Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Dragon tales and the "water is wide" 

Pirate's sail and lost boys fly 

Fish bite moonbeams every night 
And I love you 

Godspeed, little man 

Sweet dreams, little man 

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings 
Sweet dreams 

The rocket racer's all tuckered out 

Superman's in pajamas on the couch 

Goodnight moon, we'll find the mouse 
And I love you 

Godspeed, little man 

Sweet dreams, little man 

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings 
Sweet dreams 

God bless mommy and match box cars 

God bless dad and thanks for the stars 

God hears "amen" wherever we are 
And I love you 

Godspeed, little man 

Sweet dreams, little man 

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings 



Sweet dreams

Songwriter: Radney Foster.
Photos: Willow Tree Photography 
Baby Makers: Lance and Holly :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day trip

Lance spends half of his life on Craig's List.

Mostly window shopping and trying to convince me how good of a deal something is.

30% of the time I forget to listen
20% of the time I don't even know what it is that he's talking about.
and 50% of the time its an outrageous splurge that I will never agree to.

As soon as we bought the Tahoe, he went to Craig's List looking for a grill guard.
That I wasn't convinced we needed.

He found one...
For $200--
In Temple, Texas.
just north of Austin.

Once the guy agreed to $150, which is like $300 cheaper than any others he found, Lance proposed the trip.

At first we thought about staying over night and making a weekend of it--
or leaving the kids behind and having a day together--
but eventually we just decided to make it day trip,
kids in tow like we do everything else in our lives--
and they handled it well.
(even Beaky who's not feeling well.)

Maddox, Mario, B and Mickey loaded in the backseat....
and Lance and I in control of the front--
we headed south.

We anticipated heavy traffic but it wasn't bad, therefor we were an hour and a half early.

After getting the grill guard and strapping it to the luggage cart, we decided to look up some local food.

Backyard BBQ had amazing reviews on Yelp and it claimed to be only 5 miles away.

20 minutes later and passing it 4 times, we realized it was a true hole-in-the-wall and the name was chosen honestly.
It was behind a banquet hall, in about a 15X15' room-- and had you not been looking for the hand painted sign that read, "BBQ in back", you might have driven past it 4 times, said ugly words, and assumed it was closed down, as well.

I'm glad we found it though, because it was awesome!

On the way home, we made the obvious stop in West at the Czech Stop Bakery.

I'll be honest, after many trips over the years, I've never bought the hype.
I know I may be stoned for admitting that-- but I guess cream cheese kolaches just aren't my thing.

But after the explosion, and the stress that little town has been through-- this stop felt different.

That town has pride, camaraderie, and perseverance written all over it.

We drove over to the site of the explosion, and though they have cleaned up most of the mess-- there's still devastation everywhere.

It was emotional.

And it kind of made me proud too...
that people came from all over to help people that they have never met-- and wanted nothing in return.
That's big, right?

I was glad we stopped.

We hopped back on 35 and finished our journey north to Kyleigh's birthday party.

The home stretch.

Exhausted from dancing too many times to 'Blurred Lines' with my husband...
and singing loud to Mark David Manders--
and jumping and sliding and pizza and cake...

We finally made it home.

Lance and Buster installed the grill guard,
and I went to bed!

Who knew sitting in a car exerting no energy could be so exhausting?

Friday, July 26, 2013

turning five... and thereafter

Turning five has been a little rocky for us.

You have to understand, overall, Maddox is pretty easy.
Minds well(-ish), moldable, rarely rocks the boat, and is a peace-maker.

But as I think back, it seems as though he has taken each new birthday with a little resistance.

He's been a little more defiant and pushing the boundaries, just seeing how I will react.
Thinking he's old enough to do everything now-- "because he's five".
But really not old enough to do anything-- that he couldn't do 2 weeks ago-- when he was 4.

Arguing with me and lashing out when he doesn't get his way.
Running ahead, or making his own path against the crowd.

It has made for a few hard days.

Not to mention that my anxiety is on high alert as a 17 year old was arrested for the murder of a 6 year old little girl, just a town over.

It is hard to do everything right as a mommy.
To know how to shelter them from a mean and cruel world-- and yet be honest enough so that they know that no one can truly be trusted.

It is overwhelming for me to be the parent of a five year old,
who thinks he is mature enough to make adult decisions, and parent his two year old brother-- and yet wears Lego Starwars underwear.

It is crippling to love something so much and admit that you can't control everything in this nasty world.

And it sucks when you let your anxiety over losing them to something so evil and yet rare,
that you potentially plant seeds of anxiety into a little being that is so much like you and a thinker.

It's rough.

'Tis parenting.


We spent the day before vacation at the water park with the Byford girls, the Addington clan, and Gigi.
It was Maddox's actual birthday and it was the best way to celebrate.

And we came back from vacation in the same way.

And to rain...

And really tired babies.

I was glad to be back at work, and embraced my Saturday morning with a smile.
I was sad, however,  to have finally used up the last of my Starbucks gift card from my step-mom and dad.
(but proud that I made it last 3 months!)

After work, I ran and bought a gift for Kyleigh and had Lance meet me across town with the kids for her party ...that was still 7 days away!

But we didn't call it a day wasted.
We browsed a few dealerships and eventually traded in my car for a Tahoe!
Way cooler than my last one-- as there isn't a bell or whistle they forgot to put on it.
It is used, and a little higher payment than my Murano.
But we didn't go up-side-down,
And it is exactly what I wanted.  I just love it...

And my kids now complain of being too cold, rather than it being 108 and sweating profusely because of the absence of air vents in the back!

The boys love it too...
as they should,
since it served as an hour of entertainment on Monday when I locked us out of the house and my only key was still in the realtor's lock box and my new car wasn't programed to the garage or alarm yet.

Thankful to a nice realtor neighbor who responded to my community's FB page post to let me into the lockbox-- and the movie Ice Age...
we survived.

My sister and mom and Dave came out Sunday and I cooked for everyone.
My sister left me the sweetest card and gift, and I cried like a baby.

If I haven't said it enough-- I am so proud of the almost-22-year-old-WOMAN, she has become.
I love her so much,
as do my kids.
And the family who hired her to nanny, are lucky to have her.

Wednesday was like this:

 And then this.

Oh and this for free, since they opened up next door to Lance and brought it over to him!
(which I have an appointment to redeem on Wednesday morning)

Thursday was Maddox's five year old check up.

He was 40lbs and 44 1/4" tall.
His vision and hearing were great and I was proud to watch the mature interaction he and Dr Hayward had.
She was impressed with him too, and of course that made me feel good.

She didn't do my anxiety any favors, however, when she suggested an ENT referral to finally remove these extra-large tonsils he inherited from me that are now causing snoring, gasping and noisy breathing.

She pacified my tears with a nasal steroid spray that we are going to try for a month before we do anything crazy.

She also put him on Zantac to see if the "heart pains" that have not gone away-- and frankly have become more common-- are a symptom of acid reflux.

She asked about the schools in Paradise as she thinks he is so ready for kindergarten now and will need to be challenged once he finally starts...
but she didn't disagree with my reasoning for holding him out until next fall either.

We went to Grapevine Mills after our appointment with my mom and scored a couple of treats--
like new underwear for all the males in my house.

And 3 $5 hats for my beach trip.

Maddox hurt his knee last night on the trampoline so we canceled our day in the sun to rest a swollen and painful knee--

Beckham has spent a good chunk of his day in time-out, crying, refusing to apologize to his big brother and playing trucks in the buff.

He's such a stubborn little thing.
(good thing he's cute.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Red River 2013

Every summer, my brother and his family spend a little time in New Mexico.
They come home and share their pictures and claim that they want to move there, and I am all like, "meh."
My idea of vacation is sitting in the sun, with sand in my crack and something fruity in my straw.

I hate to be cold...
and to be honest, the pictures aren't all *that* impressive.

Well take my word...
the pictures do no justice.

Red River, NM is amazing.

(And since this is the first summer that we have not flown to our destination, we were able to squeeze 2 stops into our summer plans, therefore I still get my beach.)


A few weeks ago, we were all sitting in mom's front yard, making fun of Weeder and how he had taken each of us aside at some point or another to let us know we were pulling out at 4:30.
Not 4:31...
Or a minute thereafter.

If you know my brother, this is no surprise.

While joking and laughing, the word "Thursday" was said.
Weeder said, "you mean Friday?"
We meant Thursday.

We had all taken off work (and rented the car) a day too early--
and because RR is such a popular place--
there was no way we were going to be able to get our cabin a day earlier.

So my parents offered up a plan:
We could leave Thursday and stay the night in Amarillo.
They bought us tickets to see 'Texas' in Palo Duro Canyon... and covered our stay for the night with David's travel points.

Weeder was able to get off of work, so it all worked out.
And better yet, we were able to split the drive in half.

'Texas' was neat...
but about an hour and a half too long for our kids.
The finale was amazing, and our kids loved the music and dancing before it started.
It is somewhere that I wouldn't mind re-visiting...
one day...
without my kids.

And the canyons were very pretty too.

We woke up Friday, ate breakfast at the Hampton Inn and hit the road.

I was honestly surprised at how well my kids did in the car.
not that an Ipad, DS, DVD player, and toys shouldn't do the trick...
But there were fewer tears and less fighting than I envisioned.

They were wild as stray cats when we got there, and their craziness doubled when they got to see their cousins...
We had dinner-- and a much needed drink-- And then went for ice-cream.

I tried to pin Lance and Weeder against each other since they were both mad at the world and taking it out on their wives and kids...
but it didn't work, so Randi and I escaped to the park and let the kids burn some fuel.

Saturday morning, the guys had booked themselves a white water rafting trip.
They were a little disappointed when they found out that we are not in prime rafting season--
but once they found out they got to go through a few technical parts, they were happy again.

We girls pampered ourselves as well.
We booked massages and facials in town.

Somehow, however, there was an error in booking and me and another lady showed up at the same time.
She was a little bent out of shape that she was going to have to come back and potentially miss her arts and crafts, so I volunteered to leave.

It is a little pitiful to admit, that my favorite part of the trip just might have been that walk to and from the massage--alone.

The view is just breath-taking and it smells like fresh rain.
Everything is old and well loved.
No food-chains... all mom-and-pop.
Nothing fast.
Everything simpler.
The temperature was in the 70s and the humidity was zero.
Everything is green and there's deer strolling around like they know you.
I took my time...
and I took a few pictures too.
It was probably only 10 minutes alone-- but it was incredible.

And my massage was pretty great too.

We woke up early every day there, so we got the most out of our days.

Our cabin was new, beautiful and nestled just on the edge of town, which I liked, because everything was still close enough to walk too-- and yet there was no traffic or noise around us.

My brother's cabin was more in town, older, but had a better view-- as it sat right on the river.

I don't know that you can go wrong anywhere you stay-- but we were both happy with our cabins.

Saturday afternoon we took the kids to tube down the mountain.
We also bought passes to do the adults tubes but rain came in and shut them down before we could ride them.
Maddox claimed that this was his favorite part of the trip.
Well that, and "*almost* getting to ride the go-carts."  --cue the womp, womp, womp, music.

While waiting for the rain to pass the kids started playing with a little chipmunk.
It was too funny watching that little thing try and outsmart the kiddos and then all of them wailing out in laughter once it finally came their way.

We ate a lot on our trip.
And you know the frugalist in me wants to tell you that RR can be done cheaper.
We had a full kitchen in our cabin and a nice grill outside... and had we planned ahead-- our expenses could have been cut in half.
But I hear the food is half the experience.
And what about the word vacation says cook 3 meals for everyone for 6 days?
Maybe next time.

A friend of Lance's from HS texted me and told me her favorite eating spots and we tried all of them out.
She did not lead us wrong, as they were all good--
and I have to admit I was secretly jealous that she takes girls trips there.
No kids?  No men?
I am in!

That evening we had Texas Red's for dinner.
And afterward, Lance and Maddox took a little alone time together and walked the shops so Maddox could spend his birthday cash.
My heart couldn't have been fuller when he came home and showed me his treasures, and he had bought Beckham a little sock monkey with his own money, "because he just knew he would love it!"
And he did.
Aside from Mickey Mouse, "ah ah" (as in "ooh,ooh- ah,ah") are Beckham's favorite things right now.

(And we cracked up that Maddox called the canoe in his Cowboys and Indians set a "gondola"!)

Sunday we ate breakfast at Old Tymer's Cafe, where we ran into a group of people from the church where Maddox went to preschool...
They are starting a satellite church just out of town and were telling us all about it.
Afterward, we headed to the ski lifts.

I must admit, that though this was probably my favorite part of the trip in hind-sight--
it was by far the scariest in the moment.

Let me flash you back to my sophomore year.
Varsity cheerleading--
blackout peprally.

We had all made our way to the top of the gym to tape black paper over the skylights.
Somewhere in the travel up, I froze.
Never in my life had I been scared of heights but that day I became petrified.

Maybe it was my friend Mandy standing on one foot, an inch from the edge and taunting me--
but I was crying and frozen and promising everything in my body that I was unable to make it down.

Mom at the bottom; first laughing and then pissed-- and threatening to call the fire department to get me down...
and my friends laughing-- because they weren't sure if I was seriously that scared?
Changed forever.

I got to repeat.
15 years later.

Same emotions, flashed back like a tsunami.

There's no seat belts or bars that lock you into place on this gig.
No safety harness...
or even locks keeping that measly cord on top of the pulley.
The thing doesn't even stop for you to get on...
You just line yourself up and sit backwards and hope that squirmy little thing in your lap makes so sudden moves.

I can't remember a time that I was so uncomfortable.
And I realized why I could never be an ER nurse, because my "flight" always trumps my "fight".

My arms were shaky and weak, and Beckham only enjoyed about 15 minutes of his 30 minute incline, so he was restless and trying to squirm during half of our journey up.

I probably cussed him...
I am not going to lie.

But it is a lot like being held at gun-point.
Take my word.

At each incline, I asked the same question:  "If we fell right now, would we die?"

We got off at the top of the mountain and walked around.
We met an elderly man who ran the place that was originally from Nocona, TX.

We hiked around a little bit and Lance carved his symbol into a tree.

The view at the top of the mountain was incredible.
Add all of the smells and colors and fresh air, and views from the bottom; multiplied and inhaled.

I could have stayed up there a few more hours--
but should have left up there 15 minutes earlier than we did.

About half way down our decline, it started to rain.
Huge, ice-cold rain drops.

And because the pad was wet, they would stop it every few minutes to let people off.

I will say that the ride down was much more enjoyable and less stressful, even despite the rain...
And I wish we had rode the thing again so I could get a re-go at the stroll up.

It may have all been a bit much for B, though, as he had a breakdown of epic proportions following the ride.
If I were able to understand his screams and rage; I'm sure he cussed me too.
But all I could make out between the screaming mess of tears was, "you mean momma-- YOU MEAN!"

Finally with the packed-in-case-of-emergency binky (that we haven't had in 2 months) and a little booby-touching (that he ditched the day we discarded the paci) he folded.
Thank God!

We had Capos for dinner and then came back to our cabin for a hysterical game of Mexican Train.

Monday morning we pulled out of our cabin and headed west through Taos to Santa Fe.

It was a neat town with lots of shopping, and we had famous dining at The Shed.
Mom and I promised each other that we would make it back there one day...
without kids.
...and padded pockets.

It was raining and the kids were trying to tame down from their 2 hours in the car--
but the Loretto Chapel was still breath-taking.

We packed up and headed south, and checked in at the Hampton Inn in Santa Rosa, NM.
This particular part of Route 66 was just like the movie Cars.

The guys tried to get us dinner at DQ but were so grossed out that they left and we had McDonalds instead.

The hotel was sub-par in my parents standards (and certainly by the name of Hampton), as there was mold in the bathroom and a stain on my bed...
un-vacuumed carpet and the ceiling was caving in.
We are pretty sure the house keeper mopped our room with her hair as there was long black hair everywhere-- and the pool was so cloudy that we couldn't see our feet while standing in it.

I had to remind them of some of the schmancy places we stayed growing up and of 2 separate vacations in particular where we bailed to the car because the place was so gross!
So in the big picture this place was still decent....
therefor I wasn't too disappointed.

It was a suite so we had plenty of room for another game of train.

And it was free--
since it was gross.

Win.  Win.

We spent Tuesday on the road.
Driving in and out of rain.
Napping, reading, and struggling for internet connections on our phones.

Again, the boys were troopers.
With only a few arguments and tears.

I was so glad to be home and we all slept past 10:00 the next morning... trying to catch up, I assume.
We brought a little of the cool weather and rain back with us, as Texas has experienced record July lows while we were there.

I am ready to get back to routine and get this house back in order... and laundry put away.

I am really ready to un-confuse this underwear-wearing boy who spent a week in diapers and subsequently wet his pants 3 times yesterday.
...and for him to finish cutting these 3, 2-year molars that are rocking our socks, these last few weeks.

New Mexico was good to us...

and in the words of my brother,
"I'm ready to move north!"