Mother’s Day Hack ;)

“The world is held together by moms and duct tape.”

This is Mr. Kauffman.  Just thought you should know that up front.  I’ve always thought it would be fun to hack Jenny’s blog and surprise her with something sweet.  Today, Mother’s Day, is that day I guess.

We were over 1,500 miles apart when the concept of being parents hit us between the eyes.  I was in Jamaica with Malone College Chorale, when our 1st wedding anniversary was just around the corner.  What an odd place to be (not with her) when you hear your young bride say for the first time:

“We’re having a baby!!”

I was scared and happy— scared because I felt like I was barely taking care of her adequately the way it was, much less adding a little bambino to the mix.

I was happy for her because it felt like she deserved something special for how hard she had toiled for us while I was in school.  We’d have our baby, and I would begin working and providing like real men are supposed to.  Life was about to get good.

Bear in mind that the horizon did not provide any “blingy” incentive for my faithful wife.  Delirious wealth or stable plans were undreamed of.  I wasn’t studying law or business or medicine.  No, this boy was studying the art of singing ‘perdy.’

Jenny was working tirelessly toward a completely unknown future that she fully understood could take her away from her family and friends.  In fact, I think she was kind of excited about the unknown–like she was gearing up for a great adventure (one of the traits I love about my wife).

She never questioned, never wavered in her commitment, never made a fuss.  Not even when (during this exact time while I was in Jamaica) she had to go to her parents in tears to ask for $200 to stick into our overdrawn checking account temporarily.

Yes, this woman knows what it’s like to be outta money and outta luck–while her husband is far away making pretty music for adorable Jamaican kids, carting gravel down a little trail in a wheel-barrow, and jumping off the trampolines at Margaritaville.

Little did we know that a few weeks later we would be completely devastated by the doctor’s “can’t-seem-to-get-the-heartbeat”  line. Although our lives were far from perfect, we were totally unprepared for this.  The possibility was the furtherest thing from our minds.

I fully understand this kind of thing affects different people in different ways.  All I know, is that we entered an extremely dark time of grief and feeling sorry for ourselves, especially when it happened again in what seemed to be only a few short months later.  A time in our lives we will never forget, and for which we are often strangely thankful.

Sometimes I wonder how these experiences shaped the mother that Jenny is to our girls now.  By the way, she’s a top-notch mom.  She still looks at our girls and often muses something like, “What if I would’ve been able to see a snapshot of them back when I was having my miscarriages?”  It’s as if she’s trying to reconcile the intensity of her present joy with the near-depression she was battling through then.  Like she’s going back and giving the old Jenny a big hug and telling her it’ll be ok.  I find this utterly adorable.

Pain redeemed on this side of Heaven is a gift, not an entitlement.  We’re conscious of this.

Not a day goes by, it seems, without her savoring the gift of motherhood.  She sees it as a complete and total privilege not to be taken for granted.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Contentment is always beautiful.  Some say it’s the greatest wealth.  I know from experience that having a wife like her is great wealth.

Solomon’s words come to mind:

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness (well, except for Facebook).
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”


Yea, that.  Jenny, I love you and I’m blessed-beyond-words to call you my wife and the mother of our children.

Your husband

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Rain.

Does anyone else LOVE waking up on a rainy morning?

You sit up in bed- vaguely remembering the sounds of thunder the night before, heard only faintly over the white-noise of the air-conditioner.  You stretch, it’s like a very happy nostalgia…

You get out of bed, make it, brush the teeth that feel like they have moldy sweaters on, come downstairs, hit the coffeemaker, put on the tennis shoes, plod around the block a few times in the drizzle. When you come in, you sit with husband by the window- glancing out of it every now and then thinking,

Today will be a good, good day.

Because it’s rainy…

The street looks clean and shiny.

Flowers got natural water.

Everything is greener. more lush.

Reading and snuggling are mandatory.

Yes, and that too. 🙂

Laila said, “Look, I have my nippy!”

Oops, she remembered it again.

She goes long periods without it and then… it shows up somewhere…. and then I have to show up everywhere with a 3-year old baby.

Yeah, nope, nothing deep or thought provoking here today– unless rain is a metaphor of something to you!

jenny

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Yesterday…

Pumpkin Bread (with applesauce instead of oil) and Weight Watchers Cream Cheese (good, but NOT the same either).

Tast-ay…

Mirror I tried to sell twice. Win for me.

Laundry vs. new magazine…

Laila eating cereal in the playroom at her school desk.

Thinking about stuff….

I love my blondie…

still eating.

Cleaned up the porch, still needs painted.

Lazy night.

Please pass me your teacup.

Let sisterly love continue.

The spring mantel.

Signs of warmer weather.

A church behind our house that I like to look at.

Ferns are coming up.

Elle faithfully waters my weeds.

Busy.

Faithful kiddie pool.

Water girl.

Car in the house.

~~~

That’s all folks. Yesterday was a good day…

jenny

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Questions for Bloggers:

Every now and then, I have a good conversation about blogging with another blogger. And we talk about the bog that our blog is on the log with the frog and how we are feeling agog.

Say, “Blog, blogger” 20 times and you’ll feel like you have mucus in your throat.

I’m actually currently having a good conversation… and some of the questions are really interesting.

I thought I’d throw a few out there for you and if you have a blog you can answer. Actually. If you do not, I’d love even more to hear from you. I think the reader has more insight sometimes. (What does the home-life look like from the angle of the therapist- kind of a deal.)

But ok, here are my thoughts for bloggers.

~Why do I blog? Which one is the primary reason?

Creative, social interaction, affirmation, hobby, writing, money, to give life significance, documentation, or bragging?

(ha! I added the last one because I think a lot of non-bloggers think it’s the last one.)

~ Do I feel an obligation to readers to keep current content on my blog, even if I am not getting paid a dime?

~ How much are comments a compelling factor in what/how often/if I write?

~ How am I coming across?

I think sometimes bloggers get faulted for being too subtle, or too “life is perfect here and artsy all the time”– I can see why that is. From a bloggers perspective, you can only be so “real”. Real is awesome and people love it, but it can really be invasive to your friends and loved ones. (Ex: I just wrote a blog-post called “Love is different than I thought it would be” and it made G cry in a good way. But he thought it was too personal to us– and I never posted it.) For that reason, bloggers are subtle, NOT because they are trying to use their blog as a great face-saver or “my life is awesome” poster, BUT because they see their blog as a scrapbook, not as a toilet. I think that’s true for the most part anyway.

And I’m not even sure how to say this because I mean it in an uplifting way… but from knowing pretty many bloggers- I would say their (mine too!)  lives ARE hard– just in ways you just don’t see.

If it bothers you (the perfectness) rest in that, my friend.

Another thought that goes along with the whole “real” thing: WHAT is it that makes you strong enough to post some real things (if you do)?

My answer is easy: I do not post unless my husband reads my post. If he likes it/is okay with what I shared, by dolly, I could care less what happens after that. If the Dalai Lama sitting in a tent in Tibet, happens upon my blog in wild Google search? Go ahead and read, Mr. Lama, I’m ok with that.

~ Have you ever been hurt in the blogging world? How do you handle “mean” comments? Or don’t you get any?

My worst experience– was one time I read a negative comment naming my blog in another person’s comments. It was more weird than hurtful though, so I cannot complain too much. If you want to hear what it was– ask me in person. haha, it’s kinda funny.

Another thought to chew upon… I just read that writers tend to be the most critical of each other of almost any occupation. Interesting!

My theory on this is that– no two people write exactly the same… and so everyone is either same-ish, better, or worse a writer than yourself.

I wonder how this applied to bloggers? And also, why is writing such a close part of a person’s identity? I will say, my writing is very personal to me. Not sure how to expound on that at present.

Do you feel an emotional or a practical approach towards your blog? The thought is: that those that write for money feel free to promote and link-about. Those that blog in a more personal way–  can feel like it’s so much self-promotion and may feel shy to link-about etc.

You?

Yeah, well, this was all very rambley  bambley. I’d love for you to throw it around. For I like a compelling conversation. And remember, you can post anonymously. I don’t care!

jenny-o

~~~

I found this very fascinating: The Evolution of Bloggers.

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Making Stuff.

{Hi, Elle-babes.}

She said, “My hair is so MESSY on this picture.” I looked at her as she said it, and her hair was just this messy. 🙂

Sometimes I throw together a post from all kinds of months with a theme to clear out pictures. Today’s: Making Stuff.

PLEASE do not think I work on projects 24/7- because that would be a great big huge misconception. Some of these pictures are from back in February.

Above: Is a pair of “arms” from an old shirt (pictured below) that I thought were too cute to throw. So I bought a little pair of knit shorts from Walmart- $3 and sewed them together….

leggings!

(An old camera picture, showing the shirt- on Elle- the arms came from.) ^^

Laila models her leggings made from shirt sleeves. They fit perfectly. My girls have skinnylegs. 🙂

“Be still my beating heart”.

Galen had an expensive, no-iron shirt he plumb wore out. I LOVED the “wicking” look of the print. So I made Elle a skirt from it. I love it, but she doesn’t like wearing it. 🙁

OK.

This is funny. I made Laila a lace skirt. I had been wanting to make one for awhile…. anyone recognize the fabric?

Mennonite woman’s veiling material!

If you want to make a lace skirt and want to make it easy: Buy a black knit skirt from Walmart- and sew the lace skirt over top of it. That way you can’t see through the lace– which you would otherwise. 🙂

This skirt is not quite finished- I want to add a sash, like below.

(via Pinterest)

Making cutout cookies.

Very detail-oriented Elle!!

Pretty cookies.

Homemade playdough.

They loved it…

Elle ran towards me holding up this picture. She said,

“I MADE THIS PICTURE FOR GOD!!”

I said, what is it?”

she said,

“An idol.”

Well, yeah, go ahead and give that to God, I guess…

Chicken noodle from scratch.

Scratch, scratch.

Laila has her straw for the broth, spoon for noodles.

Random shot of a FUN night at Broken Rocks Cafe in Wooster.

We missed Erika, but as we like to say: it was an epic night anyway. (Just making her jealous.)

Well, I need to go…

Today I’m talking the girls shopping for new shoes,  swimming suits, church dresses and a whole van load of groceries. I am host at church this Sunday.

Whatcha doing this week?

jenny

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Spruce Lake.

Spruce Lake was sacred ground. We didn’t realize that at first.

This last Tuesday, our little family left with four other adults and 29 kids- grades 7-12 for Spruce Lake Retreat (Outdoor School) in Poconos, PA.

I was excited, but nervous, because of a few different factors.  I wasn’t sure what the days would hold, and what our lodging would be like.  I would be spending the days mostly being in new surroundings with Elle and Laila and they aren’t always too keen on the whole outgoing thing.

Laila & Elle excited about the top bunk. Of course, at bedtime they totally chickened out.

We left in three vans– 2 maxi vans, one conversion van, and a luggage trailer. From the start, spirits where high.

But quite frankly, our trip seemed a little, well, cursed.  After successfully detouring a MAJOR traffic jam in I-80 (but still lost quite a bit of time), we were finally just over an hour from our destination.  Then, our van #3 conked out (luckily it was our smallest van). It was raining wild smoke and fluid and, to make a long story short, we ended up leaving Jake and Joann (the one sponsor couple) with the van that was later towed.

We packed out the remaining two vans with kids (read: VERY FULL, messy vans) and journeyed on.  After a few wrong turns, we finally arrived!

We took a 7 hour trip and made it a 10 hour one.

Because we’re good that way. ha

We rolled into camp at 8:30 that Tues night, almost 3 hours behind schedule– looking and feeling fiercely travel-worn.

We pulled up to the front lodge, and were greeted as we climbed (stumbled, whatever) down from our vans, by two kind-faced women who welcomed us with hugs and questions about how we were all faring. My husband had been in contact with the one woman (director, Lisa) so they knew what was going on with our crazy trip so far.

Bless his heart, Lisa’s husband had run, who knows how far, to pick up huge stacks of pizza boxes and soda for 35 of us. They insisted on serving us. We sat bleary-eyed in the lodge dining room and ate pizza pretty quietly– taking the place all in.

After the meal, Mr. K (my husband- ha) stood and commended the kids for their incredible attitudes during the trip.  Even little Laila had calmly sat in her car seat through it all without so much as a “mommy I hungry” in the last half hour.  We never heard whining out of our van–the atmosphere was upbeat amidst the uncertainty. Lisa and her husband commented on this also.

“Are you sure you are all okay?” she asked a few times.

Day #1 started with a bang! Our group was in two different cabins (Huckleberry and The Barn) and we met up promptly every morning in the cool woodsy air, to again max out our two vans– to take the drive through the woods, over a pond, past a water fall, through the woods, through an RV camp, to get to the main lodge where we ate breakfast at 8:15 and then started our day with instructions in the Oak Room.

I can’t really describe all the stuff the school kids had going on all day long. They were split into three groups and were in “outdoor school” from 9 to 5. My little girls and I observed as much as we could, when we had a maxi van available to drive out to wherever they were. I will include pictures, because I can’t really describe in words all that I saw, and actually I saw so little! because we often missed out or it was in an area that was too far out, and just we couldn’t get out there to observe.

Matt getting the swing ride of his life

Blind-folded 9th graders discuss ideas on how to create a perfect square.

If you don't play Gaga-ball, you're not cool anymore. Starting yesterday. Don't miss Laila peaking through the cracks.

Another thing that happened, was the one day when the girls were driving back from watching one of the teams climb The Vertical Playpen, I thought the van I was driving was shaking, and seemed to barely go. I parked it, and went to lunch, making a mental note to tell G that I was just *sure* it smelled hot. (This is van #2 having issues.)

I actually forgot about it, until Miss K came over to G during lunch and said that the camp’s maintenance man is concerned because there is a van in the parking lots that has an oil trail that is heavy and goes back to the start of the RV camp! Yup, it’s ours…

The kids felt a little heavy as they watched van #2 get towed, I think. Let’s just say, that the van situation didn’t ruin our time there; but the men def had “vans on their minds”.  Even though it had drained all the oil, the repair turned out to be a pretty quick fix.  I remember the phrase “just a hose.” PTL

We still didn’t have van #1 back, and the damage was worse than they thought–words like “new axle” and “bearings” were thrown around. Apparently, the mechanic was having a hard time finding a new or used one anywhere by the time we needed it. We were breathing prayers that we would somehow have a van by Fri noon when we were scheduled to go home.

Otherwise: some kids don’t go home.

The kids fell in love with the place. It`s so much prettier there than I pictured. And bigger. And just well– majestic and organized and awesome.

At lunch, one of the senior boys came over and plopped down next to us and said,

“I want to apologize for something. I’m sorry for saying I didn’t really want to come here. I’m so glad we are here. Today has been AWESOME!”

It was really sweet.

On Thursday morning when Mrs. Lisa checked in with us at breakfast to see how things were going for our group, she was told,

“Our first day has far exceeded our expectations.”

Lisa rubbed the top of her arms and said,

“I have goosebumps right here. I have no idea why, but in the camp staff’s prayer time in the morning– that has been word for word the prayer that we have been praying for your group.”

It was really cool.

I’m skipping a lot of things, but I want to move on to talk about the trip home.

So Friday morning, we had breakfast, Oak Room time, and our last class Survival Ecology Game, lunch, and then… it was time to leave.  Our van had been repaired adequately to make the trip home, we were assured. We had all been praying about it, and felt a peace that even though it wasn’t a perfect fix, and it seemed to be our only option– really and truly– to leave on faith and leave it in God’s hands.

We piled everyone into our two “good” vans, picked up the “problem child”  van at a garage on the way out, and re-settled in, feeling well, hopeful, and happy to be driving home.

The trip was uneventful, until 4 hours from home we stopped at a seedy Taco Bell/truck stop combo to eat and it was reported that we have a smoking van again.

The men worked on it, and we pressed on. We had probably driven a half hour when Galen said to me,

“there she blows…”

All three vans and the trailer pulled over on the highway. I hated it: every semi that passed us, shook our van from side to side and made me realize we were sitting ducks in a really rough spot. That’s one thing if it’s just adults, but ALL THESE KIDS!

"Patty-cake, patty-cake, turn around twice...."

It was a sinking realization for the adults, I think. We were 3.5 hours from home, and were stranded with 29 kids and 2 preschoolers. gulp.

And please picture: everyone is shot. They stretched themselves the last 3 days–rock climbing, hiking, wrestling, running through the woods in survival mode, being dropped from the ceiling of the gym, challenge courses, climbing a mess of ropes in harness trying to get to a top platform that defied gravity, riding the zip line down the mountain, intense Gaga-ball during their free time, staying up late with share time on the theme of ‘Courageous Power, Love, and, Thinking’ from II Tim 1:7 and having to open up with thoughts about themselves and their team-mates. It was pretty raw.

We were trashed, wearing only the clothes we had left– they weren’t even clean. My girls’ coats were so filthy they weren’t wearing coats anymore. Tired, thirsty, cramped, sore, filthy, completely shot emotionally and physically.

Once again, we did the whole switcheroo where Jake and Joann stayed with the van (waiting to be towed) and all the kids were smashed into the remaining two vans. After a LONG pow-wow (crouched on the grass by the crippled van) the three men decided to get as close to home as we could in the AAA 100-mile tow allowance and it was relayed to us that Sam Yoder was going to head out from Holmes Co. in a bit, to get the group of 3 sponsors and a couple older boys that we would leave behind at a truck stop.

Our van had now obsorbed 3 of the younger students (mainly the 7th-8th graders)– the older students welcome the younger ones and offered whatever comfortable seating space they could muster.

I ended up sitting down on the floor, between the front seat and driver’s seat. I had to sit there in front of my little girls, because they were really starting to go “downhill.”  And beings I couldn’t just un-strap and HOLD them, we just had to make it work. We set off, the girls calmed, and I was actually half way nodding off at one point. We figured we had about an 80-mile cramped drive to our drop-off point. We can make this work.

And I guess that’s when the Holy Spirit started blowing His gentle warming fire.

One conversation lead to another. I could hear a little of what was going on from the floor, but didn’t really see– you know. About right when I thought, can I get up (off the floor) something is going on, I heard a gentle female voice say,

“Can you come help us? E just accepted Christ and we need help.”

I have little to offer intellectually, but I can offer sincerity and my humble little faith.

What happened after that, was a spreading. Confession, HONESTY was spoken, there was humility and trust spreading all through the van. Prayers were being offered up, I couldn’t see the back of the van except for shadows, but I saw a lot of bowed heads and huddled, hugging figures. These kids BLEW me away. They expressed their Faith and offered up prayers of intercession and confession in a way that only happens in the presence of  He who is HOLY.

And full of honest, pure, heartfelt love for each other. I have never felt so honored to be a part of something.

We pulled into, again, what had to be one of the seediest truck stops in Pennsylvania.

We all tumbled down, out of our van like sweet, little sardines, to head in quick for things like Gatorade, bathrooms, and snacks. This was also the unloading point for those that were waiting for Sam to pick them up.

As the kids got out they were embracing, and well, lets just say it was a bawlfest. I had to wonder what ON EARTH the bystanders on this dark, dirty night in Truckstop USA were thinking as they noticed us. We didn’t care.

I remember standing outside the van, on legs that were so stiff, I felt I couldn’t stand. Breathing in the combo of diesel fuel, and fresh mountain air. I was barefoot on the filthy concrete, my face was tear streaked and I look super crazy and funny when I cry madly. Like a contorted, confused animal. I was wearing no coat and the patched skirt I wear when I pull weeds in the garden. I clamped my hands on the side of my head because I felt the sensation that my head might explode, God is just too GREAT. I felt time standing still, and watched the kids rejoicing with their class mate that was now a new Believer. I watched in silence and tried to take it all in.

We rejoiced over and over for our broken down van.  It was expressed many times that none of this would have happened without the shuffle of who was sitting with who, the addition of the younger students, etc.

We re-situated, and those that were home-bound, headed home.

The confession, declaration of faith in JESUS, and questions about life in Christ continued. Those sweet kids prayed the last 2 hours home.

There is a lot more that I could say but I think mostly, I wrote this post to ask: will YOU pray for us? I know it can be hard to connect and pray for people you don’t even know…. but we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ and I just feel overwhelmed to beg for your prayers.

While most of us have enjoyed lives that are relatively easy, there are some of us that have not. And these things can seem insurmountable to the human mind. God heals, please God, let your Healing continue.

We so deeply desire to see the flame fanned, and not a fire that slowly burns out.

God be Glorified. He is Real, True and Faithful.

~~~

jenny

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One Photo.

||Self-Made Bunny Hats & Peeps||

Although they tried to hide it…

…it was a good day.

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I get to live with them.

Laila is one of the most forgiving, longsuffering, lovey-dovey, happy-go-lucky little girls that I have.

She makes my day every day with her cheeriness.

Like… this is so her, on the way to church Easter Sunday she told me with downcast, admiring eyes, from her car seat,

“I just LOVE my outfit.”

Me: “Okay.”

Looking sideways at Galen (did you hear.)

She continued with,

“It`s going to make everyone SO HAPPY.”

(Still meaning her outfit.)

It kinda makes you think, What does her mother teach her? But that`s just her, she finds happy things to comment on wherever she is. The sunbeams shine down on her where she sits.

~~~

She will walk over to Elle and say,

“Can I PLAY with you?”

Elle: (pause. grudgingly.) “Yes.”

Laila: “Thank You!”

And she will plunk down and start talking a mile a minute.

But, boy, that Laila, when she is offended or made to feel vulnerable, or just in a funky mood– that girl HAS FIRE. And I love to see it in her. It`s what keeps her from becoming boring. Good people are just a little funner when you can see passion flare up in them every now and again.

Here she is being a fighter. She painted her own face and I guess those kitchen utensils are swords. She was RAWR-ING and dancing sideways all over the living room– so of course I ran for Mr. Camera. My documenting friend.

She’s probably dancing off Elle controlling her angst.

With her hair like that, I think she looks all Braveheart.

See?

War paint.

Now they are sword fighting or fencing or whatever it is called.

SPATULA and measuring spoons vs. SCRAPER.

Elle gives herself an encouraging thumbs up.

~~~

THIS. This was one of the funniest moments of my mom-life yet.

I hope it doesn`t sound pious to say my girls rarely fight. But they really don’t. Probably because Laila LIKES to follow Elle’s leadership…

But anyway, whatever the reason, when they do (fight) Galen and I pull up a chair for our VIEWING PLEASURE.

So when they started “going at it” on this regular weekday, in front of the kitchen sink, my first thought was:

GALEN! He will love this. Where is my camera phone?

Boy, the verbal claws were out. I was laughing so hard to see Laila so mad. Picture Queen Elizabeth this mad, and how much you would look, and there, you have an idea.

I asked Elle just now what they were fighting over– no one seems to remember.

I will caption them anyhow.

Laila: “TWO HAIRCLIPS ARE STYLISH. EVERYONE SAYS SO!!”

~~~

Elle: “Your outfit is weird. Did your mommy dress you?”

Laila: “F-F-F-FASHION! IT`S CALLED FASHION!”

~~~

Laila: “You are so (sob) annoying and you have a cavity.”

Elle: “Oh. My. Word.”

For the public eye:

United!

Their pose here, is very: Senator appears in public with wife after brief scandal. Maintains united stance.

You thought it was a real link? Yeah, that`s what I mean, it could be.

What am I even talking about?

Oh, yes, how much I love my girls.

I love how they make my life rainbow colored, even if all we are doing is driving in the car talking on a boring Errand Monday. They have the power to do that.

~jenny

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Details.

Girls talk to each other like men talk to each other. But girls have an eye for detail.

~Amy Winehouse.

~~~

A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.

~John Foster Dulles

~~~

All that is not perfect down to the smallest detail is doomed to perish.

~Gustav Mauller

~~~

A small leak will sink a great ship.

~ Benjamin Franklin
~~~
Anyone else like small details? I`m not sure why but detail is very important to me, in the creative aspect, even I think no one else might even see it. I also am enraptured by the smallest things.
Like if I were to sit behind a little girl with unique braids- I will be besotted to look anywhere else, but stare at her braids, and her neckline trim, and the bob of head when she sings, and the way her cheeks are silky and round, and the way her mother looks at her like she is a treasure…
and, and, and.
I think that`s why very detailed stores like Anthopologie look empty to some, (what is there to buy here?) but it makes my neck hurt from all the craning and dreaming. There are so many tiny details to look at, it could take all day to absorb them all into my simple little system. It truly gives me a rush.
I had a bunch of friends here the other week to my house and they commented on the small details (I think in a positive way) in my house. I was really surprised. I knew I liked detail, but I had NEVER thought of it- that it might be something a casual observer would pick up. Like a way to describe my home, you know. I have always struggled a bit with being too “trinkety” in my decor. I have tried to wean of too many small, cluttery items, yet hang onto my love for detail. I am doing better at minimizing- still not there.
Do you ever then try to see something from another person’s perspective? It`s hard to see your own home as romantic, and sometimes you almost have to open your eyes and pretend to SEE it from another person’s perspective- to really SEE it. Maybe?
My own home just seems humbley (humble and homely) to me and yes, I love it, but most times all I see is DIRT and clutter and it just seems SO UNROMANTIC and gritty to me. But yet so precious and homey as well.
Anyone still following a word I am saying? ha. I think you know what I mean. I sure am trusting that there are a few of you that are nodding along, feeling the same way. 🙂
So anywho- I tried to snap a bunch of pictures the other week, capturing details in my home.
It might be the (yawn!) boringest post you have ever read. Or, if you like detail, then maybe you will stay?
With or without you, here we go:
Create small areas of ambiance.
I found this hideous wooden tray in the attic, painted it with leftover paint from our room makeover, and filled it with a few cuties. I found that to be a good time.
Beaded coasters from Pier 1 imports, candle from my friend, Rosann, and Christmas cards clipped with a clothespin, from you all. (Hi, MJ!)
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I mentioned earlier, I collect Currier and Ives prints in neutral tones. I love how they accent the old wood in my home.
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A shot of some of the woodwork.
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Another shot of wood.
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Pretty hooks are SUCH a lifesaver in a house. They keep things organized, especially in rooms with no closet space. Pick out pretty hooks, and they shine as decor as well.
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You do not have to have frames (printed or plain tape is hip) to make a collage of things you like and have collected.
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Anyone else notice when floors and counter tops are clean, your whole house seems cleaner? It`s the #1 thing I do to stay (somewhat) caught up- focus of surface areas.
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This is on my mantel. A skeleton key (belonging to a real door in our house), a silver tray, and a nest filled with vintage clip-on earrings (as eggs), makes for a good time. (according to some)
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“Inspire” above my girls.
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Messy details on my girl’s dresser. 🙂 I figure in their room- anything goes.
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I adore the character (and animal decals on their chests) in both these old highchairs. The little baby one my aunt gave me for my birthday. 🙂
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I added a ripped sticker label to this chest to give it more “real” character. Also a few numbers at the bottom, that somehow got cut out of the photo. Vintage books in old metal bins makes me haa-ppy.
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Found the crate (free). stained it, and glued a little chalkboard onto it. Right now it says “books” on it. Pro-found.
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I love my $5 aluminum chair I bought from a Craigslist guy.
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The striped pillow made from a piece of .25 thrifted fabric.
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Old fan, silver, thrifted tray, handmade, paper covered matchboxes, and a darling candle from Julana.
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Pillow in our room, where I sewed a kerchief into a pillow cover. I think it`s my favorite pillow in the whole house.
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Little collage taped onto the wall.
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Another .75 pillow made with thrifted fabric…
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Whatever the color is that this room is painted in (I forget) it`s makes the room feel so QUIET. I go in there to read or lay and think sometimes. The girls are drawn to it too- they sleep in the guest room often and sleep way better in there too. so I call it the “Quiet Room”.
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Same room.
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This little vase was .25 and the flowers were snipped out of an ugly, huge arrangement at the thrift store, I think the whole bouquet was .35. The French vocab cards are a treasure I found- they were a splurge 3.00 for a lg box. 🙂 The little vase they are in was .25.
My point in telling you that is that decor can be SUPER CHEAP.
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I love this painting. It hangs in the guest room. If i ever have another baby, I will hang it over the crib.
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Welcome guest bowl- I like to have good chocolate laying in there as well.
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Part of the collage in our room.
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I said I love hooks. These are in my corner of our room.
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Random hooks everywhere.
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Our dining room is tiny- but I love the tin ceiling and old light fixtures.
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This is in the girl’s room. I call it my “Pride Shelf”.
There is old filthy wood in a room in the basement. I tore part of the shelf off, filled in the wood holes, glued on the 2 little wooden “leaves”, painted it with free paint the former owners of this house left behind. Free shelf alert.
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This hangs above the girl`s bed. Torn pages from a book from a thrift store. One is hung with a vintage clip-on earring.
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A quiet ladder (in the guest room) with magazines on it that I think that particular guest might like.
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Shelf in same room.
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Another homemade pillow (velvet fabric and an iron-on). This one is way prettier in real. Bad camera.
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Two sets of hooks. Very helpful, because this room is sans closet.
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Covered cheap-y dollar General candle with cooler label.
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Shelf shot #2. Print was in a pack of 3 for .50 at Save n Serve, and I love all of them.
O-kay! Long post. Sorry. Shoulda just called it a Random Home Tour.
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Do you love details? Why or why not?
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I need to hit the ground running now. House to clean, groceries to buy, girls to bath (they missed them on Sunday), and many pounds of laundry to lug up from basement and put away. We were gone from Wed- Fri last week, and then Fri night and Sat. I went to a women`s conference. So I’m a little behind, yeah, in the house-worky department.
Ah, the exquisite life of a housewife.
jenny
comments

Nothing super important.

My Sweet Laila.

I have noticed when shopping- little, fun, printed skirts are so in this spring. So I decided to sew some. 🙂 I have been making them as fast as I can. If you use a coupon at Joanns, it only takes a half yard to make a skirt and so you can pick out pretty hip fabrics and make a whole skirt for $3-4 a pop.

Trimming them and lining with pretty trim (especially if it`s vintage) is the most fun part of all.

Elle pretend reading to a few little friends.

Another skirt I made, for Elle. This fabric I had bought to make a pillow for the living room. Yeah, the print was way too gaudy for my living room… so I made a fetching skirt for a 4 year old.

Flowers from my dear husband.

Fun making healthy cookies for my girls. My husband thinks my healthy cookies are for the birds. Literally.

This is a special plate from my aunt Ada, it was one of the things she gave me on my birthday. Sadly, the other day it shattered when it got hot on my gas burner. I was happy I had a picture of it anyway.

Another skirt I made for Elle. Can you tell I was channeling/watching Sound of Music when I made this one? It`s a little old school, maybe a little too old school, I haven`t fully decided yet.

I wish I had pictures of more of the skirts- maybe later.

Laila loves her blonde hair.

The other day I heard her tell her dolls,

“They LOVE me so much. They love me because of my blonde hair…”

And if we ever see anyone with hair the color of hers,

“Look. She has BLONDE HAIR, like me.”

G and I went on a date the other night. I had out outfits laid out ahead of time. Later, tssk, we caught them man-handling each other.

I’m working on a post about the small details in decor. Maybe I’ll post it later today. Who really knows?

Later tater.

jenny

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