Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sisters' Room

I got the green light to start my next project on the house, so I am posting pictures of my last project, since I am now "done." (I may do up the inside of their closet and make a valance for the closet curtains, eventually.)

In the girl's room, I was originally going to do arctic animals in pajamas (like the storybook, God Gave Us You), so the wall colors are linden (blue), willow leaf (green), and violet evening (purple). The ceiling also is blue. However before I got around to doing anything other than painting the walls, I came across a coloring book with cute little fairy girls that looked like Kayleigh. I was inspired.

Here's what resulted:

First I free-hand drew the murals:
Then I painted:
(Thomas thinks this "during" shot portrays an odd skin condition.)
(don't these look like Kayleigh?)
Then I decided I needed new curtains to go with the bright colors:
Photobucket(old curtains)
Photobucket(new curtains)
Which inspired the border (which nearly killed me in the mathematical computations and meter-stick and pencil drudgery) but turned out nice:
My grandmother made the curtains and the dust ruffle on the crib (dollar bin fabric). I made the crib sheet. The nifty butterflies on the curtains were less than two dollars each at Hobby Lobby.
I had to buy the glitter paint for the wings and the glow-in-the-dark paint for the fireflies, but I had or mixed most of the other paint.
I painted the unicorn painting:
So, it was all pretty cheap. I did most of the painting during Jett's nap time, and it was fun.

I should do the boys' room next, but I'm not inspired yet. So, my next project is the bathroom. I get to buy a new vanity and sink! I'm so excited.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Frozen Buds

Well, I'm a real writer now. I've received my first rejection letter.

I'm not really surprised, and I'm not as disappointed as I expected to be. Maybe because my wisteria bush taught me a great lesson.

This time of year used to make me so nervous. I'd walk outside and stroke the soft fuzz on the swelling buds, knowing that a freeze would come. I'd feel bad for the plants, so full of promise, all of their effort wasted. Or so I thought.

In the lovely weather last week, I examined my pear trees and wisteria bush. I picked off a bud and marveled over the green and white interior. Silly plants, I thought, don't you know it's January? Your work will come to naught.

And then I paused. Well, what else should the plants be doing? They were designed to bud. That is what they are supposed to be doing. Even if the first, second, third times they stretch forth their efforts they thwarted, that is still what they should be doing. Growing is how their purpose is fulfilled.

So, yesterday when I got my rejection letter, today when ice coated my wisteria bush, I didn't feel bad. I know that we will keep doing as we are intended to do. In the doing is fulfillment.

In other news: it's a "snow day!" :-p Hooray for DH being home!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

End of the Week Update

Not a very exciting week with Thomas gone two days and the rest of us suffering varying degrees of illness, but I thought I'd at least brag on Josh. He was chosen by his teacher as a "Bobcat worth bragging about" because he's been working hard. He also had a good report card, strong in math and science.
Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wooohoo!/ Poor Tired Kayleigh

I did it! I just used the telephone, all by myself, like a big girl! ;-)

In case anyone reading this doesn't know, I have a (self-diagnosed) phobia of calling anyone on the telephone.

Poor Kayleigh coughed herself to sleep last night, and then Emberlyn woke her up at 3:30, and I heard her singing the alphabet to herself for quite a while after I got Emberlyn back to sleep, so when she was fragile this morning and said she was too tired to go to school, I didn't argue. I just drove home and called her school to let them know she wouldn't be there.

I just picked up the phone and dialed. I didn't panic or rehearse for ten minutes what I needed to say, I just picked up the phone and took care of it! Giant pat on the back.

Sure, roll your eyes, but this was actually a big deal for me. :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

End of the Week Update

What's goin' on:

Mr. Lizard continues to thrive. We need to go to the pet store tomorrow to replenish his cricket supply. Did you know that you can buy cricket food to feed your lizard's food? Does that mean we (temporarily) keep pet crickets?

(emaciated newly caught anole becomes happy, healthy dragon!)
Alas, the spider died.
Thomas survived the first semester and is greatly relieved to have all the grades turned in. He is looking forward to the fresh start of next week and the chance to get away from the kids for a few days for a conference in Houston.
The kids have super energy lately. Jett busted his lip during their wildness last night. Poor guy.
I started an article on recycling. When I got serious about recycling this summer, I was curious about how much I was saving from the landfill. I saved a month's worth, just to look at it. I noticed that I got better and better at catching the recyclables so I saved the second month's recycling to compare it to the first. So, two months' worth of recycling has been taking up space in my garage for about four months now, and I'm finally ready to get this article out of my head.
And this recycling out of my garage.

AND... My friends who are adopting have their new baby in their arms!!! Thank you, God, for Baby Hanna.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've been tagged.

My friend Jerri has tagged me in a blog game where you list six weird or random facts about yourself and tag six others to play along. Let's see...
  1. I think roast bison is delicious! I went on a mini-reenactment of the Louis and Clark expedition complete with an overnight canoe trip, sleeping in tipis, bison roasted over an open fire, etc. as part of a girl scout wider opportunity trip.
  2. As an infant, I was passed, to my mother's horror, through a donut shop's drive thru window because my dad wanted to show me off to the nice ladies who supplied his daily sugar fix.
  3. I really want to dye my hair purple. Concern about what the congregation would think if I showed up to proclaim the psalm with purple hair is the biggest obstacle.
  4. I cannot stand chalk. Can. Not. Stand it. (shudder)
  5. Though it's been years since I watched it last, I can still quote my favorite lines from Dances with Wolves in Lakota and Pawnee.
  6. I already knew I could read and do almost anything at the same time, but in college, I discovered that I can sing and write (fiction, an email, a 15 page paper that's due the next day) at the same time. Too bad I can't write and sleep at the same time...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I must admit... I've gotten a thrill of sadistic pleasure from watching my Jett-Jett pester his sister this morning.
Jett is an equal opportunity WHY-er. He'll spend just as much--if not more--time seeking answers from his siblings as he does from Thomas and me. Truthfully, I think it's good for all of them, which makes me question whether the incessant WHY-ing might be good for me as well.
"Read me now, Momma."
"Not right now, Sweetie. In a minute."
Hmmm. Why indeed. It's not like I don't know how wonderful it is that my two-year old wants me to read to him. It's not like my cup of coffee and email-checking needed to be done right that minute (well, the coffee thing is debatable). Why are my priorities what they are, and what should they be?
Why don't I want to hop to obey every whim of my children and would it be in their best interest if I did? Where is the line between caring for them and caring for myself so that I can better care for them?
Man, last night was an example. I was already down because the short story I (had hoped I) had written was not accessible enough to my target audience. I had been so excited to get the critique of my writers' group, fix any errors I missed, and send it off--my first submission for publication consideration--but then the fears lurking in the back of my mind were confirmed. It wasn't good enough.
I have a healthy self esteem--pride is the sin I struggle with the most--but I am hopeless when it comes to dealing with what other people think of me, so I was (devastated, crushed, (how do you do that strike-through thing to make a joke out of the words you didn't use?)) disappointed that my effort was not met with (-standing ovations-, -showers of roses-,) approval.
Anyway, I was already disappointed and then Emberlyn thwarted my efforts to get some much needed sleep. At 12:30, she claimed my attention needed to be focused on meeting her needs, not my own. I was not best pleased. In fact, I think I remember telling her I didn't want to deal with it.
Luckily, she hasn't learned the word WHY.
"To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.
So, yes, I read to the two-year old and soothed the fussy eight-and-a-half month old, even though it was not my will. But what about Romans 12:8c: "if you do works of mercy, let it be because you enjoy doing them."
I am not enjoying my assigned tasks. I am quite tired of dying to self. I want to be an admired, published author, not the exhausted, discouraged (no-identity-but-)mommy who had to change a stinky diaper, refill a cuppie, referee a fight over a blanket, and clean a spill during the course of writing a blog.
Why, Lord, Why?
Why can't I always get what I want?
How do I conform my will? Grace? Ask, and ye shall receive? Just keep doing the walking and wait for the will to catch up? Bear the cross of accepting it might not?
Am I supposed to accept that writing is not something I can do right now because of my other responsibilities? Is it vanity that I think I should be writing? That I desperately want to be writing?
Or is the answer that I'm not supposed to be doing so many works of mercy right now? Am I supposed to let others be disappointed that I cannot always hop to meet a need that I see?
I am quite sure that I would have benefited from being disappointed more earlier in life. I did not start learning the lesson that things didn't always go my way no matter how much effort I put into it until college (Latin 1300, to be exact), so I still struggle with accepting that there are things I can't do. I think it's good for my children not to always get what they want.
I also think that I do need something that is mine. A refilling so that I am able to continue pouring myself out. I am also grateful for the example of a friend: that a quiet time with God is something that is we are built for and are unfulfilled without. I think I'll start making that a priority, and see if everything else doesn't fall into place. There! A commitment to put on my own breathing mask before assisting others.
I'm also going to go make a fresh cup of coffee and finish checking my email.
Why? Because Jett is busy asking Kayleigh "WHY?"


Friday, January 9, 2009

Sure Paths

Today, it's been hard to keep walking, to place one foot in front of the other knowing the end is neither closer nor farther than it always is.
I've mulled the inanity of placing my diatribe on no-children-at-weddings right after my earlier post on my two-year old striping at a public event. Lol, my only defense is that it is easier with two child wranglers.
Today, I took the younger three to a meeting of moms at a burger joint with a playscape. My babies were angels. I hope they're that good for my mom tomorrow.
The meeting of moms wasn't really my thing. Being such a quiet person, it was hard for me to get a word in edgewise.
It's funny how God works, though. I've been praying for God to send me a friend, a woman-mentor, an accountability partner, and He has.
In droves.
Today I found another one. I'm having trouble keeping up with my suddenly and unexpectedly resusitated social life. But it's a good thing.
What I didn't expect from finding women who could help me in my journey was the awareness that I also have things to offer to these women. And while I haven't found what I guess I expected (the perfect person to meet my needs), what I found was even better. Because seeing the parts spread among the Body has pointed me back toward the Head. The only perfect fulfillment of my needs is found in God.
So when I have trouble placing one foot in front of the other, I'm grateful to have hands to hold, and I know that we are all held in the palm of His hands.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm procrastinating from working on my novel, so I thought I'd at least do something productive.
It's a new year. 2009! I can barely believe it. Ten years of Thomas and me being a couple. Almost ten years since we graduated high school.
One of our good friends from high school is getting married this weekend. We gave him a hard time about not coming to our wedding six and a half years ago, so we feel like we have to go to his wedding even though we haven't seen much of him in the years since he got a traveling job.
It will be an interesting trick--our attendance--because you see, kids are dis-invited.
The wedding chapel is a small venue, and we are supposed to "enjoy our 'night off' in their company." I wonder if--as another friend speculated--the dis-invitation was worded with our family in mind. I can understand not inviting kids you don't know to take up space (though I wish I could bring Emberlyn--a lap child dependant on me for food), but I would rather not have been invited at all so that a closer family could have brought their children to the celebration. To us, marriage is the creation of a new family, so it seems weird to us not to allow other families to come. Also, the implication that we should be excited about a "night off" bothered me. For sure, there are days I would love a night off, but someone else telling me it will be great to ditch my kids for a night just rubs me wrong, expecially because I know our friend thinks we have too many kids.
I'm afraid the dis-invitation is symptomatic of a larger problem: the failure to recognize the role of children in a Christian marriage. At a Catholic wedding, one of the vows is to lovingly accept children. We recognize that receiving children is a chance to grow in holiness and is the natural fruit of marraige. I wish I dared give them Kimberly Hahn's book, Life Giving Love: Embracing God's Beautiful Design for Marriage. I don't know why I don't. Maybe I think it is better to be in ignorance than to reject truth. Maybe I recognize that the truth is hard and I don't want to burden them with something I too struggle with.
Anyway, I'm dreading leaving my babies, especially Emberlyn. She and I will both be unhappy. :-(