saturday, snow, and other items of perfection

Today was about as close to perfect as Saturdays get these days. With the help of a little Benadryl to deal with the runny nose I picked up from Clara, I finally got an entire night of sleep and woke up feeling glorious. Last night was Clara’s first ever bedtime without me and she was a little sad but just fine. Even though each little milestone is another move away from babydom, it’s so great every time I get a little more independence. Mama needs breaks, yo.

So this morning I got my morning snuggles and loves, and then abandoned ship for the Third + Bird craft sale. It used to just be the Vineyard craft sale, but they clearly needed to hipsterize their brand. At least half the vendors were “blank and blank,” and half of those had an x-styled logo, but trends, hipsters, what ya gonna do. The stuff was pretty awesome. I found something for each of the girls and a couple of things for me, and also cinnamon buns.

It snowed like Narnia in the night, so I forewent the car and took the bus to the sale, which was an ace decision. I miss taking the bus without children because it’s so relaxing. I am not concerned for the wellbeing of the vehicle, and I can read my book and just chill out. I had university flashbacks in the very best way.

When I got home, I was sure that Clara would be desperate for me, but instead this happened.

Mama, you were gone too long.

So I went right back outside to shovel the driveway. It’s pretty big, and a bit tricky, but I secretly love shoveling snow so I had fun, even if my back is a bit cranky now.

Then I took the girls to the Christmas at CMU concert, to mixed reviews. I’m hoping that it’s one of those things that is better in memory than it was in actuality, because Lucy was unsure about having to sit and listen to other people. “This is just like church but we don’t get to do any singing” was her comment. But one of her beloved babysitters was in the women’s chorus, and we went to the Grinch reading and the interactive children’s session, so all in all it wasn’t bad. I said hi to at least fifty people in the Plenert tradition.

And my agenda for the evening is tea & blankets & knitting & something fluffy on Netflix, so that should round out the day just right.

Except that every half hour I remember that I have to do my Advent story in church tomorrow and I have a moment of panic. But if things were perfect it would be terribly boring. Or something.

Look at my cute wintry house!

Our house looks so cute in the snow.

And scene.

pictured: outside time

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Finally a nice day, and Sam is off today. We all headed out for a bit, and then Sam and poor sicky Rowan came in while us girls went for a walk around the block with the sled. Isn’t our house cute in the winter? This was my third time taking Clara out in her snowsuit and she finally enjoyed it. Also, walking through fresh snow, wearing a baby, and pulling a sled full of preschooler is a great workout. I love feeling exercised up.

the living room

I realized that I hadn’t posted pictures of our living room since it got a bit of a facelift. And since I cleaned the heck out of my house today, I took the opportunity to get pictures, even though there are still lots of things to perfect. I looked around and said “oh my gosh! It’s clean! I must grab the camera!” and then I looked at the pictures and saw the stuff and nonsense hiding in sneaky places, the way stuff and nonsense does, and how the chain that Sam hung on my dead branch “light fixture” (I still love it, by the way) is still there, and the curtains are still horrible burgundy polyester and really ought to die in a fire, and how the rug desperately needs one of those rug grippy things so we stop tripping over it. The string of Instagram pictures is temporary too, because art is expensive and/or a lot of work. But! It’s pretty clean, and you can see our awesome sofa and yellow chair! They’re from EQ3, a Winnipeg-based company that tries to make everything in Canada. They are really lovely and comfortable. The toy basket came from Ten Thousand Villages. We built the media tower out of three LACK tables from IKEA that are glued together. Seriously. The TV is going to end up in the basement (which I also haven’t put on the blog… hmm) but we need to build a corner shelf for it first.

So funny story about the couch situation. We moved in here with the same sofa bed that we had in the apartment. I wanted it to go in the basement, and we were going to get an IKEA couch with a chaise extension because I love those. It was the one thing we agreed on when I was showing Sam all my Pinterest ideas. But the sofa bed didn’t fit down the stairs, not even a little bit. We tried three times, dissembling it more and more, until the third time we broke it to bits. Oops. So it’s languishing in pieces in the garage, and I decided that because tall people come to visit us, and we are tall and often use the sofa bed (not because of one or the other being “in trouble” – someone snores and someone else needs a lot of space in bed these days) that we needed to get a good one, and not another IKEA option. So the IKEA sofa, that we’d already bought for the living room but without the chaise extension, went down to the basement and the sofa bed is in the living room. The cats ADORE the straight back up against the window – all the better for drooling over the birdie visitors to our junipers.

I am so not going to end up on Design Sponge or Apartment Therapy, but that’s okay. I like my house and I hope I get more points for being “unstaged” than for being perfect.

Plus, bonus fatcat and window bats from Halloween.

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twenty four weeks

24weeks

I have decided that it’s another myth of pregnancy that each trimester lasts an equal time. In general, morning sickness last until around week 16 or so (unless you are very lucky or unlucky), and the second trimester “burst of energy” is sure as stink not a whole three months long. So although I’m still four weeks from the technical third trimester, I sure feel like I’m in it already. So tired and awkward. So sore in my pelvis. So wishing it was December already.

The not-sleeping is what gets to me. I was going to write this post yesterday but I didn’t have the energy. And even today, I’m writing it with my head resting on the couch because I just don’t feel like holding it up anymore, so please to forgive any typos that are missed by the red squiggly line. However, even though I feel like I have gone on and on about how wonderful it is to have moved, I shall go on further: I am so grateful that we have moved. Today the not-tired children played for three hours or more in the backyard, sometimes in the blow-up pool, sometimes out of it, while I sat my butt in a lawn chair and read my book, or took pictures of them, or stuck my feet in the cold water (it was hot and humid soup today). Glorious. We all felt better for the time outside. And then Sam barbecued steaks and potatoes and zucchini and boiled some corn on the cob and it was just wonderful. So despite two exhausted parents who took turns napping all day, we still managed to have a good one.

One aspect of pregnancy that I love is how creative I get. It’s like the creative energy doesn’t just hit my uterus but spreads throughout my whole body and mind. And this time I have the means of making stuff happen with far less effort. This week I dove into my craft half-room and designed a bunch of back-to-school clothes for Lucy, and I’ve even started sewing them! I did a quick knitting project too, and I’m rereading my photography books and sort of practicing. What’s completely fascinating is that even though I mostly do this stuff when the kids are in bed or quiet time, they’ve picked up on it and Lucy has been a drawing machine. Her pictures tell stories now – there are always layers of action and plenty of emotion involved. And Rowan, ever copying his big sister, loves to get into her crayons and scribble on the big paper on her easel. He is SO gleeful that he’s allowed to do it (and devastated when he’s not). Their relationship is changing – Lucy acts quite differently when he’s around and often needs to get away from him for a while. She loves the option of going to a different space to be “alonely.” Rowan, however, is having a bit of a rough time with all the space, since he’s always been used to being close to all of us. I think having his own room is a bit of a challenge for him. I’m working on giving them both their own mama-time – it’s always going to be a challenge to give them individual attention, especially when there are three (THREE), but I really think it’s important. But then I have to give myself grace to be content with good enough, as opposed to perfect, which is always what I wish I could be.

It feels like the ground is always moving underneath us. Things shift constantly in who and what needs attention. It’s so overwhelming. My counsellor told me a few months ago, when I was in the thick of nausea and anxiety and meds not yet working, that even though I often feel like I can’t handle what I have to deal with, I always do. The surface layer of my consciousness has very little confidence in my ability to cope. But buried underneath it, I am a strong woman and I don’t just get by, I do well. So it’s a matter of quieting the voice telling me that I can’t do this, I can’t get through sixteen or more weeks of pregnancy and give the kids what they need and take care of myself and be a good-enough wife for Sam (not perfect, again, because that’s not the goal) and cope with all the change that’s happened this year. I can do it. I am doing it. It’s hard as hell but I’m doing it.

I will be strong.

what i do for fun: painting, stickers, and playing with sticks

Today was an honest-to-goodness day off for this mama. Two thirds of my children were not my responsibility (one of them is still chillin’ in her happy little womb). This was so I could rest and feel better after how rough things have been lately. So I slept in until 6:30 and then did a whole bunch of really awesome projects! It looks like I was running around like a crazy person, I know, but I had a lot of restful, relaxing fun. I also went to a wedding last night and started reading Neil Gaiman’s new book, so it’s pretty much been the best weekend ever. And it’s also full of pangs of missing those little stinkers of mine, because they are just so darn awesome. I mean, I liked waking up on my own schedule without any feet in my face, but they sure are cute little feets. I can’t wait to snuggle my littles again.

Onward to projects!

This one was not me. Mama does not climb on table to wire in new light fixtures. After a lot of discussion, argument, conflict, stony silence, Pinterest, trips to IKEA and Home Depot, we finally somewhat agreed on this light fixture (I ordered it from CB2). Sam’s not in love with it like I am, but he’s giving it a shot. I adore it. Did you know that it’s really hard to take a good picture of lighting? Plus I didn’t wipe it down first, because I am a lax design blogger.

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This is the light fixture that I made. Sam isn’t really a fan of “dead sticks as art,” but I am, and this was completely free, so ta da! I pulled down a dead branch from our poplar tree out back (and let it hang out in the garage until any potential bugs departed) and then today I brought it in and strung it with lights. Twinkly!

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This is the mural I painted in Rowan’s bedroom. I’ve been drawing line-art birch trees since I was a kid. I’m so pleased with how this turned out, especially because it’s visible from the stairs when the door is open and it’s much more interesting than a flat grey wall. Rowan’s room is still really big and spare and grey right now – it probably needs the most help. Mostly in terms of soft stuff. I’m thinking that it needs some really big floor pillows and a play tent. And I got a ton of awesome IKEA fabric last week, so it’s just a matter of time. You guys, this is so much fun!

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That wall hanging? It’s a Moomintroll tea towel. Possibly it’s silly to be so enamoured with a tea towel that has a kid’s story character on it, but it’s totally art for me. Moomintroll is a Finnish character who looks like a hippo (we have a giant stuffed one – the big blue thing that shows up sometimes) and the books are similar to Winnie-the-Pooh. So much love.

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And this is Lucy’s wall art! We found a tree mural on Pinterest that she just loved (it’s actually another one by Kal Barteski – I just really love her stuff) and I was going to paint it, but then I decided that I don’t have to DIY All The Things, so I had a huge decal custom-made from this Etsy shop. SO worth it! It’s huge and gorgeous and I cannot wait for her to see it. I actually had a blast putting it up this afternoon. It took me two full cds of Hildegard von Bingen chant (some people listen to stuff with bass and drums and stuff while they work; I listen to reeeeeally old music) which is the only way I know it took two hours.

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I also finished turning the pantry door – between the kitchen and the entryway – into a chalkboard, but I didn’t take a picture of it.

I am still not done, you guys. I haven’t even started sewing anything yet, and I’m working on ideas for cheap-to-free wall art (because wall art is expensive!). But this has been a great day.