Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last minutes ~

The rush is on ;)
Sending out last minute bits of cheer and love ~
Off to play Christmas elf!
Wishing you peace...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Babies ~

Hmm, you would think that after cuddling, kissing and lovin' 5 of these little darlings that I would be set, right? No. Not set. Not yet. No way...

That little pumpkin there? She is supposed to be our grand finale (and what a sweet one she is) ~ yes, is...I'm not announcing any fabulous news here but, I am thinking..."I'm not ready..."...

No, no I just am not ~

Then the question would be, when would I be? After 6, 7, (or can you imagine, 8!?)babies?

When do we know when we are ready to let that chapter of our lives come to a close? Is there a note of finality or does a little twinkling always linger...I imagine it's different for all folks...still...I wonder...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wishes and a Winner! ~

And what lovely littles 'hellos' I was greeted with! Thank YOU, xo

My understanding is that there are random # generators for this kind of gig ~ we usually use the mixing bowl method where we copy all the contestants names and pop them in a bowl, mix them up and one of my rambunctiously eager kiddos gets to draw the winner (right Sunshower Kisses folks? ;). Today, its just my 8 year old, one wee baby and myself so we thought we would try our own RNG ~ we wrote down names, assigned them a number and my helper called out a number between 1 and 19 ~ and that winner is.....(little drummer boy roll...)
Congrats mama!
Pop your address to me at writeus4@yahoo.com and I can send these little lovelies out on Monday :) Thanks for playing along!

Just a quick note on the Peace Garland ~ one tradition we have here is to draw pics or write wishes on the little strips, loop them together and send them out into the world. It always amazes what comes out of my kiddos' mouths (on both ends of the spectrum!). The general idea is, 'wishes for the world'. Around here, we get anything from, "free ice cream for everyone" to "food for for all"...hmmmm, now that I think about it, both are food related...;)

This garland is last years ~ we still need to get going on this year's! Where does the time go...!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mini Nativity ~

...and child friendly!
Last year I also made some of these ~ yet those sets also had a drummer boy, kings and shepherds (some of you may have them actually! :)
This year with time constraints I made just a couple of these mini nativities. So simple and sweet. Nice for little hands too ~ Feel free to give it a try!
Just cut a square of fabric and wrap it around the wooden person 'til you have the look you want...do the same for all three; add some hair if you like, maybe some twine for a belt and you are done!
Happy Crafting :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spicey ~

Lately, I have been trying to embrace...well, the spiceyness of my children.

Now, I can appreciate some sass now and then but things just seem to be getting a bit too zesty in these parts for my taste ;)

Just a couple of 'for instances' -

When does saying "No." slowly slide from having an independent opinion to an outright mutiny? After all, they do have me outnumbered here and even that baby has been giving me some sheepish grins lately...

Or, how about when the cutesy smile becomes an, "I'm daring you to do something 'bout it." taunt rather than the light of my day?

Basically, spice adds something exciting to life, yes? A little something to turn the bland into the memorable...yes...that's it....fodder for laughter in the years to come. I'll keep this in mind, that SOMEDAY I will laugh at these zingy moments...will most likely even trade anything to actually be in them again for just. one. second...

Friday, December 5, 2008


Two posts in one day? Well, I just realized my last post was my 100th!
I have to say, I've been busier than I thought...
To celebrate my stick-to-itiveness (folks who know me realize that...can...be...an...issue ;) I'd like to do a little giveaway for anyone who may have been reading along ~
How about some of my faves? Vintage buttons! I just love 'em ~ have been collecting and stashing them since I was in highschool, scouring the Sunday flea market at the Portland Expo...
So, if you've been reading along, here's your chance to say howdy!
Just a quick hello gets your name in the drawing for some darling dainties...not those pictured here however(how's that for snotty?) - just happened upon those little lovelies at Sal's yesterday and need a little more time to sufficiently drool ;)
Oh, but don't despair, I have many, many more where they came from ;)
The drawing deadline? How about Dec. 19th :)
We'll call it a surprise, so don't be shy ~ say "Hi!"

Basket ~

A tisket, a tasket...and my basket overfloweth...

Seems any stitch of time I can squeeze in is spent craftin' up some holiday goodness. Late nights, mid-days...the general here and there of our days ~ not too many late nights though as I gave up most of those in exchange for better and more alert moods during the day ;)

Loads of love going in many directions this year ~ way out to Cali to my Holiday Traditions partner (no peeking Anie!), family and friends and maybe even a bit for sale if I can spare some ~ feels so good to send it near and wide ~

Oh, and that whipped cream and pudding ~ well, a girl's got to keep up her energy! Seriously though, do you think pudding and whipped cream EVERY day for the past 2 weeks is maybe a little too much? I just tell myself its low in sugar ;)

Happy crafting and may you enjoy some yummy food!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Skinnies - size 0

My son - the rockstar -

That he is... all 100 pounds of his 14 year old, skinny assed self ~ (did I say that out loud?).

His mission a while back was to get himself some skinnies - the newest thing with the guys these days. Jeans so tight, they are painted on their adolescent behinds. Only thing is, this boy is just way too skinny for guy's skinnies. They end up looking like regular jeans on him. The alternative? Obvious - girl's skinnies.

And. Why. Not?

Well, why not if you have a mama who will run in, not only once but, yes friends, 4 times to get you the pair with the perfect amount of tightness. That is, run in after you have tried them on in the back seat of the minivan parked right there in the parking lot (thank goodness for tinted windows!) because you either,
A: don't want to be seen buying girl's skinnies - 'cause there sure is no way folks are going to think those are for me
B: in his words, "I'm not going in with you if you wear that thing". My "hippy thing" as he calls it - the, well at least in the mama world, beautiful wrap that we have for bambina ;)

This is all OK though... really. The sales girl in the store even told me so, yeah. Seems that's the way it is. Guys buy girl's skinnies "all the time". She wasn't surprised that I was coming in, getting increasingly smaller sizes of skinnies. After I handed him the size 0's I informed him..."I think this is it buddy, next size is double zero's". There was a light that shone in his eyes.."Really?" and a wistful, happy grin. However, we stopped at the zero's - lucky for me because, you know, I really want grandchildren from this kid someday.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Minutes ~

As I was driving home the other night, within minutes the sky gracefully and quite dramatically changed from a slate grey to dusky pink and into a flaming orange glow that actually caused my heart to race. At one point, I looked into my sideview mirror and it looked literally as if the sun was growing larger...I felt a bit of a primal fear, you know, the one that causes you to realize how matters of this earth are so often, really out of our control... It looked almost as if the sun was about to explode ~ so wild sounding I know, but in those few minutes there was such beauty in that fear...a surrender and peace. Of course, I was also seeing an absolutely gorgeous sight so maybe that was the peace ;) I don't think that was it though...

Later the next day, I couldn't get that shifting sky out of my head...then I realized there was a message for me there. There has been a struggle lately with staying in the moment...of truly seeing my children and being in those moments with them. My mind is often pulled to some other, often silly place. There have been minutes of beauty that I just catch the tail end of. Seeing this beautifully shifting sky was a reminder for me of the constant flux of my time with my loved ones. Each moment being unlike anything before it and will never be recreated. I so want to be able to catch and hold these moments, completely ingest them and have them be part of me for the rest of my days and theirs. For while these minutes we share tumble on, the love born out of them will remain with us... this was my reminder to mindfullness - as I was rushing home to get dinner ready ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow ~

The first snow ~

It's always so very exciting to see the first snow of the season on the ground...

The girls rushed out this morning to taste a bit while it was fresh and then wanted to play in the snow...which at this point consisted of walking about and inspecting the tracks their little footprints left in the light dusting as well as brushing the snow off of any object within reach. I'm convinced this is a universal habit among kids in snow laden climates since I must have witnessed it no less than a hundred times over these years of raising kids...;)

Such a good thing they were so quick on it too....as I look out the window, it's aleady melting away...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Harmony ~

"The objective is not dogmatically to live with less but is a more demanding intention of living with balance in order to find a life of greater purpose, fullfillment and satisfaction."
Duane Elgin

I also found this definition of harmony ~ "compatibility in opinion and action"
and found it very fitting for where our family is at these days in relation to stuff and time ~ Trying to make sure our lifestyle fits our values and what we want to pass onto our kids...

Does 3 sets of bongos seem too many? I suppose this depends on if everyone wants to play at once and create great music together. Or, if our 8 year old wants to set them all up together and rapidly play away as he was doing this morning...

What about dolls? A basketful seems excessive but, they are literally *all* played with - daily.

Yet, I know they would also make do and be fine if we had less of these things ~ they would share what there was, take turns, maybe even learn a bit more patience? They would also improvise ~ that's a definite...

Then I come back to that quote above concerning balance. They do find fullfillment from playing bongos together rather than waiting for a turn...there is enjoyment in all of the roles created and mixed with a basket of various dolls...I keep in mind that the greater purpose of our home is to help everyone make sense of and find their way in this world (with some heaping doses of love) so as long as it remains fullfilling and not overwhelming I think we are on the right track...just don't peek at my sewing stash - that's a *whole* 'nother post ~

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Enjoying these days of having a sleepy baby close at hand (and heart!)...
Such sweetness, is there really anything like it?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Experiential ~

"...the invisble wealth of experiential riches."

Focusing ~ one of the gifts of life ~

Speaking of life, yesterday our 8 year old began planning a 'Festival of Life'. Honest to goodness - can you believe this? :) Just too sweet. He said this was to be a "celebration of life"...

The 8 and under gang was practicing dancing, talking about doing a puppet show, storytelling, having a walk with some handmade decorations and of couse - yummy food ;)

Tomorrow night the festival takes place ~ eat, drink and be merry ~

Simplicity ~

Voluntary Simplicity that is ~

Thought for this week I would share some bits of an article I'm reading by Duane Elgin, "Voluntary Simplicity and the New Global Challenge". I'll give it a little whirl and hopefully folks will enjoy the ride too :)

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure a greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might nmot be relevant to the purpose of another...The degree of simplication is a matter for each individual to settle for himself." - Richard Gregg (a student of Ghandi's teaching).

The "irrelevant to the chief purpose of life" part really speaks to me. It's all about balance. When we have so much exterior clutter that our chief purpose in life is hindered than its time to let go of some things. I have been thinking that if I am spending more time managing stuff than loving and playing with my family than something is most definitely wrong. A balance also comes in teaching them to manage their things also and if they seem unable to do than this credo would also apply to them, wouldn't it? When the fun to management ratio becomes out of balance for them or the love to management (although some of that management is an expression of love isn't it?)becomes out of sync for me than we need to rethink our 'stuff' issue.

Although the exterior clutter may not always be stuff - it means distraction of any sort...this would include a busyness of life too, I guess. Too many activities, classes, social engagements...And the chief purpose in life? Seems to me it would be love ~ for family, friends, strangers and the world....it would have the potential to be a nurturing and healing salve...

"an ordering and guiding of energies and desires...a deliberate organization of life for a purpose." This will be a mediation for me this week ~ something to keep in the forefront of my mind especially as we go into this season of love and giving...to have a purpose, a goal and keep on track with it...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hunting ~

House hunting that is ~

We spent a good chunck of yesterday looking at houses - seven of them to be exact...
All of those possibilities! Post and beam kitchens, colonial type kitchens with an overabundance of old fashioned and super cool drawers, broom closets and built ins. Multiple bathrooms (oh yeah baby) - imagine not hearing the words "Huurrryyyy!!" every morning?

Separate bedrooms, full garages, dining rooms, livings rooms, family rooms and the topper (hear the choir singing?....) ...studio space! It's all enough to make a girl just plain giddy over here.

But, it doesn't. Am I crazy? Possibilities of space, expression, falling in love with a home again...it all made me, well...a little sad frankly. We only have 800 square feet here but, I swear, each of these little feet were calling to me yesterday. Every comparison brought a thoughtful, "Well...".

Thoughts from the eight and under gang? After the initial excitement of immediately divvying up who would get what room (note: in older houses, much of the wallpaper is floral so your 8 year old boy may feel he's getting the short end of the stick here ;) they would look out the windows and soon head outside.

After each house, my eight year old said, "But there is no forest....I can't live without the forest." (yes, he actually said this...) with little murmers of agreement from his sisters.

I felt that way too...

While standing outside in those yards or on the porches, in many cases, instead of the birds I heard cars zooming by. Some of the places had rigidly defined yards, something my guys just don't get at all apparently. These children who have never been fenced in; for them, boundaries are defined by tree lines and how far away they can get and still see their home.

At one of these houses, they all ran out into the fenced in yard. Our 4 year old zoomed right out of the gate toward the open space of trees and grass...we tried calling her back... she just stood and stared at us. Then I realized...for her this fenced in play area was something to exit in order to get to the *real* play area. Like a room to pass through before heading outside. She didn't see this fenced in, rigidly defined space as being outside...the look on her face...a bit of confusion. While she was staring into my eyes, I saw in hers a clarity. In those seconds all of the cool built ins, multiple bedrooms and even the possibility of a second bathroom seemed so....trivial. They are happy here in the hollow. They are thriving. They are connected and surrounded by beauty...

I'm not sure what this means for house hunting but, I have my priorities straight again. It was so easy to get sidetracked by all the space and just plain cool architecture and layouts of those places. As much as I *knew* the natural surroundings were paramount...I still got swept away in an image that I realized was not my own making. Its foundations were laid in my mind by movies, books and a sometimes overactive imagination ;) The promise of what I imagined overshadowed the beauty of what is. That somehow the purchase of this thing - albeit the Ameican Dream- would somehow transform our lives into perfection.

Yet, perfection is here - its now. In these fleeting moments of elevated voices shouting "Huuurrryyy", of small bodies huddled together in wee hours, toys strewn across the floor, eating, book reading, playing and reflection all combining in these 800 square feet to make this unique song of our family. A melody that will never be repeated....I'm fearful to let that go. To step into an unknown that doesn't promise this will hold. That with a little storm we may scatter like fall leaves outside our door...

Yet, with hope, a hunting we will go...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Warmth ~

Creating warmth, seeking warmth, redefining warmth...autumn days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mid Fall ~

This is exactly how being mom to 5 feels lately...like a particuarly ungraceful, goofy faced, arms flailing mid-fall. While trying to keep at least one foot on the ground, I can spy out of the corner of my little eye a beloved book that will surely put them under my spell (at our house, we skip the niceties of "Who wants to hear a stoorryyy?" and just grab a book and start reading. That soothes even the most savage of my little wild things. If I can just reach that stack, we'll be steady...well, maybe if I had enough lap room for three girls ~

That's when we head for the trail. A path they have traveled countless times, while in my belly, in a sling, on my back... they *know* this path and love it all the more for that. We can go every day and see something even just a smidge different. Like how fast that water is rushing under the culvert you see there.

Two things mid-fall. If we have these 2 simple things, my gait...all of our strides are sure to balance themselves.

Connection to each other ~ connection to nature = balance. Little reminder to myself...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

See you in spring ~

The guys love to find these little salamanders. They have learned to hold them for only bit, how to keep them safe for a time for viewing (nice moist bucket with a splash of water - but not too much - and some moist soil and to gently place them right back where they found them. You should hear the debates between them (albeit, sometimes yelling matches)about how much water is too much and what constitutes "gentle" handling.
This little critter is most likely the last we will see for this year...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Small Space Living ~ Table

Where we celebrate, play, create and share in so many ways... and yes, even eat. This table has been the launching pad for insightful talks, thoughtful creations, silly games and family meals shared and often created by many hands. A gift from my husband's grandmother to us, we are so lucky to have such a generously large and beautiful piece etched with the love of countless shared meals from her home to ours.

A first peek into how our family uses this 800 square feet ~

Like many families, or dining space is used for everything from sewing to actual eating - and many times a day at that! What makes the difference in a small space (for us) would be the fact that if it is filled with stuff, there is no where to get anyway from it...we can't walk into another room and leave it be for a bit - it's right there, obstructing our view of the leaves changing or what have you so I like to keep it clean - *like* to mind you. Whether that fanciful wish materializes into reality is a day to day miracle in itself sometimes. ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008


End of the season apple picking ~
Apple in the hand photo courtesy of A...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Waning Light ~

Cozying up here in the hollow. Readying for winter. Trying desparately to bottle up even a little of this gorgeously warm autumn light for the winter ahead. Maybe I can bake it into our loaves of homemade bread...hmmm, but those are too soon devoured. Perhaps, in the jars of applesauce I plan to can this weekend....but again, these will soon be consumed and while our bodies will be warmed for a time, what will keep the chill of winter at bay on days we just want to snuggle down and wade through a stack of books?

Hmmm, how perfect ~ a quilt ~ what better way. Stitch by stitch I can possibly trap some of this warmth into the seams. That will do...feeling cozy already...now time to get to work sewing...:)

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