Friday, December 30, 2011

Craft Room Overhaul

Happy New Year's Eve, Eve!

I am going to start off the new year by overhaulin' my craft zone. 

Actually, my baby boy is ready to move out.  He has been with me since Day 1 and it's really hard for me to admit it's time.  My TV watching habits are interfering with his sweet slumber and we are tired of walking on eggshells every day so he doesn't wake up from his short naps.

So, in order for this to happen, I have to give up my room.  I will be moving into our playroom area next week while my oldest is back at school.  The kids are already annoyed that I will be interfering with their play area.  I am trying to convince them I will only occupy one corner, but I think we all know better.

Stay tuned for updates...

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Don't Craft Well Under Pressure

It's that time of the year when my inbox and all the blogs I read are filled to the brim when Christmas crafting ideas.  As a lover of crafts, you would think I would be inspired and love all the holiday goodness that comes my way.  But honestly, I don't.
Christmas is not my favorite holiday, first of all.  I like it, but I don't like the stress, the money spent, the greediness of it all.  My family is not super religious, so my feelings aren't based on belief.  It's just, well, a lot of work.  I try my hardest to see Christmas through my children's eyes and that is was makes it enjoyable for me.
I used to try and craft for the holidays, at least one or two new ornaments or decor.  This year, especially with having a baby, I decided to ignore the craft sales and ideas.  I know I won't have time, so I don't even peek.  Besides, I'm always stressed about finishing a project on top of the other Christmas activities we have to complete.
I did make one item, early on.  An advent activity card set for my family.  It has been the best Christmas craft I have ever made!  I feel like each activity helps me get things done as well as gives them something to look forward to everyday.  But that's it.  Nothing else.
Without the pressure of holiday crafting, I was able to finish 20 ATCs for a trade due in January, continue organizing my digital prints and make some birthday cards.
My crafting time is so precious and so small.  Why waste it on unrealistic expectations?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Paper Bag Book Covers

I ran across this a couple weeks ago and it brought back a flood of back to school memories:

Getting brand new books- Spelling and English (my favorites), Math (yuck) and History (I tried hard to enjoy it, but sometimes I was bored).  Taking my books home on the first day to carefully cover them with paper grocery sacks.  And then the labeling.  If I did not perfectly write the subject of the book on the cover, I had to start all over again.  I know, OCD, but it would bother me.  Later I would cover it with hearts, flowers, my friend's names and the always mysterious, "I Love ???"

What is a favorite Back-to-School memory of yours?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One week left of summer vacation (Boo hoo hoo)

There is only a week and a couple days left of summer vacation. I am sad. I actually know some moms that were done with having their kids home by the end of the first week, but not this mama. I just hit the 2 year mark of my SAHM-dom and I am still grateful everyday I wake up that I get to do what I do. With that said, I finally hit a wall this past week. I declared, "Maybe I am glad school is almost back in!" My mild mannered 3-year-old has become 13 over night. He instigates almost every fight with his older brother. Older brother has reminded me I'm "mean," "a jerk," and of course, that I "don't love him." Of course my little sprout has been an angel. A very hungry angel.

After my declaration the other morning, I decided that separating my two oldest in different rooms wasn't cutting it. So I came up with this:

Inside those tents are two boys quietly building with Lego's. I decided to make their separation new and exciting by using the tents. They brought their own storage containers in their own tent. They couldn't copy, steal or otherwise destroy the others creation. It worked like a charm and the fighting was silenced for at least 45 minutes. I will be storing this in my mental file for sure.

So....How do you break up the fights and switch directions with the kids in your life?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

It's the 4th of July- one of my favorite holidays. Not only is it a fun holiday to celebrate as a proud American, it's also the holiday that my husband and I celebrate our birthdays around. With my day on the 2nd and his on the 4th, it's guaranteed to be a few days of celebration, fun and of course, food!

As part of my birthday, I had some uninterrupted time in my craft room. What a gift! I made a quick decoration for my front door, a birthday card for my husband and started a layout. I'm still playing with the layout, so I'll post it later. In it, I'm sharing the story of how we share our birthday celebration every year. It's something we've done since we met and is a special tradition for us. It's worth documenting.

My front door decor

Birthday card...Wish I had more of this paper. I love it!

The final bit of red, white and blue craftiness comes from my kids. We colored rice one morning and then the next day, made a simple centerpiece for our patio table. I enjoyed making the rice when I taught preschool and knew my kids would love it.

Materials: Rice, Rubbing alcohol and food coloring

For each cup of rice, I use about 2-3 T of Rubbing alcohol and 8-10 drops of food coloring. It's really up to you how intense you want the color to be. Mix all the material together.

(Sticking out your tongue, optional)

Spread it out on wax paper to dry. It doesn't take long.

After it was dry, my boys layered the colors in jars and vases. It was super easy for even my 3-year-old. Throw in some flags or leave it plain.

We had a lot of leftover rice, so I plan on using it for collaging and using it for sensory experience. I am planning a card making party with a patriotic theme in a couple of weeks, so I will probably leave this out on the patio. It's fun to adapt to other holidays, such as Christmas, too.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday and that it's full of fireworks and memories!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Have you talked to your child today?

As I was driving my son to school this morning, it was raining. Our drive is pretty short, but there was tons of traffic due to the elementary and middle school being on the same street. With my son being strapped into his car seat and the other two quietly enjoying the rain hitting the window, it gave us a chance to talk.

I treasure the moments when my son shares what is going on in school. It's the one part of his life that I can't fully be present in all the time. I usually have to drag information out of him to just get an idea of what he learned about and what he did with his classmates. And what I do get is usually about kickball, soccer or what he didn't like about his lunch.

I try really hard to use open-ended questions (those are the kind where the answer is more than yes or no). As a former preschool teacher, I know the importance of this kind of communication to foster curiosity, language skills and self-esteem among other things. And you know what? Most people, especially children, like to talk about themselves! A few times a week on the way home from school I might ask: Tell me three things that happened on the playground today, Who was at your lunch table? What centers were set up in the morning? Today my son had mentioned that the teacher planned on waiting to take attendance on rainy days because of the traffic, so this was our conversation:

Me: So what do you do while you are waiting?
J: Mrs. T plays music and I go to the clip chart and move every one's clips for the day.
Me: You move every one's clips? Why do you do that?
J: Because it's my job right now (this was news to me, BTW!)
Me: What are some of the other jobs in the class?
J: Desk checker and helper.
Me: What does the desk checker do?
J: Looks for messy desks and gives out stickers (he went on to explain the collection of stickers at his desk)
Me: What do you do after you finish your job?
J: When the music stops, we sit down and get ready to work
Me: Tell me more about the music she plays

Okay, you get the picture. I got more information from him this morning than on a typical day. I have also found turning off the radio or walking to/from school help with getting him to talk. I want to know more than "How was your day?" Don't you? What are some ways you get your child or children you love to talk?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama's Day

Happy Mama's Day!

I am trying to ignore the growing amount of Lego's on my living room floor as I enjoy some (almost) guilt-free time on the computer and hopefully get some (almost) guilt-free time in the craft room.

This is a page I made back in 2004 for my first Mother's Day. There's my tiny newborn, now a big 7-year-old. He made me a Mama that year and I wanted to remember how special that first Mother's Day was for me. We went to walk on the Balboa Pier and get milkshakes. I was new at the BF'ing thing and I tried it on the pier. Of course, a huge gust of wind came in and blew off the blanket I was trying to cover up with. What a day. I have to say I'm MUCH more confident in my nursing skills and WAY more experienced with a newborn!

Last year for Mother's Day, I received a necklace from the boys. Since I am known as "Mama Birdy" around these parts, the necklace they gave me had a Mama Bird and two baby birds. Well, just a few months later, we found out we were adding another bird to our "nest." This morning I was surprised with a giant paper crown to wear and a new necklace with one more baby bird added to it. Love!

Today I am thankful for the many women in my life: The one that gave me life, the one raised me as her own, the others that have cared for and loved me just like a daughter, the ones that dream of nothing more than to be a mama and the ones that will be a mama someday.


Friday, April 29, 2011

I've Got a Plan

Well, hello there! I know it's been awhile. But you see, things don't always go as planned and one must be flexible. Really flexible!

I am a planner. I have to be. Especially as a mom. Especially as a mama of a child with ADHD, who also needs plans. And a preschooler who needs to know what's going on (over and over again). And not a lot of everyday grandparent-ly help with the kids. So what do you do when you have a list of things to do, a time frame to do them and then the (slightly) unexpected happens?

Nothing. You go with it. (Maybe shed a tear or two)

And that's what happened almost 2 months (!) ago to our family. On February 28th, I woke up feeling "different." My water started leaking. Of course, I took my son to school first. It's a 3td time Mama thing I guess- no worries, no hurries. The next thing I knew, I was admitted to the hospital and on March 1st, Benjamin William was born into the world. But I had a To Do list!

I had just had my "surprise" shower (save that for another time). The baby clothes weren't washed, my bag wasn't packed, my instructions for my awesome brother and his wife for the care of my other two wasn't complete.

Did Benjamin care? Nope. And I started to not care either...

This pregnancy has been remarkable from the start- the never ending morning sickness, the heartburn, the abnormal ultrasounds, the anemia. You name it. Why was his birth going to be any different? Born 4 weeks early, Benjamin was still a healthy 6 lbs. 13 ozs. He had a visit to the NICU on night 1 due to low blood sugar. He had a hard time staying awake for feedings. He had a blue bruise on his face that freaked me out. We came home for a night and he was re-admitted for jaundice. (That was awful, BTW. Telling a new, BF'ing Mama she can only hold her baby for 20 minutes every 2 hours or so? Watch out for mood swings and more tears!)

Fast forward to today. Benjamin is a chunky 11 lbs. now. He went from swimming in newborn clothes to filling out 3 month outfits. He is a champion eater. Had kinda gotten the hang of night vs. day. Although the nighttime feeding did give me the opportunity to watch The Royal Wedding last night. He's pretty awesome. Oh and the cutest!

While I think I should still wake up having a plan for the day, I am starting to truly realize with 3 boys, the plan is not to have a plan. You never know when you can sneak in a load of laundry, make a bed, or eat a meal. Now if I can only sneak in some craft time...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

8 (ish) weeks more

This weekend has included the worst heartburn of my life. Killer leg cramps. A pulled muscle in my leg (did it at the library-SMH). It wasn't all bad. I had a fantastic time at the Fiskateer Tweet Up in L.A. Spent time with my BF. Made yummy Oatmeal Applesauce muffins for breakfast.

But seriously, I'm done. I am trying hard to enjoy this last pregnancy, but it is really, really hard. I will miss the kicks and punches (not at 2 a.m. though).

In 8 weeks or so, I will be holding my new baby boy. My life will not be the same and I am trying hard to enjoy all these moments and looking forward to the (heartburn free) new ones.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happiness in 10

  1. A good nights sleep (without needing to get up to use the bathroom)
  2. The excitement of my son going on a field trip
  3. My little guy surprising me with a freshly picked weed from the yard.
  4. Leftover pizza
  5. Seeing a baby bassinet in my bedroom
  6. Walking into a clean garage
  7. The sun shining on my belly
  8. The silence of naptime
  9. Watching N paint and glue
  10. Finding some easy looking recipes for homemade soup

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

As I'm writing this, it's raining...

But this picture is from last week, on the Balboa Pier, where it was quite nice. Lots of tourists that day. If you squint, you can see snow on the mountains in the distance. Gotta love living in SoCal!


A lot of blogs and sites I follow have been sharing crafty goals for the upcoming year---there's the popular 52 layouts or 365 pictures. While I would love to attempt one of these, this is not the year. I have approximately 3 months until I have the baby. My goal for the year is pretty much survival. Learning how to manage 3 little boys, one a nursling, is what I'm thinking about. That nesting feeling is coming on, so I know in the next few weeks I need to go through the boxes in the garage and figure out what we need/want for this guy.

There are some things I would love to do, but I am trying to convince myself not to get down if I can't get there. They include:

  • Create a Christmas 2010 Scrapbook

  • Hang pictures on our still bare walls

  • Somewhat organize our digital photos (long shot)

  • Create a stash of cards for the year ahead

  • Participate in Fiskateer Tami's Hearts of Orange project

Anything beyond that will be amazing!

Hope this year finds you healthy and fulfilled!