If you have met me for more than five minutes you know that I’m extra.

As in way more than enough.

I can’t help it.  It’s just the way I showed up.

I laugh super loud.

I talk when I should be listening.

I gesticulate wildly and guffaw and randomly break out into dance moves and the occasional Broadway soundtrack.  I make faces that look like emojis and sing at the top of my lungs in the car when I hear a song I love and I perpetually chase rabbits.  I’m always opening my mouth and inserting my foot and I’m the person sitting on the front row in class asking all the questions and then forgetting all the answers.

My mother says that I grab every minute of life and that I don’t let go.

And she’s right.

(total aside: of course she’s right.  She’s my mother.)

And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more extra?

I went and gave birth to a mini-me.

Meet Westleigh.

She’s the extra of the extras.

I don’t think she could help it either.

She just showed up like this, too.

Last week she made varsity cheerleader.

We went to a watch party and waited for the results and jumped around and dancing in our chairs and celebrated and screamed and hugged and ordered chocolate chip cookies with ice cream.

Because that’s what extra people do.

And after all the excitement we arrived home to fanfare and more cheering and excitement and celebration.

And then?

Westleigh told me she loved me and thanked me for the cookie and walked on air up to her room.

And all was quiet.

Too quiet.

Not nearly extra enough.

I didn’t hear anything for over an hour.



That didn’t make sense.

I thought she’d be calling her friends and facetiming the world and practicing cheers and turning up her music so loud they could hear it two states over.

Worried, I walked up to her room and knocked on her door.

No answer.

I knocked again.

No answer.

Slowly and quietly I opened the door and almost burst out laughing when I saw all the EXTRA that was going on in her room.

She had earbuds in her ears and she was quietly humming and writing notes to her future cheerleading self….

…wearing her AUNT’S CHEER JACKET from high school.

I had forgotten all about the jacket.  My sister-in-law had given it to her a year ago.  Westleigh thanked her and tucked it away in her closet.

And there the jacket sat.

Waiting for an EXTRA day like this.

Wester didn’t want to wait for her own jacket.  She didn’t want to wait for her uniform.  She wanted to feel like the cheerleader that she knew that she was.

This is the look that she gave me when I found her wearing it.

A look that says MOOOOOOOOOM?


A look that says REALLY?

Just know that I’m EXTRA….

…and I learned it all from you. 🙂

If you are extra?

If you wave your hands or talk when you should be listening or chase rabbits or make faces that look like emojis?

If you grab every minute of life and don’t let it go?

Westleigh and I completely understand.

Come sit by us. 🙂

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  1. Image for maureen maureen

    I love how you call yourself "extra". Your "extra" is where your creativity comes from for sure. Stay the way you are! Congrats to your beautiful and "extra" daughter on her accomplishment.

  2. Image for Carol Carol

    I am sooooo happy for your 'mini me!' !!!!! Congrats to her, and congrats to you for a job well done! Being extra is always a good thing!!

  3. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I think this was a message from God and you were his messenger. :) You pretty much just described me almost completely. And I love being me. And when someone makes fun of something I like, I've always taught my kids to say "Well (insert your name here) likes it". It usually shuts them up because they don't know what to say back. Yesterday, my co-worker scolded me for being so bubbly with our customers. To me, I like to put a smile on their face instead of a businesslike typical robot like response. Yet I agreed with her and said I'll try harder the next time. I'm all for constructive criticism, but that's who I am. I like being me. So thank you for this story. I'd rather bring joy into someone's life, even if it's for a minutes conversation. Cindy

  4. Image for Andrea Andrea

    I JUST LOVE YOU and all your well-told life stories! I get drawn right in - like I'm there with you. I leave reality for a moment and enter into yours ... and I love it. And YOU!

  5. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    You guys are so lucky you were and are allowed to be who you are without "someone" worrying that you were/are going to get the "big head" and thinking it was/is necessary to tamp down your enthusiasm and ego! Congrats to everything you are and achieve by being that type of person!

  6. Image for Andrea Andrea

    .......... and another thing!! I dream of coming to your home and taking it all in! All the beauty. All the perfectly placed items. All the perfectly matched colors. All the "homey-ness". All the light. All the things that make me happy! And the bonus would be YOU - in all your creativity, laughter, life-giving smile and just sit in your beautiful home and visit! <3

  7. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    BIG congrats - from one extra to two wonderful extras. Wish I woulda kept my cheer jacket. But I was just too cool to when I went to college. /regret. She is so adorable, as well is her awesome newly decorated bedroom!!!!!!

  8. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Congrats to Westleigh! Cheerleading is a great way to get all that EXTRA out!!! I was one from grammer school through college and loved it. Still chant out a few with friends:) Enjoy every minute!

  9. Image for Susan J Susan J

    I love that you (and Westleigh) are EXTRA - that should always be shouted! I can read it in your blog and that's what keeps me coming back! Keep up the good work! And congrats Westleigh!

  10. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Congratulations! I love how you celebrate each other and your accomplishments! She's clearly learned that it's ok to be strong and confident, have her "moment", then do "her" in her own way. Enjoy every precious "extra" moment together, as they go by so fast! Big cheerleader hugs to you both!

  11. Image for Amy Kaminski Amy Kaminski

    I think that's so awesome. In a world where cheerleading is sometimes ostracized it's so nice to see her be her "extra" self and go for it. I was a cheerleader for 5 years and it was a wonderful experience for me even all those years ago. I never really thought about it but I guess I would consider myself an extra person too. To this day when watching pretty much any kind of sports, at home or in person I can hardly contain myself and can be very vocal :-) to my family's embarrassment. But wouldn't it be nice if everyone could spread that kind of spirit. The world sure would be a better place. Keep it up Westleigh!

  12. Image for Marty Marty

    I so understand that jacket. I was a cheerleader too and I still have my uniform and my jacket. I also still have my mega phone. Talk about keepsakes, these are super special. Tell her to love that jacket, but to lover her own even more and keep it forever. It will always make her feel like a cheerleader and extra.

  13. Image for DeAnna DeAnna

    Precious!! I am not an extra...as you can tell by the very short, but from my heart comment! However, I am so grateful for "extras" in this world!

  14. Image for Gina Gina

    Yassss! I am extra in ALL the ways!!! Come sit by me! Congratulations, Westleigh! Cheer your heart out! I remember I gave a homecoming t-shirt to my niece that I had designed way back when I attended the same high school she was now going. When she was asked by a classmate where she got the shirt they responded with, "Cool, vintage!" So, I guess I am vintage!!!!!!😣

  15. Image for Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Your daughter is so beautiful ! I'm an extra too .... Unfortunately, it gets people very irritated. I am so misunderstood ....

  16. Image for Eileen Eileen

    Westleigh, congratulations. I knew you would get it when I saw the video with your father, practicing, practicing, practicing. The focus on your face said it all. Kudos to your dad, too.

  17. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Thank you for this post....I really needed to read this today. Love how you describe yourself as "extra", the world needs people that are "extra". I used to be that "extra" person and for some unknown reason I lost her...I think it is time to find my "extra" again. And....my mini-me is extra too.

  18. Image for Rtzz Rtzz

    Love your post! Congrats to your “extra” special cheer girl. She will absolutely love it! Even though I was a cheerleader, I was not extra, but I was smart enough to surround myself with friends who were! Those extra friends definitely made the extra in me come front and center! They still do!

  19. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I wish I knew someone "extra" and have them as a friend, it would be "extra special and wonderful to feel such positive attitude around me. Thank you for you posts they always put a smile in my heart.

  20. Image for Dee Dee

    Well this post just made me so teary you would think that we've been best friends since childhood, and I I was celebrating my besties beautiful mini becoming varsity cheerleader! That's how you make us feel, and that's how I feel celebrating Westeigh! It's time for extra !!!!!! 😄

  21. Image for Vivian Vivian

    What a beautiful post! Congrats to Westleigh...she is a beauty just like her momma. That smile of hers says how happy she is!!

  22. Image for Carol Carol

    Congrats to Westleigh and all of the accomplishments of your special family. I'm an extra too. I once laughed so loudly someone actually jumped from the sound. Life is too short not to be an extra!

  23. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I was too timid to be the "extra" person, but I've enabled my fair share! LOL!! Love the pics! Your girls are growing into such beautiful young women - just like their mother! :) P.S. My book came JUST NOW!! Squee!!!!

  24. Image for Edie Frasier Edie Frasier

    Congratulations, Westleigh! Have fun in high school. It will pass by so quickly. You are such a pretty young lady.

  25. Image for PJ PJ

    Congratulations to your girl. I'm not extra and it would be nice if I had bit more of it. I should hang around more people like you two I guess. Party on!


    KariAnne, I'd love to come and sit by you and your precious daughter, Westleigh, and have a chat! You are both so "extra" -- extra special that is! May God continue to bless you both and make you an extra special blessing to all those around you! Many blessings to you both!

  27. Image for Marisa Franca Stewart Marisa Franca Stewart

    Congratulations, Westleigh! Extra people are so special -- laying it all out for everyone to see and NOT being afraid. I love that!! I may not be as "extra" as you and your mom, but I'd love to come sit by the both of you!! May I?? Big hugs!

  28. Image for Kris Kris

    What a beautiful room and a beautiful daughter. I swear she looks older in today's pictures than she did in the last post you did featuring her.

    1. Image for Linda C Johnston Linda C Johnston

      It's a get-together to wait for the results of something. Like, whether or not you made the cheer squad!!! Usually it is done with people who have auditioned for the same thing. Think senior play, football squad, choir, etc.

  29. Image for Shelia P. Shelia P.

    Hi Karianne! Congratulations to Westleigh! Yay! How wonderful! 😁. She’s going to have so much fun and make so many memories! That’s too cute that she was wearing her aunts cheerleader jacket. So sweet. Tell her I said “ go get ‘em Westleigh!” Happy days are coming! Have a great day! 😊

  30. Image for Claudia A. Claudia A.

    C👏🏻O👏🏻N👏🏻G👏🏻R👏🏻A👏🏻T👏🏻S!!!!! 🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏻‍♂️

  31. Image for Kim Kim

    This is an "extra" darling and "extra" sweet post, Karianne! Congratulations to your daughter, and you gave her a beautiful name!

  32. Image for Natalir Natalir

    I will come sit by the both of you with all my “extra”ness 😊 It took me years to accept that I’m “extra” and now I embrace it. I love that you do, too. Congratulations to your daughter ❤️

  33. Image for Leslie from Fairview Leslie from Fairview

    If each of us needs anything, it's a cheerleader to keep us enthused with life, full of joy and expectation every day of good things to come! So happy Westleigh showed up extra like her mom and able to cheer her school teams to victory next year at McKinney High. I'm also thanking God today for making you extra and thanking you for using your extra-ness to energize me each time I read your blog (or see you around town). You are a great mom and have two very lovely, talented daughters. And you are indeed so extra in the best possible way, as defined by the Urban dictionary - I had to look it up! Being extra is what endears you to others as you use it to encourage and bless. Congratulations to Westleigh on making the cheer squad. You go, girl!

    1. Image for Tracey Tracey

      You can still be extra at 65. My grandma was extra into her nineties. I told some of her stories to my nineteen year old daughter and she couldn't believe them. I don't think I'm extra at all. I'm kinda quiet and shy in public, but I'm really crazy at home and with good friends. There's a reason we say "what happens at the ladies' retreat stays at the ladies retreat"

  34. Image for Sandi Sandi

    So sweet! Cherish her as I know you do. You are the best! So full of life and love and laughter! Tell us about her twin.........I'm sure she's wonderfully different! xoxoxo

  35. Image for Mindy Mindy

    Love it! Our daughter was a third generation cheerleader. My mom, myself and her all cheered for the same high school. I am more introvert than extra but I was social in school and loved cheer too.

  36. Image for Susan Susan

    I love this so much! I was a cheerleader, too (many, many years ago 😉). My teenage son tells me I’m “extra” all the time, and I can’t help it, either.

  37. Image for Sandi Sandi

    You are so blessed to grab on to life like this, and blessed to be EXTRA! I love your blog! Congrats to Westleigh!

  38. Image for Linda Linda

    Wish I was an EXTRA. ....I'm a quiet, introverted non-extra. Just thought I would tell someone whom I admire. You make me laugh. You make me (and God knows how many others) feel like we are friends. It feels so nice. If you ever want to visit, I have plenty of sweet tea. Take a Sunday drive, bring the family (including twinkle-eyes, please) over to Florida for Sunday dinner..........just sayin'.........

  39. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    Love this story. I was a high school cheerleader (I am 4'11"). It was so fun. I loved it so much I was a college cheerleading coach in my 40's. Good you both of you being loud and proud.


    Here's to all the EXTRAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So glad Westleigh inherited your joy for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You are a star and so is she!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Image for Rebecca A Parker Rebecca A Parker

    I have met you and you are beautifully and wonderfully made! I SO enjoyed meeting you at the Country Living Fair a couple years ago and you helped me with ny blog, too! Your energy is contagious and you can inspire anyone! Your daughter is fortunate to have taken after you. ❤

  42. Image for Rachel Going Rachel Going

    Oh my dear EXTRA KariAnne, I'm EXTRA too and I learned it from my momma too!!! Westleigh is so blessed to have learned it from you ! Keep doing the good work of teaching EXTRA. xo rachel

  43. Image for Valarie Sanford Valarie Sanford

    KariAnne: Totallyy understand - I'll come sit by ya too, thank you for celebrating who you are, the world needs a lot of extra light ha!

  44. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    Hi, Karianne! I just found your pages this week and I am already completely hooked. Love your humor, love your projects, and love your happy writing style. (The first item I happened to read was your Saturday morning comment about your hubby excitedly loading up the truck to go to the dump, which caused me to laugh out loud. In my office.) I know a lot of Extras, but never knew how to describe them, and now I do! I will visit often for extra, Extra vibes!

  45. Image for Anonyomus Anonyomus

    I love your blog so much which I found totally by accident....lucky me! Congratulations to your beautiful Westleigh on becoming a varsity cheerleader! I always wanted to be an extra but it's just not in me...I am an introvert but I love being around extras! :)

  46. Image for Tracey Tracey

    Congratulations Westleigh. I'm so happy for you. I wasn't a cheerleader, but I know you'll have so much fun with it and you will make so many memories. I loved the pictures! Beautiful home and family!

  47. Image for Lorri Lorri

    Oh boy I laughed when I read this....I am also that person..the person that laughs when their Supervisor says something so obvious at your group meeting and your colleauges wink at you because they dare not say anything. Oh yeah when I talk to my friends with my hands waving and making all kinds noises to make sure they get the whole story. Yep, I have people laugh at me sometimes when I am explaining things. LOL!! C ongrats to you Westleigh on your cheerleading .Lets give you a great big jump for making the team!!

  48. Image for Pastor Suzanne Pastor Suzanne

    Two beautiful ladies that live life fully alert, aware, and who wake us and bring us along. Thank you both!

  49. Image for Toni Toni

    Too cute! God needs lots of 'extras' in the world....think how boring it would be?! So happy for your daughter! Somehow I picture you cheering with her in the stands!

  50. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I am so very happy for that beautiful Westleigh!! I treasure my cheerleading days and still have a uniform tucked away that I have long forgotten who that size 0-2 person was!! And I, too, have always been the over the top EXTRA one changing conversations in midstream, trying desperately to listen and not talk. And those bunny trails always call me!! Some of my friends can follow—and most of the time my husband can—but I switch horses often. I’d love for both of you to sit by me. Laughter, cheering each other on, and following bunnies would be more fun together!❤️

  51. Image for PJ PJ

    Congratulations to your Westleigh! I am grateful for you, Westleigh, and all the other "extra" people of this world who bring so much joy to the world.

  52. Image for Jaybird Jaybird

    Congratulations to Westleigh!!! I would love to sit with you two...I will have to admit though, that I am one of the quiet ones. Quiet ones need to be near extras, because they are the ones to just sit back and enjoy!! Blessings to both of you...you bring extra fun to the table!! J PS: I don't like storms either....guess I may be too quiet for my own good :(

  53. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I was out of town last week and am just now catching up on all the goings on at Thislewood. WOO HOO!! Congrats to Westleigh!! SO happy for both of you!

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