Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I believe in birth order. There are exceptions to every rule. But not in this family. I love each one of my kids - each one is so unique, amazing, hilarious, frustrating, and each one mentors me in equally unique ways.

For example, my oldest. He may be older than his twin sister by one minute, but he's the oldest in every way. We went on a 'date' last night. He was a consummate gentleman. He held my hand. He sat up straight. He conversed. He thanked me for the evening. At least 272 more times today, even. He is truly a joy. He reads the Bible - every day. How many mornings have I looked at the clock and thought, "I should get up and give my first fruits to God. *snore*" I know. That's a very sad confession. But I don't sleep through the night and when I can get a few more winks, for right now, I do. I'm trying to change. It is on my list of things to change about my life. Believe me. My son? Every morning he wakes up and reads his Bible. He is seven. I could learn a lot from him. I do, actually.

Last week, my middle child was giving me some trouble. I don't mean to portray that he is a trouble maker or the younger brother, the one who likes to stir up the pot. I don't want to portray him in that manner because I want him to know that he is a really good kid. And I want him to act like it. Even though he's, you know, the middle child. But last week, WOW. Choice making was quite poor. I called my husband in tears after a trip to Michael's to buy beads for the Princess Party. As Pookie and I perused the bead section unawares, an employee from down the aisle and several more aisles away, actually, yelled, "Why are you hitting that baby?" My eyes darted up. She was looking our way. My head spun in the direction of her gaze behind me. Toward the cart where Sashi sat. And her big brother stood in the back of the cart. Behind her. Hand paused in mid-strike with her head as the obvious target of his attack. Humiliated, infuriated. I left in tears.

The next day, we were purchasing balloons for the party. But they weren't ready yet, so the kids and I waited in the floral department as the employees filled my order. The boys were shopping the musical cards - and sort of driving me crazy with the various bits of 50s and 80s music blaring in my ears from nearby. I sent them further into the store with their cards so I wouldn't have to hear quite so many songs blending disharmoniously. Sashi insisted on carrying around a GIANT yellow lab stuffed animal and spinning around in circles with it. I feared his tail would end the life of a beautiful display of glassware sitting near us. I was intent on catching the falling breakables. But when I heard that inevitable CRASH, it didn't originate near the tail of a stuffed dog. It came from the curiosity of a 5 year-old wanting to smell a candle and not realizing the top didn't attach to the bottom. A decorative candle that cost $20. Mortified, I insisted the store charge me. "Accidents happen," crooned the store clerk. I made no eye contact. I left as soon as the last molecules of helium hit the inside of that one remaining pink balloon. I quietly but fiercely verbalized all the horrors Meiners would soon experience as we headed to the van.

This week, while shopping at Target for some things for Pookie's room, I set my Icee Mocha on an opening on the shelf below the lamps. The first lamp in the top shelf display appeared slightly bent, so I nonchalantly set it aside and stuck my hand up towards the pristine second lamp. It tetered. The feathery shade toppled, striking a miniature dress horn that immediately fell towards my forgotten coffee cup. The cup splashed as it fell. It splashed onto the plastic cover of a shabby chic bedspread. It splashed onto an exposed pink chenille bedspread. It splashed onto the floor. Wonderfully chocolatey bits of melted iced coffee goodness spread all over the concrete and tile. Other items were hit with the cascading droplets. But I didn't see them. All I saw was a price tag. The shabby chic chenille bedspread? Cost $112.

I think a little bad luck, a sweet little boy, and a very big God taught me a valuable lesson.


Monday, June 29, 2009


Yes, I know! Two posts in two days! It may be a record! (ok, just recently. but, it's summer. there's LOTs to do and slipping into bed to receive rest at the end of all the doing, well, that's a temptation i can't refuse. [kinda like chocolate and coffee and ice. all blended together. and in a plastic cup with a dome shaped lid from bread co... um, hello. what was i talking about???] oh yeah.)

remember this?

tonite, it's not finished, but i love it so much already that i couldn't wait! i'm working on framed monograms to go above the beds, plus a whole photo wall on sashi's side, a fuzzy pink rug, a beautiful crystal lamp, and an ottoman to sit in front of the vanity. but for tonite, it's gorgeous in it's we're-getting-there state, and pookie loves it. personally, i'd paint the walls a soft grey-blue and change the purple curtains to pink, but it's not my room, and this girl loves COLOR! so, color it we will. zebra stripes, hot pink fuzzy rugs, and purple curtains. with yellow walls. it's perfect!

i have so many favorites already - like the sassy prints from target there on the left side of the window. they don't scream tropical, but pookie agreed that the lines, look, the locations and colors in the pictures were her to a T, so she agreed, and we we put them right where they'll fit best. on the photo above, you can see her 'art wall' - glitzed up with traditional gallery black paint - old cork boards (and a couple new magnetized new ones, too) spray painted to display pookie's many creations. there's a skinny little frame on the bottom that is an old $ frame from walmart i've had for years and intended to do something with one day, but instead, we spray painted it with chalkboard paint for today. currently, pookie is proclaiming on it's sleekness that she loves her family. another night, she'll write something else in another chalk color. it's up to her. it's her room - and her art in that corner!

we'll share more as we shell out the $$, but i just couldn't wait!

c-ya later!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just Because

I guess the twins were about four when Pookie came to me one day and asked if she could have a party. It wasn't her birthday. There really was no reason to have a party. She just wanted one. Just because.

So, plans were made. Invitations sent. My talented & good friend, Mama V, made a very special Strawberry Shortcake themed cake. The boys were shipped off for an afternoon with Grammie. Little girls began arriving. Although it was a few years ago now, I remember lining these petite femme fatales along the couch cushions and encouraging them to hang their toes out onto the coffee table while I came by with their polish color of choice and gave each of them a pedicure. We own lots and lots... and lots... and, well, let's just say lots of dress up clothes. So, each girl made an outfit selection. Then they just played. They raided the doll box. They swang on our indoor tire swing. They truly seemed to enjoy themselves. Before the end of the afternoon, we snapped their picture to send in the mail later as a thank you for their attendance. The boys returned home. T walked in the door and asked, "When's my Just Because Party?" So, plans were made, invitations sent, Mama V made a VERY special fire truck cake. ... And this is how we began having Just Because Parties.

Back then, I swore them off after that second one. Although simple in context, my nerves were frazzled by their end. I was done. Leave it to birthdays and holidays. No more parties at my house ~ just because! And then, one day, Pookie began reminiscing about the fun she enjoyed with her friends that simple afternoon. Soon enough, she voiced that inevitable question. "Mom, when can I have another Just Because Party?" With those tender blue-gray eyes. I knew immediately. It's about the memories. Even if they don't remember the cost, the cleaning, the chaos. They shouldn't. They should remember the occasions when we opened our doors and celebrated nothing with their friends for the fun of it. We celebrated~ just because. I smiled on the inside. Plans were made. Invitations sent. The story continued.

To date, we've entertained kids for no reason other than to dress up, to play trucks, and to decorate cookies, to name a few. Sometimes, they are devised to watch Disney Channel Movie Premieres. This is what happened last Friday. There was reason to party, for no other reason than just to party. Just because.

Plans were made. Invitations sent (via the phone this time - boy was that easier!). All the moms gushed about how excited their daughters were in anticipation. (That's always a nice thing to hear!) I'm getting a little better with my party planning, too. We've watched girls grow restless just watching a movie. So we added a swim part to the party. And pizza. And jewelry making. And decorations. (I use the internet now for ideas!) And then the movie ~ Princess Protection Program. Oh. And Princess Ice Cream Sundaes under the twinkle lights outside afterwards (that rival the ones at the Princess Lunch at Disney, if you ask me --- cuz I'm unbiased like that.)

At the end of the evening, Pookie threw her arms around me and sincerely gushed, "Thank you, Mom! Thank you so much for a great party." It was exhausting. I needed a cocktail. But no one drowned. Everyone left with smiles and their own version of sincere thanks. It was definitely a good reason to throw a party. There was no reason. It was "Just Because."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cardinals Post Game

The kids had quite a time tonite! In one evening, they scored a t-shirt from Fredbird and a baseball from Yadier Molina! And Pooks made it on TV with her sign. (btw, Pam? Thanks for sharing your art books with me the other day! They came in handy when suddenly I was called upon to draw a cat!)
Now, you know if you're in the St. Louis area, you can get 25 cent drinks at Mobile tomorrow since the Cards scored more than 6 runs! As T said tonite: 11 is a serious number!

Cardinal Pre-Game

If you can watch Fox Sports Midwest tonite, the StL Cardinals are playing the Detroit Tigers at 7PM. And 3 of my kids + The Man will be 3 rows back from the Cards dugout. They may become famous with these awesome signs:

We also have a glittery one to grab Yadier Molina's attention for the chance to catch a ball from him! I think the kids are going to have the night of a lifetime with their dad!

edited to add: so far, there's a baseball and a t-shirt coming home after an 11-2 win over the Tigers! Can't wait to hear the stories in person and view the photos Dad shot with the kids!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Finding My Niche

As I read advice from thriving bloggers, so many times they encourage us to find our niche in the blog world. Sort of like finding a theme and running with it, right? When we first moved into this house, I made every room have a theme. I visited a friend in our couple's small group back in the day who was a real live interior designer (who was going back to school to become a teacher, but I digress...) and her living room was nautical themed. Complete with light houses and wooden sailboats. I came home and turned our study into Lighthouse Heaven. I'm talking lighthouses everywhere. Clock. Lighthouse. Fan pull. Lighthouse. Art on walls. Lighthouse. Art on shelves. Lighthouse. I think you get the picture. It was so themy that I purposefully now (a dozen years later) go about my design adventures with an anti-theme agenda.

Sometimes as I dream up blog ideas going about my day, I'll think: I should have a niche. (A more modern term for theme, no?) My general shtick has always been just to document my present. What was life like for Mom, in her 30's, four kids...Many, many times, I wish I had my mother's mothering memoirs. (I have her memory, but I need the quick reference addition - for all those times I can't find my dern cell phone, right Mom?)

Beyond that, I try to be funny. But as Emily recently said on behalf of June, when you try to be funny, you aren't funny. I think the funniest thing I ever wrote about was the trip to the vet with the dogs. (You can read that one here.)

Then I think, maybe I could be a food critic. I love to bake. I could make desserts and offer my two cents here on my blog once a week. But that's a lot of commitment. And a lot of sugar consumption. (As if I wouldn’t consume it regardless…)

I guess my dilemma is that I don't really have one thing I'm really, really good at. I dabble here and there. I take photographs. I paint. I stamp. I bake. I mother. I taxi. I ... I do a lot of different things. I don't have a niche. In life. And if that's the case, how do I find a niche on my blog??

I say all this, because this week I've been working on a gift for Sashi. OK, primarily, it's been my attempt to both give a cheap-o gift (that doesn't break the bank OR add to our toy collection...) AND to start the bedroom makeover for Pooks. So, giving a gift to Sashi that coordinates with the bedroom 'theme' (Oh Lord) AND qualifies for the birthday gift is just BONUS AWESOME!

So: I can paint. (I did more of these here.) I love that the girls' handprints cover this frame - Sashi's at the age of one, and Pookie's at the age of 7 ...

It's based on a photograph. So: I take pictures. This one will be cropped and, in a sepia tone, will adorn a velvety center in the frame above.

I hosted a party for the family last week that centered around the birthday girl AND some doll-gone awesome ribs. So, I can cook (at least sometimes...). And I do bake. I have pictures of a few of my recent ball cake adventures (Meiners helped with both...)!

All this to say ~ Do you have a blogging niche? How did you find it? Perhaps I've already found mine and I don't even know it??

*sigh* Who knows.

God, are you there? It's me, Nicheless.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Today was one of those days.

About a month ago, Meiners and I agreed to celebrate his 5th birthday with a BIG friend birthday party. As it goes, the twins have always sort of ended up with big birthday parties with their friends. In my defense, the first big party, when they were two, was really to celebrate living through two of the most difficult years of our lives. And then at three, four, five, and, well, OK, also 6, the kids were treated to trips to the Magic House, Bounce U, and other fun venues. I mean, there were two of them celebrating at the same time, so of course it would get huge. Right? Right?

When along came Meiners, I guess I was tired. And maybe life wasn't quite so traumatic as to bring about such intense celebrations as it did before. Soon enough came Fussy Baby, too, so - there you go. Middle Child Syndrome rears its head without Mom intentionally creating it. It just sort of happens when you have this many kids, right? (*enter laughter from those mommies who have 5, 6, 7, etc. children ... *).

So, we agreed, this should be the year. After-all, it's his 5th. And I justified a humongous 5 year-old party for the twins cuz, you know - 5 is a big age. Five you never forget. (don't ask the twins where they went for their 5th birthday...we'll just keep their poor ability to remember that expensive shindig our little secret now, shall we?) But Meiners needed The Big 5, too.

We invited all his classmates. We invited his best buddy Sam. As the day approached, I began praying fervently for good weather. I made a note on the invitation that there would be a raindate. And as the day of the party approached and I really didn't want to buy two sets of balloons for two different Sunday afternoons, (or clean the house twice, or set up the slip -n- slide twice) [see, I told you I was horrible], I began to regret the rain date idea. And as the clouds started rolling in today, and I began to realize neither Meiners nor I had any idea what the children's last names were or what their phone numbers were to call and ensure the party would go on - inside if necessary - I truly began to realize, I need to be more organized. And maybe it's a good time to let go and let God.

Cuz our big pool has a big leak. That we just discovered today. And this morning our sewer backed up. For the first time ever in our 11 years of living here. And clouds were rolling through indicating the party may truly have to go on - inside. And when I arrived at Dierberg's to pick up the balloons, I discovered they'd lost my order. And time was literally running out.

As I stood at the counter waiting for the florist to inflate all my red, white, and blue balloons, I just took that time to breathe. Sometimes, in the midst of trying to do a good thing, everything seems to go a little haywire. (please don't ask me to make you a meal during a desperate time in your life. Have I got stories of my own personal desperation in those instances...never fails. Dunno what it is with me offering meals and rice burning, grill exploding...well, that's for another day...)

Breathe, Karin. I began to count my blessings. At least the pool was still standing. At least it was just a small sewer back-up. I've certainly heard horror stories in our older subdivision. And at least, when you're 5 and your backyard birthday party has to head indoors, you really don't care - because you're really just excited that your friends are coming over to play. The rest? The rest just doesn't matter. Because you're 5. And it only happens once.

And I think it turned out just fine.


Now, Sashi turns two on Wednesday.

... Breathe.
... ... Breathe.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When did this happen?

I woke up one morning, and my sweet, fragile 4 pound, 6 ounce baby girl suddenly looked like this:

And she decided she was a big girl who needed a room makeover, too. So, should I be surprised when she chose this for her room (zebra side out, of course...)?

So, we've been busy drawing up plans, like this:

In between doing things like this (school's been out over a week...):

And making things like this:

Aaah Summer. To everything there is a season.

(Hope you can see all the images! and thanks for checking in, Friends. I've been around, just not too talkative!)
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