Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm in Love

Have you ever woken up in the morning and thought, "I cannot possibly go ANOTHER DAY with a plain glass cake stand on my counter top?

It must be painted before I a) eat, b) shower, c) go crazy."

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks like that.

Now the bounty of chocolate chip cookies can calmly rest beneath the canopy of polka dots and monogramming.

And hopefully they'll stop bugging me about decorating their home.


Monday, June 15, 2009


Our first day of summer vacation started out like this:

Filled with joy and expectation, the kids inhaled monkey bread and started brainstorming a list of summer excitement, complete with check boxes, ensuring that we complete each and every activity.

{I have no idea how I'm going to accommodate Lilly's desire for the beach.}

All by 7:15 a.m.

After lunch, the kids loaded in the car for our first exciting stop: The Local Library.

{I just like to keep things unpredictable and exotic around here.}

Faintly, I heard the gentle whirr of a tornado siren. Being that tornadoes have been unwelcome guests at the local mall recently, and out of vanity for my vehicle, I decided we should stay home.

Two minutes later, this was the scene:


Don't mind the welcome mat covered in hail.

My precious Nanny took a beating, too.

If you'll recall, Spring Snowstorm 2009! took out my patio table in April.

And Severe June Hail Catastrophe That Raised My Blood Pressure threatened the remaining chairs. 

And my plants.

My poor, poor plants.

I'm not yet in a place where I can really talk about it.

Those were snapdragons. And dusty miller (whatever that is.) And long green filler shoots for height.

And they were blooming.

Um, were. If gangly looking stalks with holey leaves become fashionable, I will be featured in Southern Living.

My children were SCREAMING, begging to pray, inquiring about death, and darting for the basement.

My tears, however, were focused on the temporal vanity of my plants.

I had just set a personal best record for keeping live things around here (other than my children and that is questionable at best) and the flowers were GORGEOUS. Fo' real.

Now they are heinous.

Fo' real.

Y'all, this hail chipped paint off of my chairs and front door. 

Oh, so this is where I think I'm supposed to mention that I'm glad the kids and I were safe.

But I am too upset about the plants to say much yet.

Oh, and happy summer!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Work in Progress

So I was inspired by this and this to go a little nuts with my office.

For awhile now, I've been staring at my Restrained Gold office walls, wondering what they need to make them a little bit more. More what, I didn't really know.

More interesting, more chaotic, more meaningful, more me.

We've only lived in this house for 2 years, but that hasn't stopped me from repainting, redecorating, reaccessorizing, and most certainly NOT reorganizing the house several times.

Because that is what I do.

{Please don't ask for any important documents without giving 3 weeks notice and 21 reminder calls.}

Several years ago, I (and most importantly, Brad), realized that creating and changing living spaces is just something I do.

Honestly, it gives me oxygen.

Staring at the same arrangement of the same furniture and the same frames and the same colors makes me start shaking from the inside out.

It's not about buying new or expensive things (see love of junk here or here), it's about repurposing, salvaging, and using what I already have in new ways.

Rarely am I original, but frequently I am resourceful.

I crack myself up when I feel God's glory in the mundane...in the creativeness and satisfaction I get from finding a door in the garbage or carefully recombining decorative crap from the basement that makes me smile and pause when I pass the family room.

Eric Liddell, of "Chariots of Fire" fame, said he felt God's pleasure when he ran.

Now, I am fully aware that it sounds slightly ridiculous for a suburban housewife to say she feels God's pleasure when she shops at garage sales, spray paints things, and hangs them to the walls with her glue gun, but...I do.

I really do.

I'm not Monet, I'm not Martha Stewart, I'm not even The Nester.

My gifts aren't that outstanding, that glamorous, that noteworthy.

They are small and only questionably, "gifts."

But they were given to me by the Creator.

He reminds me daily that I am made in His image.

And that includes creative messiness, as well as order.

Change as well as stability.

Silliness as well as sincerity.

I realize that creating a warm and inviting living space is not essential for life.

It really isn't. It's gravy.

I realize that we need bread and water to survive.

Not double chocolate peanut butter cookies and s'mores bars.

But for whatever reason, I feel complete joy in expressing comfort and love through these very things.

So anyway, back to the wall.

To most, it is random. It wasn't assembled by a designer, measured by an mathematician, and those frames certainly weren't hung by an engineer.

{In all honesty, there was no measuring, no rulers, and there are enough holes in the wall that our neighbors can probably read this over my shoulder without binoculars.}

But when I get close, when I look into the faces, the buildings, the papers on display, my throat clenches for just a second before each and every one.

My babies.

My family.

My husband.

My marathon.


Wrigley Field (no explanation on teariness needed).


{Or lack thereof.}

But my favorite aspect of The Wall is the middle.

On an old corkboard, that I painted with chalkboard paint, that I glued into a cheap frame, that broke while we were trying to hang it, that is liable to crash off the wall at any second due to shoddy workmanship, lies the song of my life.

The phrases, the verses, the Words, with which my Creator holds me.

My heart jostles each time I read the words that, while familiar, present power, grace, and freshness.

I love that they are the center of this explosion. 

This tiny little tribute is to the Creator...and to his grace in allowing me to savor the simple tastes and sights of this temporary world.

Despite the reality that I'm messy and busy and careless and forgetful.

So maybe that is why I love glue guns and spray paint--they make the old and battered new again and breathe life into the worn down.

And they remind me that all creativity is really His.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Parker Hillbillies

My favorite season of all has begun: Garage Sales.

I'm not exaggerating to say that I love garage sales more than Christmas. 

{well, maybe that's not quite true, but I definitely love them more than Valentine's Day}

If you think about it, garage sale-ing through the neighborhood is like hitting more Christmas sales than I ever dreamed possible while paying only 25 cents for treasures of a lifetime.

Of course, you first need to block out the fact that you're buying other people's garbage.

In case you were wondering, here is what you can fit in a Honda Odyssey:

{that would be SEVEN (7) people and their crap/treasures}

You might be thinking: "I'll bet that van was so full that that the doors were about to come off."

And you would be right.

Except they didn't so much "come off" as they did "fly open ON BOTH SIDES while the car was in motion and a smallish child was riding on a lap en route to the next stop."

Most importantly, no lamps, picture frames, or dishes were harmed.

And here is another confession: At one point we were so packed down that it would've taken an act of Congress to shuffle things enough to make room to get out. 

So instead?

We engaged in Drive By Bargaining in which we pulled up on the curb, rolled down the window, and offered (some might say 'shouted') our best price for that old beat-up looking coffee table sitting alone with no other offers on her.

Needless to say, that wasn't usually a strong bargaining chip.

Before you judge our haul of junk, know that most things are not user-ready.

My trigger finger started twitching halfway through the bonanza, because the amount of spray paint I'll be firing in the next few weeks could graffiti all of New York.

But don't worry, my junk will be much prettier. And if it's not, I'll cover it with another coat of spray paint.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

Three cheers for my mom for saving these amazing Days of the Week barrettes.

Actually, I think they were accidentally shoved in an old mini-suitcase of doll clothes, but that is pretty much my current storage system, so....right on, Mom!

Disclaimer: If Lilly falls and lands on her head, the barrette and all of it's 1980's metal parts will immediately puncture her head and she'll bleed profusely, while her screams embarrass me and echo through the neighborhood.

But that's a fashion risk we're going to take.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Super Nanny

There is a new babysitter in town.

She is fun, great with kids of all ages, always available, and FREE.

And the lady is a tramp.

(Ba dung ching!)

{I'm sorry. There was no excuse for that.}

Y'all, this is the greatest thing E-V-E-R.

If you have an infant...start saving up for one of these beauties. No matter the cost, it will be worth it.

Of course, we got ours for free. Even bettah.

In the morning, I restrain the kids until 7:30, at which time their giggles start to infect the whole neighborhood.

{At least that is what I picture. The high school kids next door might be plotting our demise.}

Kids climb the backyard fence for a quick jump before school.

And after school.

Then they change into their swimsuits, turn on the hose, and get jiggy wit' it.

Hours, people.

I'm serious. Hours.

And truly, I am mesmerized for hours. The joy of jumping, feeling taller than a building, collapsing into a pile of unrestrained laughter. Magic.

It's hard not to watch.

And then after hours of bouncing non-stop, they demand food.

So I put my personal stash of cookie dough away and give them other stuff.

And I think those faces mean they're real grateful.