Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vacation Day 1 - Gatorland!

We are in Orlando, Florida for our family Summer vacation and we are excited!  We headed down on Friday and left the house about 6:00 am. The girls were wide awake and excited!  It was a LONG drive! We were parked on the interstate for about 2 hours in Chattanooga, TN. That part was hard on the girls,  but we survived.

For our first adventure we headed to Gatorland!  It was insane... we saw so many gators! Everyone wanted to see a Florida Gator and now we can say we have. We saw a ton! Big ones, small ones, swimming ones, walking ones and white ones! We even saw one smiling!! We went to one show that was wrestling a gator and both of the girls sat on top of a big gator. They were not even scared at all. They had a live one in the middle of the arena and they taped up its mouth... then they asked if anyone wanted to try it. Addison said yes and Charlie said no, but she changed her mind fast! They both got in line and took their turn. I thought it was hilarious because I never would have done that!! Charlie was so excited because she watches the TV shows with her daddy. They really did enjoy it!! We watched 2 shows in between our gator watching- one was up close encounters and they showed us snakes & spiders - it was a little wild. I did learn a lesson, when asked d urring a life show if I am scared of thibgs don't raise my hand! Thank God he didn't pick me!! He was looking at me and I turned my head real fast! The second show was the gator wrestling. This was the girls favorite part, sitting on the live alligator! 
I surprisingly liked Gatorland... I don't know if it was because Scott and the girls liked it so much or if it was the idea of it. It was an overwhelming uncomfortable feeling walking into these habitats and then a strange calm when the animals didn't move... until someone would throw food into the swamp water and the gator would farousciously react to get it. I think seeing the white albino alligator was the craziest!  It was huge! I mean so BIG! I just couldn't believe it! All and all it was a great first day in Florida!  I didn't even worry about my hair! And that my friends is me relaxed! Hahaha!!!     

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Swimming Fun!

What a blast we had today... talk about fun in the sun! We went to Yaya's after church today and had a lovely afternoon of swimming! The girls are doing so great with their swimming. Addison has no fear at all and will be all over the pool. Charlie is more apprehensive, but adjusts fast. They both begin their second round of swim lessons this coming week. Scott had them standing on his shoulders before too long and I was trying to get them to bust into a cheer, but so far that is a big no. I won't give up though. They both have just started gymnastics- so we shall see!

Happy 4th of July 2014 in Music City Nashville

The fourth of July has always been a special holiday for my family... when I was growing up, we always celebrated my Grandma's birthday. It was a time we were all together and created many precious memories and shared so much love. It is funny - what we remember... It seemed it was always a big deal. I am still adjusting to living in Tennessee and it gets easier and easier. I guess one just gets use to being far away from family. This year, my Mother is here and that has made a world of difference. The 4th though is tough... Anyone in my family probably feels the same way as me. It is almost impossible to think about the 4th of July and not think about my Grandma. They just go together. I still think about her often. My Uncle Tom too... I remember him helping me (not yelling at me) when I stepped on a sparkler after I was told to put shoes on and didn't listen. How he was so prepared with the fire hose when we did our home firework shows. So much has changed in our lives and yet we go on. It is different, we are different, but we continue to live. We hear their voices in our heads and we pass their messages onto the hearts of our children, on holidays and everyday. Last year on the 4th it rained the entire day, in fact in most places in Tennessee the fireworks were postponed for another day. So this year I was in the mood for something extra special. I wanted to share the moment with my girls and probably keep my heart a little distracted. We decided to face the crowd and head downtown. It was an easy decision really - mostly because Billy Currington was playing at the free concert before the fireworks show! Charlie Mae - LOVES Billy Currington! He is her all time favorite! This little girl is so smitten it is unreal! And he was amazing! The girls really enjoyed themselves. I think we all had fun... well, maybe not everyone! Scott of course struggled with the crowd and it was insanely crowded. We got there a little after 2:00 so the girls could go to the family fun zone and jump on the inflatables and slide through the pop-up water slides. They were able to get their temporary tattoos and played a little street hockey. We really had a wonderful time. I was struck in awe by the crowd... walking down Broadway is an incredible feeling, the loud music, the view of the Cumberland River, the smell of the food vendors and the gigantic stage that was in front of us, all covered by a sea of people. We went down in front of the stage a little after 5 so we could secure a seat for the girls. The concert didn't start until 6:30 - they managed to entertain themselves with their laughter and dancing! I think they really put on their own show for the crowd around them. My girlfriend Becky went with us and she has 2 young boys. One is 6 and the other is 2. Her youngest slept through most of the downtime in the comfort of a stroller. Once the concert start, the kids were in awe. They simply danced until they fell asleep. We found out later that there were over 215,000 people there. We knew it was a lot, but we had no idea it was that much. Seeing the smiles on their faces when Billy Currington started - well it made it all worth it. Even the hour wait to move our car out of the parking garage. And we must really admit the fireworks show was the best I have ever seen. It was amazing! The Nashville Symphony played during the fireworks and it was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe how beautiful the fireworks were. Addison only saw a few minutes of it because she fell asleep fast! Scott had a hard time holding her after awhile, but he managed. All in all it was a wonderful day.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The First Day of School!

Wow! Summer is over and the girls are back in school! Charlie Mae started the first grade and Addison began preschool! I just can't believe I have a first grader! Charlie Mae in the first grade... It is amazing how fast these little ones grow up! Addison is enrolled in preschool too! I remember when we first moved to Tennessee and one of the first places I went to by myself was First United Methodist Church to talk with them about enrolling Charlie Mae. She was just about to turn 3 years old and Addison was only 6 months old. I was still lugging her around in her carseat. I just loved the staff and I immediately fell in love. Charlie Mae had an amazing 2 years there and I am so excited that Addison will be attending too. I just know that place will never be the same! Addison has only 6 little kids in her class and they are all 3 years old and will be 4 shortly. Her teacher's name is Ms. Danielle and she is in love with our little Addison. Addison goes everyday Monday- Friday from 8-noon and she loves it. She is really enjoying herself and is having so much fun. She has been able to make some new friends and has even been invited over to a few birthday parties. Ms. Danielle describes Addison as a sweetheart who is always the first one over to circle time because she is such a good listener. She has really learned how to color in the lines and is learning her letters and numbers. I have been really impressed with Addison's music ability... she loves to sing and picks up on the notes and tune so quickly. She has music class every week and I think I am going to enroll her in piano lessons as soon as she is old enough. Addison was so brave on her fist day of school and wasn't shy at all. She held on to my hand a little tighter than normal, but didn't cry. She was excited to see her name on a hook and went right into her classroom and found her seat. She wore a pretty pink dress because pink is her favorite color! She also had picked out a bright pink Minnie Mouse backpack because Minnie is her favorite too! She is doing a ton of fun projects and has already gone on a field trip to the library. I just love getting home and opening her backpack to see what I will find! She is always so proud to show me her little happy face too! Everyday her teacher puts a happy face on her calendar for good behavior! Addison is so loving and tells me how much she loves me everyday. She is always giving me hugs and talks in the sweetest little voice. Oh and her smile... That smile will melt any heart. I really can't tell Addison "no" to anything she asks me for. I take one look at her and say "yes baby." We are so blessed. Charlie Mae is loving the first grade and loves her teacher too! She has made some new friends and is feeling independant... She is walking into her school all by herself and I drop her off in front. I was surprised at first that she was comfortable to do that, but I am sure it is good for her. Charlie loves reading and is learning so fast! She brings home 2 new books a day and then trades them in for 2 more the very next day. Now who does that remind you of? I am amazed at how fast she has learned to read and write. She is already writing full sentences with punctuation and everything. Charlie has a spelling test every Friday and always gets a 100%. We treat her to ice cream at Baskin Robins every Tuesday for doing so well on her spelling test. One of the nice things about the first grade is I haven't had to argue with her in the mornings about waking up in time for school. Last year it seemed as if every morning was a battle to get her going and motivated to get ready on time. Not this year! She is waking up all by herself and getting dressed all by herself too! Another big change for her is PE. When she was in kindergarten everyday started with going to the gym first thing in the morning. She really never enjoyed it. This year she only goes twice a week. I am sure that fits her style a lot more! Charlie tells me her favorite subject is math and she loves playing on the computer. She has computer class once a week and music once a week as well. She thinks she is super cool because she carries a binder in her backpack. It is purple of course and she adds to her reading log everyday. She has an agenda in her backpack and that is how her teacher and I communicate. She comes home with a blue star on the date everyday. The blue star tells us she displayed good behavior. Charlie told me that the blue star is better than a happy face and is the best she could do! She is already our little over achiever! Charlie Mae is still a very sweet girl and has a very warm heart. She is so caring and always helpful. She loves to share and give. When we go places she always wants to get two of whatever it is, so she can give one to Addison. She is very nice to her little sister and always encourages her and helps her! We are so blessed to have 2 healthy beautiful sweet girls. They both amaze me everyday. As Scott and I are growing up, we are learning so much from our children. Those two little girls have taught us what this life is all about.

In Loving Memory of My Uncle Tom

Uncle Tom was an amazing man who always had a smile on his face. Almost every picture I can pull from memory he was smiling... In fact the only few memories I have with him not smiling was when he was working in the yard and was usually beet red from the sun. Of course when I think about that I laugh because I immediately remember summer trips of him in his hats with his neck covered with his hanky. Uncle Tom always carried a hanky. He loved all of us so much. He has been a witness to every major event in my life. He is my Godfather and supported & attended my confirmation, high school graduation, college graduation, my wedding, welcomed both my babies, went to both their baptisms, celebrated my send off to TN & traveled to the south twice to visit me. He treated me, my sister and my brother like his own children. That is on top of all the camping & fishing trips, summer breaks, & amusement parks. I remember when we played 'hunting' at Grandma's house & he would always tell me where my cousins were hiding & he would wink! He didn't yell at me when I caught his hand with my fish hook, when he was trying to teach me how to fish. He simply said 'sweetie I don't think you were listening.' He nursed my foot almost every 4th of July after I stepped on a sparkler with out shoes. He always dished me out ice cream every time he got him some. He bought me a new bed after my back surgeries so I would be comfortable when I came to visit. He made me laugh, he hugged me tight & always wanted to know what I was doing. Not just how I was, he always wanted details. I remember the summer before last when he came to Tennessee for Charlie Mae's 5th birthday and I took him to my office. He wanted to know exactly how the wheelchair mini van worked. He asked me more questions then any customer I ever had. He really enjoyed me telling him about my trip to the manufacturers plant and wanted to hear all about my tour. He knew right from wrong & taught us all by example. He loved my children and would see them every chance he got. He didn't care how far he had to travel to get there. He spoiled them at Christmas and their birthdays. This past month was hard on us. We all struggled and we have all have been in shock. Being so far away and being updated over the phone day after day... and feeling so helpless. This past weekend has been extremely emotional. I hadn't been to central California since my Grandma's funeral. The emotions I felt the minute I went over the Grapevine was so intense. I have cried so much these past few days, we all have cried. Saturday morning I drove my Aunt Karen to Fresno and visited my Grandma's resting place. It was probably the most intense and emotional moment I had felt. It was all so much at once. Losing my Grandma was so hard on me and I talk to her everyday. She is in my heart and has been my role model for how I live my life and how I raise my children. Getting all those emotions out as I see her grave and marker for the first time mixed with me getting prepared to send off my Uncle Tom was such a powerful moment in my life. The only two deaths and funerals I have experienced personally in my life have been two of great importance. I am still emotional and I still cry while I remember and sit in disbelief. As we say 'farewell' I will hold onto my faith as much as Uncle Tom did his whole life. All of us 8 cousins being together brought a comfort I didn't anticipate. We had not all been together in over 3 years. It as been since my Grandma's funeral. Spending those tough days with family and remembering our special moments together, I know that Grandma is looking down on us so proud of the family she has created. I am sure she is welcoming Uncle Tom in heaven with a blessed meal. I love all of you - family is our heart. I love you Uncle Tom, thank you for being you, an amazing Man, Husband, Father, Uncle, Brother, Godfather and Grandfather. Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Enjoying Easter!

Easter 2013

Addison coloring eggs.

It's been awhile...

I was surprised to see how long it has been since I created an entry, which is silly because one would think I would remember it's been awhile. As I begin to write I am reminded of the feelings of fear of my content which kept me away for so long. The crazy pressure I put on myself of what will others think? This is a theme that has made an impact on my life and in fact in recent time I am thinking it has made too much of an impact. We have all heard this phrase 'it doesn't matter what others think.' I heard it again today as I was explaining the importance of women in the workplace being recognized for their brains, talent, education & experience. The response I heard was 'it doesn't matter what others think.' To which I replied 'truth is truth.' I pondered for a bit and I have decided I can not accept this answer. We should care what others think and I care what others think. I want my children to care what others think. I want to be able to educate others on the truth and I want to learn from others as well. We should all be a little bit more concerned about what others think because only then can we make a difference. We must all work together to over come obstacles and help each other grow. Not turn the other way and think it won't impact me because it will & it does.

My family and I have recently gone through many changes in our lives. Some exciting news is my sister and her family have moved to Tennessee to be closer to us. I couldn't be more excited to share this experience with her, her husband and 2 beautiful children. It is great that our children are going to grow up together and create memories together as a family. Sharing Easter with Jennifer was amazing. It had been several years since I was able to spend a holiday with her and I loved it. Scott's family has been incredibly sweet and have participated in all the madness I have thrown at them to help me feel welcomed as a Haston and I love them more for it. I will say though it was great to have more family here and share a holiday in my home with my sister.

We all went to an egg hunt last week at church and the kids really enjoyed it. There were games, coloring and hair painting. Addison LOVED having pink hair!! Charlie and Maryam got rainbow hair and Jax chose an orange streak down the center! The egg hunt was a hit! The kids found a ton of eggs! So much candy! It was crazy... then we all ate pizza and enjoyed fellowship. It was a great feeling to introduce my sister to our church family. I have made such great friends and bonded with such wonderful people it was an incredible feeling to have my 2 worlds collide.

Professionally I have made some changes in my career... it was a tough decision and I thought long and hard about it. I have decided to resign as the General Manager of Tennessee Mobility. I left on good terms and I accomplished many revenue goals along with implementing several systems and processes that helped increase sales and booked service hours. I created strategic marketing innititives and executed comprehensive plans taking the company to new levels. I am happy with my accomplishments and I am ready to move forward. It was a very tough decision because I loved my job and I put my heart into the company. I realize now that I let it consume me and I started to lose myself. That is a pretty scary place to be. I believe the turning point for me if I had to pinpoint it was when I went to pick up Addison from Mother's Day Out and they didn't know who I was!! This broke my heart... my heart sank in my chest. I always wanted my girls to be proud of me for having a big job and I was so focused I lost sight of myself and what's important to me, my family. Once I got a grip and did some searching I started to remember my passion for marketing and creating full scale campaigns. I love creating projects, executing, compiling results and watching revenue grow. I really enjoying adding value in this way... so I headed out on an interview journey. I was extremely lucky and fell in love with 2 companies right away. One I was able to consult with and create a 2 year digital strategy along with several events. I analyzed their current strategies and created new content. I had an opportunity to design, write and create an entire special section focused entirely around spring fashions.  I was thrilled to be a part of it and I can't wait to see it published!

I started my new role this week as a Marketing Manager for what seems to be an awesome company with amazing people. I have really enjoyed everyone I have met so far and I am really looking forward to the changes that are coming along for me & my family. I plan to get back into updating my blog more often so I will include more details soon. This week has been company training and so far I feel great about my decision.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A conversation with our little Addison..

Tonight was an amazing night in the Haston household. I only left a half hour late from work today, which is technically early for me. I had plans to have an early dinner and take Charlie to get he school supply list. The night doesn't work out like I had intend and I am ok with this... When I pulled up the kids were outside visiting with a 13 year old neighbor kid whom they adore. Scott went to go help mow an elderly women's yard which delayed dinner. I know I can't be upset about him doing the right thing. Ok so now to the conversation with Addison... Charlie Mae at this point is throwing a big fit for being in trouble after she pushes Addison down because she was 'in her way.' Charlie is in the hall way crying and busy being mad when Addison walks over and says 'why you crying Charlie?' Charlie yells back, 'go away Addison!' And sweet little Addison doesn't miss a beat and yells back, 'no, I'm your sister! I not go away!'Charlie says again 'go away Addison I don't wanna see you.' Addison says 'no I'm being nice, why you cry?.' The whole conversation was just adorable...
Later that night I go to put Addison to bed and she tells me she really isn't ready for bed but will pick out her story. After 5 minutes of convincing her not to read the same Easter book I've read for 4 nights straight she picks Cinderella. She says to me, 'how bout Cinderella? It's a story about Cinderella!' I laugh and say of course. I put her in bed and as I'm reading this story, I'm about half way at this point and she says to me, 'I have a story about the beauty and the beast.' These are the moments that make it all worth it! I love these 2 girls!