Goodbye, Summer!

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It’s September. I could pretend the kids just went back to school, but, I’d be lying. They went back the first week of August. Also, all the photos I’m about to share are from July. So, yeah. I haven’t posted anything (other than one book review) since July. I’m sorry. I’ve just been really. stinkin’. busy. (As I write this, my eyes are puffy and tired and I feel like the last time I truly slept was sometime late July.)

So, mid-July, my family took a trip. This was a week long “Tour of the East Coast” trip. Well, not really. It felt like we were touring the East Coast, but we only stopped a few places. I think I was so exhausted after this trip, I blocked it from memory. That’s not right, I had a really great time and saw lots of family, so, no, I didn’t block it. But, I felt I needed some recovery time before I uploaded the photos to my computer and shared. Then, I got busy and forgot…

Submitted for your approval, What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 2 (Because Part 1, if you remember, took place at Amelia Island in Florida, and I did share that):

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Uncle Tim photobombing the kids.

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The kids and their cousins. The newest one is in Aaron’s arms. 

First, was a stop to see Grandpa Bob and Grandma Anne (and Uncle Tim and Aunt Danielle and Aunt Megan and Uncle Travis and all three cousins) in N.C.! While there, we got to visit Uncle Travis at work, which would be boring if he were an accountant or something like that, but, luckily, he’s a fireman.🙂 The kids got a personal tour of the station.

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After we left North Carolina, we headed north to see Grandma Joanne, but it’s a long trip to Upstate New York, so we stopped in Virginia. While there, as a fun treat, we drove through the Virginia Safari Park, which was AWESOME! I took way too many photos, so, here’s just a few highlights. As much fun as this little side trip was, Maggie woke up the next morning with an upset stomach…and vomited the entire rest of the drive up to Grandma’s. All 8 hours. It’s okay. It’s cool. We survived.

Next up…

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Sean loves his grandma!

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…Grandma’s house! Grandma put up a tire swing for Maggie, and the kids loved it. We also stopped by Aunt Cheryl’s house to greet the horses! (Maggie’s favorite part of visiting family in NY.) That giant black animal is a dog, and his name is Thor. He’s a sweetie, but HUGE. One “kiss” to Marcy’s face covered it entirely in doggy slobber. And, knocked her over. I love a big dog!

Then, it was back home! We just had one full week left of summer vacation before we had to think about “back-to-school.” As I pointed out, that was over a month ago. Since then, it has been non-stop busyness. We’re adapting, though!

So, did you have a good summer? Are you as ready for fall as I am??

Love Warrior Review

Love Warrior: A MemoirLove Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start off by saying I received an Advanced Reader Copy for this book. That said, my review is honest. Like this book.

It’s difficult to give an a complete review on this book without mentioning Glennon Doyle Melton’s previous book, Carry On, Warrior.

I enjoyed Carry On, Warrior, but I felt it was missing something. It preached honesty and self-acceptance, but I finished the book feeling either Glennon was holding back, or, her life wasn’t really as “messy” as she claimed. One of my major problems with the book was that she spoke a lot about her addictions and mental health issues, but didn’t go into it. It left me feeling like she just woke up one morning and decided to be a better person, and–POOF!–sober and no longer bulimic! The book felt a little dishonest, whether it was because she was withholding information, or because it wasn’t really as bad as she led on, I didn’t know.

Now, I realize, I was looking at the book the wrong way. Carry On, Warrior is not a memoir. It is a collection of essays (some, taken directly from her blog) held together with a common theme: embrace your life, flaws and all. It isn’t meant to be about her problems. It’s a lifesaver tossed out to an overwhelmed mom, drowning in the expectations placed on her to be a “perfect mom” and a “perfect wife” and a “perfect person.” Glennon’s anecdotes are meant to help show others, “It’s okay! I’m a mess, too!” But, it wasn’t a memoir.

Love Warrior is a memoir. It’s not a compilation of feel good stories to comfort the reader. It’s not a cheerfully, “life-is-absurd-so-let’s-just-laugh,” book about marriage. It’s a raw, and truly honest, look at a marriage facing ruin. It’s about how marriage is the union of two people, both carrying their own baggage. Those two people don’t leave their baggage at the door. They bring it into the house with them. They open those suitcases, pull out all their crap (issues), and either hang them neatly (and hidden) in the closet, or toss them on floor so everyone keeps tripping over them. Where as before, each person only had their own “crap” to deal with, now they have their spouse’s, as well.

The book starts at the beginning and adds in all that back story I felt was missing from the previous book. To understand Glennon’s marriage, she first asks you to understand her. She talks about her childhood, and reflects on what lead her on the path of bulimia and addiction. She then shares her experiences, struggles and the shame associated with it. Glennon makes sure you know “who,” and “where” she was in her life when she met Craig. Then, she starts at the beginning, again, but, this time, it’s the beginning of her relationship with Craig. Knowing how they met, how they started dating, and why they got married helps to better understand the present state of their marriage.

Glennon does not hold anything back. Not a thing.

While Carry On, Warrior is full of hope, Love Warrior feels more cynical. While it does end on a high note, there’s no closure. It’s as if we’ve reached the end of the beginning. Here was a giant obstacle, we’ve scaled it, and now, we’re on the other side. To be continued….

But, if you are a follower of Glennon Doyle Melton, you know it was really just the beginning of the end. She announced a week or so ago she has decided to seek a divorce. Those who have not read her book, yet, might be shocked, but I wasn’t.

It takes a lot of courage to write a story like this. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it would be to sit down and type out all those things you don’t want to think about, all those horrible experiences and feelings that most people hide from themselves and others. But, I also think, “how liberating!” When you don’t have secrets, you are never worried of being “found out.” When you confess and accept yourself at your worst, you protect yourself from the judgments of others. What can someone say about you that you haven’t already said?

Honesty is more than just telling the truth. It’s looking beyond your own perspective and seeing the situation as a whole. It’s being angry, and yet, still being able to admit you may be wrong. It’s seeing that there are no “villains” and that everyone is doing their best just to get by. Glennon doesn’t just unpack her baggage and lay everything out neatly for everyone to see. She also shakes out Craig’s bag. She doesn’t kick his crap around on the floor, though. She lines it up neatly next to hers. Does she judge him? Of course she does! She’s been hurt! But, does she also take a step back and see that he, too, is only human? Yes. Does she do her best to treat him with the same respect she treats herself? Yes.

This isn’t a happy book. It’s not a self-help book for those wanting to work on their marriage. It offers no advice, and takes no stance for or against divorce. It’s just a thoughtful and honest portrayal of a troubled marriage.

View all my reviews

Parades, Sparklers, and Marshmallows Roasted on an Open Fire

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A good blogger would’ve posted this a few days ago, but this particular blogger has had a nasty summer cold, which started Saturday, and is still hanging on for dear life. It has been a week. It’s time for this funk to LEAVE. Out, ye demons! I vanquish thee!

…Ugh, didn’t work.

It’s Friday, which means, blog now or I miss this week. (I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’ve been pretty consistent the last few weeks, blogging at least once per week. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back. Good job, Christina.)

So, here is my week in review:

Last weekend we marked “make homemade slime” off our summer list. It’s a stupidly easy project, takes just a few short minutes, and results in hours of fun. We followed the directions found here.

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What you do is mix a 4 oz container (1/2 a cup) of white Elmers glue with a half cup of water in one bowl. Add food coloring to this bowl–if using–and mix well. (We used a few drops of yellow and red to make this orange creamsicle color.) In another, larger bowl, dissolve 1 tsp of borax (you can buy this in your grocer’s cleaning aisle, near the laundry products) in a cup a water. Slowly stir the glue mixture into the borax mixture, and it will start coming together right away. Mix until it comes together enough that you can knead with your hands. Pour off extra water, and, voila! Homemade Gak. *Caution:  make sure your kids don’t eat this, and they wash their hands after playing with it.*

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On Monday, AKA The Fourth of July, AKA Independence Day, Maggie participated in our town’s 4th of July Steam Engine Parade.

Funny story about that…I thought I was getting over my cold that started to come on Saturday (silly me) so I felt bad, but not terrible that morning, and thought, I’ll just power through. We packed the kids into the car. Dropped Maggie at the loading site, then parked further down the parade route.

We showed up to this parade COMPLETELY unprepared to sit for two hours in the sun on a hot and cloudless day. Around us, responsible adults brought things like, folding chairs, umbrellas for shade, and, oh, what else?–WATER. We just brought ourselves and our snazzy patriotic colored clothing.

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And, we were situated near the end of the parade. (Or, is it the beginning? Whatever you call the place furthest from where it starts. The end, right? No, the end is the end…Ugh. I don’t know.)

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We didn’t even bring the flag. It was provided. 

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You know what else would’ve been nice during a steam engine parade? Noise canceling headphones. Steam engines are LOUD.

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She looks like she’s having a blast, right?

About a half hour to forty minutes into the parade, I felt like I was going to pass out. And not in a “I’m so exhausted, I’m going to pass out” way, but a “I’m sick, I’m starting to get dehydrated, the sun is too hot and I’m going to faint right here in this spot and the paramedics are going to come and I’m going to interrupt this parade with my drama because I’m here and sick and unprepared, and, oh, are those stars floating around my head” passing out. You know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s when you start chanting to yourself “don’t-pass-out-don’t-pass-out-don’t-pass-out” while sitting with your head between your knees.  (I DID sit, but I didn’t put my head between my knees because that would’ve called attention to me. And I didn’t want to look silly.) John looked over and noticed I wasn’t looking so good, so he suggested we pack up the ABSOLUTELY NOTHING we brought with us to the parade, and go find some water. I was reluctant. And grouchy.

“I don’t want to miss Maggie,” I said.

“She’s so far back at the end of the parade, we’ll be back before she’s here.”

“Okay.”

So, we got in our car (AIR CONDITIONER!!!) and left the parking garage, and headed to a gas station. (WATER!!!) When we tried to go back to the parking garage–OOPS–the traffic was being directed ONLY out and not back in.

Sigh.

The ONLY thing I really wanted was a photo of Maggie on her parade float.  So, we drove to the end (beginning?) of the parade and, luckily, her float had just gotten onto the parade route. John parked on a side street, I got out of the car (at this point, hydrated again and no longer about to swoon) and walked quickly to her float. I took her picture, shouted, “havefunseeyoulater” and walked back to the car. John then took the kids and me home and drove back to meet Maggie after the parade was over.

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And that was all before lunch time.

The day didn’t stop after the parade. I had two goals for The Fourth: 1.) s’mores and 2.) fireworks. That’s TWO things I wanted to cross off my silly “Summer Fun List 2016,” which has been taunting me from our bulletin board all summer. (Note to self: Put LESS things on next year’s list.)

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“Make S’mores,” check!

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“Fireworks,” check!

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The next day, my cold was definitely back, and it called for reinforcements. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rest. Marcy had an early dentist appointment, and, you know, I still had to do mom things like feed the kids and not let them destroy the house.  To make things interesting, I took Marcy’s pacifier away (at the insistence of her dentist) so she didn’t nap once during the week. What can I say? I enjoy a challenge. (Three pacifier-free nights later I’m calling it–we’ve kicked this habit.)

I have nothing knitted, crocheted, or sewn to share.😦 Since this cold is leaving (please!!!!), I hope to get back to my projects and have something to share next week.

I hope you guys had a wonderful 4th of July!

Little Morsels is Finished!

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I finally finished the little morsels quilted table runner–and before The Fourth! Woo hoo! I might just go ahead and finish the Autumn Pinwheel table runner I started last year. And, maybe start a NEW sewing project! (I’ve been thinking of making a new apron….)

So, without further ado, the finished, slightly (okay, more than slightly) imperfect Little Morsels Table Runner:

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I finished it yesterday, threw it in the washer around dinner time, and pulled it out of the dryer right before bed. Placed it lovingly on my dining room table. This morning when I grabbed my camera to take pictures I noticed it already has cat hair on it. A lot of cat hair. As if one (or all) of the cats slept on it last night.

I somehow made a cat bed for the dining room table.:/ An open invitation for the animals to sleep on the surface I eat on. How kind of me…

I will have to make it a little less inviting, I guess, if I’m going to keep it out on the table.

The other thing I’ve been working on is my granny square blanket. It’s coming along nicely.🙂 The last row I did took an hour, or, in Netflix time, two “Fuller House” episodes. (Yes, it’s a cheesy show, but, heaven help me, it makes me laugh out loud.) I can’t wait until the blanket it done because THIS ONE IS MINE. I’ve made quite a few blankets over the years, and they are always for someone’s (or my) baby. I love making baby blankets, but it feels good to make something for myself. This blanket will be used for happy things, like, watching tv, or knitting, or reading, or, my favorite, napping on the couch.😀

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I see lots of snuggling in our future….

I haven’t picked up the cowl I’m working on in a few weeks, so, with Little Morsels finished, that will be the next thing I work on.

I also need to finish the socks I started…when was it? Last year?

The kids had kind of a boring week here, but that’s okay. After the craziness of June, I think everyone needed a break.

Maggie has belt testing tonight. I’m sure she’ll be leaving with that brand new yellow belt.🙂

Tomorrow is July first! Summer is just whizzing by! My “Not a Bucket List” has only five of the forty activities checked off…I don’t think we’re going to finish it before August 4th….

Amelia Island, Florida

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So, no project progress to share. My family took a short trip down to Amelia Island at the beginning of this week. We took a ton of pictures.🙂

These are just a few of the photos I took. I’ll update my flickr account later. If I don’t forget. Which happens.

We had a lot of fun and the water was niiiiice. We spent lots of time at the beach, as well as did some sightseeing at Fort Clinch and walked some of Egan’s Greenway.

Summer is just flying by!

New Projects and Progress (and Caught Red-handed)

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I pretty much spent this week indoors and avoiding “the outside.” After Sean’s health scare last week (he’s completely back to normal, by the way) and all the terrible news online this week, “inside” felt much more comfortable–and safer. Living is exhausting, sometimes. I find this is especially true in summer, where there seems to be zero quiet time.  I needed a break, so I took one this week. My house is an absolute wreck. Marcy looks like she just crawled out of a the forest after being raised by a pack of wolves–no, not wolves, garbage-loving labradoodles. Aaron has been sleeping late and playing video games every day, and Sean has been stretching the limits of our internet data plan, watching hours of the same cartoons over and over and over again. Maggie is the only one who has really done anything all week, and that’s because she’s been hitching a ride with the neighbors to VBS every morning.  I should feel bad, but I don’t. I was tired, and I know things will get back to normal soon–maybe even today. Sometimes we need a breather.

So, one thing I HAVE been doing this week is working on my table runner (it’s almost done!!!) and I started a new crochet project because, why the heck not?

So, here’s a basic granny square blanket. I’m trying to get rid of some (most) of my stash. It’s made up of a lot of scratchy, cheap yarn, but, that’s okay. It’s pretty, and that’s all that matters, right? (And, I plan on doing anything I can to soften it up once I’m done with it. There are plenty of tricks on Pinterest.)

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Marcy tried to sneak into this one, but I was, like, “child, you are way too filthy for my photo.”

As for Little Morsels, I am almost done! The back still looks like a crazy mess, but the binding is going on nicely. I’m hoping it is done today or tomorrow.

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Also, just because I like to do things very spur of the moment, I grabbed some of my leftover squares from Little Morsels and sewed them together. I’m thinking it’ll be a place mat for my cats’ food bowls. They are messy eaters.

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No rhyme or reason to the pattern. And, yes, it’s a little off in places. I really don’t know how that keeps happening, and it’s starting to frustrate me!!!

Maggie made a beautiful painting the other day. Really nice. A pretty fuchsia colored flower on a blue background. Marcy, the helpful child she is, thought it needed a bit of red…

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I call it, “Murder of a Painting.”

It was a collaborative effort.

We discovered Marcy “improving” the painting after she had already put her mark on (all of) it. Maggie’s really the one who caught her, and as Maggie was flipping out, Marcy ran out to me, hands and arms completely covered in red, up to her elbows.

“I paint! I paint!”

Of course you do, honey. We are all creative in this house.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I won an Advanced Reader Copy of Glennon Doyle Melton‘s latest book, Love Warrior, which is coming out in a few months. I never win anything! I was so happy I finally did!

I’m reading the book now. I’ll give a full review when I’m done with it.

True story, the book arrived as brand-spanking-new books do–in pristine condition. It spent two hours in my house before it got sullied by the two year old. She left one of those tube ice pops on the end table and it melted right next to my book. Such is life! It’s still readable, just, “improved.” Like Maggie’s painting. And, of course, it’s red. Marcy’s messes always involve red.

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Before…(the picture I posted to Facebook to brag  share my good luck.)
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After….(sad trombone: whomp whomp waaaaaaaah)

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with happy news and some relaxation!

 

 

It’s NOT a Bucket List! (And Baby Blanket Reveal)

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So, summer, so far, is not going as planned. For one, I promised all four kids would be here at the end of the summer, and I already almost lost one!

Okay. That’s a bit dramatic.

Sean’s appendix ruptured last week. Apparently, those things just happen. Like, out of the blue, a part of you just decides to explode.

More dramatic!!

So, last Wednesday, we’re at the pool and everything is cool. Thursday, he’s feeling a little sick. I’m guessing. He really doesn’t communicate these things to me, and I have to relying on body language, appetite, and whatever words he decides to speak. (He has autism.) Friday, has trouble walking. Can’t get up from a sitting position without help. Tells me his “back hurts” while pointing to his stomach. I call his pediatrician’s office and they tell me to get that kid to an emergency room. We head to CHOA (Children’s Hospital of Atlanta), and after twelve or thirteen long hours in the ER (and several attempts at getting urine samples and CT scans), the doctor comes in and tells me his appendix is “perforated.” Oh. Well, that doesn’t sound that bad. She leaves the room and I quickly pull out my phone to Google what a perforation means. (At this point, I’m thinking of perforated paper. Probably because I’ve spent twelve hours in a tiny room with my sick kid and my brain has turned to pudding.)

Perforated appendix means…..Ruptured?!?!

So, emergency surgery, of course. Hospital stay, of course. IV antibiotics, of course.

We spent about three days in the hospital. It would’ve been longer, but that Sunday night Sean’s IV wiggled out just enough that it had to be completely taken out. The IV nurse tried TWICE to get a new line in Sean, and even with several of us holding him down, fat chance. At one point Sean, who loves to use colorful language when he’s really, really angry, exclaimed, “what the f*ck?” My thoughts, too, Sean. My thoughts, too.

Since the IV was a no-go, he had to be switched to oral antibiotics, and since the only reason to keep him in the hospital was the IV antibiotics, we were released the next day. I was so happy to be out of there, but going home didn’t mean he was magically better. Recovery has been slow. He’s still not eating in earnest, and yesterday was the first day since last Thursday that he played with his toys.

This whole time, I’m thinking about the clever thing I said to a few people, including you fine folks on this blog:

Some people call them summer bucket lists. I don’t because I don’t plan on us kicking the bucket at the end of the summer. (I’m starting the summer with four kids, and I’m going to end the summer with four kids. I hope.) So, I just call it the “Summer Fun!” list.

Even as I said it, the superstitious part of me (I try to deny exists) nagged, don’t say that! You just jinxed us! You are totally going to lose a kid!  That same voice chided me in the ER. I told you so.

BUT! (*knock on wood*) I did NOT lose a kid. Still four of them here. Hopefully, that’s the most of that type of excitement we see this summer!

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Everything is fine and lovely, now, and I learned I have some really great neighbors and friends who fed my family while I “vacationed” at CHOA. (One of my friends even helped hold Sean down during the whole IV F-Bomb fiasco.)

You would think spending three days at the hospital would give me plenty of time to knit, right?

(Segue into crafty stuff…)

It did give me plenty of time to knit, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel like it.

But, luckily, I’ve been withholding the pictures of the blanket I finished for my new nephew, so I DO have something to crafty to share!

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The blanket turned out very cuddly.

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ANNNND, I DID get that bias tape cut and ironed last week!!

It's ready to go on the table runner!
It’s ready to go on the table runner!

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That’s all I have, for now. Hopefully, I’ll have a COMPLETED table runner to share next week.😉 Gotta get this Summer Table Runner done before Summer is over!

Have a great weekend!