Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All good things must keep going

You thought I was going to say "come to an end," didn't you? Well, let's just throw that phrase in the trash and delete it forever. It's too pessimistic for my taste! Life is rough; we don't need crap like that to hold us back. 


Tomorrow will be my last full day visiting with my sister in Denver. My oldest sister and I road tripped it out here on Monday, and we've been having fun and laughing it up ever since! 


But just because our time together is ending doesn't mean we won't be taking with us all these nuggets of love, fun, and friendship! I'm thankful I could take some time off to enjoy this time with these girls. They are forever inspiring me by their hospitality, love, and keeping it real. We stay connected with my other sisters and a couple of nieces through a group text. We text everyday, all day! So although we're spread across five states, our iPhones are spanning the time and space between us. 



While we've been in Denver we eaten some amazing meals (thanks Andy!) and gone skating (I didn't don any skates; I break out in a sweat and my hands start shaking just thinking about it), shopped at Ikea, drank wine, played a visious game of spoons, gone to the aquarium, eaten a wine popsicle, logged countless miles on my sister's old lady glider, and gone on a walk up to a 6,310 ft. lookout point near my sister's house. Today we're going on a mountain hike--with all three children. I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.












Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A new footprint

Vincent's class did clay footprints. They did them last year for Mother's Day. I'm amazed at the difference, and maybe a little sad too. Sad that I haven't loved up that baby inside him and pushed him so hard to grow into the two year he is today. I think we'll always struggle with that; me holding onto that snuggle side of him that was him for so frustratingly long while pushing him to take the leap without me holding his hand, to know it's OK to carve out your curiosity on your own and make your own path. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Passions

Nora Roberts wrote in a reader's note in the beginning of Blue Dahlia {yes, I'll read Nora from time to time, along with the classics: Twilight and Pride and Prejudice}: I don't have hobbies. I have passions.
I feel this way. A hobby seems to imply some indifference to the subject. But I love what I do in my pastimes, passionately. I'm no expert in everything I do. I'm a moody knitter, a wanna be sewer, an inspiring prints designer, a loving gardener {i fall madly in love with every flower}, and an aspirational writer. I'm passionate in all these. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Our paver patio is done

Break open the bubbly! Do some shots! Put on your flip flops and head over because our patio is done!


We actually need to finish doing the sand to fill in the gaps and maybe leveling a few pavers that settled a little, but nothing a good whack with the mallet can't fix.



If you remember we had one row left to do. But before we could finish it we had to buy one more piece of edger. While the in laws were here on Sunday and could watch Vincent, we quickly plowed ahead and put down the final pavers.
The moment was more anticlimactic than I wanted it to be. Maybe because we needed to hurry and go eat because dinner was ready. I wish we would have reveled a little longer in completing a long, sweaty project that took a year to complete. Instead it was swept away with the next moment. It's a project that marks two wildly different summers for us. 


Last year was bitter hot and Vincent couldn't walk, so entertaining him was impossible without help. This time last year we were certain he was autistic. Jonathan was needing surgery and we had to stop early on in the summer and on the project to tackle that. This summer: The weather has been mild and cooler; Vincent's not only running around the place, he owns it. He's happy; he talking and counting, and asking all sorts of curious questions and making crazy cute statements. Jonathan is all healed and no longer in discomfort. In hindsight, it's amazing we even had the willpower to tackle such a big project last year. I'm proud we did it, but I'm not sure we'll be doing it again. I owe you a final amazing picture. Standby because, to me, summer has only just began!

Breakfast

Breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day. It usually doesn't take long to put together and I love the flavor.


Right now I'm on a Greek yogurt and fresh fruit kick. There's nothing quite so luscious as creamy thick yogurt paired with slices of juicy fresh peach or tart raspberries. 

I also love hard boiled eggs, hormone free and all that good stuff {they taste way better, believe me}. This week I paired it with a slice of stone ground wheat bread {Nature's Harvest, super yum}, and Rainer cherries. Yum and beautiful at the same time. 


I think good food should be beautiful too. It makes it taste more amazing. Next year I'm hoping we can plant a little garden {carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans--we'll see what else my inner Martha cooks up}. Lately I've not shied away from putting food on Vincent plate I'm certain he won't eat {and more certainly will play with}, but know in time he'll come to recognize, try, and some day love. It's wonderful to see him make those choices already. As long as I leave it to him and don't force him, he generally will try everything.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kansas Belle

Chugga chugga choo choo! A few months ago I saw a little flyer for the Kansas Belle dinner train. Stop the train. You read that right! How fun does that sound? What's more is they do entertainment like murder mysteries onboard for more money.
We plan to leave Vincent with Grandma and Papa one weekend and meet up my sister to go. It departs from Baldwin City. It's a little pricey, but it sounds like some good entertainment. And I've always wanted to go on a train {and eat}. Check it out and get on board.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Love the life you live, live the life you love

Bring on Friday, where all my troubles will melt away. Not really, but a girl can dream {big time}. I'm still wrapping up some freelance writing. I would totally be done by now if two things hadn't have happened: a) I lost power on my computer and didn't save my notes from a story interview, and b) sources would have talked to me sooner. But it's all good! It'll get done come hell or high water.

I'm still searching for a new job. It's a never-ending quest full of boosting my low self esteem and really showing people what I can do. I don't think I interview well. I lose my train of thought a lot {there's a reason I'm a writer, not an orator} and I have a nervous laugh with a quirky sense of humor that most people probably don't get {except for my husband, who I'm thankful for everyday for laughing at my jokes}. The truth is, I probably have way too much experience for the jobs that are out there, and it's put me in an awkward situation where I have practically do a performance to tell them I'll take the pay and the job—despite the fact that I should be making more because I don't make enough, for what I do, to begin with.

Vincent wrapped up his physical and occupational therapy this month. We had stopped doing our private therapy sessions we were paying for back last year after he started walking on the advice from our therapist there that the rest was about to fall in line and he didn't need her to make it happen. We still kept him on with Infant & Toddler services, which is more or less a glorified Parents as Teachers program. In any case, we're happy to have successfully gotten Vincent on track and up to speed. This time last year he couldn't even walk. Now he's a walking, talking, jumping bean. Well, maybe not some much jumping, but he's close. He can count to 15, knows the Clean Up song which he sings when he cleans up his toys without being told, prays before every meal and before bed, says he wants a hug when he really wants to be held. I'm enjoying this age. So much so that I sometimes wonder if we have it in us to do the baby thing again {don't worry, we will}. We were beyond blessed with a difficult baby who transformed into a sweet, smart, and a little too charming boy that only tests the respects of Mom and Dad.

I've started grilling. I'm in love. Makes me want to research cuts of meats and fish, buy those veggie grill baskets, and read my grilling bible.

My house has become more of a home lately. Not because I've decorated it much more than when we moved in 3 years ago, but there's so much I love about the space. Currently my favorite room is my office {that I still need to paint}. It has an odd ball mix of decor, but it's organized, functional, and has a touch of whimsy that I adore.

Last, Baby George? Really? I admit, it's growing on me as a future king's name. I just hope Kate was cool with it. I can't imagine anyone telling me what to name my child, royalty or not.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This is what crazy feels like

This week has been insane! I've been trying to wrap up story interviews for four articles I'm writing as a freelancer {so thankful for the opportunity and to be writing again...for extra money}, studying up for a job interview {with the same company that gave me the freelance gig}, and trying to get my August issue of my day job scooted along {it's not going well; my freelancer somehow missed my email last week asking for edits}. On top of that, Vincent was home sick Tuesday {puking} so I "stayed home" with him and then yesterday Jonathan stayed home with him, but Vincent struggled to understand that Mommy couldn't come play and kept opening my office door and telling me not to close it again. Bossy! Added to that, next week I'm taking the week off to head to Denver to see my sister. I'm uncertain if Vincent will be coming with me. My oldest sister is driving us {I think it's 9 hours there}. I'm not sure my nerves can handle a car ride with a two year old for that long. Plus it would be nice to relax with my sisters who I don't see often enough. This sister needs a break...from this charming face. 










Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Finish

You're prewarned: I'm plugging a brand of dishwasher detergent I just discovered from my sister. I had to share in case you're having the same cloudy issues I was having with my dishwasher detergent, and I have a thing for the cleaning products.
Finish tabs are these concentrated rectangles of detergent you tuck in the main detergent cup of your washer. They come in different varieties and they sell some other dishwasher detergent products like rinse aid, but I just went with the cheapest tab version since I'm trying them out.
My glasses are still a little cloudy, but they're ancient and have been subject to hard water for around 10 years, so I'm hoping a few more washes with Finish will help. 
I'll come down from my product plug now, but I wanted to give you a review of a product I'm enamored with. It really bugs me when my dishes look unclean. Nothing drive me more insane than cleaning and you can't tell.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Patio almost done

On Sunday, Jonathan and I jumped out of bed {at 9}, threw on some old clothes, and worked on the patio. We managed to get two rows laid before the threat of rain had us putting everything away. Of course, it didn't rain, but it was just as well. We only have one more row to do before the patio will be finished! Of course, I had to point out that our last piece of edger wasn't long enough. We've made far too many trips to Home Depot to finish this project. I'm hoping Jonathan can knock out the last row on Friday when he's home.
I did manage to plant my mandevillas but decided I needed another one. Walmart didn't carry any of the small versions, but at $13, I was OK buying a larger version. 
I ended up finding a buying two pots at Walmart too. For the record, Home Depot has a very limited selection. Later I found out that Lowes has a very larger and good priced selection. 
But the two rust colored beauties I found I Walmart were exactly the style I was looking for and they I are actually plastic, making them easier to move inside come winter. They were pretty pricey in my opinion {$17} considering Lowes was selling large stone planters for $22. So if you're looking for containers, check Lowes first.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What are your favorite {apps}?

I've had an iPhone for many years now. I love and breathe the Apple, but the app hype has died down tremendously for me. I used to download a new app every week, give it a spin, and then usually delete it if it was a novelty. But over the years, I've amassed a few apps I can't live without.
{Jessaca's Tried and True apps}
1. Cozi
I use this for shopping lists. The great thing about this is that your whole family can belong to the same account and if a change is made, say, adding a bottle of olive oil, the change will be made every where. No emailing or texting an updated list. I also like it because I can delete items as I go. One of the functionalities I haven't explored are categories within a list. I have a feeling this could bring some much needed organization to my list, like all the dairy items listed together.
2. Feedly
This is a new one for me. I was never a Google Reader user, but now I sort of wish I would have been just so I can know why so many lamented its death. Feedly is awesome at letting me know when a blog/website I follow has been updated and provided the content right there. Sometimes you have to click over if the blogger has out in a jump, but if its good enough material, I'm happy to click.
3. Blogger app
Logging into your blog account from computer just to write a post is too much work. {call me lazy} Makes writing drafts quick and simple, and since I take all my pics from my phone {poor neglected DSR}, I can easily add them in. It does lack some design options, like picture alignment and captions, but I'm cool without those {for now. Are you listening Google? Get it together!}
4. Pinterest
It's my eye candy, living in a fantasy world app. I go through phases of looking and pinning, but as a person who hoards old issues of magazines, I love the concept of having a digital system of inspiring pictures as well as finding new recipes and ideas. 
There you have it. Some of my most loved apps. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'll do that tomorrow

Do you get caught up in that phrase? Boy, I do. I can be a world-class procrastinator. You would think at 31 I would be mature enough not to, but old habits die hard, I suppose.
This week I shipped off this month's issue of the magazine I edit. The July issue. It was supposed to have gone two weeks ago, and I worked hard to meet that deadline (no procrastinating there), but sales needed more time and apparently no one felt comfortable shipping without me while I was on vacation.
My sister visited while her daughter was up the road at a cross country camp. It was a wonderful week. But coming back was hard. Between shipping, trying get some interviews done for some writing assignments I've taken on as a freelancer, and lastly, still trying to get a new job, things are falling off my plate left and right. And procrastination is setting in. 
Do you ever meet those people who tackle every assignment and project with purpose? I wish I was that kind of person. Instead I spend a lot of times spinning my wheels sitting around (OK, sometimes I procrastinate for the sake of a nap, which I never regret) thinking of all the things I want to do and could be doing, but I get so overwhelmed that stress sets in and I go sit on the couch or porch instead. It's a disheartening process that I realize a lot of people go through. It takes a lot courage to follow up on inspiration. How do you head of procrastination and stay accomplished?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer means pesto

What are you cooking this summer? We live in an open concept front-to-back ranch {I think that's what it's called, don't quote me}, so although all the light that floods our house colors me happy, cooking in it can become a hot affair. So I've been in search of recipes that don't require the oven and either are made on the stove top, crock pot, or of course grilled {it's hot out there anyways}. Since we're growing a few things this year, namely basil, mint, and tomatoes, I've been making pesto {with stinky cheese}. I love pesto {with my whole heart}, but I've always bought it at the store. I'm learning I can make it just as good and it's so easy and simple. Throw it on a bed of whole wheat pasta and top with some fresh cut tomatoes and pair with grilled fish or chicken, and you're set {and your house stays cool}. Now I just need to work on my wine pairings. Any thoughts?
{from this}

{to that}

Yum!


Friday, July 19, 2013

A large pile of...strawberries!

Name that popular kids book! Pete the Cat is popular in our house, but if you go online and listen to the reading of it, the  voice over is hilarious.
I plucked these babies from my clearance $2.50 strawberry plant from Walmart. They're teeny tiny and probably don't taste the best, but they're fun.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bitter pill to swallow

We tried growing lettuce this year. Crazy I know. But it grew. And looked pretty. Then I picked some and ate it in a salad. It made me cringe how bitter it was. I guess I didn't pick it early enough, and the heat caused it to bolt and be bitter. But that's what I love about gardening. You get multiple chances each year for a do-over, learning as you go and growing yourself as you do. If you don't do some sort of gardening, I highly recommend it. It feeds you body and soul. 
Here's Vincent frolicking through my flowers. You can just glimpse my simpson lettuce. This picture is a little old, and probably right when I needed to pick the leaves. 
Garden fresh but bitter lettuce on the left and another garden's cucumbers (they were tasty, thanks Katniss!) on the right. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Clearance flowers

Yesterday I was in an uber grouchy mood. Not sure why. And I needed to go to the store. Vincent is a good store buddy. He loves going to the store, and he's really good too.
We headed to Walmart and I was determined that I would buy some clearance flowers for my patio. 

For $9 I got three mandevillas. You can see them in the picture above hanging out with my containers of herbs, tomatoes, and a few flowers. I plan to buy some worn stone urns to plant them in. Since I have extra pavers, my sister had a great idea to place them sporadically around the patio and place containers on them. Great idea!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Patio

I struggled with what to call this post, and decided simply to call it The Patio because it has a story. The Patio actually came to be from reading Young House Love's experience of putting in their own patio. That John made it look so easy and beautiful. And I thought, "Surely we can do that." 
This project began last summer. Did you catch that? Last. Summer. And it isn't an easy project. It's not a short affair like YHL's was, which was done by a single person!!!
Oh, did you notice that I used present tense there? Well, that's because it's not done. We have three rows left, which probably equates to three hours of work if not more. It's back breaking, sweaty, and frustrating work. And the perfectionists in us are struggling with doing it right. Except when we're not doing it right. We're probably doing every part wrong to achieve a patio that works for our sloped yard. I'm hoping the end result, which should be done this weekend since we'll be kidless, will still look good. If it doesn't, I might have to move. 

Because we are building such a large patio--I think it's around 6ft.x15ft--we needed to dig down half an inch for every foot. We dug down 7in. I think that's the correct math. It sounds small, but it isn't, especially in 107 degree weather we experienced last summer.
So we dug, and my in laws even got in the action <--forever grateful. Then we laid weed blocker, base, and sand. We rented machines we had no business operating. We laid probably a fourth of the patio before we got derailed by the surgery husband needed. So two tarps were purchased, and The Patio was covered. And it sat until nearly halfway into the summer because of some heavy rainfall we experienced this spring and early summer.
This summer we uncovered it. Purchased more bags of sand and base. We learned our lesson there. Go to a place that will deliver a bulk pile. Live and learn. And learn how to calculate properly. I think that first day back on the job we laid five rows we were so eager to make headway on The Patio. Now we have three rows left and I'm itching to cruise patio sets (we'll buy one next year since almost all sets are sold out), flowers I want to plant, and some containers to put around here and there with flowers. I'm aiming for a Tuscan feel, but it might end up being more rustic (read: DIY and beginner experience)
One day, I'll share more on our process, what we spent (haha...budgets), how it turned out, and some other ideas have I have percolating. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Um, hello

I've decided to come back to the world of blogging. I've spent months soul searching about it. Do I blog? Am I oversharing? Who cares to read what's happening in my life? Does blogging make my ego look fat? In this time, I've journaled. A lot. And it's still something I hope to do. There's something about the old-school form of taking pen to paper, not worrying about adding pictures but letting your words describe what's going on in your life. Your words are your pictures. Sure I condense it down more than I would if I were blogging because I am prone to writer's cramp, but I choose those big moments of what's going on, not currently standing in line at Walmart and here's a picture of it. Although, that's sometimes fun too. But I miss this too. It's a little more creative.

What am I coming back to? I'm not sure yet. My organized brain wants to put together a blog calendar, schedule posts, do projects, take pictures, but the other part of me wants to not miss enjoying little moments because I'm trying too hard to capture them on this blog.

Anywho, I'm coming back, if you care. Next week my sister from Oklahoma comes to visit. We're bound to get into trouble (wine) and have fun (more wine). Also, catch my world in pictures or in 140 characters.