The Stuff of Life


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How to Spend More Than $600 on a $269 IKEA Futon

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It’s possible.

And here’s how to do it.

First, drive 3 hours to the Minneapolis IKEA with a friend. Realize when you get there that the futon you came for is out of stock. Enjoy your day anyway and come home with a few items of lesser importance.

Cost of Trip

Lunch – $12

Gas – FREE (Your friend won’t let you pay for gas because she’s pretty great.)

Then, four days later, drive 3 ½ hours with your hubby (who is awesome) to the Kansas City IKEA where the futon is in stock. Buy said futon. Eat way too much Mexican food and stay overnight in a hotel.

Kansas City IKEA

Kansas City IKEA

Cost of Trip

Gas – $30ish

Dinner out – $40

Hotel – $130

Arrive home and realize you bought the wrong mattress. Get very frustrated. Maybe even almost cry a little.

One week later, cram the wrong mattress into your vehicle and drive 3 hours with your husband (who is ever-growing in his awesomeness) to the Minneapolis IKEA to exchange it because the futons are back in stock there. Eat way too much Italian food and spend the night in a hotel again. This futon has already cost a ridiculous amount of time and money, so you might as well make it fun.

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Minneapolis IKEA

Cost of Trip

Gas $30ish

Dinner out – FREE thanks to a gift card.

Hotel $100

Arrive home and realize that though your futon is now complete, you left your new memory foam pillow in the hotel room.

Cost

Pillow $20

This whole IKEA fiasco will make you look like a super high-maintenance chick who spends money like water. But you’re pretty much the opposite of that, so this scenario will kind of kill you a little on the inside.

But you have a solid defense for your IKEA insanity. Ever since cancer, you’ve had trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons. Stress. Pain related to the cancer stuff. Discomfort from those annoying chest expanders. Neck pain which is related to the stress and to the fact that some of your muscles have been moved from their God-given place in your body. Your husband’s snoring (Oh wait, I guess that isn’t really related to cancer).

When sleep alludes you, you always head to the spare bedroom. But you just moved to a new home. And you downsized. Like, a lot. Which means no spare bedroom. No place for an extra bed.

Thus, your crazy futon adventure, though extremely pricey, is ultimately worthwhile.

And though you really, really like IKEA, you will have absolutely no desire to go back anytime in the foreseeable future.

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The Funny Thing About My Inspire a Fire Posts

Inspire a Fire June

I’m beginning to think my posts at Inspire a Fire are working against me. 😉

Last month I wrote about our moving lifestyle. How it works well for us, and how I have learned to enjoy it.

But about a week after it posted, it hit me that we are about to do this thing again, and that we don’t know where we are going next. And though I’m ready for it, it didn’t stop me from having about a 24-hour period of some serious anxiety. I’m a planner. And planning for the unknown is a bit tricky.

This month my post is about marriage and choosing love when you are not feeling it. In it I mentioned that Corey and I have learned to argue better since breast cancer because we don’t want to waste our time letting things simmer when we should be dealing with them and moving on.

A few days before it posted, we had an argument.

Next month I think I’ll write something about beach front property in Hawaii and hope for the best.

Here’s a link to my June post:

Have A More Meaningful Marriage by Choosing Love Every Morning


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BOY MOM MONDAY – A Little Something From Lewis

I’ve shoved writing in the backseat for a bit while I try to learn how to sew. I mean sew at above novice status. The zippers are killing me, and my new mantra is that old construction phrase “Measure twice, cut once.” If you are curious about this sewing craziness, take a peek at Sewing is Hard.

Otherwise, just read this sweet little writing by the youngest Harms boy. He knows how to make me smile.

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I love that he thinks I’m 34-years-old. I sure do enjoy my job righting storees. And ISU sharts are the best.


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First Day of School Photo

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Not once in my years of motherhood have my kids ever been ready to go back to school. (Except for Lewis in preschool, but technically that wasn’t going back to school.)

I know there are moms out there who love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and can’t wait to go back-to-school shopping. (I am not one of you.)

I also know there kids out there who pour over their schedules and spend hours figuring out what to wear the first day. (My children are not those kids.)

My boys D.R.E.A.D. the day. (I like to think it’s because their mom is so darn cool to hang out with that they can’t bear the thought of weekdays without her.)

There are things my kids genuinely like about school (especially my social bug Lewis), but looking forward to the first day? It has never happened, and I don’t think it’s going to happen any time in the foreseeable future.

Because of the semi-mournful atmosphere in my household on the first day of school, I refrain from first day of school photos.  But my above piece of artwork captures the emotion of the morning quite well.

Kudos to those moms out there who have successfully trained their children to be excited about the start of a new year. I’m missing that page in my parenting manual.


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The Mid @ Scary Mommy

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I’m over on  The Mid at Scary Mommy today giving advice to my younger self. Feel free to check it out.

An author/teacher whom I have an immense amount of respect for said that the best advice he ever got as a writer was, “You must be willing to walk down the street naked.” Every time a piece of me goes out into the world of cyber-space via an article I’ve written, I have a better understanding of what that statement means.


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Classic Children’s Poems Rewritten for the Middle School Mom

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The Harms and Skow boys in a rare moment of stillness.

 

My friend (the one I wrote about here) recently reworked some children’s poems for The Des Moines Moms Blog.

She is one of the few people in the this world who can make me laugh and cry at the same time, which is just what I did when I read these for the first time the other day.  If you are in the mood for a good laugh/cry, read on…

“You Are My I Love You” – (Original) Maryann K. Cusimano

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

{“You Are My I Love You – Redux” – Marti Skow}

I will always be your momma, but you are no longer small,
I’ll always be “The Perfect Fan,” you’re becoming “The Boys of Fall”
I am your secret keeper, you’re a sharer on Instagram
I guide you toward a subtle ‘Yes,’ when your instinct is ‘No ma’am!’
I’m queen of second chances, you often take a third
I call you buddy, young man and friend, even when you are a turd
I swallow hard when you resist my touch, a fist bump is all you need
I ask you to make decisions slowly, you much prefer to speed
I am that voice nestled deep inside, you often pretend you’re deaf
I am the deliverer of balanced meals, you’d prefer a personal chef
I am the one beckoning, “GO TO BED!”, you are the resident owl
I am the tucker-in-of-kids, you want “goodnights” shouted from the hall
I am in bed and hear the beep, your thoughts are sweetest at nighttime texts
I say, ‘I love you bud, XOXO,’ you reply OXOX.

To read the rest of her poems, head on over to The Des Moines Moms Blog.


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Guideposts Magazine Best Friends Feature Photo Shoot

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Best Friends: Mothers in Arms

A cute little story I wrote about my friend Marti and me was published in the May 2015 issue of Guideposts.

The photo shoot is actually more exciting than the story, so I’m gonna take you behind the scenes.

It took place in mid-February. Outside. At a park. On a twisty slide. No coats allowed. What?!?

I suggested a photo at a coffee shop, because drinking a hot caffeinated beverage in a warm locale is more our style than balancing precariously on giant plastic playground equipment, but I guess they wanted to give Marti the opportunity to prove she is the friend I say she is. (A fair-weather friend never would have agreed to it. 😉 )

It was 20 degrees and that wasn’t a fan blowing the hair out of our faces for affect. It was an Iowa take-your-breath-away winter wind. The kind that forces tears out of your eyes and makes your nose drip.

Please take note of how my hand is so nicely relaxed on the slide. It had been clenched in a fist in an effort to calm my shivering body, but the photographer told me it made me look like I was cold. My other hand is holding onto the red slide pole for dear life. If you could see the rest of Marti’s arm, you would notice that she was also clamping onto the pole with all her strength.

It is amazingly difficult to poise yourself halfway down a twisty slide (especially when you are losing the feeling in your fingers). I dare you to try it.

Following the shoot,  we went to my house, brewed some hot coffee and talked about things that moms of boys talk about while our six male children (3 of mine, 3 of hers) played Clash of Clans and entertained themselves by making fun body noises. I love doing life with this lady as my friend.

Everyone should have a someone who is willing to conquer a mid-winter, twisty-slide photo shoot with them. It’s proof of love I tell you.

*A special thanks to Guideposts for a memory-making afternoon, and to our photographer who made quick work of the whole thing.