family, memories

The Day My Legs Spoke to Me

April 12, 2015
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It was a lovely afternoon. Sun shining, clothes laundered and folded, kitchen scrubbed, and me propping my feet up feeling mighty satisfied. Then I looked down and my legs. My pasty, jiggly, bruised, veiny legs. Before I could even filter my words, I found myself actually uttering the words I’ve thought countless times.

“You uuuugly.” And then it happened.

‘Scuse me?

Um, who was that?

It’s us, braniac. Your legs. You know, the ones that have carried you around for nearly your whole life.

Uhh, you heard that?

Of course we did. Both when it comes out of your mouth and every time it whizzes through your head. Every. Time.

Uuuhhh, well…I mean….

Yes, we are looking a bit worse for wear these days. And our joints? A bit cranky. And we hate that for you. Really. We do. But let me ask you something. Is there anything about us that makes you smile? Makes you proud?

Uhhhhh…

Anything. Really. Throw us a bone, will ya?

Well, there was that one time my little brother and I decided it would be a good idea to poke a possum with a stick. I never knew you could whisk me into the house and behind my mother’s skirts so quickly.

Nice start. Anything else?

Hmmm. We used to really cut a rug together. Pirouettes, Thriller, the running man, dancing like a maniac in the kitchen with my kids. That’s always brought me great joy, even if I looked like a complete dork doing it. No comments, please.

Not even one teeny weeny one?

No.

Oh, ok.

And how about the time we were at that SWAT Team hostage situation in Houston. You ooched my 17 year-old-self right under that KPRC news van before I could say, “Does fresh asphalt stain Laura Ashley dresses???” Thanks. Like, really.

Our pleasure. Really.

Then there was the time I thought you were going to give out on me, not wanting to see my dad all wired and tubed up post-heart surgery. A slight buckle, but you shored me right up and marched me right in there.

We did. It was a sweet moment we’ll never forget.

Down the aisle, to my love. And into the hospital, to welcome my babies. To far-flung places, helping me discover who I am. Over the mommy years, running, playing, skipping, skiing, hiking. All right next to my people. Making memories. Having fun.

Precisely.

Do you remember all those miles and miles of training we put in? Running a half-marathon before I turned 40. Turns out you went above and beyond and we did two. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Perhaps not, Einstein. But seriously, we still remember the tears of joy. And maybe a bit of pain.

Let me ask you something else. What would you say if you heard your kids talking to another person the way you talk to us? And not just my buddy and me, but the whole package. 

Uhhh.

I know. You wouldn’t stand for it. We know that you try to be a loving, kind person to those around you, but guess what? We are someone, too. We are YOU. And we LOVE you. Even on our crankiest days, we want good things for you. We ALL do. Right, batwing arms? Jiggly mommy belly? Squishy fanny?

Call me crazy, but they all answered. In unison. In love. Right there on my sofa. I heard it y’all. Really. Have I been kinder to my body since our little chat? Well, I’m still working on that. In the mean time I am learning to see all of my parts as me. And not in a way that defines who I am by the way that they look, or even perform (heaven help me). Me. My story. My memories. The memories of the people I love. May I learn to be more kind. Both to others and to myself. And may I learn to never EVER post pictures of my legs again. Amen.

 

 

Cedar Cottage, craftiness, home, Tutorials

DIY Window Seat Cushion in a Jiffy

March 23, 2015
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For reals! Yes, you can whip together a little wondow seat cushion in less time than it will take you to say, “What? A custom window seat cushion in a jiffy?” And the best part? There’s not a single stitch in the whole thing, y’all! You’ll just need a few supplies and the will to have a squishy place to sit in the sun.

IMG_2398 Gather up the fabric of your choice, a staple gun and staples, scissors, a piece of plywood cut, and some thick foam (I went with 3″ foam for maximum booty comfort). That’s it! Now it’s time to put it all together.

IMG_2386 First, measure and cut your plywood and foam to the size of your window seat. You may want to use fancy  clean foam. Mine got shoved into the netherregions of our crawlspace when we moved, but this stuff isn’t cheap, people, so I vacuumed and went with it. PS The good folks at your local hardware store will cut your plywood to size for you if you ask really nicely.

Next, cut your fabric to size, making sure you have plenty to pull and staple around the foam and plywood. If you are using fabric with a linear design, make sure to cut it straight. No one likes a wonky seat cushion. Use the design to help you stay on track.

IMG_2388 Now lay the fabric out right side down, then the foam, and layer the plywood on top. Pull the fabric taught and staple into place, wrapping the ends like you are wrapping a present.

IMG_2389 A few wrinkles on the underside? No one will see it-it’ll be our little secret. 

My staples were a bit cranky, so I used a hammer to persuade them not to be so proud.

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After a little persuasion, that’s it, y’all! Flip ‘er over and gussy it up with a few pillows!

IMG_2392 And perhaps a dog.

IMG_2396 I do recommend splurging on thick (3 or 4″) foam, as it gives the finished product a substantial feel.

IMG_2397 Plus, it keeps the more sensitive ones in your family happy and will avoid a “princess and the pea” situation. Bless him.

family, memories

Beauty Shop and Cameos

March 18, 2015
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Over the past several days I’ve been waltzing across Texas and having a grand time. My first stop was to see Mom and Dad in Houston. The best part? I had them all to myself (you middle kids feelin’ me?)! Like, totally all to myself, as I left all my people at home for this trip. Truth be told, they were all tied up with various Spring Break festivities, so I hopped in the car and played Name That Tune with myself all the way there (I do looove me some serius XM, y’all). I’m easily entertained.

Of course we chatted, ate, and did a little shopping, but the highlight of the trip was a visit to see my grandmother. Here she is as a fresh-faced Registered Nurse in New York City.

IMG_1016 This summer we got to celebrate her 100th birthday.

IMG_1019 That’s right, 100 years young! It was a fantastic celebration and we were so glad to be a part of it. When I got to Houston last week, I couldn’t wait to see her again. In fact, we planned to play “beauty shop” during the visit, complete with a hair cut and manicure. If there’s one thing the Coleman girls love, it’s playing beauty shop in mom’s bathroom. I mean, what’s better than chatting about our latest beauty finds, painting nails, cutting hair, and laughing until our sides hurt, right?

After Grandma selected her color, I got busy, filing, shaping, and painting. As I was putting on the final coat, she looked down at my hands and said with a wink, “I like that cameo.”

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Her cameo. The one her father gave to her on her 12th birthday. The cameo she gave my mother when she was 25. The same cameo my mother gave to me on my 25th birthday. Tears welled. Smiles exchanged. Beautiful memories made.

Cedar Cottage, garden, home, Uncategorized

Flip Flops and Snowy Days

February 27, 2015
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Earlier this week we saw highs top out at 81*. I was happily flipping around in my flops, then I woke to this scene…

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We often joke about the weather turning on a dime here in Texas. Listen to me now and believe me later. It’s true. And while I can’t say that I love winter, I do enjoy a billowy white snow day, and this one didn’t disappoint.

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It came down in big, fat, cotton-ball like flakes. I enjoyed more than one cup of coffee watching it fall.

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After a day off of school because if icy road conditions, mama may have found herself with some cooped up restless naitives. And I may have imagined that my bovine girlfriends were singing, “Let It Go.”

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Friends assured me that they were actually singing, “Let It Snow!” Apparently they were.

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We got a fresh blanket last night.

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But it’s still a treat to see the beginnings of spring peeking through the frost.

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We are soaking it up, to be sure. We will see temperatures over the century mark before we know it.

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Rufus, however, assures us that he is happy to hold down the fort from the comfort of his favorite spot, bless his heart.

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Stay warm, friends!

Cedar Cottage, deliciousness, home

Warmth in a Bowl: Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup

February 24, 2015
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Once again we Texans have weathered (see what I did there) yet another swing from a high of 81* to a low of 21* in a matter of hours. While I wish I had my flip flops on again, I am relishing time with my people as we are iced in for a second day (cue the popcorn and movies). Thankfully Dr. Kyle made sure our feathered friends were taken care of during our latest freeze.

IMG_2276 So, it was mama’s turn to take care of her chickadees. I decided some soup was just the thing to warm up my loves. And since a trip to the store was out of the question, I looked to my pantry and fridge  to see what we could pull together. Thankfully I found some chicken breasts, cilantro, limes, and hominy. Behold!

IMG_2278 My apologies, friends. I didn’t snap any pictures as I prepared it, not thinking that it would turn out to be the hit that it was. We didn’t all sit down together to eat, as our schedules have been a bit wonky, what with the tv and sleeping late and naps in front of the fire and all. To my surprise (and delight), I received high praise from each of my loves as they left the kitchen and came back to the living room. Makes a mama heart happy, people. And so, even without shots of the prep, I wanted to share this one with you.

I started by boiling three large chicken breasts in salted water. I added one onion, halved (some folks around here love the flavor, but not the texture of onions, so this packs a punch but is easy to remove), and four cloves of garlic, halved.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed and shredded it, then plunked it right back in the pot. I added dry ranch dressing mix (about two tablespoons) and some lemon pepper (about a teaspoon). Next I added two large cans of hominy, drained. I had yellow hominy on hand, but white would work well, too. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes so everyone could get to know each other (the hominy does a great job of soaking up lots of flavor). This is when you want to check for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. If you like it spicy, a few shots of pepper sauce would do the trick.

Serve over corn chips with a wedge of lime and a little fresh cilantro. Think cilantro tastes like laundry soap? No worries, just leave it out. Squeeze that lime and dig in!

The lemon pepper and fresh lime add a brightness that makes this soup a year-round crowd pleaser. Better still, this one features a light broth that is figure friendly, with lots of fiber and protein. Win-win-win!

For those out and about, have a little Starbucks for your friends in Texas. For those trapped inside, wear those woolies and stay warm!