Thursday, August 30, 2012


Today, my middle child turns five!  His anticipation for this day has been so keen, I know I have to make it extra special.

He's pretty cute.  And he's growing up on me.
I am thankful that I have him home for another year.  While finding things to keep him entertained and challenged will be a chore, I really am enjoying this time to cherish him without the struggles.  This kid seems to have grown up overnight.

I'm off to please my mario-loving, bug loving, competitive, yet very sweet little five year old boy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pumpkin and Berry Picking

Growing up, I can remember visiting the pumpkin patch at Young's Farm in the fall.  There would be a smattering of tall, tall sunflowers among the hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins.  There were wagon rides, zip lines in the hay bales, crafts, and fresh apple cider.  There were tweens waiting with their wagons to haul your pick to your vehicle for a couple bucks. 

Flashback! The kids were so little and so cute! You can tell Aubrey and Elaina are sisters.  And we miss Big D!
I am suddenly missing Young's Farm and sad that they closed down a couple years ago. 

Pumpkin patches are fun.
I think an orchard would be as well.  Only I've never been to one (at least that I can remember).  Berry farms (is that what they're called?) would be fun as well.  Only I've never been to one of those either.

But I have picked berries!
Here in Arizona, I feel like it is such a treat to be able to go blackberry picking.

If you hail from regions north of here, or perhaps parts of Finland, you are not allowed to laugh at how pathetic our berries are.  We take what we can get!

And smallish, slightly bitter blackberries are what we get. 

 Perhaps we were a little bit early, as there were still plenty of green and red berries, but we (or should I say Dean) picked about one gallon of blackberries.

Starting out, there were four berry pickers.  That didn't last too long though, and before long Dean was going solo while I nursed Elaina, and made sure none of our children drowned.

Because it didn't take long for them to drop their things,

soak their jeans, 

then decide to switch into swimsuits and play in the water rather than try work their way through the brambles.

I always find it amazing that my kids will swim no matter the time of day or temperature of the water.

Especially my little water baby! :)

It really is a beautiful place!

And from here on out, my goal is to hit up any berry farm or orchard we happen to be travelling near.  Does anyone know of any here in Arizona?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

project update

I really haven't meant to stay away so long.  I have been meaning to get a couple summer posts up, but here it is already the second week of school.  As for this week, I'm a whirlwind. I have a signing class in half an hour, another class tomorrow morning (crazy, I know, I'm not usually so busy), I send the boys and hubby off to camp, then a few of my girl friends are coming for the weekend. Yahoo! I can't wait.

I'm squeaking this post in because I am thrilled with my recent home decor project.
Remember my bolt of fabric?
The majority of it is now hanging in my dining room.

I worked for an hour or two (or three) a day on these curtains for the first half of this week, and was getting impatient to get them hung.  I love walking in the room now and admiring my handiwork. It took a lot of work to get to this point! I had to convince the hubby that this room needed some softness - in the form of curtains of course, take down the old rod and curtains, patch the holes, paint, hang the new rods, exchange the hooks I bought because they didn't work with my curtains, sew tabs onto the back of my already done curtain tops, make the second panel for the other get the point, and I still have another window in this room to figure out. And some matchstick blinds to hang.  
Basically, these took a lot longer than I thought they would, and they're still not even done (I need to hem the bottoms).

But I love them!  So I guess it was is worth it.  
However, I will not be doing any more windows any time soon.  
I've got other ideas brewing in my head (I do believe I have some pretty strong genes passed on from my maternal grandparents - oh how I miss you Mummu and Pappa!)
I think my baby, who never stays still, has the same gene.  :)

Hopefully I'll get these curtains finished up next week so I can share my other furnishing project with you, and so I can continue working on my other sewing project, and so I can start Elaina's baby quilt that I'm supposed to have done by the time she's one (in less than six weeks) if I'm going to keep up with tradition. 

It's no wonder I haven't been blogging!  I'm having too much fun playing!

Now if only all these projects would finish themselves. Either that or the laundry and meal making happen on their own.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fabric and Color

Eeeee!!!  Happy dance, happy dance!  Check out my recent purchase.

So maybe it's just fabric to most of you, but let me tell you that this bolt is long awaited.
As in almost a whole year of bare windows kind of waiting.

I have lots of ideas for my dining room, but without lots of cash, my ideas don't often come to fruition.  And without lots of spare time and energy, my ideas take a looong time to come to fruition.
I decided that I wanted blues and greens in my dining/family room.  I decided that I wanted fabric for color and softness.  Every time I was out shopping, I would look at curtains and every time I was at Joann's I would look at their fabrics, but nothing popped up in my price range. At least nothing that I loved.  There were a couple options at Joann's, but the $40/yd price tag left me simply fingering the fabrics then walking on.
Until the founder's sale at the beginning of August.
I came home with 9 yards of the fabric that I had been eyeing for months, and I got it for about $10/yd!
It has my colors, and it has some texture.  A sure improvement over the simple burlap that I considered.

Now that I have my fabric, I can finally choose a color for my accent wall.

Man this is hard, I like them all!  And now that my paint is bought, I must stop second guessing my decision.

Okay, now that some of my ideas are turning into actual tangible items, I could use some spare time as well as energy to finish them off.  I've got a wall to paint (was supposed to be done tonight, but hubby's sick in bed), rods to install, curtains to sew, and blinds to hang.
Well,  what's the rush anyway?  The fabric has only been sitting on my bedroom floor for two weeks now.
And my sewing machine isn't going anywhere.
But darn it, I want to be sitting at it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The pre-schoolers have lunch

She thinks she's bigger than her 10 months.  She crawls right on up and joins them at the table.  
He tries to feed her dried carrot apple bites.  
In payback, she swipes his sandwich and cracker when he's not looking.

He looks like he could use a nap.  Heaven forbid he misses out on any action though!  
He'd rather fight the drowsiness.  His sister takes after him.

All three of their little bodies fit on one side of our little table.  I want to scoop all three up into a bear hug.
I refrain for the time being and take pictures instead.
He places a protective hand on her leg when I warn her not to wiggle and fall off the bench.  
It's not long till he himself is wiggling out of his place and on to the next thing.  His brother follows.

I wonder if she's thinking "Hey! Where'd they all go?"
Or perhaps she sighs inwardly, "Darn, I can't keep up!"
Or maybe it's both, followed by "You're still here, mom. Now what?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Technically, I am not a runner

The air feels quite cool, and steam is rising off the wet bushes in the early morning sunlight.  I am almost too cold, I but know that it won't last.

The morning is perfect for a run*.  Before I get on the trail, I catch a glimpse of the fog wrapping itself around the base of the mountain.  Beautiful.

And then, I am pounding a rhythm on the gravel.  The light is streaming through the tall trees, visible on the beads of moisture clinging to pine needles and on the dissipating mist. Beautiful.

I feel it.  
I feel the quiet and I feel the fresh air filling me, 
energizing me.  
I feel loose, my legs feel long, and I feel strong.  
I feel like I could run forever.

*Technically, I am not a runner.  I probably do not 'run' fast enough to qualify, nor far enough. But because I prefer to say run over jog, and because I sure feel like I am running when I'm doing it, that is what I will call myself - a runner.

I cannot run forever.  But I am getting stronger.  Eight runs ago, my 'runs' were actually 'shuffles'.  Literally!
I came home with sore abs, a sore butt, and mild shin splints.
But I kept at it, a few days a week; I kept pushing myself to go a little farther, run a little faster. My 18 minute runs have become 35 minute runs and my route has become longer.

Perhaps this is why...

When you live right next to the urban trail system, which winds through pine trees along a nature preserve, you wonder why you didn't start using it sooner.

Actually, I have yet to experience 'runner's high'.  (See! I told you I am not a runner!) I will console myself with the knowledge that I have not yet pushed my body beyond its limits, and for now, that is a good thing.

I started running because it seemed to be the answer to two of my problems.
~I wanted to be fit.
No, I do not need to lose weight.  I don't even own a scale.  I'm finally feeling the effects of having five children and putting their needs before my own.  Basically, I was feeling lethargic and droopy and unhealthy.  I want to feel healthy and fit.  And I want my heart and lungs to be strong.
~I needed time to myself.
To date, I have been content with my occasional evenings out, my projects around the house, and the kids at my feet.  But recently, I have to say that I've been needing more 'me' time.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that there are seven people in this house.  At any rate, I began slipping out the front door before the house awoke, gratefully breathing in the quiet.

I can't say that I love running itself, but I do love the effects of running.
I love starting my day early, and starting it with a run.  I eat better, get more done in a day, and have more energy.  I feel ready to deal with the day after my 'solitude' and best of all, I feel fit.

And no, I am not always so chipper at 6 am. On mornings that follow too many late nights, I choose to sleep in an extra hour rather than get up and run.  But evening runs aren't so bad, even if I have to bring baby along.

She's a pretty good stroller-rider, a run in my neighborhood means a view of the peaks, and the monsoon sunsets are pretty amazing.

So yes, for me running has a lot to do with noticing the beauty around me.
But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that one motivating factor is getting into tip-top swimsuit shape (for our upcoming ten year wedding anniversary, which I'm still stubbornly hoping will involve relaxing at a beach).

I do not know how much longer I will continue running (an old ankle injury occasionally bothers me and my knees get sore) but for now, I'll continue to slip out the door in the early morning light, content to take it one rejuvenating run at a time.

And maybe, just maybe, the passersby will think to themselves "runner" when they see my ponytail swish out of their view.