Sunday, February 28, 2010

God's Hand in Haiti

One of the many teams of people that have packed up and went to Haiti to help is a group led by some friends from our church, Vox Dei Community. As I read their updates today, I couldn't help but imagine what it must be like to see such massive devastation and loss. Would the feeling of helplessness overwhelm me more if I was right there in the midst of it all? That I don't know, but it's here in my heart while I sit wrapped in my comfy blanket, sitting in my cushy office chair.

Praying for them and the Haitian people, I sensed that the help my friends are doing during their 7(?) days there is God's hand directly helping those he puts in their path. The workers at the hospital they are staffing will help many more people these seven days than they could without them. The babies they rock to sleep at night will have experienced that many more nights of loving touch as their lives unfold. The children they pass out clean water and a bit of candy for a treat will have that many more glimpses of love and joy.

Please pray for my friends, for Haiti, and now for the people of Chile as well. You can follow my friends' journey on their update blog HERE. I believe their trip is wrapping up and they will be heading home this Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can't Make This Stuff Up! (Part 2)

Okay, let's see if I can wrap this up while waiting for the water to boil! Where was I, ah, machine guns in the parking lot (see Part 1 if you have no idea what I'm talking about).

So I'm standing there, well, more like moving quickly to the door and watching while 100s of thoughts are running through my head. Are there terrorists getting ready to be apprehended? Are we in danger? Why is everything going in slow-motion? They sure don't look like they're in too big of a hurry for machine-gun toting dudes...hmmmm. Come to think of it, I think this is only the second time I've ever seen a real machine gun (i.e. not in the movies)!

The door to the school is only accessible with a key card and thankfully mine is out and ready. We hustle in and practically jog down to the office (Kai in tow and Zane is in his sling hanging out on my hip). The gals in the office asked if I got Elena dropped off okay....ha! Lost my kid, lost his coat, barely found drink money in the van (plenty of Chuck E. Cheese tokens though!), and WHY ARE THERE GUYS WITH MACHINE GUNS IN THE PARKING LOT?!!!! Ohhhhh...they sometimes do SWAT training out there. Really?! SWAT training in the parking lot of a church on the day that 2-3 schools meet at the facility? Really?! [UPDATE: My friend who is married to a KC Detective said that it wasn't training...they were responding to a disturbance that must have been close by!]

Well, at least that explained it and I felt much better. But geee-whiz, what a crazy morning! We went over to get some groceries and I got a call from the gal I chatted with before Kai disappeared...she had his coat! I ran after him so quick I didn't realize she was folding it and draping in over her arm. So, all's well that ends well I suppose. The rest of today has been quiet and ordinary. Kai and I played games and did a puzzle while the baby napped, we're home from picking up Elena girl (no machine guns in sight), Eric is home and dinner is about to go into the oven.

Ah, domestic peace.

Can't Make This Stuff Up! (Part 1)

Really.

Q: What do jumper cables, machine guns, and lost children all have in common?

A: All a part of my first three waking hours today.

Everything was going smoothly until about 8:20 this morning. I was loading up the kiddos to take Elena to her homeschool academy for the day, when Kai ended up being "lost" for the first time. (He was up in his room rapidly stuffing toys into a backpack to take with us.) Then the van wouldn't start.

Okay, think. I was supposed to pick up my friend's little guy too and we had just talked about how we were both ready on time....so much for that. My neighbor had her truck warming up so hoping she could give me a jump I started to roll the van out of the garage. It's a tight fit so I always park a little cock-eyed, making this more difficult than it first seemed. Oh, whoops...make that WAY more difficult as I got it going it started to roll quickly and my door was still open! I quickly jumped in and stomped on the emergency brake before the door hit the middle wall that divides the garage doors and pushed backwards. But it wasn't quick enough and the door was wedged open. Crap.

Kim, my neighbor, came over and we tried pushing the van back into the garage, but it was too heavy. (Funny sight...but we didn't try too hard). So onto plan B: move all the junk (wheelbarrow, disc golf basket, wagon, saw horses) out of the other side of the garage so we can pull her truck in to jump. It worked, well, with phone assistance from Eric (wouldn't want you to think I actually knew how to jump it by myself LOL). Yay! I pulled forward to shut my door and then we were on our way.

We got both kids to school, then walked them to their first class in the gym. The church building is HUGE, so it's a bit of a trek through a maze of hallways and stairs to get there. I stopped to finish the conversation I was having with one of the administrators for just a couple seconds...next thing I know someone is asking if I have a little boy and pointing down the hall. I dash off to find Kai and he's no where in sight. Happening to pass another academy momma, she says she saw a little guy on the stairwell.

Sure enough, at the top of the stairs I call for him and from down the hallway I hear: "I'm here Mom! I remembered the way!". Oh dear! He sure did remember as we were close to being back by the regular school rooms, but he was very far from the momma! And his coat was missing...ugh! How does the boy do it? Anyway, I had to run out to the van to get some drink money for Elena's lunch so we dash out into the cold.

On our way back inside an unmarked police car zooms into the parking lot (again...this is a HUGE church so the lot is big too) close behind another vehicle. They pull up beside a white van and suddenly men in camo gear are jumping out of the van and out of various cars! One opens a trunk and, did I just see what I thought I just saw? Yup, he pulls out a machine gun! Yikes!

To be continued (sorry, gotta go play with Kai in the basement).....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tooth Fairy Time

Elena's 4th loose tooth had been loose for some time. I ended up pulling her first three so she really wanted to do this one on her own. The fear factor was way up there by her calculations. Oh the drama! My favorite part has got to be her outfit...she's so goofy, I love it!



Daddy comes in for reinforcement. Drum roll....

And Winter Continues...


Since we were able to actually see our grass towards the end of last week, it is only fitting that Winter decided to send us some more snow and ice. Ya know...in case we would miss it or something.

Taken out of the continual context of months of the white stuff, this morning's frosting of ice is actually quite beautiful! I wish my camera could have captured the rays of sunshine glimmering through the ice encapsulated branches.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Homeschool Goodies

So I've actually been WORKING tonight (and a few other evenings) on "teacher stuff" and have come across some new-to-me AWESOME sites:

First up, Practical Pages, a blog by another Charlotte Mason homeschooler who lives in South Africa. She has many, many, you-guessed-it "practical" downloads available that go right along with a CM approach. LOVE IT! Especially the composer and artist charts and info pages...oooh, and the Ancient Egypt lapbook! Double-bestest they are all FREE! You rock Nadene!

Then this week I ran across the idea of making a mini-office lapbook with all the help-charts we frequently access like the handwriting chart, number chart, US map, color words, etc. Lots of sites out there, but tonight I'm lovin' Lapbook Lessons and then, in a more classroomy mode, but full of great stuff, SparkleBox from our friends across the pond. Now I just have to decide if I'm going to make one or two mini-offices...hmmmm...I'm leaning towards one for now...like a K-2 version and then make updates as necessary.

Oh, and then there is the whole timeline problem at our house...the big wall version? Well, turns out sticky-tack does NOT like cold weather and it came tumbling down, bit by bit, when winter came along. Not wanting to mar our entire basement stairwell with staple marks, I've opted for a Book of Centuries. My favorite CM site, Simply Charlotte Mason, of course, had one I could download and print, again, for free...woot! We've already loaded it up in a binder and have started transferring our people pictures...much better!

I just love finding new, fun things to make our homeschooling experience even better! Here are some pics of my kids hard at work:

Elena & Kai painting their sugar cube Egyptian pyramids. (See our new vibrant office/school room paint color in the background? I love it!)

Just about ready to gobble up our fruit turkeys with our friends, Ian & Aidan.

Friday's Top 10

10. It's pizza night!
9. Mostly rain instead of snow.
8. Kai played in the basement alone for awhile (a fear perhaps forcefully conquered?)!
7. Reading library books with my kiddos.
6. Sewing projects are about to wrap up.
5. New office couch/bench thingie is almost done!
4. Figuring out I'm allergic to the new dryer sheets instead of who-knows-what else.
3. Nothing on the calendar.
2. Our baby sea monkeys are growing! (What? Can't you see them?)


1. Got to see our new baby niece, Mia! Soooo sweet! Congrats to Chrissy & Robert!




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cloth Diaper Chaos!

Aaack! Cloth diapering is a great thing for so many reasons. It's also a not-so-great-thing for many other reasons!

Here's my current not-so-great-reason: S.T.I.N.K. We're talking, eye-watering, knock-you-over, gotta-be-bad-for-the-baby ammonia stink! Evidently this is not an unusual phenomenon in the cloth diaper jungle. It only occurs when baby has had a wet diaper on for a long time i.e. overnight...but just the thought that that nasty chemical reekiness is lurking in each and every dipe just waiting to release it's nastiness makes me cringe!

So, like any good CD mama, I went to the message boards and blogs to figure out a solution. Oh, and also consulted my chemistry guru hubby. And that began the experimentation phase: soaks, washes, extra rinses, vinegar, oxyclean, special CD detergent, Dawn dish soap, wool covers, stripping, more soaks, more rinses....double aaaack! Some of it worked. For about a week.

Now baby boy is wearing Luvs at night and I re-researched today. Here's the result: I am going to be a CD-washing rebel! I am going to bleach my diapers. I am going to purchase regular ol' Tide powder to wash them in. I am going to cross my fingers. I am not going to let the S.T.I.N.K. win. HA! Take THAT you nasty stuff!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Boys

Here are a couple quick takes of my baby boys...well, Kai isn't so much a baby anymore, he turns 5 tomorrow!

First up, Zane. He's been trying to say a few words this week, "duck" as "du", "quack" as "guuuaaah" (as you'll hear in this clip), and "Hi Daddy!" as "hi-da". So cute!

video

This little tidbit from Kai is what he was trying to interrupt Zane's performance with. He shares anecdotes like this with us all the time.

video

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A. R. T.

Creation. Expression. Imagination. Beauty. Experimentation. Simplicity.

A. R. T.


I have a young friend, Seth Jones, who is a gifted artist--that's him above. He has just opened up a shop on Etsy: Attic Inspired. My advice? Get 'em while you can! He's offering prints and originals of his latest works. I've had the opportunity to see some of the originals and they are fabulous! Now I just have to decide which one(s) I want for myself. Oh, and one of the artists who has inspired him, Kelly Rae Roberts, included him on her blog this past week (click on her name...this new template of mine doesn't show links unless you hover).
Enjoy!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sewing 101

My Elena-bug isn't as "in" to sewing-ish crafts as I'd like...or so I thought. But on Saturday she spied this cool horse fabric at Hancocks and suddenly learning to make a pillow jumped up high on her to-do list!

She chose to make a circle pillow for her first project (ugh!), but we figured it out. She ironed, helped draw the circle (I used the good-ol' "tie a string around a chalk pencil" trick), and then did all the cutting, pinning, sewing, trimming, clipping, turning and stuffing with only minimal help from me! We were all impressed!

Cutting out the fabric.

Whoa! That's too fast...slow and easy girl!

All finished!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Weekend Top 10

10. New shampoo: Pantene Beautiful Lengths Ooooh, soft and silky!
9. Painting our sugar cube pyramids (I'll post about those when they're done!)
8. Weekend #2 w/a more-than-semi-clutter-free house!
7. Sewing baby blankies for my soon-to-be-born niece, Mia.
6. 6 inches of freshly fallen snow on the ground.
5. Chasing baby who is walking all over with his push-walker...then finding him 1/2 way up the stairs, giggling!
4. My Amazon order has shipped!
3. Yummy fruit dip I'm making for the Super Bowl...brown sugar, vanilla, cream cheese.
2. Catching up with all my friends' blogs (not only was I not blogging, but wasn't reading blogs either!)
1. Friends coming over for the Super Bowl!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New Year, New Start

Okay, so since this is re-start week for me in blogland...here are pictures of me and my family, plus a few of my sister's gang. Mainly posted so I can remember where we all were at this point in time!

First up, oh, that's my DH, Eric looking goofy in some funky frames at a Christmas party!

Eric having fun with Zane.

My niece, Stella...looking quite innocent in this picture!

Sweet Naomi, my first niece with a heart about as big as the ocean.

And Miss Ava, Naomi & Stella's sister, with my BFF & sis, Jodi.

Here's my crew...Kai (4), Zane (10 mos.) and Elena (6).

Kai and his buddy Ian.

Zane learning how to read.

Three Amigos.

That's my girl!

My honey and I at our Christmas party...the real owner of the funky frames in the background.

Wool Longies

It's snowing. Again. So I decided to get a little crafty today and made our bouncing baby boy some wool longies! For those of you not "in" to the cloth diapering thing...wool is the most awesome fabric for making breathable, yet absorbent covers. But commercial or even WAHM-made wool covers can break the bank!

So I've taken the plunge into recycling wool sweaters...but as that I'm a, you guessed it, WOMAN...my wool sweaters all seem to have some version of PINK or embroidered FLOWERS on them. Poor baby boy. At least I'm not planning on taking him out in these for now...just good jammie bottoms or play pants. Smile.

This is with the long waistband turned down.

Big ol' bubble butt...he has a prefold AND a Thirsties cover on under this as it hasn't been prepped to wear yet.

Check out the rolled cuffs...so he can wear them as his legs get longer!

Zane is quite the cute baby model, don't you think?

If you want to make some for yourself there are a gazillion tutorials online...I'm not into reinventing the wheel of late, so go to google and have fun! I did run into some questions and here's what I decided to do:

Q: Do you felt your recycled wool first?
A: Depends, but if you like it soft and stretchy, you're better off leaving it unfelted, or just felt it a little in the washer, not dryer. I chose to leave all the wool unfelted. Either way, you still must lanolize by hand.

Q: What kind of thread?
A: 100% polyester (any cotton will wick)

Q: Do you have to finish your edges by zig-zagging or serging?
A: Nope, just double straight stitch. I even just single stitched since this is an experiment.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm Baaack....I think!

Yay for my dear sister, Jodien, who has inspired me to start blogging again. Not for anyone else really, just for a little creative outlet for myself. Being that I already have all this set up, I guess this is where it will happen...instead of some journal that I actually write in. With a pen. A what?

And then I FINALLY found a beach-themed template that I really, really like! What do you think? Yahoo!

So here goes nothin'...come along if you like!