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For the last umm… a lot of years… I have lived in the Pacific Northwest. When I made my epic trip I would tell people I was from Washington and they would obviously think I was from our nations capital. Uh, not even close. When most people think of Washington they think of things like

rain 2

and

Rain, rain go away

Rain, rain go away

and probably stuff like

Space Needle

Space Needle

and I’m sure things like

This

This

and

Definitely this!

Definitely this!

The reality is so much different where I live. I was challenged by a friend today to take pictures when I was on my lunch break. This is what reality looks like in my neck of the woods…

Our local museum. This building used to be the unemployment office then sat empty for a long time. I haven't been inside but I drive by it every day.

Our local museum. This building used to be the unemployment office then sat empty for a long time. I haven’t been inside but I drive by it every day.

and

This mural is on the wall of the back of a building that houses a bail bonds place. Not sure who painted it or when but it's pretty cool and it faces the lot where I park for work.

This mural is on the wall of the back of a building that houses a bail bonds place. Not sure who painted it or when but it’s pretty cool and it faces the lot where I park for work.

Even places like this

One of my first memories when we moved here is going to breakfast at this place with my parents.

One of my first memories when we moved here is going to breakfast at this place with my parents.

and

I remember when this was the local PepsiCo bottling company. It's named after the local bottling company.

I remember when this was the local PepsiCo bottling company.

I’ve decided that I want to take more pictures of this area so I can show just how beautiful things really are around here. If you had to describe the area you live with pictures what kinds of things would you show?

 

 

Mooooooommmmm….

I’m going to change my name. I’ve decided. I can’t tell you what it will be because one of you will tell my kids then I’ll be screwed.

7195 days ago I became a mother. I suppose you could add 9 months to that if you wanted to get technical about it but I think that number is overwhelming enough as it is. Little did I know that I was about to embark on the most difficult, sometimes heartbreaking, often terrifying, frequently enjoyable, always rewarding adventures of my life! Almost from the beginning I was mostly a single mom. When she was 3 months old, I became a really real single mom. Thankfully I had MY mom to help me. Those early days were tough as we learned about each other and got to know one another. My baby Beauty was my first true love. She taught me things about myself that I never knew. I didn’t know you could function on so little sleep for extended periods of time. Not function very well but still able to be semi-coherent. She opened my eyes to the little things I had never noticed. She was excited about pretty much everything and learning to see the world through the eyes of a child is an amazing experience. For the first 6 years of her life we were a team. It was her and I against the world. 5019 days ago her sister was born. Beauty was such a great help when I was pregnant with MiniMe. She loved to cuddle with me on the couch and lay her head on my baby bump. 2 weeks before MiniMe was born we moved into the hotel I worked at and were living in a room there. 3 days before MiniMe was born my parents arrived and stayed in a room across the hall. Because of complications during childbirth (I almost died! For real!) I had to stay in the hospital for a few days. Poor Beauty had never really been away from me for that long and wasn’t happy about it. That first night she decided she was going to sleep in my bed since she couldn’t be with me. Grandma couldn’t get her to change her mind for anything. MiniMe brought many changes to our lives. Beauty was the very best big sister around. Right up until her baby started getting into her stuff and trying to eat everything. Then the days (and nights) were filled with “Mooooommmm she has my…” or “Moooooooommmm she wants my…” That never really changed even as they got a little bigger. Except instead of only 1 of them saying it now I had 2.

MiniMe was my “no leg baby”. Not literally of course but the kid seriously had the shortest little legs it was crazy! Beauty was 7lbs 6oz and 21 1/2 inches long at birth. Long and skinny. MiniMe was 7lbs 15.5 oz and 19 inches long. She was the Gerber Baby. Most of that 19 inches was her torso. She didn’t even hit the charts for height until she was almost 4! Beauty was off the charts from the beginning and finally stopped at 5’9″. She didn’t get that from me! MiniMe is now 13 and a couple of weeks ago we measured her and she’s 5’1″. Yep, that’s my girl!

The other day I was making dinner and MiniMe just randomly yelled “Moooooommmm”. I’m pretty sure it was just to see if I’d react. That’s when I told her I’m changing my name and I’m not telling her what it is. She didn’t find the humor in the situation.  Right now Beauty is taking some time away and visiting family and working on herself. The last year has been a rollercoaster and she needed to get off the ride for a while. MiniMe is keeping me on my toes this summer. We now have a kitten so she’s been busy with that. Horse Camp Season will be ending soon and it will be time to go back to school and get our routine back. She is definitely a creature of habit and not having anything to really do during the day is driving her a little crazy.

10 days from now we will be at our family reunion with my aunts and uncle and cousins on my mom’s side. The day we get there will mark the 3 month anniversary of mom passing away. I’m glad I’ll get to be with my extended family on that day. But I guarantee I’ll still get to hear one or hopefully both of my children call me Moooooommmm… And ya know what? I’m gonna enjoy every single minute of it!

Summer fun!

When I was little we lived in a little tiny town. Just outside of town there was a pond where we could go swimming. When I was really little my sister and brother used to take me there. Nothing like being a teenager and having to take your baby sister with you everywhere. When I got old enough my parents finally let me ride my bike to the “second dock” to go swimming with my friends. It was maybe a mile. That was all well and good until you hit the gravel road. Or heaven forbid you got to close to the edge and got sucked into the deep gravel.

I have great memories of swimming there when I was little. There was a little sandy beach we could play on and a diving stand you could climb up if you were brave enough (I wasn’t). I didn’t really know how to swim very well so I never got very far away from the dock where I couldn’t touch. There were drop-offs too. My niece almost drowned because of one of those.

One specific memory I have was when I was a little older. Pretty sure I was 13 when this happened. I was staying with my sister and helping take care of her and my nephew while she was pregnant with my niece and on bed rest for 6 months. It was a nice summer day we went to the pond and had a picnic with a bunch of her friends. While we were there my ex-boyfriend showed up. For some reason I didn’t have a swimming suit so my sister gave me a tube top to wear swimming. I was pretty proud of myself that I had learned how to swim under water and decided to show off a little. Unfortunately when I stood up my top came down and I flashed not only my ex-boyfriend but his brother and a bunch of his friends. It was mortifying. And there’s nothing worse than trying to get that stupid roll of fabric to un-roll in a hurry!

When MiniMe was a baby we went to visit my parents and went out to that same pond and she got to put her feet in the water just like my sister used to do with me. A couple of years ago we were on vacation at my sister’s house and the girls along with their friends we brought with us spent the day at that very same pond jumping off the very same dock I used to. The diving stand is no longer there but the little baby fishes still like to nibble on your toes if you stand still.

Growing up in the dark ages (i.e. before internet and cable) had its perks. We really did use the sun (or our stomachs) as our clock so we’d know when to come home. We didn’t have cliques or anything. There weren’t many kids in town so everybody just played together. Getting to ride your bike to the pond was a right of passage that we all went through. And jumping off the dock was the highlight of every summer.