Saturday, December 27, 2008

Knitting Project

Just started knitting this sweater (from Lion Brand Yarn) for myself:














with this Plymouth Encore yarn:










It is knit in three sections starting with the cable yoke. From the yoke (which I am working on now), I will pick up stitches and work on the body. Then I will finish the neckline.

I'm pretty excited to take on such a detailed project, and will post pictures as I make progress.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thinking ahead....



I meant to begin thinking and praying about my goals for 2009 four weeks ago. I didn't. Well, I didn't do it in the way that I thought I would - you know, all contemplative and with my journal, maybe a new journal and a new pen, maybe a night away in a cushy hotel room ...

Even though I have mixed feelings about the whole New Years Resolution thing, I do think there is a great deal of wisdom in having a time to evaluate the past and set the course for the future. For me right now, it is happening when I get to open a new calendar on our wall for a new year.

So, as I get quiet moments (basically when I shower) I've been thinking about the new year. My biggest problem is that I need a place to remember what I'm thinking.

So here I am on my blog. Thinking about things for the new year.

Some of my ideas: reading (2 books a month?), writing letters (1 a week?), weight loss (10 lbs a month?), gym (4 times a week), community (???), Masters (in what, when, where?), church (?), homeschool (?), marriage (?), kids (?), crafts and hobbies (?), blogging (?)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My color

Your rainbow is shaded blue.


What is says about you: You are a tranquil person. You appreciate friends who get along with one another. You share hobbies with friends and like trying to fit into their routines.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Fun Book

I got this book from the library today:
















Each page has a pattern that if you follow it, leads to a unique, intricate snowflake design. I hope to post some of our results later this week.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mmmmm

Wish I could blog this smell! Breathe in deeply.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Children's Sermon

While I remember I have to get this down.

We went to the local UMChurch for the first time today. During the tradition children's sermon, Pastor Arlene was challenging the kids to think about giving not getting.

She asked the kids if they made wish list of what they wanted to get. Enthusiastically they nodded and spoke their 'yes'.

Pastor Arlene, leading into her pitch on giving asked, "Do you know what the problem with that is?"

And one sweet little girl piped up, "yes, I can't spell."

Do Children Need their own rooms?


My twitter and facebook status read:

"Added two bedrooms to our home this afternoon. Exhausted, but hoping for a more peaceful bedtime and week."

Perhaps some explanation is necessary.

We have an almost entirely finished basement, including a lovely bathroom. It is almost entirely a wide open space and has served our family in several different ways since we moved into our home almost four years ago (four years?!). Currently we have been doing school, playing GameCube, and housing my overflowing piles of crafty projects or could-be-projects.

On the main level of our home we have three bedrooms, meaning that the girls share a room, Marc and I share a room, and Caleb and his legos share a room. Two of the three arrangements are generally amicable. The first has reached levels of hostility and stress that are overwhelming.

Having lived and worked in residence life at high school and college levels, we have told ourselves for years that we are doing 'some roommate somewhere' a favor by allowing our children to experience community living by sharing a room. We have said, 'oh isn't some spouse in the future fortunate that our children are having this experience now'.

Well, we still believe that. BUT. I. NEED. SOME. PEACE. I have found that I am partly of the personality type that values Peace almost above all else. The only thing I love more than that is Perfection (but I am working on that with the help of my love of chocolate). Further, I believe that the personality of one of our little developing wee ones also values peace and order. While her roommate values being in control. At all hours. In all manner.

I'm not sure which straw or which camel, but somewhere over this weekend, it all became a mess.

Recently, my Dad gave us several room partitions that he had acquired through an odd job. Nice room partitions. And if you know us, you know that we have no shortage of books and happen to be at a season where we actually have the shelving for most of them. And most of those books are on those shelves in our mostly finished basement.

SO, I figured out this morning (before church I might add) that we needed about 45 ft of wall, and that with our found room dividers and sturdy and full bookcases, we had about that many feet of 'wall'. And the most important ingredient to the whole thing: Marc's consent and willingness to help.

We could have had one child move downstairs, but have previously tried this and it was the small part of "unfinished" basement that got to her. We hope that by putting the two older ones downstairs it will seem less like exile and more like a 'secret club of older siblings'. Amazingly, the buy-in from the two olders came quite easily.

After church, we came home, had lunch and set to work.
Rearranging our mostly finished basement, disassembling and re-assembling beds, bureaus, and carrying toys and books.

And now our three children have three bedrooms. They are learning about community that allows separation and alone time.

And allows me to escape from the role of referee (aka family spiritual director) to recharge my own vision for community in our family and beyond.



Black Friday Shopping continued....

Dear Joann.com,

@#$%*@#$*@#$*%^

I will do my best to not shop for your website or your store again.

Merry Christmas.

Me

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gingerbread 2008

Gingerbread House 2008


Anna and I have tried to make a gingerbread creation each Christmas season. This year I bought a Wilton's kit (which I felt like was cheating - but we had just as much fun). Here are pictures of adventures today.

cleocatra

I don't know what is more amusing about this picture, Cleo sitting on TOP of the fish tank, or Cleo trying to figure out how the music is coming from the speaker.
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Thanksgiving Pride

Marc told the kids on Thanksgiving that they would need to either help prepare or cleanup at my parents house. Anna decided to help clean up.

This is her, doing the dishes. I'm proud of this picture because we are a dishwasher family, so not only was she helping, she was trying something new (she's very good at it, and she's decided she is glad we have a dishwasher).

Further, I was the designated dry-er. We had such a sweet time together as we did the dishes. We had such an enjoyable time.
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Black Friday Shopping. Or, to the women at Joann's this morning.


I knew it was a foolish long shot to try to be at Joann's this morning. I know that they have a crappy inventory, and that the chance of getting the fabric for a Christmas pj's was slim. But when you look at the opportunity of paying $1.49 for fabric that normally costs $5.99 - I guess it makes you a little crazy.

I did it anyway. For the sake of sanity, I did NOT set an alarm. I simply went to bed and said, 'If I'm awake, then I'll get up and go'. As it was I WAS awake, and I did go. I arrived at 6:10, the store opened at 6:00.

I knew precisely which fabric I wanted and where it should be. I headed to the corner. Passed the cutting counter. Where there was a line of women with carts full of bolts of fabric, my kind of fabric (not my pattern), buying the WHOLE bolts. I can't really blame them. I can try to feel sorry for them. Maybe I should even say 'good for them'.

My fabric was NOT on the rack. I cruised the store looking for it in someone's arms. Didn't see it anywhere.

Fortunately the gym that I go to is in the same plaza, and I had gone prepared for that... so that I at least wouldn't WASTE being out before 7 on a holiday morning.

Now I'm home. I'm showered. I've had coffee and yummy sweet bread. I'm with my favorite family watching the cat chase a wind up car.

And I've bought my fabric. At a 50% discount. And it will be coming to my door in less than a week.

And my arms don't hurt. And my legs aren't tired. And my attitude for the holidays has not been too imprinted by lines, crowds and rushes at door breaker deals.

So there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

LapTop?

"No, I believe I'm the laptop in your life." Cleocatra

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Here are the three kids with the shoeboxes they prepared for Operation Christmas Child. I took each of them shopping and they picked out everything for their Unknown Friends. I'm so proud of the way they opened their hearts and got behind this project. What a great way to start the holiday season.
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Introducing...


CleoCatra, or Cleo for short. Cleo celebrated her six month birthday on Thursday, and has been a part of our family for nine days. We met her at the Humane Society, and she chose us as her family on our first visit.

Cleo spends her time sleeping, looking out windows, and watching our fish. She has done a great job tolerating the excitement of three young kids. She purrs and talks and loves lying on shoulders.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kitty Lovin'



















Me at the Waterville Humane Society. Think they are loving the affection? I had no more than sat down that the one on my shoulder was on my lap and purring. The second one was not seconds behind.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guitar Strings

I've loosened my guitar strings.

My guitar hangs beautifully on the wall in my bedroom... a beautiful natural brown next to my pale purple, gray 'peace' colored walls. It hangs on the wall in such a way that it is one of the first things I see as I wake up each morning.

This is the second guitar that I have owned in 15 years. Before teaching myself guitar, I played the flute for 10 years. My life has almost always had music on in the background. I've been involved in bands and orchestras, camp-fire sing-alongs, and leading worship in small groups and most recently in front of our small church.

I love music.

The thing is, I seem to love a lot of things these days. Well, honestly, not just these days, but for a long time. If I see something that I know I can do, I tend to pick it up and try it. And I tend to do it well enough to convince myself that I can do more and more of it. And I enjoy it. It gives me enjoyment, relaxation, joy.

It seems that I've come to a season in my life where all these interests seem to be splintered pieces of me rather than a wholistic quilt of me. And I've begun to set some other specific goals that simply require time. Time that has to be found somewhere. So, I'm working on simplifying my hobbies. Putting things aside or away for at least the time being.

And so I've loosened the strings on my guitar. I am grieving. I trust that God will grow me and heal me during this separation, and perhaps re-ignite my musical involvement (call?).

May we rest.... in peace.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What I did on Saturday

Found a pattern for this cutie in a book of crafts to do with scrap material. Isn't she sweet?
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The bravest 3yo in the world

Sofia had a well visit this morning. It was a rather normal 3yo well visit, except that Sofia was exceptionally charming, and we have a wonderful DO (and after living in NY for years, I never take for granted our friendly family focused medical practice). But that is not the point of this blog.

After meeting with our doctor, the doctor and I began the signals and communications that a number of injections were in the immediate future... like ten minutes.

She left the room and I took Sofia on my lap. Sofia, you need to get a couple shots today. Her face scrunched and got a little red and she began to mildly fuss 'but I don't want to'.

I hugged her more closely to myself. I know honey. Nobody wants to get shots. But these shots will help you to stay healthy. So I need you to be brave and work with the nurse to get this job done. And if we do a good job we can go get a chocolate sprinkle donut.

Tears turned off, one more hug, and we read and chatted while we waited for The Nurse.

When the nurse came in Sofia began to pull up her sleeves (she had seen where I had blood drawn last week). No, no honey, we're not going to use your arms. We're going to use the top of your legs right here. So, Sofia stood up and let us pull her pants down and sat up on the examining table with me at one side holding her hand. I tucked her other hand under her leg.

Sofia do you want to look at me while she gives you the first shot? Not at all interested in my idea. No, I want to put the bandaid on. So, Nurse preps the area with alcohol. That's cold and tickles. Nurse dries area. That's warmer. Nurse pulls off cover of needle. Sofia intently watches. Mommy wants to look away, but CAN'T. Nurse pokes Sofia. Sofia says 'that hurts'. Nurse and Sofia put on bandaid together.

Next leg. Same thing, except that Sofia asks what the cold and tickly pad does and why is it followed by the warm one. She gets the answers she wants, and watches the full process again. Mommy thinks she might throw up. Sofia and Nurse put second bandaid on.

Carefully we pull up the pants so that the bandaids don't get pulled off. Okay. Let's go get the donut, and one for Anna and Caleb too.

Sheesh. She's a threee year old that is less phased by needles than most adults. We have consistently told her that her strong will will be a great strength when it is focused in the right way. I guess I was only hoping that for her (and me) until today. I saw it today. And I can't say how proud I am of her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making Crayons

crayons


I've seen this idea in a number of books and wanted to try it. Yesterday, my friend Renee referred to the idea in her blog. Wanting to do something special with the girls during our week of 'vacation', I decided this was the week to try.

It's a fairly simple project. Find all your broken crayons and peel off the remaining paper (this was the hardest part). Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Put in a 350 pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Pull out the wax block, and use cookie cutters and make fun shaped multi-colored crayons.

Things that I learned in the process... black and brown colored wax seems to 'float'. So, when we pulled our wax out of the oven it looked like a brownish swampy mess. When we cut the cooled wax the undersides were much more interesting. In spite of my carefullest lining of my baking pan it still poured into the pan... I don't think I'll be able to make brownies in the pan again, and I'm not sure how I'll be able ever clean them. So use caution in choosing your pan and tools, because they may forever more be destined for crayon making.

As I'm typing, I'm also wondering if I can morph this technique for candles and other treats... especially since I've apparently got some new 'designated tools'.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

vote 2008


I voted today. Went to City Hall with the two older kids, met some sweet, sweet ladies, stood in a tiny little booth, colored in some circles, and prayed.

Each time I vote, I grow in amazement that we have such a privilege to participate in the governing of our country.

As the official election day comes closer and closer, there is only one thing to pray:

God have mercy.

Lisa Bruce Knits


I LOVE this knitting. I love it so much it ALMOST makes me want to have more babies. Make sure you go to LisaBruceKnits.com; and to see the full collection and some other knitting treats on Flickr click here.

Of course, I have to confess that the knitter is my sister. And I am so proud of her. She has had a dream of being able to do what she loves and she is finally beginning to see her dream come true. She is so creative, and so talented. I wish her the very best. Lisa, may you have nimble hands for years and years.

Friday, October 17, 2008

iPod touch

I am going to officially blame Marc for my quiet blog for the past couple weeks.

It all started with Caleb's birthday. He got an iPod for his 9th birthday. In passing, I mentioned that I was going to have iPod envy, as I compared my 2g to his 16. (Yes, I am clearly a product of our consumer society- but only with important stuff like ipods.)

Next thing I know I am told that an iPod touch has been ordered for me ( with 32g)!

When I got the gift, not only was it clear to see that it was super-cool, but it was also engraved on the back (honey, I love you.)

So, since then the majority of my computer time has been figuring out all that I can on my new gadget. : )

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A quote for marriage...

I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
- Robert McCloskey

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fryeburg Fair

Fryeburg Fair 2008


Here are some photos from our today at the Fryeburg Fair.

I am such a proud mommy tonight. We left early, had a long trip to the fair, did lots of walking around in big crowds and lots of stimulation, stayed for a long time, and took the long trip home. They, no we, did a great job. I am content mommy.

Looking back on the day the kids each had their favorite parts. For me, my favorite parts were watching them take care of each other and discover new things. Caleb knew where each of us was at all times, helped Sofia on the carousel, and rode with Anna on the ferris wheel. Anna silently and seriously took it all in and then wholeheartedly giggled and laughed and enjoyed herself and was so kind to her sister and brother. Sofia was ready to take it all in, and when she wasn't tall enough for a ride, she'd curse it quickly (and violently) and get over it quickly to zealously cheer for her bother and sister. She also had several meaningful conversations with strangers that she made friends.

I'm also full of curiosity and imaginings about the barkers and ride workers and the culture that must exist under the surface. But I guess that's a topic for another blog since my tired body is extending into my brain and fingers.

It was a great day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

he loves me















Marc got home on Friday from his annual leadership retreat with Inland Hospital. He is always so gracious and brings wonderful presents home. This is what he brought me! Happy Wooden beads, in such a cool sturdy case. I'm having such wonderful batch of ideas of how I can use them.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wit, 2001


I just finished watching "Wit", starring Emma Thompson. I'm entirely and utterly wrecked.

It is the culmination of incredible writing, acting, directing with a deep sense of compassion weaving the talents together. It is the story of a professor's journey through cancer.

I highly recommend it, but only with a full box of tissues nearby.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Into Reading


Callapidder Days is hosting her third annual "Fall Into Reading". I think I may have watched it from afar the past two years, but this year I decided to dive in. I'm pretty sure that my list is overly amibitious. Some of the books are just to skim so I can pass them on, and others will be books that I try to take small consistent bites of, though not necessarily finishing them all. Many of the books are ones that I have read before, and I thought this fall would be a fun time to re-acquaint myself with some old friends. I'm particularly happy that my list is entirely built of books found in our home. I have also listed my books on my GoodReads account on a 'Fall-Into-Reading-2008' shelf.

Here is my list:
  • Across Five Aprils (Paperback)Hunt, Irene
  • Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus) May, Gerald
  • Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st-Century Stress Syndrome (Paperback) Wilson, James L.
  • Art of Understanding Your Mate, The (Paperback)Osborne, Cecil G.
  • Barron's GRE 2008 (Barron's How to Prepare for the Gre: Graduate Record Examination (Book Only))Green, Sharon Weiner
  • Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom (Unknown Binding)Morphew, Derek
  • Caddie Woodlawn (Paperback)Brink, Carol Ryrie
  • Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul (Hardcover)Eldredge, John
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, 2nd Edition (The Complete Idiot's Guide)Miller, Michael
  • The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic Depression, Second Edition (Paperback)Copeland, Mary Ellen
  • Emily Dickinson Selected Poems, Applebaum, ed. Stanley
  • Essential Words for the GRE (Barron's Essential Words)Geer, Philip
  • The Great Turkey Walk (Paperback)Karr, Kathleen
  • The Great Wheel (Paperback)Lawson, Robert
  • The Home School Source Book (Paperback)Reed, Donn
  • How to Motivate Your Child Toward Success (Paperback)McBirnie, William Steuart
  • How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Paperback)Fee, Gordon D.
  • J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)Grafton, Sue
  • Jayber Crow (Paperback)Berry, Wendell
  • Learn and Play Guitar, Acoustic and ElectricCavalier, Debbie
  • Lincoln: A Photobiography (Houghton Mifflin social studies)Freedman, Russell
  • Living on Purpose: Finding Gods Best for Your Life (Paperback)Sine, Christine
  • Meet the Austins (Austin Family, Book 1)L'Engle, Madeleine
  • The Moon by Night (Austin Family, Book 2)L'Engle, Madeleine
  • The Mother Load: How to Meet Your Own Needs While Caring for Your Family (Hearts at Home)Byers, Mary M.
  • Northanger Abbey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)Austen, Jane
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Austin Family, Book 4)L'Engle, Madeleine
  • STEP ONE: PLAY GUITAR (Step One)Traum, Artie
  • The story of the Monitor and the Merrimac (Cornerstones of freedom)Stein, R. Conrad
  • Telling Yourself the Truth (Paperback)Backus, William
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time (Paperback)Mortenson, Greg
  • Troubling a Star (Mass Market Paperback)L'Engle, Madeleine
  • The Way of the Storyteller (Paperback)Sawyer, Ruth
  • The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God's Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives (Paperback)Manning, Brennan
  • Womans Guide to Good Health, A (Paperback)M.D., Carrie Carter
  • The Young Unicorns (Laurel Leaf Books)L'Engle, Madeleine

My goal is to take a picture of the pile each Monday or Tuesday with a link to my goodreads shelf which will host the details of my reading. If you want to join the reading challenge you can always link up over at Callapidder Days.... and Happy Reading!

Monday, September 15, 2008

World Traveller Home

Caleb has been gone for two weeks. He drove with the grandparents from Maine to Mississippi, stayed with them in their winter apartment. Today he flew home (with grandma). Our traveller is very glad to be home, and we are so glad to have him back.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Commitment Move....


Just ordered my GRE preparation book. Goal is to take the test in February or March. *gulp*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Proud Moment

Girls are in bedroom, settling for the night.

Anna (6yo) is reading a book out loud to Sofia.

*sigh*

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sugar Daddy

Sofia came into our room this morning while we were having our morning coffee.

"Daddy, are you staying home today?" Big eyes looking up hopefully.

Daddy melts. "No, honey, I wish I was staying home today, but I have some meetings and then get to go to work." His face is sheer adoration at how sweet Sofia is to want him to stay home.

"Because, Daddy, on the days that you stay home I get to eat Cocoa Puffs, and I really want to eat Cocoa Puffs today."

Daddy looks astonished.... she didn't care about him spending time at home at all. He was just the means to an end.

Monday, September 01, 2008

New Year's Resolutions


I think that it must be the beginning of the school year that leads me to this kind of thinking. I am full of thinking about goals and resolutions. That and our new life with no pastoring responsibilities. Well, the and extra time mental space, and the new beginnings of a school year have me all in the mindset of new things and new beginnings.

I am thinking about my health, my reading, my family. I am thinking about education goals, the place of hobbies, and ways to make my homemaking more purposeful. I am thinking about promises God has made to me, about blogging, and about our future.

I realized with quite a jolt last week that my goals had frayed back to daily and weekly to-do lists. Years ago, I had carefully (painfully to be honest) crafted a mission statement and set goals and evaluated regularly.

I am convinced there must be a way to live with the mess of our busy life with a bit more purpose and direction than I have been giving it. So with school three weeks under way (yes, we started at the beginning of August, as has been our tradition), September is going to be my special month of evaluation and reflection.

Happy New Year!

Secret Desire

Someday, I hope that I can ride on long road trips on a motorcycle with my husband.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Polymer Clay....



It's not that I needed another hobby, but sometime over that last six months I picked up making jewelry. It was mostly the challenge that I could make something for myself that I wasn't readily finding in the stores. So that's been a fun challenge.

A few years ago I bought a bunch of polymer clay to make our Jesse Tree ornaments, which has been one of our Advent Traditions most years for the past seven or eight years. I found a lot of pleasure in the sculpting with my hands. So I have played with the clay, learned a little bit here and there, and picked up some tools when the retail bug hit.

Most recently, I found this gorgeous book that combines the two hobbies to one. This afternoon I spent five hours trying different techniques in the book, and think that I have several beads that will make interesting jewelry.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Vote

I was pretty certain that my vote was for Obama. I was quite happy that I had made my 95% decision and wouldn't have to pay attention until mid October.

I'm upset that McCain has screwed up my months of inattention. I mean really!

What a brilliant choice in Sarah Palin. How often have we said that this country needs to be run by Mom's?

*sigh*

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homeschol Bible Question

For Bible this year, we are listening to a recording of The Book of God by Walter Wangerin, (and read by him) as a family in the morning. This morning, we listened to the portion of the story where God 'invites' Abraham and all males among him to circumcision as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham. I turned the tape off.

Caleb says: Mom, what's a foreskin? What are they talking about?

Hmmm. Now that is not a question you expect to have to answer before nine in the morning with your three children age 8 and under, is it? : )

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Great Falls Balloon Festival, 2008

We got up early this morning to watch the Balloon Launch at this years festival. Here's a link to the pictures we took:

Great Falls Balloon Festival 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Madeleine's Quilt




















I had so much fun making this quilt for Madeleine. She'll be arriving sometime in the next few months joining the lovely Sarah, Matt, and Jack.

I wanted to put buttons in the center of the four-squares but knew that someday Madeleine would put things in her mouth, so I embroidered buttons with my handy-dandy embroidery
machine.




Shy Sunflower

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Monday Morning

Yesterday was one of the few days all summer where I felt myself relax. It was amazing.

It also made getting up this morning a lot harder. Marc and Caleb were up and out by 7am (earlier than usual) and all morning I've been trying to re-situate myself in this reality. I quickly gave up on the 'regular routine' for school... not that we have much of one. Now the girls are watching Meet the Robinsons while I'm browsing blogs thinking about a second cup of coffee. And how dependent I am on bits of routine.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Giving In....

If this summer is going to keep acting like spring or Fall, I'm just going to give up and pull out the crock pot. Planned dinner for tonight.... curry.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008