Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playing Favorites

It's been a little while since I've done a favorite things post, so I thought I'd add some new favorites to the ever-growing list of stuff I like.

Having my own work space at home. I work from home three days a week. I've typically worked at the dining room table or in our guest room. This past Christmas, my husband made me a desk. For the top, he used part of a tree from our property. It is a beautiful desk. Sure, for now I have to share my work space with the boys' playroom, but it is SO nice to have a designated area with my own desk. And even better that the desk is a beautiful, hand-made gift.

SUMMER! I know I've listed this one before, but I just love it so much. This summer has been awesome. I know July was really hot, but it's mid-August right now and the weather is mid-eighties and pleasant. Here is the summer view from my lovely new work space. If I have to be working and can't be playing outside, sitting here with the windows open makes it easier to take.
essie nail polish. Now, I'm not really a nail polish girl. I do paint my toe nails, but only because I think I have weird feet that look weird without polished nails. And you don't have to repaint toe nails as often as you have to repaint your finger nails. Now, I can't really justify spending a lot on nail polish, but I bought it on sale and from what I've seen so far, it wears pretty well. Chinchilly is my current favorite. The website describes it as "a sleek granite gray," and I think that is a color that suits me pretty well.

Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations. Now, I know he is very snarky and can be quite crass, but I love this show. I love how he interacts with the people he meets and makes comments like, "Yeah, if people were only drunker, there'd be no
war." Seriously... it is educational AND entertaining. And makes me wish I could afford to just drop everything and fly to some far away place and try the food. A girl can dream.

Pinterest. I admit it. There are nights when Ryan is at work and the boys are in bed and I mindlessly surf the internet. Only most people are out on those nights, so not much is going on here on blogger or on Facebook. This is when I love Pinterest most. I can look for recipe ideas or interesting quotes or tattoo ideas or just.... other random stuff. And I can pin stuff to my pin boards really quickly so that I don't have to try to remember where I saw it and never be able to find it again. Sure, it's a waste of time, but at least I'm enjoying wasting it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Staying the Night at India

Two posts in a row about my kids. This is really unusual for me, but today was a pretty good day with my boys and I felt like writing a little about it.

I do not miss the baby stage. Yes, it is wonderful to have a sleeping baby all snuggled up to you, but those moments are few and far between. Nor do I miss the toddler stage, the struggling to communicate and getting into everything. I know, however, that I will miss this stage. The one my boys are in right now where they can do anything or go anywhere (even to India as they did today) all without leaving the backyard.

Right now, they are each other's best friend. They love golf and t-ball and baseball. They love the Kratt brothers and having creature adventures in the backyard. Outside or inside, they can find an infinite number of things to pretend. They come up with the most hilarious things and have crazy escapades. They have the best imaginations. The worst thing that can happen is that they don't both want to pretend the same thing at the same time.

We certainly have our moments, but for the most part they still want me around and will tell me about what they are imagining. They still willingly give me hugs and kisses. They tell me about what they did while I was at work. I've never been one of those mothers who tells my kids to stop growing or wishes they could stay little. I am excited for them to experience life and can't wait to see who they become.

But after days like today, I do get a little melancholy knowing the sounds of pretend safari treks and animal rescues will soon give way to video game sound effects and asking to borrow the car. If only there were a way I could somehow capture this stage and this kind of day, so I can look back on it in the trying teenage years ahead. Oh, I guess I just did.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Confession Friday

Being a parent terrifies me. There. I said it. I knew before I had kids that being a parent was a big responsibility, but I had no idea I would be such a weirdo about it.

My oldest son, Luke, started first grade Wednesday. He l-o-v-e-s school. Loves it. We had to fill out a questionnaire to turn in to the teacher and one of the questions read: "What are your child's likes and dislikes about school?" When I asked him, his response was, "I like everything about school and there is nothing I don't like." So, on the first day of school there was no drama about him not wanting to go. At least not from him.

I, however, was a bundle of crazy. Not so much from the "my little one is growing up" perspective, but more "How in the world do I have a first grader??"

It's not even really an age thing. I think it's just that even after six plus years of being a mother, I still don't feel like I'm qualified to be a parent. I'm terrified that there is something big I'm missing or forgetting or haven't taught him and that he will be messed up from having a crazy person for a mother.

I mean, in first grade they have homework and you have to pack their lunch and keep up with the days they have off or get out early. How can I make sure I get everything done, when all this time I feel like I've just been pretending to be a responsible adult?

I know that I should know that it will be okay. It's not like I'm an incredibly irresponsible person. I got my first job working seasonally for a local business when I was fourteen. I worked two jobs pretty much from the time I was sixteen until I had Luke. I have a college degree. I've been employed at a global company for ten years and have advanced to new opportunities and accumulated several professional certifications. Not that these things make me a "success" or anything, but it's not as though I'm a completely incompetent deadbeat either. And I'm kind of trying to give myself a pep-talk here.

So I don't know. Thankfully my husband is pretty on top of things in the schedule and homework department so it's not like I'm doing this all on my own. I guess it’s like everything else in life. There are things that have to be done and I have to just keep moving forward. Sometimes I just wish I was a little more confident and a little less scared.

Friday, August 12, 2011


We recently went on a short family trip to Mammoth Cave National Park in the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky. We stopped to have dinner at the one local eatery in a nearby town. When the waitress came to take our order, she asked, "Just these two?"

Um. No idea. I said, "I'm sorry?"

"Just these two kids? Is that all you got?"

What an odd question. I'm so bad. I wanted to say we'd left the rest in the car, but that would have been super rude so I replied, "Yep. Just two."

"At least you don't have seven."

How do I even respond to that? I obviously know nothing about this girl, but she was probably late twenties. Maybe her husband or life partner (she wasn't wearing a wedding band) was home with the kids and she just waited tables at the local dive for a break and some extra money. I'm guessing not, but maybe.

For whatever reason, this got me to thinking about the families we come from and how we end up where we do. My maternal grandparents came from very humble roots. My grandpa grew up in a mining town in Kentucky and my grandma grew up in Covington, Kentucky. Times were very hard for both of them.

My grandpa joined the army during WWII and ended up being able to go to college to be a teacher. My grandma also became a teacher. Then they got the hell out of Kentucky. This is nothing against Kentucky. There are plenty of lovely people and places there. But from what I can piece together from eavesdropping on the adults' conversations growing up, it wasn't so lovely for my grandma and she wanted out.

They built a life in a small town and had a family. It was by no means all rosy-perfect, but it was much better than the life my grandmother had growing up. There was a lot of hurt and anger from things that had happened in her life, but I like to believe my grandma did the best she could. She chose to make a change and give her own family a better hand than she'd been dealt.

My own mother had to deal with some of the fallout of my grandma's pain, but she was determined that she was going to do even better for her own children and make sure they always knew they were loved and never felt rejected. While there were some very tight times in my childhood, my parents did their best to make sure I did well in school and stayed out of trouble and had the chance to go to college.

Yet, when I saw that waitress and heard her talking about her seven kids, I thought, "That could easily be me. Just a few choices different and I could be waiting tables in middle-of-nowhere Kentucky to try to make ends meet with eight or nine mouths to feed." Now please understand I am in no way saying that having fewer kids or more opportunity makes me a "better" person than anyone else. I certainly do not think that I'm better or my life is better. But I probably have it easier. Maybe she has the life she's always wanted, and if so, that is absolutely fine.

I'm not trying to be critical of someone else's life as though it is a bad thing. I don't know if I'm explaining myself very well and I'm really sorry if this rude in any way, because that is absolutely not what I intend. I'm only saying that in my mind it would be a hard life to have a lot of kids when you don't have a lot of resources or opportunities.

Now, I know that we are each responsible for our own choices and ultimately have to make our own way. But it is much more difficult when you start out in a tough spot and don't have easy access to things that could improve your situation. And sure, if my grandparents hadn't moved to Ohio, my parents likely wouldn't have met, and I likely wouldn't exist.... but humor me.

Just thinking about how my grandparents' choices gave better opportunities to my mom and then to me and now to my kids, is kind of sobering. I have to say I'm thankful for the new paths they took, because my life could have easily started in a completely different situation. I hope the choices I make in my life are as good for my kids and their kids as the ones that were made years ago by my family that eventually benefitted me.

My grandma, aunt, mom, and grandpa

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I am in love with this song. I first heard Diane Birch when she opened for a concert I attended a couple years ago. I went out the next day and bought her CD. Yes, this was before I had an iPod. I'm a late bloomer, technologically speaking.

I hadn't listened to it in a while, but the other day the lines, "How I wanted you here by my side. I know what I said, but I lied...." started going through my head over and over again. So, of course, I dug out my copy of the song and I've listened to it about twenty times since then.

Sadly, I don't have some tragic romance story I can tell you this song brings to mind. I just love her voice and the lyrics and the piano and the mood. She is so lovely and talented. If you like this song, check out her album, Bible Belt. I know musical taste is a very personal thing, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.