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Those eyes - a photo session

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When I think of childhood, I like to see it in hazy images and sun beams, with a blurred quality that gives an etherealness to memories.
About a month ago, I took some photographs of a little girl and my goal was to translate some of those feelings onto her pictures while still capturing her personality, of course.
She was a fun little one to follow around. I am always amazed to see our surroundings from a child's perspective and finding out what grabs their attention.

Here are a few images from the day that make me smile.











I can't be

Monday, June 28, 2010

Am I the only cynic here?

I mean, the dancing was pretty good, certainly not Michael but not bad. In his defense, no one can dance like the King of Pop.

The crying though? Really Chris, really?

I know, forgive and forget, but do you think he was really overcome by the words to "Man In The Mirror" or do you think he used it as an opportunity to revive the career? Do you think he is remorseful because he truly gets that what he did was evil? Or do you think he is more remorseful since his wallet was effected?

Terrible cynicism I know...but who doesn't have questions?

I guess I should just believe he's changed and can help stop the cycle of abuse.
Yeah, that's better than being a cynic.

See
HERE for the video of Chris Brown's performance.

Customer service not found

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Every time I go to buy gasoline, I get yelled at by the gas attendant lady.

Apparently, she does not like the fact that I pre-pay when I use cash. Every station is different when it comes to cash, so I just always pre-pay.

The last time she was so mad she was literally shaking. I was worried for a moment that I was sending her into an anxiety attack.

"YOU DON'T HAVE TO PRE-PAY YOU KNOW! she yelled.
"I know, thank you." I said smiling.

"THEN WHY DO YOU DO IT?" she yelled.

"Because I prefer to?" I said, feeling a bit stumped by the question.

She rolled her eyes, gave me a big, "Hummphhh!" and snatched my money.

"Thank you." I said.

My kindness was killing her. Hopefully not literally.

******************

Then at a home improvement store the other day, I ran into the most lackadaisical employee ever. I must have had a sign on my forehead asking who the most lazy person in the store was that day.

I bought a small grill and the wheel came off, twice, as I was wheeling it away.

A woman behind the customer service desk saw it since there was a loud crashing sound and everyone turned to look at me. She said that she would call someone to help. While waiting, another employee thought I was in line so he asked if I needed help. Nice I thought.

I told him the wheel fell off and that someone was coming and he said with a wave of his arm, "Oh those are 100 dollar grills."

He came over to me and said "I could look aallll day to see if there is a better one and they'd all be the same." "They don't hold up to the kind of rolling we do with them." "It's a poor design."
"So you're saying they're cheap?" I asked.

"They are on the lower end, yes." he said.

"Well, whether it's a 100 dollar grill or a 1000 dollar grill, I expect the wheel not to fall off before I get to the car." I said.
And rather than say, "You're right - let me check to see if there is a better one. It should only take 5 minutes of my life that is not mine right now anyway because I represent a company that is paying me to assist its customers." he says...
"Look, the other one is probably just as loose" as he bends down and struggles to take off the wheel.
He's pulling and pulling and then says, "Well, that one does seem to be a little tighter....er, uh..."

So I say, "Then don't you think there are others that are just as tight on both sides??"

and then he says the killer ---wait for it---

"YOU'RE A WOMAN, YOU COULD SPEND $300.00 ON A PAIR OF SHOES."

Me, *blink, blink* "What does that mean??" I ask.

Him, *gulp, gulp*

Is it just me or do you find yourself in wierd situations like these??

*****************

***Before my career as a mother took off with 5 kids, I had a career as a corporate trainer and Director of PR and customer relations. So when it comes to customer service, I feel that I have a pretty good idea of what is exceptional or at the very least, what is decent. I am still somewhat surprised when I run into situations like these, with people that are old enough to know better. Good customer service is hard to come by I guess.
Sometimes I feel like going back into training...
Remind me to tell you the story of the parking lot attendant in Portland...I thought I was going to get beat up...she was scary.***

Farewell to birds

Wednesday, June 23, 2010






Our little friends have flown the coop. Flew the nest is more like it.

It was a daily ritual to peer through the deck and make sure they were still there.

On the second to last day that I checked, one bird remained. Sitting in her nest in stoic silence, she looked fluffy and mature. The next morning she was gone.

When the nest was so carefully constructed, there was no dog living with us. I'm sure the mama bird was cussing me out in her language the day we brought C dog home.

It was a great day for the kids. It was probably the worst day for her.

I protected them everyday and finally, I was relieved to see that they were all gone.
I let the dog out unsupervised that day and when I walked outside, birds began dive bombing me on the deck. I felt like Tippi Hedren and ran back inside with arms flailing, hitting myself on the head.

And then it dawned on me that the last bird may have come back and wasn't fast enough to take off if she felt threatened.
I ran back outside and witnessed frantic birds making a last ditch attempt to save their sibling and comrade but it was too late. Charli bounded up the steps and laid the bird at my feet.

And just as quickly, all of the birds flew and retreated in silence.

I felt bad about it all day.

Progress and parks

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I came home from camp and found that Trae had been potty-trained. Then I found out it was only for #1. But still, progress...

I also found that more of the old cabinets were gone and in their place were nice, new cabinets. Jon enlisted the help of our friend, Chris, and they tried to get this done before I got home. Even though it wasn't, I was so happy to see that a lot had been done.

Jon also installed the apron front sink that I have been dreaming of for 15 years. I literally hugged it when it went into place. The butcher block counter tops were also installed. Jon felt bad that he didn't let me say good-bye to the old, chipped Formica counters...

We have a few more cabinets to hang and I have to go to Baltimore for the tile back splash. Someday soon I'll be able to take off the blue protective film on the dishwasher. Progress...


Taking a much needed break from the mess in the kitchen, we hopped into the car and headed to an amusement park about an hour and a half away. It was a great evening and we ended it by going on the Skloosh water ride; sufficiently drenching ourselves for the ride home.

Jon and I love road trips. Even though it wasn't far, we enjoyed talking to each other over the soft hum of the engine and while the babies slept.

All of them...

After the Skloosh; ice cream hits the spot.

Trae

Reese and Blair in the last car. Watching their faces cracked us up.

What camping does

Sunday, June 20, 2010





Girl's camp was great.

I was one of three adult leaders over the YCL's (Youth camp leaders) and we enjoyed a week of activities. Because the YCL's were busy helping the other year levels (1st through 4Th year camp attendees) there was some down time for me.

I was able to canoe with my daughter on a beautiful lake and hike up to a zip line which took me sailing over a wooded valley. I was able to shoot BB guns at targets and take aim with a bow and arrow. I listened to funny songs, played games and was able to sit around campfires and talk with girls who told me their life stories. One girl was a little scared one night and asked if she could sleep in my tent. We stayed up until 3 am and talked while she shined her flashlight at bugs.

I was also able to enjoy the splendor of nature and study its details while being shaded under lovely canopies of trees.
While waiting for the girls to return from a night swim, I sat alone by the fire and looked up to a wide open sky. I took in the breathtaking sight of bright, glorious stars. And in the stillness, I reminded myself there was no way that this perfection could be anything other than the grand design of God.

That's what camping does for me.

The great outdoors

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Relay for Life team, Got Hope, won an award for raising the most money at this event.
Over $6000.00 for The American Cancer Society!
All thanks to our team leader, Annie, for being the strength behind the operation.


Hi friends!

School is officially over for the summer and we're jumping right into activities.

I'll be out of the house this week and into the great wild! Which could also mean that I am still in the house...

But really, I'll be getting back to nature overseeing a campsite full of giggling 16 year-olds.

I will also get to see and work with my own daughters who are giggling 13 and 15 year-olds.

Oh what a time we'll have!

It's only 5 days but I will miss my little ones at home...potty training of the 2 year-old should be complete by the time I return. Jon will be 5 for 5 on that. I helped with #4...

Have a great week!

Hugs,
Laura

Boys' room redo - sneak peek

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know about the make-over on the dresser and the boys' room.

How about a little look?

This is the inspiration photo for the mid-century modern piece that I was looking for to go in the boys' bedroom. Although I wanted a 6 drawer, I found a nine-drawer with similar lines for $20.00 on Craigslist. Sold.



from Google Images




So after applying a heavy duty primer,


the dresser was beginning to take shape. The problem was that I liked the wood grain in-between the drawers. The inspiration photo shows they are white. What to do, what to do...
I think I'm going to live with it this way for a while. I can always get back to it. "When in doubt do nothing" my mom would say about things of this nature.
Upon moving in, we found the walls painted with a color called "Petal."

I know that because I found oodles of it in a closet. I don't recommend it. Too green with a yellow cast in a house without a lot of natural light. It came off dingy. The flat paint wasn't helping either.

Sadly, it stayed this way for too long.

Reese wanted a blue room with polka dots - A bright blue room. I'm a believer in letting them have a creative space but that blue was "too creative." I got it anyway thinking I'd work it in somehow. I called it "Painter's tape" blue. And I was hoping to change his mind about the polka dots. I told him to trust me.


He did get some of his bright blue and the polka dots were forgotten when he saw stripes. I strategically placed the blue stripe nearer to the bottom of the wall. It took me painting 2 shades of orange paint before I got it right on the 3rd.

The lamp was a Target donation to Goodwill. $3.99 are you outta your mind?..not me. I scooped up that bad boy knowing it would go right in this room.

The shade was $5.00 on clearance at Wal-mart.





The $2.00 flea market persimmons box is waiting to become a bookshelf mounted to the wall and the pennants will soon be hung.



New curtain fabric, closet door make-over, picture wall and new flooring (that can wait until the fall) will round out completion of this room.



Stay tuned.







Linking to


Between naps on the porch


Dilly dally and flitter


Someday Crafts


The Thrifty Home


Just A girl


The Girl Creative

Baby smoker - not a new BBQ

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I know that 2 year-olds can be quite demanding. That is their nature.
But as parents, we either give in to their demands or stay in charge and wait out their tantrums. I go with the latter. Right now my two year-old is screaming because I won't let him hit the printer with his shoe. Oh well. He'll figure out quickly enough that no one is paying attention and stop.

I have never been a "talker" to my kids. I figure if I start trying to tell them a what-it-is-they-are-doing-wrong-and-why-it-is-lecture, all they hear is "wa wa waa wa waaaa.."

I'm more of the "you're done-time-out-see-you-in-a-few" type. If I were as good as my mom, just a "look" would send my kids straight to their rooms and I wouldn't have to say a word.

So when I saw this video of the two-year old Indonesian smoker, I didn't know who I felt more sorry for. The overweight and 2 pack a day 2 year-old? Or the uneducated, poor, 3rd world country mother of his who says that if she doesn't give in to him, he'll throw tantrums, become cranky, hit his head on the wall and suffer from headaches. Heck, why not just pour him a glass of wine too?

I certainly would rather him be cranky than live a life with emphysema and lung cancer by age 10. But then again I live in a country whose standards are better and whose government's solution to this problem wouldn't be to offer me a car to get my kid to quit smoking. Where would they go anyway??

In any case, I vote for the "You're done-time-out-see-you-in-a-few" option for both child and parent and maybe government too.

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

or rather, Lourie, the blog author of the witty, creative and of one of my favorites, CA Girl for this honor. I enjoyed her "Dancing with the Stars" recap.





Lourie bestowed upon me two blog awards calling me trendy and beautiful in one day, it's just too much really.
I didn't even know what these awards were when I first saw them a while back. There is a BAG (Blog Author's Guild - you heard it here first!) award kinda like the SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) awards, I thought?? Who are these people and what are the criteria?

Well, it really is a community of people who enjoy catching up with other authors through the content of their blogs, stories and pictures and want to give you a virtual pat on the back.

Now I get to pass this on to a few fellow bloggers and then tell you 10 things you didn't know about me. I wish I could send this out to everyone. I'm sure it'll make it's way around. In no particular order, let me start off with Alysa, my friend for 19 years now. She was the one who told me to start a blog and I'm so glad I did. Her personal blog is private, so trust me when I tell you that she may just be the best person I have ever met. Her only flaw is that she doesn't have any.
Truly, I want to be like her when I grow up.
Her other blog is Out of The Attic that she works on with a friend and they have cool stuff there.

I love to visit Carolyn over at Fruit of the Carolyn and read her interesting adventures of barn building and goats.

Sincerely, Lori is a blog of letters written to her daughter and husband. I am a big fan of writing letters on a blog and hers are sweet and funny.


Together we save is a great place to get the scoop on deals and coupons. Denise works hard to help us all save a little cash.


I like to check in at The Haverford House and see what Marcy has done by way of decorating and crafting. Her tea cart makeover was funny - or what she told her husband.

And finally Peggy at A Primitive Plot always makes me smile at how she says hers "is a place for ordinary people." The world needs more Peggys.

10 things:

1. Stayed in the same school district K-12
2. Packed a red handkerchief of my dads and tied it to a stick and ran away to a tree in my
backyard when I was 5.
3. Saved my Barbies, the Dream airplane and Sunshine Family Van so I could play with
them with my daughters someday and wouldn't look so silly still playing with them in 6th
grade.
4. Showed my horse in competition when I was a kid.
5. Climbed Mt. Fuji
6. I was in a greased pig contest.
7. I was not the greased pig.
8. Never gotten a speeding ticket.
9. Cannot tan.
10. Love a good Key Lime Pie.



Thanks Lourie, it was fun!







Laugh lines

Tuesday, June 8, 2010









Dear Dad,

It's been a little over 11 years now since your mortal journey ended and today would have been your 73rd birthday . I think about you still. I wonder how you are, what you're learning; if you've run into anyone interesting.

A lot has happened since you've been gone. More grandchildren were born, more job moves, more life lived.
I wish you could see it all. Maybe you do.

When I was going through mom's things, I found a box of your old paycheck stubs, canceled checks, budget notes, land titles and receipts from long ago. Before I was born even.

It made me weep.

I was humbled by the historical, written evidence of 40 years of work - of a dedication to a family.
I had no idea.
Although you never showed it, I know you felt pressure on your shoulders as the sole financial provider of a home. You never ran from it. You took it on and never let us down.

Did I ever tell you then how thankful I was that you worked so hard?
I'm sure I didn't.
One of the pleasures of a child's life is not knowing how hard it really is to raise a family and make a living for them. All I knew were big trees to climb, blackberries to pick, or cloud formations to watch as I lay in our hay fields. You were a great provider. But more importantly you provided a kindness - which is difficult to explain but your gentle nature has stayed with me my whole life and has taught me more than you know.

Sometimes I worry that I'm forgetting details about you or that I'll forget your eyes and their surrounding lines, telling of a life of laughter. And then I'll look in the mirror and see them - one of my favorite things about you which is my favorite thing about me.
Enjoy heaven, Dad. Look to God and live.
P.S.
Say hi to mom. She said she would always worry about us, even when she was no longer here.
Tell her she can stop now - we're all good!
Love you.

The cure-all

Monday, June 7, 2010






When in Japan and a monsoon was approaching, we would wait in our apartment and watch the debris whip passed our window. When the winds subsided or we felt they were not so strong as to knock us off our bikes, we would venture out into the crowded streets. Sometimes we were out and about when a monsoon kicked up so we would find some other place to take shelter and wring out our hair. I thought that no one would want to hear a message about God and His love from girls that looked liked they had just stepped out of a shower fully dressed. Looking so pathetic caused us to double over and hug our stomachs from the aches of laughter.

I love laughing like that.

This morning there was a chance of a monsoon. I don't have too many mornings like that, then again I haven't had a 2 year-old boy in a while. Luckily it was more like a tropical storm. All morning you could hear me say, "Holy cow, Trae man!" as I surveyed the debris left behind every where he went. Blair and I were laughing.
So after cleaning up 3 of his messes, one of which caused a leak into the laundry area, I feel the winds have subsided and the house is clean enough. It can wait.

Time to venture out and Hershey's Chocolate World is on the map.

Did I mention they give you free chocolate?? Today's cure for monsoons and tropical storms...

No placenta talk

Friday, June 4, 2010

`

We began dating when Jon was a young 82nd Airborne Paratrooper.

He is on the far left.
He still supports the local barber...maybe.


Jon didn't have to work yesterday so we enjoyed spending the day together.

We are always thinking of ways in which we could run a business together. We did once and it was fun but we still had the main jobs.

In a perfect world we would run a company that would allow us to work from home. Well, actually, in a perfect world we would be independently wealthy, travel the globe and fill our days with adventures and philanthropic efforts while writing books.

In any case I would never tire of him.

Me: "Man, I need to get a haircut."

Jon "Did I tell you about when I got my hair cut yesterday?"

Me: "No"

Jon: "Well, my barber, the female one, likes to talk. A lot."

Me: "Oh? Eva Scrivo says hair stylists shouldn't talk while they're working. They should be concentrating."

Jon: "Yeah, I guess when she had her last baby, her placenta was falling into her uterus or her uterus was falling into her placenta. Whatever. Something like that."

Me: "She told you that?? She doesn't know you at all."
(Jon = queasy stomach when talking about things like this.)

Jon: "Yeah. Not at all. I think I threw up a little in my mouth."

Me: "Maybe she's lonely and needs to chat."

Jon: "No, she's not lonely. She has a boyfriend. A new one. Did you ever see the guy in the booth next to her? Have you ever been in there with me?"

Me: "No."

Jon: "Well, he left and so did the big screen t.v."

Me: "Where did he go?"

Jon: "I don't know but the big screen is gone. They had three kids together."

Me: "The big screen? What??"

Jon: "No, the barbers. Now she has a new boyfriend and had pictures of them all over the place."


Me: "And tell me why you go to the barber still?"

Jon: "I don't know. Can we just get some clippers and you can do my hair?"

Me: "Sure!"

Jon: "You won't tell me about your placenta, will you?"

Me: "No. I don't know anything about a placenta."

Jon: "You wouldn't tell me if you did, would you?"

Me: "No."

Jon: " Then you're the barber for me, lady!"

Me: " I think you just gave me my next blog post."

Linking to Never growing old

Healthy fare - fish tacos on the menu

Thursday, June 3, 2010

To me, summertime fare is all about natural, easy and healthy foods. And the less time I am in a hot kitchen the better. Actually, Jon is in there more than I am so he also appreciates quick and healthy meals. Even though summer has not officially started, the heat has and so there is a new lighter menu in this house.

First up: Fish tacos. Easy and delish.

I don't go by a traditional recipe but this is what I do.

Sauce:
Mix together-
1/2 cup mayo ( I use the olive oil mayo)
1/2 light sour cream
chopped fresh cilantro to taste. We love cilantro so the more the better.
You can also add spices to the sauce. I don't because I add those to the fish.

Place the fish (I used Cod but any firm fish will do) with a little olive oil in a fry pan, add spices like cumin, chili powder and any zesty seasonings you wish. Cook on med-high heat until fish flakes easily - about 5 minutes or so.

Rinse the corn tortillas and heat them in the microwave for a few seconds until pliable and soft. I usually heat them on a paper towel to soak up any moisture.

After heating the tortillas, fill them with fish and top with the sauce, shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro, tomatoes and avocado slices. Add a squeeze of lemon and you are good to go.

**For a fun look I also use red cabbage and for extra flavor, try it with a mango salsa, another favorite and add a splash of cider vinegar to the cabbage. If you're feeling extra over-achiever-ish, you can make your own corn tortillas which are not difficult - but for me, that's for another day.

Enjoy!




Committed to thrift shopping - picks of the week

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Although the past month has been really busy for us, I can always manage to squeeze in a trip to the thrift shop. I even made it to two local antique malls that I haven't been to in quite some time. Because of the direct competition between booths in an antique mall, you'll find some sellers with really good prices. You may just have to search a little bit harder.

Come along as I share some finds from the day...

This bird planter and owl were cents a piece. Both had finishes that I didn't like and were a little rough. The bird looks like she's gossiping to the owl. He looks less than enthused. "Did you see that Cardinal over there? He thinks he's all that with those red feathers..."



The frame was $2.97 at the Goodwill. I'm thinking a bold color choice here.




The globe was $3.00 at the antique mall. I originally bought it for Reese's room but I put it atop the shelves in the living room so it wouldn't be used as a bowling ball. I think it just might stay there. I bought a great, old one about 10 years ago but it was ruined somehow in our last move.



This little box of vintage type was $2.00. It has all the pieces and even the box is cool. This is one thing that can be used and displayed at the same time. Reese's room is shaping up to be a vintage modern space so it will find its way there.



I loved this tablecloth the minute I saw it and knew it was quality. For $2.50, it came home and I didn't even have a chance to use it before it met its fate with purple nail polish. I'll have to go with plan B for it when I figure out what plan B is...




I just happened to hit the Target and Pottery Barn delivery day at the Goodwill so this mirror and a few more things caught my eye as well. This has a home in my oldest daughter's room.


And just in case you're wondering why all of the thrifting trips?? I am committed to accessorizing and decorating my house on mainly thrifting items and showing that great things don't have to cost a fortune. I call it being "Thrift Store Chic." Do you want to be that way with me?


My mom would go to antique shops all the time and we always had interesting things to look at in our house. By saving money and going the thrifting route, I can afford to invest in other quality pieces and update this old house into this cool house. Just wait and see.