Friday, October 24, 2014

Changing Something That IS Me

Yesterday, I talked about changing the look of my kitchen by removing the lace valance I didn't feel was 'me.' --And I posted updated pictures of the new look.  (I have yet to update my My Kitchen page, but I will.)

Today it's time to update another pic...and that pic is of me!  

Over 50% gray by the time Prince CuddleBunny came along
I got the first silver strand in my hair when I was 18.  I pulled those first ones out, and hoped they'd stay away.  They didn't.  I never really believed in dying hair, but I started with temporary 'rinses' and got to full, permanent coloring.  I couldn't afford to visit a salon every month, so I bought the boxes at the grocery or drug store, and did it myself, trying to keep it as close to my natural medium-dark color as possible.  This had varying results...Some good and some not so.

Yikes! Out in public with inches of grow-out
I fought the idea of having gray hair.  I had been used to appearing younger than my age, and I sure didn't look it whenever I let the gray creep back.

Short-short hair, always a favorite of mine anyway,
made it easier to keep colored without getting
the over-dyed look.

I didn't feel very good about myself whenever I caught my reflection if I had gray hair.  But it got to be SO MUCH WORK...and expense.  And pretty impossible to keep doing at home and have it look nice for more than a couple of weeks.  When gray roots came in, besides being unsightly, it looked like I was going bald.  That's not a better look than all gray!

Couldn't be gray for the weddings!

Besides, the Bible tells me gray is good.  

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31

"The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old."  Proverbs 20:29

I gave up the hair dye within a year after the weddings.
I've given you a few glimpses of the change in the last few years.

If God says it's good, should I argue?  It was still hard to accept. 

Still fighting the older look, I've resorted to having my hair cut at a salon.. I've been trying to find the right style that will make the silver look like a fashion decision, rather than resignation.  ;-)  My own world of delusion.  

This one probably doesn't really
remember me with brown hair.
I think, though, about my grandma, who had white hair as far back as I remember.  I've seen photos of her with darker hair, and I never thought she was as pretty.  I thought she looked more severe, and not as loving and fun as I knew her to be.  

And this one has never seen me
any other way.  
I remember how soft she was to hug.  She wasn't overweight, but probably thought she had some extra pounds, and maybe she also resented the wrinkly skin that was also played a part in her softness.  Maybe she was in shock at her reflection as I have been in mine.  But I think maybe she was just too busy teasing, loving, and baking to be that self-absorbed!  I hope so, because she was the best, just as she was. 

So, here I go.  The old brunette photo on the blog...

will be replaced with a more recent shot.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Changing Something That Wasn't "Me"

I've mentioned before, I think, that when I planned my kitchen, I wanted a Grandma's Baking Kitchen.  I was far from being a grandmother myself at the time, but both of my grandmas were wonderful and prolific bakers.  I wanted a kitchen that, though they never got to see it, they would love.  

I wanted it to seem like a space that should have bread baking in the oven, and pies cooling on the counter.  

It should be full of functional comfort, love, and light... and be a great place to work alongside my kids, and someday, my grandchildren.

I knew it wasn't really "me" when I picked out the lace valance for the window.  But it had tea cups on it!!  One of my grandmothers, the one who had passed away most recently, collected tea cups, and this reminded me of her.  Even though I wasn't a particular fan of lace and/or ruffled valances, it was a way to include her in the kitchen, in a more obvious way.

But the rod, stretching so far for such a wide window, always drooped.  The lace got dusty, and the style continued to fight with the rest of the room.  One day I was checking to see what photos from my blog had been posted to Pinterest, and found these that were originally found on My Kitchen page.  

That particular post must have been removed now, because I can no longer find the comment.  But it said something complimentary... about liking the look of the materials and colors in the kitchen, followed by: 'except for the lace window treatment.'  I so agreed with that comment that I knew the lace teacups had been there long enough and had to go.

So now I have new pics of that side of the room.

I still need a backsplash on that wall.  I still need trim on the top of the hutch, and all the other upper cabinets, in fact.  I still need to paint the chairs around the kitchen table.  --Eggplant, or a mix of eggplant and red, I think.  And the island was never finished.

Ah, well.  A little at a time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taking Flight 2014, 2.0

I don't think it's fair when they leave two at a time!

Princess Artiste graduated from high school in June, and after being pursued because of her grades and athletic records, she is our first to leapfrog over community college and right into a 4-year school.  With her part-time public school, part-time homeschool education, we had to jump through a couple of extra hoops, but they weren't too bad.  

She was actually accepted into 2 private, Christian colleges, but only one of them had the draw of participating in collegiate sports.  As a runner and swimmer, the school athletic director was having a hard time deciding in which sports to use her.  Her available options were cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and field, swimming, and the new team he wants to start for triathlon.  It's long been her dream to try a triathlon, but that team hasn't been started yet, so at least it was off the list for this year.  

She teaches swimming and does lifeguarding for the YMCA, but doesn't feel in any shape to compete in swimming, so chose cross-country for fall, and in the spring, hopes to run the 400 meter dash and throw javelin in outdoor track.  She may try indoor track, too, since her cross country season was cut a little short by illness at one end and a stress fracture at the other!
First things first...
Ginormous poster goes on the wall!

Yes, her departure was a bit delayed.  She was supposed to move to school 2 weeks before classes started, in order to train with the cross country team.  But 2 days before the move, she was feeling just awful...The 'cold' she'd had was worsening, her throat was killing her, and when she tried to run, her legs felt like lead.  Diagnosis: Mono.  Prince Go-for-It had had it in May, so evidently the germs were around the house, and he shared.  It can take 2 months to incubate after exposure!

She went up to school, then, on the regular appointed day.  It was sad she'd missed the training and bonding time with her team, but that meant we got her at home for a bit of additional time.  Moving day was sunny and bright, and a great day to start her new adventure... and she was bonding with teammates, already, when we left.  The next day she attended a church she's loved ever since.

She is growing and learning.  She competed in a few meets, but missed going to the national meet, because of her broken foot.  She'll get the 'boot' off of that in a week, and will jump into preseason practice for track, and hope that season goes much better!  She also has 2 jobs... swim instructor/lifeguard at the YMCA, as mentioned, and, added just this week, an afternoon job in the school library.

She still wonders if she's chosen the right school.  This one is small...Only 250 students, which is about 1/10 the size of her high school.  She enjoys the small classes, and the interest and passion passed on by her professors.  But she had to choose a different major than she'd intended, because this school only offers 15 degree programs.  She may transfer to the Big City next year or the year after, and join her brother, Inventive, but not in the same classes.  She still is deciding between a career in nutrition or a career in interior design.

The princess has accomplished another big thing, unintentionally and indirectly.  The path to college by attending community college first, because of the lack of a public school diploma, was an easy and successful route for her older siblings.  In jumping to a 4-year school, and participating in sports as well, she has broadened the horizons for her younger siblings.  Already, Prince Go-for-It is planning to run cross country, starting at a 4-year school, and he has 2 with which he plans to open a dialogue.  He, a natural born salesman, also plans to major in Business to study marketing, but with different career goals in mind than his brother.

We now have a household of the 3 over the garage.  It's odd to have so few!  Because the younger kids seemed to draw around the older kids, they are now somewhat at loose ends, and still missing their buddies.  Thank goodness for texting and cell phones.  How much they rely on each other, even when not in the same house, is more evident (and heartwarming) than ever.  We have new dynamics to grow accustomed to, and new bonds to build within the house.  A whole new adventure for everyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Changes and Decisions

Prince Inventive graduated from community college in June.  With excellent grades, he was accepted and offered scholarships from the 3 colleges to which he applied.  With the scholarships and financial aid, the remaining balance was still bigger than he'd hoped.  He wasn't feeling 100% sure about the path he wanted to take in terms of majors, and not wanting to accrue debt for nothing, he wasn't sure what to do.

This is similar to the wall Prince Stoic hit 4 years ago.  He thought he'd take a year off of school to work and build his savings, then enter SPU, as planned.  But in the time off school, Stoic decided to work toward entrance into the electricians' apprenticeship program, where he is now happily employed and educated.  He is happy with his independent life.  He is saving and pursuing his own interests.  

He thought Prince Inventive might enjoy this path, also, and talked to him at length about the process, the advantages and disadvantages.  They began to make plans for living and working together, and in the future,  investing in real estate or a business.  

Prince Inventive started to get excited about the idea, and made plans to move to the Big City and share an apartment with his big brother, the one who had been is first ever best friend and roommate.

The day he left, we shared tears, and he looked more like a kindergartener being forced to get on the bus, than an adult excited about this new step.  I had stayed quiet, but was in doubt that with personalities that were so unlike each other, that the same path that Stoic was happy in, would fit Inventive as well.  It didn't surprise me, when faced with the first steps of getting employment that would propel him toward the apprenticeship, the newly independent prince called me to admit great hesitancy.

It was a great blessing to this mom to be an advisor and confidante over the next couple of weeks, discussing things like prayer, patience, and taking each day as God gave it, whether it be full of answers, questions, life learning, service, or gifts.  It was a joy the day he called, realizing, just after praying one morning, that he had so enjoyed his public speaking class (which had been a big surprise), and that he wanted to use those skills in whatever career direction he went.  He said he thought he'd really like to be an admissions counselor for SPU.

Inventive took time out of his summer work schedule
to go on a hiking/camping trip with his dad and CuddleBunny
While on the phone, we each looked on line at the SPU employment pages, to see what kind of education and experience requirements, and, also, income he could expect.  Since that job choice seemed to be an excellent first-job-out-of-college, but not likely a lifelong career, because of income limitations, we talked about where he might want to step from there.  An admissions counselor could have a degree in almost anything, but administration beyond that would likely require education that was directly relevant.  

He's now decided to major in Business with a marketing focus.  He will pursue employment or volunteer work around the college, and make connections for a possible job when he's finished.  Since money was still a concern, he decided to delay the start of his junior year until winter quarter.  For now he's working 2 jobs... One in the stockroom of a downtown retailer, and one as a 2-day per week nanny for 3 kiddos, ages 1 1/2 to 6.  His skills as excellent big brother and uncle come in handy there.  :-)

Forging a new path of his own in the Big City.
We can't keep up!!  :-)
I think he's really finding his own path, and has made some insightful and responsible decisions.  I'm sure he has a bright future, and it's great to see him excited about all of his plans now.

--Now, as his share of the apartment fit only bare necessities, CuddleBunny and I have our work cut out for us in spiffing up and making Inventive's abandoned room into CuddleBunny's special, new space.  It's not as good as having his big brother around, but the new focus helps.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Kiddos are Ringing my Neck

From when I was very young, I remember loving a ring my grandmother wore.  It was a simple design with 6 stones of different colors, mounted in a straight line.  Each stone represented each one of her children... my dad, my aunt, and my 4 uncles... using their birthstones.  So since I was little, I dreamed of having a ring like that.

I have kept my eyes open, and there are very few options on which to display 8 stones, especially anything with the simple, clean lines that I'd want to wear, and in a ring.  I began to consider other options.  One day, I think I'd like a ring that has 8 smallish diamonds, mounted in a row, to wear on top of my wedding ring stack.  But I'm not seeing anyone interested in buying me diamond jewelry anytime soon, so I decided it was time to gift myself.

Thanks to Bluff's Edge Handcrafted Jewelry, I found an answer.

Alicia, the designer/artisan/owner of Bluff's Edge, and I have never met, face to face, or even actually talked.  We have had written discussions through the Gardenweb Kitchen Forum and on email for years now.  I helped her by making drawings of her kitchen, discussing options, and giving opinions
(I always love to do that!) when she and her husband built their family home.  Like with a few others from the forum, we began to talk about our families and other aspects of our lives, and really feel like friends.

I was so excited for her (and a little envious) when I found out she was making jewelry, and was planning to start her own business.  

Source: Bluff's Edge Etsy Shop

When I saw a photo of the necklace she could personalize with special words or the names of loved ones, I contacted her and we started discussing a design for my own "mother's necklace." 

Source: Bluff's Edge Facebook photos

The original necklace she showed was a single ring with 4 words or names.  But she also had a double-ring design that wasn't personalized.  I decided I wanted a mix of the 2.

The 4 oldest princesses and princes are named on the top ring, and the younger 4 are on the ring that hangs below.  

Since I sang them all "I'll be Loving You Always," when they were babies, I had that inscribed on the back.  "I'll be loving you..." on the top ring, and "...Always" on the bottom.

I chose a long (30") chain for good scale and balance with the 2 ring-set, and a casual look I can wear everyday.  

It may sound pretty hokey, but I almost teared up putting it on for the first time.  

I find that I often hold the rings, and even thread my fingers through them.  I love wearing my kids around my neck and holding them in my hands throughout the day.  The day is just not quite right if I forget to put my necklace on!

There is a cool, custom, metal tag at the clasp,
and the items arrived in a very cute, custom gift box.

This Christmas I am going to try to stick to buying gifts made in the USA. Items from Bluff's Edge Jewelry would certainly fit the requirement, and be special and beautiful, too.  If you might be interested in a gift for a loved one (or yourself!), Alicia is already urging potential customers to order early.  She needs time to get all holiday orders done, while also preserving family time.  

Tell her RHome410 sent you!  --If you order, I don't get a cut,  I am just excited for Alicia and love my necklace!

I ordered these earrings from Alicia, too.
She showed copper ones with rust-colored stones or beads
on the Bluff's Edge Facebook page.  Since those aren't really my
colors, I asked if she could do silver with black.  They're wonderful!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

It Doesn't Get Any Easier

While Princess Bossy was home, we took the opportunity to get a group photo.  It wasn't the same without, Prince Helium, her husband, but we wanted to capture as many as we had while we had them!  In case you're wondering why we seem to have an extra face in the pics, we included a friend of the kids' who has become like a member of the family around here.

It was soon evident, that getting a good group shot doesn't get any easier as they get older, and they still get antsy after one or two clicks..."Are we done yet?"

After lots of fun and silliness,

we managed to get a couple that weren't too bad.

Back, left to right: CuddleBunny, Hubby, Bossy, Eager, me, Stoic, Sassy, Steadfast
Front, left to right: Go-for-It, Friend, Artiste with her PrinceNephew, Inventive

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