Because I was inspired by a friend, I thought I would pass on a little inspiration in the hopes that we can all do a little good.
We made Humanitarian Aid Kits to send to Haiti. We only made ten, but we invited others to join us in our efforts in their own homes. I am so thankful for those of you chose to pitch in. I hope your experience was as fulfilling as ours.
The kids took their responsibilities very seriously, and as you can see, they did a beautiful job.
I feel something of a compulsion to note the little happenings of our lives on my blog. My kids love to go through and peruse past posts. So, in that vane, here are some bits a pieces of our lives this past week. Anna and I finally finished our ladybug counting project. They line the front hall and Anna works on her numbers whenever they catch her fancy.
We made fimo necklaces in Activity Days and the kids wanted to try out the clay when we got home. Sean was gone that night so it turned out to be a bit of a lifesaver for my sanity. The kids were engrossed, and it was very relaxing to fiddle around with the substance for me, as well.
Our lovely cat (the cat formerly known as Gigi) is settling down quite a bit and we are enjoying him ever so much more now that his claws are clipped (yes, you read right - he is a he - not a she). Why we did not trim-up Greyor's little scratchy things sooner is beyond me. Anna keeps walking around the house telling Greyor he is a very good kitty now that doesn't scratch.
And, as you can see, we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new little sister. Clothes are washed and organized and hung; a quilt is planned and waiting to be started (maybe tomorrow!); a playpen is purchased to serve as her first bed; her newborn hat is knit, awaiting its final seam; and now we are waiting for the new carpeting that continues to be delayed (I think we are on our third revised delivery date) so that we can finally get the girls' room set-up complete with crib and a new bed for Annaliese. I am trying to get life as organized as possible to smooth this transition. But I hope I am wise enough to know that one can only do so much, and then one has to just accept things as they are. In the meantime, however, I do not wish to squander a single moment of time when I feel good enough to do something - anything. ;>
I have reached the point in my pregnancy where I am actually daydreaming about and craving exercise. I love exercise, but I hardly ever do it, because part of me hates it. I have caught myself fantasizing about yoga practice and sit-ups and running on the treadmill, even weight-lifting. I am already designing fitness programs for three, five and six months from now. The way my baby sits it is virtually impossible for me to exercise at this point in time. My lungs are so completely compressed that just trotting up and down the stairs one time requires a complete cool-down routine. Making dinner occasionally becomes an impossibility half-way through preparation. I am forced to sit on a chair and either wait for Sean to get home and finish, or else boss my sweet children around telling them what to stir, what to wash and when to add things.
This morning everything hurt when I woke up. As I lay there I remember thinking, "Why does my stomach hurt? and my back?" Then I rolled over and in the process happened upon my ever-expanding belly, "Oh, yeah! I'm pregnant - that's why everything hurts!"
I really do not enjoy pregnancy - even when I feel really lucky to even be pregnant. I'm grateful to be almost done with all of this - it is not my cup of tea. I admit I am jealous of women who "love" being pregnant. I can't decide if I have an attitude problem, or if I have legitimate reasons to want to skip over these nine months. For now the sofa is my friend and sleep is a sweet escape from my reality. Two more months. I will survive!
Djeryd wanted a Lego birthday party this year. My wonderful husband obliged coming up with all sorts of fun Lego games for the boys to play. I was left to simply take pictures and enjoy observing while Sean did all the usual party-work. It was so incredibly nice for me. Oh, and the kids had a fun time, too.
My sister's kids are some of my kids' best friends, so everybody had a great day as we had cousins to play with. (Do you see Anna's cute little CTR ring? Oh, my sweet Sunbeam!)
Erik and Emma played most of the games at the party, but I think they had gotten a little bored by the time the big boys constructed their final challenge - a Lego bridge that spanned three feet - quite a feat.
Here it is: my very first project in my new studio. I made celebration bunting. By the end of today it will have been used three times already. We string it about for birthdays and such. It lends quite a festive aire. I got the idea from Amanda Blake Soule's book The Creative Family.
We spent New Year's weekend in a very noisy mess of hammers and fancy nail guns and air compressors. It was a crazy, fun, wild ride, and I am delighted to be on the other side of it all this evening. The above room became my studio in earnest around the first of October. Halloween costumes had to be made and I needed a space to create three of them simultaneously. It was functional, but not ideal. I found it rather ugly and, so, did not take any pictures of it (a nasty habit of mine when it comes to before-and-after posts). Last Saturday Sean and I trotted off to Home Depot to take our first step towards making this room a beautiful creative space.
Upon removing the carpet we found press board. It all had to be ripped out and replaced with plywood. Sean painted for two evenings in the meantime. On Thursday the new plywood was nailed down and Sean and his dad spent an hour-and-a-half figuring out just the right patterning for the bamboo flooring (complete with computer renderings (oh, I love that man!)).
On Friday Sean's dad (yes, two whole days in a row, bless his heart) and my parents joined the party. It was ridiculously noisy. I tried to stay downstairs, away from the all the ear-blasting bangs and pops. By about seven o'clock that night we all sat down to ice cream sundaes and then sent everybody home, sore and exhausted.
Today was the fun stuff - the icing on the cake. Sean, Djeryd and I got to put it all together. It took us all day, but at a nice leisurely pace. Djeryd was a huge help. I am so pleased with the results. I know I still have a few days, if not weeks, of organizing all the junk that doesn't have a home yet. And there is still a work table to be constructed to give my new stools a home (not to mention all my paper-crafting supplies). Thanks go out to my parents and in-laws (Carol, thank you for loaning me your husband for two days), my kiddos, and of course my darling, wonderful husband who pushed ahead through every obstacle with a glowing smile on his face and reassuring words on his lips.
For kicks, Sean wanted me to include my original conceptual drawings. I still need an ironing cupboard you see, and the drapes need to be made, but I think it's a pretty incredible match - all things considered.
We are fortunate enough to live near all of our family. Consequently we have a multitude of Christmases. First off we head to my brother's gorgeous house for Christmas Eve, a tradition that has been held for as long as I can remember. We always act out the Nativity (well, the kids do it now, thank goodness). My nieces loved their presents and I loved that I made them.
Our second Christmas is post-Christmas-Eve-Christmas -Eve. We had cocoa and Sean read our new Christmas book - The Polar Express. After treats we all opened our new Christmas jammies and tucked in for the night.
Christmas number three is the traditional Christmas morning. We found our three little love bugs sitting ever so quietly at the top of the stairs waiting very patiently for Mom and Dad to wake up and find them. Sometimes their honesty astounds me. We cut way back on Christmas gifts this year and it was so nice. We told the kids for a couple of months that they were only getting a few gifts and they would be small. They grumbled a bit at first, but got used to the idea, and it made for such a sweet, peaceful day. They kids were so grateful for each and every gift they received. What a lovely change from last year.
Last, but not least, we headed over to Sean's parents for Christmas with his family. We all had a great time. I think it is a real treat for the kids to see all of their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents in just two short days. We are so blessed. The big treat for Christmas day at Grandma and Grandpa's was a basketball hoop with six unique basketballs (one for each child) to play with at Grandma's house. As adults, I think it was the most fun we've had as we spent two child-free hours in Paul's shop assembling the basketball hoop.
Admittedly, we had one more Christmas the next day. Because assembling the basketball hoop took so much longer than expected, we did not get around to our big Christmas feast we had planned at home. I will try to remember to post a picture or two of Christmas dinner.
All in all it was a wonderful, slow-paced holiday. I loved crafting almost every gift we gave this year. And helping Erik make his presents for Sean, Djeryd and Anna. It was sweet and joyful and relaxing and fulfilling. It was busy, but I did not feel that rush-rush hustle and bustle that comes with hitting store after store looking for gifts. Granted, I made about 20 trips to Jo-Ann's in two short months, but it was different than toy stores and the mall. Every year is different so I have no idea what next year will bring with a nine month old. I am sure she will not be as flexible with my crafting intentions as Anna was. I hope I can keep a bit of what we gained this year, though. It was my happiest Christmas in recent memory. Perhaps because my body literally forced me to take everything one day at a time and let a lot of things go. Hey! a blessing of pregnancy.