Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Plans She Has

Gillian came out of her room in this outfit.
She told me she dressed like this because her job
was to pick apples in an orchard.
She does that for work.
Oh, and lemons. She has to pick those for her job, too.

She has farmer girl aspirations.
She also plans to milk cows when she grows up.
Last year at the county fair, she learned that she was a natural.
She still talks about it often.
How she really wants to be a milker girl,
because she is very good at it.
(And she is. She picked up the milking squeeze skill right away.)

My daughter, at age 4, is already talking about when I will be a grandma.
When she is a mom, I will be a grandma, she tells me.
That's true.
But, she also tells me that when she is a mom,
I will be her friend, and come to visit her house often.
I pray that will be true for us.

I made my own mother a grandmother.
And she is very much my friend.
I love for her to come visit, very often.

Gillian has a few dream houses.
The thing they all have in common is they are to be very near to my house.
She will possibly live in her "baby house".
(The house where we lived when she was a baby.)

(Daddy & Gillian at baby house 4 years ago.)

Or, she may live in this pink princess house.

But, she also describes to me her dream house
as a yellow house sitting on a hill.
There is a white fence & a gate.
There is lots of green grass.
There is a pond.
She has chickens & goats & cows.

She's my farmer girl.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pretty Up The Kitchen Counter

Today I am linking up at Life Made Lovely.
Here's a way we are trying to add a little bit of loveliness to our life-

I gave this as a gift to my husband.
It seems like a funny man gift.
But, my husband likes to do dishes for me.
And, he likes a nice looking, non-cluttered kitchen counter.
We decided to get rid of our dish drainer.
Less stuff & a cleaner look.

I used a clearance towel from Kmart for the bottom side.
I picked some sturdy & pretty fabrics from my way front.
I cut them into different sized blocks & sewed 'em together.
Then sewed the front & back, wrong sides together.
Flipped it & top stitched the edge & the center.
Done. Fast.
I'm gonna make another one soon,
with a cool dish towel that I have & use for the top.

When the dishes are dry, the towel can be put away
much easier than the old dish drainer.
It is also much easier to keep it clean.
Just throw it in the washing machine.
No need to scrub grossness off of the dish drainer all the time.

Simpler & lovelier.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Crazy Outing turned Inspiring

The first time to Costco with 4 kids.
I was dreading it.
But, baby was now 2 months old.
That meant I hadn't been to Costco in over 2 months.
We were out of paper towels.
Husband has a hard time going on with life when there are no paper towels.
He sees them as an absolute necessity.
He is a fairly "green" "earth-friendly" fellow.
But, he loves his paper towels.

I had to go.
I had bought over priced cheese twice at the regular grocery store.
I was out of chicken breasts.
The ones I got from Trader Joe's to hold us over were not good enough.
I couldn't wait until we were out of Toilet Paper & Laundry detergent.
The trip had to be made.

I planned it for a week that ended up being more than a little rainy.
It has been a lot rainy.

So, it turned out to be a doubly crazy outing.
4 little ones & pouring down rain.
And we got a late start,
so our trip would not be entirely complete before the normal nap time.
Things were not looking good for us.

Despite the rain storm, folks were still shopping.
There were no close parking spaces.
I sat inside the car while I tied my Mei Tai carrier around my waist.
A little difficult.
Then I had to tie Kendall in while still in the car.
A little more difficult.
Once she was cozy & calm, I grabbed two umbrellas
& went out into the storm.
I ran to each door to unbuckle all the other kids
& let them pile out.
The three of them held hands in a line.
I held the umbrellas over everyone.
We made it safely across the parking lot.
(With only 1 car rudely splashing right in front of us.
Gillian was sure he deserved a bad ticket.)

Shopping went so smoothly. I was amazed.
It was great.

And on this day, we met a few people who encouraged us.
They were people who loved children.
I am guessing they were all over the age of 80.
They were totally thrilled with the kids.
And my kids loved their sweet attention.

They talked to the kids like they were their friends.
You know, they didn't "talk down" to them.
They encouraged me.
When they made the comment I often I hear,
"You have your hands full!",
they didn't roll their eyes.
Their eyes sparkled with excitement.

I went away inspired.
The cart was so full, I could barely push it;
tons of stuff, plus a nearly 2 year old.
A four year old & three year old held onto the sides of the cart.
They "helped" me push.
I wore a two month old
& held two umbrellas above, trying to keep all 5 heads dry.

After we all got into the car I felt inspired to make something happen.
Something that has been on my mind.
A plan that I have had, but haven't acted on.
I want to visit our elderly neighbor more often.
I want to take the kids to a near by senior home on a regular visits.
Let the kids be adopted great grandkids to some lonely people.
Let myself learn from people who have lived through much.
I want to bless & be blessed by the greatest generation, before it is too late.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eat, Play, Love {Patched}

This time last year, I was sewing this Picnic quilt.
Then we didn't end up using it much.  
I don't know what I did wrong.  
But, the yellow canvas cloth seams starting pulling apart after just a few washes.
I packed the quilt away.  
I finally pulled it back out & sewed patched over the problem spots.
Now we have a family picnic quilt again.
For eating on - 
So, I baked lemon muffins this morning.

Want some lemon muffins & some funny stories?  
Really.  I just found her blog this week 
& it is cracking me up & making my mouth drool.

So, you wanna know something a little embarrassing?
The words I embroidered on our quilt are
Eat * Play * Love

I did not mean that as a spoof on Eat, Pray, Love.  
I had never heard of the book or movie at the time.
I still haven't seen the movie, even though I love Julia.
(Is that okay to recommend a review for a movie I've never seen?)

Anyway.  All I meant was, it's our picnic quilt.
We'll eat on it.
Play on it.
And I'll make out with my husband on it.
But, now after the movie, I kinda wish I had chosen different words...
I guess I'll just have to embrace it for what it is.

Rain soaked jeans.  I'm short.  My jeans are always dragging.

Those are little choking hazard items on my floor.  Yes...

Embracing the camera 

is me committing to get into pictures with my loved ones.
Go read about it here at the Anderson Crew & get in on it yourself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Week of California Spring

Is it Spring?  On the California Coast?

Yep.  But, it just feels a little more frigid than normal.

It is still rainstorm, fireplace weather.

It's what's for dinner.
We love this soup.

p.s.  I changed the comments to Disqus  I hope they work for everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Her Style - Infant Jackets

Gillian went hunting in the closet for new clothes.  
She was thrilled to discover this jacket.
By Gap.  Size 12 month.  For Boy.
It was perfect.
She couldn't believe how fabulous the pockets are.

She thought this shirt would make a great pairing, 
since the little rosettes would show under the jacket.

Hat - Handmade by friend Lauren Murray
Jacket - Gap Baby
Shirt - Target
Skirt - Disney

Another outfit styled around the jacket.

Hat - Gymboree circa 1990
T-Shirt - Old Navy
Jacket - Gap Baby (boy)
Sweats - Jumping Bean?  

(I don't know where they are from?  
Sometimes I don't know where I get things.  
They are just here.  In my house.  
And I declutter & declutter & stuff keeps showing up.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Warm Welcome

My husband was out of town for work for a few days.
It is more than a little tiring holding down the fort without him.
I get tired.
I won't lie. I need him.
But I need him to keep his job, too.
So, he goes. And I carry on here.

I do miss all that he does for us at home, when he is gone.
But, even more, I miss all that he is & him just being here.
I miss him.

So, even though I am tired, I want to welcome him.
I want to roll out the red carpet.
But, I don't have a red carpet.
And I don't want to clear a big enough path on the floor for one, either.

My home will not be in perfect order when he gets home.
To some eyes, it wouldn't even be considered decent order.
But, I know he likes a good meal.
He'll get a healthy comfort meal from me. (chicken curry)
I'll be cheerful & clean (I showered for him!)
That is how I choose to welcome him.

I made sure there was nothing directly in front of the door.
I don't want him to trip right upon entering.
But, be careful honey - watch where you step.
And don't take your shoes off.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jumping Jacks

We tried to get a morning workout session on camera.
I was fairly unsuccessful in getting into the shots.
Oh well.
I tried to Embrace the Camera.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Lesson from REM

It is upsetting to realize sometimes how self adsorbed I can be.

Sometimes when things seem great
& I forget about my troubles & griefs,
I act like everyone should be happy slappy.
I forget that other people are hurting.

Sometimes when things aren't easy for whatever reason,
I forget that I'm not the only one with hard things.
I forget that everybody hurts.

(And still I tend to congratulate myself for being an empathetic person.  Hmmmm...)

Sometimes I get in my car & I hear REM.
And they sing Everybody Hurts.
And I sing, too.
Sometimes I cry.
Because I am hurting, too.
Or because I forgot that other people are hurting.

(And sometimes I just put it on whenever I want.
Because, yes, I love REM.  And I do have the 2 disc best of.)

In recent history, we have been sick here.
In a typical virus spreading pattern, the children were sick first;
then the mom went down; then the dad.

Once I got sick & knew firsthand how awful it felt,
I told Scott that I wished I had been sick first.
That way, I could have known how bad the kids felt.
Not that I ignored the fact that they were unwell.
I didn't.  I tried to take good care of them.
I didn't drag them around on errands or play dates.
I made sure they rested & drank water & ate oranges.
I gave them fever reducer meds when they needed them.

I just didn't really know, you know?
I wish I had understood how awful it was.
Mostly just so I could understand them.

But even then, I really understand them all the way.
I can never do that for anyone,
no matter how empathetic or discerning I think I may be.
I sorta think I should just remember that everybody hurts.
And I should extend grace,
 try to offer a helping hand & give effort toward an understanding ear.

We're all the same, but we're all different.
Nothing happens to us that is not common to man.  Others have been there too.
And yet, none of us process it exactly the same.
Only Jesus understands all the way.
But, I can try to remember that everyone has a hurt.

Speaking of hurt - 
Are you doing something for the people in Japan?
Is there a relief organization or certain fund that you would
recommend to the rest of us?
I see Samaritan's Purse is on the job.  Who else?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thar Be Dragons

She dresses up in her fancy princess clothes.
She feels beautiful.
But she still asks her brother for affirmation.
"Pey, do I look beautiful?"
He gives her the painful response of silence.
She looks longingly at him for an answer for a moment.
Then she turns to me & asks the same question.
I tell her something like, "Of course you are.  Jesus made you beautiful."

She leaves the room.
I assume all is fine & forgotten.

A few minutes later, I hear quiet crying in the other room.
I go to her & ask why she is crying.
She says, "Peyton doesn't think I am beautiful!
He keeps saying, 'yucky, yucky, yucky.'!"

Why did that make her so sad?
Is it something in her environment (me?  or something else I let in?) 
telling her she must be beautiful?
Or, is it an internal dragon that she fights?
A combination, perhaps?

God created beauty.  He loves it.
And, we are made in His image.  
I think we long for beauty in our very being 
& that is good & right.
But, whose definition of beauty?
Our culture does influence.  
Sometimes subtly & sometimes overtly,
it is teaching us what to see as beautiful.

I know creation is fallen & there is ugly in the world.  
And there is ugly in each of us.
And part of the ugly in us is the desire to be perfect in ourselves, apart from Christ.

I've seen some ugly in myself.  The ugly of wanting to be the most beautiful.
Wanting to meet the standard of perfection that the world holds.
Not accepting what God made as good for me.
Calling my ideas better than His.

That is ugly.

What is beautiful is knowing who we are in Jesus.
That He loves us & made us in His image.
It is beautiful to be confident in His acceptance of me.

You don't have to believe the things that the beauty magazines say 
about what is ugly & what is beauty.
A good friend of mine said to me years ago that she has no reason to believe that 
Eve in the garden, in all her beauty, had no cellulite.  
Maybe, just maybe cellulite was part of her perfect body.

As cliche or simplistic as it sounds, 
I hope it is the right thing to teach my daughters, 
"You are beautiful, because God made you just the way He wanted to."

p.s.  This cute book by Max Lucado teaches this very lesson.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Of Knights & Fair Ladies & some Dragons

Peyton turned 3 a few weeks ago.  

I neglected to post photos back then.  But he did get a celebration.  

Morning - Balloons & Donuts

Peyton got loads of cool gifts.  

He wanted a chocolate cake with "white" on the outside, colored blue. 
(Frosting is just called "white" by my kids.  Strange, I know.)

Scott & I made this Knight set for him.  
It was totally fun to plan & create this together.
Scott was the designer of the whole thing.
The only thing I was, was the seamstress,
(& the sounding board for ideas).

The sword is made with a wooden curtain rod finial 
+ a long dowel wrapped with high density foam.
Then the seamstress (me) sewed some felt to fit over the padding.

I sewed the Surcoat from felt.
I determined how to cut the front & back by laying it over a t-shirt
& sized it thusly.

The Stallion was designed & cut by the Daddy.  
I hand-stitched it on.

The shield was entirely Scott's work.  
He was inspired for the entire project by a fiberglass platter 
that Peyton was using for a shield.
Scott took that platter & made it into a "real" shield, 
with a cool paint job
& a handle & arm strap bolted onto the back.
I love the way it turned out!

We needed a brave knight around here.

Vicious, no?

A fair lady.

A rather harmless dragon.