Wednesday, September 30, 2009

wet on wet water color painting

I love the focus that happens with water color painting. Not much talking happens.
Just a dreamy sort of focus.

Even the baby painted today :) (that's her painting on the lower left)

Mr. S told me today that his picture was "shadowy smoke in a cave."

A few minutes before it had been "a campfire."

None of that intentional - just what he saw within the painting.

There's something so magical watching the colors swim across the page in all their glory - so of course that means I have to paint too ;)

Monday, September 28, 2009

egg pride

Collecting eggs = very serious business.

book sharing Monday - "The Apple Cake"

"The Apple Cake", by Nienke van Hichtum

This lovely book makes me sigh and smile every time I read it. It's one of those books that leaves you feeling like you just did a good thing just by reading your child this one book.

It's about a lovely old woman who fancies eating an apple cake, but doesn't have any apples. SHe has all the other ingredients, just no apples. So she sets off with a basket of plums hoping that maybe she'll find someone who'd like to trade her plums for some apples.

Along the way she meets many people and trades many times, but not for apples...

Not until the very end anyway ;)

" A bag of feathers for a basketful of plums, a bouquet of flowers for a bag of feather, a gold chain for a bouquet of flowers, a little dog and a blessing for a gold chain - all giving and receiving, giving and receiving. and who knows, I may yet come home with some apples." That was what the old woman said to herself as she trotted along.

The illustrations are stunning. The story inspiring and ever so gentle and kind. And when you're done reading you're pretty much guaranteed to be in the mood to make some apple cake! Better make sure you've got some apples in the house......or better yet - go off to trade for some ;)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Little Miss A and the eggs

So Little Miss A ( my youngest - 20 months old ) has been somewhat of a challenge lately - she's definitely keeping me on my toes. I got somewhat spoiled with my last child - Big Miss A she's always been very easy going and mellow. I'm not sure why I was so surprised to find out that Little Miss A was going to be much different - I mean she's the youngest of 5 - how else is she going to hold her own ;) ? And she's certainly not the first intense child to show up around here ;)

Right. So Little Miss A has been fiercely determined lately and is not one to give in when she's decided something. She can scream so loud and long that my ears are litterally ringing and I'm quite certain that she can be heard miles away... (ok that part may be an exaggeration lol ) My ears do ring tho and she *does not give up, or allow herself to be distracted*

So of course I got to thinking - since I'm one to really obsess over these things alot ;) No really tho - I always want to meet my kids needs and facilitate balance for them - certainly there must be something I'm missing or forgetting right? And then I had my "ah ha!" moment :) Love those.

Now bare with me - I promise I'll get to the point eventually....

So we have chickens. Laying hens to be exact. currently there are 29 of them - don't get me started on the ridiculousness of that, but I digress... - so chickens, eggs. Lots of eggs. Can you guess where I'm going?

Yes Little Miss A. She likes - no loves to break eggs. Lots of them. Any chance she gets. In fact when she spots eggs on the counter she shrieks her word for egg (which I'm not even going to attempt to write here) Eggs = very cool in her books. Thing is that life has been so busy - when is it not actually - I mean i've got 5 kids right? So I pretty much just got cranky about it instead of looking for a way to work it out. Right - not going to get too down on myself for that one - I am human after all and I didn't get too cranky ;)

Today tho she was screaming about something and I really wanted to help her shift out of it somehow and I saw the eggs sitting on the counter and actually had a "doh!" moment. (yes that preceded the "ah ha" moment ;) Let's get Little Miss A to put the eggs into the carton! So I held her up to the counter. (still screaming) and *I* started to put the eggs into the carton. THen I hadned her one and she was off! She didn't break any. Didn't toss any across the room. She was quite pleased to be doing what we do. Right. Imitation. How did I forget ?

Imitation is such a key part of life from birth to around age 7. Children have such a strong drive to imitate us - and that can be such a blessing if we support them in that ( and look out for those ways in which it can be embarrassing when certain words show up and you have *no idea ;) * where they came from - Oops!) It's their work tho. It's a really important thing for us to understand and fascilitate - I know that, but I forgot for a while there ;)

So the "ah ha" moment was initially the remembering of imitation which led me to just take a closer look and realize - again - that each and every child is different. What worked in the past may not do it this time around, but I can back track and pull out one of those books ("You are Your Child's First Teacher" by Rahima Baldwin ) that will provide me with the inspiration to get my head back into a place of "getting" my toddler.) I will have to remind myself of what I already know (or maybe even learn some new stuff to!) and then apply it to her. Specifically Little Miss A herself. I have to really *get* her.

*Getting* them. That is such an important thing really. It sounds so simple - so obvious and yet I'm more often than not surprised that many if not most people just don't take the time to *get* their kids. Thing is tho - if we don't - then who will? I mean really ? Who is going to care as much and as deeply for our kids as we do? In a time when neurological issues are becoming so prevalent this can be even more of a challenge - but even more important. Life is busy and it moves fast. Our kids grow up in a blink of an eye. Being an anchor for our kids is the most important thing we will ever do in our lives.

So here I am again - I've somehow managed to find inspiration from eggs ;)

When you child frustrates you - *look* at *them*. Look past that behavior on the surface. Past the label that it's easy to use. Look past, and look into them. It's almost always about much more than what you see on the surface. Be a detective! Be on their side. *you* figure out what they are needing, and how to help them get just that. Kids aren't bad. They just have unmet needs, and it's often tricky to figure out just what that need is (especially when you may have to dig deep for things like food sensitivities, Sensory processing issues and other imbalances etc.)
Thing is tho that it's much easier to truly resolve an issue if you can go deep enough to get at that need - otherwise those unmet needs just pile up and you'll end up with a bandaid on top of all those unmet needs instead of a real solution.

Do I always meet my kids' needs? Hell no! I sure as heck try my hardest, but when you add up 5 kids + 2 adults + life + humaness that equals a huge balancing act. And that's normal, and real and life. It's our job to have them - however many that may be - in our radar. To check in regularly and look deeper.

Now that I can see that the whole egg thing was just her way of trying to be like us and do what the grown ups are doing, I feel pretty silly for not getting it sooner! I wish I had a photograph of her ever so carefully placing each egg into the carton. The utter seriousness of her work. The drive that I could feel in her to be a part of it all. I'm fairly certain that I won't be the one to put any eggs in cartons for quite some time ;) Oh and the tantrum? It ended the second she picked up the first egg :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Work in!

I know I know - it's not Wednesday - It's supposed to be "Work in Progress Wednesday" I'm just not that organized tho ok?

Moving on.....

This is a sweater for Big Miss A - it's the Eyelet Yoke Cardigan that's popular on Ravelry - a Lion's Brand pattern. The wool ;) OK - it's 100% merino and I can't recall the brand and I'm too lazy to go upstairs and find the label ;) Whatever the brand it's the loveliest, softest, squishiest dream of a yarn! I love working with it.

And I wanted to show off these gorgeous stitch markers that my lovely friend Maisa made for me :) Aren't they pretty ? And I especially like that they come on the pretty ring with a little clippy thing to hold them all in one space - a very good feature for people who may be ummmm scattered? Not that I'm talking about myself or anything ;) OK I am actually. Anyone who knows me knows that already ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This photo was taken the other day - by my lovely husband. He took all of the kids out for a few hours so I could get some sleep. Little Miss A has had me up alot in the night and well it caught up with me. I found myself in quite a desperate state - and completely unable to function - or even really walk straight.

I'm in this strange place these days knowing that I'm almost through these baby years (which have been quite long considering there were 5 of said babies ;) ) And yet even knowing that I'm so close and really really wanting to just enjoy this last bit of time - well I'm finding it quite hard. Truth is I'm just really really really burnt out. Quite seriously so. I haven't actually had regular healthy sleep in 10 years - there's a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture believe me!

SO yeah - here I am trying to somehow find balance. Wanting to stay with my ideals of respecting my babies' attachment / forming a healthy attachment. And even just enjoy and be present with my kids while on the other hand just being so darned tired.

I've been thinking about it alot this week especially since it's been quite a challenging week. And as usual it really all comes down to balance. That's the biggest challenge of motherhood I'd say. How do we as mothers find a balance between our *needs* and the very real *needs* of our children - especially in a society that doesn't do much more than pay lip service to valuing either?

Not a simple answer there I know that. So in the mean time I guess I'll just keep on teetering - interestingly enough somewhat like my nightowl daughter is teetering to find her balance in the photo above. Here she is desperately trying to learn about the world and find her own balance while I struggle with mine.

I was thinking the other day about how we all have to deal with hard times in one way or another. Some have financial difficulties, relationship issues - sheesh - there's lots of possibilies isn't there? I just happen to be blessed in so many ways - a strong marriage being a big one - I think that I just have to somehow find the strength to move through this time with Grace and as much patience as I can muster ;)

So I think I'll make a list - cause I like lists ;) A list of things that I *can* do during this time when so much is beyond my control.

- I can knit ;) SO relaxing for me - relaxing is good I'm thinking ;)
- I can carve out time for myself, for my marriage, for alone time with my kids. And time for resting - catching up. Naps are so incredibly rejuvinating for me and should not be neglected.
- I can keep on eating really really well and taking supplements to physically support my body.
- I can *breathe* (sounds obvious now doesn't it? BUt ever notice how easy it is to forget to breathe when you are stressed about something?)

- I can take time to focus more on what is good and right every single day - it's so easy to get lost in the challenging bits of the day and forget all about the good stuff that happened

- I can eat chocolate! Lots of it darn it! I'll make it the raw healthy sort -with nourishing fats and agave so that it can be a boost that I won't pay for later on ;)

- I can daydream ;) Of all the things I'll do when my babies don't need me so much. (Like sleeping!) Yes while other people are daydreaming of going off to Hawaii or some other tropical place I'm just lost in a dream of sleeping in my comfortable bed *all by myself* for hours - maybe with the sunshine streaming in on me. And quiet. Glorious quiet - to sleep to of course :)

- now of course there is the plan that my husband and I have for me to go off to a spa for an entire week alone just as soon as my littles can bare to be away from me that long. That's a good one too!

- And then of course there are the dreams that follow once I'm well slept - like school - that in itself can keep me busy - just the thought of it - or mainly what to take and how to go about doing that in this very lovely but also isolated community. It's a good one tho ;) the dream I mean.

- and on a day to day basis I'm pretty good at letting go of things like say......dishes ;) Or better yet delegating those tasks to my capable children ;) But seriously - letting a lot go, knowing that it will come together in time.

- I can try to be gentle with myself - to be ok with making mistakes and not being the perfect mama. Who can really? I can be ok with my best.

- And last but not least i can keep writing here. I've been finding it so healing and inspiring to write here. It forces me to really look at my day - to find the inspiring parts. The beautiful parts. The hidden gem moments that might have slipped by had I not been so watchful.

And I'm quite sure my kids will always be here reminding me every single day in their own unique ways :)

What do you do to maintain balance?
I'd love to hear about it .......

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

playing with light

I've been getting pretty friendly with my camera lately ;) I took over 1000 photos in August ;)

Lately I've been experimenting more with light and unusual angles. I'm having a lot of fun :)

Today you get to see a few of my favorites that I took the other day at the local skate park :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

a bag for piano class

The boys just started piano lessons last Tuesday. When the teacher handed one of the boys a book and said "take good care of this and wash your hands before you play" I knew that there was going to have to be a bag. Not just any bag ;) A piano lessons bag.

I had a certain jean skirt that was quite long, and while I liked it a lot - well I couldn't walk in the darned thing! SO since I'd planned cut it off and make it a short-ish skirt, i just went ahead and chopped it ;)

It was pretty much a given that for my Beatles loving boys there would have to be some beatles fabric ;)

I used a sheet that snuck home with me from the thrift store due to the lovely paisley print for the lining.

I made it big enough to hold not just the books, but also something for the boy who's waiting to do with himself :)

Cute isn't it :)?

another day

Lots of photos here lately - not so many words. The baby has been teething and not much sleep is happening here, so I've just not been feeling all that chatty - in fact forming a coherent thought has become downright challenging ;)

So more photos again today, but tomorrow.....some sewing :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

my sweater.

Soooooo I started knitting when I was pregnant with Little Miss A - it's 2 years now. This spring I finally started on the first project for *me* - that's right - with 5 kids it's a little tricky to get to anything for me ;). I didn't knit much over the summer, but I did take it along whenever we went anywhere in the car, so I was actually making progress and got it to this point right here....

and then I ran out of yarn and went upstairs to get another skein......

Except there wasn't another skein.


I bought this wool - for a sweater for *me* ages ago. It's not likely that I'll find another from the same dye-lot. Now I'm fairly certain that there is in fact another ball of that particular wool - somewhere in my house - perhaps hiding away in a cloth bag somewhere. Maybe I'll find it one day. There's only around 4 inches left of the last sleeve.

And so it is sitting on my desk.......taunting me. One of these days I'll have to either make a concerted effort to find that little ball of yarn (which may in fact still not be enough) *or* I have to shorten those sleeves to 3/4 sleeves - which is actually what the pattern called for anyway, but I made them longer. It longer. I made the one sleeve that I finished longer. The other one is just about the right size actually.

I can't seem to decide tho since I don't actually know where that ball of wool is, or if it's enough - but at this point I'm a little annoyed with the sweater - yes it's all the sweater's fault- obstinant thing it is - so I'm ignoring it for the time being in favor of some well behaved pink merino for a sweet little 3 year old I know.

I suspect that sometime around the time the weather starts to get cold I'll become friends with that sweater again and then you can have a picture of it all done - maybe even with me in it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

mama time again :)

My oldest, my youngest, and one borrowed lovely :)

thrifting (at my ever so lovely friend's store :) )

Indian take-out :)

mango shakes make a certain girl of mine *very* happy ;)

and even better with a friend to share it with :)

Oh and the ball room at the "mall" (yes I'm putting mall in quotes - if you'd seen it you'd understand completely. Very very small - even for this mama who doesn't care for malls nearly so much as she once did ;)

....yes the ball room was definitely Little Miss A's favorite part and no it did not make up for the fact that I had to continuously haul her back into stores when she really wanted to wander freely.
THere's really no easy way to tell a one and a half year old farm child that they've had their freedom of movement taken away ;)

Ah but that smile - it does see m to melt away all memory of the challenging bits in quite record time ;)
Once my ears have recovered that is ;)