Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tennis Update

This is the most recent article in The Spectator about Tyler's high school tennis team.

Paint on Foil Tape Resist

I wrapped a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and used painter's tape to create a tape resist for Kate to paint.
 She asked me to paint with her, and I did, but she did most of the painting herself, and often when I painted an area, she didn't agree with my color choice and so she painted over it with another color!

Here is her piece after she finished painting:

After her nap, the paint was dry, and we peeled off the tape.

This is her finished masterpiece!  Beautiful!


I don't read many blogs these days, but I love Clover Lane.  Right now, Sarah (the author of Clover Lane) is hosting an ongoing series about being a stay at home mom.  Every post has made me nod my head in agreement and each post just reinforces everything I think and love about being home with my children.  I know that I am VERY fortunate to be able to stay home, and every day (really, every day) I think about how grateful I am for this because there is nothing I would want more in the world.  I am so very grateful that Tom works so hard and agrees that I should be the one to raise our children.  I'm not perfect, at all, nope, not even close.  I don't always make the right decisions.  I'm not always the mom I want to be or the wife I want to be, but I am very happy that I am the one that changes the diapers, handles the temper tantrums, cooks the meals, packs the lunches, cleans the house (and acknowledges that the house is never as clean as I want it to be), greets my children when they get off the bus, drives the kids to activities, and tucks them into bed at night.  I have seen firsthand how quickly children grow; the years FLY BY, and I know that I will always cherish the moments I spent at home taking care of my family in a totally imperfect fashion.

I love the Clover Lane posts so much that I have decided to put some of my favorite quotes from the series here so that I can have them to look at and remember in the future.

"Everybody has heard the saying that no one, on their death bed, has wished they spent more time in the office and I can’t help but wonder if this might be a big part of the solution. My hope is that more women will choose for themselves to take a deep breath, to leave those beautifully framed, hard-earned, expensive degrees on the wall and close that office door. My hope is that women will come to know that its ok, it’s a valid choice, you are wasting nothing and you might just come to gain everything you’ve ever wanted. You too educated, successful women, get to come back home. "

"I offer this as encouragement to anyone who has invested extensive time and money (oh the money!) on education and formal degrees. You can have a doctorate or a bachelors or a masters or any degree under the sun and put it to work in your daily life as a mother. You do not walk away from that degree or career experience when you become a mother. I know the world tells you otherwise, and it is such a pity. Yes, it will be a different kind of work and it will be an income of an entirely different variety, but motherhood can be the next season along the same path you have always been walking. It is not a matter of walking one path and then dropping off all you have accomplished to jump on another path and start all over. There is no such thing as a "wasted degree." I am still a lawyer, I just don't practice law right now. You can still be a teacher, a counselor, a nurse, a doctor, an engineer. No one can take that from you. Don't let them."

"I always thought I'd be one of those working moms that seemed important, and the reason why I wanted to be one was because of my mother. I wanted to do better than her, and complete my education and go all the way. I wanted to be able to provide the necessities that my mother couldn't provide. Little did I know that "living to work" was not fulfilling, that money didn't buy happiness, and that tiny human beings were (still are) more important."

"I realize that wouldn't be ideal for everyone. And I understand that some women have to work. I believe that we are all doing our best. No one wants to fail as a mother, and so we find routines and activities that work for each of us. Judging another mother on her decisions doesn't do anybody any good, and so I turn my focus to my own family. I do what is right for us and I don't worry about what anyone else is doing.
This is what I know: being a stay at home mom is everything I dreamed it would be. Yes, there are hard days, and long nights, and sometimes difficult children. But as a stay at home mom, I get to decide the tempo and structure of our daily life. I choose what to feed my children, I am the one who reads them stories on the couch, and listens to how their day went when they come bursting in the door after school. But most importantly, I am here, always here.
The success of my life will be measured in how well I complete my role as mother. Period. It is my calling and my pleasure."

"Why? Because it is so much easier to run a home when I am, well, home.  Because it makes my family happy.  Because it makes me happy.  Because it feels right, so much more right than anything else I can think of doing.  My degree is in physics teaching, but there are plenty of other physics teachers, most of whom can do the job I would be doing as well or better than I.  As a physics teacher, I am replaceable.  As a mother, I am not.  My children need ME.  There is so much more to mothering than keeping children clothed, fed, and clean.  So much teaching, loving, building.  I am building more than a home...I am building relationships with my children that will anchor them all their lives.  I am building people, who in turn will go out and change the world.  I am changing the world, one little person at a time."

"I think that's what I'd like my mother friends who are reading to ponder with me: whatever desire is on your heart for your family at this point, don't bury it. Especially if you are a pregnant or new mother as clueless as I was, but you have the desire to test out staying at home: don't bury it. Don't be afraid. You can try it. It is not a lifelong retreat from the world. Your husband, your family, your friends, they'll get used to it. For me personally, 'coming home' has been the best pyschotherapist's couch I never had to pay for, because it has revealed more about myself that I think I ever could have learned in a 'regular' job.  And I know my children love their mama because I hear it regularly every day, and I love that. I *need* that as I work my way through this crazy town!  It was an unexpected blessing-the best kind-that plotted my course forever. "

"I am grateful that we, as women today, have so many options available to us. I love the woman I have become as a mother. It didn’t happen overnight, but I am stronger, wiser, more confident and less shy.
If you feel a calling to be home, listen to your heart. Use your heart – but also your mind – when choosing a mate. Then, together, carefully, choose your path. Realize that life is a journey. "

""We all know that the early years of our children’s lives are precious.  It is when they are most teachable, impressionable and open to true and erroneous teaching.  Our society in a rush to success encourages us as mothers to send our children from the home earlier and earlier, to involve them in more and more activities.  Too often we forget that the most important preparation for success is in the home under the nurturing care of the mother.  That preparation takes time, long stretches of time filled with the consistent, everyday activity of home life.

The time we have with our little ones is short and should be guarded carefully."
Kimberli Robison
(the entire article that quote was taken from is here)"

"I have found one of the best ways to examine the course of my life is to ask myself, "Will I regret this?" I picture myself in a rocking chair on a front porch, watching my grandchildren, or great grandchildren play on the lawn. Will I look back with peace in my heart? Will I say,"I wish I would have slowed down and savored every moment?" It's not really a fun thing to do, but it always enables me to spit out the right answer.  It enables me to stay focused, run against the grain of the times, and enjoy the small moments. It reminds me to stay strong and centered about what I want to believe...that simply raising my children, being a mother and a wife, is enough, when everything we read and hear and see is sending me the opposite message.  It helps me establish priorities and to say yes to the things that really count in the end.

Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. ~John De Paola"

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kate and Kelly

Of my four children, Kate is the biggest dog lover right now.  She loves to pet them, snuggle them, and play with them.  Kate has claimed Kelly as her dog (probably because Boo can still be very mouthy while Kelly is very mellow), and these pictures show pretty typical moments between the two of them.

 Kelly is very patient.

P is for Pigeon

Mo Willems is a true genius when it comes to children's literature.  We LOVE his books.  I had to include Pigeon in our letter P fun, so we had a little pigeon party.

I love Kate's little hand there.  If you are familiar with the Pigeon books, then you understand why we had hot dogs and cookies with no nuts.  I also included a toy bus, and since we don't own a toy Pigeon, I made a balloon version and a construction paper letter P version.

Kate was very excited when she saw this all set up.

 Collin was a great helper.
 Kate always wants to let the Pigeon drive the bus!!!

There is no cuter pigeon.

 Computer time is very exciting for Kate, and she thought Pigeon's Hot Dog Dress-Up was just the funniest thing ever.
We had a lot of fun with Pigeon!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

P is for Pig

After a little break for Easter, we are back in the swing of alphabet fun.  School vacation week meant that Reagan helped me with P is for Pig.

 Reagan was a HUGE help telling the story of the Three Little Pigs.  Later, I found Kate telling the story with the little props we used.

Reagan also made a letter P coloring page for Kate.

Kate was so silly with the pig nose I made that I had a hard time getting a picture!

 Whenever I am in the kitchen, Kate says, "Mama, I will cook and you can be my helper"; it is so very sweet, melts my heart every time.  She mixed up batter for pancakes because there is no way we could do P for Pig without including one of her favorite books.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter at Grandma's

We had a beautiful Easter.  It was chilly in the morning, but warmed up nicely.  There was a lot of good food, and a lot of family, and it was a fun day for all of us.  The kids were SO excited for Grandma's egg hunt, and they were thrilled with their loot!  It was a wonderful Easter.