Thursday, June 30, 2016

Asher's a lone ranger. He mainly likes to play by himself, especially the specific imaginative playing he does in his room. Brennan often gets Asher to join him in some brotherly play and they're pretty good friends. I'm so glad of that - watching these brothers grow up as buddies.

But what I've REALLY enjoyed witnessing many times lately, is the sweet relationship Asher and Hollyn often share. Over the last 4 or 6 months I've caught Asher on many occasions sitting with his arm over Hollyn's shoulders, in an act of love and protectiveness. This is generally (or always) when they're watching a performance or something of that nature, not just hanging around the house or anything. Being out and about brings out this side of Asher I guess. On one such occasion I'd brought just the two of them to the school's Fine Arts night. The Marimba Band was performing while guests wandered around the gallery and viewed the children's art and auction items. Among that crowd of band watchers, Asher and Hollyn sat on the floor with Asher's arms around his little sister. I kept overhearing nearby adults and others who were pointing and commenting on the sweet brother and sister sitting like that.

Yesterday after swimming lessons the kids talked me into some recreational swimming time in the outside pools. Brennan was the one pleading, mainly, and when I told him that I didn't have a suit with me to watch Kieran he promised that he would watch him himself. I was already giving in as he was exclaiming, "I can be in charge of Kieran and Asher can be in charge of Hollyn!" I don't know if Brennan actually told Asher of that idea/plan, or if it was just a coincidence, but Asher did end up staying with Hollyn the entire time. Not one word of complaint or faltering either way. I stood on the side of the pool a) feeling so glad I didn't have to be in it (it's a wonderful milestone, lol) and b) watching my older children each play with and engage a younger sibling. It brought much joy to my heart witnessing the bonding and enjoyment they can have with each other.

Then we came home and they all played with the train set together. The set usually lives up high in a closet, forgotten about. So it's the current novelty. They created a large track and then began to play on it ALL together. You know how when older kids get involved, there's a delicate balance where they try to include increasingly complex ideas and story-lines and play? And when you have such a variety of ages it can get tricky for those older kids trying to maintain their ideals, right? There was a little bickering after a while, but they actually spent a loooong time playing all together with these trains. Only one was remote controllable and they didn't even argue over it!

I can't take a bit of credit of course. My kids came awesome. :-)

Rated PG for partial nudity. The problem with trying to deal with Kieran's pottying-regression (as in, he keeps having lots of accidents) is that it results in an increase in nakedness. Sigh

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oregon Coast Day

All wrapped up in the Octopus tentacle

OhMyGosh! What's that?!?!

Bunch O' Stevensons

♪♫ Look Down! Look Down! ♫♪

Almost didn't make it out of there alive!
So much fun visiting the coast with Grandma and Grandpa Templeman today. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea that they wanted to spend the day together after how often they already see us - including extra babysitting this last week. I must be either really cute or really pitiful ;-)

Just chillin' in his invisible chair

Every day I get on her case for being "too cute". I demand she cease immediately. I threaten. I shake my finger at her. Not only does she completely disobey my order, she makes it even worse by smiling and laughing about it. Don't know what I'm going to do with her.

Wind blown hair. It's a really problem when you're Mr. Goldilocks

Kieran's pants got wet so I helped him out of them. I was getting some shorts out of the bag but he had other ideas. It started as just this:

But quickly progressed to this:

Kieran apparently mistook this Oregon beach for one in Europe

Perfect kite flying weather. Too good. I had the darndest time bringing this sucker back down.

At Ona Beach, which I'd never been to until today, there's this sweet driftwood hut sitting there. And it was in pristine shape. No trash, no graffiti, no etchings (except for my boys drawing their initials on the sand-covered stump). Lovely place to sit and rest from the increasingly chilly wind.

Selfies with all the kids. I like to think that someday when I'm dead and gone, my children will cherish pictures of them with their mother. It probably won't happen before that though. ;-)

He couldn't be bothered to smile - too busy tasting the sand

I go back and forth on these green pants, Kelly. I suspect that when the winds of fashion blow on, these are the type of thing we'll look back on and we'll all cringe at what "Mom used to wear". That, and I'm just not convinced I can pull off such a strong color. And yet, I kind of like trying.

 I got bored just sitting there in the wind so I turned to selfies. Tee hee.  We were alone at the edge of the beach here, so no people watching, and we never made it past the creek to the ocean itself.
Captain Underpants (hey, it was literally "better than nothing")

Trying to redo the shot of me and Hollyn, but this mysterious goateed man wouldn't leave

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I was thiiiiis close to dropping Kieran off at the nearest fire station about a dozen times this last week. Good grief, this child! Some time when it isn't going on 11:30pm on a work night I'll share the examples. Sufficeth to say: anyone want a three year old?

But when I see these cute cheeks pressed against the floor next to his bed, I can't help but forgive him for everything.  Well, enough to keep him anyway. ;-)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I shared this mishap on facebook, but for my own family-journal purposes...
For the second time in less than a year one of my children ruined a microwave by trying to cook Ramen without water in the bowl. We were enjoying a leisurely Friday afternoon when I said, "I smell something burning..." Asher jumped off the couch and ran to the kitchen crying "I forgot to add the water! I forgot to add the water!" I knew what that meant from our last experience.

Dis-concernedly, none of the smoke alarms went off. Gonna have to check on that. The house was full of particularly stinky smoke which was burning my own lungs in a way no other similar house-smoke has, so I made the kids run outside while we aired things out and I used oven mitts to carry a still smoking microwave outside so I could open it up.

I knew Asher felt bad and that it wasn't on purpose so there wasn't really anything to say about it that would decrease the chances of a repeat any more than it's already at. After the initial panic while I still wouldn't let us back inside, we congregated to the shade of the back porch. It was hot, Asher and several others expressed that they were still hungry since their snack had been cut short. So I suddenly said, "You know what? I think we need some ice cream." And we went to DQ because what else was there to do, really?

I was invited to mutual last Thursday because I guess my camp calling puts me back in YW - it's a weird limbo calling in that way. I keep getting invited to things, but I don't really feel like part of of YWs itself. But things aligned this time when the 11-yr-old scouts were also invited to attend the mutual activity AND, then Brian asked to come see the kids that evening so I had babysitting covered.
So Brennan and I went on the mutual hike. It was lots of fun. I miss my mia-maids (now laurels).

Hollyn's Preschool Graduation took place last Thursday morning. She's going on to kinder! So crazy. For some reason she decided not to smile for the camera at this part. Little Turkey!

The closest to a smile she'd give me.

 Pinata time!

Wearing one of her "Olympic" Medals

Kieran and I had lots of fun during Asher's piano lesson last week. I took like 100 pictures just goofing around with him. I wonder why free my google photo storage filled up so quickly... ?

Aunt Jenny sent Brennan and Hollyn some new clothes to help get their next size wardrobe started. Isn't that awesome of her?!?!
Brennan was like "Hey cool!"
Hollyn was like "Whaaaaaaaaaat???" She carefully and meticulously unfolded each item to admire it, then she'd place it in a category pile. She then handed me each item individually so I could take off the size sticker, and she'd carefully put it back in place. Then we repeated it all when I cut off the tags. She then started putting tops and bottoms together and matching outfits. When she'd finished then, she moved over to the stairs so she could place her outfits in an order to wear them. She went through numerous variations of that outfit plan :-) Finally yesterday I made her pick up her clothes before I tripped on them and injured myself, but she's definitely still keeping track of her new clothes.


I spent all the time I could afford trying to convince her to wear matching shoes but she insisted she liked it this way. I would be surprised by her unique style, but I'm pretty sure she gets it from me. I'm a lot more conformist now than I used to be, but I definitely remember looking for subtle ways to "be different" without being, like, completely head-turn-provoking different. Like, I bought a pair of jeans at goodwill and cut the bottom into inch wide vertical strips just for a little decor I guess. I also bought an old-man argyle sweater at goodwill and I swear I started that fashion fad because suddenly men's argyle sweaters became super popular about 2 months later. I wouldn't consider taking Spanish as my second language course in High School because my older sisters already had, I chose an instrument that was less common just because it was unique ... I know exactly where Hollyn gets this quarky fashion sense. :-)

The table Dad and I built (and by "and I" I mean "basically Dad") is done! Well, mostly. It wouldn't be a true project of mine if it didn't turn out to be extremely more complex, expensive, and time consuming than I thought it would be. (Note to self: don't ever go into contracting work!)

Want the whole story? Good.

I liked my old table but it was too big for the space. At a used furniture store I'd seen this table with butterfly leaves that sit inside the frame and I loved that aspect about it. I had serious non-buyer's remorse after deciding not to spend that much $ on the table but wishing I had it. I kept thinking about that table but months were going by so I felt sure it was long gone.
Instead, when I next went into the store it was not only still there, but marked down quite a bit! Yay-zers!

Much earlier I'd purchased vinyl flooring to recover my larger table but hadn't gotten around to it. Then I put it off while I considered getting a smaller table. So I already had the flooring to use with this newer one. I sold my big square table the night before picking up the new one but my plan was to have Dad help me cut the flooring planks to size and I'd glue them on, figure out what to do with the sides, and be done with it in a day.

Tee hee hee. I honestly don't know why my parents haven't strangled me yet.

The table ended up in Mom and Dad's garage - rendering it unparkable - for several months while Dad and I discussed how to do this project. The first issue was that I couldn't recover those butterfly leaves because they wouldn't have folded inside anymore. We could make separate, removable tops for them with the flooring, but then I'd have to store the all.the.time. which defeated the entire purpose of getting a table with leaves inside it! My last table had a leaf and I had to keep it in the outside closet and just knowing it was buried and unusable annoyed me.

I knew 99% of the time this table will be closed, and the leaves would only be used if I happen to move somewhere with a larger dining area. Even then, they'd most often be tucked away. So I didn't love the idea of storing the false top to most likely never or rarely use it. Ultimately, we decided to make the rest of the table top - the main part - removable. This way, if the occasion ever arises that I need the leaves out, I take off the new top and store it for JUST THAT OCCASION.

So ok. Now how do we build the top to be removable but stiff enough not to fall apart when I remove it? We put it on giant pieces of wood, of course. So much time spent getting individual ingredients for this project as we went along. So much time glueing and waiting and glueing and waiting.

Next we needed to decide how to make the sides look good. One day I got the bright idea to use floor baseboard. I didn't love Home Depot's options, plus I'd have had to try to color match a stain - man that would have been a nightmare. It turns out I could buy the actual coordinating board that goes with the flooring though. Costco doesn't sell the baseboards, so it involved a *gasp* phone call to order, but at least the cost was comparable to other baseboards and I knew it would match. I admit, I feel kind of proud of myself for coming up with the idea. Would have been even better if we could have attached it directly to the table - and I'd have cut it to be less thick in that case, but oh well.

Dad and I had some small cutting mistakes along the way, and some bowing and other issues that has made it not quite perfect. But it's good enough! When I was in Denver, Dad finished it for me, including strengthening the corners with even MORE wood on the underside. All told the new top created almost 4 inches of height, lol. The kids seem to think they fit better at it than at other tables, which doesn't really make sense. I guess they like their plates being extra close to their mouths. ;-)

Now I just need to install some dowels and or/leaf aligner thingys I found because the new top does keep tending to separate and to slide a little askew. But then, I promise, it will be done. No, really!

And this is the last time I recover a table! With leaves anyway. For a while at least. ;-)