Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Yllescas girls! I hope you were able to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. We received a LOT of snow! I got snowed-in in Iowa but it was with great company and we had fun playing games and making forts in the snow. :) I finally made it to my parents yesterday where the girls opened their Santa gifts and next weekend we will have our family Christmas with them since it had to be post-poned.   Christmas was less of a blur and a little easier than last year, but we still miss Rob terribly and wish he was here with us.  I can't believe how fast the month of December has gone by. The 2nd week of December, Julia and I were invited on the Snowball Express. This is an organization for children who have lost a parent in the war since 9/11. It is an all-expensive paid trip and this year it was in Dallas. The whole experience was so amazing. When we got off the airplane in Dallas, people were clapping for us and waving flags.  The whole weekend consisted of so many different activities including the Southfork Ranch, Mesquite Rodeo, Dallas Convention Center, and the Dallas Cowboy Stadium.  There were about 1500 of us.  Julia and I had a blast and I know it helped her see that there are other children in the same situation as her.  The most amazing thing to me during the trip was how the Patriot Guard Riders escorted us everywhere.  On 2 different days, the main interstate was closed down just for us as we had a motorcycle police escort followed by the Patriot Guard Riders to our destinations.  It was quite a site:  24 buses carrying 56 people, 20 or more motorcycle police, and at least 60 Patriot Guard Riders going down the interstate.  I'm sure people were wondering who the heck we were! :)  Please have a safe New Years and I will write again next year...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's been a year

A year has passed.  Yet it seems like yesterday that my world came crashing down and I had to make the hardest decision of my life.  It’s still so hard to believe he is gone.  It’s been a year and yet still so surreal.  So much has happened in a year.   A year ago, I never would have pictured my life where it is today.  With the help of my wonderful family and friends, and the hugs and kisses from my beautiful girls, I have managed to put one foot in front of the other and try to make the best out of a horrible situation.  Over the past year, there were days that I wanted to lay in bed, put the covers over my head, and never wake up.  But how would that help the situation any?  How would that make me a better mom?  And Rob would NOT want that.  This is my reality.  This is my life now.  Nothing I do will change that.  So, for my sake and the sake of my daughters, I need to make life as normal and happy as possible for us. Our life will never be the “old normal” so we’re making a “new normal”.  I’m learning that God does continue to bless, even through tragedy.  Yesterday we came back to Osceola and Julia didn’t go to school today.  This morning I went to the gravesite.  What a difference one year makes.  It’s full of grass.  Then, I decided to try to make a sad day into a happy one.  I surprised Julia with a new puppy.  He is a havanese, black and white, and absolutely ADORABLE!  He loves people (and kids) and is such a snuggle bug!  He took to us right away and Julia is so excited.  His name is D’ogie (pronounced D.O.G.—hahaha).  It has made the day so much easier for us.  Yesterday I put together a slideshow of pictures from Rob’s final homecoming to Nebraska, his wake, funeral, Memorial Service at Ft Hood, and Memorial Day.  I’m going to try to figure out how I can post it on here and when I do, I’ll post it.  It’s a great tribute and shows the pride Americans have for soldiers.  Again, thank you so much for the support you have shown the girls and I throughout this past year.  It has meant so much to us!!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Merry Christmas from Heaven

Last week I went on a much needed "mini vacation" to Texas without the girls.  I made a quick trip to Killeen to check on my house (which was in pretty good shape except for some cobwebs and nasty toilets!) then it was off to Dallas for the rest of the weekend.  I was able to do some golfing and shopping.  I got back last night to a very cranky little girl ( I think she had too much fun with her grandpas and grandmas!) and another girl who wanted to start decorating for Christmas NOW.  I have always loved Christmas and tend to have a weakness for Christmas decorations.  So, as you can imagine, I was a little overwhelmed with my 6 TUBS of Christmas decorations and 3 Christmas trees!!!!  Of course no decorating can be done while Eva's awake because that would just be pointless!  So, I told Julia that today I would decorate as much as I could while she was at school and Eva was at daycare and have the Christmas tree ready for her to decorate when Eva goes to bed.  This year is definitely going to be interesting with Eva.  I have no idea what she's going to do with all these decorations.  I'm just hoping not too many get broken!!  Anyways, as I was going through our decorations, I came across things that I knew were in the boxes but really didn't want to see them: our christmas stockings with Rob's name on his, ornaments from our first Christmas together, and a Christmas picture frame with a picture of Rob, Julia and me in it.  I had completely forgotten about that.  It's sad to know that the last time these decorations were put up, Rob was with us (I obviously didn't put any decorations out last year).  I do have to chuckle about the last Christmas we had together, I had finally convinced Rob to put up Christmas lights on the house (which mind you I had bought 3 years before and were still in the box).  So, he's up on the ladder when all of a sudden the ladder gives way and he crashed onto concrete!  It scared me to death.  But, besides a sore knee and bruised pride, he was fine.  I just assumed that was the last of our Christmas light decorations so I started tearing the clips off the roof.  Rob came out and said "What are you doing?!  Heck no.  I about killed myself putting those stupid things on and I'm going to finish the job."  So, up the ladder he went again.  Determined that man was!!!  And the lights looked great. :)  As I continue to go through ornaments, I also come across one that I received from a friend after Rob died.  I couldn't have found it at a better time.  As hard as Christmas is going to be for us, I know that Rob will be right here.  With the ornament, came a poem.  It reads:
"Merry Christmas from Heaven"
I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be 
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a a new special place

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year
--John Wm. Mooney, Jr

Here's another story for you to prove that Rob is with us:  Last week I put Eva down for a nap.  She has a stuffed baby doll she sleeps with.  When she woke up from her nap, I went in to get her and that doll was sitting on the edge of her cribrail against the wall.  I asked her if she did that and she just giggled.  I asked her to do it again, and she couldn't.  She tried several times.  I have no doubt that daddy was showing us that he is with us at all times....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One year since it all began...

October 28th.  I wish this date was never on my calendar….I think I’ve decided that one year later is worse than when it actually happened.  The reason I say this is because when I got the call, everything else was run on complete adrenaline.  I thought moment to moment, hour to hour.  I was praying for the best and hopelessly optimistic.  I had no other choice.  I KNEW Rob was going to be ok.  He had to be.  A year later, dreadfully anticipating this day and the next 34, I know the outcome and there is nothing I can do to change it.  It’s a helpless feeling, making you feel sick.  Two days ago, I was thinking “This was the last time Rob called home and I heard his voice.”  For the life of me, I can’t remember what we talked about that day.  I’m sure it was the “same old same old” but I just wish I could remember exactly the conversation.  I wish I could have told him NOT to go out on the mission 2 days later.  If we only knew…..Then all day yesterday, I kept counting down the hours until “doom day”.  Today I’m going for a massage.  I planned it for 11 am.  It’s an hour massage.  When I get done, it will be noon.  The exact time I got the phone call.  I figured, being relaxed will hopefully get me through that time.  It’s crazy that even though that day was so hectic, I can still remember it so vividly.  It’s so surreal.  Even one year later, it’s hard to believe.   As much as I didn’t want this to happen, God has a bigger plan.  There was a purpose he gave Rob to me for the short amount of time he did.  Although I may never know the complete reason, I have figured out a few things.  Before I met Rob, there is no way I could have handled a situation like this the way I have.  He taught me how to live independently and gave me the confidence in living life without him through his 3 deployments.  He taught me to “suck it up and drive on”.  He showed me that through hard work and determination, anything was possible.  He made an impression on everyone he crossed paths with.  He would fill a room up with his presence.  And to this day, I still feel his presence.  I have no doubt  he is up in heaven, guiding me.  The path I thought I would be taking with Rob took a major detour and now I’m taking the journey of life without him.  However, through all the ups and downs, he’s been there.  I’ve been blessed over and over even after this tragedy.  The support and love the girls and I have received has been more than amazing.  I still don’t know why such a great person had to leave so early, but I’m blessed to have been a part of his life.  Julia still talks about daddy and all the great memories she has.  Just the other day she said to me “I wonder what daddy is going to be for Halloween.  I bet it will be the best costume ever.  I should see if he could get Eva and I a thousand pieces of candy because I know he could do it.”  And Eva has started recognizing Rob in photos as “dada”.  Every night I tell her that daddy will watch her as she sleeps.  And every night she looks at his photo above her bed and says “baby”.  It is a photo of Rob holding her as a baby.  And I say to her “Yes, daddy is holding his baby Eva.”  Rob, I love you with all my heart.  I wish things could have been different, but they’re not.  So, please continue to guide me.  You live on through our girls and I am so blessed to have them.  They bring a smile to my face in the hardest of times and I know it’s you sending your love to me through them.  Thank you for that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Rob

October is a hard month.  Today was Rob's birthday.  He would have been 32.  A year ago I was talking to him on the phone wishing him a happy birthday.  I didn't know it would be the last time.  I can't help but think what we would have done today for his birthday.  Rob wasn't much on getting gifts, so I would probably have gotten him a card while Julia and Eva made him one, then the girls and I would have baked him his favorite cake (German chocolate) and then we probably would have gone out to eat (I'm guessing Outback since that was one of his favorites).  Days like this are so hard-harder than you expect them to be.  I'm sure all the "firsts" are, I'm just praying they get better each year.  Yesterday I told Julia that today was Rob's birthday.  She got excited and said "Yay!!" And then she caught herself.  I think for a moment, she forgot daddy was gone.  Even after almost a year, it is still easy to forget that he is gone.  I have no doubt that Rob is with us.  I can literally feel his presence.  I just wish I could touch him.  The only thing I can do is continue to move forward.  Rob will always be a part of our lives and he would want us to be happy.  But, in moving forward, I'm also letting go a bit.  Last week, I sold Rob's truck.  That was horribly bittersweet.  That was his "baby".  His pride and joy (besides his children of course!).  He LOVED that truck.  But, it just wasn't practical for me to drive.  My uncle helped me and we posted it on Craigslist.  We found someone on there who, through talking with my uncle, found out about our story.  He refused for me to take a hit on my loan after everything I had been through, and actually paid a couple hundred dollars OVER what I owed on the loan.  He said he had the utmost respect for our servicemen and women and that was the least he could do.  He wired the money to the bank and had a transporter come and get it.  Wow.  There are such good people out there.  But, when I saw the truck get loaded up, my heart was so sad.  Taking the things out of the truck that I knew Rob had put in there, was tough.  His presence was all around that truck.  But I also know Rob did not expect me to keep it.  In fact, I was so nervous driving it.  He was such a perfectionist with it, that I could literally hear him telling me not to do this or that with the truck!  I finally said out loud "Rob, if you don't like how I'm driving your truck, then you shouldn't have died and left me to take care of it. So back off!"  Then I'd hear him reply "I know babe.  You're doing a great job.  I'm just teasing you."   I'm sure people passing by thought I was a crazy lady.  :)  Even though it was still hard to see the truck go, I'm glad I waited until now to do it.  It gave me more time to get used to the fact that Rob wasn't coming back and that the truck truly wasn't practical.  When I told Julia we had sold the truck and they were coming to get it that day, she said "I want to kiss it."  She went over to the truck, kissed it and said "Don't touch that spot."  Then I said to her "Daddy really liked that truck, didn't he?"  And this is what my 8 year old replied with: "Yes, he did.  But it was hard for you to drive it and now you can get a car that YOU want and is easier for you."  Bless her heart.  She never ceases to amaze me.  So, although our daily lives are healing slowly but surely, there are these bumps in the road that cause you to rip the bandage off.  The next couple of months, there will be lots of bandages getting ripped off.  Happy Birthday, Rob.  I know you are having the best birthday celebration!  WE LOVE YOU.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday Julia!

Yesterday was Julia's birthday.  It's so hard to believe my little girl is now 8.  I remember 8 years ago being in labor and having to go for an emergency c-section after 25 hours (with NO pain medication--yeah, don't know what I was thinking!).  I was completely out of it but mom later told me that Rob was so upset and scared seeing me in so much pain.  As they wheeled me to the c-section room, he told my mom that he never wanted to do this again.  Mom reassured him that once he held our little girl in our arms, it would all be worth it.  She was right.  One of our friends told me after Rob died that the day after Julia was born, they came to see us.  Rob was in the hallway and told them that he already loved being a dad.  And what a great dad he was!  This weekend we had a birthday party for Julia.  Our family came over and everyone had lots of fun.  Thank goodness for our trampoline because the kids were on there the whole time--Julia even opened her gifts on it!  lol  Then yesterday after school, we drove out to Osceola.  We stopped at the cemetary so Julia could release a balloon.  It's so surreal every time I go there.  I absolutely can't believe that Rob's spot is covered in grass and is no longer a large mound.  It makes me realize just how much time has passed.  He died 9 months ago today.  Crazy.  As Julia released her balloon, we watched it float high in the sky.  When we looked away for a second and looked back, we could no longer see it.  I asked Julia "Do you think Daddy grabbed it?"  "Yep" she said.  I, too, felt that he had.  On the way out of the cemetary, Julia said to me in the most innocent and excited voice "Wouldn't that have been cool if the balloon had carried us up there too?  Then when daddy got it, he would have said 'What a surprise!  I wasn't expecting you guys here!'  And then I would let go of the balloon and run to him yelling 'DADDY!!!!!' "   This hit me like a load of bricks.  I pictured how excited she would be if Rob were to miraculously come back to us.  It made me so sad.  But, then, it also reinstated the fact she knows she will see her daddy again someday.  I know Rob is looking down so proud of his little girl.  She is so smart and sweet.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School has started

I know it's been a long time since I last wrote.  The Yllescas girls have been really busy the last few weeks of summer!  I had a blast at my Mary Kay Seminar in Dallas.  It was great to be surrounded by positive, upbeat women-especially during our anniversary.  When I got back to Nebraska, Julia was busy getting ready for the fair.  Thanks to her grandmas' sewing, gardening, and craftiness, she was able to enter a dress, pinata, tomatoes, and a few other things.  Since she is in the younger age group, they did not get judged on their projects.  Instead, they all received participation ribbons.  Next year Julia will be moved up to the older kids category in which they will get judged.  I had to laugh because when she found that out, she said "Ohhhhh...I'm so nervous!"  Julia's first day of second grade was already last week!  She was so excited to go.  When I picked her up, I asked her how it was.  "Well, it wasn't my best first day ever."  I guess she had a headache all day and then wiped out on the playground and scraped her leg all up.  Poor thing.  But the next day was much better and she informed me that she thinks 2nd grade will be much more fun than 1st grade! :)  Julia has also started dance classes up again.  Eva has started talking a lot now.  I've even noticed her singing the ABC song!  Of course she doesn't sing the alphabets but she has the tune down. :)  I'm still working on getting my house sold in Texas.  That is such a big stress for me especially since I am here in Nebraska and can't keep my eye on it.  But, I have great friends in TX who are helping me out tremendously with this.  I'm also looking into trading in Rob's truck and my vehicle for an SUV.  I need something that will pull the boat but is more practical for me to drive.  It's going to be really hard to get rid of Rob's truck because that was his "baby" but I know he would understand.  It's just too hard for me to drive around a F250 King Ranch diesel truck!!!  So, as usual, we continue to be busy.  As life continues to move forward, my thoughts and memories of Rob stay constant.  I think of him often throughout the day and don't even realize it until I think back on the day.  He will always be in our hearts.  There's not a day goes by that I don't miss him terribly.  I find myself getting really sad/frustrated/angry when the small things happen.  For instance, my vehicle wouldn't start and I couldn't figure out why.  I know nothing about cars.  But Rob would have figured it out in a heartbeat.  When something in the house breaks, Rob would have known what to do.  Yes, I'm blessed to have my brothers and dad near, but it's not the same.  It's a very helpless and overwhelming feeling.  I'm getting better with asking for help because I know I just can't do everything on my own.  But, I'm getting better at doing things I used to hate to do like making phone calls to companies, going through mail, house maintenance, etc.  I'm used to doing things on my own since Rob had deployed so much.  But, I also LOVED giving back those duties when he returned.  So, I'm learning to let the little things go and prioritize in order to keep my sanity! :)  Things are getting better but every once in awhile that frustration will creep back in.  That's when I take a deep breath, say a prayer, and, if needed, ask for help.  I know I've said this alot, but I truly don't know what I would do without the support and help of my awesome family and friends!!!!!

The pictures are of me in front of the Mary Kay Corporate Office and sitting at Mary Kay Ash's actual desk (wearing her glasses) and of Julia's first day of 2nd grade.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The girls and I have been really busy the month of July.  Julia had a "kiddie college" that my mother in law enrolled her in all this week and she's also watching Eva for me.  As much as the break is nice, I really miss those little turkeys!  They keep my mind busy and fill my heart with joy.  Next week I leave for Dallas for a Mary Kay seminar.  I'm really looking forward to this for a couple of reasons.  It is an amazing thing to be a part of and I know it will really help me with my new adventures in Mary Kay.  But, I'm also extremely grateful to be going, especially next week, and to be surrounded by extremely upbeat, positive women.  Next Wednesday, July 29th, would have been Rob's and my 9th anniversary.  It's so hard to believe we would have been married that long.  Next year for our 10th anniversary, he was going to upgrade my wedding ring.  The things he did to get out of buying me diamonds!  :)  Seriously, though, when I think about my first anniversary without Rob, so many emotions go through me.  On that day, I can't even look up to heaven and say "Happy Anniversary" to him.  It's not happy.  So, I'm trying to figure out what exactly I can say.  I do know this though:  if I knew 9 years ago that this is how it would turn out, I, without a doubt, would still have married him.  Of course, I would have done things differently.  I would have cherished our time together more, laughed more, loved more, fought less, and hugged tighter.  But I will forever cherish the times we did spend together and the 2 beautiful girls we have.  So, thank you Rob for giving me a wonderful life with you.  Although it was cut extremely short, I am grateful for the time I had with you.  You made me a better person.  You loved life and your enthusiasm rubbed off on me.  I love you so much.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Wow. It's been a busy weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful and safe 4th of July. My mother in law took the girls for the weekend and I spent it with friends. We had a blast and, once again, feel so blessed to have such amazing people in my life. It's hard to believe that on July 3, Rob deployed for Afghanistan. If I'd only knew it would have been the last time he hugged and kissed us, I would have held on longer. Through this whole experience, I've learned to cherish the times with the ones that are important to you. You never know when your time with them can be cut short. Although Rob is gone, I still continue to feel his presence among us. Although, it was a tragedy to lose him, I'm recognizing God's blessings surrounding me. I've "slowed down to smell the roses". Even though my days are hectic, I cherish the time with my girls and know that all too quickly they will grow up. I cherish my family and friends and how much they love and support us. And I also reflect more on the meaning behind holidays such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the 4th of July. Our military men and women fought for our freedom, some making the ultimate sacrifice. It's easy to take that for granted until it smacks you right in the face. I'm proud to be an American and I'm so grateful that I live in the land of the free. I will never take that for granted because as I now know without a doubt: freedom isn't free.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Yesterday was another day of our many firsts without Rob. It was hard because I knew he would have been with us this Father's Day, just back from the deployment. It was also hard because my 2 little girls didn't have a daddy here to wish him a Happy Father's Day. However, since Julia is so young, I really don't think she even realized what yesterday was. I didn't bring it up and she was having fun playing with her cousins. We got together at my Aunt and Uncle's house for a BBQ. We were surrounded by family and friends and I can honestly say we got through the day easier than I had imagined. My brothers and my dad have stepped up to the plate as "Pseudo Dads" and they're doing a wonderful job! The girls adore their uncles and grandpa and I know this new role for them will prove crucial during the many years ahead (especially when it's time for them to start dating--yikes!!!). I'm so blessed to have such wonderful, caring men in my life who can honestly say they love my children like their own. I know I've said this many times before, but Rob was an AMAZING father! I was so blessed to have him be the father of my children. He truly loved spending time with them, wrestling, playing soccer, taking them out on the boat. It's sad that Eva did not get the opportunity to see what a truly wonderful father she had but I know she will never have a doubt because Julia was blessed with so many wonderful memories and will share these with her sister. Rob loved his little girls with all his heart and would have done absolutely anything for them. For being such a "manly man", his little girls had themselves wrapped around his finger and he had no problems showing anyone just how much he loved them. I'll never forget 2 years ago for Julia's birthday she got fingernail polish. The next morning I woke up to Julia painting daddy's fingernails pink and purple! He was sitting there patiently soaking up the daddy/julia time. I just had to get a picture of his beautiful nails. Being the good sport he was, he allowed me to do this with one condition: "At least let me hold a beer in my hand!" lol I'll never forget the day Eva was born. I was in the recovery room, and I looked over to where Rob was sitting and he was holding Eva, so tiny wrapped in her little blanket, and he was looking down at her. The love that showed in his eyes was one I will never forget. The other day I was going to chart Eva's 15 month appt in her baby book. When I opened up the book, the page I fell upon, was the one where he had written her a letter the day he deployed. It broke my heart to read, but I will forever be grateful for that letter. I could go on and on about all the wonderful things Rob did. My girls will always know the kind of father they had. He lives on through them and I feel joy when I look into my girls' eyes and see a part of their father in them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We finally have a chopper!

Well, my 16 month old FINALLY got her first tooth last week!  Julia was a late teether too but not this long.  Poor thing.  She's coughing, drooling, running nose, and diaper rash.  But, hopefully as it was with Julia, her teeth will pop up like popcorn and we can get this all over with quickly!  She's still such a sweet baby.  But ORNERY!  One day, in about a 5 min timeframe, she threw a pair of my tennis shoes in the bathtub full of water, unrolled a roll of toilet paper, and flushed the toilet about 10 times.  Oh, that little one keeps me busy.  I'm grateful for the distraction though.  It's going to be a long summer....Julia's already bored! lol  But, I'm trying to plan lots of trips and activities to keep her busy.  We're flying out to Ohio to spend time with my friend, Karen, and her kids for a week in June.  It's something that I will really need since it will be close to the time Rob was supposed to return.  I'm starting to have more of a social life which has been really nice for me.  As much as I love my children, I need to feel like I'm more than just a mom.  Again, my family has been wonderful and watching the girls so I can do this.  It's hard for me to make friends here since I'm used to the "forced" meetings in the military community, but slowly and surely, I'm making them.  At times I feel guilty for going out, but my family and friends have reassured me that it's just as good for the girls to get away every once in awhile with family as it is for me to.  Besides that, nothing else has really gone on except the same old, same old.  Routine is good. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The rollercoaster continues....

Six months ago today I had to let the love of my life go.  It seems like an eternity ago but I can still feel him so close to me.  I admit, most days are getting easier.  However, as the end of the deployment approaches, the more reality is setting in.  Before, I was able to trick my mind into thinking he was deployed.  But when the soldiers get off the bus and greet their families, mine won't be there.  I won't receive that hug.  Julia won't get to wrestle with daddy and Eva won't get to know the man that held her tiny body before he got on that bus to take him to the airport.  It's so bittersweet.  I'm very relieved the guys came home safe and are now able to reunite with their families.  But, my soldier didn't.  The only thing we have left are memories and the knowing that one day we will have our reunion.  There are so many new firsts that are facing the girls and I.  Some are empowering but most are scary.  I know Rob is walking beside us and guiding our way, I just wish he was physically here doing it.  The more I move forward, the more it feels like I'm letting go.  But, no matter what, Rob will always own a very special part of my heart.  I can see him through our children and feel so blessed every single day that he gave them to me.  Julia has his looks and Eva has his personality.   Pictures are so critical for Julia's memories and Eva's recognition of who her father was.  But pictures just don't do Rob justice.  He had a presence that filled a room.   He was a stern yet respected leader to his soldiers and a kind and loving father to his children.  One of my friends had a quote that I absolutely love: "Some heroes wear capes.  Mine wore combat boots."  Rob, you are my hero.  I love you so much and everything I do, I do so I can see you again in Heaven.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

Wow.  Memorial Day took on a whole new meaning for me this year.  I am so blessed to have amazing, supportive friends who came to Nebraska to spend Memorial Weekend with me.  When I turned 30, my friend Karen said that we needed to do something special for my 30th birthday sometime during this year.  I thought about it and decided that Memorial Weekend would be a great time.  Not only could we have a 30th birthday bash but I would also have my military friends by my side for what I knew would be a very emotional day.  Those who flew arrived Thursday and the others drove in Friday.  Friday evening we got a limo and went to a local winery in Lincoln.  It was an absolute blast!  Saturday we went to a club and Sunday we went to the movies and then came back to my house and played Charades.  I don't think I have laughed so hard in ages!  My trampoline was also a popular favorite.  :)  Monday we drove to Osceola for the Memorial Service held at the cemetary.  It was a beautiful ceremony.  My friend Kim took some amazing photos.  Thank you, Kim!  Rob's grave was decorated so beautifully with all sorts of red, white, and blue.  It was a very overwhelming feeling knowing my husband was one of those being REMEMBERED.  However, it really makes you take a step back and realize what a significant part Rob and all the other military who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice have played in the fight to keep our America free.  Rob told me once that he joined the military and went to war so that our children  would never have to.  Once again, pride filled my heart.  Thank you to those who have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice and thank you to those who continue to serve.  Without them, we could be living in a much different country.  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today I went back to Osceola to visit my parents.  As I always do, I went up to the cemetary to visit Rob alone.  As I was sitting there next to him, I couldn't help but think: "This is so messed up that I'm visiting my husband in a cemetary."  I see this dirt mound with 10 American flags sticking out all over it and have a hard time picturing my Rob laying there.  This is the continuing ride on the emotional roller coaster.  I'll be having a good day and then something will trigger my sadness and I'll breakdown--if only for a few moments.  The other day I was going through Julia's school bag.  In it I found a card she had written and drawn.  It said "To daddy.  From Julia."  On it she drew a picture of the four of us.  She then wrote "I miss you.  I love you."  I found another picture she had drawn.  In the middle was a big cross.  On the cross she wrote "We love God!"  Then she drew pictures of birds and grass.  On the top there were 2 people.  One was labeled "God" and the other "Daddy".  Bless her heart.  I find comfort in knowing she is expressing herself through drawing.  Later that day, I was going through Eva's toy box.  At the bottom, I found the daddy doll.  This is a doll we had made for the girls before Rob deployed.  It is a small pillow with Rob's head to toe photo on it.  I took it out and gave it to Eva.  She grabbed it and kissed it.  When she did that, I broke down in tears.  Well, Eva thought this was hilarious seeing mommy crying like that and started laughing at me!  What a way to cheer mommy up!  Little turkey.  I know that life as I knew it before Rob died will never be the same.  He will always be a part of me just not in the physical form.  Mother's day this year has so much more meaning to me.  The last gift I ever received from Rob was a hammock he bought me for Mother's Day last year.  He knew how much I wanted one, so he went out and bought me one, hung it on the tree, and surprised me by having me come out and see it.  I was so happy.  I'm anxious to get that put up at my new house.  I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful mom and mother in law.  I thank God everyday for them.  When times are tough, I know I always have them loving and supporting me.  My mother in law has been so supportive and has helped me with the girls SO much!!  My mom has comforted me on those rough days and been by my side every single day.  If I can be half the mom my mom is, I would be thrilled.  So, thank you Barb for loving me like one of your own daughters.  And thank you Mom for giving me the strength and encouragement to get through this so I can be the best mom I can be for my girls.  Happy Mother's Day to the best moms in the world!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I just wanted to let everyone know that I didn't renew my PO Box in Osceola.  If you need my address, please email me and I will get it to you.  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

6 Months ago today.....

It's hard to believe that today it has been 6 months since we got the news that would change our lives forever.  "Your husband, Captain Rob Yllescas of 6-4 Cav, Bravo Troop has been injured in Afghanistan."  I can remember that day in vivid detail.  It seems like yesterday.  Yet, it seems like years ago.  When I really stop and think about everything that's happened in the last 6 months, it almost takes my breath away.  I'm proud to say that the girls and I are moving forward.  We've started building our lives without Rob.  Not that there aren't days that it doesn't hurt.  The emotional roller coaster continues.  But, through our faith, family, and friends we're getting through it.  When there are days I'm feeling sorry for myself, I remember the promise I made to Rob before we took him off life support:  the girls and I would be ok.  As badly as I wanted it, Rob and my's destiny was not to grow old together.  In time, I may figure out why God's plan was this for us.  I've thought a lot about Rob's death at such a young age.  I truly believe that some people just know they aren't going to be here for long.  I feel Rob was one of these people.  I just get blown away every time I think about how much he truly LIVED in his short 31 years.  I'm truly blessed to have had him in my life for the 10 years I did.  I'm honored that he chose me to be his wife.  I will keep my promise to him because he would want nothing less.  I can hear him say his favorite saying:  "Suck it up and drive on."  Rob, thank you for being my rock even as one of God's angels.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pictures of Easter

Here are some pictures of Easter.  Enjoy....

Lots happening!

Wow.  We've had a lot going on the past week.  Last Wednesday, the girls and I attended a Proclamation at the State Capitol to recognize the month of April as Military Child Month in Nebraska.  Well, Julia was surprised when a limo came to our house to pick us up and take us to the Capitol!  She has always wanted to ride in a limo so the American Legion riders made this happen for her.  I had to laugh to myself when I was in the limo.  Never did I think I would be riding in a limo with 2 children in carseats!  When we arrived at the Capitol, the American Legion Riders were waiting for us and lined up on the sidewalk as we walked into the building.  After the proclamation, we got back into the limo and headed to Chuck E Cheese with the Riders escorting us!  Since my mom and sister in law had never been in a limo, they and my niece joined us for the ride.  The little girls were so excited all the way there.  Once we arrived at Chuck E Cheeses, the Riders were waiting for us and Chuck E himself came out and greeted the girls as they got out of the limo.  They then presented us with giftcards, stuffed bunnies and food and tokens for Chuck E's.  It was an absolutely amazing day that will never be forgotten.  Julia had an extra bounce her in step the rest of the day.  People are so kind.  They have been more generous to the girls and I than I ever would have expected or imagined!!!  Here is a link to the article that was written about that day in the Lincoln Journal Star:

Then we had a nice Easter Weekend at my parents' house.  Saturday we decorated Easter eggs.  Of course Julia had a blast and Eva tried to be quick and "decorate" herself!!  Sunday we had a small gathering which was perfect and of course the annual Gissler Easter Egg hunt.  We did have a moment when Julia was upset that she didn't find the "Golden Egg".  I feel bad because I didn't catch on, but it was later discovered that Julia was sad because her dad should have been here to help her find the egg.  Bless her heart.  Holidays are hard.  Baby steps, right......

Yesterday was an extremely emotional day for me.  I attended a funeral in Kansas for the infant daughter of our good friends.  This was not unexpected, but it still doesn't make it any easier.  Again, the question "why" always comes to mind but you just have to have Faith.  This was the first funeral I attended since Rob's.  It was extremely hard but there is no way I wouldn't be there.  These friends have been amazing to me and were extremely close to Rob and I.  It seems like so much sadness has happened to our small circle of friends.  We have a bond that will never be separated.  I have absolutely no doubt that Rob is cradling baby Emma in his arms right now and will watch over her until her parents meet her again.  Please keep them in your prayers.  My heart aches for them because I literally know the emotional rollercoaster ride they are on.  

Monday, April 6, 2009

Staying busy

Well, we've been staying busy with the normal routines of life and keeping up a new house.  Last weekend, I went back to my hometown to play in the alumni volleyball game.  I was extremely nervous about this since I haven't played in 13 years!  Surprisingly, it wasn't has bad as I was imagining and we even tied for 2nd!!  (I won't mention there were only 4 teams....).  Anyways, it was great to see old classmates and friends I hadn't seen in awhile.  While we were there, grandpa got the jeep going for the girls.  Both Eva and Julia LOVE to be outside.  Eva could literally be turning blue and she'd come inside kicking and screaming!  When she first got in the jeep with Julia, I thought she was crying.  Oh, no, she was actually BELLY LAUGHING!!  She had a ball!  So, we brought the jeep back to our house and we've gone on "walks" with Julia as the driver.  I'll be glad when the weather decides to warm up enough so we can finally get the swingset and trampoline set up.  I know we will be outside almost all day when the weather turns nice.   After Rob passed away, my brother's work gave us a bunch of gift cards.  One of the giftcards was to an indoor play park called Lost In Fun.  So, this past Sunday, the girls, my nieces, and nephew all went there and they had a blast!!  Eva walked around thinking she was so big playing with all the toys and Julia was running around with her cousins playing on EVERYTHING!!  Nothing like getting all the energy out of the kiddos so they have a long restful night of sleep! :)  Also, I thought this is so funny:  Rob was very into cleaning.  In fact, he cleaned more toilets and mopped more floors than I ever did!  Well, one of Julia's favorite toys she got for christmas one year was a toy vacuum cleaner. Oh, I've been blessed twiced... I've discovered I've got another little merry maid on my hands!  I'm not complaining....the more help the BETTER!!!!!   

Friday, March 27, 2009

Finally pictures of the house

Here are a few pictures of the house and the floors we did.  I couldn't get a good pic of Julia's cute polka-dot room so I'll have to sent that another time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I know a lot of you are anxious to see some photos of the place.  I haven't forgotten about you but my camera has seemed to have grown legs and walked off.  As soon as I locate it and have some time to take pics, I'll share a few!! :)  We're getting settled little by little.  The realities of life continue to slowly sink in.  I miss Rob so much.  You don't realize how much you take someone for granted until they're gone.  Rob was such an amazing father and husband.  He helped with the house and kids so much.  It's very overwhelming doing the every day things on your own.  When Rob was deployed all those times, I was able to do them because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I was also able to ask him questions and get his advice.  Now, I feel like I'm blindly walking through life praying I do the right things.  As strange as this may seem, I can hear Rob talk to me.  Whether it's me saying the things that Rob would say to me, or him actually saying them to me, I still find comfort in it.  There have been several times when I didn't know where something was at or how to do something when I would "hear" him and then I would find the thing or figure out how to do it.  It's super crazy but I feel we are that connected.  I cling to our memories and cherish the time we spent.  I point out daddy to Eva in pictures and she says "dada".  She will grow up knowing what an amazing daddy she and Julia had.  Julia's doing great.  We have our moments where she likes to "test" me, but for the most part, she's a great help and most definetly a wonderful big sister.  It's hard not being part of the military anymore.  When you move to new places, the military "forced" you to meet new people through coffees and other gatherings.  Being new here, it's hard for me to get out and meet people.  In honesty, I'm too exhausted to even think about meeting people.  I'm still consumed in paperwork and being the "all in one" parent takes a lot out of you.  But, in time, things will get better.  I'm blessed to have the support I do and could not ask for better friends and family.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Making a home

As I'm sure you can all guess by the lack of me writing recently, I've gotten moved into our new house.  We finished the wood floors Wednesday evening just in time for the movers to come the next morning!  We didn't think we'd get it done, but I was very determined, and by golly, we did! :)  Anyways, you really forget just how much stuff you have in your place until the movers keep taking it off the truck.  Just when I thought I had everything in it's place, my parents would come over with a bunch more things that I accumulated at their house.  So, I'd find a place for those, take a sigh of relief, and then wouldn't you know it, my brothers would come with a bunch of things I had left at their houses!!!!  But, amazingly enough with a lot of help from my family and friends (and staying up VERY late nights!!), 10 days after the movers arrived, I've gotten everything (I think!!) in it's place, curtains up, accessories bought, pictures on the wall,  and able to fully live in it without tripping over boxes.  The only place that we still have to do is the garage.  Rob always did that and besides a screwdriver and a few other tools, I don't know what 90% of his garage things do (and he has a LOT of them).  So, my dad is going to do that part and show me where to find things.  Of course, there are a few rooms that I still need to "perfect" but I can't do everything now because then I can keep my mind busy doing them on other days.  I didn't go through Rob's things yet.  They're in their own boxes in a store room.  I need to give that time.  Although I feel like this house is finally feeling like a home, there's still a HUGE void in it.  I know he's gone but when I see him in pictures, it makes it feel like he's still alive.   Of course I want pictures up of my husband and the girls' daddy up, but they also make me sad.  I hope in time, that feeling lessens.  On another note, Eva finally decided to start walking!!!  She's been taking a few steps here and there for several weeks, but now she's walking around more and more.  It's so cute watching her because she looks like a drunken sailor! :)  I continue to thank God for my girls.  They definetly keep me busy and with all the firsts they will be doing, it helps keep my mind off of things.  Well, I'm really tired and so I'll end here.  I'll try to write again soon (especially now that I finally have internet at my home!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I must be CRAZY!!!

I am SO EXHAUSTED!!!  I wanted to give a quick update since it's been a while since I last wrote....  My trip to TX went well.  My dad and I rode down in his truck and my brothers took my truck and followed us.  We arrived Saturday evening.  On Sunday we were busy taking down the swingset, Julia's loft bed, and putting the wheels back on the boat trailer among other things.  Monday morning, my brothers headed back up to NE pulling the boat behind them.  The packers arrived soon after.  My dad and I decided to get a hotel since there wasn't much left to sleep on.  I enjoyed my "extra" time in the evenings spending time with my TX girlfriends.  On Wednesday, the movers arrived and loaded up all the boxes and furniture.  Once they left, dad, and my friends Paige and Ali helped me clean the house.  Dad then went back to the hotel which allowed Paige, Ali and I to have one last "hoorah" at my home.  It was SO hard leaving it.  It's always hard leaving a home, but this one was especially hard to leave.  But, as we left for NE early Thursday morning, I was able to close that chapter and start another one.  We arrived in NE late Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, I had pulled up the carpet in the main floor.  Saturday my dad, brother, sister in law and I started laying hard wood floors in the dining/front room, living room, and kitchen (somehow among this I also managed to paint Julia's room).  I have been working from 8:30 in the morning to about 9 pm with my dad and my brothers and sister in laws have been coming over after work to help.  By Sunday evening I was wondering what the heck I was thinking starting this project!!!!  Laying floors is definetly hard labor and there are parts on my body that I didn't even know could hurt!!  But, things are coming together and we may actually get done tomorrow evening just in time for my house hold goods to arrive on Thursday!  My garage is filled with carpet, vinyl, and flooring boxes so I am going to have to take those to the dump to make room for our boxes from TX.  And boy does doing flooring make the house dusty (and messy)!  In the end, I will be SO GLAD I did the floors now before my furniture arrived.  Rob and I have laid floors before in our house in KS and he didn't mess around.  He wanted them done YESTERDAY.  So, I've been called (kiddingly, I think) a slave driver by my dad and brothers, but hey we're getting it done! :)  I'm sure Rob's had a few laughs at us during this project but I also know he's pretty impressed at his girl laying the floors like an old pro! :)  Anyways, I'm exhausted and I have another long day tomorrow.  Maybe one day this chaos will end and I will finally be able to relax....

Friday, February 20, 2009

We finally have our OWN house in Nebraska!!

Well, Tuesday I closed on my house in Nebraska.  It went smooth and I felt rather proud of myself for being able to buy a house on my own.  However, saying that, this milestone is also very bittersweet.  I'm very nervous about owning a house all by myself.  Granted, I'm extremely lucky to have an awesome father and brothers, but it's still nerve wracking!  I just wish Rob was living with us.  There are so many things I want to ask his opinion about and I find myself arranging the house by how I know he would have liked it.  My dad, my brothers, and I are leaving early in the morning to go to TX.  The packers and movers will be at the house there Mon-Wed and my brothers are driving my boat back for me.  Obviously, I'm anxious to have our things back and put into our new house, but I'm absolutely dreading the house in TX becoming empty.  I loved that house and Rob and I had it built together.  It would have been one thing if we were moving somewhere else the Army took us but it's so much HARDER leaving it without Rob.  That being said, I think it will help me move forward by getting settled in a new house.  I have lots of projects planned to keep me busy.  The movers are delivering our things on the 5th of March so between when we get back from TX and the 5th, my dad and I are putting hard wood floors on the main level of the house.  Plus, I also have to get Julia's room painted!  Both of those things are much easier to do BEFORE the furniture arrive!!  In my whole adult life I've never lived in a house longer than 2 years so I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to do several "projects" and rearranging in the years to come to make it feel "new" again! On a different note, Julia and I attending another Charlie Brown's group last night.  Julia usually isn't too eager to go but I still have her go because I feel in the end, it will be very beneficial to her.  Last night they started talking about the grief process and this will take several of the days to cover.  Well, when we were done, Julia said to me "Mommy, we can't miss for 2 weeks because we're talking about our feelings.  Feelings that we think are bad, like anger, really aren't bad if you learn how to use it in a good way!"  I was so happy that she was excited about this.  I can see she is listening and getting things out of it.  Plus I think it helped because last night there were several girls her age in her group.  So, little by little, minute by minute, we'll continue to figure out how to get through life without Rob and daddy.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rob's Oil Painting

Here is the oil painting I was telling you about.  I know many of you wanted to see a picture of it.  I've also included the actual photograph the artist used for the painting.  Now you can understand what I meant when I said I was floored!  He did an absolutely amazing job.  Project Compassion is a wonderful foundation.  Their work means so much to people like myself.  It is something that will always be cherished.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All Partied Out!

Whew!  It's been a busy week for us.  The day after Eva's birthday, was my niece Megan's 4th birthday.  My brother and sister in law decided to wait to do her birthday party until the following weekend, but on her birthday we went to Chuck E Cheese's.  Of course, every child LOVES Chuck E Cheese's, but I was SHOCKED at how much Eva liked it!  I put her on one of the rides and couldn't get her off of it!  She would cry and cling to it every time I would try to take her off of it.  It made me laugh.  There's one ride that when you're on it, it takes a picture of you.  Well, I think I have about 6 pictures of Eva on that ride because she was always on it.  :)  Julia also amazed me at how many tickets she won from the different games she played.  Before, Rob would always have to help her because, of course, Julia would always want to buy some big gift with the small amount of tickets she won and came out with a pencil!!  So, Rob bless his heart, would play and play just so Julia could come out of there with at least a pencil and a lip gloss or something!  Well, that night, she was loaded with tickets and left with several little things that she was really happy with.  She just knew that her daddy would have been so proud of her.   I know he would have been, too!  Then later that week, Julia and Eva both went to the doctor.  First of all, their doctor is an hour away, but that's a whole other issue I have with Tricare (the military medical insurance) right now and won't even get into that right now!!  Anyways, Eva had her one year check up.  She weighs 20lbs 11oz and is 28 1/2in long!  She also had to get her shots (which always break my heart) but she took them like a trooper and after only crying for a minute, was on to bigger and better things.  They said she is right on par with her development and even a little advanced with her comprehension.  Julia's been having stomach problems ever since Rob deployed.  We had her seen while we were in TX and again this time and both can't find anything wrong and feel it is stressed reduced.  Bless her heart.  I bought her some kid's Tums and she says those help her alot.  Later that day, I went and bought Eva her "big girl" carseat.  She looks so little in it but she thinks she is big stuff when she rides in it.  She loves the new "view" from the front!  Then on Saturday, we had Megan's birthday party.  Before the party, I went shopping with my mom and found material for curtains in my new bedroom that she is going to make.  Then we went to the mall and there is an indoor carausol that Megan and Julia wanted to ride (and of course Eva).  So, I got volunteered to go with them.  And boy, I can tell that I'm getting old because the girls LOVED it and I left that thing feeling so sick!!  I definetly don't think I could go on a roller coaster anymore!  Then we all took the girls to the party.  Eva discovered how to blow on one of those party blowers.  It was so funny watching such a little thing be able to do that!  Those are hard to do!  Every time she would do it, we would all laugh because you couldn't help not too.  Then that night we went back to my parents in Osceola.  The next day we went to my great-aunt's 80th birthday party.  It was so nice seeing people I hadn't seen in awhile.  Then AFTER THAT (whew!), we went to my cousin's house for her daughter's one year birthday party.  Of course, Eva went crazy when she saw Amarae's birthday cake and thought she should be able to squish her hands in the cake too!  So, as you can see, we have been REALLY busy!  On top of all that, I'm still doing my usual paperwork and getting ready to close on my house in exactly ONE WEEK!!  I'm so excited.  I'll be going down to TX the 21st with my dad and brothers.  They are going to help bring back my boat and some other things and then I'll stay a few more days with my dad while the packers and movers are there.  Unfortunately, the movers won't deliver our things to our house in Ne until March 5th, but after thinking about it, that will be ok since I can get things done (like putting cabinet locks on ALL my cabinets since Miss Eva loves to rearrange things in the cabinets several times a day & do a little bit of painting).  It will be nice to finally be moved in, though, because by the time we get our things, it will have been over 4 months since we had them.  That's so hard to believe.  Also, after Rob died, I received a note from something called "Project Compassion".  They said they would make an oil painting of Rob for free.  I sent in the pictures and when I was at my parents' house, the painting had arrived.  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  I can't believe someone can be that talented.  It looks exactly like Rob.  It's 16x24.  It is something that the girls and I will always cherish.  Thank you, Project Compassion.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Eva Grace!!!

I made a whirlwind trip to Texas this past week.  I needed to bring my car back so I flew down to Tx.  I was able to see one of my friend's husband who was home on R&R.  Then I did a bunch of things with the house to get it ready for the movers.  I took all the pictures off the wall and patched up all the nail holes.  The office was the hardest to do since all the pictures that were hanging, Rob had put up.  I saved it for last and took pictures of the entire room so I would always remember it.  I have to say that this trip to the house was a lot harder than when I went down for the memorial service.  I was by myself this time and the silence was deafening.  I absolutely love my house but I couldn't stand to be alone in it.  My friend Ali then drove with me back to Nebraska.  Ali and I went to see Rob at the cemetary.  I had bought a little Willow Tree figurine that was a little girl holding a balloon saying "birthday girl"  and a pink rose that I put on his grave.  Ali bought a yellow rose and guardian angel pin from the guys and also layed it next to him.  I cannot believe my little baby is now one year old!  It's so bittersweet.  Rob was supposed to be here for her birthday.  This morning when we woke up, my parents, Julia and I all told Eva happy birthday.  Eva then said "da-da".  Julia said "Don't worry.  Daddy will be there.  He'll see you at your party."  That little girl never ceases to amaze me!!  We had a great time with family and friends.  Eva was a hoot with her cake thoroughly enjoying all the delicious sweetness! :)  So much has happened this past year but it still seems she should NOT be one!!!  Time truly does fly.  She is more fun every single day and I can't help but feel blessed that my two girls are in my life!!!!