Today, I did the following:
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to Target
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to the grocery store
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to mail packages
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to get my car's oil changed
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to Michael's
  • Took three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- to Old Navy
And then I went home and had a very large martini.

Kidding about the martini. Unless sweet tea is somehow Southern for martini.

But if anyone deserved that drink, 'tis I.

Some of you might be thinking, "Why do you do this to yourself?" And the answer is, "Because I know no other way." They either accompany me on my errands or I tie them to the futon in the playroom or I pay a babysitter to watch them so I can return the light blue capris which I knew were a bad purchase the first time I walked out of Old Navy with them, but for whatever reason, I didn't turn around and repent of my error."

And I really don't want to pay a babysitter so I can return capris.

Today's productivity was made possible by Connor, who woke Teyla up from her nap when she'd been asleep approximately 3.25 minutes. Seems he was with Natalie, in their bedroom right next to the nursery, when Natalie had the nerve to finish putting on her socks before him and leave him in their bedroom all alone. The boy is almost 6, but he is terrified of being alone right now -- even in his own house, even surrounded by people, because if he can't see the people, something might happen -- so he let out a wail of Biblical proportions.

Which triggered a wail from the baby. Who was then magically convinced she had slept at least two hours and was refreshed and renewed.

So we ran errands. Seemed the best way to make lemonade out of the lemons I'd been handed.

It also didn't hurt that both Teyla and Connor took a nap in the car.

That's the real reasons I (sometimes) love running errands. Because when you have three kids -- ages 8, 5 and 1 -- 20 minutes of guaranteed peace and quiet is worth three hours of hassle.


I've been so busy reading great posts today -- like this one from Heather that talks about the real reason why she blogs, and this one from my new friend Allison who just birthed her first baby (and apparently, grew a third arm at the same time), and this one from a new blog in my reader that encouraged me to put down the computer and focus the life going on right in front of it -- that I totally forgot to tell you I have a post up at 5 Minutes for Parenting today. It's a snapshot from my day yesterday, in which my oldest daughter experienced a golden moment of truth.

(Do you appreciate that I broke up that paragraph into two whole sentences? It ain't for nothing I was called The Run-On Queen in college.)

Ummm. How about thank you?

Overheard during the gift-opening last night.

Natalie: Cool! Look Mom! It's a gift card for Target!

Mom: Awesome Natalie. What do you say?

Natalie: Can I open the next present now?

Natalie - 8 Years

Today, my Natalie will turn 8.

It’s cliché, but it doesn’t seem possible. I remember vividly the day she was born and our lives were forever altered as Corey and I became first-time parents.

On the other hand, she is so deeply ingrained in my head and my heart, it’s hard to remember a day without her.

So today, to celebrate her, I’m telling 8 of my favorite things about Natalie.

-------- 1 --------

My favorite Natalie story comes courtesy of one of my closest friends back in Tiny Town. She has a son who is close to Natalie in age. When they were both turning 5 and preparing for kindergarten, Sonjia volunteered to watch Connor for the morning so I could take Natalie to her first-ever dentist’s appointment (a required pre-school thing here in Minnesota). Sonjia was also hoping Natalie’s casualness about the appointment would rub off on her son, Chase, since he was terrified of the upcoming date.

The morning went well. Natalie was apprehensive at first, but she warmed up to the friendly dentist quickly. She enjoyed the x-rays of her teeth, and getting to pick her own flavor of gritty tooth polish and the cool chair they let her control. By the time we got back to Sonjia’s to pick up Connor, she was brimming with happiness about her latest adventure.

After we left, Sonjia mentioned to Chase that Natalie seemed OK with the dentist appointment.

“I don’t think you have anything to be afraid of Chase. Look at how well Natalie did!” she said.

To which Chase responded, slightly exasperated, “Yeah, Mom, but Natalie’s excited about EVERYTHING!”

Truer words were never spoken.

-------- 2 --------

The word used most often to describe Natalie is “sweet.” It’s an apt description.

Every single Sunday, she saves part of her snack from Sunday school to give to her younger siblings. “I’m saving this for my little brother and sister,” she announces, as she rolls up a few errant Goldfish and a chocolate chip cookie into a small napkin.

She’s incredibly easy-going. She’s almost always happy. She’s quick to laugh and even quicker to smile. She delights in being cooperative and in helping me when I need an extra hand.
She’s sweet. Just like the little girl in the nursery rhyme -- sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what my Natalie is made of.

-------- 3 --------

But don’t let the sweetness fool you. She’s not a timid wall-flower. From the time she was little, Natalie has had no fear.

She went down the big slides – then climbed them. She scaled the rock wall at the playground that intimidated older boys. Her favorite game when she was a preschooler was getting thrown by Corey, which involved him tossing her in the air a good six feet over his head then catching her before she hit the ground. (This feat never failed to elicit a scream from the grandmothers, a fact both father and daughter enjoyed.)

As she’s grown up, she’s learned to temper her natural curiosity and verve with a healthy dose of caution. She wears a seat belt, doesn’t run into traffic and tries to avoid skinning her knee.

But if there’s a water slide, a roller coaster or an extreme ride in the area, she’s all over it. She loves the adventure and the thrill.

-------- 4 --------

This is where I’m going to come across as an over-proud mother, but I think people who know Natalie in real life will back me up on this: Physically speaking, she’s gorgeous.

Ever since she was a baby, people would look at her and say, “Wow. You’re going to have to watch out for that one.” And it’s true. With her happy smile, almond-shaped hazel eyes, dark skin and brown hair, she’s a beauty.

(Here's some photographic evidence.)

But – and here’s the thing – she doesn’t know how gorgeous she is. Except for the times when she basks in her father’s adoration of her new dress or hew new necklace, she seems almost self unaware.

Which makes her beauty shine all the more.

-------- 5 --------

For her birthday dinner tonight, Natalie has requested her favorite foods – BBQ ribs, homemade mac-and-cheese, fresh corn on the cob and melon salad. (To be finished with chocolate cake with chocolate icing and homemade ice cream, naturally.)

She also loves a burrito at Chipotle. (She makes her own with small tortillas and sides of black beans, cheese and rice.) She’ll happily eat almost any vegetable – carrots, sugar snap peas, yellow bell peppers and edemame top the list.

But she doesn’t like a great variety of fruits. Mostly just apples and melon. All berries are a no-go, and we don’t even say the word banana around her lest she break out in a wail.

And she doesn’t like breakfast. Being a person who eats most of my calories before noon, this pains me to admit, and I’ve certainly done all I can to covert her. But I think I’ve lost this battle. She just isn’t hungry in the mornings. (Like her father before her.) I comfort myself with knowing she’ll eat a big and healthy lunch.

-------- 6 --------

Corey's favorite story about Natalie comes from her pre-kindergarten check-up. I don't know if everyone has to do this, but here in Minnesota, we are required to fill out an extensive form on our kids' physical, mental and developmental progress before we see the doctor. Part of the form has a series of questions we are supposed to ask our child. We then write down their answers word-for-word.

So, being a rule-follower, I dutifully asked Natalie, "What do you do when you're hungry?"

"Go get a snack," she replied.

"And what do you do when you're tired?"

"Get my blanket," she said.

And what do you do when you're cold?"

"I go to Daddy."
Which made Corey choke up.

And then, during the appointment, when the doctor was talking to Natalie about good nutrition, she asked her, "Do you know why you're growing up so healthy and strong?"

"Because my Mommy and Daddy love me," she said matter-of-factly.

Which made everyone in the vicinity wipe away tears.

-------- 7 --------

Her favorite activity at this age is to “make projects.” She loves art, especially drawing. And she’s really quite good. We even made art the theme of her birthday party this year. (More on that later in the week.)

And tonight, when we celebrate with the few family members we have in town, we’ll color and paint and glitter glue some big signs that say “Happy 8 Natalie.” She’s excited to “watch the grown-ups try art,” as she says it.

-------- 8 --------

And of course, Natalie wouldn’t be Natalie without her big heart for animals. She has wanted a pet since she was a toddler, and without giving away the ending to my Sami story, I can say she’s a great pet-owner. She doesn’t mind the hassle or the hair or the bad breath. (Which could also describe me before I’ve had a shower, now that I think about it.) She’s thrilled to have a creature to love.

Which also describes me, come to think of it. Natalie, you made me a Mom and irrevocably changed the landscape of my heart. You are my buddy, my delight, my sweet little girl. Every day, I thank God for the gift of you. I pray you will continue to grow in His strength, His wisdom and His joy. Happy Birthday!

Blue Like Play Dough

There are times I tire of sitting in front of the computer.

I organize my life on the computer. I download and file pictures on the computer. I edit video on the computer. I keep in touch with family and friends on the computer. I track incoming storms on the computer. I read my Bible on the computer.

And, of course, I blog on the computer.

Some days, I wish I could wake up and not hit the "on" button all day.

But I might as well try to pretend I don't have children. I need my computer for modern life, and unless I'm on vacation, reality insists I pay attention.

And that's why I enjoyed "Blue Like Play Dough," a new book by Tricia Goyer. The subtitle of the book is "The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of Grace," and it's like reading a blog post from a friend who really gets this whole motherhood-in-the-trenches-while-still-trying-to-be-a-disciple-of-Jesus thing.

Yet, I don't have to sit in front of my computer to learn from my new friend's stories. I can read them in bed, while I rock Teyla to sleep or in the bathtub. Hallelujah.

I haven't read any of Tricia's other books. She's an award-winning novelist, so she obviously knows how to spin a tale. But I do know that she seems as normal and as real as my best friend. Her stories of everyday life as a mom ring true.

Consider this from her prologue:
When I had kids, I felt like I was the one being squished and pressed. At times I left like I was being poked as I tried to deal with the 101 needs of my kids. I felt stretched as I struggled through things I'd hlped I'd never have to face -- like hospitalized children, disobedient children, lost children (more than once on all counts). I felt pulled when I tried to balance raising kids, taking care of our house, serving in church and following my dreams. There were even days when I felt as if I was literally being pounded -- by life, by my hang-ups, by my own insecurities and doubts that I was "good enough" as a mom.

One day I was praying about all the hard stuff in life, and into my mind came an image of a blue lump of play dough. As I focused on it, I realized the lump wasn't something my kids or I helf in our hands. Rather, it was something God held in His. I was that lump. As I watched God pull and tug, I saw that He was following a pattern. He had something in mind. God, the artist, was shaping me, forming me to represent an image of His Son.
If you'd like to know more, you are invited to Tricia's "Blue Like Play Dough" Launch Party on Facebook. It's tomorrow night (July 27) from 5-7 PM. She promises to share some of her mothering experiences, host a few trivia contests, answer questions from the guests and give away two huge Play-Dough packs to party goers.

You can also pick up your own copy of "Blue Like Play Dough" at Amazon, ChristianBook or your local bookstore. And if you do, be sure to go to Tricia's Get One-Give One (Go-Go) site and record your purchase. For every copy of "Blue Like Play Dough" sold, she'll donate a copy of "My Life Unscripted" or "Generation NeXt Parenting" to a pregnancy, teen or family support ministry. (Spoiler alert: Tricia was a single, teen mother before she was a successful author and speaker.)

And now, I'm getting off the computer. This lump of play dough needs to be remolded before she goes to bed.

Religion Saves + Nine Other Misconceptions

I saw this map of the United States on the lodge wall at family camp a few weeks back -- the theme for the summer is road trip -- and I almost fell over laughing.

Check it out. (Click on it for a bigger image.) You'll notice all kinds of regional icons. Longhorns in Texas. A guitar in Tennessee. A snowboarder in Colorado. Nothing in North Dakota.

And in Seattle? Mark Driscoll.

With a double underline and an exclamation mark.

That's quite a statement for a 30-something father of five. No longer just an author, speaker and founding pastor of Mars Hill Church. Now he's a cultural landmark.

Darn it if I can't find a reason to argue. Driscoll is one of the brightest minds in the evangelical world, and if his words are to be believed, he flat-out loves Jesus and the Bible. It infuses his writing, his preaching and his life.
Which is why his new book, "Religion Saves + Nine Other Misconceptions" is a book you have to read.

The idea for the book was born a few years back when Driscoll was preaching through 1 Corinthians. He was struck by the fact that the letter was a series of answers to various questions asked by the Corinthian church. He wondered what questions his own generation would pose, if given the chance. So he opened up the Mars Hill website, and 893 questions later, he had the makings of a controversial yet incredibly relevant sermon series.

Thankfully, for those of us who need more sunshine than those who live in Seattle, the top nine questions are now answered in "Religion Saves." They deal with topics ranging from birth control and predestination to the emerging church and something called the regulative principle. (Yeah, I didn't know either, and I have a Bible degree.)

I pretty much inhaled this book. To say that I enjoyed it would be an understatement. It energized me and made me think and put fresh fire in my soul. (It also made it really hard to fall asleep at night, since my mind was whirring with new thoughts.) Driscoll's style is edgy, and I suppose that isn't for everyone. But for me, a straight answer -- even if its harsh -- is incredibly refreshing.

But the best part is I learned something with every turn of the page. Driscoll demands that you love God with all your mind, and his writing doesn't dumb down deep theological ideas. For example, his chapter on grace outlines 13 experiences of God's grace in our lives. When he tackles weighty topics like predestination, he presents the different viewpoints -- in this case, Calvinism and Arminianism -- explaining their historical and philosophical underpinnings, before he builds his case for his own answer to the question. And he does it all with Bible verse after Bible verse. Driscoll never just "gives his opinion." He gives what he sees in God's Word, and his every point is footnoted and annotated with Scripture.

He handles less cerebral questions the same way. I thought his chapter on birth control was one of the most balanced, thoughtful and reasoned cases I've ever come across. It's perfect to recommend to a friend who might be wondering if birth control is a black-and-white issue or if it falls under liberties. I would say the same thing about the chapter on dating. He doesn't mince words -- if frank discussion of sexual terms makes you nervous, this isn't the book for you. But he does answer the questions many people ask behind closed doors. If I had read his ideas about what physical, emotional and mental boundaries a Christian should have, even as they pursue a marriage relationship, my dating years would have looked drastically different. (Read: Get this book for your single friends/family members and start a conversation.)

Ready to dive in for yourself? You can get "Religion Saves" at Amazon or your local Christian bookstore. I thought about giving away my copy -- but I intend to keep this one on my bookshelf for years to come. It's too intelligent, too Bible-based, too authentic to only read once. I have a feeling it will be one of my maps for the road trip we called life.

For other viewpoints on "Religion Saves," check out the blog tour.

Operation Code Name: Pancakes

If you want to know why I was up and showered and ready to go before 7:30 AM this morning -- something that rarely happens in the summer, when I consider showering before 10:00 AM an accomplishment worthy of a second cup of coffee -- my 5 Minutes for Parenting post today explains all.

If it helps get you there, imagine that I was dressed in black ninja gear in order to kidnap my own children.

I wasn't, but if the visual works....


When I was a teenager, I loved looking at my parent's wedding album.

Not because it was romantic.

Because it was the ugliest wedding I could ever imagine.*

My Mom and Dad got married in October of 1970. My Mom wore a cream-colored, high-necked gown. Her bridesmaids wore dresses of orange and brown and carried bouquets of yellow, orange and brown flowers. Everything was orange. And brown. And the men's sideburns were lower than a rap star's jeans.

It made me shudder. I couldn't understand how otherwise sane adults couldn't see the styles back then for what they were -- flat-out hideous.

Of course, now I snicker at my high-brow thoughts, seeing as I had them while I was wearing pegged jeans (with holes in each knee), a neon pink sweatshirt (size XXL) and bangs that were as high as Steve Tyler's (if I was having a particularly good day).

"I just don't get why my Mom and Dad dressed so weird!"

Ah yes. No one is quite as self-righteous about style as a teenager who reads Sixteen magazine.

Over time, I came to understand that every decade has its fashion foibles. (Although I maintain the 70s were especially repulsive. I mean, orange and brown? Avocado green? Harvest gold? I blame it on the drugs.) And it's virtually impossible to avoid them all.

Last week, I digitized our home videos (all six of them) so I can make a video for a special birthday that's fast approaching. I could wax eloquent about seeing the kids grow up before my very eyes. (And I might, in another post.) But I have to say, I was equally as shocked at some of the things I wore.

Such as the overalls.

Seriously. Who said that was cute?


In my defense, I fought the overall trend for many years. My California friends kept at me, saying, "Oh, but they are so cute with a tiny t-shirt. And they are so comfortable! You'll love them!"

Eventually, pregnant with Natalie and dealing with a thickening waistline, I caved. And my friends were right -- they were comfortable.

But cute?

Girlfriends. Ain't nothing cute there.


Except maybe the baby.

*I'd like to clarify that, today, I no longer think my parent's wedding was the ugliest ceremony in the history of mankind. Let she who dressed her bridesmaids in turquoise satin not cast the first stone.

Sami : Part 1

On Christmas Eve last year, my husband and I dropped the older kids at my in-laws – who had requested the presence of the kids alone so they could engage in some holiday decorating and crafts – and we drove off into the frozen afternoon, the sun fading weakly in the winter sky, to go look at a dog.

You might remember her from this picture.

She was gorgeous. A border collie, seven months, very frisky and playful. During our hastily arranged meet-up, she jumped up and up and UP on us about 20 times. Her caretakers at the rescue organization felt her bad manners were mostly due to the fact that she’d previously been an outdoor-only dog. Her former owners had taken her to the shelter because they just didn’t have time to train her for indoor situations.

Enter the Love Wells. Corey and I were starstruck with the dog. She was so pretty and so smart. She seemed excited but submissive. We felt confident that we (read: Corey) could train her up in the ways of the Lord. We were positive she would be the perfect Christmas gift for Natalie, the child who tried to kidnap friendly dogs at the park because she so desired a pet.

So we agreed to pick her up on December 26. And we drove off, jubilant, to buy a dog collar and leash to wrap and put under the tree.

Christmas Day turned out to be so joyfully hectic – which I think it’s a good description of any day for a family with three young children – that we never got around to giving Natalie the doggie goods. We decided, instead, to surprise her with the dog the next day, and let Christmas be about the new pink-and-glittery Bible, the Polly Pocket Yacht and overwhelming gift of Jesus.

The next day, Corey took off at naptime to retrieve the dog. Operation Code Name: Sami. Because the rescue organization is based on the entire other side of the Twin Cities, it took him the better part of the day to pick up the dog, buy the necessary doggie supplies, get the dog groomed and get back home.

But when he walked in the door with a dog on the leash, it was all worth it. Natalie’s mouth flew open and she hugged the dog around her neck and she kept saying, “She’s mine? She’s really mine?!?”

Our hearts were full to overflowing. What parent doesn’t delight to grant their child’s lifelong dream?

Too bad it would crash into a thousand jagged pieces within a matter of hours.

(To be continued….)

Of Airplanes and Alegbra

It is often said that smell is the sense most closely linked to our memories. I don’t doubt it. If I could, I would collect the scents most precious to me – the smell of my childhood home, the scent of a newborn baby, the green fragrance of a lake on a summer’s morning – and bottle them up and preserve them for all time. (And probably share them on my blog. Because that is what we bloggers do.)

But I’ve often marveled at the power of sounds, how certain noises instantly evoke a season or moment in our lives.

This afternoon, while Teyla was napping, I snuggled under my own down comforter. I was enjoying the peace of a cool summer’s day. A soft breeze fluttered through my bedside window. Even with my eyes closed, I could see the sun playing hide-and-seek behind a long line-up of clouds.

And then I heard it – the buzz of a small airplane high in the sky.

I was immediately transported back to 10th grade algebra class, a class that was as out of reach of my mental energies as that plane was out of my physical grasp. Apparently, the private school I had just shed, like a still-wet butterfly shedding her cocoon, had done little to prepare me academically for the world outside. (Although I had a firm grasp of how evil rock and roll music was, in case anyone was asking.)

So I sat in algebra, the new girl who stood out even in a class of 500, and struggled to comprehend the theorems our kind teacher wrote on the overhead with blue and green marker. And since algebra was right after lunch, and filled with so much afternoon sun the blind were often half-pulled down, I often felt the blanket of drowsiness settle itself on my shoulders.

I would blink, ever more slowly. The kind teacher’s words made as much sense as the wah-wah-wah-ing of adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. I would decide to rest my head on my arms, just for a minute, down by the paper where my pencil was dutifully scratching the symbols on the screen. I could smell the wood of the pencil, fresh from a recent sharpening. The trees right outside the window whispered in the fragrant spring air.

And then I would hear it. Ever so faintly, the drone of a plane engine. It would get closer, buzz overhead, then fade away, almost imperceptibly.

I would struggle to open my eyes and write, “A positive integer is next to the tree leaves and the airplane green.”

And then I would awake to the jarring ring of the bell.

Um, I think there's someone at the door


Who's there?

Norma Lee.

Norma Lee who?

Normally I put up my referral posts to 5 Minutes to Parenting much earlier. But Connor got his pre-kindergarten shots this morning, so I've been away from the computer much of the day. (It went well, and he is the proud owner of two new Lego sets at this hour.)

My 5MP post today is all about the humor (or lack thereof) in our kids' jokes. Go check it out and share a knock-knock joke that is loved in your family in the comments. And grab a new one to impress your kids. Because if you can't beat 'em....

Questions for a Monday Morning

How can I love being a SAHM one minute and ask my five-year-old to “please, please give Mommy just one minute by herself” the next?

Do you think the reason the plant on my back deck is dying is that the baby keeps pulling off all the blossoms? (I rue the day I let her help me deadhead.)

How to lactose-intolerant people survive a PB&J sandwich?

Why does Teyla keep waking up from her naps crying inconsolably, even on the days (and mornings) when she’s had good sleep?

How do fruit flies get into my house? (Don’t answer that.)

I don’t even like yogurt. Why can’t I stop entertaining the idea of making some from scratch?

Connor is scheduled to get his pre-kindergarten immunizations Wednesday. At what point do I tell him he’s getting shots?

I Dare You Not To Smile

I have so many things I'd like to write about this morning -- for example, I recently started transferring some of our old home videos to my computer, and OH MY WORD, the fashion disasters -- but it's already 9:45 and I really have to get to the farmer's market before all the bison sausage sticks are gone. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.)

So instead, I'm going to share this video with you. It's of my adorable nephew Jordan, who is just two months older than Teyla, watching for his daddy (my brother) to get home from work. When my sister-in-law, Julie @ Smiling Baby, sent it to me a few weeks ago, I couldn't stop watching it. It is joy incarnate, and that might be an understatement.

Have a great weekend! May you be filled with that kind of joy.

I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders. I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I'm singing your song, High God.
Psalm 9:1-2 (MSG)

A Day in the Life: Family Camp

I have a lengthy, packed-with-information post over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today about the rising popularity of family camps. Check it out if you're feeling particularly cerebral or you're interested in the nuts-and-bolts of what family camp is all about. This is more of an artistic recap of our week, for those of us visually inclined (or those of us who are too tired from another day at the beach to focus our brains on posts with actual words).

During a typical day at family camp, you'll probably wake up happy...

eat a great breakfast...

take a boat ride...

let the baby drive the boat...

grab your best friend and go swimming...

build a sand castle...

shoot a water gun...

catch up on some girl time whilst simultaneously catching some rays...

decide sand makes great lip gloss...

go fishing...

terrorize the fish that have been caught and thrown into a bucket ...

ride the zip line...

hook up your son, who is too young for the zip line, and let him "ride" the line that holds the gear...

make sure he tries riding upside down, like the big kids...

visit the canteen for a ring pop...

or maybe a frozen Lightning Lemonade...

play carpetball...

take a nap...

make some jewelery at the craft shack (note the necklace worthy of a preschool rap star)...

laugh out loud...

admire the clarity of Cedar Lake...

resist nibbling on pudgy toddler toes...

play the cup game (if you don't know it, I can teach you; I was a camp counselor myself at this very same camp one summer a long time ago)...

eat dinner (with a few extra children) at your favorite table...

play "Gorilla Gets the Man" at chapel...

eat s'mores....

watch a sunset... it all again tomorrow.

(Or next year, as the case may be. We miss you already, family camp. And to our friends at Camp Lebanon, thank you. Once again, it was one of the best weeks of the year.)


I've been working on a Fourth of July post for the last three days. At this point, it's so messy -- torn apart, reconfigured, a collection of half-sentences and random thoughts -- it's hardly worth posting.

For what it's worth, it was supposed to be a wistful post in which I reminisced about July 4th in San Diego, which is a military town and therefore overflowing with patriotic pride.

Here's the beginning.
Our July 4th holiday was abnormally subdued this year, seeing as we arrived home from family camp just the day before. We managed to grill some Cajun turkey burgers, make some from-scratch guacamole and salsa and whip up some homemade vanilla ice cream. (It struck me funny at dinner that our favorite all-American meal was mostly Mexican food.)

But otherwise, we laid low, lest the whining coming from out overtired kids drown out the bottle rockets screaming toward the stars.

And truthfully, I'm OK with that. I love the Fourth of July. I am incredibly grateful to call America my home. But it's hard for any July 4th in the Midwest to equal July 4th in San Diego.
It deteriorates from there. And since I'm tired of working on it, I'm declaring it dead at 8:39 Monday morning.

Do you ever end up with a Frankenstein-style post, one in which you start with ideas and good intentions but end up with a thing that is both disjointed and grotesque? Or is it just me?