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Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekend Plans

What are you doing this weekend? 

We are looking forward to hearing a prophet's voice while we watch chicks hatch out of eggs.

It has been a surprisingly humble experience to candle these eggs.

The first time I saw one of the chicks move inside the egg, I was astonished and breathless with wonder.

I watched its teeny feet move around, casting little shadows inside the egg. Then the chick pressed its perfectly formed foot up against the inside of his eggshell. At that moment I realized what a miracle I was holding in my hands. It was so humbling to realize I was literally holding his life in my hands: one slip and the egg could drop and end his life. I felt a huge responsibility to handle the egg with care.

Eagerly I called the children to come into my dark bathroom and see the eggs. They ooo-ed and aaah-ed and whispered excitedly over the little shadows we could see through the shell.

Life is amazing and beautiful.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Face paint fun

 Recently I had a chance to "play". I invited a couple of friends to bring a picnic to our little farm and let their children play while I paint. It was a fun chance to get pictures of new patterns. 

I love these elegant floral designs. This rose pattern is the one I paint on myself the most frequently when I need to wear some paint at an event. I love how it drapes down the neck!

This hibiscus body art pattern is new for me. This was the first time I ever painted it. I really love how it looks, especially with the flowers on her neck.

This last pattern was a great exercise in black line work. I love patterns that rely on line work. It's really fun and fast to create. For a formal event, I add stick-on pearls to these patterns. It adds a really nice finishing touch and jazzes it up a bit.

Editor's rant: You may have noticed the watermarks on the pictures. Yup. I'm labeling my work now so at least if people copy my images to reuse for their own business, at least I either get the credit for the picture or else I make them have to do extra editing to crop out my name.

 Petty? Perhaps. I don't care.

 Most of this blogs traffic is attracted to my face painting posts. I know most of you don't care a fig about the rest of my site. That's fine. HOWEVER, I don't like my work being stolen.

For those of you visitors who are inclined to photographic plagiarism, all you have to do is ASK. I'm happy to give you permission to use my images.That's the end of my rant.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Emergency Date Night

Today was *Fun*.

I'm glad I can think clearly during an emergency, sometimes.

Today we went to the park while we waited to pick up Matthew and a friend after school. Daniel was playing on the slide while I cleaned out the van. While I threw away garbage, I heard Daniel start screaming. Loudly.

(I must admit, I didn't think anything was truly wrong at first. Dan is famous for his melodramatics. Remind me to tell you the story about his tantrum/hyperventilating/thrashing on the floor/screaming over some sticky fingers. He kept gasping, "I can't LIVE with sticky fingers!" while shaking his hands in the air emphatically. With Daniel, that behavior is pretty much par for the course.)

I calmly walked over to him to access the damage, mentally preparing my soothing words that whatever was wrong that was really not worth screaming about.

His arm was hurting, so I tried to move the bulky long sleeve out of the way to discover the scrapes. As soon as I gently held my hands on his arm, I could feel the bones wildly out of place. Yikees.

I had two thoughts at this point:

1- Poor boy! What a terrible mother I am to have thought nothing was actually wrong! I should have intuitively known something was seriously wrong. He must be in so much pain!

2- DRAT! The last thing I need is an expensive ER bill. Goodbye, house project #2 (installing a wall and front door where our garage door currently stands. Sigh. I was so looking forward to this project being finished. Oh well.....).

I picked him up (minus one sneaker, which was left under a slide....I hope it's still there tomorrow!) and carried him gingerly to the van. Of all the days to be without my cell phone, this was it. Nathan had taken it to work.

Shielding my eyes and scanning the park, I saw a lady jogging two dogs on the opposite end of the field. Jogging as quickly as flip-flops allow (which looked pretty comical, I'm sure), I begged the use of her phone to place some quick calls.

Unfortunately we still had to pick up Matthew and his friend from school, so poor Daniel had to cradle his arm while we collected our boys from school and sped home. (I'll admit, I really did speed. That's a big deal for me.) We made a quick stop to deposit our children at a neighbor's home and get some pain killer for Daniel. Then we began the long drive to the hospital.

A thirty minute drive can take forever.

Along the way, Daniel started losing consciousness. At first I was grateful that his body's natural defenses were shutting his brain down as a coping strategy. Then I thought perhaps he was going into shock.

He wouldn't wake up while I jiggled him, so of course I began to worry. I pulled over and woke him up, explaining what shock was and asking him to stay awake and talk to me during the drive. He was so good to try so hard to remain conscious and talk to me.

Luckily the ER was virtually empty when we arrived. The x-rays showed his bones both broken and crazily out of place. Daniel was so angry that they had cut off one of his favorite shirts, and the hospital gown they provided him was not nearly adequate in his mind. He was not impressed with the astronaut print on the gown.

Here are some brief moments from our 5-hour stay in the ER:

When the nurse was putting in the IV line, she directed Daniel to focus on the television instead of her. His weak reply was, "I can't. It's playing Sponge Bob, and that's not allowed at our house. It's too stupid."

Later I flipped through channels to find what interested him. When the doctor came in, he glanced at the TV and asked Daniel in a surprised voice, "YOU picked this? What six-year-old chooses to watch Food Network?" Daniel just smiled. (He takes after his daddy on that preference. They watch recorded episodes of Good Eats together.)

All the nurses and doctors commented more than once how tough he was. He didn't cry and they were surprised at his comprehension of the procedures. I kept explaining to him what was going on and he'd provide his own opinions. For example, he didn't want to wear the obligatory oxygen mask, so he said, "I have enough oxygen in my blood! I'm breathing just fine! Do not put that thing on me!"

While we waited for the x-rays to be taken, I played with his hair and held h is hand. When I moved, he quietly said, "Mommy, will you please hold my hand longer?"

I was able to watch the doctor set the bones. It was fascinating, although unnerving, to hear the bones pop during the procedure.

After we left we were starving hungry (we left the ER at 9:00pm and had been away from home since 3:00) so we had a rare treat and went through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through for dinner to eat on the drive home.

Gasp! I know, I know. Fast food is usually ultra-taboo for us. (If you want to know why, read the books titled "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Fast Food Nation". It will cure your fast-food cravings in a jiffy!) We were so hungry I actually didn't care about my personal food politics. Well.....I should say there's one exception: I'm never hungry enough to visit McDonalds. Ever.

Daniel was so delighted. He said matter-of-factly, 'This is like a mother-son date. Except that I have a broken arm. This is great! I love date nights!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our Butler

I've had it. I'm done playing this endless game with the boys called

It kills me to see their room with a floor like a mosaic:
made of colorful splashes of clothing, toys, and random garbage.

It's time for a visit from our friend, "The Butler".

He hasn't visited our home in over a year.

Sarah loves him. 

She never has anything to worry about when he visits. (Her room is always spotless anyway. I think she gets a twisted sense of satisfaction when she sees the boys finally have consequences for their slovenly ways.)

The boys hate him. 

They beg me to call him on the phone and tell him to go stay someplace else. They make signs prohibiting any and all butlers from entering their room. 

I've been fair. 

The boys have had 2 weeks of warnings that the Butler would be visiting soon.

Today is the day. The Butler is coming. 

Ah, it will be nice to have a clean space in the boys' room again!

(Yes, my kids are old enough now to realize The Butler is imaginary. Now the boys get frustrated at me instead of The Butler, but it's still fun to talk about him as if he's real and leave little notes signed "The Butler".)

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sarah enjoys the puddles in our latest rainstorm

I'm having a great day. 

That's all. 

There's nothing really special to say. 

There is a weeks-worth pile of laundry waiting, and house repairs needing to be done, 
closets to organize, etc.....but I'm so happy and full of peace. 

Particularly when I step outside and hear the birds singing sweetly in the trees. 

I can't say enough how much I LOVE living where we do. 

I literally sigh in contentment each time I drive home, passing empty fields of flowers, picturesque red barns and pastures dotted with black cattle. 

It's so lovely. 

The Lord surely loves us to give us such a beautiful Earth to enjoy. 

I'm happy.

I hope you enjoy your day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tea for three

I believe part of my calling as a mother is to help create memorable experiences for my I put together an elegant tea party for Sarah to share with some friends. 

(Mommy disclaimer: Of course I neglected my housecleaning this afternoon.....there's a reason why there's a handy thing called the 'crop function' with pictures. You can't see the dirty dishes waiting for their turn to monopolize my attention.)

(Another tangent: No, we don't drink 'real' tea. I served non-caffienated herbal teas and lemonade....just in case you're wondering. We are Mormon, you know.) 

The girls dressed up their dolls in their finest clothing and carefully arranged miniature chairs around the tea table. The dolls shared secrets throughout the party (don't they look like they're whispering something sneaky?)

I happened to have excess chocolate fondue left over from a church activity I had arranged earlier in the week (Oh it was so fun! I get to minister to the single members in our ward. I love socializing with older women!).

The girls were delighted to have an array of dippables for the chocolate. (who doesn't love chocolate-covered cookies, cake, fruit, well....I suppose chocolate-covered ANYTHING is pretty good! I've even seen chocolate-covered bacon in the candy stores.)

They had a lovely time chatting and giggling. For my part, my heart was full just to watch Sarah have such a fun time. I feel so blessed when we get to have happy days like this, just enjoying each other's company. 

When we moved into the country, our lifestyle changed in some unexpected ways. Everything is so far away now that we have the necessity of creating our own entertainment (rather than visiting the library or park or shopping, etc). I had expected this a bit, but I am constantly surprised at how much richer our lives are when we cut out the city attractions. (Okay, the one exception is the library...that one is hard to live without! So we make bi-weekly trips into town to pick up a basket of books.)

Life is beautiful. It just is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kids crave dirt

Along with milk and vegetables, kids need dirt and worms to grow.

Today my children spent all day in the pasture playing in the dirt. They were so enthusiastic about their game. I was given breathless snippets of updates each time they dashed through the house for a drink of water or restroom break. Other than that I didn't see or hear them for an entire afternoon!

At the end of the day they tramped back to our house, covered from head to toe in mud and dirt. (I won't mention what my floors looked like after this parade!)

They were exuberant in their accomplishment and begged me to take a tour of their dirty creation.
(Pun totally intended!)
Very proudly they led me into the pasture, their faces all glowing with unconcealed pleasure.

With a grandiose wave of his arms, Matthew said, "Ta-DA!"

They had spent all day digging a trench.

It was over 100 feet long. 

They said it was the best day ever.

I was reminded yet again by my little ones to enjoy the little pleasures of being alive. 

I am so happy where we live!

(As a side note, Nathan and I have wanted to dig a Polynesian-style BBQ pit big enough to roast an entire pig...I wonder if the children would be so obliging as to take care of the excavation....)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just do it

It's official.

 I'm going for one of my dreams.

 I am illustrating a childrens' book.

Isn't it exciting? 

We are aiming for publication in time for Christmas.

I'm simultaneously tickled with anticipation and terribly nervous.

We'll see how things go.....I wonder if I'm allowed to share my illustrations online here? 
Hmmm...something I need to ask the author. I'd like to share my work here if I can.
 ( *laughing* and when I can remember to upload them, that is! Aren't we still waiting for me to post pics of my Christmas paintings.....yeah, well....let's move on....)

I am currently conquering some of my project list so I can focus properly on this new project. 
(See the shower walls behind me, still waiting for tile? Yeah....that's a biggie on my project list.)

Among my projects I am currently incubating 35 chicken eggs. If all goes well, they will hatch just in time for Easter, won't that be fun?! 

I can hardly wait!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Joke Journal- Sarah

Sarah started interjecting humor into her conversations lately. It's hilarious. It's been more and more entertaining to talk to her...she's just getting generally more funny, and she knows it. 

Yesterday the children were talking with Nathan about age and maturity, and how some 
people act much older than they really are, etc.

Sarah: How old would you think I am, Dad?
Nathan: Well, you're pretty I'd say 22.
Sarah (throwing her hands in the air with mock horror): Twenty-TWO?! What happened 
to my childhood?!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Projects, projects everywhere

Projects pile up around me, calling my name and vying for my attention. I've been kindly answering their pleas for attention this past week and conquering some of my to-do list.

Just a random picture I love of Matthew.
We originally bought our little farm house from some people who were chain smokers, so we had to cover all surfaces liberally with Kilz primer in order to block the nicotine stains and noxious reek. It made the ceilings and walls look a dirty, dingy grey color. Well, I finally painted the children's rooms and made them look cheerful and welcoming.

Hopefully I'll remember to post pictures soon of their bedroom transformations. I've been waiting for my sewing machine to arrive in the mail (my last one was dropped during our move and was shattered disappointing!) so I can sew curtains before taking pictures of the final product.

I particularly love Sarah's room: it's like a fairy tale garden full of flowers, dragonflies and butterflies. It's absolutely magical. She asked me to paint a couple of paintings to hang in there. The canvases will host a fairy tea party and butterfly garden.....whenever I get around to actually making them. I've been working on the concept sketches and they are looktojtiood. I'll give a picture tour of her room soon. (Let's go ahead and add that task to my growing list of projects! Who knows when it will be done?)

I've been brushing up again on my body art skills since I took a leave of absence during my difficult pregnancy and postpartum baby-stage. (What a great pun! Did you catch it?) Diego is old enough to eat cereals and other solids, so I left him for TEN HOURS (yikes!) last weekend while I worked my first festival of the year. I've agreed to work this monthly festival for the rest of the I'm really excited about this prospect of regular gigs again. I really enjoyed getting back into my artistic groove, so to speak, and interacting with so many families.

The next project will be a biggie. I purchased some AMAZING wooden frames for a steal last week. (They are the extremely ornately-carved and gold-leafed type of frames you find in museums or churches. Nice!) I always look for frames at thrift stores (buying frames new is just too expensive for me, so I have 6 paintings sitting unframed on my bookcases). Occasionally I find a fantastic frame I can use, so I take it home and remove whatever ugly picture it originally held (and was usually the sole reason why it was sent to the thrift store in the first place) and frame my own art for almost free. SO, I found two heirloom-quality frames for only $25 last week. I literally salivated just looktojtat these beauties. So I bought them. The only problem is that none of my finished paintings are quite big enough to use in these I'm planning on another painting. And it will have to be huge.

I purchased more tree swings for our property. I can't help myself. I want to have trees dangling all over the property, calling little children to come play. Have I mentioned enough times how much I adore tree swings? My heart feels so full of peace and quiet happiness each time I watch my children swing under the arms of an old oak tree. This is what life is meant to be like.

Now I have the project of actually hanging those swings. Where's my Boy Scout when I need him?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Decisions, decisions

I have an opportunity to fulfill one of my life goals. I've been asked to illustrate a book. 

I've been waffling back and forth for a couple of weeks....trying to decide if I should do it or not. You may ask me: Why wouldn't I jump at the chance?


I'm not exactly 'on top of things' right now.

I really need to bring more order into my home (you know, by tackling the clutter that is currently invading my space and figure out how to more effectively use our closets, etc.) and work on our garden or work on reclaiming our garage as living space (more on that project a different day).

Then again, I don't know if this chance will come my way again. I've already started researching for these illustrations and sketching out preliminary ideas. I want to do it, but then again some days I think I must be crazy for wanting to commit to such a time-consuming obligation.....and it has those things called 'deadlines'. Hmm, that's pretty much a foreign language to me lately.

A part of me is afraid to commit to it because I'm worried I'll fail at it (remember my perfectionist problems? Here they come to nag me!), and a part of me says "Let's buckle down and do it! Who cares if the house is messy for 6 months? You'll have a BOOK that will last forever to show for your time! Do it!"

I feel so torn.