The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas…..



… things that sing.

For the second year, we have the droids you may or may not be looking for along with Merry Darth and Yoda Claus, singing joyfully in the front yard.  On the front porch our little snow friend is singing a familiar tune.

Better than gold rings.  Every single day.

When the sun goes down and they come back to life with the flip of a switch, they bring me joy, and that makes one more thing sing–

my heart.

But we won’t count that tonight.

Five is a good number for Christmas.  It’s a number that brings me joy.

Love to all.

The Countdown is ON

Around here we have some countdowns going on.  Several actually.  It didn’t occur to me today which one might be foremost in my mind, in my subconscious even, until I saw this on the road while Miss Sophie and I were taking our morning constitutional earlier today.


The first thing that came to my mind was, “Huh.  That looks like a TIE fighter.”  And right after I typed that just now I had to look up to see if I even had the right thing or not–I am right about which one, but of course it really does NOT look like a TIE fighter in actuality, but still, you can see where my mind was going.

STAR WARS, y’all.

December 18.

Unlike the other countdowns going on in our home, this one we’ve had on the horizon for over a year.  Ever since the movie was announced and “December 2015” was a far away nebulous thing.

Not anymore.  We are closing in on SW Day.  It’s real.  And we are so close to it that we can all but taste the popcorn.

One week before Christmas.  Another of our many countdowns going on right now.

The anticipation is so palpable, it’s a real thing.  Anticipating all of the good things to come.  One, two, three, four.  All right there together in a row.

Having good things to look forward to is the best, isn’t it?  With all the hard things and the sad things and the downright dark things in our days and weeks and months…..hanging on to the good that is coming…..that is what keeps us going.

Hoping you all have something fun and wonderful to have a countdown for in your neck of the woods.

Love to all.


Knowing Who Your People Are

Cooter and I were out and about on Tuesday afternoon, just the two of us.  It’s a rare occurrence that we’re alone together, and when it happens, he is full of stories and questions and thoughts to share.


I was driving from one place to another, and that precious voice I will never tire of (though he tests that sometimes) piped up from the very back of the vehicle.

“Mama, what are ancestors?”

“Folks who lived before us, whom we’re related to. Like grandparents and their grandparents…..and so on.”

“Folks who lived a long time ago?”

“Sure buddy, and not so long ago too.”

“Mama, is George Washington our ancestor?”

Oh bless him.

“No, bud, I’m sorry.  I don’t think he’s on our family tree.”

“What about Abraham Lincoln?”

“Nope, not that I know of.  Sorry again.”

He thought for a minute.

Then with a voice full of hope and awe, he asked, “Mama, what about George Lucas?”

Ah, he’s pulling out ALL of his heroes now.

After telling him I didn’t think George Lucas or Mark Hamill or no–sorry buddy–not Harrison Ford either were on our family tree, his interest waned like the sunlight across the sky.  As it grew darker and the street lights came on, he moved on to another topic–a battle story about the time that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had troops fighting each other.

And I think light sabers were involved.

I love my little guy, and I love that he’s already thinking about the folks from our past–where he comes from.  Knowing who your people are and where you come from helps you understand why certain parts of your story are so important.  Like why education is of the utmost importance as is truth-telling and taking care of others.  Especially in this family.

I’m also happy about his choice of heroes.  Even the whole George Lucas thing.  I get it.  You don’t get much cooler than the guy who created a whole storyline that reads like a history book and is apparently way more interesting.

Tonight I’m thankful for him remembering that there are folks who came before us, because one day it will be his job to tell his children and grandchildren about all of us who were here before them.  What we believed, what we laughed about, how we loved, and what we stood firm about…..and our hopes and dreams for the future.  It seems to me that a lot of mighty good things came from our ancestors who had hopes and dreams.  Like a new country and freedom for all, to name a couple.  Oh yeah, and “Luke, I am your father.”  That was pretty awesome too.

Wishing you all a moment to remember and honor those whose dreams and hopes you are standing on right now.

Love to all.


In the Rain with Padme and Boba Fett

Last Sunday on the BigTrip, Cooter was in hog heaven.  His smile couldn’t get any brighter, and I’m pretty sure his face hurt from smiling so much.  I know mine did, and I was just smiling from seeing his joy.

Does it get any better for a Mama?

My little guy is perhaps the biggest Star Wars fan there is.  At least in the four-foot and under crowd.  And last weekend was the Mouse’s last Star Wars weekend of the whole year.  We were there for the very last day.


They pulled out all of the stops.  Within the first forty-five minutes in the park, my littles had met Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  When our Princess met their Princess, it was a photo-op on the grandest scale.  The excitement was as palpable as the humidity in the air.  And this is the South.  We don’t play when it comes to humidity.

Cooter meeting Luke Skywalker.  They had quite the conversation. What a moment!

Cooter meeting Luke Skywalker. They had quite the conversation. What a moment!

When it was his turn to meet Luke, my little Jedi walked right up and said, “Hey I can teach you to be a Jedi Knight.  Even better than Obi-Wan Kenobi.  He killed your father.”

Luke looked taken aback.  He was a great actor.  “Really? No.  He’s my friend.  He doesn’t kill my father.”

Cooter nodded and proceeded to share some other details of what happens in the story that were above my knowledge.

Luke crouched down in front of my little guy.  He looked him in the eyes and said, “The Force is great with you, young Jedi.  You know the past…..and the future.”  Cooter nodded, quite serious.

*sigh*  If only he were as enthusiastic about learning real facts.

Check out that cool blue dude.  Yeah I don't know who he is.  Cooter's already asleep so I can't ask.

Check out that cool blue dude. Yeah I don’t know who he is. Cooter’s already asleep so I can’t ask.

March on Stormtroopers!

March on Stormtroopers!

One of our very favorites. Bless him in that heat.

One of our very favorites. Bless him in that heat.


It was delightful.  Have I mentioned that already?  And hot.  And crowded.  As all good celebrations do, they had a fantastic parade with lots of characters that I had to keep asking my seven-year old who they were.  We drank water and held tight to little fans spraying water on our faces and continued on through the day, continuing to be more and more excited.  And impressed.  And happy.

My crew was happy.

Then we were sitting, waiting to see the Indiana Jones stunt show.  I’d heard it was really good, and I knew it could get packed.  We found our seats in the middle of a downpour.  Thankfully it was a covered shelter.  Not so thankfully they cancelled the last show of the night due to the inclement weather.  Ah well.  Win some, lose some.

Not to be brought down by the storm, Cooter asked if we could go to the Indiana Jones Trading Post.  We dashed over in the sprinkle that turned into another full rain.  As we were waiting it out, I looked over.  And I tried not to stare.  I leaned down and asked Cooter, “Who is she?  Is that Padme?”

He looked over.  And nodded.


No lines.  We were all just waiting in the open air shop, avoiding the downpour.  Well, good deal.  I smiled and she waved with a shy smile.

I am my Mama’s child sometimes, not afraid to approach a stranger.  Especially when it comes to my children.  “Is it okay if we come over?”  She smiled bigger and nodded.

Padme and Boba Fett.  Our paths may never cross again but they are forever in my heart and I am thankful for them.

Padme and Boba Fett. Our paths may never cross again but they are forever in my heart and I am thankful for them.

Standing with her was another young woman, dressed as Boba Fett.  With hat, shirt, shorts (okay–it’s hot, I get it), and artillery.  They both had official Planet (fill in appropriate one here–I can’t remember) name badges.  We excitedly talked with them and then we asked if we could get their autograph.

Padme seemed hesitant.  “I mean, if it’s okay?  I don’t want you to get in trouble.”  I wasn’t sure if they were allowed to when they weren’t in an official line.  I mean, who could know what their rules were?

“No, it’s fine.  I just wouldn’t know how.”  Y’all, I was still in the dark.  She was dressed as Padme, had a badge, so she was their official Padme, right?

Oh wait.

Turns out she wasn’t.  You could purchase similar badges in some of the shops in the park, according to my oldest, Aub.  *sigh*  Okay.  These were two very enthusiastic young Star Wars fans who lived not too far from the mouse house, and they had dressed up to attend the closing day for the Star Wars celebration.

Ah well.  I hated that I’d bothered them.

And yet they stayed in character.  They talked with my children as though they were paid to be Padme and Boba.  Two of my crew’s favorites.  They did sign their “names” and did a really good job of it.



But what they did best?

Shined light brightly on that dark, rainy Sunday evening.  Do my children believe they met the “real” Padme and Boba?  I think so.  One day they may read this and learn the real story.  And that’s okay too.

Because what I really want them to carry away from the moments with those two beautiful spirits is–

Make yourself interruptible.

Especially when you have the chance to bring someone else some joy.

They gave of their time.  I expect we interrupted a conversation they were having.  At any moment, they could have looked at me and said, “Look, crazy lady who looks like you’ve had a LONG day and have very few brain cells left–we are not the characters you are looking for.  Move on, and take your little ones too.”

But they didn’t.

They talked and smiled.  And signed names they had likely never signed before.

And they made little ones smile and feel happy and made dreams come true.

To my littles and anyone else who’s stuck with me this far–

anytime, you have the opportunity to do that.


Just do it.

The joy you share in a moment given freely and completely–

that’s the best.  That’s the real Force.

Love to all.  And may the Force be with you.


Running Lines

This evening as I was doing the “finishing up the day” tasks, I was running back over lines from today.  And giggling.  And that’s a good thing.  Laughter over misread words and losing track of time and general silliness–I’ll take it.

This morning the littles and I were out together.  Cooter, my little guy, was taking the few minutes we were waiting on his sister to play with a new friend of his.  As they climbed in and out and under, Cooter’s friend’s Dad called out to his son, “Hey, be careful, know where your head is.”

That. Right. There.

I think that’s good advice for all of us.  Know where your head is before you take your next step.  You really don’t want to get bonked in the head.  That hurts.  Bad.  And sometimes worse than others.

Later in the day, after taking care of business with the crew Plus Three, I completely lost track of time.  I am usually so time conscious, so that was a very strange sensation.  I decided I could stress over it or laugh over it.  Taking my friend’s lead, I decided to laugh it off.  Stress wouldn’t have turned back time, but it could take minutes off my clock.  Laughter it is.

The discount movie theater was showing “Epic” this afternoon.  Throwing our fun meter into high gear, we Plus Three decided it was just the thing to do after an afternoon of taking care of business.  We crept into the dark theater (the results of losing track of time) and found some seats.  The movie had a really interesting premise.  The fact that the daughter and her father found a way to communicate despite being in different “worlds”–well I liked that just fine.  It warmed my heart and made me smile.  If only.  One of the most beautiful and poignant lines in the movie was, “Many leaves, one tree.”  The idea that no one is ever alone.  I like that too.  I couldn’t help but think of our friends who have no roof over their head, no way of knowing for sure where their next meal will come from.  I especially thought about my friend Mac, who often panhandles with his buddies to get enough to eat.  What would happen if the next person they asked went and bought four burgers and sat and ate with them?  Just pondering on that this evening too.

Another version of the "Many leaves, one tree" line that's been running through my mind.  So true--we're all in this together, aren't we?

Another version of the “Many leaves, one tree” line that’s been running through my mind. So true–we’re all in this together, aren’t we?

Another line from the day came from Cooter Himself.  He told me this evening, as I was stirring the homemade vegetable soup (thank you summer), “Mama, you know what the only good thing about Darth Maul getting cut in half is?”  Wait. What?  “No, what Buddy?”  (It’s been nothing but Star Wars around here for days, my friends.)  “That he was a bad guy.  And that’s the only good thing.”  I breathed a sigh of relief.  There for a while I thought we were going to be in big trouble because his favorites in any story were the “bad” guys.  Now I’m seeing a turn.  Thank you Star Wars.  And our friends who loaned us Episodes 4 and 5.  Apparently you’ll get no sympathy for being cut in half from my guy if you have been up to no good.  I’m just sayin’.

Today was a good one.  A busy one.  And in true typical Tara fashion I closed out our adventures by thinking I had misplaced my keys.  Perception is everything, so I headed back into the empty theater with my cell phone lit up to search the floor for them.  (Oh people, please don’t throw that stuff on the floor–act like you are somebody!) I kept hitting the “wake up” button on my phone for light and searching under the four or five rows I figured were probably ours.  (I had already lost my bearings on where we sat.)  When it was painfully obvious that they weren’t there, I went back out to my friend whom I’d left holding my bag.  And then it hit me, the outside pockets.  About the same time my friend pointed and asked, “Outside pockets maybe?”  She’s a genius and she was right.  And she laughed with me over my forgetfulness, and for that–that grace–I am thankful.

Laughter and lines echoing in my head tonight.  I’m thinking I shall sleep quite well.

His Best Day Ever

Tonight my oldest asked our little guy, age 6, when was his best day ever.  He answered, “Today.  Right now.”


pic of Star Wars logo

Because he was finally watching a few minutes of Star Wars.  The actual movie–not the Lego’s version that I hoped would appease him a little longer.  He was so excited he could hardly sit still.  My little guy, Cooter, knows more about Star Wars than a lot of people who have seen all six movies.  He asks a lot of questions and pieces it together in his mind.  He KNOWS this stuff.  All I can say is if he puts this much energy and passion into learning REAL history, we are all set.

While he and his friends were watching, my friends and I talked about movies we watched growing up, which echoed a conversation my husband and I had earlier today.  I realize I am way overprotective of what my children watch.  (I ask folks in doctor’s offices to change the channels–I mean, some of the junk they have on in there is downright ridiculous!)  Today I might have gotten to the heart of the matter.

pic of sleeping beauty

Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was one absolutely SCARY movie.  I mean seriously, have you seen the big battle scene between Prince Phillip and Maleficent?  That’s the stuff nightmares are made of people.  I know this.  For.  A.  Fact.  It was made in 1959.  For children.  I guess dancing forest critters and the bumbling sweetness of the fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were all supposed to outweigh the darkness that was Maleficent and her curse.  However, when I first watched it about fifteen years after it was made, it made no matter.  I was terrified.  We even had the soundtrack album, and the pictures on the record cover could give me the heebie-jeebies.  She changes, Maleficent does.  Into a horrible, terrifying, HUGE fire-breathing dragon.  Prince Phillip is almost toast.  Literally.  Okay, enough of that.  Too close to bedtime.  Suffice to say, when that movie is in your memory banks, you remember it and try to keep your own little ones away from such as that for as long as you can.

My friends and I talked about other movies and television shows we watched growing up.  Horror movies, soap operas, Love Boat and Fantasy Island were amongst those mentioned. (Yes, we all agreed, Tattoo was a creeper.  He often just hung out, staring.  What was that about?)  I remember my parents picking a weekend, usually in the heat of the summer or over a school break, and going to the video rental store.  For one special price we could rent a Video Disc Player and something like ten movies on video discs, not due back until Monday by noon.  Wow.  We camped out in the living room, all of us together, taking bathroom or snack breaks between the movies.  My spot was lying sideways in the chair that now sits in my Sister’s beautiful room.  We watched so many different movies, I can’t remember them all, but I do know most of those weekends were Western weekends.  People tend to remember Westerns with a nostalgic look on their faces, but let me tell you, they weren’t pretty.  In hindsight I shudder at just how violent some were.  We were partial to John Wayne and the old classic westerns that had great one-liners and funny oddball characters.  They were wholesome, but a lot of folks got shot up.  Does that even sound right?

And so I obsess.  I watched all those movies starting when I was probably 10 or 12.  But my sisters were younger than that.  So, am I being too overprotective with my own children?  Our Princess, eight and a half years old, who wants to watch the newer Disney shows designed for tweens and teens.  Our little guy, Cooter, who desperately wants to watch Star Wars.  Whose best day ever was this one right here when he got to watch 25 minutes of Star Wars, Episode 4.  And who can’t wait to watch the rest.  He keeps assuring me he wasn’t scared and that it was AWESOME.

And now the new Lone Ranger movie has come out.  My little guy sees the pictures on cereal boxes and on Lego’s boxes (thank you for that, oh Lego’s Wise Ones).  He wants to see it.  This one is a “no” (it’s PG-13 for goodness’ sake), but what about the old, original episodes?  Is he old enough to handle them?  Zorro?  Gunsmoke?

So, just wondering, what do you remember watching?  How old were you when you first saw Star Wars?  Sleeping Beauty?  How old were your children or other little ones in your life when they saw these movies?  How old were you or your child or someone you knew before they saw their first PG-13 movie?  The old Westerns–pros and cons?

We get one shot at doing this right, and I’m really trying.  Nobody ever said raising children would be easy, and that’s a good thing.  Because it’s not the least bit easy.  At all.