July 31, 2014


It's always a party with Uncle Dave!  
When he came last week he brought his dune buggy with him and we had the best time driving and riding around in it.  Of all the children, Urban may be most openly dare devilish.  He was enamored with the speed and wildness of riding around the yard, grass flying and wind whipping around.  
Emerson and Ida warmed right up to the buggy.  They thought it was cool from the beginning, of course, but after Uncle Dave came back from taking them for a ride down the road, they are now convinced we must have a buggy of our own.
 When it come to uncles and great uncles, our kids sure hit the jack pot.

July 24, 2014

County Fair // 2014

It was about an hour into walking the dusty, rock-filled pathways around the smell of fried elephant ears and salty fries when the children realized that perhaps the county fair was something jolly.  A place where memories are made.  It was if they could see it in the eyes of every adult, the years in memory of the far off past when they too were young and wide eyed, taking in each unpredictable moment.  I saw it in them and they saw it in me and in Josh and for all of us, we had a darn good evening making memories.
I literally jumped out of my boots when Urban passed the height requirement needed to purchase a bracelet pass for unlimited rides. Luck. LUCK!

Emerson was a good sport and introduced Urban to the rides he was nervous about even though they were a bit underwhelming for a 9 year old.

 Parents rode free on the jumbo slide for kids under 42 inches.  Not bad!

 Couldn't keep our hands off the animals.

We came expecting to enjoy ourselves, and 6 hours later we left beyond happy.  DAY. RELISHED.

July 11, 2014

It's madness....

Madness, I say!
We were out of the house for two weeks living in the camper for a week and then in the basement.  I can't tell you how happy I am that I am not cooking on a one burner propane stove in the garage!  Plus, the floors are done and beautiful!  Josh did an awesome job.  So proud of him.

Now it is drywall madness.  The dust!!!  I can't even....oh my, the dust.  My Bona floor mop is being put to the test.  There is so much dust.
Once the drywall is up, the cabinets are going in.  They are being shipped to us as I type and I am so stinkin' excited!  Plus, when we were checking out, Josh shot in the dark and entered 10OFF in the coupon code and it worked!!!  WHAT!?  We also got free shipping to our house and no sales tax.  Get out!

Story: About five months ago I found a pendant light from World Market that I absolutely love.  This one, actually.
It has the simplicity I was looking for while allowing maximum light in the kitchen.  When I saw it on the website I knew we had several months until we were going to need them for the kitchen remodel.  So, huge mistake, I didn't order them.

Now fast forward to last week.....it was time.  Time to get my lights.  But when I went to the site to order them, they were sold out online.  Devastated.  I couldn't believe it.  Lesson learned.  I walked away defeated in search of another light the right shape and scale.  I looked hard and came to the conclusion that I would have to settle for a different one style that I didn't like as much.

Then yesterday I had the idea to call the closest world market and ask if there were any available in the store.  I needed two, the computer was showing they had one in the store.  I gave it a shot anyway for the heck of it. By luck, I was connected to the awesomest employee possible named Ken.  He searched all day for me while keeping in contact over the phone.  He found one, the floor model, but could not find another. After I spoke with him the last time over the phone he said he would give it a last ditch effort and talk to one other person who would be coming into work in an hour.  I thanked him for his continued effort and hung up thinking that was the end of the story.  In almost exactly on hour's time he called me back with the fantastic news that they had two....both in boxes, not even floor models.  WOW!  It turns out he and the other worker went out and checked their storage space out back for me and found two!!!  Can you believe it?  I jumped in the car immediately and went to pick them up.  I thanked him so many times.  He was so awesome!  There are the lights.
 Did I tell you the dust is outrageous?
 Goodness me, we are getting there!

June 29, 2014

Ida is 8!!!

Birthday morning picture of 8 year old Ida.

Today Ida turned 8 years old and we celebrate by throwing her a weekend-long party.  I made sure I did everything possible to make Ida feel special for this birthday, a birthday that was special in itself seeing as our current living situation includes a camper, a smelly house and a makeshift kitchen in our garage while we finish staining our floors.

Ida invited a best friend cousin over for a sleep over on Friday to start things off.  She couldn't stop expressing how much fun she had during her sleepover.
When I asked Ida what she wanted to do during her sleepover she requested a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. "Okay," I said.  "Let's do it!"  I mean, why not!?

Fun was had by all!
Then we came home and had sprinkle cake.  It is a tradition that I make whatever cake the children request on their birthdays but our situation was extremely different this year seeing as I had to place to cook and decorate a cake.  Did that stop us?  No!  Ida decided to have a sprinkle cake and that we did.   

One store-bought vanilla cake with one huge tub of sprinkles handmade smashed into it by us.  It turned out perfectly.

I decorated the camper for her birthday. Looked awesome.
Grandpa came by in the afternoon and witnessed a very cheerful birthday girl opening some fantastic gifts from her cousins.
This is what Ida did when she saw her gift from the Orlandis
And this is Ida's reaction to her gift from the Richards.
 Emerson had gotten Ida a special set of earrings that she adored.
 I got Ida a necklace with an owl that says "best."  I have the other "best."  She loves it and so do I.
Dad surprised Ida with a bicycle. She has needed a new one so badly.  She had NO idea.  Grandpa plugged his ears because she was screaming so loudly.
 Turned out to be a down right awesome birthday for this little apple.

June 25, 2014


Picking strawberries with the children this year reminded me of all the great summers I spent picking strawberries with my mom and my best friend, Monica.  Tomorrow would have been her birthday so I have been thinking a lot about her.  Toward the second week of June my mom would check the paper religiously for the ad announcing strawberry season had begun.  No matter what day she saw the ad, we would plan to pick sometime during the following two days.  I would call Monica right away and make arrangements for her to go with us.  There wasn't a time that I asked her to come that she said no. It was one of my favorite summer traditions. Monica would dress in her "grubbies" and so would I, but I always thought she looked so put together.  Her grubbies didn't seem as tattered as mine, though thinking back, I am sure they were.  It is just a quality that Monica had, no matter what she was wearing or doing it always seemed polished and intentional.  I remember we would eat strawberries and laugh until we got stomach aches.  Mom never stopped us.  I know she enjoyed our friendship as much as we did.
In the past I have usually decided to freeze strawberries so we can use them to make smoothies.  I make them every morning so having a freezer packed full is a must.  However, this year the children have taken a liking to strawberry jam and so that is what we did.  Jam.
Two of my three smashers work diligently to get every last plump strawberry flattened.
One helper lay on the couch sick.  It was for real sick too, not sick-of-smashing sick.  A few days later Ida had the same thing.  Who knew the stomach flu was alive during the summer?  What a nasty joke.  Fresh into summer vacation and laid up on the couch.  I am so grateful it passed both of the children quickly.
 We made 28 half pints.  I feel so motherly after putting anything into canning jars!