Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There Is Something Good About Sisters

Our trip to Seaside Memorial Day weekend hit its 9th go around this year. I think it might be my absolute favorite one! It's not like we did anything very different, although we did try a Mexican restaurant that looked a bit sketch but delivered fantastic food!

The weather was great, some sun, some gray skies, a few sprinkles, but no downpours!

The kids ran and swam and dug and ate and laughed. So did the grown ups.

As I drove home, I couldn't help but think about how wonderful our trips to Seaside are. And a huge reason is that I go with my sisters.

Growing up, I would never have imagined the three of us would be such good friends. We fought about everything! But somehow, in our adulthood, we became friends. We Like each other. We enjoy hanging out together. We can meet each other's eyes and wordless communicate our happiness or irritation or shock or downright giddy glee.

Our kids watch us hang out together, laughing until we can't breath, being goofy and silly, sneaking off to have a morning cup of coffee just the three of us and working together to make a vacation with four women, two teenagers, five little kids and one brother in law a totally glorious trip!

There is something so very good about sisters who make a vacation like this possible.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gardening Smaller Means Something's Got To Go

If you looked at my garden, you would be surprised to know it was a vegetable garden just last year. In fact, I think people have walked by our place and wondered why we have a chicken wire fence blocking off part of our lawn. Just makes it harder to get the lawn mower back there, evidenced by how tall the grass and weeds were growing.

So I buckled down. I went out there and started digging out the garden. It wasn't just a task of "weeding". Oh no, not even close. It was literally digging out the grass that had decided to stake it's claim. It's like a war. I won a brief battle, but the grass knows that dirt really belongs to it, and it's not going to let it go easy.

And after long hours working, fingernails caked with dirt, slug slime and I hope to goodness just funky smelling mud, I was half done.

Half done with the garden, half done in from the work.

After much soul searching and back and forth waffling, I asked my husband to move the fence so it encloses the half of the garden that is dirt only, and weed free as of yesterday. The other half is a lost cause. It's more grass than dirt and the lawnmower can have it.

But with a shrunken down garden, what veggies do I want to grow the most? I have to narrow it down. Peas, yes. Lettuce, absolutely. Zucchini, one hill should do the trick. Carrots, no.

The only member of our family that loves carrots with a zeal that borders on obsession is Olive Badger. She digs them up and eats them as fast as they grow. I prefer it if she isn't in the garden digging, and since the rest of us just like carrots but have no desire to go out and check on their growth repeatedly through out a day, I think I'll skip them this year.

Besides, my husband informed me yesterday, the ones I grow have never tasted as good as his Mother's! Then he quickly added, it's probably the dirt's fault.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with them being dug up by a dog and replanted by me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So That's How I Was On Time To Work

Monday dawned fresh and crisp and I dragged myself out of bed, got the three people and the three dogs that make up my family out of their beds and started everyone's day.

I likened the Monday morning to getting into a cold water pool. You just got to jump in.

So I jumped in. Coffee was made, breakfast was eaten, hubby and kids went off to Seattle for their errands/adventures and I got ready for work.

I'm usually running a little late. I tend to sit too long with my last cup of coffee and read one more chapter in my book. But on Monday I was doing just fine.

I was breakfasted, dressed, lunch packed, hair dried and keys in hand and was at work on time. I was feeling very proud of myself.

Until I went into the restroom an hour later. As I washed my hands I looked at my face in the mirror. Oh. Oh. OH.

So that's how I was on time for work. No make up on at all. I skipped that whole step entirely. Now, I'm famous for not bothering with make up on a day to day basis. I think I look good without it.

But for work, I love to have a little mascara on. A little powder, a little eye shadow.

I learned something on Monday. The only way I'm on time for work is if I don't do one thing. Thank goodness it was just make up. Next time it could be arriving to work in my slippers.

Now that would be ghastly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Garage Sale-ing We Will Go

It's Saturday morning, and my alarm has gone off at 7:20. That means I can hit the snooze a time or two if I need a bit more shut eye, but I only need to hit it once. I'm ready to get up and get ready!

Today is one of two fantastic weekends that occur every year in our town. A huge housing development holds two weekend garage sales, and today is the first one of this year.

It's kind of a thing for us, and I'm not sure how it started exactly, but when I see the sign sitting by the entrance to the neighborhood, I always think I better call my sister so we can make our plans to go! This year my son beat me to it and had already talked to her to figure out how we could make our bi-annual trip work.

Through some loves from our Mom, who's holding down the fort at the snack shop they run during spring little league, and a commitment to get up early on a Saturday, we are planning to be there at 9 to hunt for some awesomeness.

Do I have something I am looking for? Not really. My son does. He's suddenly developed a passion to own a taxidermied fox or penguin. I say the likelihood of him finding that at a neighborhood garage sale in an old dairy town is highly unlikely, but I have been proven wrong many times before.

I never would have thought he'd find an old Raleigh bike worth $300 for $5. But he did.

Now, if I could just get the kids out of bed for real. I've woken them up, they talked to me, but it's a routine I have to do several times before I see them actually emerge from their cocoons. I better do it again. We only have 30 minutes until we have to leave!

We don't want to miss out on any taxidermied foxes. Or penguins!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Magazines Are Wasted On Me

I've come to the horrible realization that while I love to read, and I'm about to hit book #50 for this year, I'm a terrible magazine reader.

Just horrible.

I can't count the number of times my husband has asked, "Did you read that article in the new National Geographic about such and such?" and I respond, "Yes. Well, not quite. I looked at the pictures."

My Country Living magazine just arrived. And the only part of it that I found useful was the corner of the cover I tore off to use as a bookmark in the book I'm currently reading.

I have a stack of This Old House and Coastal Living waiting for me to read. Or at least give the pictures a peruse. And instead of picking one up, I pick up a book.

There are only two magazines I will read cover to cover: People and Simple & Delicious. I don't subscribe to the first because it's expensive and it's weekly. I don't like it enough to have it show up every week, demanding attention. I do subscribe to Simple & Delicious and I love it. I have a slight obsession with recipes and that is why I'm trying to convince my hubby that I desperately need to subscribe to Cooking Light. Granted, I've never cooked anything out of ones I have purchased and my last one purchased at the Vegas airport is still in my car, but I have torn out many pages of things I'd like to try.

I will use those torn pages falling out of my recipe book as evidence that I actually read that magazine!

Sorry This Old House, Country Living, Coastal Living, Sunset, and even The Barking Dog......I am going to have to give you up. Actually I am going to save the money I waste on your subscriptions....and use it on one that I will actually read.

Or at least, will not feel so bad about just looking at the pictures. That's part of the fun of recipe magazines!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mother's Day For Me

I told my husband and children, for Mother's Day or my birthday, just go down to the antique store and buy just about anything down there. I love it all. I love the old dishes, the cups, the dollies, the framed pictures, the books, the child size accordion. Anything would be the right gift for me.

I did not see them go shopping, so I was a bit nervous. Turns out the three of them came up with a bigger and better gift! They gave me money and a trip to an old town where antique shopping is a thriving attraction.

We ate at a little hole in the wall place where the mound of fries that comes with your burger is so ginormous, you have to eat a huge amount of those fries just to uncover your burger. I did not finish all my fries, that's how many there were!

Then we shopped. Oh, how I love to walk through stalls filled with old things. I love that the kids and the husband also enjoy it. Although, they were done with one store long before I was, they were very good about how long it took me to look at everything.

Because that is what I like to do. Look. At. Every. Thing.

I don't want to miss that lovely little item that would be perfect sitting on my shelf. And on this trip, I feel like I didn't miss anything!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's A Hair In My....

There's a hair in my coffee. And a hair resting in the cereal bowl I have pulled from the cupboard. And actually, there was a hair on my plate of dinner last night.....

Although, hair might not be the right word for it.

Fur is more accurate.

It's that time of year, folks, when a dog sheds some fur. And we have three dogs. Three dogs shedding.

It's inevitable that fur gets into cupboards and floats around the kitchen, but the fur in my coffee was related to a dog standing on the arm of the couch, leaning over my cup of coffee that sat innocently on the side table.

If you have to cover your mug with your hand to protect it from shedding fur, things might be not quite right in your house.

We've either got to get better trained dogs, or better trained owners.

When I complained, my daughter pointed out the dog was standing there because she wanted to be with me.

Ah. Puppy Love. I'm a sucker for it. I still kept my hand as a lid (not that it mattered since the fur was probably there before I poured coffee in), but I scratched the dogs ears before I moved her to the other side of me.

Away from the morning coffee, if you please! That's not something anyone or any fur should mess with.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Farewell, Lost Rhodie

Years ago, in late August, my kids and Mom followed me around the gravel pathways of the plant farm, back and forth, this way and that, over and over as I gave all the flowers a good looking over. Several looking-overs.

This was my birthday present from my Mom, flowers for my new house. August is an odd time to buy flowers. It's the end of the season, but that means the prices are fantastically low. Our little wagon was delightfully full of pansies and things I'd never heard of and would only last the next month, but for a dollar, I'll buy almost anything to fill in the bleak end of summer look my garden always has.

But my real buy was three Rhododendrons, on super clearance sale. I carefully looked over the tags and found my hearts desire in a May blooming yellow Rhodie. I loved the idea of pale yellow flowers against the backdrop of our green house. I loved the promise of blossoms to use in my Memorial Day bouquets.

I planted them at the three visible corners of our house. Or, I should say, my husband planted them!

They haven't ever bloomed when I thought they would, sometimes in April, sometimes in June.

The flowers, when they have bloomed have been a lovely shade of yellow with a hint of red at the edges, better than I imagined.

Two of them have seemed to barely cling to life, while one took off and thrived.

Until the end of last summer. The thriver started to fail to thrive. I babied it. I tried to fix it. I resisted digging it up, though, just in case it had a spark of life left in it.....But this spring I had to admit it was over. It was a dried out collection of sticks in my garden.

As if to make up for the loss, one of the sister Rhodies has bloomed. In May. In perfect timing and color to my dream. It's doing so well, it's almost too good to believe!

Farewell, my Lost Rhodie. In the hole you left, I planted an azalea.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Can Almost Taste It....

I can almost taste it.....and smell it......and feel it.......SEASIDE!!!

Our annual countdown has begun and even though this is our 9th trip, I'm just as excited as I was the first time we packed three sisters and two kids and all the luggage that entails into one car and headed down the coast on a husbandless adventure.

Now we'll pack three sisters and a mom, five kids, two teens and one husband into three cars. It's quite a bit more luggage than it used to be! But the fun and adventure has never diminished.

There is something about that first breath of sea scented, misty air that rejuvenates me. The promise of cold sand between my toes makes me giddy. Dipping into a pool twice a day with my swimming kids is perfection. Well, the cold and clammy bathing suit part is not, but I do love me some swimming pool swims!

Seaside isn't just about the beach, the pool, the food, the shops. It's us, creating a memory that our kids treasure and enjoy so much, they will skip their most beloved band's concert that coincides with our Seaside weekend or will draw a picture of a tilt a whirl on a card that lists the reasons they love their Mom or they will start planning how many sea shells they will collect on our beach combing adventures (for the record it is a single shell).

Simply put: it's family.

15 days to go!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What I Learned This Week

It's not something new that I've learned. It has just been a timely reminder.

If you love someone, let them know.

If you miss someone, let them know.

If you need someone, let them know.

Life is an unpredictable ride, with the finish line being the only for sure thing we all have in common. Don't waste the trip on frets and worries.

Live! Love! Enjoy!

Hug your loved ones, take time to call your grandparents, and really listen to a story your children are telling.

These are the things you won't regret.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love Me Some Coupons

I love coupons. I clip them out every week, and between them and the comics, that is the only reason we get a Sunday paper.

But am I a extreme coupon-er? No. Do I want to be? Not really.

Good for you, if you are dedicated enough to go to extremes to get something for nothing. If you need to stockpile years worth of deodorant and toilet paper and hamburger helper, please do.

I do not have the space for that kind of surplus. Do I need 25 bottles of ketchup? Well, yes. I do love ketchup, and I'm sure I could go through 25 in a year, but I do not need to have them all lined up in my shelves at the same time.

I'm also brand loyal. I only buy All laundry detergent. I like the way it smells (as in, it has no noticeable smell to me) and we do not itch when we wear clothes washed in it. I only buy Heinz 57 ketchup, and I don't really have the space to list all the reasons why, so I will just say I love it. I only buy Quilted Northern toilet paper because I think it's the best at getting it's job done and in a dire emergency, the store brand four pack, but that is only in a dire emergency.

I have discovered over the course of almost 18 years shopping for my home and family, that I like some things better than others. I have the luxury of shopping at the commissary, so with the already low prices, if I can find coupons for the things I like, I'm excited.

I saved $23 in coupons on Sunday. 9% of our total.

That is extreme enough for me!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Walking Zen

I do not like to walk in the dark. Our small town has it's fair share of weirdos wearing blankets and singing all their thoughts. In the dark morning hours, that's a bit too freaky for me. I do not like to walk in the rain. A little sprinkle is okay, but a pouring down deluge that soaks me to the skin is not okay. And while I love my dogs, and like walking them, the three dogs to one me ratio does not equal finding my walking zen.

But today I got up with my alarm and it just felt like the perfect day to walk. I woke my kids up and after my son groggily asked if his sister had first shower, he asked, "Is it sunny outside?" in a voice of clear disbelief. Yes, Son, that yellow glow we see seeping in around the edges of your blackout curtains is not the neighborhood on fire, it is the sun shining.

It Is Not Raining. Glory be!!!

I quietly got dressed, left the dogs sleeping, and hit the sidewalk. It was crisp, chill, and everything was lovely in the sunshine. At first as I walked, my mind was full of 1000 things. The project at work. Shoebox lunches for the teachers. What will I cook for dinner. Mother's Day. First Wednesday.

Then I hit my stride. That moment where my arms and legs are moving in a perfect flow and my mind stops it's pacing and I see the frost on the grass, hear the bird chirps, hear a Beagle that is not ours baying, see the hills glow with sunlight......the moment when I feel peace and a knowledge that God made some pretty neato things and that I am a lucky girl indeed.

It is a very good start to my day.

Except for the guilt I felt when I walked into our driveway and Emma Beagle gave a confused, hurt bark, as if to say, "Mom? You walked without me?"

Other than that, it was good!