Friday, December 5, 2008

Nikolaustag 2008

Nikolaustag 2008
Originally uploaded by Starrbyrd
Once again it's that time of year when we put our shoes out and hope that St. Nikolaus comes to fill them.

As you can see, we must have all be good this year because our shoes aren't empty. Alas I admit, my shoes would have been empty had I not filled them with a few items myself.

This year I went to both of the children's schools and talked to each class about our traditions and about putting out our shoes before giving each child a small treat bag to take home. I think both Alyssa and Tristan enjoyed being in the spotlight among their classmates and enjoyed sharing something with their friends. I, of course, enjoyed being back in the classroom, especially in this capacity, rather than having the full responsibility of teaching.

As I was walking through the halls of the school it struck me again how all schools have the same, very distinct smell. It's like that smell takes me back on a flashback of all my school experiences, both as a student and a teacher. I know I always loved that "school smell" and sometimes wonder if it wasn't what lured me into becoming a teacher in the first place. I doubt I'll ever go back to teaching but hope that I can continue to volunteer regularly and get my school fix that way.

Did you remember to put YOUR shoes out tonight? If so, I hope they were filled with something wonderful from someone you love!

Life lessons 101

Life lessons 101
Originally uploaded by Starrbyrd
Sometimes the person you have a crush on doesn't feel the same...

Translation: I love you Clay. Love Alyssa

It seems her love goes unrequited however...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables
Tuesday - Tilapia Fillets/Fish Sticks, french fries, coleslaw
Wednesday - Homemade Chicken pot pie
Thursday - Chicken and wild rice soup, beer bread
Friday - Left-overs
Saturday - Dinner out?
Sunday - Pork Loin French Dip Sandwiches

Friday, June 6, 2008


Slowly but surely I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on my organization in the house again.

When I was alone with Alyssa when she was an infant and Michael was working in Alabama my house was spotless and fairly organized. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good. I certainly could have had people over to my house at any time and felt ok about it. My laundry was done and put away in a timely fashion. We had a pretty strict schedule (thanks to Alyssa's sleep schedule requiring her to be in her OWN bed in order to actually nap). My bathrooms were clean. Alyssa's few baby toys fit in a single basket I stored on a shelf of my coffee table in the family room.

Then Michael came home.

How is it that one more person can create so much more mess?

And if one more person was enough, I got pregnant and added another person to this household.

It would be very fair to say that since Tristan's arrival I never managed to catch back up with the cleaning and organization. Heck, the laundry alone for 4 people overwhelms me daily. I NEVER seem to be done with it. Let alone sorting through clothes that are too small to give away, or too big and need to be stored for the future. Yes, clothes are an issue. We simply have too many. I need to address this issue soon. One part of that is going to be turning Alyssa's closet back into a closet and using a closet system to help keep it organized.

The other huge organization project I have constantly hanging over my head is photographs. I have prints and digital photographs coming out my ears. I actually have about 40% of my prints organized by month and year, but when you have boxes and boxes and boxes of prints (and negatives) that last 60% comprises a lot of photos. My digital prints are actually well organized by Year, Month and Week, which is great in some ways, but is a pain in the neck when trying to find a specific photo and not knowing when exactly it was when it was taken.

So my next big project is going to be to backup and re-organize the photos. This time I'm going to go back and actually organize by topic and year. I recently ordered (and partially read) the book Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian which really opened my eyes to a new way to look at organizing, storing and scrapbooking photos.

What I really need to do is go back and really read the book so I can apply her concepts to my own organization. I think this will help me a lot with moving on and actually getting things in albums, though I seem to be moving further away from artistic scrapbooking and simply getting pictures into albums where we can all enjoy them. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who can sit down and be creative when there is a mess around me. My head is a jumbled mess of ideas already, so I need my creating space to be fairly organized in order to focus on my project.

It doesn't help that the space I've started to carve out for myself to "create" might be undergoing a major renovation soon which would certainly put a crimp on my creating and organizing, but I'm determined to get it "work ready" while I can.

This is just one of the many things that are taking up my thoughts, attention and time at the moment. I have to squeeze time into my already busy schedule to work on them little by little. Speaking of which, my time here at the computer is up. I have vacuuming and laundry calling me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dream Houses

Bah, my "Blog a Day in May" isn't going so well. The fact is that I don't spend much time in front of the computer and when I do I tend to read blogs not write them.

Last week was kind of exciting and disappointing at the same time. I discovered that a home was up for sale in my dream neighborhood. This is a neighborhood I drive through frequently just to look at the houses and dream. It's been my favorite neighborhood here since we moved in and every time a house goes up for sale (which really isn't that often) I pick up the flyer and check it out.

Well, recently one of the houses went up for sale and for once it wasn't SO prohibitively expensive. I showed it to Michael and he said I should make an appointment to go and see the house. I was pretty excited because usually Michael's not so keen on looking at houses (he always finds something to criticize and therefore won't even go look). So we made an appointment and went to look with a realtor.

For the first time, since looking at houses since we moved here, we really couldn't find anything we really didn't like about the house. In fact, we LOVED the house, loved the yard, loved the neighborhood and loved the location. We could even imagine ourselves living in this house. It isn't that much larger than our house, but it has an extra bedroom and an office. Just what we were looking for. In fact, it's not all that different from our house (which we do love) but more like our house improved upon. It has wainscotting, crown molding, nice wood doors, hardwood floors, extra storage and a 3 car garage (what Michael's always wanted).

Sadly, it's simply just out of our reach financially. We are SO close to being able to afford to make an offer, but just not quite there. As Michael said, it's like we are 2 years off of being able to do it. If we just had more of a cushion in the bank, we could swing it and not feel completely strapped. It's hard for me to let it go. I honestly couldn't think of a better house or location (it's SOOOO private -- backs up to our favorite park!!) for us. I think when I see a "sold" sign on that house I'm going to cry a little.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May 5 - Sick Boy

We have a sick little boy on our hands. Since Saturday night he's been running a temperature in the 100's and it has spiked a few times to 103.5+ and didn't seem to be going down even with Tylenol and Motrin, so off to the doctor we went.

Poor darling has strep throat. I admit to being ignorant about strep throat. I've never had it, that I know of, and Alyssa hasn't ever had it either. Poor little guy did say his throat hurt and we could tell it hurt him to talk and eat. He hasn't eaten hardly anything since Saturday except a popsicle and some jello and drinking some juice. At least now we have some antibiotics and I hope he gets better soon and his fever finally goes down.

So now he can't go to school for the next 3 days. Of course, now I'm feeling like MY throat is starting to hurt. I'm hoping it's just psychosomatic and not the beginnings of strep.

The doctor also told me to throw away his tooth brush in 3 days so he doesn't reinfect himself! I would never have thought about that.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 4 - Opera High

I’m still riding on an unbelieveable high from the most amazing opera performance I’ve ever seen in my life! Seriously, it was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a performance when ALL of the singers were of that high calliber. The feeling was electric in the opera house. Of course, it was even more exciting since our friend was singing in it and everyone back stage was on such a high. The opera critic review was equally positive today. Too cool!

I know not man people who probably read my blog are opera fans, but I grew up with it and even sang in the children’s chorus for the opera a few times. Anyway, it was the Seattle Opera Production of I Puritani. Here is a link for the video preview. The male singer in the picture at the top of the page is our friend, John Relyea (Barritone-Bass). Video Preview for I Puritani

You can read the review here.

The only think the review didn’t really cover that I also found amazing were the costumes. Absolutely gorgeous. I even got to see them close up backstage and they were stunning. The lace on them was so beautiful and the fabric!!!!!

I’m trying to talk my husband into going next week because I doubt we’ll have a cast like that again here in Seattle for a while.

Definitely a memorable night. The only small mark on it was that our friend's wife wasn't there to hear him sing and watch him perform.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

May 3 - What's off my needles!

I finally managed to take some pictures of the completed knitting project I made for my friend in Germany's baby boy. This is baby #6 for her and her 5th boy! As always I'm horrible about mailing things so I've had this ready for a month and haven't mailed it out. It's going out in the mail on Monday for sure. I just hope it still fits him by the time it gets to them.

I made a One Piece Baby Kimono from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book in Crystal Palace Bunny Hop Size 7 needles.

Finished set for my friend's baby

The "Bunny Tails" hat by Susan B. Anderson also in the Crystal Palace Bunny Hop.

Bunny Hat

And Saartje's Bootees in the same Bunny Hop yarn. These were my first ever pair of booties and I'm pleased with how they turned out.

Finished booties

Currently I'm working on a Debbie Bliss Pinafore dress for my niece.

Tonight I'm off to the Opening Night of the I Puritani with my parents!

Friday, May 2, 2008

May 2 - A Day in My Life

Fridays are usually my "quiet" day. A day when we don't have to get anyone to school -- indeed both Alyssa and Tristan don't have school on Fridays and we all actually really like that. The kidlets enjoy a day that really doesn't have anything major planned, although recently I signed both of them up for a 45 minute gymnastics class together. Alyssa loves it. Tristan enjoys it also, but since he already goes to gymnastics on Tuesday while Alyssa is in school, and has been doing so since the beginning of the school year, it's kind of "old hat" for him.

Anyway, today was anything BUT relaxing. It was a crazy busy day. Just for posterity sake, I want to make a note of what we (I) did today. I realize it's not scintilating reading for you, but so be it.

* I started out the morning early by stripping our bed and throwing the sheets in the washer. I "unwrinkled" the items that were still in the dryer by turning it on for 10 minutes.

* Gave the kidlets some chocolate milk (their morning treat) since Michael had already helped them pour their cereal and milk.

* I fully planned to head straight to the gym to start up my Couch-to-5K program which I had completed and now haven't really run since after doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving while in Fredericksburg, VA. Got side-tracked and realized I'd better get the kidlets signed up for swim lessons and Alyssa's drama class before they were filled up.

* Spent the next hour trying to find the darn website to sign up for swim lessons and get them signed up. I was so frustrated to find that most classes were already completely full so I have very limited choices. I got very annoyed with myself for not checking back sooner. I ended up having to sign Alyssa up for the "first beginner" class since it was my only option. At least I got both of them in that class together. I know it will be too basic for her, but she isn't allowed to join in the next step up classes because she isn't 6 until the end of the summer. I did get her in the "second beginner" class for the following section, but couldn't get Tristan in a class at the same time, so he will be having his class AFTER hers which means one will have to wait while the other has their class. Not a problem if the weather is nice, but if it's cold and rainy like last year (it's an outdoor pool) we'll be out in the rain that much longer.

* Got Alyssa signed up for the "Dragons and Princesses" drama camp! Thankfully that section wasn't full. I know she'll love it. Her preschool class is putting on "Snow White and the 7 Dwarves" for their "graduation" ceremony and Alyssa "won" the part of Snow White after the teachers had all the girls "audition" taking a bite of the poison apple and "swooning". I guess Alyssa's swoon too the cake because the moment she did it, they declared they found their Snow White. Alyssa's always had a flair for the dramatic and, indeed, spends the majority of her playtime pretending that she is different princesses or roles (making Tristan play secondary roles in her productions"). I think the drama camp will be a great experience for her. I can't WAIT to see the school production!!!

* Finally got the kidlets in the car and went to work out. Did week 4 of the podrunner program and it kicked my butt. I obviously lost a lot of ground from where I was at Thanksgiving. (Not that I'm surprised.) I need to get back to it though, as I am signed up to do a triatholon relay with two of my girlfriends and I'm doing the 5K leg.

* Came home, popped Tristan in the bath and hopped in the shower with Alyssa. Washed everyones hair. Dried off. Dressed. Dried everyone's hair. Ate a quick lunch.

*Then off to gymnastics.

* After gymnastics came home and folded laundry. Moved laundry from washer to dryer. Did a quick tidy of the house. Folded more laundry. Took chicken out to thaw for dinner.

* In the midst of folding laundry Tristan came down and wanted to snuggle with me. I wondered where Alyssa was and discovered she was fast asleep up in Tristan's room.

* Took Tristan on my lap and read through the whole new "High 5" magazine we recently received. Sniffed and kissed his sweet smelling head at least 100+ times. Tristan said that I couldn't help him with the "hidden objects picture" but he did like my kissing him. I obliged and kissed him some more. (God that child is the sweetest child EVER.)

* Tristan reminded me that I had said we would make a pompom animal after we got back from working out, so we went and made a little pink bear with purple feet and one green ear and one black ear. He was very happy. At this time Alyssa woke up and came down.

* Kidlets asked if they could watch a Curious George episode so I said yes and when I went to put my folded laundry in the basket, found that my basket was already in use...

My cute "laundry"

* Started preparing dinner. Michael called and wanted to see if I could find a sitter so we could go out. I called around but no luck. (What did he expect last minute like that????!!)

* Just as dinner was in the oven, Michael arrived home and I took off to get to my favorite yarn shops monthly Knit Night.

* Realized I hadn't brought the right sized needles that I needed for my project and hadn't brought any other project to work on. Had to buy some more needles that I didn't really need so I could continue working.

* Stopped at Barnes & Noble on my way home and browsed since I rarely get a chance to do that and I was without kidlets.

* Came home to find Michael asleep on the couch and our bed not made although the sheets were dry in the dryer.

* Went up and made bed. Briefly considered writing a journal entry, but decided to cheat and do it today instead.

* Went in and kissed the children who were "camping out" on the floor in Tristan's room and then went to bed.

Fascinating reading, wasn't it. But that was my May 2.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Post a Day in May

So my goal is to post every day in May. What's been going around in my head though, is what exactly should I post?? Since this is my "Heidi @ Home" blog, I've been thinking about posting about my house and household and what I'm working on. I've been on a huge organizing, cleaning, decluttering kick for a few months already. Believe me, there is always more to do in that department, but I'm feeling like I'm really making some real headway. About the only things I'm feeling frustrated about are the things I really can't do myself, but need Michael's help with. I think I really, really need to revisit the whole idea of a "Honey Do List" as I think that actually works better for my husband than just asking. If it's in writing and is something he can physically cross off, I think that he'd respond better.

Another motivator for me is that we are actually seriously considering moving if the right house (and at the right price) comes up for sale. We actually love our home very much, but there are a few things we'd like to have or would like to change. We waffle back and forth on staying where we are and just remodeling and adding on and just finding something we like that already has what we want. The hard part is finding a house that has what we have now (certainly not smaller square footage wise and a nice-sized, private yard), as well as, all the additional features we wish we had in this home --either a den or an extra bedroom to use as an office, a three car garage, an updated kitchen and/or a nice bonus room for the children. If I'm honest, I'd also really, really, really like for the main living space (kitchen & family room) to be southern facing. With all the overcast days we have here, I'd love a sunny space where I spend the majority of my time. I love how the sun comes into our living room and dining rooms (currently the playroom), but we really don't spend much time in those rooms; and while those rooms are light and bright, I need to turn lights on in my kitchen on even the brightest summer days.

Here are a few pictures to illustrate what I mean:


I love how the sun comes into our living room, unfortunately we don't do a lot of "living" in there.
And this is my kitchen. See how dark it is? I always have to have lights on even in summer.

So, we're still looking around and weighing options. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How I Got Here

Well, I set up this blog a while ago thinking that it will be my place to post hobby/home related posts, but as yet I have not written a word. I'm not sure what to do with this space, or really why I want a new space when I already have a journal that I've kept off and on (lately more off than on) since 2000. Back then I was documenting my journey through infertility and eventually parenthood. While parenthood is on-going, other aspects of my life are starting to take a more prominent position -- the focus is more on school, PTA, activities, and my personal hobbies. This is a good thing. That's not to say that the pain of infertility is gone or that thinking about it doesn't still bring back those sad and difficult times, but the pain has dulled and shifted to the back of my consciousness while new experiences and goals have grown to take its place in the forefront of my mind.

To be honest, there was a time I never thought that would be possible. I remember other people saying much the same thing and not understanding it or believing it could/would happen. I'm here to tell those of you who have struggled with infertility and won that battle, that it can and does. It would be much too glib to say "Life goes on" and yet to a degree it's true. However, life may go on, but the person you are has forever been changed. I'm sure it must be a similar experience as losing someone close to you or having survived a serious illness or tragic event. A part of you has forever been altered. Your heart has been scarred. Oppositely, you find joy in things you might never have noticed before. You appreciate even things more. You notice and take pleasure in moments of which others might not even be aware.

It is for that reason my home is so important to me. Before children my home seemed like an empty shell, or maybe it was me who felt that way, but now it is a place that shelters, envelops and embraces my family. My home is my haven. I take joy in seeing my home filled with all accoutrements that children bring with them, even if they often litter the floor, much to my frustration. My time seems more limited now than it ever was, and I'm sure that it will only become more so as my children grow. I try to focus on that and take the time to appreciate all that I have and find joy in even the small things.

So welcome to my home. Heidi @ Home