Saturday, February 25, 2012

Four Little Happies

Little things that make me happy – oldest to youngest:

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:: the “I-want-to-feel-like-I’m-wearing-my-church-clothes-all-Sunday-without-wearing-my-church-clothes” look

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:: seeing him read and read and read

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:: this little lady finally wearing the little pink and silver butterfly leggings I made forever ago

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:: my baby saying “chee!” every time she sees the camera

Thursday, February 23, 2012


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Right this very moment we are all pretending it’s summer.  I worked in the yard, Alyx spent most of the day in her swimsuit (blog post to follow), and Erik and Anna are having a painting party al fresco.

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Do not be fooled by the short-sleeved shirts.  It is cold, not freezing, but cold.  I do not venture out without a coat.

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They were outside playing (coats on).  I love nothing better than creativity in the great outdoors so I suggested we haul out the easel and make life a little more colorful (coats came off).

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I remember Monet loved to paint out of doors.  He would bundle up tight and drag his paints and easel out to the nether reaches of the countryside to paint and sketch the world around him.

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My mini-Monets (only I do wish they would bundle up!).


There is nothing better . . .

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. . . in all the world . . .

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. . . than having one of these.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Sprinkle of Sunshine

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This post is a wee bit overdue.  As much as I complain about how cold and wet things can be around here, I figured I should publicly acknowledge how grateful I am for the sun when it shines.  I couple of weeks ago we had a nice little stretch of warmer winter weather and clear sunny skies.  We were able to walk to and from school a few days and enjoy the fresh air.  It was heavenly.  I grabbed a few pictures on our way to school one morning.  I love seeing Erik holding Lu’s hand.  They look so companionable.  There is nothing that warms my heart more than to see my family showing love to each other.  This is the sweetness of life.  (I’m sure all that sunshine helped a bit.)  ;>

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

School Projects

Djeryd seems to have been doing a mountain of large-scale projects for school lately.  His projects have been so fun and involved I think they are worth a post. 

First off Djeryd spent months researching “Stonewall” Jackson from the Civil War.  All of the kids in his class picked a famous person to study.  They imagined up letters written to their families, report cards they got in school, things they would carry in a purse or briefcase, along with factual elements like a timeline of major events in the famous person’s life.  It was quite an undertaking culminating in a night called “Images of Greatness” where parents and families and friends could wander around the school gym meeting all these famous people and learning a little more about them.

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One of the things that impressed me the most in his booklet was this letter he wrote to “Stonewall”.  Maybe it’s because I’m his mother, but it touched my heart that he chose this man for his bravery in the face of death.  A lot of kids picked sports celebrities or other pop culture icons, which is fine, but I love that Djeryd chose a person that he deeply respected for the difficult choices he had to make.  That tells me a lot about what my son sees as important and noteworthy and worth emulating.

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The very next week he had to turn in a presentation on the construction methods of pyramids in Egypt.  He had a lot of time to work on and think about this one as well (he had already done a tremendous amount of research).  Somehow things slipped through the cracks and I came home at eight-thirty the night before it was due to find father and son bent over stacks of cardboard cutting out walls.  I am amazed at what they accomplished in just a few short hours.

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I did get to make one small contribution – the ropes tied to the bricks.  I try very hard to stay out of his projects because I do too much, and Djeryd tends to stop working whenever I start.  He wanted to make his project out of Legos, of course, but I love what he did with a different medium.  He feels proud of his work and that makes me so happy.  Sean gave up a basketball game to stay home and help Djeryd out, which is a big deal for him.  That meant a lot to me, and to Djeryd.  And that makes me happy, too.  Three cheers for both of them!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Pile of Luscious

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I have a friend who makes the most adorable hair clips.  I mentioned that I would like to have a little workshop with her and she graciously obliged.  She sent me a link to this tutorial and assigned me the job of ruffling the fabric (I have a special foot for this, so it is a walk in the fabric flower park, so to speak), and she would handle the rest.

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I only managed to get one flower done in the hour-and-a-half we worked on these at her house (mostly because I was busy wrapping a headband with ribbon, prepping it for it’s gorgeous bloom).  A little later in the day I attempted another and it only took me twenty-three minutes.  And then I just couldn’t stop.  Isn’t that the definition of obsessive-compulsive? 

Ribbons, ruffles, buttons, embroidery floss and massive amounts of hot glue sticks overtook my kitchen counter for days as I whittled away on my stack of ruffled fabric strips (which I compulsively (that word again) kept replenishing).  A couple of flowers are missing from these pictures.  I spiraled one around itself and turned it into a lapel pin like the green and black ribbon clip at the bottom.  I want to do another one like that in the turquoise and black fabric.  Someday.  I finally had to stop this whole flower-making-frenzy and move on with my life (Lu’s birthday is coming up and I have so many things I want to make her).  Sean never said a word of complaint through the mess, but boy, oh boy, did he make a big deal about how clean the counters looked when I finally relocated all my supplies back in the studio.

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Aren’t they pretty?  I just want to look at them.  For hours, really.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Drum Roll, Please

Guess what this guy got today . . .

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Strangely exciting, this thing we call torture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wahclella Falls

We went hiking last weekend up in the Gorge and I just had to share some of the beautiful sights.

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We hiked with my sister’s family (her sweet mother-in-law is taking our picture).

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Lot’s of hand-holding.

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Lots of beautiful vistas.

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This is the first family picture we have had taken since before Alyx was born (that’s over two years – pathetic when you consider how many pictures I take).

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The entire hike was so gorgeous!

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Lots of cold noses and hands.

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But a beautiful sun shone on us all morning.

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My breath was taken away by the heavenly light shining through the crevasse.

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See you next time!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie Review: Secret of Moonacre

Secret of Moonacre  had been popping up repeatedly on my Netflix suggestions.  Yesterday I had the good fortune of being miserable enough to find nothing more enjoyable to do than sit on the couch and while away the entire day watching random movies.  This one finally had its day on my computer screen (we don’t have a television).  The film was absolutely delightful.  I will definitely watch it again.  It was humorous, dark, light, very colorful and quite charming.  I found the climax lacked a climax, but its lightheartedness made it a good choice for our whole family (in other words Annaliese found the ending plenty scary while the rest of us just bounced along pleased as punch to be watching a movie in the middle of the week).

My favorite, favorite part was the costumes.  They were gorgeous!  I loved how they took a period movie and made the costumes so very modern and magical.  The construction details were amazing, the fabrics were beautiful, and it was all so delightfully creative.  I seriously want every single one of those dresses hanging in my closet just to look at and be inspired by.  Wow!

If you haven’t seen this movie and have kids I highly recommend it.  If you love sewing I double recommend it.  And if you are like me, who has kids, loves sewing, and can’t soak up enough nineteenth century costume (and early twentieth century), then I triple recommend it.  Again, don’t hold your breath for an amazing ending.  But the journey is well worth the trip.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Five-Year-Old Fashion

I know my mother used to seriously roll her eyes at some of my wardrobe choices during my school years.  I only have one clothing memory for Kindergarten.  It was a lovely polyester double-knit royal blue dress that I wore with knee-high socks and Mary Janes.  Awesome. 

Yesterday morning when Anna stood at the top of the stairs in this lovely ensemble it took everything I had to simply smile and tell her thank you for getting dressed without reminders.  I wanted to tell her any one of those elements would be enough to make an outfit and that all together it seemed like overkill for anything less than playing dress up.  But I kept my mouth shut and reminded myself I am here to nurture healthy forms of self-expression and the precious self-esteem that is so closely linked to it.  She felt beautiful and happy and oh, so fancy.  So I smiled and hugged her and took her picture.Images of Greatness 003We flipped through the pictures on the camera to make sure we got a good shot.  From over my shoulder she asked, “Don’t I have a pretty camera smile?”  Oh, you make me laugh, girly.

Do you have any clothing memories from childhood?

Friday, February 3, 2012

One of Those Days

Yesterday was just one of those days.  And so much so that I did not even have the energy to blog about it until this morning.  One of my daughters peed on the carpet (the one that has no excuse for such things), I found out Djeryd’s Civil War costume was due this morning, the toilet in the guest bathroom overflowed, I had been single-parenting for three consecutive days, Alyx was still sick, the laundry mountain seemed to multiply exponentially throughout the day, the girls did not get their after-lunch naps, NO ONE would do anything I asked until I threatened with a consequence of some kind, and I thought my head was going to explode with all the frustration I was trying so desperately to keep under control. 

Not a horrible day, but not one of my best, either.

At one critical point I walked into my bedroom, closed the door, flopped on my bed and tried to turn all those frustrations into blessings.  I decided to be thankful for the pile of laundry screaming at me to be folded because it meant I had a family of so many wonderful people that can play and run and get dirty.  I was also grateful because it meant that we had enough clothes that there were extras; more than just the clothes on our backs.  That growing pile of clean laundry also meant that my washer and dryer were working – I could be doing lots of other things, like making dinner, and the laundry was still getting done (and multiplying).  I was grateful for that pile because it meant I had a good excuse to put on a movie and fold my laundry in the peace and quiet of the night.  And I was grateful because I knew I would feel so accomplished when it was all folded and put away.

I went through each difficulty and tried to see the good.  I felt so much better when I abruptly walked out of the room five minutes later (because Anna was screaming at me that Erik needed help with his knitting project – good for fine motor skills).

The inner peace and calm did not last for too long.  Within a couple of hours I was in my closet bawling my eyes out (from exhaustion, I think).  But it’s okay.  The bottom line is I didn’t explode, which is a really big deal for me.  And today is a fresh day, a new start, with no mistakes (except we got up late and I kind of got grumpy with everybody trying to get out the door, and I over-reacted with Erik playing with his alarm clock instead of brushing his teeth).  Oh, well, I mean tomorrow is a fresh day, a new start, yadda, yadda, yadda . . . 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Car – The Race – The Boy

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Erik raced in his first Pinewood Derby last week.  His car looked schweet!  He did a great job.  Grandmas and grandpas came to cheer him on.  The coolest part was they had the race on a big screen complete with finish-line-playback.  Sean even discovered he could watch it on his cell phone (which sort of reminded me of that scene in Ocean’s Eleven where the bomb guy is watching a building being obliterated on live television while you can see the actual building fall by looking out the window over his shoulder). 

We had a fun night.  My favorite comment came at the end of the night.  Erik raced several races, and actually won one of them.  When we got home Anna told him he had a great car.  Erik said, “I know!  I won first place tonight!”  Way to believe in yourself, buddy!  I love it.

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