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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good Clean Fun

We leave this week for our first family vacation ever involving toddlers and airplanes...aren't you jealous? We are flying up to Michigan for a reunion with B Daddy's side of the family. I cannot wait to escape the heat and humidity that has been constant in Georgia since July began. 

Earlier this week the combination of heat, humidity and toddler insanity that I can only blame on the weird full-moon thing meant I was grasping at straws for toddler entertainment. Since I'm not great at handling messes, I striped them down, plopped them in the bathtub and then gave them finger paints. 

They started out putting paint on paper, but it didn't take Sweet B long to realize paint on skin was way more interesting. 

It was a hit and clean up was a cinch. If you are an anal-no-mess kind of mama like me, give it try! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Right Away Mr. Draper

I'm sure you thought we were going quite puritanical on you what with the cutting of cable and the uber-introspection from last week. I hope you know us well enough to know that couldn't be farther from the truth. We've been talking about cutting the cord for a while, but eventually the conversation would always roll around to, "what about football season?" and we'd chicken out. This time we decided to go for it and figure football season out in September. In the meantime we're saving $65 month, which is enough to keep all the children in clean diapers for 30 days. Not puritans by any stretch of imagination, just trying to save money on something that we really didn't utilize much of in the first place.

A few days after kissing U-verse good-bye, we signed up for a free month long trial of Netflix streaming video service. For $7.99 I'll have access to all the Curious George and Backyardigans episodes two toddlers could ever dream of watching. Oh and also 5 back seasons of Mad Men. Yes please.

B Daddy and I have been enjoying the escapades of Don Draper pretty much every evening for the last week. It's our coping mechanism of choice after a long day with the kids or the office and it's even cheaper than 2 Buck Chuck.  I love having 60 episodes at my fingertips. Don't spoil my fun by telling me any current season details whatsoever.

Here are a few blog posts I've considered and done nothing about in the last week. If I get some motivation and find some words I may be back to bother you again tomorrow...or Friday...or possibly next week sometime. Til then!

The One Where Katie Decides to Lose 12 Pounds by October

The One Where Ben is Super Cute

The One Where Elijah Sings We Will Rock You

The One Where Britain Finally Stops Screaming All the Time

The One Where You Feel Sorry For Us and Our Speeding Ticket Fines

The One Where I Give Up Coffee For A Week

The One Where We Went Hang Gliding and It Was Amazing

Oh the things blogland has been missing in my absence.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dog Paddling

The last two weeks I've felt like our labrador Dakota whenever she gets the chance to go for a swim.

We don't live near the water, so opportunities are few and far between, but when we head to the lake for the weekend, Dakota is entirely predictable. She bounds unabashedly across the sand, tongue hanging wildly from her open mouth and splashes down into the water without inhibition. Once her legs can no longer touch bottom she begins the rhythm of the dog-paddle. It's only once she's begun swimming that we can see she was bred specifically for this. To be able to swim confidently and competently. Her motions are fluid, her usually heavy frame taking on an uncharacteristic litheness. She looks fully engaged - intent on keeping her head above water - and fully energized - intent on reaching whatever drew her out into the deep.

But after a minute or two, she invariably loses confidence. Swimming is something she doesn't do much of and in addition to being out of practice, she's always a bit out of shape. We'll watch her scan the horizon for B Daddy or myself. If she catches our eye, she'll fiercely paddle for her life and reaching us, she'll cling like a child, all four paws and twenty too-long nails digging into our flesh.

If she can't find us, she'll turn towards the shore and escape back to the beach. It's known there.



A few weeks back I read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and it wrecked me a bit. Then I read Love Does and found myself being drawn out into the deep.

Yesterday I read Ann Voskamp's post about visiting her Compassion-sponsored child in Haiti and I agreed. I was angry.

I have seen poverty. I have seen need. I don't know what to do. 

In moments of unrestrained passion I convince myself we need to move. Move somewhere where poverty is unavoidable. Move where need is tangible and God moves big. Move to the south-side where the homeless sleep on the street. Move where we're stretched so far and so thin God has to move to sustain us. Move out of the bubble of upper-middle class insulation and excess.

Then I think of my family. This extended family that I want my children to know like I never did and  I think we should stay here. I think there is a ministry and a purpose within my suburban life.

So then I want to give so much of 'our' money that it hurts. I want to be forced to consider the poor each time we make a purchase, to truly LOVE my neighbor as myself - with my money and the line items on my budget. And I wonder if having a diamond on my hand is okay when children are dying every day for lack of clean diamond could dig a well or two couldn't it?

I think it is wise to save for the future. I remind myself that money is not evil. It's the motives of the heart that matter to God. I remember that mommies at MOPS need Jesus and how can I tell them if I'm not there alongside them?  And didn't God use a queen "for such a time as this?"

I resolve to do small things with great love. Mother Teresa believed that was enough. God can bless and sustain a ministry of small things. The laundry. The dishes. The bottoms wiped and babysitting offers extended. It's about your heart after all. Right? ...right?

And I turn back to paddling once again. I'm not sure how we're supposed to live anymore.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I was feted all last week for my 30th birthday. There was a family day, fireworks, a camping trip, a fancy lunch out, an aerial view of Lookout Mountain and a surprise party. Not too shabby. But this week I'm back to the reality of laundry/vacuuming/cooking and it's kicking my tail. The thought of uploading pictures of all the festivities makes me want to curl into a ball and cry, so I'm buying some time with a random post this week about what else we're up to around here. 

I'm currently reading An Everlasting Meal and LOVING it. (Thank you Nesting Swans for the Kindle moola, it is being put to very good use.)  It's a primer on a whole new (to-me) way of cooking...the way my great-grandmothers probably fed their families. I want to stuff my fridge with vegetable-filled mason jars now.  Watch the trailer for more goodness. Don't you love that books have trailers like movies now? I also just finished 7 which conveniently has a trailer as well.

I made fake Febreeze over the weekend to use when Sweet B threw up on our living room rug. Into my father-in-law's hand. Yup. He caught most of it too. Amazing and disgusting. Phony Febreeze works great and cost practically nothing, do try.

Last week we took a walk around the block after the kids went down (we do this on occasion, I find it very refreshing for our marriage and our sanity) and B Daddy wore a kilt. It was still 98 degrees at 8:30pm and the man needed, "a little breeze." You can't walk 10 yards in this 'hood without running into neighbors and sure enough we were chatted up by three of them in short order.

I picked up our first bag of produce from our local CSA yesterday. $31.25 bought me eight peaches, two avocados, 4 oz of blueberries, two heads of garlic, two red onions, one bunch of curly green kale, one pound of snap beans and something called an eight ball squash. All organic (whoa Leipprandts! gettin' awfully fancy) and everything but the avocados are local. Exciting and intimidating.  I'm quite certain my great-grandmothers would approve.

We're harvesting tomatoes (little tiny cherry ones and bigger than your fist Big Boys) from our itty bitty garden daily now, as well as cucumbers, basil, lavender and other herbs. My squash and peppers were both a big FAIL this year. B Daddy wants to take out more bushes from the front of the house to make room for legit raised beds. Thus far I've been in protest. I like our non-suburban weirdness to stay firmly in the background (where the chickens are.) When I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, there was a lady in our town who had turned her yard back into a prairie...letting native grasses and wheat grow up in front of her home instead of having a nice chemically-treated square of green grass for her children to run around on. We'd drive by her mostly-hidden house a lot and I remember thinking Prairie Lady had to be a total weirdo. Now I think back and wish I'd have gone to visit her. She was probably super interesting. Nonetheless, memories of the Prairie Lady have kept my impulses to turn the lawn into a vegetable patch in check.

Let's see - oh yes, we cut cable today. I've turned on the TV twice just to confirm it really is gone. Right now I'm on a self-righteous high, but I'm sure we'll all be in mourning by this evening. I haven't even got a game plan for entertaining the children tomorrow before my second cup of coffee kicks in.

What have y'all been up? What'd you do for the Fourth? How are your gardens growing? What's the best thing I'm going to miss out on cable-wise this summer? Does your husband have a kilt?

Thanks for reading!

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