Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sink Into Monday, Slide into August

Well, it's officially that time of year where we all start to lament the where'd-it-all-go-ness of the Summer. I know I am.

It's been in a hurry this year, so I'm calling for a mandatory slow-down. You can't rush this sort of thing. It's just no good to try.

In two weeks we'll slow a bit. We'll have no choice. And I'll admit, I looked wistfully at a proper zip-up jacket at TJ Maxx just yesterday. But when it came down to it, I couldn't bear to bring it home. It's just not time yet. I don't want to allow my heart to go there, because a heart only has room for so much goodness, and I'm at capacity right now, thank you very much.

I'm spinning around the carousel and stretching as far as I can to scoop up the gold rings in my reach. I'm taking 'em. Don't even try to stop me.

So, the list still hangs and we might check a few more things off. We might.

But even if we don't, I'll still walk out of the cool just to feel the warm sidewalk underfoot. And my February self will make my August self promise to notice - to really feel the heat.

It feels so dang good.

Tonight, I'll slumber-party it up in Ruby's room, because there'll be no morning rush, so why not?

Calvin's impersonation of a bobcat.

Tomorrow, we'll truck down and pick this guy up. Half-way pick-ups are meant for other months. In August, you might as well drive all the way down and stay for the night. You'd be foolish not to.

I'm here to tell you, it's winding down. Don't go wishing for the smell of leaves just yet, because August has earned her due, and I believe she'll be good to us.

Friday, July 29, 2011

When Grace is Six-Foot-Four with a Tongue Ring

The week has wound its way down. Is it really Friday night, or is someone messing with my head? All I know is that it was Sunday and I was stuck in the terminal at O'Hare for about seven hours and now the house is still, the sun's low, and I feel like I blinked just twice.

There's a new groove being cut into my soul and it looks like teenagers and it feels like bone-deep exhaustion, the kind where you miss night altogether, you fall into bed and it's already tomorrow and you're just so happy to be there, to slide into nothing for a while, but instead, your eyes burn up at a black ceiling and you don't know what else to do, so you pray.

Calvin, Haven, Ruby, Silas

And with every day that closes, the going seems more inevitable. And with every stretch of sun across a streaked July sky, the staying seems more soul-settling than it did before.

Ruby, Robert, Silas, Calvin, Fernando

My life, it's growing wilder all the time. I can feel the selfishness peel away, but trust me, I've still got plenty in my grip. I can feel the low-boil of love for kids who might not know how to love me back, but it's all good, because I've had practice.

Sometimes things seem to make a bit of sense, I could swear I hear the pieces fitting tight against each other. But not all the time. I'm the girl who works a reason like a days-long sudoku. I'm scribbling and erasing just to do it all again. In the end, even if my reasons fit neatly into the little boxes, I'm sure they won't add up. And what I'm learning, amidst the boy giggles and the girl cries and the grown-up appetites and the piles of laundry is that it's best to just hand it on over and live while I wonder. Because none of this is up to me and all of it - all of it - is a gift.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ruby's Hair

While I was out of town for four days, Cory held down the fort. There's nothing better than knowing everyone is in safe hands when it's time for me to step away.

Unlimited tickle time!

Scrambled eggs for everyone!

Honestly, my kids love having this extra Daddy time.

But, I'll be honest, Ruby's hair suffers for it.

She has taken to calling the hair that fluffs up in the front (every day, no matter what) her "Lion hair". She came up with that on her own, and I love it.

Well, when I returned home, we were well past Lion territory.

We were full-on Don King.

I get lots of questions about her hair, and I totally understand, because I ask everyone who might possibly know anything what I should be doing. It has been a lot of trial an error. But it has always been important to me that her hair is cute. I want her to be proud of the things that set her apart, so I try to keep my muttering dialed down when I'm working my way through a hairstyle.

She's got lots and lots of super curly hair, but it's very fine and soft. What this means is that it tangles easily and fluffs out of styles quickly.

We wash it once every seven to ten days and do a thick conditioner then comb through every tangle. Then it's time to style it, and whatever style we do, she's usually stuck with until the next wash.

We usually have to touch it up at least every two days in between and we put more conditioner in it every day or two.

I found this site a while back and it was a true God-send. I follow her plan, which includes using regular drug-store products.

I spent around 45 minutes yesterday doing a head full of twisties. Love it!! And she always flips her head around like the Friends episode where Monica gets braids on vacation. Can't say that I blame either of them.

Her hair gets dry, so I have also started rubbing a dropper-full of The Coop Keeper's Spring Chicken Serum into it.

Ladies - The Spring Chicken Serum. It is an elixir to behold. I'm an oily-skinned gal myself, but I put this around my eyes and on my wrinkle-prone areas every couple of days. It smells positively blissful. I have also taken to slathering it on my legs - I enjoy the sheen it gives, I rub it into my hands, I put it in Sister Friend's hair. It's all natural, hand bottled and labeled, made with care in the foothills of NW Indiana and one bottle will last you a coon's age.

I just can't say enough about it. If you were to come for a sleepover, I would insist that you try it. Just ask my Mom.

Buy yours here. And then tell me I'm wrong. I dare you.

And the Keepster is offering free shipping to allaya'lln's!! Use the code FPFG1 for free shipping anywhere in the US.

In closing:


You're the best dad ever. Thank you for taking such good care of our Smalls in my absence. You make coming home my favorite thing.

Flower Patch Farmwife

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wrong Way to Ya'll

I have been blogging for years and years now.

Well maybe just "years". Two, to be exact.

And over those years, I have learned a great many things from my whip-smart readers. I've learned about countless recipes and craft ideas, not to mention books and music and general Must Know info.

Once, I had a reader graciously alert me to my butchering of "gesundheit" (pretty sure my first try included a "z" somewhere...). The thing is, I hate to be wrong, so I appreciate being steered in the right direction. Ya'lls help me save face. And sometimes, let's be honest, this face needs savin'.

Which brings me to my point: Ya'lls.
I use it with reckless abandon even though I am not, nor have I ever been, Southern.

I mean, Southern Ohio, sure. But I hear that doesn't really count.

Way back in the beginning, I would randomly mix my "ya'll" with my "y'all" until a reader informed me that the correct spelling is, in fact, "y'all". I will be honest, I did not know this. It makes perfect sense, but it was not something I had ever stopped to consider.

So I vetted it with my sole Southern friend at that time, and he said something to the effect of, "It's back-woods slang. Can there really be a correct spelling of back-woods slang?" Well, I just loved his point.

The Shannan I know best would usually jump on the "right" spelling of just about anything, but maybe the barometric pressure was especially high that day or maybe I was over salsa-ed. I don't know. All I do know is that I decided right then and there to forge my own path and own my improper spelling. It felt like the right thing to do. Since then, I've taken liberties with ya'lls, yall'uns, etc... (If you have any other ideas, you know where to find me.)

And so, it is in highlighting the fact that I am a rascally fraud that I honor my Southern amigos.

Y'alluns buy that, right?

*This post was brought to you by my Southern friends who I had the infinite pleasure of spending time with whilst breezing through North Carolina.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I Learned Yesterday

1. Waking late on a Sunday morning with the theme song from Beauty & the Beast is as bad an omen as I can imagine.

2. I am incapable of obtaining a close shave on my knobby knee caps.

3. Aldi eye cream can double as body lotion, in a pinch.

4. I wish they made perfume in the exact scent of Aldi eye cream.

5. Even in the presence of cable tv, I will almost always prefer to go about my morning in silence.

7. Joy is not a serial killer. In fact, she's pretty rad.

8. Mexican food never fails me. Ever.

9. I like to follow people around in the Goodwill store and tell them long, boring stories while they shop.

10. I always fall victim to the charms of something at a Goodwill store.

11. But I probably should have tried on the t-shirt.

12. A new, in-package Napoleon Dynamite board game will cause me to reconsider the status of my carry-on luggage.

13. Ann Voskamp is just as gorgeous and gracious in the airport security line.

14. A bottle of water and a Special K bar will run you almost $8 in an airport.

15. I feel empowered when I tell the airport check-out guy, "What??? OK, I don't need that Special K bar."

16. He won't mind one bit.

17. I'm hooked on Hooked.

18. I worry that I need to start my book over, but I'm oddly energized by the thought.

19. Kristen's on my flight! Sweet.

20. When you're walking to a connecting flight, it's best to pay attention.

21. If you don't pay attention, you might - might - end up leaving the terminal altogether, without a single notion of how it happened.

22. Airport security is even less fun the second time around.

23. I feel angry when I have to throw away my $4 bottle of airport water because I'm going through security again.

24. Long layovers feel shorter with a friend.

25. It's impossible to eat when you don't stop talking.

26. There is a difference between F28 and F2B.

27. It might be time to visit an optometrist.

28. I really do have the worst traveling luck ever.

29. OK, maybe not ever. But still.

30. Delayed flights breed camaraderie. And contempt.

31. It's ironic to survive the flights but then fear that you might fall asleep at the wheel on the drive home.

32. Hitting the door at 1:30 a.m. is surprisingly exhilarating.

33. "Inciting incidents" and "story-worthy problems" lead to insomnia.

34. Home is my very favorite.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

That I Would Be Broken Every Day

This day has been full of every kind of goodness. Every bit, every kind.

All day long I've smiled true, from the heart. I've laughed. I may have even winked a time or two.

But tonight, right now, I can't stop crying. And so it seems that what started good has ended even better.

It wasn't always that I'd have seen it this way. There were the headache years, where I pushed back at the tears until they bottle-necked into a headache. I never wanted to be that girl, so I wasn't.

Instead, I was the girl who seethed and griped on the inside, the girl who wanted everyone to think I was so strong. I wasn't all Goth or anything. I still wore pink with abandon. I've never owned a black eyeliner. I wasn't the mean kind of tough, just the scared kind, I guess. (Though I would have never called it that.)

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Ann Voskamp speak. For reasons I can't explain, I didn't know she would be here until two days ago, when I arrived. Her words tonight were just as lovely as you would expect. Probably lovelier.

"Open your hand so you can open your heart", she said. "Every moment is a gift." "The Bible is not a book of what we must do but a book of what He has already done." I nodded slow, the nod of the understood. This is what has changed my life, over the past few years. This slow, thick understanding that this - right here, this - is a gift. My pinched-up toes, my flattened hair, the too-loud laughs shared over chicken tenders with pitch-perfect ketchup. All gifts. Oh, if I would only remember.

So, she said, write down three things you're thankful for. Right now.

Here's my list:
Cory Brandon Martin - who has been a picture of grace, to me.
Brown eyes - Calvin, Ruby, Silas, Robert
Blue eyes - Haven Marie

And I lost it then, because the gift of them is so much bigger than what will fit inside. My dreams for them span to Heaven. Know Jesus. Know his love for you. Love him back.

Waiting in line for her to sign my book, I kept tipping my head back a little, so the tears could somehow fall back in. I walked past the little books on the Compassion table - child after child after child, just waiting to be chosen. I thought of our Compassion kids and how much I want to look straight into their brown eyes, how my dreams for them span to Heaven, how I need to tell them that again. There's no time to waste.

I stood at her side and my wit and smiles, they eluded me, so I cried the kind of tears that make a girl drippy in the worst possible way. I could not stop them.

It is grace that points a crowd of adoring "fans" toward a Sam's club table covered in children who need some hope.

It is grace that strips away.

It is grace that opens up to fill.

It is grace that breaks my heart in order to heal it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Sick of Me Yet?

I survived. Hallelujah.

It's been a good day, ya'lls. And I say "ya'lls" with extra authority tonight, because I am in the South(ish), baby. I mean, ya'lls.

It's always interesting to go off and do something a little wild on my own. When I arrived here earlier today, I knew no one. Zero. That can be a little intimidating, but it's good to force myself to conjure up my inner six-year-old and just make friends with whoever is nearest.

I've already met some fantastic, encouraging, get-real women.

I shared chocolate mousse with a new friend whose heart carries around many of the same things that mine does. I just happened to take the empty chair next to hers. Do you know what that means? That means that I'm not alone. It means that God ordains these little things. He likes it when I connect with someone who encourages me on the path that He's put me on. He likes it when I can do the same for her. He doesn't want us lonely. There's just no good reason for it. So, I'm thankful tonight for that extra shot of gumption. (And chocolate mousse.)

I'm also happy to report that my agent appointment this afternoon went swimmingly. Better than I could have hoped. I left feeling encouraged and like I had gotten some honest, expert advice. The word count on the right is about to go down, but it's all for the sake of the greater good. She confirmed things that I already knew in my gut, and that's a great reminder to me to just trust my instincts, even when I feel like I'm a total novice at this fiction-writing thing.

My new friend and I - the chocolate mousse friend - we talked about how the most fulfilling things aren't typically easy things. It's from the tired eyes and the banged up hearts and heaped up doubts that redemption is often born.

I'm more excited than ever to keep writing.

I'm more thankful than ever for a God who makes himself known to me everyday through people like her and people like you.

Also? Just for the record?

I'm totally missing these rascals. And their Daddy.

They really dig nuts, man.

I'm off now to scour the cable tv for something ridiculously mind-numbing.

As for you? Be assured that I'll not bother you again, at least for the next 24 hours or so.


I Think I Could See Myself at a Nascar Race

After a whistle-stop tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, I am safely in my hotel room and I've gotta say, it's pretty faincy.

This girl here is a sucker for a nice hotel room.

I called Cory and said, "I have a full kitchen! I mean, not that I'll be using it, but still!"

My fantastic, generous hosts last night fed me Mexican food - An elixir for my nerves.

Actually, I was so busy traveling yesterday that I didn't have a second to worry.
I quite enjoyed the break.

What I did have time for was dripping watermelon juice on my white pants and springing a bloody nose as the plane descended, but that's a whole other story...

Once the day came to a close, I started to feel those butterflies flapping around again.

I found this verse, "May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord." So that's what I've decided to focus on, because he's the only audience that matters.

Thank you all for your sweet and funny words. What would a girl like me do without you?

Barf, probably.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Happens When I Stress

I'm leaving tomorrow for She Speaks.

I'm working like a mad woman.

I'm mad, like a working woman.

Every once in a while, I think I might be coming down with the stomach flu.

Then I realize I have butterflies. They flew in way, way early, dang it.

My bags aren't packed.

My pitch is weird.

My cheeks are pink.

I'm Opie-eared.

My nerves are shot.

My feet are cold.

And now my story is all told.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Best Thing We've Done All Summer

Every morning, the two biggest kids come down at 7 on-the-dot and kiss our cheeks. Sometimes Ruby pets my hair. Then they stomp out (why can't kids just walk?) and play with Legos and Polly Pockets for the next half hour or so, while Siley snoozes and I contemplate getting on with my day.

Once both of my eyes are mostly open, I call them back in and we read.

This is a new thing for us. It's been a couple of weeks, but I'm addicted.

One of them opens in prayer and one of them closes. They usually argue about it a little.

In between prayers, I read just one little section. 5 or 6 verses. I read it as-is, except for when I come to something like "You Adulterers!" Because Calvin would totally ask.

Right now, we're in James.

I love hearing their take on words they've never heard and the overall themes.

It gives us something to focus on for the day. It kind of sets the tone. There are days that it just doesn't happen, but when it does, it's the best part of the day. The sleepy eyes and bed-head. The light so low in the room that if Calvin shifts around too much (he always does) the shadows he casts make it difficult to read. We haven't ramped up too much for the day yet. Our hearts are still a little quiet. (As is the house, since Silas is still asleep.)

Today we read, "For the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy." Mercy they knew, tenderness, not so much. ???

Later in the day I spoke on the phone to Pastor Tom from church. When I hung up, Calvin chimed in from the back seat, "Pastor Tom is always happy. And full of tenderness."

Man, I love these kids. I love learning with them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Summer List

Good morning!

I'm over at The Domestic Fringe today talking about our Summer List.

Join me here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This Might Blow Your Mind

The Apron Is the Skirt.

They're all one thing, ya'lls.

A few weeks ago, while rifling through a heaped up pile of vintage linens, I yanked the most perfect apron from the bottom of the pile. The colors! The pattern! It was meant to be.

Wait one minute - it's a skirt?

It is, in fact, a skirt.

The vendor sidled over and said that he thought it just had to be vintage, even though there was a tag in it. And he seemed like a guy who might know a bit more about fashion than your Average Joe.

Well, as much as he probably knows, I happen to know a little more.

I recognize an H&M tag when I see one. I also recognize my size when I see it. Oh, and fate. I recognize that, too.

But mostly, I recognize that $4 for an apron skirt in the perfect shade of aqua is a deal that I wouldn't dare deny.

It's a little froufy, so I keep the shirt simple and add something with a bit of heft.

Then I top it all off with several drips of raspberry ice cream.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wild as We Want To Be

What started out as an innocent trip for post-dinner ice cream spiraled quickly downhill.

I should have seen it as the omen that it was when we loaded up Calvin in his boxer shorts, Ruby in hot pink spandex bike shorts and Silas with no shoes.

2 minutes into the trip, Ruby told a hiney joke. I could hear her in the back seat, reveling in Calvin's hysterical laughter. I could tell it was just a matter of time before she upped the ante. She upped it, alright. She started her joke and then dropped her tone to a loud whisper for "bottom". Homegirl has the market cornered on potty humor. And it's win-win for Calvin, who gets to belly-laugh and then immediately tattle.

Up in the front of our sexy mini van, Cory and I listened to Alanis Morisette, circa Jagged Little Pill. Took me right back. Took us both back. I wonder about Alanis - if she's happy in the world somewhere. I hope so, because I like her. Her Forgiven lyrics are pure genius.

A few minutes later, Calvin shouts from the back seat, "Ruby's pretending to smoke!" I say, "Ruby?" she responds, "I'm pretending to smoke! With this sucker stick!"

"We don't pretend to smoke, yada yada, put the sucker stick down."

Then Cory says to me, real quiet-like, "I always used to pretend to smoke." and I say, "Oh yeah, me too. We would secretly buy those candy cigarettes."

Candy cigarettes! Whose brilliant idea were those?

Ice cream went off mostly without a hitch.

Then I had to grab grape tomatoes at the grocery store and I'm just gonna put it out there: I bought a 4-pack of Wild Berry wine coolers. On sale.

Here's the thing about me and drinking: I do it, once in a while. I was raised with the mentality that if someone smoked or drank a beer, they were not going to Heaven. It probably wasn't worded exactly that way, but that's how I processed it.

So I never smoked (at least not for real) and I never drank. Ever. And I went about my merry way, thinking that people who did those things needed Jesus and being so proud of myself that I was strong enough to resist. And all the while, I could have been concerning myself with things like my own personal greed or selfishness or - duh - pride.

Then I grew up and I started to dig around for the truth about things and I started to love Jesus more and I started to have a margarita, once in a while.

I'm so controversial.

Back at the home-front, I picked beans and bedtime for Calvin and Ruby turned into running in the sprinkler just for the heck of it. No soup for you, bedtime! When it's 87 degrees at 8:30, you probably just need to run in the sprinkler one more time.

The evening of our undoing ended with two naked kids running willy nilly through the house, in hot pursuit of pajamas, to the tune of Ruby's newest song, involving a rocket potty, whatever that is.

Come thou, Sunday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Them Beans, Them Beans, Them Blasted Dang Beans

We've got beans.

Man, do I love picking beans. They're so sneaky, the way they blend right in with the stems. (I take my thrills any way I find 'em, these days.)

Tonight we had a big, rowdy table-full for dinner. We had to pop in the extra leaf, which always makes me happy. Three wily Littles + three rascally teenagers = A good night. (And yes, Haven, I just called you rascally. What'ya gonna do about it? Get back to work.)

I've been working like a house on fire, getting myself ready for She Speaks. Will you be there? I need to know. I've nearly written myself cross-eyed and doubted myself to sleep five nights running. So today I decided to take the day off.

But then I packed lunches, took Calvin to have his blood checked, met friends at the park, took all 3 kids with me to my haircut, made dinner for 8, picked beans, did 3 loads of laundry, scrubbed ground-in asphalt from little feet crevices and urged Ruby out of her fleece "feetie" pajamas, and I remembered that there's no such thing as a day off.

Oh well, at least there's hope that I might actually sleep tonight.

While the guys tried to catch a frog after dinner, I snapped beans. Last year was my first official foray into canning and I was feeling over-confident, so I decided to tackle the beans solo. I've never felt more responsible or earth-motherish.

Then I was so busy getting instructions from my mom whilst canning that I forgot to poke the thingy down into the jars to release the villainous air bubbles.

Then the dang canner wouldn't can. Steam was escaping. The jiggler wasn't jiggling.

Stupid beans.

I am presently waiting for the pressure to go down in the hopes that I might remove the lid without blowing my face off. I will then attempt to diagnose the problem, because it's as plain as the nose on my face that I'm an expert in this sort of thing.

I'll keep you posted.

Also? I am still laughing/cringing over your Silas tales. Law. I had no idea his spirit was so far-reaching. Thank you for helping me to put him into perspective. Today, his helpfulness extended to picking 3 green tomatoes and two not-ready beets.

Ah yes, beets! The beets are ready. I need to whip my canner into shape, or I'll be pickled beetless for the winter. And you do not want to see me pickled beetless.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Like Molasses Through a Pin Hole...

So are the days of my life.

They are sometimes slow and often drudgerous. Yes, drudgerous.

They are also somehow chaotic, at the very same time.

Mostly thanks to this guy.

We have entered a new phase with him.

It looks something like this.

And dude works fast.

It happened during my 2 minute trip to the ladies room immediately following the departure of The Fox, The Hen and The Boychild.

Heaven help me.

No really, Heaven, help me.

I have never experienced anything quite like Silas.
That's for darn sure.

He smells perpetually of cologne.

He sings to me daily.

He cuddles with the best of them.

He's a force to be reckoned with.

And I try to reckon, I do.

A friend gave me this idea, which has revolutionized my shower time.

(Is he watching COPS? I should look into that...)

If you have a Silas, or had a Silas, or know someone with a Silas, or once had a bad dream that a Silas was loosed in your home with a purple kiddie crayon, know that you are not alone.

Oh, and pray for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How To Not Shop

About 500 days ago, I was asked if I have any tips to curb spending on clothing and other nonsense.

Indeed, I do: Don't go shopping. Don't browse around the mall for fun. Don't run into TJ Maxx when you have 20 minutes to kill. Because if you do, you will buy something. As sure as I'm sitting here in with a half-eaten slice of carrot cake, you will.

The truth is, I love to shop. I love the thrill of a $12.99 shirt off the clearance rack at Gap. I love splurging a little at the J Crew outlet. But most of the time, I don't have money to spend on either, so I just stay away. I'm not a window shopper. Torture, is what that is.

I've become more aware over the past year that shopping for more stuff is not fulfilling like I once believed. My purchases have become more thoughtful and thrifty than ever. I have a better understanding of what my personal style is rather than just trying to copy whatever happens to be "cool".

Of course there are times when I actually do need something. And there are times when I have the extra money and just I want to guy buy myself a gingham shirt, so I do. My favorite stops are TJ Maxx, Target, Old Navy, Gap and J Crew. Sometimes, when I'm feeling teenagery, American Eagle. I can't remember this last time I paid full price for something.

Every now and then, I also go pretend shopping. It's different than actual window shopping because 1) I have time to really think about what I'm doing and 2) I would have to go dig my debit card out of my wallet, and it's all the way in the kitchen.

I buy this shirt.
(Mostly because the "Dang Cowgirl" shirt is sold out.)
Would I ever spend $54 + tax and shipping on a t-shirt in real life?
Uh, no.

But it sure is cute. So I put it in my little basket.

And then I walk away.

Nicola Lattice Stripe Percale Bedding
But only far enough to get to Garnet Hill.
I'm not totally in love with these sheets, but I could be for $14.

Organic Cotton Ruched Tank Pajamas
And I really could use a pair of Proper Pajamas.
Especially for $29.

OK, that's actually still more than I'm willing to pay for PJs, but rules are meant to bend a little when it comes to pretend shopping.

My last stop? J Crew, of course.

Denim jumpsuit
This acid-washed jumpsuit calls my name.

So I slap it, because it's ugly and ridiculous.

I'm not sure that this method would work for everyone.

* If you have your debit card number memorized, it could get dicey.

* If you only have a credit card, just Walk. Away. Because nothing is worth having if you have to rob your future self to get it.

99.9% of the time, I find that after filling up those little online shopping carts, the itch has been scratched. I come to my senses - I don't need a new sheet that I'm not wild about, even if it is really cheap.

I have everything I need, and then some. I have my beat up jeans, ratty sweatpants, gray t-shirts and even a gingham button down. What more could a girl ask for?

So, in the spirit of appreciating what we already have, what is the one item in your closet that you love the most? Where did you find it? How long have you had it? How often do you wear it?

We all want to know.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What We Didn't Do This Weekend

For the first time this Summer,we didn't have one dang thing on our to-do list. It was heavenly. We lazed around and exerted ourselves a little bit, but only when absolutely necessary. I worked on my book for a few hours.

We didn't eat out once.

I know this is probably common for many of you, but for us, it was rare. Legendary, even.

Last Tuesday I hauled home fresh corn on the cob, a bucket of blueberries, heirloom tomatoes, yellow squash. On and on and on. This time of year always makes me extra giddy over the dinnertime possibilities.

But without fail, I get lazy and we end up ordering pizza. Or we go out to dinner on Saturday night because that's just what we do.

So there I was, rolling through with a full cart and Crazy, Crazier and Craziest and the thought kept coming to me: Don't eat out at all in July. I'd swat it away. It's summertime! We hang looser in the Summer! We have more fun! We go places!

But the other truths, the truer truth, are that we've been talking for a while about wanting to make it a bigger priority to have friends over or to just be here, at home.

We want to be a better example to our kids that we don't have to be going somewhere to be having fun. They have come to expect eating out. It's not something special.

We want to be better stewards of our money. Eating out with six people is more expensive than eating in, even if it's fast food.

Still, I waffled. We're already five days in to the month. Maybe we should just start fresh in August? (Yeah, right.)

That evening, we had dinner with our friends Chad and Kristen. (Don't they look like they should be famous? We think so. Especially Silas, who has a mad crush on "Kissen".)

We ate good food, then the kids ran wild and stayed up too late for a Tuesday.

That's the stuff summertime - life - is made of. I want more.

Friday evening Holly Dear came and ate barbecue chicken legs and shortcake with us on the porch.

Last night we packed up boring ol' turkey sandwiches and had a picnic in the park. We didn't spend an extra dime this weekend, other than $0.59 McDonald's ice cream cones (our one exclusion).

It was so nice.

I like forcing myself to learn new things. It makes me feel youngish.

Are you trying anything new right now? Spill it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Apartment Therapy House Tour

It's been a good day. We picked blueberries the size of nickels. I had 2 hours to wrestle Lainey. I had a heck of a turkey sandwich and a handful of Ranier cherries for lunch. I talked to an old friend. I spent the evening with a newish friend. Ruby cried mournfully, during an emotional fit, "Everyone keeps walking faster than meeeee" (and that's just sort of funny).

And? I'm featured today at Apartment Therapy.

Check it here.

Everyone's all restless over my lack of geekiness. I understand, I do. It's possible, upon reflection, that my geek is mostly inner.

But I promise, it's in there.

And just in case you still don't believe me:

Case closed.

(For the full story on the glasses, go here.)