I feel a little guilty (okay, a LOT guilty) when I sit down at my computer to read other blogs. An indulgence, really. Solidly placed in the category of I-have-so-many-other-things-I-could-be-doing. In the "needs v.s. wants" list? ........ emphatically etched in the latter.

In order to keep my time involved in the 'not necessary' zone, I have set up all of my favorite blogs in a Reader. Google Reader to be exact. Just one of many programs designed to make keeping up with the sites you visit easier. Let's look at an example of how I used to read my favorite blogs.

  • Click on my 'bookmark' folder tab, scroll down to the first blog on the list, load the page and check to see if there was a new entry. Click on my 'bookmark' folder, scroll down to the next blog on the list, load the page and check to see if there was a new entry. Rinse, lather and repeat until I reached the last blog.
New and improved version:

  • Click on my 'Google Reader" tab and see a list of the blogs who have an update. Click on the title and read the newest entry. Let's do it again! Click on my 'Google Reader" tab and see a list of the blogs who have an update. Click on the title and read the newest entry.
WooHoo! Oh, I forgot to add you need to first SET-UP your reader and plug in you favorite blogs' website address where it asks for new subscriptions. Done. Sit back, relax and wait for the updates to come to you.


When visiting a particular blog, say ME, look around the site for a button or box that has an RSS Feed. If a blog accepts RSS feed, (real simple syndication feed) you will see this icon in your Internet address bar. Click on the icon, select RSS feed and select your reader. Now you are a subscribed member to that particular blog! Clear as mud?

:: clears throat; steps down from lectern. Five minute recess, y'all ::

Of the 48 blogs I follow religiously, I wanted to share a couple with you. These particular blogs and their writers leave me laughing, crying, raging, sympathizing and jaw-dropping awing. Maybe they will for you, too.

  1. 6 year med is the story of a med student turned resident who chronicles her experiences in the medical community. Funny and heart-wrenching reads.
  2. Fat Cyclist is all about cycling (duh) and the personal struggle one man went through while dealing with a spouse who fought cancer. The Lance Armstrong 'Livestrong' campaign is benefiting big time from this man's fight.
  3. One Pretty Thing is a multiple times a day dose of all things crafty. Most of my project ideas either come directly or are inspired by the ideas found on this website.
  4. Stillman Says says it best in his title description "an experiment with two chairs, one table and a sign that reads "creative approaches to what you have been thinking about" and "pay what you like or take what you need"...and other things? Fascinating stuff here, folks.
  5. And finally, Blair from Wise Craft has held a special place in my reader from the beginning. Simply stated ......... she just inspires me.
These are just a few of the blogs who grab my attention and show me a new way to look at life. Now, let me ask you ................ is that such an indulgence?


do you see what I see?

Preparing to battle

And it's on

Nice form!

Right in the gut. Et tu brother?

Hanging on perilously close to the edge ........

And, it's over.

Found on my camera memory card:
1 lime, 2 tomatoes, 1 strange bell pepper, 1 gala apple and a 1-armed construction pup.

Well, look who showed up for the party. And look! He brought another gala apple. Such a gracious guest.

Caught in the act.
Darth Vader apparently ate too much fruit and now has a bloated belly.
The pup, however, is going back for more.


so long, summer vacation

Dear summer vacation,

Thank you for the 11 weeks of glorious weather. Even though we did not get to the pool as often as we would have liked, your cooler-than-average temperatures provided us with many fun alternative activities. We basked in the sunshine, sang into the wind and danced in the rain.

I do have a complaint about the weather, however. Since the heat and humidity were scarce, I did not fully experience the 'dog days of summer' and, consequently, am not ready for the turn of the season. Your decision to lay off the heat has spoiled me rotten. A girl could get used to that, you know? My children were less cranky. My utility bills were lower. My good hair days out-numbered the bad ...... unheard of!

The cooler weather did provide a downside, however, as my garden did not flourish as it would have with higher heat indexes. The pool passes got a little dusty and were not the 'bargain' we usually get verses paying per visit. The lawn had to be mowed more often as the rain and cooler air caused it more frequent grooming.

But, I'm not complaining. No, no. I am mourning. Mourning the loss of lazy days and spontaneous adventures. The kids are back into school, into a routine and bedding down for the night before the sun. My days are quieter now, and filled with the promise of getting our home organized, completing half-finished projects, and scheduling our days making certain to find time for nothing and even a little boredom. Breathing time.

I will miss you, summer vacation. Until next year!

School Year 2009


summer of biking: update

Our handy dandy $9 Wally World bike odometer has recorded 93.4 miles of summer bicycling. The calendar on the fridge is tormenting me by announcing there is only 7 more days until school begins, ending our quest for 100 miles ridden on our bicycles verses driving in a car.

I'm certain we have ridden our bikes over a hundred miles by now, but I have very strict guidelines as to what constitutes 'summer of biking' mileage.
  • The purpose of the ride is for business only; no mileage added for just riding around all willy-nilly.
  • If we would have used a car to get there, we can add the mileage. At least one child must accompany me in order to qualify the mileage.
  • No 'made up' trips just to bump up and pad the mileage.
  • And, just for Madison, no; we cannot use mileage of you riding to your friend's house to play. Why? Because I would have made you ride you bike even if we DID have a car available.
So, 6.6 miles left to go. I think we can make it happen.

In other news, we are growing weary of our neighborhood swimming hole. Even though the weather has been cooler and we have not been swimming as much, we are all a little fed up with the crowds at the pool.

Today was hot and sticky, so after our morning errands (on bicycles!) I set up the following in our backyard and let the kiddos do what they do best: be silly and free.

Supplies needed:
  • 1 plastic tarp
  • 3 large buckets, emptied of toys
  • hose and sprinkler
  • ketchup and mustard bottles; emptied of all condiments
  • swim goggles

Games played:
  • See who can sit in the bucket of cold water the longest
  • Spray your sibling with the ketchup/mustard bottle until Mom yells at you
  • Stomp in the puddles of water made by the dents in the tarp
  • Plastic ball race by squirting it with water and seeing whose goes the farthest
  • Pretend the tarp is a slip-n-slide. Realize no hill = does not work
  • Squirt Mommy with the water until she goes inside to get us fudgecycles
  • Make 'water angels' by laying down on the tarp and flapping your imaginary wings
  • Turn on the sprinkler, run around in circles until you get dizzy and fall down
  • Invite the neighbor kids to join you and allow them to put all of your dry towels in a tub of water
  • Repeat many times
We are soooooo ghetto.


epic battles

Fought and won ....... gotta love it when that happens.

Epic Battle #1: To have Ben sleep in his own room.
Tools used: Bribery.
Length of battle: 5 nights in a row.
Results: Ben slept in his room for 5 nights in a row and in return, his collection of Star Wars figurines grew by 2. Oh, and I threw in a new paint job for his walls. They used to be yellow (in picture) and aqua blue. Now they are light blue and dark blue.

Another epic battle
- Princess Leia likes to be dominant
- some creature in the back is being eaten by a gator
- Darth Vader is being guarded by a little green army man
- Han Solo is using too big a gun for that close range
- Lightning McQueen will be called as a material witness

Epic Battle #2: To grow edible food from our garden
Tools used: Dirt and prayers. Oh, and a rain dance or two
Length of battle: 88 days.
Results: radishes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, green beans and KOHLRABI!!!!!

Even if the kohlrabi does look like an alien spaceship.

Epic Battle #3: To attend a Taylor Swift concert with my 11 year old daughter
Tools used: Mind over matter
Length of battle: Driving to Omaha, (2.5 hours) and length of concert (3.5 hours), driving back home (2.5 hours)
Results: I got over my shaking anxiety of being surrounded by all those people who all clearly wanted to harm my daughter, (mothering makes me crazy) witnessed the look of 'pure joy' on my daughter's face when we arrived at the arena, did not embarrass Madison in an 'obvious' manner and even did some school supply shopping the next morning. WooHoo!!!

Gotta love a girl with a glittery guitar


crafty playdate

We know a wonderful family who happens to have three kids like us, but with 2 boys and 1 girl. We decided to have a play date today with me hosting the girls and the boys all at their house. Realizing a crafty opportunity when one drops in my lap, I was quick to plan out the entire day for me, um ....... I mean the girls.

First we rode our bikes to Hancock Fabrics. The girls were instructed to pick out 2 fabrics, a coordinating zipper and some funky trim. The funniest part was listening to the girls comment on how 'cute' the fabric was or picking out something they thought the other girl would like. Lots of giggles, jumping up and down at an 'adorable' find, and matching up colors 'just so.' I can only imagine what a trip to the mall will be like in a couple of years. I'd better stock up on some earplugs and alcohol. For me, of course.

I had seen THIS pencil case tutorial on the web a couple of weeks ago and knew right away it was going to be the project for this play date. School is starting back up in a couple of weeks and what better thing to make than a unique little bag for their supplies.

After a quick stop at Subway for lunch, we made it home and started right in. Yes, I let go of my anal retentiveness for a day and allowed the girls to use my rotary cutter, ::gasp:: my really expensive iron, ::yikes:: and my trusty sewing machine. ::faint::

I have to say, each one did a might fine job. It wasn't so bad for me, either, to give up control and allow them make their own mistakes. The end results were that much sweeter.


Just for the record, I do NOT plan out and organize crafts when my kiddos have a play date. This one just seemed right ...... and I needed a sewing fix.



Permanent link to this comic: http://xkcd.com/46/

I have a secret to tell. If I tell it to you, you have to pinkie swear to not laugh at me when you see me in Target. If I tell it to you and you have a secret to share, I hope you share it with someone today. You see, telling your own secrets is liberating and will send a happy tingle down your spine.

Last night something miraculous happened. Something of the likes which has not occurred since the birth of my third child, five years ago:

Everyone in my house slept in their own bed.

Take a breath and just sit with that sentence. Okay?

Madison slept in her newly completed bedroom in the basement.
Ellie slept in her own room alone in her own bed.
Benjamin slept alone for the first time since he was born, in his own room, in his own bed.
Dave and I slept together in our room with the door closed.

For 1 hour.

Then, Dave's snoring kicked me to the couch. His C-Pap machine is in for repairs and without it I am unable to slumber through the rumbles. At 2:30am, Ellie awoke to the lightening and thunderstorm show and ended up in my, now cold, spot in the bed. But, we did it and I am thrilled.

I have been dreaming of this sleeping arrangement for many years, and admit I have been quite shameful to admit to anyone how our family sleeps at night. Up until now, Madison slept in her bed or in the recliner, depending on when she fell asleep.

Ellie rarely makes it a full night without waking up with 'nightmares' and finds someone to snuggle into bed with. She does, at least, start the night out in her own bed without too much of a fuss.

Ben has slept with me since the moment he was born. At first it was to save my sanity. Anyone who has breastfed an infant will know the lengths we go to for extra sleep. Having your baby tucked in beside you and being able to roll over and feed him when he just starts to wake up is a sanity saver. And, Ben is a major snuggler. Her has always searched for the warmth of a body to sooth and calm him. When Ben was weaned, we just continued our strange sleeping habits because it. was. working.

I am a firm believer in doing what works. NOT what works for you, or your neighbor, or the well meaning aunt once-removed. Sleep is very important to the members of my home and we will do almost anything to ensure a full night of zzzzzzzz's.

Why now? Because I felt it was time to make the change. Time to gently teach Ben how to trust himself and seek his own strength for comfort ......... but with his door open and the hallway light on.

Why now? Because it is high time my husband and I get back to snuggling up and talking or not talking and just simply sharing uninterrupted time together as the day comes to an end. Because I miss having my buddy right there next to me. Because it was time.

Why tell? Because it feels good to take a deep breath, write it all out and document how I felt when it all happened.

Now, go tell someone a secret ......... you'll feel so much better for it.

Sweet Dreams!