Baby Steps.


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Every day Dear Husband and I wake up and work. We work, eat lunch, work, eat dinner, watch the Olympics and sleep. Seriously. Every day. The boys help and have some great feedback. Little fella said he’s happy we’re getting the electric installed because we will know what every single switch is for, sadly an anomaly from our other homes.  Our older son will also pitch in. They’ve both learned to frame, drywall mud, and handle the drill more skillfully. This is absolutely a family project.

Each day I think we’ve made huge progress but then I see the long list of things we still need to finish. Instead of getting overwhelmed I just think back to a month ago and how little we had done. It puts things in perspective. It helps me digest this process evenly.

Our recent baby steps included installing bathroom exhaust fans, having our heating installed (still being done), having the electric boxes hung/holes drilled for wires (he’s still working too), and installing stairs (we are working on an upstairs railing – the upstairs of our house will be dry storage). A huge leap was having our rough plumbing complete and inspected. We actually have running (cold) water!

This huge project makes me appreciate the small steps that lead to giant progress. Half a railing leads quickly to a whole railing and yet another trip to the lumber yard for more supplies. A stack of drywall becomes a wall when sealed with tape and mud, and gives our space true form. Sweeping up the wood chips and dust on the floor at night makes me smile as I picture the future cabinets laying in waiting.

And we wake up and do it day after day. It’s the baby steps.

Baking Soda Clay.

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I made up a baking soda clay to cut out little chicken ornaments this December. The recipe was ample and there was gobs clay left. Not to worry, the boys divided the pile in half and got to work.

Meet Doughy Joey. He’s been hanging around with us since mid-December. He’s been on car rides, asleep in a shoebox, tucked in drawers, and so on. My older son made lots of little figures that are lasting so well too. In fact, the clay was so durable the boys asked if I could make a second batch for more creations. If you are looking for a great bakeable, lasting clay, I would give this try. I think it would be fabulous for some painted pottery bowls.

Creator’s note: The thinner it is, the smoother it dries. Joey was a huge chunk and he cracked a bit when cooking. However, it’s not harmed his durability, just his appearance. We’re cool with that.

Soon.

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Things have been downright crazy since Halloween. Well, the night before Halloween.

My son tripped the Friday night (before Halloween) in the yard and incurred a small eye injury. He’s recovering so well and is his chipper self again, something we all are super happy about. During this whole diagnosis and healing process, Dear Husband relocated jobs (closer, yay) and we decided to go on with a small construction project in the house. To squeeze more in, I ended up sick myself, which has now worked its way through the household (save for my son who had the injury, phew poor kid could use a break). A whole lotta toast getting eaten around here.

Truthfully, the past two weeks have both dragged on and flew by at the exact same time.

And participating in anything Martinmas was laughable. There was no way we’d be able to finish and light our lanterns… even if we remembered. I guess I should have finished them in October when I started them, instead of shelf them with “so much time left to work on them.” Soon though. Soon. I’ve been working on them little by little and we hope to use them soon.

Rose Window.

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My older son and I have been paper crafting this week. I indulged myself, reading through Rose Windows and How to Make Them by Helga Meyerbroker one morning while waiting for the fellas to wake. My older son woke up, snuggled up with me, and started asking questions. He directed me to page forward and back again, checked out the patterns, and declared we must get to work!

After swim lessons this week, we bought a tissue paper variety pack. The cardboard rings we make ourselves from recycled mailing envelopes and such.

His window above, I hung in our bedroom to gaze at each morning. (The photo is actually a collage of the same rose window shot with three different white balances.) He’s not content with just that one though. He keeps paging through to more intricate ones. He edited down one pattern so far and I think he’s ready to start inventing his own. I think it is similar to making paper snowflakes, which we do just randomly invent, so I’m game. I’m thinking a spider web would be fun and then there are many landscape ones I see that are so fabulous.

We are heading back to the used book store this weekend. Since we enjoy paper crafting together, I’m hoping we score another gem. If you have any fun titles to recommend, he and I would appreciate it.

Swimming Lessons.

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We aren’t really the “lessons” type of family. Mostly, we try to learn things ourselves or we just forego it. But, swimming is something we can’t really do at home or forego. So, every single day this week and next, I am driving the boys 40 minutes away to swim school.

Day One: We made it with five minutes to spare. I forgot to include ample stop light time in my travel estimate. Joyously, I remembered my knitting. That’s 25 minutes of uninterrupted knitting time! The boys were all over the pool and waved to me often. I was happy when they reported they really like their instructor.

Day Two: Oooh, um, made it with one minute to spare. Mental note, leave earlier, not later. Still, we weren’t running, so I’d say success. Did not remember my knitting but did get ahold of my best friend via phone. Still good, until I mentioned the child screaming in the pool. The woman sitting next to me claimed said child. I then spent two minutes telling my best friend how the crying child will be okay and his mother is doing the right thing. Oy. Kiddos are underwater often and thrusting their arms in the air forcefully. Go kiddos go!

Day Three: Made it with too much time to spare. Twiddled our thumbs. Ugh. What is wrong with my ability to plan travel time? I brought the camera to entertain me, but forgot my polarizing lens, so that was pointless. Waved plenty of times to the fellas and watched them at work. I’m so pleased with such quick progress. I took many bad photos, annoyed my solution sits in my bag at home. Missed my knitting.

And so on. But, the kiddos are rocking lessons and becoming little swimmers right before my eyes. I’m so happy when they come out of the pool smiling and more importantly that they aren’t terrified to return the next day. I may just need an emergency car knitting bag. So, when I forget mine, I have something to fall back on, but I’ll probably forget that idea in an hour and press on.

Opryland and Visiting

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We had lots of full days this past week, very few with my camera in hand. Visiting requires 100% of my attention and efforts. It’s rare that I can include shooting photos in the mix. I feel like visitors may become easily annoyed if they have to wait for me…all the time…taking photos. So, the camera gets tucked away most of the time.

We had fun walking the lush gardens at Opryland Hotel. There was plenty of eating out (a rarity for us) including a fabulous lunch at the Grilled Cheeserie truck and our very first home delivered pizza in our boys lives! (We kept saying we needed to do that at least once.) We also did the flea market, plenty of antique malls, and of course chatting at home. My sister is always a fabulous new music resource and her pup provides plenty of antics for the boys.

Right now I’m trying to catch up on laundry (now wrinkle free thanks Mom), move some furniture (Sis always has great spacial ideas-creating more chaos, short-term), and, oh yeah, un-pause my day-to-day routines.

Custom Pokemon.

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While I would probably have cried at the idea of my boys wanting Pokémon cards a year ago, today I am very enthusiastic about the cards. I am equally enthusiastic to see they are making their own versions and hold them in the same regard. In fact, I’m downright proud of their attention to the detail and interesting homemade versions.

When I became a mother, my self-appointed mission was deflect all terrible things from my children. Terrible things being defined by me and Dear Husband, and a year ago Pokémon was definitely in that category. But today, I’m learning some terrible things aren’t so terrible, and in fact, they can be great. When my seven-year old said, “Mom, did you know two of seventy is ten less than three of fifty?,” I smiled. Instead of deeming what they shan’t have in the future, I’m learning to redefine “terrible things” in the moment. I’m also learning to redefine “terrible things” a bit more loosely. Meryl’s My Bit of Earth post put it so well.

So, we open our arms to Pokémon and who knows what else to come. For these weeks, I’ll be pencil coloring Pokémon cards with the boys and answering them honestly, when they ask which name sounds the fiercest. Heck ya to Heckrum!

Adapt. Overcome.

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Dear Husband and I have differing views on preparedness. He likes to have all the tools necessary and I like to make do. After years of marriage, we accept each other’s differing opinions and dare I say we’ve learned from them? His contention is a task is easier if you have the right tools to attack it. I agree with that. But, is that ever truly possible? 100% of the time? I like to bolster my argument, by pointing out that the unofficial mantra of the Marines is indeed my way, the adapt, overcome method. (And MacGyver, I mean come on, that guy was inspiring…even if not real…Okay, what about Bear Grylls?) He bolsters his with some Boy Scout’s mantra about always being prepared, always in a state of readiness, or something along those lines.

Onto the smores.

I packed only one package of chocolates for our ever important smores last weekend. I like to buy one bar to limit how many we eat. Night one, chocolate gone. Day two came around and smores looked pretty good again to the three fellas, and… yes to me too.

Dear Husband went into adapt, overcome mode. He made microwaved chocolate chips smores. This may seem a trifle thing to you. It may be something you already knew about, tried, or did. But, this is a marriage bolstering moment right here. It’s the one where Dear Husband used my mantra over his!

And, yes, I’ve learned as well. Last September I remember to pack an insect bite kit and was prepared!

So, we make a good match. Prepare and if you can’t then, adapt, overcome, eh?

Winter Storm Thor.

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We went to bed Wednesday night to the first photo. A full day of rain and a flooding pond. We woke up to the rest. Once more our view is white. The boys got a “snow day” and are playing with the neighbors. They made slushy ice bridges in our creek and are coming inside to warm up in spurts. Dear Husband decided to clear the driveway this time, after our last storm kept us homebound for a week. I am doing the same stay-at-home mother things of everyday, cleaning, cooking, knitting, and hand-sewing. I do believe this time it will melt quickly, but I’m a little unsure how all of this snow is going to fit in our already flooding pond…

The Kids’ Drawings.

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Even if I’m on a tight budget, I can find useful things at the Nashville Flea. Last month I was drawn to this little book because of the red/green color combo (one of my absolute favorites). I flipped it open and then thought, oh my, I could make this a book of the boys’ drawings. It’s removable front cover and hole punch design make it easy to add into, and its thick covers are great long-term protection.

The initial sort was fun, even if it was time-consuming. The smallish size of the book restricts some art, but I’ve got a ton of my favorites to fit. At the boys’ request, I kept two separate sections, instead of mixing their works together. They also suggested a few specific drawings they’d like included. I was happy to oblige.

Dear Husband thinks this was originally made to hold checks. What do you think? Have you seen a book like this before? How do you store your child’s artwork?