Thursday, July 28, 2011

I've lost my third arm!

Phew...see I was right my friends I have been being sporadic! This however is a good thing because it means I am making great progress on the packing front. I have to say, minus feeling a bit icky last night (bad food maybe?), all has been well!

Last weekend we painted the children's new room. Craig and I have decided to room our son and daughter together for the next three years. In our new home we have 4 rooms. Two of which are small and the other two which are huge. One being the master and the other being the "room over the garage" aka FROG. 

The major factor leading into this decision was the sheer size of the bed sets we have for the kids. Since both were given to us free of charge,  you better bet we are most definitely going to use them and save our pennies. However, due to their dimensions and the dimensions of the other two rooms, the full sets will not fit into the smaller rooms. Fortunately they do both fit in the FROG with ample room leftover! Score! 

Personally I really quite like the idea of our kids rooming together. It is almost like we will have a traditional nursery room (as seen in classic movies like Mary Poppins and Peter Pan) where all the children, regardless of sex, share a room until their teen years. Plus Deirdre is ecstatic about it. I am sure there will be some adjusting but I am not worried. as with all things in our home we just flow with the rhythm and make do one bit at a time. No need to fret unnecessarily. 

So after making that decision, I began dreaming up an idyllic Waldorf "nursery" room for them. Trust me its going to be a lovely room, I promise to show you when its done. However the FROG had flocked wall paper in it. When Deirdre first saw the room she said it looked like a bear cave! Off the wallpaper came, and last weekend we painted  (as well as sanded and primed) the walls and ceiling. The color I choose was "Free Spirit" by Olympic. Olympic is a zero VOC paint with a green seal. Since this paint was going in the kids room my conscious would not allow me to not use a low VOC paint. 

I truly adore this color-plus its gender neutral and peaceful. Perfect for the kids. I would love to have posted before and after pictures for you but alas I HAVE LOST MY CAMERA. I know... I know. It really is my third arm. I have torn my house asunder looking for it. I have reopened boxes. It is nowhere

The only conclusion I can come to is that I left in my car and it was stolen- or- that it is so far lost that if I do find it won't be for a long long time. And if it is truly misplaced, tehn that would be very odd for me since I always keep it in two places. Next to the computer or in my purse. Seriously. So after a week plus of not having it and tearing everything apart, I am going to cave in and get a new one. If I do find the other one at some point I will just sell it or give it to my little brother as present. Luke tends to get my hand me down cameras anyway- and he loves it ;) 

I was thinking about getting nicer one than I had, however I really love my Nikon CoolPix. I seriously get awesome photos with it and it only cost me $90. We will see though. I will be getting one before Saturday so I can photograph the move. 

We will see though. Please keep us in you thoughts and prayers through the move. I am one stressed cookie! 

Bonne Nuit, Nicole 

~Old un-shared photos form 2 weeks ago~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual birthed by Amanda Soule aka SouleMama. 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.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Deirdre loving her chicken Faline. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Elsa Beskow, a love! (and a friend's giveaway)

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”~ Emilie Buchwald

Until we get through the move on the 30th, I will be blogging sporadically. So from now until August 7th, please don't worry if I am not on here daily anymore! Once I am back, I will have TONS of crafty goodness, new house projects, and Waldorf homeschooling ready to share with you. I mean summer is a time to relax, right? *Nods head*

In spite of this terrible heat wave I have been busy inside. I've discovered twitter, pinterest, flickr, and so much more blog crafty inspiration. I am quite enthralled. 

On this inspiration hunt I saw this blog "Jump into a Book". As a teacher by training I obviously believe reading is necessary, essential, and endless rewarding. My children and I read constantly. We have so many books in our house that I can't count them anymore. 

Among them are a few Elsa Beskow books. Elsa was a Swedish author and illustrator from the late 1800s. Her books are so well done and magical. Her books truly are timeless classics. I rank them up there with Joyce novels and well that is saying a lot for me. 

Right now Jump into a Book is giving away a set of ALL 19 Elsa Beskow books. I encourage you to enter it. These books will surely enrich your children's lives and help them to develop a lifetime love of reading. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

::right now::

Right now, I am... (a tradition birthed by SouleMama aka Amanda Blake Soule)

Right Now, I am ...
:: savoring my life, this day, and its flowing beauty. To think I could not be here in this world to enjoy this is still pretty surreal and unsettling. 
:: appreciating the thoughts and prayers for myself and the lady whom died in the crash. It means so much.  
:: feeling out of sorts. I keep unintentionally replaying the woman and the accident in my mind. I am trying to swallow the enormity of the situation as well as trying to comprehend-if possible- God's seemingly  swift and thoughtless hand in death.  I was spared but another was not. My belief is unwavering and I *know* there is perfect reasoning and timing behind this all...BUT sometimes I just don't like it .
:: hoping justice will have its day in this life concerning the crash and whether the man in the SUV was negligent. Please also pray for me since I might be called onto testify in his vehicular manslaughter trial. 
::aching more for the men, women, and children in the world whom suffer injustices daily- with no voice or tangible hope.  I thought we were told to never forget the Holocaust yet its happening again elsewhere
:: anticipating a great move. I am pretty much all packed. What I have yet to pack will be easy to do once we are closer to the 30th and it feels good! 
:: loving my new book. I can't wait to get back to sewing!
:: laughing at my baby boy. He loves peaches and corn on the cob so much that he literally hyperventilates with excitement when he sees either of them. 
:: enjoying Deirdre's love for Kevin Devine and Elliott Smith. I mean thats all I listened to when I was pregnant with her so I am sure that plays some part in it all. She is indignantly positive that Kevin wrote her (and only her) a lullaby. And well I am just going to let her keep believing that. I mean she really is a snow faced girl ;) 
:: remembering the first time I saw Kevin Devine play. I was in London with Craig and I was 6 months pregnant with Deirdre. Unforgettable. (Sorry about all the music references tonight but when I get stuck in my head too deep, listening to him helps reground me and me move along). So you should listen to him too :D
:: thanking Craig for working so hard for us and giving up his music career to do so. Six years later and I still find myself marveling at you. You are a good man. Way too good for me. 
::wishing you and yours a bright and rich week. Thanks for your patience as I get back on my feet with the crash and move. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Haunting: A Close Call

Haunting: A Close Call 

I must apologize to you all for my absence. With the move in less than two weeks, I have been wrapped up in packing  planning, and shopping. So while I still indeed on blogging regularly- and after the move I am sure I will- things might be a bit sporadic from now until the 3rd of August or so ;) 

However there is another reason why I did not blog yesterday. A pretty good reason at that. Yesterday I almost died in a car accident. So close that I literally saw my life flash before my eyes and just knew I was going to die. Seriously heavy stuff. 

But obviously I did not and I am fine. Shaken and bewildered, but fine. I however cannot say the same for the others involved in the crash. One person in the first SUV that got hit-a woman- was critically injured and crushed. Her dog died on the scene as well as others with minor injures. 

The crash happened late yesterday afternoon on 64 Eastbound near the Northampton Boulevard exit. I was in the third lane to the right on the four lane highway. In front of me and at times next to me was a black SVU. The SUV was going faster than the rest of traffic and merging a bit erratically. I noticed it but just kept on going in my lane. 

Then out of no where, in the middle of my Kevin Devine cd, I heard/felt/sensed God/the Holy Spirit/Whomever shout "Move" to me. Instinctually I merged into the right hand lane. Not two second later- not even enough time for me to exhale and ponder about what the heck just spoke "Move" to me- the SUV weaves at a 90 degree angle right into the spot where I just was. The car was so close to my window that a could have spit on it. 

In that moment I knew I was going to die. I drive a small Honda and this SUV was huge... and it was going to crush me. So there I was knowing I was going to die, being ok with that, and all I could think of was my husband Craig. Just him. Just his smiling face. 

And then Death passed over me. The SUV- Suburban I think- then did a 360 in the other direction smashing into THREE other cars, ultimately slamming them all into the side rail.

Glass, fiber glass, metal, and blood immediately covered the highway. So much destruction. At this point I brake quickly three times, turn on my emergency flashers to alert the traffic behind me, and come to a fast stop. 

Next I hear the sound of screaming brakes as different SUV FLIES past me at a 45 degree angle- again close enough to touch- into the pile of four cars. At this point I almost had a heart attack. But then my life guard & first aide training sets in. Less than 100 feet away from me was the pile of cars, and one of them had a woman in. Her SUV got the worse of the pile-up. She was t-boned by the 1st car and then hit head on by the last car. She was bleeding heavily and her legs were crushed. I saw that traffic has stopped and I get out of my car and run over to her. 

Then I saw and heard the most haunting thing I've ever witnessed in my life. This poor poor woman's guttural scream. That is all she could do was cry and scream. I do not think I will ever forget that scream. It will haunt me until I die.

I told her its ok and that she needs to stay still. I see in her backseat that she had a dog and that it is now dead. As I frantically call 911, another bystander runs up. This man says he is a doctor and begins to apply pressure to her wound on her neck. Soon we hear a firetruck coming and two state troopers pull up. I gave the second trooper my contact information quickly as they cleared the scene and began to cut her out of her car. 

I shake the entire way to my mother's house. I cried and cried and held my children tight. I called my husband. And then I had to turn around and drive home, this time with my kids. Lets just say the drive home was slow- very slow- and stressful. 

Once I got home and put the baby to bed, I held my daughter until she fell asleep. I was so thankful that I got to be with her for longer. To treasure this life. After I laid her into bed, then I could calm down. I prayed, I cried,  and I talked to God. 

This whole incident has been hard to digest. I was spared- but another was not. Why me? I am no more deserving than the others. You spoke to me and saved me- yet not to the woman? Why did you let that man, who lost control of his vehicle hurt your children so badly? 

Obviously I do not have the answers to these questions. I learned long ago to just accept God's wisdom and timing. While I do not want to die- if it is my time then it is. And that is ok with me. I lived alot of life in my few years. I have loved. I have helped create and mold two beautiful lives. I have known the Lord. I have lived a good life. But yesterday was not my time. Not just yet. 

I guess I have some more things left to do on this earth. I do have a new sense of appreciation for my life and health, and that of the one's I love. But besides that, I am still bewildered and haunted. Life passes so quickly and ends in a flash. 

I gave my statement to the police tonight. The woman, in the SUV which  should  have been me, died today from complications. 

So my dear friends. Treasure This Moment. This Day. This Week. 

A new fuzzy life I found in my window. It seems this little birdie needed to be tucked back into his nest! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Play Silks and Magic

Tonight was a special night of crafting and mothering. I just love to create for my children and especially to create with them. Throughout my day, my younger son demands more of my immediate attention than my older daughter Deirdre. While my daughter is not neglected by any means, it is hard to truly connect with her when Jonas is trying to kill himself by finding and attempting to eat a peach pit. Hello gray hairs! (BTW where the phantom peach pit came from BEATS ME!) 

So during the times when it is just Deirdre and I, everything else can wait- and does. I try to plan a fun craft before bed every night even if it is just painting with her. I can then devote myself fully to her and its just lovely. Tonight was one of the nights again.

I few weeks ago I got the crazy idea to make my own play silks for the kids. Play silks are the quintessential Waldorf play toy, next to the play stand. The silks are 100% silk- as sticking with all natural materials, and they're dyed various colors. What is so great about these silks is that they're an open ended toy. They can serve multiple purposes and can be played with in a hundred different ways. From princess dresses to a meadows and oceans- they seriously are fabulous toys, especially for how simple they are. 

You can buy playsilks online for about $14 each. I however cannot bring myself to pay that much for just one!  After searching online and in fabric stores for silk, I found a site that sells them almost wholesale to you, precut and hemmed! Plus they are a very eco-friendly company that has great corporate responsible when it comes to their workers and their carbon footprint. So I ordered 5 35x35 habotai silk scarves form them for $20 plus shipping. (If I had gotten premade plays silks I would have spent close to $70). 

And tonight Deirdre and I dyed them together as our special craft time. She LOVED this craft and was able to help me measure the vinegar and pour in the dye. She learned more about her colors and mixing them, not to mention we truly connected

Afterwards, she immediately began playing with them and had her gnomes cross her leg bridge over the raspberry river into the purple mountains. It was so worth it! 

Bonne Nuit! 
~ Nicole 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mulling over Living

I have been mulling over the topic of "living" today. What a silly thing to mull over really, but not in an existential sense. Tonight I wanted to write an update about our moving plans, our new home, and how we are going to try to make a clean start at green living in this new place- much more so than we do now. 

However after watching the French film "Welcome" tonight with a group of church friends, I felt that I just wanted to share some of the beauty of our lives and the world around us with tonight. God has left us to be stewards of his creation and for this reason I want to live a 'greener' more conscious life. I want to leave my children with a beautiful world, not a dying one. I want them to know nature's beauty and glory. I want them to respect and love the Lord's creation, as it should be. 

So here is a bit of our world. I would be remiss to not share it with you in a post about 'living' since it is the world we live in. The only one we have. 

The Rhodora 
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

A Rainbow of Toadstools

About February of this year I began telling Deirdre a bedtime story. Our usual bedtime rhythm before was bath, lotion, pj's, a short TV show on Momma's bed (while I nursed and put Jonas down), then a craft, snuggles, 3 books, prayers, and then bed- commencing at about eight o'clock. 

Soon however Jonas weaned himself and I no longer needed to put on a show for her. Also let me just put it out there that I do dinnertime and bedtime alone without any help usually every night of the week since my husband works nights. So to keep my (at the time 2 year old) safely occupied, a 20 minute show of Maurice Sendak's Little Bear seemed justified. But now there was no more breastfeeding and Deirdre was older so she now plays quietly in her room while I put the baby down. 

All of a sudden however, she and I now had a longer span of time between Jonas' bedtime and hers. I did not want to fill this with a TV show anymore because it was unnecessary, so I decided to try something new to help wind her down. Then viola while I was reading about Waldorf education this February it came to me. I can tell her a story! It seemed simple enough but let me just say that coming up with an original story each night was not so easy or relaxing for me at least.

At first I told her my rehashed versions of fairy tales- Jack and the Beanstalk is a big hit at my house- but  conversely I also felt a desire to tell a her contiguous story. A story in which each night I could add to yet have the same characters. A story that could evolve to include trials and issues she faced during her day. A fun teachings story. So after thinking some more and revisiting my childhood I remembered one of my favorite characters- David the Gnome

The funny thing is that I do not remember much about the show. It was on Nickelodeon in the late 80s, but not for very long. However I do remember that David wore a red pointy hat, that his wife's name was Lisa, that he ate a hard boiled egg for breakfast (weird, right!), and he helped animals as well as hated trolls. 

So I took a shot in the dark and told her a story about David. And each night since February she has gotten a new David story from me (unless she is with Omi overnight). That's almost five months of stories, woo-hoo! It is pretty miraculous to me how much she loves and looks forward to these stories. I do not fancy myself a famous bard, but in the eyes of my daughter I am. Each night I repeat the same introduction as follows:

Once upon a time there was a little gnome named David,whom lived at the base of the old oak tree.
Every morning when he wakes up, he puts on his red pointy hat and goes downstairs to eat his breakfast.
Every morning for breakfast he has a hard boiled egg in a little blue egg cup.
When he is finished, he gives his wife Lisa a kiss good-bye and puts on his shoes and walks out his door into the forest.
You see, David is a forest helper gnome.
His job is to help and protect the animals of the forest. 

When I am done with the introduction, I recap what David did in the story from last night and then he continues on his adventure. Deirdre now has the introduction memorized and she likes to say it instead of me. It really is quite a treat and a sweet unique mommy-daughter time. 

Now you might be wondering what this has to do with crafting! Well I will tell you. Have you ever seen a gnome toy, clothing, books, or quilt at the store? No, you say? Well me either! 

As a result of the David stories, Deirdre has taken a keen interest, nay obsession with gnomes. The hard part is that I cannot buy gnome things at most stores. So this Momma buckled down and decided to make some gnome toys and a quilt for her gnome obsessed daughter. (An obsession I whole heartily support).

My latest gnome crafting addition has been her rainbow of toadstools. I am not sure why gnomes and mushrooms are linked to one another, but she asked and I obliged. 


These were very simple. I just wood burned a line between the stem and dome as well as dots. Then I did a watercolor wood stain and sealed with beeswax polish. Its very similar to the wood gnomes I made. You can get the wood blanks from this site, and soon *hopefully* my tutorial will be published. Until then feel free to email if you want to make a pair of your own and need help!

Always, Nicole 

Their new gnome treehouse. I traded her all her old Little People sets for this. It was a good trade.

Their new barn and animals. I also traded her for it. She and Jonas love this. The only Little People sets we kept were our nativity and Christmas Town, both special gifts form relatives. 

Her new set-up, or so she calls it! 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moving right along

Ah how I have missed this space! I think that I need to come up with a better weekly blogging plan if I am going to keep up an every day/every other day blog. I really am enjoying blogging. It keeps my mind and pen sharp. Plus its a great record for me and time to sort out my thoughts, and the Lord know that I need help with that

While I love to talk and write about just my kids and our family adventures, after awhile that seems a bit dull to me to recap day after day unless something of significant note occurs. I also like to share my ideas of the world, crafting, and issues that are near and dear to my heart like I did with miscarriage and green living. 

So starting next week the blog is going to look a little something like this: 

Monday: ::right now::
Tuesday: Crafting
Wendesday: Living
Thursday: Education
Friday: Mothering 
Saturday: Weekending
Sunday: {this moment}

While this might seem arbitrary and/or rigorous, its not meant to be. Like in all things I need a loose plan or guide. I always have done my best work with a prompt, so I will let this guide be my prompt so I can try my best to produce something of substance each day. Obviously I am a rebel and deviate from the norm at times *note my sarcasm here* , so I am sure I won't keep to this like a saint. However the guide seems to sum up what I talk about each week and looks good to me! 

So here is to a little reorganizing!

On the home front things are moving quite along. I have the kids' rooms planned out and the new things we need ordered. We've chosen paint colors from a nice low VOC green seal paint company and I have begun packing!!! 

I also have been finishing up on some more wood working projects and the quilt bindings to the kids' new big bed quilts. We also got a chance to go to the lagoon again this Sunday. Another glorious time was had by all. We still are so excited about finding this place. It is so neat to see Jonas and Deirdre playing together. And not side by side, but actually together! So enjoy the photos below. Tomorrow there will be a full report on my crafting adventures. 

Until then I wish you a blessed week of peace and joy! 

Playing together making sand cupcakes!!!! DD scooped and Jonas packed the sand! 

He loved finding treasures in the shallows. 

Love this one

I am ready to rock! 

Silly boy, he thinks he can swim but really what he is doing is giving his mother mini heart attacks as he slowly flops and bobs in the ankle deep water. At least he is having fun, right? 

Best feeling ever. Water and sand beneath my toes! 

Deirdre called them gnome homes!