July 29, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta Make 'Em Laugh

In one month, our oldest son will 'celebrate' his 2 year anniversary as a member of the United States Marine Corp (OK - 'celebrate' is probably not word he would use but you know what I mean.)  He is doing a great job serving his country as a US Marine.  And he was just promoted to Corporal - oh, yeah.  So proud!

I came across something today that brought back memories from those first 13 weeks of his Marine career - the dreaded days of boot camp. As a parent, I could not imagine not having contact with my son for that long - especially knowing what he would be going through as part of his training to become one of "the few and the proud." We knew once his feet his those yellow footprints at the USMC training base in San Diego, his life would never be the same.

July 27, 2011

Up All Night

I stayed up waaay too late last night.

Determined to get caught up on a lot of missed reading, I've been searching for some new author's.  This week I hit pay dirt.  I came across a book at my local library that looked fairly interesting, so I brought it home.  And read the whole thing in one day.  The book made me laugh, yet encouraged me and left me wanting more.  So off to the library I went to find out if this author had any more books and -  *dance of joy* - she does.  In fact, I found out that my new favorite author, Susan May Warren, has over 20 books and has won several awards.  And she's from Minnesota, which technically is not North Dakota but close enough, and maybe explains why she is SO AWESOME!

I love Susan May Warren's characters because they're messed up and totally imperfect and screw up...a LOT.  Kind of like me.  A LOT like me.

Like her main character in her "Josey" series - Josey Anderson wants nothing more to figure out how her wild heart can serve God and meet everyone's expectations.  And the harder she tries, the worse things get.  It seems like at every turn, she is blowing it somehow.  And then, when she least expects it, God reminds her that she doesn't have to be perfect for God to use her in beautiful ways.

For example, I love how the author speaks through Josey in book #3: Get Cozy, Josey.  Josey has messed up again and she is ready to leave town with her proverbial tail between her legs.  And then, God gives her a chance to share her heart with another woman.  Another woman who is desperately seeking God's love and God's grace.

And this is what she says:

July 25, 2011

The Wonders of ORB

I have a confession.

The first thing I do when I go to a hotel is check to see if their cable line up includes HGTV.  If they have HGTV - score!  Dad and the kids are off to the pool and I get comfortable for a "Designed to Sell" marathon - completely prepared to be inspired and motivated to turn our house into a home worthy of it's own dedicated episode of "Dream Home".

If the hotel does not have HGTV, I curl up into the fetal position and whimper "Chocolate...hurry."

I love HGTV.  I could exist on HGTV.  And at home...nope, no HGTV.  When we moved from our last apartment, with the free extended cable, to our humble abode, with the cheap because-now-we're-paying-for-it-ourselves basic cable, I did not think I was going to survive.  But months, and then years, marched drug on and I slowly weaned learned to live without my precious HGTV.

Go ahead a few years.  Introduce the internet.  And websites.  And streaming TV.  And DIY blogs!!!

I lo-ove DIY blogs.  There's the Casabella Project and DecorChick and  Thrifty Decor Chick and House of Hepworths and Pretty Handy Girl and Young House Love and...

You get the picture.

It's endless inspiration and encouragement at my fingertips - and, hey, without the commercials!  And my obsession with DIY blogs, shows and projects has paid off over the years - and this year has been no exception.  And one of things I am most thankful for, this year, is all the Bloggy DIY-ers who introduced me to Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint (otherwise known as O.R.B. )

This stuff, from all bloggy reports, can only be described as "magic in a can."

And so, several months ago, inspired by all the transformations that I've seen on the world wide web, I bought 3 cans of ORB - just waiting for my first opportunity to use it.  Well, March April May came and the snow finally melted and I spotted my first opportunity.

And it looked like this:

July 20, 2011


Our 3 boys like to give their poor old dad grief whenever they can. (Of course, what kid doesn't like to egg Dad on once in while?) Their favorite topic of ridicule, when it comes to Dad, is definitely his receding hairline. Especially on hot days,... or picture days, ...or church days...or Mondays - in other words, any day is a good day to give Dad a bad time about how fast his hair is headed south.

And, as they also like to say, the only thing he might be losing faster than his hair is his hearing. My husband has earned the unofficially family title (in other words, I just came up with it) of "King of Unintentional Mis-communications."

July 18, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer and Other Myths

Summer is officially half over. There are only 2 weeks left of July and only 6 weeks left until my kids head back to school. And all I can say is "Where in the world has my summer gone?!?"

Seven weeks of sun and no school and no work (since I get summers off) have passed and I have yet to prop open a lawn chair and work on my sunburn tan at the pool with a good book and an ice cold Pepsi. We spent the first half of our summer running to tennis, band, guitar, fishing lessons, library events, camps, Scouting events and swim classes. Then don't forget the "hey-now-that-all-the-snow-has-melted-the-whole-world-can-see-all-the-outdoor-projects-we-didn't-finish-last-fall" reality check. Add to that the "Chris-is-coming-home-on-leave-in-3-weeks-with-his-new-girlfriend-whom-we-really-hope-to-make-a-good-impression-on" situation, and now you know exactly how we spent most of our waking hours.  Oh, and did I mention my husband is a farmer-for-hire, which means we did all this in-between rainstorms while his co-op tried to plant, cultivate and fertilize 90,000 acres of farmland.

Whomever you are that perpetuated the phrase "lazy days of summer" ... you are a big, fat liar.  Harummph.

This also explains why I have not written a blog post since...June 2.  *sigh*  I am amazed that the world has gone on without my treasured bits of random wisdom.  But weep no more, I have returned.


Any-hoo...now that I have you all feeling sorry for me, I can lift up a victorious fist-pump and say we got 95% of all our projects done.  And, rejoice, I did remember to take SOME pictures and will get to work showing off some of our handi-works.  Also, we had a FABULOUS time when our firstborn son was home.  He was with us for a whole week (which went WAY too fast) and we enjoyed every minute of it.  He brought home the most delightful young lady, Miss Mairead (pronounced like pa-rade) and we fell in love with her almost instantly.  We must have made a decent impression, too, because the hip East Coast girl said she might even come back to North Dakota someday ;)

But I am still a little miffed about summer getting away from me, and so while I am disputing the "lazy days of summer" theory I thought I would also debunk a few more well known myths:

Myth #1: Cats are peaceful, docile creatures.  Lie, lie, lie!!  They are kind of like kids:  really cute and sweet...when they are sleeping.  The rest of the time they are just troublemakers - nipping at your toes, knocking over  your Lego towers, screwing up all the desktop setting on your laptop, trying to eat your Oreo cookies...the list does not end, I tell you.  Every once in a while they will rub against your leg, do something really cute with their toy mouse or purr every-so-sweetly while nuzzling against your neck but do not fall for it.  And don't say I didn't warn you.

Myth #2: I Can't Wait Until Summer (or the Weekend) So I Can Sleep In.  Why is it that, during the school year, I am dragging at least one kid out of bed and down the steps by his pajama bottoms at 8 a.m. to get him out the door in time for school?  Yet the same child can stay up until 11 p.m. on a summer/Friday night and wake up at 6 a.m. the next morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed begging to go to the pool, park or McD's for ice-cream?  Seriously...

Myth #3: Rummage Sales Save You Money.  I love a good bargain and anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I am very frugal.  We live on a pretty tight budget and I hate spending money on things I don't need, that don't fit, I won't use or that will, even worse, clutter up my house.  But for some reason, all of that logic goes out the window when I go to a rummage sale
Faux antique Russian soda mug...only $1?  What a deal!  Turquoise zebra print Zumbas from 1985? Keith will love them! Sofa table with only 3 legs and 8 coats of lead-based paint?  No problem, I can fix that and will use it!
It is these very lapses of judgment that have caused me to scale WAY back on the number of rummage sales I go to.  I have still hit a few this summer and come home with a few awesome deals (like a whole bag full of school clothes for Colin for under $5) but so far my trunk has escaped the privilege of hauling home the macaroni-encrusted nativity with natural patina.

Myth #4:  All the Projects You Started Last Fall, but Did Not Finish, Will Magically Complete Themselves Under a Blanket (or Avalanche) of January Snow.  Oh, I know, this one is a shocker.  But guess what? Our rotten deck boards did not mysterious self-heal themselves between November and April.  The faded green shutters did not paint themselves.  The overgrown and fledgling gardens failed to weed themselves.  And the broken water spout? Yep, still broken.  All my dreams and fantasies of snow fairies with highly marketable carpenter skills are crushed.

Myth #5:  The SuperMom.  I realize that this myth has been addressed before but I believe it bears repeating.  If not for your sake, for mine.  I survived the first half of summer but I am tired.  Not just tired, exhausted.  I do not want to go to one more tennis lesson, watch one more game, or stain one more board.  I want to take a nap.  A long one.  And then I want to get up, read one of the 5 books sitting on my bed side table for an hour or two, and then take another nap.  If you wake me with that ice cold Pepsi I mentioned before, and a promise of chocolate pie, I might agree to move my nap to that lawn chair next to the pool.  Otherwise, don't even bother.  Yes, I realize I am the one who decided we needed to rebuild the deck in record time.  And I realize that I am the one who signed Colin up for all three sessions of tennis.  And, yes, I realize that I am the one who thought working an extra two weeks into the summer wouldn't be "that big of a deal".  So I have no one to blame but myself.  Next time, though, remind me that SuperMom only exists in comic books and even she takes a break once in a while to sip an iced coffee over lunch with Wonder Woman.  Geesh.  Uff-da. Craziness. And, yes, foolishness and mayhem...

Now where'd I put those sunglasses...

Do you have any summertime (or any-other-time) myths you'd like to squash? Comment below!