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Where did 2007 go??
It was a good year. I just wish it had lasted longer! I thought I might do a year-end review, make a list of the highlights, but gosh, I can't remember much of anything! Better stick to just December. There was a lot in December.

I gotta tell you though, nothing beats driving down the road with your kids and your nephew, the speakers blaring Bon Jovi.

We've gotta hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not,
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love, We'll give it a shot

Whoa, we're halfway there
Whoa, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it, I swear
Livin' on a prayer.

Listening to them sing, I do believe it. We'll make it, I swear.

Christmas...we left Walla Walla with Zach driving, and six hours later, arrived in Kelso. He did great! And I think it's quite a feather in the "man"-cap to have driven all that way. The cousins were glad to see each other. We brought our kitten with us, and she was quite alarmed at THOSE dogs! Those boxers were not HER dogs. She spit and hissed and popped like water on a hot skillet. By the end of our time there, she had gotten used to them.

We missed Duke and Koda a LOT! Duke and Koda went to the kennel. Duke LOVES it there. The staff love Duke, too. They came running to greet him. They've known him since he was just a puppy. I think the first time we had to kennel him he was only about 12 weeks old. They have individualized play time for each dog and they also let them in to play with other dogs. Koda wasn't sure about it all at first and they said that Duke was pretty protective of her. For such a fierce looking dog, she's a real weenie. She HATES the car. Always throws up. Sigh.

We went to Salem to see my mom's mom and sibs. Zach drove that leg of the journey and back, too, in the pouring rain. It was fun to see family.

Christmas was good. This year, it really was. There were pockets of sadness, and we missed Dave as always, but the heaviness wasn't so pervasive. That sense of missing Dave, while there, was somehow lighter. It was like in years past, it had been a thick, heavy blanket over us, we couldn't see, couldn't breathe, were cut off from what was around us, cocooned in our grief. Now, it's like a veil, lighter, translucent, letting in the light. I can still draw it close around me. And sometimes it still makes it hard to breathe, hard to see clearly. But we aren't unreachable, untouchable.

We decorated cookies for Santa and the kids got too much stuff and we ate too much food. Luke got the Rock Band game for the 360 x-box. The kids played for 12 hours straight! It has a guitar, a drum set and a microphone and you create a band and learn to play the songs. If you goof too many times, you get booed off the stage. We had a lot of fun watching them play. Who knew the first line to Nirvana's "In Bloom" was "Sell the kids for food"? The things you learn. Denise and Darren both laughed, saying Dave would have LOVED that game. They talk about him a lot, which is wonderful for us.

Too soon it was time to go home. Then it was Dave's birthday. Zach woke up puking that morning, and Koda had been puking all the night before. We were all tired and out of sorts, so the day passed by without much fanfare. We missed Duke's birthday on December 3, too. I wonder what that says. Probably just that this family has a super disorganized mom with a lousy sense of time. I'm trying not to read a lot into it. I do feel bad that we haven't really established a tradition for Dave's birthday. The last two years we did have cake and watched Stripes, but Will was gone on vacation, and Zach was sick, so it just didn't seem right. I listened to Dave sing for a bit.

I forgot to tell you, I had the weirdest experience on the last day of school before break. I was at the high school, waiting to pick up the boys. I parked across the street from the portable where Dave's classroom was. And I had this clear vision of him, wearing a sweater, with shirt and tie under it, his khakis and penny loafers, worn out in a crooked way. He came jingling across the parking lot, and stuck his head in the window. "What are you doing here, Shell? I've got the boys. I always pick them up after school." It was so real. I could hear his voice. I could smell him as he leaned in the window. I could feel the stubble on his face when he kissed my cheek. It was like he was there for a minute. It was like it was supposed to be. And for one brief moment, I really, really believed that these past two years had been nothing but a bad dream, that I had finally, finally been transported back to my REAL life. It was wonderful. And awful.

We got together with Dave's family on the 29th to celebrate Christmas and Mindy's birthday. More presents, more food, more fun. No cake, just cupcakes. Mindy's still not ready to blow out candles on a real cake. She and Dave always did that together.

The 30th was Doug's birthday. I thought I'd blog. I was thinking about Dave and Doug and birthdays and getting old and those who didn't get to get old. But then the kids decided we needed to get Rock Band and have a Rock Band New Year's Eve party, and we had to go to the Tricities to get the ink tag off Zach's new coat and exchange Kate's sweater that was too small, so I ended up spending the day driving and shopping.

And yesterday, we cleaned house, prepared a ton of food, and had a bunch of kids over to play Rock Band. It was a fun, if loud, way to bring in the New Year.

Tomorrow is Kyle's birthday. He would have been 19. 19!

I'm not in a very philosophical real thoughts today, other than...EEEK! I have to get going on planning for my new classes!

My new job is essentially an expansion of my old one. I'll still be teaching in the ED department, just full-time now, which means I won't do the Child Care Resource & Referral piece any more. I'm adding a 5 credit Intro to Education class and 4 parenting classes. The parenting classes are exciting. We got a grant from DEL to do some parenting classes and family activities for the students we have that are on the Working Connections/WorkFirst programs. I'm excited about it, but am just beginning to realize what a truckload of work I've gotten myself into!

Here are some pictures of the last few weeks. Hugs to you all. Thank you for your enless support. Couldn't have made it through 2007 without you! I hope your 2008 is the best year ever.

Luke on Kenny, playing X-box.

Kate and Amy make cookies with great concentration.

Jake and Shell. Did I tell you I LOVE this kid?

Kenny & Kenny. I was born on my uncle Kenny's birthday and Kenny was named after him.

Zach, Darren & Jake sample Kate and Amy's work.

The whole gang decorated cookies.

Darren and Denise, Christmas morning, in need of coffee.

My three.

Our family.

Playing Rock Band.



Kate and Caleb...other side of the fam.

Spud and Kate. She's drawing very close to Spud, taking a lot of time to talk with him...about Dave, about heaven. Spud is living with Bob and Judy now. He's having a lot of problems with his health and pain, and Bob and Judy are tired. Pray for all of them.

Mindy & Michelle! SMILE!


  1. Dear Shelley, it's so good to see you all and I am glad to read that, even with the sad moments, you were all able to have a good Christmas. I hope that 2008 is a happy and healthy one for you and all your family {{{HUGS}}}

  2. Glad your holidays were good, and that you had time to spend with family. I must say, I give you a lot of credit for being able to be a passenger while your child drives, especially on a long drive. I have such a hard time with that, even still! (Mine have been driving for 2, 4 and 6 years now!) It's my "paranoia," according to the kids. Sigh...

    Still asking for your thoughts. Thanks.

    --Patti in NJ

  3. Happy New Years my friend. I was glad to hear that Christmas was less painful for you. I found this year to be the same; lots of speaking of my father but not a burning hurt for him. Not to say in the two weeks there was no burning hurt but it wasn't 24/7. Family is an amazing part of the puzzle isn't it. I know 2008 will bring much happiness and more family time for you. All my lvoe and support.

  4. Michelle, so glad to hear you had a good trip. Happy you made it home safe and had a wonderful New Years Eve. So glad 2007 is over and pray 2008 is much healthier and happier. I have no idea where this year went but it is time to start new. Good luck with your new classes, I know you will do a great job.
    Thanks for the update and letting us know your home safe and sound.
    Will be seeing you this week with guess what............... your right

  5. Michelle - So proud of you all! I thought of you all on Dave's birthday but didn't know what to say so I just said a prayer. I will be thinking of you tomorrow as we all think of Kyle and what could have been. He would have brought so much joy, just like the six that are here. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. We are so very thankful that you came and that you came and went in safety. With much love - Mom & Dad

  6. Happy New year!
    That is incrediable about seeing Dave that way. Many years ago my dear friends little two year old boy was hit by a car and died. Later she saw him walk down the hall in their home. He came toward her and said mom its alright. It never happenend agian, but it somehow helped. For a moment in time there he was.
    Wishing you and the kids only the best in 2008. Sherri


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