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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Here's to Good Days!

Today was a really great day. Yesterday was too for that matter. I've been keeping my hands busy recently which is a good thing. Not the kind of busy you're probably used to. You know the hectic kind of busy where you (subconsciously...or not) compete for the (imaginary) spot of most important person based on how many things you are juggling at the moment. Its all superficial really. No, I just haven't let my hands lay idle. Because when I have time to spare I inevitably find myself sitting at the computer lazily scrolling through Facebook or blogs I subscribe to. Not that those things are inherently bad, but I think we can all agree that spending hours off and on throughout the day doing that probably isn't the best use of your time. What is that expression? "Idle hands are the devil's playground?" I can see the truth in it. So I've determined to ditch the overused "busy" and instead focus on keeping my hands and mind engaged in valuable work such as spring cleaning (I have so many decorating and home improvement project ideas!), craft projects and of course, lots of playtime with the kiddies. My house hasn't looked this clean in a long time and I have several craft projects that were previously stashed away in the closet but are now on their way to being finished.

The kids and I have also been enjoying a lot of outdoor time. We're trying to soak up as much sun as we can before the sweltering heat of summer hits us. We've had a fairly mild spring that hung around until this week. Now its starting to climb into the 90's which is our cue to start hibernating inside during the afternoons or find a pool to cool down in. The past two days I watched a couple of extra little girls for a friend and we did just that. They spent the morning "washing" my carport, awning and various toys outside (that's actually Reuben's arm behind Lily not her arm and shoulder that somehow doesn't have a shirt on it):

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Played in our neighbor's pool during the early afternoon:

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Then had popcorn for a snack and watched a movie later in the afternoon:

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Andrew has to work till late tonight helping some fellow beekeepers pack up their bees to head back up north soon. Its pouring rain outside, the kids are already asleep at 8:30 and here I sit blogging and eating frosting out of the can while listening to the rain pound on the roof. The perfect ending to a perfect couple of days if I do say so myself.

What have you been doing to keep your hands and mind busy active recently? Any craft or home projects in the works? Anyone else eat frosting straight out of the tub? I can't be the only one...:)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Conversations With My Daughter: The Little Brother Edition

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It's been many months since I shared a Conversations With My Daughter post. Lily's still her zany, sweet self and you'll often see me dashing off to find a pen to quickly jot something she said down or record it on my phone depending on where I am. I'm going to play catch up in the next couple of weeks so here are some from up until the end of last year. I even broke out an old photo from Christmas of last year. Enjoy!

October 26
Lily (after I bonked her on the nose when I was hugging her): Huh, maybe you should try that again.

October 26
Lily (playing with my hair): What's that?
Mommy: My scalp.
Lily: Your scalp has cheese?
Mommy: Oh. No. That's dandruff.

October 27
Lily: How do you know when a train is eating? You hear "choo choo." I'm hilarious!

October 28
Lily: One day when I hang upside down my teeeth will fall out of my mouth.

October 29
Lily (holding up her stuffed animal): This is George. He's pretty impressive.

November 7
Lily: Chomp. I ate him (Reuben). Now I have no brothers. Oh well.

November 8
Lily (sniffing Reuben sitting next her on the couch): He smells like a crotch.

November 20
Lily: Once flies discover food in houses you never get rid of them.

November 24
Lily (listening to Mommy and Daddy's conversation): You were catching fire last night?!
Mommy: No. We saw a movie called Catching Fire. That was the title of the movie.
Lily: Oh, that was the title of the movie? Huh. Interesting.

November 24
Lily (watching Daddy play Final Fantasy on the PS3): You're beating his butt!

December 4
Lily (in earnest): Sometimes they just have butts (pointing to a snowman). And buns too.

December 4
Lily (holding her drawing of snowmen): Awww! Look, its a brother and sister. Just like I'm a sister and Reuben's a brother.

December 11
Lily: The sun shocked me in my eyes. That's not nice to be shocking!

December 16
Lily: My brains are hurting...kind of...

December 19
Lily: You can always pray to Jesus, Jesus is always in your room. 
We tell her that she can always pray to Jesus if she's scared at night in her bedroom.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Quick and Easy No-Cook Playdough

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This afternoon Lily asked me out of the blue if we could make playdough. wasn't completely out of the blue. She asks me every few weeks or so. Usually when we're passing through the toy section at Walmart to get to the bathroom (why must they put the bathroom back there?!). Initially I tried to put her off. I mean it's Friday and I had a lot of housework to finish and dinner to start thinking about. I didn't have time to make playdough. But I thought about it and realized that it was actually a great idea since I needed a reason for her and her brother to stay inside for the afternoon so I could finish cleaning the house. And since this recipe is so easy to make there really was no downside to her plan. So here is our recipe for soft, smooth and easy no-cook playdough.

Quick and Easy No-Cook Playdough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
food coloring

1. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt and cream of tartar.
2. Add vegetable oil and 15 - 20 drops of food coloring of choice to boiling water. Add more for darker dough.
3. Pour water mixture into dry ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Wait a minute or two (until dough has cooled a bit) and then knead dough in hands until smooth (you can add more flour if the dough is too sticky).
5. Play time! Store playdough in a Ziploc bag or airtight container and it will last for months.

I've seen other ideas for things you can add to the dough such as glitter, essentials oils or Kool Aid packets instead of the food coloring. The skies the limit!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

21 Months

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Weight: 27 lbs. 13 oz.
Wears: 24 month/2T
Shoe size: 6 (it would probably be 6.5 if I bought him half size shoes)
{New} Words: Sunny (suh-ee), banana (nana), poo poo, water (wa-ah, waa or wa-ooh), cup (du), up (puh)
{New} ASL signs: cup, Mommy

Welp, my life just got a little easier starting March 9th. Why that day you ask? Well that my friends was the day Daylight Savings Time started or also known as the day Reuben started sleeping through the night. I know I make it sound rough but honestly he's not really that bad of a sleeper. I tend to compare him to Lily, my little champion sleeper. He really only has rough days, or the occasional week, here and there. And I make it worse by staying up late when I know he's going to be up super early and/or wake up in the middle of the night screaming. But! Daylight Savings Time hit and he slept straight through and never looked back. Let me tell you it is so nice to be able to get a full night's rest with no interruptions or absurdly early wake up calls. He now sleeps from about 7:30 (sometimes its 8 - when his sister goes to bed) to 6:30 or 7. Ahhhh.

Have I mentioned that Reuben has perfect little teeth? They're straight, perfectly spaced and pearly white. I'm seriously jealous.

When you ask Reuben a question he immediately responds with "uh...hmmmm..." and looks like he's deep in thought, complete with finger to the chin, for like 1.5 seconds. He's such a little intellectual.

He tried out the potty for the first time ever. He asked to sit on the big potty so we let him. Nothing happened of course. He climbed all over it and thought it was great fun. No pressure. We're planning on letting the whole potty training thing happen like it did with Lily.

He likes to try on Daddy's work boots. His short, little legs don't fit in his tall boots but he really tries to make it work.

Reuben would live outdoors if I let him. After breakfast he begs me to go outside to play. He zips around on one of the many bikes/cars we have, digs in the dirt or splashes in the kiddie pool. He's a pro at getting around on his bikes. His little feet propel him forward in a blur as he cruises down the driveway and then at the last possible second (before he hits the "Mommy says that's far enough, turn around now" point) he turns the bike sharply and heads back the other way. He's been known to play on his bikes from morning till evening with only breaks for lunch, nap and dinner...with much complaining about those required breaks.

I think I need to brush up on some new adjectives because I just realized I used the word "little" 6 times too many in this post. Its probably wishful thinking. Say it enough and my little boy might stay my little boy. But I also love looking forward to what he's going to learn next. This whole talking thing is super cool. I love being able to understand what he says and if I don't understand, well we always have signing to fall back on. He's getting more proficient at the signs he does know and is starting to pick new ones up much faster. He still doesn't sign a lot but I think its just a matter of time. I honestly thought he wouldn't be much of a signer. He just didn't seem to care too much about it. But he's a very good pointer and of course he drags us to whatever he wants. It amazes me that, despite him being my second child, I still get overly excited whenever a new word pops up. And there I was, a pregnant mama, worried about whether I could love him as much as I love my Lily. Seriously.

Happy 21 months my little man!

And that takes us out at 8 "littles."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Contemplations of a Wedding

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Lily attended her very first wedding on Saturday. Andrew's cousin (second cousin actually) Mollie married her high school sweetheart Ivan Saturday morning. It was the loveliest little wedding. They had the ceremony in a secluded amphitheater in the woods at a local state park. We almost didn't go. Lily caught Reuben's fever/flu whatever-it-was and was down for the count all day Friday which didn't bode well for a Saturday morning outing. But at the last minute we asked our good friend Sunny to watch Reuben (so one of us wouldn't be chasing him around all day) and took Lily with us. I mean, she picked out a new dress for the occasion so of course she had to go. I knew we wouldn't hear the end of it if we told her she couldn't go. For over a week now all we've heard is "I'm gonna wear my new brand dress to the wedding!" So she went with us and was pretty much miserable the entire time. But she made it through the ceremony (sitting in my lap and asking non-stop "when's it going to start?") and maybe a third (a quarter?) of the reception. We left just after the bride and groom arrived and had cut the cake. We didn't get to enjoy any either. Ah well. Poor sick little girls with warm, rosy cheeks and tired legs take precedent.

I love weddings. That's so original, right? I mean, who doesn't love weddings?! The dresses, the shoes, the flowers, the music, the food. What isn't there to love? Every wedding Andrew and I attend always puts us in a reminiscing mood. We travel back 12 1/2 years ago to when we were planning our own wedding. We always agree that there are so many things we would have done differently knowing what we do now. I don't think we can help it really. We were so young when we were married. Twenty and twenty-three years old. There's a lot of changing that happens in your twenties. You grow and mature and with it interests change, fashion preferences change (kids are a decisive factor in that department now), even favorite colors change. I don't know if our wedding today would look anything like the one we had. I always tell Andrew that I was never a wedding details kind of girl growing up. I just wanted to be married. When I thought about getting married I saw myself married to a wonderful man, living in a modest house (preferable a farmhouse with lots of animals and plants and a white picket fence) with several children running around. What kind of wedding dress did I want? I don't know, a white one?? What kind of flowers did I prefer? Well my favorite are lilacs... I did insist on one thing though. Our special song had to be The Other Side of Me by Michael W. Smith. I had that song on repeat during my late teens. I even drew up a cross stitch design using the lyrics. Huh, I should dig that out and actually stitch it up...

So yeah,'s a good thing. While Mollie and Ivan were exchanging their vows promising to love and take care of each other, Andrew and I were remembering (or at least I was) the best and worse of times in our own marriage. I sat there on the wooden bench watching the beautiful scene taking place before me, thanking God for the circumstances in my life that led me to Andrew and made a silent vow to try to do better with the Lord's help. To put Andrew's feelings and desires first and take him into consideration more in all things.

Weddings are a gentle reminder that no matter what has happened in your own relationships, you can always step back, take a deep breathe and start over.

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Seth, Kevin (Andrew's brother) & Marie's (Kevin's wife) son
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Holly (Andrew's sister)
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Jonathan (brother-in-law) & wife Holly
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Kevin (Andrew's brother) & Holly
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From left to right: Holly, Charlene (Andrew's brother Rodney's wife), me and Marie (Kevin's wife)

Friday, April 04, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
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Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Riding a Horse!

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About a month ago Andrew and Lily came home early one Saturday afternoon from church calling out as they came in the door "Get dressed quick!" (I stayed home with Reuben who was napping and I had just gotten out of the shower), "We're going to see some goats!" Friends from church had invited us and some close friends of ours to their parent's small farm to pet and play with the goats. When we got there the goats took one look at the kids and ran off in the other direction. That's ok because there was also a horse who lived on the farm and he had no problem with being pet, ridden and fed by a bunch of youngsters. Say hello to Leo...or Lee...or maybe it was Louie. I can't remember what his name was. But it didn't matter to the kids who had a grand ol' time getting to know him. This was my little ones' first time ever riding a horse.

Reuben took a little bit of time warming up to him. Both of my children are observers. You won't see them diving head first into any situations. First they check out the scene and determine if its something they'd like and once they've made their decision only then will they get excited and interactive. Reuben determined, after some close observation, that the horse was ok. Not worthy of displays of excitement but he shook his head in the affirmative when we asked him if he wanted a ride.

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I can't stop chuckling at this picture. The kids look like they are checking out the horse's um...assets. Even Andrew looks impressed. haha!

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This horse was a little strange. He likes to eat Spanish moss (I'd never heard of them doing that). So the kids spent a large amount of the time pulling moss off the trees to feed to him. Lily wasn't getting her fingers anywhere near his teeth though so she devised a feeding system by which she twisted the moss around a stick she found and then held it up for the horse to eat off of.

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Neither of the kids wanted to leave the farm to go home that day. Afternoons like this make me yearn so much for my own little farm some day. Its tough living in town with no land to speak of. But I'm glad for friends and family who do have spaces for my little ones to run around and explore nature on. In the meantime I'll keep hoping and praying for my own little corner of land that we'll have...someday.