Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 42)

So right now, I feel as if I have a thousand possible things to talk about, but none of them that are thought-out enough to write a whole post on.  I've been pretty busy and scattered recently.  But lucky for me, it's a Friday, and that means I can just give a few of those things a quick mention as a Quick Take!

This morning, all three kids were pretending to be a band.  Sly played drum and kazoo, Stella had another kazoo, and Linus played a tambourine.  It was pretty adorable.

I reflected that the only reason they managed to stay happily engaged and playing all together for so long was because I was present with them.  I had intentionally sat down on the floor with them, ignoring the thousand-and-one chores I wanted to do around the house.  I wasn't dividing my attention between them and a computer screen, I wasn't reading a book or magazine or sorting through mail or washing dishes.  I was just sitting there being with them.  And they couldn't have been happier.

I don't know why it's so hard to make myself drop everything sometimes, and just spend real time with the kids.  But I never regret it when I do.

Last weekend, we repainted our quite-chippy front porch.  It looks much nicer now.  It's so pleasant to sit out there in the mornings or evenings (the sunlight is too glaring during the afternoon).  I'm wishing I had taken more advantage of it while the summer weather lasted.

I'm kind of waiting for that old black couch to finally kick the bucket, and then I plan to find a hanging porch swing - a lifelong dream of mine!

While I'm discussing house projects, I might as well show a "before" and "in progress" shot of our kitchen.  The actual "after" shot is going to be a long time coming, I'm afraid.  I'll save all the details for a later post, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

We had some the original cabinets refaced, some new ones added, new solid surface countertops, a big single-basin sink, and a microwave and garbage disposal added.   We ended up doubling both our cabinet and counterspace. 
Main wall "before"
Main wall after renovation (I have rugs and curtains and pretty things in there now, so it actually looks much more colorful than this at the moment)
side wall "before"

side wall after renovation
 I love white kitchens!  Once everything's done, though, there will be plenty of aqua and yellow mixed in, which are "my kitchen colors."

The portion that we paid other people to do (i.e. Sears, who did a great job, so don't necessarily listen to all the terrible reviews on the internet) is done, so now it's all down to Tom and I to finish the rest.  And there's a lot to do: tile a backsplash, build corner shelves near the sink, replace the baseboards, re-frame the doors, change out the yucky fluorescent lighting,  repaint all the walls.  It's going to be awhile, unfortunately.

My latest kitchen project was to painting the brown door and the dirty "white" interior of the pantry.

Now it has a nice clean white door, some brand-new shelves that Tom cut for me, and an aqua interior.
This is a pretty crummy picture, sorry - someone was fussing for a snack as soon as she saw me in the kitchen

Some people make their houses child-proof....we make ours child-accessible!  (I'm "trademarking" that for a future blog post, because this is a growing philosophy of mine).

We added a second low handle for the pantry, so the kids can help prepare their own breakfast in the morning!

I let the kids watch Sesame Street this morning and this song came on.

[Link here in case the embedded thing is acting funny]
Not only was the song pretty catchy on its own, but I felt especially drawn to it, because it could basically be my theme song.  I would be barefoot all day, every day, if I could :-)

I signed Sly up for a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program.  I'm pretty thrilled about it, as I've been hearing great things about them for years.  I have yet to read The Religious Potential of the Child, but since its based on the Montessori method, I expect it's pretty effective.

A number of years ago, when I decided that I wanted my (future) family to develope the habit of observing many of the feasts (and fasts) of the Church, I expected that it would take an enormous about of thought, preparation, and planning to pull it off.  But as the years roll by, we've been very slowly and gently tucking new little things into our days and I suddenly find us having legitimate family traditions for certain days, without even meaning to establish them.

For example, last St. Joseph's Day, I made a "fancy" dinner, and pulled out a bottle of wine (which we rarely have in the house, so I have no idea where it came from!), as well as a bottle of sparkling grape juice I had in the pantry.  We let the kids drink the grape juice out of these tiny little cordial glasses that are stemmed, so looked like our adult versions (I think Montessori would approve).  Sly was unbelievably giddy over the prospect of "kid wine", and still talks about it often.  He has said, "I can't WAIT for St. Joseph's Day!"  If we keep this up, we'll just entrench those happy memories which surround the day of this great Saint.

And I think this is probably how many Traditions start anyways.  You do something once, and it proves itself to be worthy and good, and so it gets repeated, and gradually becomes an inseparable part of your culture.

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary


  1. Um can I just say YES to numbers 1-7? Why is it so hard to be present with kids? I can't figure it out myself but I need to do so like a few years ago!
    Also, lovely kitchen, our kid food is low so they can reach it (so are their utensils), and ahhh front porches :)

  2. Oh, I *love* your observation in #7! I think slowly integrating the church year in our homes is absolutely the way to go! It's not something that has to be done all at once . . . it's a practice that can slowly grow over time. Love it!

  3. Love love love the improvements in the kitchen! I will eagerly await the "after" shots, but don't rush on my account :)
    Also love your "child accessible" idea. One of the best changes we made in our kitchen was just before our fourth was born, we bought hard-to-break correlle dishes and put them in a lower cabinet. This allowed the kids to get their own breakfast ready in the morning, but it also made it possible for them to unload the dishwasher and actually put the dishes away instead of piling them on the counter! Yay! Can't wait to hear about more of your ideas.

  4. Kitchen looks great! And YES to family traditions! We don't have many yet because last year (#2 for us) was somewhat disrupted in many ways.

  5. I love the little band :-)

    Your kitchen looks really nice! I saw it a couple weeks ago obviously, but I had only seen the "before" briefly on moving day, so its nice to see the pictures to compare!

  6. I would love to hear more about your 'child accessible' philosophy. It's one I agree with in theory but am having a hard time putting in to practice. Specifically, I want to have things accessible to the kids but not accessible to the crawling baby. Putting the plates and cups and spices and napkins back in the cupboard 30 times a day is really frustrating. So is walking around them; our kitchen is central in our ground floor layout so the mess is right where all the action is. And I would love to transition the kids to glassware, but I don't feel like that's possible if the baby can get it. And the baby is little, so I really don't feel like disciplining him is appropriate. My philosophy for the crawling age is to just remove him from the problem until he's old enough to learn better, but that seems to clash with the above

    I know that I won't be completely child accessible any time soon. As long as we have a baby there will be a lock on the china. I know my limits and I would be so sad if that got smashed.

    And I LOVE your white cabinets! They look so flesh and clean.

    1. FRESH and clean. Your cabinets look FRESH and clean. Oh my.

  7. Your white cabinets look great. We painted our cabinets white in our old house. It makes a huge difference. And I was so glad that our new house has plenty of low cabinet space to devote exclusively to kids' stuff. it's so nice for them to be able to get what they want when they want it. Which is why I was so glad about the water dispenser on the fridge. We keep talking about getting some sort of milk dispenser or those cereal dispensers like they have at hotels ;^)