There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The girl may be getting her groove back

My creativity has been a bit gone lately.  Part of growing up I guess.  Anyway I was reading some of my favorite blogs awhile back and came across a contest.  Use a certain pattern, enter a picture of your creation and you could win a prize.
My first thought was, as usual, negative.  No way anyone is going to look at anything that I make and think it worthy of a prize.  Then I shoed the bad thoughts away, (that's what I have been working on this Lent) and ordered the pattern.  When it came I searched through my stash of fabrics and trims and did what any creative person would do, I let everything sit on my table for about two weeks just kind of stewing.
This is what I came up with.  Did I mention that the due date for entries is March 31? or that I started sewing on Thursday of this week? Nothing like a little pressure to get the creative juices flowing.  When I got the whole thing done I realized that I had one issue that I couldn't so easily solve, Layn is a boy!  I needed a model.  So I searched through my mind and this cutie came immediately to my thoughts.  She's the daughter of a dear friend and she is stunning in this little dress.  I knew when she got it on that it was made for her and no one else. 
Now my fingers are crossed time will tell.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 26 March 2012

Outside my window....our strange weather patterns seem to have resolved themselves into normal March weather.  It is cold, windy and cloudy out there.  I don't think anyone is going to be hanging any laundry on the line today.
I am thinking....that there is a lot of work to be done this week.  It is finals week for three of my subjects which means a lot of writing to be done.  I have also gotten the fabric, pattern, and trims to make a dress to enter into a contest which closes this coming weekend.  To quote Mary Poppins, "Best foot forward!"
I am thankful for....good friends.  We had a reception over the weekend for the woman who served as parish secretary for over 40 years.  The preparations came together seemingly effortlessly and it went off without a hitch.  That could only have happened with good friends and people who respect each other and care.
From the kitchen...the policy will be get what you can.  The cook is going to be very busy this week.  Fear not, there will be no starving in this house just not a lot of gourmet cooking going on.
I am wearing...a long flannel nightgown.  It has turned cold and the fire has only just taken hold and started to warm the house.
I am creating....a winning entry to the contest that I am entering. (I hope)
I am work very diligently on my final works this week.  This means that I am going nowhere until I am done or I absolutely have to go out.
I am reading...Making Sense out of Suffering by Peter Kreeft
I am write inspiring and brilliant work so that my professors are compelled to give me good grades.
I am hearing....the fan on the furnace working to warm the house, Layn chattering to Melissa in the next room, the High Kings singing "The Fields of Glory" and the birds calling to each other outside my window.
Around the house....everything is pretty neat and clean since no one was home much yesterday and when we were home we were outdoors.
One of my favorite things...looking out and seeing the pastures and hay fields getting greener by the day.
A few plans for the rest of the week....finish up school, work on my entry for the contest, snuggling with Layn and Savannah in between to help maintain my sanity and just generally getting to the end of the week.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Savannah a year ago

Savannah now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

There are days when the sun is shining.
Lunch must be eaten out of doors.
Peanut butter has to be mixed with jelly
and the cheese on the nachos
needs to be peeled off before it is eaten.
When the sun shines and the birds sing
milk has to have ice cubes in it
and sand should be between the toes.
Indoors is the wrong place to be.
Babies have to put grass in their mouths
while two-year-olds dump sand
in their hair
laughing as it flows down their chins.
Mamma turns away because
the sun is shining and it must be done.
In the spring the breezes blow and baby
arms are chubby and cold, but
that's okay when the sun shines.
Spit up sinks into the soil
and no one cares. 
Chins don't get wiped, the sun is shining
and dirty faces are right.
Later it will be bath time.
Then fingernails will be scrubbed.
Toes will be found
deep in the sand.
Peanut butter will be parted from the jelly
and the nachos will grow stale.
By then the sun will go down.
Night will descend and everything will
be right because
the sun was shining.

She Let Herself Go

Katherine was an average girl, to the rest of the world but to her husband she was everything.  They were married right after they graduated from high school, the ceremony was low budget but big on sentiment and earnestness.  They were in love and no one seeing them together could deny what they saw.  A few months later it was no surprise when they announced that Katherine was pregnant.  Talk about glowing with life, Katherine gave that phrase new meaning. 

     Matt was a good provider and Katherine made his small paycheck go as far as she could.  It was only a matter of time and they were able to afford a down payment on the home of their dreams.  Granted it was a fixer-upper but Matt was handy and what Katherine didn’t know how to do already she would learn, you could count on that.

     Thrift shop clothing made-over, there was really not a lot that wasn’t transformed in Kathy’s clever hands.  Second-hand furniture, a few yards of fabric bought at a discount and visitors had no idea that what they were seeing wasn’t the latest style.  Gourmet meals prepared on a budget with a healthy helping of coupons and the garden in the back yard went a long way to helping stretch their money that much further.  Matt was so proud of his wife he bragged about her abilities everywhere he went.

     It was at an event for the office when Matt was bragging, as usual, that he saw the hurt enter her eyes. It was that night that he vowed he would do all he could to make it leave and never come back.  One overheard conversation, one hurtful phrase that hung in the air, she should never have heard, and why did they say it, Matt didn’t care why should anyone else? 

     “Sure she can stretch their money and keeps a nice home.  But look at her!  Seven kids in 10           

     years.  She certainly has let herself go!”

     He saw the tears well up in her eyes as she sought his gaze for, what confirmation of what she’d heard, denial?  His eyes did meet hers across the room as he slowly and deliberately made his way to her.  When he reached her side he made this declaration in a voice that was loud enough for the whole room to hear:

     “She did.  She let herself go.  My wife let herself go to our life together.  She let herself go to pregnancy and back.  Not once but seven times for me and for the glory of God.  Each of those times she let herself go to the service of the love of me and our children.  She let herself go to school plays, soccer games, PTO meetings, and piano lessons.  She let herself go to meals that could be prepared on a budget so that we could live within our means.  She let herself go, all out, when it was time to celebrate our family; births, Christmas, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions and all the other things that mean family.  She let herself go because she never took time for the gym or working out or any of those other things that meant selfish to her.  Rather all of her time meant husband and children.  So if the way that she looks means something bad to you than you all need to examine how you use your own time.  I am proud of my wife and the wise way that she has used her time and how she has let herself go.”

     After this long speech Matt took Kathy, who was sobbing into his shoulder by this time, by the arm and took her home.  He wanted her to know that the opinions of others mattered not at all to him.  To him she was still everything. 

     She had let herself go.  She had let herself go through life right beside her husband.  She had gone where he had led her and he was happy with the woman that he had walking beside him.  When they got home and he looked into her eyes he saw that the pain that had been there at the party had left and had been replaced by a look of love and wonder.

     “I have often wondered,” said Kathy, “what you thought about the way that I look. But you have never complained. You are always telling people you are so proud of me that I never gave it a second thought until I heard that comment tonight.  It didn’t bother me for myself but I was embarrassed for you. I didn’t want you to be ashamed.”

     Matt just looked at her and smiled.

     “I could never be ashamed of you.  Looks are not what I married you for.  You are what I married you for.  If you could love me all these years in spite of my deformity….”

     Matt’s voice just trailed off there.

     Kathy just knelt on the floor in front of him and kissed the place where his arm should have been. 

     “You are perfect and I have never thought of you otherwise.  Why can the world forgive you such a ‘defect’ and condemn a few extra pounds?”

With that said they both prepared for bed.  After climbing under the covers Matt buried his face in Kathy’s hair and silently thanked God that he had met her so many years ago.  While he was thinking that Kathy was thanking God for the very same thing.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happiness is chatting with Veronica

These are a few of my favorite things....

Little girl giggles when I push her on the swing.  I couldn't catch it but she would sign "more" if I stopped or slowed down.

Face pressed up close to the side of the playpen.  I love that distored look little kids get when they play with the texture of the mesh.

Layn's bare toes in the sand.  He was actually given a choice to go see Daddy or stay and play and chose to play in the sand. I don't blame him that sensation is one of my favorites.

It's great that the sandbox is situated so he has a ringside seat to everything that is going on around the farm.

I don't know who was more whistful, Archie wanting in or Savannah wanting out.

There are those toes again.  Grandma cannot get enough of them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bow season is a long ways away!

Tonight after supper Matthew brought out his bow and the fake deer that he uses for target practice.  I think he is just doing it for more practice since bow season is a long time from now (like next fall).
But it is always fun to watch him and to see how often he actually "kills" the deer and how often he only wounds it.
Savannah got a kick out of sitting in her stroller watching her Uncle Matt too.  She doesn't know what the big deal is with shooting all those sticks at a fake deer.  But she knows that watching her Uncle is something that she enjoys.

That poor deer has been through a lot of target practice from a lot of shooters and it is still standing.  Makes me wonder if maybe it isn't tougher than it looks.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 19 March 2012

Outside my window....the sun is coming out and the temperatures are already in the 50's.  We are having quite spring like weather for the middle of March.  I don't know if I should be apprehensive or just take what is given and be thankful.
I am thinking...about my family.  Specifically about submitting to the unpleasant for the good of my family.
I am thankful uncomplaining husband.
From the kitchen....I don't even want to think about it.  After a day spent on clear liquids yesterday and fasting today in order to be ready for a colonoscopy the thought of food actually makes me ill.
I am wearing....tan capris and a blue tee shirt.
I am creating...a bubble of peace and harmony around myself and my family.
I am OHC to have this test then home to rest and recover.  Maybe later this afternoon I will get the floors scrubbed and some schoolwork done.
I am reading....folk and fairy tales in order to do a camparative analysis.
I am hoping.... that the doctor finds nothing but normalcy inside my nethermost regions.
I am hearing...birds chirping, the laundry equipment performing their Monday morning duties, and Matthew running his sewing machine.
Around the house....everything is blessedly normal.
One of my favorite things...the return of the peepers Saturday night.  I could have stood out there all night just listening to their voices as they called back and forth to each other.
A few plans for the rest of the, family, two holy hours, a trip to town to the fabric store, and a lot of blessed normalcy.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...
Matthew and Brett spent the weekend in the Adirondacks camping this weekend.  This is their reproduction of the famous Lewis and Clark explorer pose.  We are glad that they had a good time and even happier that they are home.

Friday, March 16, 2012

We miss you Uncle Matt, I think.

 Matthew and his friend Brett have been up north camping this weekend.  I personally think the two of them need something more to occupy their time but no one asked my opinion.

It looks like MK misses her brother so much that she is beginning to languish. (I love that word!) But looks could be deceiving.

Layn looks excessively upset. Maybe he is missing his Uncle Matt and Uncle Brett.  I doubt it though.
I happen to know that Layn's angst (another favorite word) is due to the fact that he had to stay with grandma while daddy backed the tractor up.  It took daddy so long I am sure that Layn thought he could do a better job.

Maybe Archie misses them? 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I love Wednesdays!

I love Wednesdays.  I love my family too but Wednesdays are the best.  It is the day that, though Melissa has off from work, she and MK go shopping.

They take Layn with them and Savannah isn't here.  Matthew has to work too.  So I have the whole house to myself.  That means that it is going to be very quiet today.

Actually I shouldn't say quiet in the conventional sense of the word.  My music will be playing throughout the whole house and I won't have to worry about waking any babies up.

No one will be saying, "I don't like that song," or "I don't like that guy's voice!"

I can write without interruption! When I need to get up and walk around to ease my back no one will assume that I am done and ask me to do anything.  The biggest bonus of all; there is enough leftover from last night so I don't have to worry about making anything for tonight's supper either.
The only thing to do today beside writing is doing my laundry and there are only two loads of that.
Yep! I love Wednesday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The snow geese are back

This weekend the fields were white with them. It was only going to be a matter of time before a knock came on the door.  "Do you mind if we hunt the geese in your field?"  My husband gave permission and laid down the ground rules and the man thanked him.   Though this is a poor shot (taken from the deck of our pool) the ground was literally white as if we had had a heavy snowfall in some places.

Happily when the men came with their guns the geese had flown and the fields had turned their usual spring brown.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a well cooked meal of goose and have spent my fair share of time hunting.  But when the ground is white with these beauties....

my heart stops and my breath is caught in my throat at the sight and sound of them.  Not on my land please.  Let them take refuge here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 11 March 2012

Outside my window....the sun is setting on a lovely day.  The temperature was in the mid-60's today with bright sunshine. 
I am thinking....about family and how quickly children grow up.  Though it is cliche it does seem like only yesterday that mine were young.  Now I sit here listening to the sounds of my grandchildren playing together.
I am thankful for....the man that I call husband and friend.
From the family just enjoyed steak, mashed potatoes, and corn that came from our garden last summer.  What a blessing to sit down to a meal that was totally produced by the labor of your family.
I am wearing...jeans and a hoodie.  Now that the sun is setting the temps are going down too.
I am bed early tonight.  I have a dentist appointment early tomorrow so I need to get plenty of sleep.
I am reading...nothing in particular right now.  I have so much reading to do each week for school that I daren't start anything for pleasure.
I am hoping...I have plenty of courage to make it through my dental appointment tomorrow.
I am hearing....Ian and Layn making truck sounds in the living room, Doug in the basement putting wood in the furnace, and Savannah chattering to herself.
Around the house....everything is in its usual weekend state of chaos. 
One of my favorite things...the simultaneous quiet and chaos of having the kids here and the babies playing and yet being able to sit back and enjoy them all.
A few plans for the rest of the, survive the dentist, family, and being ready for anything that comes along.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you...

This is one happy little girl.  What a pleasant afternoon she and I spent together on Friday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coming at creativity from the back door

The girls group at our church has decided to make a quilt to raffle off, the money to be given to a worthy charity.  When I heard about their intent I spoke with the moderators of the group and offered my services.  I don't claim to be an expert and with my own creative abilities at an ebb right now it would seem like a no-win situation for them to have me onboard but hey, beggers can't be choosers and all that.
Actually even though I find myself incapable of creating I am still able to teach. 

So last Sunday my husband and son gracioiusly hauled my sewing supplies to the church hall and MK and I set out to assist whoever showed up.

There were lessons in color matching and pattern choices.  Once everyone had decided what they wanted to make the lessons in measuring and cutting began.  The students all did exceptionally well with their cutting.  The teacher managed to cut every one of her pieces wrong!

Then the machines were threaded and the sewing commenced.  One of the girls needed a lesson in how to run a sewing machine but that was ok. Once she had that under control Matthew was there to coach her when she had any additional questions.

Jacinata pieced this pillow top all by herself and next week she will be putting it together and completing her project.

Two of the moderators made two very lovely blocks which will contribute to a bright and vibrant quilt when we get this project done.

Hanging out with Uncle Matt

This week Savannah is coming here since her other babysitter had a death in the family.  As soon as her mom pulls into the driveway Uncle Matt is there to help bring her into the house.  (I think he likes his niece!)  She doesn't mind him being around either.


He sits in the rocking chair with her on his lap and she grins and chatters away.  Uncle Matt just listens with a big contented smile on his face.

Even when she gets put down on the floor to play with the toys she is one happy baby girl.  It would be a shame to tell her that is a wooden banana that she is currently biting on.  These are happy days.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Playing hookey!

I should have the internet closed down and have all my books open.  I should be writing a critique comparing the movie The Shootist with the book by the same name.  Or I could be writing the manuscript pages that are due this week.  There are always the pages of folk tales to be read and commented on but I sit. Other thoughts swirl in my head and other words itch to be spoken.
No, I am not a political activist. Though I know what is right and what is wrong I am lacking in the ability to think on my feet or express myself clearly without a great deal of thought and preparation.  Nor am I a great apologist.  I know what I believe and I am able to explain those beliefs and tell them to others.  But alas, again I am not an off-the-cuff speaking kind of person.  My brain is incapable of those kinds of acrobatics.  No, my forte is poetry and prose of a more creative nature.  I can look at a summer day and express it in language that paints it on the canvas of the mind so that those who cannot see with their hearts may catch a small glimpse of the majesty of God. 
Still I sit here with the words backed up at the tips of my fingers.  It is as if the sun that is shining today, the crisp flakiness of the croissant that I had for lunch and the sharpness of the chlorine in the pool this morning have all worked like a catalyst to loosen whatever has been stopping my mind up until now. 
And so I gaze out my window and see, not the drab brown of winter, nor the melting of the snow. No, I see the shades and tones of the colors of fertility as I look at the browns of the fields waiting for the warmth to wake them to their potential.  Instead of the cold snap in the air that used to tighten my joints and slow my mind I feel only the briskness of the breeze that cleanses the old and brings with it a promise of something new.
And I pray that this change may stay with me and keep me moving forward toward healing and the next adventure.

Swimming lessons.

Tuesday morning is swimming lesson day for Layn.  Every Tuesday he and grandma pack the pool bag and drive with Uncle Matt down to the Y.  Even though Uncle Matt isn't Layn's life guard we take him with us to save gas. He works out in the gym before his shift begins.  Today we were watching Savannah too so we packed up Auntie and Savannah and took them with us.  We thought that since Savannah liked her bath at home she wouldn't mind the swimming pool.  We were right!

She took to splashing and grinning as soon as she got into the water.  Uncle Matt was good enough to take these picture before he started his workout so that we can always remember Savannah's first day at the pool.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Simple Womans Daybook 5 March 2012

Outside my window...there are several inches of snow on the ground, again, with more coming down.  This has been a very strange winter.  One week we will have temps in the 50' and the next we will have snow and ice and temps in the 20's and 30's
I am thinking....what could possibly be in the mind of a nearly two-year-old boy.  He is currently in the process of moving all his toys from the kitchen into the sewing room.  We have finally gotten him to understand (I think) that if he has toys poured out in one room he must pick them up before he goes to play in another room.  Wonder what thought process is going on in that little head of his.
I am thankful for....the good time that I had yesterday teaching a some nice people how to sew. 
From the kitchen....only time will tell.  Melissa is in charge today since it is her day off and I will be out of commission.
I am wearing....jeans and a tee shirt.
I am creating....umpteen pages of brilliantly written manuscript for my creative writing class. Let us hope that the professor agrees with my assessment.
I am the hospital today for some outpatient procedures.  It is time to succomb and find out what is wrong with this body of mine.
I am reading....The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout
I am hoping....that the GI doctor finds the issue and says that the fix doesn't require any surgical or invasive intervention.
I am hearing....Layn talking to himself as he drives his engines all over the sewing room floor.  A wonder if little boys are born knowing how to make truck sounds.
Around the is home and that is the way I like it.
One of my favorite things....being able to sit here working while Layn does his own brand of work.
A few plans for the rest of the week....drop off the estimate for the damages to the car so the insurance company can approve the repairs.  Work on school dilligently like the good girl that I am, and hopefully be ready to give more sewing lessons on Sunday.
Here is a picture thought that I am sharing with you....

Matthew, MK and I spent Sunday afternoon helping teach sewing to the moderators of the girls group at our church.  I love this picture of the contrast between Matthew's 1960's vintage sewing machine set up next to MK's modern machine.  I always say to the kids it's not the machine but the talent of the person sitting at the machine. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Do you mind if I make some bread doughs today?

What a silly question! Matthew thought he would make some bread doughs today and asked me if I minded.  Any mother who did is crazy.  My kids know all I ask is that the kitchen be left clean and neat when they get done.  So he took Savannah with him to keep him company and I kept Layn with me.

Six loaves of white bread in the oven along with some loaves of other bread of his own creation waiting to be baked.  The kitchen smells warm, cozy and delicious.

The heat from the wood furnace is perfect for raising bread doughs.

Of course he doesn't neglect the cleaning up part of the deal.

He even loads and runs the dishwasher.