Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What the cat dragged in

Travis came.
The beloved Travis of 1am calls to be towed out of the mud.
The Travis who is at the core of every best summer camp story
and many a narrow escape (even some interesting captures).
The Travis who gave my boys a go-cart he repaired.  And a three wheeler.
The Travis who can fix anything with an engine.  And does.  Most often for other people.
The Travis who treats my children like people.  And they think he's the cats pajamas.
The Travis you would call in a pinch.  Because you know he'd bale you out of a situation.
Without batting an eye.  Or keeping tally.  Or expecting a favor in return.
That Travis.
The Travis we love!
He not only brought a very lovely wife and darling baby on this visit...
He brought this beast.

Everyone was thrilled beyond description!
One person in particular.

It's none too early to covet a monster set of wheels, and the menfolk lost no time
in seeing where they'd make tracks through the forest.  And the creek.
I heard all about it.  Being regaled with accounts of the expedition
was enough excitement for this momma!


Hi Travis!
 Having fun?
Wait. What?  My front yard?  I see that nothing is off limits!

Oh.  He also brought Sunny.
Sunny is a big dog!

There were other toys too.

Don't forget the Teeter Totter!

Travis sure has some pretty girls.

There are some that can't get enough of a good long visit.

There's absolutely no denying it...
...We love our Travis!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Because She Rolls

(Which we found out the hard way, though everybody survived).

And because she is a girl.
And also because girls appreciate pretty things (even if they are only 4 months old).
I can tell that Aloria appreciates pretty things, can't you?

So out went Bryce, in came the crib, and even though she doesn't get her own room,
she gets her own niche.  A very cute, very comfortable niche I might add!
We have always had limited sleeping quarters and I've only had the luxury of a nursery
once (and that only for a couple months).  However, I found that there are times when it's
conceivable to make much of what little I do have.
This time, what I have is a crib and a crib-size spot in my room to put it.

I had been debating how to doll up her little corner, and when a package came
in the mail from Auntie Heather with a hand crocheted fuzzy pink and melon colored baby blanket...
I knew.
And there was this mosquito netting set aside for just the "right" place, a paper star lantern,
and a myriad of quilts with special significance and the perfect pops of color.

The inspiration:

1.  Auntie Heather's soft sherbet afghan.
2.  Baby quilt that belonged to Aloria's Pops (AJ's dad).
3. A baby quilt I made before I was even expecting Zack.  I signed up for a class
    at a Honeyrun Quilters and used flour sack reproduction prints thinking I'd enjoy
    sharing it with all my babies one day!
4. Cotton and flannel blanket I made for Aloria.  Both prints are Valori Wells and
    may be ordered from Amazon.
    (she designs some of my favorite bird fabrics!)
    44'' Wide Valori Wells Wrenly Mamma Birds Cobalt Fabric By The Yard
5.  Throw pillows upcycled from my couch (I've been wanting to use that word for
      a while now: upcycled.  It's very in vogue!)
      I made them last year, and the yellow is another of my favorite designers Anna Maria Horner.
6.  Quilt made for my Carolina by loving hands, and one of the most accomplished
     quilters I know, Deborah (Thank you Deborah - I just love it!)
7.  2 paisley flannel receiving blanket with crocheted edging, made by Gramsie.
     I use these blankets for literally everything!
8.  Retro crib found and restored by Gramsie for Zachary 10 years ago and loved by
     me again every time I put a new baby in it:-)
9.  Paper star lantern.  I bought these on line and don't use them as lamps, though I do
     have a few hanging in my living room as bold splashes of color.
10.Mosquito netting from IKEA.  I love IKEA.  'Nuff said.

I am happy.  Aloria is a bit safer with 4 sides to keep her contained.
When my Dearly Beloved saw my handiwork he said "You're enjoying having a girl"
and do ya know?  I think he's right!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Socks for 18 Feet

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

That's the idea behind a new series of posts I'm going to write for the purpose of reminding
myself that we have systems that work well for the function and rhythm of our family.
I may need to refer back.

Being larger in number forces us to be creative about things a household of 4 takes for granted.
Food shopping and meal planning become an undertaking, and making sure there's at least one
pair of jeans without holes in them when we venture into public, is no small feat.

It's tempting to read all the books - pages of method that works for someone else, and actually,
I'm really glad those books exist - but in reality, we've refined a lot of our own ideas that have
increased my sanity, and I'm often amazed at what I cam up with all on my own!

May I remember that what works for one isn't necessarily for me;
and may you be humored, encouraged, or enlightened as you take a peep into
what works for me.

What Works For Me #1

I  buy only white socks.
I buy one size for my two boys (who are only a size apart in shoe);
I buy another size for the two big girls (same thing), and the only differentiating
feature is that the boys have grey bottoms and the girls are all white.
Bryce's socks are a tiny version of the big boys, and Lina has white with a pink toe.

[The dad of the family and I get whatever color socks we want]

My goal is to match socks quickly, not need to look for one lone sock, and never guess
which socks belong to whom.  I match all the socks of one size/color and divide the
matched pairs equally between owners.
I like this system because "extra" socks that don't get a mate are thrown back into the
sock drawer and after several loads of laundry they eventually end up with a partner.

After trying several brands, I've fallen in love with Jeffries.  I buy crew socks for my
crew (no pun intended) because they wear boots year-round and like the taller socks.
I think Jeffries is more expensive than other common brands (at about $2 per pair),
but have found them to last for twice to 3x as long and still be as soft as when I bought them!
My children find them a lot more comfortable than other brands they've worn,
and I love that I can order them off Amazon.
LOVE not having to go to the store for socks!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Homemade Circus Act

So begins the opening performance of the marvelous Marvel Hill Circus
-the new "school" year-
where juggling is not only the Opening act,
nor glorified to status of Main act,
but is in fact,
the only act.

Unfortunately for the audience, (and also the rest of the Big Top crew)
I don't know how to juggle.
I am probably much better suited to the title of
Human Cannonball
but was not offered a say in the matter.

As some people are fond of saying
what is...is.
So rather than colored balls, sharp knives, or flaming batons
I juggle:

diaper changes
grocery lists
chore charts

School schedules
dinner menus
nursing baby
instruction giving
questions that require thoughtful answers.

Saying it once
repeating myself
repeating myself
repeating myself.

Making lunches
picking up pieces
checking work
feeding the baby

Reading out loud
singing inside my head
finding stuff
losing my mind.

Looking at treasure
 learning together.

Coffee refills

ordering books
buying presents
making calls

Dental appointments
paying bills
Aunties that save the day.

Writing assignments
math books

Cleaning up
wiping down
doing it over
being forgiven.

Making time lines
making art
making messes
making memories

because the list goes on.

I'm pretty sure flaming swords would be easier.

However, the task, or calling, or commission - whatever you call it
the job is mine.
And whatever gets dropped I will pick up
or let it go.
Or replace it.

But I will learn to juggle.

For the show...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

4 Months

My sweet Tiddly Winks

Punky Pie
Miss Crazy Hair
Little Toots
Sweet Pea
Itty Bitty

..................................................................................................................We love YOU!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beauty in my corner

A fistful of wildflowers on my windowsill

Fresh-picked Huckleberries



Chocolate covered pretzels Mmmm.......

Dreamy baby dress crocheted with love by my grandmother Bethlene

Rag banner for an outdoor summer slumber party

Cooling our feet together

A pretty apron makes ANY occasion  - even eating breakfast.

Sweet Moments

Not every moment in my life is one I want to hold onto, 
but I have more than my fair share of hold-onto-able moments.

One thing I enjoy about having a camera, is capturing many of the sweet ones.
And the sweet moments, like water, fill my glass so that it's never half empty.
Not even half full, but ever bubbling over the brim!

Thank you Lord for perspective.  For the pleasure of reviewing the delicious tidbits of daily life.

I want to remember that the moments which have already passed
are not meant to be idolized.
Hopefully I'll cherish them as an example of what could be, 
if I attempt to draw every bit of verdure from life 
as it meets me 
one sweet moment at a time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two weeks down

Exactly how many are left is anyone's guess.

With 11 courses in place, the final step to culminate this two week adventure was setting the RPSL's.
On my way to the build site to take these pictures, I was thinking to myself
"Self?  What in the world does RPSL stand for?"  and then my mind muttered to itself
"Well... those two logs are meant to hold up..the..ridge.....Pole!  HEY?"
and then my pea brain got very excited as it cracked the code "Ridge Pole Support Logs"
R.P.S.L. Yep, they're all there with no letters left over!  Am I good or what?  WooHOO!
So this log you see above was hoisted over the half-built wall and set upright upon a vertical piece
of rebar which protruded from a concrete footing.

So now with the RPSL's set, we relax.
For now.

Our hard-workin' Help left.  We are currently waiting on more logs to be delivered and then
there will be a bunch more peeling to do.  AJ plans to putter away on this project himself,
and is looking forward to doing so.  I expect Ryan will be out one more time to help get
a roof on before winter, but otherwise you know as much as I do.  I will take more pictures
as there is progress to report!

There it is.  The product of two weeks of muscle, and lots and lots of hours in preparation!

Good work guys!