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Monday, July 23, 2012

Welcome Home Baby Wei

We have posted before about how blessed we are to get to help bring families together through the blessing of adoption. Taiwan adoptions are especially meaningful to us, so being able to help our youth pastor and his wife find adopt their son was one of the highlights of our summer.

Mike and Sharon were not expecting to move so quickly in their adoption, but when Abbey got the email from Deana telling her about a new baby boy, she immediately knew that he was the one for Mike and Sharon.

Abbey told the Cunninghams about Wei one day after church at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. It was an emotional time.

We were so excited to go to the airport and see them as they arrived home with baby Wei. They looked so great. It was fantastic to see them together. We actually got to meet baby Wei when we we in
Taiwan to get Tuck.

You know it takes a village to raise a Wei.

Enna's 60th birthday was July 11, and we decided a few months ago that we would not let it pass without a big celebration.

Sadly, my brother Trae, passed away just a few weeks before mom's birthday. In fact, the last conversation that I had with Trae was about Mom's birthday party.

Due to the tremendous sorrow of the time, we were really thinking about abandoning our plans and I really think that Mom wanted us to, but we said the party must happen.

We grilled burgers and hot dogs and rented an inflatable waterslide. And many many people came. It was a super fun time.

It was fun to get to honor my mom on h birthday. I was born on Mom's birthday so it has been 33 years since the last birthday party she had that was just for her.

My little brother and his wife, Alyson helped us pull off the special birthday party. The boys loved playing with their cousin Joshi.

Right before it was time to eat a huge downpour came through and forced everyone inside (we totally didn't plan on that happening!). After the rain a beautiful rainbow appeared. We were sure that God sent it to remind us all that Trae was there in spirit.

After the party, we left the big boys in Mississippi to hang out with Enna and Poppy for a few days. I think they had a great time.

Location:Enna's 60th Birthday

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sleep Won't Come

I(Abbey) wrote the following one night when I couldn't sleep. I sit here, unable to sleep again. My words aren't pretty and probably don't flow, but that's kind of how our life feels right now. Somehow, life keeps going even though we feel like it's come to a screeching halt. The pain still comes to the surface, both my own and the sympathy I feel for those I watch that are hurting, changed forever. The experience of Jeff's brother Trae dying suddenly took our breath away, and somehow we are still breathing.


I can't sleep. As I try to close my eyes, the memory pushes itself to the front of my mind. I hear Jeff's voice, and I try to determine what's happened. I hear the sorrow and the shock. I hear him talking, not making sense. I take the phone from his hand and listen. Trae's dead, she says. Jeff is crying. He asks over and over if he's in a dream. I wish it was. Somehow the boys sleep through the pain being expressed.

Pain. I feel it. I see it. I sense it. I feel it in my heart and my stomach. Raw, gnawing sadness that at times makes it hard to even take a breath. Tears roll down my face at times I can't explain. Flashbacks keep happening.

I first met Trae in a parking lot at Northpark Mall in Jackson, Mississippi. Jeff and I had been dating, and we were meeting his brothers to go to the Mississippi State Fair. I didn't know what to make of this tall, red-headed guy that seemed nothing like Jeff. I was more worried about what he and Bobby were thinking of me. I marveled at how different all three boys were, and yet they had a bond. I can see the picture they took at the fair, in one of those old timey effect photographs. Trae's in the middle with his arms around both his brothers.

Trae weaved in and out of our lives, working offshore. We never knew if he would make a holiday or not. Lots of pictures of him on the couch at holidays. I hear his laugh. I can hear him telling me how he would play tricks on his brothers. Once he convinced Jeff he had whipped cream on his toothbrush, so Jeff willingly put a huge mound of shaving cream in his mouth. I hear Trae telling about wrecking a car. I hear him reflecting on his mom showing his picture at every convenience store in the county, almost challenging store clerks to sell him something they shouldn't. I hear him talking about going with his dad on runs to pick up bodies for the funeral home. I remember him driving to Nashville for a visit. We ate at Demo's, and he loved their steak as much as we do. I remember visiting his house boat, and thinking only Trae could live on a boat!

His love for Joshi and our boys was visible, especially when he got them New Orleans Saints jerseys. You never knew what Uncle 'Rae was going to get the kids next. I remember Reed's fascination with Trae's wound vac bag, and how he would let him inspect its contents. I see the boys inspecting the professional diving picture of Trae that he gave us that hangs on our wall. They wanted to be reminded what Trae's job was and how he did it. I remember one of the last meals I guess we had with Trae at Logan's. We were about to head out of town after Christmas, and we got to eat one more meal with him. For someone who wasn't a part of my everyday life, I knew Trae loved me and my family.

His life here is over. As Jeff says, if you asked him now, Trae wouldn't want to come back. This doesn't change the fact that we miss him. When someone asks me how I'm doing, even a stranger, I'm almost tempted to tell them. Going through pain is hard. Watching those you love suffer is even harder. Answering questions about heaven, and hearing little boys voices asking again where Uncle Trae is makes it harder. Watching a home be emptied, and possessions dispersed doesn't seem real. The pain lingers. The memories come and go. The questions go unanswered. Life carries on around us.

Losing Trae seems unreal. Love your family. Tell them. Visit. Don't take time together for granted. Prepare for your family in case something happens.

Memories matter; possessions don't. Focus on the important. Breathe in and out, even when you feel like you can't take another breath. Sleep won't come, but memories do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drake Reunion

Abbey grew up with the tradition of going over to her grandparents house on the Fourth of July. A few years ago, the tradition began again when we started going to Aunt Suzy's country house for a fourth of July get together. This is often the only time during the year that we meet up with all of Pop's family.

This year, Suzy and Jimmy rented an inflatable water slide that was a huge hit with the kids.

Will was not as impressed with the slide, but the little wading pool at the end of the slide was quite appealing to him.

Wait ... I didn't realize that Tuck was there. Oh yeah that is right, he was being spoiled by his aunts and cousins the entire time. It did make it easier for us to visit with family.

Uncle Richard was quite entertaining. Even Claire was amused

The kids pretty much stayed on the slide the entire time. It was worth every penny.

We got to visit with baby Brooks, Aunt Ava, and Uncle Brookie too.

Lola had fun showing off all of her boys. As the mother of two girls girls, I bet she never imagined she would be grandmother to FIVE boys.

We took charge of "chaperoning" the slide.

I always love getting to visit with family. We have such great relatives.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Fourth of July

Last year we had the best time with the Davidsons at the downtown Nashville Fireworks display. This year, we spent the day with Uncle Bill. First we went to Famous Daves for some super good Bar-B-Q and less than stellar service.

While the boys napped, I had the privilege of taking Mike and Sharon Cunningham to the airport to travel to Taiwan to get Baby Wei!!!

When I got home, we headed downtown. Uncle Bill used some of his Hilton points to get us a hotel room downtown so we didn't have to battle the traffic after the show.

The boys were so excited about the fireworks. We got there too early and so the boys had to be entertained by the "almost" famous musicians who were headlining the event. I think they were more impressed with uncle Bill's selection of snacks that he packed.

Reed could hardly wait for the fireworks to begin. Of course, he remembered how loud the fireworks were, however, Uncle Bill being who he is, had ear plugs for the boys.

Thankfully, right before we got there, a light shower hit and cooled things off. It was a welcomed event for us. After what seemed like forever, we were excited to see the fireworks light up the sky.

This year's show was AMAZING. It was absolutely beautiful. Please note: the sparkly lady in blue above isn't a firework, she's my wife.

The boys loved the fireworks and I did to. But I think that I liked watching their faces and seeing their reactions more than the show. It was so neat to see the magical look in their eyes.

After the fantastic show, we walked a couple of blocks to our hotel. Uncle Bill took the big boys down to the pool to "wash" off. They said the water was freezing.