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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacation Prep

On the sewing front . . .
Some new jammies for Marissa--I stitched a heart on a white undershirt, then sewed some capri-styled pants out of this pretty blue polka-dot fabric (I have seriously love for anything polka-dotted) and attached some wide eyelet at the bottom. They make me think of old-fashioned bloomers. And of course I must make some for Bella now, but that's going to have to wait. I still have a set of sleeves to get sewn on sometime tonight or tomorrow for the "vacation shirts" (Oh, and as of today, the cast is a distant memory--except for the fact her arm is pretty stiff. We got sent to do some physical therapy this afternoon, and have some exercises to do at home. I was so happy they could fit us in before we leave. And it would appear that violin practicing is still a ways away. Lucky her.) ;o)

On the cleaning front . . .
I can see *most* of the floors in all of the bedrooms. I feel like I am doing laundry continuously, but I'm staying on top of it and I have nearly all the clothes packed and have even begun to lay out the outfits for our 7:00 a.m. departure on Thursday. The kitchens and bathrooms need a good going through, but Josh has some time to help with that tomorrow. Which, when the need arises, he can actually do a better job than me . . . *blush* He's good at deep cleaning. So whenever he volunteers, I jump at the chance. ;o)

On the food preparation front . . .
I got in a little grocery shopping today, mainly for the things that won't be housed in coolers. Tomorrow, I'm off to collect fresh fruit, some veggies, luncheon meats, etc. I cooked a whole chicken today to make into chicken salad, and tomorrow plan on doing some egg salad too. I wanted to plan some "exciting" picnic food, since we'll be doing a lot of picnicking. I'm also hoping to get a pan of caramel cinnamon rolls prepared Wednesday night so they can rise in the fridge overnight and we can have a send-off to some fresh-baked goodness in the morning. That may be a bit ambitious though. ;o)

On gathering things for the kids to do . . .
First, thanks to everyone who gave me all sorts of great ideas. I always enjoy hearing how others do things. We're going loaded with coloring pages (that I still need to print out . . .) blank paper, crayons, magna doodles, pipe cleaners, stickers, a "toob" from Hob.by Lob.by of ocean animals, some stretchy cording and case of beautiful beads for the girls to make jewelry, library books, books on cd, a cookie sheet with ABC magnets, some odds and end toys . . . Basically, I'll just throw in whatever I come across because you never know what you might need. For the girls I put together a gallon sized baggie with items needed to create their own "travel journals." I found the journals at Mich.ael's in the $1 section discounted to $0.47! Works for me! Ocean/Shell stickers (and others) were 1/2 off at Hob.by Lob.by this week. I threw in some glue sticks and scissors for cutting and pasting the names of the states we enter, pictures they might draw of something they see, a postcard, etc. My goal is to have them write (or for Bella dictate) something neat they see in each state/place we visit. Hopefully it will be a fun activity to keep them busy.
Then I found these on Ama.zon, Rand Mc.Nally travel books for kids. These appeal mostly to Marissa, but there are fun things for Isabella to do too. They are all set to find as many different license plates as possible. I also have some activity books someone gave me all about different things in nature, which I know Marissa will enjoy also. I think she is going to be the easiest to keep busy since she can read and therfore entertain herself the best.
And then for me--don't laugh--a rather ambitious pile of books I'll be toting with me. Now, realistically I don't expect to be able to get through them all. I used to be able to read well in a car, as long as I took breaks every so often. Unfortunately, ever since my brain surgery my eyes struggle with fatigue more or when having to focus on things that have "movement" (like I have to be choosy with what fabrics I sew with--thin stripes of vivid contrast will send me to a visual migraine in minutes, or I have to turn away from the t.v. when all those crazy lights start flashing on American Idol . . . Or movies with crazy camera work that is all over the place). So, I'm not sure how much van reading I will be able to get in. Which will be a bit of a bummer, I admit. I do hope to get through my new Sally Clarkson book "Seasons of a Mother's Heart." Her writing is always such an encouragement to me as a mom, and "renews my vision" so to speak. I am in need of some "vision renewal" right now, so I've loaded my book pile with some that will be rereads, some new. But I'm hoping to come back recharged and refreshed--don't know if that's possible after spending somewhere between 50-60 hours within the confines of a minivan with four children, but I'm going to try. ;o)
And finally, not sure if this will be my last post for awhile, but if it is, please do keep us in your prayers should God bring us to mind--safe travels, good attitudes, a fun family time, good manners while we stay at my aunt/uncle's home . . . We would really appreciate it! Hopefully I'll have some good stories and photos to share once we're back! ;o)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Check this Out . . .

I may have found a new favorite internet place A Holy Experience and you must read what she wrote today about "choosing your view." It's good, really good. And she's an EXCELLENT writer, stringing words together like poetry, lovely words, encouraging words. She's been doing posts each Wednesday about journaling as a spiritual discipline--LOVE those posts too. So, do find a chance to read some of her posts. ;o)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!!

To my daddy . . . For all the wonderful nature adventures you took us on as kids, and for the thrill of getting to see my own kids do the same, from the "He-man Monster Tree" and the "boobie traps" it set, to beaver dams and bird calls, deer rubs and tracks--thanks for teaching me to
NOTICE
APPRECIATE
and LOVE
the natural world around us.
I keep seeing this quote appearing on signs that says
"OLD AS SHE WAS, SHE STILL MISSED HER DADDY SOMETIMES."
And I'm sure that rings true for girls of all ages and walks of life.
Love you.

5:47 a.m.

Yep, that would be Emmett's wake up time three mornings this week--one day he threw in a 5:30 a.m. just to mix things up a bit. I've tried to coerce him into laying back down, but he's been rather adamant, "THAT WAY!!!" he tells me, pointing out the door of his room. I've tried to get him to at least just snuggle with me in my bed, but it's the same story, "THAT WAY!!!" he points toward the stairs. And so in a rather zombie-like state I oblige. Admittedly, the sunrises of June have long since been an enemy of mine, as they keep getting earlier and earlier, convincing my children they are missing out on all sorts of fun. The unfortunate thing is, this year, the timing of this phase of life has coincided with a mama battling the tiredness of the first trimester. And not to whine and complain--for the most part I have it pretty easy, I don't get sick like many mommies do. But I do find myself very tired. And I think perhaps this time, I've been more tired than any other pregnancy. I end up laying down while the boys nap a good five out of seven days, and often, I'm in bed by 9:30 at night. It would seem the law "An object in motion tends to stay in motion" applies very well here. Many times it seems, my needed naps leave me feeling worse, like I just can't get out of bed, leaving me to wonder if I should have just kept going, because it is so hard to regain any momentum again. Unfortunately my productivity has plummeted. I had some grand plans for this summer, but I'm thinking if I can just keep the laundry put away, that will be a success. The first trimester is nearly over, so perhaps more energy is in my future. And the summer solstice is tomorrow--the longest day--and then slowly but surely the sun won't rise so early again. Hopefully these children will settle back into something more doable like a 7 a.m. wake up. I can get in some morning "alone time" actually ALONE again. ;o) And yeah, don't even ask how the daily exercising has been going . . . Morning devotions are still hanging in there--imperfectly--but still trying. Ah, perseverance. A good word that definitely applies to my life right now . . . ;o)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pics of the Day

Isabella decided to hang a large cut of blue felt across my closet, (see the clothes hanging behind it?) empty out a full bag of poly-fil (clouds of course!) and then asked me to cut out a circle from some yellow tissue paper, creating her very own sky scene. And if you notice Josh and I walking around with bits of poly-fil stuck here and there, you will now know why. ;o)
My current sewing project--some shirts for the girls. I got the fabric 60% off at Jo.ann's this week and will probably end up with about $3.50 in each shirt--love that! I told Marissa they were going to be "vacation shirts." She, of course, eyed it critically and informed me, "But isn't that Hawaii fabric? We aren't going to Hawaii. See the hibiscus flowers (Grandma C. will be so proud!)--Hawaii's state flower is the yellow hibiscus."
I asked if they could still wear them on vacation in spite of all that, and I think she's coming around. ;o) Isabella just thinks they're beautiful--no questions asked. I still have a hem left to do, and sleeves--which are my least favorite part. I was trying to come up with a way to finish off the armholes and leave them sleeveless, because I like them that way too. I think I could pull it off with some binding tape (is that what it's called?) but that would require another trip to a store, and I do have the sleeves cut out already . . . I just have to buckle down and do it.

And this last picture is just because I thought he looked so cute. ;o) I love his little summer jammies, brushing his teeth like a big boy . . . It's just a picture that makes me smile.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celebrating #9

Happy anniversary to us!
There's been a whole lot of life squeezed into the past nine years.
Ten years ago yesterday, Josh "asked me out" officially, and I was realizing that we have spent a whole 1/3 of our lives together at this point. Just where DOES the time go?
No exciting celebration plans tonight--we're kind of counting our upcoming vacation as our celebration, although we might get ourselves over to a coffee joint for an hour of conversation.
But still, a happy day, regardless. ;o)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A few Odds and Ends

Hey look, a new way to destroy the house!
Sunday afternoon I heard this repetitive tapping sound and asked Marissa what it was. She informed me Jackson was tapping the window. It sounded like a gentle tapping, so I wasn't too concerned. Turns out he was tapping BY the window, as in the ledge, chip-chip-chipping all the plaster away. LOVE-ly.
(And yes, I realize I uploaded the picture sideways, but I'm to lazy to go back and fix it, and I think you get the idea) ;o)
The 13 week belly--I had to break out the maternity pants this week. You would think by this point I would own some "middle-ground" clothes, but I don't, just normal size and maternity size. And unfortunately, "normal" isn't cutting it anymore. Although I feel a bit ridiculous in maternity already, I'm sure in a few weeks they'll be fitting just fine. And let me tell you, it is very fun to have older girls this time around who watch the growth of your stomach like hawks, commenting, often daily, how they think it's getting bigger, asking how long until it's really big. Very fun. ;o)

Among other news we are in full vacation planning mode, set to begin a cross-country road-trip to the Connecticut/Massachusetts area on the 25th. I have SOOOOO much to do. I'm still busy collecting activities to keep four kids busy for roughly around 26 hours of driving. And if you have any great, strapped-in-your-carseat activities to share, please let me know. I am sure I will need a REALLY BIG bag of tricks in order to pull this off with all of our sanity still intact. But we are incredibly excited--it has been a full four years since we took a family vacation! We'll be staying with my aunt and uncle in Connecticut for about three days, visiting with my Grandma (my mom's mom), heading to Boston, visiting the ocean, seeing Niagara Falls--lots of neat stuff planned. It should be a fun little adventure.

Well, I'm off to get this day going--hope yours is wonderful and doesn't involve any chipping away at walls. ;o)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Loving Craigslist

Meet my new chairs: The set was listed on Craigslist for $50, which I didn't think was too bad for some wingbacked chairs. Josh offered the couple $40, and they said sure. Although I'm not overly fond of the burgundy velvet myself, I do envision *someday* recovering them in perhaps a toile, painting the legs cream . . . Something along those lines. For now, this'll do. And they are SO comfortable. As Marissa and I sat in them, side by side she said, "You know, I think these are perfect for a good book, some tea, and cookies."
AWWWWWW
A girl totally after my own heart.
We so needed some good reading chairs . . . ;o)

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Few Thoughts on #5

Today I hit 12 weeks, nearing the end of the first trimester. I've had nearly a month and a half to ponder the idea of what a 5th child will mean and bring to our family. I've wondered how many people would think us absolutely crazy. And maybe we are. ;o) But I do know that this little one has been wondered about, considered, and prayed over for nearly a year now. The longing for another one has been there, but the question of "timing" always hung over us. There's no question that life is busy. I do wonder how I can "do it all." And truly there are probably a million different reasons we could come up with as to why "right now" is just not the best time--if Josh made more money, if we had a bigger house, if the kids were a bit older and the boys not so *ahem* "boyish" ;o) . . . I remember once being told by my sister-in-law that if you are always looking for that "perfect" time for another one, you'll just never find it. You can always come up with a reason not to. Which in the end was why it was a decision that got left up to God. And truly, I felt God preparing my heart for a "no" answer, or at least a "not for awhile." I realize how blessed I am with the four He has given me--two girls, two boys--a friend for each. Why mess with something so nice and even? ;o)

I read somewhere awhile back someone's thoughts on the verse "Without faith it is impossible to please God." She was pondering what having faith meant, and her realization was that it's in doing the stuff that stretches her, scares her, and pushes her beyond what she knows she can do on her own. If we live in a little world of our own making, trying to keep ourselves as comfortable as possible, trying to inconvenience ourselves as little as possible, I think we end up missing out. We don't get to see God at work, because we don't give Him the chance. We orchestrate and plan. And then pat ourselves on the back when everything goes according to plan. This is where I was when I started out my twenties, beginning my journey as a wife and mother. It's been in the latter half of those twenties that God has been pushing me out of my comfort zone, out of my preconceived notions and plans, and leaving me simply with Him and and His provision. It's been rather painful, I will admit, but it is by far a much better place to be. And so this little baby is a little bit of a leap of faith. I don't know how I'm going to manage another pregnancy while caring for four children and homeschooling. I know others have done it before me, but I don't know what it will look like for me. I'm already dreading having to climb up onto the girls' top bunk during the last trimester and change sheets. I don't know what life will look like with a new baby to care for. I'm not quite sure how the carseats/boosters will all configure in the van. ;o) There are a lot of unknowns. BUT I have a God who has it all figured out, therefore I DON'T NEED TO KNOW!!! And that is so thrilling and freeing. I know without a doubt that "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5 And really, that's all I need to know.

Each baby that has been welcomed home has brought with it adjustment, a little bit more of "dying to self", learning to be more organized, more efficient, etc. Truly, these children push me beyond myself and leave me always reaching for more, striving for growth. I welcome that. I think I would get far too lazy without having them urging me on. And so a part of me is up for the challenge.

But that other part that's a bit scared? She finally recognizes there is a God who is orchestrating everything for her good. And that is a very happy place to be. I just want to cherish this pregnancy, enjoy it, be thankful for "now" because there is a very good chance this will be the last time. And that in and of itself is very bittersweet. How very, very thankful I am for the opportunity to do it once more.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Soooooo . . .

SuRpRiSe!!!
(and all my "professional" digital scrapbooking friends please bear with my crude attempts at this page!!!) ;o)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Headlines at Home

Marissa was casted in powder blue. In spite of the fact there will be no swimming for the next three weeks and I must bag her arm to bathe, she's liking her new accessory. The doctor was originally concerned about a growth plate that was missing from her x-ray, but after a cat scan today, they found it (phew!) and so no surgery was required (something I didn't even realize was a possibility!). Marissa is getting a break from being my right hand--no pun intended--and Isabella is learning to step up to the plate. That is proving to be a great realization for me, the fact that Isabella is able to help more than I gave her credit for. And it's good for Bella to work on having a more serving attitude. But have a sharpie ready--Marissa is definitely canvassing for signatures. ;o)
And you all remember this lovely vehicle. Well, you can rejoice with me because as of today I have this:

Hooray!!
No, it's not new, actually 11 years old, but new to me. Yes, still a bit worn in areas, but everything works like a normal van should and get this . . .
I HAVE 4 DOORS AGAIN!!!!
(doing a little dance)
We stayed within our budgeted amount, and still will not have a car loan to worry about.
God is good.