Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is this normal?

My children seem to have a major problem with crumbs.  I don't quite know what to do.  I'm sure at some point I allowed them to break their graham crackers along those dotted lines, and all of a sudden, one graham cracker became four.  But why stop at four when you can have more? Break it into five and then into six, crumble that cookie until your mother gets ticks!

And here's where this blog post devolves into a Dr. Seuss rhyme but much, much worse.  Those stories are at least enjoyable... my stories I have to clean up. 

This is not a one time thing.

You might wonder where the plates are.  The napkins.  The separate chairs.  The manners.  I find those to be a waste of time and resources...  more water for dishes and trash in the landfill because truly, all the crumbs end up on the floor no matter what.  Might as well just embrace it.

Luckily, Katherine's favorite spot is right under that table, and she cleans up crumbs like a pro.  I knew I always wanted a daughter. 

Little Sister learned how to smile for pictures, and grins to show her teeth off when she hears the flash pop open  on my camera. 

So I click away at my little girle, and send the savages outside to fend for themselves.

William yelling, "MOM! Thomas just poured mud on my head."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Libraries, Lent, and Love

Our family has fallen in love with the library again. This happens every two years or so.    Weekly, sometimes even twice a week, visits are a nice change of pace from nights in at home. As we head back home, Michael and I always exchange glances as we leave with an armful of books and movies, almost in disbelief as we take everything home for free.  And then, for whatever reason, the visits slow down.  And the books that you can borrow for free start to cost money when not returned.  And I get nervous about disapproving librarians so I opt to stay at home.  And then a year and a half later I get a an itch to be a bit more frugal, brave enough to face the librarians, and discover that I only ever owed two dollars and seventy cents.  

Last week I came across a wonderful book called The Story of the Easter Robin.  We've read and reread.  We've drawn robins, we've observed robins, but William wanted more.  He wanted to create a robin.

 It was perfect timing, as a wonderful Catholic mother's journal came in the mail the other day and included a pattern for a bird.  Of course, the boys wanted to make red-breasted robins, just like in the story.

Soul Gardening is a fantastic magazine that I always look forward to.  You can subscribe at

I spent Katherine's nap cutting fabric scraps and sewing by hand.  If I thought about it a bit more, I would have shifted the tummy up higher to make more of a red-breasted robin, but the boys didn't seem to notice. 

He played while I worked on the wings

I don't tend to do much crafting these days, but this project had such a reward.  From the story, we learned how the kind brown robin helped Jesus by pulling a thorn out of His forehead, staining his breast red with Christ's blood.  And now, the boys have their own person reminder of the Lord's sacrifice for us, and can literally pull their birdies close to their heart and know what Love is.  Thank you, Soul Gardening, for bringing such faith and beauty into our home.

The rest of the weekend was sweet, cooking for neighbors who we thought could use a little extra help after surgery. 

And lots and lots of this:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Signs of Spring

Another day of sunshine had me throw open the windows and add ice to my coffee.  That turned out to be a bad idea since it's only 52 degrees out, but I threw on a sweatshirt and some wool socks, soaked up the sun, and shivered only a little bit as I drank my cold coffee.  Katherine was born on the first day of Spring last year, and I remember watching snow falling outside of the hospital window as I held her on her first day of life.   Even when cold weather persists, there is something so hopeful about longer days, bits of green poking out of barren ground, and the first birthday of my daughter approaching.

Poor Thomas has had a rough time lately.  A two year old's emotions are just plain tough to deal with.  From what I remember with William, three was even harder.  We've been dealing with lots of meltdowns lately.

Poor boy has incorrectly buttered toast.

Luckily, his low lows quickly turn into even higher highs, and before I know it he's helping someone else be happy.  Sweet boy wears his heart on his sleeve, and it's a blessing to know what is going on with his thoughts and feelings as he experiences them.

Most days I send him outside to be alone.  This boy craves nature and I indulge his requests for fresh air whenever possible.

Fishing in a hole of muddy water


Thanks to Lent, I have been so much more productive than I normally am!  God is merciful in increasing a mother's workload a bit at a time.  A new mom is taxed by a single newborn, a mom of two feels overwhelmed by being outnumbered when she's on her own, and with three little ones there is more laundry and less free time than ever.  I can project in my own life how in the years to come my free time will wane, my challenges will change, but He will equip me to handle it all.  Any mom is right to feel challenged by her current state of life and number of children.  God's grace is sufficient, yet we constantly plead for more.

Notice the beauty of the stock photos and our own children tipping over.  A few blank spots were left intentionally for a few things coming in the mail.

Welcome to the family! 


William has become quite the author.  He usually tells stories about baby animals who have lost their mothers - perfect for Springtime (baby animals - not lost mothers).  He narrates, I write, he illustrates.  Like most kids, his love of learning is just amazing.  He often directs me how he wants to learn, and at his young age I'm happy to follow along. We often begin by reading a story or a nonfiction book about a subject he's interested in.  Then he'll want to draw, write, and somehow create what we've discussed.  Since his interests are simple right now, we'll head outside in search of snails, slugs, birds, chipmunks, leaves, pine cones - whatever it is we're looking for.

 And that's the end.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Quickie

So, it's easier than you might imagine to let over a week go by without updating a blog.  Or, you know, a year.

The weather here has been, for Oregon, gorgeous.  I took a picture the other day of our indoor weather station because it was fifty-seven glorious degrees outside.  You just don't see that every day here, thus the picture.  That was topped by a sunny sixty-two today, and we made the most of it.

Behold the Lenten green smoothie mustache:

William has mastered spoon balancing on his finger.   If you look at the picture, you'll notice that he's kind of cheating by curving his finger around, but I was impressed nonetheless.  Sometimes I worry with our lifestyle that he won't figure things out very quickly, because he's just not around tons of kids all the time.  But, dude totally has the kid instinct to balance spoons, puff up his cheeks with air, and laugh way too loud at jokes he makes up himself.

Ash Wednesday was this week, and the boys had their own ideas of what they would sacrifice for the next forty days.  William pledged to give up whole bananas (his favorite way of eating them) in exchanged for halved fruit, and Thomas let us know he'd be moving out of our big house and into a tiny one.  Both will be abstaining from Wheat Thins.

Here's a little prayer the boys are working on.  They can both say the words just fine, but get a little tripped up when they sing them. If it looks a bit, um, irreverent, well, you should have seen the other videos... this is about as good as it gets over here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Halfway through

I realize that we're smack dab in the middle of Winter, but it feels like Spring is just around the corner.  Gray skies have moments, minutes, sometimes even hours of blue.  The sun sails higher overhead.  Temperatures warm, and these days, forty degrees feels chilly and fifty makes me want to throw open a window for some fresh air, even if only a crack and only for a moment.  It was only last month that forty felt warm and fifty-four degrees was a hope I didn't dwell on for long.  Why hope for the impossible, I'd tell myself.  Just be happy where you are.

Bike Ride to Daddy's Work. 

Yes, it's good to be happy with the present moment.  But to hope?  That is where dreams are made and prayers are answered.  And so, I fill my heart and my home with hope. 

The children feel better.  I know because they are happy to argue with me and hit each other and throw tantrums in the middle of Target because I won't buy a soft-pretzel.  We head home, have lunch, and reset.  It used to be that grocery shopping and errands were fun diversions in the day, and while our good trips outnumber the bad, these days the boys prefer to stay close to home.  I'm happy to oblige.

This week I am thinking, planning, preparing for Lent.  William will be aware of so much more this year.  Even Thomas can grasp a lot of what is going on.  Pondering ways to make the season "fun" while still feeling sacrificial.  I know there are tons of resources out there from moms who have gone before, and I'll enjoy perusing many of them in the week to come.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Typical Monday

 9:30 am: Pop in at the Dr. for some routine blood work
10:00 am: Celebrate a sweet 2 year old's birthday 
1:00 pm: Neighborhood playdate

9:45: Confirm ear infections at the pediatrician for 2 children
11:30: Return home after way too long at the pharmacy.  It seems every antibiotic is flavored Strawberry, and Katherine is allergic.
11:30-???: Cuddle, sing, rock, sway, hug, love, pray

Mondays never go as planned, eh?  Or any day, really.  It's funny how in an instant a day full of plans can change completely.  Somewhere amid the frustration, the phone calls of cancelling set plans, the disappointment, the completely reworked day is exactly what we are supposed to be doing.

And, lo and behold, shortly after ear drops were administered, smiles returned to every face and we had a beautiful day, albeit a bit different than I first envisioned.

William and Thomas helped me cook dinner.  "Meat goggles" protected William's eyes from the apparently hazardous loaf he was preparing.

While dinner cooked, we opened up the art cupboard.  We've tried watercolor pencils before, but the boys were never thrilled with the process.  This time, we figured out that if we wet the entire watercolor paper under the faucet first and THEN drew with the pencils, the colors were much more vibrant and didn't get muddied from a brush.

You can see the difference in color - pencils on dry paper vs. wet

Happy Monday :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I might have just told someone I have a blog.  Can I even say that anymore?  It has been almost a year since my last post.  In some ways, not much has changed.  Still three kids underfoot, still in Oregon, still Catholic.  In other ways, everything has changed.  William is a mighty four and two-thirds.  Thomas is approaching three, and reminding me once again how hard three-year-old-boy can be, as well as how tender.  Katherine is approaching her first birthday next month, and is less sweet infant and more sassy baby girl, with toddler not too far off in the distance.

William stays home with me now, everyday, as do the little ones.  It's funny to refer to them as the little ones, when William is so little himself.  What he lacks in size, he makes up for in silliness and spirit.  His favorite word is preposterous, and he certainly sounds that way when he says it.

Thomas is none other than... Thomas.  Don't make the mistake of calling him Tom, Tommy, Big Brother, or anything else.  Someone recently called him adorable and he shed big crocodile tears, pleading that could never be such a thing, he is simply Thomas and always will be.

Katherine sits and plays and claps and sings and dances, all with a smile on her face.  She is sweet and happy and oh-so-different from her brothers.  Oh, and snotty.  Little girl has a wicked cold and is just not so cute these days - the cuteness will return, I'm convinced, but for now it's hidden behind a thick veil of slime. 

I'm going to try my best to outline what we are up to these days, both for you and for me.  The books, the story writing, the nature walks, the thoughts, the songs, the spirit and the love.  Oh, and the snot.  Can't forget the snot.

slime factory

Working on the US States.. we've got purple and blue down.