Tuesday, April 30, 2013

lest i forget.

Mojo would like for this story to be forever engrained into the www, so here goes...

A family excursion to Costco {because who doesn't enjoy those} ended in a rather strange cash-register moment, although I think my family and I can argue that it did feel like it lasted two whole minutes at least, when the lady who was boxing our carted items paused to pick her nose with all of the great intensity of a pro athlete.  The pick lasted long enough for me spy the disappearing finger act, go into a little bit of shock, turn to my husband, give him the wide-eyed, sharp head nod in her direction {of which the kids caught onto of course}, and time for each of them to witness such a spectacle.  Jackson swears she had half of her finger in there.  When she was done, she brushed her finger along her jeans and then continued to box our food.

Anyway, her focus was absolutely amazing.  I can't stop thinking about her, as she made quite an impact.  And that was two days ago.

As long as she isn't dishing out the food samples, I think I'll recover.

a good haircut and handy downs.

There's my handsome soon-to-be-fourteen-year old, passing time before he heads out to catch his bus.  I love a fresh haircut on this kid.  Always have.  

A funny, little comment was made this morning by Miss McKenna.  We were in the kitchen discussing the handing down of clothes.  I know I had mentioned something about cleaning out my closet and selling my clothes, but I decided to instead, pass them onto my eldest daughter who is very thrifty and prefers not to spend money on expensive new clothes.  Plus I loved getting into my own mother's closet when I was a teen, so it's fun to give my girls the same opportunity.

Anyway, I digress {as not uncommon}.  We were standing in the kitchen and McKenna joined in, something about how she gets Elyssa's "handy downs."

Handy downs.  :)

It was so cute and McKenna was a little embarrassed, but she's used to the attention that comes with mixing up words.  *When she was little, she asked for "a circle thing with a pokey thing up" and a "door bell." Can you guess what she meant???

I'll give you a clue - they are both chocolaty treats.

*Circle thing with a pokey thing up - Hershey's Kiss
 Door bell - Hostess Ding Dong

Monday, April 29, 2013

a house without shutters.

Hello to a simpler look.  A few weeks ago we removed the maroon plastic shutters that came with the house.  Although I do like shutters on many styles of houses, I really wanted to try a more classic, unelaborated, colonial look.  Plus this makes us the ONLY house in the neighborhood without shutters and I love nothing more than to be the oddball.  :)  I'm so happy with its simplicity and the way that the door really draws attention now.  The only thing to do now is find some brick cleaner and see if we can clean up that chalky white residue around the windows.  And I'm replacing those old, white porch lights for some shiny black ones!

Have you ever cleaned brick?  What did you use?


Elyssa has some pretty cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks; she only has one week left of classes until summer break aannnddd... she will graduate {with honors} from the community college, earning her AAS degree at age 17!!!  I am one proud mama.  This move most certainly did not slow her down.  Last Friday she received an award from the Honor's Program.  She was one of four students, out of 400, to receive the award.  Pretty darn amazing.  Next on her list - take Calculus this summer, turn 18, visit her friends in Spokane, vacation with the family, find a part-time job, and get started at the University.  She has decided to live at home while going to school, which is financially a super-big-fat phew.  Plus we kind of like having her around, so it's all good.  :)

This weekend was a nice, fresh, spring-rainy one.  I'm realizing how much I enjoy the rain.  It's like some kind of magic potion that leaves the grass bright green and opens up the flowers.  Everyday our yard is enclosed a little bit more by the expanding trees and shrubs.  It's just so greeeeeeen!!!  

Over the weekend, McKenna developed a horrible cold and so she is taking this Monday off from school.  This poor girl has always taken the nagging cough to a whole new level of hacking and I cringe when I hear the slightest cough from her.  It often means gagging, and cleaning sheets, and not being able to sleep, but she seems to be keeping food down this time around.  For breakfast, she asked for Eggo waffles, sausage and bacon.  I am to please.  And wouldn't you know, she left not a crumb on her plate.  Starve a fever, feed a cold rings true with this girl.  So, this happy Monday we are both on the couch; her watching the Disney Channel and me trying hard NOT to get sucked into the tv so I can work on geometry.  Yes, more math.  

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

so there.

photo from a business trip to Punta Cana in 2010, my hair pulled back.

Currently, I'm taking a Literature class and writing all of these essays and saving them in Word, never to be read again.  Just this once, however, I am going to share the last half of my assignment today.  I was asked to analyze the identity of a character from Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark" and then write about my own similar experiences with identity.  I'll leave out the analysis portion, but here is something you might not know about me...

            I have felt the sharp sting of a young man’s critique several times in my life.  I often wonder why it is that I can remember the words of nitpicky judgments more than I can remember a compliment and why I had to let the negativity shape my identity, even making me ashamed of certain aspects of myself.  The first of these critical observations came from a boy at church of whom I had a crush in middle school.  He told me I looked funny with my hair pulled back in a ponytail.  I blew it off, of course.  I might have slapped him on the arm (I hope it was a good, hard slap).  However small the remark seemed at the time, it has managed to weave itself permanently into my being.  For many years, I avoided pulling my hair back unless absolutely necessary and I had many inner conversations, doing my best to convince myself that that dumb boy was absolutely clueless and he had no room to talk because he was not perfect either.  Twenty-five years later, I confidently don a ponytail, but his words are still a soft whisper and maybe even the reason I pull a few wisps of hair out to soften around my face (although I hate to admit it). 
            Fortunately for me, I was not raised with the intention of becoming an ideal wife, like Hawthorne’s character, Georgiana, or if my parents did have that intention, I was certainly too stubborn to fit the bill.  Unlike Georgiana, I did not allow myself to obsess with my imperfections, at least for very long, and any man who was happy enough to point out my flaws was soon shown to the door.  One lesson learned in Hawthorne’s story is that sometimes our imperfections are really what make us beautiful and unique.  It’s hard sometimes, to see my wrinkles, the mole behind my knee, my perfectly round head, and my crooked tooth as beautiful imperfections, especially these days when technology allows us to change whatever we don’t like about ourselves, but for the most part I do feel beautiful.  My definition of beauty has changed over the years and has become more encompassing and accepting.  It is more inner than outer.  In spite of those harsh judgments in my life, I learned to love myself, even in a ponytail.  And I married a man who loves my hair pulled away from my face. 

So there.

happy friday!

Boy do I love this man. 

It's Friday!  We made it through the week!!!  Congratulations!  The kids only have a half-day of school today, so I am trying to cram in some "me time" this morning before they come home and make noises and ask for snacks.  :)  My "me time" is however being interrupted by the sounds of concrete being pounded by big trucks right across the street.  I knew our street was getting paved soon, but this seems very soon.  But I can't complain.  I spent seven years driving Spokane's famously horrible roads and am now spoiled with smooth pavement.  Our {ridiculously high} tax dollars are actually at work her in Pittsburgh.  I can't argue that.

Enough about me.  Here's what's happening on the internet...

Trouble sleeping?  Here's everything you need to know about sleep.  I sleep with a fan.  Do you?

Organization.  I need some.  Here are 20 insanely clever storage tricks.  I must find a vintage shutter.

Some wonderfully witty Mother's Day cards.  This one is perfection and I love this one too!

Good things happen everyday!

Wouldn't this be an ideal world?  It's hard to even imagine with all of the jerks out there.

Speaking of jerks, Ashley wrote a lovely post on how NOT to raise one.  :)  Thank you, Ashley!

I laugh A LOT, but this cute video made me extra giddy.  I always did enjoy a baby tipping over.

A cat in a shark suit, riding a roomba and chasing a duck.  I'm not even kidding.

Convincing a baby that dad is better than mom.  Or trying to, anyway.

Jenni is selling her cute clothes!!!  I'm tempted to do the same.

Have a super awesome weekend!!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

math has invaded my brain.

Hey Misty, all you ever talk about is math.  Math, math, math.  I mean, what do you do besides math?  Isn't there anything else?

Well, of course.  

In my free time I do awesome stuff like read poems and write essays.  And if I'm really feeling crazy, I throw in a load of laundry and mop a kitchen floor.  But my life pretty much revolves around algebra right now.  In fact, the other night I had a dream that I was eating a plate of rice mixed with algebraic expressions.  It didn't suck big-time or anything.  

And yes, it's true.  I can only cross one eye.  

yard work makes us crazy. but a good crazy.

Yep, it can burn some calories.
Pumping iron?
Sure, it can build some muscle.

But I swear that nothing is more calorie-burning, muscle-building and {definitely} back-breaking than good, old fashioned yard work.  Don't you agree?

Our yard is huge, I'm not going to lie.  The owners before us had major landscaping done, which is wonderful of course, but WOW!  It's a little bit hard to keep up with, especially right now when everything is popping up all at once.  Yesterday, as Husband and I were strolling the property and taking inventory of all that we had accomplished so far {weeding, mowing, pruning, fertilizing}, we came upon an area in the front corner of our yard that I hadn't even considered.  It's the corner everyone sees when they enter the neighborhood, so it's pretty important and it was filled with dead branches and crunchy leaves.  Not cool.  So, husband volunteered to make dinner while I grabbed my gloves, clippers, and rake and went to work on that area for three hours.  I cut and chopped and raked and filled three giant yard debris bags with the clippings and branches.

Does the area magically look better after all of that sweat I put into it?  Well, no.  I mean, it does look better, of course.  The dead is gone.  But the pretty still needs to grow in and once that happens, I'll share a photo.  But the point is... sometimes we pay all of these people to come to our homes and mow our lawns and trim our trees and I think we are missing a great opportunity to do the work ourselves.  It's healthy exercise.  It's fresh air.  It's connecting with nature.  It's appreciating the beauty of Spring firsthand, up close and real personal.

And when a job is done, it's a feeling of success.
It's handstands in the front yard.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

don't be ranunculus.

Actually, go ahead and do be ranunculus {doesn't that kind of sound like 'ridiculous' with a stuffed up nose?}.  I've decided these are my new favorite flowers.  I found them at Trader Joe's for $5.99/bunch.

Isn't fresh flower season just the best?

this little, big girl.

Basketball shorts and a batman t-shirt; that's this girl's signature style and I absolutely love her for it.  But this morning she borrowed my black leggings, styled her hair into a cute ponytail, and put on a cute  flamingo jumper and pink jacket and suddenly she grew up before my very eyes.  You should have seen her last night too, watching tv and painting her nails.

Baby girl's turning into a little lady.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

a little taste of barbecue heaven.

Sunday is our family night out.  We go in order of youngest to oldest and each week one of us picks the restaurant.  This week was all mine.  :)  Husband and I decided to use our "picks" to try new places, while the kids prefer to use their picks for the stuff they really like {smart kids}.  Tonight I found a quaint barbecue shack, Two Brothers Bar-B-Q, just ten minutes from home and decided to give it a try.  Voted "Best BBQ in Pittsburgh" five years in a row, how could I go wrong?

This little place really does sit off the beaten path, in the little town of Presto, across from the smallest post office ever and a pretty, little river.  The seating is all outdoor on picnic tables and the food is all packed to-go.  We had every intention of eating outside, but it just got too cold and so we headed home to devour the goods.

The Verdict:

BBQ Pork Quesadilla - WOW!  I assumed this would be weird, but I was so wrong.  This was so good and cheesy and the flavor was awesome.

Pulled Pork Sandwich - Another WOW!  Best ever, in my opinion.  So tender and juicy.  The barbecue sauce is delicious and the bun was perfect.

Rack of Ribs - Do you see Husband's expression in the photo above?  That really says it all.  He and Jackson devoured their entire 1/2 racks.  Heaven.

This is just one of those places that allows you to grab good, messy food and enjoy it outside {when it's warm}.  It was definitely a good experience for this family and I think we all agree that we'll become regulars.

P.S. We don't normally allow cell phones at the dinner table, but since we were just waiting for our food, we let the kids play their texting game, which is kind of funny.  They text each other a bunch of emojis and then tell stories with them.  It's pretty funny.

sunday snapshots.

1.  A nautical doorstop from Target.  
2.  A basket of hanging flowers.  
3.  The front entryway.  Welcome, Spring.
4.  My planter flowers are thriving.  Small miracles.
5.  New strand of lights for the deck.  Can I hang these everywhere?  
6.  A happy cat runs in the sun.
7.  The leaves are about to open up!
8.  Snow pants in April {for airsoft capture the flag, not snow, thank goodness}.
9.  A geared-up girl.
10.  A geared-up guy.
11.  Little flowers popping up everywhere.
12.  Is it wrong to love my bedroom so much?  I just love it.
13.  Me chilling on a Sunday.  No big deal.

Linking up with the beautiful Beetle Shack...


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