Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Sabbath

We finally had a much needed break as a family in the last day. Whew! That means that the last two weeks are over and we made it through. Mitch had an intense work load, a big midterm project due (he put in 70 hours last week on one of 5 classes, I don't even know how many hours this week). When one person in a family feels that much stress, it effects the whole family. We were busy surviving, not doing extra things like blogging. But we are all feeling more whole and connected again as a family now after a relaxing day and a half. Last night we taught the girls how to play charades (a modified version) and they had a blast acting out what they were supposed to be without any words and trying to guess what the actor was. They caught on quick how to play! It was good to laugh as a family and spend quality time together. Then we had a slumber party in the living room. We turned all the lights out and Mitch and I told stories by candlelight and then we all snuggled off to sleep. Today was another relaxing day, Mitch's first full day off in a while. We took a good family walk along the creek and played on the shore of the pond upstream from us a ways. Good times. Enjoy the following blog posts, pictures from the last two weeks that I'm finally finding the time to post.

Anna's Bag

Aunt Holly,Uncle Trace, Jack and Caroline sent Anna some sewing projects for her to make. My little 4 year old loves to make stuff and literally spends all her waking moments crafting right now unless I make her come to the table to eat or kick her out of the house for some outside play. As much as she loves making her 4 year old creations, she also has a desire to make something 'real', something useful out of 'real' materials. She has been telling me that she wants her own sewing machine and that she wants to learn how to sew. So she was so excited when the birthday package from the Fikes included some real sewing projects for she and I to do. One of the projects was a tote bag:
It turned out pretty cute! Anna had a lot of fun helping me make it, picking out which strip of material to use next, sitting in my lap while we sewed, guiding the material through the machine, pressing the button down for the back stitching, snipping threads... You name it, she did it, all with a huge grin on her face. All except depress the peddle to make the machine actually run, her short little legs can't quite reach and that seemed a bit too many things to think about all at once for a 4 year old anyway. Now we're on to the next project that came in the sewing kit, we'll share the finished product when we finally get it done.

The Big Storm

"Winter Storm Warning" was right, we ended up with a good 14"-16" here in Boulder. Our first big storm of the season, and really what I would consider Ruthie's first real snow. The first one that was big enough to go out and play in that she remembers. She slept through everything last year and was too little to play even if she had been awake when we went outside. I like storms like this if I don't have anywhere that I have to go. Hunker down inside sort of weather, which is what we did most of the time. But we also had to get outside and have some fun.
The girls wanted lots of sled rides:
Pulling three kiddos through the deep snow can be quite a work out, but definitely fun:

We even got to build a snowman! This was the first snowman I have been able to build since moving to Boulder 3 1/2 years ago. Our snow is always dry powder and crumbles apart in your hands. It won't pack, not even to make a small snowball. But this storm was much warmer than most and the snow was pretty wet. Excellent for building snowmen! As I was finishing the third part for the snowman Anna told me "And that's the chest, Mommy. Now you have to make the head." I, who thought I was already making the head, asked Anna how many body parts this snowman was going to have? She carefully counted: 1 -pointing to the bottom ball, 2-pointed to the next one up, 3-pointed in the air above the two already existing parts, and 4-in the air even higher up. "4, Mommy! Because I'm 4!" So there you have it, a 4 part snowman because we have a 4 year old in the house:

Pumpkin Carving and Painting

Not one that we grew in our garden, actually. We went to a pumpkin patch with a group from our church. We got to go out in the field and find our pumpkin and then we met up with our group to carve them. My criteria for a good pumpkin was one that had a good stem handle and that was small enough that the girls could carry it.

Here are Anna and Josie carving the pumpkin:

After we carved it I noticed that they had a bunch of paint at the next table over, so then we painted the pumpkin:
Very serious business: They kept painting for a long time. In the end most of the colors were all painted over with another color, too. He was a very colorful pumpkin.
As we were painting a storm was blowing in. It got quite blustery by the end and I rushed to get the girls in the car out of the flying debris and rain. The pumpkin had to wait until I could get back for him after the girls were safely in their seats in the van, so on top of the paint he got a good coating of dirt and straw that was flying around in the wind:

I thought he looked pretty fun, quite unique to our family and the interests of the girls.

Birthday Pumpkin Pie

Mitch requested pumpkin pie for his birthday, a good fall dessert. The girls and I had fun making it.
Pie pumpkins we grew in our garden: After cooking it and mashing it up there was plenty for Mitch's pie and two more pies. I put the extra pumpkin in the freezer to make those two pies later.
Anna and Josie's favorite part was what they got to do with the extra pie crust dough:

My tactile little girl loves this sort of activity:

That happens to be a 'J' for Josie that you see, not a candy cane:
Singing Happy Birthday:Blowing out his candles with Ruthie trying to get them:
Happy Birthday to you, Mitch. Thanks for being the kind of person worth celebrating.
We love you.

Pictures by Anna and Josie

I let the girls have fun with my camera one time last week and thought I'd share the pictures they took. I like looking at the world through their eyes and I like the images they captured.

Josie taking a picture with her camera, by Anna:

Ruthie in the hallway, by Anna:

Josie picking up acorn bags, by Anna (we were playing a game with them, tossing them into the shopping cart "basket" from a little ways away):

Mommy, by Josie:

Anna, by Josie:

Ruthie, by Josie:

Pillow Fight!!!

In the middle of an incredibly high work load week for Mitch which translated into a stressful time for the whole family we had a spontaneous pillow fight last Wednesday evening. Here's a few fun pictures from our wild time reconnecting as a family:

I love the 'umph' Anna is putting into swinging the pillow:

Jumping on top of Daddy'O:

Get him girls!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ruthie's Favorite Game

The video is a little dark but I thought I'd share it anyways. Ruthie's newest favorite past time is putting objects into containers, any objects into any containers. It keeps her entertained for hours on end if I keep emptying the containers. She really concentrates and keeps trying until she gets the object all the way in. Enjoy the video!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Treasure Walk

With treasure bags in hand we set out today looking for fall treasures. We headed first towards a new picnic spot the girls wanted to eat at that we had seen on our walk yesterday, a large rock 'table' of sorts. We passed under a raucous flock of crows by the creek, tromped through as many crunchy leaves as we could find, ran down a slope of colorful leaves, found sticks, acorns, rocks and lots of beautiful leaves, threw things in the creek, saw some trout in the creek close to the surface of the water and watched their strange behavior for a while (one kept 'attacking' another one', Anna said they must be friends), touched, hugged and smelled almost as many trees as we passed under, crawled into a culvert, saw our swimming hole-now much deeper with all the rain and snow we've had- listened to the wind in the tops of the trees, felt the warm sunshine on our skin, made Ruthie laugh, and generally had a good time. We spread out our treasures on the grass once we got home so we could look at what we had found:

Then we went inside, some to nap and some to craft with their treasures.

Friday, October 16, 2009

All in a Days Work

Our day included lots of jumping by Josie:Crafting:Bike riding in the warm sun:Rocking in the rocking chair, (Ruthie's discovered what rocking chairs are for besides climbing on to reach other things):
Painting:Head stands:Baby dolls had to be cared for: More bike riding by Mitch (notice the new size 51 biking shoes!):

And me? What did I do? I was definitely a participant in every one of the above activities, but I also got to make Pot Roast for dinner, Apple Crisp for dessert, had my own bike ride with the three girls to go pick up our milk, and I even had time to just sit on the warm porch before dinner. Just sit? When was the last time that happened? I couldn't tell you, but I sure enjoyed it.

Nothing is Safe Anymore

Ruthie has figured out how to climb. I walked into the kitchen this morning and she had climbed up on one of the girls' chairs and gotten a tomato off the counter top. Since her Mama is not exceptionally tall, nor are her sisters yet, this is a problem. There is often a stool or chair of some sort in our kitchen. If I put their chairs in the middle of the living room Ruthie will climb on them and flip them over. If I put them up against something then she will keep right on climbing onto whatever the chair is up against, or can at least reach whatever I am trying to keep out of her reach on top of whatever the chair is up against. We're in for it now, little Ruthie! I can't take my eyes off you for a second!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Crafting Party

Anna loves to craft. She can spend hours at a time with her glue and scissors and paper and yarn and other art supplies just creating. The things she creates are not necessarily things you can hang on the wall nor do they have any utilitarian use to them at all, which is why she has a treasure box. It gives her someplace to put her treasures that she has crafted or other special things she has been given: Here are some more of her creations that she made today, hanging on our art line:So this year for Anna's birthday we decided to have a crafting party. In our home we value making things that we can use that will last out of the materials we have around us. Our crafting party was centered around each child making a 'treasure bag' and then filling it with treasures that they created. I whipped up a bunch of cloth bags, one for each child attending, and sewed a patch on it where they could write their name ('Anna's Treasures' or 'Josie's Treasures'...). Each bag was unique, made of a different material out of my fabric stash, all different sizes. The kids got to choose their bag and then Mitch sewed handles on them of whatever color ribbon they chose. Here are some of the bags on the end of the table, a colorful assortment:
On another table we had set out all the craft supplies we could find. We have been gathering fall treasures for a while now: pine cones, fall leaves, acorns, feathers, sticks... We added those to our other basic craft supplies of paper, felt, ribbon, string, scissors, glue, tape, pipe cleaners, buttons, needles and thread, yarn, crayons, markers, colored pencils and whatever else we had on hand. As each family arrived their child got to choose their bag and then just craft.Each child was unique in their approach to crafting. Some picked up their scissors and just started cutting. Some looked for different objects in their favorite color and then decided what to do with them. Some had a definite idea of what they wanted to make first, found the supplies they needed to make that and set to work.Mitch was the expert seamster attaching handles to each bag as the kids were ready:I loved watching all the kids creating. Each treasure was unique. There was no wrong way of doing it. Their finished products were so colorful and creative! Owls made out of pine cones, felt nests, acorn hats strung together, leaf rubs, leaves glued onto paper, coloring, large creations out of whatever could be found that could be tied or glued on next...Tristin and Sophie gluing fall leaves onto paper:Here are Anna and Josie's finished bags, now empty of treasures that they came home and put into their treasure boxes:
Of course we also had yummy chocolate cupcakes and ice cream! What birthday party would be complete without that?
Happy Birthday Anna! I hope you had a fun party, a party that was uniquely you, surrounded by people that love you who came to celebrate you and join you in doing what you love to do.