Sunday, July 29, 2012

A bedroom makeover fit for a tween.

Ten years old is a "tween" age, no? That in between, "not a little kid anymore but not technically a teenager" age?

That would be my daughter. My lovely, spirited, girly-girl when she wants to be, tough when she has to be, younger child.

Steve bought her a t-shirt for her birthday this year that I think perfectly fits her personality. It's from Smith & Wesson, it's black and has the S&W logo in bright pink writing and in white says, "Yeah, I shoot like a girl."

But lest you think pink is her favorite color, she would quickly (and loudly) tell you pink was so yesterday. She has moved on to purple. How befitting. Because purple is the color of royalty, ya' know.

Regardless of her current fave, no 10-yr-old really likes mustard yellow (she says with authority). And that's the color Rachel's room was before we repainted the walls this week.

Now, in my defense, the deep yellow perfectly matched a beautiful antique toy-themed wallpaper border we hung in that room when Rachel was about a week old. It was a sweet little nursery with a honey-colored crib and a quilt rack and a set of shelves that held mementos from the hospital and little stuffed bears and bunnies and pictures in frames.

No more.

Rachel's room is now striped with teal blue, white and purple paint, with sparkly sheer curtains and bright white book shelves. She traded the big, old painted bookcase her Papa made for her for an old sewing table I had that she now uses for a desk. She has new lamps, a few new storage containers, and rugs with a hint of zebra stripe on their borders.

Her fuzzy new comforter should be here within the week ... I still need to hang the curtains that will block out the light ... the trim around the doors and window need to be painted white, as does her bedside table ... and we have a new bed picked out which we will order as soon as the funds are freed up in our budget. But even with a handful of things yet to do to finish off this room, Rachel is really enjoying her new space.

So, without further ado ... some pictures.

 Before ... 
Sweet, no?

Once we got the wallpaper border off we started by painting a white stripe around the middle.

Then we taped it off and painted purple on the bottom section.

And then blue above the white stripe.

Once the painting was done it was all about the furniture and accessories.

Rachel now spends more time in that room than she ever has. She loves it, and that makes me so happy.

 Fun, huh?

Every tween girl needs her own space, and this one's pretty cool. Rachel and I spent most of a week working on it while her brother was away at summer camp.
Time well spent, indeed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Happy Place.


And another two weeks have gone by since I last posted. Not because I have nothing to say; I've written a dozen blog posts in my head while going about the business of life. Just haven't had the energy to sit down and write at the end of the day.

I still don't, really. So I'll share some pictures tonight and tell y'all a little more about what we've been up to some other day.

~ ~ ~ 

No matter how busy we are or how much we have going on or how cluttered and chaotic the house gets, I have a place to go and sit and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

My garden has been a place of pure joy for me this summer. I put a lot of work into setting it up - literally, building the frames and shoveling a whole lot of dirt before it was ready for planting. It is a kind of extension of our patio, so I can sit at the patio table and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning while I watch the plants move with a gentle breeze and shine in the morning dew, or listen to the sound of my wind chimes and the buzzing of hummingbirds nearby.

Yes, I stare at my plants. It's amazing how calming and peaceful a ritual it can be.


And they are beautiful, these plants ...

 The sweet banana peppers are abundant.

 Beets are tucked in between the taller green beans and the peas. I love the dark red veins in the leaves.

 Cucumber vines climb a trellis.

 Lettuce! Some of which I enjoyed on my cheeseburger tonight.

Blossoms on the sugar snap pea plants.

I'm training the summer squash plants to go vertical.

And still waiting to see how the eggplant ... uh, plant ... turns out.

Overall they are beautiful and healthy, but I can't claim it's because I talk to them.

I do converse a lot with God out there, though, and that probably has a lot to do with how peaceful it is for me. It's also pretty nice to be able to walk out my front door and pluck a few ripe cherry tomatoes off the plant for my salad or a handful of green beans to go along with dinner.

But sometimes all I really want to do is sit quietly and take it all in.

It's my happy place.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elements of a mighty fine summer.

We have not had any grand adventures by most people's standards, and - as my daughter keeps reminding me - our summer days are flying by all too quickly. But each day there is something - some small moment that is what I would call an element of the perfect summer.

Life is chaotic at best. It's a good chaos. We try to pack so much into these days and make them memorable while still getting the stuff of everyday life done. Bills must be paid, laundry must be done (occasionally), house must be tidied up (eventually), various appointments must be kept (regular check-ups with doctors and dentist, but also the hair, people ... we must not let the pool water ruin our hair). And in between all of that - or despite it (and seriously, could I use more dashes or parentheses to interrupt my thoughts? I talk this way, too, lately. Ask anyone.) - we somehow manage to have loads of fun and I find quiet moments to ponder life's ... well ... to ponder life.

The kids and I have traveled to Ypsilanti (MI) to hang out with daddy a couple times. I've been down there once by myself. Heaven, that was. I did a little solo shopping on my way there. And back. My kids are older now but shopping all by myself still feels like a privilege. And I don't even like shopping all that much.

We were there in Ypsi (call it "Ip-see" or "Yip-see" ... nobody cares) for the 4th of July, which was different for us because we missed our neighborhood get-together and fireworks party for the first time in, like, ever. But it was nice to be together as a family and to create some new memories: all four of us swimming and laughing together in the lake at the campground, going to bed early and then me and the kids quietly slipping out in our jammies to watch the fireworks being shot off all around us.

The kids. Summer is really all about them, isn't it? It's their break from school and they want to pack in as much fun stuff as they can. Sam is currently away at his second week of summer camp. The first week was at church camp and this week is at a youth camp just down the road from home. I'm so glad he enjoys it ... and frankly, he needs the time away from his mama and sister to be a boy and make friends who are boys and do boy stuff and hang out with some good male role models. I have had some memorable moments with Sam this summer for sure, but I think what I will remember most is how I have begun to look up to him - literally - when I talk to him. He is 13 and on the cusp of becoming a man in so many ways. I pray regularly that I am up to the task of being the mom he needs me to be. I do love who he is today and who he is becoming. And I love those mornings when I look up from whatever I am doing in my gardens and he is there, and we talk.

And Rachel. Our little spitfire. She helped me plant my veggie garden and planted her own flower garden for cut flowers. We are learning together. This week while it's just us girls we are redecorating her bedroom. The girl knows what she wants, and that includes purple, teal and white paint. And peace signs. Pictures? Oh yes, there will be pictures. I think what I will remember most about this summer, the summer of Rachel's 10th year, is how she continually cracks me up with her wit. Sometimes she means to be funny, other times she's just saying what's on her mind. It might get her into trouble occasionally, though mostly it's harmless and in good fun. But oh, it is a glimpse into how quickly her mind works, and that? Is rather frightening. In a good way.

When I think about what we have done this summer (which is only half over, by the way) I think of afternoons spent floating in the pool when both the air and the water were 80-some degrees. I think of standing in the dollar store and trying on the god-awfullest blinged-out sunglasses and laughing with Rach and her Aunt Sue. I think of exchanging thoughts with a friend about a book we've read that turned out to be the perfect reading material for this season in our lives. I think of cool mornings standing on the patio sipping coffee and watering my garden(s).

Oh, my gardens. I have gotten so much joy from my gardens this summer. They really deserve their own post with pictures, and I'm going to do that soon. But I can tell you all the work I put into creating this space for myself - for my whole family, really, but we all know who enjoys it most - was well worth it. The gardens are always works in progress, and that's part of the fun. There is always something to do, but nothing so pressing that I can't sit and enjoy a visit with a dear friend and listen to the bees buzzing around the squash blossoms or the hummingbirds zipping up to the petunias for a drink.

Summer is a busy time for pipelinin' and that means I don't get to see much of my husband. We sure do enjoy the times we are together, though. That old saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is spot on. And when we're not together ... when I am here at home, or at the campground in our travel trailer waiting for Steve to get done with work for the day, I praise God in Heaven for this life. I am truly in awe over how He has orchestrated our lives to give us everything we need and then some. Those "elements" of a perfect summer? Sometimes they are those fleeting thoughts that make me smile while I'm washing dishes or packing bags for another road trip: my husband, willing to do what it takes to provide for his family and allow me to be a homemaker; his texts and e-mails just to say "good morning, have a great day, I love you;" his suntanned face. Sometimes they are tangible, like the new gun and box of .22 shells Steve brought home last weekend, and the fun we all had doing some target shooting.

It might be half over, but that means we still have plenty more summer to enjoy before the kids hit the books again. I'm here! I haven't abandoned my blog! But for as much as I love writing and recording these precious moments, if I have a choice between sitting and writing or wandering outdoors to check the green bean plants or to jump in the pool, the plants and the pool - and the kids - will win every time.

OK, almost every time.

Here's hoping you find joy in your day today. I'm going outside to play.