Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

I'm a litte behind on my blogging! On March 10 I turned the big 3-0 and I had such a great birthday. I thought that I would be depressed about turning 30 but it really didn't bother me. The first time it hit me was when I had to input my age on my elliptical machine after my birthday. This is going to be a great year! I am determined to get in the best shape that I've been in since before having kids and I know I can do it. Since last August I've lost 20 lbs and have about 20 more to go to reach my ultimate goal. I'm only 6 lbs away from my goal for my cruise! I've got until May 1 to lose these last 6 and know I will.
Anyway, the Friday before my birthday we celebrated with our closest friends here-Hooper's, Dennehl's, Coryell's, Clyde's. The Pengelly's couldn't make it :( The plan was to meet at Flying Star for dinner then go bowling at the Santa Ana Star Casino. We had lots of laughs at dinner and I openened my awesome presents. I got Bath & Body Works candles, lotion, and body wash from Amanda, Katie, and Becky. Then I got an initialed wooden cheese board and a gift certificate for a mani and pedi from Julie, Rachelle, and Heather. After dinner we went to the casino and the bowling alley was only open to leagues. Bummer! We were surprised since it was a Friday and annoyed that we walked through the smoky casino for nothing. So we all met back at our house for games. We ended up playing Just Dance on the Wii and it was soooo much fun! It was better than bowling in my opinion. Watching those grown men dance to the Spice Girls was priceless!
For my actual birthday on the following Wednesday I just relaxed and took care of the kids as usual. I did NO housework and watched tv in the middle of the day so it was great! I also baked a delicious chocolate cake for myself since Ben was at work and I wanted to anyway. When Ben got home I opened my presents from the kids. Ben had taken the kids to the dollar store and let them pick out anything they wanted to get for me. He didn't help them at all, just let them get whatever and it was so cute what they chose. Clara got me a flower windmill to put in the yard, Meredith got me a hanging bird's nest, and Ethan got me a candle and a rock type thing with birds engraved and the saying "peace" on it. Ethan had $2 of his own to spend and decided to spend it on me so he could get me two things. How sweet is that? Then Ben made me a yummy dinner-grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, grilled foil packet potatoes, and french bread. Afterwards we all had chocolate cake and Blue Bell ice cream. The perfect end to a great birthday! Here are some of my favorite pictures of my birthday events.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3 Years Ago Today....

Today is the anniversary of my dad, Charles Gary Allen's death. It was 3 years ago and it hasn't gotten easier. Maybe it never will. I was about 5 months pregnant with Meredith and we were living in Ohio when it happened. I'll never forget the call from my brother Brandon. Ethan was only 4 and he still remembers my screams and me crying so much. He died in a motorcycle accident with a massive head injury. My poor stepmom didn't even find out he had died and was in a hospital in Houston until after the fact. That still haunts her to know that he died alone. Ben wasn't able to leave school because he was in the middle of a crazy semester and just couldn't leave. He was getting his master's at the Air Force Institute of Technology. I knew I couldn't handle it with 2 kids and we really couldn't afford 2 plane tickets anyway so I flew out with just Clara. I had many wonderful friends who helped out with Ethan while I was gone which was only 4 days I think. The whole trip was kind of a blur and I remember just feeling numb. But when I got to town I went straight to my dad's house to be with my stepmom and brothers. I'd never had a panic attack before and I was pretty close to having a full blown one when I drove up and saw the house. Everytime I went there my dad would always come out and wait for me on the porch, he was always standing there and it was just unreal to not see him there. Thankfully my stepbrother Clint came out to the car and calmed me down and helped with Clara. I honestly don't know how I got through those 4 days. I remember everyone being worried about me because I was pregnant and they had good reason too. When I finally got the courage to go in and see my dad at the viewing my stepmom had to be there to literally catch me. I still can't believe he's gone. I had just seen him 4 months before that when I flew with the kids to TX for Thanksgiving. I am so so glad that I made that trip because I almost didn't. I remember him being so excited that I was having another baby. I regret not taking more pictures that trip because I only have a few. The last time I saw him, he and Marilyn took me and the kids out to eat at Catfish King. I was newly pregnant and very nauseated and that was what I was craving. He gave Clara her first ice cream cone at the restaurant and we were all cracking up watching her eat it. Ethan was really timid with him that trip but Clara was just smitten with him and he ate up every second of it. I have the cutest video of him dancing with her around his living room during that trip. I haven't been able to watch it for a long time though. Maybe I'll show it to Clara today, I think she would love it. His voice is still on my answering machine. He had called a few days before and I didn't even realize it until after the fact. I have so much guilt for that because he was saying that he missed me and wanted me to call him. We hadn't talked in probably a month. When I had to have an emergency c-section with Meredith 6 weeks early I was scared to death. I remember lying on that operating table and feeling so strongly that my dad was there. It was so real and his presence was so strong. Meredith has my dad's exact color of dark blue eyes. He wasn't there to meet her in person but he gave her his eyes for me. My dad didn't come into my life until I was 13 so I only really had 14 years with him. That wasn't enough.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of my dad.

June 2003 Ethan and I with dad and Granny Lowe. This was the first time they had met Ethan.

April 2004 We were living in San Antonio at the time so we got to visit lots. My dad adored Ethan.

April 2004 Seeing my dad on his bike is so bittersweet. He had ridden all his life and it brought him so much joy.

April 2004 Ethan and I with dad and Marilyn in the beautiful Texas bluebonnets.

June 2005 Dad meeting Clara for the first time.

November 2006 Last visit with my dad.

November 2006 Ethan and Clara on dad's bike.