Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blessing #213 - Brandon Turns 7

Dear Mr. Brandon,

Happy seventh birthday big boy! This year has brought so many changes.  You started school.  You started to read. You went girl crazy, and you just seemed to grow up so much.

When I sat down to write this year's birthday letter, I decided that I would share my favorite memory I have with you this year.  It's so special to me, and just in case you ever forget, I wanted to write it down for you.

One day on vacation, you and I decided to go kayaking while everyone else took a nap.  Now, you may look back and think I was a fun and nice for taking you kayaking, but I did have other reasons for the adventure.

You have a lot energy....a lot, and when you don't use up your energy, you get destructive.  Taking you out while everyone else napped was not just for fun but for survival.

As we started out on our kayaking adventure, we made a plan to go all the way across the lake to the playground, but I soon realized something was very wrong.  Just a few minutes into our adventure, I learned I was the worst kayaker ever.

I don't know much about kayaking, but I believe the object is to go in a straight line from point A to point B, however I made giant circles all over the water.

It took a few minutes, but eventually you caught on to my lack of paddling skills. "Mom, why do we keep turning around the other way."

 Finally after thirty minutes of paddling and only making it a third of the way to our goal, I told you, "Brandon, Mommy is not a very good kayaker.  Why don't we just head back?"

You thought for a while, and then said, "Mom, Lankfords never quit! We have to get to the playground."

Now, "Lankfords never quit" is a line that your dad taught you, and in that moment, I really regretted Shad ever making that a family motto.

I tried to reason with you. "Well, sometimes Lankfords realize that there are some things we can't do, and we decide to stop trying. It's not necessarily quitting, but facing the facts." Unfortunately, you didn't buy it.  In fact, you started chanting, "Lankfords never quit. Lankfords never quit!"

I've never been so frustrated at you and so proud of you all at the same time.

We kept at it with me rowing, you encouraging, and our kayak circling, creeping towards the playground.

At one point, we rowed past some fisherman.  Unable to control the kayak, I went all over their fishing spot. I yelled out, "I'm so sorry.  I'm the worst kayaker ever!!!" I have a feeling they already knew that, but I felt that it was important to let them know that I knew just how bad I was.

As we went past the fishermen, you chanted, "Lankfords never quit," when you weren't uncontrollably laughing at me.

When we finally made it to the playground, we jumped out and shouted like we had just won a big game, and it felt like we had.  After just a few minutes at the playground, I realized we wouldn't be on the lake if your Dad came to look for us so we jumped into the kayak and headed back.

As we headed back, you looked for air bubbles because that's what Turtle Man looks for when he's hunting turtles.

Just as I thought, when we got back, your dad was standing on the shore and waiting for us.  He got a little nervous because we had been gone so long.  (You've got a good Dad.)

That kayak trip was a terrible, wonderful adventure.  When you and I are on an adventure, that's when we both are at our best.  You are so much like your dad in so very many ways, but one personality trait that you and I share is our love for adventure.

 I don't think I have ever laughed with you as much as we laughed on that terrible kayak trip.  With each time the kayak spun in a circle, you would burst out laughing, and I couldn't help but join you.

That's one of the things I love about you.  Most people would have been angry at our slow progress, but you enjoyed the view and soaked up every minute on the lake.

Later in the week, we learned that the kayak had issues and maybe I wasn't the worst kayaker ever, but I wouldn't trade our terrible kayak trip for anything.

I can't believe you turn seven today.  You've been an adventure since the moment I said, "I think I might be pregnant." I hope your life is filled with many, many more adventures, and I hope I'm right there beside you laughing and chanting, "Lankfords never quit!"

Your Fellow Adventurer

Note: You can find your fifth birthday letter here, and your sixth birthday letter here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blessing #212 - Apron Display

A few weeks ago, I made some big progress on my kitchen! First I put up the clipboard kids art display, and then I dressed up my kitchen shelf.  The last project I did in my kitchen is so simple, but I it's probably my favorite!

When I'm out yard salin' and antiquin', I always look for vintage aprons. I really wish that wearing aprons out in public would come in fashion! I think I could pull it off! Rachel did in Friends! Of course, she was working in a coffee shop, but she wore the half apron well.

I just love how aprons make housework cuter. Last year, I even wore an apron to my favorite things party because they are one of my favorite things.  If you like aprons like I do,  I heart nap time has a great free printable of a fun quote, "Life is a kitchen put your best apron on and whip up something incredible!" You can find it here. 

When I updated my bathroom, I used this cute hanger from Hobby Lobby, but towels ended up being too heavy for this hanger and it kept falling.

One day, I realized that the failed towel hanger would make a perfect apron display.  One quick coat of paint later and I have a great spot to display aprons and vintage kitchen towels.

It's so simple and so fantastic! They bring a fun pop of color to this corner of the kitchen, and now I have a reason to get more aprons!

One of the biggest lessons I've learned fixing up my house is to put meaning on my walls.  There are so many more options for walls than just pictures.  Find something you love, and find a way to get it on the wall!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blessing #211 - B's Birthday Week #7

If you know me at all, you know that I love birthdays. I really love my birthday, but I like other people's birthday too.

Life Rule #483,395 - When you make a big deal about your own birthday, you have to make a big deal about everyone else's birthday in your family.

This week B turns seven. I know I can't believe it either.

Every year for his birthday, he has a birthday week just like every member of our family.

During birthday week, B gets a different surprise every day.  Here is how this year's birthday week looks. 

Monday - We are making Bouncy Balls. 

Tuesday - A water fight when he gets home from school.  

Wednesday - Birthday Cake - I am attempting to make this cake. 

Thursday - This is his actual birthday so according to tradition, we are going to the Choo Choo Barn.

Friday - We are going to see one of his favorite people at their house. 

Saturday - His birthday adventure - (or we might do it on Labor Day) We are going to Washington D.C. and going to see the Air and Space and the Natural History Smithsonians (They are free!) 

A birthday week is just a chance to stop and show someone that you love them.  By the end of the week, B is pretty spoiled rotten.  

I do need your help though.  August starts my marathon of birthday weeks.  

B - end of August
Shad - beginning of October
Colls - beginning of November

I love doing this for all my guys, but sometimes I run low on ideas. 

If you see any ideas for birthdays or how to make a kid or a husband feel special, I would love for you to send them my way.  You can find my pinterest here, you could facebook them to me, or email them to me at . 

I'd love to know what your family does for birthdays.  How do you make them special?


Friday, August 23, 2013

Curse #52 - Girlfriends

Remember yesterday's sweet and touching post that I wrote through tears.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  I am so pleased to inform you that B had a wonderful first day of school.

In fact, when I picked B up, he excitedly ran to me and said, "Mom, I saw my girlfriend, Haley, and I asked her if she still wanted to marry me and she still does!"

Now, I need to stop and give a little background information.  Last year, shortly after B started kindergarten, he came home and informed me that he had a girlfriend, Haley. (Let's just call her Haley for the purpose of this post even though her name is not Haley.)

Anyway, when he told me he had a girlfriend, I had to choose how to react.  Would I condemn or encourage his new relationship? Ultimately, I decided to be neutral.  I was Switzerland when it came to Haley.  I wanted him to feel comfortable talking to me about girls, and these childhood "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" deals pass quickly.

Last year, Haley was in a different class than B and I never met her. I forgot to buy a yearbook so I never saw a picture of her. Even though he spoke of her often, I honestly suspected that she was imaginary.

Last year, he did bring home this picture that he said she gave him. In fact, his exact words were, "Mom, my girlfriend gave me this and it has gone way too far for me."

My interpretation of this picture is that she is either kissing him under a table or burning him with her x-ray vision and both are equally disturbing to me.  Obviously, she is the aggressor in the picture.  Doesn't that seem a little forward to give a picture of kissing to a boy? That kindergarten Jezebel!!!!

Wait. I realize that it's not appropriate to call a six year old Jezebel. My apologies.

Switzerland.  I am Switzerland.

In the end, I decided there was no need to get upset because these things don't last over the summer.

Well yesterday, I learned how wrong I was.  The ride home from school sounded like this...

"Haley, said she would still marry me......even if I was a hunter!!!"

"Haley, sat beside me in music!"

"Haley, used to like two other boys and me, but at recess she said she only liked me now and not them!"

Really!!! She had three boys on the line at one time!!! That little elementary school hussy!!!

Wait.  As soon as I typed that, I realized how that sounded. It is not appropriate to use the word "hussy" when referring to a small child. I am deeply sorry.

Switzerland.  I am Switzerland.

If I am Switzerland, Shad would have to be France because he is like the guillotine. Once when B mentioned Haley, Shad shot it down with, "No girlfriends yet.  If you marry her you will have to move far FARRRRR away from Mommy and Daddy." B thought for a while and then said, "Oh! Then we will just move in with you."

Way to go France! That didn't go how we planned!

I don't know where this is headed, but with two boys in the house, I do know we have to get used to the girlfriend subject.  In the end, I want B to feel comfortable talking with me about his heart. I don't know if I'll be able to keep my neutrality forever, but for now, when it comes to Haley, I am Switzerland.

Which is good for her because if she ever hurts my little angel's heart she could not imagine the southern hissy fit I will rain down on her.

Wait. Not appropriate.

Switzerland. I am Switzerland.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blessing #210 - Lessons from a birds nest

About a month ago, a mother bird built a nest in our kitchen window sill.  We loved watching those little birds grow.  Last week, the boys and I were lucky enough to walk by and see the last baby bird about to leave the nest.

We quietly hid and watched as he stood on the edge of the window sill working up his courage. Suddenly, he lost that courage and stepped back into the nest. After a few weeks with her in my window sill, I knew the sound of the momma bird's call, and I could hear the momma bird calling to him.

A few minutes later, we walked by and saw that the last baby bird had taken flight.

Although the boys and I watched the same exact scene, our reactions were quite different.  The boys cheered and laughed as they routed for the nervous baby bird while I quietly cried just thinking of that momma bird chirping for her baby.

The momma bird watches her babies take flight all at once, but I'm watching my baby take flight one little step at a time.

Today, he starts first grade, and I really thought it would be easier this year.  Aren't I used to the whole school thing by now?

Just like last year, I'm excited in a way for this day.  B is so social and so energetic.  He needs school.  However, there's another part of me that is just plain scared.

I worry about how the other kids will treat him.  B has always marched to the beat of his own drum, but school can be a tough place for kids that are different.

I worry about a new teacher.  We were so spoiled last year with his kindergarten teacher.  She was wonderful and patient.  I know he can be frustrating and a handful, but will the knew teacher look past that and see that he has the softest, kindest, sweetest little heart?

I just want everyone he ever meets to realize that he's awesome and be  nice to him.  Is that too much to ask?

B is a living, breathing piece of my heart walking around, and while I cheer for each new milestone, I also realize that each milestone is another step out of my nest.

With every step he takes out of my nest, I am just reminded that Brandon is not really mine but God's. That's an easy thing to say, but much harder to live.
Today, I will walk him to the door of this new school year, and tell him, "Goodbye. I love you and have fun."  Afterwards, just like last year, I'll walk back to the car, say a prayer, cry for a while, and then I'll head to Target where there are lots  pretty shiny things to distract me. I'm sure that's what the momma bird did.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blessing #209 - Kitchen Shelf

In April, I banished my kitchen of paneling and brightened it up with some paint. In case you don't remember, here is the before and after picture.

When I wrote that post, I didn't show the other side of the room because it wasn't really finished. As soon as I finished painting the room, Shad hung a shelf over the washer and dryer for me, but I couldn't figure out how I wanted to dress that shelf. That shelf sat bare for four months, but last week, I figured out how I wanted it to work.

I didn't want my kitchen to have a set color theme, but I knew I wanted to kitchen to be less formal than the rest of the house.

Here is the finished look....

I always knew I wanted that crossstich over the shelf.  I first fell in love with this at Mrs. Potterhouse's house.  In December, I was so happy to find something similar unmatted and unframed at an antique store for $10.

When you walk in the door, you eye is distracted by the shelf from the washer and dryer.

Here is that side of the kitchen before painting....

And after painting and the new shelf...

It may have took me four months to figure it out, but I love how the shelf ended up looking.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blessing #208 - Clip Board Art Display

Yesterday, I shared the menu board that stayed on my kitchen wall for a grand total of two days.

Once I took the menu board down, I decided to make that a wall display for Brandon and Collin's art work.

Before B went to kindergarten, he never drew or colored anything.  He hated coloring with a passion.

Once before kindergarten, he colored me an awesome super hero picture out of the blue. Proudly, I placed his super hero masterpiece on the fridge. The next day, I asked him for another beautiful picture.  He handed me a picture of the Incredible Hawk scribbled all in red.  I asked him why he just scribbled and didn't color the Hulk.  "Oh! He was on fire." I just love being outsmarted by a six year old. After kindergarten started, B fell in love with drawing, and I love his creative side.

B's masterpieces need a better display than just our refrigerator....besides, I hate having stuff on my refrigerator.  For the art display, I started with a few clip boards.

Theeeeen, if you know me, you know what happened next. I painted them with chalkboard paint. I know. Shocker.

I hung them on the wall with some scotch picture hanging strips, and I loved the clean look.

At the top of the display, I put B's family portrait. I love how the chalkboard clip board lets me write the titles of B's drawings.

I also put up B's drawing of the bridge in our town.

And we couldn't forget to include one of Collin's masterpieces. Much to my dismay, Collin's favorite medium is the sharpie.

I also included a free printable I found at this website.  Last week, Walgreen's offered a free 8x10.  I love it when they do that because I always print out one of the printables from my free printables Pinterest board. 

The menu board was nice, but this art display is perfect for our family.

Ten points if you can find one of my favorite things that showed up in this picture.

  B loves that some of his art is on the walls.  It makes him see how much I value his creativity.  I can't wait to see the new master pieces he is going to make for me this year.

I am sharing this post with i heart organizing and A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blessing #207 - A Menu Board

It's been a good while since I have blogged last. My summer with the boys has been fun...but intense. I love them to death and we've had a great, fun summer, but like I said it's intense. It takes a lot of work to get all the energy out of two little boys so they don't turn that energy out on the destruction of my house.  The boys and I have had a fun and busy summer, but that didn't leave much time for house projects. However, school is starting up next week, and I'm itching to get back to some projects.

Today, I just wanted to share a piece that I put in my kitchen last week, my menu board.  A few months ago, I found this Pepsi sign at a yard sale for $2.

This was not your normal yard sale.  It was a warehouse of somebody that had a restaurant.  The sign was cool, but what really sweetened the deal was a bag of extra letters that I found and asked if they could be thrown in to sweeten the deal. 

This Pepsi sign looks so cute as a menu board! Doesn't it!?!

Well, here's the thing.  As much as I liked it, I took the sign down just a couple of days later. Why? Let me show you a picture of my dry erase calendar in my mudroom. 

Yes, this picture was taken yesterday not months ago.  In March, a friend even pointed out my lack of calendar changing skills, but I still didn't change it.  Yesterday, after an eight month long January, I changed the calendar. Well, actually I just erased it, and then the pen wouldn't work so now the calendar is just blank. 

I had to be honest with myself, I'm just no good at calendars and menus.  Because of my forgetfulness, I knew that cute menu sign would have the same menu on it for weeks, and I knew I would feel a little tinge of guilt for not changing it. 

Who would feel guilty over not switching out a menu!?! Doesn't that sound crazy!?! But I knew it would happen so I embraced who I am and took it down.  

In place of the menu, I put up a display for the boys artwork.  A place to show off our "art" is much more fitting for our home and for me. Tomorrow, I'll be back and share that project.

Oh! And I believe I might use the Pepsi board in the boys room.