Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jean Skirt

Woo Hoo!! I finished something! This skirt was so easy to make. The little girl is so happy, as she helped with the design process.

The original directions called for cutting the legs off to make it a short skirt, and then using the legs to fill in the skirt. MB wanted it longer and helpe me locate another hand-me-down pair of jeans that she was never going to wear - I agreed, the waistband was kind of ugly. Anyway, the contrast looks really cool. This look is totally MB.

Projects, Projects

So many fun little projects, so little time.

Currently I am halfway through knitting one of two scarfs for Christmas. How in the world do people finish these things in a day or less. I feel like a success when I can get 10 or 15 rows knitted a day. I am slow, but mainly because without fail as soon as I sneak away, get comfortable and pull the yarn out I hear "Maaaa-maaaa" from some source. I get most of my knitting time in during my bonding time with Junior at about midnight. By then I am really, really slow and can actually find myself nodding off in mid-stitch.

If that wasn't enough I have given up on my search for a skirt or two for MB. Either it isn't appropriate for a 7-year-old, or it doesn't meet MB's sense of style. The picky child she is. We know what we want - a good, basic knee-length A-line skirt. Something she can wear with a long-sleeve tee or sweater. I have found a pattern that may work with some tweaking, because of course nothing as basic as we want is out there - I am having my sewing guru look at it to see if someone of my limited skills can pull it off. I even window-shopped on-line last night and found two pieces of material that would be perfect, they are on-sale and free shipping until midnight tonight.

But, to hold us over until I can get all the pieces an make these skirts, I needed something fast and easy. So, I am making her a jean skirt reusing a pair of jeans from last year that she doesn't like the legs on (they don't flare). Last night I pulled seam stitches and now have it pinned and am waiting for her to try it on before I start making the finish cuts. If this works I also found a pair of cords that again she doesn't like the 'hang' of, but would make a great winter skirt.

I will post some photos once something actually is done.

What, I am supposed to be homeschooling too? Well, that gets into the mix too.



Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Weekend

I don't know about anyone else, but holiday weekends for me are the time when I can get the most housework done. My big projects can get marked off my list. Mainly because I have another adult around that I can tag team with. I am still in the mode of decluttering and trying to get back a little of the neatness I enjoyed while the house was on the market last year. So I spent the weekend doing just that.

Our kitchen is looking about as nice as it can - until we can update the counters & stove. We at least have gotten a lot of the clutter put away and I have my open prep/workspace back. It just is one of those rooms that appears to lose square footage when stuff is on the counters. When everything is neat and put away, a nice medium size kitchen.

The big job though was brought about by the need to create more 'private' workspace. The big girls need a place to go and work on projects that little hands really don't need to be in. Or just another place to escape. We had to some extent the den/office, which can be closed off - but there was no where to work for the girls. So, I spent yesterday rearranging furniture and moving out some big, ugly furniture that I had been living with. I have managed to cut the room into two and set aside an area that will hold our old, tiny apartment dining table to give the girls an open, craft workspace.

That job took almost the entire afternoon yesterday. And, involved removing an 'antique' stereo system from an old stereo cabinet to replace with our existing - almost antique stereo. If anybody is interested in a 32-year-old magnavox stereo with eight-track tape drive and a balanced record player, let me know. DH and I found the sheer size of the circuit board interesting and all of the belt drivers that were used.

Now I am preparing for another week. We have two more weeks of school for this year. Then we have a couple of birthdays in a row and then Christmas. Busy, Busy, Busy.



Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

A few of the things I am thankful for this year...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Long Time Coming

See this:

and this:

My heart is doing little pitter-pats tonight. Sisterly love is flowing through the house this evening.

My two-year-old and four-year-old playing a game together, without me -- and nothing is being thrown, no one is yelling and there is no blood. I could sit and nurse, quietly.

Then, as if it couldn't get any better. MB actually asked if she could read to K. And, K actually said yes!!

Its the little things.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OH Boy! After getting a temporary put in the whole in my tooth and antibiotics kicking in on my standard post-partum sinus infection my energy level has made a jump. The fact that junior has decided to sleep for nearly five hours straight at night could be helping also.

This weekend I scored on stocking stuffers at the local Target. There little $1.00 bins are so cool this year. I racked up on old-fashioned wooden pull toys and toy cars, all sorts of Hello Kitty stuff, junior slinkys (who won't have fun with that?) and the cutest little set of infant mittens & hat. I am normally a last minute stocking stuffer - out grabbing whatever I can find at the 11th hour, but this year - nope! I am almost done, just need a some toothbrushes and crayons for the girls and I will be finished with that.

Just for kicks I also picked up piggy banks for MB & K - which they went ahead and got. They love them. We are keeping them in the family room for now so they don't get played with and broken. But the whole allowance thing has become much more real to them having a spot to deposit the little dimes & quarters.

Sunday night I sat down and reincorporated the 'lesson plan.' Lately I have depended way too much on throwing workbooks at the girls without a general gameplan each day. It becomes way to easy for them to whine and argue with me, and I give in way to easily. Now we all have a list of what to do that day. And since I do it on the computer, I can jump over to the internet and print off any maps, writing sheets or whatever we will need for the next day as I go. Everything is whole punched and in the three-ring binder waiting for them in the morning. Except for asking that large projects that we don't want little hands helping with, I don't care when or in what order the list is done - but it has to be done before any extracurricular activities - playing with friends and sports practices.

MB jumped right back into it like she had missed her lost friend. We had only one whining, procrastinating session - but like I told her it is on the list you do it. And, it stopped and work was done by 2:30, even allowing for a late start and 2 breaks. We managed to not only cover the 'boring' paper work, but also complete a science experiment on how ships float and have a group music practice - to practice their songs for the Christmas concert the hs choir is having.

MB helped me again with making & serving dinner. It really is nice to have a 7 yr old (in less than a month anyway) in the house. I was able to clean out our snack cabinet and reorganize the mess that it had become. Then we made choc chip cookies, since it was brought to my attention that we had no sweets in the house. They went through the pumpkin bread muffins way too fast.

Better get started on the day - our last 'school' day this week. DH will only work a half-day on Wednesday and the schools are out - so I am giving in and letting the kids play.



Monday, November 20, 2006

My Kitchen Table

Our kitchen table is not really a kitchen table. It is a dining room table. Too large for our space, not really made to withstand the day-in an day-out rigors of a large active family. But, it was free and it suits our purpose right now, at least until we can get to the point that replacing furniture is going to happen. Thankfully it was well used and a couple decades old before our family got its paws on it - I won't feel too bad that it will most likely end up in a heap somewhere.

Like I said, the table has never really fit the space that we have for a kitchen table. There are two folding leafs and several add in pieces so that it could seat 12. We have only ever been able to use three sides of it because we had to fold down one of the ends. Well, I got the idea that I could take the hinges off and see what happens. Success - we have a table that we can use all four sides now. Which means we can fit all of the family around the table and EM can graduate from her high chair to the bench.

I tell you, for me it is the little things.

Last Thursday night we all sat down to dinner together, turned down the lights, lit some candles and had a wonderfully relaxing family dinner. I don't know if it is just me, but it is the moment in my day - we sit down to dinner, the family together and it makes my day mean something. I even get a little tingle in my belly (has nothing to do with hunger) as we all hold hands for the blessing.



Friday, November 17, 2006

I have kind of taken a much needed computer break these last few days. Not so much by choice, but out of happenstance. My 'downtime' is now filled with options like - sleep, and that is really hard to pass up.

We are at the month mark since junior came home to us. And I have to say that at this time this is the hardest adjustment for me to bringing any of my children home. His issues, though thankfully none are life-threatening or even require medical intervention, are time-consuming and require much more of my attentiveness. Feeding him is the number one priority in life these days and due to the 'smallness' of his digestive system it is a process. It begins with a full clothing/diaper change, because while sleeping he has either spit up or leaked through the diaper (premie diapers are still a little big on him around the backside & thighs). Then hopefully we will sit and nurse, which is a long drawn out affair of nearly 40 minutes. Then there is sometimes a second diaper change and clothing change aferwards to clean up the mess made during the feeding. Repeat process every 2-to 21/2 hrs. On the brightside he is getting to wear all those cute premie outfits that I was sure he would grow out of first.

Laundry has nearly doubled, yet how can that be. We were a family of five - three of those young girls who must change their outfits according to the time of day. How can one teeny, tiny baby double the laundry. Outfits, blankets, spit rags, bedding - oh my - changed constantly throughout the day.

Throw in one 23 month-old who is suddenly waking every single night - generally just shortly after I get junior down and out for his long stretch. She waits until I have gotten, settled and comfy under my blankets - then begins screaming. No, not calling for me, screaming! Em was my sleeping baby too. So easy to put down, slept through the night very early. We thought maybe teeth - no, she is teething but that oesn't seem to be what is bothering her. The other night I know it was the thunderstorms, but I was prepared for that. Last night- I don't know. But she is not easy to put back to sleep.

Leaving the house - Ha Ha. I have to start getting ready and rounding up children an hour-and-a-half before we go anywhere. By the time we are ready to go, junior is ready to eat again.

Someone once told me that the transition from one to two children was the hardest transition. I have to say in my case it is the transition from 3 to 4. I just feel very outnumbered some days.

Wednesday was our "out" afternoon. We had science club, which I think is more enjoyable for us mothers then the kids. But that was nice to get out to, even if I did get lost trying to get there. One of the other mothers had her baby at the end of July - the difference in junior and the other baby is amazing. From there we had to race back into the 'city' to get to MB's indoor soccer practice. DH met me there so I could just drop MB off and bring the other kids home and fix dinner.

I have been cleaning all week - partly because it needed to be done, but also because the pastor from dh's parent's church was coming by to visit us last night. We decided over the summer to rejoin dh's childhood church, so the pastor had not had a chance to meet junior, and we needed to discuss some other things. My house now looks cleaner, yet lived in. Not the wreck that it had become in October. The funny thing about cleaning was how much MB helped me, K ignored us doing it and EM, in all her power attempted to go behind us and pull everything back out. The differences in ages was very apparent.

To otherwise entertain, I gave the girls some cheap computer CD-Rom games I had picked up somewhere. I call it critical thinking education. K's concentrated on listening skills, while MB's was heavy on math. They had both computers running at various times - which cuts into my computer time.

I went to the dentist yesterday to see about this tooth that has been bothering me since last week. They put a temporary in and told me to call on Monday to see how it is doing and decide what to do next. They are trying to avoid a root canal, but based on how it is feeling today, I don't think that is possible. So, I go through another weekend with a throbbing jaw. I really, truly hate dentists- they are sadistic.

Today is Friday!! Yeah! We have school lessons that need to be done. The girls have pulled out the sofa bed in the den and are lounging as we speak. I have made it to the point of wearing sweats, and believe that this is what I will stay in today. The temp has dropped after the storms yesterday. If the girls go out to play I believe I will be watching from the window today.



Monday, November 13, 2006

Who moved my cheese?

A few years ago there was a popular book out on the dynamics of the office environment. Its premise was about how people adapted or didn't adapt to changes in their environment. For the last year my life has been one big ball of change or the possibility of change (which is worse because you just don't know). And, it isn't slowing down any.

As we adapt to a new baby in the house, I am helping dh rewrite his resume & cover letter to apply for a position out of state. Not the midwest like we originally thought (although, that is still a possibility), but one here in the south. And, it would be a quick move for us as we would have to relocate right after Christmas.

By the way Kate, when you read this can you send me some info about your area?

Since I have no control over the situation, and am somewhat ambivilant about it, I am spending my time in an almost anal need to clean and organize before the holidays hit. Being in a holding pattern with life sucks. If we stay here there are renovations that we want to do to the house, but can't get started on them because don't know if we are going to be here. Don't want to spend too much time investigating the housing market where we are going because I don't want to get excited and then disappointed. So I clean.

I am also cleaning to take my mind off this throbbing tooth. I can't get in to see the dentist until Thursday (between babysitting issues and dentist schedule). The house is looking good and the girls are starting to answer to my requests with salutes (I guess I am being a little generalistic in my approach - hup. hup.)

It is a beautiful day, warming up nicely. The girls are having some outdoor recess raking leaves into piles and jumping into them. I would take pictures, but have not located the camera during my cleanings.

After I feed junior again, we will head over to the library to drop some books. Then be back at the house for the chimney sweep to come by. Somewhere in there we will finish lessons, send the children out to play with friends and fix dinner.

Tonight I will be tired and ready to drop, and then start thinking about how my cheese is being moved around - then I will be cleaning.



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Happened to Fall?

Our Winter weather has gotten off to an early start. For a few days we had lows in the '20s and highs in the low 50s. Now it is raining, windy and 55 degrees - Winter in NC. It makes one want to hibernate in front of a nice fire. Unfortunately, our firewood is in the process of getting soaked under 2 inches of rain and in order to actually get to our fireplace I need to find homes for a number of books & toys. I just wasn't ready yet.

Life around here has settled into our routine - nice for me, boring for a blog. Schoolwork is going, shall I say surprisingly well. The difficult transition after 'junior's' birth did not really happen. I got some new workbooks for K, and MB is enjoying the "Around the World..." activities, if not the actual book so much.

Yesterday I felt very accomplished. Not only did I get the laundry done, but it was also folded and put away before DH got home. All this, and we even got all our schoolwork done, 2 loaves of bread made, an the ingredients prepped for the soup I was going to make for dinner.

DH ended up making the soup for me, as he caught me scratching my head over three different recipes and trying to figure out how I was going to put everything together. The idea I had was to use up some of the stalks from the frozen broccoli (I generally cut off the florets to steam for our use and have stalks leftover - I know I can buy the frozen florets, but sometimes can't find them) in a cheese soup. I also had some ham I wanted to use up. My thought was to combine it all in a nice creamy cheese soup. The problem was I had never made a cheese soup before. My chef in shining armor saved me from a disaster by taking over an making one of the best soups I have eaten in a long time. We even had thoughts that the girls would not like the soup - based on the appearance, but it was a hit. Seconds were asked for and the soup was requested to be made again. A very yummy dinner when served with the fresh bread.

Today has been relaxing for me as DH took today off (using up vacation days before the end of the year). We all slept in until 8:30 and had a nice slow breakfast. He took MB and K to their chorus class and then was going to take them to the museum downtown that has a special space exhibit. So, I have the day off from teaching and am hanging out with the little ones. I managed to finish and send the Christmas wish list for the children to my mom. I also knitted up a new kitchen washcloth to replace one that was just nasty.

Tomorrow I go back to the doctor for my six-week check-up. I can't believe that it has actually been that long. The month of October flew by in a blur. November doesn't seem to be slowing down much either.



Friday, November 03, 2006

Hee! Hee!

All in all I have to say the girls have been very good with their candy consumption. I am somewhat surprised how much is still left in their bags. Yesterday afternoon when MB returned from an afternoon at her grandmother's she had been given the bag of leftover candy from there. She handed the bag to me and said, with a sigh, "I'm so sick of candy." I guess she won't mind when some of it starts to hit the trash can this weekend.



Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day

Or the day that all mothers have to be saints to be at home with their sugar-riddled children. The whining for more candy began before the sleep had even cleared my eyes this morning. I guess they thought they could catch me while my defenses were down.

Halloween went well around here. I think we had just the right number of kids and no one showed up at 9:30pm this year. In fact the neighborhood was done by 7:30 - Yeah!!

MB, who is 6 1/2 going on 13, went out with her friends and a couple of other parents this year. In fact, she left the house about 4:00 with her costume in a bag so that she could surprise me with her costume Besides the purchase of some make-up, teeth and cape - MB put all the rest of the costume together.

K made an adorable cheerleader.

And EM was just so excited to get to go "OUT" this year.

We spent most of the afternoon teaching her how to say "Trick or Treat" which ended up coming out more "Teat!" than anything else. Of course we followed it up with a reminder of "Tank you" (misspelling intended to emphasize Em's pronunciation)

Today we are going to spend the morning trying to find the "love" in our schooling again, while I tackle the mountain of laundry. We have science club and soccer practice back-to-back this afternoon. I am going to put the crockpot back into use as we continue to try to find the new rhythm in our lives.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.