Adventures In MandyLand

Tales of a new Cheer Mom & other life craziness

Diary of a newby oil puller March 17, 2014

Filed under: Health & Wellness — mandymaetaylor @ 10:33 pm
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I’ve always been kind of weird about certain aspects of health & wellness at our house. And by weird, I mean slightly unconventional, not like I eat roasted bat wings. I avoid meds if at all possible. I don’t like microwaves, plastic containers, or Teflon. I buy organic when my crummy close-by grocery store has it or when I’m willing to drive to Trader Joes or when I remember to place my weekly order for local eggs and raw milk in time. I try to keep to a real food diet as much as life will allow. My kids think I go overboard sometimes. Cheer Dad’s only real reaction was when I wanted to pitch the microwave last year, but he got over it when he realized how much better his leftovers tasted in the oven or on the stove top. I’m always on the lookout for a way to make a positive change in our lives and diets.

Enter oil pulling. I’ve read about it for a looooong time. I’m not gonna go into the whole process – you can read about it here (which my friend posted earlier this week on FB and was coincidentally one that I had read previously and will comment on below, so there you go) or one of many, many other places. I read about it a LOT before trying it. It’s a whole new level of homeopathic care for me personally and I still haven’t told Cheer Dad that I’m doing it. Well, I guess I am now – hi, babe. At any rate, I didn’t want to turn this into a health & wellness blog, but some of my experiences made me chuckle, so I figured I would compile them and share with you. And encourage you to try oil pulling if you want to hide a crazy habit from your husband, too.


It’s the first day of Spring Break and I’m still in bed before getting up to work. I went to visit my bestie last weekend and spent the four hour bus ride home reading about different natural medicine and general health and have been considering oil pulling for quite some time. I have organic coconut oil in the pantry, I haven’t brushed my teeth yet, so I’ll give it a try. Many articles recommend starting with a teaspoon. Maybe two. I head to the kitchen and grab a spoon, psych myself up about what I’m about to do, and take a bite of coconut oil. The feel of it is not disgusting at all, which is a huge surprise. Wait a minute…it’s melting and I have a huge amount of oil in my mouth. This is not good. I look down and realize I’m holding a giant serving-type spoon. OK, a tablespoon, but I quickly realize I am in trouble. I spit it out (in the trash) and go back for a more reasonable serving. Ahh. That’s better. Back to bed to swish and pull for 20 minutes. Is it natural for the oil to mix with this much saliva? Do I have active salivary glands that are undermining oil pulling? I pull out my phone to start reading and realize I’m OK as far as the spit factor is concerned, but after reading for another five minutes, I see that I’m not supposed to tilt forward while pulling. Well, crap. I’m totally tilted forward. It’s been 8 minutes. My jaw is starting to hurt, but another article says that’s because I’m swishing too vigorously. Not sure I can make it to 20. I play my game and then look – 14 minutes. I text Cheer Dad good morning and look – 14.5 minutes. Oh my goodness this is agonizing. I swish much less vigorously. I realize I need to blow my nose super badly. Where did that come from? I can’t do that with a mouth full of oil. I get up, grab a paper towel and little zip lock bag and head back to bed to finish. 17. 18. 19. 20. Oh my gosh, I’m done. I spit it out and blow my nose for a year and a half and read another article which says I should rinse my mouth and brush my teeth right away. I run to the bathroom 10 minutes too late and rinse and brush. My teeth felt much cleaner throughout the day. This didn’t suck…I’ll try again tomorrow.


It’s easier to take that bite today. I grab a paper towel & baggie before heading back to bed. Maybe once I tell Cheer Dad what I’m doing, I can buy an extra jar of oil for the bedroom and a stash of baggies or something. Someone online mentioned having a spit cup. Gross, gross, gross. I am sitting and swishing and pulling and playing my game. It’s hard for me to wake up…I’m not a morning person in the best of circumstances, but I also like to stay up late, which complicates things. This is a nice, peaceful way to spend 20 minutes waking up. I’ve heard oil pulling will help reverse tooth decay and I have a tooth that was damaged as a child and then had a root canal many years ago. There is recently a bruise above it, which the dentist wasn’t concerned about, but is monitoring because it could indicate infection in the dead stupid tooth. Plus there is a smidgen of pain associated with it. Also, my gums have always been sensitive. I’m willing to see if this helps with any of that. 20 minutes goes much faster today and I grab my baggy and spit out the oil and OH MY GOSH THERE IS A HOLE IN THE BAGGIE. I’m dripping all those toxins I just pulled out of my mouth on my bed. And now my floor as I run to the bathroom to throw it in the trash. At least it got me out of bed and by the sink to rinse and brush.


Oil in, back in bed, game, baggie, check. Today’s 20 minutes go by super quickly and I spit and ANOTHER HOLE. What the heck is wrong with my plastic baggies? I run again to the bathroom and hide it underneath some other trash (you know, so CD doesn’t wonder what the heck is in the trash can) and realize that I feel very much like that teen Lifetime or PSA school movie they forced us to watch about bulimia and that girl stores all of her containers of vomit in her closet. Great. Have I heard it said that it takes a week to form a habit? Well, I just said it. I’m halfway there. I have noticed less pain in my two teeth that have been bothering me and the sensitive gums are all but gone. These are awesome things, but I still do not understand why that one blogger says that you become obsessed with pulling. Until evening. I drank coffee and realized that I might be staining my teeth late at night and pulling is supposed to help with whiter teeth and I run to the kitchen for oil the second time that day. Oy.


Today is my first challenge. I was up late working last night and have to get up to work again this morning. Do I want the extra 20 minutes of sleep badly enough to skip my new morning routine? Yes I do. But I went and got my oil anyway. One article mentioned that oil pulling cures hangovers…could that apply to side effects of sleep deprivation? The answer is kinda. I felt better by the end of 20 minutes and more ready to face the day than I think 20 minutes more of sleep could have helped. I don’t know the answer to the hangover question, if you’re wondering. But I kind of doubt it. Only one article out of many, many, many, many, many that I read mentioned that particular benefit. Day 4 – check.


This is my day off, but we are expecting a delivery to our house today. I got my times wrong and have to jump up and brush my teeth without oil pulling this morning. Man, I hate to break a streak. After I got everything back home in the early afternoon, I decided to go ahead and do it then. Establishing a routine, you know. The bruise on my gums is receding. Not a lot, but it has definitely shrunk. Pain is completely gone. Proceed.


Today is gonna be tricky if I am to continue hiding the oil pulling from Cheer Dad. I just don’t want to explain it all, you know? And you have to admit that it just sounds odd to swish oil around your mouth. Come on. My plan is to wait until he is almost done with his shower. Then I can take my spoonful of oil and be ready to jump in the shower after he is done. We hardly ever talk while each other is in the shower. I wait sitting on the (closed) toilet seat and oh my gosh he starts talking to me! What the heck? I motion that I have something in my mouth and he wonders why it’s taking me so long to use mouthwash. I try to smile without drooling on myself and wave and jump in the shower. Now. Many people will tell you they spend most or all of their 20 minutes pulling in the shower because it makes the time go fast. Not I. With only 8 minutes left when I got in, I was scrubbing furiously to make sure I didn’t go over 20 minutes. Because then you start reabsorbing toxins, they say. Reabsorbing? Has it been 20 minutes? Has it? Oh my gosh. I am ruining all the hard work I’ve been doing. I’m washing my hair faster than I ever have. I think there’s still soap on my arms when I step out and run for my timer. 4 minutes to go. Which is when I realize that I was so worried about getting out on time that I haven’t been pulling at all. Just holding it. Of course.


This was going to be tricky. Cheer Dad got up first to make me breakfast. Which is awesome, but it meant he was in the kitchen. With my coconut oil. I waited til he was turned and ran in to grab my spoonful and bolt. One full week down.


I was gonna stop there with the diary, but the real test is if you can keep it going when you add kids and school back in, right? I got up early and did it. Another goal post. I’ll let you know how things are going next month


Oh, She’s Just Being Miley March 15, 2014

Filed under: Life Lessons — mandymaetaylor @ 7:42 pm
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Thank you, Ms. Cyrus for lobbing me that softball of a blog title.

I’m letting M go to the Miley Cyrus concert tonight. I figured I would just go ahead and lead with that. Normally, the comings and goings of my children are not all that blog-worthy, but after seeing several (pretty judgy) comments on FB this week about parents who are letting their kids go, I thought I’d tell you why I chose to allow it.

First of all, for those of you who aren’t real-life friends with me, M is 13 and nine weeks away from being a high school freshman. Just thought I’d throw that out there in case you thought I might be defending my decision to let a five year old go. Such is not the case.

I didn’t say yes right away, I admit. Miley has had a lot of bad press lately. I had a whole post written in my head once about her antics titled “Miley Cyrus: The Marketing Machine,” but I never got around to writing it. In a nutshell, I think Miley’s public actions are a brilliant ruse to get folks talking about her. Brilliant because you’re still talking about her. Wondering what she’s gonna do next. I don’t know if she really is excited about acting trashy or if it is all a ploy, but it worked. But still, she was doing some pretty weird things…did I really want M to see her do something super crazy?

Really? She’s already seen it. She saw the award show. She saw the video. Your middle school kids have seen it, too…whether you know it or not. The things she has heard and seen at middle school are significantly worse than watching Miley slide down a giant tongue onstage. The things K came home with her first year of high school made my heart sad. And really – what could she possibly do in concert that is worse than writhing naked on a wrecking ball? So when M’s friend invited her to what is going to be her birthday party with other friends and chaperoned by her mom, I finally decided to say yes.

Like I said – the posts I’ve seen this week range from mildly indignant (I’d NEVER let my kid go to this concert) to insulting (those parents have seriously impaired skills). But before you judge me, know that she doesn’t see Rated R movies. Even though she’s 13, PG-13 movies have to be screened (and sometimes censored) first. She is actively involved in church. She’s polite and doesn’t say the bad words in country songs. She knows how to cook better than many adults I know. She’s innovative in finding jobs to earn money for the things she wants. She knows how to pitch a tent and start a campfire. She’s kind to animals and is responsible in taking care of ours. She’s got a huge heart, prays for people, and constantly strives to make others happy. I will never pretend that I’m the perfect parent. But I’m not a bad one, either.

Please save your judgment for things that really matter. I love you all and don’t judge your parenting skills, even when you post about doing things that I wouldn’t choose for my daughters. Let’s all support each other in this game together, shall we?



Nothing is Forever – Top 5 Reasons The Cheer Family Moved January 22, 2014

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Top Five Tuesdays — mandymaetaylor @ 3:25 am
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So we moved recently. And suddenly. In an effort to minimize the number of times that I have to explain the why and how to a million different people, I’m bringing you 2014’s first edition of Top 5 Tuesday. Here we go. As always, these top five things appear to you in no particular order.

1. We wanted to move. I feel this is fairly obvious, yet many folks have assumed that we had to move. That our home exploded or flooded or that we were ditching town and avoiding the law-men. Just kidding, nobody thought were were criminals (I hope). We are normal, law-abiding citizens, pinky swear. We wanted to sell our house for a multitude of reasons. Empty houses sell more easily than occupied houses, a fact that we had researched. We have a realtor familiar with the area who has an aggressive sales plan and decided to rent a house and sell our old one and basically, just go for it. Oh, wait. The fact that our family wanted to move is not a satisfactory reason for you? Let me further explain…

2. Fresh starts. It’s a new year and Cheer Dad, particularly, was eager to start this year with new perspective and vision. We were in bed awake one night speculating on what kind of life we would lead after both kids graduated. We had (both) always imagined that life after kids involved moving somewhere in the country. Whether it was close enough to commute and have real jobs or whether we would throw caution to the wind and grow some food and find a country-type livelihood was not really established. We just didn’t want to see any neighbors from our front porch. Then we started day-dreaming a whole different direction and wondered what it might be like to live and work with his family in Germany. Should we start learning the language now? Wait until right before and use that famous company whose name is elusive at this moment, but I think involves some kind of rock or stone? You get the picture. The idea lit a fire in CD – we could keep dreaming and come to the end of 4.5 years with nothing but a handful of dreams or we could start walking toward what we wanted. Did we decide to live in Germany? No. We didn’t decide not to, either. We DID know that we did not want to be living in that house. The kicker is the double payment – mortgage and rent. Thank you, yes, we know. This was a HUGE leap of faith (especially if you know CD at ALL), but one we both prayed through and we know that with the speed and the method at which things have moved to this point that God will continue to guide us down this new path.

3. Multi-gen living. Last year, I got to talking about the trend of living with multiple generations in one home with my mom. She had just read an article on the resurgence in US society and I had just watched a line of homes in SA built with that specific intention in mind. And yes, I know we Americans think we are very trendy and that worldwide this is nothing new. It is even nothing new in my own hometown. But the more we talked about it, the more enticing the idea became. The timing wasn’t right for them because of their current lease, so we tabled the idea at the time, but with the way things are looking right now, it can be a reality by this time next year. It wasn’t something that motivated this move at all, but in the discussions that blossomed from our changes, we are excited about how that can develop. Also, I’m gonna stop you right there and let you know that yes, I have lived with my parents – both as a married person waiting temporarily for our house to empty after we closed and as single mom with two kids on a much more long-term basis. There are no rose-colored glasses involved in our musings. Living with family can be difficult, we know. Luckily, I won the parent lottery and they are very livable folks.

4. Amenities. You know that expression that two people can live in a cardboard box as long as they’re in love? I could live in a cardboard box as long as it has a minimal amount of carpeting (done), a heater, and non-crappy neighbors. Fine, so no box. But as far as houses go, I’m not super picky. I do, in fact, detest carpet and our previous house had beautiful wood floors in most of the house and tile floors in the girls rooms. Sadly, ours was the only with carpet, but since I only slept there, I managed. The heater was great and for a long time we had all the best neighbors on the planet…even the crabby old guy was OK, despite his crabbiness. Did I wish for a bigger kitchen? Of course. A bathtub and not just a standing, coffin-sized shower in the master? YES. A fireplace? Several times a year. But if the kids and CD were happy, I was happy. And then Cheer Dad just wasn’t so happy anymore. The little things start building up (and in a 40 year old house, there are lots of little things) and it became too much for him and something was stirring in him. This is a man who has graciously accepted that I will be paying student loans for the rest of my life while not pursuing the career-path that accumulated said debt and who has encouraged me without ever a hint of judgment or frustration to follow what makes me happy and fills my soul. There are sometimes things we do in life that have no explanation, no words, other than “I just have to do this thing and please be my partner and support me and trust me.” This is one of those things. And (for now) I have a bigger kitchen, a master bath tub, and a fireplace.

5. But why so fast? Yeah, that surprised us, too. It went superty, duperty fast. Something crazy like 48 hours from the first time CD saw the house online (at that point only on the market for 2 days) and then looked at it and then we faxed in the papers and had ourselves a house fast. As in, “Monday is MLK day, so we’re both off and we’ll just move everything that day two days from now,” fast. And we did it. We are not fully unpacked, but I sit here, typing a blog after the first 24 hours in our new place, embracing the whirlwind of the last (not even) week. Did I mention that I shared almost none of the packing/moving/unpacking “fun?” That was because amidst the great house exchange, K had parent show-off and state competition and M was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz three nights last week. And if that weren’t enough, after K’s Friday night event, I ate something that turned my whole weekend on its head and I literally spent every minute in bed (or another TMI room) except to crawl out and attend performances and then crawl back in. I directed a bit of moving traffic on Monday, but that’s about it. We were covered in grace with this move – from the packing, to the help moving, to the extremely cooperative and positive attitudes from the girls.

So there it is. Yes, I’m sad to let the other house go. It’s the first house we ever bought – I mean, aside from the fact that the bank still owns it, but you know. It’s where we watched the girls grow into teenagers and young ladies and strong women. It’s where we took pictures in front of the tree every time something significant was happening. It’s where I developed my love for cooking. Where we brought home three puppies and a kitten. Where our sweet friend dubbed CD’s mancave the Treetop Casino and where the fun was never quite the same when he left us too soon. Where Cheer Dad planned a thousand virtual (and a few real) vacations for us. Where K’s best friend came to wait with me when K went on her first real date so she could be there the second she got home to get all the details. It’s where we began the cheer journey. Where we’ve made hundreds of football signs and homecoming mums and class projects and oh my goodness, how many pounds of glitter has that floor seen, much to Cheer Dad’s continued ire. It’s contained moments of laughter that have literally shaken the walls and maybe scared the neighbors, and you know that with three women, it has heard its fair share of tears. Oh house, I will miss those things about you. I will trade my glib dismissal of your small kitchen and bathroom for respect that you provided the backdrop for almost eight wonderful years of memories. And, just tonight, when I’m alone and it’s dark, I will shed a few tears that I can’t wrap all of those things up and somehow bring you with us to the next part of our journey, whatever that may be.

You think I’m very silly now, I’m sure. But I don’t care. I know it’s a house, and I know full-well we will take those memories with us and make countless new and wonderful ones. This house was a way-station for us and never meant to be permanent, but it will forever be a part of our story. Maybe this new one will, too. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a step into the unknown like this. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Come on try a little, nothing is forever. There’s got to be something better than in the middle.


Resolved January 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandymaetaylor @ 2:50 pm
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I had five goals for 2013. Shall we see how those panned out before revealing this year’s?



1. Write more – check. I wrote more blogs (at the beginning of the year). Then life took over, but I’ve done a lot of professional writing this year in several venues. I plan to continue that for this year.

2. Take more pictures – triple check. I still cringe a little bit when I see someone pull out a camera, but I’ve learned to swallow hard and to participate in the freeze frame of life’s moments.

3. Quality time with family – yep. I’ve been at every senior event, no matter how insignificant K says it may be. Every game, to the point of missing my favorite work event of the year. Cheer dad, M and I had a great bonding trip to NOLA last summer. We’ve made family time a priority.

4. Try new things – I…think so? I forgot I had resolved to do this. Maybe I need to move this to a higher focus for 2014.

5. Patience – in progress. I feel this is more of a life-long goal for someone of my personality type.


And now…drum roll please…



We have made a family resolution for 2014: technology down when we are together. We’ve always had a phones down at dinner or grandma’s house, etc. rule. But CD and I have noticed lately that we’ll be sitting as a family watching a movie and all four of us will be playing on our phones or tablets. Or we’re making the annual hour-long trip to pick out our Christmas tree and the girls are texting and Instagramming the minute they get in the car. The other day, we were watching a movie and I realized I worked on my computer throughout the whole three hours, looking up now and then, but hardly seeing it. I felt cheated out of that time and like I cheated the family out of that time. So our new goal is to put away the phones and all the other fancy technology we have now away when we are together.


No children were consulted in the establishment of this goal.


What do you want to accomplish in 2014?


One-man (pyramid) to rule them all… June 27, 2013

Filed under: Cheer,Cheer Mom 101,Convos — mandymaetaylor @ 12:07 am
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pink quotation marksSo the last few times I have (embarrassingly infrequently) shared stories with y’all, they’ve been on the heavy side. This Cheer Mom/K convo took place at this year’s national competition in Florida.


CM: (after dutifully taking notes on each routine as taught by last year’s graduating cheer moms) No offense to your team, K, but I guess I’m a little confused. I counted the tricks and flips the other teams did and some of the stuff looks way harder than what y’all are doing. I don’t understand how y’all moved on. I mean, I’m glad. But I don’t get it.

K: What were you counting?

CM: Well, they had more people doing more twirly flips, but their ending pyramid looks about the same as yours, so shouldn’t they have more points?

K: No, mom. Our pyramid was way more difficult (you’re going to have to trust me on the amount of exasperation expressed on the word “way”).

CM: Oh. How can you tell?

K: We had a one-man pyramid. All of the stunts were one-mans.

CM: Which one is that? The one that is really two people holding up a third? So it is really like a three-man?

K: NO. There is only one base holding up the top girl’s weight. The other is there just to set up the stunt.

CM: So…like three people are involved?

K: Whatever.


The beginning of the end June 8, 2013

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Nostalgia — mandymaetaylor @ 2:49 pm
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I’ve been composing this post in my mind for months. And now that the time has come to write it, the words leave me and I’m left with a lot of feelings and phrases. So you’ll have to excuse me for this very stream-of-consciousness-esque love letter to the past seventeen years of my life.

I did not cry when either of my children started kindergarten. Those of you who know me well can attest that I’m not that kind of girl. I embrace new things…new seasons in life. But three years ago, when I watched the senior lyrical dance at the end of the final show, I began weeping in a most unbecoming fashion. That would be MY senior in just a few short years. In the same time she went through middle school. In half the time she was in elementary. Six months ago, I was making a long drive home from the beach alone and listening to T-Swizzle (no judgement, please) when “Long Live” came on and I started almost sobbing as I was driving. What was happening? I blamed hormones. Two days ago, I picked K up from her last day of school and she turned to me and squealed with glee “I”m a senior!” (exclamation point hers). And I couldn’t stop the tears that rolled down my face.

It is here. Happening. One of the few great loves of my life will live full-time in our home for about fourteen more short months and then she will be off to complete her transformation into the beautiful young woman that has been emerging all of these years (dang it. The tears are back). The tiny creature who was instrumental in creating the person I am today will be gone. Not forever. Heaven knows I’ve already started bribing her with reasons to come back and see me. These are the time when your mom-mind starts wondering if you did it right. Or right enough. If they will appreciate the times you said “NO. NO. NO.” or “let’s do some summer reading” or “all relationships end in one of two ways: breaking up or marriage…why don’t you save dating for when you’re in high school (senior year…college…thirty-five)?”

I look back and I’m not entirely sure where the time went. I can remember washing her little bottom every time we changed her diaper because she had sensitive skin. Learning how to put her hair in ponytails and french braids. Defending her vehemently when she pushed a boy down on the playground who was three times her size. Flying on a plane with her to experience the truly nerve-wracking world of a national competition, which I knew nothing about. How do I get that back? I just want to smell that tiny baby head again and know that everything is going to be OK as long as we make it through together.

I won’t say that we’re best friends because we aren’t. I don’t want to be – not yet. Part of me looks forward to that future of our relationship, but I have to admit that the part of me that knows I have to let go completely very soon is feeling a little bit lost. That part of me is holding on to hope with the knowledge that her next chapter will lead to an all new one with M…one where M will get a chance to be the “only” child for once.

Once upon a time, I was just a little bit older than K is now. I was scared and young and clueless. I spent five crazy years on an emotional roller coaster, not really knowing how the next day would begin or end. But at the end of every day, my little girl would fall asleep in my arms or on my lap or in my bed and I would breathe in her sweet innocence and know that something was right in the world. Someone perfect had been created and selected just for me by God. A My life would be completely different if we hadn’t met when we did, but I’ve never played the “what if?” game because for me, there is no other reality that I would ever choose if it didn’t include her. I will definitely not come out on the other side of this year without an ocean of tears, but I’m not going to miss these last memories by wallowing in my self-pity. I knew that writing this would be cathartic and it is. Let’s do this, my darling senior.

K – I love you with every beat of my heart. With every nosy pestering question I ask. With every dollar that I spend. With every time I say no. With every time I say yes. With every batch of baked potato soup. With every word that I’ve ever written. With every single part of the person I am today. I love you more.

Long live all the mountains we moved. I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.


Top five things I miss about CL April 23, 2013

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Top Five Tuesdays — mandymaetaylor @ 7:18 pm

It was this time last year when I got a really terrible phone call. It didn’t feel real back then, and if I’m honest, I don’t know if it ever will. Do you have one of those friends who could disappear for a few months at a time – maybe more – and it felt like forever and yesterday at the same time? And when you see them again, you just pick up where you left off? He was one of those kind of friends. And even though I still struggle with believing it, there are things I miss. In rare form, they are in order.


Top Five Things Things I Miss About CL


5. Borrowing tools – OK, it’s not all touchy-feely. If he didn’t have it, he knew someone who did and brought it over.  And likely helped you with whatever chore you were doing. Maybe this is only red-flagging because I desperately need a nail gun to finish K’s baseboards and a wet saw to cut tiles. Both of which we borrowed from him in the past.

4. Falling asleep while sitting up – we all joked about it. Took pictures. Made bets on what would wake him up. Took more pictures.

3. Amazing-but-true stories – I don’t how many times we spent laughing until my sides hurt because of some crazy tale.

2. Calling me “darlin'” – he was one of only two people ever who do not cause my eyes to automatically roll when coming in the house and saying “hey, darlin’ – what’s going on?”

1. My husband’s best friend.


CL, the truth is that you had a lot of best friends. You had a way of making everybody feel like they were important to you. And in all honesty, there are way more than five things that I’ll miss, so I’ll break my own “limit-it-to-five” rule just this once by saying that I also miss the way you showed up randomly at all hours of the night, having to wipe slobber off my cheek when you kissed everybody goodnight, the way you made the girls laugh, the reminders that you were the one to dub the Treetop Casino, discussing music, HeyTell voice messages to Cheer Dad that usually began with some kind of “what’s up, (insert insult here)?”, the way you laugh, hearing you talk about your kiddo, impromptu midnight trips to the street taco stand, “puke & rally,” exchanging teen parent insults and stories, sharing your extended family with us, late-night song-writing/recording sessions with Cheer Dad, our post-Thanksgiving night parties, our St. Patrick’s day parties, your holey A&M t-shirt. The way that you were there for anybody that needed you at any time. Thanks for always saying “I love you” to everybody when you hung up or went home. I miss you. Cheer Dad misses you. Everybody does.


I’m glad to know that one day we will see each other again. Until then, I’ll keep looking up at the clouds.