August 30, 2012

Things I Love: Anthropologie

One of the things my husband did for me in Omaha last month was take me to Anthropologie. As much as I adore that store, I’d never been to one. I’ve looked online plenty and drooled at their magazine each month, but I’d never set foot into that paradise. And who would want to without coming out with something, so… it just wasn’t a priority to me. Not to say that everything in that store is expensive, but there is saving up required if you’re going to buy current season clothing. So… not a priority. [Though, it’s ludicrous that I stalk JCrew and order on sales and coupons and have never thought to do the same thing with Anthro… why have I been so intimidated, I wonder?]  

But my darling husband takes that magazine out of our black mailbox every month and knows that I pore over it at bedtime for days and days. He oohs and aahs appropriately when I love something (as good husbands learn to do – that is PINK, you know) and shove it in his face. And my darling husband knew that there was an Anthropologie in Omaha. He started mentioning it ahead of time, “We could stop at the Anthropologie on Friday afternoon.” But I just thought – Dude, you do NOT want me to stop at Anthropologie on Friday afternoon. What husband takes his wife to spend a wad? Seriously. But Friday afternoon arrived and my husband put me in the car and we drove exactly there.

I was squealing before we were parked. It was nestled into the nicest little mall. I took a picture when I went in the door so that I’d never forget what it felt like. I felt like a little girl, so excited! Bryon walked in with me but after a few moments, he left me in peace and busied himself with boy stuff elsewhere. He left me to look, try on, whatever – with no limitations on time or spend. The store smelled and felt like a pretty, vintage magazine. It was styled so beautifully I couldn't stop smiling.

I have always been a little boho. Goes with the crazy hair, see. I wouldn't say that I really know what I’m doing when I style in that direction, with much more experience with crisp JCrew. [And my most fave would be to MIX the two styles – holy cow.] Why might I not have experience with that style, you ask? Did you ask? Well, let’s pretend that you did. I did have experience with boho – in high school. Peasant blouses, ripped and embroidered (by me) boyfriend jeans, Birkenstocks (thanks, Mom!), homemade, layered, and very eclectic. Thing is, I met my ex-husband when I was 19. What he seemed fond of when we met did not continue as our marriage lengthened. I did not feel comfortable anymore leaving the house in a dress with jeans, embroidered jeans, or a homemade shirt. I began to think that I “looked weird.”

And then we moved into a very affluent neighborhood where everyone begins to look the same and the pressure is crazy to do so, so… I changed. Slowly but surely, I did. Hell, I shopped at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor almost exclusively 10 years ago. I can’t go into either store now – not a single step. It’s not to say that those clothes aren’t beautiful – they are. But I was never fully comfortable, fully myself wearing them. And I can most definitely not wear them now.

I always felt that vintage or homemade clothing were also out of the question back then. Not so today, Peeps! Slowly but surely I've been coming back into my own. Certainly once I was alone again after my divorce, which I adore because God required me to thrift for clothes to begin with (in order to save $)  I fell back in love with vintage clothing.

And so while I walked through Anthropologie, I felt Home. Is that strange to say about a retail experience? Is that hokey? Well if it is, so be it. I was out of my mind overcome with grace and style and inspiration in that store. I took pictures of everything.

I felt WORTH IT while I stood on the white brick floor of the fancy dressing room. I marveled at all of the handmade details of the store itself, vowing to try somehow to sew muslin onto some of my hangers, or to wrap them in fabric. Because, if they make me smile – why the hell not? I felt beautiful, People. Every woman should have the kind of experience that I did once in her life at least. [Thought I'm sure everyone's Home would look different.]

I tried on dozens of things and brought home several. My husband never asked, never complained, never said anything more than, “You look so happy!”  The pieces I bought will be staples of my wardrobe and many of them, I plan to copy somehow. Almost all are layering pieces, which makes me super excited because I know that means I will wear the dickens out of them. And that, People, feels like home to me.

I was so inspired because much of the styling I see can be easily duplicated. I’d never thought to mix the fabrics and ensembles that they did, which is why I was so moved while I was in the store. A simple chambray shirt – the possibilities are insane. I could have bought one there (for $100, no thank you), but instead added it to my thrift store list. I’ll find a plain men’s chambray shirt and style it up. Florals are swirling around in my mind. Florals are something that I usually shy away from but simultaneously ADORE when they are paired with denim or graphics, like polka dots. When florals share the stage, I fall in love.

And Dear B: I couldn’t help but think of this moment when we were listening to Brad sing later that night. Just like precious Andy Griffith in his moving song, you’d ‘Waited on a Woman’ that day. You are the best, Husband. A real catch. I am forever in awe that I am blessed by your love for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me that time, that opportunity to RESTORE myself creatively. I love you.

August 29, 2012


There is just a ton to report this week.

Mabel hobbled up the stairs half asleep over the weekend. Her hair was electrified as usual and she had sleep crusties in her eyes. Miss Beautiful made it to the potty and crumpled herself down on top of it. I think she was sleeping and pottying all at once, see. Anyway, I left her alone and closed the door – walked off to take care of the next thing that needed me. Just a few minutes later, Bryon and I could hear Moo singing while she was tinkling. This isn’t unusual. However, she was singing a little something different on this morning. Daddy tilted his head and tick-tocked his eyes as he listened to her (4-year-old and therefore incorrect) version of the lyrics to “Hysteria,” by Def Leppard. Oh yes she was. Both of us grinned. It was awesome.

Phyllis is on the mend after her second UTI this year. Why is it that some little girls don’t grasp wiping logistics? I mean, apparently I need to draw a diagram for this child. We made up a song that makes her giggle (and more importantly, REMEMBER) but I am not going to share it here because it might draw the wrong crowd. Please help us pray for proper wiping technique. Jesus hears even the oddest requests, you know.

Trevor’s second football game was Monday. Just like last week, he played over 3 quarters of the game and just like last week, he had some great tackles. Bryon had to go back to work because a very important machine had a very big issue, so I took the other 3 alone and provided text updates throughout the game. And then it happened. I saw the pass. Hunter sent the ball 25 yards, high and arched through the air, and my kid – my little baby boy – was standing there, wide open and wearing his receiving gloves. He caught that ball nice and tight, right in the gut. And then he ran… 20 yards, like his life depended on it. His mama couldn’t breathe, let me tell you what. Andy, Hayley, and Mabel were cheering for him (Go, Trevor, go! Run, Trevor!! – THAT was awesome to hear.) And then came the text that I truly was sad to send (since he missed it in person) HOLY SHIT…  TOUCHDOWN, TREVOR COX! 

After Trev’s team won their game and we hauled the gear back to the car and high-fived his bestie Carter (for the other touchdown of the game), Trevor flipped out. He wanted my phone. Immediately. Made me SWEAR not to call him first. Over and over we had to dial because he was standing on top of a 1200 degree oven in the plant but eventually, he answered. “Bryon! We won!” he said. “And I got 2 touchdowns!” The boy and his stepdad were all boy gooey for a few minutes. The kid was on cloud nine. I can’t wait until next week!

Two Sundays ago, the Holy Spirit walloped me in church. The kids were being distracting, which is my #1 pet peeve in church service, but the Spirit still found me. The band led us through an old hymn that I sang for years at Fort Hill Christian Youth Camp. Fort Hill, where I came to the Lord and was dunked in the pool at night baptism by counselor Wes, in front of everyone. That hymn has carried me through so many of life’s messes and glories. I really do sing it all the time. I never thought I’d hear it again, quite honestly. I mean, outside of my own vehicle and shower stall.

I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you.
Oh my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my king, in what you hear.
Make it a sweet, sweet song to your ear.

But right there in the second row at church, I sang that song again. Well, officially. And in the nights since it has become one of Mabel’s favorite bedtime songs. Amazing to me.

Speaking of Mabel and music, Mabel loves Mandisa’s “Good Morning Song.” KLOVE plays it around the same time every morning and Mabel wiggles and dances around in her carseat, just singing away. The song is about waking up on faith each morning, excited to see what joy God has to offer on a brand new day. I am so grateful for the goodness I can find on the radio. Good in = good out.

And more music… LifeLight is this weekend! Our company is not doing the sponsor tent this year, however, the festivities will carry on as usual. Newsboys, Sanctus Real, Skillet, Mandisa, and Tenth Avenue North are just some of the bands coming this year. The kids are all looking forward to going again. Three hundred thousand people gathered to worship Jesus in an alfalfa field under the gloriously large and blue skies of Da Plains? Oh, you betcha!

Is it just me or has half of this post been about Mabel’s mouth singing something? Hmmm. 

The girls start gymnastics again this Saturday, which is immediately followed by the first Nebraska football game of the year. Boy howdy, there will be chili. Well, maybe. Depends on if it’s still 100 degrees outside. End of August and still 100 degrees here in Da Plains. Oy. If it’s that hot, maybe we’ll do finger foods. That ought to allow Bryon and Andrew to have both hands free to high five every ten seconds. Oy (again).

And Dear B: Thank you for working so hard for our family. Thank you for collapsing into my arms after a treacherous 23 1/2 hour day yesterday. Thank you for allowing me to apply myself all velcro-like to your body and for kissing me goodnight like you still could make sense of the world. When I woke up about 2 hours later, we were still embraced in a kiss, with foreheads, noses and lips touching, and breathing in unison. Your arm was tightly around me and everything was still touching, all the way down to your tired long toes. How amazing is that?!  

August 28, 2012

The Weekend Stands Thusly

The children played a rip-roaring rendition of Hunger Games this weekend. I was very sore that I only snapped this one photo of Katniss (in glasses), who came in for a drink. I did not capture the awesomeness that was Peeta and the others, wearing backpacks full of play food, with Nerf guns and rocks. Even the baby was wearing knee socks and a headband. Wait. She's always wearing knee socks and headband. Anyway, point? Yes, Hunger Games is now a thing.

And also, #3 would like to have glasses so much she's sleeping in these (no lenses).

Mabel's space is pretty special. All of the animals (and mostly the horses) watch her sleep every night.

I had an evening to myself recently. I poured a glass of my favorite Pinot and made cookies for dinner. And I don't feel the least bit bad about that.

Oh, and Mabel Rae picked out her first day of school duds for preschool. Wait until you see!

August 27, 2012

I Won't Give Up

A new favorite, found by my loving husband.

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up
[ Lyrics from: ]
I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make

Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts we got Yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end you're still my friend, at least we did intend for us to work
We didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not
And who I am.

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
Still looking up... 

I won't give up on us
God knows I'm tough, He knows
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up...

August 24, 2012


Number 2 turned 10 this weekend. Big double digits now, yo.

With some Ninjago Legos (his favorite right now), a new wallet, and um…

this surprise, the kid was in HEAVEN.

Bryon spotted the full size amp in July and we talked with the music expert to make sure to select one that Andy could easily learn as a beginner. And then, we watched the sucker go on sale. It’s been hiding for weeks, just waiting for his birthday.   

Turns out that music expert is also a guitar teacher. Lessons will start again soon. And  yes, Dad may join him. Bryon gets all gookey at the sound of an electric guitar (do most boys, no matter their age, I wonder?) and if you want to know my personal opinion, Dad will have his own electric by Christmas. They can mirror one another then, which is a fantastic way to learn.

Andrew has grown so much in the past year and we are so very proud of him. He has his own favorite things, his own manner of speaking and processing everything, and his own sense of humor. I adore all of it, and I am in love with how unique Andy is. All the kids are, but Andy is a little weird, and he knows it.

He dresses up in anything to play or to get a laugh.

He is easy going and laid back, unless you leave him out or hurt his feelings. Even then, he’s over it in 2 minutes when he’s found something else to laugh about.

He loves science and art, but likes to get A’s in math and reading.

He learned to like tomatoes this year.

His favorite books are Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. However, he confessed to me recently that he read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series when nobody was watching. HA. Well, okay then!

More than anything, Andy wanted Hamburger Helper for his birthday again this year. It’s his favorite and reminds him of living with Nana.

His favorite cake is still yellow with chocolate frosting [just like mommy], which he helped me make this year.

His favorite spot to cuddle is in my side, burrowed down deep and covered in a quilt.

He loves motors and dirt and tools and gears and goes out of his mind every time Bryon takes him to work.

He calls Bryon “Dad” sometimes.

He collects everything.

He is bothered by very little.

He prays like it’s going out of style. After thanking Jesus for this day, the first thing Andy always prays is, “Thank you for my siblings.” I adore that. His heart is so, so big.

He is freckly. He is tiny. And I’m so proud he’s mine.

August 23, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

1. Oh, Boho. I adore everything about this picture. Every single thing.

2. Peach salsa and black bean tostada? I HAVE to try this!

3. Don't shoot me, but I think I have to try this, too. And I have been avoiding all of the trendy nail art for a year now! This one slayed me. Yellow tips? How cool is that?!

4. A new and miraculous term for me: BALAYAGE.

5. Favorite hairstyle picture (cut, not color).

6. This picture (I think it's a photo of a JCrew catalog, but I'm not certain) has inspired me in about eleventy ways. I have a tunic dress that I'm dying to combine with a skinny belt and button down.

7. Love this outfit. Those orange heels, OMGOSH.

8. Dear fiddle leaf fig, please PLEASE come to live at my house. My husband (with the green thumbs) has promised to care for you in a little basket pot, but first we must find one of your little friends at a local store. SOB.

9. Here you go. I present to you my fall/winter uniform this year. Boyfriend jeans, tight and colorful tissue turtleneck, and chunky glasses. I've been telling Bryon that new glasses frames are on my list (and thankfully covered by insurance) but he didn't know what 'chunky frames' meant. Upon seeing this picture, I'm not going to tell you what he thought of them - only that I still ADORE them.

10. Here is another version [courtesy of Anthro] of the paint-dipped wooden spoons that I've been posting and promising to copy for a year now. All white, which I just looooove. I do not love the price tag and cannot get over how easy it would be to buy a package of wooden spoons for cheap and then dip them. I guess it depends on the type of food safe paint, or sealant you put on top. MUST TRY.

August 22, 2012


Sigh. It’s going to be 95 again this week. On the plus side, we did get ¾” of rain this weekend. Soybeans might just be okay.

Mabel and I say a prayer and then sing a song every night before bed. The last line of her prayer is always, “Thank you for dying on the cross, Jesus.” Then usually we sing Jesus Loves Me because she likes to make big muscles with me during “He is strong!” But more recently, we’ve been singing This Little Light of Mine. Oh my, she loves that song. She calls it “This Is The Light of Mine” and her favorite verse is about not letting the devil blow out her light.

Did I already spill about my thrifty finds this week? I can’t remember, so would you allow me to explain? Going thrifting is my therapy. Usually Moo and I go on a Saturday morning and that’s just what happened this weekend. We spotted a pair of very nice jeans for her, 3 for Hayley, 3 for Andy, and 1 for Trevor. I think they all might have added up to $40 total. SCORE. And then out of nowhere, I came upon an entire rack of vintage clothing. Fifteen feet of heart palpitations. Mabel picked out a rainbow sweater and calico pullover for herself ($3 and $1 respectively) and I found a green housedress that I almost couldn’t see through tears. I touched the cotton and I swear I could hear my granny Bertha making biscuits in her little yellow kitchen. It’s my favorite $4 find so far. I can’t wait to wear it to work with a belt and jeans.

I've been keeping an eye on the Moo. She lost weight over the summer AND grew taller. Therefore, her bootylicious booty is no longer, um... licious. Her milkshake doesn't bring anything to the yard. And so, I'm shoveling lots of yumminess into her. So far, so good. She also came home with some sort of attitude along the lines of 'I don't have to finish the food on my plate if I don't want to' and 'If I don't feel like eating it, I can call it yucky and make a nasty face.' But, then she remembered that doesn't fly with Mama and she's back to eating with a smile. Alrighty then. Let's put on some weight, Moo!

I strongly dislike biting into a granny smith apple, all excited for that juicy tang, only to experience a mushy spot that was unidentifiable to the naked eye. Totally identifiable to a naked mouth, though. Blech. That will honk with your breakfast right there.

The Junior Football season is upon us. Trevor plays several positions now and starts for the team. His first game was Monday. He had 4 full and at least 3 half (group assist) tackles. Two of those tackles brought a turnover and had his coach hopping on the sidelines, cheering. The coach is harder this year, football is harder. Running laps if they forget gear, whine, or mouth off. Praise when they rock it. Prepping them for next year and after, when there are tryouts for the team instead of signups. The boy and his stepdad are totally into it. Monday’s game was a win: 6-0. Trevor had such a great attitude and played so well (more than 3 quarters!) that Bryon must have hugged, juked, poked, and teared up about a dozen times. He missed his boys.  [What Trevor is to football, Andy is to guitar, which means Bryon is pretty much in heaven ALL the time.]

Does anyone else feel like their closet is sad? I took a picture this past spring, bored one day. My closet was basically nude, grey, white, and black. Now, I love streamlined classic colors like these and that isn’t likely to change, but holy potatoes it looked so BORING and mopey. I am not boring. How did I let my closet become so boring? And do I look boring galloping through my life? Where are my freaking neckties?! Where is the color and the dots and the stripes? Ugh. So I began stalking Pinterest for ideas on basics that I could incorporate, as well as cheap or vintage trendy pieces to add to my wardrobe. Much was donated to our local thrift. I saved up, husband splurged on an Anthropologie trip, and little by little, it’s looking cheerier. Life is too short for mopey attire, that’s what I say. I mean, just ask Mabel Rae. She wears stars on her pants.

Andrew hit double digits this weekend. He also consumed a cervelat sandwich with alfalfa sprouts on purpose. More birthday details in a later post.

Every day this week Mabel has played horses in the living room. She leaves them behind to go do other things and then returns to pick up where she left off. Those horses must be exhausted.

August 21, 2012

On Anonymous, Take Deux

* I am updating this post this evening. Let the record show it is 6:47pm CT. I am sitting in my living room. Mabel is in time out for not listening, Andy is playing, and Trevor is at football practice. My bills are paid, I have on clean underwear, and I have absolutely picked my nose today. For those of you who gave me the platform to begin with, thank you. For those of you who need this second "go," take note.

Oh, Anonymous. People I don't know and can't respond to asking me questions with just a tinge of judgement. It's frustrating to not be able to respond to you personally. I have had many anonymous comments over the years. Some are fantastic. After a few nasty ones, I thought it was time to overshare on some of the topics folks seem so curious about. One time. Because I'll be danged if someone is going to boss me in this place. Oh heck no.

Folks, this is my blog. It's my thoughts typed out onto the interwebs and then scrubbed by ethics and manners. It's not a Lifetime movie (though I realize it often reads like one) full of all perspectives of my life. Sometimes it makes no sense at all to anyone but me and possibly Lulu. If you are bothered by something I mention or are so concerned about the logistics of my writing, then I would invite you to explore a book, someone else's blog, or to perhaps go for a nice long eyebrow wax.

I hope readers will understand that I do not and cannot mention every detail. Sometimes leaving holes is because of a lack of time. Sometimes it's because I cannot speak for other people. You will not find juice here, unless you count the truth. I realize there is risk in leaving out detail because Anonymous may begin to draw their own conclusions. After all, I'm not giving you all of the dots on the page. But I do try. And everyone should know by now that my integrity is mighty high. Truth is paramount. Anything less than truthful is slander. And boy howdy, I'm not into that.

Apparently there exists another paradox on this blog. Another Anonymous recently commented that I am kind and introspective in this space (why thank you), but sort of implied that I am not the same in person. Busted. Total bitch on Tuesdays. Seriously, depending on where and when I see Anonymous in real life - is it at the grocery store when I'm a cranky bitch at the end of the day, at work when I'm busting ass to get a million things done, or around the house when I'm calm and relaxed and can remind myself to be KIND on the outside, too? - I bet they have seen my dark side. My dark side is especially cranky when I have to do something to clean up for someone else. It's easy to jump to conclusions if you ask me to do your job during the day, to mop up my kids after a disappointment, or to go through a grocery list after I've worked 50 hours in a week. Yes, I said 50. I do mean it when I say: Whoever you are, I hope I get the chance to be nice to you in person one day soon, and I'm sorry if you caught me in a cranky moment. However, I will make no excuses for being cranky sometimes. I bust ass all day every day and if you catch me in the wrong moment, I might bite. I pray about that every night.

Folks, let's take a moment to remember that we are all HUMAN. Human = flawed. Being a Christian does not automatically make my mouth and mind incapable of sin or crank. It also doesn't mean I won't be hostile or snarky in this post. That's the reason He died for us, after all! Christ Himself was the only perfect man. The rest of us just try our best and then keep trying when we mess it up. And boy oh boy, do I ever act human sometimes.

Finally, I want to clarify one more thing - because I have a lot of readers who also know me in real life and who seem very curious about how I find time to blog almost daily. And by curious, I definitely mean NOSEY. Because I work full time and mother 4 children full time, and hankypank with the Husband full time, I write blog posts all the time. Ahead of time. At night, usually while he's snoring. Because my brain doesn't turn off. Sometimes I write 8 posts on a Saturday afternoon because I'm swirling with ideas. Sometimes I write something down and shove the paper in my bag until I get home and can type it all out. I also keep notes and text myself when I'm inspired to write. Blogger allows me to queue posts to publish at certain times during the day. Other times I publish something with 2 clicks on my phone while parked in my car (notice I did not say while driving). Prewritten, see? That's the secret. It's probably not as glamourous as Anonymous people think it might be - and it definitely doesn't require me to neglect my homelife or children, make mistakes at my job, or to put my heels up on the corner of my desk, but there you go.

And with respect to time management: People, I "pin" like a mother. I pin always. I pin while I potty. (What, you don't?) I pin while I check the mail outside, while I cook, and definitely to unwind at the end of the day. If you take issue with my level of interest in Pinterest, then I suggest you find something to busy yourself with. You should consider Pinterest. It's fabulous. And whoever anonymously wondered if my employer is okay with me doing something other than work during those 50 hours a workweek, then I would remind that Anonymous that I use my breaks wisely. And why yes, I do have permission to do whatever I feel like it during that break time, as spread out as I want it to be. You bet your ass my integrity at work is every bit as tight as my integrity every other place.

Thank you all for your comments. I do especially appreciate the ones that make me think. I love the ones when Lulu says, "That's horseshit - more snark! Now!"

I love them all, even the Anonymous ones. Thanks for reading! More mindless drivel tomorrow!

Carry on, Peeps. Carry on.

August 20, 2012

Be Coming To America

And now for your viewing pleasure, Mabel Rae sings "Be Coming To America" (her words, not Neil's).

There is even air guitar, Peeps.

Nana, click on the triangle one time. Be sure to turn your speakers up!

August 17, 2012

Gap: Dream

It is the lock-in at the practice gym and Mr. Big on the overhead speakers.

It’s the red Gap rugby with the plaid collar.

It’s choir class with my best friend, and singing Phantom of the Opera.
It’s walking to her house after school and practicing dance routines Old Time Rock & Roll.
It’s Sophie B. Hawkins, Chicago, and Skid Row.
It’s also Enya and Enigma and Pearl Jam.
It’s walking the track at Panther football games and talking to cute boys.
It’s cheddar broccoli Rice-A-Roni and mashed potatoes.
It’s watching the fireworks off an island in Lake Erie, floating on my friend Hunter’s yacht.
It’s swimming every single day in the summer and tanning in the ‘California’ booth at the laundromat.
It’s Warrant.
It’s 90210.
It’s saying goodbye to the clarinet.
It’s the 10th grade, standing on that track at home game. It’s the green Gap jacket I wore and the way Dustin smiled at me when I nailed him with that first kiss.
It’s a membership to animal-cruelty organizations and attempting life as vegetarian. It’s also learning what living ‘green’ meant, and researching ways to save our planet in my spare time.
It’s Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, and West Side Story from behind the stagelights and the invincible feeling those performances gave to my heart.
It’s singing Bohemian Rhapsody and Bad Moon on the Rise just because we knew every word.
It’s making polymer clay mushroom necklaces and friendship bracelets during French class. Pourquoi?
It’s taking a sucker punch in the left jaw by a girl who was never really that nice to me.  
It’s Algebra, Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, and Creative Writing; it was very serious plans toward a pre-med concentration.
It’s Young Life and Camp Storer in Michigan, and seeing big, strong football players come to Jesus.
It’s missing my mom while she worked 3-11, and watching The Golden Girls reruns on Lifetime when she got home.
It’s a whole lot of ‘tardy’ on my grade card junior year.
It’s learning how to drive mom’s Dodge Aries K car in the beauty school parking lot and still flunking the test the first time.
It’s making lots of mistakes and choices and blessings and memories that I won’t ever, ever forget.
It’s the fragrance I wore in high school and when I saw it at the Gap last week, it all came rushing back just. like. that.

August 15, 2012


I have a polka dot blouse that I picked up the last time I was at the thrift store that I adore. It's too big for me, so I wear it all sloppy. It was $3, some off brand from a smaller department store. If I could sleep in it, I would. In fact, I just might do that soon on purpose.

I keep forgetting to wind my watch. I wonder if it will take me 20-some days to build the habit? So far, I genuinely adore it and it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I would prefer not to take it off, including at night. But the clasp seems to loosen while I’m rustling around the bed sheets or snarfling my werewolf. Despite the fact that it’s water resistant, I also take it off to shower. Mostly because I’d be heartbroken to wreck it.

My wonderful husband took a couple of days off of work this week and has been home with all four children. He was kind enough to also send multiple texts and emails that told me about the playing and chores they were doing to keep busy, including Hayley volunteering to mow the grass. Apparently she touches a worm and her fierce side bursts forth, so that’s amazing. Hollah!

Due to the aforementioned “vacation time” (wow, he might just shoot me for calling it that), our downstairs fireplace is now functional! Can’t wait to finish the hearth. Wonder if we can get it done by Christmas?

Bryon texted me during his time at home and said, “Got Hayley addicted to alfalfa sprouts.” Well done, I’d say.

The weather remained cooler (below 85) for a few days, and we even got a spot of rain. And then yesterday, it was 92. Today is supposed to be 96. Guess God wants to make sure we soak up enough hot summer before he dumps snow on Da Plains in a couple of months. Okay, then.

Using my iPod at work is going swimmingly. I even made a new playlist for the office: little bit of Indie (or what Bryon calls ‘Gray’s Anatomy music’), some Christian favorites, and a sprinkle of rock. It all works out quite well until I do some air guitar when nobody’s watching, except someone ends up watching and when they tap on my shoulder and I pull my earbuds out – all there is to say is, “I’m sorry. I was Bringing On The Heartache.”

Would you consider me a dork if I bragged to you first that Homeboy noticed a Snow Patrol concert was on Palladia and DVRd it for me, and then confessed to you that I sang every word from the first song to the last song? It’s okay. You can.

I do NOT drink enough water. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I used to be so good about hydrating but now, not so much. This is something I need to work on daily. I would bet most of us fit into this same category.

I love that my husband’s idea of a good time can include laying lawn brick and talking about fescue for hours. While I do not share this perspective (and perhaps because I do not), I find his interests intriguing. This will also come in handy next year when we rip the swingset down and plant a raised bed garden. I am a good helper but we all know my thumbs are pink and not green. I am destined to be lawn sidekick.

The next two weeks for our family will be complete chaos. School starts on different days for everyone, Mabel begins preschool 3 days a week, gymnastics starts again, and football practices turn into games. I’ve written a calendar on the chalkboard wall but, People, it’s fierce. I’m still missing a few school supplies, a backpack for the preschooler, and doctor’s appointments for immunizations. Let’s all pray the collection parents’ prayer of peace relating to all things ‘back to school’ shall we? Yeesh.

August 14, 2012

Heading East

[I'm behind in documenting their return, so I hope you'll forgive this lost post, written weeks ago and then forgotten in the chaos.]

The kids stayed back East for 9 weeks this summer, a week longer than usual. We drove 12 hours to go pick them up because I often drive the high road and because I wanted to see my mommy. Can you blame me?


So, since we were in charge of our own last vacation as 2, the 'high road' was I90 through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and then down east.

Minnesota greets Wisconsin at the most gorgeous Mississippi River in a little town called La Crosse.

We made plans to come back to this place with our +4. So gorgeous.

And then we stopped at a gas station for vittles late in the night and came across this sign, which I took to be an indication that our friend Naser the Glazer had visited...

There was amazing music along the ride, as well as a great breakfast in Wisconsin (with relatively fantastic diner coffee if you'd asked me)...

And then I got sneaky. I always drive through Chicago because I LOVE to drive through Chicago. Give me 6 lanes of traffic and 55-mph drivers doing 80 any day. Oh yes, Sir! While driving through Chicago, I had preplanned an exit to "use the ladies room" at Madison Street. Know what's on Madison? The United Center, where the bronze statue of Michael Jordan is.  We were about 4 blocks down Madison before Bryon saw the first sign for the United Center and figured out my surprise.

He was stoked.

You the Man, Honey Dog.

The journey was long and so incredibly worth the enormous expense of gas and time.

We stayed at a cute little motel for $40 and did not get shanked in the parking lot. We enjoyed a dinner at Bar Louie that was OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD... and we chatted with Judith. Oh Judy, Judy, Judy.  It's been a year and it was so good to squeeze her. I took pictures of her whole new house and I can still smell her loveliness. We are all sorts of back to ourselves, my mommy and I.

On Saturday we came back +3. There was lots of hugging and kissing for all of us.

Especially between the kids and this guy. They LOVE him oodles. God gave us the biggest of big blessings when he brought Bryon into our lives. Andy was velcro.

And then a few hours in, Andy was comatose.

Lots of hours later, we arrived home. Where they slept in their own beds, got back on their own schedules, and settled back into life at home.

My heart is full again. The kids have sat on my lap and kissed and hugged me so many times - especially Trevor - it does a Mama good, let me tell you.

August 13, 2012

Right Now, I Am...

:: listening to Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe.

:: sighing with resignation of worry of too many things … God’s command is to trust in Him wholly and not to worry – oh boy, how I need work on this one.

:: hoping this lovely, cooler (70’s) weather continues for several more weeks before chilly fall begins. 

:: feeling full of confidence in my ability to mother this herd of 4 that I have. God is trusting me and I take that very, very seriously.  

:: seeing fog on my way to work recently, calmly laying atop the soybean leaves – just floating there all beautiful. Fog is calm; fog doesn’t worry.

:: noticing the remarkably strong hands my husband has, remembering the first time I paid close attention to those hands, as he hug a ministry sign at the plant for me.

:: wondering when I will make time to sew again.

:: dreaming of the day when I can retire from this job that I have to do the job that I love, and squealing with the random coolness of it all. It might be several years before it happens, but a girl can dream.

:: loving my new vintage Timex watch, a steal on Etsy. I can’t glance at it without thinking of my dad, moseying about in Heaven without hair on his left wrist from a watch so strikingly similar to this one.

:: thinking of all the things I need to put up on our chalkboard wall, including: school orientation dates, football schedule, Dr’s appointments – just to keep my brains straight.

:: promising God I will try harder to rely on only Him, instead of my inability to control the world around me. So sorry, Father.

:: smelling the body spray I picked up at the Gap last week: Dream. It was the exact same scent I wore in high school and Mabel’s new favorite smell to smell.

:: anticipating the new season of Gray’s Anatomy. So, so excited to see what happens.

:: feeling joy at our pastor’s request this weekend – during the service, Bryon and I laid our hands on a missionary together and prayed for his mission… it gave my heart such immaculate joy to do this with the love of my life, for the Love of My Life. I realize it seems small, but it feels gigantic and wonderful. Even Bryon was moved at the way God gets our attention and focuses it on others.

August 8, 2012


[You know, I have no idea if she wore any headbands like this when she was with her dad over the summer. I don't really care to know. But I don't imagine that she did. That doesn't matter at all except that this is a part of my daughter that I ADORE. I posted this photo and said, "The Moo Is Back!" My heart is exploding.]

While the kids were back east, sister Hayley picked out a headband for her little buddy, Moo. Mabel spotted it in the hair box and slapped it on her forehead within 48 hours of hitting Da Plains. Work it, Girl.

Of all the odd things I've overshared with you people, have I mentioned that I cannot eat soggy cereal? If I pour a bowl of cereal, I make sure to do any little things I might need to take care of before pouring the milk on. Because once the milk is on, nobody is ringing my bell. I don't answer the phone, I don't answer questions, and I don't change the TV channel. I must quickly eat all of the cereal before it gets soggy. And it's not the milk, because I adore a big spoonful of milk with each bite. But that cereal in the bite better be crunchy! Call me a weirdo, go on.

And so it came to pass that Saturday of this past weeked I overcame a hurdle that I didn't realize existed until I was straddled atop of it: I took all four kids to Target alone. Silly, right? Right. Under many circumstances they would have run me ragged, asked a billion questions, and frazzled my nerves. But on that particular day they were quite well behaved. I picked out a few things for each for school. Miss Hayley found a pair of boots that I couldn't pass up.

Seriously. If they'd had them in my size? Right. [But they did not.]

This morning Bryon had to go into work at 4:30. There was a meeting to manage and a button-down shirt to be worn. He looked so handsome in the dark when he sat on my side of the bed to kiss me goodbye. After he left I counted my blessings to have almost 2 more hours to sleep before having to peel the yummy, warm quilts off of my body. And then at 6:00, two things happened: my alarm went off and it began to storm outside [Praise God for rain!]. Obviously I fell back asleep, probably deeper than I’d slept the entire night, and woke up LATE at 7:00! Oops!

I am so proud to tell you that #33 will be runningback/slotback this year for the Titans junior football team. He has his UnderArmor cleats and gloves (oh my the gloves!), his wrist bands and arm bands (because they help a boy feel especially rough and tough) his neon socks, and the kid is GEEKED up. Trevor is a senior player on his team – with best friends Carter and Hunter – and is playing a position that is responsible for running the ball. Like, into the endzone. Like, for a touchdown. A TOUCHDOWN. I promise you, I will pass out the first time that happens. And I think he might, too.

Every night, Bryon takes over child-shuttling before football practice. He wants to watch Trevor, help coach him. They go over the plays. They run together. They talk strategy and player positions, and make boy plans. It’s all very blue to me, but I’m proud of it. God gave Trevor a stepdad who GETS this outgoing, athletic part of him so much. I am so grateful. Well, there is that and wrestling. Trevor is a physical child. In addition to football, he loves to wrestle it out. Man, if he’s grumpy or sulking, might as well throw him in the ring and roll him around. If he and Bryon (and Andy) roll around on the carpet for 10 minutes, that kid is right as rain after. RIGHT AS RAIN. No yelling, no tween angst. No nothing. He just needs to get that tween testosterone out of his body, I reckon. Wrestling makes everything alright. Gives him confidence, too, I think. Bryon’s dad wrestled him and little brother Bret when they were tiny. They said that every time dad’s big paws rolled them around, they knew he loved them. I suppose that’s boys for you. But I know it’s a God thing that Bryon’s need to wrestle boys he never dreamed he’d have, matches so perfectly with my boys who need that. Isn’t the big JC cool?!

When we worked together in Kentucky, my Lulu drank tea alla time. And so she had a little teacup warmer at her desk, all plugged in and keeping her brew nice and hot. I thought she was odd in her requirement for such an apparatus, but it made me love her even more. This morning when I thought of that out of nowhere, it made me miss her even more, too.

Why is it that sometimes I am ridiculously girlie, and others I am so NOT? I think I put on mascara this morning. I mean, I sort of remember doing it. If I had, that would make let’s see… every day this week with only mascara on my face. Not a drop of anything else. At the office. Hmmpf. Makeup is fun, but if I’m tight on time it’s like the first thing to go. Is this weird? I am over 30 years old and eventually, shouldn’t I wear a little something to appear fresh? We’ll see about that.

I’m very thrilled to share that Judy turned 70 last week. BOOYAH. She looks amazing and it was sooooo yummy to squish her while we were there in July. On her birthday (which was also the anniversary of our move to Da Plains 4 years ago), we called her up to send her some love. Hayley asked to speak to her first and she chirped and cooed into the phone something so fierce, I’m pretty sure Nana was taken a bit by surprise. Hayley usually isn’t at our house on the nights we talk to Nana and so she doesn’t spend time talking with her. She’s also only met her a few times. But on this day that girl was filled with the Spirit to talk to Nana. It was so very, very sweet.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a hair update and I know you all are waiting with bated breath to see how my hair color correction is holding, right? Of course. As suspected, the color has faded a small bit. The ‘line of demarcation’ between virgin hair and the corrected color is slight. I notice it because it’s on my head and I wonder if others notice it as well. There was that time in high school when I colored my hair with a box at home… and no matter how I did my roots there was always a line. I’m terrified of that. I love the ombre look, but secretly worry that one day, everyone will look around, and decide it’s a bad idea and call each other nasty names. And so. I could leave my hair alone because really what I have growing out is sort of ombre. I could chop it all off super short so that only virgin is left and I can just … start fresh (that’s not my top choice). Or, I could go back to a salon and ask them for some sort of rinse/gloss/glaze that is not permanent at all – and that matches my natural color. That choice is most expensive because I would have to return each month for another glazing until my virgin hair reached the length where I was comfortable cutting off the fake color.

Or I could realize that I’m in my 30’s and while I don’t have a single gray hair yet, I will soon enough. And when I do, it will be time to color anyway. Maybe I just select a permanent color that is as close to my natural as we can get and just do that every couple of months instead. With that option, I may never SEE gray ever. Geez. Hair decisions are hard.

Sorry. Are you sleeping? I don’t blame you. I’m done now.