Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staycation

Brent took this last week off for vacation. Since all of our vacation money went to Italy with the oldest daughter, we weren't going to make very big plans. We thought about going to the mother in laws for a few days but she was off on a little excursion of her own. I was hoping we would take this time of being off of work and not going anywhere to do some things around the house that have been stressing me out (like cleaning out the garage) but it never happened. We did decide last minute to go to Oklahoma City for a night. We decided on Tuesday, booked a room, went to the ATM and headed east. Our favorite place to eat is KD's Southern Cuisine, and not just because it happens to be owned by our favorite basketball player (Kevin Durant...if you didn't know that, then get off this blog). It has to have some of the best food I have ever put in my mouth. We have only been a few times, because it's not easy to get in to. If you are going on the weekend you need a reservation for sure. One time, the kids and I were in the city and tried to get in and they told us it was a 3 hour wait without a reservation. This was a Sunday night. I always get the honey chicken. It is the 3rd best fried chicken I have ever had (my mom and my mother in law are 1st and 2nd). By far the best restaurant chicken ever. It has a slight drizzle of honey and comes with 3 big pieces and two sides. I usually get the cheesy grits and bacon green beans. However, I have a new favorite to replace the green beans. THE MAC AND CHEESE. I made the statement that if Hamas and Israel were to sit down over a big bowl of KD's mac & cheese, they just might achieve peace. It's that good, ya'll. I also may or may not have said things like, "I lay awake a night and think about these cheesy grits" or "This mac & cheese makes me want to reach out, lay my hands on someone, and bless them.". The chicken fried steak (the size of a hub cap), gumbo, and smothered pork chop are just a few of the other things that you could have found on our table. OH MY GOSH. I also need to mention the fried green tomatoes and especially the Soul Egg Rolls. It had black eyed peas, collard greens, rice, and pork butt rolled up in an egg roll wrapper. It was served with some type of fruity (maybe mango?) sauce I believe also had a very slight chipotle flavor. My mouth is watering right now. It was so good. We just love that place. It's pricey, but it isn't just "eating out", it's an experience. I can't wait to go back again. When walk in and go past the hostess station, there is some KD memorabilia on the wall. It is amazing to see how big that dudes feet are. Here is a small example. It's a "thing" to have the boys measure their arms up next to KD's shoe. They have a ways to grow...uh, go.









 This bush was outside the front of our motel room. Jake thought it was so pretty and wanted his picture taken with it...until he stood next to it and heard the bees buzzing in the flowers. I took a pic just as he heard the bee and decided he didn't want to get too close after all.

OH MY GOSH. THIS LITTLE FELLA. This is the newly named Rupert. He was born June 21 at the OKC Zoo. I could have watched him all day long. He was so precious...at least as precious as a rhino can be. When we first walked up to see him, he was nursing off his momma. It was sweet. He stayed right next to her, but seemed to be curious about all the people who were squealing over him. I just wanted to hug him. We went back and saw him as we were leaving the zoo. It was closing time so he was already put in his inside quarters with mom for the night. She was happily munching on a pile of hay and little Rupert was laying down with his face buried in the hay. He was taking a little nap. So sweet. 

These are a couple of goobers. "Hey Callee! Help me get on this bear!" I was expecting it to be something like Callee helping a little too hard and Tack going over the other side of the bear. After a few grunts and shoves, he got up there. 


 Ashlee didn't want to get in the picture, but it isn't often I don't get one of all four of the kids that isn't a "selfie" of some sort. So, I got my way and everyone got in the picture. 



 Sting Ray Bay is fun. Where else do you get to hunker down over a swimming pool and pet a sting ray? I wanted to get in with them, but of course you can't. It was fun though. I got a picture of Brent and the kids and I thought it was cute. 
The boys got SOAKED by the sting rays. Jake more than Tack, and Tack thought it was FUNNY. The sting rays would swim up and show off and splash their sides in the water. Jake had water dripping off his face and his clothes were sopping wet.

We had a good time together. We were at the zoo about six hours and still didn't see everything. We took a picnic lunch and learned a lot about the different animals. It wasn't too crazy with people, and we didn't care that it was misting and raining most of the day. It sure beat having 100* weather. We ended the trip by taking Brent to Crabtown for his first visit, then we headed home. It was a long day and a late night, and we really should have paid more bills instead of going out of town, but we needed the time where all six of us could get away together and not "have" to be anywhere to do anything. That never, ever happens. Today, it was back to work for me. Brent has another day off so I am going to see if he tackles that "honey-do" list tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I said, "What's goin on?"



There really is no explanation for the title of today's blog. It is just what I came up with so that is what I am going with. We had some storms come through our area last night, and apparently there was a lot of damage from the wind. We have tree limbs and leaves and all kinds of stuff scattered around the place. Usually, the wind wakes me up at night but I must have been out cold last night because I never heard it. I did hear some rain early this morning. I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am for the rain. The drought is not considered over for us, but the relief we have had has been incredible. In a few weeks it will be six years that we moved to Oklahoma and this is the most green I have seen in that six years. I'm so super thankful for the rain. I know the cows are too. 

When I wake up in the morning, I make my coffee, sometimes I get some breakfast, and I sit down to check emails and Facebook for a bit. Every time I do this, Mr. Kitty takes that as his cue to come sit as close to my face as he possibly can. It's like his job is to keep my hands from reaching the lap top or something. He knows his self-imposed job, and he does it well. I took this "selfie" of us approximately 7.3 seconds after I sat down. That's how fast it took him to jump up and get settled in. I really need to remember to take my eye makeup off at night. 



I had to go in to "big town" yesterday for the radio show. I went to lunch with my great friend/producer extraordinaire and got some errands run. When I was getting ready to go in to town yesterday morning, I was thinking about how hot it was going to be that day...supposed to have been the hottest day of the summer so far. It friggin was. It was so hot. I saw I had hanging in my closet a dress that I got last year or maybe even the year before that. I think I've worn it twice. I'm super self conscious about my fat and my cankles, but I have decided that since I weigh over 200 pounds, it doesn't matter how tight my Spanx is, or how many layers of clothes I wear in 112* weather...people are going to see that I am, indeed, fat. So...I put that dress on and I wore it and I honestly didn't care all day long. It makes my rear end look even bigger than it already is, but I have come to the understanding that really there is no hiding it anyway. The dress comes to my knees and it felt so weird to have it on. I was constantly checking the back of my dress to make sure that it wasn't hung up in my undies, because I couldn't tell if the air hitting my bare legs was doing so in a legit fashion or not. It must have looked like I was picking wedgies all day long, but I was just doing a "dress-tucked-in-the-undies" check. That was all. I was having a great hair day though, so that made me feel 10 ft tall and bullet proof. Speaking of hair, I broke down yesterday and bought a trial size kit of some type of Pantene anti-aging stuff for hair. My hair is getting old. I hope this helps. 

In all my endeavors in town yesterday, I only got groceries for supper last night. For supper, I pounded out some big chicken breast, then marinated them in dijon mustard, juice from a can of pineapple, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Then I grilled them with skewers of onion, pineapple, and bell pepper. I served it over some long grain wild rice. It was super good.  But, since I only got groceries for last night and not today, there wasn't much for breakfast this morning. The kids have been going through at least a gallon of milk a day, if we have sandwiches for lunch that is a loaf of bread a day, a box of cereal will last maybe 2 breakfast, etc. Our human-consumption feed bill is crazy this summer...and that is with having the 17 year old gone the whole time. This is between a 12, 9, and 6 year old. All three have hit yet another growth spurt and it's crazy. Anywho, I told the kids we were fixing to go in to town for groceries, but there wasn't anything for breakfast because they ate $100 worth of groceries yesterday. Jakie proclaims, "I'll find something! I am creative and I can do anything!" So, he goes in and creates this for our breakfast. That's peanut butter and Craisins. It actually wasn't half bad. He was so proud of himself and I ate every bite. I couldn't believe that was all the peanut butter we had though....we had 1/2 a jar yesterday....and about 1/3 of a teaspoon today. Oy. 

My dad is a rock star. I've been trying to get my chicken coop raccoon free for this year. It's a lot of work and I haven't been able to do it on my own very well. I did some research to figure out the best way to go about it and decided that I was going to fill the coop up with river sand. You can clean it like a huge cat box. Because everyone loves a huge cat box. Right? So, my dad obliged and got some sand from the Washita River and brought it over and shoveled it in through the coop window. The kids and I raked the sand to even it out all over the coop. This is a different spot where the coop was last year, it's in a different part of the barn. It was used as a feed room before, and I think maybe an office for a family owned dairy many, many years ago. Callee is such a good, hard worker. It was so hot in there and she worked and didn't complain one single time. She's even smiling about something in this picture. 


We had wire over one window, and the other large window had been boarded up many years ago. The one wired window was getting a lot of air in, but we needed some circulation. Dad fixed that too. He took the board off the window, put up some wire, and now it's nice and cool in the coop. 

This is just a random picture of some goats enjoying some alfalfa. That's about it. 

Dad also put up some perches. The chickens were loving to look outside the window when they were in the coop. So he nailed boards all around the windows so they can run back and forth and perch while looking outside. The took to it right away and really seem to like it. 

My friend Melanie messaged me and said she had a couple of roosters to give away and asked if I wanted them. I finally went in to get them and I love them. The big, white one is "Champ" because he acts like he is champion of the world. He very well may be. He is a light brahma breed. He has pretty feathers on his legs. The littler guy is also a light brahma, but he is a bantam and will stay small. We named him "Chaps" because he has a lot of feathers on his legs and it looks like...well...like he's wearing chaps. They took to the flock right away and after a couple of chest-bumps with the turkey they settled in and took a nap. They seem to have adjusted very well. 


These dogs are dumber than a box of rocks. They sit outside of the coop when we go to feed and they chew on sticks. 



This has nothing to do with the farm animal stuff, but the other day Jakie decided he was going to do some major wrastlin'. He took one of my good, expensive couch pillows, wrapped a gel-facemask around it, and pounced on it and threw it around pretending it was a masked wrestler. He has quiet the imagination. 


Here's another selfie for you. It was hot yesterday when I went down to clean the coop and feed the animals. Hot. Hot. Hot. And no, I didn't have on my dress either. 

The engine in our mower recently crapped out. With all the rain we have been getting, the grass is growing like crazy. I'll take it though. So, we let the goats out for a day to try to help with lawn control. The last they knew, this was the feed room. Now, there were other creatures living in it. They were a little bit curious as to what was going on in there. 




I love this picture. I took it last night while I was grilling our chicken. It's the view from the back yard. The cows had come up to water, and the sun set was so bright and beautiful. 
 
This is the view from my front yard, looking out the side of the house. Yep. I like that too. 



Monday, June 23, 2014

Update From Greece....

What a week this has been. It's only Monday. There has been some heartache and pain mixed in with our everyday life the last few days. That everyday life part has been enough joy and chaos to keep me sane despite that whole "heartache and pain" part. As I posted on Life Beyond The Noise my friend Sherri was finally healed of cancer last week...it just wasn't in the way we had hoped. We believed she would be healed, but our flesh wanted that to mean she stayed here on earth with us. That wasn't the way it worked out. Her sister told me today that she is having to stay off of social media because she doesn't want to see people post that she "lost her battle to cancer" because she didn't actually lose anything. She gained a whole lot that we can't even begin to imagine. I agree. If anyone lost, it's those of us left behind that don't get to be in the Throne Room of Heaven just yet. We celebrated Sherri's life today and then I helped other ladies at the church with the family meal. I appreciated the kind words Sherri's sister and husband had to say to me. It's weird how when you face a loss, you know the value of the relationship you had with someone, but it just does something to you to hear it validated by someone else. I don't know if that's normal or if that's just my weird, neurotic behavior coming out. Anyway, it means a lot to me to hear that Sherri loved me just as much as I loved her. It was a day of  feelings being intertwined with thankfulness, peace, joy, grief, and pain. It wore me plumb out, as Jake would say.

Ashlee has begun her excursion to Italy, Sicily, and Greece with People to People. I told her not to worry, while she was off experiencing Europe for three weeks, I would stay here and do my job of making sure everyone in the house at least wiped after going to the bathroom. (TMI) I promise you with all I have, that she did NOT feel sorry for me about that. At all. If you follow me on FB you know a lot about the first few day of her trip already. They are 8 hours ahead of our Central Time but we have been able to communicate pretty well thanks to a temporary AT&T international package. She texted today that they walked a loooootttt. She is sunburned (I tried to get her to take either SPF 50 or even 110, but noooooo) but said they ate really good today. She had a piece of cheesecake and some tirimasu gelato as well. I could just live off of that. As of right now her group is on a ferry going across the Mediterranean Ocean towards the island of Crete. She said they will get there about 5 AM our time and start their day about an hour later. The ferry is the size of a cruise ship (she's never been on a cruise ship, so I don't know how accurate this is) and she felt weird trying to go to sleep while it was moving, but she really liked it.  I just pray she doesn't get sea sick. Today, they went to the Parthenon, Acropolis, Temple of Athena Nike, went shopping, and walked the whole version of what our 5th Avenue would be. I hope that's not where she did her shopping. She will run out of Euros quick, fast, and in a hurry. She is going to send me her pictures later when they get to the hotel in Crete. I stole some pics that her delegation leaders posted on the Facebook page for their group and trip. I will share them here. I'm probably not going to give you a caption on every picture because there wasn't a caption included on Facebook. Ashlee has a big day tomorrow doing some fun stuff and I can't wait to see pictures of that new adventure. Also, in case you didn't notice, I added a link on some of the words above where you could get some cool info about what she is experiencing...in case you are a learner and a history nerd like I am. There needs to be more of us in the world.

 These are apparently pictures of the changing of the guard. Exactly what are they changing, you may ask? Good question. I have no idea. I used the ever-so-handy Google and the only thing I could find was this. I assume this is what she saw today. Whatever it was, it looks pretty cool. Don't ask me what all this deliciousness is all about. I have no clue. I don't know if the top thing is a dessert or a fish or a what. The middle picture is a grilled chicken and orzo. That's all I know. It almost looks like bbq chicken but I'm betting it's not. I don't think they have that in Greece. Maybe I should Google that too. And that bottom picture? That salad? Um. Yum.





This is Ashlee and her BFF Summer. Summer lives here where we do, and I think it's amazing that they both got to go on the trip together. 


 I'm sure Ashlee is asking Summer, "What the heck is that? I don't trust that. I don't trust anything."


I made this picture bigger....just because. Big Red is kind of on the left hand side on the second row...ish. This is the group of amazing kids she gets to hand with for three weeks. I will have more to report tomorrow with more pictures if she's able to send them to me. I hope she took a picture of her cheesecake today!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Whew. What a week. It's been a good week, but crazy as ever. Wait. I take that back. It hasn't been too crazy. I think there is something in my brain that thinks that I am supposed to say that, even when it's not 100% accurate. So...it's been a fun week. Here's the low-down:

Last Saturday Callee, Jake, and I went to Texas to see our friends Kelly and Jason get married. I can't even tell you how happy this event made my heart. I used to work with Kelly and Jason when we lived in Texas. They were just babies in high school and really good friends back then. I totally knew they were meant for each other. Two of the sweetest, funniest people ever. Back then, I was married and a new mom of 3 kids. I lived away from my family, I had no friends, I was a total outsider in the town we lived at, and just completely and totally lost who I was. I was so unhappy, so depressed, and so sad that there was not anything in my life that resembled ME. Even though I had 3 young children, I decided to get a job at a little local restaurant because...well...because sanity. In this little town, the work force was small and I was about the only adult that worked there besides the owners and a couple others (who became my BFFs). Everyone else was in high school. Oh my gosh. I loved them all. Still do. God completely used them to help me find myself again. They gave me permission to be myself, even though I was really confused as to who that was. I could go on and on and on, but just know they are each incredibly special to me and I am still so thankful for them almost 6 years after we moved away. They are all grown ups now doing grown up things, and I am proud of them all for that. Here is two of my best gurls, Kelly and Becca. The wedding was so peaceful and Kelly was absolutely beautiful. Mr. Jason didn't look too shabby himself. This is one selfie that was necessary and I cherish it. 


 So...we all know how much I LOVE chickens. And ducks. And turkeys. And guineas. And birds. We also all know that a wretched raccoon declared warfare on my girls and ate them all. It's time to move on and rebuild the coop and the girls. I went a little crazy at Atwood's and bought some birds because they were on sale. Well...the second batch of birds I bought were on sale. The first batch I bought were not. *cough* They were still little enough that they had to live inside for a little while. It's cute and nice at first, but then it becomes a pain in the butt FAST. They are in big storage tubs and their wood chips have to be changed out at least once a day and they have to be fed and watered 3 or 4 times a day. We went a whole day without changing wood chips in one bucket and those guys got nasty. So...I gave the chickens a bath. This one was the most excited about the bathing process, and even more interested in the blow dryer treatment. It went to
sleep while I was drying it off. Silly goose chicken maybe rooster?




Here is a random picture of Callee and Mr. Kitty. We got him about a year ago as an orphaned kitten. I bottle fed him and he now has me confused with his mother. He is not quiet a year old, so he hasn't started marking his territory yet. I'm glad for that, since he isn't neutered. He has, however, begun copulating with this one particular blanket. Just ask Jake about it, he'll tell you. Especially if you are a stranger in the grocery store or a teenage boy. I know this from experience.
 We introduced Mr. Kitty to a chicken so that when they went outside and he was outside, he wouldn't mistake them for breakfast. He acted like he wasn't impressed at first, then he realized it could maybe be food. Then he was really interested. He pounced on it once, but just watched it and followed it around the laundry room. Then, he lost interest again so we kicked him out. He never tried to get to the birds while they were in the house. 




 I was out in the barn the other day doing some work and came across this huge, creepy spider. Ew. He had built a huge web with a tunnel in it. I think he was eating on something, but I didn't get close enough to really find out...just in case he could jump really high and decided he wanted to eat the flesh off of my face instead of whatever little bug he was maybe knawing on. 
 We finally got the birds moved in to the barn after getting it raccoon/dog/cat secured. While we were feeding the goats, the cat jumped in the window to make sure we were doing it right. 



I love this picture of Jake and some of the birds in their new digs. We will be putting a bunch of river sand in with them this weekend. The room we put them in was previously a feed room, so we left some hay in there for them to have. They eat on it, roost on it, poop on it, etc. Jake was such a big help that day.The picture to the left shows you how the dogs reacted to the birds being out of their reach. They aren't very happy about it, but just watch and listen and wait. Stupid dogs. 




Last week, Ashlee was gone to her favorite town, Washington, D.C. It really is her fav, I'm not joking. I have never been north of my house, so I'm a little jealous that she has been more than once. She was excited to dress fancy, see all the sights, hob-nob with elected officials, and start a spoon collection. If this video even shows up, it will be proof that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. As soon as she got home, she was wanting to throw the chickens around to see if they could fly. That doesn't sound very D.C. fancy to me. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

What's On My Mind? Thanks For Asking, FB.

I just went to check my Facebook on my cellular device. I clicked the button to make a status update and saw where Facebook was asking what was on my mind. I took a few seconds to let that sink in and then I started to really start typing what was on my mind. Then, I realized there was a LOT I was going to say...so...why not do a blog post of randomness instead? On this mornings radio show (kxoofm.com and click on my name to listen-shameless plug over) I made reference to what goes on in my head and I called it a "cornucopia of weirdness" and later wished I would have called it "cornucopia of crazy" because that describes my brain a little better some times. So. Much. Going. On. In. There. All the time.

Anywho-to answer Facebook's question-here's what's been going on in there. After I left the radio station this morning, I stopped and got myself a little chef salad. I ate what I could, and since I was driving it was no easy task. I was on my way to work and starving so I just did what I had to do. I was almost to work and decided to get the taste of boiled eggs and ranch off my breath (you are welcome, people I work with) and grabbed my tiny bottle of mouth wash out of my purse. I took a swig but got a little more of a swig than I was wanting to get. It was too much mouthwash to swallow. I began frantically searching for an empty cup or something I could spit the mouthwash in. I mean, my car looks like a mini-dump right now and there was SURELY something I could use, right? Wrong. The only thing I saw was a big pile of unused napkins I had grabbed when I paid for my salad. I thought, "Oh, there's a lot of napkins there so I will just spit in those napkins and be done." Sometimes in life, things just don't work out the way you planned. This was one of those times. Next thing I knew I had used mouthwash all over my face, running down the inside of my shirt, and all over my lap. So...there's that. 

There was a commercial on tv for some kind of new medicine. The name of the medicine (I don't remember what it was) had like four letters in it so the jingle writers thought it would be clever to have the people in the commercial spell out the name of the product. To start it out, the person would say something like "My name is L-I-S-A and I have C-O-P-D". Then, at the end, they would spell out the name of the medicine. Kind of like, "I take O-L-E-O to help." Or something like that. Yes, I know oleo is pretty much butter, but it was the only thing that I feel like substituting in the place of the forgotten product right now, so deal with it. Please. So, I was watching this commercial, and I am not going to lie, I was incredibly disappointed that by the end of it there was not a little guy with a turban pop up that said, "My name is V-A-M-S-I-K-R-I-S-H-N-A and I have C-O-P-D". That would have been genius in advertising. I bet I would remember the name of the medicine it was selling right now if they would have done that. There is a slight possibility I missed my calling in life.

OH MY GOSH! I am watching a rerun of "Law & Order" and it is RATCHET. I looked at the info for this episode and it is FREAKING 24 YEARS OLD! WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

I'm pretty sure my husband has hidden the only wii remote in the house that has working batteries in it. I can't seem to find it anywhere. Why would he hide it, you ask? Because I used to LOVE to watch the show "Drop Dead Diva" (big sisters everywhere unite!) but I only watched a couple of seasons of it. Turns out, this is the last season it will be on the air so I started watching it again only to realize there is SO much I missed in the previous two seasons. (Grayson knows that Jane is Deb! I need to see this happen!) This started my old love affair with Netflix during the day. Let's just say in a matter of a couple of days last week I was able to catch up on a season and a half. OK. Maybe it took me about a week or so to catch up, but still. My sweet husband has every reason to hide the wii remote from me right now. I think he did.

I'm hungry and I am going to eat fish sticks for lunch.

Wait. I probably shouldn't tell you the thought that's on my mind right now.

Maybe I should just wrap this up now.

Good-bye. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Do What You Need To Do

Right now, I'm sitting here with a heart so full I about can't stand it. This week has reminded me how blessed I am to have the family I do. I couldn't ask for a better husband than the one I have. He may not care anything about taking me to the symphony, and he may track mud all through the house or forget where the dirty clothes hamper is all the time. But, he recognizes the need I have to be my own person and take opportunities for myself so that I can not lose who I am in the process of my life. A lot of women aren't that fortunate. He puts up with my shenanigans and all the crazy things I want to do and I never, ever hear any flak from him no matter how behind on laundry I am or how often I'm gone doing something for me and he is fending for himself and the kids. My kids are complete and total troopers and are willing to just go with the flow because they know I run myself ragged for them when I need to. My parents work and have a life of their own, but are so willing to step in when needed to help me out and I can keep my sanity in tact. I don't know very many women who would be able to leave town for six whole days and be able to leave their four kids at home during the busiest time of the year for their husband and leave knowing that everything was ok. 

Right now, I'm sitting in my cousins living room over 2,000 miles away from my own home. My cousin is off working the "hoot owl" or night shift in the coal mines a little over an hour away. I'm sitting here smiling listening to his son, Cole (get it? Coal mines. Cole. hehe) as he's in his room talking to his friends on his headset. It wasn't an easy thing for me to get here, but I had an overwhelming sense that I just needed to do it. In four more days, Cole will be sworn in to the United States Army. He is the oldest child and only son of my first cousin Eric and his wife Angie. Eric has become not just my cousin, but my brother. The last few years we have formed an incredible bond that I thought I would never have with any one else after my cousin  (on the other side of my family), Daniel died almost 5 years ago. I grew up with Daniel, and we were like peas and carrots. Always so close, always together, always loving each other. Even as our lives took different paths. For almost 5 years I have grieved over him and I have grieved over having a bond with someone so strong that not even death could break it. God has really shown me how He will restore what has been stolen from you. I won't ever be able to replace Daniel, but I have been able to love enough to form a relationship with someone else that is just as strong. Eric is not just my cousin. He's the male version of me. He is like an extension of myself. He is my brother. His children have become like little siblings or nieces and nephew to me. This is a big change in their lives, and it only seemed fitting that I be here in the middle of it as well. 

A few months ago, we were making plans for Cole to come live with us for a while. Where he lives in West Virginia, there are no jobs other than the coal mines or teaching school. My family here has been in the coal mines for over 100 years in some form or fashion and it seems there have been several in the last generations that have wanted better for their sons than to be crawling on their hands and knees for hours on end, working one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet with both their lungs and skin covered in black dust. My grandma made my Dad promise he wouldn't follow in his father's footsteps and that's why my Dad finally had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave the mountains he loved. Dad joined the army and eventually met my Mom in Oklahoma. After they were married, they came back and Dad tried to live here and support his family outside of the mines, but it just couldn't be done. Over 40 years later, not much has changed where that's concerned. Cole was wanting to find something else to do, somewhere else to go, something that his amazingly brilliant mind could be challenged and his desire for adventure could be fulfilled. He thought moving west sounded like the ideal plan, but eventually he couldn't ignore what his heart has been telling him to do for years...the army. He had tried several times before, but promised he would finish college and he put off taking the big step in signing paperwork. As smart as he is, the professional student thing just wasn't for him and he took the plunge and called a recruiter for the last time. He was told boys from his area don't generally test very high, but his scores were so impressive he sailed through it. He feels he is doing what just comes naturally for him to do. Remembering what it's like to try and figure your way around this world, I can respect that. Thinking forward to how I would feel if that was the decision one of my baby boys were to make, I look at it differently. It's a bittersweet thing for me. 

Cole Lester is the kind of man every Momma prays her boy grows to be. I can sit and talk with him and in less than 10 minutes, my face hurts from laughing. Today, I belly laughed in a way that I haven't done since last August when I saw him last. He is always thinking of a plan, always has a way figured out to do something extraordinary, always has an insanely funny story to tell, always has a smile on his face, and almost always has food in his hand. See? That last part must be hereditary. Without a doubt, he will figure out a way to be successful with whatever it is he wants to do in life. I'm blessed to know him and love him and I'm excited for this new chapter to his life story he is beginning to write. It just seemed right for me to be here, even if someone thinks it wrong that I left my family to fend for themselves for a few days. I'm here to support Cole in his decision and here to love on my brother and his wife as parents. I have been thinking about flying out ever since Cole told us he was joining. I finally put the thought out of my mind because it just seemed like a wild idea, but a few weeks ago, Eric posted something on Facebook (he doesn't post very often) and it said something to the effect of how important family was, and you always need to be there for each other, tell them how you love them, and support one another. That sealed the deal for me. I knew I needed to try. I asked Brent what he thought about it and while I knew how it would be a huge inconvenience to him, he didn't balk at all. He understood and he knew why. I'm thankful to be here right now. I'm thankful to be here to send off one of my most favorite people ever. 

Right now, I'm sitting here imagining what kind of a world this would be if we had more young men like Cole. I know for sure it would be a lot happier of a place. 




Friday, February 28, 2014

#sorrynotsorry

Ok. We all know I don't run. Also, the bottom of these shoes remind me of crocs and that is weird. On top of that I don't have ANYTHING that matches these shoes. They were on sale and were cheap. So...#sorrynotsorry #hashtaginablog