March

This is the part where I cram an entire month into one post~

March… you were good to us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rainy days where we all crowded into the kitchen and made soup together

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Doctor E. tended to many a sick bunny

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

J got his first baseball related injury

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I got my very own raised beds for my cutting garden!!  There will lots and lots of flowers this summer…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Daddy had lots of good help (well dressed help I might add)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Babies are gross… in an adorable way

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We went to San Fransisco for a field trip to the Exploratorium OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheir motto is “touch everything!”  and we did!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was a gorgeous day in the city.  We ate a late lunch with our good friends and enjoyed the sun

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Miss E. turned 5!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe celebrated with crafts, and brownie Sundaes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…fancy finger nails

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…and watching Frozen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI turned 36 and managed to drag my birthday celebrations out for a full week.  My mother-in-law gave me this darling tray.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Big Sis turned Miss P’s crib into a tent much to her delight

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yup Miss P is pretty infatuated with her big Sis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And now it’s April!  Time for spring

 

The Week that Was

Not every week is filled with warm, homey, contented good times.

I hope I don’t give the impression that my life is just peachy all the time.  Nor do I wish to turn this blog into a place were I vent, gripe, and complain about the challenges life sometimes throws my way.  It can be hard to find the balance between being thankful for the life I live, and at the same time acknowledging that some weeks are hard.  Some weeks gloominess crowds into the corners of my heart and follows me round like a storm cloud.  I let thoughts like “what’s the point?”, or “why bother?” drag me down.  I feel lacking in every single way.

Anyway… all that to say, this past week fell into the cruddy category.  No particular reason, just a small avalanche of irksome things that had me buried by the end of the week.  By Friday I threw my hands in the air and said “Fine. I give up.”  It’s Sunday and I’m still in I-give-up mode.  Hopefully Monday morning will provide the kick in the pants I need… it usually does.

But I will leave you with the few pictures I took this week~

I took this first picture because it seemed to encapsulate so much of my life right now.  The colorful quilt on the back of the couch, the bouquet of flowers lovingly picked by my long-lashed boy, socks and laundry everywhere, toys and books scattered about.  It’s the good and the hard all mixed up in one spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How many can fit on one chair?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rain, wonderful blessed rain finally fell on this dry valley.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This post is the first post of March.  It will also be the last post of March.  The kiddos and I are going screen-free for the month.  I mostly wanted to mention that so I would be forced to go through with my plan ;)   A little accountability can be just what a girl needs to turn good intentions into action.

So I’ll see you in a month!  ~April

Nostalgic sewing

A small stack of summery fabric arrived in the mail last week.  The happy prints practically begged to be turned into sundresses for Miss P.  I sorted through my patterns, and decided to use a McCalls dress I had made for Miss E when she was just a little thing.  Miss P is a big girl and it can be hard to decide what size to make for her.  I didn’t want chance making the wrong size, so I dug through the storage shed until I came upon the tub of Miss E’s baby clothes.

These are the dresses I made for Miss E.  In fact, the little orange one is the very first dress I ever made.

McCalls M5830Pulling those baby dresses from that tub of baby clothes brought back so many good memories of sewing for my girl.  I tackled that first dress with more determination than skill.  After many hours, lots of seam ripping, and one burst of frustrated tears… I had made a dress.  The very next week I made the red and turquoise dress with a few less ripped seams, and amazingly, not a tear was shed.

Miss E's sundressI will admit I was so proud of that dress and I loved seeing her run around in it.

Beginer sewingThose two sundresses were riddled with mistakes!  Sloppy armholes, wobbly seams, misshapen neckline… but oh how I loved them!  I was even too scared to make real buttonholes so I used snaps instead.  On the orange dress I even managed to sew the neckline on backwards!

Wobbly pocketsSo, 3-1/2 years later I made another for Miss P.   The pattern I used is McCalls M5830.

McCalls M5830Man I love this pattern but it does not love me back.  That’s a little dramatic.  It’s really a breezy little pattern, except for the part were you attach the neckline to the bodice.  The instructions seem to be describing this terribly clever way of sewing the neckline on wrong -side-out.  Then when you turn it, everything is magically and suddenly right-side-out, with no exposed seams.  I could never figure it out.  Even my husband, who is my go-to pattern interpreter, couldn’t decode it for me.  He suggested making a practice dress but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So I ended up attaching the neckline in my own clumsy way… but it got the job done.

Strawberry pocketsIsn’t that strawberry fabric delightful?  I love the little kick-pleat in the front too.

I hand-stitched her pet name to the bottom of the dress.

Hand-stiched nameWhile I was at it I decide to make another.

McCalls M5830And look… real buttonholes!  I know… I’m a big girl… yes I am.

Buttonholes Can we just talk for a minute about how much I love this print?  I love it a lot.  All those happy little houses and funky little birds, how could I resist?!

Village Green fabric by Carolyn GavinThis one is going to look so sweet with her little red shoes.

McCalls M5830Oh, one more thing I should mention; the sizes on this pattern are a bit vague.  The sizes are listed as newborn, small, medium, and large, with no measurements to go with them.  After sewing this pattern in several sizes, I would say the pattern comes in sizes newborn- 18 months.  I made Miss P the 18 month because I want it to fit her this summer.

Summer dressesIt was fun to see how my sewing skills had improved over the last 3 years.  Fun to add a few more homemade dresses to the stack, and I’m looking forward to seeing Miss P toddle around in her summer dresses.

The Week that Was

Pictures from our week and a few words to go with it-

 

I like everything about this picture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMomma tries to make the bed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiss P’s favorite place.  She sits in her perch watching the bustle of the kitchen.  She plays and snacks and gives me a huge grin every time she manages to catch my eye.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the view I walk past every time I go to the laundry room.  It is so hard not to get sucked into that room especially on laundry day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinger reading

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe likes getting her hands dirty… just like her momma

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe likes being with me, doing whatever I happen to be doing.  Planting flowers, matching socks, scrubbing potatoes; she’s always right there at my elbow.  It works out well because I really like being with her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the view from my kitchen window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are so good to her

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe princess and her footrest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  Sometimes I doubt myself as a mother.  Second guess my decisions.  Wonder. Worry.  Ask a lot of “what if” questions.  Am I doing enough?
But not when I play with them.  When I play my kiddos all of that goes away, and I know that everything is going to be just fine.

 

The Week that Was

Pictures from our week and a few words to go with them-

1. Quiet rainy day activities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2.  Best $7.00 I’ve ever spent

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. The stomach flu kept the boys out of school for a full week; which meant a lot of catchup homework

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4.  My laundry spent the week traveling from the kitchen table, to the living room couch, my bed, then back to the kitchen table.  It got riffled through, unstacked, refolded, mixed up and finally… finally put in drawers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. A 4-year-old makes her own ham and cheese sandwich while wearing mix-matched pjs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6.  Making little treats for little friends

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. I abandon all attempts at productivity and join the kiddos for an afternoon of sidewalk-chalk drawing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8.  Perfect pink toes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. Chalk smudges everywhere

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10. Love offerings left under my pillow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11.  Tulips for teachers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12. Watching the Olympics

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  I love my little house.  That thought washed over me the other night as I walked in from the backyard just after dark.  The windows glowed with a warm light.  From where I stood in the cold grass I could see water-colored hearts hanging on the fridge, children reading on the couches, a globe left on the kitchen table were J had been working on an assignment, and Justin sitting at his desk with a baby perched on the edge of his knee.  Everything I loved most, under one cheery little roof… and it was mine… all mine.

Beach Days

This morning I woke to the sounds of rain on the roof, and a tiny girl making happy noises from the pillow next to me.  Justin had gone into work early so it was just the two of us snuggled together in the quietness of the morning.

Hard to believe it was only a week ago that I was rising early to get us packed and ready for our annual Pajaro Dunes getaway.  It’s even harder for me to believe that this is the 8th year we have made the same trek to be with family and cousins at the beach.  My in-laws started the tradition when my oldest was the same age as my youngest is now.  Each year, Dad and Mom W. rent a house by the beach for 4 days and three nights.  All the aunts, uncles and cousins converge under one roof, and for days we do nothing but eat, play, and run on the beach.  It’s always loud and crazy but so much fun!

This was Miss P’s first trip

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think one of the things the kiddos love best is waking up to their cousins every morning.  The way they play and pile all over each other reminds me of a litter of puppies.  Watching them all eat also reminds me of a litter of puppies ;)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe littlest girls doing their best to mimic the big kids.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe weather was glorious!  Every morning after breakfast we would drag all of our stuff down to the beach and camp out until lunch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe loved the sand!  She grinned and squished her pudgy little hands and feet into the wet sand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe also stuffed a few handfuls in her mouth.  She seemed to like the taste as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne side of the beach is lined with beautiful houses and long wooded staircases leading to the beach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe children never seem to tire of the sand and waves, it is the perfect playground!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is most of the crew, the three youngest stayed close to the blankets and sand toys.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery year J gets more and more comfortable on the boogie board

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is how G prefers to ride the boogie board

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beach stretches on and on.  Perfect for long walks and sand dollar hunting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrandma and Grandpa always have 1, and sometimes 9 grandkids in tow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the evening when the sun dips into the ocean, the beach house comes alive with dinner preparations and getting sandy children cleaned up and in their pjs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe afternoons at the beach are usually very windy.  The babies nap as the big kids play upstairs.  Sometimes they all head down to the tennis courts with the men, while we ladies enjoy a bit of shopping in Santa Cruz!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASaturday, in the wee hours of the morning Justin and I woke to the one thing parents dread waking up to… “Mom. Dad. I threw up.”  Yes, J came down with the stomach flu.  We confined him in our little room, trying to keep him away from the other kids.  He was so disappointed to be missing out on the fun!  By Sunday he was feeling good enough to join the rest of the family upstairs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunday morning we woke up to rain.  The kids gathered in the little sun room to eat their breakfast.  Normally we would try to squeeze in one last trip down to the beach, but this time we packed up right after breakfast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe gathered in the living room for one last devotional.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We loaded the van with dirty clothes, sandy toys, and very tired children.  We took with us happy memories and we look forward to making many more!

 

 

I got carried away

Scrappy fabric tagsI thought, “I’ll just make a couple, I’ve got a few minutes to spare.”

Scrappy fabric tagI got carried away.

Scrappy fabric tagsBefore I knew it I had used every blank gift tag in the pack, and the only thing that stopped me from heading to the craft store for more, was Miss P who was soundly sleeping in her crib.  I thought, “I should write up a tutorial!”… but it’s ridiculously simple.  In fact it goes like this: find little bits of fabric and ribbon, arrange them in a pretty way, and sew them on the tags with a sewing machine.  If you don’t have a sewing machine a hot glue gun will do the job adequately (although personally I like the look of the stitching).

Valentines bag

Floral fabric tagA few weeks ago I also made some gift tags from damaged Golden Books.  I used books that had darling illustrations but were looking a little worse for the ware. It was an idea I spotted on Pinterest for making Christmas tags but I used the books I had available to me.

Children's gift tagsOn some I cut the word from the text and added them to the bottom of the tag.

Golden Book gift tagsIt’s pretty easy to find damaged books at thrift stores or antique stores (or in my case my own book self) and they’re usually inexpensive.

Gift tags from vintage childrens books

Golden Book gift tagsDon’t you love it when you stumble across a project that is simple and yet so satisfying?

Now I just need to get my hands on some more gift tags… oh! or have a gift tag making party… a gift tag party with snacks!  Yes, I’m liking where this going…

 

 

 

The Week That Was

Pictures from our week~

1.  We’ve been reading Prince Caspian lately.  They are enthralled!  It’s been a little while since we’ve read a book that captured their imaginations so completely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2.  A whole new world has opened up for Miss P.  She’s started eating a few finger foods.  Puffs, scrambled eggs, little bits of buttered toast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.  Her immense concentration never ceases to amuse me :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4.  Herbs on my windowsill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5.  The kiddos enjoying our unseasonable warm winter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6.  A girl and her Hotwheels.  I loved my Hotwheels when I was her age.  The sound of the wheels spinning out, feeling like a speed demon… never wanting any other bike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.  Sisters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Momma finally made it to the sewing room

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9.  And Miss P finally got some new dresses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10.  More Geranium Dress fun!  These pictures hardly do this darling fabric justice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11.  I tried them on Miss P and they just barely fit her!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA12.  I’m kind of smitten with these little pink poms at the bottom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA13. Real life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  I stood in line at the DMV this week with three older men.  They had the look of men who had lived hard lives. Their clothes were worn and hung on their lean frames.  But they were so warm and friendly.  They struck up a conversation with each other, and it wasn’t long before one asked the other two if they knew Jesus as their personal savior.  Their grins widened as they nodded their heads vigorously; yes they knew Jesus and what difference He had made in their lives!  Men who had been strangers only moments before were suddenly brothers, signing the praises of their Lord. They each told how He has saved them from a life of drugs and pain.  I couldn’t help but think as I watched this scene play out before me; it is no wonder the Lord has a soft place in His heart for His wayward children. The ones who take the long way home.  Who come to grace knowing it’s full measure and spend the rest of their days praising His name.

 

 

 

The Week That Was

Strictly speaking these are pictures from several weeks, squeezed into one post.  I’m on instagram now which means that lately my phone camera sees more action than my regular camera… something I will have to balance out.  But here are a smattering of pictures I managed to take over the last 2 weeks-

1.  My early morning risers huddled near the fire.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2.  Art fever has hit our house.  The combination of Miss E’s new art books and supplies, and a freshly cleaned and organized art station; have brought on a flurry of drawing and creating.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.  The boys brought home even more art books after a trip to the library.  J found an alien drawing book and now there are martians and spacecraft pictures all over the house!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4.  Justin spent the holidays tackling another big project for our property.  Thanks to his hard work we now have a new basketball court!  And a place for the children to ride bikes and roller-skate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5.  The big cement trucks were a big hit with the children.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6.  J found the perfect perch to watch all the action

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7.  The new hoop and lighting have been installed, just waiting to be used for a rousing game of night basketball.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8.  Little glimpses of our day~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9.  Leveling the ground for the basketball court meant a giant pile of dirt now exists on the back edge of the lawn.  It is the children’s favorite place to play.  Now when I do laundry I find dirt in the all the pockets and cuffs of their jeans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10.  This is another one of Miss E’s Christmas gifts.  She loves doctoring all her stuffed animals and dolls.  Before Christmas I went online to find her a nice pretend doctor’s kit but the nice ones where so expensive!  I decided to make one myself and save a little money.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI bought a little suitcase for $4.95 at Target and added a the fabric cross to the top.  Between the dollar store, pharmacy, and ebay I was able to fill her little case full of fun medical supplies.  She has ace bandages, pill containers filled with Smarties, a thermometer, rainbow band aids, and a pink stethoscope.  Miss E has doctored everyone in the house many times, we are all very well taken care of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My thought for the week:  Presently I have no worthwhile thoughts.  Every part of my limited brain capacity has been taken up with the mechanics of running my house.  It is a wonder to me that women make it through the child-rearing years with any brain cells in tact.

Our Christmas

I don’t know why special occasion posts are hard for me to write.  They feel a little forced, sort of like writing a “What I did for Christmas vacation” school report.  I’m much better at everyday kind of posts. But nonetheless, these are special memories and this is the place I write about memories.

We filled the days leading up to Christmas with fun activities like walking Christmas tree lane, hot coco at Starbucks, and Christmas movies.  Baking and decorating sugar cookies is something they look forward to each year, and every year I decide that next year I will ban sprinkles permanently.  Somehow, when I see those darling tubs of holiday sprinkles I just can’t resist buying them!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis year’s Christmas tree was rather large.  As you can tell the children grew bored making popcorn strings so the bottom half of the tree was left looking quite bare.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days before Christmas I try to wrap some little presents to stick in their stockings.  They get the biggest thrill out of seeing those tiny gifts peeking out of the top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas morning came.  I had anticipated being awaken by 3 very excited children way before dawn, but to my surprise they all slept in.  Finally at around 7:00am I got up and started making coffee and getting breakfast ready.  It didn’t take long for them to all start piling out of their beds

G claimed his place by the fire as J started passing out presents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made them all hooded towels this year.  My friend Trisha makes these great hooded towels and had given them as baby gifts to both my girls.  Miss E’s towel was well worn from years of use, and the boys had always wanted on of their own.  I thought it would make a nice gift for them and they were so fun to make!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last thing to be opened is always the stockings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe present opening aftermath.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur traditional Christmas breakfast is braided blackberry coffee cake, bacon, orange juice and coffee.  I make the coffee cake the night before, keep it in the fridge, and just pop it in the oven to bake while we open presents.  The bacon also gets cooked in the oven at the same time, so we have a warm breakfast cooking while I enjoy watching present opening.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiss E loves coloring these days so we got her a lot of art supplies for Christmas.  She sat down right after breakfast and began to create.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas night we usually head down to my parents house to celebrate with them.  All 10 cousins, fill the house with laughter and lots of noise :)   They instantly head to the Christmas tree to scope out any presents that might have their name on it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALove this guy!  He posed for me while I took a picture of him in his Santa hat holding the platter full of steak.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy parents gave each of us our own wooden robot toys and the kids got a kick out of posing them while we ate dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy dad carving the Christmas meat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It’s at this point in the evening that my pictures stopped.  Between enjoying the wonderful meal and helping the kiddos open their presents, there was precious little time to take pictures.  It was a good Christmas!  We are beyond blessed!

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this guy right here… he turned 7 the day after Christmas.  My boy with the long lashes, sweet smile, and quiet ways.  He has such a big, tender, and generous heart.  Legos and Starwars dominate his play right now.  He builds such wonderful things!  For Awanas he memorized and recited all of Psalms 23.  He just beamed with pleasure the first time he said it straight through without any help.  I’m so happy I get to be his momma!