six years ago. . .

marriage

Aren’t we cute???

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“This is great!!  I have no idea what I’m getting myself into!!  What does the preacher mean ‘for better or for worse?'”

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“I’m getting married!  I’m so happy!  What does the preacher mean by ‘in sickness and in health?’  Steph doesn’t complain at all when she doesn’t feel good. . .”

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What we’ve accomplished in six years. . .

Six years ago, I was in the process of getting ready for my wedding.  My most fond memories include Dustin’s brother Wes bringing me flowers from the groom, Mom holding a hair dryer centimeters away from my back to cover up “that damn tattoo” and constantly showing my blue flowers on my boyshort panties for my “something blue.”  Ahhh how the time has flown in just six short years.

Six years ago, Casa de Tow was Apartemento de Tow.  We newlyweds rented a one bedroom apartment for $335 a month.  Our bed was in our livingroom floor because that summer was so hot, the air conditioning unit wouldn’t make it to our room.  Our curtains were mismatched towels nailed up over the windows and we shared one bathroom and it wasn’t a problem.  Dustin’s 93′ Ford pickup and my 96′ Mustang were paid off and we didn’t even contemplate the idea of needing a new vehicle.  We ate out twice a week and didn’t have a clue on what being in debt was like.  My specialty in the kitchen was box spaghetti and heating up Ragu’ and everyday when we got home from work we played Playstation 2.  We were in bed by 10:00 p.m. so we could watch King of Queens because it reminded us of our life besides Dad living with us like it is in the show.   And thoughts of changing diapers were not even in the picture. . .ahhhh memories. . .

Six years later, we own a 3 bedroom house in a small town for (after we refinance) less than $700 a month.  Ironically enough our bed is in our livingroom because the girls played and watched movies all day yesterday on it.  I still haven’t passed any classes on how to match curtains with your decor, so the ones that are too small in the livingroom will probably come down soon.  As for the two full bathrooms in our house, yep, Dustin is outnumbered seeing as how the littliest Tow decided to get potty-trained.  If it weren’t for those cute Princess panties Daddy might have had a chance on not getting booted out of a bathroom.  Ellie sure does love her big girl Princess panties!  My 06′ Ford F-150 that offers ample backrow seating and was bought because of its ability to let me breastfeed in the backseat (I know too much information) is three years from being paid off and Dustin’s “hand me down from Mom and Dad” 02′ Tahoe is paid off.  We eat out maybe twice a month but have realized we like our food more than most restaurants.  My specialty in the kitchen is pretty much anything.  I love to cook and Dustin is in charge of the grill.  Amazing what ingredients you can buy when you save the money from going out to eat.  As a stay-at-home Mama of five-year-old Emma and two-year-old Ellie, I’m not sure when I do get off work?  Dustin comes home and occassionally plays our upgraded PS3 but usually finds something to do around the house.  We are never in bed by 10:00 p.m. because Dustin is in the shower and I’m picking up around the house.  I catch up on TV, emails or reading (lately it’s reading) and Dustin kisses me three times like we’ve done for the last six years before he’s off to bed.  I follow two or three hours later because I do enjoy my quiet time at night. 

Okay so maybe alot has changed in six years.  A few things we’ve expanded on would be our house size, Dust’s paycheck and my waistline a few times which goes with expanding our family.  Granted, Dustin has gained 10 pounds since we got married, but seems to be losing more hair each year.  But what a great looking released from prison early because of good behavior, shaved head husband I have!  Have you seen him on his motorcycle lately, it’s a little scary with all that facial hair and shining bald head. . .

Our love has expanded because we’ve gone from the puppy love stage to a deeper love.  We toasted or really high fived each other for making it six years and decided to make the next six years a little less challenging.  We’re done with having more kids and Emma won’t be a teenager yet, so maybe these next six years will be a piece of cake.  For all of those that have finally quit laughing at my optimistic attitude, here’s to another six years married to a man that challenges me everyday, loves me unconditionally and in the end accepts me and wants to do it all over again each day.  I love you more than anyone else could and can’t wait to see what’s in the next six years.

change is inevitable. . .

Amazing what changes in three years (and a few months).  Dustin started his new management position at work and really likes it.  Like every “1st Day of _____” picture that needs to captured to appreciate how far you have come and hard you have worked for it. 

I am so proud of my husband for deciding to solely provide for our family and constantly wanting to challenge himself.  He doesn’t know it, but I really do look up to him and respect him for going every day to a job that might not always be the best, but grins and bears it and doesn’t complain when he gets home.  Unfortunately, I have to bring my work home with me, so sorry if I talk about the 9 to 5 at home! 

I love you more than you can possibly understand. . .even when I “angryly” take out the trash even though that’s your job and “angryly” hang up your jacket even though you walked past the closet.  It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do it (what movie was that from?).  Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished and I look forward to what the next three years holds for us. . .maybe an Expedition??  Okay, a Harley and then an Expedition.

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Dressed up in his “pretty clothes.”  Sadly, his friends make fun of him probably everyday. . .you know who you are. . .

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Last day of delivering medicines to sick people and catching what they have.  No more tetanus shots when dogs bite you.  No more driving like a maniac. . .wait that hasn’t changed!  Ohh and did I forget to mention a pay raise and better insurance!!

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Who is this???  Why does my husband have hair???  Why doesn’t he have facial hair???  I’m confused???

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You scary motorcycle man off to your 1st Day of your new job.  You are so scary. . .

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I stand corrected. . .seriously, what a hottie my husband is!

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This is Emma on Daddy’s 1st day of work.  She’s so tiny!

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This is Emma three years later. . .growing up too fast.

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Wait, who’s this???  Ohh yah, because of Dustin’s new job, we could complete our Casa de Tow.  Does anybody notice what her shirt says???  (Patience Tester)

Happy Birthday Ellie!!

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Hard to believe my little girl is 2-years-old today.  Our Christmas baby named Noelle.  Only after a nurse said it was so cute that we would name her that because it was Christmas time did I realize what we had done.  Like Mr. & Mrs. Cane naming their daughter Candy, I had unknowingly themed my child.

Quite a bit has happened in the last year.  Here’s a small recap:  learning to run to keep up with Emma, cutting molars, discovering fruit allergies, Scarlet Fever, learning the word no, learning how to apologize, learning how to apologize loud enough where the person can hear you, giving kisses (as well as tongue kisses, yah that one is still pretty gross), moving into a big girl bed and lastly that Santa is still a really freaky guy even if comes bearing gifts.

Always the follower but never to be left behind, Ellie makes her presence known.  So painfully shy, she manages somehow to not get left out.  The painfully shy part still makes me wonder if Ellie’s adopted somehow, but then I have a particular scar a couple inches below my belly button that begs to differ. 

My miniature version of myself, like she was made out of the exact same mold once made 27 years ago, often has me questioning Mom if I acted the same way and often apologizing to Mom for what I put her through so many years ago.

As she lays in her big girl bed fast asleep not knowing what an important day it is today, I blog her life in hopes that one day she’ll read this and understand why I am the way I am.  Why Mama makes a big deal out of traditions, why Mama is so routine, why Mama organizes when she is stressed, why she attempts to bake when there’s a birthday, why Mama is such a nickel nazi (daughter of the penny nazi), why Mama would rather clean up the house before going to bed rather than getting an extra 45 minutes of sleep. 

Maybe Ellie won’t be reading this to understand Mama, but maybe understand herself.  Like so many of us that dare say they won’t turn into their mother or father, I realized at the age of 27, I want to be Nana when I grow up. 

I don’t want to force Ellie to be anything she doesn’t want to be when she grows up, but if I could offer a suggestion, it would be me.  Not out of vanity, but as Papa (and Gene Simmons) says, “It’s good to be me.”  Emma and Ellie make me happy from the moment I wake up to the moment I kiss their heads and tuck them into bed sometime around 1:30 a.m. when I go to bed.  When you are surrounded by love and have so much happiness, who wouldn’t want to be you?

My husband and my girls give me happiness beyond what I could express in words.  I never thought 2 years ago, it would be easier with two kids, two dogs, four fish and anything that needs taking care of.  I know what love is because of my family. . .especially my little Ellie Bellie who sleeps happily probably dreaming of Poptarts.

December 11, 2006 at 12:15 p.m. Noelle “Ellie” Cambryn Tow came into our lives.  So painfully shy, yet never left out.  Maybe this will be the year of her independence. . .maybe I should do a little research into my and Ellie’s Daddy’s past to figure out how the next 365 days are going to play out. . .

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~Author Unknown

What the daughter does, the mother did.  ~Jewish Proverb

sisterly love. . .

I found some pretty good quotes about sisters after I took these pictures of the girls the other day coloring.  Emma and Ellie are two years and nine months (give or take a couple of days) apart just like Jess and I.  I always wanted two girls of my own, ironically enough, the same age apart as my sister and I so they could have that special bond with each other.  Granted Jess and I get on each others’ nerves and about four days is our limit in confined quarters with one another, but if she called, I’d be there. . .one bathroom break and a gas fill up, but in 5 1/2 hours, I would be there.  No one loves their sister as much as I. 

Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.  ~Charles M. Schulz

If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.  ~Linda Sunshine

What’s the good of news if you haven’t a sister to share it?  ~Jenny DeVries

More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you’ve been bad and good.  ~Linda Sunshine

My sister taught me everything I really need to know, and she was only in sixth grade at the time.  ~Linda Sunshine

How do people make it through life without a sister?  ~Sara Corpening

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.  ~Author Unknown

The mildest, drowsiest sister has been known to turn tiger if her sibling is in trouble.  ~Clara Ortega

I know some sisters who only see each other on Mother’s Day and some who will never speak again.  But most are like my sister and me… linked by volatile love, best friends who make other best friends ever so slightly less best.  ~Patricia Volk

Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize.  Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks.  Borrow.  Break.  Monopolize the bathroom.  Are always underfoot.  But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there.  Defending you against all comers.  ~Pam Brown

Sister to sister we will always be,
A couple of nuts off the family tree.
~Author Unknown

She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.  She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.  She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.  She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.  Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.  ~Barbara Alpert

what a big girl she is. . .

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All he could think about was I’m too young for this.
Got my whole life ahead.
Hell I’m just a kid myself.
How’m I gonna raise one.

All he could see were his dreams goin’ up in smoke.
So much for ditchin’ this town and hangin’ out on the coast.
Oh well, those plans are long gone.

I would never think that Emma was a mistake, she just came a little earlier than we expected.  My little girl turns 4-years-old in 1 hour and 9 minutes.  Four years ago, I was in the hospital almost in a dream like state. . .dream as in the worst pain ever as the epidural wears off in 1 hour and 6 minutes as they cut me open and get my 5 lb 15 oz baby girl out of me.  The dream like state was not knowing what was about to come.  The thousands of diapers, up all night holding a screaming baby and not knowing how to comfort her, etc.  But then every month got better, not necessarily easier, but definitely better.  By the time a new challenge was put in front of us, Emma would hit a milestone and we were so excited that we put the positive in front of the negative.

Emma went from being the baby to being the big sister this year.  She has taken on a new role and has been more than just my daughter, but my blessing.  We are so lucky to have such a good, little girl who has moments of “what were you thinking?” but then we realize she’s just 3-years-old.  But those moments are few and far between.

I never would have imagined my Princess Biker Chick to be the little drama queen she’s growing up to be.  But then again, she’s only three.  I think that’s my statement of the year. . .she’s only three.  Now that my statement has to change in 54 minutes, I wonder what this year holds for us.  Everyday Emma finds a new thing to accomplish, today’s was learning she could jump off the computer chair.  A little scary as I see Ellie watching her big sister and calculating every moment and then trying to crawl on the chair herself.  I’m thinking this year is going to be a challenging year for Ellie. . .

In 52 minutes, we will start Emma’s birthday celebration with a good night of sleep.  I’ll go in her room, turn the Angel’s music off and move it to the desk.  Check to see if she’s peed in the bed (almost four months with no accidents, another accomplishment), kiss her about 5 times on the forehead and cheek, “I love you baby.  Sleep so good and have such good dreams.  Have such a good day tomorrow, I love you so much.”  Then I’ll kiss my hand and touch Piggy, Pooh, Petey and Emma and tell them to watch over my Emma.  Two more kisses for Emma and then quietly whisper to her to let me know if she needs anything.  If this was any louder than a whisper, there’s an excellent chance I would be in there all night.  Amazing how I’ve done this routine for over two years, ever since she moved in to her big girl bed.  I have a feeling I’ll be doing this routine for many years to come only the stuffed animals will be replaced and the older she gets, it will be more likely that I’m making sure she’s home by curfew.  I would like to think that I did good being home by curfew. . .wait, wait, no, nevermind, but I would call and say we were watching a movie and ask if I could come home when it was over.  Little did my parents know that we were only 10 minutes into the movie. . .suckers. . .wait, do you think my sweet little innocent Emma will try this one on me?!?  If she’s smart, she’ll ask for Daddy or Mr. Tow as Jess and I tried many times to ask for Mr. Gibson. . .damn that caller ID.

This year will be filled with excitement, drama, adventure, drama, bumps and bruises, drama. . .do you see a trend?  It’s so exciting to watch Emma live each day to the fullest and discover new things.  If I could give my daughter something, it would be adventure.  Not the wild rivers infested with 10-foot long alligators, but to realize that she can make everything an adventure.  And she already does that.  Walking next door to her best friend’s house to go play.  The thrill of thinking how “big girl” she is, but I’m standing at the door and Emma waves at me and runs in Emi’s house and Emi’s Mama steps out the door and waves at me to let me know she’s made it.  What a big girl she is.  I think I’ve found my statement to start out in 34 minutes. . .what a big girl she is.

I love the Kenny Chesney song “There Goes my Life,” because to an extent it describes me with Emma.  No not the pregnant in high school before I was married and the “mistake” part, but I wanted to get out of here, I didn’t want to live in Texas.  I didn’t think about anybody else in my equation of life. . .and then I met the father of my children and everything changed.  I met the father, married the father, got pregnant (obviously still talking about the father) and had my little Emma in a very short time.  I can’t imagine my life any other way and wouldn’t change it.  In the words of my soon-to-be 4-year-old in 26 minutes, “This is the life.”  Happy Birthday Emma!  You don’t know how you’ve changed my life and I will always love you more than you could ever imagine. 

She had that Honda loaded down.
With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and his American Express.
He checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you’re good to go.
She hugged them both and headed off to the West Coast.
And he cried,

There goes my life.
There goes my future, my everything.
I love you.
Baby good-bye.

my oversized heart. . .

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And today has come and gone like any other day.  You can’t wait for your child to sleep through the night or even five solid hours. . .and then she does.  You can’t wait for your child to say Mama. . .and then she does.  You can’t wait for your child to crawl. . .and then she does.   You can’t wait for your child to walk. . .and then she does.  So many milestones and it’s only been one year.  She achieved more in one year than she will in any other year of her life.  I couldn’t wait to sleep, I couldn’t wait for her to be mobile, but now I can.  Ellie did an amazing thing today, she turned 1.

365 days ago, I couldn’t wait to have this baby, but now I can.  One year has gone by so fast and it makes me wonder if the next time I close my eyes, Emma will be driving a car and Ellie will have mastered the art of rolling her eyes as she walks away from me telling her no.  She’ll also be grounded from the phone because I have eyes in the back of my head and I saw that.

When we waited for our Noelle, because little did we know we would never call her Noelle but Ellie, I never thought I could love a child as much as my Emma.  I have now understood why women get bigger during their pregnancy.  You may think it is just a baby growing inside their belly, but it is their heart that is becoming larger.  How could a mother be expected to have so much love with an average sized heart?  They don’t share their love between their childrn.  Their love grows for each individual child.

I look at Ellie and I see my heart toddling around ouside my body.  I clean up tonight’s birthday meal of macaroni and cheese in peace as the girls’ play in Ellie’s room.  I hear Emma screaming and here she comes running to hide in the corner of the kitchen.  Slowly but trying as fast as her little legs will carry her, Ellie’s on her way to catch her big sister.  Emma screams and Ellie has completely forgotten she is the chaser and now hides her head between my legs as the chasee.  Emma tickles Ellie and they head off to the livingroom, Emma leading and Ellie right behind surely to follow.  Like two peas in a pod that are different as night and day.  There goes my oversized heart to play with the train around the Christmas tree.

Dustin had class tonight, what a way to spend his birthday.  Emma is in bed and I’m on my way to get the bedtime bottle for Ellie.  She finishes it and lays on me while I burp her.  I rock her off to sleep as I have done for the last 355-360 days.  Happy Birthday my baby girl.  I love you more than you will ever know.

Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to dream,

And dream how wonderful your life will be.

Someday your child will cry and if you sing this lullabye

Then in your heart, there will always be a part of me.

girls’ pictures. . .

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These are just random pictures that describe my beautiful girls on a daily basis.  Emma is just like her Mama and so cordinated and graceful.  “Instead of making two or three trips, it can so be done in one” is a motto her and her Mama share when it comes to putting up laundry as well as toys.  Ellie’s life revolves well, around Ellie.  Everything is waiting for her, she just has to make it there.  And even if she doesn’t quite get to where she’s going, someone will help her out and get her there.  Ahh, to be Ellie.  Ellie’s motto, “If I’m screaming, you should have been quicker.”

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