Birthday thoughts

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I enjoyed another birthday on Tuesday. While I don't really talk about them or ever plan on something for my birthday, this one was especially sweet.

A friend treated me to lunch which did my soul a world of good. I don't know why I don't do that more. And I read sweet birthday wishes from friends near and far.

Belén and Charley had treats and flowers ready for me when I returned home.
(The treats were gone by the time I took a picture.)

Reese made me a ceramic turtle at school and said that he protected him all the way home on the bus. As I stepped out of the car, the turtle fell to the ground. Luckily it was only his leg that broke and in a way that can easily be repaired.

Blair made a big silhouette of herself and Trae showered me with "I love you's" and "Happy birthday" all day long and would find random things around the house to give me. I love handmade things, especially from my children.

For dinner we went to a local family restaurant and as everyone was talking, laughing, and just being goofy, I sat back and scanned their faces. Any doubts I had about all I wanted to accomplish by the time I had kids or by a certain age and feeling that I may have let some years slip by, washed away in that instant.
My most important work was in that room.

I may never get to all that I wanted but that's ok. I have plenty of time to do a few and that is good enough.

A little stump side table

Monday, March 26, 2012



No "after" yet.

In between work and other projects, like digging up grass and installing edging and shoveling two loads of mulch/barkdust into the front flower bed (which we decided to extend around the side of the house-whew!) I am still working on this side-table-to-be with the help of my trusty little mouse sander. I have a really large stump that I wanted to work on but I decided to give this a try first.

It's eating up a lot of sandpaper to take down the rough surface but it's revealing a nice, blond color underneath. And another bonus - it won't stab you with its jagged edges when you accidentally brush by it. Six more sheets and it should be done.

Thoughts on Family Night

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In my church we are encouraged to have Family Home Evening {FHE} every week, usually on Mondays. It began in 1915 as a way of families to be together and focus on each other to strengthen the bond of family relationships. This was done by individual families singing, teaching a lesson that would be pertinent to their family, having an activity and refreshments - can't forget those!

The ideal

Our reality

We are a busy church with so many people in activities and job responsibilities so in 1970, church leadership asked local leaders across the country to clear their church buildings from meetings. Doing this would alleviate interruptions to a family night. And thus the Monday night designation for Family Home Evening was born.

I know we are not the only ones who take part in a family night so I think it's great that so many churches support some sort of family time each week.

Because our casa is a whirlwind with children participating in various sports and clubs and all with different needs and levels of understanding, we have to keep our Family Home Evening simple.

Some times we hold it on Mondays and sometimes it's another day. Sometimes we just tell each other how our day has gone and everyone gives each other advice, even the little ones. Sometimes we just grab our scriptures and talk about a favorite passage. Sometimes the lesson is 3 minutes and we play charades. Sometimes it is more in depth with conversations geared more toward the teens. And sometimes one of the kids is not paying attention and runs around in his underwear. Yes, Trae man.

We do always have a prayer and our "silly song" segment which is a favorite. It's not an official FHE without those songs in our house. One week Jon's silly song was, "There's a hole in the bottom of the sea" and we sang it faster and faster each time, erupting in laughter.
But one of my favorite things on the agenda was our FHE journal writing project.

Each week I would give everyone a paper and we would make short journal entries of our day. Some of the kids were too young to write so I had them draw a picture of what they did or were thinking about. I also included our meeting agenda to keep a record of who did what and put it all together in a 3 ring binder. I got out of the habit of doing it but ran across them the other day and I realized that it is something I need to keep doing. It was fun to read and see a written history of a short moment in time.

It's a short moment that can make a world of difference.

Enjoy your family time any which way you make it happen!

After a full day of sightseeing in Paris

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

we boarded our overnight train to find our coach cots.

We couldn't afford a private car and never stopped to think how this sleeping thing was going to work. Our usual thought process to just go with it always works out, I thought.

As we walked down the tight aisle with all of the couchettes to our right and seeing how full they were made us a bit nervous. Was there going to be any space for us together? Most of them were smoke filled which gave me visions of having a massive migraine because of my high sensitivity to cigarette smoke. At each car we quickly turned our heads to look in and continued to walk. When I looked behind me I realized that we were the only ones still looking for a room so there was no pressure to hurry anymore. We decided to keep walking the length of the train and came upon an empty sleeping car.

We settled in on that one and I closed the sliding door behind me to keep out the smoke that was now wafting into the hall. I heard the click of the door and turned to Jon who, standing, held out a bottle of water and was waiting for me to sit. Always the gentleman.

I still had my baguette tucked safely under my arm.

Because of the small paper wrapped around it, giving just enough space to hold onto, there was no place to set it down without it touching the table.

Smiling, Jon asked, "Are you going to hang on to that all night?"

Pointing the baguette into the air I said, "Yep, it took me two days to figure out where to buy this. The kids are going to say, 'My parents went to France and all I got was a piece of bread.' How sad. But oh, so good" and I took a bite of the best tasting bread ever.

We sat down and waited to see who would join us and began talking about all we did and saw. I was still smitten by the petit dejeuner we had earlier that day in a textbook charming cafe. It was just like in a movie, sitting in those famous French bistro chairs, having breakfast served to us on individual silver platters donned with a fresh flower and pretty carafes filled with fresh orange juice. In a corner, aged club chairs begged you to sit and read the paper. Needing some protein for the long day, we made it an American breakfast and ordered eggs. Even they tasted better there somehow.

"I don't care what people say, the French know how to do things right." I said

"They don't know how to do everything right." quipped Jon. We both laughed knowing what he meant.

"True. But I'm talking about the pretty things. Some other stuff, yeah, they could use a little help with but that's ok."

"How about that guy who gave us a ride to the metro in the pouring rain?"

"I know. I can't believe we did that. Remember how we all laughed when he finally deciphered our poor French and took us to the right station? That was funny. He was the nicest French person."

"What's funny is that he wasn't even French." Jon said.

"What about the horrified looks on people's faces on the bus when we missed our stop at midnight and jumped off at the wrong place? It's a good thing we can run fast."

"Or how about the girl who threw a firecracker at me? Good times... I can't wait to go back! Next time we'll know better what to do and where to go and where not to."

Just then the door rattled. We looked up to see who would be joining us. It rattled again and we heard someone talking to another person. Looking puzzled, Jon asked if I had locked the door but I knew I hadn't. Jon got up to go to the door and I tiptoed behind him. He tried to open it but it didn't move. Giving the door a firm tug, it finally gave. He leaned his head into the hall and saw that no one was there. He closed the door and tried it again but it was jammed. "The door's stuck! They probably thought the car was full with the door locked and kept going."

We heard a voice from the hall yell something every so often. It was official sounding, announcing something as they walked down the aisle. We assumed it was an attendant checking off all the rooms. A minute later the train began to slowly pull away from the station. We did a happy dance as we realized we had a private car after all and high fived each other.

Taking our water bottles, we toasted to our little, albeit unplanned, coup as the train began to gently sway. It gained speed as I rested my head on Jon's shoulder and watched Paris fade into the distance.

Ten hours to Rome and the adventure would begin again.

Friday finds

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back in early February I stopped off at an antique mall on my way home from work. Just as I stepped in the store I noticed a small booth to the left with things placed at random. That's usually a good sign because prices are more likely to be random as well, which = good deals.

I took notice of the botanical art sticking out from behind some frames. At $5.00 it was a great deal and the booth dealer was having a 20% off sale - even better.

After re-framing.

In my research about the print I found that it was originally an engraving from a seed catalog from the late 1700's. There were 12 engravings, one for each month with all of the flowers blooming in that month. The flowers have a corresponding number and name. This just happens to be my birth month, March. See? I was meant to have it. You should be on the look out for yours.

The catalog became so popular that they had to stop printing it in the large size and went to smaller pages. It's a great piece and so beautifully illustrated. Perfect for Spring.
Then last week at the thrift shop I found Blair some more tea cups and saucers for her tea parties. I even found a sterling silver candle holder for $1.99 that I still need to polish so it'll be an extra fancy tea party.

The dishes were only .49 cents each and are in perfect condition and... they are cherry blossoms.

Now I have officially posted about those dang trees for the 3rd time in a week.

Have a great day!

*And for you local friends, I'm thinking of having a "Hunting 101" field trip. It won't require a gun and shooting animals. We'll go to my favorite places for antiques, vintage items and just plain cool stuff and learn all about the hunt. If you're interested, message me.

Opportunity knocks or blooms in this case

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Two posts in one week about Cherry blossoms??
I just wanted an excuse to use my own picture since I used stock photos in the last. This was taken on the hotel property where my husband works. Don't be afraid to snap a picture when you see something you like. The opportunity may pass if you don't. I hate it when that happens.

Enjoy your day!

Love & being lame

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My horses in the newspaper a long time ago. My family home is in the background (between the horses) on the side of the hill.

Recently while on our morning sprinting exercise, Jon tweaked his leg a bit. He tried to run it out but it was still a little sore. After we returned home, we drove out to the farm for some milk and to the supermarket. Along the way he told me that if he ever becomes lame (as in not being able to be physically active) then just put him out of his misery, like they did with my horse.

"My horse wasn't put out of his misery! He's playing on a farm somewhere right now. Anyway, I would go to jail." I said.

"No one would send you to jail." he said

"Yeah huh, Look at Dr. Kevorkian. He's there."

And then a guy jogged across the street in front of us.

"I used to be that fast." Jon remarked. "All fast and cool."

"You still are." I assured him

"No, I'm laaame." he said, stretching out the word "lame" and impersonating The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Glancing over at him I said, "I could put you out of your misery now." and we laughed and laughed.

I'm told marriage is supposed to get dull but to us, ours just gets funnier and funnier.

A beautiful arrival

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You know they are on their way!

At this time of year I am always on bloom watch to try to get as close as possible to seeing when the Cherry blossom trees are at their peak. It's an awesome sight.

It was a lot easier when we lived in DC and I didn't have to plan a weekend. Now I really have to pay attention. It can be a total bummer to go all the way down there and the blooms aren't ready for their big debut.

Cherry blossoms are some of the simple pleasures in life. I think of it as God's way of personally renewing my faith every year; my own signal to remind me that there is much life to live and still so much good to notice. I hope they do that for you too.

courtesy of

Image courtesy of Okinawa Soba

Today's play list

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo taken from #7

It's been said not to ask me my opinion because I like everyone and everything. That's not really true. I just keep most things under my hat. It is true that I hate to say what's my "favorite" because it's always changing and saying a favorite anything is like asking me to pick a favorite child. But for today these are my top song picks I'm listening to, in no particular order because that opinion thing would stress me out...
1. Who's gonna ride your wild horses - U2 (It's Bono. Enough said.)

2. Suspicious Minds - Elvis. Yes, Elvis. (You're dead inside if you don't like it.)

3. I've got this friend - The Civil Wars (No wannabes. Real American Folk music, finally.)

4. Smells like teen spirit - Nirvana (I know, 90's Seattle sound. They're still stuck in the 90's out there but I'm from the Pacific NW so I'm entitled to still like it. Just mop your floors to it. I guarantee you'll forget to mop and will channel your inner rock star. Good times.)

5. Stay with you - Goo Goo Dolls (All around good love song.)

6. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash (All musicians worth their salt credit Johnny in some way.)

7. That's What you Get - Paramore (Happy that my girls invited me to this concert.)

8. These are the Days of our Lives - Queen (Freddie Mercury recorded it just a few days before his death. He had one of the best voices. Bittersweet song. Strangely enough, I read the news of his death on the door of the Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo.)

9. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen (One of the greatest songs of all time. Even non-fans would have to agree. Just listen.)

10. Mr. Brightside - The Killers (I dance all over the house to this. Its tune reminds me of dancing with friends at Portland hotspots.)

11. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman (Brilliant singer/songwriter. Great lyrics)

What I'm thinking

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I got this from my friend Heide, who got it from her sister, who got it from The Ecology of Happiness on Facebook. Right now there are a few people's faces in my mind that I wish could see this and take it to heart. But that's not the right way to look at it. So it's up to me to internalize this and make sure I practice what I profess to believe and not worry about who isn't.
Words to live by.

Enjoy your day!

Budget beauty - bathroom

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We'll be working on the basement bathroom remodel this weekend. Saturday is really the only day that we have to get anything done and that is pushing it most times. Last weekend we played but this weekend we're all over it. We have accomplished a few things. Take a look...

{The sink is in.}
We found it just sitting in the Garden tool aisle at Lowes a looong time ago, way before the flood. It was marked $25.00. The sink was on a shelf a few feet away. A worker just happened to be walking by and we asked if we just take it to the counter. As an after thought, I asked if there was hardware with it anywhere. He said he didn't think so and then bent down and marked it to $20.00 because of it. We didn't even ask or think of it. Pretty nice of him. I still have to install the knobs.

{New faucet}

Nice and shiny, looks good but was only $12.00 at Home Depot, hello.

{New flooring underfoot}

For $103.00 we were able to put down a hardwood look-a-like. It's rubber backed and does not have to be glued down. So if we ever experience a flood again (knock on real wood) we'll just pull it up, wash it off, dry it out and put it back in. Could it be any easier?
Bathmat - West Elm, $16.00

{New/old accessory}
I found this little guy at an antique mall for $3.00. I like having unique accessories and when they are so inexpensive, they're easier to switch out. But for now, he's a keeper.
When this is all said and done, we will be waaay under budget which is why I have changed it up and am going with a different light, not your standard light. It's going to be cool.

More later.

Have a great day!