Right now, I’m sipping on my pomegranate black tea with honey while Nana is getting Pop ready to start the day, Trey is on his way to work, Mary Beth is asking (for the eighty-bajillionth time) if it’s okay to pet Frank, Bella and Mak are finishing their breakfast and we’re watching Enchanted. Frank is asleep on the chaise, Jack is asleep at my feet, Roger and Rufus are seeking solace under the couch or upstairs.
Right now, the house is pleasantly quiet – like on Saturday mornings when you’d scramble out if bed to watch cartoons before your parents wake up.
Right now it is calm and soft and snuggly. For now.
And right now I’m soaking in every moment because in about 15 minutes the girls will remember that I told them we could go feed the ducks again today and the chaos of trying to wrangle three girls under the age of 9 (until Friday at least) will ensue…
But right now? Right now is perfect :)
This week we have had two beds delivered to our house.
The first is a king-sized memory foam mattress that is currently sitting on the floor as we eagerly await the arrival of our new bed frame. It arrived around 2:30 yesterday afternoon and Jack was super excited to greet them at the door (almost as excited as I was!). After some coaxing and wrestling, I finally got him in the back yard to give the delivery guys an obstacle-free walkway. At first I was really concerned about how they’d navigate our narrow stairwell and the U-turn at the top that leads to the master bedroom. The foundation (as opposed to box springs) came as two twin-sized pieces, so those were easy enough to maneuver. And the mattress, much to my surprise, came rolled up into a tight cylinder wrapped in plastic. One guy carried it over his shoulder and the other one steered. They got it in the room, sliced the plastic off, and unrolled it onto the foundation – I was told it’d take a couple hours to completely “inflate.” I thanked them profusely and they told me to “tell Jack bye for us!”
When I tell you that last night was the best sleep I’ve gotten in ages, that is by no means an exaggeration. We’ve been wanting to upgrade to a king for a while now. And Trey and I have always had different opinions about whether the sleep number or the pillow-top queen-sized bed was the comfiest (um, it’s the pillow-top, no contest) so we compromised on the memory foam. The first thing he said to me this morning was “why did we do this years ago???” Why indeed?!?!?! Yes, last night’s sleep – though the fact that we were bone tired to the point of not being able to walk straight when we got home at midnight (way, way, WAY past our bedtime) might have skewed our judgment – was GLORIOUS.
* * *
The second bed we’ve had delivered this week is Pop’s hospital bed. It’s in the dining room facing the back wall so that when he arrives with hospice this afternoon he can look to his right and see the tv and to his left he can look out the window. When the first bed of the week was delivered, we moved our sleep-number (cause it’s collapsible!) queen-sized bed into the dining room so that Nana will be able to stay by Pop’s side all night. I hope she doesn’t mind though, Frank and Rufus have already decided it belongs to them.
I hope Trey’s folks are comfortable in their new beds tonight – we’ve done everything we could think of to make it so. But I cannot lie, if they’re not comfortable in the middle of the night, we won’t know…because our new bed makes us both sleep like rocks!
For those of you who have been praying for the Hendon crew this past week, I cannot thank you enough. Pop had a really rough day on Wednesday. So rough, in fact, that hospice said his status was “eminent.” So we doubled his steroid dose to help relieve some of the swelling in his brain…and boy did that make a difference! He went from being almost completely unresponsive to man-laughing and asking for steak and potatoes. Hospice has removed his eminent status and yesterday was the best I’ve seen him in months. We realize this could be his big rally before the end, but we also know his quality of life has greatly improved and we’re going to rejoice for every moment of it.
Okay, now that you’ve been updated there, here’s the next big thing: since the Watts family is being moved to Washington DC in a couple weeks, Trey’s parents will be moving in with us next Monday. Since their current home holds two households full of stuff there will be two shifts for the movers. The first shift comes to pack and load out all of the Watts’ things by Thursday – including the washer and dryer. Nana and Pop’s things will be packed and loaded out next week and sent to SC to Mama Jane’s house. However, since Pop is unable to travel right now, they’re coming to stay with us. Initially the plan was for them to arrive on the 15th, but since they’ll be without the comforts of home, we’ve invited to come as early as they like…even though Nana is hesitant to leave before it’s all packed up and cleaned.
So this week Trey and I are working to transform our dining room into a comfortable room for his folks. We’ll pack up our china, buffet, and dining room table and store them in the garage to make room for Pop’s hospital bed and a bed for Nana so she can be by his side during the night. We’re hoping to get privacy curtains set up soon as well. We don’t know how long they’ll be staying with us, but we’re doing our utmost to make sure they both feel at home.
For more updates on Trey’s dad’s condition, please visit let me know and I’ll send you an invite to view his CaringBridge site. We are so thankful for your thoughts and prayers, especially in this season of transition!
So, it looks like I’ll need to either add a post category or rename one…because as of this Friday “cat tales” will no longer be an adequate description of stories regarding the pets under our roof. That’s right ladies and gents, we’re getting a dog.
Trey & I have been talking about getting a dog for years. We both grew up in dog households. We love dogs – cats are just easier when you know you’ll be gone for long hours during the day. But since I’m at home most days, that’s no longer an obstacle. A few months ago, Trey’s sister approached us about adopting their 8 year old Golden Retriever, Jack. They’re moving to Washington D.C. in June and since 2 of them are allergic to dogs, she thought this would be the opportune time to find him a new home. We love Jack, he’s a big, floppy, gentle beast and the most damage he’d ever do is beat you to death from wagging his tail so enthusiastically. We reluctantly agreed, but were genuinely worried about how it’d work out. Then Uncle David and Angie said they’d be happy to take Jack – so Trey and I forgot all about it and went back to business as usual.
Well, last week sometime, David and Angie decided that taking on a new-to-them dog just for the sake of keeping him in the family might be more difficult than they originally thought, so Trey and I were up at bat again. But this time, rather than moan and fret about how the cats would react to the furry intruder, we decided to do some research. We wanted to make sure we could afford to take care of him, first of all. So we priced food and meds and grooming and all sorts of things. Then we looked for information about how to introduce a dog into a “cat family.” And what we found was really encouraging. So much so that we made it official. After his vet appointment this Friday at 2pm, Jack will be coming home with us to stay.
I’m not gonna lie, we’re pretty excited. He’s such a great dog, and we look forward to afternoons with him out at Boerne Lake throwing a Frisbee or just laying in the sun. I hope to get him in shape enough to accompany me on my morning run before too long. Trey is convinced that Jack and Rufus will be come fast friends and will snuggle and take naps together (I have my doubts about that one). My prayer is that any disgruntled growls and hisses won’t last for too long and that he’ll be able to incorporate into our family quickly and easily…and that our sweet nieces won’t be too mad at us for taking their beloved family pet.
We brought his bed home with us on Sunday and the cats have sniffed it without hissing so far – I’m taking that as a very good sign.
Once upon a time, I married an awesome guy who has 4 awesome nieces…3 of whom came to stay with us the other weekend. Mary Beth, Isabella, and Makayla arrived on a Thursday. Here’s what happened on Wednesday:
I had all these awesome plans. I had asked the neighbors for ideas, I had searched the county website. We were going to go swimming, we were going to check out the Cibolo Nature Center, and gosh darn it, we were going to feed the ducks on River Road! I was so excited about all the outdoor activities I had planned that when it finally occurred to me to check the weather report, it pretty much made my brain explode: thunderstorms and a cold front. Crap.
Then I talked to my awesome mom, who suggested taking the girls to the library to pick out a book that we could turn into a skit. Well, that was the seed – but it needed to grow a little bit.
MB, Bella, and Mak love to put on shows. These shows usually consist of singing and dancing along to whatever song is on the radio at any given moment. But they take them very seriously and usually “have a show for me” every time I see them. And then I thought about Pop. As his cancer has progressed, it’s become necessary for him to remain in bed 24/7, and there’s just not enough room in Nana & Pop’s bedroom for the girls to put on a show for him. And then it hit me: we needed to do more than a skit – we needed to make Pop a movie!
So I spent that night and most of Thursday morning writing my very first screen play. I tried to think of all the little songs the girls sing on a regular basis, and some good old-fashioned Bible School songs and I let them guide the story.
The girls arrived late Thursday night, and Friday morning we got to work making posters and playing dress up to find the perfect costumes. We practiced and played, we had a photo shoot to have headshots to use for the DVD case (we’d make copies to present to both Nana & Pop and their mom & dad). We only had one curling iron related injury and for the most part, had a grand old time.
Now, without further ado, I give you: SADLANDIA
An Aunt Leslie & Uncle Trey Production
It’s been a rough month…months…how the heck is it June already??? After (finally) moving into our awesome new house, I thought the big stresser of the year was behind us. Silly me.
Sometime in mid-May, we found out that my father-in-law has a brain tumor. It’s been a rough ride dealing with doctors and nurses, surgery and rehab, and soon-to-be radiation and chemo. It’s been one of the most exhausting and frustrating months of our married life. But more than that, more than all the long nights and tears and arguments and fears, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of love.
Family and friends from all over the state of Texas and beyond have been in and out of Pop’s room since day one. We’ve taken over waiting rooms and family rooms. We’ve played Gin Rummy, Texas Hold ‘em and Hide & Seek. We’ve shared hugs and kisses and smiles and tears and lots and lots of food. We’ve played with new babies and loved on old friends. As a family, our hearts are overflowing with love and gratitude for every prayer, thought, kind word, card, visit, hug, smile, laugh, sigh, and every other act of love you’ve shown us. Thank you.
For updates on Pop’s condition and to leave a message for him and the family, please visit his CaringBridge site.
A few weeks ago, I had the joy of picking up my now 4-year-old neice from school. Since her class gets out at 10:30 and her sisters’ didn’t get out till much later, we had a few hours to kill before going to pick them up.
On that particular day, Makayla wanted to go for a walk. Since it was pretty cloudy, she insisted on taking Nana’s umbrella with us on our walk – she assured me that Nana wouldn’t mind us borrowing it as long as we put it back exactly where it went.
We walked out the door and, before I could stop her, Makayla took off at a full run down the sidewalk with the open umbrella not above her head, but held out in front of her at arms length. I swear this child knows she’s hilarious because she was laughing the whole time as she shouted:
It’s blowing me away, Aunt Leslie! It’s blowing me awaaaaaaaaaaaay!
When I finally caught up to her, she had crouched down on the sidwalk under the umbrella to rest. I sat under there with her for a while and we perused the pictures on my phone. I showed her a picture I snapped of her and said, “you look just like Mary Poppins.” Without batting an eyelash, my awesomely comic neice replied, “I know.”
Halloween is one of those holidays that seems to really change for adults. As a young trick-or-treater, I can remember dressing up as Raggedy Ann, a raindrop, and I’m sure some other girly things like a princess or ballerina. Then, no one dresses up for Halloween when they’re in high school. Then of course, once you hit college, Halloween is cool again because you dress up as a sexy cat or a sexy witch or a slutty pumpkin. Once you graduate, you may have a few adult gatherings to attend, but for the most part, it’s a different animal than it was all those years before. And since I can tell you’re dying to know, as an adult, I’ve dressed up as Gem and Sprout (to Trey’s Jolly Green Giant – Ho Ho Ho). Since we don’t yet have children, we’ve got no Halloween plans this year, other than to eat chili and pass out cheap candy to whatever poor kids show up at our door. Also, my beautiful pumpkin that I carved has died. So we don’t even have that anymore.
One thing I’ve just realized this year is that Halloween is as much for adults as it is for kids…but not in the way I first thought.
I have several vivid memories of trick-or-treating with our dear family friends the Rivenbarks. We’d truck out through the neighborhood being as adorable as possible whilst shouting “trick-or-treat” in the faces of anyone gracious enough to open their door. But what I remember most is what came after we got home. We’d all dump out our pillow cases/baskets/plastic pumpkins full of loot onto the coffee table and commence trading Smarties for Dumdums, Tootsie Rolls for Jolly Ranchers…until the candy police came and confiscated all our hard earned sweets. Dad and Tom (aka Daddy Rivenbark) would swoop in and take all our candy under the guise of inspecting it for needles and other evidence of tampering. I don’t know what was wrong with people in the 80s, but I’m thirty years old and I’ve never heard of anyone getting a needle wrapped up with their Milk Duds. Once the dads had carefully probed every peice of candy, and removed anything they deemed “suspicious,” we were free to stuff ourselves silly.
It wasn’t until this year, this very week, actually, that I realized that adults look forward to Halloween so they can con their poor unsuspecting children out of all the best candy. Sneaky parents, very very sneaky.
And yes, in a few years, I’m pretty sure Trey and I will be doing the exact same thing.
I get my love of words from my dad. Spend a week with him and it’s obvious that my joy of reading and writing comes from him.
Ever since I was little, when my family would go out to eat, we’d always play hangman while waiting for our food to arrive. Sometimes the words or phrases were easy to guess: they were written on the menu or were on the walls of the restaurant or were the logo on a tshirt that was in plain view. Other times, they were almost impossible to guess.
A month or so ago, Trey and I were out to eat and while we waited for our food, I decided we should play hangman. Since we were at Chili’s, Trey’s first phrase for me to guess was “baby back ribs.” Then, with a stroke of genius, I thought of the best hangman phrase ever. A phrase that was so good, I decided to email it to dad, thus starting a week long game of hangman. Once he (finally) guessed my brilliant phrase (and no, I won’t tell you what it is), he came up with an almost-as-brilliant word for me to guess.
In order to keep up my mad hangman skills, we started Tivo-ing Wheel of Fortune. Is it just me, or is it a little creepy that Pat Sajack hasn’t aged since the mid 80s? And isn’t it strange that it’s not at all creepy that Vanna White hasn’t aged since the mid 80s? Weird.
I like the “before & after” category. They take two comon phrases that share a common word and link them together. Example: “The Belle of the Ball and Chain,” “Moisturizing Cream Pie,” “Fairy Dust Mop.” I love it.
Another sign that I’m getting old: I’m a Wheel Watcher.
It started innocently enough. Childhood curiosity is a beautiful thing. Really. It’s true and honest and genuine…and often embarrasing to others.
A few weeks ago, we were on our way back from Beaumont (a 6 hour car ride) in a caravan with Trey’s sister Robin and her family. On one of our many bathroom breaks, I stealthily snuck a tampon into my front pocket and proceeded to help usher Robin’s girls into the bathroom stall at the McDonald’s. At some point during the hustle and bustle, Mary Beth, our 7 year old neice, noticed something yellow sticking out of my pocket.
“Ooh! What’s that?” She squealed.
Come on, even in the ladies room, we don’t advertise that it’s our time of the month unless we have to. But she wouldn’t let up. She was reaching and grabbing and making all too big a fuss about the tiny little package. Finally, I gave up.
“Mary Beth, it’s a tampon.”
“What’s a tampon?”
“You’ll learn about it when you’re older. Ask your mom.”
All us ladies had a good laugh about her curiousity in the bathroom. And we thought that was that.
Yesterday, Trey and I spent the afternoon with his family: lunch, a Barbie movie, home made cake and ice cream. We were all sitting around the table talking, when Mary Beth came flailing her arms: “What’s this?”
You guessed it. A tampon.
She’d seen one sticking out of the pocket in my purse and this time decided to bring it to the dining room table for everyone to see. Since it was the second time this had happened, I jokingly mentioned to Robin that it might be time to have the talk.
So, there, in the dining room, at a table with my mother in law, Trey, 4 year old Bella, and a friend of theirs from church, Robin proceeded to explain to Mary Beth what a tampon is. While the women at the table were getting a big kick out of it, I’m pretty sure Trey was mortified.
As Robin tried to be honest and thorough in explaining to her 7 year old daughter the changes that her body would inevitably go through, Mary Beth couldn’t keep her eyes of that tampon. Finally, after about 5 minutes of trying to tell her what a menstral cycle is, we did what any good natured, fun-loving family would do, and we opened up the tampon and dropped it in a cup of water. Now that (and pretty much nothing that was said prior) was interesting to Mary Beth.
Nana (Trey’s mom) said it reminded her of one of those washcloths that comes in the tightly wrapped package but expands when you put it in water. Robin called it “the cork.”
I’m pretty sure Mary Beth didn’t retain any of the information given to her regarding her impending puberty. But we sure had a good laugh about it. Well, except for Trey…who’s really hoping that, when the time comes, we have boys.