A few nights ago, after the kids were in bed, we saw amazing storm clouds! That's something I love about living in the midwest- the storms. Not tornados. Thunderstorms. And boy have we had quite a few- this whole week we've enjoyed at least one a day. Lightning out here is unreal. Snapping down through the clouds as fast as you can blink your eyes, brighter than LED lights and just amazing.
But some of the coolest things about the storm are the clouds and the sky just before the deluge.
Don't believe me? Click here to see some incredible UN-TOUCHED photos my good friend took of the yellow sky. So amazing.
The following is the actual "essay" written by James in honor of his father.
My Daddy is 9 years old.
His hair is black and his eyes are blue.
My dad likes to wear his backpack.
He loves to cook cookies.
His favorite household chore is cleaning bugs.
His favorite TV show is The Muppet Show.
Daddy always tells me "Daddy's home."
When my dad shops, he loves to buy bicycles.
We all had a good laugh at pretty much the whole thing. But nothing beat that "cleaning bugs" line. While it's true that Drue is the go-to man for disposing of unwanted creepy-crawlies, he hates them as much as I do:)
OH, and I don't think James has ever seen his dad buy a bicycle. Not that he doesn't want another one. We've just never been "bicycle shopping." Ahh, kids.
I blame this whole thing on Jesicah Baggerly. Yes. That's right. She makes such AMAZING hair flowers that I felt compelled to do some too. I LOVE wearing hair flowers. I think a flower in the hair automatically makes me feel better- it's just that having something pretty in an unexpected place is so fun!
Plus, who doesn't like flowers?!
So, I made some:
This one is flat, cream, and almost orchid like in design. I put Swarovski beading in the middle in 2 colors.
This one is modeled after one I own in yellow. Red is always a great color on a flower and a great color in every hue of hair! Notice the sparklies on the petals as well as the interior star design. This flower has a special interior. Instead of using beading or sparklies or buttons, I went to the thrift store and picked up this BEAUTIFUL retro broach just for this purpose. The orange is a lovely warm deep pumpkin color with red-ish fade on the tips. Here is how to secure these beauties to your hair:
Each flower is backed with a supple soft leather support. The clips are wrapped in velvet ribbon and attached to the leather. So, there. That's what I did tonight. Instead of cleaning my desk. Blame Jesicah.
We had a great Memorial Day BBQ with the ward family! We all met at Pioneer's Park which is an INCREDIBLE park on the western border of Lincoln. They have a few lakes, a herd of bison (!), some beautiful gardens and a huge prairie visitor's center that features all kinds of interesting information about the role Lincoln played in the pioneer migration.
But the BBQ was great!
This is what James did for the entire thing:
That is a Lightning McQueen ball that he lifted from another child on the playground. Seriously. J is a kleptomaniac! It might just be the age- and it might not.
This is how Oliver spent most of his time: in every child's favorite place right next to mommy's lap- Daddy's shoulders.
We could NOT get James to hold still for a family picture and I was DONE fighting him about it. So, here we are. The Daily Family Minus One. Free food, good company, lots of sun, 60%h humidity- perfect.
And a mini-lecture on why people need to have a summer reading list.
You all need a summer reading list because if you do not exercise your brain, it will fall out of your nose and ears disguised as boogers and ear wax. No one wants to loose brains that they could have easily kept in their heads just by cracking open a book (or kindle or ipad or what have you). In the immortal words of Nike advertising: Just do it.
The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzack. My favorite book of the year so far!
The Hunger Games. I haven't read this yet- but I hear it's amazing. And there are 36 other requests for it at the library. I'm number 37.
Moby Dick. I've started this at least 3 times this summer. I like the snarky voice- it reminds me of pretty much everyone from college.
As you can see, my list is woefully short.
So here's your chance to preach at me. Tell me what book is keeping your brains in place this summer- and I might just send you something special if I like your suggestion.
p.s. The something special will be an AWESOME hair flower that I've been perfecting all spring long. It's beauty on a clip.
author's note: this blog is not meant to imply any ingratitude, nor am I digging for compliments, this is simply what I was thinking yesterday.
Yesterday I "taught" a masterclass for the pianists in mine and Reesa's piano studios to prepare them for the Piano Guild Auditions (happening monday). I love to do this and I run my masterclasses much like Sara Harris runs hers- food included. Helping younger, less experienced, probably more talented than I, pianists is lots of fun for me. They did well and I thoroughly expect them to do very well at the auditions on monday.
Hours later, I was being domestic and loading the dishwasher when the thought came to me: I am not great at anything. I am good at some different things, but I cannot claim to be that great at anything.
This started me thinking about the difference between the Jack-of-all-trades and the mediocre man. And Leonardo DaVinci.
What is a Jack-of-all-trades? This person has a working knowledge and skill in many areas, but is master of none. This person seems to know a little about everything- and can do most everything moderately.
What is a mediocre man (or woman)? This person is (from the dictionary) moderate to inferior in quality, ordinary. This person lives an ordinary life.
And pretty much a great person is Leonardo DaVinci. Yep.
What am I?
I'm sure none of you out there have these moments of self-evaluation and find that you have not fulfilled whatever potential you thought you had. Not that I'm wallowing. I'm just trying to see things a little more realistically.
I am an incurable optimist and maybe that has become a liability. I've always tried to see the best things in any situation, and assume the best of other people. But perhaps this eternal optimism has kept me in self-denial about my various talents/abilities. Which is why this particular epiphany while bending over an open dishwasher, arranging the silverware so they will all get clean, was so startling.
Am I ordinary? Yes. Does that immediately mean I am mediocre?
Here's the argument:
if A then B.
if B then C.
A therefore C.
To be mediocre is to be moderate in quality- ordinary.
If I am ordinary, then I am moderate in quality.
If I am moderate in quality, then I am mediocre.
Therefore, If I am ordinary, then I am mediocre.
Or am I something else?
And what is wrong with being ordinary anyways? Who said that everyone has to be brilliant in everything they do or even in just one thing? We can't all be genius. We can't all be fools. We can just be.
I guess I've just answered my question. I can be an ordinary person with many interests and not be amazing at everything. That's a liberating reality. I've thought for my whole life that I needed to be something different and special by excelling at everything I tried- so I could be good at SOMETHING! And, really, that was because I have a sister who is a couple months older than me and I've been trying to one-up her for my whole life.
And it stops now.
So, I guess this is my manifesto:
I am okay with being an ordinary person. I am not the best at anything, but I'm pretty good at some things and that's got to be okay. I'll never be an olympic athlete, a VanCliburn pianist, a celebrated chef, a great seamstress, gardener, the list goes on and on. But I'm getting to be okay with just being me- that will have to do for now.
James- happy to finally be in birthday season, and excited to see the other 7 boys coming to the party. Oh, and he gets to eat cake.
Oliver is excited to get his picture taken, show off his haircut, eat cake and ice cream and be outside. Look, mom, with hands! Oliver loves to pose. "Is this what cake is supposed to taste like mom?" " I'm what? One?" " Hey! Help." "Ooo. perty." The cake. Devany, thanks for the idea. "This is what I've been waiting for?!" I love the nose picker in the front- that's our friend Lincoln. There were 9 little boys under the age of 9 in attendance at this little get together. 9 Boys, 3 husbands, 3 wives. Lots of testosterone. We had a great time celebrating Oliver's 1st Birthday! Thanks to our friends the Cosbys and the Baggerlys for coming out to party. It was a nice day.
When I brought Drue home to meet my family, we were outside when Grandpa Larry walked up, wanting to be introduced. The introduction was made and as Drue turned to get in his car, Grandpa Larry said , "you cradle robber!"
In disbelief I protested loudly, "I'm not a cradle robber! He's 4 years older than me!"
Grandpa Larry didn't believe a word of it.
But it's true. Drue turns 31 today. So, here's a few pictures of my husband through the years:
We love you honey! A very happy birthday to you- love, Ashley, James and Oliver