Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm just following orders.

"You need to write something or people will get bored."

So says my eight-year-old daughter.

Smart kid. Perhaps she gives me a little too much credit, but she is a smart kid.

We have returned from the last big hurrah vacation, school clothes shopping has been done (ouch), bedtimes are inching closer to 9-ish p.m., and I am trying to feign at least a little disappointment at the fact that beginning next Tuesday the children will be out of my hair away from their loving, devoted mama for nine hours a day.

Tonight is Sam's back-to-school night where he will meet his teacher and have a look around the school. He's moving from the Upper Elementary (grades 3-5) building to the middle school this year. Sixth grade. Exciting stuff. This is the same kid who half joked with me yesterday that if I got too tired driving home to Michigan from W. Virginia, he could probably do it. Then I spent 20 minutes trying to wrap my head around the idea that A) he's already tall enough to reach the pedals, and B) in a few years he will be doing it.

Oh, how time flies.

Things are good with the Pipe Lifers. I could add so much to expound, but each thought could really be its own blog post. And so some of them will be.

Plenty of subject matter for future writing, this life we live.

Until next time ...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This is gonna' hurt.

Rachel and I sorted through her closet today to eliminate the too-small clothes and assess what she'll need for school this fall.

She has nothing left in her closet.

Well. Nearly nothing.

There are a bunch of socks which she says are also too small. I guess we'll find out how many actually fit her when she trades her flip-flops for socks and shoes again.

And there are a couple of hoodie sweatshirts and a stack of pajama bottoms and old t-shirts that she wears to bed.

One long-sleeved shirt.

One sun dress. Two other dresses too frilly to wear to school.

This back-to-school shopping trip has the potential to put the hurt on the pocketbook.

Tomorrow I'll help Sam sort through his clothes, and I'm pretty sure he'll have much the same result as Rachel did. To add to the pain, I already know we will be shopping in the men's section for Sam, which is generally more costly than the boys' section.

I predict an interesting exercise in budgeting and determining wants versus needs as this is the first year I am considering giving each child a portion of their allotted clothing fund to spend however they choose.

Let's hope some of the thriftiness I've modeled for them pays off.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Small change, big impact.

Sometimes I just need a change. I look at certain areas of our home that have looked the same for years and suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly) they appear stagnant. Boring. Screaming to be spiffed up.

Like this counter top in the kitchen, for instance:

It's not horrid. A little cluttered maybe, but I hadn't changed anything because I always told myself these were items we used all the time. That is until the other day when I was scrubbing the splattered I-don't-know-what from the canisters and I realized we haven't used the smaller two canisters for quite some time. And you know what? I don't even really like these canisters anymore.

Yet they've been sitting in the same spot since we moved into this house 10 years ago. High time for a mini makeover in the kitchen, don't you think?

Goodbye canisters. Goodbye old, dull knives. Goodbye rechargeable (but sorta broken) can opener. Cookbooks, back into the cupboard with you. Bananas, off to the newly-designated fruit bowl on another counter.

I spent about $15 on new jars for the flour and sugar which we use often, and about 15 minutes clearing the space and washing the discarded items to send them to Goodwill.

It's simple and clean and I reclaimed some valuable counter space. I love it. Now I smile every time I walk through the kitchen.

I've been motivated these last few days by Melissa's posts over at The Inspired Room. Here is the post that begins a little series about organizing a home. In that particular post she writes about assessing (or reassessing) the needs of your space, which is precisely what I did for that little corner of my kitchen.

Paring down our possessions and organizing our home is an ongoing process for our family, a process that little by little leads to a simpler life, fewer distractions, and more time to focus on what is important to us. I think we're making progress even if it's just one kitchen counter - or one linen closet or one end table - at a time. I hope as I share these little projects here to help keep my focus and keep track of my progress I'll inspire someone else, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I can tell you one thing about my children.

They are not arachnophobes. They are not afraid to check out the creepy crawly things in nature, from worms to insects to snakes to salamanders. And yes, spiders.

Case in point:
I insisted Sam and Rachel let this big beauty out of the glass jar they had her in. I think they caught her because Sam would love to be able to tell people he caught some crazy-dangerous poisonous spider that usually lives in South America or something.

Plus, Sam was a little bit nervous that the spider was climbing up the side of the house near his bedroom window. Like she was gonna' crawl up there and knock on the glass and ask to be let in.

She does look pretty intimidating. That leaf she's sitting on? Is the size of my head. OK, more like the size of my hand but that still makes her a pretty big spider.

I did a quick search on-line and learned that this is a garden variety, non-poisonous, insect-eating, really-cool-zigzag-pattern-web-making spider. I hope she has a male counterpart and they produce lots of little ones.

I also hope they never, ever find their way into my house.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I find myself hollering this a lot lately.


I'm doing it so much I don't think my kids even hear me anymore.

So what do I do? I holler louder.


And again.


And then they look at each other and start laughing like "haha, we made mom pull her hair out" or "heeheehee, look at that vein popping out on mom's forehead!"

Or they look at me with those innocent faces like they haven't just been roughhousing across the back of the couch or throwing chess pieces at each other for the 37th time today.

I am so ready for school to start I can hardly stand it. Normally I wouldn't say that. Normally I would be so happy to stretch the summer out as long as possible. I love sleeping in. I love not having to worry about getting the kids and myself into bed at a certain hour. I appreciate the fact that my children are old enough to scavenge around in the kitchen and find something for lunch whenever they're hungry. I love spending long afternoons at the beach.

I don't want to go back to alarm clocks and setting clothes out every night and packing lunches and signing notes and all of that. I would really rather continue enjoying these dog days of summer.

But I've had enough of the bickering and the picking and pushing and whining and crying and tattling. Mercy! Enough! I grew up with two older brothers; I understand how siblings can get on each other's nerves. But for crying out loud! Enough is enough.

A little more than three weeks until school starts ... and I think I'll have myself a little party on the first day.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Dang. Has it been only a week since I updated here? It feels like it's been an eternity.

Look what I found! A few pictures from Vacation Bible School that I forgot I had taken.

 Rachel by the "campfire" on our island. The fire isn't real, but it looks pretty cool in the picture, eh?

Pastor Bill giving the Bible story of the day. We totally take over the sanctuary with our decorations, as you can see.

We wore these bracelets all week, reminding us to "Watch for God." Every day the kids reported their "God sightings" to the leaders.

~ ~ ~

Remember when I said August would be a breeze? Well. It's been fun so far, but no less busy than July was.

  • Steve was injured at work. He's fine (really), but it required a drug test per company policy. It also required a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics. He drug tested on Friday, then decided to come home to wait out the results which typically take two business days. It was nice to have him here, despite the circumstances.
  • When Steve came home he traded trucks with me because his work truck needs some hefty repairs. I am so. sick. of repairing vehicles. Really. 
  • Speaking of repairs, my computer caught a nasty virus a couple days ago. Can anybody tell me what the point of a computer virus is? Why devise a computer virus that completely locks up my computer except to pop up a porn site when my 11-yr-old tries to play a game on-line. Seriously? I hope you're proud of yourself, computerviruswriter. I hope you've gotten your kicks out of that one. Three words: karma's a bitch.
  • My grandmother turned 82 years old on Sunday. I went to see her after church. She no longer drives, but still lives in her house by herself. She watches a lot of Food Network. She told me at her age she's not afraid of dying because she's done everything she's going to do with her life. "Once your partner is gone there's not even anyone to get mad at except the TV," she said. We laughed. My grandfather died eight years ago.
  • I turned 34 on Tuesday. Thirty-four still feels relatively young to me. I read once that we are eternally the age of 25 in our minds. Somehow I don't think my grandma feels 25 anymore. I don't think she has felt 25 for a long, long time. I hope I'll still be changing the world and impacting God's kingdom when I'm 82. 
The rest has been a whirlwind of spending time with friends and family, eating together, drinking together, sharing the bounty of our harvests, splashing in the pool, reading for the pure joy of it, taking long afternoon naps, and counting the weeks until school starts in the fall.

What? Hey, I'm having fun but these kids have been spending an awful lot of time together and at times one would think they were put on this earth to make each other (or me) crazy. I have resorted to forcing them both into the bathroom together, closing the door, and telling them they cannot come out until they've worked out whatever it is they were screaming about.

I've only had to do that once. So far.

Five weeks to go. Tick tock.