giddy for my garden

First of all, let me just state for the record I feel shame about not knowing more about gardening and growing food. I live in the Midwest and have all my life. Fertile soil, plenty of rain and good growing temperatures are abundant. I realize huge portions of the population live in suburban areas and are limited in space and resources. As a family living in Iowa with a nice sized yard, there is no reason we shouldn't take advantage of what we have and grow more than a pretty green lawn. Yes it takes some work, but the rewards exceed the perspiration and sore muscles.

Oh, and the excitement when you peek into the garden and see something that you could run over to the store and purchase? Well, it's fabulousity at it's finest.

Hey! Look at me! I'm a Cherry Tomato! And I brought along a few friends!

I so didn't know cucumber plants produce a yellow flower. I also thought one plant would produce one cucumber. See?! I'm Clueless.

And guess what THIS is? (other than a bad blurry photo where my macro didn't want to work) ........... it is the beginning of a kohlrabi!

To all those who are unable to grow a garden, I am sorry. You are welcome to come and pick weeds whenever you feel like it.



I am having a lazy Sunday, just piddling around getting this and that done. This is what I do when I am avoiding something b-i-g.

My girlies are going to leave me for 5 days. We are leaving in an hour to go and meet their cousins, who they will stay with until Friday. I know they will have a great time, but I am always nervous when I am separated from my DNA. Who will be able to look in their eyes and know they are fibbing? Who will know when Ellie starts fidgeting with her lip that she is tired? Who will remind Madison to shower? Their aunt, of course, because she is a mom and will take care of my babies. Any mom would know what to do, but never as good as the mom who owns the children.

So, today I spend my time keeping my body busy so my mind won't wander to all of the catastrophic events that could/may/might happen while Mads and Ellie are out of my reach.

Thank goodness kids will just continue to play and behave as if nothing is wrong and Mommy is not sad.

The weather is beautiful today! I am going to go out and pick some weeds out of my garden until it is time to go. I had better pack some Kleenex for the lonely ride home. Oh, yeah ...... and my iPod for some good jamming tunes.



This morning we rounded up the troops and headed to downtown Des Moines for the annual summer arts festival. Every year I wish we could linger longer and see more exhibits, but the children are still at that age where they need to keep moving ....... or find a drink ....... or someone to make them a balloon animal. This year the heat and humidity kept us from exploring more of the very talented artists. We did get a chance to participate in an interactive mural that will eventually make it's home at the Hy-Vee Hall or the Convention Center. We did this last year and it was so neat to do.

You walk into a tent and the volunteers hand you a 12x12 inch board and a small piece of paper with the design you are to recreate. A table full of oil pastels and other materials are available for you to sit and go to work. Once you hand in your tile, some other volunteers spray on a clear protective layer. The tiles are numbers on the back so the artist knows where to place the tiles on the huge display board.

Shhhhhhh. Artists at work.

This is a photo of what stage the project was in when we got there. I wish I had thought to put a person in the top photo to show the scale of the piece. Each tile you see up on the board is 1ft by 1ft. The picture of the completed project was on display in the tent so we could all see the intended final work.

What outdoor festival would be complete without a painted face? Here is Ellie with her Panda design.

Madison was up next, but the heat has started to get to her and she was feeling faint. The color had drained out of her lips and I quickly found a shady spot and some water. As for Ben, he was "scared" of doing it, but whined all the way home about not getting a chance to have HIS face painted. Ugh.

Maybe next year the heat won't be so bad. Maybe next year the humidity won't be as high. Maybe next year the kids will keep their hands off the artwork. Maybe next year Dave and I should just go without the kids. But what fun would that be?!


weaponry is best ....

When made with love in the safety of your own home. Maybe the heat and humidity has fried my 'common sense' brain cells, but when I saw this project I knew it would be something we HAD to make. Today. Luckily I had all the supplies we needed.

Being a professional crafter, I have in my possession a tube of E-6000.

This stuff makes me happy. Not only for the intense high from the fumes, but also for the adhesion properties. Our rubber band shooters were ready to decorate and fire in just under 4 hours.

Being the children of a crafty mom, the kiddos requested to personalize & decorate their shooters using Sharpies. "Why not? Mommy's still high as a kite! You all can probably get away with lollipops for dinner if you ask nicely"

Just look at my little man. One eye closed while steadily aiming at the critter (um, I mean pop can) in the distance. KAPOW!

My Maddie, being the anti-hunter, took aim at this:

She nailed him right between the eyes.
That's my girl.


first harvest

Last night I was craving a salad for dinner, so I walked out my back door and picked some lettuce and a few radishes. Not quite enough for a hearty salad, but "hey, look! These vegetables grew in my back yard!" I have been waiting to say that phrase for years and am so glad things are turning out. I added store bought romaine, green bell peppers, broccoli slaw, green onions, cucumbers and some baby carrots. I also cut up the remains of the grilled chicken from Sunday's BBQ and topped off the meal by making some garlic flat bread. Nutritious, light and very satisfying.

Handy-dandy Tip: I use my Pampered Chef chopper quite often. One of the last shows I went to someone mentioned you can use the chopper to chop up ice and it will clean and sharpen the blades all in one fell swoop.
I realize a photo is a little over the top, but hey .... the camera was there and I was feeling a little trigger happy.

Today was a success at the pool. I checked the weather channel before slopping on the sunscreen so we wouldn't have a repeat of yesterday afternoon. Oh, I didn't mention that? Yeah, I had gotten the kids + 1 friend all changed into bathing suits and sprayed down with sunscreen. We went out to the garage, loaded up on the bikes and took off for the pool. All of the sudden I notice a strange cool breeze coming from the north. Huh, 106 degrees (w/ heat index) and a cool breeze? Something didn't add up. But when I looked up and saw the dark clouds with pricks of lightening running through them I knew for certain I had screwed up. Ellie's eyes were as round as saucers and I could see she was ready to cry ...... major fear of thunderstorms. We made a quick u-turn and headed back for home. Not 5 minutes later a big 'ole storm blew through bringing over 2.5 inches of rain and heavy winds. I learned my lesson and checked the forecast before heading out today. It's only week 4 of summer vacation, folks. I still have LOADS of time to make some more mistakes.


hot mess

After three weeks of below seasonal temperatures, the heat is ON. Our air conditioner could not keep up with the sun's incessant heat. In an effort to cool off the kids and tame their nasty moods, we moved the Nintendo Wii to the basement, where the below ground temps are much more forgiving. The kids hung out there all evening, and the wining and fighting ceased.......for a bit.

I am beginning to question my decision to not fix the second car. It was too hot to ride our bikes to the pool yesterday, so we waited until Dave came home and then took the miniature van. Such a wimp! We will try to ride our bikes today, but the weather people are claiming 106 degree heat index by mid afternoon. I wonder what the wind created by riding really fast would do to the index. Maybe I should spend the morning trying to figure that one out. It's all I have energy for since mowing the lawn ..... at 8:30am and the humidity was nasty.

In random news, here is a picture of our Father's Day meal. Yes, I made my husband cook. It was his fault he invited his parents over, so this was his penance. Oh, but the penance tasted sooooo good!


saturday at the berg's

All hail the virtues and possibilities of Saturday home improvement projects. Rah! ..... Rah!

We have lived in this home for 4 years,5 months & have done many home improvement/destruction projects. Many started, few completed ...... you know the drill. So little time, so little money and such short attention spans.

It was the middle of January when we moved in, so the yard was blanketed in beautiful fluffy snow. Everything looked so pretty! As spring sprung and the white turned to brown then to green, we took notice of the 'not so pretty' parts of our yard. The metal shed in the backyard was a shining beacon in all it's ugly glory. Dave and I took one look at each other and declared "The shed will come down this summer!" quoted ~ 5/15/2005

::taps fingers as you ponder the date and assume what actually happened::

This Saturday we took the shed down, baby!
Supplies required to take her down:
  • drill with phillips head bit (didn't think I'd know that?)
  • 2 shovels to move the 7cubic feet of dirt (previously placed when we did other landscaping projects)
  • one pair of gloves to keep from getting bloody scratches (safety first!)
  • one cute guy with a mighty fine butt (he's not for hire)
  • 2 pieces of chipboard plywood (to create a new floor)
And, Voila!!!!!
The plastic playhouse has been hanging out in our semi-finished basement for several seasons. Great for the kids, not so great when we could use the floor space. Ellie declared we needed some potted plants to spruce the place up.

Granted, we haven't increased our property value by completing this project, but we have completed a project. I'd say this was a very good accomplishment.


happy father's day

I'm not quite certain how I came up with this idea, but it popped into my head and I just had to see if it would work. It is an 8x10 photo print and will be framed for Dave to hang in his office. Here are the details of what I did: Told the kids to go and pick out a blank T-shirt. First glitch in my plan was no one had plain T-shirts, so I told them all to put a printed shirt on backwards. Ha! Then I took a photo of each of them alone because I have learned my lesson with trying to catch a perfect photo with three subjects. Double Ha! With the kids done with their part, I doctored up the photos in editing software, adding the fake designs on each child's shirt. This was too easy. Triple Ha! The last step was uploading the photos to Walgreen's. (so I could get the print on Saturday ...... cutting the project to the last minute, you know) I am so elated the project turned out like it appeared in my head! I will save my last laugh for when I go pick up the 8x10 and actually SEE and FEEL for myself how the project turned out. Wish me luck!

Postscript: It turned out! And, Dave loved it. HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Happy Father's Day to Dave, and to all out there who deserve a restful day with their kiddos.


laundry how I love thee

Pshaw, yeah right. What's to love? It's a never ending pile of odoriferous, mud-caked, food stained, dripping wet-toweled mess. The clothes are inside out, the socks rolled up in a twisted ball, and pockets are forever full of things I fear will bite my fingers off when I go to empty them.

Then there is the task of sorting. Everyone has their own ideas of how to do it, and much of that probably derives from how your mother sorted. I separate out towels and washcloths for one load, reds, pinks and browns for another, denim clothes have it's own cycle, greens go with blues, and finally the white load. If I do laundry every 3-4 days, I have plenty to satisfy my sorting desires.

In an effort to make the task of laundry more enjoyable (huh?) and fun (what?) I decided to make my own detergent. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, we live in an older part of town and the sewage pipes are s-l-o-w. If I use something like Tide, my backup drain spews more foam than a rabid dog. Secondly, our clothes seemed to be wearing out much too fast. I needed to find a solution. I hoped on the computer and researched my problem ....... Google answered with "Make your own laundry soap!" You can do that?

Without further ramblings, here is how I make my own laundry soap. BTW, I won't ever go back to using anything else:

Grab these ingredients from Hy-Vee (the only local store in my area that caries all of it)

Washing Soda, (NOT baking soda) Borax, a bar of Fels Naptha, a cheese grater and essential oil if you want a particular 'smell' to your clothes. I have found this step unnecessary, as the Fels Naptha provides a nice scent.

Grab a Tupperware container (with locking lid) and combine the following:
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Borax
*add in some baking powder (1/2 small box) if you have especially hard water

Then grab your grater and shred that bar of Fels Naptha. At this point, you could add it to the other ingredients and be done. I, however, am a little on the weird side and like my soap to be more powder-like. So,I place the grated soap on an aluminum lined cookie sheet and place it in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Then I turn the oven off and allow the soap to dry out in the oven. Maybe an hour or two?

Yummy ...... looks like shredded sharp cheddar cheese

then I grab my baby food grinder (not currently used for baby food, of course. Since I am done having babies ..... ::sigh::) and pulse away until the consistency looks like this:

You could use a coffee bean grinder, or a food processor or even a blender. Or, you could skip this whole step and just deal with the fact you will have large slivers of soap floating in your fine-ground soda and borax. Oh my, I can't even handle the thought.

Almost there; hang with me. Now, combine all the ingredients, give it a stir and pat yourself on the back for saving the environment, your money and your clothes. I usually make a double batch (2-4Tbsp. per load) and it will last about the same amount of time the big bottle of Tide does.

Oh, and if you look in your washing machine while it is agitating the clothes (what, YOU don't peek in the washer to watch your clothes swirling around? Weird) you will not see suds. Did you know bubbling suds serve no purpose? It's an additive to make people think the soap is working. Really. I read that somewhere on the Internet so it must be true. Anyway, the lack of suds makes my s-l-o-w sewer pipes really happy.

One last tip and then I will stop taking about laundry ..... for now. I use a Downy ball filled with white vinegar as a fabric softener and static reducer. Don't worry. the smell rinses out. I no longer use dryer sheets (yeah! more money saved) and my clothes aren't full of static.

Wow. I have said about 7x more about laundry than one person should talk about. It's a true love/hate relationship. Just wait until I start talking about line drying! I'll save that for another day.


go garden grow

We have been planning a garden for over 3 years. This spring we finally took the plunge with the shovel and broke ground. Who knows what will actually produce, but at least we started it and will know more by next year. If you cannot see the writing on the photo, here is a list of what we planted:
  • Red and pear yellow cherry tomatoes
  • Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Pole Beans
  • Kohlrabi
  • Yellow and green bell peppers
We used plants for the tomatoes and the peppers, then seeds for the rest. We planted EVERYTHING on May 10th, but I have no idea when to harvest what. I just know we will be so happy to place something on our table that we grew right outside the back door.


rare find

Rarely do I come across a book that makes me want to start back at the beginning and read it all again, just for the pleasure of reaching the end once more. I admit I shed tears, awed at the voice the author plucked from my thoughts and wove into the story line. I have finished the book, but the words are still ringing in my head.

Look now. Look now at what you value, what you hold dear. Objects first. And not necessarily because of their innate value, (although you might figure into it), but because they are endowed - by your mind and imagination, by your memories - with what is known as "sentimental value."

Sentiment has been defined as ascribing to a value to something above and beyond what is value to God. This presumes a belief in God that passes judgment on the inexplicable fondness of the human heart; there is an expression, isn't there: "the object of my affections." But perhaps you do not believe in that kind of God, or any other, for that matter.

Look then at the faces and bodies of people you love. The explicit beauty that comes not from the smoothness of skin or neutrality of expression, but from the web of experience that has left its mark. Each face, each body its own living fossilized record. A record of cats, combatants, difficult births; of accidents, cruelties, blessings. Reminders of folly, greed, indiscretion, impatience. A moment in time, of memory, preserved, internalized, and enshrined within and upon the body. You need not be told these records are what render your beloved beautiful. If God exists, He is there, in the small, cast-off pieces, rough and random and no two alike.


what's in a name

I related to the 'writer's block' theory when I sat at my computer, staring at a blank line, trying to decide what to title my blog. Something silly & catchy? Orange Gorillas Something simple & boring? Amy's Blog Something descriptive? Crazy Midwest Mommy Hhhhmmm,

I glanced at the clock on the computer and swore I could hear the internal ticking of seconds just mocking me and my indecisiveness. Then the 'Jeopardy' theme song popped into my head. Just as I was ready to give up and pick one of the above phrases, my eyes peered at the clock once again and I noticed it was nearing 3:33pm. Aha! Bingo! Eureka! By George I think she's got it ...... the name for the blog will be Three Thirty Three!

Wait, really ...... I have more to this story. This specific time holds meaning and memories for Dave and me. Back when we first started dating we did what typical young teenagers of that era did: laid on the bed (get your mind out of the gutters, please), twisted the short, curly cord around our finger and talked on the phone for h-o-u-r-s. One Sunday afternoon about 3 weeks into our puppy love relationship, Dave and I found ourselves talking away a sunny Sunday afternoon. A rare moment of silence passed, broken by Dave mentioning what time it was. "Hey, look at your Swatch Watch, it's 3:33:33!" You know how a certain smell, or sight or song will take you right smack back into a moment of time? Well, 3:33 does it to me every time. Sometimes I will be driving and notice the dashboard clock reads 3:33 and I'll open my cell phone and speed dial Dave, trying to get him on the phone before the clock ticks ahead. Dave will occasionally call me or leave me a message letting me know it is 3:33 and he is just thinking of me/us.

Corny and syrupy sweet, right? Well, that concoction is what keeps our marriage sailing along. It's all about the little things and picking some out to make them significant.


the way to my other daughter's heart

is also through crafting. Go figure. Since Madison and I made her Wicked bag, Ellie has been plotting and planning out a library bag. We started the project by riding our bikes to the fabric store and picking out the trim fabric. Then, last night, we spent some time on the computer coming up with various designs. Ellie woke up this morning and told me she was ready to get started .... "Come on, Mom!". Several hours and many mistakes later, the bag was born:

I am quite frustrated with the iron-on transfer paper. We purchased a different brand, and this one does not seem to 'set' as well as the one I did for Madison. You can see the peeling on the corners of a few of the book prints. This was from ironing the inside of the bag once it was pieced together. I'm not sure how it will hold up in the long run, but Ellie certainly is pleased and is excited to take it to the library tomorrow.

I asked Ben if he would like a bag and he looked at me with his quirky little grin and asked, "why?". I think he would be more happy if I could make him a new Matchbox car ... out of metal ... and painted perfectly. Um, yeah no. I'll pick one up for 99 cents the next time I stop at the store.

Our garden is looking great and we are doing some clean-up in the yard in preparation for Ellie's carnival party in mid-July. She has already had her birthday, but we decided to hold off on the party so we could spend some time planning, making decorations and getting creative with the games. I'm sure I will be posting more about the party and all of our ideas as time get's closer. Expect loads of pictures!


reunion time

Thursday night we loaded up the van with way too much stuff for a family of 5 to ever need for 2 days. We set off for Omaha, grabbed the grandparents and continued on our journey to the Magorian family reunion in southwest Nebraska. The relation is on my mother-in-law's side, and this year the crowd was at an all time high of 50+ family members. The reunion itself was fairly standard with yummy food, lots of kids running around , tons of photos and times of remembrances. The kids traveled extremely well, thanks to portable DVD player. How did people survive family road trips without them?

One of the best parts of the trip were the older, small town playgrounds. You remember the kind ..... loaded with metal, peeling paint and absolutely no safety guides in place. These are the F-U-N playgrounds. Lots of spinning to make parents tired from pushing and kids nauseous from riding.

Take a look at this relic:

Then I posed the kids, with their matching T-shirts, on this old gal and let them spin until they were dizzy.

We stayed in a Motel (every time someone said "let's go back to the hotel" Ben would yell "It's not a Hotel, it's a Motel) complete with indoor pool and hot tub. If you ask the kids, I am sure they will say it was the best part of the trip. My favorite part of the trip was being able to spend some uninterrupted, un-routine, un-responsibility time with my hubby and kids. I am now refreshed and ready to tackle the 3rd week of summer vacation.


15 years and counting

circa 1993 at Ponca State Park in Nebraska

Awwwwww. Come on everyone; say it with me: Awwwwww

Fifteen years ago today, June 11, 1994, Dave & I exchanged marriage vows at the Presbyterian Church of the Cross in Omaha, Nebraska. It was a beautiful ceremony, as many are, but we had been 'married' to each other long before the minister announced us husband and wife. Did it happen at our first kiss? Or did it happen when we fought and made up? Or was it something meant to be and we just had to look real close and figure it out? Whatever the case, I am so glad we did.

In celebration of 15 years married (21 together), here is a list of 15 reasons I am honored to be married to Dave:
  1. Whenever something happens I want to share, he is the first person I want to share it with.
  2. He does not pass gas. He belches, quietly, but no farts.
  3. Not a day goes by he doesn't ask if I need something .... anything.
  4. He did not pass out during the deliveries of our three kids.
  5. No flinching when I send him to the store to buy feminine products.
  6. He will rub my feet, even when I don't ask/beg him to.
  7. He would rather be with me and the kids than any other place on earth.
  8. Blond hair, blue eyes, a cute giggle and a fine backside.
  9. Dave is honored to be a father and takes his title seriously.
  10. If the ice cream carton has only 1 serving left, he graciously hands it over to me.
  11. I still get butterflies when he looks at me and smirks.
  12. He values the simple pleasures in life and is teaching his children how to do the same.
  13. Dave has never been arrested for drug trafficking or charged with manslaughter.
  14. We have had our shares of ups and downs, yet I am convinced he would do it all over again and say it was worth it.
  15. He makes me a strive to be a better person.
I love you, baby!!!!!


the way to my daughter's heart

is through crafting. M is extremely creative and if I take the time to slow down and help her, we can make those creative thoughts come to fruition.

Last month hubby, M and I traveled to Omaha to see the musical, Wicked. Grandma B graciously gifted the tickets to us last Christmas for the May production at the Orpheum Theatre. It was a wonderful night, not just for seeing the musical, but for an opportunity to have an evening alone with M in the city hubby and I grew up in. We took her to dinner at a favorite mexican restaurant, Fernandos, and then downtown to the old theatre. I wish I would have thought to bring my camera to take a snapshot of M underneath the marquee. Hubby and I have been to the Orpheum many times, both for personal performances and for taking in a show/production. We walked the halls of the theatre and pointed out all of the wonderful architecture of the place. Remembrances of hubby as a young boy puking in the hallway, to my whorish dance makeup used when I was performing in a dance recital. Ah, memories.

M was blown away by the show and has been obsessed with all things 'Wicked' since. She wears her T-shirt often and proudly, and downloaded the soundtrack to her iPod. Yesterday she wanted to create something with the 'Wicked' theme in mind, so we sat down and formed a plan. Since she is a wiz on the computer, she designed some artwork with pictures from the show. We printed them out on iron-on-transfer paper and decided a bag would be the perfect project. We finished it this morning and both of us are thrilled with the results.

She plans to add some finishing touches ........ names of the characters and the date, place and time of the production we attended. All in Sharpie of course; her favorite writing tool.


summer of biking

I have declared the 'Summer of 2009' to be our season of biking.

Hahahahahah. Uhm, no, not that kind of biking. The Harley in the photo belongs to my father, who purchased this speeding-death-trap a couple of months ago. Ah, another post for another day.

We will stick to the peddling kind thank-you-very-much. Hubby's car needs repaired and we decided not to fix it.........for now. The kids are out of school and activities for the summer and I am purposely unemployed. Since we live in a fairly small community, why not use our bikes for transportation?! It's great exercise, eco-friendly and forces the kids and I to scale back on outings that often turn expensive. We are able to ride to the library, the pool, the grocery store, friend's houses and, like this morning, to the kid's dentist appointment.

M rides her bike, E has her training wheel free bike, and B & I ride my bike with an attached trail along bike. Similar to:

I even added a wire basket, but in white:

If you see us around town, give us a honk or a wave and definitely a wide berth. Our posse takes up some serious pavement.


Happy Birthday Bells

In the wee hours of Saturday, June 8, 2002 I awoke to a gush and a smile. A quick drive to the hospital and a short (& very painful) labor resulted in your first birthday welcoming at 6:17am. Just as your sister before you and your brother after, you took a small piece of my heart and buried it in yours. I will forever walk around missing a beat here and there and think of you. My dear Ellie Bellie, my giggle girl, my snuggle buggle, my love.

When you arrived you were content to just "be".

At one you were drinking in the details of the ways of the world.

At two your personality burst forth and your presence was forever known.

At three I couldn't hold you back from your many explorations.

At four your giggles erupted and haven't stopped since.

At five you discovered your independence and your love for learning.

At six your feet were firmly planted in compassion.

Today at seven years old you are a young lady who makes her mother proud.



The girls and I woke up this morning and decided to take a road trip. We kissed the boys goodbye and yelled "see ya later" as we squealed out of the driveway. The music was loud and the fun bags were full as we headed to visit my sister's new home. I was anxious to take a tour of the new abode, but more excited to love and kiss and chase my little niece, M.

I wanted to eat those cheeks.

My sister took us on the grand tour of the town. We lunched, we walked, we shopped. Soon, too soon, it was time to say goodbye and hop back in the car to head home to our boys. 3 hours drive, 6 hours of visiting and 3 hours back home. What a great way to spend a summer Saturday.

Oh, and M is a pretty good driver but I'm glad I wasn't on the road she was at the wheel.


week 1: Mom 1 Kids 0

I would have to say I totally scored this week. The kids are still alive and most importantly, I am as well. True, it is only the end of week 1, but don't they all say everything is hardest in the beginning?

Today is hubby's birthday. He is off at work and the kids and I have been planning a few surprises for him when he gets home. First up: 1 homemade banana cream pie. I have never made it so we will have to wait until the jury returns with a verdict. Second: 5-hour stew for dinner tonight ..... his request. I have made this dinner several times, so I am anxiously awaiting the supper hour to dig into some hearty yummyness. Finally: a short-stop video card from M, E, & B to let their daddy know how much they love him.


ducks for breakfast

We moved into our home and neighborhood a little over 3 years ago. The first spring we noticed a Mallard duck couple who visited several houses on our block. We soon learned, through conversations with our neighbors, the duck couple has been visiting our street for over 7 years. Each year they pick a safe spot in someone’s yard to build a nest and lay eggs. Soon after hatching, the couple whisks the little ducklings off to a nearby pond. We know it is the same couple because the female, named Speck, has a pronounced limp on her left foot. Nelson, her better half, is distinguishable as well. They make an appearance around nesting time and then their visits are spotty throughout the rest of the spring and summer season. Sometimes they make their presence known by flying onto our deck and pecking at the sliding glass door, letting us know they would like some breakfast. This morning we were graced with another ‘drop in’ visit and B happily granted them their request. I know, I know. We shouldn’t be feeding the ducks. But how can we not?!


email to hubby at work

In order for my children to remain unharmed by a crazy lady, I email my husband at work just so I can ‘vent’ a little bit, take a breath and then get back to mothering my children without thinking bad thoughts about them. This morning, only day 2 of summer vacation, I needed to vent: (some parts of the message removed to protect my deepest, darkest secrets)

It’s the second day of summer vacation and only the first(!) email I am sending you! Do I get a prize if I keep it under 10 for the duration of the endless weeks?

Sorry about my attitude this morning. I am trying really hard to not wake up thinking about the lack of money and not letting it run my thoughts for the day.

B and E are playing marvelously, but M is already moping around. “Playing school just wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be”, (read…..B and E won’t listen to everything I tell them to do). She then wanted a friend over, but I explained I didn’t want her complaining about B and E playing downstairs and being loud. She sighed, Then she wanted to go to the movie UP, and I had to say no. Then she wanted a movie and candy day at home. No. I suggested several options and then explained to her that is causes my pain to know she is unhappy and waiting for all of these ‘exciting’ things to happen.

I just want to enjoy this simple time home with the kids! I know I can make it happen if only M would play along with me. Maybe we should try and arrange for her to go to your folks, somewhere.

I need to shake it off and refocus. Another day to get through, with a smile on my face and contentment in my heart. That’s all I want! Oh, and I am convinced tomorrow the expense money WILL be in. Optimism works for me.

Talk to you soon, baby,
love – me

breathe. smile. repeat


jump right in. the water's just fine

So intimidating …… this first post thing. Do I start from the moment of my birth, or just jump right in? My personality fits better wih door number 2.

Today is the first day of summer vacation and for the first time I am not scared of the 10+ weeks of being home with the kiddos. I am not currently working, so we have the wold at our fingertips with no limitations other than money. I should feel constrained by the lack of dough but oddly I am at peace with reality. Time to focus on the simple pleasures, creative alternatives and new experiences. What better lesson to share with my children then how to have fun and spend time together without spending money ……… well frivolously, anyway.

My hopes for this space is to include:

  • photos. I love to capture the moment
  • the good, the bad & the ferociously ugly
  • ideas to share and inspire
  • updates for those not lucky enough to spend every waking moment with us
  • a safe space to call my own

Photo of the day: