Signs of Determination

The motivation and determination to purchase a Razor Pocket Mod Electric Scooter is so great, I actually caught her doing "jobs" that weren't on her list...

I literally almost cried watching her load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher AND wipe down the counters...which happened BEFORE school this morning, because miraculously, she was completely ready and on time with 35 minutes to spare.

Did someone spike her cereal this morning?


Don't Be Such a Pest

I'm not sure if this a "Merkley" thing, or just a "Chris" thing, but my husband is the master of being a pest. No one I know could possibly top Chris's talent of pestiness. I feel sorry for my daughter, and you should feel sorry for me.

In the past, Brielle and I just couldn't compete. We'd try to get him back, but then his level of pestiness grew. Soon, we realized that "getting him back" just wasn't worth the price. But Sunday, he continued his pesty behavior until Brielle and I just couldn't take it anymore. It was time for a counter attack.

It was late and dark outside when Chris stepped into the garage to suit up in his chore attire (muck books, & jacket). I'm not sure why, but I grabbed a giant carrot from the fridge and stepped out the kitchen door, into the back yard. I knew Izzy was going to give me away, so I broke the carrot in half, gave her the smaller of the two pieces and told her to get away.

Just then, Chris stepped out of the garage, into the back yard, standing 6 or 7 yards away from me.  The light from inside the garage barely illuminating his figure. I don't know what I was thinking but I chucked that carrot hard in his direction.  And it hit him.  Square in the forehead.

You could see the utter shock of what just happened across his face, which quickly turned into anger. I ran into the house, where Brielle and I both agreed that we were in serious trouble. Why a carrot? I don't know. What possessed me to do such a thing? I'm not sure, it all happened so quickly.

In a panic, I wrote a note that said "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit you in the head. Please don't hate me." and taped it to the garage door for him to see before he came inside. 

Lucky for me, it didn't leave a mark, but that didn't mean that he wasn't hurt either. It took him roughly 16 hours to forgive me, which isn't too bad, considering that all night, and into the next day, I couldn't stop laughing about what had happened. Every time the thought of "the carrot incident" crosses my mind, I laugh until I cry. Even now, I'm laughing.

Hopefully, he's learned his lesson in all this. #1 -- Don't be such a pest & #2 -- Vegetables make good weapons.

I got another good laugh the next day (while still mad at me) when he fell down in a pile of muddy, wet, horse shat (it's been raining a lot). But that is a story for another day. His pride can only take so much.

End of Another Season

Spring Soccer 2012 has come to an end. Brielle played hard and made some new friends.  Chris proved once again that he's a great coach and the girls love him.

One even told him that he "smelled really good."  I think so, too.


What Once Was Lost...

Has now been found.

Tears were shed.  There were shouts of joy.  Pictures of a science project for the science fair that took place in March, have now been recovered, although are no longer needed.

Guess where we found it?  In her room.  Under a folded blanket on her shelf.  The stinker.


Summer Checklist

Brielle's job chart is back.  She's not happy about it, but desperately wants to earn money for one of these...


... a kids electric scooter.  So, it's time once again for a weekly checklist, detailing daily required jobs as well as the jobs I'm happy to pay her for. 

She doesn't understand why I just won't give her money at the end of the week.  My response?  "If your dad doesn't invoice his clients, you think he'll get paid?"

Argument over.


Wellsville Mile 2012

6 weeks of training.

9 different schools.

1,340 4th & 5th graders.

12 different heats.

1 mile sprint.

9 minutes 35.3 seconds.

First ever 1 mile race, complete.  38th place overall for Heat #1, 112 runners.

This race has been going on in the Cache County School District for 32 years.  I kept hearing parents talking about "when I ran this race..."  Students are invited to participate from 9 elementary schools in the district and the race takes place in the small, rural town of Wellsville.  I was thoroughly impressed with the organization of this event and the volunteers who help put this race together.  Buses everywhere, kids everywhere, parents everywhere -- and it was no different that any other organized race.

Students from the Track & Field team at Mountain Crest High School were on hand to run with these kids and give them the motivation to finish.  The boy in orange you see running with Brielle stuck with her the entire time, offering words of encouragement through to the very end.

For Brielle, the weeks leading up to this event was challenging and the thought of coming in last terrified her.  She wasn't sure this was something she wanted to do, but I wasn't about to let her back down.  I'm super proud that Brielle stuck with it, finished and improved her practice time by 40 seconds.  Watching her was motivating.  And... it made me want to the hit the gym to see if I can complete a mile run as fast as her.  Stay tuned.


My Red Door

In THIS post, I wrote about putting off the inside projects to focus on the outside projects, namely some painting projects and weed control.

In THIS post, I wrote about my husbands most recent acts of love.

And this is the result...

I feel like I have a brand new house!  The newly painted shutters and front door have definitely given an updated, fresh new look to a house that I thought looked drab, boring and sad on the outside.  The gray siding used to bother me, but with the bright red door and navy blue accents, I'm loving the gray!

My parents were up today, and Dad / Ken / Pops / The Master of Landscape gave me a few ideas for my empty planters, both in front and back.  And I think it's possible that the side of the bright red door made him cheerful and happy, because I saw something I never thought I'd see...

He fed carrots to my horses.

The man hates animals.

I think it's safe to say the red door is going to do wonders to the demeanor of those who pass by.

The Music Gene

I played the piano and flute growing up.  Music was a big part of my life and still is, through my various church callings.

Chris took 3 piano lessons and never wanted to go back.  I'm told he was a stubborn child (um... still is) and that he fought with his mother until he didn't have to go back (um... not surprised).

I prayed and prayed that Brielle would end up with my music gene and that she would have a desire to develop a musical talent.  So imagine my surprise that when taking piano lessons, she fought me every day.  The girl hated every minute of it.  She told me all she wanted to do was play the violin -- NOT the piano.  But I didn't have a violin and knew nothing about it.  I knew the piano and I had a piano.  It wasn't until Chris forbade the continuation of piano lessons (or, in his words, the constant battle between her and I), that I hesitantly gave in to her desire to play a string instrument.

And I'm certainly glad that I did.

Something clicked when Brielle started her violin lessons that just wasn't clicking before.  Suddenly, she had a desire to learn to read music, she practices daily without complaint and gets up early two days a week to attend orchestra before school.  I'm proud of her for developing her talent, and being dedicated to practicing.  

My dad used to say that he loved hearing music in our home growing up, while listening to me practice.  I now understand exactly how he feels and echo the feeling.  Turns out this girl did inherit my music gene, after all.

Thoughts on Mother's Day

I've always felt indifferent about Mother's Day.  It's just not a holiday that I look forward to, like Christmas or Thanksgiving.  I realize that there are some women who dread the day because a) they've lost their mother or b) they want to be a mother, and for some reason or another, can't.  Neither of the reasons apply to me.

I have a wonderful mother.  So wonderful, that on her way up to my house today, she stopped at Costco and bought me TP (love Costco TP) and a massive bag of carrots for my horses.  She sews things for me when asked.  And she made a 4-hour round trip drive to my house, to see Brielle's 30-minute soccer game, and a 20-minute violin recital.  I truly believe that what's important to me is important to her.

That's my mom when she was a baby, my Grandma Carrie and my Great-Grandma Brunetti, aka Nana. Three generations of wonderful mothers who have shaped and molded me into the person that I am.  I suddenly feel the urge to call and see if I've made them proud... or embarrassed.  Or both.

I am a mother and am so happy to be one.  You know, it took me years -- years -- to realize that being a mother to one was just as big a blessing as being a mother to more than one.  For a long time, I was a jealous person and resented people (sisters, friends, family) as they continued to grow their own families.  It broke my heart and made me angry.  Soon though, I came to understand that because I was focusing so much on what I didn't have, I was missing out on the one thing I did have.

Brielle Carmela. The love of my life.  Being her mother is by far the greatest blessing I've received.

So why is Mother's Day just not that important to me personally?  Because I'd like to think my family loves me and thinks I'm special year round.  Making me breakfast and buying me a gift is not something I expect, nor want on Mother's Day.  And after almost 12 years of marriage, I think Chris has finally figured this out.

As busy as he is right now, dealing with new clients, clients who change their mind or material orders that come late, he found time to paint my shutters and doors.  He found time to till my garden.  He turned what would have been a simple trip to SLC for a ReAL game into a weekend away, complete with Sunday Brunch at the Grand America.  He did some laundry and straightened up the kitchen.  He didn't object when I spent a night out with friends.

And that is exactly how to make this girl feel special and loved.  Mother's Day, or not.


Time to Head Outside

I've been posting about finishing my kitchen, and I'm still working on that.  But... the warm weather and the massive amount if weeds in my planters is forcing me to head outside.  So, for now, my fabric is will continue to sit on my craft table (untouched), a few cabinets doors will remain in the basement until they can be painted, an the contractor's light fixture above my kitchen table will have to do for know.

The outside trim of my front door has been primed and is awaiting a fresh coat of white trim paint.  The door will be painted red (a huge step outside of my comfort zone... but I'm excited to see the finished result.

The shutters are off the house and have been painted a shiny dark blue-ish grey (navy) and will hopefully be up and on the house by the time I get home from work today (keeps your fingers crossed that the hubs will NOT forget his ladder today).

My dad (the master of beautiful landscaping) is coming up this weekend and I'm hoping to get some great ideas for the planter underneath the windows.  Those old shrubs are ugly and infected with bugs, so they've just got to go.  I want color!  Lots of color!  Plants with yellows, red and purple blossoms.

It's a good thing you can't see my back planters and garden.  It's embarrassing really.  They are completely overgrown with weeds and will be tonight's project.

The shed out back will be painted the same color as the front door, to mimic a small red barn, even though it's just a tool shed.  But it does hold the horse tack and supplies, so I'm calling it a mini-red-barn.

So, if you find yourself at my house, and the inside is a complete mess and the dishes are piling up... it's because I'm pulling weeds.  No one told me that buying a house with a lot of land came with a lot of weeds.

This home will soon look like the cute country cottage I've always wanted.


Churchill Downs

I missed the Kentucky Derby, dang it.

And I really wanted to see it, considering I had just visited Churchill Downs in March while in Louisville for a conference.  It was spectacular even though there was no one else there, and no races going on.  Just the history and architecture of that place is amazing.

I so wished that horse racing didn't have an "off-season."

When I say no one was there, no one  was there.  We walked the spectator stands, and I even held sand from the track... so cool.  I kept waiting for a security guard to jump out and stop me at any second.  I couldn't help myself.

Wow.  Can you say fat fingers?  I'll blame it on the hot temperature and crazy humidity.

I also took the liberty of trying on some "Derby" style hats...

Suits me, don't you think?  No, it really doesn't.

Oh, how I would have loved to see a race!  See the horses!  You know that part in the movie, Secretariat, when the horse is crossing the finish line?  Running so fast (in slow motion) that you see all 4 feet (hooves?) leave the ground and the horse looks suspended in mid-air?  My heart stops every time.

And just a random bit of information... Did you know that "I'll Have Another" Derby winner was flown on a charter plane after the Derby to Baltimore for the Preakness?  When did horses start flying to races?  My horses would go nuts if I put them on a plane.  But then again, that would likely never happen.


Where To Find... Sunshine Gift Basket

I'm currently in the process of making another "Sunshine" Gift Basket for yet another friend struggling through life's challenges.  It sure makes me count my blessings for the good health my family has.

After the last basket, I was asked about where I found the "stuff" inside.  So, here's where you can find all the items to create a special basket for someone you know.  I've even included a printable of the tags below (and for the record, the cupcake box will have Lemon Cupcakes in them when the basket is delivered -- in case you were worried)...

  • Yellow Bucket -- Michael's Crafts -- This is in their seasonal section.  I'm tempted to go back and buy more, just in case.  Any basket or tray will work just fine.
  • Lemonade -- Macey's.
  • Jars -- Hobby Lobby -- These were roughly 69 cents each and came in various sizes.
  • Lotion/Lip Gloss -- Bath & Body Works
  • Candy -- I visited our local specialty candy store.  They had jelly beans, gum balls, and other candies already sorted by color.
  • Lemon Scone Mix -- Satan's Pantry, er... I mean WalMart.

You can also see a jar with tags in it.  I left them blank so that my friends and I could write personal and encouraging words on them.  Of course, I also created circle tags and you'll find the link to those HERE.

Altogether, and depending on how much I put in a basket, it can run you $50-70.  However, you can certainly make something similar to fit your budget, yet have the same effect.   One thing I've learned is that sometimes, people don't need you help, they just want to know that you care.  The tags will show her just that.