Right about now Tom is getting on an airplane and flying off to Houston, the last place he would choose. But then he will board another plane and meet his friend Jim in Guatamala. They will be spending 10 days in Jim's second city, Antigua, where he owns The Refuge Coffee Bar. We are praying for a great trip, a time of close connection and for Tom to learn how to make some wild latte art.

In the meantime Cassidy and I are hanging out with my family. Yesterday: Turkey. Today: Bar-b-que. That's right, JackStack and Nebraska football. Surprise! Though I married into a soccer family and have enjoyed almost every minute of my soccer journey, I was raised on football. American football. Nebraska football. I realize there's controversy over them leaving the Big 12 but it doesn't matter that much to me. Watching those boys in their red and white uniforms takes me back. How many Orange Bowls have I seen? How many times have I watched the Huskers win in front of a sold out crowd? I can't tell you, but I can tell you that although I attended KSU for school I have attended more Husker games than Wildcat games.

And as a side note, because something should be said, I went to my first KU basketball game! Maasen has taken me under her wing (get it?) and exposed me to all things KU. Tom went to KU, and so did my sister Rachel, and Big Cass for that matter (and a slew of other people), so you might wonder why this Missouri girl is the one taking me to KU games (we went to the KU/NU football game last year). Let's be honest, Maasen is like Ms. Kansas City. She can't go anywhere without knowing someone and that means she knows someone everywhere. And some of those people have KU tickets. The Jayhawks played Emporia State (the Hornets) and beat them handily. It was quite the experience. Walking into Allen Fieldhouse I was a bit giddy, and while it was initially a little awkward to sit bum to bum with a complete stranger, it was the drive and the tight conditions. We stayed until the end, of course, to hear the classic "Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU" that everyone in America knows.  If you don't get the chance to go out there this season you can come over and have Little Cassie do the chant for you. She's known it since she could talk, thanks to Maasen.

Just for old times' sake...

I remember putting Wyatt in this outfit at my folks'. We had forgotten about it so for the Championship we pulled it out and put it on him. It barely fit and he wore it for about 5 minutes. But that was enough. Rock Chalk!

 This one is a classic.
How I miss the days of her being this little and pudgy. Now she has calves like Wyatt and curls down her back. I suppose she still has the cheeks.


The Day

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, words of encouragement and gifts throughout the last few weeks, and well, months. Wyatt's 5th birthday was not what we expected and I suppose every year will be different. The joy was missing, but there was a peace throughout the day that I am thankful for. On Wednesday I went to the toy store and got a gift for Cassidy. We decided that at the very least for the boys' birthdays we will get her books; we will always celebrate the days the L-rd gave us those boys and we want them to be reasons for Cass to smile, not sad days. Her relationship being what it was with Wyatt we also wanted to make this birthday special.

She woke up Thursday morning and came into our beds. When Wyatt was around she wouldn't get out of bed until he did; he was an early riser. Since he's been gone she snuggles a lot more with us and this morning it was a nice gift. We talked about Wyatt a little bit and then we hinted that there might be presents for Wyatt's birthday. When she approached the table and saw the gifts she was shocked. "What's this doing here?" she said pointing to her chair. Our birthday tradition is to put the presents at their place at the table so when they get up in the morning they can open them. Last year we also blew up balloons and that was a real thrill for them. "Look at all the balloons?!" he said to her. A beautiful thing about Wyatt and Cass being so close in age is that they always shared everything, so much so that birthdays were almost joint celebrations. This year it took on a new meaning.

She opened the little present first and was very happy to get One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. In keeping with her musical gifting she has found a new love with Dr. Seuss and his rhymes. In the last two weeks we have read this book over and over, with Cass finishing most of the rhymes.
Then she opened the large bag and pulled out a bittersweet gift. I stood in the Toy Story aisle for a long time, loathing the experience. When she pulled out the box with Jessie, Woody and Bullseye I realized why I went through the pain of Toys-R-Us. These toys remind her of Wyatt so much. She asked me if they had Wyatt's name on their feet, since I wrote his name on the feet of his Buzz and Woody. I showed her that they didn't have any names on their feet and then got out the big black marker and put her name there. She sat in her chair after breakfast for 45 minutes playing with those guys, reminding us of Wyatt and his creative imagination.
We spent the rest of the day together, going to the coffee shop, eating chilli and cornbread, Wyatt's favorite meal. Some people popped in to give us hugs and love, and we, well, we made it through the day.

Again, thank you, everyone. Part of our pain is knowing how much everyone misses Wyatt, and Zeke for that matter. There's a hint of sadness around the edges of every moment of joy, but we are thankful to share all those moments with so many wonderful people. And truly the L-rd has blessed us. Our Sweet Pea Cassidy anchors us in the truth that G-d is good. Her voice, her curls, her arms, her squeals -- they are a salve to the wound. Though there is pain, in this life (as in the life to come) there are many things to smile about...
like Cass enjoying her tiara and making food with the clay from Aunt Rachey. It's a little over the top sometimes, but I love how girly this girl is.


Happy Birthday, Wyatt

Instead of blowing up balloons and wrapping presents I went through our family photographs. Looking at these pictures makes me thankful Wyatt is my son.