Monday, July 29, 2013

Recapping and talking about waiting. That sort of thing.

 We celebrated our nephew's birthday with a trip to the Seattle Museum of Flight.  I'm pretty sure my son was in information heaven.  He wanted to read every single sign board.  It took a loonnnng time to get through that museum in one day.  I am sharing a few of the photos that I took and hope you enjoy them even though what I came here to blog about has nothing to do with them.   I will say though, that the WWII section was mind-blowing and the stories of the heroic men and women had me near tears at one point.  And also, we bumped into a wedding party doing a photo shoot.  It was cool.  


Okay so what I came here to share is this: I cracked open Pete Wilson's, Plan B book last week.  Man, I hate that book.  Truth is, I just hate reading about about waiting, or how sometimes life doesn't go quite how you picture it and you aren't sure what to pray for, or even what to want any longer.  Cause that's where we are. Still. About as clueless as a person can get.  We recently had more ups and downs with job questions for my man.  And when I say recently, I mean it's been a daily dinner table subject pretty much since early September... until a few weeks ago.  It was an emotional and often draining journey, and we are in exactly the same spot that we were when we began, so it makes a whole lot of no sense.  Around the same time, we also found out that our initial suspicions from a few years ago were correct, and that our sweet son does have Aspberger's... he's on the very high functioning side of the spectrum.  It's life. It ebbs and flows and you've got to make up your mind to face it with faith and a smile.  I won't talk about it on here at all with the exception of this sentence, but it's a part of our world right now and we're figuring it all out so it plays a part in what I say. 

Pete Wilson says,  "I don't want the plan where a dream is crushed, a crisis is experienced, or I feel like I'm walking alone for way too long... and then God gets the glory.... We don't like God's glory plan- not if it involves our suffering.  Not if it involves waiting for God and wondering if he's ever going to act.... You've felt that frustration in your life, haven't you!  'God, I need you to help me.  I promise I'll start reading the bible again.  I promise I won't drift away from You again.  I'll be a missionary or whatever.  Just help me.'  And nothing.  Nothing changes.  Nothing gets better.  If God is doing anything, you can't tell.  It's like you take the same dang prayer request to your small group or Sunday school class every week.  Even they are tired of hearing about it.  They write your request down before they even get to you.  And still you wait.  And nothing seems to change..."

That's the kind of non answer that generally makes me want to hurl the book through the nearest window.  Which of course I'd never do.  He goes on to say, "If you're in the midst of waiting for a miracle or waiting for a dream to be realized, you probably feel helpless.  You may feel frustrated and grumpy or just plain old tired of waiting.  You may feel like the waiting is a waste of time as if you're doing nothing....What you're doing is allowing your hope to grow up.  And if you can't be still and wait and hope, even when you have no reason to hope, you can't become the person God created when He thought you into existence.  So no matter how it may seem, how frustrating and painful and pointless it may seem, your waiting does have a purpose.  Sue Monk Kidd reminds us; 'Waiting is the in-between time.  It calls us to be in this moment, this season, without leaning so far into the future that we tear our roots from the present.  When we learn to wait, we experience where we are as what is truly substantial and precious in life.'" 

I am once again reminded and encouraged that waiting is seasonal.  Every season has an end as a brand new season begins.  If  like me, your present season seems to be stretching on into an endless eternity before you with no end in sight, remember that it's only a season.

A new one might be right around the corner.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun on a dime. Or rather, a tank of gas. (And a winner)

Whew!  I'm tired.  I think I've blogged more this week than I have in months.  That's what happens when you take half a month "off" I guess.  I'll be a little more random next week... you know, like usual.  Ha!

With income/budget cuts and changes over the past two years, I've gotten pretty good at coming up with fun things that don't cost much more than a tank of gas to get there and back.

Last week the kids and I had been cooped up at home at lot and I came up with a "free" Friday night activity for when Adrain got home.  Let me just say that it's really easy for me to return home with a minimum of fifty photos on my camera from nearly any outing.  I only came home with 117 photos.  (Don't worry I'll narrow it down somewhat for you here.) You're probably wondering what on earth I came up with that didn't cost us anything but some gasoline in the car, and somehow allowed for over a hundred photographs.

Well folks.  It's called the "Left-Right game."  You should try it.

It was fun and we will definitely be doing it again soon.  The idea is... you fill a big envelope with pieces of folded paper that say either "left" or "right."

I know.  You may want to write that part down so you don't forget.

Then you drive out to a starting point, or middle of nowhere or something, and when you come to cross streets or intersections someone draws out one of the folded pieces of paper, and you turn left or right according to what the paper drawn said.  It may take you a few times to understand this incredibly complicated game.  Just keep trying and eventually you will get the hang of it. 

If you hit a dead end, you must automatically turn and go the opposite direction.  It's a rule and must be strictly adhered to.

Hey, I don't make the rules.

Oh wait.  That's right.  I do.

(Please check for traffic before completing this maneuver.)

Anyway.  We saw lots and we listened to really loud music together and made frequent stops so I could hop out and photograph baby cows.  The locals laughed at me one time.  I laughed back.  Baby cows should be documented.  (I kept my distance because of course I don't want any big mamas charging  me.)  Then my man laughed because they aren't technically "baby cows" they are baby steers or bulls or something or other.  Well, I'm still calling them baby cows alright? And they should be documented!

So should wee little donkeys.  And draft horses.  And hay bales.  And railroad tracks.  And barns.  And tractors.  And mountains. And fields.  And irrigation sprinklers. And... well, you begin to see how a girl can end up with over a hundred photos.  I'm just saying.

Sometimes it's good to get lost for a while and see where to road takes you. 

** Also, the winner of the 163Design Co. giveaway is, "Msmoozy."  Congrats and give me a shout at to claim your prize. 

Today, I am thankful for:
Time with my kids on a Friday night that took us on an adventure.
No meltdowns when plans were flexible and not pre-determined.
Blue sky.
A son who grilled hot dogs by himself for us for dinner. 
Figuring out how to replace a light fixture by myself.
Not electrocuting myself.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Around the house...

I loved reading the responses to my post yesterday.  I think it's so encouraging that I'm not the only one trying to best navigate the balance of social media and real life.  I liked how Janene put it when she commented and said, "The internet has connected so many of us mere strangers yet it has disconnected us from the life right in front of us."  We're kind of all in this together because we all have some form of social media in our life.  I'm already feeling a very clear picture of what is and isn't going to portray balance in my own life.  Now putting that into practice will be the challenge.  I am committed to this though and that's the first step. 

Okay, so since we had that little heart to heart, I figured it would be a nice change of pace to share a few of the projects I've been working on for what seems like weeks.  Seriously you guys, I can't get things done.  Lazy... that's what I am. 
Yes.  I painted "Mr. Chickenpox" white.  I am madly, deeply in love with him again.  Don't get me wrong, I love color... but neutrals draw me in over and over again and I always gravitate back to them when I'm tired of a specific shade.  Adrain and I have been talking about saving up for a sectional sofa as our children are getting big and we need more lounging room.  I keep coming up with different colors until Adrain looks at me and says, "Woman, you change things too often- you'd better go with a neutral color."  Oh yeah.  That's right. I knew that about myself.  Ha!  Though I really like denim, I'm not gonna lie.  I can't decide if that's the 90's come back to haunt us... if it's going to be a classic (since Pottery Barn has it in the new Fall line-up) or if it's a "color" as opposed to a neutral.  I'd better go with tan.  Or gray.  (But is gray a trendy color that we'll all laugh at in ten years?  Hmmm..)   (Good thing I have a long time til I've saved up for that baby!  Plenty of time to think about it.)
Okay, so project number one.  Creating a Family Hub center.  I've got five weeks until it begins... Shuttling one child to one school, and then hurry and take the other one in the opposite direction.  I'm going to be on the road transporting to and from school approx 1 1/2 hours a day when I combine it all, not counting guitar and dance or whatever else we do.  And the school paperwork and information is already piling up on my counters. 

That said, I decided we needed a system.  By now I bet hearing those words come out of my mouth totally shocks you. Heh, heh. (Alicia, I know you totally feel me.)
The challenge: 

I've got a narrow (8'x3') strip of wall in the laundry room (previously covered in chalk paint) that we pass from the garage into the kitchen.  It's wasted space in my opinion but it's also really narrow so our options are limited.  What I really wanted and what I had room for were two different things.  What we needed, was a memo board system of some kind for each person, but my other challenge was budget.  As in... finding something under $5.00. 

The solution: 
Monogrammed clipboards. 
The cool thing is that clipboards are under a dollar each at office supply stores, they can be removed easily from the wall, and you can attach post-it's, clip up lists, papers, etc. 

I printed out the letters in the size I wanted, traced them onto contact paper, cut them out and stuck them down onto the clipboards.  I painted the negative space and then carefully peeled the contact paper off and let them dry. (I used "Aloe" from Sherwin Williams, leftover from this project.) 
I made all my letters kind of off-center. 
 I painted the same wall color in the laundry room, over the chalk wall.  ("Fleur de sel" from Sherwin Williams.)  I found a great hanging calendar at Target for $12.00 and that was less than I figured on.  Yeah! 
 I would also like to say that I've been planning on updating the basic light fixture in this room for years but couldn't find what I wanted.  Last month I was getting something at Lowe's and I found a basic hanging socket and a separate pendant lampshade that was perfect and also really affordable.  (And I know you probably don't care about this, but I had consigned something and gotten just enough to purchase this with!) I came home and installed it MY SELF.  Yep.  You read that right.  I watched my man doing it not long ago and thought to myself, "Hey Self... you can do that."  So I did.  And I'd like to add that I didn't electrocute myself. 
Since my calendar was about half the cost I was planning on spending, I bought an ugly black hanging file pocket at Office Max.  I used some aqua spray paint that I already had on hand, and now it's perfect for each child's school folder, mail or whatever we need to swipe off the counter tops. 

(I have one clear snapping folder for each year, for each child and I save school photos, notes from teachers, awards, special papers, etc in each one.  I slip a card in the front of each one that says the grade and year and I add to it throughout the year.  I keep a bin with all of them up in their closets.) 

I've got Joe's school supply list clipped to his board, and below you can see a the grocery lists and menu pages that I'll be attaching to mine. 

Also... I want to share this quick and simple wall update in case you were looking for inspiration. (I always am, but maybe that's just me.)

And I know.  I show this room all the time.

You can totally fire me if you want to.

I stenciled "Breakfast" onto an old pallet board that I found in my garage and used things I already had, like a "B,"  "&," paint and self leveling hangers. (In the end I used a different "B" than the one I originally thought I would use.  I have a lot of "B's."  We love our "B's" around here.)  The only thing I purchased was an "E" and  a "D" ($3 total, at JoAnns).  I painted all of the letters a cream color so they would be somewhat streamlined and spray painted the amperstand gray, even though I did like it turquoise.  Gray worked better.  I didn't like how light the board looked once it was all up, so I used a darker paint and stenciled over the "Breakfast" letters, then sanded it all down to soften it.

It's wonky and imperfect like me.
Now feel free to enjoy many photos of of the same thing because I'm a blogger and that's the sort of unexplainable thing we tend to do. 

So that's it.  I'm getting stuff organized because it makes me feel slightly in control of the unknown.  I can own that.  I've got anther post coming and then I'll be easing back into random summer lazy blogging again. Ha!  Don't forget that you've still got another day to enter this fabulous giveaway!

Today I am thankful for: 
Flowers blooming in our cutting garden.
A few fun things starting to fill up the calendar.
Getting myself organized.
Setting some goals and some plans to accomplish them.
Watercolors on sale.