Thursday, March 22, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

What we've been up to:

Here's my pretty girl standing next to the pile of laundry that she moved from my bedroom.  It's now ready to go into the washing machine.
She also helped me put those clothes into the washing machine; she can just barely reach if she stands on tiptoe.
 Here she is happily coloring at her little table.
 The day I washed the sheets we built a fort with them before they went into the wash.
 Those are some happy little boy toes you see under there.  They both thought this was pretty fun.
Lucy was convinced her baby wanted to be on top of the fort.  Funny girl!

And the real ...
It's raining.  And the new roof leaks.  Fortunately the drip falls on the floor and only when it rains really hard.

round button chicken

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Linus

I want to remember ...
the way you reach at things you want, the same whether the object of your desire is millimeters beyond or fingertips or across the room.

the way you reach up and grasp my chin to push my face away while you are nursing, to start a game of peekaboo.

the way you giggle ... when I give you Eskimo kisses, when I wash your neck in the bath, when I say, "Pizza!"

the way you suck your food off the spoon.

the way you raise yourself off the floor as if to crawl, and rock back and forth, and then balance on your belly raising your arms and legs and kick your feet.

the way you slap the water in the bath with those chubby little hands and splash yourself in the face.

the way you reach out over and over to touch my coffee cup and hear me say, "hot," and the way you reach out to grab my glass of ice water and lick and chew the bottom.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Auntie Leila has been talking about eating dinner together over at Like Mother, Like Daughter.  I've been really enjoying this posts, which, in addition to providing some great ideas and practical advice, make me realize that I'm actually doing rather well in this department.  We have two children, both under the age of two, and we eat dinner together (at the same time!) every night.

Things go better if I have dinner ready at six or just a little after.  Delays result in cranky babies.  Lucy eats the same things we eat most days, and Linus has just started eating a little mush, which requires separate preparation.  I'm trying not to rely on jars of baby food, but that requires some planning.

I have some things I'm working on, too.  Many times, in the mad dash from Daddy getting home, to supper, to bathtime, to bedtime, there's no time to clean up the dinner dishes.  Water running to rinse the dishes in the sink wakes them, so we don't do the dishes after they're in bed either.  There have been far too many nights that last night's dishes have to be removed from the table so that I can put tonight's food on the table.

The table is clean, the floor is swept, and napkins and bibs are ready and waiting.  It was really nice to have the table looking like this when I was ready to put food on it last night.

I also love the picture we have by the table.  It's an image of the walk to Emmaus, where Christ was made known to his disciples in the breaking of the bread.

And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them.  But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him.  But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. 
Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight.  --Luke 24:13-31
Part of the trick to getting dinner on the table on time is that I have to get started before my husband gets home, and that means I have to keep the little ones happy at the same time.

This is one of my tricks for making that happen.  Lucy has her own cabinet full of kitchen-themed toys.  She has a plastic tea set in the basket (because baskets make everything better) and play food up on the shelf.  She takes thing out and puts them away again.

It occurs to me suddenly that I should put all of her dishes on the lid of the dishwasher when I need to unload it.  She could be happily occupied putting her dishes away while I put my dishes away.

She asks for water in her teacup, and drinks it.  When she inevitably spill some on the floor she asks for a towel to wipe it up.  And when she start to open cabinets that are not suitable for her to play in, I just direct her back to this one.  Lucy's happy.  Mama's happy.  Linus watches all the commotion and is happy, too.

Somewhere recently I saw a suggestion of having a warm wet cloth on the table ready for wiping little hands and faces, instead of having to go get it when they're done.  I thought it was in Auntie Leila's latest post, but it isn't there, and I don't remember where it was.  At any rate, I thought it was a good idea, but I wondered how to keep it warm?  A warm wet cloth is infinitely nicer than a cold wet one, but the one turns into the other in far less time than it takes us to eat dinner.

Here's my solution.  Before dinner wet a washcloth in HOT water.  Wring it, fold it, roll it up, and put it in a jar.  Put the lid on; the lid prevents the evaporation which is largely responsible for cooling the washcloth.  When the little people are ready to get out of their chairs, there is a nice, warm washcloth ready to wipe their hands and faces.  So ... yes, there was a washcloth in a jar on my table last night.  It worked perfectly.

The real has been sprinkled throughout this post, so here's some more pictures:

round button chicken

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along

I saw this crochet basket on Pinterest and thought it was really neat looking.  I am always in need of baskets for toys.  What is it about piling a bunch of toys into a basket that makes toys so much more interesting to my babies?  Maybe it's just that they like the process of pulling out and (later) putting in better than actually playing with the toys.

Not having any rope on hand, and not wanting to buy new materials when I have piles of yarn that need to be used up, I decided to get a large crochet hook and hold several strands together to make really big stitches.  I used eight strands of cheap acrylic yarn that I bought years ago before I realized that it's much more pleasant to work with natural fibers.  I'm pleased with the result.  It looks neat and is a basket Linus can pull his toys out of without my having to worry about little pieces of basket breaking off and becoming hazards.

The book is Memorized the Faith by Kevin Vost.  I just started it, so I can't give you a detailed review, but I was interested to know what techniques the "medieval memory masters" recommended.  The technique does appear at first glance to be effective.  I think we do modern students a disservice by neglecting memory training.  Memorization is one skill among many, but it is a useful skill which aids in the development of many others.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Enjoying my little ones

1.  Last night, my husband had to work late, so I needed to get the babies ready for bed.  Miraculously, they were both peaceful through dinner and bathtime and putting on diapers and pajamas and snacktime.  Then it was time to actually put them to sleep ... first Linus, then Lucy.  Linus resisted.  What he wanted, you see, was for me to take him to bed and nurse him to sleep before gingerly transferring him to his crib.  But I can't do that and watch Lucy at the same time.

This could have been a disaster of epic proportions, complete with two screaming babies.  My husband might have been greeted by a screaming infant and a NAKED screaming toddler (she has recently learned how to remove her clothes), but that's not the way it happened.  When  Lucy finished her snack, she picked up her babydoll, climbed up onto the couch, arranged a blanket over her legs, and lay down, sucking her fingers, while I paced with Linus.  We were thus when my husband arrived home.  He took Lucy and put her to sleep, and Linus finally got what he wanted.

2.  This morning at breakfast, Lucy heard my husbands stomach rumble a little bit, and said, "Beep.  'Lo."  She thought it sounded like one of our cell phones vibrating.

3.  Linus has made up a couple of his own games.  His version of making funny faces is to tilt his head to one side or the other and smile (Mama is then supposed to imitate).  This is somewhat challenging for him when he is sitting upright unsupported; it's funny to watch him gingerly leaning his head over to initiate his game and trying not to knock himself over at the same time.

4.  Linus likes to play peekaboo with me while nursing.  He reaches up to grasp my chin and push my face away so that then I can look back at him.  Over, and over, and over ...  He did that lasts night until he fell asleep.

5.  When Lucy spills water on the floor (not an infrequent occurrence, since she demands a drink of water in her toy teacups twenty or thirty times a day) she says "Wet!" and then demands a "Tow' " to wipe it up.

6.  The other day, Linus was jumping in his jumperoo, and Lucy stood next to him and jumped, too.  This made Linus giggle, which was exactly the right sort of encouragement for Lucy, who is a ham, so they continued to make each other laugh for a good fifteen or twenty minutes, while I stood by and basked in the cuteness.

7.  So why are all these moments of grace?  Because part of my vocation as a mother of little ones (and part of being pro-life) is being joyful and enjoying them.  And because I need to thank some guardian angels for averting disasters of epic proportions.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

A skirt I made for Lucy.
 Tulip pockets
 a cute button
and elastic in the back.
I feel so accomplished.

Lucy's latest block sculptures.

They don't last long, but I think they're artistic in a toddler sort of way.

Baby doll in the highchair ...

with a bib!

Lucy fed herself applesauce.

Thanks to Like Mother, Like Daughter for hosting; putting together these posts helps me realize just how happy I really am with life as it is right now.  Go visit for some more happy thoughts.

round button chicken


A skirt I made for Lucy

 I made myself a template, and traced it four times on my fabric -- twice for each pocket.

 Here's my skirt.  These pieces are just rectangles, the skirt is gathered and there is elastic in the back.  The skirt is the full width of the fabric, and I arrived at the measurements for the waistband by measuring a pair of jeans that fit and have this elastic configuration.

 I gathered the skirt, and sewed it to the front side of the waistband, then stitched down the back of the waistband where the elastic goes, then threaded the elastic through the casing and stitched it down on each end, and then closed the rest of the waistband.

 I stitched most of the way around my tulips, leaving a gap for turning,
and clipped all the corners so that they would turn neatly.
 I turned them inside out, using a knitting needle to poke out the corners, and carefully folded in the bottom edge so that the pocket would have a smooth curve on the bottom.
 I marked the lines I wanted to stitch with a sewing marker (rinses out easily).
 Then I stitched on the lines,
 placed my pockets with pins,
 and stitched them down.
 I drew on stems and leaves, and them stitched them with green thread.
 After adding a button, buttonhole, side-seam, and hem, it's all finished.
 I used bias tape to finish the hem, a quick and easy method that doesn't roll in the wash.  I will definitely use this technique again.
 I had to show you the cute button,
and elastic in the back.