InstaFriday – 9/13/13

life rearranged It’s Friday! I’m excited to share my week in pictures via Jeannett’s InstaFriday link-up at Life Rearranged. I’m thedestinymanifest on instagram, if you’d like to follow me.

I’m excited that I finally feel like blogging again… it’s been too long since my desire to write matched up with my ability to sit and write without feeling sick.

The biggest news of our week — we got our car fixed! The poor girl has been overheating since April and we’ve been babying her along, hoping to have the money to have it fixed each week, and never actually having the money. A few weeks ago, our neighbor fixed the fan, which had come disconnected from its’ wires, and the week after that, we bought a new thermostat and David installed that, but it still wasn’t fixing the problem. I’d get into afternoon car line to pick up Addah, and within 5 minutes of moving slowly forward in line, the engine temperature would be at 116 degrees and you could hear the coolant bubbling and boiling in the engine. Not good… and as a result, I have been relying on my sister way too much to help me with picking up kids. She’s having knee surgery next week, so it was time to get to the bottom of this problem.

I called my old friend Craig (if you remember, the girls and I used to live with he and his wife, years ago) and asked him if he had time to take a look at the car. As luck would have it, he did. He checked it all out and said that everything looked good and he wasn’t 100% sure what the problem could be. He thought the radiator cap looked rusted and suggested buying a new one. $5.00 later… our car is no longer overheating! $5.00! A new radiator cap! I was impressed… and also felt a little silly, that something that small has been tripping us up for so long.

Mechanics Car Repair

The bad news from the mechanical check-up is that our master cylinder is starting to go bad, and we’re going to need to replace that very soon. It’s only $125.00, since Craig can replace the part himself, but still… $125.00 is a fortune when you’re constantly living paycheck to paycheck. I prefer the amazing $5.00 radiator cap = no more overheating kind of mechanical fix, personally.

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I convinced David to help me do a major overhaul of our bedroom and bedroom closet last weekend. We pulled every little thing out of our closet, and most of one side of the bedroom, so I could put my long dresser into the closet and move out the baby things that have been taking up so much room in there. Now I have the baby bassinet on my side of the bed. It was a little surreal the first morning after the big clean-up, waking up to the baby’s bed right next to me, because this is much earlier than we would normally “get ready for baby”, but it’s such a long time coming for us… it just feels right.

Baby Nursery Prep

We still have two very large boxes of baby girl clothes in the top of the closet, and I’m just not sure that I will ever be ready to part with them, whether this baby is a boy or a girl. Some of them will always be “Clara’s clothes” and it’s painful to think of seeing them on another baby. I don’t know… I have to hope that this part sorts itself out as the pregnancy progresses. I have so much excitement and happiness, but also so much fear and anxiety.

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I’m knitting my fingers to the bone! I finished two pairs of socks for my mama… and forgot to take a picture of one pair, unfortunately. She loved them so much that she ordered four more colors of yarn for more socks. It’s a good thing I enjoy this, eh?

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Knitpicks Sock Yarn Collection

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And finally, Addah wrote a “newspaper” this week for a class assignment. For the “My Hero” section, she chose David, and wrote the sweetest little note about him. He got quite teary when she showed him after work… so did I, to be honest.

My Stepdad, My Hero

In case you can’t read her writing, it says “My stepdad David is my role model because he is an artist. He also plays and has fun with me. Sometimes he yells but that’s because he has to. I know he loves me. I love him too. He’s the best stepdad ever.”

Is that not the sweetest thing ever? Or is that just my pregnancy hormones running out of control?

Mustache Club

So silly… and so sweet.

Oh and before I forget! Addah got a pug puppy! No, not a real puppy… I don’t need that stress in my life. A balloon pug!

And what’s a balloon pug, you ask?

Balloon Pug

This adorable helium-filled puppy was begging me to take him home from Party City. I couldn’t refuse, because I knew I’d get the biggest grin out of Addah when she saw it. I was right; the grin was amazing and totally worth the $8.00 I spent on the puppy. He’s still floating too, over two weeks later. It’s like having a cartoon dog living with us – the slightest movement of air from walking past him causes him to “follow” you, just like a real puppy would.

It makes the girls happy, so it makes me happy. It’s the simple things, y’know?

Have a great weekend!

Mother’s Day 2013

I have been a mother for almost a dozen years, and this is the first Mother’s Day that doesn’t feel completely happy.

I am grateful, of course, so grateful for my daughters, Lakin and Addah. They make me smile. They make me cry. They make me angry, and they make me laugh like a crazy person. They are wonderful spitfires, and they make me a better person than I ever could have been, every day of my life.

I would be nothing without them, and I know this completely.

They are beautiful, and I love them so very much.

I have been showered with a breakfast in bed, handmade cards, and a sweet little potted flower. They are trying very hard to be good to each other, and I am grateful for their deliberate kindness.

I would change only one thing about this Sunday, that our baby girl could be here today. I have no idea what she would look like now, but I imagine she would be a lovely amalgam of her big sisters. She might have Addah’s elfin chin, Lakin’s big bright eyes, and David’s handsome nose. She could have slept late with me today, waking up to nurse while I enjoyed my breakfast of eggs, bacon, and buttered toast. Maybe I would have had to pry her sister’s handmade card from her pudgy fingers, so she wouldn’t teethe on it.

I will never know. She will never be here in my arms on a Mother’s Day, and this will never fail to make me sad. Her sisters are here though, always ready to hug me, kiss my face and tell me they love me, and this will never fail to make me happy.

I have been a mother for almost a dozen years, and it is the best thing I have ever done.

Mother's Day Collage

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers – those with their arms full of their children’s hugs, and those with their hearts full of children they cannot hug, and those, like myself, whose hearts and arms feel both full and empty. You are all in my heart today.

 

My Daughters’ Names

What’s in a name?

Choosing my daughters’ names was not a task that I took lightly. We made many lists, and considered ancestry, word origins & the meanings of different names. First names have to flow properly and sound right with the middle and last names. There’s so much to consider, because you are not really naming a baby, you are naming an adult. I feel that any name must work for whatever profession my child chooses to pursue , whether that be writer, teacher, lawyer or President of the United States.

My oldest daughter is Lakin Leigh. Lakin is my middle name, and my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Leigh is the more feminine spelling of her father’s middle name, Lee. It flows beautifully with our last name. Her name was decided before we knew she was a girl, before we were even pregnant. Her name suits her perfectly.

Lakin Leigh

If she had been a boy, the name we had chosen was Andrew Patrick. I loved this name at the time, so much so that we considered it again when pregnant with our second child. Ultimately, I can’t picture myself as the mother of an Andrew or a Patrick, though I’m sure I would still be in love with the name if my oldest had been a boy child. Funny how that works, eh?

My second daughter is Addah Shannon. I had loved the name Addah since high school, when I had a brief friendship with a beautiful blond girl by that name. Her middle name is from the River Shannon in Ireland, and goes well with our very Irish last name. As it turns out, “Ada” is a family name, though I did not know that when we chose the name. I realized pretty quickly after Addah was born that we would forever be correcting the spelling and pronunciation of her name, but it never seems to bother her. The English meaning of Addah/Ada is “happy” and the Irish meaning of Shannon is “little old wise one”. My Addah is indeed a very happy and wise child, just as her name suggests.

Addah Shannon

Unlike our first pregnancy, on the second time around, we did not find out whether we were having a boy or girl via ultrasound. If Addah had been a boy, which I was absolutely convinced of until she was born, the name we had chosen was Rory Patrick. I still love this name, though it didn’t feel right anymore by the time we were pregnant with our last baby. Different husband, different place in my life, but still, a lovely boy’s name.

David and I considered hundreds of names for our third baby before we settled on Clara Edith. Clara means “clear, bright, famous” and Edith means “prosperous in war”. We had five early miscarriages before we conceived Clara, and we were in a very dark time financially when we became pregnant with her. She was the symbol of our clear and bright future, and we felt very prosperous in love, even during the war we were waging on our financial circumstances. Clara is a lovely old-fashioned name, and not one that you hear very often, which is exactly what we were looking for. Edith was my paternal grandmother’s first name, which makes the name even more special to us. It is the perfect name for this beautiful child.

Clara Edith (photo by Carly Marie Project Heal)

We had a perfect boy name picked out as well, in case Clara had been a boy. It is still our favorite boy name, and we hope that we will one day be able to bestow it on a son, so it shall remain private for now.

I adore all of my daughters’ names, and wouldn’t change them for the world. I think their names suit them perfectly, and I can’t imagine them being called by any other name.

How did you decide on your children’s names? Are they named after family members, friends, or famous people? Do you prefer classic or unusual names?

Easter Flashback Pictures

It’s time for an Easter Flashback!

I love looking at pictures of my big girls when they were little. Looking at the girls now, at 10 and 11, it’s hard to believe they were once so toddler chubby adorable, so kindergarten sweet. Where did those years go?!

I’ve picked out some of my favorites from past Easters to share this week. I never realized just how informal we are about Easter, until I had all of these pictures in the same place. Some years we have the pretty dresses and beautiful pictures, but some years we didn’t bother with the fancy dress clothes at all. We always have candy and baskets and hide Easter eggs though… you know, the important stuff!

Easter Flashback - Lakin 2002
Lakin – 8 months – 2002

Continue reading “Easter Flashback Pictures”

The Best of Friends

I love it when my daughters are the best of friends. There is very little that can brighten my mood like  the sight of them playing and grinning, the sound of their giggles. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like — in fact, it seems that much of their time together is spent devising new ways to torment one another, but when they’re getting along, it’s like magic. Their smiles and laughter make every difficult thing so much easier to deal with.

The Best of Friends - Giggling Girls

 I walked up to the apartment complex office one afternoon this week, to check the mail. As I came back down our breezeway toward the front door, I could hear their laughter. I paused outside and listened, hoping that it would last and not turn into tears or grumpiness. They’re hormonal prepubescent girls, after all, and apt to get emotional and full of attitude over the slightest thing.

This time though, the laughter continued, and actually got louder. I opened the door and immediately picked up the camera, wanting to capture this beautiful and rare moment for posterity. I snapped this picture, and then their giggles became contagious. I’m not even sure what they were laughing at, exactly — an animated drawing of a Pokemon battle that they both worked on. I couldn’t tell you what was so hilarious about it. I’m old, you see, so I don’t get it. They get it though, and in their opinions, it was the funniest thing ever.

No, I didn’t laugh at their silly video. I laughed at my beautiful daughters, still children but not for long, grinning wide, giggling until they had to run to the bathroom, which made them laugh even harder. It was pure happiness, unadulterated fun, side-splitting hilarity. I could watch them laugh and smile like that forever.

I’m linking up several places for Wordful/Wordless Wednesday…

live out loud button better in bulk button seven clown circus button babybabylemon jenni from the blog button pictimilitude button
Fresh Mommy Blog parenting BY dummies
Wordless Wednesday by David 5 Minutes for Mom
organic-mama.ca Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

Simple Yarn Roses – Crafts by Kids

My daughter Addah has been crafting simple yarn roses this week!

She’s made lots of roses… enough for an entire wreath of roses, plus a pin for each of us (as well as my mom, David’s mom, her aunts, her teachers, her best friends and the neighbor lady across the hall. I don’t know what sparked the rose fascination, but she came up with these crafty roses herself, and I had to ask her to show me how she makes them.

Simple Yarn Roses - Crafts by Kids
Like this project? Pin it and make my girl’s day!

Addah starts each rose out by cutting a circle out of green construction paper for the flower’s base. Sometimes she cuts the leaves out separately and glues them on first, and sometimes she cuts the leaves right along with the circle, essentially cutting a circle with a small triangle at each side.

She’s using Elmer’s white glue and an acrylic chenille red yarn that she liberated from my vast yarn stash. She starts in the center and uses a little glue to secure the end of the yarn, then proceeds in an outward circle. She works a little at a time… a few dots of glue to hold each ring of yarn in place. Proceed in this manner until the entire circle is covered and you’ve got a very sweet little yarn rose!

And there you have it, rose lovers!

Addah cautions that using too much glue will make a very stiff flower, whilst too little will make your flower fall apart. Apparently there is a delicate balance that cannot be explained with mere words – when I ask for clarification, the artist shrugs and says, “just try it, you’ll know when you have the right amount”.

For her pins, she cut slits in the paper base and slid one side of the safety pin through it before she began the yarn and glue phase of the project. David has worn his rose pin to work for several days and it looks no worse for wear. Mine is pinned to my pocketbook and has so far survived beautifully, even while being tossed around the car and house.

I’m trying to talk her into expanding beyond red yarn into other bright colors… it’s a bit late for a Valentine’s Day wreath, but I think pink, white and yellow roses would make a gorgeous spring wreath!

Simple Yarn Roses - Crafts by Kids

I’m linking up several places for Wordful/Wordless Wednesday…

live out loud button better in bulk button seven clown circus button babybabylemon jenni from the blog button pictimilitude button
Fresh Mommy Blog parenting BY dummies
Wordless Wednesday by David 5 Minutes for Mom
organic-mama.ca Tales of a Pee Dee Mama