Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Bid Adieu, to You... 2014!

I had bid adieu to this blog just a little over a year ago, too.
But yesterday, I got this Christmas card in the mail from my Great Aunt Marilyn... and it really made me sad!

She, along with my Mother were my two biggest readers I believe?  And are probably the only one's who miss the blog, besides myself.  So Aunt Marilyn, this is for you!

Maybe I'll make an effort to do a yearly update here?  I don't know that I'd have time for much else these days.  I'm a single Mom now with 3 kids and 3 jobs!  I run a preschool/daycare by day, I give readings by night and every other weekend I am working as a Talent Competition Chairman or Chairwoman rather, with the Miss Texas Scholarship Pageant, Miss America Organization.  To say I am busy, is a serious understatement.

But supplementing child support and caring for my 3 children, while maintaining my commitment to stay at home with them until they're all in school (just 8 more months) requires a lot of juggling, flexibility and creativity!  I get tired, and stressed but I really love being busy and love everything that I do!  So it's all good.

Jeff and I are officially divorced per the Judge as of September 10th @ 8:13am.  It's good to have that chapter closed!
We get along well, for the sake of our own sanity and for the benefit of the children.  He seems much happier and healthier as well since the split, and the kids seem happy and are doing great in school... so you can't argue with results I guess?

When I look back on the year it's really all a blur!  I can't believe how fast time has gone!
But the absolute highlight of our year was our 2 week vacation in August!

We drove from Texas through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California...then back!  The kids were such troopers a breeze to travel with!  God really blessed me with the 3 of the best kiddos around!!

We stopped a lot along the way to explore old abandoned ghost towns, the kids are REALLY into exploring and love old ghost towns, AJ especially!  We stopped at the country's largest Indian Reservation where we bought sage and stones and arrowheads.  We visited the Grand Canyon and the kids and I saw it for the first time, together!
It was breathtaking!

We stayed at my Mom's House for about 5 days and enjoyed the heck out of her garden!  It was HUGE and just overflowing with the daily bounty!  It was so cool!  The kids would wake up every morning and the first thing they wanted to do was go harvest Grandmas Garden!

We also enjoyed visiting Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.  We visited with Uncle Tony and Aunty Debra, Rachel and Griffin!  We visited the strip to see the water shows at the Bellagio, the stingrays in the Forum Shoppes, iced hot cocoas at Serendipity 3, and the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign!

From there we headed over to California for a family reunion where we celebrated my Grandmas 90th Birthday!!  It was a wonderful time out at the lake where I grew up!  I got to take the kids to the house where I grew up and to visit with all of my Dad's side of the family.

 My home where I grew up... love that view!

After the reunion we drove to San Jose and we visited my Great Grandfather, Laurence Bennett's shop.
He owned an automotive shop there in San Jose, and the sign (although damaged) was still there!  Jack thought it was awesome to see his name on the wall of his Great, Great Grandfather's shop... whom he is named after.  It meant so much to me to take the kids back to my home area and share with them all of our families memories.  Of course, we had to stop at Casa de Fruta on the way!  I am happy to report, the cup flipper... though retired, is alive and well!  :)

 The Peacocks in the parking lot were so tame... Maddie tried diligently to pick one up and bring it home!

From there we headed straight over to San Francisco, and the Fort on the side of the Golden Gate Bridge where we could get the best pictures!  Then over to Pier 39... for a proper sourdough bread bowl full of fresh clam chowder!  The kids loved watching the sea lions on the barge below the pier, and pretended to be sea lions... barking for the next hour or more.

We drove from there into Santa Cruz, where I was born and my family lived for many years.  We stayed there 2 days, enough time for me to take the kids to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for some boogie boarding, rides, and fresh salt water taffy!  We wanted to do Yosemite too, but it was on fire and the drought left the falls completely dry, so we didn't waste our time.  I was completely shocked at how low the San Luis Reservoir was passing through there, I had never seen it so low!  Praying that California can get the rain it so desperately needs and rebound from this nasty drought!

 Austin riding the big rides with his cousin Nicole....

We packed a TON into our two weeks and made beautiful memories to last a lifetime!

And last but not least, here are the kids most recent professional photos...

As I look back over the last year, I am at awe at how much we have all grown and changed!
How strong I never knew we all could be!

I still have days where I get down in the dumps a bit, but they're becoming further and far between.
As Jeff says, we have 3 kids together, we're stuck with each other for the rest of our lives whether we like it or not, so we may as well make it a pleasant ride.  And honestly, we are very good at being good friends, so if you have to co-parent with someone and be stuck with anyone, may as well be your friend.  :)
We're both great friends and great parents!  So glad to finally be in this place!

I've learned that Marriage Certificates don't mean forever, and Divorce Decrees don't mean you're done.

Somewhere in the middle is where we reside.
I've had to learn to let go, go with the flow and embrace if not enjoy the process and the journey.

Looking forward to 2015, and all the new possibilities it brings.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year!

Sending all of our love!
Melisa, AJ, Jack and Maddie