A new direction. . .

14 Jan

This has nothing to do with it being a new year. . . Just so you know.


I have been tinkering with some ideas (as usual) and as time allows, am working on a new site and something to fill my days when my kiddos are in school (hopefully).  If you happen to have read this blog over the years, you already know it has been a hodge podge of things with some central themes and interests.  The longer my corporate self has been on the shelf, and the more fervent I have been with my prayers, I feel led to delve deeper into a few of those central items – which are the basis of my new site Gather & Fill.

I truly feel this blog opened the door for me to explore the various bunny trails my heart takes me down, and I am so grateful for that.  Creating the new site is really just my way of committing to more specific content and dialogue.  As far as the future of this site – you may (or may not) have noticed above the name Simple & Frank, it now says “Love letters to my family”.

I plan to keep this site as a journal to and about my little family, with a healthy dose of randomness thrown in (I can’t help it).  There are so many things I would like to jot down, but don’t have an Instagram worthy photo to go with it, or things I would like to tell my daughters but know I will forget when the time comes. . . Or shit I just need to get off my chest and out of my brain.

So, I hope you will check out the new site and continue stopping in here.  Leave me comments, tell me what you think.  I look forward to continuing our simple and frank relationship. 🙂

xo, T

photo is mine.  planner is Ban.Do.


Our Aching Hearts

13 Dec

I cannot believe I am about to write the following words. . . Our beloved Louis the labby left us on Monday, December 7th.  He was a spry seven years old, so his passing has hit us with great shock and a sadness I cannot describe.


All dog lovers think their pup is the best and our family is no different.  To us, Louis could walk on water.  He also spilled it, gave the slobberiest kisses, left his fur in every nook and probably on every article of clothing we own. . . Little pieces of him that will not soon let us forget his awesomeness.


He was our first “baby” and  when  I decided to stay home with our  human children, he was my constant companion and sounding board.  He welcomed everyone to our home (except the mailman), was the best big bro to C and AJ and just added so much love and brightness to our home.


I could go on and on about him – for as long as my fingers would allow me to type probably.  The biggest  lesson I think he taught me (and perhaps the hubby) is to allow yourself to love – even if it may really, really hurt later.

The Hubby definitely jumped in with both feet to the “he is a member of our family” camp, and their bond was proof of that. . .Louis was his first dog, ever, whereas I had numerous dogs growing up.  I initially thought “Yes, I will love him, feed him, take him on walks, but at the end of the day, he’s just a dog.”  Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth of how it worked out. . . Not long after gazing into his big brown eyes, I was a goner.  And once he was gone, I quickly realized all of the small gestures of love I made without even realizing it.  Like saving him a piece of my toast at breakfast, or a piece of apple at lunch, or the few minutes I had in the day to go outside with him and just bask in the sun together.  

I am grateful for the seven years we shared, though I still wish with all my being we had seven more.  I ache to hear his big block head bump our bedroom door open and feel him jump light as a feather onto the bed and curl up in the crook of my knees.  He loved every day, every minute, every second and certainly showed this ultimate avoider of vulnerability (ahem, me) that love is the ultimate gift.  So. . . I will endeavor to love more in his honor, though without all the slobber.

Rest in peace big guy.  

To C :: On your FOURTH Birthday

27 Oct

I looked at photos over the last year while gathering my thoughts for this post and was amazed by how much you have changed.  Just 12 short months ago, your features, movements and attitude were still baby like.  Today, when I look at you, I see and hear a little girl.  And what a soulful little girl you are becoming.

You had a lot of firsts this past year.  Starting with true trick-or-treating at other people’s homes – not just ringing our doorbell.  You were the most adorable and enthusiastic bumblebee ever.  “Beeeeeeeeee!!!!” you would exclaim.

 Then we made smores by a campfire at Nana and Papa’s cabin in November.  In December we went and made crafts with some wise old ladies and gents at a retirement community and you went on your first horse-drawn carriage ride with me, Aunt Coco and Uncle Ry.  You delighted many with your wishes of “Merry Christmas Happy Halloween!” and your play by play of what the horse was doing.  Oh, and of course, there was sugar cookie making with your cousins at Nana’s house just before Christmas.

The new year brought more time at dance class, swimming lessons and playing in unexpected snow on my birthday.  In March Daddy treated us to “Frozen on Ice” – which you LOVED by the way – even the ice monster.  April brought a trip on Thomas the Train in Grapevine and feeding some overly friendly ducks and squirrels at a pond near our house.

 Summertime included soccer camp, which reminds me.  You first flirted with a boy at soccer camp.  It was just about the funniest and most frightening thing I have ever seen.  You climbed up to sit by him on a picnic table, looked him over, giggled and said “I’m C, what’s your name?” and then giggled again.  You certainly don’t have a problem chatting with strangers.  You also did a ballet camp and I was thankful no boys were in attendance.  And let’s not forget all the romps through Gigi and Peepaw’s giraffe pool!


Towards the end of summer – a new routine began with Pre-K 3.  You were sooooo excited to start school, I on the other hand shed a few rather surprising tears.  I was also sooo excited for you to start school (no offense), but quickly realized it is the true start of growing up and soon you will be in kindergarten and beyond. . . While I am thrilled for your new adventure, the house is certainly not the same without your boisterous giggles and thunderous stomping of feet as you run gleefully over our hardwood floors.

Charley standingYour zeal for life and the humans who cross your path continue to inspire me.  You never meet a stranger and instantly welcome everyone.  You have such a kind heart, but I am also seeing a spicy side of you too as you continue to learn about navigating life with a little sister.

I often wish I could freeze time, but the exuberance with which you greet each new day and experience stops me from trying to keep you small.  I wish you all the best and gladly cherish the blessings each day with you brings.

All my love. . .

To AJ :: On your FIRST birthday

18 May

Dearest AJ,

I have delayed writing this post for two weeks now. . . Partially because I have zero free time (it seems), but mainly because it feels so. . . monumental.  The first year of life is HUGE.  Granted you won’t remember because you can’t and I likely won’t because of the sleep deprivation and blinding speed of it all.  This was the fastest year of my life.  Filled with more love than I ever thought I was capable of and certainly lots of prayers for the good Lord to get us all to this point.  So, while I still have some memory of it all, let’s take a look back, shall we??

Baby AJI would love to tell you some wild story about waking your dad up in the middle of the night and heading to the hospital in a bleary eyed speed ball, but alas.  That’s not how it went down.  Your arrival was scheduled for May 3rd.  You can thank your sister for the lack of dramatics.  Since she was ultimately “cut out”, you were too.  Aside from some issues with my blood pressure, things were graceful.  Almost peaceful really.  I was fully awake and aware of everything going on and will never forget the sound of your first little cry.  It was beautiful.  And the site of your dad carrying you over to me. . . I hope that is in my highlight reel when I leave this life.

Your life outside the womb began at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday, May 3rd.  You were 7 pounds 11 ounces and 21.5 inches long.  By your first birthday, you morphed into a 23 pound and 28 inch tall fluff ball.  Girl, your thighs.  They are amazing and I will squeeze them every day until they disappear – by the time you are 3 I’m sure.  You have 4 teeth, are almost walking, say momma and dadda, love your sister and Lou the labby.  Those are the stats.  Back to the mushy stuff.

AJ one monthI started calling you my “spicy peanut” while we were in the hospital.  Little did I know just how applicable that nickname would prove to be.  You are feisty!!  At first it was just really loud crying which spurred the “spicy”.  As I have gotten to know you better, I think you are simply independent.  You want to do things yourself, your way.  Oh, and you don’t want to wait.  For anything.  You have certainly made me more efficient – in a good way.

You are so curious and observant.  From the first moment you could grab things, you have never missed when I wear earrings or a necklace.  You find every out-of-place speck of whatever on the floor or my clothing.  If you see something unique – you go for it.  Pushing buttons, pulling things off shelves or out of drawers, lifting the toilet lid.  If it can be grabbed, you will find it and thankfully you typically show it to me.

v-day sistersI knew you would be different from your sister, but how quickly the differences presented themselves truly astounded me.  Pretty much from day 1. . . From the way you cry, to how you handle discomfort and hunger, to how you are not apprehensive and you are the instigator of the bathtime splash fest.

All differences aside, watching your sister relationship grow has been such a joy.  When I am fully tapped out of ways to make you smile, C always has the right medicine.  I can feel a smile radiating from the inside out when you two giggle together.

No words can adequately express how perfectly you complete our family.  I am so grateful for you and the zeal that you bring to my life.  Kid, you will move mountains.

AJ sneak peek

As ever, Mom xoxo

Fitness :: here I go. . . again

12 Feb

Well, well, well. Here we are already a month and a half into another year. Oh that reminds me, Happy New Year to you! I thought it fitting for my first post of the year to be about fitness with all the resolutions, intention setting and such that goes on. I think my resolution should simply be to not let all my good intentions go down the crapper by the end of the first quarter. Amen and moving on.

One afternoon in late December I considered what my “ideal” fitness plan would look like and set a goal to start chipping away to get there as life allowed. “Life” being my kids and their ever evolving sleep schedules, which have a HUGE impact on my ever fluctuating energy level. First on my list was to start doing Camp Gladiator twice a week. A friend gave me a free month coupon for January so it looked promising. . . Enter 8 month old teething baby who still did not sleep through the night and may or may not take a nap lasting longer than 30 minutes. Fizzle. Hiss. Whomp. I think I made it three, maybe four times to “camp”.

However!!! A month (and lots of patience and some crying) later – baby is sleeping better and momma is feeling more human, less zombie. So, I took the plunge, or rather plunked down my credit card, and signed up for 6 months of “camp”. I plan to go on either Monday and Friday, or Wednesday and Friday to start and may go all three days if all goes well. My goal: to strengthen my core, which is currently the equivalent of firm pudding, so I can safely start running again. I hope to add some walk/jogs by the end of this month and be able to do a 5k by April/May.

I also would like to make yoga a regular part of the routine, but finding time for an hour workout plus 40 minutes of drive time to the studio and back makes it a bit challenging. Hmmm. If I were a good at home worker outer, I would consider using the Udaya on-line service. Probably a function of how desperate I get for some sun salutations.

So, there you have it. Here’s to making it happen and here’s a great motivational nugget. . . for me anyway.

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