Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Learning Patience from Jane

Learning Patience from Jane
This is Jane's six year old birthday photo. Her smile says it all. 
I was about 30 minutes late picking up Jane from school one day. 30 minutes! I know, I know...that is so late. 

The teachers had called me, called Cody and I think one of my emergency contacts that I had offered to help earlier that day! I was so embarrassed and shaken by the experience. I had no great excuse. I had got onto the computer to research preschool curriculum for my nearly 3 year old, and I honestly just lost track of time. I did not know where my cell phone was, so I was not getting the calls and I couldn't call the school back once I realized. Brooklyn was sleeping in her room so I frantically yanked her from her peaceful sleep and into the van with her pant-less sister. My hair was greasy and I started to think of all the things that the teachers were thinking about me. I was mind reading and what I imagined they were thinking was not very nice. Agggh! Another thing to work on.

I rushed to the school and found Jane hanging out with her teacher and the summer school coordinator. They were pleasant to me considering my terrible oversight. The teacher said goodbye to Jane and slipped out as soon as she could, but the coordinator was finishing a story with Jane. Jane was smiling and acting terribly happy for having been forgotten. Then the coordinator started in, "Your daughter is so lovely. She has been really patient. I sure hope she is in my class when she gets into second grade." Even as we walked out the door she was saying, "Your daughter really is so pleasant."

It wasn't until much later that I realized how significant the compliments were. I was way too caught up in the flustered feeling I was getting as a self-conscious mom to notice that Jane was the one that had really "suffered" and yet she was smiling, laughing and finding the best in the situation. As we walked out to the van after picking her up 30 minutes late, I asked her to forgive me and she said, "Yes, mom, I forgive you." Again, this was with a smile. I explained what happened and she didn't skip a beat. No grudges. No trying to rub it in that I had been an irresponsible parent. She was patient while she waited and then quickly forgave me. Wow! I needed that lesson this week. 

There was one afternoon as I was cleaning up and trying to get dinner ready that I started to complain. I was literally saying, under my breath, sarcastic, frustrated things like, "Yeah, I love to sweep five thousand times a day," or "If I don't clean the dishes, they just pile up and no one cares until it's time to sit down to dinner and there are no dishes to eat off of." Like I say, I was feeling pitiful in this moment, and I felt like I might drown if I didn't leave. I simple put the broom back in the closet and walked out the door. 

I took a walk around the block and hoped that Cody could handle the kids. I took deep breathes and tried to get my mind right again. I started with thinking about how I could get a full-time job and leave this suffocating life behind, and then slowly, as the walk progressed, I thought of how patient Jane had been. My life does not look the way I want it to look right now, but I have to keep smiling and see the best in the situation. I know if I am patient, all will be set right and I will receive the things that I want so badly. 

PATIENCE! My life-long struggle to wait on the Lord is in full force as a mother. I want to not only be more patient, I want to be pleasant as I navigate this season of my life. 

I hope we can all be a little more patient, forgiving and pleasant, even when things are not ideal! 

Again, I always want to hear about things that you are learning from little ones. Comment below if you have learned a valuable lesson lately. 


Lucy Jo

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Don't Say Cheese!

So, this weekend was busy. I had a photo session on Friday and Saturday morning. I have not taken photos since last season and starting up again has given me some perspective. I really do love families and how beautiful, unique and complex they are. It can be very stressful when I worry the whole time about getting the one perfect family photo, but the longer I make photos, the more I realize that sometimes the most beautiful shots are the ones that are not posed and that the "money shot" will come. If someone were to ask me why I like to take photos, my answer would be because I really truly believe that every person is beautiful in their own way. I love to capture a moment in time that is unique to that person or group. No matter how many photos you take, not one will be exactly like the other because the subject is always different.

I love to see the love and affection of families and the light in people's eyes and the smiles. To freeze a moment that represents the love that people have for each other is super special and it will never get old. Making photos is not easy, but the results are always worth it. I also know that people that take the time and effort to get family photos or any photos taken almost always see the value...even the dads who historically loathe having family photos taken. 😄 So, I strive for genuine moments and seeing beyond the "say cheese" pictures.

Here is one shot from each session this weekend.

Lucy Jo Photography

Lucy Jo Photography

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Painting Essentials

Cody helped me paint the basement this last weekend. As we were painting I thought about the amount of painting we have done since we moved into our home. We are on our eighth room! Then I thought, I will ask Cody what his number one tip would be for those that are thinking about painting in their home.

His answer: Hire someone to paint for you.

I laughed hard. He is right though. If you can afford to hire a professional, it will save you a lot of work, sometimes heartache, and will likely look better.

Then I thought about what tip I would give for those that, like us, can't hire a professional right now.

My answer: Just get started and get the tools to make the job easier.

It is almost always worth the investment to paint. Usually you are painting a room a color that makes you happy and your walls will look sharper and cleaner after you are done. Getting started, like when you are wanting to exercise, is easier than thinking about or anticipating it.

Tools/Essentials that we use:

Quality paint rollers
Lots of paint trays and liners for the different colors
Paint pails for detail work
Quality paint brushes
Painting ladder and or step stool
Large drop cloths to protect flooring
6-in-1 painters tool
Paint roller extension
Plastic Wrap: we wrap our paint rollers in between painting sessions so we don't have to clean them out every single time.
Paint lid

Paint Edger

As far as progress in the basement, we are done painting the walls. Look how much brighter the room looks with white walls! I bought two colors with the intent to have an accent wall, but once I put the paint on the walls, I decided that I wanted to keep the walls one solid color. There will be lots of room to add color through the decor and since there is low lighting in the basement, I feel really good about having the brighter white (Sherwin Williams Snowbound) reflect more light.

The next step will be to paint the smaller doors that cover water elements and then to lay the flooring. Cody says the flooring should go quickly. My goal is to be able to replace baseboards and door trim before we leave on our trip to Utah.

If you ever have questions about painting, please let me know. I am always willing to share anything that I have learned from my own experience.

Have a blessed and productive day!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Asking vs. Demanding

Yesterday, Maurie was in her carseat and the babysitter was going to help her get out, but before she started she asked, "Maurie, can I help you get out of your car seat?"

I was nervous about how Maurie would respond, but she said yes. Even though seconds later she changed her mind and gave the babysitter trouble, her initial response was yes. Maurie's boundaries and rights as a person had been respected when the babysitter had asked for permission first. If you force Maurie to do something she will fight, and I mean literally. She hits, kicks, screams, spits, pinches, bites and the list goes on, but if you ask her to do the thing you wanted to force her to do, she complies with sweetness.

I have thought about Maurie's responses since yesterday's incident, and I have been filled with some guilt. I tend to demand things of people instead of asking.

Cody, come and do the dishes, please.
Jane, pick up the toys.
Brooklyn, sit still.

Most of us are not trying to be defiant, but when someone expects something of me, or demands something of me, my first response is to run the opposite direction or do nothing, just to show them that I have a choice.

Everyone wants to be recognized as an individual with choices to make.

Cody, will you help me with the dishes please?
Jane, will you pick up the toys please?
Brooklyn, will you sit still so you can stay safe?

When we ask, we are saying, Yes, you have a choice and I will respect that choice. Of course, with kids, we have to keep them safe and sometimes that requires doing something against their will because they don't understand, but generally, it really does make a difference when we ask instead of demand. The Golden Rule really is the best way to live life. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Here's to showing respect for the best in each other!



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Movie Review-Wonder Woman

Holy Smokes, Wonder Woman! I was impressed with this movie. I honestly didn't process it completely because it was too much to take in.

I nearly ate an entire box of Raisinettes, drank some of Cody's Dr. Pepper, and nearly passed out from the muscle tightness in my neck and shoulders caused by all the intense action. I came home from the movie SO sick. I was dizzy, shaking and crying uncontrollably and didn't calm down for awhile. I believe it was a combination of a pre-diabetic response and the intensity of the movie. I keep my life very quiet, so the loudness of the theatre and the constant action was an overload for me. Cody took care of me, but I was pretty shaken by it. I have not eaten any treats since then and it has not been hard because I don't want to experience that again.

Now that you know about my traumatic experience, I will share my review.

My favorite part is the scenes on the island of Themyscira where all of the women are strong, disciplined leaders and warriors. Outside of the chance of getting my butt kicked (and no men), I was ready to join the ranks. I loved the idea that Diana grew up not knowing what she was capable of and lived an educated, but innocent life. I believe that her innocence was what made her so powerful in the most trying times of the movie.

Train children when they are young and they will not depart from those ways when they are older. The battle in the world really is hard and unforgiving, and I am eager to equip my daughters to fight a good fight through their own hero's journey.

I loved the role of Steve Trevor (Diana's love interest) and the friends she encounters on her journey. When she nearly looses hope, she thinks of the love, goodness and sacrifice they offer and stays in the fight. I also like the pattern of the society outcasts/troublemakers being much more than what they seem (in the case of this movie, heroes) and the tidy politician that ends up being the ultimate villain.

For comedic relief, Steve Trevor's secretary enters. She is funny, feisty and a lovely contrast between the women on Themyscira and women in England during World War II.

The only scene I didn't like in the movie was when Steve Trevor is acting as a German soldier and talking with the poison lady. I didn't believe her interest in him and found it unlikely that she would divert her loyalty to anyone else. Of course, I didn't love the darker scenes that involved the chemical weapon development, but where there is great good, there is great wickedness and this was well illustrated.

Compared the following clip of Wonder Woman in the original TV series, it is an amazing movie. 😜

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Curtains, a Gift and a New Start

New Curtains

new curtains
 I found these curtains at Target in the clearance section. They are not perfect, but they look nice in the room. After buying and returning literally five sets of curtains, I was so happy to find some that look decent.
new curtains
I found these at Shopko and the solid yellow will be hung on the other window in the front room and the gray and yellow set will be hung in my dining room. I will post pictures once I get them up. They were only seven something each panel!

A Handmade Gift

handmade gift
 One of my dear friends is moving this month and I am really sad about it. I thought a long time about a gift that would have meaning for her. I decided to make something that will remind her of her time in Wisconsin by cutting out a silhouette of the state. I gave it to her last night and she seemed to like it. 

New Start

With my sister in town for the last ten days, I did not get more done in the basement, but today I arranged for a babysitter to come watch the girls every Monday, and I am very excited because it will mean I have four un-interrupted hours to do projects around the house and to work on my blog. Cody has been very understanding about me wanting to have childcare while I get some of my personal projects done, and I have finally found someone that can watch the girls. Life gets so hectic, and I know having some time carved out for me will help my productivity and my spirits. Now I just need to get more organized so that everything goes smoothly for the babysitter. I actually love this new motivation to be more efficient! 

Hope all is well with you! Have a lovely Friday!

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't Judge

Don't judge

Yesterday, I was working on making dinner and Brooklyn kept crying, whining and asking to be held. I was really frustrated that she wouldn't let me work on dinner. One of the times I picked her up, she cried out in pain when I put my arm under her bum and then I realized the awful truth. 

She had a poopy diaper and she had likely had it for awhile. I had not smelled it, and I had not thought to check it earlier because I was occupied with dinner. When I changed her diaper, her bum was red and hurting. I felt so bad. It took a long time to clean the diaper because she cried every time I tried to wipe or put diaper cream on.

Later on, I was reflecting about what my children have taught me lately and this moment came to my mind. I did not know that she was in pain and I simply judged her and got frustrated with her because she was not allowing me to do what I needed to do.

I think we do this to each other sometimes...we judge only what we see and we get frustrated before trying to understand someone. Brookie just needed me to change her diaper. She was not asking me to hold her just to sabotage my dinner routine; she was trying to communicate that she was hurting and it was falling on a distracted mind.

Brooklyn has taught me that I need to slow down and really try to understand the people around me. I especially need to do that with my family. I can get ultra focused and I am truly blind to the good in my life sometimes. Also, I need to remember that I don't see or understand everything. I must always try to judge with compassion and patience because much of what we carry or fight is hidden from our eyes, just like I couldn't see, or smell, Brooklyn's poopy diaper and once I knew that she was poopy, it changed everything. Could your attitude towards someone change if you could see their heart and their experiences as a whole?

I challenge you to pay closer attention to those who may be struggling. Don't judge, but seek to understand and help.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer Initiation

Brookie cried until the ride started. :)

Adell and Maurie

Selfie on the train ride

This was my second time and I enjoyed it better than the first. Maurie was a little scared.

On Wednesday we went to Bay Beach in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is an awesome amusement park that has no admission and the tickets for rides are only 25 cents a piece. My sister Adell came into town the day before we went, and I was so glad she was there to hang out with me and to help me with the girls. The day was spent putting the little ones on rides, eating a picnic lunch and then more rides. As you can see by the pictures, it was a sunny, warm day and everyone was a good tired afterwards. It was a great way to start out our summer. What did you do to start out this summer 2017? Do you have summer traditions?

I am eager to keep healthy routines for my kids this summer. I asked a friend about what she does to prepare for summer and she sent me an example daily schedule for one of her children and a list of fun activities they brainstormed for when they have finished their morning chores and routines. I was super impressed and I was inspired. When I get my own version made, I will share it with you. Do you stay structured during the summer? I'd love to hear how you make your summers productive and fun.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Home Project Updates

pink peonies
Pink peonies from my yard. A dream of mine is to have a large cut flower garden, but I am grateful for the beautiful flowers I have.
strawberry patch


 Jane beat a bird to a strawberry. We really need to cover the strawberry patch. Maurie is concerned about Brooklyn, who is ready to dig with the shovel and get some more veggies planted. =)
home improvement
I have finally got a coat of primer on the basement walls. I always use Kilz primer. Prepping for painting, and painting, is exhausting, but the transformation is very fun for me.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Cut...to the Heart

Maurie had her first haircut. Her long black hair was down to the bottom of her rear. I loved to see her hair fall down her back, but it was really hard to keep untangled and was getting really damaged at the ends. I gave in and went to a cute children's hair salon. I knew I would need an expert to get her to sit still long enough to get a decent cut...picture sitting in a cool car, eating a lollipop and watching a cartoon kind of distracted.

After the cut, the stylist braided her hair, added pink washable color and a dash of sparkles. I was very excited for her and she said over and over, "My hair cut. My hair cut."

I confirmed with a smile, over and over, that her hair was indeed cut. I looked at her and it was as though someone had taken my baby and replaced her with a little girl. Maurie is two, and I know she isn't a baby anymore, but she looks so grown up with shorter hair. As a parent, it is hard to really see your kids sometimes. I think of how people would see my kids and say, "They have gotten so big." In my mind I would think, "Really? I haven't noticed." After Maurie's haircut, I saw her grow in a few minutes.

I think the heartbreak comes from the cascade of questions that I ask as I realize that she is really growing. Do I spend enough quality time with her? Has she felt neglected as I have tried to navigate having two babies? Did I pay attention enough to her getting older? Why don't I take her out one-on-one more often?

My lesson this week is from Maurie--life is shorter than we think and the regrets will not come from spending too little time hanging with the world or looking good. The regrets will come from wasting precious time fostering relationships that last forever.

I challenge myself and you to spend your time where it matters most.


Lucy Jo

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Own Worst Enemy

I looked through a silver gilded mirror
And saw a beast with scowls cruel and low
I screamed and cried and shook with fear
The creature spit and slapped its foe
Shaking loose I ran for air
Light grew dimmer and dimmer still until I sat
amid the chaos.
Out of darkness and from behind, the beast did lay me flat
In vain, I cursed, and gnashed and wailed this fiend, now a hungry asp,
Finally, we stared, the asp and I, straight into the other’s heart
And soon, I felt more than a vicious grasp
Saw more than the poisonous fang and wily art
There before me, nearly thrust to hell
I knew this asp as me, and I bit before I fell.

Today I ran and, to be honest, walked 5K at the Chocolate Fest. Since it was my first 5K run, I was unsure what it what be like. Now, for many, three miles is a very easy jaunt, but for me who does not consistently run, I was nervous about how I would do. I finished, by the way, and I wasn't the very last person. ;)
For me the challenge of the run was partly physical (breathing and my breakfast feeling like a rock in my stomach), and even more so mental. I gave myself small goals to accomplish along the course, and I had to cheer myself on when my friends and family were not there to do it.
You can keep running until that tree. Walk as fast as you can up this giant hill. What? Another hill? Really? Keep within 5ft of that grandma and her granddaughter. You can see the finish line...push yourself. These are a smattering of the thoughts I had as I ran. Truly, our bodies are capable of amazing things and our minds are no exception to this. We truly are our own worst enemy or our own best cheering section all the time. Do you ever feel this tug-of-war in your mind between right and wrong, kind or critical, determined or lazy? When do you have inner dialogue with yourself the most? I believe, as I demonstrate in the sonnet I wrote (above), that we sometimes don't realize who the real foe is in our personal mental and physical battles...ourselves.
I hope that you are winning the battles in your mind and that you are your own best friend instead of own worst enemy!
I hope your Saturday was stellar and than Sunday is even more so!
Lucy Jo

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Garden Boxes

Cody spent most of Friday making garden boxes; there will be six in total when the project is through. They look nice and, they will motivate all of us to spend more time in the garden. 

Brooklyn was the cutest helper. She fell a lot, but she was in heaven getting to play in the dirt with Dad. 

Handing Dad some dirt.

 In between the boxes we laid newspaper down on the ground and then covered it with mulch to control weeds.

The above left picture shows the potatoes and tomatoes planted, and a nice strawberry patch in the corner back. The picture on the right is a close up of the size of the wooden pegs Cody used to keep the boxes square.

Once the boxes were made and laid on the ground, Cody leveled the ground and put small wood pegs on the inside center of each side and in the corners to keep it at a perfect 90 degrees.

The ground in between the boxes was then tilled and covered with newspaper and then mulch to control the weeds and to add beauty. I love the clean look of mulch. 

There are two more boxes to make and one box will have to wait until the strawberries are done producing. We will be planting marigolds in with the potatoes because they are a great companion plant that keeps the bugs away. 

It was a fun family project and it was not too expensive. 

Here is a list of materials and the approximate cost from Home Depot.

(20) 2x6x8 lumber Cost: about $200
(1) box 10x3 1/2 screws: $6.71
(8) Brown mulch Cost: $20
Plants and Flowers : Cost: $95

I will post about the flowers I bought next time. 

How is your garden coming along? My sister-in-law already has full grown strawberries at her house in Reno and my mother-in-law keeps a greenhouse garden going year round. We hope to be able to put a removable greenhouse addition to our boxes eventually. Keep on 

Lucy Jo

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