Jan 28, 2011

A Whirlwind of a Week

Sometimes a normal week turns into a whirlwind at the drop of a hat. The kids and I were having a lazy day. I was in my scruffy clothes (yee-up, this is me in my thermal shirt, fast pig tails, no makeup and glasses), homeschooling Hunter, while simultaneously trying to photograph some new shoes (not recommended - sometimes a 6 year old hijacks the camera and turns the tables on you - see below) ,and the phone rang. I'm hearing my mom through the answering machine calling for me to hurry up and answer - it was urgent.
My grandpa was en-route to the hospital in critical condition and not expected to make it. He had been found not breathing and they had had to shock him with paddles to get his heart going again. Life lurched in a big way and when this happens, I am never in an organized state of mind. This was the current state of my house:I was right in the middle of projects and chores and the kids had made the place a disaster. I was under the gun to get several orders out, and now I was in a whirlwind of trying to decide if I should be rushing to his bedside. I waited by the phone for updates and I decided to rush when he actually survived and was in critical care three hours away. It only took me two hours to finish up a couple orders, notify customers of possible delays, pack for several days for myself and the kids, load the car, get gas and get going. I felt that was an accomplishment. We arrived at UC Davis Medical Center in scruffy clothes and an overflowing car at 10:30 at night. We waited until after midnight for updates and when there really were none, we went to a hotel. The kids and I went between hotels and the hospital waiting area for two more days. I brought lots of toys and the kids did amazingly good sitting and playing in a small area for hours on end. We made many trips to the cafeteria and back. Many, many trips up to the 6 floor of this building, down to the bottom floor cafeteria. Hunter did his school work. Ainsley played with her tea set she brought, etc, etc. Finally, Papaw turned a corner and became responsive and could nod and recognize us. I went in and spoke to him a couple times and the second time he tried to talk and was aware of me. It was hard to see him full of tubes and wires, on a ventilator and looking so frail. We came back yesterday as it was expected that he would be there at least another week. Tone came home for four days today so I may leave the older two kids with him and drive back with Tessa tomorrow as he is still in very critical condition and it is unknown still if he will actually pull through.

Sometimes, life lurches.
Sometimes, you just have to go with it.
Sometimes, miracles happen.
Sometimes, grief happens.
Sometimes, prayers are all you've got.

Jan 23, 2011

Innocent Wonder


My husband is gone for flight training for his job. He's been gone three weeks and I have three more to go. I feel as if I am living in a menagerie some days while I'm holding down the fort with three little ones underfoot. The above photo, though old, says it all.

However, the website I Heart Faces is having their weekly contest and this week's theme is "Innocent Wonder". I actually think the picture fits the theme quite well. If you've read my blog for a while, you know that my kids wear costumes just about everyday and they live in a world of make believe, magic, and wonderful impossibilities flying on the wings of their imaginations. I love it. Several times a day they come and explain to me their latest imaginative creation and it's such a delightful stage of life. It's full of innocence where the good guys always win just in time for dinner and bedtime.

If you've never heard this song, well, it says so much about a Mommy's heart. You can hear it if you scroll down to it on the playlist on the sidebar. ------------->

"In My Arms" by Plumb

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your curly cues
Your contageous smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

Knowing clouds will rage
And storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Story books full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens and the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You'll someday see the truth from lies

Knowing clouds will rage
And storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always
Always love you

Clouds will rage
And storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

**********

Click this link for more "Innocent Wonder" photos:

Jan 22, 2011

Giveaway time!

So Tone was actually home all day yesterday (he left again this afternoon) and we went out and had a scrumptious family dinner. He surprised me with where we were going which ended up being a fun Brazilian food place. Then we had Maggie Moos ice cream which was right across the way. The kids were really really good since it wasn't really a "kid" restaurant. They understood that this was a special treat and they loved it. We came home, put the kids to bed and watched "The Social Network". It was a much needed family break from all the monotony for me and the kids. Three weeks of his flight training down, three more to go....

So watching the movie got me thinking. Maybe I should host this next giveaway on facebook. So we're going to try it, nkay?

This is the Tea Party Posie shoe. It is the last one as I am out of fabric for it. I may or may not rebuy the fabric. I haven't decided yet. It's in size 3, 6-9 months (4.5 inches long). If you would like to win this little bright pair of party shoes, please go HERE to my facebook fan page. Just click on "share" under the photo of the shoes and leave a comment. I'll pick a winner on Friday.

Have a lovely weekend!

Jan 20, 2011

Reality Bites

While I would like to pretend that I can easily manage three children, sew a large wholesale order, make all of my appointments, cook four course meals for the kids while holding a baby and keep the house in top tip shape at all times and have fresh baked cookies on the counter for visitors who pop over all the time...in truth....reality bites.

So in the spirit of being real....here is what I am working on. Eight loads of laundry, people. Mostly folded, but now I have the dreaded chore of putting them away. Oh, and did I mention all three kids are sick with the flu and fevers yesterday and today? Tessa had the worst of it first, so she is mostly over it while the other two are laying around lethargic still. She still has a streaming nose which makes her a little slime ball most of the time. The worst part about kids having the flu is the incessant amount of whining and crying I hear. My nerves are shot. It makes a woman want to pull her hair out and flee the house screaming like someone released from the mental institution.
This the whole central area of my living room floor. I have another HUGE pile in our room of clothes that need to be hung up in closets.

I am proud of the fact that I do have some fresh baked cookies on the counter though and the dishes are done. Just don't look at the rest of my house. Baby steps here, people. Baby steps.

And Yippee! Tone finished the first part of his training with flying colors and is coming home in one hour. He will be home for a day before he has to go back for the rest of his training. Hey, I'll take what I can get. I'm just happy he's home. I'm thinking it's a "put the kids in bed early night" and cook our own nice dinner just for us. Maybe a movie. No sewing. Not a bit. It's a well-deserved break.

If we can manage to step around the laundry and the random piles of toys laying around...

Jan 18, 2011

The last two weeks....

So here was an answer to prayer. One large wholesale order right at Christmas when the shop is usually dead (the week before and after). I mean I get wholesale offers everyday and usually I turn them down, but this one was perfect in the terms of filling it. Also, it brought in extra so that it would hopefully cover that big amount in salary we will be missing while Tone is in training.

However, I was out of town and wasn't able to work on it until the last two weeks.
Two weeks of late nights into the wee hours of the morning.
Believe it or not, I got a shin splint in the foot that pushes the pedal on my sewing machine and my carpal tunnel syndrome flared up again. How lame is that? Really? Injuries from SEWING? That's just pathetic. Mock away.
But Today...
IT'S DONE, BABY, DONE!
Two weeks of my life eaten up just like that.
Here are some cute ones. I myself have never seen so many of my shoes laying around at once so some pictures were in order.
All packaged up in their little baggies and ready to go.
Whew!

Jan 15, 2011

Only a Mommy...

Quirks, details, moments.

"And Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." Luke 2

A small verse. A lot said on what we mother's do.

These are the best years of my life I think. While my kids adamantly say that they are going to live on the same street as me, and Ainsley told me just today that she was going to have five kids and live right next door, I know this almost not likely to come true. Yes, I am in the middle of a massive wholesale order, and the kids are being kids and interrupting, and I am homeschooling in the middle of it, and the laundry is piled up, and they make the biggest messes, and, and, and....I adore being around them. Yes, I know the aggravation. I know that I can barely put two sentences together before being interrupted. I know the lack of any kind of sleep I am getting. My house that I would like to be put together so lovely often looks like mass chaos. But despite all that, it's the best years you know. They still think I'm the greatest. I have a squishy baby that I can kiss as much as I want. They are still all mine. I am living in the moment, enjoying each one. Or at least trying to. I don't wish for the future, because that's sad to me. Yes, I'll have more time for me. But "me" time is empty time. I don't wish for the past, because I love who they are right now. I'm choosing to savor the days.

So I'm filing it all away. I keep this blog in great part for that very reason. I'm treasuring up all of these very trivial and most important details. Here are a few that only a mommy would care to remember.

Hunter can raise each eyebrow individually. Here is one side. This is his puzzled look.
Here is the other side. Not only that, but he can jiggle them back and forth. This side is the side he raises and this is the look I get when he thinks I have said something quite ridiculous. Which is often. I can't even raise one eyebrow (which I think would be quite useful for certain situations), so I am jealous.
Here is Hunter's infectious giggle. He is laughing at a joke of mine. I know just how to get him to laugh so that he can barely stand it. We share the same humor. I know that he will laugh at what I will laugh at and love pointing out those humorous situations to him. With Ainsley, I'll just get a blank stare or a fake laugh.
His eyes are the bluest blue.

He's an "old soul" in personality. He loves to think and talk seriously. He loves to be in charge and "in the know."
This is Ainsley's trick. Her top lip can touch her nose. Mine can't, can yours?
It's a fitting trick because her nose is super sensitive. She's always asking me, "What's that smell Mommy?" with her lip curled up like this. She could barely do the trick for me to take a picture because it made her laugh too much.
She has dimples. I know how many. One on one side of her mouth, two on the other, and one on her upper right cheek under her eye. She may hate it someday. I adore it.
She carefully over-pronounces certain sounds like "ch". She has a piping little voice that makes me melt every time I hear it.

If she feels very fond of a person, she gives them her own nickname. She calls me "Mama" and Tone, "Dadda", when she's feeling affectionate though we have never referred to ourselves at that. If it's a friend, she'll add a "y" to the end of their name.

She likes to snuggle. Every mommy should have at least one child that likes to snuggle.

She has a goofy fake laugh. More like a big guffaw that she throws out there all the time. That's the way she rolls. Larger than life. So much passion packed into her super tiny little body.
This is my squishy baby. She is starting to scoot around the floor, though right now it's mostly backwards.

Her chin is always wet with a string of drool.
I love the smell and feel of her fuzzy little head. I frequently have my face up against it.
She has the best softest cheeks for kisses, and chunky thighs for squeezing.
Her wrists and ankles are just cute little lines on her skin with rolls around them. I love those dimpled fingers. When she tries to grab, she doesn't open up her fingers but keeps them closed like a mitten and swipes at it trying to pull it towards herself. It's adorable.

She has a hitch-hikers thumb.
She is especially ticklish under her chin and around her neck. For the longest time the only time I could get her to smile or laugh was when I pulled her shirt over her head to get her dressed.

She just got her top front teeth. I am wondering if they will always have a cute gap like that.

I was standing over her, and she rolled over against my leg to grin up at me, then flipped back on her tummy to continue exploring.
I write this post to file away what is "now". My moments today.
So what are your moments? What things do you savor about your children and loved ones?
These are my greatest treasures.
Write yours down. Anywhere. A blog, a notebook. I even found a facebook app that would list out all of my posts because I frequently post cute things the kids have done and I would like to keep those.
My kids ask me everyday:
"Mommy, when I was little did I....?"
Sometimes I find I don't remember. Pieces gone.
Memories are so important. So savor the moment.

Jan 12, 2011

The winter mantel as a total cheapskate

So I've been looking at all these gorgeous pictures floating around the web lately with hues of silver, green and white. I love the lush look. I love the crispness of it for winter. I want to do my mantel in those colors. Heck, my whole living room! Because Tone is in training this month, I have aproximately zero dollars with which to pull that off.

But isn't this gorgeous?
And this?

Hmmm, yeah so when that creative spark gives me the "I-MUST-do-something-about-this" bug'', I make a little jaunt to the Dollar Tree. Yee-up. You heard that right. The dollar store. For a lush green look. Jenny has gone ca-ca-ca-crazy! Bare with me people....I made it work for the time being. It doesn't look expensive or lush, but it does look pretty which is fine for now.

While maybe not "lush", I did get the colors I was going for on a dime, which makes me happy.
So they sell plastic silver trays there for a buck. I taped the edges and used my can of blackboard spray paint to spray the middle. Then I wrote in chalk:
They had lots of flowers that when picked through are actually pretty decent. I really liked the baby's breath. I bought several bunches and I should show you my table. I have a big old fashioned pitcher jammed full of it. It looks great. I digress.

My sister bought me that cute little creamer pitcher with green ivy on it at Mt. Vernon for me.

That brown filial? Found for a buck at Dollar Tree.

I found old books around my house in neutral and green colors.

The circle silver frames were a buck at Dollar Tree and I just printed some favorite pictures of my kids in black and white for them.

Hunter found that cute little white house at the Dollar Tree and we glittered the edges with silver puff paint.

The white runner is an old vintage one from grandma.

I had the pear and the white and green plate already.

The green plants in the middle were found at Dollar Tree already wrapped in green and tied with twine. I just had to dig through the bin to find ones that were "life-like". These really are, and best of all, I can't kill them.

The Anemone flowers were a buck a bunch (again I had to dig until I found some that were "life-like") and I wrapped a bud vase I got there a while back (for a buck) with patterned paper and twine so the ugly stem didn't show (which showing totally gave away the fact they were fake).

I already had the candles, candlesticks, plates and I made the book wreath a while back. Thankfully I had hung it with green ribbon so I didn't even have to change that out.

My mantel cost me $10. Not too shabby when you want a certain look and have zero money to spend.

Yes, I am a total cheapskate right now. But instead of throwing in the towel, I'm choosing to be creative and "BE HAPPY! with what I have been given. This cheap little mantel makes me as happy walking by it as it would if I were living in that lovely house from the first picture. And with three kids, I'm not freaking out that something expensive might get broken. I totally am itching now to make a bunting or letter banner out of book page fans and silver paper.
Another time...
I've gotta finish up a massive wholesale order which is eating my life away in pieces. These 2am nights are killing me. I am happy to report that I am over the "hump" and close to finishing. WHEW!

Jan 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Katie!

Happy Birthday Sissy! It's a biggie considering it's a fun number: 1/11/11. How about that?
My sister Katie turns 26! We jokingly said that the birthday after 25 is the downhill slide. More and more sibs are joining me on the other side of it! Ha! She really doesn't look like she's on much a slide does she?
This picture was taken last year of me and my sis. I love my sisters dearly and they are truly stunningly beautiful.Katie has a really quirky and fun personality and sense of style. She is truly one of the best people to be around to make you laugh and feel comfortable just being you. She's delights in anything and it's so easy to make her feel special. There's not a bit of snobbery in her. People like her are the most fun to give gifts to because they are so excited to receive it. I'm also proud to call the person she is turning out to be my sister.
For her birthday, she asked me to make her a flower bib necklace. I've been seeing these everywhere, and they are really truly so easy to make. So I did an ornate vintage looking one in neutral wool and satin. Adding some lace and vintage pearl buttons were also fun. Then I did a simple navy plain Jane one.
And course, because she has a fun and upbeat sense of style...she rocks them.
I haven't been so sure of this fad, but after seeing them on her, I might just have to make myself a couple. If I do, I'll post a tutorial.
Love you Katie!

Jan 10, 2011

Tummy time and food - the update

So how is Lil Sissy doing on that whole tummy time thing? Great finally! She doesn't mind being on her tummy now, and actually prefers it. Quite a change from a month ago when just sticking her on her tummy caused a complete meltdown. She can pivot around on her hands and move her body around to reach her toys and just yesterday I saw her trying to get her knees under herself to scoot toward a toy. Usually we dump out her toy basket and surround her and let her scoot around to the toys she wants.

Actually, I am a bit concerned she likes it too much. As soon as I place her on her back, she immediately flips over to her tummy. Especially when sleeping. But here's an odd thing. I have quite often found her like this sound asleep:
Does this not freak anyone else out???!!!
It's freaks me out every time I go check on her and she's sleeping with her face face down in her hands like this. Luckily, she's on a motion senser mat that sounds an alarm anytime there is no movement (ie breathing) for 20 seconds. It totally buys me some peace of mind.

In other news, she won't eat. I have been trying for two months to get her on any type of solid food. Rice cereal, baby food, crackers, mashed stuff, etc. Nothing. She clamps down those lips and it's over. I can't even pry it in. So while I've won the tummy battle, I'm still fighting the food battle. We try EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Nope. Stubborn little girl. I would really love it for her to get on some sort of food because while she is still depending on just nursing, my nights are shot. She won't sleep through the night but wakes up hungry. Starving actually. As soon as I feed her she falls back asleep, but I would really love to stop the late night feedings. Any and all tips to get her to eat would be appreciated at this point. I've reintroduced food a million times hoping she would get used to the taste. I've tried new foods to entice her. I've tried different textures, and letting her do it herself. Ack! What will work?

She also cut her top two teeth this weekend. She's a bit early on the whole getting teeth thing. So while we now have four teeth, they are pointless because: THE GIRL WON'T EAT!


Lil Monsters

I got this idea from Martha Stewart's site. Yes, snooty Martha sometimes has some great ideas that don't require running to bunch of places for supplies I've never heard of, much less can't pronounce. This is why I stay away from her baking. It's much too fancy for me, and I don't even recognize half the ingredients...anyhow, I digress. This craft was super fun to do with my kids. You can find the idea here.
They are little monsters made from the kid's own drawings. The kids drew monsters and I cut them out leaving room for a seam allowance. Then they picked out the material, thread, buttons, etc. and helped me cut and design their own little monsters. They were over the moon! Hunter's "Grassy" is on the left, and Ainsley's "Pinky" is on the right. I just can't guess why they named them that, can you?
Hunter was pretty certain his monster needed a hairy patch. The kids told me that they were going to sleep with their little monsters because they would chase away the bad monsters, robbers, and bad guys while they slept. I just snuck into Hunter's room and this is what I found.
Isn't that the cutest thing?

Jan 7, 2011

A Favorite

This must be one of my most favorite pictures ever. Taken on the wharf in Monterey. We go here almost every visit back home. We were just coming out of my favorite restaurant there (to the right) after a delightful lunch with my step-brother and wife, and my parents and sister/brother in law met us outside. My kids had only been separated from them at the most for 3 hours, and this was reception they got. A literal run and leap into my parent's arms. Utter joy on both sides. Priceless. My step-brother snapped it. Thank you Paul! I love this big happy family we've all become a part of.

Jan 5, 2011

And on we go....

You marry someone because you fall in love with them, not necessarily because of their career choice though I certainly did take it into consideration....I just was awefully naive. I think the idea of the uniform sucked me in....
Tone is in training once again until February 14th and pretty much gone for most of it. I've so been here before.

Tone and I had little clue when we got married and he first pursued this career what a rocky ride it would be. You go into this whole flying career because you have the flying "bug" or no one in their right mind would do it. Here he is in his first flying gig with Commutair airlines, a little rinkydink airline which brought us to the ultimate poverty level and to New York state and back. We were so excited. I thought him so handsome in his first uniform.

Actually, I still think him quite handsome in his uniform.

Six years later, we are not nearly so naive.


Anyhow, not complaining on the career choice. You make choices and you can't predict the future. Considering we got married right after 9/11, we had no idea that the airlines would be so severely affected. No complaints...it IS a pretty hot uniform.

I am pretty used to holding down the fort at home. When Tone is gone, he is gone for 2 to 4 days at a time, so this is doable for me and I'm a pretty independent strong type. We just miss him - like a lot! We bought skype cameras for our computers so we could skype each other at night and he can talk to the kids before they go to bed each night.

Quite frankly though I am happy he is in training. He is learning to fly a bigger airplane, which means a better income. We have been squeaking by ever since I quit work to stay home so this will be a welcome respite. Pilots make just about nothing for a very long time in their careers (years and years people!). A concept that shocks most everyone who thinks that the person who has their life in their hands in those friendly skies is making a not-so-friendly salary. He will be based in Houston, and will have to commute cross country to work, but that's pretty normal for pilots. Hop on a plane, get to your destination and start flying your route.

So this next month, I am hoping to see him three of the weekends, but it may only be two. And while he is training, he makes less money, so I am cranking out the shoe orders. My shop is shut down right now because I am working on a massive wholesale order that offered to pay me an amount I couldn't refuse - over the holiday break which is a dead time usually for me. It'll probably take years off of my life.

I think that God gave it to us though because it will cover that big scary gap in funds we were going to have. It literally came from nowhere and at just the right time. Thank you Lord! But am I under some stress? A bit. I've decided though that surviving is goal number one. I'm doing the bare minimums. Skip the clean house, laundry and extra appointments while he is there. I'm just focusing on the kids and these darn shoes. I'm trying to streamline a bit. Wish me luck as this isn't in my nature.

I have no regrets that I married an airline man. You just gotta strap in for the unpredictable ride. We get some wicked awesome travel benefits out of it, and someday it'll make enough money. Oh and the uniform. Did I mention he looks really HOT in the uniform?