Friday, March 29, 2013

A Walk Down Tulip Lane...

April 2010 
8 months old 

 April 2011
-there was a big rain storm that ripped the tulips to shreds before we go there to do our pictures, so we did these in our next door neighbor's back yard. 

 April 2012

 March 2013

Be still my beating heart!  I can't believe this little lady is getting so big!  Can't wait for Nora Kate to be in the pictures next year!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tulips 2013

Today we went to OU to take our annual pictures in the tulips.  (Or the "tu-licks" as Olive calls them) !  Olive was in a great mood, which was helpful, but getting her to look at the camera is down right maddening!  Here are a few of my favorites from our little photo shoot. 

 I can't get over how big she looks!

 "Watch me spin, Mommy!" 

 Towards the end, she declared she was so tired and laid down!

 And a silly one, for good measure!
Happy Spring!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just Be

*Warning: Heavier post than normal.  No cute pics of Olive! :) *
     The past 5 years have been rocky. The last year has definitely been the most positive of the 5 simply because nothing terrible has happened. I hate to say that because I know it sounds negative.  But what I have come to realize in this past year is that my constant fear of "what bad is going to happen next" has kept me from experiencing the joy that I could have experienced.  And the guilt of that has rocked me for awhile.  
     A few weeks ago though, our amazing pastor preached a sermon that I really thought was just for Stephen  and I.  It was like he was sitting at our kitchen table talking just to us.  He explained that when bad things happen, it is okay to hurt.  It's okay to question.  It's okay to "just be" when it is all said and done.  God doesn't expect us to instantly come through crisis with the strongest faith he has ever seen, he is happy if we just show up.  
Just show up?  Just be? That's it?!  Tears filled my eyes as he spoke. 
      I can do that, I have done that. I've shown up, I never said "God I hate you why did you allow all of this to happen?!  Why did Stephen have to perform CPR on his Mom?  Why did you let him see that?  Why did Dad go from perfectly healthy to heaven in six months?  Why did we have to stand there and watch him die? Why did you take a baby from us? Why? Why? Why?"   
       Instead, I just showed up, not excitedly, not full of faith, but I showed up and usually with a smile on my face!  But, I have felt terrible about it because I had in my mind that God wanted more and expected more from me.  It was like Rusty was granting me permission to "just be" and since that is what I have been doing for so long, it was like a burden being lifted from my shoulders.  The guilt left and a sense of peace came over me.  
"Just be" 
      On the front of Dad's funeral program, the verse we chose was "Be still and know that I am God" -Psalm 46:10. JUST BE.  My new mantra. JUST BE.  So if you are a person who is rocking and rolling and totally on fire with what God is doing in your life, Great!  More power to you!  I respect and love that for you!  But if you are a person who is struggling like me, join me and JUST BE!  I will stand next to you and we can just be together!  Expecting nothing from the other person except for them to just show up. 
     For the first several years after Stephen's Mom was murdered, I tried to continue to do it all and be "normal" in all of my roles.  But that was hard and exhausting.  In the last year I have lost the capacity to be anything other than a wife, mom, teacher, daughter and sister. And I can't do any of those things 100%, but guess what?!  I now know that that's okay.  It's okay to "just be".  So to my friends who I have disconnected from, I'm sorry. But for now this is who and what I am. I am grateful to "just be" where I am. And I know that one day friend will make the list again of things I can be, but not really for now.  I ask for patience and understanding from you until I can do more than "just be" again.  

      With the anticipation and excitement of Nora Kate's impending arrival, I feel a sense of calm because I know that all God wants of me is to "just be".  And if just being is good enough for him, then I have absolutely no reason to feel guilty because of it! Thank you Lord for taking me where I am and allowing me to "Just Be". 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday Dano Style Part 5

My Dad was always a kid at heart.  If there was a fun thing to do, he was doing it with us!  Anytime it snowed growing up, he would bust out the red disk slide, bundle us up and we would head to "the hill" at Eldon Lyon park.  And it never failed that Mica would get hurt at some point during our sledding adventure.  She would slam into trees or fall down the hill while climbing up, you just never knew what to expect!  Thankful for fun snow memories!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Run Lucky 2013

Sunday afternoon, we participated in the "Run Lucky" which is a great family run that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We participated in the event last year on Dad's birthday and this year it was on his "birthday eve".  We were so excited to head out even though it was FREEZING outside.  And since Nora Kate was participating this year, our little family all did the one mile fun run. 
 Olive was all bundled and ready to go!
 We are so blessed with great friends who came out to participate and share the love!  Team Dano: Nate, Stephen, Isaac, me, Nora Kate, Olive, Mica, Honey, Traci, Heather, Griffin and Audrey! Anna and Miranda were Team Dano too, but they got stuck in traffic and missed the team pic. 
 The Hales freezing, but ready to fun run!
 Stephen and I ready to "race"!
 Speed racers...
 Mica and I at a little slower pace!
 Our 5k runners before they started!  Traci, Miranda and Anna! This was Traci and Miranda's very first 5k to participate in!  We feel so blessed they chose to run in Dano's honor! 
 After we finished!  This picture cracks me up!  Olive was not feeling it, so she laid down!  Her expression is hysterical to me!
 We went in to the Red Coyote to warm up for a few minutes waiting for the 5kers.  Audrey and Olive sharing some warmth!
 We bundled back up and headed out to cheer on the runners!
 Nate was the first one to speed past us!
 Miranda and Anna rocking the matching strides!
 And I missed Traci coming toward us, but here she is speeding past!
 And celebrating her first 5K with her green beer and banana!  So proud of you Traci!
Thank you to all of Team Dano for coming and spending the day with us to help us celebrate Dano and raise money to help others fight this terrible disease. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Take Me Out to The Ball Game!

Last Sunday it was beautiful outside, so we decided to take Olive to the ballpark to see the Sooners play.  This was her very first live baseball experience and all she wanted to know was if the cheerleaders would be there.  Explaining the game of baseball to a three year old was an interesting task!  I don't think she really understood, but she had a great time anyways!

 And she got some poms!  So nothing could beat that!

 We had so much fun with Daddy and Pop!

Here's to many more afternoons at the ballpark!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Big Girl Hair!

Olive's hair had started getting to that awkward stringy stage between baby hair and big girl hair, so we finally decided it was time to get it cut and hopefully thicken it up a bit!

 Miss Melanie got her all set up and ready to go!  She even gave her a cupcake, which means she holds a special place in Olive's heart!  She sat perfectly still.  It was almost creepy how still she was!
 After we celebrated with lunch at "Chick-da-lay"

It really looks so cute on her and makes her look SOOOO BIG!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Throwback Day After Thursday Dano Style Part 4

I have been a little mixed up and woke up to realize that it's Friday and I missed my post yesterday.  Oops!  Today's memory of my Dad shows how he always took the time to be involved with Mica and I.  When our elementary school classes would go on field trips, he would always go with us!  The other kids thought this was super cool because typically it is the Mom who goes.  It also meant that we usually had "that" kid in our group because the teacher would think "oh, a Dad is coming, I can give him the hard kid".  But we always had so much fun!  I have vivid memories of trips to the zoo and the omniplex with him.  And he loved singing the song "Going to the Zoo" and thought it was funny to sing it anytime we talked about the zoo!