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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Vacation

We surprised the kids last weekend with a train trip to Santa Barbara!

And Papa came too!

In addition to the train ride, we used all forms of public transportation while in Santa Barbara.  Here are the little two and I on the city bus.  We also rode an open door, water front shuttle, and a 12 passenger van...much to the kids' delight!

We arrived in Santa Barbara Friday night.  On Saturday, we woke up and went straight to the Zoo, where we spent the day.  I was excited because Logan not only wanted to see the animals, but this time, he was also truly interested in learning about them.  He would say, "Mama, I want to know what the condors eat.  Can you read me the sign please?"
That made my day.

No trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo would be complete without quite a few slides down the big AstroTurf hill, and a ride on the Zoo train.

After the Zoo we headed to Stearn's Wharf where Papa took us out to dinner at Moby Dick's, just like he and Nana used to take me when I was little.  Moby Dick's is on the wharf so while you eat dinner, you can watch sailboats, kayaks, ski boats, paddle boarders, and animals go in and out of the harbor.  We got there early enough to catch the sunset at the end of our meal.

After our dinner out, we headed back to the hotel where the children enjoyed a swim in the spa.  Papa and all the kids were sacked out soon after.  Felicity even fell asleep before our bedtime songs were sung.  Zac and I enjoyed a few hours out on the lanai, just talking in the night.

Sunday morning found us eating our breakfast at the train station, as we had an early train.

The train ran a bit late, giving the kids time to look for treasures on the tracks.  They were thrilled to each find a train track spike to take home.

And then off we went again, North on the train, watching our beautiful coast go by.

A trip FINALLY done after years of talking about it.
A trip that made many great memories.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Papa's Quilt

Our wonderful Nana passed away last May.  Logan, my compassionate one, was very worried about Papa being alone.  He wondered what he could do to help Papa feel better.  He decided he wanted to make him something, and when I suggested a quilt, he was very excited.  Logan was concerned with the thought of Papa sleeping all alone, so the thought of Papa sleeping snuggled up in a quilt sounded perfect to him.
Felicity and Kian wanted to help out and all 3 kids dove into my "pockets and patches" drawer (aka, the scrap drawer).  I got a bit nervous as I envisioned a quilt made with every single scrap I polka dots, balloons on red, Easter bunnies on purple.  But I wanted to leave the fabric choices in their hands and knew they'd get bored if the project was a few prints repeated over and over.  Then I had the idea to do a rainbow quilt, so we could incorporate all the scraps the kids wanted, but keep some sort of order.  We did the quilt as you go method, as I figured the kids could manage this method well.
When we first started the project, I had a moment where I thought it was going to be an epic fail.  3 kids on the sewing machine?  However, once I learned what each child was capable of (or not) it was a very manageable project and we moved forward at a great pace.

Logan did almost his whole blocks by himself.  The only thing I did was cut his fabric choice into the right length and width needed, and sew it in place to guarantee a good seam.  He would then operate the pedal and guide his fabric through the machine, doing all his top stitching.

Here's an example of one of his blocks.  The kids picked their fabric choices (which I'm sure you could tell) while staying in the designated color choice for that block.  Logan learned how to do nice straight lines, but he also purposefully "steered" the needle around to make wavy lines, as you can see on that dark green fabric.

Felicity couldn't operate the pedal and guide the fabric at the same time.  So I pushed the pedal, and she guided her fabric through.  She had a tendency of putting weight on her left hand, creating a pivot.  So a lot of her top stitching ended up being very circular.  :)

Here's one of her blocks. 

I tried to sew with Kian on my lap so that he could put his hands on the fabric and help me guide it through while I pushed the pedal.  He did that some, and would also help me lift the presser foot and switch it into reverse, but it was pretty hard to sew with a wiggly two year old on my lap.  So some of the time, he just sat in a pile of fabric scraps and told me which one he wanted me to put on next.  Then, as I sewed, he'd tell me what a "good pick" he'd made.

Here's his favorite block.  The tractors were a "very good pick"!

It was fun to have some one on one time with each kid.  And once they completed a block, they couldn't wait to run out and show the others their creation.  They were so proud!  I added a few blocks of my own, to keep the momentum going.

And here's our finished product.  Made with LOTS of love, and by lots of little hands.

We gave it to Papa for Christmas, and I think you can see that he liked it a lot.

We walk down to Papa's a lot, and every time we do, the kids can't wait to get there and see if Papa is in his recliner under his quilt. 

I LOVED this project! 
I loved being able to help Logan follow through on his feelings of compassion, I loved sewing with them, I loved how all 3 of them took so much ownership in their work, and I LOVED their excitement in giving.  They talked about how much Papa was going to love his quilt through the entire project.  They truly gave with all their hearts.

Logan wrote a note to go along with the gift, explaining it to Papa.  It read;
"Dear Papa, We wanted to make you a quilt to make you happy because Nana is in heaven.  Love, Logan"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Moments From Our Week

***  Posting this late as I was out of town all weekend.  ***

This week was very relaxed.  We started the week with a wonderful family hike at the lake we live near.

We found some neat drift wood houses and had a picnic.

I showed Logan the signs of the lake's drop in water level.

We had a very wet, very dirty, very stinky, and VERY happy dog.
Unfortunately, RIGHT after this swim, Denver's ear got infected again.  We've been battling with his ears for a while.  Guess we found the trigger.  I don't know what this dog will do if he's not allowed to swim.  But his ears just get so bad!  Poor guy.

There was lots of sword fighting, thanks to this purchase from Aunt Miss.  The foam swords didn't survive the week, but I am now intent on making the kids the wood swords I've been wanting to for a while now.

We took many walks down Grammy's LONG, STEEP driveway to visit Papa.  The kids ask to visit Papa every day, and we walk down most afternoons and stay until sunset, when we walk back up the driveway at dusk.

I lost our curriculum.  Yes, lost it.  How does one misplace curriculum?  Well, I transport it between our house (on the weekends) and Grammy's house (during the week while Zac is away).  Anyways, it was so freeing!  If you follow my blog, you'll know that I'm a trained public school teacher fighting with myself because I have unschooling tendencies.  I have to say, I loved misplacing our curriculum and was disappointed tonight when my mom told me where I'd left it.  We worked on word families this week the way WE like to do it.  After finishing the work pictured above, Logan exclaimed "MOM! I LIKED SCHOOL TODAY!".
That, was a victory.
Another victory was that Felicity asked to do school with us and she TOO loved it.  She practiced writing V's and learned about things that started with the V sound.  She did great.

And lastly, this is being posted late because I was off grid all weekend at a womens' retreat.  It was lovely.  I learned a lot, and will hopefully have time this week to reflect on those lessons and post some here.  While there, I took along a curriculum catalog that a friend suggested.  I've looked at the curriculum before and wanted to do it, but have been hindered by the cost.  My friend taught me how to do it for not much at all.  So now I have to I purchase what would be our THIRD curriculum this year?  Yes, third.  Part of me is embarrassed to admit that.  But you know what?  I refuse to settle.  I refuse for school to be a chore.  If I have to buy five curriculums this year until we find one that is perfect for us, I will.  Yes, I love things about unschooling, and we unschool every day.  But this mama needs a little help to keep things flowing.  So....I've got some thinking and praying to do.

Oh....and as I post this, its raining.  RAINING!!! Finally!
I love Rain.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Old, But New

I made a jumper last year for Felicity.  It was the first time I'd ever sewn something from a pattern, and I used a vintage strawberry print for the pocket.  I was so pleased.  But Felicity didn't want to wear it.  It was too short.  I have since altered that pattern to make it longer for my tall girl, and the strawberry pocket jumper got hung in the closet and ignored.  That is, until last weekend when Felicity wanted to go hiking in a dress.  Zac insisted she needed to wear jeans, and suddenly, I remembered the jumper.  So, with the jeans underneath, and the jumper on top, Lissy felt like she was still kind of wearing a dress, and my jumper was finally worn!!!!

Not only was it worn, it was LOVED.
Happy Mama!
It must be the season for re birthing old forgotten sewing projects.  I made this, last year.  I thought it looked odd, so put it up on a shelf where it was forgotten.  I came across it one day and thought Lissy would LOVE it.  I don't know why I thought differently a year ago. Anyways, I gave it to her on Epiphany, and she was in love.  Its made from an old sweater, and filled with rice.  Before bed, I heat it up in the microwave and tuck it in next to Felicity.  She thinks its the greatest thing since flannel sheets.
So, off we went on our hike....dress shirt, rice baby in a sling....and her jeans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Felicity's First Haircut

My beautiful Felicity is nearly 4 1/2 years old.
She has never had her hair cut!
We love her hair, but it was getting kind of straggly, and it tangled so easily!
She and I were both tired of struggling to get all the tangles out each day.
Change was needed, even though her Daddy couldn't watch.  :)




Lissy said her new cut was "lit-ta-tee", which is her word for beautiful.  :)

Her new cut made her feel pretty silly.

Oh this beautiful girl.......Mama has no words....ugh!

How's that for "baby's first lock of hair"?

A very proud girl of her very first haircut.
Pure joy.