Friday, December 30, 2011

Running Out

It's New Year's Eve and I'm not sad to see the year go.  This year has been hard. Sometimes in a challenging, time to grow way, and others in a way that is just hard with nothing to be done about it.  I feel like sending it off with a "Good Riddance!  Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" 

Without a doubt, there has been beauty in this year, but looking back at it, I remember the hard more than that.  2011 and I need some distance between us so that I can remember the good. 

I have a good feeling about 2012.  Even if the Mayan calendar says it's all over for us (it doesn't), I believe we'll be going out strong.  

Happy New Year, friends.  It's going to be happy, I can feel it.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Stinky

Dear Stinky, 

Now you are five.  It's a number that might be small, but has a lot about it that is just so big.  That bigness suits you, though, as if your age was finally starting to match the huge personality you were born with.  Your creativity this year has exploded, and we are constantly gifted with projects and works of art, as though you can't contain everything you have inside of you.  You are generous and loving, and such a good big brother. I marvel at your memory- how sharp and clear it is.  Sometimes we won't understand what you're talking about, but with further discussion, we see that it's just something we've forgotten, 

You are the boy who taught me that the saying is true, to be a mother is to allow your heart to walk around outside of your chest.  This year has proven that more than ever, as with your growing independence my heart walks just a little farther away than it has before.  I love the snuggles, hugs and kisses that you give so willingly, and I love watching you learn so quickly.  We love you so much, Stinky boy, and I am so, so proud of you, 

Love,  Mom. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry and Bright and Imperfect this Christmas

The last two years, I've joked "may your days be harried and bright."  Sometimes Christmas can feel that way.  In the song I shared last week, the lyrics Why so scared that you'll mess it up? When perfection keeps you haunted, all we need is your best, my love.  That's all anyone ever wanted jumped out at me.  We've made some changes, some tough decisions and taken a step back from some things, and I was very worried about other's opinions, very scared I would mess it up.  So I've let some things go, and it has felt almost like I was letting out the breath I'd been holding just to prove that I could.  

There have been things this Christmas that have gone undone.  Advent Calendars, Christmas baking, card delivering, some books to read and some movies to watch have all been absent.  There have been no handmade gifts this year, and I'm surprised at how okay with it I am.   I'm breathing it away, reminding myself that my children won't remember not having them- they would remember a mom who lost her mind because we didn't.   I know that years from now, gifts will be sitting in the pile to take to Goodwill, and my boys aren't old enough to miss the things we've decided to skip.  

I hope they'll remember family time together, brother shopping at the dollar store, making s'moreos on the stove, and paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.  There are enough things to worry about.  I have decided that for me, a perfect Christmas won't be one of them.  

And that, in a way, makes it perfect. 

Merry Christmas from the Telford Home.  

May your days be Merry and Bright, and imperfect, too.  Give yourself that gift this Christmastime. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Caption This: Holiday Edition

 Caption this:  Rotten and Stinky at the Festival of the Nativity this year.  

WBH's Suggestion:  
"Do you think anyone will notice that we switched the hebrew kid for a white one?"

Your turn! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tunes on Tuesday: Love is Christmas

As part of my epic birthday weekend,  I won one of Passionista's amazing mixes.  Christmas music is my favorite, but not WBH's.   This song is probably my favorite on the whole CD.  It's so beautiful, and really speaks to how I feel this year.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Made it Monday: Socks, Snowman, Swag Bucks and Cinema (sort of?)

After my first trial pair, and the the pair for my mom, I got some brightly colored yarn and worked up a nice pair for myself.  They kept me busy backstage while the play was going.  I love their brightness, their mismatch-iness, their warmth.  I like that I can knit socks now.  It makes me feel pretty awesome.  Now ends of the other extremities, I have a pair of mittens almost done for my little sister.  

Stinky helped me whip up this guy, this week, too.  I kind of think he's adorable, AND I cleaned off the front of my fridge.   Plus, it's all felt, so it's going into a baggie and will be ready for next year.

This week is bringing about some changes for us.  I don't know how much I want to write about it, but it's not been an easy time.  We'll get through it.  It'll be good.  I'm working on my swagbucks a lot to keep under budget for Christmas gifts.    We enjoyed movie nights with friends and themed food:

A Christmas Story: "Who's Mommy's Little" piggies in blankets and "OooooHHH  Fudge"

Elf:  A snowflake cutting party, with our take the four elf food groups (candy, candy corn, candy canes and syrup).  We did waffles w/syrup, candy, and candy canes, but left out the candy corn and brought in lots of bacon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not such a terrible job. Most Days.

Pinned Image

I love being a mom, it is the best job I've ever had.  It's also the worst job I've ever had.  As I write this, I've kicked both boys upstairs for a nap and a rest, just to have an hour's worth of peace, and a chance to clean up after Hurricane Telford. That's right, I want to be alone so I can clean.  So this is what 30 is like.  

The two of them have been cycling through their Jekyll and Hyde side so rapidly that I'm imagining the story of the boy and the tigers, in which the tigers run around a tree so fast that they dissolve into a pool of melted butter.  I'm afraid my little ones are going to melt away soon. Rotten is playing cute games, chasing us with a camera, saying 'Cheeeeeeeees!" then shrieking at the perfect pitch for me to feel my ear drums try to off themselves. Rinse and repeat.  Stinky is doing things that he knows get him in trouble, then pointing them out, as to challenge me and see if I will stay consistent.  Then he turns an empty diaper box into a present for Santa- "A hay holder for his reindeer.  He must need lots of them."   His giving nature isn't always seen by others, and that breaks my heart. 

Then today, listening to Christmas music I heard they lyrics "Mom is watching children growing, another Christmas going by" and became really choked up.  Christmas has snuck up on me this year- how is it only two and a half weeks away?  It makes me wonder, will the day that they start junior high, the day they first ask a girl out, the day they leave home feel like that?  Am I letting the Hyde overshadow the Jekyll and wishing the crazy away too fast? 

This job is so, so hard.  Being project manager of two tiny, but loud lives is insane.  Who would ask for that?  Still, this is the crazy I asked for.  The benefits aren't just in the future.  They're in the times I see Stinky overcome challenges, and the way that Rotten runs to kiss me.  They're in the sweaty sleeping kid snuggled up against me, in learning read and taking first steps.

 And by the way? My co-worker really is super hot. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tunes on Tuesday: The Friendly Beasts

I love this song.  I love the idea of everyone's gifts being so unique to them, even the beasts.  I love this arrangement, how it all builds.  I hope you love it, too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Made it Monday: Free Christmas Printable

Trying to think of low-cost gifts for the holidays, I was inspired by some Christmas song subway art- I wanted to do some word art with lyrics solely from hymns.  Then I wanted them to tell the story, not just be jumbled.  I think I managed to get there.   It's the first time I've done anything like it, and I'm pretty proud.  It's 8x10 and created in Picnik.  I think you can print them at Office max on cardstock for 60 cents.  Add a dollar store frame, and you've got a gift for less than two dollars. 

   Print and share away! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Inspiration

Life Motto :)

...and today is mine.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One of those weeks.

It's been one of those weeks.  Stinky is having a hard time.  I am having a hard time.  Rotten is having a hard time.  Poor WBH is the eye of the hurricane- which is a hard time, for him, too.  I've put my efforts into controlling the chaos as much as I can.

My birthday is this weekend.  I'm almost 30.  I didn't complete my list.  I don't think I even did half of those things.  Next year's will be a little more realistic, I think.   I'm a little bummed, but WBH and I have a good weekend planned.

Back with Sunday Inspiration and more next week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tunes on Tuesday!

Oh, we do love a good dance party.  On days when we're all about to blow our tops, sometimes the best thing to do is to put on our special Telford Family Dance Party Mix and let loose.   I love, so very much, watching both boys go crazy.  It's the best solution to a bad day, sometimes.       

Grooveshark is one of my favorite places on the internet- it's like making those mix tapes from high school without having to wait for your favorite song to come on the radio, and run to hit record just in time.  Oh, the things my children won't ever know the joy of. 

 You can find our family mix here.  I hope you'll enjoy it, too. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving: The Center of our Home

It was a  $20 thrift store find.  I saw it and it stuck in my head all day long.  Sure, it was worn and halfway through a really shoddy finishing job, but I knew it would be perfect.   I brought WBH back with me, crossing my fingers it would still be there, asking if it was something he could take on.  That night it was in my car, travelling back with us.  WBH refinished the top, sanding away remnants of red and neon green to showcase a pretty, herringbone top.

I love our kitchen table. It sits in what is probably the closest to the center of our home that anything could get.  It is where we play play dough, fold laundry, and work on work on projects.  It is where we make and break bread.  I love our kitchen table and all of the living we do there- as I wiped it down four or five times today, I became grateful for it, and the life it is witness to.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving: Rotten

I am grateful for my Rotten. 

He is my sour patch boy:  first sour, then sweet (then it starts all over again), but when he is sweet, he is oh, so sweet.  He is playful and teasing and snuggly.  He expresses himself between signs, words, and expressions that can't be categorized by either.  He loves to wave and talk to everyone he sees.  His strong will is going to serve him well, someday, if only we can survive it now. I'm especially grateful for the way he's been sleeping almost through the night most days.  I love his ginger hair and funny attitude.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week of Thanksgiving: Stinky

I am grateful for Stinky. I am so lucky to be his mother.  I am grateful for the opportunity being in a play with him has allowed us to talk about faith. He always surprises me with his understanding and unique perspective. His sense of humor and irrepressible desire to be a friend make me so happy.  His tender and loving heart make him sensitive, and make me incredibly protective, but I am grateful that he has that trait- it makes him kind and will bring him great things,  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Very Important Issue.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

my baby and my puppy.   darn cute

There are many important issues facing us today.  The Republican primaries, Occupy Wall Street, Demi and Ashton splitting.  Today, though, I would like to talk to you today about an epic battle you may not know about: Puppies vs. Babies.  Specifically, the war to be named cutest.  

You know I'm going to side with babies here.  Have you seen mine?  Even on their stinky, rotten, terrible horrible no good very bad days, they find a way to be cute.  Then again, I know some dog mamas that would argue in favor for their four-legged children (some days, even over their children with just two legs).  They're furry and sweet.  They give you unconditional, slobbering love, and best of all, they don't really talk back at all.  

As for me, I'd love to be Switzerland and say that the cutest thing that you'll find is a baby WITH a puppy.  Look at Rotten up there with Clyde.  Can you tell me that their cuteness doesn't multiply by being next to each other?  

Unfortunately, the time to submit photos has come and gone, but you should make your stand in in the Puppies vs. Babies online contest.  Tell me, which way would you cast your vote? 


Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heads Up!

Yes,  my dog's bed is a futon mattress.  It's the only thing big enough and that he can't tear up.  well, can't tear up too easily.

The play (and life) has kept us super busy this week, but I've got some more opportunities for compensated posts, so those are coming, just giving a heads up.  Next week, I've got Week of Gratitude coming up and other things.  Have a great week, drop in for some interesting things to check out, and we'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hell's Angel

It's pretty clear that after last night's rehearsal, Stinky is more likely to be named a hell's angel rather than any other kind, but he sure is a cute one.  You're invited to come see us in "Savior of The World" for the next two weekends.  I'll try to make sure that he doesn't sing peace on earth with the peace sign, but no promises. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm just wearing this. It's still me.

T Family Rule: Cross-dress all you want, but you can be sure I'm getting a blackmail picture. 

Stinky wore this at preschool, while driving cars around.  It was a kind of awesome preschool day, kids cross-dressing and cursing (F was the letter of the day. What starts with the fff sound?).  Like he did on Halloween, when in costume, he was quick to correct people "I'm just wearing this costume.  I'm still me."  

Sunday was hard.  Mom crying in empty church classrooms hard. Part of it was bad choices on his part, the effects of time change, and a conflict that I don't look forward to addressing, but has gone on long enough. Both boys were sent to nap immediately after we returned home, while WBH and I regrouped and discussed the fiscal benefits of eating our young.  (It's a good thing they're a tax credit.  Meat is expensive) That night, with Rotten in bed, Stinky was back to himself.  Having lost screens and other privileges that day, he became a one-man art machine, helped me bake cookies, and went to bed easily. 

Monday, he was like a different kiddo.  He was helpful, and kind. He listened.  We spoke to an elderly woman as Stinky pet her dog at a store.  She told us that the dog was her only family since her sons had died.  He quickly said "I'm sorry that happened to you.  That's very sad."  He was helpful and kind to his brother.  Then, when we got home, he put himself to bed.  Monday, his attitude changed, as if to say "I was just wearing the naughty kid costume yesterday.  I'm still me."  It would be easier if he could just put on a villain's costume, though, to remind me that those choices aren't the real him- the empathetic, incredibly likable kid, full of creativity and kindness. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Made it Monday: More Socks

These lovelies are a pair for my mother, whose feet are almost always as cold as mine.  They're a little uneven, but better than the first pair.  Rather than being toe-up like the first, though, these were top down, and I really prefer the toe-up technique.  So much easier to finish.  Anyone else?  My next pair will be for me.  A really pretty variegated pink and yellow.  It's so cheery and bright.

They'll have to wait a while, though.  I have so many irons in the fire right now.  So many projects that need completing, so little time to do it in, so many ideas with out the time or resources.  And that's not even mentioning Christmas  or a play that just happens to be opening this weekend.    Nonetheless, things are being crossed off the chalkboard and that feels good.

Where are you at, creatively?  Too much to do, or too little inspiration?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkins by WBH: 2011

This year WBH offered his pumpkin carving services at really reasonable rates- here are several of the ones he finished.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wishing you a SUPER Halloween

Luigi and Mario, (and their parents, too) are wishing you a SUPER Halloween.  After the festivities, we grown-ups are facing a mini-horror of our own: a flea infestation, courtesy NoNuts.  Wish us luck, it's been/going to be a lot of cleaning and laundry.  Back tomorrow with a pumpkin recap from WBH.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Help the ONE.

I was listening to the news on the radio after preschool drop off.  The hosts were discussing the "Occupy" protesters, and what it is they're after.  Earlier that morning, I'd seen my friend steve post a picture of the protesters side by side with a picture of starving third-world children.  It was on my mind, the reminder that even in hard and frustrating times, we are privileged to live as we do.  So, I started a facebook group.  I wrote :

My name is Rachael, and like you, I'm a part of the 99%.  I'm frustrated about the economy, unethical business, and the fact that my family scrapes by while basketball and football players have tantrums demanding more money.  However, I'm not here to take a stand, or occupy anything.  I believe that both sides of the argument can agree: there is always someone worse off. 

If 99% of Americans took one day, one afternoon, or one hour to stop taking sides and help someone else, we could accomplish so much.  We might not change national policy, or cause a massive economic shift- but we might change someone's life. 

I'm committing, and asking you to commit, to serving some ONE on November 11, 2011 (11.11.11)  I won't reccomend any cause in particular.  Choose what you're passionate about, or where you can meet a need.  Please share our photo and pass on this challenge.  Let's "be the change we wish to see in the world."  

So, I hope you'll join me in this challenge.  There is always someone who needs help.  If you can't give money, give time.  Donate things you aren't using to an organization that will be able to reach those who need them.  Help a neighbor.   Do something.   Right now this group is holding at 40 members.  I would love to see it reach 100 by the 11th- a symbol that our efforts reach past the 99/1 percent divide.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just a verse and a chorus, please.

This child- this bright eyed ginger child- may be the death of me one of these days.  The walking, the reaching new things, the rotten "I have something I shouldn't!" scrunched up shoulder run.  He may just be the death of me.  Even with all this new found mobility, though, he's still a mama's boy.  Several times a day, he comes to check in with me.  He toddles over and tries to climb up me, no matter where I am.  I scoop him up an he presses his face into my neck, and his soft squishy body into my arms, and I can almost hear him say "just a verse and a chorus, please."  So I sing to him, and then he's ready to tear up the world for another hour or two.  Then he comes to check in again, and we sing and snuggle for another verse and chorus more.  Someday, I know I'll be chasing him asking "oh Rotten, just a verse and a chorus, please?"  so I try to soak it all in while I can.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Made It Monday: Sock it To Ya

Dudes.  I knit a sock. 

It's just one, and it's not very good, but I broke through the 'socks are too complicated for me' mindset, and powered through, and I knit my very first sock.  Oh yeah, I did.  I found episodes of a show I love online, and as I knit, and thought 'just one more episode!'  it got later and later.   Suddenly it was 3:30am, I was out of new episodes, and I had shaped a heel.  I finished this morning.  

I won't be using it for anything but slippers, but I'm glad I decided to give it a try.  I used Silver's Sock Class, and that spelled it out really clearly.  It's a great place to start.  Now to let my hands rest, and tackle the other.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Remaining An Artist

A few weeks ago, a library book jumped off the shelf and into my hands.  Does that ever happen to you?  I saw it, and before I knew what was happening, I was poring through the pages of Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit.  Reading this book has been mind-changing.  I've had to take breaks to process what I've read, and how it applies to me.  

I wrote in my On Belief post "I believe in the power of creativity, and that it resides in everyone."  I've heard many people say they're not creative, and it makes me sad.  Creativity is a gift we're all born with- like our muscles, it grows stronger the more we use it.  It isn't only creating a beautiful work of art or writing a world-changing poem.  Creativity is finding a new way to teach your child something, it's the surprising meal you create when you stare into the fridge and pantry two days before payday.  It's inherent in everyone, and mothers have to exercise this gift more than anyone I can think of.   Pablo Picasso said, "All children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."   It's so true!  The day-to-day can block the innovative skills and wear us down.  This has been on my mind this week as I read Tharp's chapter on breaking out of a rut. 

Stinky had been asking to go to the Museum of Glass for weeks.  We drive past its stainless steel cone almost daily, and curiosity got to him.  They have a collection of child-designed pieces that was perfect for him, and this week's Third Thursday Artwalk allowed our family the chance to go for free.  Exploring, I found this panel: 

Now, if you'll humor me for just a minute, and re-read it, replacing the word artist  with  mother.   Go ahead, I'll wait.  How awesome is that?  Now think, are you playing?  Are you getting  what you need to fire up your imagination?  I'm challenging myself to allow more room for creativity and artistry as a mom by seeking those things.  I'm finding it's breaking my out of my ruts and helping me to find that mojo as Mom.

As parents, we are the creators of the life our families lead.  It's an awesome opportunity and terrifying responsibility.  So start today.  Make the most of it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Made it Monday: "I'm Batman!" Knit Beanie

I finally gave in and joined Ravelry.  Because,  you know, I needed something to distract me from all the sewing projects that actually need to be done.  Then, I went and joined the Hat of the Month group.  Again, because I needed a distraction.  Fortunately, this one took only two days of casual knitting while I watched TV.  I surprised Stinky with it the morning after I finished it.  He ran around in it that day, singing "nanananananananananananananana BAT MAN!"  Totally worth the procrastination.

The pattern is the zsa mask pattern  and it is so unbelievably simple- this would make a great beginner project.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Inspiration: from my life

This week, in a rare quiet moment, I was praying over some things that were weighing on me.  Before I could end, Stinky's boy soprano rang out from the next room, singing a song from VeggieTales:

"God is bigger than the boogeyman, He's bigger than Godzilla or the Monsters on TV.  Yes, God is bigger than the boogeyman, and He's watching out for you and me!"

I laughed into my folded arms until tears came down.  Or, maybe I cried until I laughed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cookie Friday: Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these for some of my husband's students last week.  I wished I hadn't sent so many away! 

  • Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • 1 stick butter or margarine 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1tsp.  baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Adapted from a Family Circle recipe.  

 Preheat at 375. Line baking sheets with foil.  Blend the  first five ingredients.  Mix remaining four ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to mixer by the spoonful.   With a melon baller, drop cookies onto cookie sheets with lots of space and bake until just cooked through (about 7-8 minutes.  I tap the center very lightly with my finger if I'm not sure.)  Allow to cool completely. 


2 Tbs. butter or margarine. 
1 package cream cheese
powdered sugar (1 to 1 1/2 cups) 
food coloring (optional) 

Blend first two ingredients, then add powdered sugar to desired consistency (thick is better than thin, I think.  Otherwise, the cookies can slide).    Frost the bottom of a cooled cookie, then top with a second cookie.  Repeat until all cookies are paired.  

Let me know if you give them a try.  I loved them! 

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