That's my husband, Raymond, and I at our five-year vow renewal ceremony in December 2012. Here we are, in our 20's and we've already been blessed more abundantly than most. Raymond is a corrections officer for our local Sheriff's office and on his days off, he's a ranchhand on the ranch that we live on. One day he could be wrestling a murderer to the ground (or, y'know, just the town drunk which is much more common!) and the next he's wearing cow-shit crusted boots and workin' his cute butt off under the Texas sun on a 450 acre ranch. He's a family man that loves tossing the ball to our son, having tea parties with our daughters, or just changing that poopy diaper that's stinking up the house. He's a genuine, honest man with a big ol' heart and a smirk that makes me weak in the knees. He has no problem telling me like it is, which I need, but also knows when he needs to just hold me and let me have my irrational cry fest while burrowing into his chest. We're both as hard-headed as they come and butt heads like no tomorrow. But, hey, it's not true love unless you occasionally want to kill each other, right?
"..but when the nurse came in with a little pink blanket, all those big
dreams changed. And, now, we're wrapped around her finger, she's the
center of our whole world. Our heart belongs to that sweet, little, beautiful,
wonderful, perfect, All-American girl.."
That brown-eyed beauty right there is Gracelyn Rayne, better known as Gracie. She's the one that made us a family, and as my first born, we have a bond that is stronger than most. She came into my life as a new wife, a young one at that, and we grew and learned together. She has such a mothering, loving, caring quality about her that makes her the perfect big sister. At 5 years old, she's quite the perfectionist. Everything has a place, and her idea of "playing" is setting something up just how she wants it and just looking at it, rather than really playing.
I always say she seems so much older than her real age, and goodness,
that girl is SMART. She's a girly girl and lover of pretty things; always wanting to play dress-up, LOVES any and all jewelry. But, she's also her Daddy's daughter and never turns down a daddy-date for fishing and sometimes loves getting some dirt under those pretty painted nails when playing outside!
"..he's mine, that one, got a wild-haired side and then some. It's no surprise what he's done, he's every last bit of my old man's son.
And I'll take the blame and claim him every time. Yeah, man, he's mine and he'll always be the best thing that ever happened to me."
This picture of our middle child and only son is his personality to a T. Reilly Tucker, our 3 1/2 year old, is mostly called Bubba and is quite the loner at times. He's usually 90-miles-a-minute, but he has his laid-back, sweetheart moments. His cuddles are rare but that's what makes them so much sweeter. He makes a game out of irritating his big sister and loves to get her all riled up; but, those little moments when he gets her a drink without her asking or when he reaches for her hand when he's scared, just shows how much he loves her. And, anyone that's ever been around him and has witnessed his rough nature turn to gentleness and surprising patience with his baby sister can see how much he adores her, too. Don't be mistaken, though; that sweet brother will knock down block castles faster than his sister can blink an eye and snatch that toy that he had first right outta his little sister's paws. He's the spitting image of his Daddy & quite possibly the biggest Daddy's boy ever. He's crazy about his Daddy's BB gun (the only gun we've let him handle, under strict supervision, of course), loves his camo/hunting/Super Hero/Cars decked out room, and is rarely seen without a toy truck, tractor, action figure or car of some kind!
"I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm.You've had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born. Beautiful baby from the outside in; chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again. Go on, take on this whole world, but to me you know you'll always be, my little girl."
That giggling cutie toot is the baby, our Paisley Ann. She's 18 months old and is too cute for her own good. She's sweeter than the days are long, her laughter fills the room and her smile brightens our lives. Watching her grow and explore the world around her is such a joy. That frustrated little brow furrow that she has going on any time something isn't working how she wants it to is just too comical. I remember the days when she'd lay in her bouncer, sit in her Bumbo, or lounge in our laps and just watch her big brother and sister playing and running around, giggling like she was apart of the ruckus already. Now, those chubby little legs are running amuck right along with them. She was the last puzzle piece to the Peterson Clan and although she's the smallest, she probably has the biggest personality of them all. She uses her cuteness to her advantage to be a total turd, but one little 'I'm innocent' giggle face and we're melted.