This Blanket I Carry

It's been almost two months since the day when I made the longest walk ever from my car to my grandma's front door. I got the call nobody wants to make or answer at 6 o'clock that morning. The drive to Cleburne on a rainy Sunday morning was surreal. There were moments during that drive when I wondered if this was really true. What if I got to my grandma's and nobody was there. I turned the corner and there they were. All of the cars of all of our people. I practically parked at the other end of the block. I wanted to sit on the curb and stop time. If I didn't walk through the door  and look into my Dad's face or hug my brothers then it wasn't real. It didn't happen.

I walked in to a house filled with our family. Everyone sharing the last time they hugged her and talked to her. Some asking questions. Some still in disbelief.

It took me a while to get through the house hugging everyone. Every section of the house brought on a new wave of tears.

 My yada yada aunt was at the end. She let me hug her while she spoke truth and strength into my soul. In my family's dynamic I'm one of the oldest cousins. That means I use my voice a lot. I'm one of the Bigs. I'm encouraging and strong and love big. I feel that's my job as a Big. By the time I got to her I felt anything but strong. I wanted to hide. I didn't want to be the strong one. I couldn't. My heart was broken. 

How could this be? We were just visiting the night before and giggling that she had had such great weeks recently and immediately she gets herself to Mexico. 

Almost two months later and I'm still processing. Some days the tears are far away and joy fills my heart with memories of her. Other days those memories bring on tears unexpectedly.

I'm learning that grief is completely unpredictable and wild.

Everything else in life gets better with time. The new normal sets in and all feels better again. Not grief. It covers my day with a blanket of sad. Some days that blanket brings tears and heavy sadness. Others it brings only happy memories of her. All days God comforts me with His promises that I will see her again when He returns. All days He holds my hand and lets me feel all of the "unpredictable-don't -ask-permission" feelings.

Today was a sad day.

If I'm honest, the sadness has been getting heavier and heavier over the last few weeks. I didn't want to stop and journey through it though. It's sad. Instead I would boss the tears away and reach for God's hand. Eventually the sadness gets too heavy and tears must fall.

Today the tears fell.

On that Sunday morning everyone had a "last time I saw her" story but me. It had been far too long. I missed some precious time with her. I own that. I would do it differently if I could go back. Instead I'll learn from it. Sometimes you just make the time. No matter how hard or long the drive is ... you make the time. No matter the schedules or the season of life you are in ... you make the time. God has been placing community on my heart lately. Family was one of her core values. She loved us all BIG. That's why she loved us all and met us where we were. True she would shoot you straight with some hard truths sometimes but she would also love you just as hard. And those truths were delivered from a place of love...always.

I'll always miss her. 

One day I'll be a fully invested, loving grandma like her and follow her beautiful example.

I'm so thankful God placed her in my life. I'm grateful for the way she poured into our family.


I Called Her Welita

To some she was Grandma.

To others Jefa or Jechu or Ruca or Mama.

To others Senora Torres.

To me she was Welita.

To me she was where I ran the morning I woke up to an empty house. The same morning I became a big sister.

To me she was where we gathered on Friday nights. Where we chased lightening bugs and played freeze tag.

To me she was where I spent summer days waiting for the mailman while my parents worked.

To me she was where we gathered on Christmas Eve. All us cousins eager for midnight to arrive so we could open presents.

To me she was the one that wouldn't let me drink soda because my parents didn't allow it. Instead would have Tang in the fridge and animal crackers on the counter.

To me she was the one that made the best sweet bread and the best gorditas and the best menudo. Mine with only hominy because she knew that was my favorite part.

To me she was the one that always had a garage sale treasure ready to gift.
Ethan has a stuffed Bob the Builder she gifted him a few years ago.

To me she was the one that bought me my quincenera dress.

To me she was the one that had sourced out a wedding package when she found out that Travis was being deployed.

To me she was a woman who never complained about what her life lacked or could have been but always pressed forward with joy in her heart.

To me she was the one who always had doilies on her end tables.

To me she was the one that didn't let a language barrier keep her from building friendships with every person she met.

To me she was the one that made each one of us feel like we were her very favorite. (P.S. I'm her favorite)

To me she was the one that proudly filled her walls with pictures of everyone that entered into the Torres family

To me she was a beautiful example of strength.

To me she defined courage.

To me ...

She was my Welita.


Hello Fall

It's the first day of fall and we are off to a great start. Our family's week nights can get a little crazy with after school activities for Travis and work days that end with a long commute. Sometimes the little people in this house get a little cranky from hunger pains. Then the Z monster sets in and I want to fall on the floor and throw a fit of my own. But today was different.  We chose a different lens.

There were early morning meltdowns. There were tasks that didn't get done exactly as planned. The commute was longer than expected....both ways. The meltdowns made an appearance at the mention of bedtime.

But still ... the happy lens slowed everything down.

Here's how I'm going to remember this day:

The clock was not the boss of me in the wee hours of the morning. Is that something for everyday ... no. But today - four days into a hard week - with more items on the to-do list than I would want - the answer was yes. I sent my kids off with smiles on their faces and left the "hurry up" words and impatient feelings for another day.

When I finally got to my desk I took it one task at a time. Stayed in the moment and poured my best into every word, conversation and task. Everyone had gotten to where they needed to be safely. Everyone got fed. No one was sick. Win!

I had lunch with a long time friend. It had been way too long and the conversation filled up my soul. It was exactly what I needed. I've been blessed with soul filling lunches all week. I think it's God's way of carrying me through the week. Today's lunch was perfectly timed.

At dinnertime we were all home early enough to have a home cooked meal and squeeze in some unhurried play time before meltdowns got the best of us all.

Mason's bath was short but slow. He read lots of books while I got him dressed and we had some laughs before settling down. Just the two of us. He's a boy on the go so to keep him on the changing table I give him books to look through. He sits there and tries his hardest to hold the book while on his back. At times he uses his foot to keep the book up. It's a highlight moment for me every time.

After Mason was down for the night I walked into a batman fight between Daddy and Ethan. I added music to the room and cleaned up the kitchen. By cleanup I mean tackle the important things not make it perfectly neat. Meanwhile the battle in the living room continued.

Then we all settled in for the season finale of Big Brother.

After a summer that was busy with doctor appointments and errands that can't be done during the school year and hot days and a one year old whose teeth won't let him be it was a very welcomed feeling to usher in Fall with a slow "restful" day. A day where I enjoyed all of the people God gave me.

Hello Fall! Please come in and stay a while... and please leave your slow lens behind.

Some pictures from our evening. Complete picture overload on Mason and his book but I cannot get over how much he loves his books!! It makes my bookworm heart so happy!!!!


A case of the Mondays

Today is the 29th of June. This is a note from Leap Day ... Feb 29. I'm not sure why I never posted it but it jumped out at me today.

Today I spent the day with three of my best friends. It was a day filled with joy and girl talk and shopping and dreaming and lots of laughs. We made Waco our playground. The end of the day found us happy, tired, and filled with sweet memories. Our friend tanks filled.

Yet this post caught my attention.

Three months after I originally wrote this I'm finding my happy in the little things: my boys, the beach, laughing, and surrounding myself with reminders on how to choose happy.


Monday was rough business. One of those days when I would have rather hid under the blanket and try again later.

I've felt it coming. I haven't taken the time to fill me up again. I have done small things to keep going but Monday it caught up with me. A big old wave of ugly. 

Thankfully my Yada Yada aunt covered me in prayer and my husband knows exactly how to love me through these times ... The gift of space.

 My goal was to get through the day pleasantly. Not to turn the mood around but just to survive the day without the ugly pouring out. 

All of the things that can slow a morning down happened. I told myself "Do not snap at those boys. Use your nice words and watch your tone".  All of the things we are teaching Ethan. It's a lot easier said than done let me tell you. 

But I was determined to not let these feelings become me. I wasn't going to be able to change the feelings but I could at least control my words and actions. Ride this wave with grace. 

On my way to work I listened to a podcast with Jennifer Garner. She was talking with Heather from the God Centered Mom podcast about her new movie Miracles from Heaven. She shared that her mom always says that happiness is a choice. It is not a feeling. You can choose to see the joy in all things ... especially the small things. Don't wait until the big things come to be happy. Choose happy right here and now. In the sandwich you are having for lunch. Or the dinner that you get to cook.

The message had perfect timing. I carried it with me. 

I went about my "gloomy" day with my owned feelings and honest words. When I was asked in the hall how I'm doing I said I'm okay, it's a Monday and tomorrow will be better. I didn't dwell in it I just focused on the goal.

We survived bath time and a very tired Mason was put to bed. I even made myself snap a picture on his first Leap Day. 

mason's 1st leap day

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Ethan and I decided to watch his show out on our patio. It was nice to sit and breath fresh air next to my happy boy. We loved it so much we did it again tonight. It might be our new tradition.

note the pirate rain boots and ninja gear

After Ethan got to bed I added 20 min to the workout scorecard and called it a day. 

These feelings are not new. They happen. But the handling and accepting method was new. 

Today was a new day and I'm still looking for the small things that say joy. Thank you Lord.


2016 at the Beach

We took a road trip to Port Aransas and it was .... fun. This fun included 6:30 am wake-ups (thanks Mason), night time drives on the beach, using head lamps to search for crabs & frogs, exploring the island from a golf cart, taking the family to our favorite beach dive, searching for sea shells, running away from waves, eating ice cream before dinner, sno cones for snack and pirate cruise where Ethan became an official pirate!

Mason loved the beach and acclimated well to the new environment. He slept like a champ in the playpen. The only thing I didn't plan on was the sun entering his room and waking him up at 6:30 am!  Not fun when you went to bed closer to 11pm. At least there were naps to help get us through. He got to sit in a big boy booster chair  for meals and to my surprise did pretty good at sitting. He loved the sand and crawled straight to the ocean. Not one ounce of fear.

Ethan was super excited that he and Mason were sharing a room. On our first day he said "Mommy, I'm going to my room to watch TV". He thought that was the neatest thing. Our TV at home is in our living room so it was a special treat for him. There were lots of special treats for Mr Ethan. He got to ride in front seat of the golf cart with Daddy while mommy rode in the back seat with Mason and his car seat. (We were those people spreading our happy with a car seat attached to a golf cart.) Ethan could reach all of the light switches and the faucets and he could buckle and unbuckle his golf cart seat belt. He LOVED vacation!!! Every morning he woke up and asked if it was a school day. He couldn't believe it was a school day and he was at the beach. On Sabbath morning it came full circle for him. He said "wow! We didn't go to school for lots of days! I miss my friends. I bet they missed me."

here we go!

on the ferry waiting to be on island time
my boys

the big blue ocean

ethan looking for sea shells

mason's first time on the beach

those lips!

those eye lashes

my ethan

those cheeks!
silly boy ... i had to move fast to get this shot

before the pirate cruise

Pirate Ethan

the golf cart of happy

night time ridin'

fueling up on coffee

one tough mama
those eyes


happy boy