Sunday, May 31, 2009

the plans

Here are the fabrics I am using to make Number 5's bedroom curtains. The grosgrain ribbon is actually hot pink, not red as it appears in the picture.

I am so scared that I am going to screw them up somehow. Eeeek. I have no idea what I am doing and it makes me 'keered'. I already didn't allow for any gathering, so they are going to look like pillow cases hanging up there.

Sometimes mediocre is just not good enough, y'know?

meet the new dolly

Meet Five's new dolly. She was made by LittleJennyWren, who lives in Australia. I stumbled upon her website and not only love her blog and the way she inspires me to live each day simply and peacefully, but also, I love love love the beautiful dolls she creates.
This was a very special order for a sweet girl who turned two in March.

After taking off Dolly's dress and shoes, Number 5 is showing her the new surroundings. Outside of this window is what I call my Mother's Day Garden. It is filled with hydrangeas, which Dolly thinks are beautiful.

They have filled out nicely this year.

(putting the shoes back on)

Number 3 asked me nearly every day when the new doll from "Down Under" would be here. When the postman rang the doorbell, she answered the door. He handed her the package and when she saw all the stamps on it, she started squealing. "Mommy Mommy, the doll is here! The doll is here!" She went into the living room and scooped her little sister up and brought her in to where I was. "Can we open it right now? Pleeeeze!!!" she begged.

I'm thinking this is going to be a lifelong friendship, don't you?

head games (aka torture by a three-year-old)

#4: Hey Dad, Monday or Tuesday?
King: Um.. what do you mean?

#4: Monday or Tuesday?
King: I don't get it.

#4 (making himself quite clear): MONDAY OR TUESDAY??
King: Ok, um... Monday.

#4: Tuesday or Wednesday?
King (thouroughly confused): um.. Wednesday.

#4: Thursday or Friday
King (thinking he detects a pattern): Definitely Friday!

#4: OK.....Saturday or January?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

my wish for you

Here's hoping your summer will be as carefree as a kid on a swing letting the wind blow her hair.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ah, the first week of summer break

Might not always be as peaceful as this moment, but here's to trying to have more like it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

when did asking for prayer get so out of fashion?

Lately (say, over the past year or so) I have noticed that folks will ask for or offer "good thoughts" to be sent someone's way, especially in a health crisis situation. What the heck is that about? I'm not even sure how that is supposed to work. Is that like some sort of telepathic voodoo?
"Send some good thoughts our way," is how I've seen the term used mostly. Although I've also seen folks ask for good vibes. (Did the Beach Boys start this?) I'm inclined to believe that this is another New Age idea sort of like the crystal worship of the early 90's.
If someone asks for me to send 'good thoughts'... do they think there is magic in my thoughts? Am I that powerful? What are my magical, powerful, good thoughts going to do, heal someone? I don't think so. And what if I don't like the person asking for good thoughts and I decide to send bad thoughts instead? Would I be equally as magical or powerful?

I think all of this comes from the "believe in yourself" trend that folks are buying into these days. Believe in myself? Excuse me? Who am I?
I do, however, believe in what God can do through me, and I trust the talents that He has chosen to bestow upon me, but that is the extent of it.

So, all of this to say, if you ever need them, I've got all the prayers you need... but impish, magical, child-like good thoughts? Notsomuch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Though the picture doesn't do its size justice, this strawberry is over 4 inches wide!
His friends must call him "Hoss".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

what a difference a day makes

My new butler's pantry area.
Sure wish I had taken before pictures!
I saw this idea for hanging platters in Martha Stewart Magazine several years ago, I just love the idea. I got this tray at a thrift store many years back and just love its simple, clean (although cockeyed) lines. I know, it will drive you crazy when you see that the tray isn't cut straight, but I still love it.)

follow the links

A friend of mine (who is a genius with a sewing machine and makes adorable, fun, and funky clothing for children) is the reason I know about this contest for a beautiful quilt. Go visit both of their blogs when you can. Two very talented Moms!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

cinema paradiso

Though I love visiting Little Jenny Wren's place each day and listening to the version she has playing when you arrive there at her blog, this other one isn't all that bad, because, let's face it, Josh Groban is real easy to look at.
Sweet little number five never fails to come climb into my lap when she hears it. She loves to turn around in my lap and see my eyes filling up with tears. Then she usually takes my face in her sweet little two year old hands and kisses me while never taking her pacifier out of her mouth....which not only cracks me up of course, but melts my heart even more. Little buggah! I guess it's officially "our song".
Cinema Paradiso

If you were in my eyes for one day
You could see the full beauty of the joy
I find in your eyes
And it isn't magic or loyalty
If you were in my heart for a day
You would have an idea
Of what I feel
When you hold me strongly to you
Heart to heart,
Breathing together
Protagonist of your love
I don't know if it's magic or loyalty
If you were in my soul for a day
You would know what is inside me
That I fell in love
At that instant, together with you
And what I sense
It's only love.

two of our favorites anyway

Y'know how Reese's PB cups used to have the catchy ad,"two great tastes that taste great together"? Well check out these two songs, our girls' current favorite pop songs, that were blended together and arranged beautifully by some really wonderful genius dad.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today was the last of the safe years for number 1. It was her last day of 8th grade. In two months, she will be starting high school. I imagine she will hang out with her friends more, be more mobile, be at risk for bigger trouble than, say, playing "ding dong ditch" (or laughing about her friends who actually do play it).

The whole thing just sort of caught me by surprise. The 8th graders took their 2 final exams today and headed down to the church to practice graduation. I went to pick her up and was not expecting to have a misty-eyed moment when I saw them taking pictures of all the kids who'd been there since kindergarten. That was my first brush with the reality of the situation.

She came home with a dvd that the 8th grade teachers put together all this year of their class playing at recess. There was music, slow motion laughing and cutting up, girls being silly, boys doing stunts. Very cute. Then at the end, they are all posed on the jungle gym/playground equipment. The final "scene" is an empty playground with the song "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney playing.

I gasped. Wasn't expecting it. I sobbed. And sobbed.

colorful characters

Just the facts, ma'am.

  • she was quite advanced in years
  • her glasses had not been replaced since the early nineties (large frames!)
  • had been to Wednesday night church service
  • her hair was thin.... and blue
  • her dress was blue polyester...with white flowers
  • her husband, who pumped the gasoline for her moved v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y.
  • she was sucking on a toothpick (must have gone to the Chinese place across the street)
  • she had RED fingernails
  • and a bluetooth hanging on her ear!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

don't look now

You've just been mooned by a strawberry.

Monday, May 11, 2009

three: the gift that keeps on giving

Yesterday, Mothers' Day, we spent most of the day outside. The weather was incredible, King planted some roses for me, pruned the lavender and fixed the childrens' wooden swing. Number 1, sadly, had to stay inside all day and work on a school project she had put off until the last minute. (Lesson learned: consequences)
Number 4 had all the fun and excitement of being outside and went in for a couple of hours. He watched the Bugs Bunny DVDs that Santa brought at Christmas. After which he marches outside on the front porch and announces "I've got to tee tee," and started marching toward the bushes. "Oh no you don't," scolded King, "You can't do that out here, someone might see you."

"Fine then!" he stomped off, "I'll go in the backyard."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

anyone clip coupons?

Here's great way to save a few dollars the next time you are at the grocery store.

happy mothers' day

Why is it that each year for Mothers' Day I am reminded of the sometimes gross, daily grind that being a mom can be? King always wants it to be perfect and special and straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It is such a sweet sentiment, but I'm afraid it totally puts too much pressure on everyone. So much so that everyone falls apart. Ah, well. Better than not having kids, right?

Happy Mothers' Day to you, in whatever form it comes to you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

takes me back to middle school

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (or splenda)
1 egg

mix all three ingredients well, roll into 1" sized balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet (line with foil if you want to make even less work for yourself), flatten with the tines of a fork, bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Can't get any easier. Start to finish you are looking at 20 minutes tops. You can't even go to the store for cookies faster than that.

I am also thinking this recipe spread on the bottom of a pie pan would make a really awesome crust for something wonderfully wonderful.

I'll wait here for you to come back and tell me how much you love me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

diet update

So, I'm cruising along with this mostly vegetarian diet. On Friday, King played in a golf tournament which had a family dinner at the closing ceremony. Menu: hot dogs, bbq, cowboy beans (like baked beans only add ground beef), slaw, chips, dessert.
Suffice it to say that after a couple of weeks of not eating meat..... I probably should have had a few of these around the house.

Lesson learned! No more meat.

However, another really cool thing I discovered is that with all the other diets I have been on (since the 5th grade *sigh*) when I begin to lose weight, I can tell it in my hands/wrists first, then my neck, etc. The loss seems to start at the extremities and work its way inward. The tummy has always been the last to go.

Now, maybe I'm hallucinating from a poisonous mushroom or something but with this diet, I am noticing that my stomach is reducing first. I'm not all broken up about it, trust me. I am picturing that bad, nasty omentum fat being dissolved and exiting the building.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

b-b-b-bring on th-th-the s-s-s-s-summer

My previous post touched on one way that the month of May is important.

It is also the year's most hectic month. I always feel like I am on the merry-go-round of insanity each May. So many giant school projects are crammed into May. Special dinners honoring students, luncheons honoring volunteer parents, field trips, the list goes on. I nearly drown in all that has to be done during May.

May 2009 is no different than any before it (well, since the kids started school). Added to this one is the fact that #1 is graduating from the 8th grade and will be headed (gulp) to high school in a few short, but much more relaxed, months.

I have noticed that I am starting to stutter slightly from the stress of it all. No lie. It has been happening a little here and there, but today at lunch it was quite n-n-n-noticeable.

Gee whiz. Do they still make Calgon?

m is for...

May is the month of mothers. It is one of the months in which we Catholics honor Christ's mother, Mary. We spend a lot of time reflecting on how important her saying "yes" to God's plan was. And we try to incorporate listening to His will in our own lives and be as open as she was.
Today during Mass as my two little ones were ab. so. lute. ly. driving King and I up a wall, I tried to picture (I often do this) Mary here on earth as a mom.

Insert here the truth that you must already know: doing what is right will always be the hardest of two choices.

So, with that thought (and having to again ask #4 to please sit down) I figured maybe she did have a tough time of it. I mean in the day-to-day stuff. When He was a toddler, was it hard for her to keep Him still as she sat and listened to a Rabbi's message? Did she have to dust off his khiton? Was she ever tempted to smack the yarmulke off his precious head? I always tend to think of her as she is depicted in art. Jesus too. I just can't picture the Christ child telling his mom "nooooo!" and running away when she said it was time for bed. I have always imagined him as being an extremely obedient child who never gave her a moment of trouble.

Maybe things were sanguine for the Holy Family. Maybe not. It doesn't matter really. Either way Our Lady had it, my reality is that these kids frustrate the snot out of me sometimes. But I have to never stop giving my 110% to help them become saints. Saying "yes" to God's will is never easy. It would be so much easier to live the life of a sloth and never go to church, never make these kids learn to share or to help others. But I'm betting my last denarius that going with His plan, as hard as it is, is going to be the right thing to do. And I'm very thankful to have someone like Mary to look to as a role model.


Tonight I received an email from a good friend who was "experiencing parental difficulties". She asked for advice. Funny that she did, today of all days. I actually had a good hearty boo-hoo today at lunchtime over my exactly in the middle child. I do so much with No. 1's activities and am constantly in a dialogue with the two little ones (come get your diaper changed, are you hungry, pick up this item off the floor, stop doing that, calm down, etc etc etc etc ad nauseum)
Second- and third-born both get lost in the shuffle.

I wish I had've had some wise counsel for her. I told her, "if it is any consolation, I do always remember your saying everyone should have than one child to spread their own crazies out. Not fair to make an only child get the brunt of all Mom's issues. "But", I added, "about me having five? It has pushed me into a whole new set of neuroses!"

Oh, and the thing that set me off at lunch? Sweet nine-year-old number 3 asked me if I wanted to see the little green frog. "Sure", I replied, not knowing what I was in for. She was holding onto King's hands and he was lifting her as she jumped straight into the air. Simple enough. That's all there was to it. No tricks, no flips. Stupid, right? But it was cracking her up. So much so that each time she composed herself and tried to jump up, she collapsed in laughter again.
All of a sudden I caught a glimpse of her as a young woman, dressed in white, just before heading away with the man who will take her away from this nest. "Daddy, do you remember it? Let's do little green frog! Come on, before we dance. And everyone will see her bald, slender, grizzly-faced daddy lift her up as she collapses in laughter. Those standing on the perimeter of the dance floor will smile and giggle politely, but will think it is simple and stupid. No one will know how special it is to the bride and her daddy. The two of them may not even know, but yet it will be.
That's when I lost it. Through sobs I told "three" how much she meant to me. How deeply I love her. How it makes me sad and frustrated that I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like to. "Times like this," I said, "remind me of the sweet, happy girl that you were when you were 3." And 4. But sometime during 5 she became jaded by older siblings who had a chronic case of the grumps....and a mom who was expecting her fourth and quickly after her fifth child.

I told my dear friend with three nearly adult sons that my only stab at trying-to-get-it-right stems from another piece of advice she and her husband gave us after they had watched a set of videos from church: Apologize. And be truthful about feeling spread too thin and the fact that you try to be all things to all children and that sometimes you fail. Pray together as a family for a spirit of forgiveness. Then move on.

ouch, that smarts

Just got home from a magical evening with numbero uno. A formal. Watching her dance in a sea of beautiful gowns and tuxedos was breathtaking. Our other children were with their new favorite babysitter, a girl with a very sweet smile and chipper personality.
The whole evening, from start to finish was rawther lengthy. The formal dance lasted three hours and then it took a good thirty minutes to get out of the place to the "after party" (where we finally got to eat dinner - at ten o'clock!). We then chatted with the parents who were there and let the kids hang out a bit longer.
We got home and paid the sweet sitter who appeared to have fallen asleep on the couch. Wanting to check my emails before bed, I went to the computer and saw that she had failed to close out her facebook page a few minutes earlier where she was chatting with a friend about how angry she was that she had to be here so long. The chat text wasn't so complimentary of us.

I really could cry it hurt my feelings so badly. A million scenarios went through my head as I thought about what to do. I called King downstairs so he could see it and we talked about what action I should take. At this point, I am sticking with an apology for getting in late (though I did pay her what I thought was a hefty "tip" for being here later than she expected) and trying to get over it. I want so badly to take the high road. No, actually I don't. Actually I want to tell her how much she hurt our feelings. Not only that, but I don't think we will be able to in good conscience hire her again. Which adds another layer of sadness in it for me. But, I will try to maintain a "Laura Bush" type approach and be a lady about it all. After I go have a good cry that is.