The problem with being off Facebook…

…is that I’ve spent way too much time on Pinterest lately.



The Benefit of 7000 Why’s

I have one child to whom asking “Why?” or “”Why not?” is as natural as breathing. My days are riddled with moments like:
“Mom, can I go birdwatching?”
“Not right now, Sam.”
“Why not?”

“Sam, please stop wrestling your sister.”

I’ll admit, sometimes it really grates on me. I find myself uttering those expressions I swore I would never say.
“You don’t need a reason to obey me.”
“Because I told you to, Sam.”

But there’s something to be said about the mind that constantly seeks to understand the reason why. In asking why, we determine causes and then solutions to life’s problems.145

While hiking and exploring caves this past weekend, my husband, joking, asked the boys if they wanted to try climbing a cliff that was nearly a 90 degree angle. My oldest shook his head and laughed, but Sam, looking at the cliff, responded, “I think we should try.”
The same thing that can drive me crazy about my almost-six-year-old is one of the things I admire most about him. He sees possibilities, not obstacles, guidelines, not rules set in stone. While helping him shape that quality is both challenging and exhausting, it also reminds me to look for the missed opportunities around me, things that I have grown accustomed to ignoring because “it can’t be done”.

IMG_0141Thomas Edison once said, “When you have exhausted all the possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” He was right. It’s something I tend to forget and I am so grateful for my little daily reminder of this, even if he can be a little loud at times.

Weekend Update

Another busy weekend.

It started with the Funky Farmz co-op, a biweekly Saturday occurrence. The kids came with me this time as Caleb had multiple jobs to take care of. After stopping by the Sayer’s Farmers’ Market to help pick up the produce, we brought it back to our amazing coordinator’s house to sort and divide it. While waiting, the boys played computer games, Mary ate a snack, and Maya yelled to me from the car that the princess game on my phone wasn’t working. The highlight of the meeting for me was one very sweet fellow co-op person, James (from Elemental Renovations and Keep Fort Worth Funky) helping to appease Maya with some leftover grapes. I just love nice people. Anyway, we loaded up the shares that were destined for pick-up at our house, and headed home with plenty of time to spare. Of course, Fort Worth is doing construction on 93% of its roads right now so we ended up being late. C’est la vie.

Now I love our co-op. It’s so awesome. The delicious local meats, cheeses, yogurts, salsa, all of it. But even if I didn’t, I would stay for the people. I never met such a varied assortment of awesome people. They are all so different and all so wonderful. I have yet to meet someone I don’t adore through this group. Just needed to get that out there.

Sam vs. T-Rex.

After the co-op, and I mean immediately after, we loaded back up in the car and headed to the chess tournament at the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair that Titus was signed up to play in. But remember how the entire city is under construction? As a result, Highway 35 was a parking lot on Saturday. Titus was 45 minutes late for the tournament and understandably was not permitted to play. Still, we made the best of it. We saw some impressive fossils, picked up a few items, and, best of all, met Mr. Jim Weiss of Greathall Productions. Mr. Weiss is one of my boys’ heroes. They listen to his audiobooks every night at bed, and with good reason. He is a wonderful storyteller that can make any tale accessible, even to small children. I can’t begin to tell you how impressive it was to listen to Mr. Weiss talk to the boys, bringing up interesting bits of history or fiction that pertained to the conversation with great ease. He is so well-spoken you’d swear he’d been rehearsing his responses for weeks, though of course that would be impossible. At one point, he sweetly knelt down to thank my very shy 5 year old for taking the time to come over to say how much he enjoyed his stories. Even though Maya was a tornado that repeatedly threw herself on the ground in the middle of the book fair, kicking her shoes off and refusing to put them back on, it was well worth going to meet Jim Weiss. (As a side note, I think the person who decided strollers will not be allowed into the book fair has a personal vendetta against me.)

To celebrate meeting Mr. Weiss, the fact that we were not required to have a security guard escort us from the convention center despite Maya’s best efforts, and just the fact that it was Saturday, we made ridiculously over-sugared ice cream sundaes, as pictured here.016

20130512-202038.jpgThe following morning, the boys surprised me with these gorgeous paintings of bluebonnets that they had secretly made in their class at Artful Mayhem Studio (which is arguably the most fun and covertly educational place in the world).

Quick nerd moment: The human body can store enough glycogen in the liver for approximately 12 hours of fuel for its various necessary functions without replenishment through nourishment. That gives you enough time to clean up after dinner, wrestle the kids to bed, and resolve to watch an episode of your favorite show before falling asleep 10 minutes into it. After a (hopefully) decent night’s rest, it’s time to eat again, lest you begin to break down muscle and (less likely) fat for sustenance. Most people do not have a problem with it.

Unfortunately, I am not most people. I forget to eat breakfast all the time. And low blood sugar makes me the most irrational person in the history of humanity. After 17 hours of not eating and yet nursing a 30lb baby, I resemble a deranged polar bear more than I do a human being. Let me just say that my husband is a patient and forgiving man.071

After entirely too many derailments that were essentially a result of my inability to grab a bagel, we spent the afternoon in Mineral Wells, hiking, climbing, and well, the boys were apparently in some sort of fantasy battle. At one point, I overheard Titus say, “Look! Over there! I see the gleam of an orcist blade!” Umm…right. We had family fun that didn’t involve a television or computer games, even if the boys thought they were in one. Good enough.058

How to Save Money at Costco

As a mother of four and the wife of a man who can eat an entire carton of ice cream daily without gaining an ounce, grocery shopping can be both exhausting and expensive. And while in many ways shopping at Costco save you money, it can also leave your wallet feeling brutalized. Here are a few tips I’ve discovered for shopping at Costco without handing over your retirement fund.

Clearly, I went with Option B. Notice the baby trying to hit her brother, the younger boy pretending he’s about to skewer something with an arrow, and the “pink princess” considering throwing her shoes at me. And even though he is not even in the cart, Titus was contributing by getting genuinely upset about having his picture taken. We are off to a good start here.

1. Find a cart and fill it with as many children as you can scrounge up. You have two options here. You can find some well-fed, well-rested, and well-behaved children to fill your cart with. The downside to this is that you run the risk of taking your time in the store and could end up watching that blender demo or trying some cheesecake, and it’s all downhill from there. Option B is to take some hungry, somewhat feral children who ideally are missing a nap with you. If you have the self-discipline to say “no” to seven thousand requests, this is the preferred option as you will be highly motivated to get out of Costco as fast as is humanly possible. The benefit of either option is that by shoving several children (the chubbier the better) in the cart, you have less room for stuff.

2. Get your pet food, paper towels, toilet paper, and bottled water first. I know it seems counterintuitive to start at the back of the store, but there’s a reason they put that stuff back there. They know that

Not one, but THREE cases of bottled water. And dog food. And a princess that insists upon maintaining a certain level of personal spaces with the items in the cart.
Not one, but THREE cases of bottled water. And dog food. And a princess that insists upon maintaining a certain level of personal space with the items in the cart.

these gigantic items fill up your cart, making it difficult for you to find room for the half a million other things you don’t need but are still a great deal. They also know that you’ll get tired and frustrated by the time you get back there, and resolve to come back for the toilet paper in a few days, thus perpetuating the cycle. Beat them at their own game.

3. Have the aforementioned children act like wild animals. We’re talking crazy. Make people wonder if there is some merit to the idea that people, or at least children, evolved (at least a step or two) from apes. Why? Well, would you try to offer free samples of clearly irresistible food to someone whose children are likely to start shrieking and throwing it at unsuspecting customers? Not unless you’re an anarchist, in which case you probably wouldn’t be working at Costco. By avoiding samples, you are less likely to buy more stuff you don’t actually need and will of course save money.

4. Make a list, then ignore it. You’ll remember enough items (and hopefully the essential ones) to justify the trip. But amidst pushing around a cartful of rabid hyenas, you’ll forget at least half of the things you came for. Later, when you think about returning for the forgotten items, you’ll remember how horrific the last trip was and decide you can live without them.


You’ll be amazed at how much you don’t end up buying on your next Costco trip if you follow these helpful tips. And as you go aisle to aisle, getting the same “Wow! You sure have your hands full!” comment from forty different people, you can chuckle about their carts containing 40 gallons of the sample item they couldn’t refuse after trying. Your hands ARE full. Intentionally.

Mary in Pink


This is dress #2 and I think my heart just about exploded when I put it on Mary. It didn’t help that she was equally excited. Is there anything cuter than a chubby baby girl getting all giggly about a pink princess dress?





It’s the exact same dress I made for Maya, only with better stitching, a ribbon around the waist, and a button in the back to allow Mary’s disproportionate head to fit through.



030Now if you’ll excuse me, I have four more costumes to make.

Princess Dress

 I made a dress. A real one.


Okay, yes, it’s not perfect and refuse to let you examine the seams. They’re atrocious. (Give me a break. It’s the first thing I’ve ever made with a sewing machine.)


But Maya is more than pleased with it, and it’s the perfect quality for outside play, pink rain boots and all.


In case you’re curious, I used this pattern. I just left the sleeves intact and added elastic for an Empire waist.

It’s a different world when you have brothers.


Sam: (upon hearing Maya get out of bed) Oh! Maya’s present!
Me: Present? What present? Is he playing a mean trick on her? Oh, for goodness sake, she just woke up. Give the girl a break!
Sam: Maya! I have a present for you! It’s outside!
Me: Outside? Does he mean that stick? Oh, Sam. I have been a little girl, even if it was a long time ago. A stick is not going to go over well as a present, certainly not when she’s still waking up.
Sam: (opening the door) Here, Maya! I found this for you! It’s a stick for beating down spikey plants!
Me: Here we go…
Maya: Oh! Thank you, Sammy!
Me: Wait. What?!?