Why I am here

This blog was started to connect with and keep family and friends up to date on life in Texas as I know it. A place to share my love for this area through photography, history, and stories of this adventure Shaun and I call life.... and what an adventure it is!
Warning: Some or all of this blog may contain nuts or stories of nuts, proceed with caution
Love to y'all

Friday, December 30, 2011


Wow today has been a huge "progress you can see" day!  Shaun has spent most of the day on the equipment moving dirt and covering some of the red.  YES, I said COVERING  the RED!  WOOHOO!  It is starting to look like a yard and I even have two flower beds prepped and ready for sprinkling systems and plants.  I have also been working on caulking the rest of the garage, boring but necessary.

Inside they started on the cabinets!  They got stain on all of the cabinets and got them wiped down.  Tomorrow will be sand and seal and sand and seal and on and on until they are perfect.  I really like the guy working on the cabinetry.  He is such a perfectionist (right up my alley)  and his work is amazing.  AND he is a really nice guy, what more could you ask for?!
So here is what we have so far
  I am LOVING the color so far.  The Golden Pecan was a good choice for the alder.  Some red some gold, without being cherry and yellow.  PERFECT. 
These are some of the drawers from the kitchen.  Right now there are shelves and drawers strung everywhere and they all look great.

We have decided to celebrate New Years tonight and avoid the crowds and the drunk drivers of tomorrow night.  We are going to dinner and to Lowe's.  Now I know you girls are all very envious of our plans, but what can I say it's New Years and we really know how to live it up! *wink* HA!   New Year's Eve will consist of pushing the limit and staying up until 10:00  Such party animals!

Whatever your New Year plans are, be safe and remember someone in Texas loves you and thinks of you often.   ME!

Love and miss all of you

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Things are really happening at the house today.  The painter has everything caulked and puttied and will start putting the finish on the kitchen cabinets and built-ins first thing in the morning.  I can't wait to see everything finished. The cabinetry is knotty alder (easy on the knots)  The front door is mahogany.  I tried to choose a finish that would compliment the alder and the mahogany. I think all of the color choosing is the hardest part of the building process.  It is so hard for me to see a small square of color and a small square of granite and a small square of tile and try to visualize it all together in big pieces that I get to live with for a LONG time!  yikes!  Scary!
                          Golden Pecan it is!
All of the drawers and shelves have been prepped and are ready to go.  Screws in the ends of every shelf to prevent finger prints and provide air circulation, how smart is that!? 
The concrete guys are here forming the stairs and entry walkways front and back. They are also getting the patio area ready for concrete and the future outdoor fireplace.
Shaun has almost gotten the retaining wall finished and it is beautiful! Part of today was spent running the main electrical conduit from the house to the pole.  That means permanent power soon!  woohoo! 

As for me, all I seem to do is shop...  and NO I am NOT complaining, hey we all have skills right? *wink*  All of the light fixtures and appliances have been purchased and either arrived or have been shipped.  This is one of my favorite fixtures
This is the pendant light for the sun room.  There will be three of them that hang over the window seat.  The glass is hand blown beaker glass and the bulb is an Edison bulb. That means you can see the filaments like an old antique bulb.  Very cool!

We are about to the point we have all of the pieces of the house puzzle, now they all just have to wait their turn to be put in place.  SO close but yet SO far.....  SO exciting to see progress.

Love to all of you

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday snaps

Meet the "A" family.  They are so cute.  Doing pictures at their house was SO much fun.  Nothing says Christmas excitement like a 4 year old! 
T is SO cute and had some great ideas on the poses he wanted to use.  He is the sweetest boy and such a good brother to his new little sister.
 "Why yes,  I am adorable"
        A special picture gift for mom and dad
                 I. Like. This. Pink. One.

Such a sweet family and such a fun day for me.

Thank you for letting me a part of your holidays.


Holiday snips

Meet Jessica, Widgi, and Tim. They were kind enough to let me take their holiday photos.
I don't want to embarrass them but I must say I have never photographed such a handsome guy!  Widgi is just beautiful!   (sorry Tim) ;-)  and he is such a good dog. 
I have seen so many photo's with the heart shape made with hands or just that "I love you so much I have to touch your hand" thing.   Jessica has gorgeous hands NOT to mention that amazing bling! So here is their version
I think Widgi had a manicure just for the photo session ~ lovely!
These two are so sweet and it is so obvious they just adore each other

What a beautiful boy
We took A LOT of pictures that day.  Well over 100+  For me...practice practice practice  For them... I am sure they wondered if I was ever going to finish.

In the middle of the session Bobby, one of their good friends, came by to say hi.  I asked if he would hold the reflector for me so I could take a certain picture.  He obliged, they chatted, I walked off to change lenses and when I looked back Bobby was still holding the reflector, Tim and Jessica were still being cute and Widgi had decided he needed a break! This was one of my favorite pictures.

What a fun day with some pretty special people.  I thought about trying to sneak Widgi home with me (LOVE that dog) but it's hard to hide a 100+ pound lab AND there is NO way he would let his mom and dad out of his sight for very long.

Love you guys, thanks for a fun day


oh my

rain and mud and cold.............oh my

sniffling and sneezing and fevers....oh my

more rain and more mud and more rain...oh my

oh my...oh my...oh my...

That pretty much sums up the last week.  Please note there it no exclamation point proclaiming excitement after oh my...just simply.. oh my.
As in oh my I have had enough red mud to last a lifetime, as in oh my these antibiotics are the size of horse pills-will this sinus garbage ever go away? and of course oh my I need an attitude adjustment.

OKAY!  well I got that out of my system.  MUCH better!

Hope everyone had a great holiday.  Since I haven't been very good about blogging holiday stuff I will give you a quick summary of ours.

Since we are living in the guest/pool house and everything we own is in storage we tried to keep the decorating to a minimum.  I was able to get all of the decorations into one picture.  Enjoy! 
We had Santa already and Jeremy gave us the Snowman and Bear on Christmas Eve.  Nice set don't you think?  I need to get them packed away for next year ;-)  ha!

Typically I make and bake to deliver to neighbors for Christmas.  No stove and my bad attitude made that a bit difficult, so here is what what we delivered this year.
                                     It's ReinBEER!      oh my

We had a really nice dinner at Jeremy's Christmas Eve and then we all met there Christmas day for the gifty part.  My boys really spoiled me this year.  The best gift of all was getting to spend two whole days with my guys just hanging out.  NOTHING beats family!  
Here is Robert in Jeremy's back yard, in the tree stand Jeremy bought him.  They about wore out that tree climbing up and down playing in the rain Christmas day.  Boys will be boys!
I was also fortunate enough to be able to practice my photo skills on some friends and their kids for the holidays.  It was fun, they were all very patient while we tried new poses and props.  It really made my holiday special.  I will share some of the photos in my next post.

As for the house, the painters came this morning.  It will probably take them at least two weeks.  They will finish the cabinetry first and then paint.  I can't wait to see the finished product!

I think a nap is in order

Love and miss all of you

Monday, December 19, 2011

1940 Ford Coupe

1940 Ford Coupe.  Isn't she pretty?!  I LOVE cars and history, so being allowed to photograph these cars has been pretty exciting for me.  Just imagine the history and life events this car has seen.  It might have been someones first car, drove someone to an important business meeting, to the hospital to have a new baby, a first date, a trip to Grandma's house... the imagination could go wild

If you would like to see more pictures of these beautiful cars go to my photo web page

Mike has won several awards for his cars.  The thing that impresses me the most is that these cars are driven. They are NOT trailer queens.  They do not ride around in trailers and live behind velvet ropes where no one can appreciate them.  Both cars have taken several road trips and been in parades and car shows.  People enjoy them! They are truly a way of preserving history and memories for the people who grew up in that era, and some of us who didn't *wink* 

Thank you for sharing them with me Mike and Denise 

Looks like East Texas is in for some rain tonight!

Love and miss all of you

1935 Ford Coupe

I was fortunate enough last week to get to photograph two very beautiful automobiles.  They belong to Mike and Denise Tyndell, a neighbor and friend of ours.  They have restored both of these cars and they are gorgeous! This is the hot rod in every sense of the word.  James Dean would be envious! 
This car is a 1935 Ford Coupe with a cobra engine...... and  WOW you should hear it run, it has that wonderful deep motor that just growls with horsepower!
Under the hood is a hand painted cobra.  The car used to be canary yellow and they left the engine compartment that color to really shows off the cobra.  The rest of the car is painted a satin black.  VERY cool! Mike and Denise drove this car to California and I will bet it turned heads everywhere it went. 
The grill is original, which is very rare.  I love the details on this car

If you would like to see more photo's of this incredible car go to my web page
I will share more photo's with you of their 1940 Ford in my next post.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful cars with me Mike. 

Hope all is well with everyone and you are enjoying your Christmas preparations and events. 
The house construction is moving along, still hoping for a mid January move in

Love and miss all of you

Friday, December 16, 2011

House update

Hi all!
Remember my last post when I said things would soon be crazy busy?  WELL it has happened!
Shaun has been busy trimming windows and doors, building closets and pantry shelving.  The cabinets arrived and they are all amazing!  The cabinets are beautiful and the installers were incredible to watch.  Such craftsmen. 

It took 4 of these very large trailers to get our cabinets to the house.  OK I may have gone a bit overboard on the built ins but what can I say.... remember this is supposed to be the last house.   (ha!)  Still taking bets on that....
The kitchen range hood! I sent a couple ideas to Brad at Bent Creek Customs and he designed this hood.  I am thrilled with it!  The cabinets are knotty alder (easy on the knots) When they are finished they will be so beautiful.
The built in entertainment center and moulding detail.  Shaun designed this around his television and I think it turned out perfect.  The man loves his TV.  See the little rectangle in the back center?  It is a opening into a closet in the spare room. All of the components can be hooked up from behind! There is a little door in the closet that covers it all up but provides quick and easy access.  Perfect!
This is the master bath vanity and moulding detail.  The white squares you see will be mirrors and the long green/white strip will be a tile back splash.  The tile we chose is incredible I will show it to you next update. 

Everything is coming along as expected.  The cabinet guys are finished and the insulators are back to spray in the attic insulation.  Shaun is almost finished trimming windows and doors and will start on base board today.  I plan on spending my day with a caulking gun in the garage, my studio and storage room.

More to follow......

Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas preparations and the anticipation of seeing family and friends over the holidays. 

Love to all

Friday, December 2, 2011

hurry up....and wait

Hi all!
This is the part of construction that makes me nuts!!  SO close and yet so far.  You rush and rush to make  all the decisions on flooring, painting, cabinets, etc etc and then you wait.  hmmmmm  No one has ever accused me of having patience, ever.  I have always known that was one of the reasons God gave me Shaun, the man has the patience of a saint, certainly enough for both of us.
Anyway, here we are with everything picked out, ordered and ready to install and I am ready to be in the house and there is still SO much work to do.  I know  from experience that this is the time during the construction process that things slow to a crawl.  Everything moves so quickly in the beginning, and then....we wait.   
Living in our little guest house has been great but I have run out of things to do pretty quickly.  I can think of a thousand things I want to do but what I need to do those things is packed away in storage. I don't remember the last house we built being this frustrating, but I was also working 12 hour days 6 days a week.  I didn't really have time to sit and think about the progress, it just happened. 
Oh my gosh!  I just realized I have WAY too much time on my hands!  Dangerous!  Won't be long and I will be blogging about how crazy busy I am putting the house together.  I guess I could always take up shopping as a profession!  ha! *wink *wink  

Speaking of shopping....
I went to First Monday Trade Days in Canton yesterday.  What an amazing, fun place. 
This is how the website describes trade days
  "The world's largest outdoor trade days takes placeThursday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month in Canton, Texas. Every month, thousands of vendors from across the country turn this friendly East Texas community into a shopper's paradise where you can find the rare antiques and collectibles, furniture, fine home decor, arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, tools, produce, and much more."

We always try to take all of our out of town visitors to Canton Trade Days.  Where else can you buy a fried snickers at a place called Big A'ss (yes, that is how they spell it)  BBQ or how about Double Bubba's Texas fried frito pie or Famous Fried Avocado's?  All while shopping for everything from antiques to flip flops.  There is always a treasure to be found.  I even have a shopping cart, complete with cupholders, I push around when I go there.  I have been known, on occasion, to buy more than I can carry and the cart works great.   Maybe shopping as a profession could be a good thing to keep me busy, and it's only once a month how bad can it be?   HA!
    An ariel view of trade Days ~ 28 miles of walk paths ~ Shoppers heaven!

The weather here has been amazing! Beautiful clear, cool, fall days. We are expecting rain and a cold front over the weekend, winter might be arriving in Texas next week.
They were scheduled to start delivering our cabinets this week and have now put it off until the first part of next week.  We did get more stone for the retaining walls delivered today and are crossing our fingers for doors and trim today as well.  They were also supposed to be here yesterday..... patience  patience  patience.... this is all very normal in the building industry, I am just used to being the deliverer not the deliveree.  There is probably a lesson in this somewhere.  *sigh*

Have a fabulous weekend

Love and miss y'all


Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanks Giving

Hi all!
I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was amazing!  We all have so much to be thankful for. 

This year we have been reminded of how quickly life can change and how important it is to tell the people you care about just how special they are, not just at the holidays, but every day of the year.  TODAY is a good time to start! 
GO! GO ahead and tell the person in the next room or on the other end of the phone how much they mean to you!  Don't just assume they know, tell them!  Go ahead I will wait.......




See, didn't that feel good?  You just made a difference in someones life and in your own  {{hugs}} pretty warm and fuzzy huh?

We take SO very much for granted every day. We think our world will never change, that bad things couldn't possily happen to us and to ours.  THEN something happens that makes us put on the brakes and reevaluate our life and our perspective on who and what is important.
This year we have seen both of our families faced with the scariest diagnosis' ever, CANCER. We have watched our loved ones endure surgery, the chemo, and the radiation, and thank the Lord have been able to share the good news of cancer free with them.

It has been enlightening to see people put aside differences and come together to lend support when our loved ones needed it the most. It must be empowering to these survivors to know that they have survived these horrific treatments and in the end received that "cancer free" diagnosis. To know that after having endured all of that there is nothing they can't handle.    They won the fight of their life!!! 
At our Thanksgiving table this year, we discussed how very lucky blessed we are to still have these family members in our life.  NOTE~~This is NOT luck this is a blessing.   We have all taken something differant away from the experience. Respect for family, for friends, but most importantly respect for life itself.   

This year brought true meaning to the words
*Happy * Thanks * Giving *

We are so HAPPY to have such amazing families and friends, such an incredible support network

We give THANKS for our many blessings and for tough women who refused to give up!  For the husbands, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers who stood by each other when the going got tough

AND it is time to start GIVING back to the people around us everyday.  Not just the holidays...EVERY DAY

Love to all of you

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Hi all!
Here is a quick construction update.  There is a lot going on but not much visible progress.  This is the part of the building process that makes me nuts.  In the beginning you see tons of progress.  It seems like the house is built in days.  THEN the finish work starts and things slow down......to a crawl.    SO many details. 
Don't get me wrong I love the shopping that goes along with this part of it (surprise) but not the wait.
The fixtures and appliances have been chosen and ordered, cabinetry is designed ordered and almost complete for installation in a couple weeks.  The granite is chosen and we are on the granite installers schedule since he is very busy and if we don't schedule now it could be  months.    All of the tile and hardwood has been chosen and the measurements taken to get that ordered.  Paint colors and trim styles chosen.  NOW we wait and pray that it will all come together and looks okay.  

In the mean time this is what has happened since our last update.
The drywall tape and texture is complete and ready for cabinetry and paint!
See the hole in the wall?  That is the back of the built in entertainment center.  That hole has a little door in the guest closet so everything can be accessed and hooked up without using the top 12 ballet moves!  Genius!
The retaining walls in the front are complete!

The retaining walls in the back are almost finished and looking good!
hmmmm do we leave the ski slope/slide or put in stairs? decisions..... decisions.....
Thank you for the aerial view Kathy and Nathan.  Love it!

I will keep you updated as we progress.

Today I am thankful for patience.  Something that I am truly lacking in, have prayed for and have been sent many lessons in an attempt to teach me.  NOT my strong suit but I am working on it!

What are you thankful for today?

Love and miss y'all

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barbed wire

I have become consumed with barbed wire!  There seems to be more and more shots of this barbed marvel showing up in my photographs all the time.

It is simply amazing to me! It rusts beautifully, catches the light perfectly and is a very large part of my family history. 
                              Barbed Wire in Texas and Arizona

I love the history, the nostalgia of barbed wire, of how it changed the lives of the people who helped tame and document the west.  The wars that were fought over it and with it. 

My Great Grandfather Andrew Speelmon was a large part of the changes taking place during that time of turmoil.  He and his two brothers lived on a ranch in Eastern Montana where they raised horses for the army.   They were photographed by L A Huffman, a  post photographer at nearby Fort Keogh. Fort Keogh was a military post established shortly after the Custer incident in 1876 to provide a military presence in eastern Montana.   Later those and many other photos would be published in a book called Before Barbed Wire.
The most amazing thing to me about this book's photographs is that they were of such incredible quality considering they were taken in the late 1870's with such crude and complicated equipment.  Not just still, posed photo's.... action photo's!  Clear, detailed action photos...amazing!
Remember my post  "The Piano, November 11"?  This is the photo I remember sitting on top of my grandmother's piano. It was published in the book Before Barbed Wire

This is a hand colored copy of Andrew Speelmon, my Great Grandfather,  "Saddling A Wild Horse"
I grew up with the black and white version, so was surprised to see the hand colored version.  This was hand colored by L A Huffman himself.   My mom and Aunt still have the B & W photographs that were given to the family by L A Huffman.  What a treasure!

If you have a chance look at the L A Huffman website  http://lahuffman.com/index.htm  His skills were amazing, a true artist. 

I recently found two, out of print first editions of  Before Barbed Wire  online and have purchased them for my boys for Christmas.  (No, they don't read my blog)  I hope that they cherish and pass on this incredible memory to future generations.  Memories that were made before paved roads, digital cameras, and before barbed wire.

Today I am thankful for my boys, Robert and Jeremy.  Generations before them would be so proud of the men they have become.  Men with a sense of history, the importance of hard work and of family.

What are you thankful for today?

Love and Miss all of you