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Ending 2021

The end of 2021 has brought about a lot of big feelings and moments that I would rather not be experiencing. There are so many things that I miss about Adeline but starting the 2nd year that she will not be a part of is something that is not going well for me. I am really struggling. I miss my sweet little girl so very much. With all of that being said, we have been blessed by some amazing friends and family.

No longer will this be my view when we embark on holiday travels. This was my view for 9 amazing holiday seasons.

I have to real quick give a shoutout to Megan at Maxwell Studios (who also happens to be an angel momma) for the amazing sneak peek of our newest family photos. I am so impressed and can't wait to see the rest.

This past week we passed some huge milestones. The day we lost our girl -- her angelversary, Christmas, the anniversary of her funeral services and the last day that we were able to physically see our girl, and soon it will be the start of another year in which our girl will not be earthside with us. I miss her so very much and just wish that anything could be different.

We decided after last year that from now on we would travel over the week of the fire. I struggled with choosing a destination but ultimately the kids have always wanted to visit Texas where their Uncle Scott (Shane's brother) lives. So, we settled on a beach house in Port Bolivar, just a short (or so we ferry ride from Galveston Island. The beach house was perfect for our stay. We shared it with my parents, my brother, and my grandma and it was so nice to get to have these special travel memories together as a family.

We left home on the 19th and traveled to Texarkana where we spent the night before heading to the house where we would stay. We woke up the next morning (the 20th) and hit the road, arriving to the beach house in the afternoon. Shane, Tyler and I decided to hit up Galveston to grab some groceries and bring pizza back, but we really underestimated the time that you need to use the ferry to cross the road.

It was the first ferry ride for us and not really as bad as I expected it to be, but I did feel sick each time that we crossed. (I will say that houses on stilts also move and my balance and body felt off most of the stay. I also got a nasty sinus infection while we were there.) That day was very hard for me being that it was Adeline's first angelversary. She would have loved the beach house and having the water so close by. She was such a fun little girl and doing anything without her feels painful but certain things are almost unbearable.

Tuesday we got up and had a simple day hanging out at the beach house. The kids played in the water some and we went to dinner there on the peninsula at the Ocean Grille. We also visited the liquor! They had some cool mixers and things that I had not seen before. Wednesday (the 22nd) we took the kids to a pinball museum in the late morning/early afternoon. We then got lunch at a TexMex place and I had some delicious fish tacos. (Speaking of fish tacos, I am looking into that for today's!!) Then we went back to the house, grilled out for dinner, and played some games together.

Notice that Adeline's unicorn made it into these pictures with us. Her tiny unicorn that we found in Shane's car has been in every single purse that I have carried and with me every single day since we found it, a few short days after losing our girl. We break it out from time to time to have a piece of her in our photos with us.

Thursday we got up and headed to Galveston after lunch. We got to see the historic downtown area, having a beer while we walked around. Then we got some candy and visited some little shops before we ended up eating at Texas Pit BBQ and going to the Galaxy Lights at the Houston Space Center. This was by far one of the coolest holiday light experiences that I have ever had. I loved every single minute, it was so much fun. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we spent the majority of the time at the house.

On Christmas we did a few things to share in the joys of the holiday season and keep our girl a part of it. We had an ornament exchange with ornaments that reminded us of a story about Adeline. It was a magical time and I will include the info from the ornaments, the story, the giver and receiver below.

We also had letters from classmates, former teachers, family, and friends that we had collected in her stocking and read that morning. They were in general all very sweet and a few even made us giggle which is just what you need when you are trying to have a special holiday and thinking about a little girl who gave so much joy and laughter to the world.

My favorite was from a little girl named Kennedy who wrote that Adeline and her would always talk and get into trouble in class and that they didn't care that they got in trouble. (I still giggle thinking of this!)

Althea really loved the hat that Huxley bought her and was so excited to get it.

Althea thought that it would be funny to get everyone socks with her face on them for their gifts.

Everyone loved them!

Ornament Exchange

  1. Tiny Dancer Ornament (heart with ballet shoes, Tiny Dancer written on it, and Adeline) -- I gave this ornament and my mom received it. I chose it because I always called Adeline my tiny dancer and I got a tiny dancer tattoo this year for her birthday.

  2. Wine Glass -- My mom gave this one and Andrew received it. She chose this because they watched the kids Adeline's last NYE and she had drank juice out of a wine glass and pretended that she was tipsy from all of the wine.

  3. Deer -- Andrew gave this one and my grandma received it. Andrew said that she chose this ornament because Adeline loved Bambi.

  4. Bells with a big bow -- Grandma gave this one and Althea received it. Grandma said that she chose this one because Adeline always wore hair bows and she had loved JoJo bows.

  5. Horse other sisters, unicorn on a stripper pole my sister -- Althea gave this ornament and Tyler received it. Althea shared the story that on our last night (the night before the fire) out together we looked at lights. I had jokingly pointed out the pink lights on the poles in the parking lot of a strip club and Adeline exclaimed "Those are the poles they dance on!!!" meaning the light poles in the parking lot. We laughed so hard that night and we continue to giggle when we share that story.

  6. Glitter Ballerina -- Tyler gave this one and I received it. Tyler shared that it was because he had went to all of their recitals and then seen her in The Nutcracker.

  7. Glitter Unicorn -- Huxley gave this one and my dad received it. Huxley shared that he picked this because of the time that Adeline caused an entire thing of glitter to explode leaving glitter all over our house (yes it was still there when we had our fire, no matter how much I cleaned the glitter remained) and that she loved unicorns and glitter so much.

  8. Mouse Ballerina -- My dad gave this one and Shane received it. My dad said that it was because she danced the part of a mouse in her last ballet performance as part of the Nutcracker.

  9. Blown Glass Flower Ball -- Shane gave this one and Huxley received it. Shane shared the story of how he would always plant Mother's Day flowers for me with the kids and Adeline was always the most excited. He also shared that Adeline was the one who cared for them the longest.

After the ornament exchange we walked at the local Fort and explored some of the peninsula's history. Then we got to come home and play games after having dinner. We played Family Cards Against Humanity and after the kids went to bed we played a dirty trivia game and Cards Against Humanity. It was so funny and we laughed way harder than I ever remember laughing in the past year. Let's just say that grandma got to say some things that I never thought that I would hear her say...that's for sure!

Then on the 26th, we got up and got ready to head out. My parents, brother, Andrew, and grandma all went back to IL and Shane, Althea, Huxley and I headed to Austin to see their uncle, aunt and cousins.

The only disappointment came from Sugar Bean Bakery. I researched bakeries in Galveston before traveling and Sugar Bean was said to have the best sugar cookies. I google searched for the bakery and got a link to Sugar Bean Bakery which I thought was the same place. I messaged the owner and told her that I was headed to Galveston. I then proceeded to order 9 1/2 dozen sized cookie decorating kits which were $135. I don't know why when I told her where I was traveling that she didn't let me know that she was located in Utah, but I guess she had every intention on taking my money and me never getting the cookies. It's not a big deal and it is a lesson learned but I am sure that it will hurt other small businesses because I will never again seek out a small business to support and preorder with. If I want things pre-ordered I will order from a national company to ensure that I get it on time.

I got to the island and on the 22nd realized that the bakery where I had ordered from was in Utah. The owner said that she could 2 day or overnight the cookies as she refused to refund me stating that her policy stated no refunds, which I completely understand. 2 days would have been the 24th so I paid the $70 for shipping. Then we didn't get the cookies as the owner didn't mail them the 22nd even after telling me that she had to receive payment by 9 pm to take them to the UPS. The UPS store by my house is open this late. (This will be important later.) The cookies didn't arrive on the 24th and I checked the tracking. She hadn't mailed them on the 22nd and they were not set to arrive until the 27th (which meant that we would not be there). I mean if you are taking $70 from someone on the 22nd for shipping 2 day and it is going to take 5 days and you know the people are on vacation, you'd check back with them and make sure that this works...right? Well, it didn't work and now we are out $200 for cookies. Hopefully the housing staff enjoyed them since we were not able to.

I realized just how much the past year had hurt and just how much I would give everything to have my girl back. That's the thing that people don't understand, the longing doesn't go away with this type of a loss. The longing is still as constant and strong as it was the first seconds after I was told that she was gone. I just want my girl back and I know that I can't have it.

To everyone who said that it would get easier. No. It has not gotten easier at all. If anything it has continually gotten harder with each day being a reminder of the things that she is missing, the life that she didn't get to live. I am just as much of a mess as I was last year at this same time. I just wanted to point this out. I guess with other losses the pain does get easier. I know with my grandparents as the years went by that I did feel better, but I don't think that the same is true with a child. You just never get over the fact that you lived longer than someone who you were not supposed to live longer than. We never expect to outlive our children, that is just not how life is supposed to go.

Another grieving mom did tell me that year 2 was harder for her than year 1 and I think that this will be the case for me. Year 1 was over so fast, but year 2 already seems to be lingering on in ways that I did not expect.

So, this has been the past week. I will be updating with an Austin post sometime too as we have been having a great time here and I wanted to share some pictures and ways that we keep Adeline with us the different places that we go.

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