Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Friday, September 20, 2013

Talking to a wall

This was a tough, tough day.

Today was the day that all parties involved in this foster case sat down with the biological parents and let them know that their rights were going to be terminated.

Can you even imagine?

You look at your kids, and even though they drive you to the point of insanity at least one time during each and every day, you can never imagine them being anywhere except with you.  (and the days they drive you to drink at least 6 times, you wish they were on a slow boat to somewhere...just sayin)..

But today, these parents had to come to terms with the fact that they will never change, and their denial and unwillingness to see the problem, cost them their babies.

Or it will...once they drag all of us through court and spend resources of the state to tell them they will never get their kids back.

Back in November 2012, back when all this transpired, I felt empathy for the mom.  I viewed her as a victim of domestic abuse, and a backwards culture.  Today as I watched her transform from screaming maniac to sobbing victim, to angry outraged citizen, to screaming maniac, I felt any compassion flee.

These children will never be safe in this house.  If these parents act like this in front of people that are trying to help them build a plan, how do they treat them when they are alone with them?

I leaned over to the kid's attorney as DHS was "trying to do the right thing" and demand that the 3 year old continue visits with mom.  I have already blown a gasket that he has to continue seeing her because it's just a crap shoot when it's happening and a volcano blowout of disaster the days following it.  Anyway, I leaned over to the attorney and I said,  "DHS wants to make the poor 3 year old, who has NO VOICE, continue visits with THIS????"  He looked me square in the face, shook his head, stood to his feet and bellowed, "ENOUGH.  I am through listening to 4 years of this couple's excuses.  I am through.  If DHS continues to force visits on the 3 year old, you are continuing the cycle of abuse, and I will fight tooth and nail at court to get it stopped.  Enough is enough".  and he stomped out.

Well, I almost stood up and clapped.  That set dad off into another PLANET.  Then he attacked me, and blamed the whole situation of his kids not wanting to see him on me.  Said I had influenced them to not love him, I wouldn't let them communicate with their parents, and they had been influenced by me.

I wanted to stand up and shout, "ENOUGH".  But instead, I looked him square in the kisser and looked at the other 12 people in the room and said,  "I am leaving.  I fear to leave the same time as them, because I do NOT want him following me home.  You hold them here at least 20 minutes and let me get out of the area."  and with that, I left.

Bottom line.  Visits are over.  Kids are no longer forced to see parents.  On court, the kids attorney will push forward with termination.  The parents are never going to willingly agree, so we are looking at a long court battle, in which the kids will have to testify.

It's a nightmare.  I just got in my car and bawled my way out of the parking lot.  How lives get so messed up and out of control, how innocent lives are trampled, how out of control I feel in all of this.

The only guiding voice is the one from on high, who says to me,  "Peace, be still."  And that is enough. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hal's big week

I want to get this down in writing while it is still fresh.


First off, she turned 15. 

How can that be possible when just yesterday she was this size?  Of course she was a newborn in this picture, and started out giant, but that's besides the point.  (actually she is about 9 months old here) (also, her head is not as big as mine, it's the angle of the camera)  (or what we tell people).

So, the kid turned 15.  She had a fun birthday party with hotdogs, water balloons, and friends.  All in all, a great day.

 Her sister's really love her, in spite of the fact that she has totally outgrown them.  She may be much taller than them, but she will forever be their "Baby". 

Then, when she had been officially 15 for one day, she was pulled up to Varsity, due to another girl getting hurt.   She was so stoked, she may or may not have slept in her varsity jersey.

I find it very ironic that her number happens to be 15.  We didn't even plan that. 

So, fast forward to the next day.  Game against Stillwater.  Something happens to JV, and they just TANK.  Haven't been beaten but one time all year and just stink up the floor.  

Then I'm wondering if Hallie will get to suit up and play, because of her team's super bad showing.  Never fear, they need the tall 9th grader. 

So, she suits up, gets introduced in the Varsity game, and goes and sits on the bench.  For. one. whole. match. 

Varsity gets smeared by Stillwater.  25-16.  One match down.

Coach Kane decides that working just her regular rotation isn't going to work.  She puts Hallie in.

If I could describe what Hallie looked like in that exact moment, it would be sheer, utter, panic. Everything she had learned about volleyball was gone.   

She looked like a deer in headlights, maybe even a blind grandma.  Just clueless and hilarious.

My brother put it the best way I can think.   He said, over his shoulder to me,  "When she quits crapping her pants, she'll do good.  Right now, all she is doing is crapping her pants."

Succinct, grody, and correct.  Playing with varsity, after playing volleyball for only one year.  Pretty surreal for a newbie.  Crapping her pants. 

For one whole match, she ran in a circle  (Playing a different position, she has always been the middle and now, for varsity, she is playing right side) and just tried to stay out of the way.  They lost 25-19.

But the difference in this game, compared to her JV games of the past, all the girls on the team encouraged her, and patted her back, and yelled at her to get in her spot (in a nice way, not the normal mean JV way), and coming out at Match 3, when my brother said, "Well, I have to go, this game is over"...everything on her team hit solid gold.

Hallie overcame her nerves, and just did what she does.  And beside the senior middle, McKayla Benner (who is Hallie's ABSOLUTE HERO) they were twin towers of doom.  NOTHING got by them.  Hallie got the perfect set and had a KILL shot for her very first point in Varsity. 

It. was. Spectacular. 

All the bench went crazy.  The freshmen girls watching went crazy.  JV just sat there sucking their thumbs, playing with their hair.  (ok, that might have been mean, but hey, what goes around comes around).

Coach Kane smiled her first smile of the very intense night.  And her JV coach Rene Crockett, who has worked HOURS with Hallie teaching her to hit and getting her fundamentals lined out, couldn't stop laughing and smiling.   It. was. awesome.

And they came back and won the third match 25-23.  All the sudden, Varsity was having fun.  All because of a Goofy, goofy 9th grader. 

Fourth set, Bubba isn't moving, "I have to watch this".  Norman North wins, 25-23.  NOTHING is getting past the twin towers and Senior Kate Lefler has turned on the Serving arm and is killing every serve.   The Stillwater coach (whom we love and know from Club) is getting antsy and has stopped smiling. 

Fifth and final set, with our butts totally numb, and our hearts racing, we move into the final 15 points of the game.  Even my mom (who is usually OVER it by end of match 2, and is into her 10th match of the evening!), is whistling and stomping her foot.  Bubba hasn't moved. 

Everything is magic,  Hallie continues to stay calm, and do her thang, and Norman North wins 15-11. and takes the game for the most exciting, ridiculous, "I may take up drinking" win I have ever witnessed, and hope to never have to witness again in my life. 

It. Was. Magic. 

Bubba said it best on the way to our cars when it was all over,  "I wouldn't have missed this for the world". 

Yep.  One of the moments that stays with you a lifetime.  God is Good. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NOW What I think of it all

You know.  There is NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING more painful than to watch your child hurt.


I get ugly and confrontational and want to tear things up, and punch throats and fix stuff when my kids have a problem.  It's just the militant mama bear in me.

So, you can only imagine how out of control I have felt about Lacey.

Laynie and the beauty and pain in all of that.  Then the ultimate end of her marriage.  Watching her courageously move on, cautiously working her way through the pain and wonderment of the loss that she had so hugely suffered.

When her ridiculous sister, Kip, finally hounded her enough to quit being a cat lady and step out on faith, I was more than pleased.  She had successfully managed to work herself through grad school and come out of that top of her class.  She got her thesis published, she had every single duck in a row.

All but, the "I love you til death do us part" thing.

I wanted that the most for her that I have ever wanted anything in my life.

So, when I got a text from my niece saying she had Lacey a husband, I thought,  "Sure".

And when the second text from her said that in thanks for sending him to us, she required a "shout out at the wedding", I was very intrigued.

My usually calm and collected about everything in life daughter was a maniac that first date day.  I had to talk her off the ledge at least 3 times.  It was AWESOME.

(Unfortunately, I think she has some of my socially awkward dating genes, but it worked out for her, so praiseallejuah).

Anyhow, the first date.  My phone rang, and my ears were bleeding in about 2.5 seconds.  I have never heard this girl so lit up about anything.

Made my heart just zing out of my chest.

"I want to meet him".

Silence.  More Silence.

"Lacey, I want to meet this hunka hunka burning love".    "Mom, that's maybe why i DON"T want you to meet him".

Fast forward to Saturday at Lacey's house.  (2 days later).  I'm there with the lovelies and he shows up.  It's like I have known him all my life.  Lacey is needing to leave to go to a pre-booked concert with friends, and I have just had about 2 hours with this new hunk, and I wasn't ready to let him go.  I invite him to church with the kids and me.. no Lacey.   Most guys would come up with a million excuses on where and why they have to be somewhere else, but not Tyler.

"You Bet".    SAY WHAT?   Off he goes to OKC campus with us, and continues to hang with us AFTER church and go eat with us.  By this time, I am lock, stock and barrel sold into him.  I watch him with the kids and with Hallie and he is just so natural and funny and LOUD and fits right in.

He came to Hallie's beach volleyball tournament with Lacey and actually CARRIED my cooler for me (What? I don't haul 14,000 things by myself?) and he has a fan for life.  He was actually LOUDER than me yelling for Hallie, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The day all the "engaging" went down, I got a text from a number (Lacey hadn't given me his number, didn't have any faith in me to not run him off....what is that??) that asked me Hallie's number.  I gave it out without thinking, and then said, "Wait, who is this?"  to which a text replied, "It's a crazy stalker that has been taking pics of your daughter and wants to cyber stalk her"...followed with,   "IT's Tyler, you dork". 

Went on to send me this picture. 
And ask me permission to enter "Phase two" of his plan.  How thrilled he was to have the bonus of us as his family.

Whatever.  We are the lucky ones.

Tyler, welcome to our family.  We love having you and are so thrilled you are a member forever.  You're a goofball, you love Jesus so much, and you love my daughter, and that's all I will ever want from you.

Except for the occasional toilet fixes and garage door tweaks.  You're a keeper, Tyler.  We are blessed.

P.S.  Good job, Linds.  You have mad matchmaking skills. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I put a "This might be the best Friday in the history of all Fridays" on my facebook and I have been nagged senseless from all my friends on the "Why".  Without further ado, I want you to hear this first hand from the source herself.....Lacey......

Lacey’s Birthday Present from Jesus

It’s been a long time coming but I think it’s finally time to tell Laynie’s fan club about the next miracle that God has provided for her mama. 

His name is Tyler.

No, he doesn’t have a Facebook so you don’t get to cyber stalk him! (Much to Lolly’s dismay)  

Let me take the story back a few months so you can understand the whole picture…

Most of you know, I work for Children’s Hospital Foundation and my primary job is to build and retain relationships with various local and national partners to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  One of the groups I work with is Credit Unions for Kids. TFCU is one of our major CUFK contributors and holds a fundraising campaign for us each April.  For the last two years I have been invited to speak at their coordinator meeting each March to share Laynie’s story and help encourage their fundraising efforts.  Guess who the only male in the room of 30+ volunteers at this year’s meeting was? Yup, Tyler.

(Except I was still anti-men and anti-dating at this point so though I did think he was a fun dude, I didn’t think much past that.)

So I shared my sweet Laynie’s story with the group, bragged on the awesome work of Children’s Hospital Foundation, wrapped up the meeting, and that was that.

Fast-forward a month to the TFCU Miracle Car show and guess who was volunteering? Yup, Tyler. I was there to help our CMN Champion Child pick her favorite car and take pictures.  We spoke briefly, but again, didn’t think much of it.

Meanwhile, my sister (Kip) was on me about not becoming a cat lady (no offense to cat ladies) and wanting me to jump on the wagon and start dating again (it had been a year and a half since Brad left).  When Kip was in Romania on The World Race, she wrote a list of all the qualities she wished for in a husband. She prayed over the list for the next 5-6 months on the race and low and behold, she found a keeper when she got home! (Side note:  So happy she didn’t meet him in some foreign country! California is far enough!)

So…in April of this year, I wrote a husband list. Crazy at it is, two days later, out of the blue, a coworker totally set me up on a blind date out of nowhere.  Alright, Lord. I hear ya! We went to dinner and a play.  Super nice guy, such a gentleman.

But I never heard from him after that night. Nope. Nothing.

You better believe the enemy was all over me with that one, feeding me lies that I’m not worthy of a good man, that I have too much baggage, blah, blah, blah. 

It took me a bit to get a grip on the lies and to overcome my fear of putting myself back out there to (possibly) be hurt again.  But, with prayer and Kip’s encouragement, I created a Christian Mingle profile and jumped right in.  Only got one date out of that deal and it was BLEK! I had pretty much decided that it wasn’t my time to date.

Then, I ran into a guy I knew through the grapevine and we started “talking” (as they say these days) and went on a date.  He was a super nice guy, good looking, funny.

But I had red flags almost immediately. He didn’t love Jesus. And that wasn’t something I ever wanted to settle for, ever again. Never again.

I was convicted about my “husband list”. The number one thing on my list was that my guy would love Jesus.  I would get convicted all the time. Listening to worship, telling my mom about him, or reading the bible.  I mean, you know it’s from Jesus when reading the Old Testament convicts you, you know what I’m saying?!

So, I was on the phone with the guy one night and I just had to tell him.  I told him “I’m really sorry. I think you’re cute, you’re so sweet, I know we would have a great time for awhile, but I love Jesus and need someone who loves and serves the Lord.  I can’t live through all I’ve been through and not be with someone who loves Jesus as much (or more) than I do. I’ve already been married to that person and I see how it turns out. I’m really sorry, but we just can’t talk any more.”

Oh it was a difficult conversation! I hung up the phone and cried and prayed and worshipped the Lord.  I played the song “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller. (One of my favs for quite some time now).  If you don’t know it, it says, “I will love you while I’m waiting. I will serve you while I’m waiting. I will worship while I’m waiting…” Pretty much my exact prayer that night (and the last few months before then). Love that song.

About that same time I started attending a new singles group in Edmond. We started Andy Stanley’s “Guardrails” series.  It is all about setting boundaries to protect your heart from unnecessary pain. Again, I hear ya Lord! The timing was impeccable.

The group turned out to be a huge Godsend, I’ve made friends with some of the most amazing, Godly women who hold me accountable and encourage me. Thank you Jesus!

A few weeks later, the day before my birthday, I get a random text message from my cousin, Lindsay.  Something about a guy she works with that is fun, cute, tall, and she thinks we would be perfect for each other. She wanted to let me know that she was going to talk to him about me.

I said, “Wait. Does he love Jesus?” (I wasn’t about to put myself through more heartache!)

She said, “Lacey, he’s you in male form. Seriously…Wait, you probably know him. He’s the CMN coordinator at my branch (TFCU). His name is Tyler.”

“Um, YEAH I DO! He loves Jesus?! Alright then, do your thang cuz!”

Meanwhile, she tells him, “Hey I think you should meet my cousin. She’s fun, you’d really like her.”

He was hesitant at first because he’s also divorced and had bad dating experiences after and just didn’t want to put himself through that again.

Until she said, “You know her. She works for CMN. It’s Lacey Payne.”

His response, “THAT’S your cousin? Yes, I would really like to know her.”

Side note: He later told me that he admired my heart before he even knew me because of hearing me tell Laynie’s story. So when Lindsay said that I was her cousin, he knew I was someone he wanted to get to know. 

God is so good, isn’t He?! I am continuously amazed that my angel baby’s life still impacts my life in such a profound way! She has been the catalyst for everything good in my life. Thank you Lord for your miracles! You make beautiful things!

Linds talked me in to coming to a line dance class with her and a bunch of people from work the next night so Tyler and I could hang out. Line dancing on my birthday?! With my number one cuz? And a cute boy that loves Jesus? I’m THERE!

The rest is history. 

Seriously, in a span of just a few days we had some of the most meaningful and heartfelt conversations I’ve ever had. He loves the Lord, he loves worship music, and has a servant’s heart. He loves kids (you should see him with the lovelies, it’s genuine and amazing.) His testimony is so powerful. I am amazed at who he is and all he has overcome in his life.

I fell for him pretty fast. So fast that once my head stopped spinning I woke up at 5am one morning just yearning for wisdom and guidance from the Lord. Was this real? Could I have finally found the person that I prayed for so many nights? Did he really fit the requirements of my list or was it too good to be true? Was I just yearning for it so badly that I was being crazy? I kept expecting something bad to happen because, unfortunately, that has been my life for the last few years.  I learned what it meant to love and depend on Jesus when my world was crashing down around me and to have someone to love and depend on Jesus with me in a new season of joy is something that took getting used to (and to be honest, sometimes it still does).

That morning I really wanted to hear truth so I opened my Elevation Church app to find a message from Pastor Steven Furtick. I randomly chose to listen to the first message in his “Expectation Gap” series.  He spoke about Mary and Martha and expectations.  He said, “You can’t let your expectations of how you think something should happen keep you from experiencing what God wants you to experience.” 

WOW. That hit home with me. Then the crazy part that smacked me right in the head…

Steven went on to mention a poem that so beautifully illustrates this point.  He proceeds to read “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. (If you don’t remember the story about Laynie and this poem, you should read the original blog post written during my pregnancy. Also remember this was the poem we put on the back of her memorial card at her Celebration of Life. It’s very special to me to say the least.)

Welcome to Holland    By Emily Pearl Kingsley 
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability. When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans – the Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. All very exciting.  After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. 
 Several hours later the plan lands. The flight attendant comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland ."
"Holland ?" you say. "What do you mean Holland ? I signed up for Italy . All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy ." But there has been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland there you must stay. 
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guidebooks and you must learn a whole new language. And, you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy , less flashy than Italy . But after you've been there awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts. 
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say…"Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." But if you spend the rest of your life mourning the fact you didn't get to Italy , you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

SERIOUSLY, I had to pause the message to catch my breath and blow my nose which was pouring snot as I sobbed to the Lord.  If there was ONE THING He could have said to me to let me know that I was being crazy and that I absolutely deserve this gift and need receive it instead of wait for something bad to happen, THIS WAS IT. I hear you Jesus! Thank you, Lord! Thank you for loving me and fighting for me even when I didn’t see it. You do know the plans you have for me and I trust you and I thank you!

From that moment on I stopped resisting love and have been all in.  It didn’t take long for the family to love him too. It’s like he’s been with us forever. Like we’ve never missed a beat.

So you can guess what’s going to happen next…

Yup. I’m gonna marry this crazy, gorgeous, God-fearing, hilarious, selfless, loving, wonderful man!

Some days I still can’t believe my luck, or how the story unfolded over the last few months, but I know that with the Lord as my number one and Tyler as my number two, I’m in for an amazing adventure.

Here’s to the next chapter in my story. So blessed that the Author of Life is writing it for me. (And that He has a little bald-headed angel up there helping him work out the details!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

About a Dog

When Hallie and I were in California the first of August to visit Kip and see how she's acclimating to her new life/apartment/job/territory, etc. we found out that she and Brandon had been investigating potential pets.

They wanted a great dane.

Nothing like starting small.

It's ok, though, because Brandon's family (The Hall's) have large pets.  His parents, Pam and Don own a St. Bernard named Huey.  He is pretty awesome.  Except that he was terrified of Hallie.

No one has bothered to tell him he is giant and could take her.  Didn't matter, she walked in, he walked out.  Pretty funny.

So, knowing Brandon wanted a big dog didn't surprise me.  Wondering how Kip was going to manage to ever babysit a dog in her apartment (No pets allowed), but knowing Brandon has a good backyard at his house, I was a bit surprised at their choice.  I was also more surprised that finding a great dane in California is a pretty expensive feat.  I threw out, "I could check in Oklahoma, there are rescues and such, and we could probably find you one pretty easy".

"I'd meet you halfway", says Brandon to me.

With those words ringing in my head, I ask a friend on facebook where she located her great dane.  24 seconds later, I was a proud grandma of a great dane.

Our friends, Matt and Jessi Sutterfield, had acquired their brother, Hunter's great dane puppy (She's a year old) and with Jessi doing other pursuits, the dog needed a new home.  (Great Danes are MAJOR people dogs).  The sweetest moment was in leaving, Payten (age 6) was overcome with remorse for her leaving (they wanted to get some chickens and it's tough with a chicken eating great dane in the vicinity) and Payten lamented as we got in the car, "I don't want chickens, I want Brielle".  Cute and sad. 

So on a handshake and a prayer, I got the dog a few days early, so we could "Bond" before we spent hours and hours in the car together.

Boy.  Was I a dummy.

Now, I consider myself a dog person.  I like dogs.  I think they are fun, and sweet and loving, but if you know me, I also believe that the dog is in the backyard, and the family is in the house.  This dog didn't get my rulebook before she came here.

For one thing, everyone involved kept reminding me that she is "Fragile".  WHAT?  She's as tall as a small horse, and poops like an elephant.  Nothing about her screams, "Fragile".  "She has to eat with her bowl elevated, and she needs a lot of interaction with her people."

She doesn't look too tough, does she??  She might lick you to death.

The fragile dog pooped in my house first thing, so she got her fragile self booted out doors.

She responded by eating her bed.

Kip had made the plan that she and Brandon would drive to one of his friend's houses south of LA, then drive the additional miles to get them to Gallup, New Mexico.

If you have ever driven from OKC to Gallup, New Mexico, I can just tell you right now, that prisoners could be sentenced to living along I-40 in New Mexico, and I'm pretty sure they would beg for mercy and ask for forgiveness and change their lives of crime to make sure they never live there.

There. is.  Nothing.

To add insult to injury Kip would send us mountains and the beautiful view she was driving by.  Hallie made this to show the vast difference of the drives we were making.

That sums up our 11 hour drive in a nutshell.

My cousin, Shannon, took pity on me and came up from Dallas and drove with me.  She helped me drive and MAN, do I love help driving.  I drove Hallie all over a 3 state area the last year in volleyball with no help driving, so MAN, I enjoyed sitting in the passenger seat getting somewhere.  Pretty crazy.  It's the little things.

We called this trip,  (Excuse me, don't get offended, people)   "Balls to the Wall, Ladies".  It was fast and furious and we stopped only for all the three of us and the big black female dog to get out and pee.  And that's it.  We ate out of a cooler, and pedal to the metal'd  it to Gallup, NM in about 11 hours.

Hallie sat in the back with Brielle.   She called it the "Big Girl's Backseat Club" and She was president and Brielle was Vice-President.

It really was quite entertaining. 

Then the new owners arrived, and she forsake us immediately.  Until she needed to go pee at 2 am, and she licked her lolly in the face and let me take her outside.

As they got ready to leave, we were standing at the door waving, and Hallie exclaimed,  "I don't want chickens, I want Brielle".  I kind of felt the same way.

She might have eaten her bed, and then her own poop, but she was a fun, sweet, sweet dog.

I may have let her watch tv with me on the bed at the hotel.
And she bonded with my friend, Kristen's dog, Sophie.  Kristen bravely invited Brielle over for a playdate her first day with me, and I think Kristen has never been so happy to see anyone in her life as she was to see me.  Sophie finally got disgusted with our 85 pound puppy and had to show her who was boss.

You can't tell it here, but Brielle has the biggest grin on her face.  She knew the ole gal had had it with her.

We weren't supposed to see Arizona, but Kip drove off without her purse, and figured it out 3 hours down the road for them, when in loading, I asked Shannon why she left her purse laying on the counter, and she told me she had her purse, and I realized in about 35 seconds, that my ridiculously responsible daughter (cough) had driven off and left her purse.  A quick phone call, and a small (cough) decision to drive toward them and meet them on the road (1 1/2 hours to split the difference), made Brandon REALLY happy (I'm sure) and gave us a chance to see some of Arizona and a little better view.  Holbrook, AZ was halfway between Flagstaff and Gallup.  It put us 3 hours behind schedule so we rolled into Norman about 9:00.  Only 20 hours in the car.  That's all. 

Exhausted and road weary.  Kip and Brandon made it to Redding about 12:30 am, so their drive was MUCH longer, but they took home the prize.  I'm not sure if Brandon thinks it, since he had a very rested puppy on his hands, first night in.  Pretty sure he rigged a dog door today.  :)

Well, that's what I did on my labor day weekend.  I might be recovered by next labor day.