Saturday, December 20, 2014

First time skiing this season

The boys are super-pumped to ski this year --
We've only had one prime weekend thus far this season
(back at the end of November), but they skied both days. 

 Getting Jamie's skis on is a two-man operation.
Holy smokes.

 Diego and Truen were already outside for awhile before
we were able to wrestle Jamie's skis on.
(See our native grass & flowers along the driveway?
Beautiful summer & winter, awesome snow-block.)

 Blaine said that all the boys have improved from last year.
Jamie is strong and amazingly coordinated
with little patience for messing up, though more he had than last year.
I watched him successfully turn around with his skis on, stepping carefully.

 Diego flails all over the place --
super-enthusiastic and loving it,
but not much interested in besting it.
(I have no doubt this would have been me too.)

Truen is slower and more interested in working at it.
He also loves squatting down and sliding along close to the ground.
(The red "belt" came about after we pulled the coat out and realized the zipper was missing.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


 Remember this guy...?
Two weeks old
June 2013

Curly-headed Eliah Len 
18 months old
December 2014

 Painting like one of the brudders --
He absolutely insisted on it.
Funny how life changes: I never even considered him,
whereas I'm sure I had Truen painting long before this.
He's still such a baby to me.

Running up our driveway last weekend --
This year it has been "November in December"
and "December in November" in terms of snow and temps.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Just a'nudder brudder

 E-yi-ya likes to do whatever his brudders are doing.
In this case, a morning snack.

 The "Cheetah Game", where they strip down to their skivies and run amok --
Honestly, I don't even know what this game is even when I pay attention.
It looks like a lot of running and rolling all around.

 Masks with Jamie
The felted fox was made by my SIL - the cutest!

Another morning snack during Morning Lessons --
I've got to keep the little guys busy while the big'uns do their schoolwork.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pan :: Pancake :: Pantsy :: That Lil' Rascal

Our Jamie is almost 4 years old.  How did that happen??  He's been saying the funniest things recently.  Little tidbits that make me drop everything and run for a pen ASAP.

:: "Mama, there's a lot of dragonflies in our town . . . in our universe . . . in our Minnesoter."
~ Sitting on the sunny front walk in September, with peanut butter smeared all over his face, watching the dragonflies zoom over the driveway.

:: "This is one of the rarest things I've ever seens."
~ Showing Blaine Diego's 'Monster Fighters' Lego set.  "Rare" being a very common description these days with our fellas.  Mostly about Lego pieces.

:: "I'm not hungry anymore . . . I ate my cat food."
~ After a recent and unfortunate trend in consuming cat food.  Blaine had just found him eating handfuls of it.

Jamie (with dramatic sadness): "Mama, Gramma said I couldn't wash dishes when we were butchering"
Mama (with tenderness): "Oh yeah...?"

Jamie (even more dramatic, doe-eyed and pouty-lipped): "Yeah.  I almost went outside to get helded."

Mama (melting heart): "Oh . . . it must have scared you?  So that you needed to get helded?"

Jamie (resigned): "Yeah.  And I really wanted to wash dishes."
~ A morning a week or so after butchering.  Blaine's mom was holding down the fort inside, including managing the hot water and caring for Jamie and the baby.  Washing dishes just wasn't in the cards that day.

Jamie: "I love looking at the snow, Mama."

Mama (gooey heart): "Me too."

Jamie: "Tim is nasty, Mama."

Mama: "Tim is nasty??  Why?"

Jamie: "Because of all the snow on the road that he blends down!"
~ Our neighbor Tim faithfully plows our driveway every winter.  "The road" = our driveway.  We already have a thick blanket of snow for the season.  Un-un-un-un.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gutting the toy mess

It is snowing today, with wicked winds from the north.  We were gone this past weekend in the Twin Cities and Wisconsin, visiting our SIL & kids and Blaine's grandparents.  It felt good to be together, away from the feelings of pressure to "get something done" at home.  We laughed, nuzzled, talked, connected, cried a bit (just me), and enjoyed everyone's company.

Things on the home front are feeling more ordered.  The boyz and I are thriving under the newly implemented structure of Morning Chores and Morning Lessons; this combined with my cut-throat attack on the play table and the space afforded by our new bookshelf, things are feeling mighty fine.  Instead of feeling whipped around in the swirling eddies of chaos, I feel strong, like I have a handle on our time and space.

It is so interesting to me, how narrow my focus in life has become.  As a homeschooling mother, my world is confined within these four walls.  All of my mental, physical, and emotional energy is used to maintain our household, keep us clean and fed, and cultivate our children.  I am fascinated by the fact that while what I am doing is not at all what I would have ever expected to "be" "when I grew up", I am completely satisfied and extremely engaged by it.  Expectations formed by cultural undercurrents are not at all what I have found life to be; or at least, not what I have found satisfying in my own life.

In regards to the TOY MESS.  I'm fairly certain I have removed 75-80% of the glut.  I have gone through everything 4-5 times now, sifting and gathering, sorting and shifting.  I was completely heartless and got rid of more than just mismatched riffraff and plastic toy bits.  I gathered many different sets that don't get played with or fall into the "too much of a good thing" category.  Do we honestly need so many toy instruments?  Or two sets of Melissa and Doug toy food?  18 billion plastic farm animals?  Three zillion toy trucks?  No.

 What we've been living with for the last two years

All the sifted toys are sitting in boxes in the basement, mostly sorted.  The next step is to go through everything and finish bagging up the various sets.  I keep finding more pockets of hidden toys throughout the house and I refuse to laden our small-town thrift store with a mismatched blow-out.  We have all the pieces (or most of them) and I want to keep them together for the next person.

But the most amazing thing by far is that NOBODY MISSES THE TOYS.  Diego has commented on how nice it is to have less to clean up.  Jamie and Eliah, who have never had the chance to play at the play table in their entire little lives, are making full-use of the space.  It's like an entirely new world opened up for them.  Even Diego and Truen have been playing on or around the table.

I've kept select vehicles (trucks, tanks, tractors, boats, airplanes), all the action figures, the best of the musical instruments, the wooden food set, the Imaginext dinosaur set, select stuffed animals, a few inside balls, the two little "car" riders, the doll house, hospital and parking garage.  Everything else is getting the boot.

[This is such a laugh, because we still have our wooden block set, the Duplo blocks, Magnetix, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, all the costumes, and the multitude of Legos (sets and miscellany).  These toys are all stored on various shelves and qualify in the "use, then put away" category.  We still have SO many toys.]

 In process

It looks cleaner, there is less to clean up, toys are actually getting use played with, with more space to play in, etc., etc., etc.  I could gush for hours.  Less is really more.  And I am going to be vigilant about it from now on.  I refuse to be swallowed by a toy mess that has taken a life of its own, ever again.  Less is more.  Less is more!

It has also taken me down the path of reexamining all areas of our household.  Our book collection, the holiday closet, other areas of storage.  I am done with sentimental ties holding me down to stuff.  Some of it I will keep, but the days of accumulation are done.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Semi-annual Pumpkin Picture

My two favorite shots - #18 and #31.  Blaine went bananas behind me to keep their attention while I snapped away (thank goodness it wasn't another 2012).  Often the very first picture is the very best, but not this year.

We didn't carve pumpkins last year.  I can't remember exactly why, though I think it may have been the combo of new baby and no pumpkins from our garden.  Or maybe it was too cold?  Or could it have been that we were too upset about my BIL's cancer?  I honestly have no memory.  I don't even remember being sad about it.

This year Diego and Truen carved their own pumpkins.  In typical fashion, Diego imploded and stomped off all upset in angst and sheer disappointment, as carving was harder-than-it-looked and things-weren't-perfect, while Truen patiently worked toward the end goal without a hitch.  Jamie wanted a "mad-looking" pumpkin and Eliah was just happy to mingle.  The feathers strewn around are the remnants of butchering from the previous weekend.

Years' past for all our viewing pleasure:  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Like the crack of the whip, I snap attack

I am on a major reorganization and de-cluttering binge.  MAJOR.  I have had enough. 

Let me count the ways:
  • Sorted through sock and undies drawers, the pajama drawer: match, storage, thrift
  • Cleaned the wooden shelf formerly in storage in our quonset (gutted from Blaine's parents' kitchen after their remodel), brought to the basement, organized ALL boy shoes, sandals, mud boots, snow boots by like-kind and size.
  • Vacuumed, sanded, painted the exterior, then cleaned the innards of a gargantuan bookshelf, again, formerly in storage in our quonset (and a library shelf from the old-old library in Small Town, MN, the nostalgia).  This sucker is is probably 8-9 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide, solid wood.  Un-un-un-un.  It comes inside to electrify our book organization this weekend.  I can't imagine ever needing another bookshelf (if we keep our collection within reason).
  • Started sorting through the DUMPSTER we call our play table.  Goal: to get rid of 75-80% of our toy collection.  It will be a many day process: my plan is to sift, sort, toss, organize, then haul the excess to the thrift.  I already have two gigantic boxes filled to the brim.  Vengeance is mine.
  • ATTACK the mess in the upstairs storage room (ebay, mending pile, seasonal clothing): buy a new shelving unit, sort, organize, put away.
  • Clear the MESS atop my dresser (in disarray from the last disaster, i.e. "Don't climb the dresser drawers", otherwise known as, "Jamieeee!  Ohhhhhh nooooooo!" in slo-mo, already at least a year ago).  The days of pretty display are done: this is survival.  Sort, put away for future intrigue.  Leave out a few necklaces and earrings.
  • Start getting ruthless with my clothing glut.  If it doesn't fit right, get right of it.  If I don't really like it, get rid of it.  Sort by season and store in the off-season (I already started this last year).

Much of my inspiration was fueled by the deep-clean on our kitchen last June done by my mom and myself.  It was so refreshing and I have been reveling in it these many months.  Thanks, Muver.

Listening to a podcast from The Art of Simple last month kicked things into high gear.  I am on a crusade.  It's time to get radical.

Monday, October 20, 2014

She sings; she reads; she loses her temper

The mother is a world of great mystery.  She loves; she does all kinds of interesting things throughout the house; she sings; she reads; she loses her temper; she may be as peaceful as a summer evening or a whirlwind of fury.  But she is always the mother, and her love for her children, even when it is shot through all the flaws of her character, will be a human love.  It may be far from perfect.  [But it will be something real.]
~Anthony Esolen
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

This description struck me when I read it.  It is within the context of his "recommendation" to put all children in full-time daycare, to replace the mother-child relationship with a worker-client relationship, written in extremity and entirely tongue-in-cheek, of course.

The picture he paints resonated on a deep level with me.  I love the romance and reality all rolled into one.  A mother, as peaceful as a summer evening or a whirlwind of fury.  Yes.  I've been there.

This book was an amusing and thought-provoking read.  He presents sound observations on life and culture that are worth contemplation; within the realm of growing children, definitely, but more expansively, on the needs and desires of the human soul.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It unfolded as if it were planned

I've been thinking back to previous food preservation seasons and have realized something: I didn't feel as stretched this year.

It has a lot to do with the lack of big tomatoes and tomatillos - I did just one batch of salsa this year instead of the usual 4-5.  And another biggie: cabbage.  An unfortunate blow-out.  Again, just one batch of sauerkraut instead of the usual 4-5.

But I think it also has a lot to do with these guys.

Our oldest: Diego and Truen, ages 9 and almost-7
(Exploring the dry creek bed southwest of our place)

Looking back over the past year, I can see that we have been building up to the concept of Morning Chores and Evening Chores.  I didn't even really realize I was doing it.  It started with the cat litters last winter.  In the spring I added emptying the dishwasher every morning.  In the summer they started folding and putting away their own clothes each week.  This fall they started emptying and refilling the goose and duck water troughs every night.

It has been amazing.  Not only is it a relief to us in the fact that it takes a bit of the load off of our shoulders, but the boys are stepping up to the plate and accepting responsibility.  I am so pleased about it.

In our experience thus far, there have been a few keys to success:
  • Consistency.  They do their chores every morning before breakfast.
  • Teamwork.  I have them do everything together so it doesn't overwhelm them.
  • Dessert!  We made chocolate mousse to celebrate their takeover of the bird water from Blaine.
They are also very keen on the idea of a $50 a year allowance as a reward for their efforts (I can't remember what that breaks down to per week).

So when I look around, things aren't quite as overwhelming as they have been in the past.  Instead of feeling like absolutely everything sitting squarely on my shoulders during the day, there has been a bit of a reprieve.  It is such a relief. 

And by writing this out, I came to realize that the boys have taken over two chores apiece from Blaine and me.  Cat litters and bird water from Blaine and dishwasher and folding clothes from me.  Awesome.  Next on the agenda: cleaning the bathroom sink & mirror and vacuuming.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

2014 Apple-picking

There aren't many apples in the middle, but climbing is fun.

 Jamie wanted up so badly . . .

And another little feller did too.

 "Bountiful Harvest"
I've been so amazed by apples this fall.
What a gift!

Orchard scenery: this year we have 5 geese, 5 ducks, and 8 chickens. 

 The geese are grazers and keep the grass nicely clipped.
They seem to like Blaine, but haaaate the boys and hiss at them.
There are three Embden and two White Chinese.

 We have to herd the geese and ducks in every night --
Eliah is showing exactly how it is done, arms outstretched,
though we usually have brooms or toy bats in hand to widen our span.
I always bring E-yi-ya in the backpack when I do it, so he knows. Cute.

 Ducks are so funny!
Swedish Blue and Swedish Blacks
We have been getting beautiful grey eggs from them.

 And while we were at it, we picked the rest of the pumpkins and squash --
This van is used like a truck to haul things like wood or straw.

 The fellas with their Da

 With Mama


 "What big eyes you have, grandmother"

And even bigger!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Nuzzling E-yi-ya

The inspiration to blog always hits during impossible times.  My mind is scattered and nothing comes when I actually sit down to do it.  This might have something to do with three fellas going bonkers down the hall: Diego, Truen, and Eliah.  Jamie is blissfully asleep and this is the remnants of my Quiet Time.

I've found that my mind has decreasing amounts of available space for . . . what?  I'm not sure.  I feel like my memory is not razor-sharp anymore.  I need to write things down to remember anything cohesive, even thoughts.  I was thinking about it in the shower this morning and wondered if it is the proverbial "loss of brain cells" or perhaps the increase in demands, but this morning in the shower what made the most sense to me was the disproportionate lack of reflective thought in my life.

Another possibility is the lack of focused attention, at least while I am sitting down and wanting to reflect.  I usually feel like a deer in the headlights, wondering about my time. But when it comes to the duty of life I am very focused, driven to keep our life in under wraps: food, order, cleanliness, peace.

Ah well.  Enough complaints.  This weekend we watched a few videos from years gone.  It was amazing to see all those little people that I love so much, even smaller and younger than they are now.  That time is so close, but yet still gone.  It made me remember to not let the angst get me down, because time is precious.  Don't waste my time on the negativity, embrace it all.  Savor the moments.  Hug those little bodies.  Laugh with them.  All the cliches, yes, but all so, so true. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ye olde list post

So many thoughts, so little time.  I defer.

  • We are still finishing our 2013-2014 school year.  In my mind, I have likened it to a rattle-trap car just barely holding together, huffety-puffety, rolling into the finish line with a bing-bang-pop.  In other words, barely making it.
  • It is not unlike the poor guy we saw on the other side of 35W on our way to Luuuuke and Katy's wedding "back in the day": his car smoking and bouncing to a stop, the left front tire missing, him holding on for dear life as his car fizzled and zizzled to the side of the road.  A few seconds later we saw his tire cross all eight lanes of traffic.  (It was hilarious at the time and still makes me smile to think of it.)
  • This is exactly what the last bit of our school year feels like to me.  We are bouncing in to the finish line, totally worn out and hoping just to make it to the end.

 A common scene in recent weeks
  • I feel like "keeping up with life" (whatever that means) has become almost impossible with four children.  Honestly, I feel like I've been pushed over the brink.  Anything beyond survival is a luxury at this point in time.  Even now I feel a little bit frantic, wondering if I am using my time wisely.  It leaves me feeling off-kilter.
  • It is funny, because I look back on past posts and see myself iterating similar feelings.  Overwhelm.  Swamped.  No time for contemplative thought.  And when I read these things, I poo-poo my past self, feeling like things have ratcheted up a notch or ten.  Oh yeah, I tell myself, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.
  • Though I do remember from past experience that having a baby in the 12-18 month range (in addition to the extremely active activity level of multiple children) adds a lot of strain.  Not because that age is horrible, quite the contrary, but that they are into everything, have no sense to keep themselves safe, and aren't able to run with the big boys yet.  It makes getting "anything done" very hard.  Bless his little heart.  I keep on reminding myself to hold on and not wish time away.  Things will even out in time.
  • I'm working towards being more even-tempered and flexible.  I want my children to remember a happy mama, not a strained-glum-can't-wait-til-QT mama.  I think my fears play on the perception of myself, because I do think I spend most of my day mostly cheerful and patient . . . though the constant push to accomplish my enormous weekly bucket list is always weighing on me, especially in the mornings, and I know it effects my general aura.

This scene lasted long enough for a picture 
  • The more experience I gain, the more I understand that "for everything there is a season" and constant adjustment is necessary.  I know that, but I'm always surprised to identify that need in my daily, weekly, monthly, yearly life.  Not many rules or routines last for long before becoming outdated.
  • So with that in mind . . . my new-and-improved concept of MORNING CHORES and the boys' responsibility in household maintenance.
  • Morning chores: morning board, empty dishwasher, fold laundry (Mon/Tues), cat litters (M/W/F), get dressed, brush teeth.
  • Household maintenance: before-lunch clean-up, pick-up after play, assigned tasks to help me/us (i.e. picking tomatoes, taking diapers off the line, loading or unloading the washing machine and dryer, etc.)
  • I am planning to get more structured in this dept. with a flip-chart peg board that my SIL gave me.  I don't want to constantly remind them to stay on task (it drains my reserves).  My idea is to require morning chores to be completed by 10:00 AM every day, fueled by individual and team competitions - hopefully fueling their enthusiasm for sticking with the plan.  After brainstorming rewards, I came up with special meal or dessert requests for individual goals met and a Friday morning smoothie or eggnog for team victory.
 Jumping off the dock at our friends' family's weekend retreat
  • Swimming turned into a bi-weekly event this summer.  I aim for Fridays and stay all day, packing loads of food and water to keep us steady.  It is perfect, because by the time we get home Blaine has had a bit of time to himself and the boys are so tired it makes very a very calm night.  Then they sleep in the next morning and have a peaceful day reacquainting themselves with home.  It is so relaxing.
  • The last couple of days have been cold in the morning, beautiful sunny days with no humidity and warm afternoons.  I realized this morning that it is late summer.  I can't believe it!  It seems like it went so fast.  It has been a very cool summer, so it felt like I spent most of the time waiting for it to warm up and actually feel like summer.  We've had a few days with warm nights, and then poof . . . it's almost done.
 On our driveway
  • The boys and I went on a good number of walks in the past month.  It is amazing what slowing down does for the quality of observation and depth of appreciation for one's surroundings.  "Driving by" does not do the world justice.  But walking . . . what a difference . . . to feel the breeze playing on the skin, hear the insect and bird life, take in the the scent of the fields and flowers, even getting a better hold on the trees and sky, letting it all seep in.  It is beautiful.
  • With two little guys and two big guys, our walks consist of Diego riding bike, Truen walking, Jamie sometimes-walking, sometimes-riding, and Eliah sometimes-riding, sometimes-backpacking.  We have a rinky-dink Schwinn bike trailer that is perfect to fit three of the four boys at a time if need be (Truen is still small enough).  It is perfect.
  • Re: the Schwinn.  Buyer beware: it is worth investing in higher quality.
  • But nevertheless, it has been a blessing.  I love having a stroller big enough to haul multiple children and the big wheels make pushing it a breeze.  We even went for a bike ride as an entire family this weekend, Blaine hauling Truen and Jamie, Diego biking, Eliah in the backpack with me, to the graveyard a mile from our house.
Posing by the tomatoes
  • Two local ladies and I are starting a homeschooling group in our small town.  There are plenty of homeschooling groups in the larger towns around us, but there are a lot of homeschooling families in our area and honestly, why drive a half-hour or more when we can cultivate what we want right here where we live?  In addition to keeping our activities local, we will be keeping our children's friendships local as well, which bodes well for more frequent interaction and visiting.  It's a win-win-win.
  • One of the ladies is the wife of the new pastor at the Baptist church in town.  That particular church has a "half-gym" and so we are kicking off our group by organizing a bi-weekly homeschoolers' open gym.  I am so pleased.  A place for my fellas to run off some winter steam (and a five minute drive)!  Awesome.
  • Other organized activities will probably follow.  We are planning to "go with it".  Whatever happens, happens and if it doesn't, that is fine too.  It will be very loose and flexible, with people planning activities as the inspiration or need arises.   But I have a hunch: one of the women I am working with is very gifted in organizing activities so I assume that we will have a good start in the near-distant future.
  • It will be interesting to see what happens.  We already have five interested families, but I know that is just scraping the surface of the potential.
 Eliah does this funny tight-fist shaking thing that makes us all laugh

  • Even as our school year is puttering to an end, I am planning our new school year.  I plan to take September off, reading aloud sprinkled in here and there, then pick up again at the beginning of October.
  • This will be Truen's first "official" year: first grade.  I've had him participating at 75% for the last two years, then full-on 100% for our history reading and activities from The Story of the World.  Overall, he's done very well.  When I can sense that something is too much for him, I ease off a bit.  But otherwise, he's been tagging along through pretty much everything.
  • My plan is to do a modified version of Year 1 from Diego's first year.  I'm not sure if I will read to him/them separately (everything but SOTW) or if I should still combine everything.  I honestly don't know what to do at this point in time, because I see pros and cons either way.  At this point, I assume that I will attempt to continue a combination approach, then adjust as neccessary.
  • I will say though: looking at the initial schedule for this year left me feeling a bit faint.  I'm not sure how to fit it all in, especially with a very LOUD preschooler and a very BUSY toddler.  I don't have much in the way of concentrated time to sit or speak in leisure.  I'm usually trying to make my voice heard above the exclamations and hollering.
  • That being said, I have honed in on a few tactics that give me at least a little bit of time.  First and foremost, looking for an opportunity in the morning.  Are they quiet?  Are the younger ones absorbed in anything?  Secondly, snacks.  Giving them food keeps them quiet for a few minutes while I read aloud.  Thirdly, special toys or crafts: things that they don't have continuous access to.  I can sometimes get a good 10-15 minutes of absorption from them, or should I say, Jamie.  The three year old.  Holy smokes.  It will be interesting to see if anything lets up this coming year as he grows and changes.
 Gramma S. shopping the Farmers' Market
  • Finally: September.  Harvest season.  I'm already feeling the burn.  I look toward it with mixed feelings, thankfulness for the bounty and the dread of knowing the amount of work it will take to put it up.  It will be interesting to see if next year will be as overwhelming as this year feels.  I'm not afraid of the work, but I do feel strained at the thought of trying to "fit it in".  Eliah still needs me so much, it is hard to be separated from him for the length of time each work day requires.  Likewise, it is difficult to keep the pace with so many interruptions and distractions.  It is hard.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do it.
  • In addition, I plan to travel TWO TIMES during the month of September.  This is unprecedented and totally crazy, but I am pleased and looking forward to it at the same time, while simultaneously quaking in my boots. Blaine's grandpa's 99th birthday and a corresponding family reunion??  My dad within driving distance??  It would skewer me to miss either of these opportunities.  I must go.
  • Blaine is taking four days off this month (in addition to Labor Day) and I will use them to the best of my ability.  Tomatoes, apples, cabbage are my biggest challenges.
It took me two days to crank this post out.  I think I covered most of my bases.  Much love, many blessings, I think of you all much more often than you hear from me.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

'Tis the season and Yittle Yi-ya Yen

"Oh Eliah, Little 'Liah Len"
(to the tune of "Little 'Liza Jane")

Holy smokes.  I am up to my eyeballs in tomatoes and crookneck squash and pickling cucumbers.  It is best not to think about it too much or my mind goes into gridlock.  Eegads.  

I've realized that I am going to be in "maintenance mode" this year.  No frivolities, very little experimentation, sticking almost entirely to the basics.  I thought last year was hard (and it was).  But this preservation season feels like it might swallow me whole.

I think it is because of "Little 'Liah Len's" age.  14 months.  He's into everything, climbing whatever he can get on, and has absolutely no sense of how to keep himself safe (so very normal, of course).  Blaine has him mostly covered on weekend; but he wants his mama like every toddler does, so I am pulled to the wayside for regular snuggle breaks.  Which I love, of course, but it becomes my own personal speed bump.  Times ten.

My current thoughts on the subject is to do as much as I can during the day (weekends being the big push), then stay up for a few hours after everyone else is in bed.  I've done it a few times already and it provides a major boost on keeping things under control.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A quote from an interlude

At the end of last week, Diego and Jamie were sitting together peacefully at the kitchen table playing with Legos while I was tending to the baby in the tub.  This, in and of itself, is an amazing and rare event worth noting.  Unless enmeshed in an extremely active and imaginative game together, they are usually fighting.  Especially when it involves Legos.

::: Sidenote: I think I finally understand why I fought so much with my brother who is five years younger than me.  I see it in action every day. :::

So anyway . . . Diego came into the bathroom and gave me this terrific quote from Jamie, who had been talking to him about the Lego motorcycle's kickstand.

Jamie said to Diego, "Do you know how to get this stander off? you?  It's pretty hard for big boys."

I love this in so many ways, in the fact that this is a perfect snapshot for Jamie's language and communication right now.  That they were getting along so beautifully and Diego actually came into the bathroom to tell me the story with pleasure and amusement, ahhhhhh . . . it made me so happy at the time.

But the icing on the cake was Diego's finishing touch to the story.  He said, "You'd better write that down, Mama."

The thoughtfulness.  His tender heart.  He knows that about me.  It left me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside as I rushed to Jamie's Special Notebook to write it down before the next big emergency would knock it right out of my mind.

Then a couple of days later, I wrote it down in Diego's Special Notebook.

::: A final sidenote: I've noticed that if I don't write things down immediately, that particular thought or memory is essentially vaporized.  (Where is my mind?  Way out in the water, see it floating.)  But worse, I've also come to realize I don't remember some of the things I do write down.  Reading it either triggers the memory, or I thank myself for writing something down that would be otherwise lost to time and space.  My brain is too full, too full.  :::

Friday, August 01, 2014

Blahblahblah, cameras, blahblah

I've got to enjoy QT while I have it, but I wanted to get some kind of shout-out, some kind of something out here, to keep some kind of semblance of a "groove" in my blogging.

A groove.  Ha.  I lost that awhile ago.

I don't have any new pictures for you because I haven't had time to download the crappers (seagull, clam, blurry pictures, you remember), but we did just get our new camera in the mail this week.  We bought the exact same make and model as our last, a Sony Cybershot, except this one is pink instead of purple.  I don't want to go through the work of learning anything new, and besides, it was only $99.

We are giving the blurry purple one to the fellas.  Their pictures are usually all blurry anyway, so it doesn't make too much of a difference, and they are very excited about making videos with sound.  Diego has an antiquated camera that takes silent videos (which he has really enjoyed using), and Truen has our old-old black camera, a cheaper model that switches back-and-forth between the video and picture function, making it rather annoying to use (he has really enjoyed it nonetheless).

Kids with cameras are so great, just as long as it isn't my camera they're using.  Our old-old-old silver camera bit the dust when dropped on the root cellar floor by a certain little mister in the somewhat-distant past.  That was a lesson in parenting that stung a bit.

However, I love seeing the world from their point of view, not to mention the creativity ignited with the story-telling capability of the video function.  With my guys, Diego is always the director with Truen and Jamie in the starring roles in front of the camera.  "The stuff they come up with."  It's usually some kind of a battle scene on grand or miniature scale.

I love that they have cameras to use.  It makes me happy.

Jamie has been asking for a camera in recent months as well and I was so pleased when Diego found a Fisher-Price kiddie camera for him in perfect condition at a thrift store just the other week.  Awesome.  He's going to love it.

And now . . . to my book.  The Call to Brilliance by Resa Steindel Brown.

I'm trying to work books back into my harried life, as I'm always so much happier when inspired.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Photo Blow-out (all blurry and it has been too long, but still)

 Yi-ya's chocolate brown curls are so sweet.
The fellas were throwing balls down the walk.

 Accidental wren nest raiders:
Mice usually live in that particular bird house. 

 G&G O. came for a visit in late June.
Grandpa is funny!

 Babies are no match for this Grandma.

 On the front step at my grandparents' open house:
Diego looks like such a giant compared to the rest.
My grandparents are summering with my aunt & uncle in WI now --
I am so pleased about the potential for easier access. 

 Late-afternoon zonkfest.

 That sneaky little devil Truen.

 Too many pictures result in some interesting shots.

On their way to their first movie theater experience.
Truen barfed on the way home from too much popcorn --
Amazingly, he had the presence of mind to puke into his popcorn bag. 

 The 4th of July
Diego danced with his sparklers this year.

 E-yi-ya wanted to do sparklers too --
Thankfully he was just as pleased with the cast-off riff-raff.

 I love the sun and action in this shot.
Too bad it's blurry.  That dratted seagull.

 The various poses in this shot crack me up as well.
Jamie's shirt says "Hola Amigo" and is now
a phrase commonly heard at our house these days.

One more of Eliah --
He's just a'nudder brudder now.