Wednesday, December 21, 2011

making my list, adding to it twice

This year I am making a lot of my Christmas gifts.  I keep thinking of more people to sew or bake for. And somehow, we have bought more and spent more on our own children than last year.
We decided to get the kids each something that they want.  When Aubrey finally told me the one thing she wanted, I had already gotten her gift that had been ordered online.  Rather than return it, we decided to give two gifts to each of them.  Now Brant is telling everybody that he is getting bubble bath for Christmas.  And I had all the stocking stuffers figured out!  Even steven.  Either Santa is not going to be fair this year when he fills stockings, or there will be a little gift - shaped just like a bottle of bubble bath- under our tree that is labeled for the Johnson family.  Our tub is almost big enough too. ;)
(Perhaps next year would be a good time to teach my kids that we do not always get what we want.)

I sit down and craft/sew after the kids are asleep.
Last night, I finished sewing part of a gift. I started the project seriously doubting my ability to pull it off.  You know, make it worthy of giving.  But it turned out great!  I was ecstatic and told Dean that I wanted to sew twenty more.  I also may have said that bias tape is my new friend.
For the record, I did not sew twenty more. It would have entailed a trip to Joann's - a store which, sadly, does not burn the midnight oil too.

Dear Santa,
This year I want time to sit and play.  Some fun fabrics to play with would be nice too.
Oh, and can you arrange to have the house cleaned and supper made on the days I play too?
My family would really appreciate it.
P.S. if this is too much for you, just send me reminders though out this next year that once I have an empty nest I will be sewing and crafting like crazy to avoid missing what I have today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mounting Excitement

I have a new center corner piece for my table.  Its called a sewing machine.

I think my family will be happy once I'm done sewing Christmas gifts; our table will be clear of fabric, thread, batting, and rulers once again. I do have a sewing desk in my room, but since the baby sleeps in there and I sew during her naps... a messy table it is.
One gift left to go, then its on to more baking, which means a messy kitchen.  I can't wait.

Here's last week's messy, which resulted in yummy (which also resulted in tummy).

And here are my cuties in front of Grandma's Christmas tree.

They looked so stinkin' cute all dressed up for their Sunday School program.
Then they morphed into sheep and a shepherd.
They were still pretty cute, even covered in sheets.

The program was sweet, as usual.  We enjoyed all the instrumentals and a yummy coffee lunch. Then we packed up our sugared, over-tired kids and headed home through some extremely thick fog, finally crawling into bed after 11 PM.

I hope I am ready to do it all over again this coming weekend.
I am beginning to wonder if it will still feel like Christmas to us if we skip the Sunday School program and all the gatherings.  I'm kind of ready for a quiet Christmas season at home that does not entail driving an hour and a half or more every weekend.
Kind of.  Because I am looking forward to two days spent with brothers, sisters, in-laws, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and oodles and oodles of nieces and nephews (read cousins and play mates for my kids).

Anyhow, the excitement is mounting over here, and the countdown is continuing in earnest. The gifts that are under the tree have been hefted, shaken, and smelled.  It will be a miracle if they all stay whole and wrapped for the entire next five days.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All the world's a stage

Once, I was going to travel around Europe.
Nina and I were going to spend a few weeks backpacking, travelling by Eurail (train), and staying in youth hostels, ending our trip visiting relatives in Finland. We even bought some backpacks.  They were $40 each at Costco, and definitely not suitable for backpacking.  How naive we were!

Should I say those were the good days? Dreaming up big travel plans but then giddily getting ready for HAPS to see 'the boys'.  Dreaming of a future that is today.
They were good days, but right now, these are the good days too.

I can't say that I still have any burning desire to travel. Unless of course, I could do it with my (older) children.
If they express interest in travelling some day, I will whole heartedly encourage it.

Either way, I love world maps.

Can you say awesomeness?!?!

Okay, maybe I'm the only one getting excited about a map on my wall,
but every time I walk by it,
I smile.

Every time my kids stand in front of it and says "Let's pretend..."
I smile.

I hope this map continues to spark their imagination.  I hope it makes them curious.  I hope it makes them realize how awesome and diverse our world really is.

The world is a playground, and life is pushing my swing.   -Natalie Kocsis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snow Day!

I heard the kids get up this morning, hollering about all the snow, but I rolled over and got cozier in my flannel sheets.  That's what you're supposed to do on a snow day. How come my kids don't know that?

I was lucky enough to convince them to eat breakfast before going out to play.

I was out with my camera.
All the neighbors were out with their snow blowers.
Four were going at one time this morning in our cul-de-sac.
Connor started a snow ball fight with one of the neighbor guys.  I think the neighbor guy won.
I also think that those things are just toys for the boys.  "Hey, while you're having so much fun shooting snow, want to plow my sidewalk too?"

Back inside, I am finding legos in the funniest places.
It looks like Elaina's brothers were planning an attack. On her poor unsuspecting head.

I'm off to attack the breakfast mess
so we can make more mess when we frost our sugar cookies.
That's what snow days are for.  And my kids know it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

remodeling my kitchen. on paper

Now that you know that I am no interior designer or decorator, and that it will take me 5 weeks to make a decision, and 5 more to implement any change, let me share with you the progression of kitchen update ideas since we moved in.

Upon first sight of my kitchen, I immediately said "Oh look at all the counter space! Look at all these cabinets!"  You see, I had been rolling out my cinnamon rolls and cutting out cookies on my kitchen table for the last couple years. I had a bookshelf in my garage to store small appliances.  This kitchen looked heavenly!

Here is the kitchen plan one week after moving in (and after replacing the appliances and tearing out the pantry to fit the new refrigerator in):
Here is the kitchen plan after living here for two weeks.
Here is the kitchen plan after living here six weeks and after I have spent a hundred hours staring at it while nursing my baby in the adjoining room.

I forgot to add a few things:
-Raise up the cabinet above the micro-hood and raise the micro-hood as well.
-Install a cabinet above the refrigerator that is as deep as the refrigerator (so it is actually accessible and so the top if the fridge isn't a space to collect junk).
-Put crown molding along the tops of all cabinets.

Do you see now why I shouldn't stay home so much?  I get too many ideas.

I tooled around with the idea of painting the cabinets white to freshen and lighten the kitchen up.  But I have white appliances, so never mind that idea.  I think that with the ceiling raised up to normal height, and that one row of cabinets gone, it will feel much more open and air-y.

Now I just have to convince my hubby that more cupboard space is not always best and that we should raise up the ceiling.
Once again, I have to say it could take awhile.
That's okay though.  My kitchen is fully functional.  I can live with it for a loooong time.
Perhaps I should warn him though, I just might come up with a few more changes in the meantime!

Friday, December 9, 2011

more confuddled than ever

-My pictures are still propped against the living room wall behind the chair.
-I still have no idea what rug to put in there. Current debate between me, myself, and I (since Dean just listens and has no input) : wool vs. synthetic.
-I am even more indecisive now about paint colors than I was before using the visualizer tool.

I went to the Sherwin-Williams store for a paint sample of the blue-gray paint that I liked when using the visualizer tool.

The color was called thunderous. In my picture above, I thought it was a nice blue-gray. In reality, thunderous doesn't appear to have any blue in it at all!

I now have 20 other blue samples to hold up against my wall.  I now am even more confuddled and befused.
(I won't call the visualizer tool worthless yet.  At least it helped me decide what color family to use. Besides, our tree is up in that corner, so I can't paint yet anyway.)

This morning I decided to move on to something more in my comfort zone. Moving on? again!? 
I ordered five 8 x10 prints to fill the frames I received for my birthday.
I can't wait to get them up on the wall in our hallway.
And that will be progress, something hung on my walls!

Perhaps, just maybe, one could kinda sorta say that I need professional help???  ha!

Monday, December 5, 2011

who's busy?

It is 20 degrees outside.
If the date on the calendar doesn't get me in winter and Christmas mode, the cold will.
To help illustrate my point:
This picture was taken just one week ago!

Here is today's picture (taken of my neighbor's house from my front window because its just too cold to go traipsing outside).

Umm, yes, I'd say its December.  And I have to say that I love it!  I may be ready for spring come the beginning of January, but this AZ girl is loving the white during the Christmas season.

So yes, it is cold. We've set up our tree, hung the Advent calendar, and decorated the gingerbread house.

Now if only I could call it a month!
It is December 5th and I am actually dreading trying accomplish everything on my daily to-do list in the next 20 days.

Now is when everybody and their mother's uncle comments or complains about how busy they are.
Peace, love, and joy? Yeah right!  Busy, stressed, and busy is more like it!

I don't really want to be one of the complaining everybodys, but I guess I just did complain, so today I am.

This morning I suddenly realized that the craziness has started (with no thanks to me and my procrastination) and I couldn't help but laugh out loud.  I was sitting on hold with the Department of Revenue.  I wasn't about to explain that we bought a house, moved, and had a baby all in the same month, but that is basically why I forgot to change my business address.  It is also why I was sitting on hold for 35 minutes to find out why I couldn't log on online to file the "missing returns".
I figured I may as well knock some other things off my to-do list while I was waiting.
With my phone set on speaker and my piece of mail with my ID sitting close by, I set about running another load of laundry and filing paid bills, juggling the baby all the while. In the middle of it all, I anxiously thought about the amount of items still on my to-do list, and I stopped what I was doing and just laughed. 
Elaina thought it was the greatest thing to happen to her all day - have her mama smile and laugh at her.

Quite the conversation then ensued between Elaina and I. 

Each time she cooed or smiled at me, it was like she was pulling one my heartstrings a little harder. 
Let me tell you, that conversation was the best thing that happened to me all day.

photo taken three weeks ago.  where does the time go?

And because you know it and I know it, this is the last you will hear from me about how busy the month of December is.

May you find peace, love, and joy in your household this Holiday Season.

Friday, December 2, 2011

a December morning

peppermint tea in a Christmas-y mug
sleeping little angel beside me
muffled sounds from four energetic kids playing in the snow - they look like marshmallows in their winter gear
a world of white out my window
  which is a soothing sight compared to the chaos by the back door
       and the drops of honey on my stack of Christmas cards waiting for their stamps