Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Things You Can Avoid by Blogging

  1. Laundry{trust me, it can wait}
  2. Bills {grace periods are there for a reason}
  3. Cleaning out the closet{what, are we giving tours now?}
  4. Dusting the blinds{you can flip 'em the other way}
  5. Interacting with your kids{not recommended, but a little "quiet reading" time never hurt anyone}
  6. Interacting with your dogs{just put your fav. flip flops out of reach}
  7. Interacting with your husband{there's always IM}
  8. Getting out of pajamas in the morning{don't knock it 'til you've tried it}
  9. Going to the gym{need I expand elaborate?}
  10. Feeding aforementioned kids, husband, dogs{don't worry, they'll remind you}
{Also works with facebook!}

I think I have a few things to do...
Thanks for stopping by; hope to see you back here soon!

I linked up with Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Community Project

The end of the school year came with a sigh of relief and great anticipation.  Not only would our schedules free up, the weather {hopefully} get warmer, but I had a project to do.  Perhaps my excitement over this project was amplified because it meant I could avoid the projects I didn't want to do, like cleaning and organizing the master bedroom closet.  Or getting ready for a garage sale.  This project is fun, with a cute, rewarding finish that everyone will see (I mean really, who am I going to show my closet success to?)  It also couldn't have been done a moment before school was over for the year.

Being a homeschool family, we can pick and choose our schedule.  We typically run an August to May/sometimes June school year.  This year, June 10th was the magic day.  We had a "T minus" countdown on our whiteboard.  We scurried to finish our Government packets & our Classic books.  We just quit math at the end of the book, which was incentive enough for my 6th grader to do four day's worth in a single morning.  In my head, though, I was counting down to Project: Refinish the School Table.

We have a sturdy, dependable farmhouse-style table that we use for school.  It's the kind with a light wood top and white legs.  Nothing fancy, but it meets our needs.  The thing is, we don't have a homeschooling room.  Well, technically, when you enter our house, you're in our homeschooling room.  Our whole front room is wall-to-wall bookcases, a piano, two reading chairs, and our school table.  Actually, our school stuff spills over into the dining room, too.  We have a bookshelf and large whiteboard in there, along with very utilitarian posters of US & World Maps and an ambitious Periodic Table of the Elements {maybe if we just display this, our kids will memorize it by proxy?} 

It took me a while at first, but eventually I gave up on trying to make my house a showpiece, and acquiesced to the realities of homeschooling: it's not always pretty.  But about a month ago, I was blurking on a design blog and I saw a gorgeous painted table this woman was using for a desk.  When I looked closer, I realized it was just a farm table, like mine!  She had painted an ordinary farm table and it looked super classy.  That was what I would do!  I could sand it down, paint it with leftover paint from one of our 562 paint cans in the garage!  It would even be free!  I could hardly wait to begin.

Our first official week off of school we all cleaned out the school area.  The kids have baskets in which they keep their individual books, papers, etc., and like any school locker or desk drawer they are usually pretty trashed by the end of the year.  Once everything was removed from under and on top of the table, I brought it out to the backyard to begin the sanding process.  All the kids helped.  {Thank you, kids!} 

We sanded for a full two days out on the grass, then moved the table up on the covered deck for more fine-tuned sanding and the first coats of paint.  I envisioned an antiqued beachy look, like this table had been through a lot and finally was at home in a little cottage by the sea.  I meticulously painted two base coats in White Sands, sanding between each one.  The kids helped with that, too. 

Next came two coats of Hidden Spring, a beachy-aqua shade. 

Then, some sanding and antiquing on the legs. 

It was really taking shape.  Finally, I was ready to finish the top of the table.  This would require extra smooth sanding and painting, so that it would still be a functional table for school.  The dust was flying!

We tried to warn Indy

He thought about moving

But then decided it wasn't worth the effort

We called to him, to get him to move
Really, we did

But he preferred to sit there and look mournful
Nobody does mournful like Indy

Helper Nick

(actually helper Allie's hand prints)

We were coming in to the home stretch.  Only the painting of the table top remained.  One coat White Sands.  Let dry.  Sand.  Second coat White Sands.  Before we could get to the "let dry overnight" stage, apparently Lucy felt the need to inspect my work.

Yeah, it was still wet. 

Yup, those are imprinted, not just muddy prints.
{Sarcastic Yay!}

So, I sanded again.  I couldn't get all the embedded outlines of paw prints out without taking off all the layers of paint and starting all over again.  My laziness and the realization that this could easily happen again even if I went through the trouble of re-doing it required me to let it go. I did want it antiqued, and the beauty of that is it's not perfect.  It has flaws.  These particular flaws will bring to mind the memory of the week we all worked on the table.  Hopefully, I will be able to laugh about it in the future more than I did when I first discovered it.

Somewhere around day four of this project, I mused out loud, "Wouldn't our forefathers think it was silly to work this hard to make something look old and weathered?"  Ken's sardonic reply came from across the yard, "I think it's silly to work that hard to make something look old."  {he later complimented the final result} 

In the end, the great thing about it is that we all worked on the table together, in some way or another.  I guess one could say it was a Community Project.

{First day of school 2009}


{sweet imperfection}

Folks, I am thrilled you stopped by today.  Thank you for taking the time to be a part of Two and a Half Dogs.  Here's wishing you satisfaction in whatever projects you're tackling this weekend.


Monday, June 20, 2011

A Father's Day Rewind

Welcome!  Did you Fathers have a good day yesterday?  Did you get what you wished for?  Here in our family Ken's long-standing wish, that his kids would get along, still stood.  Our kids said they would try very hard and they did.  We continued to prod for something that, say, we could get him from Target.  He didn't think for long before he declared, "Anything to make the house smell less like dogs."

So, the kids and I climbed into the truck and headed out for some Arm & Hammer carpet powder (great stuff!)  We continued with the theme and placed scented gel-like beads and candles into our basket.  As I was wandering the make-up isle, bewildered and dazed {I just need mascara, not 5,702 choices} my boys were on to small appliances.  They excitedly pulled me away to look at toaster ovens.  We are a big toast family, with a quirky toaster whose depressor button pops off when the toast pops up.  It is our version of Jimmy Stewart's newel post in It's a Wonderful Life. 

The toasters were not quite what we were looking for, plus I knew Ken could epoxy that button {he's a great fixer}  After the toasters were vacuums.  "We don't need a new vacuum"  I told the kids.  Even though ours is falling apart, we have replaced parts as needed and nursed it along for several years.  It is a good vacuum.  It does have some current maladies, but at its age, who wouldn't?  "Ooh, look mom - this one's a pet vacuum"  "Don't be silly, pet's can't vacuum!" (ba-dum-ching)   (collective eye roll)  "No, Mom, it's for pets.  It says it picks up pet hair way better than regular vacuums."  Huh.  I looked at the name: PET REWIND.  Well, that was practically his request verbatim. 

"I'm sure it doesn't work like they say - I'd need to read the reviews", I said.  But Nick, my handy-dandy technical kid helpfully replied, "It's okay, mom, they have wi-fi here.  I can look it up for you."  So he did.  The resounding theme of the reviews from people was that this vacuum sucked.  Literally.  People were saying how grossed out they were by the amount of hair and dander their old machines left and this machine picked up.  I stood there in the store and weighed my options.  I do not like to impulse buy - it almost always ends in regret.  In the end, three things made up my mind: 1) there was a sale, 2) I was tired, and 3) I wanted to go home.  I figured, it will be a great thought, even if we end up taking it back.

Sunday morning came, and Ken loved the thoughtful gifts.  He said how much he appreciated them all, and agreed with me that maybe we'd open the box carefully, so that we could take it back if need be.  {He was sure he could get some awesome deal on Craigs List on one of those old-timy commercial vacs}  We left the box unopened as we rushed off to church.  When we returned, the kids were the most excited.  They put the machine together with their dad, Norman Rockwell style.  {Look in the box for that piece, will you, son? / Swell, Dad!}   Then, they began to run the vacuum.  It lived up to every review... gross!  And I had just vacuumed the day before.  It got tons of hair & dirt, and no discernible carpet fibers.  It really lived up to its name. 

Perhaps the best part of getting a new vacuum was the Tom Sawyer-style creation of desire to do manual labor.  The kids were all clamoring over who got to vacuum what part of the house.  Ken was laying claim to the stairs, declaring it part of his Father's Day gift.  What had I done?  This was the best gift ever
{I wonder what we can get him for Christmas?}

Look!  It's a little Indy!

Purely awesome.

I received no payment or product for this post. 
Hoover, Arm & Hammer, and Target have no idea who I am. 
This is just me, gushing about stuff we love here at THD.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Capt'n, I Don't Know How Much More She Can Take

A thick, Lowland Scottish voice is echoing in my head;
"Capt'n, I don't know how much more she can take!" 

Today, Indy thought it somehow belittling that the little dog claims the trampoline as her territory.  He was, after all, here first.  Ergo the yard is more his than hers.  Simple sibling birth-order logic.  So he hauled his 100 pound keester up onto the trampoline and began to bark.  He barked for attention, barked to boast his accolade, barked to reclaim this springy part of his yard.

{This from the dog who looks mournfully up at you when tasked with hopping into the back of the truck.}

Jack doesn't seem to be as bothered by the "neener, neener, neener" aspect of it all.  I think the effect of the trampoline may have scared him off.  It's wavy and unstable.  Rather like water.  Jack is not a fan of water.  The genes responsible for letting him know he is a Labrador, and Labradors love water, must have been on extended hiatus.

Here's hoping the weekend is less turbulent, and the trampoline net holds out.
If not, I suppose it will make for an interesting read. 
As always, I'm so glad you took time to stop by.


Monday, June 13, 2011

A Weekend to Cherish

{Here's the other, BIG DOG, half of our first weekend in June.  Missed Lucy's adventures? 
Click here to read, No Thanks, I'll Have the Chicken}

Grandpa's Petunias

While Lucy was feasting on catered food, the rest of us at Two and a Half Dogs piled in the Truck and took off for The Ranch.  The Ranch is where my mom grew up, where we found Lucy, and where The Legacy began. 

Jack is funny about car trips.  He is a great traveling dog, always up for a ride.  It could be the vet, the park, the beach, or The Ranch.  He seems to have a "happiness meter" that begins on excited and increases the farther away we get from home. 
  • Phase one: could be the park.  I like the park {happy} 
  • Phase two: could be the vet.  He has treats.  I like treats.  Plus, it's a longer trip {blissful} 
  • Phase three:  we're farther than the vet, so it could be the BEACH!  I love the beach!  Well, except for the water.  But I love the beach! {ecstatic} 
  • Phase four:  I smell... I smell.. orchards!  dirt!  canals!  It's The Ranch! {euphoric} 
{Jack really likes car trips.}

Indy has a meter of his own regarding car trips.  It is a mental state apparently stuck on one phase: kill me now.  His begins and ends with:  We're moving.  Does anyone else realize we're moving?!? I don't like moving.  {miserable}  Poor thing... he loves the destination, but can't stand the journey.

It was a destination weekend full of family, friends, and furry companions.  We were blessed with about 40 friends and family gathering together from miles away to celebrate life in the form of a baby shower.  There must have been something in the water at the last reunion, because three babies were anticipated in as many weeks.  Two cousins were very much still pregnant, and one had a new week-old baby to show and tell.  Mmmmm, baby fix!  {beautiful, sweet, baby fix!}  Also in attendance were seven dogs.  Seven, folks!  All the cousins' canine friends were along for the ride, and miraculously, our dogs didn't spaz out - too much.  In fact, all the dogs got along.  There was a pleasant, relaxed feeling that settled over all creatures present.

I kept hearing from others at the shower whose words echoed my own sentiments, "This is such a special gathering."  It was special.  My grandparents are both 91 years old.  They are, from their perspective, winding down.  To others looking in, they're still going amazingly strong.  My grandpa was out before the guests arrived, planting petunias.  He wanted things to look nice for the guests and for my grandma.  He made sure to plant the tallest, largest blooms he could within view of her reading chair.  And although he {finally} accepted my help carrying and filling the watering can, by golly, he was going to plant the plants himself! 

I think the timing of the weekend's visit was providential.  Everyone got a chance to make the rounds and say their "hellos".  Introductions to the newest family members were made, including {tiny} baby Dane, and cousin Sara & Sam's rescue dog, Hope.  Unspoken goodbyes lingered in hugs and behind smiles.  Through it all, there wasn't a hint of bittersweet, as one might imagine.  It was purely sweet.  The family, from the oldest Nonogenarians (had to Google that one!) down to the yet-to-be-born great-grandkids, gathered in accord.  You could practically feel the Legacy being carried on.   It was a weekend to cherish.

~Family Album~
June 2011
Baby Dane's foot.

Meet Hope!  This is cousin Sara & Sam's rescue dog. 
We think she looks like a Jack/Lucy love child.

She is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met.

Linus, Hope, and Trixie
The jig is up.
They see the treats I brought to bribe them with.

Hope & Linus, sniffing out the treats in my hand.
Linus is an impeccably trained, good boy.

I don't think he eats between meals.
Probably doesn't have junk food, either.

Auntie Heather spoils him.
Hello, gorgeous!

Here's Trixie

She's the Nana of the group.
{now Hope's trying for those treats}

Linus & Trixie.
Got any more?

Jack, Hope & Shadow
Hey, you got treats?

Shadow, our gentle host. 
He may have helped Grandpa plant petunias too.

Callie was a bit shy & helped out in the kitchen.
Beautiful & smart girl!

Trixie, Hope, and Indy.
{and Grandpa's Petunias}

Linus is still posing, in case Auntie has any more treats
Jack and Indy are beat!

~Sharin' the Love~

The End