Monday, February 28, 2011

A Little "Art"

Claire: Mommy, do you see my painting? What did I paint?
Me: Hmmm, well I am not sure. What is it sweetie?
Claire: Just tell me what it is, Mommy.
Me: Well, baby I am really not sure what it is.
Claire: Mommy, you just have to use your imagination.

So can any of you use your imagination? This Mommy is stumped. And apparently so is the artist!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A New Obsession

This past Christmas, we bought a present for Claire that was more a present for us. We bought her a MobiGo. For those of you who are thinking, "A Mobi-What??" . . . . a MobiGo is a hand held gaming system by V-Tech. It is geared for kids 3-8. We bought this in our  hopes that it would help Claire pass the time on the many, many flights we had scheduled to get us around to see family over the holidays. Claire was happy to get it and if you ask me, she likes it the proper amount. She'll play it from time to time but it doesn't consume her every waking moment. It is a good supplement to her already overfilled toy inventory.

Recently, Sarah discovered Claire's MobiGo and fell in love. Seriously. This kid can't get enough of that thing. She has always been my little engineer. She can fiddle with something with amazing patience until she finally figures out how it works. The MobiGo was no exception. With Claire, I had to show her how to play the games. Once I did, she was set. But Sarah? I have never once told her how to play any game on this thing and she is already playing circles around Claire. It's a little scary I must admit. 

I decided it was time to blog about this little love of Sarah's which has turned into an obsession when I saw her in the kitchen the other day. She loves to play with my oven mitts and will often stop whatever she is doing to slip them on her little hands. On this particular day, she had been playing the MobiGo. She stopped to put on the oven mitts and then went right back to the game and attempted to play it while wearing said mitts. I ran for my camera to capture the incredible cuteness of it all, but before I could get back to her, the smarty pants had realized that wearing oven mitts was only going to hinder her game play. I made it back to the kitchen just in time to see her walking away with her precious MobiGo, oven mitts shed and lying on the floor. 

But that gave me an idea. I decided to keep my camera ready over the next day or so to see how many different ways I could capture Sarah with her newest best friend. Here, my dear friends are just a few of the places I've found Sarah playing this contraption.

A little game with your breakfast?

I had put the system up on the counter so she would be forced to take a break. Then she moved the stool over, climbed up and got the MobiGo and started playing it right there on the stool. Little stinker!

During her morning snack. Notice that she is actually using her Cheese-It cracker to touch the screen for game play.

While on the hippity-hop. 

Even sisterly love won't stop her.

In fact the sisterly love was a little too much distraction, so she is on the move to find a new spot to play in peace. 

A random floor crouch playing position.

And yes, even while "watching" TV.

This is my child who really can take or leave TV. She will watch an occasional show, but for the most part TV is too sedentary for her. Sarah is much happier when she is tinkering with something and figuring out how it works. So while I was initially surprised by how much she adored this little game, the fact that it is basically an interactive TV created the perfect combo for my little tinker tot. It's been interesting and even a bit funny to watch her obsession grow, but I think it is time to create some sanctions. I am preparing to stow this little toy away in the highest cabinet where she can't find it and only pull it out for short spurts in the day. I dread the withdrawal she will no doubt experience once I separate her from this new love of hers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thus Said Claire

I've seen this done by so many friends on their blogs and I absolutely love it! I've wanted to interview Claire ever since she started talking in complete sentences. Sadly I have yet to stop and do it until now. Below are the questions I asked and Claire's unedited answers with a few moments of commentary from yours truly.

Claire's All About Me Interview---Age: 3 years 10 months

What is your name?------Claire
When were you born?-----I don't know.
How old are you?-----3
Who is your mommy?-----(ducks her head and shyly points at me.)
What does Mommy do?-----Work
Who is your daddy?-----Michael
What does Daddy do?-----Work
What is your favorite color?-----Purple
What do you want to be when you grow up?-----A mommy. (BIG smile on this one)
What is your favorite food?-----Popsicles
What food do you NOT like?-----Green Beans
What is your favorite animal?-----Unicorns and horses (she leans over and says, "Make sure you write horses. Okay, Mom?")
Where do you want to live when you grow up?-----(points to the floor indicating, "Here!"  She made it perfectly clear long ago that she will be living with us all the days of her life)
What do Mommy and Daddy do after you go to bed?-----Turn the light on. (Hallway light that acts as a night light until we all go to bed.)
What is your favorite song?-----Mary Had A Little Lamb
What is your favorite movie?-----The Lion King and Snow White
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?-----Vanilla and Strawberry and Cotton Candy
Where is your favorite place to eat?-----At the table.
Who is your favorite person?-----Aunt Nikki
Who is your best friend?-----Karis and Maryn
What is your favorite book?-----The Bible
Who is your sister?-----Sarah
Where did Sarah come from?-----She leans in with her hand cupped to the side of her mouth and whispers, "Your tummy."  I guess the secret is out now. 
What is your favorite thing to do?-----Play
Are you going to get married one day?-----A very enthusiastic and bright eyed nod of yes.
Are you going to have babies?-----Yes!
How many babies will you have?-----5 and they will be boys and girls.

Monday, February 14, 2011


While I feel that I've got discipline down to a science where my children are involved (hold on while I laugh at myself on that one) where I really seem to be falling short lately is in my SELF discipline. So I've committed to four different areas of self discipline and am hoping that I can stick to these. Time will tell.

First: I will start getting up in the mornings when Michael gets up to get ready for work.
My girls are late sleepers. Claire has started getting up earlier recently, but that still equates to about 8:00. Sarah is one I usually have to go wake up around 9:00. So it is really easy for me to be lazy in the mornings and sleep in until Claire wakes me. While that makes for a very leisurely and stress-free morning, it also makes for a very unproductive day. So I've committed to waking at 6:00 every morning so I will have 2-3 hours of child free time to accomplish some of the other goals on my way to a more disciplined me.

Second: I will make time to be in the Word every morning before I do ANYTHING else.
This was a tough one at first because I love to wake slowly. Even if I manage to crawl out of bed at 6:00, I would prefer to not have to think for at least an hour before starting my day. This means getting my breakfast, hot cup of tea and zoning out in front of the TV. But I've truly felt convicted to give the Lord the first of my day so I have committed to forgo the TV and sit with my Bible instead. I've been reading through Hebrews a chapter a day and am loving that book. It's been too long since I've read it. Chapter 9 in particular is such a great breakdown of the gospel. Love it!

Third: Eating better foods.
I am convinced that I have become addicted to eating out. This is not something I am proud of in any way. It is really sad to me that I can hardly resist the temptation to grab food out on most any occasion. Even when there is perfectly good food at home. So I have committed to stay away from any restaurant food until March 3rd. The reason for March 3rd? We are heading to Anchorage for a weekend trip and I won't really be able to avoid eating out. But if I make it that far, I will have made it 3 full weeks from the day I first committed to this. And once we get back home, I am planning to skip restaurant food until we leave for our trip to Houston in April.

Fourth and Finally:  Exercise
This one is the one I feel most likely to fail. I HATE to exercise. I think it is because I am so out of shape. I am guessing that if I can manage to exercise consistently for the next four weeks, I will feel so much better and might actually start to want to exercise. I have made every excuse in the book as to why it is tough to exercise in Alaska. From "I don't have a gym membership here" to "It's -18 degrees outside and I can't go out in that with the girls". But the truth is,even in Houston I had a great gym membership that included free childcare and I still didn't go work out. So I cannot justify hiding behind my circumstances any longer. I have pulled out my Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD. It is a good workout and only takes 20 minutes of my day. I am committed to doing this for the entire 30 days and then I will feel out what will come next. Baby steps here, folks. Baby steps.

I started on commitment items 1-3 last week and have stayed consistent in them. Item 4 started today. I did complete my daily exercise and am glad I did it.

Make no mistake, I am a weakling when it comes to these areas of discipline. I really don't even like putting it all out there for the world to see but it's the ugly truth of who I am and I am working to improve it. I can't even take credit for the motivation to get this ball rolling. This was a true conviction from the Lord. I had a quiet time a few weeks back and no matter what I read in the Word, one word kept popping into my head. That word was "discipline". So I prayed about it and asked the Lord to show me areas where I lacked discipline in my life. And boy did He show me!! So now I am praying for strength to see these items through and whip myself back into shape both mentally and physically! Keep watching for an update in March. I promise to give a full, honest report.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Our master bath has been occupying a bit of my time as of late. As I mentioned in a previous post, this bathroom was a major negative for me when deciding to buy this house. The layout of the bathroom wasn't my favorite for starters. I mean, the bathtub is encased in what can only be described as a stage. The tile work is a good 3 feet tall and stretches wall to wall. To me, that is a huge waste of space in an already moderately sized bathroom. Since we don't plan to be in this house for more than about 3 years, we were not willing to spend the money or deal with the mess of a complete bathroom remodel. So instead I focused on changing my second major hang up. The decor. 

Here is the best "before" pic I can offer you. 


Since the bathroom isn't all that large, it's impossible to take a picture that includes everything. But this corner of the bathroom was the corner that I was most disturbed by so we will focus our attention here. Ahem. 

The massive tub taking up too much space is not my favorite, but it is nothing compared to the decor chosen by the previous owners. I am not really sure what this lady was thinking, but due to her efforts I will, for the remainder of this post, refer to her as Hildi.  Can you see the purple flower print design on the front of the tile and along the back by the windows? That, my friends is wallpaper. Wallpapr on walls is bad enough in my book, but on tile? Who does that?!?!

Now lets discuss the walls for a moment shall we? They were painted a bright sky blue. Not my cup of tea, but paint isn't a big deal. That can be painted over. Unless of course you have super glued wall paper, yarn and marbles to the walls. Oh yes, I said marbles. Check it out.

This little pattern was repeated around the entire ceiling-to-wall boarder in the bathroom. It even extended down over parts of the mirror above our sinks. Have you ever tried to scrape super glued yarn and marbles off of walls? How about on mirrors? If you haven't consider yourself blessed. I had more than a few choice words for Hildi as I did my best to deconstruct all that she had constructed. 

We couldn't simply pull the yarn off the walls because (as anyone who has worked with yarn can tell you) yarn is quite fuzzy. So I would get hand fulls of little fuzz balls with a large majority of the yarn left on the walls. We finally resorted to using a power sander. And you know what? That didn't take it all off either. By the time we chipped the marbles off and had several large holes to patch, I knew my only option was to re-texture the walls. So I did. 

When I removed the wallpaper from the tile around the bathtub, I found patterned tile.

Apparently it wasn't Hildi's taste. Thus the wallpaper I suppose. The pattern isn't horrible, but is certainly not my taste either. So I decided to try  my hand at painting over the light pinks and greens with a dark chocolate brown  so that it would better coordinate with the new wall color.

So after much sweat and a tad bit of frustration aimed at Hildi, we have newly textured and painted walls. New roman shades and newly painted tile. And while it is still not my ideal layout for a bathroom, I now can stomach this space. So again, here is the before:

And the after:

One thing I do like is that it is surrounded on all sides by windows. We basically live in a forest so privacy isn't an issue. In this place, I can totally see why you'd want to be surrounded by windows while soaking in the tub. I mean, check out the view I have from each of my four windows.

Who wouldn't want to soak in a relaxing tub while enjoying all that scenery, right? Wrong. At least for me. As nice as it would be to soak and relax, I will never, EVER be taking a bath in this tub. Sad, I know. The reason? Our water. Where we live, there is a very high iron content to the water. And as it turns out, iron turns water brownish-orange. You don't really notice it all that much in the shower or sink. But bunch it all together in a tub and you get this:

We've had our water tested and have been assured that the water is clean and safe. The color is simply from the high iron content. The only other "problem" with our water is that it has traces of Arsenic. My first thought when I heard this was, "Isn't that the stuff that NASA gives to astronauts to ingest if they need to commit suicide in space?" And now it's in our water?! YIKES!  Apparently the government has acceptable levels of arsenic content for water and we fall well below those, but to me any Aresnic at all is alarming.

So for now my children are drinking bottled water and I am refusing to soak in my tub. Seems a little silly to do all that work for a tub I won't even use, but at least I don't have to look at those blue walls, wallpaper and marbles any longer!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It Only Took 12 days . . . .

11 days of incorrect forecasts.
11 days promising 60% chance of snow with NO SNOW.
But on day 12??? The chances skyrocketed to 70% and we finally got what we were promised. Hours and hours of fresh new snow!!!