Mid-July???? Seriously???

nd2I give up. Time just speeds by. I feel like I’m busy. In fact, I am busy. But when I look at the calendar it’s obvious that I have been sitting on my thumbs for about two years.  Wasn’t I just in Paris?

We’re on a rowing break which is kind of awesome. Andy is doing some kind of strength/conditioning camp thing two days a week. Compared to three hours a day six days a week, that’s a cake walk. He continues to search for a summer job – so many places only hire people 18 and older. In the meantime, he’s been picking up odd jobs when he can.

With the rowing break, I thought things would slow down a bit. When it was still relatively cool, I started painting the shutters on the house. I WILL finish them tomorrow. I don’t mind climbing the mountainous ladder – I just mind the news people tell me it’s going to feel like 105 when I’m up there. Who does that help? No one.

Before I could finish the shutters, we ran into lots of rowing. Then . . . who knew? We became party people. Graduations, birthdays, it’s Saturday – all kinds of parties. Up front, it’s kind of fun to finally be in the “cool” group. Only took me 52 years and what’s cool has changed quite a bit over the years. Anyway – we’ve been eating and drinking our way through Orlando and we’re going to continue for the next week or two.

I’m mostly excited that Danny will be coming home on Thursday. He’s only been to this house once before. Weird, huh? I got to see him back in December but Mike and the brothers have not seen him for over a year. I’m so, so, so, thrilled to have all six of us together. We’re all pretty excited. Since he’s missed the past two Thanksgivings with us, we’re hosting a Thanksgiving-in-July cookout.  My sister is even coming with 2/3 of her kids!  (If you have food ideas, please share in the comments!!!) I think we’ll have between 25-35 people. If I haven’t officially invited you and you’re in Orlando – you’re invited July 15 around 4:30.

finallogo jpgIn other news, I’ve started a new side business – Overalls Overhauls. I have spent so much time over the past (yikes!) 25 or so years redoing furniture, and I LOVE  doing it, that I thought I might as well start selling the stuff instead of cramming my own house full of “just one more adorable” whatever.  To my Facebook friends, I apologize. So much of this is a GIANT learning curve for me. I’m getting it now and soon I should have my personal and my business pages working independently.  If you’re on Instagram, I will apologize in advance – that’s next week’s project.

Hope all is well in your worlds.


Mommy Dearest

VZM.IMG_20160320_180111Sometimes you just have to own the fact that you might not have been the sanest parent on the planet. We spent the weekend emptying the attic, sorting through endless piles of stuff and trying to get organized for this move.  I say “we” emptied the attic.  By “we” I mean Andy and Mike. “We” worked really hard.

Once everything was in the garage, I was left to sort through and organize the stuff. Have you ever seen an episode of “Hoarders?” Yep. It was like that. Despite last spring’s attic purge – when I was frantically searching for my birth certificate – there was still more homeschool stuff and kid memorabilia. I’m not a terribly nostalgic person but, I took some time to sort through the stuff.

I found Ian’s memorable first book -“Shalom, Shalom” – written when he was about eight. It’s hysterical. One day I’ll scan it and put it up here. We found an incredibly detailed (and strange) movie script written by 10-year-old Tim. My favorite find was Danny’s 2001 handwriting notebook. (see picture) We were almost done with our second year of homeschool. Danny was eight.

That poor kid.  There are pages and pages of that same sentence!  I have no recollection of what he did but, clearly, it pissed me off. I was insane. Where were the adults? The notebook also included a chatty letter to Santa Claus that asked for nothing except in the PS where he wrote “Please don’t bring any Elmo videos for Andy.”

I texted this picture to Dan to see if he remembered what it was about. He didn’t answer right away so I asked if he was still bitter. He told me the wounds had just begun to heal. Sorry Dan.

And the beat goes on . . .

Last week at this time, I was unloading the car after Danny and Christi’s wedding. We had extra people sleeping here. I had about 50 towels and a whole hamper of random clothing to wash.  There was music and munching on leftovers and everyone telling their version of the wedding experience. So much fun. So many crazy memories!  Everyone wish Dan and Christi a happy one week anniversary!!!!

Sunday was goodbye day and eat leftovers day.  And then it was back on the trail.  There was work for Mike, rowing for Andy, cleaning and laundry and driving and writing for me.  Andy and I left the house everday this week at 6:45. If you know me at all, you know this was painful and confusing. I do NOT function well in the morning no matter how much sleep I get.  Fortunately, Andy is the same so he never notices. During weeks like this, I rely heavily on my bullet journal to guide me and stop me from pulling into a parking lot after dropping Andy at practice and sleeping like a homeless person.  If you haven’t tried a bullet journal and are constantly trying to find things, remember things or just get a glimpse of what you’ve done in the past weeks, give it a shot.  It takes about a month to get used to and then you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.  Or not. It works for me.

So20150623_150758, we have been getting things done.  Andy got his learner’s permit on Tuesday.  How sad is that? His birthday was in January.  He’s had the tests done for ages and we have not had time to get to the DMV until now. We had a 2:45 appointment. I don’t know if the DMV was having a contest on being cooperative, super-nice and friendly or what but we were back in our car with the permit at 2:58.  Yes, we went to a real DMV.  I am not telling you which DMV it was because it’s a secret – I can’t have any of you all ruining it!!!!

I am now teaching my fourth son to drive. We started in the big empty church parking lot.20150627_165041 There was some whimpering on my part.  More whimpering when I realized my “Jesus handle” is broken (bullet journal note – get Mike to fix Jesus handle before next outing).  In the past four days Andy has begun to master: working all the buttons in the car; stop signs; backing up-ish; driving at insanely slow speeds around the neighborhood and understanding the value of getting the car cooled down before I get to the driveway.  This week?  We’re moving to the 35 mph streets and may even attempt parking with other cars in the parking lot.  Send aspirin.

Andy was joking today as we headed up one of the windier (wyn-dier, as in curvy, rather than windier, as in blustery) roads around the neighborhood.  “Quick mom, get a picture of me on my first roundabout!” This picture is after he went into a small ditch on the first roundabout (you know, because I was lying about how narrow the road is) – he has yet to make eye contact with me.

In other news, Tim has a friend-that-is-a-girl coming to town on Monday. He met her during his traveling photography job. She’s a dancer. She’s from Iowa.  (I know, right? I only know one family from Iowa and I like them very much so I’m sure this new girl is just as lovely.) She’ll be staying in Tim’s room while he moves to the sofa.  I’m hoping to have enough time to make Tim’s room pretty and a little girly before she gets here.  Cross your fingers.

For the past two years I’ve had ongoing projects to keep me out of trouble (my parents’ 50th at the beach and Dan’s wedding). Now? I’m trying to figure out what’s next. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, I think.

Eeek! I’m a mother-in-law!

wedding shoesDan and Christi got married this past Saturday.  It is now Wednesday night and I finally feel human again. Last week was full of love, fun of people, food, fun and more than a little wine. People started coming on Wednesday. We put Mike’s parents to work as soon as they walked in the door Wednesday evening. Thursday was getting an Italian dinner together for 35 people.

We held the party at my parents’ house. I owe my neighbor, Vanessa, a huge debt for helping me get thing ready on time. It was close!!!  The rehearsal party was fun and relaxed. Well, Christi wasn’t totally relaxed – she was trying to break in her wedding shoes and my feet hurt just watching her walk around. I went20150618_204313 barefoot on her behalf.  I was able to give Dan and Christi a peek at the quilt I’ve been making for them.  It’s not finished but, they’ll have it in Michigan before it gets cold.

Following the rehearsal dinner, Dan, Tim, and Ian met a bunch of their friends at our house to be picked up by Uber cars for a bachelor party. (Andy was the best man – but 15 is a little young for a bachelor party!) All I will say is God bless Uber and air mattresses. Everyone slept here that night and I am so very glad the wedding was not for another day.  The next morning, I had nine sad, hungover young men cleaning my bathrooms and kitchen. Not a bad trade for the extra laundry and the late night. 😉 Lucky for them, I was not mean enough to take pictures.

Friday night we had Mike’s parents, a couple of the boys’ friends and some neighbors over for fajitas and last minute brainstorming over checklists anPART_1434830479038_.IMG_20150620_160101d forgotten details. And, then, poof! It was Saturday. We met my mom, my sister, Mike’s parents, Christi’s grandparents and the wedding coordinator at the site at 3:00 p.m.  I also had some of the boys’ friends to help.  There was a lot to set up – a wedding backdrop and arch.  I made the backdrop and wasn’t too sure if it would hold up.  Christi’s grandma was putting together a beautiful will arch with fresh flowers. The boys were in charge of putting all the cookies out for the c20150620_154447ookie table (it’s a Pittsburgh thing – Christi’s parents and I are from Pittsburgh).  My mom and Mike’s mom made it pretty.  Meanwhile, Mike was giving the bartender instructions on the signature drinks and explaining the bar thing.  There was much loading and unloading.  In an old house on the property, the bridal party was getting dressed and photographed. I kept Christi’s mom up-to-date taking and texting pictures.

We had just about finished setting up when I got a text that Danny had lost a button on his tux.  It pays to be hyper-organized sometimes – everyone teased me for packing a mini-sewing kit. I grabbed my sewing kit, donned my cape and sewed the button right back on!  Whew!  The sky was getting dark and the wind was blowing and guests were calling to say the rain was terrible and they might be late. In the end, everything worked out. The pastor did a beautiful job with the service.  Dan and Christi both were glowing and so confident that I didn’t even cry.It all seemed too right! 

More pictures, happy hour, a delicious dinner and the party got started. There was dancing, laughing, lots of catching up and eventually cake! The Dancing with Dantoasts were heartfelt and lovely – mostly.  Mike and I had been worried about Andy’s toast but he refused to share beforehand. We worried for a reason. One of the key points of Andy’s toast was that Dan was less of an asshole (his word!) since meeting Christi.  :::sigh::: Everyone laughed, though. I felt better when, later, the pastor told me that Andy was a rock star among little brothers. Ummm . . . okay. More dancing.  When Dan asked what song I wanted for our mother/son dance I just told him to pick something not boring.  He rose to the occasion. Nothing like a little Violent Femmes to kick off the night! Luckily no video has surfaced. The photographer did get one image.  



rainbow weddingAround 8:00 pm, the photographer grabbed Dan and Christi and took them outside for some last pictures. Soon nearly everyone was outside looking at the amazing rainbow.  I can’t think of a better start for a better couple.


If you’re on Facebook, you can view some other photos at the photographer’s, Jenna Michelle Photography, page.  She did an amazing job!

So maybe easy is overrated . . .

The professonal:

I spent the afternoon writing a short e-book for one of the online sites. The guy I am writing for is nice enough, but looking at his picture (and who knows if that is real) he appears to be about 12. I sent him the first 1/2 tonight and now I wait. I hope this will be my last ebook written for someone else. The pay sucks and writing for people who don’t know what I’m writing for them sucks even more. Still. It’s quick money when you need it and this month, we need it.

Now to find some real live people I know who need some writing done. I’m doing some writing for our family business – set up the website and wrote it. I can use that. I am about to do the same for my neighbors who are launching their own business. I can use that as well. Now to find some established businesses that want a regular blog or email to connect them with their customers.

The not-so-professional:

In the past 3+ weeks, Andy has gained 7 pounds! Amazing what cramming 5000-6000 calories a day into a kid will do. It’s not showing on him, but I guess it will eventually. I think it’s starting to show on me and Mike, though. We might have to start plowing the back 40 or something to keep up with the butter and ice cream and deliciousness. In the meantime, Andy is enjoying his 1/2 heavy cream & 1/2 whole milk quart of chocolate milk after every workout! (I know, it’s a toss between ‘blech!’ and ‘ooohh can I have a sip?’)

Dan, Tim and Ian are all settling into their new work/school routines. Ian called to tell me an iron had fallen as he was picking up a book and ruined the screen on his laptop. Me? I shrieked, “An iron? You guys own an iron? Who is using an iron?” Nice, huh?

(It was Dan. This is his senior year and he is doing a lot of presentations and interviews. I DID buy him some grown up clothes last time he was home, but ironing?????? Beyond my wildest dream! I have a hard time thinking of Dan as anything other than my flannel child. Huh.)