Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Book List

I've been working on my list for the kids for spring, and am posting it here for any who are interested. You can follow the link and check it out at Am.azon, but all of these books are available at the library (at least where I live!). Some books are old favorites, some are books we've never read before. If you have never checked out any of Tasha Tudor's books--and you like illustrations that looks like they are from another era--you must get some of her books, if only just to look at the pictures. Let me know if you know of any good spring books that I have missed--I love discovering something new! ;o)

Books on Sugaring:

Maple Syrup Season~Purmell
Grandpa's Sugar Bush~Carney
Sugar Snow~Wilder

Books on Sheep/Shearing:

Weaving the Rainbow~Lyon
From Sheep to Sweater~Nelson
One Little Lamb~Greenstein
Kids Weaving~Swett

Books on Birds:

About Birds~Sill


Hooray for Spring~Iwamura
Spring Song~Seuling
Spring Thaw~Schnur
Spring: an Alphabet Acrostic~Schnur
Mother Earth and her Children~von Olfers
Spring Things~Raczka
Like a Windy Day~Asch
It's Spring~Glaser
It's Spring~Pickering
A New Beginning~Pfeffer
The Spring Equinox~Jackson
A Tale for Easter~Tudor

Seasonal (but with a spring feature):

Circle of Seasons~Muller
A Time to Keep~Tudor
Around the Year~Tudor
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree~Gibbons

Friday, February 26, 2010


I began my "30 day shred" yesterday. I've heard it's a good workout, I've heard it's hard, and I've heard it works. My thoughts:


I don't believe there is a muscle in between the region of my elbows and knees that isn't finding itself a bit tender at the moment--and I'm reminded of this every time I head up or down the stairs. I've done it two days now, and unfortunately my abs still do not look like the abs of the three women on the video (yep, I checked--immediately following the first workout). However, I'm still really excited about this video, because it REALLY feels like a workout, and it only take 25 minutes. I love that there are three different workouts/three different levels. I don't think it will bore me like some videos do. Honestly, it moves so fast you really don't have time to think about being bored! That, and you are trying so hard not to die. ;o)

What is encouraging to me is how much better I feel after breaking a good, honest sweat two days in a row. My cold symptoms have nearly disappeared and I have so much more energy. And now my kids are "playing" 30 Day Shred--it is a great way for them to work off extra energy (which we have had an extreme abundance of lately!). Hopefully, this will help a whole bunch of muscles remember how to be muscles again--and yikes am I incredibly unflexible at the moment! My back feels like it's made of cement. So, here's to more "shredding." ;o)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Last night, I had a dream that all the snow melted and the grass had turned a vivid green. I checked out my window when I got out of bed, and sadly, that was not the case. However, there IS a shining sun, so I guess that will make do for a consolation prize. You know winter has been long when you are dreaming about green grass.

And speaking of dreams, Kathy, this is for you. The other night I dreamed I was in your dining room and you had painted it a very dark royal blue/black color. And you had used a very high gloss paint so every brush stroke was showing. It was interesting. ;o) Not only that, but you had added a mural of the state capitol in the corner, that had light-up lights in it. Facing the mural was an elliptical machine, which I climbed on and used. I'm not sure what all that means, but in case you were getting an urge to redecorate I would encourage you to stay away from the dark colors and high gloss paints--it's not a good combo. ;o)

I'm feeling better this morning, as opposed to yesterday morning when I thought my head might explode . . . rather "crusty" around the edges, but I think school shall be back in session and I will resume my janitorial duties. yay. (which I purposely wrote with all lowercase letters, because it it a lowercase kind of yay, not a YAY!!!!! where I would show some real excitement)

And here is my random thought for the day: Life is short, use real butter and cream. Truly. Have you ever put cream on your oatmeal? It's awesome.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When it rains . . .

Okay, so finally, I am sick with a cold that has thus far just stayed within my head cavity. You know the kind that makes your eyes water, your nose drip, the bones in your face ache, and sneezes that draw out their prep time forever (like you feel the sneeze coming . . . still coming . . .almost there . . . glance at watch . . . and AH-CHOO!!!!!). Josh has it too. I always forget how yucky a "simple cold" can make you feel. But what made it yuckier was . . .

The boys making sure I woke up at 5:30, whether I wanted to or not. I put on a video for them this morning, then I did my Bible reading and crawled right back into bed. During this time they got hungry and dished themselves up bowls of shredded cheese--the last bag of shredded cheese that was going to go on our chili at lunch.

I think my thyroid is heading into or is overactive at the moment. This always happens after I have a baby, my hairs falls out (not fun), I loose the rest of my baby weight (a huge plus!), and I am hot, sweaty, emotionally wound tight, unable to sleep, with a racing heart. So far I just am feeling hot and sweaty a lot. Oh, and not sleeping so well. So, I stopped taking my synthroid, which is supposed to give my thyroid the right amounts of hormone. (If my body is going haywire I don't want to add to that). I should have had blood work done already but I kind of forgot about getting the SIX week postpartum check scheduled and consequently I don't see my midwife until next Monday, when I am 10 weeks postpartum. Oops. ;o) So, there's that.

I think Owen has a portion of my cold, the stuffy nose portion. Since babies mainly breathe through their noses he struggles to stay asleep at night. As do I . . .

I don't own any kleenex. I gave up buying it years ago because my children enjoyed the cause/effect part of it too much. We went through a lot of kleenex. Toilet paper works just fine--until your nose starts seriously DRIPPING. Then toilet paper starts to hurt. Particularly when you buy the cheap-o toilet paper because, yes, my kids have been known to use a bit too much of that also. I don't really like watching money go down the drain . . . literally. Consequently, my nose is quite chafed.

Today was Owen's two month appointment, which meant the dreaded drive to the WAY NORTH side of town. Thankfully Josh was able to keep the other four kids for me this morning, so that made the experience much simpler.

Owen got shots.

Owen is having a reaction to one of the shots . . . the one they put in his right leg. He woke up from a nap with a bright red upper portion of his leg. It is REALLY sensitive. Consequently, he is not a happy camper. I have yet to figure out a way to hold him and nurse him without causing him tremendous pain.

I ran out of toilet paper and had to make a run for it this afternoon. You would have thought it might have occurred to me to get myself a box of kleenex. Alas, it did not.

This evening I left the boys in the bath and headed downstairs to finish cleaning up the kitchen. I heard sounds of something akin to body surfing, or at least what I THINK body surfing would sound like were you to attempt it in your bathtub. I headed back upstairs with trepidation.

The bathroom floor was thoroughly flooded. It took like EIGHT towels to soak it up. (which of course is why you should never leave your children unattended in the bath . . . it makes soooo much more laundry for you)

I will never, ever be caught up on laundry again.

And that is pretty much my day. I'm hoping for a better one tomorrow . . .

An observation--

Over the years my girls have supplied me with lots of pictures--pictures of people, flowers, animals, rainbows . . . intricately organized fairy pantries, lavish feasts, decorated party rooms, princesses in dresses . . . You know, GIRLY stuff.

Now that Jackson is drawing I'm finding there is a startling difference--his pictures involve ACTION, stuff like him hiding in an apple tree with just his feet dangling out and Daddy can't find him, or him taking command of a pirate boat and a shark bumping the pirate boat up into the air and Emmett falling off and drowning but Jackson put on his swimsuit and jumped in and saved him (yep, all in one picture--and wow was I relieved he took time to put on his swimsuit before saving his brother's life) and then lately there are the rocket ship pictures: First he drew one with me--as a blonde!-- watching him head out in his rocket. The picture above is Jackson (on the right) and on the left his new friend "Cabby Spork" getting ready to travel to space together. I have no idea how he came up with that name, but as always, the details delight me. ;o) He'll probably be on a rocket kick for a few more days. In the meantime Emmett has been drawing spider webs (at least that is what he calls the scribbles he has regressed to . . .), and the girls are drawing blueprints for fairy houses to build once spring arrives. What fun I have seeing life through their art! ;o)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Months Old!

It is strange to think that a year ago Owen was merely a musing. A "perhaps we should . . ." but yet at the same time we were quite satisfied with the four we had been blessed with. We decided to step out in faith and let God have the final say. What if we hadn't? Certainly God can always override our best-laid plans, but what if we had been unwilling to open ourselves to the possibility? Would we have missed the blessing of having Owen and getting to know and love this little boy? And missed out we would have . . .

Owen is such a sweetie. As I write he is being serenaded by his sisters to the tune of "Dance, Dance Turtle" (a Veggie Tale silly song) while a stuffed duck dances around him. He watches quite patiently. He sports a receding hairline, but I do believe there is a fine layer of blonde fuzz getting ready to fill in the empty spots. He rewards us with his smiles and gurgly coos, and as Jackson proclaimed this morning, "Owen is the bestest baby on the whole earth!" He is special to each of us and brings so much joy to our family. I'm so glad we opened our hearts to the possibility of him.

Tomorrow we're off to the doctor to find out his "stats." ;o) I'm pretty sure he's now somewhere in the 12-13 lb. range--lots more softness and squishiness to snuggle with. ;o)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How we spend our weekends--

On, checking out some riveting footage of mitosis.
This was preceded by magnified slides of parasites.
Good times. ;o)

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Wee Bit of Spring . . .

Inside my home, definitely not outside where several more inches of snow descended overnight. (This snow totally took me by surprise, after a few days of ACTUAL SUNSHINE and MELTING, here we are completely covered yet again!). But my penny rug is now complete!
Here's the front side:
And here's the back:
(yes, it is turned sideways, not that it matters, but for some reason I could not get the picture to load normal, even though I had it loaded correctly from my camera . . . puzzling)
Where I put it:

I'm breaking out the forsythia this week. Even though I would have to say that yellow is not my favorite color, the bright yellow of the forsythia (both the real and the fake stuff) makes me feel so happy when I see it. It just says "Spring!" with a delightfully dreamy voice. ;o) Outside it is once again stark white, but inside I have a lovely and bright little corner to remind me that even THIS winter won't last forever. ;o)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Walls

The other day I discovered this on my bathroom wall:
I asked who did it, and of course, no one had.
Then another one appeared up near the ceiling, near the top bunk where Jackson sleeps. Since Emmett (and Owen!) can't climb that ladder and my girls don't draw on walls I have logically deduced who the culprit is.  But, as he was quick to point out, it was a mini-stamper he used (the eyes and nose are actually stamped "kissy lips"), not markers, or pencils, or pens, or oil pastels, or crayons, or . . . You get the picture.  As if somehow, it was okay because I hadn't specifically said "Don't use a kissy lip mini-stamper to draw happy faces on our wall." *sigh*  We'll see how the mag.ic er.aser handles THIS medium. ;o)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Thankful Boys . . .

Tonight I got a kick out of what the boys were thankful for--

new shoes


Important stuff I suppose in the life of a boy. ;o)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sonnet 116
William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his heighth be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

(my favorite sonnet . . .who doesn't love some iambic pentameter?) ;o)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day

We enjoyed having my sister and her kids, my mom/dad, and youngest brother over this morning for a bit of cookie decorating, Valentine exchanging, and lunch eating.  I think 3/5 of the fingers on my left hand might remain a vivid shade of pink for awhile, but it's always worth it. ;o)  I don't think the kiddos ever tire of getting to decorate cookies.  And eat them.  Jackson informed me his stomach hurt, and I can only wonder why--he didn't quite get the concept of having a collection of spectacularly decorated cookies to show his Mommy.  He decorated one, ate it, then decorated another one, ate it . . .  Emmett on the other hand took a nibble out of each to test his decorating skills, you know, to make sure he was on track and all. ;o) We wrapped up with grilled cheese and tomato soup and played with a new set of Under-the-Sea connectagons from Granny.  Papa Roy left sporting tattoos from To.y St.ory on both wrists.  So, all-in-all a very fun morning. ;o)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Morning Snippets

~In spite of the fact I forgot to set my alarm for 5:30 this morning, my ever-punctual boys were standing at the foot of my bed at 5:30 on the nose.  How they do it, I'll never know.  But I guarantee that some day these same boys will be teenagers and completely unwakable.
~Marissa sitting on the floor with a fussy Owen in her lap and singing "The sun'll come out tomorrow . . ." while rocking him back and forth  . . . it's one of those moments I never want to forget.
~Jackson's drawing on the magnadoodle--it's not so much the picture I love, but his explanation of it, "This is me, inside a snowball." I still giggle everytime I look at it.

~I got 4 of the 16 "pennies" made for my penny rug while the girls worked on their math this morning.  At that rate I just might have it done by the end of the month . . .
~Some tin mailboxes (from Tar.get) and sparkly foam stickers gave the kids a good 1/2 hour of crafting fun
Then Jackson attempted to tape his to the bunkbed, I suppose since mailboxes ARE mounted on poles, with less than stellar results.  They all spent the rest of the morning creating mail to stuff in each other's boxes.  I'm just hoping we can keep everything intact for Friday morning when we exchange Valentines with cousins. It has been my past experience that once stepped on these mailboxes struggle to maintain their shape.  Hasn't happened yet, but we have to make it through two more days.
~The cupboards are running low so we had pancakes, bacon, and orange julius for lunch--always a hit, no matter what time of day it is eaten. ;o)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some Recommended Reading . . .

In the event that you are in need of a good cry head here. It's long, but good, and will make your mommy heart ache.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spring Inspiration

As the snowflakes swirl today you will find me with spring on the brain. I had high hopes of creating a few little Valentine decorations, but I gave up on that notion about a week ago and decided to move onto spring.  And I need to get busy if I'm going to meet my self-imposed March 1st decorating deadline! ;o)  Step one--gathering ideas--and here's what I'm liking so far:
Painted muslin eggs with feather stitched seams--found here
"Grunged up" muslin eggs with ric rac sewn on (I think I would put something extra in the middle though, maybe another stripe of ric rac or other embellishment?)--found here
A bunny pillow (except I'll be doing mine with a combination of wool felt mounted on burlap, maybe some pom pom fringe around the seam?)--found here
The "Shaggy Chick Penny Rug" from the June '05 issue of Create and Decorate --however I have not been able to locate any "shaggy felt" so I might just use wool felt, which is find of a bummer because I do like the shaggy look. I took a picture of my magazine so you can see what I mean:
This pattern uses a combination of wool and wool felt.  The purist in me loves all wool. I love how it feels in my hands when I sew, love how it looks, etc.  But wool is not cheap. The cheapskate in me loves the option of wool felt, because it saves A LOT of money. ;o)  But when you use them both together you get a little bit of both worlds.

I'm toying with the idea--like I do every year--of making the girls' Easter dress.  I've been missing my sewing machine. ;o) If I started now, I might have time to finish them.  We'll see.  Dresses are tricky--lots of parts to construct, possibly a zipper to get in there somehow (I'm not a huge fan of zippers . . .). 

So, there you have it--how I plan on spending February. But I have to admit, in spite of how cold and snowy the winter has been it really hasn't seemed all that long to me.  If it continues to snow all through March, well, then I might start to get a bit antsy.  For now, the hermit thing is working out for me quite well. ;o)  Anybody else have some grand spring plans that I can steal flatter you by copying?;o)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Owen, meet Spidey

My life is many things . . .
 . . . "dull" is not--nor do I ever see it being--one of them. ;o)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Six Week Mark

Today marks that magical day, the day I'm supposed to be officially recovered from pregnancy and life is supposed to be "all systems go" again. Right? (yes, I'm laughing to myself right now . . .) So, how I am doing on that grand plan?
--I've got 10 pounds left to rid myself of . . .
but the fine print will tell you that I have 17 pounds left until I actually weigh what my driver's license claims I weigh, although I think those other 7 lbs are all the muscle I gained prior to pregnancy, correct?
--I managed to get an old pair of jeans buttoned, however I could not breathe or move in them, and they definitely did NOT accentuate the positive--but hey that's better then the first time I tried them on (you know, just out of curiosity . . .surely I'm not the only one who tortures themselves that way?) and couldn't get them up much higher than my knees
--the numbness in my fingers is about 98-99% gone
--my ankles are no longer swollen, however they still are a bit sore from being swollen, isn't that crazy?
--my ring STILL does not fit! I'm baffled by this, because it fit at this weight--and beyond--on the way up.  I've never been ringless for so long.  I just can't get it over my knuckle.  Is it possible for a knuckle to widen?

All that being said, I'm actually feeling pretty good, functioning decently on my declined amounts of sleep, and hoping to get some sort of exercise regimen officially up and going. I'm looking forward to getting back into running (which is always such a blast in the beginning . . .) ;o)  But I must admit this last pregnancy has been a bit harder to recover from, all around.  That first week after delivery . . . WOA!!! I honestly felt like somebody had beat me all over with a stick (not that I know what that would feel like, but I'm sure it was pretty close). ;o)  I have this secret little goal of maybe-perhaps-possibly trying to run the half-marathon NEXT spring, as in 2011 spring.  I've got a ways to go yet . . . But baby steps, right?  Anybody want to join me? ;o)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Art Around the House

Having been stuck inside for *awhile* now, the kids have turned to drawing to occupy a lot of their free time.  Consequently we've gone through A LOT of paper. ;o)  I used to be so good and organized about saving and filing (and dating!) drawings . . . about three kids ago.  Now I am finding that taking pictures of their drawings works pretty good too.  So, here are some of my favorites from the last month:
~Emmett--2 yrs 10 mon~
This is a combine with a corn header and a "mean guy" floating up in the right hand corner
A happy little guy in a car

~Jackson--4 yrs 5 months~
A picture of "Jackson by a tree with branches and apples that fell from the tree and hit my hat"
Look at those LOOOONG fingers. ;o)  Anything he draws brings me great delight since he was such a "late drawer" and a year ago his artwork consisted mainly of this.

~Isabella--6 1/2 years old~
"A Red Fox"
We receive the magazine Nature Friend.  Each issue shows you how to draw an animal.  They then feature the art of kids who attempted to draw that animal.  Isabella really wants to get a drawing published. ;o)

~Marissa--8 yrs 3 mon~
We have been learning about Africa the last few weeks in school and got a book on how to draw African animals.  I thought her elephant turned out pretty good, especially that eye ball. ;o)