Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Right this minute.

I'm an Honest Scrapper.

The Magic Onions (and one of the cutest makers of felted items you'll find on Etsy), gave me the Honest Scrap award-blogshare thingy. Usually, I'm incredibly grateful for awards but never seem to get around to recognizing or passing them on. However, The Magic Onions' list really made me smile and I thought I'd try to think of 'ten honest things'. Here goes.

1) I'm scared of riding horses. I was just fine before I had babies. I loved horses. Adored horses. Rode them any chance I got. I worked for a real rootin-tootin cowgirl at her boarding and training stable near Boise, Idaho. I worked as a wrangler in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I had to ride stay on some really rank horses while keeping my string of twelve to twenty dudes safe. Yeah, my boss wasn't really smart and I was too young to know better. I even went and worked at a stable in Ireland where I learned to ride English style and jump horses and absolutely loved it. I was bucked off a pony (don't tell anyone) and came off of a horse at the end of a triple jump. Neither fazed me (except for the pony - that hurt my pride a tad). Then I gave birth and now riding horses makes me so nervous that even the laziest plug gets antsy enough to crow-hop if I get on its back. Many theories abound about why this fear should have set in after childbirth, but it's a goal of mine to get past it. Sometime. Later.

2) I didn't want to be a mother. I agreed to have two children because my husband wanted kids so badly, but the deal was that he was likely going to be the stay-at-home parent and I would be the breadwinner. My parents hadn't exactly passed on a lot of good parenting skills, anger management skills, or (I thought) the ability to love little ones. So I went to the hospital to give birth making jokes like "Does the hospital have a layaway plan?" Sometime between the second before my daughter actually came out and when the midwife caught her and began to pass her to me, my husband became irrevocably relegated to breadwinner and I'm not sure he's ever recovered from the shock. I fell in love and have never looked back. I immediately wanted seven kids.

3) Hannah snapped this picture of me this afternoon. (I was ducking my head because I knew she was aiming low.)

Right after she took it, a man came to fix our sprinklers and stood talking to me while I put Grayson down, picked Grayson up, waved to my girls, threw a ball to the dog... lots of things that exposed my at-the-time hairy armpit. Didn't even realize the dang things were hairy until Ainsley lifted my arm up later, rubbed them and said "Soft!" So *that's* why he kept staring at me funny. I'm not talking stubble, either. I'm talking long enough to be soft. I shaved them in a hurry, but I will never look at that picture without thinking "Dude, how did you FORGET?" And neither will you. You're welcome.

4) I love ABBA and George Strait. There you have it.

5) I have never for a moment regretted leaving the religion of my childhood when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. I have also never understood why some openly questioned my motives, some going so far as to say that I must 'desire to sin' (because a pregnant, devoted wife has so much sinning she wants to do). I am now much more authentic in how I live my life, and it feels good to finally have my spiritual self feel peace and to be able to explore different ways of expressing that spirituality that do not exclude the majority of the human race.

6) I didn't want to homeschool. My husband was not happy with the education he received in his rural schools and since we knew we wanted to live in a small, rural area, he wanted to homeschool our kids and floated the idea when we found out I was pregnant. I was completely against it because of the 'social issue'. Then I found out that the most stylish woman in our 'ward' (Mormon congregation) was a homeschooler (she said, when questioned, that she sent her kid to kindergarten knowing how to count and knowing his alphabet and three days later he insisted he didn't know either of those because none of the other kids did). I also found out that one of my husband's very intelligent co-workers and his wife homeschooled their kids for academic reasons. Then I talked with a cousin of mine that I really respect about why she homeschooled her kids. The rest is history. Now we're doing interest-led education (also called life-learning or 'unschooling'). See what happens when you dip your toe in the water? The river can sweep you away.

7) I do not, nor will I ever, understand the hysteria that surrounds the Twilight books or movies.

8) I do, however, fully understand the hysteria that surrounds Colin Firth, Johnny Depp, and Hugh Jackman.

9) I have warring desires, not in what I want to do with my life, but how I want to live it. I want to homestead, but I want to be a nomad. I want to use the milk I've milked with my own two hands to make cheese and yogurt and butter, but I want to not be tied down to dairy animals so that I can take my children camping. I want to have a centered, down-to-earth, hanging-clothes-on-the-line, homebody lifestyle, but I want to travel. I want to live in the wide open spaces of the Western US, but I also want to live in Europe. With these warring desires, I have yet to be completely comfortable where I am, even as I'm truly happy being there. Strange dichotomy, that.

10) If I have more children, I would prefer to adopt. Adoption is big business these days, however, and as such is very expensive. This saddens me in more ways than one.

I'm supposed to pass this on to seven bloggers. How about...

Sherry at Living and Learning

Farmgirl_dk at Critter Farm, though the punk's in Germany right now, so who knows if she'll get around to it.

The lovely Gina at Unschooled Family.

Madeline at Barn Raising.

The Blankie Chronicles.

my sister at Intermittant Ramblings

and my sister at Arizona Sunshine. I want to see if there are ten honest things I don't know about them.

I'm also adding Sarah at MamaCanon Blog because she makes me smile.

If you decide to do this (and I hope you do), you're supposed to link to the person who gave you the award-blogshare thingy, list your own ten honest things, and ask seven more to participate. Meme away!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Paint and horses and stables - oh my!

Too kitschy of a title?

Yeah, I agree.

We're not real big on crafting kits 'round here. Not sure why. The girls aren't too big on coloring books either, though - maybe there's a connection? Anyway, the other day, we saw these kits for making and painting a horse stable and the girls were ecstatic, so we got them.

I thought it was cool that you get to paint the horses also. The girls got their little horse book and pored through it, looking for inspiration. Then they both painted a 'paint' horse, like the one on the box.

The box only gave traditional colors for the stable, so we had to go to our paint shelf to get more exciting colors. Who wants a red and black stable? Pssh. That's for those with no imagination.

We needed to name our horses, so Hannah had me write her chosen name on a paper that she then copied onto a tag. Delphine Petal. It took two tags. Somehow Ains was able to fit Honey Pie onto one tag. It is still a mystery.
The horses seem to enjoy living next to each other.Now the stables and horses get lots of playtime and get carted everywhere. Hannah had to be convinced that she didn't need to take it fishing with her the other night.

With a dog and a little brother in the house, and receiving such constant attention, I'm not sure how long these will be treasured toys, but the girls are definitely squeezing every last bit of enjoyment out of them right now.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some quick questions...

-What do I make with 'rib knit' fabric? Not that I have cute fabric in mind, or anything. Not that I could afford it if I did. *sigh* But what do I make with that type of fabric? And does it differ at all from a fabric simply labeled 'knit'?

-I want to make my girls some sun hats but can't find a pattern. I'd like one like this. Any ideas?

-When will I find time to get all of my projects done? Hmm?

Snapshot Sunday

Some Snapshot Sundays are difficult because you look around and there's just nothing that jumps out at you, nothing that says "This is our life!" I don't mind taking laundry and toilet and mess pictures, but they do tend to be a constant in my life, and five pictures of messy would get boring week after week.

This week, however, was easy. I grabbed the camera and everywhere I turned were little tableaus that whispered about what Mother or Hannah or Ainsley or Grayson were interested in during the last few days. Easy peasy.

How it began.

Other snapshots -
Rinnyboo (welcome back!)
Bona Fide Mom (Welcome!)
West Coast Girl

If you post a Snapshot Sunday, let me know and I'll add you in!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kids these days.

"Father, I'm making pancakes. It's hard to do while I'm talking to you because they're so hot. I don't think it's very safe. Guess what? I milked the goat today."

Friday, June 26, 2009

The sunshine fairies have blessed us.

It is finally warm enough to wear a swimsuit.

For some of us.

"Walk like an Egyptian." "Momma, I don't know that boy."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Them kids...

-Hannah's uncle asked her what the spots on her face were. "Freckles," she answered. "Are you sure they're not angel kisses?" he asked. "Well are they blue?" says she. "No, they're brown." "Then they're definitely freckles." Apparently angel kisses are blue...

-Gray and I walked in the floor from choring and I nearly tripped over Ains sitting on her knees scrubbing the floor with a washcloth. I thought that maybe she'd accidentally peed and was cleaning it up, so I asked "Is everything ok?"

"No, momma," she said, "me no make mess. Me Cinwella and Hannah stepsister. She bewy mean." and she happily goes back to scrubbing. A few minutes later I hear her say "Me done stepsister. Me going pay wif Bobo (Cygnus)."

-H: Mother, I just went poo potty and it had corn and peas in it.

M: I did not need to know that.

H: I didn't know that. What if you *did* need to know it and I hadn't told you? How could I live with myself?

-I asked Gray if he wanted a cookie and Ains answered "Me want cookie, Momma."

"You do?"

"Yes. I hooman baby. Hooman babies eat cookies."

- We were getting ready to go to a family reunion and while we were packing the truck, we were trying to finish all of the last-minute stuff that needed to be completed/turned off/packed. Hannah was ready, waiting, and impatient to be off to see her cousins. Finally she said, in a very frustrated voice, "Why is everyone hurrying so slow?"

-Ainsley's still switching words with hilarious results. If she wants a Jones Soda, I get asked for a 'baking soda'. If she wants to read Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, I get asked to read 'Fantsy Pantsy'.

-Grayson? He's just gotten into teasing his sisters. Anything he can do to get squeals out of them he will. He put this to good use the other day when Hannah was sad. He gave her a bemused look and went up and started tickling her knees. Luckily, it was a small sad, so his tickles worked and he was mightily pleased with himself.

Cousin play.

My sister-in-law came out our way visiting, so we went to see her. Her little one is the same age as Grayson, but of the female persuasion, so I've been using her as a reason to unload our little girl clothes. I took all of the 18 month old clothes with us and Hannah and she went through them. Hannah was in her element.
Outside, there was a water fight going on between all of the boys that lived or were visiting there. Hannah jumped right in and held her own. They were moving too fast for me to get any good pictures.

The family my sister-in-law was staying with had more toys (they had five different *types* of bikes - about fifteen bikes total) than you could play with in three hours. Not that Ainsley didn't give it an honest try.

Her favorite toys were the skateboards

I love her little tongue out in concentration in this picture.

Her little cousin thought the little skateboard looked like a little bit of fun. And it was. A little.

Gray was mainly a one-toy man. (The sun was a bit bright.)

Hannah was tired from her water fight.

It was a stellar day. Epic even. (That's for you, Patrick.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flower presses are ready for our next hike.

Or the next time the girls step out the front door, whichever comes first. (You get no more than one guess on that one.)

Here's Hannah's -

Here's Ainsley's -

Here are the ones we made as gifts for friends.

It's unlikely that the flowers will press as evenly with all of those decorations on the top, but they will certainly be used more than they would otherwise, so I'll take it. If we do these again, I'll have some stamps and ink ready so that we can decorate with those instead, but this weekend we went with what we had on hand and I do think they turned out sweet.

This is the tutorial I used.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just an Ordinary day.

I wrote this on Friday but must have hit 'save' instead of 'publish'. It is a post that I do indeed want to save, to remind me of the daily minutia that is easily forgotten, so here it is.

Woke up early to a baby throwing up. Got him fixed up and up, back to sleep. Woke up thirty minutes later to a baby pulling my hair. Stayed up.

Cuddled with a sleepy toddler who wasn't ready to wake up but got the same hair treatment that I did. Pukey baby rolled around on the floor giggling at his toes. Hilarious, they were.

Made little pancakes. Gave over pancake job to five-year-old who "is old enough by now to do pancakes, Mother. Obviously."

Called sister-in-law to tell her our plans to play would have to be postponed due to illness. Bummer.

Did chicken and goat chores. Started planting in the Butterfly Garden. Stopped because it was too hot and baby wouldn't stay in the shade or in his hat.

Came inside and started pulling together the supplies for making flower presses while the girls played My Little Pony and Dragon Sticker Book.

Realized I needed to cut the boards and sand them still - nothing to do that with. Told the girls we needed to head to the store (Ains was fine with that - she'd been asking for candy for an hour or so), but Hannah had the idea of just marking where the boards would be cut and decorating the boards now. Good enough.

After some decoration, off to the store for candy and supplies. Or necessary items and supplies. It's all in the words you choose.

Grayson fell asleep on the way home and the weather got windy and cloudy, the best I was going to get today for planting, so more flowers went in. I hope *something* grows.

Now Grayson's awake and we're off to see Daddy at work.

Totally ordinary.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The dry run. Hiking-wise.

The kids and I went on a 'dry run' for our summer hiking today. What does that mean? That means we went with friends who could help me out if I'd overpacked or overlooked something or overestimated hiking ability of littles. It went wonderfully.

The hike we chose (out of Hiking Idaho) was a bit ambitious for a five-year-old and two two-and-a-half year olds, but not by much. It was a bit over two miles, but we covered that slowly. The terrain was not flat, but that added interest more than being too physically difficult. If I had remembered jackets for my girls, the wind wouldn't have affected them, and that would have helped.

We met up with our friends at a scenic overlook by the Snake River. Stunning view. Made scared-of-heights-li'l-ol-me lose my equilibrium just looking through the seven foot tall chain link guard fence, but my girls loved it.
That is a deep canyon.

When we got to the trail head, I got all situated with Gray on my back and a waist backpack (I will *not* say that I wore a fanny pack) on under his bum. That carried a first-aid kit, water bottles, snacks, bird and flower identification pamphlets, a map, diaper change kit, bug spray, pocketknife, a compass, and my car key. Next time, when we're on our own, I'll actually be carrying more - a little sketchbook and pencils so that the girls will have an excuse to sit down and relax along the trail, a magnifying glass, jackets for the kids.

We started up the trail with the kids predictably running off their excitement for the first few hundred yards. The first mile or so of the trail was lodgepole pine, absolutely beautiful and I can't believe that I got no clear pictures of it. Next time.

The girls all found walking sticks. Bella just used hers like a divining rod - it found every puddle of water in or around the trail, Ains used hers as a sword (of course), and Hannah carried hers for a lot longer than any of us expected just in case she ran into a giant who needed a walking stick.
I'm going to try to find a mushroom identification book for the next time we travel this trail - so many different kinds of mushrooms in the pine tree section of the trail. Ains was excited about all the fairy houses and Hannah was so intrigued by the different places they grew, the different sizes and shapes ... I wish I knew how to take close-up pictures of these things.

After we got out of the pines, we passed through a meadow.
I expected the meadow to be much smaller than it was - and much warmer. The wind blowing across the top of the mountain was cold. It also passed right by a Boy Scout camp where we were almost run into by five scouts who shouted frantically "HAVE YOU SEEN A FLAG????" Um, no. And that's cheating. Keep looking.

I heard Jo singing "Climb Every Mountain" and turned around to see this -
I like having friends who will unselfconsciously belt out fitting songs from musicals.

After the meadow, we descended into a section of the trail populated by Quaking Aspens. Cottonwoods? I don't know their appropriate name, but they were pretty. Hannah told her daddy that her favorite part of the hike was 'the trees singing when we left the meadow.'

We saw lots of these on the Quaking Aspens and on the trees dotting the entrance and exit to the meadow. Lots and lots of these little caterpillars just emerging from their egg sack.
Ainsley learned the fine art of becoming interested in anything and everything when she needed to slow down.
Then she recruited Bella to discuss her findings.
After we'd crossed through the Quaking Aspen section...
we crossed back into Lodgepole pine, and then to our cars. In the last section, Ains and I got ahead of the rest of the group and immediately were rewarded with lots of bird sightings. Ruffled Grouse, Pileated Woodpeckers, as-of-yet-unidentified birds that are captured in blurry images on my camera. It was exciting. And she saw three Bald Eagles. With red breasts, eating worms, natch.

Back at the trail head, we busted out a honeydew melon. (The amazing part of this photo is Grayson - not on my lap. He loved Reese.)
Then our friends left and we stayed at the picnic site for a bit longer, playing and chatting. Gray looks so grown-up.
I found these little pamphlets somewhere ... Barnes and Noble maybe? ... and grabbed them for just such a journey. Lightweight and laminated, made to be handled outdoors and by little hands.
I came back from taking Gray and our stuff a few yards down to the car to see this - Hannah trying to find the birds she'd seen (Ains told Hannah she'd seen a Macaw in the forest and Hannah couldn't find it in the pamphlet - go figure.) and Ains at the other end of the table, staring at the yellow flowers (Heart Leaved Arnica, we discovered), trying to locate them in the flower pamphlet. It was endearing, this sight.
So that was our first hiking trip of the summer, and it was a huge success. I learned that I was doing a lot of stuff right, that I forgot some stuff, that going by ourselves will have some perks (not keeping to someone else's schedule), that going with friends has its perks (I laughed really hard and my girls adore Bella), and that it is nice, even when you live in the country, to get out in wild nature. It feeds the soul.

I think this has been my longest post ever. And I've paid for it dearly. Cygnus crashed at my feet about five minutes after I started downloading the pictures (which takes forever, Photobucket) and has been cheerily farting up a storm the entire time. Maybe he's frustrated that we didn't take him with us. Three kids was enough for me on my first trip out. Maybe next time.