20 July 2015


Yesterday was Father’s Day. (That’s a lie. It has taken me so long to write this; it is now July.) What better time to write a little story about my own daddy, who rarely gets called Daddy by me anymore - only Grandpa!

The very first car my daddy ever drove was a Ford Fairlane 500. The temperature gauge was broken, the radiator hose busted, and then the engine seized going over Holland Creek on Highway 90. Obviously, this is not how you want your drive to go. It had to be towed to the Ford dealership in Navasota. The professionals deemed it too far gone, so it was time to find alternate transportation. So where did he land? In the driver’s seat of a 1967 pink, two-doored Ford Mustang with black interior.

Please don’t let the word PINK get lost in the middle of that last paragraph. If everything else is forgotten, just remember the pink.

Think that was a character-building time in his life? I’m guessing yes.


These days, we spend too much time in our vehicle talking on cell phones and listening to text messages ding. No phones in the car back then. I often wish that we didn’t have this option now; save me from myself, and all that jazz.

When Katie was smaller, one of her favorite things to do as we sat waiting in the truck or eating at Sonic was to stand or sit in her daddy’s lap and pretend to drive with the steering wheel.

There were no babies steering the wheel in that pink car, and I bet Daddy had no idea that he’d have two one day. Two girls, I might add.


One of my favorite things in the world – but don’t tell Brady – is to watch him bring home all manner of animal for Katie to see…ponies, horses, kittens, puppies, dogs, and even pigs. I’m sure I’ve left something out.

Katie has always gotten so excited over riding everything and petting everything and especially getting to feed the animals. I can’t wait to see how Beau responds when he’s old enough to really understand what’s going on with the animals.

I huff and puff and get completely exasperated; it’s just part of the game now.


Okay, end of the Katie Commercial Break. Back to Daddy and that car. I hear my mama often say that she wishes he’d have kept it. My sister and I have also lamented from time to time that he didn’t keep it, because how cute would we be driving around in a pink Mustang?

When you’re living your life from day to day, it’s hard to know what you’ll regret later. Selling something, skipping a vacation, turning down an invitation, taking the safer route….

I’m sure when he got rid of it, it was the thing to do. As my brother-in-law says, you can only do the best you can with the information you have in that moment. I hope Grandpa doesn’t regret selling it. After all, car or no car, it’s one of our favorite stories to hear and tell.

I don’t feel I’ve really done this story justice, but I wanted to get it down for keeps. I’ll sign off now with a mental image of my daddy driving a light pink Mustang through Anderson with really long, light red sideburns and a big smile.

23 April 2015

Her Move

Exactly five years ago yesterday, April 16th, Brady and I saw Katie move for the first time. Not in the hospital, but in my belly.

I’m not really sure why I ever wrote it down in my calendar, but I did, and now I transfer it over every year. It’s something I just can’t let go. I was lying on the couch – if you can really call it a couch – in the pied-a-terre. I was watching T.V. after work (Man, what was THAT like?!), and something caught my eye.

It was my own five-month-belly.


I called for Brady to come and look, and after a little gentle prodding, the baby started moving again. Back then, we had no idea if we were dealing with a boy or a girl.

Here she is in her second year:

sporting her new Aggie cap from a Sunday afternoon shopping trip,

riding Carlotta with Daddy,

being thoroughly impressed with the big rig that moved Uncle Willy and Aunt Lesley’s house all the way to Old Washington,

and using her foot as a phone.

I wonder who she was talking to in the back seat of the dodge there….

I remember that trip very vividly. The three of us were going to pick up a horse somewhere on the other side of Plantersville, but there was some big bike race going on at the time, so we got held up in standstill traffic for around two hours.

She did great, though. We talked and laughed and talked into our feet, apparently, and we made up a song about the barn cat, Charlie, that had a mustache, just like Daddy’s.

Katie has continued this streak of being a good traveler. This afternoon, she’s riding with Brady as he hauls feed, prepares for a big hay delivery, and shuttles two giant loads of cows from the sale barn to the pens. She’ll have her pink camo backpack with her, filled with fruit snacks, raisins, water bottles, sunglasses, and things to “do.”

She’ll come home happy and dirty and full of stories and happy. And that will make her mama happy.

30 March 2015


I guess let’s just go ahead and get this over with. This is going to sting a little for me, but I suppose it’s best to write about it now, before I completely forget all the details. Although maybe that’s not really possible.

Pets. Whoever invented this whole concept should be made to wash tile floors by hand with a toothbrush after a herd of 1st graders come in from playing in the mud next to a litter of mangy puppies. Every day. For 100 years.


Growing up, we had a couple of cats. One named Kit, the other named Kat. Then, one perished. That’s country life. It’s survival of the least fat out here. When the one perished, we renamed the other Kit-Kat. We had Kit-Kat for a very long time, and I remember always wanting to bring him inside, but the parents said no. He was an outside cat, erego, OUTSIDE.

We’d come home to find mice left on our doorstep from his hunts, and once, we even came home to find him batting a mouse head around. Boy was he smug.

Take that, Humans.

And since we just finished discussing a severed rat head and all the filth that implies, now would be a good time to mention the time that I snuck Kit-Kat in the house, in my arms. I’m not really sure where Mama was. The bathroom? The tub? (Now that I have kids, I can safely say maybe she was comatose in her walk-in closet.) I carried Kit-Kat in my arms all the way into my parents’ dressing room. I distinctly remember thinking that was the farthest I could walk with him in the house – except for maybe all the way into that walk-in closet. I stood there looking in the big wall mirror – the kind people put frames around now, because they are so severely outdated – with him in my arms. It was the weirdest feeling, standing there on carpet with a cat in the house. I felt like I was shaking hands with danger.

And then, goody-goody that I was, I quickly got him back outside.

Eventually, he got sick. Daddy took him to the vet. It was a Saturday morning. I was still in bed, sleeping like a lazy teenager. Then, Daddy came back home.

Without the cat.

I remember the drop in my stomach. Someone sitting on the edge of my bed, telling me Kit-Kat didn’t come back home. Tears because I didn’t get to say good-bye. Being mad at my daddy. The sunlight coming in the double window with the sheer green curtains hanging right under the sill.

He is the best Daddy. But The Pool of Emotions is not one he swims in.


I was pretty much done with felines at that point, but then my ex-boyfriend (Sorry to scald the page with that, Brady Love.) brought me a cat as a gift. A fully-white cat named Angel. Angel started out in the house as a kitten but was eventually moved outside, because CLAWS. And my parents are full-blooded country stock, and the only animals that belong inside of the house where you live are the ones that are actually out in the barn and not in the house at all.

Angel was so easy to spot outside. Initially, I assumed he was a girl, hence the very feminine “Angel,” but time proved me wrong, and how did I get an A in Biology? Anyway…he shone like a sun burst or a bomb going off outside in the sun. You had to avert your eyes from all the scorching white shine.

How apropos. Me – with skin whiter than the belly of a hard-boiled egg – hooked up with an albino cat. Huh.

Eventually, Angel either ran away or was abducted by Hollywood. We never found out. I even put signs up, just like in a T.V. sitcom. Nothing ever came of it, and then it was time to move out, college-bound.


Fast forward to shortly after graduation, 2001. I was dating the cowboy fireman (#studmuffin), and we were out in Piedmont for the day, helping his great uncle, Dwight. As we repaired some fence in the half rain behind the dairy barn, we heard whimpering and mewing. And then we found the most pitiful pile of kittens, half-drowned in the tall grass, without their mama. We put them in a brown paper grocery bag and took them home to my apartment. We spent several days nursing them back to health the best we could, but only one survived. Another mostly white cat.


He was small and tiny and puny, but it didn’t take him long to rebound and become the biggest feline I’d ever been around.

We bought a litter box and a food and water dish for him, and that was it: I had my first indoor cat. I was excited at the novelty of it. I hadn’t yet been baptized into litter and scooping and hair balls and spraying and neutering and de-clawing and oh my word the maintenance and the new budget line item called: LINT ROLLERS.

I had lint rollers in my bathroom, in my dresser, in my closet, by the front door, in my car console, and in my desk drawer. And still. Still, I looked like I’d dressed in pelts before breakfast.

But I loved that cat. I loved watching him chase goldfish in the bathtub that Brady bought strictly for his entertainment – please don’t call CPS. Or Pita. PETA? PetSmart? The animal-lovers.

He played on the circular staircase in that apartment and became best friends with the second kitten Brady brought me, Penelope Sue, which his baby brother trapped in a toolbox at their house. He lay on my head on the pillow with me all night. He lay on the bathroom counter while I took baths and showers. He lounged all over my lap and always tried to lick my armpits. (Don’t ask.)

He purred incessantly. He came like a puppy when you called him. He ate three times his weight every day. He yowled constantly if he felt he wasn’t getting enough attention. Or food.

Then, he moved to the house in Navasota with me and made himself at home in the new leather couch. He covered every pillow and sham and blanket in layers of cat hair, and I decided I’d never have carpet in a house, just so that his cat hair would be easier to clean up.

Now I wish I had carpet in my bedrooms.

Then, he moved with us into the pied-a-terre in Piedmont. We made concessions and more concessions to make sure he and Penelope were comfortable in the space. We always made the moves as easy for them as possible.

I loved him.

Then, he moved out to our current place with us. The house where we’ll be forever. The house that our babies will come back to and know as HOME.

The evening we were due to leave for the hospital to be induced with Katie, Sugar decided to make a trip through her nursery. While in there, he peed all in her crib and all over the wall behind it.

To be fair, we’d only been in the house for two days at that point, and he wasn’t adjusted, and all of her stuff was brand new. He’d never been around any of it before. He was exploring and protecting and marking territory.


I was two weeks past due and 25 minutes from leaving for the hospital to have my first child, and I wasn’t done putting my make-up on, and now I had to clean and sanitize her room and crib and linens. I think I just sat there crying while Brady did all of the cleaning up.

Needless to say, Sugar and Penelope were relegated to the back screened porch that night forevermore.


As I crawled out of my post baby blues, I learned that he was becoming increasingly hard to keep on the back porch. He kept sneaking out into the backyard to sun in the grass. He was going back to his dairy barn roots, I guess.

So we stopped fighting him and let him out.


As Katie grew and spent more time outside, she loved following Sugar around and spotting him around the house and in the yard and in the barns and down the driveway. It was a game for us as we meandered and let her practice walking. Then, one day: “Brady, have you seen Sugar today?”

“No, I haven’t.”

Days passed. Brady searched the barns and the pastures and the creeks and the woods.


I didn’t put up any posters this time. I just sat on the back concrete steps and cried after bedtime in the dark. Beating myself up for not taking better care of him when the baby came. For not keeping better tabs on him every day. For us not getting into the house sooner, so that he could adapt better.

He had the softest fur. Everyone commented on it. He felt like a lucky rabbit’s foot. He liked to touch noses with you.

At first, Katie would ask in her baby voice: “Where is Suga?”

“He’s in Heaven, baby.”

So I sat on the back steps and cried and cried and felt so very, very bad. And then I got up and went inside to make sure I was around to hear if the baby cried.

And I still love him.

28 March 2015

You're Never Going to Believe It

There’s nothing quite like a happy, excited, sweaty short person. I stopped by my in-laws’ house the other evening to drop off a book. When I pulled into the driveway, I saw Brady and Katie loading up a round bale. They pulled around and met me, and Katie practically flew out of the backseat and nearly crawled my legs. Which is a feat, because her four–year-old self is long and lean and right over half my height! She was so excited to see me and to ride home with me. We walked in the house to drop off the book, and her excitement peaked again at the thought of telling her grandmother all about what she’d done with Daddy that very afternoon.

“Grandmother, do I have a surprise for you! You’re never going to believe it!”

Of course, this is where she got slowed down by her boots; the boots that refused to come off her feet. All by herself, she was at the door deciding to take them off before coming further in the house, because, as she told her grandmother: I’ve been doing cow work!

How precious is that?

She finally freed her feet and told her grandmother all about how she got to DRIVE THE GATOR when feeding with Daddy. She couldn’t lean forward any farther while talking, and her face was close to bursting open. She explained how the gator got stuck in the mud, so Daddy had to push it, so guess who got to DRIVE?!

This. This is why the fire academy. This is why a firefighter. This time with them. This is how and when they will learn the important stuff.


How many days did she spend emptying every drawer and cabinet in the kitchen to set up everything her imagination could come up with?

How fast did she manage to empty the entire box of Q-tips on the bathroom floor, just so she could build pens with them?

How sweet was it seeing her in the party veil I wore at my bachelorette party, against my will?

How fast was I with the dish cloth as she crunched those Gerber snacks all over the rug?

How loud did I laugh when she insisted on wearing these all through supper?


The other night, she said that I was her favorite person in the whole world.

The feeling is mutual.

01 March 2015

Getting Knocked Down & Back Up Again

Some of the best advice I ever got: There’s no such thing as a good day or a bad day. There are only good moments and bad moments.

It’s taken me two kids to really fully digest that, and I think it’s so true. It also saves my hide on the regular. Just think: you’re having a great day with your short people, and then something happens. Either one gets in trouble or someone falls and starts crying or Mama loses her patience or temper and doesn’t respond properly, and BOOM. Bad DAY. But if you look at it all as MOMENTS, then that was just one little bad moment, and you can go on to reap a million more good moments before the next bad moment.

Because the next bad moment will come. You may as well go ahead and count on that.

One minute, I’m winning as a house frau. I’ve put in a full day at work, quickly done the grocery shopping, put a supper on the table cluttered with Crayons and Strawberry Shortcake dollars that everyone is excited about, done a little kitchen dancing and singing, bathed everyone – with bubbles! – and then the baby wants me to stand and rock him to sleep instead of in the recliner, and it’s suddenly all crashing down faster than this toilet paper tower.

Why? Well, because I wanted things one way, and he wanted things another, and just maybe my hormones have kidnapped the rational side of my brain, and so here we’re having a bad moment. A dumb one, even.

But we come back stronger. Do we have a choice?

We had so many good moments yesterday. Like listening to Katie ask me to read National Geographic to her before work, so we could holler “Cuscus!” together and laugh real hard. And Beau waking up happy and sweaty. And both kids wallerin’ in the bed with their daddy while I finished packing my bags for work…where Katie would yell out: “Hey, Mom!” every time I passed the doorway.

Last night, we actually found it within ourselves to laugh at the way that Beau grabs the cup from his sister in the bathtub, fills it with water, and then dumps it over the side of the tub. All faster than you can grab his dimpled little hands.

I mean our bathroom floor will have to be pulled up and left to rot until he moves out and we can safely re-tile, but it’s just money and looks, right?

Who ever knew that a giant package of toilet paper could be so entertaining? She hauled these rolls around from room to room for a few hours the day I took these pictures. She used them to build fences for her animals and herself and stacked them just to watch them fall.

It’s still a grand occasion when Mama comes home with TP to unpack. When I got home from the grocery store last night, she unpacked all the bags, as usual. Only this time, she wanted to play “store.” So she lined everything up in the middle of the kitchen floor and categorized everything by whether or not it came from a farm. And if you think I was able to navigate our tiny kitchen, which was supporting a giant baby Jumperoo and Katie’s farm fare last night, without sending jars of baby food and a package of elbow noodles skidding under the fridge, then we’ve never met.

I have trouble navigating a room without tripping on a good day with no breakable or squishable obstacles. (I’m looking at you, loaf of bread.)

By sit-down-at-the-table time, we’d discerned that the peas in bubba’s baby food came from a farm, the Skinner noodles came from a shaft of wheat, the cheese cubes came from a dairy farm, and Mama is headed directly to the funny farm.

See you there.

26 February 2015

Skittering - No Joking Matter

Occasionally, Brady will come home with an interesting, scary, or funny story from a day at the station or a day on the ambulance. I know he keeps a lot of it to himself, because keeping THAT life and OUR life separate is very important to his mental well being.

And that’s fine with me, most of the time.

I do missing knowing more about his days at work. I miss being able to picture where he is and what he’s doing. It does feel way more detached than any other job he’s ever worked. In prior jobs, I went to visit him constantly and often helped.

Yes, I was the fool girlfriend helping him muck stalls at the Brazos Valley Equine Hospital early on Saturday mornings. Obviously, it was all about those Wranglers, because McDonald’s bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits don’t taste better than sleep.

Many times, I’ve wanted to share the stories he brings home here, but I’m afraid I’ll do them an injustice or not remember enough. But what I can do is give the basics, and then, when Katie or Beau is reading this one day in junior high (assuming they care about what their mother writes, which of course they will, because otherwise: WHO WILL MAKE THE MEATLOAF), they can ask him:

“Hey, what’s this about cockroaches opening the front door of this apartment?”

And he can be confused over his cinnamon rolls and then remember the horror in vivid detail…and then put down the cinnamon roll out of disgust, so I can eat it.

Or at the rate his daughter is going now, so she can eat it and seven more.

But I digress.

One fine day, they were fighting a house fire. As firemen do. It was his job to be on top of the house with a chainsaw, so that he could cut a hole in the roof. So far, this is all fine and good. He knows all about chainsaws, and at least he was out in the air and not in the house with the smoke.

But then his leg fell through the roof.

And then the chainsaw THAT WAS ON AND RUNNING skittered and fell – as a result of him losing his leg to the roof – down towards the earth. Skittered makes it sound all cute and jumpy, but someone could have lost everything. Don’t they make horror movies about the damage that a chainsaw can do? (By the way…I don’t need real answers or details here…I’d like to be able to sleep again sometime before my kids hit high school.)

This little one has no true idea what her daddy really does when he goes to the station, while she eats waffles and diapers her Lambchop.

She knows how to ask him the night before: What are you on tomorrow, Daddy?

She knows to tell people “He’s at the station,” when they ask where Daddy is.

(The “dishwasher safe” claim here would be way more exciting if we had a dishwasher.)

(Use crayons to draw trails on your highchair trays. Kids love it! Sponges hate it!)

But she doesn’t yet fully grasp what he’s doing, even as we pray at night for God to bring Daddy home safely and for him to have a slow night of good sleep.

(Yes, I took a picture of her very first skinned knee. What?)

There’s nothing quite like hearing: “I hope Daddy doesn’t have a lot of runs,” said in a tiny voice. Right now, it’s just Katie wanting to know when Daddy is coming home and can she sleep in my bed tonight and has Daddy left already? And looking forward to the notes he leaves under her door.

One day, they will fully know what being a firefighter is all about; until then, we will pray for sturdy roofs and chainsaws that miraculously run out of gas every five seconds.

19 February 2015

Misty, Muddy-Colored Memories

I think I have discovered why it’s so hard for people to organize and track their pictures and to keep up-to-date with scrapbooking: it’s heart-wrenching. It’s too painful. Just shove it in the closet, live in the now, and maybe your brain won’t think about what was.

Besides…the now is pretty sweet.

But the memory-keeping…it’s important. I think. I guess. I fluctuate so much. It used to be important to me to print out photo books with accurate and funny captions, but as things have become more digitized, I’ve changed my mind about that. I feel that, as long as they’re available online somewhere, then there’s really no need to print out photo books that will just sit on the shelf.

This could mostly be because I CANNOT KEEP UP. With the invention of the camera phone, I am overrun with pictures. There isn’t enough money in the world for me to put all of my pictures in albums, and how would I cull out and decide between pictures of the most beautiful babies in the world?

Canvases or framed pictures or fridge magnets? Absolutely. Those are on display. I feel that’s necessary.

But printing out those photo books is just one more piece of storage for your pictures that takes up so much room. Wasn’t the whole point of being able to save pictures online to keep you from having to print the pictures and save them all over your house?

A month or so ago, we rearranged some things in our closet, and I discovered about a dozen old photo albums from high school/college days. I strongly feel the need to scan all of those pictures, so that they can be properly saved and filed.

But then what do I want to do with the albums? We don’t have a place to store this stuff, and we don’t have a place to display it. Not without being overrun with clutter. I really want to shred them.

All the blood just rushed from my mother’s face.

The memory-stories I find myself telling Katie every time she asks for a story “out of real life” aren’t the ones I have pictures of, usually.

Like how on some Saturday mornings when I was little, all four of us would cram into Daddy’s old brown truck and ride to the sale barn together or to the feed store. No car seats, no booster seats…just four people wedged tight, trying to avoid the stick shift.

Those trips were still during the Jack & Jill days. Please note Katie wearing one of our old Jack & Jill t-shirts. It’s amazing how stories wrap back around and find themselves. When I was there, I’m sure no one thought about me coming back around and finding the owners’ own and marrying him and then having babies to wear my old t-shirts.

On Sunday, we all loaded up the ark and rode with Brady while he went on his usual round of cattle checking and feeding. When Beau was still just a few months old, this worked quite well: we all got out of the house and into the sun, we got time together, Beau slept in his seat, Katie was stimulated, and Mama didn’t have to lose her mind that day.


Times are a-changing. He’s 9-months-old now, and guess what? Sleeping in that seat? Not interested. Not when we can barrel roll around onto our bellies the second the straps are unclipped. Not when we can push up on our toes and hang over onto Daddy’s console in the front seat. Where we throw/drop/heave toys, bottles, pacis, and socks.

One might wonder why we’re unclipping the straps at all, but when we park for the cattle feeding and checking, everybody gets a free pass from the loony bin. Seatbelts are unbuckled, and short people are allowed to roam about the Dodge. Chaos ensues.

At one point yesterday, Brady was back and forth into his seat, trying to hook up to a trailer. Beau was listening to himself talk, I was sweating and trying to hold him, and Katie was talking into a Sonic Wacky Pack toy microphone she’d found on the floor of the truck: “Daddy! Your door needs WD40!”

Are your ears bleeding? Mine were.

Oh, and the A/C broke right when we were getting in the truck to go. A smarter woman would have backed away slowly and crawled back into her house. At least with the baby.

But I’d already PACKED. We were dressed. Clean. In.

I told myself: “Self, it’ll be fine.”

It was hot, is what it was.

The baby didn’t nap, Katie started to get car sick, and Brady probably could have done without all the requests for bathroom breaks. But we did survive, and now I REALLY know that next time, the baby and I will be better off at home. At least for this season.

Wonder if I’ll listen to experience next time or just follow The Cowboy Fireman wherever he leads…even if it’s straight into disarray. Any bet-takers out there?

11 February 2015

Going 5th-Wheeling

One summer back in 2012, despite our inability to tan properly or to tolerate the heat (that’s just the womenfolk), my family decided to take the 5th wheels on a little vacation to the lake. And us with a 2-year-old! Thank you, you’re right: we’re heroes of the highest order.

She packed everything but the kitchen sink.

Traveling with short people adds a whole new dimension to vacations. Like I heard someone say once: it’s just working off site. So true. So true.

But the sight is always so sweet and so cute and so innocent. So far, anyway. She was 22 months here. The face is still the same at 4, but everything has expanded exponentially. Her legs spill out of her bed at night, her arms can reach the higher shelves in the fridge now, and her hair requires its own zip code. Country music singer hair, as we call it.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, despite how it looks. We went for a big boat ride on the lake, we went out in Brady’s john boat, we ate junk food when Katie wasn’t looking and ice cream and fruit when she was, we sweated, we applied sunscreen, and we swam in the pool.

I think that was my favorite part. Watching her daddy help her move around in the kiddy pool…her serious as Congress and him in his cowboy hat and 12-year-old swim trunks.

I know they’re 12-years-old, because he wore them to my apartment complex in 2000 when I was staying at University Commons in College Station, fresh into TAMU. A whole group of us gathered around the apartment complex pool after dark and swam and laughed and generally acted jovial. And there he was…just a friend then…sitting in the lounge chair in a straw hat and those swim trunks.

They have pictures of cotton bolls all over them. Which seems odd to me now….

As we bopped over the water at a reasonable speed, I watched how much fun my baby girl was having and thought to myself, “Why don’t we do this more often?” It was a brand new experience for her – and one she probably won’t remember, unfortunately – and an experience that I’ve always enjoyed.

Then, I remembered the detailed packing list it took me four days to put together, the five days of packing after she was in bed, the laundry that I had to keep current, the grocery and dry goods list for the trailer, the actual shopping for said items, the prepping of the house and animals to be gone for a full weekend, cleaning the travel trailer, stocking the travel trailer, loading the travel trailer, and biting my fingernails to the quick. Not to mention fashioning a tent for the baby’s pack-n-play in the upper level of the trailer, closthespinning blankets to it to keep the lights out, and duct taping the skylight closed because HELLO. Don’t.wake.the.baby.

Oh that’s right. THAT’S why we don’t travel.

But we’ll have the pictures to show her what she did and how much fun she had. We’ll have pictures of her sitting and contemplating with her daddy and pictures of her eating Gerber cheesy puffs with her cap on backwards.

The entire time I squatted next to her at the front of the boat so that she could watch the water and other boats fly by, I held on tight and tried not to imagine what would happen if she decided to jump ship. I kept planning what action steps I would take to rescue her and save ourselves.

Do other mamas do this, or am I the weirdest thing in freckles?

The day I smiled at Brady for this picture and held tight to my one and only offspring, I couldn’t have imagined our life three years later, with Beau in my arms, too. With Katie as a big sister, running to check on him every time he bangs his head on something and giving him a kiss. She wants to smother him with big sister love, and he wants to bat her off and laugh about it.

Brady Beau loves the water. Bath time is monumental, to say the least. She always calmly enjoyed the warm water; he has taken it as his personal mission to wet every surface in the bathroom. As he romped and splashed last night, Katie quipped: “Brother, you don’t have to be so cowboy-ish in the tub!”

I die.

I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff, but I love it. She says she gets it from her Tupperware, while pointing at her head.

School is supposed to be starting soon for her…only about six more months. (Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe….) She randomly told me the other day: “Mama, I’m really gonna miss you when I’m at school.”

Then, through my inner panic, I heard her say: “And Beau is really gonna miss ME when I’m in school!”

Great. I hadn’t thought of that possibility yet. I’m always grateful for something else to worry about.

All in all, it was a really fun little vacation, and travelling with her made it fun and exciting in a new way. And as we pulled into the driveway late that Sunday afternoon, I seriously considered selling the entire trailer and all of its contents, as is, just so I wouldn’t have to unpack it.

10 December 2014

A Door, A Couch, A Kid

Welcome to another episode of this old house. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

This is a picture of my mama and her giant baby doll in her living room as a little girl, the living room of my maternal grandparents’ house, and MY current living room. That little brown rocking chair by the front door is the same one that’s in my parents’ living room right now; the one that Katie scoots up to the coffee table when she wants to sit and play or eat a snack in the middle of the action. If you look to the left, there’s a little round suitcase – it’s blue in real life – with the hinges facing the camera. It’s round. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and Lesley and I stored our baby doll clothes in that little suitcase. I can picture it now…all crammed in there and begging for oxygen.

Is that not the biggest baby doll ever? Steak and potatoes all the way for that one.

And here it is today. Well, this is what it looks like today, but those people are from about two years ago. It was tricky to find an accurate picture from just the right angle. That’s a very tired cowboy fireman on that couch. He started out trying very hard to watch Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse with his best baby girl that morning, but the sleep took no prisoners.

I dug back in the archives and found this little gem from 2010. The walls were stripped, the old door was out, and construction was in full force. Except for breaks to eat Lays potato chips, because HEY. We’re only hungry humans. No furniture here, no comfort, and no homey feeling.

I apologize for this picture. This was taken with an old cell phone, and it’s about the size of the top of a needle. If you lean forward and put your squinty eyes on, you can see that the new, red door is in with all the trimmings, the curtains are hung, the furniture was just thrown in haphazardly, and the flea circus T.V. is plugged in next to the DVD player. In the middle of the coffee table.

For starters, this has to be one of the hardest living rooms to arrange around. It’s small, a long rectangle, and it has FOUR doors leading into it. Yes. Four. One for each family member. The front door, the door to Katie’s bedroom, a doorway into the dining room, and another doorway into the kitchen. There used to be a doorway into the master bedroom in the only door-less wall, but we closed it up, because if we didn’t, it would be the first room with more ways in and out than actual walls to hang a picture on. It was just all these little necessary slivers of wall, just wide enough for a light switch.

It took us months to figure out a furniture placement, but in the meantime, I had a newborn baby and really needed to be able to watch I Love Lucy DVDs while watching her not sleep in the middle of the night and while watching her sleep in the middle of the day.

It was like Christmas Day for all of us when the cable T.V. got hooked up and functional.

Here’s Katie Jane, a few years younger than my mama in the first picture, lying in the couch by the front door. She tucked herself in with her Belle Barbie. When she was little, I’d get so excited that she would lie down and nap or fall asleep in these circumstances, but I figured out really quickly that this would ALWAYS only last 60 seconds, after which time she would leap up and say, “Oh! I waked up! Good morning!”

Yes. That.

And just because there weren’t enough pictures yet full of red doors, red curtains, and almost red leather (let’s work on that), here’s one Brady and I tried to take of ourselves with the camera timer set in December of 2010, after Katie was in bed for the night. It sorta worked. I’m loopy from the baby keeping me up, and he’s loopy from the fire academy keeping him up.

Why does everyone want us awake?

It’s a wonder we kept any of us alive.

So here’s the side-by-side. I guess if I went all out, I could have Katie dress up, sit up, and hold my mama’s giant baby doll, because you know she still has it, but quite frankly, I just don’t have the energy. I’m gonna call this good enough.

Here’s to history repeating itself.