18 june 2018

Little cousin Gunner came over to play. I packed a cooler like we were gonna be out there for several days and forgot what an 11 month old’s time frame was. Or maybe there was just too much estrogen in that pool.

These kittens are gonna get a hard dose of reality once they transition to the garage, but they’re way too small yet.

In the past two nights, we’ve caught a raccoon and possum, so we’re having to lock the adult cats up in the garage after sundown.

On Sunday morning, over donuts, we yelled “Happy Father’s Day!” and he said, “Just trapping coons to take care of muh family.” Ah, my Laura Ingalls Wilder daydream come true.

Ruthie goes to summer school on Wednesdays and last week, Annie insisted on sitting on the front porch with frozen blueberries and her Berenstain Bears book to wait for her. She had about 4 hours to go.


The passive aggressive notifications on my phone have been making me laugh, followed by the obvious.

Went over to AJ’s house to meet up with Mandy, visiting from out of town. Their garage door was open so I just walked in, because I like to force the feeling of being small town neighbors even though I’m aware it’s entirely rude. Everyone was trying to put the kids to bed upstairs and AJ’s oldest saw me, smiled sweetly, then walked upstairs to tell his mom there was a stranger in the living room. Backfire!

After we settled in outside, it went downhill (in a good way). Chilled Rosé on a summer evening is now going to be my go-to.

Why I started twerking with my belly pushed out is beyond me, but at least I had a captive audience. Which by the way, if you’ve never sat on AJ’s back porch with the fan blowing overhead, dang. Even though I ended up leaving at 1:30 (on a weeknight, gasp!) I could’ve easily sat there for another few more hours. It’s like it lulls you into a time warp.

A couple days later, Mandy’s crew came over to hang out with us. The girls made a fort.


We had another little visitor today who dug into our dress up clothes with complete abandon.


Her mama and I talked about lots of stuff including Gertie. She reads this blog and I mentioned that I need to start changing the narrative about me and G. It has been a great month, and it mostly has to do with me accepting where she and I are at. Finding small (sometimes microscopic) victories and celebrating them loudly. I sometimes feel silly getting crazy excited that she says the h sound when playing my hair. Or like today, I was reclining on the couch and she was standing up on my legs holding unto my fingers. She moved her leg off mine and off the couch and I said, “Oh no Gertie, watch out!” So she did it again. And again. And I laughed because she’s ornery. Those are such tiny moments of connection that I have to be intentional about magnifying. Also, she laughs hysterically whenever Annie snores. Sharing a room has its benefits.

3 June 2018

Saturday was all about the horses. Ruthie asked if we could set aside money each month to save up for one.

To be honest, this isn’t how I picture myself when I get into a carriage: sweaty, hot, and that familiar wide flat butt in everyone’s faces. I’m not sure which side it comes from, but as I like to say, I descend from a long line of farmers’ wives. That girth would be an asset in the 1880s, so move over you dainty little things! (Or more likely, let me bump you over.)

I pretend the stagecoach ride was for them, but you know it was for me too.

Our downtown had pony rides too. All of this was free!

Today we left church thinking we’d eat at Crystal Bridges. Walked the mile trail to the front doors in the most beautiful weather. It almost reminded me of fall. But it for sure reminded me of our wedding day 12 years ago. The weather was perfect, like today.

They each wanted pictures with the bride and groom.

The restaurant has a special on Sundays that require reservations which we didn’t have, so we walked back to the the little downtown Walmart and got some food to go. Ruthie said, “We thought we were going to Crystal Bridges, but we ended up at Walmart!”

That pretty much sums up our life, Ruthie dear.

2 June 2018

I think she might be the most positive out of all of us. I’d even venture to say, the most everything of all of us. And she’s five. Our Annie.

I’m thankful for our intimate birthday breakfasts. She was expecting streamers (Walmart sold none that I could find) and said, “I really wanted that paper coming down from the ceiling, but that’s okay I like that sign too!” Ruth got her a birthday tiara and that made up for the decorations. She slept with it in her bed the night before so she’d remember to give it to Ann the next day.

Ruthie was in charge of hiding all the gifts and we thought she’d hid the wrapping paper too because we couldn’t find that either. Even after sending Ryan out to the van at 11pm we couldn’t find it, so I scrummaged around and ended up using Christmas wrapping paper. This is a new parenting low.

Annie. How you find joy in everything and always say “But that’s okay!”. It’s inspiring to me.

She picked out a cake instead of donuts and you bet that’s what we had for breakfast.

Ryan had to miss the breakfast celebration. He’d correctly predicted that Annie would sleep in, which she did, and he couldn’t wait around. Ruthie was very upset about it. Secretly I was sad too, but it gave me an opportunity to talk to her about sacrifices. And it allowed me to build him up in front of her, how lucky she is to have a hardworking dad who provides for his family.

He ended up taking the afternoon off and they excitedly put on their new swimsuits to go to the city pool.

Our fireplace is packed with furniture because we also had our carpets cleaned. It’s fitting it happened on her birthday since she’s our main mud collector. (And mom, are you proud that Dan Patrick is playing in the background?)

We went twice to the pool, once before lunch and once after dinner. We’d gotten our hands stamped and immediately on the way home Annie wiped hers off. I went for a run in between and spent most of it blowing on the stamp so sweat wouldn’t smear mine too.

We loved talking about Annie’s arrival with her over lunch. On her due date there was a tornado warning that sent my parents running into a casino near their RV park. Drenched by the time they got in the door, they stood in a bathroom with a bunch of strangers. We holed up with Ruth in the closet under our stairs. I remember my midwife saying she fully expected a call (barometric pressure pushing babies down and all that) and because she didn’t, she knew Annie was staying put. Exactly a week later, it was tornadoish again. I listened to the swirling whirling of wind outside before falling asleep. She was our easiest and quickest delivery – 90 minutes from my first contraction at midnight to holding her in my arms at 1:30am, then watching the sunrise with Ryan in bed after the midwives had left. I remember feeling so incredibly at peace for those few hours before Ruthie woke up and family arrived.

The highlight for Annie was the lazy river. We spent probably two hours going around and around. Ruthie wanted to jump off the diving board but quietly climbed back down three times. The teenage boys waiting in line smiled sweetly at her, letting her pass. Ryan and I took turns going down the waterslides while the rest sat at the bottom cheering. Gertie’d sit on the side of the pool and when we’d hold our hands out, she’d fall forward. Her “jump.” But she’d always wait until she saw our hands. It doesn’t take much to make us go on and on about the littlest detail.

We ate Chick-Fil-A at Annie’s request and she declared the day to be the best birthday ever. I was going to make a joke about keeping the bar low, but then I was thinking of how happy we all were together as a family, so I can see how just that alone can be the best gift of all.

It’s 3am and I’m writing this. Annie had crawled into our bed and I woke up with her foot on my cheek. I love her, that Ann Julia.



31 May 2018

Sitting here watching the Cavaliers in the finals and feel the need to document my mom’s love of LeBron James for her grandkids to remember. Motherly love. Crazy stage mom love. “He got them to the finals but he can’t DO IT ALL” in a hysterical, they’re putting too much pressure on my boy text today. It makes us laugh. All because of the documentary made about his childhood and, after watching it, it does make you appreciate his heart.

Anyway, it’s what makes her interesting I guess.

My neighbors gave me two tiny orphaned kittens she found on the street bc apparently I’m the neighborhood cat lady. The vet whispered (because Ruth and Annie were next to me) that there’s still a 50/50 shot for survival. He also said don’t get the vax shots unless we’re keeping them and when I said we were going to just foster for a few weeks, he looked at the girls then back at me and said Uh huh, I’ll be seeing you for the shots.

They’ve already been named Ginger and Petunia. I really don’t know how my life got to this.

29 may 2018

So is he gonna be our Uncle Scott, the girls asked? I was so excited to share with them that their Aunt Amy was getting engaged. We all got to be part of the surprise at a private screening where she thought she was going to see a documentary, but really Scott had fake tickets, emails, and previews created to fool her. And then he made her a sweet video documenting their time together before bringing her down in front.

It was so special. Ryan didn’t blink when I told him it was on a Thursday night, he told me to go and to take my time driving home the next day. That’s special to me too. He’s a superhero dad, taking them to Gertie’s eye appointment and swim therapy the next day. Thank you Ryan. I had so much fun.

I met my parents at their home and was quickly whisked into their car to pick up my Aunt Mary. We were about an hour early, but they were nervous they’d mess up the surprise. We were instructed to spread out around the theatre and to NOT TURN AROUND. I told Dad he needed a ball cap because his head is recognizable, but he declined. Later, Amy said she saw his head, thought it was him, but then didn’t think my mom’s hair looked like her so dismissed it.

Aunt Sue got the memo and covered up her distinctive cut and color. I think she should keep on wearing scarves, we all thought she looked so cute.


We went to a nearby bar afterwards to eat and celebrate. Amy, in her thank you speech to everyone, used the word “merge” and I cackled because that goes back to when she’d visit me in college, fresh from her important corporate job, and tried to get my friends to discuss recent company mergers. Here we are, 20 years later, and she’s still forcing it on us.

So happy for you guys!!

Dropped off my Aunt Mary, we all popped in for a glass of whiskey with her and Uncle Donald, slept hard, went out to eat for breakfast with my parents and then drove home. I honestly needed those 24 hours.

Ruthie drew a picture of the bride and groom and we all ooohed and aahhhhed.


And then turned it over. Sigh.

Memorial Weekend was laid back. Finding box turtles and playing non stop on their inflatable slide. Our yard looks like a circus came through now, but you know, do what you gotta do. Gertie loves watching her sisters tumble down and the water doesn’t fill up too fast so that means I don’t have to be on high alert with G. Because of that, I sat in a chair next to it and blew through two books in two days. It feels amazing to get back into reading, but now I need to set boundaries because I could escape into it too easily.



17 may 2018

This week has flown by. Ruthie and I went to an estate sale and she found a $2 Hello Kitty skateboard. If she could teach herself how to do this like how she did bike riding, my life will be a breeze. Her goal is to get good enough to go to a skate park with ramps.


Yesterday we went to a strawberry patch and absolutely gorged ourselves while picking.

I found my future job as a strawberry picker. They lay on their bellies looking through one of those massage pillows while a tractor pulls them along.


And today Annie told me she told her preschool teacher that I look like a big kid. There was a 50/50 split going into a description of her mom, so was surprised I landed on the younger side. I’ll take it, Annie Banany!

Also, Gertie officially climbed out of her crib and I’m taking that as a win. Way to push through the milestones!

15 may 2018

We went camping this weekend. You should’ve seen my pinterest board full of hacks. But with us being sick and Ryan working 70 hours plus, we had zero time or energy to worry about any of it. This campground is just a few minutes away, so we just kind of said, “meh” and tried to wing it.  Gertie caught our bug and she and I stayed back Friday night. I got a text at 9 that Annie was high on life, saying “Look at our home sweet home” in a sing-song voice and by 9:15 was curled up next to Ryan crying how scared she was.

By the time we arrived the next morning, they were completely filthy, happy, and full of Cocoa Puffs.

Next to us was the cutest family with two girls Ruth and Ann’s ages. They had a little pop up camper and their mom gave me a tour, so now I’m slowly saving my pennies to get one too.

At one point, the two oldests brought out their journals to show each other. And then they all found a big log and made a makeshift seesaw.


We had no idea where the showering station was, so just threw them in the lake. Meh!

Gertie and I went back home Saturday night again, but we’re excited to try it for real next time.

Today, Ruth and I picked up some books at the library and went for a walk. She wanted to carry a longer chapter book. Halfway through our walk, we found a bench and I read several of those chapters.


Sitting in the woods, with my girl, reading a spinoff to Rapunzel. Yes.

11 May 2018

I keep forgetting to write about Ruthie’s graduation. Her final day of school was last week, however Annie still has preschool until the end of May, so during Gertie’s therapies I get to hang out one-on-one with Ruth Margaret. I like her.

But gosh, this photo my mom sent me of mine. If it doesn’t speak volumes to many aspects of my life and personality.

How is everyone else walking so calmly? What is this boy’s name? Where is he now? I feel like I either need to apologize or tell him you’re welcome for getting him to the stage safely while he got to gaze around aimlessly.

Okay, more pics… Annie wanted to wear every single item of clothes in her closet and all I say is, go for it sis.

We ended the night with ice cream at Chick-fil-A. Yay Ruthie!

10 may 2018

Ruthie and I have been knocked down hard with colds this week. At one point I thought I was going to fall asleep at the wheel, so felt justified asking Ryan to come home early. I have to use these requests sparingly, he is just so busy. In mid-fever pitch, I really considered hiring a personal chef so everyone would get fed without me. That push and pull of being the family meal maker, but also knowing you need to lay your butt down. It’s hard.

Today we are still coughing, so during therapy we stopped at a pho place because she’s my only adventurous eater. We didn’t talk much, just drank tea and our soup.

9 may 2018

Monday was a good day.

Annie swinging.

Ruthie making a mango smoothie by letting the chunks sit in the sun and then smashing them. It took a long time and part of me wondered if we weren’t going to see the ER later that night.

I like when she sits next to me and talks “old”.


I found a couple bows on clearance a couple months ago and have finally let them use it. Annie is still too small, she can’t even hold it up without tiring, but Ruthie latched on and I’m excited to push her down this road.

This is also the summer of getting Gertie dirty. She’s just like her sisters.



Our new neighbors came by to mow their lot and brought their 18 month old. They are just the sweetest. They hope to start building in the fall/winter after their second child is born in August. Our other friends wanted to buy that lot but ended up purchasing one across the street and until they can find a contractor that will work with their designs (it’s a steep hill), it’s gonna be slow-going. It’ll be nice to have a tribe in the same stage of life so close.

At dinner afterwards, Ruthie brought up how that their little girl is walking and Gertie isn’t. So they’re starting to notice. And Ryan always reminds me that a great gift we can give them is to learn how to care for someone less fortunate than them.

Ryan had a meeting with G’s speech therapists today. I didn’t go because we work better where he downloads the long term strategy (that’s his day job!) and then spells it out for me.  But…

They are very pleased with her.

Sometimes, in therapy, one skill emerges and takes off while the other stalls out. So while over the past 6-8 months she’s come leaps and bounds with crawling (which they didn’t think she’d do) and walking in the walker), her speech as taken a back seat. But in the last couple months, she has been increasing her speech immensely (for her), mimicking a lot which is a huge foundation. I asked them earlier this week (which is what prompted an update), what general age it is when kids start tapering off and get “stuck”. They said that she has a few years before kindergarten and a lot can happen. I guess we’ll wait and see!


7 may 2018

Just some snippits from Kate and Ryan visiting us. I had a really good time with them. Missed that feeling of someone knowing you “before” and still accepting you as you are now. They helped us man our Scavenger Hunt and after everyone left, we sat in this corner here talking a bit.


Ryan announcing the winner.

And as I sank into my chair exhausted from pretending I’m an extrovert, we said Okay just one more. And we scooted the table a little down to see the dance floor.

And then we said Okay, just one more and then stood at the edge of the dance floor. And then we said Okay, just one more and we all belted along with the karaoke singers.
The Okay just one more’s slow rolled until we ended up eating at Waffle House and getting home at 3am. I can’t even tell you the last time we stayed out so late. It was extremely, extremely needed.

But the little bits before our night out were just what I’d expect from a visit from them too.

Like Ryan blending in with the tablecloth.
They arrived Friday morning, Ryan squared went golfing, and Kate and I had our usual talks ranging from funny to serious to me crying when she played a song on Pandora, to us regurgitating the same. ancient. stories. like we’re 75 years old.

Also this, Kate needing a defense weapon against sweet little Fluffy. She’s legitimately scared of birds.

Thank you Kate. You made me feel young again. Young, but without the stress of wondering if I my check would bounce the next day.
Love ya guys – thanks for coming down. I know your drive home must’ve been awful. We’re not that young.

29 apr 2018

We finally hung swings around the house and it’s everything my daydreams are made of.

Also, thank you to you all that reached out to me after my last post. Reading through the Celebrate Recovery pamphlets and being honest about what I need to focus on (anger) has in of itself been therapeutic. And having a literal army….you….praying on my behalf is a gift many people don’t have. So, as they say in Arkansas, ‘preciatecha.

19 apr 2018

About a month ago we boxed up like 95% of their toys to see if they’d ask for them. They haven’t. Annie the other day asked if she could take my blush brush and deodorant in the other room. I was like, okay. After a few minutes I went in and saw my deodorant saving the blush brush from some sort of catastrophe. I guess dolls are needed around here either. 😂But nice weather keeps everyone happy and busy too. This photo made me laugh. 👇Ruthie was mad at me bc while climbing the tree she threw her head back to whine about what I was making for dinner and bonked it on the trunk. And because I didn’t run to her side immediately, she decided to not talk to me, instead running around hiding from me. Do you see her?At least an hour was spent making birthday cakes with stick candles. A girl at preschool told Annie today that she hated her. Annie said, “It broke my heart. But then I got brave and put my heart back together.” Something else Annie said the other day. She and Ruth were arguing in the car over whether there were lions near our town: Annie yes, Ruthie no. After a few more minutes of a gridlock debate, Annie asked me smugly, “Mom? Take us to the nearest lion’s den. I’m going to throw Ruthie in it.”

16 apr 2018

We were able to go out on a date Friday night. We love the special needs ministry at our church, babysitting all the siblings once a month so that parents of special needs’ kids can spend time together alone. It actually makes me wanna well up, thinking of all the billions of ways you can serve people. They are a gift to us.

After dinner we walked around Barnes and Noble, skimming books for an hour. I came around the corner, though, and found Ryan reading a book of poetry*.

It’s interesting how it’s taken the hardest time in our lives to finally see the beauty in each other. He’s funny, smart, kind, and deep. That’s pretty much what 16 year old Carrie wanted.

*photo not staged or recreated. 😂

15 Apr 2018

I sometimes jot down notes so I don’t forget the emotions I’m feeling in a particular moment and can write in more detail later. But after rereading these from last Friday morning, I don’t really want to.

Sheers in the windows. Blowing. Picture of AnnLisa’s painting. Quiet. Annie eating in the kitchen. Ruthie sleeping. Gertie on my stomach, going over the sounds animals make. Crying. Praying. Hoping. Patting my head. Touching my tears. Did she understand? Resigning again to this life. Accepting solitude. Cider with Rosie. The Browns and their crumbling home. Who would know their story if not for Laurie writing about them? Lump in my throat. Living quietly. Contently. What will that look like with Gertie.

10 apr 2018

Yesterday was a come-back day for mothering. Where your patience and productivity and pride is high. The weather helps I’m sure.

Gertie absolutely loves the trampoline. And it’s actually good for her to practice her reflexive moves (catching herself before she falls.) But really it’s just a giant play pen so I can wander through our trees “checking on them.”

We took turns “cracking the egg” and I fumbled with my camera to get this shot of Ruthie and Annie before they broke apart. They were making a plan of attack to get me to unhook my arms from around my legs. I make them answer all the time: “Who are your best friends?” “My sisters.” I know it’s inevitable, the future teenage fights, but there’s a part of me that hopes they all three will grow into besties during those turbulent years. And if that means it’s them vs me, at least they are banding together.

I follow a group called “Play at Home Mom” and they have the best ideas for creating a creative environment for your kids. In the back of my mind, I also know that you literally need nothing because kids will come up with their own games, but it’s also fun to have a few things to encourage it.

One mom suggested a fish cleaning table as their outdoor kitchen and so when I saw one on clearance, I scooped it up. It has been so fun so far. It creates a sort of mud pool at the end, we’re trying to figure out where to route the excess water, but mud is Annie’s love language, so I might as well leave it be for now.

One of my favorite things to say is “Go wash your feet off before coming in!” That brings me joy.

We were having breakfast for dinner and so we made biscuits to go along with it. They were proud as can be with how it came out.

While Gertie napped, I finished up a lot of things for our Amazing Race in a couple weeks. So by the time Ryan got home, I was beyond satisfied.

But Sunday? This is what I mean about it being a come back day. Because Sunday I was sorely disappointed in myself. It’s almost like the family dynamic builds and builds and builds, then explodes. Then we reset the next day. Sunday was that explosion.

So when I talk about how you don’t know what type of parent you’ll be until you become one, it always surprises, then saddens me that I am a yeller. A full-on, I will get in your face, ugly yeller. It doesn’t happen every day, it doesn’t happen every time they disobey me, but when it does, it takes the room by storm. And it breaks my heart.

Sunday night I hardly slept. I was overcome with shame and disappointment in what my expectations of myself were and what they’ve turned out to be.

Thing is, I don’t remember a lot of yelling growing up. A few big fights. But just like I told our small group during the marriage course we took in the fall, I don’t remember my parents arguing. Everyone was like, What? Wow!! That’s amazing!

And it is.

But then I realized that even though I didn’t hear them fight, I didn’t hear them make up either. I don’t remember ever apologizing to my siblings or them saying sorry to me.

So if there’s one gleam of light I can take from owning my shortcoming, it’s that I’ve had to model to them asking for forgiveness as well as forgiving. Over. And over. I’ve prayed for myself in front of them. Not like a “Lord help me not just spank this child!” dramatic line, but a true plea for help. We’ve held hands in a circle, repeating our love for each other, even though none of us want to. We’ve hugged even when we want to be alone. If they read this when they’re older, I hope they see that I am trying.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

8 apr 2018

Their aunt gave them an awesome pop up book of Alice in Wonderland and they beg Ryan to include it in their reading rounds each night. But he spaces it out to keep them eager. I tell them all the time how lucky they are that Ryan does character voices!

Yesterday Ruthie and I went to a birthday party. While we were there, Ryan and the other two did errands and went out to eat. A lady made a comment to him about the three of them. I don’t know if it’s just seeing a dad wrangling all the kids solo, but Ryan gets compliments every time. It’s like moths to a flame: “You’re so patient, you’re such a good dad, Etc etc.” Every once in a while I’ll catch a sub-compliment if I’m with them, but i know he’s what first catches their eye. I love it. You never really know what type of parent you married (or for that matter what type you are) but I think I won the jackpot.

4 apr 2018

I want to remember the roundness of her cheek and jaw before it goes away. Photo by Annie.

Poor little Whitey. She’s the first we’ve had to cull due to sickness and injury. While we were in Kansas City for Spring Break, our neighbor chased off a dog that had her in his mouth and she just could never recover. On top of that, nonstop rain brings about its own issues within a coop that we were fighting off for her too. Ryan asked if we were going to get more for little Fluffy left behind, and hello, yes. Ruthie’s been asking for chicks for months. Any breed suggestions? I do love our Buff Orpingtons.

2 Apr 2018 (part 2)

My babysitter didn’t last as long as I thought it would so we finished up Ruth’s homework. She feels cool drinking sparkling water. Annie is studying Ruth’s reader intently, popping up every few seconds to confirm a word. She’s gonna be a full-on reader soon and it’s all from watching Ruthie. Gertie is no where to be found now that she’s started exploring the house on her own. Most times we find her in her bedroom laying amongst her own pile of books.

1 Apr 2018

Happy Easter! We hid eggs in the girls’ beds and so when Ruthie woke up to use the bathroom, she found hers and ran into our room to wake us up. She skipped in to the living room and chattered about everything in her basket (yes, Disney bandaids were a hot commodity.) All that caused Gertie to wake up and Ryan carried her in shaking her own egg. Someone had to eventually wake Annie up.

Last year I started giving them each a little bunny.

But Ruthie was the first to eye a hidden egg. Ryan made me laugh with the spots he chose. He said he got six eggs in this one plant.

And then this.

But what’s funny is that all of these were the last to be found. We did hide one up high in honor of my dad who, when Ruthie was 1, hid an egg up on the mantel. You know, for her to find.

We went out for brunch after church, and it was the weirdest thing. Ryan was telling stories about his turtle race at school while the rest of us were snickering and piping in with comments and questions. I can’t explain it, but it felt like what it’d be in 20 years. All of us laughing at dear old dad. It was good.

31 mar 2018 (part 2)

We made Resurrection Rolls again this year. Ruthie remembered it and said, “Is this when Jesus melts?”

But I do love hearing the story while we made them. How Joseph and Nicodemus covered Jesus’ dead body in oil and spices, usually reserved for kings. So we rolled the marshmallow in butter, then in sugar and cinnamon. How the tomb opened and He wasn’t there. And after baking the rolls, the marshmallow disappears.

But my favorite part of the story, mostly because it’s so human and endearing, is when Mary turned and saw Jesus. She didn’t recognize him and asked him if he was the gardener. (Thank you for this, Mary. Truly. This is all of us.) But then how Jesus asked her, “Who are you looking for?” which makes me smile because I can feel his excitement as it finally dawns on her face after he says, “Mary…”.

So we ate the rolls, took some cough medicine, fought off questions about who the Easter bunny is and are now watching the Final Four. It’s been a good day. And in the words of Annie who said our dinner prayer the other night, “Thank you Jesus for dying so we can go to heaven.” It’s as simple as that.

31 mar 2018

There were a million Easter activities going on around town, but I felt a need to instead spend time together in our backyard, working on projects and pretending to eat all the soups and mud pies being made for us.

I’m starting to feel a certain special time in the girls’ life start to slip away. The sweet spot where all you need is your backyard and some water and dirt. I want them to look back and see their home as the centerpiece in their memories.

So, I’ve deleted all my real estate apps, all of my “just keeping an eye out” saved homes for sale. Anything that could distract me from appreciating what I have. This, for me, is a big deal. I’m starting to really focus on making our little ranch house our forever home. And that has brought me peace. It’s easy to love our house and yard in the spring though. And when that old crab apple tree comes into its full pink glory, I will find every excuse to be near it.

Today, after everyone went in to watch an afternoon movie, I sat outside with my book for next week’s Book Club, and soaked up the contentedness.

28 mar 2018

I almost just wrote the year as 2006. I wonder what I was up to on March 28th of that year. Let’s see, I was 25 and a few months from marrying Ryan. Yeah, I got nothin’. Maybe I was stress eating.

Here’s a highlight from last week. When, during a March madness party, my mom almost got the kids to fall for the oldest trick in the book: everyone lay down and close your eyes and whoever lifts their head first loses. We actually thought it was gonna work. So maybe we’re the suckers.

But we also managed to spend time outside, bringing out every plastic object available to play with (Christmas Jesus, Mary, and Joseph didn’t make an appearance this time). This, all while their neighbors were showing their house for sale. We were sure we’d just brought the street market down a few hundred grand when, the next day, they changed the sign to Sale Pending. Maybe seeing kids sled down a hill on boogie boards is in fact a selling point?

And Gertie discovering the sunlight in the hallway.

26 mar 2018

I love our Bradford Pears in the spring. It’s like a constant snowfall. We spent the day planting so many flowers in our front garden. And in the back yard we propagated two elderberry bushes, planted two more blackberry bushes, some strawberries and asparagus. Our propagated raspberry bushes from the fall are looking healthy, as well as the lilac bushes. I’m not even attempting a veggie garden this year. Instead, I’m focusing on our little orchard that now has 3 apple trees, 2 peaches, 1 pear (the other died), 1 fig, 4 elderberries, 5 raspberries, 4 blackberries, 2 blueberries, and a grape vine. I’ve been diligent through the year taking care of the fruit trees so am hoping (gosh I’m hoping) for some sort of harvest.

24 mar 2018

Do you have a friend that’s absolutely down for anything? Not embarrassed or too cool? For me, that’s Jessica. She’s my go-to girl for making crazy day dreams an enthusiastic reality. She reminded me that in Kansas City, a group of friends and I started a “Try It” club where we each picked a new activity to try every month. I’d forgotten about that, but I do remember taking a tap dance class with her and the teacher asking us to stay afterwards to learn more advanced moves. We felt like we’d hit Broadway with those extra 15 minutes a week.

So while visiting my parents, we popped over to Topeka to visit her family and I spent the majority of that time gushing over her and us and memories. My mom couldn’t remember how we’d met, and I reminded her that she was originally Ryan’s friend. Roommates with his closest friends, actually. The first night we met, all of us dancing in Aggieville, turned into an early morning slumber party where just she and I left to eat breakfast together.

I always joke about how I have to sink claws into girls for them to be my friends. But she’s the type that turns around before you need to do that, with arms outstretched. ❤️

20 mar 2018

Every night for the past three weeks, Annie has come out of her bedroom saying she’s thinking of monsters. We’ve done and said everything to get her back in bed. Tonight was the first night we agreed to lay down the law and not coddle her.

And when we did, she said, “I just want someone to hug me while I fall asleep.”

Insert me balling. So of course I did.

This is the moment I told her I’d lay down with her.

Ryan joked and said, “Annie you’re going to stay four forever, I don’t have time for this.”

It’s all so fleeting.