Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mixed Blessings

September was a miserable month for four out of five members of the Peters Family Band. Cole picked up some sort of virus and lovingly passed it on to his father and brothers, and all in all, it took us two weeks to get rid of the thing.

I, on the other hand, had quite a productive month.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want my children to get really sick. But am I the only mom who does a little happy dance when my kids get a little bit sick? Like not so sick that I'm cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night, but sick enough that they have to spend the whole day on the couch and can't muster up the energy to pick on their brothers? I'm just saying, it can be kind of peaceful.

Since we were homebound for two weeks, I was able to scratch a bunch of items off of my Things That Need Done list. I got next year's school supplies (which I had bought from the Target clearance sales) organized and stored. I got our 72-hour kits organized and put away (minus a few more items that I need to buy). I made several samples of the paper beads for the class I'm teaching to the Relief Society in October.

I made napkins out of an old sheet:


I made new charts to make our morning, afternoon, and evening routines easier:


I made these tags, which will hopefully resolve the incessant bickering over who does what chore when. The smaller tags are for family home evening.


The tags hang on an old coat rack/picture frame combo that I've had forever and LOVE but which had gotten pretty banged up after four moves. I sanded and repainted it and these marker boards (which I've also had forever), but I still need to print out some pictures to put in the frames.


I'm planning on writing our lunch and dinner menus on the marker boards to replace my old chic system of writing them on a scrap envelope:


Phew! I feel like I've accomplished so much!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Will Be a Hummingbird

Wangari Maathai (2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement) passed away yesterday.

I first heard of her when I watched the documentary Dirt, and was greatly touched by her story of the hummingbird doing the best he can:

I go through phases in my attempts at eco-friendly living where I think, "What's the point. No one else cares. Why should I?"

And then I remember this story of the hummingbird, and I think, "I will be a hummingbird. I will do the best I can."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mmmmm...Cricket Cookies!

At Raleigh's annual celebration of all things buggy...

bugfest 2011

we tasted new and exotic foods...

bugfest 2011

which some of us liked more...

bugfest 2011

than others!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Music Lessons: Owl City

Eli: "I like it because I like electronica music and because I like the singer."

*This song does not have an official video. This fan video is all kinds of lame, but the song is still good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eli blogs: Eli at the river

Eli camping

I did this when i went camping. When i was camping i was next to a river. I loved it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bicycle Love

This post is my entry for the touring bicycle giveaway over at Lovely Bicycle.

A family of bikers

Until a year ago, I hadn't been on a bike since just before my fourteenth birthday when my family moved from a bike-riding-paradise of a neighborhood in Indiana to a two-lane-deathtrap of a highway in Kentucky.

Before that, my childhood had revolved around bikes. We biked from one friend's house to another, from one end of the neighborhood to another, or sometimes just around and around the neighborhood, going nowhere in an adrenaline-pumped loop. We dared each other to do tricks - down dirt hills in nearby construction sites or off the steep front porch steps of the big oft-empty house that sat in the middle of the neighborhood. I remember one afternoon when a friend attempted to master the "ghost rider," a trick that involved getting the bike going super fast and then leaping off so that the bike kept going to the end of the street.

I remember some days riding solitary around the neighborhood. I'd pump my legs as hard as I could until they burned, and then I'd push myself to ride just a little farther, just a little faster. I can remember many summer nights when I watched the sunset from my bicycle and then dropped it in the driveway to catch up with my friends for a game of tag in the dark.

During my childhood, my bike was everything, but for the past 20 years, it's been little more than nostalgia. So when my five-year-old asked me one day last year if we could start going bike-riding together on Saturdays, I replied, "Yes, of course!" and then immediately launched into a mental cheerleading routine - cartwheels, spread eagles, goofy grins - picturing many upcoming years of sharing my childhood love with one of my own children.

What happened was a little different than the idyllic image in my head.

Since we live downtown in a city, Eli and I drove to a nearby greenway at the suggestion of a biking friend. All started out well - we pedaled along the path with big grins on our faces, and I zipped back in time, once again becoming that 10-year-old girl who could lose all her cares on a bicycle.

Eli had a slightly different perspective. The path was hillier than I had expected - tough on skinny five-year-old legs pedaling a 16-inch bike. Several times, he had to get off and grudgingly walk his bike up the hill. "It's okay to walk," I told him. "If you ever feel like a hill is too steep to go up or down, don't be ashamed to get off and walk it."

And then we hit a huge, steep hill with a sharp turn halfway down. It was a little daunting even for me, so I feathered the handbrakes all the way down and then looked back to see how the little guy was faring. He started hesitantly down the hill and then changed his mind - he would walk this one. Except that now he had taken his feet off of the pedals, i.e. his coaster brakes, his sole method for slowing down on this monster of a hill.

I watched in horror as gravity took over. The bike and Eli zoomed down the hill, flopped to the side on the turn, and then skid the rest of the way, slamming into the back wheel of my own bike as I stood there in a stupor, too scared to move.

Letting loose a banshee cry, I scrambled to him, dropped to my knees, and began the injury check: eye - bruised, knees - skinned, elbows - skinned, thumb - skinned. Head looks fine. No broken bones. Okay, we can handle this.

Eli bike accidentEli bike accident
Brave boy and his battle wounds

As soon as he realized he had survived the crash, Eli calmed down and like a trooper, got back on his bike and rode the 3/4 of a mile back to the car. At home, I dressed his wounds, wondering what I would have done if he'd been seriously injured on that empty greenway far from the street. My idyllic childhood memories had been shattered. This biking stuff was scary business. How could my mom have ever let us wander off on a bike on our own? How on earth did she not have a heart attack every time our feet touched the pedals?

I was ready to pack the bikes back into the shed, thinking maybe we could save family bike rides for a few years down the when the kids are in their twenties.

But Eli had other plans. The very next weekend, still boasting a black eye and skinned up knees, he said, "Mom? Do you think we can go for a bike ride today?"

I recognized the gleam in his eye and knew he had fallen hard. This is how bicycle love begins.

Ready for a ride with the three-year-old

Friday, September 9, 2011

Music Lessons: Mumford and Sons

You know a band has made it when you're driving your 13-year-old hip-hop-loving babysitter home and she says, "Are we listening to Mumford and Sons?"

Indeed, we are.

I'm guessing that by now most of you have heard of this band since I think they've been getting some radio play (I wouldn't know - I haven't listened to the radio except for NPR since the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted way back when). I first heard of them during my Johnny Flynn obsession - they used to open for him, but by now have far surpassed him in popularity.

According to Rylan, they're the only band worth listening to. In particular, he likes song #2 and has made me listen to it so many times, I kind of hate it now. That doesn't stop him from requesting it.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Annual Camping Trip Take Five


camping 2011

camping 2011camping 2011

camping 2011

camping 2011camping 2011

Over Labor Day weekend, we took our longest and best camping trip yet. We met up with my parents and my brother's family in Chimney Rock, NC. Our campsite was nestled in the mountains on the Broad River, and between the river, the rocks, and the playground, I think it was my boys' dream campsite.

What we did...

:: pitched a tent in the dark

:: enjoyed the placid calm and gently lapping waves of lake swimming

:: went down the waterslide "one more time"

:: fell in the river, and then later got permission to swim in the river

:: leaped onto a rock, got stuck there, and then had to be rescued by neighboring campers

:: loved their cousin and grandparents

:: spent three nights sleeping in a tent (the sleeping part is debatable)

:: over-indulged in s'mores...again

:: survived a 100% chance of thunderstorms and flash floods (we are hardcore campers)

If you ask my glass-half-empty boys about our weekend, though, you're more likely to hear about what we did not do. We did not see the view from Chimney Rock or the waterfall, we did not rent a boat, we did not go fishing, and we did not visit the gem mine. Guess that means we have to go back next year!

*All pictures in this post courtesy of my brother.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


When I retired as a green blogger several weeks ago, one of my stated reasons was to finish up a bunch of projects that I've had on the back burner for awhile now and just couldn't find time to do. I have a long-running list of "Things That Need Done" that I never seem to get to. I need more time! Or perhaps (as Crunchy Betty suggests), I simply need some accountability.

So here it is, folks. My list. It's a long one with some things needing to be finished within the near future and some things that I at least hope to have done by the time I go back to school in 2013. I'm posting it here so y'all can nag me about it. I'll also be able to come here and cross things off as I finish, which is always a thrill for my Type A side, and I'll post picture of finished projects when appropriate.

Things That Need Done

make new job charts
sew cash pouches
prepare for RS activity
organize 72-hour kits
organize and store next year's school supplies
paint marker board and picture frame
paint and hang the front porch swing
sew napkins
make couch/chair covers
dust ruffle for bunkbed
re-caulk everything
sew covers for livingroom pillows
make snack bags
sew pencil bags for Cole, Eli, and Rylan
sew new cloth bags
make placemats
food storage
fix the laundry closet door
paint the livingroom bookcases
organize scrapbooks and baby books
finish pants to skirts conversions
cut squares for future jeans quilt
digitize journals
write novel

The problem with my "Things That Need Done" list is that it won't stop growing. For instance, at the beginning of the summer, I had written "declutter the house," which involved a lot of "discussions" with the children about what and how many toys they really need. I am happy to report that I was able to cross that off my list by the time the kiddos started school, but it was quickly replaced by several more items. Such as:

Start a lasagna garden for the future strawberry bed.

fall garden 2011

Fix the bean pole teepee in the community garden bed.
Harvest the green beans and eat them.

bean pole teepee 2bean pole teepee

Plant a fall garden

fall garden 2011

The things that need done are never ending...
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