February 27, 2013


February is a big month for us. And since I celebrate all sorts of anniversaries that make me weep with nostalgia, I’m pretty busy this month. Three years ago this month, we took the leap and went out on a non-date, followed by a real date with flowers and 5 hours of kissing in the blue truck, and me calling my mother to tell her I knew the man I was going to marry. Two years ago this week, I promised that man my hand in marriage and made a covenant with him that means hard work, forever. I am so incredibly blessed. WE are so incredibly blessed.

Mindy shared something amazing with me last week that I passed along to some friends in need. She said: In EVERY situation in your life, God is doing one of 3 things.
1) Building a story for His glory
2) Revealing his character (and building it in you)
3) Growing a relationship with Him (which might not be you)

It’s our job to stand back and let Him do His work. And when we see something coming, we have a chance to prepare our responses and prepare our heart for it. Choose our responses before anything hurts, before the circumstances overwhelm. Think of how we are safe and protected because our King is working! How awesome is that?!

Over the weekend I chopped off all of my hair. Like, all of it. I’m still getting used to the air on my neck, and the scratch of Bryon’s whiskers on my shoulders. I haven’t felt that since early 2010 and I love both.

Our middle girl was given a challenge last week by her trainer: eat fruits and vegetables with every meal, and for snack after school. This is in fact a challenge for our sweet little, who doesn't always have access to fruits and veggies. This is… oh, Peeps, it is difficult. We can't monitor or encourage when she's not with us. So, we will keep praying, keep reminding, and keep hoping that she looks for and finds healthy choices everywhere.  

I have come to realize that my creativity is directly tied to my level of stability in life. My lack of creativity means my faith isn’t strong enough right now, and I need to work on that. I feel sometimes like I cannot concentrate on anything creative because in order to do so, I must drop concentration on another area of my life: work, husband, children, gymnastics, grocery list, math-studying, and so on. And that is too scary to do today. Where is the Jesus? Where is the faith that things are under control because my King reigns? Sigh. So I am struggling with this right now, praying for resolution. I have a million fresh ideas that I can’t wait to bust out. For now, though, they are stuck.

Six inches of snow fell on Da Plains last week. LOVE.

I have found myself daydreaming about summertime over the past few weeks. It’s been plenty cold and snowy around these parts for a while, so I am ready for the rebirth. I am ready to see green poking through the snow. My guess is it won’t green up around here until April. I’m hoping we can have a yard party for Bryon’s big birthday!

The girls received Perler beads galore for Christmas this year, and I have added to that with clear plastic bead boards and a pattern book. They both have created tons designs and even Trevor has gotten into it. He and Mabel worked on a hot air balloon that took days of concentration and teamwork. Yesterday Andy and Hayley came upstairs with a darling sheep and a peach pig. I love it.

Did I ever brag about my Valentine’s Day? I really should. My wonderful husband had the largest yellow roses I’ve ever seen delivered to me at work. Then he presented me with a wonderful card and called me his ‘bestie.’ Awww. And then we went to the local Irish pub because our favorite band was playing. They sang Toto’s ‘Africa’ and Asia’s ‘Heat of the Moment,’ and we were in 80’s heaven. 

Because my Jedi will be cleaning a braze oven during our actual anniversaire, we celebrated last Friday with a date.

Also sent to me by Mindy this week: Praying now. God has got this. Heard something today that made me smile and think of you: "God didn't deliver you from the ocean just to let you drown in the bathtub." Got it, Friend. Got it. See my above point.

February 26, 2013

Happy Anniversary, My Love

The past 730 days as your wife have been amazing and hard and rewarding and full of more love than I could have ever imagined.

Thank you.

You can read about our outdoor, winter wedding [it was 18 degrees!] here!

February 18, 2013

Do Something

Oh I am getting good and pissy at myself now.

I got older this year. I realize everyone does but for some reason, it hit me harder this year than I expected when my body sprung out 3 stark assed white hairs from my head. No thank you, Body. I don’t wanna.
I also have a mammogram scheduled for tomorrow morning – a new baseline. That’s neither here nor there except please hear this reminder to check your b00bies please.

I have mentioned that my vim and vigor has waned lately. I am a sucky blogger right now. My work hours changed a little, just enough to really mess with my free time. Free time that I used to blog with, shoot during [photography not ex-spouses], or basically read or do anything creative whatsoever.
It’s all gone by the wayside.

And I am saying NO. No more. I’m pissed.

I have tons and tons and oodles of photos stored in my Pinterest account of lovely DIY ideas, just waiting for me to find time to DO SOMETHING. I realize everyone with a Pinterest account can probably say the same thing, but when I signed up I promised myself not to be lazy about inspiration. I promised myself that I would feel the goose and go for things. There have certainly been things that I have carried through on. Lots, actually. But not as many as I’d like to check off the list.

Why do I not plan meals anymore? My husband asked me this a week or two ago and honestly, it hits the budget when we don’t. So, Rachel. DO SOMETHING.

Why are there all sorts of clutter and stuff and junko amidst our shelves and closets right now? Okay, Rachel. DO SOMETHING.

What has been going on in my head that I have just… stalled? I just got busy worrying, I think is what it is. Or I spent the year growing or reacting or… something. Some hog wash that sounded good at the time. But now I’ve had enough of that stalled bullshit. I need to DO SOMETHING.

There is a shit ton of fabric below my stairs at home just begging to be turned into 5 coverlets (yes one for each child plus another for the living room) and drapes for the laundry room. I cannot keep collecting it if I’m not going to do anything with it. That’s just piss poor and sad. I need to make the time to DO SOMETHING.

I have a scarf, half crocheted and sitting on the end table in the living room, trying to look all inspired. But it’s not inspired. It’s just sitting there because I scratched an itch too late and the itch went away. That’s what happens when you ignore creativity. If you’re me anyway.

I want to paint.

I need to hang some prints throughout my home. There is one that I need to find out on the loft and get it back on the wall.

I need to sew and feel a needle in my fingers again. I need to work on my blog some more.

I need to clean out closets and clean out my mind.

Oh I am good and pissy now. Might actually go and DO SOMETHING.

February 13, 2013


Two weeks ago, the weather was wonderful. Last weekend we had a blizzard. Granted – not the dump that BeckAY got in New England, but I say this: 3 feet of snow is like… a Monday here. I think it comes down to preparedness maybe? Anyway, time is passing so quickly and we find ourselves already planning to be outside, working in the dirt and grateful for Spring. Except there is still snow on the ground. Must mean there is more cleansing necessary.

Mabel got a haircut last weekend. I trimmed her up a few weeks ago but we’ve been eyeballing a darling style for her – she requested something shorter. Her hair is outright crazy sometimes and between preschool and gymnastics, it was time for a change. One Saturday morning she awoke with a chirp and bounded up the steps. Daddy had gone to work and we’d already put some eggs on to boil for breakfast. After a quick shower, I gave her a fancy new haircut. [Still, NO BANGS.] Which I had to continue trimming until it was just right. Now I know why hairstylists say a graduated bob is one of the most difficult cuts to do - and I’m not a hairstylist! But afterwards, I couldn’t stop staring at her. So adorable! Also, my inner hairstylist did a belly flip during the snipping – huzzah!

Speaking of hair, I did have mine cut on Saturday. I didn’t go with the short Candace Cameron hair that I stalked while watching Hallmark Channel. I decided to do something a bit less drastic. Still, she took off about 3 inches and layered me up some more. Feels great. In terms of color, I LOVED the color I had when I walked in the door – about ½ shade darker than my natural. I didn’t want to do all over color and mess that up, so she chose to dye my roots and put a clear glaze on the rest. Perfect! It’s been a while since I’ve left a salon feeling great about my hair, so I was incredibly grateful to do so.

The closets downstairs are mostly finished. Trevor and Bryon cut the wood and I air nailed them in. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Of course this means I had to touch up the interior of the closet with paint before I could load it up because I painted it for the first time at night, half upside down. Anyway, I’m hoping to make time for a big closet reorg this weekend. Strange things that make me excited.

I’m gonna tell you people something. My husband and I have a date with this new song by Fun. We are going to find a sitter, find a bar with karaoke, and SHOUT ‘We Are Young’ until we fall over. I cannot tell you what an anthem this song is for the young woman that exists in my soul. It’s like the Black Eyed Peas song ‘I Gotta Feeling.’ When I hear ‘We Are Young’ my gall bladder starts flamenco dancing and I want to grab my husband and make out on top of a pool table.

I had to wear a bandaid to the office this week because I burned the top of my hand while cooking. While basting my ham, I was very careful not to hit the top of the oven. Instead, I opened the drawer beneath the oven to get a lid out for the mashed potatoes and bumped the top of my hand on the underside of the very, very hot oven. I swear, only I am capable of this crap. Ouch! The bandaid looks super classy, let me tell you.

Did I mention that Hayley has been seeing a personal trainer twice a week? It’s not something we initiated, but we are on board so far. We want to ensure Hales keeps a healthy self-image and knows that beauty is on the INSIDE first (thinking of scriptures that describe what a beautiful woman acts like to Jesus – something all of us girls should remind ourselves of often). Hayley has been exhausted as her body learns how to move more, but her grades are holding and her behavior has been good, and she seems happier with herself. The trainer is fantastic with her; I will say that.

After decades of suffering from headaches, I have finally found some relief, Peeps. Our neighbor is a sinus/allergy sufferer who also had frequent headaches. He recently recommended I try OTC Zyrtec. I was skeptical (aren’t I always?). It has been a week since I started taking one a day, and I am THRILLED to say that it truly relieves much of my sinus pressure – which has eliminated DAYS of headaches.

This morning my breakfast was a handful of almonds with triscuits and pepper jack cheese. Goes great with coffee! But I’m just weird like that. Protein for breakfast is a key to weight control, I am convinced!

Mabel is learning how to flip in gymnastics. Not the 10-step, take your time, learn 80 things at the same time way like before, either. As in… jump and roll in the air. Just do it-style. Two weeks ago we watched her on the bouncy mat run and jump forward. She freaked a little. Apparently she fears nothing – except landing on her head. So Coach Paul caught her, helped her turn in the air, and told us to go home and practice on the bed. She needs practice to stay fearless. Well, okay then. If you say so. Because after flipping is flip FLOPPING, end on end, down the trampoline. Holy crap she’s progressing fast. We watched a 6 year old last week on the parallel bars with tears in our eyes – so tiny, but SO powerful and talented. Whoa. Please pray that we can continue to afford this sport for our little, Friends.

Did you know that every time I blog about child support or bills, or worrying about the kids, loving life, or when I talk about mushy sexy love with my husband, I get a new comment from Anonymous? I log all of them, of course. And track the IP address. But it seems this Anonymous has only one word to say to me, and it’s the ‘C word’ that I used to find disgusting and humiliating and vile. Ha. Used to is right. What this Anonymous doesn’t realize is that my exhusband’s treatment of our life together and our divorce apart was a million times more disgusting and vile. That C word isn’t gross to me anymore and when bullied, I know how to channel that word like nobody’s beeswax. I wish Anonymous would a) have the accountability to sign their note, and b) USE A THESAURUS. For pete’s sake.

Carrying on.

Wait! Stop back. I would also like to address the hater I have that seems super worried about when and where I write and how I allocate my time – are you freaking kidding me? Because I have a full time job or 4 children to raise I cannot keep a blog? Um… no. People, I work hard. Way hard. But I need a creative outlet. And I refuse to be penalized for being twice as productive as the average joe and twice as able to carry more projects AND manage them correctly. If that makes you hate me, so be it. I also won’t apologize for bitching about my workload because apparently being fantastic at something means that everyone gives you more to do, and some people assume you will do their job for them. Does that mean that I want to pull my hair out? You betcha. And do I still take breaks during the day and walk tomato soup up to my husband? You bet your ass I do. It also means I can look at Pinterest on the potty, make a grocery list in my brain, and STILL get more than my own job done beautifully. I am not perfect, but I am hella productive. Have been my whole life. Annoying, isn't it? Not the first time I've heard notes of jealousy, but I consider it a talent. Everyone has a talent or two, and this is one of mine. I appreciate your concern, though. You might also be interested to know that I also want to punch myself in the face sometimes. But I don’t because I tend to overreact. Amen.

So my sexy Jedi husband’s new cowboy boots make him taller than me by a couple of inches. That is weird. And WAY cool. Hubba hubba ye haw! Dear concerts, please start booking in Da Plains for this year. Amen. Again.

PEEPS! Guess what my husband did for me! He made arrangements for a babysitter AND a date for this Friday for Valentine’s. HOLLAH! Our favorite band is performing in town and he’s taking me to see them. These are the guys that played at our wedding and chose ‘Into The Mystic’ for our first dance because they are wicked awesome. Also, Bryon took Andy out for some guy time this week in an effort to love on him all special-like. My husband is AMAZING. He continually works hard for us, loves hard on us, and tries to be the best man he can be. I am bowled over. And I give all of the glory to God for it!

Please have a happy ValenTINE’S day, Friends. Remember Jesus died for us as the ultimate gift of love. Love is patient and kind and does not boast. It keeps no record of wrong. It endures ALL things. I wish that for all of you. MWAH.

Tomato Soupiversary, 2013

I was over a week ago that I remembered that we were coming up on 3 years of tomato soup eating together. Three years ago we were overcome by twitterpation and I finally decided to do something about it. Interestingly, Bryon would tell you that he’d been trying to get my attention, and that I had made him wait around [enter Jack Johnson’s Do You Remember?] – but that’s his side of the story. Maybe one day he will write it for you. My side of the story is HERE.

So a week ago I sat and made out my grocery list for this week, and thought about that day of courage. I decided to do it again for the third year in a row. 

Then yesterday I remembered that I’d forgotten to get soup during the grocery trip and asked my husband to stop at the store after lunch. I bought cereal and chocolates and wrapped them around the can of tomato soup in my bag, while he stayed in the car to check email. I hoped he wouldn’t notice and I was right. Squee!

This morning I finally dismissed the Outlook reminder that had been reminding me of our * Tomato Soupiversary * for days now and pulled the can of soup out of my desk. Just like I did three years ago, I made sure Bryon was at his desk so that I could dramatically slam the soup. I mean, I’m nothing if not thunder almost all the time. So I walked down the hallway and out into the plant. All the way down the corridor I thought about how anxious I’d been while carrying that can of soup three years ago. Even though I was anxious, I was SURE. I was ready to begin again, for real. I felt love for him growing in my heart and it was time to do something about it.

I got close to the maintenance shop and I could smell the machine oil in the air. Rivet guns and air pressure gaps fired in the background. So loud I couldn’t hear my footsteps on the concrete floor, but I could feel my heart thudding in my chest. Not anxious today, but excited. Butterflies took off in my belly.

I went through the swinging door and right up those wooden steps to his office. I passed the same guys who were sitting in his shop three years ago, only then he was their peer and not their boss. Thank you God, for that change of empowerment and leadership You gave to my husband. They smiled at me like they always do as I climbed the steps. I carefully positioned the can of soup in my hands and opened the door. Three years ago my husband was the Planner and sat 3 feet inside the door. In a rush of blood to my head, I remembered him sitting there in his blue AE polo. That was the day I realized his eyes were green (green!), too. Oh my. In that rush I felt so much love for him, so much appreciation for our three years together. 

Now my husband doesn’t sit 3 feet inside the door. He sits in the back in a separate office, in charge of all of these men – who have become family to me. His supervisor and assistant smiled at me as I approached his office. I hid the can behind my leg and stood in his doorway until he was off the phone. I was anxious and caught up in memories as I stood there. I found myself just as excited to be making the big gesture, and far more in love with him than I was three years ago. Three years ago I hit the ceiling during my soup can slam on the desk; let’s try not to repeat that part, I thought. Suddenly he was off the phone and looking at me. Time to make my move.

And so I smiled sweetly and plunked the can of tomato soup down on his desk. He reached out and spun it around, and smiled back.

“It’s tomato soup day?” he asked. He knew, but he asked anyway.

“It is!”

“Huh.” He smiled his shy smile and asked, “Is this why you wanted to stop at the grocery store yesterday for emergency cereal?”

“Yep!” I was proud I hadn’t forgotten and my husband grinned at me. “Outlook has been reminding me for a week!”  I don’t really care that he doesn’t keep track of dates like I do. I enjoy surprising him and giving him the whirlies out of nowhwere.

Decades from now, I hope we always remember how we started. It’s a great story after all. I am so grateful for Tomato Soup.

February 7, 2013

These Boots, For Real

These boots are a big deal. They were a long time coming, too. They represent looking back to see where he came from and looking forward, taking care of his family. Being who God made him to be. Reconciling his faults and asking his Father to heal anything behind him. Also importantly, asking Him to pave the path forward, with clarity and peace and love beyond measure. I am proud of him for finally succumbing to the need to have these boots.

And man, do they ever look fantastic. Be still my heart.

February 4, 2013

And This is What You Called Obsessed


This, my friends, is what obsession looks like. On Saturday while husband was at work and I was battling yet another sinus headache, Mabes and I caught up on some Golden Girls on the Hallmark channel. When the mini-marathon ended a sappy little movie was advertised. It caught my attention immediately.

Not because it was a story about a single mother who adopts a dog from the shelter, only to learn that his owner - a handsome major league baseball player - had lost him to begin with. Hilarity and romance ensues. Of course it does on the Hallmark channel, right? Right. Except Candace Cameron's hair was KILLER. So I had to take a picture of it. Or eleventy seven.

Anyway, in case you guys ever doubt my hair determination, or obsession with awesome fashion or hair, well... here we are.