Saturday, July 30, 2011

Richard, a boy lovey doll for Robert

Robert has hardly any toys, and some of the ones he has have been commandeered by his sisters. I wanted to make him a sweet, simple little lovey doll. Making this little doll also satisfied my need to create.

Most people don't make a point of giving their little boys dolls--if they let them play with them at all. But when my Uncle Rob (dad's brother) was a little boy he had a baby doll named Richard. There are pictures of him playing with and loving Richard. I thought it was so sweet. So that is how he got his name.

I strongly believe in boys having baby dolls, just as girls should have toy tool boxes and cars and building blocks. No one is all girl or all boy. We all have some combination of "male" traits and "female" traits. As you probably know, the male and female hormones are not even exclusive to each sex. Boys do have a nurturing instinct and a need to express that through play. This is why, though I could have made this an all-blue doll, I decided to use pink and red.

He is made of soft cashmere (upcycled sweaters) with a wooden head, and his hat, which is attached at the back of the neck, can be pulled on or off his head. He seems to like Richard. He will grab his knotted hands and feet if I hand the doll to him and sometimes I find them damp from being chewed.

People used to come into Jennie G's boutique when I worked there and buy two or three "loveys" for their child because the original favorite toy had gotten lost. Those things cost about $10 each and are frequently discontinued, so I think if you can make a lovey instead it's a good idea. All the materials for Richard only totaled about $2, and I could easily replicate him if I needed to.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My kids and my crafts

Two of my favorites. Also love spending time with Jordan. Doesn't happen much.

We did go to the midnight showing of Harry Potter, though. My parents offered to let the girls spend the night, and we thought hey, let's go to a movie, but not much was on but Harry Potter. So we shopped a while at Goodwill (Thursdays are $1 days, don't you know) and then hung out in line because we wanted to be sure to get a seat where we could run out if Robert started to cry. We were way early, and I was hoping there would be Harry Potter cake or something but there was only trivia and I felt oddly like a schoolchild. We did get to see some rather interesting costumes (grown man wearing a pillowcase!) and I only had to poke Jordan a few times right at the end of the movie to keep him awake. Robert slept through the entire thing. We should go to movies in the middle of the night more often!

Anyway, on to the pictures.

I've been making more wool diaper covers. I like making them with cute animals on the butt. These two I made for pregnant friends (one of whom just had her baby the other day, yay!). I want to make some to sell, if I ever get time.

I cut up the rainbow pants and tried again. They are a little improved now.

Wool pants! I love them! I just made these the other day as a first try. I'll have to make some more for Robert in several months that will fit for the fall and winter. I've got a couple of striped sweaters that are going to be SO CUTE on him as pants. I can't wait.

I went to a friend's Crochet Corner playdate the other day and she helped me get started on this hat. I finished it at the highland games. I like to crochet, but you know what I don't like? Paying a fortune for quality yarn. I love thrifting. I am not used to retail prices. But Saturday I found two little skeins of gray wool at Salvation Army for 50 cents each so I'm going to take it to the next Crochet Corner and see if I can make matching hats for Robert and me. That would be nerdy-adorable.

Here is a picture of Suzi at a birthday party last week. We let her dress herself. She has such a unique sense of style, don't you think? She loves anything boyish.

And this is classic Ivey, having a third or fourth yummy lemon poppy seed muffin. I was nursing Robert for a good part of this event and she begged the other moms to get them for her.

She still looooves her little brother, but he is getting to be not so little compared to her anymore! I remember when this happened with her and Suzi.

Suzi made these potato heads today and wanted me to take a picture. Now they are decorating the top of our TV cabinet. I love how she repurposed the mustache into eyebrows.

After spinning my crafty wheels in the mud for several days, I was so happy to finally finish something tonight. (Well, Jordan and I also repaired Robert's bouncy seat, which involved some sewing. But that wasn't really a craft.) This is a storage bag that hangs over the back of your car seat by the head rest. I saw the idea at punk projects, but as you can probably tell, I did not follow all of her directions. Hers looks a lot nicer, but I was in a hurry. After I installed our new storage bag, I was moved to spend the next half hour cleaning out the van. So thanks, Katie! You made my night.

My sweet Robert is looking more and more like me these days (we know because he looks like my same-age baby pictures). He isn't playing too much with toys yet, but he does seem to like these monkeys. He can roll from front to back and I'm pretty sure he could roll back to front, but he hasn't yet. His floor time is limited because I don't want Ivey wrestling with him/stepping on him. These were taken after the girls were in bed.

Oh, goodness. I never get tired of looking at him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coming to terms with the chaos

Endless energy! Why can't I get some of that?

Sword fighting at the highland games a couple of weeks ago. Others were alarmed, I took pictures. But I did not buy the weapons :-)

Life is pretty wild right now with three little kids, but I think I am growing into it. Mostly with patience and a sense of humor, which I have learned are the two main things you need in parenting. Sometimes they even seem like the same thing.

Yesterday we had Hippie Handicrafts at our house. I love having my friends and their little ones over! Between the five of us in attendance yesterday, we had quite a few children. 11 of them, who ranged in age from 3-month-old Robert up to 10-year-old Corbin who helps watch the little ones and uses words like pandemonium. There is bound to be some interesting stuff going down in a house with all those kids in it. Once everyone goes home and it's just me and my kids again, it's suddenly so quiet that I almost expect an extra toddler to jump out of the closet beating a drum or something. It's a little lonely.

I'm not at all sure who used my camera to take this picture or the next one, but whoever it was isn't very tall.

Near the end of last week's HH meeting, the kids settled down to watch a movie. Phibby seems to enjoy these days, too.

Everything went pretty smoothly yesterday until the afternoon, when it was just me and Megan and our five kids. Usually I keep our Sharpie markers put away, but yesterday one got taken out and left on the dining room table. While Megan and I weren't looking, Ivey and Aiden got a hold of it and drew on themselves. We laughed. Ivey did a pretty thorough job of inking up her arms and legs in permanent fuchsia. We took her to the chiropractor like that and everyone loved it.

We were planning to give the girls a bath, but by the time we got home everyone was tired and we decided we'd deal with it later. So the girls went to bed with Ivey still Sharpied. Jordan and I had been watching TV together for about half an hour when we heard Suzi whine down the stairs, "I'm wet! I'm cooooold!"

She had tried to help us by washing the Sharpie off of Ivey. The only problem was she had done this in the bed with water from one of their sippy cups. The bed was soaked, the girls were soaked, and the sheets were tinged with pink. Jordan was pretty irritated, but I laughed, and eventually we both laughed, told them never to do that again and then laughed some more after tucking them back into a dried-off bed and telling them to GO TO SLEEP.

It was kind of funny.

I think we are learning and slowly growing in patience, which is probably my #1 parenting goal right now. I doubt that in this stage of our life we are meant to somehow catch up and put an end to the chaos. It wouldn't last long if we did. I'm trying to just live in it, grow in it, and enjoy it. While it takes all my time and energy, it's also full to overflowing with love and life.

Try to relax and they jump on you, but to tell the truth we kind of like it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Things I've made in the past couple months, plus crafty plans

Happy 4th of July! Jordan has the day off. I hope you and your family are having a good day, too!

I already posted about my cocoons, but just wanted to update. They fit great!

My mom baked it, I decorated it.

Also for Suzi's birthday. We didn't break it, so we still have it.

Father's Day gift. The button is a magnet for holding a photo or list and says "We (heart) Paw."

I still haven't quite perfected this sunhat I've been working on.

Tie dyes never look quite so pretty as when you first untie them.

Sweater gnome for Suzi

A wool diaper cover for Robert. Need to develop a better pattern. And also figure out a better method of dyeing wool.

Simple baby dress for a little friend's birthday

To-craft list:

at least 4 more of those baby dresses
a similar dress in my size (already half done!)
pocket babies and small wool/wooden dolls (to sell, maybe)
a better sunhat
more diaper covers for Robert
birthing time flax seed heat packs
a bunting decoration kinda like this

Possibilities for future Hippie Handicrafts meetings:

wire bird nests
wire trees of life
sweater flowers
singed-edges flowers
lentil balloon balls
sweater arm warmers
sweater hats for kids
freestyle sweater stuffed animals
fairy doors?
gnome houses, maybe?
polymer clay mama ornaments?
whatever anyone else thinks of and wants to lead!

Also, I want to do a tie-dye party before the summer is over but that will require some extra people for child-watching. Hard to chase after a little one when you have a limited amount of time to use up dye and you're wearing dye-drippy rubber gloves! I also want to do some Hippie Handicrafts for the kids. Maybe I will ask if Megan can lead the little ones in a craft, because we all know that's not my strong point!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Scheduling and being present with my kids: Related?

(I am going to start posting random pictures of my kids with every wordy post. They just sit in my pictures folder and I know some people would like to see them.)

This is related to my Home(school) Improvement posts. I just read the first two chapters of Oak Meadow's Home Teacher's Process Manual. Remember how I said the other day I was going to do a loose routine and NOT put specific times on things? Well, now I'm not sure how that's going to work. According to the book, a large part of staying focused on an activity is clearing your time. It says:

"Keep a daily schedule in which you provide time for everything that must be done. This relieves your mind of the pressure of "all those things I must do." Once you see how you may accomplish all that is necessary to be accomplished, then you are more able to focus on the required activity during the time you have set aside for that."

This is a good point; I frequently worry about getting things done and am distracted from what I'm doing with my kids. So I am going to make a schedule schedule, with times and all. The thing about a schedule is that a baby will blow it out of the water. You think it's time for reading... until the baby screams through a whole story because he doesn't want you to sit down while you hold him. You think it's time for singing and doing fingerplays... until the baby requires you to keep both your hands on him. It's frustrating. I'm thinking I'll just have to do the best I can, schedule extra time for things, and know that Robert will sometimes delay what we are doing for a few minutes. I know lots of successful homeschoolers have five or six kids. It'll work out somehow.

But I am going to make a schedule, and plan it around the regular playdates we have. I hate to miss out on an opportunity to be with friends, but I'm probably going to have to skip impromptu meetings a lot from now on. Oh well, that's what mothers who have their kids in group schooling have to do.

I'm not sure about the specifics of our schedule yet. I think I'm going to look at some other people's, try a couple of things out, and post what I've got so far within a few days.