I've tried to get a better photo than this, but six-month-olds are just too floppy and squishy to model dresses. Oh, well. I love the Lisette print, and isn't it great that baby sewing usually takes less than a yard? The pattern, by the way, is the "Country Mouse" dress from the Autumn 2011 issue of Ottobre magazine. The bloomers came from Lotta Jansdotter's baby book, and I want to make dozens more of them.
So, hanging out in the cowboy bachelor pad has made us realize the necessity of figuring out a more suitable abode, ASAP. The necessity of saying "OK. Full steam ahead." I'm not really a full-steam-ahead sort of girl. I like to agonize over little pointless decisions, so you can imagine the heartburn I'm having about all of this. Building a house? Choosing the plans? Picking where it goes? Deciding which trees to chop? What?
And then there's our Pocatello house. Sell? Rent? Even just the cleaning involved to be ready for either option is overwhelming to me. I can't even get my laundry done and I'm supposed to have this place ready to sell? Seriously?
And yet, I'm excited. We've been meeting the neighbors, the new church social network, and they are the nicest people ever. Matt has been meeting the kids his age, in particular, another eight-year-old boy (which he's excited about) and an eight-year-old girl ("It's complicated..." he says) in his church class. We've been traipsing around the property, plotting out where things will go, spotting owls, talking about alpaca and chickens (or not), imagining the possibilities...
In some ways, it seems so perfect that I'm just certain something will go wrong.
Well... There was this...
We had picked out the perfect spot and planned to cut a path in through the brambles from the main road. Then we drove to the other side of the bramble patch and found this.
I called my dad up. "Dad," I said. This behemoth on the side of the road. What is it? It's ugly. Mom and Jen both agree. Please tell me I can get rid of it."
"Dear," he said. "That is the irrigation well for the whole farm. The entire female population of this family might vote that it's ugly, but my vote trumps all. The pump has to stay."
Well, then. Ruin my fun.
Maybe we can build a nice hedge?
So, anyway. Plans.
Back yard. Dad says that he can't move the pump, but he can at least haul some of the random farm junk behind the barn. These trees are gorgeous in the summer.
Side yard (where the driveway will go.)
Front yard bramble patch. Ryan's got the machete out (any good excuse to use the machete...), we've recruited some of the farm guys to help, and we will probably start chopping through this mess tomorrow. I'm thinking I should go out and supervise this project. The men on the farm (Dad!) can get a little chop-happy. (See that owl in there? I love owls.)
This is where my imaginary alpaca will go. And my imaginary soccer field. And my imaginary fire pit. And my imaginary teepee.
And some randoms...
Even though my dad refuses to move the behemoth, he continues to be the most generous man on the planet and bought me an iPhone last week. And I've never had an iPhone before, so I am really excited about this, which is probably obvious here. Instagram really is as fun as they said it was.
Another set of Amy Butler Kimono PJs. I made these before Christmas, but she's just grown into them, and she will probably wear them three times before she grows right back out of them. Ah, they do grow too quickly, don't they? And not just for sewing purposes.
How many sets of these PJS have I made by now? Seven? Can't remember. Anyway, it's a great pattern. My only issue is that I always have to shorten the arms a bit. This time, I decided to just keep it all one print, rather than adding contrasting bits. It's different. I like it.
Must go. Jonah has climbed something and gotten himself stuck again. I can hear him wailing from the other room. Mom to the rescue...
I've had a lot of "those" days lately. You know the ones. The days where you spin wheels all day long, where you don't even have time to catch a breath or visit the ladies' room. The days where you sink into a chair in exhaustion at 11:30 p.m., survey the world around you, and think, "Why don't I have any more to show for my day than THIS?"
If you are also having a lot of "those" days lately, I'd be willing to place bets on whether or not you have a two-year-old living at your house. I'd be willing to predict that you do.
And I'd also be willing to bet that you, like me, spend a disproportional amount of your day chasing said two-year-old out of nonsense, or cleaning his disproportional number of messes, or rescuing him from high places that he should not be (which, of course, he only realizes when he is stuck at the top of said high place).
But, oh, it's a funny age, isn't it? In spite of the trouble that this one causes me, I spend at least half the day laughing. (I spend the other half of the day swearing, but that's beside the point.)
Here are a few recent Jonah adventures...
This morning, Jonah wandered into my room, very dramatically holding his belly and moaning, and announced, "Mommmmmy. I feel yuuuuuuucky." I said, "Oh, yeah? You feeling sick?"
"Yeeeeeaaaaah. I need a treat!"
He's also very into "helping" lately. I can't keep him out of the dishwasher, for instance. I'm sure you can imagine how terribly helpful this is. Incidentally, these tongs are singing, "Happy Birthday." Every day is Jonah's birthday. I dare you to try and convince him otherwise.
All of Jonah's vocabulary has started rhyming with "Sofia," which he pronounces SOF-ia (kindof like MAF-ia). Ryan is Daddia. I am Mommia. When he wants a drink, he is thirstia. When life is good, we are happia. He sounded like a little Guido to begin with, and now this.
At least once a day, the phone, or the keys, or a tool will disappear. The only information we get on this is, "I take it!!!" We have learned the trick to finding lost items is to pretend we are two feet tall and lacking any logic skills.
Last month, I gave Jonah a piece of grapefruit from a sample cart at Costco. He spit it at the sample cart lady and announced, "Not a fan." I tried to at least wait until we had turned around to start laughing hysterically.
Several weeks ago, I walked into my bathroom to find two inches of water on the floor. Captain Jonah was desperately bailing water out of the bathtub and yelling, "I'm sinking! I'm sinking!!!!"
So, yes. I laugh. I laugh all day long. Because, seriously, what else can you do?
Well, we've had an interesting development since the last time I mentioned Neely...
(Can I tell you how much I love that he shares this space with "These boots are made for DANCING!!!" I am totally going to that.)
A little geography background for nonlocals... Neely is located in Power County, where, incidentally, I was born. I've always liked, when I fill out various forms, that I could say I was born in Power. POWER!!!! (We have fun where we can.) So, anyway, Ryan will be running for County Prosecutor on the Republican Party ticket. Those lucky Republicans. They now have the best-looking candidate ever. I wholeheartedly endorse his good-looking candidacy.
Anyway, this means several things for our family.
First of all. Remember this lovely? All of those things I said about how the floor is sinking and the walls might cave in? Irrelevant. Because now this is where we get to live!
On the plus side, the yard is still the best yard on the planet. And we can go four-wheeling every day! (My kids are all over any plan that involves more four-wheeling.) And there aren't REALLY snakes. There just USED to be snakes. And once I buy a gigantic cat to live on my porch, even the hypothetical snakes will be long gone. Only the snakes in my imagination will remain...
We don't have a strategy for getting rid of the ghosts.
I always loved a good adventure...
We are hoping, at some point, to build a newer house somewhere on the property, but for now, we are figuring out ways to make the old cowboy bachelor pad work.
The second thing...
I really like politics. Ryan and I both spent a lot of time volunteering for various campaigns when we were Poli Sci students at USU. And, you know, campaigning is fun when you are behind the scenes. But, I have to admit, this is slightly out of our comfort zone. We aren't used to being noticed or making speeches. We are behind-the-scenes sort of people. At the same time, it's exciting. We have already made new friends. We are going to get to know so many new people. There's always the possibility that Ryan won't win (though how anyone could NOT vote for someone as good-looking as Ryan is completely beyond me...), but if he does, he has so many ideas for what he can do to help the community. It's exciting to think that he might be in a position where he can make a difference, do some good. One way or another, we will grow from this, and that is always a great thing.
I have to laugh, though. Six months ago I announced to the universe, "Hey, universe. I want to live in Neely." And, now , here we are. Exciting times.
How many times did I say excited or exciting in this post? I don't even want to know. Well, wish us luck with this! It's a big life change, but we are looking ahead with great optimism and ... um ... excitement!
As we were in the process of getting a big, new-to-us piano moved into our house over the weekend (which was crazy, and I will tell you about it another day!), my mom asked if I ever got sick of listening to my kids banging on the piano.
Well, yes. Jonah's piano skills are about what you would expect out of a two-year-old. His "practicing" involves repeatedly pounding the loudest note on the piano and saying, "See? Dat makes a kangaroo!"
So, no, I don't love to hear Jonah play.
But I never get sick of Matthew's playing. Matthew actually plays real music, for one thing. He's fun to listen to. I am so proud of how well he's doing on the piano that buttons might start popping off at any moment. The kid is a nut. You wouldn't believe how hard he works. It's not because I'm the meanest mom in the world either (even though I am). He really, really just loves to play. So, I love to listen to him.
"Really?" my mom responded, "Because you guys all played really well, but sometimes I wanted to tear my hair out from all that racket." And, to be fair, I'm pretty sure, between the four of us, someone was ALWAYS playing, and I will probably feel different when all of my kids actually play. But Kangaroos are tolerable, and I actually really enjoy hearing Matthew practice. I'm not only proud as his mom, I'm proud as his teacher. He's quite the little feather in my cap.
Come on, admit it, you know you love it when your kids make you look good! I will probably turn him over to another teacher this summer. He's ready. He needs it. But I will actually be a little sad to lose him as a student.
He played in Festival over the weekend, which is an event where kids play a couple pieces for a judge who critiques them. I was really excited when we signed him in and found out that my friend Mikelle would be his judge! She is one of my piano heroes. Festival can be nerve-wracking for a kid, so it was nice for him to be able to play for a friendly face, and she gave him some very helpful tips on his pieces. Actually, I think Festival is much harder on mothers. Matthew has been working on his pieces for months and wasn't a bit nervous. If anything, he gets a little full of himself. I'm OK with that. I think every kid needs to have something that they can be proud of. I always get butterflies on his behalf, though! You just want to see your children do well, don't you?
He also played in the local scholarship competition yesterday, which was... well... funny. He was by far the *tiniest* little pianist in his whole division. I kept trying to tell him, "Matthew, don't worry about winning. Just do your best. You're just there to show off, right?" Because, even when they play at the same level, older kids have a maturity to their playing that he still lacks. For another thing, Matthew's hands are half the size of these teenage boys', which also limits his playing. And the kids in this area all play so well! There are some great teachers in Pocatello. I would hate to be a judge for any of these competitions. I want to give them all awards. Anyway, I was trying to make sure he went into the competition with realistic expectations, but I still think he had this glimmer of hope that he would win a prize, so I was really relieved that he won honorable mention in his division. I was so proud of him! He's worked so hard.
Wow, he is little! The next oldest girl in his group was ten, and even she was young for the group! Does that make me the Tiger Mom? I hope not.
And, for the Grandmas (and anyone else who wants to watch his performance), I have finally mastered YouTube. I think. Hopefully this will play...
I'm proud of him. I'm glad he loves music so much. He's a kid who is so unsure of himself in so many other ways, so it's nice that he has this one little area where he can show off a bit.
I love living in Idaho. Even though the weather is crazy and the winter is long, Idaho just has this "feel" to it. I'm trying to figure out the best way to explain it, but how exactly do you describe home? Idaho feels big. The first thing you notice when you fly into Idaho is the space. I remember flying into the Pocatello airport after spending over a year near San Diego, where houses are piled on top of houses, and just being shocked at the space. Huge expanses of empty, open space. (OK, not technically empty. Most of it is farmland. But a lot of it is just straight nothing. In any case, Idaho is wide open.)
At the same time, it feels close, and homey. We know our neighbors and they know us. Not only do we know our neighbors here, but we know half of the people in the communities that surround us. We visited a church in a neighboring city last week and I laughed at how many people we knew, or that knew us, or that knew my parents. There were a couple of little old ladies there that knew exactly who I was because I look "just like my Grandma Shirley, with just a little twinkle of Grandpa Wayne." I laughed at that. Just a twinkle.
But, oh. The wind.
I HATE wind. I hate wind worse than any other sort of weather. And Idaho has an abundance of wind.
The kids have been a little wild lately. We all have cabin fever, and we're all ready for winter to be over. On top of that, we are adjusting to "Spring Forward," which was not planned by a mother. The more kids I have, the more I am convinced that DST was a bad idea to begin with. A mother would have known that it is always a bad idea to mess with the sleeping schedules of children, not to mention their mothers. Last night I was up on the hour, every hour, with one kid or another. When the 6:30 alarm rang, my first thought was "I'm up every hour, and now they expect me to get up an hour EARLIER? You've got to be joking." You can't make me Spring Forward. Except you can. I digress...
Anyway, the wind. If you wait for a wind-free day to go outside, you may as well just park it in your living room and plan for a long spring. So, yesterday, I bundled all three squirrely kids up and took them to the park. It was a good chance for Jonah to test out his new jacket. He calls this is "Jacket and Annie." We've been reading Magic Tree House books.
This is the Two-in-One Jacket from Sewing for Boys. There are so many books and patterns for little girls, and it's about time that someone came out with one for the men! It's books like this that make me wish I had endless time for sewing. You really could make a whole wardrobe for a boy out of this book. It's great. I only wish the patterns were sized big enough for that other weed of a kid who lives at my house!
The great thing about this pattern (besides the good instructions for welt pockets, which I had never done before) is that it's reversible! Jonah will look like a tiny, nerdy little professor with this plaid, but that was sortof the idea.
And he's off...
He doesn't stay in one place for long these days. Keeps me on my toes, this one.
Right now, both of my kids (the littles, that is... the ones who are at home) are asleep. Which never, ever happens.
It's so quiet that I'm not even sure what to do with myself.
I have a list. The ratio of things to do vs. things that got done around here is... Well, let's just say it's a mess, because I'm lacking the brain cells to calculate ratios or articulate what they mean. How do I explain this? If, hypothetically, I have ten things on my to-do list on any given day, I might accomplish five of them. This is hypothetical, of course, because the reality is something more like three hundred things on my to-do list, but that math is too complicated.
Enough about math and ratios and to-do lists. I'm busy. That was the point. Keeping up with the old blog generally falls into the list of "Things to do that didn't get done." Plus, I have to be honest. It was easier to write when there were only three people reading. That's silly, isn't it.
But I need to do better. We have things going on that I'd like to remember, and this is the only record I have. I have things that I think about that I think, "I need to write about that." I am too busy for real life socializing, and maybe this is pathetic, but blogging fills that void sometimes. It's nice to have just that little bit of connection with people I like. Writing to the world at large is not the same as real hanging out. But at least it announces what is happening here in this cave of hermits.
I will do better. That is the goal.
What's up with everyone? How are things?
I have a few things to catch up on, and a few projects I'm excited to show you. Most of it will have to wait for another day. But, as a quick check-in, here are a few things I need to tell you more about when I get a minute.
1. I am the new owner of the world's ugliest yamaha. Ryan bought (practically stole) a 6'1" concert grand that had been vandalized but that still plays beautifully. To say that I am excited about this is the world's greatest understatement. It should get here in a week or so.
2. We have exciting possible things in the works. I'm not allowed to talk about any of them. But, as soon as I am, I will tell you. How's that for vague?
3. Sofia is six months old today. (I know, right? Where did that go?) I will blog about that tomorrow.
4. I am learning to make Waldorf dolls. SO fun! I decided to make one after reading a book that had some things about the Waldorf philosophy. I'll have to tell you about that one of these days, too, because it's been a life-changing book for our family. Or, at least, for me.
5. And I have this Waldorf-related idea that I'm kindof excited about. I will tell you about that, too.
6. I have at least three stories that happened this week that prove I am the worst mom on the planet, one of which involved leaving Matthew at school on a no-school day. The other involved leaving Matthew at scouts on a no-scout day. I won't tell you the third one. So, I guess that's the whole set of stories. We'll just leave it at that! Ha!
7. And I have at least twelve funny Jonah stories.
8. Do I want to open the politics and religion can of worms? Because, wow, do I have some thoughts there. Can't decide. I like to think that I am Switzerland. You know, neutral. Nobody really knows what I think (and probably nobody really cares). But there are some things troubling me, and some things that I'm excited about, and it seems silly not to talk about it. Except for that I like being Switzerland. We'll see.
Well, I can hear Jonah upstairs yelling from my bed. "I come out! I come out please!!!" So much for that nap. So, until another day...