Monday, May 22, 2017

Adult Friendships

So I'm going rogue today to write about something completely off book.

Lately, my social media feeds are abuzz with articles about friendship. The latest one I read dealt with maintaining friendships with friends in different life stages and it really resonated with me. Perhaps because I'm evaluating some of my own friendships. What I found particularly interesting is the {reasonable} need to connect in person occasionally and how not doing so is detrimental to a friendship.

That got me thinking about "old friends." While I still keep in touch with some of my childhood and college friends, we are literally scattered all over the world which makes visits exceptionally rare. Sure, there's Facebook, but that is a poor substitute for actually spending quality time together. And once you add marriage, children, homework and after-school activities to the equation, well, those friendships drastically lose priority.

Naturally, I progressed to "new friends." These are the friendships you make as an adult through work, community service and your children. Think, "Mommy, can Jane come over to our house for a play date? I really want to have a play date with Jane!!" So you embark on a quest to get to know Jane's Mom. These friendships are to your current life situation what clean oil is for a healthy engine; vital. But many of them will not develop deep, lasting bonds. What's the quote...people enter your life for a reason, season...

But every once and a while there's a person who enters ...for a lifetime. That kindred spirit whose core beliefs, family goals and parenting styles are complimentary which makes for easy conversation. (Bonus points if you're in the same life stage!) But because you're not clones, you can respectfully disagree with no love lost. That friend who is equally happy when your kids succeed and cries with you when they're not. Finally, but most importantly, the person who makes you feel good after having spent time with them.

I've been blessed with a few lifetime friendships. And as I get older, I'm realizing to accept the other friendships for what they are instead of trying to force them into something they're not. I've lived in three different countries, spent my entire adult life away from home and underwent major life changes like marriage, leaving the workforce and having children. Many people have entered and left my life and I'm sure many more will.

The truth is friendships that are meant to stand the test of time will. This is in spite of long absences, distance and being in different stages of life. People who truly want to spend time with you will make the time to do so and vice versa. It really is that simple. If its not, then maybe its time for some re-evaluation of your own.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Flowers and chocolates are so very nice.
But what do I really want for Mother's don't have to ask twice.

A whole day of kids not fighting.
No yelling, or fussing, no hitting or biting.

A house elf who comes every night as I sleep.
To care for all of the household upkeep.

Except the kids' rooms because of course they'll clean those themselves.
Including organizing those overflowing bookshelves.

A dog who remembers to "go" in the yard.
Carpet that's forgiving...I really wish we'd sprung for Scotch Guard!

To really want to work out and have a flat tummy.
Instead of craving midnight snacks that make me feel crummy.

An opportunity to sleep for eight hours straight.
And perhaps a night where the DH and I make time for a date.

But most of all I pray for more time with these people I love.
In spite of our faults, we just a glove.

I'm sure many of you can relate.
Happy Mother's Day! I hope your day is great!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Double-Headed Sunflower

Each spring, I plant oodles of sunflowers for Stinky and zinnias for Blinky. They add gorgeous pops of color and interest in our flower beds and always make the kids smile. One sunflower this year has particularly caught our interest... has two heads! One stalk produced a single flower head that resulted in a double bloom. I included multiple views so you can see just how incredible it is.

Although rare, I did find other instances on gardening forums like this one.

God really does have a sense of humor!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Life Lately

I swear, the older I get, the faster time passes. For a while there, I was really sticking to my blogging goal of at least two posts a week. And then life happened. Isn't that always the way? So what have we been up to?

Well, after the last storm system that blew down our back fence, we learned that we also needed to replace our nine-year old roof? What?!? A couple of weeks, one small leak and too many thousands of dollars later, I am well versed on the difference between 3-tab and architectural shingles and why our builder should have used architectural shingles in the first place! But I digress.

Blinky is in full ballet recital mode. Her performance group donned their new costumes and performed at a local festival last weekend. Adorbs! And next weekend is the big recital of the year! Dancing enables her to build her confidence (it's not easy dancing in front of a packed theater at age 7!) and has fostered great friendships...even if the girls can't remember all the steps and aren't always in line with each other.

She also placed first in an art competition among area schools in the division K-2 painting for her interpretation of Monet's The Water Lily Pond. Eek!

I was somewhat of an artist in school and always hoped my children would be blessed with an artistic gene. I know Stinky is, as he's won several competitions before. He also loves doodling, sculpture and oil pastels. But Stinky can hardly draw a stick person! So when I saw her watercolor, it absolutely blew me away. Drawing may not be her thing, but watercolors sure are!

Stinky has spent the last few weeks preparing for and taking the ACT ASPIRE standardized testing. Not the most exciting way to spend the last few weeks of school. Some days he came home emotionally and physically exhausted. Bless his heart. But in other news, he's performed so well in third grade math this year, he was chosen to participate in his elementary school's Math Tournament for third through sixth grades. Whoot!

After being a stay-at-home mom / part-time employee for nearly a decade, I am preparing to transition to full-time employment. It's a little daunting and I do wonder how the kids are going to transition, but it's time. (Sorry DH who wouldn't mind at all if I stayed home.) My goal was to fully re-enter the workforce by age 40. And the clock is ticking. Maybe this fortune I received is a sign of great things to come:

Several days of rainy weather may have thrown a few wrenches in our plans this week (sorry / not sorry that a late-night softball game was cancelled), but the cabbages have loved it! Cabbie is roughly 13" tall and his head is 10" wide. The DH wants us to cut him now, but I want a few more weeks of fertilizer and rain. We are trying to break a record after all!

We took the kids to their first concert last week. The local university had their Celtic Ensemble perform. The strange instruments and bewitching melodies intrigued them and eventually lulled them asleep. (Full disclaimer, it was held in the late evening and they'd had a busy day.) It was the most fascinating thing to watch. The DH and I plan to dub a lullaby cd of Celtic music to see if we can recreate that feeling at bedtime.

When school is out for summer, we are headed to Europe to spend 11 days with my husband's side of the family. The plan is a week in Belgium, followed by a few days each in Paris and London. Stinky was just nine months old during his last visit and this will be Stinky's first time. The political climate is a little sketchy at the moment, but praying for a safe and happy trip and wonderful memories that will last for years.

I'm sure there are 100 other things I forgot to mention but you get the idea. We are off to enjoy the beautiful weather. Have a blessed Saturday!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cabbie Jr. Update

Cabbie is continuing to thrive. Every few weeks he gets a Dipel Dust treatment to ward off pesky cabbage lopers and fertilizer so he will continue to grow healthy and strong.

Have you ever seen a more perfect head forming?

 Even his girlfriend, Hermoine Grainger, is looking her best.

Here's to a few more weeks of big growth!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Weekend Recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! Is it just me or is 2017 flying by?

Each year the DH and I hide eggs in the backyard for the kids. Most years its just Stinky and Blinky, but lately we've taken to inviting a few friends. Saturday evening, we invited a brother / sister duo, close in age whom my children adore.

I knew I wanted to decorate the yard a little and was excited to find these pieces at Target a few weeks ago:


We hid about 100 eggs. And since the kids' age range was 7-10, we didn't make it easy. {insert evil laugh here}


After the egg hunt, the kids were each given a Lowe's Build and Grow kit. The boys built bird houses, and the girls tackled a photo frame and bird feeder. I didn't think to get photos of the finished pieces Saturday night (shocking, I know!) so I quickly snapped these this morning.

We had an outdoor movie planned so the kids wrapped up their kits and snacks at dusk, just in time to watch. This is the second time we've used the screen & projector. It's a bit of a hassle setting everything up but very worth it.

On Sunday morning we went to Easter Sunday service. Per tradition, the children lay flowers at the cross at the start of the service. It is incredibly moving. I'm glad Stinky doesn't think he's too old for that...yet.

The plan Sunday afternoon was supposed to involve grilling out and relaxing in the backyard. Instead, the kids played while the DH and I rearranged furniture to accommodate this daybed we ordered from Wayfair. More on that later. Some five hours later the house was a wreck, the DH and I (mostly me) were frustrated because we hadn't purged enough junk and there was no dinner in sight. A quick run to Popeyes fixed our dinner dilemma while I will likely spend most of this week cleaning out and organizing 11 years of acquired crap.

We did salvage the evening by making resurrection rolls with the kids. The lesson was well received and the rolls were a hit.

I hope your Easter celebrations were as festive, sans the furniture fiasco of course. Let me know what traditions you share with your family!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Stained Glass" Crosses

I volunteer to teach Children's Church one Sunday a month. For April, we made "stained glass" crosses to give to residents at a local nursing home. It was a fun, easy project but it did require some home prep.

My home prep included:
  •  Printing cross templates on white card stock. I used {this} one from a Google search.
  • Cutting out the templates
  • Cutting lots and lots of strips of various colored tissue paper

In the classroom, I showed the  kids how to make a loose ball shape from a strip of tissue paper.

Then they were ready to glue the balled-up tissue paper to the crosses. The idea is to glue the pieces very close together to create a full look.Some kids used the colors to create scenes including sunrise, sky and grass. Others were more free form.

On the backside, they wrote their name, age and a bible verse pertaining to Easter. As the crosses hang and sway, the nursing home residents will have a two-sided view.

This project was a hit with the kids and I pray it will be a blessing to the recipients.