After the rain.

:: Monkey Island, OK June, 2010 ::

They know all about me, and they love me just the same.

:: can you guess which hand is mine? ::

Once a year we make it a priority. Emails are sent. Hundreds of emails back and forth. We choose a weekend, we organize the husbands, the children, the babysitters. We find a way to make it work.

We don't do much once we're together. We laugh. Oh my, how we laugh. We act silly and behave in ways that we never would around other grown adult people. We might be getting close to 40 ("I'm 40! 4-0!") but we act more like we're about 12.

We're planning a trip for our 39th birthdays. Most friends would plan a trip for when they all turn 40. Not us. What fun would it be to be just like everyone else? Not much.

We talk about kids and husbands and the things we do with those kids and husbands. We talk about our health and getting older. We remember fun times and what it was like to be younger.

And we laugh. Oh my, how we laugh.

These are some of my most favorite people on the planet. I love them. Truly.

And as a fun girl named Daisy would say, "Are you still lovin' me?"


Under the bridge
And over the dam
Looking for berries
Berries for jam

Pick me a blackberry!

Rumble and ramble
In blackberry bramble
Billions of berries
For blackberry jamble

Mountains and fountains
Rain down on me
Buried in berries
What a jam jamboree!

june trip to the farm

book quotes from: Jamberry by Bruce Degen

Jesus, the Golfer, and Sting: my trifecta

People sometimes ask me if I miss living in Oklahoma. And when I'm sitting in the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful summer evening listening to Sting, I look at them in bewilderment and laugh as I ask, "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Zoo Amphitheater versus the Hollywood Bowl? You be the judge.

On Tuesday I spent time with my three favorite men: Jesus, Sting, and my husband. In that order.

I started the morning volunteering at church which is something that I love to do. The one thing that I learned from my dad (who actually taught me a lot about what not to do) is that you have to give back; you have to serve you community, your church, your country. Being a volunteer is part of who I am and I love to serve my church because, "To whom much is given, much more is required." (Luke 12:48) And I have been given much.

So after hanging with Jesus for a few hours ("I love me some Jesus..."), I headed off to get ready to spend time with my boyfriend Sting. You remember the Friends episode with the list of "okay" celebrities? And then Ross takes Isabella Rossellini off his list just as he runs into her at the coffee shop? Well, Sting is the only one on my laminated list. My husband is fully aware.

We packed our picnic--fruit, cheese, crackers, sushi, and white wine--and headed to Hollywood. Unfortunately when we got there we found out that with this particular concert we weren't going to be allowed to take the wine inside. The concert was getting ready to start so we did the only thing that we could--we dumped the water in our water bottles, quickly filled them with the wine, and smuggled them inside like we were still in our twenties.

You know the pictures and videos of the young girls screaming and crying while they watched the Beatles? I always thought that was so strange. I mean, they're just performers, entertainers. Why act like such a nut? But I'll admit right now, when Sting started to sing I suddenly got it. Perhaps it was the wine in the water bottle, but sitting there I wanted to cry I was so happy.

Sting put on such a good concert and I sat on the edge of my seat and sang along with every, single song. It might sound bad saying this, having spent the morning with Jesus and all, but I was having a religious experience. For the next 3 hours, all was right with the world.

Oh, yeah. And my husband was there too.

The End.

Couch to 5K

The other day I was reading Self magazine and eating a brownie (because that's the only way I can get through seeing all of those skinny women working out) when I came across a website,

I finished my brownie and hopped on my computer to check it out. I'm not a runner, but I liked the idea of burning off brownies with a quick 30 minute run.

If you've been following my weighty issues, you know my history of hating to work out. I mean, I hate it. I could fill pages of how much I hate it. But hating it is no longer an option. So I've been trying for a long time now to find something, some kind of program that would inspire me to move.

"Couch to 5K" is a program to get people to do exactly that: get you off the couch and running. Basically, if you follow their schedule you could be running in a 5K (about 3 miles) in 9 weeks. It sounded simple enough, so I decided to forgo the 2nd brownie and start running.

Yesterday was my first day. Here's the deal: you warm up with a brisk 5 minute walk and then you alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 minutes of walking for 20-25 minutes. You do this the first week, 3 times a week. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Easy enough for an exercise hater such as myself.

One of the things that I like best about this program is that the idea of it doesn't overwhelm me. I can do 3 times a week. I can do 30 minutes. I can accomplish that and anything that I choose to do over that (let's say, cross train on an elliptical on the other day) will be counted as bonus points and bonus points are always a good thing. It's like getting a gold star next to your A+.

Now, at first I thought that keeping track of all of those seconds was going to be a pain, but it was actually really easy. Over the next 3 months I'll continue increasing my running time, walking less and less until around week 9 when you'll hopefully be running about a 10 minute mile. (You can check the program out for yourself here.)

Here's my goal: I want to try and do it in 8 weeks instead of 9. Overly ambitious? Perhaps. But I'm not a total couch potato. I do lead an active lifestyle, just not active enough to effectively burn off brownies. And the ice cream. And the chocolate souffles.

Does this suddenly mean that I will start to like working out? Of course not. I mean, I'm not crazy! But something has got to change and I'm hoping that "Couch to 5K"--a program with a goal--will help me get off the couch, put down the damn brownie, and start running away my weighty issues.

I'll let you know how it goes.

I don't get paid by to promote any of this, by the way. Just letting you know.


photo credit: s-A-m from flickr

My great-aunt Ruth died last week. She was 88 years young.

Even though she lived a full, long life, her death still came as a surprise. But isn't that how death works? Even when you're expecting it, you're never quite ready for it.

My mom, Aunt Jan, and Uncle Bud headed to her graveside service last week in Weatherford. As they opened her coffin at the end of the service, my great-uncle Wayne went and stood next to his wife for one last time.

He stroked her hair. He patted on her face. He stood there loving on her.

He wouldn't walk away.

My mom said that it was heartbreaking to watch. She also said it was a little nerve-wracking to watch a shaky 95 year-old man hover next to a coffin, over an empty grave.

Everyone stood there awkwardly as Wayne continue to love on his wife of 68 years. He lingered, and lingered and lingered. But how do you walk away from someone that you have been with for 68 years of your life? How do you bring yourself to say goodbye, or more accurately in Ruth and Wayne's case, "See you later."

His children gathered around him, hoping to finally guide him away, but Wayne didn't want to leave his wife.

"Now that's devotion," my Uncle Bud quietly said.

My Uncle Bud, a man of few words, had hit the nail on the head.

I made such a big deal a few weeks ago about the Golfer and I being married for 10 whopping years. But now, thinking of Ruth and Wayne and their 68 years, I feel a little foolish.

I wonder where the Golfer and I will be 58 years from now? Hopefully holding hands on a beach somewhere. More likely, we'll be staring at each other in a nursing home somewhere since the Golfer and I will be 97 and 95 respectively. If we're lucky, it'll be a nursing home that happens to have a view of the beach.

Which reminds me, I need to be nicer to my kids.

I've gotta tell you, the idea of 68 years blows my mind a little. I guess because I don't know of many people that make it that far anymore. It's sad, really, that golden anniversaries are so rare nowadays. But Ruth and Wayne celebrated their golden and well beyond.

No matter how long we live, I hope and pray that the Golfer and I will always be as devoted to each other as Ruth and Wayne have been.

Which reminds me, I need to be nicer to my husband.

Friday Funnies

:: making homemade pizza. yeah, they didn't eat them. ::

Last night I was helping the Monkey get into a clean shirt before heading out to dinner.

With a bare chest, he pointed to himself and with a smug look said, "The girls like me like this." and then flexed his "muscles" just to prove is point further.

I started to crack up and then, of course, so did he.


I was going through the Cheese's school papers yesterday (yes! school is still going on here!) and noticed a piece of notebook paper with a bad drawing of a mouse skull and cross bones on the top.

It read: (his spelling, not mine)

"Rats in the Attic"

Singer: Hunter
Guaiter: Joshua
Drumer: Bentley
Manager: Arther

"What's this?" I asked him.

"Oh, that's our band called Rats in the Attic. I'm gonna need some drums."

Indeed you do, son. A second grade rock band. This I'd actually like to see.


Last week while helping at Water Day at preschool, a darling little girl came up to me and said, "Monkey's Mom? I'm gonna marry the Monkey."

I smiled at her and excitedly said, "Oh boy! You are?"

As she started to walk away I asked, "Can I come to the wedding?"

And in all seriousness she turned around and simply said, "No."

My daughter-in-law already hates me.

Happy Friday!

Weekly Column: Living My Life in Flats (And Other Fashion Mistakes Mothers Make)

© Stephenie Freeman

My life no longer requires high heels.

It's a sad reality that I finally realized while shopping the other day. There before me was a buffet of foot fashion: bright purple stilettos, red paten leather wedges, and floral pattered platforms, just to name a few. I stood there trying to figure out how to squeeze a pair of espadrilles in my life, but I finally decided that the emergency room bill after breaking my neck just wouldn't be worth it.

I have never really had a particular affection for shoes, but I will admit that nothing makes you feel as good as a cute, new pair of shoes. And as the saying goes, no matter what size you are, shoes always fit. Be it a pair of Manolos from Neimans or flip-fops from Target, shoes can brighten your day, even if they're killing your feet.

Since becoming a mother, however, my stylish shoes have been collecting dust in my closet. Instead, my running shoes get enough daily wear to make you think that I am actually a runner. They are comfortable, reliable and make sense for my lifestyle. Besides, I would look a little silly in a pair of black suede pumps while pushing a cart through the grocery store and sitting at soccer practice. But that's just me.

I can hear the hip-mamas chanting now. "Just because I am a mother doesn't mean I have to look like one."

Which leaves me with only one question—what is a mother supposed to look like?

I pondered this question further while getting my hair cut recently. I overheard one of the stylist near me say, "I'm just so tired of giving 'soccer mom' haircuts." She even did air quotes around the words, "soccer mom."

I was intrigued and couldn't help myself. "So, what does 'soccer mom hair' look like exactly?" I said while repeating her use of the air quotes.

"You know. It's just plain and boring. They always want something easy."

She obviously didn't know that I was part of the group to which she was referring. Again, I couldn't help myself. "Do you have children?"

"No not yet, but …"

"Well, one day maybe you will. And each morning you'll find yourself busy making breakfast, finishing up homework, getting the kids dressed, all to find out that you only have fifteen minutes left to get yourself dressed and everyone out the door. Then you let me know if you still have the time to use a flat iron."

Poor girl didn't know what hit her. I really don't blame her though. I remember the days before I had children. I was fashionable, never daring to leave the house looking anything but totally put together. Now, as long as whatever I have on is clean, I am good to go.

Staring at all of those cute shoes that day, I suddenly longed for those fashionable days of my past. Fashion is like most things in our lives—it's a choice. When I was young and childless, I made the choice to spend the time and money making myself look fabulous. Now that I'm a mama, my time and attention to fashion is practically non-existent. Aside from the occasional night out with adults, I really never have the occasion to wear anything stylish, and filling my closet with a lot of clothes that I would never get to wear would be cruel. Both for me and the clothes.

I have an easy hair cut, I wear mostly jogging suits, t-shirts and jeans, and my make-up is kept to a bare minimum. So, I guess that means that I look like a "soccer mom" or a "karate mom" or a "tee ball mom," which stands to reason since all of the money that I used to spend on cute things like shoes goes to soccer cleats and karate gear.

But I think that maybe some leopard print ballet flats might find a place in my life after all.

Won't all of the other soccer moms be jealous?

It's finished! Porch Remodel Pics

I'm so excited there are no words. Watching the sod go down yesterday was like Christmas morning. Even as I write this, I am sitting on my brand-spanking-new porch writing this (gotta love Wi-Fi.) I can smell the star jasmine, there's a cool breeze and before too much longer the Golfer and I will be popping open a couple of cold beers to celebrate!

There are still lots of little things left to do, but who cares! It's done!

What do you think?

FYI--there will be a T.V. where that square is over the fireplace.

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!"

What's cuter than the Monkey playing a guitar and singing an ABC rock 'n roll song?

Nothing that's what.

This was part of his preschool promotion last week. It was one of those "get out your tissues" kind of a moment. One of those "your baby is growing up and there's absolutely nothing that you can do about it" times of life.

And man, did it make me weepy!

Because he's my baby and I'm not having any more. And even though I'm thrilled with the idea of never having to pay for preschool tuition EVER again, the whole thing makes me a little sad.

Because in preschool, they're still little. They're still silly. The play and make messes and paint with their fingers all in the name of learning.
But kindergarten will be a different beast. It will be all day. He'll take a lunch. He'll walk into the school next to 6th graders. He'll learn to read and memorize his address and phone number.

Good Lord, he might even learn to tie his shoes.

And even though I am thrilled that he will learn how to do all of these things, I still want him to be my baby, but as he is already reminding me every day, "No, Mom. I'm a big boy."

A big boy that knows how to rock 'n roll.

Parting doesn't have to be such sorrow.

I'm big about cleaning things out. I might have a lot of stuff in my house (i.e., toys and books) but I don't have a lot of junk.


Somethings--things that you no longer have a need for or have outgrown or whatever--are just so darn hard to part with.

Take the lapboard that I made in college. The key word here is that I made it. I spent hours cutting out words from magazines, buying cute stickers (stickers, really?), and picking out which pictures were worthy of this precious project. Because once everything was Mod Podged (remember that stuff?) it would be poured with a hard lacquer.

Long story short, I've been carrying this thing around from apartment to apartment, from house to house for the past 15 years or so. So when the Golfer and I were cleaning out the garage, getting ready for a garage sale, he pulled it out and gently said, "How long are you planning on keeping this?"

My first reaction was, "Of course I'm keeping that!" But the longer he stood there holding it, I realized how stupid it was to keep it. Sure, it had some great Party Pics on it that I couldn't bare to part with, not to mention all of the time and love that went into creating it. But I knew that it was time to say goodbye.

That's when the Golfer swooped in and saved the day.

"Why don't you take a picture of it."

I knew I made the right choice when I married him!

:: genius idea ::

Taking pictures of all of my old junk has been a lifesaver! Especially when it's come to things that the boys have outgrown. Look at these.

These Vans were worn by both boys. I bought them when we first moved out here. I mean, what says, "I'm a cool California surfer dude" more than an awesome pair of checked Vans?
It was the Monkey that wore them to death. For the past school year, he wore them just about every single day (with mismatched socks no less!) Socks and shoes are definitely two areas where I let my boys display their individual style. I take credit for nothing below the knees.
So before throwing out these bad boys, I took a picture. And what will I do with all of these pictures of all of this great old junk?
I have no idea, but pictures take up a lot less space in the garage.
And as Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

More than a coach.

Coach John Wooden's Seven Point Creed
  • Be true to yourself.

  • Help others.

  • Make each day your masterpiece.

  • Drink deeply from good books.

  • Make friendship a fine art.

  • Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live.

  • Give thanks for your blessings and ask for guidance every day.

I hope to live my life by these seven points. Coach Wooden certainly did.
It was so sad to hear of Coach Wooden's passing yesterday. As part of the Bruin family for the past 4 years, the Golfer and I have slowly learned so much about this amazing man.

One of the first times that I was on the UCLA campus, someone said something about Coach Wooden.
"Who's Coach Wooden?" I asked. I swear in that moment you could hear the whole campus abruptly stop and gasp in horror.
But you see, I grew up in the Sooner Nation, only hearing the names of Bud, Barry, and Bob when it came to sports. And after moving out west, I have slowly learned more about the greatest college coach ever. And I learned most of it from a children's book.

For all of you mamas, may I highly recommend the children's book written by Coach Wooden called, Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success. In this cute story, two little animals explore "the greatness that lives within all of us" through something that Coach Wooden created called the Pyramid of Success. The pyramid consists of 15 personal qualities that Coach Wooden believed brought success. Things like enthusiasm, loyalty, confidence, and poise. Things that we all want to teach our kids. What we all need to succeed.
Go to to learn more about this amazing man.

Water Day.

:: water day preschool style ::'s Friday.

And everyone said, "Amen!"

Dinner last night was fairly typical except for one thing: my son decided that he wanted to pray.

I'd like to say that we always pray before every meal, but the truth is that we never do. I didn't grow up in a home that prayed before meals so it just isn't something that I ever think about. I grew up in a home that always ate dinner with the T.V. on which is why my mom and I are so good at answering questions on "Family Feud" like "Name something that you'd find in a baby's diaper" and "Name a place that you don't go on a first date."

My boys are growing up much like I did and thanks to T.V. dinners, they can quote most of the lines from shows like "Friends" and "The Office" which are typically on during the Freeman dinner hour. There's nothing funnier than hearing an 8 year-old say, "How you doin'?" followed by his 5 year-old little brother replying, "That's what she said!"

So like I said, last night was pretty typical. "The Office" was on and we were enjoying our macaroni noodles with sauce and Leisure baby peas. Then out of no where, the Monkey looks at me from across the table and says, "I want to say my prayer."

"What? You do? Great!"

"Yes. But you need to turn down the T.V. first Mom."

Okie-dokie then.

Once the T.V. was turned down (not off, I mean...we're not crazy!) my Monkey laced his fingers together, bowed his head, and started to pray. I can't remember it word for word, but it went something like this:

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for family. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my brother and my mommy and my daddy and my grandmoms and my poppy. The end.

It was the best prayer I have ever heard in my entire life. My son had wanted to pray. He wasn't asked to do it. He wasn't prompted to do it. He wanted to do it. And it made me want to cry.

I then looked at his older brother and asked, "Buddy, would you like to say a prayer?"

"Nope. Not right now. I'm good. Can you turn back up the T.V.?"

And suddenly we were right back to where we started.

And everyone said, "Amen!"

Weekly Column: Nostalgia never tasted so good

©2007, Stephenie Freeman

I was sitting in the drive-thru at McDonald’s the other day when I saw something on the menu that actually made me smile. This was odd since fast food isn’t something that usually brings me any certain amount of joy, but seeing the Shrek-themed drinking glasses for sale definitely brought a smile to my face.

Once upon a time, character-themed, movie-promoting drinking glasses filled my family’s kitchen cabinets. Life was good when you could drink your milk with Chewbacca, Miss Piggy, or McDonald’s Mayor McCheese looking back at you. If you complied all of the character glasses together, mixing and matching, I’m sure that we had enough of them for a formal seating of twelve. It’s a shame that they were haphazardly thrown away years ago. What I wouldn’t give to be able to use at my next dinner party.

“Bill, would you like a little more wine?”

“You bet. But only fill it up to Smurfette’s skirt. I’m driving.”

I can just imagine the conversations that these glasses would spark around the dining room table. Phrases like, “Do you remember…” would be followed by conversations about original Cabbage Patch dolls, Donkey Kong and Mrs. Pac-Man, and “Who was it that shot JR anyway?” Talk would probably include things like playing Space Invaders on Atari, watching movies on your Beta VCR, and who was cuter, Webster or E.T.

Sitting in the drive-thru that day, I began to wonder whatever happened to the girl who just wanted to have fun. It felt like it was only yesterday that I was wearing shoulder pads and acid washed jeans with a mouth full of heavy metal. Digging through my purse now full of diapers and grocery store receipts, I suddenly longed to spray my bangs with Aqua Net so they could stand up straight, six-inches tall at least, and wear my way cool, neon yellow jelly shoes to a Huey Lewis and the News concert.

Jellies are actually coming back in style. I’m not sure about Huey and his band.

Instead, there I sat in my SUV with a 5-year-old kicking the back of my seat begging for his Happy Meal. I can still remember when Happy Meals were “for a limited time only.” Considering the childhood obesity problem and the millions of plastic Happy Meal toys in our landfills, maybe they should have been. But back in the day when all you wanted was your MTV and you were trying your best to party like it was 1999, none of that really mattered.

During the 1980’s, I was busy copying Michael Jackson’s moves while watching the “Thriller” video and dancing to “Let’s Get Physical”, totally innocent and ignorant of the real meaning of Olivia Newton-John’s lyrics. I dreamed of going back to the future in a DeLorean with Michael J. Fox, and completely understood why “nobody puts Baby in the corner.” I was a product of a material world and I was a material girl.

Some people wonder why the men and women of my generation have gotten themselves into so much debt. The 1980’s was a decade of excess. We grew up hearing phrases like, “Greed is good.” My generation, the mothers and fathers now in charge of raising the future leaders of tomorrow, grew up immersed in a culture where bigger was better. And I’m not just talking about the hairstyles.

This might explain why I bought four Shrek glasses—that of course we didn’t need—that cost way more than a Happy Meal. My kids hadn’t even asked for them, but I thought that these glasses might bring back a small piece of my personal history for my children to enjoy.

“Mama? Who did you buy these for?” The 5-year-old asked on the way home.

“I bought them for you and your brother to drink out of. Won’t that be fun?”

“Uh, that’s okay. You can have them.”

And let me just tell you. My Merlot has never tasted so good.

I love this one...

because I just can't get enough of these.

Just a thought...

check out more by persimmon and pink on etsy here