Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's Pretend This Happened Yesterday

Yes. Let's pretend this happened yesterday, instead of almost two months ago. I wasn't exactly on my game blogging-wise this summer. So let's just act like this is my back-to-school-what-I-did-over-my-summer-vacation essay. Mmmkay?

So. July 4th. Usually what happens is my family invades for a couple of days, bearing food and ready to celebrate our country's independence by blowin' thangs up. This year what happened was my family invaded for a couple of days bearing food and... a local burn ban. Meaning because of the dry conditions, it was illegal to blow thangs up. Super bummer. Many towns in the area even cancelled their fireworks displays because it was so dry. Our local display takes place over water, so it went on as planned. (We walked there. Late, natch. So we watched from a distance, got eaten by mosquitoes, and sweated off about 3 pounds each because it was 10 p.m. and still 94 degrees. Can't say it was everyone's favorite experience. Hopefully next year will be better.) But, man, as always, there was food.

I took some pictures, but my camera and I have grown apart a bit. I just didn't feel much like picking it up this summer. Kinda burned out. I hope to change that soon. So I took pictures, but my heart wasn't really in it so they aren't the best pictures ever, but they'll serve to document the occasion. Also, most of the pictures take places indoors because it was just too bloody hot to be outside in the middle of the day.

The Texas cousins arrived first and were immediately indoctrinated into the ways of Double Fine Happy Action Theater.

Setting off virtual fireworks. Not as great as the real thing, but at least it was air conditioned.

Even my Soopah Genius brother participated.
Posing for the camera on Double Fine Happy Action Theater.

Those are some of the saddest looking monsters ever. They posed much better later.
The Texas cousins got to have a virtual snowball fight. Almost as much fun as the real thing. 
Audrey did Maggie's makeup. Isn't it fabulous? Or something...

One good turn deserves another, so Maggie did Audrey's makeup.

Isn't it crazy how alike these cousins look?

Everyone says they got the nose from my dad.
Mike and Sean going for the fake nose pick.
And how about the family resemblance of my mom, myself and my sisters-in-law?

Given the resemblance, you'd never know they're only related by marriage. 
You know how they say that couples who've been together for a long time start to resemble each other? I have proof.

After almost 54 years of marriage, they are starting to look alike. 

My sister-in-law and my sweet nephew spent some quality time with some play-do and crayons.

I'm really glad that after cleaning out Mary's closet, we didn't donate the Little People zoo. It came in very handy for this visit. (Bonus: I convinced my SIL to take it home for him. One less trip to drop off stuff at Goodwill for me!)

Papa, Mike, and Sean had a good time drawing while everyone else watched the Olympic qualifying for the women's gymnastics.

The cousins played "tongues." It's like "spoons", but instead of grabbing a spoon, you stick out your tongue. It was hilarious to watch.

Mike celebrated his birthday with us again. And with pie. Mmm....pie...

And then, just as people were trying to leave, my mom said my brother's (Uncle Grumpy) favorite words: "I need pictures of the family!"

This is what you get when you pile 2 grandparents and 12 grandkids between the ages of 2 and 19 together on a couch and three people are trying to take pictures while shooing the dumb dog out of the room.

It may not go on a wall as a beautiful portrait, but it's pretty representative of our time together: chaotic and fun with a strong undercurrent of love.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Because It's Been A While

I haven't done any sort of crafty stuff in a while. Okay, in addition to being a poorly crafted sentence, that last sentence isn't entirely true. I've done some things, I just haven't posted them. But today, because as I have shoved down your throat mentioned a time or two before, since I'm a giver, I'll share a quick and easy project with you.

Way back in late May or early June, when life around here was a little slower and before the mouth of hell opened and started spewing the heat of a thousand suns across the Midwest, I liked to spend time on my patio. (Actually, the last several days around here have been very pleasant and I've found myself out there again, which is what reminded me of the project and what spurred me to do this post. Stop yawning, figuring out how I originate my posts is totally riveting.) And even though we have landscape lighting, I wanted something else to create a little ambiance around the patio. And trust me on this, me in a tank top swilling wine doesn't do much to create ambiance, so I thought that perhaps ambiance and something to distract from my tank-topped wine swilling would be in order. I found just the project in the diy column of my local paper. It also met my criteria for such projects: cheap and easy. You know, like those girls that weren't us in high school.

Yes. So.

Here it is:

It's too light out, so the lights aren't on.

Caught this one before it shut off. 

I don't know exactly what to call them. Solar bowls? Light globes? Whatever. They only required me to buy one thing--the el cheapo solar lights on a stake from Walmart or Garden Ridge or where ever you can find el cheapo solar lights on a stake. I already had a bowl and the glass pebbles, which are totally optional, by the way. Um...the pebbles, not the bowl, because how else would you do the project without the bowl? Then it would just be broken solar lights. And that's not ambiance. That's just...kind of what our yard looks like by mid-August anyway. Ahem.

Here's what you do:
Measure the opening for your bowl. I think my big bowl was about 5 inches, my smaller one was...smaller.
Find a solar light on a stake that will fit over your opening without falling through. This was not a hard task. I found the cheapest ones I could.
Toss some glass pebbles in your bowl. (If you wish.)
Take the solar light thingy off the actual stake thingy. (Look at me getting all technical!)
Place the solar light in the opening of your bowl.
Run in and out of your darkened bathroom hooting like a deranged owl because it's 2 in the afternoon and too early to see any results outside and you want to see it now and good golly, but it's kinda neat-o!
That last step is also optional.
But it's only optional if you are a fun-killer.

Taken in my bathroom. Totally dark and totally sanitary. 

I made three of these solar bowls/light globes/whatever thingies to sit out on the tables on my patio. Now, you're not going to be able to sit out there and read by these lights, but they do provide nice little patches of light and are great when you are sitting out there visiting, or having a glass of wine, or visiting while you are having a glass of wine, or if you've had too much wine, visiting with your wine glass. I think they would be nice on tables at an outdoor party. But you would have to check that out for yourself, as I am a little anti-social and the thought of throwing a party that would use these lights gives me hives. But, if you are hive-free at the thought, you should totally try it. And then let me know about it. Or heck, even invite me. I mean, chances are good that I won't be so nervous that I'll stand in the corner saying inappropriate things about your dog. Then again, maybe you should just tell me about it.

Hmmm...I'm starting to wonder if this entire post is why I haven't published a crafty project in some time. Let's see...images of me in a tank top swilling wine, slipshod materials list and project instructions, and talk of my anxiety about parties. Yeah, sure! I should absolutely write another one of these tomorrow!

Alrighty, then. Goeth and maketh and enjoyeth your lights.

Oh, yeah! You might want to bring these inside if the weather is dicey and your patio or deck isn't covered. Wind and glass don't always get along very well and I would hate for something to break or someone to get hurt. (Please don't sue me. I have no money. My children will never get therapy. Pray for them. Also, don't sue. Thanks.)

Okay. Now, goeth and maketh and enjoyeth and all that other stuff.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have a lot to do. School started today and my house looks like a group of drunk frat boys decorated. I just didn't see the point in the last week in trying to keep the house picked up after my children. Despite my constant haranguing, they did as they are wont and left their stuff all over the house, preferring television, swimming, playing with friends, and playing video and computer games to cleaning up after themselves. I, who was busy shuttling people to various big box stores to spend my retirement savings on school supplies, had neither the time nor the energy to fight entropy.

And so, I am now living in our neighborhood's version of Delta Tau Chi. Well, if dirty socks, dog hair, and video game controllers were beer cans, kegs, and dirty underwear, anyway. It's a smidge unkempt around here is my point.

I have about 4 loads of laundry to fold. (I'm not sure what constitutes a load at your house, but at our house, a load=filling the washer to capacity and then stuffing in about 6 more items and asking your 13 year old to help you close the washer door. My appliances hate me.) Every flat surface in my kitchen is covered and needs to be decluttered. And the dirty socks and shoes in the family room? The dirty sock/shoe to person ratio is about 4 to 1. The dog hair bunnies have dust bunnies. The globs of toothpaste in the kids bathroom sinks have grown, if not to toothpaste mountains, then at least toothpaste foothills. There are 11 post it notes on the cabinets above the desk where I am writing this. They all contain urgent messages/reminders of things that I need to get done. They have been up there for three weeks. I like to think of them as my own Mondrian-type art. It makes me feels sophisticated. In a hillbilly sort of way. My vacuum cleaner has been sitting in a corner mocking me since last weekend when my beloved installed some new appliances in the kitchen and I had 3 minutes to string together to vacuum up styrofoam from the packaging.

I hear that swine flu is making the rounds at the State Fair. I am afraid that the health department will be ringing my doorbell any day now, quarantining us as Ground Zero for swine flu virus development, such is the state of our piggishness around here.

And yet, in spite of all that, here I am sitting at my computer all lackadaisical-like, typing my little heart out because I feel as if I have been maintaining radio silence for the better part of 3 months, only emerging from the underground to publish birthday posts, and dagnabbit! I am ready to write a little more. Priorities, people. I has 'em! I can totally ignore all the dust bunnies, dirty socks, and the lady from the health department on my doorstep while I am sitting here writing. You know where I learned all my mad prioritizing skillz?

From my children.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


It can't be possible that today you are 16. I know this because I myself am only 18. At least that's how old I feel in my brain. So there is this jarring sense of what I know is true-- I am 44, you are 16--and what I perceive-- I still feel young, so I can't possibly have a 16 year old.

Reality. She bites.

Today you are 16 and I am proud. I am proud of the young woman you are becoming: intelligent, compassionate, funny. I am grateful. I am grateful for things neither of us has control over: your beauty, your health, that God has your future in His hands. And I am blessed. I am blessed by our relationship: as you grow, I see it moving towards that bond that my own mother and I have; that of mother/daughter and also that of friend/friend.

If, through all the buzziness of my words that it seems I am continually throwing at you you glean anything, I want it to be this: No matter where you go, no matter how near, no matter how far, no matter what you do, I am your mama and you are my Peach and I will ALWAYS cheer for you and I will ALWAYS want what's best for you and I will ALWAYS love you. To infinity and beyond. Forever and ever. Period. The end.

You light up my life in ways I never knew possible, and for the incredible gift of being your mom, I thank God every day.

Happy birthday, Maggie!

P.S. You are my favorite Maggie.