What Made My Day: Making a Home and Making a Life

When I opened the front door and saw it I thought "NO WAY!" and began to plan to drive instead.  Our house is about four blocks from Portia's elementary school and we usually walk or bike to school.  I plan enough time to stop and dawdle and look and chatter on the way to and from each day.  Today it was pouring rain.  Not light misty but deluge.  I automatically defaulted to the car.  And then I didn't.


I may be occasionally short tempered, but I am not a Wizard of Oz witch who will melt in water.  All three of us girls have rain boots and rain coats and adorable umbrellas.  Even wet pants will dry.  Eventually.  So I talked myself back out of the car idea and we geared up.


The girls and I enjoyed our stroll, waded through two inch deep puddles, and breathed deep breaths of rainy weather air.  Our walk to school made me feel alive even with awful rainy day hair.  (A hat would be good. Maybe a big old rain hat in slicker yellow?)  I delighted in watching my girls marvel at wading through streams in their waterproof boots. It was wonderful to enjoy the rain with them.  It was the best part of my day. 




I think I have grown so comfortable I forget that conquering even the slightest challenge can refresh me completely.  When I bicycle places instead of driving, I feel like I am embracing a deeper way of living.  Walking in the rain even though I certainly do not have to made me feel wild and free.   Like camping in a tent, crossing a fallen log or cleaning the whole house at once.  I am in charge of my life and I am living OUT LOUD instead of passively.

Making dinner tonight feels like that too.  Truly tonight I would rather order pizza or reheat leftovers. That admitted, when I give myself over to the process of "Making a Home" as the Daily Connoisseur Blogger says, I come alive.  I slow down, I relish, and I even enjoy the process.  Tidy home, healthy meal and rain boots drying in the front hall.  AMEN.



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Hernias in the Hot Tub: What REALLY happened to the Hot Chick You Married?

Sometimes I wonder what happened to me.  A bunch of us girls were in a hot tub the other night and the conversation was delightfully kid free.  We had wine and chocolate.  We laughed, we talked.  We marveled at how we all knew each other and our lovely hostess.  Then it happened.

We talked of ovarian cancer, plantar fasciitis, hernias and the like.  We talked of all our surgeries and heartburn and whether Mephisto or Dansko shoes where best for hammer toe or plantar fasciitis.  We stopped ourselves and laughed.  What had become of us?  We were  all mid thirties to mid forties, and if one of us wasn't, no one knew the difference.  We were vibrant wild women and yet here we were sounding off on physical maladies like we were in a Bingo Hall.  What happened?


My only guess is after having kids and being married awhile, we don't have the same self indulgent energy we might have had when we were younger.  And though we do not feel like we are middle age, we are awfully close and physically adjustments must be made.  And of course we then talk about such adjustments with horror and morbid fascination.  We stand toe to toe with OLD AGE and possible BLUE HAIR and A GROWING DESIRE not for our hubbies but to watch TV and eat dinner at 4:30.  

Really?  Already?  I'm only forty two years old! 

All it takes to recalibrate our conversation is one of us getting sick.  One of us has to look The Worst in the face and all the rest of us stop worrying about the size of our waistlines and grow intensely interested in the size of our LIVES.  We suddenly see what really matters, and that our physical health is a barometer of our quality of life.  We mature under trial by fire, and we are grateful to our friend even as we are worried for her.  We pray it goes well for her, and we pray it won't be us next.  We are once again reminded life is fleeting.



We caught ourselves and I spiced up the conversation and we moved on.  We all dyed a streak of our hair teal blue to support a pal going into surgery and keep ourselves from crying for two hours.  We drank wine, snacked on the snacks and hugged each other.  

I do not think it is having kids that drains us of our lavish youth, but rather life itself.  In all the living our bodies wear down, our minds mature and we are more interested in each other than we are in ourselves.  I think this is OK.  I think it is easier to stop obsessing over myself and to see the broader world and my place in it.  Getting older doesn't mean I am old.  Not yet.  I enjoy doing more for others and I talk about myself less now that I have heard my own stories enough.  I'd like to hear your story instead.  

And that friend of mine, the one we dyed our hair for?  She got a miracle and does NOT have cancer.  She had surgery to make her feel better and there will not be weeks of treatment to follow.  She is blessed, and so we all are.  Our colored hair streak remains to remind us of our greatest fear.  Hopefully in remembering we will celebrate each day to come as the gift it is.   

And if you have some free time and an open bottle of wine, let's get in the hot tub again and lemme tell you about my menopause...

WINNER ANNOUNCED: Win a Ticket to Goodwill's "Little Black Dress Fashion Show" & Boutique October 16th!

Congratulations to Nicole Voss for winning a ticket to this awesome event.  Thanks to all of you who entered, let me know if you plan to attend, it is week wroth eh moolah and I'd love to see you there!


Hey gang!  Goodwill is giving me two free tickets to the Goodwill LBD Fashion Show with Boutique shopping.  I'm totally using one for myself, and I am offering one to YOU.  Who wants to come with me October 16th at Avalon Manor in Merrilville?   

If you do not know about this awesome event, check out my post from earlier this month or the other one from when I walked the runway for them last year.





Goodwill’s 2nd Annual Little Black Dress Fashion Show will be held on Thursday, October 16th at the Avalon Manor Banquet Center in Merrillville.  

Goodwill Industries of Michiana is partnering with Comcast, Adams Radio Group and WIMS-AM to raise funds to support their mission to provide jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment.

Models will walk the runway in clothing from Goodwill showcasing the latest fashion trends while guests enjoy a gourmet lunch.  Kathy Friend, nationally known as a stylist and image consultant and President of the Style and Image Institute, will produce and host the program.  She will be joined by Emcee Laura Waluszko, Adams Radio Group News Director.  WIMS-AM Partner and General Manager, Ric Federighi will join the event as Goodwill’s Celebrity Model. 

Guests will enjoy shopping in the Goodwill Boutique complete with dressing rooms to find that perfect outfit.  Doors open at 10:00 am for shopping 50% Off in the Goodwill Boutique and the Luncheon / Fashion Show will begin at 11:30 am

Event               The Little Black Dress Fashion Show

Date / Time       Thursday, October 16                10:00 am – 3:00 pm
   Goodwill Boutique                     10:00 am – 11:30 am & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
   Luncheon & Fashion Show         11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Location           Avalon Manor Banquet Center
3550 East US Route 30 / MerrillvilleIN  46410

Contacts           Katie Paceley / Public Relations Specialist
Phone – (574) 472-7379

DIY Passenger Seat on Your Bicycle: A solution for bigger kids

I want a Yuba Cargo bike, or an Xtracycle, or a Madsen.  I want a cargo bike.  You can find my lustful collection of cargo bike options with kids on my Cargo Bikes with Kids Pinterest Board here.  I desire more and more and more from my bicycling with family as transportation.   These higher end bikes are quite a bit above my *ahem* used bike budget.  Maybe in the future, but for now, I need a solution.  My two daughters were squished in the bike trailer, and I prefer to go places by bicycle instead of car when possible.  They love traveling by bike, but not when they are on top of each other in the trailer.   What is the solution to riding with little kids too big for a baby bike seat or double bike trailer?



First I got a sturdier rear rack for my bike, compliments of my distractable Dad.  He bought it for $25 and left it lying around my garage for just long enough for me to snag it and get it installed on my bike.  The rack weight limit is posted at 55lbs but some bikers say it will easily take over 100lbs. There are racks for around $100 that hold 100 lbs, this is a better option.   Or find the Xtracycle "Free Radical" kit to add on your existing bike.  That could be the solution for when your child is too big for a bike seat.


Portia and I rode around a bit with her on just the back rack,  her holding my waist.  We did lots of talking about keeping her feet away from the tire.  We were planning to add wheel skirts and a handle for her 'later'.  Later was too late.  We had a horrible accident.  Her precious foot.  Bike Spokes.  Thank God there were no broken bones or anything worse than an ugly scrape and bruise and her terrified tears. 


Some wonderful unknown landscaper stopped his truck and took my bike and trailer home while another friend drove us to Urgent Care.  I felt like a terrible mother and vowed to do things more carefully, but still was determined to find  a solution for riding with both kids too big for a baby bike seat.  I was grateful she wanted to get back on and ride with me but she still didn't want to share the double trailer.  

I found the Bobike Junior Child Seat for $200.  It is a child's bike seat for bigger kids 5 years to 10 years and holds 77 pounds.  My awesome Dad designed and attached skirt guards on my rear wheel to protect little passenger's feet.  They were really slick & the bike shop guys were impressed!  Next, I needed a better seat.  As I waited to have the money to buy the Bobike Junior seat, I chatted up my local bike shop.  Again.  They sell Yuba Cargo Bikes and I come often to pet them and drool and talk about bikes.  I bike a lot so I am at the bike shop a lot.  As we talked about my latest efforts, some gear shift trouble I'd been having and my desire for Portia to ride behind me on my bike, things began to happen!  After chatting with a bunch of us in the shop, Jeff my Buck's Bike Shop buddy made "a modification" to my bike.  Heaven opened right up and sang, friends.





THEN I talked to Eric, a fellow biker at Home Depot, about my new bike passenger seat and handlebars aka stoker bars,  and my desire for foot pegs.  (If you give a mouse a cookie...) he suggested hose clamps and L shaped shelf brackets. ($10) BOOM.  My awesome hubby put those puppies on for us.  (See how excited the girlies are?)























My 5 year old has her own "Jump Seat" on my bicycle for the next year, and my 3year old has lots of space solo in the trailer.  This is our cheaper answer to the cargo bike.  Maybe this is a solution for when your child is too big for a bike seat, or you have two kids and they do not want to share the trailer?  I can do my shopping or errands without a car and everyone wins!

Tell me about your thoughts on bicycles or cargo bikes, I'd love to talk more!

Bodacious Blog of the Week: Beyond Baby Boot Camp by Meagan Francis!

I met Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home Blog & Books when we did Listen to Your Mother Show together and I have been the better for it.  I enjoyed her "Happiest Mom" book immensely and use it during my "Life (with toddler) Rules" presentations.  I've continued to watch and admire Meagan's blog and books, but THIS BOOT CAMP: Oh you mamas, this free BEYOND BABY bootcamp is for YOU.  

Yup, for you.  

One thing I think I am pretty good at as a Mama is SELF CARE.  I've written about why moms should bother.

You aren't good at this.  I know you.  

Not. 

Good.  

So take 5 minutes a day and bless your sweet woman self under all that mama action and take the Beyond Baby Boot Camp deal thingie.  I do not think any crunches or burpees are involved and I ADORE the first two days of posts.  

Love YOURSELF woman.  Read Meagan's posts.  She is awesome.

Day One: Create a Self Care Ritual is HERE.

Day Two: Clean out your _____  ??? is HERE!

You can find her Beyond Baby private Facebook group page here. (say hi, I'm there too!)




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