Friday, June 29, 2012

I Believe In Fairies

We've been busy around here.  In an effort to keep three very active boys and one anxious little girl with a broken leg occupied I've been wracking my brain trying to think of activities for each day.  The weather has been deliciously hot so we have been trying to spend as much time outside as possible even though Grace is limited to what she can do.  

On one particularly gorgeous day I decided to take the kiddos to Bookworm Gardens for a little fun, adventure, and inspiration.  If you live in the area and have not been to this magical place I HIGHLY recommend it.  Bookworm Gardens takes favorite children's books and turns them into garden themed art.  It is like a playground in heaven.  And get this, it is FREE.  

The place is magic.  I was so busy enjoying the gardens that I only snapped a few pictures.  I was so excited to be able to live out a dream and pretend I was Laura from Little House in the Big Woods.  The boys were happy to try out the wagon.

Grace wore a bonnet just like Laura and I asked her if she would churn butter for me but she refused.  Ah well.
The kiddos even got to sit in Papa Bear's big chair.  You can see the three bears in the background. Watch out kiddos!
Here the kids are hiding in the garden just like Peter Cottontail.
The funny thing about these photos is that none of them actually shows just how beautiful this place is.  The flowers and plants and trees are amazing.  And you have to go back multiple times just to catch all the tiny details.  There is a big barn where kids can learn about planting fruits and veggies, composting, and even sample the in-season produce.  My boys had a blast watering the apple trees over and over.  Grace just liked to keep the cow company.
The kids got to try out instruments, learn about different cultures, dig for dinosaur bones, write letters to a cute little mouse in his house, read books, and even build their own fairy gardens.  Which brings us to our next project.

When I saw this post it gave me an idea of something new for the kids to do together and having had our own inspiration at Bookworm Gardens I figured we were up for the task.  We went to our local greenhouse and picked out plants, a bushel basket, and soil for our very own fairy house.  We went online to Amazon and ordered the perfect house for our fairy (which is actually a bird feeder, but I think it makes a better fairy house-and MUCH cheaper than actual fairy houses being sold), a table and chairs, a fence, wheel barrel, watering can, birdhouse, planters, and a pretty gate.  We tried to wait as patiently as we could for the items to arrive and they finally came today.  

After much plotting and planning the fairy house is complete.  I think I may have turned to the obsessive side with this house, and I don't care.  Look!

Take a closer look.  Can you see the table and chairs?  Did you read the sign?  "Welcome to our neck of the woods"  We have a similar sign up north at our cabin.  Did you see the straw hat we left for the fairy?  I wonder if it will fit.
The fairy even has a pumpkin patch.  I just love that gate and little watering can.
Look at the wheel barrel, people!
Needless to say, the kids love it.  Gracie just squeals every time she sees it.  Tommy pulled me aside and said, "Do you really think a fairy is gonna live in there, or were you just kidding?"
I've never seen an actual fairy.  But if I were a fairy, this is definitely where I'd want to live.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making It Better

This past week has been all about trying to make Gracie feel better.  Even though she was feeling a smidge better, and was able to sit up without too much pain, she was still a sad little pickle.  

I decided to test a theory I have. I dressed Grace in a new sundress I had just purchased.  I brushed her hair and put it in a ponytail.  I got out her stroller, brought her out on the back patio with me while the boys played, and painted her finger nails and toe nails.  When I was all done fancying her up she was like a brand new girl.  Her mood had lightened.  My theory worked.  Sometimes pampering yourself, and fixing yourself up, makes you feel so much better.  

Grace was even brave enough to try her swing.  She was so happy to be out of the house, off the couch, playing with her brothers again. 
And it didn't even hurt her leg!  She went higher and higher on her swing, enjoying the breeze through her hair.

When the excitement of the swing wore off we decided to take a walk.  We put Grace in her stroller (I am so thankful we hadn't given it away yet, like we had planned), put on the new hat that she got from grandma, and away we went.

We walked to one of our favorite spots, the cemetery, and enjoyed going up and down the big hills and watching Molly run and play.  We told fun stories about grandpa as we watered his flowers (and my sister's flowers too), and then walked to great grandma's and great grandpa's graves to water their flowers as well.
We had a lovely time at our beautiful cemetery.  It turned out to be a much longer walk than we had planned and we were all kind of pooped out by the time we got home.
Still, it was a turning point for Grace.  Since then she has been happier knowing that there are still some things she can do and enjoy.  We were even able to get out on Saturday and take the kids to a movie.  Good times.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day, as I'm sure most of you would expect.  While the kids were well behaved at church, and we had a lovely time at Todd's folks' house, there was an underlying sadness for me.  I really missed my dad yesterday.  More than I anticipated.  And there were other things too.  The fact that Todd's dad is rapidly declining, for one, and many other little sadnesses that I won't get into.  Bittersweet.

This morning at 5 a.m. I woke up to booming thunder and pounding rain.  Though I love my sleep I was content to lie awake listening to the storm.  Listen as it soothed the dry grass.  Listen and it slapped against the roof.  Listen as it shook the windows.  Listen as it made everything clean.  Made everything better.

Now the storm is gone.  The sun is shining.  The windows are open.  Warm winds drift through the house.  And in my head I think of plans to make today better.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And Then This Happened...

Last night, right after Todd set up the sprinkler to water the grass in the front yard, Joey and Grace collided while Joey was on his bike.  The result is two broken bones in Grace's leg.  It is heartbreaking.  I was trying to keep my expectations low for this summer, but still, I was aiming higher than this.

And we had been having such a lovely day.  The kids played nicely together all day long.  Then when Todd came home exhausted from a long, crazy day at work everything started falling apart.  First Tommy smashed his face on the playset and his tooth went through part of his lip.  While Todd was washing him off and I was grabbing an ice pack for his lip, the kids collided and Grace got a broken leg.  Now I have two injured kiddos and one very devastated older brother.  What a way to start our summer.

Gracie is lying on the couch trying to get some rest now.  It was a rough night with not much sleep but she was still such a trooper.  She even wanted to smile for the picture when I got my camera out.  Poor little peach.  As soon as the doctor calls we will be on our way out to get Grace's cast put on.  Considering she cries every time I have to lift her to take her to the bathroom, I don't expect it to be much fun.

There is nothing worse in this world than seeing your child in pain.


Just got back from the orthopedic and Grace is now outfitted with her very own PINK cast.  It was not a pleasant experience.  Looking at the x-ray is was very clear where the breaks were, even to an untrained eye.  She screamed and cried the whole time, and even worse when the doctor began to manipulate the bones a bit.  I think I sweat off a few pounds holding her on my lap knowing she was in such pain.

But, there is good news!  The cast only has to be on for 4 weeks.  I was told yesterday it would be more like 8 weeks.  But because Grace is so young her bones heal very quickly and 4 weeks is all it will take.  And, the cast is waterproof so she will be able to take bathes, run (hobble) through the sprinkler, and wade in the lake.  Very exciting news.

I was actually able to capture a big smile with her new PINK cast.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I learned my lesson last year.  I was so excited for school to be out that I built it up in my mind so much there was no way that reality could live up to it.  Instead of relaxing fun I had been looking forward to the first week out of school was more like yelling and nagging and exhaustion. 

This year I kept my expectations low.  Very, very low.  I didn't even make plans.  

The weather was perfect for a last day of school.  It was hot.  In the 80's and sunny.  I picked the kids up from school and we all hung around outside for the rest of the afternoon.  To celebrate "the last day of school" we went to a local restaurant and ate outside on their patio in front of the river.  It was such a beautiful night and we had fun watching the seagulls swoop down into the water and grab their own dinner as we ate.  

When we got back home the kids raced around in the backyard chasing the dog and getting their neverending energy out.  We made it even more special by setting up the tiki torches and getting out the kids' flashlights.  As the night got darker and darker the kids got more and more spooked exploring the far ends of the yard by themselves.  It ended up being a late night.

Saturday was even hotter than Friday.  It was 90 degrees and humid.  The kind of weather that makes it imperative to have a sprinkler on and squirt guns in hand.  The grandparents came over and we watched as the kids wore themselves out racing around in the cold water.  We had a cookout, slurped on popsicles, and ate plenty of watermelon.  

As the evening cooled off Todd and the boys got to work stacking and organizing all our wood for the endless fires we have in summer and in winter.  It was another late night with no naps in between.    

Sunday morning I got up and went for a nice long run.  It was warm and humid, but a beautiful and relaxing run.  A great way to start the day.  After church we went over to the in laws house and were treated to a beautiful brunch.  Then while Todd cut the grass the kids played with grandma.  Everyone was heated up by the time we left so we decided to take the kids down the lake to play in the cool water.  There is a stretch of beach right by our house where kids and dogs alike play and splash in the water.  After a couple of hours it was getting close to dinner time and I was worn out, even though the kids were all still going strong.  

We got home, showered the sand off of everyone, and ate dinner.  We watched tv for a short time and then it was off to bed.  After such an eventful weekend I think everyone was ready for bed.  

It was a great weekend and a great start to our summer.  

I will remind myself, repeatedly, throughout this summer to keep my expectations low.  Be calm.  Relax.  Make memories.  Go with the flow. Enjoy.  Be in the moment.  Let go.  And maybe, just maybe, this summer will be as relaxing and fun as it should be.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Me Time

It's 10:15 when Todd decides he can't keep his eyes open anymore and he heads off to bed.  I kiss him goodnight and tell him I'll be up in a few minutes after I finish this chapter.

The chapter comes to an end and keeps me so on edge that I go on to the next chapter.  And then the next chapter after that.  And then a few more.  I pause for the first time to glance up at the clock and notice that it is now 12:50.  Oh crap.  Three late nights in a row.  Why did I do that?

I reluctantly put my book down and head to the bathroom to wash up.  I blow out the candles, pick up a few pairs of shoes, straighten out the blankets, make the coffee for the next day, turn out the lights, and check the locks on the doors.  I make my way up the stairs into my bedroom and slip into bed next to my sleeping husband.

The next thing I know I am being woken up.

"Honey.  It's 7:20 and the boys say it is crazy hair day today.  If you are gonna do their hair you'd better get going." Todd says gently.

"Oh shoot. That's right.  I promised I would make them look crazy."  I can barely squeak out.

I lug myself out of bed, grab the tiny rubber bands, the hairspray, my comb, and some gel and make my way downstairs.

"Mom!  Is it crazy hair day today?"  the boys ask me anxiously.  I assure them that it is and before I even have my cup of coffee I ask them to sit down so that I can get started.

I go at them with everything I've got and when I think they are finished I get out the kool aid.  This is always their favorite part.  I dye the tips of their little pony tails red and add some goofy makeup to their faces for good measure.

"You're SURE that it's crazy hair and make up day, right mom?"  Tommy asks me again.

"Yes.  I'll check again just to be sure."  I reassure him.

"I would feel really stupid if we went to school like this and it wasn't crazy hair day, mom." Tommy says laughing.

I check the "last week of school" schedule again and show them that it really is crazy hair and make up day.  They are relieved.

The boys excitedly grab their backpacks and head for the door with their daddy.  As soon as they are gone I remember that I forgot to take pictures.  Poo.  Well, I have to be at school in 45 minutes to watch Tommy read to his class anyway, I'll take pictures then.

I get Gracie up, dress her, and feed her.  I quickly get dressed, throw my hair back, and get my purse.  Out the door we go to watch Tommy.  I take pictures of Tommy and then search the school for Joey and get a picture of him too.

I usher Ben and Grace back to the car and go home.  I start in on the 6 loads of laundry and then get my running clothes on.  I give the kiddos a snack and they come down in the basement to play while I run on the treadmill.  Forty minutes later we are back upstairs.  I change out the laundry and then take a quick shower.  I come back downstairs, my hair still dripping wet, and make lunch.  I start folding load number one as the kids munch on their sandwiches.

Shortly after they are done eating it is nap time.  I usher them off to bed and then quickly dry my hair before I make myself a little something to eat.  I eat quickly and then run back downstairs to fold load number 2.  I wash up all the dishes and head outside to water all the plants.  By the time I come back in it is time to fold load number 3.  A few more minutes and the boys will be coming home from school and Ben and Grace will be getting up from their naps.

A few minutes.  Just for myself.  I grab my first cup of coffee of the day, put my feet up, and grab my book.  Ahh.  Me time.

Just as I'm opening my book the dog comes over, rests her head on my lap and lets out a little whine.  She has to go out.

I slowly drag myself off of the chair and walk over to the door to let her out.  As I wait for her by the door I remind myself that I really should get that card out in the mail today.  And I have to call and schedule that doctor appointment too.  And the bathroom looks so dirty I might as well clean it now.  

I guess the book will wait.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson