My 3 Monsters: August 2010

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Dry Spell

So, I've decided I can either read OR write, not both.  I haven't been creative enough to come up with anything to write, HOWEVER, I have read, like, five books in the past week or so.  Some of them are unworthy of the merest mention, but a few of them were good.  My daughter was on a Shannon Hale kick recently and recommended The Princess Academy which was thoroughly entertaining.  Then I decided I wanted to read Austenland (also by Shannon Hale) since I'm a HUGE fan of Jane Austen, but it was already checked out from the library.  Bummer.  While looking for it on the shelf in the grown-up stacks of the library I found her book The Actor and the Housewife.  Loved that one bunches.  It was about a Mormon housewife in Utah who, by chance meets her favorite actor and they become friends.  It follows their somewhat odd relationship throughout years.  It made me laugh, it made me cry.  Good Stuff.  Then I picked up my sister's copy of My Sister's Keeper  (by Jodi Picoult) that I borrowed forever ago.  Just downright sad.  Sad in a thousand different ways.  Needing to enjoy some lighter fare, I dove into the copy of The Undomestic Goddess (by Sophie Kinsella) that I picked up at Goodwill for a quarter last summer.  It was just . . . eh.  I don't particularly enjoy books heavy on four letter words that aren't a normal part of my vocabulary.  A cute story, though.  Last night at the library I picked up Summer Sisters by Judy Bloom.  Who knew that she wrote books for adults?!  (At least I'm hoping it was written for an adult audience because it had some pretty "adult" content.)  I had to give it a go since I read just about everything else she wrote in my younger years.  I finished that one this afternoon and immediately started in on Book of a Thousand Days, another Shannon Hale recommended by Sis. I like it, but will be done with it in the morning.  What now?!  What can I read now?  What's good?  I'm trying to resist the urge to go out and buy Mockingjay, the newest in the Hunger Games series.  I'm on the library waitlist . . . how long could it be?  Right?  Recommendations for the meantime . . . please . . .


I HAD To . . .

Earlier tonight -- last night -- what do you call it at 2:00 in the morning?  I can't sleep. Anyway . . . we attended a "Bon Voyage" shindig for a young friend of ours who is leaving for China on Wednesday.  It was one of those great parties where the adults sit around inside talking and the kids run along to play in the yard out back.  It's been a while since I really had to worry about what my kids were doing while I was socializing.  Perhaps I should check in on them a bit more often in the future.  As we were rounding up our kids to leave, I commented on how sweaty D was and foolishly asked what he had been doing.  Ignorance is bliss.  It really is.  Here is the recount of the evening's exploits as told by the hooligans themselves:

D:  I was on the trampoline.
Ri:  Yeah, he was jumping on the trampoline and Zack wanted to fight so they did and D totally owned him!
Me:  Wait . . . what?
Ri:  Yeah, so, Zack wanted to fight but D didn't want to so Zack was taunting him.  Then everyone was taunting him except for me and so D fought him on the trampoline and he won!
D:  Yeah!  I pinned him and got him in a headlock!
Ri:  It looked like Zack was going to win at first cuz he pushed D down and was on top of him, but then D had his legs around Zack's waist and flipped over and pinned him!
Me:  (speechless)
D:  Yeah, except for you know how you thought I didn't want to fight him?  I really did.
Ri:  Yeah, and you totally owned him!
Me:  So, D, you were kind of a bully, huh?  I don't know about that . . .
Ri:  No, he wasn't a bully because it was Zack's idea to fight.  He wanted to.
Me:  I just don't think it's a very good idea.  I don't like to know that my boys were fighting.
D:  But I HAD to.  Everyone was taunting me so I had to.
Ri:  Yeah, they were.  He HAD to.
Me:  (happy that Zack isn't injured and crying to his mom and believing that this was truly just playful boyish aggression) I really hope this isn't going to happen again. It's not a good idea.  Someone could get hurt. Blah, blah, blah . . .

The boys nod in agreement and then, as they walk away,

D:  (quietly to his brother) I hope he wants a round two, cuz I'll give it to him.

Their father assures me that if it had been a real "fight" we would have heard about it sooner.  This is what boys do.  And that he indeed HAD to do it.  He was taunted, after all. Speechless, I tell you. I. Am. Speechless.



Crawdads, creek swimming, mosquitoes, meteors, cool air, bingo, friends . . . good, good times all around!  Can't wait 'til next year.


Coming Right Along . . .

It's been over a week since my last post.  I'm hanging my head in shame, but only just a little bit because I've had some big projects in the works.  Remember this:
I have successfully relocated our "office" to the living room and got the internet reconnected just this morning.  I've rehung pictures on our family art gallery wall and looked for inexpensive (used or vintage) chandeliers for our dining room and kitchen.  This weekend, fingers crossed, we will install bead board paneling and chair rail moulding around the living room to hide the dumb fireplace and create a visual separation between the open living room and dining room.  With the rest of my week I plan to go junking for a lamp to put on the desk and paint my armoire.  Fun, fun, fun!  It's like getting a brand new home . . . kind of.

Also, we went camping over the weekend with our friends from church.  It was super fun, but took up a whole Saturday of work time.  Whatever.  Small price to pay to make my great kids such happy kids.   . . . And I will post pictures as soon as I find my camera. The end.



Such sweet children, bravely facing the first day of third, fifth and seventh grade.  Confident.  Excited.  No one needed me this morning.  Everyone rode the bus -- carried their own supplies.  I was feeling a little sad until D turned back as he walked out the door and said, "I guess if you want you can meet me at the school.  If you want . . ."  Yeah.  There it is.  I'm still "The Mom".  They need me, underneath it all, and I'm happy to oblige.  And that quiet house -- the one I've been longing for all summer -- was maybe a just little too quiet as the day wore on.  (Nothing I won't get used to by week's end, I assure you.)  The three o'clock hustle and bustle was most welcome.  The chatter about weird bus drivers and new friends and chinchillas . . .  That's what life is all about, really.  Ahhhhh, absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.


Copycat Creativity

Remember my hot-mess-living-room dilemma a week or so ago?  I'm still working on it.  We spent last Saturday painting a few of our older pieces of furniture -- just sprucing things up a bit.  Reinventing.  In our most dramatic transformation, the coffee table went from drab brown to a beautiful blue called Mermaid.  I LOVE IT!!!
(But please ignore the real-life mess all around it.  Embarrassing ...)  I actually painted it dark gray, then celadon green, THEN Mermaid blue so that when I sanded and antiqued it we would get a pretty, multi-layered, weathered effect.  Looking at that photo I can clearly see that the top needs a bit more sanding.  Whatever.  (Next up, the entertainment center will be painted black and antiqued.  School starts next week and mommy's gonna' have some time to kill . . .)

As beautiful as that is, it's not what I gathered you all here to talk about today.  That perfectly blue coffee table is the only thing we own that is blue (except for the interior of my craft closet which is where the Mermaid blue paint came from, but that doesn't really count.)  I need some accessories that introduce light blue as a part of the red, black, yellow, green color scheme going on in there.  It's not a stretch, really.  Those colors all look lovely together.  Just look at the Thrift Shop collection of scrapbooking paper from October Afternoon.  It's a gorgeous pallet.  Luckily I had purchased a pad of that cute paper from Amazon on an impulse a few months back.  But what can you make for your living room out of scrapbook paper that doesn't look too Becky-Home Ec-y?  OK, several things, but that's when I remembered some beautiful butterfly collages I had seen while blog hopping a while back -- from Amy at the Idea Room  and from Julie at Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss.  If those two ideas got together and had a baby and wrapped it up in a burlap receiving blanket from Jen over at Tatertos & Jello, this is what you'd get:
My brand-spankin'-new addition to our family art gallery wall (which is currently under reconstruction due to recent changes in furniture placement).  Look at those colors up close:
To. Die. For.  It may not be your cup of tea, but it's doin' the job for me.  And, really, isn't that the best we have to hope for in our homes -- surrounding ourselves with things that we REALLY enjoy looking at, damned if anyone else likes them?  This room still needs a lot of refining, but it's getting there.  And I LOVE that huge table that creates the office area behind the couch. (The one on the space plan that I was a little iffy about before.)  It just works for us.  And that's what HOME is all about.

I'm linking up to one of my favorite crafty parties:




So, after my last post I felt a little bit like a whiner-baby.  I have to say a great big AMEN to every comment you all posted.  I know many of us are in the same boat, and that, actually, I have it pretty good compared to some.  I have a blah-down-in-the-dumps day every once in a while, but I can't ever ignore the blessing that I receive daily from my Heavenly Father.  Each new day brings it's miracles right along with the struggles.  In fact, the more difficult my situation is, the more miracles I notice.  I'm not talking "get a mysterious check for a very large sum in the mail" miracles or "my son is cured from diabetes" miracles.  I'm talking about "my kids actually LIKE powdered milk so we can rotate through our food storage" miracles and "I found hi-lighters for 19 cents" miracles (we're getting ready to go back to school around here).  We've also had "I got help for my anxiety BEFORE things got rough" miracles and "Our insurance will cover the new, latest and greatest insulin pump" miracles.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, if I've learned anything through the experiences of the last five years it's that we are never alone.  Our Heavenly Father NEVER leaves us alone to deal with the more difficult lessons in life.  He may let us struggle a little bit, but only the very minimum amount of struggle that is necessary for us to grow to be more like Him. He errs on the side of mercy ALWAYS.  As a mother I know that children will never learn to walk if you carry them absolutely everywhere.  But we can hold their hands and help them along until, miraculously, one day they can do it on their own.   I am learning how to do it on my own, but I'm not alone and for that I am profoundly grateful.



It's good to struggle sometimes, right?  Please remind me about how it makes you stronger and builds character and all of that. Tell me that cliched story about how you can't help a chick hatch from it's shell because it needs to do it all by itself to survive.  Something.  I wrote a while back about living life without the safety net of credit cards.  Yeah, we've lost a job since then.  And started a new one (thank heavens).  Made repairs to our van and paid hefty medical bills.  This struggling seems to be our lot in life, at least for the time being.  It's OK.  I'm learning to just sit into it. Roll around in it. Make friends with it.  (Though I would just as gladly do those things in a big old pile of money.  Just sayin'.)  We have our home, our health, and we ate dinner tonight so what do I really have  to complain about, right?  Right?

(Mom and dad, Don and Ann -- We eat dinner every night.  Your grandchildren are fine!)

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