Friday, September 23, 2016

It's always something!

The inside of my house is still a mess.  Although, in two weeks the kitchen at least should be in full working order.  Sorting out the rest of the chaos and dust that comes with a renovation will probably take a bit longer.  In the meantime, I decided to at least make the front porch a little more welcoming.

So I headed to Lowes yesterday before picking the kids up from school and got a few little pretties to brighten up the porch. I am still tinkering with the height and adjustment of everything but this is it for now.  And knowing me...this is how it will remain until they are all dead or until it's time to put out the Christmas decorations.  Whichever comes first.




Yesterday after leaving Lowes I headed to school.  I got there about 20 minutes before dismissal so I took my place in the middle school car rider line.  I turned the car off and proceeded to pass the time by checking Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.  You know, the usual suspects.

Right at 3:00 the kids started pouring out of the school and I tried to crank the car up.  The lights on the dash came on but the engine would not turn over.

It was raining on my way to school and I realized that I had forgotten to turn my lights off. Although, don't you think that the battery should still be fine after only 20 minutes?  I hopped out of the car and asked the mom behind me if she had jumper cables but she did not.

Peter told the teacher on car duty what had happened and she had him go in to the school and ask the secretary to ask over the intercom if anyone in the school had jumper cables.

Meanwhile, the first mom I asked started walking up the car rider line asking other people for jumper cables.  In the meantime, my cell phone rang and one of the staff members had jumper cables and she was bringing her car around to save the day.  And another set of cables was also located just in case.

We got everything hooked up and one of the students whose dad and grandfather happen to be auto mechanics came over with her grandmother to help.

I was so very appreciative of all the helpful people!  We got the car started and I headed straight to Auto Zone.  They checked my alternator and it was fine and did not need to be replaced.  They also checked my battery and it was charged to 100% and did not need to be replaced.   However, I did purchase my very own set of jumper cables so the next time this happens I will be prepared! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Another Rebecca Story

Rebecca's been on my mind a lot lately.  Not sure why.  Maybe it's the new school year, the changing of the seasons, the fact that our house is in shambles or maybe the fact that Dan's been gone a lot.  I don't know but she's been right with me.

Whenever she crosses my mind, the first thing I do is thank God for her and her life as short as it may have been. And  I thank Him that her suffering on this earth was short because  the only peace I get from her death is knowing that she is in heaven whole and perfect.

I ask her to pray for us all the time.  My sweet little saint loves her family and what better way to show it than to pray for us when we ask her. When one of us is having a problem, I ask her to pray for us and I have no doubt that she does because when she is praying for us, the answers and the help come quickly.

I like to imagine that she's sitting at the feet of Jesus laughing and playing and then I ask her to pray for me and she immediately turns to Him and says, "Lord help my mom.  She's a hot mess and needs you right away!"  And y'all, the Lord never disappoints.

I've shared before about some answered prayers when I've lost an item and when a couple of other blog readers have lost things.  St. Anthony is a Catholic's normal go-to intercessor for lost items  However, Rebecca has been known to find a thing or two as well.  You can read about it here and here.

This morning, after a particularly long evening filled with homework, projects, and teen angst, I woke up to find this email in my inbox:

Hello Beth, My name is Faith from Kenya. last week when i was googling randomly( i do that in an attempt to find inspiring catholic blogs by moms) i came across your blog and especially to the tab about your little angel a.k.a Rebecca Irene.......i was particularly moved by the article you wrote about asking for her intercession. I am also a firm believer in the communion of saints and thus borrowed a leaf from you when you asked for her intercession to find the lost bracelet.....
I have always prayed to St. Anthony of Padua whenever i  need to find my lost items, and when i was reading your blog, i had been seeking his intercession to find something i had lost at my job. so been encouraged by your post i started asking little Rebecca for her intercession, and yesterday Beth i found the very thing i have been looking for weeks right in my purse.....i was sooo overjoyed, thanked our little intercessor and God and i knew i  had to let the mom know what her little girl is still doing even across continents.......
Thank you very much for sharing with us, for it is through your witnessing that us too get encouraged.
Once again, someone asked sweet Rebecca to pray for them (someone in Kenya no less!) and her prayers were answered!  And once again, I am comforted. 
I frequently question her life and her death so when I hear or read that someone was helped in some small way by Rebecca and this blog, I find peace.
And I like to think that maybe it's not just with lost items that have been found but maybe bigger things too.  Perhaps someone who just learned that their baby has Trisomy 18 stumbles across my blog and realizes that life is precious and purposeful no matter the length and decides to ignore the doctors who recommend termination and lets God determine the outcome.

I know when I get to heaven, all of these things will be revealed to me and I can't wait to see all that He has done through Rebecca.  
So if you have been praying about something and are still waiting on an answer, consider asking St. Rebecca Irene to pray for you.  And if you aren't Catholic and have questions about why Catholics turn to the saints for intercession, check out this article.  It explains things pretty well. 
St. Rebecca Irene, pray for us!
 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Parenting lessons I have learned this week.

On Monday, both kids got in the car and declared that they had "so much homework"!  As we discussed what they each had to do on they way home they both lamented that they probably wouldn't be done in time to go to Scouts. 

And sure enough, Sarah didn't finish until 7:30 and Peter didn't finish until 10:00!  But don't feel too bad for him because after a brief discussion, I learned that a large chunk of what he was working on had been assigned at the end of last week and he had ample time to complete it or at least to start it over the weekend which he chose not to do.

Peter operates under the misguided notion that if it's not due the next day then he doesn't have to work on it.  I'm well aware that his middle school teachers are trying to prepare him for the rigors of Catholic high school  and even college.  And we all know that in both high school and college you aren't going to be able to do everything the night before.

We had a nice little discussion on planning out his work and working ahead when he has free time and he agreed to do a better job and all was well.  Although, I have a feeling, this same thing is going to happen again.  But we will see.

As a middle school parent, I try to back off and let the kids do their thing but some times you need to step in and make sure they aren't blowing it.  Back in the elementary days, I used to go online and check to see what homework they had due and make sure they did it.  Now, I don't ever check because they are old enough to know what they have to do, when it's due and how to get it done. 

However, I think I need to occassionaly take a little sneak peak at his homework every now and then and try to encourage some working ahead if it looks like a lot of things are going to be due on the same day.

So, while I'm trying to be a little more helpful with Peter because he needs a little help with time management, I've got Sarah who is just the opposite.

She is so obsessed with wanting to get everything done so she can go to swim practice that she has been very intentional about knowing what she has, when it is due and what she needs to work ahead on so she can make swim practice and Girl Scouts.  (Unfortunately, Monday night was one of those perfect storm nights where several teachers assigned things that were due the next day and she wasn't able to work ahead.)  Dan and I always say that school comes first so if missing Scouts or swim practice is the result, then so be it.  But some times it makes for very sad kids.

Anway, back to Sarah. She had been very excited about a Girl Scout trip to Great Wolf Lodge last weekend.  The girls were leaving last Saturday morning and wouldn't be back until Sunday afternoon.  She had a project due on Monday morning and on Thursday afternoon she  she decided that she would spend all Friday afternoon and evening working on the project so she could enjoy her trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  She even skipped her normal Friday afternoon play date with Cheyanne (Can you still call them that in middle school???  Probably not but you get my drift.)

For her project she had to take one of her summer reading books and create a movie poster that would entice people to see the movie.  It had to be representative of a scene from the book.

The book she chose for this project was Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.  She told me what she wanted to do and then I proceeded to stick my big nose into it and tell her how I thought she should do it.  And then she got frustrated and then I tried to help her more and she got even more frustrated and then I got frustrated and we went back and forth for a bit until I realized that she just needed to try it her way and then she would see I was right and I could help her.

So I went next door to my parent's house to start working on dinner figuring that she would come over at some point and ask for my expertise/help/motherly support.

BUT NO!

After I got out of her way, she whipped this out:



(This is before she put the title of the book on it.)  Isn't fabulous!?! And this is what she did when I got out of her way.

So from the last week of parenting, I have learned two important lessons.

Lesson number 1 learned from Peter:  You need to get involved an offer some guidance and support. 

Lesson number 2 learned from Sarah:  You need to be un-involved and offer no guidance and no support. 


No wonder I never seem to know what to do!!!! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Seven Quick Takes

Friday means it's time for 7 Quick Takes!

1.  Today happens to be my anniversary!  Number 16 to be exact.  And my husband is out of town until tomorrow  night.   insert frowny face

So, no romantic long weekend in Charleston like I had originally hoped for several months ago.  Because my sweet husband also turns 50 on the 12th and I happen to turn 47 on the 13th and all three things combined seemed like a great reason to get away, I was hoping for a trip. But, work calls, and since Dan's trips have been coming one right after the other and typically with very short notice, he couldn't commit to planning anything in advance.

2.Here's a  picture from our wedding.  We were listening to Dan's Uncle give the homily (which was very good!) and I guess we were paying attention based on those serious faces. And a couple of thoughts on the picture...so young, so thin, so cleavage!


3. The PTO held a little Grandparent's Day at school this morning.  The grandparents could join their grandkids for the opening of school, a visit to their classrooms, Mass, and then refreshments.

Here's the refreshment table...
And you can't really tell, but we had these cute little grandparent themed subway art pieces from Pinterest in frames behind the table.  They were so cute.  I was hoping to use them on the tables, but it just didn't work out.

And  we also had these cute mason jars tied with rafia and filled with lovely Aldi flowers on the tables...so cute and so affordable....


4.  Earlier this week I was painting the office and I had drop clothes covering the floors.  When they put the new floors down they took up the vent covers in the floor and I never put them back.  And you guessed it!  I happened to walk right over it and since it was covered, I didn't see it.  My left leg went right down!  I went all the way in up to my knee.  I skinned my knee and got a giant goose egg raspberry type thing on the side of my knee.  I'm very thankful nothing was sprained or broken.  It's been sore but it could have been worse.  I'm also very thankful that I didn't rip out the vent thing that leads to the air conditioning system.

5.Sarah has started her fall swim practice and she couldn't be happier!


6. I saw this on Facebook this week and had to laugh out loud!  This happens to me all the time!  I see someone and thing how old they look and then when I get closer, I realize that I went to school with them!  And most likely, they are thinking the same thing as I'm approaching them! 
7.  And last but not least...this cheesecake that Sarah and I made last weekend.  Okay - she would probably say she made it, but I buy the groceries, oversee the actual process and then clean up so I'm taking some of the credit!  (And yes, that's fresh whipped cream!)


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8th Grade Oath

Our little school has a lot of traditions.  And one of them is the 8th Grade Oath. 

Every year at the end of the first Mass (our school attends Mass every Friday), the 8th graders get up in front of the school and take an oath and make a promise to be leaders at Our Lady of Mercy, to work hard and do their best at school, and to be a good example to their Kindergarten buddies and all of the younger students at OLM.


 
Here's a picture of the kids after Mass.  I'm praying for a great year for this group of kids!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cousin Shirley's Sweet and Spicy Salsa

I made salsa on Friday and it turned out really great!  It was sweet and spicy and really yummy!

Here are all the ingredients in the pot.  Isn't it pretty?

And might I add that the tomatoes, green pepper and jalapenos were all from our garden!  I did have to buy the onions because that's something that we've never grown.


Here it is simmering in the pot.


And here's the finished product!

And here's the recipe!

Cousin Shirley's Sweet and Spicy Salsa
1 gallon tomatoes peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups sugar (you can adjust the sugar according to taste.)
3 T. salt
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped bell pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 7oz jar jalapeƱo peppers, drained  (I used fresh and wish that I had left in more of the ribs and seeds because I wanted a little more spice.  However, other family members thought it was perfect the way it was.  You will need to adjust accordingly.)
Bring to a slow boil.  Lower heat and simmer until thick (I simmered mine for 1 hour but Shirley simmers hers for 2.  I like my salsa a little chunky that's why I simmered for less time.) uncovered
Heat clean jars, add salsa, and seal.

For me, this filled 5 quart sized Mason jars. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

7QT

Look at me!  3 posts in one week!  The kids must be back in school.  :)

It's Friday and you know how I like to link up with Kelly....

1.  Yesterday in my reno update, I mentioned that hopefully they would get the new windows in where the sink is going to go by the end of this week or early next week.  I could hear the contractor banging around downstairs and when I went to see what he was up to I found this:

And now I have three really pretty smaller windows in this spot!  I'll save that for a later reno update post but it's going to be really pretty.  The only problem is that I love me a lot of natural light and I've basically cut it in half by doing this so I'm going to have to adjust.  On a positive note however, it always got very hot downstairs in this spot so perhaps we will save some money on air conditioning! 

2. Yesterday while all this was going on in the house, I went next door and took care of these little beauties!

2.  And after about two hours worth of work, I went from this

to this...


3. I posted the following picture on Facebook and Instagram but I never put it here:

Sarah and I waited in line last Saturday for over two hours so Sarah could meet Kathleen Baker! Sarah and I were cheering her on when she won her silver medal in backstroke.  Her medal was unexpected and she was literally gushing on camera with excitement.  It was so cute!  And then she got to swim on the medley relay team and won the gold!  We were so happy. 

Kathleen is from Winston-Salem so she did a meet and greet last weekend before heading back to UC Berkley.  It was hot and the wait was long but I think Sarah would agree that it was worth it.

And when Sarah was looking through the pictures, she zoomed in on her fingernails and realized that she had Olympic rings painted on the white nails!  Leave it to Sarah to notice the nail polish!  :)

4.  Dan is finally home for a couple of weeks.  (At least I hope!)  He's home next week at least and I'm very happy about that.  Basically we got home from the Cape and he's been gone almost for 3 weeks straight.  He's got more trips coming up but they aren't scheduled yet so I'm just going to enjoy him while he's here!  Everyone is happier when Daddy is home!

5. Since Dan was gone while Jim Gaffigan was in town, I took my BFF to the show to be my date.  We had dinner before the show and enjoyed Jim.  It was a good show and the best part?  He came out and did his entire Hot Pocket bit as his encore!  That never gets old.  I was bummed when I saw on Instagram that he and his wife have decided not to do another season of his tv show.  I know they are busy but darn it!  I was hoping for a couple more seasons!

6.My brother's birthday was on teh 19th and we had a birthday lunch at my parent's house.  I'm not sure how it started but whenever we take a picture with Brad, we have to have one where is head is cut off.  I've got so many similiar pictures:


And we also usually have to take a picture where everyone is looking away from the camera:

My family is weird but I do love them!

7.  My plans today are to can some salsa.  I'm not using my normal recipe but I'm trying  a different one.  My mom had some people over for dinner and one of the women brought her a jar of homemade salsa.  We opened it a couple of nights later and literally at the whole thing in under 15 minutes.  It was delicious!  It was sweet and spicy and I'm hoping I can get mine to taste as good as hers!

Have a great weekend y'all!  And don't forget to head over to Kelly's to check out the other Quick Takers!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The reno. A quick update with a few during photos.

Several people have asked for a kitchen reno update.  We are still in the thick of things so there are no pretty after pictures to show at the moment.  Just a few before and during photos.

We are 4 and a half weeks in and it's going as I expected - slow.  They are pretty much on schedule but when your house is a hot mess all you want is for it to be done!  So even though I knew it was going to be the end of September until it's all completed, I really want to snap my fingers and have it done.

All the hardwoods are down in the entire downstairs.  They are dusty and dirty and covered with paper at the moment otherwise I would show you.  They are going to look good but they are a hot mess right now.  And there's really no need for me to clean them at this point because, y'all the dust!  I wasn't aware of the magnitude of dust and general construction debris there would be.  Silly me for not realizing this because the entire downstairs is literally a construction zone.

The wall between the kitchen and dining room is gone:






And here it is now from a different angle from the first picture.  This is looking from what used to be the kitchen into what used to be the dining room.

 And this is the view from what used to be the dining room into what used to be the kitchen.


Also,  the entrance to the little hallway that went to the guest bedroom and bathroom has been shifted a little to the right to make more room from the new sink/stove area:



We are doing this because we are changing the kitchen window and making it smaller and putting a sink in front of it and a stove on the wall we just extended.  I'm hopeful that they will have the new windows in by the end of this week or early next week.  And in order to make this work they are having to shift the door to the outside down as well.


In the above picture, the window/door area will become three smaller windows with a sink in front of it and the door will shift down to the spot where the first window behind the couch is.

The entire downstairs is a huge mess now and it will be until the end of September.  And I'm just hoping and praying that the new kitchen is highly functional and very pretty otherwise my family will never let me hear the end of it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School!

School started on Monday!  The summer flew by and the last few weeks have been a little crazy due to the kitchen reno.  The kids were excited to see their friends but not very excited with the prospect of earlier bedtimes and much earlier wake up times!

Here are a couple of pictures of my 7th grader and my 8th grader!




I'm praying for a great year for these kiddos and I'm praying that we enjoy this last year with both of them together at Our Lady of Mercy.