Friday, September 30, 2011

constant reminder

It was two years ago that the worst news of my life came along with some of the best. My brother was killed on Aug. 19, 2009 and then 9 days later I gave birth to our sweet little girl named Myla. She was born on Aug. 28, 2009 on the same day that my family was at Ft. Eustis attending Paul's memorial service. So many mixed emotions. How could I even bring a smile to my face when all I wanted to do was cry. My brother was just home two weeks priar, making fun of how big my stomach was and how he couldn't wait to see this little baby. He never got that chance. She will never get to know her amazing uncle. Myla had been a blessing and continues to be one every single day. Her name means "merciful" which is perfect for this sweet little girl. She is laid back, kind, sweet, loving and compassionate. Even at her young age she worries for others. She runs to her sister when she is hurt, she asks if she is OK, she is loving. She's everything we needed during this time in our life.

For her first photo shoot I used Paul's baby quilt. I then decided that every year after, I would capture her growth with a piece of us that is missing and with a piece that reminds us of a hero. Paul's quilt is cherished in this house and one day Myla will learn about a wonderful uncle who is waiting on her in heaven. Happy Birthday Myla even though it's a tad late.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

whirl wind trip

Vacation time. I loved it, we had a good time and I want to go back! This trip couldn't have gone any better, smoothly, or more relaxed. Yes, we went to Disney World but no we did not run around like banshee warriors. We took our time, strolled, ate lots of food, swam, got some sun, played in the pool and laughed lots. The kids had fun, we had fun and basically that's all that matters in the end. We went down and met up with my parents and the boys. We all stayed at the All Star Resort, did two water parks and three theme parks. Montana was all about the lizards, bugs, ducks and of course the sting rays he swam with. Myla was into walking all alone and eating french fries, which she calls chicken. Makenna was into riding "Nemo" and "Three Caballeros" over and over again. Chris and I were content just walking and relaxing. It was a blast and a much needed trip after a year of no vacation and Chris being gone for 5 months.

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We also happened to be at the Animal Kingdom and Epcot for 9/11. I was proud to see many American's sporting their red, white and blue, the flags at half mass, and the national anthem played... all at Disney World. It made me happy and it made me think of my brother and what he gave so that we can enjoy our vacations and all the little things that make us proud Americans. Man I miss him! Never Forgotten!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Honoring

My brother's birthday was on the 19th. That would make it this past Monday and only two days ago. We went to Arlington National Cemetery very early in the morning. We always leave at the crack of dawn in order to make it there by 8 am. 9 am starts the funerals and it's hard for us to be around during that time. Of course, it brings back so many memories. We spent a couple of hours there this time, met with a couple who I've come to know pretty good after the death of my brother via facebook and were honored with two prints from them. Mark is the founder of God Bless the Troops. If you haven't checked out the prints and paintings they have, be sure to jump over to their site and view the awesome work that is online. His niece did a painting of my brother which is just out of this world. It brought everyone to tears. She is a stunning artist and we are forever grateful. Mark presented us siblings with a print/painting titled "America's Valor". It too is just beyond words. I have found a spot to hang it, which will be viewed by everyone who walks through the door. It has become one of my most cherished pieces of "Paul" gifts that I have received over the past two years. It's a very moving piece. This painting says so much and I just love looking at it. Oh and by the way, my little "Christmas" tree is still up because it is now more of a memorial tree in honor of my brother. It's filled with ornaments that have something to do with him.. military, childhood, etc. It has stayed up year round so that I can view it daily and add ornaments as I find them.

Thank you so much Mark and Amy for everything you guys did for us. We are honored by all that you have done, are doing and will continue to do to remember our fallen heroes. It was wonderful getting to meet you both and especially at such a special location.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

26 in Heaven

I never thought that my life would revolve around spending a birthday at Arlington National Cemetery. Never in a million years did I think that I wouldn't see my brother here on this earth again either. Lots of nevers are said, but the reality of it is.. that it is. This is my life. We go to Arlington for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Memorial Day and many other days along the way. It makes us feel closer to the person that we lost. It's a continual grieving process. It doesn't get easier, the crying doesn't stop, the reality doesn't fade and time hasn't healed anything. It still feels like yesterday. As a matter of fact, I think it will always feel like yesterday. We are a close family and his loss is felt heavily by each and every one of us. Today Paul would be 26. He is 26.. just not on earth. He is in Heaven waiting for us. He is partying it up with each and every hero we have lost. He is missed. He is loved and he will NEVER be forgotten, EVER! Happy Birthday to my amazing, strong, loving, caring and hilarious brother. I miss you so much!!

These photos were taken during the last time we saw him. He was home on his R&R from Afghanistan. They are priceless memories and explain just how much of a fun person he was. See you on the other side Paul. My heart is forever broken.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

dark and light

Two weekends ago we were battling a hurricane. We lost power for close to 8 days. Threw out food, ate by candlelight, charged phones and IPODS in the car, checked email at Panera and celebrated sweet little Myla's birthday without light. After everything we've been through and know what others go through, in the gist of things, it really isn't much. I mean, I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to a HOT shower after a week... cause boy was I. But, we were all OK and we still had our house. Amen.

Well, Myla, my baby girl is 2. She has been a blessing to us. She came into our life when everything was so dark. No one wanted to smile and no one wanted to laugh. Yet here I was with this new infant that brought me joy. She truly was the light for me when all I wanted to do was die myself. Born 9 days after receiving the worst news of my life, Myla Paul came to us. She's full of giggles and smiles. She jumps and she skips. Such a sweet thing then and such a sweet thing still. We love you sweetie pie.
- Love Mommy and Daddy

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