Monday, February 23, 2015

The Little Things

Life is really about the little things.  The teeny, seemingly insignificant moments of everyday.  But when you put them all together they make up who we are so much more than the “big”things.  I was actually good about pulling out my camera last week and caught quite a bit of the details of our lives – much more than I’ve been recording lately.  I like to see these little details – the moments that would be so easily forgotten and yet, day by day, layer upon layer, build our family into who and what we are.


Elle somehow managed to wriggle under the stool and then couldn’t figure out how to get out.  I was waiting for her to stand up inside it because I thought that would be quite an accomplishment and a very cute picture, but Elle wasn’t having any of that. Sigh.  Free the crying baby.  Cuddle.  Mmmm.  Forget all about that silly picture that she wasn’t going to let me take.


We are not terribly original people.  I think this is the fourth year we have given away lollipops with lips and mustachios for Valentine’s Day.  They are just so stinkin’ cute.  And I have one of those electric cutter machines that makes it all so easy (the first year I cut out EVERYTHING by hand – it took days (three kids had parties that year)).  Last year my pregnant brain was not functioning at top speed and I miscalculated, cutting out far more lips and mustachios than my children needed.  I wisely preserved them in a ziploc and, behold!, we had the easiest year ever for prepping Valentines.  Note to self: Must screw up next year and make an enormous amount of extras to save me some time in 2017. (I think Erik may have entered the it’s-not-cool-to-smile stage.)


My Annabelle is amazing me almost daily right now.  She is just an amazing girl.  She is smart and kind and creative and good and so very determined.  Last fall she decided she wanted to participate in Battle of the Books.  She asked if I would coach her team.  I said yes.  Erik asked if I would coach his team.  I said yes.  As soon as the reality of my situation sunk in I started backpedaling.  Coaching entails meeting with the team once or twice a week every week for a few months.  Managing that with Alyx and the baby in tow for two separate teams was more than I could handle.  I told the kids I would not be able to do it.  Apparently Anna did not get the memo.  No matter how many times or how many ways I told her I could not pull that off, she just kept plugging away, reading the books to her friends at recess and encouraging them to read on their own.  About a week before her battles she finally realized I was not going to coach her team. She fell apart and I felt like a horrible mother.  I patched up what I could, but my attempts felt pretty pathetic.  So when she asked me on the morning of her battle if I would whip up a good-luck skirt for her I couldn’t refuse.  She had picked out the fabric and cut it to length on Saturday, so I just had to sew one seam and put in a hem and waist band.  I know it was a pretty sad excuse for a team coach, but it was my best for this year.  We’ll try again next year because I know she will stick with it to the bitter end – against all odds.


On Presidents’ Day the kids built a castle in the living room.  It kept them busy for hours and they loved making it.  They drew bricks and flowers and rainbows around the outside then filled the inside with “a baby corner and a stuffed animal corner and a resting corner and a fireplace.”  One of the water-filled milk jugs leaked (pretty ingenious idea for steadying the walls, no?) and we had to air out the rug and pray the swelling would go down on the wood floor (dah!!).  Needless to say, jugs of water are no longer allowed in the living room.


The floor and rug survived.  And Elle found her first piece of chocolate in the meantime.  A rogue Hershey’s kiss found its way to the floor and Elle found her way to the chocolate.  Who can blame her?


And last, but not least, we have a family dance session in progress.  We listen to music while we clean up after dinner.  Most of the time we listen, we clean, we turn it off, we have scriptures and prayer and we put kids to bed.  But on this special little night a dance party broke out.  “Twist and Shout” with Daddy and his girls.  Do the little things in life get any better than that?


Oh, how I love my little things.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Preschool N


This will be a quick little post, but I had to make sure we got in our pre-school fun.  This month we hosted the letter N.  The girls started out making Noodle Necklaces (with tomato and carrot based pasta so they were a pretty orangey-red color).


Next we glued various spices onto some paper and smelled them with our marvelous Noses.


We had Nuts mixed with raisins and m&m’s for snack (yum!).


We painted Nails with Nail polish.  The girls all wanted to be the same.


And last we planted Nasturtiums.  I pushed the seeds right up next to the side of the cup so we have been watching the roots and shoots spread down and up and sprout those beautiful round little leaves.

I won’t even tell you what the reject words for N were.  All I can say is there are a lot of awful (or should I say Nasty, or maybe Naughty?) words that start with the letter N.  I am not going to embarrass myself by publishing them.  Until Next time . . .

Monday, February 16, 2015

February Fire

I came across a recipe for foil dinners last week and remembered with fondness the foil dinners of my youth.  It sounded like a fun dinner and I was planning on popping the little packets in the oven.  But Mother Nature gave us a little gift today: sun and warmth and gorgeous clear skies.  So we decided to make the most of it.


The kids clamored outside to start a fire in the little fire pit Erik has been constructing over the past few weeks.  I prepped food in the kitchen, and by the time I was ready for the food to go in the fire, Sean arrived to actually get the fire going.  The boys had tried, but could not seem to keep it going, and certainly not at the temperature they needed to develop good coals. 


We were all pretty giddy with our fun little adventure.  We gobbled up our foil dinners, ate some s’mores, and had our Family Night out under the stars.  It was magical.  The kids loved it.  And Djeryd kept saying, “We’ve gotta do this again!  We’ve got to go camping this summer!”


I don’t dare hope that this marks the beginning of fire pit season, but I’m grateful we got this little surprise, this little gift.

Monday, February 9, 2015

One Step at a Time


This little lady is growing by leaps and bounds.  I have many pictures of her taken the day she was born hanging on the wall by my bed.  I stare at them.  I am mesmerized by them.  I do not understand how she could have been so very small.  I see her entire fist wrapped around the top of Sean’s thumb. I am honored to witness her life.


Her latest trick is walking.  She is by far my earliest walker and is quite happy with herself about it all.


We’re not talking about random step here and there.  Oh, no.  This is full out, start on one side of the room and walk to the other kind of walking.  I think that makes her officially a toddler.


She’s had a whole slew of examples, but really very little coaching or even encouraging.  She was just bound and determined to walk.  I am impressed by her spirit.  Toddling comes with such a mess of scrapes and bonks and boo-boos, not to mention falling down over and over and over.  I think it is a marvelous commentary on the human spirit to witness a child learning to walk.


And now that she’s checked “learning to walk” off her list, perhaps she’ll start taking the guitar more seriously.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bedtimes and Messes

I wish I could say that Sean and I are very good at getting our children to bed at the same time every night.  In our ideal world I think the kids would be in their snuggy beds at 7:00, curled up and listening to bedtime stories.  7:30 would usher in Mom and Dad heading downstairs to leave the kids to enjoy some silent reading before lights out at 8:00.  In reality, this NEVER happens except when I have lost all patience.  But then, while the kids may be in bed by 7:00, they are not happy and there are no cozy bedtime stories.  Most nights run about a half hour behind that ideal schedule.  And occasionally, they stay up much later. 

2015-02-01 Rainbow Balls 2

Last week I sneaked into the studio while Sean was reading to Erik and I was supposed to be reading to the girls.  The girls felt my absence and did some investigating.  To their extreme delight they found me frantically stitching up some little balls for Elisabeth, who has developed quite the arm (just last week she not only threw a toy three rows back and to the side in the middle of our church service, she also shot her headband rubber-band-style halfway across the chapel only moments later nearly blinding a row of teenage boys).  The girls begged to join in.  Anna wanted to sew, but I told her I was in a crazy hurry (I knew if I did not manage to get them all sewn in that twenty minutes that Sean had Elle, it would not happen until who knows when).  Because the could not sew, they decided to stuff. Lights-out had come and gone by the time we finished in our little flurry. 

2015-02-01 Rainbow Balls 3

While I felt bad about getting them to bed late that night, their elation at being able to make something in the studio surprised and cheered me.  I can’t seem to find the time to get up there at present.  My kids love to be in the studio with me, but they also love to do their own creating while we are together and that means messes.  I don’t know how to conquer that little difficulty; however, keeping their hands busy stuffing balls meant no random new messes to clean up that night (of course it is still full of all the random old messes). Maybe that is the key to reducing the mess.  Maybe I need to work with them more and not just do my own thing when they come to visit the studio. When I am sewing on my own (which is incredibly rare right now), Lu visits for a bit and then starts pulling out paper and punches and ribbons and glue sticks to make “check marks” (book marks) by the dozen on the floor.  The state of my studio floor makes me not even want to set foot in there sometimes. Perhaps the next time LuLu wanders in curious about the cause of the whirring noise coming from my sewing machine, I should stop my project and take a moment to teach her, to work with her, to allow her the opportunity to learn to love sewing as much as I do (that way we can at least make our mess together). 

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