Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A work in progress...


(Do you know, I think that may be my only photo of the house?? I remember taking some long ago, but they must have been on the camera that was stolen, because I couldn't find them anywhere!)


So the contrast may not seem very great in these pictures. The picture from today is a little glare-y. But the new color is a really great grey-green-sage. The triangle in the upper left still hasn't been painted, if that helps to see the difference. I'll take a morning picture once the whole thing is done, so the light will be better. But I have to say, I am really, really happy with the new color. No more boring beige! Now we have a slightly less boring green! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This and that

Well, lots has been going on on the domestic front in our household. First, house painting has FINALLY begun. Woo hoo! With all of the rain we've had, it's been pushed back and pushed back for a few weeks, but he finally started yesterday! (Any guesses what the weather is like today? Hmmm?) There's only a portion of the front done so far, but I'm loving the new color, which is a relief, since it's really hard to visualize how an entire house is going to look in a 3x3 color swatch! Since it's grey today, I'll wait for sunnier weather to take a picture for an "in progress" shot.

Also, I read Green This, by Dierdre Imus, this weekend, and am becoming a convert to the concept of green house cleaning, both for impact on the environment and individual health. I hadn't ever really considered the ingredients in all purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, etc. Ick. But I've been having some fun trying out some new products (and rediscovering some old ones like vinegar and baking soda)... and when I find products I like, if I buy in bulk on or some such source, the prices are comparable to "regular" cleaners. So far I've gotten some nice dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent. I've liked each so far...

Reading the book reminded me of something that I've been wanting to do for awhile, too, which is phase out the wall to wall carpeting out of the house. The perfect place to begin is the master bath, because it has always skeeved me out that there is carpeting in there (but I managed to block it out most of the time!) So I have a call in for a quote to rip it out and put some tile in there. And since Big Guy has been having some coughing/congestion issues lately that I've begun to think are allergies, I did a mini spring cleaning in his room yesterday, which included moving his gerbils out to the porch for awhile to see if not breathing in a bouquet of gerbil food, bedding and waste all night long helps him to breathe a little easier.

What is it about springtime that makes one spring clean in spite of oneself? I'm also putting things in piles in various corners of the house in preparation for a yard sale soon... we'll see if I actually have the stamina to wait until the yard sale, or if I wimp out as I always do and haul it down to Goodwill because I can't stand to have it hanging around after having decided to get rid of it!!

Not a very visually interesting post so far, so I'll leave you with a couple of quick photos of the kiddos from our trip to the zoo late last week!


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What's a crunchy Con Mommy, you ask?

Some years ago I read an article in the Weekly Standard by Rod Dreher called "Crunchy Cons" which he recently turned into a book of the same title (with the outstanding subtitle : How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America, or at least the Republican party) . It's not a perfect book, by any means, but it has a lot to say that I think is true.

A portion of the crunchy con "manifesto" from the book jacket explains the general premise better than I could:

*Culture is more important than politics and economics
*A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility and good stewardship -- especially of the natural world -- is not fundamentally conservative
*Small, local, old and particular are almost always better than big, global, new and abstract
*Beauty is more important than efficiency
*The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom
*We share Russell Kirk's conviction that "the institution most essential to conserve is the family".

Really, in my life, this manifesto is more aspirational than practiced, which bothers me. When I read this book, I recognized a lot that was true about the way I want to live my life. Of course, at the moment I'm an American Idol watching, box store shopping suburbanite who has to drive to go anywhere and isn't spending nearly the time with things of the spirit (scriptures, prayer, quiet time that is not filled with the noise of the world) as I want to.

There are some things about this that I currently can't change, and that's okay. Right now, I don't live in a neighborhood that is conducive to the lifestyle I envision of "small, local, old and particular". But we have a plan to do so in the future when we find our perfect house in the old neighborhood I really love. That might be tomorrow, or five years from now, or fifteen. In the meantime, we have a great house with lots of space and land, and we are happy here. And my physical location in the world has nothing to do with most of the other choices I make. I'm trying to be a better steward of my resources, natural and personal, to make more thoughtful choices. I really like the notion of living with intention, and trying to make the mundane sacred by being thoughtful and prayerful about the choices I make. And if I can't do that in this life of my choosing, doing a job that I think is the most important and sacred there is (though certainly with it's very mundane moments), then I'm just being a tourist in this life, and that's not okay. Simplify, focus on first things, live with intention. That's part of what having this blog is about for me, too.

So I got a little off track there (and a little more introspective than I intended)! Though Dreher does write about living with intention and how that relates to true conservatism. Anyway, it's a great book, and one I highly recommend, and that's why I've decided that on this blog, I'm going to be the Crunchy Con Mommy.

Before I go for tonight, and get myself to bed, I have to include some obligatory knitting content! The other day I posted my joy at finding another ball of yarn for Big Guy's Weasley sweater. Sadly, the project has been derailed by my realization that when I had him try it on the other day, he couldn't wait to get it off because it was too itchy. Hmmm. Probably shouldn't put any more work into a garment that he's not going to want to wear. So that's on hold for now, either to be remade in a softer yarn or... something. Don't know what yet.

In the meantime, I decided to start a Mason Dixon log cabin blanket, which I've been wanting to do for awhile. Big Guy and Miss G are always fighting over the "stripey blankets" my Nana made, so I decided to make each of them their very own, distinct and unique, blankets. I'm working on Big Guy's first. It's going pretty well, I think!

Speaking of which, I'm going to go knit a few more rows and then go to sleep, because once again I'm up too late! Big Guy will be home sick tomorrow (a mild case of strep that is keeping him home till he has the requisite amount of antibiotics in his system) so I need to be on the top of my game to keep Big Guy and Little Miss from killing each other (and me from wanting to sell both of them to gypsies)!

The brother hand

Miss G and I were coloring earlier, and as she colored a large section, she used her left hand to support her right hand. She looked up at me and said, "I'm using my brother hand!" When I asked her why, first she said, "It doesn't talk!" (which I thought was hilarious, since little mister obviously doesn't speak yet), then after explaining to me that hands don't talk, she said that it was her brother hand because it was helping her sister hand!

Little Mister had a couple of happy times (for the first time ever!) in his stationary walker yesterday. Yippee! Of course, I had to ask people to keep bringing me things since he yells whenever I walk away from him while he's playing happily, and refuses to get happy again, even if I am coming right back! So I stood there and folded laundry while he played, and had to keep asking Daddyman and Big Guy to bring me hangers, move the wash into the dryer, etc.!

At least he let me sneak over to my purse to get the camera!

I finished my scarf to match Little Miss'. And I actually found another ball of the yarn I need to finish Big Guy's Weasley sweater!! Woo hoo! I thought I was almost out of it and was in serious doubt as to whether or not I'd be able to finish it. But I was digging through my stash last night looking for my next project to cast on (the Tasha bag project is staying in the car as my travel knitting since right now it's small and just a lot of stockinette stitch) and I FOUND MORE! "Oh frabjous day, callou, callay, she chortled in her joy!" (Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky, if you are wondering what nonsense I'm blathering!).

Sadly, Big Guy is home from school for the second day in a row because he has a nasty cough and sore throat. Yesterday wasn't actually a sick day, though, because school was cancelled due to flooding. We remain (mostly) dry here... a small leak in the roof and one in our master bedroom window. I forgot to take pictures of the lake in our backyard on Sunday morning. It was quite impressive!

I'll leave you with a quick picture of a rare moment of cooperation and peace between Big Guy and Miss G!


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Watch out WWW, here I come...

Well, I never really thought I'd become a blogger, even after reading MANY knitting blogs regularly over the last year or so. But the temptation to have a journal/scrapbook/way to keep in touch finally became too great. This was a somewhat impulsive decision, but it's not as though I'm committing to another child or anything, so I think we'll be fine!

I had a great post all written out before that I accidentally deleted in my novice blogging attempts, so this might not be as polished as it once was.

Here are my kid-a-lings:

We've been (unwillingly, on my part) rising really early lately, so we had time for an impromptu photo shoot this morning before school.

Things I'll probably be blogging:

*the kiddos
*baking, cooking
*household organization
*church stuff
*other media (including the sad amount of TV I've been watching as a result of having a baby to snuggle and feed on the couch!)

Just because the picture on the subject is too cute, I'm going to include a bit of knitting content on this introductory post. One of my current projects is to make matching scarves and other winter accessories for Grace and me for next winter. The yarn is Patons SWS (soy wool stripes, a natural fiber self-striping yarn which is lovely and soft but fairly roughly spun -- if I liked sharp, pointy metal needles, it would probably drive me crazy because it splits easily) and the pattern is a slip stitch rib which is my basic "go-to" scarf stitch. Miss G's scarf is done and mine is about halfway done. Here's her opinion of the scarf...

Do you think she likes it?

And in baby news, little mister had his first Gerber sweet potato puffs today. Big hit, that's all I'm saying! And since he's been pretty clingy with 3 or 4 teeth coming in at once, they are a big hit with me, too, since it means he'll be happy in the high chair for a little longer!

Well, I'm outta here for today!