Monday, February 28, 2011

Fairies Welcome

I had a lot of fun putting this together.

And it made it all worth it when Robyn came home, looked at it and said, "Oh Mom, it looks like a fairy meadow." She then gave me a huge hug and told me she loved me. I'll call that success.

I looked for fairy art and couldn't find stuff that matched or looked right, so I actually ordered a calendar and took artwork out of that. I let the girls choose their favorite pictures in it. The antique keys hanging on the birdhouse are a hit too, but who doesn't love old keys?

I smile whenever I look at it. I guess I never really grew up and stopped believing in fairies.

Just Another Day at 7:52

Um, 7:52 pm to be precise. Robyn has usually left for school by that time in the morning, and I am not so coherent in the am. But regardless of what time it is, moments like these make me smile.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Belated Birthday Wishes

We had the broken camera right during Ivory's birthday. But, luckily, the camera still takes pictures so it is all documented. It already feels like it was a long time ago, but I guess it has only been a week. Regardless, I apologize to Ivory for her belated birthday post.

Ivory wanted a friend party this year, and she wanted to have it at Pirate Island. At $11.99 per kid (with a minimum of 10 children) that was quickly nixed. Next, I checked Chuck E. Cheese, because I consider them the thrifty version of birthday party madness. No luck. They were the exact same price. So, I talked Ivory into having her party at home. She was so cute about it and didn't seem to care in the least.

I tempted her with painting. The girls are always asking to paint, but I don't always allow them to get out the art supplies to make a mess. Plus, I really feel there should be an object TO paint, because if not, the paint is bound to end up on several objects nearby. (Actually, it is likely for that to happen anyway, but less likely if there is something interesting to paint in the first place.) So, I purchased wooden letters in the initials of everyone attending the party. They turned out pretty cute, I think.

Oddly, my children were the only ones to choose solid colors, and I liked the patterns more, but what do you do? Robyn painted her's later (since she was sick that day) and I got to choose Daisy's and Pearl's, so we ended up with three patterned letters.

After painting, we opened presents. Ivory was kind enough to pause and let me take a picture, but you can see from the outstretched hand that she is not waiting long.

Cake is a must. Please don't judge; I know I just took that cake decorating class, but I had NO time that week, so we got store bought. Ivory, once again, was very obliging.

Here are all her birthday friends.

I didn't include names when I did Robyn's party and when I looked back, I was already starting to forget, so for my sake...(top row: June, David, Hailey, Savannah. Bottom Row: Jane, Brooklyn, Ivory, Lyncoln.)

Ivory is a fun, giggly, exuberant girl. I worry about her getting lost in the mix since she is the middle child, but she seems to pop up all over the place. It is hard to ignore her and her contagious smile. She is smart and independent. I love my Ives so much.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Smothering is a Relative Term

Okay, so I have all these back posts I need to do (since my card reader finally arrived), but I am lacking in time. I need to be more diligent in getting to bed, because sleep-deprived Maleen = cranky Maleen. This was all too evident yesterday when I tried to take a nap which ended in Pearl crying for an hour in her crib (since she is stubbornly refusing her second nap) while Daisy pretended to be in quiet time (she basically got out of bed and did whatever she darn well pleased for that hour) and I kept falling over in narcoleptic fits between children playing on the computer in my room and departing and returning from piano lessons. It was not a good hour. Robyn snitched on me when Dad got home, because he later told me that Robyn had informed him that she was going to clean the living room free of charge because Mom was a bit crabby. I think she was being generous by saying a bit.

So, my bed-time has been bumped up.

But I need to get some of these posts out, so I will bestow this story on you for the evening:

Vicki (my blessed mother-in-law) went to Vegas recently and came back with this fabulous nail decorating kit thing. There might be an actual name for it, but I don't know what it is. So we'll just call it, the Nail Stamper. It makes cool designs like this using nail polish instead of decals.

It was really fun to play with, and even more fun since Tyler talked me into growing my nails out recently, so I actually had nails to paint. I am a die-hard nail biter through and through, but every so often I grow them out to prove that my will is stronger than my dependencies. I have to do this with nails, because I haven't figured out how to give up sugar yet. Every time I try, I go into a spiral of binging on sweets. Which scares me, because I am not overweight and have no need to give up sweets, but just the thought of being deprived makes me crazy inside. I must have some serious eating issues, but I digress. Back to the nails.

I was getting ready for bed, and all my cotton was downstairs since we were using it to remove nail polish. I needed to take off my make-up so I ran downstairs and quickly grabbed a handful of stuff to move upstairs; cotton, nail polish remover, etc. I deposited items in the bathroom and started talking to Tyler about who knows what. I was just chatting with him while I took off my eye make-up.

I had just applied the cotton to my eye when the smell hit me. I didn't freak out, I just said 'Crap' and walked quickly to the bathroom berating myself for not paying attention to what I was doing. As I was flushing water over my eye repeatedly Tyler popped his head in and asked what was wrong. "Oh, I just used nail polish remover instead of eye makeup remover on my eye. Classic." Luckily, the smell stopped me from doing too much damage. I don't think that any nail polish remover actually got into my eye, because after excessive rinsing and opening my eye, it didn't sting. I think I was very lucky. But darn them for both having purple tops.

I almost grabbed the nail polish remover again the other evening, and I now make sure that I put it back under the sink after every use. After all, I really like seeing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Knotty Dresser

Don't be fooled. My camera is not fixed, nor do we have a way to download pictures to my computer. All in good time. In the meantime, I did remember that I had some pictures that I had not shared yet, and in the interest of keeping my promises, I need to share them. (As if any of you believe my internet promises. Have I even blogged about Martin's Cove yet? Although, I will. See, I can't stop the verbal commitments. It's a curse. And I really do have good intentions.) So back to current fulfillments. Remember these knobs? Well, we finally got the dresser to put them on.

I think it is amazing. The craftsmanship is superb, since we got it done by this guy. We even got him to sign the back. It is so lovely. I heart all the knots in the wood.

It is a quality piece that will last through generations. Not only is it beautiful, but it is functional. Look, these drawers come out all the way. I love that.

I have some fun plans to decorate the top, but I haven't gotten everything I need. But don't worry, when I get it all finished, I'll be sure to take pictures and put them on here. (Old habits die hard.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And yet...

Um, my camera's broken. I can still take pictures, but I can't download them onto my computer at the moment. Therefore, I haven't posted in a while. So when we get that fixed, I hope to smother you in back posts. You may sit on the edges of your seat until further notice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Rant on Cupid's Holiday

(If you are not interested in my rant, please read the last paragraph in which I solicit your aid.)

I guess I will start with the good stuff first. I love Valentine's Day. I think hearts and love and pink are great. I decorate and get excited for the kids. I try and think of something special to do or give to Tyler. (Although, he outclassed me this year.)

BUT... (And it's a big one.)

When did Valentine's Day become so commercialized, especially for the kids? Why does every Valentine have to come with candy? Remember when it was nice to receive a card with a cute saying and you didn't have to have a sugar high along with it to appreciate the sentiment? When I was in school, we probably got some kind of treat at the 'class party' but all the Valentines were just cards. It must have started small, when one kid said, "I'm going to put candy with my Valentines and they will be better than everyone else's." And now that is the norm. People, it is almost like Halloween all over again, except you are limited to about 20 pieces of candy, and the occasional tattoo, or pencil. Why is sugar associated with love?

And (did you think I was finished?) what ever happened to homemade Valentines? I sat down with my kids and we made Valentines for their friends. June in particular spent time thinking what each person would like, and it was a good family activity. This is what we came up with. (And you are right, there is no candy involved.)

I won't lie, it was time consuming. Especially the part where Ivory had to make 42 Valentines because she was making them for friends and friends' high school buddies. But she did such an excellent job. She only let me color about five of hers; all the rest she did herself. After helping with almost 90 Valentines between the three kids, I can see how it would be nice to just get the store bought kind, but I felt good about the time we spent. I was interested to see what the kids would bring home. Want to guess how many homemade Valentines there were? None; zero. I was amazed! People, you could even print out your own unique saying or picture and that counts as homemade. Of course, it doesn't come with the essential candy.

I would like to state here that I am not judging you as individuals, since based on current statistics, you probably bought Valentines for your kids. I have done it before too. I am judging this holiday as a whole now. I am missing the originality and thought that used to be put into a message sent to someone you like, or love. Granted that doesn't exactly count in second grade. The kids are required to give one to every person in the class, and I understand the logic behind that. June and Robyn both asked if they could exclude one person off their lists and I naturally told them 'No'. But the point is, I miss the creative love. Now we get the pre-packaged-sugar-preserved variety.

Okay, I think I am done. We had a good Valentine's Day, all things considered. I sprang for donuts again, but I am rethinking that for next year, because why start the kids on sugar when they are going to inhale it all day. Do you think they have heart shaped sausage or wheaties? (Okay, now I am really done.)

The kids had a good time, and Tyler and I celebrated our love by getting Netflix. So I need your help. Since we never go out to movies, I don't even know what I have missed. Please think of the last three movies that you've enjoyed and leave a comment. I need a good list to fill my queue. Even if they are older movies that you liked, you can tell me those too. Thanks for sharing the love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2, 4, and 5

I admit that I am lazy. It is hard to capture multiple kids being photogenic at once. And so I am very good at taking individual shots and not so good about taking group photos. That is something I need to work on.

We sang in church today. Me, the Mr. and 1, 2, and 3. Four knew the song, but she doesn't sing on cue. She just sings as she goes about her business around the house, or in the car when I am trying to talk to children in the back seat. Man, that Daisy can warble loud enough that you can't even hear yourself think. It is cute though.

Valentine's are done and ready to send out tomorrow. I'll take a picture tomorrow when the light is good. The girls all worked on theirs dutifully and I am proud of their hard work; especially Ivory. She had double the work load because she had to make 21 for her classmates and then 21 more for their high school buddies. I talked her into letting me color about three of them, but she did all the rest herself. I need to do more projects with the kids. They are creative little ducks.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I was up early this morning, before the sun actually. Not that that has anything to do with anything. I am just thoroughly ready for bed and yet I was sitting here browsing through my pictures.

And I found this one.

At the time, it was not what I needed, but it is amazing how a picture will grab your attention later. I took it early in the morning trying to capture the cold feeling. Now I can look at it and smile because we all played outside today in the warm sunshine. Spring doesn't feel too far away on a day like this.

Now, off to bed. Really, this time.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Partly Cloudy with 100% Chance of Snow

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

So you are standing outside and it is snowing. Not just a few flakes in the air, but the big fat snowflakes that are going to stick and build up inches quickly. You ignore them at first, but you realize that if you don't do something about them, you will be snowed in before you know it. Snowed in means stagnating and going stir crazy. (Not a pretty picture folks.) So you shovel some snow; just enough to make sure that you can leave when you need to. It keeps options open and gives balance to your life. Of course, when I say shovel some snow, I mean every day, because you live in Arcticville where it snows 24/7. It is easy to be overcome by mounds of snow, and don't forget the occasional avalanche.

The snow is always there. It always needs attention. Most days that is fine. You tolerate snow, it is natural. But some days, the constant shoveling gets on your nerves. You begin to resent the snow and the endless chores it creates. You snap at the snow, even though you know that is not going to improve the situation.  You ignore the snow for a while only to be overly frustrated when the inevitable all-day shoveling occurs. 

So you try doing the it other way. You are super dedicated. You shovel constantly. The snow barely touches the ground before you are there with the shovel, scraping it from the ground leaving a spotless path beneath. But people are not considerate of your perfect shoveling. They walk past leaving frozen patches of ice. They shake extra snow off their coats and play (gasp) in the snow. You slowly become mad at everyone for not being considerate of your diligent efforts. You sigh resignedly realizing that you will probably be the only one who ever cares about your front walk.

You can coax your family into helping sometimes, especially if company is coming over. They see the need to clear the walk for extra traffic. But don't be fooled. Once the company is gone, there is usually more snow to be cleaned up and your family has all but forgotten that it is snowing at all. You feel consoled when you see your dedicated neighbors out there shoveling as well. At least you realize you are not alone in this quest against entropy. You may not care at all how their walks look. After all, you understand the constant battle. But your own sidewalk is a matter of pride, of your personal victory over what? The universe?

I have been shoveling diligently lately. I have resented cleaning the walk and then watching the flakes softly hit the ground; it happens so quickly. I realize that it is getting in the way of other significant things. But what is the answer? If I spend more time on important matters, the snow will build up, right before my eyes, and I almost get depressed looking at the impending chore. Is there really a good solution?

I think extra help is the key. Many troops are definitely old enough to handle their own child-sized snow shovel. Those smaller shovels don't always do the job like you would, but it combines cleaning with family time; win/win. And naturally, there are the days that you will just go out and shovel quickly to get it done. Also, as lead shoveler, you need to figure out the most important areas to shovel. It sure looks great when the entire sidewalk is tidy, but realistically, sometimes you only need a narrow path to reach the door.

And whereas shoveling is an important, essential part of living in Arcticville, if you let it consume you, you are missing the bigger picture. The key is balance. Sorry, sure wish there was a magic wand, or that Summer Wheeze spray they have in Frosty Returns, but really there is not. There is just you, one woman against the world. Find your groove. Maybe it works best for you if you shovel on even days, or when your mother-in-law is visiting. Maybe you choose to shovel for an hour a day, max, or in ten minute increments. Just don't forget who you are shoveling for, or the bigger picture. Because a clean sidewalk can only make you happy for so long...even if it is very satisfying at the moment.

There's  my rant, sometimes I need to remind myself.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Body Parts

Photos of the week: I did these as a set in black and white. I love all the little hands and what they are up to around here.

I added this one at the end because I love it. I left it in color because there is carrot on her ear and I don't want to forget it.

I've been feeling a bit gray recently and haven't felt like blogging. Hopefully I will snap out of it quickly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hmmm...what to post?

Pearl can't decide either.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How You Can Tell He Loves the Children More than Himself

So Robyn was running home from school the other day and inertia got the better of her leaving her with this:

I took a look at it and decided that it was probably time for our second child to get stitches. (Second child in birth order, but also the second to get stitches.) Tyler, (my ever ready knight in armor) came home immediately to whisk her off to the doctor's. He has been there for both girls and it is NOT because I am squeamish. It is simply because there are usually other kids to take care of, and Tyler opts to focus on the one in pain. He is good at that, while I am good at making sure the baby goes down for her nap on schedule. We make a good team.

Robyn came home with three stitches, which is the same number that Ivory got last time. She seemed much happier, but I'm guessing the sucker helped.

Fast forward to today. Tyler wasn't running, but he still managed to give himself a wound that was stitch worthy. Actually, if you look at what he was up against, I think he came out fairly lucky. Look how sharp that drill bit is.

What you may notice is that Tyler is sporting a butterfly bandage and NOT stitches. That is because Mr. Frugal can dish out cash for the kids, but when it comes to himself, he'll settle for the good old fashioned home remedies. Which in this case is just holding the skin together until it gets healing. Well, really that is all stitches do too. I actually looked up some stuff and people use a wide assortment of treatments including super glue.

Perhaps I could have just butterflied Robyn's chin? Does anyone know which one causes less scarring? I think I just need to keep the wound well lubricated with Neosporin or Vitamin E and that should help. Because in the long run, Robyn will want to be scarless and Tyler won't care. Just one more to add to the collection.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Photos of the week:

I would call these our household sleep aids. These are the things that make sure everyone gets a good night's sleep around here. I did a close up on Foot (the bear) because he is the senior member of the bunch. In fact, I find it kind of ironic that Foot used to look a lot like the bear next to him. He used to have a bow and fluffier skin. The years have not been kind to Foot, and yet he is loved beyond words. And he has an official birthday, so the other bear can stuff it. (Ha ha)

Ivory and Daisy are both blanket babies. On the left are Ivory's two blankets (crabby and soft), and on the right, Daisy's. I believe I have done well dealing with blanket lovers. They are allowed to drag them around the house, but they don't leave the premises. However, I don't love the blanket obsession, so I was determined to make sure that Pearl's blankets were rotated so she couldn't get attached. But we left a pink bear in her crib.

So, the other bear belongs to Pearl. He doesn't have a name yet, and I think if he needs one, I will name him. It turns out that small children do not have the best naming abilities. (Hence, the name Foot.) Pearl loves that bear. She grabs his pink arm and holds it close to her face while she sucks her finger each time she goes to sleep. The only time she cries in her crib is when she has dropped the bear over the side. I admit, it is cute, but I already secretly dread the hours spent looking for the bear. However, I am getting smarter, and I make sure that her bear doesn't leave the crib. It is hard to lose something that is always in the same place.

So we have two blanket babies and two bear babies. But wait, there are five children, you say. Yep, Robyn is not attached to anything, unless you count the dog. And since the bed situation just changed, Moxy is no longer allowed on Robyn/June's bed. I think Robyn misses her greatly, but she sleeps just fine without her.

Now that I have talked about sleep so much, it seems like a good idea. Good night.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All the Posts Saved Up in My Mind Interspersed with My Current Infatuation

In fact, let's just start with my current infatuation.

I love this little person. Because she is my last, I spend more time savoring my favorite things. Like how I carry her around on my hip and do things one-handed and she watches intently and I can hear her soft breathing next to me. She smells like a baby and I snuggle her and give her raspberries under her chin until she laughs.

And then when I put her down, she crawls over, clings to my legs and gives me one of these faces.

In One Room (Pretend these bold ones are their own separate post)

We have seven people in our family. When I think of seven people going to a restaurant, or playing games, it seems like a lot of people to me. However, when it comes to my family, it seems perfectly normal for all seven of us to be clustered in one room. In fact, quite often we are all in one room, and not always a large room at that. A few Sundays ago when we were working on June's book project, Tyler took this picture.

I love it because it shows the majority of us just chilling in a room, like we normally do. (Surrounded by our normal mess too. I guess seven people does have its disadvantages too.)

Back to my infatuation

The good news is that I don't think Pearl will suffer from the syndrome where parents forget to take pictures of later children.

Ivory's Dance Show

Ivory took a Fairy Tale dance class back in September. It was very fun and lighthearted and was perfect to distract her until pre-school started in October. The group Extreme Rhythm had a performance in January and they invited all the previous Fairy Tale dancers to participate in the show. So Ivory went back for one night of glory. She was really cute, and you gotta love her choice of attire.

More Pearly-P

Yep, she totally still has the tail. Just for you Grandma.

Confessions of a Chocoholic

When we have ice cream, the kids really enjoy topping it with chocolate or caramel sauce. They always ask for the 'liquids'. I bought more chocolate syrup a couple weeks ago, and Tyler pulled it out of the fridge the other night and said, "It's looks like we are getting low. We'll probably need more soon." I looked at him quizzically because I thought I had just bought more. I said, "Sheesh, didn't I just get a new bottle? June, have you been drinking the chocolate sauce?" "No," she responded and we all laughed and went about our business. Until...

...I was putting June to bed and we were talking as usual. Suddenly she starts to tear up and she said, "Mommy, I lied."

"About what?"

"I did drink the chocolate sauce."

This is probably where I should have been very stern, (especially since I have caught her scalping my chocolate chips before) but I just started to laugh. I had no idea that I had accused her correctly. I naturally told her that was not a good thing to do, and she dutifully promised to stop chugging the syrup on the side. I hope her conscience always leads her to confess all her wrong-doings, especially the ones that deplete my chocolate stash.

More cuteness 

Someday...Wedding Cakes

I finished up my beginning cake-decorating class. I felt like a natural right up until we did roses. Man, those suckers are tricky. I never really got it, but I made enough satisfactory ones to stick on a cake. I comfort myself with the fact that I have years to practice before my skills will be needed.

Let's wrap this up with a self-portrait (including baby)

So I've caught up on some blogging thoughts, but I can't promise that there won't be more pictures of Pearl. Mainly because she is just starting to walk.  I haven't gotten any good pictures because she only really walks toward me and I usually catch her fall. (Harder to do that with a camera in my hands.) As soon as she stabilizes a bit, I'll get a good shot.