Sunday, January 31, 2010

snowed in

With 8+ inches of snow on the ground this weekend, our part of NC came to a screeching halt. We aren't quite sure what to do with that much snow down here (I heard rumor of more than one snowplow stuck in a snowdrift) so I'm giving you a pictorial walk through our snowed in experience.

While we were snowed in,

we snowboarded on sleds,

(and only wiped out a little),

checked on the poor, confused NC birdies,

admired our snow-covered field,

ate snow cream for breakfast,

made watercolor paper lanterns,

experimented with snow, salt, and food coloring,

and generally tried not to freeze to death!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

low-key celebration

Elizabeth's 9th birthday was spent in low-key celebration. We started to realize after several straight years of post-birthday party meltdown (and occasionally even a Christmas night meltdown) that Elizabeth doesn't do well with structured 2 hour birthday party confines. She becomes so excited that she's beside herself and she plans in her head, many times over, exactly how everything is going to go and how everyone is going to behave/react/interact. Needless to say, this is a recipe for failure and distress on the part of the birthday girl. Not that she hasn't had some great parties, because she has, but becoming distraught, even at the end of a great time, just isn't worth it. So this year we suggested to Elizabeth that maybe a more low-key celebration would be better and she wholeheartedly agreed. Actually, "that's a good idea. I don't do birthday parties well" is what she said. Here's to self-awareness!

After picking Elizabeth up from school and taking her to Whole Foods to pick out her birthday dessert (she chose Ben & Jerry's Cake Batter ice cream), we headed home for a simple meal and some art time by candlelight.

Elizabeth was so wrapped up in her art...

that her ice cream turned to soup. And she said, "that's ok, I'm not really hungry anyway." (Talk about self-awareness! How many kids do you know who just leave their dessert barely touched...on a regular basis.)

Her main gift was a new bed and room rearrange. I was surprised at how much energy she absorbed and reflected during the room changes we did last weekend. Her old bed was falling apart, and we had ordered a new one anyway. But she practically glowed at her chance for a "new" room. She was also thrilled that we hung her favorite quilt, made by a dear family friend, over her new bed.

She's also having a small sleepover tomorrow evening with 2 close friends but no planned party. Of course, we *might* just have cupcakes for dessert and we *might* have a family game night, but that's not an official party, right?

A ninth birthday.

A ninth birthday.
Three times thrice hath winter's rough white wing
Crossed and curdled wells and streams with ice
Since [her] birth whose praises love would sing
Three times thrice.
~ Algernon Charles Swinburne

I don't know what it is about Elizabeth's birthday that makes me reflect on so many things: life, her amazing self, parenting in general, my role as a mother. She's my firstborn and only daughter. She is my spirit personified in so many ways, and yet she is a mystery in others. She is fearless, outspoken, adventurous yet cautious, fiesty, persistant, fun-loving and perpetually smiley, much like me. She is also artistic without self-consciousness, unflustered by growing up in a house full of boys, flighty (in that artsy, always-in-her-own-head kind of way) and unafraid to flaunt her own style; traits that are foreign to me and that I appreciate as uniquely Elizabeth.

She is beautiful, in a way that makes me terrified for the teenager-hood that is quickly approaching.

She has an innate appreciation, more so than our other kids, for the things most important in our family: faith, nature, arts.

She lives, breathes, exudes creativity, without even trying.

She is the one who made me a mother, gave me focus during difficult times, inspired me to become the person and mother that all my children need and deserve. She is 9 today.

Happy birthday, Elizabeth!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

my new favorite spot

In an unplanned addition to our weekend room renovations, Paul came home with not one but two of these. That's right, I sent him to Ikea to buy Paulie a bookshelf/desk and to "see if you can find anything to store my yarn", and he came home with 2 of the exact same thing. My first thought was where in the world are we going to fit that monstrosity I wasn't planning to have. After playing with a few spaces, we decided to rearrange our bedroom and add a crafting corner. We are fortunate to have a spacious bedroom, although I've always appreciated the fact that we had our bed and an antique wardrobe at one end and a couch-and-chair sitting area at the other. The simple arrangement and not-overloaded-with-art walls appealed to me as a retreat from the often cluttered rest of the house. (That's not to say we aren't often cluttered with laundry, waiting to be folded, in here!) Even with the new bookshelf/desk, our couch and chair still fit on that end of the room without looking too crowded, and I definitely intend to enjoy the addition of my crafting space!

Having this much space to keep fabric and other crafting materials all in one spot and easily accessible is so wonderful!

The desk provides a good amount of workspace and now I don't have to lug my sewing machine down to the dining room every time I want to squeeze in a bit of sewing time.

I also was able to clear out this explosion of yarn in the corner of the library...

and store it in these perfectly-sized baskets on my new shelves. They're even organized by yarn weight now. :)

Of course, the spinning wheel still sits idly against my bedroom wall. I have big plans though. I'm hoping to take a spinning class at a local yarn shop next month!

Yay for freshening up all these rooms in one weekend, and double yay for a dedicated crafting space. And the biggest yay for a super-hubby who makes it all happen!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A big boy bed and a shared room.

Finn moved into his new big-boy bed this weekend. He was so thrilled with his status climb, although a little confused about the room change and how the room-sharing would work with Philip. Now that Finn and Philip are sharing the biggest of the kids' bedrooms, we decided to rearrange the room and take the bunks apart. Although there is less floor space in this arrangement, I'm hoping that each of the boys feel like they have some room space that is just "theirs", and therefore, Philip's belongings will get moved around less on the nights he's not here. We placed one bunk on either wall with very sturdy bookcases back-to-back in the middle as a semi-room divider, along with the lego table.

On Finn's side of the room, what was the top bunk, conveniently outfitted with rails so there will hopefully be no bumps in the night. He also was able to start using the new quilt, blanket, sheets and pillow he received for his birthday.

The fabric from last week was made into a pillowcase for his new child-size shredded rubber pillow, courtesy of his aunt and uncle. This was a fun and quick project made using the idea from this tutorial, but making up my own measurements as Finn's pillow is only 14 x 20.

Finn now has his very own bookshelf as well, which is sort of a right-of-passage in our family. He has a good start on his book collection too!

Philip's bed is just on the other side of the bookshelf wall, complete with the alien quilt which he received for Christmas (it's nice to have a generous aunt who works for Pottery Barn Kids) and his framed lego pictures.

His bookshelf is only mostly set up at this point. All of his precious lego pieces that are usually displayed here remain in the cardboard box waiting his touch to arrange them properly.

The other side of the room with their bureau, a few toys, and Philip's art-o-mat collection.

The top of Finn's bookshelf holds Finn's art-o-mat collection, his James Joyce photo (he was named after Joyce's Finnegan's Wake), and his painting of Dingle.

A few other tiny pieces of Finn's art that made the transition with him to his new room.

I have one more room, which received a bit of an unplanned makeover, left to show you, probably tomorrow. Until then...I'll be crossing my fingers that Finn will sleep well in the same room with Philip for the first time tonight!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Paulie's new room

Paulie's new room was the easiest to organize of the 3 spaces we worked on this weekend, so I'll show you photos of his room first. He doesn't have much art on his wall yet, but we generally have no problem filling wall space with art so I'm sure it will come soon enough. Most of the art in his old room was out-of-date to his tastes so it will be fun to update his walls.

Paulie's new room is Finn's old nursery so it's the smallest bedroom in the house, making it necessary that we use the space as wisely as possible. His new bed (which we actually thrifted 18 months ago in anticipation of his new room) is a bunk over futon. We hope this will help with sleepover friends, as well as out-of-town guests now that we have a futon in this room.

His quilt was already on his old bed, a present from his 9th birthday.

We did purchase this new Ikea desk/bookshelf for his new space. It is the only other piece of furniture in his room. We hope that it will prove versatile and a good use of space for his room as he grows older. Now he has room not only to work on homework, but also to play his Yankees pinball game up on his new desk. The speaker shelf over his desk hung over his old bed, but was a head-bonking hazard there, so we hope it will find a better home here.

Isn't this a great little storage space for books and games?

His new closet has more space since he has it all to himself, so we put a little inexpensive shelf to store his clothes and a bin for his out-of-season clothes.

The inside of his closet door has hooks for his jackets, freeing up more wall space for art.

And what room would be complete without a little hedgehog watching over everything?

Paulie will get to see his new room for the first time tomorrow so we're hoping he'll love it! I'm really amazed at how much of a pre-teen room it is. I guess we're heading into that territory soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

little glimpses

We've had even more change going on here than I anticipated, hence my absence for so long. We're nearly complete, and I'm hoping to show you more pictures in the next day or two. For now...little glimpses.

happy weekending!