Monday, December 5, 2016

December to Remember

Oh December, you are a month full of so many bittersweet memories. I choose to focus on joy but those breath catching moments surprise me every now and then anyway. As I turned the calendar to your page last week, I froze. Here it is. December. Greg will work eighty hours a week, the kids' energy will remain at mach ten in anticipation of Christmas and there will be insanely long to do lists. The days will turn cold and gray. This is the month we celebrate Ryan's short life and this year we will add sending Lauren off to start a journey away from us. We decided to toss in surgery for Makenna for good measure too. Why not?

But as we unpacked Christmas decorations, Brutus resumed his spot on Santa's lap, as he has done for the last twelve years. The kids recalled making ornaments and special memories of previous Christmases were shared. They collected the books for snuggling by the light of the Christmas tree and for a brief moment, our home felt full of all the things that make life perfect.

I cannot change the past, the current demands on Greg's time or the energy level of the kids but I can make the most of the time I get to spend with my family. I have changed the to do lists a bit. There will be Christmas light scavenger hunts with hot cocoa, baking for friends and lots of Christmas books read. We will go to bed early often and have dance parties. I have meals with friends planned and Christmas movies too. Family games have been featured on the dining table since Thanksgiving and the daily impromptu Uno or Racko battles insure they will remain for the season.

December won't be perfect. No month is. But I will be making the most of it so that when we pull out memories from this Christmas next year, my heart won't be quite so heavy.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Baughman Christmas

We took a day trip to see Greg's family today to celebrate a very early Christmas. Everyone was once again spoiled and had a great time. The little cousins are able to take off and enjoy games they have previously created at Grandma's house each visit so our time together never feels like it lasts quite long enough.

When you tell Grandma someone needs new shoes, don't be surprised when she is excited to see him open them. These shoes have built in compasses and lights that alternate through a series of colors. We anticipate Ty and his friends will be distracted at school next week but both Grandma and Ty are delighted.

It didn't go unnoticed Lauren won't be back for quite some time. And Grandma is worried she won't have tech support ready to sit down with her for awhile. Each time the girls come over, she has a list of things she wants them to help her learn on her phone. The last visit in October left her with a list of texting shortcuts she has to explain to her friends and family when she uses. The girls insure their grandma is cool.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Our morning started with the traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while the kids colored. Texts of family on their way signaled a timeline for appetizers and main dish preparations. The day was full of family gathered primarily in the kitchen laughing and reminiscing. There is a reason this is our favorite holiday.

She doesn't miss an opportunity to find her way into his embrace for some cuddle time and today? She napped there. I don't blame her, that was my spot for many years too.

Dessert options brought us all back to the kitchen just hours after dinner where games were played for hours and stories were shared. We are so blessed. The fact this was likely our last Thanksgiving with Lauren for a few years wasn't lost on us so there were some tearful embraces. We face timed with Taylor who was beyond missed as he has been gathered with us the last two years.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Life with Kids and Mammograms

I met my bible study partner on Thursday night. But this week we didn't study. We ate junk food and lamented life with kids. God was with us because neither of us hurt our children this week and that can only be credited to the Holy Spirit himself. There are theories out there about the full moon making people crazy. A super full moon would explain a few things

I mentioned my morning was spent with Makenna's surgeon followed by routine blood work for me and finally, my first mammogram. She offered to buy the wine. I waved her off, "No, really. This was the most relaxing day I have had this week." The dumbfounded expression on her face revealed just how desperate that sounded. Welcome to my world. It is glamorous.

Ty decided earlier this week he wanted a Christmas tree in his room. And then he busted out in excitement how he needed an exploding death star tree topper! it turns out, I wasn't able to locate that particular item. But a Star Wars theme was pretty easy to pull off. I surprised him with the tree and ornaments after school on Friday. He was so excited, he kept pulling people in to see his tree in different lighting. His enthusiasm is almost contagious. However, I won't be decorating the rest of the house until at least after Thanksgiving.

Kate is pleased to have her tree back up and chose to simplify the decorating. The creation is her own and she his happy with the results. Sharing with her brother the last few years left her less than thrilled with the overall effect. Super heroes and tea sets don't mix well enough for our little designer.

Friday night we lost power during our traditional Friday night sleepover so the kids didn't notice until very early Saturday morning. We had our first fire and a quiet morning so it wasn't bad at all. I would have embraced it a bit more fully if I had a tea kettle I could have kept on that fire but we were otherwise happy to snuggle together around the fireplace. Of course our little idea guy thought roasted marshmallows would be perfect. It was six thirty in the morning. He remained disappointed because nothing disturbs peaceful mornings with kids quite like sugar for breakfast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lauren is 20!

For her birthday, she requested homemade chicken and noodles and a blizzard cake from Dairy Queen. I not only honored both requests, but I bought additional noodles and filled a jar with all the seasoning she would need to make the next batch in her new home in Texas.

She is excited to be planning her home with Taylor. They selected new bedding and have chosen bath towel colors. Pots and pans are on her Christmas list. She is a grown up now.
It is a bit surreal for me as her mother to be planning to send her on an adventure that doesn't include me. Frankly, our last couple of years together have been a joy as she has matured and grown into more than my daughter. She is my friend.
Happy birthday beautiful. I love you.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I have heard it said that insanity is repeating the same action repeatedly expecting a different result. So I ask, why do I clean the house and specifically the sliding glass door? Every day. Every stinking day. I am crazy. This is why.

So far this month we have watched the world lose their collective minds over an election that was a disaster from the word go. No one with integrity wants this gig anymore and who can blame them? A social media break is in order for me because I have a tough time watching people I love behave so poorly. I work with preschoolers daily and they get time outs for far less. Everyone needs to calm down already.

I had my first physical in over a decade this week. My resting heart rate is 62. The doctor asked if I am an athlete. I laughed, "Nope. I am a mom."

Lauren got to see Taylor graduate from Basic Training. The visit was so good for them. He is now in Texas making arrangements for her to join him just after Christmas. My heart is torn between excitement for them as a couple and the desire to hold her close.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Childhood Friends

Growing up a military brat meant our neighbors were often as close as cousins. We made family units based on proximity since we were all literally in the same boat, away from family. Life on a military base is what real community looks like. We came from all nations, walks of life and experiences but took care of each other regardless of those differences.

When we lived in Kokomo, Indiana we had the best neighbors. Darlene was an older girl next door who shared her dolls with me. On the other side of us lived the Krotz family and they lived near us in Nebraska too. Down the road lived the wildest bunch of red headed boys and their free spirited parents. The Souders were always a great time. Across the street lived both Kevin Mosley and Steven Hadley. We all used to throw rocks at each other because we weren't permitted to cross the street without a grownup. It was all fun and games until the day I took aim at a passing car and made contact. That was a childhood moment my parents insured I wouldn't forget.

Growing up with those kids was full of mischief and childhood wonder. Steven was quite the idea guy as most of his games involved a fair amount of danger. I recall one game where we looked for him based on clues he left for us. We located him on the roof. We were four. If I recall correctly, Steven had his stomach pumped a few times that same summer too. His poor mother had her hands full.

Steven was one day older than me and we shared birthday parties a few times. That poor guy got stuck with Raggedy Anne and Andy one year and Holly Hobby another! But cake was involved so as far as I know, he had no complaints.

When we were four, our mothers were close friends who did a lot together. Steven and I talked about growing up and getting married. We even had furniture picked out during a shopping trip. I joked with my parents I should write Steven a gentle let down letter when Greg proposed to me years later.

Steven and his dad visited us in San Antonio, Texas after Steven fell off a diving board and had stitches in his head because a specialist in our area evaluated him. And we got to see him in Witchita Falls, Texas one time too.

Over the years, time and distance we all lost contact. Last year Steven and I reconnected on Facebook. We exchanged humorous memories and our mothers once again reconnected too. In fact all those neighbors just had a collective gathering in Branson in September. I wanted to join them as those families were a vital part of my childhood.

Steven and I wished one another a happy birthday last month with some fun banter about my being younger and him getting another feminine cake.

My mom called this morning. Steven passed away very unexpectedly. I am shocked and sad. I feel a loss despite the years that have passed since we last saw each other. I am heartbroken for his parents, sister and son. I pray he is resting in peace and Heaven is full of Steven's style of adventure and humor.

Monday, October 31, 2016

No Tricks. Just Treats.

It was a perfect Halloween! The girls and Jake lined the driveway to pass out candy while Greg and I walked around with kids for the first time ever! It was nice! We have a great neighborhood where groups of people hang out together to enjoy the kids and this year, amazing weather too. I served the traditional chili and hot dogs even though it was in the seventies this evening. No one complained.

Ty went as an army guy but was asked a few times if he was G.I. Joe. He was confused because in his mind, being in the army like Taylor is hero enough. Two of his little buddies joined him for the evening.

Kate designed and made her own costume this year. She had a ball and really enjoyed the freedom to walk around with her friends this year too. Did I mention the awesome neighborhood where that is acceptable in this day and age?

His loot.
At what point do we think the sugar rush will wear off? I am guessing January......

Friday, October 28, 2016

Days Like That

Sometimes life spins a little out of control. Nothing earth shattering takes place but all the little inconveniences and concerns add up and the next thing you know, you are crying over chicken that isn't sliced right and decide it is best to shower and go to bed. At 8pm. And your family exhales because they too have had enough of you and your unpredictable tears.

Makenna had a follow up appointment with her surgeon this week after essentially being told she had failed physical therapy. I was not able to attend with my extra little ones and their schedules so I sent her with Greg. The control freak in me had a difficult time handing over the reigns for this appointment because I knew it would be a discussion about surgery. And it was. An MRI is being ordered for her and once those results are available and the extent of the damage is known, we will have the final surgery discussion. No one wanted this to be the result of Makenna's dislocations. Makenna has maintained straight A's (with the exception of her tech class which is a soap box for another day), a job, physical therapy, a regular babysitting commitment and tech hours throughout this entire process. I am proud of her perseverance and determination and hope that attitude carries her through the next season. She has had some tearful moments as the pain wears her down but overall, she has been a tough cookie.

Kate's concussion is healing nicely but we were made aware of the potential harm in allowing her back on the trampoline and into gymnastics class. So we have decided we can't let our high energy kid get back to life as usual for a few months. This news doesn't make for a very content Kate. (A fidgety Kate creates a tired mom.) The reality of the potential damage done with a concussion is unnerving. But my friend Robbin is giving her crochet lessons and she has some projects planned to keep her hands busy these coming weeks. She has also discovered she loves the show Fixer Upper on HGTV so it isn't uncommon to find her propped up in Greg's recliner watching Netflix with her yarn and crochet hook. It is rather adorable.

Parenting young adults isn't any easier than parenting teens other than the fact they no longer live under our roof. They make decisions and declarations that are at times shocking and difficult to accept. They are making their own way in the world and sometimes it is challenging to quietly watch that unfold.

A few issues with kids and hard news from friends on top of day-to-day life means sometimes I forget I am 43 years old and fully capable of dealing with it. Instead I stuff feelings deep down and pretend I am handling it all well until it bubbles over and I am crying over grilled chicken as my bewildered husband literally raises his hands in surrender and backs away from said chicken. Bless his heart. His wife can be a wreck sometimes.

A solid night's sleep, some chocolate hidden from the people trying to make me crazy and quiet time in prayer and reflection restored me. Praise God for perspective and days like that aren't frequent.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Weekend

I spent my weekend filled to the brim with all the things I love about this time of year; cozy mornings cuddled with my kids in warm sweaters, reading together and impromptu shopping for pumpkins and chocolate (the two go hand in hand in my mind).

I was outside most of the weekend with some of my favorite people and the gorgeous golden and red hues filled me with happiness.....hopefully enough to carry me through the long colorless days of the next season. I finally sweet talked (or harassed until she complied depending upon who's version of events you seek) Erin into allowing me to photograph her. It has been a long time.

And the compromise? Meet Jake. Jake from Tinder. It helps to read that last part in the State Farm voice. Anyway, when Erin first told us she met someone online, I panicked. In my mind she was meeting a serial killer and we would never see her again. I am nice and rational like that. But as it turns out, Erin isn't the only one impressed with Jake. He is a good guy.

She kinda likes him. But if he is going to be bringing Halloween costumes over, he is going to see the crazy I try really hard to hide around here.

My husband worked Sunday morning and then spent the afternoon smoking "Mississippi prime rib" otherwise known as bologna. The amount of happiness this brought him was ridiculous. And given my refusal to consume bologna, we used a birthday gift card and went on a dinner date.
Much to his dismay, Jake's wig was not available for our date.