Saturday, October 31, 2015

On Last Minute Halloweens

This year we left pretty much all the Halloween preparations until the day of.  That meant that it was a little tricky to find Halloween candy for the trick-or-treaters, we only had a vague plan for costumes and we couldn't find the kids' pumpkin carving tools--but we figured it all out in the end.   I managed to rummage up some Halloween candy from the back of the bottom shelf at the commissary.   We never found the carving tools but the boys sketched out what they wanted and I carved it for them with the big knife, after they and daddy handled all the goopy gutting that is.

For costumes, David decided to be Fred Weasley and wear his flying car, Henry wanted to be an "army man," John rummaged in the costume bin and finally settled on an octopus and Margaret is dressed up as "the little sister who got left behind."  It just doesn't seem worth it to drag the baby out when the big kids don't want to wear cute matching family costumes anymore, does it?

Now, the baby's sleeping, I'm at home handing out candy and I've learned two things.  One, hardly anyone trick-or-treats down our super busy street.  And two, I cannot be trusted with a bowl full of Halloween candy.  Who knew?

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On Making a Fall Leaf Garland

Well, we finally made a garland with all the pretty leaves we dipped in wax, and by "we" I really mean "I"--I made a garland out of the leaves on Sunday when I wasn't feeling well enough to go to mass so I camped out on the couch and tried to do sitting still things while Chris took the boys with him and Margaret napped.  It turned out better than I expected and really adds a little extra something to our unseasonally decorated house.

David and I really did dip the leaves together and it was so much less complicated than it sounded when I was looking up instructions. A lot of people said to use "an old pot" to melt the wax in but if you are anything like me, while your pots may be "old" they are still just "your pots" so you might not want to melt wax in any of them which, I'm pretty certain, would be obnoxious to get back out once you were done.  I just melted our wax on a stove burner in a disposable pie pan which worked beautifully and then was just.....disposed of.  I realized later that I should have saved the whole thing, hardened wax and all, so we could use it again to dip more leaves later but alas--my desire for clear countertops overcame my better sense and I just chucked it out.  Luckily I have a cabinet full so the loss isn't exactly devastating.

To make your own wax dipped leaves you just need to collect some pretty leaves and bring them home to flatten under something heavy.  Get some wax (I just used some white beeswax I found on Amazon--I'm pretty sure yellow would be fine too but Martha Stewart said bleached so I figured that she meant white) and melt some of it on low in a disposable pan on your stove--or use that "old pan" that you've been dying to clean hardened wax bits out of, I won't judge you.  Then put some wax paper nearby and then, holding onto the stem carefully, dip the leaves into the wax and lay them on the wax paper to harden.  So easy!  Nature study and handicrafts in one easy step :)

Our fall foliage is even prettier now than it was when we first went collecting so I think we may go out and get more for a second round of leaf dipping.  Maybe we'll hang them in front of the windows--or maybe we'll just leave them sitting around in giant neglected piles until we realize it's time to put up the Christmas decorations.  It's hard to predict these things.

Also, don't mind the random over-the-fireplace-decorating we have going on over here.  We originally put up the salvaged window to balance out the TV that was sitting in front of it, but when we moved the TV off of the mantle we just left it there because we realized that we have plaster walls here and they are so obnoxious to repair holes in that we didn't want to deal with taking it down.  And by that I mean Chris didn't want to deal with taking it down.  He just made a giant hole in Margaret's wall last week though, so maybe the time has finally come to buy the repair supplies and figure out what to do with that spot.  Lower the salvage window, just take the whole thing out, finally actually hang up the mirror?  Give up in a fit of indecisiveness and wait until next year?  It's hard to predict these things too.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

{p,h,f,r} The Fall, Teeth and Crafting Masterpieces Edition


I finally wore down the husband and convinced him that what we really needed to buy this month was flowers.  He was understandably hesitant after an unfortunate incident with my spring pansies that may or may not have been left in their window boxes to fend for themselves and subsequently, well I suppose you could say they shriveled up and died, I prefer to imagine them going on to a better place.  I'm sure these flowers will do much better.  For one thing it's not nearly so hot.  For another, if they do pass on I can just blame winter.  In the mean time they are certainly pretty and I like to think they distract from the rather wild state of our actual flower beds.   


If you've been part of Tooth Watch 2015 you will be relieved to know that Margaret has finally sprouted another front tooth.  At five top teeth and three bottom teeth she had by far the most teeth of any Reintjes child on reaching their first birthday.  Unfortunately for the little hillbilly, she was stubbornly refusing to grow one of her two front teeth.  I was trying to remain calm and assume that the missing tooth was indeed in there somewhere and would in fact show up eventually but I was almost ready to call the dentist and get her little head x-rayed just to make sure.  Crisis (and radiation) averted!  This makes one happy mamma but unfortunately one very cranky little girl.  I'm sure one day she'll realize that having both front teeth is definitely worth any temporary discomfort it may be causing her now.  


In other exciting news, David participated in his first Cubanapolis event last week which mostly consists of entirely too many Cubscouts wearing cardboard cars racing each other around a gym while getting squirted in the face by their "pit crews."  It was fun.  It was mayhem.  While we were brainstorming ideas for what he wanted his car to be, he finally decided on the Weasley's flying car a la Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which he was reading at the time and I might have gotten a wee bit carried away making his dream into a reality.  To be fair, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be winning any awards based on his speed, but I was also pretty sure we could totally take the prize for the best car--which we did.   

And yes, I have apparently turned into that mom that I so disliked growing up--the one who was clearly making their children's projects for them......and I only feel slightly guilty.  It's hard to feel too bad when their are prizes to be won :)  


While our front yard is looking duly fall-ified, our interiors are looking....well, a little sad.  This is the extent of our decorating so far.  Four sad pumpkins (it was five but one already molded--don't throw the pumpkins I said, they'll start to rot if they get bruised I said, I told you so I said) and one flying Ford Anglia propped up in the corner awaiting Halloween.  You don't spend that much time crafting a cardboard car and not use it for multiple occasions.  We do have a giant pile of leaves that we gathered up and dipped in wax sitting in the playroom awaiting stringing which could add a little extra fall flair.  If I ever work up the energy to actually string them.  Maybe tomorrow......... 

How is your fall shaping up?  Any amazing decorations?  Exciting news?  I know it's hard to top teething and cardboard car racing prizes but still :)  

And as always, see more captured contentment over at Like Mother Like Daughter!

Monday, October 19, 2015

For The Birthday Girl

In our house, it can be hard to think of a first birthday gift since we have pretty much any toy an about-to-be-one-year-old could want.  Even with the addition of a little girl I was stumped.  She was already gifted a precious baby doll when she was born and the boys already have a play kitchen.  Aunt Courtney and Grandma Kazleman outfitted her for fall with a new coat and hat and some new dresses and bows.  What more does a little girl need?

More dresses and bows?

Well yes, but what does a girl need that doesn't cost any money but will nevertheless become a cherished keepsake that she will treasure for years and years to come and one day pass down to her own daughter with a misty look in her eye remembering how her mother lovingly made it for her all those years and years ago?  That's trickier.  No pressure Margaret.

Well, I have a little doll cradle that was mine when I was a girl with my name etched into the end.  It was the perfect size for Margaret's baby doll so obviously it's been living in her room and housing her baby since we moved here.  At some point it had a little mattress that went in it as well but that has long since disappeared, so the boys and I got to work making a new one with a matching pillow from some old sheets Grandma Reintjes gave us the last time we visited.  Goodness knows I can't say no to free fabric :)

I did the sewing and the boys did the stuffing.  I love that it turned into a team project, even if I did have to intervene and tell them that no, we would not be using the batting that they had shoved down their underpants to do a silly dance for the bedding and would they please stop because, gross.

Once we finished that, it was pretty obvious that what Margaret's baby really needed was a tiny doll quilt to keep it warm during these cold, cold Virginia winters.  So I spent a considerably longer time working on that.  I made it using scraps from her actual baby quilt as well as remnants I saved from some pillows that were made for me when I was born and some of my own baby I guess what I'm saying is that it's extra special.

This project has taught me that I am utterly incapable of sewing squares in straight lines and/or getting patchwork anything to line up correctly when I'm using a sewing machine.  I quilted it using pink embroidery thread which did a fairly good job at disguising the wonkiness of it all.  Mostly I'm hoping Margaret will grow up really appreciating things with that lovely "homemade" quality about them and not notice that mom is not a professional at this.

I also picked out this little hardback collection of Eloise Wilkin stories for her, because even the baby who has everything can always use another beautiful book, am I right? 

So far, David likes the book more than Margaret and John John has spent the most time tucking the baby in with the new quilt but I'm sure Margaret will really love and appreciate her presents.  You know, eventually.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

On Another First Birthday and Lowered Expectations

Since Chris had to work late on her birthday, we decided to celebrate Margaret's big day before he left for work with pancakes and presents.  Pancake, cake cake--it totally counts.

This might not seem unusual to regular folks but it's a big deal in the Reintjes house if Daddy is home in the morning since he likes to be in the office before 5:30 in the morning.  He sacrificed his morning cubicle alone time to have a leisurely breakfast at home and didn't get in to work until *gasp* 7:30.

Margaret really appreciated it too, on the inside.  Apparently she has very strong and previously unknown feelings about wearing birthday hats and also big brothers who help blow out candles.

Happy Birthday sweet girl, may your next birthday bring you less tears and more success with those candles.  I can't promise not to make you wear a silly hat though, you're probably just going to need to get used to that.

Monday, October 12, 2015

On Having One More

Well as many of you already know, we are expecting a new addition this April.  We haven't been keeping secrets, it's just that I didn't realize I was pregnant right away.  Um, again.

Things that should have tipped me off had I not been in complete pregnancy denial:
  • A sudden and complete coffee aversion.
  • An equally sudden craving for instant CafĂ© Francais (?)
  • A lack of migraines despite the severe decrease in caffeine consumption.
  • A "cold" that lasted for weeks and weeks leaving me perpetually tired and nauseous.
  • Being so sick with my "cold" that I didn't want to eat anything, ever. 
  • Bursting into tears when switching out Margaret's clothes out because one day she was going to outgrow the new bigger ones too.
  • Bursting into tears because the kids were behaving so badly.
  • Bursting into tears because the kids were behaving so well.
  • Bursting into tears.
The signs could no longer be ignored though after I found myself unable to floss one morning and had to face the fact that colds don't cause that particular variety of nausea, or as a normal person would recognize it, morning sickness.    I guess I'm just becoming the master of the ten week pregnancy realization.  

Of course by eleven weeks I wouldn't have been able to deny it anyway because I was clearly showing.  By twelve weeks a complete man-stranger at the park felt comfortable enough to comment on my obviously pregnant state.  And by thirteen weeks, well by thirteen weeks......

We are excited.  And overwhelmed.  After all, five children seven and under is kind of a lot of children.  But mostly we are excited.

This pregnancy does mark the first time our big new elicited an "oh, I'm sorry" acknowledgment.  The person in question did follow up with a "well, congratulations" but it didn't feel super sincere after the initial reaction of pity.  I believe the problem is that we have officially gone past the socially acceptable number of children to have.  Since we front loaded with so many boys I think I had a pass on previous pregnancies because I was obviously just trying for a girl.  Now that we "got our girl" though people are really confused.  The "so are you just going to keep going?" questions have begun rolling in.  And the answer to those questions is......we don't know.

We're just going to take care of this baby now and not waste time worrying about any future hypothetical children that we may or may not be able to conceive.  After all, today has enough trouble of its own and all that.  

So to recap:  We're having another baby, most likely in April.  I didn't notice at first, but then I did.  And once we're done with that we may or may not have another.
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