Monday, December 28, 2009

Prized Possessions

You're looking at something very dear to Cambryn's heart, her blankie. Yes, she's almost ten years old now but sometimes a girl needs the comfort that only a beloved possession can provide.

The blankie started out as a crib sheet sewn by my mom and this is what's left of it. If it looks a little knotty, that's because the delicate pieces have been tied together. It's hard to imagine there's enough fabric left to do any good, but when it's called into action it can still work magic.

Collin's beloved possession was a stuffed toy dog named Brownie, which he still has. Actually, he has Brownie II, because Brownie I got left at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Florida when Collin was five. We returned for Brownie just a short time later but evidently someone else had already claimed him. Trust me when I say that wasn't the highlight of our summer vacation.

I persuaded Collin to take a picture with Brownie and he humored me with one stipulation: "For the record, Collin no longer sleeps with Brownie every night."
He's in middle school. He has a reputation to uphold.

Friday, December 25, 2009

That Crazy Santa

We've hit a snafu this Christmas. Santa brought one of these to Cambryn:

but instead of putting it under the tree, it seems he wanted to play a game of hide-and-seek. He hid the gift somewhere in our house and we need to find it.

We've searched the most obvious hiding place -- my closet -- to no avail. Santa's really making us work for it! If you have any suggestions, please help us out. Cambryn would love to play her new games and I would like to feel better about myself Christmas.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Christmas Trees

If these trees don't put you in the holiday spirit, I give up.

I would've taken more, but the kids were fussing and my husband was losing his patience.

Trees courtesy of God. Lights by Chesapeake Energy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Several weeks ago we tragically lost our sweet Angel. The accident happened in a flash and Angel never suffered, yet we suffered her loss terribly. We were devastated. We were struggling with our grief. We were barely able to stay at home without her.

Finally I had no choice. I started looking for another puppy...

and this photo caught my eye.

She was a liver pepper parti mini schnauzer, just like Angel, and she even looked a lot like Angel. Too much, perhaps?

We decided on her sister...

who was also beautiful but darker, with her own distinctive look.

After waiting a couple of weeks until she was weaned, I drove to a neighboring state to pick her up. As soon as I got there I excitedly scooped her up, so happy to finally hold another puppy of our own, and then I saw her sister. The one who reminded me of Angel.

It was sooo hard to leave one behind. I even called my husband to see if I could bring both of them home with me. He, however, was far away and somewhat objective so I reluctantly left with just one of them.

Meet Coco.

We're so thrilled to have her. She's sweet, playful, snuggly, and very good medicine for healing hearts. We will take the very best care of her that we can and we look forward to many, many happy years together.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Mean...Really!

Collin can shoot basketballs all day long.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Place

Whenever my husband visits my hometown, this is his go-to restaurant. Great food, great prices. It's been one of my favorites since I was a kid.

There used to be another barbecue place in town called Slick's, which gained some notoriety after a mention in Playboy back in the '70s. It was well-known for its food, but I was too afraid to go there because of all the Slick stories that circulated around town.

Once a friend tried to use a coupon with his meal and Slick didn't want to honor it so when my friend protested that the coupon hadn't expired yet, Slick quietly pulled a pistol out from behind the counter and laid it next to the cash register.

Not to mention that the waitstaff would swat flies with the same rags they cleaned the tables.

My Place has always been my favorite.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Criss Cross Applesauce

Cambryn has an interesting sleep position that people find hard to believe, so I took some photographic evidence. These were taken at the New Mexico cabin during a nap she took after a seven hour hike.

She's a young thing and didn't get all stiff from all that climbing, unlike others who will remain unmentioned.

If you want to try this at home, sit criss cross Indian style, fold your arms across your body, bend forward at the waist until your face rests comfortably on the bed, then sleep as long as possible.

As you can see, she also sits criss cross when she's awake. This was taken at the peak of our seven hour hike. I think she was bird-watching, hoping for a large eagle to swoop down and carry her to the bottom so she wouldn't have to hike one more blasted step.

That didn't happen so she deserved a good nap.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Out Back

We just got back from our annual Taos, NM, vacation, the mountain trip we take when the Oklahoma weather becomes unbearable.

It's always so pleasant to walk outside and not feel like you just got slapped in the face by a wall of fire.

When in Taos, one of the restaurants we always go to is Taos Pizza Out Back. It's our favorite pizza, plus we love the salad dressing (chefs have to sign a non-disclosure agreement) and the tiramisu, if we have any room left.

I'll admit the service is sometimes very laidback, but Taos time isn't quite the same as regular time. If you've been there you know what I mean.

That's Cambryn running toward the table.

"Out Back" has nothing to do with Australia. It refers to the restaurant's location, formerly a house, out back of the business near the street.

After being sued by that newer steak place, Outback Pizza changed their official name to Taos Pizza Out Back.

And finally, this didn't start out as a restaurant review. It's just, we don't take a ton of vacation pics so I'm trying to work with what I've got!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Quote

Collin: "I remember it just like it was yesterday. When I learned to snap my fingers, I was eating a piece of toast and one of our toilets was overflowing."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sock Dance

The kids have been playing with my camera again. I discovered these pics when I uploaded it yesterday. [Note to self: potential blackmail material.]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Preacher's Kid

My dad is a minister. He's been a pastor, a military chaplain, a hospital chaplain, and now an interim preacher. That makes me a preacher's kid, something people find intriguing.

Everyone: "What's it like having a dad who's a minister?
What's it like having a dad who's not a minister?

Almost Everyone: There are only two kinds of preacher's kids. Are you the really good kind or the really bad kind?"
Young Leslie:
The really good kind.
(Older Leslie:
None of your business.)

It also intimidates people. I once invited a college friend to go home with me for the weekend. She got all freaked out.

Friend: I can't go stay at your house!
Why not?
Because I sin every five minutes!

Friends have often said they feel like my dad can see right through them. That's just a combination of their guilty consciences and my dad's ability to look people in the eyes and truly listen to what they are saying. There's no way he has x-ray vision or I wouldn't have survived my teen years.

Luckily for me, perfection wasn't part of the preacher's kid job description. My dad would assure you it wasn't part of his job description either, but I think he comes pretty close.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day, here's my dad.

Dad growing up, up, up.

Dad holding baby me.

Dad ready to escort me down the aisle.

Dad seeing Cambryn for the first time.

My dad has always been very proud of his family; there's never been any doubt about that. Likewise, I've always been very proud of my dad. He's my hero.

Dad, thank you for making me. I love you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Older Now

I've aged a year since my last post. I figure it's better than the alternative.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I can't look at this without smiling. Thank you, JK, for inviting us to your party and taking this photo. Swimming, a giant inflatable slide, a moon bounce and, ohmygosh, mechanical bullriding?! Cambryn can hardly wait for your birthday next year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Sometimes I rewrite history upon request.

For example, here is my sister and her youngest son at school. Because you are wondering, he's wearing his Halloween costume.

And here is the photo my sister sent me. I'm sure the lady in the background is a very nice person. She just didn't necessarily belong in a photo of my sister and her youngest son wearing his Halloween costume.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, here's a look at my mom during each decade of my life.

The 1960s: She had three babies within four years. She was a homemaker and occasional beautician, helping my dad through college and graduate school.

The 1970s: She attended college and graduate school, then became an elementary school teacher. This is what she looked like when I was in high school. People started mistaking us for sisters.

The 1980s: She and Dad put all three of us through college, then helped my brother through law school.

(Dear Mom, I know you don't like your "big hair" pictures but it would ruin my theme to leave this out.)

The 1990s: She became a mother-in-law and grandmother, and buried her parents. She survived Dad's cancer, as did he. She retired early.

The 2000s: She's rarely apart from Dad now that he's semi-retired. They're hand-in-hand, thick as thieves, indivisible.

She continues to inspire me with her appreciation of beauty and art, her boundless energy, hard work, and most of all, her passion for family.

Mom, thanks for having me. I love you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

American Girl

I never said this blog was chronological and speaking of birthdays, we celebrated Cambryn's back in January. She turned nine this year. That's pretty amazing considering I'm only two years older than I was when she was born.

So here's a special pic from nine years ago. Most moms have lots of these; I have one. Most moms are wearing gowns; I had on a black t-shirt. Spending the night with Cambryn in our own hospital room was very cool.

Cambryn needed an extra 24 hours in the
hospital to develop her sucking reflex.

Fast forward nine years and my mother-in-law and I took Cambryn on a road trip to the American Girl store and bistro in Dallas for her birthday. Cambryn was thrilled!

[Note to anyone thinking about doing this: don't even consider taking male family members to the American Girl store or bistro. Trust me. Take Dad's credit card but leave Dad at home.]

I couldn't help but wonder how many more years she'll get this excited about dolls. And doll clothes. And doll furniture. And doll pets. And everything else imaginable and even a few things you'd never think of for dolls.

Cambryn at lunch in the bistro with Julie, her brown-eyed blond doll. We were pleading with Cambryn to smile sweetly for the camera.

The "real" Cambryn with Julie and Ivy.

We haven't had a dull moment in at least nine years.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eleven in Spite of Us

Collin is now eleven years old. Oh how time flies when you're trying to keep your babies sweet and innocent and babies forever. Bear with me while I reminisce.

This photo was taken within the first few minutes we laid eyes on our new baby boy. Of course I held him first, then my husband got his turn. At this moment we were simply stunned. We had never changed a diaper, never attended a baby class, and didn't have a nursery waiting at home. Our families were very curious as to how we were going to manage. Perhaps bets were even wagered.

We had a borrowed car seat, a borrowed bassinet, some hand-me-down clothes from my nephews, and the new outfit you see here that I bought at Gymboree. Yep, a matching onesie, jacket, bib, cap, socks, blanket and if there had been matching sunglasses and cowboy boots with spurs I would've grabbed them, too. I told everyone in the store that I was having a baby in a few days and I'm pretty sure they thought I looked fabulous.

Or just delusional, but whatever.

Oh, and I had bought a package of ear plugs at Walgreens because I knew babies tend to cry and we had a 2 1/2 hour drive home. Maybe they teach you in baby classes that newborns mostly just sleep, but I had no idea.

Luckily our new baby didn't realize we were so clueless, because he actually thrived. He thrived!

Here he is, thriving at 13 months.

And then he grew to be eleven years old. Just like that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Family Easter

This isn't the best quality photo but here we are, all cleaned up for Easter.

Collin wasn't happy about tucking in his shirt. "I look like a farmer!" We have no idea why he thought that and please, no offense meant if any farmers are reading this. He's a city boy and doesn't even know any farmers.

Honestly, Jesus probably didn't care if Collin's shirt was tucked in or not.

Cambryn was just happy to twirl in a new dress, wearing "high" heels.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Here's proof that at least three of us went skiing over spring break. I took the picture so you'll just have to trust that I was there.

Or realize the likelihood that my husband would take the kids on a ski trip without me. Yeah, not happening.

See Forever, Telluride, CO

Notice the lack of jackets (jacket-lacking?). The temp was in the 50s, so great spring ski weather.

Cambryn was the "pink bullet," fast and efficient. She only made turns if she had to; she's pretty much a "point 'em straight down the mountain" kind of girl.

Collin, the snowboarder, got back on skis for the first time since age three. Wise choice, due to the snow conditions. His comparison of the two: with skiing there's just one direction to fall but with snowboarding, you can fall all over the place. In other words, skiing is easier.

They kept up just fine on the blue slopes.

Peaks Resort, Telluride, CO

Cambryn was equally excited about the indoor/outdoor pool with the 2-story slide. Which reminds me that the last time we stayed in Tulsa for a basketball tournament (Doubletree at Warren Place with its awesome indoor pool), Cambryn declared it the best vacation she'd ever had. Forget the beaches, mountains, and amusement parks. All she needs is a nice pool and a hotel bed to jump on.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break Survivors

As usual, my husband booked the earliest flight possible for our spring break ski trip.

(Have I mentioned I have a sleep disorder? It's called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome and doesn't much jive with earliest flights possible.)

So we "woke up" at 3:30 dark, got to the airport with a comfortable hour to spare, and boarded the plane at 5:45. Still dark.

And then the plane broke.
And couldn't be fixed until a part was flown in from Denver on a flight arriving in five and a half hours. Which would cause us to miss our connecting flight to Montrose, CO.

And being spring break, there were no other available seats to Montrose that day. And being spring break, our options for the rest of the week were limited, too.

So spring break was not looking good.

But then we discovered we could salvage the trip by flying into Telluride instead of Montrose.

Ohhh boy.

Telluride was, in fact, our final destination. We just hadn't considered actually landing there. We've always flown into Montrose and then driven the 1.5 hours to Telluride.

For good reason.

Think about it: Telluride is a ski resort and people ski during spring break, yet we had no trouble booking four seats that very day. Four seats together!

To drive that point home I've written the following research paper, just like in junior high except I didn't cite my sources and Google didn't even exist back then anyway.

Telluride Regional Airport, the highest commercial airport in North America, is known locally as the USS Telluride because landing there is similar to landing on an aircraft carrier. The short landing strip sits on the edge of a mesa. Three sides, including both ends of the runway, plunge about 1,000 feet to the San Miguel River below.

You're looking at the runway.

If that's not scary enough, it's surrounded on all sides by mountains exceeding 14,000 feet and last, but not least, there's a big dip in the middle of the runway. You know that touchdown bump at landing? You get two of those at Telluride. Bump, dip, bump.

I haven't even mentioned the weather yet. Winter flights are often diverted to Montrose and other airports due to duh, it's winter in the Rockies.

Luckily, only the top 5% of pilots are allowed to land there. They have to be specially qualified (as well as have major coconuts) to contend with the extreme altitude, rotors, strong turbulence and down-drafts associated with the cliffs.

So although it might not be the nation's most dangerous airport, it's certainly one of the most "thrilling" landings.

Don't they look thrilled?

We spent an extra six hours waiting for parts and flights, which as you can imagine with kids was no picnic unless you're picnicking in Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain and blows away anything not pinned down by a brick until you just give up and go eat in the car, but the Colorado skies were sunny and clear, our elite pilot was on the money, and we landed at Telluride and lived to brag about it.

Stay tuned for more spring break...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Misha!

Today is my little sister's birthday. She lights up the room, the party, and the whole wide world like few can. I hope her wishes all come true.

Happy Birthday, Misha!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Love These Boys

And the one in the red shirt? He's my favorite. I fell in love with him the moment I knew he was mine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hers Must Be Different

I can't remember who sent that to me, but it made me laugh. There is a Super Wal-Mart 2.12 miles from our house and I go inside it maybe twice a year. I've said repeatedly that if I were ever to have a panic attack, I'm pretty sure it would happen while waiting in a Super Wal-Mart checkout line. The last few times I've been there, I've simply abandoned my merchandise and walked out empty-handed.

Luckily there's a Super Target which also happens to be 2.12 miles from our house. Ahhhhh, Target: my home away from home, my comfort zone. I love all your cool stuff, your big clean aisles and your short friendly lines. Thank you for saving me from panic attacks.