Halloween

Yesterday was Halloween.  I was in my office at work and I thought about all of the Halloween’s past.  I know, I know, cliché-esque I know.  Christmas past, Halloween past.  Whatever, go with me.

My mom was a single mother, a very young single mother.  Not like a lot of the single mom’s you see nowadays.  I think it is rare to see a single mother, living on her own, working, support her children, without any help from government assistance, parents, and or living with someone.  I do know a few, I do, and I really admire these women.  I am not knocking the women who have help, believe me, my mom had a ton of help, my grandparents were a driving force during my childhood; and, my grandmother still is to this day.  I just look around me now and I see so many women with children with men revolving in and out of their lives, and I do mean revolving. Like doors.  Sure, everyone needs companionship, but do you need it at the sake of your child?  They do watch you and they do learn from you, remember that.  Seriously.  Remember. That.
Anyway, I digress.
Halloween.
I was thinking back to my many costumes:  the black cat, the bunny, the princess, the punk rocker, the ghost, the vampire, the goddess, the Victorian princess, an angel, etc.  All of these costumes were made by my mother.  They were not bought at a store, they were handmade and put together by my mommy.
The cat:  a tail sew and stuffed with cotton, it even had a curve to it.  The ears were black with pink satin-y stuff on a headband.
The princess:  a dress I fell in love with at a dress store that we got and the crown was her’s from her Prom Queen days.  I thought I was beautiful.
Punk rocker:  a metallic purple wig that was purchased, a shirt that she had that had rhinestones for days and a pleather, yes pleather skirt.  I also had pink fishnet stockings.
The vampire:   a couple of bed sheets, purple and black to be exact, made into a dress and cape.  I also had a hood of some kind with some makeup to make me look even more pale than normal.
The bunny( back to my younger years): a white turtle neck, white tights, a cottontail, that she had made, she had painted my makeup, and also made me some ears, I’m sure they were fashioned in some way as the cat ears, except for white and bigger.
All of these costumes were made and created by my mother.  She helped me become some form of whatever I wanted to be that year.  She worked a full-time job, but never missed a Halloween.  We always trick-or-treated.  She would drive me around for hours while I went to doors trick-or-treating, gathering my candy.  She would check my candy as well, even though we knew every house we went to.
She did all of this, and to this day, at age 33 I still remember every Halloween and all of those trips.  I remember the times I was too scared to go to the door by myself and she would go with me. She held my hand and even knocked on the door when I was too shy or scared.
My mom did so much for me, and I know she will do a lot more for me through the years, but Halloween was definitely one of my favorite holidays.  It still is.  Even though I don’t dress up anymore, I hand out the candy to those little kids who come up and say trick-or-treat, thank you, and run away to their moms waiting on the sidewalk.  They always leave me smiling and remembering my mom and the fun and memories we share.

Weekend with the Family

This weekend was a busy, but super enjoyable one.  My grandmother turned 84 Friday.  I drove down to spend the weekend with her.  I got there Friday night, and my mom also came to stay the night, since my dad was fishing out of town for the weekend.  We had a nice visit.  Spending that much time with both my mother and my grandmother is so few and far between, it made me feel good to get to do it.

Saturday the family surprised my grandmother with a birthday party.  You cannot slip anything past her, so the fact that I was with her for a solid day before, and she never even suspected it, was a definite win.  I was so happy we pulled it off.  I have some of my favorite photos to share with you guys.  I am a picture feign, so I am constantly clicking away.  I think photographs are the only memories we will have of certain moments, and those should be captured.

2016-01-31 18.50.00

This is my granny, she deserves her own blog.

20160130_153049-1

This is my nephew Everett with his dad, Dennis.  (I call my cousin’s babies my nieces and nephews.  It’s just what I do.)

20160130_143743-1

This is my adorable little niece Lea,  she loves cake!

20160130_153126-1

This is me with Owen, Lea’s little brother.  This is a monumental moment, because he actually came to me, and we chilled.

20160130_153018 (1)

This is a picture of my two cousin’s, Melissa and Ann, and my Aunt Polly. (Melissa is Owen and Lea’s mom, and Ann is Everett’s.

As you can see, we had a house full, and tons of babies around.  My cousins have somehow miraculously been able to produce the cutest kids EVER.  Don’t you agree?

Also, I get my crazy dog lady personality from my family.  Before I had Maci, I adopted Bailey.  She was a baby, and a rescue, and adorable.  I asked my grandmother to babysit while I was out of town one weekend, and she bonded with Bailey like I never thought possible.  My grandmother, who I have never seen cry, was at the edge of tears when I was packing up Bailey’s toybag.  Needless to say, Bailey is the best decision I ever made, because she is my granny’s baby.  She is my baby too, but my granny was taken with her, and 10 years later they are inseparable.

IMG_20160130_104130

This is my and my little Bailey Bug.

I have been super nostalgic today, and though the best way to just be in my feelings was to write about them.  Share the photographs, my family, and my happiness with the small community of people who read and keep up with my blog.

Thanks for visiting and sharing with me my awesome weekend.

20160130_110917

Repurpose

It has been a while since I last updated the masses on the happenings in my world, so what better time than the beginning of a new year.  Happy 2016, everyone!

I am always happy to see a New Year come bursting forth with the fireworks, ball drops, and drunken people into the streets; however, this year, I was PUMPED!  2015 started out pretty rough as far as dealing with some sickness and work stress, but it took a turn, and ended really well.

I got a new job, one that I have been wanting for a while, it happened at just the right time.  I am loving my new job, and so blessed to have it.  I feel like a completely different person, full of life and happiness.  I do not dread getting up and going to work.  I enjoy getting dressed and seeing what my day will hold for me.  I am happy to have found a place and a job that allows me the freedom of doing what I love, and a company that I feel is just as amazing as the job itself.  I am really blessed.

The BF and I , (more like the BF, and I help), took the adventure of getting a puppy in January of 2015, and she is now a year old.  Her name is Maci, and anyone that knows me well, knows she is the love of my life.  She is a furball of happiness and surprises every day.  She makes me world a happy place, and reminds me that there is always happiness  in the simple things.  I could ramble about her all day and all night, because I love her so much, but I will spare you and just leave you with the cutest photo of her EVER!

 

12039417_10100419241884535_7620912163216531451_n

See what I mean?! Adorable and fluffy and pure love.

Two of my cousins had babies in 2015, both boys, and a month a half a part.  I have enjoyed watching the two boys grow.  I cannot wait until they are older and actually causing mischief together.  I’m sure they will be raising all kinds of hell in their future.  I will enjoy all of it, and their parents’ faces when the stories come out!

I also completed three 5K’s in 2015.  I had a goal of completing a 5K when I was 30.  I didn’t meet that goal, but I did complete three of them in my 32nd year, and I am completely okay with that.  I feel like this past year has really allowed me to get to know myself.  I feel like with everything that has been going on over the past few years, I have lost a bit of myself and my way.

In 2015, I found myself, and was reminded of who and what I am.  I am happy with me, work in progress that I am.  I have learned some valuable lessons in life and in love.  I am so very lucky to have found a man that I am completely head over heels for, and that has shown me what it’s like to “grow up”.  I know this sounds crazy, but everyone has parts of their life they are not proud of, and they need to work on.  I am okay with admitting my problem areas for the first time in a long time, and I am working on them.  Slow and steady wins the race.

The year of 2015 was a recovery and rediscovering period for me, and 2016 will be the regrowth year.  I am ready!  I have decided to focus on my faith, finances, and my relationships.  This really is the year of growth and regrowth for me.  I hope this year is a year of joy and blessings for all of you, as well!

Past, Present, Future

I was driving from my city life, to my old country life on Sunday.  I exited the interstate, turned on to a country road and saw the signs, “Come Enjoy Easter Sunday at the Cowboy Church!”  I knew there was a cowboy church not far on the left, and it made me smile as I got closer and saw all of the cars and people in the parking lot.  They were fellowshipping and talking, most wearing jeans and cowboy hats, then I spotted them; two regal cowboys mounted on their horses by the drive. They looked like statues, sitting still, and serious, rugged lines across their faces, one holding an American flag and the other holding the Christian flag.  It took my breath away.  I forgot to breathe just for a second, as I continued on down the windy road toward my own family.

I spent the day loving on my cousins’ new babies. I played with Lea, the spitfire of a little girl, who never sits still.  She hunted eggs more times that I can count.  I ate more than I like to admit, and I visited, which made me realize I do not get to go it enough.

The family was there, most of us anyway.  We were missing a few who live farther away and could not make it.  We did get to see their Easter pictures online after lunch, and laughed and talked about how much we missed them and how fast times seems to go.  We were a little nostalgic at the Easter’s past.  We remembered how we had prize eggs.  How my cousin Heather always seemed to find said prize egg, and how my grandpa always painted that prize egg.

We talked about our relatives present and past.  We smiled at the memories and laughed at some of them.  Some of them were a little more sad than others, due to we were missing so many people who have passed.  I know for me, I miss my grandpa the most at Easter, due to said prize egg painting and daffodils blooming.  The wind always brings the fresh scent of Spring with it, and a little twinge of sadness.

As I drove home from my Easter Sunday spent with my family, I passed a tractor cutting a field, getting it ready for planting.  I thought of the cowboys again, sitting regally on their horses.  They were messengers of God that day.  To me, they reminded me of all of the things I am thankful for.  I am thankful for all of the farmers in our nation, who provide us with the food we eat daily.  They are not really cowboys, but farmers, but those cowboys symbolized so much to me.

They symbolized the past, of country weekends and nights, the present, of being both country and city, and the future, something I have yet to see.  The country disappeared behind me as I veered onto the interstate, and drove toward my present and future with a little sadness.  Even though I have lived in the city for over 10 years now, I will never lose that part of me that loves dirt roads, fishing holes, four wheelers, trucks, and animals.  I will always want goats and chickens, maybe one day I will have them, but for now, my city life is my life, and I will live in and enjoy the present.

Summertime

I squint at the bright summer sun, swiping my bangs out of my eyes.  It is humid, and the curls that have escaped my ponytail immediately stick to the back of my neck and side of my face.  I am four.  I slide the white framed heart-shaped sunglasses over my light blue eyes and step off of the porch.  The cement step burns my bare feet.  I run across the dusty front yard and get into the car.

My granny slides into the driver’s seat beside me, and cranks the car, rolling the windows down, releasing all of the smothering hot air.  She starts the car, and we begin our trip.  I watch out of the window as we drive through town.  At the local store, I see my Uncle Otis getting out of his ’68 gold VW Beetle.  Granny beeps the horn, his balding head turns, as he throws up his hand in a waive.  We continue to the end of town, turning onto a long dusty, dirt road.

Granny puts the car in park and reaches into the backseat.  She hands me a little wicker basket, that is probably left over from a few Easter’s ago.  I push the heavy car door open, stepping out into the summer sun.  Granny gets out of the car, opens the back door, and gets a yellow five gallon bucket.  She then puts her blue hat on the top of her short, black curly hair, pulling it low over her eyes, as she walks to the crouched over old man standing a few feet away.  I follow her dragging my bare toes in the dust, watching the swiggle patterns emerge and snake their way to where my feet stop. I look behind me to see a trail of light dust from my path catch in the ever so light breeze that has begun to blow.

I hear Granny thank the man, and call to me to follow her.  We head off of the dirt road into long rows of green vines, loaded heavily with bright red berries.  I watch as Granny gently pulls the biggest berry on the vine and hands it to me.  I take it amazed that it is almost the size of my four-year old palm.  I gaze at the bright vivid red color, and marvel at it’s size.

I hesitantly bring the berry to my lips, I feel the sun and the soft prickle of the berry against my mouth.  I gingerly take the first bite, as juice squirts into my mouth and dribbles down my chin.  The tartness of the berry hits my tongue first, causing me to pucker my face.  Then the warm sweetness ensues and I swallow smiling.  The pink juice is running down my chin, drying almost as fast as it runs, leaving a sticky stream down in its wake.  I pull the green stem from the top of the berry, and greedily pop the remainder of the berry in my mouth.  I chew slowly, savoring the tartness and sweetness that is singular only to the strawberry.

After the finishing my first strawberry of the season, I begin carefully snapping my first berry from it’s home on the vine.  When the berry is released from the vine, I lay it down in my basket.  Granny starts to fill her bucket, as I work on my basket.  We continue down the row of green, speckled with red, picking our bounty.  I am eating as many as I pick, while Granny consistently drops her berries into her yellow bucket.

Granny and I continue to move up and down several rows of the berries, picking only the best berries.  She tells me she’s going to make the best surprise in the world with these berries. Naturally, we only want the best.  After a couple of hours, Granny stands, stretching her back, glancing up at the sun.  She has a thin towel wrapped around her neck, she uses the end to wipe the sweat from her forehead.  She hefts her now half full bucket, and starts to walk toward the end of the row.  I follow through the dry, dusty rows of green, now scarce of red berries.  Little gnats follow me, landing on my arms and hands, trying to taste the sweet juices of the berries I have been snacking on.  I swat at them, as I walk to the car.

I get to the car, and my hands stick to the door handle as I open the door.  I have dried pink juice running down my white shirt.  I put my basket in the front seat, and push it to the middle of the seat, as I climb in behind it.  The windows have been down and the car was in the shade, so there is relief from the bright summer sun.  We ride back home in silence, both enjoying the wind that whips our hair and dries our sweat.

We pull into the driveway, each getting our own reward from the day’s work and carrying it into the house.  The screen door slams behind me, as I follow Granny into the kitchen.  She takes my basket and dumps my berries into the sink, along with her’s.  She begins to run water over the succulent berries, and they begin to float.  She then turns and starts stripping my sticky, dirty clothes off of me.

I follow her to the bathroom, where she turns the water on in the shower.  She tells me to wash up good.  I step into the shower, letting the cool water run over my now pink skin.  After I am done, I dry myself and put on my nightgown that Granny has laid out for me.  My bare feet feel warm against the cold floor of the house.  I see Granny sitting outside on the front porch.

I go outside, and sit on the warm concrete step.  Granny is a step above me, and starts to brush through my long blonde hair.  As she brushes my hair, the sun begins to set, and my hair begins to dry in the hot summer heat.  When the sun finally dips down behind the trees, she tells me we have to go inside.  The lightening bugs are just beginning to flicker in the dusk, when she tucks me between the cool cotton sheets and kisses me goodnight.

When the Wind Blows…

The wind whipped through the opening of the door, and the leaves fluttered.  I flipped on the light, giving everything a yellow hue.  I looked around the porch, before I pushed open the old screen door and stepped out.  The wind picked up again, and my hair fluttered across my face as I stopped to push it out of my eyes.  I could feel him, his presence, in everything around me.

My grandpa had just given me a hug, and I felt warm all over despite the chilly night air.  I smiled, remember when I was a little girl and wouldn’t go anywhere near the backyard at night, much less alone.  Tonight, I had my book and tea, as I wondered over to the chair that rocked silently.  As if inviting me to sit and stay a while.   I took the gladly took the invitation.  I sat, opened my book with the full intent of reading; instead, I let my mind wonder.

All of those years I had sat in this spot, watching fish jump in the pond, my grandpa on a tractor mowing and baling hay, and watching for deer as I got older.  Just as many times, I had sat at the pond and looked up at the big white house on the hill.  Always seeing my grandmother and usually my mother on this very porch watching as we fished, or rode four-wheelers, usually off of the trail, which always got us a talking to when we finally went back at dark, covered in dirt and dying for something to drink. 

Even now, almost 19 years to the day he passed, I find myself wondering what he would think of the woman I have become.  I have worked hard, and have often been disappointed in life and love; but, I have always forged on.  I crack jokes about being an English major, not a math major, and I know for a fact this statement would earn a grunt and headshake from him.  He was practical, used logic in everything, and solved problems.  I, on the other hand, use my heart and emotions to base a lot of decisions, and use a creative stance when solving major problems.  All of those arguments over homework, now make perfect sense.  I look back on them fondly, not with animosity, but with love. 

Memories of my grandpa always have one of two reactions, a smile or tears.  I am so happy that most of my memories are now bringing more smiles than tears.  To me, this means I am growing up, coping with the loss a little better than before.  I am learning to love the memories and enjoy them, not just ache from deep down in my soul when I think of him.  I am thankful that I can now think of him without pain and heartache, but with smiles and laughter. 

There still are days, and I am sure there will be more, where I will shed tears over years lost with him.  I will have anger because I did not get to spend more time with him; he didn’t get to see me grow into a woman; and he will never meet my children, and paint the “prize” Easter egg for them.  They will never have memories of my grandfather, and this does make me sad. However, every time I feel the slight stir of air when I step onto the porch, I will know that is he, and has always been with me.  I will cherish that slight second that I feel warm, and smile lovingly, because that is me hugging him back.