Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paint With me Thursday-Fences

Simply Feather

I had plans to take pictures of some pretty fences on the way to my SIL's the other day. I was going to remember my camera but, after the whole losing my keys incident, I was not about to turn around when I remembered it half way there.

So here is my Chain Link Fence Series, because that's what I've got.




Growing Pains


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Graduate

Congrats Tate! We're so proud of you. We're so excited for you! Goodbye preschool, hello kindergarten.

I know you'll be there with bells on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Today, I packed up my kids to drive to Amy's house. I packed up our lunches; I packed up my purse. I moved Tate's car seat so he could sit next to his sister. I checked all the downstairs windows and doors to be sure they were shut and locked. I climbed in the car and went to start it up and realized my keys were not in the ignition. ACK! Thinking they were in my purse, I dug through that. I checked the floor and the passenger seat. No keys. What can I do; I'm locked out!

I shamefully tried Mike's mobile phone (thankfully I had mine in my purse), voicemail.
I shamefully tried Mike's work phone, voicemail.
I started to get a little panicky and wondered if I should call Amy.
I looked up and saw the open window in Ellerie's room...right over the garage.

Maybe my neighbor had a ladder.

She did and she kindly helped me carry it across the street and helped me break into my own house. The last time I locked myself out (Yes, it's happened before. Don't laugh), I was thoughtful (or thoughtless, depending) enough to have left a ground floor window unlocked. So, while I may have looked like a doofus with my bum hanging out my front bedroom window as I tried to climb in, I did not have to confess my behavior to anyone else. This time, although slightly embarrassed at my silliness being exposed, I was feeling rather clever at having solved my troubles without Mike needing to leave work. "Won't he be impressed, " I thought. I know I was. Only, a little problem came up. I was inside the house, but no keys. I always hang them on the same little peg right inside the door. I knew they had to be SOMEWHERE. And, as it turns out, they WERE somewhere.

In the car.


Right down next to that car seat I had moved.
So I've got my keys, but my mind and my dignity?


Monday, May 24, 2010

Lord Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise

Saturday was the best sort of Saturday. Or, one of the best sorts, because truly there are lots of them. We spent our lovely one at Grandma and Grandpa's with a whole lot of family, some with some (new to us) friends that were very nice. The ever-wonderful nieces and nephews were marvelous to their little cousins so as Mommy and Daddy could have grown-up conversation and company. Some of said company was my dear cousin, Theresa, and her husband Mike. Not only was it good to see them, as always, but they were rather useful in our Down Back adventure to be frugal. (I'll use that Amish Andrew, rather than "cheap!")

Over the course of last summer, our three little dears managed to remove most of the sand from its sandbox home in our backyard. Truly the sand we had wasn't super fantastic anyway and when we started to do the math in our head of buying (once again) bags and bags of (better this time) sand, I would begin to get a little faint with thinking of all the other pleasant things I could spend that money on than sand. Lucky for us, Grandma and Grandpa have a 4 wheeler and a creek with a wandering creek bed that has left piles of sand. The kids gathered rocks and soaked themselves while T and her Mike and Mike and I all worked together to filter sand through a window screen into giant feedbags. And, after a bit of trouble (possibly, um, a TAD too much weight in the trailer) getting the ATV first to move, second out of the old creek bed, and third up the big hill out into Grandpa's field, we managed to get home with just the right amount of sand to fill up our box to the tippy-top.

Yep, filled up to the tippy-top, our sandbox with sand and our lives with blessings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There's Always a Flip Side

On one hand, Pip and Birdie have played together all day just swimmingly. There hasn't been fighting or screaming or crying. No tantrums, no tattling, no mean words. And, you know, it's cold and rainy so we're inside today.

On the flip side, there's this.

Piles and piles of mixed up stuff ALL OVER THE PLACE. These photos were taken after cleaning up a third of the way. I started to at least clear a path to the beds for safety before it even occurred to me to document what they do for fun. Now if I could only get them to put that kind of effort into cleaning up.

To Grow Grass

Well, if at first you don't succeed... try, try again.

And keep your fingers crossed that baby girl does not think she has permanent permission to dig holes in the front lawn.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Technology

My husband got me a Mother's Day gift this year. It has come by delivery (something that always makes me giddy) and I almost do not even know how to feel about it, as it really should not have been very high on the spending priority list. I feel a little guilty, but I want to love it. I am slow to convert sometimes, wanting to hang on to my old ways: film cameras, road maps, cds, rotary phones. ;-) ;-) But he is so good to me and always encourages me to be "updated" and to try things that are of the 21st century.

I do not know how to send a text message and only barely how to receive one. I learned only this week that I could even view a picture on my cheapy cheap emergencies-only mobile phone. I struggle with the touch screen on Mike's iphone as it does not seem to sense my touch the way I think it ought to. I still refer to teachers communicating via the "blackboard." My pencil sharpener is manual and I am highly intimidated by "operations manuals." I know there is going to be a learning curve here and I shall probably be forced (for fear of breaking it) to try to use the proper feet. And, certainly, I will have to buy new bobbins and needles because they can't just make them all the same now, can they?

But no matter, the pretty stitches have won me over.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paint With me Thursday-Circles

Simply Feather

So, as it goes, I am making my own rules up to Paint With Me Thursdays. Heather has a good thing going. Technically, this was supposed to get me artsy with brush or pencil or pen or paper or crayon or whathaveyou. I liked that idea. I STILL like that idea, and I want to be a part of the group, but photos suit me better. I am discovering in my life that much of my stress is self-induced: high expectations of what I can do, should do and have time for. One of my favorite things about myself is my desire to learn and try and do different things, but it is my curse. Instead of pouring passion into one thing, honing it and excelling at it, I have a tendency to dabble. A little of this, a little of that, juggling it all right into mediocrity. And, while I may not be able to give up knitting to be an excellent seamstress or sacrifice gardening to be a better housekeeper or stop desiring to learn to crochet and play the guitar because I already have too many half learned skills, right here I am putting my foot down. I'm going to focus on taking pictures. So excuse that this isn't exactly a photography group and allow me this honing indulgence.

(Calvin's flowers)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mixed Bag Motherhood

As it sometimes goes, the first half of Mother's Day weekend didn't seem to go quite right for me. I think I jinxed it when Cal was only two months old and got his first (very mild, but STILL) sunburn on the day before my first one. I can happily celebrate my own mother and the other mothers in my life, but I'm always left feeling a little undeserving of the sweetness I get from my beautiful children. It's like I'm doomed to spend the day before Mother's Day in some sort of terrible state with my kids, only to be reminded by the next morning how loving and fab they can be just in time to feel like a big jerk who is forever screwing things up.

Oh, I know that's not really true. It's part of what makes us mothers, or at least part of what makes me a mother. Loving them so much to want them to be better and wanting myself to be better at the same time. We can, and DO, love each other through it. I know my mom wasn't perfect. I mean, she couldn't have been, right? ;-) But, somehow when I remember her in my younger years, none of the bad stuff comes through. So, if we all remember these days a little sweeter than they really were sometimes, what does that hurt? I just hope that the good outshines the bad someday in all our minds. I'll just take Sunday and leave Saturday in the brain dust.

The kiddos really were too sweet to me on Sunday, lavishing me with cards and stories and pictures and writings, how could I dwell on our Saturday shortcomings?

From Ellie: Who can resist black glitter flowers for Mama's Day? Truly the girl has a disturbing obsession with the black glitter crayon. There are very few things that actually look attractive colored with it. But she is determined and I feel honored to have it used on me.

From Tate: So so special because USUALLY I am relegated to "worst in d world!!"

And from Cal: Never to be satisfied with a few short words, my little man who can't spell to save his life wrote me a rele, rele, rele, rele sweet love note. I just dig the rockin' blue boots. Too bad I don't have any.

And the best of the best from my Man: Mike, you know just how to crack my can after I've been having a rotten time of things. Thanks for "getting me" and for getting me out of my head.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paint With Me Thursday-Black and White

I'm cheating again this week, you see. This is why I have commitment phobia, because I commit myself to something and then want to back out because I can't seem to make time. Not because I don't want to participate, but because I am not participating in the way I would like. Aside from baseball starting this last week, we also had a car window spontaneously combust (?) and with babysitting and planning for Mother's Day (poorly planning, I might add) and not feeling at all creative or even CLEAN around here, I just didn't do it. And other people are busy and make the time, but me? A cheat.

Double cheat too, as it's a photo and one that I took two years ago! Taken at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (I highly recommend it if you manage to find yourself in the area), the overcast day lent itself to a great black and white shot as the sky already looked white.

I should post more pics from that visit one of these days. But not now as I need to get cracking on a couple things before I have to drive back and taxi two kiddos from preschool. Please go look at what some non-cheaters managed and I'll see you next week... maybe. ;-)

FLOUR giveaway

You do not want to miss a chance at this giveaway:

Just don't ruin my chances, K? There's a certain happy dress I have my eye on.
Or the foral one. I do like me a garden party.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happiness Equation

There is a happy feeling spreading all over our little cottage as of late. The stuff of Spring and Summer joy. The weather has been exceptionally lovely for the time of year, there are things being accomplished inside and out, and this week marks the start of baseball for the boys. Neither have played before and they are just crazy excited about it. I'm excited too. Baseball is a sport that I have always loved to watch. What others find slow and boring, I find to be a sport that I can actually keep up with. And I learned to like it young, staying up at sleepovers with my Gram to watch her Yanks, hopefully, beat the Pirates so she could rib our pastor (also my best friend's father) about his team losing to hers. So deep ran this friendly little rivalry that she once gifted him with a black cat name Reggie just to get his goat. I'm loving the interest Cal and Tate are both taking in how the game is played and their enthusiasm to learn. I am hoping their excitement isn't short lived, but for now Tate has asked practically every five minutes when he gets to go to practice and they haven't stopped carrying around their new practice balls and gloves since we bought them.

Calvin even slept with his stuff. I love how it is tucked up in the corner of his (newly debunked) bed. He looks like such a big boy and yet there's Bear, all scruffy and loved, tucked right up with the beginnings of a new stage. Another joy for me is something that isn't showing up in this picture. There is a copy of James and the Giant Peach lying on his dresser. That one he is just beginning, but a bit of magic has happened for Calvin in the last few weeks: he figured out he can read. Oh, he's been ABLE to read for a long time now, but suddenly a light has come on and he's started in on chapter books. The first one took him three weeks, the next one week, the next three days. And what a happy landslide for him. This growing and stretching and BECOMING is why I could never in a million years be sad about Bear being pushed aside for baseballs and novels and all that comes with growing into the next stage of things.

Cal has also recently discovered the radio. I mean, we do listen to the radio in the car and all, but this is an honest to goodness, dial tuned radio. We have been listening to baseball games, local and major league ( I don't know what about this makes me so giddy, except that there is something about a baseball game on the radio that just gets me every time. It's like I'm right back in the back seat of my best girl's parent's car, probably before seatbelt laws, and we're listening to crackly, barely there Pirate's games while being told to "shush" whenever we get silly because Dad can't hear), and some basketball, as well as some great MUSAK for ambiance at dinner last night. Frank Sinatra makes lovely elevator music, I must say.

And finally, we have finally landscaped the front of our house. Much of my joy stems from this little flowering tree, a Lollipop Crabapple. A last minute splurge, it was totally worth it and more blossoms are coming out every day. Truly, what could be happier than a tree called a lollipop?

I wish I had a good picture of what the house looked like when we bought it, with big overgrown bushes and a giant flower bed with almost no flowers. Last year we managed to take down the big flower bed and reuse the stones to create bed close to the house where bushes had been removed. But we have lived with them mostly empty since. Between the empty beds and the sand pits where we have no grass (we're working on it!!), I was beginning to feel like The Beverly Hillbillies. But I love what we chose, all on our own, and can't wait to see it fill in and blossom.

So, yeah. The kids and the plants + filling in and blossoming = happy me.