Saturday, January 30, 2010

Even more fun than Avatar!

Today we took my girl to see Avatar and left the small boy home with the large boy. It hardly felt fair to take one child to a movie without the other (the teen already saw it) and I was feeling some maternal guilt over that. But Saw is pretty sensitive and he knew he wouldn't be up to that movie. The intensity and length were just too much for his six year old self. I shouldn't have worried though. Everyone should have a big brother as cool as my stepson.

We came home to this...

The ultimate in blanket forts. My pictures hardly do it justice. I immediately crawled inside feeling all wild rumpus-ish. The striped pillow on the ground is where the entrance is. If you enlarge the photo you can spy a little face peeping out from the doorway.

The blurry guy in the background is the engineer of this lovely creation. His is officially a baby-sitting rock star. He even did the dishes. I don't know if he realizes that such skills are probably better left hidden from me. Visions of afternoons spent alone at the bookstore start dancing in my head and I start brainstorming a million little freedoms that having a responsible live-in babysitter allows. Date nights! Heck, weekend trips!

Ah, I'm just kidding. I wouldn't take advantage. He's a good boy and I really appreciate when he helps us out like this. It is so fun to see my boys so into each other's world, even with their 13 year age difference.

My stepson even fashioned Saw his own little nook inside the tent. Saw called it 'my room'. "Come in the tent, Mommy, and look at my room!" While we were gone, the boys spent much of the time fighting off alien invaders. I am pleased to report that their mission was a success. The Earth is safe from aggressive space predators once again.

Even the dog had her own little corner in the tent. Awww! She thought it was just the best thing ever to have her pack all hanging out with her on pillows piled around on the floor. It just might have been her most favorite day on the planet so far, if going by her happy puppy dance and all the kisses she was doling out.

We had a lot of fun at the movie with my girl. A great movie. My husband and I had already watched it but didn't want our daughter to miss out on seeing it in 3D. It was an even greater treat to come home to this awesome tent and all hang out in it for awhile.

Wishing everyone a weekend filled with imagination!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wow! Where did January go?!

Instead of writing a list of resolutions for the new year, I just went ahead and made a list of things I wanted done and then started tackling them. It feels good to check so many things off and every task I complete simplifies our lives. So far I've done this...

Weekly file folders. Last year I used these but only labeled the folders with week 1, week 2, ect. and it just didn't grab me. The vague numbering system didn't give me the sense of urgency that actual dates do. The file folder organizing system is an idea I got from here on this beautiful blog.

I tweaked the idea a bit to fit us. I stapled weekly calendars to the front of each folder so I can write any appointments or things I want to remember. I also color coded for five seasons, Winter - January/February, Spring - March/April/May, Summer - June/July/August, Fall - September/October and Holidays - November/December. I have four extra folders for random seasonal ideas. I am so excited to fill those folders up!

Then I did some of this...

Just a small sample of art room organization. I had a HUGE mess in this room and have very scary 'before' pictures that I am not sure that I want to share on here. During the holidays, the art room became a catch all for things that didn't fit in the regular space with all the holiday stuff up. And then after the holidays we moved some stuff around in our house. The window seat that served as a sort of couch in our living room (and hid my material stash inside the bins), was moved into the toy room. We removed the seats and they are now nice little Playmobil play tables that make it harder for the dog to eat the toys. We also moved all the board games into the storage bins below.

However, that meant all my material got dumped into the art room! Ever see the show Hoarders? Let's just say, this room was scarily too close to that show. So after I watched a couple episodes of on Youtube to properly inspire me, I rolled my sleeves up and got to work. And let's just say, I don't want to experience a preventable mess like that again if possible.

Then there is this...

A three ring binder that I keep out during the day. In it I have two calendars, both divided to match the file folder seasons. One calendar is for our menu/fitness schedules, and the other is to keep track of projects, ideas, appointments, etc. The doodled on moleskine in the front pocket is my scribble/brainstorming journal. And I have divided sections inside the binder for all the different areas of our lives I want to keep track of. This will sure beat a million different piles of papers around the house that I can never find when I need them.

It has already been coming in handy. My daughter has even started calling it 'our book', and comes up with suggestions for projects she wants to do to write down in it. Not to be outdone, my son went through a science fun book and made a list of experiments he wants me write down. And my husband knows exactly where to go to list stuff we need at the store. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I've needed for years. A catch all book that sort of stops up the leaks from my brain.

And that is all just a small portion of our manic January. Somewhere in there we organized the kitchen cupboards and drawers, my bookshelves, sorted out my magazines, and had some time for a few projects. The first time in my life that 'Spring Cleaning' will be done well ahead of time. But obviously what I didn't have time for was blogging, and keeping up on blogs like I enjoy.

But now that I have all this under my belt I should have a LOT more time. Woohoo! Now I just need the groundhog to see his shadow in a few days and then it will be all, Spring! Here we come! Because, wow. I am so over winter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tooth Fairy Madness!

Oops. This happened a long time ago... I just updated it to take a picture of my boy off from it just to be safe, because I am getting a ton of random hits on it from all over for no apparent reason and with no obvious referring links. I don't know why it changed the date, and what a bummer that it did because I can't remember when it actually happened. :( I guess using my blog as a back up brain isn't a perfect idea. Now I have to try to puzzle out where this post actually belongs.

My baby lost his first tooth!

He was so excited to have his first loose tooth that he yanked it out before I was ready. I had to scramble to assemble the expected TF stuff. When my daughter lost her first tooth she had a mini crisis over the situation. I tried to soothe her stress by making the whole event extra fun.

First, we printed out a tooth fairy gazebo from the Toymaker paper toy site. Then we decorated it with a little handmade pillow and bag to store the tooth. She wrote a little letter to the TF asking if she could keep her teeth and the fairy wrote back (which started the tradition of getting a letter with each lost tooth). Fun stuff. And it worked because she looked forward to losing teeth after all that.

So, of course my boy was looking forward to all the tooth fairy hoopla. So here are my boy's tooth fairy pillow and tooth bag. They'll do. I was working on a quick deadline, since the eager little dude yanked his wobbly tooth so quickly.

The tooth fairy gazebo that I downloaded from the Toymaker. I just altered the colors in photoshop so it wouldn't match my daughter's. Yes, I have 48 hours in my day. Don't you?

And here's the letter the tooth fairy left my boy. It is a good thing she had a nice gazebo to rest in, because the tooth fairy was TIRED.

On a side note, I try to stay away from the news, but I admit that the Haiti situation has me watching a bit. Its hard to just write about these normal little happy things with all that horror going on. But then again I don't know what to do other than donate and try to be kinder in general to the people I'm in contact with. The world and those in it are so fragile. Hug your loves.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If I had a boat...

If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat - Lyle Lovett

I found the most amazing tutorial today on this gorgeous blog. Her artwork just makes me feel like a little kid, basking in imagination and possibilities. And look... Paper mache boats! My art room NEEDS a boat. The kids' room needs a boat. Heck, every room in my house needs one. This WILL be my first craft project of 2010. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hi, Mom! I'm blogging! I'm blogging!

My mom is threatening to send me a full spectrum light because she insists my lack of blogging is evidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It isn't easy having family members work for the local mental health system. I have two. I do not think it is fair that I am related to someone who can officially 'diagnose' my idiosyncrasies. Esp. since that person is one I've tortured big sister style in the past (sorry sis). Messes up one's perspective and all, I'd say. So I reject the suggestion that I need a full spectrum light, though I honestly don't know anyone in my state that isn't a bit sluggish this grey time of year. But no, I don't think SAD is my excuse.

If I must have an excuse, blame winter viruses finally catching up to my family. One after another, we've battled various bugs from the holiday season on. I've kept myself mostly healthy with an insane arsenal of vitamins, minerals, elderberry syrup, and pretty much any sort of old wives tale I can try without regret. Someone has to hold down the fort and be up for wee hour hand holding, puppy walking and breathe right strip applying, right? And oh, have I.

My other excuse is that instead of making New Year's Resolutions this year, I just made a list right before the holidays of things I want DONE and started doing them. Forget spreading it out over the year. Let's just get it done already and nap through February. And well, I've been plugging away. Things are actually starting to look like I've always wished them to around here. Sure there is room for improvement, isn't there always? But, we are decluttering nicely, my new printer is installed with only one or two little issues, books are organized, art supplies and material stash is getting tamed, the years worth of homeschooling is falling into neat little piles. See! Perfect reasons NOT to blog, right?

But I get it. Along with not blogging, I haven't been reading my favorite blogs either, and I watch the numbers grow on my google reader and feel a bit bummed not to be humming along in the neat connectedness that blogging offers. In time. In time. Maybe I'll make a resolution after all? To blog more steadily after January. Hmmm.... maybe.

Actually, if I declare a resolution for 2010, it is to rid my family's diet of excess sugar. I watched an eye opening video awhile back on a friend's blog. It is an hour and a half long, but once I started it, I was entranced. It should have been a life changing moment, but as the holidays were approaching cutting way back on sugar didn't seem doable. Now, however. In my world surrounded with snow, cold and blinding white, the brilliant color of the citrus fruit at the store is calling loud to me to start this thing. Not diet, not even drastically change the types of foods we eat for most meals. Just removing most of the sneaky sugar. Turning sugar into a choice, not a passive thing we imbibe in without thought.

So there. The back to blogging post I've so promised my mom for weeks now. And the video. Because seriously, if you watch it - you will see why this is on my list.

Happy 2010! Hope it proves to be a happy and healthy year for all who stumble by this wee blog of mine.