another mom balancing faith, family, friends, work & life with coffee

Phase 1—kind of complete* July 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:22 AM

*not a reference to NFP

It’s been 6 years this May that we’ve been in our house.  One of the things I loved about this house when we bought it was the move-in ready appeal.  The paint worked for me (mostly, I can live with the bathrooms but that will change at some point) and everything else was in decent shape and workable for our family.

Fast forward 6 years and we have put together a list of Renovation phases which will update the house and give our not-so-little chickens some space to spread their wings a bit.  Of course, all things and phases are subject to change and drag out due to necessity and finances, however……Phase 1 is almost complete!

Our growing teens and their differing schedules fairly “necessitated” adding a 4th bedroom.  “Need” is a strong word, but when you have 2 full-grown 6 footers angling for space in their 10x12ish room, waking each other on late entry/early exit, sleep-talking, etc… was getting ugly, and so…we decided that we can live with ONE living room (gasp) and turn the other into a bigger bedroom for the girls to share and let the boys separate.  One word:  BLISS.

As a secondary result, we pulled down 2 decorative little walls and pulled down ALLLLLLLLLL the old pictures from the attic and hung them.  All Pinteresty-like.  (one of my dear friends shares my joy in purging so I know she will appreciate the 2 storage boxes of donated picture frames AND a full garbage bag of broken frames)  Of course, my Hubby will say I don’t really like to purge mostly because we have a different method of purging….he just tosses stuff into bags and hauls to the curb, meanwhile, I like to painstakingly separate and pick through to purge.  Granted, mine is a long and painful process, but when it’s purged, it is purged.

this is only half the mess...the other half on the floor  *not pictured*

this is only half the mess…the other half on the floor *not pictured*

Personally, I love it.  It was worth all the hours....

Personally, I love it. It was worth all the hours….

Today, our house-wide window install begins on our 1970s aluminum frame, single pane windows.  Which, when complete, will seal Phase 1.  Hallelujah!!

And so, with 3 days off work, I must go and tackle the ever-growing and modifying “To-Do” list.

Happy Monday!!


Channeling my inner Pinterest July 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:23 AM

Which is truly not my gift.  I have a mother, sister and friends who are incredibly talented and can just look at a blank wall, room, furniture and work it in no time flat to be completely Pinterestable.  yep not me.  That goes for scrapbooking as well.  However, I am here to tell you that I am a total Pinterest plagiarizer (and scrapbooker, too).  I am not too proud to steal ideas.  And with a weekend full of predicted sogginess it is a great time for me/us to finish up the living room/dining room/girl’s room.  I have a boatload of pictures to wade through and drag down from the attic and figure out who I am going to put where.  I’m a little excited and overwhelmed.

My Pinspiration and photo credit HERE!!

My Pinspiration and photo credit HERE!!

So, in the meantime, I have finished up the last of the painting, started washing sheets, surfed the internet, drained the coffee pot and jammed to Pandora and I am slowly procrastinating my way out of going in the attic to drag down those pictures.

But first, let me check out one more shark video on YouTube………………………………..

So, wish me luck.  Pictures to eventually follow of the befores/afters!


Might as well blog…. July 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 3:03 PM

Last weekend while I was enjoying Charleston with several hundred beautiful ladies not cooking dinner, refereeing “discussions” or washing dishes, my Hubby started a little reno project (the first of the whole house).  We turned our 2nd living room into a 4th bedroom with a temporary wall, knocked down 2 half-walls (decoration only, not weight bearing), added a door, switched 3 rooms of furniture around and we’ve been working on it all week.  (just to be clear, when I say “WE”, it is the collective we….mostly my Hubs and his handy-friend Bob)  Today is adding moulding, missing tile pieces, and (hopefully) completing the girls’ room set-up.    It’s going to be much better with all these big kids spreading out a bit more, but right now…..  This very second.  I am hiding.  In my room with the cat.  The pictures against the wall, 1/2 beds all over the house, random furniture that will be given or thrifted away, dust, noise and the general unsetteled ness is a bit too much for me.  Hats off to all you DIY people.  I like planning it (sort of) and the finished product but PHEW.  That in-between stuff.  Blech.


Best idea going.

Best idea going.

and then this broke.   20years old.  one-more-thing

and then this broke. 20years old. one-more-thing

maybe I'll work on this...exercise plan.  and storage ideas.  maybe.

maybe I’ll work on this…exercise plan. and storage ideas. maybe.

Calgon.  STAT!!

Calgon. STAT!!

Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday


A weekend away July 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:14 PM

Last year I was unable to make the Edel Gathering in Austin.  But followed along in social media and my favorite blogs and enjoyed it immensely (even got the T-shirt, I was THAT in!).  This year worked out and with the Hubby’s blessing, I was able to attend.  It’s been a whirlwind few weeks with our girls gone, then returned, my sister and nephews visiting, Mom visiting, work interspersed with the daily shuffle and so on….so much that Edel 2015 really was on the back burner of my mind.  I apparently didn’t even tell my mom and sister.  WHAT?!?!?

Two days before we left,  I met my roommate for the first time over lunch and blessedly—we hit it off.  Because that could have been awkward.  Am I right?

We had a great drive up, managed to not get lost and checked into our room.  With a super view of the park and city.  And one queen bed.  Fortunately, the hotel was able to switch us to a room with a pullout an a King bed.  And a view of brick walls.  So.  Winning.

At some point the first night the water in the hotel got jacked up and by the a.m. the entire hotel was without running water.  Toilets, showers, etc, etc.  Did I mention it’s July?  In Charleston?  Right.

Thankfully, my washcloth was still cool and damp from my night shower and I could dab off before we made our way to find lunch in the park at the Farmer’s Market before our afternoon session of speakers.

So, here are my highlights for the weekend:

  • Meeting my favorite social media people IN.  REAL.  LIFE.  And talking with them.  Selfies with them.  And NEW friends.
  • So many pregnant bellies and babies.  Just beautiful.
  • Adoration.  In the hotel.
  • SoulCore workout.  With Rachel Balducci.  And the rosary.  And I was sore!!!!!
  • Farmer’s Market.  And the Yardbirds lunch.  Oh.  My.  Deliciousness.
  • Getting lost off the trolley in search of the Market.  These old homes.  I just.  Can’t even.
  • Hallie Lord:  “Stop living in the wreckage of the future; His grace is in the here and now.
  • Rachel Balducci:  “There’s not ONE way to do this motherhood thing.”  “Comparison is the thief of joy.” and a recommendation on Catherine Doherty’s Duty of the Moment:  The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don’t just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child…. There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God. 
  • Kelly Mantoan:  #kellyknows to 1. Own our vocation 2. Fill our time with doing little things with great love 3.  Take breaks to recharge–prayers, quiet time, girl’s night out, date night, etc 4. Find supportive community (see #3) 5. Don’t take ourselves so serious.  Be silly.  6.  Be prepared for when satan strikes because he will.  7.  Remember, we can always start our day over at any time.
  • Dancing.  In heels.  On a packed dance floor.  Karaoke (not me, but so much participation they had to cut off the sign up sheet!)
  • Chatting with LisaAnn Schmidt.  IN.  Real Life!!!
  • Hugging Mary.  And Maria.  And Jen and Hallie and Haley and Christi and on and on and on.
  • There were no strangers
  • There were many hugs
  • And selfies
  • And much gratitude

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston SC


Giving thanks.


One of the many lovely homes and this one actually left their gate open to enjoy the garden. From the street.


Farmer’s Market setting up


Internet to IRL. Loved spending time with these ladies.





Birthdaze June 14, 2015

Filed under: Family,Kids,Photos — tracye1 @ 9:24 AM


May and June are busy celebration months around here with lots of cake, so yeah.  Good times!!!

  • My birthday
  • Mother’s Day
  • Nephew’s birthday
  • Sister’s birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Hubby’s birthday
  • Daughter’s birthday
  • Father’s Day

The Hubs and the baby girl of the family have their birthdays within a week of each other.  Which means twice in one week we will have Chinese food for dinner and cake.  Yum x2!


The girls are getting ready to spend time with my mom this week annnnnnnnd my sister and her family while my nephew is in a baseball tournament in Cooperstown so they have some busy and fun-filled days ahead of them.  Anticipating that, I took the girls and friends to the beach for the night to celebrate that precious 12 year-old’s birthday.   What that boils down to is this:  Beach, Pool,  pizza lunch at 230p.m., cake for dinner, grapes and carrots for snack, nighttime walk on beach and late bedtime.  Followed by waking up for sunrise, walking to waffles across the street, pool swim and everyone back in bed at 9:15 a.m.  I’m anticipating a rally for a last minute beach time or dragging girls home by noon.  For now, I’m enjoying my view, the sounds of the ocean and silence….sweet, sweet silence in the condo.  ;-)



The sad reality of reality TV May 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 8:37 PM

I’m going to confess that I have watched a few Real Housewives in the past.  (I even checked into the Khardashians for about 15 minutes and yeah…ummm, I just can’t even.)  Pure entertainment from a completely surreal and alternate universe of “real”.  They were always amusing until the repetitive catfights.  Meow.  I mean….I am 45 and I’ve never fought with my girlfriends like that.  My sister in our hormone fueled teen years maybe….but not my friends.  I’ve never even seen my friends fight like that with other friends.

Anyway, the reality is that as a society we can’t wait for these Reality TV people to fall in real life and Man.  The press is all over that like white on rice.  We have sunk to a ridiculously new low with these shows.  My idea of Reality TV is HGTV…you know reno shows.  Good stuff!  Show me what I can do when I knock down a wall…THAT’S what I’m talking about.

And now, with Josh Duggar.  I know this is going to be controversial but several things just really stand out to me here.

  • This was 13 years ago, right?  He was 14.  Right?
  • It appears the family addressed this in several ways and there weren’t any further issues.
  • He repented.  He moved on.  There was forgiveness.
  • I’m not condoning any actions here, but it would seem this was dealt with on many different levels at the time it occurred.  And of course, we only know what we hear in the press… let’s take it all with a grain of salt, the truth lies somewhere in between and since I have no personal knowledge of this situation, my assumptions are as generalized as the folks who are ready to hang this young man.  For something he repented of.  as a teenager.

Isn’t this what we desire when people are wrong?  When they make poor choices?  Repentance.  Rehabilitation.  Are we now saying that a 14 year old can’t ever recover from mistakes?  Yes, they are at the age of reason, but they are not fully developed in the brains yet.  This is why we don’t consider them adults until they are 18.  Even then it’s another 7 years until the frontal neurons finally connect and actions and consequences are (hopefully) more understood.  Then why do we even bother with rehab programs and releasing people from juvenile detention, jail and prison?  Because if you can’t be expected to recover from  your mistakes at 14 do we ever??

I realize the biggest concern is that this is of sexual nature, however, shouldn’t actions be the proof of rehabilitation?  Truly, this can be translated to every poor choice made:  drugs, alcohol, theft, running with the wrong crowd.  It just seems ridiculous to me to expect change but to never REALLY expect that it will occur.

Unfortunately, once people put themselves “out there” it’s game on in the public perception.  I hope and pray we, as a society, can let go of this mob mentality and maybe the reality tv trash, too.



May reminds me of a freight train May 4, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 7:07 AM
image via the web

image via the web

The merry, merry month of May.  Truly it is.  The month of Mary.  Mother’s Day.  My birthday.  My sister and nephew’s birthdays.  Memorial Day.  Graduations.  The coming promise of summer.  All good stuff.  Truly.

And then, there is the avalanche of the end-of-the-school-year stuff.  End of course exams.  Banquets. Concerts.  Field Trips.  Band sign up for the coming year.  Take it all and multiply it by the number of kids you have and crap…suddenly May kind of sucks.  It’s like pouring 10 pounds of something into a 5 pound bag.  And it’s all GOOD stuff, so it’s really dumb for me to whine, but dang.  It’s exhausting.

The light at the end of the tunnel is no more projects, homework agendas, exams, early wake ups and fight to GET. IN. BED. ALREADY!  Because even though teenagers NEED a crazy amount of sleep, for some reason they are night owls who fight it.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Summer is coming.   Long days.  A rest (of sorts) to the schedule.  Beach days.  Friends, fun and boredom. Bring it on.  Now….just need to figure out when my friends are available to play!!

May the 4th be with you.  All month long!!



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