There Comes a Day…

…where you just don’t dress the small children anymore.  They get a bath and clean clothes at bedtime, then in the morning and as the day goes on they gradually lose clothing items to food, chalk, sand, mud, etc, and mostly, unless we leave the house, I don’t bother to put new ones on them.

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What I’m Into July 2014

Cooking – Chocolate zucchini cake, apricot jam, zucchini and tomato fry


basically fry sliced zucchini in butter until softened with salt/pepper/herb du provence, add chopped tomatoes and simmer together for a few minutes. I like plenty of tomatoes for a saucy scramble, yum.  Good with garlic toast or with eggs for breakfast.

Best Reads – Families Where Grace is in Place, How We Love,  A Homemade Life, Pie It Forward, The Rain Stomper, Who’s Hiding?, A Roar of a Snore

Organization – Reduced available dishes in the kitchen for more efficient clean-up, shifted my sewing space to the living room for easier sewing during baby play, rearranged the master bedroom(long needed, pics soon)

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Joy and Delinquency

Babies.  Bed.  Writing.  Sleeping.  I keep getting to evening thinking, huh, I really need to write a blog and I open up the page and look at my ideas and I click over to some dumb tv show(How I Met Your Mother, at the moment) and tell myself I’ll think about it for a few minutes and I don’t really get much further than that because it’s evening and bedtime, but I don’t want to go to bed because, yay, a few minutes of not being needed, but it’s truly late and my brain is toast and I end up just finishing my episode and going to bed anyway.  Also, Wilona has been getting teeth(she has two now!) and has been frequently needing me to be attached to her most of the night, don’tyoudareleavemeheretosleepbymyselfMamacuehystericalcryingifyoutrytohaveDaddybouncemeofftosleepagain, so I’ve completely forgone my both-hands-available time some nights.

But isn’t she such a dolly?

Then I’ll think oh I should write my blog now that it’s daylight, but then two small people need things and it’s hard to concentrate and play with them and have a hand to type with and not get grumped with them needing things(oh the shock, being needed by my two children under two years, didn’t see that coming. :p ) while I’m trying to think and be coherent and witty and heavens, this doesn’t sound so smart after all plus I sense my mood going down the drain so why bother let’s go bake something.

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Don’t be too impressed, store-bought crust and two cans of pie filling, super easy.

So, all that to say, I guess I’ve just been trying to make good decisions and good priorities and for the last couple weeks that has meant no blogging.  And I think that’s the right thing sometimes.  I’ve been doing lots of baking and cooking and planning and dug out my sewing room and started working on long-term project again.  I’m starting to get a bit fidgety for planning the garden.  We’ve(briefly) discussed getting chickens this year.  We checked out a fun little outdoor ice rink.  We’ve been reading, daydreaming and laughing.  So, it’s been a pretty successful couple weeks, I think.

Ben and I are working on a color scheme redo of the main room(kitchen/living/dining).  If you’d like a peak at some of the inspiration behind that you can check out my idea board and Ben’s idea board(we’re looking for common ground, so keeping different boards)!  Anything you especially love there?

More to come later.  Bed now.

Stronger than Grease (alternately “Laugh or You’ll Cry”)

It was with trepidation that I rounded the corner in the kitchen this morning.  I had been feeding Wilona and listening to Ascher play with his fridge magnets, but as she finished up I realized that the kitchen was, and had been for several minutes, ominously silent.  The sight I was met with confirmed that I should have been supervising more closely.

ShorteningBoy Yes, that is my son, slathered in shortening and having a grand ole’ time.  Being the good mama that I am I immediately prioritized the  order of operations.  First, blink in surprise, second, laugh, third, take a picture.  That’s what you all would do, right?

That accomplished, I briefly puzzle over the next step.  I don’t want Wilona to yell, but I can’t handle this mess with one hand and the sling will not be helpful in scrubbing a greased one year old.  So, onto the couch she goes, where she starts grumping around right away.  In the 30 seconds it takes me to do that and get back to Ascher he tries to stand up and follow me.  Turns out walking on an inch of shortening isn’t easy and he falls and lightly bonks his head, poor kid.  I’m glad he didn’t manage to follow me.  Last thing I need is a trail of shortening all over the rug and the couch.

I grab a handful of paper towels and wipe the worst of the shortening off the boy and the floor, though it is very apparent that’s not going to be adequate.  I scoop up Ascher and, calling soothing things to Wilona(now screaming in earnest), carry him to our our bathroom where I plunk him clothes and all into the dry bathtub.  I want to get the baby swing, unused for Wilona so far, out of Ascher’s room and see if that will help her for a few minutes, but that’s across the house and I have a greased baby in the tub and a screeching baby on the couch and both need most/all of my attention(and arms!) pretty much rightnow.

I decide that Ascher is less likely to fall in the tub or try to climb out if he has some water to play with so I turn the water on and leave the drain open while I rush to grab Wilona and the swing, praying he doesn’t drown in the minute it takes for me to get back.  Across the house I hold Wilona, mercifully mostly settled, with one arm while folding the swing  so it fits through the doorway and then dragging it over to our bedroom.  Once it’s set up she falls asleep almost right away in it, leaving me to focus on the grease baby.

I plug the drain and adjust the water temperature, hoping I got enough of the grease off that it won’t be bad for the drain.  The water is less warm than I think all that grease needs, but I’ve got a kid in there, which limits my options.  I peel off the greased clothes and diaper and reach for the soap bottle.  The logo on my bottle of dish soap, “Stronger Than Grease”, crosses my mind, but I opt for baby shampoo, thinking it’s probably kinder on skin.

Soap Water is rolling off him like a duck, and the tub is so slick he can’t even sit up but with generous quantities of soap and some scrubbing Ascher is finally left with not much more than a very moisturized glow.  Once dressed I pop him into his highchair with a snack while I tend to the floor.  More paper towels for the rest of the visible grease, then a hot soapy rag for the slick sheen that’s left.  I try to ignore that that piece of the floor is a different color than the rest now.  Guess that’s what come of only mopping the whole floor twice in a span of two years.  I get the bad spots as they come, this is just a bigger spot…right?

Anyway, now that I’ve shared my bad housekeeping and my (occasional!) poor child supervision skills, here is a picture of Wilona.

Wilona1And yes, I know that’s only the second time you’ve seen her in her five weeks of existence.  And that was a really abrupt non-segue.  Add bad blogger to my list of failings.  ;)  Clearly though, I’ve been busy.  Gorgeous newborn plus explorative toddler?  Yeah.  I’m doing stuff.

Planning to blog more soon though.  Right after I barricade the kitchen and put up new child-proof latches.

Hugs and kisses, etc.

Right Now

Right now…

  • A small rosy person snuggles happily against my leg as he gets his first nap.
  • I’m sitting on my phone to smother its persistent chirp of imminent death.
  • Wind cheerfully buffets the trees outside the window.
  • I’m enjoying that Ben has help for the mass of spring yard work and garden prep that has been only touched on through his usual six day work weeks.
  • I’m plotting the most efficient path of lunch making for the hard workers, soon as the baby wakes.
  • Laundry beckons, reminding me that Ben’s work clothes need washed for tomorrow.
  • I’m needing to make a list of things to get done before baby girl is born.  The time is growing short!

10 and 11 months

Once again, I’ve had this draft sitting here so long that it’s completely out of date.  Ascher is now 11 months old, which I’m finding very hard to believe.  It seems both really fast and really slow.  On the one hand, wasn’t he JUST  born?  On the other hand, there’s been a fair number of veeery long days and nights to get here.  Guess that’s really just life.  Slow at the time but fast in retrospect.

At any rate, here’s what I had written as Ascher’s 10 month accomplishments.

  • Got to sitting from his tummy by himself.
  • Finally figured out a sippy cup.
  • Loves it when Ben holds him upside down.
  • Getting out of the swing napping habit(fully out now!).
  • Greatly enjoyed playing on the beach in the sand.
  • Scoots!

As of 11 months Ascher:

  • Loves mirrors.  A hand mirror was the best toy I ended up packing for the long car ride to the ocean.
  • Rolls a ball back and forth with us on the floor.
  • Has said at at least one point “day oo” (thank you),  “wurr” (water),  “dada”,  “dood”(good).
  • Is stringing all sorts of sounds together now to talk to us in sentences with inflections and everything.  He is definitely thinking he’s communicating with us.
  • Will sign “please” every now and then, usually if something is especially yummy and new.
  • Is doing about 50/50 speedy scooting and crawling.
  • Pulled up to standing on a short box and can get to his knees on taller things.  He has bonked his head pretty hard a few times on the darn coffee table, trying to get the rest of the way up.  He doesn’t seem to remember this as he tries over and over again, but I’m now wincing and having minor heart failure every time he slips.  Obviously it’s something he’s going to learn to do one way or another, but I wish he’d pay more attention to the couch and less to the coffee table.
  • Loves boxes and containers with lids.  He loves putting the lids on and off and on and off.  He knows they go together!
  • Crawls over/through things(us, the legs of a chair, the legs of the piano bench)
  • Is getting markedly more comfortable with family members other than me and Ben.  I think having a solid week of being in contact with 20 other people(staying in the house on the beach) really helped him with this.  He learned that they all loved his flirty shy face(smiling with his face to his shoulder), so he was definitely hamming it up at times.
  • Peels off his socks at every opportunity.
  •  All of his own accord started dancing to music!  Sometimes he’ll even start humming to himself and dancing to that.  Way cute, and a reminder to me to be joyful.

Every day is seems like we have entered a point in his life where he is learning all the big things in huge leaps and bounds, all at once.  So impressive to look at him and think of the noisy, hungry little noodle he was less than a year ago!

Some recent pictures!

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Drifting to Focus

Only day 3 of 31 and I’m already feeling off track.  I know it’s not irretrievable.  I have every intention of still doing lots of fun big and small things this month.  I just feel silly for having only normal things to report for the last couple days.  Nothing exciting to show for yesterday.  Baby and I both slept badly the previous night so I was happy to get my exercise, a partially clean kitchen and a nap.  Just minimal stuff for functioning.

Isn’t he cute??

Today we were both well rested to start the day.  I exercised and (mostly) cleaned a bathroom while Ascher got his first nap.  I confess to some aimless pintresting and I know I could have gotten the bathroom donedone if I’d *sigh* focused.  After a snack for us both we walked to the park.  It was a lovely, fresh, breezy day and there was just enough fall in the air to make me wonder if I’d wish for long pants.

His mother defends the plaid hat and striped overalls by saying that it was all blue and red and white. Don’t judge, you know it works. ;)

I tried Ascher in the baby swings on the playground for the first time.  He was mellow with the idea, but not enraptured.  He gave me little smiles when I made silly faces and sounds at him, but he was definitely a bit overwhelmed with the new place and all the new things to see.  I think it’ll still be nice enough to bring him over for a little while longer, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as fun much more in the spring.

At some point in the evening Ben told me that he was imagining the smell of chocolate chip cookies and he was wondering if that could be made a reality, so I made some cookies(yum!) and jumped into dinner prep while they baked.  Biscuits with tuna gravy and corn and peas on the side made a yummy, easy dinner.  We watched an episode of Flashpoint.  I like that show, but wow, it’s serious sometimes!  I don’t get teary for much, tv or movie-wise, but this one had me at the end scene.  Sad!

Ack, moving away from emotional displays now.

I stuck a roast in the crockpot to slow cook overnight.  We remembered that it was maybe going to freeze tonight.  I tried to put the baby to bed.  Note the tried.  Ben went out and picked 60lbs of tomatoes and peppers.  Holy smokes, guess those’ll need processing pretty soon here.  We’ll have LOTS of tomatoes in the pantry!  :D  Baby went to sleep.  I wrote a blog post.  Baby is waking up.  Insert deep thoughts here about the need for focus.  Never mind, Baby is not waking up.  Which means I need to truly finish this post and not make you imagine it… bummer, haha.

I’ve already learned a few things from this project.  One, that I’m very susceptible to being inspired by others projects, to the point that I want to drop what I’m doing and start something that someone else showed me.  Obviously I need more practice in focus.

Two, that if I don’t have something in mind to do I can fizzle the day away looking for inspiration.  Why one and two don’t peacefully combine is beyond me.

Three, that a day of perfectly normal, needful things is not a failure of this project.  I had a really good day today.  I made dinner and cookies and exercised and played outside and made the baby laugh and cleaned the kitchen and started dinner for tomorrow and hung out with my husband and cleaned a bathroom(!!).  I did a lot of stuff,  even if it wasn’t an interesting tutorial or recipe or home transformation.  I guess what I did today was focus on the joy of normal.  And that’s certainly something I can never get too much practice in.


Are you wanting to shorten a long to-do list?  We’d love to have you join our 31 Days to Focus and Refresh as we seek to focus on the things that matter to refresh our hearts, homes and habits.  Even if you can only join in for a day we’d love to see what you’re up to.