where i spill my heart out and either it repulses you or it makes you love me more.
so you have been warned.
the good news is that i have some CUTE posts coming in the next few days so hang in there ok?
so can i tell you that i am worn out from this selling a house stuff.
we keep our house super neat so it can be cleaned quickly.
we have BOXES of our stuff in the attic.
the exhilaration of having a showing.
and the let down that follows when they choose somewhere else.
the last people to see it actually made an offer. we countered and then the husband wanted to see it.
the wife had made an offer WITHOUT her husband seeing it. WHAT?!?!
he did not love it as much as she did.
we are pretty sure it is because we live in a racially mixed neighborhood.
which doesn't bother us one bit but was enough to convice this would be seller that his work equipment would be stolen out of his car.
he said this to me.
so we wait a little longer. and hold fast to hope that we will be moving soon.
the bittersweet part is that in this journey i have have the joy and honor of praying for others in the same situation...living in a city/town/country that is not home and counting the days until they get to return. so many of you have emailed me to share your story...and i love you for it. the bittersweet part is that others prayers are being answered. i have lost count of how many people are well on their way home...or are already there. and i am SO happy for them. truly.
and with each one i pray "my turn next Lord?".
some people still don't get it. WHY is a place SO important to us? to me, maybe even more so.
i'm a little nervous to talk about this next part...but here goes.
you may notice that i never mention my family on here. of course there is doug and my boys and my wonderful amazing in-laws who ARE my family.
i'm talking about my parents and siblings. and everyone connected to them.
the bottom line is that i don't have them anymore. not now nor in the foreseeable future.
for reasons that i won't go into here...a year ago in march i was forced to make a choice between my real family (doug and my boys) and the people i happen to share blood with.
it was not an easy choice. it was not fun. it was hard and covered with a lot of prayer. it still is.
some will say that family is forever. that that is the only source of unconditional love...like somehow sharing DNA will ensure acceptance, love of the unconditional variety and a relationship.
i disagree. acceptance is a choice.
unconditional love is an action you CHOOSE.
relationships are a choice.
as a result of the choice to move forward without any contact from my parents...almost all family followed suit. i'm pretty much an orphan. there are a tiny few who still talk to me. most are not "allowed". many, i think, cannot comprehend my choice...see reasoning above. i still love them all and miss them. but i've had to make a choice that i feel protects myself and my family. and for the record doug totally supports this choice.
the point? blacksburg has family. and friends that ARE family. and it takes us closer to other family.
i want my kids to grow up near their aunts and uncles and aunts and uncles in law (hi amy!) and cousins.
i want them to have memories of their family in their life. i want those relationships for them that will keep them accountable.
i want to be part of a community that knows my children and keeps them in line when i'm not looking.
i want an endless supply of people i can trust with my kids.
i want dinner parties and cookouts. and real, deep friends for crying out loud. i want people who can look at me and know that i am not ok.
blacksburg has what we don't have here.
and i am totally believing that God is going to take us there. some great way. some great how.
but some days my heart is heavier than others.
the days that i want those things for my kids and us.
i know and believe our prayers will be answered.
some days are just harder to wait through than others.
our fun sprinkler has another life as a little tent.
i propped it up on a set of bed lifts (the kind college kids buy for their dorm rooms)
and the boys played in it for over an hour.
therefore making it worth. every. penny.
measured 31in from the center and sewed a little pocket to slide a pvc pipe for.
since i didn't glue the sprinkler together i can 1)make sure it's dry to bring it in and 2)store it.
playing quietly together. makes my heart patter.
the boys loved it. and i see this getting a lot of use.
but you know what?
that's not the end of it's use.
stay tuned to see how we got one more awesome toy out of it. :)
or at least for the day.
or every time you pull this out.
on the coldest day we have had in a while.
see hoho in the background running to the house with his shorts around his ankles to go get a swimmy diaper?
now i didn't invent pvc pipe sprinklers.
but this one will be more than a sprinkler...more on that to come.
but for now, let me share the how-to when it comes to making a sprinkler that will make the neighborhood kids come out of the woodwork.
here is my meager description of them. or you could print this photo and take it to lowe's. :)
a = an elbow shaped piece.
b = an elbow shaped piece with a third outlet that had thread on it.
c = an adapter that you screw into two of the b's to make it a smooth...umm...entry?
d = THIS PIECE. you need this to hook your hose into the sprinkler. screw it into the third b.
a b and c all have ends that are not threaded. so you can slide your pipe in.
we used 3/4in.
you can use any small size you like.
just make sure your other parts fit with it.
they will be the upright parts from a to b+c.
and assemble as above.
we just dry fit it together with no glue...partly so we could store it and partly to make it better for the other life we have in store for it. :)
he used a tiny drill bit 1/16 maybe?
i thought it would be too small...it was perfect.
on the top bar he did holes on two sides.
for the rest of the pipes he just drilled holes on the top.
i don't think you can go wrong.
and didn't want to get out.
they could jump over.
and crawl around.
they loved it.
they loved it this way too.
you can't go wrong with spraying water.
we had to pull them away from it.
for your viewing pleasure. :)
we paid about $18 for all the parts.
and if you think about how much they charge for crappy character sprinklers that is not so bad.
be we aren't stopping here with it...it has a whole other personality.
stay tuned for more. :)
i started with a recipe from "the girl who ate everything"...and made some changes.
here's how to make them...my changes noted:
11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2c chocolate chips (i used 1 cup)
1 cup mini marshmallows (i used 2 cups)
2 – 3 regular sized hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
Fold in chips and marshmallows.
Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight.
(i did NOT do any chilling and they turned out more than wonderful)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line baking pans with parchment paper (i used wax paper)
Line baking pans with parchment paper (i used wax paper)
Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used cookie sheets...
Place tablespoons of chilled dough on graham crackers in the center of each graham square.
Press down slightly with fingertips. ping-pong sized balls of dough.
Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top.
I put one rectangle per square.
Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Once they are cool I cut them into squares using the graham crackers as my guide.
let them sit for a day.
they taste WORLDS better the next day...though the first day they still tasted wonderful.
wonderful wonderful summer cookie. :) perfect for picnics.
i think the extra mallows and chips i added makes them even more awesome.
have fun! :)
i am getting very little done besides keeping my house clean between visits.
so i'm going to document my vacation, okay?
can you hang in there for a lot of photos?
just some thoughts and moments i don't want to forget.
above is hoho's first look at the ocean.
he loved it. and it's sand.
no fear of it whatsoever.
totally the opposite of moses last year.
but this year, moses totally kicked that fear to the curb.
he loved the ocean and waves.
going in as far as his chest.
we kept it for the day and then released him to find his mommy.
enormous. fun. family friendly. and FREE.
there are all the normal playground stuff...plus tunnels and activites and loads of fun things.
it's one of our favorite places in boca.
we would go there every day to see the tropical fish.
it's like this huge aquarium right there for you.
both boys were fearless and loved jumping in and swimming around.
they didn't seem to care if we were in or out of the water.
they had their floaties on and did their thing.
some days we spent more the four hours at the pool.
it was wonderful.
i love vacation with older kids.
this is how relaxing it was.
seriously laid back and wonderful.
then we would shower off the sand and go back to the pool.
moses got to pet a two year old alligator.
the zoo was our big outing.
we really didn't want or need more than the pool and the beach.
and our condo was stationed right between the two.
every year we go to boca raton in florida.
doug's grandparents own a condo down there that they are gracious enough to bless us with the use of.
and doug's mom goes with us.
and i love my mother in law so it is a wonderful, good, blessing.
we are a block (maybe) from the beach and even closer to the pool.
it is wonderful and heavenly.
we got to go on dates alone (thanks to the wonderful mother in law).
we went for walks everyday.
i learned that i LOVE vacation with older children.
next year we won't have to bring DIAPERS OR A STROLLER.
convinced me even more that i am perfectly content with two OLDER kids and that i am more than ok being done with babies.
the boys were old enough to make vacation enjoyable and relaxing again.
i loved it.
we had a great vacation and we plan to go back every single year for as many years as we can.
we are thankful for grandparents who are generous.
we are super thankful for my fabulous mom (in law) in NJ who goes with us and lets us enjoy some time together.
and we like being with her too.
we are blessed and spoiled.
and i can't wait to go back next year with my three and five year old.