Friday, March 27, 2015

Homemade Baby Swings for the twins

It's Spring!!
The birds are chirping, the branches are budding, and the sun is deliciously warm.
We want to be outside!

Have you ever tried to keep two 9 month old babies relatively clean and safe in your yard?
I have.  And it's not all that relaxing.  A lot of our rocks are getting a saliva bath. 

I started thinking that I needed a place to contain my babies while we soak up this glorious weather.  They're kind of tired of the excersaucer. Besides, I only have one.  I thought of getting two johnny jump ups.  But they won't hang from our patio beams.  So I looked into swings.  The ones I looked at online were blue plastic with yellow rope; you know the ones.  Nothing to get excited over.

But then I came across a tutorial for making your own!  Cha-ching!  
I ended up using this tutorial because I liked the look and durability of two layers of fabric.
By the way, if you are making a swing yourself, I added foam padding, instead of the batting, to just the dowel sleeves.  I also used a steel quick link (rated to hold 660 lbs) in lieu of the steel ring because the rings I found were not recommended for supporting human weight. One yard of fabric is more than enough (it says you need two)!

The babies love them!

And so does the pre-schooler.  She asks to push them in their swings every day.

It's turned out to be the perfect activity for Graham after his surgery,
as it was hard for him to crawl with his cast (he had a pin inserted into his broken finger bone).

I think the swings could use some adjustments.  If I would have been smart, I would have made one, tried it out, and then adjusted the second one.  But I was too impatient to see this kind of cuteness!

If I had to do it again, I would make the whole swing a little smaller, with shorter dowels and shorter seat measurements.  I think the babies sink down too much in the swing, leaving their butts far lower than the opening for the legs.  So I suppose I would try making the long seat piece 4 inches shorter.  Also, the front piece between the legs could be narrower.

In another year these swings will probably be a good size for them anyway. Since they currently work, I'm hoping we get lots of swing-time logged in the meantime!

Bring on the sunny warm days!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Peg Dolls

When my kids got bored on the first day of Spring Break, I pulled out a craft for them, hoping it would entertain them for a little while at least.  
It ended up occupying them for hours!

I bought 5 wooden peg dolls. I gave the kids fabric, glue, and markers. And they got busy.

Donovan wanted Batman, so I helped him with that one. The rest pretty much came up with, and created their peg dolls all on their own. I was impressed with their creativity and attentiveness to detail.

After their dolls were finished, they played outside with them for quite some time. They would create an imaginary world in which each person's peg doll could play a part. Ninjas, a superhero, a dragon, and a magic girl all came together in one big story line (Harry Potter may have been a central theme as three of the kids have started reading the series).

Then I found a few placed on their bed posts. I guess their dolls will be the night guardians and fight off bad dreams. :)

The kids want more peg dolls.  I do believe I will be picking up some more.  Anything that gets their creative and imaginative juices flowing is a good thing!  Besides, it's fun to watch them create.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My growing girl and a book recommendation

The other day, my daughter came into the kitchen and asked "what are you making?"

"Applesauce muffins," I replied. "The boys have been asking for them."

"Can I make them all by myself?" she asked.


And I couldn't get out of the kitchen fast enough!
Just Kidding. I did stick around to answer her questions. And take pictures.

"Yes, the capital T means tablespoon." And, "you want to try fill all the muffin cups to the same level so they will cook evenly."

 I'm thrilled that she has taken an interest in cooking and baking.  It's quite fun to teach her.

She and I were both proud of her end result!

As I was watching her in the kitchen, I couldn't help but think how grown up she is getting.  She's no longer my little girl!  But it's fun to be at this stage, and I really do enjoy her!  She's a thoughtful, smart, and fun girl, and I'm quite proud of who she is.

Speaking of growing girls, I purchased this book for Aubrey, and I love it enough to make a shout out about it on here.

The Care and Keeping of You (book 1) is geared for ages 8 and up (Aubrey is 9 and very intuitive; it seemed like a perfect time for her to get this book). It's packed full of information about how to care for your hair, skin, etc. as well as how to care for your body as a whole through exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet.  And of course it mentions puberty and what can be expected in the years to come.
I highly recommend it!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I'm Graham

Hey there.  I'm Graham.
Or Graham-y Boy (Aubrey calls me that).  Grahamers (Mom started that one). Buddy (that's what Donovan calls me). Buddy Boy. I'll let you choose.  I like them all.

Just smile when you say my name, and I'll return your grin 100 fold!

But I may or may not be too busy to respond when you're talking to me.
I mean, there's a whole world out there waiting to be explored.

I'm really good at finding all the cords, books, papers, and things I'm not supposed have 
in all the nooks and crannies of whichever room you put me in.  Who needs toys?!

But every now and then, I get myself into a situation that calls for assistance. 

My sister Loretta is going to make a pretty good partner-in-crime.  

Don't let her sweet smile fool you. 
She's becoming just as good at getting into situations as I am.

I've been teaching her how to be more curious and assertive.

It appears I taught her real well. 
Too well, perhaps!

And I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Full Hands and Full Heart

You guys. I am so tired, I could probably fall asleep sitting up.
But it is a good tired.
You see, my days are so full!
(I am reminded of it all the time; in fact, just today at the twins' well child visit the nurse told me, "You've got your hands really full there!"
I still have no idea how to respond to that one.
"Thank you for noticing."?
"Yes, they are, care to give me a helping hand?" ?
"You're the forty seventh person to tell me that today!" ?)

I do have my hands full.  Both my hands and my heart.
When it's not the twins occupying my hands and my attention, my 11 year old is discussing some random bit of knowledge he learned and knows I'll be interested in.  Or it's about the plot line of the current book my daughter is reading.  Or it's my 7 year old's arms wrapped around my waist or his hands framing my face because he speaks with such feeling, and he speaks love with physical touch. Or it's the sharing of a laugh over my three year old's logic.  Or it's the affirmation that this everyday monotony is exactly what makes life beautiful when my 5 year old requests that I keep on asking him if he wants his sins forgiven when I tuck him into bed at night.  "Every night," he said.

So I keep on keeping on.  Every day and every night.  Because buried in the exhaustion and monotony of motherhood there is beauty and there is satisfaction. And when I dig for it, I realize that I am full near to bursting.