Friday, July 18, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - Joining Amanda in a Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Family Art

In our family room there is a large wall uninterrupted by windows or doors. Our couch is along this wall as well as the kiddos' computer. When we bought the house, Dave and I talked about what to do with this big canvas. Inspired by one of my friend's art pieces, Dave suggested flattery by imitation. We decided to create a piece of art comprised of five canvases, one for each of us.

With a list in hand, Dave and I spent a date night selecting canvases and colors. Neither of us are artists, so we asked my friend for help with materials. It took a long time selecting a palette of colors for everyone to use. I wasn't sure I liked the choices and knew they wouldn't really work with our red rug. Dave assured me it would be fine. I reminded myself that if I hated the outcome, the canvases could be changed.

Aine and Benton were the first to start their paintings. Both had ideas from the beginning. Aine used shapes and color blending for hers, focusing on green, yellow and turquoise. Benton went with a more hands-on approach. He would paint and then use his hands to further move and blend the paint. Only once he had to be cautioned against making a mud colored picture. Dave used tape to achieve his look. He vacillated quite a bit on whether or not his work was done. Eamon needed a bigger space, so he moved to the driveway. He drizzled and splattered paint letting the process move his whole body. My canvas was a challenge. I started with the turquoise and loved it. Then I added red, and it looked a bit like crime scene art. While in our lab space, I spotted a few doilies from my great aunts and great grandmother. I repainted the turquoise and used the doilies dipped in a darker blue to stamp the canvas.

Once finished the canvases sat on the back edge of the couch. I would change their order every few days. Finally satisfied with the look, Dave hung the artwork this weekend. It is nice to have the project finished. We have quizzed our guests when they comment on the painting. Most can guess each artist with only minimal help. With all this help, can you?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Swimming...and Diving

Last week marked the end of the recreational swim team season. This year in addition to swimming, Eamon and Aine decided they wanted to try out dive team. Four days a week for the past six weeks, Eamon, Aine and I have hung out for two hours at the pool. Twice a week, the whole family has traveled to meets. We didn't miss a day or a meet. They have loved every minute of it.
Now old enough, Benton was very excited to try both teams. After only a few minutes of dive team, Benton decided that he didn't want to do either team! I am not sure what happened, but he chose to stay home with Daddy. Eamon also made a change this year, deciding to skip swim team. He would sit with me poolside waiting for dive team practice. We would talk at length about video games or whatever he wanted to share, while lounging on towels or in camp chairs. Occasionally we would both read.
Aine did well on swim team. Her final meet was full of second and third place ribbons. She swam with stronger kiddos and excelled. Both kiddos loved dive team. Eamon can now do front and back flips as well as some basic dives. He is still working on his pike and tuck dives. Aine has a beautiful back dive as well as front dive. She can do a front flip, but is a bit nervous after seeing a teammate hit his head on the board in a meet warm-up.
Both kiddos enjoy swimming but really want more diving. On our off times, we have visited the public pool to practice a lot. They are impressed that even their mama can do a back dive. Benton enjoys these outings too and can now dive forward and back. We are looking into a club for the kiddos to continue swimming in the off season, but haven't made a decision on it yet. Until then you might not find us at the pool every morning as we had been, but we will be there most afternoons on the diving board.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Been a Long Time

I have not been knitting much lately, instead I have caught the sewing bug. It has been a LONG time, since I pulled out my sewing machine. I think it was probably before we went on our Virginia adventures. I figured it was time. Realizing my kiddos are no longer wee babes, I sorted through my pile of adorable patterns for children only to realize many are now too small. I figured I had to sew the remaining ones before my kiddos made it into their teens. I gathered a bit of fabric I had been "saving" and set to work.
Aine is not the easiest child for me to make clothing. She is very particular about fit and style, however I love making things for her. I found a pattern in my pile as well as one online. I showed her both as well as a couple fabric choices. She chose a pink cotton found in her mama quilt and the Geranium dress (this was only after I ventured forth without her oversight and made a complete Family Reunion dress that didn't fit or appeal to her fashion eye).
The fabric and pattern worked very well together. Aine picked ruffled sleeves and tunic length. I made it a bit longer to accommodate her quick growth! Assembly went so quickly and in no time I had a dress for her. I couldn't wait for her to wake up in the morning and try it on. She saw it, and I knew immediately that it was a win. She loved it, (but did not want a photo taken)!

I have plans for a few more tunics for Aine. She likes the feminine look, but is also an active child. The boys have made their own queue of items to make. Benton wants a complete shirt and pant ensemble out of truck fabric. I will have to see what I can do.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gardening Update

While walking up and down the aisles at the home improvement store for treehouse supplies, I decided it was time to start on our garden boxes as well. With some online help, I head out by myself one morning to get the supplies. I originally intended to make just three boxes, but Dave convinced me to make six. In our climate, raised beds are not preferred, but rather many recommend sunken garden plots. Since we were not confident in our soil (nothing was growing in the yard and didn't look like it had for years), we decided to start with raised beds until our soil has been amended well.

With a drill, measuring tape, level, and screws I built the six boxes. Eamon helped a bit with the construction, holding pieces as I drilled. Once built I checked our local permaculture group for help finding a good soil mix. It was delivered the next day. I shoveled until I had filled the beds. The kiddos each helped with this part. Jasmine just helped dig and roll in the dirt. I have a plan for planting, but first we need to run a bit of irrigation to the boxes. I am excited for this next growing season. My winter garden in pots did not do so well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Tree-less Treehouse

Before moving into this house, the kiddos made a list of things they wanted in their next home. The number one request was animals. Their desires ranged from snake to rabbit to cat to dog. Now that we have Jasmine in our home and no plans to add any more animals any time soon, it was time to move down the list. The next must-have was a treehouse. In December we began working on this request in earnest.

The first issue with our plan was our backyard. Our current backyard has no trees suitable for a swing let alone a treehouse. Dave started making some sketches and came up with an idea. He conferred with the kiddos, watched a lot of youtube videos and drew several iterations before arriving at the best design. Armed with his plan, we hit the home improvement store. Our first job was to dig six holes with an auger. The machine was very powerful, but at times the caliche in our soil was stronger. With Dave and me on the handles, we were jostled and spun around by the machine. Finally we had the holes. The kiddos helped Dave set the six poles for our platform. Soon we had cross beams and floor joists. The past few weekends, Dave has worked on the walls, sketching his design, heading to the store and putting them up with help from the the rest of us. In between our other commitments, the tree-less treehouse has taken form. We now have four walls. Dave is now researching the roof. In the meantime, we plan on building the railing and putting up planking on the outside of the walls. We are very excited, because soon it will be finished!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Busy Weekends

The past few weeks have been busy. It seems as if the momentum of the year end rolls right through the beginning of the next. Each week as well as weekend in January was filled this year. We had a baby shower, several birthday parties, hiking, visitors, garden box making with Grandma, musical performances, dog obedience classes, lunch dates, and Eamon's last gardening class. This weekend was no exception.

The weekend began with a trip to The Farm at South Mountain. This farm nestled in a pecan grove provided the perfect setting for a few families from our homeschool group to gather. Some ate breakfast  while others arrived later. The kiddos ran through the groves and then gathered at the picnic benches to draw, paint and color. They each crafted some artist trading cards to share. When it came time to trade, Aine decided she loved her design so much, she would keep it. Benton chose to skip much of the artwork and build fairy houses instead complete with pecan hull beds. We then collected a few nuts to take home before heading to another event.

Saturday came very early for Eamon and me. We headed out of town for Eamon's first dog show with 4-H. He currently borrows a leader's dog for class, so he could not compete for ribbons. Although he is eager to start training with our new dog, Jasmine, she is still young. She will start attending 4-H classes this month to get a jump-start on training (she and Eamon go to obedience classes already; this will just be more in depth). For the show, Eamon and I were stewards. Eamon volunteered at the Showmanship and Obedience rings. He called the participants, helped explain the process, showed them the heel course, and helped the judges. I mostly stood to the side and helped when an additional body was needed. My major contribution was standing still acting as a post during the figure 8 exercise. We also helped tally the scores for each member according to the Danish system and watched for any errant dogs during the leash free exercises. Eamon loved it. He cannot wait to participate with his own dog. I think attending this show really helped clarify what he needs to do for 4-H. It took out a lot of the mystery from the process.

Once we returned home, Eamon left with Dave for his date day. They went to dinner and a late movie. Eamon loved the movie. They saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 at the discount theater. His favorite parts included leeks and funny jokes involving leak versus leek. The other kiddos and I had a quick dinner and settled down to watch Aine's movie pick, Babes in Toyland. She and Benton loved it. I must admit that I read a bit of my book during the show. Although I often had to stop and look at the dancing and costumes based on Aine's directions.

Sunday came early again as we set out for the Amazing Arizona Comic convention. Dave and the kiddos loved the displays. Eamon found his favorite Marvel character, and Dave was able to see the creator of The Walking Dead as well as one of the cast members. Once home, Dave and Benton set out for their date day (a few days early). Based on Eamon's stellar reviews, Benton wanted to see the same movie. He also wanted the same dinner. The only difference was a request for donuts too. The rest of us took a quick walk and had a yummy dinner of roast lamb leg, sweet potatoes and salad followed up by some snuggling on the couch. This week looks a little less hectic, but then we move into our birthday season beginning with Aine's in just eight days!

Friday, January 24, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - Joining Amanda in a Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.