"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Break: Part 1

Mom, Eleanor, and I hit the road Friday morning and made the drive to the Oklahoma panhandle to see Casey's family for a couple of days.  Eleanor talked pretty well the entire time, but she did fantastic in the car and I'm so proud. 
 I had the best time.  Really.  They live a different life than I do, and I really appreciate getting to peek into it every now and then.  I got some good time to just visit with Casey and that rarity is a treat.  Eleanor made it such fun because she was just so interested in all the animals and she LOVED her Uncle Casey.  Or Kunkle Casey, as she says.  I'll be sad when she starts saying "uncle" properly. 

When we arrived we were greeted by Tessa wearing a purple sequined dress with her hair in a crimped pony tail.  She was like rock star Barbie on the farm and Eleanor was so happy to see her.  (So was I!)
 Just checking things out around the farm. 
Eleanor & Katniss (the gentlest, most tolerant dog I've ever met in my entire life)
 Helping with Cowgirl the pony. 

 She told me for two days that she was going to ride a horse and that Aunt Sasha was going to help her.  I didn't know if she'd actually do it, but she totally did and she loved it!
 But was not super thrilled when it was almost Tessa's turn.
 Pitching hay to the lambs.

 Duck is 13 years old and his age is showing, but he's still a tough guy. 
 And for some reason I'm one of the few people that he has an understanding with. 
 So sweet on her Kunkle Casey. 

 Me, Tessa, Payson

 She wanted to ride a sheep.  They (carefully) made it happen. 
 Tessa.  When she wears skinny jeans and a sweater she thinks she looks like Aunt Mandy :-)
 Rough housing with Kunkle Casey before bed. 

So many of the photos I took of Eleanor & Casey this weekend reminded me of another time I took my girls to see Uncle Casey in the country.  Almost exactly nine Years ago I drove Alex & Emma to Arizona to visit Casey on the Babbitt Ranch and we had the best time.  I can't seem to find the digital copies of the photos I took there and I'm not going to pull out boxes of prints at 10pm, but I stole these two from my blog post in March 2009.  Memories.

But back to 2018...  I took the Pack-n-Play for Eleanor, but she didn't sleep in it.  It's so hard to sleep in a different place.  She wound up sleeping in a twin sized bed with me and I was so shocked that she actually fell asleep.  It was uncomfortable and the snuggles were wonderful.  She hasn't slept with me since she was a baby and I relished the snuggles with my girl.
 Kunkle Casey let her drive on the dirt road and through the pasture. 

 She wasn't nearly as interested in me during waking hours, but I managed one picture with her. 
 Sometimes you still need a time out for Spring Break exhaustion attitude. 
 Park time.

 Oops, another time out. 
 On Sunday we packed up and drove to Oklahoma city to visit my Grandma Browers.  Everybody needed an afternoon nap when we got there. 
 Waking up is hard and a house full of aunts, uncles, and cousins can be a bit overwhelming for a little girl.  Thankfully, she warmed up eventually. 
 Candyland with the big kids
 Dinner with family

 It was such a quick trip, but I'm so glad we were able to go.  We came home a day earlier than originally planned because Drew had to go out of town for work and I have critters that need caring for.  I was sad to cut the trip short, but I was not sad to sleep in my own bed Monday night. 

Drew and his dad worked so hard to complete a few projects while I was gone. 
My chicken coop!
 We're going to add hardware cloth around the bottom as an extra measure to keep predators out, but I'm just tickled over how great this looks.  The first set of chicks will be coop age next week and the last three will be ready a week after that. 
 The fence around the garden beds is looking great!
 And the new composite board steps to the pool are sturdy and splinter free. 
Drew's office repairs were completed over the weekend and carpet goes in on Thursday, so I'm super excited to have that done. 
It's quite chilly here the last couple of days, so Eleanor and I went to the mall to walk around this morning and shop for warm weather shoes.  As you would suspect, we stopped to sit on every bench along the way. The mall is so different than it was 20 years ago when I was a high school kid working retail at County Seat.  I spent many hours in the store front behind Eleanor.  Times change and malls everywhere are dying, but I just really love spending a couple of hours browsing and walking the mall.
 I finally caved and put quarters in the machine.  Now she knows it moves and life will never be the same. 
 Pretzels for lunch.  Duh. 
 And then the Easter Bunny happened.  I think he's creepy, but you can't walk through the mall without passing him.  I was shocked that she wanted to sit with him (or that she even knew what it was), but she did.  The first few minutes were sitting on the bench beside him and staring blankly at the camera.  I laughed, declined the terrible photos and we were about to walk away when Eleanor declared that she would, in fact, sit in the Easter Bunny's lap.  Big smiles from the toddler while sitting on the super creepy bunny's lap.  My kid is cute.  I bought the photos.  She's been walking around with a wallet sized photo of all afternoon and reliving the moment on repeat. 
I'm feeling like we are at that moment where the pacifier needs to go.  I couldn't bear to do it before our road trip, but now I'm trying to figure just how to get rid of it with the least drama.  I was reading ideas on line for motivation.  I'm a pretty big believer in just doing it and not beating around the bush and drawing it out, but one post suggested using a holiday as motivation.  You leave your pacifiers out for the Easter Bunny and he leaves you a special holiday treat.  I mean, if she's going to be angry about the pacifiers going away, shouldn't I at least be able to blame it on this giant strange creature? 

One last thing, just because I need to put it in writing and to make it real... It's Emma week.  Yesterday was her birthday and the 27th will mark 6 years since she went to heaven.  She would have turned 13 this year.  Next year might be harder because she will have been gone as long as she was here, but this year I just remember my sassy Emma, give thanks for the 7 birthdays that I got to spend with her, and remember that day 13 years ago that she came blazing into the world.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018


There are a few of you who read this blog regularly and miss me when I'm absent.  (I like y'all best, by the way. Lol)  So forgive me for a 9 day absence, but we've been busy!  Good busy.  The weather is warming up and we are enjoying every possible moment outside.  We opted to skip camping last weekend and stay home to work instead.  Painting the chicken coop, building raised garden bed boxes, setting posts for the fence around the garden, the first yard mowing of the season, and playing with lots of worms.  And sunshine.  Y'all know how I feel about sunshine.  Good stuff. 
 You know when the weather gets above 50 that the Harris girls go barefoot. 
I did some weeding and pruning in the front flower beds last week and that turned up worms.  I handed one to Eleanor and said, "Here, his name is Bob."  Now all worms are named Bob and she prays for them before bed every night.  
"Thank you for Bob.  Thank you he wiggly in my hand." 
 The girl will carry around a bowl of worms all day and pick them up without hesitation, but a fly buzzes by or a plane flies overhead and she loses all chill. 
 Driving the truck in the back yard with Daddy. 
 Girl's Night Out with Cheryl & Heidi.  Love these ladies. 

As I worked in the flower beds and the back yard on Friday & Saturday I was reminded of the spring after Alex died.  We still lived in our tiny house in Siloam and for the first time in my life I found myself with time on my hands and nobody to take care of.  I threw myself into yard work.  I had my first little vegetable garden, I planted flowers in the flower beds like I knew what I was doing (I did not), I mowed the yard and trimmed bushes and pretty much anything else I could think to do outside.  And I loved it.  Busying my hands and working so physically allowed my head and my heart to heal in a way I needed so badly.  I get so lost in the sunshine and the sweat that my brain is able to let go of all the other stuff and my heart could just breathe.  Y'all, I am so very far from knowing what I'm doing in the garden, but I surely do love it.  It is healing and peaceful and I love it. 
The raised beds are built and the soil has been tilled and weeded and tilled and weeded and tilled and... well, you get the idea.  When I get back from my spring break trip I'll fill them the rest of the way with soil & compost and we'll get these babies ready for spring planting. 

 Grandpa John & Alison brought Eleanor a new-to-her bike and she thinks she's grown now.  The bike is tiny, but her little legs are still too short to reach the pedals.  She can sit on the seat and her tip toes touch the ground and she propels herself along while ringing the bell on the handle bars. 
 You know that thing when you order a chicken coop and decide it'll be a great idea to paint it before putting it together?  You know it'll make it prettier and help it last longer, but you don't realize just how many pieces are involved and what a giant undertaking it will be?  Ya know? 

 Eleanor was acting awfully whiny and fussy Monday evening, but some chick time helped.  She is so gentle with them and it's awesome.
Guess what?  Chicken butt. 

 This is Francis.  She's still working on her feathers and still super cute. 
 We thought it was just an off night on Monday, but she woke up extra puny and fussy Tuesday.  Since there is so much happening in the next week and she was so out of character, I took her to the doctor.  Coxsackievirus.  Boo.  It's the virus that causes Hand Foot & Mouth disease (though that's not necessarily what she had). That's why she was crying to eat but wouldn't eat (ulcers in her mouth) and just wanted to be held all day.  Since she had it last year, so this time around was likely a weird mutation and not as severe.  The doc said to keep her home a couple of days and if she was acting normal by Thursday then let her go back to school.  Tuesday was full of snuggles and rest.  Wednesday was more playful, just a bit more willing to lay around than usual. 
 She NEVER falls asleep in the car.  EVER.  That's how I knew she was sick.  Being still, being quiet, falling asleep anywhere but her bed.  Red flags for E being under the weather. 
 "I sitting in Foose's lap.  That's so nice." 
 Chilling in Mommy & Daddy's room Wednesday. 
 And by Wednesday afternoon/evening she going nearly full speed. 
The deck boards that made up the stairs from the porch to the pool were in big need of paint & sealing and Drew really wanted to replace them with composite boards that last longer and don't leave splinters in bare feet, so... we pulled them off, painted them white, and we're using them for the fence rails around the garden.  Recycle.  Upcycle?  Whatever, we're reusing stuff and that feels cool and creative. 
 Eleanor had her first music program at school this morning.  Awkward family selfie with the impatient toddler before school. 
 I recorded her class singing their two songs, but it went about as you would expect from a classroom of two year olds.  Eleanor sings the songs at home all the time and even does the hand motions, but today she stood on stage and spent 95% of the time putting her hands in the breast pocket on her dress.  After the first song the audience giggled and Eleanor perked up and yelled, "That's funny!" 
My friend Daila took this snap shot from the audience and sent it to me.  What a hoot.  She did all of one hand motion and didn't sing at all, but she sure was proud of herself.  (And I'm proud of her, too!)
 The roof is repaired (and it was a much simpler fix than anticipated!) and interior work in Drew's office is underway.  The hole in the ceiling is repaired and the plaid wallpaper is gone forever.  We expect it to be done by Saturday and carpet goes in next Thursday.  What a blessing to have the insurance and resources to repair things like this. 
 And I'll leave you with a super flattering picture of me after I picked Eleanor up from school and she had a meltdown about getting in the car.  Ah, toddlers. 
Tomorrow I'm taking Eleanor & my mom to the Oklahoma panhandle to see Casey's crew and then to OKC to see my Grandma & family, so I'll be away from here until next week.  Stay tuned for pictures and stories from our girls' spring break road trip!