It all started on Monday when I posted a picture on instagram of some play dough I made mentioning that I always feel ambitious on Mondays. I got some flack for the ambitious Monday part. For me the week is brand new, the kids are back in school and I feel the unfolding week is ripe with promise. On Mondays, I can do anything! (by wednesday I’m overwhelmed and ready for a nap -case in point it is nearly 11 o’clock and I am still in my pajamas contemplating how much energy I will need to gird up to take a shower)
This week my Monday was full to the brim and didn’t stop until nearly 1am when I finished grading a third grade class worth of homework (that my daughter forgot to tell me about until Monday after school, it was due Monday and she had been carrying it around since Friday!). Busy-ness is not a badge of honor or worth, nor is it something I aspire to. I have made very deliberate choices in my life to keep my days calm with moments of stillness. Sometimes the crazy still creeps in, and it is never just a little bit crazy either- when it rains it pours.
I barely drug myself out of bed Tuesday morning to get the older kids ready for school and then take my daughter and her friends to preschool. My husband called between my errands and we talked. I gave him the run down of my day and how it would be one activity to another until 8pm and how I barely had the energy to move! In that moment of telling him about my day I realized that any number of calamities could happen to alter my day, and I knew that if they did I would be begging for my simple busy day. Buoyed by the thought that there is joy in the ability to make it through a crazy day, I picked up my daughter and her friends from preschool and we went to the park.
I get really overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for entertaining lots (read more than one) of children. I knew that it was my turn to have the girls over but the anxiety of keeping them cooped up in my house for 3 hours was sending me over the edge. With the weather so nice I decided I would take them to the park for a picnic. After they ate, off they ran to play. I sat back in my chair and enjoyed a moment of stillness. I listened to the sounds in that moment… the soft whoosh of the cars on the nearby freeway, the giggles and shrieks of delight as the girls jumped and slid gently piercing the otherwise silent park and the quiet call of a bird somewhere deeper in the neighborhood. And, the feeling of the warm sun on my back.
-I love my family. After spending a night away from them I was actually excited to weed the back yard with them. Really and truly.
-I’m so glad these two have each other (and their brother too).
-My son wishes his name was Bruce, because it sounds like a big-guy kind of name. He asked me if I could name him over again, if I would ever choose Bruce. I said no, because I wouldn’t even name my dog Bruce.
-My daughter asked at dinner about a German man named Hicks. She meant Hitler, which made us all laugh because that child is forever mis-remembering words in the most deliciously funny ways(My favorite was when she asked about Jesus praying in the Garden of Yosemite).
-Shortly after I woke up this morning my legs gave out from under me and I had to grab the counter and hold on to prevent falling to the ground in pain. What I learned was, even when my day starts out like that, I can still haul all three children to the Dr. at two separate times, grocery shop, make dinner for my own family and another one that just had a baby, bake brownies, and make a baby blanket all before 6pm. (whether or not I can move tomorrow is yet to be seen)
-Sometimes it is really hard to pray for the people that it should be easy to pray for. But, sometimes I just need to do it, and hope that healing will come.
-I am grateful for my health insurance, but the red tape behind an HMO can be frustrating at times.
-Some doctors do not consider Chiropractors real doctors. And, not all Chiropractors are created equal (and why do people keep recommending the bizarre ones who graduated in the 70′s?)
-I should really get a flu shot.
Something about participating in the Holiday Edition of the Pillow Talk Swap got me in the mood for holiday themed pillows. If you’ve been following me for a while you know I love the scrappy look for projects. This pillow is no exception it is a great scrap buster project!
I used some of my very favorite prints: Heather Ross Briar Rose , Find the Narwhal by Sarah Jane, Pinwheels by Sarah Jane all picked up for a steal at SAS. Rachel Ashwell Twigs from the Wildflower collection (after searching 30min I could not find a purchasing link for you), a repro print from maywood studios that reminds me of wallpaper that I picked up in Afton, WY a few summers ago. My very favorite Liberty print that I got at Purl SoHo’s warehouse in Tustin, CA. It was $24 yd, so I bought a quarter yard and have slowly used to it here and there. I also included White Floral from Tasha Noel and used it again for binding.
It was rather simple to make as well. I cut random lengths of 2″ strips of the prints and made a 14×14 patchwork block. Next I cut a 14×14 block of the light grey fabric and basted it to the patchwork square (right side of the patchwork to wrong side of the grey square). Using water soluble ink I traced a 10″ heart onto the grey fabric. I hand basted around my hand drawn heart and then machine stitched along my inked line. To make the patchwork visible I cut the grey fabric as close to my stitching as possible (making sure not to cut through the patchwork)- thus revealing the heart!
I sandwiched the heart with batting and a muslin back and hand quilted around the heart and along the horizontal seams of the patchwork. I have decided hand quilting provides the best puckering post wash. My daughter is tickled to have this pillow on her bed- so maybe it’s not just for valentines day!
Looking for more valentines day fun? Check out my free printable valentines Here, Here, Here
For the long weekend we took the WHOLE family to Texas to visit my mom.
We’ve only ever flown as a whole family once before, because do you have any idea what air fare costs for a family of five these days?!! Let’s just say we could have bought a lot of tickets to Disneyland.
We had a great time but I only have a few pictures to prove it. I’ve decided it is really hard to live IN the moment and still have the eye of a photographer to CAPTURE the moment. While I wish we had more pictures I do not regret living in the moment and enjoying our visit.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science was amazing! We spent nearly 4 hours going through so many exhibits- the kids were such troopers. We ran out of energy before we could see the Faberge exhibit, but the Egyptian exhibit was so cool, one of the museum employees gave us a personal tour and a lot of extra details about the mummies.
We went to Galveston and stayed at the Moody Gardens resort. The kids loved the heated pools, my mom and I just sat pool side freezing (doesn’t my mom look beautiful in that picture? I can’t wait to grow old and look like her). We all had a great time at the resort and the beach, but the time of year to go is really in the summer. The water park would have been so much fun, and the pyramids were closed for the time we were there.
It was great to visit with my mom and hear stories as we went through family photos. We were looking for “frame worthy” photos of me as a young child….apparently if you put me in front of a camera before my 5th birthday all I knew how to do was scrunch up my face and bare my teeth. While I am confident I was an adorable child, photogenic, I was not.
Thanks for the great memories Texas, you were so much more green than the desert and your trees dwarf our cacti!
I’ve started the book list for 2014, RIGHT HERE. I also joined goodreads, I’ll share the link once I start writing reviews. Have you started any good books recently?
p.s. this image above was taken by me, but inspired by the images of Juilette Tang. After looking through her pictures don’t you just want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea?
We rang in the new year with new friends, sparklers, pork and cornbread waffles and had a great time. The kids all slept late the next morning (bless them) but I was mildly bummed to realize I’d slept through the Tournament of Roses Parade. As I was getting ready for our Family Adventure I heard my four year old call out, “Mom, Mom, look at me”. I peeked my head around the door frame ”Look, I a squirrel” she said as I noticed she was completely naked and clenching a long piece of toilet paper..ehem..behind her. “You’re a what?” I said, “A squirrel” she replied and I began to laugh. Then I called for Aaron so he too could have a laugh. I’m taking it as a good omen that 2014 is going to be a crazy ride!
We decided to get out of dodge for the day! We took the kids out to Gold Canyon and hiked the Hieroglyphics Trail, which was great for the older kids but not the one with tiny legs. She and I made it about 3/4 up the trail and decided that was far enough. It wasn’t too terribly steep, but the trail was really rocky which meant it was very time consuming for her to navigate the rocks. She fought it every time Aaron tried to carry her, “I want to walk by myself!”
Aaron and the older kids made it up to the top while the little one and I headed back down the mountain. I ended up carrying her on my back a quarter of the way while she hummed the theme song to Mr. Bean. I’m sure it will haunt my dreams for days.
This is about how my back felt when we finally reached the car!
We finished the day off with a stop at Cafe Rio for linner (no, that’s not a typo). To which my savant like son points out that we ate at Cafe Rio for lunch on New Years Day in 2013. Huh?! After thinking about it, I think he is right. Looks like we started a tradition without even realizing it.
May 2014 be good to you and may we all find prosperity in our circumstances no matter what they be.
My little baby turned four on Saturday. She told me she was a big girl. I told her she will always be my baby- even when she is a grown up.
We bought her a bike- and with some of her birthday money, a helmet. She was eager to ride it, hence the pajamas and bare feet.
I also figured it was time she had her own place mat. I stitched and stitched to get this done in time for her family party Sunday night. Even though she doesn’t know a lick of French, she still likes it- and so do I.
While searching pinterest for some party ideas I ran across this tip to revamp a dollar store number candle. When we were buying balloons and streamers at Target my baby asked for party hats. I went ahead and bought the plain (no character) hats and it dawned on me that I could “re-vamp” the hat.
All you need is a hat, glue, glitter and sequins (or beads). I printed a large number four in MSWord, cut it out and traced it onto the hat in thin sharpie. I outlined the number in glue and sprinkled silver glitter. Then I filled the number in with more glue and multi-colored glitter. Topped it all off by gluing random sequins on top of the glitter. She loved it and I was tickled with how simple and cute it was.
I told her to look at the camera and this is what she gave me. We all about died laughing. I can’t even begin to caption it.
We started a new tradition this year- something we should have started a long time ago. We gave the kids $5 each and the name of one of their siblings- then we went to Target as a family and let the kids purchase gifts for each other. At first their was grumbling in the car- $5 wasn’t enough money (they were welcome to contribute their own money if they wanted) and so-so isn’t going to buy me a good gift (its about giving not receiving!). On the way home the change of attitude was noticeable. It was all they could do not to tell each other what they had purchased for the other!! They were throwing hints out left and right- cracked me up! They wrapped their own gifts, labeled them and put them under the tree. It was really sweet to see them think about each other when selecting gifts and their excitement in giving.
Another tradition is to watch classic Christmas movies throughout December. So far we’ve watched Christmas Vacation (not with the kids!), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (I watched the new one this year) and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I think we’ll watch A Christmas Story this weekend, because you just can’t beat Ralphie for getting into the Christmas “mood”!!!
A personal tradition that I’ve had since I was about thirteen is to read the account of Christ’s birth in Luke before bed on the 24th. It is my own way of reminding myself of what the season really means to me. I’m not one for dressing up my small brood and reenacting it (although I know many who do)- I prefer to read it (but then I’m one of those who always prefers the book to the movie!)
What are some of your Christmas traditions? Things you do yourself or with your family?
I’ve been busy in both the kitchen and the sewing room. Thanksgiving was a great success, despite the pie crust fiasco (can someone please explain to me how and why to use self Rising Flour?) I hope yours was too.
I had the privilege of making two bibs for a set of twins who are about to celebrate their first birthday. The party has a circus theme and this is what I made. It’s been a while since I embroidered and it felt so good to have a needle in my hand again.
I participated in this years Holiday Pillow Swap, and this is what I made for my partner (will photograph again when I get the binding attached)
I also made a little Christmas pillow for my aunt, I decided to hand quilt it and love the way it puffed up in the wash.
Here is to starting off the holiday season in the sewing room! I have Christmas pajamas and a Christmas dress to make- what about you, are you making anything this year?
Yesterday afternoon I primped and dressed my littles up for their annual holiday photo shoot. Aaron and I were not in the photos this year which would have made things simpler except that I decided to play photographer. Corralling my own children is always a challenge but adding a camera and an expectation to the mix is asking for trouble. I simplified the entire endeavor by taking them to a nearby park and pretending that parked cars and light posts are the new thing in backdrops.
They didn’t do too bad and I walked away with five useable photos. What I didn’t expect were some awesome outtakes!
This one could have been a great photo…until you look at the little one who looks like she is witnessing something very unsettling.
Or this gem, where I captured everyone with their eyes CLOSED- what are the chances of that?!
Part of me is really tempted to use the scary eye shot for our Christmas card, just because it makes me laugh!