Sunday, July 31, 2005

A fun find...

For months our office (also known as the "raisin room," the color of paint we used on the walls) has been the "pile-it" room. If something didn't have a home, it went into the office. Well, after 2 weekends of sorting and organizing (and plenty of paper shredding and recycling) we have a clean and presentable office. What's even more exciting is this cute little desk I bought yesterday (with chair) for $40. It will work perfect for sewing and scrap booking, both things I enjoy doing but haven't had a nice, dedicated location for since moving into this house in Dec. 2003.

This is also the first photo that I've posted using my new camera. I have to admit, it's nothing fancy, and the lighting doesn't do the desk justice (I should have taken the picture in the day light rather than relying on artificial light), but at least now I know I can get the photos from the camera, to the computer and on my blog :) Ahh...simple pleasures.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New toys...

Ok, let's face it, no matter how much we try to de-clutter and de-materialize our lives, some of us will forever have weaknesses when it comes to certain possessions. I've already established my love for books...having them, reading the, shopping for them...but I thought I'd take time today to admit to a few of my other material obsessions in life.

Let's start with the item that triggered this post. Today I ordered a new digital camera. A Canon G6...7.1 megapixels of photo taking power... 5 whole megapixels more than our current digital. Not quite the Canon Rebel (my current camera dream)...but considering I'm not a professional photographer and can't really justify spending $1000 on a camera at the moment, I'm awfully excited to get my new G6. By the first of August I should be snapping (and posting) clearer digital pictures everywhere I go! I have a weakness for electronics in general. There's computers, stereos, MP3 players, cameras...well, you get the picture. My husband and I joke that doesn't every family of 3 need 2 lap tops and a desk top computer? I'm almost embarrassed to admit that we're considering becoming that 2 lap top family even though we love our new Dell desktop...4 words...high speed wireless internet.

Although not necessary for life, I guess at least we make good use of our electronics. My MP3 player goes with me everywhere and it's so much easier to take on the 650 mile drive to visit my mom than the number of CDs needed to entertain us across the radio barren state of Nebraska. (Sorry those of you in NE...I'm proud to be a Nebraskan but let's face it, the radio options suck!)

Then there's the whole digital image library of our daughter's 3+ years of life that has been carefully organized, shared, modified, and printed. I look at the fact that not only do we have a full set (digital, not print) of these photos, but each set of Lexi's grandparents have CDs full of images of her life. So much easier to store, share and access than a giant box of prints, such is the case with my childhood photos. It's nice to know that in case of fire, flood, hard drive crash, etc., we'll still have access to all of those wonderful, irreplaceable memories.

Beyond electronics, I'm happy to say that I've been able to somewhat limit my other obsessions. I do love Longaberger baskets...I just can't help myself. Although I use them...they earn their keep at our house. And don't even get me started on quilts, quilt fabrics, quilt books, quilt magazines...

I think both of these loves are deeply rooted in my youth. My mom always had baskets in our house when I was growing up and we've been a quilt family since the beginning of time. My grandma is a quilter. My mom and aunt sneak away together several weekends a year to quilt retreats, both organized by others and of their own doing. You should see my mom's fabric stash...HOLY COW! A girlfriend and I have even learned the benefit that comes from secluding yourself (together) for a weekend with nothing but good food, good wine, good music, sewing machines, rotary cutters, and plenty of kids, no TVs, no husbands, and no schedules!

I guess I'm fortunate that my material possessions/obsessions can be shared with the people I love most in this family and friends. Be on the lookout for new photos...coming to a blog near you.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

The simple things in life...

When I was a kid, running through the sprinkler was a standard summer time activity. Western Nebraska and eastern Colorado, where I spent my youthful years, are both dry summer climates, the kind that required hours and hours of watering during the hottest months of the year to keep something that resembles GREEN grass growing in your lawn. Lexi got to experience the joy for the first time last summer when we went to visit grandma Shirley. She had a blast and I forget, since we don't water our lawn here in central Iowa, that such a simple activity can bring so much joy.

On Friday, I was commenting to my husband that since I was spending the day at home with Lexi (still on part time leave from work with my nearly healed ankle) that I wished we could go to the pool. I wasn't sure the wet shower house and possible need to move quickly to rescue a dunking kiddo was a good scenario for my limited ability foot. He brought up the fact that we do own a sprinkler even though we haven't used it for...I dunno, 2 or 3 years. So out into the back yard we went. I enjoyed a good book and the view from the shade while Lexi enjoyed a cool romp in the water. Live doesn't get much better than that!


Monday, July 18, 2005


This weekend while in the pet section at the local Wal-Mart, we spied a fish bowl decoration that reminded me of Gary, the pet snail, from Sponge Bob Square Pants. He even had the dorky little smile full of pearly white teeth. Of course we had to get it for our aquarium. He just makes me laugh, especially to hear Lexi say his name..."Gaarrie". Yes, my 3 year-old watches Sponge Bob...there's worse things in this world she could witness.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Random thoughts...

A collection of random thoughts from today...

Pinky Toes...Lexi figured out this weekend that she can move her pinky toes independently of her other at a time, both at the same time, and in a way that makes us laugh hysterically. Her mother and father are not near as gifted, but we're working on it.

Left Shoe Only Please...As we were picking up the house today, it struck me funny that while Lexi and Scott have pairs of shoes strung here and there, I have left shoes only.

Sing Me A Song...Lexi has always been attracted to music. She wiggled to the beat at an early age and can recognize many a song on the radio if it appears in any of her favorite movies...Shrek (1 or 2), Shark Tales, etc. The most precious is the way she makes up her own "musicals" (as she calls them) as she's playing or doing a chore. You've got to love the creative spark of youth.

Three Squares A Day...Why is it that while I worried about Lexi eating only organic, no sugar added, well rounded meals as soon as she made the switch from breast to solids, she now has about 5 items we can choose from to make a meal for her at the age of 3 1/2? And how did those veggies she once loved, turn into pure evil now that she has an opinion about what she's eating? Her pickiness is always a mystery to us as her mother and father have no problem eating just about anything.

Clean That Carpet...Why is it that vacuuming, something that normally seems like such a chore, felt so great today for the first time in 5 weeks.

Thanks for your comments...Interesting how I started this blog just for a chance to play around on the web. But now when someone stops by to comment, it brings such joy to know someone out there is reading what I wrote. It's fun to think that maybe I've made someone smile, or laugh. Funny how connecting with some total stranger in such a random fashion can make the world seem so much smaller.

The Anxiety of Change...4 weeks ago I was having anxiety about staying home because of my ankle. But once I settled into my "working from home" routine, it was a welcome change from my normal run around life. Tomorrow I'm returning to work for my first full day in the office, and the anxiety has started to set in again. I guess there's just something about change in routine...


Friday, July 15, 2005

River tubin'...

So, what do you get when you mix one tent, three sleeping bags, an air mattress, and a mom on crutches? An extreme family camping trip. Well, ok, maybe not really extreme. More like extremely funny. We've had plans with friends for several months to head to northeast Iowa camping, and I wasn't going to let a little broken ankle change those plans. So we (well technically my husband) packed up the car last weekend and headed down the road. Three hours later we were pulling up to our home for the next 2 nights in a nice little camp ground right on the Iowa River.

We're pretty casual campers. We do a lot of nothing when we camp. Our favorite trips usually include a little hiking, but that was obviously out of the question. So we did some aquatic "hiking" this trip, renting tubes to float down the river. I've never river tubed before...what a blast. After the initial anxiety (on my part) of figuring out how I was going to get into the tube without totally embarrassing myself, it was total relaxation. We were tubing with two 3-year olds which was initially interesting, but once they both relaxed and realized their little life jackets kept them from going anywhere once wedged in the tubes, they too had a fun and relaxing time (both taking naps as we floated along!). Five, yes count them 5, hours later we emerged from the river sunburned, relaxed, and hungry. Don't worry, we took plenty of drinks with us to enjoy while we floated.

While we hit a few rocky spots (literally), I was glad I let go of my anxiety about tubing with a broken ankle to spend such a fun afternoon with my family and our good friends. The rest of the weekend was fun and relaxing as well. Some camp fire chat, a little Frisbee for those who had 2 working legs, lots of lightning bug chasing for the girls. A good time was had by all! I haven't seen the photos of the whole excursion yet, but depending on how embarrassing they are, I may share a few here once I get them.


Monday, July 4, 2005

The child within...

Lexi's 4th of July Fireworks Mommy's 4th of July Fireworks

Have you ever noticed how holidays bring out your inner child? Yesterday Lexi asked me to color with her on the living room floor. We decided to draw fireworks in anticipation of today's festivies. It's raining this morning so only time will tell if we get to enjoy the real thing. If not, we'll always have our 3rd of July drawings to share with each other.


Sunday, July 3, 2005

For the love of books....

Recently on one of my favorite blogs, hula seventy, Andrea posted about books. As I was leaving her a comment, I found my mind swirling with words about books. So instead of writing her a novel of a comment, I decided just to post here on my own blog some thoughts on books.

I think my love of books started early in life. My brother and I had a huge collection of children's books. Hard cover, soft cover, with pictures, without pictures. Books from the Scholastic orders in grade school, books we had received as gifts (the Little Golden books to this day are still some of my favorites), books I'm sure my mom got at the grocery store during one of those "save stamps" kind of things that were so much more popular when I was a kid. I can't tell you the number of times I talked my mom into the fact that I had to have such and such book from the Scholastic order at school...few of which I actually ever read, unfortunately.

In fact, I've always had a thing for HAVING books, but I haven't always had a thing for READING books. My mom read to us often when we were little, one of the many things she did with us as kids that fostered our individual creative spirits. But once I was old enough to read to myself, I was much lest likely to actually finish a book once started...or even start a book for that matter. While I read for recreation on and off though high school and college (which says something as I hardly every read the required reading for classes...something to this day that surprises me because I was a very anal student...the only acceptable grade was an A...except calc my senior year of high school...a class I was just glad to get through with a perfectly average C), it wasn't until my husband and I had settled here to Iowa that I began actually reading for pleasure...often and more than just the occasional juicy romance novel...which let's face it ladies, we all have to get lost in one of those now and then.

Not being one really to know WHO to read, or even how to look for books of literary substance, I turned to the Oprah book club list. Cheesy as it sounds, it was that book club list that really opened my mind to the greater world of literature. That summer...the summer before I became pregnant with our first child...I read as much as I could. In the sun, in the hammock on our front porch during a rainy afternoon, in bed until the wee hours of the night, in the car on vacation, at the B&B my husband took me to to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, during my lunch break at work... I made a habit of taking a book with me every where I might have a few minutes to catch a few pages of reading time. (Key timing, I don't' think I would have been as open to this "new" world if I hadn't discovered it before becoming a parent considering the first 12 months after Lexi was born I was lucky to read ANYTHING besides parenting magazines (which get REALLY old, REALLY fast) and silly sing song board books full of colorful illustrations.) I read some books I liked, some I didn't so much. Some that I didn't like at the time, but after digesting had much more meaning and appeal than at first glance. Not only was I reading more, my husband was reading more too. We read some of the same books, talking about them after we were both finished. A wonderful and welcomed growth in our relationship from our high school sweetheart days.

In addition to finding how much I enjoyed reading books, was the discovery of how much I LOVE shopping for books. I can spend endless hours in Barnes and Noble or Borders just looking. Craft books; health related reference books; cook books; fiction books; books about art, photography, architecture, gardening, history, parenting, computers, yoga, spiritual learning, growth, and healing; hardcover; softcover; full price books; budget books; it doesn't matter what section of the store I'm exploring, there's just something warm, inviting, comforting and stimulating about browsing the many titles. I'll admit, I've purchased a title to two on impulse that have been less than stellar, but I've also had some great unexpected finds. For example, a couple of years ago while looking for titles I thought my history loving husband might enjoy, I picked up a copy of Cold Mountian. Scott very much enjoyed the book (and I think has read it twice now) and was I surprised when the movie came out! I've don't even have to buy anything to find the joy in looking. Sometimes when we visit my in-laws in KC, I sneak down to the Borders just 1/2 a mile (at most) from their house for some ME time...a real treat as our nearest B&N or Borders here at home is an hours drive away.

Now that Lexi is 3, more self sufficient and able to self entertain on a regular basis, I've found more time to again occasionally get lost in a good read. Since breaking my ankle I've been able to read a couple of books loaned to me by a friend...both titles that may not have caught my eye, but that proved to be good, fun reads. Thanks to Andrea's post on hula seventy, I've got a few new titles I'm looking forward to picking up to help occupy some time during the final weeks of my recovery...and beyond.

When I look back over the years and where my love of books started...I'm sure it all started at home with my mom. After all, she's the one who has taught me that regardless of someone's age...a good book always makes an appropriate and stimulating gift. My daughter has often been the lucky recipient of a fun, colorful book or two over the years for her birthday, Christmas, or for no reason at all. I think we're well on the way to passing on the love of books to the next generation :)