Saturday, March 28, 2009

We Wuv VW

Alif loves VW Bugs. He drove a yellow one sometime back before we were united in holy matrimony. Or before we actually even knew each other. By the time we were locking lips, he was driving a VW Passat, which was the biggest money-waster of a car ever. Ahem. ANYway. We have a free membership to the local museum through our charter school, and when they announced that there would be a VW car show, I knew we'd go, and today was the day. Alif stayed home to work on the kids' cars for boxcar night at Awana (more on that tomorrow or Monday) so it was just the kids and I, which was perfect, for I have a plan. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to snap some pics of the kids with VWs and create a calendar for Alif's Birthday, which is next month. Shhh - don't tell him!!
This one guy had all these totally awesome VW toys. Couldn't you just eat them??
Alif also loves Coca-Cola - both to drink and to collect.
"Luigi's Piano Tuning - we can tune your piano, but we can't tuna fish"
Daddy's boy, so supportive!
The looking and not touching rule was tricky to enforce with Sir 2-Year-Old.Graham totally dug this one with the flames. Niiice!

Friday, March 27, 2009


My friend Alison goes on adventures all the time with her kids. For a long time I thought she was very lucky to have so many neat things so close to where she lives. Then I realized that hey, there's a ton of cool stuff near me too - I just don't often pay a ton of attention to it because I grew up here.

Well, Lynette asked last week if I'd like to go hiking in a nearby mountain community. Would I ever!! Today we loaded up our minivans, piled in the kids and moseyed up the mountain! It is such a beautiful drive, and from our front door to parking in a hiking area, it took 45 minutes.

We knew it would be a little chillier where we went, but we were super surprised (and the kids so happy) that there was snow on the ground, and quite a bit of it!

This is one of those wrong-in-every-way shots that I totally love anyway . . . I was telling Lynette today how I often focus on close-ups but some like this are nice to remind me of Canaan's little-ness.
This was right when we got there. Notice any certain gender divisions? LOL
I am pretty sure this was Canaan's first time seeing snow. He declared it "YUMMY!"
Caris was pouting in this picture but she's just so beautiful anyway . . .
Speaking of beautiful, how angelic is Emma?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unclogged Creative Energy

This is what my desk area looked like two days ago. Let's take a little tour. On top we have fabric, papers, mementos etc. When someone asks, "Where do you want this?" The answer is almost always, "on my desk." Not a good plan! Under the desk we have books to list on eBay, which were in a box nice and neat but yesterday the box was stolen by a child, so they were all on the floor. Not a good place for books about to be sold! Then in the middle there's a bunch of fabric, most of which I no longer want. The sewing machine is in front because I use it so much. To the right we have a corkboard waiting to be remodeled, the dog food bin and the trash can. And under it all, one ugly linoleum. And let's not forget my hideous wall. There's the chart we're filling in to show how much the boys have earned toward camp and a couple holes that dh never filled when he filled in a doorway into this room that we no longer needed.

Here is the after shot - for now. The sewing machine will mostly be on the desk, not under it. The basket is Mom's inbox, which as you can see is rather full right now. The file container is totally revamped and has files for all the types of papers I normally deal with. The rest of our paper storage is in Alif's office, so I don't need much at my desk, which is in the kitchen.

Once I finished cleaning that out, and after some cleaning the kids and I did yesterday, I started to feel very creative! I am really surprised by how much my creativity has been squelched by the clutter. I guess it's just too much weighing on my mind when there's always something waiting to be done. My house certainly isn't perfect right now but it's neat enough that my mind has been free today to think about what direction I want to take my decorating.

I am sooooo inspired by this kitchen makeover. It's exactly what I want for my home. Simple, stylish, comfortable and finished-looking. I like a lot of open space, not a lot of knick-knacks, and yet I still want our home to have a personality. I want my home to be fun, casual, stylish, funky, fresh, clean, and inviting. I love how Olive Oyl chose a couple of colors and went with them, and kept it minimal so that the finished result is polished and sleek with a definite style. Yeah - that is JUST what I am after!

So where to go for inspiration?? What are the colors I want to live with? I like bold patterns, bright colors, cool colors (as opposed to warm) . . . My problem is that I can see three different color schemes and fall in love with every one of them. What to DO? Which one will feel like ME?

I went online to Strawberry Patches and perused her online fabric catalog. Look at the cutie inspirational pieces I found!

I'm not sure about actually using this one, but it's got the feel I want. Airy, fresh, fun . . .

This one I like, but again, not sure about actually using it.
This one I can definitely see myself using. It's a bold splash of color and I think I'd love it in a small dose - maybe a valance in my kitchen window?

Now that my home is getting less cluttered, and I can feel a vision coming on, I can't wait to make it happen!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kids are funny.

I bought some Axe shampoo for Malachi last week, because there was a rebate through Walgreens that made it free. I was sort of appalled at the suggestive labeling on the package, but when Lynette smartly told me to peel it off, I took a second look and voila, it DOES come right off! So yay, free shampoo that smells nice and works well on his hair. After he washed his hair with it the first time, he walked by Caris and she said, "oooh, that smells manly!" :-D

Just now I heard:
Caris: Canaan, wanna come watch me poop?
Canaan: YEAH!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am brilliant, I say!

Last year I planted a lovely garden: tomatoes in three varieties - or was it four? Bell peppers, jalapenos, artichokes, cantaloupe, yellow squash and zucchini. You can imagine our wonderful bounty - NOT!

I'm not sure what the problem was, but my two theories are that our soil stinks and that the area I planted doesn't get enough sun.

So! I made a new plan for this year. My plan involved container planting and scoping out my yard to figure out which parts actually DO get plenty of sun. The containers I had in mind were galvanized steel tubs, which I thought would make adorable planters but which Alif does not want me to destroy by way of will-rust drainage holes. Well, boo. But wait! Raised beds - yes, raised beds would be even better!

So now. I drew up a diagram of our yard. I made several copies. Then I set out at 10 am and colored all the sunny parts with a yellow crayon and all the shady parts with a purple crayon. I repeated the procedure at 12 pm.

Then I came in and showed Alif my handiwork. He was curious so I explained what the colors represent and said, "The sun shifted!". His face instantly turned to sarcasm-central and he said, "You're kidding! You don't say!" Now, I know general wisdom dictates that sarcasm is rude but it makes me laugh, and laugh I did. Well, that set him off. He said, "You would really have been something back when!" Then, in deep voice as though he were presenting someone strangely fabulous: "The world is not flat! The sun mooooves!"

Maybe it's just my strange sense of humor but I was literally doubled over laughing with tears in my eyes. Ha!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The week's over already?

This week went by quickly! We had a nice week, though. One day we went out to the local zoo. We were supposed to go with friends, but their baby was sick so we were on our own. I can't say I was thrilled with this idea as we really really love our friends. BUT! Once we were there - driving out there, even - I realized how long it had been since I'd done something like this just for fun with only my kids. It reminded me how much fun they are to be around and how nice it was for them to have my undivided attention. I definitely plan on more solo outings soon.
Malachi especially enjoyed the coyote exhibit.
Canaan was a big boy and walked on his own the whole hour and a half we were there. Ran, more like - at one point, he ran straight through a cactus patch. Oops! Thankfully, he wasn't hurt.
Caris loves animals of all sorts. It seems like every little girl dreams of becoming a veterinary at some point, and Caris is no exception.
Graham made sure he was ready with his camera AND extra batteries.
Today I finished a set of new napkins for us out of my favorite fabric EVER!
Poor Canaan was up most of last night coughing and feverish and nursing literally every hour. He's just a little tired today.
Can you tell? Here's to a better night's sleep tonight!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Job Description

My 3 big kids go to classes at our charter school on Wednesday mornings, and drop-off/announcement time is always a fun time for me to connect with the other moms. As I left this past Wednesday, I walked past a mom who looked very natural and fit. She had on a t-shirt and knee-length khaki shorts and tennis shoes with ankle socks.

I don't know why, but when I looked at her it hit me:

Taking care of myself is part of the job description.

When my husband married me I was fit as a fiddle. I worked out regularly and took good care of my body and my appearance. Four kids and too many snacks later, and I seriously have not maintained the same level of care.

The good news is that last week I started a walking plan that I saw in my Weight Watchers magazine. It's an 8-week program that basically takes you from a total couch potato to a regular 30-minutes-a-day (4 days a week) exerciser in 8 weeks. It's VERY gradual. Last week I walked 5 minutes on the treadmill and did 10 jumping jacks. This week it's 10 minutes on the treadmill plus 2 minutes jogging.

I did it Monday - well, we walked about an hour with our friends and I jogged 2 minutes on the way home. Tuesday my knees were really hurting. I told my friend Liz and she said to do 2 lunges on each leg each time I exercise, so I did that yesterday and today. I did the workout again yesterday and today and thankfully my knees are feeling good.

I added one other element into the workout yesterday: at the end, once I was done with the walking and jogging and stretching and lunges, I said from my heart, "Thank you, Lord." How blessed I am to be ABLE to exercise. To have a treadmill at home, so if the weather outside is frightful, I can still walk. To have walking shoes to wear. To have children who play nicely while I exercise (ahem - most of the time).

One other thing I'm thinking is that my shoes are seriously old and I need new ones. When I get the new ones, I'm going to make a chart that will have 400 boxes. I'll mark off a box every time I walk a mile, which will be a fun way to track how many miles I go as well as remind me when it's time to buy a new pair of walking shoes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick on the Draw

Warning to all potential babysitters . . . Canaan can color like nobody's business. He colors without discrimination. See? Walls . . . Bunk beds . . .
Doors . . .
Non-painted archways . . . (maybe a good reason to FINALLY paint them?)
And oh, my baby - my sweet leather couch . . .
Seriously . . .
Daddy? Just in case you ever forget where to charge your cell phone, I have drawn you a fine path . . .
Lord help us!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Seeking Family Portrait-Taker

We haven't had a family portrait done in a while, and I saw these inspirational ideas in Romantic Homes magazine . . . See how we could rig up Christian and Canaan like the babies on the top left and they would not be at all scared or worried up there? Surely they would also not pee or poop on us at any point. And my Mom would sit with a headpiece on reading to Kate, and Jason and Alif would definitely love wearing togas from the waist down only. I know that Malachi, Caris and Graham would willingly don cherub wings and recline in the front there, and Rod would be the doting Grandfather kissing Kate's little foot. What about Megan and I, though?

Here we go! It's all complete!

And if you need a serious laugh, grab your Mom and a copy of Romantic Homes and go hog wild making fun of the decorating in there. One warning, though: you will likely be seriously tired when you're finished.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Stupid PEANUTS!!

So we're going to a class on Wednesday nights at a church in town, not the church we normally attend. The first night I talked to the person in charge of Caris' age group to let them know she is allergic to nuts, and they assured me that they were already a peanut-free zone. Awesome!

Last week Alif picked her up after class and when we met up, he told me that there had been a peanut "incident". Apparently her age group had done a craft including peanuts, and Caris saw the peanuts and asked her leader if they were real. When she was told that they were real, she left the craft room and went back to her own room. Her face was broken out a bit but nothing terrible.

Well. Yesterday she woke up with hives all over her tummy and back, and the rest of her body was so extremely broken out. I asked her again to tell me the whole story and come to find out, the kids had brought their peanut crafts back to the classroom with them. So. My peanut-allergic daughter was breathing in peanuts for a good portion of the class.

Today I noticed that a couple of the open sores had (cover your eyes if you're squeamish) pus in them. As the day went by, more and more little blisters were popping up with pus inside. Off to the urgent care, where they said she was infected (really? LOL) and tested her for MRSA and put her on oral and topical antibiotics.

Oh Lord please, please, please heal my precious daughter. PLEASE.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

my eyes! MY EYYYYEEEESS!!!!!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I have a problem. It isn't a cute problem, like "I'm addicted to conversation hearts" (though I am) or "I jog too much" (I don't). It's a real, serious, ugly problem.

Fear. I really struggle with fear. You know that Jeremy Camp song that's popular right now? "There will be a day with no more fear, no more pain, no more tears" That song touches me. I love my life but the thought of living with Jesus someday and suffering no more? Pretty cool.
Though I won't describe it just in case anyone reading also has a fear problem, there is one particular image that has haunted me as long as I can remember. It just shows up in my mind sometimes and makes me quiver with fear inside. I hate it.
So I was watching TV last night and nothing was really on, so I was watching America's Next Top Model, a decidedly ridiculous but un-scary show. Imagine my horror, then, when a commercial came on for some awful show or movie and the very image, the one from my imagination, showed up on my screen. I turned my head quickly but it was too late. The image was already cemented in my mind. "I hate this stupid TV" I thought, "Why do we have to have this? Why do I sit here and allow my mind to be assaulted night after night?"

Indeed. Why DO I do this to myself? Why don't I just GO TO BED or play cards with Alif or cozy up and read or sew or meditate or play Wii or ANYTHING but allow the assault of my mind and morals, night after night after night?

"Because in the midst of the yuck, there's good stuff!" Oh really? GOOD stuff? Or ENTERTAINING stuff?

If my kids asked to go to a keg party and assured me there would be good punch there, fun games, nice kids . . . would I say, oh yeah, go for it! There's a lot of good in that keg party, my precious child! Have at it!

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

I don't know what my conclusion is. There are things I really like to watch on TV, and very rarely, there ARE good things on. But at what cost? We don't even have cable - the commercials that cause me grief are on regular network TV channels. I guess it's time to seek the Lord on this one.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Iron-ons and other fun

My kitchen had been seriously out of control lately, and this past weekend Alif went to Mexico with our church to build a house, so while he was gone I tackled that kitchen whole-heartedly. I went through every cupboard, cleared off the top of the fridge and just really sorted it out. It is AWESOME to go in and have room to work!! Now if we could just remodel it . . . ;-)

This is a verrrry common scene in my home. Canaan and Malachi share some serious brotherly love and they cuddle up like this several times a day.

I love personalized shirts. My favorites are the darling embroidered types, but as I told Lisa today when I ran into her at Target, four kids times 2-3 (or more) shirts means that iron-ons are more often the way to go. I nab pictures from anywhere I want online and hope I don't ever offend anyone. They're just for my own personal use so I think it's probably ok. If you are gonna do this, make sure that when you print you click "mirror image" so that any words in your design print properly.

These are all for Canaan. My favorite is the "Yes, I'm still nursing" one and hey - I created that design all by my OWN self. Yay me! I also love the Robot one that says "For today I am a robot". Cute!

Do you get Everyday Food magazine? I loooove it and seriously I make probably 5 or more recipes out of every copy. Today I made this cocoa popcorn as an afternoon snack and it was a huge hit. Pop up some popcorn (10 cups popped), drizzle with a couple tablespoons of melted butter (or smart heart fakey stuff, which is what I used). Stir it up and then sprinkle on a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir up again and - mmmmm.