I Did It!


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It’s official– I blogged every day in July! Or at least, I will have blogged every day once I finish this post.

I haven’t decided if I think this was a good exercise or not, honestly. I’d like to think that maybe I’ve started a habit that can at least continue more often than the once-every-two-months blogging I’ve been doing. But I can’t make promises. And I think we can all agree that most of my posts were lame enough that I probably have not become a better writer thanks to the discipline of it all.

I have noticed that time seems to slow down a little when you’re documenting it every day. Even just a little post– or maybe it’s just that July went really slowly. Who knows.

August is upon us, and with it a new challenge– this one involving organizing the basement, I think. Which, BLURGH. Nobody wants to organize the basement. The calendar for August is looking pretty full, too, with Art’s birthday, a trip to the State Fair, a camping trip, a visit from my mom, and probably the beginning of a new school year, if I can ever unbury the schoolroom.

So in celebration of ending the month of July with 31 blog posts under my belt, I am going to bed. Because that’s my idea of a celebration, people. :)

It’s Summer in Iowa– Bust Out the Sweatshirts!


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IMG_3408This morning I checked the weather in our area and discovered that they are calling these unseasonably low temperatures “Julytober.” And people, I just think that this is getting ridiculous. Do we have to have a mashed-up nickname for everything? I blame Twitter. Because #julytober is shorter than #goodgriefitissocold.

Stinkin’ Twitter.

Ahem. Anyway, after checking the forecast and seeing that it called for rain and chilly temps, we decided to go for a hike. Because my husband is from Washington state and they don’t let silly things like rain and ridiculously low temperatures ruin their fun!


So we headed out to Hitchcock Nature Center, with a slight detour through Hobby Lobby, Golden Corral, Home Depot, and Office Max. Hitchcock has tons of hiking trails, and we chose one we had never tried before (which wasn’t difficult, since we’d only tried one of them before). It was marked easy, but it certainly wasn’t a wimpy walk. Lots of hills!

IMG_3449Also mud, lots and lots of mud. I’m pretty sure Squeezy’s shoes are permanently destroyed. Thankfully I was probably going to have to buy her new ones anyway, since her feet have had a major growth spurt in the last couple months. I don’t think they grew much at all all last winter and spring, and then all of a sudden they shot up about a size and a half.


The trail ended very suddenly at a patch of dirt at the edge of a cliff. That was a little nervousing. I made that word up. But the kids were super excited, because just as we reached the overlook, a train was coming along the tracks at the bottom. So we let the kids sit there and watch the train.


Also we took advantage of their relative stillness to take a selfie. Because we’re precious.


See the train way down below us?


Right about at this point, it started to sprinkle, which is par for the course when you’re out and about with the Together Family. We have a special deal with Murphy and his infamous law. But thankfully the rain didn’t stay, and we made it back up and down and up and down and up and up and up and up and down and up a little more to our van. And it was a fun time.

(If you’re wondering why there aren’t more pictures of Darth Piggy, it’s because he was off becoming one with nature. I’m pretty sure that he would have grown a beard and started killing animals with his bare hands if we had left him out there much longer. Kid loves the woods. Not so much the sitting or standing still for pictures!)

Twelve Years


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Twelve Years
A Poem in Two Parts
Erin Kilmer

Twelve years unclean.
Dealing with the filth
of my own
for all those years.
stricken with poverty
because of my desire
to just be
And then–
reaching out in desperate
touching just His garment–
defiling the Healer
with my touch–
and made clean.
Healed from defilement
with one touch.
your faith has made you well.”


Twelve years old
Apple of my eye,
Love of a father’s heart,
growing sicker
until the day I knew.
Pale and thin–
my daughter I had loved
and held on my knee
and rocked to sleep.
And then–
Running to Him in desperate
then hearing those words–
“She is dead.”
But no–
He says she only sleeps,
And then,
she lives.
Talitha, cumi.

Nothing Happened Here Today


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So here’s a picture of me and the Oscar Mayer Wiener Wagon at the Henry Ford Museum last month.

weiner mobile

I ran some Pioneer Woman actions on it to make it look artsy. Because I am totally artsy-fartsy.

(Everyone who is related to me is now thinking well, she’s fartsy all right).

Hope you are having a lovely weekend. I personally am looking forward to Monday. :)

Squeezy Got a Camera Today


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I bought her a VTech Kidizoom Camera at a garage sale for 2 bucks. She took more than 700 pictures on it just today. Here are some gems.

There are approximately 400 variations of this picture of her feet and legs. DC1203

Also this creepy clown, taken at another garage sale.DC1356

Some flowers.DC1516

Her brother.DC1559

Her other brother. DC1636

Me. DC1658

Art. DC1700

My dad. DC1800

My mom. DC1831

More pictures of her feet. DC1742

Apparently she could use a bath.

There are also several highly unflattering pictures of all of us adults, because apparently when you are four years old you have a camera’s-eye view of everyone’s bellies and backsides. I will not be posting those.

The last pictures I will share with you are a special series that I like to call Squeezy’s First Selfies. She’s my child, y’all. That’s all I’m saying.DC1804

DC1805 DC1811 DC1835

DC1836 DC1861 DC1936 DC1940 DC1938

This one’s my favorite.


And, just for good measure . . .


Because she learned from the master.

Have a good night, everybody! And a happy weekend!

Things I Loved about Today


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1. Art made me some fresh-ground coffee, which was delightful.

2. We visited one of our church members in the hospital and it was such a blessing. She was in a horrific car accident two months ago, and the last time I saw her (in June), she could barely open her eyes. Now she’s talking and laughing and doing so well. She still has a long road ahead of her, but God is good and His faithfulness is showing in her life!

3. Giving her a check from a love offering our church took up for her and her family– and seeing her eyes pop when she saw how much it was for. We have such a generous church. What a privilege to be a part of it!

4. We got to walk around Hobby Lobby and I love Hobby Lobby.

5. We got to go to Half Price Books and I got a bunch of good ones on clearance– including Tacky the Penguin, which might possibly be the best children’s book ever.

6. I had a seriously amazing salad at Cracker Barrel. So. Good.

7. Squeezy was really good today. I mean, for her. She’s a handful. But she was less of a handful today. I mean, she was only like one handful today and usually she’s like three handfuls. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

8. I got to see my mom and dad! Their vacation happened right after ours, so there hasn’t been much parent-child-grandchild bonding happening lately.

9. Art drew an awesome picture on the kids’ menu at Cracker Barrel and it made us all laugh. I like it when we all laugh.

10. The shower I’m about to take. I already love it. I think I’m going to love it even more when I’m actually in it. So maybe I should go do that now. :)

It’s One of Those Nights


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When I don’t really have anything to say

And I don’t have any fun pictures to post

And I really just want to go lay in bed and read a book

So even though

This is totally cheating

I’m going to call this my blog post for tonight

And tell YOU

To have a lovely evening. Or morning. Or afternoon.

Or whatever time it is when you read this.

Because I care about you.


A Letter to My Daughter


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squeezy at the beachToday I watched you get just a little nervous when those great big high school boys called you out to the tumbling mats. But you were brave and told them your name and tried really hard to follow their directions and stretch long and tall. You may have fallen over once. I may have laughed at you.

You’re a funny girl and sometimes I can’t help but laugh at you.

You really wanted to be like the big girls with their headstands into forward rolls and their cartwheels and their tumbling passes, but mostly you were just an awkward, hyperactive four-year-old in a yellow butterfly tank top, rolling with zest on the blue mat.

They took you on the balance beam– the great big one just like real gymnasts use– and I thought maybe you’d be nervous, but then I realized that it wasn’t that much different than walking across the back of the couch, and you’re a pro at that. You marched across that little piece of wood and then jumped off with abandon as though you’d been doing such things your whole life. I guess you have, kind of, or at least jumping off the steps for the last few months.

You’re not very good at waiting your turn or waiting in line or waiting for instructions. And I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, because you’re not good at waiting for your peanut butter and jelly sandwich or help with your buttons either. It’s hard to wait.

One of the leaders helped you do a handstand and you were so excited that you ran around the entire gym yelling “I DID GYMNASTICS” to anyone who would listen. Which was pretty much everyone, because you’re pretty loud. And I’m pretty sure that in your head you looked just like Shawn Johnson even though in reality you looked kind of like a crazy preschooler. Actually, you looked exactly like a crazy preschooler.

I don’t know if you’ll ever really be good at gymnastics, or if you’ll decide after awhile to do something else like play the tambourine or write historical novels or paint murals with your ears or find the cure for cancer or become a makeup artist or a vegan chef. It doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, jump in with both feet, and even if you don’t stick the landing, feel free to run around and yell to the world what you have accomplished.

Because you can do it, my girl. I believe in you.

In Which I Talk Endlessly about a Day in Which Nothing Interesting Actually Happened


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Today I baked bread. That sounds more exciting than it really was, thanks to my bread machine. But the kids always make me feel like Supermom with their “fresh bread is the best thing ever” comments.

I did dishes twice today, and Art did them once, and never did we get them all done. I just couldn’t seem to get motivated to actually finish them. Monday is the weekend so I decided to let it slide. Tomorrow I’ll be kicking myself for that, but tonight I am ambivalent.

The kids had a water gun fight this morning and Squeezy got soaking wet and had to change her clothes and Darth Piggy decided that he might as well take a shower. And I kind of had to wonder, since when does my 8-year-old decide on his own to bathe? But I let that slide too, because showering never hurt a boy.

I finished a Nero Wolfe mystery this afternoon, and I took a nap. It was nice. I love naps. I may have failed to mention that before. After my nap I ate string cheese and then we all worked out. Well, most of us worked out. Squeezy pretended to work out and then decided it would be more fun to blow bubbles and shout encouraging words to us. Family workouts are fun in spite of the regular outbursts of pre-adolescent attitude from one of our children who shall remain nameless. I can now do 50 jumping jacks in 30 seconds (not always, but sometimes– I have to be careful or my feet won’t actually move the next day), and Angry Ranger has gone from a 5-second plank a week ago to nearly 25 seconds today.

Art always tells us to move like Sparkly Unicorns, so I made him this. I’m thinking of getting us all t-shirts.

sparkly unicorn society

“Exercise is the oil of the body” is just one of the many encouraging things he shouts at us while we’re doing crunches or running in place. It’s good to be married to a man who takes such things seriously.

We had Greek chicken for supper and it was yummy. Definitely a favorite family meal. Then we watched an episode of Get Smart. Then the kids went to bed, except Squeezy, who first had to have her nightly Bedtime Crisis Over Many Things. This has become a sacred and beloved bedtime tradition since we returned from our trip to Michigan three weeks ago. It is hard to imagine how very difficult it is to be four and forced to sleep on the most comfortable bed in the entire house, surrounded by dolls and stuffed animals, in a beautiful pink room with a princess night light. Truly we cannot understand her grief.

Tomorrow she starts tumbling and also we are going out for pizza afterwards. Which should almost make up for the fact that tomorrow is laundry day. Laundry day is one of the worst days ever, and unfortunately it happens every week because Art refuses to procure me a maid. I don’t even need a full maid. Just a laundress. Although if she wants to wash up all the dishes we skipped, that would be fabulous.



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