Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dashes of Life - or - Life, Continued

Life is more than just a dash. More than a dash to the supermarket. More than a dash to finish dinner. More than a dash between two dates ...

Life is busy here at No.6 Cottage
(I smile inwardly, writing that).

Saturday JT and I spent an evening with his boss and co-workers, learning how to make incredibly tasty appetizers and enjoying a tour of their company's new building while my mom watched the kids at home.

Sunday we spent the afternoon at Busch Stadium eating countless hotdogs, pretzels, nachos, brats, and popcorn - all for just the $5 it cost to park! Hooray for Founders' Day tickets!
JT with the kids at the ballpark Sunday
Monday, I took my brood to the zoo because there was no school. It was the first time Sash refused to sit in the stroller, so all four kids ran haphazardly through the zoo in different directions ... ultimately all in the same direction, though, so that was good! I wandered behind, relishing that they all still enjoy hanging out with dear old Mom on their days off. I barely rememer those days of just two toddling around that same beloved spot ... Monday I took in the smells and the tastes and the moments and tried to memorize them. Gone in a flash. I feel fortunate to enjoy these times.

summer '05 - Pooks & T listen intently to the docent teach about spotted big cats
(I think that was Broken Arm #3, to anyone keeping track...)

On Monday Meiners takes care of big sis on the train

Last night we were finally able to put an offer on 'the house.' It's taken 8 months to return to this place. I almost don't care anymore. But I have diligently been praying that God would open or close doors based on what is best for our family. I don't know the way this will turn out - but He does - and in that, I find peace and contentment.

first 'posted' photo of "the house"

This weekend, we celebrate 11 years of marriage - and JT has planned a sweet time for us together while his parents enjoy some grandkid time.

October 4, 1998 - October 4, 2009 (+)
February - September
Monday - Friday
1 - 4


I thank God that my dash is being spent living a blessed life.

Monday, September 28, 2009


We have been following the Dave Ramsey financial plan - at least loosely - for over a year (debt free exept the house - WOOHOO!). From a 'cash flow' standpoint, we utilize an envelope system, meaning that, for us, all our miscellaneous and food expenses is pulled from the bank twice a month and put into an envelope. Any money I need to spend for a two week period comes from the envelope. (Read: allowance?! Don't care, Ladies. It totally works to keep us on budget!!!)

Recently, my husband said:
Honey, ever since we went to the envelope system, it seems like we haven't
been eating quite as well!

Ya think?! I have a budget now, dude! We can't eat willy nilly when we don't have the cash to follow through with that 'concept!' (the concept being spending beyond your means...) ... and buy those necessary more-wintery clothes for the children, a few home decor items here and there, a school fundraiser, etc...

Tonite, however, I fed the family like I used to...but with fiscal responsibility! (And it felt great!) A few weeks ago, I bought the newest Martha Stewart Everyday Foods mag. The recipe for marinated chicken, mint cucumbers, and pita bread intrigued me. Tonite, as I went to prepare said meal, I discovered very few of the necessary ingredients in the cupboard. Instead, I grabbed some left over Mrs. Dash Zesty Garlic Herb marinade from the fridge and tossed it onto my budget frozen breasts (chicken breasts), poured ranch dressing (with just a touch of lemon zest) over my english cuke instead of the special Greek yogurt dressing from the original recipe, and went ahead and heated up the pitas I'd purchased. We. ate. it. all. Even The Picky Princess, who, all the way home from musical theatre class loudly and coarsely reminded me what she thinks of chicken, gushed over the final chicken product.

And we discovered pitas are fun. They are, after-all, a pocket.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Drama Queen

Yeah, if you know us, you may think this post is about Pookie. In a way - a very roundabout way - I suppose it is. Yet, it's no more about her than it is about me. But here I am.

This has been an ugly week full of lies, betrayal, ... drama. Well, maybe not quite those things. It's not like I live on Wisteria Lane. It's just not been a favorite in the annals of my history.

I don't enjoy drama. Especially chick political drama. I prefer to fly under the radar and perform best in the creative design realm. Design Star? Perhaps. Desperate Housewife? I think not!

Interestingly, God prepared me even for this - this week. Sometimes life isn't pretty. And it's not just the big hurdles of health that we are called to jump over - or faithfulness or employment or finances or whatever personal struggles we have been allowed. Sometimes it's being late to the doctor. Or choosing between enticing extracurricular activities. Or negotiating traffic. Whatever it is. The Hurdle.

It's Life.

It's pruning.

It's God calling us to a higher purpose and a better response. And when our response is:
Why God? Why?

It is knowing before you ask that the reason is unimportant. It's the process of how we manage ourselves through the race and what we learn from it. It's God guiding us to the "What can I learn from this" answer. That He is King and reigns over all. That no matter how 'bad' it is - He wins.

p.s. my husband rocks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Halloween's approaching. I know, it's, like 6 weeks away or something. Half of you probably already have your children's costumes made/purchased and they're hanging in the closet. Or half of you have no idea what your kids want to be for Halloween - or you know, but you've made no moves towards it. It's 6 weeks away, after-all. Either way, I'm right. I know I'm right.

Last year we had THE best Halloween. It was a beautiful WARM Halloween night (unheard of in St. Louis in ALL my years of living here)! Plus, the four kids living under this roof were decked out in complimentary Star Wars regalia. They were stinkin' cute. (Even though I am biased.) To this day, people stop me to inquire about "Baby Yoda." (OK, it's half the second grade class where the twins attend. Whatever. Ok. Maybe three kids. Or two. )

So what to do this year? How can you compete with the BEST Halloween Evah?! Well, I've started prodding the youngins to start brainstorming their ideas.

One: a pirate. easy peasy.

Another: (Mr. Frugalisto) - Karate Kid (gee - no costume needed, just wear your uniform, Buddy. Are you sure you want to be 'just' a karate guy? ... OK. no prob.)

Baby: Ehmo. (translated, of course means Elmo.) ebay, check.

Fashionista: a giraffe. che--- wait a minute, what? You were a giraffe when you were, like, 3. Are you sure you want to be a giraffe? (I say to the person who wants to be a zoo keeper ... and moonlights as a fashion designer.) Seems easy enough. Check ebay. No. Every giraffe is no bigger than a 4T. Granted, she's tiny. But she ain't that tiny.




What to do.

God Bless Google. (Again.)
Lookie at this li'l number. Cauuuuute!

Although I'm not payin' such a pretty price for such a pretty giraffe skirt, I AM trying to find a jacket that looks something like this (Pookie's pretty Target print):

Pair that in a perfect giraffe print fabric with a pair of $10 giraffe ears and a tail, plus a nice black turtle neck and mini skirt underneath and a pair of black fashionable boots - voila! The 8 year-old's giraffe costume.

Anyone know where I can get a pattern for a jacket that looks like my drawing?
Seriously, anyone?

edited to add: I found a suitable one that comes with 27 different sizing options via a Canadian pattern company...seems like I should be able to get Little Diva her jacket out of that! Bought the boots today...we're on our way to The World's Most Stylish Giraffe!
(I'll post pics as soon as she's ready!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Waiting Game

During a conversation with my friend the other day, I expressed frustration that we've been put into sort of a 'holding pattern' with this 'house of our dreams' again. I purposed after that discussion to lessen the grip 'the future' has on my present because life is worth living every day. Not just in the days to come, but right here, today. This is life.

This morning, the little ones are coloring and enjoying Elmo's World, so I took the opportunity to read more in my new book. And unsurprisingly, God had something to say to me through Lysa. Specifically, regarding David, after he was anointed as king. God sent David back to the fields to continue being a shepherd. David doesn't express frustration or impatience to get on with being a king. In fact, at some time in his life he described quite the opposite (Ps. 23) - and praised God for making David lie down in green pastures, leading him beside still waters, restoring his soul, and guiding David in the paths of righteousness. Yes, we've all heard these words before. But Lysa helped me see these words anew this morning - reminding me of the rest, reflection, restoration, and right choices God is helping me make in this right now time.

She writes:
I find myself wanting to rush things, to get past the waiting as quickly as
possible. Sometimes I forget that God is doing significant things around
me and in me, even while I am waiting.

Praise be to God for teaching me this morning in an unexpected quiet time. Praise God that He is allowing me to rest in every day work, not the work of remodelling an overly-neglected 'new' home; of allowing me to reflect on what I love about our right now home and restoring my love for this house and my desire to make this place a fragrant home for my family; for helping us to make the right choice about moving or staying put. It's not an easy decision, either way. And thanks, God, for surprising me in new ways with old scripture.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

To Become More

I am reading this:

Lysa writes:

If Satan can use our everyday experiences, both big and small, to cripple our true identity, then he renders God's people totally ineffective for the kingdom of Christ.


Satan delights in our feelings of inadequacy. He wants to help us stay there. He wants us to go to Bible study, learn the deep truths of God, leave all encouraged, and then come home and have a complete meltdown over [________fill in your personal blank______] ...

..."Why doesn't Jesus work for me?" is never the right question. Instead, when our circumstances shift and we feel we fall short, we should ask, "How can I see Jesus even in this?"

Our circumstances are not our identity.

There's so much more to uncover in this book - I'm thrilled it came so quickly when I ordered it through the Proverbs 31 Ministry! I'll keep you posted as to what else I learn! (Or, you can buy it too and we'll have a wonderful discussion!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The No.6 Cottage

Thanks to all the ladies and family that offered suggestions for naming my house! I've tried to give her a name for more than a year and a half now, but nothing really seemed to fit. I wanted to incorporate the '6' from '6byHisDesign' into it somehow (knowing, of course, that it's probably not wise to go overboard on the 6s, if you know what I'm sayin'..., and I also liked the idea of a 'cottage.' What to do??

The other day, T hopped out of the van and declared, "HELLO Loretta!"

"What did you just say?!" I asked.

"I said, 'Hello Loretta,'" he answered matter-of-factly (as he always does, as a matter of fact).

"Who or what is Loretta?" I asked.

"Our house," he answered.

mmmK then. Apparently, all I had to do was ask my 8 year-old what to name our house!

Recently, however, I came across this blogger who named her home Cottage8. I liked it. It gave me an idea! And so, without further ado:

Welcome to The No.6 Cottage
{Recycled Edition}

(A.K.A. Loretta Recycles.)


A little black paint, a few Anthropologie knobs I've coveted since Emily's first kitchen re-design:
Plus a pair of wood shutters scored from Craigslist for a steal ala The Nester, and voila!

Like my plate? I've seen this done around bloggiland...can't give anyone credit, though, cuz it's been a long time since I first saw it...and if you look close enough on my intro picture, you'll see all I did was print out my letters and numbers, put a piece of scrapbook tape on all the important sides, and taped the paper to my plate! If I want to change it - I just pull it all off and choose something else to 'say!'

I also fell in love with Layla's spice boxes, and have all four around the kitchen, but not hanging with lots of nail holes in the wall yet...just in case.

Now, the following pictures, I'm sorry to say, don't have before pictures...either because I never took them, or because I spent hours today scouring our photo archives and never relocated them. I want to publish this post before I turn 50, so I'm posting without befores...(I know. I know. It's a pity, and I do apologize!!)

So, this used to be our study. Now it's our family room. We sat down last spring and decided to stop coveting bigger houses and start using the space we have in this house. The study was waaaay underused since both Hubby and I sit at our laptops in the living room; a family room seemed like a far better function for the space. It sits right off the toy room, and this space is now used daily. (Previously, I couldn't bribe Pookie to go downstairs to play!)

In fact, after searching for an adequate entertainment center, we decided to use JT's old desk. It sat in this same corner - so the shape was perfect! We used the tops as is (with paint) and cut down the sides of the desk to make the walls of the cabinets. We threw little wood away, and purchased very little additional wood to finish the project! I bought a tiny thing of black paint - it covered the whole unit, plus the sideboard above and a picture frame I've always wanted to paint in our bedroom!!!

Finally, last year we declared our beloved gazebo to be d.e.a.d. Instead of throwing the shabby pieces into the trash, hubby cut them down, hinged them together, I spraypainted and sanded the edges, and together we made this lovely hideous-air-conditioner-hider-thing!

Pretty, no?
There you have it. Recycled love. 6 be the number.

The No.6 Cottage Recycles.
(& good night, Loretta!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What's the Purpose?

We've been busy here - recycling. But maybe not in the way you might expect.

This used to be a desk. In our study. Both now serve a new purpose.

This plain sideboard has been revamped into a beautiful, sleek & stylish cabinet.

Wait til you see what we did with our old gazebo.
I'll show you the after-pictures tomorrow!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

8 x 2

Eight years ago today, I became a mom.

It's been the best eight years of my life so far.

Love you guys!

Hope you enjoyed a wonderful birthday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
She sent them!!!!!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Will I Ever Learn?

Driving towards our crossroads this morning, two kids on the school bus and two kids in the middle of the van, I thought to myself, "I forgot my camera...oh well. What's gonna happen, really?" I continued on my course with the youngest two to the zoo.

(You know where this is going, don't you?)

Sashi wanted to ride the "Woo Woo!" (a.k.a. train for those of us with age appropriate language skills). Meiners wanted to see the Sea Lion Show. That's all we had time for.

We enjoyed the train. Sash seemed a little unsure of it, but I kept reminding her, "This is a train, Baby! How cool is that?" (Her favorite things in the whole world are vehicles of all types. We live about 15 miles from the nearest RR track - she hears the whistle blow every time one passes and screams, "Woo Woo! Mom! Woo Woo!" I hear nothing. Except her screaming. She has stealth hearing, I'm telling you.)

Then we ran off to the Sea Lion Show.

Oh yes. Meiners was chosen from a crowd of on-lookers and their cute little munchkins to be the assistant to the trainer. He 'targeted' Benny the Sea Lion with a fist in the air. Benny stretched his neck and rested his chin on Meiners hand. Meiners showed the crowd Benny's teeth by opening his fingers. Meiners petted the sea lion and told the people he felt like a wet dog with fur. He threw capers and squid to the waiting teeth and whiskers of his slippery newfound friend. He posed for a photo while Benny the Sea Lion gave him a kiss.

Um. What's that? He posed for a picture? I didn't take my camera. Cuz what's gonna happen, really?

I did, however, take my wallet with one remaining mommy card (not from this place --- I made my own...) - complete with email address and blogspot. I passed it to the sweet mommy sitting next to me who snapped away countless photos on her camera for me. I am just praying tonite that she remembers and sends me photos of my little man having the morning of his young lifetime. And me - one of the sweetest memories of mine.
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