Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How I Screwed Up Dinner on Monday Night

We haven't had much in the way of weekends around here lately. Football, Marching Band, hunting trips, and simply trying to catch up from busy weeks have wreaked havoc on rest and relaxation. By Monday I'm still burned out but with the entire family being gone most of the day I usually get caught up. Heh. Until yesterday.

I got some things done around the house, (4 loads of laundry among other things,) and by 4:15 I was ready to run a couple of errands before picking up HB#1 after a saxophone lesson. I had mentally done my checklist for what we needed at the grocery store and checked my recipe, written a list, and headed out.

I did well. First stop done in 4 minutes. Music store to get HB and pay for his lessons-Check. Grocery store #1. Check. Store #2. Check. Home.

(Some other things happened here that are not relevant. Well, could have been but I ruined dinner, remember?)

Took #1 to his piano lesson and came home to make dinner. (Sidenote: I was making this Southwest Chicken Salad. Try it. Everyone in my family loves it!) I started taking out everything that I thought I had on hand. Uh, no. Everything that I thought that I had was rotten (vegetables,) or frozen (sour cream.) And both of those grocery store trips? for nothing without the ingredients I had on hand and had just bought 2 hours before. That meant that someone had to go get the 4 or 5 things that I needed.


So I sent HD to pick up the boy and grab the stuff that I needed at the store. Of course! He left the list at home. After a phone call from the store they made it home and I was able to finish making dinner.

As we were sitting down to dinner (waaaaay late, I might add,) I asked HD to grab the tortilla chips out of the cupboard.

Uh, Where are they?

Oops. Missing those too. After 3 grocery store trips we STILL didn't have everything we needed for dinner. #epicdinnerfail

At least it was delicious even without the chips!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Day in the Life

Last Friday was a banner day around here, and I'm not sure I would have believed it if I hadn't lived it myself. This is normal around here, actually.

6:25- Alarm goes off. (This is our late day. M-Th is a 5:15 wake up. I'll spare you one of those.)
6:26- Start the coffee, feed the dog.
6:30- Get HB#2 up and moving.
6:35- Drink coffee. Duh. And check Facebook.
7:00- Make sure HB#2 is on his way for breakfast. He didn't want me to cook today. Yay!
7:15- Get HB#1 up and in the shower.
7:30- HB#1 actually gets in the shower.
7:45- Drive HB#2 and his friend to school
8:00- Return home. Have 2nd cup of coffee and play games on iPad.
8:05- Get HB#1 out of the shower.
8:06- Return to game.
8:15- Make tomato and cheese omelet for HB#1 because he had his wisdom teeth out last week and can't eat anything else.
8:40- Get puppy in crate.
8:45- Take HB#1 to school.
9:00- Meet a friend at Starbucks. Order a breakfast sandwich and ice water.
10:10- Leave coffee date reluctantly.
10:15- Return home to let the dog out. Have to put her on a leash since the gardeners are here and they leave the gates open.
10:30- Take the dog next door since said gardeners are here and I have to leave.
11:00- Pick up HB#1 at the high school to go to a follow up appointment for his wisdom teeth.
11:10- Race across town. Half way there realize I could have taken the freeway.
11:30- Make it to the dentist e.x.a.c.t.l.y. on time.
12:00- Leave dentist's office.
12:02- Hand HB#1 more money so he can go into Juice it Up for a smoothie with protein for his lunch.
12:07- Say a prayer that I can make it up the street to the gas station.
12:15- Fill up with gas so we can make it back to the high school. (It's only been 2 days since my last fill up. This pisses me off. At least gas prices have gone down a little.)
12:30- Arrive back at the school to sign him back in.
12:40- Get home and go get the dog and her brother. It's really hot and after 2 hours in the yard they are ready to be in. Plus they drank all of their water.
12:45- Collapse on the couch.
12:46- 2:20- (I'm not exactly sure what I did. Fed the dog. Oh! I visited with my neighbor when she came to get her dog.)
2:21- Talk about afternoon plans with HB#2 when he gets home from school. Give him a few minutes to breathe before we have to leave.
2:30- Take HB#2 to get new shoes. (For the love of all that is holy, could this kid's feet stop growing?? He's in a 10 1/2 at 12 years old, and needs new shoes every 3-4 months.)
2:40- Arrive at shoe store.
2:50- Convince him to try on a pair.
2:55- Success! Pay and we're outta there. Run into Toys R Us to see if they still have baby pools. For the dog. No luck.
3:00- Go across the street to get the kid frozen yogurt.
3:10- Text our hair stylist to see if she wants some.
3:17- Get her yogurt.
3:25- Leave for 3:45 hair appointment. Get on freeway.
3:27- Freeway comes to a dead stop.
3:35- Have kid text hair stylist that we're stuck in traffic.
3:45- Make it to the salon e.x.a.c.t.l.y. on time for HB's haircut.
4:15- Leave salon.
4:30- Arrive at the park across from the high school to pick up HB#1
4:45- Arrive home and collapse on couch.
4:47- Remind kids to get their things ready for their night time activities.
4:48- Text neighbor who is giving HB#1 his haircut that we are home.
5:00- Neighbor comes to cut his hair. Chat.
5:30- Leave to take HB#2 to football practice.
5:50- Drop him at his practice, head home.
6:05- Arrive at home. See if HB#1 is ready to go.
6:15- Leave for the church.
6:35- Drop him at church for an all night activity. Leave for home.
7:00- Arrive at home. The traffic was horrible on the way home so it took much longer!
7:01- Call HD to see if he can for sure pick up the football kid. (Otherwise I would have to leave in about 20 minutes.) I'm in the clear.
7:15- Open and Angry Orchard cider. Check Facebook.
7:20- HD and HB#2 arrive home. Want to know what is for dinner.


I know someone out there can relate. Right?


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting it Done

You might remember that about 4 (5? I'll have to check,) years ago we had a flood in the house? It originated in the laundry room and in the fixing process I was able to repaint the room. It really came out pretty but it wasn't finished until yesterday. Ahem.

All I really had to do was put the finishing touches. This cute switch plate came from our trip to the Virgin Islands last year. The frog is perfect with the yellow wall color!

The gecko came from a trip my parents took to the Caribbean about 15 years ago. I love having him hang out to help with the laundry. You can see the curtain rod on the edge of the picture... We finally hung it yesterday. I have a simple sheer curtain on this window since I don't really need privacy there.

On the other side of the window hangs this washboard. Let me give you a closer look...

My grandfather made a few of these and I'm lucky enough to have one of them. It's a 'Receet for Washing Clothes' and has instructions for building the fire, which clothes to wash first, what to do with the dirty water, etc. My mother has always had hers hanging in her laundry room and I love that I have one, too.

I also cleaned out and organized our front hall closet. I pulled the extra shelves out of my son's closet earlier in the summer when we moved things around in his room and closet. While they don't fit all the way across, it works perfectly for my extra totebags. (I have a serious problem with bags. I should tell you about it sometime.) We also have a jacket problem. All of these jackets belong to me and Headless Dad. Not one belongs to the boys. Yes, we do live in Southern California, where we need them for about 4 days a year. I will say, however, that only about 1/3 of them are mine!

This is the bottom of the closet where the extra toilet paper lives with the rarely used (but really nice,) snorkel equipment lives. Before I cleaned out the closet you could not see the floor. The extra stuff that was in there went to live elsewhere or went into the Give Away bag. 

I am jazzed that I was able to get these things done... FINALLY!!

This post inspired by Melisa, who finally got a few of her favorite pictures on the wall and switched out her kitchen cabinets for better functionality. Go check it out and get some ideas!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rare Bird, Indeed

I first met Anna many years ago online when we started following each others blogs. I loved her posts on refinishing furniture and her sweet children, who were very close in age to my own. In 2010 I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at BlogHer in New York City. On the first evening I saw her walking in registration looking a little lost. Luckily I knew the ropes and was able to help her. That weekend that we realized that we were members of the same college sorority. She introduced me to Jill and Kate. We spent the better part of that conference finding each other in the crowd and continued to cheer one another on from afar. I felt like I had another close blogging friend, even if we were on separate coasts.

Me, Jill, and Anna. BlogHer '10


I wish I could remember what I was doing that September day. I was probably stressed out, (headless, remember?), trying to get a kid ready for football, cooking dinner, ushering kids to shower and Go to bed, already! I had seen Anna's post on An Inch of Gray the day before about their first day of school, Jack and Margaret starting to look so grown up. In my head now, it's a blur of links and sympathy, and shock. What happened? That's not possible! I was confused and bewildered.  This news can't be true.

My friend Anna had lost her dear son Jack in freak flooding incident behind their neighborhood on September 8, 2011. Jack, who was the same age as my son. Jack who was standing next to his sister Margaret on their first day of school.  I was paralyzed. I scanned Facebook for news with tears streaming down my face for about 3 days. In these types of situations in my offline life I'm usually a Doer. I take meals and extra toilet paper. I call. But from California all I could do was watch Facebook for more news and weep. I spoke with other blogging friends who attended the funeral, I read Anna's posts on her blog, but I hated not being able to be there for her. To sit in her living room and cry with her.

My heart wanted to be broken in Virginia, not in California.


Yesterday, Anna's memoir about Jack was released. Rare Bird is rare, indeed. It is a look into a family whose love and loss is bigger than I can imagine, and whose hope and healing is more Divine than I've ever seen. This book is the most well-written non-fiction book I have ever read. While devastating, it is not a sad story-I honestly did not cry while I read. (I saved the tears for after the last page.) Rare Bird is a story that gives you hope and courage and faith.

Rare Bird is the conversation that I wish I could have had with Anna in the weeks and months following Jack's death. In reading about Anna's journey through her grief, I was able to live it in my heart with her. Like I wanted to in 2011.

There is so much more that I could say but my words would never do hers justice. You must read them for yourself to believe how beautiful Jack's story is.

"I mean, why are we so ready to give God the credit for every good thing in our lives, [...] yet we let him off the hook for all the bad stuff? That seems ridiculous. Isn't He  powerful enough to command our destiny? Because that's the God I want to worship not some good-luck charm we call upon tho help us find a parking space when we're running late. I want a powerful God who is willing to make the hard, unpopular choices because He sees the big picture and knows what's best. Sure He wants our worship, but He doesn't need our approval." from Rare Bird by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

I want more of the story. I want to read Tim's story because we only get glimpses of it and his story is just as powerful as Anna's.
"I remember reading that sex can be one of the greatest comforts to a man. So I say yes. We make it through. And it is good. I'm proud of us, but I wonder how long it will be before we can do it without both of us crying." from Rare Bird by Anna Whitson-Donaldson


I have learned from Anna that friendships can blossom in tragedy.

"I want to hear how Jack's death has affected my friends....I want us to look at one another's faces and cry. To say the F word. To question God. To hear that Jack meant something. It is in the telling and retelling that we work our way through painful territory and gain insight." from Rare Bird by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

"Margaret needs an outlet too. I'm proud of her for knowing she's angry and finding a way to deal with it.  For opening that cabinet door and getting out a bowl. And a cheap one too. She may not yet be able to put voice to her feelings, but instead of yelling at me right now, she's finding a constructive way to express them.
She comes back in five minutes later, her face red from crying.
Damn bowl wouldn't break." from Rare Bird by Anna Whitson-Donaldson
I hope to someday read a book by Margaret Donaldson about how her brother Jack taught her to fly.


Please treat yourself to this book. It is powerful. I will be buying an extra copy to have on hand to give away when the moment is right. Buy Rare Bird on Amazon. Buy it at your local bookstore. Get a copy of this book into the hands of someone who might need a message of hope and love in loss.

And to Anna, I am so honored that you asked me to help share your hopeful and magical story. On this 3rd year Crapiversary I hope you, Tim, and Margaret can feel the collective love that is surrounding you from near and far this week. I love you and hope we meet again someday. xo

Monday, September 1, 2014

People of BlogHer '14

It was a great weekend in San Jose! The following are people that I had the pleasure of meeting during the conference, in no particular order. Long, long overdue. My apologies.

Simply Recipes Elise Bauer

Samantha from Airplane Rides and Guacamole Sides Samantha has an amazing story. I won't ruin it for you here but you want to read her. She is inspiring!

Destiny from  Suburban Wife, City Life

Kendra from Simply{Darr}ling.com

Williesha from Nerdy Thirtysomething Life

Lexi from La Primera (How on earth had we not met before? If we have, I don't recall and I'm a jerk but after all of these years being friends online it was great to see you in person! Even if we had to go to Northern California to do it.)

Kimberly from Manifest Yourself

Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama

The Ginger Warrior

Salma from The Write Balance 

Bridget from Saving My Sanity

Sharon from Midlife Boulevard I can't wait to dive in here a little more!

Finally, I had the honor of hearing Libby Kranz speak at the Listen to Your Mother Open Mic night. Her daughter Jennifer recently passed away from a brain tumor and now Libby, and other family and friends are fighting pediatric cancers. Please visit their website Unravel Pediatric Cancer where you can find out about their nonprofit efforts and read more about Libby, Jennifer, and their family on the Love4JLK blog, linked on that page. Beautiful.