Monday, September 30

Cook. Serve. Clean. Repeat.

Oh.  My.  Gosh. 

What a week! 

What a weekend! 

Last week was a busy one...and it seemed 3 times crazier since Scott's still on his hunting trip and I was doing all the running on my own with my entourage of my kids and often other people's kids (he comes home tomorrow...yeah!!).  The biggest part was this huge fundraiser we were running at school.  It was a conference of roughly 110 people and we were cooking for them, 5 meals total.  Our school is small!  At its height it has had no more than 60 kids, 50 is more likely.  Right now we have about 35.  Our school kitchen is not big, by any means.  We have two household ovens and two household fridges.  We are not set up for big crowds!  But we said 'yes' when the conference was 40-50 people.  Then it grew.  Through a chain of unpredicted events I ended up coordinating the whole food endeavor.  Hello comfort zone!  How's the weather over there???  Yeah...I was way out of my comfort zone, depth, area of expertise, and the list goes on.  But when you are committed to something like this you've gotta figure it out.  One step at a time.  I'll spare you all the crazy planning and list making details I went through, fast forward through all of my stress, and skip over the sleepless nights and just say that I am SO GLAD for community that comes together, volunteers and pitches in when the rubber hits the road.  We pulled it off!  We served them all (with their dietary restrictions met) on time and even better, we didn't run out of food.  The girls were troopers through it all, helping where they could and hanging out in unoccupied corners of the school.  Last night I tucked the kids into bed and then collapsed on the couch and took the first deep breath I had taken since last weekend.  Whew!  This week isn't looking nearly as crazy!

Here's the sky yesterday morning...


Pardon those ghost spots...the outside of my windows have not been cleaned since we've lived here and since we're on the 8th floor it's a bit beyond what I am able to handle.

It's hard to look at a sky like that and not smile and feel hopeful!  Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, September 27

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama
 


Thursday, September 26

Happy Crier

If you've spent much time around me, you know I am a happy crier.  Real quickly here are a few things that have made me cry in recent months...

:: parades
:: old cars
:: the fair
:: thank you notes
:: any time kids perform or have a sporting event

That last one is a doozy!  I cry at almost every school event.  The kids just expect it now!  Graduation, Christmas program, skate night, you name it!  If adults from my community have come together for kids I am going to cry.  Today was no exception!

A new-to-our-community parent volunteered to coach indoor soccer at the school this year.  The girls were soooo excited!  Today was our first game.  We traveled the hour to Cooper Landing where Cooper Landing and Moose Pass had fielded two teams to play our two teams.  Thankfully the weather cooperated since there was a bit of a miscommunication about indoor vs. outdoor soccer.  Never mind that though...the kids had a blast!!  And I was crying before we even got out of the tunnel.   As I led the caravan (not sure why I got to lead other than I was parked in front!) of 6 cars through town I was overwhelmed by the fact that so many people had come together to make this experience possible for our kids.  Like I said the other day...people are just so incredible!  So here are a few pictures of the girls during the game.  For your reference, Kelsey is wearing jersey #8 and Stacy is wearing #1.

pre-game huddle

Stacy gives it a kick!
Kelsey's after that ball!
It was a great afternoon.  Lots of smiles, a bit of learning (turns out that getting kicked is part of the game!), and a lot of running!  I am so glad I got to watch!

Wednesday, September 25

Brain Dump


This is outside of my usual realm of posting, but this just keeps rolling around inside my head.  I don't know what to do with it...so I am writing about it here. 

****************************

People are so amazing. I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  Sometimes I am in a large group of people and I just look around and am so in awe.  Everyone has their story...their strengths, their weaknesses.  Everyone's path is different.  Everyone knows different things, understands things in a different way, brings a different set of skills to the table.  When I look at someone and imagine their story...it just amazes me. 

I was at a meeting last week with a group of people who work to make sure another Exxon Valdez oil spill never happens.  It's a citizens advisory group.  Many of the folks who serve on the board were here in Prince William Sound when it happened.  They were involved in the clean up, in the aftermath.  There's a lot of emotion there.  As I looked around the table at this meeting I was struck by the amazing lives these people have led.  Yet I am sure none of them would categorize themselves as amazing or their lives as remarkable.  Yet I assure you, they are.  So are you.  So am I. 

I've thought about this as I've walked around town, walked through stores, driven to town, met with my bible study, our PTA, and my group of friends.  My heart is raw for humanity.  For the human experience.

We get lost in the what seems so ordinary--the dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry--the minutiae of daily life.  Yet who of us is where we thought we'd be 10 years ago?  Few, I imagine.  Life is full of unexpected twists and turns--when we take the time to look at other people's lives we can see it.  We can look past their ordinary to see their remarkable. When I do that, when I just sit back I am so touched by people's humanity.  We all have our hurts, our broken parts, our strong parts, our gifts.  We are all human, with human hearts.  We all feel passionate about things, love things, committed to things.  We are all different, created by an amazing Creator.

I am not sure where this all leads me, except to a heightened awareness of them and their stories.  It makes me reflect on my story so far and wonder what my story will be in 10 years.  What my daughters' stories will be.  I can hardly wait to find out!

Monday, September 23

Hunting!

We took Scott to the airport on Saturday...he's off on his annual hunting trip.  As long as we were in town, the girls and I made a day of it! 

saying goodby at the airport...before the tears
We went to Starbucks, visited the main Loussac library, had lunch, did a bit of shopping, and then stopped by the Campbell Park.  Many parks in Anchorage got new equipment this summer, Campbell Park included.  It was due for an upgrade for sure, and the new equipment is super-fun!






When we came home we saw this sight...the official end of summer!


Sunday we visited two of our favorite Whittier hangouts before they closed for the summer.  We had hot drinks and sweet treats at the Lazy Otter Cafe and then burgers for dinner at the Wild Catch Cafe.  Kelsey somehow managed to eat an adult sized hamburger and all of her fries.  I couldn't finish mine!

And today.  Well...this is what it looked like around 9am...


Snow.  Sticking on the ground.  On September 23.  Oh I was not at all impressed!  But this afternoon it was all gone and the sun peeked out, though the wind continued to gust.  Hello, fall!

Friday, September 20

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama
 
 

Wednesday, September 18

For Me...

Yikes...down to one chunk of fabric from the amazing Fabric Depot, folks!!  Don't worry...the online browsing has begun!  I used this tutorial to make this skirt.  I made the waistband 2 inches longer so it wouldn't be quite so skinny once I sewed it up.  I love how it turned out.  Really love it!  I am wearing it right now and it's so comfy and cute!




It has an invisible zipper on the side and is long, as you can see.  The fabric is by Robert Kaufman from the London Calling 3 line.  It's a cotton lawn, so it's nice and lightweight and drapes nicely.  Perfect for this application!

Monday, September 16

Book Review--The Miner's Lady





The Miner's Day
by Tracie Peterson

Chantel Panetta has just returned from Italy to the mining town of Ely, Minnesota when she finds that her younger sister Isabella plans to wed Orlando Calarco.  The problem is that the Panetta family and the Calarco family have been at odds for generations.  Chantel soon finds herself helping Isabella find ways to spend time with Orlando.  What she hadn't counted on was bumping into Orlando's brother Dante and feeling a growing attraction toward him.

I liked this book!  The characters were engaging and believable and the storyline is time-tested and proven.  A beautiful young girl falling in love with someone she never thought she'd love and finding he loves her too.  A very sweet story that leaves you feeling happy for the characters and wishing for the best for them in their lives together!



Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. 

Book Review: A Home for My Heart





A Home for My Heart
by Anne Mateer

Sadie Sillsby remembers.  She remembers that her mother was a prostitute. She remembers being in jail with her mother.  She remembers being rescued from that jail cell and being taken to the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children.  Sadie is all grown up now, working at the very place that sheltered her as a child.  Her world is about to be rocked though, as she is forced to choose between her beau Blaine and her beloved home.

I wanted to love this story.  Truly I did!  There was just too much going on in this storyline for me though.  Too many side stories that didn't gel well together for me.  It is a sweet story, just not one that I will read over and over.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.  

Relaxed

Ahhh!  This weekend was my first weekend at home since sometime back at the end of June.  I loved weekend market, but I love slow, quiet weekends, too!  On Saturday we visited with friends in Anchorage.  It was a lovely sunny day, spent mostly on their deck with three little girls running from the trampoline to the swing set to the bedroom and back.

This was the view on the way home from town...



Sunday we played with Whittier friends, went to church and played outside.  A nice mix of fun stuff!

Friday, September 13

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama
 
 

Thursday, September 12

More Stitching!

Lookie here!  I finished up those other two dresses I told you about last week.  The first one is for Kelsey and I am happy to report that she loves it!  She likes dresses that are long because they are easier to sit modestly in, so I added length to this dress for her.  Pardon the less than wonderful picture...it was kinda late at night when I wrapped this one up!  It's a Geranium Dress...quick, easy, and super-cute!


This is another Geranium Dress for Stacy.  It's got a little ruffle on the sleeve that's pretty fun and easy.



If you know Stacy at all, you know this fabric is perfect for her...busy!  This girl loves color and pattern...she's been watching me sew it and is anxiously awaiting its arrival in her closet.  I can hardly wait to see which pair of her crazy tights she pairs it with!

Now I have a huge problem...I've sewed my way right through my pile of fabric that I pile up at Fabric Depot in Portland this summer!  I have two pieces left that I had earmarked for me...ohhhhh...what to make, what to make???

Wednesday, September 11

The List


Last week I read this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jen Hatmaker and it made me think.  This bit that she wrote really hit home for me...

I took this in and wanted to believe it so badly and asked God to help me tamp down the vicious self-talk. Then something happened. I started jumping outside of my mind where all the crazy lives and watched me talk to my kids. I was so nice sometimes! I said very sweet and precious things! There were so many I love you’s and you are very smart and attentive mm-hmmm’s and sounds awesome and great job on that laced through all the days. I watched myself do the work of sweet parents, and it occurred to me I am my own worst critic, and sometimes I’m even a liar, convincing myself that nothing good is ever happening in this family, and it’s all my fault, or maybe Brandon’s fault, and the kids are horrid and we are a disaster.

This is a really insidious way to keep a Mama down.

Why do we latch on to our failures and ignore our successes? I would never overvalue and recount someone else's low moments to the neglect of their triumphs; why do I do that to myself? Why do any of us? Why do we observe other parents’ strengths with 20/20 vision while ours are all blurred? It is as easy for me to declare your goodness as it is to affirm my wretchedness; they are inversely proportional. I am savvy to each, conditioned to minimize your humanity and overemphasize mine.


Yesterday Jen posted a link to this blog post on her Facebook page.  I didn't read it right away because I was busy.  Busy emailing, filling out forms for this and that, prepping for meetings, attending meetings, cooking, dropping kids off, picking kids up, doing laundry...the list goes on.  I felt so overwhelmed all day long.  I wondered if I had over-committed myself.  I got grumpy because I felt like I had so much to do and none of it was getting done and why wasn't most of it already done anyway?  So I sat down and I made a list.  The list on paper wasn't as long as I felt like it was.  This list was actually conquerable.  So I started in.  First up I delivered dinner to a group of young adults in town (part of this organization) who are working on trails around Whittier.  It's nasty out, so I made a big pot of soup and a big batch of biscuits.  I texted Scott to tell him when it would be ready.  He didn't reply so I called.  He said he'd been crazy busy all day and hadn't seen my message and it hit me.  I'm not the only busy person!  Hello, Andrea!!  I had gotten so wrapped up in my own whining that I had pushed everyone else's concerns right off my plate.  He texted me in a bit and asked if I wanted to just bring the food down.  Want to?  Juggling three kids in the pouring down rain with a hot pot of soup?  Not really.  But then I thought about it.  Could I?  And if I could, would it make his day better?  A tiny bit easier?  Yes.  Yes, I could and yes, it would.  So we did.  And my day turned around right there with that one choice. 

After we got home and fed, I enlisted my two associates and we cleaned.  We picked up, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned the bathroom, sorted through piles of paper.  We crossed stuff right off of mama's list.  You know what?  By kiddo bedtime things were looking up even more.  The list was even shorter and I felt more in control.  I felt less overwhelmed and more capable.  I took that list just kept right on doing.  There were 15 things on that list when I made it.  Today there are 6.  Of course I will add to it today and tomorrow and on and on.  But I own that list.  It doesn't own me!

Finally at some point last evening I sat down and I read that post I linked to above and I wanted to call this Lisa-Jo Baker woman and meet her and hug her.  She's right.  Some days I spend so much time worrying about what I think I should be doing that I forget all the good things I actually did do!  How does that make sense?  Yuck!  I don't treat other people that way...why on earth do I treat myself that way?  Because I'm human I guess.  Today though, I am patting myself on the back for realizing it.  For salvaging my self worth for one day.  I know I'll trip again but I also know I'll get up again. 

That's what's important I think...not the tripping, but the getting up.

Tuesday, September 10

Take Your Kid(s) to Work Day!

I know there's a day specifically designated for this, but sometimes you've just got to make your own celebrations, so I designated Sunday as our 'take your kid to work day' since it was our last weekend of market and the girls had been *begging* to come with me all season long.  Kelsey has been collecting rocks all summer with the hopes of one day selling them alongside the fudge, coffee, and ice cream that we regularly offer customers.  She brought her rocks along yesterday and made $3 selling them...not too bad!  Stacy learned to run the register...she loved punching the buttons and counting the right change to give to people.  Of course there was also sidewalk chalk, balloon fishing poles with balloon fish from the regular balloon artist, and cheek painting as well.  After all...all work and no play is no fun at all!


Now that market is over for the season, I'll have weekends at home again!  Some days in my PJs, parked in front of my sewing machine, I hope!

Friday, September 6

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama
 
 .

Wednesday, September 4

Sewing again!

Hey.  You want to know a couple of secrets about how awesome I am?  OK...here goes!

:: Today I finished a dress for Stacy that should have been done before school started...

:: I actually took these two skirts out of the dirty clothes and ironed them to photograph them today

:: I still have two more dresses to cut out and sew.  They should have been done 2 weeks ago too!

Oh well...I'm getting there!  Summer doesn't leave much time for sewing, but fall does!  I tried some patterns from  Oliver + S this year and I have to say that I loved them!  The directions are clear and the garments finish up nicely.  They have taken care with the details, and I appreciate that.  First up, the Family Reunion Dress for Stacy...



She's been patiently waiting for this...I think she's going to love it!!  I love the way the neckline is done.  For you sewists out there, it's a facing that you turn to the outside instead of to the inside, so it gives it nice detail and it sews up with everything enclosed.  No flappy facings to deal with!  Next up, the Badminton Skirt in blue for Kelsey...



Don't you love that scalloped hem?  So cute!  The best part is that this pattern features built-in shorts underneath the skirt.  Perfect for wiggleworms like my ladies!  Here's another Hopscotch Skirt in pink for Stacy...



Next up is a Geranium Dress for each of the girls.  I made one for Stacy earlier in the spring, so hopefully these will go together fairly quickly...

Tuesday, September 3

Fun at the Fair!

We spent our Labor Day at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer (read about our past fair visits here and here).  A perfect summer send-off and a fun day with friends while Scott got some much-needed (and well-deserved!) quiet time at home all by himself.

We started our day in the Kids Zone barn, where there were numerous reptiles on display.  The kids were interested in the reptiles for a minute or two, until they spotted these...


Yup.  Two macaws.  And they talked!  The girls would have probably sat here all day and watched these birds, but we did eventually move on to the next big attraction...the petting zoo!







Really there's no point in going to the fair unless you're going to see the giant veggies, either!


Holy gigantic pumpkins!!  And how about this 59.7 pound zucchini?!?!  That's a lot of zucchini bread, folks!


There was also some hula-hooping...at one point each of the girls was hula-hooping three hoops at a time of different sizes.  Not sure where they got such talent...it certainly wasn't from me!



Of course, no one can go to a fair with kiddos and miss the rides!  This year was great because the three monkeys were old enough to go alone together.  The girls picked one 'big kid' ride that Austin didn't go on, but otherwise the three of them rocked the little kid rides alone and loved it!!  We also scoped out some big kid rides for them to try next year...


We got lucky with the weather!  It was cloudy and a bit breezy, but the rain held off until the very end.  We were watching the Kodiak Island Drummers that we enjoyed so much last year when the drops started coming down.  All three kids said they were ready to go, so we loaded up and headed home.  The drive home was wet and windy and somehow the kids all managed to stay awake (!).  Today it is pouring outside, the wind is howling and the heat in our building is off while they repair it.  I feel some baking coming on...mama's chilly!