Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Messy Pictures

While there are many things I like about a beautifully framed and shot photograph, I must admit that a part of me is drawn to these messy, everyday, raw sorts of pictures.  I feel like these capture our life a little more realistically sometimes.  The things I love about this picture is what it really says about our family.  Father's Day, house, 4th of July 065-1

:: Like how we love fresh strawberries in summer, and a big family breakfast all together makes us smile. 

:: You can see that Sean likes to put peanut butter on his pancakes. 

:: Because I have a mug at my place setting, I know that the dishwasher was full and we were out of regular drinking glasses. 

:: Alyx has been captured using a real fork for one of the first times (she’s a natural). 

:: You can see that Djeryd is learning his states (look behind Sean’s head), and we always keep an inspirational quote on the wall by the door. 

:: Erik is the only one dressed which means he was very excited about whatever was going on that day and did not want to miss a moment. 

:: Anna’s glasses are on her face at breakfast, which means that she spent the next two hours reminding me that she gets a piece of candy for having her glasses on without my asking, and I kept saying “I’ll get it in a minute”. 

:: The “6 B’s” on the wall above Erik’s head because we love the prophet. 

:: And lastly, you can see a notebook next to my plate proving my compulsive need to write everything down (oh, how I love a good list).

So here is a real snapshot of our family.  No filters, no tweaking, no tidying.  Just us.  In a good moment – because look – we’re all smiling.  ;>

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Little Friendly Advice

We are so not good about our kids having friends over.  I can’t decide if I’m too tired or lazy or if I just like having my kids all to myself.  I want to encourage my kiddos to have friends over to play and hang out, but it just does not seem to be working.  Does anybody have any suggestions on how to nurture this part in a child’s life.  They play with cousins once a week or so, but they have virtually no interaction with neighborhood children or even kids from church outside of the church or scout setting.  We do not do sleepovers at all, but we do encourage late-overs (so far they only happen once a year on Djeryd’s birthday).  The other thing is I feel more comfortable with kids coming over to our house and not my kids going to someone else’s house.  I seriously need some advice.  I think this is an important part of my kids’ lives that I am neglecting.  Any advice is appreciated.  Thanks in advance.  ;>

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sleepy Lu

Alyx went from here . . .

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to here . . .

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to here . . .

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in about 45 seconds.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Visitor

Sleepy baby, front yard 013 Djeryd and I got home from the library the other night and this amazing creature was hanging off the fuchsias on the front porch.

Sleepy baby, front yard 015 I am fascinated by the wing structure, not only the black-lined skeleton that makes the wings strong, but also the muscles and joints that connect those huge wings to that thin body in order to enable flight.  An engineering miracle.  The details on a body so small (the little gripping hairs on the legs, the small strokes of color for beauty, the microscopic hairs and joints, the perfect symmetry of the entire creature) compel me to marvel at the wonder of God’s creations, and reflect on the thousands of miracles that must be taking place inside my body on a moment by moment basis.  I am not sure how anyone could really believe that we were not lovingly made by a brilliant Creator.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Yummy Red House

kids, white field, red house 093 I have been dying for a red house for years, but it costs a fortune to paint a house so we waited and waited.  We moved and then waited some more.  Then, due to a series of water problems, we were forced to repaint the house this summer. We hired it out to a friend.  His company did a fantastic job. (If you want his information, you can zoom in on the picture below.)  Admittedly, we were a little concerned about how the neighbors would react to such a strong color (our neighborhood is full of varying shades of beige).  We originally opted for a light blue.  But once the red and the blue were on the wall, side-by-side, there was no question whatsoever.  This house was meant to be red.

kids, white field, red house 096The solid red (without contrasting trim) was overwhelming.  I felt much better once that black paint was whipped out.  We love the change. It’s like getting a new house for a fraction of the cost.  Everything feels fresh and I think it is absolutely gorgeous. 

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Monday, July 18, 2011

An Exercise in Green

2011-07-14 Anna's green project, park

I don’t know about you, but my kids cannot seem to make it through a whole day without someone getting angry or feeling left out by their siblings.  I am not usually very good at dealing with this, but I’m working on it.  The other day I came across an idea while perusing my favorite blogs.  She suggested handing off the camera to your child with an assignment to keep them busy for a while.  I tried it out and it worked pretty well. 

Anna was complaining that her brothers would not play with her or let her in their room.  I handed her the camera, told her to pick a color and then find as many things in the house as she could that were that color (the pictures of outside were taken from the office window).  She needed a lot of hand-holding (me pointing out things that were green), and it was more short-lived than I would have liked.  However, the upside has been that I have been able to call her back to the activity whenever a quarrel starts to brew.  Taking the pictures off the camera, looking at them, sorting them, creating the collage, and now the blog post, have all headed off a mini explosion of some sort. 

While brainstorming one of the last of Djeryd’s Faith in God requirements I suggested he do a photo exploration of things that represent his faith.  He has not done it, but I keep thinking I should do it.  This little activity with Anna may prove to be the perfect catalyst for getting my camera in my hand and opening my eyes to a discovery of the visual elements of our faith.  I will share it when I’m finished. 

In closing, Anna wanted to compose part of the blog post telling about her pictures.  The remainder of the post is straight from her cute mouth.

Annaliese’s green pictures.  Alyx. I took a picture of her and she had green pajamas.  And so I took a picture of the waterfall river.  That’s it.  (Then you can write, “I love you, Annaliese.”)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Favorite Things

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:: future husband extraordinaire making dinner for the whole family all by himself, without any prodding (and willingly mowing the lawn)

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::  sunshine in her hair and on her cheeks, with giggles and smiles and kisses

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::  my girly girls playing together, discovering they are sisters

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::  blueberries, and grey-green eyes, and the two of us learning how to enjoy one another

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Garden Promises

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In a former life (read: when I only had one child) I indulged in an absolute addiction to roses.  Over the following seven years and three children that addiction proved too costly in both time and energy.

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However, I feel my spirits reviving.  Are roses in my future?  (For all you garden snobs out there – yes, the pink ones are peonies.)  Sean and I have created a new bed in the back yard to fill with roses and their friendliest companions.  My problem is I doubt myself – my energy, my ability to water, feed, prune, maintain a twenty-foot long bed of these gorgeous blooms. 

Do you ever worry about that?  Do you ask yourself: “Should I really spend money on plants that I am not even sure I will actually get into the ground?”  I want to raise my trowel-filled fist to the sky and scream “Yes, yes!  I will do it this time!  I will feed you!  I will weed you!  I will under-plant you!  I will water you!  Even if it kills me, I will do it for you.  Because I want you to live, to thrive, to be the most amazing plant you could ever be!”  But then I cast my eyes around the rest of my yard, at the shriveling hanging baskets, the weed-choked blueberry bushes, the un-staked and flopping delphiniums trying desperately to stand up, to look me scornfully in the eye and say, “You, you did this to me.  You left me to be trampled, to die here in the middle of this parched piece of earth you call a flower bed.  How dare you take the name ‘gardener’.” 

It sends chills down my spine.

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And so I am left with the question that I seem to face on a daily basis: Can I make a promise and keep it this time?  Will I actually exercise today?  Will I help my children say their prayers and read their scriptures tonight?  Will I be patient today, no matter what happens?  Will I clean up the breakfast dishes sometime before 7:00pm?  Will I teach my children to work hard today (or just work at all)?  Will I show my children they come first - before the house, before the yard, before the schedule?  Will I sit down and figure out the kind of person I really want to be?  Will I do it today, this morning?  Will I ask too little of myself?  Will I stop demanding so much of myself?  Can I make a promise and keep it this time?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anna’s Birthday (a catch-up post)

A couple of months ago our dear little Annabelle turned five years old.  This was a very big birthday for her as it marks the legal age she can finally go to school (she asks me at least once a week if school starts tomorrow or if it is time to buy school supplies).  She had a rather ambitious list of unrealistic presents (cell phone, ipod, a car with a motor) and a couple that Mommy would actually buy/make (dress-up shoes, puppet).  As is customary in our family, the birthday celebrations ran over several days including roses from Daddy on her big day, dinner at her favorite restaurant with the whole family and Grandmas and Grandpas a day or two after her actual birthday, and her “butterfly tea party” was held on the following Saturday and proved positively magical.

2011-05-07 Anna's Birthday

They made clothespin butterflies and ate butterfly-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  They played Blind Man’s Bluff  and Duck, Duck, Goose.  They ate purple butterfly birthday cake.  They counted butterflies on the walls and drank from butterfly straws.  My favorite part of the party was that each of her cousins crafted little handmade cards to go with their gifts.  Individually, they took the time to read their card to Anna before she opened her present.  It was so sweet and perfectly illustrated how thoughtful these wonderful little girls are.

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To my Annabelle:  I love you and I am sort of sad you are five.  I know I should be happy you’re growing up and heading out into the world to make it a better place, but sometimes I want to hang onto you so tight it hurts my heart.  At this point I don’t know if the letting go will ever get any easier.  You are my buddy, my helper, my little Angel Anna, and I am so proud to be your mama.  Happy birthday, ladybug.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An Ode to Alyx

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Oh, how I love you, little one, when you look up at me with those big brown eyes and that sweet smile of yours;

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When you follow your daddy or your brothers or your sister, when you follow me, and I just hope you’re following the right steps – the ones worth following;

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When you get as close as you can – for comfort, for help, for reprieve, for love;

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When I see those curls . . . I can’t help smiling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Father’s Day

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I know Father’s Day was a while ago, but things have been crazy around here and I am trying to catch up.  So here is my very belated Father’s Day post.  I don’t even remember that much about the day except that all of the fathers in our life had ribs and garlic mashed potatoes and apple crisp that night at our house.  And I remember what Sean got for gifts because I worked hard and long on them. 

Several months ago, in passing, Sean mentioned that he needed more pictures of the kids for work.  I decided to give him six for the price of one (pictures, that is, not kids).  I came across this puzzle block idea in a Martha Stewart magazine years ago and have wanted to try it ever since.  My sweet father-in-law helped me out by slicing up the wood blocks and building the frame that they sit in.  I printed pictures and decoupage them on each side.  It turned out really great and Sean loved it.

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The other gift I had up my sleeve was a t-shirt.  Djeryd helped me out with this one.  Djeryd and Sean own a little business called “Hawk-n-sons”  Do you get it?  Not everyone does, so don’t feel bad.  ;>  Anyway, here is a little shirt we designed and painted for him.  We was tickled, as you can see.  I could go into all kids of family lore about the picture of the hawk and stuff like that, but I will simply say it is a very special shirt to all of us.

Sean said he had a great day.  Which makes me happy because it was a lot of work.  But it was all worth it because he is the most wonderful person I know.  Love you, love you, love you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Handy Djeryd

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Sean and I are heading off for Youth Conference tomorrow and I still have so many things to do but, being the true procrastinator that I am, I feel like blogging this morning. 

We have been spending lots of time outside as we continue to try to whip this yard into shape.  Several weeks ago we finished putting up the arbor.  Sean sent Djeryd up on a ladder to pound in bolts.

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Then he handed the boy a scroll saw and had him shape all of the cross pieces.  He did a great job, and I think he was proud of his work.  I sure was.

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The 2 x 4 got a little bouncy so Erik sat in the middle of the board to reduce some of the vibration.  The only problem was Erik is probably the lightest kid in our family, so he needed some back-up.

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I love it when they all get in on the action.

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