Loving the Sunshine

20 Feb

 We are having warmer days. The daffodil shoots are up and the skunks are out of hibernation. Our dog got herself sprayed this week. 
For Homeschool I have been making the girls grade their own math. I discovered that Cherry Pie  was missing 10 of 30 problems and instead of asking for help, just going on to the next lesson like it was fine.  I’ve already changed her math book once this year because she was struggling so much. So now I have to figure out what to do. I think I’m going to have to personally teach her math lessons and we are going to have to start over yet again with algebra 1. Normally the big girls do math on their own and I help Key Lime Pie.   I haven’t exactly figured out how to schedule more “me as the teacher” time, but never fear, I will figure it out.  

My big homeschool weakness is that when the girls complain about not wanting to do work, I often totally cave and let them do something else or make the assignment easier. I have to come up with some strategies to keep myself from letting them be lazy bums.  I’m too soft.


Friday night and Saturday, my sister-in-law Amy kept all 6 girls and the Skooter Pies, and I spent the day sewing a shirt for myself. It was pretty fun to finish a project. The house was weirdly quiet though. I kept catching myself listening for babies to wake up.  I finally turned on some music.  

This was my beta test  or my “muslin”.  I used an old piece of fabric that has been acting as a tablecloth for several years and was ready to be retired.  After measuring myself and the pattern, I cut a size 12 neck and shoulders, graded it out to a 14 on the sides and put a size 18 sleeve in.  

( Trying to figure out what size pattern to make from my measurements makes me feel a bit like Frankenstein’s monster–such a hodge podge of mismatched parts!).   

My muslin took until noon to create, and then went into the trash because the sleeves were too tight, the neckline was too tight across my chest, and the neckband gaped in back.  

For Try #2, I decided to trust the pattern maker a bit more.  I made a straight size 16 bodice, but I needed a size 24 sleeve because my upper arm is just big compared to the rest of me.  So  I learned how to alter a sleeve skye to fit a larger sleeve. Thank you, you tube.  I also took about a 1/2 inch out of the back neckband to hopefully fix the gap problem.  

I lucked out and the shirt fit me very well, and the neckband lay flat. Perhaps I may have been able to get away with a size 14 bodice–I think it would fit through the shoulders better-I have narrow shoulders compared to the rest of me.  Also I’d like to raise the neckline an inch, but I couldn’t figure out how to Saturday.  This morning I had an idea of how to do that and keep the pretty pleats.  Next chance I get, I’ll try it. 


The nice thing is that once  I have my pattern perfected, I’ll be able to crank out a beautiful top in a couple of hours.  My trusty dusty 20 year old Bernina 1008 is still going strong and handled this slub knit very well.  I used the overlock stitch (#12) and a needle for stretch fabrics.  

This pattern is from Hotpatterns.com, a little inde pattern company run by a husband and wife.  The wife designs and the husband does all the printing/folding/shipping.   I ❤ her patterns, all of which are graded from size 6 up to size 26.  Unheard of elsewhere! Also, she starts with a size 14 and grades up & down from there, so the patterns begin by being closer to what a real person is shaped like than the big 4 pattern companies’ patterns. That really helps if you are a Frankenstein monster or a human who has been pregnant a few times.  

 This top is called “Everybody loves the Sunshine” HP1193. It’s very forgiving and so comfortable! I need at least 3 more !

Happy Valentines Day!

16 Feb


The Scooter Pies are 18 months old!  Where has the time gone? Stinkin’ cute little cheesers 

In another year and a half, they will be 3 years old!  Life will be so different then!

Zeke (wearing orange) weighs 23 pounds and 13 oz and is about 31 inches tall.  (The nurse wasn’t very careful, so I don’t trust this measurement.)

Skeeter (wearing blue) weighs 25 pounds 5 oz and is about 32 inches tall.

I have moved them into size 2T shirts because suddenly all their 18-month shirt sleeves were about 2 inches short.  They are still wearing size 18-month pants because they have skinny little bums.

I am excited for spring to come so we can spend many more hours a day outside.  The Scooter Pies have already learned way too much about things like Nintendo wii and tablets and smart phones.  I want them to learn about bugs and sticks and dirt and rocks.

We went to the park last week, and they didn’t even try to eat the gravel! yay!!! This summer is going to be fun.

This is Good Time Management

16 Feb

Blueberry Pie got his driver’s license!

My daily life has changed so much.  No longer do I have to pick him up from seminary and drive him to school.  No longer do I have to pick him up from school and drive him to swim practice or life guard duty at the YMCA.  No longer do I have to drive him to Academic Bowl or basketball games or football games or Wednesday night activities.

I literally have 2 hours a day (or more) to get things done at home that I used to spend in the car.  I suspect I will listen to less audio books and home school & mothering podcasts.  But I am spending more time on my scripture study, my home school preparation, actual home school lessons, my laundry, and my blogging.

Its a sweet deal to suddenly be handed 2 new hours a day.

 

Book Journal!

5 Feb


I’ve occasionally thought that it would be nice if I kept a list of the books I have read in a notebook or something, but who has time for one more thing?

However, a couple of years ago I started using our state’s online library.  And let me just say, it was LIFE CHANGING!!  When I have a nursing baby and a bunch of toddlers running around, it is the best thing ever to be able to “check out” an e-book or audio book to read.  When I’ve finished a book, I can just “return” it and instantly check out a new one, without ever having to take small children to the library.

**Chorus of Angels Singing**

Also, when I have limited hands because one is holding a baby, or two, it is so much easier to hold my iPhone than a paperback!  and I can turn the pages with my thumb! Audio books aren’t my favorite, but it sure is nice to listen to something intelligent while I’m driving, or folding laundry, or cleaning the kitchen.

Back to the point: the Overdrive Online Library app has a history tab, and I discovered that I absolutely LOVE to look back at the books I read. It isn’t just nice, it is a huge happy boost for me.  It makes me feel like I accomplished something.  I smile about the books I enjoyed and even like to see the books I abandoned and remember why.

Last week I listened to this cool podcast from “What Should I Read Next?” in which different women shared how they keep track of the books they read. Some use Excel spreadsheets, some have a bookmark that they write on, some keep notebooks, bullet journals, or use smartphone apps.

After listening to all the great ideas, I printed out the reading journal that is offered free on Modern Mrs. Darcy (I had to give her my email address- a fair trade) I printed it at home, but took it to FedEx to be cut in half and spiral bound. They only charged $3 to do that for me.

This year I am making a thoughtful effort to put back into my life beautiful things.  Things that make me happy.  Things that may not be practical, but give me such a boost that I know they are worth while.  This reading journal is one of those things.

I also downloaded the “Library Thing” app to catalog the books I own. Its free. I already wish it had a feature where I could add notes about each book (like if I’ve loaned it to someone), but at least when I am at the book store, I’ll be able to check and see if I own Wind in the Willows already or not.  The handy bit is that it has a bar code scanner, so many of my books, I can just scan and the phone adds them into my library without my having to type anything.  So that is sweet.  Another bonus is that it is counting my books for me.  512 so far, but I haven’t scanned the kid’s picture books yet….

Don’t Tell Me I’m Awesome

22 Jan

`The internet is full of mommy blogs and internet articles to tell all us moms that we are awesome and amazing and super—even if our 4 year old isn’t potty trained yet, our house has a crunchy floor, and we haven’t done laundry or mopped the floor in living memory.

I had twins a year and a half ago.  They made babies # 8 and 9 for me.  I know how to make bread and I know how to sew.  I cook from scratch, and my family is pretty happy to eat the food I cook unless I commit the awful sin of not chopping the onions finely enough.  I am not awesome because I do these things.  My mom taught me how to do them, and so I can do them, much like any other woman out there who does what she learned from her mother and tries her best to be a good mother to her own children.

I love to teach and I like to make pretty things and read books about interesting ideas.  I like to share about what I am excited about.  Usually the response I get is

“Wow, you are amazing, I could never do that.”

“You are a super mom.”

This pretty much makes me feel like a shmuck.  I wasn’t sharing because I was seeking praise.  I was sharing because I was excited.  I want to hear about what other people excited about. I want them to be excited about what I’m excited about.  Instead, I’m stuck all by my self in a time-out called “You are Awesome.”

Sometimes I share about the struggles that I have.

I get the same responses.

“You are a super mom.”

“I could never do what you do.”

“You are so patient.”

“You are awesome.”

Sometimes I want to argue with people.  I want to tell them that they could do what I do—

which is do the best I can with what I’ve been given.

I want to tell them that I’m not patient; I’m just too tired to fight battles that aren’t worth fighting. Or I’ve realized that some things aren’t important enough to get mad about.

“God gave those twins to you instead of me because I couldn’t handle them, but you can.”

Maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

I think God helps me deal with what life throws at me.  Just like God helps others deal with what life throws them.

Besides, I don’t want to be told that I’m super mom.   I was looking for connection, maybe even asking for help.  But instead I am again isolated by the assumption that I can be patted on the back and told I’m awesome and that this will magically help me feel happy and not exhausted.  Is it too much to ask to let me join the ranks of normal mom and have normal mom friends?

Next time you have a friend who shares what she is excited about, instead of telling her she is amazing, say “That’s cool.  I’d like to try it, could you show me how?” Or  “Neat! Here is this cool thing that I am excited about.”

Next time your friend mentions her struggles, maybe she doesn’t need to be told how far superior she is to all the other humans.  How no one can match her.  Maybe she doesn’t feel awesome and telling her she is awesome will just make her feel the gap more.

Maybe she just needs a friend beside her, to know she isn’t alone, a few laughs about how life is crazy, and a salted-caramel-truffle blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Word for 2017

12 Jan

I really love new beginnings. There is so much hope in a fresh start.

In December, I was thinking that my word for the year would be

DIRECTION

To help me remember not to focus on where I am or how far I am from perfection, but instead to just keep moving in the right direction.  So that’s definitely part of what I want to keep my focus on this year.

But then another word crossed my path and repeated itself several times and I know that it is what I really need to work on this year.

REMEMBRANCE

As we raise our children we teach them the remembrances of our culture.  I don’t mean we make them memorize facts and dates and state capitols.  I mean we teach them what we have learned as humans over the last 4000 years (plus or minus) .  We read to them our Mother Goose Rhymes and our fairy tales and folk tales.  We teach them folk songs.  We tell them the stories of our family members who lived and died.  We tell them how our family lived and how they died.

All these remembrances create an anchor for our children that tethers them to the past.  In the rushing ever changing river of now, they have a safety.  Their present and future have meaning because they can see it in the context of the past.  They can overcome hardship because they know that in our family we have had hard times before, and we overcame them.  Without a tether to the past, there is only the present.  The past and future have no meaning, and we are tossed about by each new meme on facebook.  We are touched or aghast or amused, but in the end it all means nothing if we have no tie to the past or responsibility to the future.

Jesus Christ broke bread and gave of it to his disciples and said, “This do in remembrance of me.”

He gave us an anchor, a tether that keeps us connected in the rushing river of life.  Through the power of his grace we overcome the trials large and small of life.  We can also overcome our own selves.  We are reborn in Christ and become his children as we take His name upon us.  This is why his name is “The Very Eternal Father.”  Thus remembrance of Him is remembrance of family.

Remembrance isn’t just remembering.  It is also doing.  We don’t remembrance.  We do things in remembrance of.  I know this has deeper significance than I can articulate right now.  It is something I want to spend a lot of time studying and thinking on this year.  I am looking forward to the learning.

 

Christmas Eve

24 Dec


I like the part of Christmas Eve where “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse”. 

( not quite there yet this year.) 

 Then I lie still and remember the magic I felt when I was young and anticipate the kids’ excitement in the morning. Sometimes I sneak to a window and open it a crack and smell the frosty cold air and check the starry sky (just in case Santa is flying over.) 

Then I close the window and look at the stars a little longer and think about the new star that shone down on a little stable in Bethlehem. For me, Christmas is about feeling awe and wonder at the Love of God, that He sent His Son to us, for us. I wish for you my friends to feel that wonder in your hearts tonight with me. 

🎄🎄🎄Joyous Christmas and Much Love to you all.

❤️

Glow Worm