Hanging bookshelves

I just realized that the boys’ beds are not the first thing we’ve hung! I thought I’d show you one of the first projects that we did in this house, even though the room is still not finished. As you know, we love to read. We are always collecting books, and they were slowly taking over our house. This was apparent in our last move, almost five years back, when they ended up in every room, in piles and stacks and random bookshelves. My husband has always loved the idea of a home library, so he was up for the task!

My original idea was that the chain would run through the shelves from floor to ceiling, but we ended up cutting it attaching it to the wall because the L-shaped brackets did not provide enough support for the heavy books.

Below you can see the support brackets that run the length of the shelves, one every couple of feet. This is Antonella’s favorite reading spot! We usually keep our library books on these empty shelves. 

The actual shelves are 8-foot unfinished cedar planks. Remember the ladder in the boys’ bedroom? It used to be in here, and we cut it to fit their bunks. There are still a few piles of books around the house… but mostly on bedside tables, with bookmarks and bent ears.

Go ‘stros!

The Astros are the worst team in major league baseball right now. They have lost more than 50 games. I don’t know much about baseball, but during any particular game there are two, maybe three exciting moments worth getting out of your seat for.

But we’re okay with this. We still go.

To be totally honest, it’s not because we’re die-hard Astros fans. It’s not even because our boys love baseball. We have found it to be one of the cheapest, most fun ways to spend time as a family this summer.

Kids are free! And the nosebleeds are empty… well, most of the stadium is empty. But what that means for us is that our kids are able to run around, be loud, and not disturb anyone. They love going, they love cheering, and they love all the audience participation during the game. They dream of being the lucky row that wins gift certificates!

Three plus hours later, Neil and I have had a chance to talk, the kids are exhausted and dirty, and we have all enjoyed the evening together, with fireworks to boot.

So for now, we’re okay with a losing home team. Jeremiah has already caught on and told me he’s always been a Cubs fan anyway. Sure, we all still are. But you have to cheer for your home team, especially if it provides such fun family memories!

Father’s Day Gift

We celebrated Father’s Day with my dad yesterday, and as we went about our usual Sunday routine–big feast, kids running around, lots of lounging and joking and story-telling–I had the thought that maybe I know what every father wants for Father’s Day. I know my husband wants this gift. And I know my father and my father-in-law deeply enjoy this gift, because they have already received it.

My dad and my brothers

I imagine that after years of diligent discipline, sacrificial giving, and unconditionally loving your sons… I imagine that there is great reward in spending a Father’s Day watching these grown boys, these men, father their own children. I imagine that although I know my father would say he’s made many mistakes in raising us and our lives are only due to the grace of God… I imagine that there is the deepest joy in knowing that your sons have followed your footsteps in the way that matters most: leading the next generation to the Eternal Father.

My father-in-law raised two boys, and as the wife of one of them I can only marvel at what an amazing father my husband is. My father raised two boys, and they are devoted and loving fathers. And my father also raised a daughter who is the mother of three boys, who will someday be fathers, and who will someday realize the rich inheritance, the gift, that has been passed down to them from the men who chose to lead them to the Perfect Father.

I am thankful for this gift.

My husband and his brother with their father. Yes, my husband is the one on the left.


Every successful business starts with a great idea…

Jeremiah spent all morning making bottle cap necklaces. He enlisted his sister as a associate partner in his company. They set up a two-man assembly line, taking turns drilling holes, cutting leather, and tying the string.

He made a display stand…

He then pitched his idea to his father, who agreed to support his dream by walking down to the stop sign and setting up shop. Jeremiah’s company now had three employees.

He knew that to really get his company off the ground he had to advertise.

He enticed customers with special offers, like free delivery and buy-one-get-one-free.

I left to run an errand, and I have to be honest and say I had my doubts. He set the price at a dollar per necklace. I was gearing up for a teachable moment, to explain to him the harsh and often disappointing truths of commerce. When I returned, I found that his company now had five employees, and he greeted me by holding up a jar full of money. As the flow of cars slowed down and we packed up to go home, without any prompting he thanked his workers and paid them each a dollar. I guess I’ll have to save my lecture for another day. Jeremiah’s first business was successful. After all, the cars had to stop at the sign, and who can resist this cute kid  bottle cap necklaces?