back in line for a photo retake with him. He did laugh at us. I'm surprised he didn't yell "security" though, honestly. I touched him and saw his face and talked to him. It was pretty cool. 

Then this happened. This really happened. We hugged and talked with Amy. Be still my heart. Autumn had to ask about Vince of course (I'm so glad she didn't know about  Gary Chapman or she would have probably asked that too!) and Amy told us where he was playing that night. I told Amy I loved her and she was beautiful and my favorite. I'm sure she was afraid I was going to lick her after my confessions. Autumn asked Amy if her shoes hurt her feet and if she could stand in them all night. We were a mess and she thought we were funny. Amy is a calm, quiet soul and very skinny these days. I admire her soul. 

I'm becoming quite the Michael W Smith groupie lately. I hope to see their Christmas concert this year if my schedule allows. Maybe there's an award for 3 in 1 year?! Oh, and I bought 2 tshirts at the concert. Everyone has made fun of them but I just tell myself they are jealous! Lol 
It was a wonderful night of music. 

Abby Jo 

For the love of the game!

Henry has been so excited about being on a Tball team this year. We were picked to be on the Astros. They are orange and that's Henrys favorite color right now. Our best neighbor friend was picked to be on the team too. We started practicing weeks in advance of our first game and the boys (and 1 girl) had a blast working on their skills and developing a friendship with each other. Watching them get better with each practice was great fun for the mamas and daddys. 

Our little team started winning and winning big each game. At the moment I write this we are still undefeated. We are the only undefeated team in the league. It's exciting but it's not right.  We have 5 year olds on our team. There are 3 or 4 players who are naturally gifted and are practiced with often at home. They of course get put in the key spots on the field. We do not have that player in our home but we have one who loves to play, wants to learn and succeed. When the team gets ahead (look at scoreboard in the photo) the not so naturally gifted get to try those key fielding spots out. This is the one time out of 12 games Henry has stod at the pitchers mound. What I love most is his stature in the photo. He's so confident. I hate that it had to be 13 to 5 to warrant him the chance and it's the only one he has gotten this season. He's 5. It's tball. He just wants to try, touch the ball, throw it and stand and hike his leg up a few times on the mound. Every little guy's dream. 
He's also 5 and very smart. He can count to 100. He can tell time and read a score. He's near brilliant, I know. He knows the only reason he got to stand there is because we had won within the innings allotted and time was still left to play. He still smiles with excitement to be on that mound.(He isn't yet jaded like us, thankfully.) I smile too, but his Daddy fumes about the injustice, and rightfully so. 
This picture on the mound is my fave because the little guy in the outfield is doing what both the naturally gifted and those with just the simple desire to play do at this age in the dirt. They are just little guys who want to have fun and be given an equal chance. They didn't ask to win or dominate the field. We get so excited about winning over and over that we steal their innocence in playing the game. It's shameful. 

My henry is a hitter. He loves the hitting but not so crazy about the "gloving". We were hoping this season would improve that "gloving" aspect. Thankfully, his hitting has been solid and stayed fun for him. He loves to hit and run. His face is precious to watch. I scream and yell for him. It's fun and we try to make the best of it. Then reality strikes. 

When you are driving home from your 5th tball game in 1 week and your child asks "why am I not able to ever touch the ball or run after it. I want to catch it too. Baseball is boring!" it breaks your heart. Aches my heart to try to answer that. At 5 he should not feel like he's not good enough and have in his little sweet head that those naturally gifted baseball boys are "cool". He acts awkward around those boys now and he didn't before we started playing real games. It kills my heart. He's 5. It's not right to play 5 games in one week and never get a chance. It's just not right to play 5 games in 1 week. Period. 

So, it's the 1st game after a little break from the 5 game week and your precious fuming husband has had enough and walks into the dugout and takes this tender hearted, spirited, baseball loving boy off the bench while all the others are on the field and takes him home. While said wife is keeping the official book in the stands because no one else really ever volunteers but the sweet neighbor friend who has a busy toddler in tow. The book is quickly placed in the dugout and the fuming wife and broken hearted mama follow them to the truck. 
What was the breaking point you ask? Well, Henry asked to play pitcher while all the others were getting assigned spots and was told no and sat in dugout and then was told to go to catcher....we were 12 points ahead. Tball doesn't need a catcher, really though. Heaven forbid we loose a game so all the boys get a chance to try, learn and have fun on the field. It's Tball! It's designed for that purpose! 

I know I can't fight his battles as he gets older and I will always respect a coach. I'm a team player. We don't bred quitters in this house. This is 5 year old Tball though.  This isn't time to teach heirchy and winning and loosing.  I didn't sign up for competitive baseball and I sure didn't sign up for weeding through self confidence issues with my innocent 5 year old. These kids don't even have the basic fundamentals of the game mastered. We hope he will want to play again next year and that the confidence he had on that pitchers mound that night will stay with him as he continues to learn the game. We are going back for team pictures and his trophy because he deserves that like every 5 year old boy who shows up and shows out on the field the best he knows how. 

Henry still asks if he can go to baseball practice instead of the ballgame. He says he wishes he had practice instead. That says it all. They just want to play and have fun without keeping score. Shame on me for keeping up with our winning record and not noticing this problem sooner in the season. I love my fuming husband. He always sees it with the best eyes and heart. 

We came home from that game early and played as a family in the yard. We laughed, squealed and had fun while Henry got to do some "gloving". 

 For the love of the game, just let them all have a chance to play and have fun. 

Abby Jo