Monthly Archives: August 2011

Projects in the Works

I’ve made some good thrift store finds. Some things I’m super excited about upcycling. My family doesn’t love my finds. They just don’t see the potential. Bummer. But the good news is they like the finished products. My challenge is just to get to the finished product part. I’ve written before about not being a closer. Its not my strong suit, but small projects are a lot easier to finish. And I love seeing my progress.

So here’s the first one. Picked it up at Goodwill.

For $7.50!

A new coffee table for my living room. Ya, I know its kind of ugly, and a little chipped up. I don’t know if you can tell, but the door is missing on one side.

The other side has a little door that opens. It’s going away. I have a plan for it too.

There is glass in each end. That will stay. And the glass on the top isn’t even chipped! That never happens. I’m trying some things with it – think frosted glass and decoupage! It’s about half done now…I’ll show you pictures when its done:).

The other find I just picked up on my lunch hour yesterday at a thrift store near the office. It was an excellent find! And I’m so excited to get to work on it. But, I’m going to wait until the coffee table is done. I have to. Or the family might give me the boot!

So here it is. A chair with really cool lines and lots of character.

Don’t like the paint. Or the fabric.

But that can all be changed. And it will. Soon! It has great bones. It just needs some TLC.

Can’t wait to show you the after pics! Oh, and I paid a whopping $2.00 for the chair. Score!

There’s nothing like a good thrift store find with great bones and tons of potential to get the creative juices flowing.

What brings out your creativity?


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Filed under Creativity, Decor

A First, A Last and a Last First

Today is a bittersweet day.

Youngest Son is going to a new school. A school his brothers never went to. That’s a first for him. He always goes where his brothers went. He went to the same elementary school, had the same teachers. Went to the same middle school, had the same teachers. And then the school district made some changes. They closed a middle school and redrew the boundaries. And now Youngest Son is going to a new school. One his brothers never attended. It’s a bit of a clean slate. No family reputation. No history with the teachers. Just an open book for him to write.

He’ll do great! I know he will. Can’t wait to hear about the first day of school!

This is Middle Son’s last year of having an older brother at school with him. He’s had Oldest Son to blaze a trail for him. They have a lot of different interests, but are a lot alike too. They are both in Band and having an older brother in Marching Band was definitely a boost. He gets the scoop on teachers; who to hope for and who to fear. Which classes to avoid and what to expect. I think he’s liked having an older brother at the high school, but I think he will like being the oldest there too.

He’ll do great! I know he will. Can’t wait to hear about the first day of school!

This is Oldest Son’s last first day of school. The last one I’ll be there to take pics of anyway. I don’t think he’ll want me there on his first day of college. I know he’s going to have a great senior year. In the last couple years I have watched him go from a fairly quiet, reserved teen to a confident, well-spoken young man. I’m so proud of the man he is becoming. I’m looking forward to all the lasts this year will bring and the excitement that goes along with them.

He’ll do great! I know he will. Can’t wait to hear about his last first day of school!

They all headed out together. To the high school. Youngest Son is taking Geometry at the high school so he goes with the older two for first hour, then busses to his middle school. A bit scary for him and his mom. Been a really long time since they all left at the same time for the same school.

Bittersweet. Firsts. Lasts. And last firsts.

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Filed under School, Senior Year

Eagle Project

He is so very close! Oldest Son just has one more step to earning his Eagle Award. He finally finished his project. And it turned out Awesome! He built a Pop Tab Receptacle for Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City. They collect pop tabs as a fundraiser for the services they provide. People can come by the house on Cherry Street and drop off the tabs they have saved. Oldest Son built a box that holds two large garbage cans to collect the tabs. It sits outside Ronald McDonald House so people can just pull up, drop off the tabs and be on their way without having to go inside. It’s quick and easy to donate!

Here’s the finished bin with my three sons!

Just lift the lid and dump in your tabs!

Super easy!

When the bins are full, just open the doors on the back and pull them out. A previous Scout’s Eagle project was a shelter to house pallet boxes to hold the pop tabs until they go to be sold for aluminum.

They were super excited to receive the bin! {Maybe because it took so long to get finished} They really appreciated it.

Oldest Son had to raise the funds for this project, which took a while to figure out. He was awarded a grant from Lowe’s which he used to buy materials. And Lowe’s let him purchase everything he needed at close to cost. He also wrote letters to family and friends asking them to donate to the project {If you were one of those donors, thank you and be watching your mailbox for an invite to his Eagle Court of Honor!}. Because of the generous response of friends and family he was able to complete his project and donate over a hundred dollars to Ronald McDonald House!

Ronald McDonald House staffers were awesome to work with! And super patient:). Its a great organization with an awesome mission.

So happy this step is over! The project has been delivered to the Round Table. Next step, Board of Review later this month. That will be the final test. Let’s hope he gets thru! Three pieces of advice for other Moms…

  1. Start them early, like before they get their driver’s license and/or a girlfriend {no offense Liz:)}. Both take up a lot of their time!
  2. Create an appointment on your calendar to nag them weekly! It definitely takes some prodding to stay on task for the long haul.
  3. Have girls. Just kidding! Trust the process. Earning their Eagle is a long and complicated process. It’s supposed to be. That’s why it is so valued. The experience they go through includes researching projects, working with an organization, budgeting, fundraising, tracking expenses, designing, acquiring materials, recruiting volunteers, managing people, managing timelines, managing production, changing designs, reworking schedules, delivering a finished product, writing up their results. Sounds like a lot of real jobs. It’s a sample of the work world and that’s valuable experience.

I think I will be a little less anxious with the next Eagle candidate in my house….just a little.

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Filed under Goals, Positive

Senior Year – Coming of Age

Oldest Son had a group of friends over last night. I love that. I love being able to hear the laughte and bits of conversations that take place. He has good friends. They are really good kids. I know, because I wasn’t a good kid. And they don’t pull any of the shenanigans I did. {Let me just take a moment to say sorry Mom and Dad and kudos for getting through that without shooting me!} Oldest Son’s friends are good students, active in their youth groups, involved in lots of community service {not the court-mandated kind}, just all-around good kids.

So during the course of the evening, which started at 10 pm, the question came up of starting a movie. Someone thought there wasn’t time to watch it before they had to go. That’s when they realized that technically, Oldest Son was home, so he was there before curfew. The rules didn’t say anything about everyone else having to leave by a certain time. Loophole! That’s when I hear, “Mom, how late can they stay?”

To which I reply, “Give me a minute.” I have to think this one through. Better they are here than out getting in trouble {like they would get in trouble}. I like having them at my house. What could it hurt? Will I ever get to sleep?

Then I hear the conversation in the other room. “How do parents decide those things?”

Without thinking I said, “We make it up as we go along.” And the secret’s out. Sorry to all you parents who were trying to maintain the image that we had this all figured out and there was a very deliberate process to making up the rules for our kids. I’m really just making it up as I go along.

But, I’m still thinking about whether they have to leave at midnight or not. {Side note: Apparently Oldest Son is the only one in the group with an actual curfew. I don’t get that. They are good kids, but I think a curfew helps keep them that way:)} Then it dawns on me. In a year, I will have no control whatsoever over what time he comes or goes. In fact, I won’t know if he even goes home at night. Hmmm. Hadn’t thought about that.

And moreover, Oldest Son turns 18 very soon. He will be a bonafide, legal, adult most of his senior year of high school. So, does a curfew make sense?

Let me be clear, I’m not a parent who will let my kids run my house. As my father so succinctly put it, “As long as you’re living under my roof, you’ll obey my rules.” I’m not giving up “rule” of my house. But, the reality is, he’s nearly an adult. If I haven’t taught him by now, it’s not going to happen.

So, curfew or no? What do you think?


Filed under Parenting, Senior Year

The Day My Email Blew Up

One little request to be added to a group. Seems innocent enough. A High school classmate created a group on facebook. You might be from Mason City if….I’m sure there’s one for your town too. She created it in the morning and I requested to be added in the afternoon. When I left work I had a few notifications. And then it happened.

My email BLEW UP.

I had my facebook account set to notify me when someone posted to the wall of the group. It started notifying. And notifying. And notifying.

To the tune of 650 emails in just 3 hours! That’s a whole lot of emails. There may have been more, but I don’t know. My mailbox filled to capacity. And quit receiving.

I deleted. And deleted. And deleted.

And they kept coming.

And then I figured out how to change the notification settings on facebook. And then the emails stopped.

But the little red circle letting me know something new has happened? It’s permanently red. At last check it said, “…and 104 other people posted on…” That’s a lot of comments.

I must say though, its a great walk down memory lane. I had no idea how much I had forgotten about my childhood. And what a shared experience we had. Names are popping up from people I haven’t thought about since 7th grade! And places I used to frequent as a kid. Like WC Franks the hot dog joint/arcade combo. That’s where I learned to play Pac man. The original Pac man where you sat at the machine across from a friend and put your quarters in to play. I remember walking down there, about a mile, many times a week. I can only imagine how much money I spent on that game {and Donkey Kong}.

And the J & C Grocery that was originally called James’ where I bought candy for pocket change. They had a seperate shelf for penny, nickel, dime and quarter candy. I never bought quarter candy. That was way too much to spend when you could get so much more for a dime, two nickels and five pennies. And Mom would send me there to pick up whatever ingredient she might be missing for dinner that night. The owners knew us all by name. There were the bigger grocery stores too, like Warehouse Market with the big flatbed carts and the black grease pens you used to mark the price on each item you selected. Lots of fun was had with my three brothers and those carts. I don’t know if Mom remembers it as fun! And the Piggly Wiggly store that later became something else which became something else.

So many memories of a wonderful childhood. The group is approaching 1,000 in just over 24 hours. And there have been thousands of posts and replies. People reminding each other of places they haven’t thought about in years. A walk down memory lane to the good old days. Funny how, in the midst of all the craziness of life, with all the commitments we have vying for our time 1,000 people have chosen to connect with the place they grew up. And did we have any idea back then how easy it would be to reconnect as adults? That all we would have to do is logon to our computer, sign in to facebook and we could chat in real time with a childhood friend who now lives across the country from us? Or half way around the world? I don’t think I envisioned a day when I could carry the telephone with me in my pocket. When I wouldn’t have to hide in the closet with the really long cord stretched under the door to have a private conversation.

There are a whole lot of things about my childhood that I wish my kids could experience. Like freedom to roam the neighborhood until dark knowing Mom would simply call my name out the door and I would hear her and come home. {Ok, full disclosure: sometimes I could hear her, but I pretended like I couldn’t.} But there are a lot of advantages my kids have that I didn’t. Like the ability to text Mom when they are in an uncomfortable situation so I can call them and tell them they must come home. Or being able to research any topic from the computer in their own bedroom without having to go to the library, find the correct letter book from the encyclopedia and search for the topic. They can google things and Google understands what they were trying to spell; rather than spending hours at the card catalog looking up words, finding the call letters for the book, going to the shelf, only to find someone had checked it out.

I think Billy Joel said it best when he said, “The good ole days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

The good ole days were good, but the here and now isn’t so bad either. Just depends on how you look at it.

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Filed under Legacy, Randomness

Senior Year – Band Pictures

The boys just had Band Camp for high school marching band. They spend 5 days practicing music and marching through their show. This year it The Sound of Music! Awesome. And I love hearing my teenage boys humming the songs all evening. It’s going to be  a great show. One of the traditions is to take a group photo of the Seniors in the band. So Thursday after lunch they gathered at the park all cleaned up. I think there are 44 of them this year – a pretty big group! I snuck down there on my lunch to snap some shots myself.

Such a good looking bunch!

And what a handsome bunch of guys!

I actually made it through this one without getting all sappy and sad. Maybe this will be easier than I thought? Maybe if I just focus on taking pics of everything, I won’t think about how many “lasts” we are going through?

Ok, don’t know who I’m kidding. This is gonna be hard and exciting. But, so far, no tears!

{No, the school year hasn’t started, but still…}

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Filed under Senior Year


Thank you thank you for all your feedback! I love hearing from you and knowing someone is out there. I suppose it’s akin to being a Mom, it’s just nice to know someone is listening to you every now and then:).

It's mighty warm here this week!

I have so many new posts in my head, I think it might explode! I just don’t have time to get anything on paper this week. Maybe on Saturday. Speaking of Saturday, I don’t have anywhere to go this weekend! That is a first in a really long time and I need that. I’ve been so busy doing so many fun things that I am completely behind on everything! I need a weekend at home to regroup, make a plan and get something done.

Can't believe this mural is still on the wall in the commons!

I had a fabulous time at my 25th class reunion last weekend! Much more to come on this…a very surreal experience. And so many hilarious moments. I think my quote for the event would be, “Hey….” That was my standard response for all the times I saw someone I knew I should know, but had no idea what their name was. Hey…! They really should have provided nametags:).

There's nothing like spending time with people who have known you your whole life.

Speaking of hey or hay. I have more to share about our family vacation last month. It was epic as the kids would say. We started keeping a list of quotes from the trip. Silly or even stupid things that were said. Unfortunately one of us had and abundance. Can’t wait to share them. Here’s a teaser….we saw a lot of trucks hauling hay. Upon which someone would say, “Hay!” causing someone else, who shall remain nameless, to say, “What?” Like that never gets old. How could someone fall for it that many times. I think she just had a lot on her mind – cut her some slack!

I took engagement pictures for my oldest niece this weekend. It was scary and SUPER fun! I hope to post some on my photo blog soon – if she gives me the go-ahead. If not maybe I’ll post them with faces blurred out. Or better yet black boxes over their eyes to protect the innocent! I’m excited to do the wedding pics; its gonna be so very much fun!

The Eagle Scout project is moments from completion! Can you believe it?! And, barring any catastrophes, he will finish a month before his 18th birthday. And this mamma will breathe a huge sigh of relief…for about a minute before getting on Middle Son’s case to get his done! I can’t believe I have to live thru two more! I’ll share pics of the project after its delivered.

The kids are all registered for school. It’s going to be an awesome year. Its bitter sweet. I’m so craving the structure of the school year for the kids. I think I might be a little jealous that they get to spend the summer playing, sleeping in and doing whatever suits their fancy. So not fair. But, I’m also sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with them. We didn’t even buy pool passes this year. Didn’t go to Theater in the Park once. No fireworks together. I’ll plan better next year. And we did do some really awesome things as a family! So, no crying over spilled milk. Senior year is upon us. Does anyone have a tissue?

Oh and I got a great cut and color! Nothing like that to give a girl her sass back!

The price we pay for good color!

That’s a lot of randomness…

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Filed under Randomness