Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30:52 Sunset

Yes, I know. It's not Friday, it's Wednesday.
I got a little caught up in life and forgot to post last week.  
So I'm playing catch up.

I've started running again.  I'm taking it slow...dreading shin splints and sore ankles...but now that I'm pounding the pavement again, I wonder why I stopped.
It is seriously the best therapy I know, the most relaxing way to spend an hour (running=relaxing?!?!), and the best pick-me-up.  It's therapy because it's so quiet. I have my thoughts all to myself and no distractions.  It's a great way to clear the mind.  Relaxing? Again the quiet. And the beauty.  I'm fortunate enough to live right next to our city's urban trail system.  And I live in a beautiful mountain town.  

A few times, I've been out running at sunset.  
Why oh why do I not have my camera with me when I really need it?!?  

I suppose a lot of the beauty is actually being there - breathing in the cool air, feeling healthy and strong, while watching the light bathe everything around you in red, then pink, then gold. 
Mother Nature puts on a magnificent show on our summer monsoon evenings.

I have that picture only in my mind.

But another sunset, experienced while in California a few weeks ago, lingers in my mind too.

30:52 Sunset

Perhaps it was another experience thing...relaxing day at the lake, feeling sunkissed and happy.  And the sun goes down quietly.  It's not spectacular in the way of colors.  It's spectacular in the way of lack of colors.  The light pales and everything seems softer.  The suns' rays lose their intensity and the lake is very quiet.  The water is so still that you want to slip in and be enveloped by the dark, refreshing, coolness of it.

This sunset was still very much a golden hour, but in a softer, more silent and soothing way.

I think that I want a summer beach house on Bass Lake.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Not even the laundry closet is safe

A couple weeks back, I got bored.
Bored as in "I've been home from vacation for five days, and now that I have everything cleaned up and put away, I need something to do".

So I started ripping up linoleum. 

Because that's what everyone does when they get bored, isn't it?

I  would recommend unplugging everything.  I couldn't figure out how and
was too impatient to wait for Dean to get home and show me, so I made do.

I decided it was safer to start in the laundry closet than the kitchen, since we have no idea yet what exactly we are going to replace the linoleum with.  All I knew was that it was time for the yellow, 80's squares to go!

It was a simple as removing the base boards, pulling up the top layer of linoleum/vinyl (I have no idea what it really is), then pouring boiling hot water on the paper and glue to soften it for scraping off the concrete.
Okay, perhaps that is not entirely simple.  It was time consuming and required some arm muscle.  One laundry closet (3ft x 3ft) took an hour and a half to complete.

But the sight of a plain concrete floor was absolutely worth the work. I may have stood up, pumped my fist in the air and proclaimed: "We are one step closer to de-80-fying this house!!"  But if I did, I would not admit it on here. After all, who gets that excited about home renovations? I mean, come on!!

Anyhow, it was at this point that I realized that it was the opportune time to paint the closets!

I headed to True Value, picked up some mis-tint paint for $5, and started painting the next day. Painting a wall is an instant gratifying feeling!

My initial plan was to stencil on top of the green with some fun design with my leftover light blue paint (because why not have a pretty laundry area?).  However, upon cleanup, I discovered that my mis-tint paint is oil based.  Ooops! So much for gratification. I don't think I can put water based paint over that.

And I now know that I DO NOT like oil based paint. It stinks to high heaven and it takes as long to clean your brushes as it did to paint the wall. Not to mention that changing the color down the road involves using primer first.
Ah, oh well!  Lesson learned.  At least it's an improvement over the dingy, dirty white that used to be in there.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stick my head back in the laundry closet again.  It has nothing to do with the oil-based paint fumes, I promise you. I'm simply trying to figure out what else to do in there.
Vinyl stencils? More shelving?  Framed art?
What the dickens do you do with an oil-based army green closet?!?

I guess nothing is very safe in this house when I get bored.

Friday, July 19, 2013

29:52 Water

I feel a bit as if I'm cheating.
I'm busy getting ready for a birthday party as well as heading to camp to work in the kitchen this weekend and haven't had time to take a photo for this week's challenge.  I am too stubborn to miss another week, though.

So here you have a photo that I took on our vacation, one of my many photos that features water (because us Arizonans love vacationing near water).

29:52 Water

Yes, the kids are fully clothed.  We rolled into our campsite (right by this creek) around 2 in the afternoon.  It was close to 100 degrees.  The kids said they were going to "go get their feet wet" while we set up the tent trailer.

Yeah, this is how it ends.

But I wasn't going to complain.  I joined them.
After getting into my suit that is.

I'm linking up to Leann again this week, enjoy your weekend.  I'm looking forward to a fun one in the camp kitchen!

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'd rather be road tripping

I think that the Finns have the right idea - a summer holiday.  A true holiday that lasts a month long, meaning a month's vacation from work, a month spent with your immediate family.

I had never vacationed in that sense before.  We usually squeeze a long weekend trip in here and there, but have never gone anywhere for more than a week.

Enter our 2013 two week long summer road trip
(I think we need another trip this fall to make up the other 2 weeks).

We didn't see a soul that we already knew on our vacation.  While I love visiting out-of-state family and friends on vacation, I also love the quality family time and sense of adventure you get when you go someplace new.

Sibling Love

Okay, I take that back about not seeing a soul we knew.  We met my sister and her boys for the first three days of our trip.  But, we were exploring and adventuring together, so it still counts as a true vacation.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Now that I am home, I just can't get my brain to realize that our vacation is over.  My mind is back in the Giant Forest and sitting in the quiet, absolute darkness of Boyden Cavern. I don't really want to stand in front of the kitchen sink, or fold laundry in my living room.

I want to be back here, feeling the spray of tall water falls, and watching the sun set over the lake:

Yosemite National Park and nearby Bass Lake

It was a marvelous 2 weeks, which made for a difficult transition back into the everyday home routine, but we managed; our brains are now back in summer home life.  I think.
I guess I better go figure out what's for dinner.
At least I have a refrigerator; although I'm not sure that I'd take that over being here:

San Francisco and Monterey

If you're ever in San Francisco, check out the Golden Gate Park and Muir Woods.  They're amazing!  And the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the coolest place to bring your family!  We saw a hammerhead and a great white shark!  

Okay, what was I doing again?  Planning our next trip? Oh, that's right, I was figuring out what to make for dinner.

Friday, July 12, 2013

28:52 Made With Love

My hubby doesn't get it.

He doesn't get why I keep my eye out for solid wood pieces that are old and worn.  He doesn't get why I would spend hours sanding and refinishing a piece of furniture, or, say, a little cedar playhouse.

He doesn't get it, but that's okay; I sure have a heck of a lot of fun doing it and usually am pretty proud of the end result.  I like changing something from old to almost new.

This one, I'll call re-made with love.

I think it's a pretty nice little face lift. Don't you?

My cute kids in front of the playhouse before it's makeover

To continue our blog circle, visit Leann to see what lovely things she's photographed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer's beauty

There are dirty little fingerprints everywhere I look.  The fridge, the windows, and the (glass) doors are the worst.  In front of the water and ice dispenser you are guaranteed to find a muddy puddle, and occasionally you'll find a few toe smudges from the little bare feet that frequent the spot.

The door handle has taken to falling off our back screen door again, it gets such frequent use.
I've stopped requesting the kids put their shoes on; my words fall on deaf ears.
Every evening I have ten very black feet to scrub, ranging from very tiny to just about my size.

It's summer here.

And it's wonderful.

I don't know what the magic is, don't know if I can explain it.
There's something enchanting about the long, unhurried, sunny days of summer.
Everything is green and the light lingers each evening.  Our family time is extended and we have time for games in the evening and pans of brownies that don't make it into the oven until 8 pm.
The outdoors becomes our playroom; bikes and roller-blades litter the driveway, stuffed animals on strings decorate the trampoline. The kids' skin becomes bronze and their hair streaked with even more blonde.
But more incredible than nature's splay is the camaraderie among all five of my kids, ranging from twenty months to nine years old. They play together all day long. Sure they occasionally fight, but I've never seen them cooperate and play so well as they have this summer.  Literally from the time they get up to the time I call them in to get ready for bed they are inventing some new game, upturning the dining room chairs into forts, riding bikes and scooters around the cul-de-sac, playing house with their animals, jumping on the tramp, or reading books together.

I know it can't last forever, this symphony between my kids, but I'm loving it while it lasts.
They are doing what kids should be doing - learning through play and exploration.  They are enjoying a couple months off from any responsibilities, any pressures to perform and simply just being, just enjoying each other and summer's beauty.

I hope they are making beautiful memories.  Memories of carefree summer days where outer space is the limit when it comes to imaginative play.  I hope they are forging a life-long bond between themselves, a bond that is rooted in the sand, chalk, and the make-believe of their childhood days.

Whether it's the late sunsets or the possibility of vacations, I hope summers will always hold a little bit of magic for my kids.

I get a taste of it myself with the windows that won't stay clean for an afternoon and the ever present muddy puddle in front of the fridge. They mean my kids are here.  Home for the summer.  Together.  Making memories. Just being.

Friday, July 5, 2013

27:52 My Country

I'm in awe.
In awe of the indescribable beauty of our country.

In this last couple of weeks, I've seen such beautiful sights, seen such breathtaking vistas, that I wonder what will compare.  I've walked the floors of the Giant Forest, felt the spray of Bridalveil Falls, and heard the roar of the Pacific Ocean. 

While I know there is much more to our country and to this world, many more inspiring and history rich places to visit, I am thankful that we have been able to see a little bit of the beauty of North America's Southwest.

Our family biking in Yosemite Valley (upper Yosemite Falls behind us)

Yes, I do believe I can safely say that this little corner of the world, this country I call home, is God's country.  I love the U.S.A!

Head on over to Leann to see what she's captured in her corner of the country.