Winding Down

Yesterday…I walked into Target by myself.  I grabbed one of the few carts that were left since the rest of them were, no doubt, in the school supply section of the store with frazzled moms holding crumpled school supply lists like their lives depended on it.  Kids were hanging out of carts…off of carts…and from their poor mom’s pants in some cases; all chattering about the same things.  Spirals.  Binders.  Water bottles.  I knowingly and empathetically looked at those moms…silently giving them high fives in my mind.  I’ve been there.  And I will be there next Monday night.  But not yesterday.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 9 years of first day of school preparation…it’s this:

Don’t jump the gun.

I can’t tell you how many times I have scoured the isles of multiple stores to ensure that my kids have the perfect pencil holder case to go along with their perfect haircut to go along with their perfect lunch kit and their perfect outfit and their perfect crayons that are labeled with my best handwriting.  Ridiculous.  I’ve said it before…

No amount of perfectionistic attention to insignificant details will make them feel perfectly loved.

You can imagine my horror when their perfectly labeled crayons, glue, markers, construction paper, and one-of-a-kind-save-the-planet-raw-wood pencils ended up being immediately dumped into the community class bin to share.  I think my exact words to myself were something along the lines of…”that’s what you get, you big perfectionistic moron!”

Anyway…here’s the deal.  My kids will be showing up to school on the first day with their pre-purchased, generic, crappy school supply pack that I don’t ever even have to set my eyes on…sitting on their desks for them to open and label themselves.  And my highschooler will show up on the first day with a used spiral that I’ve ripped the written in pages out of and a pen.  Because those people up there change their lists of what they want at the last minute!  Kids come home saying things like…”my geometry teacher says I have to have a 1.5 inch orange binder with 7 dividers and a graphing calculator that is gonna cost you half of my college tuition and if I don’t have that thing…I’ll fail.”  And guess what?  Those things were not on that crumpled school supply list ANYWHERE.

So.  Even though the muscles in my body wanted so badly to join those people on that beautifully organized back pack isle…I kept my eyes on the make up isle…because it’s not even time to get lunch kit food yet.  I have five days.  A whole five days left.

On a side note.  Target had candy corns out already.  I’m not gonna lie…I did rummage through those bags just to see if the pumpkins where there…but they weren’t.  Which is a good thing.  Because I had already used up all of my self discipline passing through the back packs.  I had none left to refuse the pumpkins.


I have been in a home-from-Colorado depression over the last few days.  I can’t quit wanting to walk to the river…or go for a ride on horseback through the mountains.  It also occurred to me that I never blogged the pictures from last Summer’s trip to Colorado.  At least I don’t think I did…and I’m too lazy to look back.  So…be prepared for lots of pictures.  Or…just click the x now.

So…Colorado then: (Chad couldn’t take off work to come with us this trip)

It is so crazy to look back at these pictures and think about how we didn’t even have one, single clue that there was…like…a whole human being coming to us the next month!

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I could honestly look at this flat rock all day long…and marvel at the fact that my great Grandma Kelly looked at the very same one years and years ago.  I just love that.

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Getting muddy is fun.

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The more puddles we hit…the better.

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The feeling of a babe…wrapped around me is something I am finding myself holding onto with the tightest grip possible.

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Little miss Flicka got to take a horse lesson and then ride all by herself.  Aaron said that he was amazed at her poise on a horse at only 4 years old.

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Hugging and riding.

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These people are my whole world.  I can’t get enough of family.  I really can’t.

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We hiked to the falls for the first time last year.

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It was actually a pretty challenging climb/hike.  Especially with a 4 year old on your back.

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I’m such a sucker for natural textures in pictures.

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These sweet folk were the horse wranglers on the ranch.  Had I known that he was going to have a stroke and that she would have to move him to a nursing home several hours away…I would have spent so much more time talking to them.  Lesson learned.

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I love this river like it’s the water running through my veins.  I am 100% at peace when I can see it, hear it, and especially feel it.

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I adore this moment.  I remember it a whole year later.

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Colorado now:

I finally found the perfect place to read Go Set A Watchman.

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This rock became my comfort place.  It became the place I went to read, pray, think, feel, hurt, heal, and watch my kids fish and play.  At one point…I was thinking so much about my great Grandma Kelly…about how she adopted my grandmother out of foster care as an older child.  I thought about how my grandma had been passed from foster care home to foster care home…no one wanting to keep her.  I thought about how that must have hurt her.  I thought about how much she had to overcome.  I thought about how my Grandma and Grandpa Kelly said yes.  I thought about how…not until this point in my life…had I ever thought about how hard that was for them.  Adoption is definitely beautiful.  But it isn’t easy.  I kept finding myself talking to her…out on that rock…as if the moving water could somehow carry the questions to her.  The “how did you handle this…and the how did your heart deal with the fine line between discipline and grace…and the will it all be ok’s?”  I will never…in all my life…forget when I almost audibly heard her raspy voice laugh and say, “Oh Kelly (that’s what she always called me because I was named after them)…it’s going to all be ok!  It’s going to all be beautiful.  Don’t you worry!!” All while I was sitting on that rock.


It was an amazing moment for me.







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They faithfully fed the chipmunks every morning.

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I can’t explain why…but this is one of my very favorite pictures of her…

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She’s not always smiling, this one.  And that is ok.

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I’ve decided…washers should become an Olympic sport.  I think I have definitely found my way to a medal!

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My dad bought me that Stetson I was wanting.  It really was love at first sight.

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Family game nights were serious business.

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Annslee loves herself some Radar…the ranch dog.

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Annual trip to Creede.

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Coffee on the fly.  This time…I got a shirt!  I’m wearing it right now, as a matter of fact!

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Our puzzlers.

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Maddy and Addy met for the first time and Annslee reunited with her old friend.  Sweet image here.

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Aaron taught the littlest horse lover how to ride.

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I wish this was my backyard.

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Addy loved her UK.

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Little miss cowgirl.

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I let her pick out her own outfit.  Swimsuit…check.  Boots…check.

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True beauty.  It can’t be easy for her…bringing a new sibling in…her not being the youngest anymore.  Her place in this family as the baby had been solidified for 5 years.  And this girl…well…she loves being a big sister.  Where you would think there would be jealousy is patience.  Where there could be anger…there is grace.  Where there could be resentment…there is love.  She’s an amazing little girl.

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And I suppose that God knew that this rambling girl needed Texas to welcome her home.  Because in the early morning…while the rest of the car was asleep…I enjoyed my home state in silent appreciation for His country.  The mountains.  The beach.  Home.  It’s all very, very good.


Happy end of Summer, friends.

Happy, indeed.

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