Category Archives: Random

Tuesday Musings


  • Jack is back at school today (praise be) though after I posted yesterday I myself had quite an adverse intestinal episode so I ended up laying on the couch for the rest of the afternoon, bribing Jack to watch cartoons and movies so I could rest. Children are such good sharers when they don’t need to be. Then last night Jack kept waking himself up crying and babbling incoherent things from 9 until midnight. He was mainly very mad at his own face because his nose was running and I suspect he had a bit of snot that was tickling him and causing him issues, at one point he pitifully moaned, “Why does God do this to me? I hate my face!” He remembers done of this. Which is good because he was pretty displeased when I laughed at him after his outburst.
  • I have used our backpack blower multiple times this autumn season to blow our leaves back into the woods. And still there are more leaves. On Sunday I spent close to three hours getting the lawn completely cleaned off. Two days later you can hardly tell I did anything. Fall is pretty but it is kind of a pain. [I feel the same way about winter and pretty much all times of year. Spring = rain and mud; Summer = hotness and humidity. I am basically never satisfied.]
  • After reading blog posts and seeing Instagram raves about it, I have started taking a “shot” of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (with the ‘Mother’) almost every day to ward off sore throats and strep. I think it is working… while I have gotten sick and had a bit of a head cold, it did not travel any further south to my throat, which is almost always the case. But even after weeks of taking it I cannot swallow it without making a terrible face and audibly gasping. That stuff is no joke. Strangely I cannot convince my children to join me in this endeavor… they’ll be sorry when they get strep throat.
  • I cannot say enough times how much I love our “new” house and neighborhood. The fact that the boys have friends to play with and that will show up or call them to come over, it just makes me so very happy. There are tons of positives to where we live but my favorite is that my kids will have the kind of childhood where they will be out riding around the neighborhood with friends (if ever Liam decides he will learn to ride his bike sans training wheels) and have plenty of playmates at the ready. One of the other moms apologized for her son calling us up a couple times (he had found the school directory) and I honestly could say it didn’t bother me because both my extroverted kids and I love having people over and going to see other people. Cannot get enough of socializing… that is me in a nutshell (“No… this is me in a nutshell” – name that movie.)
  • Speaking of extroversion – I took one of those quick Facebook surveys that is going around an it determined I am ENFP – The Inspirer. In chatting with a friend about the results, we agreed that Simon is likely ISTJ, my opposite. Which is not to say that he is fully introverted, just that he could happily stay home and not socialize whereas that fills me right up. He can happily chat up a stranger (and often does) whereas I’d much rather just talk to people I already know or will see again. It makes us a fine balance but one could see where it can also lead to friction (just sayin’).
  • The boys are competing in a tae kwon do tournament in a couple weekends and while I am excited for them to have the experience. The schedule keeps creeping longer and longer and it looks like we’ll be there from morning until mid-afternoon. Do you recall yesterday how I said my kids only like to do things for 10 minutes at a time? Yeah – I’m sure they will suddenly develop attention spans that last for inordinate amounts of time – that happens, right? [I joke and I’m sure it will be “fine” but still – that’s a long time, especially since Simon will be coaching Calvin’s rugby team near Cleveland for the weekend. Perfect timing, that.]
  • But the following weekend after the tournament is my annual girl’s weekend get away with my college friends and so at least I have the thought of that to carry me through.
  • One of Liam’s great joys in life is when Jack falls asleep pretty soon after they go to bed and then he can come back out to the living room with the premise of “needing a little cuddle.” I admit, while I like my down time, I love these times with him. It’s then that he will finally open up about what has happened in his day, things he’s enjoying at school and what things are bugging him (which is usually nothing – the thing that appears to bother him the most in life is his little brother which is both understandable and unfortunate).
  • I keep making my friend Kate’s “Garbage Bowl Salad” – it lasts for days and is pretty healthy (not to mention delicious): chop up one each: granny smith apple, gala apple, English cucumber, red pepper, orange pepper, yellow pepper – toss all together in large bowl. Serve individual bowls with cubed Monterrey Jack cheese, Craisins and dry roasted peanuts, dressed with  Ken’s Light Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing. Enjoy.
  • Another favorite, feed-yourself-for-many-meals AND easy recipe: Taco Chili: brown ground turkey with packet of taco seasoning – throw in slow cooker with  2 cans corn, 2 cans black beans (drained), 1 jar salsa verde, 1 bottle V8 – cook on low all day. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and/or avocado.
  • My granny square quilt is coming along – 4 rows in with 8 to go + the border so I’m almost a third of the way there! Which is good because crocheting (or CROTCH-et-ing, as Liam first pronounced it) really cuts into my texting because two things you can’t successfully do together is crochet and text – unless you have at least three hands or more advanced technology that I do.
  • I also relearned how to finger knit and have made a handful of scarves since Melissa taught me last week. You can never have too many scarves (despite what my husband might think). Other things you cannot have too many of: shoes, purses (or handbags, as Simon likes to call them), earrings and good friends.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by my sweet friend, Sandy, on her birthday when she brought me lunch as part of her desire to do 38 random acts of kindness on her 38th birthday – she is good people, may you all have a friend like her in your life! Inspires me to think of what I can do for my birthday next year – thanks, friend!
  • We got pumpkins a while back with the intention of carving them for Halloween – we have put it off long enough but I really HATE carving pumpkins and then dealing with rotten, half-eaten Jack-o-lanterns until we pitch them. But carve them we shall because I am not a scrooge – or whatever not festivizing Halloween is.

Wednesday Musings


  • Just the mere thought of swimming with sharks or walking through an enclosed space in the dark gives me a severe case of the eebie geebies (that is the technical term, yes).
  • Liam is turning 8 on 8/8 this year – which makes it like his platinum birthday, right? We have decided this will be an opportunity to celebrate in grand style so we’re renting a bounce house.
  • We get said bounce house for the whole day so I decided (and Simon agreed), why not make a day of it… brunch in the morning for the neighborhood kids and their families, party in the afternoon for Liam and his friends and gathering in the evening for church folks and friends… my extroverted, party planning side is SUPER excited… like planning-my-wedding excited. Things may get out of hand. But it’s my “thing” that I love to do.
  • Liam having a “friend” birthday means we’ll also have to do a friend birthday for Jack this year (our original party plan had been for the “5s” birthdays to do a friend party but we did not do one when Jack turned 5 in February because of the Polar Vortex so we’re reworking things). But Jack does have his golden birthday this year, too, 6 on February 6.
  • Since my birthday is July 1, my golden birthday was when I turned 1 so that’s kind of a bummer. Or when I turn 101.
  • Maria Menunous was on the Today Show this morning talking about her new show on E! which sounds interesting but then she and let’s just say her laugh rivals Fran Dresher’s and the character of Janice from Friends… Oh my.
  • We’re having a burst of cold weather in Michigan and the weather guy predicted yesterday that the fall will also be on the cooler side of things and while I do not have confidence in his ability to accurately predict anything, that news makes me all kinds of happy because this girl loves cool temps and low humidity.
  • Garden update: My plants are surviving so far – as long as I spray them regularly with Liquid Fence which literally smells like poop. But it seems to do the trick and as promised on the bottle, fries scent-free. I now spent lots of time googling how to propagate various kinds of plants.
  • I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading as much as I would like, but I read two this week from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness that I would encourage you to check out, though, be warned, you will likely cry, that’s just reality:
  • In the opposite direction of the above, I continue to get a plethora of spam comments that give me smiles and giggles throughout my day, here are a few recent gems:
    • On the post, Things I love Thursday: Cake: “Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article post. I like to write a little comment to support you.” | Gee, thanks for the support for my love of cake.
    • On the post, funny text exchanges: “Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last phase : ) …” | For reference, the last phrase:
      Her: Diet coke is good for the heart and the teeth.
      Me: It’s practically a health food.
      That is useful, if untrue, information
  • The kids are doing VBS this week – they love it, though trying to get them to learn their leaders’ names or the names of any kids from their group… impossible. But they did relearn that God loves them no matter what, so there’s that.
  • We have also reached the point in summer that my kids are driving me nuts – hopefully this means for the month of August, they will be more “normal” since their behavior is typically cyclical. Liam has also developed an annoyed habit of repeatedly saying “fart” in a doltish, cartoon character voice with a Tourettes-like inability to control it. It makes me want to give him away to a good home (at least I said, good home; and no, not REALLY give him away).
  • I bought the kids workbooks to do during the summer… so far we’ve gotten them out once. Parent fail.
  • We have, however, marked several things off our summer bucket list. Parent win.
  • The kids are both spending the night at a friend’s house this Saturday and we are going out with another couple – cannot wait!!! I love date nights with fun people!
  • Also got to visit with one of my favorite people two weekends ago when she and her family came to visit for a day – I adore friendships where you can see the person once a year and never have awkwardness or feel like you need to apologize for life being crazy and not keeping in as good of contact as you should. Those friends are the lifelong friends that everyone needs.
  • I hope to have some exciting news to share in the very near future – but until everything is official, that’s all I’m saying but I welcome your prayers and happy thoughts on our behalf…

Happy Wednesday everyone, may you enjoy wherever you are in life!



Update on life

ememby_ttatoWell hey there, long time, no blog. No reason, just busy with life – same old, same old. Thought I’d take a minute to get you caught up with what’s been going on, I’ll try to make it as interesting as possible because it’s not really very interesting at all.

  • Despite my original impression, I am hooked on Orphan Black and have been watching it as often as I can to get caught up. I just finished season one and will go on to season two this week. I think it’s so fascinating because one actress plays multiple clones who are all VERY different and she does it wonderfully.
  • The World Cup is currently going strong which furthers the soccer watching in my household by about tenfold. I accidentally said to another parent at daycare this morning when he was lamenting Australia’s loss for my husband, “Well, it’s just soccer.” The look on his face clearly indicated that I might as well have spit on his baby… his calling it “football” should have warned me off of sharing that sentiment out loud.
  • Liam went to camp for the first time by himself – just two nights – and he loved it, at least I think he said because he said he did one time and then didn’t want to share anything else about the weekend. It was fun, he wants to go back and that is all he has to say about it. For a kid who talks nonstop, he is very closed off when it comes about talking about anything that happens directly to him.
  • We are about 50% done with putting a playground thing in the backyard. Simon had to build a frame that we could get filled with dirt and woodchips for the play equipment to go on top of, next comes the actual dirt and woodchips and then he has to build the equipment… can’t wait for the kids to actually use it, also because it means we can both park in our garage again. Our kids were disappointed to see that Costco didn’t ship us an entirely built play structure, a detail I’m sure the FedEx Freight guy actually appreciated.
  • I’m hooked on a new smoothie concoction: ice, 1/2-3/4 c. skim milk, 1/4 c. vanilla greek yogurt, 1 packet instant oatmeal (I use Better Oats Maple and Brown Sugar), 1/2 banana, 2 TB. peanut butter (I use the powdered PB2 = all the protein and flavor and WAY less calories), a shake or two of cinnamon. Blend and enjoy.
  • Also hooked on a new-to-me local restaurant: Gita Pita. All fresh-made ingredients and hands-down the best falafel I’ve ever tasted since the first time I had it in Denver back in 1999.
  • Jack finally let me trim up his hair last night after denying us access for the last month – I love that he loves his hair longer and it mostly doesn’t bother me, but it was so long and straight that when he was swimming last week, he couldn’t see every time he came out of the water. Cute but too long.
  • I planted a bunch of perennials in the back yard last month… sadly rabbits ate most of them so I transplanted the rest, bought new plants for the front that are drought-, deer- AND rabbit-resistant and sprayed everything with Liquid Fence which smells (literally) like poop. So far, so good.
  • I’m also patting myself on the back for my prolific mint growth, until I remember that mint is pretty much the easiest thing in the world to grow so if my basil and tomatoes make it then I can congratulate myself. Verdict is still out.
  • I spend way too much time Googling gardening topics.
  • I also spend way too much time looking up results for #pacificcresttrail or #pct on Instagram… after reading Wild for book club I was interested in seeing the current reality of hikers on the Trail – though not at all inspired to try the trek myself. I prefer to keep my toenails on my feel, thankyouverymuch.
  • Our summer weekends have been pretty great so far… but anything’s an improvement from last summer when we were selling our house, packing everything up and moving. It’s nice to enjoy spending time together and with friends and family without having deadlines looming. I will take more of this, please.
  • We made a summer bucket list yesterday – Liam asked to include visiting the moon and Legoland California so I had to limit items to Michigan, though I relented on them being entirely summer-related when I allowed “Making peppermint patties” to be added to the list – who am I to deny him that joy?
  • Only two more months of daycare which makes me excited to not be spending the money and sad that an era is coming to a close. Jack will be starting kindergarten in the fall… mah baaaybbbeeeee.
  • Taekwondo is still going strong. The boys love it and I enjoy chatting with the neighbors during class so it’s a win-win!
  • I chalk-painted my first thing this past week and I kind of love it. Now I’m looking at all the furniture in my house and trying to envision it painted a different color. Funsies.
  • We dog-sat for friends a few weekends ago which further cemented in my mind that I want a second dog – sadly Simon doesn’t share my sentiments. I had hoped to win him over but he cannot be swayed.
  • Two out-of-town college friends and their families were here this past weekend so we girls and our fams all got together. Jonna is now from WAY out of town in South Africa and Pauline is more near being from near Boston. It was lovely to hang out with them and stay up chatting until 2 in the morning on Friday night (Saturday morning?). I really am so blessed to call them friends and wish we could all see each other way more often but we make the most of it when we can – even with 17 children between us we can still catch up!
  • The frogs have taken over again – tiny little things hopping all over our lawn, driveway and mainly the pond across the street. The kids love it and I have to just get over the creepiness of knowing I’m stepping on them when I walk on the pathways over there. Clearly 100s of them don’t make it (if not 1000s) since come fall, seeing a grown up frog is a rather rare occasion.

Work is good. The boys are good. Simon and I are good. For now, we’ll take it. Something will come along soon enough and change things up… for now, peace and calm (in the midst of the tantrums, deadlines and periodic bouts of bad attitudes by everyone involved).

Monday Randoms


  • Spring officially starts in 4 days – the temperature was in the low single digits this morning and it is currently only 16 degrees… but Thursday we can look forward to a high of 40. I laugh. And again, I blog about weather. At least the snow is melting – though I fear the large piles at the end of our driveway will still be there in a couple months… much smaller, but still there – they were taller than our minivan at one point.
  • Now that spring is approaching, George has decided he can go exploring again when we let him out to do his business. This is not okay. He is small and black, not an idea combination for solo adventuring in a wooded neighborhood or by a road. It’s bad enough that Jack randomly starts crying about George dying without George actually, you know, dying. George may soon find himself on the losing end of a tether…
  • I stopped and got coffee this morning after daycare drop off… watching her pour three shots of espresso over ice made me think that perhaps it was a bit much caffeine. But then I remembered it was Monday and I got over it.
  • Two weeks from today we’ll be in Texas. Hopefully we survive the trip without leaving a child behind. [If a child actually does get left behind, this was purely an accident and totally the fault of the child.]
  • A year ago thoughts of selling our house and moving were just daydreams… as much of a reality as the thought of someday traveling around Europe: nice thoughts, but no concrete plans. I both love and am amazed by how things can come together so very quickly. We called our realtor a week after getting back from spring break and by mid-May, we had sold our house! Say what?
  • Still don’t have a minute of regret to have moved or with our house. I am thankful every day for the blessing it has been and the journey we took to get there. Also thankful the former owners had great taste and picked awesome paint colors!
  • We went to a community expo over the weekend where the boys picked up lots of freebie items… including some plastic rulers. Guess what Jack decided to measure on himself on the way home? If you are having trouble, imagine you are a crude-humored teenage BOY and then guess…
  • I rather love washi tape… if you don’t know what it is, they you are either not a crafter or not a lady…
  • We watched Dallas Buyers Club on Saturday night – without a doubt, we could both understand why Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won all of the awards. Amazingly acted, you completely believed they were the characters they played.
  • The cover story in Entertainment Weekly last week was about Orphan Black – a drama on BBC America – talking about how good the show was and how much of a following it has so we decided to watch the pilot. Simon said, and I quote, “I don’t even think I’m enjoying this at all.” I’d say we maybe aren’t the target audience.
  • My husband has a crush on Shakira and I am okay with this because it allows for my Adam Levine crush and therefore we are both happy watching The Voice. I’m also okay because this bumped Kate Beckinsale off his list… I was not okay with her because I just didn’t like her, but Shakira and I would totally be besties – at the very least she’s tiny and would fit in my pocket – a pocket Sharika would come in handy, I’m sure.
  • The boys are signed up for Taekwondo starting after spring break – I cannot wait. Two nights a week for 7 weeks – I hope they like it because I know I will enjoy that hour of peace and quiet while they learn the wonders of martial arts.
  • I went to Trader Joe’s last weekend with my fellow small group ladies and I have some new favorite treats from there: pesto gouda, Irish porter cheddar cheese, Raisin Rosemary Crisps, Cilantro and Jalapeno Hummus, Hot & Sweet Mustard and Tomato Basil Marinara to go along with my old standbys – mini pb cups and cookie butter. Please, Trader Joe’s, come to Grand Rapids – we will love you.
  • Book club is still going strong… love having an excuse to read and an evening to chat with grown ups about what we are reading. Intelligent conversation is marvelous!
  • There are times in my life when I feel more like an adult than others – one such time came last week when I went to an ambassador meeting for a local non-profit foundation. I was the youngest person in the room and we were talking about education and funding for teacher training. These are things I care about and that matter to me which really does make me a grown up.
  • Jack has been refusing to hug or kiss me at bedtime lately – though he will do both to Simon – and while I know logically that I shouldn’t actually be offended by this behavior, it does kind of hurt my feelings. The more we insist on his showing me affection, the more he refuses which is not great for one’s ego. I was mock-crying about it last night at bedtime, trying to garner some sympathy from the little imp and said, “Oh, I guess Jack doesn’t love me any more…” and Liam piped up with, “Well, at least I still love you, mom.” Thanks, kid, love how quickly you accepted your brother’s lack of feelings for your mother. [For the record, I know Jack loves me and he will tell me that, he just WILL NOT show his affection to me, only Simon. I also know this is because he is a twerp and does the same thing to my dad and mom. It’s a phase, but it’s not one I love.] Liam is winning this week as favorite child.


Tuesday Randoms


  • I was talking with a friend, observing that we always say things like, “when life slows down…” but I think this is just the pace of life from now until retirement, or at least until the kids are out of the house. I kind of like it – the being busy. I mean, I have my moments where I need to take a beat and go to bed early or say no to a social outing (both very rare things, indeed).
  • I am loathe to admit it, but I downloaded a Kesha (I refuse to use the $ in her name) song – more exactly, I downloaded a Pitbull song that happens to feature Kesha. Because Liam asked me to. I also downloaded “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and I’m sure I’ll be getting “Everything Is Awesome!” from the Lego movie after we take the kids to see it on Friday. My music tastes are easily swayed by pop culture and sometimes 7.5-year-olds.
  • I have found a sporting event that Simon doesn’t care about: the Winter Olympics. More ironically, I cannot not get enough of them and have been watching every evening and getting real-time scores on my phone (because while I like watching, the anticipation of not knowing how the athletes are going to do makes me crazy). But, it still baffles me that the man who watches every cooking competition and mindless sport on TV could care less about such a big event – just because his country of origin isn’t overly represented. I fully expect that when he carries dual citizenship that he will take an interest in the Winter Games.
  • We’re driving to Texas again for Spring Break… start praying for us now. Our much shorter road trip to Cleveland at Christmas was not as smooth as one would hope (though it went about as well as I expect from my kids who are like oil and water to each other) and Simon and I just shook our heads at the thought of two days and 20+ hours in the car together. I guess we can always drug them. I kid.
  • I’m trying out TRESemmé’s new Heat Activated 7 Day Keratin Smooth Treatment that claims “works with the heat of your flat iron to transform unruly hair into salon-smooth hair that even lasts for one week.*” Amusingly, both on the box and on their website, the asterix at the end of the claim does not refer to any disclaimer statement that I could find – perhaps they mean it even lasts one week if you don’t touch your hair again and sleep in an upright position. So far it smells fantastic and my hair is beautifully smooth – we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Simon even complimented my hair this morning so it must look noticeably different.
  • Simon and Jack had birthdays last week/over the weekend. We celebrated with family on Saturday and had a great evening out with the grown-ups that we have now decided should be an annual tradition. That’s a sure sign of success when you want to repeat something again and again.
  • Simon’s gift was/is tickets to Dave Matthew’s Band this summer… it was a real hardship to get him something I will not enjoy in the least… I mean really, I took one for the team.*
  • We had a surprisingly good shopping trip to Costco yesterday… one where I was totally that mother complimenting her children on their good manners and smiling as they hugged each other and practically skipped out of the store holding hands while Liam sweetly commented about how good I was at steering the shopping cart. I’ll pause to let you imagine that in all its saccharine sweetness… are your teeth aching yet? I feel like the next dozen trips are going to be awful to make up for it… and I will be there, bewildered and wondering what happened to all the sweetness. I believe my kids have mastered the skill of keeping me guessing and pulling out a medal-worthy performance when it counts – much like America’s sweetheart, skier Julia Mancuso.
  • Bob Costas has double pink eye, which he amusingly keeps referring to as a common eye infection – apparently he is too good for pink eye. I feel terrible for him because the Olympics are kind of his thing and it’s painful to even watch him on screen. Thankfully Matt Lauer is stepping in for him tonight. Pink eye is the worst. It is not, however, caused by getting poop in your eye as my husband said it was last night – I’m sure he’ll appreciate my sharing that with you. I will note that it can be caused by a cold virus, herpes or gonorrhea (welcome freaky Googlers).
  • Has anyone else tried the Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth? If not, you should, my friend Kristy introduced me to it and we have made this soup three times since December… it is DELICIOUS. I add the following: 2 quarts regular chicken broth, the meat from a whole rotisserie chicken, 1 tsp. each curry and ginger, Thai stir fry noodles.
  • I decorated the house for Valentine’s and while Simon refused to say “it looks like cupid threw up on this house,” he totally wanted to. He hates to be predictable and I love that he is.
  • Not sure who is more looking forward to the Lego movie, Simon and I or the boys… cannot wait!

* I am totally lying because DMB is one of my faves and concerts in general are my happy place.