Ever After
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  • June10th

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    Tad, Vivi and I were in tears.

    Ariana flashed a smile from ear to ear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • January17th


    Both Bryan and I sense the clock winding down all too quickly on this special time of our lives . . . the chapter when our kids are at home and love doing things with us.

    And so even though there were a million things we should have been doing on Bryan’s RARE day off from work–installing baseboards in our family room, dejunking our garage, washing the windows . . . the list is endless–we, instead, spent a wonderful day with Buck.

    We let Buck choose three things he wanted to do that day. His wishes:

    1. Go to the zoo
    2. Play at the playground
    3. Eat ice cream

    After snapping a silly self-portrait, we headed off for the day’s adventures.

    First stop, the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainsville, TX. It’s a small, inexpensive zoo that Tad (aka “Buck”) was convinced they named after him, so it made it even more exciting for him. Tad loved feeding the giraffe and the goats (he preferred the baby goats to the big, aggressive, billy goat that nibbled fingers). When the goat licked his hand, he giggled and said that the goat put slimy lotion on his hand. We also enjoyed seeing a baby kangaroo in his momma’s pouch, and watching the boy kangaroos wrestle, but Tad’s favorite exhibit was the zebras; he was convinced that they were his “brothers” because he was wearing his zebra hat that day.

    A fabulous playground is situated just outside the gates of the zoo, so we didn’t have to go far to fulfill Buck’s second wish.

    He would have stayed there all day if his tummy hadn’t started to rumble and remind him that mint chocolate chip ice cream was awaiting him at Beth Marie’s in Denton.

    If Bryan and I had three wishes, we might just selfishly wish that Ari, Vivi and Tad would stay little forever; but because we love them too much to do this, we’ll just wish for more days like this when our girls are out of school and can join us, too.

  • November10th


    I started cleaning at sun up yesterday morning, and it was well after sunset when I wearily vacuumed my bedroom while the other members of the family were glued to the t.v.

    I’m not trying to suggest that they had done nothing else that evening except watch t.v.

    No, they had also eaten a bowl of warm, homemade chicken tortilla soup and had randomly deposited their clutter at three different entry points downstairs.

    After a while, BT could sense that I was not particularly happy, so he bravely came in to ask what was wrong.

    “I feel like the Little Red Hen!”

    His response, though not meant to be funny, has brought a smile to my face all day: “The sky is falling???”

    Wrong bird.

  • October7th


    You make my heart sing!

    Hopefully the fluffy mane on the groovy new zebra hat I crocheted for Tad’s birthday is the only mohawk he’ll ever sport.

    He and I looked through countless patterns on Etsy, and I tried to convince him that he wanted me to make him an owl or puppy cap, but when he saw the zebra creation, he could not be dissuaded. With lots of zebra patterns to choose from, I settled on this one because it uses a method of stacking stitches of different heights to create more realistic, undulating stripes.  The hat was a breeze; the ears were painful because the instructions were horribly vague. I love to support Etsy designers and often find patterns that are not available anywhere else, but it’s rare that I find a one that is error-free. And although some people really go out of their way to give very clear instructions and lots of pictures to illustrate every step of the way, others, like the author of the zebra hat pattern, don’t quite have a knack for dumbing things down to my level.

    As I type, Tad is so taken with the pictures from his photo shoot and with his wild hat that he is scratching my back and hugging (choking?) me as he repeats his (and my) favorite phrase of endearment: “You’re the best mom I’ve ever had in the whole wide world.”

    With that kind of treatment, I’d crochet the little guy a hundred zebra hats. (And hopefully slip in an Owl and Puppy one when he’s not looking. I think that he’s going to look really cute in those, too.)


  • September29th

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    I’m not sure if children are allowed to wear hats to school, but there was no way anyone could talk Vivi out of wearing her new hat this morning. She left the house with a big smile on her face and an admonition from her mother that she needs to take it off during the Pledge of Allegiance and that it needs to go in her backpack if her teacher asks her to remove it. I’m also crossing my fingers that she doesn’t lose the hat at school; it takes me umpteen hours more than it should to actually finish crochet projects. I’m far too methodical about the whole process and haven’t yet perfected my color changes and joins.

    The pattern called for one row of single crochet around the bottom edge, but it didn’t look quite right. When I proposed the option of a more frilly finish to Vivi, she became giddy.  Sadly, I’m not sure that I like it, so when Vivi’s not looking, I think that I’m going to rip out the last row and do some extra rows of single crochet instead. I also add an extra layer to the flower to make it BIGGER, and I do like that modification.


  • September21st


    I love that Little Miss Vivi is all ruffles and frills, but I don’t love the frenzy we feel when Vivi can’t find her favorite lipgloss or sunglasses.

    Problem solved. (Hopefully).

    While BT and I have been watching past seasons of our current favorite show, Flashpoint, I crocheted this cute little purse.  Sized at only 6 inches by 6 inches, it’s the perfect place for her to safely stash her girly treasures.

    Inspired by the fun, vibrant colors (and because I have a lot of yarn left), I just bought another pattern from Etsy to make her a matching hat. I also need to get busy knitting the Harry Potter-inspired scarf for Ariana.

    Stuff like this brightens my day.

  • September6th

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    Sunday evening as BT and I were brainstorming ideas on how to spend Labor Day as a family, he suggested the Fort Worth Zoo.


    We’d never been before, and the weather was FINALLY supposed to be cooler–perfect zoo weather.

    We debated about telling the kids Sunday night or teasing them with a few extraneous details but saving the big reveal for the next day. I voted for the element of surprise, but then BT suddenly waxed Plato-like:

    “The benefit of the surprise is often outweighed by the anticipation of something exciting.”

    Seriously, I married a genius. This is something that you’d read in Barlett’s Familiar Quotations, but he assured me that it was original to him.  (And then, two seconds later , he fashioned some hideous sentence using the word “ustacould.” Something like “I ustacould touch my toes . . . “)

    Anyway, still impressed by the logic and sheer sophistication of his wisdom, we decided to tell the kids about the zoo and let them simmer with excitement all night. And they did, especially Tad and Vivi.

    Monday morning came, and I convinced BT to wear his official Dallas Safari Club shirt that we scored for $3 at our favorite thrift store.

    When then picked up Ari’s good friend to help make the day even more enjoyable for our pre-teen and were on our way.

    After a brief stop at the entry gate restroom where I had to throw up because of my migraine medicine (and a bout of car sickness), I felt restored and ready to tackle the day.

    As anticipated, the weather was perfect, and we all had a grand time.

    Favorite Memories:

    Tad–the gorilla that was eating a snack and that kept looking at him

    Vivi–the pink flamingos and the mommy and daddy birds that were kissing

    Ari–feeding the birds

    BT–having a day off from his labors

    LT–when Tad saw two hog-like animals in the corner of their exhibit with their heads down and he kept asking if they were praying.

    All the long hours that my kids and husband are away from me each week make me even more grateful for days like this.

  • September4th

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    Old piano

    Ancient pump organ

    Fully functioning treadmill

    Antique movie projector

    Box of Nerf guns, a remote controlled helicopter, and an empty cigarette carton

    Paper shredder, large scratched white board, printers that don’t work

    Random pieces of old mismatched office furniture

    He travels the back roads of Texas looking for rusty gold. What most people see as junk, I see as junk, but Bryan sees as glittering Obtanium.

    His heart quickens when something of interest is posted to the FREE section of Craigslist, and he crosses his fingers that by responding within the first 30 seconds of the post appearing, he’ll be Chosen. He routinely takes “shortcuts” through alleyways of fancy communities hoping to convert one man’s trash to his treasure. We need a cautionary bumper sticker on his truck .

    Into the back of his vehicle, he’ll load anything FREE that he thinks he can cram into our shop or garage. . . and that I won’t totally freak out about.

    He wishes he could make a living off of freecycling and dumpster diving . . . one dusty, dirty, decrepit piece at a time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for repurposing and breathing new life into something that would otherwise languish in a landfill, but where does innocent picking end and obsessive hording begin?

    Please, no more, BT. At least not until you do something with your current trove of treasures.

    P.S. But I am excited to see the desk that you make from the organ.

  • August22nd



    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Blink . . .you’ve gone from high school senior with unlimited opportunities to college grad with vast career options.

    Blink . . . your first born is placed in your arms and you don’t want to think about career . . . but you must.

    Blink . . . she’s entering Kindergarten and your rewarding career has put food in her mouth and roof o’er her head.

    Blink . . . another sweet baby girl graces your life. You walk away from your career. You miss it and wonder if you can ever feel fulfilled again.

    Blink . . . a sweet baby boy joins the family and thrives despite early setbacks. You can’t imagine trading a minute of this magical time for a career.

    Blink . . . you watch your middle schooler and kindergartener walk away and you agonize that this day arrived so quickly.

    Blink . . . to clear the tears that pool in your eyes and stream down your face.

    Today sucks.

    I miss you, my sweet girls.

  • August14th

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    On the eve of our return back to Texas heat and the realities of cooking, cleaning and home maintenance, I sit here waiting for my cucumber facial peel to dry in the cool Spanish Fork breeze that gently blows in from the open window. Only moments ago, I exfoliated with an apricot scrub.

    Prior to this trip, the last time I had a facial was probably when George Bush was President.

    George Bush, Senior.

    But the influence of a beautiful young lady has shown us wonders that I had long ago forgotten.

    Our first week here, Claire suggested that we all treat ourselves to facials while we watched Anna and the King. Who wouldn’t want cocoa honey mud smeared all over her face?

    It’s experiences like this that my kids and I will never forget.

    Thanks for the memories, Claire and family!