Friday, September 30, 2011

Trying to be Crafty

I'm not a naturally crafty person.  I want to be.  I see the clever and lovely things that many of my friends can pull together and think, wow, I want to be able to do that.  But, after being at the office all day, and taking care of the boys, my time and energy are usually wiped out.

Aside:  Last night my oldest said to me: "Mommy, I love you you so much that I want you to be able to do everything for me.  Because I love you and I know you love me!"  All I'd asked him to do was put on his shoes.

So there isn't always a lot of energy left to be crafty.  But I still want to be able to make things myself.   If the project is simple and straightforward, I can sometimes pull something together.  And when I do, it's a cause for a little personal celebration.

So, since we've moved I've managed to do about 2 little projects.  They both make me smile.

I made a yarn wreath.  Talk about easy!  Except for my battle with the hot glue gun, this was a breeze, and I love it on our front door.

The wreath was fun to make, so tonight I'm breaking out the glue gun again to make a candy corn wreath.

The bigger project I did, that I'm sure caused DP to panic was repainting a dresser.  I didn't take a before shot of this, but this was an old dresser that used to belong to a neighbor of ours in Collinsville.  Originally it was a bright white, shiny thing with gold trim.  The bottom drawer pull broke, and was on the verge of being thrown out.

But, I've read enough DIY blogs to know that it could be saved.  And I think I saved it!

The picture makes it look more baby blue than it is--it's more a greenish blue in real life.  The bottom drawer pull is still missing.  When I went to Hobby Lobby they didn't have any in stock that were the size I needed that I liked. So until I find some the right size, I spray painted the 2 long pulls, and got new drawer pulls for the top.  I love these:

Now that I know I can do this, I have two other pieces of furniture that are next up for repainting.  Can't wait to tackle those!  

So that is a little peak into my attempt to be crafty.  Thanks to Pinterest and other sites, I have a whole host of projects in mind that I want to do soon.  And, I'm going to find the energy to do them!

The Bo-Bo's Adventures

Overheard while the boys were hiding under the living room rug--

Connor: The toast is not clear, Buby!"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What If

Looking at the news today, I came across this article, Feds: Mass man planned to blow up Capitol, and was reminded of another difference between living and working in DC vs. living in St. Louis. 

After 9/11, everything changed--not just in DC.  But in DC, the mindset was different.  In the 10 years since 9/11, DC became accustomed to increased security--the jersey barriers that were there in the days and weeks after 9/11 were replaced with permanent, more "attractive" barriers.  It became the norm to hear about buildings/areas being evacuated because of a "suspicious" package, or alerts when a plane veered into restricted airspace. DC is used to, if that's possible, being a place that is a target.

But, life has to go on.  You adapt and adjust to the "new normal."  Pre-9/11, I was able to take my nightly walk up and around, and all over the Capitol building--right up the steps and around the building if I was so inclined.  No more.  Capitol Hill police and barriers prevent that now.  The "new normal" also involves a nagging thought--what if something happens again?  What if?

Mostly, I didn't dwell on the what if's.  Mostly.  Because you can't be paralyzed by fear.  You have to keep living.  Then I had my sons.  I wasn't working on Capitol Hill like I was on 9/11, but I was in Downtown DC.  And my boys were in pre-school across the river in Arlington.  What if something happened and I needed to get to them?  The what if's didn't cross my mind often, but it didn't take long to have a contingency plan formed in the back of my mind in case they materialized. 

If something happened, I knew that getting in the car and driving across the bridge to get to my boys wasn't going to be an option.  DC traffic on a good day is a mess.  The Metro probably wouldn't have been an option either.  So, I come to the conclusion that if something devastating happened and I needed to get to my boys, #1, nothing was going to get in my way; and #2, I would have to walk (or run).  So I was prepared to grab a pair of comfy shoes (from the 8-9 pairs I had under my desk) and hit the road through Georgetown, across the Key Bridge, and up Wilson Blvd. to my boys. It would have been about 3 miles, and walking/running would have been a lot faster than trying to drive.

Thankfully, those what if's haven't materialized.  And I'm grateful for that.  And I pray that for my friends and family that still live and work in DC that they never materialize (especially for my sister who works on the Hill).  As I sat in my office today I realized that the what if's aren't as significant here.  Granted, you never know when or where anything devastating is going to happen.  But I feel a whole lot better knowing that the what if's are quieter here. 


St. Louis is out of their minds excited this morning.  After a wild wildcard race, they beat the Houston Astros 8-0 last night to clinch a spot in the playoffs.  It's a given that St. Louis will be a sea of red, happy fans today!  Go Cards!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spectator Sport

Here we are on Sept. 27, the end of the 2011 Fiscal Year for our government rapidly approaching.  The pit of my stomach tells me I should be anxious....I should be planning out strategies for calming clients through what it sure to be an up and down Congressional budget process for a good part of the fall/early winter.  But wait.  When I look out the window from my office building, I don't see the DC landscape anymore.  I see the Arch!!  Deep breath of peace.  I now get to enjoy politics as a hobby...a spectator sport where I know enough about the process to know that it's not over til its over (and over probably won't be until the very last second).

While the Congress is supposed to pass and send 13 appropriations bills to the President each year to fund the federal government, it's been well over a decade since that has been done in regular order (read: on-time).  So, because Congress won't settle down and pass the bills, we get to experience the Continuing Resolution (CR) game again.  How many CR's will it take this year to get an Omnibus (a legislative vehicle that contains all or multiple appropriations bills) passed?  Here's a nice little chart that shows the number of CR's that have been needed since FY 2000.  I have some theories on why it's started taking so many CR's (and frankly so long to get anything done in DC) but that's for another post.

Realistically, there will be at least a couple of CR's this year--but rather than enacting multiple short-term (a few days, a week) CR's, it looks like they'll be practical and pass a longer term CR that runs into November.  This way, they can maybe (maybe) focus on getting the Omnibus done, without constantly having to stop and dicker over the next CR. 

So now, Congress can keep on arguing about offsets, disaster funding, energy loans, etc.  And I can enjoy it all from 825 miles away. 

The Day the Whimsy Died

St. Louis learned some sad and shocking news yesterday.  Bob Cassilly, the creator and genius behind the City Museum was killed in an accident on the site of his latest project in North St. Louis.

The City Museum is without a doubt one of St. Louis' most unique and entertaining places to visit.  Plan to spend hours, plan to be over-stimulated, and most of all, plan to have fun.  I think that's what Bob Cassilly would want.

Apples and Apple Jacks

One son eats Apple Jacks, the other eats an apple.  This pretty well sums up their food preferences.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are real people more important than the Internet?

Apparently 40% of college students don't think so. According to the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report,  40% of college students said that the Internet is more important to them than going out with friends, dating, or listening to music. Really? You'd rather spend your time with a piece of technology over talking with, laughing with, enjoying time with a real person? I appreciate the Internet-it's useful and fun and I have to use it a lot but it's no substitute for real interaction with real people.

With the way technology and the Internet are taking over, I won't be surprised to see that percentage increase in the future. But I'll be teaching my sons that's it's more important to be present in real life than to be looking to the Internet as an integral part of their lives.

Sports Anxiety

St. Louis is a GREAT sports town but lately everywhere you turn in St. Louis there is anxiety over the areas teams. The Cards are one game back in the wild card race with three games to play. Can they do it? Albert Pujols might have played his last night in town as a Cardinal. Will he stay with the team (and town) that loves him so much? Will Mizzou stay with the Big 12 or will they be the next team to flee to another conference? And the Rams...wait, never mind, they aren't causing anxiety, just disappointment.

As for the Cards, Pujols, and Mizzou-the suspense is killing us! Make up your minds already!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Drink and Dance

The Roaring Twenties have always captured my attention,  Early on, beginning in high school, and then in college, and then when I had ample discretionary time to read (i.e. before kids) I found that I really enjoyed the literature of that generation.  Maybe the spark came because my mom had a lot of these writers on her bookshelf.  I spent a lot of time pouring over the titles on her that stretched from the floor to the ceiling.  One day, I'll have a room like that. 

Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Roundtable anyone?  Gertrude Stein and the ex-pats? Sinclair Lewis, Edna Ferber, Katherine Anne Porter, Fitzgerald.  Loved them.  (Ok, I've never cared for Hemingway, but no matter).

Drink and dance and laugh and lie, Love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we shall die, but alas, we never do.

So I perked up this morning when I read about the new Ken Burns documentary titled "Prohibition."  It starts next Sunday evening and runs for three nights.   Prohibition went into effect in 1920, and lasted for 13 years.  According to the article, the documentary is divided into three parts, covering the years leading up to prohibition, the years of prohibition when the laws were skirted (or willfully disregared) and finally, the move toward repeal.

As a great beer town, St. Louis' own Anheuser Busch plays a role in the film. AB managed to not only stay in business through the 13 years of prohibition, but came out to thrive.  The film shows clips of the famous Clydesdales delivering a case of beer to the White House.  Great stuff.

As an aside, I did find it funny that the St. Louis Post had as the lead article on the Sunday section known as the "Grand Parenting Pages" a story about "Prohibition" focusing on it as the "Great Experiment."  Ken Burns is quoted as describing St. Louis as the "capitol of beer in the United States."  Why the article was focused on the Grand Parents pages, who knows. I can't find the online link, or I'd post it here.

I'm looking forward to seeing this--though I'll probably need the help of the DVR!  It starts next Sunday night at 7 pm and runs for three nights.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Learning to be a Soccer Mom

My life as a soccer mom has just begun...and I love it!  I'm that mom on the sidelines yelling and cheering the whole time...Go CHARGERS!  But, I'm not alone.  It's fun to see the other parents excited about the game and watching every second.  These games are nail-biters!  We'll be chatting on the sidelines, but the second the kids start heading for what could be...might just be...please, please let it be a goal...Well, all conversation comes to a halt so that we can cheer them on.  And, as has unfortunately been the case, the Chargers haven't had many goals this season.  2 to be exact.  The first goal was scored by MY baby(!!) during the first game.  Goal number two came today thanks to the tenacity and swiftness of Sal--this kid knows how to move the ball.

#5, that's my boy!

Get in there Christian!

This was the beginning of a good drive by #5

GO!!! You've almost got it!

Keep going!  But it wasn't meant to be.

The kids from Holy Redeemer are used to winning.  Christian does not like to lose. (this is a photo you need to enlarge to see the expressions on the Holy Redeemer kids)

 What about Connor?  He started the game off with a hot dog, then found some friends and headed to the playground.  His day on the soccer field will be here very soon.

Now, we're home, the boys were so tired they went down for naps without a fuss.  Soccer Saturdays are good.

Hanging on for the ride

Life is made up of so many things...some predictable, others, not so much.  Lately, I've been on a roller coaster ride--the roller coaster being of the most stomach-churning kind that leads to constant prayers that it will end soon.  Pray without ceasing anyone?  Oh yes.

At any rate, with all that we're experiencing being newly home in St. Louis, I've decided to finally take the leap into writing a blog.  Four months ago, my family and I were living and working inside the Beltway of DC.  At the time, I had no idea what was in store for us.  Then before I knew it, I was leaving behind nearly 12 years in DC to come home to St. Louis. When I moved to DC, it was just me.  Now I'm coming home (happily!) with my sweet boys and husband. It's remarkable how life moves. 

It's been a fast, hectic, often stressful, and wonderful number of weeks since we arrived in St. Louis in early August.  Now, while the roller coaster is moving faster and steeper, we're seeing some signs of normal life taking shape.  There's so much about being home that feels perfect...right...meant to be.  We're also living the insecurity...uncertainty....nervousness that comes with any new endeavor.

But, the sun is shining.  And God is good. 

Welcome to our adventures as we settle in at home in St. Louis.