Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i love interlibrary loan

When you love to read as much as I do, there is no way you can 1. afford to buy every book that strikes your fancy, or 2. spend as much time perusing Amazon and my local booksellers to figure out if I really want that book or not.  And so, I have grown to truly love my local library, and inter-library loan (ILL).  Our county library system is great, they have most of the books I look for, but every few months or so I find a book or two that they do not have.  And invariably I have been able to request it through our ILL program, and miraculously it shows up at my local branch with these paper sleeves and my name on it. 

Today is another rainy September day. And what fun to have these two great titles waiting for me on the library hold shelf:   Grow Great Grub, by Gayla Trail, and Wee Wonderfuls: 24 dolls to sew and love, by  Hillary Lang.  The biggest surprise today for me was that the second book was requested from a library system in New Jersey, apparently not being available in Maryland at all, and that they will let me have it for a full 6 weeks:  this book looks in no one before me has read it? Can this be-- a library in NJ orders this lovely book, gets it in, and immediately ships it off to me in MD? However it came to be, I am grateful. 

Wonderful to page through two gorgeous books on a rainy afternoon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

unexpected gifts

Today has been one of those days that can be summed up by the word "blah".  It hasn't been a bad day, just one where I've had no energy.  Zero. Zilch. Nada.  And yet into this day of  "blah" have come two lovely, unexpected gifts. 

The first was finally a contact for a Daisy Girl Scout troop.  A troop that was technically full, but was willing to bring my daughter in, anyway.  I think this will be so good for her, without over-committing my little kindergartner (who has been fighting exhaustion too, of the adjusting-to-school kind).  Two activities a month. We can do that.  So she goes to her first meeting tomorrow.  I couldn't have been happier to get that unexpected phone call this morning.  Many thanks to my friend Lawrie, who passed my name along to the right person at the right time!

The second truly was a gift,  of the "what is this package in my mailbox?" kind.  Sweet t-shirts for my kids from one of my forever-friends. Totally unexpected, bringing me joy this afternoon that I didn't know was missing until I found it.

Into my day of "blah", God sent me gifts that reminded me of His love and care, through the love and care of my friends.  Sunshine poking through this morning's rain clouds, both literally and figuratively. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

we love trains (some of us)

OK. I admit it. I do not love trains.  But I am part of a family that loves trains. My kids love trains. Their dad loves trains. Their Papa loves trains.  They love to look at trains, ride trains, analyze their construction, examine them inside and out, and play with toy trains.  And since I love my family, today I spent doing these things with James (hubby) and the kids, at the B&O Train Museum.  And truly, they enjoyed it so much, I enjoyed it right along with them.  Thanks for sharing the train museum with us!


Friday, September 24, 2010

{lesson of the week}

This week we learned...that if you buy ice cream at the school cafeteria, and run out of time to eat it, it is not a good idea to put it in your lunchbox to bring home for later!  The backpack and lunchbag will smell sweetly of cotton candy flavored icecream (!) for a long time, I think.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

read & create : : fanned bag

I love crafting books. Knitting books. Sewing books. Scrapbooking books. Quilting books. And since my budget is not infinite (!) I also love my local library, and interlibrary loan.  I've been reading Simple Gifts To Stitch: 30 Elegant and Easy Projects, by Jocelyn Worrall recently, and this afternoon I tried out her "Fanned Bag". In the book she makes it with a metallic sheen vinyl, which is nice and even dressy.  I decided to dress it down a bit, with a cotton decorating-weight fabric I had picked up a while ago, nice and sunny and bright. 

I was delighted that it only took about an hour to make, perfect for during the little guy's nap time.  I even added a little metallic clasp.  And now its just waiting...probably to have a knitting project put into it for easy transport!  A fun little project for a sunny afternoon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

whose agenda?

Today I am trying to resign myself (again..and again...) that my agenda is not more powerful than God's agenda for me, my life, and for the lives of those I know and love.  Yes, I know: God is all powerful.  Why should my selfish agenda take precedence over his great good plan?  It shouldn't, of course.  It's just a hard lesson that I have to learn over and over.  Case in point:  I have been trying for about a month to get my daughter, who is a kindergartner, involved in Daisy Girl Scouts.  This seems a trivial thing, but has started to take more time and effort than I had ever thought.  I have asked around. I have sent emails.  To no avail.  But here's the thing:  my little girl doesn't know the difference.  I have been doing this, I realize, more for me, and my memories of scouting as a girl, than I have been doing it for her.  And as the door to this opportunity just doesn't seem to be opening for me (note: me not her), I am just now, today, starting to let go the idea of this activity for her, now, this year.  Will the opportunity open later? Only God knows (and He does!). 

Which brings me to the issue of kid's involvement in activities outside school. How much? Where? At what age?  I know this has been debated time and time again; the answer is different for each family.  What is good for us? What will build character in my kids? What will they enjoy? And yes, my kids are little.  2 1/2 and 5. You might say, there's lots of time to figure it out. And there is.  But (again with MY personal agenda) I want to know. Now.

So what's the answer? Well, for now, I'm going to knock on just a few more "doors" to the scouting thing. And I'm going to reevaluate whether we need another activity, and how tired my kindergartner really is every night.  And I'm going to pray. A lot. Until I regain a sense of perspective: my agenda must ALWAYS submit to God's agenda for me.  And the funny thing is, His agenda truly is ALWAYS better. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

superheroes, part 2

After my post on Sunday, I heard from my "first" best friend, Theresa, who lived near me in Ohio when we were between 3 and 5 years old.  I love that she and I are still in touch with each other after all these years, much has changed but our friendship transcends distance and differences.  The capes I had made reminded her of escapades that she and I had in our matching Wonder Woman Underoos.  I have vivid memories of running down the street to her house, wearing just my underoos (with the accessory pack, of course: plastic belt, wrist bands, crown, and rope).  I love the memories of that innocent time, how safe our neighborhood seemed, how each day revolved around what game we would invent.  We had so much fun imagining we were saving the world from evil, being powerful super heroes and beautiful women.  Who knew that 30 years later we would be raising beautiful families, working part time in careers we love, and still saving the world from evil, in our own little ways.  Theresa, we are both still Wonder Women! 

I pray that we are giving our children role models, both imaginary and real, that they will also carry with them into adulthood.  Will it be Superman, the Backyardigans, Firefighters, Teachers, Princesses or someone else? Will Jesus be one of their super-heroes? Who will you teach your children to look up to?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

create : : superheroes wear pajamas... least in our house, anyway!  These have been in the works for a couple of months, I think...first in my head, then in cut out pieces on the shelf.  Finally got them assembled today, and as you can see, the kids were busy saving the world.  I made them out of lightweight fleece, which I love to sew hems, easy to applique on, kid friendly, and oh-so-soft.  Velcro closure to be at least a little safer than a tie, and easier for little hands.  I made the pattern out of a conglomeration of all the various pages from when I googled "superhero capes" back months ago (so, sorry, I don't recall any of the links!).  "Butterfly Girl" and "Bubble Boy" are here to help all mankind! (and, no, I don't know why he is "Bubble Boy"--who can know the mind of a 2 1/2 year old??) 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

classic literature

This is my book, from when I was about 4.  Now it is my little guy's favorite...we read the stories all throughout the day.  What is it about these stories that have such appeal to us throughout the generations? The animal characters and the hilarious pictures appeal to me now, and of course to the kids.  A favorite is, of course,  "Building a new road", which is better known in our family as "The bumpy road story", so named by my little brother when he was about 4 (now almost 32).   We love to see the cars having all sorts of accidents on the bumpy road,  to see the workmen and the "bugdozer" working on the road, and Grandma Cat getting the first drive on the new road.  As an adult, I have new appreciation on how much I truly learned from this book when I was young...from how cotton is harvested and used, to how a house is built, to the life cycle of water, and so on through the whole book.  My little guy loves to see Huckle Cat being rescued from a burning house by Smokey pig, jumping into a big net with a target (100 points if you hit the red center!).  And we all love the pancake supper on the end pages, attended by all the beloved Busytown people...from Doctor Lion all the way to Lowly Worm.  Now that, friends, is classic literature. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

daily moments

Spending the day with my boy, while his sister is at kindergarten. And as he just went down for his nap, I thought about the moments this morning held:
  • Making a batch of bread dough, which has not risen after five hours, meaning my sourdough starter is dead. I guess I left it a day or two too long between feeds. Luckily there's still some bread from the last batch or two in the freezer.
  • Trip to the post office and library this morning, reminding me that every errand is an adventure with a two year old! We mailed a little gift off to a friend and her new baby that included one of the many baby hats I've knit this year:

  • Fun at the park: while the little guy got to do what little guys do, running around playing and exploring, Mama got to play too...with my new camera lens! Its a 50 mm f1.8 that I got for my birthday. I am really liking it, but I still need to work on the focus issue: auto focus doesn't always focus on what I want, manual is too slow for my moving target boy! Here's the best of the morning shots:

And now on to our afternoon.  While he sleeps, I will finish here, and hopefully spend some time reading and knitting (and perhaps some laundry) before the school bus arrives.  Then this evening we are off to our "home group"--friends who are like family, who get together each week for Bible study, prayer and to enjoy each other.  My kids would be the first to say that its a favorite time for all of us this week.  What are your moments today?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

disclaimer: let's just get this said...

If you are reading this, you should know up front that I am a Christian. You'll notice that I read books sometimes that are about Jesus, or about growing in my faith, or other similar topics.  You may see my faith creep into posts about parenting, or my crafting.  You may see posts that are purely about what God is teaching me.

You should also know that I am going to try to be honest with you. And that means you will see my imperfections, my failures, and the places where I fall dramatically short of my goals.  I do not always have it together when it comes to my faith or any other part of my life.  But I am trying to live out a life that reflects God and how much love Jesus has for me (and you!).  I hope this view of my life may help you to widen your heart toward God, and if you want to talk about it, I'd be glad to, either on or off of this blog, depending on whether the conversation seems to follow what I'm currently blogging.

I'm adding a box today with my purpose statement.  This is something I developed earlier this year, and is kind of a touchstone for me to see how I'm doing in my life...both in the big picture, and in the daily moments.  It should also give you an idea of how I see creativity fitting in with my faith, and how all the things in my life work together toward that word: THRIVE!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

create:: where I'm knitting

This is where I've been knitting a lot this summer. In the Adirondack chair on the back patio. Watching the kids do what kids do. Today the jungle gym was a fire engine, and there was much spraying and sliding and giggling. And as I took this picture, they were baking birthday cakes of sand. Watching imagination is a precious thing. Being able to knit at the same!

On my needles: the start of baby sweater number two for the month. My sister in law and cousin are both due before the end of the year, and so I elected to do the five hour baby sweater for both. It takes me a bit more than five hours, I think, but probably not more than eight, so it goes quickly. What a fun pattern.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

apples, apples, everywhere!

The week began with a trip to Milburn Orchards on 9.4.10... was a beautiful day, and we brought home 25 lbs of apples. Having never gone apple picking, I found myself wondering how I had missed out on this fun for the first 35 years of my life! The taste of those Gala apples right off the tree was so crisp and sweet, I think I have been spoiled for life, and grocery-store apples will never be the same to me.  This will surely become a family tradition. 
     This week, then, has been full of wonderful smells and tastes, as we have made 5 batches of oh-so-yummy applesauce. The apples are steamed and then put through a food mill. The applesauce is so sweet that we didn't need to add anything. All natural. All apple. Pure, delicious sweetness.  There has also been a batch of apple crisp (and perhaps one more, tomorrow), and a foray into making apple chips (that one needs work, about half came out crisp sweet and good, the other half either soggy or burnt). 


     So a sweet and wonderful week of all things apple.  The apples are almost gone now, only a few left in the crisper, and I am already pondering whether we might need to pick some more this fall. Because, you know, there is nothing as good as sweet homemade applesauce on a cold winter's day. And I am not sure what we have will last that long...the temptation is great. For now, we savor the late summer goodness.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

just starting out

welcome to my life. OK, a little glimpse of it, anyway. I'm hoping this blog will inspire, illuminate, and challenge my readers. I'm hoping it will illustrate what goes on in this suburban mom's life. And since I'm reading something just about every day, there will be a lot about books. And since I'm creating something just about every day, there will be a lot about what my current projects are. And since I'm living life with two kids, there will probably be something about them, from time to time. And the hubby. And the two cats. And the things that go through my head as I'm reading, creating, or just living my life.  In the process I hope to remember as I do all these...we are here not just to live, but to THRIVE.