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, May 28, 2012

Our Week and Weekend in Pictures

This week;
 Friends came to play and Kian was THRILLED to find out he and his best bud had matching swim trunks.  He likes matching these days and would probably love it if his whole wardrobe matched his big brother's.  We've never done the matchy thing though, and now Logan has sized up into the big boy clothes so I doubt there will be many matching outfits for the brothers.

 We've been excited to find sweet baby praying mantis in our garden!

 I've been harvesting the last of the sweet peas (and another round of mostly failed carrots)....

....but I've also been harvesting the first of the lavender!
Lavender and sweet peas are two of my favorite scents so though I'm sad one is on the way out, I'm glad one is on the way in.

 Two new blackberries were planted.
My mom fears they'll now come up everywhere.
Are they hard to contain?  We have enough space for what is suggested, but we do have a small yard and don't necessarily want the berries taking over everything. 

 Zac finished the "lower bed"!!!!  It's the one on the left.  It's planted with tomato transplants (because I have volunteers popping up all over my yard), eggplant (the lonely two at the nursery), and basil, cilantro, okra, and beets from seed.
Zac took out that section of the fence to be able to get the wheelbarrow to the bed easily.  We really liked it out of the way, and it makes for easy watering, so off it'll stay!  Zac plans to build a branch arbor there for our berries to climb on.  So we are now collecting hefty branches.

 I've been putting all the lemon's I've been pumping through to use, and making lemon vinegar to use as a household cleaning spray.  I've craved lemons this pregnancy and have been known to go through 5 a day.  I only wish I'd started making lemon vinegar from the beginning!

We discovered that our grape is fruiting for the first time!
We planted another just down the fence from this one.

This WONDERFULLY long weekend;

I took what will be one of my last pics of one of the kids on the blue steps.  The deck is being rebuilt and the house will be repainted!!!  I am very excited and hope the NEW stairs will lend themselves to good kid pics like these old blue ones have.  Some of my favorite pictures of the kids are on these steps.

 A new friend was released into our pond.  We have friends who are relocating and couldn't take their pets.  We offered our pond to their turtle.  The kids named the turtle Millie.  They had suggested that name for the baby if its a girl.  Its cute that they all agreed on it, but we have a different name in mind.  So, the turtle was dubbed Millie.

 Millie came with a friend....a feeder fish she never ate.  This was the most docile fish EVER.  It would swim right into Logan's hand and let him pick it up!  Don't worry, the fish is very much alive, not hurt and now happily living in our pond with Millie.

 Aunt Miss bought the kids a new wagon at our friend's moving sale!!!!  The kids have been having so much fun with it!
The BEST thing our friends gave us was their 4 year old cat.  They couldn't take her with them and she needed a loving home.  Our kids have been asking for a cat since our last one died a year and a half ago.  Libby seemed to be the perfect fit as she was used to kids, dogs, loves to snuggle in bed at night, and goes outside to do her business.  So, we have a new cat!  She's been slowly warming up to her new house and family so I haven't pestered her with trying to get her picture yet, but when I get some, I'll post them.  She is a sweetheart!

The old broken printer was taken apart and experiments with the motors ensued.

We also had a wonderful BBQ with Papa and Grammy, banana zucchini bread (using last season's frozen zucchini) was made, baby and belly went through another growth spurt, which always does me in........but, after all these pictures, I'm sure you're glad I didn't manage to take pics of these things as well.  :)

Have a good week!
We are thrilled as its another short week for Zac.
Soon this job will be done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vintage May

A few ladies around the blog world, are doing a series they call Vintage May.  I read about it on this blog.  I have a small stash of vintage sheets that I've been wanting to turn into nightgowns for Felicity, and I wanted to be inspired by "Vintage May" and get them done, but I really didn't think I'd get to them this month.  But oh, the heat is setting in.  And she keeps putting on her flannel long sleeved nightgowns for bed!  So, in painfully slow steps, I finished this little nightgown for her last night.

 Just a simple little raglan style nightgown, like I always make her.

The fabric is true vintage fabric.  It was given to me by a friend who's mom had given it to her.  My friend said she's pretty sure this print has been in her mom's stash since my friend was a little girl.  I could tell it was true vintage because when I ironed it, it smelled like it came out of the attic.  :)  Not in a bad way.  And it's so silky smooth, that the pins fell out of it like I'd stuck them in butter.  I LOVE it!  I want to sleep in it!

I love the material so much, I decided to use what's left to make a full stash of girl burp cloths.  I brought out the infant box from storage the other day and was disgusted by the state of our baby linens!  I can't imagine why I even saved such dingy stuff!  So, the old linens are now rags, and new linens are in the making.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to do the full stash of burp cloths in the same print, or have a variety.  I asked Zac to model one on his shoulder and he looked so dang cute with a little yellow bunny burp cloth on his shoulder that I knew the whole stash MUST be this print.
I LOVE it!!

** And no, we don't know the gender.  Don't worry, once I fall in love with a boy print, I'll make a full boy burp cloth stash too. **

Friday, May 18, 2012

Alone Time With Kian

Even though we try to get time alone with the kids as much as we can, it's not too often I'm at home alone with just one of them.  Today, Zac and Felicity had appointments an hour away.  Zac decided he'd take Logan along with them and accomplish some reading work with him while Felicity was at her speech therapy appointment.  So, Kian and I were left at home, just the two of us.  It was LOVELY!!!  I am used to getting an hour and a half with him in town each Wednesday night when the older two go to their church club.  But there's just something different about being alone in our house...our comfort zone.
 When Kian saw Zac, Logan, and Felicity drive away, he pathetically said, "I need my Lo-den, Daddy, and Lee-see."  But once I told him he and I were going to have some Kian, Mama time, he was good.  He is a mama's boy after all.  My "koala baby".

 So we headed out to the garden where he wanted to help me weed.  I taught him how to identify the pumpkin plants and taught him how to weed around them.  He did a great job and never pulled up a pumpkin.  Next he watered for me, while I just sat and watched his every cute move and listened to his every word, which are many.  He likes to talk!  And he was quite aware that he had full stage with no one to interrupt him.  So he talked and talked.

 In a matter of 2 minutes, he showed me how a stick can make you a pirate, be ridden like a horse, or used as a bridge.

He showed me the "vedy vedy hunny (hungry) bees", which reminded him that he too was vedy vedy hunny, and tursty (thirsty).

 So in we went for lunch, which he chose.  Popcorn, cereal, and apples.  But we were out of apples.  Can you tell it was grocery day?

 We had a couch picnic and lounged between bites.  What a life!  Kian wanted to know if my Kanteen was purple or pink and we both decided it was "purplish pink".

 And then, though he didn't want to, he napped.

 And I crafted.

 When he awoke, he wanted to paint with me and asked if I'd please get him a toothbrush so he could do so.  :)
We painted side by side for a bit, him talking all the while about cement trucks, our dog Denver, the baby in my belly, turning 3, and everything in between.

Soon, Zac and the older two were home.  Zac asked me what I thought about him "quickly going to the S-T-O-R-E for ice and taking number 3."
Kian replied, "Yeah!  I wanna go!  I wanna go there with you!"
We are getting less past this little smarty every day.

While the kids played in their newly organized playroom (I did that while Kian napped too), I harvested some dinner from the garden.

A beautiful day all around.

God is so good, and I'm always thankful for these times where He allows me the privilege to just focus in on one of the kids at a time, and appreciate the uniqueness that makes up each one of them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making Pregnancy Insomnia Productive

It seems I have pregnancy insomnia pretty early this time.  I have been annoyed with myself because I haven't used that energy for much other than sitting and zoning out in the quiet house at night.  I haven't even blogged much lately, obviously, though I don't know why.  I've been wanting to sew for Felicity as her Summer wardrobe needs some bulking up, but I think the sheer length of my "to sew list" has hindered me from making much progress on anything other than the diapers I could sew in my sleep.   Last night I was fed up with the beautiful pile of fabric I'd been collecting for Felicity, so I dove in.  Enough over thinking patterns and pairings.  I just got busy!  I started with her request first....a butterfly dress.  And after one very late night, her Summer wardrobe officially had its first Mama made love in it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Welcome To My Mess

Over the last two days, the headaches that have plagued me almost constantly for a few weeks, let up.  I have also had more energy and less of a questionable stomach.  To celebrate, I made a HUGE mess in my mom's sewing room.  She doesn't mind though because, well, she doesn't know.  She's on vacation.  And Mom, if you read this, I promise it'll all be back to normal before you get back.  :)

So, wanna see my mess?

My sweet friend lost her Grandma earlier this year.  "Nan" was a sewer and my friend passed all Nan's flannel on to me.  My friend said she wanted to make sure it got used, and she knows I LOVE sewing with flannel.  At the same time, another friend handed down some flannel from her fabric stash to me, when she purged.  So here I was with a Rubbermaid tote overflowing with flannel, as well as a few extra bags.  Most of it was smaller bits.....not exactly enough to make my usual PJ pants or nightgowns with.  So what to sew?
We have a full stash of one sized diapers.  There was a time when we had two in cloth, so do I need diapers?  BUT, our one sized diapers have a high rise and baby can't be put in them until after the cord stump falls off and I just thought it would be fun to have baby in some mama made cloth from minute one, instead of having to wait on the cord stump.
So today and yesterday, I "processed flannel".  I think that term sums it up.  Favorite pieces that were big enough to make pants with were cut and sewn into newborn Big Butt Baby Pants.  Four still need the casings and hems.  That's them on the lower right.
Next, I took all the smaller scraps, and started cutting them into diapers using the Baa Baa Baby 2 size fitted free pattern.  That's them to the left of the pants.  All scraps from cutting diapers were set aside.
Once I was done with the big scraps, I went through the small scraps left over from cutting diapers.  Anything big enough was cut into wipes (ours need some refreshing).  That's the wipe pile to the left of the diapers.
All scraps too small for wipes were stacked up in case I needed to piece together tabs for a diaper that didn't have quite enough fabric.  You can see those piles above the diaper cut outs.
And at the back against the wall, are the diapers that are made and awaiting soakers.

 But wait, there's more.  In the Rubbermaid are pieces of flannel I still have that are large enough to make diapers out of.  The upper left pile are large pieces, set aside for pants or nightgowns for next winter.  And the red pile are solids for inner diaper layers.

 Oh wait, a bit more mess.  Diaper outers in need of matching inners, and diaper pieces cut and ready, hang on the sewing chair.

 And here's my view from the sewing room window.  Lissy's not falling out of the trampoline, she's purposefully hanging upside down, which reminded me that I REALLY must find a pantaloon pattern to make my dress loving acrobatic girl something to wear under her dresses!  All she does at the park is hang upside down!
So, while I "processed flannel", the kids jumped to music that we blasted.

 Then, when they got hot from all the jumping, I took a break from "processing flannel" to watch them cool off.

After getting cooled off, they warmed up again.  My kids lay in the sun after a swim like lizards.  They love to soak it up.

While Kian napped, I took another break from "processing flannel" to school our own kinda way....again (ahem).  Yes, we again are rethinking this whole curriculum stuff.  I wish I could insert a picture of me banging my head here.

Anyways, YAY for generous friends who know of my love for flannel, YAY for (MASS) baby sewing, and thank you Lord for the wonderful energy of the second trimester!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Around the Urban Homestead

***  Warning, this post will be overflowing with garden pictures.  ***

Ok, now that you've had your chance to go read somewhere else, let the pictures begin!  Come have a tour of our front yard.  It brings me MUCH joy, as I'm sure you can tell by this onslaught of pics.

Welcome to my garden!

 This is the upper favorite part of the yard.

 At the base of the upper garden is the sweet pea bed.  I went a bit crazy with sweet pea planting this year.  I thought I'd end up regretting the wasted veggie space, but now that there's HUNDREDS of the most beautiful smelling flowers all over it, I don't regret it one bit.  The smell takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of my Nana, though I don't know why.  I always planted sweet peas with my mom in her garden when I was a teenager too, so these little amazing flowers hold a special place in my heart.
In the corners of this bed are tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.

 In the picture above, you can see our van parked behind the sweet pea bed.  This is the backside of the bed, and my view when I drive up to our house.  And see those TINY little green sprouts just behind the ugly telephone posts?  Those are some calendula and giant gourd sprouts planted in about a two inch wide strip of soil.  Zac was watering with Kian tonight and I heard him say, "Mama has every inch of this yard planted"!  Yep, I do.  I'm putting seeds anywhere I can find the space.  I may not be able to walk through my garden once its all fully grown.  :)
 Here's what my garden table looked like before I took pics of the garden today.  All these sweet peas were fabulously covering the vines like fireworks.  I should have taken a pic before cutting.  These now fill our house and our house smells wonderful!  Felicity was adamant about taking a bouquet into her room and I found her daintily arranging the tiny flowers with a HUGE smile on her face.  Hopefully, when she's my age, the smell of sweat peas will take her back to her childhood, and gardening with me.

 Next to the sweet pea bed is the carrot bed.  In here are carrots (of course) onions, garlic, asparagus, and more sweet peas and baby sunflower sprouts along the back edge.  That's calendula popping up there in the dirt at the base of the box.

 Where the sweet pea bed and carrot bed meet, is our active compost pile.  And right there in front of my right foot are volunteer tomato plants from last year's crop, once composted.  I often take volunteers out of the compost and transplant them, but I'm going to let those tomatoes grow right where they've popped up.
 Near the front steps we have lettuce growing in pots.  Some more sweet peas are at the back of the big pot, and climb the stair railing.  At the base of the big pot are more calendula sprouts.

 The A frame is in the center of this upper garden area.  Peas are on the left, green beans on the right, lettuce down the middle, a row of baby sunflowers popping up at the back to hopefully shade the lettuce, and TINY tomato sprouts coming up in the four corners.  In this whole upper garden area we have volunteer tomatoes popping up all over.  We try to not step on those tiny babies.

 Here is our lonely lemon in a pot on the porch.  Calendula babies keep it company.  I'd LOVE to have more citrus, but our area is technically not zoned for citrus.   But with some TLC, they can thrive.  My mom grows the best oranges and lemons I've ever had.  So I'm hoping this little one grows well for us, and I'd like to get more soon.

 Here's the lower part of the front yard.  The area with the soaker hose is the melon patch.  We have pumpkins and watermelon coming up.

 At the edge of the melon patch is Kian and Felicity's gourd and flower bed.

 The "long bed" is just coming to life.  There's more calendula there at the base of the bed.

 In this bed are zucchini, squash, cucumber, lemon cucumber, tomatoes.........
 .........and rows of green beans.

 Below the "long bed" is the "lower bed" which is yet to be finished.  Volunteer sunflowers from last year's crop are popping up all around it.

 Here is the front of our humble abode.

 Under the right window is our pond.  This was one of Zac's and my first projects after moving in 7 1/2 years ago, and I still love it.

 I love it because the birds love it!  They are ALWAYS fluttering around it, especially the water feature.

To the left of the pond is this little bed.  This is the first year it will be fully planted.  Felicity and I sowed herbs last week.  We can't wait for them all to come up.  Bulbs and nasturtium are at the base of this bed, and a granny smith apple tree can barely be seen in these pics, near the house.

Well, there you have it.  The official tour of our garden as it is magically coming to life now in early May.  I so greatly love this space that I just had to share nearly every inch with you.  It brings me so much joy, and I can't wait to see it explode over the next few months.
Thanks for taking a minute (ok, more like quite a few minutes) to share my joy with me.

Happy gardening/homesteading/farming/urban homesteading or whatever plant tending you may do.  :)