Saturday, January 12, 2013

September 3, 2012: Silas Turns 4!

Sweet Silas!  I can't believe he turned four all ready.  So much has happened in his precious short life.  He has averaged living in a different house each year of his life: one in Florida and two in California.  He was such a trooper for his birthday.  His birthday was the day the boys and I were headed back to Texas.  My dad had agreed to help us drive back this time since we would be pulling a Uhaul, and I didn't have any experience driving with a trailer attached to the van.

He loved being the center of attention on his special day.  He had a detailed cake in mind, but I am so thankful that he chose and ice cream cake when I gave him that option.  He picked the colors himself.  For the second year in a row, he got a new bicycle for his birthday.  His little one wasn't going to last much longer so we decided to go ahead and get him a new one.  He was thrilled but upset that the bicycle had training wheels on it.  That was an easy fix, and he was off riding right away.

Silas with his brothers

Silas found his bicycle hidden in the Uhaul
Silas trying out his new bicycle before we put it in the  Uhaul to make the trip to Texas
When Granddad arrived, he arrived with a gift for him to enjoy as well.  The fun wasn't over yet.  Once we got to Texas, he got to have a birthday with his cousins.  Nana did a great job in making a cake more to his specifications. I'm glad he was able to feel special even during all of the changes going on in our life.

Silas is such a joy!  He is full of life and loves to talk.  He wakes up talking and tends to talk right up until he goes to sleep.  His last words at night are usually, "Mom, I love you."  Just precious!  He is constantly on the go.  He loves being out and about whether it's the park or the grocery store.  He enjoys anything related to outside which fits in with the rest of his brothers.  He wishes he and Levi were twins so they could be the same age.  Even though he is pretty independent, he wants to do whatever Levi can do. It's so much fun to see.  In turn, he is Levi's protector.  If Levi has a hard time with something, Silas is right there to help him.  I love watching them together.  So, Happy Belated Birthday Silas!

Silas with the cake Nana made for him
Silas with his new golf clubs from Nana and Granddad

Mary's Kitchen

September 1, 2012
Before leaving Cali for Texas, the boys wanted to go help at Mary's Kitchen one more time.  I am so thankful that the boys have a heart to serve.  Kerry and I feel that's important to instill in our boys.  I will say, the church we are leaving teaches the importance of serving even at a young age which is one of the many things I will miss.

The little ones hadn't been to Mary's Kitchen.  While I stayed home to pack some more, Kerry took all four boys to help. He came back saying how great they did!  They were all such good helpers!  It made me proud.  I felt bad that I couldn't go, but knew the house wasn't going to pack itself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

August 2012

 We started our drive back to California on August 1st.  It was bittersweet.  The boys were filled with excitement to finally be going home.  They were looking forward to seeing the things they had left behind, play with friends, and go to church.  All of those things had been sorely missed.

However, for me, I knew I was driving back to something different.  After much prayer, Kerry and I felt it was best for us to move back to Texas to be near his mother.  It was such a difficult decision to make. We prayed so much.  One of our biggest concerns was our oldest.  He loved Florida and moving to California the second time hadn't been easy for him. He had finally grown to enjoy California again.  He loved our church and his friends.

I was so happy to be back, to go to church where I loved to be, to see people I hadn't seen in so long, and to sleep in my own bed.  But I was also sad.  I would be leaving a place I had come to love so much. The boys took the news pretty well.  And then the packing began. For the majority of August, I packed, made plans to immerse the boys in activities in East Texas that September, and plan for school for the fall - for four boys.

August 4, 2012 - The three littles were thrilled to be back at church just in time for face painting!

August 23, 2012 - The boys enjoyed spending some extra time with Mrs. Deanna before leaving for Texas.
Caleb was thrilled to find this snake on one of our hikes while still in Cali

August 28, 2012 - The boys with our favorite dentist, Dr. Lee.  We will miss him and his kind staff!
August 29, 2012 - One last trip to the beach.  I'm sure going to miss it!

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Lord Heard Me and Answered

The fall of 2012 was a difficult one for me.  Some of the emotions are still raw, but they are healing.  One of the things I struggled with was my oldest growing up and how to parent an 11 year old, now 12 year old.  Day after day, I was calling Kerry, because I was at my wits end.  So, we put our oldest in the school at our church.  He loved it.  I cried.  I had let myself burn out.  I felt like a complete failure and wondered how I could go on being a mom. 

In February of 2012, I was able to attend a Mom Heart conference by Sally Clarkson.  It was amazing!  God knew I needed to be there.  It almost felt he had planned it just for me.  I went by myself, but other ladies joined my table, all from the city I lived and one went to the church we were at.  As I listened to the conference, God used that time to teach me so much about myself.  I was finally away from it all and able to listen to Him and what He wanted from me.  I was exhausted by the end of the two days, because I had so much information to process floating in my head.  He was able to show me some of the mistakes I had been making, and I was able to accept it. 

One thing the Lord revealed to me there was that I was supposed to be homeschooling all of my boys, not just the three little ones.  I have always felt that homeschooling was the best option for our family, but I walked away from the conference with a confirmation that this is what He wanted for our family.  But the current problem was I had one that was no longer at home.  And he loved school.  And our relationship hadn't been that good. 

So, I started praying.  Asking God to forgive me for mistakes I had made, to help me change, and to give me another chance to homeschool all of my boys again.  I told Him I would do whatever it took.  And He answered in a way I never would have expected - my mother-in-law got sick.

Caleb came for the summer to Texas after school was out and our relationship began to heal.  Summer was full of fun.  He got to do the things he didn't get to do much in California - fish, catch creatures without getting stopped by the park ranger, and get dirty.  As we were out for a walk one night, Caleb saw an empty lot and said we should just buy it and live there.  I asked him where he would go to school.  He said if we lived there he would just homeschool again. Wow!  I was shocked.  I thought he might say he would go to school where his dad went or that it had been a bad idea.  Healing was happening.

Kerry and I had been praying ever since his mom had the heart attack about moving back.  At this time, the boys didn't know we felt it best to move back, but we knew.

I never thought God would answer this way.  Caleb has been homeschooled since the beginning of this year along with his brothers. I feel at peace again that I am doing what God wants me to do. It isn't easy homeschooling four boys while living in someone's  home that isn't yours, but we are making it work. On pleasant days, we take all of our school stuff to the park or lake and learn outside. I think I enjoy it as much as they do.  I miss learning outside on these cold days and am looking forward to the warmer days of spring.

Thank you, God, for hearing me.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

July 2012

We had a very busy July.  My mother-in-law had doctor's appointments and rehab, but the boys and I managed to fit in plenty of fun. 

Fourth of July
We spent Fourth of July in Arlington.  Our morning started early as the three littles wanted to go to the parade with Brock, Braxton, and RyAnn.  Nana was a trooper to go with us while Granddad and Caleb opted to stay at the house.

Silas, Levi, and Josiah before the parade
Aunt RyAnn and Silas
Nana and Josiah
Caleb hanging out before the fireworks started
July 5, 2012
We didn't get to stay long in Arlington, but we made up for it by spending some time at the pool.  The boys never seemed to tire of swimming.  The great thing was they were always ready to relax when we got back to Granny's house.

July 10, 2012
The boys loved spending time at Lake Gladewater this summer.  Silas was especially thrilled to find baby frogs all over the place.  I think he loved a few to death, but he just thought they were sleeping. 

Silas with his frogs

July 11, 2012
Today, Kerry and I celebrated 14 years of marriage away from one another.  To make up for it, the boys and I spend time at the pool and at the lake.  No one complained, especially since it had been raining and there were fun mud puddles to explore.

Silas with a frog he found.
Silas and Josiah playing in the mud.
Caleb helped Levi catch a fish.  Levi wasn't up to holding it but was excited anyway.

July 13, 2012
My newest nephew, Brycen Jack was born on July 12, 2012. It was so much fun to meet him the following day, the 13th.  He was precious.  Josiah and Silas who came with me to the hospital agreed with me.  They would love another little one in the house.  
Me, Brycen, Josiah, and Silas
July 15-19, 2012
Granddad, Nana, and myself, took six boys to San Antonio for a little vacation.  It was wild!  But all of the boys had a wonderful time. I think we were all worn out, because the boys could go and go and go without stopping.  I admit that I was thankful for all of the swimming we had done leading up to this trip. Levi was a great little swimmer and Silas could swim short distances.  We spent most of our time at the pool or lazy river. We also discovered the nature trail.  The boys also had fun going to the Alamo complete with the scavenger hunt and the river boat cruise on the river walk.

Time for Smores!
Riverboat cruise
July 26, 2012
Josiah turns 7!  He was looking forward to turning 7. He got to celebrate with his cousins and helped design his birthday cake. 

Josiah with his birthday cake
July 27, 2012
One of the things Josiah wanted to do for his birthday was go golfing, not just the driving range. So, Granddad and I took him golfing while Nana stayed with the other three.  He did great, even beating me on the first hole.  I think he thought all of them would be that easy and started to get discouraged when each hole didn't come as easy.  Once he realized how bad mom used to be, he was good.  He got tired around the 6th or 7th hole but carried his bag without complaint.  I enjoy golfing, so it's fun to see him enjoy it too.

Granddad and Josiah
After celebrating Josiah's birthday, it was time to get ready to drive back to California.  We were so excited to be going home, but Kerry and I knew that there were some big changes ahead for our family.  We were praying that our boys would take the upcoming changes well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Rest of June 2012

 June 20th-22nd  - As much as we wanted to spend time as a family, Kerry and I needed some time just the two of us. We haven't taken two nights away together since before Caleb was born.  It was nice to know that the little ones had already spent some time with Nana and Granddad and were looking forward to their own trip now that big brother was here.  We were all headed in the same direction at the beginning, so we decided to stop in Waco for lunch and a quick stop at Baylor.  After that we headed our separate ways - the boys with Nana and Granddad to San Antonio and Kerry and I to Spicewood, TX.  I have to admit, after staying busy for so long, it felt kind of weird not having any responsibilities for a couple of days.  It was great to get away, and I learned a lesson - don't worry about cooking (which I did) and just go out to eat.  I think I would have been able to relax a little more.  Oh well.

Our cabin for a couple of nights
June 23rd-30th -Kerry spent a few more days with us in East Texas, before he headed back to California.  At this point we began to feel God wanted us back in Texas, but we didn't quite have all of the details yet.  The three little ones enjoyed spending time with Daddy, and it was great being reunited with Caleb.  One thing I knew was that we would have to keep busy during the day since I have four active boys.  While Kerry was there, I got my fishing license and signed up for a summer swim membership so we could stay busy for the summer. 

Enjoying the pool

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Reunited - June 19, 2012

June slowly ticked by as we went to doctor appointments, ended the school year, and spent sweet time with my three little ones.

June 19th finally arrived when we would all be together again - at least for a little while.  The little ones were so excited to see Daddy and Caleb!  They even made signs to bring to the airport along with balloons.  No one could miss the Mackeys at the airport that day.

May 2, 2012 - June 3, 2012

We arrived back in Texas on Wednesday, May 2. We survived the trip this time with bringing the dog.  My mother-in-law was in the hospital until Friday, May 4, so our first two days were spent going back and forth to the hospital.  Part of the following week was spent trying to get back into a routine of some sort. 

I have to admit I was thankful to be here in Texas for Mother's Day weekend.  I was able to go to the Arlington Home School Bookfair while my parents took care of the three little ones.  This was also the first year I have gotten to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom since 2005.  With the weather becoming nice, the boys and I started spending more time at the park, even bringing school along so we could enjoy as much fresh air as possible. 

The week of the 21st found us taking my mother-in-law for pre-op for a pacemaker followed by the surgery on the 23rd.  If I recall (and all the dates are running together), I believe this was the surgery we had to get to the hospital really early.  I was thankful my brother-in-law was able to come.  It still wasn't easy getting three little ones to the hospital by 5am. Once again, I was so proud of them for their behavior in the hospital.  I think we were there for 6-7 hours before leaving.  We also came back that night to spend some time with her.  I was amazed that she was ready to come home the following day. 

Just as we thought things were getting better, she had a doctor's appointment on the 31st for a follow up on her pacemaker.  By this time, I had learned to be prepared with the boys.  I always had one to two bags packed with things to do - books, toys, gameboys, ipad, dvd players, etc.  At the follow up appointment, we were told to go straight to the hospital.  The doctor wanted to do another surgery that day as he was going out of town the following day and wanted it done.  In a little bit of a shock, I grabbed the boys (and me) some lunch and started driving to the hospital while making phone calls.  We were at the hospital for a really long time this time.  The boys were amazing.  They had already been to one doctor and now were in the hospital for a really long time.  We went home that evening with plans to come back in the morning (but not too early).

I received a call the following morning from her, that the surgery didn't work and the doctor was taking her back to surgery.  By this time, I couldn't handle much more. I called my parents saying I needed some help.  I threw things in a suitcase for the boys and headed to the hospital.  Before I could get there, she was already in surgery.  I was able to talk to the doctor after the surgery and he was pretty certain this took care of the problem.  Her sister and brother-in-law arrived, and I drove the boys half way for my dad to take them back to Arlington.  Once I dropped them off, I went back to the hospital. 

The following day, I woke with a stomach ache.  I barely made it to the hospital. Right before we were to leave, she started not feeling well.  The on call doctor decided to keep her a little longer to give her some fluids.  I went home and had to call a friend of hers to bring her home.  I felt bad that I couldn't do it, but I couldn't get out of bed I felt so bad.  I stayed in bed pretty much the entire time until I had to pick the boys up Sunday afternoon. 

Boys swimming in the backyard

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back to Texas - May 1, 2012

Before I left my mother-in-law to return to California, I told her if she needed me, I could come back after Caleb's birthday.  Well, Caleb's birthday was on Tuesday, April 24th and on Wednesday morning, April 25th, I received a phone call from one of her friends saying that she was headed back to the hospital.  Wow!  I'm not even sure I had finished unpacking.  To make matters even more challenging, Kerry was headed out of town on Thursday, April 26th and wouldn't return until Monday, April 30th.  So, we made plans for me to start driving on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

To say the week before I left was tough would be an understatement.  It was super emotional.  Just as I was saying hello, I was saying goodbye again.  We had spent only 5 nights together as a family before Kerry left and then had just one more night together before I left.  There were also some other issues that just left me feeling raw.  This time, I left not knowing how long I would be gone.  How much should I pack?  What should I let the boys bring this time?  Basically, I let the three littles bring as much as we could fit in and on top of the car.  Bicycles were strapped down to the top of the car this time.  Golf clubs were packed again and lots of random things.  And I brought the dog this time.

We were already planning a family trip to Texas this summer to meet my newest nephew who was due in July and had a trip planned with my parents to San Antonio.  We decided it was best for me to stay there at least until then, with Kerry bringing Caleb when school was finished. At this point, we also began praying what was best for us long term.  We didn't want to be separated as a family indefinitely.  We didn't hear any clear answers from God at this point, but kept our hearts open to hear Him.  It wasn't as tough pulling out of the driveway this time as it was before, but it still wasn't easy.