Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dinner Time

I’m not one of those parents who protects family meal time to the end. Too many conflicting commitments. I wish we sat down together more often. But we just don’t. Life is busy. Hectic. Crazy. Anymore, I feel good if we eat together – all together- once a week.

Tonight was the first night in quite a while we have all set down to the table together. TV off. And it didn’t disappoint. The food was good. I made chicken ala king. Like they used to serve in elementary school. I made it a few weeks ago when we had some puff pastry to use. And it was a hit! Everyone likes it. Tonight we only had one sheet of puff pastry. Not enough for 4 hungry men let alone Mom getting anything. Rather than running to the store again, hubby asked around who wanted puff pastry and who was ok with biscuits. Two for puff pastry and three for biscuits.

Fast forward 30 minutes.

Dinner is ready, the TV is off and we are all gathered around the table.

Let me just preface this with, these people make me laugh. Like really hard. The kind where you almost spit out your food. {Ok, who am I kidding, someone usually does spit out their food! It’s like who spilled the beans; you take each bite carefully trying to time it so you won’t be the one with a mouth full of food when the inevitable comes. And it will.} When we get the three boys together at the table they feed off of each other. And it builds. We try to maintain a bit of decorum. But then it reaches the pinnacle and all hell breaks loose.

Tonight it revolved around the previously mentioned puff pastry and biscuits. I should have known it was a bad idea – even at 14, 16 and 18 things need to be the same, even. When Middle Son saw there were puff pastries he demanded at least one. He claimed he thought he was being asked if biscuits were an acceptable alternative. Not if he would be willing to forgo the tasty treat while others enjoyed the flakey layers. This led to lots of whining. In all different voices. Then some thinly veiled attempts to steal one. All to no avail. Lively bantering across the table, intermittent laughter.

Suddenly, Hubby and I find ourselves looking across the table at each other in bewilderment. In 1.2 seconds a pastry left Oldest Son’s plate flew across the table and entered Middle Son’s mouth via Youngest Son’s hand. By the time Oldest Son protested the loss of his beloved pastry, it was being digested. Middle and Youngest were fist bumping their spontaneous coup on Oldest. And Hubby and I were left wondering what just happened. The laughter that ensued nearly cost all of us our dinner.

So if you happen to join us for dinner, just be sure to choose your bites carefully and protect your food – licking it usually does the trick!

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Filed under Family, Parenting

Project Graduation Preparation – Senior Year

Well, it finally happened. I knew it would. Frankly I couldn’t figure out why it hadn’t already. I had a bit of a panic attack this week. I was looking at the calendar for spring and planning some weekend activities trying to be realistic about what I could do. Then I started to count and realized how little time there is between now and graduation.

Less than 4 months!

Mind you I’m not freaking out about him graduating {yet!}. I’m freaking out about all the things we were going to do around the house that we haven’t even started. Or – if you know me- we’ve started but not finished. The good news {for me} is this happened during a week when Hubby was home on vacation! I gave him a short list. Short as in less than 100 items long:).

We hit the ground running. Crown moulding in the family room, living room, dining room and kitchen. Strip wallpaper and paint in the dining room and kitchen. Replace the handle on the door to the garage. Fix the cable on the overhead garage door. And on, and on.

Hubby and Oldest Son started on the crown moulding. That stuff could destroy a marriage! Do you have any idea how much geometry is involved in putting up crown moulding? I may have mentioned, math is not my subject. Everything is at angles! It’s yucky! I walked away from that project. I’d like to say I’m practicing letting go of control. Really, I just don’t understand! Oldest Son is in heaven on this one. He has figured out the degree of every angle he’s cutting. It’s pretty cute actually. Love that kid. Hubby is dusting off his geometry skills too. It’s been a few years:).

I spent the weekend painting. I LOVE to paint. Not being sarcastic at all. It’s therapy. There is nothing like transforming a room with a can of paint. I have a brush I love – don’t make me paint without it.

And no one else is allowed to use it. They mess up the bristles and don’t clean it out well enough. Then I have crusty paint in it. Not cool!

And I picked up this super cool paint cup. Just the right size for when I’m cutting in.

And it has a cool magnet on the side to hook my paint brush on.

So cool! The only thing missing is a place to hang my rag for wiping up messes.

I love cutting in around the trim, with my awesome brush. I don’t tape anything. That makes me crazy. I hate spending hours prepping to do the job that takes me no time at all. I painted the whole kitchen in 90 minutes. No taping involved! How fun is that ! It’s therapy – only way cheaper!

Stripping the wallpaper in the dining room did not go quite as quickly. Fortunately this is paper we put up ourselves so we sized it properly. It’s still a pain to take off. Thanks goodness it was only up to the chair rail. It took most of Saturday to get it off. Then we painted like crazy people. But I am excited to say….it’s done! 

We just put on the last of the switch plates and outlet covers. Done. And I LOVE the color!

Can you tell I took this pic when the paint was still wet? So anxious! The paint is Valspar – from Lowe’s. We used their paint and primer in one and loved it! We were able to get by with just two coats. The color is Brick Facade. Kind of orange, with touch of red. Love it! And so happy to have it done. Check one thing off of the long, long list.

Just a little more crown moulding, shoe moulding and hanging some things on the newly painted walls and the inside could be done!

And then there is the back yard. It’s a huge eye sore! I wish Backyard Crashers or someone else from TLC or HGTV would come make it lovely. It really needs help. As soon as we finish inside we’ll tackle the nightmare that is our backyard.

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Filed under Home Improvement, Senior Year

It’s All in Your Attitude

I was going through pictures recently looking for ones of myself. Eek. Not something I enjoy! I love taking pictures, but I don’t relish being on the other end of the camera. And it shows! I almost always have the camera in my hands, carefully capturing the important and the mundane moments of our lives. If I am in a picture, it’s probably carefully positioned behind one of my boys. {It helps to hide the excess!} But none-the-less I was looking for pictures of me. And more specifically, unflattering pictures of me. {Weird I know and I don’t really want to get into the whole thing here or now. Maybe later….we will see. Thanks for understanding.} I found quite a few. But while I was doing it Middle Son looked over my shoulder. His initial response was that I wasn’t being very nice to myself – such a kind-hearted person he is. But then he noticed something I hadn’t seen. Out of about 25-30 pictures I had collected…I was smiling in all but a couple.

I hadn’t noticed it either. But that is me really. I am a happy person. That made me wonder, where does that come from? 

I can tell you it’s not because I have everything I want. Or because I spend my days doing only what I love. That would be nice, but it would probably be boring as well. I’ve been pondering this for a few weeks and I think I have the answer.

Drum roll please……

It’s all in your attitude!

I guess I should have picked a different title if I wanted that to be a secret huh?

When the rubber hits the road, when you boil it all down, when you flush things out, it’s all about your attitude. There are so many things in life you cannot control. And so many things you can only impact a little bit. But your attitude? No one but you can change your attitude. How powerful is that?! YOU have the power to choose your attitude every minute of every day! You can let the way others behave put you in a funk. You can allow hurtful comments to seep in and bring you down. You can enable your circumstances to control your future.

Or

You can realize that other people’s behavior is their problem. You can let the hurtful words go in one ear and out the other as easily as you do the praise-full words you hear. You can choose not to use your circumstances as an excuse. 

Everything we hear and see comes to us through our own filter. A filter made up of our experiences,  biases, and assumptions. We allow those things to warp what others say and do. Have you ever wondered why when someone pays us a compliment we are likely to dismiss it as “just being nice” but when we are criticized we take it to heart? Why do we give the negative more weight than the positive? Why is it easier to believe they were just being nice than to believe that we really did a great job?

My challenge to you: Choose a positive attitude. Choose to be happy. Choose to find joy in the every day. Choose to hear the good, take in the compliments. Try it even just for a week. Or a day. Or an hour if that’s all you can muster up. Try to choose the positive and see what a difference it makes!

Just to clarify…

1) I’m not talking about being one of those annoying people like Phoebe’s date who drove everyone crazy by loving the twinkling lights of rush hour traffic. Or about not being authentic. You don’t have to be an over-the-top, perky, fake happy. Just choose to see the positive in things.

2) I do get upset, angry, crabby, frustrated, and in a funk {just ask any of my family or close friends}! That happens. Feel it and move on. As I tell my family you don’t want to set in your puddle of funk for a long time. It’s just not pleasant. So choose a positive attitude and move on.

3) I also realize there mental illnesses that make it impossible for some to “just be positive.” It’s much more complicated than changing your attitude. But, I also know seeing things from a different perspective can’t hurt. 

I believe attitude plays such a huge role in shaping who we are. It makes me sad to see someone who has chosen not to see the positive side of things. Life is so much brighter when you do!

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Filed under Lifestyle, Positive

Finishing Some Things

You might remember on my birthday this year I decided to do some things 45 times in the year leading up to my 45th birthday. I’ve named it my 45 times by 45. Today I have an update! I’ve been working on all 7 areas, but some are going much better than others. I think that was part of my plan. Some will come pretty naturally, and some not so much. I have to say, sadly, the hardest one has been to commit random acts of kindness. I’m just not sure what to do. That makes me sound like a selfish person. Or at least not a very kind person. The real struggle is, what counts as a random act of kindness. I’m thinking just letting a car in my lane during rush hour doesn’t really count. Anyway, suggestions are welcome. I’ll keep thinking and working on this one.

I’ve also not done great at the photo one. Actually, I’ve been picking up my camera pretty much daily! But part of the challenge was to blog the photos I take on my other blog – From My Perspective. That’s where I’ve fallen down. I’ll have to pick some of my favorites and start posting them.

The other challenge has been with getting out of my comfort zone. I’m finding it hard to find opportunities to get out. I’m sure if I tried harder I could, but I’m also pretty busy so seeking out other opportunities is just one more thing to do. At this point, the times I have gotten out of my zone have been at work. I guess that’s a good thing:). And then there was eating broccoli and cauliflower – that’s way out of my comfort zone!

What I have done surprisingly well at is finishing projects! I know, I’m shocked too! If you know me at all you know this one is a stretch for me. So far I’ve finished 4 projects. Only one of which I hadn’t started before my birthday. That one I started and finished in 24 hours!!! Crazy huh?! So here are the pictures of what I’ve finished.

This is a frame I had started a LONG time ago! And it was actually finished before my birthday…

But I never got around to hanging it. I had a place for it, just needed to hang it. Done!

 

Then there was the ornament wreath. I saw a beautiful version of this on Whatever -my favorite blog last spring. Then on pinterest I found a tutorial that seemed a little easier process than the original. I’m all about easier! 

I’d been picking up ornaments at garage sales for a few months. It went together really easily!

Another pinterest inspired project! It’s made from paint chips and I love the color!

So simple. See the other ideas she has here.

 

And the last project was inspired by this blog. I saw her camera strap and fell in love! It’s just what my camera needed:). She sent me to this tutorial that was fabulous! I used fabric I already had and did it in just 24 hours! I don’t have great pics of it since I put it on my camera right away:)!

 

My first project with my new sewing machine! I think I want to sew some more. I’d forgotten how much fun it is!

So there you have it. An update on what I’ve been finishing. Feels pretty good.

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Filed under 45 times by 45

16

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday Middle Son! Happy Birthday to you!

It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since you came into our lives. You have brought us so much joy and laughter. And so many random facts.

You spent the first three years of your life in silence and have spent the last 13 trying to catch up! Your constant chatter at home is part of what makes you unique.

I love how you think about your world. How you see things differently than I do and aren’t afraid to tell me why.

I love that you are mature way beyond your years. That you understand this life isn’t a dress rehearsal; you get that it really matters.

I love that no one can deny you are my son! {And I’m sorry about that for you.}

We have always said you have an expression for every occasion so I thought on your 16th birthday I would share 24 of them.

I can’t wait to see where the next 16 years of your life take you!

Happy Birthday to my favorite Middle Son! You are so loved!

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Makin’ the Grade

My kids are grading my performance. And I’m not particularly happy. I think it might be time for a conference. Let me back up and explain a bit. They have all three had the same Geometry teacher. And he’s a great teacher. He covers so much more than geometry. He teaches them about life; about things like stocks and bonds, the heart transplant he received, and politics, you name it! I’m not quite sure the context of the message that promts it, but each of the boys have done the same assignment. He has them take out a sheet of paper, gives them a list of categories and has them give a grade to their Mom and their Dad for each one. Then they figure each parent’s GPA.

Mind you, I didn’t know I was being graded. Had I known I might have tried harder at some things. Maybe done some extra credit work before grade time. I mean it’s hard to remember to do all those parenting things all the time. There’s a lot to remember. You have to discipline, teach, counsel, be the financial advisor, advocate, police, cheerleader. That’s a lot of careers I didn’t train for! It’s all on-the-job training. Sink or swim.

I have the benefit of having three kids. You’d think it would help. I got to try things out with the first one. Tweak things with the second one. I should be getting straight A’s by the third one.

Not so.

I have to admit…I have no idea where the grade card is from Oldest Son. Being the kind, considerate guy he is he probably didn’t show me to spare my feelings. He probably graded me high, because he could empathize with where I was coming from. That’s just how he is.

Middle Son’s parent grade card has been hanging on the fridge for a year! Yeah, it was that good! Nearly straight A’s. There was one C for Help with Homework since math homework is impossible for me. Made my heart swell a bit. That’s actually better grades than I ever received in school!

Pride cometh before the fall.

Youngest Son brought his parent grade card home this week. Ya, it’s on the fridge. But for a whole different reason.

Revenge!

My goal is to live up to his evaluation of me. Shouldn’t be too hard. Apparently I’m just a middle C Mom.

He actually gave me an F. An F! You know what it was in? Drugs & Alcohol. I had to ask some clarifying questions about that one. Was he grading me on my consumption? On whether I endorsed it? Whether I’ve told him not to do drugs or whether I’ve provided them for him? Apparently, the F is because I’ve never had the don’t do drugs “talk” with him. Like formally sat him down and told him the dangers of drinking and drugs. Yes, I have told him he shouldn’t drink til he’s 21. Yes, I’ve told him how drinking impairs your judgment and you end up doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Yes, he hears me ask his brothers before they head out if anyone will be drinking where they are going. Yes, I have told them all that if they drink they are risking all the things that are important to them and it’s not worth it. But he gave me an F. Because we haven’t had the “talk.”

I only got two A’s from Youngest Son – Academic Encouragement and Saying “I love you.” I guess those are nice things to be good at, but really? A middle C average?

He did give me a few B’s – Birthdays {I think he must have done this on Friday, before his birthday on Saturday!}, Discipline and Shoulder to Cry on. Hmmm…do those go together? Discipline and a shoulder to cry on?

Round it out with C’s for Smoking talk {apparently I’ve covered that, just not well}, Quality Time and Sense of Humor. Here and I thought I was pretty funny. Maybe it’s just 13-year-old boy humor I don’t find funny?

So now my goal is to live up to his expectation of my parenting. I got off to a good start when I lost track of time and got him to basketball practice 15 minutes late. I didn’t mean to, and I did feel really bad. But of course, when he was telling me how upset he was I pointed out that I was just living up to my grades. Ha ha! {Now there’s a sense of humor:)}Ya, I’m that evil of a Mom. I just wish I hadn’t made his friend late too.

The only satisfaction in the whole rate your parents thing? For the first time in my entire life…I’ve actually gotten better grades than Hubby!

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Filed under Parenting, School

Sleep Problems

I’m having trouble sleeping. Not the kind of trouble you think. I can fall asleep just fine. And stay asleep.

My problem is actually giving in and going to bed! By the time I have taken care of all the family business, updated the calendars gone to the meetings, proof read the papers, signed the forms, and found the exact shirt they needed…it is late! It always is. I could go to bed at that time. However. I have so very much I want to do and accomplish that the thought of stopping to go to sleep just makes me frustrated. And of course, when I wake up in the morning I’m not rested. I would love nothing more than to sleep in. However, on the days I can sleep in, I wake up early, grab the computer and get to work.

I wish I were one of those people who only required a couple of hours sleep a night?). As it is I usually get about 6 and it’s not quite enough. But the alternative is skipping some of the fun things I want to do in the evening. Or just neglecting all Mom duties. Don’t love either of those options.

I want to craft, and write, and cook, and take pictures. I want to repurpose things and paint them and make something beautiful.

I don’t want to spare a minute of creative time to sleep.

Is there a cure for my dilemma? Other than quitting my job so I can be creative all day? That would require buying a winning lottery ticket I think.

Maybe this craving for crafting will be satiated when my nest is empty…

What’s a creative soul to do?

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Filed under Creativity, Lifestyle, Randomness