Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Christmas

I bought a new calendar today.
We're less than two weeks out from 2012.  I just had a little trouble typing those numbers, I tell you.  How can that be? The year, I mean, not the new calendar.

It is a cutesy Mary Engelbreit number, not nearly as happy to me as the Dick and Jane 2011, but it was cheap and a much better choice than "Cleveland 2012" or "Precious Moments 2012" which were among my other options at the Big Box.  Really? Cleveland? Who wants a whole year of Cleveland, except maybe Cleveland's mom and is anyone sure that she really exists?

Care to guess the first thing I wrote in my new calendar?
Hint: It is pretty awesome.
Hint: It involves TV (something I don't have here at the Rural Route 2 Residence) and so...
Hint: It takes place at my parents' home.

Do you need more hints?
How about a really obvious video hint?
But only because I love watching this trailer...

Downton Abbey.
Prepare yourself.

In other, slightly less exciting, perhaps even disturbing, news: every single Saturday of January and February 2012 has "basketball" written on it.   Yep. Every single one.  Yay. Rah. Trying to contain my excitement over here.  What's the emoticon for resignation?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Compromising Christmas Shrub

I've been gone from {my little bitty rural blog} here.
First, I was sick.
No pictures taken of sick momma.
Then, I was busy getting my life back from being sick.
No pictures were taken of that, either.
But now my kitchen floor is clean, I'm almost done with the little Christmas shopping I do, and I've returned to show you something.

In case you didn't realize how we do things around here, please note that these Five Little Ruffers are sitting in front of one of the Smallest Christmas trees in North West Ohio.
It is a compromise between the Man of the House and myself.
One of us likes seasonal decorations

The other thinks cutting a tree
that took years to reach a height of six or seven feet just so you can
prop it up in your living room,
clutter it with lights, garland and glass balls,
spend a few weeks watering it and
shooing tiny children away from it
just to have it dry out and eventually burned is foolish. 
Care to guess who holds which opinion?
So we get a live {potted} tree. 
It is shorter than I, more shrub-like than tree.  We use fewer lights, so I guess we're environmentally friendly.  It lives in our house until February, then moves to the front porch.  When the yard thaws into its natural state of mushiness, the tree gets planted. 

We've repeated this compromise three times now.  By the time GBaby is in high school we'll have a veritable forest of ex-Christmas shrubs trees in our yard. 
Maybe some of them will be six or seven feet tall and we can revisit the decorations vs. foolishness debate.

Honestly, I didn't show you this picture to discuss our Christmas shrub/tree.
I wanted you to see how blessed I am. Truly.I'm speechless with gratitude.Only, I shouldn't be speechless, I should find words to say thank You for my Five Little Ruffers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


"Look! Look!"
She ran into the kitchen, silken hair in disarray, nose running faster than her little feet, eyes bright with enthusiasm.  She had news to tell her older sister.  She settled for telling Mommy.
"There's Pink in the Sky!  C'mere!"

I couldn't resist following.
"There. Pink. And Purple. And Yellow. And White."

[There was no white, but it is one of her three favorite colors, so she had to find it.]

I don't remember when I discovered the glory of a setting sun, but I hope I never forget when she did.

I tried hard to photograph this moment, fiddling with my aperture and ISO settings as best as I could. [Can anyone tell I've been reading my manual?] 
I need some help, camera-wise.  A new {unbroken} lens would be a good first step.
But really.
This fuzzy shot is a good enough reminder, it will jog my memory when I'm a dear old wrinkled lady and my little discoverer is a mommy herself. 

It would be nice to take perfect pictures, but for now I'll settle with focusing my heart (if not always my camera) on the subject matter. 
I am on the lookout, maybe I'll find my own "Pink in the Sky."  Something tells me it is all about looking in the right direction.

Wow. I sound like someone in one of those 30-Second Self-Help spots on the radio.  A little cheesy and trite.  Oh well.  We all get to have a sappy day here and there.  I hope I run across this post sometime when I'm about to yell at those little discoveries.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grandma Claus

This is The Man's Grandma.  She came over with toy catalogs and let the children give her ideas.

She's pretty much a terrifically Great Grandma.  I am proud to share last names.  I'm also proud of those little kridlets. Not one of them was rude or whiny. Although they do tend to have expensive taste.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Clutter

Saturday marked the first weekend in December and officially the last day of the Holiday season when I can consider the effort of decorating to be worth the amount of time left before Christmas.  Maybe I typed that backward, it doesn't read right. 

Anyway, it was time to fight my way through the clutter and cold to those boxes in the attic.  I love pulling out Christmas decor.  If I repeat it to myself, I'll believe it, right?  But still, I just couldn't bring myself to add more chaos to our already disorderly and dirty house.  I made a deal with the kids: "You guys help me clean up the downstairs (just this one measly old floor, not even the toy room, bedrooms, or basement!) and then we'll get the Christmas stuff out."
They were more than willing. 
First, though, we had to watch some cool videos on YouTube.  We got stuck in a lineup of tiny home clips.  Like this:

And this:

I am fascinated by the minute dwellings.  I mean, how easy would it be to decorate this place for Christmas?  Even more exciting, I bet I could clean it top to bottom in 30 minutes. Brand Spanking New Looking for minutes every day. {Side Note: check out the origins of your favorite phrase and thank me for the lovely little diversion.}

OK. So those little videos did nothing to make our abode more festive (or cleaner), so it was time to get to work. And then to adorning.  I won't bore you with the details of our cleaning spree or the mom lectures delivered on-site throughout the process.  Somehow, between dancing to Christmas songs (them) and vacuuming under the couches (me) to breaks for dress-up (them) and nursing GBaby (me) and laying on the couch (them, again) we got most of our downstairs clean. 
Boxes lugged.  Contents strewn.  Discoveries remade.

In my mind, the perfect Christmas trimming scene is something like this: A fire in the hearth, Bing, Frank and Nat fill the air with old-timey songs while a mugs of peppermint cocoa sits near by.  Hints of fresh pine waft from our potted tree, and I hum along with the music as I artfully arrange each meaningful ornament.  The children don't fuss or break ornaments or grow bored and tired of the chore delightful task before it is finished.

Have we discussed that I'm not perfect here? 
OK, good. Then we don't have to go over that again.

I still have boxes of decorations sitting out in my living room.  (Excuse: We haven't purchased our tree yet, so we could neither put away the ornaments nor hang them upon the highest bough.)
The children's stockings are hung with tacky push-pins. (Excuse: It is pretty hard to come by a set of FIVE anything, let alone stocking hangers, let alone FIVE stocking hangers that are pleasant to look at and don't cost a few of my childrens' arms and legs.)
My unfinished wreath is sitting on a dining room chair, not the front door. (Excuse: Um. I'm out of excuses.)

Does it seem like I constantly post confessions of imperfections?  Someday, surely, I will get my act together and pull off something impressive.  With a camera that works.  But it's not looking like it will happen this Christmas season.  I could feel lousy about this.  Instead, I'm taking encouragement from one of the first embellishments to make it out of the boxes:

This is The Man's favorite contribution to our Holiday celebration.  I like it because he likes it.  And also because it reminds me that the trappings of this Christmas time are mostly burdens I pile upon my own back.  If he were home this evening (and not doing a disgusting activity that I will not even dirty my blog by discussing here except to say that it's initials are "Butchering" and "Deer") he would totally approve of me relaxing in front of a movie instead of perfecting the homeyness around me. 
I married the right guy.
That's why we have babies.
And they're why we have a ginormous house that doesn't clean or decorate quickly.
I'm one blessed {if inadequate} girl. 
Because, really, what would be the point of decorating for Christmas and then sitting around for a lonely cup of coffee? Right? 

Well, maybe I could just have one of those tiny homes for a few hours each week.  Sometimes a solitary cup of coffee isn't so lonely.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Old Deers

December 2010

I just elevated (or lowered) my blog to one of those frequented by red-neck types, didn't I?  Maybe I'm just trying to broaden my base.

Well, it's that time of year.

I may not believe in Santa, but I sure as heck am convinced that Rudolph is real. And his cousin is dead.

The Man of the House is out and about seeking the Bambi types for slaughter.  I can only guess that hunting is not politically correct, (I can only guess because I'm never sure about anything politically anymore) but it should be.  Think of the benefits:
1. Venison is a very, very lean red meat.  If masked in chili seasoned and prepared properly, it is also tolerable delicious.  If you've had "Bad Deer Meat" it was probably from a bad deer cook, not a bad deer.

2. According to Wikipedia and Ohio DNR, the Deer Population in Ohio is over-grown.  Basically, deer are becoming a pest because most of their natural predators (bear, wolves, man) don't bother to go out and get a hunting licence and deer tag.  Without a license and tag, it is illegal to kill a deer with anything but your car.  Of course, if you consult peace chickens, the deer were here first and therefore have a right to pester you all they want.  But if you do not consult the chickens, deer hunting is a time-honored tradition that helps keep the deer population (also known as the herd count) at sustainable levels.

3. Hunting deer uses up bullets that could otherwise be used to kill people and their best friends.

4. OK, I can't think of any more benefits.  Except that it gives pencil pushers and keyboard tappers a chance to don camouflage and traipse through the woods and mud.  [ *Quiet Giggle.* I just used the word "traipse" in reference to The Man of the House. And then I giggled. Quietly.]

I'm proud to have cooked for hunters today. 
I served chicken.
I bought it at the supermarket.  
Because I don't hunt.  I think that killing thing is gross.  Honestly, I had to type this whole post with the box scrolled all the way to the bottom, just so I wouldn't have to look at that dead deer butt at the top of my screen.  I'm really tired of this topic. It is so off-base for me.  Do red-necks even have computers?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Me Time

I've been complaining lately - as my husband can testify - that I don't really get to spend much time on my own trivial pursuits.  Mom Life is incredibly rewarding, but emotionally taxing.  When I'm done with the end of each day's laundry, cooking, dishes, toy-picking-up and toilet scrubbing, I don't usually have energy to tackle the fun projects.  Yesterday I decided that the dishes, toys and toilets would all stick around until tomorrow.  I lugged my mother's sewing machine out of the flooded basement and stitched out a few items on my "Christmas Sewing List."  I did accomplish something, but my surroundings degenerated into sloven.  Is "sloven" a word? 
Hang on.
I have to look that up.
sloven [ˈslʌvən]

a person who is habitually negligent in appearance, hygiene, or work
[probably related to Flemish sloef dirty, Dutch slof negligent]

So my house, as many years as it has been around, has not achieved person status.  Thus, my surroundings (i.e., the rooms of my home) could not have become a sloven.  They did suffer my negligence in their appearance.  Still, I do like using words that are related to Flemish & Dutch.  I haven't had any Flemish relatives before.

I'm off subject again, aren't I?

Anyway.  Time for my own pursuits.  I've got to type quickly, as the taco meat is going to burn (it is Thursday, people!)

Good News: I am going to have a little "Me Time" today.  Several hours of it! And it's going to cost lots of money!  Woo-hoo!

Bad News: Today's "Me Time" is brought to us by the dentist. Yuckity-yuck.  I have some emotional baggage from my dental past.  Maybe this is due to being a sloven.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Making Christmas Happen

Drip. Drip. Drip.

It is raining here. And leaking here.  And so much not feeling the Christmas season here.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about Christmas.  "It's up to moms to make Christmas happen," she said.  She's right.  Who shops, wraps, bakes, addresses, crafts, decorates, and remembers the hard-to-give-to people?  The Mom.

This Mom needs some help.
I feel overwhelmed, and I picture my brain as one of those grabbing booths with little slips of paper swirling out of control.

 On each slip of paper is a task that I must complete to make Christmas happen for our family.  Christmas Card Pictures. Wrap Teacher Gifts. Sew Children's Stockings. Decorate House. Shop for Gifts. Bake Cookies. Pick out "Christmas Outfits" for children.  Am I missing something?  Oh yes. JesusWhat do all these Christmas things have to do with Him?  I usually love this time of year, but right now I'm beginning to feel grinchy... and what kind of attitude is that for celebrating Emmanuel, the most amazing event in all of history? 

These are my children, watching a Christmas movie last December. In the matching pajamas their Super {Christmas} Mommy made for them.  Super Mommy has temporarily moved away; we're hoping she'll return when the baby is weaned.  She didn't leave a note, so we're not sure.

My prayer this morning (and yes, for the rest of my life, but let's get through this morning first, OK people?) is that I will have wisdom and courage to discern what really needs to be done, and what can be done away with.
Maybe I can get it all done.
Maybe I don't need to. 
I cannot allow "making" Christmas to ruin Christmas for my family.

And Now... I need to figure out what to do about the leaky window and the flooded basement.  Oh yes, the basement: where all my sewing stuff lives.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Without Being Too Dramatic

Without being too
I wish I could take
My pain and
Make money with it.

Others write of love
And then loss,
Angry dreams tossed
And burned,
Masses pay to cry.

Set my tears to song
You will find
They mean so much more
To someone
Who does not know me.

But then there is the problem of the chorus and rhymes and describing how your belly feels full of unbaked dough: squishy, fermenting and burbling.  But it's just from being sad because no one is baking in this house today.

Look For The Lesson (while I finish my coffee)

Day 1 of Thanksgiving Break:
"Let's put together a band!" quickly became "Let's play church!" 

I love it.
Sorta.  Their version of "church" is pretty loud for the living room.

And now Pastor W. is reading Scripture. I do not think they would sit so quietly if I was the pastor. 

And now the children were just dismissed for Sunday School.  Who is left in the congregation?

I so badly want to sneak in there to snap a picture, but then you know that they'd stop.  Just imagine the joys of a toy microphone and the Spiritual blessings it can bring. ;)

Hmmm... that canned applause track adds an interesting element to church.  There's a lesson in that, but I haven't finished my coffee yet, so I don't know if I can quite explore it fully.  I do know that I'd like a little device to add applause through out my day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Perfectly Thankful

Through various conversations & readings lately, I've been reminded of the pressure we women place upon ourselves to achieve perfection.
Perfect marriage.
Perfect children.
Perfect home.
Perfect meals.
Perfect body.
Perfect job/hobby/creations...
Perfect spelling.

Perfection is the four-lane highway on the guilt trip of motherhood. 
Anyone who's read my stuff before knows that I am not perfect in any of these aspects.  Really not perfect. Some days, I'm determined that my imperfections will not keep me from joy.  Some days I do allow my imperfections (and those of people around me) to keep me from joy.  Some days I forget I'm not perfect, and I actually do something that impresses myself.  And then my camera reminds me. 

See, I made this perfectly cute turkey shirt for GBaby.  Everything about it impressed me: I made it without a real pattern, loosely following an adaptation from one of my mom's sewing patterns from the 70's.  I used only scrap materials, left over from other projects.  I hand-embroidered parts. I even finished the seams and top-stitched it, people! 
It fits perfectly
"Gee, I'm so pleased with myself.  I must be perfect.  I'll take a picture to show everyone that sometimes I do things right. I can almost be a craft blogger (except for that whole I'm-not-a-Mormon part)."

I realized.
I dropped my camera two weeks ago.  And now it doesn't like to focus. (Anyone want to sell me a lens for cheap?)

I was this close to being perfect. 

Now I have to pretend my picture is from the 1960's when I was perfect (except for that whole not-being-born-yet part).

Don't tell me that it's all The Awful Worldly World's fault, because it only has as much influence over me as I allow.  So, what drives my (ugly) desire for perfection? Insecurity? Pride? Control? Painful Memories? 
God sees every part of me, the perfect and imperfect.  And still, He loves me.  Amen.  That's enough to be Thankful.  With or without a turkey shirt.

Now, as a bonus reminder, go give a good listen to these two songs from a really great artist.  And be thankful for your imperfections, because they can showcase the enormity of God's love.

Just so you know that I'm not making this imperfect stuff up: I had a really crappy attitude for about 36 hours. You can pray for me (and my poor little family). Thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Boys and Baby

Every baby girl should have patient, kind and helpful big brothers.

Look at GBaby's face.  She knows she's got these big brothers wrapped around her little finger.  She's such a blessed little girl.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pirate

My children are out to prove me old
Example: Son #2 turned 8 just a few weeks ago.  Ack -  in six short months I'll celebrate a decade of motherhood.
Sambonio, Sambonini, Sammy, Samuel (he decided, suddenly, that mommy's baby names are too, well, babyish) has wanted a pirate cake since he was three-turning-four.  I've been willing to try, but he's always picked a different "theme" two weeks or so before the other birthdays.  This year we got it out of our system.  And boy, are we glad that we did.  It was a mess.  But a yummy mess, so who cares?
I have to quit trying to make awesome birthday cakes. I just can't seem to keep them from falling apart. And then, they're not awesome.  Do you see me in my pretty apron?

 Instead of buying more candy (there was a lot on that cake!) or dollar tree toys, I got each boy a can of silly string.  I hope the other mothers appreciated that it was junk that would get used up at our house and they wouldn't have to deal with it at home. I'm pretty sure the cats did not appreciate my thoughtfulness. But then, cats so rarely do.

After an epic 7 boys vs. adult tug-of-war, a 7 boys vs. cat silly-string fight, an enormous pizza and a very chocolaty movie, it was time to eat the cake!  But wait... it had collapsed even further.  Please note the entirely innocent expression of the guest in the background.  I am certain that he was the pirate that chased us into the storm, but it's all good.  Instead of a pirate ship, this was proclaimed to be the Swiss Family Robinson Cake. Thank goodness for quick-thinking older brothers.

I like to make a big deal about my kid's birthdays. Because, well, my kids are a pretty big deal.

Grown up names and all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seeking Order in a Haphazard Way

As I reported in my previous post... I had a sick kiddo (or four) on my hands last week. Not fun. Not fun at all.
But not too bad, as sickies go. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Everyone is back on top of the weather.
And what weather we're having.  Thunderstorms? In November?  The booms were so loud the few pictures I actually have on my walls rattled.  Seriously.

This is not what I was going to write about. This distraction-while-typing thing happens to me a lot, even when the kridlets are in bed. Kridlets. I made that word up.  Then I joined urbandictionary.com just so I could add it and try to get a movement going.  The problem is, too many other people are all trying to introduce new words into our vocabulary and they probably get more chances to write because they don't distract themselves with utter nonsense!

WARNING: I'm about to present a picture of everyday life.  It isn't pretty.  Well, except for the serious baby and singing toddler.  Thanks to my Nine-year-old son, we have a permanent record of un-posed life.
 Me: surrounded by chaos and kridlets.

I am finding myself drawn to order and schedule lately, although my housework begs to differ.  But really, I am. Maddened by the "what to fix for dinner" chaos that haunts my 4:30 afternoon, I established a meal chart. Nothing new, nothing fancy, it is certainly nothing original.  But it helps.  That wasn't enough, because soon I found myself frustrated with the "what to put on our meal planning chart" problem.  So I almost-randomly decided that we will always eat specific food on specific days of the week. 
  • Monday nights we always eat pasta.  Because I love pasta. And because The Father of My Children plays basketball every blessed Monday night.  I'd hate for him to be burdened down with a heavy meal. 
  • Wednesday nights are Soup-and-Sandwich nights because it's also a "Church Night" and I thought soup would be a quick meal.  Only, it isn't always.  But oh well. Now my kridlets (see? I'm using it!) are learning to like different kinds of soup. 
  •  Thursdays we have TexMex-style food because I haven't recovered from the taco obsession I had while carrying GBaby. 
  • Sunday nights are cook-free nights and we have Nachos (made with leftovers from Thursday) and/or Popcorn.
Of course, I am without guidance for Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings but that's just because I haven't come up with specific foods to assign to those days. I'm sure I will, and I am hoping it involves The Father of My Children making some of his rather famous (at least as far as the kridlets - score extra points - and I are concerned) forays into the kitchen.

Here we are enjoying his delicious wings. I would never make wings from scratch.  I would have bought them pre-cooked in a bag from the grocer's freezer. But he's much more adventurous than I.

Why am I telling the World Wide Webfolks all this? Well, because. It's Monday night. I've decided that's the night I will write... and not feel one bit guilty about the housework.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unplanned Treasure

So today I'm not doing what I wanted to.
Sickie-poo baby leaves me sitting with her in my arms.
We're watching youtube videos because it keeps her from crying.
And I resent that my projects were interrupted.
We watch this short music video from an artist I would never had called my favorite.
And now I'm crying.
And now I'm loving every minute "wasted" with my little ones.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Amazing Amplified Ante Meridian

I just set a timer, giving myself 15 minutes to chirp out a post, so there will be few edits and hardly any connections between thoughts.

Sometimes a ratty old sweater just makes you feel better.  Particularly a cardigan.  Why is slovenliness so emotionally comforting?  Up early, compliments of GBaby, I have "fixed" my hair & makeup before the household gets going.  Because, you know, it is so important to have eyeshadow on before you bake cookies, which is one of my goals for the day.  I've been a little Baker Queen this week.  Muffins, biscuits, bread that is impersonating a brick... I don't know why I have such a hard time with bread.  My dinner rolls are pretty decent.  Anyway, despite the sweater dug out the depths of my bottom drawer, I am wearing my hair curled this morning.  I think it looks like a mash-up of Farrah Fawcett and Nelly Olson.   Really, a great look for 6:45 AAAM.  I think that finger slip signifies Early Morning Greatness:  Amazing Amplified Ante Meridian.  GBaby doesn't have much hair yet, so no curls for her.  She sat at my feet and grunted.  Pretty sure I know what that means.  When the timer goes off I'm on poop duty.  Apparently, there is a world-wide shortage of snot (I'm really sorry about that word, but we're not talking "boogers" people, and I don't know the polite substitution for liquid running from your nose; maybe polite people don't talk about it.) and my head is storing it up for the winter.  This stuffiness should help with the poop duty.  Maybe I should wear a mask while I bake.  Tomorrow night we're having a sleepover to celebrate Sambonio's 8th birthday.  He doesn't like it when I call him Sambonio, so I won't do that in front of his friends.  I am not really excited about it, because a "sleepover" probably means "little boys who will want their moms at 4:00 AM." And not AAAM.  So I'm baking a birthday cake too.  Shaped like a pirate ship.  With candy.  Hmmm... I'm hungry.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Excuse-to-Dress-Up Day!

I don't do Halloween.  Neither my husband nor I grew up celebrating Halloween, so it's just not a big deal to us.  Honestly, not much really appeals to me about the witchy festivities, and I really dislike all the ghoulish decorations.  I'm not being a hater here; if you love Halloween and want to throw your energy into making it a big day, go for it. It is just not for me.


Who doesn't love candy?  I mean, besides dentists and my Sammy?


Pumpkins are so cheerful (and, uncarved, they make great decorations right up till Thanksgiving).


I love love love playing dress up.  Yep, I'm a grown-up mom lady person and I still play dress up.  Only my kids don't know it yet.  They must think everyone dons a polka-dot dress and vibrant red lipstick to perform domestic chores.

I happen to have a lot of candy and pumpkins around, but one can never have too many dress-up clothes.  The happy, cute, creative costumes and the chance to show off my happy, cute, creative children are the only reasons that make me wish we did Halloween. Especially when I see something like this lovely little concoction from one of my favorite blogging crafters.  What kind of dress-up loving mama would I be to deny my lovely little girls something like that?

When I saw The Cottage Home's duds, I started thinking through my stash of fabric, creating a similar ensemble in my mind... Let's see, I have shiny red satin, sheer sparkly organza, happy striped and dotted ribbon, and absolutely zero extra time.  Bummer.  Because my girls need some new dress-up stuff.  Really.  What they have only fills a small laundry basket and it is all Disney Princess garb (which I hate and they love.)

The next day a friend and I hit Old Navy for a massive sale they were having (a situation that deserves an entire post of it's own: 2 mommas + 2 nursing infants + 2 two-year-olds = absolutely hysterical chaos!) and I saw a rack of costumes marked down to $5.00.  Plus, I had a "40% OFF" coupon.  So, instead of the original price of $29.94 I paid a whopping $3.00 for each outfit!  That's less than a happy meal, folks - and guaranteed to last a lot longer! 

 Is the construction of the garments solid? No, I've had to repair the queen bee dress twice already.  Does anyone care? No!  It was $3.00 people!

We are very happy on this last day of October, (despite the rush-to-school yelling) and we hope you all are too.

Boys dress up too! My sons had outfits (homemade, so take that!) for the school costume parade on Friday. Weston was a Christmas clown (say what?) and Sammy was a laptop computer (because his dad thought it would be cool).  But OF COURSE, I did not get any pictures snapped. Maybe I'll make encourage them to become their clowny computery selves again today.  We could hit up Great Grandma's house during the town's trick-or-treat hours.  She always has lots of candy around. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mornings at Home

It is a beautiful morning. I would try to take a picture, but my photography skills are not worthy.  And I don't want to change out of my pajamas one moment too soon.

The fields and yard are frosted, the barns and trees silhouetted against the slowly waking sky.  A thin band of pink rims the eastern horizon, a thin fog gentles the dark blue above.

I do not know what the rest of the day will look like.  At this point, un-forecasted as I am, it is a guess either way.  Maybe it is the suspense of early morning that appeals so much to me. I fluctuate somewhere between opti- and pessi-misms and would like to think this will be a beautiful day, but I know that it is late October and chances of rain abound.
Regardless, I have my love, my babies, projects and chores, and the confidence of God's love.  It will be a lovely day, no matter the color of the sky.  

And now... for some coffee!

**I should note that Sunday mornings are typically the least beautiful around here. But a sick-yesterday-I-feel-fine-now child keeps me home today, and it is far more relaxed and restful.

**I must note that I just overheard one son tell the other that we are staying home from church "because you were sick yesterday and the Bible tells us, if one of you is sick he should stay home." I think I need to do a better job with those Bible lessons.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Too Young

I was going to write about the lovely colors around me this season, about the contrast of freshly-painted barn against the blue sky, the muted colors of a rainy fall day, the shiny hard orange of so many pumpkins...

But just as I started typing a distraught three year old flung herself upon my lap.  "The boys say I'm too young to do it!"  The new box of Legos (an 8 year old's favorite birthday present) has just been opened.  She is too young for it.  I gently try to explain, while at the same time loving that she fits so perfectly between the keyboard and me.

Will picking out a picture for mommy's post mollify her?  It is hard to be too young  for stuff, I know.  I think I'm too young for this mothering gig, but...

Here's the picture she chose:

Cute little cousin friends. It's nice to be around someone who doesn't think you're too little to play.

What do you know? She chose a picture that showcases the beautiful fall weather we enjoyed for so much of October.  Looking at this picture makes this rainy day a little better for several reasons:
1. I am not watching anyone play soccer right now, but sitting in my big, dry house smelling the homemade beef & vegetable stew simmering on the stove.
2. Remember? We have had a nice fall.
3. I love my nephews (and nieces!).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bedtime Cometh

I sent thee to bed; why dost thine screams echo down the hallways?
Thou hast been given the water, blessed with prayers, covered with the blankie of thine chief affections.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Little Pumpkin Love

Little things make me happy.  Like the mini pumpkins we have in over abundance around here.
 This little pumpkin, however, did not have any friends. He was very lonely.

 Sometimes when we're lonely, we just have to look around.  There's probably another pumpkin out there who also needs a friend.


No wait a minute.
This is not that kind of blog.
Please. Get a mini-pumpkin room.

I'm sorry, folks. I had no idea pumpkins thought these kinds of thoughts.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Or Maybe

There is something about a vacuum sweeper sitting with its unwound cord spiraling around itself that looks so unkempt. Or maybe it is just the un-showered and pajama-clad momma that projects feelings of unkemptness onto her surroundings.

* * *

If you give all your children names that start with the same letter it sure makes passing on monogrammed garments easier. Or maybe that negates the purpose of personalized stuff.

* * *

If you pretend that you're a Scottish housekeeper giving a video demonstration of how to do laundry it makes the daily task a lot more fun. Or maybe it just shows that you have soom oonderlying ishues ya need ta werk oot.

* * *

The Scottish housekeeper observed that it would be much better for the environment if all of mankind adopted a nudist lifestyle.  Or maybe that would make phsychiatrists wealthy.

* * *

The spell check on this thing is broken.  Or maybe I'm just a fantrastic speller today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Puttin' On The Feedbag

Hungry complaints.
"I don't like sitting here, all I do is watch you guys eat and I don't get anything but these crummy little puffs."

What is this new thing?

By tradition: Daddy feeds Baby her first cereal.


But she's liking the spoon!

An overly-helpful audience.

A (rather hungry) audience member. How does that hair taste?

And so it begins. We are no longer solely dependant upon Mama. Just one little step in a lifetime of moving away from me.

I think I'll go cry into some fudge.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I am letting go of my temper a bit while making tacos, nursing an inattentive (but hungry) infant, correcting children, trying to ignore the building noise and hyperactivity... the dinner hour at our house seems far from peaceful.
"Lord... You're going to have to make me more patient!" My prayer hisses out through clenched teeth.
This is supposed to make me more patient.
I will probably face more trying circumstances than these.
If the supper rush around our home makes me lose control how can I expect to handle real difficulty?

I'm practicing patience.
Practice makes perfect, it doesn't mean that it already is perfect.

When I'm perfect at patience, I won't have to practice it... I'll just be patient.
And probably dead.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I need to change the layout of this blog! Help, anyone?

Glittery Wings in the Warm Air

Typically, I'm one to want weather to follow the proper order.
Winter = Cold.
Spring = Balmy (and yes, rainy).
Summer = Hot.
Autumn = Crisp.
But this string of extra-warm October days have been lovely. The mornings are just a teeny bit sharp, a thin fog hanging over the drying corn. The mild chill gives way to afternoons comfortable for flip flops and t-shirts. Laundry on the line and paint on the porch both dry quickly. There may be an over abundance of those smelly orange ladybug-look-alikes, but even those catch the afternoon light on their wings and redeem themselves with glittery spectacle.

I've enjoyed these last two weeks.
Rumor is that real October arrives tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not a Real Blog Mommy

I feel as though each time I actually do click "PUBLISH POST" I must re-introduce myself since such great amounts of time lapse between entries. [Hi, My name is Honour, I have a lot of kids in a big house. My kids say funny things and entertain us endlessly. My house is old and a constant source of work.]

What keeps me from writing? There is no shortage of inspiration around here. There's this cute little Lover of Standing...

Can you see the delight on her face? Doesn't it make you want to go find an ottoman and hold on to it? I had no idea furniture-assisted standing was such a wonderful thing. Imagine what she'll think when she can be up without help! And how about that helpful boy in the background? I have no idea what I would do without him around. He makes me smile.

We've also had a slew of Birthdayness going on lately.

Someone is always celebrating around here. More cupcakes coming later this month.

We also have been watching a LOT of this:

I'm sure that my esteemed readers (thanks, Mom & Dad) will recognize this activity. All three of my oldest children have chosen to play parks & rec sports this season. So four afternoons out of the week find us watching soccer, soccer and flag football. I'm ready for it to end. Very ready.

So I'm not lacking inspiration, just time. What is it that takes up most of my time?

Sometimes Irritating.
Always with lots of Laundry.

Let's walk through this picture, the one that "Real Blog Mommys" never show.

Upper left hand corner: a Fall Dress I made for G.Baby. I am so proud of this dress, since I got all creative-and-adaptive with it, only loosely following a pattern and adding touches of my own. Full of vanity, I love every compliment that she receives while wearing it. If I were a Real Blog Mommy, I would have already posted a charmingly upbeat tutorial with lovely pictures of each vintage button (really vintage - rescued from the trash!) and a link to my etsy shop where you can purchase one for your own darling infant!
Is anyone picking up on my little burst of jealousy here?
Moving on.

Middle background, behind Baby's head: a Stack of games for the "Family Game Night" we never had. [Sorry kids.] A Real Blog Mommy would have not only held "Family Game Night," she would have coordinated clever snacks and had a meaningful lesson to go with each game. And invited the neighbors.
And taken great pictures.
And posted about it the next day.
Let's keep going.
Center of picture: Four baskets of laundry, in various stages of folding. Real Blog Mommys do not mention laundry. Their children are clothed at all times in adorable, hand-crafted togs that never become soiled.

Foreground: Playdough. Not homemade (as a Real Blog Mommy would have) but a true obsession of the green-dressed beauty. We take playdough to soccer games. To the grocery store (it stays inside the diaper bag there). To Grammy's house. She loves playdough. I hate it; it is messy and the colors are always mixing themselves up.

Foreground: The Boxcar Children. One of my favorite bits of children's literature. A Real Blog Mommy reads to her children nightly. I am just thrilled that my children are independant readers so they can fulfill their reading requirements for school with minimal involvement on my part. I just approve their books, initial their charts and smile... And then scramble at the end of each month because I remember that my kindergarten student isn't actually reading yet (although she interprets the pictures wonderfully and provides much more interesting dialogue than the authors provide) and we have to read 30 books before bedtime so that she can get her reward from her teacher tomorrow.

Center: Much-cuddled (if diaper-neglected just the teeniest bit) Baby. Caring for my children and trying to make our home a clean, loving environment for growing those children up takes up the majority of my time. I do not have a "real" job and I have absolutely no idea how "working mothers" actually hold their lives together. I seem to struggle just to find my way out of a grungy t-shirt. Our home is constantly messy and always enduring one improvement or another. We know from pictures that Real Blog Mommys have lovely homes, white teeth, well-behaved children and sew, cook, homeschool, publish books, run an etsy business, volunteer, and photograph their every perfect moment.

I suspect that they also have maids and nannys hidden outside the edges of each photograph. This suspicion maintains my feeble grasp on sanity. That and the fact that I absolutely love my life, messy, silly, sometime irritating and full of laundry.

PS -- for those of you that are worried, G.Baby spends almost no time on top of the dining room table. She is the only part of this picture that was posed. W.Beans and the various props happened to be there already and I just plopped the baby in there and snapped a few pictures. I promise.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have the Shirt

I was such an awesome mom this morning that I wore the shirt to prove it. It's a long-sleeved tee that I bought in the boys' department of Old Navy for $2 and it says "Awesome!" across the front.
That was this morning, when I was on top of the world. Or at least on top of my little world. At the very last minute before the school kids left I remembered the dress-like-a-pioneer-and-take-your-lunch-in-a-tin-pail field trip. I didn't even sweat. Kid was re-dressed and packed in amazingly record time.
Then the battery was dead in the Daddy car (usual ride to school). No biggie: I whipped up the toddler and baby, loaded all five offspring in the car and dropped them off before the tardy bell even thought about ringing. On the return home, I listened to NPR's partial listing of Nobel prize winners. I felt like I could fit right in.
I played with the least'uns, tidied the house, even organized my fabric piles a bit. OK, I just mostly moved the fabric piles around, but I did put some pieces aside for a project I have in the works. By the time the Big Ones got off the bus, I had a snack ready, stuff packed and hurried us off to the soccer-meets-football-meets-piano lessons that is our Monday afternoon.
But now.
Now I've finally put five exhausted children to bed (late), at least one sleeping in her clothes and another crying for reasons unknown.
I am not awesome anymore.
That's what happens when you change your shirt, I guess.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sorting [Unwillingly] My Times

I'm realizing that organization may not be optional.
But it feels like it should be.
I willingly organize certain aspects of our family life. Ok, very few aspects.
There's a pile of "Not Getting Itself Done" stuff. Maybe if I were more organized, I'd have time for all the fun and games and the diapers that need to be washed.
I doubt it, though. I secretly think if I were more organized I would just have more opportunities to be angry. Angry when my strictly ordered life was tracked through with the unexpected, angry when my strictly ordered life showed no time to sit and read.
We'll see.

Friday, September 16, 2011

August Around Archbold

So I missed most of August in the 'ternet world.

Here's a little hint why:
The Man Husband's garden is so huge, it has become our secondary housing.
Except now it's getting cold...

Friday Night Blahs

It only takes one little remark that sends me back to that other little remark, and the one before that... then I'm back to those old thoughts that I want so much to be done with.

I feel so Blech.
Which oddly looks a lot like Bleach.
Maybe I'll try to re-purpose some of this yucky feeling into a positively productive evening.

Is it wrong to put your kids to bed early on a Friday night so that you can have some cleaning therapy? Is that selfish? They seem tired to me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last Worms

I'm up early most days. I like being the

Earliest Bird of the House.

It makes me feel more In Charge of my Day.

Maybe I need a badge to fulfill my power urges.

The silly part is, once I'm fueled by half a cup of coffee, (who actually gets a cup finished when it is still hot?) the others' bodies start moving, and I'm suddenly,

packing lunches,

tying shoes,

flipping eggs,

pouring milk,

scrambling eggs,

(because we can't all like the same style eggs; it would be communism!)

making ponytails,

nursing baby + surfing 'ternet...

and I realize I haven't had my favorite meal yet: breakfast.

But it is still morning, several hours till noon when I would have to officially declare breakfast skipped. So I eat last.

The early bird sometimes has to take the last worm available.

But she doesn't mind.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Been Busy Much?

Life has continued to move along since I last updated my little spread here. Anecdotes and witticisms worthy of sharing with the World Wide Web are constantly popping into my brain, but time is not free around here. I know, I know; you make time to do what you want to do. This is slightly true.
Only slightly.
Some of us are busy enough making time for what we must do right now (can or freeze the produce that is ready right now and will not be available next week) that what we would really like to do (sleep, read, write, socialize) is put on layaway.
Do stores do layaway anymore? Or does everyone just use credit cards?

So maybe later this week I will write.

Or maybe in the winter. When the garden is not bursting with tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I won something! I really did!

The best part?

Its from one of my favorite blogs ever. Go read about how God is working in this dear and special family. And buy some shoes too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guilty Cool

I am a lover of all things historical. I admire the way things "used to be" before my time, and I think that the modern soul is wimpy at best and evilly spoiled at worst. Conveniences have ruined us.
I am ready to admit, I'm very thankful for certain inventions and innovations.
Like shorts.
And tank tops.
And freezers full of ice cream.
And air conditioning.

Yes, I am a wimp. My husband brought home a window-unit air conditioner last night, and I, who had decried the over-use of artificially cooled air, was pretty darn happy to hear its humming. Let's see if I can avoid becoming spoiled.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monuments and Museums

Or, "All I Needed to Know I Learned in the First Three Days, part 1."

So here is my re-cap of the first day of our Epic Journey to the East, a Ten Piece Listing of what I learned:

Day 1 (Washington D.C.)

  1. Apparently, the sight of port-a-potties triggers some people's bladders (not mine).

  2. It really stinks when you leave your camera at the hotel.

  3. Walking in flip-flops around the Nation's Capital is not such a bad idea -- if you're guaranteed to be traveling at the pace of a two-year-old.

  4. If Mommy walks in flip-flops, the children will not understand why Daddy makes them wear tennis shoes.

  5. A lot of women are wearing breezy summer dresses this season, but not with tennis shoes.

  6. Sometimes fashion ideals must be sacrificed for family unity. (Please note that I do not consider flip-flops the epitome of "fashion" but I was sure my days of tennis shoes with dresses were over.)

  7. Not every person in my family wants to read every exhibit in the Smithsonian museums. Actually, none of them do, except me.

  8. The pace of a two-year-old dramatically increases in air conditioning (such as they have in the Smithsonian museums).

  9. While heat and hunger sap the strength of all ages, cool air and food may revitalize children much faster than their adults.

  10. Even if kids are whiny and hot, war memorials are still solemn, fulfilling their purpose: to remind the living of those dead in the name of freedom. Faced with the names of so many young and promising sent prematurely to eternity, and considering the empty homes and aching hearts of families left behind, I do not stop to weigh the right or wrong of wars. I simply mourn and am thankful.

Yeah, this is not a picture from the scenic first day's adventures. This is a picture of the kids in our hotel, watching a TELEVISION with CHANNELS! I think that was vacation enough for them, the poor media-deprived dears.

I wish I could link up to more pictures from our first day of vacation, but... well, refer to #2 of my lessons learned.

Another great moment (even better than the museums and monuments) was meeting up with my dear cousin. But I already knew it would be wonderful to see her, so I didn't actually learn a lesson there... except, that it was another missed photo. (insert tongue-sticking-out-icon-of-frustration-with-self here.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Back Home!

Despite the work of unpacking ahead of me, I am so glad to be home! Maybe tomorrow I will conduct a day-by-day review of our vacation, but for today I just am lolling around, basking in an effortless Sunday at home.

*Insert contented sigh here.*

I love my home.

Before I post pictures and stories from our time away, let me give you a little taste of my happy place.

The hollyhocks I planted to remember my grandmother are finally blooming! Now if I could just get someone to teach me how to make the clever little dolls she crafted from these showy blooms.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tid Bits

The man and I walked across the dewy yard to pick these lovely raspberries this morning. The children promptly ate them.

The two-year-old doesn't say "nana" anymore, but properly enunciates "buh-nana." I'm a little sad and proud at the same time.

Tomorrow we go on family vacation. I have nothing packed. For seven people. But I have carefully rationed the last drops of milk so that we'll leave nothing to stink up the fridge.

The man and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye on how clean a house must be before you leave for a week or more. I think clean sheets, mopped floors, scrubbed toilets are all "Must Do." He's content with empty trash cans and a mowed yard.

The nine-year-old has informed me that we NEED to get packing (literally) and we don't have time to sit at the computer. Funny how I'm not amused by his surpassing maturity.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Laundry Issues

I manage the laundry for a household of seven, including a cloth-diapered infant and a two-year-old potty-trainee. I don't have time to take a shower, let alone time for extra steps in washing clothes.

So, why does my clothesline look like this today?

I think we can all agree that I need some help. Do you think there are therapists that deal with laundry obsessions?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Playing {Mad} House

I must admit to swinging on the playground of emotions. Especially of late. Certain days of my life as Keeper of the Home are such fun that I feel as if I'm playing house. Other days I walk through laundry piles, tossed shoes, scattered books, smeared food and feel anxiety, exhaustion and anger overtake me. Of course, the house is usually clean (or clean in significant parts) on the good days.
So why are my emotions so closely tied to my home? This seems wrong. Shouldn't I be more even?

Happily, today is a clean-house day and we're having fun.

And then...

I took children with me to the grocery store.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Picking and Choosing.

It is a beautiful Saturday, with a clean kitchen. Our typical Big Breakfast was exchanged for a visit to the bakery. So without my usual clean-up to do, shall I craft or garden? Both tasks sound gratifying, and both promise to be oft-interrupted!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stray Dog Powers

See these children? They thought they wanted to go to The Zoo today. Or an indoor playground, on account of the rain. They are a Zoo unto themselves, and the overcast day has not driven them indoors. All they need is Grammy's flower-filled backyard and each other.

Of course, they may have actually spent more time naming and describing their imaginary selves than actually play acting.

"My name's Elizabeth and I have the power to make someone invisible."

"My name's Fighter, cause I fight."

"My name's Lightening, because I have a lightning streak on me -- I was just born that way. I am a mix of a Golden Retriever, Great Dane and a Dalmatian. I'm all white with a lightning streak on me."

"I am a Poodle, with black on me."

"I'm a mix of a Chihuahua and a Bull Dog." (Care to guess which one that is?)

And then --

"A Human!"

"The Dog Catcher! Into the force field house!"

They really don't have to fear; the clamor they create would keep any Animal Control Personnel away. You can't bring that inside and cage it, that amount of noise is sure to cause physical damage.

They didn't know I was listening in to their imagination collaboration until I told them they couldn't play "Mating Dogs Having Puppies." I'm a Meanie Mom, I know.

Here are a few of them, wondering why Grammy (the Dog Catcher? Or a more friendly human?) won't unlock the gate to her back yard.

Are you kidding? We can't unleash that sort of force out into the neighborhood.

I asked them what they called their game. "Stray Dog Powers." I call it better than cartoons, folks. Better than cartoons.