Red River

My niece Ashy has a word she uses a lot.

It’s “Amazing”.

“This dessert is amazing, this smells amazing, my aunt Angel is amazing”.  Well, actually, I made that last one up.  She’s never really said that, but it doesn’t mean she shouldn’t.

It’s a bit ironic.  Her middle name is Grace and she was born under distressing circumstances, yet pulled through and has been our little miracle ever since.  My dad quickly nicknamed her “Amazing Gracie”.

So here we are in Red River, New Mexico, and according to Ashlynn everything is simply “Amazing”.  The mountains are amazing, the smells are amazing, the air is amazing.  And she’s right.

We’re vacationing with some of our good, best friends,the Hoganson’s (Matt, Jaxson, Revelle, and Gage) and enjoying it abundantly.

We’ve spent our day fishing and catching moss.

Then we rented jeeps to head “off road” and upward.

Of course like everything else at the beginning, the excitement and anticipation is high.   Everyone is all smiles.

But after two wrong turns, four hours, and three stops to pee in the woods we were ready to get back on level ground, or at least some smooth pavement.

It was a bumpy, rough ride I tell you.

At the end of it, our teeth were rattled, our bones were jarred and Matt is worried that Emma might be retarded now.

But boy, was it pretty.

Here’s proof:

I love this Aspen forest.  Isn’t it enchanting?  I imagine myself in a long flowing white dress sitting in its midst with butterflies and fairies dancing around my head and unicorns eating sparkly food from my hand.  I’m weirder than weird.  I already know.

But my most favorite picture is this one.

Isn’t it amazing?

Celebrate Good Times

My little traveler has already visited 3 states in her six short weeks of being alive.  She’s practically a world traveler.

Her first trip was to the Green Country of  Northeastern Oklahoma to visit her Okie relatives. Mainly this sweet great-grandmother who just so happens to share her birthday.

There’s only a mere 94 years difference in their ages.

We attended a wedding and EK put on a skirt, or rather a tutu, for the first time in her little life.

One shoe on and one shoe off.   Sounds like a nursery rhyme.

It was her first outing besides doctor checkups and of course, we forgot the diaper bag.  And of course, we needed the diaper bag.


This past Saturday, we celebrated more birthdays.  I turned 37, and EK turned 6 weeks old.  We celebrated with chocolate cake and tall glasses of whole milk while visiting more relatives in the mountains of New Mexico.

We sat by a crackling fire and watched the pine branches grow heavy with wet, fluffy snow and enjoyed good food and great hosts.

And now we’re back in the Lone Star State, nailing our feet to the prairie grasses.




A drive down Highway 10 will snake you through beautiful Green Country. Past trees and hills and green galore.  A very different view than the flat, yellow, arid, blowing, dusty pasture grasses that I gaze upon each morning from my kitchen window.

A drive down Highway 10 will snake you past Lover’s Leap, Kooter’s Bar & Grill, and several canoe rentals.

mom, me, and jolea at Peyton's Place---Cabin #1



Until you finally arrive at Cabin #1 where I spent my childhood summers.

Where I learned to dig deep and find the best skipping stones and try to outskip my dad.  I failed.  Every time. 

Where I itched with Poison Sumac every year and walked around pink skinned, not from the sun, but instead from the Calamine Lotion caked on my body.

Where I tasted my first  fear of water when the swift rapids unexpectedly carried me farther than I expected or dared to venture.

This past Memorial Day, I took a nostalgic drive down Highway 10 and found things much the same, yet much different. 

The peacocks who enchanted me with their outspread plumage were no longer swaggering about.

The sliding glass door on Cabin #1 was replaced with a regular fiberglass door and the choice of paint colors no longer made the cabin “rustic”.

The place where we swam was the same, and it was almost peaceful, if not for the annoying college-aged drunks loitering about being much too loud and immodest.

But for a moment, I tuned them out.  I stood on the rocky bank of the Illinois River and closed my eyes.  And I remembered.

Me and my sister Jolea. Circa late 1970's.

 I remembered summers long gone, but not forgotten.  A family in tact before divorce and then death separated.  I remembered a happy childhood.  Loving parents. Carefree moments.  And catching fireflies in a jar.  I said good-bye.

Then I walked to my car and drove home.