how to make it not a pile of weeds (part one)

A few days ago during a Snapchat exchange about gardening, a friend posed the following question: “How do I make it not a pile of weeds?” She meant it as a joke, of course, but I think I’m gonna take a stab at answering this, because it stirred me up.

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How does one become a gardener?

All kidding aside, in my view the way to approach gardening is how you might approach anything else new: Just dive in. Maybe you already know what kind of learner you are (tactile, visual, audible, etc.) but for this I encourage you to just get your hands dirty. Literally and as soon as possible. You won’t hurt anything but your manicure, and in fact if you over think this in the beginning you might stress yourself out of even trying.

Accept that you will have lots of success- maybe even beginner’s luck- and also lots of failures. Sometimes you can do everything correctly and still have bad luck. Remind yourself that the learning curve is part of the adventure. Even experts and taste-makers are constantly seeking to improve, and even Universities have trial gardens.

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Also, maybe more than other pursuits, gardening is as much art and miracle as it is science. So leave a little breathing room for surprises and creative interpretation of whatever rules and advice you collect.

Two Beginners’ Stories

When I was 26 or 27 years old and managing my first real home in south Oklahoma City, complete with lawns and a pool and flower beds, a small koi pond and just enough room to grow vegetables with my young daughters, I was equal parts inspired and paralyzed by all the possibilities. (Which, incidentally, is exactly how I feel now living on this farm.)

Miss Jessica showing me her lettuce clippings and Jocelyn behind her, plucking snow peas. Circa a lifetime ago.
Miss Jessica showing me her lettuce clippings and Jocelyn behind her, pulling chives. Circa a lifetime ago.

My life up to that point had been overfilled with beautiful gardens that were maintained by loved ones and my eyes were drawn to public gardens daily, but I was definitely a beginner. I had only a tiny knowledge base and very little experience. So I just kept trying stuff for the fun of it and read every gardening book and website I could find.

One day I read a magazine article by a woman in a similar situation.

She had just moved into a house with overgrown gardens, someone else’s outdoor designs that had once been loved and well tended but were now in a state of disrepair. She knew it was her job to revive or at least clean up the place but had no idea where to begin. She dove in by just mowing the lawn and sweeping the sidewalk. Then one morning she walked outside in her pajamas, cup of coffee in hand, and started casually collecting dried flowers from their stalks. She noticed a medium-sized decorative rock sitting awkwardly between two unidentified shrubs and on a whim decided to heave it to somewhere else in the yard.

“There, that’s better,” she thought, though she didn’t know exactly why it was better. She just liked it. She went on to describe other little changes she made here and there, noting how it felt to be in her garden and actually view it as hers, as an extension of her home, of herself.

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Those simple, spontaneous tasks of deadheading spent blooms and rearranging a piece of hardscape (though these terms were not yet in her vernacular) instantly let her identify as a gardener. That morning was a turning point for her. She started replacing limiting thoughts about what she should do outdoors with expansive ideas about what she actually wanted.

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I think maybe viewing gardening as an opportunity rather than a job is one of the most powerful adjustments we can make toward our own happiness.

Gardening can be a release and an art form every bit as much as a way to feed your family or increase curb appeal and property values. You can make it laborious, sure, but maybe calling it yard work is unnecessarily daunting. Let’s call it yard play.

pink

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Fast forward fifteen years and so many gardening adventures later to this past June.

When the Master Gardener tour buses rolled up to our front gate and about 90 people began strolling up our gravel driveway ready to explore the Lazy W, my body was flooded with panic and regret. What in the holy heck was I thinking agreeing to this? All the fun of preparing for this day evaporated. Our farm is no doubt a little piece of paradise for us, but it’s far from conventional and even farther from perfect.

tour-2-buses

In a quick, sweaty moment I lost my composure and saw through alien eyes every acre, every flower bed, every sagging chain link fence we’ve covered with vines and every painted accessory we’ve collected or crafted over the years. I used harsh, critical words against myself, from imagined perspectives of folks more skilled and experienced than me, voices in my head pointing out every badly pruned tree, every flower bed jam-packed with too many shrubs, every shade garden with plants too far apart, my overuse of zinnias and basil and my careless inattention to copper fungus. I was so focused on flaws that I was blinded to all the beauty and freedom we had cultivated.

That mean conversation with myself was intensely nauseating and I had to quickly choke back actual tears before greeting our first guests, my brilliant and slightly terrifying mentor among them.

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My mentor Schroeder (who I adore) and my friend and student Maddie (who I love like a little sister) and dorky, nauseated me.

My husband was around to help with the tour, as was our friend Meredith and her daughter Maddie, my gardening student at the time. All four of us fielded questions and helped people explore. Thankfully every single MG who spoke to us that morning was only gracious and affectionate. We each heard a lot about how the farm made people feel, and several gardeners asked whether we would ever consider hosting artist retreats. (Yes!) People commented a lot on our unique vibes, the sense of welcome and relaxation they discovered all over. How there was so much to look at and that it all reminded them of childhood on their grandparents’ farms.

colorful south garden

I do wonder how many people could tell I was on the verge of throwing up the entire time? And that I was honestly worried whether my MG certification might be revoked once they discovered all the things I was doing wrong?

I continued with my friends on the rest of the garden tour around town that day and was floored by all the perfection we found in all the gorgeous homes and gardens. It was humbling to say the least.

Several weeks passed before I could relax out of that sickly emotion and feel peaceful again, not so ashamed. It was crazy. I let my own harsh comparisons rob me of hard earned joy. What a waste of an amazing life experience.

squash bugs
A few years ago I let a couple of squash bugs turn into an infestation of Biblical proportions. This is a good visual of how sick I felt the morning of the tour.

Now, finally, I am grateful for all of this. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It taught me a lot and helped me distill my own gardening values. Looking back I would rather soak up these responses to our emotional environment and colorful surroundings than hear compliments for technical execution. (Not that there’s anything wrong with technical execution! This is just me sharing my own heart with you.)

My point is that whatever you do “wrong” in your garden, chances are you will be the first to notice. Especially if you are a Creative, you will be your harshest critic. And anyway it’s still your garden. It is a unique expression of your beautiful personality. It is there to meet your needs. And year after year it will be a crescendo representation of your growing knowledge and skill. How cool, right?

garden peony

Bottom Line

So. Take it leave it: My best, most heartfelt advice for anyone wanting to dive into gardening for pleasure, for anyone who is starting with just “making it not a pile of weeds,” is this: Start by adding a bit of you. Most how-to books will assert that a good garden begins with the soil. I say, really, a good garden begins with the soul.

dream big, work hard ... xoxo
dream big, work hard … xoxo

So let’s be soil-soul sisters.

Happy gardening, friends.
xoxoxoxo

 

 

 

rest in peace chunk-hi

So many memories.

We brought him home in 2009, a wobbly, golden-fleece baby with the biggest, blackest eyes you have ever seen. His square nose was wet and leathery even then, his shiny hooves narrow and tentative. We fed him enormous bottles of warm formula twice a day for more than ten months and touched and cuddled him constantly. He needed very little time adjusting to the farm and quickly learned that we meant only love and treats, never harm. Barely bigger than a large dog, he ran to us, circled our legs, jabbed his woolly head toward our ribs for extra milk, and welcomed vigorous face scratching and long-distance French kissing. (Have you never tongue-kissed a buffalo? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)

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He loved graham crackers the most, then vanilla wafers, and of course slightly stale Chips-ahoy cookies. He loved to run and play with the other four-leggeds and probably thought he was a horse. 

In fact we often had him in the same pasture as Daphne, our black mare, and he sought after her maternal affection daily. She granted it when she thought no one was watching. You might remember his stunning display of love and mourning for her the day she was dying.

Chunk chased away mean spirited geese. He nibbled acorns from the trees. He swam in the red dirt pond and carved wallows in the sandy front field. He was gracious to every single farm visitor and never once broke out to roam the neighborhood. He was sweet to our rambunctious puppy despite having been attacked by our older dogs years ago.

Once my husband painted Chunk’s horns, and I will never forget that. The striped adornment lasted a couple of weeks, making him possibly the most festive buffalo ever in history.

buff painted horns

 

If ever we provided this big boy a large bale of hay and sat it down in the wrong direction, he took great pleasure in unrolling it, just like a giant cinnamon roll, diagonally across his field. Then he would lay in the thin exposed layer and just kind of spread the hay all around himself, like a huge buffalo nest. He would chew some cud and look at us like, “What are you gonna do about it?” 

Nothing, baby. You enjoy.

In recent years, at sunrise it was crucial to feed him first, before the chickens and noisy geese, certainly before the horses and llamas (both his friends and competition), because as soon as Chunk noticed signs of life from the house he started ramming that wide forehead against the metal cattle gate, not really trying to get out, just letting us know that breakfast was a fantastic idea.

He once got inside the house; have you heard that story? He was a youngster. He trotted right through the open front door, slipped all over the wood floors, ice skating on those pointed split hooves, then made quite a spectacle of himself getting collected back out through the same door.

chunk tiny horns with me

He has never ridden in a topless car like in that famous video, but he has done his share of damage to pickup trucks.

And four-wheelers.

And buckets.

And wheel barrows.

And lawn furniture. (My gosh that was quite an afternoon.)

And barn doors.

But he never once hurt a person.

His name is a purposeful distortion of what we had originally named him, Chunk-shi,  which is Lakota for daughter. We had thought we were adopting a little girl, and by the time we realized the mistake the name had stuck really well. So we easily dropped a consonant and anyway everyone just called him Chunk.

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During basketball season we yelled in our best NBA announcer voices, “CHUNK HIII FOOOOR THRRRREEEEEEE!!!!” Not for nothing that the OKC Thunder mascot is Rumble the bison.

Beautiful Boy

Every winter he built up a massive coat of thick, wiry hair around his shoulders, a mane of epic proportions which he shook wildly when it snowed. He clothed himself in the thickest, most beautiful coat of velvet, impenetrable and tightly woven against his beefy midsection. His legs boasted giant pom poms of buffalo fluff that always made me think of Native American dancers and New Orleans parades.

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In the coldest weeks of winter when the water troughs froze overnight, he helped break the ice with his horns and skull. I clearly remember the first time I saw him do it. I had carried a sledgehammer outside, planning to drop it vertically from a small distance, smack onto the surface of the ice to bust it apart and reveal the cold water, but he beat me to the task. He raised up that massive, gorgeous head, twisted it sideways, and smashed it with impressive force just twice until ice blocks flew and frigid water splashed, beading on his face and eyelashes. I swear he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I got this Mom.” From then on we heard him smashing ice regularly, like he was happy to take on that farm chore. Or maybe it was just for fun. His equine companions were only too happy to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

For every winter that Chunk grew that spectacular coat, he had a summer for shedding. He would scrub his body against every tree that still had bark. He allowed us to gently drag a plastic garden rake against his back and belly. He would stand still to see if you could get a grip on that velvet and pull hard enough. That coat was remarkably devoted to staying attached to his body until the temperatures outside were just hot enough. Then we knew summer had finally arrived because suddenly he was nekkid and the farm was a snow globe of buffalo fluff.

crazy eyes chunk april 2014

Echoes of Chunk-hi

After he left the farm this past February to live on a gorgeous, 300-acre ranch with his new ranching family, I continued to hear his voice. He had a deep, bellowy voice, a snorting baritone that sounded a lot like howling wind and also like Tibetan meditation bowls. Otherworldly sometimes. For weeks I heard him every morning when I fed the other animals, and a few times I also thought I saw him in a sand wallow, peeking around an oak tree. He was big, huge even by bison standards, but he had a talent for winding himself up small like a baby and tucking into the shadows, just chewing his cud.

We miss him so much. We have missed him every day of every week since he left the Lazy W, and we have been deeply conflicted about the decision to find him a new home. But our reasons were sound, and the family who took him on are wonderful ranchers, smart and loving.

Chunk was given the opportunity to roam almost free, just like a wild buff, and he also had a girlfriend named Molly. After a period of acclimation, they enjoyed a long honeymoon toward the close of summer, and for this we are so grateful. 

Horrible News

One day recently his new caretakers discovered Chunk badly injured, his back broken, probably from a fight with another bull or from vigorous love making with Molly. We were shocked and heartbroken by the news but held onto hope that he might heal or that their vet might find a solution.

Unfortunately, with medical attention and prayerful observation, his caretakers made the decision to take away his suffering, so as I share this Chunk is no longer with us.

Days later, reading those words is a fresh stabbing pain. I still cannot believe it. We had thought he might leave the W to live out his years on the Oklahoma prairie, maybe start a herd of his own which is what we envisioned back in 2009 when we first brought him here.

Our shock and heartbreak now are not all that much different from the excruciating decision to first say goodbye, and of course, in that awful bittersweet way, we feel some relief that he is no longer in pain. Because surely a broken back would have been so very painful. 

Perspective

Trying to boost my spirits recently, my husband laughed through his own tears and said, referring to the idea of Chunk breaking his back during lovemaking, “What a way to go!” Ha. I guess so.

After being rescued from a hunting lodge, Chunk spent more than seven years living a really full, healthy life. He touched the lives and hearts of dozens, maybe hundreds of children and adults, most of whom would never have otherwise experienced an American Bison up close and personal. He was part of our family and identity. An absolute fixture at the Lazy W, where he has been recently missed by people and animals alike. 

I doubt any bison has ever been so loved. 

Hope and Love

As always, of course, there is a glimmer of hope and a need for love outpoured.

The long summertime honeymoon Chunk enjoyed with Molly gives everyone the idea that she could bear his calf next spring. My hope is to stay connected to the ranchers there and share the good news with you guys if it happens. Chunk was such a beautiful boy, so sweet and good in every way. I know his baby will be special. 

Please send some loving energy to the folks who took on the burden of caring for Chunk in this chapter of life. They are in pain too, having had to make the decision no farmer or rancher wants to make. In just a few months they had bonded tightly with our big boy, which is no surprise to me. And of course, they are caring for Molly, who could bring Chunk’s herd into the world after all. 

Thank you for reading, friends. I know many of you who never met Chunk still feel the loss. (Thank you Suzanne for saying all the right things last week.) And if you ever visited the farm and kissed or fed Chunk-hi a cookie, thank you for that too. You helped give him a life brimming with love and affection. You made him love people and you enriched our home.

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Rest in peace Chunk-hi.

You are the prettiest one my baby.
XOXOXOXO

the ways she makes us better

Today we celebrate twenty-one years of a certain girl making this world so much better. Let’s count some of the ways.

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blue hair don’t care

Because of her, we have more art. Really great art, in several mediums. She has for all her life churned out beautiful creations; and now as an adult she has a special knack for deep, artistic thinking. Anyone is lucky to stay up all night talking with her about life and the Universe. 

Because of her, there is more good sportsmanship floating around and lots of under dogs are being uplifted and defended. Sometimes this puts her in a painful situation, but she is true to her own heart and conscience, and the world is better for it.

She has a heart for saying heavy things and for sensing when people are holding difficult feelings close. Her appetite for truth and substance means that those close to her are challenged, nourished, and awakened. 

Over the years, dozens of horses young and old have felt her wide-eyed, little-girl love and affection. Dozens more since then have experienced her strength and skill in horsemanship, and we all know that this story will continue for decades. She applies this wisdom and understanding to nearly every part of her life, and it yields some incredible depth.

She has broken a few hearts already and spreads a veil of fun and romance everywhere she goes. At twenty-one this girl is beginning to sense her own feminine power and is finding her own strength in solitude. This will only intensify her future relationships, and it will only make her happier in the mean time. She is becoming more and more at home within herself, which makes everything she has to offer more special. 

International students who have crossed her path return to their home countries with stories and memories of a sweet, wild girl from Oklahoma who changed everything for them in Colorado.

She is an adamant music lover and appreciator of complex musical efforts. I believe one day the world will enjoy her artwork on really great, well chosen album covers. Until then, everyone’s playlists are more interesting.

This world is much richer for all the good, meaningful conversation she insists on having. With everyone. All kinds of people. She is not much one for surface scratching, and for this I am thankful. The world needs a little less small talk.

If our global cultures rely on cross-pollination, then she is a valuable pollinator. She attracts and processes new ways of living and is never afraid of trying new ethnic foods and customs. She wants to know how to say “I love you” in multiple languages and values travel and life experiences over material possessions. 

Her attention to detail means that the fresh water aquariums in her care are spotless, filled with life, happy, and beautiful.  Her fish love her so much they never let her sleep late, ha! And one extremely lucky little rescue dog knows more than anyone how much difference this young woman makes in the world.

Thanks to her, the mountains in Colorado have been lovingly hiked and admired for hundreds of extra hours. She is evangelizing their legends and stunning beauty to anyone who will listen. In the near future we believe she will be guiding fellow adventure-seekers on more hikes, adding to the already long list of people who will always remember her as the best camp counselor ever.

I could go on and on. This porcelain-skinned beauty is daily changing the world around her. Her twenty-first birthday will mark the beginning of even more life. I am wildly grateful to be close to her for this gorgeous chapter. And I am so proud of the influence she is having on everyone and everything she touches.

But of course, somehow I was lucky enough to be first. She changed my world forever, a little more than 21 years ago.

Happiest of birthday wishes to my beautiful baby girl,
my belly-kicking, giggle box, doe-eyed treasure, all grown up.
I love you more than I can ever write!
XOXOXOXO
~Mamasita

 

 

 

 

never trust that first mile or mondays

After a sluggish beginning, this past week of running was spectacular. Mentally and physically, every day was an investment in well-being, and for that I am so grateful. My total mileage was ever so slightly higher than the previous weeks, which is great; but mostly it all just felt so dang good. I ate better day-to-day, paying more attention to nutritional content and energy than to calories; I stayed hydrated; and we even managed to enjoy life and rest in between. Balance.

Monday: Struggle Bus for four miles here at home. I think most of my problem that day was being consumed with normal Monday catch up work plus frustrating household problems (our new fridge went out so I was waiting on a delivery all day then had several errands to run in Midwest City), so I didn’t lace up until almost 2 p.m. This is a rough time of day for running, especially on the tread mill, so I was glad to have that done. I added some strength exercises then walked away, not feeling particularly accomplished or refreshed. Had I believed that first difficult mile, I would have stopped running. And had I believed that Monday’s funky energy would last all week, I might have thrown in the towel, haha.

Tuesday: Seven miles, again kind of like running through cold mud, but I pressed through and felt completely better afterwards! This was one of those paradoxical runs that made me feel more energetic after spending all my energy. I just love that. By mid-morning on Tuesday I had reclaimed some much needed optimism and enthusiasm. 

Wednesday: Seven miles at the park. This day I saw a good-sized road runner (bird) in the grass. It was standing still, just watching me run on the sidewalk. I could not stop chuckling to myself. Trust me, this is funny. Also on this day I smelled maple syrup all along the north edge of the park, every single lap. It was lovely.

Thursday: Active rest all day, preparing for a longish run the next day and taking advantage of a chance to see my friend Marci. I got lots of housework done and accomplished a little shopping in OKC, too. That afternoon I tried about an hour of deep-stretch yoga, the kind where you hold challenging poses for five minutes or longer, which is not what I am used to. Also the video was pretty bad so I will not bother to share it. Good to stretch, though. I felt nice and bendy that night and my legs were rested.

Marci and Marie, aka Lelma and Thouise! xoxo

Friday: Fourteen miles at the Choctaw Creek Trails. I felt even better than last Friday, when I ran fewer miles. The difference might have been a package of sports beans I ate between miles eight and twelve and a sugar-free electrolyte replacement drink I sipped too. YUM. It also could have been that I had eaten so much better the day before, plus a really great breakfast Friday morning. On these kinds of days I don’t really eat more food; but I do eat more of my calories in good, starchy carbs like oatmeal, rice, or pasta. It seems to make a wonderful difference in my sustained energy.

Friday night was Handsome’s birthday scavenger hunt and dinner in Bricktown with a bunch of our friends, and I enjoyed two really good homemade cookies plus far too many tortilla chips, haha, but it was all so worth it. I am pretty sure I burned off most of those calories, yet again, by laughing hard with our people.

Saturday: Rest day to help my guy catch his breath after a killer week. We hibernated a little and soaked up some romance. xoxo

Sunday: After Hot Tub Summit, we toweled off and went for a very hilly six-mile bike ride, just out here on the road along the front of our farm. Then I headed to the back field for four sweaty miles and called it good. We spent most of the day doing stuff around the farm then got cleaned up and dressed.
We soon went to the City for an early dinner at the newly opened Texas de Brazil near Penn Square Mall. This restaurant in Texas has been one of our favorites for years, and we are so happy they have migrated a bit north. We both were completely happy with the atmosphere, the service, and of course the food! These days I just order the Soup and Salad bar, but if you have ever visited a good churrasco-style restaurant then you know this is just as gluttonous and luxurious as the meat option. That meal capped off an incredible week of exertion and indulgence!

 

 

Total weekly mileage: 36, plus some biking, yoga, and strength stuff. 

If this week had a theme or a lesson, it is that old joke, “Never trust the first mile. The first mile is a liar!” haha I’ll add that Monday can be a liar too. Don’t give up after one difficult workout, and never let Monday dictate how the rest of your week will go.

Always give it ten more minutes
And maybe one more day.
You might be happily surprised!

XOXOXOXO

41 in bricktown to kick off birthday week for handsome

Happy happy birthday weekend to my Handsome guy!! Today he turns 41. All this coming week he is away from the Commish, celebrating another year of life and hopefully relaxing and sloughing off some tension. Of course, being at the farm 24/7 can produce its own kind of labor-intensive tension, so wish us luck. 

Friday night we kicked off Birthday Week by gathering about 18 friends in Bricktown for a homemade scavenger hunt and raucous dinner at Chelino’s. The scavenger hunt list was 41 items long, ranging from super easy (selfie with the birthday boy) to awkwardly challenging (strike up a conversation with a stranger then start copying everything they say) plus lots of goofy stuff in between. Two of my favorite dare-type items were: standing in line at the movies to deliver a fake spoiler to ticket buyers (LOL) and also making the smallest purchase possible at a candy store after spending an inordinate amount of time evaluating options. I also got a photo with a guy scalping baseball tickets, which was not the high point of his day (I needed a Dodgers item for the list). And singing Oklahaoma! with a group of friends while people stared at us was a lot of fun. That happened twice. Oh! The human pyramid (see below) was great, and then when Trisha tried to recreate a romantic movie scene and my husband interrupted her husband’s line and the whole scene was stolen. That was hilarious. I tried getting everyone to join me in a water fountain for a classic Friends moment (water shenanigans was on the list), but I guess we are grownups after all. 

 

 

Lower Bricktown is so beautiful these days!
Lower Bricktown is so beautiful these days!
My own BW with our sweet beautiful friend Trisha (they actually went to the same high school) and her husband, also a BW! Crazy about these humans as well as their offspring.
My own BW with our sweet beautiful friend Trisha (they actually went to the same high school) and her really cool husband, also a BW! We are crazy about these humans as well as their offspring.
This street musician not only wished BW a happy birthday; he sang Happy Birthday to him over the microphone!
This talented street musician not only wished BW a happy birthday; he also sang Happy Birthday to him over the microphone!
Human pyramid!!
Human pyramid for the win!!
These two guys. xoxo I am so grateful that my husband has Dennis in his life.

Me with Trisha and Kellie! I love their hats and style. Also, pretty sure the merchant in this cool shop wondered if we were shoplifting. Ha. It was all part of the scavenger hunt.

Me with Trisha and Kellie! I love their hats and style. Also, pretty sure the merchant in this cool shop wondered if we were shoplifting. Ha. We were definitely not. It was all part of the scavenger hunt. PS: 3 cheers for wasabi cashews!

After about an hour and a half of playing around near the theater, eating brownies and cookies, and checking items off of our scavenger hunt lists, our big laughing group walked across Bricktown and up the canal a bit to join a few more friends at Chelino’s, one of the longest standing restaurants in the area. It’s Tex-Mex, always a crowd pleaser, with lots of room for fun with a big group. Our thirty foot table was overflowing with tortilla chips, colorful food, and good conversation.

bricktown walk c
Mickie and Kellie are two super interesting people, and not just because they are on an incredible run streak, but that doesn’t hurt!
Teh scavenger hunt called for a few particular types of photobombs, but it set off a chain reaction of all of us not being able to contain our dumb selves. Me included.
The scavenger hunt called for a few particular types of photobombs,which set off a chain reaction of none us being able to contain our dumb selves. Me included. This is our friend Bruce. His wife Serena was arguably the most competitive player Friday night. She sought those times aggressively!
He is not the world's biggest fan of wearing the communal party sombrero, haha!
He is not the world’s biggest fan of wearing the communal party sombrero, haha!

We had so much fun Friday. After saying goodnight to our friends, the two of us walked back down the canal and across Bricktown to our car, him playing Pokemon along the way. We were both smiling pretty hard. Our friends are really good sports, and we love them completely. Birthday Week was launched in the best way, and we have lots of memories to last till next year.

Happy Birthday to my steady, generous, loving, handsome, genius, talented, fun, strong as an oak tree husband. I love you always now and forever, and I hope the rest of Birthday Week is at least as fun as “41 in Bricktown.” 

XOXOXOXO