Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new day

And so it continues: the laundry pile, the feverish kids (two of them now), the blowouts that thankfully happen over the tile floor, the hacking, and the faucet noses.

But at least this mom is feeling a little more rested (btw, Winter Services were absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed two days of visiting and services and I am so glad we went), and a lot more will get done today.

Yes, I suppose I have job security and don't have to worry about getting fired (thanks for the good laugh Briita).

You know, I have learned to tell myself that it's okay to have a bad day.
I have not learned to stop feeling guilty when the hubby walks in the door and looks around (and sometimes says "so, what'd you do all day?").
Yesterday I honestly told him that I held sick babies. And did pretty much nothing else, even when I could have.
I wish I would have held up the once half-full but now completely empty pan of brownies instead.
If that doesn't explain my day to a 't', then I don't know what will.

So yes, today is a fresh, new day.

I will be a good mom and work tirelessly.  I will rock my babies, try to catch up on housework, plan on cooking dinner, and will not complain about the amount of wet snow gear we will be tripping over in about an hour.

And when life resumes the normal pace of a healthy family, I will happily return to my works in progress.

While my projects are not what keep me going, I do know that come next week I will probably need a 'me' day of crafting or sewing to keep me sane.

No, what keeps me going is my children.  The warm little bodies against mine.  The sleepy, scratchy voice of my two year old saying "hold me, Mom".  The chubby little arm whap, whapping the bed as Elaina reaches behind her searching for me in the night.
What keeps me going is knowing that as their mom, I am irreplaceable.  I am exactly what they need right now.

My projects and a clean house can wait.

Monday, February 27, 2012

self incriminating

If I were being graded on my performance, I would receive a big, fat F for today.
If I had a boss, I probably would be getting sacked right about now. 

I mean come on, who hasn't started the laundry, done Saturday morning's dishes, OR started supper by 5:20 on a Monday evening?
Me, that's who.

And I have no good excuses.
Only lame ones that shouldn't equate to a WHOLE DAY of nothing, 
like my two year old running a fever, and oh wait!  I did something today!  I taught a signing class this morning. That seems like a long time ago.
I'm off to scrounge the fridge.
And try redeem myself in the eyes of.......me

Thursday, February 23, 2012


My oldest turned eight years old earlier this month (I know, I'm a little late).


You're growing up on me, Connor.
And I see it too.
You told me last night that you set your alarm for 7:30 and you didn't need me to wake you up for school.
You read all the bedtime stories for me if Dad isn't home and I have to nurse Elaina.
You were a star speller last week and didn't need to take the week's spelling test (except that when Friday came you forgot and took it anyway).
You help me cook dinner: peeling potatoes, cracking eggs, or browning beef.
Sometimes I look at you and see how tall you are getting and wonder how much longer till you pass me up.
You wanted a Nintendo DSi for your birthday, and you got one too.  I sometimes wonder if a digital planner would have been a better idea though, as I don't see you playing the games very much.
Although you chose sweets, pannukakku for your birthday supper and a confetti cake for your party, you are my best eater. This year you are very interested in science.
You are also very creative.

You make me smile.
You make me proud.

Don't ever hesitate to be you.
I love you just the way you are.

Monday, February 20, 2012

care to see what I made?

When I start getting overwhelmed by too much to do, I crave crafting or sewing time. While my hands are busy, my thoughts are not. Saturday was blissful - I got just that.
My afternoon at the sewing machine produced these.

So I'm a little late jumping on the fabric flower bandwagon. Oh well.
And actually, I thought Aubrey's skirt could use another flower or two, but goodness those flowers take forever to make!

Yet another picture of my girls.  But aren't they cute??

And I'm going to give you yet another picture of my living room.
I'm excited about my recent projects and finds, so I had to share.

First though, I kept thinking that my chairs were too low, that I needed some height in the corners of my living room. I wondered how I could achieve that...lamps? shelving?
The problem took care of itself when Russell emptied the storage shelf of his studio and gave us some paintings (the large painting on the left in the photo below is one of them).
Wall hangings were the height answer!
I almost wish I had another of the square nature art pieces so I could hang a third below my pair for a more layered look in that corner.

So now I know.  
Want height in your room? Use the wall.
Want a library feel?  Fill your end tables with books.
Want more throw pillows that match your room? Shop at Joann's.
And shop on a holiday weekend if you want to leave the store skipping.

On Friday, I hit the Red Tag Fabric section which was an additional 50% off.  I scored some Ralph Lauren home decor fabric for three dollars.  Actually, I really don't care that it's Ralph Lauren.  I love the pattern and I love that its red!
Half an hour on Saturday at the sewing machine resulted in this.

The tan actually matches my lamp shades really well.  An added bonus! I'm tempted to go back today and snatch up the rest of the fabric.  Where else could I use red fabric...?
Speaking of red...this goodwill find now resides in my living room.

I'm wondering where else I could use a wire basket and what other colors this basket might wear some day.
Alright, since I could almost call my living room 'done', I'm done boring you with pictures and posts about it. 

Next up - dining/sitting room.
It's like a clean slate in there: white curtains that need to be replaced with something colorful, sad walls that are crying for new paint, and an empty space waiting to be turned into something cozy.  

I'm getting there.  One room at a time.  
By the time I'm completely done making this house our home I will probably have to start all over again. At least it's fun.  Bring on the paint and brushes and fabrics and goodwill finds!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Smiling Inside

My day has been full.
Full in a way that means plenty gets accomplished, yet also that means I am content.
Full in a way that only happens when I remember to carve time out for myself, to do the things that I love.

Today, I sewed.
Today, I put my wants first.
And because of that, everything about today makes me smile.

My children had believing friends to play with. Girl scout cookies came to the door, which Brant proclaimed were "the best tasting cookies ever, they are even better than candy"!  Aubrey twirled around in the skirt I sewed her. My hubby ran all the errands.  My kids suggested I lay on the couch and rest on my newly covered pillow. My baby laughed at her Daddy and later rested her head against my shoulder. My two year old eagerly helped me do the dishes after the house was quiet and dark.

I'm still smiling inside.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's what's for dinner.

I don't know about you guys, but I sometimes get sick of trying to figure out what to make for dinner.
I'm not picky. If I were just cooking for Dean and I, menu making would be so much easier. We wouldn't eat the same thing twice in one month.  But when you have five kids, some picky... yeah, not so easy anymore. And I'm not willing to eat pizza, homemade or otherwise, every single week.

Surely I'm not the only one with this problem?  Surely I'm not the only one who wishes a month's worth of meal plans were handed out accompanied by the week's grocery list?  Oh, and of course the menu would feature meat and other groceries that happen to be on sale. Oh, and someone would come and do my dishes every night, perhaps do the cooking as well if I'd rather craft.
Oh, cows don't fly, you say? Shucks anyway.

Well, just in case you happen to be flipping through the same old recipes again and again, wishing up a planned menu, here's my faves.
This week I'm thinking ground beef (because I bought some on sale last week, of course).

Besides chili with corn bread (Jessica's Texas-Style Chili is really good),
and Mexican Curry (page 58 of the new Phoenix LLC cookbook if you happen to have it),

meatballs always work in this family. If you are ambitious, make a ton of them and freeze them for easier meals later.

Meatball Calzones Recipe
photo by Taste of Home
Last night I made Meatball Calzones. Yum!
(I use PW's pizza dough rather than bread dough, 
and I make pizza sauce to go with it.)
I even make one without cheese and it satisfies us non-dairy eaters.

Picture of Mini Meatball Soup Recipe
photo from Food Network
I have a new favorite though, Mini Meatball Soup (I made the meatballs with 1/4 part hot sausage). 
And the best thing about this recipe? You simply drop the meatballs in the simmering soup to cook them (make this meal on your meatball making day)!
One less pan to wash and more flavor in the soup!

Still have meatballs rolling around?  Make meatball subs, or Meatball Sliders.
And, I wasn't even going to suggest it, but how about *cringe* PW's Spaghetti and Meatballs?  No seriously, I know you all make spaghetti and lasagna already, but the kids do eat it and this recipe is flavorful.

Okay, so there you have it.  My fall-backs when it's ground beef in my freezer.
Oh, and if you've got any beef with me, feel free to share. This time I won't mind. ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Guess who gets the most loving around here?

Yup, you guessed it - Elaina Roxanne.

She has wracked up more hugs, slobbery kisses, peanut butter smooches, and in-your-face loving than any other member of the family, whether she welcomes it or not.

"I hate to inform you dear Lolly, but it's a given that the baby of the family always gets the most attention. You're the easiest to love."
If any of my other kids was up at 5AM and batting at my face, I might get a little cranky at them.
But not Lai-lai.  She's too cute. And cuddly. And squishable.
And it's hard to not love someone who adores you so much.
She gets the biggest grin when I walk in the room. Her little legs start kicking ninety miles a minute when she thinks I am going to pick her up. And of course, I do. Who can resist cuddling that kind of cuteness?

Then again, who can resist cuddling this little boy cuteness either?
(I don't know if it's just me, but those little underwear butts running around the house are pretty cute).

You'll be lucky though if they permit to cuddling for longer than a minute or two
(that's why we fill love tanks at bedtime around here).

Happy Valentines Day! May all your love tanks be brim-full today.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How do YOU react in a crisis?

"I've been in a car accident".
It was my husband on the line, over five years ago.
(He was fine. The car was not.)
I thought he was joking. "No," he said "I need the insurance company's phone number."
And even then, I still said "You've got to be joking. You're kidding me right?"
I didn't want to believe it. If I denied it, it wasn't true, right? 
How naive I was! 

Last week I did much better.
"I broke my nose".
It was my husband on the line again. And this time I fully believed him. 
"Oh dear. Where are you now?" I asked.
(It appears he'll be okay, with a kind of straight nose).
Who knew basketball could be such a dangerous sport??

This reminds me of the two times I saw pretty fireworks in the microwave.  
The first time was at my mother's house. 
Somebody had left their fork on their plate while warming up their food.
The ensuing sparks lit a fire under my mom's feet.  She jumped and danced and hollered and sang that there was a fire in the microwave and "somebody dooo something!" It was very entertaining to my brothers, one of whom I believe finally followed my shouted orders to 'open the microwave door already' and went to stop the show.

The second time was at my mother-in-law's house.
Somebody had left their food in tin foil while warming it up.
My mother-in-law calmly told them that their food was lighting up and they needed to take the tin foil off the food before they put it in the microwave, then turned and continued what she was doing.
"Wow!" I thought. "That was calm. What a difference from last time I saw fireworks in the microwave. I wonder which way I react?"

I've since had the chance to find out. Two years ago, my family rented two houses on the beach.

My siblings, my mother and I (I'm in the middle)
Some of us are chill, some of us are spaz.
Once again, I fall somewhere in the middle. 

In the wee hours of the last morning that we were there, I heard somebody hollering from down the hall that the house next door (the one my sister and her boys were sleeping in) was on fire!
I leapt out of bed, tore down the hall, ran past a couple people, ran out the door, down the stairs, and down the sidewalk, thinking only of the boys, those two little boys. There on the sidewalk was my sister and her boys, waiting for the firemen to give them the all clear. "We're fine," she said "but cold. Could someone please bring us a blanket already?!" (the flames were in the ancient heating system in the hall and thankfully did not spread).
Back in our rental house, (and I still get the chuckles just thinking about this) my mother was still flapping and  half-asleep, my brother was standing by the door waiting for something, perhaps for someone to stick the blanket in his hands to bring my sister, and everybody else was just peeking their heads out their doors, bleary-eyed and wondering what the commotion was all about. And my family?? My children were still sound asleep at the end of the hall and my hubby had long since determined it was nothing to get worked up about and roller back over.

Perhaps he had witnessed the microwave fireworks incident in my mother's house and knew my family.
Perhaps he takes after his own mother.