Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 148 - Half Done

I FINALLY got a big special order sent off to Greece today. Now it's time to get my regular crafts finished up. Here's where I stand right now...

It's never to early to work on Christmas stuff. Never mind that it is 70 and sunny...These 5 little signs need to get prettied up some more. Then I get to take out my favorite power tool, the drill, for the finishing touches.

These are going to be the prettiest magnets ever. I'm just waiting to get my order of rare earth magnets in the mail so I can get them finished off.

When I get brave enough to face the epoxy, I'm going to put these beautiful stones I've polished onto bails and sell them as necklaces. They are going to be so pretty...someday.

I'm hoping the kids go to bed on time tonight and that I have a bit of energy left so I can get some work done.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 147 - Pick Me Ups

Summer is beginning to feel like forever. It's been long and hard. Over the last couple of weeks though, the kids have been doing more play dates which help reduce the number of kids in my vicinity...but still it seems like I work 24/7.

So, I have to rely on little things to get ME through each day.

Today it was Sonic...a special splurge since it is 30 minutes away. I don't mind the drive though...the kids are all locked down and can't touch me.

I wanted one of everything...especially in the ice cream and slush department. I settled for a burger, tots, and a coke. The kids got awesome meals with a burger, a real banana and a slush. The toy was a big hit as well. I wish we had a Sonic closer to us.

So, with full tummies we drove to the farmer's market. I passed up on the yummy hip-spreading bread and instead bought my second splurge of the day - a bunch of fresh flowers.

Aren't they pretty?'s back to work. I have to figure out some dinner, fold some laundry, and put the dishes away...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Days 145 & 146 Highlights

We've been so busy the last couple of days I can hardly catch my breath. Here are some highlights:

Yesterday -
blueberry pancakes
the gym
took the kids to see "G-Force"...interesting with a baby!
watersliding and mom drink fest in the evening

Today -
the gym
lots of play dates for everyone
sunshine & warmth - about time!

In Elise news...
she has 2 of her top teeth popping through
she can mimic the saying "peek a boo"
she can pull herself up

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 144 - Pancakes

Pancakes. Enough said.

I jazzed them up today.

I added fresh (from the farmer's market) raspberries and roughly chopped white chocolate chips. Pecans would have been icing on the "cake" but Maria doesn't care for nuts.

So incredibly yummy. Tomorrow...blueberry pancakes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 143 - The Pattern Continues

I have always hated doing the dishes. Since forever. And I probably always will hate doing them.

When I was smaller and had chores, I would make out a weekly job chart for the family. When it was close to my day to do the dishes I would strategically make a new chart. My family caught on very quickly.

Dishes are the one steady job Chris has when he is around, besides changing the cat litter and taking out the trash. I'm a lucky lady, I know.

So now, besides us being bummed that he is going off to war and all...I am super bummed that I lost my main dishwasher.

Now I have a dishwashing machine...and even that can be a pain. Dishes are like laundry, they never end, and you really can't live too long without doing them. And since we deal with bottles right now doing the dishes is a "have to".

So today, with a huge pile of big mammoth sized pans, cupcake tins, highchair trays, and tupperware sitting in the sink getting ignored by me, I had an epiphany - and her name was Maria.

"Maria, would you like to do the dishes?"
"Sure!" said Maria.

With one big sink of bubbles and a bright blue scrubbie, my life's mission of getting out of the dishes is back on track.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 142 - Birthday Party

We had Maria's birthday party today.

(Note to self for next year...Birthday parties are a lot of work...You do not have to make special cupcakes, have a theme, set up 2 waterslides, a pool, and a tent, have games, prizes, or a pinata...Go to Chuck E. Cheese or someplace where they do it for you...Seriously.)

The kids had a lot of fun...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 141 - Maria's 5th Birthday

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Maria...
Happy Birthday to you...

Are you 0?

Are you 1?

Are you 2?

Are you 3?

Are you 4?

Are you 5?

Happy Birthday Maria-Roo!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 140 - Maria

Today is Maria's last day of being 4. How did that happen?

Maria Soleil is pure sunshine.

She chats with everyone.

Everyone is her friend.

When she grows up she wants to be a butterfly.

Today we were watching a video about this caterpillar who brags about becoming a butterfly as a naive tadpole waits in awe. Meanwhile, he changes into a frog without even noticing.

During the movie, Maria said, "Are we really going to turn into angels?"

And Luke answered, "Only if we are lucky...It's God's choice."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 139 - Heartbroken


Stuffed Dog

1 Day Old Terrier-Type that hangs out in
a blinged out purse.
(Purse is not lost.)

White & Fluffy

Last seen at Hobby Lobby while shopping for a
birthday pinata.

An almost 5 year old year is heartbroken losing her first birthday present of the year.

If you see it, let me know. Otherwise, I'm buying another one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 138 - Lessons Learned

Lesson #1 - This is what it will look like when Luke feeds the cat.

Lesson #2 - The reason I couldn't find the car in the parking lot today is because, according to Luke, I don't have a "vertabrain."

Lesson #3 - I will never have the right papers at the right time at the right place to get military stuff done. I did succeed in getting my military i.d. today though. Whoo-hoo.

Lesson #4 - I can, and rather enjoyed, taking the kids to the beach by myself today. How in the world, you ask, can I handle 2 kids and a baby at the beach by myself? I don't really know. The pack and play and umbrella are essential gear as well as strong arms to carry all of the gear and the baby. They had such a fun time though...I think we'll be doing that some more.

Lesson #5 Grand Haven is a very crowded beach.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 137 - New Saying

Maria has bombarded me with the same phrase over and over and over today.

It goes like this, "Cool, huh?"

It's getting as bad as Luke's "What's that?" phrase that he uses constantly.

I'm glad the baby doesn't talk yet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 136 - Bored

We woke up bored here. So we did a project to get the day going. We make swirly crayons out of old crayons that I had sorted through last night in an effort to downsize the craft tub.

The first job was to peel the paper off and sort the crayons. The kids decided to do warm colors as one batch and cool colors for the other.

Then I put them into an old mini muffin tin. The oven was set at 250 degrees and they took about 15 minutes tops to melt.

I let them cool for a bit. Then I stuck the entire tray into the fridge. This seemed to help them pop out of the tray easily.

So, now we have swirly crayons to play with. Fun times.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 135 - I Love Mod Podge

If you haven't visited my etsy shop in a while you've missed some fun new items. Somehow between vacations and taking care of the kids I've managed to get some quality crafting in. I can't wait to see how productive I am once school starts...and I really mean that...I can't wait.

So come take a look at my shop MariaSoleil. I'd love to sell you some cuteness!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Days 133 & 134

Today's guest photographer is Luke.

Yesterday we had a gorgeous day at the beach...big waves, warm sun, but no stones.

So, despite the gloomy, cold, and almost rainy day today, we went back to get some stones.

And that was the end of our "vacation." I can't wait to get back up there again to enjoy the beach some more...and to hunt for more stones.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 132 - Vacation?

Packing alone with 3 kids is very difficult. And even though we are only gone for a couple of days, I pack with the "we might need this" mentality.

Into the van went:
2 pack and plays (sandy & clean)
beach bag
toiletry bag
diaper bag
bottle bag
camera bag
toy basket
beach toy crate
2 bags of food
beach umbrella
beach blanket

All of this is needed for this...

A couple of days at the beach is just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Days 130 - 131 Obsession

I've fallen off the wagon with my blogging. Something better came along to distract me. In a's Disney.

For the last few days it's all I've thought and talked about. What is it about that place??

There is a military deal going on until Dec. 23rd that is just too good to pass up, so we are doing it...Dad or not. (We'll go again when he returns in May 2010.)

I won't even tell you how good the deal is, because if you love Disney like I do, you'll end up hating me. It's really really awesome.

And for the crappy year that we've been thrown into - I guess we deserve it. Thanks Chris for letting me ride your coat tails on this one. You are such a good hubby and a great Marine!

I'll check back in this weekend after my trip to the beach which starts tomorrow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 129 - Market Day

My mom visited this weekend for the sole purpose of babysitting the kids while I sold my stuff at today's market. I felt strangely alone and mildly guilty driving away. I can't even remember the last time I was without at least one of my kids. But I got over that real fast.

I sold a nice mix of things today - tags, clipboards, signs, and cards. One lady came and bought 17 of my little post-it clipboards. That was a fun sale!

What was even more fun was seeing some people I knew at the market. Thanks to everyone who came down to shop!! Chatting away made the day go so fast and made me feel like a grown-up again.

I even had a little time to shop. For $42 I got a purse (by the famous Karin Schueller of A Window into Whimsy), some cute baby clothes from the mother of my favorite jewelry gal - Catherine Marissa, 2 dish scrubbies, and 3 photo cards. You can't beat the prices at these things!!

It was a perfect day. I hope I can do it again sometime soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 128 - Triathlon

Maria did a kid's triathlon today. This was her second year doing it, so we knew the ropes this year and were much better prepared. (For instance, don't try to put on socks when your feet are wet, and leave all of the other kids at home.)

She enjoyed the swim. Then she ran down to get her bike and freaked out because she couldn't get her shoes on her wet feet. That slowed her way down. Mini-breakdown time.

Then the path for the bike ride wasn't quite reassuring enough for a 4 year old to figure out, so I ran along beside her to coax her along.

She ditched her bike, completed the run, then cried for oh, about the next hour, because she didn't win a trophy (she did get a medal...but that was definitely not good enough.)

I don't think she'll want to do it next year. And that will be alright with me.

Day 127 -Sidetracked

I didn't get my blog homework done because I was too distracted with craft show work and Disney reservation making...more on that another time!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 126 - Water Day

The kids spent a lot of time in the water today. First we went to a friend's pool, then we had water slide time at home, and then we had a short swim at the neighbor's pool.

Maria is starting to get very brave in the water. She just started putting her face in the water a couple of weeks ago, along with jumping in off the side.

She really surprised me tonight when she jumped off the diving board!!

Next thing you know, she'll want her training wheels off...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 125 - Game Time

I love it when I learn something and then can turn around and use it with my kids. At my tennis class today, we played a game that really kicked my behind. It was so fun I had to use it to get my kids up and running.

You will need about 4 balls per person. Put all of the balls in the middle of your playing area. Then come up with a "home base" for each player. At tennis we used our rackets, but at home we used a tote lid, a hula hoop, and a big frisbie. Spread the home bases evenly around the ball pool.

The goal is to get 4 balls onto your home base first. You can take a ball from the middle pool or from another player's home base. Stealing is key and makes it more fun. It turns it from a race into a strategy game.

You can put out less than four balls per person to make it more challenging (think of musical chairs.)

Luke and I played it with 2 players, the same amount of balls, but each of us tried to get 5.

Try it! It's so fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 124 - Out of Touch

Chris is definitely the news watcher/listener around here. When NPR is not on the radio then it's Fox News or CNN on TV. He tries to learn about the war and things happening overseas to use as ammunition for when it's his turn.

Since he left in March, our TV watching habits have changed. I've made a favorite list on the remote control with all of the kid friendly channels so the kids can flip it themselves and I don't have to worry about what might end up on the screen.

I about died the day Micheal Jackson died. Not because I was sad or anything. It was because I switched favorite lists to watch CNN for a bit out of curiosity...and then I could not get the kid's channel list working again. I thought it would be the end of me. It took me two days of trying to figure it out before I found the remedy.

When Chris was home this weekend, he of course wanted to watch the news. I would not let him switch favorite lists. My sanity is that important. So, we looked up the channel numbers on the internet and hand punched them into the remote.

So, all of this kid channel watching has kept me up to speed on Sponge Bob and Pokemon, but way behind on pop culture and the news. I might be the only person in the world not watching the Micheal Jackson memorial today. I'm so glad I get to keep those hours of my life. I'll take iCarly any day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Days 120 - 123 Fourth of July Blur

Thank goodness Chris came home this weekend. Earlier this year we thought he wouldn't be able to leave California for the 4th. I was dreading getting on a plane with the 3 kids to visit him, even though we would have had a great time out there. Someday I really want to see Joshua Tree National Park. But I can wait.

It was a quick and fun weekend. Here are some of the highlights...

We went to his family's home in Illinois. Mother Nature delivered a wet and soggy day for the family party.
All the rain led to a cancellation of the fireworks show, so we had to make do with what we brought. The kids really didn't miss the big ones.

Today we went to Lake Michigan. We figured out the beach is the only place that Luke doesn't get in trouble. He loves building in the sand.

Maria, on the other hand, loves the water. We couldn't keep her out of it today.

It was Elise's first trip to the beach. She chilled out in the shade all day and cooed at the seagulls.

We got home and got Chris back to the airport for his return flight. So, now it feels like normal again. Except that Luke is crying about missing his dad. Hopefully that will subside.

I told him our family is like a puzzle with one piece is missing and if we are patient that last piece to the puzzle will show up before we know it.

I hate wishing away time, but I am really looking forward to this being over.