Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Introducing Jane/June

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Jane and June.

This is June. We find her, on a fine fall day (November 1st to be exact) reviewing her holiday list. June has finished all she has planned -cookies are baked & in the freezer,all presents are purchased & wrapped, Thanksgiving menu planned, Christmas cards addressed, stamped & signed!!! Yes, June is a marvel. She even had time to whip up a festive apron. Now what shall we do for New Year's???

I would like to introduce you to Jane. Poor, poor Jane, she thought it would be festive to home dye her hair red & green. As you can see it did not turn out so well. On the 23rd of December, around midnight, she realized her scheme of making matching pj's for the kiddos was not going to happen. In despair, she tossed the scissors and is retreating to her room with a cup of joe and chocolate until mid-January.

This Topsy-turvy doll is my entry for the 2007 Holiday Softie Awards. (Please, stop by and browse through all the amazing entries) I am not a big holiday gal. There are multiple reasons for this,of which none I am going to go into. Too much navel-gazing for me, thank you very much! This little gal was great therapy. Everyone in my house has decided I need to place her on the table and use her as a way to give everyone a heads up as to my state of being! I am thinking maybe it is not such a bad idea!

The thing is though, now I am getting a little weirded out about having her up there for the "world" to see. Does anyone else get this knots in their stomach feeling when showing your work to other folks?

Monday, October 29, 2007


Just what was I thinking? Sigh . . .

Friday, October 26, 2007


The boy's room is complete. (Well,mostly.Tomorrow we move everything back in and he still needs some curtains and new bedding but the really big stuff is done!)He knew exactly what he wanted on his walls. We found the inspiration over at blik.WARNING:: You could drop some serious dough over there!

My dad and I made the stencils and then The Boy and I painted them on. The Boy also knew he wanted to use chalkboard paint to make a chalkboard above where his desk will be.

The floor was the tricky part. It used to be a shaggy, rental brown, floor to floor carpet.I loathe carpet. Besides all the germs and dirt that get trapped under it, keeping it nice looking with six kids, two dogs ,six cats and a rat is impossible. We have recently tiled the rest of the house but I needed to be able to do this project on my own. I was concerned about my skills in that area. There was the stick on tile option. Which I thought at first I would go with but it ended up being cost prohibitive and I really wanted something indestructible. We chose to paint the cement floor.

First we cleaned it really well with a solvent I am sure will be found to cause cancer! Then we simply painted a design on with regular ole' paint. We actually used the leftovers from several different projects. Then we sealed it with a wet-look cement sealer. This process took about a week due to high humidity levels around here. It took the paint forever to dry. The girl's room was pretty crowded for awhile. The Boy requested a special logo for his floor and J was glad to help out with this part of the project. All in all, I am very pleased and more importantly so is The Boy. Next up, the girls room but I truly need a couple of weeks without the chaos home improvement causes around here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flow (and gushing)

This post has sparked a lot of thinking on my part today. Before I go any farther, please pop over here and read it. I will wait. OK, did you really read it? I mean it . . .That amazing gal Stefani can say it far better than me any day. After you are done reading this post go back over there and read this and this and this. Those are just some of my favorite. I am sure you will find your own. Add her to your blog roll. She is a wonderful writer, photographer and is sure to bring a smile, of one variety or another ,to your face. Alright so you read it and I can go on. I am fascinated by the way the human brain works. The slew of kiddos around here has me devouring most everything I can on brain development.After bumping into this post I realized that the things that are considered "optimal" for brain growth are the very things that produce "flow". There is a vast amount of information out there on this subject. I could write a whole book. (Well, if I had some spare time) So I am just going to highlight a few key points and let you tnihk on it awhile.

Things that enhance brain development:

:: An attentional mind-set to the task at hand.This makes me think of the studied look my children assume when they get in the flow.

::Low to moderate stress. Flow is hard to achieve in the hustle & bustle of rushing to & fro. I often need to remind myself that too many "good" activities cause stress,too.

::Coherent,meaningful tasks. It is important to remember what an adult considers meaningful & coherent will be very different than what a child considers meaningful & coherent.Children find great meaning in the process of an activity.Adults tend to be very outcome oriented.

::Repetition of task. If you have children, I really do not need to comment on this.

::Sufficient time. I find this the hardest. I constantly feel like I am hacking away at our schedule to create more time for my children to just exist and find their own way.

That was just a teeny, tiny tip of the iceberg. If this has produced in you a desire to learn more check out books written by Jane M. Healy, PH.D or Eric Jensen.

*a certain someone's birthday is coming soon*

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scrappy Kitties (and little pouches,too!)

I have been very blessed this past year to teach the Jr.High girl's Sunday School class at my church. It is an amazing bunch of young ladies and I am enjoying their fresh perspective on things. We have been memorizing scripture together. This month we are working on Psalm 121. I wanted to provide them with an incentive and I knew candy bars were not going to cut it for this group of chic gals.(King-size candy bars are a standard youth group prize.) Both of these projects came from Denyse Schmidt's book. They were infinitely easier than that other project.

The zippered purses were easy to whip up,just like Denyse said. The pink is a vinyl, the other colors leather, that I picked up thrifting. I went a little wacky with the designs. Denyse just sticks to the zigzag in her project but it is very open to creating your own look.

The kitties were inspired by her Steve cat. Little blue Chloe is a reinvented wool blanket.

Boris and Chloe are both sporting bits & bobs from my vintage notion stash. I am having difficulty parting with theses two cuties!

If you have not checked out Denyse's book, please do.The book is divided into three sections. The first section is a comprehensive tool,techniques and basic sewing skills section. The second section contains twenty projects (like the cats & purses) and the third section contains ten quilts. I want to try my hand at all of them!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yep, She Fell Off the Fence

I had carefully plotted out our course for the day. Everything was running smoothly. Most everyone had finished school and we were heading into lunch ahead of schedule,then they came running.

"The girls fell mommy! And N3 can not get up!"

Quickly I jogged out to the backyard and found N3 laying on the ground.H4 had also fallen but thankfully only received some "road rash". I think she might have been spared worse by falling on her sister! N3's arm was twisted funny under her, crying,out of breath, I carried her inside. It hurt to put ice on her arm and it was beginning to swell a little. J would be home in 30 minutes, so we waited on Daddy to see what he thought. He confirmed my suspicions that it was possibly broken. Off to the doctor we went. (After dropping the rest of the kiddos off with a friend. I heart my friends!)An x-ray showed it was a fracture and she would need a cast the next day. Our first.

Interesting statements N3 has made:

::"Yeah, no school for three weeks!"

::"Yeah, no baths for three weeks!"

::" Mom, I don't have anything that goes with red for church."

::" Instead of kung-fu, I can perform cast-fu!" (said while waving cast in a violent manner)

It has not slowed her down at all, though!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What a Day!

Oh, why do I even bother to make lists? I never make it past the getting dressed part:) More tomorrow. This mama is going to get some coffee.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Life Goes On

I feel apprehensive about the posting I made last week about my Dad. I could not bring myself to write another word keeping that information inside me,tra-la-la skipping along like nothing happened. I feel like I blurted it out really fast, with my eyes shut tight and then on to happier thoughts, though. That is not what it is like. It is hard to live with someone ,so close to you, that isn't always there for you the way you think they should be.

It's hard to love, honour and give when you so desperately want to demand your rights. I find it next to impossible to balance this new role I have been thrust into and all the usual life stuff with six kids and the poor,bottom-of-the list husband. (Somewhere in there should be the animals but you can neglect them for awhile, as long as you ignore their messes!)

I hate having to confront my selfishness. I enjoy things my way and at my leisure. BUT ya' know what? It's OK. God has called me to love. That love is not just for people in Africa, China or a country in some special window. That love is also meant for those around me, those closest to me. He knows it is impossible for me to love, with this fleshly heart. That is why, the creator of this amazing universe has said He will use me to do the impossible because all things are possible with Him. I still clean up messes.

I still enjoy sweet smiles, hugs and songs from A5. I get up in the morning excited to see God do the impossible in me. I have chosen to daily walk in that expectation. Life will never be normal. Normal is a setting on my dryer. BUT life can be full of an incomprehensible joy found only in Him. I am fighting for it! How about you?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One of the nice advantages of being THE Boy is you get your own room!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The First Quilt

Saying that H4 is not a morning person is a major understatement. She comes by it honestly,though. Neither her dad or I wake up quickly. Every morning she lugs out her twin size,duvet covered, down comforter and crawls up on the couch.The problem with the routine was that the comforter got dragged across my floors. We sweep them but there is a reason when asked ,"What color tiles are you looking for, ma'am?" I replied quickly'"Dirt"! All this dragging about was causing the comforter to be washed more frequently than I would have liked. I thought to myself, what she really needed was a lap quilt. My next thought was . . ."I bet I could make one."

After having done some of the smaller projects from Denyse Schmidt's book I decided to tackle a quilt.I picked "Flock of Triangles" for my first project. I was drawn to this particular one because of the use of orange fabric in the photo. (No, not because I read all the directions from begining to end and thought I had the skills to make the quilt!!)I wanted the quilt to speak a little of who, at this moment, H4 is. My dear friend friend summed up H4 once perfectly,"She is a party waiting to happen!". H4 is that and more. She may be slow to wake up but once she gets going-WATCH OUT! My little imp does everything with gusto and often sweeps this mama up in her pint sized whirlwinds.

After having made the quilt, I wish I had started with squares! This was one hard quilt. No matter how I cut or sewed, I could not get points on my triangles. There are a few that managed to emerge but trust me, they were an accident. It was not because of any skill I posses in this area. I loved the process of selecting colors, love the bumpy texture it came out with and LOVE the smile on H4's face when she tells folks about the quilt I made for her. I am just so not lovin' those triangles.

N3 sat down with me the other day to discuss the colors for her quilt.

HER "Mom, I would like light blues and purples. OK?"

ME "Sure sweetie. You can pick any color you want but mama is cutting the fabric into squares.OK?"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!

Amidst the wild ride last week was,we celebrated life. Sweet N3 has reached the very old and wise age of nine. At our house we usually have two birthday celebrations. One is with family and then one with friends. This year N3 had a sleepover. She had a gaggle of girls here for a Webkinz party.

There was a water balloon relay, a custom designed pin-the-cold-pack-on-the-pig-Dr.Quack's-assistant game and a raw egg on a spoon race.(I have no idea what to call these games. Sorry for the rambling descriptions.) N3 requested a Plumpy cake, which actually was not as terrifying to make as I thought it would be.

Her party went off without a hitch thanks to some very dear ladies who stepped in to help J manage the crowd. Thanks ladies!!!

My girl has quite a bit of spunk and a zany sense of humor. She is a creative spirit and like her mother, can not stp until the idea is out of her head and on the table being photographed.`

::Penny Pockets, created & photographed by N3

::Learning the fine art of breadmaking

::Playing Project Runway

::Her favorite spot

::Never without a pair of these

Off to plan the next birthday! Counting down-17 days!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fighting for Joy

My father is bipolar. I was grocery shopping with the younger girls on Thursday (the 27th) when my mom called and asked if I had seen/talked to my dad that day. As soon as she asked, I knew, he was gone, again. He has disappeared before and turns up within 24 hours. This time he was gone for almost three days. We received a phone call from him on Saturday (the 29th) asking for our help. He had hitchhiked to Mount Sterling, Kentucky! My sister, mom and I drove through the night to pick him up. He is safely painting The Boy's room as I type. It has not been easy growing up with an erratic father. There were periods in my life when I would hold my breath every time the phone rang, fearing the news that may be at the other end of the line. I alternate between anger, grief and just a very deep desire for it all to end and to go home. Home ,where he would be whole and our relationship could be,too. Until then I am fighting hard for joy. I want to live this life well. I have been listening to John Piper's words on the fight and soaking up great comfort, while simultaneously being convicted over at this quiet corner in blog land. Last week we just pushed through. I tried to keep everything as normal as possible. This week we are slowing down and taking a deep breath. For me, this includes a lot of coffee and fabric scraps. The kids will be outdoors enjoying the return of our sunny Florida days. I apologize in advance to any dear friends who are hearing about this for the first time here. Thank you for your grace!