Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Said 'I Do'

29 years ago I said "I Do".
I found someone who loved God and loved me. 29 years later he still does. He was loyal and stable and gentle and kind. 29 years later he still is.

He was a thinker, I was a talker. He slightly introverted, me more outgoing. He was a saver, I was a spender. I said "I Do" and hoped we could find a balance.

29 years ago I said "I Do". I didn't know it would mean 5 moves, 4 states, and 4 career changes (3 mine, 1 his) but I would still follow him wherever he leads.

29 years ago I didn't know that parenting could be both a joy and a challenge. But 2 dogs, 3 children, lots of trying our best, some mistakes, a few heartaches, and several joys later I would still rather partner with him on this journey that do it alone.

He is strong when I am weak. I am up when he is down.

We are a pretty much an even match at Scrabble.

He is logical, I am creative. He likes to stay at home, I like to go, go, go!

We are still very different but have found how to make it work.

29 years ago I said "I Do" to love and to life together--no matter what.
29 years later, I still do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Show Us Where You Live- Children's Rooms

"Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!" "Later I promise, as soon as I'm through. I'll clean my whole room up, I promise, I do."

Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman

Welcome to my nearly empty nest
Where once I could have shown off a room filled with a treasured teddy bear collection mixed with sports memorabilia, is now a tranquil sleeping room for guests.

Where once the College Boy dwelled with his volumes of books and spare computer parts, is now a catch-all room and off season clothing storage area.

Today's tour leaves me in distress as the only room occupied by offspring is often a mess.
I've bribed and I've threatened, I've aided and abetted
but most days I just close the door and ignore what gets me besetted.

For the squeamish or for the idealistic, please be warned--You might want to look away!

Sorry, I couldn't bring myself to show you what's behind closed doors!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Whirlwind Weekend

For most of our married lives, we have lived some distance away from our families. We have been as close as 1 1/2 hours away and as far as 16 hours away. When our children were younger, we made trips "home" a priority. Our parents were young enough to make those long distance journeys to see us a couple of times a year as well. It wasn't ideal but we made the best of the situation.

As our children and parents have aged, those trips have become more difficult for everyone but some occasions call for a special effort. The first wedding in the family is such an occasion and so it was with great anticipation that we drove 12 hours for our nephew's wedding. On summer break and with a flexible work schedule, only College Boy could join us for the trip. It would be a scaled down version of previous family trips.

Since we were included in the Friday evening rehearsal, we gave ourselves some margin in the schedule and drove down on Thursday. Car rides are like a tranquilizer to me and most often I'm asleep 15 minutes into the drive. This day my hubby was fighting a migraine so I was called into active duty. With enough crunchy or chewy candy and some good tunes, I can stay awake while driving. My other weakness is that I'm directionally challenged. Fortunately, the GPS helps keeps me on the right route.

While I was busy staying awake and staying on track, I failed to check my fuel usage until I was 11 miles to empty. My theory is that this number is an estimate and that the manufacturer gives people like me a "grace period"--but I was not going to test out this theory on a particularly long and lonely stretch of interstate through Missouri. Uncertain of how close the next town or gas station would be and not wanting to wake my husband (both for my embarrassment and his mental health), I prayed hard and out loud. No sooner than I had said AMEN, there was a sign indicating an exit with fuel in the next mile. I was relieved! I took the exit only to find that the gas station was defunct! I could see another highway crossing the exit road about another mile down the way and thought that might be worth a try. Low and behold there was a Baptist church sitting next to some kind of petroleum business. It must be a sign! The station looked like the kind of place that farmers frequent for their diesel fuel but I was hoping they had something that would work in my car! The "store" was closed, but there were pumps (old timey ones) and some kind of card reader so I still had hope. To answer my prayers above and beyond what I asked, there was also a friendly man filling up his car. He kindly showed me how to work the pumps & card reader. A full tank later, I was back on the road again!

My mother in law had a light meal waiting for us when we arrived. How come turkey sandwiches taste so much better when someone else is making them for you? Top off the sandwiches and Rotel dip with homemade turtle brownies and we were revived from our long trip home.

On Friday morning, hubby got up early to take his dad for some medical tests at the hospital in the next town. MIL, College Boy and I met the men for breakfast after the tests then went on for a little wedding shopping for College Boy whose wardrobe is limited to t-shirts and hoodies.

Friday evening was the rehearsal followed by dinner at a quaint downtown Little Rock restaurant. It was a great evening celebrating these two young people who have spent as much time preparing themselves for their life together as they had the details of the wedding day. There were toasts and tears and lots of joy that night!

Saturday threatened rain showers but we arrived at the church on time and dry for family pictures. The ceremony was beautiful and officiated by both the bride and groom's youth pastors. They testified to their spiritual growth over the years and what strengths each of them bring to the marriage. Their were more tears and a few prayers. I do's were said and the party began!

The bride's family hosted a wonderful party at the Little Rock Country Club. Beautiful decorations, wonderful food and a rockin band kept the party going until late in the evening.

On Sunday, we drove another 1 1/2 hours to see my parents. My brother and his wife joined us for some yummy mexican food at one of our favorite restaurants and then an afternoon of catching up with each other in person.

Sunday night was back to the in laws house for a head start on the return trip on Monday.
Today hubby drove all the way in the rain for most of the trip...and I slept!

Happy Trails to you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Just Different with Girls

When I was the mother of boys and special occasion dances came around, I was usually the last to know. I would often depend on the knowledge that the mothers of girls always seemed to posses like where were they taking pictures, where were they going out to eat, when did the dance start--you know, the important stuff.

When I was the mother of boys and special occasions came around, I coached them on manners, helped them pick out flowers, advised on proper attire (and assured them they would not be the only one wearing a tie), and just hoped that they showered before they dressed for the evening. I rarely got pictures of the evening's festivities.

Now that I am a mother of a girl, those same special occasions are quite a bit different. I've heard all about the plans, the changes in plans, and the drama involved with the changes in plans. My fashion advisement is in regards to appropriateness and affordability. We've scheduled nail appointments, hair appointments, tanning sessions, and purchased teeth whitening products. They coordinate their appointments and get dressed in groups to offer last minute fashion advice and the occasional correction of an up-do gone wrong.

Now that I'm a mother of a girl, there are nails to paint and hair to put up. There are jewels to adorn and shoes to be worn. There are dates to be interrogated and pictures to be taken...and then they are out the door.

Now that I'm a mother of a girl, there are prayers to be said and no sleep to be had until The Princess is back home safely in bed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reality Check

Last week was full of drama--
Biggest Loser finale
American Idol final 3
Grey's Anatomy cliffhanger
Survivor finale
my daughter's junior prom...

But only one of those events was real in my life.

I've previously confessed to watching way too much TV and now I add reading too many blogs/websites to that confession. Last week I found myself caught up in the emotion of the "Jon & Kate plus Eight" controversy/gossip. I've always loved the show and was sad to hear of possible marital problems between the couple. If the rumors are true, I defended their right to privacy to work things out. If the rumors were not true, I am outraged that such a thing would be advertised simply as a publicity ploy to generate interest for the upcoming season.

After spending much of the week on an emotional roller coaster, what I came to realize is that I was "borrowing" things to worry or fret over. These reality shows are not my real life!

Along the same line of thought-- blog people are not really my friends either. Potential friends perhaps-- I know there are people who have met in the blogosphere and met in real life and formed friendships. But for now, for me, no matter how much I read about them, comment to them or even receive comments back--we do not have a upclose and personal relationship. I have never given them a hug nor received one back. I have never sat across a table and shared a plate of nachos or more importantly, shared deeper heart issues.

What is real in my life are the family and freinds that are here for a hug, a cry, a smile or a pat on the back. They are the ones who write me notes of encouragement, who dare to speak truth into my life, and who love me in spite of myself. It is for them that I am putting some personal boundaries in place and monitoring how much of the unreal world I allow into my life.

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."

Ephesians 4:8-9 The Message

Keeping it real,

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Home Tour- Guest Room

Welcome to the Home Tour!
This week Kelly is having us show our guest rooms. Good thing, I needed some motivation to get downstairs and spruce things up. It's been a while since I had real guests to occupy the space. Most usually College Boy stays down there giving up his old room to his girlfriend so she can share the "girl" bathroom with The Princess. I guess, technically, his old room is also a guest room too.

When we bought this house 5 years ago, we chose to finish out the lower level for a family/media room, guest room, and full bath. Sadly, stay over guests are few and far between but I try to keep it guest ready for a moment's notice. The Princess still has impromptu sleepovers downstairs but those "guests" usually end up on the couches and floor. I love using our home to entertain friends and family. I've had the privilege of exercising the gift of hospitality by opening up the space to a couple of summer interns over the past 5 years and hope to do the same this summer.

So here's the lower level guest room and bath:

Thanks for stopping by. Come back anytime!

Friday, May 8, 2009

At a Closer Look

The Princess has been saying that we need a new camera...before Prom and all those big moment events that will happen between now and graduation.

Looking now at my house tour pictures here and here, I've determined:

A. I stayed up way too late...

B. I had way too much caffeine in order to stay up late...

C. She is right, and we need a new camera!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Show Us Where You Live- Family Room Edition

I had so much fun looking at all the beautiful kitchens that Kelly had us post last week that I thought I'd play along again. When we moved to this city 5 years ago, we downsized a bit from our previous home. One of the things I could give up was the formal living room. We never used them in the houses we previously owned and no matter how much older I get, I just don't seem to be the "formal" type. Our family room is open to the kitchen/dining area and I like that for family time and entertaining.
Here's the view from my front door:
And a close up of the corner table. It came from my office in a previous life and I've been looking for something else to go there for 5 years! When I do find it, this table will go behind the couch where this lone end table has been doing a decent job of providing some visual depth behind the sofa.

And on the other side of the room-- our "ma and pa" chairs. I used to make fun of my
parents with their his and hers recliners but we do get territorial with our chairs don't we? The chair and a half belongs to the man of the house but when he's away...whoever is in it, owns it! I do love my leather wing back though and it's a recliner too. The leather is just a little cold in the winter which is why this blanket is usually hanging on the back of it! I've just recently added this basket tray to hold the remotes and my latest editions of Midwest Living. The candle is battery operated...and fragrant!

There are 2 areas in my family room that are a source of contention for me.
One area is the TV. We started out 5 years ago in agreement not to have a TV in this room. We finished out the basement and installed surround sound in the family room down there. We both agreed that by moving the TV area downstairs it would make watching TV an intentional act. What we didn't count on was how stinking COLD it is the the lower Iowa... in the winter. So the first compromise was that we would get a small TV that could sit on the end table and easily be put away when we were entertaining. It grew from there and that little TV has now grown to a 47 " complete with surround sound, DVR, DVD, and some other equipment that also requires a remote to operate. I've always believed that a TV should been heard and not seen (well, something like that) so have always hidden our TVs in a piece of furniture with doors. I cannot find such a wooden contraption in all my shopping excursions so the TV sits in broad view on this inexpensive stand from Target.Contention area #2 is the fireplace mantel. It has been my decorating bane for the past 5 during the spring/summer seasons. I have decor I like for fall & winter but have yet to find the right thing for spring and summer. I like Pottery Barn's style but this year's accessories are very beachy and that just does not make sense in Iowa. So here's my fireplace:

Discuss amongst yourselves. Your suggestions are welcome here!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It needed cleaning anyway...

I was having a little insomnia and decided to catch up with the blogging world where I see that Kelly is having fun on Fridays with a virtual home tour for anyone who wants to play. This week she is touring kitchens and since mine needed cleaning anyway, I decided I would play.

Here's the view from the family room:

This is the first house I've lived in where I had light colored cabinets and I have liked the change but I love my dark wood and bring it in with the black table. We bought the house just as the builder was completing it and I was able to make a few changes to meet our needs better. The center island was originally a two level bar meant for eating at. I like to serve buffet style and do a good deal of entertaining, so I had that island removed and put the larger granite island in it's place. We added the bookshelf at the end. It's functional for storage but I change out my baskets, mugs, and decor with the seasons.

One thing I could not change was the small pantry area in the kitchen. It just wasn't going to be enough for my family of 5 so I took the coat closet just off the kitchen and across from the laundry and turned it into a pantry!
I like to change things around on my counters but like them to be as clutter free as possible. Here's one little corner that I love:

Thanks for stopping by!