Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Skills - Kate Decorates

This summer each of the girls has chosen a skill to work on.

Kate picked cake decorating.  I didn't happen to take a picture of the first cake we worked on together, but I did get the next two!

We went to visit my parents for Father's Day.  Since we hadn't seen my mom on Mother's Day we made a combined cake.  On half I drew the outline of a vase and placed roses (one of the skills one would learn later in cake decorating).  On the other side I outlined a tie.

Katie filled in the outlines with different tips, drew the stems, leaves, made her first attempt at writing on a cake, and did the edges with a little assistance.

I think it turned out quite well!

The next week I mentioned a gal from our small group at church was having a birthday.  After confirming we would see her that evening, Kate set to work on a cake for her.

I helped mix up the icing for her and gave advice.  I helped squeeze the bag as she lettered "Happy", but by the time we got to "Birthday" her hand was tired of the constant steady squeezing required, so I helped more on that word.  I did very little else, aside from the bottom on the sides with the handles--a tight place to work.

Kate and Ellie with our friend

She really enjoyed doing something special for someone.  Our friend felt special because she was thought of too.  Well that, and because Ellie lets her hold her!

I can't wait to see how Kate's skills blossom as she grows in strength and dexterity and with practice.  I sure wasn't decorating cakes at her age!

Candid Camera?

Do you ever feel like you belong on I Love Lucy?

I've been working on cleaning out things we aren't using bit by bit.  I had compiled a nice stack of books to take to the used bookstore.

First, all the books didn't fit in the box I had, so I put some in a backpack.  Next, the box I put the books in didn’t fit in the back of the van, so I put them in the passenger’s seat. Then I had to get the stroller in, since I couldn’t carry the box, a full backpack, and Ellie.

I asked the kids to get the green diaper bag, but then I remembered that I had moved the diapers to the smaller black bag because we didn’t take Ellie into the service on Sunday, so we didn’t need all the toys to distract her. Nate cries because he wanted to carry the diaper bag to the car, but he had the green one and Gabby beat him to the black one.

We are finally on our way out the door, after everyone has on day clothes, shoes, and has freshly tinkled. As I’m locking the door, Nate begins to wail—it turns out he and Gabby were racing to get to open the van door. I get down two steps and he gets to me, bleeding. Of course, I had already successfully locked both the deadbolt and the knob, since we are using the front door due to the 400 lbs. of concrete sitting in the garage for the swing set.

I pick up the baby, head inside, and convince Nate to sit down while I fetch the things to treat his, rather wide, but thankfully not deep scrape. I ask him if he wants to try again. He does.

We get to the book store. I unpack the stroller, put the baby in it—brakes on. Get the books out, brakes off and I have to verbally coach Kate on driving the stroller, including not jumping the curb when there is a ramp right there.

We drop off the books, return to the car to drop off the box, my backpack, and the stroller, so I can wear Ellie in the Moby wrap, since she’s much more likely to stay happy that way. Kate can’t find my wallet I asked her to retrieve from my backpack, because she’s looking in the diaper bag. And I can’t remember how to fold the stroller back down. I have the baby strapped to me and my three older children trying to help by putting the brakes on. Ha! I figured it out shortly, but we must have been a sight.

The old books are out of the house and the store credit we got almost covered the cost of what we picked up. Since you can't leave without buying something, right?  Ha!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Funny

Justin, discussing a move at work: He thought swore they would have to take the legs off the table before they moved it.

Kate: I think I would swear if they took my leg off!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gabby's Pottery Date

As anyone with more than two kids can probably tell you, getting one on one time with littles can be a bit of a challenge.  You get used to doing things 'all together.'  We've tried to be sure that we take the kids out for one on one treats from time to time, but it is generally some little outing for ice cream or the like.

With Ellie being small, but quite active at this stage, we decided that we wanted the older kids to get to do something that we couldn't do with Ellie.  Each of them gets to pick his or her own activity.  Last week I took Gabby to a place to paint pottery.  It is funny.  She's always been more quiet than Kate, but without any siblings around to bounce off of (or annoy) she worked in nearly perfect silence other than requesting more paint.

We had a nice quiet afternoon.  We were able to pick up our goodies this week.  She made a tea cup, though she tells me she'd prefer to have hot chocolate or milk in it, and I made a tea cup/pot combo.

It was a fun time for both of us.

Monday, June 16, 2014

His Green Thumb

Justin likes to keep a garden.  I like to cook the food or eat it fresh and I'll can and freeze, but he handles the outdoor part, mostly.  Sometimes I'll pick, berries or tomatoes especially, since he's red/green color blind, but for the most part the garden is his gig.

This year the zucchini and squash are lush and full.

The cucumbers, that we had so much of last year, are falling behind in their new spot...crop rotation and spreading out and all.  I think they will have to find a different home next year.

We have pretty tomatoes starting too.

 Happy gardening!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Funny

As I was making a grocery list, I asked Nate, "Is there anything you want for dinner this week?"

"I want that chicken where you take the poop out and put the spices in."

?!  Then it hit me, he watched me take out the giblets from a chicken I roasted last week before I added in garlic and basil to the cavity.  So roast chicken was on the menu.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


 5479 dinners--almost everyone of them together (our first Thanksgiving)

48 (immediate) family birthday celebrations

 dozens of road trips 

15 years ago we said, "I do."

14 trips back and forth to Kansas (our last night in Kansas)

13 home improvement projects (the bathroom in our first house...mid demo.)

12 weddings attended

11 years of yard work

10 car seats/booster seats (!)

9 jobs

8 cities

7 hospital visits (4 babies, 1 set of stitches, and twice for Kate's arm)

 6 leases

5 vehicle purchases (van not in motion--I promise!)

4 children, 4 states

3 degrees, 3 home purchases

2 hearts

1 family

Thanks for being my best friend and partner on this crazy ride.  I love you!

Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

All In

I decided I was absorbed...

There have been a few things that pointed to it lately.  Justin asked me what I'd like to study more.  I was at a loss on that one.  I had thought when when we lived in Kansas that I would go to get a Master's degree when the kids were all in school, of course things have changed.  'All in school' would have only been one year off from now when that plan was originally hatched, but we decided to home school and add Ellie.  Plus the offer for a spouse to get a free degree, here, is limited to a bachelor's degree.  So there is no pressing need to decide anything anyway, so I guess I gave up thinking about it.

Then, I was telling my mother that we were letting the older kids each choose a bigger special outing to do with one of us this summer.  We'd talked about horseback riding, a train ride, pottery painting, and a number of other possibilities.  She mentioned that Justin and I were being left out.  To be honest...I hadn't even thought about what I would like to do, aside from something special with a munchkin.  I think I've become boring!

I am not the reader of fine literature I once I read board books, home school book reviews, and mommy blogs as I nurse a little one, punctuated by the "Mama! Mama!" chorus line.

Speaking of chorus lines, I have moved from singing choral works and soprano solos to bedtime serenades, made up songs to teach math facts and geography, and little ones' favorites to soothe tears.

I'm not studying for exams; I'm studying schedules, lesson plans, and the children's books with them.

So, perhaps I'm not absorbed, simply immersed for a stage in time.  Just as at one time I put myself into studying as a student or later into trying to be a good teacher, now I am immersed in motherhood.  Right where I should be.  And I am using all those things I once did in this motherhood gig.

Some day when the children have flown the nest, or are at least more independent, maybe I'll go and hunt for something new to be immersed in.  Or something old.  But for now, I'm all in.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bathroom Re-Do

It's that time of year again...time for little (and not so little) projects around the house.

Due to a leaky toilet and splashing children, we decided we should tackle the children's bathroom.  And if we were going to pull up the flooring to take a look and replace it, we may as well paint.  And if we were going to paint, perhaps we should buy a new toothbrush holder.  And rug.  And the old faucet was starting to corode, so while we're in there we should do that too.  Well, you get the idea.

So we have a pretty new bathroom.

 The bath mat--we matched the paint to it.

A coat rack, so the kids can hang their own towels!!!  Yay!  I stitched ribbon on them to make it easy.

 I made up a valance and added a strip of owl-y fabric to the white shower curtain.  You can also see the brand new toilet, since we had to replace the old one.

A pretty new faucet, a towel with an owl (we moved the hanger where the kids can actually reach it), a soap dish, and toothbrush holder.

Thanks to Justin for all his hard work!

Monday, June 2, 2014

All Mine

If you talk to any mother with more than two children (and probably those with one and two hear things too), she can probably tell you that some people have a need to comment on the number of children you have.  I often hear, "Oh my, you have your hands full."  This is nearly always said when the children are all behaving, as most people steer clear of us if someone is having difficulty.  Honestly they are, generally, quite good when we're out.  They have to be, or we could never leave the house!  I also hear, "Look at all your helpers today!"  That one I don't mind.

We get comments on how Nate, being the only boy, must have it tough.  And in some ways he does, but his wife...she'll be set!  And he is an awesome little fellow--all boy, but he gets to hang out with the girls and their friends too.

I've even had the, "Are they all yours?" a handful of times.  Last week though, after being asked, "Are they all yours?"  The dumbfounded clerk, whose line we've been through quite a few times, actually asked incredulously, "Really?"

Yes, they are all my wonderful, loud, messy, sweet, joyous, difficult, amazing gifts.  I am so glad that they are mine.  All of them.