Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My back has been out since last week. I've tried to deny it, even wore heels to church on Sunday and I think that is what did me in. I have a bad back, so this is no surprise feeling, but I do whatever I can (not really, I could exercise more) to squelch it when the ache comes on. But Sunday night I took the meds and tried to stay in bed all Monday, with Dave's help. Tuesday was still a bad day, but Dave have meetings so he couldn't be at home. Today still sucks, but I found out my in-laws are coming to stay with us tomorrow so... 6 loads of laundry and lots of clean up (not too much, I did some major cleaning on Saturday, trying to defy the oncoming horrid back). So, with tingly numbness down my left leg, shooting pains down my right and soreness in my lower back, I am taking a break.

I was just reading someone's blog, I knew her years ago and somehow found her blog through the blogosphere. I run into her maybe every 3 years, but I really don't know her at all. But her blog is fascinating. I didn't know she was so artistic. Or wordy. She says she isn't but she is quite good at expressing herself. My blog feels so empty lately. Nothing crafty/artistic going on. Nothing deep and inspiring going on. So my goal for the next week is to find something inspiring and actually work with my hands, and not in the wash dishes, braiding hair, picking up toys way. Let's see how it goes.

Another thing about being down and slightly medicated is coming out of the cocoon and seeing how life goes without me. I found that everyone, except Joey (but he is fine if he doesn't see me) is great. Caroline is getting chocolate, watching Max and Ruby, Eli is playing the Wii, Dave can watch any Texas game without my scowl (I like sports, I used to like to watch them and could keep up on what teams were doing what, but not at this time, I would rather watch LOST). Life goes on with out me. I knew this, and I know that Dave is more than capable to take care of children and house. It does make me feel better to know that he still needed to be reminded to start reading, check a diaper, actually feed Joey some solid food (seriously, if the boobs weren't attached to me, I think Dave might forget to feed Joey at all).

And today I started thinking, as I have before, that I am the task master, the slave driver. Eli, please go write your lines, let's read your book. Get clothes ready for school tomorrow, get your pj's on, pick up your room, PLEASE EAT ALL YOUR MEAT! Caroline, stop bugging the cat, clean up the playdo, please turn off the tv, no really, turn off the tv. Caroline, no more tv! Dave, please help me carry up the laundry because my back hurts because you think wrestling is fun, Dave, can you pick up Joey, because you think wrestling is fun, Dave, your parents are staying with us tomorrow? If I were gone for some time, this house would be happy and nag free.

And then this happened, for the last 20 minutes I have been upstairs, lying in bed with Caroline, a girl who normally tells us to get out because she needs to sleep. Dave called down the stairs and told me Caroline is crying and needs me. Really? I go up to a sobbing girl, "Mama, I, I, I, just nee, nee, need you!" I get to be next to her, because she asked my to hold her, so I just pat her back, lying next to her, for 20 minutes. And I didn't care that I still had laundry to do, my hair to dry, time to waste on the computer, a bathroom to tidy.

So my goals this week -
1. be creative again, this doesn't include editing my mom's punchneedle patterns ( I will show them soon),
2. realize that this house would be nag free without me, but who would all the babies ask for if I weren't here?
3. have a positive attitude each day,
4. be more selfless, and not begrudgingly
5. talk less, listen more
6. be grateful my husband wants to wrestle with me, even if it means I may hobble for a week or so.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Family Apron Strings?

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for this, an apron swap. I don't know how I came upon it, I signed up on just a whim knowing that I have zero time to do this, but here it is. I then got my partner, who must remain a mystery until I send the apron. I decided to have a look at the woman's blog that set up the apron swap. As I was reading, I saw this. If you notice on the mug there is a symbol at the bottom that resembles a Y. This is what my second cousin Joe "brands" his pottery with, a symbol for Yahweh. He is my mom's cousin, his dad being my Grandma's older brother. I decide do a little investigating.
In connection to all this, my Grandma has been calling me quite a bit the week before and the week of this occurrence giving me updates on her brother who has suffered another heart attack. My Grandma is one of five, the only girl with three older brothers and one younger brother, all of whom she loves and speaks of fondly.
In the investigation process I find out that Lucy, the swap organizer is my great-uncle Owen's daughter, her brother is Joe the Potter and she of course is my mom's cousin and my grandma's niece. I have since had a couple of great email exchanges with her. I have told my Grandma about these happenings and she is "so tickled" about it all. It has brought a sort of comfort to her.

I think it is quite amazing that I have never met this woman, that I know of, though I have met her father a handful of times, and have now "met" her through this. I hope to get to know her better. I would also like to let her know how sorry I am about her father's passing on Friday. I know how much my Grandma loved her brother and how much this upsets her. Lucy and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.
I couldn't find the picture of my Grandma and her brothers, but have one of her and one of her father and mother (but you can't see her face) out at the ranch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Things I am eyeing this week...

I am going to get the Valentine's fun over with. I love V-day, it is so refreshing after all the hoopla and over-decor of Christmas.

Look how great this little love tree is from gypsy and twink. Totally appropriate for Valentine's day but I would probably keep it up all year. See all the detail on the base?

I always am looking for something for my little gal. This little top from Petalouda (which means butterfly in Greek, butterflies remind her of her village in Greece) is so sweet. Check out the shop and her Valentine section.

This artist from Anholt, Phanta, just joined and started adding to her shop this week. This is a charming illustration, I look forward to seeing what else she adds to her shop.

I am always looking for a unique and not the usual cheesy Valentine's day card. I think this is quite funny, and I really like the one with the lady riding a rocket. You have to see all the cards in Love Dog Card Company.

I like this metalsmith's shop. I have always loved jewelry with hearts on it, especially little hearts. Pretty Nervous has a couple pretty little heart pendants. I really like the Heartbeat Pendant.

I want to go and visit the place where this soap and washcloth is made. The store is called Seven Acre Woods, they are from Kentucky and raise alpacas and angora rabbits. I think this soap and washcloth would be the perfect little gift for a little girl or one of you girlfriends.

Like I said, I like unique cards. This artist at Two Guitars makes gocco prints in his spare time (when he isn't behind a camera or directing a shot). I like his Valentine-y cards in his shop right now, like this Love Record card.

You have to read the profile of the shop Made in Lowell, it is quite funny. I really like this little wool heart pin. I am always a big fan of felt wool and besides this pin there are great felted flowers and jewelry.

And last but not least, one of the most talented papercutters/graphic designers (she did my banner) I have ever encountered..... Cindy Mindy Pindy. She finally filled her shop that has stood empty for the last year with her fantastic papercuttings. She says she is a cutter, but I don't think she means the kind that they do the afterschool specials after (and wasn't there one of 90210?).
And I finally did see Juno and LOVED IT!!! It was superb. Sorry you missed out Cindy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I have been working on my new workroom, little by little. It is amazing what can't get done while holding a nine month old. But this is the time of life I am in.

My friend called last week and asked me to help her make a scripture bag for her little girl's birthday at the end of the week. And by help, she meant me make it. It turned out to be very cute. It was fun to get sewing a little and it was the first thing created in my mish-mash of a workroom. And Emi loved it.

Joey, as I said, is wanting his Mama all the time. If I can distract him with something and leave him in the next room, he will be fine for a couple of minutes, as long as I don't let him see me. This is how I got most of dinner done tonight. We had his well child check up last week and the week before that he had been seen because of the ears. He had lost more than one pound in less than 6 days! He is in the 6th percentile in weight - I have never had a child this skinny. My kids don't get all rolie polie, but never gangly. Our doctor isn't worried, we'll keep an eye on it. He isn't the best eater, we are working on it and it seems to be getting better. I was pleased when my mom was feeding him and he was like a little bird with his mouth full. That is a good sign.

I have been trying to be better about making dinner. I purposely volunteer to take meals to friends and neighbors because then I will for sure make dinner for my family as well. I also am handing Dave a cookbook and letting him choose two meals per week (they have to be reasonably easy). Do any of you subscribe to Cooking Light? Some of my favorite recipes have come from this mag. I bought the Cooking Light 2008 book, this is our manual for the next little while. This is one of our favorite recipes (not from this cookbook) from Cooking Light 2006. Dave asks for it all the time. I always end up cooking the carrots and potatoes in the oven with some olive oil drizzled over the top while the meat, mushrooms (the best part of the whole stew) and juices are cooking, this cuts out a whole hour and doesn't make a huge difference in the over-all flavor. And, Eli will actually eat it all without any complaints. Caroline decided she wouldn't eat it, "I don't yike it!". I only put the meat into her bowl. I told her she could eat or go into her room. She just looked at me and continued to drink her water, never taking her eyes from mine - kind of like a showdown. I asked her again to eat, she said no. A few seconds later she said, "I'll be in my room, I'm not going to eat this." I went in later and asked her if she wanted to eat. "No, I have to stay in my room because I am not going to eat that food." She finally came out when she heard her brothers taking a bath. She ate three pieces of meat so she could bathe.
I am going to Juno tomorrow night, no matter what, if any one wants to go.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Don't you wish you could just do that nose thing and have the laundry all finished? Or your craft room finished? Or a burst of energy? Or you 9 month old actually enjoying eating solid foods?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mr. Big - To Be With You

This song reminds me of 9th grade and specifically, for some reason, Mrs. Vonk's choir class. I wonder if she is still teaching. It also reminds me of this place I used to work (at that time, there is probably some child labor law violation). It was a reception center and I worked with the cutest guy, who was about 2 years older - I had the biggest crush on him. The reception center was also truly haunted.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Frozen Tundra

Lucky for me, I find snow quite beautiful or else all this snow would just suck. Today's snow was a mixed bag of large fluffy flakes and the kind that looks like tiny styrofoam balls.

We have icicles upon icicles, everything is either varying degrees of white or varying degrees of greys, browns and blacks. It is actually all very pretty, we haven't had much of the dirty, muddy snow.

D has officially kicked me out of his office. I usually set up tables in here and night and paint or sew. Then I have to make sure it is all down before he comes down to work in the morning. The good things is, I have to clean up regularly, the bad? I have to clean up regularly. We have a whole basement the we need to gut and redo but in the meantime, we are cleaning out a room that used to be George's (the previous owner) wood workroom and became our storage room. I have been going through tons of boxes, getting rid of precious memories and useless memories. Narrowing down the nostalgia. All this to make room for a workroom for me. This is the before. Hopefully soon I can show you the after. And then hopefully the paints and the fabrics can come out again. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dinner and a Movie

I am trying to make a date with myself. Actually, it is with 2 other women, but still.
I really want to see Juno, but the nights we all can get together just aren't quite the same. This puts us into possibly two weeks from now - ridiculous!
It isn't as though I never leave my house, I can, I do. My husband is absolutely wonderful in encouraging me to have "ME" time, and I do take advantage of this. I have a book club (usually, we have kind of turned it into a meet for dinner group because for the most part we are all too tired to read right now, this will change), a Bunco group (yes, we play, it is all in the wrist), and the odds and ends of a coupled social life, but I often have guilt. For instance, this week I went to breakfast for a friend's birthday on Monday, helped in E's class today, Bug has a well child check on Thursday morning, Saturday we are having friends over but I feel like I have imposed upon D's work schedule too much this week to leave him at night. Next week there is Bunco night, so do I dare leave the fam again to see this great show that Dave will never see with me?
D has lucked out in many ways with me, if I do say so. I really love high action films. The other day I visited our local Redbox location, D telling me to get whatever I wanted to see. Yeah, right. So I got Transformers and Hairspray. I showed him Hairspray - did someone just kill his dog? That was the look I got. So I pulled out Transformers, which is fine, I sort of did want to see it. It was fine, yes the girl in it is hot, and Shia LaBeouf was fine, but sort of the same guy he was in Disturbia. I then told D I wouldn't take Hairspray back until he watched it with me. That got his attention, having to spend $3 more dollars, no way. So, he pretended to stay awake and watch it with me.
The other day, the same thing - go get whatever movie you would like. Ok, I want Waitress, but as much as I like Indie movies, D does not. So I got another action film that I really did want to see, The Kingdom, with Jennifer Gardner aka Sidney Bristow. This really was a great show. Jaime Fox doesn't enunciate well, Jason Bateman is funny, and Jennifer Gardner was pretty good, Sidney Bristow-ish with a bit of a Not For TV vernacular. The man who played the Saudi Colonel stole the show, he was incredible. The way the film showed different perspectives and didn't vilify every Saudi was great, also. It is worth viewing.
This isn't a diatribe on what D won't see with me, because there is plenty in this world he does and will do for me. But sometimes, I shouldn't even try and don't. Sometimes, there are shows that you must see with you girlfriends, because they will get it. They will sit there with a little smile on their face in all the right parts, cry in all the right parts, and then sit and talk in the car about friend stuff, mom stuff, girl stuff, stuff - the stuff you need from your girlfriends.
I digress, I really want to see Juno. Maybe I will go on my own this week, if the guilt doesn't get me first.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sign on the side of the road

I was driving my kids from one thing to probably another when I saw a poster at the side of the road that said "You Matter". It made me smile. How many people have driven past that simple sign and it was just the little encouragement they needed to refill their tanks? Thank you Signmaker. Very thoughtful.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Things I am eyeing this week

Think Spring! Think Spring! Think Spring! It is only January and I am already sick of being cold and the yucky air that is the inversion in our valleys. But there are also pretty and nice things about winter. Will someone remind me what they are?

drikaB has made some beautiful zippered pouches. I love this one in particular. Look at the zipper pull! I love it so much that I just bought it! But there are more in her shop, so check it out. Wow, I have never just bought something while typing about it one my blog, hmm....

I saw this clock and thought it was blissfully cheerful and it helped me forget it is cold and wintry outside. Decoylab has great designs in her shop, including posters and calendars.

Crankbunny designs art you can play with. Sewn paper puppets, pop up cards and more. I especially like this peacock card. It all is very whimsical and fun.

I love my iPod and I love felt, so Suezybees caught my eye. I love her hand embellishment and embroidery. My iPod could only be so lucky to be in this.

I always love jewelry, love to buy it, but am awful about wearing it. I usually keep the same pieces on for quite a while. But they are usually simple pieces, like this. I love the sentimentality of this bracelet by Pink Papillon. It is beautiful. Hand stamped silver, personalized with the baby's birth date and other birthy stats. I would wear one for each of my children.

Ok, one more. I love things that are multi-useful. I also love words that remind me to reflect or sit and breath. So, I especially love Paloma's Nest. I have so many little bowls, cups, boxes and such to hold earrings, pennies, little things, on my dresser. It was hard to decide which image to show you from her shop but chose Craft Peace dove tiny text bowl. She says of this bowl, "CRAFT PEACE"...a play on words, yes, but also a powerful reminder to each of us that peace starts in our own hearts and in our own homes, and we must make a conscious effort to create it."CRAFT PEACE"...a play on words, yes, but also a powerful reminder to each of us that peace starts in our own hearts and in our own homes, and we must make a conscious effort to create it." I need this reminder quite often. Also, for every dove bowl sold, she will donate $2 to the local food bank in Austin, Texas. I love Austin, Texas. It is absolutely one of the best places in the U.S., but that is beside the point.

I can't wait to get my pouch from drikaB. I will post pictures when I get it. I love it already. And, I did order 3 different pads from Jot It Down (she was in my last eyeing post), and they are perfect.

Night by Elie Weisel

Has anyone else read this book? I am about 2/3 the way through and can't stop. I am listening to it by way of my iPod and usually listen while I am exercising or doing something house-holdy. This first 1/4 I listened to while walking down some farm road, freezing cold, and crying. I have read other books written by Holocaust survivors and I am sure that I was affected by those, but this, at this time, was a book that I almost couldn't bear. I considered putting it away to be read/listened to at another time. For someone to endure the horrors that he experienced and put it into words that might convey 1/10 of the pain and suffering, if that, amazes me. I feel that I am not fit to even write about it. Amazing book, amazing author.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Christmas, without the white

We spent Christmas with D's parents "farm" last week. It is a great location to gather as a family and spend time with each other. It is about 2 hours Northeast of Dallas, 12 miles from the next biggest town, kind of in the middle of somewhere yet nowhere. It is always fun to be with our family, have the cousins spend countless hours together, adults staying up late - playing games, Guitar Hero III, a card game new to me, Pounce, and this year, D found a BUNCH of tapes his family sent him while he was in Japan 18 years ago. Oh, the Southern Twang on those tapes (Missy!)! And the fashion!

Bug did great on his first flight, even with an ear infection! He was so happy the whole trip, even when he got a fever and cough later in the week (it was bound to happen with 24 people in one house together!). Always eager to smile and his cousins chanting his name often. And D's sister and her family were on the plane with us, the first year ever that we aren't the only family not living in Texas. This is my niece Reagan, who despite kicking my seat the whole ride down, is dang cute.

Christmas morning is pure chaos and fun. Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery power, so I will just let you know that E got his Wii (thrilling display of excitement at opening it) and Girly had her fill of princesses (I never thought I would princess the heck out of someone like that, but she loves them). Later that night we did a nativity. Girly was an angel, E was an observer (doesn't like this productions, that is the me coming out in him) and Bug was asleep. Reagan was an amazing Mary, bravo, Grant was a great Joseph with a light saber (who knew?) and Madison and Aniston did a great job narrating.

Some great things about the farm, lots of land, little safe four-wheelers for the kids, one big one for the adults, the weather isn't way to cold to send the kids outside to play but is cold enough that the snakes are hibernating and so are the mosquitoes. The funniest thing? Girly explaining more than once that she doesn't wear pants, ever (she doesn't consider pj bottoms pants, they are pajamas). Funny girl.

We spend a lot of time just being together, E has 3 other cousins his age (the quads), Girly is the oldest of the triplets, and Buggy is the oldest of the other triplets, although this year the other two are 1 and 2 months old - fun in the years to come. We get to see D's family, and although it is a lot of togetherness being in the same house for one week, we are grateful for it. I have great in-laws, nieces and nephews.

We did spend a lot of time video-gaming, here is D and Matt boxing on the Wii. D just came in the room and noticed the picture, "Ah, me kicking Matt's butt at boxing" - see, such wholesome and fun memories. I wish I had pictures of my sister in law April boxing, she is a mad woman.

We came home on New Year's Eve. Our neighbors were great, we didn't have any shoveling to do after the three or so storms that occurred while we were gone, the cat was well taken care of even if she didn't care for the caretakers (sorry!). But it was way too cold.

D teased me about another New Years with him being the only one awake at midnight. I came home with a cold and fever but managed to stay up with him until 12:10am while watching the new Harry Potter and then dragged myself to bed (we are such fun folk).

My parents waited until we got home to do Christmas with us. The kids had so much fun. My mom and dad are very good at buying gifts for each of us that are appropriate. They love seeing the kids get so excited about their gifts, especially E.

Don't let Buggy's face fool you, he was excited to be home too and be opening presents, he had just woken up and Opa had gotten him out of bed and all the excitement overwhelmed him for a few seconds. I received a lot of great things but was thrilled and touched that my mom had remembered my absolute adoration of Gyo Fujikawa and gave me "The Night Before Christmas" that she illustrated. I have a few of her books that are now 30 years old, but they remind me of my childhood more than maybe anything else.

Seen and heard at my house tonight: Girly is laying on the kitchen floor, moving her arms and legs. I said, "Girly, you are making a snow angel." "No Mama, I am making a Girly Angel." She was right.

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season. Ours was frantically splendid and 11 more months ought to be enough to help me look forward to the next one!