Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Moments

Well it seems as if October came and went in a blink of an eye. We've kept ourselves busy with work, time with family, time with friends, lots of laughs, smiles, good moments, good memories and a few tears as we celebrated our first holiday without our little hero. Mckenzie got her first haircut, we searched for the great pumpkin. We spent an "adult" night out with great friends remembering and celebrating all of the amazing kids that have fought and continue to fight childhood cancer. We spent halloween weekend playing outside with friends and Mckenzie discovered her love for candy, chocolate and all good things about Halloween.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The new norm....

Well it's been quite a while since I have posted and our life continues to evolve and change. It's hard to believe that summer is over and fall has arrived, not that you can feel it here in Richmond. I returned to work the beginning of August which has been quite a transition for our family. I've realized since being back that I love my job more than ever and am so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing and supportive people that love and care for my family. Mckenzie is staying with Nana (Scott's mom) on the days that I work and she loves every minute of it. It's been a good transition for all of us and one that is becoming more normal every day.

We took our last summer beach trip the end of August and spent the week in my favorite spot the Outer Banks with some good friends. We enjoyed sunshine, sand and made lots of wonderful memories. Mckenzie is a definite beach girl and loved every minute of being in the sand and water. She is growing like a weed and learning something new everyday which is so fun to see. She is talking up a storm and has developed quite a spirited personality. She rules the roost and oh yes she knows it.... Her new loves are Special Agent Oso, Mickey and Mini mouse, shoes and any sort of bag she can get her hands on... It's amazing to me how different girls and boys are even from the start. As much of a girly girl that she can be, she is also quite rough and tumble. She can hold her own and is quite proud of it.

Scott is busy with work and in his down time is busy being a kid with all of the kids on our street, building rockets and having water balloon fights. My mom once told me that God puts you in a place to prepare you and support you for the road ahead. I believe this more than ever and know that is why we bought our house where we did, when we did. Our street is pretty unique families all within the same age range and about 60 kids ranging from 5 months to 12 yrs (a few may be teens).... Instead of neighbors everyone on the street is like family. Tucker continues to inspire us all and I believe has brought this family closer than ever before. I remain in awe of the love, support and friendship that we continue to feel from all of you.

It's so hard to believe it's been 5 months since Tucker was here with us. Each day is different but not easier. I'm not sure that the loss and void we feel will ever get easier, but we continue to vow to live each day honoring Tucker and try our best to replicate the amazing example of life and living that he taught us all.

So excited that tomorrow is Friday, we are looking forward to a weekend of family fun. We are heading to Mathews Saturday to see Meme and Pop. Can't wait to spend some time together. Meme batten down the breakables.... we'll see you soon... xoxo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 102

It's hard to believe that it's been 102 days since Tucker has been here with us. Days continue to fly by but at times the time seems to stand still. Sunday was Day 100 which would have been the day post transplant that Tucker was free and clear and the day when his immune system would be back to "normal". It was a hard and very emotional day for us, but we put our best foot forward and spent the day with some family at the National Zoo in DC. Mckenzie loved all of the animals and loved running with her cousins. She amazes me that she can keep up with them and never seems to miss a beat. I sometimes forget that she is only 17 months old.

Our summer has been busy and July seems to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. Mckenzie and I spent several weeks in one of our favorite spots... Nags Head NC. We started our trip out with some wonderful friends, then moved on to spend the week with Meme and Pop, and ended the vacation with the Armstrong family. Mckenzie became quite a beach girl during our stay. She loves the sand, loves the ocean and would kick and scream when it was time to leave. Perhaps she is more like me than I realized... She still carries her beach bucket around the house and outside asking me to go to the beach. We are looking forward to one more trip before summer ends. Mckenzie is turning into a little girl more and more each day. She is talking more everyday, loves to play outside and like her brother continues to just enjoy the simple things in life.

Saturday was the dedication of Tucker's memorial garden. The service was beautiful and we were surrounded by close friends and family the entire day. The kids made stepping stones and brought them to place in the garden. They are such a perfect touch that makes the garden look complete for sure. When we arrived at the garden I couldn't help but notice almost a dozen yellow butterflies flying around. They stayed there all day and provided such a sense of comfort to me. Perhaps it was a sign that ideed we had Tucker's approval and he was just as excited about the garden as we are.

We continue to gain strength from our family, and wonderful friends each day. Thank you will never be enough and I'm not sure you all realize how amazing you all have been throughout this journey. I'm not sure where we would be without all of your calls, visits, outings, talks and good times. Your love and support means more to us than you will ever know!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Yellow Butterfly

Wow this month has quickly passed us by. We are continuing to take it one day at a time and finding joy in each moment we have with each other and our family and friends. Scott is back into his routine with work and Mckenzie and I are keeping very busy, or should I say Mckenzie is keeping me very busy. In the past few weeks she now runs everywhere.... walking is a thing of the past and is talking up a storm. She now says thank you and love you and her favorite go outside mommy.... she is a chip off the old block and wants to spend every waking moment outside no matter the temperature... We've started walking in the mornings which is a great start to our day and then spend the rest of the day at parks, playgrounds, the pool or just our backyard. She like her brother seems to find joy in all the simple things and just is happiest being with family and friends.

Tucker continues to consume our daily thoughts and his spirit continues to shine everywhere we go. Missing him doesn't get any easier, I must say as days go by we miss him even more and continue to talk about him all day every day.... I've always believed in "signs" or someones spirit returning in a different form but Scott wasn't a believer until just recently. Several of Tucker's best buddies and their parents have shared stories with us on different occasions about the yellow butterfly. Jackson's mom emailed me one day several weeks ago and shared with me that since Tucker passed away, their has been a yellow butterfly that will appear whenever Jackson is playing outside or riding his bike and will chase him around. Not just on one occasion but very frequently. She told me that she just felt like it was Tucker playing with him. The following week Jack's mom and Dad had the kids down by the creek watering Tucker's garden and pulling weeds and she called me that evening to tell me that there was a yellow butterfly that was at the garden the whole time they were there. It chased Jack and Maddie around and even let Jack pet it for a while. It only left when Scott and Mckenzie drove by in the Jeep and then came back. So I shared these stories with Scott and he just gave me a look like neat but you're crazy..... Well since that day a yellow butterfly appears on a daily basis no matter where we are or what we are doing. Yesterday, Mckenzie and I went to visit my Mom and Dad, my sister and her family in Mathews. Not long after we arrived, we were in my parents sun room and my sister said, look Mom there is a butterfly near your butterfly bush... yep you guessed it, it was a yellow butterfly. I could go on and on with stories about where they have appeared in the past few weeks but it is somewhat comforting to know that he is always with us.

Scott and I were able to get away just the 2 of us I (and believe it or not the yellow butterfly would make at least one appearance everyday) last week for a much needed get away. We spent the week together and were able to decompress a bit, relax and enjoy some time just the 2 of us. Mckenzie spent the week with Nana and Grandad and had a blast. I'm thinking Nana and Grandad might need a vacation now that we are home. I'll post some updated pictures soon of our trip as well as Miss Mckenzie, she is getting so big!! We continue to be strengthened so much by all of your continued thoughts, prayers, phone calls, emails, cards and visits. Faith, good friends and an amazing family is the only way we are getting through this new phase of our journey.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer sun...

Wow, it's hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend has passed and that summer has arrived. It was a hot, humid, sunny weekend here in Richmond. We spent the weekend close to home, playing outside and spending some time at the pool. Mckenzie loves the water and is going to be quite a handful at the pool this summer. She has no fear of the water and spent lots of time walking around socializing and making new friends.... reminds me of someone else I know :-) She refuses to wear a hat and decided that she would encourage all of the other kids around her not to wear their hats too.... she would walk up to them and try to pull their hats off of their heads... Oh yes, she would walk up to them, take their hat off and just giggle....

Scott spent most of the weekend with the demolition and rebuilding of our deck. It's a project that has been on our "to do" list since we moved here and a project that Scott is very excited to be in the midst of. He made great progress this weekend and I can't wait to see the finished project. I had my first "productive" weekend that I have had in months which was such a good feeling. I am laughing while I type this because I didn't do anything extraordinary, just things that most do on a daily basis that I haven't been able to complete in quite a while. A sense of accomplishment for doing just ordinary tasks is a step in the right direction. I grocery shopped, ran errands, did laundry, and fixed dinner all in the same day..... huge accomplishment and something that Scott still laughs about when I start to toot my own horn....

Scott and I started grief counseling several weeks ago and our counselor asked us last week, "Do you feel like normal everyday tasks are a chore?" She is so right... it's all a part of grief and will get easier with time for sure, but for now it's nice to know that what we are going through what is "normal" for this stage in the game. Mckenzie, like her brother loves being outside and even woke up yesterday morning before 7:00 saying bye- bye, go outside..... looks like it's going to be a long hot summer outside and I can't wait!! In between working on the deck and my "productivity" we did spend time friends, celebrated Maddie's 2nd birthday and finished the weekend off with a cookout with lots of good food and good friends. I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend filled with sunshine, laughter and lots of good memories...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"First Times"

Well it's been one month today since Tucker was here with us. As weird as it may sound, days go by fast but at the same time it seems as if time stands still. It seems like so much longer than one month since I have heard his voice or seen his smiling face. We continue to cope with this one day at a time and find great comfort in talking about him very often throughout the day and looking at pictures and videos. We are trying very hard to continue to live each day to the fullest and to honor Tucker as gracefully as we know how. The lessons he taught us continue to amaze me and I start each day when I wake up reminding myself how Tucker started each day of his life.... Excited, happy and with a huge smile on his face. There are days when this task is pretty difficult, but waking up to Mckenzie calling my name and seeing her smiling face puts it all in perspective and makes it all worthwhile!!!

Scott is back at work and Mckenzie and I are trying to establish our own "normal" routine as well. She keeps each day new, different and exciting and keeps us both on our toes always!!! She is so much like her big brother and is growing and changing everyday. She is running and babbling up a storm. I can't wait to understand everything she is trying to tell me, she definitely is going to be a talker for sure. She is such a happy go lucky, go with the flow kind of girl and loves to be outside just like her brother!! Days are filled with many bittersweet moments and always consist of "first times" for our family. First times of places we go without Tucker or things we do for the first time without him. We spent this weekend in the Outer Banks with some good friends. As most of you know, it's my favorite place on earth and a place I have always wanted my kids to love just as much as I do. Although I know Tucker was with us in spirit as always, it was still a bittersweet trip for me. He always loved the beach, loved the sand and loved going to surf shops, all of which we introduced Mckenzie to this weekend. It was very relaxing and a nice change of pace for all of us. Saturday was a beautiful day on the beach, followed by an awesome dinner on the sound and a night with friends under a clear starry sky. Mckenzie did great, loved the beach, loved being with other kids and most of all just loved being outside running and playing.

We continue to be so thankful for all of the love, support, prayers and acts of kindness that all of our amazing friends and family continue to share with us. Your cards, calls, visits, and meals have meant the world to us. We continue to get through this new part of our journey one day at a time and are so lucky to have you all as a part of our life. I'm new to the blogging world but hope to figure out pictures and other fun features of this site very soon.... :-) Have a great Monday, we love you all!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One day at a time......

I've tried to end my caring bridge page for days now and decided that it might help if I started a blog of my own.... I'm hoping this blog will be as therapeutic for me in the coming weeks and months as caring bridge has been for me over the past year. We are trying to establish "normal" again and have vowed to each other that we will continue to LIVE STRONG just as Tucker lived his every day as the Armstrong's.... what a fitting title for the blog... Keep us in your prayers it's going to be a long hard road ahead. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing family, friends and neighbors. We wouldn't have made it this far without you.... We love you all!!