A late update on Thanksgiving and being uplifted

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I feel as if my life has been on hold since we have been gearing up for Black Friday at the store. A little insight on the madness...last week I worked 60 hours, the week before was 50 which has been the trend for a couple months now. If I hover around 45, I consider it a great week. This week is going great.

I've been through several holiday seasons in retail but never at the head of the planning and mapping out strategy for it. It was pretty tiring. By Sunday I couldn't think straight. But as we sat down as a family to our small and unassuming Thanksgiving dinner which was very brief since I had to be in the store at 8 pm, I was still very thankful. Originally we were to go out of town but then I took this job and that canceled our plans which was disappointing. But despite hectic schedules and less than ideal holiday plans, this family pulls together and no one complains. They could if they wanted to. We want the kids to be able to tell us how they wish things could be but they know that we try our best. And in the real world, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. The worst of the holiday season is over so now we can go into Christmas full steam soon as we get the tree, and put up the house lights, and send out cards, and go shopping...and...we'll get there eventually.

I hope your holiday season is joyous so far.

And one last thing, for all the bad you hear concerning humanity in the world, read this and be uplifted.


Besides, it's a good workout

Monday, November 11, 2013

Raking up 25 bags of leaves to have this brilliance out my window?
Completely worth it.


Fall on display

Monday, October 14, 2013

So I got through my first month at my new job. It's been a little overwhelming but things are getting better. It's just been a lot more difficult coordinating schedules for the kids and us than I thought. But it's just something we all have to get used to so there's no need to complain.

Because I haven't made the seasonal door display change a priority, September kind of got away from me and before I knew it, there were pumpkins and fall flowers on every door and porch. It's one of my favorite times of year and I haven't done anything to bring it to life in the house or at the front door except for buying some mums. We're already half way through October so it's time to get in gear. I looked online for some inspiration and here's what I found: Enjoy!

 Using pumpkins as planters - I may just do this.

 I love all of this. I'll even take the dog. (Don't tell my pup.)
 Now I regret not getting the lanterns at Ikea when I was there a few weeks ago...must go back.

What have I done??

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I think I just signed my life away...

A few weeks ago I received a job offer that I felt I could not pass up. It was a whirlwhind round of interviews. The first one went well the 2nd one I bombed but the 3rd one was ok. Each time when they asked about me and heard a little about my family, they got really serious and told me this was a "big job, a really big job."

And me not being much of a panicker, thought 'what's the big deal?? It's just retail.' Oh my gosh, I came home after a few days of training with numbers and technical reports and deadlines thrown at me and I was second guessing this whole thing. Jon had to talk me down a little. I guess it also didn't help that I've been on a heavy dose of steroids during this whole process but that's another story. ANYWAY, a good night's sleep and a talk with our family, making a game plan with them, really helped. I feel much better and excited to implement changes and ideas to see this store run well. We decided that since Mommy is going to be working hard out of the house to do that, we need to play just as hard when she's home. It'll just be one more week of chaos until I have a team fully in place and after that all should be good.

Enough about that. Is this weather just beautiful or what!? It's gettting me excited for fall and planting some color in the flower beds and seeing house projects to completion within the next month. On Friday night the stadium lights were beckoning me to come to the highschool so we all hopped in the car and watched  our team get beat, but whatever, it was just fun to be out. Football season is exciting for us at our casa. We even keep up with our high school alma mater, #1 in the state ya'll in both athletics and academics.

The new season for this family will be a fun one! Oh and I have new senior pictures to share. I'm not giving that job up. It was fun and I taught him how to "smeyes." It totally worked.

Fair moments

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The last week before school is our local fair so we made plans to go a few times. Blair also decided to enter a lego sculpture  which won her 4th place and a whole dollar! She was so happy she cried. She made a robot scientist. Not bad for thinking of it in the 11th hour and using leftover lego pieces.

Trae entered the potato sack race and was on his way to victory when he fell and came down on his elbow. I had to pick him up as he was crying in his potato sack. Poor guy. But he quickly got over it when I told him we could go to the petting zoo to hold the bunnies. While we were there the news channel filmed the kids and it was so funny. Trae put his face right into the camera. I'll post as soon as I get the video.

At the end of the week we watched the closing fireworks from our house which was so nice. We laid out blankets and the younger kids and neighbor friends just ran around the yard.

Good bye summer.

Winding down

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer's last hurrah is upon us so I am getting all things ready for the school year. We're in transition at our house. The last one is off to Kindergarten. Even as I write that, my eyes well up with tears. It's safe to say I'm pretty attached to my boy; all my kids of course. The one real talent I've always felt that I had was that I could go with the flow and enjoy the stages with them, letting things roll off my back. That's not to say I haven't wanted to pull out my hair but overall, the raising of these future adults has been a kick. We still have some years to go in rearing children but we're at a milestone here and those times cause me to reflect.
Soon when we're back into the swing of things, I'll be on a regular blogging schedule. I'm shooting for September! Lots of ideas swirling...                                                                                        


Soft and light - a baby photograph

Monday, August 5, 2013

   For this child I prayed
 1 Samuel 1:27

This baby was long awaited. 
We (along with all those that know her) are so happy for our friend and her family. I was also honored that they asked me to take some photos. There were no special photoshop tricks here; no layers or enhancements. Just a lovely mother, her beautiful newborn and soft afternoon light.

Heavy heart, thankfulness and words of advice

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My heart is heavy and yet I am thankful. l received word yesterday that a friend I had served with in a Relief Society Presidency in my last LDS ward in South Carolina walked in on a robbery at her own business and was killed. She was well-known in the area and was very well liked. She was truly a wonderful and lovely person. Never have I met someone with such a smiley, happy attitude; one of those genuine souls.
I am so sad for their family.

I am thankful that I knew her. I am thankful that I worked with her and was in one of the best wards in the world where we still keep in touch, still send letters and Christmas cards, still mourn with each other... I am truly thankful for those associations.

As someone who has lost both parents at an early age, I can tell you that little anecdotes about your parent's life, those little remembrances told by people that loved them or worked with them or just associated with them somehow are hugely comforting. Not just the "you'll see them again" comments which are nice but I feel are a little trite. Mainly because most Christians believe in life after death of some sort so we want to hear something more personal in these moments. 

Remember that although intellectually they may believe in eternity and life everlasting, the heart is broken and tends to rule. It's ok to cry, it's ok to be angry, it's ok to be sad. Don't try to force the healing process by saying how wonderful their reunion will be some day. We know that. It may just take a little time for that to comfort us. Just share a nice moment in time about their loved one, something that will make them proud of their family, and be a friend. And all will be well eventually.

A little bit of latelys

Monday, July 15, 2013

We spent July 4th with friends, eating like it was Thanksgiving. I made hot-weather potato salad and chocolate chip shortbread with fresh berries. Luckily we had games like Bocce ball and 3 legged races to work off the food. It was ridiculously fun.


Nothing says summer like beautiful blooms. A few days ago I found an abandoned house with a gorgeoous Hydrangea bush. The people next door said it has been empty for a few years and that no one should care if I took some flowers. So I did. It needed to be cut back anyway so I look at it as doing the bank a favor. Now flowers are all over the house. I love it.

You know I have a thing for vintage school items. But I have too many so I need to part with them. Some maps and chairs are going up for sale. The maps are big and awesome school maps from 1950.

I went to my neighbor's surprise anniversary party thrown by their 11 and 5 year-old. It was actually really nice. The kids came over and invited us a few weeks before the party. I think they have futures as event planners. I'm surprised Blair and Trae didn't let the secret slip. They can't be trusted with info.


Our friends from Florida are coming to visit. We are excited. It's Jon's buddy from the military and his family. They are hilarious and Jon actually gets a day off to visit. He hasn't had a day off in over 3 weeks so we're making the most of it.


The kids and I have been spending many days at the Library. Blair is determined to earn a ticket to an amusement park for summer reading. Except the last time she just danced.

Facebook thrift

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tis the season for flea markets and garage sales. If you've only read a couple of posts on this blog you know I am always up for antiquing and thrifting.

Recently I joined a group on Facebook that buys and sells household goods and antique or vintage items. It's great because you can sell exactly what you're asking for or close to it rather than completely giving it away at a garage sale.The best part is that there are also people looking out for what other members of the group want.

Just the other day I put out a call for vintage thermoses and within minutes I had a few people giving me leads. When I met the seller she said she hadn't even thought about listing them but then saw my post and remembered she had one that was exactly as I described. It made me really happy; how those little things fall into place.

So this week I put up a few items and had a good return on investment or ROI. They were: an old Kraft cheese box, a 1950's butter dish, vintage Pyrex and a globe. These items were literally sitting on a shelf in the closet. It was so much easier and quicker than Craigslist. So if you want a decent return or are looking for something in particular, find yourself a local group on Facebook and have fun!

*The pictures were taken with my phone which explains the quality. They sold so quickly I didn't even bother taking a picture with my real camera. ; )

We were hoping to strike gold

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Last week I noticed a pretty little creek that sprung up in our front flower bed and trailed down the steps. Water was bubbling right next to the steps so we assumed there was a leak around so Jon started to dig. He dug a hole about 6 feet deep to repair it himself. The pipe was directly under the steps of course so he had to dig down and across. It literally took 9 hours but saved us over a thousand dollars. We were hoping to find gold or even something cool that fell out of the pocket from a builder a long time ago like on "If walls could talk" but all we found was the lousy pipe...

I shouldn't brag but the hubster has some strong arms and back. The water company guys were amazed that he dug it out himself. 

Just as he finished we went out back to hose off the shovels (and Jon since he looked like he had taken a mud bath.)
 I noticed the water pressure was low so I checked around hoping there wasn't another problem somewhere. Jon checked the garage and sure enough it was flooding. So now he gets to do more pipe repairs.  Luckily this time it won't require an archaeological dig.

Father's Day Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Every year we organize a scavenger hunt for Jon, combining little gifts with a fun-filled day of clues and destinations. This year it was almost stymied by him having to work so we just had to start later which unfortunately meant Blair would have to miss part of the day. She was heading to a birthday party complete with a bounce house and balloon animals - too good to pass up, and we were ok with that.

We introduced the day from the first note; "Let's start out with the most imortant meal of the day where you'll receive your clue and be on our way."

Clue #1
"Through the country we will go to get to the water's edge (or the G. McBride's) A little hike is good for the soul but you'll have to dig like a mole for clue #2 at the first bridge. A 'J' marks the spot."

This took him a few minutes to guess but he figured out it was the Conoy trail where we like to hike. BelĂ©n, Charley and I went out on Friday night with a shovel in hand to bury the clue. It looked a little suspicious that we had a shovel...
We ended up just moving some rocks and putting the clue in a baggie under the rocks. Things in baggies - a little suspicious too...good thing there were no cops around.

He searched for a while but it was actually Reese that noticed the "J" formed by a piece of wood and some rocks. Jon lifted the rocks and found the clue. We hiked the trail for about an hour before opening it.

Clue #2
"Now is the perfect time for a little treat. Just head up the street to a cool, little shop where our sweet, petite friend will give you clue #3."

He had no idea about this one so we gave him some hints. He guessed the only place on the street that served ice cream, Gigi's. It was reeally good. Old-tymie, serious over indulgance. We were the first ones there when it opened at 5 pm but then was swarmed right after. I guess it's the place to be in Bainbridge. So if you're in the area and want to go, get there early. The girl's friend, Jane, works there and we set it up to deliver the next clue.

Clue #3
"Let's pick up the pace and go on a race where even the kids can compete. Maverick & Goose said it best, "I feel the need for speed."

Jon was probably hoping that this was a flight of some sort because of the Top Gun reference but we told him (unfortunately) we were staying on the ground. He mulled it over and figured out we were going to do a little go-kart racing. So off we went to Adventure Sports near Hershey and they had a blast taking to the track. Reese was so happy he was able to drive by himself for the first time and Trae finally got to be a passenger. It was a long ride probably due to a few (3) crashes (ahem, no names).

There we gave him clue #4 which read:

"Head towards the smell of chocolate and there we will have a little lunch. Trae won't be worried because these bees don't sting very much."

Last week Trae man was stung twice so I figured he'd understand the reference. This took a few minutes as well and he guessed "Applebees" but we changed plans and went to The Pita Pit in our town instead. We ended the night by watching Monty Python's "The Holy Grail" that the kids got him.

It was perfect weather for a perfect day. Despite a few setbacks, including a pipe leak in the front yard, we just rolled with it and things always turn out. The kids love their dad a ton and this is a fun way they get to show him. I'm kinda fond of him too.

Teacher's gift/last day of school

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This past school year I was a co-room parent for both my 5th and 1st grader. Luckily the 5th grade teachers do most
of the activities so I didn't have to plan much. 1st grade on the other hand, requires more work for activities so the teachers give you an idea of what they want and then you run with it.

The 1st grade end of the year party theme was a camp out so we had a few activity stations. We made bug jars, had a fireside reading complete with inflatable flames and a camp out sticker picture activity. We served hot dogs, trail mix, fruit, vegetables and a drink. Our final activity was making 5 minute ice cream in a bag which was kind of hilarious watching 20 first graders run around outside and shake their bags of ice. You can imagine the chaos. A few got a little crazy and broke their bags but luckily I brought extras with ingredients.

The teacher gift presentation always puzzles me. What do they really want? I mean they know we're going to do something but do they worry they're going to get another "Best teacher" mug??

So for this teacher we had the kids fill out a little card about what they learned from 1st grade, one thing that they'll remember about the year and one thing they loved about their teacher. I put them in a little album which wasn't fancy. At first I was going to design an album and go all out but then I thought that this was from the kids, not me and it should reflect that. There is beauty in the simple nature of things, especially in the way kids write and draw.

Along with the cards we gave her a gift cerificate for a one hour massage which she reeaally liked.

After a few activities throughout the year that I helped with, I was tired out. And that was just once a month or so. I can only imagine the day to day process of wrangling 20 kids and trying to inspire them. So we felt that she needed a little pampering and took her reaction as getting it just right for her.

I don't know if I'll be able to volunteer in this way again but it was fun and Blair and Reese were so proud. Their approval was probably my favorite part.

And now for some cell phone pictures...

Operation Brighten Up

Friday, May 31, 2013

I decided it was high time to lighten and brighten my surroundings. I have a few steps to this process but step one was the easiest:  just to add a few new pillows for the couch. I couldn't find anything local that satisfied my need for bold, high contrast patterns so I headed straight for the thrift shop, a brand new one in the area, and came back with a couple of stretchy tops. They're perfect for sewing a couple of pillow covers myself; made even better by the fact that they're stripes.

I had to hide them from Charley because she usually jacks my stash of clothes that I want to use for fabrics. I almost feel bad about not letting her see these. 

Last night I dreamt of my daughter; thoughts on depression

Thursday, May 16, 2013

We were standing on the edge of the shore with our feet sinking into the sand as the tide rushed over them. The sea's foamy surf left bubbles on our toes. In the distance were big, crashing waves and white caps. Its sight along with the sound let you know of the sea's massive power. We'd walk a little farther into the ocean and run back as the waves got closer and flattened, laughing as we beat them to the shore.
I remembered in the last part of my dream thinking that the waves would not overtake us. They may always be in the distance but they're not coming close enough to suffocate.

And then I awoke and I wondered how my daughter slept last night. I wondered what her dreams were. This is her 2nd stay in the hospital and is being treated for depression. Like a freak wave in the ocean, it came out of nowhere and tumbled her to the ground. We had to deliver the news yesterday that she would not be involved in her high school graduation ceremonies.  Three and a half years of hard work and diligent studying seemingly washed away, she felt. Now we know this isn't true but in a teenager's mind the excitement of that day is all they think of. Her response was expected but through her tears she said, "I have literally been dreaming of this day with my friends. I should have done more."

It angered me a bit. Not at her but that here she is, fighting to get healthy and clear her mind and body of debilitating sadness and anxiety and even she falls into the culture so pervasive with mental health which says somehow she can prevent this. That somehow just thinking happy thoughts can take this away and she could have done more when she absolutely couldn't. By no means is this a choice, just as you wouldn't choose to have any other disease.

While I was visiting her yesterday, I counted 23 children at dinner between the ages of 4 and 12 in the child unit. 23 not counting those that hadn't earned a trip to the cafeteria and were eating back in the unit. And all those kids are the ones that are lucky enough to have people in their lives who feel that therapy is important and seek help or have the funds or insurance to place them in a mental health facility. It's time to deal with it as aggressively as we do cancer and other diseases. It's time.

We have decided as a family to be open with our experiences in mental illness. We're not ones to bring on the attention so you won't hear me talk about it a lot or reference it in everyday conversations. That tires people out. But we are not embarrassed because there is nothing to be embarrassed about and are open to questions of every kind.

As with pretty much everything in life, you meet challenges head on or you don't and just hope something changes. So we're going head to head with this sucker.

Catching up

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm still here. Life just has a way of giving you that 1, 2 punch. But those complexities in life can enhance who you are and the layers of experiences only help you relate to others. This 1, 2 punch is a lesson in life and I expect great things from it.

I'll be back soon for what I haven't blogged about, like:

Cramming into a photo booth with 3 friends and a baby,

Making the waiter take an anonymous vote for your dessert.

The mother-of-all thrift store scores for my kitchen and how I have to reconfigure it which is what I wanted anyway.

Prom and the dress alterations that made it a little
more modest. Call me old school but Prom dresses should be elegant but my kids also want to fit in and be stylish without having their dress scream, "Hey, can you direct me to the pioneer dance?" I can't discount how important that is.

And my thoughts on the power of friendship and motherhood and the ever-evolving role in it.

Have a great day!


Friday Finds

Friday, April 26, 2013

The weather has been so beautiful the last couple days. I am anxious to get digging in the yard and get the garden going. The rain quickly brought the grass up and just as I made one pass with the lawnmower, it died so Jon is going to work on it tonight. We're the only one on our block with an unmowed lawn...sad face.

So since I couldn't get to mowing, Trae and I took a walk today and stumbled upon the first yard sale of the season. Among other things, I found an old book about a horse named Flip.

I loved the illustrations and thought it would be good to blow up a page for Blair's new room since she asked for a horse picture. We are rearranging bedrooms right now to make more room for everyone. Blair will finally get her own room.

Her requests are all over the place so we'll have to narrow them down but I thought an overscale print would be fun. She brought home a One Direction poster from the book fair so that has to go somewhere too...7 year-olds.

This is my boy

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And he's 5 years old today. Right when he woke up I gave him a big hug and wished him a happy birthday. He said, "I'm all grown up now!"
And at church he skipped down the hall holding my hand saying to everyone, "I'm five today!" Oh how I love this boy.

Recently as seen through phone photos

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dog pile on dad.

A much needed getaway weekend to NYC with cool chicas. Jaime was a pro driving through Manhattan.

There's always a Scrabble game going here.

Bringing in Forsythia; a yearly tradition. #thankheavenforneighbors

Reworking the frames and photo walls. These Target ones are my favorite and they're 20% off this week.

A juggling act

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The infrequency of posts only point to one thing...

That seems to be my juggling act. But hey, what can you do other than keep at it?

Spring is on the way! We're still a little cold in the North East but the longer wait will just make it all the better when the flowers and trees finally bloom.

Have a great day!

An teen's article on thrifting and a throwback picture.

Friday, March 22, 2013

High school newspapers have come a long way since I was in school. They are filled with well-written and insightful, current topics that are important to teens. I always like reading the paper when my kids bring it home because of that.
My daughter showed me her recent article on thrift shopping and I was really impressed with her work, and also that she gave props to her old mom! I like how she points out that in 2011, 4.2 million people were served through the Goodwill. Donations and purchases help their mission. It really is a win-win situation.
When the song, "I'm gonna pop some tags" came out, Charley said, "Now everyone's asking me for my thrift shop sources! Before they couldn't believe where I got my stuff." She has a knack for scoring vintage clothes. One of my girls' favorite thing to do is raid my stash of 80's concert t-shirts.
Think George Michael's 'Faith' Tour 1989! Yup.
And for a throwback picture, here's Jon and me at 17. I'm wearing my mom's 1950's dress and Jon is wearing the sweater I bought him for Christmas. After searching the mall for the right dress and not finding anything I liked, my mom suggested I try on one of her dresses. This was a party dress that my mom had her bridesmaids wear. She bought one for herself as well.
On the back is an attached train and the way the fabric folds over the dress at the waist it creates kind of a pocket. You can kind of see it in the picture. I remember slow dancing with my friend Shane this night and he said, "I like your dress. It keeps my hands warm!" Funny the things we remember. I also remember getting my wisdom teeth out just a few days before the dance so my face was still swollen. Uhg, the timing!
Nice small school, budget backdrop by the way, and hair styles...but the dress, it was awesome. 
When I sold off much of my mom's personal belongings, a movie set designer/photographer came and bought some furniture and asked if I had dresses but I couldn't part with them. I let him have a few hats instead because I hope the dresses make it back to a dance some day.

I'm so glad the weekend is here, aren't you? Have a great one!

Painter's tape zig zag vase - a quick DIY

Saturday, March 16, 2013

For our anniversary in 2011, we spent a weekend in DC and went to a Mexican restaurant at the Washingtonian center in Rockville. There I saw over sized zigzag (or chevron) striped pottery and wanted some of my own. Some were shaped like ginger jars and some were 4 feet tall floor vases. Ever since then I was on the lookout for large vases to spray paint. Nate Berkus came out with some last year for Target but I missed out on them.

So a while ago I found this blue green vase at the thrift shop for around 4 dollars and knew it would be great for my diy project. The color is perfect for Spring so I didn't want to alter that and commit to painting over it but I still had to have my stripes.

The solution was to spray paint Blue painter's tape and use that for the stripes as opposed to painting the vase. I unrolled a few feet of tape and stuck the end to a post on the deck while holding the rest of the roll and spraying what I had unraveled. It took about 15 seconds. By the time I walked back up the stairs to the house, the tape was dry.

I had already used the plain painter's tape to make the design on the vase so I just put the spray painted tape right over it and trimmed where it needed. It looked too thick that way so I took off the tape I used as the guide underneath and put the gold tape back in place. Because it's low tack, it was forgiving and easy to use. It's not perfect but it's temporary and I can add more rows, change the thickness of the tape and its color.

Now I'm on the hunt for more so I can do a grouping and am thinking up ways to use spray painted tape.

And until I find a more suitable place for it, I'll just let it glam up the tv.

Have a great day!