Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not Perfect But Still Helpful

All year I have struggled with the influx of papers. Papers from school, from preschool, from three Sunday School classes, from Wednesday night club. I managed to juggle everything and purge what needed to be chucked and save what I wanted, but there were often piles of things waiting for Mike to see or just sitting around on the counter or couch or desk because I hadn't decided what I was doing with them yet. I have had, in my mind, a plan for dealing with such a mess for quite some time, but only just got to it. You know, after all those paper producing programs were finished.

Here's what I came up with for a hall closet door right next to our kitchen:

I used outdoor decorator fabric that I've had for years, leftover from covering my kitchen chairs the time before last. I didn't have a long enough single piece to simply fold it up and make a pocket and just keep going, so I made the pockets and then sewed them on. That actually ended up kind of nice as I got a double pocket. Each pocket has an identifying initial on it and is currently still coming in handy for holding summer journals (composition books were 25 cents at my Walmart. 25 CENTS, people!! I don't know how you feel about Walmart, heck I don't know how I feel about Walmart all the time, but I bought 12. Just sayin.') and the boys' summer reading lists. I am disappointed that I didn't think about the fact that they wouldn't lie flat with heavy notebooks in them, so that is currently making me crabby. But mostly, they're helping me organize a small thing in my life that can really be a big mess.

Now if I could just figure out what to do with the rest of the piles around here ;-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grateful Friday

I have been feeling much more myself lately but I can see having all three, all day, every day is going to be chaotic. I am already scheming some ways for us to get a LITTLE more structure around here. I don't want to run a boot camp (or do I?), but I can see that all of us need some discipline or summer is going to be a hot mess!

When I was feeling so discouraged a couple weeks ago, a dear blogging friend lent a listening ear. I so appreciate that. She is the Queen of Journals and one of her suggestions for me was writing down all the things that made me feel good in a day, places where I saw God at work, things that were positive as a way to concretely focus on those things. While I am always terrible with assignments (notice I haven't done "Paint with Me" now for a couple weeks?), I do love this idea. I used to do a little Friday round-up in this space when I first started blogging and I think I'd like to get back to that ritual.

So, without further ado, here are some of the things I am currently thanking God for in my little life:

1. So thankful that I can stay home with my children, in spite of the fighting and the naughtiness and the chaos, I do enjoy them. We have been splashing in the pool, doing jigsaw puzzles in our jammies and reading together. It's a good deal and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

2. Blown away and humbled by my big brother and his wife's incredible generosity.

3. Everyone is recovered from the tummy bug.

4. I was nominated again for a blogging award from Scented Sweetpeas. Thank you! I have met so many brilliant and interesting people doing this blog thing. What a cool community! If I ever get to travel I'll have lots of coffee dates lined up!

5. There are lots of promising little things blooming in the garden and I FINALLY got it weeded! (Apparently all I need to do in the front to get grass to grow is to plant a garden!)

6. Grateful for my safe little house. We felt this earthquake the other day. SO WEIRD. A strange little reminder of Haiti and all that still needs to be done there. A team from my church is joining with another church and going there soon to work. (You can follow them here, if you're interested.)

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and grateful weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Weekend Rewind

This morning, I am hanging out with two tummy-sick little ones. Cal had his round on Sunday and Ellie in the night and now Tate. Of course they watched too much tv yesterday and now I need it to keep them immobile. Isn't that the way? Here is my attempt at rewinding and catching up.

Last Friday Cal had a "Fancy Nancy" party at school. I called him "Fancy Clancy." They all got to dress up and eat fancy things and use fancy words all day. Of course, before he could leave for school, the other two had to get in on the dressing up action.

I did not mean to skip over Father's Day either. Currently no pics of the sweet cards and things made for Mike by the kids, but on Saturday we sent him golfing with a good friend and I got to hang out with these beautiful girls in addition to my own.

After, we had a lovely picnic as whole families with the Daddies back and the Missing Sister Friend too, who had a birthday party. I am currently praying that none of them are fighting the tummy bug, since Cal came down with it that night.

Monday Tate woke up with the obsession that I was going to sew him a pig. I had a million things to do, but it is so hard to say no when they ask me to make them something. I so often HAVE to say no for lack of time, materials or skills for their requests. But a pig? I thought I could handle that one. Maybe not so much. He turned out cute, save his bum which I made too long (??not sure that is the right word??). I call him "pigadillo" but that makes Tate mad because he LOVES him. Since making the two-legged pigadillo yesterday, he has not left Tate's side...

....and was even brought to watch his game.

I love watching Tate, but have to admit that there is something a bit tedious about T-ball. Three innings is about one inning too long for at least half the kids. That outfield stance a couple pictures back did not make it to the third inning. By then, it was more like kneeling on the ground, sitting, being goofy, talking to the third baseman. Tate made a couple good plays though and got hits without the T. His "new" borrowed cleats are making him super-fast! Thanks Meg. All in all, a lovely night until the barfing began.

I think that, mostly, brings me up to date. Off to wash lots of sheets and blankets and possibly start on my requests for sewing a butterfly and a (ack!) stegosaurus.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wedding Dolls

Things have been BUSY. Are they ever not? And I am doing so much better than I was a couple of weeks ago. I am way behind in things I want to share in this space, but I'll start with the wedding dolls because I already have the pictures downloaded!

Awhile ago, the Thelma and Louise friend, asked me to make a set of bride and groom dolls for her daughter's wedding. The thought made me VERY nervous and the results are sketchier than I would have liked in some ways, but overall I was really happy with them. Just click on any picture that you'd like to see larger.

I had to change the patterns that I had been using, so they wouldn't have triangle dress bodies. Not so good for the groom, ya know? But I figured it out and that alone felt like a victory.

It was a fun project and incredibly cool thinking of all the little details I could add as I went along. It was really helpful having pics of the real bride and groom to use as inspiration.

Best wishes for the happy couple!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getting There

So, I'm feeling better. Not fabulous, but I'm moving in the right direction which is more than I could say for awhile.

Last week, aside from coming to some realizations about myself, I tried very hard to just be present in the moment I was in. I have something I refer to as "hamster in a wheel brain," where I either go over and over all the future "what ifs" or I rehash things that have already happened, good or bad. And sometimes I can't shut it off. Having recently become keenly reminded of this tendency, I made more choices to start DOING whenever I started in on the thinking wheel. One of the things I managed was to make my own laundry soap.

So simple, but it's been on my "list" for awhile. I finally had the things I needed in the house and took the few minutes needed to mix it up. Both Soule Mama and Nicola at Which Name? have recently posted about their laundry mixtures. I wanted to try mine with the peppermint Dr. Bronners like Amanda, but kept it to 1 bar rather than aiming for the full two cups and buying another bar like she does. It works fabulously and smells delicious (although, the scent might be stronger in the clothes with the full two cups). I am beyond thrilled that I did this and plan to keep it up. It gives me the same joy and good feeling that I got when I switched to cloth diapers.

Calvin got to play a big game under the lights on Friday. He's been working with Mike a little more lately and ACTUALLY LISTENING and seems to be making some improvement. It was fun watching his excitement over being in a real dugout and getting to stay up late, even if his enthusiasm for batting far outweighs his elbow-holding fielding! It was fun to watch him and even more pleasing for this mama that he made an effort to prove me wrong and held his usually tired=naughty behavior together after the game.

Well, some of us watched him.

Even thought the squirrels ate our corn (Grandma Betty says spray the young shoots with red pepper and water next time), the knuckleheads each got one little ripe berry from the garden.


Life really is delicious and I'm just holding my own until I feel like I can eat it up again. Thanks everyone who understands and everyone who doesn't. Cuz I feel the love and I'm getting there.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Funk vs. Funky

After 10 days of Amoxicillin, one of Ellerie's ears is still infected. Another expensive doctor visit and another expensive medication.

Something (probably squirrels) has already eaten almost all the beautiful little shoots of corn we had coming up.

The boys and sick Ellie have been overtired and naughtier than usual, and that's saying something.

And, while I can acknowledge that I am grateful to have doctors and medications. And I can acknowledge that most of the rest of the garden looks good. And I can admit that the kids are not being naughty to punish me personally and that they have also had their good and sweet moments. I'm not feelin' it right now.

For a lot of reasons, some real worries and some just big bummers like the above, I am feeling in a bit of a personal funk right now. So I think I'm just going to take this week and check out because I can.

Maybe I can come back feeling a little more funky than funk.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cutest Baby in the World

Tate: Mommy, do you think Milo is the cutest baby in da woiyrd?

Tate with cousin Milo at almost 2 months

Me: Oh, I don't know Tate. You guys were all PRETTY cute too.

Calvin, 2 months

Tate, 2 months

Ellerie, 2 months

Tate, laughing: I don't know if I was the cutest, because I couldn't SEE MYSELF!!!


I don't know, Tate, but if you ask me that cousin Milo is actually lookin' a bit like you these days. Yup, pretty cute indeed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Game -Tate

Aside from showing you my handsome slugger before his first T-ball game,

these pictures offer a little glimpse into the seriousness

and focus

and self-control that these 5 year olds display on the field.

That's my boy! Glad you had fun Pippadip and got to play the yellow team.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Game - Cal

Calvin had his first official baseball game last night. He looks so handsome all suited up.

Ah, there's a little (smirky) smile.

They won and Cal got a hit (not that it matters, of course) and Cal managed not to make armpit farts in the outfield, so I'd call that a successful first game! Tate's up next! Go orange team!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Without the Kids

I must say, for all the "lazy" I sometimes think I am, a lot can be accomplished when I don't have three underfoot or asking to be fed! Walvy, Pip and Birdie found their way to Nana and Papa's this weekend (Elle with two ear infections, but I was not to have my plans foiled again!) and Mike and I set to work on some projects that seem to consistently get pushed off.

Outside we gardened, by which I mean we made a garden, Mike digging up our yard and mixing in topsoil to all our "sand." Why not? Our grass is terrible anyway! We did start a couple things from seed: peas and corn. Almost all the rest were inexpensive seedlings from the local garden center: 3 kinds of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, honeydew and cantaloupe, and pumpkins.

The best treasure in the garden though is a gift from Nana's garden: strawberries!!!

I also planted a small herb garden by the patio and tried to transplant 3 non-blooming rose bushes I found under a big tree along the fence and 3 shoots from the old lilac Mike took out recently. We put them in a little Miracle Grow organic soil and I added rose food to the rose bushes, but I'm already worried about them. I'm crossing my fingers for all of that.

Inside we patched paint scrapes in both the kids' rooms and went to work fixing up Ellerie's room and a bed for her. We've had the beds (it's actually a set of bunks) for awhile, but Nana and Papa bought them for us used so they needed new plywood platforms and to be painted. Elle, of course, wanted pink. I also painted up a little bookshelf white that Mike has had as long as he can remember (used to be dark stain) and added white to the pressboard stuff that, at some point, was used to cover where the screen would have been in this old pie cupboard (a former glimpse here).

The mattress was actually such a tight fit to the bed frame that we realized, after naturally, that the side rails would not fit down inside the frame with their big plastic bases. Michael, being the smarty that he is, took the rails out of their bases and drilled holes down into the plywood and just wedged them right down. Perfect! Ellerie might have done alright without the rails as I don't generally find her rolled up against them or anything, but three seems so little to go without as some babes are still in their cribs and it wasn't too long ago that I was only setting up a toddler bed! I was a little overwhelmed by the pink as we were painting. Anyone in my family will tell you that they find it hysterical that I have even allowed my child to have a pink bed. And, I admit, as we were going along I found myself getting a little nervous about the color and the amount of pinkness. But now that we've made up the bed and got it settled in the room, I really love it. It's a very vintage kind of girlie pink and it's gonna look even better if I ever manage to get her quilts done!

I also managed some sewing this weekend on a little commissioned project, but that is for another post. After being so productive this weekend, I have told Michael today is back to meals and laundry: the bane of my existence. The kids have settled back into their usual whiny, testing selves rather quickly so I guess we are ready to face the week in the regular way. Boy, I did miss them though.

But not so much that I wouldn't do it again!