Ever After
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  • June14th

    Musical Chairs

    Posted in: Ariana

    This email that I received today made my heart sing:

    Hi Lori,

    I just had to let you know how much [my husband] and I appreciated Ariana’s act of kindness at activity days yesterday!!

    So when [my daughter] showed up for her 1st activity in the 10-11 yr old group yesterday, there were 4 cushion chairs that the other girls were sitting on.  So [my daughter] sat on a hard one, and of course, felt left out (she didn’t say anything though).  Ariana got up and switched with [my daughter].  It really meant a lot to [my daughter] as she was beyond nervous to be there in the first place. Thank you thank you!!!  It just brings tears to my eyes.

    Thanks again,
    [A Grateful Mom]

    Ariana, sometimes you wonder aloud why you have to go through tough times. I hope you recognize that these challenges are shaping your character and helping you evolve into a beautiful, empathetic individual who strives to make sure others don’t feel as lonely, left out, and friendless as you do sometimes.

    Good job, my sweet girl.
  • June13th

    As she watched a few minutes of the NBA playoffs last night with BT . . .

    Vivi: “Mom, who do you want to win–ketchup or mayonnaise?”

    Funny girl.

    Smart, funny girl.

  • June13th

    Spy Kids

    Posted in: Lori, Tad, Vivi

    The monarch butterfly’s migration to Mexico.
    The swallow’s journey to Capistrano.
    Lori Tolbert’s trek to the Denton County Appraisal District.

    Some events in life are predictable.

    This year marked my fifth time in the last six years to protest my property taxes. I was really hoping to avoid the process, but when our appraised value jumped $45K in a single year, I knew I was going to have to have a little heart-to-heart with the paper pushers down at DCAD. Even though the female staff appraiser wasn’t as accommodating as the fella I normally work with, I still got her to come down $30k.

    Vivi and Tad have entertained themselves with “spy” games over the last few days as I’ve tried to get everything ready for my hearing, so I turned our trip to Denton into a secret spy mission for them. We woke up extra early so that we could be the first in line . . . because that’s what spies do. And spies have to be extra quiet, observant, and not call attention to themselves. They carried out their mission so successfully that I kind of forgot that they were standing by my side as the staff appraiser and I negotiated back and forth. As a reward, we treated ourselves to a Denton Square (baked) Donut (yum!) and a trip to the Denton Thrift store where they each were given a $2 allowance to buy anything they wanted.

    Vivi remarked that she knew the spy mission was going to be fun but not THAT FUN.

  • June10th

    Tad, Vivi and I were in tears.

    Ariana flashed a smile from ear to ear.

    She was off to girls’ camp, and we were already missing her. We were missing her weird stories of last night’s dreams; her breakfast smoothies; competitive games of Words with Friends; overhearing her talking to herself; cheering for our favorite “Next Food Network Star” together.

    I’m embarrassed to even write on the blog any more because it seems that all I ever write about is how sad I am that my kids are growing up too fast and about how much I’m going to miss them when they are gone. But a lot of the time, I find myself drowning in this gut-wrenching feeling of loss. And then I feel guilty because I should be more grateful that my children are healthy, happy and growing up to be good, productive members of society. And I feel guilty for being so selfish.

    My kids are not sad about growing up. They are excited about their future. I, on the other hand, cannot imagine a happy future without a warm, cuddly little body next to me in bed. Or a sticky little hand tickling my back. Or even having to help with blasted Math homework.

    I try to imagine what my life will be like when the nest is empty. Bryan will have his work (he says he can’t imagine retiring) and church assignments. I envy him. (Something else to feel guilty about). And despite the limitless craft projects I have amassed over the years that are just waiting to be finished, I’m afraid that I will be alone and empty.

    But something happened the day that Ariana left for camp that gives me hope. From out of the blue, I got a text that simply said, “Hi there. Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you.” I wasn’t even sure who the text was from because the phone number wasn’t in my contact list. I eventually figured out who it was from. It was from Heavenly Father. Yes, He texts. He sent the message via a friend who moved nearly 1,000 miles away and who I hadn’t had any contact from in at least a year . . . who had no way of knowing what I was going through that day . . . who has had a couple of her little birds leave the nest and who I feel truly understands my situation . . . who has an extra sensitivity to the Spirit because she has an extra good heart and is quick to respond to the promptings she receives.

    Thank you, Heavenly Father. Thank you for giving me these children to fill my life and heart; for friends that love me; and for reminding me that you know who I am, you know the things that weigh upon my heart, and that you will be there to somehow help me when the nest is empty.