Posts Tagged ‘simplicity’

This sign is simple and declares a simple act of kindness. #positivity

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Younger son and I went for a lovely walk in the park in a few weeks ago.  We had a wonderful time exploring the butterfly garden and the park.  And the old cliche is true, a picture, or in this case a slideshow, is worth a thousand words.

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Quests.  I’ve written of them before and I am sure I will write of them in the future again.  Tonight, gentle reader, I write again of achieving simple quests as a part of simplicity and grace.  Challenges come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes you face really large ones and other times the quest is comprised of many little ones, gathering force from the quantity of them.

Work can provide plenty of challenges.  At this time of year, for me, it’s the sheer quantity of tasks that need to be completed yesterday that create quests.  Quests to finish even one task in one sitting!  Doesn’t ever happen but one can aspire to have that happen.  These quests are seasonal and will return again next fall.

The quests at home are more fun at the moment.  We are still working on the K’Nex.  It’s gigantic.  We have about 95 steps left till it’s complete.  It’s a quest with an end in sight and it’s fun.  The boys and I do a few steps every few days or so and we’re enjoying the journey…just as they’ll enjoy playing with it once it is finished.

A quest that seems to have connected with my sons is keeping up with their rooms.  It’s exciting!  They also have been helping with the other parts of the house.  Granted, younger son created a little village of fear in the living room today.  As I pulled into the driveway he was heading into the shed.  I asked what he was doing and he said he needed more Halloween decorations.  We compromised on using some decorations from the attic.  He even asked if he could keep it set up for a couple of days till he was done constructing it.  Then we’d take pictures and he would take it down.

As we closed the shed he asked if he could me with anything from the car.  I beamed.  I hugged him.  I misted up just a bit that he asked.  He carried in one my bags and reminded me that he is really strong so he could carry an even heavier one.

Simple events, each one.  And each filled my heart with grace.  Remember–life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.  Lennon was right.  Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while you could miss it.  Bueller was right too.

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This evening my sons filled me up with joy which is exactly what I needed when I got home.  Younger son is having a rocking time in second grade.  He has wonderful stories each day about “all the learning” he did.  He spoke excitedly about math class today and read me a chapter from a Goosebumps book.  Then we talked about family and ended with tickling as I tucked him into bed.  He loves to be tickled and I love the way he giggles.

Older son is having a very “serious” start to the fourth grade.  He is rather focused on being a studious young chap.  He asks questions with a more mature tone now about managing friendships and navigating the social aspects of school.  It is interesting to watch him shift to a pre-teen framework.  New things are taking priority in his mind’s eye, not just girls, but schoolwork, music, and television shows.  His own social strata is forming (that I will be allowed in for now).

Younger son has also determined he is afraid of the dark.  I’m not buying it.  It’s another reason to come back out of his room in his never-ending attempt to delay falling asleep.  Then he bats his long, dark eyelashes at me, sure that will get me to cave.  It didn’t.  He’s still just as adorable as he does it, but I know that game.  Still, he’s been going to bed earlier which means he falls asleep earlier.  Some nights he’s plumb tuckered out and falls asleep as quickly as older son does.  Tonight I could fall asleep as quickly as older son.  Just waiting to hear younger son’s snores echoing down the hall.

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Time disappeared.  I escaped into a little time warp where technology took a backseat and life slowed down for a little bit.  The family and I spent some time together doing nothing in particular and some special stuff too.

Then somehow it was the beginning of the school year.  A fourth grader and a second grader start school on Thursday.  I start teaching tomorrow.  There was a shift this year though.  My focus has remained on my sons.  I haven’t neglected prepping for my class, and I think tomorrow will go well.  But the majority of my preparations have been for my sons.  Older son is excited to have a locker this year and feels he has made great strides in not talking as much as he used to talk.  Younger son is worried that the boy who spread a rumor about him last year will make his life miserable again this year.

Why do six year old boys spread rumors that another six year old boy poops his pants?  Do they not realize that the boy will carry that memory from first grade all the way through turning seven and moving up to second grade?  Younger son is uber focused on that instead of  school.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the past two weeks building his self-esteem and reminding him that he does not in fact poop in his pants so he has nothing to worry about.

At least he hasn’t remember when the toilet overflowed in the kindergarten restroom after he was done in there.  If he does, he may never return to school.  Here’s hoping that second grade is smoother for the little dude.

And I’ll wager older son will get busted for talking in class by the second week of school.  Just call him Verbal Kint.

Oh, how I love my sons.

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Over the summer I spent time thinking about the simple joys.  A friend asked about our bathrobes.  The boys each have their own-younger son’s robe is black with grey skulls…very him.  Hubby and I gave robes to each other as presents early on in our relationship.  Oldest son has a red and black robe.  They are all soft and cuddly.  And they all keep a person from being naked.  A robe’s purpose is simple.  I had never given thought to the idea of all the comforts a robe brings to a person.  Like I said, keeps you from being naked after a shower.  But layered over pajamas and it makes you warm and cuddly when you need it.  When you are sick, lying around all day in your robe is about the best thing you can do.  Out of work?  Walk around with your robe over your clothes, just makes you feel better.  It’s a great part of your wardrobe that you may have taken for granted.  This friend didn’t have a robe.  He does now.  After we gave it to him (early birthday present), he wore it all weekend.  He gets the simple joys of a robe.

I have friends and coworkers that have summer homes.  Many times they share stories about the fun times they have at these places.  Other times though, they simply talk about all of the work involved in maintaining the summer houses.  Now I am not fortunate enough to own a summer home.  I hope if I ever get to that point, I will remember what I just wrote…fortunate enough to own a summer home.  If I feel like I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the upkeep, I’ll remember just to rent a summer house.  In the meantime, hubby and I have taken to calling our screened-in gazebo the “summer home”.  Very little upkeep involved here.  Put it up in the spring, take it down in the fall.  Any moments spent in our backyard at the “summer home” are wonderful.  The boys use it a fort.  Simple-poles, screen, and some plastic yard chairs but the immediate feel of a summer home.  It captures the essence of a summer place which is simply a different place than normal.

I accomplished a “Trading Spaces” type remodel to youngest son’s bedroom.  He walked in when I was almost done and he had such joy on his face.  The part I enjoyed was adding the simple details.  A picture from camp tape to the side of his bookshelves so he can see it each morning.  A sheep with wool that his Nana gave out in his class last year taped above the picture.  These are some of the things that are clearly important to this seven-year-old since he’s kept track of them for longer than a week.  I tried to see the room from his point of view.  He still liked how it is painted (the shark from Jaws on one wall, hammerheads, giant squid, jellyfish, octopus on the other walls).  He just wanted it to feel like he had more space to play.  We got him a futon and he loves it.  Rearranged the dresser, desk, and shelves and he feels like he has a brand new room.  I’m doing the same for oldest son.  The simple catch is they have to keep it clean as this is the last time I’ll do an overhaul like this (at least till they are teenagers-which isn’t that far away).  So the simple task for me is to teach maintenance.  I get to be the mean mommy and help them remember to tidy as they go.

We finally got a game system.  One simple joy of an X-Box is bowling.  We laughed and laughed and got lots of strikes and gutters.  Younger son is really good at boxing and this makes me glad it is a video game and only the avatar got hurt!  Still, after playing with X-Box for an hour, the boys asked to play a game of Scrabble.  I’m glad I have an old board that has wood tiles.  I heard the wood tiles have gone the way of the dodo.

Finally, a simple joy I keep summoning up to my mind’s eye is hubby teaching the boys how to skip stones.  Does summer and life get any better than that?  I don’t think so.

Enjoy the simple joys.



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Queen of Crap

I am a horrible person.  I am constantly in a pissy mood because of the packrat nature of my husband and sons yet the massive piles I contribute to the house are equal.  I am so tired of having a house that makes me feel ill.  I’ll make some steps toward simplicity and then I just slide right back into old habits. Or I’ll tell myself I’m too tired to deal with them.  Inevitably when I do deal with them, everything in the pile is obsolete.  Why then do I keep them?

The only place I’ve gotten a pattern with is the attic.  About every six months I go up there and pull out boxes and bags to donate or discard depending on what is in them.  Why can’t I do the same with the piles?  Except not every six months…more like every week.  In some ways I’m very organized, but in others I am a total mess.  It makes me feel very sad.  It makes me not want to look at this amazing home we have.  I walk through it with blinders on because I don’t want to see it.

I want to enjoy my house.  I want to not be embarrassed when someone pops in to say hello.  I don’t want to be the Queen of Crap.

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whatever I’d like to do.  It’s odd.  I’ve haven’t had this much on my hands in years.  I do not want to fritter it away however, so I need to focus myself and find something purposeful to do with all this time.

Hubby and I have begun discussing sprucing up the laundry room.  We need to clean and then seal the walls, finish the top half of the walls, and do something with the floor.  Then the fun part is painting it.  I think I’ll pick a very funky color for the room.  It’s one of the rooms you can have a lot of fun in because one has to make laundry fun and exciting.  While we’re at, we can seal the lower half of the walls in the family room and lay down the new floor boards.  The frame of the floor is fine, it just has terrible floorboards.

I also want to paint the upstairs.  Not the boys’ rooms, they’ve been painted several times.  The bathroom’s been done twice too.  I want to paint our bedroom.  And the hallway, living room, dining room, and stairway walls.  This means of course I get to pick COLORS!!!!!

I have no clue about any of the rooms yet except our bedroom.  I’m planning a lovely jewel-tone in the blue family.  I’ve already found the new bedding to go with it.  I have some paint chips and will narrow down the choices.  Then once that’s done, we’ll figure out the rest of the upstairs.  By we, of course I mean me with some mice.

I need to choose carefully about the living room because very soon we will have to replace the furniture.  I’m thinking I’ll pick something in the espresso family because in theory that could hide the boys’ messes.  I keep thinking of spices for the living/dining room colors and then a bright vibrant color for the hallway.

I need to make these choices and then make my timeline so I don’t fritter away my time to do whatever I want to do with my family.  Some home improvement projects are always a good idea.

Happily it’s been too hot to weed!

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Well, well, well, gentle readers.  I had a wonderful weekend.  We did so many things together yet nothing with a stringent schedule.  We just were together and doing things that made us happy.  Friday night Hubby and I went to a wedding and had good times, good times with family and friends.  The boys had their yard sale on Saturday morning.  Most of the money they made was because people thought it was sweet that young boys were having their own yard sale.  We put up the screen-gazebo and bought some new chairs for enjoying the outside with-happily they were even made in America.

We played air hockey, we went to church, we went to the baseball picnic.  We cuddled, we talked, we shared dreams.  The peace of the weekend was lovely.

Topic of the sermon on Sunday was about the idea of peace and being still.  As I wrote a few posts ago, peace comes in chaos.  Focus has been given to finding those moments of peace and it makes each day happier.  Humor also helps each day and this evening we were having fun with grammar.  My kind of fun!

I did throw my back out.  In my 41 and a half years I have never thrown my back out.  I attribute that to going to the chiropractor since I was 12.  Irony is oozing over this situation for me since I just celebrated ten years of marriage to my chiropractor.  Hubby was rubbing my feet last night and I fell asleep on the couch.  When I woke up at 5am to the joyful strains of the Brady Bunch, I got up to go to bed.  I grabbed the hand towels, the last bit of laundry in one of the baskets, and headed toward the bathroom.  I opened the door to the linen closet and bent slightly to place the towels on the shelf and out went my back.  The towels were the straw that threw out the camel’s back.

We had put up the gazebo, rearranged the family room, did multiple loads of laundry, and made several trips up and down the attic stairs.  My back said enough.  It hurt on the way to work, all day at work, and then on the ride home from work too.  Hubby worked on it and I’ll be taking some Advil PM.  I’ll stick some ice packs on it as I drift away to slumber land.

The moment of peace in this?  My sons making a date with me for tomorrow night to watch the newest Adventure Time on demand.  Youngest son asked me for the date and he acquiesced to letting oldest son join us.  Slumber land will be filled with sweet dreams of peaceful summer evenings.


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The man was rocking last night.  You can’t even add the qualifier, for a man in his 70s, because it don’t matter what his age, Neil Diamond was rocking.  I think he’s lowered the key for some of his songs, but he always had a deep voice.  It was a great show, just as great as the shows I’ve seen over the past 30 years.

30 years.  How did that happen?  In looking back through those 30 years, looking at it from how many Neil concerts I attended, puts an interesting perspective on where I am in my life.  He’s been a constant in my relationship with my mom.  Mothers and daughters all have ups and downs, shifts in the normal of their relationships as each role changes over the years.  But through all of the shifts my mom and I have gone through, we have always had Neil Diamond and the concerts as a touchstone.

The song I love the most is “Beautiful Noise”.  It just makes me smile and think about the good things in life.  During our lunch I would try to explain to Neil that the lyrics in the song remind me of so many stages of life.  I also love the rhythm to the song.

“Like the clickety-clack of a train on the tracks.”

“What a beautiful noise coming up from the park.  It’s the song of the kids and it plays until dark.”

My family is my beautiful noise.  The sound of us eating dinner at the dining room table.  The sound of the boys playing in their room or at the park or in the backyard.  That beautiful noise is one I try to keep floating around in my head to remind me of where my energies belong.  I need, want, to spend my energy on my family.  I don’t want to waste any of it on petty situations that arise in my life.  I try to remember that this too shall pass, whatever “this” I’m facing in a day.

Life is full of many beautiful noises if I don’t fill my ears with idle chatter and clatter.  This photo is a visual representation of a beautiful noise for me.  It is Neil in there, you just have to look at it from the abstract.

I enjoyed savoring the music last night, the energy of the crowd that had come together to enjoy the many decades of beautiful noises created by Neil Diamond.


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