Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Little Crafty: Before and After--Laundry Room

So remember all the plans I had for the week my older kids were gone and my youngest was in someone else's care for approximately 12 hours? Yeah. I had big plans. The good news is, that I achieved several of them. The bad news is, that the things left on the list are still on the list and several more have been added. As they say, "No rest for the wicked, and the righteous don't need none!" (You must utter this sentence in a southern drawl for best effect.)

I painted my laundry room and got it all fixed up. It's purty. I figure that since it's a room that I spend plenty of time in, it should be pleasant.

This laundry room is a far cry above the one in our old house. I'm not sure you could really call the one in our old house a room. It was a pass-through between the kitchen and garage and it also held our coats, backpacks, cleats, and various and sundry other items that couldn't find a home. All of that in about a 6'x6' space with two doors that opened inward. As our family room grew, that laundry room became the bane of my existence.

When we looked at this house, I nearly swooned with excitement. The laundry room was an actual room! With a window! And a laundry sink! And cabinets! And a counter for folding clothes! You could actually fit more than one person at a time in the laundry room--kind of nice when children are putting laundry in the baskets or taking clean laundry to their rooms. No more queueing up! Also? My laundry room is located on the second floor. I know! Swoon!! I actually have room for laundry baskets in this laundry room. In our old house, the laundry baskets had to sit outside the door, in the kitchen and my children would abscond with them and use them for forts and cars and other wonderfully imaginative things. Normally this would be pleasing to me, but when I was trying to empty clothes from the dryer to fold and couldn't find a basket to save my life, it made me crazy crazier than usual.

So the laundry room at Casa Sara is wonderfully full of features. Nice, right? Yes. But it was painted the dull and boring and not-very-durable builder's white. Blecchh! (Please ignore the flooring. I try to. Whoever installed the vinyl in this house didn't know what they were doing because it is all coming away from the walls and needs to be replaced. So someday, the flooring will come up and tile will go down. But for now, it's better than walking on plywood.) Wanna see?

See? Boring, boring, boring.

Very functional, but not very pretty.

Then, I found some bargain paint. I paid $10 for a gallon of mistint paint. It was a nice pale yellow in an eggshell finish--perfect for my purposes. It turned out pretty. And cheerful--nice when I'm spending so much time in that room.

On a trip to GW, I found this little stereo cabinet for $15. It was wood and pretty solid, so it came home with me.
This is how it looks now in my laundry room. I love it! I found the basket on top and the Ball jar on a recent GW trip. (Sorry. The cabinet isn't crooked, but this is the photographic result of the photographer trying to take a picture while squashed down under the counter while trying to avoid a sniffing, hyperactive dog...)So here it is! My purty new laundry room!

Everything on top of my cabinets either came from GW or I already had.

The paper-towel holder and the bottles in it are all GW finds. The baskets over the sink were mine and being used elsewhere. I decided that they'd be put to better use here.

This little tray started out Kelly green. Then I painted it black thinking that I'd use it in my kitchen. But after some thought, I sprayed it blue, hot glued some magnets to buttons and turned it into a note board. It will come in handy for receipts and things that I find in pockets. Alternatively, I just might put little notes under every button that say "It's someone else's turn to do all this laundry!!"

This shelf and bottle came from GW. I filled it with buttons I already had. I think it looks sweet.

This started out as a mirror when I found it at GW. It was bright blue. I liked the funky shaped frame, so I brought it home. Then I sprayed it white. Then I changed my mind as the laundry room evolved and resprayed it blue and gave it some swipes with copper craft paint. In the middle I taped scrapbook paper (taped, so I can remove it later if I want to do something else with it.) and then glued some of my old buttons on it. Then I placed a glass knob on the bottom where it just had an ugly screw sticking out.

I love this room now! I think it looks kind of "beachy." It just makes me smile every time I go in it. Plus, I was able to finish it in about a day, which fit nicely into my time frame last week. It makes my husband smile because I redid the whole room for right around $50 dollars. Not bad for everything that's in there!

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I've got some laundry to do...

***Comments are fixed! Please leave one. Thanks!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Massages And Dog Barf and Lysol! Oh My!

Friday I drove to my hometown. Under optimal circumstances, this trip takes three and a half hours, curb-to-curb. With a potty or lunch break we might come closer to the four hour mark, but that usually only happens when my husband is driving. I like to get on the road and stay there. I'm a "no stops" kind of gal. This can be a problem when you have children, because no matter how many times you tell them to go to the bathroom before you leave, someone always has to go. But my children know that when I'm driving, they'd better get their bodily functions under control, because it will take an Emergency Of The Highest Order for me to stop.

I know that right now this question seems like a tangent, but trust me, it is not. Did you know that God has a wicked sense of humor? He has shown it to me on numerous occasions. One of the most memorable was when I told one of my dear friends, upon hearing of her recently discovered pregnancy, that I was glad it was not me. I was done! God will not be mocked, y'all. I have proof. Let me introduce you to my youngest child, Mary, born 6 days after my dear friend's sweet daughter. So, you know, God, in his infinite and loving wisdom, endeavors to remind me that I am in control of absolutely nothing in this life. Usually He gets me with something that ultimately makes me laugh, which is good, because I really don't want Him to get my attention by slapping me upside the head. That method always gets my attention, but it's not nearly as fun...

Anyway. Patrick was out of town and I was on my way to my hometown, with Mary and the dumb dog Tilly in tow, to pick up my other three children. The three older children had just enjoyed a week with their grandparents and two cousins. They went to and helped out at VBS, swam, played SCAT, ate at various restaurants, had ice cream, went fishing, played several rounds of capture the flag and had an all around great time. So, killjoy that I am, I was coming to bring them home.

Friday night was the closing carnival, wherein the children could spend tickets on games, inflatables, and carnival food. I was coming to get them, rather than meet my parents half way so that the children could attend. Also, I was scheduled to get a massage, courtesy of a birthday gift from my parents. (Is it sad that my birthday is in February and this was the first opportunity I had to get a massage?) (Also, is it wrong that I was looking forward to the massage just a teensy bit more than I was to seeing my children?) So getting to my folks' in a timely manner was of utmost importance to me.

Enter the Hand of God.

We were a little better than an hour and a half from my hometown, when we stopped at a drive through so that I could get a drink. For some reason, I was extremely sleepy and decided that a Diet Coke would be the remedy I needed to wake up. We pulled through the drive through, but not after being behind someone who ordered a freshly killed cow. At least I'm thinking that must be what happened because it took For. Bloody. Ever. to get through the line. As we were pulling out, Tilly started breathing funny. I wasn't sure what the trouble was, but I started petting her and cooing at her and I redirected the stream of cool air from the AC in her direction on the chance that she might be overheating. We were back on the interstate for about thirty seconds when Mary yelled, "OH NO!! Tilly puked!" I chanced a quick glance behind me and sure enough, there on the seat was a nasty pile of dog vomit.

If you have known me for any length of time, you know that I don't "do" vomit. I can handle many things; Slice an artery? I'm your girl! Nasty baby diaper? I can handle it! Dental emergency? Call me! Open heart surgery? I'm on my way! But vomit??? Um, no. Just no.

When I was little, my oldest brother Jon got sick in the car on the way home from my grandparents' house one Easter. Being the youngest, I had to ride the hump in the middle of the backseat. My brother Todd hogged the window and all the fresh air. I was left gagging and stuffing my nose in the bill of my new, crocheted stuffed duck, trying not to vomit my guts up in a sympathy barf. This is a family story still told during reunions. And I tell people that I haven't changed. I used to tell my students that my classroom was a No Barfing Zone. And in all the years that I taught, they all respected The Zone and I never once had to leave the room due to vomit. When Patrick and I started a family, I made a deal with him. I would gladly handle the diapering responsibilities if he would take care of the occasional Pukefest. Almost 18 years of marriage later, and this pact is still in good order, notwithstanding the occasional out of town trip or some other absence wherein I would put Vick's VapoRub under my nose and proceed to clean up the nasty with much gagging.

So, as you can gather, I was in a mild state of panic. I had just cleaned out the van that morning in anticipation of the trip and there was not a napkin nor tissue nor scrap of anything with which to clean to be found. I decided that we'd find the next exit and find a gas station. Mary, meanwhile, was holding her nose and watching a movie on the DVD player with her headphones on. The windows were down and our hair was blowing every which way. If I hadn't been trying to keep from puking up my spleen, I might have laughed. But this was puke, y'all. It was NOT. FUNNY.

I tried the next exit, only to discover after taking it that they were doing work on the overpass and I couldn't get to the gas station on the other side. I admit that I might have said one or two (or seven) choice words. But I got back on the interstate and we drove 15 more miles in the 93 degree heat with the windows down. Yummy.

Finally, we found a gas station, only to be met with the conundrum of what to do with the dog. Obviously, I couldn't leave Mary in the car. I didn't really want to leave the dog in it either, so I decided to tie her leash to the door handle while Mary and I went in to get paper towels and Lysol.

There was a bald-headed biker dude standing right in front of our van smoking a cigarette. Tilly saw him and immediately went into Tilly the Attention 'Ho mode. She walked toward him waggling her body, begging to be petted. To my astonishment, Bald-Headed Biker Dude squatted down and talked to her in what I refer to as the Puppy Voice. You know, kind of like you would talk to a baby. If I hadn't had such a grim task to see to, I might have laughed. As it was, I was glad to have a witness, because it kept me from killing the dog. I was considering, however, looking up the number for the local Humane Society and dropping her off. After all, I had better than an hour to concoct a story for the children about how the dog had "run away again". (I kid.) (But not really.)

After discovering not one, but two, piles of puke and disposing of them quickly but with much gagging we were on our way again.

By the time we got to my folks' house, I had the beginnings of a migraine. Natch. We had dinner and my mom took the kids to the carnival while I headed off for my massage.

Let me just say that if you have never had a massage before, you must get one as soon as humanly possible. I have had several and each and every one reminds me that my shoulders don't belong up by my ears. Their natural position is supposed to be several inches lower. I don't know how long my shoulders stay lowered, but I'm thinking that I need more than a once a year massage. I was fortunate enough to have been treated to a hot stone massage. I cannot think of anything better this side of heaven. It was bliss and possibly totally worth having to clean up piles of stinky dog barf.

Less than 24 hours later, I was back on the road with my children, my dog, and two of my nieces. After meeting my brother Todd in Champaign and dropping off the girls, we were back on the road. Tilly showed no more signs of car sickness (praise the Lord!) and the kids thrust me back into my normal mode of operation quite quickly. There was the usual bickering, eye rolling and whining. But there was also laughter and memories and goofiness.

About 45 miles from home, Maggie and James got into a Lysol fight. James would reach around Maggie, who was riding in the passenger seat and smack her. Maggie would blindly spray him with Lysol in retaliation. This was a fun way to pass the time and we all laughed and were silly with it, making jokes like "now your hair is 99.9% germ free!" As these sorts of things are wont to do, however, things went a little too far and they became irritated with each other. I told Maggie to put the Lysol away and I told James to stop bothering his sister. After a few minutes, James reached for Maggie and she aimed the Lysol in his direction. They began to arm wrestle with the can. I was in mid-correction when suddenly they aimed the Lysol at me and squirted! The right half of my body was covered and I even got some in my mouth. I quoted Donkey from Shrek ("You should warn somebody before you crack one off like that! My mouth was open and everything!! ) which caused my children to erupt with laughter. Then my mouth was declared "99.9% germ free" and "sanitized for your protection."

As I looked at my children giggling and enjoying each other, I thought about how I had missed them. I thought about how it seemed like they had grown a couple of inches while they were gone. I thought about how truly blessed I am to have such an abundance of joy, right there, in my everyday life. And I thought about how a little vomit now and then is a small price to pay for the abundance of riches to be found in my children. And I realized that massages are nice, but they are a luxury that doesn't compare to the gift that is my children.

I am one lucky woman. I might reek a little from cleaning up puke, but still. Damn lucky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Photo Friday: Butterfly

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

~~Irish blessing

Butterflies at White River Gardens. Shot with a Canon Rebel xti 18-55mm lens.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love Thursday: Love Is Unmoved

When we moved to Indianapolis from Minneapolis nearly eleven years ago, Maggie was only two years old. The only house she really remembers is the house we lived in for 10 years. Moving last fall was very hard on her. We didn't move far from our old neighborhood, maybe fifteen minutes away, but to her, we might as well have been moving to the moon.

She grew up in our old neighborhood. She developed friendships there. She doesn't even remember making many of the friends there because she was so little when she made those friends. It was a great neighborhood for her because it was "girl heaven." Much the way this neighborhood is overrun with boys, our previous block had several girls right around Maggie's age. She could almost always find someone to play with.

We promised her that even though we were moving, she would still be able to be in touch with her old friends; there would be plenty of visiting back and forth as well as sleepovers. It wasn't like we were moving a bajillion miles away. She would see her friends--probably almost as often as before. And she has seen her old friends. But, not as often as before. The girls are all growing up. Some are in high school, some middle school and they all have busy schedules. Staying in touch is difficult, but made a little easier through things like Facebook and text messaging.

Recently, Maggie asked if B. could sleep over. It had been awhile since they'd seen each other. Maggie and B. have been friends "since, like, forever." They have had many sleepovers, been to each other's birthday parties, and done various outings with each other. They have always had a good time together. B. calls herself my third daughter and I think of her that way. I am always interested in what is going on in her life and I enjoy seeing her. So I gave my consent and plans were made.

The girls were giddy and silly and giggly, just as they have always been. They watched High School Musical 3 and goofily danced along. They closeted themselves in Maggie's room and cranked up the music. I could hear laughter over the pounding music. Not much had changed even though the scenery was different.

On Saturday morning, I was in the kitchen and I could hear the girls upstairs giggling. Shortly, they came down the stairs and into the kitchen. What I saw made me snort. Maggie and B. had raided the dress-up tub and were wearing capes and holding shields in one hand and spray bottles in the other. They ran out the door and there was much screaming and squealing. I knew I needed to get my camera and beat feet out the door.

The girls were having a squirt bottle fight.

They ducked behind their shields and blindly sprayed each other.

I asked them to let me take a picture of them together and they called a truce long enough to allow it.

Then, B. whispered in Maggie's ear and they both pulled their squirt bottles on me and began spraying me. I ran screaming into the house, yelling idle threats over my shoulder, while they followed behind spraying and laughing hysterically.

We have moved. Our neighbors have changed. Their lives are a bit different than before, but one thing has stayed the same through all the changes; their love and friendship has not moved.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gettin' My Craft On

I go in cycles with projects. Sometimes I am not in the mood. Sometimes other priorities get in my way and I find myself with little time, even if I have the desire to be creative. But sometimes, I find myself with both the desire and the time and I become a little manic in finding projects I want to do and then completing them. This is one of those times. It helps that this week I only have one child home with me and she is spending 4 hours each day at day camp.

I found this ribbon topiary and it was so cute I couldn't resist. It seemed to meet my criteria. It was inexpensive, quick, and there weren't very many steps. One of my biggest problems with crafting is that I find myself losing interest if things take too long to complete. This one took about an hour and it had the added benefit of being able to do it in front of the television in the evening. Score!!

I decided to do two of them. I went ahead and did the red, white, and blue one so that I can use it for the upcoming holiday. But I also thought one would be sweet as a centerpiece for the table for Mary's birthday party, which is going to have a garden party theme.

The beauty of this project is that you can paint the pots, or teacups or whatever base you use, a color that would go with several holidays--white or red, for instance, and then use coordinating ribbons for various holidays (Valentine's, Christmas, July 4th could all have the same red base) and just create the different topiary balls and swap them out on the dowels. Does that make sense?

Here are mine.

I think they turned out well. I can't wait to see Mary's on her birthday table. Then when the party is over, it will go in her bedroom, because the colors I used also match her room.

I can't take credit for most of the projects I do. People tell me I'm creative, but I tell them that I'm just really good at copying other people. And that's okay with me if I can find things like this to copy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sara's House Of Mustaches And Reptile Farm

Sounds like something you would encounter in the South doesn't it? Right next to a Waffle House? Alas, it is not. I think I'm from the wrong geographical area. I would have done well in the South. I could have been one of those eccentric old women you always read about in fiction. As it is, I'm just a backwards Illinoisan transplanted into the even more backwards Hoosier state.

[Do not send me hate mail, Hoosiers. You cannot deny some things. There is plenty of evidence for bassackwardness out there. Case in point: Does anyone in the rest of the world know what time it is in Indiana? It's okay. Follow in the footsteps of those Crazy Southern Ladies and embrace your bassackwardness! Make it work for you!]

Anyway. Sean attended a birthday party over the weekend and one of the favors was a sheet of fake mustaches. This has to be my favorite party favor ever. We had fun trying on the different types of mustaches. (The word mustache isn't looking right to me, but my spell check and Mr. Webster agree that I am spelling it right. Would it look more correct if I spelled it with the alternative "moustache"? hmmmm...) I couldn't resist and grabbed my camera.

Dashing, isn't he?

Oh no! Guard your Fritos! It's the Frito Bandito!!!

Then, because I am eccentric and I am working on embracing my craziness, I tried on a mustache (moustache?) and took a self-portrait. You should know that I am much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I will take a bajillion photos of everyone else, but someday, my children will wonder if they had a mother because I am in so few photos. And that's the way I like it. So it is with all my willpower that I post a picture of myself-- (Also? I am not wearing a smidge of makeup. I am brave, y'all. And crazy.) wearing a mustache.

If Austin Powers were standing behind me in that picture, he would be trying to rip off my hair and saying "She's a man, baybee!!" God as my witness, I look like a man. A hippy man. A hippy policeman.

Or Frito Bandito's mama from the Old Country.

Yikes! The experts always say you should be careful what you post about yourself on the Internet. Well, there it is. I've just posted my deep dark secret for the whole world wide web. To quote Miss Britney Spears:"You call me crazy? I got your crazy!"

And now that you've seen the mustaches, I'm sure you're wondering about the last half of the title. (My high school English teacher would either be extremely proud of how that title encompasses everything in this post and draws the reader in, or she would shake her head in disgust.) The last half of the title refers to my yard.

A turtle has laid eggs in my yard, people!! A real, live turtle has deposited eggs in my yard and buried them. I have pictures to prove it.

On Sunday when I took the dog out in the morning, I was on my way back into the house and saw that our turtle had returned. She was sitting in the middle of my back yard and not moving. Upon closer inspection, I realized that there was a mound of dirt behind her and her hindquarters were slanted into a hole. The light bulb went on and I went screaming into the house and woke up the children. "A turtle!! Laying eggs!! In OUR YARD! GET UP! GET UP! GET UP!!!" The children all came out and looked. Even Maggie, who had missed the last episode with the big turtle, got up and came to see. My Mags, the Rack Monster, out of bed so early? This was big, folks.

I took pictures. See?

She sat on the hole for a while and then she started moving her back legs and covering the hole with the dirt. And then? She left them. That's quite a move there, reptile. Way to abandon your offspring.

Actually, a quick consultation with Mr. Google informed us that there is no such thing as orphaned turtles because that is what is supposed to happen. The mom lays the eggs and then she's done. The babies are on their own after they hatch and that's it. Most don't make it to adulthood. And my children think they have a rough life. (Now that I think about it, Mama Turtle might be on to something...no laundry, no cooking, no whining, no fighting....hmmm...)

This might explain why we saw small turtles earlier this year. I had seen a mound in our back yard, but didn't think much about it. I thought perhaps the dog had been digging. Actually, truth be known, I thought it was a massive pile of doggy boomboom, but then realized it was dirt. I think that perhaps the turtles we found earlier were hatched from eggs that wintered over. Don't know for certain, that's just wild and half-informed speculation on my part. (Ahh, the wonders of Internet searches. You too can think you're an expert on anything in mere minutes!)

I do know that we need to put some kind of screening over the nesting site so that skunks and raccoons can't eat the eggs. And then, in 60-80 days it'll be Turtlemania around here. If all goes as expected anyway.

Cross your fingers. Because when does anything around here ever go as expected?

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Little Crafty: Desk And Chair

After my dad built a loft for Maggie, I was on the lookout for a desk to go underneath it. She has a vanity and dresser that were mine (and my parent's before me) when I was younger. They are very nice, old pieces and she uses the vanity a lot. In fact, the vanity was doing double duty as a desk. Maggie is a bit of a packrat. (That sentence I just typed was the world's greatest understatement. For reals.) She is also, true to her impending teenager-hood, not the neatest person in the world. If that vanity could talk, it would be whimpering and beseeching me to find a desk to reduce its load. I had been on the lookout for an inexpensive, sturdy, wood desk for several months. At last, my BFF Goodwill came to my rescue.

I found this desk for $19 dollars. It was all wood and in excellent shape. At least until I got it home and there was a mishap with a drawer. But no worries! A little wood glue and paint and you can hardly see where Pat, I, we dropped it. Notice the lovely drawer pulls. They are no longer a part of the desk. A trip to Hobby Lobby and some silver metallic spray paint were the remedy to the ugly.

It sat in the basement for a few weeks but eventually I got around to sanding it and priming it and painting it. Then Maggie told me that she wanted polka dots on it. I was flummoxed. I knew that if I did girlie polka dots, that in a few years, she'd be tired of it and I'd be redoing that desk again. So I had to come up with something that would have the required circles but still allow us to keep the desk the same for more than a couple of years.

I decided to do some random circles in different sizes in the colors of her room--green, blue, and purple. Although they don't look purple in the pictures, the smallest circles really are. In the pictures, they've taken on more of a blue cast, while the blue circles look more blue and less silvery-blue than they really are. That's what happens when you take pictures at night and you are in a hurry. Oh well.

The chair is this one that I found ages ago. I sanded, primed, and painted it as well, and then added some paint and embellishment with a silver paint pen. Again, it looks not quite right in the pictures because of the glare from the camera flash, but I think it turned out well.

Maggie was very pleased with the results. She declared the chair "beast" and the desk "awesome." Her friend told me I was "hardcore" in my abilities. (I think that's good, but I am ancient and don't speak the language.) Apparently I can rock my mad art skillz, yo.

She spent the evening that we moved it into her room organizing her desk. Everything is neat and tidy. Shocker! I may have to go take a picture of that, because as we used to say when I was in 4th grade and somebody was staring: "Take a picture! It lasts longer!"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You All Think You Have The Best Dad, But I *Know* I Do

Today I will make the hand off. I will meet my parents half way between our house and theirs and give them the care of my three oldest children for the next 5 days. I am excited about this for a number of reasons, no the least of which is entertaining the possibility of getting some things done around here. Do you have any idea how much time I will have on my hands with only one child? The amount is multiplied exponentially in correlation to the number of children that will be gone. I believe the proper term for the amount of time I will find myself with is "oodles."

But! Today is also Father's Day and I will have the opportunity to see my own father. This doesn't happen very often. I always call and send a gift and card, but today I get to hug my daddy and tell him in person what an awesome man he is. I have many reasons to love my daddy, and in case I forget to tell him in person, because after all, the hand off will only take a few minutes, I want to share some of the reasons I love him here.

I love my dad because he has always seen me as a more beautiful person than I really am. He looks at my outside and calls me beautiful. No matter how much weight I gain (or lose), no matter how many gray hairs I get, no matter that it looks like the crows have been stomping around my eyes, he has always made me feel beautiful. Even when he called me "bird legs" as a newborn, he thought I was beautiful. But my daddy also thinks I'm beautiful inside. He sees the things that I do and the way I'm wired, and he loves me anyway. He thinks (and my mother has tried to correct him, lo these many years) that I am smarter, kinder, and lovelier than any other girl. (With the exception of my mother.) He has told me so. And those words have meant so much, because they set the bar high for any boyfriend I ever had. I knew how the opposite sex should treat me, because of the way my dad treated me. And I was fortunate to marry a man very much like my father; a man who thinks I'm beautiful inside and out and tells me so. Thanks for that lesson, Dad.

My dad is an outstanding craftsman. The best pieces of furniture in my home were built by my father. When people learn that my dad built a particular piece, their reaction is always the same: their mouths pop open and they'll exclaim something along the lines of "Your dad built that?! That is amazing!" He has never told me "no" when I've asked him to build me something. He's made me stacking bookshelves, a beautiful curio cabinet with a leaded glass window from my parents' house serving as the door, several picture frames, a loft, a bunk bed, two jewelry boxes, and a cradle that all the grandchildren slept in as infants. I'm sure I'm forgetting things too. He has spent countless hours in his basement workshop, building things for me. He has shared his amazing talent freely and filled everything he's made with love.

He's also a hard worker. In his 70's now, dad isn't content to sit around when he comes to visit. Often, he does small tasks like hanging pictures, fixing broken blinds, or mounting curtain rods. These are things my husband hates to do, so they get knocked down to the bottom of his To Do list. My dad has always been helpful in picking up that slack. Some of the tasks are not so small, like helping my husband lay hardwood floor in our foyer, kitchen, dining room, and powder room. This is a job that took several days, but without my dad's willing help, I can pretty much guarantee it would have taken several weeks to finish.

My dad has a great sense of humor. He's always been good for a laugh, even if some of his jokes are punny. He laughs a lot and has a quick wit. He taught me and my brothers how to squish pudding between our teeth--not something you would put on your resume, but a definite skill to have to amuse your friends. My dad also played along in the Gross Out Mom game. Sometimes he was the instigator. This game was usually played around the dinner table, but the beauty of it was that it could be played anywhere. Often this game involved the words "boogers" and "snot." We are a Klassy Family, y'all. He was also the referee in this game and if he sensed that we were sending my mother over the edge, he stopped us. Great times...

Daddy was a Director of Special Education for many years. He was a champion for exceptional children, making sure that needs were met and students were taught. He believed (and still does) that everyone had worth and could learn and was valuable to their community. His compassion for the "underdog" was a great example when I was growing up.

My dad is an excellent teacher--whether it's Sunday school, how to bait a hook, using a tool, or helping his daughter with fractions. He is passionate and understanding and creative.

I have appreciated the way my dad has always encouraged me. In his own quiet way, my dad has let me know that he's on my side, no matter what. I have always known that my dad was in my corner. Even when I got into trouble, I knew that my dad had my back. He'd let me know that he was angry and I certainly had consequences, but I always knew that there was nothing I could do, no trouble big enough that my daddy wouldn't be there for me and love me.

I love watching the relationship my dad has with his grandchildren. They love their Papa. He plays with them. He fishes with them. He does projects with them in his workshop. They know that when "the moose is loose" they'd better watch out, because tickling is close at hand. They know that my dad is good for donuts, ice cream, and cookies. (This hasn't changed since I was a kid. I always loved grocery shopping with my dad, because he never stuck to the list.) They know that Papa will tease them, tickle them, wrestle a little and give them a hard time about boy/girlfriends. They all feel special around him. They all feel loved.

I am thankful that my dad knows and loves Jesus. I am grateful for the times he made me go to church, even when I didn't want to. I am blessed by his teachings about Christ. I am blessed by the example he has been of Christian love and service. I am so thankful for his example of a solid, Christ-centered marriage. He has loved and been married to my mother for over 50 years. In that time he has been a role-model for his sons and daughter, his son and daughters-in-law and his grandchildren for how a husband should treat his wife and how a father should treat his children. (Well, maybe not the Gross Out Mom game...) He has given me a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father is like, because although my dad is not perfect and has made mistakes, he has loved me as wholly and as wonderfully as anyone ever has.

Thank you, Daddy for being such a wonderful Earthly father. I love you loads and loads! Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Photo Friday: Rain

"When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure."
Alice Hoffman
All photos taken with a Canon Rebel xti, 18-55mm lens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rain Dance

It has been raining. The boys are bored. I am mean and will not let them watch endless hours of television, or play endless hours of video games. They asked if they could go outside and play in the rain. There was no thunder or lightning. It was warm and humid. They were making me cuckoo. Why not?

They joined several of the neighborhood boys, riding their bikes and splashing in the puddles. I decided to document that I am not the World's Meanest Mom by taking my camera out and capturing the moment so that I might throw it back in their faces remind them later that I let them have fun. Once.

They had a ball splashing in the puddles.

They splashed each other.

There was payback for splashing in the eyes.

There was much singing and dancing and imitating Gene Kelly.

Sean became suddenly camera shy when he realized that you could see his underwear through his wet shorts. Proving yet again, that I am not the World's Meanest Mom, I have pixellated Seannie-boy's pictures so that no underwear can be seen. Because while the boy revels in potty humor, there is nothing more embarrassing to a 7 year old than underwear.

Even Tilly came out to play. Dainty flower that she is, she wasted no time shaking off the water from her fur, immediately drenching my legs. Dumb dog.

After coming inside, the boys dried off, put their wet things in the laundry room sink and got cozy in their pajamas and blankets. They were laughing and joking about the fun they had had. It made me glad that I loosened up and let them do it.

Note to self: loosen up more often. It's a good thing. And it'll probably take me completely out of the running for being the World's Meanest Mom.