Friday, November 28, 2008


Guess which little cowboy is having a birthday today?

He's turning this many.

He's really cute and charming and sweet. He likes cookies and his baseball hat.

He also likes to carry the toilet plunger and eat crayons.

Give up?

It's Bubby.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving

From our table to yours, wishing you a day filled with the love and warmth of those you cherish.

To my lovely extended family, it is you I hold closest...I miss you each and everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Small project

Last night we finally watched the Kit movie, from American Girl. The kids were all entertained by the plot but I was too busy looking at the clothes. It was set around the 20's or 30's, the feed sack dresses were just lovely and every scene had a different apron. What a wonderful job that would be, to design the wardrobe or set for a movie in that era. This is why I love the Walton's. The style is so simple yet so pretty. Perhaps I was born during the wrong era.

Molly hasn't been feeling well, so I made her this lambkin. The pattern is free and relatively easy. The Flickr pool gives some great ideas. Hopefully she will be back to her chipper self in time for tomorrow's dinner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

morning boy

The little one wakes with an appetite. If it's an oatmeal morning I usually feed him as it's gloppy and messy and, well, he is my baby. There are many things he does that are so sweet and cute. Like the way he walks around in my shoes, he likes the way they click clack on the floor. Cute now. What about this face he makes every morning after I put my face powder on him?

So very cute. This is why he gets powder in the morning. He is a pretty rough fellow, he loves dirt (like, to eat it, roll in it and stuff it in his pockets--he is learning horse manure is not dirt made into cute little rectangles) So you can see why the powder thing is hard to stop. Will it still be cute when he is 14?

Today he was joyous when I put that oatmeal bowl in front of him like one of the big kids. He holds a spoon well and it is time to let him grow up a bit. But not too much. Just the teeniest little smidge. He must be cuddled and kissed, his hair tussled and his piggies tickled until he chortle laughs from the depths of his belly.

He made a huge mess.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Who are you and where did you put my mother?

Bonnie Bonnet has been keeping my hands busy lately. Christmas projects keep creeping their way into my mind. I like this idle time before Thanksgiving, at least for a week or so I feel ahead of things. I can sit and ponder who gets what and what to bake for the neighbors. I stitch with little worries. But then all of a sudden I realize I forgot the bus driver and my husband's secretary and I scramble around with the rest of the crowds frenzied with boxes of chocolates and sparkly bows. It always happens. I suppose this is the fun part of Christmas. The spirit, the giving, the sudden bursts of peace on earth. I love it all so much. Aren't the best trips to the store last minute with your van filled with sugar hyper kids? Yes, there's stress but there's also a knitted winter mitten clasped in your hand and twinkle lights to oohh and aahh over on the way home. I never want to take for granted my home filled with love and kids.

I say all this because, I realize now what a bear I was this weekend. I think I yelled at everyone. About crumbs and clutter and shoes left out. About helping out and being more respectful towards one another. Even about dumber stuff, it was like I was on a mission to yell. Poor Ken, poor kids. Imagine having a mother like that!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

John Smith

It is too quiet in this house! Everyone is still asleep, which is quite unusual. The rooster is doing his best to try and crow, though it sounds a bit grotesque, not yet a cock-a-doodle-do. Surely he will wake someone! He is so awkward yet confident, what shall we name him?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Craft

I wrote and deleted a post talking all about the way I feel. Aren't you glad I woke up and kept my finger on the back space button? I will keep this a happy place, just for you all, or as they say here: y'all. I was with Molly's kindergarten class this morning and the little squeaky cowboyish voices were melting me left and right. It was too cute!

Speaking of cute. I recently bought this felt ornament at Homegoods, there was no company name, except the made in china tag. It looks easy to make and hopefully the girls and I will find time to make a few. I traced it to make a template and it looks pretty self explanatory. There are eight pieces of felt. The eye is a bead, the back solid, it's stuffed with a little poly filling and a blanket stitch to hold it all together. It might look better as a cardinal or blue bird.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

three things

Reading about the pioneers trekking across America during my childhood always created visions of campfires surrounded by fiddle playing and dancing around in calico dresses. And who doesn't think a sun bonnet is the sweetest thing ever? I always wanted to think I was strong enough to be a pioneer, I would pack up the wagon ship shape and be so efficient making my handsome husband proud. I would brew tea in a fine china tea pot during our rest stops and whip up a fresh batch of scones in a jiffy, with wild berries of course.

Those childhood stories turned into the more realistic diaries and historical accounts like "My Ever Dear Charlie"and "Farm Wife: A Self Portrait". I started to realize that if I were indeed a pioneer I would probably really be missing the cobblestone roads of home. And I'd probably smell a wee bit. Like sweat and the aged hard cheeses they traveled with. As I am growing up here in my thirties my list of things I would miss grows daily. So many things in life I am just now learning, things that seem like everyone around me already knows.
So yeah, I guess I couldn't be a pioneer. Could you?
Here's Three Things I added today to my mental list of relatively- modern -items -I -would- have -trouble -giving -up- if -I -were -a -pioneer.

The Crock Pot. What a gift! I love the way it smells as it cooks all day (that is when you remember to plug it in which I have had the pleasure of discovering I forgot--twice actually). Today's recipe is here. I haven't made it before but it smells great.

The sewing machine. Ahhh let us all think of our ancestors who sat and hand stitched for hours and hours. They never got to hear their children yell "GO MAMA" as she floored the pedal. Bubby boy does this and though it is oh so cute I can't help but furrow my brow and wonder what kind of driver he will be.

The wipe warmer. Though baby wipes in general are deserving of a medal. The wipe warmer is extravagant. We have only had it for the two younger kids but no more cringing each time you slap their tiny butts with an ice cold cloth. Now back to the pioneers... let's again talk about Bubby Boy and ask what would the pioneers do on a day like today when he has helped himself to a colossal tub of dates? I mean seriously, it is the baby wipes alone that tell me I couldn't be a pioneer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

all growed up

Another weekend well spent. Another weekend in November well spent...we all know what that means....we are inching our way well towards the Christmas season. I guess I'll be patient and wait a few more weeks for December until I break out the holiday music and eat a pound of fudge while watching "Elf" for the 15th time. I have nearly every word of that movie memorized, but it still makes me laugh.

Teen summary:

Yesterday while making bread, listening to Vivaldi and dwelling in the sweetness of Molly humming along as she cut and glued, this happened...
Maggie (who has recently had make up privileges taken away as she wasn't wearing less as requested politely by her dear mother) approached me and in an almost whiny voice asked when she could wear make up again, I explained this decision was up to me and she needn't ask me every hour on the hour I will surely let her know, so she huffed out and I did that deep mothering sigh that releases some of the tension and silently tells myself that someday she will thank me for my Little House on the Prairie-esque rules. Ten minutes later she skipped into the kitchen all bubbly asking me if I needed any help with the bread, I looked at her trying to detect if she was being sarcastic which didn't seem a possibility then asked her if she was still mad. She actually replied "oh yeah...what was I mad at you about????" She sat trying to think about our earlier conversation. My dear, sweet darling Maggie has a million things running through her head at all times. This incident was very rewarding to me... teens are hard work! I never seem to feel that 100%-I'm-right feeling when it comes to my teenage daughters. But seeing how quickly this issue flew from her mind while I dwelled on it lifted the worry from me. They are beautiful, polite, smart, young women and I worry endlessly about them. I will admit this only here : I'm overprotective. It scares me to imagine them moving out and being on their own. I want to buy them cute little white clapboard cottages right next door to their lovable parents. We can paint and reupholster furniture together, we can grill salmon with capers and watch movies like "Sarah Plain and Tall". But somehow or other they insist on growing up. Without me. It's so sad!

And yes, I am working on the curtains!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I will I will I will cut into this fabric

It took me a long time to decide what fabric I would use for these windows. I love this fabric and bought it from Equilter. But I have realized loving it is not enough. The breakfast knook has sat looking rather bare for too long. Now that the weather is cooling off it blatantly lacks that warm homey feeling. Yes, I like the fabric, but is it right for these windows? It's a bit summery but perhaps that is a good thing to brighten up the brown blahs from outside. This is what I go through each morning as I get the kids off and running for the bus. The windows stare at me saying, "Please, please be the day..." But each time I go to make those first defining cuts I think of a million reasons to hold off. Am I sure of the style? And what about Christmas decorations, won't it clash? I guess I am at the point anything would be an improvement. Thanks for talking me through this. I think I am ready, really... I think so, but I'd better start fresh tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Be true to thy self

Today as I was collecting my thoughts about Nie-Nie's journey, I thought about all she has taught me and yet we have never met. I admire her so deeply. I pray for her so hard. She has made my life better by sharing her words, her thoughts and her families antics. Her life has grasped my heart, I shall strive to be a better mother, wife and friend because of the way she chose to live her life. That is powerful to me. She lays each day, her body willing itself to heal and I am so fiercely hopeful it will.

Some of what she has taught me, thus far:

Be you.

Love each other.

It is okay to let it go.

Children are a gift even if you lock them outside for an hour.

Make the little things (and big) special.

It isn't necessarily the thought that's the doing it that does.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

my hero

Thank you to all who have served our country. Like many families my family history is dotted with veterans through the generations. Forever I will be grateful...but I will not lie, my favorite veteran in the whole wide world is Ken. It dawned on me this morning that I have spent over half my life with him. Longer than I lived with my parents. This is hard to comprehend as those early days are still fresh in my memory.

I couldn't give you a straight answer as to why he chose to serve. It was hard in the beginning to move away. Hadley was a baby and the shock of not having either of our large extended families surrounding us was almost too much. But so began his life as an airman, we set up our little homes through the years. Playing house and adding kids. Ken's job grew into a career. He is very good at what he does, he makes me proud everyday. I have yet to meet anyone who can balance family and work as effortlessly as he does. Last week I attended a luncheon where he was speaking, I sat there picturing him in his boxer briefs. Is this normal? He is very professional but yet has no trouble acting like Ralph Furley from Three's Company and calling me Luscious Lana. This is why I love him. He is completely selfless. Everyday he makes the world a better place, I say this both in the service and outside of it. He rarely complains. He teaches me stuff everyday. From how an airplane stays in the air to what to feed a 6 month old heifer calf. And honestly he makes it all interesting. He can hula hoop with his girls or wrestle both boys, mooshing their faces to the living room floor having them announce to the house how much they love carpet. I bought him these overalls to be cute as this is what the younger kids wear when we are working outside. He wore them without even a funny look. And dang who knew overalls could be sexy?

It hurts when he is away. It makes me question why we put ourselves through this. This is where his selfless service comes in. I don't understand much of what is going on in our world. I Suppose not many do. I would surely complain way more than Ken. He embraces his family, his service. He is my hero.

Monday, November 10, 2008

lovely, just lovely

It was a pretty weekend, Saturday was busy and by Sunday noon we didn't feel like doing anything at all. I sat and sewed and the younger wee ones were happy creating projects of their own. We stretched our legs by going for a bike ride. There is an old airstrip two miles or so from here that probably hasn't changed since its debut in the 1940's. There is even an old WWII beautiful plane in the hangar, it took my breath away when I snuck a peek through the windows. It is the perfect place for a picnic, though I must have the perfect dress and scarf to hold my hair in place. The picnic hamper must hold aged Jarlsberg cheese and a thermos of cider.

The picnic will have to wait, Henry has called me through the monitor..."Hi, Mom....Hi Mom....Hi Mom".

I really want to relive those hours spent sewing. It's nice to make things with your hands, isn't it?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Red Boots

All five of the kids have worn these boots. No matter where we have lived I have always had a helper or two for morning chores. Someone has always worn these boots. I remember buying them for Hadley when she was a wee one, they were so shiny and new. They have been on little feet from the grassy knoll of our Connecticut house to the muddy fields of the sugar beet farm we lived on in the Netherlands. Henry has mastered putting them on and running to the chicken yard before I have one boot on.

Today was perfect for leaf crunching.

And mud print making while holding a favorite blue painted rock (that ended up in the bottom of the horse water trough and me stripping down to my tank top to retrieve it).

When chores are done it is the fancy kick in the air whilst the boots land kerplop on the patio. There are cute boots (on sale!) here for kids. And Moms here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Plaid Jacket

This morning I woke with a start, ambitious to begin my day. My list is long today, but already I have pushed through the junky part of it. Even though I dropped a glass in the kitchen in the middle of the morning rush, it shattered little tiny slivers everywhere but still I smiled and joked at being clumsy. My kids didn't recognize this trait and kept glancing at me like I was a volcano about to erupt.

Molly's brunch jacket is done. I am still in love with these patterns. I treasure these days of sewing for my younger kids. My teens are a constant reminder at how fast they grow up. I haven't been brave enough to tackle a homecoming or prom dress. I love the bodice on the brunch coat, I guess next time I won't choose plaid, it was more work to match, etc.
Too windy to hang sheets, an after-the-fact-lesson.

Monday, November 3, 2008

When it rains, it pours

Being open with my emotions is a difficult thing to do. I usually save it all for my husband who is usually trying to fall asleep after working a long day but as he is a gift from God he is always the Comforter and hears my every woe until I myself am at peace and asleep. October was a difficult month for our family. Samantha, our niece on my husband's side tragically passed away from a freak accident in front of her house. She was twelve, a beautiful, smart and lovely girl. She injured her head in a way she could not recover from. There are so many emotions that as a family we are traveling through. It has been a couple weeks, it will never make sense, it was too sudden, too tragic. I feel like I look at my own kids with new eyes, with wonder and awe. And of course everyday I think of Samantha's parents and what they are going through.

Following all this, our computer and laptop no longer worked from unrelated issues. Ken was traveling only to come home and catch the blue ribbon of cold/flu from me. We spent the last few days shivering, sweating and coughing, begging the kids to bring crackers and puhleeese change a diaper. But today I notice the shining sun and the way Henry keeps hugging my arm. Everything is good. My sinuses are aching but I must find the ooomph to bake a choc cake--it's Samuel's birthday!