In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

Summer Break So Far

Filed under: General,Hailey,Kids,Logan,Photos — Rachel at 11:04 pm on Friday, June 20, 2014

We are having a pretty good summer break so far here at the Holbrook/Harmon household, if you don’t count the fact that we are missing a very important piece of the puzzle. Matt is currently away for the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey. We all miss him way too much, but we are trying to keep busy to distract ourselves. Honestly, only the three people whose last names are Holbrook are really suffering too much with missing him, but I’m sure the other kids will be happy when he gets home.

We’ve spent several days already at the pool. We’ve been both to the Oak Ridge pool, which is really fabulous, and also to the pool at Matt’s apartment. His lease is not up until mid-July, so we are taking advantage of the pool while we can.

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(After several hours at the pool, this crew gets hungry.)



(There wasn’t room for me at the table.)



(This pic of Logan was just cute. He’s still wearing swim trunks, so it still fits the “swimming” theme.)

Besides all the swimming, we’ve spent some time at our local parks, and me, Hailey, and Logan spent the evening at my parent’s house on Father’s Day. They absolutely loved it, because they got to learn how to ride my nephew, Micah’s, fourwheeler. They were so cute, and had so much fun.

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(I decided to take it for a spin, too. I look a little skeptical here as Jason was explaining to me how to drive it.)

Before Matthew left, we got to do a few things. The first of which was Logan’s preschool graduation. He did so well in his program. It was a Mary Poppins theme, and he was so adorable dressed up in his little suit singing the classic Mary Poppins songs. We were very proud of him.

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Right after Logan’s graduation, me, Matt, Hailey, and Logan went to Cincinatti. Matt had drill, and we turned it into a weekend getaway. The kids spent the weekend with their Papaw, Nana, and their Aunt Jenn, and me and Matt got a nice hotel and enjoyed some kid-free time. He had to work during the day, of course, but we still got to spend some good time together. We went out on the town Saturday night. We had a fabulous dinner at a nice, Italian place, went for a walk on the levee, went to a piano bar (my favorite!), and even spent some time in Barnes & Noble (my other favorite). While he was working, I did a lot of reading. It was great. The hotel had a beautiful little courtyard, and the weather was gorgeous. I enjoyed myself immensely.

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One of our favorite things to do is go to my Uncle Wendell’s diner near our house and get ice cream cones. The wonder twins go above and beyond in the mess-making department. Logan wore his, and Abby dropped not one but two ice cream cones on the ground on this particular day.

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Speaking of the wonder twins, they had kindergarten camp the first week of June. They were so cute. Abby was so excited, but Logan was kind of “ehh” about the whole thing.



(The two of them in front of the school on the first day of kindergarten camp.)

We were surprised a couple of days later to see Abby’s picture in our local paper. We didn’t know about it, but, apparently, a reporter had went to the school during kindergarten camp and snapped a picture of Abby.



The day before Matt left for New Jersey, we drove up to Lexington to see his family. His uncle who lives in Hawaii was in, and it was really nice for me to get to meet some Holbrooks that I hadn’t met yet and just to spend some time with all of them.




Matt and I ended up getting around three hours of sleep that night, after the long drive home, and we had to get up at five to get Matt to the airport on time. By the time me, Hailey, and Logan got back, I was fighting sleep bad. So, I went back to bed while the kids watched tv. Around eleven, I think they had enough of my napping, because I woke up to them both in bed with me.



A couple of days ago, I took the boys for much needed haircuts. I got Logan’s hair cut in the same style as my boys’. He had never had that particular haircut before, but I think it looks really good on him. Matt thought it made him look older.



(Kyra Joy made this edit for me.)

That brings us up to date to today, and, today, just so happens to be Kyra’s 12th birthday. I can’t believe my baby is almost a teenager. She is almost as tall as I am. I am maybe one or two inches taller than her still, but I expect that to change soon. She has grown up so much over the past year. She’s becoming such a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, talented young lady, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She was just here briefly this morning before her daddy picked them up, but I had her long enough to get a few birthday cuddles. I’m looking forward to taking her and her best friend to dinner and a movie to celebrate, and then we’re going to have a family party for her and Owen after Matt gets home.



(The birthday girl.)

After the kids left today, Hailey, Logan and I had a very lazy day. It stormed all day, so we really couldn’t do much. They get very clingy to me when the other kids are gone. I told Matt on the phone tonight that it’s like having toddlers. When I go to the bathroom, they wait outside the door for me. It’s kind of unnerving. They don’t stick their fingers under the door, though, so it’s not quite like toddlers. We spent most of today cuddling on the couch and watching a bajillion episodes of “Good Luck, Charlie” and “The Wizards of Waverly Place”. Hailey Grace was in a very cuddly mood today, which was just fine with me .


Happily Married – The Portraits

Filed under: General,Photos — Rachel at 11:16 pm on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Table of contents for Happily Married
  1. Happily Married – The Ceremony
  2. Happily Married – The Portraits
  3. Happily Married – The Reception

When Matthew and I were discussing wedding plans early on, we agreed that one thing we didn’t want to skimp on was a good photographer. Matt took care of finding one, and I couldn’t be happier with the photographer he chose. Cherish Bickel operates out of Sevierville, and she turned out to be perfect for us. Her prices were reasonable, and her work was fantastic. You can check out her website here. As an added benefit, her husband is a hair stylist, and he did mine and the girls’ hair on site. It was the perfect arrangment! She worked perfectly with our family, and she did such a lovely job of capturing our wedding day for us.

This post is just sharing some of my favorite portraits she took of us. You can click on any of the photos to see it bigger.  Enjoy!

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Happily Married – The Ceremony

Filed under: General — Rachel at 12:46 pm on Monday, June 16, 2014
Table of contents for Happily Married
  1. Happily Married – The Ceremony
  2. Happily Married – The Portraits
  3. Happily Married – The Reception

(You can click any of the photos to view a larger version in a new window.)


Matthew and I got married on May 24th at Beulah United Methodist Church in Seymour, Tennessee. It is a beautiful church, and we had a gorgeous day with absolutely perfect weather.

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Our families helped us so much with everything. They were involved with absolutely everything, from decorating to kid wrangling to participating in the ceremony. We couldn’t be more thankful for them.

The ceremony itself was everything I hoped it would be.

The kids were involved with everything. I enjoyed the time shortly before the wedding when I was getting ready. The girls were with me watching me get ready, and then the little boys came and found us, too.

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I got extreme butterflies when it was time for me and the girls to go outside when it was almost time for the ceremony to start. Matt and the boys were a little more chill, I think.

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Once the ceremony started, all my butterflies went away. Abby and Hailey gave me a little pep talk right before the music started. Abby instructed me to look at the beautiful roses on the rose bush by the front door and think about my three daughters if I got nervous. They were so sweet.

Once the music started, Matthew, Elijah, Owen, and Logan entered the church with Patti, one of my dearest friends who is an Army chaplain and officiated for us.

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Our processional was a medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts” by The Piano Guys. It was perfect, and I absolutely loved it. You can listen to it here.

Kyra Joy walked in first. She was so beautiful.

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Next was Hailey Grace. I didn’t see it, obviously, but Matt said once she saw his best friend, Troy, she began enthusiastically tossing flower petals into the air and at Matt’s family in the pews.

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I think this is the point where Hailey saw her daddy. I absolutely love this photo!

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Abby Jo was next, and she took her flower girl duties much more seriously than her new big sister. I was told she very slowly, seriously, and purposefully dropped her petals a couple at a time.

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When the music swelled and Isabelle opened the church doors for me to go in, I think my heart stopped beating for a second. I wasn’t nervous anymore, but I was just filled with so much joy. Seeing our friends and family there to share the day with us was such a wonderful feeling.

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There is no moment better, though, than when I laid eyes on this beautiful man waiting for me at the altar.

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There were a few moments when I stood at the front before Matt stepped down to take my hand and walk with me up onto the platform. I felt like my heart would burst with happiness.

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I actually love that I had those few seconds to take it all in. I looked at my beautiful children, my groom, the lovely children that I was about to take as my own, and it was overwhelming.

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After a few words and a prayer by the minister, my youngest brother, Seth, read a poem by e.e. cummings.

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“I Carry Your Heart With Me” by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Next, Matt’s little sister, Whitney, read a passage of Scripture.
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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 & 11

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Next, was one of my favorite parts of the ceremony. We had a sand ceremony, representing the blending of our two families. Me and my kids had bottles of white sand, and Matthew and his kids had bottles of blue sand. While the song “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts played, we each poured our individual bottles of sand into a shadow box.

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 It turned out beautifully, and I think the kids really embraced the symbolism. They liked taking part. Elijah told me the other day that it was the only cool part of the wedding, except for when he got to walk out.

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Once the sand ceremony was over, instead of all of my children standing with me and Matt’s with him as we were in the beginning, all of the girls took new places by me and all the boys went and stood by Matt, obviously symbolizing that we were no longer two families but one.

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Then it was time for us to say our vows and give each other rings. The vows we used were not the traditional ones, but something slightly different, with additional promises concerning the children.


“I, (Rachel/Matthew), take you, (Matthew/Rachel), to be my  (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
“And I take (Hailey and Logan/Kyra, Elijah, Owen, and Abby) to be my family. I promise to love, honor, support and protect them as my own children.”


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The kiss…

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…and the presentation of us as Major and Mrs. Holbrook for the first time!

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One of the very personal touches of our wedding was at the end. Instead of using the traditional wedding march music to leave the church to, we had a piano version of The Brady Bunch theme song play as we left. If we had a dollar for every time we have been compared to the Brady Bunch, we would be rich by now. This little part of the ceremony was definitely very reflective of Matt and my personalities. It made us smile.

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Our wedding day was so special to us. It was just what we wanted, and we had so much fun. I couldn’t ask for anything better to memorialize forever the birth of our new family.

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The End of DOMA and Other Random Musings

Filed under: General — Rachel at 5:55 pm on Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yesterday was one for the history books. The Supreme Court ruled that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. I was at work, watching the live blog feed. When they made the announcement, I cried. Tears of relief and thankfulness.

I knew they would rule DOMA unconstitutional, because…well…it clearly was. I wasn’t surprised, but I was relieved nonetheless. I knew what the ruling meant for my gay and lesbian friends and family. Equality. It meant equality. It meant that soldiers serving in a war zone could know that their families were safe on a military installation at home, with all the rights, privileges and services that their straight counterparts have. It means that my friends who are already legally married can now be recognized as such. They can file taxes together. Visit each other in the hospital with no fear of being turned away. Equality. It makes such a difference.

Personally, it was bittersweet. I had thought that I would be celebrating in a more personal way. I thought it would mean that I could get married. But, after my recent breakup, it didn’t hold the same meaning that it once did. I chose not to dwell on the more sad parts, and just chose to celebrate. It was a win for people I love. I am glad that I was witness to such a momentous day in history.

I knew the ruling would bring out a lot of ugliness. And it has. People are unkind. People are ignorant. People are rarely hesitant to air that in any public forum available.

I choose to ignore that, though. Because yesterday was a good day. A very good day.

An Open Letter to Everyone

Filed under: Family,Friends,General,Loss,Love,Me,Venting — Rachel at 12:33 pm on Monday, June 24, 2013

Life has taken such a drastic turn for me. I know I’ve shocked a lot of people. It has been a huge shock to my system, and I knew it was coming!

Amy and I broke up.

Wait. Just a minute. Let me tell you up front what I want you to say. If you are a friend or family member or just someone who has cared about me at some point in my life, you are supposed to say, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” It doesn’t matter if you liked us together. It doesn’t matter if you think it is weird, gross, or even a sin to be in a same-sex relationship. If you care about me, that is what you say. It’s not hard. It’s not complicated. It’s not saying that you aren’t filled with joy that my relationship ended, because I know some of you are. It is saying, “I am sorry that someone I care about is sad.”

Because I am. I am heartbroken. So is she. I may put on a brave face. I just smile at people’s jackassery and move on. Because I am strong. I don’t break when times are tough. But I am hurting, people, and the jokes and the snide comments don’t make me feel loved. They do the exact opposite, and I don’t need that right now, to be quite honest with you.

Amy is still my best friend. We are still going to live together and be roommates. We still love each other dearly. The only reason we broke up is because I’m not gay. I know that’s not a newsflash for a lot of people. I thought we could make it work without that piece of the compatibility puzzle, but it was becoming more of an issue as time went on. So we decided to end the romantic part of our relationship to save the other parts. We didn’t fight. No one is mad at anyone. So, when you say mean stuff about her, I don’t feel validated. I just want to punch you in your face. When you make jokes about “getting rid of dead weight”, I want to castrate you with a cheese grater. Just shut up. You’re not funny.

The truth of the matter is that I would not have survived the last couple of years without her. I needed Amy, and she needed me. She got me through the worst time of my life. She gave me hope when I was hopeless. She held me when I cried. Held my hair when I was sick. Held my baby when I was working. She has shared the load. She has taken on the world with me, and we are doing okay. We never asked for your validation when we were together, and we don’t need your judgments or jokes now that we’re not. We have made it this far, and we will make it the rest of the way…wherever our journeys take us. I, for one, don’t regret our decision to try to make a life together. I regret that meanness and bigotry have hurt so much along the way. I regret that I couldn’t make it work. But I don’t regret the last year of my life.

So, for those of you who care about me…

Amy and I broke up.

Wait. What?

Filed under: General — Rachel at 11:26 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012

How can it have been over two months since I last blogged? Time flies. I mean, seriously? Two months.

For the past two months, I have been completely immersed in and overwhelmed by this current semester. My two classes are insanely hard, and I have been stressed out trying to keep everything straight. Actually, I guess it’s not that the classes are insanely hard, but that the in class exams are.  I have an A average on the online exams, but she gives us all essay question written exams, as well. They are so hard. In my Anatomy class, everyone in the class failed the midterm. It was that hard. No one passed. Including me. I cried.

Besides the classes and labs, I am still doing my work study job. I quit my other job, because I just wasn’t seeing my kids enough. Also, I was having to work the night before my exams, and it was just too difficult. I miss the extra money the job brought in…a lot. I’m glad I decided to quit, though. My life has gotten a little bit easier with just one job to worry about. However, I am responsible for more bills starting this month, and so I’m really feeling the crunch.

The kids are all doing great. Elijah’s last football game is today, and Kyra will be starting basketball very soon. Owen is doing Cub Scouts. I stay very, very busy taking everyone to all of their practices, games, and meetings.

This is a terrible blog post, but I’m going to end it now. I just wanted to say, “I’ve been incredibly stressed out and busy, but I’ll be back soon. Or kind of soon. Okay, maybe when the semester is over.” Until then…

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Filed under: General — Rachel at 6:00 am on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Today is my mom’s birthday!

My mom and I have had our ups and downs. She probably counts my teenage years (maybe my young adult  years, too) as the reason for a fair portion of her gray hair. Not because I got into trouble, because I didn’t. I just had lots of attitude. However, now that I’m an adult, I can much better appreciate how great my mom is.

She’s been there to help me time and time again, every time I have asked. The most recent example was when she watched, not just my kids, but Amy’s, too, for an entire weekend with almost no advance notice so that Amy and I could fly to Texas to be with her sister in the hospital after a major surgery and unexpected cancer diagnosis.  She’s always came when I’ve called for help…no matter how many members of my family were puking. She’s watched my kids for me during surgeries, babies being born, night classes at college, and just so I could go out and have a break. She has helped me paint bedrooms, made all my kids’ birthday cakes for years, and takes her grandkids out for special times with their Mammy.

I am one of six kids, so you know my mom has to be a strong woman. My brothers and I have stressed her out to the max, broken her heart, and broken her things, but she just keeps being our mom. She’s always dependable, and she’s always on our side. She is the best grandmother that anyone could ask for to (almost) eleven little kids who love her to pieces.

I’ve definitely not said it enough, but I’ll say it now…

Mom, I love you, and I’m proud to be your daughter. Thank you for all you’ve done for me, Dad, and the boys, and thank you for all you continue to do for me and my family.  I hope you have a great birthday!

The One In Which I Leave the Largest Tip Ever

Filed under: General — Rachel at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I was going to mow Sunday after church, but the weather overruled my plans. The rain gave me an unexpected day off. Amy and I took the kids to Knoxville after church to go eat at Cheddar’s. The restaurant just opened last month, and the kids have all been wanting to go there. We don’t eat out at nicer restaurants very often, but we decided to do it Sunday.

Amy’s kids were with their dad, so we just had my four. Owen hadn’t been feeling well that morning, but he seemed to be fine when we got seated at our table. He was goofing off, drinking lots of coke, and eating some of our chips and salsa appetizer. We had just got our food delivered to our table, when Owen took one bite of his entree and started throwing up.

I jumped up and tried to do something, but he just kept throwing up all the coke he had been drinking. It was such a mess, and there was really nothing I could do until he stopped puking. I took him outside, and told Amy to get our food to go. Owen felt fine after he puked all over the place, and so I ended up going back in and sending Amy and the kids out to the patio with him. I apologized profusely to the waitress and busboy that were dealing with the mess he had made, while I put all our food into to-go containers. I left a large tip, and got out of there as quickly as I could.

The other kids were so very disappointed that we had to leave. Owen was fine after that, and didn’t get sick anymore. We were riding home, and Owen said, “I’m sorry I threw up everywhere.” Amy and I both thought it sounded so pitiful, and answered, in unison, “It’s ok.” We had no sooner said it than Elijah said, “Yeah. You should be ashamed of yourself.” Owen, in an upbeat voice, replied, “I am ashamed! I puked on my pants.”

I was tired, still hungry, stressed from the embarrassing awkwardness of having my kid puke at the table in a nice restaurant, and disappointed that our special (kinda pricey for our budget) lunch got cut short, but I couldn’t help but laugh. More than laughing at Owen’s sense of humor, I just had to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Life in our family is never boring!

Thank God for Labor Day

Filed under: General — Rachel at 9:19 pm on Monday, September 3, 2012

Today was Labor Day, and it was SO needed. This laborer was tired!

I’ve not blogged in a while, because I’ve been so very busy. I’ve been working lots, going to classes, doing homework, mowing, and taking care of home and family stuff, too. I was straight up worn out.

My work study job is going very well. I like the work that I do, I like the people I work with, and the hours are working for me, too. Last week, I had one day that I was caught up on everything they had for me to do, and was able to sit in my little office and do Microbiology homework for almost two hours. I kept thinking, “I’m getting paid to do my homework!” I could really get used to that!

I’m still getting into the swing of classes. I have Microbiology on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Anatomy and Physiology II on Fridays. I have the same professor for both classes and the Micro lab, but I have a different instructor for the A&P lab. The A&P lab instructor is dreadfully boring. She looks like she is probably younger than I am, so I assume that she is pretty new to teaching. I like my older, more seasoned professors better. The younger instructor doesn’t have any personality in her teaching yet. It’s like listening to an audio recording of my textbook. My other professor is very entertaining, though. She demands a lot of work out of us, but she seems like she will be fair…just not easy. I have to admit that I am a bit overwhelmed by this semester. Even though I’m only taking two classes (plus the two labs), I’m pretty sure this is going to be my hardest semester yet. Two demanding science classes at the same time aren’t my cup of tea. There’s also the added stress of needing to do super well in these classes because my family’s future well-being is riding on my grades weighing on my mind. I don’t like operating under so much scholastic pressure.

Besides those two things, I’m also still working two nights a week at Wendell’s Market and Deli, and mowing a couple of yards. The mowing jobs will be over soon, as the weather will be changing. I’ll miss the extra money, but I’ll be glad to lighten my load a little bit.

Yesterday, I was going to mow after church, but the weather overruled me. So, instead, we took the kids out to eat. That trip didn’t turn out very well, but I’ll tell that story in a separate blog post. After we got home, I did some homework while Amy took a nap, and then Chris picked the kids up after work. They were spending the night with him, so Amy and I took advantage of our kid-free night, and we went to see a late movie. We watched “Hope Springs”, and had the entire theater to ourselves. We had the best seats in the house!

As we were walking from the theater to our car, we noticed a skirmish going on in a car in the parking lot. A guy and a girl were in the car, fighting. The guy was hitting the girl, and she was screaming for him to stop beating her and saying that she was pregnant. She yelled for help as Amy and I were both reaching for our phones. She dialed 911, and handed me the phone. We didn’t think it would be smart for us to try to intervene ourselves, in a parking lot, at eleven-thirty at night. I described to the 911 operator what was happening, gave descriptions of the car, the people, etc. Eventually, the girl got the guy to stop hitting her, get out of her car, and she peeled out of the parking lot and left him there. A security guard/police officer from inside the theater had came outside, and he took the guy into the theater with him. I don’t know what happened after that, but I really hope that scumbag spent the night in jail. Amy and I went to Wild Wings Cafe after that, and had some drinks and wings. Then we went home.

I slept till eleven today. I was shocked at the time when I woke up, but it sure was nice to get all the sleep I wanted. We got up, got dressed, and went back to Knoxville for a shopping day. We started out with lunch, and enjoyed sushi at Wasabi. After that, we spent a leisurely day mostly window shopping. We did make a few purchases, including a really great dress I bought myself for forty percent off at American Eagle. They had a great sale today. We went in several different stores and looked at things we would like to get for the house. Among other things, we found these gorgeous, Asian dish sets at World Market, a lovely collage picture frame at Kirklands, and some pretty throw pillows at Pier 1. On the way home, we re-did our budget, factoring in the income I now have that I didn’t when we first created our budget when she moved to Tennessee in March, and added a category for things for the house. Slowly but surely, we’re going to get this house just the way we like it!

Chris brought the kids back this evening, and Amy went to pick hers up in Kentucky. I’ve done a little laundry, some dishes, and I attempted to do a little homework (I didn’t progress very far), and now I’m thinking about going to bed. Right before I started this post, I realized that this was the first two day span of time that I’ve not had to go to work, class, or mow a yard in quite some time. No wonder I feel so energized! God knew what he was doing when he created the Sabbath. People just need some rest days every now and then!

Most of the Time

Filed under: General — Rachel at 10:12 am on Monday, August 20, 2012

I have been so busy lately. Blogging, as usual, has fallen by the wayside. I thought I would write an update post, though, to keep my few, faithful readers up to date.

First of all, I am officially divorced now. I went to court a couple of weeks ago, and the judge granted our divorce. It was pretty much a non-event, since everything had already been split up, agreed upon, and worked out. Chris and I are on good terms, and we are working together quite well to co-parent our children. He is a good dad, and I think things will work out well for everyone in the long run. The kids are all doing well, and have adjusted to a new normal. This isn’t to say that they don’t wish their parents had of stayed together…because they do…but just to say that they are doing well.

Speaking of the kids, they went back to school last week. It was really hectic for me, because Amy was at Fort Knox for two weeks for Annual Training, and I had to handle the first week of school by myself. The biggest adjustment…well, besides getting up early…was having kids in two separate schools this year. Kyra, Sarah, Elijah, and Owen are at the elementary school, and Jeremiah is at the middle school. It took a few days to work out the best way to drop everyone off and pick everyone up, but I think I have it worked out now. It’s a good thing that they started school a couple weeks before I do, so that we could figure out the timing.

Coinciding with the finalization of my divorce was finally getting approved for Financial Aid. I was really, really stressed about how I was going to pay my tuition. I kept getting denied FA because of Chris’ income. They finally got it all sorted out, though, and I was awarded a Work Study, a Pell Grant, and I also received a scholarship. I am beyond thrilled about this financial help with school. I have a friend who works at Roane State who has bent over backwards to help me get things taken care of. She even arranged for me to be able to borrow a Microbiology textbook, which saves me a lot of money.

My classes actually start next Monday. I’m not really looking forward to them, but I guess that’s irrelevant. I’ve heard scary things about my professor. I have the same one for both my A&P II class and my Microbiology class. I hope she’s not as hard as I’ve heard.

Right now, I effectively have three different jobs…the Work Study, the job at Wendell’s, and my mowing jobs. I admit that I am already worn out, and I don’t know how easy it will be to manage all three jobs, plus school, at the same time. My comfort is that it’s only for one semester. I will be working (Work Study) or attending classes Mon-Fri during school hours. I work at Wendell’s at least two nights a week, but I don’t have a set schedule there, so the actual days alternate. I have to fit my mowing jobs in where I can around my existing schedule and the weather.

The only way I can do all this is because Amy is here at home taking care of everything else. She is home with Abby during the day, unless Abby is with Chris. Some days she will have to pick the kids up, because I will have to leave work/class and go straight to my job at Wendell’s. If it’s not one of Chris’ days to have the kids, she will have to take care of homework, dinner, chores, and football practice. It’s going to be a lot to manage for both of us, in different ways. We make a good team, though, and I know this is just a season in our lives. It won’t always be this hard.

We do manage to have a good time every now and then, too. We’re not totally all work and no play. For instance, Saturday night, Amy and I went out with some friends of ours. We had a lot of fun. It was nice to be able to have a chance to get out of the house and do something fun together. Yesterday, I took some of my mowing money, and took the whole lot of us out for dinner and a movie. (This was possible thanks to me getting Financial Aid. My tuition isn’t taking every spare penny like it did before the summer semester.) We saw “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”, and then ate at Krystal. The kids all enjoyed the movie, and they liked going to Krystal, too, since no one had been there in a really long time.

Life is busy. Life is hectic. Life is sometimes exhausting and frustrating. It’s also good, though, most of the time, and we are pretty happy…most of the time. Most of time is pretty good, if you ask me. Definitely better than the alternative.

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