Saturday, April 30, 2016

She's Here

There is a great story, but I'm going to bed for now.
I will tell you all about it tomorrow.

For now, it's enough to know that I did it.
I didn't think I could, but I did it.

Heavenly Father loves me and He loves our new baby girl.
He was in control from the beginning
and never abandoned us.

What a miraculous gift, to be a mother.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Don't Ask Questions

It doesn't matter if you just woke up and are still in bed.
If your three year old brings you an ice cream bar, you eat it.
Because three year old children don't like to be contradicted.
Also, because it is a chocolate ice cream bar and you don't say no to those.
The more you know . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Productive Day

Do you ever have a day that just works?  Today was such a day for me.  There was nothing grand or even memorable about the day, it just went as directed.  I started the morning with a mighty list and successfully completed most of it.  The children didn't fight (some were a little spazzy, but I can endure that better than the fighting), the April weather was a perfect 66° with beautiful partly cloudy skies, dinner was delicious, and our Family Home Evening was informative.

I mean, there was stuff, certainly.  The three year old was dressed and undressed repeatedly--with some mud mixed in here and there, the delicious dinner was a bit late in getting on the table, my brain melted as I stared at a spreadsheet with too many numbers for too long a time, and I thought my 15 year old daughter was kidnapped for about 10 seconds (it is time to have this baby . . . my emotional "creativity" gets out of hand when I'm pregnant!).

We rearranged some sleeping arrangements in hopes that the little boy would move out of our bed before the baby comes.  Despite his awake excitement and cooperation, as soon as exhaustion set in, he was snuggled in my arms and asleep in a matter of moments.  This is going to become an issue soon, but boy do I love it now.

Some days I'm putting out fires the whole day, or I'm impatient for no obvious reason, or the children bicker or disobey all the live long day.  Some days I turn in early because my mothering success rate was abysmal and I need a reset.  Some days don't work.

But, today was a perfectly normal day and it is satisfying to recognize that I have those.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kite Festival

I saw in the paper that there was to be a kite festival not too far from our house.
I had no idea what to expect, but since Dad always works Saturdays and we had nothing essential going on, I booted everyone out the door to go see what it was all about.

No one wanted to go.  I didn't even especially want to go.
I told the kids that if it was lame, we wouldn't stay, but let's just go see.

The weather has turned from the unseasonably warm 80's last week,
back to more traditional cool and wet April weather.
I, for one, am glad.  I don't do well in the heat and after last year's crazy hot summer season, the high temps this early in the year were beginning to get me worried.

At one point in the day, Camilla saved the day by climbing a tree with, as you can see, very small branches, to save a kite of a stranger.  It was a rather death-defying stunt because as she neared the top, the tree began to sway precariously.  She carefully unwound the caught string and was able to free the kite.
The kid did not thank her!  She didn't care, sweet child.; the avid tree-climber in her could not bear standing on the ground while such a challenge was presented.

Today's clouds were gorgeous and watching the kite flyers was fun.
Our expectations were low, but we were rewarded with a quaint afternoon, all of those families running around with their kites.
No one wanted to come, but within minutes, everyone wished we had kites.
We will be back next year, not just as spectators, but as participants!

In other news, look what arrived in the mail today:

Now that I miraculously have prepared earth, I must tend to her.
Erosion prevention is a top priority this summer and it seems to me that wildflowers are an apt way to resolve that issue.
These packages are pure seed (no filler) and I have such high hopes for them!
You can be assured that I will let you know how they grow.

I love spring!

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I hesitate to show this picture because there is still so much to do.
BUT, look what we have accomplished!
We have a back yard.

The final island bed, complete with surrounding rock wall and subsoil filler, is complete.
The yard is raked, the rocks are picked out, and the grass seed is spread.
If we can keep the children out, we should have our first hints of grass within a week.

My, oh my, that is a lot of work!

However, if we're especially lucky, by the middle of summer 
we'll have a badminton net set up with jolly little players wacking a birdie around!
Work is a blessing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Officer Sanders

Officer Sanders did so well at the dentist's office today that he was rewarded with
an instant mustache.

It was the best day of his life.

Soft Dirt

I'm going to have to rake the front yard, again.
The soft dirt was just too much for a little boy to resist.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Man-made Miracle

Maybe the title should be Parent-made Miracle.
It is a saga.
Let's dig in.

Two years ago, this entered our lives:

It was top soil, preserved for spreading around after the completion of our house.
(Which was supposed to be done a mere 6-8 months later. Pfft.)
It was eventually joined by several other small mountains, these consisting of rocky subsoil.

It offered a great deal of adventure for our six children.

But after a summer of this: 

And this:

I determined to do something about all of the dirt.
My dad came and taught me how to use a backhoe.
I spent many hours moving dirt, getting rid of the mounds of subsoil.

Picking rocks became a family project that has continued to this day
and will likely continue until our deaths.

But the original mound, that of top soil, as well as other issues resulting from the removal of the trailer and a rather large mistake by one of the subcontractors, remained.

Of course, the kids didn't mind!  It was a sledding hill . . .

during all seasons.

 All the while, the dirt and mud continued to plague my life.

Every day, multiple times a day, I would look out my window and worry about the impending summer and its imminent dust devils. Here I am, weeks from delivering a baby and in no condition to run large machinery, not to mention the fact that we were overwhelmed by what needed doing and not having the required experience to know just how to do it!

How could we push through another summer with dust and dirt and mud and a basically unusable yard?

Last fall, I was able to clean up this one small side of our front yard and got grass planted.
You can see some of the mess that remained on the left of the picture.

But nothing would grow on the rocky subsoil.
We needed the foundation drainage addressed and the leveling issues addressed before we could spread the topsoil.

We were stuck.
. . . 

Until Friday afternoon, when my parents showed up with this:

My dad called it a baby gift.
Seriously, men should have more say in baby gifts, if this is what they look like!

Friday evening saw us working speedily to create a large raised bed out of rock where we deposited much of the remaining subsoil.  Since it doesn't grow things easily, I intend to fill these beds with plants that aren't fussy about soil quality.

We also dug a long trench and buried the foundation drainage.

Everyone, e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e, worked hard until the sun set.

The next morning, my body reminded me that I am not 17 and fit; 
I am 9 months pregnant with my 8th baby, I'm 39 years old, and I'm chubby.
But when Mom and Dad are working, you don't sit and watch.
I had to put on my brakes because, while sore muscles in the spring are good, a sore pelvic floor at this stage of my pregnancy is not good.

Everyone picked up the slack, mostly my amazing mother, as we tried to keep up with Dad in the Bobcat.

Another bed was created around another pine tree to absorb more of the junky soil.
Some of these rocks were VERY heavy for a bunch of girls.

But we persisted and did what needed doing!

Finally, it was time to get serious about removing this pile.
Saying goodbye!

It is still a bit unbelievable, but the truth remains:
Our yard looks like a yard.
The piles are disseminated and spread beautifully around our land.

We retained the berms at the back corners of the property.
(I have plans for them, too.)
We'll need to do quite a bit of raking yet, before we can spread grass (and wildflower!!) seed,
but we are well on our way!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, 
miracle-working parents!
with their own long list of spring projects to be working.

Your legacy of goodness, service, selflessness and hard work continues.
I love you!
I can't stop looking and wandering and planning.
I am so happy!
Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Count Down

This picture was taken moments after I got the child ready to go.
Moments before we had to leave.
Moments after his first bath.
Moments before his second.
Oh, the mud!
And let's make sure the window well is well watered!

Moving on.

I had a dream last night.  I dreamed my baby girl arrived.
The only thing I could think about was that I didn't have the newborn clothes washed, sorted and put away. 
(I don't even have a location for the newborn clothes!)
I didn't know where the receiving blankets were.
I hadn't bought her a package of fresh onesies 
or an unused outfit that would be all hers for coming home.
I haven't a single, impossibly small diaper in my possession.
Honestly, Emily.  
Remember how many months in advance you had those things for the first child?  
Get your act together, lady!

Guess what I am doing today:

Can you see why I've put this job off until my subconscious pressured me into action?

Several steps closer to ready.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Great-Grandma Georgia's Corner Cabinet

This is my great-grandmother's corner cabinet.
My mom had it for years, but when she remodeled her kitchen, there wasn't space for it.  I took it and have loved it for the last dozen years or so.
In our house in Pocatello, I painted it cream, with a cherry red interior.
It complimented my blue and white china beautifully!
I looked everywhere for a before picture.  I know I have one somewhere, but I cannot find it!

After we moved into our new house, since our walls are a cream color, I felt like the cabinet was camouflaged.  I determined to strip the paint all off to enjoy the warm contrast of the wood.

Stripping wood isn't the easiest job, but I worked and worked at it, hoping to reveal beautiful wood.
What I discovered was that there was a good reason I painted it in the first place.  The wood wasn't beautiful.  I was discouraged, so I put the doors back on and stuck it in the corner where it was abandoned for months.

Looking at it one day, I decided what I wanted to do.
Green and gray, with pewter and some of my old blue glass.

When I was 13, I decided on Delft Blue dishes and have loved it all these years.
After moving into our house, though, the blue and white seemed out of place.  Too clean or something.
Our scheme here is more woodland cottage than English cottage, if you know what I mean.
I've kept my very favorite pieces, but they are put away for now.  I'm sure I'll come back to them at some point!  Now, though, I'm filling Grandma's corner cabinet with pewter and the blue depression glass we've inherited from Justin's grandparents.

The green glass candlestick holders were my Great-Grandma Chinn's, another example of the many family treasures in our house.  I wonder if the grandmas are pleased to see their precious things loved for generations, reminding their progeny of them.  I wonder if they care.

The pewter will be collected over time.  I see it all the time in antique stores and because the old stuff is filled with lead and you really can't use it (though replicated pewter is made without the lead and is fine for use in cooking and serving food), it is often very affordable.
I'm picky, though.  I don't just want to spot pewter and buy it to fill up my cabinet.  
I want it to be pieces that really catch my eye.
It won't bother me if it takes years to fill in all the blank places, if each blank place is filled with something I love.

I need to find some new hardware, but besides that, the corner cabinet is done.
It sure is nice to check something off my list!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Stroll

It was a beautiful, warm spring day.
We decided to go wander around a local waterfall.

Isaac's friend, Riley, was at our house (even though he is in Louisiana!) and she came along with us.
She is a sweet girl and the kids LOVE her.

I caught a glimpse of my shadow.
Only about a month to go until this baby makes her debut!

Our little guy just turned three and I swear, he became three overnight. Most people are pretty much the same the day before and the day after the birthday.
He changed with no notice!  One day a toddler, the next, a boy, running, playing putting sticks and rocks and whatever other cool thing he found on our wander.

The wildflowers were a big part of the draw for me.  I know that April is their time of glory at this particular spot and it did not disappoint.

Yellows, purples, whites and fresh, bright greens everywhere.
Food for the soul, I tell you!!

So, here's a funny story:
At one point, my little one and I had lagged behind the rest.  Everyone had crossed the stream and were up the hill a bit.  I stopped on the bridge and snapped a picture of my toes--I thought it was funny how my baby belly took up much of my downward frame.
In the car, I uploaded this picture to Instagram . . .

only to see that Riley had simultaneously uploaded this one:

Neither of us knew the other had taken virtually the same picture, in the same location!
Both of us took plenty of other pictures, too, but we both chose to post these identical shots!
Twinning is winning!

There are cooler days in the forecast and we've learned to take advantage of her beauty, when Mother Nature offers us gorgeous days like this!

Wildflowers are gone before you know it!
Carpe Diem!