Girls and tools

We’re all about doing it ourselves here at the Farm Fresh Family.

Aviana (7)has had her eye on the Young Builder’s Tool Kit in one of our favorite catalogs, but it was $55!

I found a fishing tackle box the right size at Goodwill for $.88 and Kevin filled it with tools he had spares of (which thanks to his dad’s habit of ‘losing’ tools and therefore buying new ones was not much of a challenge). Ta-Da! A DIY Young Builder’s Tool kit.

Then he put together a project that she would be able to easily do. He prepped part of it by cutting two of the side lengths for her. She had to hammer them on to the base, measure and cut the other other sides, and hammer them on.

This is an abacus. She’d already made one from a shoebox, yarn and beads, following the directions from our vintage Childcraft Mathemagic book completely independently.

It turned out really cool and useful (especially as neither Kevin nor I even knew how to use an abacus until Aviana got interested in it!), but unfortunately, it wasn’t, ahem, Denton proof.

Then she had to measure where to put the holes, mark them and drill them. And then clean up afterwords, natch.

She’s got the frame painted (never mind the blue paint water spilled on my cream carpet, ahem, DENTON!), and then plans to paint the wooden beads that are going to be strung on wire through the holes she drilled.

I’m pretty impressed with her building skills (her follow through remains to be seen.)

On another educational note, Happy Leap Day! Here is a pretty fun though fast talking video. You may want to pause and re-explain if you’re watching with wee ones.

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Documenting Pregnancy

This is a beautiful stylish way to record the delight that every pregnancy is:

I wish I were this creative. I can’t even figure out if these are videos or photographs or both…*shrugs*

This pregnancy is sorely lacking in documented moments right now. I’m living the good life, just not recording it!
Which reminds me, check out “Project Life“; you’ll love it.

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A new addition

Not the baby kind…although we’re still working on that one. 😀

We are trying to figure out how to make a laundry room, a family closet, an office for the Kevin ~the farm~, a bathroom with a shower, and a mudroom. We have a room between our kitchen and garage we refer to as the summer kitchen (it used to be a true summer kitchen) that is 11×15 and we possibly would be able to add on to it another 18×15. We are having SO much trouble figuring out how to make everything fit and still not be crowded. How do people do this?

Our 162 year old house has a lot of square footage, but among its many drawbacks, has only one small bathroom, no well planned entryways, teeny or nonexistent closets, and no good storage. It’s not designed for modern living.

 Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone?

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So good

It’s so good to feel good.

I have been getting back to normal–we went to church on Sunday (my first time for several weeks) and I even took the kids to story hour yesterday, and on an outing today–pick up milk, grocery shop and a reward trip to Goodwill. The girls didn’t find anything they wanted, but even so I was so proud of them for first of all, being such good examples at the store, and secondly, not buying something just because they could.

I, on the other hand, found two maternity shirts I don’t really need, and a raincoat and jacket for Cadrian. It was just in time too, because it was raining fish hooks and hammer heads this early evening.

We wandered down to the barnyard to meet our new little red heifer named Lolly. She’ll be bred this spring to our bull Shawnee Five Star. She’s been broke to lead already, so if we can manage to spend enough time with her and keep her tame, I hope to milk her after she calves next year… emphasis on IF.

I watched a PBS special on DVD called A Midwife’s Tale. It of course caught my eye because of the title, but it is really a story of a woman in the late 1700’s/early 1800’s. She kept a diary, an almanac, a record of her work, of the tragedies and joys of her little town in Maine, of the life and loves and heartbreaks. All captured in a few words a day, every day, for 27 years. Also interesting to note, in over 1000 births, she never lost a mama in childbirth (there was a death of a mama a few days after birth) and only a few babes. Remarkable–and a much better current record than the ‘established’ medical community of hospital birth and prevalence of cutting mamas.

I set off the fire alarm making dinner tonight, but the homemade tortillas and refried beans were quickly devoured and the noise didn’t really seem to bother anyone. I forgot until it was too late that beans and rice together are a perfect protein, so I’ll try to remember to get the rice going next time.

UPS brought my Belly Armor blanket today and a book; Five Minute Art Ideas (I wonder if that includes clean up –doubtful). I’m looking forward to getting my splurge purchase of a Belly Chime.

Also got a tutorial for a Katwise coat. I want to make them for the girls–and me too if I’m brave enough. I’ve never seen anything like this on the streets where I live, but I sure do love the feminine twirliness! It’s so refreshing to be able to think about starting a project!

Hug your babies tightly. Listen to them breathe. Nuzzle their sweet soft cheeks and pray for them.That’s what I’m going to do and then go sleep on my new pillow (all night even, if the past few nights are any indication!)

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things that make me smile

Feeling the baby move (already! By my fifth pregnancy I would hope I can tell the difference between a baby pop and gas :-))

peanut butter in my oatmeal

Lunch and dinner I didn’t have to make

Watching my bambini gambol in the snow

How nobody seems to be able to sing together, except when we sing our mealtime prayer

Denton trying to push me over

Cadrian being such a joyful boy, even first thing in the morning

Brielle’s giggle filling the whole room and all the space in my heart

Aviana still wanting my approval on everything

Kefir on granola with sliced up bananas

Overfilling my bowl because I know the baby birds will need to mooch

thinking back on the day and being so, very grateful

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I’m not cut out for this

And on top of everything else, a migraine. Incapacitated another night. Another night when Kevin picks up my slack. Another night when the children watch an hour of Sesame Street instead of doing something more constructive and less passive. Another night when I’m not the mama God created me to be. Another night when I just have to lie there in pain and let it be.

And then this morning, the pain is better; not gone, but better.

 But the fighting.

The bickering! The “I want it my way and I absolutely will not compromise or capitulate or comply with anyone’s wishes but my own.” And it’s about SUCH ridiculous stuff–the girls unloading the dishwasher. One on the step ladder putting them away, one handing them to her from the dishwasher. The one on the floor wants the other to get down and let her put something in the drawer, only to then make her climb back up the ladder.

One child coloring, not letting the other child use the book she’s not even using. Screaming ensues.

Mama asks one child to get the wipes. Another child bursts into loud bitter wails; “I WANT TO GET THEM!”

Mama at her limit.

I’ve talked and talked and talked about selfishness. I’ve taught verses about putting others before yourself; as far as it is up to you, get along with others; love does not demand its own way. I’ve been gentle. I’ve been kind. I’ve prayed.

I lost my temper. I yelled.  I lashed out. I may have even screamed a little. I certainly was not a good example.

But finally, contrition. Finally, reaching her heart.  Finally, change; changed attitudes.

 I know this is NOT what my home to be. I want peace. I want to gently reprimand and obedience to immediately follow. I want their upbringing to be gentle. I want my voice to be soft. I want it to be different.

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There’s just something about boys.

The other day I was finally feeling up to doing something more than just keep the chiddlers warm and fed.

So I made Cadrian a better sword out of felt and a Peter Pan hat that actually fits (and has a “bwue fevver). The one we had that he was wearing all the time was the prototype from the birthday party a couple of years ago, which is too small for even Denton.  I don’t know what happened to all the others.

Now he sleeps with them. Yes, he sleeps with his sword.

Oh how I love that kid.

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a little Announcement

It makes me smile that you can see parts of four children in this picture. The fifth was on the other side of the room, reading, most likely.

We’re due at the end of August, the day after Denton’s second birthday. We’re having our third home birth. I really want to know the gender, Kevin really doesn’t. (I say, it’s still a surprise, it’s just an earlier surprise!)I’ve been feeling pretty well, other than that thigh agony, and moderately reduced energy levels. I think quitting the aspartame has a lot to do with that.

The girls want a girl and to be in attendance at the birth. We’ll see. I know how Brielle is when she watches a movie, jibber jabbing and asking questions every five seconds; I know I couldn’t stand that one little bit.

So, that’s our little announcement! 🙂

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Highlight of my day

“Cadrian, I refolded all the clothes in your drawers,” I say to my three year old with a propensity towards changing his clothes seventeen times a day. I take a breath, about to launch into Mama-mode and remind him to keep things tidy and take care of his belongings.

My near lecture is interrupted by my sweet boy launching his solid self into my arms, hugging me as if he’d never let go, burying his small face into that tender place between chin and shoulder.

“THANK YOU, Mama!” he breathes.

This. This moment.

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Pain free?

I have had my share of pain with a history of migraines, but never have I had chronic debilitating pain. I know God is allowing me to walk through this (pun intended, since some days I can barely walk) so I can have more empathy for others, and I’m sure a host of other reasons. I can see now why chronic pain is so often associated with depression.

I went to see my sister in Colorado, which hopefully will be another (positive) post. While I was there, I had an appointment with her chiropractor who specializes in muscle testing for food allergies. It is good to know that the only thing I need to avoid is chemicals, which we are already trying to do. It is challenging to know that we need to avoid dairy for Brielle and reduce wheat for Aviana; a bit of overwhelming, to be honest.

That evening I started developing a terrible pain in my thigh. I had been playing with my three year old nephew and thought maybe I had just overworked my muscles a bit. It continued to get worse and extended to both legs. By the time I got back to Iowa, I was up most of the night in pain, in pain most of the evening and only able to lie on the couch with a heating pad and moan and cry a little bit.

I went to see my chiropractor here, contacted my midwife and the chiropractor I saw out in CO and everyone is somewhat stymied. My midwife did say I could take Tylenol, so that is helping. Last night I was able to feel almost normal and laugh at funny websites. I was optimistic that I would sleep through the night, but I was wrong.

To compound matters, Brielle has a sore throat and has been waking up in the night. I’ve been sleeping in our newly cozy guest room (so at least I’m not keeping Kevin up too) across from her room so I’m the one getting up with her to comfort her and give her medicine.

This morning has been the first time that I’ve really even felt coherent enough to write some thoughts…

Praising God for that. Praising God for Brielle’s stuffy nosed happy cricket voice. Praising God the other children aren’t sick. Praising God for a reprieve from the pain. Praising God for my husband who’s been a saint–a bona fide saint.  Praising God that He’s right there with me through the pain, when it’s all I can think about.

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