makeshift life

it's the best kind.
target fashion and box-made-boats.
fishing poles and purple fruit smoothies.

i'm all about makeshift. the fact that most of our belongings and everyday items are in boxes poses a locating issue, but even more problematic is the fact they are stored in the 2nd floor of my in-laws barn...where the temperature resides in the low 110 degree region. since i'd rather not step foot up there, let alone rummage through our stacks upon stacks of boxes to attempt recovering individual items, we makeshift.

the boys randomly remember their favorite toys or art projects that are packed amongst our harried belongings. if i had a dollar for every time i said "sorry honey, it's in the barn" i'd have paid for our adoption by now :)

but i must say, in the absence of our usual array of junk, we create something new and wonderful almost everyday...better than any toy department can create. makeshift. it's my favorite.

when someday we finally find our new house...when we are no longer in limbo. when the quest for our daughter is over. when my boys can run outside in their own yard, and teach their sister how to ride a bike and pick cherry tomatoes. when we are finally upon finally settled and into the groove of life...i don't want to forget to makeshift. i want to make box boats and homemade smoothies before bed. and stick fishing poles and old fashioned cup-string phones. this is the time of life to makeshift. it's truly the best...the best time of life.


summer simple

i made this for a dear friend's baby shower. it is my new obsession. perfection of style & function. the ultimate goal. i so long to marriage these two in my daily style, but often run out of time before my brain shifts to style. i end up wearing some tank top that may or may not be clean, a pair of shorts i've worn at least 75 times this summer, and my $2.50 target flops. ah summer. when simple is the accessory. maybe if i whip up one of these for myself, i can forget accessorizing and just let this little number do all the talking :)


have bikes.

will travel.

we rode. we walked. i studied shadows.

i let go of my germaphobia and they slurped.

it was a lovely day. 
the loveliest. 
please Fall, stay forever. 
let everyday be like today. 

embarrassing coffee

i've decided. it's official. kids in backpacks are crazy cute. especially these two. they even commenced a 1st day of school dance off, which i so regret not having on video. it was school day incredible.

since i didn't want to be "that" mom who obnoxiously takes pictures during her child's first day of class, i snagged one with my camera phone hoping no one would notice :)

at the end of the day, we were pooped. the boys vegged for 45 min while i collapsed in a heap of exhaustion on the couch. our day was incredible, but we all needed a mental rest. we learned the 7 biomes, 5 latin words, the bodies of water in Europe, 6 parts of speech, names of continents, how to count by 2's and at least 4 other incredible things i can't remember. it was awesome. i've never felt better about homeschooling.
can you tell our brains were filled to capacity?

our great day was not without at least one embarrassing moment. i can't seem to escape them. thankfully i'm good at laughing them off...but this one was especially mortifying :)

we waltzed into our homeschool morning assembly with our adorable cuffed pants and hearts full of anticipation. and a room full of people we don't know. hoping to make a good impression, we smile and say hi and find a seat in the middle of the newly renovated school assembly room. i look about and introduce myself to a few of the ladies.
what was originally a huge ancient barn, is now a newly refurbished church who graciously allows our homeschool co-op to meet each week. i mention this because the newly refurbished church has really beautiful and shiny hardwood floors under the rows of stadium seating. not only did we wear our buzz-laden backpacks, but i wielded a handful of morning wake up. a LARGE dunkin doughnuts dark roast iced coffee in hand. i had only taken one sip when i see my good friend jill, and set my coffee down to chat. i no sooner look over and see rowie walking down the slender isles toward me. it's like a slow motion film. i see his tender steps. i see my brimming iced cup of wake-up standing tall on the hardwood directly in his path. i see something so horrible that all i can do is watch. it was only a slight sandal nudge. i thought for a moment it could recover. but that would be too normal. the coffee wobbles. it wiggles. it does a topsy-turby side roll and splashes in all directions as the perfectly light beige concoction spreads like wildfire under and around 4 rows of seating. i look at jill. "i really wish that didn't just happen." i say with a smile. "do you think anyone will notice if we just pick up our stuff and leave? :)"
i stand up slowly. tell my children calmly to sit still not move. i want to run, but i walk. in the nearby kitchen. i find a grocery bag, and in the absence of not even a single roll of paper towels, i snag a bag of napkins. i scurry and slather and slosh up the disaster that surrounds like a stealthy coffee cleanup spy. i stay low. i see a few little eyes peer from under nearby chairs. i smile.
i'm sure i'll be known as "that mom who spilled her whole cup of coffee on the 1st day" from now on :)

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the night before

our first day of school.
i'm giddy. nervous. and excited. i have everything layed out perfectly. lunches packed. snacks safely stowed. school outfits set out. pencils sharpened. 1st day of school surprise tucked away in each homeschool co-op goer's backpack.
tomorrow i have plans to take the most adorable 1st day of school photos. i'm sure someone will be crying and someone won't want to cooperate :) but maybe, just maybe, the stars will align and we'll be all 1st day of school smiles.

i swore i would get cool, less-is-more, demure book bags.
we actually had 2 adorable ones floating around here, and just when i need them, they vanish. i've search for 3 days. vanished.

so, we headed to target last night to rummage through the sale racks.
of course, we ended up with these.

as far from 'less-is-more' as buzz lightyear himself can fly.
we also ended up with buzz lightyear 'night before our 1st day of school pj's' and buzz lightyear pencils. buzz lightyear out the wazoo. and somehow, i think it's adorable. :)

5 things

there are a lot of blogs i love. too many in fact, because i get behind and then get caught up as i am catching up on each. there are at least 10 i wish everyone would read because they really shouldn't be missed. beautiful writers. beautiful glimpses into their lives. these amazing, caring, creative moms. i'm especially partial to those who photograph everyday things...little things. the things no one else notices, and they make them special.
among many others, feather is one that i and newly obsessed with for her creativity in all things and her weekly 5 things. i find myself continually inspired by her outlook on life. it's a great way to take inventory and perceptive...mom-life tends to skew my perspective and i rarely take inventory of the status and feel of our week.
so here goes. my dear feather, these are for you. (albeit, a bit too wordy :)

5 things that make any day better:
(1) dark roast iced coffee (cold, very cold)
(2) baby chicks
(3) utz natural gourmet medley kettle cooked potato chips, boasting 4 types of potatoes.

(4) a smile, even when you don't feel like it
(5) not having to clean up the kitchen. heaven i tell you, heaven

top 5 best things we did this week.
(1) beach day with my whole family + boardwalk rides + giant ice cream cones = wonderful.

(2) tackled the ill-lit corridors of the Camden Aquarium sans the husband :(. we love the aquarium and i'm in love with big hippo butts, but seriously, i lost foster 3 times and he was right behind me. i know it's for dramatic effect, but pitch black hallways with glowing fish tanks + my child wearing a black tshirt = crowds of pint sized indistinguishable child silhouettes & major parent paranoia. ok, this should be in the top 5 'stressful yet fun' things we did this week.
(3) 1st time mini golfing with kids. i even brought a 3rd kid with us, and i wasn't stressed out. go me :) ok, it was only for an hour, but i'm chocking up small strides of tri-child practice.

(4) met foster's homeschool co-op preschool teacher...she is amazing. she adopted 4 of her 6 kids. sweet, funny, kind. can't WAIT to soak up more of her wisdom and i love that she will have an influence on my child.
(5) oh, did i mention i decided to homeschool? ok, this should be in the "things that challenged me as a mom" section. i've been going back and forth back and forth on the school issue. i even signed him up for preschool AND a homsechool co-op and lingered long and hard on whether or not i can handle either choice. there are so many opinions and so many ways to sway. at this point, i'm doing what is best for our family...what better way is there than that? i'm not necessarily doing what is most in my comfort zone or what will be the smoothest of ways to choose. but as i think about our family, and what we may look like in the next few years, our family will look different. i LOVE that. i want to hover around people who know and understand our uniqueness until my kids gain the confidence to enter the real world and be proud of who they are and have the skills and knowledge to be creative and thrive in a world that is going to push and push and push them to merge and be just like everyone else. after all, the point of all of this isn't to raise great kids...but to raise up and inspire future great adults. it's what they learn now that is making them into who they will be, and i want to make sure they are grounded before i let them out and into an environment i have no part in. so there it is. that's my reason. not very scientific, but from the heart.

5 things that challenged me as a mom this week:
(1) realizing i hover too much. the more i realize it, the more i notice it. scaling back. letting go. it's hard. but important.
(2) my kids are learning fast. like lightening fast. their appetite for learning is insatiable. i need to catch up and plan ahead.
(3) PLAN AHEAD PLAN AHEAD PLAN AHEAD. when i don't, i regret it. when i do, it's a pain, but i'm always glad i did.
(4) i opened my etsy shop again. while i really enjoy it, it also means i'm up late for days on end...very late = very tired in the morning. and sometimes quite grumpy. need more coffee, and at least 5 more hours in each day...and maybe a personal assistant. one can dream, right??

(5) i've noticed an extreme competitiveness arising in my boys...and in other boys their age. they are ruled by who is first, who is the winner, who is the tallest, etc. i don't always know how to handle it. it comes so effortlessly to them. so innate. so, i'm embracing it. after all, competitiveness can be an asset...a competitive spirit can spur ourselves and others around us into greatness...but it needs to be harnessed by a love and compassion for others...a love that values the feelings and pain of those around us in a greater light than winning the prize. so, each day, as we compete in every little thing, we talk about how to treat each other with love and compassion. we are learning to cheer for our friends when they win or succeed. we are learning how to be gracious 2nd placers. we haven't quite caught on yet. but earlier today, i heard foster tell rowan, "look buddy, i won the race! can you cheer for me and tell me what a great job i did?" at least they are getting the idea....sort of :)

5 things that i want to change about myself:
(1) be less sensitive to criticism, especially when the delivery is blunt, but the truth is true
(2) verbalize frustrations to my husband instead of coping an attitude like a 3 year old :)
(3) let go of what other people think of me. be proud of who i am, just the way i am.
(4) i need to wake up earlier than my kids. i've come to grips with it. now i just need to do it.
(5) stop eating so much ice cream :)

5 or 10 things i want to do in the next year:
(1) get a tatoo
(2) meet my daughter
(3) look back and be proud of what i accomplished...as a mom, wife and friend
(4) get into shape. seriously...long and lanky was cool in college, but now it's just long and flabby. uhg.
(5) eat less sugar. laugh more at myself. be spontanious.
(6) write a book
(7) become a real photographer
(8) invent something new
(9) clip coupons
(10) discover who i am :)
(11) learn how to be less wordy. ha! yea, like that will happen :)

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black hole of dispair

that's my vehicle. a dark, dingy, not-sure-what-type-of-crevis-goop-is-lurking type of vehicle. it's really quite disgusting. it's inhabitants (me) learn to push the random juice cups, bags of to-be-returned-items, strollers, dump trucks and misc food particles aside. i barely have time/energy/physical/mental capacity to get myself, my kids, and my main quadrant of hobo bags into the house, let alone use my 4th arm to grasp the stray items that may or may not ever see the light of day again.

last sunday night, we traded cars with my mom so she could take the boys home and give clint and i a few moments to grab some coffee, and dare i say, talk and sip in the peace and quiet of starbucks.
my husband brought to my attention his embarrassment at the state of our vehicle and the fact that my most wonderful mom would be subjected to it's horrificness. as i opened the side door to help get the kids in the car, an empty cookie bag, an old pair of wet creek shorts and what can only be described as an array of tree branches greeted me. and then it hit me.  my van looks the way i feel sometimes. overworked. messy. unkept. discouraged.

so, this afternoon, i made it my personal intent to take my overworked. messy. unkept. discouraged. vehicle and give her the makeover she so humbly deserves. i even sacrificed my only 45 min of child nap time to complete such a dubious task.

it was quite shocking just how much stuff can fit in one mini-van. the phrasing is quite deceiving. "mini" i think not. perhaps "giant trash compactor fork lift" would be more appropriate.

take note of the large quantities of any-and-all items that were discovered lurking amidst the goldfish crumbs.
it was like a scavenger hunt for things that were actually worth salvaging...
yesterday's lunch

 chunks of pavement in a bucket. apparently foster is now a collector of such highly prized items.

a bag of baby clothes my friend had borrowed...in which i found my most favorite winter slippers my rowie wore oh-so-long ago

 a bucket of trucks and dinosaurs...we never leave home without it

the end result? 
tranquil cleanliness.
ahh. my vehicle can breathe....and so can i now that it no longer smells like a sweaty locker room :)


bird snapping

i decided to take a whole day of photos looking down from above....which is aided by my long and lanky legs, and the fact that i am hopelessly in love with taken-from-above photos.

i love the perspective change. there is something special about the way things look from above. like my camera is a bird flying overhead...conveniently flapping and snapping pictures in one swoop :)

as i was bird snapping, i noticed something. little girls wear fantastic hair accessories...all the time. even whilst creek stomping.  it's quite amazing to me since i live in boy world where little boys spend 74% of their day in tightie-whities. tighttie-whities and not an accessory in sight. i am always so surprised to remember that girls accessorize. they coordinate. they change into princess gowns and wear lipstick.

i'm savoring my findings...someday i'll need to know how to to accessorize...how to coordinate...how to get all dolled up even with no place to go. i can't wait.

until then, i'm enjoying trucks and mud and buckets....

and someday little sister will add some lovely dashes of pink and purple accessories to mix in  :)


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