Thursday, March 31, 2011


Occasionally I will see one of my babies give a certain look and I'll get a little glimpse of him as grown boy...

Can you see it?

Fitz hit that point. You know, where he does new things that I completely did not expect from my little baby... like sporadically using the English language or throwing monumental tantrums when he doesn't get his way.

Today he did the following...

To my knowledge, no one has ever done the "tickle ears with grass" trick in front of him before. He's just becoming that kind of kid. Creative. Mischievous. (See expression in top picture.)

Then he laughed at his brother until Iggy finally got annoyed and told on him...

All I know is that despite the massive grief his shenanigans have been giving me (phone in toilet, potted plants demolished, new sunglasses snapped) I simply adore him. Even when I'm getting dressed while he's in the room and he points at my awkward-pregnant-nakedness and laughs, I still adore him (yes, he's that hilarious). Too much information? Ok, I'll stop here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

don't take my word for it.

The theme from Reading Rainbow teleports me to the days of riding in the back-seat of a station wagon, rear-facing, waving at a cheerful driver stopped behind our family car. But that's really beside the point.

The point is this; I planted a square-foot raised-bed garden today. I have been dreaming of this day for several years and finally I get up the nerve to do it.

And now I am getting what everyone means when they say, "the best way to learn how to garden is just to do it."

The seeds have such a magical feel, each of them so different. Even just holding them in my palm made me feel like I could one day have a green thumb.

The actual act of putting seed into dirt and covering the little hole gave me confidence that this is something I can totally do (and maybe well).

I planted 16 different types of seeds so something should grow.

I've asked a bazillion people about gardening and I've gotten the basics from those conversations. But really, it's like hearing a bunch of people give a book report.

And now I am reading the book.

I'm sure my plot won't be so nice as more experienced gardeners', but it's my little journey. It feels good to be all dirty.

Want to hear the song that finally prodded me into the plunge? I'm warning you, you'll love it so much that you'll have to start your life-long gardening-with-your-lover obsession (if you haven't already). Here it is: The Gambler by fun. Happy planting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the little stuff is the big stuff.

I know this really neat woman whose blog says "little things are the big things" on the top, and reads throughout with the most hilarious stories and insights about the day-to-day of life.

I was browsing through it the other day and I really got that little line stuck in my brain, which is doing me mounds of good.

So today when Iggy emptied a whole bottle of shampoo into the bath I tried not to get too mad and instead we savored that little-big moment.

When the kids were eating strawberries and Sparky asked "if we eat the green part will we die?" Duke and I laughed in that small moment, with more joy than usual. Then when Iggy shoved a whole strawberry into his mouth and ate it, stem leaves and all, just to freak Sparky out, we enjoyed the string of silly, little moments that make up our life all the more.

Lately I have been concentrating almost all of my energy on making meals and eating together as a family. We cook, set the table, say prayer holding hands, eat like mad, load my new dishwasher (thank you, Duke, my love), wash the table off, put all the chairs away so that Fitz doesn't climb onto the table, and then I commence preparations for the next meal, basically. We haven't had much time for grand schemes. But then, we really need this right now. Because the little stuff is the big stuff.

I was laying down to take a nap with the boys today and I just kept thinking about my Sparky turning four last month. At four-and-a-half he'll be a quarter-way to eighteen. That's scary. I thought, have we done everything in our power over the last four years to set him on a path to a healthy and independent life? We've not done anything huge, but there have been many little-big things; countless occasions of diapering, training, cuddling, talking things through, encouraging, disciplining, and answering question after question after question. Next time he asks me a really strange question that I don't have the energy to try and answer, I think I'll be more patient.

I keep asking Duke, "what will we do with four kids?" He just laughs at me and reminds me I was the #1 advocate for adding to our family. But the answer is really just that we'll do all the little things that we need to do, day-to-day, and over time those little things will build four, big boys.

Haha, there I go assuming this one is a boy again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

shopping with sisters.

I've become so incredibly cheap in the last four years.

I wear mostly the clothes I had prior to my marriage. Or hand-me-downs. Or thrift-store finds. Or mega-sale items from Old Navy. And I have major problems spending any money at all, feeling immediately guilty and tormented with buyer's remorse.

I've been realizing that there has to be more of a balance when it comes to frugality in my life, because I am turning into a total scrooge.

My mom sent us sisters on a little shopping excursion, telling me to buy something that I wouldn't normally get for myself. My sisters are pros at spending money, haha, but I remember what it was like to be that young and care-free.

We make a good shopping team because they tell me to go-for-it and I tell them to put-some-of-it-back.

But I did completely endorse Tamsin's swimsuit purchase. Who wouldn't when she looked that adorable?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

snot attack.

So gross being a human sometimes. I'm pretty sure something embarrassing like this has happened to everyone....

...luckily not everyone has a mom who takes pictures of everything, even the awkward moments.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dandilion Ribbon-Flower Tutorial

I've had my eye on these gorgeous flowers from EmersonMade for ages now, and finally I decided to try my luck at creating something similar! Enjoy my findings, and let me know if you come up with any more tricks for these babies!

Cut three circles from a thin but sturdy fabric that doesn't fray. I wanted a flower that was about 4 & 1/4 inches in diameter when finished, so I used these diameters;

1. 3 & 1/4 inches (The top of a ribbon spool.)
2. 2 & 3/16 inches (The inner circle on a small canning-jar ring.)
3. 1 & 1/8 inch (The top of a sprinkles container.)

As you can tell, I'm not the most scientific when I pick my measurements, but those worked very well for me.

To go with the biggest circle, cut 30 pieces of 5/8" ribbon into about 1 inch strips.

Use fabric glue to secure the ribbons around the circle, leaving about a half-inch of each piece hanging over the edge.

Sew the ribbons on to the circle. The closer to the center of the circle you make the stitch, the easier it will be to hide later on.

Cut 25 pieces of ribbon to be just under 2 inches. Glue them onto the medium-sized circle so that just over an inch is hanging off the side of the circle and secure with a stitch.

Cut about 15 pieces to about 2 inches. Glue and secure with a stitch so that about 1 and 1/2 inch of each ribbon is hanging over the side of the circle.

Yours will probably be a lot neater than mine, haha, but the idea is to have three circles that end up being about the same diameter. If you don't want your flower to fray, you'd better singe all the edges of the ribbons at this point. Or if you're lazy like me, you won't.

Stack the middle layer onto the top and rotate it until you get maximum coverage of seams. Sew them together along the stitching you did on your middle-size layer. (If your plan is for a permanent flower, this would be a good time to sew it to a bag or wallet.)

Add the smallest circle, adjust for maximum coverage, and sew 'er on.

Cut a few strips of ribbon to be about 4 & 1/4 inches long. Lay them across the top with the centers crossing in the middle. I used about seven strips, but I would imagine it could take more or less to cover the mechanics and suit to taste.

I used the sewing machine to tack the ribbon in place, then i added a scrap-booking brad for a finishing touch. I also used a bit of fabric glue to secure some of the longer pieces.

Oh, and for the centers, buttons looked pretty groovy, too, so have fun with the options!

Add a pin, or clip, or headband and there you have it! Happy spring, all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A pretty woman fantasy.

When we leave our house people usually respond to us in one of two ways... "Wow, looks like you've got your hands full!" (With a merry chuckle and a pat on the back.) OR "Wow, looks like you've got your hands full." (With a what-the-heck-were-you-thinking-birthing-all-those-children-then-daring-to-bring-them-here under-tone.)

I'd say the majority of folks give the friendly chuckle. But sometimes (like today) they don't. Sometimes store clerks won't even help me because they disapprove so very much of my unruly crew.

And who can blame them really?

When the stinkers nearly tip over a shopping cart, touch everything in the specialty store, bicker back and forth about everything, and run off down every isle, leaving me frantic... Well, I can see why somebody looking in from the outside may not approve. You know what, I don't even approve! Not cool, kids!

Oh, can't you just sit still and eat this nice milkshake I got you?

No? Fine then, we're going to the car.

Can't you just be happy with the stickers we got and stop asking for every other toy in the store?

The worst is getting home from rough errands and realizing that you bought the wrong thing. Ever done that?

So here's my Pretty Woman fantasy;

I walk into the fabric store looking like Victoria Beckham, plus three, dapper, totally well-behaved boys flanking me and inwardly-laugh at all the people who want to cut my fabric for me now.
picture via.

Then I will go to the Children Learning Store, dressed as classy as Gloria Vanderbilt with strapping young men holding each of my hands and say very loudly, "My, what tacky puzzles!"... OK, I have a few years to work on what I would actually say.
Most likely I wouldn't say a word to any store clerks or anything because ultimately this dream isn't about revenge. I really would just like to feel like a normal person in public, instead of a three-ringed-circus.

that was nice.

Sun out (The happy light just isn't the same).

Family (I love Saturdays when work and school take a back-seat).

Pesky pup (my parents' new baby).

Doughnut-delivery for daddy (Since his work refuses to take a back-seat this time of year).