This is Happening Right Now

Last Sunday night we noticed water coming up through small cracks and the large seam (or whatever you call the place where two pieces meet) in the street in front of our house. We called it in and the next morning we had a note on our door that there was in fact a leak and a crew with a back hoe would be out. Workers have been out several times last week marking gas and electric lines in our back yard and the neighbor’s yard across the street. A week later and the work has finally commenced. I thought maybe we were going to get lucky and just our neighbor’s yard would be getting uprooted, but alas, I looked out and this just happened.


Parade and Rodeo

Wednesday morning was the rodeo parade. Myrt Myrt wanted to drive their UTV in the parade with the kids so Bia rode along with Clara and Brody. I didn’t know how Robert would do because of the sirens, plus I figured he’d be hot, tired, hungry, need to go to the restroom, etc, etc, etc, so I thought he’d prefer to sit on the sidelines. He wasn’t completely on board, but when I reminded him he would get candy if he watched, he was convinced. It’s been a few years since his last parade.


As I thought, when we went to find a place to park and then waited for a while for the parade to get started, Robert wasn’t too keen on the idea of sitting through a parade anymore. When the sirens started, he was pretty much done and wouldn’t even smile for pictures. Sweet Cooper is always smiles.






He perked up after the law enforcement sirens at the beginning of the parade passed by and the candy started flowing freely.







We just hung out at the house after the parade.




That night, we all went to the rodeo together. It started pouring right before the rodeo and was still coming down when we got there. It was such a mess, muddy puddles everywhere and the three of us were in sandals. I know, I know, it’s our own fault, but we don’t own any boots. Here’s Clara and Mini-Myrt :) I think Taren looks just like Myrt Myrt.



The kids enjoyed themselves. Mostly. After the rain, Clara was complaining about being cold. In Pecos. In June. Didn’t think that was possible. Of course when she saw Brody with a snow cone, she forgot all about how cold she was and insisted on the summery treat. Tenley slept through the whole thing. Brody got a bloody nose and blood all over his shirt during the boot scramble. Clayton was having asthma problems and just wanted to leave. Taren kept getting in trouble for not listening because she wanted to dance in the walkway and people were tripping over her. And Robert kept asking when it would be over. Gone are the days of my youth when going to the rodeo meant walking from one side of the arena to the other, eating snacks from the concession stands along the way :) It was a late night and the rodeo didn’t finish up until close to 11:00.






Laundry and packing were on the agenda for Thursday. We managed to squeeze in one more swim over at Myrt’s. Boots with swimsuit just crack me up for some reason.




We had lots of fun with family and can’t wait to see everyone in a few weeks for camping. And Bia and Myrt Myrt’s annual visit is coming soon too! The summer is just flying by.

Rodeo Week, Y’all!

The kids and I left for Pecos on Saturday morning. I got off much later than I wanted to so I think that just got the trip off to a rough start for me. When I go on a road trip, I prefer to get where I’m going as quickly as possible. When I’m making the drive to Pecos, it’s not about the journey. It’s only about how fast I can get my crew across the state, preferably with my sanity still intact. I think we made 8 stops this time. EIGHT!

We got to the west side of San Antonio and the interstate was closed due to a wreck and all traffic was merging onto the one lane access road. The back up was around 5 miles and it took us about an hour to get through. It was brutal and I had to pee. I just said a silent prayer that the kids wouldn’t have to go because there really wasn’t a place to pull over for a good portion of that time. We made it to Kerrville for lunch about an hour after the snag. I’m pretty sure we got to DQ at the same time as every other car that was stuck behind the wreck. It took about 30 minutes to get our food. I was just antsy the whole time. And then, it seemed like every bathroom we stopped at had either ran out of toilet paper or had overflowed. Blech! We were making a final stop for gas and potty break in Ft. Stockton, 50 miles til our destination and about 5:00. Robert had to go. We walked in only to find the bathroom closed for some reason, and although I allow him to go in public men’s rooms by himself now, I will NOT let him go in a large truck stop men’s room by himself. Argghhh! So we went across the interstate to McDonalds. I always buy something when I go in to use a bathroom and I told the kids they could get some fries to split. We walked in and what did we see? A line of approximately 100 boy scouts. I officially gave up at this point. We hit the bathroom and I didn’t feel a bit of remorse when we high-tailed it out of there with no purchase in hand.

We got to Pecos around 6:00 and headed over to Myrt and Joe’s house where everyone was celebrating Wyatt’s birthday. I was coming out of my traveling stupor so I didn’t get any pictures.

We did absolutely nothing on Monday. I stayed in my pajamas and my mom and I vegged out on the couch the whole day while the kids played. We had considered going to Wink to visit Linsey and everyone assumed we had. Tanya called Linsey to talk to my mom and she’s like, “They’re not here. I don’t know where they are.” Ha!

Clara enjoyed playing with Cody and Tanya’s puppies they’re trying to give away. They’re staying at my parent’s house so the wild animals can’t get ’em out at the farm.This one was her favorite; his name is Chewbaca.




We pulled ourselves off the couch that evening and took the kids out to the farm to see Cody and Tanya’s “barndominium” or “The Shanty” as it’s affectionately called. I hadn’t ever heard the term barndominium. They are temporarily living out at the farm, so they’ve bought  a barn with a loft that they’ll be able to move and use as guest quarters whenever they buy some land. It has a bathroom, closet and kitchen area and they just laid the floors that weekend so we went to check it out. Myrt Myrt, Clayton and Taren had come out also to ride horses for a while.

Mason has added quite a few critters to his menagerie. He’s got a couple of horses now, some geese, rabbits, chickens, a goat, a peacock and he just made a duck pond. The kids got to hold the new baby bunnies. I remember going into this same pen with Memaw when I was little to see the rabbits. I never liked to eat meat that Memaw prepared because I didn’t want to unknowingly consume bunny rabbit :)



The kids took a short ride on the horses. Clara rode behind “Uncle Cousin Mason” and really enjoyed herself.




The next day my mom and I took the kids to the skate park with Myrt and her two. They had lots of fun racing down the ramps even with the wind and dirt hitting them in the face. That afternoon was more swimming at Myrt Myrt’s house. The kids did a lot of cooling off in Myrt Myrt’s pool all week.




Linsey and the boys got to Pecos late in the afternoon and then we went out to the farm again. We wanted to try and get a picture of all eight grandkids because two of them were leaving to go stay with their other grandparents the next morning.We took the picture inside The Shanty because it was so windy outside and we didn’t want Tenley out in it. There was a serious lack of cooperation so this is as good as we could get.





Bia wanted one with just the girls and we had to get a couple because they both wanted to hold Tenley. The boys, who were the source of noncooperation, declined to have another picture taken.





I did get some good smiles on the trampoline a little bit later.



Tenley is almost 4 months old now already and growing like a weed.




That night the kids slept in the living room together. Tenley is photobombing the big kids.



The next day was the rodeo parade and the first night of the rodeo, but I’ll save that for a new post.


Theater Camp and Father’s Day

The kids and I just got back from a week long trip to Pecos a few hours ago. Before I post pics from our trip, I figured I should do a little catch up. Dan and Linda came for a couple of days last week and we left for Pecos early on Saturday as they were leaving for home. Linda was having some technical difficulties with her camera and so she’s been patiently waiting for me to post pictures of their stay.

Since Linda had knee replacement surgery in April, she’s only recently been up for traveling, so this was their first trip to our new house. They decided to time their trip to attend a play that Clara was in last Thursday. She attended a two week long theater camp that was put on by the theater students at the high school as a fundraiser. They had 90 elementary aged kids and they all had at least one line. Most parts were very small. Clara was the Spring Fairy and she had two lines. Each group also performed a song and dance. Clara’s group was made up of 16 fairies- one for each month and season. They had to get creative to give everyone a part :)

She did well and loved every minute of camp and the performance. The play was a little hard to sit through but there were some hilarious moments. I’m convinced that it would’ve gone better had they had their one more day of practice that got cancelled because of weather 😉 It couldn’t have hurt at least. I asked Clara before the play where she would be positioned during her dance and for once was in a good spot for pictures.









She loved camp and can’t wait to do it next year. Robert was all gung ho about joining her next year. Until he had to sit through the play. He’s pretty much convinced he’s no thespian now. Ha!

Robert attended VBS that week and it was science themed. He finished up VBS on Friday morning and then Grandma and Grandpa joined us on a trip to the library for audio books for our trip and then we enjoyed some yummy sno balls.





We had an early Father’s Day dinner at Texas Land and Cattle that night.



Daddy and Grandpa got to open their Father’s Day gifts early. The kids and I made this for Chris. It’s a wooden “J” with legos hot glued on. It turned out really cute and I plan to hang it in the game room. I’m searching for cute, fun things to decorate the room with. We also got him a new Wii U game. We just got one a few weeks ago.



And the kids both painted pictures for Grandpa that I put in frames. Grandpa loves F1 racing and these are paintings of his favorite race car drivers’ car.


Enjoying the Pool

The kids have been loving having a pool of course. They’ve gotten in it several times. I’ve yet to get in it because it’s still too cold. That’s why Robert’s in a floaty. No swim practice until I can handle the water. Even the kids are freezing, teeth chattering and goosebumps. No thank you. I’ll wait until it’s 100 degrees out.





I will say, relaxing on our covered deck while watching the kids play in the pool, is pretty darn awesome. Chris and I were both torn about having a pool and probably wouldn’t have gotten this house had there been a wider selection of homes on the market, but I’m glad we did. I love our new home :)

Easter in Temple

We started moving into our new house the last week in March. Since our new house is only a couple of miles from the old, we took several loads over in the car everyday. We were trying to move bulky, hard to pack or fragile stuff like bikes, small furniture, outdoor furniture, lamps and wall art. It seemed like we had moved half of our house during the week and we hadn’t even touched the packed boxes or furniture! Ugh. Moving is such a pain.

So the last weekend in March, we had several of Chris’ co-workers come over and help us for the actual move. Most of Chris’ friends from work had trucks and they were adamant that we not rent a moving van and just use their trucks, so we did. And one friend brought a flat bed trailer. So between his trailer and our small one and I think four trucks, we got moved in two trips I think. Not too shabby. That didn’t include the last bits and pieces that just seem to come out of nowhere that I just finished up this last week. Ahem.

So, back to Easter. It was the weekend after our move, so things were still chaotic over here. I wanted to go though because Linda was having knee replacement surgery a couple weeks later and wouldn’t be traveling for awhile or be able to enertain visitors. Chris stayed home because our new house doesn’t have a doggie door and Max, being used to a doggie door, can’t go too long between visits to the backyard. Plus, the move was pretty stressful for him, so it was best not to leave him so soon after.

Both kids had off on Friday, so we left that morning. Dan and Linda treated us to a movie, so we went to see Cinderella. We weren’t sure how Robert would do, but he’s been doing a pretty good job at watching “real” movies lately at home, so I thought he’d do ok and he wanted to go, so we took him. After his popcorn ran out, he was pretty wiggly. It was a cute movie and the rest of us enjoyed it even after our popcorn ran out.

The next day we tried to get some bluebonnet pictures after breakfast. Ummm, I don’t know what happened because I know I checked the weather before I left home, but it was a lot colder than I was expecting. The kids were freezing. All I had brought them were summer clothes. They didn’t have a sweater or pants or anything and it was breezy and in the 50s. So our first attempt at bluebonnet pics looked like this. We promptly left, hoping to return later when it warmed up.




Back at the house, the kids made soap balls from a kit that Grandma had bought them.




We made it back over to a small patch right by the house but by this time, the afternoon sun was in their eyes, so they’re not the best pictures. I haven’t gotten their pictures in bluebonnets since Robert was a toddler, so that’s ok. I’ll take ’em.











You’ll notice people walking around in a couple of the pictures. We tried to avoid them, but they were all over the patch. They had lost their keys somewhere and were having to walk all over to find them. Apparently they had chased their dog through them and don’t know when they lost them. I felt so bad for them. They eventually left to go get a metal detector to aid in their search. We left there and went to a bouncy house for a little while. Upon returning home, they were still out there with their metal detector. That patch of bluebonnets was no doubt completely trampled.

We dyed Easter eggs that night. Clara wrote a note to the Easter bunny asking him to please hide the eggs inside the house because we were supposed to be getting thunderstorms. They watched an Easter cartoon and then were off to bed.





The bunny got the memo, so the kids awoke to a house full of eggs. It’s really hard to get good pictures of an indoor egg hunt.



The Easter bunny had left them a few small items in their baskets and they also received a bucket of goodies from a couple of sweet elderly sisters at Dan and Linda’s church.




Here they are all dressed up and ready for church. Poor Clara was freezing. They got to take their stuffed animals that the church ladies gave them and they were able to thank them in person when we got to church.






We had a nice Easter lunch prepared entirely by Linda while I packed up and we hit the road right after lunch. Once back, we were able to devote all or our attention to getting this house in order. It’s still a work in progress more than a month after moving in.

Saying Goodbye to Nanny

Nanny’s memorial service was scheduled for the next Friday, the 20th. We picked Clara up from school a little early on Thursday so we could make it to Temple around dinner time. Thursday also happened to be Chris’ birthday so I was sure to bring his gifts and I picked up an assortment of mini cupcakes for after dinner.





Here Robert is reading to Grandma for the first time. He’s been reading for a few months, but this was  his first “in person” reading session with Grandma and Grandpa.



The memorial service was held the next morning at a funeral home near Dan and Linda’s house. Here is the link to her obituary. It was a small service since Margaret had only lived in Temple for less than a year. It was mainly friends from church. There were four family friends from their time in Alaska that were able to make it, so it was special having them there. Bob and Gina came from the Dallas area and Bob spoke at the service. He performed Dan and Linda’s wedding and also Chris and mine. Also, their old friend Bea, who still lives in Alaska, was visiting her daughter in the Austin area, so the two of them came as well.

Clara had said she wanted to say something at the service, so of course Robert did too. It was decided that Robert would sing with Clara. Chris went up with them and let Clara talk first. She told everyone that the dress she was wearing was special because it was a gift from Nanny and talked about being named after her. Then she and Robert sang “You are My Sunshine”. There wasn’t a dry eye after that. They did a great job. Chris was supposed to say something, but instead came back to his seat. Later he said he should have gone first :)



After the service, we were treated to lunch by some of the ladies at church. Our out of town guests joined us and we had a great time chatting and they all enjoyed reminiscing. I’m so glad they were able to come.



The next day Chris and I rented a U-Haul and moved all of Margaret’s things out of her apartment. We took some to Goodwill and some to storage for Linda to go through later. It ended up being a bigger job than I anticipated and took quite some time, even though Linda had gone through and marked a lot of things with where they were to go. It was a pretty mentally exhausting task, so I’m glad we could do it for her.

I tried to add some old photos, but it’s not letting me, so I’ll add them later.



Hello and Goodbye

So I did laundry and cleaned up on Saturday and then headed to Pecos first thing Sunday morning. Making that trip sans kids is a heck of a lot easier. I made it in record time and got there around 3:00.

Linsey had been on hospital bed rest in Odessa for about three weeks at this point. Her protein levels were still rising, so her doctor decided to induce her on Monday. My mom and I drove over that afternoon and my dad came a little later, as well as Tim’s family. We took turns hanging out in the room with her and then letting her rest and she wasn’t making any progress. Around midnight she was still at a one, so my dad and I drove back to Pecos to get some rest and left my mom and Tim at the hospital. They had just given her an epidural about that time and not long after we left was when things started to go wrong.

The epidural was affecting the baby’s heart rate and twice I think, nurses ran into the room and quickly rolled Linsey onto her side and started rubbing her belly to get the baby’s heart rate back up. So the doctor decided to do an emergency c-section and Tenley Ellison Lara was born around 3:30 a.m. on March 10th. She was 3 pounds, 10 ounces if I remember correctly and was born at 32 weeks. We were hoping she would be sharing her birthday with my Memaw (Clara), but she missed it by a few hours :(

They intubated her at first, but removed it not long after. As you can see, she took right to the pacifier. Daddy and I drove back up that afternoon and we were both on the list to be able to see her in the NICU. She was about 12 hours old here. Only two people are allowed back at a time, so I only got a picture of her with her Pawpaw when I went in.




I had to wear a mask since I didn’t get a flu shot. Her arm was propped up and looked really uncomfortable here.



Here she is with all of her apparatus.



They were having a hard time getting Linsey’s blood pressure down and she wasn’t able to keep anything down for a day or two. She was also having problems with her vision before and after the birth, so it was Wednesday afternoon I think before she got to see her.

Back to Pecos that night and I read Brody and Cooper’s New Baby book before bed.



On Wednesday morning we were getting ready to head back to Odessa when I got a call from Chris that his grandmother had been found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital. She had suffered a massive brain bleed and there was nothing they could do but wait. I wanted so badly to be there with Linda that day. She passed away late that night with Linda by her side. It was such a shock because she had been doing so well. She had fallen and broken her wrist several weeks earlier and was in a skilled nursing facility doing rehab. She was getting close to being released when this happened.

The plan that day was for Tanya and I to drive to Odessa and take the boys to see Linsey and hang out with Tim for a while. Then I was going to drive Linsey’s car back since it had been sitting at the hospital for about a month and then go buy some groceries for them before heading back to Pecos. My mind was preoccupied all day as I waited for news from Chris and waited to find out if I should go or if he should go. Robert had thrown up a couple of times and we sure didn’t want him bringing a tummy bug to Temple. And we weren’t sure if having the kids there would make it harder for Linda to get through those next few days with them being underfoot so we were really torn. I found out after returning that it was a tummy bug. He had gotten it from friends he had played with a couple of days earlier so I’m glad we didn’t chance it.

Back in west Texas……. We stopped by the gift shop on the way up to see Linsey and the boys each chose a stuffed animal and balloon for Tenley. Cooper was in love with the idea of a new baby sister. Brody’s been around for awhile and knows exactly what having a new baby means. Ha!



I went in to the NICU with Tim this time and Tenley had her eyes open. She was not a happy camper when we first walked in. The nurse had just poked her and said we needed to wait until she had calmed down to put a new bow on her.








I didn’t take any pictures of Linsey those few days. She would have killed anyone who tried :)

All day Thursday I was making soups and muffins for freezing. Thankfully my mom was coming up behind me cleaning up my messes all day since my mind was elsewhere :) Ah, who am I kidding? My mind is always off in lala land and I never clean up after myself.

I decided to leave one day earlier than I had originally planned and stop in Temple to help out if I could. I got there on Friday afternoon and although I wasn’t of much assistance, I was able to help out a bit that day and Saturday morning. Dan and Linda told me to get out of there and get back to my family, so I left Temple that afternoon.

Where Do I Begin?

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. Things have been a bit chaotic around here. We’ve been trying to buy a house since the beginning of February and finally closed on our house on March 6th. We had our 17th anniversary the next day. Two days later I traveled to west Texas to help family out when my sister had her baby at 32 weeks while Chris took off the week of spring break to stay with the kids. On the 11th, while I was still in Pecos, we were all shocked when we received the news that Chris’ grandmother had passed away. I drove to Temple and spent a couple of days helping Linda with service arrangements before heading home. We went to Temple this past weekend for her memorial service on Friday and then Chris and I rented a U-haul on Saturday and moved all of her things from her apartment into storage, bringing the U-haul back with us with a couple of things. We then took a couple of loads over to the new house on Saturday and Sunday while we still had the U-haul. We spent our first night at the new house last night and will take small loads over in the car this week. We’ll finish up moving the big stuff and boxes next weekend. So I’ll eventually get caught up on my blog, but I’ll start with the oldest posts to keep everything in order.

Turning 9- Part 2

Clara wanted to go back to our old church and see friends for her birthday. We did that last year since her birthday was on Sunday. This year her birthday was on Monday, but she was bound and determined to take full advantage of the extended birthday celebration thing we had going on.

We got to church a little early. I may have misjudged the amount of time it would take to get there. So we stopped into our old Kolache Factory hoping our friends would be there. Rosie and Mimi were both working and recognized us right away. They were so happy to see us. And then Mimi surprised us when she asked, “Your usual?” I asked her if she was serious and sure enough, she rattled off our whole order! After more than a year and a half. Impressive. We told Clara no cinnamon roll because we had actually already eaten dessert and were just going to get something small. Well, right as she was finishing up her kolache, Rosie came over with a gooey cinnamon roll for the birthday girl. She looked over at us with a desperate face and we of course told her it was ok to eat.

After church, we had lunch with the DeCarlos. The kids are all getting so big.




Clara was on a roll with getting everything she was asking for because birthday, so she asked to go to Tutti Frutti next door.



Ok, I thought Robert doing tae kwon do was just about the cutest thing ever, but I was wrong. That would be a two year old showing me all her moves and “hi-yas”



Monday finally arrived and we had some surprises in store for the birthday girl. We let her open her gifts before school. Bia and Pawpaw sent her Samantha’s holiday dress and some new choose your own adventure American Girl books that were recently released. Samantha has been retired for several years and was just reintroduced a few months ago, so Clara was happy to get a new dress for her.





Then Chris said he was going to drive her to school. She was really confused when he parked and got out of the car with her. We had arranged for him to be a Watch D.O.G. on her birthday. They had their picture taken and posted on a bulletin board, were on the morning video announcements and Chris spent some time in her class, including lunch and recess. She also got to share cupcakes with her classmates.


The other big surprise was a visit from Grandma and Grandpa. This was the first birthday they’ve been able to come celebrate with her, so it was an extra special treat. She wanted to go to Rainforest Cafe because she’s wanted their volcano dessert from the first time she spied one when she was a preschooler. I didn’t realize Robert had gotten his greasy chip paws all over the lens of my camera, so a few of these pictures are blurry until I figured out there was a problem.

But first, one last gift before dinner. A salon chair. Notice a theme here :) I’ve tried to hold off on doll accessories the last few years, but I finally decided she would love some fun accessories since dolls are about the only thing she still plays with. It’s sad to think that we’ve only got this year and maybe next to to give her toys :( It won’t be long until all she wants is clothes, electronics and other big kid stuff. It’s going by way too fast; she’s now halfway to adulthood.





Robert was not fond of the thunderstorms, so Clara, being the awesome big sister that she is, kept coming over to help cover his ears until it passed.




The waiters come out of the kitchen yelling, “Volcano! Volcano!” over and over as they parade the dessert to your table and then sing their rendition of “Happy Birthday” with lots of clapping. Clara joined in on the clapping, mesmerized by the sparkling dessert she’s waited basically her whole life to dive into :)



I think the volcano made up for the campfire cake mix cupcakes I threw together the week before. It didn’t disappoint.