Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thank You doesn't seem enough......


When I think of the sacrifices our Service Men and Women (and their families) have made for my family...Thank You doesn't seem enough.

Praying and Remembering all those who have gone for us.

Memorial Day 2006



"You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Powder Room...redone!

Since I have been doing an informal tour of the work we have done on this house, I suppose it is time for a Powder Room break! This tiny room is off the downstairs hallway (which leads out to the garage) and had NO personality, to say the least.












We added a wallpaper border and my sweet and talented dear husband painted taupe stripes. We also changed the light fixtureand added some accessory pieces. We have purchased new ceramic tile for in there to coordinate with the hallway and kitchen, as I don't like the white 12"x12" shiney ceramic that currently lives there. THAT is a project for another day!
The end result, so far....I still need to do something on the window...maybe plantation shutters?

Come sit on my porch


It is a quiet spring morning here. I am back from the last day of school festivities at my children's school and both the older 2 have gone home with friends. Just me and the little man. It feels like a tall, cold, glass-of-iced-tea day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Not the best of days

A painting of my daughter when she was 3

I am suffering from melancholy and some form of Mommy Burn-Out. I love all three of my precious babies so much but lately I am struggling with my job...my job being that of a Mom. I can’t imagine doing or being anything else...but I can’t seem to do this one very well right now.

One thing that is lying heavily on my heart is that my sweet baby girl is going into high school in the fall. Tomorrow is officially the last day of 8th grade for her. I am sad, scared, and so proud of her. She is transferring out of our cloistered private school into the wide-open, who knows what to expect, local, public school. I can’t hide how scary that is for me. She is so good, sweet and kind. I am so very afraid some of that will change in the halls of that free for all of society. She is so excited about the change. It is a good public high school and there are tons of good people there, but I am worried about MY girl.

I feel like I have failed her in so many ways and the time has just passed so quickly. I can’t seem to make up for it. At the same time, I am failing my boys and the clock is ticking. There was so much I wanted to do, so many memories to make and her childhood is zooming to a close.

My dear daughter now.....




"Behold,children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward."
Psalm 127:3

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Breakfast tour


As we have been in this house a couple of years we have been working to give it a face lift and some updating. The house was built in roughly 1995 and we bought it from the original owners. They purchased it from the builder, apparently it was a "spec house" for this development. The previous owners didn' t do anything with it cosmetically so it was overdue for some changes when we moved in (Feb. 2004). We got a deal on the purchase price and knew before moving it that we would get to work updating it. The 1st project was the kitchen. We thought we would have it done by June 1, 2004.....hahahahahhahahha! IT was done September 2004.

When we became proud owners of this house it had purple walls and vinyl flooring with little pinkish/purple flowers...2 walls were covered with a purple/darker purple stripe and there was a greyish/purple floral victorian inspired wall paper border around the entire kitchen breakfast area. The cabinets (which, were actually superior in quality) were a warm honey oak stain topped with an industrial cold, grey Formica counter-top. The main area of the kitchen was illuminated with a glorious Fluorescent light. The breakfast area was the proud location of the standard "cheapest possible" builders light fixture. Lets not forget the $5 faded vinyl mini-blinds in the bay window!!!! Oh gosh...was it purely ugly. Would that be pugly?


The breakfast area after

We added ceramic tile flooring, bead board with a sagey green stain on it and topped the walls with a slathering of venetian plaster. The windows are dressed in Plantation Blinds and topped with a black iron rod with blown glass finials from Pottery Barn (bought on clearance for $4.95 each! Whooohoooooo, I love bargains!). The fabric is actually a ready-made, fully lined valance from Country Curtains. I love their ready-made stuff...it is definately worth the money. http://www.countrycurtains.com

FAT, FAT, FAT

Well, here in cyber land, I can admit it...I am getting FAT. Maybe FAT stands for Frustrated and Tubby; maybe Fabulous and terrific????

I blame this all on Prevention Magazine. A couple of weeks ago I read an article and it referred to my particular age bracket as being in perimenopause! Wha?????? I am not pleased to have anyting about me having anything even vaguely resembling that "meno" word attched to it. Well, I ran out and bought the suggested vitamins to combat this insidious attacker and somehow, something in me clicked and I became one eating machine. I realize there is no scientific basis for this but I just know it was Prevention Mag and that perimeno. comment. I have probably gained 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks. YIKES! My small children are now afraid of being still for too long...Mommy might need a snack.

My best friend has become Little Debbie and I tell you it is amazing how supportive she is! So, this morning I made a trip to Target and picked up some little yellow dumb bells (theoretically to work on my old lady arms before they catch a west wind and I find myself in California) and an exercise DVD for Belly, Butt & Thighs. My butt isn't much really bigger but I swear it is lower! My thighs could use some firming to be sure...especially noticeable when my dear daughter and her teen-age friends are all around in their little no cellulite bodies... but ultimately it is my gut that needs the work. Prevention Magazine said this was a definite struggle caused by this mysterious perimenopause.

Prevention Magazine....blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dining Rooms

I mentioned how I like dining rooms. Yes, I am speaking of the room that is so often saved for company or holidays; or like in my case, occasionally becomes "project central" because it is the only room in the house were things can be left without disturbance. The downside to "project central" is that due to me not having to to walk through this room, I can manage to leave it a mess for longer periods than truly necessary.

The house I grew up in didn't have a formal dining room and I always knew I was going to have one. When I would visit friends whose home possessed such a room, it was always an elegant and mysterious place. Even if I never knew them to use this room, I always knew there was something special about it. I have refused homes because they didn't have formal dining room, even when all other things have been perfect.

My dining room is furnished with an antique dining suite from the 1920 and was manufactured in Gettysburg, PA (I know because the original packaging label is on the back of the 6 foot long sideboard). I absolutely love it. My in-laws received it as a trade-in on something in their furniture store and the 1st time my husband saw it he said he hated it. He couldn't see through the 70 years of grease and cigarette burns or the lovely crushed yellow velvet seats. My in-laws had it refinished and gave it to us as a house warming gift when we moved into House #2 (which had a dining room with a wall designed specially to accommodate that sideboard!). It is a definite favorite on my list of furniture pieces.

The house we live in now has a tiny dining room, (a testament to some builders belief that dining rooms aren't necessary), so I don't keep the leaves in the table and it definitely didn't have much in the way of decor in the dining room when we moved in. Someone, with very poor taste --- Bless their hearts --- had a pitiful excuse for a light fixture in there (it would have been more at home over a breakfast table, at best); and walls as white as white could be. They were not a deep, lovely neutral but rather a thin spray of builders paint. Being of limited budget, I was fortunate to be the recipient of a $9 polished brass chandelier which was brand new (my MIL found at a Good Will Store!). I was glad it was brand new and the $9 price tag was GREAT but it was ugly as sin. So I painted an antique gold finish on it, added some crystal bobeche from Pottery Barn (which I got on clearance for $3.50 each - a super deal considering they were $15 each regularly and I needed 9), some taupe silk shades and had my dear daughter stitch up a cover for the chain that matched my window treatments! I knew those sewing classed for her would pay off. So, for less than $100....WAhhhhlaaaaaa....a designer light fixture!


"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Romans 12:13 (NIV)

Fried Pies, The Breakfast of Champions!

No, I won’t win “Mother of the Year” for our choice of breakfast today. I surely expect the Department of Children’s Services to show up anytime. Early this morning my little guy and I dropped off his older siblings and then headed to Jaemor Farms http://www.jamsjellies.com/ for some fresh fruits and veggies and a heaping-helping of fried pies. It has been a while since we have trekked over there, with the gas prices an all-- but it is so worth it!

My little guy loves their fried pies made with dried peaches, my older son is a blueberry fried pie lover, dear daughter loves the cherry and my sweet husband is particular to the fried apple done with the dried apples (they do both...fried with either fresh apples or dried). In the summertime we have been know to get up on Saturday morning and all load up and head over under the guise of getting fresher veggies; when I know, in all our hearts, we really only want a fried pie and some boiled peanuts (protein, doncha know!).

I know pie for breakfast is questionable to some, but it does have fruit in it (and not the over-processed, chemically added kind) AND we chased it with milk (well, that was chocolate milk...but milk, none the less!). There is something about looking in your rear view mirror and seeing the complete and total contentment of a little man’s face as he is strapped safely in his car-seat while he gobbles down that peach pie. I hope one day when he is old and runs across fried pies somewhere he will have warm memories about his Mommy and her occasionally deviate form of breakfast!

That experience is one of those kinds of cultural comfort zones for me (and also tugs at that part of me that wishes for a farm and all that entails). When I lived out of the south, not once did I ever run across boiled peanuts! Oh, and to combine the two is the perfect combination! LOL if you haven’t ever had a fried pie, you are truly missing one of the life’s delicacies. There are fried pies outside the south, but not many done where they actually grow the fruit!

I mean it is pie and it is fried...what else is there to know? THIS is the southland, ya’ll!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Back in February we decide to expand our little family. I am sure that we needed more responsibility, less ability to do whatever whenever, more mess to clean up after...I mean it has been almost 2 years since we have had a little one in diapers! The world might spin off its axis if we aren't overwhelmed with "to dos".

For months we had batted the idea of getting a puppy back and forth. I just couldn't make the committment, although I did think a lot about it! We had already been strong armed into ownership of 2 cats. I kept going back to the morbid thought that if the dog was big enough it could take care of that annoying cat problem! Can you tell? I am not a cat person.

Anyway, low and behold, I came across this litter of little fur balls and the price was right -- FREE! My husband made the final call and brought one home.

We [I] named her DixieBelle! She is one ball of energy and you know she is truly dear husband's dog. She has no greater desire than to sit in the porch swing (yeah, she likes to swing...go figure!) with my dear husband and he seems to feel the same.

DixieBelle's Mama was a black Chow from a good family. Unfortunately, she fell for the wiles of a traveling man, who rumor has it, was a big, black lab dripping with charm.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Inspiration and Scarecrows

I like Scarecrows. Yep...scarecrows. I love to see them flipping in the wind doing their never ending work. I imagine them using the garden as their own personal play-ground when we aren't looking. For many years I have said I was going to have scarecrows (even when I didn't have a garden). I envisioned a family of scarecrows to mirror my little family...DixieBelle, our lab, included. Ah...maybe one day when the "I am going to dos, actually get done".

There is this great website documenting Ross...the perfect scarecrow. Ross is someone I would love to meet:

http://www.rossinthegarden.com/

He inspires me!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Blue lights and racing hearts


I got pulled over by a local policeman this morning; of course, in a completely and totally humiliating location – right at the entrance of my children’s school, where I was headed to drop them off.

My daughter was completely mortified as she watched her friends and their appearing-to-be-law-abiding parents cruise by with necks craned. It is always a nice touch to have a police car with blue lights flashing at the entrance to any Christian school!


My boys were thrilled. The little one took inventory of the policemen and all his gear...”he has a stick and a gun and a radio, etc.”; all the while, the older one was doing a running commentary on the vein on the top of the guy’s head.

What did I get pulled over for?
Was I speeding?
Running a red light?
Hit and Run?

Of course, my car DOES look fast and gives that impression that I live on the edge – don’t all Volvos with a Mom and 3 kids look that way? The officer just wanted to let me know I had a brake light out (and apparently the light inside the car notifying me that the light was out is out as well!). Hmmmm, yes -- complete with 10 minutes of blue lights flashing as he checked my license

I just couldn’t believe it when I realized those blue lights were for me. I actually sat up straighter and leaned into my rear-view mirror when they 1st popped on to make sure I was seeing them correctly. The patrol car had been following me for a couple of miles so I didn’t give it much thought (and waited until I am about to turn into the school to hit the blue light button...do I sound bitter?). My heart raced and panic set in as he approached the car...maybe I had done something so horrible I didn’t even realize it was illegal! I was afraid he was going to drag me from the car, cuff me and expose me for the lie on my drivers license...”Officer, I swear, I used to weight that much!”.

It has been at least 15 years since I have been stopped for any reason. I would have liked to have kept it that way! Somehow, it seemed way cooler back then. Oh well, the officer was very nice and polite and did not give me a ticket and told me to fix the light as soon as I could and sent us on our way. I am sure the kids are flapping their little jaws about this all over the school.


Think I will go have a Krispy Kreme in honor of the occasion. http://www.krispykreme.com/glazed.html

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A most unusual Azalea


I have this one tiny azalea blooming off in a corner of my yard and it has the most unusual coloring. It was purchased and planted at the same time as many others but it has decided to be a stand-out, not to mention late bloomer. Just gorgeous!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On Mothering.......


Last night was one of those parenting nights you remember
...a sick child you can't comfort.

I am blessed with a husband, and my children are blessed with a father, who gladly takes on these nights with more ease than I do. I don't think either of us slept much, nor did my son. I do know that my husband slept less than I did. When the children were babies he was quicker to wake than I was and often did the night feedings. He could get up, change and feed the babies and go right back to sleep; whereas I would often be unable to get back to sleep after those nightly visits. My mind would race and I would be drawn into the next day and what needed to be done. It is funny because in some ways I have always felt he had some inner sense for parenting that I do not. I can't imagine how parents do it alone...how strong they must be.

When any of my children are sick, I often think of parents who have a critically ill child. Just knowing how I feel when I watch any of mine struggle with the natural ailments of childhood makes me just not be able to fathom how a parent sits in the darkness of a hospital room watching their child struggle with life itself. It is an experience I cannot even begin to comprehend the depth of. The anguish of parents is a God given blessing...without it would we truly know the power of love?


A MOTHER'S PRAYER

In the quiet of the night I watch you sleep.
As I tuck you in and savior the gentle sounds.
I glance through the window and whisper out loud..
God, have I been the Mother you wanted me to be.
Have I held my children up and taught them to see.
Have I shown them that love should always be shared
Have I taught them compassion and reasons to care...
Have I explained the values by which You want us to live.
Have I taught them humility and reasons to give..
Have I shown them that life can't always be fair..
Have I taught them that You will always be there.
As I glance through the window You help me to see
That I am being the best mother that I can possibly be...

By Christine M. Newcomer

Homes


We have owned an amazing number of houses, (6 in the almost 18 years we have been married), and then there were the 2 Townhouses we rented (1 for the 1st year of marriage and the 2nd we lived in for a couple of years in Pendleton, SC between house #1 and #2). Ah, and lest we forget, there was the apartment in Hartsville, SC that we rented for more than a year. So that puts us averaging about 2 years per house. Astounding! I am sure we never expected to leave any of them as soon as we did. Looking back I often wish we had just rented and not invested so much into each.

The investment into each house amounts to so much more than dollars and cents. There is the investment of blood, sweat and tears to make each place more than a building but a home. In the 1st home there was the gorgeous full wall mural that we had painted, (by a wonderful friend and neighbor who is an amazing artist – Gloria Turner), for our daughter’s nursery...I was so sad when I heard that the new owners promptly painted over it.

Then, of course, we can’t forget House #2...I designed it; and spent months seeing to every detail. It was my first real opportunity to exercise my design skills and training on a large scale. All of my previous design work was in small projects and consultation type things. My husband was out of town during much of the construction, so my life practically revolved around seeing it through. I do believe being your own designer/contractor contact person was harder than having someone else be that go between. We were having House #2 built during a very tumultuous time in our lives and by the time it was complete, I think we had almost lost the desire for it. I loved how it turned out, but the victory felt hollow when we moved in. There weren’t many good times in that house. I was glad to see it sell.

It was House #3 that actually stole my heart. Never have I mourned a property after the sale, as I have this house. It was a lovely old house (really more a cottage at only 1960 sq. feet!) in an old part of Columbus, GA. I have always loved old homes and old neighborhoods even more.

The little house in Columbus finally provided me with what I had always wanted....character and gardens. The house sat under seven large Live Oaks and had azaleas 6 feet tall (when we moved it), and giant mounds of liriope. All this was placed against a back drop of brick fencing (though you couldn’t see it when we bought the place for all the ivy and poison oak!). There were little brick pathways and a porch that ran the length of the house in back (perfect for my swing). The backyard came complete with a tiny 2-room/1-bath cottage made of the same brick as the house.

The house had a varied history; it had originally been a “country cabin” 100 years prior when Downtown Columbus was much further away. We also had an addition that was 70 years old and the newest part was a young 50 years! At some point in its history a local Columbus Design Diva owned it and gave it a consistent look by having the interiors plastered so that seams between old and new were hard to find (she also added the cottage for her son, who (rumor has it) had gone off to the big city to live a "non-traditional" lifestyle!). I gave up my 2 car attached garage but I don’t think I ever even considered it a loss!

When we arrived at the house, with the realtor – just 6 hours after it came on the market – my husband looked at me and we knew it was the ONE. I believe that if it had contained dirt floors we would still have bought it! We immediately snatched it up because we knew enough about the area to know that houses like that located in that neighborhood didn’t stay on the market long, if they ever reached the market. I had heard stories of people actually approaching families at funerals and making offers as the owners of homes in that area passed away.

We bought the house from a family that had lived there for about 15 years. Apparently, they did little more than maintain it and we had lots of work to do. It was in decent structural and system shape (though, I am sure our dear friend John, who did some electrical work on it, would disagree!). There was character to refresh and face lifting to be done. My husband traveled a great deal with work and so I learned a lot about doing”homework”. Our budget didn’t allow for hiring contractors to come in and do the work so it was up to us. I knew the employees at Lowes & Home Depot intimately and learned to carry wood through the sun-roof of my car (not that I would recommend it!). It was here that I learned a little about wiring, tiling, grouting, painting, squirrel removal and a lot about the amazing uses and versatility of Great Stuff http://greatstuff.dow.com/greatstuff/cons/gaps.htm!

I was sad when it was time to leave this house, my home, and Columbus. I spent some of my happiest time in Columbus. The home there sold 12 hours after it came on the market for the asking price less $500. I still mourn this house and occasionally, if we make it back to Columbus to visit, I have to drive by. Sadly the current owners haven’t “kept it up”.

I am a house person...a homebody, my soul intertwines with my abode.

It has been several years since we have owned House #3 and my husband and I find ourselves working on House #6 and making it our own.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Spike



This is Spike. I was doing some flea market/yard sale haunting and came across him and couldn't leave the sweet pup there. You know all the warnings about split decision pet adoptions and puppy mills but he has been the best dog! Not once has he had an accident on the carpet and he is so vigilant about keeping watch over the homestead.