Tuesday, January 31, 2012

goodbye January

And this is the mitten for you. Snow in the morning......

And 55 and sunny by the afternoon with (yellow) grassy yards to play in.

This has been the wildest winter that I can remember. The temps for the most part have remained really mild and we haven't had any real snow to speak of. Either we are going to get off lucky this year or its all waiting until we try to take a family vacation and we will get pounded. Please do not let that be the case!! We missed vacationing last year because of PorkChop's pregnancy and hubby's work schedule and I really do not want to miss it again this year. Not that I should complain. We will officially be taking a road trip because of hubby's work at the end of the week. Four days away from the every day hustle and bustle should be a good recharge for me. Now to see if PorkChop agrees since this will be his first big car trip, his first hotel stay and his first night not in his own bed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

under the sea and on the wing

Why do I dislike Mondays so much? With how I am, I really should welcome the beginning of our routine going back to normal but for some reason, I have such a hard time getting there. Even when things go super smoothly, I just feel....blah about Mondays.

Not that today went badly. It didn't. SweetPea rocked her lessons, PorkChop has been a dream baby again, still waiting on Pickle's report card and waiting to discuss Peanut and Punk's and getting ready for our first road trip of the year this weekend. So while I should be really thankful, I am just blah.

Our new recipe of the week was bread bowls with cheese and broccoli soup. I cannot wait to have dairy again. Its really hard sometimes to cook meals for the family that I know that I would enjoy if I could only eat them. And yet, I know that I can't because of PorkChop's stomach. I know that its going to come down to testing him for allergies eventually if it doesn't stop. Right now, he is still refusing any solid foods but will gladly eat paper.... which makes him vomit each and every time. He has sucked on a strawberry a time or two and that has always ended with a bright red angry rash around his mouth. We are finding that our weekend fires are having an adverse reaction as well. His eyes get very goopy, he coughs a lot and sounds wheezy. Couple that with his dairy reaction and I know that he is suffering from allergies. Doesn't surprise me since none of my children (or myself, I am finding out) can tolerate dairy but his reaction is rivaling Peanut's.

I figure that I can probably wait until he is closer to age one before asking for testing, maybe longer if I am diligent on keeping track of foods/stimuli and reactions.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

she has her mother's fashion sense

I love two year olds. I love how they talk, how they act, how they think. I love how their personality becomes more clear as they become more independent. I love how they express themselves and yes, I even love the "terrible twos" for what they are. But most of all, I love the emergence of their "self".

This picture is totally SweetPea. She does things in her own way, in her own style. You cannot tell her that she is not right because she just doesn't believe that. She has her own way of forging a new path, usually the path of the most resistance to what we as adults want.

She is funny and fun, smart and sassy, a child after my own heart. She loves wearing shoes but hates putting shoes on when she should be wearing them. She would spend hours playing dress-up but hates getting dressed. Mealtimes? Forget it! Lately, food has become a major battle because she only wants "nola bars" or cereal or fruit. But if you offer one of those things without her asking, then they immediately go onto the forbidden list.

SweetPea loves all her siblings but I would have to say that PorkChop has the biggest place in her heart. Sometimes, I think that she honestly forgets that he is not HER baby. Most times, I know that she believes me incapable of hearing his cries. She is his second mother and heaven help the person that upsets HER man cub.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

making time for baking

While this sweet little face napped this morning (yes, I am seriously in love with the little dimples on PorkChop's hands and try to capture those every chance I get since I was noticing the other day that I cannot remember when SweetPea lost hers but that she definitely has "preschool" hands now vs sweet baby fingers or chubby toddler hands), I cruised around gathering our recipes/menu for this coming week.

For our new meal, I decided to try making bread bowls. Not only do I know that hubby enjoys them but they would fit in nicely with our tot school "B" theme. I am going to make them with a cheddar and broccoli soup since I think that that might be the best choice for our newly picky SweetPea.

I also found a recipe for homemade Samoas! If you do not know what those are, they are a girl scout cookie made with caramel, coconut and chocolate! And they are fantastic! So I added those to our shopping list and SweetPea and I tried making them tonight.

Wow! Can I say that not only did our house smell delicious while they were cooking but everyone here LOVED them! Thank you pinterest for having this recipe where I could pin it. Pickle didn't praise them much (because, let's face it, 14yr old boys do NOT sing praises to cookies) but he did ask if he could have a second bar. Hubby told me not to plan on any being left for Peanut and Punk tomorrow when they get home, so I know that he enjoyed them as well.

I am going to have to add these to our "C" themed week when we get there. Just because its a good excuse to make them again so soon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday school updates

Ahh... Friday! Finally! Not that it really IS a Friday for us since hubby has been working seven days a week but it means that (children willing), I can sleep in for the next two days. Which is really more of a pipe dream when you have a small toddler and an infant but eh... sometimes, I need to dream the American dream of getting to sleep in on the weekend.

This week, SweetPea and I worked on the letter B. We changed our "The _ says _" song to reflect our new letter, we have been working on learning "Rub a Dub Dub" and "I'm Scooping up my Baby Bumble Bee". Of course, we haven't stopped singing "Apples and Bananas" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and I don't think that we will be any time soon. SweetPea seems to learn best through song and repetition and can sing those little tunes much quicker than she can identify her letters and numbers. I am really not sure if its the age or her personality but for two, I will run with it.

This week, we played with feathers (and made a bird out of the letter B), baked "brownies" (which we used picture directions so SweetPea "read" them to me... and later recited them to a very impressed daddy) and my sister took SweetPea to the movies. She was supposed to see Beauty and the Beast to stick with our B theme but SweetPea BEGGED for Chipmunks when she got there. Not sure how to fit that in with our theme but she had fun.

We have been continuing our study on the calendar and the weather, starting to work more and more on "Today is.... Yesterday was... Tomorrow will be...". I am not sure that its really sticking yet but I have heard her use those words more and more during her play.

Next week, since we will still be working on B (and reviewing A), I am planning on another baking day, a scavenger hunt through the house for her letters and maybe a teddy "bear" picnic.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have heard some real doozies this week and wanted to make sure to mark them down before I forget them.

SweetPea on her third birthday party: "I want a dinosaur party. With a dinosaur cake. But no T-Rex. He eats people. I can't have him eating people at my party. That not cool."

Pickle: "Tater tots aren't potatoes. They are tater tots. They come frozen from other tater tots."

Punk: "I don't want to do the school science fair. Its too much work." (Like time I checked, it was not optional and I told him so. That was his response.)

Peanut: "I brush my teeth every morning. Except when I forget. Then I make sure to brush them twice before bed." (As if brushing them twice in five minutes really makes up for not brushing them all day long)

PorkChop has learned to shake his head no. Its really cute right now since he just does it when you ask him to say no but I am guessing that it won't be so cute when he is older and starts TELLING me no. I also caught him on video this week telling me "blah blah blah" when I talked to him. Maybe he already has child hearing and me talking to him, no matter how sweetly, just sounds like the Peanut adults.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

sneak peek

Finally getting a chance to show this. I finished this on Sunday but it was dark by the time that I had it blocked and dry. Monday and Tuesday, the weather was too yucky out to try and photograph it. Even today, the skies have been overcast and just not the greatest for doing a "real" shot. But I am done waiting, I want to share.

I knit this shawl for a very dear friend. Still haven't had a chance to get it to her because I really want to see her face when she receives it, not just get an email or a phone call about what she thinks. I wanted to give up a few times because I came across a stitch that was giving me fits. But I found a way to alter the pattern enough that I could manage and I am so glad that I did! I actually now have a few more shawls on my "to knit" list because of this one.

I don't know what kind of yarn I used or the weight since it was gifted to me over a year ago. But I can say that I think that it was a fingering weight or possibly a sock weight. Its a blue and purple mix colorway. I knit this on size 4 needles. And I secretly want to keep this project too but like the owl longies, I am being good and sending them on their way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

lather, rinse, repeat

Ever feel like every day is a repeat of the day before? Like you are stuck in the movie "Ground Hog's Day" just repeating over and over and over again?

The picture pretty much sums up my days lately. Pick up the baby, snap some pictures, chase the toddler, snap some pictures, put baby down to play, snap some pictures, clean something up, snap some pictures, pick up the baby, later, rinse, repeat.

Don't get me wrong though... I love my life. I love my family. I love doing for them, with them, because of them. But sometimes, I need a break from the routine. A chance to stop and take a breather and not feel like I am letting someone down because I need that "me" time. I have been dealing with daily migraines since Saturday afternoon. Four days of migraines has left me pretty toasted. I don't feel like I am giving my 100% to anyone or anything right now and its wearing on me too. I really think that I need to take a "me" break but I know that so do others in this house.

Report cards came out today and they showed me that something needs to give around here. The grades I saw were terrible... when I know that my kids can do better. Attitudes around here stink lately... and I know that I am just as guilty as the next. Chores have become a chore, to put it lightly. And they need not be that much of a struggle.

I think that its time to revamp our lives again. Family night just isn't cutting it anymore. Its almost like there is too much boiling right under the surface that needs to come to a head before someone explodes. And I am not even sure that its going to be me this time that loses it first.

But for now, I am taking on more. Maybe during the next six weeks the kids can get back on track with what is really important right now in their lives and I can earn that break. Until then... lather, rinse, repeat.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Patience is a virtue that I am sometimes seriously lacking in. Patience is something that I would like to pass on to my children in abundance, maybe to make up for my shortcomings in that department.

Today, I exercised patience by allowing SweetPea the chance to "dress" PorkChop. It was a test on all of our parts. SweetPea was getting frustrated by the fact that PorkChop's arms wouldn't hold still. PorkChop was getting antsy because he wanted to roll around and play, not wait to be clothed. Mama was anxious because her babies were getting riled up. But in the end?

SweetPea fought the onesie and she won! Can you tell that she was one very proud big sissy?

Tot school this week, we are focusing on the letter B. Its been a nice change even just today from singing our last week's songs to adding new ones. Of course, SweetPea is still demanding that we sing said songs ad nauseum but what should I really expect? She is a toddler and LOVES music.

Today was very sweetened by the fact that my newest shipment of yarns arrived. *swoon* I got the wool in that I need to knit PorkChop's dino dude longies, his Andalusia sweater (which I don't plan on starting until March 1.... but at this rate, it will be done BY March 1 instead) and SweetPea's Lavanda sweater. I originally had planned on knitting the sweater and then adding some dino dude buttons but looking at the color, feeling the yarn and picturing it completed in my head, I am now thinking that I am going to go with "You Are My Sunshine" themed buttons.

Looking at my "to do" list for this week, I managed to cut out the first pattern and cut out the material! Now I just need to find the time to sew the costume.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

loving lazy Sundays

I am really loving our stay at home, do absolutely nothing of import, Sundays. After the hectic-ness of the week, I think that we all do better having a day to just kick back and relax. Not that we did "absolutely nothing" today. I got what I needed for another of SweetPea's birthday presents (making her a set of army fatigues for her dress-up trunk), I finished project pay it forward 1 (which I will share pics of after I give it to the special someone), hubby kept a fire in the hearth and cooked us a delicious dinner. We played outside with SweetPea in our "first major snowfall of the season" (which was an inch.... pathetic!) and even got to watch a movie with the entire family.

But it was still a "down" day and a much needed one. We are almost 100% positive that we will be taking a road trip for hubby's job the first weekend of February so that is going to cut down on my sewing time. Which means that I am going to have to start busting tail to get the rest of the gifts done before SweetPea's third birthday. I also need to find the time to sew her her birthday outfit. I was going to make her something for Valentine's day as well until I realized that her party is most likely going to BE on Valentine's day. And for some reason, dinosaurs and little dainty hearts just don't mix well for me.

So my goals for this week... Work on a better lesson plan system so I am not waiting until the last minute to print things out. Start (and hopefully finish) dress-up outfit number 1. Start (and hopefully finish) PorkChop's special longies. Try to at least cut out the rest of SweetPea's birthday shirt since I am going to have to piece fabric together to make it long enough. Make sure to get my time in each and every day on the treadmill since it helps keep me centered. And try to find the time to read more since I am really loving "Clash of Kings"!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy six months!

Happy six months, my sweet little PorkChop!

Its so hard to believe that its been six months since I was blessed with this sweet little face. Six months since he made his very quick, and very much not anticipated arrival. Six months since I first held him, first laid my hands (and eyes) on him, first time I scooped him close to my heart.

PorkChop is now 28 inches long, weighing in at 17 and a half pounds and has a little melon head of 16.5 inches. I cannot believe how quickly he is growing and changing!

Some milestone markers that we have now hit.... PorkChop babbles mama quite a bit, especially when he wants my attention. He is starting to work on the "da" sound as well. He is trying very hard to figure out how to change that cool swimming motion into a forward movement, although he does inchworm pretty well (I guess that's really army crawling?) when he loses a "sucka" on his travels and exploits. He has turned into a little hair pulling demon towards SweetPea and only SweetPea. For some reason, he just loves the feel of her hair.

Loves... He cannot be far from a sucka and almost nothing makes him happier than sitting up playing on the bed surrounded by a pile of them. He also has absolutely no interest in solids, much preferring the boob for nourishment. Which is a good thing since he is still lacking any teeth. He is starting to become a bit "linus" obsessed but no where near as much as big sissy is. He still loves his music and bouncing though and is the happiest little man that I have ever seen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

ending set A

Today ended two weeks of tot school. We finished up our letter A/number 1 set today. I will say, that SweetPea now knows that we are in the month of January, that its supposed to be winter with "lots of snow to go skating like this" (insert a mental picture of a two year old acting like she is skiing only with socks on a wood floor instead of on snow), who can identify the letter A and sometimes the number 1 (but has no trouble counting out one item) and who now has a mad passion for the song "I like to eat apples and bananas".

All in all, it went really well. She showed me that she can use scissors, knows how to hold a crayon correctly and that she is really into memorization and song vs "writing" out to learn. Crafting is a big hit but gluing is not so much fun. I think that next year when we revisit the letter A (want to briefly touch on it for a week next year and then by kinder, we should be golden), we will work more on the phonics aspect instead of just the letter sound.

PorkChop has had a busy week as well. He has been practicing getting his knees underneath him, learning to say "mama" (and yes, it totally melts my heart when he does it) and best of all, I caught a video of him the other night telling me "blah blah blah" whenever I would say it to him. Makes me think that when I talk, all he hears is the Peanuts' adult-speak.

Next week, we will start our unit on the letter B, the number 2 and since we worked on the color red this week, I think that we might pursue a color of choice (most likely yellow since bananas are yellow) as well. I really need to get better at planning out and structuring our bi-weekly lessons. Oh well, maybe I can just add another goal to my list.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened...............
Or you can just leave the pieces on the floor, and move the hell on."

This is a good quote for me to remember this month. Only halfway through the month and yet, I have come to blows twice already. What a start to the new year.

But I have chosen, from both times, to move on. To accept the apologies, to understand that misunderstandings are a part of life, to acknowledge that my heart can be broken but that I can pick up the pieces and move on. Because I have the power to forgive. I can be a bigger person and not dwell on the shortcomings of others... or myself. I need to learn to be a better person this year and I am starting now.

I won't discuss the two incidences other than to say that they happened, that they were personal, and that both times, I was just as much in the "wrong" of these misunderstandings. But maybe they help us grow... learning to say "I'm sorry". Learning to admit that you can desire something that you can't have.

This year will be a year of personal and spiritual growth for me. I want to be a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better person.... And I know that I can. I just need to take the plunge, quit dwelling on the past and sometimes, just leave the pieces where they fall and move on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

on your mark, get set....

Five and a half months is just a bit too soon for this....

Thankfully, PorkChop agrees. But he has been getting his little knees underneath himself since right after Christmas. He hasn't learned balance yet, or how to coordinate moving his hands and his knees together but the time is quickly approaching. He can "swim" on his tummy pretty well and he is building strength each and every day. Peanut and SweetPea both started crawling during their sixth month and I am guessing that PorkChop won't be far behind that mark.

I am not ready for my baby to be that mobile. I am not ready to lose my little slug that likes to cuddle on my chest with his sweet head on my shoulder. I am not ready to be chasing another "baby" through the house. I want to freeze him at this stage, this age, and just watch... and wait... and wonder.

I know that babies grow. I know that I cannot keep him a "baby" forever. And in actuality, I don't want to stunt his development. I want to be as proud of him and his accomplishments and he himself is when he gets his little knees underneath himself, when he pushes himself up on his hands and smiles. And I am proud. My heart could burst with pride when I see his beaming face. Its a bittersweet time... letting my baby grow. But I can always look back and remember these times. And I can share those stories with him as he grows.

My baby. <3

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

a whole new skill

Learning new skills is always a major milestone. We as parents remember those first words, first steps, first smiles and laughs. We reward the first time our children can tie their shoes, write their name, recite the alphabet. They are things to be proud of because it means that our "babies" are growing older and learning.

Today, we had one of those milestones here.... SweetPea showed me that she can use scissors!

Yes, I said that I would save my home schooling updates for Fridays but I am so proud of her! On a whim, we bought SweetPea a pair of scissors this weekend so she could "practice" cutting. I figure that since she is close enough to three that its a good time to start working more on fine motor skills, especially since daddy has been noticing little things that scare him because of Pickle. I don't think that we need to be concerned for now.

Not only can SweetPea cut along a line but she can apparently WRITE too! Sure, it was just the number one but she was writing it ON HER OWN! She has been showing me how to "trace" the letter A for about a week now so I am not sure why I am shocked over her writing ones all over her paper. But it did make me proud. Just another sign that my "baby" girl is growing up, maturing, learning....

Before I know it, she won't be my little toddler anymore. She is going to be a preschooler.

Monday, January 16, 2012

new recipe resolutions

Part of my New Year's Resolutions for this year was to try new recipes. I want to try a new one at least each week, every other week. Why? Because its too easy to fall into a routine of the same old, same old and just stick with what is comfortable.

So I have been pouring over my cookbooks, the internet, asking friends and family... anything to inspire me to reach beyond my personal comfort zone and try to broaden my family's horizons.

Today? I made spinach and sun-dried tomato chicken breasts in the crock pot.

This? Was amazing! Hubby assured me that it was much better with the feta cheese (I cannot have dairy right now because of PorkChop) but even without, I really enjoyed it! It was recommended to be served with polenta but since I have never made it (heard of it, tasted it, etc), I opted to serve this over rice with broccoli on the side.

SweetPea wasn't too impressed but she hasn't been impressed with much lately, food-wise. The older kids, as they came home, all expressed interest in getting to try this dish too based on the smell. So I will probably be making this one again before the month is over.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

pay it forward 2012

I posted on facebook at the beginning of the year a status about "paying it forward". It is a really simple request... The first five people to comment, I would hand craft a gift for them as long as they "paid it forward" by posting the same status. The hand crafted part could be anything homemade that comes from the heart... even a simple cup of coffee shared between friends would suffice. As long as it wasn't a purchased Starbucks handed to someone.

I have already decided on what to make for three of my five people. Possibly four. And for some odd reason, in true "me" fashion, I started with the hardest, most time consuming one of the group.

I will share a picture when this is done but here is project "pay it forward" gift one. This is going to the home of someone very warm and caring that I just met this year. She is a beautiful person, both inside and out and I am very honored to count her as a friend. I am not even sure what prompted me to make this for her other than I think that it will be cherished. Never will she hear how this is actually my least favorite thing to do because its nerve-wracking and takes so much time and concentration. But I think that that's why I chose it for her at the same time. She always seems to be taking the time to enjoy things, never seeming rushed or hurried. She is patient and loving with a good spirit.

Honestly? If I had put any real "thought" into this, I think that I would have chosen this very gift for her. But instead, I let my muse speak for the both of us and I think that it worked out well. My heart obviously knew what my brain would have balked at and for that, I am very grateful.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

just another busy day

The weekends always seem to take forever to get here but then before I know it, they are over. Maybe because its our only real time with hubby some what here or maybe its because I relish the thought of the chance of sleeping in. Who knows? Could be that they are over so quick because we do so much running around and errands into such a short amount of time. Or it could be because of weekends like this one where hubby has to work late on Saturdays and has the potential to get called in on Sunday too. *sigh*

We try to fit fun into our weekends but the highlight of today was going out to dinner as a family of four. Yep, really exciting times. But I think that after the stress of the holidays, we are all just wanting a bit more down time at home. None of us felt the need to be on the "go" all weekend so we didn't make plans. None of us felt the need to be out in the frosty winds so we chose just errands.

Hopefully, we will get some snow here soon so we can go sledding together as a family one of these weekends. I know that we have SweetPea's birthday weekend celebrations decided upon and the possibility of a road trip out of state coming up too. Maybe that's why the pull is to stay home, cuddled under blankets, with a fire roaring....

Friday, January 13, 2012

almost perfect

Almost perfect.... Yes, this "beautiful purple sweater" is almost perfect. Why almost? Because my little fashionista decided to tell me that she wants a sweater that comes down to mid-thigh. This one will be perfect when it "grows bigger bigger bigger". Sadly, someone needs to tell her that sweaters do not grow and that this one WAS sized a bit bigger to ensure that it would make it through the spring and into the fall.

Thankfully, sweater yarn for number two has been ordered. And it will be a mid-thigh length sweater. If I can push it out soon enough, it will be part of her birthday present/outfit. A wonderful friend of mine gifted me a half yard of some awesome Dino Dude knit from the Michael Moore collection. I matched the yellow of that pretty closely with a beautiful gold color for her sweater and then will be ordering some dino themed buttons for the front. Pairing that with a little tiered skirt in the matching colors (thinking lime, orange and turquoise) and she will have her "birthday" outfit. This sweater was supposed to be her "birthday" sweater and it still will be... Just for her three year pictures instead of party wear. But its cute and festive and girly and I know that it will get tons of use. Especially after it "grows" a bit.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

week one in review

I was going to review our week on Friday but I am thinking now that four days might be plenty for a not quite three year old. I don't want to burn SweetPea out and I don't want to burn myself out either. We can still "do" things on Fridays but I think that those are going to be our "fun" days instead of another structured day. Who knows though? I could change my mind next week, next month, whenever.

This week, we worked on the letter A. I taught SweetPea a cute song that I remembered doing with Punk teaching the different sounds of the letters. Along with Yankee Doodle, we have both been walking around singing it all week long. She still doesn't recognize the A if she finds it in a random word, but she does walk by her A print out a few times a day and reassures herself that she can still see her "ah" on the wall.

For math, we dabbled at sequencing, the number 1 and counting out 1 of things, and shapes. For science, we have been talking about the seasons and weather. That will be on-going regardless of what else we may be playing with that week. I want SweetPea to understand that on rainy days, we plan indoor activities. On warm, sunny days, she can prepare to have plenty of outside time. My hopes is that by teaching her now about the weather that she will stop the fighting about WHY she can't do this or that and learn to plan accordingly.

I printed out a sheet with 100 books to read to your kindergartener and started working from that list. My goal is to read two of those books each week for this entire year. Then repeat next year and the year after. This week, we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?". Sure, neither have anything to do with apples, the letter A or the number 1 but we enjoy those stories immensely and it was a good "jumping off" point.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

in over my head?

I love pattern searching, clothing planning, color schemes, the end result... Sometimes, I get overly ambitious though and try to see how far I can stretch my talents, my patience and my time. I really think that this might be one of those times. I found this pattern (Lavanda) and fell in love. I really think that it says SweetPea to me. I can picture it in a yellowish-gold with long sleeves and the full hood. And it fits her many criteria for a "good sweater". But its cabled, everywhere! And it has pockets, which I have never done. And all new, weird to me increases. But its gorgeous. And I will be knitting it soon.

I got loosely talked into doing a "project 12 in 2012" that started off as twelve sweaters in 2012. It was later changed to just twelve projects but I think that I want to keep the sweater theme. Maybe not all sweaters, but sweaters, vests, shawls, shrugs....

So far, I have almost completed the Saffron for January. Lavanda will be February's knit, although I will probably start it early so I can give it to SweetPea for her birthday. March will be an Andalusia for PorkChop. April, I am thinking about Sea Princess and putting it up for the fall. May is going to be a Spring Butterfly. June and July will be set aside for shawls..... I have one that I want to make up to give away to a special friend and I want one for the Renaissance Festival. August, I am contemplating doing up a Fratello. And that's about as far as I have gotten. In over my head? Definitely! But its fun planning and dreaming either way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

never too young to start

To me, there is little more precious than the interaction between siblings. I whole heartedly love mine and adore the time that we can spend together. I am thrilled that my children are being raised in a large family with plenty of siblings to go around. It means that you always have a friend nearby, you always have someone you can count on, to learn from and lean on, to share your secrets, to fight with.... to grow.

I was worried how SweetPea would take PorkChop's arrival and was pleasantly surprised when after a few days, she totally came around. She never had any jealousy towards the new baby, more of an apprehension towards her parents. Now, five months later, PorkChop is one of her many self-proclaimed "best friends".

It was music to my ears this morning during our story time to watch SweetPea pointing out things in the book that PorkChop was amusing himself with, telling him the names of the pictures, explaining to him what the items did, imitating animal noises. It was equally endearing to watch PorkChop look up at her with his big, round eyes full of wonder. You could see that she was taking the role of teacher very seriously and her student was watching with all the hero worship that a baby brings to his older siblings.

I only managed to read two stories today, in fact, before SweetPea asked for her own "turn" to read to PorkChop. I allowed him to "sit" in her lap while she put her arms around him to keep him safe, barely managing to hold "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" in front of them both. She then told him to pay attention as she recited the book to her baby brother.

So precious!

I don't expect every day to be like this. Watching the three older ones tattle and fight and squeal and cry is enough to break the fantasy of a totally loving household of children. But its the moments like this, when I can sit back and just peek at my two youngest engaged in an activity together than my heart swells with pride at my family.

Monday, January 9, 2012

school is now in session

After months of talking about and planning, I finally took the plunge this morning back into unorganized home schooling. I say unorganized because, let's face it.... preschool at home isn't really anything more than BEING part of a family. I truly believe that unschooling in the early years is the best form of "education" out there. That being said, SweetPea thrives on structure and has been missing our daily activities that we did during our 25 days of Christmas countdown. Since I don't want to wait until Valentine's day to begin another round, I figured that a loosely based preschool curriculum might be our best bet.

We started our morning by checking the weather and picking out the appropriate tags for today. Then we discussed what month we are in, which day of the week and the date. We talked about seasons and what happens during each one.

SweetPea is already pretty adept at counting and knowing the alphabet (though she still needs help with order on both), I started today introducing the letter A and the sounds that A makes. We also did some math in sequences apples from largest to smallest and smallest to largest. Both of which showed me that she has already mastered that skill along with easy patterns but she doesn't care a lick for phonics yet. All in good time though. I can say that I am thoroughly impressed with what my not yet three year old knows.

I figure that once a week, probably on Fridays, I will blog about our school week. I don't want to do it every day because it takes away from the other little things that I would like to say. But a weekly recap sounds like a good compromise to me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

another weekend gone

With hubby working seven days a week right now, the weekends seem to drift by just as quickly as the weeks do. Trying to cram so much into two short days is just leaving all of us in need of a break. Hopefully, one is coming soon although I refuse to count on those breaks any more without some written guarantee. Let's just say though that the beginning of February might have just the "break" that the littles and I need.

Today should have been dubbed "crafting day" here because it seems that we got a lot accomplished. Ok, so I got a lot accomplished. Which is good since I resolved this year to not stress about projects and allow myself ample time to finish everything. Hubby gave me the afternoon off so I worked on SweetPea's apron for her birthday and got that finished. Worked on her birthday sweater too and am making good headway there.

Then after that, I helped Peanut and SweetPea "sew" their Build a Bears that they got for Christmas from Nonna. SweetPea got a little cheerleader bear while Peanut got a hot pink leopard in a prom dress. Both very cute and pretty fitting of the girls' personalities. Of course, SweetPea just wanted to stuff her bear and dress it but Peanut did her entire leopard on her own. It was nice getting to spend an hour holed up in a bedroom with just my daughters, imparting on them something that I enjoy.

After dinner, hubby was talking about Cedar Point for some reason which led to a family camp-out in front of the computer, watching POV videos from the park. We also discovered that they are opening up a new area come May.... Dinosaurs Alive. Yes, SweetPea saw it and now we are saving to take all the kids there this summer. I am pulling for May actually because the thought of wearing PorkChop in 100degree heat just doesn't sound appealing. That and it would be easier to not have to go on a weekend when its super crowded. If it happens though, Peanut will finally be tall enough to ride the roller coasters like she has been wanting. Then in another few years, we get to go back when SweetPea is tall enough. Funny how that works.... Neither of the older boys are too keen on riding them but the little girls both are our daredevils!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

making time for "Memory"

Its a rarity that we have the entire tribe home with us on the weekends but that's what we have today... a full house. Its Pickle's weekend to be here with us and my x declined getting our two so its been a madhouse times seven. Which hasn't been too bad and made grocery shopping very interesting to say the least. But since its not an every weekend thing, we just made the best of it. All of us. Together.

The kids all got gift cards from my aunt for Christmas so combined that with their Christmas money from other relatives and we had children demanding to spend, spend, SPEND! We didn't find anything yet for PorkChop but SweetPea picked out a new board game... Memory. Hubby was a bit unsure if she was ready for it even though she tackled Candyland with no trouble. Boy was he in for a shock!

Not only is she more than ready for the game, but she went undefeated in three matches tonight!And that was without us not trying. She just proved that she has the memory of an elephant! She is a little bit unsure of waiting turns when she knows where the match is but I figure that that will come with time. What I am not sure about is how many family members are going to be willing to play with her now that she is the reigning board game queen!

Friday, January 6, 2012

every Princess deserves a castle

Acrylic paints + one busy 2 year old = one messy kitchen table but a wonderful morning

Since today might be our last "non-structured" day for a while, I figured that it was a good time to break out the ceramics and paints and let SweetPea totally go to town. And it was a major success! I am definitely going to have to start thinking about getting her an easel and a smock as one of her birthday presents... or maybe wait and build her a painting area this summer in the garage. She adores coloring and doing any type of crafts and the painting especially seemed to be soothing... maybe because its not a "free choice" activity.

She also really surprised me today but showing me that she understands the concept of addition! While playing with some buttons this morning, she told me that she had three green buttons. Which she did. Then she showed me that she also had one yellow button. And that three green buttons "put with" one yellow buttons makes "four buttons for SweetPea". Wow! It makes me feel better about my choice to begin some light preschool work with her because she is obviously ready!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

all boy

I don't cater to the whole "boy toys" or "girl games" mentality. My sons have (or will have) baby dolls. My girls play with cars and power tools. I often have one or more boys in the kitchen baking with me. SweetPea in particular loves hanging out with her daddy in the garage building things. But that doesn't mean that those "roles" never appear.

Take PorkChop.... Of all the toys that he has, his favorites are an Eric Carle lady bug that has different teethers on it and little cars. He doesn't care if they are his blue and red cars or SweetPea's purple and pink cars. He just loves cars.

Watching him lay on his tummy and stare so intently at his little movers gives me pause and reminds me that not too far from here, those little hands are going to be begging for the keys to the family car. Those sweet little fingers that right now just push his cars to and fro are going to be filling in the answers to obtain his license. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding a brand new life in my hands when in reality, its been almost five and a half months already. Even more stunning is looking at Punk and realizing that my first "baby" is going to be twelve in a few months time. Or that our oldest stepson will be getting his learner's permit come February and that Pickle is not far behind.

Some days, I just want to freeze time in a bottle and not let any of them grow up. Other days, as I listen to my children all playing together, I realize that by capturing the memories of these fleeting moments, I am freezing time. I am keeping those precious memories close to my heart and still allowing them all to grow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

taking our sweet time

Ever just sit back and enjoy the moment at hand? Not worrying about what's coming next or how its going to get here, just living in the moment at present? I really think that I should have made that one of my personal goals for this year. Especially since I am such a planner, such a "do-er", such a "need to constantly fill each and every second of my day" person.

As I watched PorkChop nap today and listened to SweetPea "read" a story to herself, I realized that I don't have to be so structured. Yes, both my littles thrive on a routine too. I notice that they both behave better when we follow our normal day. Daddy came home early today and while everyone was happy to see him, it still changed our line-up.

PorkChop refused his afternoon nap. SweetPea woke up earlier than normal and was crabby as a result. The older kids failed to do what they should have been doing in the novelty that dad was home with them after school. I am not saying that it was a bad thing having hubby here with me more, just that it showed me just how dependent we all are on the lives that we have made.

Hubby being home early did give me time to finish "Little Men". So my first classic of 2012 has now been completed. I started "Game of Thrones" but am having a hard time staying focused on it. Hubby loves it though so I am going to keep plucking away. I also managed to finish my first gift of the year, the longies that I shared yesterday. Now I just need to wait for the chart that I ordered to duplicate stitch on them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 in 12 project one

I am still not even sure if I am going to count this towards the "12 in 12" series or not. On one hand, one of the groups that I am in said originally "12 sweaters in 12 months" but later changed it to 12 knit items. Hence, this would qualify. But I am tempted to dabble at 12 different sweaters because it sounds like a good challenge to me. I could count this though towards my other "12 in 12" group since that is just 12 crafted items. Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Ether way, my first official project of 2012 is underway. I began these longies on New Year's day and hope to finish them (and have them mailed) by this weekend. Right now, I would be sorely tempted to keep them if PorkChop was a little girl or if we were planning on anymore little ones. Yes, they are that cute.

Instead, this pair will be finding a new home. Or, more technically, they are being knit specifically for a special home. I began them as a pair of Hello Kitty longies but the more that I look at them, the more I am thinking ballet-themed. I guess that I could always ask the recipient's mother what she thinks but that would ruin the surprise. Grr... I wish that I was better at making decisions.

Monday, January 2, 2012

making memories

That's what my hubby said to me yesterday. "I want to do something with the family... take the time to make some memories." After much debating and scoping out places, we decided to take our P's to some place where its Christmas all year round.... Canterbury Village.

Now, we really should have checked out the weather when planning this little trip because it was cold! As in, freezing cold. And the village being outside (120 acres of "village" to be exact), in January, with wind chills in the single digits and a light snow falling, it was fun. But it really was fun. Even if most of the shops were closed because they are not open on Mondays.

PorkChop nestled inside daddy's coat and enjoyed snoozing in the fresh air. SweetPea loved all the decorations that were out and getting to "see" Santa and his reindeer again. Peanut loved the pet shop and kept remarking how so and so "needed" such and such thing. Punk enjoyed getting to take pictures of whatever struck his fancy, mainly the "Goblet of Fire" outside the clock shop and the animatronics inside the second largest Christmas store in the mitten.

Hubby treated everyone (well, most everyone) to some delicious homemade fudge from the candy shop inside the village. I even got to pick what flavor I would like best, just to find out that its made with real cream. Bummer. So my delicious double chocolate raspberry fudge will be finding a new home inside of hubby's stomach.

We have already made plans to go back to the Christmas village come this summer when the weather is nicer and we are in need of a holiday fix. Or maybe we will get adventurous this year and take the kids to the largest Christmas store in America. I definitely wouldn't mind a stop there for some fried chicken.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Its hard to believe that a new year is already upon us. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that I had just announced "Gravy's" impending arrival and was waiting for SweetPea to turn the big two. And now look at us... SweetPea is almost three and our little man PorkChop is here and healthy. Being that it is a new year though, I think that its time to hold myself accountable for what I would like to accomplish this year.

For my children, I want to keep our family night going. I realize that its going to be hard soon with both soccer and baseball starting up again but I want to try. I want to continue tandem nursing as long as SweetPea wants and be able to hit those same goals with PorkChop. I want to continue "greening" up our lifestyle by really focusing on our garden and household living this year. I want to try a new recipe every week to every two weeks so we can switch things up a bit more. I want to work on my photography skills again this year, especially since I see improvements from last year to this already. I want to keep up with my "12 projects in 12 months" group, as long as make sure to complete another 365 photo blog. Which, in all honestly, will probably take place here since I am planning on being a more faithful blogger again. I want to get back into a homeschooling routine, right now with just SweetPea, but I want that connection again. I want to start becoming healthier, not just in body but in mind as well. I want to work on all my relationships and become a better, more rounded person. I also want to read a new classic each month and still make time for some "fluff" reading as well.