Who knew a Swiffer could be so much fun? My boys are running circles around the kitchen/dining/living room loop, chasing each other with the Swiffer, laughing, stomping and hooting, while periodically stopping to marvel, and insist I marvel, at the massive dust-bunnies they’ve accumulated.

Abby is toddling and wobbling around after them, as they continuously lap her, shreiking and giggling at the mayhem. She occasionally falls on her padded little bum, and picks herself immediately to rejoin the fun.

The windows are all thrown open to catch the cool breeze and damp air, remnants of a wild thunderstorm that blew through an hour ago. The edge is off the heat of the day, and the smell of honey, damp grass, sunlight, childhood and summer floats in the open panes.

On the kitchen counter sits a white enamel-ware bowl from the 30’s, filled to the brim with rosy, ripe cherries plucked from the tree in the kids’ great-aunt’s backyard. Just looking at it makes me happy. From lunch, Abby’s cheeks and fingers are stained with cherry-juice.

Happy summertime, indeed.

Reality Check

Recently, a good friend sat in my dining room and scolded me for not being able to gracefully receive a compliment. It’s true. I squirm, I deflect, and I feel so self-conscious I want to climb the walls when someone showers me with nice words.

There has been a whole lot of light and attention directed my way lately, mostly because of the flattering and unbeleivabley kind piece at Tales from the Crib, and again I find myself wanting to deflect attention and melt into the wallpaper.

My friend was right- she often is, and this is something I need to work on- but not today.

Thus, the same friend who scolded me about grace and compliments had a little wicked fun coming up with things I suck at- it was a blast! Here are a few; this is by no means a complete list!

  1. Computers. Yes, I blog- and have for almost two years now, but I didn’t even own a computer until two years ago. My idea of fixing a problem with the mechanical little demon involves beatings with a shoe and lots of naughty words. As a matter of fact, just last week I realized I could play music on this thing! Did you know that? Apparently the entire western world knows that, but not me.
  2. Gardening. Ugh. I hate it. Hate hate hate it. It probably doesn’t help that I’m allergic to the entire botanical encyclopedia, but there it is. My thumbs are black. What can I say. I hate itching, and sneezing, and I hate the endless-ness of gardening. I am plain bad at it. I have enough dirt in my life with 3 and 5 year old boys- no thanks.
  3. Once upon a time, I took a pottery class, and try as I might, with all my might, I simply could NOT get the dang clay to spin into a bowl, cup, or anything remotely resembling a vessel of any kind. This ticked me off. While there are things I suck at, usually artistic things come easily- it really bothered me that I couldn’t do this. I still can’t.
  4. My fuse is short, and burns hot. The only good thing is, it burns out quickly.
  5. Delegating. Ugh. I would rather not be in charge of anything, because I cannot delegate. Let me just be the rank and file while someone else calls the shots, because if I have to be the boss, I will try and do it all. It’s not pretty.
  6. Dancing. Oh, you have never seen anything so sad as me trying to keep a count and a tempo. It’s worse than Elaine. Really. I look at people who groove and move with grace and rhythm, and it’s like listening to someone talk Armenian. It’s pretty, but I have no idea how to make myself understand.
  7. Music. Oh, holy craptastic, this is the bomber. Singing, music, rhythm, tempo, time… The Good Lord shortchanged me here. Even my three-year old asks me to stop singing in the car, and will actually cover his ears in church and yell at me to STOP! Yes, I am totally serious. Music I adore, but never, ever ask me to contribute. You will be sorry.

So there. What do you suck at?

Dandelion Mama Giveaway

It’s gonna be a good one! 

Heads up, everyone… This month, courtesy of TftCarrie, I will be the featured mama-business at Tales from the Crib– and coupled with the mini-bio business profile, there will be a great give-away of custom made Tracy M. artwork.

If you’re interested, head on over there and enter your name in the drawing. Thanks!

The Piano, Unveiled!


It’s done! It’s done! It’s done! And here it sits, the way I always imagined it could look, in my living room.  It was way more work than I first thought, but it was also totally worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears.  Remember, it was black– with stain, years of grime and neglect. It was so bad someone actually put it out for the trash… and now it’s a gem.

Now I need to get a piano repair guy in here to fix the broken hammers ( I have them all) and give her a good tuning, and we’ll all be able to start our piano lessons.

We had an Elder come over one night who sat down and banged out a smashing, if slightly off-tune, rendition of Rhapsody in Blue, so it shouldn’t be too hard to bring the old lady back into usable condition. Even if She never holds a tune, I will never get rid of my beauty.

Here is a side shot of the wood, so you can see what quarter-sawn tiger oak looks like… lovely.


The Truth About Poop

If you have boy, or even a husband or brother or anyone of the male persuasion ((ok, even if you have a girl- we don’t need to pretend we aren’t just as fascinated (almost) about poop as the boys))- run, don’t walk, to Amazon and buy this book:


My kids have had more fun reading, re-reading and laughing their little bums off over all the seriously scientific facts you never knew you needed to know about poop.  It really is a cool collection of facts, and not at all potty-humor like some kids books about bodily functions. 

Consider these little factoids:

Did you know sharks poop in spirals? Did you know toilet manufacturers use fermented bean curd to test new toilets because it will, um, clog like the real thing? Did you know baby cockroaches can survive in times of famine by eating their parent’s poop? Beaver poop floats? Michealangelo rubbed donkey poop on some of his marble statues to make them look older?

See how much fun all that info is? How could you have made it through the day without knowing all that?

So that’s your book recommendation for the day- perhaps not my most intellectual choice, but certainly the most fun.

Now I’m off to work on the Beastly Piano some more….

Refinishing “The Piano”

Next project! Because I simply cannot not be doing something. Drives DH nuts. What can I say?

Anyway, right before DH and I were married, oh, eight years ago, we found this old piano out on the curb in my mom’s neighborhood. For the garbage. It took seven of us to push it back to my moms, but it’s been my piano ever since. I love it, despite my dear husband trying several times, in two moves, to put it back to the curb for the trashman, it has remained in our living room.

Until this move. I decided it’s finally time to fix the old beast up. Looking online, I found a great site on how to refurbish you antique piano, and have thus disassembled the beast and am in process of stripping over 100 years of varnish, grime and uck. The finish is the original, but the treasures I am finding as I strip it off are incredible.

It was stained an almost black-red, to mimic mahogany, the vogue wood of the turn of the century. Underneath all that darkness, is the most spectacular quarter-sawn red tiger oak you have ever seen. You cannot, at any price, get wood like this today. Beyond thrilled…

In the first shot, in my garage, you can see that I’ve taken it apart (I numbered the keys- let’s just keep Beanie away from them!) And below- just look at that harp- it’s dated 1889-Can you beleive someone actually put this out for the GARBAGE??

Yard Sales Rule!

Man, this totally rocks…! I had so much luck today- It’s already spread all over my house, but here is the take:

  • A vintage freestanding wooden framed blackboard, with blackboard and tray on both sides so two kids can use it at once. It is also printed with darling vintage pigs and squirrels, and the alphabet in upper and lower case. On both sides. $5.00
  • A totally vintage Royal typewriter, you know, the black kind that weigh a ton and have the keys with glass letters? Yup, one of those. The kids are having a ball on it already- for $3.00. Yes, that says three. It needs a ribbon.
  • A lime green Japanese umbrella of really high quality and design. The boys are having a blast playing with it, but it’s so nice I may confiscate it, for $3.00
  • A bundle of old brass picture frames with velvet backs and wavy glass, 25 cents.
  • An enamel-ware basin, white with the red stripe on top, for $4.00
  • An Acme old blue canning jar, with the glass lid intact. It’s  keeping my old creamery milk bottle company on the kitchen window sill… $1.00
  • A large, antique wooden picture frame, $3.00
  • A pile of hand crocheted doilies and cruelwork, $5.00
  • Two vintage crochet-edge and embroidered pillow cases for Abby, $3.00
  • A small basket
  • A box of vintage Christmas tree hooks made in the USA, they are so flippin’ big and thick- for 5 cents
  • And two books, Amy Tan’s “Saving Fish from Drowning” and that health book about You and being an owners manual. $2

The painting is coming along, too, with some changes. As soon as I get a little further, I will post another picture.