So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

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Summer is here, and while we love summer (because what’s not to love?  Oh yeah, high temps and no a.c.  Well, other than that.)  it sure is a marker of the passing of time.  I officially have a 4th grader and a 1st grader.  In a few years from now, I will think 4th grade is so little, but for me, right now, it feels so big.  The passing of time is so weird.  We have a newborn baby and immediately, we can’t believe how big they are getting.  At 4 weeks old, we are already seeing that they are growing and changing.  And don’t get me started on 1st birthdays.  It is like 2 different kids in the period of a year.  A tiny newborn who can’t lift her head to a little tot who can (possibly) run around and talk.  And because I know nostalgia can be a distorted lens to view life through, I try to embrace and love the here and the now.  But for a moment, I will reflect on this last school year.

First Tatum.  She didn’t love school at first, but she ended up making some great buddies and made the best of it.  I tried to include her in our nature and fine arts group sometimes, since that will be here circle of friends next year.  Plus, one of her best buds is in the group.  For the end of the year “Final Curtain”, she and her friends sang “Take me out to the ball game”.  Have a look!

Piper.  Wow!  We’ve truly enjoyed each other!  She is so gifted and I am so glad that I have been able to foster her talents.  She struggles with spelling and I struggle to stop pointing out her weakness.  But she has a memory like you wouldn’t believe.  She loves history and has a true understanding of the timeline of historical events.  In fact, at the moment she is reading the Children’s Encyclopedia of American History…for fun.  For her final curtain she performed a monologue from the book “Good Masters!  Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village”.  Check out her accent and her memorization skills!  Unfortunately, a call came through right when I was about to hit record, so it is missing the first few seconds.

So long kindergarten.  Farewell Mariners Elementary and Mrs. Boyd!  We will forever cherish our memories there, but look forward to our adventures that await us this next school year.

 

 

A few of my favorite things

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I wanted to post this on Facebook, but thought it would be too long. So I am back to blogging after a very long time. There are so many things I want to share and have attached links if you are interested!

For Piper’s birthday last year I bought her a set of watercolors that is super portable and great for taking on our nature outings. The brushes hold water, so you don’t even need to bring a cup to clean your brush! She loved it and so did I! So, we ended up all getting one and taking them on our adventures down under last summer. It makes the best souvenir because #1, we are spending time observing and soaking in our surroundings, #2 it’s handmade, and #3, it is all bound together in a nice journal making it easy to keep for forever! We brought them to Vietnam, got our friends hooked and had so much fun touring around and painting! We were in the center of the bustling old town of Hanoi, would throw out the monkey mat and sit and paint. Fun for all ages! Truly! Tatum’s might look different than mine, but we are all able to take part and we have all improved our skills in the past year! Another of my favorite things, the monkey mat. It is thin like tent fabric but offers a nice barrier for when you are out in nature or in a big city. And it zips up nicely into a little pouch!

I just got this new book by John Muir Laws from my totally amazing hubby! I showed it to him on Amazon and then last night I came home to this! He’s a keeper for sure. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is a beautiful book that teaches you how to start a nature journal if you have never done it and techniques for those that want to improve. This year I have incorporated painting and journaling into many of our subjects. It truly has been one of my highlights!  Here is Piper’s work on blackberries.  We learned about the importance of bees, and how they transform from flower to berry.  Oh, and Clover helped with this one which is why there is a big green patch that she decided to use to write her info.🙂

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This is what I came home to last night.  Put a smile on my face and made today a fun day as we explored some new techniques.  Also, Teaching From Rest!  I have heard so much about it and am excited to read it!

This is what I came home to last night. Put a smile on my face and made today a fun day as we explored some new techniques. Also, Teaching From Rest! I have heard so much about it and am excited to read it!

Here are our pictures of the red bridge in the old town of Hanoi Vietnam.

Here are our pictures of the red bridge in the old town of Hanoi Vietnam.

Piper's painting of the 12  Apostles in Australia, Tatum painted pumpkins at Tanaka Farm, and Kaikoura New Zealand for me.

Piper’s painting of the 12 Apostles in Australia, Tatum painted pumpkins at Tanaka Farm, and Kaikoura New Zealand for me.

Our first attempt at a bird after some tips from our new book.  We also used embossing to show the veins in leaves and blended lots of colors to work on color matching.

Our first attempt at a bird after some tips from our new book. We also used embossing to show the veins in leaves and blended lots of colors to work on color matching with colored pencils.

Apologies for the poor quality pics, I am using my computer. I knew if I didn’t finish this right now, it might never get done! Oh and one last thing! We get our journals from the Bee Paper Company. I use a 6×6, but Tatum’s is a bit bigger until she is a bit older and has better fine motor skills.

Leaving on a jet plane

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I am about to do something crazy, something really crazy. I am about to get on a plane with my 5 and 8 year old, leave my hubby and 18 month old behind and fly to Vietnam. Some of you know me well, but may not even know this. I guess I worry what people might think or say. “You’re going to leave your baby? I could never do that.” “What if something happens?” “Didn’t you just get back from Australia and New Zealand?” “You’re leaving again?!?!” I get it. I get anxious thinking about leaving my sweet babe behind, but I get more anxious thinking about flying solo for 18 hours with a baby and not my right hand man. (Plus, hubby didn’t want her to go.) I get anxious thinking about the possibility of something happening, but the reality is “something” can happen anywhere. It could happen on the way to the grocery store. And yes, I did just get back from an amazing vacation with my family, but this is different. This was the hard work of me and my 8 year old raising money through garage sales, lemonade stands ($71 on July 4th!), washing dishes at the trendy donut shop up the street.
But there was a nudging. Something that couldn’t be ignored. We know some folks who go and offer support to Americans serving in other countries. My hubby said, “Wouldn’t it be great if they could go visit the Fizzies (our term of endearment for our friends🙂 ) And I said yes, but then I thought, why can’t we do that? Why can’t we be those people. Sure they would be blessed to have a stranger come and offer help and support, but how much more so to have a dear friend? And so the saving began, and when the ticket prices were ridiculously low, we snatched them up. So yes, there is some sacrifice involved, but how worth it is it to sacrifice for the sake of friend? Her daughters and my daughters are sweet friends and they don’t know we are coming. How worth it it will be to see the looks on her girls’ faces when they see my kiddos. How worth it it will be to be able to chat and have a good friend on your couch in your house, seeing your world? I know how worth it that is. I know how much it meant to me to live in Germany and to have visitors. Yes, I loved coming back and seeing familiar faces, but there are so many people to squeeze into a short time, there are family obligations, and so on. But when my friends and my family came into our world, saw our apartment, our grocery store, our life!  Those are sweet memories that I truly cherish.

Stay tuned for the video of their reaction when they see us!!!

Round 2

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Do you know what today was? Today was “Meet the teacher” day for #2. Three years ago, I was anxious and depressed over sending #1 to school and now I am anxiously awaiting stepping into the same classroom with the same wonderful teacher with Tatum. I know she will soak it all up. Tatum is so social and loves meeting new people. While on our summer travels she met a friend at a cafe in Australia, and in New Zealand she went to two different schools and made friends. On our way home our flight was delayed and she found a girl to play with in the airport. School; piece of cake. I know it will be a transition having to get out of the house early with food for lunches and having to be back to pick her up at a certain time. But it’s not for forever and the benefits seem to outweigh the costs (otherwise we wouldn’t send her!) So here’s to kinder, my silly, friendly 5 year old!
IMG_2078She dresses herself most days if you couldn’t tell.  The first day of school will be different.  Maybe not the 2nd, but for sure the first.😉

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In my post about Back to School Blues 3 years ago, I wrote about my crazy two year old, and now she has lost some of her crazy. I am happy that “remember we only color on paper” is not something I say on a daily basis any longer, but sometimes I miss her crazy. I see her strive to be a good girl and sometimes I worry that she tries too hard and is looking for approval. She compares herself to her big sister and wishes she could be like her. “Piper always remembers her water bottle and I don’t. I try to, but I forget.” “Does my hair look good? I think this hair bow looks good even though it is Christmas. Does it?” “Piper always finishes the dishes before me.” I am so in love with this child that I don’t want her to feel in adequate. It is just amazing how deeply a parent loves each child even though they can be so different! I LOVE that #1 is obedient and understands that you sometimes have to do things you don’t want to do for the greater good. And I LOVE #2 who is not that way, but who is super social and can entertain her baby sister and make her crack up. And then there is #3, just a cutie patootie who hasn’t busted out her challenges yet (besides teething right now and being needy), and of course, I just LOVE her to pieces too! My mom’s mom had 6 girls and my dad’s mom had 12 kids. I would just have to assume that each one is so different and yet so deeply loved.
Sweet girl, may you go off to school knowing that you are so loved! ~Your biggest fan
IMG_2072Tatum with her Christmas hair bow.  No wonder Cloves cracks up.

Different Strokes

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Tatum has been asking me lately to read to her from my journal. She enjoys the stories I have written over the years of the funny things that she and Piper have said.  When Tatum was only 15 months old I wrote about how different my girls were.  Brian’s words were something along the lines of I would have never believed it until we had our own children, but they really are SO different. And now 4 years later they are still so. very. different.  I just went in to their room, Clover and Tatum are sleeping, but Piper was awake.  She turned on her reading lamp so you could get a glimpse of what I am talking about.  Here is Tatum’s sock and underwear drawer.  It looks better than it looked last week.  Last week it also had her dirty clothes that she didn’t want to put in the hamper one night, some pajamas, and some Barbie clothes too.

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And then there is Piper’s drawer.  Need I say more?

Now please, don’t get me wrong, one is not better than the other.  While it is great to have a child who is a self starter and self motivated, it also can bring up some bad feelings.  I am surrounded by oldest children in my life.  I married an oldest, my sister who lives closest to me is the oldest, and my mom is the oldest.  So when I feel that my daughter is getting bossy (which is just synonymous with oldest in my personal experiences😉 ) I have been known to revert back to elementary school and just engage in a fight with her instead of being the parent.  But I’m working on it.

So, I just had to laugh when my hubby took these cute videos of my kiddos for mother’s day.  There is Piper the pleaser, who wants me to feel absolutely amazing since it was Mother’s Day and all, and she will even tell a few white lies to make sure that is the case, like the fact that I am more fun than her friends.

Tatum. Oh Tatum.  She must understand her purpose in life is to make us laugh.  For starters she is dressed in Batman attire, says I am special because I am a unicorn, and affirms me for pulling her loose teeth out even though she has never lost a tooth.  And maybe the best line is she starts by saying  “I’m going to tell you what my mom wrote for me to say“. Really?

Enjoy.

Third Time’s a Charm!

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We welcomed Clover Elizabeth into the world on March 16th. Another interesting birth story to say the least! You can click here to read about Tatum’s birth. So, baby #1 was a 21 hour labor. And then baby #2 was born in the parking lot of the hospital. Besides it being my second birth, I also received acupuncture. So after such a fast birth, I told myself, I don’t want to find out if it was the acupuncture or not, because I will only get acupuncture during pregnancy from now on! Unlike my other labors, I started having contractions for weeks leading up to Clover’s birth. On the morning of the 16th, I thought to myself for probably the 6th time, this could be the day! We had a birthday party that morning at a party place about a half hour away. Piper didn’t want to go because she was having a celebration in her class at church, so just Tatum and I went. I told Brian to just make sure he had his phone handy just in case. I brought some stuff I needed to return to my sister’s house which was on the way, and also something I needed to return to Costco. Just all part of the “nesting” I guess. I stopped by my sister’s on the way to the party and then visited and chatted with my neighbors and friends. Of course, we talked about the birth and they told me how “brave” I was for having a home birth. I said, “I don’t know if you would call it brave. I just don’t want to be en route to the hospital again!” I was feeling mild cramps, but they were starting to get a little more intense. So I left the party at 11:50, about 10 minutes before the party was over because I wanted to be sure I got to Costco before going home. I got to Costco, parked and got Tatum out of the car when I decided I should really just go home. I was feeling uncomfortable, feelings that were all too familiar from Tatum’s birth. Not the contractions that were typical with Piper or with Tatum toward the end, but I knew that this could be quick and I did NOT want to be delivering my child in Costco! So I changed my mind and decided to head home (good idea!) and called the midwife and left a message. I also called Brian and told him to have lunch ready because I was huuuungryyyy. Don’t mess with a pregnant woman and her hunger. He told me that Piper was at a friend’s house and that he would pick her up after his soccer game which was at 2. Yes, he thought he was going to play soccer even though I was calling to say the baby was on her way.:) When I got home I ate lunch around 1, Brian tried to lay Tatum down and the midwife called me back. She was on her way to Garden Grove, about a 25 min. drive from my house, and told me she would come over after her visit with a new mom there. I couldn’t be certain that the baby was coming, but just felt really uneasy about the fact that she would be going to Garden Grove. My contractions were a minute or so apart and lasting only 45 seconds, but she wasn’t concerned because I was able to talk to her despite having the contractions. Thankfully she called me back minutes later and said she was on her way because she didn’t want to miss the birth. In the meantime, my mom stopped by and we had her go pick up Piper and gave her some food to prepare for dinner and to go home and we would call her. The midwife arrived at our house at 1:45 and told me I was too happy to be in labor. She checked my vitals and then at 2 o’clock she checked to see how much I was dilated. She was surprised to see that I was at a 9. From then she kicked it into high gear. Brian had the job of filling up the pool, she was getting her equipment ready and called her assistants. I called and texted the grandparents. My mom had barely been home a few minutes and she and Piper were on there way back. Right around 2 the contractions also got much more intense. I breathed through them, but began to not like the fact that I was laboring alone in my room. I told the midwife that my legs were starting to really hurt during the contractions (in a distressed voice btw, I was no longer happy). She told me to change positions and it was then that I knew the baby was coming. Brian came in and I began pushing. I don’t know how many pushes, but soon Clover Elizabeth was there for us to see and admire. Born at 2:19 in the afternoon. She had a very short umbilical cord and the placenta detached before she came out so she was a blue baby. But she took her first breath and cried right away and her color quickly returned. Meanwhile, Tatum was making a mess in the room and not napping. As she tells the story, she could hear people saying, “Close the windows” (I am thinking for the cold and the new baby, hopefully not because I screamed!) and Tatum said, “And I was like, You’re not the boss of this place.” My mom and Piper arrived and Tatum greeted them at the door and said, “Clovie’s here!”
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Move

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I have so many drafts started for entries that I have wanted to write and never finished.  Clover’s birth is one of them, but for now it is on the back burner and I am hoping to get this started and finished in one sitting.

So, the big news around here is we’re moving.  And while it is fresh in my mind I wanted to share what has happened recently.  We rent this cute little house.  Cute to me at least, and little to most.  Well, most Americans.  I am sure someone in Haiti wouldn’t think so.  But anyway,  last year our house sold and the new owner did not want us to renew our lease.  I felt that I was in this constant state of the unknown and wishing I could know if we were going to get kicked out or if they bought it just for the investment and we could stay.  I knew that no one was buying the place to move in to.  But with the market on the up and up again, the possibility of them tearing it down and building a 4,000 sf house was giving me some anxiety.  That was last spring.  Summer came and went and we heard nothing.  And then the day after Christmas land surveyors were here surveying the land and I started looking for places to live immediately.  If we were given 60 days notice in January, that would put it right around the time I was due to have the baby and I just couldn’t have that.  I wanted to be settled and not adding a move to having a baby.  We spent hours on padmapper.com and craigslist and drove around the neighborhood.  It was so incredibly discouraging!  We love our neighbors and our neighborhood, and now we were finding smaller places for more money.  We found this amazing house and the lady wanted to rent to us, but she wouldn’t allow dogs and the price was almost $400 more than we pay now.  We crunched the numbers and we just couldn’t do it.  Where would that money come from?  All along, we just prayed for clarity and for the perfect place.  Piper prayed for a 2-story with a fireplace.  Hey, why not?

And then I just had a peace.  A peace to stay put.  If we were going to pay more in rent and move to a smaller place, why start now?  Let’s just wait until we have to.  So I told Brian to paint the  baby’s room, we’re staying!  Of course, the feeling was mutual.  Her room turned out so cute and we just used paint and decorations we already had.  Oh yeah, plus my mom made the bedding and the curtains, so that could also be why it’s so cute.🙂Image   Image

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That peace went by the wayside on May 14th when I pulled up to my house and saw a public notice staked into my yard saying that there was going to be a hearing at City Hall to approve plans to build two custom homes on our property.  They couldn’t even inform the folks who live there before having the city put a sign in the yard?  How rude and completely tacky if you ask me.  It was Open House at my hubby’s school, so it was just me and the kids and so I told my Piper, “they’re tearing our house down.”  I saw her face drop and I realized that I shouldn’t have told her that at that time.  I wanted to tell some one and she was there, and sometimes I forget that she’s seven.  

That evening we ordered take out and had dinner at the park with my friend who’s husband was working late too.  I told her about the sign and she said, “Did I tell you that we’re moving too?”  And I more or less said, “No!  Why?  We’re going to miss you guys if you move.  But if you do move, then I want to move it your place.”  She only lives 4 driveways down.  And while I was serious about moving into her place I wasn’t sure about any of the details, but still my peace returned.  The timing would have to work out, they would have to allow dogs, and of course, the biggy, $$$.  But until I found out about those things, I wasn’t going to stress, I wasn’t going to spend hours looking online, I wasn’t going to spend my energy thinking about what we were going to do.  The next day she mailed her notice to move out mid July and asked her landlord if we could contact him.  We chatted, and a few days later we signed the lease.  The house is a 2-story with a fireplace, about the same size as our place, with 2 bathrooms, a walk-in closet and a dishwasher!  What luxuries for us!  And like I said, we are so invested here with our neighbors, and who would have thought that we would just be moving 4 houses down?  Oh, and the rent, $20 more.  Can you believe it?

You know, we were desperate to find a place when we moved to our house.  I didn’t not like it.  It was ugly and brown, and I hated the carpet.  Oh yeah, and we had a major ant problem in the beginning.  What a pain!  I did not want to stay beyond our lease.  But we made it our home (and Brian painted it, which made a big difference) and I am so grateful for the way things worked out.  I am grateful that we didn’t try to push open a closed door back in January.  I am thankful that we invited our kids into the journey and that I could share with Piper how her prayers were answered.  We could not have imagined that this is how things would turn out, but we are grateful.  

And lastly, I am grateful to Lindsey Kliewer photography that photographed our family doing life with our new baby in our home; memories that we will cherish long after our house is gone.

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