30 September 2009

Gitter done.

The living room side of the basement is really coming together. I need frames for the kids' pictures (they are currently hanging up in their plastic sleeves with painters tape), we need to hang the TV, I need to paint and hang the light for above the fireplace, and I need 2 orange pillows and a lime green throw. Not too shabby. Now, the boys' room and the craft area is a whole different story. Soon, though, very soon...


28 September 2009

Love & Boys.

Dear Boys,

I love you to pieces.

I, especially, love you when one of you spills butterscotch pudding all down the back of the fridge and doesn't tell me until it has hardened and fossilized. I love when you put cracker boxes or lemonade pitchers back where they belong, but empty. I love when you pee all down the front of the toilet or just straight-up on the floor or do a number 2 without flushing and leave me to discover it. I love when you put on white baseball pants with navy blue underwear to go outside to play and think that is acceptable AND fashion forward. I love when you tell me you are going to run away and live in the woods all because I told you that you could not play Wii until you picked up your toys. I love when you empty the garage of all of its bloody contents and then whine and moan when you are told at the end of the day to put it all back. I love when you put on 5 different t-shirts throughout the day just because. I love that you jump on the couch so much that you have both put a hole in it TWICE. I love that you complain there is nothing to eat the very day I went grocery shopping. I love when your pretend light saber duels usually turn into pinching, pulling, punching, knock-down, drag out fights to the death. I love that you two don't eat any vegetables but green beans and corn. I love that you rat each other out for the littlest thing.

But, mostly, I love that despite it all, you are the best of friends. I love that you say 'please' and 'thank you'. I love that you snuggle with your sisters, and help them learn something new almost everyday. I love that you work hard in school. I love that you have incredible imaginations. I love that you smile at me for no reason. I love that you don't really want to run away no matter what you say. I love how you wrestle with Dad. I love that you would rather ride your bikes than be inside playing video games. I love that you look out for each other in this big, bad world. I love when I hear you tell curious people that 'God made Betsy's brain different than the rest of ours'. I love when you color me pictures or write me letters. I love that you always want a band-aid from me when you skin your knee. I love when, every once in awhile, you'll still hold my hand. I love that you think it's funny that I actually have a name other than Mom. I love when you read to me. I love how proud you are of yourselves when you accomplish something. I love when you tell me about your day. I love that you kiss me good-night.

I love that you are mine.

I love YOU BOTH! More than you'll ever know.

yours forever, MOM

26 September 2009

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

I love dutch doors. Don't you?

We're getting a little bit closer everyday. I'm getting awfully excited!

Have a great weekend!

24 September 2009

Read this.

Normally, I do not press books, movies, or other entertainment. If you want to read it, watch it, or do it...that's cool by me. However, I DO think everyone, including those of the male variety, should read all of Miss Austen's novels, Leo Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina', Roald Dahl's fanciful fiction, Bradbury's 'Farenheit 451', Bronte's 'Jane Eyre', and as much Shakespere as one can digest. Some things should just not go ignored. Reading is as close to a time machine as I could think to ever come in my lifetime.

After much persuasion on my sister's part, I had finally decided to crack open 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon.

I will admit that the first 100 pages or so were really not living up to my expectations based on my sister's accolades. But, then things start to happen. Oh, boy, do they ever!

This book spans wars, political schemes, 18th century Scottish Highland life (pee-yew), love, illness, death, human perseverance. It made me cry until my eyes swelled shut and laugh out loud so hard that Big Jake had to ask me, "What's wrong?".

The connection between the two main characters, Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp Randall, is truly transcending. Their marriage is authentic and tangible. Their fights are comically real, and their physical connection is electrifying. At the core of this book is, in fact, their relationship, but it is by no means strictly a romance novel. It is 20th/21st century historical literature with a dash of science fiction. All at it's finest.

Diana Gabaldon's writing has spoiled me. Currently, I don't have any intention of reading anyone else. Good thing there are, currently, 7 books in the series with more to come; 'Outlander', 'Dragonfly in Amber', 'Voyager', 'Drums of Autumn', 'The Fiery Cross', 'A Breath of Snow and Ashes', and 'An Echo in the Bone' . I am currently reading the third, then it's onto her 'Lord John' series.

Her words are magic. Her detail is unsurpassed. Instead of feeling like I'm reading, I feel like a storyteller is spinning me a tale. I just can't wait to find out what happens next and how one event or character is entwined with another. It is a tangled but glorious web she weaves.

If you do one thing for yourself before, let's say Christmastime, read, at the very least, 'Outlander'. You will not regret it.

Well, I hope not, anyway!


23 September 2009

paint and prints.

First and foremost, I would like to say that spray paint is entirely underrated. If it weren't for spray paint, there is no way I could redecorate and remain with in my budgetary limitations. I cannot tell you how many times I've reused lamps, shelves, frames, curtain rods, hardware, just by harnessing the magic that is spray paint. My love of spray paint started about 9 years ago, and it has blossomed into one of the greatest affairs of all time. I am amazed how in 9 years, the breadth of available colors has exploded. If it's a color you can think up, they make it in an aerosol can. My sister even spray painted a ceiling fan bright candy apple red. AND...it looks great! Take my word for it, it's a DIYer's dream.

Secondly, I finally settled on a poster for a huge blank space above the chairs in the basement. I got it here at How Fabulous Designs' etsy shop. In terms of this house, I think it, really, just sums it up. It is the final piece I'll be needing. The floor will hopefully be put down this weekend, and then I can begin the fun part!


22 September 2009


We're gettin' there!

21 September 2009

up close & personal.

I never thought I would use a zoom lens. So, I really didn't want one. But, my husband looked at me, and said one thing..., "Sports!". Well, alrighty then. We got one, and in the beginning, I was NOT using it out of sheer stubbornness. Shocking, I know! Anywho, I'm thinkin' he was right. (Ooooo, that just plain hurts, every time!) It freezes moments and expressions that would otherwise go uncaptured with my other lens. With football season in full swing, it is priceless to have. The boys think they are REAL sports stars when they see these photos. Like the "football players in the paper". Nice. Now, if I could only muster up enough dough to get a portrait lens. Ahhhhhhh!

18 September 2009

A Big Ole Canvas.

I wanted a big, bold piece for Rosie's room. With my budget in place, it had to be cheap. I had, originally, decided to buy a canvas from Hobby Lobby and paint something on it. But then luck struck...my friend, Mrs. Lewis, got a slew of old canvases from her in-laws (they're moving). They weren't very, um, uh, attractive. But, a canvas is a canvas, so, I started brainstorming.

At first, I was just going to paint the whole thing brown and paint an egg on it. However, the original artwork was raised and you could, totally, see where the sun and beautiful palm fronds were, so, that was just not going to work.

Covering it in fabric seemed the logical next step.

Step 1: I sprayed the original design with brown so the contrast wouldn't be visible through the fabric.

Step 2: My fabric choice (Alexander Henry, Bird Seed) was too stark white, so, I soaked in a bath of strong tea, and then dried it. It came out perfectly imperfect.

Step 3: I tore a chunk from an old cream sheet in the desired dimensions.

Step 4: Then, I painted a big beautiful robin's egg on it with cheapy craft paint.

Step 5: Once the egg was dry, I splattered a bit of brown paint on the egg to make it a bit more realistic.

Step 6: This step is really a combo of several steps. Ooops! I cut the egg out and appliqued it onto the dry background fabric. I used several different stitches and did it really sloppy. It just gives it another layer of texture. Then, I stretched and stapled the appliqued fabric onto the old canvas.

Step 7: Next, I heated up the old glue gun and collected some small sticks. Carefully arranging them into a nest shape, I glued the sticks onto the canvas.


Everything is really coming together for Rosie's room. I really just have some spray painting and framing to do, and all of my 'Ro' projects are done. I think it's going to turn out great, and I love the colors. I hope she loves it, too.

I can't wait!!!

17 September 2009

The big brag.

That's where I'm staying for my trip to Chicago in October.

Yep! That's right!

The fabulous W Hotel City Center.

Modern, chic, urban-cool, AND Bliss toiletries.

Need I say more?

Life is good!

15 September 2009

have a seat.

Betsy loves spinning bar stools.

She thinks they're the cat's meow.

Ah, it's the simple things.

Anywho, for her fifth birthday my cousin, 'Mama Mel', and her husband, Josh, gave Betsy her very own spinney stool. Mel embellished it with jewels, patches, and iron-ons, but, alas, Rosie picked away at it and it was near bare within weeks.

I decided to try my hand it resurrecting it for her new OWN room.

I am loving the results!

Spinning is good for the soul!

14 September 2009

mixers and such.

Because I am eternally nosy, I thought I would let you nose around my life today...

1. I don't want for much, but I want a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in Martha Stewart Blue so bad, I am starting to think selling my left kidney sounds like a good way to get one.

2. My first car was a Volkswagen Rabbit convertible. Man, did I think I was coooool.

3. I was on the dance team in high school. I never danced in my life prior to middle school. I was more of an athlete. My high school's dance team was big shniz, and one of the best in the area. We competed in Nationals every year, and when I was a junior, we place second. The reason I'm telling you this is because my ugly mug got a close up on ESPN when our routine aired. My 15 minutes of fame was on a nationally televised network program that was repeated frequently that year. Again, I thought I was cooooooooool. (Remind me to tell you a story about my freshman and senior years on the pom squad, wowza, not so cool! But, those are stories for a different day!)

4. My high-school sweetheart is now my husband. Sure, I 'went out' with other boys, but Jake was my first bonafide boyfriend. He knocked on the door when he picked me up, and took me on REAL dates that he paid for. He was the first and only boy I've ever loved. I got engaged to him when I was 21, married him at 22, and less than 3 months later we found out we were expecting (and, yes it was planned). We became parents at 23, and 7 months after that #2 was on the way (again, planned, as were the other 2). People thought (and, probably still do) think we were crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing. I've also been led to believe that some people think we missed out on some incredible social experience by only having dated each other without having 'tested the waters', but I consider ourselves lucky that we DID miss all of that. I didn't really feel like sharing him. :)

5. I was born and raised in St.Louis, Missouri. The gateway to the west. I have a really large extended family, and, for the most part, we all still live in the area, with the exception of about 2 of my cousins. We also have a very extraordinary talent for eventually finding our way back home.

6. Most alarmingly, I went to the University of Kansas. That is true betrayal in these parts. I live in a place where, at any time, if you say 'M-I-Z...' you will, most certainly, here the echo '...Z-O-U!'. I did not go to KU to be rebellious, I went there to be closer to Jake. He went to William Jewell College in Liberty, MO about 45 minutes away from Lawrence, KS. I cannot say that I did not, absolutely, adore Lawrence...because I did. It is the best town and the most beautiful campus. I am so grateful I got to experience what I did there. Incidentally, I was a double major in communication disorders and Croatian/Serbian. Do NOT ask me to utter a word of it, though. I remember NOTHING except, "Zdravo, je li tako". And, I am most certain, even that isn't right.

7. I graduated from Fontbonne University, in St.Louis, not KU. Jake transferred back home in '97, and I followed in '98. (See? We were quite smitten.) I continued my studies in communication disorders/speech & language pathology, and graduated, on time, in 2000. I started my masters degree the following fall, but quit (gosh, I detest that word), in the spring to focus on work in the St.Louis Public Schools and my pregnancy. Now, I think I want to get my special education certification, but who knows...

8. I spent 15 glorious days in England during the summer of 1999. I loved it there, and would pack up my family and move across the pond if I knew Jake could have as secure of a job there as he does here. My dear friend, Julie, is married to an Englishman, and does not understand my being romanced by such a place. They reside in the Lou, but has England and all its splendors at their disposal. Oh, the irony.

9. I adore music to the core of my being. I cannot play it, write it, or read it. But, it is a huge part of who I am and speaks to me in ways even I do not understand. Sometimes, I think my life should have a soundtrack. And, I suppose it does, I've just never laid out the tracks.

10. I LOVE to sleep. In fact, I would, could, and should sleep for, like, 24 hours straight. Incidentally, I hardly get more than 7 hours of sleep a night. And, my husband, sleeps even less. I could fall asleep at any given moment in the day if I allowed myself to. It is a true and rare talent.

11. I can sing show tunes. Really. Some of my favorites are 'Little Girls' from 'Annie', 'Master of the House' from 'Les Miserables', and 'One Boy' from 'Bye Bye, Birdie'. I always fantasize about getting one of those roles on Broadway where the character is bawdy, cackles, and sings from the gut. After I've gotten my mixer, I will sell my remaining kidney to fulfill this fantasy.

12. My dream, aside from what I'm formally educated to do, is to make a respectable living doing something that channels my creativity, attention to detail, and eye for design. A party planner, decorator, writer, or all of the above. I, also, aspire to have my home, or some part of it, in Better Homes & Gardens. Vain and trite, I know, but it would be brilliant if that ever happened.

I could go on and on about stupid stuff about me you didn't know, or care to know, so I'll stop. But, I love when people post silly stuff about themselves on their blogs, and thought you might enjoy it, too.

Plus, I had nothin' today.



11 September 2009


image 'The Falling Man'

I was raised in a very patriotic family. My father is the embodiment of a true patriot. And, as the patriarch of the family, we always followed suit. We weren't forced to be proud of our American heritage, in fact, we were always encouraged to express our own opinions (imagine that) and were free to think as we wished. Being in the midst of man like my dad, it was hard not to quietly observe his countenance for the freedom this country has graciously provided us in our lifetimes. He was and still is a very dutiful man. He may not have always WANTED to fulfill his duty (military or otherwise), for fear of consequence or out of protest in the ideology behind the task at hand, but his duty binds him to fulfill something greater than himself.

From his quiet and humble example, I have grown to believe that God Himself gave us the gift, and sometimes the burden, of free will. It is a huge responsibility to have such a gift, and His faith in us to bear it must be surpassed ONLY by our faith in Him for bestowing it.

I count myself among millions, even billions, of lucky souls who not only posses this remarkable benefaction, but who live in a place where we can use it. Freedom does not always accompany free will. And, one without the other is troublesome and contradictory, to say the least.

Eight years ago, a group of individuals who believe differently than I, chose to take the free will AND freedom away from, nearly 3,000 people in the span of a regular work day. Those souls were not given any choice except to decide in an instant or less to surrender themselves to a heavenly end or not to.

One last, fleeting choice.

Free will under a free flag.

And because of a gracious God, and the help of men and women, like my father, that will remain one of the most profound gifts my children and I could ever receive.

Let us not forget...

08 September 2009

What I was supposed to wear.

Saturday night was supposed to be a date night for Jake and I. We were invited to a wedding of an old high-school friend. We were going to dance, and eat, and be merry.

I was so proud of myself for putting together the ensemble that I did for this occasion. I found the dress at Target on the super-duper clearance rack. It was $6.86, or some other strange Target clearance amount, but under $7 nonetheless. Then, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some floofy, flowery trim. And, voila! A pretty little dancin' dress. I saw the tights on nie, and went to Target and snatched them up. I had my eye on some sweet grey suede pumps, also from Target, which would have set the grand total for the costume to $42.00.


But, then...

Rosie went and got her cute, little butt sick. Jake went to the wedding by his lonesome, Pete went off to Grandma Kathy's and Grandpa's Jeff's, Jake went off to Grandma Ro-Ro's and Grandpa Sarge's, and I sat at home with the girls and we watched 'Annie'. It was, really, a peaceful night. It got me thinking about the plight of a mother. I was all set to dance the night away with my strapping husband, but instead, found myself at home nursing a pathetic, helpless critter back into good health. Right where I was intended to be.

Bittersweet, and I love it!

image via nieniedialogues.com

Bye for now!

07 September 2009

Happy lanterns

The lanterns in the future 'Betsy-only room' are all in.
They make me happy.
More importantly, they make Betsy happy.
She looks up at them and just giggles.
It is, really, priceless.
Leave it to Bets to find happiness in the small things.

I've already refashioned the chandelier that used to hang in this room.
It will find a new home in the future 'Rosie-only room'.
Reduce, reuse. Right?
Can't wait until it's all DONE!


05 September 2009

I 'heart' the mail.

Especially, when it's got goodies like these...

wallpaper for Rosie's room.

lanterns for Betsy's room,

an extra eyelet lantern I didn't order OR get charged for (luna bazaar told me just to keep it),

and awesome fabrics (from Fabric Worm) for a project in the boys' new garden apartment
bedroom (that's below ground for you non-urbanites).

Fun Stuff!

I aspire...

image from justsomethingimade.blogspot.com

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

04 September 2009

Smart kinda stupid.

Sometimes, smart people do stupid, silly things.

I've always considered myself on the smarter side of the scale. Blessed genetically with a good dose of common sense and an above average panache for the books. I mean, hello, I got a 36 on the ACT. Okay, that was a bold faced lie. I really got a 27, a nice score, but nothing about it screams genius.

Incidentally, do they even take the ACT in the mid-west anymore? Isn't the SAT the new standard. Which, by the way, I got a 2400 on. Okay, another out and out lie. I never needed it for the schools I applied to.

I am, totally, avoiding the point of this post. Mainly, because I am going to admit (gulp) that I am...oh, my...here goes...wrong about something.

Anywho, with a certain level of intelligence comes a certain level of expectations. Expectations from yourself, from others. Sometimes it stinks. When you step outta line, it's noticed and it doesn't go unpunished. And, yes, sometimes I step out of line. Waaaaaaaaay out of line.

Recently, I did. Lesson learned. Restraint is always best, and often times speaks louder than hateful words. I don't apologize for how I feel, necessarily, but I do, publicly, here and now, apologize for the way in which I went about articulating my feelings. It was stupid, silly, rash, and could have been handled with so much more grace.

Anger makes us do really dumb things. It brings out the ignorance in us. It is really a wasted emotion, and one, that as far as I can tell, none of us can rise above. I have never hated anyone, and hope that I never do. What a terrible thing to have to feel. Anger is bad enough, but hate? Geesh!

Here, on this blog, I am at my most sincere. I say what I feel and feel what I say. God made us dynamic like that. What a Guy!

Bottom line, I was wrong in how I handled this particular situation, and I apologize to everyone involved.

My cousin reminds me of our humanness to persevere in the face of adversity and disaster. She posted a quote from the perfectly imperfect Marylin Monroe in the wake of this family catastrophe, and I must believe it's true. I hope everyone included in this mess does, too, in a positive way...

"...sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." -MM

Peace out!

03 September 2009

2 tidbits.

In honor of the Duggar's 19th bun-in-the-oven...
I am making Duggar Tater Tot Casserole tonight for dinner.
Not the healthiest thing to have (by far), but quick, easy, and tasty.


1 lb ground turkey cooked, seasoned, drained

1 & 1/2 2lb bags tater tots (3lbs. total)

1 cans cream of mushroom

1 cans evaporated milk

1 cans cream of chicken

Brown meat & place in large casserole dish. Cover with tater tots. Mix soup & milk together. Pour over top. Bake at 350 for 1 Hour. (One of Jim Bib’s Favorites!) Makes 1- 9”X13” pan

Yesterday, Rosie pleaded to go in the back before I was ready to go with her. I, obliged, because I was unloading/loading the dishwasher and could see her from the door. She DID take a quilt and throw pillow out with her, but I just figured she would put it in the 'trunk' of her cozy coupe. Boy, was I wrong. I spied on her until she seemed settled into what she was doing. And, after 5 minutes time, this was the scene...

She is, without a doubt, my kookiest kid. She makes me laugh.

1 more day 'til a 3 day weekend!

02 September 2009

Wisecracks & Kyrptonite.

Have you ever said something that you knew, without a doubt or sideways glance, was hysterical? Assured yourself that your wit mojo was in full effect for a brief moment in space and time? Is there a particular person who is a mirror of your humor? Someone you can always use as your measure of how successful your wordplay is?

For me, that person is my dad. He is a hard-nosed, stern-faced, stoic sort. But, man, can I tickle his ribs made of stone. He tries not to laugh at my raillery, my gallery of drollery, but the old man can't help it. I can crack that guy like a thin shelled egg at a shooting range.

But, who am I kidding? That little girl in the photo below would be much better kryptonite for my pop's enemies than my lil' ole satirical mind. She gets to him waaaay more than my smart mouth. I say, more power to her. It's about time he met his match.