Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life These September Days

As I wrap up week 3 of mine going back to work after a 9 month long maternity leave, I find my self longing for those slower days when I was home.   Though all the glory of postpartum healing and taking care of a newborn in a house full of older kids was not easy, I felt that I did have some control of my day and how I wanted to spend it.   The days when my membership cards to various kid places slipped out of my wallet as easily and (almost) as frequently as Visa are gone.  And the beloved public library visits? Not the first thing that comes to mind when I come home and my babies fall into my arms.

I know there are working moms out there that begin before the sun is up and make it home in time to make dinner and haul kids to various events.  I cannot even and don't know how you do it.  I love working part-time and that the schedule this school year allows me to wake up with my babies and cuddle with them in the morning.  Baths happen in the morning too and I love giving them then.

 These two are becoming pretty good buds spending a biiiiiig chunk of the day side by side.

I love that I get to send my older kids off to school with kisses and breakfast and homework (fingers crossed) and other paperwork complete.   I love that I'm home to meet them when they come from school.

But I really, really miss our outings with my younger babies.  Having a  mid-day work schedule just doesn't allow for driving across town and spending several hours exploring all things fun.

Soccer makes us go out and play on the playground while we wait for boys to finish practice and I'm grateful for that time.   Its been a pretty good Autumn so far, hoping for a rainless next 6 weeks or so.

Lemetellyou....I'm one proud mama when I see my boys out there on the field.   They got a knack for sports and I don't mind one bit.  They want to try football next fall.   I'm pretty excited about that, but not for the gear that will go along with it ;)

I'm also a one proud mama of one very responsible 12 year old.  

She got into the yearbook class this year and is taking at least two other advanced classes.  She is still taking piano (though very very reluctantly) lessons and is one of the best forwards on her soccer team.  

I spy with my little eye the most beautiful girl on a team.   Can you? ;)  
 I was twelve when I came to the United States.    Little things she does remind me of me and its a good thing as it helps me to keep things in perspective.  

~  We are trying something new this September.   The kids are not allowed to be on ANY screen during the week day.    The truth is with all the activities and homework they have going on there is just NO time for it anyway.  But, Fridays are what we call Fun Fridays when they are allowed to watch/use screens for as long as they want to as long as it doesn't interfere with dinner or outings, etc.  
It's going great so far.  We'll see if we can keep that going ;)  

Better get back to my laundry...unlike the food in my fridge, it's exactly in the same place I saw it last!  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

ISTM (It Speaks To Me) 9/5/2015

My sweet pea turned 9 months yesterday!   I have always told my friends that this age up to the time my kids start to walk is the most physically draining for me.  All of my babies are crawling by this age, but their speed is too slow for their growing brain so in order to keep up they prefer to be carried places and start wiggling out of your hands once you stop to take a break only to ask to be picked up again.  SIGN.  And don't even get me started on how teething turns the sweetest baby in the world into the sweetest baby in the world that won't sleep, drools like crazy, has all the symptoms of a cold and cries more than in all the previous 9 months!   So needless to say, not much is getting done around here and the to do list only grows and I sign more often now as I look at the things around my house that cry for my attention.  But.  I've been mothering long enough to know that 'tis too shall pass' and am trying to focus that his smile only got cuter with the 6 more (!) teeth that are coming in. 

  • My mom sent me this link with sayings about motherhood that most everyone can identify with. 

  • Our favorite family show is back.  The Voice of Russia is in its 4th season now.  I'm slowly getting over the fact that my favorite judge (love you, Pelageya!) won't be there this season.  I loved her so much that I want to name my daughter after her.  True story. 
  • Joy the Baker was right.  These BLTs are like nothing you've made before.  They were a huge hit with my teenage nephews that came to work at our house last week.  
  • On a more serious note, the stories of the Syrian refugees are so so sad.  With all the media coverage it is now impossible to be looking the other direction.  As a granddaughter of refugees who fled their country for religious freedom, I can only pretend to imagine what it is like to leave your home in order to say alive.  Ann says its best here and offers many many ways that the rest of the world can help.  
  • I don't know if I can ever get over the beautiful beaches of Hawaii.  Big Island has my heart. 

Its better with extended family there!

Friday, August 28, 2015

It Spoke To Me (ISTM) 8/28/2015

So, on an eve of mine going back to work in a few days, I get this brilliant idea to keep some articles, images, songs, quotes, recipes and/or other odd things I find interesting or inspiring or mind boggling or yummy here, in my blog, under the tag ISTM, which apparently stands for It Seems To Me for everyone else on the internet, but for my purposes it will stand for IT SPOKE/SPEAKS TO ME. You know, things you come across that you want to share with others because it spoke to you in some way?   A lot of these will come from my blog feed that I regularly read.

My goal is post at least once a week, being back in school, my job and soccer season might, just might be in a way a bit.  For what its worth, I present to you things that spoke to me this week:  

  • That family picture above from our very recent trip spoke to me.  Gulp.  Blessed beyond measure.  
  • Russian Mens Group Kvarto--love this song to include in movies and slideshows or just listen to the harmony. 

  • A yummy twist on the classic Olivie salad via Vikalinka.  Gonna try this ASAP.  

  • Found a new blog through The Art of Simple.  Though I don't ever see our family become a zero waste one, this family's lifestyle is incredible, inspiring and surprisingly fashionable. 

  • Searching to live out life through kindness.  Getting to a point where I succeed most of the time.  This quote via Mundane Faithfulness needs to be framed and read often: 
"Anger does not beget heart change; it begets shame. Yelling does not beget understanding; it begets hurt. Harsh words do not beget love; they beget humiliation. Intimidation does not beget kindness; it begets fear. Only kindness begets kindness; in fact, kindness begets love." 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Thrifted Summer Mantel

Its not too late, is it?  I finally like how my mantel is looking and need to document it for posterity ;).
Everything but the mirror, the tall black thing (what is that thing anyway?) and the letter A came from various thrift stores and I'm pretty happy about how the combo came together.  

The little blue lamps were brand new; the blue design and the white shade is what attracted me to them.  The only challenge is how to hide the chords.  I've looked at a few tutorials...maybe someday.  

The Pottery Barn shell vase I found for a few bucks at Goodwill.  Right next to it sat a large version
of it and I snatched that one too.  I absolutely love the Statue of Liberty tile that I found.  Its proper to put it on my mantel because obviously!

Decorating a mantel is challenging for me.  Its such a big focus area in our living room and I don't want to hate it everytime I look at it (and I look at a lot since one of the couches is right across from it).  I think what's missing is a succulent, but other than that I think its good to stay for a while.  But then, Fall is around the corner...

Ending this post with a picture of this beauty that I picked up at Salvation Army.  I wasn't sure it would fit into our living room and thought to put it on the deck.  But the more I look at it the more I like it here.

Plus, I did a little bit of research on it and found this:

Note the price!  Ahem....

Just like the chair on sale at One Kings Lane, mine is a repro.   But, I got mine for $7.50!  The chair didn't have a price on it so when I took it to the register, the guy told me its $15 on a half price day.  

Anyway, it will stay next to my mantel for now.  Close to its thrifted friends.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer Days

Some people have Facebook and Instagram, I have this blog to post some pics of my kiddos and things we've been up to.  If I don't,  pictures get lost in the digital sea of some program on my computer (still haven't quite mastered iCloud and its friends) and I forget the little moments that made my heart still or/and made me laugh.    I can't believe it's August and that summer is more than halfway over.  Wait, what? 

June and early July was filled with various things.  June began with Peter and the boys prepping for their backpacking trip.  It was supposed to happen on Nick's b-day, but impending camping trip and super busy schedule for my husband had to have it postponed.   If I had any idea how expensive this activity will turn out to be...gulp... I would have suggested a camping getaway since we have everything ready for that.  The boys are super excited though and the backpacks have taken half of my living room  been packed and are ready for an adventure!

First, this guy's b-day happened.   Nicolas is our oldest son and is so very much like his daddy.  Its funny, but when I was pregnant with him, I remember thinking how I would really love him to look like his father.  As I held him close during the first minutes of life,  I realized that my wish was granted!  Not only does he look like him, but he inherited his temperament and handyman skills.  He loves working with tools--I'm pretty sure he was using a hammer successfully by age 2.

He enjoys doing any time of physical tasks and is the first one outside working side by side with his dad.

He loves to think through how things work and is that kid in the family that loves to stop and smell the flowers ;)  He's kind and funny and loves being the oldest brother--sometimes a little too much.

He likes school and is a good reader.  He loves soccer and running long distance.    What I, perhaps love most about this guy, is that he is content with what he has and doesn't have many wants. He has the hardest time coming up with wish lists and doesn't ask for anything (besides junk food. sign.) at the store.   Love, love, love this boy of mine!   Happy 9th, sweet kid!

For his b-day, a few of his cousins slept over and then my sister and I took the kids to John's Incredible Pizza (probably won't be returning there for a celebration--maybe I'll elaborate why some other time).  Came home and had the ice cream cake from DQ--per his request ;)    

Then summer officially began for us.  We were just doing what we felt like--super glad I didn't plan a ton of structured activities.  

~Love these pics of kids and my colleague's dogs.  We met up at a local park and they got to hang out with them.   Danger and Ghost are their names--the kids were all over these guys!

Tim made this hat for Peter for Father's Day.  Love that it is in a shape of a crown ;).  We treated our daddy to his favorite breakfast and showered him with a few small gifts.

This picture cracks me up.  I asked the kids to kiss him right before they took off for church and this was the result.  I'm pretty sure Phillip, the  little one in the plaid shirt, is kissing his leg.   And Tim? The guy that looks like he's about to bite his brother's shoulder?  Clearly because he couldn't reach his dad's cheek in time.  Smile every time I look at it :)     

This little baby is the cutest babe ever.  Even if I say so myself!!!  He's the most chill baby in the world, loves people, such an eater and is absolutely obsessed with our coffee cups.   Mama drinks too much coffee, maybe? 

Other kids of mine, however, sometime pleasantly surprise me on busy days and choose a whole carrot for their snack.  Whatever!   

Or more predictably, an ice cream sandwich.

I am learning that my summer days are easier if I take kids ANYWHERE outside of the house to play or roam.

This little guy's first time on the swing at JJ Jump turned into about 10 times--he took full advantage of no lines that day.  

I just love this picture of Tim in his bright yellow helmet getting out there with the big kids who are much more experienced than he is.  While my older two stood back, he got in there with the rest of the crowd and didn't care that they had to navigate the skate park around him. I just love his confidence.  

 Awesome big sister! I don't know what I would do without her.  She's such a big help to me.  Her main chore now consists of washing the dishes.   Praise be-I've lived to see the day!  Being 12 is sometimes hard and the sass...  The sass!   But.  Her love for this little guy shines and she's so amazing in so many ways that it makes up for it ;)

Taking a cousin or a friend on our trips is a must according to my kids.  

(It even helps when they are doing chores) 

Sometime, getting out means I have to drive across or outside of town.  Still worth it!

Love this picture of Nick with his hand on his little brother.  He's always watching out for him.  Love to observe this from afar.  

The kids did enjoy quite a bit of boating this summer too. The baby and I haven't gone yet--not sure that he is old enough for such activity!

My mom and dad are such awesome grandparents.   Even though they both work full time, they are always just a phone call away if we need any kind of help.  Their house is always open to their grandkids whether for a weekend sleepover or a weekday play.  I just can't thank them and God enough!  Truly, truly blessed!  

My older boys are really into fishing these days.  Still learning but enjoying it a lot.    This has led me to research the trout schedules and lakes that are within an hour  away.  

Fishing allows for some swimming afterwards.  

While Philip often goes to my sister's for a playdate, this little guy gets to be tagged along to the fishing trips.    His wiggly stage makes him not such easy fishing companion, but his sweet smile makes up for it ;)

And me?  I was once asked (Hi Heather!) what I'm doing for myself these days?  When we met up last, I just had Leo and I think I answered something like--escaping the house to my part-time job?   I honestly never really thought about that question.  Maybe because I really did consider being away from the house 5 hours a day--the ME time?  I don't have many active hobbies right now mostly because I just don't have the time to commit to anything.   I did Zumba for a few years before I got pregnant but haven't been able to get back into it.    This pretty much sums up my sentiment about exercising these days:  

These days (or past few years!)  my R&R has mostly consisted of bedtime reading.  And not books, sadly, because baby in our bed +light on doesn't mix.  Sign.  I read blogs and articles of various kinds and kind of get my mind of the mundane that way.   Sometimes, I take on little decorating projects. Like collecting these plates for my nook wall.   Most of these came from thrift stores.   Many plates and $ later, I  think I nailed down this as my final selection.  Maybe.  You like?  

Now, if I can only get some ME time so that I could hang these up! 

Hope YOU are enjoying your summer as well!