Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Child Labor Laws

I'm so excited to finally be entering that fun stage of motherhood--kind of like a secret club!

Yes, my firstborn is finally at the age where he can actually help me when he endeavors to help me!

It's awesome.  I'm starting out with little things.  No longer am I the envious mom on the outside who watches in total surprise as my other mom-friends nonchalantly ask their oldest to do complicated tasks like serve food to younger siblings, help out in the car, or even--now I haven't quite made it here yet, clean the kitchen.  Yes.  It is true.  Some kids actually help their moms with complex tasks that involve breakable items!

Now, my kids have their own chores, but I try to limit them to stuff that actually ends up being helpful instead of stuff that will take 5 times as long for them to do and result in frustration for both of us.  For my six year-old, I stole the chore idea of wiping down the sink and toilet with Lysol wipes and emptying the bathroom trash from one of my mom-friends.
Go figure, he loves to do it, and I love not having toothpaste caked to the sink daily.  It's win-win.

My four year-old is another story-- her one chore required of her daily is just to clean up after herself in the toys department, and that doesn't come about without lots of whining and complaining about phantom leg maladies and crippling fatigue.  It's a work in progress.

But the real corner was turned this week-- I realized that, in my big new Expedition Beast, where I have to climb in the backseat to reach the 3 year-old's seatbelt-- I can have him buckle and unbuckle her.  This was a major revelation.  This morning I hopped into the front seat and marveled.  No climbing into the back??  No twisting my clothes all around whilst hanging halfway over seats?  No bruises from contorting my body in ways it's not supposed to go??  Not even hitting my head on the ceiling, messing up my hair and breaking my sunglasses!!  I just couldn't believe how wonderful that felt.

So as I ruminate on my new ease of existence, I think greedily back to the mother of all kid-chores... the kitchen...

*Choir singing, light shining from heaven*

Perhaps someday soon.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kid quotes

Here's a collection of some of the fun things my kids have said that I actually remembered to write down.

Adrian: Mom, are there allergies in this pillow?
Me: Uh... what ARE allergies?
Adrian: The stuff inside rice, that you cook it and it makes rice!
Me: Uhhh, no.
Adrian, while playing with a pillow stuffed with the white squishy beads.

“The Bad Queen drank too much water, [....] and turned into a new lady!”
—Adrian, Describing the movie 'Snow White'

Becca: Remember the bad lady dropped her sippy cup?
--About the evil queen in Snow White

“Hey, Daddy, this makes me get a beard on my chest, like you!”
—Adrian, after getting caught sneaking a drink of Daddy's beer.

“Look, Mommy! There's a big Black Squidow crawling on the rocks!”

Adrian:  “Emma needs to drink some juice because she's compontided!" 
Me:       "Constipated??" 
Adrian:  "Yeah!”

“But I don't WANT to get tired!!”
—Adrian, sobbing, after being told that he was obviously getting tired.

“I want to eat some vegetables so they can grow me up.”
“For (In) ten minutes I will be a Jedi because I am not a big boy yet.”

“Bow to me! I will never bow to you! I will broke you into pieces! ”
—Adrian, Acting out a scene from Star Wars.

“..and thank you for Darth Vader killing good guys...”
—Adrian, During his bedtime prayers.

“NO! He's NOT a bad guy! He doesn't have a gun!”
—Adrian, Sharing his thoughts on our creepy neighbor during a stranger danger talk.

“My Mommy says I can't talk to you because you're a bad guy!”
—Adrian, yelled to our slightly creepy neighbor soon after a "stranger danger" talk

“Baby Emma cries, and poops, and it's gross.”
—Adrian, laughingly telling folks at church about his new sister.

“My stomach hurts! See? (opens mouth)”

“You wanna piece of meat?!?”
—Adrian, Adrian, challenging us in a roughhousing game, instead of "you wanna piece of me??"

Does she have ants on her?Adrian, after hearing me call Emma "antsy"
You finished your dinner!! Good MAN!Becca, To Daddy, instead of "good boy"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Long and Short of Sales

So the process of moving begins! We are in 60-day escrow, I feel like I can let a breath out that it's actually happening! We first began pursuing a short-sale before the beginning of 2011. At first the realtor wouldn't even talk to us without us being late on our payments. My husband insisted, and after hearing him out, he agreed to give it a go. Well, as September approaches the process nears its end!

I can't help but be amazed-- we had such an outpouring of love and support from our extended "family" from all over the country. I was constantly surprised at how many people would come up and ask me how the sale was going, that they were praying for our situation daily, and voice their support. It was really humbling, and we're thankful beyond words for the daily sacrifice of prayers on our behalf.

My husband had all sorts of people that told him he was crazy, and I'll admit that I was completely unconvinced that it was the best way to go. He stuck to his guns, and endured the criticism of those he worked with, and God answered prayers in a dramatic way. The realtor said he had never seen a bank accept a short sale bid under our circumstances, and on top of it not ask for a thing from us.

"The one who makes a promise and does not break it, even though he is hurt by it. [...] He who does these things will never be shaken."

Psalm 15:4-5

The biggest lesson for me! Do what you have promised, follow through in a blameless way; lean on God, He will take care of the rest of it. I didn't have the patience or faith to do this when we started this process. We are all being refined, slowly.


I am determined to be organized during our move, this time.  We lived out of storage for a few months over 3 years ago, and I can tell you, my lack of organization caused a LOT of wasted time and money.  This time we will have our boxes numbered, a corresponding detailed inventory, room-based color coding, and will prioritize how we put things into storage.  We'll be staying with family through the end of the year to save some money, so most of our belongings will go into storage, and it'll be kind of like we're camping, in the sense that we'll have only the necessities with us.  Simplicity will make all the difference, I think...

Whatever happens or wherever we end up, we will have renewed faith that God will take care of us, and is there to call upon for help.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I built a bed!

Here we go!  I have completed the project, and even remembered to take step-by-step photos!  I built a queen-sized bed, and have shown you how to do it, too!

I start my cut on a carefully marked line on each side of the 4x4 before cutting through the center.

"Why, yes, I do own weights.  I even use them!"

After much sawing, and a blister or two, I have all the 4x4's notched for support of the frame.

Sniff!  She follows in my footsteps.

The raw materials-- the 2x10's and 2x4's cut by a power saw operator at Lowes.  Fast and accurate!

I set up the frame to get started.

The frame is secured by 3: 2 1/2 inch wood screws.

Carefully, I balanced the frame on the 4x4 posts.

Balancing precariously on the 4x4's; holes were pre-drilled.

5" bolts hold the 4x4 to the frame.  Had a slight miscalculation on that hole location.   Oops.

Joist hangers support the 2x4s.

The 2x4 slides in nicely, and can be removed for easy moving.

The 2x4's offer cross support.  Slotted angles offer extra support on head and foot ends.
 Since I am using the 2x4s upright, instead of lying flat, they are stronger and do not need a center support.
Time for the 3/4" under-layment.  Hubby helps with the heavy lifting :)
My hubby was so excited he got me a gift. <3

Adding finish...

Finished product, curing.  I haven't put the mattress on yet, as the instructions said "3 days until normal use."  Sigh.

Storage space!  Beautiful storage!

Mattress added. :)

Hope this was helpful or interesting to you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cakes of Birthdays Past

So if birthday cakes bore you to tears then you may want to skip this post!  Here are the cakes I have made in years past:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A mother's breakfast

Original post on February 8, 2011

Last night I noticed that we were a little low on milk, but I estimated that we had enough for three little kid-sized bowls of cereal.  (Mike doesn't eat breakfast, just gets ready and flies out the door).
This morning after pulling out the unexpectedly light jug of milk from the fridge, I remembered that Mike's favorite midnight snack is a bowl of cereal.  His cereal bowl was still on the counter, with a large amount of unused milk in it.  He just puts it in there for looks.  
So I ration out what's left:  1.2 bowls of kid sized cereal.  No time for a trip to the store or to cook something!  We're out of practically everything, too.  So I have two choices:  reconstitute the evaporated milk (ew) or make them use Daddy's leftover milk from who knows when.  Ew ew.
After the kids are all taken care of it's down to me:  what in the world am I going to eat?  So when I make Adrian's lunch I slice off an extra piece of bread and throw some nutella on it.  It'll have to do.  
A few minutes later, while I am still packing Adrian's lunch, Becca pipes up, "MOM!  I finished my cereal!!  I'm still hungry!" We are literally out of any kind of portable food like bananas or apples.  I sigh and grab the breadknife to slice off a third of my sandwich and then go to help her get into her shoes and coat.  
When I return to the kitchen, the piece that I cut off for Becca is gone, and I know she's not the one who took it.  Argh!!  I look at Adrian, but this time he's innocent.  I find Emma shoving the sandwich down her throat while half-heartedly trying to put a sock on (the same one I put on 15 minutes ago) with one hand.  GREAT.  So I either take away the sandwich from Ivan the Terrible, who will throw a major fit, or I do what any mom would do:   I hand my part of the sandwich to Becca.  :-P
Time to run out the door, and on the way out I grab the tea I warmed up in the microwave... even though I heated it for extra long, by the time everyone's buckled in and the car's in gear, it's merely lukewarm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Cake is Not a Lie!

Birthdays, birthdays, they come and go, and before we know it, the children do grow.

Time to plan another birthday cake! I really enjoy making my childrens' birthday cakes. I love surprising them with some special attention from Momma and a cake that's geared toward the kinds of things they like. Last year I hemmed and hawed over the choice for my newly-two year-old daughter, Emma. She wasn't talking, but she did seem to really like Winnie-the-Pooh and Sleeping Beauty, so I decided to do one of these two cakes. After much agonizing, I made a pretty cute Pooh cake that got a really enthusiastic reception:

Yep, that was kind of the extent of her excitement.

So this year, with Emma STILL not really talking all that much, and no specific cake-inspiring interests, I decided I'd just use one of the cake pans I was given and hope for the best. Here is what I am planning for this year:

I think this year I'll do chocolate. Last year she didn't even eat any. :-/

My other children have shown great excitement over their special cakes, and spend the times around their siblings' birthdays telling me what they want for THEIRS. Their cakes were oh-so-easy to decide on. Ariel and Star Wars. That's pretty much been it since I've started making them cakes, although this year it's set to change to My Little Pony and... probably still Star Wars. Maybe I'll branch out into Lego Star Wars for a change.

I don't know how on earth I could possibly make a cake cooler than this one, though:

From now on, all efforts will be compared to this.  "Yeah, it's cool, but of course not as cool as that one cake you did..."  That's OK.  The look on his face was totally worth it.

Fun with wood saws

I am mulling over whether to go buy up my supplies for my next wood project:

I've done four two different successful, not rickety shelving units, so I feel I can do this, too.  Not sure what kind of wood this guy used for the bed, so I am a little hesitant to get started!  I probably won't be doing the headboard just yet-- first things first.

The idea for this cropped up when my box spring mattress busted.  Why buy another box spring when you can just fix it?  And why fix it when you can use that space for storage by building a bed that doesn't need a box spring?  With five people in two bedrooms, storage space is like gold!

This week is simply not good to throw myself headlong into a project.  Can't do it.  But next week....  next week is looking promising!  I could just pick up the materials... right?

I have a tendency to neglect other things when in Project Mode.  Like eating.  Or mothering.  Anybody for watching Cinderella?

I am itching to get started, though.

Look!  It even disassembles easily.  Sniff!!  How can a girl resist? ... Yes.  I am weird.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Jabberwocky and the Foot

When I was young, the Jabberwocky embodied all that was lurking around in my imagination waiting to nab me as I went into a dark room.  My parents loved that one Alice and Wonderland with the live characters, fun music, many cameos, and the freaky, slimy, red-eyed Jabberwocky that made the lights go out and lightning flash in the movie.  They just couldn't understand why anyone would hate that movie, and pulled it out to refresh my memory regularly.
No one understood why birthdays were never the same for Alice.

Who wouldn't love that face?

So when my son saw a minuscule clip of a movie-within-a-movie that involved a dismembered foot and refused to go into any unoccupied room without someone, I was a bit more sympathetic than I would have been otherwise.  So while I was buzzing off a couple inches of his hair on the back porch, I tried to get a good idea of what exactly he was afraid of, since I hadn't seen it.

He explained the scary scene, which I suspect was meant to be comedy since the lady got kicked in the nose by the foot.  So after trying the whole, "Your imagination is only in your mind and you are the boss of your mind" tack, I asked him what a lone foot could do that was so scary, anyway.  After some speculation, we decided that a foot could only kick, a little, or wiggle, and definitely could not kill anyone like he was imagining.  Then I told him that since he was the boss he could have an imaginary hammer, or even... a feather! He thought that was hilarious.

One thing led to another and suddenly I realized that my son now had an imaginary friend that was a foot.  In keeping with strict traditions within our family, he christened his friend with a very intuitive and insightful name: "Foot."  Before I knew it, Foot was taking a shower, getting ready to leave with us, and even got his seatbelt on first.  (Foot was clearly male, since he indicated that, no, Foot wasn't wearing ANY nail polish.  Definitely boy.)

I was kept abreast of the situation with regular updates on Foot's well-being:  "Foot is happy that he has a family now."  "Foot can borrow MY shoes, so he doesn't get burned on the pavement."  "Foot will protect me from the other evil feet that are trying to kill me."

Oh.  Rats.  That was going so well.  In a weird, alarm-the-school-psychologist kind of way, anyway.