Much Appreciated

I’ve had a good time working my way through all of these challenges.  Obviously, some are more fun than others.  If you’ve ever sewn on a button you know that it’s not for entertainment. But, I have to say this challenge was the best.  I’m not exaggerating when I say we have been a Marine Corps family for a long time.  Other than the occasional reduced hotel rate, we don’t really take advantage of a lot of the available military discounts.  Then we discovered, after attending a Military Appreciation Day hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes, that they are not exaggerating about their military discount.  This time last year I sat in the best seats I’ve ever had at a professional sporting event. I spent more the year before for seats that were so high up we had to wear an extra layer of clothing. As I called my hockey-loving brother, Daryle, from PNC Arena to wish him a happy birthday I just knew that he had to come with me the next year for his birthday.  Fast forward 365-ish days and here we are.

Happy birthday, Daryle!
As an adult, I’ve never lived close enough to a professional sports team to be able to attend regularly and become one of the local fans.  I’m hoping that if someday I do have a local home team that it still generates the same feeling.  There’s nothing like entering a stadium or arena for a sporting event.  The excitement feels electric.  I particularly love it when the players enter.  The music, the introductions, the spectacle. It’s awesome.  This particular game was especially exciting because not only did I get to share it with my brother and my kids but we had really great seats!

View of the ice from our seats!
You know you are in for something special when the guy who looks at your tickets to tell you where your seats are located says, “You’ve got great seats.” When I bought our tickets I wanted to get something up close, center ice.  Well, I succeeded.  We were on the second row behind the opposing team’s bench.   If I had it to do again I’d buy seats a few more rows back.  The seats I purchased were row D which to me equated to the fourth row, not the second.  But, no one was complaining. It was pretty awe-inspiring to be so close.

So, there you have it.  The best challenge yet.  Impressive athletic feats, rockin’ songs to get you pumped up, t-shirts floated down in parachutes from the rafters and a brother who traveled half-way across the country to share it with me.  I realized that, all of the excitement aside, what makes these events even more memorable is that I always get to enjoy them with the people who I love most in the world.  Building relationships and making memories.  I think that’s what this life is really all about.

Before you go…even though we had a great time we did not get to celebrate a Hurricanes victory.  The defeat did not discourage the usual heckling idiot fans. And, don’t think just because we had great seats that we weren’t going to have to listen to it.  I’m never a fan of the loud-mouth who yells during the game but occasionally you’ll find one that, while annoying, is at least begrudgingly funny.  Our trio of fools couldn’t even come up with a good taunt.  On the upside, they did not curse.  But, on the downside, repeatedly yelling, “You’re the worst!”, with an intermittent “You’re literally the worst!” thrown in for emphasis is just embarrassing.  I’m not trying to encourage more negativity in the world but study up on your insults if you are going to try to insert yourself into the game.


Do You Believe in Miracles?!

With this challenge we are moving from learning a solid life skill to more of a life-expanding experience.  ATTEND A PROFESSIONAL SPORTING EVENT.  I have attended many professional sporting events in my life.  I grew up watching the local minor-league hockey  and baseball teams in Oklahoma City. Heck, I even watched the National Finals Rodeo a couple of times before Las Vegas stole it from us in 1978.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have watched games in each of the four major professional sports in the US.  I’m super excited about this challenge.

Family affair: son, brother, nephew.  Jacksonville Jaguars vs Minnesota Vikings. Dec 11, 2016.
I’ve liked watching sports for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school, I spent many summer Friday nights with my brother, Daryle, at the OKC Fairgrounds watching Sprint cars race around the dirt track.  I’m embarrassed to admit that in the 6th grade when my classmates were probably writing about the Iran Hostage Crisis or tornados I wrote my term paper about hockey.  In my defense, it was the time of the “miracle on ice”  and the medal-round victory of the US Olympic hockey team over the Soviet Union.  For a brief period of time during my first semester of college I even thought I wanted to be a radio sports broadcaster. My first and only journalism class cured me of that notion.

For about ten years now I’ve been the administrator of the Candy Bar Football League in which a small, ever-changing group of family and friends pick the winners of the NFL games each week every fall.  It’s high stakes. At the end of the season the winner gets a candy bar.  We started when Andrew first became an obsessive Philadelphia Eagles fan following a viewing of the Mark Wahlberg movie Invincible.  I’m also a part of the Pick-One-Fool Fantasy Football league.  If you don’t play Fantasy Football you can’t understand how you could find yourself watching some random NFL game just because DeAndre Hopkins is on your fantasy team.  That said, there’s nothing like watching a sporting event in person.

So, are you a sports fan?  Even if you aren’t I think there is definitely something about seeing a live sporting event.  Do I only think that because I am a sports fan?  Do you have access to professional sports where you live or do you have to travel, like I do?  Did you get to watch a professional sporting event as a kid?  If you are guessing that I’ve got a game in my near future, you’d be correct.  I’ll check back in with you next week.  In the mean time, if you have a favorite professional sport you like to watch, live or otherwise, I’d love to hear about it! Or, if you’d rather wash dishes than go to a sporting event I’d like to hear why??!

Before you go…although my kids aren’t professional athletes, they all played sports and it was pretty moving at times to watch them play.  In November, Rachel finished her Senior season playing volleyball for Greensboro College.  Getting to watch her play with heart and determination as a leader who left nothing on the court will always be better than watching any professional sporting event past or future.

It’s my blog… I can brag if I want.

Needles, Shanks & Irrational Fears

This challenge brought up a bit of an irrational fear of mine.  I don’t like needles.  Not in the I’m afraid of shots way, although I don’t love those either, but more in the I’m going to step on a needle! way.  I don’t think I’ve ever stepped on a needle before but apparently it’s a real concern in my deep dark subconscious.  It could be related to listening to multiple tellings of Lee’s childhood story of getting a thumbtack stuck between his toes.  I understand a thumbtack is not the same thing as a needle but the pointy end makes them close cousins. I also have some vague memory of my Mom getting a needle stuck in her foot.  Not even sure if that’s a fact or an alternative  fact but it’s in my brain anyway. Whenever my kids wanted to do some kind of craft that required pins or needles I was probably not very encouraging.  I was pretty sure that some carelessly supervised pin or needle was going to slide itself comfortably into the fibers of our carpet and lie in wait for it’s unsuspecting victim.

In addition to my needle issue, I did have a couple of other challenges to overcome.  I could not find a garment that needed a button replaced.  I also could not find a sewing kit (possibly linked to the previously stated needle phobia).  However, I did persevere.  After clearing a couple of initial hurdles, I am now fully licensed in the state of North Carolina to sew a two-hole button- at least onto a scrap of fabric. I’m also the proud owner of a new sewing kit.

The 100 Things You Need to Do Before You Grow Up book sometimes offers additional information to help the reader.  I decided that even though this wasn’t going to be my first button I might want to follow their ten helpful steps.button-titlejpg

Everything was moving along nicely.  Each step was concise and easy to follow.  Until I got to Step 8 which I could not comprehend.  Maybe Step 8 is the litmus test for full acceptance into the Button-Sewing Club.  If so, I failed.  However, I did not leave my button unsecured.  I just chose to use the method I’ve used before.


I was unfamiliar with the term shank in reference to sewing.  If you watch shows about crime or prison you might be similarly confused. I did, however, google it and it does make sense.  It allows for space between the button and the fabric when the garment is buttoned.  My method allows for the same thing, I just didn’t realize what I was doing…or why.

I now have a sewing kit so I am prepared for any future button-sewing.  Plus, this summer I’ll be in California with my own personal button-sewer who can then take ownership of said sewing kit. I’m assuming most of you have sewn a button on before.  If so, were you aware you were creating a shank?  Do you worry about your needles getting away from you and making a new home in your carpet?  Do you ask yourself why you keep reading this?

Before you go…I would like you to know that when sewing my button onto my scrap of fabric I did take the time to cut a buttonhole ensuring that my button is functional and not just decorative. Thanks for reading along.


Buttons Are Gross

The latest challenge appears simple on the surface and could easily be dismissed. LEARN HOW TO SEW ON A BUTTON.  I’ve sewn a button or two in my time.  I don’t sew, so any button-sewing for me is strictly in repair mode.  I used to be one of those people who saved those replacement buttons that come with shirts, jackets and sweaters, but after moving several times with a jewelry box compartment filled with buttons for apparel I no longer owned, I stopped.  Maybe I just get rid of clothing before the buttons fall off or possibly when the buttons DO fall off.  (Now, I’m picturing landfills filled with perfectly good shirts just missing one button and feeling a bit of guilt.)

In reality, I don’t wear a ton a clothes that have buttons.  From 2 1/2 until approximately 7 years of age my daughter, Elisabeth, actively disliked buttons.  Functional or decorative.  She wouldn’t wear them, didn’t like it if I wore them, even disliked pillows that had them.  Buttons were “gross”.  Searching for clothing without decorative buttons: easy.  Searching for clothing without functional buttons in reality means your child wears a lot of t-shirts. Not a lot of button-sewing going on at our house during that period of time.  I didn’t stop wearing clothing with buttons to appease my four-year-old but if I didn’t love it, I didn’t wear it.  It wasn’t worth it.  When you have little kids, who has time to button up a shirt anyway! Plus, shirts with buttons also tend to be shirts that require ironing.  I’m not usually organized enough to have a shirt ironed and ready to wear. Lee has always been the chief ironer in our house and ,now that I think about it, he’s probably the primary button-sewer, too.  The Marine Corps prepared him well for a lot of things including button-sewing and ironing.

What about you? Are you someone who saves those replacement buttons and actually uses them?  Are you the person people seek out when they’ve lost a button?  When is the last time you sewed on a button? Any tips for me as I proceed?   I’m off to find a button that needs replacing!  Failing that, I’ll just do some practice button-sewing so that I’m prepared for the future.  I do think this is a good skill for kids to learn.  Maybe I’ll make Andrew sew on a button, too.

Before you go…I’m feeling the need to explain that when I do get rid of clothing, I donate it to the local Goodwill or some other charity organization. I’m not marching to save the trees everyday but I’m not as callous about the environment as it may appear.  Also, today, I’m exactly one month from my 49th birthday and feeling pretty good about the challenges I’ve completed so far.  Thanks for taking this journey with me!  It wouldn’t be the same without you.



Walk a Mile (or 20) in My Shoes

It’s taken me a while longer than I’d like to get this next post going.  The next challenge is a big one and I’ve actually been working on it for about a month now.  RUN A 5K.

I’ve never RUN a 5K before.  Once upon a time I did run track.  Middle-school track, if you must know, but I was a hurdler and sprinter.  The overall supervision of our track team was quite lax in my memory.  We were told to run to the high school and back — a mile, two miles?–but I really only remember mostly walking and goofing around with my fellow teammates. If there was a coach with us he had given up on motiving my group. I do remember working on getting my steps down between hurdles and practicing the relay baton hand-offs but actually getting into shape by running…not so much.

I have participated in the Hope for the Warriors races before.  My friend, Renee, and I did the 10K a couple of years ago but we really only ran the last part so that we wouldn’t finish behind someone who appeared to be pushing 70.  Classy, I know.  I do understand the need for training.  The two years that we lived in Chesapeake, VA I walked the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon and did the required training to complete it in a respectable time.  But, for this challenge I am going to run so I need a good training plan.

I identified my goal race and date (Raleigh Rock-n-Roll 5K – April 1st) and decided to use the Couch to 5K (C25K) app.  I have used that app before (sadly, briefly) so I knew that was the tool I needed.  I also reached out to my longtime friend and runner extraordinaire, Mona, to coach me along.  She’s become my nutrition mentor, my accountability partner and my overall life cheerleader.  As I work on this challenge it has made think back to a distant grade school memory of participating in a walkathon.  By my recollection, we walked to Lake Draper and back.  A 20-mile round trip.  Was that possibly an accurate memory?  We did no training, most likely walked in Keds or Fastbacks, wore no sunscreen and possibly had no water along the way.  Plus, I’m sure it was probably May in Oklahoma, which means you would have needed both sunscreen and water in large quantities. So, I asked my sister, Emilie, if I was crazy and she agreed that we had participated in walkathons but she wasn’t sure if it was a full 20 miles…maybe 17?  Well, that makes all the difference in the world.  My husband, Lee, also verified this memory. Although we didn’t know each other at the time, we could possibly have walked the same fundraiser, all sunburnt and bloody-footed, to raise pennies-0n-the-dollar for some charity.  Ah, the 1970s.

Don’t know who this is but he probably completed a walkathon in this exact outfit  in Moore, OK circa 1978.

You won’t be hearing much from me about this challenge until closer to race time but I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips for me.  I have had some issues with my knees, which I haven’t before, and that makes me feel old.  I do plan on getting new running shoes so maybe, just maybe, that will help.  If you have a race planned or find this challenge a motivator to run (or walk!) a 5K yourself please let me know!  There is comfort in numbers, which is why I’ve drafted my kids to run along with me, or at least, be present to cheer me on.  And, if you have memories of participating in walkathons, do share!

Before you go…talking with Lee and Emilie about this brought back a lot of the “wonderful” 70s experiences like not wearing a seatbelt, getting paddled in school for talking and having the kind of free range childhood that seems like we were just asking to get abducted.

Let Them Eat Cake!

I’ll start with a confession.  When I saw that January 27th was National Cake Day I knew immediately that would be the week for the BAKE SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH challenge.  It wasn’t until I took the picture of the date in my calendar that I realized it was actually National CHOCOLATE Cake Day.  I’d already purchased the items for a white cake with white frosting but no harm. You can never have too many options for cake.

I started my search again.  Checking out Pinterest, flipping through my own cookbooks, searching books at the library for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.  Since I’m a novice baker I needed a basic cake.  Most of the cookbooks on my shelves are about cooking not baking.  The problem with most books dedicated to cakes is that they really want to WOW you.  That’s not a problem if you are an experienced baker but I wasn’t ready to start with a checkerboard cake or one covered in fondant.  I needed a basic layer cake recipe. I did look at my Mom’s (very) old copy of Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book.   Those cakes were basic alright.  Find me cookbook today that has six cake recipes on one page.  I was going to need more than a paragraph to make this happen.


Finally walking across the library I spotted a new cookbook by Ina Garten called Cooking for Jeffrey and on the cover was this beautiful chocolate cake with white frosting.  I’d found my cake.

I received some good advice about baking: make sure your eggs and butter are room temperature, grease and flour your pans, weigh your ingredients.  My ingredients were out and at the (hopefully) correct temperature, pans were greased and floured, and the oven was hot. I was ready. When I work in the kitchen I listen to music or audiobooks or podcasts or pretty much anything but not during the baking of this cake.  I felt like I had to focus so precisely on what I was doing that there was no room in my head for anything else.  It was like when you turn down the radio in your car so you can figure where you are going.  (Admit it, you do it, too.) The whole process took a lot longer than I expected.   The butter took a long time to soften. Weighing the ingredients took longer than just scooping them.  The cakes took longer to bake than they said they would.  The cooling took forever. By the time I was done my back hurt, my dogs had relocated to the kitchen floor, and I understood that bakers start at the crack of dawn so that they aren’t baking until midnight.


I did not end up using Ina’s frosting recipe.  It requires six sticks of butter!  If you are using your scale you’ll know that’s 1 1/2 lbs.  I’d like to say that it was just on principle that I thought it was too much butter but actually I just didn’t have that much butter left.  Luckily, I was already prepared to attempt a beautiful buttercream frosting.  I didn’t frost the cakes the night I made them.  After a couple of frantic texts to my friend, Terry, about cooling time I let them cool, and wrapped them loosely in plastic wrap so they’d be ready to frost in the morning.


I didn’t get up as early as a professional baker but I did rise before the sun did to get my cakes frosted.  Ina suggested that a revolving cake stand would make the job easier but I don’t have one of those. Luckily, one of the brilliant people on Pinterest suggested that a large-mouth bowl flipped upside down with a plate resting on top works just fine and they were right.


And then it was done.  I didn’t promise you a beautifully decorated cake. Just one that was made from scratch and that would hopefully be edible.  It was edible.  I thought it was a bit on the dry side but overall a baking success.

So, did you bake something from scratch this week?  Did you eat something that someone else made from scratch?  I’ll admit I did enjoy this challenge and I will make another cake from scratch.  In fact, now that I’ve gotten the first-day-on-the-job jitters out of the way I’ll be able to relax and enjoy it a bit more. Lessons learned: 1. the paddle attachment on the stand mixer is the one you need to cream butter not the whisk. 2. cleaning up after making cake is not fun. 3. your value to your co-workers will rise exponentially if you bring them a cake.


Before you go…the cake was devil’s food made with both expresso and sour cream.  It was supposed to be a four-layer cake.  But I know my limitations and when Ina Garten has to use skewers to help her evenly slice her cake layers in half horizontally to get four layers, I’ll just stick to two.  Who am I trying to impress?

On Your Marks, Get Set…Bake!

Anonymous good deed? Check.  500-piece puzzle? Check. Mastering a new favorite song? Check. Now, it’s time to BAKE SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH.

My mom liked to bake.  She made bread shaped like teddy bears and even baked her own dog biscuits! So, genetically it seems like I might have an advantage in this challenge.  But my own experience is fairly minimal.  I went through an “artisan bread in five-minutes a day” phase for about a year when we lived in Northern Virginia.  That’s rough on the waistline.  I make a mean Texas sheet cake but I’ve never baked an actual layered cake from scratch. Turns out that National Chocolate Cake Day is Friday, January 27th.


So, I’m going to bake a chocolate cake from scratch. I’ve watched all of the episodes of the Great British Baking Show.  I’ve even watched some episodes of the Great American Baking Show (not as good as the British one but better than I thought it would be).  I’ve watched every season of Top Chef.  Those crazy-talented chefs never want to tackle dessert.  They want to cook, not bake!  Baking is difficult. It requires more precision than I’m used to using in my life.  I’m not a precision person. Wish me luck.

What about you?  Have you ever baked a cake from scratch? Do you have any tips for me?   I’m excited to give this a try.  I now like puzzles (Andrew and I are working on a 1,000 piece puzzle!) so, who knows, maybe I’ll never buy another cake mix again!  You certainly don’t have to bake a cake.  There are a lot of things you can bake from scratch.  If you make something, I’d love to hear about it. Hopefully, I’ll just manage to make something that I’m not embarrassed to give to my co-workers on National Chocolate Cake Day.

Before you go…if you’ve never heard the stand-up set about cake by the comedian, Jim Gaffigan, you need to!  As a 10-year-old, Andrew could recite the whole thing.  Probably still can.

Oceans Rise. Empires Fall.

This was an enjoyable challenge but it was a challenge all the same.  As a regular sing-alonger I promised that I would push myself…and I did.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m in the midst of a serious obsession with the musical Hamilton.  At home, it’s been looping so much that Andrew can probably sing it in his sleep.  The rapid-fire lyrics and intricate rhymes can make many of the songs particularly tricky to sing accurately.  Of course, I’ve never been afraid to just make up a lyric or kind of la-la-la it through a song if I can’t figure out what they’re saying.  But since this was an official challenge I decided that la-la-la-ing wasn’t an option.  It took me awhile to decide which song to choose.  I love to sing almost all of them.  However, like I said, some are much harder than others.  I finally decided not on one song but two: “Helpless” and “Satisfied”, songs that are closely tied to each other.  To master them, I dedicated the time it took me to get ready for work everyday, my commute time (only 5 mins!), and my time on the treadmill.  Luckily, for anyone in ear-shot, my treadmill is in the garage so I can sing out loud during my workout, leaving the vocal quality even more compromised than usual.  I need to add here that the speed of the lyrics in these songs left me feeling more than a little out of shape.  These folks have some serious lung power.  Singing along, even when not mid-workout, I usually sound like I’ve just climbed a flight of stairs. To be honest, that’s one of the ways I chose the songs.  My choices aren’t as asthma-inducing, or honestly, as tongue-twisting.  Being able to read the elaborate lyrics made it easier to learn what I was actually saying.  Fortunately, I own the book HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION which has all of the lyrics and I had my own karaoke lounge every evening thanks to Amazon Music.


I realize one of the things that I love about this musical is that it is a celebration of history and a celebration of language, as well.    I remember having a discussion about music and lyrics with my friend, Damon, back during our high school days, and stating that I was more interested in the lyrics of a song than the music.  Now, keep in mind, we were probably 16-years-old during this conversation, so I’m sure it was deep and profound but it’s obviously stuck with me.  I actually think the best songs combine music and lyrics in a way that causes an emotional reaction, anything from sadness to joy.  Singing is like driving or reading, you can do it without thinking about it.  We’ve all driven somewhere on autopilot and then thought, “wow” I don’t remember getting from there to here.  Ever read aloud to a kid?  Next time you do really THINK about each word that you are reading.  It’s the magic that provides the connection between text and emotion.  The same is true for music.  The best singers are great not because of their voices but because they connect us to the emotion.

So, did you learn the words of a new favorite this week? Return to an old friend?  Songs are like smells, they can transport you to time and place.  They can be magical.  This blog has grown up listening to the music of Hamilton.  Every post has been written with those songs as soundtrack.  They will always be connected for me.  Maybe you’ll return to this shared time and place everytime you hear the song you tackled this week.

Before you go…the title of this post comes from lines in the songs in Hamilton sung by King George. They are belting lines.  The kind you sing at the top of your voice.  Every time I sing them they bring me joy!

Sing a Song

This next challenge is really no challenge at all for me.  MEMORIZE ALL THE WORDS TO YOUR FAVORITE SONG, THEN BELT IT OUT WHEN IT COMES ON THE RADIO.  I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.  Ask any of my kids and they’ll tell you.  I cannot sing but that does NOT keep me from singing.  Especially in the car.  I have distinct memories as a grade-schooler of singing along to the radio in my brother Daryle’s car.  He, of course, would turn down the music mid-song to mess with me but that’s proof I’ve been singing along for a long time now.

I listen to a wide variety of music:  Old school rock, 90’s pop, a little country, anything from the 80s, show tunes, hip-hop, even children’s music.  The poor folks who attend Preschool Storytime at the Library have to listen to me sing every week!  Here’s a free early literacy tip I often share: kids don’t care what you sound like.  Singing helps them get ready to learn how to read and it’s something they like to do!

As you can tell, I’m a big proponent of singing.  When Lee was deployed to Iraq my kids (especially Elisabeth and Rachel) and I spent almost an entire year playing a kareoke PlayStation game called SingStar.  As long and difficult and worrying as that year was we still managed to have fun.  You haven’t really bonded with your kids until you’ve tackled Ice Ice Baby as a duet.  Singing gave us some really good times.  It was also the year I finally realized that I was singing the words to Rocket Man all wrong.


Since I really love to sing and don’t have much issue memorizing the words to my favorite songs I’ve got to figure out a way to really challenge myself this week.  I’m going to try and tackle something different.  Nothing from the movie Frozen.  I’ll stay away from Bobby Brown and The Spice Girls.  When we meet again later this week I’ll have tackled something that I don’t usually sing along with.  And I promise, you won’t have to listen to me sing it.

So, are you a car-singer?  Do you loop a song on repeat until you’ve mastered it?  What are some of your favorite songs to sing along to?  This week let your inner Celine out, sing along with Whitney, John Waite, Florida-Georgia Line or whoever makes you want to sing like there is no tomorrow.

 Before you go…take some time to listen to Rocket Man by Elton John this week and tell me if you’ve been singing the line “Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone” correctly.  I’m not sure what I was singing but it wasn’t that. 

Pieces of My Heart

Challenge number two is in the box.  Actually it’s out of the box and still sitting on my table but you get the point.  I put together a 500-piece-puzzle with a little help from Andrew. Actually a lot of help.  Basically he did the puzzle and allowed me to assist but it’s done.  It was pretty much framed out by the time I realized he’d started.  I’ll admit it took me a bit to get going. First of all, it was kind of overwhelming so many pieces, so many shapes and colors.  And, since the edges were already done, where do you start?  Plus, I needed my reading glasses which was a bit humbling.  But just like riding a bike, once I got on again it all came back to me.  Pretty soon we were working side by side, piecing together smaller sections, searching for their place in the larger picture.

In prepping for this challenge I got some valuable insights from experienced puzzle-doers. One mentioned that puzzles are basically a problem-solving activity, which is so obvious to me now.  I’d never really thought about it before.  Andrew has always loved a similar activity: legos.  He even mentioned, while we worked, that when he doesn’t have a lego set to build that he likes to do puzzles.  Didn’t know that.

Another puzzle advisor told me that part of the joy of doing a puzzle is working on it with other people.  For me, truer words have never been spoken.  I did enjoy the search for the right piece and the pleasant feeling of it all coming together.  But my favorite part was standing shoulder to shoulder with my seventeen-year-old son, no phones, just a shared task with a singular purpose.  I think he enjoyed it, too.  I can write that because there is no way he’s reading this blog.


One of the unexpected benefits to working my way through these challenges (two so far!)  is that in order to best recall how you think and feel about something you have to be present in the moment.  It’s forced me to examine my emotions in a place and time.  We live such busy lives that stopping occasionally to see “hey, how does that make me feel, and why do I feel that way?” kind of slows life down.  Doing the puzzle together also slowed time down.  Just for moment.

So, did you try your hand at a 500-piece-puzzle?  Were you inspired to dust off the old puzzle boxes and put puzzles back into your life again?  I won’t be designating a portion of our kitchen table as a permanent puzzle station but I will do one again.  If fact, Andrew and I have plans to start on a 1,000 piece dandy in the near future.

Before you go…if you, like me, are prone to snacking while you are watching tv or reading or doing basically any other hands-free activity, puzzles are a great way to keep your hands busy!  It’s hard to eat and do a puzzle at the same time…unless you can get someone else to keep working while you are eating.  Ice cream may have been eaten during the completion of this challenge.