Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sun Art.

We have an art show to attend this weekend *and* I'm decluttering my craft room. Doing the latter turned up this paper so that we could have a project for Ainsley to showcase at the former.

Gray and I tried it first with his toys.

This was what it looked like after being in the sun for five minutes.

Then we rinsed it in water.
Not so clear. Instead of holding them under running water to rinse them, we poured water into a pan, added some lemon juice, and soaked them in that. Much more clear.

Once the girls (and their cousin) saw the process, they were all over it.

Ainsley's beach page

Hannah's beach page

My fantasy page.

That one looked like it would turn out really cool but we got busy with another page and left it in the rinse water for too long. Totally ruined it.

We ended up using all fifteen pages, so we have a few for the art show and one less thing in the craft room.

Submitted to Saturday's Artist at OLM.

A cheesecake kind of day.

Want to take a walk through my day?

Add in hours of play with a cousin, lots of scooter/bike/trike play, swimming, banana waffles, avocado and fish eggs (Ainsley's favorite snack), painting nails, and seemingly constant monitoring of a sad-Hannah-because-cousin-left/want-attention-from-sisters-Grayson situation for the last hour before Matt got home from work. When we got the mail and there was a new Netflix superhero movie, I declared the living room a movie theater, made them all popcorn ...

and hid with Zander and cheesecake for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The beginning and the end.

As part of our long weekend last week, we stayed for a few days with my grandma. She's fading mentally - just so tired from a good, long life - and we want our kids, and us, to have as much time with her as we can.

I've noticed that each time we visit she's just a little more tired, a little more absent. This time she was not so aware. She would drift in and out of sleep in the middle of sentences, she seemed a bit frustrated by being so tired. She wanted to hold Zander, who she has met three times but didn't remember meeting at all before, but was worried about dropping him.

We stuck him in his bouncy chair in front of her and the two of them had so much fun talking and laughing to each other. I've never heard her so silly with a baby, it was so sweet to listen to her chatting him up and encouraging his smiles and coos. And I've never heard Zander so chatty. He was chattering away so much that his shirt was wet with bubbles. He'd talk to her and she'd make sounds like she was in a conversation with him, then she'd talk to him about his life and he'd make sounds like he was listening to her. Then one of them would drift off to sleep. If it was her, we'd pick up Zander and then put him back when she woke up. So content with that situation, both of them.

It's so hard to see her getting so much older - she was a solid place for me in my childhood - but there was something so beautiful about the two of them together, one not far from the beginning and one not far from the end. 'Tis life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One of those days.

We had a long, long weekend out of town - starting on Thursday. By this morning, I was wiped out. When Gray got me up at seven this morning, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. When Hannah started describing in detail how tired I looked and snapped my picture, I wasn't sure I wanted to make it.

(She snapped my picture to document the hairstyle she did for me.)

We ended up making a full day of it anyway. We rearranged the girl's room and moved Hannah's style desk up there. Cleaned the hamster cages. Made popcorn, peanut butter sandwiches, stuffed zucchini, and innumerable breastfeeding sessions for Zander. Watched Star Trek cartoons (Did you know there were Star Trek cartoons? There are. And they're horribly awesome.) and Hello Kitty. Hula hooped.

Bounced on a little trampoline and made bracelets. Played "make the baby giggle until he goes to sleep". Played dolls and trains. I refused to put a cat in a backpack. Read lots of superhero and vehicle books. Made Lincoln Log houses for the dolls. Seven times. Played in the hammock.

Played on scooters and trikes and bikes. Played with kittens and Bella. Went to go check on the baby barn swallows. Hannah tried to put Ainsley and Gray down for a nap. She failed. Unless you count hysterical giggling as napping. Then she did pretty dang good.

Told stories with cookie cutters. Had a tea party. Talked about alliteration. Got silly with alliteration. Finally waved the white flag, loaded everyone in the truck and drove to town to buy ice cream cones. When Matt came home, this is how the living room looked.

What I love about this mess, though, is that every single thing I see in that picture was out because it was played with, not because it just got thrown around - which has been known to happen. There's the backpack (sans kitty), the books, the cookie cutters, the thread. There's the dollhouse and all of the horses and Lincoln Logs used in doll play. There's Zander. He's never been just thrown around, but he was played with.

What I also love about this mess is that it took ten minutes, tops, to clean it up. Hooray for having boxes and hooks and places for everything! (Once again, Zander should not be included in that - we don't have a box, hook, or place for him.)

We'll pull it all out tomorrow. Especially Zander.

As for me? I am still wiped. out.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Current Inspirations

I just read about Irena Sendler. During WWII she saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false documents, and sheltering them in individual and group children's homes outside the Ghetto. She was captured, tortured, and lived to see some of the children she saved reunited with their families. Beautiful woman.

And I want to go here - Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.

The kids and I have been drawing cartoons. We got some cool templates here.

Gearing up for International Day of Peace on September 21 and the Pinwheels for Peace project that we always do.

Spending way too much time on Pinterest.

Monday, August 8, 2011

One for strength.

When I was naming my children, I wanted to give them a first name that was all their own and a middle name that they shared with someone I admire, someone that I think will help give them strength as they get older, someone they'll be proud to share a name with.

I share my middle name with my great-grandmother, a strong woman who lived an amazing life.

Hannah shares her middle name with Matt's grandmother, another strong woman who has lived her own amazing life. I got an urge to go get some history done with her, so we took a last minute trip into Star Valley, Wyoming to talk to her.

Have you seen Star Valley? It's unbelievably beautiful. Pictures just don't do it justice. This is the view out her front door.

She has lived there for her entire life. She has lived in this house since she was married at 17, a mother at 18. She's got the best sense of humor and a seeming complete lack of judgment for me, an apostate in the faith that is so central in her own life - and that is rare in that religion.

This is the first time in 12 years that I've gotten to sit and chat with her, just the two of us. There have always been husbands or cousins hanging around or kids and grandkids needing to be tended to. We got 3 1/2 hours of chatting and laughing and bonding in. It was brilliant. I came away with the feeling that we would have been great friends had we lived in the same area. And also that the world would have to watch out if she had been born 80 years later and not contained by the expectations of her time and place.

Zander slept through some of it, cooed at her through some of it, talked to himself through some of it, and wrapped her around his little finger for all of it.

I had 50 questions written out for her. 25-30 from Hannah and the rest from Matt, Matt's mom, and me.

Hannah's questions ranged from the typically 6-year-old ("Did you have a dolly like Nettie?" and "How many hotels have you gone to?") to some deeper ones ("Why are you such a strong woman? Was your mom a strong woman?" and "How do you stop from getting angry?"). The questions from the adults were the typical history questions - school, memories, traditions, advice to give.

She was such an open book, which made the interview by turns hilarious and heart-wrenching. Hearing her talk about her son in the runaway goat cart had me in tears as did hearing her talk about feeling that she was to blame for her first son being born with club feet - just different kinds of tears.

She pulled out a scrapbook that her mom had made for her out of a fashion book.

How cool is that?

I kept watching her, waiting for her to get worn out, but she seemed to want to keep talking. The 30 minutes we planned on talking stretched into an hour and a half of recorded questions and answers.

Such a treasure for my children.

And for me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


And Ladybug Crackers!

Hannah's Question of the Day

In which a conversation starts out with 'Do you believe people can see things that aren't there?' and ends with Dora and Diego. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Hannah: Do you believe people can see things that aren't there?

Mother: Yes I do. (followed by an uncharacteristically lengthy anecdote about a friend and her child who both have had experiences in that area) (it would actually be uncharacteristic if it was short) (but it was a good one!)

H: What about you?

M: Yeah. I remember when my best friend died a few years ago, I got a strong feeling that I should call her. I didn't. She died two days later and I'll never be able to talk to her again. I'll always be sorry I didn't listen. And then last week. I got a feeling that I should call your aunt and chat with her about her pregnancy because she was right at the end of it. I didn't do it and she lost her baby unexpectedly. I'll never be able to go back and give her that love and support right before the unthinkable happened. I'm sorry about that too.

H: Well don't say never Mother, you never know. (in a hushed spiritual voice) You just never, never know. (Apparently 'never' is ok for her to say.)

M: No, I think in this case, 'never' is a fair word to use.

H: (in a reverent voice) Don't say never Mother. You don't know what the future holds. One day a time portal could open up in front of you and BAM! you'll have the opportunity to go back.

M: That's true. That could happen. I shouldn't write that off completely, should I?

H: No. It's a good thing you have me to help you keep your belief strong. When would you go back to if you had the choice?

M: I don't know - I can't decide if I'd go back to a good time to relive it or back to a bad time to try to change it. If you had a time portal open up in front of you, when would you go?

H: That's a hard one. There are so many times. I think I'd definitely go back to before Dora* and Diego were invented.

So that's her Question of the Day :

"If you had a time portal open up in front of you, when would you go?"

Break out of lurkdom and comment so that I can give her your answer. :)

*Dora the Explorer. Hannah calls her 'Dora the Annoyer'.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camping on a moment's notice.

Saturday afternoon, Matt said "Let's go camping." This is something he would not have said before we got the camper. But he says it now and it is so fun to think "let's go" and thirty minutes later be gone.

That night was mostly spent playing games.

The next day was rainy off and on, but that doesn't matter so much when you're in a camper! We pulled out our camper craft box and the kids created. I read. Matt ... well, he was glad we weren't in a tent.

When it wasn't raining, we would head outside for a bit.

I just realized something putting this post together. My kids will have very little photographic evidence that I existed.