Oct 6, 2015

My sister is in town!

I had a post planned out for today, but it's a lot of work.

And last night, our power went out at 8:30 and stayed out until 3:30 ... so I missed my blogging window completely.

So instead, I'm sharing with you this adorable picture my sister sent me at work yesterday. She's in town for a week!

More pictures of her visit to come.

Oct 2, 2015

Sassy Jake

Jake is 7 and a big-time reader. Like, insatiable. We can't keep him in books.

That means that he's kind of an advanced speller, too, at least for 2nd grade. So his teacher asked if it would be okay to let him choose his own spelling words each week, words that he doesn't already know how to spell, so that he can really learn some new words this year.

On top of learning how to spell them, he's also responsible for learning their definitions and being able to use them correctly in a sentence.

Here are the words Jake chose on his own a couple of weeks into school:

And here are this week's words:

What you see above is his first attempt at spelling them; she corrected them for him to learn throughout the week for his test today. ("Pacifist" is my favorite.)

Suffice to say, Jake's basically spelling on my level now. Ha!

And math? Well, in math he's far beyond me. Last night, his teacher sent me a text about a math quiz of his that she was grading.

"So there is a pretest/post test I have to give with this one question I hate, because I can't decide if it's right or wrong. This is Jake's response. Dying!!!"

Not sure how I feel about him editorializing on his quizzes. Cute or impertinent?

THIS time Ima go with "cute."

Also not sure how I feel about the fact that I had no clue what the answer to the question was.  #newmath

Sep 29, 2015

I am iCursed

I think I told you I recently updated my MacBook, right?

And it updated me right into a version of iPhoto that I cannot FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE OUT.

It's just called Photos. That's it. "Photos." No i. And when they took the i out, they took out all the logic. If you ask me.

All of my albums are gone, and my photos are just dumped in there all willy-nilly. They're grouped, but, for example, all my pictures from the beach trip are just dumped in there in one spot together. All 500 of them. Not in order by day or anything. So if I want to show you our trip, I have to go in there and MANUALLY figure out which day I took which pictures?


I even went to the Apple website last night to see if they could tell me how to get my albums back. Because I had the entire beach trip separated out into Beach-Saturday, Beach-Sunday, Beach-Monday, etc., albums, before this dumb update. But now? No album titles. Just more than 30,000 pictures all in Photos, sorted by date.



I have cute pictures I want to show you from our beach trip in July. I mean, now that we're a few days into Fall, I figured it was time to share them with you. It's become my custom to share everything with you roughly one quarter in arrears, you know.

Quite frankly, there are as many women interested in the recipes from the trip as there are people interested in seeing the pictures of the people, probably.

Pasta. It is the tie that binds us together.

So when I get to the point that I can figure out how to share more with you than screenshotted thumbnails, I'll letchu know.

Over and out,

Sep 24, 2015

Gallery wall in the kids' loft

The kids' loft area is nowhere NEAR any kind of shape for me to be photographing it for "After" pictures for you guys, Internet.

But there is one little project that we just finished that I thought I'd share with you: the gallery wall that includes our Clear Eyes pallet art and a bunch of the boys' own artwork.

It's all hanging right above Big Brown (see why we bought a new sofa a couple of years ago?), and if you look closely, you'll see a special little addition on the far left, right above the air-conditioning thingie.

It's a piece of Minecraft "art" I bought off of etsy, and the boys LOVE it. I put it above the AC thingie so that it kind of looked like a Portal to the Minecraft world.

I love having the boys' canvases on display where they can see them all the time (they did all of this art at Y camp over the past four summers), and of course my Friday Night Lights piece will always hold a special place in my heart.

This room has a loooooonnnnng way to go, but we'll get there. One day.

Trivia question: How many different types of baskets is it possible to have on one set of shelves? Answer: INFINITY.

Sep 22, 2015

Amelia & Bayla

Remember at our old house that Amelia had a canine bestie named Maisy?

I was so worried when we bought our new house that there wouldn't be a new friend nearby for her. But there is! Her name is Bayla, and when we found out that she lived right behind us, we planned for a gate to be installed between our yards when we built our new fence so she could come over to play whenever we were available.

It's working out GREAT.

She gets to come over all the time, sometimes even on weeknights. Because Amelia can hardly stand to go a day without seeing her. "I WANNA SEE BAY-WAH."

On Sunday afternoon, we invited her over to play for two hours. SHE EVEN GOT ON THE TRAMPOLINE.

She is such a sweet dog, especially given the fact that Amelia won't leave her alone for a single, solitary second when they're together.

She's even taught herself how to make "kissy sounds" (sort of) so that she can get Bayla to give her kisses.

After all the trampoline work, they were both pretty tuckered out.

Please see: Sweaty hair plastered to forehead.

We spent about a half hour just sitting on the porch enjoying a not-100-degree afternoon. IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER.

A couple of last pets, and then it was time to walk her back to her side of the fence.


It's hard to say no, even to such a sweaty head.

So she stayed another 20.

Sep 17, 2015

Before & After: The last corner of our yard

After we had all the original work done in our backyard, there was one little part that was left untouched. It's the sideyard on the side of our house that no one really sees. Well, except for the neighbors who share that property line. Oops.

You can't see it from the street, and it was just a low priority at the time. But now that the weather is much more cooperative (read: everything we planted wasn't going to die immediately), it was time to get in there and do something about it.

Just like the backyard, there was a lot of junk buried over there. And by "junk," I mean pea gravel, concrete blocks, paving stones, stumps and random trash. Then there were your regular garden-variety weeds, overgrowth and dead trees.  #classy

(That's the view out of our master-bedroom window, by the way.) Once Alex (the guy who mows our lawn) went to work on it, this is what we were left with:


He cleared it all out, taking down the dead tree and bushes, planted two new trees, laid pinestraw and moved the pea gravel that had been so unceremoniously dumped back there over to one side to make a path from the end of the driveway to the backyard.



Alex also trimmed the limbs of the tree at the front edge of the driveway so that the kids can use the basketball goal. Which you probably didn't even notice in the first picture.



Before Alex even LEFT that afternoon -- because he's amazing and he did all of this in one day -- our neighbor came over to thank us. He said that he had asked the previous owners several times about taking that dead tree down, even offering to pay for half of it, and they'd never done anything about it. (He said it was right on the property line, which is why he never just took it down himself -- but to me and Alex, it looked like it was on our side, which is why I had it taken down without consulting him first.)

At any rate, I'm happy to have this done, and happy that our neighbors are pleased with the results.

Now, back to unpacking boxes.


Sep 14, 2015

Uncomfortable truths

Well HERE'S a real kick in the pants, Internet!

iPhoto wasn't able to complete the install on my laptop, because it ran out of room! And now, since I only have the new version of iPhoto, I can't open it AT ALL until I free up a lot of space on my hard drive. 

Dear All the People Who Tell Me to Update More Often: Bite me.

So as a consolation post, since I can't access a single photo from our beach trip, I decided to cobble together one of your collective favorite types: Uncomfortable Truths. I hope you enjoy another embarrassing installment. Please don't forget to share your own related truths in the comments. They always make my day.

* * * * * * * 

1. I was talking to some women in my Bible study group and one of them asked what year I graduated from high school.

Me: "1991."

Her: "Yeah, me, too. I figured we were about the same age."

Third Friend: "REALLY? I'm shocked. I never would've guessed you were over 40! You do NOT look it."

Fourth Woman: [covers mouth with hands]  "Oh my gosh ... I was born in 1990."

2. Every once in a while, a  socially responsible company will approach me about writing a sponsored post about healthy foods for kids. Aside from the fact that I don't really write sponsored posts, well, we all know I'M not someone who needs to be shilling healthy snacks for kids. Y'all would laugh me right off the Internet.

3. I always wonder if the people who died in a plane crash are the people who paid attention during the safety demonstration, or ironically, the people who didn't.

4. Fall is my favorite season. It's also when I often get my first terrible cough of the year, though. The type of cough that last winter prompted me to share my personal Cough Severity Chart with Rachel and Jamie, because The More You Know.

5. I am so tempted to put one of Amelia's temporary Sofia the First tattoos on her as a tramp stamp just to see if one of her new preschool teachers will say anything to me about it. 

If you'd like to read more Uncomfortable Truths, click here to read them all. But be forewarned: There are 79 previous posts.

Sep 11, 2015

It just wasn't meant to be

It appears that My Lord and Savior REALLY did NOT want me to start sharing our July beach trip with you this week.

That is the only explanation I have for the mysterious disappearance of the first iteration of the post and the circumstances that prevented me from re-writing it last night.

You see, approxinately twice a day, every day, my MacBook asks me if I want to install an update. Like, even if I JUST installed an update the day before, there it is again, the next day, asking me if I'm ready to install another one.


Especially since they take about three or nine hours to complete and they shut down everything I'm working on and when they're finished all my icons look different.

In preparation for being able to write last night (for you, Internet, FOR YOU), night before last, I finally AGREED to the da*n updates. I said, sure, go ahead and give it your all, Apple. Install all night long. I closed all my programs and it went to work, and I went to bed. I even left it open so as not to interrupt it at all by making it think it was time for IT to go to sleep, too.

Cut to last night, when I sat down and swiped my touchpad so I could see what was going on.

WELL. I got a nice message that said that iPhoto had been updated, and now all of my photos had to be transferred into the "new library." Uh oh. I have about a terabyte of photos. It started "preparing my library" at about 9:30.

At 10:47 it was 1 percent complete.

Half an hour later, it was still only 1 percent complete.


So, see? Really it's not my fault. I tried. I really did.

If Jesus sees His way clear to let me start posting about the beach next week, I'll get right on it.

Oh, and I'm sure someone will ask about my desktop wallpaper. One of my favorite Finds last year was the Dress Your Tech column at Design Love Fest. Click here to see one of the posts from that series, which continues today. Here are a few of the free downloads from that post -- desktop and cell phone wallpapers. LOVE!

If you want the exact wallpaper I have, you can download it here.

Sep 9, 2015


Well. THAT hasn't happened in a long time.

I wrote a post last night and it disappeared.

I was all set to tell you about our trip to the beach. You know the one, over the 4th of July. Because TIMELY.

I think even the people who were on the trip with us have forgotten about it.

I feel like since we bought the house, my blog has had ADD. Actually, I feel like since we bought the house, I'VE had ADD. Posts are random and the topics are all over the place. You never see the kids anymore. So the beach posts would be a good way for you to see them -- and I owe the pictures to our extended family, to boot.

Never mind that all the kids seem to have grown a foot and have all had good haircuts since then. We'll just have to use our imaginations. Tomorrow.


Sep 7, 2015

My favorite closet accessory

Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed to even show you the inside of my closet.

That's why it wasn't part of my Master Bedroom Before & After post.

It's big by most standards, but it's not custom-outfitted or anything, I squeezed my chest of drawers in there so it would be out of our bedroom, and I don't have my clothes organized in rainbow order.

Still, it's a giant closet by most standards -- including mine -- and I'm thrilled to have the space.

I've never had space for more than about 10 pairs of shoes, and now I have space for that many AND MORE. That's probably a bad thing.

These are my workout clothes. Bahahaha. This fall, I really AM going to start jogging again. This optimism is why I still have two full shelves of workout clothes.

But this picture here is why I've gathered you all here today:

Do you see how my boots are all standing at attention up there? They used to lean to the side all the time. As a matter of fact, my tall brown ones used to bend over in the middle and touch the floor. Which DROVE ME NUTS.

When we moved, though, I found Boot Shapers! I know I'm probably late to the boot-shaper party, but just in case I'm ON THE CUTTING EDGE, I wanted to let you know about them.

They're very reasonably priced (under $7), and they come four to a package (two pair). You insert them in your boots, and they keep them upright and sure to keep their shape while you're not wearing them. Brilliant, right?

I mean, I am one smitten kitten. I bought several sets so I'd be covered. Have you heard of Boot Shapers? Do you have any? FALL IS COMING, INTERNET. Gotta keep those boots looking GOOD.

This is not a sponsored post and I wasn't asked to write about this at all, but I did use Amazon Affiliate links to the product.
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