When we were in Texas for Christmas a few weeks ago, we drove over to my stepsister Katie’s house and spent the night. It has been two years since I’ve seen Katie and it was also the first time I’ve met her newest little house ape, Courtney. She is one of the cutest house apes I’ve ever seen.
This is Katie, the sister:
Here is Courtney, a very cute addition to the family -
…and Courtney with Sloan, enjoying some muffins.
I met my stepsister Katie when she was four and I was fourteen. At the time, I was pretty ticked at my dad because he had just gone through a divorce a year earlier, and here he was twelve months later ready to get married again. I really can’t blame him because Laura is as close to an ideal mate as you can get for him. And Katie was a sweet little thing with a Dorothy Hamill haircut and knee socks. Katie wore knee socks every day of her life because she had this birthmark on her shin that she hated, and from age three until she had it removed at age ten, that was her solution. She brought knee socks back, dude. It was awesome.
In the limited time before the wedding that we did spend together, four-year old Katie followed me around like a new best buddy and she was game to do pretty much anything I suggested. Like riding a freaking huge rollercoaster at Knotts Berry Farm with me. Her mom about died.
Katie and I are actually very much alike without being genetically related. She’s a total ball-buster.
Maybe I should rephrase that. What I really mean is we both know what we want and we won’t let many other people tell us otherwise. Spunky. We like our oatmeal lumpy. Straight gangsta mack.
Since I didn’t live with my dad for most of my teenage years, I like to laugh at the serendipitous fact that he got to live with a teenage girl who is just as stubborn as me. I’m not sure if Katie was less mouthy, but we both have had moments where we thought Big Hands was going to strangle us as his enraged, beet-red head blew off his neck. Thank God he has mellowed with age. Now we are the ones who may just very well explode every once in a while. Like little firecracker protegees.
So my kids and I descended upon Katie’s new house and had a sleepover with Big Hands and Laura. My dad and Laura go down to Texas just about every Christmas to spend it with Katie, Casey, and their two girls. But they never get to see the Benjamin/Tolands in the month of December because after a buddy-pass fiasco ten years ago, Brad and I swore off traveling at Christmas time. All of us in Texas together at the same time - you can’t imagine how happy my dad was. I mean, it was actually really cute.
We ate lots of Chinese takeout and then played some rowdy rounds of a dancing game on Casey’s XBox360. You know, a game like “Just Dance” but without the remotes. Hands free! And little sister Katie was calling me out, challenging me on the floor, taunting me that she was gonna smoke me in that dancing video game. Which she did. EVERY EFFING ROUND.
Watching my dad attempt this dancing video game made up for my sad ass-kicking by a thirty-year old. Because Big Hands takes this shit seriously and he is out to WIN. I’m not kidding. And it’s just about the funniest flailing frenzy of feet and limbs you’ve ever seen.
My dad’s one request was that I bring my camera and take some family photos of the special once in 25 years get- together. Sadly, we have not had one family picture where all of us are together with our kids since we birthed those suckers. The photo session was actually really fun.
We started out a little stiff, but everyone was in focus, which is huge.
And then Beatty started to tire of acting like Mr. Picture Perfect and could not resist a foul-up attempt…
…so we had to take a few moments to get all our silly faces out of us so we could carry on and pretend to be normal people in the rest of the shots -
This is why I love these people. We are not one bit afraid of looking ugly. That rocks.
I’m very seriously considering blowing one of those up into an 8×10 instead of one like this: