The Party




Our baby girl turned one.

We drove to Texas early to celebrate with our  family and close friends.


Here’s Emma Kate with her Grandy, who loves her so much.  Let me tell you how much Grandy loves Emma.  My mom (Grandy) never, and I mean NEVER allows her picture to be made.  Except with Emma.  Now that’s love, right there.

I tried to keep the party as simple as possible, and discovered that birthdays can easily get out of hand, and my stress level can easily go through the roof, with tears easily running down my cheeks.

Emma Kate loves Pete the Cat, especially “I Love My White Shoes”.  So with a little help from Pinterest and more experienced mothers who have gone before me, we went with a Pete the Cat theme.


Let me tell you how much Pete the Cat loves his white shoes.  He loves his shoes when they are white, but then he steps in a pile of strawberries and they turn red.  Instead of boohooing, Pete just loves his red shoes instead.  And when he steps in a pile of blueberries and they turn blue, instead of pitching a fit, he just loves his blue shoes.  Then he steps in a pile of mud and you guessed it.  He loves his shoes brown.  Then he steps in a bucket of water and they turn all white again, but then they are wet!  But it’s all good with Pete and he loves his wet shoes too.


Of course we needed strawberries and blueberries.  We had a little chocolate pudding for the mud, and then just some one year old friendly foods like crackers and goldfish, with some grown-up friendly food like sandwiches





I was planning on cake balls and a cake, but making the cake turned into a fiasco.  A fiasco, I say.

Mostly because I procrastinate, and because I am so NOT Betty Crocker, I can barely get the stove turned on.  It would make more sense to order a cake, but somewhere in my perfectionist mind, I needed to make the cake myself, knowing good and well it wouldn’t be perfect.

Of course I found a recipe that involved way too many tricks and steps, of course I had to run to Walmart that day, of course at 1:00 I still didn’t have a cake made when the party was at three, of course tears were dripping into the batter as I frantically mixed and folded egg whites and sifted flour.

The icing turned out to be way too sweet and runny, but thanks to my dear husband who donned his Superman cape and convinced me that store-bought icing is not from the devil, then in the blink of an eye ran to the store and purchased it, then whisked back in a nanosecond and iced the cake beautifully, we had a decent cake before three o’clock.  No cake balls, but a decent cake.


Notice I said “we” had a beautiful cake.  Emma had one with sickening sweet icing.



Which probably explains this look and why she chose to eat three strawberries and barely touched the cake.





She was a champ at opening presents and sat there and looked at each and every one of them without tiring.

She adores presents and wants to stop and play with them all.



She even loved her cards.






Despite my anxiety, the party was a success and the love Emma received was awesome.


So here’s to planning birthday party #2 eleven months early.

Maybe that way, we can have cake balls.



12 months

It’s unbelievable.

It’s inconceivable.

It’s unfathomable.

I’m sitting up in bed with you sleeping soundly beside me,  studying your precious face and shaking my head in disbelief.  Can this really be true?

One year, Emma Kate.  One year.


This time last year, after a serious ordeal of labor and delivery, you made your appearance and have been a joy to me every single day since.

Let me tell you a little about yourself.  First off, nearly every recent picture I have of you is blurry because you are on the go all the time.  You took your first wobbly steps almost 4 weeks ago, and now you are practically running.

You love songs, books, babies, dogs, fish, cats,  bath, outside, and your momma.

You dislike someone trying to feed you, laying still to get your diaper changed, having something taken from you, sleeping alone, and being left with strangers.

You can talk a blue streak.  Some new words you began saying this month are juice, more, fish, Elmo, Emma, and no, no, no.

You love to talk on the phone and often have someone’s cell phone up to your ear pretending.  You like to put things in little hidey holes too.  I opened the pots and pan cabinet and found a sippy cup and found a sock in a cereal box.

A blurry picture of you with your necklace.
A blurry picture of you with your necklace.

Your daddy thinks you might be a girly-girl because you love bracelets and necklaces and wear them around the house.  Even if it’s not a “real” necklace, you turn it into one.  You were wearing a cell phone cord around your neck, dragging it on the ground the other day, and you’ll put anything on your wrist that’s circular and then walk around holding your arm up so it rests on the crook of your elbow.


You like to watch Elmo’s World and sing the Barney song with your Grandy.  When she starts singing, you begin to sway back and forth and give a big hug (with a grunt) and blow a kiss too.

You’re really super affectionate mostly and pat the people you love on the check and give kisses and hugs.  But with people you don’t know very well, you are reserved and solemn, barely cracking a smile or interacting, but instead sitting back and watching.

You make us laugh all the time at your new antics.  And I love to watch you walk.  You have this funny side-step-shuffle with your elbows bent upward.  You also learned to drink from a straw this month.

You still only have 6 teeth, your eyes are big and beautiful,  you are cute as a bug, and you have learned how to really cry hard when you aren’t getting something you want or something is being taken away from you.

You still don’t sleep all night long, but I guess there’s worse things in life, and we’ll all survive.  We’ve made it 12 months so far, I’m sure a few more months won’t kill us.

This past year, you have taught me  to love more than I ever knew I was capable of.  You have taught me to savor the moments because they vanish so quickly.  You have taught me to see the world with the same kind of newness you do, and to adore chubby little bellies and dimpled hands.   You are my baby girl.  And even though your first year is now behind us, and we are moving into toddlerhood, you will always, always be my baby.

I love you so very much sweet one.



My 10 pet peeves

I’m whittling away a list of 30 things to blog about.   This is a list of pet peeves.

According to Wikipedia:

Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.  These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.

A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable to others. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or by messy desks of their subordinates.   That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late, and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.

I’m not sure if I have 10 pet peeves although I’m going to do my best to give it a go.

#1.  Not using correct grammar when writing your, you’re, to, two, too, there, their, they’re.  My goodness, may I be careful to proofread from now on.  They’re will probably be at least to mistakes in this post that your going to notice.

#2.  When talking to someone on the phone and they begin to talk to someone in the room with them.  Either talk to me, or to the other person in the room, but not both of us at the same time.  I get confused.  “Are you talking to me?”  “No, I’m talking to my son.”  If it’s that important to talk to them, hang up and call me back.

#3.  Not giving me personal space.  I am not touchy-feely.  I don’t want to sit up against someone on the couch and I really hate when someone sits on the arm of the chair that I’m sitting in.  Hugging if you’re not going to see me for a while is acceptable, kissing is reserved for only a select few, and only then if I’m in a good mood.  Maybe you’re wondering how I ever had EK.  My husband wonders the same thing every day.

#4.  Leaving the lid off the milk and putting it back in the fridge.   It’s not hard to snap the lid back on.  It usually takes one motion.

#5.  Hair in the tub.  *gag*   The bad thing is, if there is hair in the tub, *gag* it’s usually my own.  *gag*  I’m such a shedder.  But it’s terrible when it’s someone else’s hair *gag* or in the sink *gag* or especially while I’m doing dishes *gag*

#6.  Noises.  Okay, this really is probably my number one pet peeve.  I am terribly annoyed by repetitive, unnecessary noises (except the clicking of a keyboard which is happening now).  Which is bad considering my former career choice as an elementary teacher.  But things like drumming fingernails, rolling a pencil across a desk continuously,  clearing your throat over and over, or smacking gum makes me want to hurt someone.  Badly.  Also, I married a drummer.  He’s constantly drumming on things so I just imagine myself hurting him and watch the clock.

#7.   Unruly pets that jump in your lap when they were not invited.  Refer to  pet peeve #3.

#8.  Channel surfing really gets on my nerves too.   Just find something to watch, already.   Same goes with radio stations.  I’d rather hear the annoying commercial jingle than the blep, blop, blip, blog, glog, glop, glip of the channels or stations being changed.

#9.  Loud yawns.  Does that make you feel less tired to let out that loud noise?

#10.  Leaving the keys to ding in the ignition or that crazy beeping when you aren’t wearing your seatbelt.   Please just close the door, remove the keys or buckle up.

So, that’s a few of my pet peeves, four which involve noises.  These are subject to change of course as my daughter grows bigger and draws my attention to others or as  I grow older and more cratchety, which is closer than you think.  I try to be patient with others, but it’s not always easy.  And I’m sure as I publish this post and go about the rest of my day, I’ll find fifteen more that I forgot to mention.

What about you?  What’s your #1 pet peeve?

Birthday Letters

On January 16, 1943 my dad was born.  I don’t know anything about his birth.  Whether he was born in a hospital or at home.  Whether he was a good baby or a tyrant.  How much he weighed or if he sucked his thumb.

Today if he were still living, he would have turned 70 years old.

He wrote himself a birthday letter a fews years back.   I happen to have a copy.


Happy Birthday, Bob—–Happy 55 years.  A real milestone.  I feel like celebrating this b.d.,  unlike my 30th, which went by unnoticed.  Unlike my 40th which went by with hardly a ripple or even my 50th, supposedly the biggie, hardly made a dent on my psyche.

But 55 is the short side of the century mark.  So that makes it a milestone in my books, and I’m finally at the age where it makes not a tinkerers damn about anyones books but my own.

A brief synopsis—–I was born into a family of five siblings, a bootlegger father, and my mother was a housewife.  My family was mildly dysfunctional to say the least, my parents divorced when I was 11 and my mother struggled to keep her brood together.

I went to High school here in town, finally got laid, got drunk and enlisted in The Marine Corps just a few days after graduation.  Spent four years in The Corps, traveled around the world, went to work for various construction companies in West Texas and never once let college cross my mind.  Made a lot of parties—-a few friends and generally went around with my heart on my sleeve.

Anne, my wife and I had a wild, roller coaster, wonderful relationship from day one when we met in The Crystal Lounge bar, a downstairs dark, dank place where people drank, fought and loved with equal fervor.

Anne had two boys from a previous marriage that I was too young and dumb to see the joy in.  We later had two daughters that have remained the light of my life to this day.  The boys have forgiven my shortcomings and remain friendly toward me, too.  Thanks boys.

55 years—-that must seem like an eternity to someone in their 20’s or thirties, but to me it has been but a short journey on this meandering train we call life.  Meandering, wandering, everlooking for the path of least resistance, just like the nameless creek near Hoover, Texas where I gathered clover blossoms to plait into a braid for Anne’s hair.


Happy Birthday Dad—-happy 70th.  Two birthdays have now passed since you left us.  And lots has happened.  I miss you, but it does get easier with time, but there are still days that sadness is all around me, thick as fog.   I love you more than I ever have, and I’m so thankful for your writings that you left us.  I feel I know you better now than I ever did in real life.  I wonder why we feel like we can’t open up to others, and especially the ones who love us most?  I know I’m just as guilty.

You were a good dad.  That’s probably all  you  wanted to hear while you were living, and I don’t know if I ever told you.  But you were.   I wouldn’t change it for anything.

You tried your best, I know that now.  It’s certainly not easy being a parent, I know that now too.

I never realized just how tender you were.  You were always so tough and big and strong, that I guess I didn’t think about your feelings much.  I’m sorry for that.

Thanks for being a number one dad to me.  Thanks for supporting me in everything I ever did.   Thanks for taking time to spend with me, even if it was laying in the floor taking kissing bets during a bowling tournament on T.V. or skipping rocks on the Illinois.  I have fond memories, and those are what I carry with me now.  It’s all I’m left with, the memories and your stories.

You’d really love Emma.  Sometimes I imagine that you are here and see you laugh at her or hug her close.  She reminds me of you sometimes.  Especially now as she’s learning to walk.  She’s got this stumble about her, that’s very Grandpa-esque.  Or sometimes they way she lays while she’s sleeping or a look on her face makes me think of you.  You are a part of her.

I know you’re in Heaven and I’m going to be there someday too.  It’s good that this life isn’t all we’ve got, isn’t it?  So, until we meet again Dad, enjoy yourself, and I’ll do the same.  There’s much happiness here still, and memories to make with others.

I love you bigger than Hog Eyes and Sauerkraut Mississippi.

Until then……




20 Random Facts

1.  I actually have 2 middle names.  Genea Danelle, one of the weirdest names ever.  My parents couldn’t decide what to name me, and I actually was discharged from the hospital without a name.  The hospital called home and said they needed to complete the birth certificate.  So my mom was yelling at my dad, “What do you want to name this baby?”  I guess in the spur of the moment, they decided.  My mom chose Angel because I was born without the doctor present and my mom said I was just a little angel, all I needed was wings.  My dad didn’t want to name me Angel for fear I’d turn into a bar maid.  My maternal grandmother’s name was Imogene and paternal grandfather’s name was Earl Gene, so why not take Gene and throw an a at the end and call it Genea, as in Gina.  I don’t know how they came up with Danelle, but my mom like Dani and my dad didn’t.  So it’s Danelle, not Danielle.

2.  My favorite color is yellow.  It’s happy and cheerful, and reminds me of lemons and sunshine.  My car is yellow and usually one room in my home is yellow.  I especially like yellow and blue, also yellow and green, yellow and robin’s egg blue is also a great combination.

3.  As a child, my favorite storybook was a little known book called “Stand Back said the Elephant I’m Going to Sneeze”  I read it so much it was tattered.  I actually still have most of it memorized.  “Stand back said the elephant, I’m going to sneeze.  I hate to alarm you, I don’t wish to harm you.  My friends I fear, it’s clear, oh dear, you better stand back, I’m going to sneeze.  Oh no, oh no, cried the buffalo….”  o.k. I’ll stop now.

4.  The first chapter book I ever read was “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Clearly.  After reading, I became so obsessed with wanting to experience a mouse who rode a motorcycle, I moved my dresser away from the wall and with an orange marks-a-lot, I drew a mouse hole on the white baseboard.  But I messed up and had to scribble it out and draw another one next to it.  I can’t remember how many I drew, but I never could seem to get it right.  I do not remember getting in trouble for that.

5.  My dad never spanked me growing up, and my mom whipped me twice.  I only remember the reason for  one of them, and she whipped me in front of my siblings and I was completely and totally ashamed.  Just writing that, made me feel it all over again.

6.  I have never truly been happy with my weight, not ever.  I have always wanted to be smaller, no matter how small I have been.

7.  When I was young, I wanted to be a waitress and a bank teller, a teacher and a ballerina. I’ve actually had jobs as a waitress and a teacher.  The bank teller desire passed, but when I see a beautiful ballerina, I still sometimes wish that was me.

8.  I never got the chance to take ballet.  My older sister did and I hear she was not the most graceful and ran off the stage crying at the recital.  I guess my mom assumed I’d do the same, and saved her money.    I kind of resent that, but it is what it is.

Wow, I still have 11 more random thoughts to think of.  This is harder than it looks.

9.  I bite my fingernails when they get too long rather than using clippers to cut them off.

10.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 years old in Central Baptist Church.  When I was baptized the preacher had my name written on masking tape on the sleeve of his robe so he wouldn’t forget it.  That made me feel unimportant that he couldn’t remember my name.

11.  I stayed the weekends with my grandmother growing up and I loved it there.  I slept with her in her double bed and each night, we’d recite “Another day, Another dollar” and each morning, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it.”  Later I moved in with her when I was 14.

12.  I am the youngest of 4 children.  Two half-brothers that are 10 and 11 years older than me and one sister who is a couple years older than me.  I am glad to have had them in my life.  They stood up for me, supported me, and helped me so much growing up.

13.  I had to take a dog to the pound when I was 30 for snapping at my niece and I sobbed uncontrollably.  His name was Chester and he had jumped in my car one night and wouldn’t get out.  So I took him home.  I had him for about 4 years.  He was ill-mannered, but my heart broke anyway knowing he was going to die.

14.  I think cereal should be a basic food group.

15.  I moved from my hometown at the age of nearly 38 for the first time in my life, except for one year when I lived in another town for college.  The rest of my college career I took local classes or commuted over 60 miles one way.

16.  I was chosen as Teacher of the Year about 3-4 years ago.  That was a nice honor.

17.  I used to have a size 6 1/2 shoe, but since I had a baby, now it’s a size 7.

18.  I moved out of my grandmother’s house when I was a senior in high school.  My sister had a little house I lived in for a couple of months and then when my best friend came home from college at semester and decided not to go back, we got a rent house together.  I worked 2 jobs and finished high school, and turned out okay, all by the Grace of God.

19.  As I was cleaning my storage building out the other day, I found a funny certificate I’d been awarded from my high school journalism class.  I was recognized for MOST LIKELY TO BECOME A ROCKET SCIENTIST/BRAIN SURGEON.  I chuckled when I thought of the title of my blog. Who knew?

20.  I pray everyday.  Even if it’s just “Thank  you for another day.”

That’s me, in  a nutshell.

30 Things

So I found this pin on Pinterest recently and I think I’ll give it a try.  It’s from a blog titled

It’s entitled 30 things my kids should know about me.

Here’s her list.


1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and describe how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your spouse.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. What’s the hardest part of growing up?
14. Describe 5 and weaknesses strengths you have.
15. Describe when you knew your spouse was the one or how I fell in love.
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What do you think your spouse loves most about you?
19. How did you feel the moment you became a parent?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. Describe your relationship with your parents.
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
24. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about parenthood?
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What’s your favorite quality in your spouse?
29. What are your hopes and dreams for your prosperity?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

It’s a bit daunting if I do say so myself, but my goal is to attempt a once a week post on one of these topics.  I doubt I’ll go in order, because that’s just not how I roll.  I’ll do the easy ones first, because that is how I roll and I’ll weed through the rest.

The Chicken Ranch Case #378—–A Mild Case of Chicken Discrimination

For all my beloved followers who have stuck by me through the “adoption” of my 14 little chicks way back in March of 2011, who watched me nurture them, watched them grow, loved them, and cried through their misfortunes, I have yet another tale to tell.

But first, for old times sake, remember them when they looked like this?


And this?


Now they’re just a lot of five little old hens.  Yes, only five.  The herd began at 14 and I’m sure there would be many more with me if I had cooped them, but I allowed them to free-range and wander the world as all chickens long to do.  You must watch your tail feathers when you’re a free range chicken, as other things range freely as well.  Like coyotes and wild cats.    And of course there are the freak accidents as well, horse trough drownings and mysterious disappearances.

When we decided to move to New Mexico, I was going to leave the chickens in Texas.  The new owners showed some interest in them and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to take them with me.  The girls haven’t been laying eggs in quite some time now, probably due to the lack of daylight, and I’ve actually had to purchase eggs from the store for the first time in over a year.  But once we got here and discovered we could actually have them, I borrowed a huge dog crate and loaded all five of them up and put them in the back of a Toyota pick-up and headed west.  I looked a little “Jed Clampish” with a pickup bed  full of chickens and two dogs, a front seat full of plants and a backseat of two girls.

Now is the time that you shouldn’t judge me, as the chickens lack a coop at this time.  That first night I arrived, I had to make due by putting them under the back porch where they would be secure from any predators, minus the dogs of course since they have grown to love them as I do.  This was to be a temporary situation, but life has a way of making easy things hard and we just haven’t had the time to put up a proper house for the girls yet.

The next day, I let them out to explore the back yard with the dogs and peck around.  Then that night, as good chickens do, they cooped themselves back up under the porch, where they believe their home to be.  The problem here is chickens like to roost at night, up high, and there isn’t a place to do that.  The next night when I went to check on them,  4 of them were roosting together all snuggled up on the top of the borrowed dog crate, while the fifth one was sleeping on the dirt floor.  Poor little chicken.

The following evening, I stepped out on the back deck to feed the dogs and heard the sweet sleeping noises of the chickens and found 4 of them all roosting together all snuggled up on a patio chair, while the fifth one was sleeping by herself on another patio chair.

My heart broke a little bit.  It isn’t much colder here than it was in Texas, if at all really.  But I couldn’t help but feel bad for the little chicken who is all alone without the warmth of her hen-mates keeping her warm.  I contemplated fixing the problem, but really it’s just the way of the animal kingdom and I shouldn’t interfere and how could I fix it anyway.

But is it coincidental, that the little left out chicken just so happens to be a black chicken?  The only black chicken left in the group?  I have 2 yellows, and 2 black and whites, but only one black chicken remains and she is being ostracized.  Can these chickens see in color?  Do they realize she’s the lone one of her “kind”?  Are they discriminating?

Or perhaps these “mean girls” are jealous because the black ones really are the best layers, when they are laying.

Or does this black chicken choose to be alone?  Perhaps she wants to sleep by herself, heaven knows I would love a night of solitary sleep where I could spread out and toot if I want to.

So many questions remain unanswered.

The case of chicken discrimination remains open at this time.  I will be investigating this further and will report any new information as it becomes available.  In the meantime, rest assured that there will be no hazing or bullying of the black chicken under my watch.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thank you.

P.S.  If you’d like to read some chicken archives, I highlighted some in orange in this post you can click on or you can always click on the words “Raising Chickens” in the topic list on the right side of the screen.  They have been quite the adventure.  Almost makes me want to get new ones.  Almost.

How I deal with crap

No matter how bad my life is going, no matter how crummy a day I’ve had, no matter how many curve balls life throws my way, when I lay my head down at night, I can always say “at least I’m not a cow in a feed yard”.

That really has to be the worse doesn’t it?  Compared to pasture cows who can graze all the live long day, a feed yard cow only eats when the feed truck drops food in the trough.  The rest of the time they stand there on that huge hill of poop smelling the stench of manure, swatting flies with their tail, and batting dust from their eyelashes in overcrowded conditions, all the while awaiting their day of execution.

Now some people may want to argue this, saying those cows live the life, and to each his own.  I just know when I pass by a feed lot, I’m just a little bit more thankful my stomach doesn’t have 4 compartments.

So today, I will count my blessings.  And you should to.  Even when manure is hitting the fan.  Even when the ketchup packet exploded on your white blouse, even if you lost a $50 in the grocery store parking lot, even if your Almond Joy melted in your pocket.

Remember it could be worse.

You could always live in a feed lot.