Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taking My Own Advice


It's the kind of day where I wish I had a witty opener, but I'm clean out of wit. And openers.

So I'll just summarize my last few days:
Home from Michigan late Thursday evening.
Spent all morning Friday at the hospital with C (and the other 2. Yay!) (the news wasn't great)
Stayed in Friday night. (tacos for dinner)
Breakfast in bed Saturday courtesy of my people (overdue from my birthday) (don't even ask about that)
Road-trip to Muncie to hang with some of our favorite people.

Then there was church. We went to say goodbye to heart-and-soul friends, to pray them into their big move to Kenya, so I expected some tears because that's just the kind of girl I've become - a teary one. What I didn't expect was to repeatedly talk myself off an emotional ledge throughout worship. I could not swallow down the lump in my throat. I thought I might puke. It was the strangest feeling and I kept thinking, Is this the Holy Spirit? Why would he make me puke? 

I was so caught between the newness of all His mercies and my love for my friend Nicki and her family. I was pulled between that swelling feeling of Christ's love made known and gripping fear for my child.

I was afraid for Calvin. It hits me sometime.

I won't bog you down with details, but please keep praying for our boy. I hate the way these things sneak up on us... one night we're watching Chopped in the sketchiest motel ever...the next day, we're burnt toast. It makes me mad and sometimes it makes me cry.

Tonight it just makes me tired. It makes me pouty that we have to go back tomorrow. It makes me feel sorry for myself that we keep missing out on normal summer. It makes me ache for my dude, who just wants to lay around the house a while and go swimming and ride his bike.

We were almost home from Muncie and I remembered that we'd be passing right by one of my favorite places on the planet, or at least the state.

So we pulled over.
Flowers are my love language, didn't you know?

They make any day better.

They remind me that this Summer is still mine. We still have it. No one can take it.
I forget in the in-between that he's always worst in Summer. Every year it snatches me from behind and it makes me so mad, to have to remember. In the words of Rusty, it all feels like a big, dang gyp.

But we have to recalibrate a little, that's all.
There's just no other way.

We have to promise to notice when things turn around.
We have to not get scared. Mama has to not get scared.

30 minutes at the garden did us all a world of wonder. 

Isn't it obvious that we were all in dire need of a world of wonder?
I'm laughing so hard at this picture. People, this is the real, raw deal. This is me, looking like a ghoul, Ruby looking manic, Silas looking...strained.
It's okay, you can laugh, too.

Just understand that my life is even weirder than I let on. And we'll leave it at that.
Cory offered to fix my under-eye circles, but that felt like too slippery a slope for my current state of mind. Before you know it, I'd end up looking like this.


This guy ran laps around the circular track with his two remaining laser fingers securely in place.
Calvin rallied and willingly moved around in an upright position for the first time in two days.


I took exactly two pictures while we were there and these were it.
(I take a lot of pictures, but when we're all out together, I leave it to the pro.)

So these glorious flowers and the fact that I've retained a shard of perspective and joy are all courtesy of the Bearded One. Only now, he's whittled it down to a goatee, and I'm good with that. As Robert said, "It's a step in the right direction."

Our garden walk helped snap us all back into focus and the rest of our evening was productive and swell.


Just try it. Visit a garden the next time you're angsty and PMSy and fraught and blue.
The flowers, they'll fix you.

 Not this guy, but the flowers will.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Midnight Thoughts from the Rickety HoJo Desk


Isn't this a timely photo?

I thought so.

Christmas in late-late June!

It's probably my favorite picture I took all winter and I never posted it. I'm dorky that way.
When I first found him at the door his eyelashes were covered in snowflakes and by the time I grabbed the camera most of them had melted.

That boy.

I miss him. I need to sniff his neck.

I miss her, too. Miss her smooth cheeks and sweet heart. I miss her little voice and the way she sleeps in the most perplexing positions.

In keeping with my theme, this is a favorite shot from last summer that was never posted.

Oy.

I remember this night so clearly. We were driving home to the rental after checking in on the progress at the new house, during the build.

It was getting late.
We drove right past an open field with this happening.
Honest to goodness, I didn't feel like pulling over.

But I kept my thoughts to myself and the kids tumbled out of the van and stood in silenced awe, staring. There was fire, after all. We got to watch the whole thing, from unpacking the balloon, to lift-off. It was amazing.

The moral of the story? Pull over! Always, always pull over.
I need this reminder tonight.

Calv and I are coming to the end of our get-away.
I only ever did catch 2 episodes of Kardashians because the network replays the same 2 episodes overandoverandover. But I will say this: Scott Disick endeared himself to me with his "Todd Cranes" prank. I giggled like a fool. That is so my humor. I laughed about it last night when I was trying to fall asleep. It's funny, people!

In other news, I've barefly made a dent in my reading list. (Got a little distracted and spent all day yesterday volunteering at camp. Not to mention lights out at 9 in these close sleeping quarters.)

Calvin and I didn't even come close to getting tired of each other.
I just like that dude so dang much. He's such good company.
But we miss home and I'm feeling a bit...untethered. I don't know. I'm ready for the madness to stop.

Today I talked to my dad and he mentioned that mom was out picking beans. I was thinking holy cow, those are early beans! And they probably are a little early, thanks to Dad's mad greenhousing skillz, but in my head it was only May right now. Not late June. It was trippy.

So it's time to slow the heck down. It's time to ground myself in truth and in the things that matter most.

I'm feeling a whole new wave of disgust over certain places in my heart. I'm so over falling into traps of trying to be what the world tells me to be. I'm sick to death of entitlement and greed. I want to be plucked clean.

I'm excited and terrified to embark on this new season of required frugality, standing on the truth that God always, always provides what I need. I want to live our budget with a smile and never be too scared or greedy to be generous.

See what a few days of quiet will do to a girl? See???

Calvin is sprawled out corner-to-corner on his fancy double HoJo bed.
I should probably go settle in to mine.

Tomorrow is the last day of Korean camp.
I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Summer Love,
FPFG



Monday, June 24, 2013

Korean Camp



If you had a secret window into my life right now, you'd find me holed up in a sketchy Howard Johnson watching Keeping up with the Kardashians.

I'm just putting it out there - I like it.

The K's, not the HOJO.

But don't judge too harshly, because this is only my first-ever episode. There's time for my tune to change. I'll keep you posted.

I just dropped my dude off at Korean Culture Camp. I asked him on the way here last night what he was most excited about. Without hesitating, he said, "For the first time ever, I'll fit in."

(Go ahead, grab a tissue.)

He was a little nervous, but they wrangled all of the 2nd and 3rd graders together and most of them were boys. Man, it pinched my heart up. I hope he lets go and has some big-time, rowdy-boy fun. I hope this fills a little bit of the ache I know exists in there.

If you think of it, say a little prayer for him. It might not seem like the hugest deal, but looks can be deceiving.

Meanwhile, I have a stack of books (this, this, this, this), mags and a fountain Coke at 10 in the morning. I'm a woman of leisure in the HOJO.

That came out wrong.

At noon I'll be heading back to camp to dine on rice and noodles with my main squeeze. We have big plans to tool around the MSU campus this evening and find some Asian food for dinner. We're just gonna go ahead and geek out on all-things-Asian.

I'm so lucky to get this time with C-ster. So proud of my brave boy.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Garden


She strikes without warning and once she's here, she prefers to stay a while. Today, she found me in the garage, a clean 15 seconds after I'd pulled in. So she offered to sweep my garage floor while I shuffled around, peering at paint cans and stashing junk.

I always hoped I wouldn't have to try at these things by now, but it turns out I'm still me. My heart still prefers quiet and alone, I'm just learning to push past it, to go to what needs me.

We talked family and God while I tried not to think of the time. Her story changed three times in as many minutes and the floor of a garage was only meant to be so clean, so I invited her out to the garden with me, to poke around and pull the weeds.

It kind of took her breath away. Then again, she's a bit of a push-over.

To call it a "garden" is a stretch. It's four boxes, laid out purposefully in a grid.
It's small, but it felt like a serious undertaking when we launched it and we knew we might fail.
Things are growing. Except for the beans. So we cut our losses and started over. That's why we're here - we're here to grow beans. We're stubbornly resolute, sometimes beyond comfortable or judicious reason.

There's no shade near our garden, it's awfully close to the alley, and I never pictured myself with one foot in the street and the other in the tomatoes, calling life from the dirt when I'm tired and my back is hot. But trying to see the future is overrated, the very recipe for disappointment, and my heart is shifting right along with my garden paradigm.

Earlier today I drove across town, across the tracks, to stout rows of pepper plants and over-eager onions, everything penned in by sunflowers, eight feet tall. It was everything I want, all that I've dared to hope for. For just a moment, I wanted to sit over there, be friends with the farmer.  I was inspired up to the moment that the soil turned from admiration to envy and isn't envy the meanest snake in the garden? The pesticide of creativity and courage?

Back home, my garden looked all the more like child's play and I worried over my second-chance beans, lurking somewhere, maybe. Not at all ready to talk.

But we had made our plans, we'd watered and waited, we'd done our part. Not everything is up to us. It's a leap of faith and this was the garden we were given.

So we won't begrudge its smallness, because a bloom is a bloom, and just one is miracle enough.
We won't ignore it for its bent toward the ordinary or pine ourselves into a tailspin, running in reverse toward something already past its season.

We won't agonize that we weren't invited to be part of the big garden walk, we won't take it personally or send our trying into flailing over-drive. We won't lose sleep over our thumbs, lightish green and only to the knuckle.

There's no time for that. There's work to be done and these four little boxes fall in our jurisdiction. Who else is going to weed them? Who else will count it a highlight of the day to watch the growth from the vantage point of a bent, dirty knee? Who else will moon over every burst of life and grieve the dang beans?

It's way too early to anticipate the harvest, but we trust that something will flourish. Something will. And when it does, we'll pluck it up. We'll throw a party, a harvest dinner for the ages. We'll smack our foreheads over our doubts. We'll graze our fingertips across our lips in wonder.

It doesn't matter at all if no one ever creeps down the alley at a nosy coast or asks for a sampling of our lettuce. This was the garden we were given, so we'll tend our boxes with trust and care.
We won't ever wish them away.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ever Fond


I don't understand much about a pre-schooler who makes such hard work of frowning at the camera and drinking in the world around him from a half-empty glass. I feel like there could be an easier way, or at least a different way, one that didn't spend us both up before lunchtime.

I don't know all there is to know about lashing out at the ones you love most, but I do know a little. I know more than I'd like to admit. I know that when a day doesn't fall my way I glare at my husband, standing right there, trying his best to balance the universe for me. I know that when my night is too short, I don't laugh along with my little clowns in the morning, even though I know it would be the best way to send them into their day. 

I know other things, too.

I know when this baby arrived with his bowl cut and the saddest eyes, he didn't know how to hold our hand and if we put our arm around him, he'd reach back and pluck it off like a tick.

I know he fought for all the love he lost in the only way a baby can, by refusing, for a very long time, to love us back.

I know the sound of a tiny heart breaking.

I know healing comes with scabs and sometimes it's hard for a child not to pick at them, tear them clean off.

I know God requires a lot of us sometimes, but I don't understand this kind of bravery.

I know that spinning love from loss and weaving a family out of remnants is work more cut out for a pioneer, and I know I've never had the mettle for the hard life.

But little hands can learn to hold on and so can weak hearts.

A mama and her little love can teach each other things while they wage war between everything they lost and this right here.

I still don't understand his fake frown when the shutter clicks, but I'm starting to see it as an inside joke. He tried not to be happy here for such a long time, and maybe it feels silly to conjure up the past once the light has cut through the middle.

Our baby has been in Ohio for a few days, just him and Charles and two of his biggest cheerleaders, his Grandma and Papaw.

I worried about how he would do by himself, without the security blanket of Calvin and Ruby. I thought he might be grief stricken without me. (See how far we've come?)

But he laughed the whole way there then asked if he could stay for "21 days". 
He wanted to sleep in my old bed because it smells like me, but when I called he was usually too busy pretending to be a kitty cat to talk.
He tucked himself into a life he sometimes thinks he was meant for - one where all of the attention is his.

Meanwhile, I missed my friend.
I also got a great many things done in record time and lazed around a bit.

He's not here, and my heart is every bit as fond.

The four of us took a long bike ride last night, longer than he could manage. We ate burritos in relative peace and I didn't miss the drama or the angst.

But I did miss my honey boy.

He cried his eyes out when we called last night, then wiped them dry and got back to his business, but it did my heart good to. All of it.

We've come full circle. We're lapping our old hurts, leaving some of them in the dust.
A break was needed for all of us and memorable for different reasons.

But it's time to bring home our Siley Pie, because we can't be a family without him


PS - Just got this amazing scarf from fashionABLE, hand-woven in Ethiopia. We had our 2nd Google chat last night and it's almost July, which means I'll be flying before I know it! Screeeeeeeam!!!!! I'm getting so excited for our #blogABLE trip.

PSS - Did I ever tell you about my travel-mates? Can't even wait to do this thing with them. They're so stylish and rad. See for yourself!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Green Table - Summer Ed.


I don't really think of myself as a seasonal decorator.
Then again, I cleared 13 boxes of stuff out of the basement earlier today, and though most of said "stuff" was books, the hand-made acorn wreath and the entire tub of valentine's day regalia might beg to differ.

All I really know is, this green table hasn't loved me for long, but she sure has loved me well.
She was bought for a song at an auction last spring because I somehow knew she'd be perfect in the front entry of my soon-to-be new home.

I found her all sad and dusty, the sorriest, faded mint-green. Her knob was plastic with a faux "metal" finish. She ran me something like $7, and all that ailed her was cured with a reckless gutsy decision to paint her crazy-bright green.

Who knew bright green would be such a universal, works-with-everything color?

Well, God, that's who. He was clearly on to something with all his fancy nature business.

We drop our keys in that little milk-glass soap dish many times a day.  It saves us over and over and I'm not naming names, but it especially saves the forgetful dude in the Santa beard. (For the love. The beard. What is with all this beardedness?)

Every thing else is purely nonfunctional and entirely decorative.
I guess I went and made a vignette, even though I hate that word.
Sue me.



The croquette mallets were picked up at yard sales. They've seen their better days.
Still --- I'm smiling. They pass the test.

The books were gifts from friends. I picked up the white pitcher years ago and can't stop loving it. Vintage camera is a Cory find. Cortland came from the Allegan flea market ages ago and subconsciously inspired the last name of  Lainey Courtland. Mirror also came from Allegan and used to live in my old mudroom.

Roses, courtesy of whomever landscaped our little front yard.

Hold the phone. The wire basket is officially functional and utilitarian. At least for the next few months.
I'm so practical! So nearly-Amish!
You can call me Miriam Yoder. Or Waneta Stolzfus.

This whole gig just speaks my summer-centric language.
It makes me happy everyday, for free.
And that, my friends, is the holy grail of decorating, if you ask me.
Which you didn't.
But still.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Jam







Remember how I whined the other day about how crazy pants our summer has been so far?

Well, good news, we got gutsy and decided to just claim the weekend. Name it. Claim it. That was the beginning and end of our plan.

But first, we had a few things to attend to. Good things. Great things.

Friday night Haven graduated. I was so proud of her and so honored to be there on her big night while she walked on stage and accepted her diploma looking like a moviestar with complicated hair. It's been a long ride. And I'll just leave it at that. :) But we knew she could do it. I'm sure all kinds of regular high school graduations are special, but there's just something extra about graduations for alternative high schools. I kept getting a little verklempt. You know. It's just that these kids found the last train. It was do or die, and they did.

They talked about their journey toward God and I kept sinking my shoulders into the hunch that they might know him every bit as well as I do. Maybe better. They sauntered and swaggered and slinked across the stage. They want to be chefs, nurses, librarians, construction workers, computer programmers. They've seen enough to know that dreaming is allowed after all, and that they deserve a future. Tell me you wouldn't have cried, too.

Then we went to dinner. At 9pm. And all of my kids fell asleep at the table while I licked goat cheese off my fingers like it was 5 o'clock, easy.

Saturday we celebrated our nephew's birthday.
And then we had a sitter for the rest of the day. It was so freaking high time.

Here's the thing, though. Sometimes we wait just a day or two too long. It's not our fault. But we wait until we're over-extended. We wait until the thought of changing into something pretty makes me want to cry in a bad way. We wait until the only logical conclusion is to part ways and take naps in separate wings of the house. And by wings, I mean upstairs/downstairs.

Sometimes we do this and we forget to wake up.

Sometimes it rains and there are no good movies showing and the fancy restaurant intimidates us with its perkiness and we decide we're just going to stay in and watch a movie. Maybe go whole hog and get ice cream.

But sometimes we rally. Inexplicably.

It was one of those nights. I'd saved up for a month for our fancy dinner date, a combination birthday/new job sort of thing. Hallelujah, we were going, dangit. The night was our oyster and who gives a rip if I didn't look all that fancy? Not me, that's who.

So we dined. I took a picture of my salad to show you, but as it turns out, I can't share. Cory upgraded today from his Droid to a slide phone, eerily similar to mine. A dramatic budgetary shift will do that to a dude. Also, inmates are known for lots of things, but burning up your inbox isn't one of them.

All I can say is, we narrowly escaped the clutches of marital decimation early in our marriage, we brought three tiny babies into our world, we adopted a 19-year old felon, we cashed in a dream, we built a house in the hood, and we parent 4-7 kids together on a daily basis, but I daresay nothing has been or will ever be more unifying that the shared social isolation of a throw-back cell phone with technological advances only as far-reaching as the standard text. Solidarity, Babe. We got it.

But back to the salad, because I know you care: Bed of baby greens, sliced golden beets, sliced strawberries, whole raw almonds, goat cheese, sherry vinaigrette. Oh my cow. Or as my Grandpa would say, "Great day!"

Then word came in that Calvin had a fever of 100.8
No big thang, right?
Nope. Wrong.

Long story short, I spent last night and most of today in the hospital with Calvey. He's feeling fine, which might be what makes these experiences so defeating. Nothing like spending Father's day in the hospital with your not-sick kid. We had even risked potential eternal condemnation by passing on a family reunion because we just really needed a day - just one day. Together. With no plans. And then we end up held against our will. Prisoners, practically. (Robert might take exception with my analogy here, but whatevs.)

The best news is, of course, that he's mostly A-OK. Bored, but good-ish. He should be home later tonight.

The second best news is that I spent multiple hours reading The Lonely Polygamist (PG-13). It was slow going with this book initially, but now I can't possibly shake it. It's the kind of book that makes me think I should just leave it to the pros, you know? Maybe I'm meant to be a reader, not a writer. No shame in that. Homeboy makes mean business of character development. The story is fine and all, but in the end, that's never what sinks this ship. It's the writing. The soul-clutching, evocative, luscious, wit-laden stringing together of words. Paint me a picture and I'll hop right in. Paint me a picture like his and I'll probably take mental notes while I read.

Third best news? We enacted the changing of the guards and I got to come home to eat and shower and, you know, sleep.

Dear Hot & Sour Soup,
I have no idea what your flavors are.
You boast chunks of tofu and your texture teeters on gelatinous.
You're the underdog of the Chinese buffet soups and Cory loathes you.
But I'll always be a victim to your charms and I appreciate your nerve.
Love,
FPFG

Fourth best/Absolute worst? The littlests were all farmed off for the night and the house is positively still. I contemplated the silence while making a batch of strawberry-peach freezer jam in my jammies.

There's an image of peach upside-down cake lodged in my psyche.

I'm officially obsessed with Desiree's season of The Bachelorette.

I guess that about wraps it up.



PS - Winner of the Olivia necklace is Tiffany! "You should know that there are people who read every post but never comment because commenting on a phone is a pain. Sorry about that. But we love your blog just the same!You should also know that the best way to pick a watermelon is to look for a dried shriveled stem. If the stem is still green, it's under ripe. If the stem is completely gone, it's over ripe. :-)" Email me, Sister!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When The Season is a Fast-Moving Train (Wreck)



Here's my day week  month so far:
Drive, food, drive, drive, break up fight, food, quell sass, drive, doctor, drive, laundry. Food.

We've thrown some fun in, too. Sure we have.

But I know that 2 straight weeks of running around non-stop = me in fetal position.
It hasn't happened yet, but I keep warning Cory, "I'm going to have a melt-down soon. Just FYI. I feel'er rising."


So what's the answer?

I don't know, why are you asking me?
Because all I know is that I do not glorify "busy", like that dumb pin would suggest. I'm not proud of it, people. I'm actually a tiny bit ashamed. Also, tired.


I never understood the parents who over-schedule, me being a homebody introvert and happily having children who mostly follow suit. But then it stopped being winter and all the little activities and obligations snowballed and here we are, it is summer, and I feel'er rising.

The good news? July is chill. Honest to goodness, it will remain chill. It must.
(Except, you know, there's some stuff I'd like to do and so far, I haven't found time....)

I'll keep you posted.


There are clearly a few things holding my sanity intact, and here they are, in no particular order:  
* staying in bed until 7:30 or 8, even though the kids get up at 6:30 (it is ridic)
* keeping water bottles filled and in the fridge (minutes saved, minutes earned, people!)
* not showering until it is dire (this usually happens daily, but at strange times)
* quiet time for an hour or so (if we're home)
* raucous singing in the van
* library books
* staying up until 1am to have QT with Cory (this is admittedly a double-edged sword)
* letting the kids watch some tv every dang day and not worrying a single bit about it
* making them help with chores
* Romans 12
* piloxing (not even playing)

Speaking of piloxing, I just averted certain death for the third time. Here's what I've learned so far: I'm more uncoordinated than I even knew. I cannot be expected to move my legs back and forth while moving my arms in circles. It's not going to happen. Period. Also, I feel like I'm at an unfair disadvantage because my arms are almost as long as Shaq's. My wingspan is greater than my height, and I'm tall, y'all. I don't know why this hinders me, I only know that it must.

That massive, wall-length mirror. It killed me the first night. I looked so weird. Truly, truly weird.
But then I started to embrace what I saw a little. I have a gigantic forehead, okay? I've always been self-conscious about it. It's a legit fivehead. But Tyra Banks has one, too. I'm not the only one.
My limp bangs kept whipping around about my eye region and I just had enough. So I strap the suckers back now, and I'm all arms and forehead and I dig it.

This is who I am, and I'm so chill with it. It only took 36+ years, but I'm convinced that I owe it to piloxing. I never would have believed I could do something like this. I have no muscles. No rhythm. I've never been athletic. But I'm doing it, and I'm a little bit proud of my poor old body. I've been too hard on her all this time. Turns out, she can do stuff! So I'm gonna go ahead and keep her and love her.

Tonight, I'm rewarding my efforts and the fact that I survived and walked out of the class on my two spindly legs with Chinese take-out. It doesn't make perfect sense. I know it. But I'm hungry and we had $30 left in the envelopes and we'll just never be the people who roll extra cash over for next time. It has never happened. We came close this time. Almost there. But if there's one thing I know about us it's that we will always, always burn up extra cash on restaurant food. I don't know. We're good at some things, just not this. Our budget these days is, uh.... yeah. So we've been really good. So good that we had $30 left! Calls for a celebration, if you ask us. We're spoiled and entitled when it comes to take-out.

Also, we're not good at being exactly on time. I add that simply because it feels like the right night to clear my conscience.

 
 
So it looks like this is the good stuff, friends. This is 10 pm hot & sour soup on the couch with your man and the season finale of Homeland. This is looking your own exhaustion square in the mug then ignoring it in favor of a different kind of rest.

This is understanding that seasons come and go. This one is sketchy and messy, but it's filled with things that are important, people whom we love, so we do what we do and we play in the middle. Cleaning and sleep and boredom can wait.

Happy Thursday, Party People!
We're almost there.

But don't get too excited, because the weekend's even busier.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pool Day


We spent the afternoon at the pool for the 2nd day in a row. So just try and imagine the state of my house, why don'tcha. We're deep in the thick of these hap-smacking dog days where all we do is play and eat, with a little bit of resting in the middle.

I love summer. I may have mentioned that before.

 My new favorite summertime hobby? Photographing Miss Beauty Cheeks in her swim cap.

This little Sisterfriend is a very close second...
She did not want me to take her picture. She would not smile. So we did that "Don't you dare smile!" trick and it worked for only a millisecond...and my point and shoot caught it! Hot dang.

My nephew Jack celebrated his 6th birthday today.
What's better than an afternoon at the pool with all your besties, 4 cheese pizzas, sparkler candles, and fudge pops?

I'll tell you what: A legendary thunderstorm. It's rolling our way. I feel hopped up and atwitter. It's the anticipation. And the round-the-clock meteorologists who are so gravely serious about their jobs that they take exasperated, martyred, exhilarated sips of water in between radar screens then lose their voices altogether about 3 hours in.

I mean, maybe 6 year olds don't feel exactly the way I do about major storms, but I'm pretty pumped about it. My birthday is sorta soonish, so I'm going to go ahead and take this as partly mine.

This just in: "Tennis Ball sized hail."
Come to Shannan.

My bigger little dudes are positively fish-like.

True story: I never learned to swim. I can't even say why, other than I was kinda wimpy and no one ever taught me. I do have a vivid memory of jumping off the high dive, which is a total head-scratcher. I'm not sure how it happened, really.

Dear "Gourmet Tomatoes" from Aldi for $1.29,
I want to kiss your bumpy faces.
Love,
FPFG



I tried to make JFlo's Magical Tomatoes and the next thing I knew, there was pasta. Then I remembered a zucchini and thin-scliced it up. Then there was a can of quartered artichoke hearts. Then things were officially out of hand.

Dear Friends,
Want to join me tomorrow for left-overs?
Please?
Love,
FPFG


I found this on top of the fridge during The Great Salad Expansion.
I feel like the heart and crosses really tone down the whole "skull in a bottle" message.
Well-played, Calvin.

While the noodles boiled, Ruby and I ran outside to check out the wreckage. Remember all of those abandoned houses on our street? Well, they're gone.


Dear Komatsu,
You're not my favorite neighbor. You're just loud. And messy.
No hard feelings. The crumbly houses just grew on me, that's all.
Mildly Toleratingly,
FPFG

Dear Coral Bells,
Thank you for loving me in the city.
Love,
FPFG

What did you do today?


PS - It's not too late to enter the Noonday giveaway!
PSS - Thanks for all the gingham/fedora support. You're total radness.