Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

...with the addition of this dollhouse, the bedroom of my childhood dreams is now complete. Me and Kindred sure are some lucky girls.

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

Monday, December 24, 2018


Crikey!!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

"It's a saltwater crocodile, you can tell by his mouth and his hat." -Berg

Elvis Meets Kindred

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Only a last minute shopping trip with my dad would lead us to Salvation Army Elvis singing in the mall. There are so many weird things about that sentence that I don't even know what to unpack first. That me or my dad were in the mall? Elvis? The only thing that made sense was how my daughter walked up in front of everyone and decided to bust a move. She danced her booty off to a few songs and she probably would have kept dancing but we needed to get going.

I just love her free spirit!!

Christmas on the Square Pajama Run

Friday, December 21, 2018
                  

K stayed last night with Nova,and the girls decided to keep it rolling for one more night back at our house. When they started to get a little fussy right before bed, I announced that we were doing a pajama run down to the square to see all the Christmas lights. The weather was much warmer than what is typically seasonal so pajamas were just fine for our short visit.


The girls loved it!! And, even better, they were yawning by the time we got home and went right to bed with no complaints! We are going to try again when Naiya can come up and go with us!

Dylan

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Yesterday, before I went to pick up Kindred, Dylan and I got to spend some time together. We got coffee (and I didn't feel terrible so it was heavenly!) and did some Christmas shopping. And, oh my heart...I have missed him so much. We rarely get out when it's just the two of us anymore. Either I have Kindred with me or he's out with friends or working. So, it was just amazing to be together. He's such a funny guy. If there is anyone on tv that I could relate to Dylan so you could feel like you sorta know him...I swear it would be Eric Forman from That 70's Show. He was also obsessed with Star Wars, had a friend move in before his parent's realized it, and has that same dry sarcastic sense of humor. He's actually pretty hilarious. He had me cracking up as we hoofed it around the mall. I like him. He grew up way too fast. I can't wait until we get to hang out again!!

So This Is 39

Saturday, December 08, 2018




We just talked and laughed and took some pics and listened to the girls playing. And, it was the best gift possible!!

Electric

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

How? I mean...how?

Christmas Parades

Monday, December 03, 2018

We took in the local afternoon parade and then drove a county over to see an evening parade because that is how 2018 is going when it comes to these two girls. Stuff that I may not have made an effort to do before Naiya got sick, I am more inclined to go all out for. Lest we all forget their summer bucket list...which I am sad to say concluded with one item not marked off. We never played freeze-tag. It was an administrative oversight and we bitterly regret it.


I mean, seriously...which kid is mine? Nova has her aunt's curly hair and Kat shares thinner hair with Kindred. Genetics is weird, shug.

If you follow me on Instagram, you must find the parade post and watch the Disney float. It was sincerely a spectacle to behold. Next year, we need to take a few blankets to the evening parade because the temp dropped pretty quickly and the girls cited yet another administrative oversight on my part. I'm doing my best, guys...


"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."

Sunday, November 18, 2018

...but pistachios do!

Bedtime

Friday, November 16, 2018

...is an event around here.


Woodland Critters

Thursday, November 15, 2018

I've decided to change up our holiday decorations. We've had a blue and red almost retro-looking decor theme going on since Kindred's first Christmas but I want to do a more natural/woodland look to encourage (hopefully) a less commercialized, less consumerist centric holiday.

So, we were out hunting for woodland critters for our tree. We checked out Pier One and found a few things. Next on our list is the gift shop at Lost River Cave. Gives me a chance to support a local gift shop and their woodland tree decor is too cute. Kindred and I have plans to pop in and choose an ornament every week until Christmas. And, after Christmas, we will ransack their Christmas clearance for next year. We love sales.

We are picking up some cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise and small pinecones to fashion ourselves a garland this week. I can't wait to craft with Kicky. She is so creative!! We decorate on Black Friday every year instead of participating in the running of the bulls. My son will be working at a big box retailer on Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday this year. He will miss the family dinner with my mama and sisters. This is where we are as a country. Totally disconnected from the reality of our choices. May kinder, wiser heads prevail someday.

Dear Kicky,

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I am so grateful to be your mama. 
You are, without a doubt, one of the spunkiest, funniest, smartest creatures I have ever known!!
My days have been brighter just because you are here. I love you, daughter,

Naiya's Aflac Commercial

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Awhile back, the folks at Aflac made this animatronic duck to share with kids newly diagnosed with cancer. The ducks come with these discs that you rub on their chests and the duck responds with the appropriate kind of quacks. A friend of mine is a play therapist and said that this definitely play therapy, which has been shown to work wonders for kiddos. The ducks turn their heads and look at the children too, which is so cute. Oh, and they ducks will talk to each other, so if two kids with ducks are together, the ducks interact.

So, they came to Vanderbilt and let the kids try the ducks out while filming a commercial. And, Naiya is one of the stars of that commercial! Last week, they returned with the ducks as gifts for the kids. It was such a special day and my eyes fill with tears every time I think back on it. There was a scavenger hunt, on-site embroidery station to add the ducks names to their special backpacks, necklace making station, little ducks for siblings/besties, catered food, and a million big smiles on little bitty faces.



It feels amazing to be back out with my besties (missing Nova & Kat, of course.) having the kind of day kids should have. Vanderbilt really steps it up for the kids, I have to give them credit for that. No one should ever have to go through what these kids and their families go through...but it makes a huge difference to have so many folks down there trying their best every day to make it a little easier on everyone else. I will always love them for that.


Another link for the commercial HERE. 

Halloween 🧡 2018

Friday, November 02, 2018

Because of the forecast situation I mentioned yesterday, we got to Trick or Treat with the family on the 30th and spend actual Halloween at home. I kept waiting for the promised deluge all day, but it barely sprinkled. So, by trick or treat time, we were dressed up again, music blasting, and ready with the candy.


An hour into it, we hadn't had anybody but Kicky's neighborhood bestie. I felt like I'd wandered into The Twilight Zone! We live across the street from an elementary school, in a neighborhood with many streets surrounding us. But, no kids were to be seen! We decided to join 'Jessie' from Toy Story and do one lap around the block, where we encountered only a couple of ToT'ers.


After we returned home, we watched Hocus Pocus until it was past time for any new Trick or Treaters. I estimate we had around 20, and some of those were in groups. Dylan wound up with entirely too much candy but we had a good time and I'm grateful that the rain held out.

Sisters

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Ash turned on the Snapchat filter and luckily my long arm helped us get a good overhead shot. But, here we are. We could not be more different in many aspects, but we love each other.

Trick or Treat🎃

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's the most wonderful time of the year... I start planning for Halloween early and every year I declare it to be the best one yet. Last night, was no exception...our little ankle-biting vampires were frightfully gorgeous and had the best time!


I hope these girls carry on the tradition of making the most out of Halloween every year. Look at these precious kiddos!!! Ash lives on Main Street of our hometown, so we planned on making being at her house the main event. I dressed up a little, brought almost all of my decorations, and made AN AMAZING PLAYLIST that is so fun I can't stop listening to it!!

Naiya is on steroids right now, which makes her emotionally volatile, and the chemo wears her out, so we didn't even attempt to go far from the house, yet she was already worn out before we got back. She was very content to hand out handfuls of candy, despite my desperate pleas to just give one piece so we didn't run out! We did run out...twice...but a candy run to the good ole' Dollar Store remedied the situation before any kiddos had to be turned away.



Girls, every year on this day you have made me the happiest I think I have ever been in my life. I do not stop smiling at the three of you. I will never forget the magic of Halloween with you. It was great when Dylan was small, too, but you three together just amplifies how sweet it can be when fate delivers you a triple-dose of love & giggles.



I was dancing to the aforementioned AMAZING PLAYLIST and smiling and handing out candy and wishing the kiddos a Happy Halloween and in my ideal version of the afterlife, we are all doing this every single night.

I already can't wait for next year!! Happy Halloween, everybody!

Wednesday

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Naiya came to play with us today! The Kindred/Naiya dynamic is decidedly different from the Kindred/Nova and the Naiya/Nova dynamic. Nova is such an agreeable little sweetheart and can get along with pretty much anybody. As a study in contrast, Kindred feels very strongly about almost everything and expresses it very loudly if she feels like she isn't being heard.

Every day is Hollywood here and Kindred is both the director and the leading actress. According to my Granddaddy, I was the same way. We played The Waltons and he was John-Boy and I was Jenny and I told him everything to do and say. Bless his patient heart.

Naiya doesn't want to be bossed and expresses that very loudly, too. Since she was the baby, by a whole year, we always urged the girls to let her have her way because she didn't understand how to play like they did yet. So, Naiya was used to getting what she wanted almost anytime she wanted it. And, then she got sick...which means we all bent over backwards to ensure she kept a smile on her face. The result of all of that is we now have two very strong personalities who are sure they are the star of the show.

You got about 30 mins tops before the claws come out, folks...


Absence quickly makes the heart grow fonder, and they are still able to rebound and continue playing together, luckily nobody is holding any grudges. So, every time they hear the other is en route for a playdate, they get super excited. It's just so great to have Naiya back with us now. We are counting our blessings for sure!!

Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lucky for us, a pumpkin patch is within close proximity to my mama's house. We've watched as it first opened, added fun things for kiddos, and expanded into a bustling local agro-tourism location.

For mama's birthday this year, she requested that all grandgirls join her for pumpkin pickin' at Just Piddlin'. For the first time since Nova started Kindergarten, all the girls seemed healthy. (Seemed is the operative word, as a cold/cough spread thru the trio within 48 hours afterward.) It was a bit of a cousin reunion. They've seen each other individually, but this was the first time all three were together in what seems like forever. We soaked it all up.



Where does the time go? Seems like just yesterday I brought her here toddling around on two unsteady legs. In this pic, I can see how she favors me...but, most of the time I think she looks like her daddy.


Can you believe she just turned 60 yesterday? My mama is gorgeous.


It is so so so good to have her here with us again. Back to adventuring as a trio, as it should be.

Copycat Autumn Squash Soup

Sunday, October 21, 2018

My favorite soup at Panera Bread is the Autumn Squash, so naturally I tried the best copycat recipe I could find. The result is amazingly close! It is slightly less sweet, so add a little more honey if you need it as sweet as PB. I don't, so it was absolutely perfect for me! I'd also use an onion on the smaller side. Mine was a good sized onion and it came out just a hint of too much onion.

Here is the recipe via Fakeginger.com:

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pumpkin seeds for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add butternut squash, pumpkin puree, vegetarian broth, apple juice, honey, curry powder, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, until the butternut squash is fork tender. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend in batches until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and stir in heavy cream. Heat through.
  3. Garnish with pumpkin seeds before serving.

If you whip a batch up, let me know how it was!

Returning

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I present an argument for an immediate collective return to blogging...

When it first started, blogging was a medium which allowed us to find & forge connections with our soul-sisters who weren't conveniently located nearby. I loved reading what life was like for mamas on the sunny west coast, high in the mountains, way out in the desert, and even anchored in the bay. In the morning, I would get my coffee ready as the computer booted up (ha! remember THOSE days!?) and then I'd sit down at my desk to read the offerings from the minds & hearts of friends. Back then, there were some popular blogs who remind me now of the polished Instagram 'influencer' accounts...and those weren't for me. I preferred the writings of those who were in the trenches of motherhood alongside me, and weren't afraid to share about leaky breasts, strong-willed children, working husbands, and a feeling that maybe who we are gets lost under all the hats we must wear to the keep the circus going.

But, somewhere along the way...we phased out sharing our days. Blogs that I used to adore were abandoned, quietly. A post here and there until...nothing. Facebook became the way we stayed in touch until Instagram came along and many bloggers utilized it as a replacement. Facebook became a community that I felt uncomfortable belonging to, so I left it. And, I don't miss it even a tiny bit. For me, it was a drain on my time and energy. Lately, Instagram has started to feel the same way. Content is curated and branding/marketing is rampant. Connection is fading, just as before with blogging.

I am going to try to keep my little blog alive. If you want to come along, there is a"Subscribe" box on the sidebar and posts will be sent straight to your Inbox. My goal is to post 2-3 times weekly and add a sidebar link list of interesting blogs who are still out there sharing magic with us so that you can check them out too. I hope to see you writing!

DOOMED TO FIRE

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kindred has a very theatrical mastery of our language. The things that come out of her mouth are not quite what you expect to hear from a 4 year old. This morning, she announced that her throat felt doomed to fire. I took a peek and then felt some swelling in her lymph nodes, so off to the nurse practitioner we went. She was positive for strep so after some good ole' Western meds in the form of antibiotics, she will be back to her usual quirky little self.

In the meantime, send some good energy her way. Thanks, friends!

Uncle B

Sunday, September 30, 2018



He has the gentlest heart. Truly.

Berg has stepped up his uncle game considerably since Naiya's father moved out of state a few months ago. He buys her treats like he does Kindred and he wants to spend time with her so that she remains strong and protected. I've unpacked a lot of baggage about how growing up without my dad affected my development, but the science is pretty clear that it does make a lasting difference. So, Berg wants to be sure Naiya grows up surrounded by men who share in the father role to fill in the space left by her father's absence.

There are too many things I could say about what my sister has been through over the past year, but it is her story to tell. True to her Piscean nature, she may never tell it to others, but she has navigated her way through much heartbreak. I am so proud of her for seeking safer, higher ground. Real love does not wound us.

Rosita the Survivor

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kindred insisted we rescue this rosebush from the Clearance section of the garden center at Wal-mart. It was in bad shape when we brought it home, but things got worse when beetles ate almost every single leaf on it and the 'Full Sun' it says it needs vs the 'Scorching Hot Full Sun' of my backyard almost cooked it. As a last ditch effort to save it, I moved it to right outside my spare room window where I can see it from my desk. A few days ago, I was surprised and elated to discover three blooms on it! I hope she survives the winter and comes back to us next Spring!

Travelin' Man

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Happy birthday, dad!!

These Two

Friday, September 14, 2018

...have my heart. I am grateful for this body that carried them safely to me. I am one lucky mama.

Spunk

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

...you've got lots of it, kiddo.

Almost Famous

Friday, September 07, 2018

Thrift store shopping with Kindred means you may wind up looking like Penny Lane or another 70s icon. And, that is okay with me, but this one was a little much. However, a couple days later I thought about how it would look great with a unicorn mask at a Halloween party...so maybe we should go see if it's still there. Haha!

***Kindred now accepting a limited number of clients for personal styling***