Thursday, December 20, 2012

holidays at home

It's good to be home. Lots of work and lots of visits with friends. Since I'm here for such a long stay I am doing my darndest to see everyone and do every single thing on my list. Little Christmas shopping left to do, but I am basically ready for the big day and hopefully the cold weather will finally stick. Moosh has once again taken to farm life. Lots of extra attention, walks, and playing in the field like a flower child. Donkeys spoiled with daily carrots. And we made these holiday shortbread cookies that are so delish. The little lady is having herself a big 'ole time.
IMG_3996 IMG_4021 IMG_3994 cooking-cookies I also had a special old friend from Auburn sweep into town for the quickest visit ever. Way too short, but it was such a treat. We're all in different states now so when we get together there is endless talking trying to cram it all in! We told hilarious stories and sat out under the stars besides a big fire pit - heaven. Then we soaked up our big night out with some country cookin' at Pucket's the next morning.
 by the fire puckets This season is such joy and fellowship, but this year is definitely harder for obvious reasons. Missing Trevor's momma feels heavy and this horrendous Sandy-Hook tragedy is beyond comprehension. I've been loving on my family even more and squeezing friends. Time with one another is a gift. Lots of blessings to you this season! lil-heart IMG_3966 riding date

Thursday, December 13, 2012

warm welcome home

We landed in a drizzly, foggy Nashville last weekend, but it didn't dampen my mood one bit. I was thrilled just to be home. A wedding Saturday night and then a party on Sunday - that is my kind of homecoming! If rain really is a lucky charm on a wedding day then this couple certainly got their fill. It poured and thundered right as we sat down for supper, but it made for a very lively mood inside the warm tent. Lots of hugging and chatter and a few spins on the dance floor with my family - such a ball.
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Then my dear friend (and partner in crime) threw me a little shindig on Sunday. I've told ya she's special! She fixed a ton of delicious food, my mom made champagne punch, and friends stopped by. Miriam ran around the whole time, scurrying between legs and grabbing a ham & roll whenever they were in her reach. I am so lucky to have these beautiful ladies in my life. So, so lucky.

Friday, December 7, 2012

wrapping it up

It's 80 outside and there are still mosquitos in Texas, but I got my Christmas cards in the mail so that must mean it really is December. Got my bags packed and ready to touchdown in Tennessee tomorrow. 'Aint no place I'd rather be.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the thankful feast

IMG_3536 There is already tinsel strung all over town, but I'm still soaking up the gifts of Thanksgiving. This years feast was different in many ways. We stayed in Texas and hosted a small group of friends here at the house. It was our first year to not be with our family which felt strange, but, surprisingly, it also felt exciting to be in our house and not have to travel. Our best friends in town, Whitney & Chris, came over with their family and everyone divided duties on the cooking.
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The girls played and twirled around in their fairy wings from Whitney's momma outside and managed to entertain themselves which was sort of miraculous. I loved setting the table and fussing around the house the days leading up to the main event. The weather couldn't have been nicer and even allowed us to enjoy our new patio furniture. Conversation was easy, food was divine, and so on and so on. The only thing missing was a call from Marilyn. Holidays can be especially bittersweet when you've lost someone and that sinking feeling kept creeping in even with all the joy in the air.
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What keeps bringing me back to the now and drawing me back to the joy is my family. I'm incredibly grateful for my husband and my baby, so grateful for my family back home, and grateful for my new family of friends here. Whitney's daddy said grace as we all held hands (even the littles) on Thanksgiving and I was steadied by his words and by the feeling of family and support around us.

I read this, by Anne Lamott, about saying grace… "We savor these moments out of time, when we are conscious of love's presence, of Someone's great abiding generosity to our dear and motley family, these holy moments of gratitude. And that is grace."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

big easy express

The baby sitter arrived and we set out for a rare Sunday afternoon by ourselves. We'd planned this day before everything happened and now it seemed even more important to get out of the house for a bit. Windows down to let the cool wind whip around us. It felt beautiful as we drove along.
We had tickets for a screening of Big Easy Express at the Texas Theater. It's a wonderful old theater in kinda a funky part of town. The music in the film was such a wonderful distraction from our heavy hearts. I couldn't keep my foot from tapping as the bands played together on this wild train ride across country. Edward Sharpe, Mumford & Sons, and Old Crow - quite the rag tag caravan of folks and they were awesome. Real music, real songs, and adventurous spirit. I escaped in my mind and traveled along, dreaming of "running away with the band," just like I did years ago watching Almost Famous. Even when I'm down and in the worst of times I can be pulled up through music. At least for a little while. The film is really great and you should totally see it if you can. Maybe you'll want to run away with the band along with me!

/// In these bodies we will live. In these bodies we will die. ///
Where you invest your love, you invest your life. - mumford + sons

Friday, November 2, 2012


There are those big moments in life you'll never forget and yet you don't want to remember. Time stands still and objects are a blur. I got a call from Trevor last Thursday that changed everything. He said his mom, Marilyn, had been in a car accident and she didn't make it. The panic in his voice and the pain in his words ran through me and dropped me to the floor. The word "no" kept coming out of my mouth. Over and over and over again, it's all I could manage to say. As I waited for him to get home, my body just shook.

I'm not even sure now how to describe the last few days other than hell. When someone dies unexpectedly, there is no celebration. No party to rejoice in their life. It just feels too sudden and too painful. We were filled with sadness and yet we did pull together and lean on one another as a family. We did tell some stories and share memories of Marilyn. Family members and friends wrapped their arms around us and prayers were felt from all directions. It helped. The calls and the texts and the friends showing up from far away. The outpouring from everyone really and truly meant more to Trevor than I can even express. We needed all that love. After arriving in Atlanta we went into planning mode. Making arrangements and decisions I never dreamed we'd have to make. You see, Marilyn was the glue. She was the one that always made things run smoothly. The one that kept their family together and the one that knew what to do. So many times we wanted to reach out and ask her what to do. I did feel her though. We stayed with Trevor's grandparents and I felt her in their house. I felt her everywhere. I felt her cooking and her decorating and her laughter in the next room. I just felt her. Trevor was so strong. He spoke at the service and truly did his momma proud. Everyone She would have been so proud. After going strong for those few days, we came home and collapsed. My body ached all over and it still doesn't seem real. It was almost harder to come home though, because it's like now what? Time to grieve I suppose. Life is so very precious.

The last time I saw Marilyn was her visit here. She got to see our house, and cook for us, and see our life here. Most importantly she got to be with Miriam and hug her and love her. A few beautiful days of uninterrupted time with her granddaughter. All I can say is it was a real blessing. She loved that baby more than anything. Truly. Marilyn brought Miriam this cute little toile purse on her visit. Inside was an elmo phone and goodies. Miriam adores it and takes it everywhere! It's little things like that that keep reminding me of her. After her visit here I randomly sent her a photo-book of pics from the visit. Her husband gave it to me while we were down there. It's not something I normally did, but for whatever reason I put it together really quick and off it went in the mail. Last night I listened to our answering machine. A message from Marilyn after she got the book played. To say she loved it is an understatement. She oohed & ahhed & cried a little on the message (so Marilyn) and said how much she loved us and loved being with us and how she couldn't wait to come back. I'm so glad I sent her that book. I hope she knew how much we loved her.

This morning I asked Miriam if she knew who's birthday it was today. She said… "mine." I said… "no baby, it's Grand-Mares birthday today. She would have been 64 years old and she loved you so much." I wish we could wish her happy birthday today. I wish we could talk. I know she would tell me some funny story and make me laugh. I wish she could have seen Miriam in her cupcake costume the other night. She would've got such a hoot out of it. I wish she was here for Trevor and Lindsay. I wish Miriam would remember her as she gets older, though I know, with all my heart, a piece of her light is inside my baby girl. She sure lit up a room. I wish I could touch her and I wish she'd come back.
I promise to tell Miriam all about you, Marilyn. You will be her guardian angel, watching over from above. I promise she will know you and know your spirit. I promise to take care of Trevor and be by his side. I promise we will remember you, feel you, celebrate you, and love you always and forever.

The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand,
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land
The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains…
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
{not sure where it came from, but this poem was on the fridge at Marilyn's parents house}

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

pumpkins and such

There's too much to share and too little time, so here's my random thoughts and pictures and life lately. The neighborhood seems alive. Folks are walking, playing in the yard, and leaves are slowly beginning to change. Pumpkins are out and once even got painted. The air is extra crisp so more sweaters are hanging on the entry hooks and I continue to spruce the house and move things around. I'm never really done. I bought these old botanical charts at a market last week for like $8 so I found 'em a home. I suppose they're a little weird and of course I love them. Trevor… not so much, but I'm fine with that! Brother Will was in the Big D for business (my little rockstar salesman) so I was rearranging furniture and fluffing the guest room. Nothing like a house guest to get you inspired.
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He treated us to a night on the town and even thought dinner wasn't 'til 8:30 (yawn) I managed to keep up. We sipped the best margaritas I've ever had at Komali and talked football with the manager there who used to live in Knoxville. We ate incredible food, told funny stories, and shared the latest and greatest news going on.
Since I've been on a major patio furniture mission, I trekked out to Mckinney and hit the jackpot. ORLY Market + antique/junk shops galore. Trevor works out there so I've been, but this was my morning to seriously explore and do some digging. Sure enough, I found us some amazing retro chairs and even baby Moosh got her own mini version. Awesome downtown with great building and special shops.
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I also think I had the best sandwich of my life at Patina Green. That's two "best of's "in one post, but durn it it's the truth. Ham, smoked cheddar, jalapeno bread, & pepper jelly. I'd go back right this second if I could. And wouldn't you believe it… here came my brother & his co-worker walking down the sidewalk for a meeting. Lordy y'all, the coincidences in this world are something else. Not only do I never go to Mckinney to have lunch with T, but I didn't even tell Will I was going and had no idea he was going. Weird.
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And I'll leave you with a pic from "pajama day." She was so confused about wearing her pajamas to school, but now she wants to do it every day. Sweet. And don't even get me started on her new boots. They're the cutest things I've ever seen. I mean, mini moccasins, what? Ridiculous and I love 'em.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

the disappearing city

I can't remember how I came across these photographs by James Griffioen, but I keep going back to them, scrolling through and wanting to know more. They're all images of Detroit. What fascinates me is the idea that entire blocks have been burned, grown over, and simply abandoned. Can you imagine if everyone just gradually left your neighborhood. Left their furniture, shut the door and just got outta dodge? Eery right? Apparently, parts of Detroit are literally deteriorating. Old theaters and factories just left for nature to take over. An abandoned zoo. It's sad to see such neglect and it's sad on a much broader level to think about the complications of this place. But, it's also beautiful the way he's captured "the disappearing city." As we know, nature keeps on going even despite us.
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“…For a few beautiful months during the summer, some of these houses become “feral” in every sense: they disappear behind ivy or the untended shrubs and trees planted generations ago to decorate their yards. The wood that framed the rooms gets crushed by trees rooted still in the earth. The burnt lime, sand, gravel, and plaster slowly erode into dust, encouraged by ivy spreading tentacles in its endless search for more sunlight.”
“There is a certain comfort here. The earth is fine. Nature is patient. The plants are just waiting. It is the monuments we build, the paths we tread that are endangered.”
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To see more… check out

all photos ©james d griffioen

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a weekend at home

Even though it was still a bit dark outside, we were all up extra early Saturday mornin'. Trevor was off to Austin and Miriam and I were up making coffee for the workers. T had "gotten a good deal" on some trees at work so a few guys arrived ready to get 'em in the ground. I figured some hot jo would be extra incentive to do a good job, plus Moosh loves to help my pour coffee beans in the grinder and push the button. She's very helpful, minus when she dumps a scoop out on the floor.
After breakfast we headed out to Plano to pick up a stroller. And why a new stroller you may ask? Because some jerk stole ours off our front porch. Yeah, I know I shouldn't have left it out so really it's my fault, but boy was I mad. So, we pulled up to a not so nice neighborhood and I started to think, hmmm, is this such a god idea to be in a strange neighborhood alone with my toddler? But of course I ignored my gut and knocked on the door anyway. Sure enough, there was an identical Bob waiting for me. Who knows, maybe I just bought my original one back!
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We stopped by a new lunch spot on our way back called Start. I ordered baked chicken nuggets + sweet potato tots for Miriam, but she ended up wanting my spinach & veggies wrap, which means I ate the chicken & tots. Typical. I'd totally go back though. Pretty inside and just a refreshing concept to fast food. The rest of our girls weekend was spent snuggled inside. Heat turned on for the first time and I went digging for jackets and sweaters in the closets. We read books in my bed and watched our "favorite show", a DVD of Busytown. Do you remember those Richard Scarry books from childhood? I remember pouring through them and all his tiny detail in each scene. The pickle car was pretty cool too.
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There was also an acorn hunt outside for the squirrels, some breathing treatments (just 'til this cough goes away), dressing up in our Halloween costume, a visit to Half Price books (major scores here), eating leftovers for dinner, watching chuck's day off on dvr, laundry, making my own vanilla creamer, and a grocery run for a Sunday evening roast. It can make a for a really long weekend to be on your own sometimes, but it's also mighty special to have a little shadow following you around saying, "I hold you mommy" when she wants to be picked up. By Sunday evening, little nugget was also pretty stoked to see daddy come home though and so was I.