Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend Projects

Putting up wire shelves in the bathroom closet.  The boys helped hold the shelf while papa cut it down to size.  
No that is not our bathroom rug.  That's the dog lying there.  She has to be by her boys.  I was impressed that J got anything done with the whole gang in the bathroom while he worked.
Owl learning about the level.
The finished project.  I love it! Thanks boys. 

Papa also hung up the swing in the now empty toy room. (soon to be ripped up so we thought we'd enjoy the hooks on the ceiling while we can.)Hen LOVES to swing.
We changed out the swing with the rings.  Good times.
Cricket twisting on the big swing.  See Badger's feet are not on the ground. heh.
And so it goes.  A bit closer to the remodel, and enjoying each other during the process.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Us Lately

Badger loves to read.  His latest "list" includes Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Wind in the Willows, and Mossflower (from Redwall).  I don't know how he does it, but he is reading all of these right now.   Well not at the exact same time, ha ha, but within the week ya know?  
Hen and I.  Hen and I. Oh how I love my little Hen.  So happy. Or so Mad.  But whatever it is you can be sure he will let you know about it.  Good for him, I say. :)
Hen has started "reading".  He sits for a long while with a stack of books, turning the pages and looking at the words and pictures intently.
Cricket's latest drawing.  This is really large.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but I think it is at least 2 feet by 3 feet.  Pirates and Islands and a Giant Squid.  As I'm typing this he is working on a picture of a blue ringed octopus. :)
Hen playing piano.  He loves loves loves the piano!  To him it is a full contact sport. (see he's playing with his toes)
We've been doing lots of math lately, which Badger seems to enjoy.  The table is by the window in our main room now and the sunlight just comes right in.  It's soooo nice.  
Owl discovered that he likes dot to dots.  In fact he likes playing "school" and sitting one on one with me and "learning" something in a book.  It is funny to me how much he likes it and how much it is not learning at all. LOL.  He hardly ever remembers the "learning" part, but LOVES the talking one on one, the quiet voices, the sitting with pen and paper.  Perhaps it's even a bit about doing what the bigger boys are doing.  Whatever the reason for him asking to do it, I am game.  I love spending time with him.  Although, I do have a feeling that "learning" for him is going to be much more hands on.  (where Badger is definitely a natural book learner. i mean that is what he chooses to do) It's strange to even talk about learning as something seperate from life, but perhaps that is another post...
The sunshine is just glorious these past few days and this pub table is the place to be if you have to be indoors.  We are still healing after our bout with the flu.  I have had practically no voice at all since Sunday.  It's been a struggle, but I've learned that I perhaps rely on my voice too much in my parenting.  Talking is overrated sometimes ya know?  It's been good to relearn how to "go to" the person you are talking to and look them in the eye.  Sometimes, because there is so much going on here all the time, I can get into the habit of just kinda hollering across the way at whoever needs a word.  That sounds awful, and I don't think it is as bad as it sounds, but in any case it's nice to be reminded of other ways to communicate to the ones you love.  I hope to remember this as my voice heals, (it's going to get better soon right? ) and keep in practice of this more mindful way to communicate. 

*leave me a comment? I'd love to hear from you. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Splash of Color

For the past several days, I've longed to tidy up the bedroom and have a nice photo for you all of the new color we painted in there!  But there has been so little time (because we've been sick), and truthfully any smidgen of time I've had I've spent blowing my nose, or helping someone else blow their nose. :)  So today...I just decided that tidied or not I would take a picture and post it!  Aren't I brave? ;) are some pictures of the painting. :)  If you haven't seen the "before pics" or if you need a reminder, click here.
The color is called Buttercream.  And here is one of my helper. 
And one of the finished job.  I told you it was untidy.  And the curtain is all screwy-louie.  But do you see the shelf?
I like the shelf.  It is from the kitchen.  You know, the one soon to be ripped up? And the wall where this shelf was will no longer be there so it was up for grabs. :)  I painted those frames with some fresh white paint and scuffed them up with a bit of sandpaper so they look aged.  I think it's nice.  And I'm glad to have a place for my wooden letter box and my favorite copy of Jane Eyre.  J says he likes it too and even hung the shelf for me in a super timely fashion to prove it. ha ha. (thanks J.)Here is one of the boys' room.  The paint was called Fresh Blue.  It's true.  It does look fresh.  And blue.  :)
Again, wow, untidy!  You must understand that we are recently new to not having a toy room, and there was some serious Lego building and imagining going on in there just a few minutes prior to me taking this.  And one boy was actually asleep with Legos in his hand.  I'm not sure what happened to the curtains in this picture either!?! Someone apparently went around and rearranged the curtains to his whimsy?  And how come I didn't notice it before I took the picture?  I dunno.

It's amazing what a little color can do.  Yet....well.....shoot....I was going to get all philosophical just then.   Let's just say, that paint doesn't fix everything.  Or come even close.  And I'm thankful to realize that.  Both for my house and for myself.  :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Closer to the Chaos

Well friends.....the remodel project is nearing.  The toy room is emptied,  all toys tucked away in the boys' freshly painted room.  It feels so bare in there now, and I can't help but feel like this is a significant step in our lives.  The kids are now old enough to keep track of their things (legos) and put things away in their room when they are finished with them.  Well Hen isn't quite there yet I guess, but with so many big brothers around he isn't much interested in "toys" just yet.  

Tomorrow my mum and dad will be coming for a help with packing up the laundry room and perhaps some of the kitchen things too.   J is going to install some shelving in the bathroom closet, (hurray!) and I am hopefully going to put the bedrooms back together.  This flu has really put a stop on that, but I am determined to get to it asap!

Things I am still trying to figure out about this process....well...I haven't figured out about the laundry yet.  Do we make the switch from cloth diapers for this wee little bit since we won't have access to laundry?  And what about the poor dog?  I mean, we can escape and go to friends or the library but what about her? And when exactly is it going to be warm enough to be outside in this land of always winter because I can not imagine having half the house ripped up without being outside for long periods of time??  

Owl woke up this morning and after greeting me with his "good morning mama!  did you sleep well?"  he walked over to the window and said "why is it still winter mama? are we in Narnia?"  He was totally serious.  So I tried not to laugh and said, "I don't know honey.  It does seem to be taking a long time to end doesn't it."  It is an understatement to say that we could do with some Spring around here.  We walked outside today and the boys were digging the grass out from the snow to help it be warm enough to grow.  I giggled at first seeing how innocent their endeavor was, but it also seemed kind of sad to me.  *sigh*

I'll leave you with a picture that Badger drew.  Titled Summer.  A look ahead to warmer days. :)
The brothers dressed in their outside knight costumes. (one of their favorite outdoor games) The grill in the bottom lefthand corner.  And in the bottom right hand corner it's hard to see but papa is lying down looking at the clouds and I am peeling papa a grapefruit. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sick days

Oi.  We are still illin'.  J is sick now too.  Poor guy.  He's super tough so when he is actually resting from sickness you know he is feeling pretty bad.  But, on the positive side, I think the rest of us are on the upswing.   Here are some pictures from our past few days.  It took some creativity on my part to keep the peace, mostly because Badger was too sick to get out of bed for a day and he is the one that naturally holds the other boys together.  I was quite glad that the middle two had the opportunity to figure out how to play together without B.  They do normally play together, just the two of them, for little chunks of time when Badger is reading or building something on his own.  But this was the whole day!  And I think they enjoyed one another's company. :)
We set up the tents in the front room. (yes, that is Mt. Washmore on the couch waiting to be folded.  In my defense, I was sick too.)
Lots of tea and coloring.  Our new Dover books arrived and I was glad to have some new History material and mazes and word games to keep us occupied while our bodies rested.
One afternoon we made applesauce.  Aren't the apples a lovely color?
This is my grandmother's food mill.  The wooden handle is worn from her touch.  It is a treasure to me.
These pictures are a bit random.  Two from our fish tank.  We spend a lot of time on quiet days watching our little friends under the water.  Hen especially enjoys it, because it's down on his level and he can pull himself right up to it. :)
A bit of algae on this old snail shell.
And our pleco fish.  He is an algae eater.  You know, the kind with a suction mouth on the bottom of his little head.  Aren't his "whiskers" cool.  I named him Larry, but Badger told me, in a tone that showed it was already decided, that his name was Spike.  I guess I've been told. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

No clever title would come to mind....

What a weekend. 

The boys have been sick for the past several days.  Fevers and snot and now croupy coughs.  I will spare you the details.  It has been a few days of finding joy despite rough circumstances and enjoying one another even when we are not at our best.

Friday night J and I were planning on going out to dinner.  Whoo hoooo a date with my man!!!  I was really excited because we rarely get the chance to get out and this time we were going to leave the littlest mancub home with grandma.  (never done that before, well...not for that long anyway...)  By Friday afternoon it was clear that we were goin' nowhere.  And ya' know what?  We had a super time anyway.  That's how it is these days.  We are just....i dunno.  Happy? Content? Yeah, something like that. :)

As I write this I hear all those men gathering round the table for a game of Uno.  Hey, wait for me! I wanna play too!  So I'll end here with a few pics of the weekend. 
 The valentine treat that we made for Papa.  Sometimes love and chocolate go hand 'n hand.

This is a fun set to build with. 3dimensional gears.  Hen was intrigued.

Coming soon....those promised pics of the newly painted bedroom.  And we painted the boys' bedroom too!  Hopefully we will get everything put back together enough to snap a picture real soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A day of pictures

I was an early bird today. :) Up at five to nurse that wee babe, and then too awake to go back to sleep.  So I came downstairs and made some baked french toast with our new package of Red Ape Cinnamon.  It smelled soooo good. :)  After breakfast we settled in for some creative time.  We decided to make some mailboxes. Out came the art supplies.
Oh, I love you.
Owl loves to paint.  "I want the blue paint mama!" 
And here they are.......
Our monster mailboxes....
Ready to eat any valentine that comes this way~!  We really enjoyed making these.  The rest of the morning was spent making all kinds of valentines to put in each others mailboxes.  So fun. :)

This afternoon we played outside in the bright sunshine.  It was just lovely out today.  The snow was finally wet enough to make some snow creations which we've been waiting and waiting to do all winter long.  We had so much fun!
Badger's snow....chicken?  Yes, that's been confirmed.  It was a snow-hen.  :)
Owl's snow loader truck.  Hard to see in the pic, but he enjoyed it....that is...when he wasn't crying about the snow in his mitten.   Sometimes it's hard to be three.
Cricket's snow castle complete with stick-flag. 
Our snow gnome.
And last but not least, two pics of little Hen....because he's so darn cute.  I mean really, have you ever seen such a face?  His new tricks include....letting go while standing, saying lots of new words, and turning pages in books.
My favorite conversation from the week was between eldest boy and baby boy.  Eldest boy was eating some chocolate bunny crackers and baby boy some O's.  Eldest says, "Mine taste like chocolate.  What do yours taste like Hen?"  Hen says, clear as day...."Choc...late."  Then smiles his infectious grin like he knows just how clever he is.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friends and Brothers

I have a big brother.  He is a cool cat.  I like him.  Ok...I love him.  I even tell him that sometimes. :)  It is a relationship that is growing, and I am thankful for that.  I want us to know each other more and like each other more.   I say this because the truth is he and I are so very different.  Really different.  But different is okay...and it didn't stop us from having lots of awesome play time together when we were kids.  There was playing "wilderness" outside in the big backyard at the old house.  Sledding, snowmen, snow caterpillars. (do you remember that b?) Swinging on the wooden swings at grandma's house.  Singing to our cassette tapes and making up dances. (is that too weird to mention? and what ever happened to that Olivia Newton John tape?)  Fun times.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this alot lately as I watch my boys play.  They do all the same kind of crazy things we did. (okay, well not the singing and dancing part...yet)  It's fun.  And funny.   They love each other.  They are bonded in a way that I can't explain even if I tried.  I want to be purposeful in nurturing their relationships with one another.  I want them to be brothers but also friends.  And I wonder what needs to happen for them to cross that imaginary boundry that takes them from one to the other.  Yeah.  That's all really.  I don't have an answer.  Just been thinking about it.  Thinking about what it means to be a friend.  

Well, now that I told you some of my thoughts about that....I will mention that today was a day of friends coming to visit.  We cleaned this morning, all together, which was kinda nice.  Then we waited for our friends to arrive, all tucked up on the big bed so we could see out the windows.  Then we played and played and fun was had by all.  Hurray!  

Thanks you two girls, who brought your kids to play.  I like both of you so much and am glad we are friends. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Easy bird feeders (and the days around them)

Wow, it's been a few days.  Did you miss me? :)

What could we possibly have been doing to keep me away???  Well....there was the painting of the bedroom (which turned out great! i'll post pictures soon...) ....and reading and reading and more reading (I'm reading "HP and the Deathly Hallows" and We're reading outloud together "Anne of Green Gables")....and having good conversations with friends...and taking time to walk the dog...and going to a funeral for the firechief, who was a family friend (the firetrucks and firemen's procession were really cool to see)....and during all of that being super diligent to keep the baby's bottom clean and dry in order to kick this diaper rash clear out of town! (which would be enough to do without all those other things, in my opinion)

And today we are having a snow storm, which I'm grateful for.  It somehow lends us its quietness, its "hush"....and we are having a morning of creative play and tending to the little chores of our home.   The boys wanted me to be sure to post about our bird feeders that we here you go.  The peanut butter is spread on some dry bread and dipped in birdseed, then hung out for the birds.  

We can't tell you if the birds actually like them or not because the deer got them first. :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

5 for 5

*update*   well, i can't decide if i should be bummed that no one joined in or be thankful that i don't have to find time to create something?!?  mostly i just wanted to play the game here is a gentle nudge. please join in!  it will be fun! you don't have to be awesome creator girl to do it! you could even have your kids help you if you like!  and will be fun!!!  (did i mention that yet?)  it's not too late....just leave a comment if you'd like to receive a fun handmade gift from me. :)

Ready for somethin' fun?!?  

A giveaway! (with a twist)

My sister-in-law, adventurous soul that she is, posted a giveaway that sparked my (rather limited sense) of adventure. (thank you d!)  It's called 5 for 5....and it's a giveaway of homemade things.  Here's how it works (copied from her blog)

The first five people to leave a comment on this post will get something from me.  But in return, you have to do the same thing on your blog and make something for five other people. The details are as follows, and if you want to play copy the following onto your blog *(or facebook?) and leave me a post: 

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.

2. What I create will be just for you, with love.

3. It’ll be done this year (2010).

4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something strange.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.

7. Send your mailing address – after I contact you.

(the facebook idea is from me, cuz I don't know how many of you have blogs and I know some of you would love this!)

Alright....whose in??? :D

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bedroom Plans

Before pictures of the bedroom..... 

As you can see, there is absolutely nothing on the poor wall. (unless you count the random thumbtack that I only noticed because I took this picture. huh, where did that come from?)  So I would like to get something inspiring to hang on the wall.  I am thinking about maybe just painting something directly on the wall, but I'm still deciding.... and you probably don't notice this in the picture, but isn't the new ceiling just beautiful? ok, I'm kidding.  It's just a new ceiling, but to us it is just great!  That's the thing with owning a house, sometimes you have to spend money on things like ceilings, (or roofs or plumbing) and it doesn't make anyone more inspired but oh, well.  So because of the new ceiling and the need to put up trim, we are painting the walls afresh (the plan is a buttercream color?) and then putting up white trim around the ceiling edges and windows and doors.  And also, I'd like a place for my books. (see them on the floor next to my side of the bed?)
Here is the other side of the room.  Strange and messy.  Strange red wall (who decided to paint that wall red?) No door for the messy closet.  No door for the bedroom either. We took the doors off because of lead paint and because my friends child lost the tip of her finger to a door slamming incident.  Freaked me right out. Anyway, those are the big things we are going to try to change and also perhaps get a different pot for the plant other than that awful blue basket.  And what on earth is up with that picture frame next to the door?  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I hung that there.  Sometimes we have random acts of hanging things on random nails.  Do you ever do that? Come on, I know you do.  

Alright, we are off to the hardware store to pick up the paint.  Check back in soon for the After pics!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What we're up to...

Picking paint colors. No, not for the new kitchen just yet. We are actually going to paint the upstairs bedrooms just now. Why? Cuz. They need it and it's fun to paint and won't it be nice to have the upstairs "finished" when we have to hang out there the whole while the downstairs is being redone? (do you think perhaps for once the weather could forget how far north we are and just be warm and springlike in March so we could be outside during the construction hullabaloo?)

Going for walks in the warm weather.  Warm meaning in the low 30s. Splendid, splendid.  My favorite thing to do with this gang actually.  It is almost always a very grumbly start. (we have very concrete children. um, ok actually we have a very concrete child...ahem..badger...and he's loud and grumbly and makes it hard for us all) Once we are out in the bright shiny world he always relents and enjoys himself ever so much.  I wish I could have taken pictures of this but I am so occupied with holding hands and wearing the baby in the pack and breathing in the sunshine that I always forget the camera. *sorry*

Playing dress up.  Mostly the kids have been playing restaurant lately.  Nice chef hat there, Badger. (it doubles as a storm trooper helmet just because it can)
Owl dressed as a knight.  Can you see the tupperware cover "shield" and the funny green fabric sword in his hand? (the boys affectionately call that "the pickle sword" cuz it's kinda floppy)

Cricket playing scuba diver.  No that is not a table and stool that is a kelp forest. 
And playing lots of "find the country" (or body of water) with our hug a planet.  Badger LOVES that game and I admit I am learning a thing or two too. (hey, someone patch that boy's pants already)

I have been reading interesting things lately.  I want to share them with you, but I am still pondering them.  I do that. And sometimes I ponder for so long that I forget what I was pondering about.  So if you don't hear about them feel free to ask. 

Well...I'm off to take a "before" picture of our bedroom.  The painting is beginning very soon. :)