Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WIP Wednesday

In between the holidays I'm taking the time to work on a few things. I'm trying to soak up the quiet that this week has blessed us with. Even amidst circumstances that would normally leave us all frazzled (new toys, daddy working long, LOOONG hours, and too much sugar from stocking surprises) things are surprisingly calm in our little home.

As I sit in the rocking chair and watch the munchkins play with their new treasures I've been picking off a few stitches here and there of what will soon be Willow's new slippers. Hot pink, purple, and teal just as she requested.

I am also occasionally found lost in the pages of Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison. Yes, I know I've been reading it for a while. I'm savoring the pages and wisdom that my soul is gleaning from them.

What are you happily at work on this week?

TV free Tuesday

(Cedar taking a "free" ride on his rocking motorcycle thanks to the gift of time, talent, and the loving hands of the one and only Popsy)

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! We certainly had a relaxing and renewing weekend at home. We were blessed with time off for Daddy Oak, an inspiring experience at Christmas Eve service, so many wonderful and thoughtful gifts (and lessons learned from them), and lots and lots of food! Jeremy surprised me with an Ipod Touch! I've been spending the majority of my free time getting my hands on nearly every GLEE song ever produced and snapping lots of shots with the Hipstamatic app. For someone who has been known to claim nearly complete computer ignorance. . . I am in technological bliss. And I'm pretty certain that I've become a life long Apple customer due to amazing customer service and for the ease of which I (yes, ME!) can program the device and navigate the programs. In love I tell you. IN. LOVE!

Onto other business. . . .

I'm going to sum up the past TV free week with a few words: barbies, superheroes, family, 109837590129740 songs sung, awe at His Glory, new swords! foam ones! thanks Daddy!, bird watching and um. . . superheroes and barbies. Yep, that's our week!

The kids each received a few books that have been in constant rotation.

Being the logical, no nonsense type of gal that she is, Willow was gifted none other than an encyclopedia and a wildlife book along with an extention of her beloved Ranger Rick magazine subscription.

- the Usborne Internet-linked Children's Encyclopedia

- It Stinks to be Extinct by John Lithgow Palooza readers

On the other hand, Cedar was given this. He's a guy of little words . . . until you open up this book. He was saying words we'd never heard come out of his mouth! He loves it and is engrossed in its pages often.

Each year Daddy Oak and I each get the kids a gift. This year he purchased them the swords and I gave them this book along with some binoculars. Despite his jesting that looking at what we're giving the kids shows who's the 'cooler' parent, the kids genuinely do love this book. We spent the better part of yesterday afternoon outside feeding and watering birds (who are missing and who we hope find our bribes), laying in the snow listening for calls and becoming giddy with excitement when Willow spotted the one and only bird of the afternoon with the specs.

I'm trying to come up with some more activities to do outside for the coming week. I think we'll do the iced stained glass craft again. It was a hit last year. Willow thinks we need to make many of them to share with our neighbors. What a great idea!

I also want to make peanut butter pinecones, some popcorn and cranberries on string and a few other treats for the birdies to hang on our tree while it waits for the recycling truck. I was inspired by this post by Ginny at Small Things. Her blog always inspired my heart and strengthens my desire to be a calm, loving, and present mother.

I'm itching to make some ice sculptures. I'm pretty certain that Cedar will be enamored with this idea. Maybe it will turn his distaste for winter around :D

We're also bustling around cleaning, making room for new play things and carving out a space in the basement for a play corner that will include a swing and other fun things such as an indoor trampoline.
Overall we had more of a commercial Christmas than usual and I think both Daddy Oak and I missed the homemade objects that normally fill our Christmas morning with joy. This year I tried to make less in attempt to lessen my stress so that I could actually enjoy the holiday. My plan worked, but it also made my heart ache. I think that I may try to pluck off one homemade gift a month this coming year. That way next year we'll have homemade gifts AND I won't be over-stressed rushing to the deadline of Christmas Eve.

I truly hope that your weekend was a happy one! I'm hoping to post again tomorrow on a few things I'm working on for WIP Wednesday, but if I don't I hope you have a blessed, safe, and happy new year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Moment

*A single photo depicting a moment from the week. Inspired by Soulemama.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WIP Wednesday : My heart

Two years. She was the most influential person in my life. I went through denial; for quite a while. I avoided anything about her. Her pictures. Her grave. My family. Memories. Then I pushed away anger, swallowed bitterness; I slowly opened myself up to using things that used to be hers trying not to think that they shouldn't be in my house. And now I'm finally working on acceptance. Wondering when the day will come that I'm not wondering if she heard our favorite polka on Sunday morning, or when writing out cards or invitations when will I stop addressing one for her. It will come. Peace will come. Some day; some day understanding will come.

Until then, I'll smile when Willow talks about Polka Gramma. My heart will both bubble over with joy and sink with lament when I hear a song we both loved. Tomorrow, when I take WIllow to her first band concert, I'll tell her about the woman who put the passion in me, the one who supported me, the one who would drive in a blizzard to see me play.

She is the reason I am me. And I'll never forget that or push it away.

TV free Tuesday!

(Willow at her ballet performace. Not shown in picture is a strung out on candy, over-tired, public place hating Cedar losing it in my left arm while I took the photo with my right hand. This is her, "Cedar, it's ok" face.)

We made it another week!!! Wahoo! Really it is such a relief. This week we've all suffered a little bit of the sniffles so there was a little YouTubing action going on, but over all we survived another week without TV.

Some of what we did this past week:

-Snowflakes. Lots and lots of snowflakes now decorate our windows! Willow wanted to make them to "make snow come for Christmas". . . and it apparently worked. She is pleased with herself. I took a suggestion from Jean and used white coffee filters and am so glad I did. Beautiful results!

-We made a gingerbread house with a Wilton's kit. It took longer than I expected and there was quite a bit of whining from the munchkins about that. . . but it was fun and it's cute. Well, was cute. Yesterday I found Cedar on top of the play fridge eating the candy off of it. Naked.

- Lots of sword play by Cedar. Lots of running and screaming by Willow. And lots of reminding not to hit sister with wooden light saber (*doh! I should have made it out of foam!) and then putting said saber on top of fridge by this mama. I had to get creative; I took some of Daddy's old socks stuffed them with mis-matched socks lost in the basement and secured them with pony tail holders. Wa-lah! Nun chucks safe for chasing sister with!

-A good friend of mine came and spent the night with us. We all had a great time visiting Santa at the mall and eating french fries in the food court.

-I now know the full capabilities of one, just one, felted wool sweater. In one night I made two ugly monsters, one pair of mittens, one hat and one pair of leg warmers. Thank you gorgeously striped gap sweater. My family will be kept warm and have buddies to snuggle with thanks to your sacrifice.

This week we are hading to the kitchen! on the agenda:

- This amazing peppermint bark. I make peppermint bark every year and it barely lasts an evening. I'm estimating a 3 hour lifespan for this batch of Christmas-y sweetness.

-Yet another bark, this one more suited for the adult set. Well, except for Daddy Oak. YUM-O!

- This family should attend Hot Cocoa Addicts Anonymous. We have all mourned the passing of our Cocoamotion. I was over joyed when I stumbled on these last night. I think I'm going to top them with marshmallows from Sara's blog.

*On that topic, please pray for Sara's young daughter. Middle Miss is having some GI issues and is in the process of testing to determine the cause.

Daddy Oak and I are still glad we ditched the TV. We are using the computers a little in the morning while we wake up (Cedar's up at 5:30 everyday,and though I'm a morning person, I'm not that much of a morning person). We also finally broke down and bought a portable DVD player. Before going TV free again we had purchased Willow a DVD for Christmas, we also know my mom got her one, and she will be quite dramatically devastated if she has nothing to watch it on. We also seem to be on the road. A lot. With friends and family all over the state we tend to travel quite a bit. I always said I'd NEVER let my kids watch a movie in the car. Well, now aren't I eating my words. At 20 months Cedar still screams constantly in the car. I'm hoping this eases the hysterics.

I hope you all are having a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TV free Tuesday

The past week has been a joy and a challenge, but mostly a joy.

Here's what we've done in the past week to keep us busy and without a need for TV:

~This week we finished our winter wonderland village. I'll show I picture when I remember to take one. Willow enjoyed making it so very much. ~We made the watercolor/coffee filter garland, which was not quite as much of a hit as I thought it would be. I might try it another time.
~Willow and I made pomanders. She thinks they stink.
~Built tents out of afghans and ate p.b. off of spoons (Cedar's favorite treat) while we sat underneath and told stories.
~ We made Hanukkah ornaments for our Christmas tree out of popsicle sticks and lots of glitter and gems.
~We went to the farm after a fun little detour of the county and cut our tree.

~ We decorated our tree as a family and enjoyed lots of yummy hot cocoa.
~ We went to the the Dicken's Christmas parade downtown and enjoyed yummy treats. Willow was sad that we didn't get to see Santa (mama and daddy didn't want to spend time waiting in line in the freezing cold. Let me say that again; FREEZING COLD. I tried to compensate by sending her another video (Grammie had already sent one, thanks Grammie!!). Didn't work. So we may be taking a trip to the mall this weekend so she can see that jolly fellow and tell him ("in person!") her requests.
~We made a wreath out of clippings from our front bush.
~ We have baked pies, cookies, and made lots and lots of snacks.
~We had friends over to play!
~We have read more books than I can count and made a trip to the library this morning for more.
~Trains. TV free time in our house equals more time for track building.
~Blocks. They (Daddy Oak included) have discovered a love for blocks this past week. You'll see more when I post about our Hanukkah holiday.
~Lots and lots of painting. Did I say lots? Reminder: I need to get more watercolor paper.

In general lots of songs were sung, many games were played, toys that hadn't been played with for a while were off the shelves.

This week we have the following planned:

~Letter writing to special friends to share the holiday spirit.
~Practice for dance recital and then. . . RECITAL!
~ Building and decorating a gingerbread house.
~Willow and I are going to sew bean bags together for a stocking stuffer for Cedar while he naps one morning.
~The kids got a new puzzle on the 5th night of Hanukkah and it has been keeping them busy, I've been brainstorming some simple game ideas to go along with it.
~ These are also on the agenda.Willow has been chomping at the bit to get to these. Mama finally remembered to buy candy for them this weekend. If only I would have remembered hooks!
~Daddy's spending time working on a gift for the munchkins. A train table! with storage!!!!! shhhhhhhh! :D
~I'm embroidering the rest of the stockings I have neglected over the last few years and working on some new slippers for Willow.

Overall we are all happier and seem to have more time to do the things that we enjoy without the blue screen flashing us into zombie-dom. I have also significantly reduced the amount of time I have spent online and it has been a breath of fresh air. I wasn't spending a large amount online at one time, but it added up throughout the day of a minute here and a minute there. Lunchtime devotionals have become a regular thing again this week and everyone is rejoicing. I hadn't realized how much we NEEDED that time each day.

I began reading the book Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison. It's a good old fashioned dose of just what I needed. It's speaking to my heart and changing it in ways that I wasn't even aware were in need of improvement. Thank you to Kyrie for her suggestion! It has been reminding me to keep it simple, something I have truly been working on this past year and will be again in the next. Simplify!

Until next time, I hope you are having a happy day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


(I feel strange putting a large photo of myself at the beginning of my post but hey, it's about me and running, right? forgive the wierd "am I done yet?" look on my face)
Nearly two years ago I began a Couch to 5k running program. At the suggestion of a friend I downloaded a Christian podcast to help me along. I fell in love with the tracks from the very first run and due to both my love for it and my lack of technological intelligence (*er, I didn't know how to change or add new music on to my mp3 player, I still don't) that one podcast remained my running music 3-5 times a week for the last 20 months. Since it was meant for 5k trainers it only ran 25 minutes, so on long runs I'd repeat it once or twice. It was my heartbeat while running. The words were a meditation to my heart and soul and were as beneficial as the pounding of my feet on the pavement or trail. Near the middle and end of my long runs "Run" by After the Chase would play. It not only gave me enough oomph to finish my run strong it gave me the strength and focus I needed for the day.
Running was more than exercise for me: it was time spent preparing my temple, connecting with the one I loved, and a time to clear my head of all worldly things and fill them with only that that truly mattered. Running has a way of giving you a different perception of the world and the situations you are in. In so many ways running made me a better mother, a better wife and a better follower.

On Halloween I ran a chilly 5k with some old friends. During the few weeks prior my right foot was giving me some problems. I ran through it because I #1 am stupid when it comes to any thing physical in the sense that I tend to push myself too hard. and #2 wanted more than anything to share a run with some friends that I don't often get to see let alone run with. Approaching the second mile it hit. hard. Wincing I slowed my pace to a jog and then paced down to a walk. I wallowed in self pity as I watched my friends and others pass me. As I walked I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my family to cheer me on, but I got better than that. They got lost and parked in the 'wrong place' which just happened to be the right place for me. Willow came running out, "I'm your cheerleader mama!!!!!". I smiled and began running again.

As a mother you are the one who meets the needs. But on certain occasions you switch roles. She fills me up in so many ways and I needed her right then. I turned around and shouted "wanna be my running partner?!" She squealed as she ran to me. Holding hand we ran the last mile and a half together. It was the best finish I could have ever asked for.

I couldn't walk for the two days after and now nearly five weeks later I am still not able to run thanks to a stress fracture. I miss it. I think about it every day. I wallow a bit when I hear about friend's races and training schedules.

Everyone knows that I hold dear the saying "everything happens for a reason". As much as I don't want to hear that right now I'm trying to pay attention to the Still Small Voice. I know He has a plan. So in these shortened cold days I'm going to try to see the reason by focusing on healing, spiritually, emotionally and physically. And on the reason for this season and on the ones that make me want to run in the first place. I'll prop my feet up and read the munchkins some Christmas stories until I can do this again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deck the Halls

I have a thing for garlands and buntings. And they are haunting me. Haunting me I tell ya.Everywhere I look I find another amazing tutorial for yet another freaking adorable garland. If only I could find the time. I'm thinking real hard about squeezing a few of these into my handwork time:
First up. Can I say "wow". I mean. WOW! Be still my pom pom loving heart. oh! and another one!

Since my heart has a soft spot for all things felt I'm eyeing this. and this. oh and thinking about making this by the sensational Angry Chicken out of felt because why use plain old white cardstock if you can use felt!

One for this kids to get into the spirit with. I love her simple children's childrens ideas and so do the munchins. This is def. on the to do list for the weekend.

I love garlands and buntings AND advent calenders so much two years ago (with the help of a wee little Willow) I combined my love for them into this :

Well, gotta go on a hunt for more time to make these to 'deck our halls'! What are you 'decking' yours with?