searching for grace

One day last week a teacher at school asked me how I knew a particular person. I replied that she’s my aunt. How do you know her?
Her ex husband is besties with my cousin, that aunt’s younger son. And she’s known him since she was a teenager.
The teacher asked quietly if I’d spoken to my aunt or uncle lately.
In all honestly, I hadn’t spoken to them since my dad died in 2014.

(Here’s where a bit of backstory is important…
My dad was adopted when he was five year old.
The family who adopted him also had loads of foster kids.
This aunt is married to one of those foster kids. So even though I’m not blood kin to any of these people, that’s how I was raised. One of the foster kids is my uncle, and his wife my aunt.)

As the teacher and I stood in the hallway at school, she told me that my other cousin and his wife were found in their home, deceased victims of gunshot wounds.

I honestly didn’t know how to feel.

I remember the day he was born.
I was ten.
We were at Grandma’s and my uncle came over to share his joy. His first son had been born early that day. I remember being so excited about a baby cousin! I remember hugging my uncle. I remember joyful tears.

I keep thinking about that baby who became that little boy. Who became that teenager who became that grown man.
How could he be gone?

He’s gone because he found out his wife was seeing another man and he shot her.
Then he shot himself.

I didn’t feel equipped to process this information when I spoke to my uncle. All I could do was tell him I loved him.

I keep coming back to a seeming inability to make sense of it.
I keep thinking I wish my dad was here to talk about it with me.

My heart is hurting.
How much pain exists in one to take a life and then one’s own?
I’m actively working to understand.
I’m expressing love and support to my uncle, aunt and cousin.
I’m not at all judging, I’m simply trying to make sense of it.
I’m searching for grace and hoping my family finds peace in their grief.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 173

Heard this one on the Advanced Placement show and knew straight away I’d be sharing it with y’all.
My love for Vampire Weekend is no secret, so when Ezra provided guest vocals for this Phoenix song, I was all over it.

Check out Tonight by Phoenix featuring Ezra Koenig and let me know what you think!

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

something gorgeously dark and moody

Ever since we moved into this house I wanted to do something dramatic for the main floor powder room. I envisioned something gorgeously dark and moody.
It had a basic builder’s grade mirror and I started looking for a new on not long after we moved in. In my mind I saw a large circle mirror. But the more I looked, the more I wondered…it’s ten foot ceilings in there, what if I used a tall mirror? And found a fun pendant light to reflect off the mirror?
I ran this concept by YBW and he was on board.
I finally found the perfect mirror at Target of all places. (only on line)
Light fixture came from Wayfair. (on sale)

I searched out wallpaper on and off for a year before finally landing on a beautiful Victorian floral. It sat for a bit while we did other things, but Sunday of Labor Day weekend, YBW and I took a few hours to get it up. And no bickering, even though I got ridiculously frustrated and rage quit for about three minutes before going back in and finishing it up.

I’m so pleased with the way it turned out!

As I was standing in there admiring our hard work, YBW said, “Now, do the walls stay white?”
I was just thinking the same thing. We were specific about wanting all white walls so we could bring color in textiles and art and furniture and decor. But as we looked at that gorgeous wallpaper we both wondered if the other walls needed changing.
Stay tuned…
Even over a year later, we’re still making this house our home and I am so here for it!

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

little joys

After the last couple weeks I am unbelievably content to be in my own home to sleep through the night in my own bed, and to get things the way I like them.

Oftentimes it’s the little things that bring the most joy and I’ve found big joy in the littlest things in the last week or so.

a gorgeous Georgia sunset.


unpacking the Autumn bins

Spending a day with Thing 1 and Baby K shopping at Home Goods and Target, and yummy (Baby K requested) lunch of cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and french fries at Five Guys. Thing 1 was thrilled with all the Halloween stuff at Home Goods, and in her own words, “I had no self control.” She sent Husband N a photo of her buggy and he remarked that the retail therapy was good for her.
I found more Autumn things and mused if YBW would be like, WFT? if I brought home more pumpkins. Thing 1 reminded me he was pretty clear about how many Baby Jesuses were too many Baby Jesuses, but had never applied that to pumpkins.
I actually only bought one pumpkin, I did however get new fall napkins and dish towels (which he did have something to say about) but I’m content and I suspect he accepts that.

I realized Sunday morning as I was putting away the new towels it might behoove me to roll them instead of fold them, and sure enough, I can get two and one half rolled towels in the space I got two folded towels.

I will admit to being excited about this…after all, I did say it was the little things.
Of course some of the regular towels are in the laundry, but the Autumnal plaid and mustard yellow towels will only be active September through November, and the Halloween ones only in October so I feel confident about the allotted space.
(especially since as soon as those fall towels get packed up, Christmasy ones will come out)

It’s still hot as balls here, but I’m embracing meteorological fall in every possible way!

I finally hung the lights on the roof terrace. Of course the outdoor extension cord I have isn’t long enough, but a perfect length one was delivered the following day.

Looking forward to using the fire pit as the evenings get cooler. (a gift from all our kids last Christmas)

When I sent that photo of the towel drawer in the group chat with the girls, I wrote: I discovered I can get more towels in the drawer if I roll instead of fold!!! It’s the little things
To which Thing 1 replied: Awesome! I love it
Then I wrote: Thanks! It’s lame but I got excited about it, so thanks for going with me!

I share that sentiment with y’all, it’s a bit lame, but I thank you for going with me.
It really is the little things.
Where are y’all finding joy today?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 172

This song, y’all!
I can’t listen enough.
Love the musicality.
Love the lyrics.

Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up
Wake up, wake up to life, to life
Nirvana on the last try

I present Wake Up by Young the Giant.
Let me know what you think.

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

laughing and crying as the eldest daughter

I saw an instagram post about this buzzfeed article 21 Tweets About Being The Oldest Daughter That Will Make Any Oldest Daughter Laugh And Then Probably Cry and had all the dang feels.

If you’re the eldest daughter, you know.
If you’re not, you probably have your own laugh then cry list for where you fall in your family’s birth order.

I sent this to Thing 1 and this was her response:

The one that got me was number 6. I watched for years as my little brother got away with bloody murder. I was held to an unrealistic standard and he pretty much got to do whatever he pleased.
The simple truth is that I’m better off as an adult in the real world than he is, so hooray for unrealistic standards…? (she asks as she laugh-cries)

This got me wondering…
Sometimes you’re not the eldest daughter but are thrust into that role because: family dynamics.
Sometimes you’re the eldest and don’t have this type of experience.
So, I’m curious about y’all.

How many eldest daughters out there? (solidarity, baby)
Did this list of tweets roundhouse kick you in your feels?
Did you laugh then cry a little?
I want to talk a about this with y’all!
Let me know what’s up.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

saying goodbye to Nana

Family and friends gathered together in Georgia on a hot Saturday in August to say goodbye to Husband N’s precious mother.

In the front of the church, a gorgeous spray of roses (Husband N’s fave) carnations (Nana’s fave) and white daisies (Baby K’s birth month flower) around the urn. An American flag folded into a perfect triangle white stars on blue. (Nana served in the US Navy) Photos lined up along the communion rail, one of which was Nana with Donny Osmond. She loved the Osmonds, especially Donny and Marie, and meeting him was one of her happiest moments.

Friends and family spoke, telling stories through laughter and tears, sharing love, taking us on the journey of her life. My own daughter saying she didn’t simply get a mother in law, she got another momma.

Baby K sat mostly between me and her Aunt Gaga, but did walk across the aisle to her parents a couple of times.
The Navy color guard struggled a bit with the flag, but in the end got it done properly and presented it to Husband N.
Apparently during the extended flag folding situation Baby K wanted to come back to me, but her mom wouldn’t let her so she bit her! Thing 1 had a big Baby K mouth-shaped bruise on her forearm.
She was fascinated by the hymnals. “Books with words AND music!” brought her much excitement. She was keen to stack them up on her lap and then share them with Thing 2 and me. It shook out that Aunt Gaga and Baby K had the hymnals and I got the bible. Thing 2 whispered that Baby K knew what was up and the books ended up in the right place.

We celebrated her life with music from Spirit in the Sky to Butterfly Kisses, songs specifically requested by Nana, to Elvis singing In the Garden and Peace in the Valley (a song I’ve always wanted for my own funeral)
During Butterfly Kissses, Baby K got up and danced. That girl was vibing so! I watched her and wept, knowing her Nana would have loved that!

So many tears shed.
So much laughter.
Unbelievable amount of love.
We celebrated the life of Baby K’s grandmother with everything we had.
It was a mighty find shindig.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

an inexperienced yet somehow expert road tripper

Thursday morning two weeks ago at 7:17am EDT Baby K, YBW, and I left home for Georgia.
(If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’re wondering about 7:17. My goal was to leave by 7:00 and we ran seventeen minutes behind. In the grand scheme of life seventeen minutes off schedule isn’t too bad and I quickly let it go.)

Baby K hadn’t made that trip since July of 2020 when her family moved here. She had no memory of making that trip. She had no concept of ‘road trip’. But with a bit of explanation and creative encouragement she was ready for the undertaking.

We had the right mix of toys, books, stuffies, and snacks. We had the right kind of attitude. We had a new and improved route. We had a girl eager to see her mom and dad.

Now, I’m here to tell you Thing 1 and Thing 2 were experts at car travel. They had more miles under their butts before they were out of car seats than many adults out there. Between their auntie in Charleston and their grandparents in Florida, my girls were experienced over the road travelers.
Turns out it must be genetic because Baby K was a delightful car traveler.

We stopped often enough for her to stretch her legs and go potty, and for YBW and I to switch driving. She ate enough snacks, read enough books, napped enough, and chatted and sang enough to entertain herself and us.


You’ll notice the busyboard to her right, the snack bag to her left, a cup of water in each cupholder and an apple core in her lap where it rested while she slept.

Our journey took a little over twelve hours.
Never once did that kid complain.
Never once did that kid whine.
She was content.
She was funny and playful.
She was kind and loving.

She was a better traveler than some adults I know.

She shrieked, “Momma! Daddy! I see Momma and Daddy! Daddy! Momma! I here! We here!” when we pulled into the driveway at her Nana’s house where her parents stood on the porch.
Her joy was reflected on the faces of her mom and dad.
She was with the people she belonged with and she was joyful!

Monday the following week, Thing 1, Baby K, YBW and I began the return journey.
(Husband N came home the following weekend.)
While we were packed a little tighter than we were going down, we managed to share snacks and waters and songs and conversations. We stopped for chicken biscuits and to pee on the side of the road. (potty chair to the rescue)
Somewhere between Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC my car’s AC stopped blowing cold air.
(WHAT THE ACTUAL FUUUUUCK?)

Y’all, never once did any of us complain.
Never once did any of us whine.
Never once did any of us lose our temper.
We made the best of a bad situation.
I’m still not sure who lead the best example, us for Baby K or her for us.
She only expressed once that she was hot.
When she expressed not liking the road noise she understood when we explained it was either noise or heat, she chose noise. I mean, we didn’t really give her a choice, but she agreed that noisy air was better than being hot.

We made it home in just less than twelve hours.
YBW adjusted the temperature of the house via app from the road so we were nice and cool the moment we got home.
Baby K was happy to sit in the chair and watch Mira, Royal Detective while we unloaded the car.
We brought Thing 1 and Baby K here to our house because it was closing in on bedtime and we could share the responsibility easier together. I took them home (in YBW’s air conditioned car) Tuesday morning.
Sundance stayed with the dogs and cats and welcomed us home when we arrived Tuesday morning. Of course Baby K wouldn’t even look at her and Thing 1 and I were so tired we barely made conversation, but somehow she knew our gratitude and left us with big hugs.
After putting Baby K in bed for her nap (I got to rock her which I haven’t done in such a long time!) I helped Thing 1 change her bed and left those girls to their own devices.

Somehow a three year old girl, inexperienced in the fine art of road tripping, turned out to manage it like a dang expert!
I can’t explain it, but I’m certainly here for it.
She did have great help from her mom and grandparents, I’m just sayin’.

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from substitute teacher to substitute parent

When Thing 1 and Husband N left Virginia for Georgia Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, Baby K became YBW’s and my responsibility.
It was simpler for her mom and dad to handle the business of her Nana’s death without the responsibility of her three year old self.
She was also starting preschool for the first time that Monday morning.

I was meant to be at school all but one day the first two weeks. They were desperate for coverage in the SPED classes until the new hire’s background check came back and I was ready to get back to school!
I made one phone call Saturday night and instead of going back to school Monday morning I took Baby K to her first day of school.

I went to stay at their house because it was easier than bringing Baby K and two big dogs to our house. Not to mention so much farther away from her school. YBW stayed at home because that was easier for him to get to work.

Let me tell y’all something, people in their fifties shouldn’t be solely responsible for people who are three.
That girl is an angel (also devilish) and I’m not that old, but wow! Being completely responsible for her wore me out!
Of course, she was processing Nana’s death. Her mom and dad literally took off on a moment’s notice. She wasn’t sleeping well. She was equal parts excited and nervous about starting school. And while Birdie is no slouch, that’s simply not the way things are meant to be.

All that said, first day of school went off without a hitch!

I was so sad after dropping her off.
I called her mom to report the news and we both cried.
Even though I feel so grateful for the experience, Thing 1 should have been the one to kiss her and tell her to have a great first day, not me.
Thing 1 told me that if she couldn’t do it, she wouldn’t want anyone other than me to do it.

Papa came out Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the first week of school. We took Baby K for cheeseburgers, milkshakes and french fries. Her very specific request.

She was amused that her shake had both a straw and a spoon so she put them both in her mouth and told us she was a walrus.

We had three days of school that first week.
She came home hot and sweaty, dirty and hungry, and damn tired.
She came home happy to have been at school, happy to be with me, and ready to make the journey to Georgia to see her mom and dad.

While I was meant to be at my school, and my daughter was meant to take her own daughter to school, fate had other plans for us.
We’re unbelievably fortunate that I was able to drop everything and substitute parent!
Thing 1 and Husband N were grateful we made their life a bit easier as they had to be responsible adult children by temporarily relinquishing parenting responsibilities.
I’m unbelievably fortunate my husband dropped everything and came to help Tuesday. I was so grateful to have another adult share responsibility for Baby K.

You show up for family.
It’s just what you do.
Our kids needed us and we were there for them.
I was lucky enough to experience that first day of preschool with Thing 1 all those long years ago and with Baby K last week.
It’s not the way things were meant to be.
But it’s the way things were.
We made the best of the situation and we did it with so much love.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 171

This one is living rent free in my head and I’m cool with it.
Here’s Die Out Here by De Wayne (featuring Poorstacy)
Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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