I don’t think that’s ALL you need….

For the past year and a half, we have been remodeling our house an area at a time.  When I say we, I mean my we have been hiring my father in law, because we, my husband and I, know our limits.  I can paint, decorate and hang things really well.  I am really good at putting together furniture with directions, but I’m not about to tear apart a room and rebuilt it from the ground up…even with directions.  My husband, well, he is an excellent photographer, editor, and producer….meaning, his skills and talents do not lie in hammers and nails.

Our latest project was the downstairs, basement bathroom.  Our basement bathroom was so disgusting, we wouldn’t let guests near it.  “Yes, of course we have a bathroom you can use; it’s right upstairs.  Oh that, yes it is a bathroom, but you don’t want to go in there…trust me!”

Now here would be the place that I would insert a before picture of said bathroom to really get my point across, but I don’t have one because I didn’t take one.  I know….FAIL!  Think of that gross basement bathroom in your best buds from high school’s house; permanent gunk in the shower stall, yuck and muck in the corners, crusty hard water stains galore…. it was like that, only yuckier!

Here it all is in my backyard…already an improvement!

This is the part of the blog where I tell you what a construction genius my father in law is.  The man has tackled every remodeling project we’ve thrown at him, and, boy, did he earn his money with this one!  When he tore out the old tub and shower, he found a hodgepodge, concrete mess.  The previous handy-man (and I’m using that term loosely) just dumped piles of concrete and set the tub on it, leaving holes and an uneven mess, adding more work and time to the project to remove and fix.



With the wrongs righted, we were once again moving forward and my father in law set about installing the new shower.

Here’s what I found on the outside of the shower box.

Ummmmm, I might not be the one actually doing the work, but I think you need more than just those things.

Hhhmmm, nope, still not a complete list.

They need a list that says:  Hey you, thinking you can do this, you probably shouldn’t even think about it unless you are a highly talented, patient, and wise soul that can shoot from the hip and problem solve on the fly, because these projects are never what they seem to be!

Luckily for me, I have my father in law who can do all these things and can create this, a bathroom we can finally show and show off to people.




Judging a book by its cover

I went to the happiest place on earth this morning.  No, not Disney.  Barnes and Noble.  I love Barnes and Noble, heck, I love all bookstores.  I love the idea of all of those different stories and characters just waiting to be discovered.

I tend to read the same types of books over and over again.  Fiction, novels, chic lit.  My favorite author is Jodi Picoult, but I have recently discovered Kristin Hannah, and her stories are winning out.  Everytime I enter a bookstore, I try to challenge myself to try a different type of book.  Why always fiction?  Why couldn’t I fall in love with a good suspense novel or an interesting biography?

When I enter the store, I let myself be lead by curiosity.  Instead of going to the same old areas, I wander aimlessly, being pulled by what catches my eye, hence, judging a book by its cover.

I know, I know, you are NOT supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what I do.  Admit it, we all do.  How else are you supposed to find new authors, new genres, new reads you never thought you’d enjoy.  The cover catches you, speaks to you, tempting you to pick it up and take a risk.

I mean really, I don’t usually read history books, but it cover almost got me to!

Now, since I don’t always want to drop $15 on a new book or new author if I’m not sure I’ll like them, I’ve started taking pictures of the covers or making notes on my notepad of titles to check out from the library or try a sample of on an ereader before I bite the bullet and buy it.  (I know.  It feels like cheating on the bookstore, that I’m just using them for all the foreplay and getting my fix somewhere else, but hey, I’m cheap sometimes.  I will assure you that when I find an author I love, I will buy those books in a heartbeat, so it all evens out!)

It’s a good thing I do, because sometimes, all the best reviews can still lead to disappointing book.  Case in point.

I saw this book reviewed in a magazine and then read the cover at the bookstore.  I still wasn’t convinced, so I checked it out at the library.  Snoozeville!  I couldn’t get through chapter two.  Total savings: $15.

Today I found the followed possibilities….

Anyone have any advice on any of them?  The last entry, The Weird Sisters, looked the most promising.  Actually, I almost bought it, but I restrained myself.

And then there are some covers that win out no matter what….

Happy Reading!

My son is a woman

Ok, not literally.  He’s typical boy, all energy all the time, constantly on the go.  He doesn’t just walk places, he runs there, full speed, without looking where he’s going and jumping on and off anything in his path.  He plays sports year round, convinced his career path will be professional football player, basketball player, or baseball player, depending on the season.  He’s the ultimate ladies man already.  No matter the event, when he walks through the doors, he starts smoozing the ladies always finding a handful to flirt with.

But when it comes to getting himself ready to go somewhere, the time the boy takes to get ready can put any high maintenance woman to shame.  All of this is a foreign concept to me as I can be ready in less than 30 minutes, shower to walking out the door.

First of all, the outfit must match.  He started years ago asking me if this went with that.  I’m glad he at least asks, unlike my daughter, who has a weird understanding of what goes with what, but that’s a different blog.

Then the hair.  He has a colic that drives his crazy and he is forever trying to get those few pieces to lay down flat, so he started using hair gel last year.  I don’t use hair gel.  Heck, I didn’t even own hair gel.  When he asked to use it, I had to go buy some.

After the hair comes the cologne.  Don’t get me wrong with this one, I was thrilled when he wanted to smell good instead of like a stinky, sweaty boy.  I ran to the store to buy him a bottle of something, anything.

Then we arrive at the shoes.  My son has a shoe problem.  He certainly has more shoes than my daughter and my husband, combined.  I might own more pairs that him, but I only wear a few regularly, so he has me beat with his rotation.  I can guarantee he will tell me he needs to get a new pair of shoes at least once a month.

And the process of getting shoes on his feet….to say it’s frustrating would be an understatement.

First he has to pick out which ones to wear.  Then he has to hunt down the correct socks to go with the shoe choice.  Next comes what I’ll lovingly call the sock process.  I’m not exaggerating that it takes him about 3 minutes a foot.  The sock goes on.  It’s pull, straightened, pull, straightened, the toe area is tugged on, pull, then taken off and put back on, more pulling, more straightening.  Then the shoes goes on, toe in, heal down, tongue pulled, sock pulled, then the shoes comes off, sock restraightened and repulled and then the shoe steps begin again.  Once he is finally satisfied with the first shoe, the whole process begins on the second foot.  The whole time this is going on, the rest of the family is staring at him, willing him to hurry up already so we can go.

Then, just when we think the boy is FINALLY ready to go, he will decide that he has to go to the bathroom.  Now, you might be think, so what.  Well my high maintenance boy prefers to take off most of his apparel, except the socks, when using the powder room, (Who does this!?!?!)  so this means starting the whole dressing and shoe process over again.  How late are we now???

So when you see me backing out of my driveway with my shoeless, shirtless, son chasing me to get in the vehicle, don’t judge.


Kids…. They are our pride and joy… the apples of our eyes… those dirty, stinky, noisy monsters that keep messing up our clean houses!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my dirty, stinky, noisy monsters, but, seriously, how many times do they have to make the same messes and hear me give the same lectures before they get it???

I have decided that in addition to constantly nagging them (because, let’s face it, I’m not going to stop nagging them), I am also keeping a list of their annoying, messy habits, so that, when they move out, I can visit their homes and provide the appropriate payback.

Here’s what I have so far…

Open the bread bag.  Make a sandwich.  Leave the dirty knife stuck to the counter.  Place open bread bag back on the fridge.  Drop and lose twist tie to close said bread bag, so that bread will go stale.

Get out Oreos.  Pour a glass of milk.  Take everything to the living room.  Dunk and eat Oreos over clean floor, leaving behind crumbs and a half glass of milk balancing on the edge of the coffee table.

Go outside.  Leave door wide open, yet slam shut screen door.  Every three and a half minutes, come in and go out, slamming the door every time.

Go downstairs to get something (I don’t know what yet.  I’ll wing it.)  Turn on every light switch I can find, even ones not in the area I’m going, them come back upstairs, leaving all the lights on.  I might even add in turning on a TV for good measure.

Take a bath using WAY more soap than I need and filling the now half empty bottle back up with water to make it look like I didn’t use that much.  Step out of tub and soak bath mat.  Walk down the hallway with a towel around me, but not having really dried off, so as to leave a slippery trail behind me.  Leave dirty clothes, a tub full of water, and a “surprise” in the toilet for them to find later.  Get dressed and drop my wet towel on the carpet.

It’s going to be so much fun!


The wrong side of karma

I keep seeing these repeated posts about people waiting for karma to come around and get back at someone with whom they are upset, who they feel they have been wronged by.  Full disclosure, I have had thoughts like this of my own and may or may not have made a similar post in the past.  When I saw such karma postings, I used to give a little giggle and would say to myself, “That’s right Betty (names have been changed to protect the innocent)!  They will get what’s coming to them!”

But I have recently seen, what I call, the wrong side of karma.  The side where the person who is wishing and waiting for karma to get their enemy is actually wrong, whether in actions and words, and is wishing a karma retribution that is ill-advised.

I have come to realize that these ‘wrong side of karma’ wishers are usually ‘my way or the highway’ types of people who then, when they don’t get their way, start calling on karma.  Well who’s to say that the fact they didn’t get their way and are now throwing a temper tantrum isn’t karma’s way of trying to smack them in the face for being so selfish, self-centered, or unwilling to compromise?

Super Radar

My children have some type of super-duper radar.  Now, one might think this was an awesome thing to have, but not so much.  In their case, the radar only works when I enter my bedroom or bathroom to take care of some type of private business.  Every time I go in my room to say change my clothes or powder my nose, they instantly need something from me right now.  RIGHT NOW!

On any given day, my kids will be outside, playing in their rooms, downstairs watching a movie, whatever.  I’ll quietly walk to my bathroom to use the facilities.  Within seconds, I’ll hear the pounding of feet, the bathroom door with fly open and I’ll be bombarded with questions.  In fact, it has become quite comical the things they believe are of dire importance when I decide to go “do my business.”

“When is the dog going to go to the groomers?”

“Can we paint my bedroom?”

“When we go school shopping, can I get a new backpack?”

Yesterday, I went into my room to change into my swim suit for the pool.  My son, who had requested we got to the pool, flings open my door with, what he believes, is the most important question on the planet….

“Mom, do you think we need to change the water in my fish tank?”

As I jump into my closet in an attempt to cover my exposed birthday suit.  “Really!?!?!? Right now is when we need to discuss this?”

It is amazing!  No matter what bathroom I enter, I can guarantee the minute I close the door and drop my drawers, that I will undoubtedly hear a ‘MOM!!!’ from somewhere in the house.

Maybe the CIA could tap into this ability and use it in their quest for ultimate world domination!  I could get them on some sort of secret spy retainer….as long as all the really important conversations are held in the bathrooms of the world!

Boy, Oh Boy

My kids participate in our neighborhood pool’s summer swimming league.  Neither one of them have aspirations of being in the olympics or breaking any world records.   They see it as extra pool time and a chance to be silly with their buddies.

Before every meet, the kids write all over themselves with sharpies.  I think it’s supposed to be motivational, but it just turns out being funny and a pain to scrub off later.  This is my daughter, Paige.

I still don’t know what “Eat My Bubbles” is supposed to mean.  If you eat the bubbles, don’t you really swallow water and drown?

Now, my son also had the weirdly drawn fish and the eating bubbles line, but he took is a step further…

Yes, that is drawn on armpit hair…..

So when does the relaxing happen?

Ahhhh the weekend.  We all look forward to it, but I am seriously beginning to question why.  Since Friday afternoon, I have been on a non-stop run-fest.

It started with a phone conversation in which I heard my husband (who was packing his gear to leave for a video shoot) tell a different client, “Yup, I’ll get that right out to you.”  Which is code for; ‘my wife will get in her car and drive all the way across town to put it in your hands.’  He left for his shoot in one direction and I left in the other, while leaving the boy home with instructions to dress himself for his baseball game.  (I am ever so thankful that the children are old enough to stay at home!)  When I returned, we were off to the game.  As soon as the game ended, the boy and I rushed home to change out of our dirty baseball clothes into wedding appropriate attire to meet the hubby and daughter at a wedding half of us were late for.  Small talk, food, cake, smile, drive home eyes half closed and fall into bed.

Saturday, since I knew what the day had in store for me, I set my alarm for 6 am.  (Yes, that’s right, 6 am on a Saturday!)  I got in my workout and tried, as quietly as possible, to get as much of the house cleaning done before the rest of the house woke up.  When they finally opened their eyes, I squeezed out my traditional Saturday morning pancakes before enlisting the troops to finish up the Saturday scrub down.  We eked out the house cleaning with only 15 minutes to spare before we had to be out the door for another baseball game.  After three hours in 92 degree heat, full sun, and endless dirt to the face later, we left the fields with another win under our belts, but already late for the next event.

Home for a quick change, then off to cross the city to attend my grandfather’s 80th birthday party/family reunion.   Knowing that I’m already late and that I have to leave early for another appointment, I spent the time I was there walking around to visit with all the necessary family members, attempting to avoid being the subject of evil gossip for not mingling enough.  Tick tock, tick tock, time to rush to the opposite side of town (again) for my niece’s 10th birthday party.  (If only my grandpa and my niece from my husband’s side would have coordinated and planned their parties together…some people!)  This party we actually make on time.  Yeah me!  Visit, talk, eat, present, sing, cake.  (Side bar… cake was really ice cream cake.  I LOVE ice cream cake.  I skipped cake at the first party, banking on the ice cream cake being served.  Point for Kerry!)

As I finish my last bite of ice cream cake (mmmmm!), I look at my watch and realize that I have exactly 20 minutes before the pharmacy closes and I have a prescription to pick up.  After quick hugs and fast good-byes, we rush out the door.  I think I may have set land speed records on I-80…. I know I broke numerous traffic laws, but I ran to the pharmacy window literally 2 minutes before they closed.  I win!  (I win a pharmacy bill, but, hey, I won something, right?)

Home, sweet home with just enough time to make a cake (home-made, from scratch, chocolate cake…the absolute best cake ever) for my son’s birthday party tomorrow.  That means that tomorrow is party mode all day… prep, set up, party, tear down, clean up, fall over.

Who are these people who have these relaxing, unscheduled weekends?

How do you spell fun….


I love camping.  I always have.  I come from a camping family.  Between vacations, quick weekend get-aways to a local park, or boy scout and girl scout adventures, we used to haul out the tent numerous times a year.  I love everything about camping…sleeping bags, flashlights, bug spray, tangled fishing poles, playing card games on a picnic table, messy smores, the smell of campfires, endless stories, laughing til your side hurts and the peace of an early morning campground.  What I might like better than all of that, is the lack of schedule.  There are no ‘to-do’ lists, no places you have to be when you are camping.

Lucky for me, I married a man who likes camping too.  Since we’ve been married, we have taken our vacations on the open road to campgrounds far and wide.  When the kids came along, we just got a bigger tent and brought more food.  Our favorite place to camp is in the mountains, in particular, Grand Teton National Park.  It’s beautiful, it’s God’s country.

Now this weekend, unfortunately, we could not get away to the mountains, but we did manage to escape to a local state park for fun time with some friends.  It also happened to be my baby boy’s 10th birthday on Saturday.  (Double digits already!!!  That went too fast!)  He’s such a camping fool, he jumped at the chance to go camping with friends for his birthday.

Here’s some snippets of our weekend….

We have recently decided that we are too old to sleep on the ground, so I give my parents my puppy dog eyes (Yes, they still work on my daddy) and he will haul out their camper to save my back and give us running water.  Unfortunately, this only works locally.  I haven’t yet figured out how to get him to take it to Wyoming for us!

The birthday boy tried his hand at the grill for the first time.  He was a natural.  A future grill master is born!

The Birthday Boy got a Pogo Stick for his birthday.  Before you ask…Yes we are crazy.  We figured, what the hell, our deductible is already met for the year, why not!

Beach time.  Not a ‘real’ beach, a sandy beach on a lake, but the kids could care less.  They ran, jumped, made sand castled, and buried each other up to the neck.  I read a great book!

We go fishing a lot in this family.  The one thing we never do it actually catch fish.  My son took a different approach this time.  After using minnow after minnow to no avail, he decided to keep one as a pet.  Meet bubbles!  That’s one way to catch a fish!

True peace and quiet.  When you can walk silently to a lake, hearing only the sounds of crickets chirping and campfires popping and then witness this…. well, it’s just the reason you go camping.

What I think I like even better than the peace and quiet, and even the lack of schedule, is the chance to be flat out silly with my kiddos.  I hope these are the memories and times they will look back on and treasure forever.  I know I do!