Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Taking my Own Challenge

A page I did at my friend Kristy's house Friday night. I intend to keep telling the difficult parts, but only once in a while. This page is pretty personal, so i doubt I will even post it in any online galleries much less submit it for publication.

just like all the rest

My baby is screaming right now. why is she screaming? because the book was too short. yes, the book. She crawled to me carrying The Monster at the End of This Book in one hand, crawled up on my lap and handed it to me. I read it to her with all the right voice inflections and she laughed and laughed. Then when it was over, she stared at the back cover in shock. How could it be over? I read her another one. She ran out of handy books and now she's screaming. She wants more books. More reading. She can't get enough. my one year old will sit quietly and patiently for at least five books.

The other day, she got a birthday card from my grandparents. I had to make up a story to go with it because she thought it was a book and sat down on my lap ready for one. She was mad it was so short, so I had to tell the story three times. Grandpa's cards have never gotten so much love.

Yup. just like the other four. Can you tell they are my kids?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Been tagged

Becky tagged me in the latest game of blogging memes. I have to describe five weird traits. I'm thinking hard, because you all know I'm just the most normal person in the universe. ;)

1. I can't stand having people stand behind me. my comfort space extends at least twice as far behind me as it does in front. it's especially bad if they are trying to read over my shoulder. ugh.

2. colored things must go in rainbow order. we have rainbow plates and they must be stacked in the cupboard and in the dishdrainer in proper order. M&M's are eaten in order (brown goes next to red.) it's all I can do to not rearrange the crayon boxes.

3. I dont' like pencils. I will do math with a pen in order to avoid pencils. they are scratchy.

4. when I say something makes my teeth itch, it really does. I get a weird crawling sensation on my teeth when I touch certain textures. cotton balls, velour (but not velvet), flat wall paint, etc.

5. I like fresh new roads. I do not like fresh gravel.

ok, enough about me. I'm tagging Jess. ;) I promise this is the one and only time I will tag you though, so you can keep reading my blog, k?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

School Girl

Rilla started school yesterday. As we got to the sidewalk in front of the school, she asked her daddy if she could ride on his shoulders. So he lifted her up and she sat there with a big grin on her face and began to sing: "I'm going to school, I'm going to school." When I heard that, I knew that she would be just fine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Big Reveal

Well, I spent quite a bit less than Trading Spaces would have, and it was my own money, but I didn't have to put up with Hilde, so I think I did all right. We got the couch yesterday and the rug showed up this afternoon. I still have to finish my curtains for the second window and paint and hang my picture shelves, but the main part is done. I am thinking I can live with the tablecloth until the perfect thing comes along, which is a relief. it's hard to find fabric in a print in green red and yellow that doesn't have Christmas trees on it. I will be finding a new fabric for my chair cushions asap. (maybe even this weekend) but here you are, my new livingroom. I'm a happy, happy girl. :)

Here's the couch and rug:

Here's the new entertainment center we bought in July. It came in a box but it's a huge improvement over what we had. (please ignore the uuuuuuugly speakers. I'll be buying my dh a new sound system for Christmas I think just to get rid of those, lol!) When we finish the basement, these will go downstairs to the family room and that wall will get a new doorway.

This is the wall grouping that started the redecorating itch ;)

Monday, August 22, 2005

When Mama Sets the Schedule . . .

Standing in my mother's kitchen, I picked up baby. She smelled like she had a problem.
"oh look you made a present for Daddy! Let's go find him."

I carry her into the livingroom, expecting to see Steve on the couch. No Steve. but wait! there's a flash of moving curtain to the left. I inspect it. There is the top of my husband's head peeking out from behind the chair. He was on the floor cowering from that poopy diaper.

"It looks like he heard me." I gasp out and then I actually collapsed to the floor laughing.

He still had to change the poopy.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Anatomy of a Pirate

"mommy listen to my story"

Matt has reached the point where he wants to narrate his play for me. He's so cute about it. Everything is a story. Yesterday at the pool, he pretended to be different kinds of fish.

"I'm a hugging fish. I'm going to hug you."

Then he was a twirling fish, and a kissing fish, and a jumping fish, and a bird fish, just about any kind of fish a three year old boy could imagine. And of course, he was a shark. He chased around the kiddie pool "I'm a shark! I'm going to bite you!"

Libby thought he was quite funny until he tried to sit on my lap. Then demon baby came out. Aparantly, my lap belongs exclusively to her. She was yelling and growling and pushing on him until I could get him shifted somewhere else. It seems she's jealous now of me. Silly girl, she's number five. She's always got to share.

oh and yes, I got a sunburn. ouch.

Friday, August 19, 2005

routines are changing

School starts in four days. All three of my school aged kids are very excited. They have their backpacks packed with their supplies and they are registered and ready to go.

This will be Marilla's first year. she's so excited and so ready. when they did their evaluation for Kindergarten she got an almost perfect score. (she didn't skip and she didn't know where her knuckle was.) She loves that her classroom has toys in it. She's so close to reading but not quite there yet. I'm fighting mommy guilt over this of course. She should have been reading by now if I had spent the time with her that I spent with the other two, maybe not at three, but definately by five. I just didn't ever read to her as much as I read to them. and it's not like she never asks.

I only have a few more days of everyone at home. No I'm not that sad about this. It has been fun to have them all playing together, but I'm ready for our school routines to start again. They are ready to get some time away from each other. The bickering just ruins any chance of me accomplishing to do list item number seven.

we are going school shopping tomorrow with my sister Cathy (hi Cathy!) It's been a tradition since Sarah's first year and we all love it. we spend the day at the mall and then go have dinner together. It should be a fun day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Redecorating is really taking hold

I've put off decorating so long that now that I"m starting to do something about it, I'm a bit obsessed. Take for example my purchase this evening of this area rug:
I was browsing Pottery Barn's clearance section (which is the only section that even comes close to having something I can afford) when I ran across it. I had run it by Steve and entered my credit card number inside of ten minutes. it's a fantastic buy and will be perfect with my red couch and green walls.

All along I always said I was waiting to decorate until I could do what I really wanted. Deep down I felt that was just an excuse and I didn't believe I would ever get something I was happy with. The whole Pottery Barn taste, Walmart budget thing. I just get giddy when I see the way my livingroom is coming together. One of these days I should post a pic of my bedroom too. it's about as close to done as the living room. I'm loving it too. All soft golds and browns, very calm and relaxing but not cold.

yea me. happy dance and all that stuff. :)

I Hope You Break a Leg

I've noticed a trend lately in scrapbookers getting discouraged about their motherhood skills. From the blogs I've read, they feel as if they are the only ones who get mad, who have kids who do stuff that gets mommy mad, who don't have perfectly clean houses, who don't change the sheets and wash the car once a week.

I blame internet scrapbook galleries for this.

I Hope You Dance, Dream Big, You Inspire Me. Pages of angels who behave perfectly and even the few times they do mess up their mommies laugh and take pictures and post how cute they are instead of actually getting mad about it. So we read this journaling and we start to think that this is normal life. That the world is populated with everyone else's baby darlings and your holy terrors. It's easy to assume that you are the only one with a messy house buying McDonald's food and neglecting the bedding when all you read is stories from Rose-Colored-Glasses Land. You start to think it's abnormal to be angry when your child cuts her own hair the night before your brother's wedding.

Now, I'm not advocating that scrapbookers all turn cynical and negative and dwell on the embarrassing and bad parts of motherhood. Just that we be a bit more rounded in our renditions. The internet galleries can make us all a bit too aware of our broader audience. It's easy to get caught up in writing our journaling for everyone else. Saying what we think we should say instead of what we really want to say or what we really feel.

Journaling should be more personal than that. It should be written for you and your family. You shouldn't do a page about how much you love your family because Rebecca Sower says you should. You should do it because at that moment when you look at that picture that's what you feel. What's wrong with a page that says "do you remember how mad I got when you did that?" If we are writing our family's history, shouldn't it be the real history?

Disclaimer: No, I don't really believe that hanging out on scrapbook galleries is making all scrapbookers need Zoloft. I do think I have seen a few too many "Angel" pages. I did intend for this to be funny, but that's not how it came out this morning.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I am loving Blogger. i love that it's free. i love how i can customize my blog any way i want. what i don't love is how dumb i feel about the comments. all i want to do is be able to e-mail people responses to their comments. i just can't figure out how to do that. i would like to comment back to you guys, so please be patient with me. i'm not ignoring the comments. i read them all and i enjoy your responses to what i write. thanks.

btw, what do you think of my new side bar addition? i lifted the code (with permission) from Helena. her cast of characters was too fun to leave alone.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Number Seven

This is my list of things I need to get done today:

1. dishes
2. laundry
3. clean house
4. paint shelves
5. poly the stair railing (second coat)
6. sew curtains
7. try not to go insane

numbers 1, 2, 3 and 7 are on the list every day. I don't always get number seven done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sing with me now . . .

I got a new couch, I got a new couch, I got a new couch. !!!!! it's the first brand new couch I have ever, ever owned. heck it's the first time I've bought real furniture (besides our matress set.) Real as in does not come with a set of instructions in a cardboard box. I am in love with it. Ok, picture this with sage green walls, khaki tab top curtains with cream banding, a cream entertainment center and black picture frames with black and white photos around the room:

This is not my home (I wish) it's the picture from the store website. I just got the couch. there's no space in my house for the whole set. I love it though. I have to wait three weeks to get it, but I'll post pictures of my cute new space when it comes in.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Random Tuesday

I have a lot percolating through my brain today, but I didn't want to do seperate entries, therefore, I will be random and squish them all into one.

Potty training was successful yesterday. Matt wore pants all day and they were same pair from the first to bedtime. Isn't it funny how it goes like that? They just don't get it and it feels like you will have to homeschool your child through eighth grade just so they don't have the embarrassment of wetting their pants in front of the whole school and then all at once, they do. it's like a little potty training switch. anyway. he's already in pants this morning and I hope to do as well today as we did yesterday.

I have packages to mail today. a big pile of them. This means I have to drag five kids to the post office. Pray for me.

My oldest has been gone for a week. we missed her. the baby was so excited to see her last night and this morning. it was adorable. What is not adorable was how the oldest two were fighting before 8:30. sigh. when does school start again?

I think we have started the weaning process. We are down to two to three meals a day. I thought Libby would be on the whole eat all day thing until she was two. She doesnt' even seem to miss me that much. I guess it's part of her growing up. I never thought I would feel so sad about weaning. I am grateful I got this chance to nurse my last baby. I looked at her sleeping last night and she looked so big. She was so long and her face looked older and all of the sudden I missed my baby. How dare she grow up! She's supposed to be my baby forever. I understand now why every mother the world over spoils the last baby. How can you not? they have your heart all tied up and held for ransom.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The stair project

We bought this house to be a project. We went in with eyes wide open ready and willing to do the work. We used to have a big hole in the backyard. heck, the back yard was almost all hole. (dig out from the basement additon that was never backfilled. We got that filled in. We put grass in the back yard.

But that was outside. On the inside, we still had a lot to do. everything always involved the phrase "but first we need to move the stairs." yes, move. A whole three feet to the north. The old stairs were put in with no regard to how it would affect the basement layout. It ended up cutting a 10ft section into three pieces so no section was big enough for anything. And they had a 5'5" clearance at one section, and there were three stairs that were different heights than the rest. everybody tripped on the last one. In short, they needed redone.

They are almost done. It took Steve several weekends to get them in. Its' been a lot of work, but man is it worth it. The placement even feels more logical upstairs, not to mention the new storage/utility room we've gained in the basement. We went from one of those half wall things as a railing (a leaning half wall. it's never been plumb or very secure. Like the tower in Pisa, it just kept leaning more as the years went by) to a beautiful oak railing. It's lovely. Man it was a lot of work. 18 hours worth of work. It's stained now, but doesnt have a polyurathane coat yet. we'll be doing that tomorrow.

Here's the new railing:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Importance of Pants

Matt is still potty training. I took a break from it when I decided that if I had to drag him screaming to the bathroom, we probably weren't going to be very successful. So we had a lovely break where he wore pullups like diapers and I tried to avoid letting anyone know that my 3 1/2 year old was actually not potty trained.

We're back and he's still hard to get into the bathroom. He still hates the idea of it. He likes diapers. Diapers are convient. You never have to think about them. You never have to stop to take a potty break. Someone else takes care of you when you have a diaper. he's past the point where mommy's praise is all he needs. He doesn't seek it like a two year old does. I often wish I could have been possible to train him last summer. But I think about my eight month pregnant belly and a boy who couldn't speak clearly, and I know that we had to wait.

Matt's a tough nut so I had to come up with a unique way to crack him. Chocolate as a reward doesn't work, because mommy eats it all. Praise doesn't work very well with him either. So mommy has resorted to rewarding with pants. yes, Pants. We start the day in just underwear. If he goes potty, he gets pants. He doesn't get to play outside without them, so it's a pretty decent incentive. Not that he's actually making any progress. He's earned pants maybe twice this week. I can't keep up on the laundry. I've resorted to stealing underwear from his brother's drawer just to keep up. I think my worst nightmare is trying to train a child forever. Days of wet and soiled underwear stretch on into infinity and never, ever end.

So yesterday I had to use the bathroom while he was trying to use his potty chair.

"Mommy, are you going potty?"

"yes, I am."

"Do you get pants?"

Yes, Matt. Luckily, as a no longer pregnant mother who must fear sneezes, yes, I get pants.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My Friend Anne

well, she's not really my friend, but I would hope that if she were real she would think of me as a "kindred spirit." I met her when I was 10. Mom bought Anne of Green Gables and my sisters and mom and I all took turns reading it. we passed it around and giggled together about green hair and Gilbert. over the next couple of months we searched every bookstore we went to for the next book in the series. I think I was 14 when I we finally finished collecting all eight. Anne was part of my akward teenage years. I think she helped ground me.

now the first time through, it was hard to read the middle books. 12 year old girls really don't have as much connection with the grown up Anne. Once they got back to Anne's children, I was back in the swing, loving it all. Strong good Jem, wise Walter, silly, vain Rilla. I loved all their adventures.

Over the years, I've gone back and reread the books. I always forget about Davy and Dora until I'm reading Anne of Avonlea again. I always get mad at Anne for telling Gilbert no the first time he asks in Anne of the Island. Silly girl, everyone else knows, how can she not know?! I always read quickly through Anne of Windy Poplars because it's my least favorite (I only read it for the sake of Little Elizabeth and Rebecca Dew.) I always cry for poor Joyce in House of Dreams. Oh but the tears I shed in Rilla of Ingleside! The first time I read that book I knew I had to name one of my girls Marilla. I had to.

I'm rereading them again. Right now I'm skimming quickly through Windy Poplars, enjoying more this time that previous reads. i think because Im getting older. The older I get the more I understand the older Anne. Sure she's only 23 at the end of the book, but she's still dealing with adult problems. She's still Anne. there are days when I wish I could climb up the little steps to her big bed and sit in her tower room while the wind blows and share confidences with her. her little stove would be lit and Rebecca Dew would check to be sure we were comfortable. I would bring her a nice pen nib so she could have one that wasn't scratchy or dull.

I used to imagine a lot as a little girl. I haven't done that much as an adult, not much more than seeing things in corners in the middle of the night. Anne reminds me that imagination is for imagining beautiful things. For dreaming, for hoping.

Have you met my friend Anne? you really should.