Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Coffee Table Rescue

Oh, what to do when the kids are at school and I am not at work?

Rescue my coffee table, that's what.

This coffee table came from a garage sale back in the 1990's.  Ha!  That is funny saying that.  So very literally, it came from last century.
I think I paid $25 for it.

When I turned it over and took it apart, I saw "MADE IN CHINA" in big black letters underneath the top.  Nothing says personal, vintage, or one of a kind more than that.

I like the size of it (our great room is pretty large) and the bottom cage-looking part makes an EXCELLENT hide-and-seek spot if you are under 50 pounds. So I wanted to keep it.  It just needed some desperate TLC.



Like a moth to a flame, I couldn't help but get out my favorite Annie Sloan color, "Co-Co".  I have a Co-Co addiction.  I'm crazy for it.  Crazy for Co-Co puffs I tell you.  
I just love, love, love this color.

So I used, AS Coco and Old Ochre, with lots of dark wax.  As I was painting and humming and spending alone time in the garage, I was wondering why I like dark wax so much?  I finally concluded it is because I like the kind of dirty old look it gives things.  And let's face it.  I hate to dust and clean house.  So if I can make things look old and dirty...well there you have it.

Here is mid-project...

Note my flip flops on the ground which gave me a blister - which is why I was barefoot at this point - and now they are in the Good Will box.

And I have no idea what that awful ooze is on the garage floor.  Why do cars ooze fluid?  Yipes.  Now that I think about it, I hope it was the car that did that.  Nevermind. 



Here it is!  I put the mason jars my twin sent me for our birthday on top.
Let's also celebrate that since my youngest is now five, I can confidently display things ON TOP of the coffee table again.  You young moms out there know that there is a period of years you can NOT put anything out like this, lest it be subject to little sticky, stinky, curious hands.


Oooh!  And here is a close up.  I also got a new orbital sander for my birthday because my family is THE BEST!


 Thanks for reading!  I had such a fun afternoon getting lost in a project.  You know you really like to do something when you forget the time, forget to eat, almost forget your kids need to be picked up from school, etc.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Pigeon Coop

Hello Friends!

Thank you for all of the love and comments about my "empty" nest.  I am coping with the new change.  How about you?

Speaking of change, I hope we aren't the only family that sees each other every day yet some weeks our communication is less than stellar.
(I take most of the credit this week as I am on allergy medication.  I should really not be trusted with anything because of this.)

Yesterday morning as I was walking out the door to take the girls to school, the hubby looks at me and says, "Are you okay taking care of things while I'm gone?"

Huh?

Apparently he had a work trip this week.  In all of my "all-about-me-ness" and medicated stupor, this was news to me.  It wasn't too big of a deal, but
when he's gone, this means that I am in charge of all of the animals around here.  

And let's just say I am sometimes not the most reliable of help.  My version of taking care of things is typically "keeping them alive".  I can sometimes get distracted.  Let's not mention here the time I fed all of the hunting dogs the wrong food. (When they are competing, this is kind of a big deal). Or the time I accidentally let the gate open while one of the females was in season.  Or...well, nevermind.

Just in case you were wondering, all are doing fine.  I don't think I've messed anything up this time.  Last night while I was walking up to the house I noticed a stray pigeon on the roof that didn't get home the day before.
So here goes a blog about our pigeons and why we have them.

See these coops my hubby built?
(My favorite part is the little screen porch he made out of rabbit cages on the side).


These are all homing pigeons that he uses to train the bird dogs.
 (Enter Laurie's version of "Homing Pigeons and Bird Dogs for Dummies".)

See how big Clay has grown since he was a puppy? (Clay as a puppy post)

The pigeons are carried from the coop into the orange bag until it is ready to be placed on the ground for the puppy to find it. 
Caleb is really good about tucking their wings under to "plant" them.  I am not good at this.  When I "plant" birds, they don't stay. Mine usually walk around like those pigeons do in those kids books "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus".  Except ours don't talk.
Then Clay, or random bird dog of your choosing, will crouch all super-hero style up onto the bird to point it. 
The bird will fly away and eventually return back to it's home (the coop).



While the bird is flying around, Clay will run all over creation like a wild banchee, in his mind saying, "Birds, Birds, Birds!"


Here he is retrieving a quail wing.  Good boy, Clay!





When the pigeons aren't being used for the dogs, they really like to sit on our roof in the afternoon.  Or get gravel out of the girls' sandbox.  Or fly around in perfect symmetry. Or do whatever it is that pigeons do all day.



When I went to close the coop up last night, I saw we have a baby. 
Aren't baby pigeons ugly?


 Here was a Mama sitting on an egg.  Which reminds me, I really want chickens.


 But for now I guess I'll settle for homing pigeons.  
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Somewhat "Empty" Nest...

My girls started school this week and our youngest, Evie, entered Kindergarten.

Can I just say I still haven't figured out how I feel about this?


She is so ready.  This was apparent to us the night we went up to the school for open house.  Like any loving and neurotic parent, you worry somehow that they won't be ready.  You wonder if you've taught them everything they need to know.  I want somehow to have reassurance that they will be okay.
Which is why through my sobs as we drove away from the school building that morning, I bossy-pants looked at Caleb and demanded (somewhat more loving than I remember at the moment), "Tell me I did a good job!"

*Sigh*


Can I just say I realize I am a little bit of a mess and all over the place?

That I don't quite know what to do with myself yet?

That each morning thus far as I wave goodbye, I leave the school with a funny feeling in my stomach wondering "who am I?"

That I do know that all of this, in some small way, is preparing us for the even bigger goodbyes and life changes that lie ahead of us?

I mean, look at this little Grace with the pea stuck in her mouth!!!


And look at this little Evie who was so upset that the cake batter was "all gone!"

Where did those days go?

Do you think that I wished them away at times because I was probably exasperated, overwhelmed and desperately wanted quiet?

I hope not.  But in the quiet these last few days, I've missed the noise.



I've missed talking to the girls during the day.

While watering the yard, I saw a praying mantis and a frog.  I started to holler at them to come look and I realized they were at school.

When I got groceries, I absentmindedly opened up the side doors of the van for them to get in.  

These not so silly little adjustments are tugging at my heart.


I am trying to be so grateful they are growing up.

I want this.  It is good.  It is just the end of a decade of having a little person(s) at home.

It is the end of a season of wondering and planning ways to fill our days.

Crafts.  Baking.  Going outside.  Going for walks.  Playing at the park.  Scheduling play dates with friends.  Scrambling for babysitters while I go to doctor.  Taking Evie to her favorite Miss Deidre's house while I go to work.



This past weekend we had a family movie night and went to see "The Odd Life of Timothy Green".  Other than me sobbing like a freak show during most of the movie (I am rather imbalanced these days, I think I mentioned),
one of our favorite parts of the film happened when the adoption agent asked the parents what they would do differently next time.

They answered, "We'd just make different mistakes".

As I have ample time to reflect back over the past 10 years of mostly staying home with our girls, I am trusting that we gave it our best.  And that in time, I'll find out who I am in this next place.  

Until then, I am sure finding comfort spending crazy amounts of time looking at pictures like these.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

I love my sister.

Happy Birthday Lisa!

I love you oh so very much.
I could not find a picture of you without you smiling or nurturing something.

Here are 38 of my favorite memories & times with you:

1.  You still deny you were dancing with Toby O. in kindergarten naptime instead of resting.  Give it up.  I saw you.

2. Remember when you broke your arm roller skating and you lost your little brackets to your brace at recess and I freaked out thinking your arm would fall off?

3.  Playing Snoopy's almost every day of our childhood.
You had the Philo's and I had the Beddo's.

4. Why did our parents let us watch Clint Eastwood movies at that age?
(Any Which Way You Can anyone with the monkey Clyde?)

5. One of our few and only fights where we got the scissors out and threatened to cut each other?

6. The time we drank way to much grape juice at school snack and barfed it up all over our desks?

7. Throwing our Wheaties in the trash every morning behind Mom's back so we could get the 3 UPS symbols for the Mary Lou Retton poster?

8. Riding the school bus and having kool-aid and spit ball fights?

9. Going to the barn every day after school and you having Barn Duty with Hoot?

10. Playing "Paula" and "Cherie" in the backyard with Mary Anne?

11.  Going to Stacy's house to play and the time we thought it would be funny to give her a bag of actual "stickers" (grass burrs) and tell her they were "stickers?"

12.  Smelling the couches after people left the house because we were weird?

13. Hiding in terror under the bed because Scotta told us the Masked Marbler was on the loose and coming out to the ranch?

14. All of our broken bones and endless casts?

15.  Thinking it was a good idea to tie kites to the back of our bikes and ride as fast as we could down the cow trails to make them fly?

16. Swimming in the new water troughs under the windmills before they got all mossy and bug infested?

17. Turning our goldfish out in the horse troughs and finding them frozen that winter but then they magically came back to life in the spring?

18. Remember when the little pickup slid in the ditch and the back wheels were up in the air spinning?

19. Or when we were driving home from the basketball game in town and I ran into the steer on the road?  Err.

20. Speaking of steers.  All of our show steers and heifers names?  Isaiah, Howie, Snoopy, Woody, Sammy Hagar, Bullet, Kooly, Stella, Heather, Groundsow, Misery, Vicki Vail...

21. The time we dressed our tomcat up in a dress and he got loose and ran around the house for 3 days?

22. The terrible ideas we had with the cats in our playroom trying to see if they landed on their feet when they fell?

23.  The even terrible-er names we came up with for the dogs when we would play cars in the dirt and make tiny little cattle guards out of toothpicks?

24. The rolls and no-bake cookies in the school cafeteria?

25. Going to the cotton fields with Mary Anne to pick cotton so we could make our own coats?

26. Playing barbies with Scotta and she'd make us have all of the broken ones?

27. Robert teaching us about "mustard sandwiches"?

28. Pretending we knew how to "dip" and constantly spitting out of the back of the pickup?

29. Catching the bus at 645 in the morning?

30.  The time we swear Mom left us in our cribs all day when she went to Lubbock?

31.  The other time she made us take tap classes and we hated it?

32. Our Wonder Woman swimsuits?

33.  Birthday parties at the community center and we always got to have two separate cakes?

34. Reading Tinker and Tanker?

35. Getting up at 7 a.m. on Saturdays so we could always watch the Smurfs?

36. Coming home after school and watching Little House on the Prairie before going to the barn?

37.  Saying goodbye at OSU in front of the dorms when we decided to go to separate colleges?

38.  How I probably don't say it enough but you are the best sister ever.  













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Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Trip to Lake Tahoe

One of my dearest friends asked me yesterday, "What happened to your blog!?!"

I thought my Olympic disclaimer mentioned this vacation, but it did remind me to attempt to get back in the saddle, now that Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglass and the rest of us must return to normal lives (and bedtimes) as we await Rio.

Disclaimer One:  blogging takes TIME.  I was discussing this with my bloggy friend Melody over at http://mypassionfordecor.blogspot.com/
who, by the way, nominated me for a blogging award!

How fun is that?


Thanks Melody!

So I thought I'd start a few posts about some of the fun places we visited this summer.

In July, we got to travel to Lake Tahoe.  It was partly a work trip for Caleb but since we are also celebrating our tenth anniversary this summer, we made it "count" for that as well.  Killing two birds with one expense, er, I mean stone, if you will.

You know you are staying in a fancy place when you check in, and they hand you glasses of champaign.  

Here was the view from the hotel balcony.  No lake, but beautiful mountains behind us.  I have no idea who that big guy in the pool is, but he should be happy he made my blog.  
Did I mention morning temps of low 50's?
Tell me why I live in the midwest again?


Speaking of morning temperatures that mimic what heaven is going to be like (I haven't found it in the Bible but I'm sure God has us covered on this one), while the hubby was in breakfasty-meetings, I got to have my quiet time here.
See how beautifully still that lake was?
If only my soul could be that still...


Then I went for walks each morning.  That rock between those trees went up to my chest to give you an idea of how gorgeous and tall those bad boys were.
(Why do I tend to "want to" and "enjoy" exercise so much more on vacation?)


The one thing we really wanted to try that we have never done before is go white water rafting. 
O.M.G.  So. Much. Fun.
Except for the moment I almost died.  Or thought I almost died.
Or rather had a nasty panic attack in the water while I was convinced I was drowning.  But as you can see in this picture, I apparently get over near-death experiences quite quickly because I was smiling at every rapid.
(FYI:  After your rafting trip is over, if your friends drink several Bud Lights they are highly inclined to buy these photos that they sell in the gift shop).
I have no idea how we ended up with these.  Wink. 


And if you are ever in Lake Tahoe, you must promise you'll go to a little Mexican place called Caliente. 
Sorry for this terrible picture.
But I was so excited to eat these I must have been shaking.
(Never mind that bottle you see on the top of the picture.  Again, rafting all day in 98 degree temperatures makes a person quite thirsty).
These little delicious morsels of manna from heaven were deep-fried AND stuffed jalapeno peppers.
You must order these.  And if you dare, they have a margarita list that will make you blush reading them, much less saying the names out loud while ordering them.





On our second day we had a fishing guide who took us all over the lake.
Up at 5 a.m. to catch a sunrise like this.



The lake looked like a swimming pool.
Our guide told us that the water has actually diminished in clarity in the last 20 years, but I thought it was still amazing.


Oh, and because you want to know these things, this is Sylvester Stallone's lake house.  I think it had seven fireplaces?  
I expected to see him running up those rocks like he did in Rocky, but I don't think anyone was home.


After several hours of fishing and too many snacks for me (the best fishing guides give their customers lots to munch on while you wait), we finally had a bite on the line.
I was volunteered to reel it in.

Can I just say it is not as easy as it looks?
The line was 334 feet below the water.  As I started to get tired and feel like a gigantic weenie (simultaneously thinking they will all kill me if I accidently let go of that rod), our guide (who I kept calling Neal and I think his name was Phil), yelled, "Laurie, only 180 feet to go!"

Here is the fish!  I mean trout!  I mean blabbity, blabbity, golden-lake-cold-water-something-or-another-lake trout!
(And my cute friend Meg.  Of the duo of some of our favorite couple friends: Pete & Meg).



Please notice the fish.  Not my arm fat.  Unbrushed hair. Or goofy smile.
Fish only.


Since we really weren't interested in packing up frozen fish for the flight home, our guide dropped us off at the Wet Woody's dock where the restaurant cooked him up for us to order for a small fortune, I mean, nominal price.
He was delicious blackened with some saucy goodness over him.


Such a fun time.  Happy tenth anniversary to us!

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