A parade, carnival and lots of patriotism

When Jeff and I decided last spring that we would be leaving Texas to move our family to Oklahoma for his new job, it was exciting in a lot of ways.  We had a fresh start.  We loved our life in Arlington, but both of us were honestly tired of the big city and life itself within DFW.  The pace was fast.  The traffic jams and construction were constant.  The noise never ceased.  And we both missed the qualities of a small town with all of its benefits and quirks.  We began searching through communities near north Tulsa – getting the lay of the land – and figuring out where we wanted to plant new roots for ourselves and the boys.

I knew early-on that I wanted a place like Mayberry.  I have craved for something simpler, slower paced and wholesome for a long time.  No… we didn’t end up in Mayberry exactly.  Every little town has the good, the bad and the eccentric.  But where we did land is among one of the most beautiful areas of Oklahoma.  And this town!  The people are so friendly as exemplified by our new church where members immediately welcomed us as family.  Patriotism is alive and well here too.  Have you experienced the pride and excitement as you’re driving behind a city services truck with an employee mounting American flags on the light posts downtown.  By downtown, I mean a few blocks here…. with a library, a chamber of commerce and a handful of businesses.

Recently Skiatook held its Pioneer Days festival, and it was bigger and more fun than I could have imagined.  Jeff was still in Florida for work, but the boys and I wouldn’t have missed the fun for anything!!

Here we are lining up for the parade.  The Shriners and town made sure everyone got free popcorn and flags to wave.   How cool is that?!  (And yes, we had a lesson on how to properly hold the flag after this shot.)

Here we are lining up for the parade. The Shriners and town made sure everyone got free popcorn and flags to wave. How cool is that?! (And yes, we had a lesson on how to properly hold the flag after this shot.)

Waiting patiently.  Sort of.  I missed the picture of them hitting each other with their flags.

Waiting patiently. Sort of. I missed the picture of them hitting each other with their flags.

People were lined up as far as you could see!  You could definitely feel the anticipation in the air... anticipation of parade candy!

People were lined up as far as you could see! You could definitely feel the anticipation in the air… anticipation of parade candy!

The old-school hot rods were modified so that the front ends came off the road.

The old-school hot rods were modified so that the front ends came off the road.

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You can't have a parade without the Shriners!

You can’t have a parade without the Shriners!

Halloween may not have anything on Pioneer Day's parade.  Liam was very happy with his haul of candy!

Halloween may not have anything on Pioneer Day’s parade. Liam was very happy with his haul of candy!

This little guy got tired but he never shut his eyes - he didn't miss a thing!

This little guy got tired but he never shut his eyes – he didn’t miss a thing!

One of the local candidates dressed up her dog like a judge.

One of the local candidates dressed up her dog like a judge.

There were some great classic cars!

There were some great classic cars!

In GOD We Trust!  Amen!

In GOD We Trust! Amen!

Skiatook straddles the border between Tulsa County and Osage County.  Our house, which is outside the city limits, is in Osage County and located on Osage Tribe reservation land.  Here is the Osage princess.  The Osage tribe colors are very pretty.

Skiatook straddles the border between Tulsa County and Osage County. Our house, which is outside the city limits, is in Osage County and located on Osage Tribe reservation land. Here is the Osage princess. The Osage tribe colors are very pretty.

Our local pink cement mixer truck.   Liam can't figure out why they painted it pink.

Our local pink cement mixer truck. Liam can’t figure out why they painted it pink.

A monster tractor followed by a monster truck.  Liam was in heaven.

A monster tractor followed by a monster truck. Liam was in heaven.

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We enjoyed seeing the military vehicles too.

We enjoyed seeing the military vehicles too.

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Check out the dog!

Check out the dog!

Here comes the FFA!  Ashley, our friend from church, is in the red shirt.  Liam and Cullen were thrilled when they spotted her.

Here comes the FFA! Ashley, our friend from church, is in the red shirt. Liam and Cullen were thrilled when they spotted her.

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Great float from one of our favorite local restaurants.

Great float from one of our favorite local restaurants.

There were American flags everywhere in the parade.  It was great!

There were American flags everywhere in the parade. It was great!

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Such a cool train!  Liam wanted to ride in it.

Such a cool train! Liam wanted to ride in it.

I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the miniature goat in the pink tutu.

I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of the miniature goat in the pink tutu.

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Another one of our local favorites!  Their gumbo is awesome.

Another one of our local favorites! Their gumbo is awesome.

What a cutie, huh?!

What a cutie, huh?!

This pic is for Popaw!  Next year y'all have to come to the parade!!!

This pic is for Popaw! Next year y’all have to come to the parade!!!

Here's one of our local preachers who also works on John Deere tractors.  We bought our fireworks from him on July 4th.  Little towns have the most interesting, entertaining people!!

Here’s one of our local preachers who also works on John Deere tractors. We bought our fireworks from him on July 4th. Little towns have the most interesting, entertaining people!!

Another old hot rod.  Popaw, are you paying attention???

Another old hot rod. Popaw, are you paying attention???

Pioneer Days also hosts a rodeo.  We missed it this year with Jeff out of town, but hope to make it next time!

Pioneer Days also hosts a rodeo. We missed it this year with Jeff out of town, but hope to make it next time!

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Here are the rodeo queens!

Here are the rodeo queens!

Apparently "Don't Text & Drive" doesn't apply if you're riding a miniature horse!

Apparently “Don’t Text & Drive” doesn’t apply if you’re riding a miniature horse!

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These horses are more Cullen's speed.

These horses are more Cullen’s speed.

The little girl with the pigtails was adorable.

The little girl with the pigtails was adorable.

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Bringing up the rear of the parade are our wonderful police officers.

Bringing up the rear of the parade are our wonderful police officers.

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This is Cullen's first time to ride something special at a carnival.

This is Cullen’s first time to ride something special at a carnival.

By the end, he was very ready to get off!

By the end, he was very ready to get off!

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For a kid with vestibular issues, Liam LOVED the swing.  I couldn't believe he wanted to do it, much less that he would love it!!

For a kid with vestibular issues, Liam LOVED the swing. I couldn’t believe he wanted to do it, much less that he would love it!!

Liam also loved the roller coaster!

Liam also loved the roller coaster!

 

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Where to begin?

Today marks three weeks since we loaded the cars, the trucks and the trailers for Oklahoma.  It wasn’t an overly emotional goodbye to our Arlington home at the time.  Honestly, if things hadn’t been moving at such a frantic pace and had I actually gotten a chance to stop for more than ten minutes and think about all of the moments we shared in that house, the emotions would have completely overwhelmed me.  We bought the house in 2006 and it was everything we wanted.  I envisioned children’s birthday parties, holidays and all of the special times we would have there someday.  The babies arrived in 2009 and 2013, and they came home from the hospital to that house.  It was the site of their first Christmases and so many other firsts.  It was the last house my grandmothers would get to see me in, albeit only in pictures before their passing in 2007.  

Our move to Oklahoma happened so quickly but maybe that’s how it had to be for me to make it through each day of packing, through saying goodbye to our friends and neighbors and even that last day when I picked the boys up from their day care and said farewell to the wonderful teachers who had taken care of, taught and loved them.

Before we drove away for the last time, I got a quick picture of the boys in front of our Texas home.

Before we drove away for the last time, I got a quick picture of the boys in front of our Texas home.

There is a mountain of “stuff” calling my name from my father in-law’s storage buildings.  It’s overwhelming to look at the boxes stacked so high.  Everything from our life in Texas is there.  I am anxious to start weeding through everything into the “keep” and “sell/donate” piles.  When we knew we would be putting the Texas home on the market, we frantically de-cluttered and got a lot of our things out of the house and into storage here.  Those few weeks we were living in the house while it was on the market were actually enjoyable.  I felt like I could breathe.  Getting some of the stuff out of the house was liberating, and with the house clean and picked up constantly for those last-minute showings, our family actually had time to relax a little.  We could sit down and enjoy a movie together or go to Chop House Burgers for Saturday lunch.  I didn’t feel like I was in the bottom of a hole, digging myself out only to have more dirt fall in around me with each bit of progress I made.

My kids, my husband and our time together are worth so much more to me than the “stuff” we had shoved into closets, that overtook the garage, that spilled out into our living spaces.  Less is more when it means you have a better quality of life for yourself and those you love.  Leaving Texas and this move mean we have a fresh start in so many ways.  For that, I am truly thankful.

I bought a book several years ago that I started but never finished.  It is just what I need right now to help get me in the right mindset to tackle those overwhelming stacks of boxes.  Have you heard of “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider?  She’s a blogger I’ve followed for some time and find to be very insightful and inspirational.  She calls her book “the clutter-free approach to intentional living”.  When packing up my books back in Texas, I intentionally held this one out so that I could begin it again.  Only this time, I will finish it.  So I’ll start Part I with “Stuff: Our Modern-Day Slave Master” which describes exactly what I was feeling for so long.  This fresh start in Oklahoma will be wonderful for our family for so many reasons.  I haven’t figured out why exactly God moved us here, but it’s clearly evident that He has a plan and for that, I am thankful and excited.

I have so much to learn and figure out about WordPress, but I just didn’t want to wait any longer to start posting.  I’ve had this need for a creative outlet for weeks now, and I also know this will be a great way to communicate the changes and experiences our family has now that so many family and friends are far away.  Thanks for visiting!

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