Bath Poo. A True Story.

My baby had an “accident” in the bathtub yesterday, reminding me to finish this true life glimpse into the step-by-step process of recovering from bath poo. Proceed with caution, unless you have personally experienced the horror of bath poo, in which case, I offer you this piece of solidarity, with all my love.


When babies poop in the bathtub...

After missing your morning opportunity for a shower before your husband goes to work, you finally send the big kids upstairs to play at 10:00 a.m., you strip your rambunctious 1-year old down and start him a bath, and you quickly get in the walk-in shower right next to him.

During the first shampooing of your hair, right after your hair gets all sudsy and almost ready to rinse, you notice that the baby is being very still and that his face is slightly red.

Then you hear the grunting.

Oh, Lord,” you pray, “please let it be constipation. Just this one time? Just until later this afternoon, maybe? Pretty please??

Trusting that all will be well, you proceed with your sudsing, you begin to daydream a little about what needs to be done that day, and then you realize that your baby has stopped grunting and is playing in the water again.

Perfect,” you muse, happy that your constipation prayers have come true.

And that’s when you see the toy in his hands.

It’s brown.

Last time you checked, all of his bathtub toys were black-and-white penguins from McDonald’s Happy Meals.

“Ack!” you yell, throwing your hands up in panic, berating yourself for being so naively optimistic.

You venture closer to the bathtub and see that the little brown playtoy is one of many brown playtoys, some big, some small, some so exceedingly tiny that you know this is a code red situation. All bath-poops are bad, but some are REALLY bad.

You slick your shampoo-filled hair into a bun to give you a good headstart before the soap starts to drip into your eyes, you turn off your shower and you tiptoe as quickly-yet-carefully as you can to the side of the tub where you immediately grab the baby’s hands before surveying the nightmare.

Your attack plan presents itself without conscious thought and step one is definitely to get the baby out of the water. You grab him by the trunk and lift him out of the water…

now where are you supposed to put the little booger?

Standing right beside the tub will have to do.

“Stay here,” you say, pointing down at him like he is a puppy, knowing full well that he has no idea what you’re saying.

You berate yourself for only knowing how to say “more” and “milk” in baby sign language.

Step two is to go fishing. You grab the big, clear plastic cup that just happens to be nearby (thank you, Lord!) and start scooping the biggest pieces of poo out of the water so you can drain the tub, and the saddest thing, in your mind, is that you have done this before. Many, many times. With four children in your house, you’ve probably fished for poo at least twenty-five times in your life, which is funny because you didn’t know that poo fishing was a thing before you had kids.

Before long, the cup is getting too full of water to catch any more pieces. This is a real predicament.

Meanwhile, the baby has started wandering about on the tile floor behind you and you are so flustered by this and worried over his haphazard slipping and sliding that you just plunge into step three and start grabbing poo with your bare hands and tossing them quickly into the cup.

Now, with the added poo, the cup is really full of water and the only course of action is obviously to proceed to step four by quickly covering the top of the cup with one hand and draining all the excess water back into the tub, like you’re a human colander.

A bundle of poo is resting affectionately on your hand, which is just like you’d think it would be – SHOCKING AND SO GROSS – but soon the water is all gone and you can flip the cup back over.

The big cup of poo and nothing but poo.

(When you bought those pretty plastic cups at Target, you never dreamed they would be used for this purpose).

The shampoo has started to drip down onto your face now and is apparently running into your mouth because you can taste it. You sputter and spit into the tub and wipe the suds off of your forehead with your shoulder, all while holding a cup of poo.

The baby is still wobbling and falling and grinning his face off behind you. He hasn’t had this much fun since the day he emptied a giant bag of miniature M&M’s on the kitchen floor!

You finally get the last big piece of poo out of the water, and scrunching your nose, you plunge your arm into the littered water to pull the plug, sending any last tiny vestiges of ickiness down the drain.

Your baby has fallen on the tile now three times, but he’s still smiling, so you just go with it.

You dash to the cabinet above the bathroom toilet and grab the Lysol wipes.

You zip back to the tub, turn on the hand-held sprayer, and start washing down the sides and bottom of the tub before grabbing a huge wad of Lysol wipes and disinfecting the tub with the vigor of Rosie the Riveter.

During this cleaning frenzy, the baby has made his way to the toilet and is happily splashing in the water, but since you have one eye closed to block shampoo and you are freezing to death, and since you know he is about to receive the scrubbing of his life, and since you are SO close to being finished, you find this rather fortuitous as it is keeping him busy and he is no longer ice skating on the bathroom tile. But you still call out his name and tell him that “that is a no NO!“, just so he’ll know you heartily disapprove of his behavior.

You rinse off the disinfectant and you start a new bath for the baby.

While his bath fills up, you scrub his bottom with wet wipes and you vigorously wash his hands in the sink.

You return him to the bath before turning on the shower so you might rinse out the shampoo that has nearly dried into a meringue on top of your head.

Five seconds into your rinsing, however, the baby pulls the plug out of his bath and you have to hop over to put it back in place, scolding him while he blinks at you with his precious baby eyes.

This is clearly a fun game, and so he does it five more times, and your shower water gets less hot with every trip you make to the bathtub and back.

Finally, panting and frazzled, you finish your shower and while you are hurriedly drying off, you realize the big kids have wandered back downstairs and are hunting you down in the master bedroom.

Your oldest daughter is calling for you to tie the sash on her dress, your youngest daughter is jumping on your bed and you can hear your son’s voice drawing closer to the bathroom. You shriek at him not to come any closer because you’re drying off.

You frantically get dressed, and you realize there is still a big cup of poo sitting in the floor. You grab it, dump the offending contents in the potty, and flush it resolutely away.

Then, because the cup still looks rather disgusting, you rinse the cup in the toilet water to get the excess poo off so you can disinfect it in the sink and then put it in the dishwasher so you can throw it away and then burn it.

But first you have to get the baby out of the bathtub. He has drained the water again and keeps falling in the slippery tub and his lips are tinging blue from the cold. You set the cup down on the counter and turn to fetch him.

You wrap the little stinker in a towel, you take him to your bed, dry him, diaper him and dress him, all while chaos resumes in the master suite, with your entire litter present and talking and wiggling at one time.

And then, in the haze of the mayhem, you absentmindedly hear the sink water running, you hear one of your children say “ahhh…” in thirst-quenching relief, and you hear a plastic cup being set back down on the bathroom counter.




Photo courtesy of Benjamin Grey Photography

To keep up with Mrs. Gore and family, find us on Facebook!


Kiss Me, Cousin

Thanksgiving week was so wonderful, and we spent every waking (and sometimes sleeping) hour at my Mama and Daddy’s house in the country with my brothers and their families, my Grandmother, and my cousin, Jon, his wife, Amanda, and their precious children. I couldn’t love that entire group of people more if I tried. Like-minded, like-hearted, we like each other. A lot.

But going through my pictures from our week together, one group of photographs stole the show, and I thought it might cheer your hearts to see them.

My brother, Pete, is a fastidious man, and he has fathered an even more fastidious son. Two-year old Brett is a model first child, clean-cut, particular, straight-laced, and very tidy.

And then there’s my Betsie. Also 2 years old, she is the polar opposite of Brett, messy, wild, free-spirited, and very sticky.

The two of them together provide endless entertainment, and while Betsie used to absolutely terrify all the firstborns in her life (she poked Brett right in the eye at his 1st birthday party), I’ve noticed that she is having a different effect on them these days, and that they find her more amusing than they do overwhelming.

But still maybe a tiny bit overwhelming…

Anyhow, we were sitting around the kitchen table one afternoon with the windows open when Betsie pushed a porch chair over to the window and started making faces at us.

Pretty soon, Brett came over to join her, and that’s when she, completely of her own inspiration, decided to try to kiss him.

Over and over and over and over and over again.

Brett would push her away, and then they’d both belly laugh before the next kiss attempt came.

We were in stitches, and I was so glad my camera happened to be sitting right there beside me when their game began.

And since they’ll probably hate these pictures someday, I thought I’d share them on the internet now while I have the opportunity…



















There is no moral to this blog post, really, only that 2-year olds are stinkin’ cute.

The world needs more of them.

And maybe a few kisses, too.

Gabbie, Pioneer Woman and Ridiculous Me: a Trilogy (Part Three)

Part 3: Ridiculous Me

(continued from parts one and two)


So what I had expected on our excursion to the Pioneer Woman’s holiday cookbook signing was for Gabbie to become shy and tongue-tied in front of her childhood hero. No surprises there.

What I hadn’t expected was that I would do the same thing.

In retrospect, it all makes sense…

1. In my excitement about Gabbie and her costume, and in the frenzied nature of our day, I had forgotten to dwell on the fact that I, too, am a huge fan of Ree Drummond’s.

I might have been a bit slow to the Pioneer Woman party, but once I arrived, I was a goner. I love her blog, her cookbooks, her show, and I am so proud of the way she represents Oklahoma. I genuinely admire her and…so what?…sometimes I pretend like I’m her sister.

2. It is just in my nature to get goofy around celebrities. It must be the Lucy Ricardo in me, and so it wouldn’t have really mattered whether I was a true fan of Ree’s or not; I am eternally doomed to act like a nut-job in front of anyone who has been on television or had a book published or even walked on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I think all of this probably reveals something about my spiritual life but I don’t want to identify it yet.

3. I just had a baby and am still nursing every three hours or so. I cannot be held responsible for anything I do or say until I get a note from my doctor and, by the way, it is nothing short of a miracle that I have been able to recount this story in anything close to intelligiblistical words.

All that to say, when it came to striking up a lifelong friendship with P-Dub that night, the odds were not in my favor a’tall.

And here’s how it all went down…

We walked into the bookstore to line up and, after I snapped some photos of the girls peering at Ree, a young and clean-shaven employee approached us and asked if we were having books signed. When we responded in the affirmative, he handed each of us a small piece of paper, instructing us to write down what we wanted Ree to sign in our books.

It was quite simple; we needed to write something like “Merry Christmas to Kelly!” or “Happy Cooking, Mee-Maw!” and any normal lady would have just done what she was supposed to do to make the signing run efficiently and to make sure that her name was spelled correctly in the cookbook she was giving herself for Christmas.

But no.

Ms. Funny-pants had a brilliant idea.

Instead of just writing a simple felicitation and my name on my piece of paper, I decided it would be so knee-slapping hilarious to compose a short letter; after all, the young man had TOLD me to write what I wanted Ree to say…

and I wanted Ree to say the following:


Dear sweet, Mrs. Gore,

I love you.

I love your pretty hair and your infinity scarf.

Your blog is my favoritest on the internets (

Your bestie,



I just crack myself up sometimes.

Especially when I’m in the back of a long line after standing outside with 5 children for 3 1/2 hours and am giddy about the prospect of meeting a red-headed national treasure.

My plan was to lay down the long note, have a laugh with PW (who would hug me and say “You DO have beautiful hair! Now what do you really want me to write in this cookbook, ya knucklehead?), and then show her the other side of my paper that said “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Gore!” (I thought it would be meaningful if Ree used my pen name since we were going to be best blogging friends after this night).

Sounds like a plan, right?


So after finishing my note and laughing about it with my Mom and Megan, I put it aside and went on to other things…tending to Rebekah, putting on lipgloss, getting my camera ready, picking out a coloring book for my son (who, though also a fan of PW, obligingly stayed home so his sister could accompany me to the signing)…

and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the cash register, snapping photo after photo of Gabbie meeting Ree. I was caught up in the moment, focused on getting good snapshots for Megan, and it was such a big, beautiful jumble of laughter and fun and excitement, but then…


it was over.

Gabbie was waving goodbye to Ree on her way out the door and Megan was saying one more “thank you” before following behind her and I was grinning at them and waving…

and sighing happily, I turned back around…

I fiddled with something on my camera…

I looked up…

I blinked…

And I realized that everyone was looking at me.

Including THE Pioneer Woman of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

And this is where I mentally blacked out.

I only have a vague idea of what I said from this point forward and will be embellishing my responses to reflect what was going on in my head and what I might (or pray to God might not) have said:

“Did you have a book, too?” Ree’s assistant asked.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, making my way back to the side of the table, “Yes! A book. A bookcook…er, a cookbook. I bought a cookbook….”

“And do you know what you want Ree to write?…” the assistant asked.

“Oh!” I said, “I wrote on a paper thingy (followed by a nervous hahahahahahahahahaha)…”

My paper…I thought.


The paper with the stupid note on it!…

And although I was mentally vacant, I do remember realizing in this moment that I very much wished I had left my jokes at home with Mr. Gore and Gid and Betsie and Jake.

But I couldn’t.

I had just confessed that I had a piece of paper. It was too late to back out.

So, wearing the expression of a 5-year old, I pulled out my note…


and handed it to Ree. “Here you go (nervous laughter)…uhhh…you don’t have to write all that…it’s just a…it’s a…I was…joke. Funny. It’s not. You don’t need to write all that. Just…other side. Merry Christmas.”

Poor The Pioneer Woman must be used to this sort of thing, for she never skipped a beat and, probably courtesy smiling, flipped the paper over and quickly scrawled the normal message onto my cookbook before signing her name.

I just thank God my little spitfire of a daughter was there beside me to cover over my awkwardness…


“And how old are you?” Ree questioned her, probably sensing that I was about to expire on the spot and needed a distraction.

“Four,” she boldly replied, “but I’ll be five on my next birthday.”

“When is your birthday?” Ree asked.

“Ummm…” Rebekah replied, looking to me for the answer.

“Oh!” I said, brightly, crawling back out from under the rock where I was hiding, “ummmm…uhhhhh….hahahahahahaha…when IS your birthday?”

I stared at my daughter quizzically for what felt like 5 minutes while trying to will myself to remember the day of her birth. Was it January? July? Is Halloween a month? Halloween the 14th?


“June!” I finally replied, exultantly. “June the 8th!”

“You have more than one child, don’t you?” Ree asked with a chuckle.

“Oh yes,” I replied, “I have four.” (Cha-ching! Look who got an answer right).

“Is the baby one of yours, too?” she asked, pointing at the stroller where Shep continued to sleep.

“Yes,” I answered, “He’s a…baby. Like you just said. Hahahahahahahaha…”

And then Ree asked me a question that made me want to die on the spot: “Do you mind if I hold on to this?” she asked, picking up my love-note paper once more. “For your blog address?”

My blog address…



She thinks I’m self-promoting.

And maybe I WAS self-promoting!

And now I look like a self-promoter!

And she had to keep my paper so she wouldn’t hurt my feelings! She probably does that for all the pathetic self-promoting bloggers who slip her their address!!


And since I promised to spare no details in the retelling of this story, I have to admit that I very much remember this particular response better than the others and it went exactly like this: “Oh, no, no, no, no, you dont have to do that…I was just kidd-…or…I…actually that would…that’d be great, hahaha…I mean, if you want to, thanks…but…you don’t…hahahahahahaha…”

As I continued to stammer and babble like an idiot, she leaned down to put the paper in her bag and, looking back at the pictures, I…

think I might have tried to touch her hair?…


I don’t even know.

When my husband saw this photo, he said “…Did you touch her??”

“I don’t know!!!” I wailed, laughing and hiding my face. Then I peeked at him through my fingers before confessing, “actually, I do know that I patted her on the arm.”

“You touched her arm?” he exclaimed, delighting in my misery.

“I did! I touched her arm!!” I squealed. “I don’t know why! I just wanted to pat her because I felt so bad for giving her my blog address! I was consoling her for having to meet me!”

It was awesome awful. But mostly awesome awful.

After posing for a quick photo with Ree, I gathered my cookbook and my daughter (who continued to talk loudly to her all the way out the door) and, hanging on to my giant, t00-big-for-this-store stroller for dear life, I attempted to bust out of there like a girl who was literally on fire…

but I was driving too fast and, hitting the threshold of the door, my stroller bounced and we kind of crashed into the doorjamb. I was trying to straighten up my wheels so I could exit when a lady on the other side of us, right outside the door, said “Oh! Something fell out of your stroller!”

Reaching down, she stood back up and handed me a book.

Oh no.

The coloring book I meant to buy for my son…

Licking my lips, I took in my surroundings.

I was standing IN the doorway of the bookstore, and approximately 200 waiting PW fans were facing me from the surrounding sidewalk and street, staring. These folks had been standing in line for hours and they were hungry for a spectacle.

Enter, me.

“Oopsie!” I said to the lady.

And then, for some reason beyond my comprehension, as I reached for the book, I took my eyes off of her and surveyed the entire crowd before loudly proclaiming, “I was going to buy that!”

It gets better.

Just in case they didn’t all hear me, I said (yelled) even louder, “I almost STOLE a coloring book! Hahahahahahahaha…”

We backed up out of the teensy doorway and I crawled back to the cash register, (you know, the one that was right in front of the Pioneer Woman), where I fumbled around for my wallet and continued to hem and haw and laugh like the dweeb-of-the-year. “I promise I’m not a klepto…” I assured the cashier, who probably could have cared less.

As far as endings go, it was a grand finale.

Do you want to know how I knew it was really bad? My Mom – who thinks I am perfect – was even like, “Yeah, um, what was that all about?…”

Coming down from this experience was like waking up from anesthesia; at first, I was so numb and giddy, I couldn’t grasp the depth of my ridiculousness, but with each ten or so minutes that passed, another memory would surface of my behavior and I would sink lower in my seat; it was somewhere between Tulsa and our home that I realized that I didn’t even introduce myself to her….

Nor did I tell her that I was the lady who posted Gabbie’s picture…

I told her nothing about our day or how excited we were to meet her…

I didn’t tell her how much I love her blog…

I didn’t inform her that hardly a gathering goes by that her name or one of her recipes is not mentioned by me or one of my friends….

I didn’t commend her for making a wholesome and educational television show that our entire family can watch together…

I didn’t mention that she has taught me so much about cooking and homeschooling and that her orange marmalade muffins have become one of my favorite things about Christmas…

I don’t think I even said “hi”…

I just blinked at her.

Then I sort-of-accidentally gave her my blog address.

And then I stole a coloring book.

I’d say I made an impression, don’t you, and that if she doesn’t invite me to her ranch, she’ll at least get me a restraining order.

But regardless, although it wasn’t my best moment, one thing is certain: I’ll never forget my five minutes with the Pioneer Woman…

I only pray that she has forgotten hers with “Mrs. Gore.”



Delivered, as promised. And now it’s your turn! Ever acted a fool in front of a celebrity? Or just have an embarrassing moment to share?…

Gabbie, Pioneer Woman and Ridiculous Me: a Trilogy (Part Two)

Part 2: Pioneer Woman

(Read part one here)


It isn’t every morning that you’re sitting there like a deadbeat in your bamboo lounging clothes and, in between your 14th and 15th sip of coffee, you get a facebook notification from Ree Drummond, THE Pioneer Woman.

That’s right. Ree had seen Gabbie’s photograph, and she had responded:

“Oh my gosh…absolutely adorable. I might want to borrow that wig sometime. ;)”

In the span of 4 seconds, our quiet house and our uneventful day erupted like a super-happy volcano. I felt like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries when she finds out she is princess of Genovia and Julie Andrews is her Grandmother…

Ree had seen Gabbie’s picture?!!

Gabbie had received a message from Ree?!!

Shut. UP!

Things only escalated from there as something phenomenal happened; once Ree commented on the photo, her droves of fans began to see it, and the ‘likes’ and comments started flying. It reminded me of that scene from Harry Potter where the letters from Hogwarts start shooting into the Dursley’s house, and Harry is dancing around, trying to catch them…

But I was Harry, and I was only mentally dancing around the room (because you know I wasn’t getting out of bed), and the notifications weren’t for me, they were for a starry-eyed little girl who likes to cook with her Mama…

and I could only think one thing: Gabbie and her mom and dad (Megan and Brian) are going to DIE.

For the rest of the morning, my husband and I were held captive by our computer screen, watching the ‘likes’ on Gabbie’s photo rise, reading all the comments, feverishly messaging Brian and Megan (both of whom were at work) with updates….

we were atwitter and my goal to catch up on homeschool was kicked to the curb. Classes were cancelled!

And if I wasn’t thrilled enough for Gabbie, my joy tripled when Mr. Gore got this text from Megan: “Gabbie is going to be so excited. She was so distraught that she didn’t win the costume contest yesterday…”

I pictured our quiet little friend, dressing up as her hero; donning her PW costume, she probably expected to be recognized by every person she passed, and would have excitedly lined up for the contest, sure that she would win because, duh…she looked like Ree Drummond! How could she not win?

I well remember those types of bitter childhood disappointments, and it made me hurt for Gabbie.

But even for little girls with childish dreams, joy comes in the morning. Any disappoinment she had felt on Halloween night was sure to be forgotten once her Mama told her the good news!

And that alone would have been a very happy ending to Gabbie’s tale…

but as it turns out, her very special day was just beginning.


“You know what?” I asked my husband as we continued to hang out in bed, “I think Ree Drummond is doing a book signing in Tulsa in November…”

He immediately hopped online and started looking.

“She is!” he exclaimed. “For the release of her new cookbook…”

“When?” I asked.

“Tonight.” he replied, grinning. “5:00.”

Shut. UP!

Our texts with Megan went into sonic-speed, and Megan was thinking what we were thinking, and no, it wouldn’t be weird at all, and pretty soon it was official. We were going to the signing…

and mini-Ree was going with us, red, shiny wig and all.

This day was so bizarre it was beginning to seem providential!

I decided to take Rebekah Sunday along, who, though too young to be a superfan of PW, really, really likes her cooking show and all those horses she has.

When I broke the news to her, her face lit up and she exclaimed “Are we going to bake with her?”

“No, it won’t be like that…” I informed her.

“Well then can I play with the boys?” she asked, clapping her hands.

“I doubt if they’ll be there…” I replied.

But she decided to be excited anyway, and by 3:00 that afteroon, we were all on our way to Steve’s Books in Tulsa to purchase a cookbook and meet the Pioneer Woman, Megan and her three following behind me and my Mom, Baby Shep and Rebekah.

After a slight glitch upon our 4:00 arrival when Rebekah woke up from her nap, looked out her window and, seeing a Dollar Tree rather than a sprawling ranch, began to wail “I thought we were going to her house!!”, we began unloading and scurrying toward the bookstore to get in line.

And here’s how popular Ree Drummond is. Arriving an hour early, we were still in the 9th group of 25 people to meet her.

Let’s see…that meant we had approximately 16 more hours to wait. With 5 children between us.


But we were determined to stay, and I assured my very sweet and docile friend, Megan, that I would storm the castle before Gabbie went home without meeting PW.

The next several hours were spent in various pursuits as I mentally kicked myself for not bringing one snack, drink or distraction. (As far as celebrity book signings go, we were definitely amateurs).

First, we sat on the curb and I played guessing games with the big kids while Megan wrangled her toddler boy and my Mom kept an eye on sleeping Shep.

Then we played some more games.

Then we took pictures of our shoes.

Then we flipped through Ree’s new cookbook.

Then Rebekah started getting hungry and begging me for food…


then I told her I didn’t have any and she started hanging on my scarf and begging harder…


Then I started fanning myself. It was 5:00 and an ever-growing crowd was starting to swell around us, hemming me and my hormones in.

We escaped to an empty portion of the sidewalk far from the bookstore and spread out a bit. Here’s me and my Mama and Rebekah, definitely loitering in front this boutique.


Once we had some wiggling room though (and thanks to Megan’s amazing sister, Jill, who drove over straight from work to help us with the kids), time went by a little faster, and we stayed happy and amused…

mostly by the fact that we had a little Pioneer Woman with us. Similar to the costume contest, no one really knew who Gabbie was or why she was wearing a bright red wig; it was fairly obvious from the constant sympathetic glances she received that many assumed she had a serious illness. The entire situation reminded me of my night out with Peter Pan.

And I’m sure it didn’t hurt that our giddiness about all that had happened that day made everything reach a new level of hilarity…

especially when an elderly woman stopped by Gabbie and said “Oh, there you are! That girl with the beautiful red hair.” She reached down to finger Gabbie’s obviously fake tresses. “That color!” she exclaimed, “and it is just so thick!”

We were loathe to embarass her by explaining that it was a wig, plus the backstory would have been so long, so we just thanked her, all while Rebekah was piping up “It’s fake! Her hair is fake!”

I clamped my hand over her mouth and continued to beam at the effusive woman. “It’s fake!” her words muffled against my hand.

And speaking of Rebekah, it was pretty cute…

while Gabbie is the superfan of Ree, it soon became apparent that Rebekah was the superfan of Gabbie dressed as Ree.


“I’m taking a picture with The Pioneer Woman!” she chirped, laughing.


By 7:00, after the kids started running in circles and we were becoming far too bold with the food truck (PW had provided snacks from her new cookbook!), I knew something had to be done. Grabbing Rebekah’s hand, I decided to go ask if we could look at children’s books in the store where Ree was signing.

Surprisingly, the answer was ‘yes’ and I was reminded of why my husband always gets good deals and free shipping: he’s not afraid to ask.

I walked tentatively in to the small store carrying Rebekah on my hip, and I couldn’t help but feel like a trespasser. It was as quiet as a library in there!

And there, at a table near the cash register at the front of the store, in all her red-headed glory, sat Ree. I stopped for a minute to look at her and, in a whisper, pointed her out to Rebekah…

big mistake. I must have forgotten who I was holding and, before I could stop her, my little girl started waving frantically and broke the silence of the store by yelling “hi!!!” to Ree.

Like a ninja, I jumped forward and ducked behind a shelf before whisking her to the back of the store where she sat happily on a stool and perused the books. It was a good distraction for both of us, tucked away into the corner, right behind the snaking line of fans. But I was antsy and needed to converse with someone.

I made eye contact with one of the ladies waiting in line.

“Do you remember what group you are in?” I asked, probably a bit pathetically.

“575-600…” she replied.

“Oh…” I sighed, “Well, we’re getting closer…”

“What number are you?” a second woman asked.

“660,” I reponded, forlornly. “And we just have so many kids here! They’re so hungry…”

I couldn’t really comprehend what I was doing as this sob story involuntarily rolled off my tongue, but this, too, seemed providential as it apparently worked in my favor. The second lady held up a ticket. “I’m not using this one,” she said, “it will help you get in a little faster.”

610. Gasp! That was the next group!

I kissed her feet (in my mind) and Rebekah and I took off to get everyone packed up. Within minutes, our group was called into the store. T’was a gloriously fun and unexpected frenzy, and a blessed turn of events.

But even in our haste, my heart stopped to recognize that this was it: Gabbie was about to have the moment of a lifetime, one she would never forget.

The little girls entered the store on our heels and I watched with glee as Gabbie craned her neck to get her first glimpse…


and although we were at the back of the line that wound through the store, it wasn’t long at all before our turn came up. Gabbie was next!


Ree had been notified that Gabbie was coming (apparently some nutcase had tracked her Mom down on facebook and paid a dollar to send her a private message? People these days!), and was SO sweet and welcoming to her little twinkie.


and Gabbie was precious to watch. So tongue-tied…


so bashful…


but so very happy.


I was just taking it all in, snapping pictures for Megan when I heard Rebekah’s chirpy voice once more: “I saw you on TV!” It was at this moment that I realized Miss Sunday needed to take a hike so Gabbie could have her moment with Ree.


and here they are, Ree Drummond and her mini-me…


matching hair, matching tunics, matching earrings, and would you look at this, even matching cheeks, chins and smiles.


The fondest dream of Gabbie’s young heart had come true…


and you know who it really all comes back to?


A loving mama who made mountains of Pioneer Woman food for a 6-year old’s birthday party…

who was running all over Tulsa with 3 kids the Tuesday before Halloween looking for a red wig and a tunic…

who scrambled home during her lunchbreak to get Gabbie’s costume to wear to the signing…

who left work at 3:00 with those same 3 kids and drove staight to Tulsa to stand in line for 4 hours…

who loves her daughter, with all her heart, and lays down her life for her happiness.

Pioneer Woman might be Gabbie’s hero…


but Gabbie’s Mama is most definitely one of mine.



and, as it turns out, Pioneer Woman is ALSO one of my heroes. Stay tuned to hear the spectacle that happened when Gabbie left the store and I realized it was MY turn to meet Ree. I promise to spare no details. Go ahead and kill me now.

(Read Part Three here)

Gabbie, Pioneer Woman and Ridiculous Me: a Trilogy

Part 1: Gabbie


When I woke up on the morning of November 1st, I had simple goals for the day:

1. Recover from Halloween by drinking my coffee in bed and keeping my pajamas on all day.

2. Catch up on homeschool.

3. That’s it.

But life takes awfully funny twists and turns, and few have been quite so twisty or turny as the ones mine took today…

It all started back in August. My friend, Megan, was planning her daughter, Gabbie’s, 6th birthday, and Gabbie had made an unusual request for one so young: the dearest, darlingest desire of her little heart was to have a Pioneer Woman party. And not like, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-cowboys-and-indians-pioneer-woman-party, but Gabbie’s-favorite-person-on-the-planet-Ree-Drummond-THE-Pioneer-Woman-party.

You don’t see a lot of those on Pinterest…

But here’s what I love about Megan. While I would have taken that theme and secretly planned all the details while my daughter slept, turning it into a sunflower and basset hound affair where all the boys had to wear ranch clothes and all the girls had to wear tunics, Megan actually sat down and planned this party with her little girl.

Flipping through cookbooks, Gabbie picked out several Pioneer Woman recipes that she wanted to make with her friends, and as usual, Megan set the stage for a genuinely lovely and laidback party wherein both her daughter and her guests (and their Mamas!) would leave feeling happy and appreciated.

For Gabbie’s present, I decided to aim really high and, sitting down one afternoon, I sent a long and gushing e-mail to The Pioneer Woman herself, telling her about Gabbie and her party theme, and asking rather pathetically if a small token might be procured in time for her birthday…nothing much, just an autograph, or a video shout-out, or a spatula…a Kitchenaid mixer perhaps (or two? One for me, one for Gabbie?)…anything, really, that the Pioneer Woman had signed, touched or breathed on.

Knowing it was a major shot in the dark, I worked hard to keep my expectations in the “it-never-hurts-to-try” category rather than the oh-my-gosh-I’m-going-to-become-BFF’s-with-PW-while-making-Gabbie’s-party-the-best-ever category…

for I knew it was very unlikely that PW would even see that message, and if she did, would have her hands tied; it is common blogging knowledge, is it not, that if you send a gift to one “biggest fan ever”, you leave out 1,158,935?

Yes, Ree Drummond has that many followers on facebook.

Still yet, it was worth an attempt for our Gabbie-girl.

But as her birthday party drew near, it became apparent that my message had probably been swallowed up into a sea of PW fanmail, perhaps read, perhaps even appreciated, but understandably unanswered. My disappointment was not too keenly felt, and I had to take a minute to feel sorry for Ree Drummond who probably receives thousands upon thousands of requests from people like me who just want this “one tiny thing” from her.

And it was great; even though my dreams of the present-of-a-lifetime didn’t materialize, Gabbie’s party was a precious affair.

The children arrived to a table stacked with miniature pizza boxes that they got to decorate with fun stickers and markers before moving to another table where they put together their own pizza using PW’s homemade crust recipe.

Then, while their pizzas baked in the oven, they moved to another table and put together a Pioneer Woman fruit pizza. There was also PW’s lasagna for the grownups, as well as her beautiful (and towering!) Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake that served as Gabbie’s birthday cake.


I was just so touched by that sweet party, and left that day not only realizing what an amazing woman and mother Megan is, but that Gabbie is more than your typical fan of Pioneer Woman…

She’s a superfan!

All that to say, when my friends and I were sitting around in early October discussing Halloween costumes, and Megan mentioned that she had nothing planned, I offhandedly mentioned that Gabbie should dress as Pioneer Woman, remembering her birthday party and her unprecedented adoration for Ree Drummond.

I was joking.

But apparently Gabbie heard the idea and was like, YEAH, baby.

From that night on, she was determined to wear a Pioneer Woman costume for Halloween.

(You don’t see a lot of those on Pinterest, either…)

But over the next couple of weeks, I watched in wonder and amusement as Megan did it again. Where I would have said, “You know, sweetie, that doesn’t really match Mommy’s costume”, Megan found a way to make her little girl’s dream come true and, although she was still clueless on the Sunday before Halloween about how to make this costume materalize, by the time I saw Gabbie at our town’s Trunk or Treat on Halloween night, she had been transformed into none other than Ree Drummond…


I cracked up.

The best part of all? When Gabbie approached our “trunk” to recieve her treats, she first handed ME a treat of prettily wrapped homemade cookies. Because that’s what Pioneer Woman would do.

(Let’s all take a moment to ponder the cute/sweet/preciousness of that idea and give Gabbie and her mama a round of applause).

When our troop returned home later that night and all the sugar-laced children had been strapped into their beds, I did what every American mother does on Halloween night, edited and uploaded photographs onto facebook. It was so much fun to peruse the snapshots of what had been a truly special evening (more on that next week), and I loved looking again at the different costumes our little churchkids had come up with this year. They were all so precious.

But when I came across Gabbie’s picture in the hundreds I had taken that night, I stopped for a minute.

I smiled.

I said “eureka!”

And I decided it was worth another shot.

Going straight to Pioneer Woman’s facebook page, I posted Gabbie’s photo and left Ree a quick caption: “At our town’s trunk-or-treat, I was so happy to be visited by a little Ree Drummond. This is 6-year old Gabbie, your biggest fan!”

It took no more than a minute and, assuming it, too, had been swallowed into the blackhole of internet posts, I gave it little thought and went on to tweak and edit some more of our photos before finally calling it a night and going to sleep…

And that leads us back to the morning of November the 1st.

When I woke up, I set out to accomplish my first post-Halloween goal of staying in bed with my caffeine and pajamas. Leisurely sipping on my first cup of coffee, I opened my laptop and was perusing facebook when I got a notification.

Clicking on it, I saw with bug-eyes that this was not my typical notification.

And that’s when our day went twisty…


Click here to read part 2!

(and here to read part 3).

How to (Not) Keep a Lid on Breastfeeding

I’m a pretty modest person.

My exposure to doctors and hospitals was nonexistent before my first pregnancy…

My Mom and I never had “the talk”…not even the one about puberty (in her defense, I think I would plug my ears and curl up into the fetal position when she tried)…

And I cannot for the LIFE of me dig up enough maturity to use scientific terms for body parts and bodily functions. Which explains why my husband says he sometimes felt like someone was going to come and arrest him for taking advantage of me when they saw that I was with child and then heard me try to answer medical questions without squirming like a 12-year old and using phrases like “a #2” instead of “a bowel movement”.

By the way, if you could have seen me at the hospital trying to discuss our plan for birth control with a wet-behind-the-ears and adorably awkward medical student, you would have been in stitches. I’m just so glad my husband was asleep at the time with ear-plugs in his ears.

And so having a curious little boy named Gideon in my life has posed a bit of a challenge to me, especially after an extremely awkward encounter we had when he was only two years old. I would tell you the story, but…I can’t. There are no words.

And while I was somehow able to skirt around uncomfortable discussions with him when pregnant with his sisters, I knew that my time was up this go-round. He is six years old. He has lots of questions. He notices everything...

Somehow, though, I lucked out. The “where do babies come from?” discussion didn’t come up at all when I was pregnant, only lots of questions about how the baby was going to “pop out” of me. In fact, several times, he tried to push on my belly to help me along in that process: “Here, let me help you pop that baby out!”

“I’m good, Gid!” I would insist, thanking him for his help as I retreated with my belly to a safer part of the house.

But I knew on our first day home with Baby Shepherd, when Gideon offered to go and make him a bottle, that a discussion on breastfeeding was inevitable; this became even clearer as he kept asking me, over the course of a couple of days, what his baby brother was eating. “Where is his milk?” he would ask, dumbfounded, “Where are the bottles?…”

“Yeah,” said Rebekah, “where’s his food?”

I looked at Mr. Gore. “I’m going to have to tell them,” I said. I knew, with our new family dynamic and our busy homeschooling schedule, that I couldn’t just hide out in my room for a year, nor could I carry Shepherd around under a blanket every 3 hours without them thinking I was a little off-my-rocker.

But, as Betsie would say, I was “skerred”. I had no idea how Gideon was going to react to what I told him. Would he gag? Would he crack up? Would he be mortified and flee from my presence?

I decided to give myself a head-start by talking to Rebekah first. Her calm acceptance of how I look in my birthday suit gave me confidence to know this wouldn’t be a big deal to her.

I was spot-on…

During one of the baby’s feedings, she joined me on my bed; the baby was completely hidden by covers.

“Where’s Shepherd?” she asked.

“Right here,” I said, “he’s eating.” I decided to plunge into it. “Do you want to know what he eats?”

She nodded her head, eyes alight with curiosity. I told her.

She fell over, laughing.

“That’s funny!” she exclaimed, “Can I have a drink?”

(That’s gonna be a negative, Ghost Rider).

So now it was Gideon’s turn.

His Papa had already helped me out by telling him that the baby was getting his nourishment “from Mama”, but that wasn’t enough for Gid the Kid.

He needed more details.

And so yesterday morning, I called to him from my bedroom where I was already feeding Shepherd under a blanket: “Gid, why don’t you come to my room and we’ll read while I feed the baby?”

He happily obliged, bouncing down beside me in his usual rough-and-tumble manner.

“Is he eating right now?” he asked, immediately, confirming my assumption that if I could get him to my room while I was nursing, he would naturally initiate the conversation.

I nodded, and my stomach started clenching up as I anticipated what was ahead.

“How is he eating?…” he asked.

“He just is…” I hedged, trying to find the right words.

But before I could stop him, Gideon peeked under the blanket.

“Oh!” he said, “he just gets his food from there?”

“Yes…” I replied, speechless.

There was a long pause…

and then my favorite goofy, crooked, top-front-toothless grin spread across his face.

“Really?!” he exclaimed, smiling hugely.

“Yes…” I repeated, hesitant. This was the moment I had been bracing myself for…

“Cool.” he said lightly, as if his mom being a walking milk-truck was the most natural and awesome thing in the world.

“…yep.” I replied.

And that was that.

I heaved a giant sigh of relief, and we started reading his book.

Why in the world had I waited SO long to let him in on this great mystery and miracle of life?

That was a cakewalk!…

Not so fast, Mrs. Gore.

We still had one more “talk” ahead.

Later that day, when I was feeding Shepherd yet again, Gideon joined me on my bed, a giant question written all over his face.

“So…where is the milk at?” he asked, obviously confused.

Oh geeze, I thought, here we go again…

It was obvious that I was going to have to GROW UP and be a little less vague.

I couldn’t bring myself to show him the exact source of Shepherd’s nourishment, and so in an impromptu stroke of genius, I lifted up his shirt.

“See those things right there?” I asked, bluntly.

He nodded.

“That’s where it comes from,” I said, boldly and without hesitation.

The question mark on his face was replaced with a lightbulb.

Ohhhh!” he exclaimed, understanding finally sinking in. “…so those are the lids!”

“The lids?” I asked.

“Yeah, to the milk,” he explained.

“…YES!” I said, thrilled. “The lids!”

You have no idea how happy I was, one, that our conversation about breastfeeding was finally over, two, that Gideon had given me a funny story to tell, and, three, that I now had a great word to use when referring to…you know. Those things.

I had never known what to call them before…

A Little Story about a Big Dummy – Part 1

I have a surprisingly long history with miniatures.

Not because I love dollhouses.

Not because I’m fascinated with the diminutive.

Not because I am a collector.

But because I’m a collosal (the opposite of miniature) dummy.

And time after time, I order items off of the internet, wrongly assume they will be the size that I think they should be (rather than taking five seconds to research the dimensions), and open my delivered boxes to find that what I ordered was not of any functional size like I assumed it would be, but…teensy tiny like a teacup poodle. If not smaller.

I suppose my first miniature episode wasn’t really my fault as much as it was a misunderstanding between Mr. Gore and me. In this particular story, I actually knew what I was getting into.

Mr. Gore, on the other hand, was kind of blindsided.

Gideon was a baby and we were living with my parents while we waited to see where we were going to live/work/eat/sleep. We had few things at the time to call our own: a car, a crib, lots of clothes, and a storage unit full of dishes and knick-knacks. No real furniture. No washer and dryer. And certainly no benches.

And so when I saw this beautiful “farmhouse bench” come up for sale at Pottery Barn Kids for what I thought was a very reasonable price, I did my typical I-can’t-breathe-until-I-purchase-this-item schtick, calling my husband at work to “sell it” to him, giving him all the points of merit in the bench’s favor, lamenting how sad our life will be without it, and, basically, doing everything short of begging to get my way and get it quickly. You know, before it sold out!

But I was surprised by how easily he acquiesced, especially after I told him that the sale price was $99. “Sure!” he said, with ease.

…Really?…” I responded, sort of shocked that this had been so easy.

“Well it sounds like a pretty good deal,” he said, “especially if you really like it.”

I did! I loved it. And so, before he could change his mind, I quickly ordered it, my heart soaring at the beautiful bench Gideon would now have in his room. We might not have had any real people furniture, but our son would now be the proud owner of a very important bench.

Cut to a couple of weeks later when my poor husband returned home from work. Coming through the front door, he announced, “There’s a box on the front porch from Pottery Barn Kids.”

I gasped dramatically. “That’s our bench!”

“What bench?…” he asked, looking at me quizzically.

“Remember? The bench you said I could order?” I replied.

‘Yeah…but that box out there is tiny.” he said.

“Yeah…” I said, confused.

“That can’t be the bench.” he said flatly.

“It has to be.” I replied, knowing that no other Pottery Barn Kids purchases had been made.

“…What kind of bench did you order?” he asked me, his voice now colored with confusion and maybe a little suspicion.

“A kid bench.” I answered.

There was a very long silence, followed by a look of understanding on my husband’s face, followed by one of dismay.

Followed by his next question, silently posed, but voluminous in its implications:

“Are you telling me we just spent $99 on a kid bench?!…” he asked.

“Actually…” I said with a grimace on my face, “$99.79. And items that end in $.79 are non-refundable…”


Part 2 – coming up next!

How Awful Are Thy Branches

~ this post is a revision of one published last Christmas ~

My Dad could easily be misunderstood as a guy who doesn’t love holidays.

But the truth of the matter is, what he really hates…nay, abhors…is going “to town”. A true country boy, he hates the traffic. The noise. The crowds. The dark restaurants. The loud restaurants. The crowded restaurants. The exorbitant costs. The works.

So it’s not so much that he dislikes looking at Christmas lights. He just dislikes going “to town” to look at Christmas lights, waiting in a long line of traffic to do so and then bumping into the five thousand other people who are there looking at Christmas lights, all before paying $50 to buy hot chocolate for his entire family (2 of his 4 children are “in the ministry” – if he doesn’t buy our hot chocolate….nobody gets hot chocolate).

Likewise, he doesn’t hate going to pick out a Christmas tree. He hates having to go “to town” to pick out a Christmas tree.

So a couple of years ago, after hearing my brother, Pete, recount his single favorite Christmas as the one where our family went “out back” to chop down our Christmas tree, my Daddy had a really fun idea: to cut down a tree from the new 9-acre property he purchased in town (our small hometown, not busy Tulsa “town”), that joins up with the acre Mr. Gore and I were building our home on. He drives by the place every morning on the way to work and had spied a whole line-up of potential Christmas trees. The grandkids would love it, he enthused, and the best part? He wouldn’t have to go “to town”.

We’re stupid, so we easily caught his excitement and chose a day for our Christmas tree excursion, and what happened next went down in family history.


Now, I’ve got to preface this story by pointing out that my Dad is the MAN. He can do anything. He can measure things with his bare eyes. He can weld upside-down in a fiery hole. He has drained our lake and built islands in it. He knows how to properly secure a Christmas tree in the stand. And he can usually tell with a single glance whether or not a tree will fit inside of a house. That’s what makes this tree story so bizarre and unbelievable…

So here’s my Dad as he gases up his chainsaw. What is not pictured is the line of expectant family members, all bundled up for our outing. It was a frigid day, one I’ll never forget.

This picture of my niece, Anna Ruth, will give you an idea of exactly how cold it was. The children had on two or three layers of clothing, but nothing could shield us from that biting Oklahoma wind.

But freezing or not, here we go! Let’s do this thingy.

The further away we got from the house, the colder it got.

And right about here is when I started to realize that this might not have been the best idea. I’m carrying a 40-pound toddler against the coldest wind, I feel like we’ve walked about 3 miles already…and we’re only halfway there. But there is no turning back. We are committed to this adventure.

Sadly though, once we arrived, the trees didn’t look nearly as good as they did from the road. We just kind of wandered around in circles, surveying this ragtag group of cedars, some more like bushes, others more like…taller than my house.

Sidenote: I love this little boy and would do anything for him. Even carry him to a cedar wasteland in Antarctica.

“Hey, this one doesn’t look so bad!” my Daddy called out. Whether we truly agreed or were just eager to get this show on the road, it was unanimous – it was perfect!

Funny though, standing in the midst of a small forest, no one seemed to notice that this tree, in particular, was…oh, 16 feet tall?!

But yes! This is it! This is the one! Merry Christmas, one and all! Deck the halls with boughs of holly! God bless us, everyone!

And then came my Daddy’s big moment, the one that Granddaddies probably dream of…

As his grandchildren (and his wife) watched with wonder…

he revved up his chainsaw…

and cut that (and I quote) sucker down!


And there she is.

Our prize.

(Huh. Is that the same tree? Now would be a good time to start noticing that this tree looks kind of totally different in every picture).

Back uphill we tromped, our brand new Christmas tree leading the way…

for about ten seconds. Then Gideon decided he wasn’t taking another step. So guess who got to carry him? His Aunt Amy. (I’m still thanking her for that).

Almost there (thank God!)…

Once back to the work truck, a quick measure showed that this tree might be just the right size for my parent’s house. Keyword: might.

They load ‘er up and drive ‘er to her new home in the country…

Exhausted Gideon slept all the way there.  (Noteworthy: Was he really that little?? And did we actually think this tree adventure would mean anything to him at this age?!)

So anyhow, we got the tree home and set it up in the front yard and…it seems to have expanded a little during its 10-mile trip down the highway. My Daddy stands in the yard and stares at it.

Mr. Gore drags it inside, nonetheless…

and it self-inflates to twice its normal size. This can’t be the same tree that was just standing in the yard. Impossible.

Scratch that…it has tripled in size! And doubled in plain old ugliness.

My Mom just fled the room, laughing until she cried.

Our ridiculous tree not only dwarfed the living room with its majestic girth, but its cedar scent infiltrated every corner of the house, not fresh and invigorating like a Colorado pine, but dank and dirty like it was from…well, a random pasture in Oklahoma. It gagged us one and all.

I initially tried trimming at the branches with some kitchen shears, but they were no match for this “tree” and I had to fetch some weed whackers.

Two whacks in, however, I gave up, afraid to make it worse. (Not to mention the rash that began creeping up my arms the minute they made contact with the tree).

That’s right…I said rash. I couldn’t go near this tree. Thus, Mr. Gore had to decorate it while I looked on from across the room. (I hate to be repetitive, but again…is this really the same tree? Does it not look like it has now cloned itself or given birth to triplets?)

The next day, Daddy tried to revive our Christmas spirit by heroically decorating the rest of the tree, and I so wish I had the pictures to show what happened next: this giant tree, full of breakable ornaments, fell over, smashing into the living room floor with all the gusto of its initial fall in the wilderness. Screaming in shock and terror, I scooped up both children and ran from the room, never once thinking to take just one picture of the aftermath.

I don’t know what was more disturbing…the heirloom ornaments that were shattered that day or the manic and wild nature of this tree that would cause it to just leap from its stand like that. I think it was sending us a message: You should’ve gone “to town”, suckers.

Christmas morning came, and our Giant Christmas Shrub of 2009 was there to greet us.

I will admit, the tree had its moments. At times, I would walk into the room and laugh, but at others, I would marvel at its beauty and admire its pioneer spirit and smell…

but by Christmas morning, it had begun to settle, and was 100% irrefutably…ugly. And kind of crooked.

You know, though, it’s funny…

We’ve had a lot of really beautiful Christmas trees over the years, and this tree is the only one I distinctly remember.

I could pick it out of a line-up.

p.s. That’s not a compliment.

Mrs. Gore Slips and Slides (and pays for it the next day)

A couple of weeks ago, after a full season of photographed birthday parties and social gatherings, wherein our clothing was carefully chosen and our hair was meticulously groomed, I made a total departure.



No cameras and no other adults around, I made an unprecedented decision, and wearing my super-awesome matronly swim dress…from you guessed it, Dillard’s (complete with “waist cinchers” and “hip slimmers”)…I spent the afternoon playing on the Slip n’ Slide with my children and 3 nieces.

It was my 2nd time ever to “play” on a Slip n’ Slide.

If I haven’t told you 54 times already, I am the baby of the family, as well as the only girl. Thus, by the time I had arrived in the Slip n’ Slide stage of life, ours was all ratty and tatty and had been slightly eaten by mice in the garage. When we did pull it out for birthday parties, it was teeming with reckless pre-teen boys, and my timidity and fear (and good common sense!) kept me safely in the house with my Mama.

That’s why I was 22 years old before I ever had the opportunity or the inclination to partake in any kind of  Slip n’ Slide fun.

{would this also be a good time to confess that I never learned to ride a bike? No? Okay. Some other time.}

My cousin’s elementary-aged boys were visiting that summer, and although my parents were hosting them, it was my job to keep them entertained during those long summer days in the middle of nowhere. Setting up a fancy new Slip n’ Slide my Mom had purchased just for them, I watched them make a few runs, and then, in a moment of spontaneity and perhaps a bit of unfulfilled childhood longing, I thought I’d finally give it a try.

Their cheers for me echoed through the distance as I made my stance and set my eye on the target. “Go!” I yelled in my head, and my legs began to run toward the long, yellow plastic runway, crunchy heat-scorched Oklahoma grass breaking underneath my bare feet with every heavy step I took (I’m dense in more ways than one). Reaching the Slip n’ Slide, I lunged, and jumping into the air, I flew

and landed with a thunk, flat on my stomach, the rain-thirsty Oklahoma ground beneath me as rock hard as my skull.

The same skull that I could feel my brain rattling around in as I laid there on the Slip n’ Slide in acute discomfort, vowing never to come near one again.

But it’s true…time has a way of healing all wounds…and Momnesia has obviously made me an absolute lunatic…so when I saw my kids suiting up to go play in the water at my Mom’s house this summer, some kind of madness overtook me. I felt young. I felt spontaneous. I felt charitable, and I didn’t care one whip if my hair got wet or if my cellulite made an appearance.

The kids stared at me, aghast, when they saw me come outside in my bathing suit, not because I was huge or weird looking or an uninvited guest, but because…I was a grown-up.

“You’re swimming?!” my 8-year old niece, Abigail exclaimed, a smile of disbelief lighting up her face.

“Yes!” I replied, with a laugh, which was soon echoed by all the kids as they gathered around me, the novelty of having someone who usually sits in a rocking chair while they swim dare to venture across that secret boundary that keeps kids in the pool and grown-ups comfortable and, most importantly, dry.

“Come on!” they shouted in a cacophany of young voices, 5 sets of hands pulling me toward the Slip n’ Slide.

But I needed to buy some time. Stagefright had set in and I wasn’t ready yet.

“So how do you do this thing?” I asked tentatively.

They gladly demonstrated, each child explaining to me the hows and whens of the Slip n’ Slide, and before I knew it, ready or not, it was my turn.

I stood in position and stared at the obstacle before me. Gee, it looked like fun with its runway of sprinklers on either side and the little pool at the end surrounded by a soft, inflatable ledge …

But it was so far down on the ground. And I felt so stinkin’ tall, the Goliath of the party…no, scratch that….I was the more like the big dumb giant on “Mickey and the Beanstalk”…

“How do I get from here to there?” I calculated in my mind.

But then the encouraging chants of the Lilliputians around me did their magic, and I was off like a retired racehorse, running…and praying…and positively flinching at the thought of having my brain rattle inside my skull like it did 8 summers ago.

Well…the result of my fear and over-thought resulted in a truly sad display of old-lady Slip-n-Slidery, an awkward slide/fall/lying-down/roll that eventually landed me at the finish line, freezing, exposed, and perhaps bruised…but I had done it, and my brain was still resting comfortably inside my spacious skull. As the children swooped down next to me on the Slip n’ Slide, a well of laughter bubbled up from my soul, and mingled with their happy giggles.

“Help her up!” Abigail said, and I felt those 5 sets of hands on my bottom, hoisting me up like I was truly ancient. It amused me to realize exactly how old these kiddos thought I was…and didn’t I feel the same way about my own Mom until I had children of my own?

I took a moment to glance at the expressions on the faces of my own children to gauge what they were thinking of their silly Mama, and what I saw there completely made my day: Gideon was obviously excited, a huge smile lighting up his entire face. But Rebekah’s smile was one of pride and a little bit of wonder, and I noticed that she kept sidling up next to me to hold my hand and partake in the fun right alongside me.

This observation must have spurred me on, and the childish mentality that had overtaken me that strange summer day said “That was fun! I wanna do it again…”

And so I did.

Over and over and over again.

Sometimes I ran and slid with the kids, sometimes I performed alone while they cheered for me, sometimes I stood and threw them down the runway like little rocketships, and finally, I just sat down on the Slip n’ Slide and, instructing the kids to grab my wrists and my ankles, allowed them to pull me all the way down to the end.

I can’t recall ever having so much fun swimming in my entire lifetime of memories.

But there are 2 morals to this story:

1. To my dear young ladies who feel self-conscious in a swimming suit, there is a bright future ahead for you – someday (sooner than you think), you’ll be flopping around on a Slip n’ Slide like a beached whale and won’t care a bit about all your wibblies and wobblies. Because no matter what you look like, you’ll be the most popular girl at the party.

2. The Biblical truth of reaping and sowing applies even to Slip n’ Slides. In this particular instance, the sowing was full of unparalleled excitement and joy; the reaping, however, was 100 degrees of painful. Meaning, I had my fun on Slip n’ Slide Day…but I couldn’t move for 3 days afterward. Pain. Muscle soreness. Headaches. Aches ALL over. Ouch.

Thankfully, there was no permanent damage, and my ego was soaring so high from the sowing that I was able to keep my temporary pain in perspective. But once I was able to move again, I mozied back over to my comfortable rocking chair on swimming days, especially after it was pointed out to me that there there is an age recommendation on the Slip n’ Slide box: ages 6 – 12. So that explains it.

I suppose my Slip n’ Slide days are over.

Now maybe I should see about riding that bike….

Ah, Sweet Fatherhood

When Mr. Gore came home from work yesterday, he volunteered to distract the children for a bit so I could fill some granola orders (another story, altogether). But I had to pause in my cooking to snap a few pictures of the chaos (and the fun!). Of all the pictures I’ve shared on this blog, these are the most representative of our life…

That last picture is my favorite, as well as the last one I snapped before tiptoeing back to the kitchen to make my granola in peace…

Many thanks, Mr. Gore!