Tuesday, December 28, 2010

::snow-globe effect::

This is the most recent measurement on our back deck. It is in the snow drift, but still...you have to make it through the snow drifts too! There is actually something quite fun about being completely snowed in. We only needed an instant fireplace kit. Other than that, we were set with a Christmas movie, hot chocolate and lots of new toys. 

The snow fall lasted from Sunday at 3pm until Monday afternoon. It has quieted down now and plows have been by and the driveway is shoveled (thanks, honey) and there is a path that is knee high that leads to a fort for the boys. And we are truly, if we ever doubted it, in a winter wonderland.

Happy In-Between of Celebration Time.
We are getting ready for our annual get together with our ever-fun friends, the Yarnells whom we'll be seeing tomorrow! Lots of laughs in store! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

on angel's wings

...is how quickly Christmas feels like it's coming.

Unstoppable, yet so exciting.
Reverent, but jubilant.
Preparatory, but pausing. 

I love how each Christmas holds the same dear patterns, yet each one awaits us with its own surprises.

I love letting the lights on the tree be the last ones on in the house at night. Their magic twinkling around the room.

I love how with each new day, the presents seem to multiply under the tree.

I love how even though there is so much more hustle and bustle going on out there, people are still overall more friendly and cheerful. 

I love that our Post Office has an independent mailing machine that is open 24/7. And that there's no line at 11pm! 

I love that I just found my little stash of clearance Christmas books from last year, including: The Nutcracker (Susan Jeffers), The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry, ill. by Lisbeth Zwerger), The Child's Christmas (Evelyn Sharp), and Who's That Knocking On Christmas Eve (Jan Brett).

I love (*attention: spoiler alert) that my living room smells like fresh roasted coffee. We just received 2 boxes from Mist Valley who's coffee we have been LOVING every morning for the past few months! Their coffee is FRESH!!!!!! And the proof is in the taste. 

I love the excitement that is uncontainable in my children. And the sentimentality of adults. Particularly my dad. He sent me the sweetest FB message about how sad he is that we won't be together for Christmas.  :( 

I love that we have appx. 4 different types of advent calendars going on each day. Thankfully they are all simple enough to keep up with.  

I love the simple message that this season brings. One of hope and joy in the precious gift of our Savior. The simple, yet magnificent gift that so many pause to sing of. The gift that will soon be forgotten but will still remain long after the tree is at the curbside. The true, though cliche, "reason for the season." 


[photo above: our tree. filter done in Instagram. an awesome free iPhone app that I am loving]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

the pace of s l o w

Life these days tends to be one speed. Fast. I find myself eating lunch standing up, drinking my coffee while rescuing Caiden from another toilet catastrophe and helping the boys stay in motion with chores and cleanup. Sometimes, I get these thoughts of, "What in the world did I do with all my time when I just had baby Andrew?" The funny thing is, even though my life then as a mother could not be fairly compared to today, I still felt my days were so very full. It was all so new and every moment was spent enjoying, experiencing and enriching my baby's life. You see, this thing called motherhood, no matter how few or many children you have, no matter how busy, innovative or laid back they are, and no matter how organized or (cough*cough) unorganized you may be, is simply put, NOT FOR WHIMPS!!! It pulls from every corner of your being. Every physical, emotional and spiritual aspect. It bombards you every day with brand new challenges that expects you to be at peak performance. It doesn't regard the fact that you have taken care of a sick husband for a week, or that your teething baby was up not one, not two, but three times through the night and that your 4 year old is really going through a tough behavioral period. And it does not always wait for you to be ready to deal with each situation. As a matter of fact, I am quite suspicious that there is some kind of hidden signal embedded in our bathroom door and telephone that alerts the boys that "IT IS TIME TO ENGAGE"---for mom is having a quiet moment to herself. 

So, when a few hours of quiet came along this past week, thanks to a particular grandmother who took the older boys to do some secretive Christmas shopping, I 
immediately felt...wow. It is so  q  u  i  e  t  and   s l o w  here. This will be easy. Just Caid and I----I'll get so much done! 

But, you know, those thoughts of "the easy good old days" hit me across the face. Because Caiden, who is much like Drew was in learning and playing, is not satisfied with sitting and playing with his toys for long periods of time. No. He wants to be moving, and trying, and "communicating" and testing and on.the.go.  So, I was brought back to those full and busy days. Those days of one child, which is definitely less distracted and more focused time with the child, but I found that he was a little bit lost without the sibling avalanche going on around him to follow. So I called it a day of not getting those little things done and sat right down on the floor with him and followed his play. Which at that time, happened to be Mr. Potato Head. 

and we practiced pointing to our eyes...

and had some good laughs.
Just the two of us.

Mr. Caiden is growing up oh, so fast. And I see such a difference in him being the third child. (third boy, to be specific). Because this kid knows how to swish a sword and dog pile on his brothers and laugh at their inside jokes as his life's goal right now is to keep up...keep up...keep up. But when the day comes to an end, it's still his momma that he wants to cuddle. And that, I am holding on to for as long as I can. 

(p.s. Caiden clearly says momma...but still does not say dadda...and is totally playing his cards on this one! sorry, honey). 

[caiden & momma on the train going downtown chicago. summer 2010]

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

month twelve.

Happy December!

 No, I haven't finished my Christmas shopping already! But we ARE starting THIS today and I am oh, so excited about it! It is our "advent calendar" for this year. I wrapped 24 books, labeled them and each night until Christmas the boys will get the chosen book read to them before bed. You can see my friends' version HERE who first shared this idea with me. For more advent ideas, see HERE

These are the books that were selected for our first (annual ?) advent book reading, most of which we already owned. A few were a last minute rescue from our second hand store. You may also notice that I mixed in winter themed books with spiritual related books. We will be doing our Scripture advent reading separately.

Here is the list of books that we'll be reading:

1. Footprints in the Snow (Cynthia Benjamin)
2. Little Einstein's Christmas Wish (Disney)
3. The Little Drummer Boy (1968 Little Golden Book)
4. The Elves and the Shoemaker (Little Golden Book)
5. The Christmas Story (Little Golden Book)
6. Room For A Little One (Martin Waddell)
7. Owl Moon (Jane Yolen)
8. The Little Lost Angel 
9. Katy and the BIG SNOW (Virginia Lee Burton)
10. The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Graham Percy)
11. The Little Drummer Boy (Ezra Jack Keats)
12. Who Is Coming To Our House? (Joseph Slate)
13. Noel (Little Board Books)
14. Jingle Bells 
15. The Snowchild (Ill. by Deborah Kogan Ray)
16. The Christmas Mouse 
17. Socks for Supper (Jack Kent)
18. Father and Son, A Nativity Story (Geraldine McCaughrea)
19. Madeline's Christmas (Ludwig Bemelmans)
20. The Apple Tree Christmas (Trinka Hakes Noble)
21. Spunky's First Christmas (Janette Oke)
22. Winnie the Pooh's Christmas (Bruce Talkington)
23. Red Boots for Christmas (Carol Greene)
24. Mortimer's Christmas Manger (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)

I also needed a new chapter book to start with the boys and came across THIS gem at the library:

So, looks like we're all booked up for December!!??  
(sorry. I couldn't resist!!!)   :)  

What are some of YOUR (and your kids) favorite reads during "the most wonderful time of the year?" 

Friday, November 19, 2010


Master Max transporting King Caiden around the Baburin's palace.

Thankful for friends. Old and New. 
I have such a full garden of friends. 
Each one blossoms me in a unique way.
And they are always a challenge and encouragement.
Some I get to see often. Some I only see annually. 
Some I only talk to when there is a new baby. 
Some I think about when I'm feeling nostalgic.
I have had a life full of wonderful, faithful friends. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I better jump on the bandwagon before it leaves without me! Can you really believe it is ONE WEEK away from Thanksgiving!!?? We all hold on tight to the end of autumn here while the retailers are SCREAMING Christmas at us. We love Thanksgiving around here. It is such an amazing tradition that brings our hearts close together. It is always the week of John's birthday...which means I get to try a new chocolate cake recipe, and we always try to focus our hearts on the blessings of the year. SO, with a week countdown...here's my thankful.ness for today.

*I am thankful for a full home. One that is always on the verge of chaos, creativity, ideas and abounding personalities daily taking form. Our little home is quickly filling to the brim with our treasures, toys, accessories, and projects waiting to take wings. It is always a balancing act between keep and leave. The boys spill over onto our climbing area in the basement when the energy can be bound no longer, and when they take to outside it is always with elation of checking up on their fort in the wooded area budded up to our property. We live in a wonderful, quiet little area other than the usual barking of dogs back and forth. There is a dog a couple of houses down that literally drags his owner out the door to come over when the boys are out playing.  We have a special stash of doggy treats just for our canine visitors. We are thankful. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas...

What a reward for a full & busy day of homeschooling around here :: Look what ended up in my mailbox today!!! My new HOLIDAY magazine by Matthew Mead. I am finally getting to sit down with my cup of chai to have a short time before I pillow my head to slowly drift through the pages of a winter wonderland.

*on a side note: my smart phone has cool buttons like these ~<>€£¥•{}#%^*. But it cannot upload pictures from my camera roll to my blog?!?!?! (edit. picture added from the laptop. still need to figure the phone thing out, though.)

Oh, and always be sure to double check your spelling corrections. When I was texting my sister I typed "ooooooh" and it auto corrected it to "pooped!!!" What in the world??!! Good thing it was my sistah!

p.s.   Come back later for a sneak peak inside HOLIDAY. I couldn't put it down! 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mama Said, There'd Be Days Like This . . .

Yesterday was Monday.
It was a Monday in all its glory.
All other Mondays after this Monday will be jealous, for sure.

Here's a glimpse into our yesterday:




(which meant get caid up from his nap)












DINNER WAS FANTASTIC: sausage, sauteed onions & cheese quiche, fresh asparagus w. french grey sea salt, nutmeg applesauce.




MOM PROMISES THE BOYS EXTRA BEDTIME READING IF THEY CAN GET THEMSELVES COMPLETELY READY AND IN BED BY THE TIME I GET HOME. (John was home, getting caiden to bed and working on projects that keep screaming at him) 




JOHN AND I CRASH AND WATCH THE LAST OF THIS EXCITING MODERN SHERLOCK HOLMES SERIES (you can watch online for free through dec. 7th HERE. for a lengthy & pretty good review, look HERE, but beware of spoilers.)


* The story table was a mere survival idea to regain something back from a crazy day. I knew we needed some laughter. So as dinner was finishing, I grabbed 4 small toys from around the room. Each empty plate at the table received a toy, last nights choices being: a red (vintage) female GI Joe, a Japanese eraser of a bowl of green soup, a creche of baby penguins, an orange striped plastic spider. The rules were simple, we were going to tell a story together, one person at a time, each person using their toy to add to the story. Oh, my. It was good. I am very, very thankful I gave John the GI Joe and even more thankful he went first. That was probably key, because after the parents went, the story became increasingly sounding more and more like a sci. fi. creation. :)  Also, having a "person" or "animal" as the key figure was great. The red GI Joe (who fell into a barrel of fire paint, thus why she was red, and then had to drink the green elixir to cure her...because, as you know, fire paint is extremely flammable, and she had to go to Antarctica to get the secret ingredient from the baby penguins, and then realized she had to go kill a poisonous spider in the dessert. Whew. Good thing she was highly trained!) was passed along to each story teller.

How do you create dinner table memories? Are they intentional or accidental? What has been your favorite memories around your dinner table?  or from your childhood. Would LOVE to hear your moment(s).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

// irony //

// using my Matryoshka doll measuring cups 
for our Irish oatmeal breakfast//

(love this M-CUPS set by FRED that I got as a b.day gift from my favorite person in the world.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

{Happy November}

Can you really believe it is November!?!? I know everyone says that at the beginning of each month, but REALLY!!!! Well, the weather here is certainly trying to make its point that the transition of fall into winter is quickly upon us. Only a wee bit of a flurry the other day, but it was enough to remind me that I need to go through our stockpile of hats and gloves and boots to make sure we are all prepared. 

SO, in the festivity of fall, I wanted to share this Matthew Mead link of printable freebies HERE. I am particularly fond of the OWLS and think an owl garland would be quite fall-tastic! I also LOVE the circle tags.

ALSO, news on the book-a-zine Holiday by Matthew Mead is that it is officially bound and OUT!!!!! Which means, it should be in my hands by the end of the week!!!! I am truly so excited!  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Again, I *FALL* in love with Etsy.

Here are some of my favorite ETSY finds that made my fall heart go pitter-patter.

Saffron dress by pamelatang

Mocha flower by JuJuBeesAndCo 

Knitted Cream Bag by NzLbags

Paper Chain by PaperAddict

Acorn Print by LaneyButler

Stewart, the plaid owl by Gingiber

Vintage Picnic Blanket by SewnNatural

  Wool Owl [love how both those words share the same letters...]

Wool Acorns by SewnNatural

Birch Baby Blanket by SewnNatural

 Door Sweaters by the lovely [and my talented blogger friend] Cranny

Autumn dish towels [also] by Cranny 

Caramel Wool Scarf by KnitFrekkies 

Yellow Sparrow Necklace by [a personal friend and local artisan] LePetitPretty

[note: doing this post was like organizing my bedroom closet when company is coming over. company that will not see my closet. but somehow, it felt good to do. catching up, lots of catching up, coming soon.] 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

coming up for air...

I am still here.

I promise.

I have so many bubble thoughts following me around they are bumping into the ceiling.

I have so many posts wishing to be written and photos waiting for their debut that are losing patience.

We are still here.

We are still doing school.

We are still finishing a few lingering summer projects.

We are celebrating birthday after birthday.

We are drinking up fall.

We are sometimes sprinting and sometimes dog-paddling. 

It's just that, well, life happens. And unfortunately, when life happens, I sometimes let go. In a good way, but in a way I wish I could overcome and still-be-able-to-hold-all-the-strings-together kind of way. 

However, I just wanted to let you know. 

We're still here.