Left to Right: Melanie, my mom, and Melissa
My aunt Me-Me (Melanie) lives in Lake City, FL. She's been a nurse basically her whole life, and has a true servants heart. She has two boys, Landon and Jordon, and I spent many summers at their house since Landon is only a year older than me. We almost lost her in October of 2009. She contracted H1N1 and went through months of treatment and therapy. She was one of the most critical cases to come into the Orlando hospital, but the prayers of many were heard and she was restored to full health. When I found out about Carter's complications, I knew immediately that I wanted her here with me when I delivered. Landon's wife was pregnant at the same time, and she delivered Nathaniel on January 5th, 2011. They scheduled my induction for January 10th, and my sweet aunt Me-Me left her brand new grandbaby to come take care of me and put my mind at ease. She was an absolute blessing, keeping me and my mom calm and advocating for me to my nurses and doctors. I'll never forget that, and will always be grateful.
My aunt Melissa passed away on December 14th, 2012 while still living in Williston, FL, the city where they all grew up and my grandparents reside. My favorite memories of her typically involve animals. Over the years she had many interesting pets: two Persian cats (Murph and Butler), a snake, a horse named Dino, and the living legacy (who my mom inherited) Boo. She worked at a vets office for a while and I loved to visit and color with her. I lovingly referred to her as "Uncle Lissa" when I was little. She loved children but was never able to bear any. She led a much different lifestyle from the rest of her family, and ultimately ended up on a bad path of prescription drug addiction. She fought hard to battle it, and went through many ups and downs in the process. Many of us became very frustrated with her decisions, and began to limit our exposure to her. Her cause of death was an accidental overdose (a bad combo of medicines) while receiving treatment for her addiction. Our avoidance of her over the years leading up to her passing caused a lot of emotional grief and a tremendous amount of internalized guilt and regret. This experience taught us all that FAMILY should always be there for each other, no matter what the situation. Not to become enablers, but just to be a constant encouragement in their life, giving a steady stream of love and prayer. We're coming up on the anniversary of her passing, and I ask that you'd please pray for our family, especially my grandmother.
Heather and her husband John
Heather married into an Air Force life and currently lives in Ellicot City, MD. She has lived all over, and I've been lucky to visit most of the locations she's lived such as: San Antonio, TX, Colorado Springs, CO, Greenville, SC, and Ocean Springs, MS. My mom was lucky enough to visit them at their most recent location in Germany (I'm not bitter). Heather is by far the aunt that I'm closest to. She lived with us for a while, and I even became extremely jealous of her since my mom's attention was divided between us (little did I know Greyson would come along...). Some of my favorite memories with Heather include me biting her nose because she was aggravating me, crying because she "said I had a turtle neck" (I was wearing one), and her gesture/explanation of what the male genetalia looked like. She has two children, Ryland (who is a little older than Grey), and Ella (a little younger). She's always good for parenting advice - one of the most helpful things she told me was this: "Don't let him determine what you're going to do. He'll adapt." I was always impressed at how GOOD her kids were for a shopping trip or a day in town, and it's because they were always on the go. She refused to sit at home and let life be dictated by feedings and naps. As a result, I've instituted the same with Carter, and he LOVES to go, much to Josh's dismay :) That's probably why he's awesome at competitions and can snag a nap in the midst of chaos!
Kelli, lovingly referred to as "KK", is Josh's aunt (his mom's sister) and she lives in Millbrook. She is the perfect fill-in for an aunt when my blood is just too far away :) She's always good for a laugh (or a SNORT!) She recently became an animal lover and has a cat named Roxie, for which Josh loves to tease her. She works with kids through the National Guard, but doesn't want any. She's one of the most independent women I've ever met and I truly admire that about her. She recently switched to our church and started CrossFit, and we're loving the extra time with her.
We love because he first loved us.
- I John 4:19