Friday, May 30, 2008
A few weeks later, I was at my desk and the phone rang, on the other end was … my mother in Mississippi, just kidding, it was the park ranger. Needless to say I was giddy, jumping up and down, but trying to act oh so cool. My friend Pat and one of the other marketing girls ran to my doorway, they knew all about him and could not wait to see what he said.
His parents had moved to Oregon for a while and he was going to go out for a week to visit, on the way back he was gong to have a three and a half hour layover in Memphis and wanted to take me up on my promise to show him what Memphis was really like. Of course I told him that I needed to check my calendar, it was going to be Mother’s Day weekend. I am close to my mom, but I thought maybe I would just get her an extra nice gift and she would understand. So, I erased trip to Mississippi to visit parents in my Franklin Planner this was during the paper organization days, and wrote in Park Ranger’s name, 4:30 Northwest Airlines. I never even questioned why he was traveling through Memphis when Dallas would have been better, but hey, the travel agent karma was on my side. I would later find out it was intentional.
I hung up the phone and Pat and I giggled for a while, talked about how gorgeous he was and the rest of the day I was walking in the clouds. The countdown until May 9 was on, everything I did was in anticipation of picking him up at the airport on that Sunday.
The day finally came, I arrived at Memphis International early, checked my make-up and hair about 53 times in the bathroom closest to his gate and waited. This was before 911, so I did not have to have a strip search and I was able to sit by his gate. The coy gal I am, I sat a few gates down and waited and waited, and waited. O.K. I was so excited I got there REAL early.
Then, I saw him, he was walking toward me with Wranglers, boots, a nice dark green button down shirt and a smile that lit up the airport. It was all I could do to stand up, I was focused on not doing anything stupid like walking toward him and tripping. Thankfully, my awkward gracefulness did not take over and we met in the middle without any major catastrophe on my part.
Remember, I had only had a limited conversation at the trade show with this man, and then the brief phone conversation to make this date. But, after a brief moment of awkwardness, he looked at me with those eyes so blue that you could swim in them and everything was fine, it was then that I KNEW!
After pleasantries such as “how was your flight?” “Did you enjoy Oregon”, etc., I asked if he was hungry, he was a little non-committal on food (I thought) so I figured I would just take him to see some Memphis sites. Little did I know that because he was training for a marathon that he was ALWAYS hungry, keep this in mind as the story progresses.
We left the airport in my sporty little Acura and as I was passing someone to get on to the exit ramp I thought I heard him whispering a prayer to get him back to the airport safely. My dad was a detective and taught me to drive, I drove fast but safe. We drove through downtown and I showed him some cool places and then I said I don’t live far would you like to go see the Mississippi River?
My apartment in Harbortown had a big bay window that looked out on the river and I thought he would like the scenery. So, we went to my apartment. After arriving I asked if he wanted a little snack, I did not see the “I am starving here woman” look he gave me. I still hear about how hungry he was today, but in my defense, he did not say that he needed some food or he was going to pass out!
Since I was single, I did not cook much, well, hardly ever, so I pulled out my limited refrigerator findings of watermelon and strawberries. Now, don’t let any red flags go up because the Park Ranger is an old fashioned, perfect gentleman, so the fact that he came to my apartment was perfectly innocent.
We talked and walked along the river, I was in awe of his kindness, gentleness, yet rugged good looks and masculinity. We talked about our lives, background, everything you talk about on a first date. It was getting late and I would have to get him back to the airport soon so we loaded back up into my car and headed back. After looking at my watch, we were running a little late so I had to go faster, I heard him praying again for safety.
We arrived at the Northwest drop-off and I got out to help him with his bag out of the trunk. He started digging into his bag and pulled out a card and handed it to me. My birthday had been two weeks before and he had been kind enough to get me a card.
We hugged goodbye and I leaned over and gave him a little peck, it was intended as a sweet, innocent peck. I knew this was make or break time, I really liked him and wanted him to have no doubt about the fact that I was interested. He looked a little caught off guard, bewildered. And, then he raced toward his gate because he was about to miss his plane or I had scared him to death. Thank goodness he was a runner, or he would miss his plane. As he headed in, my whole body shivered and I knew, it confirmed the feeling I had when I saw him walking up the tarmac, he was the man of my dreams, the one God had planned for me. I was going to marry this man. Now, he had to figure that out.
Read Chapter 9: He Said~ The Ranger's Version of Our First Date
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The Buckaroo's are very sad and really worried about Lady, his mom. We will make extra trips to check on her tomorrow.
The Park Wife
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Unknown to the previous owners or Park personnel, they were both pregnant. Now that is a bargain! Buy one, get one free. A few weeks ago I introduced you to our newest gal, her name is Prize.
And, today, I would like to introduce you to Lady's new Colt, Sir.
So, now we have Sir and Prize, perfect names for such a wonderful surprise blessings.
Just look at those knobby knees, reminds me of myself when I was a girl, before the freshman 15 and birthing 2 babies, oh, the good 'ole days. What fun it will be to watch this pair grow up.
As you can imagine, the Buckaroo's are making their plans on how to saddle them up and go out in search of the bad guys, guns-a-blazing. They long to be fierce, fearless, and wild, and I want that for them. I can't think of anything worse than raising two boys that become bored men, filled with caricatures of masculinity. I don't want them to spend their weekends in front of sports on the t.v. watching people in the game rather than being in the game, or playing video games all day while their children are outside playing.
I believe that masculinity is bestowed, and what a blessing that my little guys have Big Buckaroo to help them learn who they are and to pass on the essential knowledge and confidence of their strength. I love that when I ask Little Buckaroo what he wants to be when he grows up that he says, "I want to be a cowboy because my brother is going to be and we will be warriors for God". Camaraderie and God, my heart is exploding with joy over our boys.
By the way, Lady and Freckles are great mother's, gals after my own heart.
The Park Wife
Postscript: Thanks to Nikki for the beautiful pictures of the horses.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Little Buckaroo had fun, but just could not understand why his dad would not put up a Betsy Ross flag, which his favorite. We explained that our state was not even represented on the Betsy Ross as we are not one of the original colonies. That really did not matter, he still likes the Betsy Ross and asked if his dad could get one. In the end, he settled for this one and after he was able to run around the schoolhouse and play a while he forgot all about his disappointment that there were 50 stars rather than 13.
The Buckaroos are saluting the flag as it is being raised, but the sun got to be a little too much and the salute became a way to block the sun from their eyes.
What a sight, I had chills. I am so proud to be an American.
Here is Papaw's WWII uniform on display at the Park. Interestingly enough, Big Buckaroo's grandparents lived in the same house for a lot of years and it was sold after Papaw's death in 1998. About 3 weeks ago we found out that Papaw's WWII trunk that included this uniform was still in the attic of that house. Yes, 10 years later, it was still there and the owners of the home were happy to let us retrieve it.
Later in the day our good friends came over for burgers, some real good grass-fed beef burgers that Big Buckaroo cooked to perfection. It was a wonderful day!
I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day.
The Park Wife
Monday, May 26, 2008
Then, we are having our good friends over who are our “family” here and we will cook out some burgers and fellowship with them. I think I might stay in the air conditioning, hey, someone has to prepare food and the table, I know a cop out, but hey, it is getting humid around here.
So, on this Memorial Day, remember while you are getting ready for your cookout to take time to remember all of the fallen heroes who have died in the service of our country. I also want to thank all of the people who have and are serving our country and helping to keep it safe for me, my family, and all U.S. citizens.
I want to leave you with this extraordinary quote by Theodore Roosevelt that hangs in our home:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
May God Bless America,
The Park Wife
Friday, May 23, 2008
You just can't set up these kind of pictures. Little Buckaroo came to the back door and said, "mom, I got mud on my Mudd shirt". Yeah, just another day at our house.... and I would not change a thing.
The Park Wife
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Things I learned from my first homeschool convention last weekend:
- Reaffirmed that my choice to homeschool is not as much about academics, but about parenting. It's not the curriculum that will save my kids- it's whether or not I have their hearts.
- You know that you have a friend for life when you are driving down country roads, taking a few wrong turns and your passenger friend is putting poison ivy salve on your right wrist. Now, that is friendship! Thanks Nikki.
- You must push the bar at the base on the gym sink to wash your hands, if no one is in there to give you a tutorial on how it works, it will take you a while of pushing different part of the sink to figure it out. Hopefully no one will walk in while you are beating different parts of the sink trying to get water to come out, you will be labeled one of those weird homeschool moms that can not even operate a sink. Thankfully Nikki came out of the stall before me and had a sink tutor help her.
- Although a very social person, everyone we came in contact with from the B&B owners to flea market ladies to moms in line for the used curriculum sale, they all told us their life stories and more! I thought I was chatty, whew! These people could talk!
- Let’s talk wardrobe:
Rolling carts? At first I thought, what are these people doing pulling these things everywhere? I figured it out about 10 minutes into the vendor area. Unfortunately, they would not match my shoes so I think I will have to pass on those.
Speaking of shoes, although I was quiet the conservative trendy homeschool mom(is there such a thing?) with my hip new haircut and strappy heels, comfortable shoes will be on my tootsies next year (cute, comfortable shoes). My feet HURT when I returned to the car for the drive home.
The stereotype of homeschool children in “plain” clothes as if they just stepped off the farm were in full attendance. I find this sweet and wonderful, here is why. First of all, you can tell that these children are smart, hardworking and family-oriented. Just watch how they help out, play with and protect their younger siblings. I don’t think I saw any overweight kids dressed in this “plain” fashion. You know they are working all day, helping their families to put food on the table and then are solving math equations in their heads that would take me years to try to figure out. I am not being degrading, so if you are one of these strapping, in-shape kids, don’t come beat me up because you could take me I am sure - hehe. These kids are building wonderful family memories and character, I adore this.
Now, there were some on the other end of the spectrum that I thought “where is that girls mother?” Did she see her walk out of the hotel this morning with that tank top, tight jeans and more black eyeliner than I could use in a month? Next I thought, thank you God for giving me boys!
- I have played MANY soccer games in my life, but the years of training, preparation and the competition did not prepare me for the line for the used curriculum sale. These people are serious about getting in there and grabbing what they want before you.
- Hearing from God?- when I was overwhelmed at the used curriculum sale, I heard a sweet voice in my left ear. No, it was not God telling me to move on to another table or to duck from the flying books that women were trying to get to, it was my mentor mom/friend Penny and her daughter Susanna looking at the same table not aware that I was standing right beside them. She calmed and refocused me so I could move on toward the finish/check-out line.
- I learned that I need to take what blessed me and leave the rest behind. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
My one main regret is that I did not get any Pathway Readers for Little Buckaroo, but now that I have my first homeschool convention under my belt, I will be more prepared for next year. Watch out used curriculum shoppers, I am in training for next year, and you don’t have a chance. I am competitive people!
O.K., in all seriousness, I promise to always have a good attitude and loving heart, especially toward other homeschool moms, we have to stick together ladies!! There are many people homeschooling for many different reasons these days. Some statistics say that 75% of homeschoolers are Evangelical Christians, are we being a good example to the other 25%? Or, are we yanking the Horizons math book from under another person’s pile of books?
At the end of it all, I was encouraged, rejuvenated, inspired, motivated, and better equipped to start to homeschool Little Buckaroo. Bring on the Kindergarten!
The Park Wife
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I will be going in to town to buy our Boxer his flea med today, I am feeling pity on him now that I can feel his pain. So, send your remedy concoction. Did I mention that we itch people?!!!!
The Itchy Park Wife
Monday, May 19, 2008
The play continued after I arrived home with dad building a "soccer goal".
The Buckaroos take a break for a picture between scoring goals.
Wow, look at that dribbling action, he is a natural.
Littlest Buckaroo was right in there, of course, he was not going to let a little 'ole soccer ball get the best of him.
The boys had fun, Big Buckaroo enjoyed one-on-one time with his little guys and I got to get a little away time. It was a great weekend all around, well except for the fact that my body is covered with poison ivy. I could whine for a while about this, but let's just say, it is miserable. Mind over matter, right? I keep trying to not think about it, but it gets so bad I just want to scratch. During my quiet time this morning instead of opening the Bible where I had been studying, I felt I needed to open it to Job. Poison ivy is nothing compared to his troubles and he praised the Lord through it all. So, every time I think I can't handle it anymore and start acting pitiful, I think of Job (and then go put on some anti-itch cream).
More on my homeschool convention weekend later,
The Park Wife
Friday, May 16, 2008
Now, I hope you know how much I appreciate all of you coming by The Park Wife and I need a favor. Big Buckaroo could not believe that I got 24 comments on chopping my hair off and he only got a couple for climbing down in a smelly well and writing his side of our first meeting. So, give the man some comment love so he will stop pestering me, I mean think you guys care about him.
Until I return from a fun weekend with pictures in tow,
The Park Wife
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Well, it goes something like this:
I was working for State Parks at the time as a Ranger and our Lodge manager who would normally represent our park at trade shows left with Ms. Assistant Lodge Manager to go to another state and run their own lodging business. The next show they were to attend was the “Southern Women’s Trade Show” in Memphis. I had never been to Memphis, was single, and liked southern women so I quickly volunteered for the job. The boss said “OK” and to Memphis I went.
I was one of four or five sister parks that attended that show so I had friends to hang out and eat with. We had a good time eating BBQ and seeing Beale Street.
Back to work: directly across the isle from my booth was a large display for a local chain of hospitals. They had a cute safari theme going with a parrot mascot, chocolates, and free blood pressure checks. Interested to know what my BP was I had it checked twice. The nurse said I had a dangerously low pulse, but I assured her it was simply the strength of my heart and not a health concern…I had been running a lot in preparation for a race later in the year.
While working the show I did happen to see a beautiful, dark haired, tanned, khaki pant wearing woman who was either extremely busy or just wanting to be noticed, so I obliged her and noticed. She had to be close to my age. She was flitting about trying very hard to act important. Being directly in front of my booth I would catch glimpses of her often, I now know that she was making an effort to ensure that I noticed.
She came by my booth several times and flirted somewhat, I guess she was flirting, I was pretty much a novice with such, but finally came to the conclusion that she was definitely flirting, mostly I just answered her questions and tried to “sell” the park I was there representing.
The days went by and at the end of the show I packed my booth and was on the way out with the last load when I saw her carrying some boxes. Figuring I had nothing to lose and under the impression she had flirted with me, or was just awful nice, I asked her if I could help her. She quickly replied, “no” and I was a bit taken back that a what appeared to be a proper southern lady would not let a man help her, even if she had it completely under control. Usually a southern woman knows to act like she just couldn’t have done anymore and to be expressly appreciative of the offered help. I began to wonder if she was from up north, but later found out she had been the only girl with five brothers. I wasn’t too interested at the time and said “fine, just thought I would offer”. I was taught growing up that you always offer to help a lady. At that point she suddenly wanted to talk. She asked me where I had been while in town and after telling her where I had been she acted as if those were the places that only tourist who didn’t know any better would visit and popped off that if I was ever in-town again she would take me to a “good” restaurant giving me her business card with her home number on it. I said OK, put the card with the others, and told her it was nice to meet her, thinking I would not be back in Memphis again, at least anywhere in the near future.
Read Chapter 8: The Park Wife and The Ranger ~ The First Date
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Big Buckaroo worked on the well we found just to see what we had there.
Speaking of muscles (hehe, I love to embarass Big Buckaroo), we mucked out about a foot off the bottom. There was not a treasure chest, but I am sure we will find some cool stuff when we get a little more out....when my poison ivy rash heals.
Postscript: After we finished this, Big Buckaroo built a cover for the well. So, all of you worried about the LIttle Buckaroo's falling in, rest assured, we took care of it.
The Park Wife
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I cut off almost 11 inches of my hair.
Big Buckaroo likes it (even though he is a man and most prefer long hair). Thanks for all of your suggestions!
The Park Wife
Big Buckaroo's side of our love story meeting will be here soon, stay tuned!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Thursday was set up day and I was running around like a mad woman when I saw this incredibly gorgeous guy walk by and then he was milling around by our booth. I had not seen him before and did not think he worked for Baptist (although there were 16 hospitals, I did not know EVERYONE). I continued what I was doing and when I turned around he was gone.
So, I did what any 27-year-old single woman looking for a man would do, I went on the prowl, I mean I went looking around at all the other booths to see all the other wonderful displays. Surprisingly (haha, he was a single guy), I found him in the food section. He was wearing a nice shirt, Wranglers and boots, YUM! Left hand check, no ring, woo hoo! I figured out (by following him a bit, I don’t think this was stalking, was it?) that he was with some state parks that had a row of booths right across from ours on one side.
So, I went back to our booth to “work”, planted myself on the side closest to his booth and I waited. Later in the day, I made my move. I went over to his booth to ask about his Park with some highly intelligent questions and some of my sassy remarks I am sure. The game was on! I found out he was the park ranger at one of the parks and usually the Lodge/Restaurant Managers attended these types of things but theirs quit a few days before and he got roped into going (can anybody say God-thing? Let me get an AMEN).
Big Buckaroo was training for a marathon during this time, obsessed with his health, so he would get his blood pressure taken over at one of our stops on the safari and the nurses were oohing and ahhing all over him. So, I had to step it up a notch, I wanted to make sure he noticed me, and in hindsight, how could he not I was flirting like crazy! I could have had a blinking sign on me saying “SWF looking for a great Christian guy who will love me and adore me for the next 60 years” and it would have been more subtle than my flirting antics. Remember, I have to keep it honest here because Big Buckaroo is going to give his side of the story in a few days.
Throughout the weekend I supplied him with never-ending cupfuls of chocolate coins and during a conversation with a large group I looked over and he was looking at me so I winked at him. Not very subtle, I know, but I meant business. This guy was incredibly good looking, I had to know more about him and only had a few days. Time was of the essence!
I did not have to work on Saturday since I was working the morning and on take-down on Sunday. But, how could I sit in my apartment in Harbor Town a mere mile away from the convention center where he was sitting? So, I put on some work-out gear and took a jog ~ well I guess you really can’t call it a jog, it was a jog a bit, stop to catch my breath, walk, sit on a bench for a minute kind of work-out. I really needed to stop by there to see if everything was going alright with our booth, yeah right, I needed to go look at the hottie ranger. I went in, made sure he saw me, said a few quick, highly intelligent, well, probably goofy things to him and left. Hey, I had to jog (walk, skip, etc.) home and it would be getting dark in a few hours.
On Sunday, I returned to the trade show all giddy with my intention of making a lasting impression. I made some small talk earlier in the day, you know asking where he had been to eat in Memphis, how he was enjoying my town, that kind of stuff.
It was time to take down our booth and he came over and offered to help, I made a very intelligent quip like “oh, I can handle it”. I think it could have came out as a roar, you know, I am woman hear me roar. I am sure he could see how capable and confident I was, I could carry heavy boxes just as well as any man, actually, I don’t think he was impressed. O.K. not very smart, but I was VERY sassy back then.
A little while later, he came over to say goodbye. I gave him my card and told him that if he was ever back in Memphis to give me a call and I would take him out to some real Memphis restaurants, not just the tourist spots that he had been to on his trip. He acted very nonchalant about it and said goodbye. He lived hours away, I was thinking that my card might hit the big trash bin on the way out the door.
He walked off toward the door, turned around and smiled and left. Was he walking out of my life? (OK we are married so that did not happen) but what did happen next? How long did it take him to call? Let’s just say I gave up waiting by the phone. Stay tuned.
The Park Wife
Read Chapter 7: The Ranger's Take on Meeting The Park Wife
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Littlest Buckaroo looks scared about me cutting off my hair!
No worries little man, it will grow back.
By the way, I have written the meeting day of The Park Wife and Ranger, but Big Buckaroo thinks he should give his side of the story, a he said/she said account. Should we wait on him or get on with the meeting?
I have had some questions about books I have read on child training, marriage, etc. I would love to talk with any of you via email about this, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Park Wife
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
When we moved to this Park 3 years ago, I was very pleased with our home. The Park provides a free house, yes, I said free (well, of course hubby's pay reflects that). We were fortunate to have a brand new home at our last Park and our home now is older, but much bigger and since it is on 8 acres, we can't complain.
However, the first day we moved in I was sitting in the kitchen and I told Big Buckaroo that the handles on the kitchen cabinets were hideous and just had to go. He said, alright, but let's focus on getting our boxes unpacked first. Time has gone by and the handles never grew on me, so I continued to complain about their ugliness.
See, they were pretty ugly. Now, I do know why these are the ones that are on the cabinets, there are 60 handles in my kitchen, yes 60. Any of you who have priced drawer pulls/cabinet handles lately know they can range from $1.00 (the hideous ones shown) to a median price of $4.00 per handle, so when you need 60, that is a pretty big chunk of change.
Hallelujah! This past weekend, 3 years later, my dream became a reality, brushed nickel handles!
It's the little things in life that I am starting to recognize and enjoy!
Have a great day,
The Park Wife
Saturday, May 3, 2008
We really reaped the rewards yesterday from that choice. While the boys were eating their eggs, I went outside and did this.
O.K., I am not an artist, but they did not care. I drew two houses, one for each Buckaroo. I then ran in the house and started banging a metal bow saying "Fire!" They hurriedly put on their fire outfits laughing the whole time.
Here is Littlest Buckaroo putting out his house fire. Little Buckaroo was on standby to save the people.
After the "fire" was out, Littlest Buckaroo turned the hose on his brother.
Then: I read some wonderful books that provided great insight and direction all in line with scripture regarding marriage and children. In one of them, it said, "Parenting is the most accurate test of one's true character." (M. Pearl) WHOA!!!!! Boy, He was really working in me now.
About a month and a half ago, after all these things started coming at me, things changed ~ my attitude changed. The Buckaroos are wonderful kids and Big Buckaroo and I have always diligently trained them (instead of just constantly disciplining them which is very tiring), after my attitude change to one of thankfulness and joy, I have being seeing more fruit from our efforts, not just in their obedience, but in their joyful hearts. Not to mention that a real good marriage is now a GREAT marriage.
The boys are big buddies and we have fun together rather than just trying to make it through the day. I am glad we are at this point especially since we will start homeschooling Little Buckaroo this year (he is 5 now) and I want him to enjoy it.
The Park Wife
Thursday, May 1, 2008
There was much running around getting myself and the Little Buckaroo's ready to go so we could get in the car as soon as Big Buckaroo got home. I was very proud of myself because I had remembered that I was in charge of the thank you card for our TNT leader, I even handmade it yesterday afternoon. I had all the VBS material that I was to pass on to our friend Susanna and the kids in the car and we were not going to be late!
Then.... as we drove up, I realized I had forgotten my camera! What kind of blog mama am I? How was I going to share just how cute Little Buckaroo was up there singing his Cubbie songs. So, you are just going to have to take my word for it, he was great!
This morning after our morning snuggle time, Littlest Buckaroo started getting into his brothers Cubbie stuff. Since I had only started on my first cup of coffee, I did not see what he was doing. His brother just laughed and encouraged him saying that in another year he was going to get to be a Cubbie. And, then I thought, I better grab the camera, will this redeem my non-Cubbie shots of Little Buckaroo from last night? Probably not. But, this is what I saw that I had to share....
Littlest Buckaroo has on his big brother's Cubbie vest, has his bag with his Bible in it, and Little Buckaroo's signature red high tops (they are about 3 sizes too big for Littlest Buckaroo). He hopped on his Big Wheel and said he had to get to Cubbies. Then, he said "hurry mama, we are going to be late" hmmmm, I think he has heard that a little too much!
To the future of Cubbies!
The Park Wife
P.S. I am still going to blog very often, just not EVERY day, so please keep coming around.