Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day isn't so Happy...

We've all seen it... Happy Memorial Day on commercials, ads, Facebook, and all social media sites as well as television. We've heard it from those around us. While I have kept my opinions quite for the most part, I am really bothered by the way so many view this Holiday weekend. It is seen as a reason to get together and party, to cook-out, to shop awesome sales, and to enjoy a nice, cold beer. I cringe every time someone calls me or sees me and says "Happy Memorial Day", then continuing about their day. I smile, holding myself back from speaking my mind and asking them if they truly understand the meaning behind this day...this weekend.

Right now I am struggling with this Memorial Day and with the meaning behind it. Memorial Day isn't about anything I mentioned in the paragraph above, but about remembering the men and women that selflessly gave their lives while fighting for our country or those that died as a direct result of injuries sustained in combat. So many lives have been lost and so many families have taken on the toll of these losses as well as the Gold Star Family title. I keep thinking about the conversations I have heard about parties and sales this weekend and just wish people would spend a little less time obsessed with that and more honoring those that have laid their lives down. I just wish everyone would take the time to honor and respect our fallen men and women, as well as their families - not focus on material things in life.

Telling a veteran or their family Happy Memorial Day isn't exactly the best thing to do. Neither will find this day to be happy. Yet, many will take the time to celebrate the lives of those they lost on this particular weekend. Our family was one of the blessed ones. Kevin had so many close calls while deployed, yet he is home with us now. Severely injured, but home. When I think about it all, I realize that a piece of him never came back home when he returned to us. That part of him will always be lost because of war. Our family as a whole has been changed and life is nothing as we planned for it to be. Memorial Day brings up the reality of what our men and women were faced with. It brings back memories of before their brother and sisters from the military paid the ultimate sacrifice in life. It leaves spouses such as myself, remember the phone calls about another soldier Killed in Action and the way it ripped through their family, the family that was patiently waiting on the homefront.

When you approach your loved ones that are or were military and have served in war, keep in mind most don't see the "happy" in Memorial Day. Many will shut down and won't have the desire to do anything or take part in the gatherings that will occur tomorrow and other holidays. Be patient and understand from their point of view. Don't become angry or upset if they don't want to take part in the festivities. Instead, just be understanding. Don't pressure them for a reason why or for things that happened while they were deployed. Allow them to have their space and whatever time they need. Remember, their emotions may be all over the place, and that is okay. If anyone deserves to do what they feel on holidays, it is those that served and the families that paid the ultimate sacrifice.

My family has forever been changed due to war... We each hold those close that selflessly gave their lives and we hold Kevin a bit closer now. We find gratitude in the fact he is still here with us, yet guilt in a way because we are one of the "lucky" families. I don't expect all or many to understand, especially if you haven't walked in our shoes.

Before you start showing appreciation to our veterans, remember that Memorial Day is NOT Veterans Day. Veterans Day is when you thank and honor all of those who served honorably in the military, during wartime or peacetime. It is intended to thank the living veterans for their service. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those that died while fighting for our country or later as a direct result of injuries sustained in combat.

Take time to remember why Memorial Day is celebrated. Take time to explain it to your children as they think it is just a time to start going to the pool. Take time to say a prayer for those that laid their lives down and the families left behind picking up the pieces.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the fallen this weekend. Words can never show the appreciation and pride I hold for all that gave their lives for each one of us. It takes a special kind of person to join the military and pay the sacrifices that so many have paid - or are willing to pay...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nic's First Braves Game

If you know me well, then you know I absolutely LOVE the Atlanta Braves and have a fabulous time attending games! Lucky for me, Nicholas had a blast watching the Braves win a game in early April against the Cubs. The best part of the game was seeing Nic's face light up with a huge smile at the homerun that was hit!

We started the day off greeting the Budweiser Clydesdale's on the street in front of the stadium. Nic was in awe at seeing the horses and stood in front for his photo opportunity.

Once we entered Turner Field, Nic was in total amazement at everything going on around him. As we walked around (because he wanted to see it all), he spotted the batting and pitching cages. which of course he had to take part in. At first, when he was holding the bat it was ALL wrong, so before I could say anything, a kind man standing with his grandson helped Nic bat the right way. After two swings, he was able to hit a ball and did pretty good. He LOVED being able to pitch more than batting.

There was a lady next to the pitching cage that was painting faces, or arms in Nic's case, by airbrush. Nic became excited and wanted a tomahawk painted on his arm...but only if I would have my face painted. So, after his arm was painted I had to get an A painted on my face. Both turned out really good!

Throughout the game, Nic and I took pictures and even had some taken together thanks to the nice people around us that offered to take our photo. Nic was full of laughter and excitement throughout it all. He kept his glove on the whole time in hopes of catching a ball, which sadly didn't happen. He yelled and smiled during the wave and of course when the Home Depot tools raced to the finish line that was right in front of us.

Once the game was over, kids from all over lined up in one of two lines so they could run the bases!!! Since Nicholas became a Kids Club Member for his birthday, he was able to line up with the first group full of Kids Club Members and run the bases! It was a bit chaotic, but a ton of fun for the little ones! Nic ran the bases and was rewarded with a t-shirt and certificate! Once he was back with me, he smiled and smiled and told me how "cool" it was to run the bases.

To see this video, you must be viewing this post on our blog, not via email.

This outing was needed for me and Nic. We needed time away and a day out with just the two of us. Of course, we barely made it to the interstate when I heard snoring from the backseat. The heat and sun wore the little man of the house out!!! He slept almost all the way home. For those of you that don't know, that was over an hour and a half of sleeping! We all heard about how much fun he had for days...Okay, so we are STILL hearing about it and how he cannot wait to attend another game!

Spring Break in Mena & Easter in Macon

I know I am soooooo behind on my updates on here and I don't have much of an excuse other than I have been super busy and trying to figure things out in our lives. No worries though, all is well with the Biddle Family!

The last week of March was Spring Break for the kids and it was a BUSY week for all of us! On Friday, as soon as the kids were home from school we spent time packing for our trip to Arkansas and getting ready for Nic's 6th birthday party!!! It is still so hard to believe our little man is now 6! Time sure has flown by. Nic's party took place on a Saturday and following it, Kevin took a 5 hour nap before we all loaded up in the truck and headed to Mena, AR!

The drive from our house until we reached the outskirts of Memphis was hell! It stormed the entire time, slowing us down and at one point with us having to stop on I-20 before we reached Birmingham. Due to the high winds, a tree fell into the middle of the interstate causing a tour bus to lost their windshield and a car to end up totaled. We pulled over for the car to make sure they were okay and found two young women on their way to visit family, pretty shaken up. Kevin got out to check on them at first, then called 911 to let them know what was going on and to get assistance out before someone was seriously injured or a major wreck occurred. The tree scratched the entire drivers side of our truck when we hit it, luckily we were in the right lane, so we didn't have terrible damage or worse...flip.

The kids slept through most of the drive...the perks of driving through the night! Excitement struck as soon as we crossed the bridge and saw the Welcome to Arkansas sign, then again in Hot Springs and as we came to the Welcome to Mena sign. It almost felt like we were home...

As you can see, at one point they were sleeping nicely - then the next the girls were fighting... 

Nic was so excited to see Bailey and as always, the two of them stayed side by side whenever we were at Aunt Jeanette's house. It is so cute to see these two together. They run and play, then lounge around and sleep side by side. Nic adores her as much as she does him. Even at night, she decided she needed to sleep right at Nic's side!


During the week, we spent time with Grandmama, Aunt Jeanette, Leah, Don, Nita and the Philpots...which made the whole week absolutely amazing and of course has left us longing for more time with each of them! We had an amazing week in Mena and cannot wait to get back. The week flew by us a bit too quickly!

Towards the end of the week, Breanna and I decided we wanted to shoot my .380 and lucky for us, we were able to do so at Don and Nita's house on the back part of their property. Bre did AMAZING shooting!!! I must say, she takes after her mom...a total natural! Kevin wasn't thrilled about being around my gun, but he managed to keep "calm" while around Bre and Aunt Jeanette. He even found a bit of patience with them both in teaching them the right way to shoot. Of course, as soon as it was over and he could get away from my pistol, he was out of there! We can't thank him enough for teaching Bre and Aunt Jeanette how to shoot! This was also Aunt Jeanette's first time shooting and she did great!!! It was so much fun watching her and Bre shoot!

 Our last day in Mena was an emotional day for each of us...we were all so sad to see the week come to an end and to head back to Georgia. Nic and Caitlin loved on Bailey until we almost had to pry them off of her. I'm sure she loved it though. We took photos with Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama. I know I was trying my hardest to contain the tears as we were saying our "Goodbyes". I hate leaving those two, as does Kevin, Breanna, Caitlin, and Nicholas. I can honestly say that Aunt Jeanette and Grandmama are two of the most amazing woman we have in our lives and we are so blessed to have them! We sure do miss them now and cannot wait to see them sometime soon!

Since we knew we wouldn't get home until very early Easter morning, we let the kids have an egg hunt on Friday afternoon before we all ate dinner at Don and Nita's house...of course, they had a blast! We left Mena a little after lunch time on the Saturday before Easter and started to make our way back to GA. In the couple hours we were able to sleep, the Easter Bunny stopped by and left goodies in the kids Easter "Baskets". Each one received a cute piggy bank and a basket full of things that they loved!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Out with the Old...

As many of you know, our weekend was a bit on the rough side with Kevin's F-250 ending up in the shop. We had to pull into an empty parking lot right outside of Stone Mountain on Saturday while on the way to my Dad's house due to the truck making odd noises and then locking up while Kevin was driving. We jacked the truck up and took the wheel off to find that his bearings were completely warped and there was absolutely NO way we could drive it any further without seriously risking his wheel falling off while in route. Now, we all know that would have been more than terrible had it happened! So, we did what anyone else would do... We called the dealership down the street to let them know of the issue (after Thanking God that we hold enough common sense to put extended warranties on all of our vehicles), then we called a towing company to have us towed to the dealership.

Thankfully, my dad doesn't live too terribly far from where we were and was able to meet us in the parking lot while we waited. Him and Josh, my brother showed up in Josh's truck, with Barb following in her van. We all waited for the tow truck and spent time chatting. When the truck arrived, we all watched as it loaded our F-250, then Barb took the kids to their house and the rest of us headed to the dealership.

Once we arrived at the dealership, the guys quickly dispersed to the lot to look at new F-150's while I handled the issues with our truck and World Ford's Service Department. Thank you to Key for helping us and getting everything set up with NO issues! After a few minutes, Josh and I had to rush over to Enterprise to pick up our rental car while Kevin and Dad kept looking at the nice and pretty new trucks. Before leaving them, I told Kevin "We are NOT buying a new truck!!!". Now, please keep that in mind for later while reading this... I even told my dad and the salesman, Jody that in no way were we in the market for a new vehicle at this time because we are focusing on other things going on in our near future.

Once at Enterprise, we were put into a Chevrolet Impala as our rental car and we honestly HATED this thing while we had it. It was great on gas and did have power, but was the most uncomfortable car with very limited room! Luckily, we were only in this vehicle for just a few days.

Now, here comes the bad news...or I guess you could say good news that was given to us in an undisguised blessing type way. On Monday, we received news about our truck that led us to make some pretty quick decisions. The bearings were in fact shot and damages were covered under the extended warranty. However, there were a few other issues that were not covered under the warranty and would cost us a few thousand dollars that we simply do not have right now for the repairs. So, this is where I ate my words... After a lot of talking back and forth, we had Jody run numbers for us this morning...on a new F-150!!!

Yes, we ended up trading our F-250 that we have loved so much this past year in on a 2013 F-150 thanks to Jody Sexton and George Figueroa with World Ford Stone Mountain! Family and friends in that area, if you are in the market for a Ford, please head on over to World Ford and ask for Jody Sexton! I simply encourage you to check them out! The customer service is outstanding! Every single person there worked hard to make the deal from today go through as it did and found awesome interest rates for us! We could not be any happier or pleased as we are with Ford!

Kevin drove the truck back to Macon and absolutely LOVED it! It was so quiet driving and easy to drive throughout traffic across the Atlanta area. The interior is nice (I love the color scheme!) and the options that are included in truck are great! We are so excited that compared to the F-250, it will cost less to fill this truck up, give us more miles to the tank of gas, way less expensive oil changes, inexpensive tires, and the overall upkeep will cost us less now. Overall, we are very pleased with our decision to trade and so thrilled with Kevin's new truck! It was so good to see him happy with this decision and to see it work out as it did for him and us. Thank you to everyone at World Ford!!! We are more than pleased with this experience and will be doing business with you in the future!

This was just the beginning of our crazy and exciting day that was full of changes...

Last night, Kevin and I started talking more about my truck and the fact that with so many miles on it and all the driving that I now do, I am getting to the point of being in the market for a new vehicle myself. I needed something more dependable for my daily driver that came with a good warranty. After going back and forth, weighing options, I started to talk to our friend, Danny Gillian that works over at Butler Toyota in Macon to see what we would qualify for. NEVER did I think we would be matched with my now NEW CAR!!!

Goodbye Nissan (I am truly sad to see my xTerra go...), you have been an amazing SUV...

But, I am super excited about my new car!!!

Hello, Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE!!!

We have bought new cars in the past, but they have always been more towards the base line vehicles. For the first time EVER, I have a loaded car, equipped with a sunroof and navigation! YAY! I am on top of the world tonight, so much so that I almost broke into tears. Well, between this and the anxiety over the whole anxiety attack that occurred. Thank you so much, Kendra for talking me through this craziness tonight and helping to calm me down! This of course, is also a Happy Birthday, Brittney "gift" and it's one that I LOVE!!! I am amazed with all of the features that come with this car and can't wait for tomorrow when I meet with Danny to learn more about my car!

My car is perfect and I am so thankful to have all that I have been blessed with. I am also very blessed and lucky to have the husband I do that wanted to not only get me into a new car, but to get me into the one that I wanted without simply settling as we have done on past vehicles! Never, did I think I would actually like a Camry, but I love it and cannot wait to drive it more! Oh, and when we were driving it tonight, we noticed it will get almost 700 miles a tank of gas! 700 miles, people!!! That is almost double from what my xTerra and his F-250 were getting! Simply amazing!

Speaking of Danny, thank you so much! It's so hard to find a good dealership now and even harder to find an outstanding one! Today we lucked out with two outstanding dealerships! Thank you so much to Danny Gillian and Troy Stephens R for making this deal go through! You guys simply amazed me with the way you worked this deal and how quickly you made things happen! The customer service was amazing as was everything about this whole process. Even though we made it there literally at closing time, they all stayed late to make sure this deal went through, have my Camry detailed, and even filled it up! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication!

Today was an amazing day, even though it did in fact add more to our bills, lol. The outcome of our new vehicles is that they will pay for themselves with the money we save in gas and upkeep.

Thank you Kevin for taking me to the Toyota dealership tonight!

If you are looking for a new Ford in the Stone Mountain area, give Jody Sexton a call at 678.344.3300 or if you are looking for a new Toyota, please call Danny Gillian at 800.706.0600

Tell them we sent you! (No, there is no referral plan)