Don't liiiiike it!

"Don't like it! Don't Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it!" That is what my 2 year old says whenever she hears a loud noise or has food on her plate that she doesn't want to eat or any other undesirable circumstance in her life.

When I remember that my birthday is coming up this weekend that phrase goes through my mind. Birthdays used to be so fun! I remember waking up , even days before, feeling so light hearted and excited. There was so much to look forward to. I never had a big fancy party, but I always felt special and loved. Mom always asked us what kind of birthday cake we wanted. As busy as she was, she would always make a cake and a meal of our request. I always got cards from my grandparents and great grandparents in the mail. And what kid doesn't look forward to birthday presents? My parents never went overboard with gifts, but I got a few special things and I always loved what they gave me. One year I even got to have 3 friends spend the night. I remember sitting on the porch swing, waiting for them to arrive, with butterflies of excitement fluttering around in my stomach. Getting older is great when you're a kid. Each year is a badge of honor.

Now, as my birthday approaches, I don't feel the least bit excited. It could just pass on by for all I care. Mom still makes each of us a cake of our choice and hosts birthday dinners for all her kids and grandkids. But for some reason getting older is no longer fun, happy, or exciting. Birthdays are no longer exciting. Needless to say I am no longer excited about getting older. As Eliana would say- Don't like it! DON'T LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE IT!!!


A stitch in time

For Micah's 9th birthday I decided to make him a quilt. It was my very first time making one. Scotty and I had a great time going to different fabric stores and choosing the patches (or blocks, as real quilters call them) He remembers going with his Granny and picking out the colors and fabrics for the quilt she made him when he was a kid. His Granny is an amazing quilter and has made- I don't know how many- beautiful quilts. She has made one for each of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She has had so much joy from quilting and has wanted someone to carry on after her. I like a challenge and I sew, so I decided I would be the one to pick up the needle where Granny left off when her shoulder wouldn't let her enjoy her favorite past time anymore. I chose the simple design and Scotty and I planned the block size and overall quilt size together. This one is called an "Eye Spy" quilt. We looked for the funnest and most colorful fabrics we could find. The kids can lay on it and play I spy for hours...that is, when I finally finish making it.

After we picked out dozens of different fabrics and bought a quarter yard of each I brought them all home and washed them. Then I had to iron each piece and cut out each block. That took a day or two. Scotty helped me with the ironing and cutting and even bought me a nice rubber cutting mat and sharp wheel to make it faster and easier. Then I pieced the quilt on my sewing machine. That went fast and only took an evening. After that I sandwiched the cotton batting between the block top and the backing and pinned it like crazy. Then I basted it with lots and lots of huge stitches. Granny told me to be sure and baste it a lot so it would be easier during the quilting process. I decided to hand quilt instead of trying to do it on my machine. Granny was glad. She knew something I didn't. Hand quilting takes hours and hours. Dozens of stitches slowly turn into hundreds. Hundreds slowly become thousands. Each stitch becomes and act of love. You spend a lot of time thinking about the person you're making the quilt for. She usually takes a year to complete a quilt for someone and she does the entire thing by hand. She won't admit it, but her stitches are perfect and tiny. Mine? Not so much. But still stitched with love. From the planning to the final knot- I never knew how much work and time is involved in creating a quilt.

So a year and a half later I am still quilting away. I'm getting closer and closer to finishing this thing. Micah will be so glad when I'm done. I'll be so glad when I'm done. The craziest part of all is that I'm planning to make one for each of my girls when I finish his. I better give myself at least 2 years this time.


Slowly but surely

A week long camping trip means mounds of laundry and lots of equipment to put away when we get home. I usually get overwhelmed when there is so much mess and extra work to do on top of our regularly scheduled day of homeschool and chores. But I am trying to stay calm and get things done little by little- one thing at a time. So we are just following our normal daily routine and I am finding moments here and there to work on the aftermath of our trip. Eventually it will all get cleaned up and put back where it goes. The laundry is now done except for the last sleeping bag tumbling around in the dryer. I would say that is huge progress.


8 days

We survived our camping trip! This was our fourth year celebrating the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the Feast of Booths or Sukkot- which means temporary dwellings) In the past we have traveled to North Carolina to join a congregation there. We have made many good friends and have always had a good time. But in the spring my best friend's brother got married and his wife's family invited us to join their group in South Carolina this year.

I will dwell on the positive parts of our trip. Some things I enjoyed are as follows: meeting some fun and sweet new people, the smell of campfires, holding a puppy, the drive to Charleston, the sweet- sweet air conditioning in our van, the beach, watching my children play and have a great time, roasted marshmallows, smoked turkey with Mr. E's b-b-q sauce, good laughs, Eliana's ponytails, tossing kids on the parachute, Aunt Gwen's green salve, watching the little girls wash dishes at the spigot, wading in the river, helping plan a scavenger hunt, hearing how much the kids enjoyed the hunt, lemon cello, and being together with no t.v. or internet for 8 whole days.
My favorite part of the whole trip was going to the beach! We didn't know until we got to the state park where we were camping that it was only about 30 miles to Charleston and the beach. So one hot day we decided to load up and make the short drive. Our kids love the beach and we didn't get to go this summer, so this was an opportunity too good to pass up. We took our three kids and a few others, too. They all swam and played and had an absolute blast while we relaxed and enjoyed the wind and waves. It was wonderful!

We survived the crazy heat, a yellow jacket infestation, mosquitoes feasting on our flesh, barking dogs at 3 a.m., poisonous ivy, rain, rain, and more rain. Micah got to make a breakfast hobo, Sunny made a new friend, and Eliana got to enjoy the beach for the first time. We learned a little, grew a little, and made it home safely. Overall we had a nice trip. But I have never been so happy to pull into our driveway as I was last night when we got home sweet home.


A scary way to start the day

At 8:00 this morning I was sitting at my desk teaching math to my 5th grader. My 2 year old was in her highchair in the kitchen and my 1st grader was unloading the dishwasher. I could see both of them from where I was sitting. Suddenly, I glimpsed "someone" coming up behind me out of the corner of my eye. I was terrified for a moment because all of the people in our house were in my sight and I knew no one else was here. I didn't want to turn around and was frozen with fear for a split second, then flooded with relief, then overwhelmed with laughter when I realized that a half deflated helium balloon, left over from my baby's birthday party and floating about shoulder high, had drifted in from the parlor and was hovering behind me. WHEW!!! That was a close one :))