Tag Archives: all is going according to plan

Small Victories

This afternoon, my family took a moment to celebrate.  Full-voice whoops of excitement, high fives and tens all around, jumping and spontaneously dancing to no music at all, running around in circles at high speed.  We had just done a dry-run install of the baby‘s car seat, and found a way to get a safe and correct install of all three kids’ seats in the back of our entry-level sedan.

And yes, it absolutely is a red-letter day.

This is what my life has come to.

So, I made a list of similar occurrences.  Because lists are a major part of how I cope, obviously.

Major but Trivial-Sounding Victories of Our Early Parenting Years:

  • Númenor’s feet were finally long enough that storebought newborn socks didn’t have ridiculous-looking empty heels flopping around halfway up his calf.
  • I found a stain-fighting solution that took out Númenor’s iron supplement.
  • Ithilien slept through the garbage trucks coming down our street.
  • I modified a recipe for a breakfast cookie so that it met all my criteria for a young toddler’s diet and didn’t taste like crap to me, either.
  • Númenor and Ithilien sat through a whole Chekov play without being disruptive.
  • I said “Well, it’s up to you.” and I meant it.
  • Ithilien decided that yes, sitting on your butt and scooting down the stairs WAS something that he could survive.
  • Númenor went a whole week with the same sheets on his bed.
  • Ithilien didn’t mind that his orange shirt with the monster on it was now too small for him and wanted to make sure we would put it into storage until the baby was big enough to wear it.
  • Númenor “read” a book to Ithilien so I could take a quick shower, and they were still “reading” together when I got back.
  • Ithilien spent a whole car ride talking about the interesting things outside his window instead of screaming hysterically for unknown reasons.
  • We invented the high-pitch OR high-volume rule.
  • Númenor chose to go back to his own bed in the middle of the night instead of coming into our bed.
  • Ithilien let me brush his hair, even though he had some tangles that needed working out.
  • I found a way to fit both small beds into the nursery in yet another house.
  • Númenor turned off the nature documentary he was watching and went outside to play.
  • Ithilien put his dishes in the sink immediately after he finished eating.
  • Númenor sat still while I dug a deep and painful splinter out of his foot.
  • Ithililen asked for more salad.
  • Númenor said “Can it be bedtime now?  I am tired.”

It really is the little things that make life worth living, isn’t it?

Find the Magic

We spent our weekend (our WHOLE weekend, friends!) cleaning and reorganizing the house.


That means there was plenty of dust and laughter and reminiscing, and lots of frustration and more than a little yelling, lots of going up and down stairs and hefting and hauling, some sadness and some serendipity, and the smell of vinegar and the sound of the Pandora station I created to bridge the gap between Robert’s taste in work music and mine.

It also means that the smalls spent the weekend Being Tested: listening, following directions, performing difficult tasks, staying focused, managing their compulsions to derange sorting piles and run around unaccustomed places, being responsible for their choices, and proactively communicating their own needs.

Unsurprisingly, then, today everyone woke up feeling pretty grumpy and low-energy.

On grumpy, low-energy days, even ones that you have earned by dint of hard work and awesomeness, it can be difficult to find the magic in your life.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So this afternoon, while I was feeling like ugh and yuck and blerg and blah, I walked around my home and captured these little bits of magic:

artwallAn updated art wall (now with figural art, perspective cues, symbols, and some child-written labels!).

knitting in progressA big project edging toward completion.

soft toys in a rowRe-discovered pretend friends.

new saltNew salt, white and pure and beautiful.

lettuceLate-planted seeds racing toward the sun.

garlic harvestThe first garlic harvest of the year, laid out to dry.

toys put awayCreative tools ready for new inspiration.

took and henhouseA laying flock.

reading nookA quiet, comfortable hideaway for book lovers.

spring raindrop baby dollSweet reminders of a spring well-spent.

blackberry blossoms and ripening fruitAnd the promise of blackberries to come.

Happy summer to you and yours!  May you find the magic wherever you look!


Stay tuned for more on the knitting!

Soft toys from L to R: homemade rocket ship (following this tutorial), sea turtle, warty pig, trilobite from PRI, and manatee from Sea World (from a trip I took in my childhood; I would NEVER go there by choice).

Toys from top L, clockwise: train, dragon, bushel basket, American maple hardwood school blocks, rocket ship, homemade storage cubbies.

Reading nook: The Hare and the Tortoise, Goodnight Oregon, C is for Cthulhu, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Basket is an old one from Ten Thousand Villages, shark bean bags are homemade based on this photo.

Spring raindrop baby was homemade, inspired by the work of a now-retired Etsy seller.


WIP Wednesday

IMG_2485start date:  16 January 2015
elapsed time:
  5 days
completeness:  50%

A couple of months ago, I sorted through my wardrobe, determined to be honest about what I found.  I donated a bunch of things that don’t fit, moved a pile of things that have outlived their usefulness to the upcycling chest, and reorganized my huge collection of shirts according to whether they were presentable to wear to a “nicer” public event, like a dinner party or a church service.

I discovered that I own almost two dozen shirts that, because they were cheap storebought articles made of synthetic knit fabric, now have tiny pinholes, runs, or transparent patches, and are therefore only good for pajamas or wearing around the house.  And as for presentable shirts– I had two long-sleeved ones that I liked, and two short-sleeved.


Obviously making myself some new clothing has been high on my list of goals ever since, and I am finally getting around to it now that the winter holidays are over (and I got a hole in one of my long-sleeved shirts, bringing me down to ONE).

I decided to start with something I knew I would like: a draped, cowl-necked crushed velvet top.  Unfortunately, all the crushed velvet I had was remnants– one 50″ square and one 50″ by about 35″, which was definitely not enough for what I had in mind.

IMG_2484But it would be enough, I thought, for the bodice.

IMG_2483So I’m cobbling this top together from those crushed velvet scraps and some satin panels left over from cutting a planned skirt down to length.  The sleeves are straight, and I’m going to gather them in at about 3/4 length with some wide cuffs cut from the last little bits of velvet.

IMG_2482I know it doesn’t look like much in pictures yet, especially because the camera doesn’t do justice to velvet or satin textures, but I just adore it.  And I’m quickly filling up a notebook with ideas for more clothes for myself, because if it’s this easy, what’s to stop me?

I drafted the bodice according to this excellent tutorial, which I highly recommend.  It was so easy!  I added an inch or so to her constants all the way around for a more dramatic effect, and it still came out perfectly on the first try.

WIP Wednesday

IMG_2334start date: 16 November 2013
elapsed time: 11 months, 6 days
completeness: 80%

On those rare and mystical occasions on which a long-term plan comes to fruition, I struggle with remaining humble.

This project is a pair of soft playsets that I bought supplies for and started scheming about in 2010, in that brief period when Númenor was an only child.

IMG_2340I have waited for the smalls to be ready for multi-piece play.  I considered pulling this out every holiday season, but in 2010 I was too tired, in 2011 they were obviously too small, and in 2012 they were not interested in anything but sandboxes and running.  In 2013 I thought maybe, maybe they were ready, but I started the project too late in the season and got overwhelmed by all the fussy cutting and the simple scale of the work.

But now, oh ho ho, now!

I finished cutting and piecing and stuffing all the figures last year, and I have been madly assembling walls and roofs for the last couple of weeks.  I still have to finish some roofs and sew on the snaps that will allow the individual walls to be built into fortresses, castles, palaces, towers, etc.

And there are two months left before Christmas.


The green set of fabrics is from the Castle Peeps collection and the purple is from the follow-up 1001 Peeps collection, both long-discontinued (that’s why I bought them in 2010!) prints by Lizzie House for Andover Fabrics.  The backing for most of the pieces is that wonderful “smoke” gray wool-blend felt from JoAnn.