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Today, I’m thinking about a few years ago, when after school simply meant having a snack, watching a video, and playing until dinner time.

I kind of wonder if they even remember those days.

This is why we stay on the school playground and run wild for a while at the end of the school day.

The painful part is knowing how much bigger the workload is going to get in the next few years.

Don’t you love a lazy Sunday?

8:35 am – Drip, drip, drip.  My favorite thing to see when I stumble into the kitchen.  No, we don’t keep the clock set on the coffee pot.  I try to remember to unplug it to save energy.

11:54 am – Jason must have someone from one of these teams on his fantasy team.

1:06 pm – I love these dying hydrangeas from the front yard.

1:06 pm – …and these fresher ones.  From the same bush.  There’s great contrast out there right now.

1:16 pm – Reading time.  Some books never get old.

2:58 pm – Nicolas had his first trumpet lesson on Saturday.  This picture makes me so happy.

4:34 pm – Kalen has gotten into The Sorcerer’s Stone, so we started him on his own collection of the series.  Another picture that makes me so happy.  (Beth, that’s still his favorite shirt!)

4:57 pm – Bicycle racks shaped like bicycles!  Cute, until your goofy mom insists you pose with them for a photo.  That’s going on her blog.  At least Kalen seems to be going for it.

5:07 pm – He is really into this book.  He maintained this position for the entire ride.  Note the death grip on his new bookmark.

5:07 pm – Nicolas got a few new-to-him Choose Your Own Adventures.  Vintage 1980’s!

6:29 pm – Playing with my new toy after a stop at the mall.

8:21 pm – The aftermath of a collage assignment for school.

And that was our 12th!  A much-needed day of relaxation.  Check out how the rest of the world wiled away their Sunday over at Chad’s.

I have said for years that any conceivable world energy crisis would be solved instantaneously if we could just hook up giant hamster wheels at every home with young boys.

It looks like someone finally heard me.

Where do I sign up?


  • I’m feeling incredibly Random today, which you would think would bode well for Random Tuesday Thoughts.  Hint: It doesn’t.  Random = scattered = what, a blog?  Where?
  • I’ve been enjoying all the BlogHer posts trickling in everywhere.  No jealousy.  None.  Okay, I lie.  Maybe a tad.  But it’s mixed with “I don’t know anyone anyway and would have felt like an outsider” relief at not being there.  So, mostly, I’m happy to read from afar about the fun that was had by most.
  • Have you ever gone mini-golfing in the rain?  I highly recommend it.  It’s sort of become a family tradition now.  Our Saturday escapade in the Seattle drizzle doesn’t quite match the downpour on the mountainside course in Gatlinburg when I was a kid, but still.  I really do think wet days are the best ones to be out on the mini-links.  The main reason: NO crowds.

  • Look at Kalen’s happy smile.  See how his eyes are all squinty?  Pure, fabulous genetics.  That squint is how I know I’ve actually captured a joyous moment.  If you see Kalen or my dad (or his mom) smiling in a photograph, and you can see the whites of their eyes, it’s not their “happy” smile.  It’s a posed “picture smile.”  Or a stage smile.  There’s nothing wrong picture and stage smiles; I just happen to be partial to the happy, squinty ones, myself.
  • Look at Nicolas’s smile.  It’s pure “for the camera.”  As is his pose.  The kid should be a model.  He does this every time.
  • The Spin Cycle this week is all about weddings.  Scattered brain over here is trying to decide which aspect of ours to write about.  (“About which to write,” I know, I know.)  Any requests?
  • Hey, lookie there.  I managed some random!  Check out Keely’s for a lot more.

Farewell, Garden Week!™

Yikes, that yarrow on the bottom left is looking more than a bit sad.  I’m happy to report that he’s perked up a bit since Thursday morning, however.

If he doesn’t continue to perk up, there’s always Home Depot’s exchange policy.

I’m pulling for him, though.

As for the mums, I’m surprised at myself.

They’re my favorite part.

Or maybe that’s my favorite part.

Seeing them learn new chores makes me happy.

For those of you, probably on the West Coast, whose DQ’s are still open, here’s a reminder:

It’s Miracle Treat Day!

Go get a Blizzard, and make someone’s (or several someones’) day.

And Garden Week!™ rolls on!

Yesterday was Flower Buying Day.  We started our hunt at Home Depot’s clearance racks before moving onto the main nursery section.  I’m nothing if not cheap budget-minded.

I think we did well.

Yarrow!  (I’ve heard of it, but never used it before.)

Trailing Petunias!

Mums!  I’ve never been much of a fan, but they’re so cheery, aren’t they?

Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia).  I’ve never heard of this one.  It’s full and pretty.

Dahlias!  These are gor. geous.  Absolutely brilliant.


Oh, how my farming ancestors would have laughed at me, buying dirt from a store.  What a different world we live in.

Tomorrow on Garden Week!™ — the finished product.

I used to work at a certain store that had that phrase on the back of its employee t-shirts.  Customers asked all. the. time. how they could get one.  Sadly, no can do.

However, in an attempt to (a) do something fulfilling with the boys, (b) make some pretty, and (c) work on that list from the beginning of summer, I’ve declared it Garden Week!™ here at Camp Mom.  Seeing as this house, and therefore its yard, does not belong to us, a container garden it is.  I’ve broken Garden Week!™ down into daily steps to better keep the boys’ interest – and my sanity – intact.

Day 1: Procure containers.

My original thought was to go thrift store shopping to get all the containers.  That original thought became shocked resolve when I looked at the price of new pots and planters – $28-$45 apiece?  Wow.

So, yesterday, the boys and I hit the thrift store circuit.  Selection is low.  Okay, okay, I know it’s August, and most on-the-ball people started their gardens much earlier in the summer.  Or spring.  But still.  NOTHING at the first three stores.  What we did find was cracked, chipped, or plain old ug-lee.

Goodwill, though.  Goodwill came through for us.

Goodwill always comes through.

$27 later, and out we walked with a bevy (herd?  flock? murder?) of containers for our front porch.  (Plus two flower containers for inside, because why not?)

There’s a shy one hiding in the red planter, too.  He wasn’t too keen on hopping out during the photo session.

Or I forgot about him.  Either way.

Tomorrow on Garden Week!™ – Day 2: Buying flowers!

No pun in today’s title.  A double meaning, maybe.  But no pun.

Remember, back in February, when I showed you how we convert the kids’ play room to a guest room?  That’s not quite all of it.

There’s something we’ve started hanging up in there to make our guests feel a little more special.

1 ~ Use an old manila folder to create a diamond-shaped template.  Diamonds folded in half, of course, make triangles.  Trace the diamonds onto newspaper.  Make sure you’ve already read the newspaper, if you want to, because it’s going to get ruined.

2 ~ Water down acrylic paints just a bit, so the newsprint will show through.  Be sure to keep warm colors separated from cool to prevent muddiness.  Notice that I gave Nicolas all the reds, oranges, and yellows, and Kalen had the greens, blues, and purples.

3 ~ Paint!  Go hog wild.  Go outside the lines!  It’s abstract!  It’s fun!

4 ~ While the paint is drying, cut out letters that will fit on the folded triangles.  I wanted to print perfect letters in a pretty font from my computer but decided to embrace the child-like, handmade look of it all.  I hand-drew the letters on construction paper with Sharpie and cut them out.  W’s and M’s are particularly difficult; just thought you deserved fair warning.

5 ~ Choose a string/ribbon/something-like-that to hold all your triangles.  I found some red paper twine in my stash and braided it with raffia.  Cut the [dry] diamonds out, fold them over and glue them around the s/r/s-l-t.  Reinforce the top with a staple, if you’re concerned they might slide around a bit.

6 ~ Attach the letters.

7 ~ Hang.  You know all those looooong plastic twist ties that hold toys in their packaging and generally make birthdays and Christmas morning so frustrating?  Jason’s always insisted on keeping them and storing them out with the hardware in the garage.  I cannot tell you how often they’ve come in handy.  I use two to attach the bunting the curtain rod.  The hardware’s a little much for a paper banner, but I might get curtains in there someday, too.  Maybe.

It was a fun, free project that took us only an hour or so one afternoon.  Folded up, it fits nicely in the drawer with the guest room alarm clock.  Unfolded and hung, it shows our guests how happy we are to have them.

The crash that reverberates from beyond the bathroom door indicates a flagrant disregard of some rule or another.

“HOLY cow!  What was that??  Are you okay?”


“WHAT was that??”

“i was…hanging…on something. and it fell.”

“WHAT were you hanging on???”

[Door opens]


Towel bar in hand.  Left towel bar holder in hand.  Screws – which had been installed without anchors, thank you previous owners – ripped out of drywall.

“You were HANGING on the TOWEL BAR?!?”


“I. You. I can’t believe this.  Put that down.  I’m not dealing with this right now.  You can tell Dad when you get home and ask him to fix it.”

Retreat to den.  Seethe.  Congratulate yourself for not exploding.  Feel slight guilt over pushing the repair off on Dad when you’re perfectly capable of fixing it in five minutes.

Hear sniffles.  Sniffles turn to sobs.

Enter child, head hanging, sobs at maximum, words incoherent.

“I can’t understand you.”

“I. *sob* Don’t. *gasp* Deserve. *sob* To have. *gasp* ANY. *sob* Fun. *Choke* Today.”

“No fun?”

“No. *sob* I tried to fix it. *gasp* But it won’t STAY! *wheeze*”

At this point, hyperventilation seems imminent.

“Come here, sweetie.”

Hug.  Breathe.  Repeat.  Again.

“Would you like me to help you fix it?”

“yes.  please.”

“Okay, then, put some shoes on and come out to the garage with me.”

Lessons learned by him:

~ The importance of drywall anchors and how they work.

~ Righty tighty, lefty loosy.

~ How towel bars are assembled.

~ Why we have rules against treating the household fixtures like a jungle gym.

Lessons learned by me:

~ We have some teeny-tiny hex wrenches.

~ Bathroom lighting is even worse for photography than the rest of the house.

~ My baby’s growing up and learning unprompted responsibility.

~ I just might be doing something right in this whole parenting thing.

My boys

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