September 30, 2011

American Girl Dolls aren't all THAT creepy...

Remember this post?  Well, it's time for you to officially meet the girls: Molly, Kirsten and Kit.  I scored them at an August yard sale and while they needed a little TLC they were WAAAAAAAAAAAAY cheaper than if I had bought them new  (Kirsten is actually a retired American Girl which apparently means big bucks in doll land).  I was never really a doll person, so I cracked up when I hauled these bad girls home, but you see, my niece recently discovered American Girls and when I saw them at the yard sale I had to given it a go.  

The dolls had bad hair and marker and dirt marks on them (bad teeth, a foul attitude, poor eating habits..  I could go on...)

I Googled around for suggestions on how to begin restoring them and eventually found stephenswodadancer who knows her American Girl Doll stuff!  Using some key supplies-

 I set the girls up with their chemical peel date in the sun.

What do you think the roofers and construction crew thought of me when they saw this?

After sunning themselves for a few days, the girls came inside for their spa appointment.

                                 (these pictures get creepier and creepier...)

You can still see the red mark on Molly's leg.  That's because we ended up getting so much RAIN aka FLOOD WATER that the sun disappeared and I needed to move on with this project.  I plan to tackle Molly's leg again soon.

I wanted to send Kirsten to my niece for her birthday, but she still needed an authentic looking outfit.  Etsy came to my rescue with Cherilynn of Ashley's Attic.  Cherilynn provided me with amazing customer service and a gorgeous outfit to boot!

Kirsten got dressed and mailed on to Pennsylvania, Molly awaits Christmas and Kit?

Well, Kit has been kidnapped by Bear and he shows no signs of giving her up any time soon.  Perhaps I let him because overly involved in the restoring process and now he has detachment issues. 


September 28, 2011

Hoofing it on a run

 This morning, like most mornings, Champ went for his early (I mean early) morning run just as I was rolling over in bed.  

 Today was extra special though, because at the top of our road he discovered Moose prints.  Impressive moose prints stamped into the dirt like large hearts.

So tomorrow morning I think I'll crawl out of bed with him, bundle up on the front porch and peer up the road for a while.  One never knows.

Gorgeous hued leaves, the smell of wood fires, animals making their autumn trek through our woods and a baby soon on his way- oh Fall I can hardly stand how amazing you are.

September 26, 2011

The List

About that list...

 It's BIG and written on chart paper because even though I am no longer a kindergarten teacher, I still adore writing on kindergarten paper.  It's freeing and also clearly visible to anyone who wants to help out (no worries, Champ has already gotten the hint, poor guy).

Now I couldn't really show you what was on it because you would laugh because of names and whatnot, but I'll break it down.

I nest by processing food for the winter at a hyper drive rate.  This is a fact.  With the birth of Bear, it was just days before his arrival and I strong armed Champ into processing 2 bushels of corn for me.

This year, I tried to relax a bit.  I accepted that things would not be my version of perfect and I was even willing to combine frozen berries with fresh ones.


Line items on the list suggest editing and ordering pictures, ensuring Bear has his Halloween costume on time, purging anything that gets in my way and ordering the new baby's initials from the woodworking store.  What?  Why sure I'll tell you- they were X and Q.  

 To accomplish those priorities, activities like 

and vacuuming have fallen to the way side in recent days.

                       (we have a complete set- his and her's)

- have Sterling's prescription refilled- check!
- pull out and sort Bear's Fall clothes- check!
- locate baby diapers in green room- check!
- install new (used) dishwasher- check!
- begin to process carrots in the garden-


So things are getting done and I savor the feeling of completeness each time I can draw a big 'ol line through things we have accomplished (another little skill I picked up in kindergarten). I sit back, pat my belly spend precious one on one time with Bear and then turn my attention back towards jobs that haven't been finalized yet:

- barnstorm clean entire house
- find a tidy way to store all of Bear's helmets
- de-spiderweb everywhere
- clean Bear's room once roof chaos is over

are you laughing yet because sometimes I review The List and giggle to myself - it is so very ME. 

In moments when I allow my whirlwind of movement to slow down and I pause to wipe the dust off The List, I begin to wonder if I've stumbled on to some larger reality.  Some version of Life lived that we can all relate to in some way or another; regardless of what our individual priorities are or how we choose to tackle or record them.

September 23, 2011

Manual Labor

No, no I'm not in labor yet. 

My due date (because that is when the baby will arrive, of course) is still October 12th.  I just have labor on my mind a lot these days...

Manual Labor:  as in we are getting some major work done to our roof and chimney by two very competent and kind "worker guys" as Bear likes to call them.  Bear might as well call them superstars, idols or just plain cool since he clearly has a little crush on them.

It was practically inevitable; they drive trucks, work with tools and even occasionally wear helmets.

I had to learn to adjust to our new surroundings.  This Mama is in her nesting phase for sure and commotion, deconstruction and construction don't necessarily play well into that.  ESPECIALLY since my form of nesting is mainly purging and cleaning which Champ is all too quick to point out.  It's not so easy to achieve nesting bliss when everywhere I look there are piles and messes.  And missing parts of our house.

I focus on how grateful I will be this winter to have a firm strong roof over our heads and a chimney that doesn't leak.  We are so blessed;  unlike many of our neighboring houses rattled by Tropical Storm Irene.  We asked for this commotion, they did not.

I celebrate how wonderful D & D, our worker guys, are and that by simply being here they are not only getting much needed house repairs done for us, but the entertainment they provide for Bear is priceless in my book.  It gives me time to sneak away and purge yet another closet, sweep up just one more dust pile...

AND AND AND practice shooting in manual on my camera- the pictures in this post prove I am learning even if I have a WEEEEEE BIT more to master.

September 21, 2011

Let me tell you a story

When we moved from Pennsylvania to Vermont, I packed boxes and boxes of my books, Champ packed boatloads of his sports equipment. We may have also packed our love seat and a stock pot or two.

If you were to observe Bear today, it would absolutely explain our great pains in packing back then.  The child is both a sports fanatic and a book fiend.  Yay for a bookworm who wears cleats.

I cherish his literary love and am always looking for ways to keep it stoked. My favorite resources for this are 1) any local bookstore! 2) Montessori suggestions 3) Waldorf suggestions 4) and excerpts from a newly discovered book I so dig- "The Joyful Child" by Peggy Jenkins

And so, currently in our book baskets, we have 1) current/timeless children's books borrowed from our library 2) a book or two full of factual information about pregnancy, birth and being a big brother 3) a number of fairy tales 4) and a handful of books Bear's attention is currently relating to (right now it's books about flies and the moon.  These are his interests- I giggle and go with it).

Some of our 3 year old reading list:
"Johnny Cake" by Margaret Soutendijk
"Time of Wonder" by Robert McCloskey
"Where the Wild Things Are"- Maurice Sendak
"I'm A Big Brother" by Joanna Cole
"The Three Wishes" retold by M. Jean Craig
"Old Black Fly" by Jim Aylesworth
"The Elves" by Brothers Grimm
"Sam Who Never Forgets" by Eve Rice
"Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" by William Steig
"A Baby is Born" by Paul Showers

What's on your (fill in the age ;)  ) reading list? 

September 17, 2011

He could be a golf club model

Bear is a bit obsessed with golf. 

I am obsessed with getting him a particular tee shirt for his birthday and then doing a "photo shoot" with him wearing it (makes it easier to file away photos when his birthday # is clearly printed on him!).

This year we snuck well yeah, snuck onto Stratton's golf course and let my DSLR rip.  These were some of the outtakes:

Oh that hair.  Family! friends! Bear's 3 year old pictures will be arriving soon to a mailbox near you.  Get 'em while they're hot.

September 10, 2011

Moving on (because there are so many others)

When disaster strikes, there is only so long one can focus singularly on it.  The days swing on, relief efforts continue, people slowly regain their spirit and with this ever changing world, the intense chaos becomes yesterday's news while a new disaster takes it's place.

I am ready to move this blog on, but I will never be ready for the "new disaster"- this time around the Texas fires, the flooding back in my hometown state of Pennsylvania, 9/11 reminders... the list goes on. 

Stay strong friends.  May that sense of spirit help rebuild you soon.

This week in my town, I saw an American Red Cross Disaster Relief truck.  It was getting hooked up to a tow truck.  Ironic, to say the least.

Ahem.  Seriously moving on...

The rain finally stopped yesterday, so it was time to carry on with a certain sunshine needing project:

 yeah, more on that later. 

Moving on also means letting go of some blog issues: my confessionals are: 

- a while back, I was going to follow up a Father's Day post.  I didn't.  Sorry about that.

- I am simply not blogging or commenting that much right now.  I'm ok with it and know it's just a phase.  Mainly an "ahhh the baby will be here soon and there's lots to do" phase! 

- some day I will get around to fixing the layout, tags and links of my blog.  not today though, or tomorrow.

If only moving on after a disaster was as easy as moving on with my own little blog hiccups.  How easy it would all be.

Love to you all,

September 01, 2011

A Vermonter's view

             (a former field in Chester, now a barren flood created river bed)

Thank you all for your concern!  Champ, Bear and I are fine.  Guiltily fine actually, as we have electricity and are dry and safe in our home. 

I still can't bring myself to post pictures of people's personal property that was destroyed.  I would feel evil doing that since I have so much to be thankful for and others, just down the road, have lost everything.

There is that fine line though of posting things so that the public is aware, so that you can see what the townspeople around here are dealing with.  I hear You Tube has some fascinating stuff up.  It must, since these few pictures I'm about to show you are simple and halfheartedly taken, yet still display some of the raging impact the flooding had.


This is once of the roads that actually fared OK and is considered passable.  Turn left just after those cones and you'd usually be at Londonderry's Farmer's Market each Saturday.  

Turn around and you can't go any further because of bridge damage.  This was the parade route we took our friends on during the Fourth of July.  Those pregnant belly shots were taken in front of the mill restaurant and the kids posed for pictures down near the river; that bench they are sitting on is long gone.


Our community's soccer fields now have a boulder field strewn across them and the river here has naturally created an entirely new path. 

That tractor out there is totally breaking the soccer field rules.  Someone should hike out there and tell it.

There have been inspiring, striking sights too...

like this 20 truck long National Guard convoy, headed to Brattleboro just like we were except that my travels were for a 34 week baby check-up and theirs were for checking and helping those in need.

Thanks to the Guard's efforts as well as countless others offering their services, more grassroots efforts of relief and recovery can begin.  The Stratton Foundation has tirelessly organized local efforts in my immediate communities.  Head there if you are looking for more footage of the damage or ways in which you can help out.

Now that a few more roads are passable and local agencies are able to assess where acute need is, I will be away from blogging for a bit, choosing instead to help out in whatever way I can.  Love to all of you and thank you again for your sweet, sweet comments of support and solidarity!!!!!  
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