Friday, June 23, 2006

S'more Camping

Michael and Rachel had never camped before. They got initiated pretty fast! These pics are of them getting their hair washed camp-style - they thought it was hilarious! We ate s'mores every night before we put out the fire for the night - MMM MMM!

Happy Campers

Great American Road Trip
west of Yellowstone
Darren, Stacy, Dani, and Dani's best buds Rachel and Michael
July 2001

Child of the Rockies

Some of my best childhood memories are deeply rooted in the Colorado Rockies. I remember those summer road trips fondly: leaving before the sun rose, sleeping until we stopped at a McDonald's for breakfast, spending the night at Holiday Inn in Amarillo, where we kids ate free and spent our pent up energy in the pool.

And then the mountains. Ah. The mountains.

My dad always rolled his window down as soon as we hit the foothills. As soon as we reached our first rugged mountain road, he'd bang his hand on the side of the station wagon door, making my Mom dribble in her pants, thinking we were going over the edge. "ELDEN WAYNE, you big stupid buffoon!" she'd bellow. Much hilarity ensued in the back seats.

Finding a prime camping spot was the most anticipated activity of the day. It must have enough trees. It must have smooth, flat ground for the tents. It must be near a running creek. Most importantly, you must not be able to hear your next-door-neighbor campers. More than once, we set up camp only to move the next morning when a better spot opened up. And then we set up for real. Lines strung for laundry, milk and eggs tied to boulders in the frigid creek, a 5-gallon bucket with a trash bag liner and a toilet seat on top, nestled behind makeshift bedsheet walls tied between trees.

My favorite camping spot of all time was in the South Fork area. There was a huge fallen tree that spanned the width of the creek. We crossed that log countless times - at first with wobbly legs and deliberately placed steps, later with confident skips and bouncy bounces - and explored the mountain on the other side.

One summer, my Dad took me hiking. I was about 6. He wanted to take my photo, but the trail was so steep that whenever he let go of my hand, I'd start sliding down the trail. So he took his belt and tied me to a tree, and snapped away. Those photos are on slides. Someday, I'll scan them and have them printed.

When I was in my young teens, I was entirely too cool to be camping with my lame parents. I was bored senseless. So I took my dad's pocket knife and began whittling an aspen log. Soon, I had a perfect walking stick. Then I began carving designs into it. After that, I left my mark on countless trees. All that whittling proved to be cathartic. After a day of it, I was over myself and happy to be in the mountains with my family.

I remember standing in the mist of Bridal Veil falls, of running through fields of wildflowers near Creede, of climbing to the top of Engineer Pass with the Jeep in reverse, 'cause that's the only way we could make it.

I fondly recall the Silverton-Durango train ride, the time my Uncle Wes came lumbering through the woods gruffing like a bear, scaring the pee outta my Uncle Eli, and taking shelter in an abandoned old house during a fierce afternoon rain storm.

As Darren and I pack for this year's vacation (our first to the Rockies in several years. We've become terribly homesick for our mountains), I remember my childhood. I can feel Mom's hot-water-followed-by-cold-water method of washing my hair, and the comfortable discomfort of lying on my back on the picnic table with my head hanging off the end. I can hear the crackle of the fire. I can taste the hot dogs with just a little ash cooked on, and the marshmallows toasted golden brown. I can see the stars. Millions and millions of stars.

I can sense God. And I'm not even there yet.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Me, at 37

A little west of here, where the bluffs fall down to the Trinity River, and the backyards tumble down and overlook the miniature train bridge that crosses the river. My boys would SO love that.

My gauchos from Target. I cannot TELL you how comfy they are. I own 'em in three colors now. :)

Laugh. Yah. I love a guy who loves to laugh. It makes his whole appearance mo betta!

Beatles' White Album early last spring. Dani was learning to play "Blackbird" on guitar, and since I couldn't buy it on iTunes, I had to go buy the whole CD. (Yippee!)

on the receiving end of someone's senseless diatribe

My feet, I guess. Don't touch my shoulders or back. I hate that.

Gotta say strong in mind. This year, I watched several people fall apart. One was robbed of his family. He had to remain strong in mind to survive the ordeal. His strong body was of no help to him. Another was robbed of her innocence. Her strong body didn't do a thing for her, but her strong faith and strong mind saw her through. Another went off the deep end emotionally. Physical strength isn't gonna bring that person back; only strength of character, naked truth and sheer will can do that. And God.

First, around 8:30 when Darren kisses me goodbye. I don't usually drag my lazybones outta bed until after 9, though.

My red enamel colander. Oh. That's not an appliance? Who cares. I'm sayin' it anyway. That thing makes me happy. :)

Lying, thieving cheats.

Guitar. Still. Someday I gotta make that happen. So I can play with my daughter. :)

Red. Bright red, dark red. Melon red, rusty red. Do not care. I love red.

HEEE!! Have you seen what I'm driving lately?

Absolutely I do. At my funeral, I want this song to rock the rafters: "If you miss me singin' down here and you can't find me nowhere, nowhere, just come up up to bright Glory. I'll be singin' up there."

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

Fall! I'm already yearning for its arrival. I love its holidays, its aromas, its warmth. I love everything about it.

Huh. To see the future, I suppose. I wanna know that my daughter's gonna be safe when she starts dating and driving and everything else that this next year is gonna bring.

I'd love to have a tattoed wedding ring on my finger. But it'll never happen.

no. Never tried, actually. But I have a photo of Darren in college, juggling apples. lol!

Grandma Mildred. I wasn't as bold back then as I am now. I needed to be bold with her.

Thursday. I always know I'll get to see my gurlfrenz on Thursday!

The back of my Xterra as you read this is LOADED FULL with a week's worth of clothes for the 5 of us, non-perishable food to take to the cabin, linens, cameras, games, and speakers pounding out some good tunes!

Hamburger! Made by Darren. I hope I remembered to take the TexJoy seasoning to the mountains....

I love me some Bugs Bunny. As far as comic strips, nothing has ever been as good as Calvin and Hobbes was.

Bring-your-own-meat barbecue in my backyard, lots and lots of friends, corn on the cob and loaded baked potatoes. Followed by homemade ice cream.

28. If you could only choose one fantasy servant, who would it be (chauffeur/gardener/cook/masseuse/other)?
Personal Assistant to make trips to the PO, do the grocery shopping, water the plants, taxi kids to school, and answer the phone.

29. FOUR WORDS THAT SUM YOU UP: faithful, task-oriented, outgoing, creative

30. FAVORITE PIG-OUT FOODS: buttered popcorn with M&Ms thrown in at the movies, chips and guacamole, cheddar peppers with ranch from Sonic

31. THREE OF YOUR EVERY DAY ESSENTIALS: love from my family, cell phone, cold water to drink

32. THREE WAYS YOU'VE BEEN BLESSED: 1. Darren. My GOD, thank You for Darren. He is my rock, my tire swing, my daily special, my differential. :D 2. my KIDS. Have mercy. It's really unfair to the rest of y'all that I've been blessed with the world's three most beautiful, most talented, most loving, most enjoyable children. :D 3. my friends. I really can't have enough. God keeps giving me more and more.

33. WHICH OF THE FOUR HOBBITS ARE YOU MOST LIKE? How funny. Obviously, this quiz was written during Lord of the Rings mania. But let's see. I guess I'm more like Frodo. Task-oriented. Faithful. Rule-follower.

34.WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST PERSONALITY FLAW? I've become less apt to sit idly by and more inclined to stand up for myself and those I love. It's not ALWAYS a flaw, but it can be. And has been.

35. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH STRESSFUL SITUATIONS? I call on someone wiser than me for advice and direction. After I have a good outburst.

36. ARE YOU HAPPY ON THIS BIRTHDAY? I'm joyful. Truly. My newest mantra is "Choose Joy", and I am. It has made all the difference.

(I answered this same quiz on my birthday in 2005.)

Poolside at the Hays'

I will wake up Saturday morning, my birthday, in Tahoka, Texas. Never heard of it? Yah. Me neither, until a couple of months ago.
It's the home of the Hays - parents of my friend Joe, and grandparents of Baby Ira. They've graciously invited my family to stay in their home, and as a thank you for their hospitality, I mixed a CD for them tonight. (I heard through the grapevine that they love to crank up the tunes when they're out in the pool!)

I love to mix CDs. Back in the days of cassette tapes, I'd spend HOURS sitting on the floor , sorting through scores of tapes, choosing songs, rewinding and forwarding until I got to the right spot on the tape, then recording on my dual cassette deck. Then hitting pause as soon as one song was over, searching for the next song, and on and on and on. I was famous in college for my mixes. I never had any money (probably 'cause I spent it all buying music), so I often gave custom mixed tapes as gifts.

This CD is happy. It's got a little bit of EVERYthing on it. I love it. I hope the Hays love it, too!

Ocean Avenue (Yellowcard)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
Pico De Gallo (Trout Fishing In America)
Long Tall Texan (Lyle Lovett & Randy Newman)
Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
Swimming Pool (Trout Fishing in America)
Summertime (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong)
A Summer Song (Chad & Jeremy)
Soak Up the Sun (Sheryl Crow)
Dive (Steven Curtis Chapman)
C'mon and Swim (Bobby Freeman)
Don't Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin)
Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)
High of 75 (Relient K)
Small Town (John Mellencamp)
Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly & The Family Stone)
Blue Skies (Point Of Grace)

I've been listening to the CD for the past hour, and some of the lyrcis just :)

Here. Take a listen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

6 boys, a half dozen monkeys

Tonight, Jonathan and Kristopher went home.
I love Kristi and Dale, and I love their boys.
They truly, truly were not any trouble.
In fact, they were sweeties.
But I now know FOR A FACT (not that there was ever really any doubt), that I am simply not cut out for having a gaggle of kids around all the time. Those of you who have more than three, my hats off to you. Really. I don't know how you do it. Today, even though the boys were precious all weekend and Kristopher only bit once and then asked to be put in time out and Jonathan fell asleep in the playhouse with all the doors and windows sealed shut in 100 degree heat and scared the bejeebies outta me when I finally found him, even though they both gave me hugs and kisses and said please and thank you all weekend and smiled for my camera, EVEN SO... I was glad to send them back home. And for the first time ever, I'm glad that Kristi is anti-computer and never reads my blog. :D

Somewhere along the way today, I had the bright idea that Cara and I should take the boys to a nearby park and take their photos. BRILLIANT! Two Mommies with cameras, a 12-year old assistant, and 6 boys. What could go wrong? SURELY between the two of us, we could come up with ONE good photo. SURELY.

Shirley who? And what does SHE know?
Mayhem ensued. Our subjects were not amused with our little plan. Even after we bribed them (like all good Mommies do) with Slurpees from the 7-11 next door, they wouldn't cooperate. I'm ashamed to admit that MY two boys were the worst of the lot. I heard about a t-shirt today that says "My children think I'm the papparazzi". Hmm. Maybe I need that. Maybe I should take the hint. 'Cause this was the best shot of the day:

Nah, just teasing. But it was the LAST shot, 'cause after that, I whisked my 4 monkeys boys to the car and floored it all the way home where they all went down for naps. Hmph. Is now a good time to admit that just prior to that shot, I screeched, "BOYS! I said we're gonna have FUN and take some PICTURES, so you better LOOK AT THIS CAMERA and SMILE. SMILE! i. said. SMMMMIIIIILLLLE!! Argggg."


I'm worn out just reliving it all.

So. Between Cara and me, we came up with 5 so-so photos. None are knocking our socks off, but surely there's one here that you guys will think is good enough to enlarge and hang on the WE LOVE OUR KIDS wall at Fortress. SURELY. Help us choose, please. Drum roll....

Rats. Blogger is being a brat and won't let me upload more photos. So follow this link and then come back and vote. Thanks!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dear Theona

As per your recent comment on my blog, you are henceforth banned from posting ever again unless you TAKE IT BACK, you fiend!


Sorry for the harshness, but you need to know: I just ain't takin' no crap off Heat fans and their sorry excuses for Refs. What kind of fowl call was THAT with 1.9 seconds left in the game? GRRRR.


Sunday, June 18, 2006


I am: wondering how many people will show up tonight at my house to watch the Mavs beat the Heat.
I want: a laptop for my office.
I have: way too much to do this week and not enough days.
I wish: I had a cleaning lady. lol!
I hate: the stupid cat for pooping on the floor when she has a clean litter box 5 feet away.
I don't: watch much TV.
I can't: have too many friends. :)
I need: to lose 100 pounds to feel good again; 140 to be at my "ideal weight".
I hear: nothing at the moment.
I wonder: what those four boys are up to upstairs, 'cause I hear nothing at the moment.
I believe: that beyond the azure blue, concealed from human sight, there is a God who knows me and loves me and longs for me.
I regret: that my tongue wags when it shouldn't.
I am not: accountable to myself. But I'm accountable to everyone else.
I dance: (badly)on tables when I'm dared.
I sing: loudly. Does it annoy you? Sorry. Gonna do it anyway. :)
I cry: when I talk about how God works in my life and the lives of those around me.
I am not always: a good mom. But sometimes I rock the title.
I make with my hands: life art.
I write: on everything. I love a blank sheet of paper!
I confuse: separate and desperate. I always have to think really hard about how to spell those two words. I'm a really good speller, but those two words trip me up for some reason.
I should: call my Dad today for Father's Day.
I start: new projects with a BANG! I love to start something new. Not so excited about finishing something up, though.
I finish: things up at the last possible moment. Procrastination is my middle name.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the week in pictures 8

Sunday: Darren finished planting and mulching the herb garden. We started with a HUGE rosemary bush that was there already, and he cleared the area and added basil, oregano, fennel, spearmint, parsley, and several other herbs that I can't remember.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: no photos. what was I thinking? I painted, scrapworked, took the boys to see Cars, rode the train, hung out with Cara and Kristi, watched the Mavs lose (TWICE) to the Heat at the Carman's house... and didn't take a single picture of any of it. :(

Thursday: Meet our summer interns. This is Andrew and Landon, who are both working with Fortress Youth Development Center and living in our guest room upstairs. There are 8 other amazing interns just like them this summer. Both of these guys bring a lot of energy to the house, and I'll miss them when they go back to their schools in August!

Friday: Kristi's two youngest sons are staying with us for the weekend so she and Dale could take a weekend trip to NYC. So far, so good!

And finally.... because so many of you have asked... Aidan's punishment for lying and saying he hadn't written on anything else, was this: he had to write his first sentences. He did great on the first page.

The second page wasn't as good:


Friday, June 16, 2006

good mail!

Today was a good mail day.
Knitted dishcloths from a Girl Named Sue.
And a sweet, sweet note from Beth, along with a Sonic GIFT CARD!! WOO HOO, baby!

Should I go right now and get something, 'cause I can??
Or should I keep it in my wallet until some hot, sultry day when I'm craving somethin' cold to drink?
Or should I go right now and get something, 'cause I can?
Or should I save it for vacation and treat the family to Slushies on the road?
Or should I go right now and get someth.....

Thursday, June 15, 2006

big plans

I have big plans this summer.
They include, but are not limited to:
* visiting my seester in Tennessee
* taking my family's photo at the Tahoka, Texas city limits sign
* takin' my new 4WD on some 4WD roads in Colorado
* repainting my scraproom (not the windows though)
* taking the Fortress Middle School girls to Sea World in San Antonio
* goin' back to Canton with Cara and Kristi and having another photo taken - one in which I do NOT look like the scary fat lady at the fair
* takin' the kids to the water park
* gettin' new glasses and a funky new 'do


Late tonight as my two friends and I walked to my car in downtown Fort Worth, a young man (cute, I might add) asked us if we'd help jumpstart his car. While he hooked up the cables, his date came to our car and talked to us. "This is our second date," she said. The young man was totally embarrassed, but so cute about it. Walking past all the bars and clubs and passing couples on the sidewalks, we reminisced about our own dating years. Ah. Those were fun times. Tonight, the stark realization hit me that I'm now considered a middle-aged woman by the bartenders and the kids on the street. Even my hippest clothes are barely hip even by the lamest "Mom Clothes" standards. At first, that realization stung. But after a few seconds, as I drove away watching the cute little couple with the broken down car in my rear-view mirror, I hit upon another realization: My friends think I'm fun. My husband thinks I'm hot. My kids think I'm cool. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just Say No to Cats

Apparently Dani wants another cat. Apparently, Dani wants VERONICA's cat. Veronica asked tonight if it would be okay if she mailed her cat to Dani. Dani and Veronica, please read below:

Dear Dani,
You may absolutely NOT have another cat. You know how I feel about The Cat we have now. Every day, I threaten to send her back to her mother (whom she now knows as Uncle James) in San Antonio. Why?? Why you ask? Don't play dumb with ME, young lady. Have you SEEN the fur balls lying around everywhere? They roll across the hardwoods like so many tumbleweeds in western New Mexico. Have you HEARD the wretching, spewing, coughing-up-an-alien sound she makes when you "forget" to brush her regularly? Have you STEPPED in barfed-up furball on the stairs in the middle of the night? NO? Hmpf. No. You may not have another cat. Not even Veronica's tabby.

Dear Veronica,
Have you got a few Kangaroos loose in the top paddock?? I'm going to have to pull the pin on this little idea of yours. If you make Dani a prezzy of that cat, I'm going to be cheesed off and send YOU a nice prezzy of AShlie's technicolor yawn. Your postie will be narked! Ashlie already has a bad case of the trots. She leaves little prezzies for me on the bottom step right in front of the dunny door. Stupid Cat. I do not need another one. Abso-bloody-lutely NOT. Don't make me chuck a spaz.
Love you heaps,

Monday, June 12, 2006


Aidan's an artist. He draws all the time. When he's not drawing, he's begging for leftover scrapbooking stickers so he can create sticker art. When he's not creating sticker art, he's logged on to, making neato paintings with special effects. He chalks the sidewalks outside. He has drawing pads that are all filled up. He has stacks and stacks of loose papers that are filled up with drawings. He has free reign of the paper. He's allowed to take as much as he wants - and he does. We have Aidan's art hanging all over the house - in my office, on the fridge, on the bedroom doors....


Thursday night, I returned home from scrapbook convention to discover that he had scribbled with blue crayon all over the family room floor. Two days before, he had scribbled on the bannister. I was livid, but lucky for Aidan, Jeanne was here so I refrained from beating the Blue Period out of the little Van Gogh. We told him he better tell us what else he'd drawn on. He said "nothing". But Ian ratted him out when he (a little too jubilantly) showed us Aidan's ABC scrapbook. Covered in red scribble.

"AIDAN!" I bellowed. "Your SCRAPBOOK? You know you're not allowed to write in books. ANY books. But especially your scrapbooks!"

I was furious, and sad.

"When you're a grown-up, you're gonna be sad 'cause your book will still have scribble on it, 'cause you RUINED IT WHEN YOU WERE FIVE!"

Then I opened it. My heart sank when I saw that he'd drawn on every single page of the book. Every. Single. Page.

Then I looked closer. On the "A" page, he drew an airplane. On the "X" page, he drew X's. Most every page had hearts all over them. I asked him why. "This heart means that I miss our old house," he explained. "This heart means that I love Daddy. This heart with a line through it means I don't miss Sissy, 'cause I see her all the time." And on and on and on.

My heart filled with pride. My not-yet-Kindergarten son is a journaler! In the only way he knew how, he was telling his stories. My scrapbooks are all about the stories - sometimes more so than the photos and always more so than the decorations. I knew as I flipped through the pages of his ABC book that I was holding a treasure. I was happy that the doodles and scribbles were there.

But I was still in a weird place. I didn't want to congratulate him for doing something he shouldn't have done, and yet, I didn't want to squash his spirit, either. I want to nurture his art, 'cause seriously. This is a kid who FEELS things and has a raging desire to express those things through art and written words.

I could not be more proud.

But he still had to be punished. (Especially for lying and saying he hadn't written on anything else.) Where's the manual for stuff like this?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the week in pictures 7

Sunday: There's nobuddy like my Fortress buddies!

Monday: Dog Cat Days of Summer. This cat is shedding like CRAZY. Big tufts of hair all over my house. Grr.

Tuesday: Dani and Andrew are practicing some duets they're performing at camp this summer. I loved loved loved loved listening to them practice for hours on end Tuesday. Andrew has written music to one of Dani's songs, and it made me cry when they sang it. I even sat down for a while and helped Dani with the harmonies on Casting Crowns' "Your Love is Extravagant" - the other song they're performing. Good times.

Made two water bottles for my Intern Secret Pals at Fortress. We were provided with lists of their favorite things, including their favorite quotes. They were fun to make!(SHHHH. Don't tell who I have!)

Jeanne came up from Austin and stayed with me for 3 days. We attended the Great American Scrapbook Convention together and had a ton of fun. I always love spending time with Jeanne! This was our first class at 8 AM Thursday morning. Note to self: do NOT schedule 8 AM classes three mornings in a row. We didn't get more than 4 hours of sleep any night. I look like death on a cracker right now because of it. Heh!

Another picture for my porch swing album and bulletin board - Dani and her friend "Henri". LOVE this girl. She can spend as much time here as she wants. Really. :)

Today I had the pleasure and privilege of shooting my friends Karen and Kraig's wedding. They have the most beautiful (magazine-worthy, I tell you) blended family. Photographing them was a wonderful way to spend my Saturday afternoon. I wish them a lifetime of love, laughter and happily ever after! (Love you, Karen!)Here are three of my favorite shots.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

10. Thou shalt not covet.

Eeeeeeyikes! I have a hard time with that commandment. Truly. I WANT stuff. Currently, I'm seriously coveting my friend Luke's new iBook. And Dale's new Nikon. This weekend, I coveted Kristi's spending allowance. I didn't have much cash to spare, and my shopping suffered because of it.

There was this ONE THING I almost caved on. I wanted it so, so badly. I went back to its booth twice after walking away. I came "this close" to just forking over the fifty big bucks. The object of my affection? Bracelets made from vintage typewriter keys. There were oodles of 'em - some with watches, some just bracelets. There were fun words like "CREATE", "JOYFUL", "WORDSMITH", and fun themes like the one made with all 7s and two charms on the end - dice and a lucky horseshoe. She'll custom make your own word, too. I asked about "Choose Joy", but it was uber expensive because of the repeating Os. (It means she has to find three typewriters. Price stays lower if you can find all the letters on one typewriter.)

I was gonna come home and drop big-time hints to Darren so he could get me one for my birthday. But ALAS! He went and bought me a car instead. That turkey.

I REALLY wish I'd taken a picture so y'all could see. But I didn't, so the best I can do, Darren Dear, is tell you that this woman's booth is located in the Civic Center building, in the back near the bathrooms. It's called TAB Typewriter Key Jewelry. I have the woman's card on the magnet board in my office. I know, I'm pathetic and this is quite crass of me. But hey. Christmas is only 6 months away. MUAH!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Moms and Sons

This is me and my sweet friend Kristi:

And this is my Aidan and her son Kristopher.

See any family resemblances?

While the boys played on the playground, all the Daddies played hoops nearby. They were there for over 2 hours sweating it out on the court. Toward the end, I drove over and snapped a few photos. Can't wait to scrapbook this shot of Darren. He's got some HOPS, baby!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The week(end) in pictures 6

So the last thing I said in my last entry was "Darren, I love you more. You're the best husband on the planet." That's because I had forgotten to mention my little weekend trip for the past several weeks. Wednesday night, I said, "Uh, by the way... this is the weekend I'm going to Canton. We're leaving tomorrow." He replied, "Oh. That's this weekend? Ok. Have a great time!"

We had a fabulous time. I scrapbooked to my heart's content (several of my own pages and even a couple for Cara), watched the Mavs whoop up on the Spurs Thursday night, shopped and shopped and shopped, laughed and giggled, visited and talked and talked and talked....

Today, you should've seen Cara's Tahoe and Kristi's Suburban loaded down with our loot. Both were stuffed to the gills with a chair for me, lots of iron crosses and other cool iron stuff, 5 groovy plant stands, a red bucket that I just love, and 20-some-odd plants. (Canton is the BEST place to buy potted/hanging plants. Today we learned that Lowe's actually buys their plants from the ladies who sell at Canton!) We even had a wicker love seat tied to the top of Kristi's Suburban. There's more that I'm forgetting. Just trust me when I say we were loaded down to the max.

On the way home tonight, Darren called. "Hey. The kids and I are headed over to Dale and Kristi's to watch the game. Why don't you just come over here instead of going home?"

"I'll just go on home. I'm exhausted and I smell nasty and besides, I need to unload my stuff from Kristi's car."

"That's okay. Just go to their house and we'll take it home from there."

"I don't think it'll fit in the car," I countered.

"We'll make it work. Please. I want you to go to their house."

"Why do you want me to come so bad?" I asked.

"'Cause I missed you. A lot," he answered.

Well, that was good enough for me. I agreed and said I'd be there in an hour or so.

When we arrived, I noticed that our car wasn't there.

"I wonder why they aren't here yet?" I asked as Kristi pulled in to the driveway.

"I don't know," she said. "Did he say they'd be here?"

"Yah. He said they were on their way over. That was an hour ago."

I will admit here that I was starting to get cranky about it, 'cause I REALLY wanted a shower and was thinking I should've just gone home and taken one.

"Maybe that's your new car sitting out there on the street," Kristi said.

I laughed.

"Would Darren do that?" she asked.

"Never in a million years," I answered with conviction.

As we walked up the back steps to her house, my boys met me coming down.

"Dad bought you a new car today," Aidan said.

"Yah," added Ian. "But it's just HIS car."

Then I looked up and saw Darren standing there, grinning from ear to ear, dangling keys.

"It's YOURS," he beamed.

Let me tell you.
I'm not one who's often at a loss for words.
But none came to me.
I just stood there in silent shock.
I do believe my mouth hung agape.
For what seemed like several minutes.

I hadn't even paid attention to the car parked out on the street. I only knew that it wasn't my (nasty, un-airconditioned, ugly, purple, 1993, transmission-slipping ghetto) van or Darren's Corolla. We walked out the front door and I saw it: red.

"You bought me a RED CAR!!!" I squealed.
Darren beamed.

I was speechless again.

Darren's not a spontaneous guy. We've talked about getting an SUV before, but he's always been adamantly against it. He's always said we'd probably get another (ugly) minivan, 'cause they're practical. I had resigned myself to that reality. I'd also resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn't be buying ANYthing for another year or so. I was ready to deal with another summer of no air-conditioning. (Although, Darren's been driving the van everyday so far this summer - which in Fort Worth, started mid-April - so that the kids and I didn't have to swelter.)

But dude surprised me.
I can no longer say he's not spontaneous.
I had no idea when I wrote on Thursday "I love you more", and he said to me that night on the phone, "We'll see about that", that he was cooking up this little plan.

I love this man. I love him I love him I love him!
(And the new car ain't bad either!)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

R&R and gauchos

After a month of nose-to-the-grindstone work, I'm treating myself this weekend to a weekend of R&R BABY!

I'm heading to Canton with 3 friends - we're sharing a timeshare condo at a nearby lake, and we're takin' our scrapbooking stuff (my own pictures, WOO HOOOOOO!). BEst of all, we're goin' to CANTON - one of my favorite places on earth. Acres and acres and acres of neato shopping. Antiques, handmade stuff, cool vintage randomness, lots of iron and metal stuff, pork kebabs, hand-squeezed lemonade, pavilion after pavilion of gifty/decoratey/housey stuff.... and FREE INSPIRATION. I.cannot.WAIT!


So a couple of weeks ago I bought a pair of gouchos at Target. Yes. Gauchos. The kind your Mom wore in 1978. Mine are brown. I bought 'em thinking I'd never be caught dead in 'em outside of the house; I was goin' for comfort and cool and KNEW they'd look hideous on me. Well. Imagine my shock when Dani, then Darren, then Cara, then Kristi... all at different times told me they flattered me. Wow. Comfort, cool AND a cut that flatters this body? Okay then. Last night I went back to Target and bought 'em in black and gray, too. WOO HOO! That's what I'll be living in all weekend.

We're leaving in 30 minutes, and I still haven't packed my scrap stuff yet. Gotta motor!

Happy Weekend, everyone. And Darren, you're the best hubby ON THE PLANET. I love you more.