Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 18, 2016

80 days

19 days are gone from my 99 days of summer, and my rear hasn’t done much moving off the couch, so I decided it was time to do something fun. The kids have been asking to see Finding Dory but I’m not one for fighting the crowds on opening weekend. I just about talked myself out of going yesterday when I noticed there was a 9:30 am showing, and not just any showing but an IMAX 3-D version. Now normally I wouldn’t pay extra for the 3-D, or IMAX, but since the price was about what we would pay for a regular ticket, and it was at the butt crack of dawn so hopefully wouldn’t be too crowded, I decided to go for it.

The theater was practically empty, the movie was cute, and I only cried a little. Don’t judge me! Disney and Pixar love to make me cry. We had popcorn, candy, and ICEE’s for breakfast and the boys picked their favorite restuarant for lunch. We hit the library for new books and signed everyone up for the summer reading program. Then we finished the day with free smoothies for everyone from Tropical Smoothie, just for wearing flip flops, and a late bedtime for the kids.

We did have a few moments of crankiness (mine) and tears at bedtime (mine again) but other than that it was a pretty good day.  80 more days to go.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 11, 2016

It’s A Girl!

I have been friends with Delilah for years. To say that she hasn’t always had a easy go of it is putting it mildly. She has many struggles I will never truly understand but I have always hoped that she knows I’m here for her no matter what. The other day she posted this about me.

“I had a great appointment today! We talked about fathers and father figures and I said I don’t have one right now. We then went over all of the characteristics and actions that I feel a father would do. That’s when I realized that I actually DO have a father figure!! Wagons Ho! You’re my daddy! Can I borrow the car?”

Now I don’t know what “characteristics and actions” she listed, and I’m really hoping it wasn’t “Has a mustache and wears socks with sandals” because that would just be weird, but I do know that one post made my day. It was nice to hear that while I don’t have my shit together right now I am still helping someone else with their shit. I seriously had a whole George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life, ZuZu’s petals moment reading it.

I’m also hoping this means I’ll start getting gifts on Father’s Day too. I’m thinking a mustache trimmer and some snazzy new socks and sandals might be in order.






Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 2, 2016

The Graduation Party

Max got an invitation to a graduation party for one of his classmates. His pre-k classmate.  PRE-K. As in pre-kindergarten, preschool, pre-understanding what graduation even means. It wasn’t even one of those fill it the blanks type of invites. This was a took the time to pick a picture, upload it to Shutterfly, make the invite, and order it in time to hand out invitation.

As I stared at the invitation I thought “Seriously? Is this a thing?” It never occurred to me to have a party for Max’s graduation. I did order him the cap and gown, although I really debated calling the school and seeing if they still used red ones because I’m 99% sure I have Trapp’s in a closet somewhere. But I ponied up the $15. And I have been debating about taking him out for ice cream after the ceremony. I might even invite a couple of friends to meet us there. Does that count as a party? I didn’t think so but maybe it does. I mean I did half mention to a friend that we might go out for ice cream after and that I might holler at them if we do. So it’s clearly very organized and official.

It’s not that I don’t think his pre-k graduation is special, because I do. I’ll be crying and taking a million pictures with the best of them. It’s just that I’ve never really been the “let’s make a big deal out of everything” mom. I’m more of a “let’s make this easy for mommy” mom. Graduation invites and a party for a preschooler- not easy. Text a couple friends to meet us for ice cream after the ceremony- easy. I’ll save my energy for his high school graduation. Knowing me I’ll have to start now if I want to have those invitations ready in time.




Posted by: Wagons Ho | June 1, 2016

Just keep swimming

Our community pool has a summer swim team for kids who live in the neighborhood. Trapp has randomly mentioned he would like to be on the team but he’s not a strong swimmer, and has resisted any attempt I have made to teach him. He loves being in the pool though so I told him if he wanted to try out he could. He, of course, decided he didn’t want to be on the team after all. I encouraged him to give it a go but he was adamant that he had changed his mind. Right up till 15 minutes before tryouts, after an afternoon of swimming at a friend’s pool.

The tryout consisted of him having to swim the length of the pool, any style. The only rules were no touching the bottom/sides/lane lines. Marshall took him as I alternately hoped he would make it (it would be so much fun!), hoped he wouldn’t (it would be so much work!), and worried he would drown trying. He didn’t drown and made it a little over halfway across the pool. He was so proud of himself, and we were so proud of him for trying. The coach decided that he should come to the team practices for the next couple weeks and then try out again.

We had our first practice yesterday. And by we I mean Trapp had practice while I forced myself not to jump up and run to the edge of the pool to save him every time he struggled. He had fun, and the coach was amazingly patient as he encouraged Trapp to keep trying. If he continues to improve, and makes the team, we’ll be spending the summer juggling swim team practices, swim meets, work, and summer camp. It should be interesting.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | May 31, 2016

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Posted by: Wagons Ho | May 30, 2016

99 days

Last night I was reading a magazine article that said there are 99 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I immediately thought “I need to do something with these 99 days. Something other than sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself.”

When I first started this blog it was supposed to be about finding my way out of the daily rut I had gotten myself into (Tired of the dust). And I did for a long time. And then I didn’t for a long time. Then mom died and I crawled into a whole new rut and couldn’t find my way out. Didn’t want to find a way out. It was easy in this new rut. And easy is what I needed.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these 99 days but I know that if I try I can find my way onto a new trail. Wagons ho people, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


Posted by: Wagons Ho | May 27, 2016

7 years

When I first started this post it was about hitting 5 months since mom died and how I’m still struggling. Then in my Facebook “On This Day” app I saw a post about mom.

I sat there looking at my post, remembering how close we came to loosing her. My dad had been out of town when she fell ill. She had barely been able to get to a phone to call 911 and wasn’t able to call anyone else. We didn’t even know she was in the hospital until Dad got home a couple days later and called the police because she was missing. When he called the hospital they had taken her to we found out mom was in the ICU and on a ventilator. She had almost died without any of us even knowing she was sick.

That was 7 years ago.  7 years of laughter, fighting, and love. 7 years of birthdays, holidays, vacations, and memories. As I sat there crying I was thankful for the first time in a long time. Thankful for all those extra years. And it reminded me to be thankful for the 5 weeks we had. 5 weeks when I got to spend time with her. 5 weeks to say I love you, to hug her, to take a few more pictures. It reminded me to be thankful for the last 24 hours we had with her. 24 hours when she got to see and hug her grandkids. When we got to say goodbye. We wouldn’t have had any of that 7 years ago.

I still miss her more than I can say. I’m still angry and sad. I still cry all the time. I don’t when, or if, it will get better but for a few minutes each day I’ll try to remember to be thankful for the extra time we did have.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | May 7, 2016

And the horse you rode in on

Mother’s Day is tomorrow. I have been preparing myself for this day, knowing it will rough. I ignored the commercials, deleted the emails, and scrolled past the Facebook reminder and posts of people and their moms. I suppressed the urge to ask Marshall and the boys to ignore the day, knowing it would hurt their feelings. I worried about Jodi since she was always the one who picked out the gift and made plans to celebrate with mom. It’s been a long week but I was ready.

Then, out of nowhere, I got slammed by the Kentucky Derby. The freaking Kentucky Derby. Seriously?! I never remember it’s derby day, and of course didn’t today either, until I got a text from Jodi, “What horses are you picking?”.

Many, many, years ago we lived in Kentucky and fell in love with the derby. Mom may have loved it before that but I remember it starting then. Every year we would watch the horses parade around the track, make our picks, celebrate our wins, and laugh about who picked the biggest long shot simply because the horse was pretty. It doesn’t matter where everyone is, on derby day you make your picks and watch the race.

I thought about ignoring the text but I knew this had to be tough for Jodi. For the last few years she has been the race coordinator. Getting everyone’s picks, making sure we all remembered to watch, keeping track of who “won” or “lost”. So I didn’t ignore it. I sent my picks, and thought I was ok. I wasn’t.

I spent the next few hours before the race getting crankier and crankier. When race time finally came I cried through “My Old Kentucky Home” and barely paid attention to the actual race. When it was all said and done I was clearly not in a good mood. Marshall, ever the trooper, dealt with my increased insanity by deciding to give me some alone time and take the kids to a movie. And what do I do? I have a melt down. I cry and scream. He’s trying to help and all I hear is “We don’t want you to come, stay home you crabby bitch.” Now he very well may have been thinking that, hell I didn’t want to be with me right then, but I know he didn’t.

So here I am, catching up on my dvr, wondering if maybe I wasn’t as prepared for Mother’s Day as I thought I was. Clearly I wasn’t prepared for the derby.






Posted by: Wagons Ho | April 27, 2016


While cleaning my desk today I ran across a small notebook. Inside were the notes I had taken during a visit mom had with her oncologist. He was nice enough to let me listen in via phone. I took a couple pages of notes. Writing down the results of her MRI, her diagnosis, the treatment options, chemotherapy drug names, radiation plans, and more. It was hard to read. What was even harder to see was the doodle I had made at the top of the page. A simple plea- please, please, please.

0427161520 [520693]

I don’t remember writing it, or what I was thinking. I imagine it was something like “Please let the results be good. Please let this all be a mistake. Please tell us how easy this will be to fix.”

It’s been 4 months since mom died and I still find myself saying those words. “Please don’t let this be real. Please bring my mom back. Please help me not be so sad, so angry, so numb.” It’s such a simple plea but, just like then, no one is listening.

So I continue to fake my way through the days. I scream at Marshall, and the kids, over ridiculous things, and then apologize for being crazy. I choke back tears over songs, tv shows, random comments. I focus on doing the things I have to. I force myself to do extras like going out with friends. I’m trying to figure out what my new normal will be and I worry I’ll never find it.

If only someone had listened the first time I said those words. Please, please, please.

Posted by: Wagons Ho | April 12, 2016

Little Bit

Call them signs, intuition, a gut feeling, your little voice, premonitions, “the secret”, luck, whatever name you want to put to it, I believe that sometimes the universe speaks to us.

After mom died I would see signs that she was still around. The amazing sunset on a dreary, snowy, Midwest winter evening the day after she died. The deer coming back to feed in mom and dad’s yard, after being MIA for almost a week. Mom loved to feed them, along with every other kind of creature that would come in their yard. The deer normally came by every day and the kids had been so disappointed they didn’t get to see them. Then, on the morning the boys were due to head home, there they were, 10 or 15 deer walking so quietly through the yard. They passed by the house in a long line, as if they were offering their condolences, and then they all laid down in the yard for a long time. It was peaceful, and beautiful, and mom would have been so happy to see them.

But I was mad at the universe. I decided it had just been wishful thinking. That as much as I had believed over the years, I had been wrong. The universe didn’t give a shit. There were no signs, no secrets. If there were then where were they when mom was getting sick? Where was the little voice saying “It’s not just pneumonia, tell her to get another opinion!”? Where was the premonition that we’d only have 5 weeks with her? Where was the “secret” as I meditated and focused on positive energy? Nowhere, that’s where.

No matter how mad I was though the signs kept coming. Little pieces of paper with mom’s handwriting on it, found in the most random places in my house. The boys pulling out books we hadn’t read in forever, only for me to realize they were books mom had sent. Max’s sudden obsession with making Jello, something mom loved to make for them but they rarely asked for when she wasn’t visiting. And still I didn’t want to believe. I didn’t want signs from her. I wanted her.

Then came Max’s kindergarten registration day. Max was excited, and I was too. At the same time I was sad that mom was missing it. She would have been so proud of him. She would have loved to hear all about the folder full of goodies he got, and how they sharpened his giant new pencil for him. It was hard but I managed to keep it together and we headed to the store. When we came out I noticed the license plate on the car parked next to me. It was a personalized plate that said “L1T1 BIT”. Mom’s nickname for Max-Little Bit. I guess the universe was done being subtle.
license plate

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