This Moment – Each and Every One

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Only, today I am having a hard time choosing just one. Which of the many beautiful moments from this week is the most memorable?
Is is blowing dandelions with The Princess?
Or watching the Fraggle try to walk?
Maybe my favorite moment was experimenting with photography with The Boy,
Or passing around the welding mask while watching the solar eclipse, and discovering all the interesting effects of the diminished sunlight. 
Perhaps the best moment was working on a crossword puzzle with The Bookworm in the garden,
or watching The Munchkin turn cardboard into an excellent and hilarious dress up.
Of course, I can’t forget the zoo moments, like when The Dancing Queen was almost eaten by a hippopotomus,
and we all got to touch sting rays (or at least try).
My life is filled with perfect little moments. It is hard to pick just one.
May you have a lovely weekend filled with perfect moments. And may you catch at least a few of them with your camera.

My Hands Are Full… And So Is My Heart

She looked up at me with her beautiful, toothless smile, and my Princess said to me,

“I am a mama – see? Because my hands are so full!”

My hands are full, too, because I am a mama.

And so is my heart.

I hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday. I know I sure did.

How Laryngitis Made Me a Better Mom

I am battling a pretty nasty cold this week and yesterday it stole my voice. I was forced to govern my home with whispers, and this taught me a few good mom things.

My home is full of people, and therefore, it is also full of noise. Two people are giggling on the couch, one is singing while she plays on the floor, The Boy is a sound machine hovering over the lego mess, the baby is babbling, and usually we have music on as well. All lovely and pleasant sounds mixing together to make the cacophony that is my life. Normally, I just compete with all of this by speaking at high volume. “OKAY, GUYS! LET’S CLEAN UP AND GET READY TO START OUR SCHOOL DAY.” I am not angry, just trying to be heard.

Me without a voice was interesting. “okay guys. let’s clean up and start school,” I whispered, and it wasn’t working.

I had to go right up to the person that I was speaking to, get his/her attention and then speak.

The affect was amazing! Suddenly I was being listened to! I got quieter and they listened better!

I have known for awhile that we had some issues with paying attention here, and I have been working on teaching them to listen. We have even been calling them to “ATTENTION” drill sergeant style and having them line up as if we were the Von Trapp Family (all in fun, of course, and there are plenty of giggles as they stand at attention to listen to me). This has been helping, but it is still loud. So, when a croaking throat forced to me to speak to each kid close up, one on one, and in their face (because otherwise they couldn’t hear me), I saw that there is another angle.

Communicating with the herd is often just that. I shout out directions that are intended for the whole crowd – “Everybody clean up!”, “Let’s get ready for bed!”, or “Get in the car, it’s time to go!” Whispering is for the individual. Speaking quietly means I am face to face with my child, looking into her eyes. Yesterday, I learned not only the value of that, but also the effectiveness of it. So, while there will still be plenty of times that I throw out commands for the whole crew, I will be looking for opportunities to whisper.

Pay Attention

I promise that as soon as my camera comes back from the repair shop I will show you all the wonderful things I have been knitting, sewing and needle felting (and there are a ton!). Until then, you’ll have to put up with more parenting/homeschooling posts. 🙂

“Mama, where is my ______?”

“Have you seen the _______?”

“I can’t find any ________?”

So the chorus echos in my house day after day. Ninety percent of the time the sought after item is right there. Granted, I may have had to lift something to find it, or perhaps looked behind something else to locate it. But it is almost always right where I said it was.

“Look in the drawer,” I say.

“It’s not in the drawer,” comes the reply.

So I trudge up the stairs, open the drawer, sigh hugely, and pull out whatever was lost.

Sound familiar? Really, I can’t be the only one.

Being a homeschooler, though, I figure I can fix this. So I did some brainstorming for fun ways to strengthen my kids power of observation. Here is what I have come up with so far.

“I Spy” books and the like – You know the ones I speak of. There is a picture cluttered with all sorts of things and you have to locate certain items in the mess. It is fun, the kids love it, and the library has all different ones. There are also “Do You See What I See?”, “Where’s Waldo?”, and “Seek and Find”.

Find the Thimble – My grandma taught my sister and I to play this charming game when we were young. You take a thimble (or other small object) and hide it in plain sight. Then everyone else tries to find it while you use clues like “getting warmer” to help if you want to. Whoever finds it first gets to hide it the next round. The only rule is that it has to be seen from the middle of the room. This game is a huge hit with my kids and full of nostalgia for me!

Practice Following Directions Game – (I need to come up with a better name for this one!) A kid is given a set of instructions: “Go in the kitchen. Open the cupboard. Pull out the big pot. Look inside.” And there in the pot is something fun (or more instructions for the next clue). All the directions are given at once and can be simpler or more complicated based on the kid. Once they understand the game, they can send you on a hunt.

The Baby Shower Game – If you have been to as many baby showers as I have, you know this one. You place a number of unrelated items on a tray. You let the kids look at it for a short amount of time (say 1 minute?). Then you hide the tray and see how many they remember. This can also be done with pictures, a poster, out the living room window, driving down the street, coming out of the grocery store, really anywhere that there is anything to be seen. “Who can tell me ten things they saw in that store?” “As we drive down this street, see how many things there are…… Okay. What did you see?” etc…

Well, that is all I’ve got. I would love to have some more fun ways to teach this valuable skill. Do you have any suggestions?


Design Team

My ten year old daughter is an excellent artist. Ever since she could hold a crayon, she has been continuously improving her drawing skills. Add to that her love of paper dolls, and her endless creativity and what do you get? A young fashion designer extraordinaire. One day, I was looking at her paper doll clothes and I had an epiphany. I could knit that! I don’t have a lot of original ideas, and she doesn’t have the needlework know-how. But together, we could make a great team! So, I recently told her that, if she would draw her dream sweater, I would do my best to knit it. This is what she came up with:

Hey, I can knit that! We worked out some of the details, like “are those flowers sewn on or colored in?” and “those sleeve cuffs, how much longer than the arm are they?” Then we went shopping (online) and she picked out some wonderful yarn (Dream in Color Smooshy). The day it came was like Christmas, and she was as excited as I. I posted this picture already, but to refresh your memory:

Next, I started swatching.

The sparkle in Abby’s eye when I got it right was priceless. I think I have it all worked out. Now to knit it. This has been so fun. I hope that it is a good experience for her and that she will want to repeat it. This means I need to get it knit before the excitement wears off… I can do that.

Anybody got a clue as to how to do that bottom bit? I was thinking I would just knit a normal ribbed lower edge, but if you can tell me how to do that fancy bit in her drawing, I am willing to try it. 🙂

Yes, That is My Daughter

I have to brag on my daughter, Beka, yet again. The child who learned to knit the other day is making wonderful progress on her scarf.

Garter stitch scarf in Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky Pink Candy (I know, cheap and nasty acrylic. What can I say? The pretty colors are all that matters to my girl. We’ll get her some good yarn for her next project… ) I have knit maybe 25% of this and she has only lost one stitch, so far. (I don’t know where it went. We cast on 12 and now there are only 11. Hmmmm)

I, on the other hand, got a terrible case of startitis and have started this

Aeolian Shawl in Madelintosh Prairie Nutmeg (I hear you saying,”You barely made any progress on that”. But if you count all the stitches I frogged before I remembered to place a lifeline, you’d see that I have accomplished quite a lot!)

and this

Swatching for a new shawl design. I call it Hug. It is a new design I am working on in Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

and this

A sweater for “Jo-jo” in Knit Picks Cadena Cranberry (Emma picked out the button).

Fortunately, I also happened to finish that last one. Doll clothes are fun to design and fast to knit!

Eating Soup with a Slotted Spoon

“Emma, would you please put the spoons on the table? We are almost ready for lunch.” I said to my almost three year old. I listened to the silverware drawer clatter as she dug around in search of enough spoons as I ladled the soup into bowls. A minute or two later, we all sat down to eat. There was Emma, sitting across from me with the spoon she chose for herself. A slotted serving spoon. Eating soup.

“Emma,” I said, supressing my laugh, “Would you like me to get you a better spoon? That one has holes in it.”

“I like this one,” she replied with a grin. “It’s pretty.” And she held it up for me to see the decorative holes in flowery shapes. Then she resumed eating (trying to eat) her soup. The soup dripped and splashed, she grinned and moved faster. The child managed to eat every last drop and even ask for seconds. She ate soup with a slotted spoon.

I have three points I would like to make:

1. “Like eating soup with a slotted spoon” is an excellent metaphor for a hopeless or difficult task.

2. With enough determination and dedication, it is possible to eat soup with a slotted spoon.

3. I have the cutest kid ever.

Sweater One (I call her Pink) is done and waiting for buttons. I knit a sweater for myself in six days. I am pretty proud of myself right now. Post dedicated to such awesomeness is coming soon…