Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 365

 Dear Diary,
Today I splurged.  I was sent to get my mother's day gift.  And I came home with it, but I also grabbed this super soft bath rug.  I wanted it for my kitchen sink area.  I don't know why every rug I've ever purchased for this area before has been un-machine-washable, but that's just stupid.  So when I saw this bath rug at Target, I latched on to it for my kitchen.  Cause who says a bath rug can't work perfectly fine for a kitchen?  And it's already been spilled on and washed once so far.  I'm happy.  Everything in life needs to be machine washable as far as I'm concerned. 
 Dear Diary,
My nieces are so cute. (This is one of them.)
 Dear Diary,
Grocery, Costco, and Errands, Oh My!  Then I got home and sat down to this stack of reading material.  I call it "job research." 
 Dear Diary,
I love my hoodlums. 
 Dear Diary,
I love my man.  I love that his signature drink is an Arnold Palmer. (Half lemonade, half iced tea.) I had this amazing iced tea, while sitting in a pool of warm sunshine, great conversation, plenty of laughter, and basking in the company of friends and my husband after our marriage retreat.  Then they talked me into playing horseshoes and well... I suck. 
 Dear Diary,
The smell of freshly mowed grass wafting through the windows sure makes it feel like summer.  Ava was sick all day, running a fever, but she wanted watermelon, so I made a special trip for it.  I hate it when my babies don't feel good.
Dear Diary,
In case you didn't know this... the best place to be when you have an awful sore throat and runny nose, is in your jammies, laying on a beach towel, in the back yard.  I slathered her with sunscreen and let her just nap in the grass.  It would have been the cutest thing if she hadn't been so sick. (Okay it was still pretty cute.) I sat in a chair nearby to keep watch on her and got to finish Insurgent.  Not a bad sick day, all things considered and she is perking up, now that the day is done.
Dear Diary,
Today I had my second round of physical therapy for my back/hip/joint issues.  I'm not sure I'm totally digging it yet. I also discovered that I don't like strange peoples hands massaging my rear.  Huh.  I'm just sayin.' 
Dear Diary,
Projects complete me. There will always be one in the recesses of my mind.. always.
Dear Diary,
This boy makes me want to pull out all my hair in exasperation and then five minutes later, kiss his little face til he squeals.  I think that's a mother's love.
Dear Diary, (**Warning, the next several days ahead are tough ones.  I make no apologies, it's just real life.)
This was one of those days you wish you could have skipped. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, I'll tell you that, and there are always surprise phone calls that make your heart sink to your stomach, and then cause you to cry your eyes out once you've said good night to your babies.  Days that make you question if you're doing anything right.  Days that make you sure you're not. Days you're so embarrassed for choices others make you wish you could crawl under a rock.  Days you can't tell anyone the details... but days you have to face.
Dear Diary,
The truth is that JJ and I are pretty much faking our smiles here. You can kind of tell.
Dear Diary,
Mother's day.  My heart was so heavy as we anticipated dealing with school/kid issues and waiting for my man to do a job interview for a position in his company that he really wanted. 
Dear Diary,
My words at the end of this day, "Well... we made it."  Principal/parent meeting that I survived.  Waiting for answers to other things that I survived.  Anticipating Adrain's job interview that we survived... and through it all, my hub area (my desk) was the only thing I could come up with to photograph for y'all.  Real life.  Amen.
Dear Diary,
Suspended and doing chores for me.  Will I survive motherhood?  Cause yeah... I'm not really sure today. 
Dear Diary,
Summer please come soon.
Dear Diary,
The longest six days of my life have finally passed, and my boy goes back to school tomorrow.  I think we've spent those days with near non-stop, intense, talking... training...instructing...correcting... teaching... and talking some more.  I'm mentally exhausted.  My man also found out he didn't get the new position in his company today.  That means a lot of different things for us.  Thankful he has a job currently.... and thankful that this week is winding down.  Praying it's a good weekend.  We sure could use one!
 Dear Diary,
Friday night relaxing with my man. Uh-huh.
 Dear Diary,
A day well spent.  Kiddos helping, neighbors out visiting, getting the yard pretty, BBQing with one of my sis-in-laws and her kids.  Just a really good day. Thank you GOD!
Dear Diary,
Family bike ride day!  (And do you also ride your bike in a fur vest like my daughter tried to do?)  Oh such a great day today.  We have really pulled together through the past week's frustrations, trials and tears.  Family is the most important thing and these three people I share my life with each day are more important to me than anything on this earth. 
 Dear Diary,
Today might have been the quickest day ever.  And yet...I have no idea what I got done today! I'm sure I did something noteworthy. 
Dear Diary,
I am so thankful for the funny moments, especially in seasons where we've had a lot of yucky ones.  I want to become a little old lady with plenty of laugh crinkles around my eyes, and I'm pretty sure my boy is going to push me in that direction.  (He'll also be held responsible for the many gray hairs on my head too, FYI.)
Dear Diary,
What is it, about a good walk between friends that makes it feel like you've solved world problems?  I love all the different girlfriends I'm able to squeeze in walks with.  They challenge me, encourage me, share with me, and we always part with hugs and plans to "do it again as soon as possible."  So thankful for that... so blessed with my many sweet friends.
Dear Diary,
Today was one of those days with many small children (many of which didn't belong directly to me) who were in and out of my house and backyard between the hours of school dismissal and dinner time.  Many little faces asking for drinks, or what I was doing (icing cupcakes always draws a crowd) and asking to water my flowers for me, etc.  I love being the mama hen to all these children. 
 Dear Diary,
There is nothing quite like good friends.  There is also nothing quite like my daughter behind a Nerf Volcan.  Scary.  And funny. 
 Dear Diary,
My yard is littered with boards and screws and my boys are working on a potting/outdoor entertaining bench.  I can hardly wait til it's done. 
 Dear Diary,
I love this sweet baby girl and that we got to spend a day with her family. How is it possible for a four-month old that doesn't even belong to me to have me completely wrapped around her finger?  And guess what?  She got my blue eyes!!  Everyone in my family has brown or green eyes.  But I was a freak with blue... and my daughter and little niece got them too.  That pleases me for some unexplainable reason. 
Dear Diary,
Poor Ava wasn't feeling very good all weekend.   Plus I think she was plumb worn out from sleeping on a trampoline two nights ago, and a cough that keeps hanging on week after week.  Bless her heart, she just kept falling asleep in random places all weekend.
 Dear Diary,
My friend Trudy raved about this fresh produce club called Dandelion Organic.  I was so excited that I joined up and they delivered my produce bin today!  There is nothing like home delivery.  It was a little bit like Christmas for all of us as we dug through it all to find fresh, organic, and mostly local peaches, pears, oranges, mint, green onions, carrots, spinach, lettuce, cantaloupe, brocolette, cauliflower, tomatoes, summer squash and grapefruit.  I am trying to see if this keeps me from as many grocery store runs (since most of them are for produce anyway and I walk out with ten other items) and spending as much because of that.  I figured we'd try it out for a month, crunch the numbers and see what's what.   In the mean-time, we'll enjoy a weekly supply of yummy!  I'm so excited about this! 
Dear Diary,
I had an absolutely lovely day today from start to finish.  It included a bunch of my favorite peeps either in person or on the phone.  I even got all of my to do list crossed off in spite of my own wandering, distracted self.  (And fresh spinach and mixed greens salad for dinner, topped with shrimp, grapefruit, blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes, and green goddess dressing. Mmmm!)
Dear Diary,
The weather is conspiring against me.  I'm convinced of it.  Every single grocery/Costco/Trader Joe's shopping day is a rainy day.  Anyway I have devised a cunning plan.  I did our "stock-up" shop today and came home, unpacked it, and hid half of what I bought.  Out of sight of hoodlums, out of mind? Between this and my new weekly produce delivery, we'll see.  Older moms keep telling me this is a necessity if you want food to last for more than a weekend.  I feel a little bit like doing the evil laugh.  Muwahahahahaahaa!

And that's it for May friends.  I was going to do a Linky party... but alas I ran out of time and didn't know how and wasn't sure anyone would link up, so I didn't do it!  How's that for excuses?  

How was your month??

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

...and now I'm all ready!

 I love BBQ season.  I love impromptu gatherings where everyone brings what they have on hand and somehow it all comes together.  I love being outside when the sun goes down and everyone pulls out sweatshirts and stays put while the kids continue to run around, because they don't want the night to end "just yet." 
 And because of that... I put together our Summer BBQ box.  Each year, I do a version of one, but this year, I wanted one that looked cute.  Don't fault me for that okay?  I had a budget and a list and I went to an antique mall and found this tray along with my blue mason jars.  I was so proud of myself for sticking to only what I came for.  You have no idea how difficult that is for me.  But I'm getting better and better about it as we try and live life a little differently these days. 
 Inside, I tucked some acrylic glasses from Target, some poka-dotted straws from here, napkins, utensils and paper plates.  It can transition straight from counter top to outside at the strike of a briquette.  And now you see the reason I wanted "cute" right?  If it's going to sit on my counter top all summer long, I need cute.  I'll simply restock it as we use it. 

 And now for this... because we're a grill-friendly house... and we do tend to invite friends... I needed a bench or table of some kind for food.  I've been wanting one for years, but it had to be the right one. (In other words- cute.) And it couldn't cost much.  Free was preferable.  So when I found these plans on Pinterest, I was immediately enthusiastic. 
 My man... he's not so enthusiastic about anything that has to be built.  But he printed them out and looked over the plans and for some sweet reason said "YES" to me!
 He broke down some pallets (free!) and set out working with our boy.
 I was doing my best to stay out of their way... but I was having a hard time not doing a happy dance.
 Half the wood Adrain used was old and grayed out... so I came up with a plan.  (I think it's kinda funny that my part of the plan always tips the scale of "free" since we had to go out and buy the stain!)  We used Sherwin Williams Woodscapes stain in Blue Shadow and we had them bump up the tint to 200%.
 As you can see, the wood is completely two toned.  And ugly.  (But didn't Adrain and JJ do a fantastic job on this project??!)
 I hit it with enough stain to choke a horse.  I'm telling you, I've had a really difficult time concentrating on much else today because every time I walk past it, I do a little jump inside my heart and sing a little song that goes like this... "My man made that for me... my man made that for me, HI HO THE DARIY-O, my man made that for me."  (If you think I kid, you don't know me at all.)
 Sometimes it's just the little things people do for us.  (Or the big things... this was a big thing since my man doesn't do "wood projects" and this was using old pallet wood- not his favorite.  Bless his heart.)  One thing you also should know about my man... he doesn't curse.  At all.  Ever.  There were moments during this project when a lesser man who also hated pallet wood and building projects would have been coloring the air with a rainbow of profanity.  But not my man.  I adore that about him.  I'm not a cursing girl myself but sadly if my hoodlums pick up any not so great phrases in life, I'll know exactly which one of us they came from.  (cringe) Me.
 I'm all ready for another BBQ.  Who's coming over? 
 I need to talk him into hanging that "Gather Here" sign for me too... I hate to push my luck though!  Ha!
 Maybe some day my little potting bench will be all tricked out like Martha's... 
But until then, I'm so happy with buckets for ice and drinks, and plenty of space for food.  Amen!

Since I found this on Pinterest, and then did it... I'll be linking up to Alicia's party on Wednesday with it!

Do you have any fun BBQ tricks, tips or things that make it easier to share with us?  I love hearing them! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The deep....

The patio lights twinkled a welcome, the sun was slanting across the western sky, and the BBQ was warmed up and ready to go....
  Children- ten including a few neighborhood drop-ins, ran in and out the back yard gate, shouting greetings and sorting out rules to a game...
Everything had been prepared in advance, all easy items requiring little or no fussing, and I was able to relax and enjoy the weekend unfolding...
One friend made herself at home in my kitchen, sorting through drawers to find what she wanted, as Daddies popped open root beers and handed them around to thirsty kiddos...
Everyone brought their own meat-items for grilling, and JJ had created a fantastic make-shift table for the many side dishes earlier in the day....
As we laughed, relaxed, and visited, I found myself being aware of a deep contentment in my soul...
Only a few weeks ago, I was in the throes of "what now?" as we waited to see if Adrain was going to get a different job transfer within his company once again... and my world was unexpectedly up in the air.  As that situation melted away and my heart stopped racing in nervous anticipation, I felt slightly discontented (and at the same time relieved) that we were staying put... again.  I'm sure living in a waiting mode for as long as it seems we've lived there, breeds a certain level of discontentment... never knowing if you're up or down, coming or going, you easily find yourself always looking for the next landing spot...
...but as we eased into a long weekend, one where we threw open our doors and our gates, and friends lingered over funny stories... and kids played tag in the dark way after bedtime, it came to me that once more, some big prayers have been answered. 
You see, after we settled down and realized "here" is the "now," I fought that discontentment and I asked God to not only show me where I could be content... but show me that He actually had a plan for me. 
As the sun filtered through the windows early Saturday morning, and the day was full of promise, I realized I had my answers, stretching out before me...
I sat watching Adrain work on a project for me, and we talked about how everything we'd wanted our house and life to become as we sat by sunset, nineteen years ago discussing the countless possibilities, had unfolded up to a point.  It startled me. 
I shamelessly admit that I always wanted some kind of magical storybook family life.  You know, a big, welcoming house filled with laughter, friends, perfect family and celebrations, kids and dogs running in and out, and open arms for new friends, reconnecting with old ones and somehow in the swirl of all that, my personal dream was that I would find hostessing to be an easy and light task.  I'd say that in a way, it felt pretty close to that dream this weekend.  With the sun shining, I realized anew just how blessed we were to have a spacious backyard that beckons, BBQ space, and a welcoming house filled with friends. 
   I looked into the excited eyes of my babies after I told them "Yes, they could sleep on the trampoline all night" and realized this was the dream all along.  Here is the contentment, in this small, sweet moment.
The deep kind of contentment that doesn't come from just expressing words, or merely discussing your many blessings with another...
  But the kind that sneaks up on you when you realize it was there all along and you were too distracted by the chaos or imperfections of life to see and appreciate it.
     You see, this past week, Adrain and I realized afresh what our mission was.  And we were given a great and rare chance to begin something new together- something rewarding.  Sure elements of our life aren't perfect.  Our house isn't the "perfect" layout.  Our yard isn't the "perfect" plan.  Our kids don't always behave perfectly.  Life is far from magical... but it's good.  It's really, really, good and it's incredibly workable if we have the right attitude.
The little miracles are suddenly popping up everywhere, and Adrain and I were recently given an opportunity to see an alternative plan for our life.  It nearly shook me up when I realized how good I've actually had it all along. 

I spent the last two days seeking that deep contentment out, like a long, lost friend. 
 The sweet moment when you're driving to your brother's house and your baby girl, not so little anymore, is fast asleep from the wild trampoline sleep over, the night before.  Noted, breathed in, and appreciated.
 Or the sigh of contentment that comes from the promise of the future.  Holding my sweet baby niece just about does me in, in that department.  Oh she's precious and I can't wait to get to know her better!  Noted, breathed in, and appreciated.
 I think it's so easy to miss the deep contentment in life because it's mixed amongst a jumble of chaos and often so hard to find.  When I feel in chaos, I can't seem to count any blessings in my heart- I miss them all, and I certainly don't appreciate any of them!  And for me, I really do feel like this contentment was here all along, I was just so busy thinking things were going to change that I never let my heart settle down and recognize the countless blessings that brew the tea of contentment.

 I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for this life tonight as I tuck in my babies, and sit down in a tranquil moment to spill my heart after a joy-filled weekend. 
I can't think of a better way to ring in Memorial day than with the direction of these thoughts.  I hope and pray you find a way to count your blessings alongside me and let the wave of deep contentment in an imperfect world, house, or life wash over you.