Monday, July 28, 2008

A Story and a Contest

Vintage Butterfly Apron
(Lovely Mom and Messy House Not Included!)

There are some people who should avoid fabric stores like the plague. People who, for example, already have several totes full of fabric at home. However, on certain occasions people like this might need to pick up some fabric for a special project so they make a "quick run" to the fabric store. (NOTE: There is no such thing as a quick run to the fabric store for this type of person. Just ask their husbands. Or their children. And the brothers of certain people like this may warn them that they will scar their sons forever if they drag them into the fabric store, but they do it anyway.)
People like this, inevitably, while searching for the perfect fabric for their special project, see several perfect fabrics and get inspired to start several other special projects. (And of course, there is no fabric in their totes that would do for said projects.) So they come home with not one or two cuts of fabric, but seven or eight. And a head full of plans for all the beautiful things they're going to make. People like this probably really love to sew, but might not always make time for such creative endeavors in their everyday life. But there is nothing like a trip to the fabric store to kick-start their motivation and remind them of how much they love to sew. 
And after they sew one item, such as a cute vintage apron, they might love it so much that they decide to make another one,  just because. And, if you happen to read the blog of such a person, they may just decide to give away the second apron. Because it's cute. And because they can. And because it may be their birthday, and it's fun give something away on one's birthday. And it would make them happy to share something that they lovingly created with their own hands. 
Does anyone out there share this, uh,love-of-fabric affliction? (Stacy? Erika?) I won't mention any names, as to who this story might be about, but you can take a guess. Leave a comment and I'll enter you to win this apron. I'll be away from the computer this week and will pick a winner next Monday. Have a great week! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

If you're interested in using cloth diapers here's a link to a great contest. You can win a dozen BumGenius diapers. These are the same ones I use and they're fantastic. I only wish I would have invested in these when Peregrine was a baby. I tried prefolds with him and had a really hard time keeping the mess contained so I switched to disposables. This time around a friend told me about bumGenius, and I've been so happy with them. They're really simple and will save us a lot of money in the long run, not to mention how much less trash we're generating now! You can order bumGenius diapers from Nurtured Family and receive free shipping, and support a homeschooling family at the same time. They also sell baby carriers, nursing and maternity wear, baby bedding, natural skin care and more. I bought my Ergo from them and they're great people to deal with. (Thanks Michelle, for letting me know about this contest!)
Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Sweet Raphael

Oh my little Raphi, is it really possible that you're already more than three-and-a-half months old? As I was laying in bed with Daddy the other night, you tucked snugly in your cradle next to us, I remembered that it was at this time last year we learned we were going to have a baby.  I carried you close within my body, carrying the joy of anticipation and trying to throw off the fear that would rob my of that joy. Those days seem so long ago now that you are here, strong and healthy and full of such life. If we reckoned years the way they do in some places, you'd be one!
You are such a joy to me. Through you God has brought healing, not only to my body, but to our hearts. The days (and nights) with you are so sweet. Already you've changed so much in a few short months. I really tried to hold on to the moments when you were so tiny, when nothing pleased you more than to be held close against me, your fuzzy head tucked under my chin.  I'm thankful I took the time to savor those times, to let you fall asleep on me, to feel the rhythm of your rapid breathing, to inhale the sweet scent of your hair and feel the impossible softness of your skin. The newborn days fade so quickly and are gone; you have changed so much in these few short months.
Gone is the newborn cry, the insistent "laaa, laaa" that I remember so well from the moment you were born. That cry was quickly replaced with what I called your "squeaky toy" cry; on the intake you made a sound that was just like a squeaky toy! You don't even do that anymore; in fact, you don't cry much at all. You are such a content and happy baby. You bless us all with your sweetness and grace us with your smiles. 
Your first "real" smiles were when you were only about a month old. They were tentative and we really had to work to coax one out of you. But work we did, for there's not much sweeter than first baby smiles. Now, two months into your smiling career, they come easily. Sometimes I glance at you and you are already smiling, not just with your mouth, but your whole body. Little legs are pumping, little fists waving. And then you laugh. Your first happy little sounds pile one on top of another and turn into waves of the most delightful laughter. 
What else do I love about you? So many things, but here are a few:
  • I love the way one of your ear lobes sticks out. It's floppy and soft and oh-so-cute. I think you have a little elf blood in you, Baby. 
  • I love your hands and feet, tiny and perfect. You have dimples in your little fists, and right now you're quite fixated with your hands. You desperately try to get them, often both of them, into your mouth and it's amazing how much you can fit in there! 
  • I love the sounds you make when you're nursing. Happy, contented sounds they are. And I love how you stop nursing to look up at my face and the intensity with which you gaze at me.
  • I love that you've discovered your thumb, and how you suck it while fanning the rest of your hand over your face. Neither of your siblings were thumb suckers, but you sure are.
  • I love that you  sleep through the night, a good eight or nine hour stretch. And when you do wake up, hungry, you rarely cry. I'm awakened by your stirring, by the sound of a little mouth greedily sucking a little thumb, but really looking for something more substantial. I roll over and lift you into bed with me. You snuggle in close and drink deeply and then we both fall asleep again. I love snugly mornings with you.
  • I love that when I put you down with some toys hanging over you, you still prefer to look up into your mama's face. You understand that people are more important than things. Nothing makes you happier than when someone looks into your face and smiles; never lose that, and you'll live a very happy life.
What can I say my little Raphael? You are a blessing, a gift from above, and I am so, so thankful for you. I'm excited to watch you grow, to see who you are. But no hurry, okay? Let's continue to savor these baby days, to hold onto the moments that slip away so quickly. I love you my Little Cub. 
Your Mama  Bear

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Days

Thanks to all for your kind comments on my last post. I'll try to post a picture Poppy's shorter hair soon! In the meantime, here's a bit of what we have going on these days, as well as, and most importantly, a prayer request:
  • Would you go over to Beka's blog, breathe a prayer for her and Mark and their Baby, and leave her a word of encouragement? And please keep praying for a miracle for this baby! 
  • We are enjoying the long and sunny days of summer and looking forward to going to church family camp next week. Hoping to strengthen friendships, grow deeper in our faith, have fun together and make some new friends too. 
  • I've started doing the Letter-of-the-Week again, this time with both kids. We're having fun with it, and Poppy is doing really well learning her letters. And Peregrine is totally taking off with his reading. It's very, very exciting to see it becoming easier for him and to watch him grasping it. I'm so thankful to get to be the one to share these moments with my children!
  • Still making steps toward a simpler life. Not yet sure what that will look like or where it may take us, but it feels good and right to be paring down, to be thinking through some things a little more.
I have some other things I hope to write about soon, including Raphael's birth story and Poppy's birthday letter (which I started in March... yikes!) Mostly, I just wanted to ask you to please be praying for Beka and Mark and their Baby. And I hope you're all enjoying these summer days! 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bad Hair Day

If you would have asked me yesterday, or oven two hours ago for that matter, if I would ever, ever write a blog post entitled Bad Hair Day, I would have said "no". Absolutely not, not about hair, not me. I just don't write about things like hair. I spend about 23 seconds a day on my own hair, and a little more on Poppy's. (On the days when I actually get around to doing her hair, that is. The days she doesn't look like a wild ragamuffin. My favorite style for her is french braids because I can leave them in for several days and not have to comb and style for a while.) The more maintenance free our hair can be the better, in my opinion. 
But I guess it happens once in most every little girl's lifetime: Botched Hair Cut at the Hand(s) of Little Girl and/or Sibling. I'm having a hard time getting the stories to match up, but I'm pretty sure in this case that it was helped along significantly, and quite likely instigated by, a certain to-be-left-unnamed Brother. (I will tell you though, that Raphael's skills are not yet developed to the level of cutting.) Poppy's hair was in pigtails today, two nice long-ish curly pigtails. Or piggy tails as she likes to call them. That's what she asked for yesterday when I did her hair. (Yes, they were left over from yesterday. Today is day two of the piggy tails: Ragamuffin Day.) It's still in piggy tails, but one of them is a lot shorter than the other. Looks like it's time for a haircut. 
So, you may ask, where was I when The Cutting happened? Ummm, well, I was looking something up on the computer. (Reason #211 why Mama should stay off the computer while children are up: Unsolicited Haircuts.) I'd been unpacking some boxes and putting items in a cabinet we've always referred to as "The Museum". (This was in my grandparents home for as long as I can remember and when they downsized we offered to give it a new home.) The kids were very interested for a while, and then they got the brilliant idea of setting up their own museum in Poppy's room. So off they went, and off I went to the computer. I wanted a little info on one of the items in The Museum, and that's when The Bad Hair Day began. 
This is all sort of humorous when I write it down, but it has a more serious side too. (Besides the naughtiness of kids that totally know better.) I find it difficult to be really present with my kids a lot of the time. By really present I mean undistracted, attentive, really listening and watching constantly. Now, this may or may not have happened if I wasn't on the computer, but beyond this incident, I feel like so often I'm engrossed in doing something or even just in my own thoughts that I tune out what the kids are doing or saying. Is this normal? Do any of you struggle with this too? 
I think one of the things I need to be doing more is tomato staking my kids, basically keeping them with me and involved in the things that need to be done. I know that when I've tried to do this it really does help, but it's hard to keep up with. Unsupervised roaming time inevitably ends in the two of them fighting or getting into some sort of mischief. If I even kept one of the two older ones with me at all times it would go a long way towards more peace in our home. Also, for this season of my life, I need to resign myself to not getting involved in projects of my own or getting on the computer unless they are down for their rest. It's what you might call asking for trouble. I really do need to work on being present.
Well, it's time for the children to be getting up. And time for me to get out that pair of hair cutting scissors.... I've got a hair cut to do! 

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Space Bar-B-Que

Raphael has found his thumb.

Poppy is quite pleased at having rolled her own tortilla!

Peregrine encounters a bear!

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I used to post on my blog. I always envision summer being full of lazy days, but somehow it fills up quickly. Here's a bit of what's going on in our lives, as well a few random ponderings.
  • Is anyone else baffled, every year, that by the time the weather warms up swimsuits are already on clearance and back to school sales are in full swing? Let us enjoy our summer, okay, Marketing People? 
  • As a follow-up to this post, I've been spending a lot of time going through our stuff and putting it in boxes for a garage sale, and listing items on Craigslist or ebay. It feels so good to be paring down. And we're putting the money toward following a dream of ours! More to come on this topic in the (possibly) near future.
  • The summer Erik and I were engaged we used to drive out of town and watch sunsets and hold hands. Those were simple pleasures, and we're seeking to unclutter our lives so we can recapture the joy of those things. (And if summer sunsets would happen a bit earlier we might be able to fit one in before bedtime!) Heartathome wrote an interesting post recently that linked to a broadcast that is worth listening to on rediscovering joy in our lives. 
  • We enjoyed our first camping trip of the summer, and the very first ever with Raphael. We went with several other homeschooling families, and a wonderful time was had by all. The last night there was a terrific gust of wind and a treetop came down in the site directly across from us. Thankfully no one was injured, and it was with sober and very grateful hearts that we saw it the next morning. It could have easily killed any of us, and had been where there were lots of children running about all week. I know God protects our lives, but it's good to be reminded of it like that sometimes. We hope to get in a couple more camping trips this summer/fall.
  • Remember when I stocked the freezer? Well, I'm so very glad I did. It's so nice to have some quick-to-prepare dinners on hand. Erik was very impressed the other night when I said I'd make spaghetti with meatballs and fifteen minutes later it was ready to eat! It was as simple as warming up the sauce, dumping in the meatballs, and cooking the pasta. Hooray for make-ahead meals! 
  • Raphael is a full three months (and six days, but who's counting?) old now. I'm always amazed at how quickly they grow. He's worth dedicating a whole post to, but can I just say how thankful I am for this little guy? He brings such joy to my days. 
  • We're enjoying strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries from our garden; also sugar snap peas and baby carrots. Most of our plants went in fairly late this year so it will be a while before our veggies begin to produce. And on the topic of gardens, why is it that weeds grow so much faster than the things you want to grow? I've been thinking about how this seems to parallel life too. Sinful habits seem to be so much more easily formed than godly ones. And harder to get rid of.
  • When watching movies on our computer we press the space bar in order to pause it. Today Poppy told me to "press the bar-b-que" instead of the "space bar". Space bar-b-que anyone?