This week.
It's not been kind.

I hate when I struggle for words since they usually come to me so easily, in fact, usually too easily and I say more than I should. But today, I can't find my words.

I was out of town last week, and Thursday night to Friday morning, I just didn't sleep due to flight plans, and then I had a 3 hour drive back to my house. So from Thursday morning to Friday night, I was awake. By Saturday mid-morning and deep sleep, I started to feel a bit more normal but still kind of dragging. But then Monday happened.

I got that call. The one every parent dreads but it wasn't the worst it could have been.
My 19 year old daughter was sobbing and rambling.
She'd been in an accident.
My heart stopped but at the same time, she was okay -- I could hear her voice so she was okay but she said her head was bleeding. I could tell she was functioning on adrenaline.
She was 2 hours from me, so I went straight into Mom-mode:
What happened?
Where's the car? Is it driveable (would someone need to come with me to handle the car)
Was anyone else with her? Who was at fault for insurance? She hadn't called the police yet -- call the police.

Then someone took the phone from her and told me the information:
The passenger with her was not injured and no other cars were involved. The police and ambulance had been called. The passerby said the rain had made the roads very slick over in those hills. I asked if the car was driveable and she said no, it was totaled.

It was.
Because it had landed upside down.
Thankfully I didn't know that at the time.
Sydney ended up with 9 staples in the crown of her head.
But she walked away. 
We are blessed.

Then yesterday happened.
A couple of weeks ago I posted this post about Keiko and her diagnoses with cancer. Tuesday night, her walking suddenly got worse and she couldn't settle down for the night, almost like laying down was too painful. She kept walking and walking and her nails were like static on the hardwood floors. I finally gave her a Xanax to go with her pain killer for the night and she laid down. But we knew. That's when we knew it was time.

I'd told her to tell me in a vibration I could understand when it was time, and by Wednesday morning, her walking was even worse but oddly enough, she kept trying to go into our bedroom. She never goes in there. So I made the call to the vet and then had to wait a couple of hours until our appointment time, feeding her more pain killers and just petting her and sobbing. I posted on a final video asking for prayers and strength and my friends gave us that and more as we said goodbye.

And now here I am today, on Thursday.
This week has taken so much from me.
From us, as a family.
I'm struggling to find my gratitude but I know I have to.
With Sydney, it's easy: my baby came home alive and in REALLY good condition compared to her car. How many parents don't have this kind of fortune?
I KNOW I'm so blessed!
And in a really neat twist, one of my facebook friends is friends with the passerby who stopped and helped Sydney, and Syd was able to thank her on my post!
I mean, how neat is that? What a small world our social media is!

Even with the sadness of Keiko, we had a great dog who gave us crazy funny memories to last us a lifetime. And one day, those memories will make me laugh again instead of sending me into a sobbing mess. But that's not where I am today.

It's moments like this when I want to pull the kids closer and keep them here, safe, but I can't.
It's moments like this that I declare I won't get another dog again and start this process over (we've lost SIX now since moving into this house 10 years ago. Two just last year and Keiko this year. They're all buried in our garden.)
We have two left: Raiden and Casanova.
Casanova is 10  and Raiden is 8 and we knew all of these dogs would be aging together.

I feel like my joy has been depleted and I need it refilled to overflowing to dilute the pains of this week. I know those moments are coming. Little by little, my joy will be refilled.

So when I'm done crying, I'll straighten my crown.
And then I'll start moving again.
Wednesday, we realized we'd never driven the Jeep at night, so guess what we did Wednesday night.Top off, doors off, open road and the radio up!

I could not get over how exact the sunbeams were, so I took more pictures than I needed and I'm not sorry about it either. Trust me when I tell you that I trimmed through these pictures 5 times and I still had to have these as my MUST haves:

These are 100% in the order I took them, going 70mph. I couldn't really see what was going on most of the time because it was dark and I was just keeping my eye on that sunset and trying to enjoy the moment while also CAPTURING the moment. So sometimes the camera lightened like this one and I caught more door frame than I intended but love the pics anyway:

Chasing that setting sun!!

This just defines God's country for me!

LOVE how this tree turned out!

As the sky went from oranges into pink and purples, the pics weren't nearly as sharp or clear so I didn't keep them but I got this shot that's pretty neat, aimed directly behind us, back out and over the spare tire.

It was so perfect!
We drove for about an hour. I tried to take video but with the top and doors off, there's just too much wind noise but imagine 77* and 80's music and the diamonds of the stars literally above your head with nothing to hinder your gaze from ANY direction. 

I highly recommend it. 
It was so great, we did it again the next night.
If you ever have the opportunity to buy a Jeep, it's just what this not-a-doctor ordered.
Such a cure for the soul.

And before we knew it, Mr. Moon was shining bright.
Sleep well, my friends, and dream of jeeping.

Chasing Sunsets

by on 7:32 PM
Wednesday, we realized we'd never driven the Jeep at night, so guess what we did Wednesday night. Top off, doors off, open road and the...
I'm sure every Small Town to Big Town drive has one.
You know the house: that one house that just looks like it's been there since forever and one good storm will be its doom.

For me, this is the one.

I swear at sunset, rays of light will beam right on through it. 

I always told Rick I wanted to get a photo of it before it was too late but in the 10 years he and I have been together, I never took the time to do it.

Until today.

Today, we turned the Jeep off the two lane highway that connects our small town to the big town we were headed to for lunch just to take the picture of this house that I've always wanted to take.

Zoomed in, it looks like this:

Not the clearest of pictures taken with my phone but honest to God, I have NO idea how this thing is still standing. We've had CRAZY tornado activity in the area in the last few years (this year included) and yet, this remains.  And Rick just informed me that more thunderstorms are expected tonight.

We continued down the gravel road and around the curve and saw the back of the house.

It looks to have had this really neat curve to it in the back, and if you notice in the above photo, it seems to have had a distinctive decorative room on the left side as well. 

It doesn't seem to be your average country farmhouse in the middle of a flat central Texas crop field like you normally see around here. 

Then the birds flew in and landed, reminding me that this house is theirs now.

I wonder about the family who lived there.
What memories were made between those walls still standing?
The hopes and dreams
the disappointment of failing crops
or the excitement when crops were plentiful!
 The whispers of children staying awake, giggling under bedclothes
the smell of bread baking
dogs herding cattle and chickens pecking the ground
screen doors banging and seasons changing and...

\I guess they were just like the average family after all.

If you don't follow me on FB or Instagram
you may not know we have a new Jeep!
It's my first ever Jeep -- a Rubicon JL Unlimited in Firecracker Red
(I think the name is quite fitting, don't you?)
Rick had a Jeep in the 80s, so he's an old pro at this 
(no pun intended...)

We had the Challenger SRT 6 Speed for a few years & we'd had fun with her but it was time to trade for something new & Jeep was up next!
But TURBO because let's not be silly 

But today was EXTRA special because today was the first day that we

off came the top & the doors
and she was beautiful in all of her naked glory
basking in the Texas heat of summer

And then Rick said the magic words:
"Wanna go somewhere?"

Well yes, yes I do.
After all, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Today is National Donut Day and to celebrate, I give you a true story about two people who, on this very day 4 years ago today, did not know it was National Donut Day when they ventured into a Krispy Kreme and the following happened. If this sounds familiar, then we are probably FB friends from back on June 7th, 2015. The difference is that with blogger, I can add the photos as I tell the story, and it's MUCH better this way!

Adventures at Krispy Kreme. 
Let me preface this: we live in a small town and we have Krispy Kreme -- at the local gas station. (Edit to update: our gas station got rid of them a couple of years ago. BUT! As of like a month ago, the Walmart down the ways (30 minutes) has some. They're nasty.) I can walk by them repeatedly with no temptation whatsoever. So I went into this store with confidence.

And then this happened:

We walk in and see THIS! 

Fried in front of a glass window and AS THEY COME OUT, a little lady is there whipping them off and sweetly saying, "Free sample" as she just puts it into your hand.
( geniuses...)

Who can say no to a sweet old lady? And then you taste it, fresh and hot from the belt and you think, "Okay...I'll do an extra 742 laps for this" and you haven't even gotten to the display yet! So then there's this angel soft, angel sweetness melting on your tongue as you look at the case

and Rick says, "We'll take a dozen" and we each pick out 2 of 3 kinds each because hey, tomorrow is TEN HOURS ON THE ROAD, right?

THEN, Satan* opens his mouth and says, "This is $9.29 but you can get another dozen for just $5 more" and I think Rick groaned out loud. Then *I* piped up with, "I want the hot ones."
And then my righteous indignation piped up and I scolded the SatanMan. I said, "You should be ashamed! You with your JUST FIVE DOLLARS FOR AN EXTRA DOZEN! Do you know how many people have DIED from the hot samples suckering them in and then your extra dozen and heart attacks and diabetes?!"
And he said: "Do you know how many times a day, every day, people say that to me?! I'm okay with that." So then I said, "I'm quoting you on Facebook" and took his picture (with his permission, obviously)
and he laughed at my righteous indignation! The nerve!
And then we took our BAG of donuts and left
and then opened both boxes up on the king sized bed
and decided it was totally worth the extra 742 laps.
The End.

Happy National Donut Day, my freaky darlings!
My sweet girl.
Time is aging us both.

Keiko went to the vet today.

She was in heat recently only this time, there was still some spotting.
And then it got worse.

She's had a saggy tummy ever since that huge liter of 10 puppies when she was 2 years old. When I took her to the vet for her crazy skin allergies she used to have, in which she gnawed off ALL of her skin from the neck down, the vet told me it was just like with human mommas: the skin was just stretched out.

But this time, with this bleeding, I noticed that the saggy skin wasn't just saggy now.
It was hard, like a tennis ball.

So off to the vet we went.
The same vet who saw Sassy and Ambush last year.

Keiko has cancer.
She's 10 and a half.
She has skin issues and she's deaf and she has seizures but now we are on a waiting game and Cooper and I stood there and listened to these horrible things that could happen and what to do if they did and I just thought, "Please don't let that happen..."

We already know we went 10 days too long with Sassy and one day too long with Ambush. Rick and I already decided that we had to make sure we are :days too early" before we are ANY days too late this time. 

We really thought back in December of 2017 that we were almost about to lose Keiko and she crazily got better. This time, we're in a "two pain killers a day keeping her comfortable" mode.
But don't get me wrong.
She will still cut you to shove her way to her spot under the dining room table.
She will still look completely offended that the short little basset hound gets to eat off the same spoon as an Akita.
She will still not hear a word you say in all of her DON'T YOU KNOW I'M DEAF indignation until it's time for pain meds and that cheese wrapper crinkles.

Below is one my all time favorite pictures of Keiko. She was only 2 years old. She's with her 2nd born, a little girl we called Deuce.
Keiko didn't have skin issues or allergies or seizures or a single silver hair and she still heard you when you called her name and cancer was never even a blip on our radar.

This is my Keiko Girl.
And I love her.


by on 6:15 PM
My sweet girl. Time is aging us both. Keiko went to the vet today. She was in heat recently only this time, there was still so...

Sometimes I don't know what to say

(surprising to hear, I'm sure) and 
sometimes I say too much 
(not surprising, I know!) but still, 
when I knew it was time to start blogging again, 
and the idea of revamping this blog with the first post 
became THE NOW

I was a bit struck dumb with What To Post.

I knew the timing was right. 
The dynamic in our lives has changed again.
The youngest of the four kids just graduated.
My "stay at home momma" status with school aged children is no longer really a label even if that child is still at home.

Technically, Cooper and Sydney are both still at home, but just last week, Sydney suddenly got a call for her dream job as a church camp counselor at the camp she used to spent a week attending in the summer when she was in high school. She said goodbye to Subway and headed west and the house is quieter with just Rick, Cooper and me in it.

And then today, Cooper was hired for his first job at DQ (just like his big sister, Carly!") And they've hired him for "fulltime". I don't know if that's true fulltime but he starts Monday and he's scheduled for 9-5 so...

That shrinks the sounds of this old house down even more.

So here I am ... 
looking for the new definition of me. 
Welcome to my midlife crisis.
Turn up the music.
I'm going to dance like no one is watching
but I know they probably are, 
and maybe even recording it too, 
and we're all laughing -- hard -- because 
we're so happy to be alive and 
moving in these moments and making
memories together.

Want to join me?
Are you ready?