Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Little Lovelies.

The other night we were having dinner with some friends and the topic of books came up. My contribution to the conversation was, of course, focused on the classics that I have been reading. The more I talked, the more I realized that my love is deepening.

The next day was a busy one.  Anthony was working and I had to get all the kids to Elise's softball practice and then off to one of our nephew's birthday parties.  Leaving the house was a bit chaotic and I was feeling seriously stressed as we pulled up to the ball field only to find no one there.  There was another field that they sometimes practice at, so we headed that way.  We got there 10 minutes late (and I HATE being late) only to find no one there.  Ugh.  Of course my calendar did NOT have a practice on it and if I had just taken two minutes to look there...but whatever.

So now we were out and about and I didn't want to head back home (in the complete opposite direction) just to have to get in the car again 20 minutes later to head to the party, so I did what any stressed out pregnant lady would do...I took my four kids shopping.

The kids were great. We went to one store quickly and then headed to a Target near my brother-in-law's house. When I pulled into the parking lot there it was...a Half Price Books.  We skipped Target and headed in.  I reminded my kids not to touch anything and asked the first worker I saw where the hard covered classic literature was.  I strolled  down the aisles looking for treasures and left the store with a few "new" books in my hands and a smile on my face.

The next night Anthony and I had a date that happened to be near another Half Price Books.  It doesn't take much to convince that man to go into a bookstore and so that evening I found myself walking out of that store with a few more books and another big smile.  So so lovely.

Anyway, so I figured I would share with you my new treasures...

The only one I had no knowledge of is Joseph Andrews, by Henry Fielding, but it was just too cute to leave on the shelf. The Twain short stories I got for Anthony since he deeply loves reading, but doesn't really have the margin in life right now to enjoy a longer book. The Hardy book isn't one I have heard of, but he is the author of one of my favorites (Tess of the D'Urbervilles) and it was just so small and sweet that I couldn't resist!

Anyway, so I guess that I have a few more selections to chose from in a couple of days!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


In a couple of hours, summer will officially start in the Dummermuth house.  This means a number of different things to me, here's a few of them...

  • Lazy mornings:  That's right.  Instead of getting up every morning at 6:50am (6:30 on Wednesdays), I will be starting my morning with a book and not getting out of bed until 8am.  The kids will just have to find something to do until then.
  • Nesting:  I have a huge list of things that I want to do before Matthias makes his debut this fall.  It has seemed like forever until September, with this whole event of THE SUMMER needing to occur before he gets here, but now that it's here, I'm ready to start working on my list!
  • The dreaded swimsuit:  I have to get one, because I am sure that I will be spending a LOT of time in the pool this summer.  But the thought of putting myself in a swimsuit makes me want to cry.
  • Paper purging:  Okay, this is the real reason for this post and is too much for just a little bulletpoint...

Confession: we have a paper problem in this house.  I try to stay on top of it, but with 4 kids in school and all of them still at the age where teachers feel the need to send every piece of paper that my children touch in their classroom home as some treasure for me to store, the papers add up.  When it was just Adele and Elise in school, I would have them go through their papers and put all of their favorites in a big plastic bin.  There were two problems with this, one, they kept almost EVERYTHING, two, the bin filled up and I refused to get another, so the paper explosion began.

This year I decided that I would decide what stays and what goes.  We got a paper recycling box (old diaper box) set up in our office and I taught the older girls to recycle everything but artwork and major writing pieces.  The remaining pieces were all relegated to the office floor...ugh.  In a lot of ways, the recycling did keep things somewhat under control, still, the thought of even walking into my office made me want to cry.

Part of the problem has been that I haven't known what to do with all the "treasures" that I actually do want to keep. But with today being the last day that papers will be coming home for the next 3 GLORIOUS months, I have decided it is time to attack the paper monster.

And I'm being ruthless.  I'm throwing out a lot.  And it has actually been easier than I thought.  Lucy and Nate's stuff is rarely making it through.  I mean, come on, do I really want a million sheets of paper with a handful of paintbrush marks across it?  Maybe you do, but I don't.  With Adele and Elise, I have been keeping all of the stuff that the teachers have already had bound for me (journals etc.) and putting those things in the bin.

The only other things that are making it through are the art projects that I love.  What's happening to those?  I'm organizing them on that hopefully-soon-to-be-cleared floor...

And then hanging them up!!!  Hello big poster frames and bare basement walls!

It makes them happy.  It makes me happy.  Sweet success.

Bring it on summer!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Would Walk 500 Miles...

Remember that lovely little tune?  Yeah, you'll be singing that for the rest of the're welcome.

But seriously, I have a goal.  The day I found out I was pregnant I started walking.  It would have been a smart thing for me to do even if I wasn't pregnant, but with the little man on the way, it became a necessity.

You see, I don't do pregnant well.  With all three girls I ended my pregnancies about 60lbs above my ideal weight...ouch!  In the last 8 years since Adele was born, I have only come close to my goal weight twice, once while I was doing an extended fast during Nathan's adoption and about a year and a half ago when I was running a bunch. (Of course, hip problems and the stress of last year quickly brought the pounds back on.)  So, the decision to not have any more biological children after Lucy was kind of a relief, knowing that I wouldn't be packing on such an extreme amount of weight again.

But, then January 4th of this year came and here we go again.

So, I was determined right off the bat that I would not let this pregnancy get out of control like the others. And I started walking.  And I recorded my miles.  And today...after a lovely 4 mile walk outside...I crossed the 300 mile marker.  That's right, I have walked 302.2 miles since January 4th.  And I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself.

And so I set a goal.

As I was walking along today, I started doing a little math in my head and I realized that if I average a little over 12 miles a week for the last 16 weeks until my due date, I will walk 500 miles during this pregnancy.  I feel like that is a pretty reasonable goal, assuming I don't have any complications.

And I am choosing to believe that if I do this, and continue to try to stay active in other ways and keep my eating in check, then I will only gain a modest amount of weight (which is all I really need to put on) and find myself next fall, well on my way to finally getting my weight under control.

And so far, I'm seeing some pretty significant results (I am 20lbs. less than I was with Lucy at this point!) and I'm pretty excited about it.

And so I keep walking...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pin There, Done That.

Okay, so if you don't know what Pinterest is, well, you should.  It's basically a great place to get ideas, feel inspired, and wish that you were cooler than you are.

Anyway, so I have taken a couple of ideas here and there and actually created my own versions and figured I would share them with you.  Oh, and I didn't spend a penny on any of these things.  Had all the supplies at home already.

Inspiration:  framed art made with construction paper and an exacto knife

My Version:

Inspiration:  oatmeal container turned headband holder

My Version:

Inspiration:  mason jar turned soap dispenser

My Version:

Inspiration:  nail and string art

My Version:

Inspiration:  tote made from old t-shirts

My Version:

My versions are far from perfect, but I always enjoy trying to do something creative and new, and Pinterest is truly a great place to start.  They also have killer recipes and amazing quotes to enjoy.  In fact, here is one of the quotes that I have pinned...

Here's hoping that I will fear less and create more!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oh Deer!

I mentioned in my last post, the issue we have had with deer eating our fruit trees.  We were so excited to get rid of the sticks that we were left with last year and replace them with new trees this year.  We made sure to build a mesh fence around them that we could easily adjust when we needed to, but would still hopefully deter the deer.

But alas, it only took a week for the deer to bust through and nibble all the leaves off the lower branches, followed by another break-in that broke one of the branches in half.

The tree is a combo of three types of apples (apple trees need to cross-pollinate, so they combine on one tree so you don't have to plant more than one), so the loss of a branch can mean the loss of a type of apple.  In this case, we were looking at loosing the HoneyCrisp, one of the most delicious apples.

But have no fear, besides all of the fence repair and deer repellant that we have hung, I actually learned something in my 9th grade biology class that is coming in handy!  Mr. Petri would be so proud.  I was just not willing to let that branch go. And even though it was just hanging on by a thread, it was clearly still alive. (Or "wick" as we call it. Anyone a Secret Garden fan?)  So, I trimmed and grafted and splinted...

Who knows if it will take, but I was pretty proud of my handiwork!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Going Country.

I grew up in upstate New York in a picturesque little village on the Erie Canal.  I loved it there.  My family moved the summer before my junior year of high school to Kansas.  There were lots of comments made to me about tornadoes and fields stretching out as far as the eye could see from all my Yankee friends.  The assumption was that I was moving to "the country".

When we got here though, I found myself in anything but the country.  I found pride in the fact that there was a Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch just down the street from our house.  Sure, head a little south and you were in those fields, but come on!  I was still in civilization.

Anthony, on the other hand, grew up in a little town of about 3,500 people, northwest of good ole Kansas City.  Their claim to fame is that they are the Black Squirrel City.  I've been there a couple of times though and I have seen more stoplights than black squirrels...and by stoplights, I mean there was one.

As we decided where to settle our family, I scoffed at the idea of a small town or anything even remotely country. Anthony loves space and a small community.  And so we compromised...a little.  We built our dream home in a neighborhood that you get to by driving past a big sod farm.  Head just south of our neighborhood and you find yourself among cows and a new vineyard that is going in.  We live on 3/4 of an acre, just big enough to actually need a riding lawnmower (I will NOT be push mowing it very often!), but still a manageable size.  We see all sorts of wildlife and yet, I can get to Anthropologie in less than 20 minutes.  And the stars, we actually see them here with no street lights or buildings around.  It's truly an ideal little spot for our family.

In my embrace, of our modified "country" life, one of my greatest dreams has been to have a great veggie garden and fruit trees and maybe some grape vines.  I want a beautiful yard that maybe a daughter or two might one day get married in. And I want a fence, like the one below across the back of our yard...

And I will, just you wait and see.

But for now, we are being a bit more practical and slowly attacking a few of the other dreams on the list.  We started last year with the planting of an apple and peach tree.  But I mentioned the wildlife, right?  Well, those trees fell serious victim to some deer and ended up looking like this...

So.  Very.  Sad.

But we are at it again this year!  An 8x16 foot fenced in veggie garden and two new trees (with fencing and much deer repellant).

the veggie garden...yeah, we built that

the peach tree

All we are hoping for this year is to get these trees established (one has already had a run-in with the deer, ugh) and to experiment with the veggies.  You know, see what we can actually grow and what we will actually eat.  And then hopefully next year we can do a little better.

So prepare yourself for posts on the trials and tribulations of our country life (aka. gardening) this summer!  Things are already come up like crazy and all of us are really excited for our first crop of whatever.

And being that it is Mother's Day, and I had a little time to myself this evening, I spent entirely too much of that time drawing out a little diagram of our garden for your enjoyment...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Love Limit

I've never really understood the fear that some moms have about not being able to love another child as much of their first.  In truth, I have never had this fear.

Adele was only 4 months old when I walked out of our bathroom and informed my unsuspecting husband that I was pregnant again.  "I don't even know what to say." is all he could get out.  We were on our way out to dinner and we didn't say a word the entire drive there.  We were in total shock.  I was due only a couple of weeks after Adele's first were we going to do this?  How were we going to tell our families?  So many questions, but never NEVER did we question whether or not we would be able to love this little surprise as much as our adorable little first born.

We had always planned to have a big family and with each child, we watched as our love just grew and grew. Watching our girls become siblings and begin to love each other only deepened our love for them.

And adding Lucy made our hearts just explode.

And then Nate came along and we learned what it meant to love as a parents in a completely new and absolutely profound way.

And now, I sit on the couch watching my sweet little Matthias wiggle around in my belly and I can just feel my heart expanding.  And I can't help but wonder what new things about love this little man will teach me.

So mamas, have no fear.  Love doesn't have a limit.  As much as you love your sweet first born, you have room to love even more.  It may not seem like it, but this is one of those glorious mysteries of life.

I have a confession to make.  I have another of those little charms tucked away in our bedroom, with another little name on it.  For a little girl that I already love.  And every day I still hope and pray that one day I will be able to add it to my chain and find myself learning to love, once again, in a newer, deeper, more glorious way.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May's Books

Check me out!  Rather than googling images of book covers to find just the ones that I need for my books this month, I just took a picture of my books!  Do you like?

(I spent entirely too much time trying to get this lovely picture...)

Classic:  The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins.  I know almost nothing about this book, but look how pretty it is!  It looks so nice on my shelf.  What I do know is that is considered one of the first mystery books and I have always loved a good mystery.  As a kid, two of my favorite shows were Matlock and Unsolved Mysteries and whenever I heard a strange sound I would always look at the clock and try to memorize the time I heard it at, or if there was a mysterious car I always tried to memorize the license plates, you know, just in case the police needed the vital information that only I would have.  So, a good old fashioned mystery?  Sign me up!

Spiritual:  The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer.  Once again, another spiritual book where the author uses his it must be good.  I have read parts of this book over the years and am excited to sit down and read it cover to cover.  It's a really thoughtful little book and seemed like it would be a nice short read after the over 600 pages of Collins' novel.

And with today being as dreary and rainy out as it is, this will be the perfect day to get a good chunk of reading done!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Little Things

I've had a really long and busy week and if you remember this post, you know how much I hate that.  But sometimes life means softball games and practices, watching other people's kids, planting out our vegetable garden, taking all four kids to a 7:40pm doctor appointment because of a little girl's softball injury, other appointments and meetings and 10 loads of laundry in two days...and a husband that is always either working or studying...ugh.

And then you go to your mailbox and find this...

...from a dear friend who just seems to know how to love you.  And at least for a moment, I can take a deep breath and smile real big as I try to picture my sweet little man wearing it.

Sometimes it's just the little things.