my thoughts on the subject

Here there be spoilers….

Now having written a very serious post not too long ago, I am now switching gears and going to write my 2cents about The Desolation of Smaug….

So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and are planning to, you might not want to read ahead.

On the other hand, in this age of social media, nothing I am going to say is anything you probably haven’t already heard.

Except for my opinions, that is. 😉

So, without further eloquence….


UPDATE January 2015.  I gave a glowing review of this movie in December 2013.  I can only say in all honesty that I liked the movie because I wanted to like it.  I wanted it to be a good movie and wanted to watch it in conjunction with the LOTR movies later on with my teenage boys.  I dismissed the feeling that it was just a bad interpretation of the book in the hopes that all the things I had issues with (elf-dwarf romance? Please. Save it for the MMORPGS.) would somehow be solved/fixed/edited with a stunning third movie.  Rather like “The Two Towers” was with “Return of the King.” We bought this movie in May when it was released.  I wasn’t halfway through before regretting our misspent money.

Suffice to say, this time I believed the reviews and didn’t even see the third film.  A FB promotion of Kili and Tauriel from the Hobbit page itself with “hashtag ‘It was Real'” was gag worthy, and I didn’t need to see her sobbing about him onscreen.  I’m not a fan of over the top CGI battle sequences, so sitting through an hour of it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea.  I guess I am a Tolkien purist more than I realized.  But frankly, Haus Meister and I are lucky to have a date twice a year. I’m not going to waste our rare date nights on something that we’re going to regret having spent the money to see.  And it’s a shame.  There could have been one very good long movie made from this book.  Possibly two.  It’s just a shame that the screenwriters kind of forgot the book was actually about a Hobbit.

Walk to Rivendell

Rowing to Rivendell–stuck in the Brandywine?


Ok, so my rowing this week was dismal. 1.4 miles. I don’t even feel like looking at the virtual atlas because I can guess I either just crossed the Brandywine Bridge (remember, this is following the footsteps of Bilbo, not Frodo, so I didn’t need to use Buckleberry Ferry. :)) OR I’m stuck treading water in the Brandywine River. However, I wanted to record it for the next go-round, although I cannot imagine I will do much rowing before Thanksgiving and definitely not during. ;)***Update: according to the virtual atlas, after mile 45 Cross the Bridge. Road to Buckland goes south. Pass the High Hay.

About today’s blog picture–it’s a spoiler for the new movie coming out next month. I found it on my hobbit blog wanderings, because occasionally I indulge in Tolkien related frivolity that way. Also, I like spoilers. Anyway, I had to laugh looking at this picture. Thorin so obviously has that key of his at the ready and the way the Dwarves are all lined up I can guess they’re in front of what they think is the secret entrance into the Mountain. Just waiting for the thrush to show up and knock on the stone, or wondering if it is really Durin’s Day. Balin seems pretty sure. I imagine Bilbo is around the corner watching the thrush attack a snail and saying, “Um, no, guys, it’s really over here. Trust me.” Because didn’t Gandalf say that dwarf doors were difficult to find and if their makers forgot where they left them, then there’d be no finding them again?

And that’s my random Tolkien related frivolity for the day before I go do something useful, like mop my floors, do the dishes, or for goodness’ sake–ROW.

Walk to Rivendell

Back in the saddle again


Over the past three weeks I’ve been hitting the rowing machine more, trying to make better use of my downtime. So in the past three weeks–some weeks better than others, I’ve managed 8.7 miles on my merry leisurely Row to Rivendell:

45 miles total. 

Fortunately according to our virtual atlas, I’ve reached the next milestone: “Reach the Brandywine Bridge. Stay at the Bridge Inn.”

From here on out, we’ve left the Shire. On to the village of Bree!

family life

Happy Birthday the Man of the House!


According to Shire-reckoning, you have now officially come of age!*

Many, many happy returns of the day, my love!

*You’ll have to open your Tolkien for that one, folks. I could tell you, and he wouldn’t mind because he’s truly the last to be bothered with the passage of another year, but hey, what’s the fun of it if I can’t throw some trivia your way! Ok, it has to do with hobbits.

family life · LEGO · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real



Miss M’s birthday went well, and she was pleased with it. I’m learning to keep the toddler birthdays low-key–as low-key as possible with four siblings desirous for cake, ice cream, and root beer. I do not count Trooper or Posey in that score because Trooper hasn’t developed a sweet tooth (!!) and Posey doesn’t know those things exist yet. So we got balloons and I made pink lemonade cupcakes and even though it rained half the day it still was fun for everyone involved.


This was 0.354 seconds before she realized she didn’t like being sung to and wanted me to hold her for the rest of the song.


Among her gifts were the Laura & Mary Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder peg dolls from The Fig & Thimble Etsy store. All the pictures I have of her holding them are blurry because she was already making up stories with them. The dolls were an instant hit and even enabled us to sit through 85% more of Sunday Mass than usual the next morning!  Peg dolls are now tops on my list of favorite little kid toys.

"iss MEEE!" she giggles
“iss MEEE!” she giggles

My pretty Miss M.


My dad and the Trooper, 2005.
My Mom and Dino, her buddy, 2011.

The 2nd birthday isn’t the only big event these days. Ten days ago my parents celebrated their 36th Wedding Anniversary.

And while my cousins were writing very wonderful posts about their own parents’ 40th Wedding Anniversary, I was a loser and forgot to even get my parents’ card out on time.

 But at least I spared putting the picture taken in 1975 up here for immortality. Do we still have that picture? The plaid bell-bottoms one?

Seriously, Mom and Dad, I do think you’re wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better parents, or grandparents for my gang. And I promise that we’ll give you at least a card on time next year…or by your 40th! 😉

Other big events: Someone has an 8th birthday this weekend.

And 14 years ago yesterday I met my husband. You may read all about it here.  I didn’t know that was going to be the start of something absolutely wonderful, but I’m forever grateful for it all the same.


The Desolation of Smaug trailer…LEGO-style! Thanks to my sister for the link.

I can so see my boys doing something like this in 7 – 10 years.


“Some spawn of Ungoliant, or I’m not a wizard” — Radagast the Brown, in the recent Hobbit movie.

It’s official: we live in Mirkwood.



I would say if these suckers dared enter our house, I’d be after them with a tennis racket. But let’s be honest: I’d scream, run to the opposite side of the house and sit plugging my ears until Haus Meister or one of the boys came and told me the thing was gone. Fortunately for my self-image’s sake, and the lives of the spiders, this hasn’t happened yet.

The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}




 I love her curls. Have I said it before? I love her curls. They make our Deep South humidity worthwhile.


life size bag end

After watching this LEGO video about designers bringing Bag End to life with 2.1 million+ LEGOS, the boys wanted to create a LEGO hobbit hole facade for their bed. Their talented and practical father took some spare paneling from his workshop and quickly came up with THIS:


Coolest bed ever. A round hobbit door is in the works as well.

Haus Meister’s in for it now, though. Princess wants him to make her a castle facade for her bed. She began putting her order in while he worked on the boys’ bed.


"Why hello, Beautiful!"
“Why hello, Beautiful!”

Posey Pie discovers her reflection in the mirror during her 4mos well-baby checkup. She’s doing fine, by the way. Perfectly average in head circumference, weighing 14lbs, and in the 93rd percentile for length. She’s a tall drink of water.



Old picture. We’ve moved the sofa since then.

We start school next week. I’m a bit in denial, but the kids are clamoring for it! It helps that there are 12 science lab projects waiting to be done at appropriate intervals in the school year, and they are anxious to begin those. Besides, what mom doesn’t want to hear her children asking to go back to school? Especially we homeschool moms. That’s a boost in the book!

I read a great post called 10 Things You Should Know About Homeschool Moms. I found it all very accurate, except for the Algebra part. I’m not terrified of teaching Algebra. Just Calculus. 😉

Walk to Rivendell

Rowing to Rivendell….sort of…

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t logged any mileage from our rowing machine lately…

Probably because in the past three weeks or so, we’ve done a whopping… 3 miles.  And that’s both of us put together so really, not so much.

According to our virtual atlas,  we are now 36.3 miles from our Bag End departure point. The atlas for the next nine miles suggests that we “continue on the road at a leisurely pace.”

No kidding! Who the heck wants to leave the Shire anyway? 😉

But really, I need to get back to rowing. I’m starting to feel (not look: feel. There’s a difference.) like these guys.

Dwarves in fat suits doing an exercise video for the latest in Peter Jackson's movie vlog..which I haven't sat down to watch yet! I'm dropping the ball here.
Dwarves in fat suits… and a goblin… doing an exercise video for the latest in Peter Jackson’s movie vlog..which I haven’t sat down to watch yet! I’m dropping the ball here.
The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Wow! The days got away from me there. When school ended I imagined a peaceful summer with children happily playing out of doors, myself sitting next to Posey Pea on the back deck while she was in the shade, me knitting and sipping iced tea. I figured I’d also have sewed through about six quick projects and written a chapter or two of the sequel to my book.

The reality? I’ve knitted about 4″  more of my sweater and the rest of the time I feel is divided between cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Cleaning also involves directing the children to do their chores, because I’m a “Mean Mom” (not my children’s words) who believes children need to learn responsibility. However, the children more often than not feel like this is a vacation (it’s called Summer Break, right?) and wonder why, if we’re not doing school, are we still doing chores?(!) Then Sunshine and Miss M have combined forces to become the Toddler Mischief Squad of the house known as “The Brown-Eyed Girls” because they are indeed the only kiddos with brown eyes. The Toddler Mischief Squad are responsible for such actions as the child lock now mounted on the refrigerator door (after blueberries, strawberries, and a whole package of tortillas were dumped out in a single day), and the fact that my sewing machine pedal was found outside and my skeleton key to my yarn-and-fabric cabinet was AWOL whenever an etsy store order came in that I needed to fill (and the item was locked in the cabinet for safekeeping). It’s been an interesting summer without a doubt!

But it has been a lot of fun too. The children are on the swim team again and enjoying the meets. And here’s a few snapshots of Some of What We’ve Been Up To Since I Last Posted.



Someone turned 3 months old!

We picked this outfit out for Princess before she was born. We found it at The Childrens Place in Indianapolis while out on a date because we tend to combine shopping and dining. We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory after shopping. Why do I remember this? Not sure. I don't think I keep a history of every baby clothes item. Just half. ;)
We picked this outfit out for Princess before she was born. It’s now been worn by four daughters! We found it at The Childrens Place in Indianapolis while out on a date because we tend to combine shopping and dining when we get time out on our own. We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory after shopping. Why do I remember this? Not sure. I don’t think I keep a history of every baby clothes item. Just half. 😉

Posey Pie, you’re a darling. We’re so glad you’re here.

We went to a wedding one weekend. It was a lovely wedding for the fifteen minutes I saw of it. The Toddler Mischief Squad decided that the hours in the car getting to the wedding was enough for them; sitting through the Nuptial Mass wasn’t going to happen (See Funny/Real). But I got to wear a real dress again, something neither “maternity” or “transitional.” That was so nice for me, anyway. The sunburn wasn’t though. Ouch.


Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of me in it. I’m sitting in a playground if you hadn’t guessed.


100_7508Trooper’s therapeutic riding lessons are going swell. He enjoys helping groom the pony.


Princess didn’t catch the bouquet at the wedding but after the reception someone handed it to her. She was thrilled to no end.


Rascal reads LEGO instructions to Posey Pie.


IMG_1563Unk the Stuffed Dinosaur had another misadventure. He went AWOL for a week until Trooper remembered he’d been using Unk in wind tunnel experiments down an air conditioner vent. Unk is the “Stuff” of Legend around here. If he goes missing I think I am more anxious than anyone because that dinosaur and I have been through a lot together taking care of the Trooper. 😉


In more Trooper news, our new (refurb) Dyson has helped him overcome his dislike of vacuums! That was worth the price of admission.


Miss M developed “hat envy” after two of Posey’s baby hats were left in the van, but there was not a hat for her.


This is what I saw of the wedding.

Because it’s never too early to think about Christmas, Dinosaur informed me that he really wants the Bag End LEGO set under the tree. He constantly talks about all the adventures Bilbo Baggins is going to have (and he’s only heard a chapter of The Hobbit read out loud, mind you. That’s his sole Tolkien exposure so far). Then one night he brought me this and said it was his own Hobbit hole creation. All I could think looking at it was:


“You have my shades.” “You have my quiver, flame-thrower, and axe.” “You have my financial backing”!

(instead of “You have my sword,” “you have my bow,” “You have my axe”, right? Right? Anyone else get it?