Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

For dinner tonight we had caramel apple slices with sprinkles as an appetizer. Then I whipped up THESE bad boys for the entree:

Pretty spooky, eh?

Then the boys dressed up (I'll skip the drama, but just imagine there was some. It's us, right?)

In case you couldn't tell, Soren is a pillow and Liam is a pirate.


And now, just to keep my blog from slipping too deeply into Mommy Blogdom, I thought I'd share with you my friend Nick's AMAZING Halloween costume.

Can you even tell which is Freddie Mercury and which is Nick? I thought not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today when I was tucking him in bed, I kissed Liam and said, "I sure love you, little angel." And for the first time ever, with a big grin on his face, he said it back: "Iufootoo."

Twenty Minutes

In twenty minutes I can empty and load my dishwasher and vacuum the living room floor.

In twenty minutes I can fold and put away two loads of laundry.

In twenty minutes I can sweep all the hard floors in my house and clean the bathroom.

How do I know this?

I time myself.

It's really easy for me to look at a dirty house at the end of a day and say, "I will be picking up toys until I die. I can't do this." Suddenly the task of putting the house into order (I've realized what I do isn't so much cleaning as it is preventing the house from attracting the attention of the local health department) looms enormous in my head and I suddenly, desperately, want to sleep.

That's when I set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes.

"Just twenty minutes," I tell myself. "See what kind of a dent you can make in twenty minutes. Then you can go do something fun. This, too, shall pass. Just twenty minutes."

And I get to work.

Usually when the timer buzzes I've made significant progress on preventing the house from attracting the attention of the local health department and I usually feel motivated to keep going. Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for ten, and sometimes I'll go hog wild crazy and crank the timer all the way back up to twenty.

My family thinks I'm kind of crazy, except for the kids, who are too little to know better. No one even bothers to check the oven anymore when they hear the timer buzzing. But I will tell you, people, it works. In fact, to date, not a single person has reported us to the health department. I consider this a homemaking triumph.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mod Podge Madness

I've been thinking about Mod Podge a lot lately. I had two Mod Podge experiences within a month--my first Mod Podge crafting experiences EVER--and now I just can't get the stuff out of my head. Mod Podge...it's like a miracle paste. It's a glue, a sealer, and a finisher....ALL IN ONE. You can Mod Podge paper, you can Mod Podge fabric...you can Mod Podge things onto dishes, walls, wood, cement, ceramic, paper, possibly even children...

I kid you not, I am kept awake nights thinking of amazing things I could make using Mod Podge.
I want to do projects like this:

Except that I would do it on my kitchen cupboards and use some sort of rooster theme. You can Mod Podge something like this onto contact paper so it's not permanent-permanent too, if you're decorating commitment shy, like me. Pretty cool, eh? Eh?

Wouldn't this be a great gift for a grandma? Though I'm not super keen on the red ribbon. Or the close-upness of the pictures. But you get the idea.

Soren really loves puzzles and this would be such a fun challenge for him. Plus, it's six puzzles in one! He had some store-bought ones like these when he was a baby, and they were really cool. They've since been mangled and lost, but a new set--maybe with pictures from a magazine--maybe with pictures of the boys together--would be cool, eh?

Apparently I'm not alone in my obsession, because there's an entire blog devoted to Mod Podge crafts. I feel that you should check it out. And if you want to come to my house and get your Mod Podge groove on, come on over. The pasting is fine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Wherein another friend takes pity on my abject craftlessness

Tuesday is my SAHM day. I love it. Love, love, love it. I bustle around the house cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, playing with the children, losing my hearing as a result of the world's loudest screaming being unleashed directly into my ear canals, reading stories, listening to soft rock (loudly, due to the aforementioned hearing loss). Liam and I go for a walk while Soren is in preschool. Our next door neighbors usually come over and hang out for a while. The children are provided with three nutritious meals in a single day. It's fabulous. I feel like I'm playing house and just completely rocking the hell out of it.

Today was even better because my friend Pam came over, lugging huge containers full of craft materials, including her Silhouette, and we had a wild crafting palooza.

The results:

Soren made this from a kit I ordered from Oriental Trading Company.

He also made this bug out of pom poms and pipe cleaners.

Pam was kind enough to let him use some materials to make this frightening display.

And we grown-ups made scary word... things. Mine would have been prettier had I thought through what black vinyl lettering would look like against a black and orange background. And if I hadn't put two blocks of the same size right next to each other. Also, as I scrutinize this picture I realize the "Y" is backwards. 'Cause I'm just that awesome. (I thought it looked kinda weird!) Anyway, Pam's was much cuter and said "BEWARE." (Possibly for BEWARE: RACHEL IS CRAFTING.) I think it's adorable anyway, though. Warts and all. Witches have warts, right? So it's totally appropriate for Halloween.

Thanks, Pam!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Soren Update: October 2011

Soren is already contemplating the Big Questions. For example, he recently asked, "Mommy, why do mean kitties exist?" He also posed the following quandary: "How did Jesus make the earth? The earth is bigger than him!"

Soren has inherited his father's inability to lose gracefully. We were playing Chutes and Ladders one Saturday and all was going well...until he hit his first chute. "Let's do something else, Mommy," he said, trying to close the game board. "Oh no you don't," I said. "You don't just quit when the going gets tough! Let's keep playing." At chute number two, he grew really quiet and tears started welling up in his eyes. Chute number three was the end: he had reached his breaking point and burst into noisy, sobbing tears. "Let's play a game where there are no winners or losers, okay, Mommy?" he begged. I couldn't resist those big blue eyes.

Soren recently asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. "A writer," I told him. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I expected him to say "a farmer," which is his usual response to this question. Instead he said, "I want to paint people's houses for them."

Soren's best friend is our next-door neighbor Koen. They've gotten pretty good at playing together, and make up fun little adventure games that involve Good Guys and Bad Guys. They squabble a lot, though. Last week Soren called Koen a "stupid poopoo face" and wouldn't apologize, even with Koen following him around, saying, "Sowen, you awe my fwend." Soren had to go to his room; Koen had to go home. It was very dramatic. It reminds me of all the fights I used to have with my best friend Becky. We'd part in a huff and then the next day it was all, "Can Becky come over to play?"

When we took Soren to the fair this year we let him go on two rides. He stood in the line all by himself, holding his tickets in his little hand, and I almost wept. He just looked so big. And so small.

Soren has taken to big brotherhood, at long, long last. Does he still pick on Liam? Um, yeah. But he also looks out for him. One day he noticed Liam getting sleepy so he guided him into their bedroom, helped him onto the bottom bunk, covered up with a blanket, and tucked him in. "G'night, yeeyum." Another time Liam crashed down some cement steps and was screaming; Soren offered him one of his own fruit snacks as consolation.

Sometimes when Liam lies down for a nap I'll take a little nap too. I'll tell Soren not to talk to me until the timer buzzes, set the timer for an hour, and lie down on the couch. And he'll usually do really well at playing by himself. Once in a while he'll come over and move my hair out of my eyes and whisper, "There you go."

Soren is Soren. He's still intense and emotional. He still knows how to push every single one of my buttons until the machine jams up and I start flashing and making horrible noises. But he's also so sweet. So dear. So cuddly and trusting. I want him to be four forever.

(Photos taken by Andrea Rausch in April 2011)

Some Undestructive Creativity

When he's not busy destroying the house, Soren loves to make....stuff. He's constantly gluing and/or taping things together. Here's a sampling of some of the creations he's made over the past several weeks:

A scarecrow.

A gift for his cousin Tessa (acrylic paint and Popsicle sticks. If you tilt your head and squint, you'll also see two googly eyes hot-glued to the left hand side of the paper.

A fully furnished home for a family of crayons.

A gas station.


They kind of like each other now. Makes me real glad.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Liam: October 2011

Liam loves music. He loves singing and being sung to. Today he made up a song. I call it the Shoe Song. It goes something like this: "Shoe, shoe, shoe. Song, song, shoe song, song song."

Speaking of shoes, first thing in the morning, after he's had his bath, Liam is nagging me to put on his shoes. If he's awake, he wants his shoes on.

Liam is an outside kid. He loves to be free to roam around outdoors. At my sister's house, he'll take off down the dirt road that runs along the edge of their property and get real mad if anyone suggests he change his course. This usually involves some sort of self-inflicted face plant in the dirt.

He is also a thrower. He loves to throw stuff: balls, toys, food. He throws stuff when he's happy. He throws stuff when he's mad.

He has taken to calling me "Daddy" as of late. He'll greet me when I come home from work, wiggling all over like a puppy, with a bright and enthusiastic, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"

The child gets pretty ridiculous when he's tired. He laughs hysterically at the littlest provocation. He is also a morning person. Five AM is not an unheard of wake up time for our child. This is not pleasing unto me.

Today I caught Liam licking a cube of butter like it was an ice cream cone. He was grinning from ear to ear but didn't protest when I took it away.

We bought a bunk bed and moved Soren into Liam's room. After a couple of rocky weeks, the big boy bed/sharing a room combo seems to have taken. In fact, they don't even wake up when the other one does. Soren will be screaming for me and Liam will be completely sacked out....and vice versa.

Liam's favorite word lately is "what." And he'll say it more like an order than a question. It agitates Soren, who will repeat himself louder and louder each time Liam says "what." A conversation Abe overheard outside the boy's bedroom door one night:

Soren: Liam, did you know that I love you?
Liam: What!
Soren: Did. You. Know. That. I. Love. You?
Liam: What!
Soren: I! Love! You!
Liam: What!
Soren: gives up

Another cute thing he likes to do is say, "Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?" to get our attention. When one of us asks, "what?" he'll say, "Um......." and then make up something, like "bacumadumamum."

Sentences he's using: "Watch a movie?" "There you are." "Where is it?" "Here you go." "Want some more."

He says "please" like this: "eeeeeeeeeese?" all rising up in tone. Hard to resist.

A bad habit he's picked up from Soren is asking "Why?" whenever we tell him no.

This is something he doesn't have to do very often because it's hard to ever say no to the child due to his cuteness and sweetness.

Liam is my little cuddlebucket of love is very snuggly and schmooshy. I want him to be two forever.

Sure love that little guy.

(Photos taken by Andrea Rausch in April 2011.)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Soren's Continued Career as a Grafitti Artist

Since the events of September 24th, Soren has:

1) Drawn a self-portrait in crayon on his bedroom wall.
2) Colored the bathroom counters with my eye shadow. Twice.
3) Covered the kitchen table and floor with Elmer's glue.
4) Drawn on the kitchen cabinets with a black permanent marker.
5) Used food coloring to dye his brother's hair blue and green.
6) Sprinkled glitter all over the upstairs of the house.
7) Smeared an unidentifiable blue substance over several surfaces in our home.

He must think scrubbing walls, tables, floors, chairs, etc. is fun.


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