Monday, January 25, 2010

In the Mail Bag...

These lovelies came in the mail quite by surprise last week from the amazing Hillary Lang over at Wee Wonderfuls. I have followed her blog for the past three years and when she was looking for pattern testers last Summer, I jumped at the chance. The above kitty cat and post card were her thank you for the help. So nice of her. Honestly, I think I would have paid her for the chance to do it anyway. ;) It was fun.
I love the fabric on the back too. Just my style really. Evelyn immediately absconded with the sweet kitty and has made it her own. I don't mind. She is in love with kitty cat's of all kinds and is absolutely giddy with glee when she sees one.
Thanks Hillary, you made Evelyn's and my day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Drudgery no more...

I am really starting to like being a stay at home Mom. What a difference a week and a change of attitude makes. This is as shocking to me to admit as it may be to read. I have had a hard time of it these last six months adjusting to my new role. I never imagined that I would struggle so much with the day to day. I never loved my babies an ounce less...I love them more and more each day. I wasn't prepared for how alone it can be to stay at home. Alone in the sense of adult interaction. Mom interaction really. This whole experience has laid me bare and stripped me of any and all day dreams and pretensions that I may have had. This is work pure and simple...very rewarding, but still work none-the-less. I thought that I would step into this role with ease and that it would be magical. This was after all what I had always wanted, to be able to be at home with my children, raising them, doing crafts, eating healthy meals, everyone content and happy...yes, such a naive dreamer I was. I have learned to admit my weaknesses and rely on my Savior daily. I feel that maybe that has been the point of this whole desert experience...learning that my strength is insufficient and that I often stumble and fall. But, through daily prayer and scripture, what a difference in my life and how I do things. Such peace... Also getting out and interacting has been key for me and the kids. I have found a wonderful MOPS group, I have become involved with a local Mom's meet-up, and several Moms in my neighborhood and I get together regularly. Our kids play and we talk, it's lovely. We also hit up story time at the library weekly. For me these things help me stay energized and focused.
The house has never been cleaner and more organized. So instead of seeing it all as drudgery, things are relaxed and fun. I enjoy making warm breakfasts and doing activities unprompted...mostly realizing that I can do this! I am so grateful to David and my sweet babies for being so long suffering through my journey thus far. I still have so far to go, but I am finally feeling the sun on my face again.
The first picture was of breakfast a couple of days ago...warm, homemade cream biscuits and apple butter...tea, real, butter, orange juice...yummy.
And those pots up there? Strawberry seeds planted for valentines...we'll see what happens. Elijah loved smooshing the dirt between his fingers and filling up the little pot. They were 1 dollar each at Target. How could I resist?

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Movers and Shakers...

We have been shaking our tushes most days and having dance parties. That will explain the quality of the pictures. The kids were gettin' down and shakin' it. It's been a great way for us to get some energy out and another way to embrace movement and creativity. Plus, it is really just a lot of fun. Anything with a decent beat seems to work: Fireflies by Owl City, For Those About to Hop, by the Imagination Movers, the Newsboys...those are some of our favorites right now. What do you like to shake it to?
Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Calendar...

I have been working to get more organized in the new year. Amazingly I have not put together a central family calendar in the past...most of the time I relied on my memory, but that is getting harder and harder for me. So I bought a large wall calendar, a package of multicolored Sharpies and set to work. Each member of the family has their own color. Then there is a color for the kids together, a whole family color and a misc color for those things that apply to people and things outside of the immediate family. Then by just a glance I can see who has what coming up. At the bottom of the calendar are three slots that were advertised as space for photos. Instead, I placed a key/legend for my color match ups in one and important numbers and information in the other two. I think it will work well for us. It is now up on the kitchen wall. I'm sure I will tweak things as the year progresses, however, I happy to have made a start to better keep track of everything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A View...

We have been to the library and picked out a stack of books. Including one that is Valentine's Day themed. I'm already plotting the making of valentines this year and I want Elijah to be as excited as me! But, hec, if it's an art project that includes coloring, glitter, and glue he's in!

I have been cooking again. After being awash in too many processed meals and take out, I have gotten my wits about me and made a few tasty meals. There were some duds too, but that's my M.O. I win some, I lose some.

Lot's of cups of tea. Mostly decaffeinated, but with the occasional full leaded cup of Earl Grey. I find it to be relaxing and warming on these cold, cold days.

I made these scones last night and fell in love. The kids loved them too. The recipe called for currents and as I didn't have any I went with dried cherries instead and they were perfect. They were also great this morning for breakfast with a cup of tea.
The scones (or stones as Elijah calls them, not because they were hard, but that's what he thinks they should be called) went along with the dinner that I made last night. I made Aromatic Beef Stew. A recipe I got from the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It is paired with couscous and has Butternut Squash in it, which I happen to adore. David thought they were potatoes and gobbled down two bowls. The kids were not total fans, but they ate up the warm scones. So I think everyone left the table full and satisfied. The stew has middle eastern flavors and was so warm and satiating for me. I will be making it again.
Now off to get some things crossed off my list...changing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, ugh, not my favorites, but they must be done.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Small Steps

Don't you love these winter days? I was so down on snow last year, but this year I find myself hoping to see gentle shower of flakes falling in the morning when I open the curtains. When the sky begins to lighten I open the curtains to be able to view out and see what is going on. It's as if I am waking up the house after a deep night of sleep. Sometimes there are animal tracks or birds flitting around the bird feeders or like this morning, the children and I saw that the branches of all the trees and bushes had been coated with snowy ice crystals. The winter wonderland that had been looking wilted was refreshed with a new whiteness. Elijah has been starting off each day stating: "Mama, it's a beautiful day!" I love that, my heart swells each time he says it.

I am spending my new year so far, trying to reorganize myself, the house and how I do things with the children. I had begun to rely on children's television far too much. It was the first thing to go on in the morning and while I knew that it was not what I wanted for them, I would give in because it kept everyone calm and I would have to contribute minimal effort until I felt like it. It crushes me to write that, but that's where I have been.
These days the TV stays off except for certain shows and certain hope is to cut it out for most of the time in the weeks to come. Small steps. Now we go right into the kitchen and have our breakfast. On these cool days I try to make something warm and comforting...pancakes, oatmeal, freshly baked biscuits. They are both fiends for strawberries these days. I splurge once a month or so and buy a box...they eat them up in a matter of days. The Summer growing season is much looked for by me, these prices are not great for a budget. But, I still throw some fresh fruit in there and yogurt is always a hit. Over breakfast we talk about what we want to do with our day, how we slept, any dreams we remember and all kinds of misc. that escapes from the mouth of a nearly 3 year old. Instead of feeling grouchy, I am finding these meals around the table to be precious and invigorating for the day to come.

I have also been doing some reading at night before bed. I am reading up on homeschooling books and (thinking) about our options, My life in France by Julia Child, and the Creative Family by Amanda Soule. I am loving that last book enormously. So much of how she is and how she nourishes her children's imaginations and creativity is exactly what I want for my children, hence the new edict of turning off the TV. Creative play is on the menu and while Elijah still asks for TV it is less and less once we start an art project or building a tower out of blocks he forgets about it entirely.

I am feeling a bit more motivated to sew and knit than I have in months. I am excited about that and hoping that that motivation will transfer to all areas of my life as I try to nourish my children and to get ready for the new little one in the months to come. That includes pulling out the haven't been taken much lately, that needs to change.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back Again...

Gosh, I have been away for so long that I wasn't certain that I would remember my password...I somehow pulled it from the recesses of my brain. I took a much needed (and unplanned break) from this space. I have needed to do some deep thinking and working on me. I still have such a long way to go, but I have been working hard to figure out who I am, now that I am a stay-at-home-mama and what exactly my goals and hopes are. I fear that I have been coming up painfully short to the Mama that I want to be. There is so much that I want to accomplish with my little ones and often fail to even get started. I tell myself that I'm too tired, or it's just too much work, but, my babies are worth every drop of energy I can muster. I am working on turning off the selfish side of me. It's not about me right now. No, I probably won't get a cake on my birthday and no I won't get to sleep in on a Saturday until the kids are in high school, but does it really matter? I get to see the sunrise each morning and I get to eat breakfast with two of my favorite people aptly nick-named B and Morsel. I can get kisses and hugs every time I want them and I am given the joy of seeing the world through their eyes each day. I have to remember that these children are in my care for but a short time only, it is my job to help them thrive and grow...I have been praying a lot for them. Prayer is powerful.
So I am getting out there more. I am working to turn myself back on and to re-embrace my interests and hobbies, trying to engage the children in more creative play, and just to get them out playing with other children their ages. We did that this morning and what fun they had and I got to interact with other Moms...what fun I had.
To add to the craziness, I am 17 weeks along with baby number 3. I am really excited and I have more energy now in my second trimester. I was dragging there for awhile. That contributed to my "gone" status on this blog. My due date is June 18 and now that January is here I really feel time picking up the pace. This little one will be here before I know it.
So it's time I threw myself back into my life and resumed living I go!