Friday, March 25, 2011

Date night of a different sort

tonight rthe munchkin and I qent on a date. our dates usually consist of hot cocoa and new earings; this evening was a bit different. We startes the night with some yummy korean food during which she pretended to speak korean and declared plum juice the best dessert EVER. We then stopped by Target foe a browse and ended up at our homeschool group's annual History and international Fair to see what some of her friends have been learning. She was particularly excited to meet "A real Africa man!". This mama declares it the best date with the munchkin yet!

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Moment

A friday ritual. A single photo -no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor, and remember.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

sidetracked. . . .

Lets talk about a different kind of love. Ok. Scratch that too. Let's talk about me. Let's talk about the fact that I by nature am a push over and hate conflict. This hasn't changed since becoming a parent and it needs to. Now. Like yesterday.

I love my children. When I became a mother I searched out what parenting philosophy that I thought would be best for my kids. I wanted them to feel love, to know love, and to be love. It was all about love. Love. Love. Love.

I love them. I kiss them. I tell them multiple times a day that I love them from here to the moon. I show them love by taking an extra minute to show them how to do something. I've read and listened to 'The 5 Love Languages for Children'. I buy them things. I teach them. I spend quality time with them. I cry with them and for them. I pray for them and with them.

Until today. Exactly 3 o'clock pm today. I thought I was loving them in the best way possible.

I have a friend. She's become more than a friend and more like a second mother to me. I love this women and respect what she has to say. On Friday she told me point blank that I'm not teaching my children to honor me. *insert the feeling of both me nearly wanting to cry and feeling the Comanche blood in me flair up* I listened to her. I prayed about it. And on our walk home from the library this afternoon as Willow screamed at the top of her lungs that she was "so angry she wanted to hit me"(she didn't) and tried running away. I owned it.

In all honesty this isn't an every day occurrence. Willow has always been quick to say her please's and thank you's and is the most compassionate 4 year old I know. For the last five years I've prescribed to the thought that if I show respect to my child they will respect me. I'm not saying that there is anything false about that. But honor is different. And I'm not feeling it. It's needed. And it's my job as a parent to show them how to honor.

The rest of the day I walked around like a lost child. Where do I even begin. I sat here, trying to numb myself from the tantrum that was happening in the living room and found a blog post. I followed a link that led to another link that led me to this. It may not seem life changing to you. But I'm buying that book tomorrow and calling my friend to learn a little bit more about honor.

Love Day pics

Some pictures of our Love Day decor: Willow's felt heart garland

Baking cupcakes for homeschool group

Making a valentine for Daddy

Recycled crayon valentines for friends at homeschool group.

Willow's X and O

Cedar's watercolor/wood heart garland.

Munchkins' heart handprints

Living room covered in love

Banner Willow and I made last year out of recycled sweaters.
Tomorrow I'm planning on posting a few more things we did to spred the love and happiness in the last few weeks.
Hope you're having a happy day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


1. The act of choosing; selection.
2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
3. One that is chosen.
4. A number or variety from which to choose.
5. Care in choosing.
6. Alternative.

Inspired by Erin's post and a message by our Pastor this past Sunday, I wanted to share what I'm learning about choice.
Sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. I hear his footsteps; his little grunt as he climbs onto the bed. I feel the cold of our bedroom seep under the sheets as he lifts them; putting his face to mine. His perky voice chirps, "Gikky? Heroes?". I fight the urge to cover my head and roll over, knowing that it's much earlier than I want to be up.

And that's when I get to choose. To choose to mother him whenever he needs it, despite my desire to sleep in past 5 a.m. To choose to greet him with a smile instead of a grumble. To choose to thank God for the blessing of this little boy and not resent the fact that he's an early bird. Choosing kind peaceful words instead of using a cutting, cursing, irritated tongue. In that moment I get to choose the start of our day. I know what the days are like when I choose to grumble, to ignore, to resent, and stew. It's not worth tainting a new day just to stay under warm blankets a few minutes longer.

The power to choose is sometimes overwhelming. I want to choose what seems easy. What seems easy isn't always the best choice.

I'm learning so much about choice in every area of my life. We have recently chosen to try a new church. It took us several months of back and forth before we decided to try. We were nervous about leaving a place we've called home for the larger part of 8 years, we were timid about making new acquaintances, worried about how the kids would do in the nursery/Sunday school. Despite our apprehension we felt the nudge and followed it, making the choice to step out of our comfort zone and we are feeling so blessed by it.

The Pastor shared a message about Herod and how he chose to use his hurt and anger. He asked us to look at our own life and reflect on what makes us angry. He compared our anger with Herod's and it was powerful. He suggested that most of what we get angry about can reveal areas in our life that need work, areas that we don't want to lose control of. Inspired by this I began to look closer at my everyday irritations. And it's true. It's control. I strongly desire control over what happens in my life, it gives me a sense of security and comfort. When that control is challenged or even usurped, I lose it. And by 'it' I mean control of my emotions, my power of choice, my stability and zeal as a follower of Christ.

This week I'm choosing joy. I'm choosing peace, gentleness, forgiveness, mercy, and most importantly self-control.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

wow, it's february!

(Tear. I think I cut his hair too short. He now looks more GQ than cute little monster. I want his cute little monster 'do back.)
Really? January went by in a blur! Let me get back to the regulary scheduled programming and not spend too much time catching you up. The Hart family's month of January looked like this:


-spending lots of time with family

-spending not enough time with friends

-some healing of old relationships and forming of new ones

-a week of trying to completely cut out sugar followed by a

-VACATION! (that was completely induglant in the area of sweets and goodies; blast you BearPaw!) and oh was it wonderful :D

-snow days for Daddy after vacation which were even more wonderful!

-LOTS and LOTS of playing in the snow

-new hair cuts by all (except mama, who is contemplating a new 'do soon)
-Cedar surprising us with. . . . WORDS! He speaks! well, more than "mama", "daddy", "sissy", "ball", and that ever popular "superhero".

-many valentine's day crafts worked on and put up, several knitting projects finished and started, and 6 novels read in a period of 3 weeks.

-jumping head first into teaching Willow to read at her request and filling our heads full of arctic animal facts and burying our heads in stacks of books about polar bears, walruses(our new favorite polar animal), eskimos, and books about building igloos. Willow has declared that we wants to become a "polar biologist" when she grows up. I can't wait to see how she fits that in to her already full future schedule of cheering at football games, helping Santa make presents, keeping her customers happy at her bakeshop and of course headlining her world tour.

Dear January, we loved you, we miss you, and we welcome you to come back in all your awesome glory in 2011. Bring it on February!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love is in the air

Most people go crazy for Christmas. I do love the lights, the gift giving and making, the food, and the general jolly-ness of the Christmas season. But V-day has my heart. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Valentine's day and look forward to it all year. I have no idea why. But I remember being in elementary school saving up quarters for weeks in advance in order to bless my friends with a cookie from the cafeteria on Valentine's day. My love for it went up a notch when I accepted the surname of Hart. Come on, it just fit. No wonder I always loved the Hallmark holiday loathed by so many.

January 3rd Christmas decorations went down to the basement. By 7:30 a.m. on January 4th (I have children who rise literally at the crack of dawn) our living room looked like it ate a box of conversation hearts and threw up.

Because Willow, and I to be honest, is/are never satisfied with the amount of decorations we have. . . we set to work. She thought it was very important that she and Cedar have Valentine's day pillow cases. Down to the basement we went, and up we came with some white fabric and some V-day themed scraps (thanks Aunt Jean!). After swiping a potato and some fabric paint from the art cupboard we were in the business of making new pillow covers.

I carved a heart in a potato.

Willow stamped both her and Cedar's material by dipping said stamp into red fabric paint.
They dried, then we ironed them.

I sewed three edges and added some festive heart adorned trim. . . wha-lah. . . new pillow cases.

Which also moonlight as sleepingbags for Barbie, Ken and their beach lovin', High School Musical singing friends.

Oh, hearts and love and red! Make me oh so happy!

Handmade Christmas

As I had mentioned before we didn't have as much of a homemade Christmas as we normally do, but before I start sharing posts on valentine's day crafts I thought I'd share a few things that did come from my hands and not a store.

First up, silhouette pillows of Willow, Cedar and their cousins for my parents. Despite a few moments of almost losing it, I enjoyed making them. Their were many steps involved which is not typical of a project for me. I tend to have a short attention when it comes to projects, preferring instant gratification over attention to detail and the need for patience. I used this tutorial. I have made several thing's from Jill's website and love all of them. I think this hoodie may need to be next for the little man.

This pattern was very clear and easy to follow. I added a hand embroidered initial under each silhouette. I may even make some for us. Wait, actually making something for me? What is the world coming to? I have made precisely two things for myself in the past and I think it's about time for that to change. Plus, I'm currently loving any opportunity to display silhouettes. Fun, classy, and they just plain make me happy.

Next up, ugly monsters. I had been wanting to make them for a while. They were intended for my niece and nephew but two little munchkins I know claimed them as their own. They made a good fit, suiting each of their personalities perfectly. The best part about them is that I didn't buy one thing to make them. I had the itch to make them, gathered materials that were literally laying around my sewing area, and an hour later they were stuffed and were on the receiving end of sticky hugs.

I'm hoping there will be more handmades to share following next Christmas!

Saint Britney?

Ok, definitely not true. However, I have a short story of her "help".

Over coming self-doubt is a huge issue for me and I've been hard at work in the recent past trying to take those thoughts captive and not let them control me.

I was battling such thoughts while giving Cedar a bath the other day. As if on cue, I suddenly heard the lyrics from Britney Spears' song "Stronger" blaring from the living room (thanks to my own personal D.J. Willow and her love of Glee music). Immediately I collected those thoughts rambling around in my head trying their best to deteriorate the light and cheerful mood we had been enjoying that day. In minutes memory verses fled into my mind and strengthened my armory against the enemy. One more battle won. One step closer to victory.

Thank you Britney for a random act of encouragement that I seriously never thought would come from, well, in judgemental terms, from the likes of someone like you. Thank you Willow for your impeccable timing. And thank you Jesus for being stronger and sharing a bit of it with me. I am daily in awe of your strength and love.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Outdoor adventures

We've been spending a lot of of time in the good ol' out-of-doors. Now, if you know me you're probably laughing. I call myself a nature lover, and I am. As long as the grass is green and the sun is out so, so am I; I even LOVE rain. But if there's cold or snow I prefer to observe nature from behind a window pane preferably with a cup of hot tea (more specifically this one, thanks Sis!) in hand and wrapped in a cozy afghan. I am in no way a lover of cold weather or winter activities (accept drinking tea and hot cocoa, of course). . . . but this year I'm trying with all I've got.

We've been attempting to lure some birds into our yard but have not had much luck. Everyday we layer on the gear and head outside to refill the water bowl and check on our food level, we even occasionally leave a yummy treat such as an orange, a pile of cranberries or cashews. But they are dissing us. Hardcore. Any suggestions?
Yesterday we went to the Chippewa Nature Center (oh how I wish this place was in our backyard!). We all enjoyed the winter exploration activities they had set up. Ice fishing in cardboard boxes (Willow was a tad bit upset that all she caught were perch), tracing/rubbing snowflakes, stamping prints of woodland animals, trees, and even scat (Daddy Oak was appalled by this, haha), and plays were put on in the puppet show theater. The highlight of that area was snow. Not real snow of course but this fun stuff. I was told they sell it at the Dollar Tree! I've been pondering ideas for sensory boxes and tables for a while and I am SO going to snatch up some of this stuff. I think I played in it longer than the munchkins did! Snow! Inside! without having to be cold! Score!(I see more felt board accessories and some homemade tree blocks in our near future)

Afterward we headed out to the trails. For a quarter mile or so we were all enjoying the snowy trails and were listening keenly to bird calls and songs(they have birds?!) until Cedar, while skipping with all the joy and calamity of an almost two year old, biffed it. HARD. On his face. I immediately picked up the screaming statue of a child to see blood dripping down into his mouth. We promptly did an about face and booked it back to the car. After clearing the blood, some snuggles and a drink, he smiled and as if to prove that he is in fact all boy, he proudly strutted his scraped up, swollen, and still somewhat bloody nose and upper lip.
(the day after, swelling down, minimal bruising, and his ever constant smirk)
This morning we put away the Christmas decorations and hauled the tree to the curb. There were tears (from Willow), sampling of pine needles(Cedar), and a sigh of relief (mama). We decorating the waiting tree with popcorn and cranberries and slices of orange, in hope once again of baiting some beautiful birdies.
What makes you happy to be outside?