Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Elissa in Wonderland

So, it's Wednesday. But even though I knew yesterday was Tuesday, I sort of spent all day thinking today was going to be Thursday. Don't ask. I have so much written on my calendar that I am neglecting to actually READ any of it ahead of time. And it's not, like, good stuff. It's just permission slips due, book fair dates, field trips, blahbity, blahbity, blah, blah, blah. I can only imagine what will happen to me when I have two kids in public school next year. All this to say that a lot of things have been distracting me as it is and then my mind got a little tripped up.

Last weekend was both wonderful family time and horrifically frustrating parenting time with my beautiful boys, namely the 7 year old mouth that seems to be going on 14 when fueled by an impulsive temper. And, so what I am really starting to see about parenting is that it doesn't end. Don't laugh. I mean, I would have TOLD you that before, but now I really see it. Because the thing is, I would have said "Oh, of course you have to keep on parenting right on through." But what I would have felt in my heart was that the issues would change. You know, you'd tackle one trouble like tantrums or mouthing off (you know, just random examples) and then you'd work through it and get it under control and then you'd move on to whatever the NEXT issue is. But what I am finding, as we head into year 8 of parenting, is that the NEXT issue is generally the same issue that you thought you solved 6 months or a year ago. OH, growing is truly two steps forward, one step back.

I'm not sure why I held this delusion. I still struggle with the same things I struggled with 20 years ago.... just differently. Why should it be any different with my babes? We are who we are, we just need to learn to reign it in and let it out at the appropriate times, which only comes with maturity, which I am gonna go out on a limb and say does not come at 5 or 7. Apparently we are going to have to plod along our Wonderland ready to fight the Jabberwocky not just once, but whenever he appears. Still, even knowing that, I feel a little like I've fallen down the rabbit hole of parenting. It's so easy to lose my footing when I'm chasing the white rabbit of maturity and responsibility as if it is something I can catch and just hand to my kids. And if that first step is a doozy, it doesn't help me get back to reality when I'm distracted by all my own faults and inadequacies, my own struggles and mistakes and worries swirling around me.

Truth be told, I am feeling a little topsy-turrvy emotionally. The past several days have been a swing between anger, frustration and embarrassment, sweet and honest confession and forgiveness, and worry and prayer for Mike and me as parents and for my kids. It's as if the inside of me has been eating unlabeled mushrooms and cakes right and left. I hardly know what to expect next. But it's not about me, it's about them. It's about helping them discern who they are, good and bad, and teaching them to love that person but to always grow and change and learn to be the best version of that person they are capable of and to give the rest to God.

I'm awfully glad for that last bit because, it would seem, we don't reach some climactic maturity at 18 or 20, magically shedding our misbehaviors and self doubts, and I don't want to take my advice from a caterpillar.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Giveaway at Simply Feather

Do you like these blocks?

If you go over to Simply Feather and drop a line, you can have a chance at winning them.
So, go on, Git.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dreamy Day

Ever have one of those days (weeks, months, years?) where you just find yourself lost in dreams about what you want and where you want to be and what you want to accomplish?

I've been in that place recently. We have all been thinking a lot about last spring at the beach and wanting to go back. It's so hard to think that THAT moment for our family (for MY family) may never be recaptured. Or, maybe it will. And that sets me thinking about places I want to go.

The Grand Canyon
Yellowstone and Glacier
NYC (with the kids)
(back to) Coastal Maine
(cliched, but oh so fun) Disney World

Oh my, the list goes on. Some of my best memories as a kid are on family vacations. We didn't do anything fancy.... Disney being as commercial and over-the-top as my parents ever got. Most of our trips were camping when I was younger, touring presidents' homes and Vanderbilt mansions and, of course, that's the stuff that makes me dream about owning and renovating a vintage Airstream or going to places like this awesome Shaker Village.

And then there are places like Eaton's Ranch or Prince Edward Island calling to me or a nice rail trip that get me dreaming even more. I start to wonder if we'll ever be in a position to travel as a family. Oh, and I KNOW there's time and the kids are young. I'm not hopeless about it, but sometimes... with the way things go.... I do wonder.

I'm dreaming of other things too a little closer to home. Dreaming of learning to play guitar and to crochet or taking dance classes. Dreaming of building a bigger garden, someday planting apple and pear trees and blueberry bushes. Dreaming of doing something with my grandmother's pillowcases.

And dreaming of summer and a chance to go home. No matter how big I get and how much I love my own home, Mom and Dad's will always be home to me too. Skipping rocks and running in the creek, baseball in the lawn (yes, it's that big), campfires and family.

Which brings me back to the dreaming. Seems as we get older, it DOES get harder and harder to get us all together at the same time. Even the "kids" are growing up... my oldest nephew is now a "Program Director" at a local camp. When did he get big enough to be director of ANYTHING? And we're still adding more to the mix with baby What's-His-Name on the way. Ack, pretty soon the "kids" will be getting married and having babies. The expansion is sort of a never-ending circle of blessings. But it makes last years' trip to the beach a kind of a dream in it's own way.

But, a dream worth dreaming for sure.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paint With Me Thursday-Doodle

This week our Paint With Me prompt was "Doodles." I have always doodled the same things: boxes upon boxes, flowers, clouds around my words and notes to myself.

Simple trains:


This paper started out to be something I would add to as the week went on. Truth be told, I didn't have much time to doodle. But what's there is the real deal, the mindlessness that comes out of my pencil.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I love that it just occurs to Tate to do this kind of thing.

(And that he says things like, "Mommy, when I go to the Grand Canyon, I'm going to bring a little snack with me.")

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The First Cut

So, I took the plunge today and it was a big deal because I have way more worry about the cutting than the sewing.

I cut into the fabric for Ellerie's quilts and so far, so good.

And I have my own jar for tiny scraps. Cuz there is no way I am wasting a bit of this lovely stuff.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Auntie-Made, Cousin-Approved

Nobody calls me "Auntie," but it sounded better than "Auntmade." And I did finish making something for Baby What's-His-Name. Maybe he'll call me "Auntie," but it's gonna be at his own risk.

No pastel green or baby blues around here and deliciously soft. I know this little man will have baby blankets coming out his ears by the time he gets here. The first one always does (Although technically, if he DOES have blankets coming out his ears when he gets here that may be a cause for concern.) But we've been testing THIS one out for, you know, safety and usefulness. It appears to be both safe and useful.

And, you know, happyish.

Safe, useful and happyish really do seal the deal on a proper baby blanket, don't they?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paint With Me Thursday-Spring

I am surprised at how fulfilling it was to get out a box of pastels I've had since college, look around me and make a picture. Really, truly, thank you Heather for "making" me do this.

If you're interested in challenging your artsy side once a week, check out the Paint With Me Challenge over at Simply Feather. If you just want to see what the word "Spring" inspired in some other would-be-artists check out today's post.

Happiness in a Can

Happy Colors all thanks to the reject shelf at Home Depot. Who can say no to 5 dollar gallons? So what if I don't currently have plans for cantaloupe orange paint? Makes me smile anyway.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I'm going on my fifth day here alone with three sick and recovering sick children. My weekend completely alone didn't happen, since we didn't want to send the nasty sickness to the Grands and Great-Grand. So my accomplishment goals just had to be shifted. Instead of having a girls' night, I fought with Tate over nasty antibiotics for his ear infections. Not a pretty picture I tell you. Bad little boy moment, bad Mama moment. Instead of working whenever I wanted, I painted and planned and knitted after the kids went to bed. Instead of cutting quilt pieces, I cut hair.

And now it's Monday.

Calvin's sleep is ridiculously messed up from the time change. Yeah, it's my 7 year old that can't sleep, not the baby. I've been informed this morning by the dentist that Ellerie's bite is even more messed up than it was 6 months ago and and I really DO need to ditch the pacifier. Which I knew, but have been putting off because I know it will be hard. I did get some things done, but instead of feeling energized and motivated by it, I feel sort of defeated by all that is on my to-do list. Oh, the cold and gloomy day isn't helping. I keep telling myself that Mike will be home in a couple of hours and then all will be right with the world.

Except that darn paci.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Get Your Art On

So, let's face it, if we like to be creative in ANY capacity we've got an artist inside somewhere. If you'd like to give that side of you a little nudge, go over and visit Simply Feather. She rocks.

As you can see, I didn't do a dang thing with it this week; just put my kiddos to work. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to. So, Really. Go get your art on.

Simply Feather

Or, at least peek in on anyone who did.

Quick Happy Fix

So, I've been really sick of all the brown and gray around here. And we've been FINALLY seeing the sun outside and it's lovely; it really is. Of course, it's also been showing me all the dirt and the scuffed spots on the walls and, in this case, the giant tears in the top of my **ahem** high quality pleather ottoman. Note to self: whenever the itch to buy something new strikes, remember how easily the kids rammed pencils into the top of this inexpensive, but store- purchased, ottoman.

So, whilst chatting it up with my wonder-twin (really, we've got some pretty odd things in common) over at Simply Feather, and discussing how very like dating making a new friend as an adult woman is and what we've done to trick our babies into keeping their diapers on (It was deep I tell you. Deep.), I whipped up a happy fix for the holes and added a little room joy in the process.

Isn't it fab?

The $2.50 orange shoes from SA didn't hurt either.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Birthday Boy

Well, Calvin...

Two cakes

and a whole lot of LEGOs later

handsome you is seven.

Most of the time I am not sure how we got here to seven. And, mostly, I am pretty uncertain how we go from here. But what I am certain of is how ridiculously I love you.

I just might like seven. I hope you do too.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Way it Goes, Good or Bad

Last Saturday I was supposed to attend my SIL's baby shower. I was supposed to be helping to throw it (in an I-am-just-taking-care-of-the-dessert-but-my-name-is-on-the-invitations sort of way). I was supposed to be making this cake. YUM. I was supposed to be showering my soon to be nephew with lots of baby love.

Instead, I was barfing.

The good news is that it gives me time to finish a little something I've started to give at Amy's work shower, to which I have now been invited.

And it lets little old impatient me give her the other stuff the next time I see her anyway! She knows about this bag, so I'll share it now. It's based on the instructions for this bag at Pickles and is meant to be strapped to the side of a playpen. I already made a matching pad cover for the playpen. She has my old one which is a REAL playpen, not one of those little travel beds with no room for the child to actually PLAY in. It's actually pretty cool, so maybe after the little man gets here I'll have to photo him in it so I can show off the whole package :-)

But, but, WHAT is that monstrosity that it is hanging from? And what does it have to do with my nephew's impending arrival?

IT is drying rack and has absolutely NOTHING to do with Baby What's His Name! I used it to test the hanging ability and strength of my straps and then it seemed a handy place to takes its pic. And it's got a good story, because this is the way things go around here with a handy- as -handy type daddy. Several weeks ago, I emailed my dad this picture and link. I asked "Do you think it would be pretty easy to make something like this? Would there be a way to make it open wider than those small hinges? What do you think?" The next thing I knew, he was calling me to ask me if it was okay if he used chains and did I want him to finish it in some way or did I want to do it. Mind you, when I SENT the picture I wasn't even QUITE sure what I wanted to do with it. I just had a couple ideas in my head and honestly hadn't even LOOKED at the actual dimensions. But it's getting finished and going up soon because it is SO FUN and really handy and it isn't Dad's fault that he's so amazing.

Just have to rearrange the sewing room a bit.

And finish the baby present.

And, you know, feed my kids and stuff.

Maybe sleep really is overrated.....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, Well We've Been Buried... I Mean, Busy

Last Thursday, Tate was the fastest in preschool Olympic history. I mean, it was the first one and all and nobody was keeping any sort of score, but still I am pretty darn sure he was the fastest ever.

Not lacking in confidence, he informed us before the event, "You're going to think I am the best at everything.................... (pause to think).......... Maybe not the cups."

And then it was snowing.

And snowing.

And snowing.

I don't really know how to describe it, other than it just didn't stop for 4 days. And today, I've decided all bets are off on being a good housekeeper and I'm going to just be the mama that makes snowmen and lets her kids paint and manages to get them clean underwear.

You know, most of the time.