After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My BIGGEST Sewing Project Yet

I have decided to make Zac and I a quilt for our California King size bed!!! 
I might be nuts.
Time will tell.

We will celebrate 11 married years this Summer.  We married shortly after my 20th birthday and his 23rd.  I've always loved sewing, handmade things, and quilts.  In fact, our wedding present to each other was a quilt for our bed.  It's a beautiful yellow and blue toned postage stamp quilt.  We bought it in a quilt shop in Big Bear and it was hand made.  I love it and I'm a little sad it won't be on our bed once I finish the new one.  However, we are both tiring of the yellow, and the quilt hasn't held up too well.  I thought they were supposed to last forever.  ??? 

Our whole house, minus Felicity's room and our room, is done in what I call cabin colors.  Sage and forest green, maroon, and earth tones.  That palate is both of our favorites.  Right now our bedroom is bright yellow.  :)  We plan to paint.  I wanted to do our quilt in those same cabin colors we love.  I also wanted the quilt to have a scrappy and somewhat vintagey feel in the fabrics.  The quilt store in town was having a sale on Super Bowl Sunday and even though I had just decided that weekend to take on this project, I took advantage of the sale and dove right in.  Here's what I have so far.
I went to the library and checked out lots of quilting books.  Zac and I went through them together.  I knew I wanted to try doing a strip type quilt.   Zac liked the Log Cabin, which I could do in a strip type fashion, and I've always liked the Log Cabin block too, so we were looking in that direction until we both fell in love with this quilt the minute we saw it.

This is a strip quilt made with strips of random widths.  Squares are then cut at an angle and pieced together.


I'm excited to start on it but it will be a S.L.O.W process because it's big, but also because I have other sewing projects that have to be done by birthdays.  I'll post my progress as it happens. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pocket Babies

I made these for Felicity's friend's birthday.  I just love them and can't wait to make Felicity a set too so I can have them lying around my house.

So tiny!!!!

I call them pocket babies because I made this little pocket to be worn around her neck so she can carry her baby with her wherever she goes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Teething and Cloth Wipe Sewing

Kian's been crusty and a bit clingy lately.  The other day he was laughing in my arms when I saw lots of little white buds in his mouth.  Teeth!  I thought he was just crusty and clingy because this sickness continues to refuse to leave our house.  Poor guy.  He's getting four teeth at once!  How was he not freaking out?!  At least 2 of them are molars but they might all be.  The bottom two aren't through enough to be able to tell.  I always wondered if his amber teething necklace helped.  I'm starting to think maybe it does since he was a bit more clingy and that's IT, while having multiple molars come in at once. 

On a particularly clingy day, I tried to put him in the Ergo as I had a lot to do.  I love baby carriers.  Felicity and Logan loved baby carriers.  Kian has not liked them since day one.  I've tried.....lots.  Here he is showing his detest of the Ergo. 

By the way, I absolutely LOVE the Ergo.  Kian has just always preferred Mama's arms.

I took the poor kid out of the Ergo and set him up on my sewing stool with crackers.

 He was happy to sit next to me and watch me sew for a while, but he kept patting my legs and laying his head in my lap, making it known that he was OK, but would really prefer sitting on my lap.  I couldn't tell the poor teething kid no so he eventually joined me and had a lesson in cloth wipe making.  :) 

He liked pushing the lever up and down to make my needle go into reverse.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Color Map

Felicity is a little behind in counting and colors.  When most almost 3 year olds are starting to learn the concept of colors and numbers, we were focusing on Lissy's speech delays and teaching her simple words like "help" and "owie" to help us know and meet her needs.  Now she's almost 3 1/2 and her speech is definitely improving.  Last year at this time, she was considered almost non verbal.  She had about 50 words but that was being generous.  Her Daddy's VERY hands on and even he couldn't understand 80% of those 50 words.  The only reason I could most of the time was strictly out of survival.  Today, I could never count her words.  She has way too many.  It wouldn't even be possible to keep track.  :)  Though we are still the main people who know what she's saying the majority of the time, family and friends close to us are starting to be able to understand her too.  It's exciting to see.

ANYWAYS....she's lately shown that she's ready to learn color concepts so I made her this SIMPLE "color map". 

She lays is out and simply gathers objects and places them on their correct color square.  When Logan, Zac, or I do it with her, we say the colors for her.  When she does it on her own, it's simple matching, though she does know how to say "blue", "pink", and sometimes "red."

It's a great way to encourage her investigation of colors and SO simple to throw together.  If you don't sew, you could simply cut squares out of paper and glue together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Multitasking and Finding a Rhythm

In September, when we started homeschooling, we had such a nice rhythm and schedule.  Kian took two naps a day, his first at 10am.  From the time the kids woke in the morning until Kian's first nap, we would eat breakfast, do chores, and play.  Once Kian went down, I schooled Logan (K) and Felicity (pre-K) together in the playroom.  Kian would normally sleep for two hours giving us plenty of time to accomplish all the school stuff I wanted to each day....singing songs, paperwork, crafts, reading, etc.  We could move at such a relaxed pace.  However, as the school year went on, Kian napped less in the mornings.  Our morning school time got shorter and shorter.  I started doing the crafts, songs, and more informal things in the morning with Lissy and Logan, and then schooling Logan on the more formal stuff in the afternoon when Kian and Lissy napped.  I didn't love this plan as that afternoon nap time was usually my time to get things done or just rest, but I had to fit in school so that's what we did.  Later in the Fall, my thyroid crashed and so did I.  School became hit or miss.  Thank goodness Kindergarten is a freebie year.  I hated not having a schedule but I was in survival mode.  During this time I discovered and embraced "Unschooling" by using teachable moments and child led learning to accomplish school.  We stopped singing our daily songs, and less boring paperwork was done, but often just going into the yard produced lessons that I just ran with.  The holidays came and with them, a break from school.  By the time the holidays were over, my thyroid was better and I was finally on meds that were helping.  However, by this time, Kian had now stopped napping completely in the mornings.  Every time I'd try to implement a schedule, someone would get sick.  For the whole month of January, there was always someone sick.  Again, I relied on the more informal Unschooling when the moments presented themselves.  And here we are in February.  This month I am learning to let go of my rest time in the afternoons and utilize that time for school.  Some days I need a break so I've learned to set Logan up with an independent project next to me as I sew.  This seems to work well.  I'm also learning to include Kian in things such as clay play, while at the same time making sure to incorporate Logan's school curriculum into the clay play.  I think we will still be learning balance this month but hopefully by March we will have figured out some sort of rhythm that we can start sticking to.  In the mean time, I'm working on scheduling our days to be the most productive as possible while meeting everyone's needs.  If there's one thing I've learned about homeschooling so far, its that you have to be willing to go with the flow when needed, and you must be willing to change.  That's the beauty of homeschool though.  Life changes and when homeschooling, you can just change the schooling to match your new phase of life.  Bring it on. I think I'm ready.  :)

Here's Logan making letters in a tray of salt at the end of my material yardage I was working with.

And while I sewed on that yardage, he worked next to me putting his letter cards in alphabetical order.
We're learning.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hardest Mom Moment Yet

Logan is going on 6 and with that age is coming some insecurities and fears that unfortunately, the nature of our sinful world has a way of doing.  I think 5 is a coming of age, age.  He is no longer a little child.  His mind is growing.  He understands loss heavier than his 3 year old sister, yet is still so confused by the finality of it.  He loves so hugely, but has sadly seen someone special, whom he loves dearly, make horrible decisions which has separated that person from us during this time.  That is something we don't want, but we can't control the choices of others.  And for a 5 year old, a loved one leaving is hard to understand. 
I don't know if it's his age, or certain uncertainties he's experienced this year, but today he was convinced that I didn't love him.  I had just disciplined him for a minor offense he knows the rules to very well and knew he'd get in trouble for.  However, after I disciplined him, he just could not get over it.  We warned him about changing his attitude when he came over to me and said he didn't like me and I didn't love him.  Tears were streaming down his face, and I was having a hard time holding mine in.  What a blow.  I was stunned.  I took him in my arms and it took me a good half hour to convince him that I loved him.  After a good talk, my worst mom moment ever was turned into a very wonderful mom moment when (finally believing me) he asked me why I loved him.  After I made a huge list, he asked again, just wanting to hear it being said.  After that, he asked a third time, again just wanting to hear it.  After that, he told ME why I loved him. 
I remember being his age and after being disciplined, I thought for sure my mom's love for me had lessened.  I remember this so very vividly.  I was convinced that now that I had screwed up, she wouldn't love me as much as my sisters.  I could not understand how one person would have enough room in their heart to love me (especially when I screwed up) as well as lots of other people.  This was exactly what Logan was thinking today too.  I remember that pain, and I hate that Logan had that pain.  I hate wondering if I've not noticed some anxiety in him lately.  I hate that we've been busy and maybe he just needed a hug more often and more reassurance and I just didn't know! 
It was so very emotionally difficult to reassure him, while being so hurt for him that he felt so insecure.  Seriously, God gave me the words to tell him because they were NOT of me.  They were God's perfect words that we BOTH needed to hear in that moment, and I'm so thankful that God is my loving Father who will never stop loving me or my children.

Logan, you asked why I love you.  I love you because;

you are so very compassionate for others in pain,

you so badly want to be accepted, that you often are too timid to participate (just like me),

you love so hugely and deeply,

you love to snuggle Daddy and I at night,

you talk constantly when Lissy and Kian are asleep, soaking up every minute of my undivided attention,

you love God's creation and always give Him the credit for it,

you sing Kian to sleep when he's having a hard time,

you and Kian sometimes goof off after bedtime....laughing, being silly, and bonding as brothers,

you have amazing freckles, :)

you run so freely through the waves at the beach,

you are amazed and excited about everything from ambulances, to woodpeckers, to instruments,

you decided on your own to gift some cars you outgrew to your sister,

you are very giving,

you never let us forget to pray, whether at mealtime, bed time, when passing an accident on the road, or whenever someone is suffering.....from a small scrape, to sickness, to emotional turmoil,

you love every single thing I sew for you and see it as a token of my love for you,

you are distressed when people are hurting,

you rock out so freely.

I will love you more tomorrow.  I will love new things about you every day.  I am honored to watch you grow.  I love you because God chose you out of all the baby boys, just for me.  I love you because you grew and kicked inside me.  I loved you before you took your first breath.  I adored you the minute I held you fresh from my womb.  I love you because you are not only my son, but because you are also my brother in Christ.  I will be honored to spend eternity with you and our Father who loves us even more than we love each other. 

Shortly after Logan was reassured and off working on a project with Zac, Felicity came running up to me and told me, once again, how she loved my necklace.  I instantly took it off and let her wear it.  Inside, I felt like I was saying "Here, take it.  Take everything.  Just know that I love you."  That must be how our Heavenly Father felt as He hung on the cross.  Take everything.  Just know that I love you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lots of heart crafting

The kids and I made some Valentines the other day.  I can't post them here yet as they will be going to family who follow this blog.  :)  But that got the kids going on hearts and they've been crafting hearts like crazy. 

Felicity and I made last minute (because I forgot) handmade Valentines for her Cubbies Valentine party.  I cut hearts from card stock while she watercolored.  Once the watercolors were dry, I cut those into smaller hearts.  All hearts were hole punched.  With curling ribbon I tied a card stock heart and a watercolor heart together and curled the ribbon.  I added a Valentine message and she "signed" her Valentines by making thumbprint hearts on each one.  I also punched a butterfly shape into each watercolored heart since Felicity LOVES butterflies.  I was bummed that I'd forgotten her party and that these were simply thrown together at the last minute but when I was later going through her goody bag and throwing out junky Barbie (hate her) and super hero printed papers, I felt a lot better about our handmade creations.  Call me old school, but I'd take handmade anything, any day, over the same store bought stuff everyone else has.

I'm a saver of fabric.  I save the smallest scraps, and even stuff that I KNOW is totally trash, I have a hard time throwing out.  I did a lot of cutting the other night (for a project I'm really excited to complete and share) and I had LOTS of scraps in my throw out pile.  I suddenly had a wonderful idea and pulled them out of the trash pile.  I made a pile on the kitchen table, cut large hearts for the kids, dribbled glue all over the hearts and they set to work putting fabric scraps all over their hearts.  When they needed more layers, they haphazardly dribbled more glue all over and continued piling on fabric.  Once they were dry (which took a LONG time), I cut the excess fabric off that hung over the edges, revealing a heart shape.

Hmmmmm....glue tastes interesting.

On a night Zac was working late, I was bathing the baby after dinner and Logan and Felicity wanted to paint.  I told them they'd have to wait until I was finished bathing Kian.  A few minutes later, Logan came running in so proud of himself.  He had set up the dinning room table full of paints and supplies!  All I had to do was cut two huge hearts and they set to work painting.  They also added more fabric to their painted hearts, along with linguine noodles.

This is the kind of mess I don't mind at all.

Mixed medium hearts

Lissy's painted heart

And lastly, we simply used their old artwork to cut hearts from.  I folded the paper and drew a half heart for Logan and was THRILLED when he cut it perfectly!  Normally, his cutting is haphazard as he lacks patience to do slow steady cuts.  I was so excited to see this growth.  Felicity still has a hard time cutting on the line so when we do cutting work that needs to be specific, she sits on my lap and we cut together, my hand on top of hers on the scissors.

We have hearts on windows, hearts on bedroom walls, and secret Valentine hearts hidden away for Monday.  I'm not usually one to really get into Valentine's day, but I have to admit, the kids' excitement is starting to rub off on me pretty good.  :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Curiosity of Clay

We recently introduced Kian to clay.  I think he felt pretty big being up at the table with Logan and Felicity experimenting with this new medium.

I wanted to use the clay as a handwriting tool for Logan.  I showed him how to make four balls, turn them into four snakes, and then use the snakes to form a W.  Here he is working on the balls and snakes.

He got this far and froze.  This is a problem he's been having lately.  I made a W myself, step by step, to show him how to do it.  Then we made one together.  Next I asked him to do one on his own but again, he froze.  I have been very frustrated with this freezing thing lately and don't know what to do.  If I try to help, we both get frustrated.  This day, I just decided to walk away when both our frustration was rising.  I was hoping some space and independence would help him.

In the mean time, I heard Felicity excitedly yelling "U, U, U!"  I turned around to see that she had in fact made a whole collection of U's (our letter from a few weeks ago).  I know the picture below isn't that great, but I just had to include it because her proud face is just too cute.

And sure enough, some time alone to calm down and try MANY times helped Logan successfully make a W!
He even went on to voluntarily make some review letters so I'm hoping that meant he wasn't too frustrated after all.

And of course, boys will be boys, and some stabbing of clay was done.

Lissy later came back to the clay and wanted to practice cutting it.  This worked great for her since paper is still hard for her to control while manipulating the scissors.  Look at her face of concentration!  Love it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A sick girl, a frustrated mama, paints, and a kitchen garden

Last week, Felicity was sick.  Poor girl lost her voice and in a whisper, prayed to God about the frog that ate her (she got a little confused with the "frog in your throat" expression).  I set Felicity up on the couch and was trying to think of something for the boys to keep busy with so she could have some space.  Logan suggested paints, which I thought was a great idea.  But as soon as Felicity heard that the boys were painting, she whispered that she was "all betta (better) now" and joined them at the table.

Yes, Logan is wearing two hats....backwards.  Whatev.

I love Felicity's left hand held in a fist of concentration.

Handwriting has been an area of frustration lately and I've been trying to encourage it through different medias so I had Logan paint some W's, our letter of the week.

I gave Kian water, a paintbrush, and construction paper, and showed him how to dip the brush into the water and "paint."  He was excited to see the wet marks on his paper and for a while he so very carefully dipped and painted.  I was so proud.

But he is, however, a one year old boy and the delicate concentration soon turned to experimentation.  First he tasted his paint brush......

....then he dumped his water out and sloshed his hands around in the puddle.....

....and finally he drank the remaining drops.  I was so proud.  :)

He tired of painting once his water was gone so he wondered off to the play room to have some alone time with his toys.

Due to a busy week that kept Zac away too late on too many nights, and a sickness that is still moving through our house, I was pretty drained and frustrated this day.  I decided it would be good to get outside once the painting was over, since Felicity was feeling "betta." 

I took some frustration out on my kitchen garden which is now bare of anything productive.  It was once grass, which we tore out to make room for the garden and each spring we battle away at the grass weeds that try to constantly take the area back over.  Kian and Logan helped by picking up my uprooted grass clods and making a pile in the center of the garden for me.  Kian just kills me with his chub.  We poke and rub his fluffy soft belly all the time so when he gets free from a shirt, he too will rub his belly.  :)

Logan was thrilled to find worms as I dug up the grass weeds.  We made a nice clearing in the corner and I'd holler each time I unearthed a worm and he'd come and transport the little guy to our "worm pile" in the corner.  He later found a slug so I used the opportunity to discuss the differences between slugs and worms and how one is useful in a garden, and one is not.  He was very interested in that and I think I may expand on it and turn it into more science lessons.

Here's a view of our kitchen garden after I worked off some frustration.  Before this morning, most of the fenced area was all grass weeds.  So I was happy with that morning's progress.  It's just a small kitchen garden, but it works.  And though on that day it wasn't producing anything for our kitchen, it sure did relieve my frustration.