Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Just one week ago, as I was walking the dog, I found this at the curb.

Can you believe someone was just going to throw that away?  Me neither.  Can you believe I just raced home, got the van and loaded it into the car before even waking up the kids for school?  Of course you can!

It is perfect for my older son's bedroom, which has been receiving a complete redecoration.

Over the weekend, I took the drawers out and the drawer-pulls off.

I sanded it, primed it, and painted it a lovely dark gray called "French Beret."  I forgot to take pictures of all those steps.  But I did take a picture of the rags I used to clean up, because they're a set of  summertime pajamas that I have had since my oldest was a baby. 

Cute little gingham pattern, right?  I nursed him wearing those same pajamas -- and now --cue the music - now they are used to refurbish furniture for his "young man" bedroom.

It looks perfect.

Yes, those are new drawer-pulls.  Thanks for noticing.  Yes, the picture is blurry.  We haven't put shades up in his newly redecorated bedroom yet, and the light is blinding.  It doesn't do the color justice.  Luckily, I also painted his dresser the same color.

Nice, right?  Or do you like it the old way better?

That was back when the dresser was blue.  And his walls were dark blue and the rug was light blue.  Now it's all a very polished gray.

It just screams "young man on his way to an excellent college".

No one knows which college that will be, but we're working on it.  I just hope he learns to put his clothes away.

What's at your curb?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


For all you guys and gals on the go ... you need this.

It is an individually wrapped glass of wine.  The glass is actually plastic, but it's nice enough.  You can keep it in your fridge for those emergency situations.

I think you know what I'm talking about.

My sister-in-law gave it to me.  She is a savvy shopper and wine drinker, and she likes to be prepared.  I admire that about her.

I like to plan ahead, and fall is a hectic time around here, so I did this ...

Yes, I did.  I bought the box.  My husband threatened divorce.

Honestly, the wine tasted fine.  However, inside the box is a plastic ... well, bladder.  It holds the wine and shrinks down as the wine gets poured.   That's not the worst thing in the world ... but ... next time I went to the store I just bought the bottle.

Recently we went to a wedding and got these favors.

I know, it's been done before.  But I appreciated it all the same.

My oldest son is applying to colleges this fall.  A lot of pressure, a lot do do, a lot of emotion.  Sometimes I just need to wine down.   How do you like your wine?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


 This was Baxter two weeks ago on vacation.

This is him today, wondering where all the fun is gone.  He can't believe how fast the kids are growing up.

Neither can I.  Here is a column I wrote several years ago when I dropped my youngest son off at kindergarten.  I am posting this for one of my friends whose youngest is starting kindergarten this week.  (It's included in my book "Better Living Through Chaos" which can be conveniently purchased by clicking the link on this page!)


 By Pam Lobley

Taking your youngest child, your last child, your baby, to his first day of Kindergarten can be a traumatic experience.  Even if he is ready, you may not be.  After all, he’s still so young.  It was just yesterday he was standing on his tiptoes trying to see the top of dining room table, or charging around the living room with his shirt off waving a wooden spoon as a sword.  Actually, that sword thing was this morning.  In any case, he’s a big boy now.  So here are some tips to make it through the day successfully.

DO:  Try to make the last 2 weeks of summer stupefyingly boring.  You will all be so sick of each other school will seem like a Disney ride.

DO:  Wear sunglasses, so that if you get teary eyed people will not see it.

DO: Plan an activity for after drop off, so that you will not have to go home to that empty house.

DO NOT, however, become so absorbed in planning your post drop activity that you forget your child’s backpack, have to run back home for it and barely make it to lineup time, sweaty and disoriented.

DO NOT: Go the library.  You will end up wandering into the children’s section, looking at all the baby flap books you read to him just a few years ago.  Or you will find yourself wistfully staring at a “Blues Clues” videotape, and remembering a song, word for word, about the planets.

DO: Go the wine store and pick out something for yourself for dinner tonight.  A nice bottle, not the usual el cheapo jug stuff you drink most days.  And when the clerk asks if you need help DO NOT snap “Uh uh” simply because you are too emotional to talk to anyone.

DO NOT:  Plan to do housework.  If there is anything worse than coming home to an empty house, it is coming home to an empty house and picking up a dust rag.  It’s been messy this long, let it go a few more days.

DO:  Spend some time thinking up some new excuses not to do housework.  Now that you don’t have a baby at home, how will you explain the mess?

DO NOT:  Clean out your child’s clothing drawers.  I know they are a mess, but you have been through enough today.  You don’t need to also face the fact that he will never again fit into those adorable Spiderman PJs.

DO: plan a nice family dinner for tonight.  Maybe bake a cake.  This will give you the opportunity to eat from stress and lick the frosting bowl until you’re slightly queasy. 

DO NOT:  Keep looking at the clock and think:  “I wonder what he is doing right now.” 

DO NOT:  Go on to look at the cute little dog you’ve been trying to talk your husband into adopting.  That dog has been adopted by someone else.  This is too much loss for one day.  Perhaps a second cake is in order.

DO NOT:  Plan to get a lot done.  Because if by chance you end up drifting from room to room, unable to get your bearings, at a loss for how to organize your time without constant cries of “Mom” to punctuate your day, you will accomplish nothing and feel terrible about it.  Try instead to just get one simple thing done.  Like, for instance, baking a cake.

DO:  Greet him joyfully at pick up time. 

DO:  Bring him to his older brother’s soccer practice.  Listen to him whine about the heat and how he hates the snack you brought.  Let him step on your toes several times as he tries to climb up your legs.  Have him spill Gatorade all over your newspaper.  Have him bite your stomach, TWICE, while you are trying to get the game schedule from the coach.  During dinner, listen to him howl that “This is the gross chicken!” and watch him twist in his chair, eat with his fingers, and pretend to snore in your face when you correct his manners. 

You will be ready for drop off again first thing tomorrow.

My youngest son starts high school today.  Savor your moments!