April 29, 2011

The Great Hair Caper of 2011

If you follow my Pinterest* account, you might have noticed that over the course of the past few weeks I have pinned a bajillion of these.

Notice anything in common?

Right. I wanted a red rinse put in my hair. I thought about it for weeks and weeks, just to make sure I wanted to take the risk with the hair I’d been growing out for 15 months. Now, I realize I am no hair professional. And I realize I have made a great many mistakes in my life pretending to be one. But I really thought I had it whacked when I went into the salon and asked my usual stylist about putting a semi-permanent rinse in my hair that was at my same hair color level. Not lighter; not darker. Not more violet or more ash. Exactly equal, only red. A "termporary, transparent film of red" I told her. She assured me it would wash out in about 6-8 weeks if I used color- safe shampoo and there I sat. When my hair was washed, rinsed, and the towel removed, I looked like this:

Don’t roll your eyes at me, People. I’m not far off! The red took to my hair like a sonofabitch. It was not a transparent film of red. It looked thick. It took some time as I tried to get used to it. I wanted to like it. I wanted to LUUURRRVE it. But I couldn't. It was NOT me. In fact, I used this to fade it more quickly:

This shampoo smells like your granny but it will get ANYTHING out of your hair (chlorine, too, Peeps). The color swirled around in the tub like crazy but only faded a little. I liked it much, much better after the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th times I washed it. Each time it looked more like a color you know, found on Earth.

By the time the Dierks Bentley Jaegermeister Country Tour rolled around, I had it at a point where I thought about keeping it. Briefly.

Both Mindy and Bryon liked it, but I just couldn't get there.
Finally, on Easter Sunday after church no less, I decided I had had enough. It just wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like myself or any improved version of myself or any whatever of myself. I started searching the interwebs for a solution. I was ready to break out the Dawn dish detergent (that shit will strip color from hair, too – the blue original Dawn – but it really dries it out)… when instead I found multiple positive remarks about a product called Color Oops (available at Walgreens).

Color Oops does not use ammonia or peroxide/bleach to remove color from your hair. You mix the two bottles, apply the gel and wait 20 minutes, and then rinse your hair for 27 hours. The most recent color application to your hair is removed. During those 27 hours the hair color intermediates (molecules) shrink back to their original size before they applied themselves to your hair, and then rinse out of it. The process was easy, though I’m only partly kidding about the 27 hours of rinsing. It did take forever. And a LOT of hot water. In the end, the bright red was removed from my hair and rinsed away and I was left with a ginger “natural” color. Why ginger you ask? BECAUSE THE SEMI-PERMANENT RINSE SHE USED HAD PEROXIDE IN IT, despite her assurances that it did not. So my natural color was no longer what I started with; it was lighter. I was unwilling to do anything more myself and instead placed that frantic 911 call to my stylist after hours, politely requesting an appointment at her earliest possible convenience.

You might be wondering why I didn’t wait or call my stylist for help to begin with. Or even made an appointment to have HER remove the red. If you’re wondering these things then, 1) you don’t know me very well. When I am determined to do something, I am impatient. Also, I have to do it and see it through by my own self (this, said in the most Mabelish way) and 2) well...keep reading.

I kept washing it and rinsing it after the Color Oops. Each time I used a protein treatment and a deep conditioner. The Color Oops had NOT “stripped” or damaged my hair, but it was a bit dry from all of the rinsing. Couldn’t hurt. Plus I knew how porous it would be after the color removal. If there was any hope of me redying my hair darker WITHOUT it becoming full out black, I knew it was in my best interest to fill my hair follicles up with protein. Weird that I know that, but I do know that one!

Bless Bryon’s heart. He liked the red. He loves me regardless. He was trying to figure out what to say and I really couldn’t tell him what I needed to hear. It felt like I had wasted the 15 months of growth. I was sure I’d end up cutting all of my hair off again, just to get back to my natural hair. And yes, I banged my head a million times wondering why I had to go and feel adventurous and fix something that most certainly was not broken.


On Monday I had to go to work with ginger hair. Lucky for me I had to leave work early, so I only had to face 2 people who asked about my hair. I refused to make eye contact with anyone else and I wouldn’t eat lunch out in Bryon’s shop either. Hell no. I had Snuffalupogus hair. Seriously.

I quickly made an appointment at the salon. My usual stylist was not available. The only person in that salon who could ever possibly remember what my natural hair color WAS wasn’t available. Of course. Instead I saw Monica and showed her my eyebrows. First, I gave her all of the paperwork and information on Color Oops so that she would know what chemicals (hydrosulfate) were used. Then I apologized for not leaving it up to the professionals, but I’m human. And I’m a girl. We do shit like this. She was nice, but… in retrospect, not the level of colorist I probably needed. Poor Monica.

We started with a semi-permanent, neutral brown. She used a level 6/7, which I am naturally. I told her that the Color Oops packaging had suggested a level lighter than what you want because the color grabs too darkly on porous hair, but she “assured” me that she knew what she was doing and it would be just fine. Right. And that red didn’t have any peroxide in it before. I prayed. I prayed SO HARD. I also suggested that we do another protein treatment just in case but she assured me that it wasn’t necessary either because my hair felt so healthy. Alrighty then. I prayed some more, and the semi processed on my hair. I should also mention that Monica suggested adding a few teeny, tiny, itty, bitty strands of lighter color so that the overall look would be dimensional instead of flat. SHE USED BLEACH, PEOPLE. The highlights lifted like mad. Then she ran off to mix a toner that would darken the highlights she’d just put in. Wait… what? My hair was already lighter; there was no need for bleach. Who approved highlights?

She dried my hair facing away from her mirror. I hate that. Seriously. This is not What Not To Wear. I do not need a big reveal. Dried, my hair looked better. It did. It wasn’t red anymore. It wasn’t ginger anymore. Snuffalupogus was gone. Except my roots were auburn. Dark auburn, but the red was still there. And the highlights? Oh holy shit. They were not itty bitty or teeny tiny. She did not weave them in and out… she just took a line! A whole freaking line. They were HUGE.

I took some deep breaths. She looked at me with hopeful eyes, that Monica. Bless her heart. I know she was trying to help me fix a problem I helped to create. But I have a fundamental problem when we pay service industries for something with specific instructions, who then do not follow our requests. I decided to think with a thankful heart and be grateful for the progress made. I thanked her for that. And I told her what I liked about it. And then I told her what I did not. She took it well and back over to her chair we went.

She another semi (if you are wondering why we didn’t use permanent it is because that DOES use peroxide to alter the color composition of the hair strand and you don’t want to do that until you fine tune the exact color you want; with semi, you can get it wrong with less consequence). She used level 6/7 again but applied more ash to get rid of the red in the roots. She also did some weaving on the ginormous highlights to lessen them by over half. Another 20 minutes, another wash and rinse, and she dried me again backwards.

This time it was much, much better. And much, much darker. My Lord I would bet I am a level 4/5 right now. That’s almost Katy Perry, Folks. I inspected it again and was resigned to two things, 1) it was as good as it was going to get without ending up even darker because Monica was incapable of listening to her customer say "I think we should use a lighter color", and 2) I TOLD HER SO. I told her it would take like mad. I told her she needed to use ash the first time. I told her teeny tiny. But… there I was.

I went home and called Mindy, in tears. Decided I’d used them up on her before B got home so he didn’t have such an emotional meltdown to deal with, not speaking girl and all. Mindy dubbed the whole thing The Great Hair Caper of 2011 and convinced me to go wash it. I was terrified that if I did, the ashy dark in the roots would rinse out all at once and uncover the red. But it did not. I had it dried by the time Bryon got home.

He looked at me from across the kitchen.  “I like it,” he said.

That’s big, considering positive responses from B come in two forms: it’s fine and it’s alright. Those are GOOD responses. But ‘I like it?’ That’s even better! 
I got up in the morning and didn’t wash it. Because I wasn’t ready to lose any more of the color. I don’t know. Maybe I like it darker. Maybe. Maybe it’s going to be just fine and I won’t have to chop it all off. Maybe. I’ve always loved dark, dark brown hair… just haven’t given it a go. Until now.   

* Do you know about Pinterest? It is FABULOUS. It auto links to all of your posted images from the web, providing proper credit, which is key! Plus it’s a handy place to keep all the things you love and search for new things to fall in love with. I tired of Tumblr, which would not allow me to sort. So there you are. Go check it out, and please see it for all of my Pin sources!   

April 28, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. She is in heavy rotation in my car at this moment. Heavy, heavy rotation. I have always loved girl rock. Between Katy and Pink, I've got that covered.

2. Even though I'm not brave enough, I adore this. Just adore it.

3. Spinach on my tuna salad sandwich.

4. The fact that Mabel wants to wear her doo-doos (tu-tus) as often as possible. At least twice a week to the sitter's and definitely out to the grocery. I find it charming.

5. A stack of Liberty fabric and coordinating floss? OH HOLY CRAP.

6. Anna's staggeringly beautiful studio space. I am DROOLING.

7. Anna Maria Horner's new loulouthi line.

8. This beautiful bag, found here.

9. Aquage. For when you WANT to keep the color in your hair.

10. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. For when you don't.

April 27, 2011


Holy lightning rods, what a week already! Apologies for not posting yesterday, I was completely entrapped in other happenings.

I punched two holes in myself already this morning. The first, on my left index knuckle (is that an official medical term?) as I was reaching into my bathroom cabinet to grab my facial moisturizer. If my skin hadn’t been dry this morning, I could have saved myself the loss of blood. Ouch. The second hole came as I dug my black, patent pumps out of my closet. I swung my foot around and my right ankle collided with the corner of Bryon’s bedside table. It’s sort of a purplish triangle-shaped indent. More blood. Awesome.

My hair has been no fewer than 4 colors since last Wednesday, in a story that will become the Great Hair Caper of 2011. There is too much to tell you here; you’ll have to wait for the full story. Maybe with pictures.

The Dierks Bentley concert was Friday night and it was awesome! It wasn’t Brad, but it was pretty good. We had pit tickets, so we stood huddled together with a few hundred other South Dakotans in a little bitty 40x20 pit. Many people were NOT nice and stepped on toes. Mostly men. Jackasses. I forget where I live sometimes; this is B school. Small town. Saying something sideways about Farmer John’s cow can get you jacked up so I didn’t complain. Much. But we had fun!

Last night Mabel was singing. She is always singing. She sing-songs her story books, her baths, walking through the grass, sitting in the car (that’s usually a very LOUD song). You know, whatever. Last night she was straightening the shoes by the door (this is her little chore) and singing about… something. I couldn’t quite hear her. “What are you singing about tonight, Mabel?” I asked her. “Um… I be singing about God.” “That’s nice,” I said. “Why are you singing about God?” Then she said, “Because he makes me happy in my heart.” Be. Still. My. Heart.

Trevor told me last night that he is being picked on a little at school about his last name. I have no idea what to tell him. The right answer is ‘turn the other cheek’ – but how do I translate that into 10 yr old BOY speak that allows him to maintain a shred of dignity? He told me that he’s been praying about it, bless his heart.

I have decided that I ADORE dark nail polish, especially when it’s chippy. This is my favorite.

I started collecting Essie pink polish. I'm up to 7. So far, it’s only seen my toes but I am loving them. I might just leave them out on the counter for as long as possible, begging B to call me messy. Did I ever tell you that in our home, *I* am the messy one? Oh yes. And he’s okay with that. I kind of love it.  I mean, look how beautiful this one is (Ballet Slippers)!!!

I discovered a new blog this weekend that I very much adore. It’s called The Daybook. LOVE.

Something I have always done since highschool (highschool, People) was kept track of outfits that inspired me. I’d write down a quick description of the duds in the back of my notebook along with the name of the girl wearing it so I could visualize it in my head (thank GOD no one stole that sucker in study hall!) – this was necessary since I wrote down hundreds over the course of a school year. Then I’d stand in front of my closet with tons of ideas of cute things in my head, but sadly only a few things to choose from. Now, I have Pinterest and tons of blogs that inspire me. There are many times before I get dressed that I’m feeling sort of ‘blah’ style-wise. I stand in front of my closet (which is now massive because I am blessed, I will admit) and scroll through the pictures of the outfits I love until I land on one that inspires me to de-nekkid myself properly. Ahhh, the wonders of the internet.

The cat seriously weighs like 47 pounds. I think ¾ of that is fur. Good thing most of it will be on our couch and in our curtains soon!

Spaghetti always seems extra special when you make it with linguine and jack up the sauce some. Last night I added leftover red wine and burger. It was all I could do not to add cream, chicken stock, and some mushrooms. Good thing we were out of cream, chicken stock, and mushrooms.

I made Pioneer Woman’s brisket for Easter. Except I used two roasts that we had in the freezer and omitted one can of consomm√©, replacing that with water. It was perfect. Adored by all. And absolutely nothing like corned beef brisket, which may be the most foul thing ever in life. Ewww.

We finally ordered our fireplace! Drywall can now commence! Booyah!!!

You know, I have STILL not cleaned the salt off of my heels. Really. I’m ashamed.

I am already planning Mabel’s birthday party with a theme of horses. Did I mention? She still adores them. This morning she counted them on the way to the sitters and informed me that she would like a brown one, please. You know, the one with the pink and purple tail? Oh yes.

We have been visiting greenhouses and landscape spots recently in an effort to find some perennial grass (with plumes, please) for the hubs. He gets very into this you know. He was able to mow for the first time this past weekend and it put him in the best mood. Funny.

April 25, 2011

The Cat Is Fat

One afternoon while Mabel was napping, Bryon took the boys with him to do… boy stuff (Lord help my memory loss… anyway). Off they went. They weren’t gone 30 seconds when I heard a flapping and scratching noise upstairs. It was an awful racket! I was still standing by the front door to wave and say, “I love you.” I went up the stairs and quickly found the source of the noise.

She was not meowing, howling, or crying.

She was simply trying to remove her person from beneath the couch. Oh yes, Kiki was stuck.

Her fat ass had chased a catnip mouse under the couch and she’d reached in a little too far after it so that the hump of her rump slid in. Uh oh.

She was pissed.

She flapped and twisted her legs in a pendulum fashion back and forth to wiggle her enlarged self out from under that piece of furniture. (I mean really, Kiks… lay off of the poptarts, would ya?)

I started laughing. That kind of made her a little more irritated as you could guess. I mean she was swinging her little legs back and forth and back and forth and nothing was happening. Or maybe she was high as a kite and hallucinating from the catnip; it’s hard to tell. She flattened herself and scooted under more and then tried again (clearly not the most intelligent, this cat). She still didn’t meow; she wasn’t hurting. So I did what any responsible cat owner would do.

I got the camera and took pictures. And then I freed her.

Two seconds later she chased that damn mouse back under the same couch and bumped her fat humpy rump right under again. Then FLAP, FLAP, FLAP went her legs as she tried to petition her way out. I was laughing really hard by then.

If it makes any of you feel any better, she learned to free herself after about 29 tries. Now I don’t worry about coming home to find her lying there, patiently waiting for us to lift the couch off of her fat ass.

April 21, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. I have to do it. Sorry. HIM. He is my #1 favorite today, the first thing on my mind. He is my most important earthly relationship and I am forever blessed by him. He holds my hand in church. He lets me drape my leg across him in the bed every single night. He snores in my left ear. He wakes me up to kiss me goodbye before he leaves in the morning, even if it’s 4am – because he knows I like that. He picks up treats for me at the grocery. He wakes up and knocks me out of bed. I love him to the moon.

2. New etsy find here.

3. New etsy find here.

4. I still love mid-century modern furniture. Like, a lot. This cart looks like an old mail or library piece, but would be perfect for a record or book collector.

5. These darling felt flowers.

6. Pioneer Woman’s brisket. I made it last Easter and I’m making it again this year. So delicious.

7. The Passion of The Christ. See it – just once. You will be forever changed when you see what Jesus suffered for you.

8. Random Acts of Kindness. Seems an unsuspecting bloke has been pie-ing people in and around our parts. Just leaving strawberry pies on doorsteps with a note of Christ’s love. Just because. There are accounts of being pied coming in from a 50 mile radius. Hundreds at this point. Makes me want to bake cookies for our neighbor. LOVE IT.

9. Great hair is so important.

10. Unique style is also so important. Be brave!

April 20, 2011


I am really freaking sick and tired of this cold and wet weather. It's not spring weather; it's lazy winter weather. It's winter not wanting to pack up and leave is what it is. No thank you. This time last year, we had a yard party for Bryon's birthday. Remember this? Yes.  It was near 70 that day.

Friends came over on Saturday to help celebrate Bryon's birthday. The Boys (Dennis and Joe specifically) held him down so our boys (and Uncle Dennis' 3 boys) could all give him his birthday whacks. It was awesome.

Last night as we were sitting at a stoplight not 3 miles from our home, I stared at my husband in the driver’s seat. I remember when we first moved into the house. I was filled with excitement that I didn’t have to worry about seeing him each night; obviously I was going to see him. Just randomly sitting on the couch a few feet away. Breathing beside me in the bed. Shaving noises in the morning. It made me so excited, like the ultimate sleepover with my bestest friend (my ‘other’ person). Minus the flashlights. Anyway, I thought of all of this sitting at that stoplight and I still feel the same way. I am so excited that I get to go home to him at the end of every day. I cannot wait to pour out to him about my day and absorb the stories he tells. That man competes with me for story space in the kitchen. It’s so cute. [Vomit cue there, sorry.]

Bryon’s mother had surgery this week – nothing life threatening. She is recovering well and would certainly love some prayers if you have a few extra. Because of this, I had the reason to accompany my husband to the parking garage, the hospital, and the exact floor of said hospital where his father ultimately passed away a couple of years ago. He walked those halls in the midst of a terrible divorce, his heart breaking in half, and visited his father who was dying before his eyes. It must have been horrible. I will never meet Larry and that makes me very sad, but holding Bryon’s hand as he walked that same path touched me in some way. He was not distraught this time. He was smiling. He was not alone anymore, and that makes me very happy.

Did I mention that it seriously needs to stop snowing? It’s not a lot and it’s not pretty stuff. It’s the half rain, half spit snow. Slush falling from the sky. It would be rain (which I would be okay with) if the temperature was actually you know, ABOVE FREEZING. Jeez. It’s coming up on May here, People. This is a reason why the kids go for their summer visit as soon as they get out of school at the end of May. It’s warm where Shoes is… and still chilly here. They might as well go where they can swim and not have to wear stocking caps outside, right? And if you’re curious, we are a bit below normal temperature for this time of year, yes. But don’t worry, we’ll wake up one day and it will be 105 degrees. Just. Like. That.

Mabel has blue fingernails and purple toenails just now. Adorable.

I’m getting my hair done on Thursday. I need a trim. I am thinking of doing something fun, though. Stay tuned.

This past weekend was full of Jesus. It was ah-mazing. Friday night Bryon stayed up late and because God is so amazing, Fireproof came on JCTV at 10pm. Of course I'd seen it, but B hadn't... so we cuddled and watched until midnight. Then after church on Sunday, we watched The Passion of the Christ. Very, very moving. Not something I want to watch regularly, but it had been years for me and never for B. So there you go. God is moving in our lives. I love inviting him in together. So, so yummy.

I still need to clean my shoes. The salt and sludge lurks still. Really, Rachel. A washcloth will do the job; just get on it!

Andy is making the Smithsonian at home tonight. He's going to paint a shoebox brown, draw up the outside, adhere the backgrounds he drew of the inside, and then rig up Pocahontas, a buffalo, and a fighter jet (suspended from the ceiling) in the box. I am proud.

Speaking of Doug, we took the kids to Best Buy this past weekend to poke around and as usual, we ended up in the music room. Bryon and Doug both adore the guitar. And both are going to take lessons (together) this fall. I'm telling you, Andy picked up that flat black mini electric and I saw his eyes roll back in his head.

Trevor would like to play the drums. He gets to try them out this coming school year. If they are a fit (and I am still praying his rhythm finds him because right now he has NONE), we'll be putting some of those downstairs. With earphones on his head. Yowza.

Andy swung a putter the other night in such a fashion that Bryon nearly passed out. "I'm taking him golfing with me. Like, immediately," he said. Okay. He must be good!

This Friday is our big date night... going to see Dierks Bentley. Can't wait! Of course I'm still trying to decide what to wear. Need to cowgirl it up.

April 19, 2011

Goin' Hookin'

Bryon came to me late last week and asked if, one time for special occasion, it would be okay if he pulled the boys out of school for one afternoon to go fishing. He told the boys that they would have to plan their outing to play hooky, pack up cervelat sandwiches and Snickers bars, and dress warmly in case of rain. [Because bad weather and rain is when walleye bite best, I am told.] Unfortunately, this occasion to play hooky did not happen last week.

But Andy did not forget the conversation. Oh no. It came up again over Sunday night dinner.

“Bryon,” Andy said, “I want you to take me hookin’.”

We all giggled.

“Really? Bryon asked. “I think you might need a dress and heels first.”

Andy looked confused. “Remember, like you said? You were going to take us hookin’ last week.”

We all giggled again.

“HOOKY, Andy. Not hookin’.”

“Oh,” says Andy. “Well, what’s hookin’ then?”

“Never you mind!”

Hilarity, courtesy of Doug.

April 18, 2011

Oh, How I Love Jesus

The other morning, I was driving down the highway listening to Toby Mac. It’s 75 mph, that highway. La, la, la a typical work morning. Until I exited the highway. The car went all wonky and sideways a little, the wheel pulling and it made such an awful racket that I was a little scared. At the end of the ramp I stopped, got out, and looked down at the driver’s side tire. It was completely flat and flappy, lying there deflated on the wet asphalt. Sigh.

I got back in the car and started to think about calling Bryon out of work (uh, that sucks) or trying to change the sucker myself with the kids in the car and heels on (also sucks). It was just then that a passerby honked his horn at me. I looked up to see him there in his blueberry placenta stationwagon (long story, don’t ask). It was Jesus, coming to save me.

IT Jesus (that's him on the right there).

How this friend of ours came to be behind me on that road instead of at work already, I have no idea. Why he decided to take that highway instead of his usual route from home, only God knows. But he knelt right there and replaced my tire with the spare. I called Bryon, elated to say we were safe and also, IT Jesus was on the scene. Seriously, to have someone stop and help is wonderful. For it to be a friend is a God thing.

I am beyond grateful!

April 15, 2011

Four Fireworks

All four of the kids enjoy pop music. We listen to mostly top 40 stuff in the car (except on the morning drive to work - that's all Jesus), unless our ears pick up on things too sleazy. Which is definitely the case sometimes. But I’m not afraid of a swear. Lord love me some Green Day (which means lots of swearing); freedom of speech means there are a million ways to personalize a thought. Learning how to harness and respect that is important. But I believe it’s okay to listen to people sing out their hurt and angst by way of a song. Better than smoking crack, wouldn’t you say?

Anyway, one of their most favorite songs is Firework, by Katy Perry. Now, I love me some Katy. It’s no surprise that they know all of the words, now is it?

Here, captured on film to forever embarrass them is their singing AND car dancing the other night after dinner:

And by the by, look how long Doug’s hair is!


April 14, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. Walter, Pioneer Woman’s latest addition. Seriously. This is big puppy love… even though bassets smell. And dig through garbage. And run off to chase scents. And smell.

2. Terry tunic from Aritzia. Because we do not have one here and cannot order it anywhere in the United States online. SUCKS. Le sigh. (How Flashdance is this?!)

3. Ruffled pillows. HEART. From freshlypicked.

4. Repurposing old cabinets to store shoes and other items.

5. This bedroom – the heart wall and the chandelier…. Forgive me if I’ve already posted it. I really want to make that chandelier!

6. Gathering little girl room inspiration.

7. I’ve been searching long and hard for the perfect ottoman. I’m not sure this is it, but it’s going to do for now. I’m kind of already stealing it for my bedside table.

8. Lovely cowlneck shirts, like this one (thought I think, finally, it’s getting too warm to wear).

9. Vintage laundry cart, like this one.

10. Vintage earrings from here.  

April 13, 2011


I wore my mango heels to work the other day. Almost an instant blister. Clearly its been too long since I wore them last is what that means! They are mighty pointy but I love how unique they are. Also? I wore my new jersey sportcoat from H&M. LOVE.

Two favorites now from Starbucks: venti vanilla cappucino (old standby) and the venti cocoa cappucino. When B and I carpool to work (aka: drive together and hold hands) we make it special by stopping for coffee. Love this tradition.

My friend Mindy starting blogging again with more frequency. I am thrilled.

I have a new favorite daily blog read >> http://www.freshlypickedblog.com/   I am reading every post, all of the archives, and I AM SO MAKING THAT CHANDELIER!

I have given up my wedding shows. Clearly no longer a need for inspiration in that category and since I am so over the top in love with all of my wedding details, really what's the point? I might pause for a few to watch David Torturra (is that his name?) harsh on some bride's tacky shit ... but I've moved on. To Sister Wives on TLC. Hey, I didn't say I was proud. Though I can promise there won't be ANY type of that action or inspiration up in here. It's a guilty pleasure.

How's come I haven't made any cute kid clothing upgrades using freezer paper stencils yet? That is right up my freaking alley. WTH!

There was a picture that didn’t make it onto my CD from the photographer. We don’t care why, but we’re thrilled we have it now. Isn’t it loverly?

I really like my new job. One of these days I will have the balls to pop my ipod in and listen while I work. I’ve never been able to do that before on account of all the phone-answering and hand-holding I did for other parties. Now? Not so much. Love it.

I am beginning to realize, as we settle into life as a family of 6, that most of my insecurities (if not all, yes) are complete hogwash. God gave this to me. This is HIS gift. It’s up to us to protect and savor it, but if He is with us, then what can stop us? What can stand against? Nothing.

My son Andrew is a space man. I love him. I think of him every time I listen to The Killers’ Spaceman song.

Each of the kids received an mp3 player for Christmas this past year. Identical other than color. Trevor snuck his to the sitter’s house like, 2 weeks later, situated in the pouch of his backpack. He had a crisis of conscience that day and decided he would NOT use it, no matter the temptation, because he knew it was not allowed to be taken out of the house without permission. Except a friend of his stepped on his backpack that day and obliterated the mp3 player situated in that pouch. Here he came to me, all confessional-like, only to have it turn out that his mp3 player was broken. DOH! We haven’t replaced it yet to teach that ever-important lesson of not sneaking things out of the house, listening to the holy spirit when it tells you not to do something, etc. When we do Trevor’s room, he will come home to find a new mp3 player on his bedside table. He’s earned it.

Still haven’t done about a bazillion things I have listed in my brain to do, including trim my hair. Trim up the boys. Sigh.

April 12, 2011

Thought Stream On The Fly

Sorry I wasn’t able to make time to post yesterday. It’s been so busy and hectic. Work is different than it was before. I truly like it, but it’s going to take me a while to plan my blog posts in the evenings… they are so busy now.

I have a million things running through my head right now. I have SO many things to do and no time with which to do them, it seems. I need - *NEED* - to finish the girls’ quilt tops. I’ve decided just to do twin size for both of them and fold them under on the top bunk. That way, they will each have a full quilt when we undo the bunks into twin size beds.

The boys are both so anxious to see their room details, but most of it will have to be done while they are with their dad this summer. What a surprise when they get back! I know Shoes reads the blog, so I’ll have to put some pictures up while they are gone so they can be involved with progress.

Judy continues to improve. I’m so proud of her attitude and dedication toward rehabilitating quickly. She misses her dog and her house… and the weather will be just gorgeous by the time she gets sprung from the clink!

I’m also busy planning Bryon’s birthday for this weekend. I can’t wait to make him a cake and celebrate! LOVE.

April 8, 2011

Sometimes Soft Voice

It was a couple of weeks ago when it happened, and it took me by great surprise.

We were driving through town, the four kids in the back and Bryon driving. It was dark outside and it was LOUD in the car. This is typical. "Hey, look!" this and, "Mom, he poked me," that. "Daddy Bryon, I want ice cream," on the one side and, "Quit farting, Doug," on the other. Louder and louder they talked and giggled amongst themselves.

Bryon and I were holding hands just above the gear shift. My engagement ring was sparkling each time we passed under a lightpost. We were talking about this, that, or the other thing, trying to sneak in some meaningful conversation while they were keeping themselves occupied for a few minutes. Usually one of us is invited in with a question or request - or we butt in to break up something. But we were instead savoring just a couple moments of adult conversation. So, I wasn't really listening to the little voices anymore. They were becoming white noise as I listened to my husband talk about his thoughts.

I didn't hear it at first.

Then, "Mom?"

"Hey, Mom."


I allowed the interruption to seep into my brain on top of Bryon's voice. Wait a minute. Mom? That's me. I'm Mom. Wait... what was that?


It was not a boom. It was not a clang of a voice. It was a soft petal.


Gentle as a puppy lick.

It was... her.

Not this her.

THIS her.

And just like that, my heart melted into a puddle in my chest. I couldn't even tell you what she asked me. Something to do with a kid at school told her something about a cow. Or... something. At the time, I answered her but now I am overwhelmed at the sweetness that I can't remember anything other than her little, sometimes soft voice calling me something I never thought she would.

It's not that I thought she wouldn't. I hadn't thought about it at all. She's always called me Rachel.

I looked at him quickly and whispered, "Did I just hallucinate that?" and he squeezed my hand, smiled, and whispered back, "Nope."

My 3 called Bryon by name until winter arrived this year. I never gave them any guidance on the subject and neither did he; we figured if they were moved to do it, they would. If they weren't, no big deal. Love isn't what you call someone. Anyway, along with winter came guts I guess, and out flew the "dad"s and "Daddy!"s in earnest. It's not all the time, but they are comfortable saying, "My mom and dad." It makes our hearts happy. 

But this pipsqueak I hadn't thought of. I forget sometimes that our love gets to go both directions. I've loved Hayley for a year now, easily. Just like one of mine. And I know that she loves me back. She confides things in me that she doesn't tell her dad (secret ambitions to be a belly dancer, for example - nothing serious). She asks me things she's afraid to ask him. I know that she trusts me. Of course I think of her as another daughter.

But still.

Her sometimes soft voice got to me that day. And I am forever changed.

April 7, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

1. My new job. Holy mercy. God is sooooooo good. 1000% of the glory goes to Him on everything, but most especially this. I prayed so long to no longer be in an administrative role that I eventually stopped praying. Not because I gave up, but I submitted to God's will for my life and well, if that included a different job, He'd work it out. I couldn't drive it anymore. I'd done my part when I killed myself to finish my degree. Shoes HATED THAT. It was a terrible time in my life, actually. So, so hard. I needed that degree when I became the breadwinner for my children and now that degree... well, God knew all the time. I have been promoted by Christ. In so many ways.

2. This bag via Rachel Denbow's awesome and free TUTORIAL (Hollah!).

3. This artwork via Elsie.

4. Goetze's caramel creams.

5. My new desk plate at work. I'm official. Rachel Krutsch is in the house, yo.

6. Old lady towels from Anthropologie.

7. Cake batter pancakes (via thesweetestoccassion.com) - with "sprinklers" as Mabes calls them.

8. THIS COLOR. Dresses from thesweetestoccassion.

9. Beautiful summer skirts from Anthropologie.

10. This jewelry-fish dish from Anthro. NEED.

April 6, 2011

Weddenessday (PRON: WED.den.ness.day)

Trevor and Andrew need haircuts. Trevor will stay buzzed short for summer. Andy is growing out his waves (he has my father's hair) but he's too fuzzy.

I need a teeny, tiny, just-the-very-outtermost-split-ends-if-you-please trim myself. I should make that appointment today. I wonder how long I'll let my hair grow. It's almost long enough to braid and bun, People. Sweet.

Judy is back in the hospital. She's alright, but still has serious edema. It is under control and I am confident she will be okay even if I am not there. Sigh.

Bryon did some work on his truck the other night; more to come tonight, I think. We are evaluating options on said piece of vehicular transport.

I want to order a rug with a cat on it. I'm letting B soak that all in before I pull the trigger.

I finally painted my fingernails with this:

... I more than love it. It's chipping already and I love it and it's chippyness so much that I haven't removed it yet. It feels very 'Wicked Game' to me looking all chippy. I kind of love that. I got mixed reviews at work, but B likes it. So whatevs.

This weekend we are going to TWO work parties in one night. How fun is that?! I'm still deciding on what to wear. I'm kind of geeked up about it.

My first ever delivery of Madewell showed up yesterday. I'm more than in love. I do need to tell you that a size L is too big for me... their sizing is generous. However, once they are washed by the love of my life (ahem), they may fit perfectly. If they do not, I will nip the sides in. Definitely worth it.

I really, really, really want that cat rug. He wants a Huskers grill cover, so I think we're even.

B and I are behind in fireplace selection, so the builders have had to delay drywall. Pffft. Whatevs. It's not as though we have anything to do every night. *eyeroll* We do have to buckle down and make a choice though. Pretty immediately.

I want so, so, so much to have a small garden of herbs and vegetables at my fingertips. We're working on a way and on a list! FUN.

Bryon's wedding ring keeps falling off. Might need to have it sized down about 1/4 size. Of course it would help if it would WARM UP PAST 50 DEGREES ONE OF THESE DAYS. Our fingers shrink when it gets cold - do yours?

The other night as we laid in bed together watching reruns of The Office (really me introducing Bryon to all the love and yum and sattire that is that show because he never saw it before me), I played with his right eyelid. For no reason. Dude didn't move a muscle and let me just...gently pick up his eyelid with my fingers and snap it against his eyeball eleven times. Then I giggled and he smiled. I did it again *snap snap snap* and he smiled again. I love having him as mine. He didn't even make me quit when I snapped it sideways that one time.

I am dying to paint somthin'. Even got a 40% off coupon for SW burning a hole in my jeans. Except, we aren't ready yet and I have to cool those jets right now. I want to go nutso at Sherwin Williams, please. Pink, gray, a different gray, some other gray, and...yeah. Shuddup.

I do not know why I always say WED den ness day. I cannot be ordinary. Ever. I sort of love that about myself.

Over last weekend, thank the Lord, Hobby Lobby was having a sale on custom frames. Of course my 16x24 wedding print won't fit in a standard frame. So a custom (white, thick, scroll) frame had to be ordered. Good thing I was prepared.  $90 later and I cannot WAIT to see it.

Still haven't dropped off Trevor's quilt to the top quilter. Sigh. I've called her. In fact, she has a quilt for MBB. But I can't separate myself from the everyday enough to haul my ass over there and drop it off. ARGH. MUST DO THIS.

I am realizing that handmade clothes sadly do not last for me the way ordered clothes do. Generally speaking, anyway. And most - not all, but most - of the reason I order them is NOT because they are handmade. It's because I love their particular style. I don't think the cottons and fabrics I've ordered as shirts on etsy hold up the same as some of the fabrics readily available to big companies overseas. It's sad but it's true. I don't have money to spend on disposable clothing, Dude. While I support handmade work tremendously, I have to be wise about my pennies. I have vowed to be much more careful and to think about this when I'm transporting my pile of handmades ordered over this year off to Savers because they've washed up funny. It makes me sad.

The kids are all identifying themselves lately. Finding their own individualism. It is such a joy to watch. And hilarious. The girls are mismatching things on purpose (socks or patterns, usually) and waiting to see what we say. Soon enough they will realize they have a mom/stepmom who is ultracool in this respect.  The boys are breaking apart from wearing the same type of clothes. Trevor is more athletic and preppy, but in a relaxed way. Andrew likes skater style.

Did I mention I have a new job? I do. Same place, with Bryon. But... I am no longer in an administrative role. For the first time in more than a decade, I am flying on my own two wings. God has answered my prayers at last and I will never answer someone's phone again. It's a weird feeling to know my glass ceiling is gone. My degree is being used. I am remarkably proud of myself. And the very best part? My hours will be even more predictable and manageable with our family. Praise and Glory!

I stood up in church on Sunday. It started during worship. We were sitting, singing Waiting Here For You and I raised my hand in praise. That's not unusual, but it was the first time I ever rammed it up there fast like that beside Bryon. Usually I'm a gentle lift, but the Spirit got ahold of me and up it went. It felt like a lightning bolt hit me. There were plenty of others. The pastor asked us to stand and so, I did. One hand up, standing, the other hand down and holding onto the knee of Bryon's jeans. It was moving.

Burt's Bees Blemish Stick continues to be my holy grail skin everything. Try it. $7 cure in a bottle for anything ailing your face.

I cleaned my closet some more this weekend. Away went the shrunken shit. The things unworn or forgotten. This is the smallest closet I've had in a lot of years and it's a good lesson in creativity and "less is more." I will always struggle with this because I adore good fashion and I finally, FINALLY am comfortable enough in my own skin that I will wear whatever feels fun - that means variety.

I am thinking right now about wearing these new sandals (probably with socks) to the parties this weekend.

No, I was not kidding about snapping Bryon's eyelid eleven times. Or the one time it went sideways. He still kissed me like he meant it after.

Bryon has never heard me fart. [Even that one time in the middle of the night when I tooted so loud that I woke myself up.] This is huge. People, I have... issues. Loud ones. But never once in front of Bryon. It's an exercise in endurance some days. Mostly luck. It will run out one day, I'm fully aware. I'm pretty sure his burping body will love me anyways.

I want to do some hand embroidery soon. Something while we're lying in bed maybe. He's reading his Men's Health and I'm.... well, I'm snapping his eye skin. Clearly, a hobby is warranted some nights. On the nights when I'm not busy doing OTHER wifely things. In case you're the nosy type.

I am super excited that my new boss is okay with me listening to my iPod while working. HOLLAH!!! He listens to Christian rock in his office (along with some classic Motley Crue). He's a pretty cool fella.

I am really ticked that this adorable foot stool has a rip on the side.

Our Easter plans aren't situated yet. That's kind of making me wonky. Last year was AH-MAZING and I sort of wanted to declare Easter brisket and crash potatoes and Joe an established tradition. However, B's mother is having surgery soon and we will likely have Easter together with his sister, kids, and mom. Equally delicious, but it won't kick my want to cook. Might have to reconcile that with two Easter dinners.

Mabel learned to ride a big girl bike (with training wheels of course) last night. It has a hot pink banana seat. She is outgrowing her tricycle and is very proud of herself, cruising down the sidewalk next to "Sister".

Mabel doesn't call Hayley by name. She calls her "sister." As in, "Hi, Sister. Sister, come here. Sister, help me. Sister, you play the mama and I will be the baby. Sister, want to play legos?" and as in "Dear Jesus, thank you for my sister today." It is DARLING.

It would be super freaking awesome if Bryon's sister decides she does want to sell her hot tub. Cause we's be a buyin'. Of course that means no hammock, but between the nekkid hubs and the bubbles, I will survive.

In addition to the renovations in our walkout, we are doing some other things to the house. It needs to be ours. Bryon has always wanted a deck (which will come from the upper level sliding door) with stairs down to a pergola and patio with firepit and landscaped surround. Luckily he went to school to design just such a thing. I don't know how long it will take for us to save up the money to pay as we go (we don't want debt), but we are so thrilled to have plans for this.

I desperately want to find a dining room table for our family of 6. Praying the right one falls into my lap. Or into a vintage store any day now.

Schoolyear bedtime in our house is 7:30 for Mabel and 8:00 for the 3 bigs. Know why? Yes, it is partially because a child who sleeps is a happy and productive child the next day. But it's also because WE NEED ALONE TIME. They go to bed and we have privacy. We have time to invest in our relationship without interruptions. End of discussion.

This weekend I need to sit down and start writing down actual plans for what to put in each bedroom so that when we're ready, we're ready. Did you know that Trevor's 10/12 clothes don't fit on a child hanger? They fall all over the floor instead. Simple thing, but this means adult hangers need to go onto a list someplace. These are the type of lists I need to be making.

We think often about raising our children at the water's edge. We have a responsibility as Christian parents. A HUGE one. One of the ways we are choosing to protect them is with our internet rule. We do not allow our children to use the internet at home (this will be reevaluated and adjusted with parental controls in later years). They do use it at school for research. When they are older and there is a need, the computer will be in full view right smack in the kitchen or something. We have this rule because there are too many unsafe and UNSACRED places for them to wander by accident or on purpose. Why invite the devil in? No YouTube. No Facebook either. No Myspace. No chat rooms. No email. There is no need; they can use the phone instead. Every parent is entitled to parent the way they see fit and this is ours. I'm sorry if that makes us uncool, but that is our family rule and it's a firm one. SAFETY for their bodies and their souls.

If Mabel and Hayley have bunk beds, their quilts probably should NOT be actual twin size. They'll be too wide - especially with the rail across the top. It'll be all tucky and puckery and blah. I'm seriously considering making quilted duvet covers for their beds - using the quilt tops I've made of course, but altering plans to suit the beds.

The hubs and I are going to a Heaven & Hell event with LifeLight ministries next week. Considering I've never read the book of Revelation (or Daniel, actually), I can't wait to learn something. We are super excited!