I Can't Help it

We re-did our girls' room for Christmas. It has so exceeded my expectations. It's not done, and I will write an "official" post about their room when it is, but I love it so much already that I can't help but share. Walking into their room makes me happy. I love thinking about the little details. I loved the planning stage, but seeing how it's all coming together is great. I think you'll enjoy it, too. (The "official" post will contain all of the information about the furniture pieces, colors, linens, etc.)

The big frame was a dreamy find. Its final touch will be individually framed couple pictures of Jake and me, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. A sort of family tree. I loved the idea at Lay Baby Lay and knew I wanted those loving faces in the room. Vaughn refinished their dresser. I am in-love with how it came out.

Magnolia found this Frenchie on the same trip we found the frame. When we first got it, I thought about painting it, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought the orange-y brown was perfect. 

 The girls now have matching desks, each in-front of a window. Cora was using the abacus (one of Magnolia's Christmas presents) while I was putting their dresser together. She said, "Look, Mom! It makes two triangles." She'd been counting the beads from 1-10. I can't wait to see what fun shapes we can make with different counting patterns.

 This wall is in-between their desks. I was thinking about what should go on it when I went passed their art wall(s) in our hall that has become completely overrun. This will be a great place for the things Cora brings home from school, and we can easily rotate it.

Curtains, beds, layered fabric pennants, name signs. I'd planned on taking the French alphabet flashcards down, but I really like them with everything else. I may move them to a different wall and put a Regina Murphy painting we got from the Paseo Arts Festival there instead. The painting is going somewhere in their room, I just haven't picked the perfect spot yet (it's a fabulous colorful streetscape of row houses in Holland).

 The heart of it all. They were playing blocks while I made lunch. I'm glad they still have so much room to play. Cora discovered that she fits nicely under her bed. She has taken several books under there to read. I think I'll figure out a way to decorate it to make it a sort of magical secret world, as if it wasn't already. (Seriously, could those beds be any more perfect? No. They could not.)

They're adjusting well to their new beds. Tonight is their second night in them. We had to go in a few times last night before they fell asleep. After they'd been in bed for a while, we heard Magnolia whimpering softly. I went in and couldn't find her! We'd put lots of pillows and stuffed animals on the floor in case she rolled off (we ordered side rails, but they're not here yet). I was feeling my way through them and then I swooped under Cora's bed and felt Magnolia's leg. She was way under there, and on the part where the wood floor is exposed rather than the rug. She was still pretty much asleep, just cold. We changed her diaper and I held her for less than a minute before she pointed to her bed. I laid her down, covered her up, and she was still snug when we went in this morning after they woke up. 

Joy to the World

Jake and I just finished up with an ambitious choral and orchestral undertaking. We started rehearsals in September, and rehearsed once a week since then. The event was called Joy to the World. The choir in its entirety had nearly 300 members. We worked in smaller groups, four total, to rehearse and learn our parts with a local director for each of the four choirs. The 60 member orchestra rehearsed independently. We met combined twice before our guest conductor arrived on Thursday. We were blessed to be "fine tuned" and led by Dr. Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

It was amazing to see how he could mold all of the notes we'd learned into an incredible musical experience. I initially decided to join the choir for a few reasons, the number one being that Jake was going to be the rehearsal accompanist and the pianist/organist for the actual concert. I hardly ever get to see him, so if we could be in the same room for any given amount of time sharing a common experience, I was in. The other things that swayed my decision: I love to sing, Craig Jessop would be conducting, and the concert was going to be at the Civic Center (Oklahoma City's premier performance space).

The experience was transformed for me after the notes were learned and when the meaning of what was happening set in. We were coming together as a collective to tell the story of Christ's birth through music. The concert was free and open to the community. 1. I love Jesus. 2. I love communal experiences. 3. I love when I hear Jake play the organ, which had been once ever before the rehearsals and concerts we had. This experience will be treasured for the way it helped bring Christ to the forefront of this season. I came to understand more about my relationship with him as I was consumed by the spirit of the music. I was making personal declarations with each note I sang. And even in the three notes I didn't sing during the Hallelujah Chorus in our evening performance because my voice was on its way out. ;) The event was recorded and will be broadcast two more times this holiday season on KSBI 52 (KSBI-TV can be viewed on Cox Cable Channel 7 - HD 707, AT&T U-verse 52 – HD 1052, DirecTV 52 and Dish 52). The remaining show times are as follows:

Monday December 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Tuesday December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

With all of the final rehearsals and performances and a few other out of the ordinary life events I haven't seen my girls as much as usual since Thursday. I have been missing them! SO MUCH! They went home with Vaughn and Tracey after the matinee performance. When we got to Jake's parents this afternoon, I was happy, elated, ecstatic to see them. Goo was napping. I took advantage of some time to be next to Cora on the couch for a little while. We had the Johnson Family Sing Along tonight. In between food and music, I snuggled and loved and kissed them extra. I laid with Cora until she fell asleep. I love them. Taller than the moon and further than the sun. I'm pretty sure Cora is magical.

When I came downstairs to check my email after Cora was asleep, I saw that my friend Ryan's blog had been updated. Her daughter, Ellie Kate (7), was released from the hospital into home hospice care four days ago. They made a little "Life List" as a family of things to do to make some extra special memories in the time Ellie Kate had left. When I saw the new update, I knew what it would say. "Elizabeth Kathleen McLaughlin was welcomed by the arms of Jesus at 11am today." In knowing/anticipating what would come, I have felt so many emotions. I have cried and cried in the last few days, but when I read those words, I was filled with peace. I've been praying for peace at this time, not only for the family, but for all who knew them. Thousands have been touched by Ellie Kate and her family. I knew everyone would be sad to hear of her passing. So sad. My heart is breaking for the empty arms of a mother. Her family has called this her Ultimate Healing, and I love the spirit that evokes, despite the void that comes without her physical presence. I think it is a source of much of the peace I know I'm not alone in feeling. Someone put it perfectly, "We are grieving and rejoicing." Her services will be on Friday. I shared a bit about Ellie Kate and her family earlier this year: http://jakeandbrieann.blogspot.com/2012/02/dream-little-dream_22.html?m=0

This week has been one full of miracles for me. Each one has had life and love at the core. The miracle of God the Father sending his only begotten son. The miracle of friends welcoming a new baby. The miracle of Ellie Kate's life and the cyclical feeling that could only come this time of year of God calling her back into his presence. I am grateful to be aware of these and many more occurrences in such a short amount of time. I cannot deny God's presence in my life after seeing how he moves in me and in the lives of those around me. He is Good.

To read more about Ellie Kate's family: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/EllieKate

To help the McLaughlin Family financially:
The Ellie Kate Project
Helping Hands Ministry
C/O Susie Tietz
135 Main Street
PO Box 337
Tallulah Falls, GA

On Pants and Purple

I don't know how far reaching "Wear Pants to Church Day" was outside of the LDS [Mormon] world. I probably wouldn't have known about it if a friend hadn't sent me a link to a post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. The summons was for women to wear pants to church on Sunday, December 16th as a way of making a stand against gender inequality in the church. (It's important to note that Mormon women traditionally wear dresses or skirts to worship services on Sunday.) I am a casual reader of this blog. I am interested in many of the issues discussed there as well as other circles of Mormon feminists. I've worn pants to a few church functions. There is something very practical about them. Especially when it's cold and/or windy, or when I haven't shaved my legs, or when I'm all over the place with my small children, and for many other reasons.

BUT! Something about this whole "Wear Pants to Church Day" really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it's because I don't really have a problem with myself or others wearing pants (or dresses or skirts). Or because no one ever said I couldn't wear pants, so I don't know why I needed a day to tell me I could. And I understand that it's not really about "pants." But I know many a woman who doesn't have to wear something on the outside to express what she is quietly working towards in her heart and mind. Her words and hands end up doing the work more than her clothes. These quiet feminists, some are no longer in the church, are heroes to me. I love seeing the little things they do to chip away at the traditions that get in the way of becoming a complete disciple of Christ. These examples empower me.

Another problem I had was feeling like I would have been going along with the crowd, even if I really wanted to wear pants. And I probably will on poor weather condition days as winter progresses, but now I'll have to wonder what people will think. Am I doing it because a group said so? In a way it took away the freedom of doing something just because. Not as a statement. And in some ways, I feel like it's a very Mormon thing that most of the followers of FMH sound their voices against, or at least I thought they did, and that's waiting for an outside voice of permission to do something, say something feel something, act in a certain way. We have General Conference twice a year where leaders of the church address all of the members over the course of a weekend, and we have many more mesasges throughout the year via firesides, local conferences, church magazines, etc. I enjoy listening to/reading the messages that are shared, but I'm always amazed at how even some of the most basic tenants of Christ's gospel become revolutionary when coming from a voice of authority. Things like how we should be loving and kind and charitable to ALL [wo]men despite the issues at hand. I don't want my clothes to mean something now because someone else said they should mean something. My pants are not a statement.

With that being said, I went to FMH this afternoon to see what experiences men and women had with Wear Pants to Church Day. There were many photos of women in their pants before/during/after church. I didn't read about anyone having a negative reaction from another member for their pants-wearing.  But something I read a lot of was about the color purple. Men wore purple shirts and ties, women wore purple tops. "Purple," I thought, "Did I miss something?" Apparently there had been a charge in some other forum, maybe in the closed FB group called All Enlisted (the group that said women should wear pants on Sunday) that said women (and men) should wear purple to show support. Why purple? Perhaps because it was the color that represented dignity in the women's suffrage movement. Anyway, guess who wore her most decadent purple shawl to church yesterday? That's right. Me. Total coincidence. I guess I'm just so connected to the cause (gender equality) that it was bound to happen, even if I wasn't onboard with this particular pants-wearin' movement.


I hopped in the shower while Jake took the girls to drop Cora off at school. My mind was wandering to a million different places when it got hung up on a thought. I know it happens to every parent - the what-ifs. This what-if was, "What if something happened to Cora?" The funeral scene played out in my mind, and I was overcome with emotion. I went to wipe the tears away, an automatic reaction, but no need really since my face was already wet. I was caught by how different tears feel from water as my fingers brushed across my cheeks. When these thoughts were starting to get the best of me, I did the only thing I know how to do to keep from getting completely overwhelmed. I knelt and said a prayer of gratitude for my beautiful daughters, and for the gift of motherhood.

We had a fun day with one another. This was Jake's official start to Winter Break. When we got home from school, Cora was feeling sad at the thought of all-day kindergarten next year because she "didn't want to leave Mama." I'd been randomly thinking about homeschooling all morning, and talked to Jake a bit about it over lunch (these are random thoughts, not decisions). We went to the Science Museum after lunch and spent hours there. I found that I am obsessed with the balance machine - it times how long you can keep your balance, and I'm not talking stand on one foot balance, it's like perfect balance. 5.7 seconds was my record. When we got home, I started making matzo ball soup for a little Hanukkah gathering with Ashleigh and Andrew. I was looking at the ingredients I'd assembled on the counter when Jake came in and said there had been a shooting. "20 children between 5 and 10." It's horrifying.

During difficult times, I say I need a wailing wall. I felt I'd found a kindred spirit when I read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, and came across May who would stuff notes in a wailing wall she made in the backyard. Sometimes it's just too much, and her being able to write down all that made her ache inside  and put it somewhere else made it better for a time. Being a mother is terrifying. It's wonderful and amazing and all of that, but no one could have prepared me for how much worry would come along with it. It's the same sort of thing that makes me fall a part at the slightest thought of something happening to my babies. There are no words for the kind of love that exists for the lives I am responsible for. And one of the most tender parts of that love is the way it's reciprocated. The way they love me is a blessing - the way I am their comforter, and adventure guide, and nutritionist, and everything - the center of their world. When tragedies like the one today happen, I go back and forth between what is protecting and what is smothering. An example: do I want to homeschool because it will give me a greater sense of security - because I want my girls to be stuck to me like glue? Absolutely! I want to live in a little cottage in the country and shut the world out so I can make my own little world with them. Is that smothering? Maybe a little. But it seems so dreamy.

This day began with deep hurt at the thought of something happening to Cora, and it's ending with her warm and snug in her bed. Both led to prayers of gratitude, and with what happened today, a deeper appreciation for what I value most.

PS: It rained tonight on our way home. It was heavy and blowing, and something about it felt so good. It reminded me of Patty Griffin's song Rain. 
It's hard to listen to a hard hard heart
beating close to mine
Pounding up against the stone and steel
walls that I won't climb
Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
you think that you're gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
with all this rain falling down...

A Day and A Dream

Today had a lovely cyclic quality to it. I don't know what it is about things feeling like they've made a complete cycle to me. I guess it's something like music resolving, it just feels good. A small example of the importance of this in my life is that I want to die on my birthday. When I'm one-hundred-something years old. 

I was jolted out of a dream around 6:45 by Cora who was calling for us from her room, and while that might technically be considered the start of my day, the dream I was having was so beautiful and vivid, and that is where I chose to begin. Josephine [my bike] and I were on a fantastic journey through a city comprised of all the places I've lived, and I ran into many friends and family members along the way. The journey began with a friend pointing out a church we were passing. On a designated day, this church (along with many others) tried to fill the world with God's light. This was done at night with the congregation standing on the large lawn of the church, and shining lights up into the night sky. As I toward the end of their collective light's reach, a sort of shimmer shot across the sky and faded within seconds. I'm not entirely sure what the adventure that followed was all about, but I'm certain that a quest for God's light was at the root of it.

After Cora's speech therapy, we ran a few errands and ended up at our neighborhood park. There was a group of three high school girls. One of them was absolutely darling. She was smitten with Cora. She went on the monkey bars and swings with her, and after one of Cora's friends from school showed up, I ended up swinging next to her for a while. She and the other two girls were involved with the production of a play at Classen School of Advanced Studies (a nearby middle/high school). One of the girls is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award (like and Eagle Scout award in Boy Scouts), and directing this play is her big final project. I was invited to this evening's performance, and was happily able to attend. The play was called Eat, and its purpose is to bring awareness to eating disorders, specifically in young people. It was performed by middle schoolers, and I was impressed.

Interacting with those girls today, and being in the school made me feel a rush of sentimentality toward my life as a teacher. I was a high school teacher because I love interacting with people that age. At church I work with girls 12-18, more specifically the 14-15 year olds. I adore them. It's just a tender time in life. I love the magic, and the energy, and the possibility, and the jumble of emotion that comes with trying to figure "it" out. When I saw the girls at the show, they were so glad I came. I am also invited to and plan on attending Urinetown, which runs February 20-22, I believe. Eat runs through Saturday. It was a well-spent hour of my life.  

After the show, I went to Whole Foods per Jake's request for a cookie. When I was on my way to get my favorite gigantor vegan chocolate chip cookie, I spotted a woman I went to college with. I haven't seen her since she came to Northwest Classen when I was still a teacher there. It was right after I had Cora, and she was getting her oldest son's records straightened out because her family was moving to Austin. I'd assumed she was still there. We were in several writing classes together, and from her writing, I learned that our lives shared a few important features. I loved that she was working on her masters, had three sons, and wore a simple gold wedding band. She wrote a poem that I still think about. It compared life to a leaf falling from a tree and swirling along the sidewalk, and in the end it gets caught under the foot of someone passing by and blown away in the wind. I wish I could remember word for word because my description falls short of the essence of what I've remembered it for. Anyway, she lives a few miles away from us, and is now the mother or four sons, her youngest is two months younger than Magnolia. I hope we'll be able to meet up in the future.

And somehow at the end of this day full of chance encounters, everything comes back around to the journey I was on in my dream. It might make more sense if I explained more of what happened in my dream, I wrote five pages about it after I woke up while everyone else was eating breakfast, but I think I'll keep that to myself for now. The rest of the details are like those of most dreams - they really only make sense to the dreamer. While I know it's unlikely, I hope to pick up where I left off tonight. I was entering the lobby of a church where colorful plastic milk crates were stacked in a pyramid on a table. As I walked towards them, they began to topple, but before any of them could make a thud, they were magically gathered together into one crate at the center of the table. And then I woke up.

Sweet Baby

A few days ago, Magnolia handed me something and said, "Here, Pretty Baby." And today while we were eating lunch, she handed me some chips and said, "Here, Sweet Baby."

This just makes me go all kind of gushy. Not only does it make me feel happy to be called these sweet things, but I love that she says it to me because I say it to her. It means something to her. It's easy to get hung up on the negative interactions I have with my girls (like when I'm not as kind as I should be), but this was a good reminder that the positive outweighs the negative, and that positive interactions come in moments that just happen. They happen because of the love we have for one another.

I took them to the doctor this morning. Magnolia has croup and was given a steroid shot. Cora was a little more complex. She had an initial virus - her throwing up/fever from the weekend. Then she developed a secondary infection later in the week. Does anyone care to guess where? Her right ear. Surprise? Not at all. We've let her get over numerous ear infections on her own because she came with such frequency when she was younger, but with how sick she was this week, I decided that antibiotics were a good route this time. I discussed antibiotic options with her doctor because she throws up when she takes liquid meds. We settled on a capsule form of amoxicillin. I open one up and put it in a drink or on some food twice a day. She wanted chips and salsa for lunch. She ate it with her medicine mixed into the salsa, no problem. I was relieved.

I love my sweet little babes, and I hope they feel super spectacular soon.

Cabin Fever, sort of.

This week has been a little crazy. A little crazy with long days. And a little lonely. My girls have been sick. Sick and then better and then even sicker last night and all today. I am hoping to get them into the doctor tomorrow. When I called to let Cora's school know she wouldn't be there [again], the secretary said that 11 other children in Cora's grade had already called in for the day. I'm quite certain Magnolia has croup. She's had a mild fever, been in good spirits, but she has that signature scary sounding cough. Cora had a short-lived tummy bug, then a fever for a day and a half and started getting better, then BAM, last night, it all changed (last night is also when Goo's cough started, though it turned croup-y sounding today). Some important information in this is that about 2 years ago, Cora started refusing to take medicine in liquid form. She starts gagging when we talk about it, and as soon as it gets in her mouth, there is throw up. It makes it difficult to take antibiotics. Luckily, she's only had one ear infection in the last two years. Apparently they used to make amoxicillin in chewable tablets, but after calling several pharmacies, I was unsuccessful at tracking them down. 

I think the lonely comes in after a weekend that was so very full of old friends and family in Arizona. There was hardly enough time for sleep with all of the comings and goings. It was short and lovely, and I look forward to writing more about it soon. We've been taking it easy in Dot, and that's been good for us and the rest of the world. I actually really enjoyed the first few days of just me and my girls. No school. No errands. Coloring, play dough, snuggle time, stories. It was pretty dreamy (Cora was also on the mend then). The fourth day, however, is when it hit. But I can't believe it's Thursday. So even though the days have been long, the week seems to be going by quickly enough. Jake has a busy weekend ahead, and the weekend really has no relevance to my schedule and the duties I perform seven days a week, but it's a nice focal point when trying to keep my days straight. My little stint in Arizona has well timed. It filled my reservoirs, and made me pleased with the kind of mom I've been to my girls this week, even if human contact besides my little peeps has been sparse and stark.

Even with all of the cuddling and cough syrup-ing, I've managed to be productive in a few creative endeavors this week. All are for the girls' re-made space. First, I made a banner from some old marquee letters that my mother-in-law gave to me. They were making cute holiday signs to decorate Floorplan with, and when I saw them, I knew that if they had all of the right letters, they'd be perfect in place of a monogramed valance I'd been trying to figure out in my head. I love that they can see their whole name, and the character of the letters really match the aesthetics of the space.       

In our only trip out this week [me + girls] (I went to see with a friend on Monday night [Life of Pi]), I went to JoAnn's Fabric store. All of their rotary cutters and mats were 50% off, plus I had a $5 off coupon. I've been wanting one for a long while now, and with the impending curtain making, I wanted to get really crisp, even pieces of fabric. Well, folks, it was love at first cut. If I would have known how amazing cutting fabric could be, I would have purchased one years ago. I used it to cut out the fabric for the pennant banner, and it saved so much time, and all of my fabric looks perfect. And here's the really big deal: my sewing machine didn't act up once. It did make a big clunky sound once or twice, but it didn't pull the fabric down into the bobbin hole, nor did it get crazy messed up stitches on back. I only had to seam rip once because I changed my mind about something. If every sewing session was like this, I'd sew every day. 

I saw this cute fabric at JoAnn's last night. I love the colors, they're much brighter in "real life."

I made a small tag blanket out of the state material when Cora was a baby. It's been one of my favorite fabrics since I first saw it. I think it's clever, and it makes me smile. Arizona just happened to make it right in the middle of one of my cuts. 

 I also ordered afghans for the foots of their beds yesterday. I have looked at hundreds of quilts/blankets/throws in the last several weeks. I'd had my heart set on a Granny Square pattern, but after I missed out on one on ebay, I turned to Etsy. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I had a Granny Square one in my cart when I saw this gem. Holy smokes. It's okay if you're a little jealous.

Then I saw this one. It was between this one and the Granny Square one in my cart, and Cora said she liked the "spots" best. They'll be perfect. I got some white duvet covers with a bit of red embroidery while in Arizona. These afghans along with the their colorful throw pillows and simple duvet covers will be great along with their light turquoise beds (if mint green and turquoise had a baby, the color of their beds would be it). 

And last but not least, today while Magnolia was napping and Cora was resting, I put up our Christmas lights. Only a day later than they day I said I would put them up. A bit of irony: I was completely sure-footed on the roof, but when I was taking my last step down to the deck from the ladder, I totally missed a rung and almost stumbled off. Luckily I was still holding onto the ladder, so I saved myself.

PS: I've had The Art Teacher by Rufus Wainwright stuck in my head this evening.


After my recent visit to Arizona for Sarah Keller's wedding [my dear friend from high school], I have a lot to say. I'm going to do it in installments. This is one of them.

My grandparents unknowingly did me a great service while I was growing up: they moved into a 55+ mobile home park when I was 5.

Grandpa could no longer handle the high altitude of their mountain home, and Grammy had just spent a month in the hospital recovering from a horrible infection, so they needed something in the valley, and the sooner the better. My grandpa's sister and her husband had a mobile home in this park that they were looking to sell, so my grandpa traded them a piece of land for it, and they moved in.

Their community was called Mesa Village, and despite the lack of children, with the exception of when my cousins came to visit, it was a dreamland. White and grey (unless they used artificial color) haired people rode around the palm lined streets in golf carts and on three-wheeled bicycles. There was a heated pool and a car wash, shuffleboard courts, a clubhouse, weekly bingo, pool tables, and one of those toning machines with a strap you wrap around whatever part of your body you're looking to work and it wiggles and jiggles you into perfect form. And there was so much artificial turf.

I made friends with a few of the residents. I would make my way down to their mobile homes for conversation and treats, mind not to splash their hair in the pool, get rides in their golf carts (and when I got older, they let me get behind the wheel), and waved as I would pass by on the macaroni and cheese colored three-wheeled bicycle my grandparents eventually got. It's the same trike my cousin Megan and I had a major wreck on while riding around the park. She was pedaling, and I was in the back basket sitting on top of old Reader's Digests. It was a little wobbly, and we were going a little fast around a corner. We tipped over around space 188. Some of the residents came out to two crying girls, and one walked down to space 11 to get our Grandma and parents.

I practiced driving on the straight and winding roads with the 10 MPH speed limit, and I'm sure I left many a burned skin cells on the asphalt in the summer when I would forget to wear shoes to the pool. Oh that pool. It's where I learned to swim. And I was certain a boa constrictor lived in one of the corners of the deep end.

My grandpa died in his sleep in their home in 2001, so on my way home from the rehearsal dinner, I decided to revisit Mesa Village. As soon as I turned in, I was overwhelmed. I passed the row of houses until I got to space 11, taking note that the Peaches [Kent and Karen] still lived next door in space 9. They always went all out with Christmas lights, and this year is no different. I sat for a while in front of my grandparents'. I thought of all of the family visits, the sleep overs, the pancake breakfasts and chicken seasoned with Mrs. Dash dinners. There were two large bushes growing in the yard that hadn't always been there. One spring, a tomato plant came up, and delivered hundreds of cherry tomatoes for the season. It was way too many for my grandparents to eat, so it was open to neighbors. Grammy would fill used Country Crock tubs full, and we'd eat them on everything.  Another year, in the back yard, a century plant bloomed, and they had another plant that was the talk of the park.

When I got back to my Aunt Brenda's house, I mentioned that I went by, and Grammy said that her brother took her by last year, and she knocked on the Peaches door, but nobody answered. I told her I'd take her the next day, and after a bit of help with the wedding the following morning, I picked her up and away we went. The Peaches were home this time, and we spent about 15 minutes visiting with them. Kent offered to send a small stool home for my girls. After our visit, we drove around the park. The car wash has been gone for a long time, but they've added a putting green. There's something so super rad about streets filled with perfectly angled, metal sided homes with awnings and a screened-in porch or carport on either side. I feel like a soundtrack by John Swihart should constantly be playing because it sets the perfect tone.

When we left, we searched in vain for a Bahama Bucks, but ended up at Sonic for a "cold drink." We talked about things I'll write about in another installment, like sweet moments she had with her in-laws. While chomping on a fry, I asked her, "If you could be anywhere in the whole wide world right now, where would it be?" She thought for a moment, and gave me an unexpected answer.

"Right here with you, Breezy. I loved our little adventure." And I sat and thought for a moment, and knew she'd so simply summed up exactly what was in my heart.


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