Monday, June 30, 2014

Goodbye Baby Curls

John Michael got a much needed (according to Chris) haircut today.

Apparently someone is much more upset by the constant barrage of "isn't she pretties" that we elicit when out in public than I am. Incidentally, if John were a she, I don't think I'd describe him as pretty.....I'm afraid we have a profusion of insincere complimenters around these parts......

"Isn't that butch little, dirt covered girl in the strangely masculine outfit so pretty?"

Um no, no he is not.

Really I think Chris is just traumatized by my unwillingness to cut David's glorious mop of ringlets regardless of what anyone said when he was a baby and he lives in constant fear that each subsequent son will be doomed to the same fate of girl-hair.  Well, to be fair his hair was glorious.

So I relented and cut the baby curls off.

Well, I cut them off the back anyway.

You can't just go cold turkey on the baby curls.  Once you cut them off they never come back again no matter what your husband may say to try to convince you otherwise.

Hopefully this trim will clear up the he/she mystery that was our son for the time being.......and also appease my poor traumatized husband.     

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Having Hobbies

I was recently asked what I do during the day besides take care of the kids to which I responded fairly lamely that I like to read....and you know, sometimes I quilt......oh and I have a blog where I write stories about my kids....and things that I read.....and sometimes things that I quilted....I mean, I do interesting things during the day!  This week for instance I watched Henry spend several hours pretending to be a dinosaur for my amusement with very realistic sound effects, so that was exciting......Okay, I mostly spend my time taking care of the kids.  And cooking.  And cleaning.  And having the occasional calm down break in the shower.  But in a really fulfilling and not lame at all way......

All that's to say, I decided to finally dust off the how-to-use-my-camera-for-dummies book that I bought two years ago in order to take another crack at figuring this baby out so that I can add "excellent picture taker" to my list of accomplishments.  As a result I've been practicing using my camera in manual which explains the sudden wealth of pictures of all the exciting things we do during the day :)

I think the main lesson I've learned so far is that it is impossible to adjust my settings fast enough to account for the children running in and out of the shadows so I think I may give up and just tell you that my style is overexposed and super hip.

In other news, we got a giant watermelon from our CSA bin and the big boys wanted nothing to do with it because it tasted "not good."  Evil mom that I am, I decided to puree every leftover piece that I had already painstakingly deseeded to make it palatable for my ungrateful brood and turn it into popsicles.

Apparently watermelon is "not good" but frozen watermelon puree is delicious :)

And yes, in addition to watermelon popsicles and paint John Michael also eats bubbles.

I guess you can add, "tricking my children into eating things they hate" to my list of accomplishments.  The watermelon that is, not the paint and bubbles.

 Does that also count as a hobby?

En Plein Air

In an effort to get the children out of the house and involved in more productive pastimes than seeing who can pinch/kick/punch each other the hardest without mom noticing (there's really an art to this as there is a fine line before your brother starts to scream and then the game's up) I packed up our paints and took the crew outside for a double whammy of artistic pursuits and fresh air.

John was only mildly impressed with this new medium.  He still prefers his crayon rocks--not to draw with so much as to put in and out of their bag--but I'm sure this early love will eventually evolve into artistic passion.

I wish I could say he learned his lesson after one taste but alas, he also tried the blue.  Maybe he thought the different colors corresponded to different flavors?

The boys have been begging me to get them wooden bird houses to paint from the craft store which I always refuse because I just knew they would spend twenty minutes picking out the perfect one and 1.5 minutes actually painting them, but I finally relented.  I remember my grandmother taking me and my brother and sisters to the craft store every week while we stayed with her during the summer and letting us pick out any projects we wanted to do and I suppose I wanted to capture a little of that summer magic with my own boys.

I have a lot of latch hook rug kits, paint by numbers and iron-on/puffy paint decorated shirts in my past.

And friendship bracelets.  A lot of friendship bracelets.

I was wrong about the birdhouses though.  The boys totally spent five minutes painting them before they declared their masterpieces finished.  I still maintain that the mess to time-spent-happily-occupied ratio is not good enough to justify any more painted dwellings for our avian friends.  The boys disagree however and would really love to make a whole village.

We'll see.

Oh, and we also found a frog :)

Painting and impromptu nature study.  I suppose it was an afternoon well spent even if we didn't quite get the mess : time spent actually painting ratio completely right.  At least they stopped attacking each other for the duration.....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Fun

Last week we finally busted out the slip and slide--and by slip and slide I of course mean a piece of plastic sheeting with some pool noodles stuffed around the end to pool the water.  We promised one a while back but once we got the children super excited about the prospect of some good old fashioned summer fun and all decked out in their swim gear and sunscreen we realized that we had no idea where our old plastic sheeting was.....maybe the recycling?  The children were not impressed with my substitution of just playing with the hose......

Well just plain old hose play no longer!  Now we have a hose and a plastic sheet :)

John was not pleased with the whole "sliding on wet plastic" situation.

He was pleased with the "stealing mom's sweet tea" situation though......

.....very pleased.

Henry also doesn't care for the slip and sliding.  Building yes, sliding no.

Me:  That's a great castle you've built there Henry!
Henry:  Mooooooommmm.  It's a throne.
Me:  Oh, are you going to sit on it?
Henry:  (looking at me with complete exasperation) No, only the king sits on the throne.
Me:  I'm sorry, I don't know what I could have been thinking........

David however, David loves the slip and slide and also being the only one who wants a turn.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Lost Art of Dress: A Book Review

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish tells the story of the rise and fall of the women the author calls the "Dress Doctors" who were based mainly in Home Economics departments across America, giving girls and women advice on the art of dressing well and appropriately on a budget--not merely for vanity's sake but in order to equip them to go out into the world confidently, freeing them to think about higher things than just worrying about what they were wearing.  It was such an interesting book that I finished it the weekend it arrived!

The book really tells the history of the rise and fall of the Home Economics movement in general and not just the Dress Doctors themselves which--as someone who could really have used robust courses in home economics as a young girl instead of being flung without any preparation into my current role as homemaker--I found really fascinating.  (On a side note, if you happen to have a mother-in-law who used to teach Home Ec and would love a book written by a ND professor you might want to buy this for her *hint* *hint* Aunt Elizabeth).

I loved the entire book but my favorite chapter was the last, Aftermath:  Tyrannies of Age and Size. It's particularly relevant for those of us attempting to transition from the style our youthful twenties to a hopefully more mature look for our thirties with little guidance from the fashion world other than to make sure that no matter what we wear we must above all still look hot--and also like we were still twenty.  Przybszewki states that at one time, "clothing styles clearly distinguished between a young woman and a woman past her twenties.  Sophisticated styles of dress were reserved for the older woman [and] the Dress Doctors liked to point out that the Paris fashion houses aimed at dressing the woman over thirty, for only with maturity could a woman wear clothes "with an air of smartness and chic". 

Looking around today it's clear that, for the most part, we've lost the sophistication of dress that used to be the mark of womanhood.  Now, for the most part, we tend to cling to the fashion trends of the young in a desperate attempt to (heaven forbid) not look old.  It's all very confusing.  Everyone from toddlers to middle-aged women are attempting to wear the same styles as your typical college student and the woman who wants to look more sophisticated and less sorority doesn't know where to begin--Talbots?  Coldwater Creek?  I'm really asking, I have no idea :)  

"In eras past, girls put their hair up as soon as they could, because they knew that pigtails and braids marked them as kids.  They were eager to be seen as women.  But girls, said the Dress Doctors, should wear styles that mirror their blooming youth, their boundless energy, and the simplicity of their minds and characters."  In other words simple, unfussy clothing that most certainly were not geared solely towards making young ladies look 'hot'.  "Only after a girl had gotten through that tricky stage of life called adolescence, and through the young womanhood of her twenties, was she allowed to wear sophisticated styles according to the Dress Doctors.  By the age of thirty, most women were married, held jobs, or both. and they were presumed able to handle the eroticism embodied in the draped designs that made for the most sophisticated styles."  The Dress Doctors advice was to "celebrate girlhood and womanhood, and the difference between them."  Clearly this is a lesson that's been lost over the past fifty years or so, but I'm on board for a revival of the celebration of maturity instead of a deathly fear of looking old!  
"Today's culture seems to have little appreciation for what years of living can do for you.  We all know that growing older usually makes you less of an idiot.  But there's little sense today that age might endow you with sophistication, dignity, grace, stateliness, and wisdom.  Or that we might aspire to dress in a way that expresses all these qualities."  
This book was very interesting and I would recommend it especially for anyone wondering how we got to our current state of fashion (grown women walking around in rompers, really?) and how we can maybe get some of our lost sophistication back.  Unfortunately the book did not have any pearls of wisdom on dressing with dignity, grace, stateliness and wisdom while pregnant and swollen but I suppose no book is perfect :)

Also, I fully appreciate the irony of the fact that that I'm currently typing this while wearing entirely too short cutoff maternity jean shorts and a t-shirt.  Super classy.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

{p,h,f,r} The 'It's a Girl' Edition


I managed to wait one whole day after finding out our newest little bundle will be a pink one to mosey on over to the fabric store to pick out fabric for a baby quilt. I already had plans for either contingency but I knew the girl version would probably take a while to complete since I had the (probably misguided) idea to attempt a grandmother's flower garden pattern.  Once I got there I got distracted by all the flowery possibilities and I ended up buying a little of everything girly that I took a fancy to--which might not be the best way to shop for quilt fabric but then again, I want this one to have a scrappy feel and I don't have much in the way of girl scraps here :)  


I've already made some progress but it is definitely slow going.  And since, like most of my projects, I'm winging it based on internet directions--I'm probably not doing this the most efficient way.  Of course if I was aiming at efficiency in quilt making I probably would have just stuck with squares.  Watching these flowers come together is awfully satisfying though.


I spent a good part of last Sunday cutting out paper hexagons and then fabric hexagons to make a big stash of them to work on throughout the week. Chris watched me at my work and said, "wow, that looks really tedious."  Needless to say, I didn't bother asking him if he'd like to help cut.

So far, after making elevendy-million little fabric covered paper hexagons I've learned that apparently paper piecing quilts and hand sewing it all takes a long, long time.  It's a good thing the quilt's just baby sized.  I really do enjoy sewing it all by hand though even if it does take a hundred years to finish.  Dragging my machine out to the kitchen table and dealing with all the noise and packing it all back away is a not a relaxing way to spend the evening.  By hand sewing I can sit on the couch and chat with Chris while I work....or watch Matlock on Amazon Prime....either way it's quality time right?  



I think it's safe to say that the rest of our respective families are more excited at the prospect of baby girl Reintjes than we are.  Well maybe not David.  He's the most excited of anyone.  Grandma Reintjes wasted no time in shopping for the long awaited granddaughter--the first one out of the last five grand-babies--and sent a huge box of clothes.  And I know that she's not the only family member who's been going on baby girl clothes shopping benders either! My favorite of this bunch is this sweet little smocked romper.  It's just so pink and floofy :)  

I guess now I need to get down to the business of figuring out how to store boy and girl clothes which is totally disrupting my current clothing storage system.  Which would be easier if we had any real idea of when we'll be moving and what kind of house we'll be moving into......

And as usual don't forget to stop over at Like Mother, Like Daughter for even more captured contentment :)
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