lasagne bug catchers

i've been wanting to tackle OAMC for a while now. i got motivated on tuesday night after yoga. darn that feel-good-torture. makes me do crazy stuff. it's 2:30 am and i have tex-mex chicken soup on the stove and some sort of potato/ham dish in the oven. why do i insist on starting projects i know i won't be able to finish at a decent hour?? i'll admit. i'm inspired during the evening hours. the quiet. the un-interruptedness. glorious. i'll stay up another hour just to savor it.

so, instead of falling asleep in front of turning on the tv while i wait, i'm scrounging for projects.

a pile of jars from 2 batches of lasagna and other recycling bin finds are now custom bug catchers for the boys and their friends.

i dug up a bunch of colors from my dad's basement, which turned out to be a harrowing decision because they are all from 1976, the caps are impossible to remove, and once an impossible cap has been painstakingly removed, there isn't a spray nozzle to be found. where do they go, anyway?

after finding a stray nozzle, only 2 of the 15 bottles i tried were able to muster some sort of spray. the yellow is more of the consistency of milk and seems to shy away from it's primary job of full coverage. but the silver covers like a champ. including my fingers. thank you ill fitting spray nozzle.

my original cute idea of each kid having a different color jar cap is foiled.
enter garage sale tags.
back in business.

i gotta say, i might just get used to this once a month thing. i'm sure i'll be thanking myself when emery comes home and i have a few weeks of minimal cooking. or at least i will if i can ever remember to take dinner out of the freezer the night before. i wonder how many times i'll forget and end up making turkey dogs and tater tots??

one of the best investments...

swim lessons.
we've been joining 3 of our 3year old friends for swim lessons over the past 2 weeks. it's been perilous at times, as all of the kids went through stages of outrageous crying and underwater moments of horror in the learning stage. while their teacher was never far from them, she teaches them what happens when they are unsafe on their belly...it's not fun.
back = safe
belly = lots of water consumption (oh, and puking. gross.)
at least 5 times i had to hold myself back from jumping in the pool to save him as he was crying uncontrollably (while UNDER water). to say the least, we have been peeing A LOT after swim class!

our swim teacher? incredible! she had all of the kids swimming by themselves on their back on the FIRST day! it's been amazing to see the transformation. today, they all had breakthroughs. rowan is finally (well almost) able to jump in without totally breaking down into tears. in the end, he comes out of the pool smiling, and he is so proud of himself for accomplishing something that was so hard in the beginning.
i continually feel better and better about his ability to be able to save himself, if the worst were to happen. i'm still ultra paranoid around pools, but no matter how paranoid and careful i am, my kids need to have the skills required in case they were to fall in a pool.

check it out...

my dear friend lauren (who organized the lessons afor us - you rock my dear!) took a bunch of pics last week. these kids are crazy cute!


despair and mathematics

last night, i awoke around 2am to someone crying. rowan was calling for me, and as i wandered sleepily into his room, he was sobbing and asking me to lay with him. so we snuggled for a bit. oh how i love snuggle sleepers. he puts his arm around my neck, or holds my hand and instantly falls asleep. it's precious. after a while, i made my way back to bed. but when i got to the hallway, i realized i forgot something. i ran frantically to find a flashlight and dashed back into the boys room. i started searching everywhere. under covers, in the closet.  i was feeling more and more frazzled as the seconds ticked by. i had forgotten to kiss emery and i was unable to find her anywhere. i found myself running down the hallway and into the sewing room. i ran back into the boys bedroom and then started racing down the stairs.
"where are you?!" i screamed.
"i can't find you! why can't i find you?!!" as my words called out into the darkness, i realized in an instant that i was sleep walking.
i stood in the stairwell blankly looking down the steps. i dropped the flashlight. there was no need for it. she isn't here. i probably should have felt pretty silly at all of my crazy traipsing around the house...flashlight beams coating every crevice, and my hairbrained-half-asleep self running rampid. but all i felt was despair. sadness. the way i feel when i really let myself admit how much i long for her.
i know i know. we are so close. literally just a few weeks away. but even a month means 3 meals a day that someone else will feed her (3x30=90). 1 bedtime and at least 1 nap that i won't get to snuggle her to sleep and feel her arm around my neck. (2x30=60)  the many times i stop and hug and kiss and tickle and hold and walk with and chase and giggle with my children. the many times each day that she isn't here to be a part of it. the little things count. the mathematics are staggering to me. i see it plainly. i have so much to catch up on.

i can't bare to read adoption blogs (save for our dear brooklyn, who just makes me sob like a baby because i love her so much!). i don't want to talk about travel dates and how much longer. oh how i hate that question because i've answered it so many times. the unknown of adoption is always there. constantly. i don't want to dream. i don't want to blog about my child who is 17,000 miles away. it's been 3 years. i'm ready for holding. tickling. walking and kissing. neck squeezing, lip smooching.

and then i come back to what i know to be true. i need to honor the process. be faithful in what i have in front of me. ashley wrote a great post today about being present...it really resonated with me. i can choose to walk through my days and nights in the terror of missing her...or i can choose to be present in what God has given me today. otherwise, i will never be satisfied, no matter what is going on. God knew this process all along, and He knew all i have to learn. it's not just valuable for adoption, but for all of life.


the sit and chat

i finally had a few moments to go through our smash day photos. and i remembered a funny conversation that transpired with on onlooker. it made me think about how much life has changed from when i started this adventure called motherhood. from the days of a sleeping infant and wondering what every little itty bitty noise or cough or sneeze meant and if i was doing everything right. fearing i was doing everything wrong (ok i still do that!) and being unable to look much past the age my kids are at this moment (well, i still do that too!).
i had no idea how much harder it would get...how much my heart could keep exploding with love as each child enters our family...and how it just keeps getting better and better.

it wasn't your normal day at the park. we overtook the better half of a nearby pavilion, and strung out tarps on the grass to host our wares. we toted armfuls and boxes of stray fax machines, tv's, computer monitors, office phones, keyboards, broken electric drums, and other misc items that were headed to the dump, but destined for project greatness. it was a bit of a spectacle.

a dainty 1st time moms group looked on from the other half of the pavilion and the cute little group watched with peering eyes as we took out hammers and safety goggles. there was a strange silence. i could tell they had no idea what we were doing, or how to even approach the question. they were all toting infants, who sat on laps and strollers. a sit and chat play group. i'm not dissing it, by any means. the sit and chat playgroup is how i met many of my dear friends. we learned motherhood together. we studied every little part of our children. we gave and received advice. and we were in it together.although we still do all of those things, it's never quiet. we've got jars of waterbugs sitting next to our coffee cups, muddy tire splatters decorating the outside of our diaper bags, and we high five our kids when they do an awesome powerslide in the grass.

if i had been the one in the park this week? sitting with my 6 month old first born son, who had not yet leapt down 7 steps in a single bound, superman dove off of his bed to bowl over a family of action figures, rode his scooter at warp speed and then met a tough dude named 'asphalt'...well, if it were me...i'm sure i would have raised an eyebrow, shielded my child's eyes from such dangerous activity, and continued with my pleasant conversation.
and thus, as i continue my story, i have no judgement :)

anyway, as one of the moms walked into the pavilion to join the sit and chat group, hip wearing a cute baby boy, i passed by (schlepping a rather large array of screw drivers, my camera, and clock radio under one arm). i noticed her peering a glance in the direction of our picnic table stacked with stray electronics. i said with a laugh "we thought a fax machine and a radio might just come in handy...oh and if you need a tv, we've got one of those too!"

uncomfortable silence. entire group of sit and chat moms are now listening intently.

"we've been wondering what you guys are up to...seems a little strange."

"well, we are trying to get together each week and think of a projects for the kids to explore. last week it was exploding soda...this week we are letting them tear into old electronics. they really love it!"

she made it very clear that she wasn't on board. "wow, that's........ interesting" she said with a tone that was less than approving, and walked away.

uncomfortable silence.

i smiled. and for some reason, i loved that we were doing something so out of the ordinary that it was a bit crazy. i love that some people don't get it...because maybe, just maybe, that sweet mom of a 6 month old will end up a few years down the road with a 5 year old who wants to know how every little thing works. who loves to carry around a frog all day and has an awesome super hero power kick. she'll feel exasperated by the same old grind, and remember an ordinary wednesday, when that crazy group of moms and hammers let their kids smash stuff. she might just do the same, and it will be awesome.

as i walked away, i hoisted a fax machine on my shoulder, and said, "come on foster, lets go smash some stuff!"

and it was awesome.

disclaimer: this activity was well supervised, the kids wore safety goggles and each had their own area to smash. if you do a similar project, be sure to practice safe hammer skills before hand and have a talk with the group about how to be safe. oh, and if you open a tv or computer monitor..don't smash it with a hammer!!  there's crazy gas and glass inside :) wanna guess how we found that out??


smash wednesday

a great day of learning (and smashing stuff with hammers) was had by all.
check out the fun here captured by my lovely and talented friend.
wednesdays are our new favorite day.
we came home exhausted, muddy, (more than a little smelly) and delighted by such fun with friends.

today marks 2 weeks since we got our Artical 5. my phone is glued to my side waiting for the phone call of all phone calls...our travel dates!! it could come anyday now...at any moment...and i'm counting each moment as being closer to holding her!


palmolive play {and photo styling}

i've been fantastically enjoying lightroom 3 (especially because i got the teacher pricing :). i think i love it a bit too much because i find myself deep in the middle of the night perusing the many styling options. i will be the first to admit, i have no idea what i am doing. i use a lot of presets and i am endlessly watching google tutorials.

the change is amazing. a little (or a lot) of editing, makes a big difference. a so-so photo taken with a point and shoot can become something really interesting with some tweaking. it makes me question every photo i see online because i wonder how much is attributed to the camera, to the photographer or to the editing.

thus i give you...an incessant amount of pictures...and the fun of lightroom.

both of these ideas are courtesy of my son, who is often so much more creative and inventive than i.
many times, we think of things to do because he has an idea...and i love his ideas.
today, he wanted to play with soap.
out came sponges and buckets of soapy water.

oh, and water guns :)

2 hours later, the boys were STILL playing with soap. amid refilling buckets and water guns, i was able to scrub the kitchen floor, do 2 loads of laundry and sip coffee whilst dodging water gun squirts on the deck. i was then chased out into the yard in a "squirt mommy" attack, to which i avenged my own honor with a stray garden hose.

after lunch we invented these. they were even better when we added food coloring. lots and lots of food coloring.

they were a lot LESS fun when we got bubble covered hands in our eyes (insert lots of crying) and we decided next time we would use baby shampoo to insure that we don't wash our eyeballs with palmolive again.


tent dreams

i made these for the boys today. i had a perfect plan to make perfect bags and perfect tags
(like these)

while i still plan to make cute bags, per usual, real life gave me 5 minuets to complete the project. the plan of perfection took a backseat to quick and speedy. when the boys realized what i was making, they were screetching with joy. it was fantastic.
i made 3 of these...2 for my boys, and one for a friend. total cost for each? $7.50 
probably could have made them for free if i could have found our sheets from storage, and the clothespins i have stashed somewhere, but cheap $5 sheets from walmart and christmas tree shop accessories do the trick just fine.
i quickly sewed ribbon loops on each corner and the center of each long side.

 this was a really lazy quick project...thread strings and sloppy stitching were floating everywhere...but little boys don't care, so neither do i :)

oh and our toe walking night braces, day braces, ancle brace combination? yeah, we have moved in another direction. not because we want to, but because it's so rediculous. can you guess how much 3 braces cost??

take. deep. breath.

grand total? $3,200 for 3 braces.
no, i didn't add an extra zero by accident. and our insurance only covers half.
oh, and they would need to be replaced with each shoe size.
(insert laugh here...that's what i did when the doctor's office called and told me the pricing). moments later i found these gems for under $150 for the pair.
it's amazing to me to see this boy embrace something so challenging. he LOVES his braces. he gets excited to put them on at bedtime. he wears them when he pretends to go to bed. when his buddies take naps, he wears them. we've taken these babies on and off 7 times too many today. but each time, i share his excitement, because he loves them and i can hardly believe what a spirit of determination he has. it's beautiful.

back to the tent theme. my makeshift tents will soon give way to this...

my summer weekend project (times 2, of course, with a 3rd in the works for little miss next summer)
i found scrap wood and scrap fabric = free
only item needed = time

or maybe she needs something like this...

(oh the chandelier...swoon with loveliness)

then we can have a sleepover that looks like this:

this is my "at some point in my life i'd like to build" project:

and i will file these under "i really really really want this in my backyard someday"


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