Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Father's Day

 We had a lovely Father's Day around here. The kids and I had been planning for over a month, trying to come up with something special and memorable. We'd gone to a place in Portland called the Waffle Window for James's birthday, and it was a huge hit, so we came up with a genius idea: we'd purchase a really nice waffle maker and make our own special Father's Day Waffle Window. It was a smashing success!

The J-bird made a menu of all the many toppings we bought.

Our new favorite appliance.

The happy, waffle loving dad. I think he's eaten waffles in some form or another for every meal since.

It's such a joy to watch James grow and blossom as a father. He's all-in with these kids, and I love him even more than I ever thought possible as I see him care for their hearts and the tiny details of their lives. He's a keeper, that fella. Happy Father's Day, dude.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Vertical Herb Garden

 My mom put a bug in my ear a while ago to use the space and the light in my kitchen window to grow herbs year-round. I have plants growing there already, because it's a lovely spot for growing, but she was right that it seems like a waste not to grow something edible. I saw some great ideas on Pinterest for vertical herb gardens, so I decided to go with that notion and put my own spin on it.

I cut up a couple of boards I had in my garage, beat them up with a hammer, painted them yellow, and then stained them. The color matches my kitchen cabinets almost exactly.

I decided to go with green glass Ball jars for the plants. I put some rocks in the bottom to help with drainage.

To hold them on, some metal pipe straps.

My cute helper was pretty thrilled to get to operate the drill (with heavy supervision and assistance, of course).

I added some old drawer pulls I had in my collection. Those add extra support underneath, and I also just love them.

This is what I had on the sides of my cabinets. Cute, but I was ready for a change.

I bolted the boards to the sides of the cabinets, and I feel confident they aren't going anywhere.

And there it is. I spend a lot of time standing at my sink - washing dishes, washing out paint brushes, prepping food, looking out at children in the back yard. I love the added greenery - I love the whole look, and I love that my J-bird and I built them together.
Summer project!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


 If you've read Blooming for any length of time, you know that I grew up in Kansas, and my parents and siblings all live there. James's family lives there as well, so we like to go back and visit whenever we can (almost always in the summer). I've flown back with the kids since they were tiny babies. In fact, the J-bird and I calculated that, including a few flights for family vacations, the flight from Portland to Kansas City this year was his 25th time on an airplane!

Unfortunately for my little Miss V, she got a bad case of motion sickness on the way there - something she's never experienced before. She felt horrible and we made liberal use of the little bags in the seat back pockets for three hours. Poor baby. She was exhausted by the time we arrived. Not our most auspicious start ever.

Day 2 marked the reason for this year's trip - my baby sister's high school graduation!!

...in the pouring rain!! Outside!!!

Congratulations to my wonderful, darling, precious sister, Tassi. The world lies before you, and I can't wait to see what you do next!

 I got in some fantastic sister time this trip. Connecting with my sisters as adults is so great. I love them so much.

Living far away means I have to miss a lot. It's just part of the deal. I'm thankful for all the technology that connects us, but there's no substitute for the real deal, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to volunteer at Tassi's all-night graduation party with my dad. We manned a roulette table in the casino room, and boy howdy - was it some big fun! Some of those kids took their fake betting seriously!

Put it all on red! Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

After the first three days, the four of us switched over to Kansas City, to spend some time with my darling in-laws. We got to cram a lot of fun into a few short days.

(This is James's Aunt Libby. She doesn't like photos)

(This is my best buddy, Laura. She likes photos. We are idiots)

We drove to Warrensburg, MO to visit with James's grandmothers. This is Olivia, a lovely, loving woman with one of the kindest hearts I've ever known.

This is Doris. She is still going strong in her late 90s, full of fire and stories. I adore her.

After Warrensburg, we drove out to beautiful Lake Wabaunsee, where my in-laws have a lake house, and we became vegetables for a few days - fishing, riding on the boat, relaxing, and enjoying each other. It was grand.

(those are vultures. That's a good sign)

Making new friends at the lake

My parents picked the kids and I up at the lake on Memorial Day. We said goodbye to James, who had to get back home and back to work, and we headed out to Wichita, to see my grandmother and to visit the graves of some beloved family members who are resting near there.

My lovely mother and grandmother, sitting together in my grandmother's garden

Home, Home on the Range

And then, it was back to my folks' farm for a week of family time. We went for walks, we did crafts, we went shopping, we did science experiments with the kids...it was a jam-packed, fun time.

The great Sand Volcano!

Time with my brother, Joe and my sweet sister-in-law, Denny

 Time with my cousin, Allison, and her four gorgeous children

It had been raining, and it was COLD, but all six kids went in the POOL, because they are kids, and kids are bananas.

I got to see a few friends in town, including beautiful Mary, who I ran into downtown, and Hilary, who I neglected to take a photo of - oops!

 Story time with Papa.

 On our last night in Kansas, we had some supper and then played Rummikub. Miss V partnered up with my dad.

One last bedtime story.

And then, it was time to fly on home again. Thankfully, we did not need any barf bags on this flight. Hallelujah.

 Home again! What a great trip! Thanks, Kansas. You know we'll be back.