We took a little trip in our favorite rocket ship. But not really.


I didn’t blog yesterday because it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Which means we didn’t have school. It also means we didn’t get mail and the banks were closed.

Just in case you didn’t know that already.

So Gulley and I decided to take advantage of the long weekend to make a trip to Bryan with the kids because today is Nena’s birthday and there was a big family birthday party for her on Sunday.

We loaded up the kids on Saturday night at 6:00 after a day of basketball games and birthday parties with the thought that making the trip at night in the dark would be totally worth it when we woke up at Honey and Big’s house on Sunday morning. And we were right.

Although our theory that the kids would be quiet in the car because it was nighttime and they’d had a full day of activities was totally wrong. They still had plenty of energy and volume especially on any topic involving any type of bathroom humor.

And, true to form, before the three hour drive was over we had to warn Will not to drink anymore water because we were not making anymore bathroom stops. And I had to tell Caroline I was going to make her walk the rest of the way if she didn’t quit hollering. And Gulley and I rolled our eyes as Jackson filled us in on some facts about something because almost eleven year olds are experts on A LOT of things in case you didn’t know that already.

But we made it to Honey and Big’s around 9:00 p.m. and it made the trip worth it when we were greeted with homemade chicken salad and brownies. Honey and Big had eaten a few of the brownies but they had cut them in a strategic geometric formation to ensure they saved me all the edges because they know the edges are my favorite.

I think this is my new definition of love language.

On Sunday we woke up and stayed in our pajamas until it was time to go to Gulley’s cousin Ashley’s house for a combination baby reveal party and a birthday party for Nena. Ashley is pregnant with her first baby and we all found out she’s having a girl. And then the family surprised Nena with a birthday cake for her 89th birthday.

Nena had just gotten all our attention a few minutes before the cake came out by declaring, “Well, y’all won’t believe who I got a birthday card from today. SHELLY AND DWAYNE!”

We all looked at her, expectantly waiting for the rest of the story, when Nena leaned in and asked, “Does anyone know who that is?”

And not one person seemed to know Shelly or Dwayne.

It’s too bad they wasted $3.99 on a Hallmark card.

But the party was fun and Nena was thrilled to be surrounded by a sea of gift bags. She exclaimed, “Oh, this is SO MUCH! I LOVE IT!” Frankly, I appreciate her honesty.

I brought her a bracelet and one of the first copies of my book. She even asked me to sign it for her.


This is where I need to explain that Gulley’s cousin Ashley and her husband live in the house that belonged to Nena and Grandaddy. They’ve renovated it and made it their own, but it still feels so much like the house I remember visiting for almost twenty years. And there was something so sweet and kind of full circle feeling about signing a book for Nena in the the dining room where we gathered for so many meals and where she used to store all her garage sale finds and would occasionally bring you in to see if there was a crockpot or a prairie skirt you might be interested in owning.

Anyway, we ate way too much barbecue and the kids ran around the backyard and then we eventually made our way back to Honey and Big’s house where we basically crashed in front of the T.V. for the rest of the night.


On a side note, I have to tell you that last Thursday I brought Mimi and Bops a copy of my book and Bops called me the next morning to ask if they could have another one that they could actually read because Mimi had declared the one I brought them a “display copy” and it had a place of honor on their bookshelves but he’s not allowed to actually read that one because he might bend it. Which may be the sweetest thing ever.

(I also need to say I promise I’m not going to talk about the book incessantly. In fact, I won’t mention it again until release day.)

Then Monday was full of excitement. It seems the kids have all contracted some sort of cold. But we still made a quick trip to Academy, bought lunch at Chick-Fil-A, and then laid around and did nothing. Which is just fine with me. I appreciate a day that doesn’t involve much more than eating breakfast and then eating lunch and dinner. Sometimes it’s just needed.


We also watched The Bachelor last night and there appears to be an epidemic involving girls wearing shirts as if they’re dresses. Poor Kacie B. even had on a dress so tight and short that it was reminiscent of a Body Glove swimsuit I owned back in 1989.

And here is where I confess we’re letting the kids skip school today since it’s Nena’s actual birthday and we’re going to take her to an early lunch before we leave town. That’s the nice thing about having kids in 5th, 4th and 2nd grade. It doesn’t seem like anything that crucial is going to be missed if they are out of school for a day here and there.

Unless you count a new joke that relies heavily on bathroom humor.

And there’s a good chance they’ll learn that on the car ride home later today.

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  1. Athena says

    Girl, you talk about that book as much and as often as you want to! I figure if a person puts that much work into something and accomplishes it, you should be able to tell whatever you want to about it! I think it’s kind of fascinating and sweet to have been able to watch the process of going from person to author, even if from afar. :)

      • PEA says

        I agree! Such a big accomplishment should be mentioned in every blog post! I have already purchased, and I so excited for its release date!!

        • Marie M.C.` says

          I agree! More book stories! Also, love hearing about spending the day in P.J.s and vegging out in front of the TV eating snack food and calling it a heathy meal. Makes me feel I belong to a club. One where I’d be welcomed with open arms and an offering of Nachos.

  2. Honey says

    What a great weekend this has been! Thank you for helping us celebrate Mother’s birthday. I love every minute that you are here. The laughter that fills this house when you all visit is the best medicine of all! Love you!

  3. BethA says

    Oh, Melanie, I love you even more now! I see from your book-signing photo that you are a leftie! Me, too! We’re smarter you know. Well, that’s what I tell people anyway.

    And I’m with Athena, et al. You just keep right on talking about your book. I can’t wait for the release date and your book-signing here in the Houston area.

    • says

      I’m a lefty, too, and I don’t know what it says about us lefties that I immediately noticed that in the picture, too. I love being left-handed and about the only disappointment I’ve ever had with my kids is that they are both right-handed.

      My copy of the book has been pre-ordered from Amazon since last fall, bring it on!

  4. Gwen says

    Talk all you want about that book. Some (I’d bet many) of us who have never met you IRL are telling people that “my friend’s” first book is coming out. You make us proud. So glad to hear of another mom who isn’t hung up on perfect attendance. Some things in life are just more important than attending school on a given day.

  5. Julianne says

    Love to hear and see the joy in your time with family and friends! (The edges are my favorite, too.)

  6. Laurie says

    Love your family stories! I agree with taking kids out of school in elementary school. My son is in middle school now and I wish we’d taken him out more in the past!

  7. Suzanne says

    I agree with you and Gwen, Melanie. To this day, our kids who are 34, 33, 26, and 20 love to remember those days when I would willingly offer up a ‘day off’ or ask them if they wanted to stay home to go to Walmart or a movie and lunch. Best thing I ever did. Our husband would always take the boys to opening day at KC Royals stadium each year and one of the middle school teachers told him, “sometimes there are more important things than school.” She was in total agreement. Hopefully they will pass the relaxed attitude on to our 7 grandchildren. I think the lack of rigid rules helped to contribute to the 4 wonderful successful adults they are today. :)

  8. Traci says

    Agreed…poor Kacie’s dresses were all four sizes too small.

    Can’t wait to meet you at your book signing in Katy!

  9. tammy says

    Please talk incessantly about your book! Like everyone else said, we are all so excited about it, and in awe of “knowing” a Real Life Author.

    Also, I am not going to be able to rest til we solve the Shelley and Dwayne mystery. Please keep me posted.

  10. Alisha says

    Seriously. How short are those dresses? And my exact words were, “Is Kacie B. planning to swim after this?”

    Great minds…

  11. Ann T says

    If I wrote a book I would talk about it more than incessantly (if that is possible). You go ahead and talk. If people have a problem with it they don’t have to read your blog!!!

  12. Krista says

    We moved to College Station in August and I would love to hear about your favorite restaurants / things to do here! This was a sweet post. :)

  13. Angie Hester says

    CAN.NOT.WAIT. for the book!!!! Just realized I have a beach girls trip right after the release! I may ignore my friends the whole time!! ;))) LOL

  14. Michaelann says

    We are enjoy temps. in the negatives here in Oregon and I must say that the pictures in short sleeves and shorts are a welcoming sight!! Hope you had a great weekend and keep talking about the book, you deserve it!!

  15. Nicole says

    I was thinking the same thing about the shirts as dresses on Bachelor. I also said, out loud, that Kacie B.’s dress looked like a scuba suit but your description was much better!

    Sounds like a fun trip! Nena is adorable~

  16. Sue S says

    I love Nena and the things she says! I hope she had a great birthday! You are so blessed to have a best friend whose family is like your own family. And I loved that you have sweet memories of that house that you were able to visit. There are a few places that are like that for me. And I love that you are left handed. My dad was and my daughter is left handed. I spent a summer of my youth trying so hard to change to a leftie.

    I have a couple of questions about your book. I know nothing about publishing and best seller lists …. Does it help you more if I pre-order the book or buy it once it is released? Once in the past I pre-ordered from Amazon and I did not receive the book until a couple of days after the release date. I want to read your book immediately(!) so maybe I should just buy it in a store on the release date. I am not sure if it counts more toward your book’s rating if I pre-order?

    And good for you letting Caroline miss a day of school. Her childhood is flying by. Savor all the precious time you have and make some memories was my philosophy, and my four adult children turned out great!

  17. says

    Even as a teacher, I think it’s wonderful that you let Caroline skip school so you guys could take Nena out to lunch. I mean, really. Let’s think about the priorities of life here. :)

    And seriously, talk about that book of yours as much as you want. We’re all here because we love your writing!

  18. Merri Jo says

    Baking brownies & cutting them to save you the edges– that sure sounds like LOVE to me!! And needing another copy of Sparkly Green Earrings for reading is just precious! You are one beloved woman! :-)

  19. JMR says

    Is the title of this post a reference to “Little Einsteins”? Whether intended or not– I now have that theme song stuck in my head.

  20. Kelly says

    I hope I have this right, and Nena is Gulley’s grandmother, because I can TOTALLY see Gully in Nena’s face!

  21. says

    Look at you practicing for your big book signings! Please tell me you’ll come to Nashville because I pre-ordered your book (it will be non-display copy since I intend to read it) and it needs your autograph! (And you just keep on talking about that book. It’s something to be proud of!)

  22. says

    So jealous looking at the pictures of the kids in shorts and T-shirts! It is 16 degrees here in Pennsylvania. But I am very glad you all had a good (warm) weekend. It sounds like it was a lot of fun : )