Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Good Book | Clementine

I picked up this book while scouring the shelves at the library, looking for something to read aloud to my then five, six, and eight year olds that at least two of the three might enjoy. With the redheaded girl on the cover, along with the title, Clementine, it seemed worthy of throwing into my bag. Then it sat in the stack of library books at home, a long time. I think I renewed it three times. I happen to love that I can renew all the books I have checked out with just one click.

The night I finally tried it the kids had been in bed for about a half hour, but were still a little restless and I decided to be spontaneous. I told them to get up and gather in the hallway with their pillows and blanket. I asked them if they wanted me to read to them. Their eyes got huge. Who doesn't love the excitement of a treat, even if it is a simple as climbing out of bed after bedtime? And honestly, I thought, it's these silly little things they just might remember someday. And I was right, at the end of that Summer when asked their favorite thing we did, it was getting up after bedtime to read!

I cracked open Sara Pennypacker's Clementine and started to read. I really only meant to read one chapter, honest. It was well past their bedtime, but I just couldn't stop. Before I knew it we were finishing up the fourth chapter. We had giggled and laughed, gasped and rolled our eyes at Clementine's mischief. My second grader was telling me that his teacher should have chosen to read this one and my first grader said we should definitely check it out again.

Sara Pennypacker has some other great books too. (She's the author of the Flat Stanley books, which we've not yet read.) I thought we had read all of the books in the Clementine Series. Imagine my delight at discovering a new one came out this month called Completely Clementine. I placed a hold and should be getting the kids out of bed to read in the hallway later this week, after the swim lessons are done!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Kid Time | Do What You Love

Do what you love. Don't stress about the rest.

That's one of the things I've learned about being a mom.

I've tried doing what I "think" I should do. It leaves me terribly grumpy and snappish. How do you act when you feel like a failure. Not your best self either?

I have a friend who has two boys. She is always posting on Facebook all the fabulous and creative things she is doing with her boys. She accomplishes more pin-worthy, kid-friendly, educational activities on a Late-Start Wednesday (around here schools starts an hour and twenty minutes later on Wednesdays) than I accomplish with my kids in a year of Saturdays. I'm impressed. Seriously impressed. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a twinge of gift envy.

Truth is, I don't have the same gift mix she does. And I'm just wasting time and energy trying to do what she does. She's rocking the mom thing with HER gift mix. I love that! I choose to be her cheerleader without allowing her parenting successes to make me feel like I'm failing. Sometimes, I admit that requires some praying to change my attitude.

I've learned that I need to know what it is that I love, what makes my heart sing, and aim to do more of that with my kids.
  • I love books.
  • I love writing.
  • I love organizing.
  • I love art.
I need to do more of those things with my kids.

One of the many things I don't do is science (I married a scientist/engineer so my meager attempts look all the more inadequate). I do have a boy whose mind thinks like a scientist. Instead of pinning a bunch of science ideas, I registered my boy for a local science camp. No guilt when we dropped him off with his take apart items and up-cycle-able goods. Just a little spring in my step, a little giddy that he got to do something he loves and I wasn't biting his head off when I couldn't figure out why the light bulb didn't light up when I was sure I followed all the instructions.

Then the girls (who said, no thank you, to science camp) and I headed to Target for some hot beverages and leisurely wandering of the craft aisles. Then we headed to Michael's to stock up on some more specialized art supplies (still much cheaper than a week of science camp). Remember I love art, and as it turns out, so do they!

Over the course of Daniel's week at science camp, we had our own, very unstructured art camp at the dining room table. We made our own art journals and started filling them up. I'm sure some of our art projects will show up here at A Little Grace and Mercy eventually, but that isn't really what this post is about.

Making art is one of my things, it's what I enjoy. What's your thing? Do you bake up a storm? Bake with your kids. Do you garden? Have your kids garden with you. Do you always have your nails done? Do manicures or pedicures with your girls. Do you run? Have your kids run with you. Are you an engineer? Work on circuit boards together. Do you sew? Make doll clothes together. Are you a thrift store bargain hunter? A garage sale guru? Take them with you. You could even make a scavenger hunt out of it. Find something purple. Find something with rust on it. Find something stretched out. And remember, it doesn't have to be a week long camp. It can be one project together. Even just get them started. My favorite line from Super Nanny is: Play and walk away. But if you are choosing to do what you love with them, there is a much greater chance you'll want to stay and play with them and not walk away!

Do what you love with your kids; don't stress about the rest.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Right Now | May

Right now we're doing a lot of outside chores.
  • Hosted a work day and invited both sets of parents. Both showed up. I know, now I am bragging. The huge dent they made in the backlog of outdoor upkeep helped to get Spring cleaning kicked into gear.
  • I've learned to use the power washer. Several sessions in an old pair of tennis shoes and Eric insisted I let him buy me some boots. Dry feet and a sunny day make the chore a lot more fun. Wish they made something that worked such magic indoors.
  • Paper weed blocker purchased and ready to go down.
  • Load of rock ordered, soon to be delivered.
  • Porch chairs (promised for last year's birthday) purchased, along with colorful outdoor pillows to make me want to actually sit on the porch and read this summer.
Right now we're diligently widening our vegetable palette.
  • The kids have learned to add broccoli and asparagus to carrots, sugar snap peas, peas, and celery to their short list of tolerable dinner vegetables.
  • I wonder if olive oil and garlic salt will work magic on brussel sprouts
Right now I am trying to work the creative back into my rhythm.
  • After putting Project Life on the back burner, I'm getting photos printed and enjoying documenting the simple stories that make up our every day life right now.
  • Catching up has also included some new designs to put together some more freebies. It's been too long.
Right now we are planning Summer adventures.
  • A trip east of the mountains to honor our retiring pastor as he is applauded by others in this conference.
  • Registering for a science day camp.
  • Thinking about a drama Summer camp.
  • Looking up swimming lesson schedules.
  • Taking the RV in to get some repairs before committing to Yellowstone vacation dates.

Right now we are actively working towards simplifying life.
  • Saying good-bye to some dearly love pets.
  • Winding down leading a children's church program in preparation for a three-month Sabbath rest.
  • Sorting, organizing, and purging stuff.
  • Cutting off my hair to force myself to actually do it, instead of pulling it up in pony tail every day.

Right now saying yes, more than no to time with family.
  • Saying yes to multiple field trips with the kids' classes.
  • Saying yes to donut runs to the Donut House in Anacortes.
  • Saying yes to visiting Grampy and Grammy.
  • Saying yes to evening photo shoots with Uncle Andy.
  • Saying yes to morning and evening snuggles on the couch with all three kids.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Around Here | The Boundary Lines Have Fallen in Welcome Places

Around here our days have been full and the blog has been left abandoned. Pardon us as we did life and I put documenting on pause so that I could focus more fully on these precious moments that feel like they are all slipping by too quickly.

Around here there was a lot of time waiting at the bus stop.

Around here there is a crazy, crazy, crazy amount of laundry. Do they really wear half of what gets put in the laundry basket?

Around here we been going through bags and bags of wonderful fruit. Apples are still the kids' favorite after school snack. Mercy likes green. Daniel and Gracie prefer crispy red. No one likes the mushy soft ones.

Around here we had friends over before and after school.

Around here Daniel purchase a used skateboard and is learning to balance himself on wheels. I am so thankful for helmets. And he quickly decided knee pads would be a wise investment.

Around here we love sleepovers with the cousins and grandparents who are willing to make that happen.

Around here we are thankful for grandparents who take the kids to the park.

Around here we are trying new things, like horseback riding, thanks to a second cousin's birthday party.

Around here we prepared for Palm Sunday, taught the kids at church a new song (Hosanna Rock) and filmed a fun music video with the preschoolers.

Around here we sewed up 50+ paper fish in preparation for Easter and the telling of how Jesus performed one more miracle for those silly disciples who went back to the familiar right after Jesus' death.

Around here we celebrated my grandfather turning 93!

Around here we discovered Mercy needed glasses, BADLY.

Around here we celebrated Easter with more than 50 kids.

Around here the kids celebrated with an 200+ Easter Egg Hunt that was split among only six cousins!

Around here we got Mercy the much needed glasses. She decided on adorable dark brown frames that had turquoise (her favorite color) on the inside of the frames. We decided she looks far too grown up and far too intelligent and much too adorable!

Around here was stopped to look at the gorgeous trees in the parking lot at Haggen after spending nearly $150 on groceries. When did food get so expensive?

Around here we had an outdoor, get ready for Spring and give a love gift to Eric Work Party with both sets of parents/grandparents.

Around here we spent a Saturday in Seattle.

Around here the kids went to their very first concert.

Around here the lights of the volume, the lights, and the energy were incredible. Around here we love music. The Rend Collective and Chris Tomlin are favorites of ours. It was an ideal first concert. I am thinking about which one to take the kids to next. The only sadness was that we'd hoped that Chris Tomlin would have sung Lion of Judah, Daniel's favorite. Maybe the next time we see him (see how hopeful I am?) we will be brave and scream it out in hopes of being heard and just maybe Mr. Tomlin would take mercy on us!

Around here we are overwhelmed by God's tender mercies.
Around here, we are incredibly grateful because for us "the boundary lines have fallen in welcome places." (Boundary Lines, Chris Tomlin)


Friday, January 23, 2015

Pocket Card Freebie | Sky Kit

Here is a little freebie I have been working on. I love these two shades of blue together.

Download Sky Kit Freebie HERE.