Friday, June 28, 2013


Remember this post where a gal asked me to post about her contest and she would gift me a mini session in return?

Well that "gal" turned into a super sweet chick named Eileen--
and that mini-session turned into pure greatness.

I knew that I didn't want to waste this gift on a generic family session.
(even though it would have been equally a-maze-ing.)
I wanted to do something fun, whimsical and creative.

Originally I was thinking a super-hero themed shoot-- cops and robbers kind of feel, basically the boys playing dress up and her capturing the moment.

And then I found a headdress.

It is no secret that I have always wanted a headdress,
and finally I had an excuse to purchase it.

And for $10, the thing felt like a steal!

Dress up now changed into a sunset game of cowboys and Indians,
which is about as classic and timeless boy-play can get.

I put together the outfits...
Gathered face paint for my little Indian.
a bow and arrow.
We came up with a horse...
or two.
And we built the perfect little teepee for the shoot.

I am smitten with these pictures and can't wait to post them.

For now, I will post how we made our teepee for less than $20.

I found the 6' tall bamboo at Hobby Lobby for $2.50 a stick.  (normally $5 each, but HL loves them some sale, and I took advantage.)  I bought 5.
I had Lance drill holes in each stick, 9" down.
I ran my Dollar Tree twine through each stick a million times, looping it over and under and around again until it was all pretty stiff and could stand alone.
The boys and I had painted up a twin flat-sheet a few blogs back, and now that it was dry, I draped it around the base.
I used Velcro dots to keep it all in place and I draped .98 cent plastic bunting (and safety pinned them in place) from the party section at Walmart, around it for a finishing touch.

I loved how it turned out.

And I double love what Eileen was able to do with it all....

As she turned this:

Into this:

Innocent boy fun and sun-kissed memories.

Holy Moly.
I am in love.

Stay tuned to Eileen's blog for the rest of the series...
And who am I kidding-- I'll be posting more too!  :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

People are kind.

So, a couple of blogs ago I mentioned that Maddox was going to use his birthday cash for a Nintendo DS.

A day or so later, my friend Kelly's son Karter, showed up at our door with games and a brand new car charger.

I was floored by their kindness and posted the picture above to my Instagram account.
The following day my friend Lauren offered up her son's DS to Maddox for free!
Cason, dropped it off at my work with a sweet note and everything.

Maddox almost cried he was so excited and honored receive such a big gift from a stranger.

After posting that act of generosity, my sweet friend Jennifer's son Jayce offered up even more games and a bag to carry it all to Maddox!
Jennifer dropped it off to Lance the same day!

I tell you all of this not only to brag on the awesomeness that surrounds us--
but to brag on the boys these moms are raising as every one of them made the decision to give these things to Maddox.

That's pretty incredible.
And amazing, since of the 3, only one has ever even met him.

Kindness isn't dying.
It's been raised right around us.
And we hope we are instilling these same qualities in our boys,
and that we can pass the feelings of gratitude on.

People are kind.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Not For Sale

We are pulling our house off of the market at the end of this month.
Which, now that I look at it, means it has until the end of the weekend to sell.

HGTV always talks about the 100 days, and since we are nearing that, we want to pull it before people start low-balling us.
We will put it back on...
But Krisha says that July and August are slow anyway,
so it would be a good time to do it.

I could blame my husband and the fact that he is unwilling to lose more than 2K on the deal, therefor hardly budged on our only offer.  Or the curled lip he makes (and the complaining that he does) when he realizes how much it costs to simply have a sign in your yard (even when your sweet realtor is cutting you a kicking deal) or the fact that he throws his underwear on the floor, and his keys, wallet, knife, hat, and change from his pocket across the dresser every day as if I don't have to have it show ready again by morning.

I could blame the 6-8 people who have come out for a showing, just to tell us they liked the place but found something better... wished it had a garden tub... thought the carpet was crappy... could smell our indoor pet-- that we don't have... or my favorite::  the one who really-really liked it but didn't even have her home on the market yet so isn't ready to buy.

I could blame myself and how crazy it makes me to live in limbo... with no where to move if it does sell, no offers to sell anyway, and 3 kids (Lance is in that counting) who contribute very little to my obsessive compulsive cleaning-- and how psychotic I feel every time another friend sells their house in 3.7 seconds of it listing, or we go another weekend with no showing.

I could blame barely-23 year old Holly and her equally as gullible 26 year old newlywed husband who offered more than listing price because her realtor recommended such, rolled every closing-cost-dime into escrow, and still owes damn-near what we paid for it 6 years ago.

I could blame all of the foreclosures in our area.

Or I could just not blame anyone.
Take a break.
Exhale a minute.
Not shove baskets of clean laundry into the dryer (3 will fit, however, in case you need to know that) and another 2 into the trunk of your car because as hard as you try, you suck at laundry and can't leave that crap in baskets during a showing.
(for the record, I am caught up at the moment-- but give me 3 days....)
And realize it will eventually sell.

Maddox will not start school this year so we have a little time to wiggle.

Motorola is bringing 2,000 jobs to our neighborhood, as well as another 2,500 for a new Amazon distribution center next year.
A walmart is opening down the road in October and I am sure shopping and such will be built up around it.

And our farm house house, has renters.

This summer has been a major seller's market for all of our friends,
but not us.
However, I think if we are patient, people will buy.

Even though it may be a year from now before it happens...
Haslet is growing,
and we will wait.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Since the last one....

Friday we went to Hawaiian Falls with the Addington clan.
Not only is it fun,
but it wears my kids out!
Like, falling-asleep-while-eating-your-sundae-that-mommy-bribed-you-with-if-you-would-slide-down-the-green-slide, kind of tired.

They woke when we got home...
but still were too exhausted to do much more than watch 'Up' with me in bed.

Saturday we lost our puppy...
I cried a lot.
Ran around town so Dave could do his thing...

And then we met up with the Dean family for dinner.

With 3 small boys, it was chaos at times...
But they brought Sprinkles cupcakes and I just love chatting with Denise.
So it was totally worth the crazy!

Sunday was Father's Day.
I was on call but Lance was off.
Luckily, call was pretty slow and I decided we could venture out to dinner.
Thankfully I did not have one page the entire time we were gone,
and Coopers was excellent eating!

I felt terrible though, because the sadness that surrounded Toby had me off my game.
No Father's Day blog--  no card--
but we had bought him a new bat bag!
And that was good enough for him.

Monday was spent cleaning (as it was storming here early that morning and swim lessons were cancelled),
And teeteeing in the potty like a big boy.

I am amazed at how easily Beckham is picking up the pottying thing.
I wasn't planning on introducing this until after vacation, for obvious reasons, but he will ask me to take his diaper off to potty so I am just rolling with it.

Every time he asks, "ooh pwoud momma?"  and then runs to Maddox yelling, "I teetee potty Bubba!!  I teetee potty!"  As if it his first time to ever do it!
Maddox is such a sweet brother, he always pats his little head and tells him, "good job Beckham.  I am so proud of you."
And I think he truly is.

Bechkam has only had one teetee accident since he started this transition,
But he has not figured the poopooing part out just yet.

So, I usually make him stay in a diaper until he has had his daily bm, and then we rock the potty the rest of the day.
Lazy parenting?
But it will all come together at some point and that's something I learned from parenting Maddox.

Beckham also ditched his binky last week.
(Another thing that I planned on waiting until after a 10 hour car ride to do.)
He doesn't ask about it or talk about it or care that it is gone...
He did find one last night, however, and you would have thought he found a gold nugget.
He played with it for a bit and showed it to everyone in the house, but eventually he tossed it away before going to bed.

I'll be honest.
It kind of makes me sad.
I like him little.

In the same fashion of doing-things-on-his-own-timing, he learned the color blue this week. (and maybe green?)
Maddox's swim instructor gives them suckers at the end of each lesson and B announced that he wanted a "boo one".
He dug around in the tub and sure enough, pulled out a blue raspberry sucker.
Assuming it was luck, I asked him if he could give me a blue sucker too.
He put his little hand back down in the box and swished it around and grabbed me the same sucker.

We have played the same game with popsicles, blocks and M&Ms and he gets it right every time.
Unfortunately that's the only color he consistently does...
but he will get there.

He also may know his letters.
I use the word "may" because I haven't worked with him...
(cue 22 month old Maddox here.)
but Randi gave him her phone during swimming lessons and I look over and he is playing this game where you drag letters into the correct blank to spell a word.
I was floored.
And purchased the game today and he was IDing a few of them by name!

While I am catching you up on the ways Beckham is trying to transition out of babyhood before I can blink, I should also tell you that he is a talker-Mc-talking these days.
Full sentences and even has humor too.

We were in the car the other day and Maddox kept trying to speak.
Each time he would begin, however, Beckham would simply say, "hush."  and cut him off before he could start.
Maddox was fuming and trying to make us get on to him but Lance and I couldn't stop laughing.
Beckham knew he was funny too, as he would toss us a grin-- but he's truly comedic as he never laughed at his own joke.
Just straight faced-- looking forward, "hush."

Tuesday Lance was off work.
We had swimming lessons, and then another showing on the house.

We raced home, quickly did the fine tuning needed before a showing and then loaded up for another "no thanks."

While out, however, we made a quick trip to Boyd and I got a famous Chilly Penguin snow cone-- so all in all I called it a good day.
...And call was decent that evening too.  

Wednesday we were almost late for swim lessons because of a stalled train...
and Maddox did not put his best effort in while we were there.

Mom headed out afterward, and we spent the day at our community pool.
All of our neighbor-friends were there this time and it made for a good time.

Laughing with Ashley, Shawna and mom...
Made it an even better one!

When we pulled into the garage after, however, I noticed this little gem written on our garage wall.

When I asked him about it, he proudly admitted that he put it there, and just wanted to remind us what kind of birthday party he was wanting.
I should have been mad.
But I was humored instead.
(and proud that he spelled it correctly-- and chose a lower case 'r' over the capital!)

He is so obsessed over Mario these days (a game in which he has never played) and draws him every chance he gets-- even in the steam while taking a shower.

He is going to use his birthday cash to purchase a DS though, so he knows the real game is just around the corner...
and the excitement is killing him!

Thursday Maddox showed so much improvement at swimming lessons.
After, we headed to Roanoke for a day at Hawaiian Falls.

My friend Michelle (who actually was friends with Lance in HS and I mostly only know through social media but call my friend in my head) asked if we wanted to go with them.

I forgot that I had only really met her once or twice, because we are so similar in so many ways-- she feels like an old friend.

Channel 8 (and a bunch of other booths) were set up out there with free stuff and games and such and I hashtagged a few of our pictures trying to make it on the news.
Since I don't watch the news--
let me know if we make it!

I also ran into my hilarious friend Jenny and got to catch up with her for a minute...
and saw on FB afterward, that a few other friends made it out too.

We had cake and then I showered the boys there for their inevitable car-ride-home-crash...
Slid in with just enough time to shower before going on call.

Today we are sun-beat and waterlogged.
We stayed in to clean and rest most of the day.
And by "clean and rest", I mean clean and reclean.

We also had to decide if we wanted to accept another investment offer on our house.
(and how much money we are willing to loose.)
Now that the farm house is rented and we have no where to go...
it makes the decision a bit trickier!

We countered, but have not yet heard their reply.

We went for hair cuts this afternoon--
a late lunch/ early dinner at Lance's store--
and then home and got crafty.
(Lance has a softball game tonight.)

...And now I have to decide what I am going to do about the invitations that I have yet to order or send out for Maddox's birthday party that is exactly 2 weeks from today.
Do I have enough time??
Why do I procrastinate?
Would I have even thought about it at all had I not written this blog tonight?!!

Either way-- I scored a sweet deal on Groupon and we will celebrate Mario style with some free printables I found online!
I love a bargain!

And I double love the placement of Mario's mustache!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I was never going to love a dog

I have been trying to write this for a few days, and it just hasn't happened yet.
It is not that I am in a mess of tears or too sad to type--
I just want to use the right words, and they haven't come to me yet.

So I will do my best...
and instead of a blog-- expect a short story.
Or a novel...
Here goes.

Saturday morning, our sweet puppy Toby passed away.

I am not an animal person...
and I have a list of stories that made me that way...
But the main reason, is I hate to lose anything.
Including material things...
Or misplaced things...
People I love...
Marriages I am not even a part of...
fleeting thoughts...
Change in general.

I can't stand loss.

So at some point, I made up my mind that anything that's life span is less than a decade-- can love me more than I can love it-- and will cause hurt like the loss of a family member when it leaves us, I didn't want to be a part.
Subconsciously, I assume, I decided that animals aren't for me.

There have been a few specific incidences in my life that have marked me and made this way, I believe.
These are the things that would come out in a deep therapy session, had you spent the time and money to find out why you are the way you are today...

When I was probably 5 or so, my dad's dog had puppies.
I remember holding one and talking to it, and rubbing it and looking at its little eyes and thinking it was the cutest thing ever.
I was not watching where I was going, and tripped over a piece of concrete-- landing flat on my face while holding the puppy.
It's little nose was bleeding and I remember being so sad that I hurt it.
I think that most of that litter died-- and in hindsight, most of their animals got some nasty junk with their fur and probably died from it-- but I felt a lot of responsibility of its death.
And I never told my dad or step-mom that it happened, so for years I felt like a convict from America's Most Wanted, evading the truth.
I couldn't ever love a dog, I guess I wasn't worthy.

Flash forward a few years.
Weeder mowed a few yards all summer before his 3rd grade year and saved up for a dog.
He bought a full blood German Shepard and named him Bear.
He loved that dog and I can still remember the day he died and the way my brother cried.
It wasn't a cry... it was a wail that pulled him to the floor and physically pained his soul.
I had never seen him hurt like that.
And I never wanted to see it again.
I wasn't going to love a dog.

Then my Popa passed away.  He had a dog named Rosco that he treated like human.  As a matter of fact, when he had his heart attack, Rosco is who went for help.
He grieved his death with the rest of the family and though I am sure he helped Nana grieve too, I remember thinking that he was such a reminder to her as well, and I hated that.
My friend Mandy and I stayed the night at Nana's one night and we woke to the sound of Nana crying.
But not a sniffle as if she had found a memoir of him and pulled up her memory bank of sadness,
but an out-loud cry for help.
Rosco had been hit by a car and he was her piece of Popa.
He survived, but I remember praying that he would.
I knew Nana needed him, and could not handle another loss.
I never wanted a dog or anything, for that matter, that was too much to lose.  It was scary.

Then there were a few stories that we all laugh at now of our dogs growing up.
We lived way in the country with no neighbors so our place was a key place for dog dumping.
My parents would threaten my sister not to feed them, but her little Indian soul couldn't handle it and within a few days she'd have a collar on them and named.
We always had a mess of mut pups, with ticks and pitiful names and I wouldn't as much as look their way-- nor give them an ounce of love.

However, each time they would die, I would cry hysterically because I had so much guilt that I never pet them or said more than, "move" to them as I was trying to unlock the door or pull out of the driveway and I felt so guilty for it.

One dog, TJ, even came back after I had already mourned his apparent death, and that still wasn't even enough to pull me in.
I just wasn't an animal person.
I couldn't love a dog.

Then I started dating Lance.
He had a dog named Jake, a boxer, and he went everywhere with him in his jeep.
When Lance and I got an apartment together, Jake couldn't live there with us, and his dad became his guardian.
Jake got cancer and after multiple removal of masses, they put him down.
Lance held him while he took his last breath and he was a mess for days afterward.
I didn't get it.
I had never seen Lance like that, and it was scary to me.
He cried and cried about it-- and talked about him like he was a person.
I even found a letter that he wrote him...
And knowing a dog can't read, it just weirded me out.
I didn't love dogs.  So I didn't understand.

Within days of losing Jake, I bought Macy.
She was the runt of her litter of toy yorkies and the tiniest thing you have ever seen.
Lance would make fun of me because I honestly had no idea how to play with her.
I didn't put her down and when I did, I would just corral her back and forward not letting her walk more than a few feet.
She slept with us.
She was never fully potty trained.
She had outfits and life jackets and bows and special food.
And she lived the life of a diva.
Resting always on my arm.
She introduced me to the anxiety that parenting would bring... Karleigh's momma and my neighbor Kelly can attest to that.
I finally loved a dog.

And then we got pregnant.
And things changed.

A baby took her seat on the priority list and she lost her mind.
She started peeing and pooping on everything and refusing to eat.
She would nest on top of a bath toy, licking it like it was her own and she would scratch at the walls.
She went crazy, I think.
Mentally bonkers--
the same time I was baby bluesing and sure I was going to lose my human-baby to SIDS.

Maddox got bigger and wanted to play with her.
She shook when he came near, peed a little and showed her teeth.
She was miserable in her own home and Maddox was here to stay.

I posted a Facebook status and a friend said that her mom wanted her.

I cried the day I gave her away.
To her, I was her mom-- so I felt her fear and abandonment.
But I justified the move, because she was going to a kidless home where she could be loved how she deserved.
Still, I failed her.

Shortly after her arrival to her new home, she got away from them, and after a restless search and no luck--
a man found her.
He called me and said he had 2 teenage twin daughters and they were begging to keep her.
The new owner thought she'd be a better fit there, and I thought she would be happy with them too.
Maybe I hadn't entirely failed?

He called again a few months later and said the peeing and pooping everywhere was too much and they wanted to give her back.
We were Macy-free for a few months at this point and finally mourned her loss, removed the urine smell, and partially moved forward-- so I told him that we did not want her.
We couldn't do it again.

The weight of that reality, however, was overwhelming.
I failed again.

Every so often, I still get sad about her.
She lived a crappy life and it was my fault she did.
I have no idea where or if she is alive today and that's hard to admit.
But one thing I can say,
I didn't want to love another dog.

I wouldn't.

Toby was pushed on me when a family that Lance worked with couldn't take him to their new home.
He was already 6 or 7 years old so he was an easy transition into our home.
He rarely barked.
His temperament was like Lance's, reserved and observant.
He wasn't bothered by Maddox and he welcomed Beckham with tenderness.
He was easy.

We included him in some family actives...
but not a lot.
Beckham loved him.
Maddox was indifferent.
He loved his time at the farm house roaming free.
But he didn't complain about his little yard ether.
He let the kids dress him up in costumes, sit on him, play too rough and he never seemed to mind.
Lance didn't give him the attention that I thought he should and we spent a lot of time 'discussing' that.
I kept my distance.
But constantly badgering Lance, did you feed Toby yet?  Will it rain tomorrow?  Will it be too hot?  Too cold? ...constantly wanting the best for our family dog,
but keeping my hands clean of any responsibility.

I knew he would die.
I am not a dog person.

I woke up Saturday morning and noticed a half eaten bean burrito on my desk.
Maddox had gotten out of bed last night and found Lance eating Taco Bell after his softball game and decided he was hungry again as well.

I can still remember a night when I was little that I woke up to my mom eating a homemade icecream shake.  She made me one too and I felt so special that Weeder was sleeping (Al wasn't even born yet) and I got that treat.
My heart kind of smiled that Maddox had a similar memory as I scooped up the half eaten and now stale burrito and tossed it out the back door to Toby and made my way to get me some coffee.

Maddox was right behind me and Beckham too, wanting breakfast.

I made a quick mental note that Toby was sleeping under the trampoline, as he is usually in the opposite side of the yard at that time of the morning but didn't think much further than that.

I threw 2 waffles in the toaster, added my cream and sugar to my coffee and then took a seat with the boys.

Mom had sent me home with a bottle of sugar-free syrup that she had accidentally bought and asked if the boys would eat it.

They would not.

I asked Maddox to dump his waffle to Toby and I would make him another.

He said, "well, Toby is still sleeping.  I guess he will eat it later."
And I knew.

Anytime that Toby isn't where I think he should be sitting or takes longer to hear us and or doesn't react the way I assume he would, I fear that he has died.
He's 13 years old and over the last year, I bet I have told Lance that Toby might be dead 10 times.
At least.
I feared it.

Lance gave his usual you're-a-nut-job look, and opened the back door to prove me wrong.
No movement.
He grabbed his ball and started walking to the trampoline and then I saw his face.
I knew.

And all of the times I have claimed that I was ready to have a dogless and poop-free yard, that his hair was too much, that I hated buying dog food, that I told him to get off my blanket or out of Beckham's face---
came crashing down on me.

It was too much.

Lance was already walking out the door for work at this point and had little time to react at all.
"Don't let them play in the back yard, I'll take care of this when I get off."

Lance is a dog person.

I called my step dad in a crying fit and asked him to come help.
I knew Lance would take care of it when he got home...
but I didn't want him to.

Nor did I want his lifeless body laying under our trampoline for the next 7 hours.
Nor did I want to bust a jar of pickles all over my kitchen (unrelated but another reason to cry)...
Nor did I want to talk about Mamaw dying again with my 4 year old as it was his only reference to death.
Nor did I want Toby gone.

David pacified my request and made the 40 minute trip to pick up our dog.
He asked that I take the boys somewhere as he didn't want them to see him take him.

My neighbor Cody, came and helped me move the trampoline so David's job was a little easier.
And our neighbor, Buster, gave me a pep talk and stayed and helped lift Toby into Dave's truck.
Kelly helped me determine his cause-of-death over the phone.

We went to Lance's work to kill time and I could tell he had cried.
I didn't ask.
But I have seen tears from Lance only a handful of time in our 11 years.
I know the look.
I hate the look.

I was never going to love another dog...
I was mad at myself for breaking my own rule.
And even more mad that if I were going to love him-- why didn't I do a better job of it.
Lance loves dogs.
Grieving is difficult.

An empty yard is difficult.
No one to eat the crust off the PB&J is weird.
Change is hard.

Today Lance was off work.
We are always in a rush and running later than I would like when he is home.
Speeding out of the drive-way, in true Erwin fashion, Lance threw on the brakes.
"What the ____?"  His face was mute.  "Did you see that?  Did you see the porch?"
By his reaction, I was expecting a dead body on our porch but he threw it in reverse and revealed a full grown, yellow lab, (just like Toby) sleeping curled up on our welcome mat.

We were running behind so I didn't get to take a picture but I posted it to my community's Facebook page and a lady quickly emailed me.

Apparently a family had been searching all night for their 18 year old lab and he found his way to our home.

I told the lady about Toby and she was so emotional and sure that there was a correlation.

I am not so sure...
But then again I was never going to love another dog.

So what do I know?

Rest in peace little Toby Dog.
You will certainly be missed.