Monthly Archives: May 2012

Seeing is believing

I had a two-hour meeting at school last week going over the results of the full evaluation that various psychologists, therapists, doctors, and educators had done on Travis.

You know what’s fun? 

Sitting in a room listening to fifteen other people tell you everything that’s wrong with your child.

It’s not that these evaluations aren’t helpful.  I completely understand and support his teachers who need to know his weaknesses and strengths in order to best support him through his educational program.  I think it’s important to know that he has good receptive skills and that his expressive skills could use a little work.  It’s just that when I’m on hour two of being on the receiving end of that pitiable look, it gets to be a bit much.

I have been known to cry at these meetings. 

I learned a few years ago that biting the inside of my cheek until it really hurt keeps the tears from falling and helps maintain an outer semblance of composure. 

Last week as I listened to more and more words like “extremely low functioning” and “borderline intellectual disability” and “multiply handicapped” I felt the familiar sensation that indicates that my emotions are about to spiral. Not wanting to appear like I was the one in need of a psychological evaluation,  I grabbed a pen and started taking notes on what they were saying, not because I thought it was information worth keeping, but as a mental distraction more than anything.

And then my pen took on a life of its own, and a thought found its way through the ink, and this is what I wrote.

For those of you not proficient in reading serial killer chicken scratch, I wrote “I don’t see it – I see Him”.



When I wrote those words, I was trying to inject a little encouragement by reminding myself that I didn’t see the disability, the damage, weakness and struggle.  I just see Travis, my beautiful son whose laughter opens my soul to joy and whose love has profoundly changed me.  But as I was hurriedly writing the thought on the sheet, God was writing a different word on my heart.  You see, I didn’t mean to capitalize “him” because I was thinking about my son.

But God was thinking of His daughter.

I see Him.

Where the world sees lack, I see His abundance.

Where the world sees he can’t, I see He can.

Where the world sees disability, I see His great ability to radiate grace and love and compassion and mercy and strength through the countenance of His children.

I don’t know what brokenness you have in front of you today but I can tell you that God is found there in a beautiful way. Sometimes it takes opening our eyes a little wider or waiting patiently, or changing the angle of our view to get a brand new perspective on His redemptive work.  He is there and all we have to do is look and see and and know that He is majestic and loving and powerful and sovereign and good.

Oh, so good.

Others see Travis.

I see Him.

Have a nice day.

Memorial Day 2012

Happy Day After Memorial Day! I’ll spend the rest of the week missing appointments because my brain doesn’t adjust to a week starting on Tuesday but you won’t hear me complaining one whit.  We had a clear calendar going into the holiday weekend and successfully managed to keep it that way .  We swam, lounged, read, watched movies, snacked, napped to the Indy 500, grilled, shopped (but didn’t buy), went to the movies (The Avengers) and spent quality time together except for the three or four hours that I’d rather forget on Monday that the boys took to tidy their bedrooms. That was painful .

I did as little cooking as possible.  Craig did some experimenting with a new marinade for pork and chicken (there’s an important BBQ competition coming up in mid-June that his team wants to win so they’ll qualify for the national championship in Kansas City) so there was plenty to reheat and eat on Saturday and Sunday and for our Memorial Day grill-out we kept it simple with hot dogs and potato salad.

JJ had been asking me to try Pioneer Woman’s cherry limeade recipe so I made a batch for our dinner and it was Sonic good.  The only thing missing was their perfect crunchy ice.

I also made these fun pretzel rods that Adrienne Who Lives In The Comments Section had pinned to her board a few weeks ago.  They were festive and took seconds to make.

And a good time was had by all.

Have a nice day.



Five on Friday

1.  Craig bought an electric ice cream maker that doesn’t require rock salt for freezing and we put it to good use this past week making strawberry ice cream with fresh-from-the-field berries.

I can’t wait to do this little experiment with peaches in July.

2.  Momologuer was in town for a couple of days this week.  It made my heart happy to spend time with her catching up on life.  We packed a lot into a day and a half – lunched at girly restaurants (Zest and Relish), hit HomeGoods, Michael’s and the Container Store for crafty goodness, wandered the mall, sat on the back porch listening to the afternoon rain, consumed the traditional late night snack of potato chips and french onion dip, and did a little decorating.

3.  I’ve been trying to keep more fresh things around the house so we don’t rely on food in cans.  This picture of my grocery basket sums up what I want summer meals to look like.

4.  There is a disconnect between what I want and what I do, so garden goodness notwithstanding and because of the aforementioned ice cream, girly lunches, and copious chip eating, I’ve reunited with my pilates DVD.

And the inability to activate any abdominal muscles without crying.

5.  Speaking of crying, there may have been a whimper or two from He Who Shall Remain Nameless who was offered the senior citizen discount at IHOP last night.

There was, however, outright guffawing from the other half of the table.

That would be the freshly-highlighted half who pays good money to avoid suspicion of being a day over 39.

Have a nice day.


Hi, Mom

1. Work.

2. Company coming today and house is a wreck.

3. Bad Hair.

4. Obsessed with pico de gallo.

5. Bought a maxi dress.

6.  Striped.

7.  Yes, it was a bold move.

8. Kids are fine.

9.  Husband still comes home at the end of the day.

10.  I’ll call you soon.

Have a nice day.

Five on Friday

1.  My friend Gretchen and her husband raise chickens on a farm just north of town and they’ve started selling their extra eggs.  I took delivery of a couple of dozen this past week.

Don’t you just love the green one?  Some of the chickens lay “Easter eggs” that are a pale green or blue color. 

It makes me happy.

But huevos rancheros made with Easter eggs makes me happier.

2. I took the day off yesterday to nourish the old creative spirit and spent some time wandering both Jo-Ann and Hancock Fabrics.  I found a couple of projects to work on.

Though for the life of me I cannot figure out why I chose another project with sleeves.  You’d think I’d learn after not being able to freely move my arms all day yesterday while wearing the top sewed last summer.

3.  The back deck herb garden is adding a lot of zing to the kitchen.  Last week’s favorite dish was pasta that had handfuls of chopped parsley, lemon oregano, and basil in it.  I added a healthy dose of garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese  and threw some prepackaged grilled chicken breast strips into the mix.  It was good, fast, and say it with me, one pot.

I’ve also been making herbal tea to drink at night by bruising a dozen leaves of mint and/or lemon balm and steeping them in hot water for about 10 minutes.  Really tasty and an easy way to use up the overabundance of those prolific plants.

4.  It’s almost summer and my favorite TV shows have gone to reruns so I’ve started the summer reading program. This summer I’m shooting for smarty-pants learning books instead of the usual fluffy stuff.  I picked up Tony Robbins “Awaken the Giant Within” a couple of day ago and am thinking a lot about what he calls “the power of the decision”.  Not sure how that’s going to translate into better meal planning or getting my laundry done, but I’m a couple of chapters in and really enjoying it.

5.  Remember the sad little $4 table I found earlier this week at the thrift store?

It took a can and a half of spray paint and someone please remind me next time not to wear white pants while waving tinted aerosol  but it’s done and sitting out on the back porch bringing lots of joy and a sense of satisfaction.

I hope your week was equally enjoyable and full of fun.

See y’all on Monday.

Have a nice day.

Double Vision

Tommy had been complaining of blurry vision while doing homework which I thought was a stall tactic until I took him in for an eye exam and they told me that he was nearsighted or farsighted or whatever it is when you can’t read things up close.

After I got over feeling super guilty that I’d ignored weeks of him telling me something wasn’t quite right, we then spent a lot of time looking at frames in the optometrist’s office and learned that Tommy takes after his mama when it comes to picking out the most expensive thing in the case.  Sensing that $400 frames in the hands of a 12 year-old who loses three or four lunchboxes a year might not be such a great idea, we left and went to BJ’s where we found a more reasonably priced selection and a kid’s warranty plan.

It took a lot of trying on and discussion over which ones made him look cool and which ones might not be socially acceptable and I had to dig deep to give up control over his choice because it only took two seconds to realize we were on opposite sides in regards to preference and let me tell you, a shrink would have had a field day with the battle going on in my head trying to talk myself into not having a conniption in the aisle.

In the meantime, Travis was oblivious to his mother’s internal struggle and adopted a “the more, the merrier” policy.

In the end, I won the battle by turning the process over to Craig who did  a marvelous, non-emotional job in helping Tommy make his selection.  The new pair arrived yesterday and we picked them up and after weeks of talking about them and how much he was looking forward to getting them, he didn’t wear them one second while doing homework last night and had to be reminded to take them to school today.

But he did a great job picking them out and sure looks cute wearing them.

And he’ll look even cuter if they come home with him on the bus this afternoon.

Have a nice day.


In which I channel my inner Martha

I took the day off work yesterday and ran a bunch of errands.  I had a pile of things to return (lime pillows do not work on a cream sofa, by the way) and some things to pick up for the kids (now that it’s pool season, the offspring require working water guns) and I wanted to pick out some accessories for the empty potting bench on the back deck.

Some of you who visited the old house may remember this piece of furniture – it was in my kitchen as a baker’s rack of sorts and held cookbooks, the fruit bowl, assorted Legos, pencils, lunch boxes,  and the occasional dirty sock. 

I bought two decorative items from HomeGoods (love that store!) and the rest I picked up at the thrift shop.

I found this inexpensive tray at the thrift store and while it pained me to paint over sweet little Hannah’s handprints, the fun of having a new accent piece for$1.50 plus the cost of a can of spray paint more than made up for it.

Hannah and her handprints didn’t go easily.

I wasn’t looking for projects when I was at the store but found this little drop leaf table for $4 and couldn’t pass it up because, hello, FOUR DOLLARS for a sturdy little piece of furniture that would look darling as a plant stand.

And then I went to Home Depot to pick out paint and apparently the sight of a red-blooded female in the paint aisle was a bit too much for this guy who flirted with me for about fifteen minutes.

It did wonders for my self-esteem.

On the bright side, he’d been a professional painter since the time I was born I had inadvertently worn my sign that said “Tell me your life story”and he suggested that it might be better, faster, cheaper to go the spray paint route instead of latex (which was my first choice) since it was going to be an outdoor piece of furniture.

So I took his advice (if for no other reason than to get him to stop calling me “Honey” every other sentence)  and now I have a new project to occupy my time for a couple of days.

Once it’s painted (a cheerful blue), I’ll set it out against the deck rail. I think it will add a lot to the summery color palette going on out there and if it’s a bit too bright when fall rolls around, paint’s cheap.

I’m really happy with how the back porch is starting to come together.

I still need to fill in the bench shelves a little and find an outdoor rugs to place at the back door, but I’m not in a big rush to get it all finished.  I’d rather wait and find objects that I like instead of getting just any old thing to have it filled in. Of course I’ll throw that entire last sentence out the window the second I get distracted by something shiny or someone pins something interesting to their Pinterest board.

Yes, Adrienne-my-decorating-twin, I’m talking to you.

Have a nice day.


Monday Musings

We had a good week-end at the Carpool House.  My friend K came over Friday afternoon and we closed out the week with a glass of wine on the front porch, catching up with each other and enjoying the beautiful weather.  We’ve had this ritual for over five years now and that hour has become almost a benediction to the week for us.  We hate to miss it.

Saturday was opening day for the neighborhood pool so we spent a few hours there in the afternoon and I sweet-talked Craig into getting in the water so I wouldn’t have to and they all froze their patooties off while I basked in the sunshine and started working on the base tan that I’ll regret when I’m 70.

Sunday started out happily with cards and poems and flowers and a peaceful drive to church (a miracle!) but the shine wore off when I made La Cocina de Mama Greta the lunch choice.  The boys were nervous because they had never been there before and then a little miffed that nuggets, burgers, and fries were nowhere to be found on the menu.

Tommy said that somehow I’d managed to turn Mother’s Day into Soul Crushing Day. 

So glad I could oblige.

He wasn’t the only one struggling with my choice.  I had to keep Craig from going off the ledge because every picture in the place was crooked and it was making him twitchy.

Travis was also a little wrapped around the axle because he had heard me order in Spanish and to him that somehow meant that his pancakes and eggs and bacon wouldn’t turn out to be English.

It did make me a little sad that my decision resulted in nothing being bright and shiny and you’d think that after almost thirteen years of parenting I would know better but Craig cheered me up when he told me that after lunch he’d take me to pick out cushions for our patio furniture as a Mother’s Day gift.

Hooray for a sensitive husband who knows shopping is a love language. 

We went to Lowe’s and Home Depot where I didn’t find anything thrilling and we were headed to Target to check out their selection but on the way we passed World Market and pulled in on a whim and found a ton of stuff that was cute, colorful, and conveniently on sale.

And then I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside on the back deck, away from a ferocious case of sibling squabbling that had erupted inside enjoying the quiet and doing an occasional load of laundry here and there to remind me that every day is Mother’s Day.

I hope your weekend was just as lovely.

Have a nice day.


Five on Friday: iPhone Style

1. My Interwebs is down and the “hold the button and hope something new happens when everything comes back up” strategy didn’t work.

And it’s not a router problem, NotNed and Douggie, because my other wireless devices are working.

Since it will be several hours before my in-house tech support is available (T’s bus doesn’t get home til 3), I am phoning it in this morning.

I am also regretting not cutting my fingernails down to the nub because the typos that are showing up as I fat-finger text are bordering on the ridiculous.

2. On the good news front, my father-in-law had successful heart surgery this week and he is on the slow mend. Craig went to be with him and got to spend some quality nuclear family time with his folks and sister without spousal or feral offspring interference. We are hoping that his dad will sufficiently and thoroughly exasperate the hospital staff by the weekend so he can go home and rest in peace.

But not the dirt kind of rest.

The easy chair and the remote kind.

3. My employers have offered me a full-time job. Again. Even though I told them thanks, but no thanks. I am not settled in my response. I very often think “No way!” but then I waffle. In this economy, nothing is guaranteed. And then I think “Are you crazy? You’d never get to take off and traipse across America like you do!” And then I think “maybe I could negotiate” and then my head starts to hurt from all the thinking so I stop.

4. In an attempt to shake things up and get out of my conservative rut, I had our very-visible-from-indoors back deck painted a color I now regret.

Similarly, but without the long-term consequences, I also regretted painted my toes pink after years of wearing OPI’s Route Beer Float brown.

Sometimes, it’s good to stick with your old ways.

5. But not always. Because in the last few weeks my world has opened to new friends and a new way of experiencing my hometown and it has made me feel settled in a good way. (As settled as this gypsy spirit will ever be, anyway.)

I like where I am today. On a warm, sunny porch, my work done for the week, a healthy family, and a 3G connection that will tide me over til the school bus shows up.

Life is good.

Have a nice day.

I have no title.

If you’ll allow one second of fangirl shallowness this morning, did everyone see the Castle season finale last night?


I’m a HUGE fan of the show and this season has been a little on the frustrating side what with the “he’s ready/not ready to tell her, she’s ready/not ready to hear it” routine but after last night, all is well in my pretend TV world and though the summer hiatus will be very horridly extremely exceedingly long, at least it’ll be happy.

Speaking of happy, I’ve had some fun days at the house. Blog life has been a little sparse because May tends to be the busiest month of my year but the busy hasn’t been all work and no play.  I’ve had some new experiences such as frying chicken on the bone in a cast iron skillet for the first and last time (what a mess!), wearing a new clothing style (the cold shoulder top – jury’s still out), and seeing my first post-50-year-old woman with pink hair (just say no).

Though I will give her points for matching the hair with the pants and purse.

I saw the Pink Lady when I met Kellie for lunch last Friday at Guglhupf Bakery.  I had saved my calories ALL WEEK just for that occasion because history has taught me that excessive carbohydrates tend to make an appearance anytime she and I are together and sure enough, this encounter didn’t disappoint.

Three guesses as to who chose the salad as the side option and who went with the all-brown option.


I don’t know why we even bothered to eat lunch because we were really there for dessert.  Guglhupf has some ah-mazing pastries and seeing the rows of available options in the display case kind of overwhelmed me when it came time to make my selection.

So I did what you already know I did.  I got a little bit of everything.

It was for the children, people, FOR THE CHILDREN.

Speaking of children, mine have started ignoring me.  Last night after a yummy supper (I’m not above cooking my way into their hearts) they wandered to their respective rooms and didn’t even come downstairs to get their goodnight hug and kiss when it was time to go to bed.  It makes me a little wistful that they don’t want to hang out with me as much as they used to. I know it’s the age and not because they don’t love me (they are sweet, sweet boys and affectionate, loving, and respectful toward me) and I can remember wanting to be alone in my room when I was a young teenager so that I could daydream, write angsty things in my journal and belt out ABBA songs into my hairbrush microphone, but I’m hoping that this phase is relatively short-lived and they will emerge from their hiding spot soon and once again hang out with me in the kitchen so that all is right in my world.

Sounds like I may need to go back to Guglhupf and buy more cookies.

Have a nice day.