Wednesday, November 16, 2011

scrap fabric ornament

As often as I can, I try to get the boys involved in crafty projects. I love to make things and I enjoy sharing that fun with them. I don't care that they are boys. They love being artsy and I want to encourage that aspect of their creativeness. Mind you, Grammy is a little young to help much with any of my projects, but even he gets a thrill out of a paint brush or yarn ball. Last week he helped me make a prototype Christmas tree for our upcoming, first ever Girls' Craft Night (I am soooooooo excited!!!). I would place hot glue dots on the yarn tree and Graham would, very carefully, assign a pom pom to the spot. He was very proud of his job.

On this particular scrap fabric ornament, Parker and I waited until Grammy took a nap so that the whole kitchen didn't get lathered in Mod Podge. Parker was actually a big help.

I found this inspiration ornament on Pinterest for something Parker and I could do together. 

I wanted to change it a little to make it ours so I got out my basket of scrap fabric. Don't you just love the endless opportunities you have with scraps? Parker and I picked a few and laid out our supplies. (I forgot the popsicle sticks in this picture.) What's so great about this little project, besides the fact that my 4 year old could help with most of it, is I didn't need to buy anything.
 After cutting the popsicle sticks into varying lengths for the branches, Parker painted on some Mod Podge while I covered the stick with a strip of fabric.
Parker then painted all the sticks that would be the tree trunks.
 I promise, he actually really enjoys his alone time with me ;)
 Once the Mod Podge dried, I used sharp scissors to cut closely around the popsicle stick. We then glued the fabric-covered sticks onto the brown painted "trunks" and let them dry. I was out of hot glue sticks or I would have just hot glued them together (would have been much easier than all the extra Mod Podge.)
 We added a ribbon bow on top...
 ...and a twine hoop for hanging the ornament.
TA DA! All finished. We made 6 total. I think they are quite charming. A bit colorful, yes, but I'm kind of digging that this Christmas season.
I blame the crooked branch on Parker ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Saturday Afternoon Stroll

The Carriage Trail in Charleston, WV is so pretty in the fall. It's great for an afternoon stroll which is exactly what we did two Saturdays ago. We wanted to enjoy the outdoors while there were still leaves on the trees. Good thing...they are all gone now :(
 I promise, I did not tell them to do this. But, cute right?
 Great parental supervision. Glad they didn't fall in the creek.
 A boy and his stick. Every. Where. We. Go.
 We found some really large leaves.
 My pretty little city.
 Blurry, but I love his joy! He chased me down the entire trail at full speed. This kid has some major endurance, people.
 They had to catch up.
 We got a bonus in addition to the beautiful leaves and endless amount of sticks for the boys (a must for a successful walk in their opinion). We got to see a train! Up close and personal is an understatement for how near we were to this roaring diesel engine (according to Parker) and coal cars.  I mean, the boys were in heaven.
 When we heard the train coming, they got as close to the fence as possible. And yes, Graham's bibs often become superhero capes.
 The next few shots tell quite a story of my boys personalities. The train was about 4-5 feet away. And loud. Very loud.
 Notice which child is backing up and which is holding the fence in a death grip.
 Parker finally turned and ran. The noise and wind from the train were pretty startling. He loved seeing it go by, but from a safe distance.
 Graham, however, held his place. We weren't sure if he truly wasn't scared or if he was in shock, so David decided to grab him.
 Nope, not a single tear. He was in amazement.
 You can just see him trying to process what he was watching.
 They were bummed when the end came and kept asking for another like I had some power to just make them appear.
 David videoed the experience and the boys watched it over and over again.
What a great (cheap) Saturday afternoon! If you don't understand what the big deal is about modes of transit (buses, big trucks, planes, trains, etc), then my guess is that you've never had a little boy. I never had to introduce or emphasize this passion of theirs, it simply just came about. I didn't think I'd allow myself to be such a cliche mom, but we all know things change when you actually become a parent, right? I proudly digress. Bring on the transportation. We are planning a real train ride with the boys for the spring. Can't wait!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leaves Galore

One of the most obnoxious things about my house is the number of trees in our yard. Massive trees. Massive trees dump massive amounts of leaves. That means every fall I have to find a way to get rid of those leaves or they will get rid of my grass. Not good. I discovered the use of a blower a few years ago, thank the Lord, but it still takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R! The only good thing about all the leaves is the fun to be had in them. The boys are in heaven in the leaf mountains. They decided to jump off chairs into the piles, so I grabbed my camera. Boys are so wild and so much fun. They slept well last night.

I have no idea what Graham is doing. Just being Graham I guess.
 This smile cracks me up! Sweet face.
Green-eyed boy.
 Prepping for flight.
 I hope he lives his life this way.
 Graham's attempt at soaring looked a little more like falling.
 We jumped until the stars came out.
 The boys think that I put all the leaves in a pile for them. I'm going to let them keep thinking that until tomorrow.
Time to get back to work. Only 100 billion leaves to go :(

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Post

If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that some of my favorite people in the whole world are the Mitchell's. Heidi, Mike and Lincoln are more than just close friends to me. They are like family. Right now, that part of my family is having to deal with a situation in life that is really difficult. I know that we are all handed things in life that are unwanted and painful to endure, but knowing that little phrase "life isn't fair" doesn't always help when you are diagnosed with latter stage kidney disease at twenty-nine years old. When most of us are just getting our lives established and (naively) secure, they were slammed with an undeserved, unwarranted battle. They've been troopers through the whole situation. Heidi has fought our arduous medical and insurance systems with determination while Mike has continued to run his successful home inspection company with little to no complaining of his exhaustion and discomfort. I am proud of them. Really proud.

You can read a more detailed account of Mike's diagnosis and their road to transplant by following these links to Heidi's blog.

If you feel impressed to help out, there are a few things you can do.

1. Pray. I don't always understand what it accomplishes in each situation, but I know that God hears us. I know that he desires for us to ask him for needs. This family has a need.

3. Be an encouragement. Kind words can go a long way and tend to be much more helpful than advice. (Unless you have kidney knowledge...that's extremely helpful!)

4. Give. A trust fund Facebook page has been set up for Mike's Transplant and medication costs. I don't know about you, but I view health as a gift. Let's pitch in and help give Mike and his family a chance to receive that gift.

Thank you and God Bless.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amish, Corn, and the Mountains

Last week I had visitors. We love having people in our home for many reasons, but especially because it breaks up the monotony and allows me to speak with other "big" people during the day. Yay for conversations that don't include the words "T-Rex" and "Diesel". My mom and Aunt Jenny came for a week and, wait, hold your very own brother came to see me! 

I had a great time with my family. The first two days of the girls' visit were spent in Amish country, Ohio. Parker came with us and was such a good boy for all the shopping and eating. We also braved the corn maize in Milton, WV. My brother chickened out because he didn't want to get muddy. The mud didn't deter my boys. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of the experience. They enjoyed all the slipping and sliding.

We also headed to the mountains one day for a beautiful fall drive. The leaves were as gorgeous and vibrant as ever. Graham even had the thrill of watching a coal train wrap itself around the valley at the Hawk's Nest lookout. He was mesmerized. I have to admit, it was pretty good timing.

Thanks for coming to see us, Mom, Aunt Jenny, and Jeremy!

 Have I mentioned yet how much I love Fall?