July 29, 2015


Okay, it’s Wednesday and I have a lot to say. Look out.

It’s been a while, so busy with life. Sorry, not sorry and all that.

So, there is a new pill coming out that may provide some relief for those who are gluten intolerant and/or suffer from Celiac.  I have not had the Celiac test yet, primarily because the symptoms and treatment are identical to those for intolerance. I will someday but for now, I avoid gluten completely. Let me tell you something, it is a blessing this gluten intolerance that I have. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass when I’m traveling and I’m pretty much sure I will have to pack food if I ever leave the country, but overall no, I do not miss gluten. I don’t pine for bread or cake. Occasionally I will make a paleo version of a treat using almond or coconut flour, but for the most part, I honestly enjoy having that barrier between me and gluten.  It’s kept me so much healthier. I choose vegetables, fruit, and meat – all the time.  I make homemade meals – all the time. The benefits far outweigh the occasional craving for anything.

All of that up there said, learning that Reese Peanut Butter Cups are gluten free was awful. I wish I’d never inquired with Hershey Co. So. Much. Candy. is gluten free. Now part of my brain wants to satisfy those cravings every now and then and EVERY time, I get a stomach ache from the peanuts. So, there. I am not perfect. But I mean it when I say I’m grateful for gluten intolerance!

It’s probably a good thing that I’ve been as busy as I have lately and haven’t been blogging about the Supreme Court ruling, the confederate flag, Caitlyn Jenner, Planned Parenthood selling dead babies, or the cultural and spiritual demise of our nation. Because our country is LOST. The only answer is prayer.

Beaner got his gonads removed last Friday. He did very well, aside from needing to wear a pair of boxer shorts to prevent licking for two days. He enjoys dressing up, so that worked out. 

Have I talked about oils? Lulu has been using DoTerra essential oils and blends for a while now and curiosity got the best of me, too. She hooked me up with some steady favorites: Serenity (a few drops on the bottoms of your feet will encourage peaceful sleep, just as my SLEEPING husband), Balance (we all love the calming effect of this blend), DigestZen (applied directly to the tummy for digestive balance), Deep Blue (for pain), and Whisper (for mom, as daily fragrance and relaxation). We also have lots of new ones to test out. Trevor, Andy, and Mabel love using the oils, especially Balance.  I made each of them a roller ball (fractionated coconut oil + 12 drops essential oil) that they can apply whenever they’d like. Mabel has some Wild Orange oil in her Balance roller.  Truly, truly wonderful for children. I’m so grateful for the earth God gave us!  It’s no surprise that oils heal and soothe.

Dear coworkers, it would be completely appropriate for you to say ‘bless you’ when I sneeze and ‘thank you’ when I bless your sneezes. It’s just common courtesy and will help us become friends.

So, my closet is experiencing some changes. Sometime around April I realized I was wearing too many neutrals. This became a problem because when I stood in front of my closet to dress in the morning I felt bored instead of inspired. I didn’t feel funny HAHA or unique. It was depressing, honestly – because I adore fashion and believe it is an extension of our personality. I mean, do you want to be walking around town showing off boredom and lack of inspiration? Not I, says the cat! And so (does anyone else notice how often I say “so”?), I began some investigative research into a woman’s best organization and planning tool: Pinterest.  What did my fashion pins have in common? What was I loving but not wearing? I started making lists in my Midori travel notebook and trying to really tap into what makes me happy. And experiences, not just things. One of the most helpful exercises I did was to write down some of my favorite things from high school and after. While my life is much different and my experiences more complex, overall, I love the same things I did back then. And it’s quite convenient that the 90s recently made a comeback! Bring on the Birkenstocks!

Dried mango and walnuts for breakfast today. Amen.

Trevor has been so dedicated to football this year, working out while back east with his dad and two-a-days here all summer. Our school district is small enough + his talent, and he may actually play some varsity games this year. As a freshman!  I am such a geeked-out, proud football mama! So grateful that Bryon has been able to pass along his love for this sport.

Speaking of Pinterest, studying my pins had a lot of great effects on me. Such as, WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?! Make the damn recipes I’ve pinned. Order the freakin’ blanket for the living room that I’ve pinned 100 times (kantha). PAINT THE CANVAS. Seriously. Don’t use Pinterest if you’re not going to let the inspiration flow through and OUT into a decision – that’s my advice. It’s so fulfilling to do. And – who cares if it’s a fail. Do it for yourself.

So (there, I did it again!), kanthas. KANTHAS. OMG, I am in love with these blankets. The origins of kantha quilts and blankets started near India, where women made their worn cotton saris into hand-stitched blankets. They are relatively thin and perfect for summer months. I’d like to use some vintage textiles and make one myself – hand-stitched rows and all.  I have been thinking of adding a layer of flannel in between the cotton to provide just a touch more warmth for spring and fall.

This past Saturday I painted all day. I love to rework my canvas, adding layers of acrylic over dried acrylic. The lumpy bumpy texture makes my heart sing!

Recently my girlfriend and I met for ‘nails.’ Twice. She goes for acrylic tips and I go for gel polish. It’s some good girl time. As I type this, my French gel manicure is 12 days in. I’m planning to soak and scrape them off this weekend. I’ve decided it’s just too expensive for me to justify. Three gel manis is equal to a pair of shoes!  Then it’s a matter of priorities. I mean, I could just go with bare nails or paint them myself for much cheaper at home.  And in the end, I always become a little annoyed by how fake they look. I am an au-natural gal after all. Basically this one has run its course again.

Seatbelt laws are there for a reason. Put your kid in a car seat as long as you can and ALWAYS make sure they are buckled up. You might be a good driver, but nobody is perfect and you can’t plan for crazy drivers next to you. Also, children break. That is all.

Summer months mean grazing for dinner at our house. After I made dinner for the littles, I prepared a grazing station for Bryon and me using the woodgrain serving tray that I recently scored for $1 at my new favorite thrift. Whoop! Lots of fresh chopped veggies, such as zucchinis (as big as your thigh), cherry tomatoes (from our plants out back), green beans, avocado, and celery. Some grapes (still scared to death one of these will roll away and poison Beaner), almond crackers, and cheese squares. Kalamata olives and homemade ranch dip. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. It was perfect. 

This past weekend, Andrew was on an overnight church trip with a friend so the girls got to hang out and do girl things. They played dollies. Mabel brought her baby girl upstairs for a cuddle by the window and I gasped out loud. So precious!

July 20, 2015

Hey, Mom, Here's My Hairrrrrr

You guys, my mom yelled at me. She did. I guess I mentioned getting my hair chopped off and then didn't post an "after" photo. So sorry, so sorry.

Full disclosure: this is 8 weeks post cut, so for me, about 1.5" longer than the first cut. I'm going to keep growing it for a while.

I have a new holy grail-level product: Bumble & bumble Invisible Oil Primer. Works no matter what I'm going to do with my hair.

Most days, I air dry it and wear it naturally wavy.

Other days, I blow it out and straighten it. Straightening it is such a chore, not because it's particularly hard but because at the age of 38, I have become lazy. In most cases I just want to leave the house quickly.

But if I'm being completely honest, there has always been a struggle in my head between bedhead and straight, Kelly Taylor 90210 hair.

July 15, 2015

Father's Day (Bean is a Husker)

Right before the kids left, we did up a surprise Father's Day thingamajig. Trevor almost stopped playing on his phone for a few minutes.

We spoiled Bryon with some fishing toys, but those were blown out of the water when he saw a tiny spec of red lying at the bottom of the gift bag.

After unfolding this little square of red he realized that it was meant for someone a bit smaller.

And a grin spread across his face.

And that is the story of how Bean stole Father's Day.

July 14, 2015

Campfire Jam

One of the things the boys share is their love for the guitar. It's grown on all of them and within all of them over the past few years. Bryon had an acoustic before we dated, though he didn't play it often.  Andy got his first electric for his birthday a few years ago. Then Bryon got an electric - and Trevor started to play. They're both lefties. Now each has their own guitar (and then some) and they are learning from one another.

Trevor is very methodical. He loves playing Rocksmith and singing classic rock. He'll play for hours.

Andrew has such a wonderful ear. Straight up talent. He's not a big fan of Rocksmith, but he will hear something and then later we'll hear it coming from his room. He's also writing a few songs of his own and practices almost every day.

Before the kids left for this summer, we had perfect campfire weather one evening. And the guitars came out to play. It was a good, old-fashioned jam session.

Yes, I am aware that we are sort of the Partridge Family. Especially when Mabes gets the drums out.

On this night the three of them played 'The Story' by Brandi Carlisle. That is my mama mantra. My single mom war cry. My heart exploded right then and there.

We are so grateful for this man. I love that he has shared his love for many things with the boys, but especially this one.

July 9, 2015

He is a Sk8er Boi

Look, Y'all, Andrew is a weirdo. The BEST KIND of weirdo. His unique personality is one of God's biggest gifts in my life.

When we visited Lake Pahoja in June, Andrew took his lime green penny. He was thrilled to utilize the freshly-paved, nearly-empty parking lot for his (non)tricks.

At some point I thought he needed a cape, so I attached one of the towels we'd brought along for swimming and he took off. He giggled the whole time. So did I. So did everyone.

It flowed behind him, flapping.

Seriously. I die of cuteness.

For years Andy wanted to skateboard more than he actually did it. But then about a year ago I think he got over his insecurities about doing it and just... got on. Three boards later, the kids is obsessed.  The short boards, the long boards, the shoes, the clothes - he's my skater boy. Love him so.

July 8, 2015

Pahoja, 1

The weekend before the kids left for their dad's, we headed to a lake in Iowa that has quickly become a favorite. We packed some snacks, a basketball and a skateboard, swimsuits and flipflops, and bug spray. Because wow.

We paddle-boated for hours and afterward, came back to the truck for snacks.

Andrew entertained us with skateboarding tricks, complete with cape.

We walked the trail to the beach and settled in on a lovely grassy knoll while the kids muddied themselves.

They were so excited.

Well, most of them were excited. Right up until the soggy, sticky lake bottom.

It was a great day.

July 6, 2015

Girls Wrestle, Too

The week before the kids left, there was some 'wrasslin' that happened. This time, it wasn't with the boys.

BOTH girls hopped on Pop.

Even Bean jumped in. Isn't that just delightful?