Friday, August 12, 2016

Float The River

The whisper in the wind is "You're not a real Texan until you've floated the river." I've lived here 9 years and I had no idea there was a river to float. This summer, we took the challenge.

Being with great friends and family- check
Eating at amazing restaurants- check
Being entertained at a glass blowing factory- check
Late night trip to In and Out- check
Floating the river- check
Almost drowning- check

We floated while it rained. An interesting experience. Guess what else is interesting? It's a river. Like, with real river "stuff" floating everywhere. Twigs, leaves, long grass. For a paranoid OCD person like myself, that's tough stuff. Guess what else is tough? Daughter #2 almost drowned. Like, for reals. So for reals I got scared and she was terrified. She got caught in an undercurrent section. She was turned upside down on her tube. She lost her brand new $150 birthday Ray Bans and her shoes. When she was underwater, she couldn't find the surface. Can I just tell you how big of a prayer I sent to Heaven that day? Huge. I look at her even now and think, "miracle".

It takes hours to float the river. So of course, we took food. They have special cooler tubes for all that jazz. Just like Daughter #2, those tubes got turned upside down and the food sunk away. Awesome.

Would I head to the river again? Probably not. But at least we can all say we're real Texans now.

The best part of the trip was being with family and friends (who are like family). Lots of laughter and good times.

And of course the internet is a genius and tells you all the best places to eat and visit. Even Slurpees from 7-11 were on the list.

We had some of the best barbeque I've ever tasted. Ya'll, real Texans eat real barbeque. For sure.

We found a place to junk shop. I nearly died with happiness. We also visited a glass blowing shop. Amazing is the only word I have to describe it. Crazy talent.

All drowning aside, it was a great trip. There is some kind of magic that happens when you step away from your regular work and life. It allows you to enjoy the people right in front of you. It's a gift of time. One we fully enjoyed. Because of course we went outlet shopping on the way home. Spending a gazillion dollars is the best way to wrap up a trip.

From our Texas home to yours, Happy Friday.
School starts in a week :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sisters Day 2016

Years ago we created our own tradition. Sisters Day. We've been celebrating this day so long, I can't remember when we even started. Here they are on Sisters Day in 2008:

Wow, time is a funny thing. It erases all the hardship and leaves you with the joy. I look at them at this age and I'm happy. My love for them just oozes all over the place.

Here they are today (well, yesterday. Aug. 1st is Sisters Day):

With Sam on her mission, this is the first year they haven't all been together. It makes my heart heavy. But we still celebrated in our own way. And Sam was with us and we were with her.

Having sisters is an extraordinary gift. If you're lucky enough to have one or two or more, count yourself blessed. Sisters are forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

But A Moment

I met them outside with one simple request. "Take a picture with me."
The moaned and complained, but still smiled.
They truly are my joy.
I want to hold them forever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How We 4th

3 girls in 3 different places for Independence Day.

Girl #1 with her companions in the mission field:

Girl #2 at home with her boring parents:

Girl #3 staying with a friend. I haven't seen her for days. Ah!

We partied all day long with Girl #2 in tow. I was so excited that she was actually willing to be with me. I begged her to take a selfie with me. That. Did. Not. Go. Well. So here's how I improvised in the moment. I took a picture of her and a picture of me and squeezed them together. Now I can pretend she was standing slightly near me and was enjoying it. See? We're both looking down at our phones. It's almost like were matching BFFs!

What's more American than baseball? The Houston Astros! A large group of friends gathered at the highest tier of the stands and had a blast. Baseball is actually interesting. Who knew?

We ate enough sports food to be slightly sick. When at a sporting event, soak in the beauty of the concession stand. And enjoy being with friends.

Fireworks finished off the day. Freedom feels like a beautiful thing.

Friday, June 17, 2016

And Just Like That, She's 17

I laid in the dark early this morning. Remembering. How she came into the world and into my heart. It was a short labor for a beautiful baby girl. She came out looking exactly like the sister before her. With her arrival, we became a family of "girls".

There has literally never been a dull moment. I can't think of any one calm space of time. She has challenged me and challenged the world. She has always looked at life from a different angle. She marches to a beat unknown to me. Sometimes it's chaos and sometimes it's pure beauty.

I have loved her always. Even that day she threw her entire bedroom out her second story window. I may have used my outside voice. But I still loved her. She continues to push my mothering skills way past any place I've ever known. She's forced me to see with new eyes and to love with my whole heart.

She is my joy. This girl that makes life one big adventure.
She is the brightest light in every way.
Her smile infectious.
Her laugh contagious.

She is a gift.
Unique and extraordinary.

Happy Birthday Little Layne

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Yesterday and Today

My brain lately feels hardwired to look back. Into different days than these. I've tricked myself into thinking it was easier then. I know it wasn't, but I'm telling myself it was. Deep in my bones it feels like life was fresher in different days than these.

Because, here's the thing: they were all mine and they were all home. End of story.
Life now feels like a game changer. One is on a mission, the second graduates in a year and the third wishes shes didn't live here. You see? When they were little, they liked me and they loved home. Now no one's ever home. Dinner feels on the fly. And lives are spent elsewhere. It leaves me spinning sometimes. How did I ever get here?

I have lived this part of my life in knee-deep mothering. I just can't imagine it any other way. But now, mothering takes a different role. Sometimes it's ugly and sometimes it's beautiful. It's just the way of things. And teenagers somehow push you to examine yourself and life in an entirely different scope. That's a truest story.

But this I know. Right here, right now, this is where it's at. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. But today. With these people that literally take up all the room in my heart. My very soul is made up of theirs. They are the air I breathe.

Days pass. Ages change. Life moves. I know I got here one day at a time. One daughter at a time. And here is where I'll always be. In THIS today. Soaking up all it has to give. Not wishing for different days. But taking today as it stands. And holding it's bounty in my arms.

Let's gift ourselves with life where we are. To love and hold and cherish these moments. And to take courage in what is to come.

Look at your people and breathe them in. Love them where they stand and as they are.
Enjoy your story as it unfolds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

One Of The Heart Strings

I've been through a few Mother's Days by now. Some were good, some were not so good and most were just "fine". But this Mother's Day? There simply are no words.

We got to talk to our missionary!!! Tears just started as I write this. The moment was pure joy and excitement all rolled into one. She's still her sassy self, just missionary style. That was nice to see. She now loves real, and I mean real, Mexican food. She has sung quite a few times in quite a few places and she got to shake hands with Elder Bednar. Bucket List for sure.

We talked for an hour and a half and it nearly flew by. For just those few moments, our family felt whole and right. Just complete. Laughter held a higher meaning, simple stories became golden moments. And best of all? She prayed with us. In. Spanish. Stop. Right. Here. And imagine your daughter praying for you in another language. Words left me and my heart opened right up and she poured right in.

That final cut-off goodbye was rather difficult. She left us with , "I'll see you soon." Tears were everywhere.

Just now, days later, I'm finally able to soak in the full moment of her call. It has been stored in a place in my heart for my dearest treasures. And ya'll, she's doing it. And she's doing it well. She is obedient and hard working and tries to follow the Lord's will in everything she does. When she graduated from high school, I wrote in her journal, "Be The Good." And look. At this girl right here. She's doing the good. From sun up to sun down.

She really, literally, is my heart.
One of the 4 strings that wrap and hold it all together.

And this Mother's Day. Oh, this day. Will be remembered forever.
And stored on a heart string.