Valentine Fun

A sweet lady from my church brought us some meals and some books for Anja and Markus a couple weeks ago.  Anja’s book was this one:

020610 Fancy Nancy

Fancy Nancy and her friend Bree make valentines, so we did, too (if you get one of these, pretend to be surprised).
020610 Cards

Nancy had a wreath made with paper hearts, and Anja wanted to make one of those, too. We just used leftover foam hearts from the valentines and stuck them on a piece of cardstock. Simple, but she loved doing it.  Husband says the wreath hanger is a little hefty for it.  Heh heh.
020610Heart Wreath

We’re in the process of another craft that I hope we finish before Valentine’s Day. If not, no big deal. What kinds of activities do you do with your kids?

Food Paint

I got this idea from Amy who got it from Katherine Marie, who has AMAZING, educational, theme weeks she does with her kids.

020610 4 Painting

We did this for a late night snack, and Anja only got two colors of paint instead of four, but she thought it was really fun.  I thought it was fun, too, until she started dumping all the popcorn into the paints.  Ah well, such is life with kids!

FYI, my “paint” is just regular milk with a drop of food coloring in each.

See, Ma?  I have blue.
020610 Painting

And pink.
020610 2 Painting

Let me know if you try it–happy painting!
020610 3 Painting

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

At Beck’s recommendation, I checked out this book, along with a pile of others, in January.  It was like eating comfort food in the form of words.  Brocket basically makes her own case in the beginning of the book.  This paragraph struck me as great great dust jacket fodder, a sort of “why to read this book”:

The gentle art of domesticity is also the art of the possible.  We not longer need to knit socks, exhaust ourselves on “baking day,” stitch quilts to keep ourselves warm or sew aprons to wear in the kitchen, and we are no longer judged on the quality of our hemming, pastry or heel-turning.  The gentle arts have moved into a new realms in contemporary life, a realm we can choose to enter should we wish, and one in which the act of doing is as important as the result.  Ignore all calls for perfection and focus instead on what you can achieve, and the pleasure of the gentle arts will be yours for the taking.

It’s also full of eye candy–pleasing photographs to lure you into these gentle arts.  While Brocket and I don’t necessarily share the same philosophy of life, she sure can make a beautiful quilt!

This is my job.

I began looking for a new rhythm in November, after I came home from my other 20 hr/wk job.  Photography was still eating 30-50 hours a week until Christmas, but I dreamed of finding order in each day, of making it count for our family.

After Christmas, I had time, which is a luxury I haven’t had in a long time.  I began crocheting, worked on a scrapbook (I have told myself that each child will have one, emphasis on ONE, and I can’t promise any more than that), looked at decorating books, read my Bible every day, planned and made nutritious meals and baked goods.

Markus arrived in mid-January.  One giant blessing begot one big mess.  We are back to square one.  Just when I think I have found a new rhythm, a growth spurt or a very tantrum-filled day ruins my illusion.  Flexibility, I’m thinking, will need to become my new best friend.  Flexibility and I have never gotten along very well.  I am Type A.  I plan my days almost to the minute.

I write to-do’s on my calendar, and they remain there for weeks, sometimes never getting crossed off.  This frustrates me.  But I have to let it go, tell myself that I’m on maternity leave, so work needs to take a backseat right now.  I have a brand new baby to hold, to love.

Reading blogs, responding to emails, commenting on Facebook, are all things that I enjoy, things that keep me sane, but that need to move down the priority list.  They are not my job.  They will not reap the same rewards of playing in an indoor “sandbox” with Anja, of reading her books and scripture, of singing silly songs and dancing in a tutu in the living room.  They will not replace holding my baby, sniffing his soft hair, and humming him lullabies as he dozes off on my shoulder.

Some things won’t wait.  When we are out of burp cloths, the laundry must be done.  My family must eat every night.  But the dust?  It will just re-settle within a day anyway.  And that pile of papers?  They’ll still be there tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this poem before, but it is just SO important for me to remind myself that some things matter, and some don’t.

Song for a Fifth Child

By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing, make up the bed,

Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,

Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,

Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew

And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo

But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo

Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?

Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow

But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

020410 Kiss

Sunday Sunshine 02.07.10

A friend of ours was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre’ syndrome this past summer.  Guillain-Barre’ is one of those syndromes that you hope you will only ever hear about on House, one you hope your friends and family will never get.

We followed her progress on a Caring Bridge site, and I am pleased to say (and thankful to God!) that she has made a full recovery.  She recently put up a video of herself re-learning how to walk, and oh. my. goodness.  It was amazing to watch!  We haven’t seen her in person since her experience, so it was very touching to see an actual video of the journey she’s been on (see below–be sure to note that the music is tongue-in-cheek…like our friend said, it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself).  Thanks for sharing, E!

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I came across this recipes site recently, and I am happy to share it with you all!

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I am a huge Antique Mommy fan, and this list of hers is chock-full of wisdom.

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As is this post (and the follow-up post) from Rachel at Small Notebook.  It was music to my new mother of two ears.

The Glass Castle

I have been reading a couple books while nursing Markus and taking my mandatory strongly recommended daily baths (to help with healing).  One I just completed is “The Glass Castle.”

This memoir describes the ups and downs (mostly downs) of Jeannette Walls, from age three to adulthood.  I found my jaw on the floor page after page, not able to believe that the stories she tells are her own experiences.  The family is a bit rough around the edges, and the language reflects that.  But overall, I recommend this book–it will, to use a cliche’, broaden your horizons and make you view your fellow man in a different way.

Ways to Keep A Healthy Level of Sanity

I got these in a forward from Husband’s aunt, and they made me laugh, so I’m sharing with you all!

1.At lunch time, sit In your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars.. see if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom.  Don’t disguise your voice!

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

4. Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks.  Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

5. In the “memo” field of all your checks, write “for marijuana.”

6. Skip down the hall rather than walk and see how many looks you get.

7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, keeping a serious face.

8. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”

9. Sing along at the opera.

10. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can’t attend their party because you have a headache.

11. When money comes out at the ATM, scream “I won!  I won!”

12. When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot, yelling, “Run for your lives!  They’re loose!”

13.  Tell one of your children over dinner, “Due to the economy, we’re going to have to let one of you go.”

Markus, 3 weeks

Not a whole lot has changed, but a few things I’d like to chronicle are:

  • You are sleeping much better for naps (we had a few challenging days between last week and now) and staying awake better for feedings due to the helpful stuff I found on this site.  It’s so counter-intuitive, but I had been trying to keep you awake too hard, so you were too overstimulated to sleep!  Now we’ve reduced your wake time to 30-60 minutes per feed-wake-sleep period, and you’re back on schedule almost to the minute.  I think it’s so cool that babies can do that!
  • You are growing.  I would not be surprised if you’re already up to 11 lbs.  You are now filling out your 0-3 month clothes nicely and even starting to wear some of the 3-month stuff.  You have an abundance of clothes already!  I didn’t expect that as much with a boy, but from now until summer, you’re pretty much set.
  • You are easily agitated by your big sister.  She is your main over-stimulant.  She loves you to pieces, and gives you hugs and kisses all the time, and I think you’ll get along great once you’re older and can better handle her energy.  🙂
  • No hair falling out yet!  Hooray!  You may keep it yet, despite your light eyebrows.
  • You are starting to find your fingers and suck on them occasionally.
  • You are holding your head up and looking around a LOT, though not with the control of an older baby.  I am surprised by your strength.
  • You’ve also rolled front-to-back 5 times, which makes me less and less certain that it’s a fluke.
  • Tummy time is not your favorite time, but you do pretty well until you roll yourself over.
  • You still hate being wet or cold.

No photo this week.  Haven’t had time…sigh…