Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Surprise

This Monday before Christmas is holding a surprising emotion for me: I feel good about Christmas.

I still have things to do. I am still worried about money. I am still stressed about keeping up with the house and kids, but I feel good about Christmas. I feel good about the presents that we chose for the kids and the amount that we chose. I feel good about the things I am making. I feel good about this season of family. Last night, when we were reading some books, we got talking about what is the best part of Christmas. Do you know what my boys said? According to Cal it is everyone being together and Tate was certain it is because it is Jesus' birthday and I don't care if they were just trying to give me the "right answer." Somewhere it is sinking in that Christmas isn't just about getting STUFF, it's about family and sharing and joy and thanksgiving and celebration and LOVE. God's love, our love for each other, love for others and this planet.

So yes, Santa will visit and the kids will get STUFF (and this will probably give me more joy than it gives them), but Aunt Laurie and Doug will also visit. And Nana and Papa and the Great Grandmas. And we will visit Grandma and Grandpa and all the other aunts and uncles and cousins. And there will be lots of sharing and laughing and loving.

So to all my blogging friends, I wish you a blessed Christmas. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

*The ornaments pictured are the new ones for the kids this year. As is our tradition, they commemorate something that reminds us of this past year in one way or another. This year we are remembering our first true family vacation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sleeping with the Sheep

Here is my little shepherd. We weren't sure he was going to get up there, but he did. Even managed a few bits of songs and some motions, although I have several minutes of shepherd video where at least 4 of them are just standing there doing there own thing while you can hear all the little angels (girls) singing away!

Oh, Pip. We're proud of you anyway... even if your motivation was telling Ellie-Belle that she couldn't sing with you because it was YOUR program.

It was.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I've got Time

Teacher knitting is done. Well, I'm thinking positively here, as you can see from the long tails hanging from each of them that I have yet to weave in the ends and attach buttons. But that shouldn't take long. Right? I mean, I've got more than a week left and only a couple more things to knit and a few things I wanted to sew. Should be no problem.

No problem if I can figure out a way to stop doing laundry and feeding my kids. Hmmmm....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feels Like the First Time

It happens around here EVERY winter. All winter. For WAY too long into what most of us would consider the spring. And by THAT time we are all sick to death of its cold, sloppy, shovel and snow brush inducing ways. By that time, we are tired of hats and boots and buckling children with big poofy coats into car seats. By that time we are sick of all the dirty white piles and the hunks of ice clinging to our tires. By that time we are longing for a warmth that isn't induced by fleece or flannel.

Still, the first few snowfalls are always magical. Going to bed with a muddy mess for a yard and waking to a winter wonderland just never ceases to be just a little bit exciting and inspiring.

Even for an "I hate being cold" gal like me.

And the kids? Well, the bus was 30 minutes late and Cal wasn't a bit phased between cleaning off the car with his gloves, making hearts in the snow with his feet and attempting a snowball fight with the girl across the road.

Foreigner, I know just what you mean.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programing

I am telling you, the last couple weeks have been ridiculous. Doctor appointments for each one of us for different reasons, ear infections, fevers, pneumonia scares, attempts to sneak in belated birthday celebrations, too many missed days of school and church, way too much tv for the kids, WAY WAY too many bloody noses, inoculations, and one almost knocked out tooth. I am SO ready to get back to regular life and to enjoy the rest of the advent season.

Money is tight, but there will still be (a lot of practical) presents under the tree. Can everyone say sheets and socks and underwear? And the blessings and miracles of Christmas are plenty no matter what.

The first of which is Birdie actually letting me put ponies in her hair!!! There were some protests, as usual, but I managed to convince her that dancers all wear their hair back. Everything is about dancing these days, be it "ballerina moves" or "shake-a-booty moves."

Another recent blessing comes to us via Nana and Papa, who generously donated some outside lights to our cause. The kids have been asking for, oh I don't know, three years (?) to have outside lights at Christmas. Thank you! We love them.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas season, wherever it finds you.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Louise!

Where there is a Thelma, there must be a Louise!

Although, how their birthdays managed to be so dang close together, I don't know! Happy Birthday, Sherrie and best wishes for a lovely year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Somebody's Five Now

Five seems like such a big number for my babies to reach. Tate has hit it today and I have to admit that I actually don't mind him getting bigger. Any of them really. There always seems to be some fabulous new advantage to their growing that replaces whatever bit of babydom that I might feel sad about losing. My little man woke this morning and I asked him if he felt different. What it felt like being five. He said "I feel like a chicken-fried head!"


Five was the only birthday Cal has had a friend party for, so Tate deserved one as well. He was so sweet choosing families that we are friends with and kids from age 2 to 7, mostly girls! Last year I made him a birthday crown and a few days before his friend party he started asking me to make him something. Oops. Hadn't really planned anything this year. I was busy stressing about throwing a party and nothing "handmade specific" was on my radar for him. Still, when your babe ASKS you to make something, you find a way to do it. So I drummed up a wonky "Tate" banner and now have thoughts of one for each of them and a multi-use "happy birthday" one to hang above.

The friend party was a success, as were the word search puzzles that Tate is currently in love with. There were some threats before hand about the party being cancelled, as he was NOT thrilled with the puzzle book HE got and wanted a different one and was acting like a naughty little stinker over it. Luckily his big brother generously offered to switch and the day was saved.

The highlight of the day for me was his awesome cupcakes. I saw this idea on a google image search and Mike figured out it was fondant. But neither of us had any experience with the stuff and the idea of trying to make it for the first time for a party seemed too intimidating. Luckily, I mentioned it to my friend Kelly and she saved the day. Firstly, she knew you could buy fondant already made and colored and, more importantly, she LIKES to cook and bake and try new things and is really good at it. She traced and cut out little patterns for us and she and I made all the pieces the night before and it turned out so cool and was really fun and easy; like playing with edible play dough!

Totally awesome for my little Mario obsessed dude.

Ah, a success!
Little man Tate, Pip, Pippy, Pippa, Pippa Pants, Pippa Dippa, Tatopotumus, Tato, Hot Potato, Honey Bunny, Goofball, Knucklehead. Whatever the name, you are my silly, ridiculously stubborn, creative, smart, unstoppable, funny little man. And my baby boy always.

Enjoy 5 in all its glory.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Somebody's a pretty girl.

And she knows it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Steps, or Something More Like a Slow Crawl

We've been in our house now for, going on, a year and a half. Worked on it for almost a year before that, and, I have to confess that we are nearly as jumbly and disorganized and unfinished as we were when we moved in. That isn't ENTIRELY true. We seem to be taking small steps forward all the time, but sometimes it is so much easier to see all that we are wanting to be done, rather than what has been accomplished. Somehow moving here with three small babes and a mostly non-existent decorating budget has hampered our ability to manage even small tasks. And, on top of it all, there always seems to be a hot water tank or a missing door hinge or a broken window that eats away at the financial end. Yesterday I attempted to rearrange, yet again. my living room to accommodate two sets of furniture (both handed down to us from family) because I don't know which I want to keep in the room, and the potential-down-the-road rec-room in the basement is currently a pipe dream as it's filled from brim to bottom with boxes, and because, frankly, I like the extra seating. The results seem BETTER, although I have no idea what we'll do when we need to put up the Christmas tree, but in the process I seem to have jumbled up two other rooms and now feel potently aware of a great deal of bare wall space. All this rambling to say that, for today, I am choosing to celebrating a small wiggle in our decorating and organizing progress rather than dwell on the disasters that surround me.

Unfortunately, this little wiggle took place in our bathroom, which is truly the tiniest of things, and something was happening with my flash and the pics are not the best. But I shall celebrate anyway. Celebrate the sweetest of vintage embroidery, given to me by my dear sister Michelle:

Celebrate this sweet cabinet with the broken glass in the corner, given to me by Unc and Amy from their own bathroom remodeling and fixed up and hung by my daddy:

Celebrate the little hymnal rack that came from the church pew that is now my bed and is keeping the magazines from piling up on the back of the toilet (*ahem*) and my husband, who hung it and the clock at my request and without complaint:

Celebrating that we HAVE a bathroom and a sweet little house and loving and supportive families. And, somehow, that makes it not matter so much that there's a wall missing in my basement and a zillions chips and scratches in the practically new paint jobs and no proper basket to hold my hats and mittens this winter. It will come, one thrifty little step at a time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Giving Gifts

Oh, thank you everyone for the Thelma love! I really needed a little boost this week and every comment made me smile. Right now, all my babes are sick and the boys both have double ear infections. Antibiotics are working, I think, so we are hopefully on the mend. My sister loved Thelma too, which makes me the happiest. But she wasn't really FROM me, even though I made her, so I whipped up a little something of my own.

I have to confess that my siblings and I don't usually do birthday gifts. It's not because we're stingy or unloving. I think we are often just too practical about the whole thing and, of course, we never want to put pressure (financial or otherwise) on anyone else to feel the need to reciprocate. But I often find myself wanting to give something and with a renewed sense of craftiness in the past couple years, I feel there are so many more options to express my birthday wishes in a frugal way.

Kathy, dear, hope it keeps you warm indoors and out.

It is better to give than receive, but maybe one of these days I'll manage to keep one of these for myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Thelma!

Today is my sister Kathleen's birthday. So a few weeks ago, when her dear friend Sherrie asked me to make her a doll for her big day, I was thrilled! Make my sister a doll? Super fun commission. And here she is, accessories and all!

But, there was a hitch to the request. The doll was not to be named Kathy, but Thelma. At some point in their friendship, my brother-in-law dubbed them "Thelma and Louise." Truth be told, the thought of my sister as "Thelma" made me crack up. But, OH, the possibilities! Should she have acid washed jeans? Too much eyeshadow? A pistol?

In the end, the pistol was a must and Thelma was born.

It's hard to see, but the "T" embroidered on her shirt is sort of curly in a Laverne (and Shirley) sort of way. An homage to "doin it her way." And we certainly couldn't do without the big hair and sunglasses!

The Thelma accessories were so much fun to do but, in the end, the sweet Kathy side is my favorite.

Hope you have a lovely day Sis (you know, shooting an episode of "Community") and I have a little something for you from ME if we make it tomorrow... ear infections pending.

Yup, there's always something.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seasons Change

I am not sure if I have ever in my life felt as pulled in so many directions as I do right now. I feel like tree limbs propelled from my center. Possibly it is because they are mostly GOOD directions, which makes it hard to cut off any of the limbs. If I am not here very much, or checking in with you very much, it is because I am in a season of pruning and reshaping. And there is the coming holiday busyness to attend to as well. The happy hustle and bustle that always seems to be accompanied by a bit of stress. I am hoping, to get back to taking some more pictures, getting some order in my house and attacking some long back-logged projects. Wordless Wednesdays seem to have mostly been lost around here. And sometimes it is so good to be QUIET. I might even indulge in another book or two, because reading is addictive for me and I think I might be on the verge of a winter binge.

Or, it's quite possible that I will be standing at my sink with a backache because ::sniff::sniff:: my dishwasher has gone on strike and there isn't any "dishwasher account" at the moment. Boy, if I felt like I never left the kitchen before......

Well, I do leave. It's just to do the laundry.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Getting ready on Friday night with Unc and Amy. Pumpkin carving followed by "Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy."

Then on to Halloween, Nana and Papa style, complete with Swamp Juice:


Witches fingers:

And some cute, but chilly, Nintendo kids:

And now we're just left with candy.

Weeks and weeks of candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009


At least it's been good weather for reading. I've been ignoring the mess around here and have been completely sucked into The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman. So far it's an incredible adventure of the magical sort that I love. And, although deemed quite religiously controversial, I do not think spiritually so. At least, in the sense that it IS fiction after all.

It's also been good knitting weather.

I suppose I shall have to put the book and the needles down today long enough to straighten up for a fun night of carving pumpkins with Aunt Amy and Uncle Andy. And tomorrow Nana and Papa are coming to share Halloween with us. My guess is that I'll still managed to sneak a few rows of stitches and a few rows of words.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Well, today is just gloomy, doomy as can be. Ridiculous amounts of rain are falling. So much so that I have a little river of sorts running down the walkway in front of the house. In some ways, it's really lovely and cozy and if all that needed to be done today was to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee or a movie and warm blanket and some knitting, I would be happy as anything. But having to drag two babes around to preschool and knowing I will have to do it again in just a bit and in the meantime needing to start wash, pick up the kitchen from breakfast, vacuum the cereal bits off the living room carpet and so on, well it makes me feel rather dumpy. So, instead I'll just talk about yesterday.

Yesterday was a glory of a fall day. Warm, rather sunny for most of the day, and deemed a perfect day for a picnic by Tate. (Although, according to one of our recent favorite library books Ernest and Celestine's Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent, today would have been just fine too.) I thought they would be just thrilled to have juice boxes, which is such a rarity around here, but I was wrong as usual and Tate was grumpy until he got his water bottle. Yeesh. Look at that sour puss on his face.

I chose to ignore his grumps and just enjoy the view.

Then some crazy cowboy rake riding was in order while I, once again, raked the front lawn. The leaves are dropping so fast, you can't even tell today that I did a thing!

And, in the end Tate ASKED to have his picture taken so of course I had to comply. He wanted to be right in the middle of our humble decorations and pumpkins. Nana and Papa got those scarecrows for us a few years ago and I never thought they would make it this long! And those three pumpkins on the left? Also from Nana and Papa, from their own garden! I'm convinced a magic garden, as it produced three perfect pumpkins for my little pumpkins and only three.

Boy, I could use some magic right now to get over this weather. I suppose coffee will have to do.