Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 21-27

 Pausing the pool play to practice our baseball.
 Fun at my sister's house--love all the cousins all in one place at the same time! ;o)
 Why you should not leave your boybarians alone with soap in a tub with jet capabilities.
Celebrating this sweetie's 10th with strawberry cake and Grandma's homemade ice cream.
 Enjoying my first Caprese of the summer with my mother-in-law--garden fresh tomatoes and basil, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette--try it if you haven't! So yummy. ;o)
 Precious sleeping boy on the living room floor.
I am loving picking fresh bouquets from the yard this year! I'm not sure why I didn't do this last year, but it is so nice to have a happy little spot of summer color in your house. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thrifty Finds

I love thrifting. I think it is the grown-up version of going on an adventure in search of treasure.  Sometimes you go home empty handed and sometimes you score something wonderful for just a few dollars.
One of my favorite finds this summer:

Six Sheffield Bone White China dinner plates for my hutch at $1 a plate.
I found the same plate going on Ebay for between $15-$20 a plate--definitely a score!
I'd like to find two more, but for now my collection of pretty white dishes continues to grow, slowly but surely!
And then there was this frame:

I've been on the look-out for a pretty frame to change into a chalkboard for awhile.
I slipped the glass out, spray painted the frame white, and then attempted to spray paint the art print with chalkboard spray paint.  It looked fine, but overall I prefer the chalkboard paint that you roll on.  It is more "gritty" and feels more like a chalk board.  In the end I pulled out my can and rolled over it a few times. I'm still debating maybe glazing over that white (it seems a tad stark at the moment).

A happy hutch to make it through the rest of summer.
And then we know what comes next!! Pumpkin time!!!
However, I'm a bit concerned about this year's pumpkin crop.  I don't think it comes anywhere close  to how far along  last year's was at this time.  #perplexingpumpkins?  My mother-in-law's look fabulous though, and if her last harvest was any indication I'm going to guess she'll have enough to share. ;o)  'Twould be a sad fall without pretty pumpkins . . .

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy 10th Isabella Faith!

I remember the ultrasound announcing another girl like it was yesterday. And while the news of another lady entering our family might have made Daddy's head spin, I just kind of knew always that you would be a girl.  My mom had a sister, I had a sister, certainly Marissa was destined for a sister too.  I had plans of shared bedrooms and matching outfits and best friends.  You were--you are--a dream come true.
You were born late in the afternoon after a full day of broken waters, pitocin, and back labor--the hardest of all five labors.  You had shockingly thick, black hair and we have since officially christened you "the hairiest" of all the babies.  Your petite 6 lbs 11 oz grew into a sweet little girl with kind of curly-hair and blueberry eyes.  A little girl who sucked her thumb like nothing I had ever seen and twirled her hair into awful knots.
And now you are ten.
 All slender and freckled with smooth blonde hair that dances at your waist.
Marissa's bestest friend.  Your loyalty to each other astounds and amazes me.
 Gentle, quiet, and bursting with creativity and yet there is a fierce competitiveness that runs deep and strong.  I love your little mommy heart.  I love that you're finding your own ways to shine. 
I've known ever since you were about 18 months and you kissed a pair of shoes at a store that you were "all girl."  And you are definitely our girly-girl--all dolls and pretty clothes and lip gloss and fear of spiders.
But what I pray for most as you get older is that your desire for a beautiful heart trumps everything else.  That you will know true happiness is found only in a relationship with Jesus and no "thing" out there will ever fill the longings of  a heart like He can.
Isabella you are a blessing and a joy to our family.  I cannot imagine life without you in it.
I can't believe we have had you for a full decade now.  Everyone tells you it goes so fast, and it does, the days slip through my fingers becoming weeks than months than years.
We hope your day is happy and sweet and all that you want it to be!
Love you, sweet girl.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 14-20

{better late than never}
 Emmett is obsessed with playing "War." All day long he is begging anybody who chances to walk by--sometimes he just plays himself . . .
 Yellow beans from the garden.  I know, I know, pics of veggies, who cares, but there is just something so very satisfying about eating a vegetable you grew yourself (and having a photograph as proof!). ;o)
 Evening swim at the Arapahoe pool--Owen paddling about in the "baby boat."
 Delighted to hear the cloud watching conversation going on between my oldest four as they cloud-watched from inside the house.
Pretty cosmos.
 A happy garden day with an almost rainbow array of veggies--the kids were sad we didn't have any blue vegetables.
After 9 days daddy-less we reunited at Grandpa and Grandma's pool.  He is surviving his detasseling experience, but I think we will all be happy when we can close this chapter. ;o)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


After a solid two months of summer-time busy-ness . . . the t-ball practices and games, the swim team practices and meets, the week spent back in Lincoln doing VBS . . . it is so refreshing to be home and have no pressing engagements.  I've been thinking about home lately.  Two years ago we were making plans to move out this way and after the home I had hoped for fell through we really had no idea where we would be living.  I had plans for living in Holdrege, not Arapahoe.  Then a rental with three bedrooms would be available the end of July--we were emailed a few pictures of a rather messy home, in desperation we decided it was workable.  And here we are.  Is it my dream home?  No.  But it is a happy little place.  We've painted some walls, filled it with lots of spruced-up {mostly second-hand} furniture, added family photos and lots of books.  Flowers bloom outside and we're getting some veggies from the garden.  Josh told me a few months ago that he never will worry about where we live, that he thought I could turn any home into something special. I have to say that might be one of the best compliments he has ever given me. I have thought about how there are some big, nice "we've arrived" houses I've been in or seen pictures of and how they just seem so cold and "soul-less."  And I think of the homes that belong to so many of my friends and family members--how they burst with life and warmth because somebody is there paying attention to the little details.  I would much rather have some small little place to invest my heart in than have something rich and grand and empty. It's not the fancy stuff that makes the home--it is the people there and the memories you are making.

I think far too often everyone is buying into the notion that if it is bigger or newer or trendier then it MUST be better.  I sit in my little bright blue ranch with a yard of grass and weeds (that if we're being honest tips slightly more toward weeds . . .).  My two girls share a room.  My three boys share a room.  Josh and I have the smallest of the rooms with our bed shoved up against the wall in the corner.  Optimal arrangement?  Probably not.  However, this is where God put us.  I could live my life all bent-out-of-shape and waiting for the "arrived" moment to happen.  But oh would I be missing out!  I was flipping through our photo album from last year and all those pictures that captured daily moments, and all I can think is what a great life!  What a happy life!  We can choose to be content anywhere.  Or we can choose to be miserable and keep waiting for the next best thing.  I think my picture project has opened my eyes to the blessings around me.  I have always wanted to keep a running account of things I am thankful for, and I think in the end, that is what my photo albums are--a visual way of counting blessings. Life is so full of beauty.

 Sure if we had more money we could have some cooler things.  But I can't help but think of all the skills we wouldn't have.  Josh has really learned a lot about car repair.  If we could afford to take our vehicles in or afford nicer vehicles he wouldn't have learned that skill.  And I have learned so much in the DIY area!  When you can't afford the things you like the only other option is to figure out how to make it.  We are more capable than we were when we first married.  That is good stuff.

Recently I came across this blog post "God's Board" (really, you must click over and read it!). ;o) It made me think about why I use pinterest, and I think I would have to say it is for inspiration and a way to organize all that inspiration without saving pictures or links to my computer.  Dare I say I find it educational?  I like to keep learning new things and finding new recipes and learning how to dress myself . . . (some of us just aren't talented in that way--I've given up on ever figuring out how to apply make-up!). ;o)  I love what she says here though, "God has given you a tremendous gift. He has chosen your life for you. He has chosen the lessons that He wants you to master. He has chosen your hardships, your headaches, your health problems, your children, your husband, your house. Let the things that God has chosen for you be the things that you willingly pin. Things that you say, “Yes! This is my style!"  And so I think about what God has "pinned" on my "life board" right now--He has me right where He wants me.  And you too!  You are exactly where you are supposed to be.  How wonderful to go through life trusting in His sovereignty over everything.  Anyway, just a little something on my heart right now.  It's so much easier to go through life with a happy and joyful attitude than a grumpy one (trust me, I've tried it both ways . . .). ;o)

Psalm 16:5-6
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Girls' Room Sprucing-Up

It all began with Marissa's desk--I think I found it on craigslist 3 or 4 years ago and had intentions of painting it.  But first it sat in the basement when we lived in Lincoln, and once we got moved out here it got pressed into service immediately, first as a little computer desk for me and then around Christmas it moved into the girls' room.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided "ENOUGH" and determined to get it painted.  But of course, once you start painting stuff an avalanche of projects cuts loose.  While the girls' room remains basically what it was since moving in (see here for a revisit) we did some "fluffing."

The pennant bunting changed walls, making more sense centered over the window.
I painted the girls picture frames some fun colors, taking a cue from colors in their comforters.
I painted Marissa's desk a happy little coral color, added some apple green knobs (from Hobby Lobby), scavenged the basement for a shelf to spruce up and got her a bulletin board.  Also, that chair was an extra in the basement that got spray-painted white.
The shelf holds little blue Ball jars and neatly displays Marissa's art supplies.
And then to streamline colors--Isabella's desk (see the first makeover here and check out its original horribleness) also got painted coral and we changed out the knobs because the glass ones broke.  We hung some "art wires" (just some baker's twine nailed to the wall) where she can display all of her special papers, photos, artwork, etc.  This makes both of us happy.  Isabella is a "keeper" and consequently she ends up with piles of important stuff that may or may not drive me crazy and clutter up their room quickly. ;o)  With this set-up we both win.
The girls were excited about the little changes and we continue to happily navigate this "tween" stage of room decorating with thankfully no posters of boy heart throbs plastered to the walls. *shudder*  And the girls told me they were inspired to keep it cleaner now (which of course lasted all of two days . . .). ;o)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 7-13

We spent the afternoon at my parents' place and made a visit out to the pond.  My dad removed the old deck at their house (and put up a new deck in its place) and used the old deck lumber to build a bridge to an island in the pond.  It is pretty cool!  We had fun catching some fish and later discovering we had been eaten alive by chiggers. ;o)
 After a fun first morning of VBS we got ourselves up to Omaha for a zoo visit.   We hadn't been there since moving.  We purchased a membership because basically it costs $20 more than buying a day pass for each of us.  If we go just once more in the next year it will have already more than paid for itself. And we get to go to the Imax for free (which is always a nice option when you feel the need to sit in a cool, dark air conditioned place after hiking those zoo hills in the heat!). 
 Because you know, we didn't think owning two minivans made us cool enough we thought we'd add another to the mix. Actually, both the black and red one are getting up there in miles, 178,000 and 200,000 respectively.  And while the blue one has 192,000 Josh got it for a sweet little $850. We figure between the three of them we should be able to keep at least two running for a couple more years.  That, and we're stock piling awesome school vehicles for our children once they hit driving age.  Won't they love us?? ;o)
 A quiet day spent enjoying Grandpa and Grandma's pool.  This guy discovered he is able to go off the board and make it to the ladder without drowning!  Yay!!  
 VBS concert--always wonderful.
You might notice that little fellow in blue on the right there, with his backside to the audience?
That would be Emmett, discovering the camera was recording all his actions on the big screen.  Joy.
Josh and I were so proud . . .
 The kids and I made the afternoon drive home.  A quick perusal of the plants was first on the agenda.  I was happy to see the female pumpkin blossoms are gearing up. ;o)
This pretty much sums up how we all felt about spending 9 hours at the Lexington Aquatic Center in 100 degree heat.  It has to be in my top five of WORST DAYS EVER SPENT OUTSIDE.  It might be #1.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

June 30-July 6

 We tie-dyed shirts on Saturday and the kids couldn't wait to see how they turned out.  Owen and Emmett are comparing bellies.
 Loving my yarrow in full-bloom!  It starts out the very dark pink and then fades over time so the plant is covered in variegated blooms.
 Owen planning his attack at the splash area at Yanney Park in Kearney (if you happen to find yourself in Kearney it is definitely a fun place to visit). 
 Our first sugar snap pea picking from the garden.  They were wonderful!  Even Josh noticed the difference ( a vegetable is usually a vegetable in his book). ;o)
All the kids in their tie-dyed 4th apparel.  I'm not sure we are all that great at tie-dying--it kind of looks like I rolled them around in bomb pops. But definitely a fun experience that we will repeat again with many more colors.
The sunflowers this year are largely all volunteer (Josh had the audacity to call them weeds, but I made him take it back). ;o)  A few began to open this week and I just love them.
Pre-swim meet pensiveness.
This meet was the one where they qualify for state, and I'm happy to report both girls made it.
Marissa will be swimming a 200 m freestyle and Isabella a 25 m back stroke.  Isabella also has two relays that made it.  We are waiting to hear on any other events.  They took the top two in each event, and then they will compare times for any of the other events, so in the next few days we should know if they have anything else.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Small-town 4th of July

We kicked off the day with a 7:00 a.m. firing of a cannon.
In the event you are clueless (like I was) standing within 30 feet of a cannon firing is REALLY LOUD.
To say I was startled would be an understatement.
 Owen and I find ourselves downtown ready for the parade to begin by mid-morning.  We were the only two members of the family not on a float.  And that worked out well . . . you should see the candy this little guy got!  I can't imagine if  I had all five kids scavenging!

 The girls were on the swim team float.  Isabella got to ride in the boat, Marissa walked along side throwing candy.  Josh got to drive the brand-new Dodge Ram pick-up that pulled the boat.  Poor guy.
And the boys rode with the t-ball team.  I was on the wrong side to capture picnics so I might have been that mom dashing into the parade to switch sides and hurriedly snap a few pics before they moved on.
And then I saw the truck that I wouldn't mind owning some day.  Although I'd like it to be a bit more aqua.  And then when I have my pumpkin farm I will fill the back with pumpkins and drive it to the farmer's market, and sell the pumpkins right off the truck.  That would be lovely. ;o)
We went swimming (pool free to the public all afternoon).
Once back home there was an incident with a Jackson, a bat, and a Owen, resulting in an ER run to Holdrege for Mommy and Owen.  He was a PERFECT patient.  Two and a half hours and three stitches later we joined up with the rest of the family back in Arapahoe.
Josh got involved in a slow-pitch softball game--old guys (which he is a part of . . .) versus the young guys.  I think they played like 23 innings.  Josh said the young guys just couldn't admit defeat.  I left around 9:40 because certain youngest boys were beginning to unravel emotionally.
We set up chairs in our yard and watched the town's firework display.
And then we did a little igniting of our own.  Although it is possible I left Josh and his little pyro offspring (a risky decision I know . . .) in the driveway and found myself tucked into bed by 11:00.  I'm happy to report as of this morning all children were in bed, accounted for, and no missing fingers.  We'll count that a success. ;o)
All that to say, this is the first time we haven't celebrated the 4th in Lincoln, and the kids kept telling us that this was the BEST 4th EVER!  Once I was talking with my sister in relation to our move and I told her how it just always feels like we are missing out on everything that is happening back in Lincoln.  I always feel bad about that--guilty--knowing there is stuff we would be doing but can't because we live out here now.  And she told me not to look at it that way--instead see it as all the experiences my kids are getting to have that everybody back in Lincoln is not.  And that was a great change of perspective for me.  I don't know how long God will keep us out here, but I do know that if that time ever does come to move we will leave with rich experiences in our possession.  Life isn't on hold here--it's different, but lovely.