Many Things

Lately I’ve been trying my best to grab my life by the horns, gently though and not too quickly.  One of my big changes is that I don’t do more than the necessary housework on Sundays anymore (anymore = the past three Sundays).  We don’t work on our to-do lists.  You should see how messy my house gets if we are too busy having fun on Saturday to get it looking good for Sunday.  It is super hard not to run around like a crazy lady trying to put everything away on Sunday afternoon.

But, I think I’m supposed to do hard things, and for me, sometimes that hard thing is to stop cleaning and make sure everyone else is taking a day off as well.  I have to be careful not to start thinking that the day is mine though.  Sunday afternoon after Mass I had a little plan for myself and I thought it was a good one.  I sat down on the couch to get started.  The sight of me sitting there, apparently not busy, prompted both of my girls to decide to take up knitting again at that very moment, with my help of course.  I’m learning to allow my plans to be changed, especially when the right choice is obvious.

Right now I have these giant butterflies in my stomach because I wrote a guest post for my friend Ann, and she is running it today on her blog.  I talk a bit about my past, about things that I don’t talk about here on my family blog.  There’s a little there about my thoughts on taking Sunday off.  Oh my goodness, my hands are shaking to type this.  (Shy hello to any of Ann’s readers who have made their way over here!)

But back to my ramblings:

Last week it seemed like bad news was descending from all directions, so I escaped with a friend for a couple hours.  We ate cupcakes and talked about life.  She laughed at a sign that said, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes and that’s kind of the same thing.”  Ha!  They were good cupcakes.  I was in a daring mood and even ate the colored sprinkles.  Usual Ginny avoids artificial colorings as if they are on the same level of bad for you as arsenic.  At this rate, Jonny just might have me on top of a mountain next year watching fireworks with the bears.

Purple shawl is finished, blocked, and definitely not the accessory of choice for July evenings.  It’s a gift for a friend.  She’ll have to tuck it away for this fall.

p.s.  I received a comment on a recent post concerning the photos of snakes that appear here every now and then during the summer months.  This reader evidently loves snakes in the same way that I love cockroaches.  In other words, photos of snakes popping up in my blog posts are traumatic for her.  Anyone who has been reading here for long knows that most of my boys are kind of crazy about (non venomous) snakes.  When Seth and Keats were little, Jonny asked me to start a snake journal for each of them, documenting every snake they came across in the wild.  (I realize that up to this point, you guys probably thought he was normal.  Now you know.)  I didn’t actually keep up with the snake journals.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just couldn’t make that a priority.  (Hee, hee.)  But, I have taken photos of nearly every single snake my country boys have ever caught.  And they like those photos to show up here.  I racked my brain for a solution to innocent readers coming across scary for them, beautiful to us snake photos, and I have it.  (Because every single one of us interacting in this somewhat strange online world is a real live human with feelings.)  From now on if there is going to be a snake photo in one of my posts, the post will begin with a series of centered asterisks.  Like this:

*****

Five asterisks means the snake photo is number five.  Three asterisks means the snake photo is number three, and so on.  I hope this works for you, Lin, and any other non-snake loving people out there!

Larkspur’s Eighth

Amidst the chaos of our sick week, we celebrated Larkspur’s eighth birthday.  Our plan was to celebrate a day early because her birthday fell on Ash Wednesday this year.  Her main celebration did indeed happen then, but ended up stretching into Wednesday as well because by Tuesday night, most of us were feeling too terrible to eat the banana pudding that Larkspur requested (I made a cornstarch thickened vanilla pudding and a store bought gluten free yellow cake mix which I baked and then broke into pieces.  I layered cake with pudding and sliced bananas and topped with meringue.)

It’s nearly impossible to surprise my kids with their birthday gifts.  We typically honor requests, especially with the older children, and they seem to always figure out anything that we plan to surprise them with.  But I did have a few surprises for Larkspur this year. Lark is my child who sets up little “houses” or “offices” all over the house, everywhere she goes.  (The umbrella and blankets at the beach in yesterday’s post were her doing.)  She is particularly fond of bags, art supplies, and paper.  When Stephinie announced that she had stocked her shop with new handmade bags for kids, I knew that Larkspur would love one.  I ordered one right away with her upcoming birthday in mind.  Then I started thinking of the bag, and wanting to give it a purpose.  The obvious answer was a small sketch book and a new set of our favorite colored pencils which I could tuck inside to make her a portable art bag.  I thought I remembered Stephinie mentioning wanting to offer sewn pencil or crayon cases at some point, so I asked her if she would be willing to make one to match the bag for Larkspur.  I was thrilled when she agreed and then sent me photos of the finished product a few days later.  It was absolutely perfect.  Larkspur tried to pretend that she wasn’t surprised by this gift, but I know she was, and she definitely loves it.  I find her in different spots all over the house with the bag next to her, pencils and sketch book open in front of her.  (Stephinie is carrying both crayon and pencil cases in her shop now.)

The last minute gift was a handmade loom that I asked Jonny to make after seeing a similar one on Amanda Soule’s blog.  He explained that it wouldn’t be perfect, because he doesn’t have all the right tools, but that he could make something useable.  I think it turned out really well and it only cost a few dollars to make!  I ordered hand dyed t-shirt yarn for weaving from this shop.  Now if we can just figure out how to use this thing!  The make your own version of that loom doesn’t come with instructions on how to use it.  We didn’t think about that…it is similar to a regular pot holder loom, but only has pegs running along two sides.  If you have one, and care to share instructions, we’d be thankful!

I’d say that the most remarkable part of Larkspur’s birthday this year is the fact that she wasn’t sick!  She was my first child to complain of a bit of a headache and a sore throat.  I gave her a dose of this popular remedy, and she never really got sick.  Jonny had the same experience.  The rest of us weren’t so lucky.  Thankfully, Larkspur seemed to have a wonderful day (well, two days!) despite all the sickness around her.

(Birthday shawl photos later this week!)