Thursday, July 20, 2017

Banner serendipity

A few years ago, I made this fun summer banner to decorate with, using leftover scraps from some aprons I had made.  I put it up on the hutch this summer, and it just occurred to me that it coordinates nicely with the banner on my new blog background...too funny.  Serendipitous! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The playground seems to have shrunk

I took the kids to the local park/playground for the first time in several years, and suddenly all three big kids looked so...big! And the slides looked small. Thankfully Ari is still little and she had a blast. But Julia commented, "Mommy, the park doesn't seem quite as much fun as it used to..." It's a little sad that I have big kids who are starting to outgrow the playground! But they still had fun, and we had the place to ourselves today, while probably most smart people are at the beach. :)
Summer is a good time to slow down and savor the moments, both little and big, but it's also causing me to notice more just how fast the kids are growing up. Sam has grown at least 4 inches since last September, and is only 3 inches shorter than me. When I stop and consider that Josiah is now the same age Sam was when we took our trips to Battleship Cove and Plimoth Plantation (four years ago), well...it's just a little crazy! I am extra thankful that God gave us Ari, so we will still have a "little kid" for a while...but yes, I know it'll still go by too fast with her, too. It is sometimes exhausting to deal with the toddler challenges, but super fun to get to explore and discover things with a little one all over again.
So now the big kids zip all over the playground "making a Star Wars story," and the little kid zips around doing her own thing or joining in with them. I sit and watch, slapping mosquitoes now and then. (The playground may have shrunk, but some things never change.) It's a beautiful day to savor one of these little moments.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Finally!

Okay, I think NOW I have the new look of the blog how I want it.  It took some fiddling to get the header right, but I'm pretty happy with it!  I found this background that I love more than the barn one that I tried yesterday.  It's just right for the look I want at the moment.  I wanted to brighten up the page, and this background is perfect with the picture I chose of the kids!!!  I love how the girls' clothing in the picture coordinates with the banner colors (totally unplanned!) and how the white peeling paint siding of the background matches the white siding of the camp behind the kids.  That camp, which belonged to my grandparents (and was their first home!) is right next door to our house, so it also works perfectly with the theme of my blog. :)  Which makes me happy!

I had to change the blog template to a different one to make a larger header work.  I'm not quite as fond of the page look, but it's not that much different and I think having a bigger header is a good trade-off.

It may sound strange, but messing with my blog design has inspired me to post more.  Maybe having a fresh new look was just the nudge I needed. :)  Now to see if I can attract some of my previous readers (or some new ones)!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

A little construction

I got a little carried away this evening and changed up my blog design and header a bit!  I felt like it was time to freshen things up.  I'd love to hear opinions...anyone?  I'm not totally sure if I'll stick with this change for a while or not, but it was fun to play around with it. :)

Popping in...

The problem with setting goals (at least blogging goals) is that I feel super guilty when I don't meet them.  Yeah, like that little goal of posting here once a week...you know, the one that lasted for about 6 weeks, and then I didn't post anything from the beginning of March until now?  And then I feel like I'm so far "behind," and there are so many things I missed...Sam's birthday and our Ohio trip and VBS at church and, and, and... Then it's hard for me to jump in and just post SOMETHING!  But anyway, here I am...popping in to say hi to anyone who might still have my poor neglected blog in their newsfeed somewhere. :)  I'm not even going to recap the past few months right now, I'm just going to ramble a bit for a few minutes and see what happens.

It's chilly here today, in the low 60s.  This is pretty rare for July!  We've had a pretty rainy/cool summer so far, with just the occasional day or two of hot, muggy weather.  I can't say I mind the cooler weather, though it would be nice to see the sun a little bit more often. ;)

And I also want to know WHY summer goes by so crazy fast?!  June didn't seem too bad, but July is flying by like it's out of control.  I have/had so many things on my to-do list for this summer, and there are still lots of them I haven't had time to tackle yet.

I'm sure everyone is eager for some kid pics, so we'll start with Miss Ari:
 This girl cracks me up so much sometimes!  One day she was tired and decided to lie down on the couch with her...blender?!  I posted this on Facebook with the caption, "What? Doesn't every girl snuggle with her blender when she gets sleepy?"
Another day this happened while I was vacuuming...she actually took a pretty long nap like this! 
Ari is now 2 years and 8 months old.  (Just another example of how time goes by crazy fast.) Everybody tells you the days are long but the years are short, and it's all too true!  She is becoming such a big girl these days.  I had two goals for her for the summer: get her potty trained and get her weaned (yes, she was still nursing once a day...longest I've ever gone with any of the kids!).  Well, I'm happy to say we have tackled both and accomplished both, before the end of the summer!!!  Yay, Ari!!  Oh, she still has the occasional little oopsie in her undies, and I still put a diaper on her at nights, but she usually wakes up dry.  I'm so proud of her.  It feels so good to have her at a more independent stage, and it also feels SO GOOD to finally be getting a full night's sleep almost every night!!!

The big kids are all having a good summer too.  I had planned to keep them going with some schoolwork, but that lasted until almost the end of June and then we took a break.  It's all good...we'll just jump back in where we left off in a few subjects and start fresh in others.  They did their CAT (academic testing) the last week in June and that went pretty well.  It's nice to be taking a break from school for a bit, although I am already in planning mode and have that on my mind a lot.  I will have an 8th grader this coming year, which means high school is looming, and THAT makes me a bit nervous!!  Here are a few random pics from this summer:

I got my hair cut in June, and later that week I bought a flat iron to play around with.  It's been fun to straighten my hair on occasion, and I can also make curls with it!  I like playing with curls on Julia...so pretty! :)
 When we got back from Ohio in mid-May, the bugs had just come out and they were BAD.  Julia was not impressed!  One weekend we worked on the flower garden and got it looking beautiful for summer.  My bleeding hearts were gorgeous this year!
 A little collage from one Sunday in May.  I received the beautiful bouquet from my secret sister at church!  Also, this was my first time doing a bun in Ari's hair...she and Julia loved having matching hairstyles. :)
 We got new chicks after we got back from Ohio.  Ordered 18, they sent 20, and 1 died, so we ended up with 19.  We had them in the house for a couple weeks till they got too big and stinky, and the kids had fun with that!
 Julia and Josiah each ordered 4 chicks of their own (different breeds)...Julia brought some of hers in her room to snuggle a few times.  I think she wished they would stay little longer!  
 We had a lot of rain/flooding in our area the weekend of July 4th.  We dressed up for the holiday for church that Sunday and got a few pics in front of the flooded river.  Down there where the flagpole is, there is a little amphitheater where the college does outdoor plays sometimes, and it was pretty full of water.  The church kids had actually been playing games down by the flagpole at VBS the week before!
 Less shadowed pic, but the sun was in their eyes!
 Family selfie

With that I will stop for now, because I have a kitchen in great need of some attention!  I'll try to post again soon.  Oh, it's felt so good to sit down and chatter a bit!  I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer so far!!


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Just a little chatter :)

Hello there, blogland!  I'm so bummed that I've missed two weeks of posting.  I have so many posts swirling in my head, but I just didn't make the time for writing anything the past couple of weeks.  Hopefully I'll have time to update a bit more this week.  I figured I would put up a quick post tonight since I'm waiting for Ari to settle down (she keeps getting up and needing to be put back to bed).

Yesterday we took a little trip south to visit the closest Bass Pro Shop to us.  Fun!  I was picturing it bigger, like a Cabela's, but it was smallish.  But still with lots of neat stuff to see.  Ari especially liked the big fish tank, and we had to keep going back there again and again to visit the fish. :) The other kids liked it too, and of course Sam and Jim had fun looking at guns!
 I took this picture of Ari napping sometime last week.  I STILL love watching her sleep...she is so cute anytime, but just so beautiful and peaceful when she's sleeping!!  I still adore her pointy elf ears, too. :)
 Last week I bought fabric!  Time to motivate myself to sew, after a long time away from it.  This print will become an Easter dress for Ari and matching skirts for Julia and me.  Can't wait to see how they turn out!  I'm happy Easter is later this year, so hopefully it'll actually feel a bit springy for a change!
 Ari's hair gets really crazy when she plays on the couch... Jim was able to capture a bit of the static in this pic.
 I've just completed day 3 of a Whole 30.  (More about that in a future post--coming soon!)  I've been buying a lot more veggies because of that.  This was some of my grocery haul last Friday...
 Josiah had fun decorating his punching balloon as a Bad Piggie. :) I love how Ari ended up in the picture, too!
 Not sure how well this next one will show up, but I thought it was cool.  We had friends over for supper last week, and Sam took this panoramic pic with Jim's phone.  It was interesting to see a wide shot of our living/kitchen area!
Well, I think Ari is finally down for good, so I will sign off for now and go get myself to bed.  Hopefully tomorrow I can post about Sam's birthday!  I hope you're all having a great week. :) 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A thankful post

Sometimes I just need to stop for a minute and think about my blessings...actually, I try to do this more often than sometimes (like daily, although I don't always accomplish that).  Tonight I was thinking about a couple specific things I'm thankful for right now, and thought that sharing those would make a good post. :) 

First of all, this little girl.  She's so much more of a big girl than a baby these days...though still my baby, too.  Most especially, I'm thankful that we are finally making progress on getting her to SLEEP!
 She has never been a great sleeper.  Partly because we've spoiled her a bit, and partly because I think she's just wired that way.  About a month ago, I decided I was finally ready to buckle down and work on her sleep issues.  It turned out to be soooo much easier than I anticipated (thank you, Jesus!!).  Now that we are nearly a month in, she's happily getting in her own bed every night, falling asleep within minutes, and only waking up (usually) about once a night.  And then falling right back to sleep with a little bit of back-rubbing from one of us.  This means that we're all getting much longer stretches of sleep (hello, 5-6 hours or more!!!) and I'm feeling so much more rested.  Even on those nights when I stay up late after everyone else is tucked in (oops).
 Look at that precious face.  I can't really begrudge her all the sleep I've lost over the past 27 months.  She is worth it. :) That said, it definitely is more tiring than it was when the other kids were babies!!  I'm getting too old for this! :D 
 Another thing I'm really thankful for tonight is my boys.  They are my "right-hand men" during this time of year when Jim has been working a logging job, which equals really long hours and not much time at home.  The boys help me keep the woodstove loaded, and pile wood beside it so I can fill it up right before bed.  
 They even dry dishes without (much) complaint, even when they would rather be reading. :) 
 They help clean snow off cars, shovel the deck, take care of chickens, etc.  (Julia helps with many of these chores, too. )  Sometimes even without having to be reminded or asked (though not always...they are kids, after all. ;))  And they make me smile every day.  Here's one thing that made me smile today: a tiny Chinese flag made by Josiah (we've been studying China in school).  He came up with this on his own, and later he turned it into a tiny paper airplane.
 Of course I forgot to get a picture of that.  Then he made a few other flags that became part of his paper airplane fleet, as well.  Maybe I'll add a pic of those tomorrow if I remember.  
You know what?  I bet he will always remember what the Chinese flag looks like after this!

Last but not least, I'm thankful for the opportunity Julia and I had to go to a performance of Fiddler on the Roof together, a few weeks ago.  It was a last-minute decision on the last day of the play, and thankfully there were still tickets available.  Though it was a long play (3 hours!) and a late night, we had a blast and were so glad we had gone.  
 It's a memory we will treasure, and hopefully the first of many plays we'll attend together. :)  Here is Julia afterward, with our sweet friend Diana who played the part of one of the village girls!  

It's late and I'd better wrap this up and get to bed.  But I wanted to share these things while they're on my mind.  There is always something to be thankful for, no matter the season of life we're in, isn't there?!  What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Randomness

 I've been mulling over post ideas all day, but here we are at the end of the day and I decided to go with random. :)  Mainly because all the other things I want to post about require more brain power as well as more time!  So here are some pictures from the past few weeks, and a few links at the end.

Jim and I sneaked off for a half hour for a quick snowshoe in the woods one Saturday.  We need to do this more often!  He snapped a few pics on his phone.
 (I wish I'd put on a little makeup that day, I look sooo tired!)
 Ari needed something to do one day while the big kids were doing something together and didn't want company. ;)  So I put her to work "helping" with dishes.  I think we'll do this more often...she had fun and so did I (even though I ended up washing several things over and over, since she kept pulling stuff out of the drainer to play with!).  I can't get over how long her hair is getting and what a big girl she looks like in this pic!
 It's great when the kids pull out toys they haven't played with in a while and get creative.  Sam had fun with the Geo-mags!  First he made a hat...
 Julia wanted to try it too, and discovered it wasn't too comfortable. :D
After that, he continued building and ended up with a soccer ball!
Then there's Josiah...also creative, although he usually prefers paper crafts.  Like this. ;) 
 Jim came home with flowers for me one day, out of the blue.  I was so surprised!  Aren't they pretty?  A bright spot in these gray winter days, for sure!
 The local rink has been offering a homeschool skate time on Mondays.  We've gone twice, and the kids love it!  Since most of the local ponds aren't too great for skating this winter, I'm glad we still have an opportunity to skate, even though it costs a little bit.  I love love love this pic of the kids and a couple of their friends from last week!

And now for some linky fun:  

  • Food love: I am working on getting back to menu planning, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  (I'm not doing well at it consistently, but I'm getting there.  I was in a good groove through the fall, but having trouble finding that groove again right now!)  Anyway, I am mostly all about simple meals right now and this Baked Gnocchi and Sausage hits the spot every time.  Yum!  Tonight I served it with homemade foccacia bread.
  • Book love: The kids and I have been reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (we're studying China as part of our Sonlight curric. right now).  This is a perfect read-aloud in my opinion, because most of the chapters are super short.  Of course, the kids always beg for "one more chapter" because they're so riveted, but we're taking our time working through it.  It's a lovely story and incorporates many Chinese folk tales along the way, which is so much fun.  Love it!
  • Pinterest love: this Valentine banner...I want to make one!  And I've also been looking at ideas for shared girls' rooms, dreaming about decorating our future addition.  There are so many cute and creative ideas out there!  I love this bookshelf and window seat.  I also think this room is lovely (apparently I have expensive tastes :D).  
  • Movie love: We enjoy watching movies on Amazon Prime, and this week we did a 1-week free trial to the Starz channel on Amazon (so we could watch the new Star Wars movie).  We also found a few other movies to try... I really enjoyed Pixar's Inside Out (made me laugh and cry, which is pretty much how ALL Pixar movies are for me!), and then last night we watched Risen.  Totally different genre, but it's based on Jesus' death and resurrection, as seen through the eyes of a Roman soldier.  Some violence, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids, but it was (in my opinion) excellent and really brought the Bible to life.  
And that's all for today...hope everyone is having a great week so far!