6 months

Precious, darling Emma Kate,

Look at you grow, girl!  Mama doesn’t even know where to begin telling you about your very busy month. I have so much to say, so I guess instead of starting at the beginning, I’ll just start at the top.

Your hair. It has lightened up some, still brown,  and is thick on top and grows in a point like Dracula (just like my dream)but not a scary, blood thirsty Dracula, but rather a beautiful, bright-eyed smooch able baby girl Dracula.

Your teeth.  Yep, they’re there. Two shiny white pearls on bottom.  Finally.   You’ve been a dream teether, you haven’t fussed one bit, but we could feel these little suckers when you were four months old and have been waiting patiently.

With those new toofies you’ve tried some real food.

In your most humble opinion:

Rice cereal= bleck!

Peas= double bleck!

Strawberries= sour bleck! (unlike my dream)

The foods that have received an Emma stamp of approval are peaches, pears, avocado, and squash.  We’re trying to keep you away from sugar and junk food, but we did offer you a taste of frozen yogurt, but the cold surprised you so, I’m not sure which list it belongs on.

Your mouth.  It’s so sweet, and you have the best smiles to give. You are not much of a laugher, but full of grins.   You can make ma-ma, da-da, bye-bye sounds! And holy cow you are loud!  We tease you that you got that from your grandy.

Your butt.   You are sitting alone for really long periods of time, when just a couple weeks ago you were a weeble wobble on a round butt.   Now you’re an old pro.

Your Legs. They are fat!  But those thunder thighs aren’t slowing you down. You are moving and scooting! You use your elbows and one leg to pull and drag yourself around. But that left leg is like a dead man’s, just dragging around behind you.While I’ve  been typing, you have gone to the kitchen, gotten into the potatoes and onions, drug yourself  around to the fridge, then back to the potatoes.  Lazy is NOT your middle name.  You are simply amazing and are taking the world by storm.

Cankles? Yep, you got them.

Your toes.  Oh my goodness, I love to get those piggies because they taste so sweet.

That’s you from top to toes, baby girl.  You are our delight. It has been so much fun loving you the last six months. Gosh, you’ll never know how adored you are. I mean that. Completely, Totally, Altogether, Absolutely ADORED and LOVED from top to bottom.

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, my dear one.  I love you!!





She Battles

Each day, right after her cup of coffee, she laces up her tennie runners as her dad used to call them, straps the baby in the stroller and begins her walk down a lonely dirt, country road.  Slow at first, building steam, gearing up.  Just barely after she starts, her mind tells her to quit.  Gives her the talk.  Lists the excuses. But she has no excuses.  Time is no excuse.  Ability is no excuse.  Rain or snow is no excuse.  So she perseveres.  Each day she goes a little farther.  Pushes herself a little harder.  Forces herself to make it just past the cotton field with the new plants pushing through, then a little farther to the windmill.  Finally to the red barn where she can turn around.

Most days she prays.  She prays for her loved ones, she thanks God for her family, her health, her many blessings.  She thinks, she sings, she talks to her baby who bounces along with her Clifford pacifier in her mouth, the breeze blowing her little crop of hair.

She’s in the midst of a battle.  An all out war against the baby weight.  A daily struggle.  She remembers her former self.   The younger her, before marriage and pregnancy transformed her into a jiggly blob.  She curses her body.  Its slowness, its sluggish metabolism, its saggy skin and weakness.  But with the next thought, she recognizes its magnificence.  Its ability to create life, to bring it forth, to nourish and sustain it.

She makes herself run now.  From telephone pole to telephone pole she runs.  The next telephone pole cheers her on.  Encourages her, reminds her that the next one is not too far off.  Until her mind once again tells her to quit, catch her breath.

She walks now.  Pushing her sleeping baby. Gasping for air.  She passes the stench of death.  Something lying in the bar ditch beneath the tall weeds.  She turns her head as the smell of rot burns into her nose.  She imagines it a mouse, a bird, a skunk.  Surely the worst is over.  “Decay faster you S.O.B.,” she mutters aloud.

Her body glistens with perspiration.  Her face is the color of beets.  Her shoulders tanned in the sun, the right one a shade darker than the left.  She turns into her drive, slowing to a snail’s pace.  At the front door, she lifts her dozing baby from the stroller and places her heavy head against her sweaty neck.  The air conditioning is a wonderful respite from the early morning heat.  Her eyes adjust to the darkness of the nursery as she places her in the crib to dream the sweet dreams of babies.

Her next battle is laundry.







Our baby girl loves it outside.

No matter the mercury reading, she hasn’t learned to complain about the heat yet.


We haven’t cut her hair to look like a mohawk on it’s way to growing out, it’s just the way her hair, well is growing out.  Possibly one of the reasons she’s mistaken for a boy frequently.

The chickens are as curious about her as she is of them.  But everyone’s on their best behavior so far.  No pecking or feather pulling have occurred.

I just love everything about her.  The birth mark on her forehead that reminds me of Australia, those lovely long eyelashes framing her deep brown eyes, the way she smells like “outside” after only a few minutes.  But heck, so do I.  Even the little skinned place beside her nose where her fingernails got her.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget  her two brand spanking new pearly whites.

Peace, pecks, and pigs—Randomness

It’s a peaceful kind of morning.  No hustle, no bustle.

There’s a cool breeze, and it’s a nice respite before the West Texas July sun follows it’s usual path in the cloudless sky and the daytime temps rise to scorch and wither.  But after all, it is summer.  What else do we expect.

EK and I sat outside for a spell.  Me with my coffee, she with her glee.

Watching the world through the eyes of a baby brings on a new light.  I read that every day to a baby is like a visit to Paris for the first time for us.  The new smells, the new sights.  We would be on high alert, taking it all in.

Her yard is a far cry from Paris, I would have to imagine since I’ve never visited there.  But oh, how she takes it all in.  She notices the smallest things.  A leaf blowing across the yard, a black bird flying to rest in a tree top, the bark of Drew and Grace from the backyard saying, “We want out, let us out, we want to see you this morning too”, the choo choo whistle as it rolls down the tracks.

A chicken flew up on the arm of our chair with her beady eye and pointy beak.  Me, I’m a bit intimidated.  I don’t know why I suddenly became afraid of my chickens, as if they could peck me to death or something.  I usually shoo them away afraid they might peck EK, but today we just sat.  The chicken jerked her chicken neck around studying us, and EK stared back.  I put EK’s hand on her feathers to let her feel.

The other day my mom mentioned how the baby needs one of those toys, you know the kind we used to have as a kid.  Where you pull the string and the animal makes it’s sound.  I said, “Mom.  Look around.  Why does she need that?  We have horses that say neigh, dogs that say ruff, chickens that say bawk, cows that say moo, right here.”

That seemed to satisfy my mom, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she pulls up with a pig in the passenger seat one day.




fantopia—a combination of fantasy and utopia.  I just made that word up.  I think.  Until I google it, and learn that it’s already been made up. So I won’t burst my bubble.

I live in a fantopia.  A fantasy utopian world in my own head.

In this world, I imagine myself fit and fabulous.  My garden bursts with abundant color.  My home shines with freshly polished floors.  The internet connection zips and zooms.  Laughter fills the house.  Babies don’t poop up their backs.   Everything is simple and easy.

Maybe it’s not your fantopia, but it’s mine.  I live it.

Case in point.   Have you seen a pettiromper?  Unless your a new mom to a lovely little girl, maybe you haven’t.

Here’s a picture I stole off the internet.

beautiful baby picture stolen from http://www.happybirthdaybabyboutique.com

Cute, adorable, and about $35.

Step into my fantopia, where I  say to myself, “I can make this.  I can sew.  I’ve sewed curtains.  And buttons.  How hard can it be?”

Well for starters, it can be very hard.  First off, I can’t find this lacy material anywhere, (but I only looked one place), so I settled for the next best thing.

A ruffled material that I see old ladies (my mother for one) wearing on their shirts these days.

So I buy it.  And I buy some matching thread.  Now I’m in business.  I can whip this out in no time.  I googled a little tutorial about how to make a romper, and feeling like the overachieving mom of the year, I commit to the task, right after I dust off the sewing machine,  make J-Dub mess with it since the pedal won’t work, figure out how to thread the darn thing, and attempt at making a bobbin that ended up being a tangled mess so I just used a different colored one that was already ready to use.

It turns out, the ruffly material is hard to feed through the (Pardon my lack of technical terms here) foot feeder.  It also turns out that the ruffly material doesn’t look so good when you sew the ruffles up when the ruffles are supposed to lay downward.  But I persevered, just me and my seam ripper.

It began coming together.  I was so excited.  I had to hold myself back from waking my baby girl from her nap to try it on her when it was finally finished two days later.  I even whipped up a headband.

I put it on her and let’s just say, I need a wee bit more practice.  The elastic wasn’t short enough (tight enough) and it wouldn’t stay up above her tee tas.

So out came the handy safety pin because I just had to get a picture to show my loyal blog readers.
Which created the four hundredth problem of the project since my baby can’t exactly sit up by herself yet.

So here we are trying to take a picture, me needing to be farther back to get a better focus and shot, but at the same time needing to be in arm’s length to catch her when she topples.

A look of sheer panic knowing she is losing her balance and is about to fall.
Me grabbing EK’s hand right before she topples.


So after 3 bumps, a poke from the safety pin, and a dislocated shoulder on my part finally, I just propped her on my dirty, dingy, denim couch and snapped a picture.  Just kidding on all that.  We came out unscathed.



Was it a total flop?  No I just need to adjust the elastic and try to find the right material.

Will I try again?  Maybe.

Is my baby an absolute doll regardless of the get-up I dress her in?  Completely.

Did I rock the headband?  I think so.

Did I just spend 30 minutes looking for my camera cord to download these pictures?  Maybe 45 minutes.

Do I fail at life?  Naw, just at fantopia.

In Memory of my dad—number forty something

The green spiraled journal draws me in.

It belonged to my dad.

The very first thing I bought when I became an adult was a storage building.  It sits on my mom’s property (once upon a time it was my grandmother’s property) and my dad put a few boxes of belongings in there nearly twenty years ago.   In one of the boxes was this journal.

On the cover he has printed:
The Journals of Robert Lee—-soldier, statesman, author.

It is filled with his thoughts, his hopes, his disappointments, his memories.
Stuffed between the written pages he has a few cards from loved ones, pictures of my sister and I, and bills from the IRS.

I love this journal, although it is mostly sad.  He wrote when he was going through a very difficult time, of which I was completely unaware, but heck I was a kid then, barely out of high school, and completely wrapped up in my own life.

I discover that I didn’t really know my dad.  But who really did?

He hurt more than I know, and I don’t mean physically.

Today is the 15th of April, 1996.  Tax Time for most folks, but to me it is different.   Today I join the ranks of the homeless.  I haven’t learned a lot in my 53 short years aboard this planet, but I’ve learned this, we are just a short journey from this predicament that I find myself in right now.  It’s a feeling that I don’t wish on friend or foe, but I’ll come out of the water bushed and gasping of air, out of breath and hoping for a low hanging limb from which this wrecked body needs just a minute to catch it’s breath.  Then I’ll fight onward, searching for new friends, looking in familiar haunts for a few old compatriots, who’ll say—welcome ol’ shoe, come sit awhile and rest.

April 18, 1996—
It’s not good being homeless, but I have been getting reacquainted with my mother.  Before I was always in a  hurry when I went to see her, but now we are taking the time to talk to each other.  Today we spoke of my grandparents, the last who died in 1975.  I wish that I could have gotten to know them.

As I reread this journal, no as I pore over his words, I get the “missing my dad blues”.   The “If only’s”  The “I wish”.  It doesn’t help that its a rainy day in July either.  Much like my dad wrote on the page he titled, “July or is it June 27?”

I moved into my new digs yesterday.  Went to the store and bought boloney and beer.  It’s a cloudy, dismal day, in fact I’ll call this place “The Dismal Swamp”  It’s a dump, held together with spit n’ glue, but at least the neighbor’s are nice—which means that they don’t bother me or even come out of their own hovels.  I’m into Charles Bukowski, poet, short stories, novels, drinker extraiordinairre.  Life is good as we let it be.

He was phenomenal with the written word.
Dawn comes on a silvery black flash that gently turns to a pale blue as the sun makes it’s ascent into the morning sky.  Departure time is steadily approaching and I feel a twinge of excitement as the clock ticks onward toward the time of making my exit.  My brother warned me about this happening, he said, “don’t let one year turn into ten” when I first moved here for just a year.  Well, June marks the 10 year span that I’ve spent here in Green Country.  I can see the changes here in Okla.  that have occurred since coming here.  Mainly, traffic flow, the driving here is atrocious.  But that does not take from  the few close friends that I have made here.  I’ll always appreciate them.

He was funny.
“Guess I’ll go by leon’s house and see if he wants to go fishing with me n’ doc tomorrow—-it is the fourth of July and we do live in the bosom of democracy, so why not fish.  Uh Oh.  Outta beer.  So I’ll take to task the advice of my ol’ mentor and friend, Horace Greely—-Go West—-about 2 miles—–the have Busch on sale.” 

Keeping a journal and trying to keep sounding interesting is so boring.

Yes, dad I agree with that one whole heartedly!  He continues…..

My life is boring, but the mundane way of life is peaceful.  Living quiet has it’s own reward.

He got lonesome and had regrets.

Nov. 24, 1996
I dreamed of Jo and Angel night before last.  They were small and cuddly and we laughed and played.  I awoke all discombobulated and out of sync.  It’s good to dream old dreams.  I miss the girls so much.  I hope Angel is doing all right out there in the west.  She is so private it’s hard to find out anything from her.  Joley has John so I don’t worry about her so much.  Joley is my little mother.  I know that she will see to it that I am taken care of.  I hope that I never need it tho.  I’m sorry now that I didn’t know how to love the girls’ mother.  Hindsight has perfect vision.  But I just didn’t know, and for that I am sorry. 

Jan. 13, 1997
I’m lonesome and being broke don’t help.  I’d visit an axe murderer if he’d stop by my digs. 

Although these notes are sad and some remorseful, I receive peace when I read them.  I know how much my dad loved me.  There was never a time I doubted that.  He wrote of it many times.  His heart was full of love.

I am the proud father of 4 children.  Two boys and two girls.  How this mixed blessing came about, I’m not exactly sure.  It just came at me out of the blue, kinda like a fighter with a good left hook.

I also receive comfort knowing I’ll see him again.

Feb 7th or 8th
I know God is my friend and I hope he lets me hang around for a few years.

Thanks God for the years.

There’s more.  There’s lots more.  But I’ll leave you with that for now.  I don’t think my old pop would mind me sharing this.  It helps me, and I know there are family and friends who miss him terribly.  I hope it helps them too.  Sometimes we just want to hear from our loved ones one more time and this is the way that I do that.  When I read these words, I hear his voice.  I see the twinkle in his eye.  I see him throw his head back when he thought something was funny,  yet keeping his laugh inside and quiet.

I see him in my baby girl too, little bits of him.  There are times I wish he could see her, but then I remember…..I’m pretty sure they’ve already met.


I’m sitting at the base of a mountain, more or less, breathing in a piney smell, listening to birds, an occasional hummingbird’s soft sound and then the loud obnoxious caw of the crow.  The sky is dark with rain clouds, the thunder is booming in the distance.  It’s a cool 70* which just so happens to also be the high temperature of the day.  My senses are Alive.  Aware. Awake.

Glorious.  That’s a word that can be used, and is used by the locals around here.  The rain comes daily this season, beautiful, refreshing, life-giving rains.  It waters the tall pines, rushes over rocks in little streams, wets the pine needles cluttering the ground, cools the air until little goose bumps rise from my skin.  “Isn’t it glorious?”  the people say to no one in particular.  They speak to the pines, the deer, the birds.

Yes, we all agree silently.