Because Of You, I Back The Blue.

“He didn’t make it. Troy, he didn’t make it”. Those were the first words said to me as I got to work the afternoon of June 25, 2019. It was the fastest I had ever made it from my house to the Sheriff’s Office and I was met at the door by my coworker Megan. She said those words and confirmed my fear. Troy was gone. What? Why? How? No. So many emotions quickly crept up as I entered the hall to dispatch. The silence screamed so loud, the coolness in the air was heavy and the emotions were overwhelming. I entered dispatch and was greeted by a room filled with people. Somber sad faces looked down. Silence all around. I saw the looks on my fellow dispatchers faces. The senior TC, who had been my mentor since I started was solid as always. He was firm, professional and stone but I could see how he felt. He faced away from us. I walked in, stood where there was space and could feel the tears coming. As I sniffled he looked at me and said “You can do this kid, you can do this”. I pulled myself together the best I could. My heart wept for his family. His wife, three daughters, our coworkers who witnessed the unthinkable. You see, Troy was the first person I met on my first day, he came in and introduced himself, gave me half his cookie and we made small talk. We connected instantly. We both have EMS backgrounds, both have three daughters and one of which is a Gracie. He married his sweetheart, was going on 20 years and he told me how he wanted to surprise her with a Vacation but he wasn’t sure where. We continued to bond over the next few months and each shift started with a Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle cookie, then he’d go about his way in his positive spirit. He had a good heart, a good personality and a good vibe about him. Knowing Troy was such a blessing in multiple ways for many people, and by all the posts and stories I’ve read about him, it reassures how many lives he’s touched.

Deputy Chisum was responding with fellow deputies to a domestic dispute when he was shot and killed, meaning Troy responded to a call because someone’s safety was at risk. He and our coworkers rushed to assist whoever was in need and in return we lost one of our own. To think of what those on scene went through that day makes me cry for them. I witnessed how strong the men and women at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office stood, how they stood together and supported each other. I saw how it effected each person and how the loss of our friend has changed them. I saw what you, the public doesn’t see.

We as a community are surrounded by amazing officers, whether it’s a small town department or county, we have great men and women that still respond even with the fear in the back of their mind. They continued on, protecting our community, because that’s who they are and that’s would Troy would have done. Troy was one of the best we had, because he did more than his share and continued to prove himself daily. He sacrificed many hours of sleep, time with his family, to work and serve our community. He was not only a paramedic, a deputy, fireman, CPR instructor, he was apart of multiple quick response units for our county and state. He did everything he could to be involved with life and protecting. While it sounds like work was his life, his life were three girls and his wife. He worked hard to give them the best life, to give them someone to be proud of. He told me that his oldest daughter was starting at FCEMA with him and that she makes him so proud, but he didn’t want to tell her and put pressure on her. He was proud of his girls, athletes and they have the same ambitious their dad has. I’m so glad they are apart of his to keep his spirit going. He radiated his proudness of his girls and how much he loved them. His family was his everything.

The Chisum Family

As I walked into work today, the air as heavy as it was on this day last year, the void is still there. The emptiness we all feel, is still there. Many times it feels like a dream and we wait for someone to wake us up from this nightmare but they never do. I continue to pray everyday for his family and our coworkers. The things they’ve seen and been through, yet stand strong is incredible. Because of Deputy Chisum, his ultimate sacrifice, his courage and strength, I Back The Blue. Because of the Officers, near and far, their willing to risk their lives to save others, I Back The Blue.

Deputy Chisum, Troy, FC16, 16, friend, we miss you more than words can express. I cannot thank you enough for the guidance and advice the few months I was blessed to work with you. We will continue to keep your spirit alive and I promised to remind Megan of the now two times you saved her life. You are our hero, guardian angel, protector from above and will forever be our FC16.


Candyce 🖤💙

Cancel Paw Patrol?


I woke up this morning, rolled over and reached for my phone. As I do every morning, I instantly checked my messages and then went to Facebook. What’s the first thing I saw? CANCEL PAW PATROL. Are you shitting me?(whoops first bad word, there will be more in this post, I’m pissed) Paw Patrol is being called to cancel due to the “good cop” persona one of the characters displays. Out of every show out there, you’re singling out a CHILDRENS CARTOON? Let me give you a little back story. Paw Patrol is a TV show that shows Ryder, a kid, and his pups go out to save the day. The pups are Chase(the police pup), Marshall(the fire dog), Skye, Zuma, Rubble, Tracker, Rocky, Everest. They go out in Adventure Bay to save the day. This information was not provided by Google, but was provided by my spunky Paw Patrol loving 4 year old.

Paw Patrol is being called to cancel because the police aspect one pup gives, a GOOD cop that does GOOD THINGS. Now listen, I understand certain shows being pulled due to violence and criminal activites displayed, but A CHILDRENS TV SHOW? Why do you want to punish CHILDREN yet still have VIOLENCE movies on TV? Why are we nit picking and picking on the most INNOCENT people out there? What point are they trying to prove? That the can piss off America? Good job aiming at our children and our next generation that is the HOPE this country has! What’s next? Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right? Might as well piss off the elderly that live for those shows(no shame, I also do too, some of my favorites), so that the Pre-Schools and Nursing Homes can riot together! Whoever is pulling for the cartoon to be pulled, needs to pull their heads out of their asses and realize their priorities are in the wrong place!

If you’ve read any of my past blogs or know me in real life you know that my husband is deployed to the Middle East. We have a 4 year old and two soon to be 3 year olds(yeah you read that right, the twins turn 3 in less than 2 weeks), they have had to go through some major changes at such a young age and miss their dad, what’s their escape? PAW PATROL. Because those characters are “GOOD GUYS LIKE DADDY” words directly from Gracelyns mouth. She loves that show and leans on it, I use it to distract her when she’s having a rough night. Millions of children are exactly the same way. What’s the point of taking away their INNOCENT SHOWS? What’s next, Doc McStuffins because there’s a few bad doctors? Or because there’s a dragon and dragons are bad? Stop and think about how absolutely ridiculous it is to cancel a show for children. They won’t understand why it’s cancelled. My children are well aware BLACK LIVES MATTER, but do you think this is what Mr. Floyd would have wanted? A childrens show, millions of children to be upset because they can’t see Chase anymore, because a bad cop killed him? No, I feel confident in saying Mr. Floyd would not have wanted a childrens show cancelled due to his murder. I feel he would agree with demanding change, which MOST OF AMERICA, WHITE AND BLACK, want and DEMAND.



I stand with the Thin Blue Line forever tattooed on my body. Why? Because I’ve seen the sacrifice the GOOD officers have done. I’ve lost a friend in the line of duty. I know what calls the officers take that the public are unaware of. The mental trauma they suffer from serious calls that are silently taken and no one is made aware of. I would like to share a post I read on Facebook from another person, I stand also by these words.

Facebook Post by Gregory Lovell-

“Since we are all on a “privilege” kick…I am surprised no one has brought this one up yet….
You, especially those who are shouting for “police reform”…”defunding”…and “disbanding” agencies, your privelege is showing.

You, my friend, have COP PRIVILEGE.

Yep. You are so privileged, you don’t even REALIZE the privilege of having officers who keep your society civil.

Because it’s all done behind the scenes. It’s done while you sleep peacefully at night and work at your jobs. It’s done as you enjoy your kids extra curricular activities and family parties. It’s done while you enjoy a fun trip to the mall or movie theatre.

It’s done as you enjoy the basic freedoms of a civil society. But apparently it’s so civil that you don’t even realize that it’s because of the police that you live this way.

Don’t believe me? Ask a local officer what calls they have gone on that most of society is unaware of.

Pedophiles, robberies, rape, assault, child abuse, suicides, domestic violence, neglect, mental illness, DUI, drugs, car accidents, and the list goes on and on. All happening in your area while you resume normal life.

Calls where people are victims and begging for help. Calls where if police don’t respond can leave innocent lives hurt or killed.

And the people who HAVE had to utilize police for help because they are a victim….aren’t the ones shouting how awful police are. Why is that? BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE PRIVILEGE THAT POLICE ARE BECAUSE THEY WERE SAVED BY THEM.

If you haven’t had to utilize the police, it’s easy to be ignorant and think they are robots who have used excessive force because of what the media will tell you.

But maybe….just maybe…you should be speaking to the people who are victims and the police helped save them…and get their perspective. Because I have yet to meet someone whose life has been blatantly saved from officers say any of this nonsense about police.

Its’s one of two groups who hate police. It’s criminals who often interact with police and are annoyed that their criminal behavior is being stopped and the other are those who truly ignorant and have benefited from all the behind the scenes work. Which goes to show you how much is going on behind the scenes that you don’t even realize how many people are truly saved each day from officers responding to calls.

Not to mention the proactive policing that saves victims before they become victims.

And heaven forbid, those who hate police ever actually need the police from another human infringing on their rights…because their tune would change in a hurry.

And if you are one of those who does hate the police…your privilege is showing.”


The men and women in uniform, BLACK and WHITE, stand the same, they suffer the same in the line of work. I will scream it until I’m blue in the face, NOT ALL COP IS BAD, NOT ALL WHITE ARE RACIST, NOT ALL BLACK ARE CRIMINALS, STOP GROUPING INDIVIDUALS TOGETHER! Hold those who are bad accountable and those who are innocent, INNOCENT LIKE OUR CHILDREN.

So now, I want to know which overly sensitive fuck stick is going to be telling my children their favorite TV show is cancelled because A PUPPY IS A COP! And when my 4 year old has some choice words for them, I hope they’re prepared to explain it to her and take the wrath that is going to be coming from this sassy spitfire.


A mother who is beyond pissed because ADULTS are now picking on CHILDREN!!!!

Week 1. FAIL.

That’s right, you see me sitting on my kitchen floor, drinking a Capri Sun. Why? Because this first week of not only one but two new schedules has really put me to the test. If I had wine, I’m confident I’d be chugging the bottle. Let me tell you the story of how I came to be spending my Saturday night on my kitchen floor drinking my daughters last Capri Sun.

Earlier this week started our new work schedule, it changed my days off. I’ve been on the same schedule for the last 6+ months. I need to shout it out now that I am not a fan of change. I need a bumper sticker that says DON’T FIX WHAT’S NOT BROKEN. Yeah, I hate change that much. With our new staff, our schedules had to change. This was the first week of the new schedule and I worked with different people. It went well although my days off changing has seemed to make this week drag.

I had Monday off thanks to this new schedule. I thought the girls and I would sleep in, enjoy some peace and quiet while we have an “us” day. All was fine until I heard the dogs go barking and saw a vehicle I didn’t recognize in my driveway. We live in the BFE so unexpected visitors doesn’t usually happen so I raced to throw clothes on and see who it was. It was our appraiser, from the adult onsie I had just thrown on he could tell I had no idea he was coming over. I quickly dressed the three nakey Turdlers (potty training is my excuse, or it was laundry day which is also truthful) and he did what he needed to do. He thanked me for our service and that he understood wives serve too. The rest of the day went well other than that minor anxiety attack I caused myself(whoopsie)

Tuesday before work, which used to be my Thursday but now it’s my Monday (see, confusing) Maisyn got her first fat lip. Minutes before I had to leave for work she biffed it(meaning she took a note from mommy’s handbook and face planted on the wooden floor) she was playing and boom down she went. She cried and I checked her lip out, bleeding. I’d bet money she will be my child that has a weak stomach to blood. She cried and clung to my neck. As I’m holding on to her, the twin bond or whatever you’d like to call it must have engaged because Paityn bit her tongue not even 30 seconds after Maisyn fell. I then had two ba ies crying and bleeding. I’m not sure what kind of household you have but mine is mostly ran on popsicles. Once again they save the day! Half a dozen popsicles and two number mouths later both twins were calmed and no longer bleeding. I was able to hand off the girls to the sitter(aka their Nunna my mother) and get out the door to work on time.

Wednesday, to be honest my week blended together after Tuesday. Thursday was also a blur, did Friday even happen? Let’s fast forward to Saturday.

The girls have been up and down all week when it comes to bed time, especially the oldest who has started crying for her dad at night. Last night was the toughest night so far and I got very little sleep between taking care of all three. We got up and the puppy had destroyed his bed, went potty inside, drug out all the girls toys and was just being a menace. I cleaned the messes up and realized I needed to do the dishes. Laundry was washed but it needed folded and put away. The grass is looking kind of 1970’s shag style outside so mowing is on the agenda. I realized I need to pick up groceries especially paper towel I was now out of. I got the girls their food, cups and started picking up the now destroyed house. Very quickly time passed and I needed to get ready for work. I took a quick bath, Maisyn was mad about something so she was attached to my hip. As soon as I got out of the tub that child was naked and in the tub. It was almost like the twins are each other’s shadows because splash there was Paityn in the tub. Big sister couldn’t let them have all the fun so here she came strutting her stuff before taking over the tub. It’s cute until they unleash their bossiness and start hitting each other, teen years are going to be miserable. I drained the tub, got all three dressed and myself ready for work in time. Maisyn wanted mommy so I skipped makeup(those who saw me today I apologize for looking like Chef Troll on Trolls) and cuddled her for a bit. Headed to work, music blaring, preparing for my Friday.

Work was work. With my job it’s hit and miss how the shift will go, you never know what’s coming. When I say that, I also mean in your home life! My sitter messaged me, the bathroom sink broke and there was water flooding my house. THERE IT IS. Not even one week into deployment and something hits the fan. My kitchen, bathroom, basement, all of it has water. My stash of toilet paper, that white gold that people are hoarding, all the rolls were ruined. I might have to sell a child to Rumpelstiltskin to obtain more toilet paper. Luckily my sitter and parents were able to get the water off and the mess cleaned up. Tomorrow my parents will fix the sink completely, hopefully 😐 I decided to grab dinner at work tonight and figured I’d stop at the store to get TP and much needed paper towels. I forgot to grab my mask from my work bag so as I pulled into the store parking lot, I remember it’s now mandatory to wear masks in public places where you might not be able to be 6ft apart or the store can choose to refuse you service. I decided to not chance the argument and went back to work, tp-less and wine-less. I knew I’d need it tonight but my forgetness cost me my wine time tonight. The Covid has really thrown everyone through a loop so kudos to us all for hanging on.

When I got home from work I felt completely overwhelmed. I have so much to do in such a short time, I need to finish up laundry especially since three girls in big girl undies, two of which are mid potty training, they need clean undies. Towels were completely dirty due to the Tsunami that happened this evening. The laundry is built up so high, all clean, but putting it away and sorting it is going to take FOR-EV-ER(please get the reference). The grass needs mowed, so bad it’s unreal. I might have lost Sarge in the grass if it wasn’t for his little nub of a tail wagging(I’m being dramatic, it’s not that long but long enough to annoy me). My house is messy, not dirty but not up to my standards so I know I’ll spend the next two days cleaning and going through things to get rid of. The icing on the cake was when I was reminded, I need to have Gracelyns school work turned in soon. I feel like a failure as a mom because the last few weeks we have pushed Gracelyns education to the back burner, we chose to spend time together instead. It was a selfish decision but I think it was a good decision. We are adjusting routines to a single parent household, a new work schedule and now a no school schedule. I love routine, so does Gracelyn and now her poor schedule has changed twice in a week. Now I’ve pushed her education to the back and feel like I’ve let her down. I know I haven’t, but I fell behind on her work so we will be catching up on it. She’s been acting out, telling lies and has turned into a Gremlin that someone watered after midnight. My sweet child cried for her dad last night, go the point she was screaming and woke her sisters. My bed slept all for of us last night and almost tonight too. How do I fix everything, catch up on everything, maintain a routine and comfort my daughter? So much in one night. Maisyn was awake when I got home, she wanted cuddled so mommy cuddled. She needed me but I needed her more. We took pictures and held each other for a while before I bribed her to go to bed. So there I sat, on my kitchen floor drinking the girls last Capri Sun, trying to figure out how I’m going to manage to take care of this all.

These problems are minor, it’s stuff that will get done even if it’s babysteps. To me, it’s overwhelming and makes me anxious. It dawned on me though, I’m not the only person feeling like this. I scroll through my news feed on Facebook and many others can relate to feeling like they need to fix the world instantly. We can’t tho and we should ask for help when we need it. I’m a very independent person so asking for help has never been easy for me. My parents have helped out and are taking care of a few of the problems, because they know I need their help. Is it a pride thing to. It ask for help? I know I should be able to do it on my own so is that why I don’t ask? Is it a sign of weakness and I want to appear bulletproof? I don’t know the answer, but I do know I have great support that knows when I need them without asking. Everyone has people like that, to have our backs regardless of the situation. If you don’t think you do, I’ll be that person for you without missing a beat. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. This world has enough evil, we can be the good.

We don’t have to have it all figured out instantly. Babysteps are still steps and as long as you’re still moving, you will get somewhere. I repeat that to myself daily because I need it. Week 1 has felt like a failure, I bent but I didn’t break. Now I lay here listening to the two year olds talk to each other, laugh, sing and count while the four year old plays on the tablet(judge me because it’s 3am and my kids aren’t asleep/playing with electronics, they’re at least content and so is my heart). I need to learn to stop having a negative mind and appreciate the little things like those giggles or my toddler watching makeup tutorials. Good things are in each day, we just have to notice them…


Candyce 🧡

Day 2.

I know the last few blogs have pulled at most heart strings, for given reasons, but that doesn’t mean all days will be sad. Day 2 started with all my children sleeping until 11. ALL THREE CHILDREN SLEPT IN, I WOKE THE TWINS UP. Like thank you Lord for blessing me with much needed sleep! The twins were up super late singing and talking so I hoped they’d sleep in. Gracelyn woke up, unlocked my phone and decided to educate herself with YouTube so not a peep out of her. I woke up to the pup licking my face. I got up, tripped over Zeus and face planted into the bathroom door. Shocker to no one, I just wanted to test gravity out for everyone, good news it still works! Gracelyn looked at me, sighed and said “Mom you’re not supposed to hug the door”. Thanks child, I had no idea. I went to get the twins up and when it comes to waking the twins up they are opposites. One baby is more like daddy, waking up in a decent mood. The other is just like mommy, it’s like waking up TeKa, the lava monster off Moana. It’s closely accurate, flames and all. It’s not a pretty sight and usually there is growling. Paityn, is usually the one like mommy. She’s known as the Pistol for a reason. I bribed the growling baby bear with chocolate to not bite my hand while reaching into her bed to get her out of bed. I made the girls a jar of Hershey Kisses, labeled “Kisses from Daddy” so each day they get a “kiss” from Daddy. Another reason why Paityn is mommy’s mini, she agrees chocolate is LIFE! Mentioned chocolate and that child was bright eyed and bushy tailed(never quite understood that expression). Fast forward through potty time(potty training is for the birds 🙄) and it was breakfast time.

these pictures are blurry because it’s impossible to capture them sitting still 🤷🏼‍♀️

The girls are super picky so it’s always a challenge to find a meal they’ll all eat. But I also know if I offer them something 1/3 will refuse, but if I eat something 3/3 will eat it. Mommy had a granola bar and would you have guessed, none of my children wanted their cheesy scrambled eggs but the sure loved mommy’s granola bar. They also got their “kisses” from Daddy and proceeded to start the tornado throughout the house. Gracelyn decided to color, Maisyn decided to take her clothes off and use herself as a canvas for markers and Paityn laid back on the couch watching tv(again, my girl!) I cleaned up the eggs left over from the dogs cleaning the plates and got the girls their highly demanded popsicles. What are in those things that they have taken complete control over my children? I’m not above bribery, or rewarding my children. I looked in to see a naked toddler trying to ride on the back of my Rottweiler puppy who wasnt phased at all with her attempting to turn him into a horse. There was a big puddle of a mystery fluid on the floor(again, potty training is not fun) whether it came from the puppy or naked child I do not know 🤷🏼‍♀️. The crayons were now covering the dining room floor and Gracelyn looked at me as she shrugged and said “I don’t know what happened. I closed my eyes to blink and they exploded everywhere”. Girls got jokes 😐 I brought in their lunch and made them sit at the table. I returned to the kitchen to get their drinks, came back to find now 2/3 of my children were in their birthday suits and the oldest wasn’t far behind. Do I argue with all three to put clothes on or do I let it go for now? Yeah, I wasn’t up to fight with them today. Gracelyn decided to have a meltdown because Maisyn was sitting in “Gracelyns chair”, she might be tiny but she is mighty with her attitude, sass, temper and strong will. That moment showed clearly she might look just like me but her father is in there somewhere! When she stomped her foot with that scowl look on her face, yep there he is! She didn’t get her way but I sat down eye level to her and made her talk to me. She calmed down quickly and laid on my lap. She finally asked Maisyn to switch her spots and would you know, that’s all it took to get “her” seat? Maisyn didn’t care as long as you don’t take her food away. She wasn’t sitting anyway she was standing up shaking her booty to the cartoons playing music on TV while eating her cheese quesadilla. She’s such a happy turdler. Paityn was laying on the couch eating her quesadilla because she wasn’t ready to deal with people yet. Gracelyn wanted to have waffles with sausages and bacon for dinner. Unfortunately I didn’t have what I needed so I had a minor anxiety attack over knowing I can’t just up and take the girls with me to the store. With the COVID some of our local stores were saying no children allowed and as of Friday the lovely Governor of ours has enforced mandated masks for anyone over 2. If you’ve met my very strong willed children you KNOW masks won’t be happening, so my children are home bound until further notice. So as I thought about it, knowing no one was able to come watch the girls in a last minute ideas, my anxiety kicked in. The independence I was had is gone, the option to go out to the store with my children was not happening. COVID is no joke. With their father deployed, there’s nothing I can do but wait. I posted a status about it and I had so many people reach out to see if they could help. I hadn’t cried today but those comments and messages made me cry all over again. The amount of amazing people around me and my girls is completely amazing. I know my daughters will grow up surrounded by such great people. This world is an evil messed up place, but our community is a great place filled with love and hope. The girls continued to play while I decided to relax and take a bath. A relaxing bath in my household consists of me in a super hot bath with three little girls splashing in the water on me while they beg to get into my water with me. Three minutes into the bath with three naked girls standing next to me, the dogs were outside barking. No one was expected so I towel up and look out the window to see a jeep with someone pinned inside. I had called the dogs off and they came inside. I quickly dressed and the man approached my locked door. I saw his face and instantly recognized him. He was here to do an appraisal on our house. Someone had forgot about it(we all forgot), got all three kids dressed in a flash and the dogs locked up. He finished what he had to do and we made small talk about Nick before he left. The girls decided to watch a movie and I sat on the kitchen counter doing my nails(I tried those Color street stick on nail strips, AMAZING they’re so simple and easy. Glennette Barclay can hook you up!). I felt kind of like I had my life together for a minute right then. My mom came over to watch the girls so I could head to Lowe’s, which turned out to be closed. Ya girl has decided to make herself a dining room table, you did read that right. Me+power tools=911 on stand by but luckily I know a thing or two about 911 😆 I jammed out to my own concert in the truck and came home to three little girls with their hair braided, happy as can be to have their Nunna, but ready for bed. The twins went to bed easily tonight, Gracelyn has not. She went to her bed a solid 11 times, I finally said I’m done walking back and forth, she’s currently asleep on the couch. I take pictures of the girls daily, but as you can see it’s a challenge to get one photo in focus let alone all three looking and smiling.

Another day has gone by and tomorrow I return to work. This is when the new “normal” begins. The new routine of things, the adjustments and we will see how smoothly the transition is. We are hanging in there. Nick is doing as well as can be. But for now, another heartbreak for me, that’s right I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy. Thanks Shonda, I needed another cry 🙄


Candyce 🧡

Even though I’m Leaving…

Nick got the call earlier this week that they’re deploying in xxx days. Those days have turned into hours now. We’ve been preparing over and over but it’s not any easier. I’ve thought of how to tell the girls, all week, and now that we are to the very last minute we finally told them.

We took pictures tonight, the Princesses and their daddy. I’ve only had a chance to go over a few of them because quite frankly it’s been hard to see through the tears. After photos Gracelyn asked if we could sit down on a blanket in the dining room and have a picnic. So there we sat three princesses in rain boots, tiaras, pasta sauced faces and giggles as they raced who could eat what the fasted. It only lasted a few minutes before Paityn was climbing Nick, Gracelyn was chasing the puppy and Maisyn was trying to blow milk bubbles out of her nose(I wish I was kidding). It dawned on me, this was our last family dinner and the chaos in front of me is exactly what I needed. The girls being their typical selves not realizing the drastic change coming. It was the last few moments of them being them before we told them the news. As I sat the girls down, Paityn still climbing Nick’s back, Maisyn actively shoveling pasta into her mouth and Gracelyn realizing there were onions in the food but she “hates onions”, I raised my voice to get their attention. All three looked at me wide eyes and a little terrified I’m sure, I don’t typically raise my voice. I looked at Gracelyn and before I could speak a word the tears were welling in my eyes. I said “Baby we need to talk, we need to have a big girl talk about something important okay?” “What’s wrong momma, why do you always cry?” (Okay child, way to call me out like that) I looked at her and said “Gracie, your daddy is going to be going away for a while, a lot longer than normal. We won’t be able to see him but we can still talk to him on the phone.” She looked puzzled for a minute before she spoke. This was an all too familiar memory of my own past so I knew what was coming. “Why? Where is daddy going?” The room was silent and still besides the sniffles coming from the man next to me and the sound of my heart racing in my chest. How do you explain to a 4 year old that her daddy is off to a war that has been going on most of her mommy’s life? I googled tips this week and the tips said to be honest with her, otherwise they got nada. So I told her “Daddy is going to be a good guy and help people. He’s going to *insert country here* and he’s going with a bunch of other people to help get rid of bad guys.” “Why?” She asked completely stone faced. “Because that’s what daddy does, he helps people. He’s a soldier remember? So he helps others.” My smiley, spunky over the top daughters face quickly turned into a sad face with tears in her eyes as it started to click. She curled up on my lap as I continued to try helping her with her questions and her worries, like how her daddy won’t be home for her birthday or Christmas, he won’t be home for the twins birthday in June, he won’t be here to play with her or cuddle her. My baby was experiencing sadness that I couldn’t fix and that is a helpless feeling. I squeezed my girl while the tears fell from my face. As she and I softly cried together, Paityns clung to her dad’s back playing with his ears, as happy as can be. Maisyn was next to me wearing two tiaras now, wearing her Belle Princess dress and her pink rain boots. She was singing her ABC’s while eating more pasta(I’m not saying she’s my favorite child but when it comes to eating, she’s my girl!). The twins don’t understand it and I think that makes it harder. They ask each morning that Nick doesn’t get them up, where’s daddy? How long will it be of them asking before they get upset and throw a fit for him? How long will the tears of the oldest last when she doesn’t get to cuddle him at night? It’ll get worse before better. My heart hurts so bad for my girls but it hurts even worse for Nick. He’s going to be missing out on everything, for a long while. The girls are changing and developing so much at this age, they’re going to be completely different when he comes home. The sooner this starts the sooner it’s over.

Luke Combs wrote a song called Even Though I’m Leaving, the first verse is Nick and G to a T. He chases her monsters away. He protects her and is her safe haven. I know I can do it too, but I’m not her dad. Every girl needs her dad. How do I make this transition smoothest? The answer? There is no answer. It’s trial and error. Tears will be shed from both of us. How do you be strong for your children when you want to cry for them? I say it all the time, I’m fine. Nick compares me to Meredith Grey because I answer everything with “I’m Fine, I’m always fine”. No matter what’s thrown at me, I answer it the same every time. Maybe this time I won’t be fine, but for now I’m doing fine. The next few weeks please bare with me as we face this change, I’m not sure what to expect other than a lot of wine(probably should invest into wine stocks) and a lot of chick flicks. I luckily have an amazing support system and have taken time off to spend sometime with my girls. They need their mommy but their mommy needs them more.


Candyce 🧡

Gracelyn Says.

Am I the only one with a child that lacks a filter? That will say whatever she wants, whenever? I have no idea where she got that from(wink wink). She is a spitting image of me so you’d think I would be prepared for her? Nope, wrong. Every day with this girl is a new adventure and at some point in each day I have to walk away because I’m supposed to be mad at her but instead she makes me laugh. Her sweet, innocent voice telling me stories or negotiating with me, are sounds that’ll echo forever. Take today for example, today she asked about a topic most parents cringe over, where do babies come from.

Gracelyn was riding her bike in the dining room (judge me if you want for letting her ride it in the house, she was happy), when I looked at her and smiled, said “Gracie I gave you life, I love you so much”. She stopped immediately and looked at me puzzled. “Mommy you gave me life?” “Yes baby, I also gave Sissy’s life”. And as I said that I looked at Nick, both of us knowing where this conversation I just started was heading. Gracelyn is too curious and full of questions, for this not to go where we expected. “Mommy, how did you give me life?” I debated how to answer. I told her “You were in my belly, I grew you from a teeny tiny dot to the size of a watermelon.” I fully expected now to be having the birds and bees conversation with my very inquisitive 4 year old. She got off her bike and came up to me, sat on my lap and said “so the doctors took me out of your belly?” “Well, kind of. They were there when mommy had you. So was daddy, Kindra and Nunna.” She looked puzzled as she stared off into the dining room. I waited for it, for the question to come of how she got out of my body. I was practicing what I was going to say in my head but nothing would make sense to her little brain. Should I tell her dad to answer it? Should I Google how to explain where babies comile from to a 4 year old? Do I YouTube a video explaining it and chance scarring my child? Do I change the subject? I paused and waited. I didn’t have to stress it too long because something else my child got from me, a short attention span. Off on her next adventure of full sass, back on her bike. Wow dodged a bullet on that one, or just bought time. I’ll have to have that conversation with her someday, but hopefully I’ll be more prepared on how to answer. I never had that talk with my parents, I kind of knew one day all the answers to those questions. It probably came from also having so many much older siblings. Gracelyn is the oldest though, so someday I will have that talk. A little while later that conversation backfired, as Gracelyn was mad at Maisyn, she looked at her and yelled “YOU CAME OUT OF MOMMYS BELLY DONT MAKE ME PUT YOU BACK THERE!” Oh my sweet, sweet Gracelyn, that is not how that works. She sounds like she’s so serious and mean but this is also being said to her little sister that body slammed her onto the floor last week while laughing hysterically (I have a video of it, she then proceeded to tell Maisyn she was going to punch her in the nuts).

Another Gracelyn moment today, she watches a lot of YouTube with me and I love Jeffree star. We have been watching him for a long time and today she asked a question I never really thought about. “Mommy, where’s his eyebrows?” I laughed and looked at her, she was completely serious. “Um, he shaves them off honey, he prefers not to have eyebrows.” Here comes the infamous “Why?”. Good question child of mine, I don’t know the exact answer but I ran with it. “Because he wants to be unique, different, and wants to not waste his time making sure they’re perfect. He likes to do his makeup all the way up so he doesn’t need them. He can also draw them on if he wants eyebrows that day.” Gracelyn without missing a beat “So is that why you draw your eyebrows on too?”. Y’all, meet my sugar free sour patch kid. For the record I fill mine in, waiting til Covids up to get microbladed. “Momma I wish you could do my makeup like his. I could shave my eyebrows too and have plenty of room to do eyeshadow!”. *Quietly excusing myself to put up any scissors or razors in my house*. I almost volunteered Nick’s eyesbrows for a test run but I didn’t. She was so fascinated with Jeffree and his makeup, but she couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want eyebrows. It was so funny and confusing for her.

The best thing she said all day was short and simple but was a smart ass comment if I’ve ever heard one. I’m blind in my left eye, majorly, due to the stroke last year. When I say blind I don’t mean blurry, I see black I all but one part of my eye. Gracelyn knows I can’t see out of my eye. Today she was messing with the puppy and I told her to cut it out. She continued and when I said I saw her do it again she looked at me and said “close your good eye then see me do it, I dare you!” Where did I get this child?(refer back to paragraph 1 I know where she came from but this sass is strong). I looked at her and said “what did you just say?” She said “I said Close your good eye then see me do it. You have a bad eye mommy not a bad ear, use your big girls ears and listen I said it nicely.” I about fell over. She’s going places, she will be a leader and I pray it’s not a leader of a prison gang.

I can’t wait to see what else this child says, what she learns and what happens over the rest of her life. She is so funny and I can’t take her most days, but she is my baby. No one knows what’ll come out of her mouth at this rate.

Stay tuned!

-Candyce 🧡

Tonight;The Best Night Of My Life.

It’s almost 4am as I lay here with a 4 year old wedges in my back, as close as she can possibly get to me, talking my ear off while we listen to her sisters talk in their room. It’s one of those “no sleep, going to need an IV of caffeine and Tylenol, by the end of the day might need a big bottle of wine” kind of nights. Gracelyn has always bed shared and it’s a habit proving to be impossible to break(anyone have tips/tricks that won’t forget traumatize my child, send them my way!!) so it’s nothing new for her to be next to me or laying partially on me(I’ve tried explaining personal space and social distancing but she just says uh okay mommy and gets as close as she can). The twins sleep on their own cribs in their room(gasp my almost 3 year olds are still in cribs?! Judge me, but I’m going to keep those tiny beasts caged for as long as possible okay) but lately they’ve been crib sharing because they have a meltdown if they’re not together. Maybe it’s a twin thing, a comfort thing, I’m not exactly sure, but they were always in separate beds until the last few weeks. Rewind back a little while ago, tonight Gracelyn was awake talking about potato chips and where they come from(funny story a few will understand. When I was pregnant with Gracelyn I fell down stairs and was hospitalized. They gave me pain medicine and I was higher than a kite, and was upset because I didn’t know anything about potatoes and potato chips. It’s like she heard me 😂) anyway, she’s chatting away and I heard Paityn cry. She usually fusses for a few minutes then goes back to bed but oh no, not this time, this time it was CANDYCE, MOMMY, MOMMA, CANDYCEEEEEE. So now the mission is on, to retrieve said upset child without waking the other tiny turdler next to her while stepping through the maze of fur animals in the upstairs. As soon as I picked Paityn up she relaxed and sunk into my body. She immediately fell back asleep and cuddled into me. I laid down with her in my bed just in time for Gracelyn to say her feet hurt so she wanted medicine. Completely that mission while keeping twinado asleep, but then I heard it. The sound of baby A aka twin A aka Maisyn getting upset because she was yelling for Paityn who was now in my room. A king sized bed with 5 people, three of which prefer to sleep sideways, is not a lot of room. We did it though and as I had Maisyn on my left, Paityn on my right and Gracelyn hugging my arm it dawned on me, this is the best night of my life. Woaaah what lady, with the lack of sleep I’ll be getting, the crowded bed and being unable to move, this is the best night of your life? Yes, it is.

Hearing my children ask for me is something some don’t get to experience. Knowing my child asks for me, needs me, and chooses me over anyone else is exactly what makes my heart happy. That’s the most rewarding feeling, knowing your children care about you and love you, that they want you and NEED you. They call for me, yell for me, cry for me and what do I do? I comfort them completely, I nurture them and I fix whatever is wrong. I make their sadness go away, because that’s what a parent should do. I chose to comfort my children over sleeping. I would choose my children over anything because that is what a parent should do. As we laid here and they sang “Bah Bah Black Sheep”, Maisyn and Gracelyn held hands and Paityn kissed Maisyns forehead, what more could I ask for? This is the best. My daughters needing me, they’re getting along, they’re singing and holding hands, they needed me AND each other. I’ve learned recently how you can try to force relationships and they don’t always work out, no matter how hard you try, but to see the relationship my children have with each other and with me, it’s the best night of my life. I need nothing else in this world but these three little girls. I managed to bribe the twins back to their bed and can hear them currently singing “twinkle twinkle Little star”.

I’m a firm believer that God sends you signs when you need them most, he did it again. Tomorrow will be the new best night of my life, because every night with my children is the best night of my life. I needed this, my girls needing me and a parental relationship to be reassured to me. I’m a mother, I’m their safe haven and their comfort. They are my calm in the chaos, my sweetness when the weeks been sour, my reason. I might not get much sleep tonight but I get the joy in knowing my girls are safe, comforted, happy, working on their American Idol audition. These moments won’t last forever so I will enjoy them as much as possible. They might be very young but they’re teaching me lessons daily. I pray we always have the bond we do and they continue to love me as much as I love them. I’m forever grateful for the blessings God has given me and for this is the best night of my life.

— Candyce 🧡

The House That Built Me

I’ve taken the last week off to focus on my family since Nick is still home. As I sat down tonight to blog, YouTube was already popped up so I clicked on a music video, 3 hours later I finally clicked on my blog to start writing. Does that happen to anyone else or just me? I was deep in YouTube land listening to Pinks funniest moments(I highly recommend, she’s hilarious and I love her) to Carrie Underwood videos and somehow ended up on how to make slime with household items(keep in mind my turdlers are all sleeping so I’m a 28 year old woman looking up SLIME). As I debated what to blog, Nick said why not blog about what matters most to me. I sat puzzled because I’ve already mentioned my daughters but I started thinking deeper, my family is most important to me. The good, the bad, the ugly, my family is what has been the base of who I am. I don’t mean extended family but my immediate family that were my every day life for 18+ years.

The last time we saw his chin. Hello 80’s

Let me take you back to the early days back where it all began. My parents, Tim and Sunda, met mid 1980’s in Colorado. My dads cousin was dating my moms then best friend and they had had a baby. My mom walked up to the truck where the baby was and told my dad to move she wanted to hold that baby. No wonder where I get my sass, I mean charm from. Fast forward a few years and my mom picked her life up, including very young daughter and moved to Illinois to be with my dad(I’m questioning you BOTH on why we just HAD to live in Illinois where it’s bipolar weather, that’s another story). My dad had three young children of his own and the situation wasn’t good, my mom stepped up to help raise a small village while my dad worked over the road. My mom loved my dad so much that she gave up everything she had in Colorado, left her family and friends, to live 13 hours away and to take care of their children. It’s a little fact that not many know, the sacrifice that happened then. I have two older brothers and two older sisters, they are all within 3 years of each other(Mark was born July of 84, Kindra was May of 85, Joey was Nov of 85 and Jessica was Nov of 86). A few years after my mom moved here, in mid March, in a Cottage Hospital bathroom around 8pm, my parents had a little too much fun and created yours truly. I’ve always said they saved the best for last, right? I have three kids that are a year and a half apart and I know what chaos I face, I can only imagine how it was with having 4 so close in age then a newborn. Luckily they didn’t feed me to the cats(Joey tried, he let a stray cat in that attacked me, named Raja, I have the scars to prove it). Growing up I always thought it was normal to have such a big family, we might be what’s considered a blended family but we were raised as siblings. To us, there is no “step” or “half” we are simply family. So I’d like to introduce you to my family.

I was in second grade when I learned my sister Kindra had a different last name than me. I cried because I thought my teacher was wrong and that that meant Kindra wasn’t my sister. My siblings were together all but every other weekend sometimes when Mark, Joey and Jessica would go to their moms, so I didn’t understand what it meant when my teacher broke the news to me that they were “step siblings”. *Note to everyone, don’t drop that on anyone when it’s not your place, it really messed with me emotionally for a while*. We aren’t half or step, we are brothers and sisters.

Mark Edward(I went there) is my oldest sibling, he’s more known by his nickname “Sparky”. To be honest I’m not sure why his nickname is Sparky but I’m sure it had something to do with jumping over a bonfire or starting one. He had the immediate protection response when it came to me as a child. Joey tried to push infant Candyce out of a second story window and Mark came to my rescue. Over the years his love for me got smaller because he became the “babysitter”, not only the oldest but probably the most responsible at the time. I also used to cramp his style, I’d be the biggest pain to him and hide his things. I recall one time he held me down and was letting spit stretch out of his mouth towards my face until I told him where I hid his stuff. I wasn’t the nicest little sister but that is what I did to get his attention. He was that cool big brother that would punch whoever in the face if they messed with me without a second thought. He protected and still protects what he loves.

He was fearless and I wanted to be fearless too. As I got older, so did he. By the time I was in middle school he was graduating high school. He would sneak in and out of the house by using a ladder into my room, to go see his now wife Amanda who happened to be our neighbor. After he graduated he moved in with Amanda and they together have two sons Dylan and Brandon. His streak of doing mean things to me continued even into adult years. I was in high school when he dragged me down the stairs by my hair once, part of a $20 bet. I watched him become a dad at a young age and was raised with my “nephews”, now that they are grown they are just like their dad. He has been with Amanda for longer than I can remember and since she was our neighbor, she was apart of the family. Now that I’ve grown up, our relationship has improved by a lot and he an amazing uncle to my daughters. I know the day is coming that he will tell my kids how I was as a child and he gets to watch them act just like I did(my own karma). I know my girls will never have anything to worry about as long as uncle Sparky is around.

Kindra Kaylee is my oldest sister. She was the sibling that liked me most for a little while. She loved me while I was little(photo evidence above) but as I got older she was the sister who liked to staple my clothing with me in them to the front porch, telephone pole. One time she and Jessica used a jump rope to tie me to the porch to keep me away from them. The neighbor drove by and waved as I stood there defenseless. I was always her shadow because she was so cool, I wanted to be like my sister. She used to play football with the boys, she would rough house with them even after they broke her arm. One time when they(all my siblings) were babysitting me because my mom worked at the bar uptown, they locked me in a closet. They didn’t want to deal with their needy little sister so they literally locked me away like you see on the crime tv shows. It wasn’t the first time and I was able to get out because I had done it before, I walked right past them all as they watched tv and out the front door I went. I walked uptown by myself at maybe 4 or 5. I walked into the bar where my mom was and I will never forget the look on her face when she saw me walk in by myself. She called home and asked my siblings how I was and they said I was good, when she asked to speak with me they said I was taking a nap(didn’t bother to check on me). She called back a while later and asked to talk to me, they said I was still sleeping(which wouldn’t be surprising because I LOVE sleep) but mom told them to go wake me up. They got back on the phone hysterical because I was missing. She broke the news to them that I had been up town by myself for a few hours. I don’t remember the outcome of that but I do remember I got a cheeseburger, fries and that was another reason my siblings hated me.

As we slowly got older I loved hanging out with Kindra and her best friend Stacey. Stacey had a younger brother Doug that was my age so I had a friend to play with while they jammed out to their music. We spent many summers together and watching the two girls I thought that’s what I wanted to be like growing up. They taught me life lessons when they were unaware. I saw breakups and heartbreak. I saw Kindra recover from a major car accident that forever left her with a messed up back. She had to have steroid shots one year, it was just before she went to prom with a friend. My parents had her dress made and they didn’t take into account that she would swell up. A half hour before Grand March(it’s like a parade for the couples going to prom to show off their outfits to everyone) my mom slit the sides to let Kindra have a little more room, she didn’t realize it cut the complete sides out. It’s one of those memories that I remember a lot of cuss words begin said. She continued to be the badass sister that I wanted to be like. She did the mechanic classes in high school because she liked cars. She could hold her own with the boys when it came to shooting guns, riding atvs or fishing. She introduced me to music like Merle, Hank, Salt n Pepa, and Sublime. The older we’ve gotten the more we can relate to each other and have gotten closer. I hadn’t experienced death or the loss of a loved one, but I watched her go through it. I was in 8th grade when her best friend died as a result of a car wreck. It was just before her 21st birthday and it was the day of a Marti Gras parade in Abingdon. I watched the strongest girl I knew, at her weakest moment. I didn’t realize the impact of what was happening, but I saw her collapse behind our vehicle in tears because she lost her best friend. I saw how she picked herself back up and continued on as her friend would have wanted. She showed me her strength was still there. With death also comes life and She allowed me to see life begin for the first time. I watched my sister become a mother and see how quickly she matured. Only a few years prior she drank a lot, she would come home drunk and jump on my bed to wake me up because she wanted to talk even if I had school the next day. Many times I told her how annoying she was and how I couldn’t stand her drunk, but when you’re in your early 20’s that is what you do I guess. She had no cares but then she had Sylar. She grew up quickly and to see the change was amazing. She no longer drank, she worked and provided for her son. He was her world and she found her reason. She grew up to love me after all, she was there when I had Gracelyn, when I got married, just after I had the twins, for the big moments of my life. We fight often and I like to think it’s because we are alike, but we forgive quickly. I’ve learned the most from her.

Joseph Henry, my little big brother, my personal comedian. Joey was not a Candyce fan from Day 1. Prior in this blog I’ve pointed out two times he tried to get rid of me, first a cat and also a 2nd story window plunge, but those aren’t the only times he tried to get rid of me. I was “dropped” into a wood burner also and he used to shut my breathing machine off when I was little. He didn’t want me for some reason but now we are close. When I was in elementary school, a kid slammed my head into the window so what did my big brother do? He got into a fight after school at our house with the kid and blooded his lip and nose, because only my siblings could be mean to me. If you know Joey, you know he is a unique person. Give him any electronic and he will fix it even if it hasn’t worked in years. He has a niche for motors, cars, anything mechanical. He has been my personal mechanic since I got my first car. He has made sure I didn’t blow it up when any kind of light comes on. Joey is also a lover, he has a big heart but his heart on his sleeve. Joey lived at home while I was growing up after the others moved out, so he and I bonded and were the closest. I watched him go from relationship to relationship, whether he was depressed and I had to follow him around town to make sure he was okay, or if I had to prove his girlfriend was cheating on him(little sister don’t play). He has been my protector and I will forever be his now that I’ve grown up. I’ve seen him try over and over to give all his love to his other half, because that’s who Joey is. He loves his family and his sisters most and no one will ever replace that. Joey listened to more boy drama than anyone else and never complained. He had my back as I cried over different phases of my life. We both got through those phases over our love for the band Skillet. We went to his first concert together, I didn’t tell him where I was taking him but I was surprising him with going to see Skillet. I told him on the way to the concert where we were going, to see the smile on his face was everything I could ever want. I had tears in my eyes when I saw his face as Skillet started playing their first song. To experience our favorite band together was the most memorable time.

Jessica Ellen, Hooters, my closest in age sibling. In the late 90’s a family moved into London Mills and had two daughters both Jessicas age and mine. We would hangout as a group, listening to BSB or some Usher. I would watch for hours as she would dance to different songs with the other girls. She had a few serious relationships when we were younger but not many memories exist before she met Roy. I met Roy first and made a comment he should meet my sister, he saw my sister walking down the street and asked if I knew who that was, that’s when I told him that was who I said he should meet and they have been together since. I watched Jessica fall in love, 16 years ago, she had a high school relationship that the world seemed to be against but somehow they made it. Jess has always been driven where her heart takes her, that’s her family. She’s always had that “don’t give a F” attitude because she’s protective of who she lets in, who she lets get to her and who she cares about. She can come off that way but what most don’t know is that she’s funny and she is random. She comes up with ideas that either go really good or really bad, like that one time she pierced my nose with a safety pin. She had a tampon shoved in my nose to protect the center of it but the tampon fell out. It made for a great laugh although the nose ring was short lived, I think it lasted two months if that. She and I have a lot in common, mostly that we lack filters and are both extremely protective of Joey.

She was the first of us to have a baby and that baby boy she gave us saved my life in more ways than one. For my sophomore year finals, I studied at the hospital because we thought she was miscarrying the baby. Little did I know that she would let me see him on sonogram and he was okay, he looked like a little blob but I cried so hard. I watched her marry Roy that year, they moved into their house and then I watched her life change. I spent my 17th birthday alone because we thought she was having Brayden, two days later she finally went into labor. I was taking a bath when Joey knocked on the door and said the water broke. I told him no it didn’t, it was still running. He said “No you idiot, Jessica’s water broke”. We raced to her house to pick her and Roy up, Roy got into the truck ready to go leaving his wife still inside. We waited a few hours very impatiently as Kindra, Cassie and I kept opening the door to the delivery room area to see if we could hear a cry or something. Finally we heard his cry and it was just the beginning. As soon as I saw my nephew I fell in love. I saw my sister melt as she held her son. I’m a very emotional person, so I cried a lot. Five years later she blessed me with my first niece. As I stood in the hospital room telling Jess bye, I got the text message from my dad that our grandpa had passed away. Kindra and I were preparing to head to Colorado and that is why we were saying bye to Jessica. I was on a train in the middle of Iowa drunk when I got the text that my niece was here. Roy called us and we could hear her cry, she looked exactly like her older brother and I was a mess. I had loudly announced to everyone near us on the train that is why I was having a rough day but I had a niece, they cheered. Jessica was my influence on how to parent, then I watched Kindra and continued to learn as their children grew up.

17 years old holding Brayden on the left, 19 years old holding Sylar on the right.

Sunda Lynn, Momma, the woman who made me who I am. We might not look anything alike but our hearts are the same. My mom has always given anything she can to others and puts herself last. She waited on us kids and my dad hand and foot. She took care of the neighborhood kids, random friends that would drop by, she always made sure we were okay. For years until recent, she has worked hard to do Back to School Bashes for the kids, Easter Eggs Hunts, Food Baskets, Santa Coming to Town and others. She’s given her last dollar to others who needed to borrow money, and that caring heart wore off on me. When I was 4/5 I met a man named John, He was my neighbors good friend, a local that lived in London Mills. He told me he had no food and was hungry, joking around. My sensitive self went home and took a pillow case, filled it with canned goods and told my mom I was taking it to him because he was hungry. She met John and everyone laughed about it for years. She thought it was sweet of me, something I got from her. She is also the most forgiving person I’ve ever met. One time I shattered her car windshield with a softball and lied to her saying the neighbor shot it with a bb gun. Her and my father waited it out knowing very well I would tell the truth because I can’t lie, a few hours later I cried and told them I did it. Not once did she yell at me for it, she cuddled me and told me it was okay, accidents happen.

She makes excuses for those who do wrong because she forgives them when others don’t. She taught me from a young age how to love and handle the world thrown at you. She loves my dad so much she left her family behind for him. She had limited contact and visits with her family over the last 30 years because she chose to be with my dad and have a family. She stands by her choice, because she loves him and the family they have created. My grandma would be so proud to see the family my mom and dad have created. My mom puts my dad first, keeping him taken care of, makes sure her children and grandchildren are taken care of then she focuses on herself because she’s selfless. The last few years have been rough but she keeps trying her best to keep everything together. I don’t know how she does it, because I know it’s broken me more times than I can count but she keeps going. I admire her, my influence on who I wish I could measure up to but always fall short. My mom has stepped up and helped every chance she could with my daughters, while Nicks away and I’m working. I’m forever grateful for her lessons she’s taught me and her taking great care of us as a family. I’m thankful for her sacrifice of leaving home all those years ago because if she hadn’t then I wouldn’t be here.

Tim, Boon, Dad. From a young age I’ve done nothing but strive for his approval. I think that’s something all kids do, or maybe I am that weird. I was a daddy’s girl from the get go, looking to make him proud no matter what, I’ve succeeded a few time but have fallen short often. When I was around 4 we watched the movie Jungle to Jungle with Tim Allen, the kid calls his dad Baboon so I asked why couldn’t I call my dad Baboon. That started why I call him Baboon and over the years it has shifted to just Boon. It has always been a special nickname between he and I, he calls me Diss and I call him Boon. We were always close when I was little but grew closer the older I got. I was never a trouble child for my parents(my siblings took the cake there), I had only a few times where he ever had to use the dad voice on me. We had a neighbor boy named Andrew, every time he came around I would kick him in his man jewels for no reason at all, that caused my dad to use the dad voice and put the fear into me not to do it again. It scared me because I upset my dad and I was worried he wouldn’t love me anymore. That fear continues on. I worried I would be a disappointment to him. One time when I was in roughly Kindergarten, I came home from school and shoved everything off my dresser. He asked me why I did it and I said “I must have had to much milk at school today”, he wasn’t angry with me, he laughed. He was gone a lot in my younger days due to work, but he made it home as often as he could to see us kids. I remember the first grand slam I ever had was in Smithfield and he had pulled up in time to see it, he had surprised us by coming last minute and I didn’t know he was there. My thought as I saw him was how proud I hoped that made him, I did a good job. He left that job and got a local job where he could be home with us kids every night. So from then on out dad and I would watch country music and the news each morning before school. We have a love/hate for the same movie, My Cousin Vinny. I hate it, he loves it. He made me watch it over and over to the point I could quote it word for word. The older I got the more things stayed the same, I still tried my hardest to make him proud and be validated that I was doing a good job. He and I have a lot in common, for example my love of NHRA. He took me to Joliet for my first race and as soon as the first Funny Car went by my butt was in the air and I was addicted. For quite a few years we were super close, I was at his left side each night. When I was tired I’d fall asleep against him, when I was sick he’d make me his warm tea to feel better. Life flew by and he handed me off to Nick, I had my girls and he was there.

He’d go out of his way to do things to make sure I was laughing when I wanted to cry or was embarrassed. I’m forever thankful for his effort he put in to make us happy, to provide for us and to make sure we were loved. He was the example of the love I should have before I settled down, how he treats my mom is a direct example of what I should have too. It’s also an example that my daughters see too and will appreciate as they get older. I know it comes with growing up but I miss those memories. He has been my handyman more times than I can count and usually when I break something. He has always made sure we are taken care of.

No family is perfect, we are far from it, but we are perfectly us. Through the ups and the downs, we remain a family. This family is 35 years in the making, three direct generations and more to come. We don’t always see eye to eye, we might not all talk often, but when one needs help we are all there. We stick together and make it through whatever is thrown at us. I’m proud to be apart of this family, the final piece of the puzzle and the youngest of the 5. I’m proud to say I have two brothers and two sisters. Coming from a big family means there will always be a friend. We might not have it all together but together we have it all…. We are the Leadbetters…..with a few new last names added in.

Mom Fail: Turdlers

I see other mothers on social media that look like they have their lives together, I however am not one of those moms. I drink wine in my bathtub after my daugthers go to bed because somedays it’s needed. Most day I don’t get dressed and get myself together because I’m probably not leaving my house, three kids anywhere by myself LOL no thank you, they gang up on me. I don’t have a good skin care routine, often I forget to wash my makeup off so I sleep in it(whoopsie). Somedays I sit on my kitchen counter and eat aerosol whipped cream by the can because well that’s who I am. I wasn’t given a parenting manual when I had Gracelyn and I most certainly wasn’t given a Twin Manual when they came along. I had three daughters in 19 months. I had seen family and friends parent, so I thought I had a good idea what I was doing when I had them, I was wrong. The first week is rough getting adjusted to having a baby. They cry, you cry, they sleep, you spend that time watching them sleep to watch their breathing, and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. As the days go by you start to get the hang of things. Baby starts sleeping more and you feel confident in your parenting. You know your child/children, you have a good thing going but that confidence doesn’t last long because then they hit that stage we know all too well, the Turdler stage. Also known as the Sasshole stage. That is the ultimate test of your parenting ability, although I’m fearful teenage years with these three might be the icing on the cake but we haven’t got there yet, pray for me.

What is a turdler you might ask? It’s the age range where a baby turns into a toddler, then it decides to act like a turd. In my experience the age range is 2-4 years old, and we are in our prime time for it in my household! Well in my case specifically a turdler is a beautiful blonde girl with big blue eyes, that has the same face I had as a kid, with the same attitude and sass. This specific turdler is hilarious to the point it’s hard to punish because I laugh, she’s clumsy as in trips over air(just like her mommy), she’s sneaky and she’s a sweetheart. When they say the apple doesn’t fall far, they meant the apple doesn’t leave the tree. Take this turdler and times it by three, that is my life. Gracelyn made me a mom, she made me grow up and stop thinking of myself first and put others. She changed me in ways I didn’t know existed, I learned to light sleep to listen to her breathing. She taught me more about life than I had learned in the 23 years of my life. She was the scariest thing I had experience, knowing I would have to take care of her and keep her alive when I barely felt responsible enough to take care of myself. We did it though and we decided to have another baby so Gracelyn had a sibling close in age. The day the Cubs won the World Series(GO CUBS GO), I found out we were expecting again. A month later, we got the shock of a lifetime when we saw it wasn’t one baby but in fact two very healthy babies. Nothing prepares you for learning there are two coming, I was in denial for a while because the thought of having three babies under 2 was overwhelming and I knew judgment from others was coming. We had a rough pregnancy but we delivered our di/di identical twin girls 1 year 7 months and 4 days after Gracelyn was born.

Let’s fast forward a few years and we have hit the mother load of turdler days. They take turns, depending on the moment. Picking a movie or tv show, one will agree and the other two protest, one will be vocal and the other will stomp away and pout. It’s like clockwork. Usually it’s the big sasster(see what I did there) that is vocal. Today this was our debate…

Gracelyn- Mommy nooooo we don't want to watch True! We want Scooby-Doo!                                                                                                                             
Me- Gracelyn, Paityn chose True, we can watch Scooby next.
Gracelyn- THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!(arms crossed, grump face) *Maisyn runs to the corner and cries*
Me- Girls, we can watch it next
Gracelyn- Fine mommy be a brat like you are and see if we like you 
Me- You love me cuz I do everything for you
Gracelyn- Then get me Gold Fishes*as she stomps her feet*

I stared at her waiting for manners. Nope, Turdler was in full sasshole mode.

Me- Gracelyn, where's your manners?
Gracelyn- Prolly next to the Gold Fish...
Me- I can't even with you *face palm*
Gracelyn- Then don't even. Gold Fish momma, Gold Fish

And that also my friends is when it sank in that to them, I’m just their snack b***h. I’m their maid, their tv person, I give them the food they want when they want and what do I get in return? Demands. Maybe I’ve just created a monster within my spoiled kids, or maybe I’m just a good mom who provides for my children. It depends on which way you look at it I guess. I get demands but today for instance, I got something I haven’t had in at least a year or maybe even two, I had all three girls sleep and cuddle on me at some point today. I had unlimited kisses from both twins, I had Gracelyn grab my face telling me how I’m the “greatest mommy” because I gave them frozen gogurt. They are the definition of sour patch kids, like is the company hiring? I have three beautiful girls that would be able to do the commercials without having to act. I should also make mention that at one point today Gracelyn told me to “stop being Carole, Candyce.” I turned to her and asked “what did you just say to me” and sure enough my tiny tot looked at me straight in the eyes and repeated “I SAID STOP BEING A CAROLE, CANDYCE.” I had to take a minute to respond to her and she looked at me with her eyebrows raised, hand on her hip, staring at me while shes wearing her blue princess dress and rain boots, waiting as patiently as she could get for me to reply. She was staring directly at me waiting for a reaction, she stood there like she was thinking of her next comeback to me. It clicked in my brain pretty quick that she has been paying attention at night when I had been watching Tiger King. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tiger King, Carole is hated for multiple reasons, long story short is she’s a bad person(I recommend watching it, it has more curve balls than a baseball game). So my 4 year old used a Tiger King reference calling me a bad person. I couldn’t correct her or punish her for it because I couldn’t stop laughing. MOM FAIL. She caught me off guard so hearing her call me Carol made me laugh so hard I cried. My turdler knew then that she had me hook, lined and sinker. She was going to get her way. No one gave me the heads up that this is one of the hard parts of parenting a turdler. If you laugh, they will continue to do it and it’s ridiculously hard to stop laughing when your child does/says something they aren’t supposed to. Does it make me a bad mom to laugh at it? Probably, do I regret it? Not at all. It gave us a moment for both of us to laugh and she realized she made me happy, she was proud of herself so she ran up to me and hugged me.

Another mom fail I have, I cuss. Whoops. It’s been a work in progress to get better at not cussing but it’s easier said than done. I’ve improved a lot but there are also a lot of other adults around that have potty mouths. Kids are smart and pick up on things easily. It’s not cute when a child cusses in my opinion, but sometimes when your child says something and it catches you off guard it’s kinda funny. I have two different times Gracelyn has said bad words, I had to keep it together to make her realize you can’t do that. It’s frowned upon. Like I said, I’m not one of those moms who have the perfect life. The twins have yet to cuss thankfully, they feed off each other so if they did it would be impossible to get them to stop. They are the reason I have worked hard to improve my choice of vocabulary. I’ve never been a mom that said my kids won’t have this or eat that, because let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to keep them 100% healthy. Kids are picky, currently my girls are living off mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, Gracelyn with ranch and the twins with ketchup, pickles and olives. If I can get them to eat woohoo! Sometimes it’s a serious struggle to get your children to eat food, the whole “they’ll eat when they’re hungry”, those people should come hangout with my kiddos especially once they hit the hangry stage. My girls are huge milk fans though so they do have that going for us I guess. Picking and choosing your battles are a serious thing around here. You don’t want to wear pants? Okay, but don’t take your undies off and pee on my floor, deal?(we are potty training twins, it’d be amazing to have that Mommy Manual right now) You want your mac n cheese with ketchup on the purple plate with the blue fork? Done, as long as you eat it all. I’ve also learned that when I make plates of food, they won’t want what’s on their plates but they will love what’s on mine even if it’s the same food. So I make two plates for me, the dummy plate and my food I might get to eat. There’s so much to keep these turdlers happy, but we are achieving it.

It’s amazing to see their personalities come out and who they are becoming. I’m happy to see how driven they are, kind of concerned the drive is going to keep me in the principals office. Strong personalities create strong women, that’s what I’m thinking though. Judge me if you want but being a good mom Trump’s being a “perfect” mom. They know I’m a mess most days but that’s how they love me. They need a happy mom, that’s what I’ll give them. A happy home, a safe home, a comfortable home where they will always know they are loved. Each day is chaos, it’s a mess, but I am blessed to have three of the greatest turdlers. Mommy is the best title I’ve held.



Grief: It Gets Better, Right?

*Emotional Blog for me, I apologize in advance for the ramble*

Uncle Kent and myself circa 2000?

“Life asked death, why do people love me but hate you? Death replied, it’s simple, you’re a beautiful lie and I’m a painful truth.”

As I walked out of work tonight I took a second to look around. The crisp cool air hit my face, the sound of the squad cars running, a random neighborhood dog barking and both flags(American and Thin Blue Line) gently moving with the little breeze. All felt calm, still and I was able to take a deep breath. Maybe I’m alone in this but sometimes the air gets heavy and it gets hard to breath for no reason. It wasn’t a bad shift at work, although its been a rough week for the county. As I opened my eyes after taking a few breaths, I noticed the large boulder that now sits at the entrance of the Sheriffs Office. I walked to my vehicle while I kept my eye on that reminder of last year. As I drove off, I mentally said the prayers I say before I drive each time, thanking God for another day and for prayers for a safe drive home. It’s the same thing I’ve done day after day for the last year. Every time I drive, it’s sort of like a car concert but amped up. Sometimes it’s Christina and some times it’s Salt n Pepa(I can rap Shoop like I was born to), other times it’s sappy country songs(no surprise there). I had spotify playing in the background as I’m deep in thought driving home. A lot has been on my mind lately, specifically grief. It’s something we all have in common but we all suffer different ways. I hate to use that word, suffer, it sounds so painful but I’ve yet to experience grief that hasn’t been painful. As I got about halfway home a song came across my Spotify that caught my attention, Lauren Alaina- The Other Side. I was zoned out thinking about aliens and wondering if chickens have knees, you know the normal things people think about as they drive home. As the song hit the chorus it caught my attention, so I restarted the song and listened all over again. Instantly my thoughts turned to my best buddy, my uncle Kent.

Kent September 10, 2016 giving me my special present for my wedding day

Kenton “Mouse” Priebe passed away January 29, 2018. Most reading this won’t know who he is but I will give you a quick run down on him. He was my godfather, referred to as my uncle Kent, the man on the motorcycle and my best buddy. When his house caught on fire back in the late 90’s, he gifted me with the mold of his dentures that were burnt in the fire(like the mold was charred), because it’s a gift no one else could ever give(he thought it was hilarious). He had me holding snakes that were bigger than me by the age of 5, ironically now I’m terrified of snakes even though I used to cuddle them. He and his wife, my aunt Chris, were there for every important day of my life until his wife passed in 2015(that is another blog that’ll come, when I’m ready). After his wife died he continued to do the things my aunt should have been here for, meeting my first child, getting me ready for my wedding and watching me walk down the aisle, to meeting my twins. He was there for it all, even when he was fighting cancer. He was a quiet man, gentle but loving. Long haired, ponytail and durag, mostly seen on the back of his Harley, he was there for it all. He never told me he had cancer, until he was sitting in a hospital bed after suffering a seizure. That’s when I got the call he was in the hospital and his memory was slipping. I went to visit him, I was pregnant with the twins, I walked in terrified he wouldn’t recognize me since he hadn’t recognized anyone else, but he knew who I was and instantly smiled. He hugged me and I sat with him and we talked like all was well. He recovered but his memory wasn’t the best. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before the cancer came back with a vengeance. The week he died he was on hospice care and I again was given the warning he might not remember me. I walked in with my mom and the room was filled with his family members. He was resting, looking around, as soon as he saw me we locked eyes and he smiled. I knew then that he knew me. I walked up to him and said “hey old man, time to wake up and talk to me”. I grabbed his hand and he squeezed and tried talking. We couldn’t understand him but he was trying. We spent a while together and he would continuously squeeze my hand while looking at me. His eyes spoke for him, he was glad I was there. The whole room was silent besides my sniffles from softly crying. Down the hallway we could hear an alarm dinging and the nurses talking in the hallway. All was still, calm and silent, the air heavy and it was hard to breath, just like today. As I left that day, knowing very well that could be the last time I saw my best buddy alive, I hugged him so tight. The cancer had taken a toll on him, he was so thin, I could feel every bone in his back as I wrapped my arms around him. He held on to me, squeezing me because he too knew, that that might be the last time he saw me. That moment I felt helpless, nothing I could do could keep him and nothing anyone could do could keep my best friend here. I would soon learn how to live without him, continue my milestones without my right hand man there to hold my hand. I had to live with the lessons he instilled in me and learn to exist in a world that he wasn’t in. He kissed my cheek and I kissed that big forehead where his receding hairline was. I looked at him and said over and over “I love you”, he hadn’t spoke clear words in days but he said to me “I love you”, everyone stared as someone gasped, because it was clear as day. Those were the last words he ever spoke, I love you, and they were to me. I cried the whole way home and then some. We visited a few more times the next few days before he passed, he was in a deep sleep. A family member text me to tell me he wasn’t doing well and I told her I was on my way. As I got to the end of my driveway I looked at my phone and it was my aunt Chris’s sister calling and I knew. I took a deep breath as I looked at the sun starting to set and I just knew… He was Heaven bound on a Harley. It was an hour drive from my house him, the funeral home waited until I got there to say my last goodbyes. As I walked into the building the air was warm, heavy, with a stale smell. I felt like I was walking so slow I was going backwards. I walked into his room and hugged family. I didn’t cry, I couldn’t. I don’t know if it was shock that it happened or the numbness of the grief setting in, but I held it together for the next few hours as we sat with him telling stories and listening to music. He was a simple man, with simple wishes. We celebrated his life on his birthday in March, it was great to see faces I hadn’t seen in years and to meet those I had only heard of.

Thumbs Up, always

Tonight the grief of losing him got the best of me. I’ve cried this whole time writing this through my tears(Nick thinks I’m a basket case because I’m crying, he’s not wrong though). It’s not the only loss I’ve been grieving, losing a good friend has taken it’s toll. The truth about grief? No, it doesn’t get better. Nothing about it gets better, you get used to it. You feel the stinging pain, the shock, the yearning to cry for your friend and their loved ones. You deal with it and learn to function when you don’t know how to. It’s not a wound you can just slap a band-aid on and expect it to heal. Some say to face your trauma, loss, and that’s how you move on. Nope, hasn’t worked in my experience. The truth is, there is no answer, no magic spell to take that pain away. Learning to live in a world without someone you couldn’t think of living without, makes you strong. You don’t have a choice but to be strong. It makes you courageous, it makes you bold. Sometimes it’s a song that hits you and suddenly nothing can stop the tears, maybe it’s a smell that triggers your grief and you can’t explain why you feel crushed. Many times I’ve sat in my car trying to pull myself together before going into work or home, because grief strikes at any time and that is okay. It’s okay to break down, it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to vent. We all grieve. We all grieve differently. And to be honest, it’s okay if breathing is the only thing you did today. That too, can be a huge accomplishment especially when you feel like you’re drowning. Grieve for a little while, grieve for a long time or grieve forever, there is no time limit. Nothing is the same after the loss, you have to make a “new normal”, and it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair. If there is anything death has taught me, it’s life is short, unpredictable and it’s those who deserve to live forever who get taken too soon. It’s taught me to take the pictures even if someone hates pictures, to save the messages, keep the memories alive. It’s taught me to love even when someone isn’t lovable, to forgive those who don’t deserve it, to move forward when I want to stand still or crawl in a hole. Baby steps are still steps forward. It’s taught me breaking down is okay, no matter how much time has passed. Overuse I love you. Live life, stop just existing. Moral of my ramble, Grief, does not get better…