Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ramblings of an Honest Mother

I've been planning on telling you about my stint on the jury of a murder trial two summers ago. I don't know if it's because it's summer again and I have every big, bad, ugly day ahead of me to entertain four kids by myself and I feel intimidated by the enormity of this job I fondly call 'motherhood.' Or if I'm just looking far and wide for entertaining tidbits of my life to share with you, my CyberWorld. Who knows. But I've been recalling that summer, when I was at sort of a low-point of self-worth for a mom, I was called to jury duty. And for one whole week, I was given the honor, privilege, and responsibility to dress up and drive downtown to listen to and decide the fate of one young man who had made some bad choices in his life. Some veeerrrry bad choices. And I was one fab-u-lous juror. I even cut my bangs half-way through the week (hmmm. perhaps there's a theme there) to make myself look a bit more professional-y. I brought donuts and bagels every day and asked probing and friendly questions of my fellow jurors at each break and meal so much so that they actually thought I was witty and charming and brilliant. And they voted me Foreperson. Which I speedily declined. Because, and this is a post in and of itself, truly. I am painfully shy. You might not know that. Even if you know me, I don't think you probably know that. But, I have a daughter who vomited daily the first week of kindergarten over the enormity of the change she was being asked to endure. And she comes by those nerves naturally. So I passed my post (which I smiled inwardly at having been given) to a man who had forepersoned a jury before. Although, not a murder trial. But, the Fonze and George Hamilton rolled into one midwestern businessman seemed a more appropriate foreperson to a jury for a murder trial than caffeine-induced-high-strung-jumps-off-the-handle-cuts-her-own-bangs-and-wants-to-string-up-the-murderer little ol' SAHM me.

The sweet young girl who befriended me most that week wanted to snap a photo of our group for her scrapbook. That was awkward. Um. No offense. But no thanks. I don't need to stand on record as having been the one to - you know. Decide that dude's guilt.

Anyway. There's a story I don't share often. But, it was (weirdly enough) one of the best weeks of my life. Isn't it ironic that I know I have worth here in my home. That I have the toughtest, most rewarding job known to mankind and I forget. Every day. And I screw up. Every day. And make bad choices. I choose fast, angry responses when I should choose tempered patience. I pray my kids would remember me for being a good mom when I should see that I am a good mom. And, too, I should see to it that I do make better choices. Because we can't take it back. The Bible tells us to be quick to listen and slow to anger.

You'll notice that a lot of my songs on my playlist are about how these years just fly by. Truly, my all-time favorite song is on Billy Ray Cyrus' latest CD and it's called that - Flying By. (But, sadly, Playlist doesn't have it. Or I'd have it at the top of my list every day.) And that's what this post is about. A reminder to myself that I don't need fancy clothes or highrise parking garages and bad guys to remind me that I am blessed. But, maybe a reminder that bad choices have consequences and I can choose to be better than those choices. Summer is the time my kids and I can kick back and relax. Without the stress of eating fast enough and dressing fast enough to get to the bus fast enough to get to our lessons fast enough to bathe fast enough to get to bed fast enough to wake up fast enough to eat fast instead. Be. Just Be. God wants me to Breathe in. And Breathe out Prayer. He listens. He respects. He encourages. He supports. The very values I wish to instill in my family. He already does.

Oh! How Great is Our God?
~The Mess. The Masterpiece. The Roost'er.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Today, we pause to remember.

To Respect.

And to say "Thank you."

Friday, May 23, 2008

I love to bake

"I love to bake! Strudels, scones, even apple pandowdy!
Someday I hope to make the perfect creme brulee!"

Zeke, from High School Musical, is my bosom buddy.

Well, all except for the Jock part.

Did you know that about me?

I love to bake.
I'm pretty good at muffins and muffies.

I love to bake cookies.

I bake the best carrot cakes. (Right, Tom?)

I'm really quite good at making cupcakes.

Remember these?

And my baking days are over. I'm not kidding. After the month of May and all these birthday parties (Seriously? Three of them for the four year-old). We're going camping for The Baby's first. I'm on Baking Vacation.


Do you think I can get out of cooking, too?
~The Roost'er

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saying Good Bye

Tomorrow is my little buddy's last day of school. His preschool teacher, Miss Nikki, has taught each one of my kids now over the last three years. And her aide, Miss Kristen. We've been working diligently to make their year-end gifts. (It's not easy helping a four year old make and sew a bow, stamp in a straight line...or even be interested in performing said activities for more than one occurrence, but we got it done!)

Here's the final product. He even helped with the packaging. (And yes, those initials are wrong - because really those are the bows of a pair of 6 year-olds. But I wasn't rewrapping just for the sake of a picture. You get the idea.)

I'm not good with change. For the most part, I insist upon keeping things the same. I'll miss seeing my bus buddy every day (Hey, Kara!) and chatting in all kinds of weather for an hour after the bus drives off with the kids. Next year, BiG Change - Full Day.

But, I'm not all sad this year. I'll be glad not to have to rush the kids through lunch anymore. Not to frantically search for clean socks or their shoes, or where is your library book, where is your backpack, oops, I forgot your snack again, I SAID GET YOUR SHOES ON!

I'm looking forward to this summer. To swimming. And day camps and camping trips. And board games and biking, and reading and worksheets to keep us smart. And all the fun that summer brings.

So, before all that, we say our good-byes. It's been a good year. But, I'm looking forward this time. Lots of great things ahead.

Thanks, Teachers. See you in 104 days.

~The Roost'er

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Bad Hair Day

I cut my hair on Friday. Well, I take that back. I had my hair cut on Friday. I sort of described what I wanted done. I usually take a picture with me, but lately it just seems like everything requires a lot more effort than normal. And searching for the picture seemed like it would take too long when I'd already spent half the morning trying to decide whether I should go get my hair cut or not. Do you ever do that? Spend more time fretting about something than it would actually take to go do the something? That's my life lately. And, while I'm on the topic, it seems like lately, too, that everyday things, like making a meal, turn the entire house upside down. I mean, I'm still trying to fly, but a simple bath tonite turned into a bathroom fiasco when the baby decided she didn't feel so well right after the older sister asked for all the bath toys to be dumped into the tub with them. Come on, seriously? Now I have to either disinfect all the toys or throw them all away and start over. And, really, who has that much disposable time or income to clean or to buy all new?

Anywho, I digress.

So, Friday, I went to have my hair cut. And I said to my current special gal, "You think? You think these sides aren't just a little too long?" (You know, that 'special' person in your life who can cut your hair like no one else, right? Mine's name was Shannon. She spoke my language. She knew my hair fears and helped me past them. She created the cut you see in my profile picture. I love that haircute. I mean cut. [btw, my then-3-year-old daughter snapped that shot on a 100+ degree, 98% humidity midwest summer day a few summers back...See? I told you Shannon created miracles for hair]. But Shannon? One day Shannon up and moved away. I still have hair cutting dreams about Shannon. A love lost, I tell you.)

But, again, I digress. So, I found Brandi. She's good. I mean, she cut my hair into a good style. But it wasn't an "It's-summertime-so-let-your-hair-go-short-and-sassy-so-you-can-climb-out-of-the-pool-toss-and-go" kind of cut. So, after fretting over it all weekend and spending way too much of my valuable time on trying to 'style' it, I decided to do something. That's right. I did.

I grabbed a pair of Kindergarten scissors and my daughter's little MaryKay mirror. And with Baby S situated on my hip, I started to hack away, I mean cut my hair. And I hadn't eaten much for breakfast because I need to go to the grocery store, and really, with 4 kids, that's just a lot of work, and maybe I had a little too much caffeine and really not enough time because I'd fretted all morning about whether I should do something or not and it was time to make lunch out of...well, something. And, well. I just started cutting.

And I laughed my tail off.

Because, really? Only I would spend half my day trying to decide whether to go back and have Brandi fix it and the rest of the day trying to fix what I had done. To myself. And I don't actually think I look half bad. Shannon, I am not. But bathroom-mirror-self-photographer, apparently I am.

Look at me:

Friday, May 16, 2008

'Baby M'

Yep. To this day, his buddy calls him "Baby M." Because that's what he was. Our baby. And now? He's 4. Yesterday, all day, I told him over and over, "Now you're four years and 3 hours old." "Now you're four years and 4 hours old..." He is so excited! And, of course, he's not the baby anymore, anyway! Now he's the middle child. The attention-seeker. The instigator. The player. I call him our future Jeep-driving middle kid. He'll be the cool one who wears the rad (do we say that in 'cool' circles anymore?) hemp rope around his neck in the fashion of hip male jewelry. He 'plans' to be a professional baseball player. And believe me. He has the tenacity to do it. And the practice hours in already. Every day. I'm throwing him the ball. Every day. Rain. Snow. Cold. Hot. It doesn't matter to Baby M. He'll play. Today I told him I was going on baseball vacation. And then I threw him the ball. Because that's what you do with Baby M. It makes him do this:

And who can resist that sweet smile when the lips curve up right at the very corners? Well, not me, anyway. He wanted a baseball cake. So I made him one. Until 2:30 in the morning. Betty Crocker I am not. Wilton cake decorator I am not. But Mommy to one sweet little boy who is growing up and makes me laugh and turns my hair gray with his bull-headed ability to NOT listen or obey? That I am. And here was his cake:

And lest you be foiled by that sweet demeanor. Here he as his alter-ego:

HAHA! He reminds me that Jesus loves me. And he prays at every meal for 'strangers' and for his friends to listen to their moms. He's a unique little character that has brought amazing light to our family by his presence. And his disturbances. But, I digress.

Here's the final picture of our door. Welcome Home, Family :)

And Happy Birthday, Baby M.
~The Roost'er

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Miss Manners would have a hay-day with me. Truly. I can stick my foot in with the best of them! But, I can at least acknowledge that I am a student of civilized behavior. One of my favorite books of all time? Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin.

I borrowed Miss Manner's book from the library this time after a trip to the local Hallmark store brought me home with a sweet little guide to note-writing. I struggled with what to say to my friend who lost her little girl. I know I failed. But, I am interested in learning. So, I trekked the kids to the local library. Paid the astronomical fine (dad gum those 'grace periods!'). And brought home a bag full of books providing me with advice for Great Personal Letters for Busy People (I realized I'm really not so busy as to need that book); How to Say It (some good advice - darn if I didn't probably say half the things in the 'What Not to Say' section); and my beloved Miss Manners' Guide. She is thorough. She is straightforward. She is funny, if she's not terse.

Thank you notes - and even sympathy notes - are a dying art. Truly. In the day of emails and text messaging and even palm pilots and blackberries to guide our lives, we've overscheduled, overextended, over-done life to the point that personal communication is at a low. Now, I am not known for timely greetings. In fact, for a 'Stamp Lady,' I tend to not even have cards to send, let alone actually send the correspondence out to the necessary party. I think I sent a 'thank you' note to our neighbor for her extra-generous bags of Halloween candy for my kids around Easter-time. Fortunately, she didn't give them Easter candy. I'd be sunk.

But, perhaps our little friend Emma has changed me in this way. I am sending notes. I am sticking to the '3 day rule.' (Did you even know there was a 3-day rule?) We all love mail. My daughter squeals with delight when she discovers a letter addressed to her in the box. And honestly? I do to. At least on the inside.

So, thank somebody today. For something. Listen to your old, elderly Aunt Florance for once in your life and let her know you cared that she sent you that bar of Irish Spring on a rope for your birthday when you were 12. She only did it because she loves you. Let her know you love her, too. Send that special someone a thank you card. And do it quick. 'Cuz 3 days was up a long, long time ago.
~The Roost'er

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Befores and Afters & a Cute Pair of Shoes

OK. Every girl likes a cute pair of go-to shoes. Well, who wouldn't love a pair of these??

JT3's aunt makes these AWESOME monogram buttons - so I had her make me a pair and I think they turned out about darn cute. Never mind that my big toes are HUUUGE. Some lucky people are going to be receiving a pair of these soon! (a pair of monogrammed button shoes. NOT my big toes. HELLO!)

And! Today was The Day! After 5 coats of paint and a GIANT hole in my wall that looked like this:


My Before turned into...

My After!

(Men with hammers not included.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Little Birdies

I haven't been crafty for a while - I think I o.d.'d on it with the shower. But, 'tis that time again. To clean up the stamp room to make room for the mess I make in order to stamp these:

some images above and below copyright Stampin' Up!

Here's my latest nest and birdie. He found a special spot in The Pretty Bathroom, as you can see. The Eldest Hostile made a point to pull me into the bathroom to tell me how pretty his bathroom is now with the new guest. And his twin sister asked why I hadn't posted it on the blog. So. There ya go, Little Mama. I put him on here for you! Thanks, to my mom, for the thoughtful gift!

Thanks for stopping by! Tomorrow I'll post before/after pictures of our stunning new front door!


~The Roost'er

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mission Statement

I am so enjoying this blogging adventure. I feel very guilty that I have all but thrown out my daily photo journal that I loved. Daily. Writing and photographing the events of everyday life. Just for the remembory of it all. Until I started this blog. Now, a friend of mine indicated that I could later turn my blog into a book. But, it still makes me sad to look at the forgotten journal.

I love reading other women's on-line photo journals and realizing that I'm just not as inadequate as I tend to feel on a daily basis. Instead, I am...maybe a little bit normal. It is so refreshing to read the words that I am not able to express. Written in someone else's place. And knowing that they understand me. When we don't even know each other. It helps me be more open to the women in my life that I do know and love. And who love me even when they know my deepest, darkest secrets because they read my blog (YIKES!). Thanks, Ladies. For getting to know me.

I am so lucky. My daughter loves Jon and Kate Plus 8. So I get to watch it whenever she wants. And today (at least 'today' in DVR-land), Kate created a family mission statement. I'm going to do that. I'll have to think on it for a bit. And then I'll post it. Just like naming my Abby. Now, thanks to Sissy, I have to name my pear tree.

There's just so much to do! Fortunately, my list of real-life things-to-do is getting checked off. One. By. One.

Gotta go.
Thanks for checking in!
~The Roost'er

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I planned this post today. And then 'my buddy,' The Nester, posted this post. Funny. 'Great minds' think alike. (Yeah, right.) But, how cool is it to make a list of desciptive words for your home? What you want it to say to you and anyone who enters. I'll have to think on that a while.

In the meantime...When I photographed my Southern Living tray, my friend Pam asked me what else I had decorated in my home. I stammered my answer. But, basically, it meant, 'Nothing.' Absolutely Nothing. Nope. Nothing Decorated. But, The Nester has inspired me. (That, and the ridiculous feeling of embarrassment I experienced when I had nothing to tell Pam that I had decorated!)

I have always desired to decorate. I think I may have even believed I was decorating. Sometimes. I recall the Lighthouse-Themed Room. I was very big on themes when we moved into our home. (Which, if I named her, like Emily, what would I call her??) But now? Now I have four young kids and a one-income family. And...lots of 'ideas' that change too often to invest in decorating. But, somewhere, someone once told me to make a book of ideas. To look for inspiration in magazines. So, I've been doing that for a while now. And here are a few of my favorites. That didn't really cost too much to decorate. You know, the basement...the Dollar Store. They Rawk.

Here's to Home.

The mantle

---chickified but downscaled since then! I think you can see the dust on my stars. I hung them straight from the front porch all winter and the back porch all last summer onto the main wall of my living room. I call it Character. The allergy doctor might call it something else.

The Wall

--- last night I packed up all my curios to make way for our new front door (another post for another day!). I'd been 'shopping' for birds to add to that middle shelf for weeks. I found my grandmother's bird bells on the bottom of the curio cabinet and realized they'd be perfect! And they didn't cost me a dime!

The Pretty Bathroom

Not many would include a picture of their porcelain bowl in their post. But come on. Isn't she pretty? My husband gutted that room. He began from scratch and built it back to the pristine arena she is today. For the boys to miss. And the boys to splash. And the boys to spray. But, the elder hostile knows to wipe that pretty sink down. Every night. Bless his heart.

Home (My Abigail Grace: God's Joy)



casual & pretty - charming


safe & real


tidy ('though not always clean!)


~The Roost'er

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Heart Walk '08

Today, we celebrated Life. And supported research.
And awareness.

Please enjoy the following photos from this morning's Heart Walk.

We walk for Our First Heart Kid --- painting the city bus.

We walk for Our Second Heart Kid --- enjoying the sites of the walk.

We walk for our friends.

Gold ones.

And Silver ones.

We walk to remember.

Spencer, age 5 - who loved Hockey

AJ, age 17 - who loved to drive and loved to help the little ones

Sophia, age 3 months - with the tenacious spirit

Jackson, 1 year - the apple of his family's eye

Emma, 5 years - with the gorgeous hair and quick grin

And others.

We walk to say thank you.
To the nurses.

To the doctors.

We walk for the sights.

The Sounds.

Even the tastes.

And maybe a chance at immortality. ???

If I just don't stop walking.

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