Saturday, May 30, 2009

Snippets....some happy, some sad, some downright bad

Alot has happened this last I am just going to jot down a few highlights. Highlights meaning important....not necessarily "good."

Last Friday morning....We received some very sad news that Chuck's cousin Pam's daughter Jennifer (age 27) was killed in a car accident on her way to Pensacola Beach for the weekend with a group of friends. They were nearing the exit to Pensacola when it happened. Stormy weather, hydroplaning and flipping over an embankment.....sudden death. Jennifer was the passenger....the driver was her good friend and sustained only minor injuries.

While we are heartbroken for Pam and her family....I cannot help but think about the driver. Survivor's guilt must be the most horrible thing to deal with. Next to the loss of a child. Once again, I am reminded of how quick life can change.

This is a photo of the Mississippi cousins and second cousins taken at Christmas of 2005. Jennifer is the second to the left on the back row....standing by Will, who is next to Cameron. Jordan is sitting on the sofa in the pink tshirt. Jennifer will be missed.

Last weekend....was Will's prom and WRAP (Wilcats Right After Prom....the all night lock-in). His group traveled on Saturday to a beach house in Galveston for the 3 day weekend. Five parents took shifts and chaperoned the group of 14. Chuck and I chaperoned on Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm and then I stayed through Monday morning with another mom.

Heading into the weekend with the bad news about Jennifer, it was hard to be relaxed. But I worked very hard at it as the last thing a teenager understands is that they are mortal. Everytime one of the kids left the beach house to go down to the beach or got in their car to drive to the store or a beach further was all I could do not to lecture them. I usually just said, "take care of one another" because they weren't going to listen anyway......and it's all in God's hands, right?

Chaperone is actually the wrong word to describe what I did for those 14 kids. I am going to use the term "maid service" as that is way more accurate. I cleaned, washed and dried beach towels, cut up watermelons and cantelopes, made meals, handwashed pots and pans, picked up stuff and more stuff, swept sand, threw away 2000 red solo cups, and took out several bags of garbage. And that was just on Sunday.

Monday morning....after serving a huge spread for breakfast, we (the other mom and I) had to get everyone moving and cleaning so we could check out by 11 am. After about 45 minutes of watching only 3 out of the 14 teenagers help clean and pack up, I was getting a little agitated with all the ones just hanging in the bedrooms or standing around. Or out hanging over the balcony. Not lifting a finger to help.

Me: (to Will's friend girl who was just standing around and blocking off the entrance to the kitchen) Are you just going to stand around or do you plan on helping us clean?

Her: What are you going to do about it if I don't?

Me: (Turned back around and went back to the sink.......)

Her: Yeah, you didn't think about that.......did ya?

Me: (OUCH.....she did not just say that to me! Roaring in my ears....must be my blood pressure soaring. Saying to myself....Be the adult. Be the adult.) Silence.

Okay, I admit I did confront her....but I didn't say it in a mean way....just like a "hey....are you gonna help" kind of way. I thought she just needed a little nudge.....and would respond with a "sure, what do you want me to do?"

So, I fumed the entire rest of the day and talked to Will a long time on Monday evening about his so called friend........he did not hear her comment but others did, including the other mom. I talked to Will about his integrity and how the friends he makes and hangs out with are a direct reflection of who he is. He doesn't get that. He likes her and says she was just kidding. I said she was not kidding....I don't like her and I would die if he ever spoke like that to an adult. He looked right through me as I was talking because let's face it....I am old, have always been old and would never understand how important his friends are.

Eighteen year olds. They want to be treated as adults, respected like adults.........but go ahead and clean up for them and whatever you do, don't even think about giving them a curfew or ask them where they're going. And oh, by the way, they need your cash.

Some have asked me why I didn't call her parents? Because I was trying to calm down and keep my mouth shut. Because I was afraid I would say their daughter was a little *&$$# and somehow I didn't think that would go over too well. So basically, I just didn't look at this girl for the rest of the morning and hopefully will not have to see her again. What would you have done?

The rest of the week.......flew by with preparing to shut down the classrooms for the summer. Taking down bulletin boards, packing up cabinets, checking in textbooks. We had our End of the Year Staff party last night. It was a success in that 50 staff members out of 97 showed up. Some karoaked, some got annoyed by karoake. Most drank and ate and drank some more. Mostly we just relaxed and talked and laughed. It's a funny time of year. Teachers are stressed out, tired and hormonal. But the end is so near, it's hard to be in too bad of a mood.

Today......was spent sending sympathy cards, doing some chores and ordering a wedding gift online. We made hotel reservations for a stay for Will's college orientation and a stay in Dallas for a wedding. The cat got stung by a wasp he was batting around and the dishes got loaded.

Life. You pay your taxes and then you die. Sure seems true this week.

Dear God,

Once again, you took someone way before we were ready to see her go. Your timing. Not ours. I pray that you would give Pam and her family the strength to get through the days and months ahead of them.

I pray you would give me the strength to keep my mouth shut when I should and give me the words I need when I need to say them. Thank you for my adult and almost adult children. What is required of me as their mother is changing now and I'm not sure of my role. Guide me. Guide them.

Amen........your child, Julia

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to spend a million dollars in one night.....

Last night was the Senior Prom........Will's group had 17 dressed up kids. The odd number is because 1 girl had no date. I don't even really know this girl, but I love that she has enough self esteem to get the dress and go it alone....with 8 couples in a limo. And I love that the kids included her. Actually, most of these couples are only good friends. Will's date is a friend and I believe that what they have in common is their silliness. Or she is his side-kick. She laughed at everything he did.....which just fed him to do more. There was contant laughing and goofing off, making it very hard to get a good picture.

Can you spot Will? He's the only guy in a white tux.

One last picture in the limo. It made me a little nervous that Will was sitting by a car door. If you recall, he jumped out of a moving car in 10th grade.....for a laugh. But I can report that he is safely home in bed today.

This is the limo driver. It's a she. This is right before take-off and she is telling them she is going to be "their step mama for the night.........or their soul sister....whatever you want to call me, but here's the rules........." I couldn't really hear what all she was saying but I did catch her saying "and I know you all acting goody-goody right now in front of your parents, but as soon as we drive away you gonna..........."

Ha. Does she really think these kids are going to act differently when the parents aren't standing around?

Uh, yeah. Like 180' turnaround. You know how I know? Because I was a teenager once.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Today's Special....3 posts in 1

Post 1.....Will's Award Ceremony....or

how we roll around here

I took off at 12:15 yesterday to attend Will's award ceremony. I got home at 12:22 (love my commute) and Cameron is still asleep. I yell at her up the stairs to "hurry, get up, you have to go with me." Award ceremonies are painful and I needed Cameron with me to endure the pain.

She gets ready in 10 minutes (college is paying off !) and we start to head out. My cell phone was dead and the charger was upstairs in Will's room (no way was I going there). But out of habit, I checked it again. There was a text message from Will from 8:22 am. Whoops. I never check my phone during the day. And the text says.....

already got award

no need to come

I'm not gonna lie..........I was doing the happy dance. So Cameron and I went shopping. About 2:00, Will calls Cameron and says, "Are you here?" Meaning at the ceremony?

Cameron says, "No, you told us we didn't have to be 'cause you already got your awards!"

I hear this and feel guilty... like I got caught skipping. He said his teacher had given him his awards that morning, but then they pulled him out of class to get to the auditorium. Oh, well.......

It's probably just as well I didn't attend the ceremony because I was sick just hearing about all the kids who received college scholarships. Not this family...we like to pay for it all ourself! Please, don't give us any money....we wouldn't know what to do with it. Really. Not that I'm not very thrilled for the kids who got them.....but what the H is wrong with us?

After the ceremony was over, Will met us for a late lunch and showed us his medals....and certificates ....all for photography. Eating lunch at LaMadelaine with 2 of my children was the best award ceremony I have ever attended.

Dear Will,

If you only knew how much thought I gave to attending my last kid's award ceremony and how hard it was to ask for a half a day off....and if you only knew how much I was dreading the ceremony, that I had to really work at getting my head and act together for it....if you only knew how mad I got that my phone was dead and the charger was in your room...the danger zone...just thinking about that disaster makes me twitch...If you only knew how bad I felt that I was out shopping when you got called to your auditorium to receive your medals when I thought I was clearly off the hook...IF YOU ONLY KNEW....THEN YOU WOULD KNOW how proud I am of you, how much I am going to miss you, how much I love you and how we roll around here always catches me off guard. You keep me on my toes. Please remember that I did come to your award ceremony when you were a was just a private one held at a restaurant.

Your biggest fan,
Your mama

Post 2......Today's Kid Report


F cannot sit in his chair. CANNOT. He can hang on it, he can wrap hisself around it, he can make it lean allllll the way back on 2 legs way further than should be possible, he can ride it like a horse, he can use it in ways it was never intended to be used. But he cannot sit in it. So he had it taken away this morning after several verbal warnings from his very nice, very cute, very patient teacher. Don't feel too bad for F. He actually prefers to stand...not stand still....but stand.

A cannot have her scissors today. A is an adorable little girl who can cut very well. But yesterday, she and her neighbor cut their shirts. The consequence was a note to their moms and some time out at recess. After recess (and time out and with a note in her backpack) A came in and cut one of the nice teacher's posters. Yep. The note and consequence had no impact on her. So today, she had no scissors because that was her consequence for cutting the poster.

Now to the report.....

I walked into the classroom as the children were beginning their work on a worksheet. First they had to color a picture, then cut out some words and put them in order under the picture. Well, A had no scissors (see preface above). She had to "tear" her words. She started crying before she even tried to tear the words out. If you weren't A, it was really quite comical.

A: I CCCAAAAANNNNNNNN"""TTTTTTT DO IT!!!! (cry, sob, crocodile tear drops rolling down her cheeks) (do NOT feel sorry for her....she is a professional drama queen....I suspect this must work at home when it's time to pay up for her crime)

F: She's a crybaby. (as he is standing....)

Teacher: Oh, let's don't start calling people names. What if they called you a name because you don't have a chair?

F: They can call me sitless.

Teacher and Me.......Turn immediately and walk away before we lose it laughing.

I can't make this stuff up. But I do consider it a perk of the job.

Post 3.....The Dance

Warning: This is not a funny post.

If you're reading this blog, then you are probably aware of how addicting it can be to read them. I started one after reading them for awhile. And now I read way more blogs than I should. I love the decorating ones and the funny ones. But it's the sad ones that I find myself going back to for more. I guess it's the "train wreck" thing. When it's not our turn, not our's hard to look away.

I am intrigued by the person writing the blog during this sad time. How do they do it? Are the words pouring out of them at this saddest time of their life coming from a deeper place? Like wailing.......but with words? It has to be so healing.....right? What if I had blogged about my thoughts and actions and observations when I was watching Paul die? Would I go back and read it now and find some comfort? Or would it be harder to read than it was to live it?

A few weeks ago, a blogger mentioned a couple of other bloggers in a post and asked her readers to keep them in our thoughts and prayers. (when I say bloggers....a group of cloggers clogging flash in my brain....) Of course, I took the bait and went right to the blogs. Both bloggers had lost a child the day before. One. an infant boy to SIDS, the other was caused by underdeveloped lungs and all the issues that come with that to a 17 month old girl who had been born prematurely. So I read these blogs for the first time at the saddest time of these people's lives.

I have since gone back and read their archives and "gotten to know these women." Oh, my. Guys.....we are all in this together....just not at the same time. This world is one huge, small place and none of us are getting out of here without pain. These 2 women are experiencing what none of us can even imagine unless it's happened to you. Losing a child. None of us even want to say it out what if it's contagious. Knock on wood. Take it back. I didn't say it out loud, it doesn't count. Not the right order. Things should be in order. I began my daily routine the same as usual....hit the snooze button a time or two, have a cup of coffee while reading some blogs and get into the shower dangerously late. This morning while reading one of the sad blogs (I call it sad, but it wasn't always that way) was a post from the father. was hard to read. As I got up to head to the bathroom, I thought about the words to the Garth Brooks' song The Dance.

I could have missed the pain, but I'd of had to miss the dance.

I turned on the radio in the bathroom and one song was ending then the dj's talked. The next song was Garth Brooks' song The Dance.

Holding you, I held everything. For awhile, wasn't I a king?

What? What are the odds of that? That one song coming on when I had just thought about it seconds before.....for like the first time in forever? It's an old song......and this station plays mostly the current stuff. I took this to heart and thought maybe I should comment on this blog and at least tell the father that he should read the lyrics to the song if not listen to it. Because I believe when the Holy Spirit can sometimes feel like an incredibly weird coincidence. Or in this case....HELLO! You just thought of this song seconds before hearing it on the radio after reading a blog by a father who was wailing about missing his daughter. You were meant to hear it today......

But if I'd only known how the king would fall,

Hey....who's to know....I might have chanced it all.

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end

The way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance

We could have missed the pain

But we'd of had to miss the dance.

I am not for one second thinking the pain would ever be bearable. But none of us have been promised a life with no pain. In fact, I am sure it's the price we pay to be here. But goodness gracious.....once here, please don't sit this one out.

Happy is sure to notice when it's happening. And know that it always returns.

In case you are wondering, the two blogs I am referring to in this post are.... is the one about a precious toddler girl named Maddie and it was her father who posted today. This one is about a family with 2 girls and a sweet baby boy who died from SIDS a few weeks ago.

If you can stand a good cry........go there. It might just make you hug your kid a little tighter tonight. Or your dog....or husband.

Thanks for hanging in here for Today's Special.....3 posts in 1. I have a group of regular readers (2) who have asked me why I haven't posted lately.....and all I can say is, uh, uh.......

Writing is a creative energy and just like art, it's not always flowing through me. Sometimes the thoughts that ARE flowing through me, wouldn't be very nice to write down and send out to the world. But most times, the daily stuff just doesn't need to be repeated.

Just assume I got up, got dressed, went to work, laughed, came home, stood at the pantry and begged the dogs for an idea about supper, read some blogs, worked on my couch potato routine....then went to bed with a good book. Repeat.

I pity those bloggers who are contracted by ads to post daily. I couldn't do it. I would have to start making things up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

...and the award goes to....

We received a letter last week that our senior would be receiving an award at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 19. At. 1:00. In. The. Afternoon. Do any of you remember what a hard time I have taking time off from the State Prison....I mean the school?

What's up with 1:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday? It's like "Hey Parents, You're Invited! But we had a meeting and decided the most inconvenient time would be 1:00 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Good luck getting here. We don't really want you here."

So I talked to my senior about it........did he know what the award was? (I knew it wasn't honor roll or perfect attendance...) Did he want me there? ( he didn't care) Was he sure? 'Cause I didn't want to embarrass him but he was my last kid and I sure did want to be there. So I'm going. And today I filled out the paperwork, took 3 walks down to the office, had 2 people approve it and got a sub. Whew. That consumed some time.

Will is getting an award for photography. Something he loves but didn't know he loved until 10th grade when he took Photo I. He has had the same teacher for Photo I, II, and III. She has had a huge impact on him.....more than she will ever know. He admires her so much and I think it is mutual. I am so grateful for her.
Thank you, Mrs. Fox......for being a teacher. For teaching high school. And for instilling a love of photography in Will.

Tomorrow I will watch Will walk across the stage and enjoy 15 seconds of fame. And it will be the last award ceremony for me. I can't say I'm sad to not have to sit through another long award ceremony ever again.....but I am starting to feel a little burning in my throat. The burning that starts when you are trying to fight back the tears.

How do you explain how long days make up years that fly by?

Kid Report:

Today in P.E., we went outside to do some activities in stations. One station was hula hoops. A precious girl was just sitting in the grass with the hula hoop on the ground with her.

Me: Get up have to try.

Her: But I already tried all my try's.

Then I headed over to another station.......jump ropes.....came up on a boy NOT jumping.

Him: What part of the earth are we on?

Me and Another Para looked at each other and came up with: Well, we're in the western hemisphere.

Him: But what about the people on the bottom?

Us: Well, that's Antarctica. Uh, the South Pole. Uh.....

Him: No, I mean do they fall off?

We started talking "gravity" but thank goodness the whistle blew and we had to line up......

And lastly.......we all ended up on the hardtop (the giant, concrete slab......). I was standing there while the kids were getting in their squad lines....and sitting down on the hardtop. I took a step back and out of my peripheral vision saw a child behind me........WHOA! I bumped into her. It was too late. My legs flew up, I tried to turn sideways to prevent falling on the child....legs straight up in the air....and landed on my buns! The Male P.E. Teacher saw the whole thing........He didn't miss a beat. And said, "Well, Squad 5 has a new Squad Leader."

Don't worry.....I'm okay. Just lost a little pride. And thank goodness, the little girl didn't get flattened. Actually she just looked at me like, "Personal're invading my personal bubble."

Sweet girl, your personal bubble almost got popped, big time.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gosh, I wish you could really come on in.....

It's Saturday morning.....but I am just now taking photos for the Tour of Homes hosted by Kelly.
This week is Living Rooms. I had to do a little straightening and such....and it wasn't going to happen on a Friday after work. Love the kids, but they wear me out. I am going to take you around the room in photos. Hope no one gets dizzy.

This room is very square and it's hard to capture a photo of it in its entirety....but here are a couple of shots taken that somewhat encompass the whole room.

Now some views going around the room....

Facing the black box that was Chuck's 50th birthday present a couple of years ago. I agreed to having it hung over the fireplace as it makes furniture arranging so much easier. The cabinet to the left of the fireplace houses all the electronics. The vases on the mantel are Target....from the import collection. This fireplace opens on the other side to the kitchen. We watch peoples' legs go by in that screen.

This chair and pillow represent my favorite colors. In fact, that pillow is made from my dream rug. But I have to wait until the nursing home for that rug because I will always have dogs and my dogs love to potty on rugs. They are house broken....but lay a rug down....and they christen it with their golden rain. I have no rugs.

This is the back wall of the living room with 3 large windows. This curtain rod came out of the wall after Hurrican Ike....I guess because we closed the curtains and then reopened them? The curtains used to hang at the wood blind level....where the arches began. Anyway, I had to move the rod up to the top of the ceiling and add length to the curtain. I actually like them better now. That cloud had a silver lining.

Now we are in the left corner heading to the wall opposite of the tv.

This wall color is Sherwin Williams Camelback. Great warm khaki color. Works well with reds and greens.....and my brick. This table was purchased when The Great Indoors was closing. It's from Indonesia and was dirt cheap. I painted the top black and Chuck made a shelf for the lay across 2 bars that were already there. I put an antique copper window box in the bottom for magazines. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will see the verdi gris patina on the copper. This box used to be outside but one day while staring at it, I decided it was meant to be an inside box. So I repotted the plants elsewhere, dumped the dirt, gave it a bath and brought it in.

Sofa at an angle. Drives my engineer husband nuts. But if he waits a few weeks, I will rearrange again. The green cabinet behind the sofa was a junk piece left in a neighbor's garage when they moved into their house. She was going to throw it away. I rescued it and painted it green and distressed it. This piece has been in every room .....very versatile. Great storage.

Looking towards the front door.....

Coming back around, the dining room is in the background.

And back to where we started.

Just a few close-ups now.......

When we bricked our backsplash in the kitchen, we loved the look so much, that a couple of years later, we had this wall bricked also. This cabinet is the bottom half of our old tv armoire.

This round table was given to me from my sister who had gotten it from her inlaws. It was a kitchen table. They had glass cut for it and that makes it so liveable. I have probably had 10 different table cloths and toppers on this thing in 23 years. I place photos under the of my favorite places in the whole room. Target lamp.
I decorated on a dime way before there was a show on HGTV called that. I married a hard working boy who has never understood my addiction to pretty, shiny things. So I have learned to find those things at Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx and Marshall's. It can be done.
My dream rug.........I will settle for the pillow for now. As I said before, if you were to ask me what my favorite color was......I would say colors....with an s.
And I would point to this pillow.
Thanks for stopping by. If you have way more time on your hands than you know what to do with (hahaha) go to Kelly's and look through a couple of hundred more living rooms.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas out there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Potty Talk

Today, while monitoring the crowds in and out of the boys bathroom.......

Boy One: Mrs. H, he said a bad word.

Boy Two: No, I didn't.

Boy One: Yes he DID.

Me: Well, what did he say? (I always ask...because sometimes a bad word isn't always a real bad one.)

Boy One: He said bullsh*t. (oh, that's a bad one.)

Boy Two: No, I didn't.

Me: Well, what did you say?

Boy Two: I said "Please be quiet."

Oh, yeah......I'm buying that.......

Basically, we dropped it after I told Boy Two to please not talk ugly at our school. But I can tell you that I believe Boy One. No kindergarten boy would ever say "Please be quiet." At least not in the bathroom.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I so know what you mean......

As I was walking through a classroom today, a certain little boy was sitting sideways in his chair in the Writing Center just staring off into space. I noticed him, went about my business but walked back by him several minutes later.....still sitting sideways, still staring off. Nothing in front of him, nothing in hand.

Me: What should you be doing right now?

Him: Uh........

Me: You're in the Writing Center. Shouldn't you be writing?

Him: Well, I was trying to think..........but then I lost my thinking.

And later, while being read to by a little girl........she pronounced the word caterpillar.......

all through the book and I didn't stop her. It was just too cute.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When you load the dishwasher, wipe the counters, too....

I should be getting ready to shepherd the first graders in Sunday School this morning, but I've been reading blogs. I came across this funny quote from Dave Barry on Kari and Kijsa's blog......

The obvious and fair solution to the housework problem is to let men do the housework for, say, the next six thousand years, to even things up. The trouble is that men, over the years, have developed an inflated notion of the importance of everything they do, so that before long they would turn housework into just as much of a charade as business is now. They would hire secretaries and buy computers and fly off to housework conferences in Bermuda, but they'd never clean anything. ~Dave Barry

I would like to add child-rearing to that. Chuck is a wonderful provider......but there were days.....still are.....that I still have to go back to Training 101 when it comes to chores and children. And even though my baby is 18 we still have conversations like this....

Me: Where's Will?

Him: He went to a friend's house.

Me: What friend?

Him: uh, I'm not sure. I think it was a girl.

Me: Would you please remember to get a name???

(I have said this a million times.)


Me: Would you please load the dishwasher? (While I'm doing another chore or two around here...)

Him: Sure.

Later.....dishwasher loaded. But counters and sink filthy. Do his eyes not see what I see? Do I have to literally ask for him to wipe the counters, too? Yes, I do.

Love him anyway.

Another thought.....different subject: The Swine Flu Pandemic has caused one of our local schools to close for 2 weeks. I have not gotten on the Panic Bus about all.

But yesterday, I was in my favorite hangout...TJMaxx....and a little girl about 4 with skin the color of coffee with cream....and a Mama who spoke Spanish to her.......started coughing right next to me in the tiny shoe other words, she was coughing on me.... No mouth coverage. No place really for those germs to go but on me.

And they are telling us to wash your hands alot and not touch your face. And touch my face? Yes, I touch my face a million times a day without even realizing it. Well, I realize it....but only after I just touched it.

I did think to myself, " Great. I'm going to get the Swine Flu from TJMaxx. "

(Y'all put that in the obituary.....She became ill while doing what she loved most....TJMaxx.)

But no panic feeling came over me. That's growth in the mental health area.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm in the kitchen, but I'm not cooking....

If you read blogs like I read blogs, you surely know all about Harper and her sweet mama, Kelly........ Harper was born with a serious lung condition and through the power of prayer and God's healing with the help of his amazing servants...the doctors and nurses...she is now a healthy, happy baby girl. The blog world followed Harper's progress as she got better and better and now I feel like she is the baby across the street.

Kelly is hosting a tour of by room....every Friday, called Show Us Where You Live Friday. Today is the kitchen edition. I could have gone in and taken some photos of my kitchen today....but it would mean some cleaning, and cleaning would mean I would have to get up and get busy....and busy would mean distracted and who knows when I would get back in here.... so I am pulling up some pictures I already have.

From the back door, looking to the left of my kitchen. We painted and distressed the island and replaced the original island tile counter top with granite.

The desk was white, but we added some molding, a leg (on the right) and painted it black to make it look like a separate piece of furniture. I covered foam core board with a black & white toile fabric and pushed it to the back of the upper cabinets....of course, not much shows, but it lightened up the back of the shelves. The tv is in this cabinet and the doors are rarely closed, so it's nice to see a peak of the toile. I found the 3 tiered wall file at TJ Maxx. One file for each kid....if they can't find's probably in their file.

We put in a brick paver backsplash replacing the old 2 x 2 white tiles that were here when we bought the house. This cute metal wall hanging was a gift from my good friend Karen. It couldn't be more perfect.

I loathe (if that means more than hate) my kitchen sink......see that shallow little sink right in the middle? We tend to wash and rinse everything right there in the middle. I have never left the sink with a dry shirt as water sprays and pours over the edge. You would think we would learn but no. One day I hope to replace it with one large sink but I am having to wait patiently for that. I've got the "wait" down, but not the "patiently" part.

See that black door that leads to the utility room above? It was a discarded screen door that I grabbed out of a neighbor's trash pile. Chuck put a masonite board on the back...I painted the door and board with black paint...but the top half of the front is painted with chalkboard paint.

Coming around the corner are the pantry door and ovens. See that space above? One day I looked up there and thought...."I wonder if that old window that I brought back from Georgia would fit up there?" And it did. Perfectly. Before it was just an opening over this cabinet. Now it looks, I don't know what it looks like but I love that the old window fit up there.

Our fireplace opens to the kitchen and great room. This is the kitchen side. I also painted it black a couple of years ago.....I still look around here and think, "what else could I paint black..." I looked at the dog and she tucked her tail and ran.

This room sees a lot of action so it had to be fun enough to make me want to go in there. The red metal cart was retrieved from a dumpster outside of a dollar store in Mississippi. Never underestimate someone else's garbage.

This picture was taken at a baby shower I's the only picture I could find of the other side of my kitchen. Hope these pretty ladies don't mind. See the chalkboard door? I drew a big A on it in pink chalk for the baby girl that we were showering....Abigail. I have alot of fun with that should get you a little bit of chalkboard somewhere.

And you've made it back around to the eating area.

See the doggie door? Best thing we did in this kitchen! I have way more time to waste at the computer now that I don't have to let the dogs in and out and in and out all day.

If my scanner was working or my technical person was home, I would show you some Before pictures of this kitchen when we bought this house in 1999. The wallpaper was a tiny, tiny calico floral, pink ceilings (YES) and a tiffany lamp over the island. The island top and backsplash was a 2 x 2 white tile with a row of burgandy. And white grout. WHITE BUT NOW GRAY GROUT. That had to go quick. Life's too short to spend it bleaching white grout every dang day.

See yourself out the door.