Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Big Reveal

In all it's glory,

my first quilt.

It is still making me smile and I've heard from its four-year-old recipient that it's magic. Here is the thank you I received from my best gal which really is better than the present:

Oh LISS! Best present EVER arrived today! We had a "long day at the
office" so to speak with Evan's legs, his bone scan process today took
FOREVER, so didn't get home until dinner time, and whoohooo! That is a
BEAutiful quilt lady! I love it. It is definitely magic. We have a thing
about certain blankets being magic around here (hard to explain, but
strangely, one of the only other blankets in the house deemed magic by all
of us is Adam's doggy blanket(nicknamed dogs) - that came from
you.....hmmm....all that witches brew we made down by the ditch...) anyhow,
Polly wrapped herself in it as soon as it was out of the box, and she
screamed..."MAMA! It's MAGIC!!!!! Just like DOGSSS!!!" It is a perfect
quilt, and I thank you so much for all of that time put into it for Polly
(um and me) to enjoy. Thanks Liss
Love love

I love the back too!

That hexagon flower was originally pieced by my great-grandmother on my dad's side and was a guide for my first attempt at free motion quilting. Not fabulous, but I'm glad I just jumped in.

I'm pretty sure happiness is a magic quilt you've made all by yourself and then given away.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guess How Old Tate Is?

Tate turned six yesterday. SIX. I've told him he can't be naughty anymore once he's six. Last night he told me that maybe he didn't know he wasn't supposed to be naughty because being six was new him and that he would be sure to act like a good six year old in the morning. We shall see :-)

I love this little knucklehead to pieces even though he is stubborn as the day is long and can get under my skin with his unreasonableness like nobody's business. Oh, that's right. He's six now! Problem solved.

I love that he pretends all day long. I love that he makes up songs and words and stories. I love that he chose to wear to school on his birthday two totally mismatched striped shirts and then layered the plain T over the one with the collar so you couldn't really see it anyway. I love that he is often (when not blinded by some rage over not being able to save his wii game, ahem, or having to wear his pajamas to drop Ellie off at school) very sweet and thoughtful to others, including his siblings. He loves to make cards and to choose the perfect gift for someone else.

I love that yesterday, after he half ate his cake, he made another cake on his plate..

and then decided...

it looked like a hand.

Tate, you're an awesome little dude. Handsome and smart and funny and sweet.

And those lashes? Dude.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


What's a girl to do when she's thinking too much? Adopt a dog of course! This is Gigi (GG) because she's such a good girl:

Come on. How could I leave her at the shelter?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Addendum to the Previous Post

Sometimes, what is in my head isn't exactly what comes out in the post. I just want to be clear(er?) about what it is that has been bothering me this fall. Because I don't want anyone to think I'm sitting here in my fab house all worried about the dust bunnies under my couch or my kids to read this someday (ha!) and to think "Mom was a perfectionist? What?" So here goes, and for me too, because it helps to write it down.

My house is a wreck. There are toys everywhere. Currently dishes from last night are in the sink. I can't remember the last time I mopped the kitchen. I vac my living room area rug daily (sometimes more than once) but only because I let the kids snack in there and it gets covered in crumbs. My kids probably watch too much tv. I am not always good about the cat box. I prefer reading blogs to reading the news and I would rather sew or dream about home improvement than actually clean my house. Do not. I repeat, do NOT put your hands in between my couch cushions looking for something. I am not responsible for what will be stuck to you when you pull it out. I try to wipe down the sinks and toilets quickly every couple days, but please do not look at any of my baseboards. Or my windows. Or in my closets. Yes, sometimes the chaos gets to me, and I do have things that I randomly get sort of OCD about, but overall I am not obsessed about all of it enough to go crazy. I prefer some freedom and enjoyment to a perfect house or a perfect schedule.

I think what is really getting to me is more a question of the bigger issues. Moral, social priorities maybe? Like, this season it bothers me that I don't have a lot of money to do fabulous things for my own family, so is it wrong that I didn't do an Operation Christmas Child box in leu of the hopes of buying my own kids Legos and Playmobil that they truly don't need? Is it wrong that I'm not volunteering or helping out with different causes and opportunities to help when I feel that I can barely keep my own schedule and kids in line? Is it okay that I want to fix up my house when there are people that don't even have houses? Is it more important to teach my kids to obey me or to be on time? Does it matter my kids don't pick up before they go to bed, but they do get their teeth brushed and go to bed early? Is it okay that I don't have a weekly date night with my husband? If I were exercising would I have more energy and be a better mother? How do I prioritize, at any given time, taking care of my family, taking care of myself and taking care of others... all things that I see great value in... without feeling as if I have neglected something/someone? THIS tedious balance is what I struggle with. I am not a decisive person in many regards and I am highly analytical so I find I myself thinking a lot about "what ifs." It's a dangerous place to go because, truthfully, you can't know what might happen or what would have happened in any situation. You can only guess and I have a big imagination.

So this is where I am. Trying to figure out what is best and knowing that, in some ways, I can't possibly. Trying to forgive myself for not always knowing and for sometimes knowing but still making the wrong choice. Grace is a big word for me right now. I easily give grace to others, knowing that none of us is perfect. I am certain that God gives me grace as well. I just need to give it to myself.

So is it a desire for perfection? Maybe in a strange way. I guess I do sort of wish I knew how to make a "perfect choice." But I also realize that is rather impossible at all times and most of the time I can go with it. I think this is just a time of hashing it out for me and apparently I have to get stressed in order to force myself to shake things up a bit. I imagine this is why I procrastinate as well :-) I don't like to be told what to do, so I get tired of so many (often conflicting) messages regarding how I should spend my time, money and energy. All claiming to be the secret to something: organized living, spiritual fullness, fixing the world, disciplining my kids, a clean house, getting out of debt, a healthy body, good skin. Sometimes my brain feels like a BING commercial's version of search engine overload. And then this is when I decide I need to stop over-thinking things and just do what I can when I can, say sorry when I mess up and just do my best.

Hebrews 4: 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is Ignorance Bliss? (a wednesday brain ramble)

I don't know if I have a thing against the word "balance" because I truly believe it doesn't exist or because I'm feeling left out because it doesn't exist for me. I have information overload. I know too much about the "ideal" and I can't seem to fit it all into the puzzle of my life.

I should spend time with God.
I should spend fun time with my kids.
I should spend time reading with them too.
I should exercise and eat right.
I should spend time alone with my husband.
I should get out more and spend time with friends.
I should to educate myself about the world around me.
I need to make good decisions. I should probably take time and think about some of those big ones too.
I need to find time to work from home.
I need to make sure there are clean underwear and clean dishes every day.
I need to feed us every day. more than once.
I should get enough sleep.
I should save my loose change
volunteer at school
practice spelling words
donate at church
get involved in my community
bridge the gaps
pay the bills
feed the children
save the whales
support our troops
wash the sheets
stop and smell the roses

Have I run out of time yet?
No matter, I've run out of energy.

Why do I always have to go an compare myself to what other people are doing? What others say is the best thing? We're told that we need balance and not to put all our eggs in one basket, but then we're also told not to do too much or take on too many things. Believe me when I say that I DON'T. We really don't do a lot of "extras" around here... not many sports, no music classes or dance lessons, very little volunteering. I don't hit the gym, no one is in a book club or the PTO. I'm pretty sure it's about priorities, not balance, but I still can't figure it out. I am also aware that this is a season of my life. I'm at home with three young children and that's just a huge chunk of my daily focus, as it should be. So why am I left feeling like I don't have it together or I don't do enough for others or I'm somehow not managing my life the way I ought to be? Is it because I know what OTHER people, with OTHER kids and OTHER budgets and OTHER situations are managing to do? Or is no one managing it and I am just led to believe by the media and the "experts" that they are? Our world is made so small through media and internet and social and psychological knowledge. And a whole lot of good can come out of that. A WHOLE LOT. But then, it can also bring with it a whole lot of guilt and confusion over what is and should be important at any given time.... at least for me. Sometimes I long for less knowledge and understanding because it seems that it brings with it a whole lot of decisions and responsibility that I'm not always up for. There's an old Keith Green song that I grew up listening to with the lyrics "just keep doing your best, pray that it's blessed, and He'll take care of the rest."

If only I could hold on to that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just a Little Peek

I can't show the whole thing. I promised. It's a gift and "surprise us" was requested. But I finished my first quilt today, so here is my stamp on the calendar.

As I told my friend Dana...

Eeeeek! I made a quilt!!!!!!!

Dude. I made a quilt.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grateful Friday

Thank God:

1. we DIDN'T get a puppy this week. In a brief moment of insanity, I was determined to adopt a RIDICULOUSLY cute puppy on Wednesday. Luckily someone else got him first. Thursday was one of the worst days ever with the kids (Tate spent the morning in TO having some kind of awful attitude to start the day and then stripped naked in the car in protest to his pajamas still being on while we took Ellie to preschool, Cal was home with double ear infections but driving me nuts, I couldn't find my keys to get Ellie and had to leave her at preschool for an extra 1/2 hour while I frantically searched for them, you know, that kind of day ALL DAY LONG), so I was pretty sure after that God was just trying to tell me not to be sad about the puppy, which I was. I'm nuts.

2. that Calvin is back at school today and feeling a bit better. Did I mention he was driving me crazy? His ears hurt, but he wasn't so sick that he couldn't cause a ruckus and fight with his brother and whine about being bored and generally be a pain.

3. that the boys still let me choose their clothes for school since this is the sort of thing they throw together on their own (please excuse the BLAH living room)

It may be difficult to tell, but this is a 40 degree day and cal's attire is not really appropriate for that reason and then Tate is wearing sweatpants (fine) with a Christmas sweater. HUH?

4. that my parents came up this afternoon for an impromptu visit and mom brought me some beautiful pieced quilt blocks and tops done by my great-grandmother and that she trusts me to try to put them together and finish them up. I'm flattered and nervous and excited. (more on these later)

5. that I get to see Toy Story 3 tonight. I've had a long week and I am looking forward to a family movie night.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Improvement

What I did expect on Halloween:

What I did not expect:

Don't worry, we weren't vandalized. Baby Sister just locked Tate out of the breezeway. He lost his temper after yelling at her a bit to let him in.

Unfortunately, when he lost his temper, he was holding a bat.