As we dive into 2015, several hopes or plans or “that would be fun” ideas have been swimming in my head. I am not going to call these resolutions because if I don’t do them….whatever. But if I do…I”m awesome. Or at least I will have broadened my horizons this year.

1. Green thumb. I am committing to not killing any more house plants. Let’s just say thank goodness Rogers Gardens does not do a home study because they would find 8 dead air plants, 6 dead ferns and bare fiddle leaf fig. And some tragically over watered succulents abandoned on the back porch. All this to say I bought a new fiddle leaf fig tree for the living room and it has a 12 month guarantee. That is my safety net. This interest also includes taking a terrarium class to understand the proper layering of rocks and soil so….more succulents don’t die. And because they make great gifts.  Some inspiration here.

2. Weaving.  I am obsessed.

3. Cooking with Greg. I love to cook. And really love to cook in a quiet kitchen by myself for people the like to eat. But on occasion, Greg and I get inspired together and enjoy the process as much as we enjoy the food. I got him this book for Christmas and there are soooooo many delicious recipes we want to try.

4. Yoga every damn day. Yoga has been transformative for me this past year and I would like to incorporate the practice into my daily routine. Wether at the studio or in my living room. The simple act of consciously breathing calms me. And I often need to be calmed.

5. Take a dance class. Just because. I love to dance. And exercise my mind body coordination required in learning new moves. Sorry friends, there will be no performance.

photo credit: http://www.independent.co.uk/property/interiors/the-insider-miniature-gardening-minus-the-garden-8513599.html

A different season

The last 6 months have been full of transition and signaled quite a change in our parenting stage.  Callum started pre-school in the fall….which changed everything.  And today, my baby just graduated from mommy and me gymnastics to the big kid class.*  Really….I’ve sat and sang and held his hand while pretending he wants to jump on the trampoline but really I just do…for the last time.

After 8 years of parenting, I suddenly have time….what feels like so much time to be a refreshed introvert, and clean my house.  Oh the joy.  I have described it as margin to Greg.  It feels like I have margin again.  I think it existed when Ben was little and I was working part time.  And maybe even when Lyle was born and I was not working.  But the addition of sweet Callum put me over the edge of sanity for several years.  And I wasn’t sure I (we) would ever get our feet under us as a family again.

I think we all have sweet spots in parenting.  And I have confessed before that I LOVE babies…but the age 1 to 2…or in Callum’s case 3 years old when they are mobile and curious and passionate yet lacking any sort of reasoning ability or rational thinking is tough for me.

Also, it occurred to me a few months ago, after lamenting with a friend about a crazy outing she had with her infant and 2 year old, that this blog was a place for me to process the insanity of the early years of parenting.  When I could barely keep my head above the water.  And as we have settled into a rhythm, and the boys are becoming increasinly self sufficient and I am no longer baby wearing anyone while trying to wipe someones bottom and hold a trantrum-ing toddler simultaneously, I have had less of a need to process my days here.

I would love for this to be a lifestyle, design, crafting blog…I am just looking for sponsors.  And a professional photographer.  And designers and crafters.

*Please note that Callum lasted 4 weeks in the big kid class before he was asked to leave.  And not come back.  His “curiosity” seems to be a distraction for the other kids and a safety concern for the coaches.  His desire to obey….anyone….he has no desire to obey.  He only has fearless courage and willful determination.  We are trying to channel that.  Into something that doesn’t make me crazy.  Or scare other people.  Which now includes tae qwon do and swim team.  Because he refuses to sit and watch his older brothers anymore and forces himself into the classes.  And he’s cute enough that its hard to say no.  Which is probably the root of the problem.  As always we are nailing this parenting thing.  This should totally be a parenting blog.


Being in a new space this year has inspired countless crafty projects.  My sewing machine is easily accessible, cans of spray paint have a special place in the garage, and don’t stand in between me and Ikea assembly instructions.  Don’t do it.  Even decorating for the holidays has lit a fire in me.  But first, I must share this desk project.  A couple months ago we were given this desk for free.


Straight out of the 80’s.  But it had potential.  I knew I would paint it white.  It was going to go in our master bedroom.  But was baffled at what I could do to the top.  Then I saw this: DIY Colorful Epoxy Topped Desk.

Yes please!

My dear friend (with whom I am basically the same age) Julia, graduate of SCAD, wedding dress designer and pie maker, agreed to help me.  For design advice, and extra set of hands, and comic relief.  (and her dad’s tools).

First we sanded, primed and painted.


Then glued balsa wood down to make a geometric pattern to fill with epoxy and paint.

This was my inspiration.  Source:  http://instagram.com/p/r27-bWKPaC/?modal=true


We followed the tutorial from A Beautiful Mess pretty closely.  And ate a lot of my kids Halloween candy.  Related:  they do not know about this blog.  Now that 1-1/2 of them can read I might need to delete it from the internet.



We used painters tape to create a tray of sorts to pour the epoxy/paint mixture into.  Because apparently neither Julia or I are terribly patient, we didn’t totally let the balsa wood glue dry before starting to pour the epoxy.  Nor did we rest anything on top of the wood while it was drying to make a perfect seal.  Either of those things would have prevented the leaking under the wood, but the mixture was so opaque that it didn’t end up mattering.   Impatient people rejoice!  Also it was very important for the desk to be level for this part because the epoxy was self leveling.  We spread it around with spatulas but as it dried it totally evened out.  It should be noted that I used random stacks of paper and books to level the desk.  Including one of my kids school library books.  Which was obviously missing for the month duration of this project.  Opps.

Once the epoxy was poured and dry.  I used a gold paint pen to cover the wood.  Action shot.  And oh my gosh those colors make me so happy.


We are narrowing in on it folks.  I added drawer pulls.  In a trial and error fashion.  But none the less.  Here is the finished desk.  Minus the top drawer pull….error still needing to be fixed.  Happy in my bedroom!


And one more close up:


And there you have it.  My ambitious FREE desk makeover.  (That was not free…but rather cost about $200 in materials).  I love the colors we used and plan to epoxy all surfaces in my house.

The ache in my heart


*Greg, don’t freak out as you read this. It ends ok.

About 8 years ago, I started feeling little tingles in my heart. I didn’t know what it was a first. But as the days passed and I quietly looked within, and then outside myself, at my sweet husband, and our little life, there was a new yearning. A hope. And a little space. And I knew God was preparing me to love. More deeply than I imagined possible.

And it started a cycle of great hope and love and heart ache. Welcoming precious new lives into our family. And with each life conceived. I dreamed. And planned. Because y’all know that’s what I do. There have been six moments when the world has stopped, at least in our house (well, one time in the car when I stuck a pregnancy test stick into a cup of pee I’d brought with me…WHAT?!?! I KNOW I am not the only person who has done this and dear friend and reader who once gave me the idea I am looking at you :) …when the world has stopped and we smiled and marveled at the gift of life. And three times, we have surrendered to God’s good, yet painful plan of letting go for now and hoping for heaven.

But with my last pregnancy, I was so consumed with fear that something would go wrong, and so desperately trying to surrender to God’s best plan for our family, that the reality of a third son did not set in until months after he was born. I found out the gender at just 15 weeks. But honestly I was more interested in seeing a beating heart than wether we would be welcoming a boy or girl. My heart hoped for a girl. But my soul was desperate for a healthy baby. And there is something not final about a little one until they are in your arms. And then it becomes so all consuming. How can you not love those eyes starring at you. Feeling your every breath. And meeting their every need. And I was really tired. But when the fog of the newborn storm lifted, I held a son. My third son. And something inside hurt. A deep. Empty. Hurt. Heart broken. For a daughter.

My heart is full. My life is full. I am blessed. But I wonder. And question. And blame. I have tried shaking my fists. At my husband first….because genetically we know this is his fault. Then at God. And lets be honest, this is not the only time I have looked at God with anger and fear and pain and asked why. WHY?!?!? Why didn’t I get what I wanted? What I thought was best? I have disappointments from years and years and years ago that feel like they happened today. That I have held on to. Too tightly. As proof. In case I ever need to put together a case proving that God doesn’t love me like he Loves everyone else. Which is total crazy talk. Which I am prone to.

But deep in my heart I hear Him say, “I have come to bring you life, Lindsay.”

Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Lindsay, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crown you with steadfast love and mercy.

The lives of my precious sons bless me beyond words. And I can’t imagine it differently. But I might tear up if I see your daughter’s chubby legs in a little leotard. I might offer to teach her to sew or take her to get her nails done. And I will probably show up when she is decorating her room or getting ready for her first dance. I’ll be overly involved in her wedding. And throw showers until the cows come home. Loving sweet relationships with girls that become women, wives and moms as I watch from afar. And love closely.

I wrote this post over a year ago. When the ache was still strong. But hesitated to share it because it was still raw. Open. Aching. And I didn’t want any sort of sympathy. Or sad comments. Or pep talks. I just wanted to share an area of hurt that the Lord has been faithful to pour love into. And thought it might resonate for one of you.

*unless Greg has a little too much to drink one night and I talk him into a bonus baby! Just kidding. I’m kidding. Kidding on the kidding. We’re all just kidding.

Holding Hands

Lyle has a summer birthday. And around these parts (totally not a phrase Californians use) that can mean holding kids (especially boys) back from starting kindergarten at a young 5 and waiting until they are 6. We decided to do this with Lyle for various reasons. High school athletic advantage being the most important…obviously. So he was eligible for what folks (feeling pretty Texas today) call Transitional Kindergarten. And there are a plethora of schools offering this option. And to say I spent adequate time weighing those options is an understatement. A huge understatement. Thousands of hours comparing locations and hours and friends and snacks and play grounds and teachers and curriculums. And cost. He could have stayed at his preschool for their TK program. Solid option. Or joined Ben at his school. Another solid option. Or he could go to our neighborhood elementary for real kindergarten and have him join Ben next year for a second round of K. We went with this option because it was free. And all day. Just being honest. And we could walk there. Something that we had never been able to do before. And I was really looking forward to.

I analyzed this decision a thousand ways this summer. Stressing about class size and getting plugged into another school and my mind exploding because all three of my kids have picture day at different times. No chance I am going to nail that one. But we are settling in to our morning routine which involves Greg and Ben leaving for school around 7:45, and me having another 45 minutes or so with Lyle and Callum to prepare for the day. Then I bribe Callum to sit in the stroller and we walk Lyle to school. Through the green belt. Under the trees. With neighbors and friends. Holding hands. I have mentioned that Lyle is a physically affectionate and needy little one. And it occurred to me today how precious this time with him is. Hand in hand. Connecting with him in a way that speaks volumes of my love for him. As he sets off for the day. Filled. I am so thankful for this precious time. And our neighborhood school experience.


Anxiety. Pride. Vanity.

The kids are back in school. Ben and Lyle all day. And Callum a couple days early in the week. We have reserved Fridays for Friday Fun day and I am looking forward to adventures with Callum and a few other kids his age.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to go paddle boarding and I hesitated for a minute, knowing I have some anxiety about being on the water and with a two year old even more. But Callum loved it with Greg at Hume Lake this summer and it was a beautiful beach day so we rallied. A lot of my anxiety stems from the fact that I pass out every once in a while…super not serious heart condition. And situations where passing out could be very dangerous…obviously cause me to pause. And sweat. And my heart to race. Well that’s just the beginning. Anywho…the water was calm, Callum was enthusiastic and I was with dear friends…so I asked if I could borrow a life jacket. For me. (obviously Callum was wearing one) It seemed ridiculous because I am a confident swimmer, but for some reason put my mind at ease. As I’m getting on the board I commented to my friends that I’m probably the only adult ever to wear a life jacket paddle boarding in the harbor. Pride. And vanity. Speaking lies. Of weakness. How many times have I listened. And not experienced life. Wind. A giggling two year old splashing his hands in the salty water? I almost missed the opportunity because I was worried about what I looked like. How many adventures or challenges have I stood back and watched go by as I calculated my inability? My lack of mastery? Instead of just leaning in and experiencing as I am?

Today I am choosing to set aside competition. And expectation. To live. And enjoy. Who I am. And where I am at. Which happens to be in a very quiet house PRAISE THE LORD.




Today in rapid succession, Lyle asked me:

“Mom, when you die, can we eat your meat. The meat inside you?”

“Are you going to die before me?”

“Who is going to take care of me if you die before me?”

“I will get you some chicken to take to heaven if you are hungry.”

“Can I have some more cheerios?”

I didn’t even know where to start. So I started with the cheerios.

This all coming from the child that just needs me all day long. Needs physical affection and verbal affection and more hugs and kisses and snuggles and quality time and connection time and focused time and talking time, who wanted to nurse again when Callum was born….literally wants to eat me when I die.

Unrelated: add extra mozzarella to trader joe’s frozen pizzas before cooking and graded parmesan after and they are just delicious.

Also: Easter


Ben turned 7:


Callum turned 2:


And we moved and settled and I AM SO THANKFUL. SO THANKFUL. For community and neighbors and parks and walking and bike riding and glory glory so many other things.

Great. Now we are all caught up.

Oh my gosh it’s so good to see you!

How was Christmas? Where are you living? Happy New Year.

All things we would say if we saw each other.

I don’t know where to start? 2013 recap? 2014 resolutions? The time I hit a golf cart with my car on the island? And the owner and his old man gang witnessed the whole thing? Mortified. Even after they offered to buy me coffee.

We’ve moved again. Back to leisure world. It’s hard to find my groove with all this transition. Especially my writing groove. I just don’t have a spot. Or a time. Critical factors. I would overload this post with pictures to avoid having to come up with words, but I can’t find my camera cable. Shocking. Or my check book. Or the baby nail clippers. Or….do I need to go on?

I meant to dedicate an entire post to island living but it kept sounding entitled and elitist and that combined with my self deprecating humor just didn’t work. But getting stuck behind the 4 passenger tourist bikes in the afternoon or hearing the neighbors conversations at night mixed with beach days in November and outdoor showers and Christmas light walks and the boat parade…I’m so thankful we were there for the time we were. And I really did hit a parked golf cart with my car. And ate donuts 4 x week and coffee everyday. And walked some of it off in the wee hours before the sun or my children arose…which was my favorite part.

So I’m looking ahead and hoping to getting my ikea furniture and family pictures out of storage in 2014. Cheers!

And in case you forgot what we look like. Merry Christmas.


The Menu

Well friends….it’s almost Thanksgiving! I am hosting my family at our little rental house on the island (I like to say ‘OUR’ and pretend we get to stay more than another 4 weeks when the owners come back and displace us as if we never laid down roots here!) and thought I’d share what we’re serving. My mom is making some of the more traditional thanksgiving dishes (like all of them…because of the time I spent 1,000 hours cooking my first turkey and come dinner time it was raw inside and a sweet unassuming relative suggested we microwave it and I FREAKED THE FREAK OUT) but with Greg’s food allergies (gluten, dairy, cranberries and green beans just to name a few) I needed to get creative in order to put together a festive meal. He’s not allergic to turkey, but he just has no love for it. Maybe because of the raw incident? Whatever. So I’m roasting a chicken. At this point in the post I would love to insert round photos of beautiful dishes, but I need some tech support to help with that and we don’t have tech support at sweetbenandlittlelyleandthatotherson(dot)com. So we’re going with this.


Obviously these pictures are all other people’s. Since it’s Monday and I haven’t started cooking yet. With the exception of a test run of the mac and cheese and my kids complained about the bread crumbs.

Clockwise from top left:
1. Buttermilk Cheddar biscuits
2. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
3. Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans (substituting dried cherries for the cranberries)
4. Mac and Cheese (just to keep the kids happy and quiet)
5. Roasted Chicken I have a menu planning strategy that is finally working quite well for us. Maybe I have mentioned? I’m not sure. Regardless, I make this roasted chicken just about every Sunday night and it’s always a hit.

Desert is quite impossible for Greg…with the exception of maybe raw walnut, date and cocoa truffles. So I might make those.

This menu is heavily influenced by Ina Garten because she has never led me astray. I trust her implicitly. With my whole life. I want to live with her in the hamptons. And cook with sticks and sticks of butter all day long. How bad can THAT be?!?!

*I should mention that the biscuits and mac and cheese are obviously not Greg friendly. OBVIOUSLY.