Sunday, August 31, 2008

It was 1982...

Remember these....

And Ahhhh....the memories!

Ok, its actually not 1982, and these aren't pictures of Fantasyland Roller Rink in Lawrence, KS, the most awesome-est place ever for 10 year olds (and everyone else) where I grew up. NO! This is Skate King, of Bellevue, WA taken this afternoon for Middle Girl's most awesome-est 7th birthday party! And yes, it does look, smell, and sound just the same as it did in 1982, since my awesome-est husband used to frequent this place back in 1982, and he says it hasn't changed a bit.

Yep, we were kickin' it old school this afternoon, celebrating the 7th year of our favorite middle girl. Oh my, 7? Can it be already? 7 years ago, I got to experience the magical, almost pain-free natural labor to bring this beautiful girl into the world. (seriously, folks, an aspirin would have made it totally painless until the last 15 minutes or so..then...not so much, but I digress...) This is the girl obsessed with the violin since the first time she saw one at age 2, and is now impressing everyone with her musical skills. If I could figure out how to post at least an audio clip of her playing, I would. She's spunky, funny, adventurous, and ready to tackle anything. She's really a great kid, and I can't wait to see what God has in mind for her.

One more day of "summer" (I use the term loosely, considering its supposed to be 40 degrees outside when we wake up tomorrow), and then its back to school, and everything else. I'm ready. We actually have had some lovely Fall weather the past few days, chilly mornings, and sunny afternoons, with just a hint of crispness that is so comforting. Perfect sweatshirt weather. We may have a few more warm days ahead, but I'm ready for the routines of Fall, the sights, smells and yummy things that go along with the season.

Happy 7th Birthday, girlfriend. You're the awesome-est!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lil Bit O' Heaven

Oh my, how can I express my gratitude and joy at the honor of having an open invitation and budding friendships with the people at MaryJanesFarm ! I cannot believe my good fortune at first of all living close enough to this amazing place that I can visit it, AND I can't believe that they have welcomed our family with open arms and said we can come for a retreat any ole time we want. Most of you know how I have treasured MaryJane's books and inspiration, but now I can actually call her a friend. How weird and awesome is that? I feel like I've crawled through the pages of my favorite author's books and magazines and now I actually know the people and places I fell in love with through her writings. What a blessing!

We went for a "last blast" of summer weekend farm-stay this weekend, and it was so wonderful. The whole family went this time, staying in 2 adjacent wall tents, completely furnished in vintage farmgirl style. Each having a double bed piled high with down comforters, quilts and tons of pillows, a little wood stove and lots of antique knick-knacks. We ate around the campfire all weekend, and just enjoyed the quiet sounds and peace of the farm.

The girls, especially the biggest were in absolute heaven. The girls have become good friends with MaryJane's young assistant Katy, who has become quite a mentor for them for all things crafty. Katy didn't arrive home at the farm until late Saturday night after working all day a couple hours away getting the new MaryJanesFarm store ready for their Grand Opening in Coer D'Laine (I have no idea how to spell that town's name!). We had made tentative plans for the girls to spend some time with her on Saturday designing and making doll clothes for the big doll making business that is in the works for the big girl, but the hours ticked by with no sign of Katy coming home. We had all prepared ourselves for the fact that maybe she would have to stay and keep working on the store, and maybe the sewing wouldn't happen after all. We left the farm for a few hours just to take our minds off this terrible disappointment, went into town, toured Dad's old alma mater , stopping at the bookstore to stock up on our Coug' gear, then we went bowling and had some bad pizza, which we all eagerly gobbled up. Then, we made our way back to the farm, thinking it would be campfire, marshmallow roasting and then off to bed, when lo and behold, who should we hear coming down the dirt road but MaryJane and most importantly Katy!!! And bless her heart, as the girls ran toward her as she got out of the car, she swooped them up in her arms and whisked them away to the design studio for a few hours of evening sewing, and then took them on a moonlight stroll down the lane to look at the most amazing display of stars they had ever seen. Then, she brought them back to the tents and roasted marshmallows with us before turning in for the night. But not before telling the girls she'd be ready for more sewing as soon as the girls were ready in the morning. You should have seen these girls joy just exploding out of their little hearts. So, after a restful night listening to the lovely nighttime sounds of the farm, the girls were up and out of the tents before 7am, racing down the hill to the farm, and we didn't see them again until about 10, where they begged for more time! They made tons of new outfits, learned lots of new tips and tricks, and had their love tanks filled up by this most sweetest of 23 year old girls, the girl's newly adopted "cool Aunt" or big sister. (no offense to their real cool Aunt! Hi Sara! :)

The boy had a fun time tending the campfire, jumping on the trampoline, and swinging on the big tree swing. He also had fun kicking his sister's rears in bowling! I forgot my camera for the bowling trip, which is a real bummer, 'cause it doesn't get much cuter than watching a 5, 6 and 8 year old bowling. :) I did have my camera up and about the rest of the weekend, though my photos don't do the farm justice. You all must, must visit her website, find/buy her books and read her magazine. That MaryJane is quite something!

So, here are my best efforts...

Here is where I spent the yummiest 2 hours I can remember in a long time. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon...

Here's the girls with their hero/mentor Katy,

Here's the big girl, living and dreaming big,

Here's # 2 and 3, and one more we found at the farm, the lovely, 4 year old Ella, also visiting the farm for the weekend, with her sweet Dad.

Summer is definitely winding down around here, soccer has started (boo!), school starts next week (yay!), and its been raining for a couple of days now. I do have a few ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse, and we may even have a successful corn harvest for the first time! (this was our fourth and final year if it didn't work this year either...amazing what tilling and amending the soil will do!)

Unfortunately, we also have an end of summer cold just starting to roll through the family, so we'll be laying low the rest of the week, catching up on laundry, and getting ready for the new season of activity about to come upon us.

More soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

more summer moments

Well, I think I succeeded in shaking off the funk we were in last week, with a combination of getting tough on behavior issues, doing a major clean up of the house, and planning lots of fun, creative stuff to do. Just getting consistent with discipline and chores brings such a breath of fresh air through the house, and then we can all get busy being happy rather than all being snippy with each other all the time.

Here's the boy keeping busy getting started building a chair for his stuffed animals.

We went letterboxing again, and to the beach again, and enjoyed the super warm weather we've been having. Like in the 90's! Most people hate it when it gets hot around here, but that's because no one has air conditioning, which will sound crazy to anyone living outside the Northwest. But WE do! So, I say, bring on the 90 degree weather! It will only last a few days anyway. We even had a surprise midwest-like post-hot day thunderstorm last night! Poor babygirl was totally terrified, having never heard thunder like that before. She can't stop talking about it today. "Fun-der, scared, me, last, night, ma-maaa!" Poor baby. Big bro' tried to help her last night, by telling her "Don't worry, its just Jesus", and then he corrected himself, saying, "Actually, I sent it down! I'm Electric Boy!" :) Don't forget, this is at 4:00 am. The imagination never sleeps!

Big girl has some cool stuff going on. She got into sewing this week, and designed a cloth doll, and several items of doll clothes, and they are really cute! They are the first doll clothes she's ever sewed, and she's kind of making them up as she goes along. Its pretty amazing to see this whole process taking shape. This girl has always had a bit of a thing for biting off more than she can chew, taking on huge, big projects that in the past have turned in to tears and tantrums as she makes her way through them. I've learned not to tell her she can't, and do my best to help her through the frustrations, and by and by, she usually gets around to a finished project she's happy with. THIS time though, there are no tears, no tantrums, just a totally determined girl, who has it in her mind that she is going to teach herself how to make dolls and doll clothes, making adjustments on her own and finishing projects with little or no help. She took the doll to the library the other day, and all the ladies there just went crazy over it, and encouraged her to take it over to Miller's to see about selling them there. Well, you should have seen this kid beam! She's been trying to come up with an idea for a business to start for about a year, and you could say this was a defining moment for her. She is totally determined now to see this idea through. She's planning on working on improving her prototypes and sewing skills, and getting them ready for sale by Christmas. You can be sure that if she decides to do this, she will! I'll keep you posted on her progress!

We went raspberry picking yesterday, and I made another 8 or so jars of jam. I'm totally hooked on homemade jam! It is sooo yummy! We're having such a late harvest season, its pretty amazing that we're still picking berries at this late date. I'm only just now seeing my first few zucchini's appearing on the vine, and just today saw the first tinge of red on one tomato in my hugely tall, promising tomato garden in my greenhouse. They are growing so tall, they are over my head, but I wasn't sure if they'd ever get ripe at this point! Still keeping my fingers crossed!

Did I mention it was REALLY hot? Some of us lost our gusto for picking, and found a shady spot to rest.

OH, and babygirl started going potty this week! Hip, hip, hooray!

(This pic doesn't do justice to the humidity induced curls here. Oh my goodness..the curls!)

And here's the purse I made last week! I'm proud, I admit it. Next, I'm starting on a quilt for middle girl's b-day coming up in a couple of weeks.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, August 15, 2008

This made me giggle

monday morning
Originally uploaded by kmchang
I was searching around Flickr, and I saw this photo, and it made me giggle. I can so relate to this on so many levels. *smile*

Monday, August 11, 2008

Look what I did!

Except that I have no pictures to show you! :) I've been feeling soooo busy, and yes, a little burned out on 24/7 with 4 kiddos, and I just haven't had the energy to bring out the camera lately. But I have done some cool stuff lately!

I made the "Charming Handbag" from Amy Karol's book , Bend the Rules Sewing, and I have to say, it IS quite charming, and I'm quite proud of it, considering I am a complete newbie when it comes to sewing. The girls totally want me to make them one too, and the biggest wants to make one herself! Wouldn't it be great if I had a picture to show you?

We went berry picking, and picked a big 'ole flat of marionberries yesterday afternoon, and today, I made a pie, and about 10 jars of various sizes of jam. Mmmm, mmmm. Can't you just imagine all the artsy shots of that?!

I started a Flickr account to keep all my pictures in one spot online, and also to join crafty groups, and learn more about photography. Its really a photography wonderland! I haven't even figured out what all I can do there, but I like it. I like it a lot. So, at least you can check out some of my older pictures all in one place if you just gotta have some photos from me!

*Sigh* Does it make me a bad mom that I am just getting so, so tired of constant kid management? For my homeschooling readers, please don't be discouraged, and "don't hate me"...but I am so looking forward to school starting! I know, savor the moments and all that.

I think I need a moment (or two) of time to myself!

Argh. Enough complaining. I love my kids. Love my life.

Pictures coming soon!

Calgon, take me awaaaaaaaaaay!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lost and Found

Well, I don't have any pictures to share today, but I did want to share the incredible news that MR. NIBBLES HAS BEEN FOUND!!! Yes, the baby bunny lost last week was actually returned to his humble abode! The girls had a couple of bunny sightings, and even got a hand on the little fella a couple of times, and then I got to be the hero by catching him and putting him back in his little hutch inside the chicken coop. Poor little guy, he didn't even really try to get away from me when I put my hand out. He must have had enough adventures in the woods, and is ready for some rest! We're all so relieved, especially the child who will remain nameless who left the top of the hutch open!

I spent the past few days getting back on track with routines, getting the house and kids back up to snuff. Flylady is such a huge help in this arena for me, to just get off my rear, and DO something! Because, after all, as she says "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family!" and "You can do anything in 15 minutes!". These 2 phrases of hers totally transform my thinking when I need a kick in the pants to get going again.

Along those lines, I'm teaching my 2 biggest girls to do their own laundry this year as part of their chores. Their very wise father suggested this as a solution to my constant struggles with "Mount Washmore" in my house. There was some muttering and moping about this at first, but I think they are secretly enjoying it now.

So, with a clean house, and tired but happy children, I sign off. Good night!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Big Girl's Perfect Day

I'm really on a roll this week! I realized that I haven't put many pics of the biggest girl up lately. Well, here she is enjoying her Friday. She loves to bake. She didn't get this from me, but I am really glad to have a baker in the house! She makes great cookies, and the best banana bread any of us have ever had.

So, she started today off baking Sugar Cookies. Mmm, Mmm good.

Then, it was on to her final day of pony camp. This annual week of pony camp is a week of heaven for her. Oh, how she wants a pony! And Oh, how we just aren't gonna get one. But, we are looking into various horse-y options for her for the Fall.

The final, ultimate moment of the camp, the pony parade!

I love the purple feather boa, don't you? She's always had a bit of a flair for the dramatic.

The sun was slowly coming out as it went down this evening, and we're hoping for a sunny weekend. My mother in law has interestingly and generously invited me to go shopping with her at Nordy's tomorrow for new undies. I know! How did she know I am in serious need of an upgrade in that department. So, I'm off to go underwear shopping with my mother in law tomorrow. Now, how often do you get to say that?

After that, I'm taking middle girl to the craft store to get some new yarn. She's become quite a knitter this summer, so she needs to reload her stash. Maybe I'll get some fabric for those projects I linked you to yesterday. Maybe.

Maybe I'll post again soon!