Wednesday, January 22, 2014


For Christmas this year my parents gave my kids an experience instead of buying them a gift.  I was super excited when Mom told me they were thinking about doing this.  I am all about doing things with the kids instead of buying them more stuff.  They were having a hard time getting what they thought the boys would enjoy most - Iowa and/or Iowa State basketball tickets, Barnstormer tickets - so they decided on Rodeo tickets - they even got them western shirts to wear that night.  I thought that was perfect!  My kids are such seasonal sports fanatics (and toy players) that I thought this would be a good switch and a perfect new thing to experience.  They absolutely love mutton bustin' at the Iowa State Fair so I was such they would enjoy this too.  They even got tickets for Jon and I to go. Plus what was even better - Mom and Dad were going too - they would be able to watch the boys experience their gift too!
So, since neither Mom and Dad or us have a vehicle big enough for all seven of us to fit in - the plan was to meet at Wells Fargo.  We picked up the boys from school and headed to Des Moines.  I got a text message from Mom saying that the weather was getting worse and that her and Dad weren't going to chance it.  The boys (along with Jon and I) were so bummed.  We were hoping to share this experience together and unfortunately it turned into just a little family affair.  We made the most of it and had a great time.  I checked out the website before hand and saw that they were having a "cowboy tailgating" party before the rodeo - and all (or most of it) was FREE!  Things like cowboys signing autographs, pony rides, roping bales with horns, walking behind the chutes - you could see all the bulls and horses up close, sign your name on the rodeo clown's barrel, sitting on a real live bull (this was the not free part) and riding blow up horses and bulls.  The boys did it all.  It was so much fun.  We had about an hour down there and then it was time to head up to find our seats.  We had pretty good seats too.  It wasn't your typical rodeo - mainly just bull riding and bronco riding.  They did have barrel racing - my favorite and mutton bustin'.  But the funniest thing the whole night was the ostrich riding!  Hilarious!  Besides the part that Mom and Dad couldn't make it - we had a GREAT time.  The boys still pretend to bull ride (you know - one kid is the bull, the other is the cowboy and you have to see how long you can stay on).  We are thankful for the experience they gave us - just wish they could have been with us.  Maybe next time.  Thank you again Mom and Dad for the wonderful gift you gave.

Before we headed out to the rodeo - all spiffy in their new western shirts!

Will trying to learn to rope a "calf".  He did it too!  The other two tried this as well.

Anthony "riding" the bull.  He was the only one that wanted to sit on him - which surprised me.

Signing their names on the Clown's barrel and also getting the Clown's autograph.  The boys still talk about the things the clown said or did (and sometimes try to copy him)!
Charlie riding the pony - they all did this too!

Yes I realize this picture doesn't really belong - but this was the next morning at our hotel.  I've already blogged a little big about this, but didn't share any pictures. And yes, Charlie is pretending to surf!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas 2013

I shared already a little bit about our Christmas this year, so I won't go into a lot more detail.  We only have three places we go each year plus our own with the boys - so it's not too crazy for us.  The usual get togethers are my parents, Jon's parents and then the Ferguson's - my dad's side.  I remember the times when we used to have more to go to - seven!  And honestly it makes me a little sad that we don't do that anymore.  You may think I'm crazy, but with loosing TJ and getting older - I value family so much more.  I miss seeing cousins, aunts, uncles and also those grandparents who aren't here anymore.  I treasure the memories I do have of those times and love to tell the boys about them.  My hope is that my boys will have the same fond memories and stories to tell their kids some day. 

Just wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite pictures of some of our Christmases! (not sure how I forgot to take a single picture at the Goemaat Christmas - oh yes I remember - Charlie brought my camera in and forgot where he put it - it was outside in the breezeway!)

I like this picture - Hannah with her Grandma and Great Grandma!

The boys Christmas morning with their gifts!

The Ferguson cousins with Grandpa and Grandma in their new pajamas!
Front row: Nathan, Joel, Gavin and Charlie
Second row: Paul, Anthony, Lane, Will and Mike
third row: Grandma, Grandpa, Hannah and Carson

My family - Jon and I, Mom and Dad, my younger sister Jeana and Jason, my older sister Tonya and Shawn.

Monday, January 13, 2014

At a Loss

I'm at a loss of what to share and for the words of those things I want to share right now.  There are so many things that have been going on  - I still haven't even blogged about our Christmases.  The truth is...I have no clue where to start.  I'm not sure what to share and what to leave out.  You might be asking why?  "Gee, Tami you've been sharing your heart with us for almost two years now.  What's the problem now?"  I want to share with you the fun and joys we've had - yet with all of that there has been some real heartache.  I don't want this to be a post leaving you feeling sorry for me - I don't want that - AT ALL!  However, I don't want you all thinking that everything is all flowers and sunshine!  So forgive me if it sounds like I'm rambling - it just might be hard to put exactly what I'm feeling into words.  In fact just thinking about all the things I'm thinking about sharing is already producing tears.

Christmas was EXTREMELY hard this year.  I've told you before that we've experienced all the firsts but these seconds are coming and punching me in the face.  I honestly believe that last year I didn't fully deal with TJ's death at Christmas.  I was too busy getting everything washed, packed and ready for our vacation that my true emotions got put on the back burner.  This year was completely different.  Christmas day I was a wreck.  I kept it together while we unwrapped gifts with the boys, but after they headed for the basement my tears found their way out of my eyes!  And they wouldn't stop - to the point it became uncontrollable.  Which would have been fine if we had no where to go, but we were celebrating with my family later that same day.  And when we do Christmas at my parents - we are usually there all day - it's just something we always have done (and we enjoy it too)!  I was trying my best to keep it together but there were certain times it was just too hard.  This year to remember TJ my parents did something a little different than last year.  My mom had already put up the TJ tree (earlier in December) but this year added TJ's Thomas the train track and some trains to go around the base of the tree.  Not only that but when it was time to eat my mom got out her fancy wine glasses - the ones TJ LOVED drinking from whenever he would go over there (even if was milk to drink).  They filled them up with sparkling grape juice - another of TJ's favorites and gave one to each of the grandkids.  We all toasted to TJ!  It was very fitting and very emotional for us all.  By the time the night was over I was exhausted and more than ready for bed - only to get the flu a couple of hours later!  But that's a whole other post!

For those of you who don't know - my birthday is almost two weeks after Christmas and Anthony's birthday is the day after mine.  So last week Tuesday we celebrated Anthony's 10th birthday.  Just typing that makes me want to be sick to my stomach.  Anthony is now the same age as his big brother.  I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this.  There are times I don't even think about it (I mean it's only been a week).  It's those times when I have to answer the old are they?  You know when you are at Pizza Ranch or some other place where age matters.  It's just a number right?  I don't know.  Ever since the first day of school - I have been in constant fear with everything involving Anthony.  Fourth grade was when TJ needed glasses - so did Anthony.  He struggled with reading - so did Anthony.  He was 10 - so is Anthony (now).  I am constantly worried that Anthony is going to walk the same walk TJ did and we will relive that same nightmare.  I have been trying SO hard to give this to God.  But honestly - put yourself in my shoes - wouldn't you do the same thing?  How could you not?  I am so much more observant with my kids now - looking for the signals I had missed with TJ.  Freaking out over the littlest things - to the point teachers don't want to tell me things - afraid that they might worry me.  I've been praying about things more and really trying harder at digging into God's Word to find new verses that comfort me.  It's been helping - baby steps, right?

I realized the boys and I experienced a first this past weekend since TJ's been gone.  Jon left for one of his snowmobile trips late Friday night.  We went to the rodeo with the boys that night (which I hope to blog about soon) and with potential for bad weather I decided to get a hotel and stay the night.  Check out wasn't until noon the next day.  So the boys and I slept in and hit the pool as soon as it opened.  They had so much fun and were able to swim for not quite an hour and a half before we needed to go back to our room - shower, pack and check out.  Well, they boys were being....boys and I completely lost it.  I yelled as quietly as I could in a hotel, got mad and lost my temper.  I showered them - told them to watch tv while I showered.  It was when I was in the shower did I realize what was happening.  This was the first time the boys and I had stayed at a hotel since TJ's been gone (without Jon).  We used to do this stuff all the time when Jon would go on his trips.  I'm all about having fun with the boys when Jon goes to have fun.  This wasn't a first - it was just a first without TJ.  You see Anthony had to ride the big waterslides by himself while Will and Charlie could hang out together.  Anthony played basketball with some other boys.  I felt absolutely terrible for him.  I couldn't even go with him since I had to watch the smaller two.  I would check on him off and on and occasionally he would come over and play with Will and Charlie.  It broke my heart and I became very sad.  My reaction to the boys being boys was completely blown out of proportion all because of my enormous hole in my heart.  I got out of the shower and had a heart to heart with the boys and apologized for how I had acted and treated them.  Thankfully they accepted my apologies - all of our attitudes changed and the day got better.

All of these things have been hard on me - but it's also the regular day to day things that can get to you.  Anthony is now wearing TJ's winter coat - the one he wore in fourth grade.  Every time I see that coat or Anthony in it - I think it's TJ.  I even had a dream about TJ the other night.  That hasn't happened in a LONG time.  When we went to church for the first time in the new year - TJ was very present there.  They started off singing 10,000 reasons - which always gets to me for various reasons.  Then the Pastor mentioned Romans 8:37 - TJ's favorite verse.  We had communion and afterwards sang the song - the Stand - one of TJ's favorite praise songs.  Although he isn't here physically - where I can touch, hold and talk to him - his presence is here!  I listen to Christian radio a lot.  There are new songs that comfort me and others that make me think of TJ - I believe this is all part of the healing process.  As we are quickly approaching the two year mark of when we first found out TJ had a tumor - I know there are going to be hard days.  I anticipated the firsts, got punched in the face with the seconds (which are still happening) - I wonder what the thirds are going to do to me?!  Only time will tell.  All I ask is that you continue to pray for our family - we appreciate it more than you ever know.  Miss you Thomas Jon - so much it hurts!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Basement Reveal!

This post is long overdue - pictures of the basement.  We have since added the boys beds, living room furniture and toys.  There are still a few more things yet to bring in, buy or add - but for the most part it is DONE and we are enjoying it!  Still have to put up some trim in the entry way and living room  The upstairs bathroom needs to be finished and putting the office and now spare room back together.  Otherwise our project should be finished.  It seems like it has been a process - but it sure is nice - so glad we were able to do it! 

The stairway down - we opened up the stairway two stairs.  Need the railing back on yet.
The hallway between the bedrooms, bathroom and laundry room.

The family room - this side has the tv, and furniture.  I didn't take a picture of the other half - that is the toy side.

The laundry room.  Still waiting for a counter top for the south wall.


The bathroom.
Anthony's room - back cubby is his closet and window.
Anthony's room - entry door.

Will's room - west wall and entry door
Will's room - closet and window.

Charlie's room (east wall)
Charlie's room - closet - entry door and west wall
(the white rectangle is an opening for the crawl space - it has now been painted the yellow.
Charlie's room - south wall with window.