Tuesday, December 29, 2009

4 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, a hedgehog and 13 years.

13 years ago today, I married the love of my life. The one who listens when I just need someone to listen, who makes me laugh when I really just need to laugh and who says just the right thing when I really need it. Getting married on December 28th lent itself to beautiful boughs of evergreens and winter white snow. However, the reality is that by the time December 28th rolls around, we are sleep, money and appetite deprived. The very thought of eating out for dinner just makes my waistband stretch out even more on my comfy lounging pants. ( I know what you're thinking-there's another name for these kind of pants.) And we're so tired from all of the holiday rush (2 children with Dec. 3rd birthdays and mine on the 15th) that we'd gladly pay a babysitter so we could take a nap instead of going out. So, we did have a delicious steak dinner (off the grill) with garlic smashed potatoes-thanks to my husband. Both of us gave each other the "ok" for not having cards and we vowed that we need to celebrate our first date (thankfully in June) instead of our wedding date. I did however have one thing to give to David: I found a beautiful poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (please see above) that I feel like still describes how I feel when I'm with him. Can you imagine reading that poem written to you in a love letter years ago? Or imagine hearing your soul mate read it to you so long ago? The pathetic thing about my delivery of the poem though is that I had to eat an entire dark chocolate raspberry bar to find it on the inside wrapper. Now that, is true blue love!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Her name is Rheba the Rebel

I'd like to tell you about Rheba, the new addition to our family. She's the Canon camera I have been pining after for quite some time. I've been stumbling through some of the technical aspects of owning a new digital SLR but loving every minute of it. You see, we're entering a new era over here at the Regele house. Our little guy Joe was the last of the Regele babies. So, in a way the purchase of my new camera was a beautiful transition from the end of an era into a beginning of a new era. Let's face it, having one or four babies leaves us without much time for much besides the basics. But when that moment arrives when we can look away for a milli second to focus on something else besides parenting, it can be filled with a bit of melancholy yet freeing at the same time. So, I've decided that my milli seconds will be filled up using Rheba (my new baby) for hopefully taking great photos that capture my other 4 beautiful babies. May your holiday be peaceful and may your New Year be filled with multiple milli seconds of artistic self expression. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

They say it's your birthday!

My Objet Detritus of the day-a birthday banner straight out of the '80's
I appliqued (by machine) some vintage fabric pieces over the original.
The finished project.
A family birthday banner! I hope to add buttons and embroider our name and birth dates to finish up the upcycled '80's banner.

Today is my day! My Birthday. I'm headed off to Sundara Spa with my mom (who has graciously treated me for the past 3 years) for an overnight. My husband has also so graciously taken 2 days off of work each year to be with our kids so that I can relax. The 2 days away ends up being more like my New Year's Eve in regards to the time I have to reflect on everything and tweak things to how I would like them to be. One of the biggest decisions I have made in the past, while on my introspective retreat was to home school our daughter. Looking back, it was one of the boldest decisions I have made but that I do not regret. So, off I go tomorrow to ponder life while I rest my 39 year old body in a warm tub of bubbles.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A red suitcase and no place to go

I couldn't resist this. Amongst the chaos that was exploding in our house, I looked over to find that the red suitcase I had acquired on a recent thrift trip had been opened. For a brief moment, I wondered how/who/why it was opened but then started onto the next moment. After a bit, I noticed our big Beagle Lou-he had found himself the perfect place- along with our littlest guy Joe.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Birthday twins.

December 3rd is quite a day at our house. My oldest (and only daughter) shares a birthday with my second oldest son. Here's a picture of my dynamic duo. All through my pregnancy with my son, (born after my daughter) I kept saying to myself , my OB/GYN and my son in utero "any day but December 3rd" you can be born. Then, after a double birthday party on December 2nd at Chucky Cheese ( with my daughter's dear friend who celebrates her birthday December 8th) I arrived home and my water broke. I remember looking at my watch and thinking-what the hell do I tell my daughter who's official birthday is only a couple hours away? I thought fast and told her that her little brother wanted to see her on her birthday. Honoring two amazing people on one day (not to mention that my sister,another amazing gorgeous person, has a birthday on December 3rd as well!) is a tough act. My sympathy goes out to those mom's with twins! We have ended up (in the past & present) celebrating as a duo with family and then having fairly simple parties with friends. The entire few days leaves Ma & Pa in the exhausted category but well worth it. We sure think you're awesome Zola & Fisher.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Successful Craftacular

My daughter, me and my crafting sister Anastasia post Craftacular.

Thanks to all my friends that took time out of their busy schedules to stop by the Craftacular last weekend. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see familiar friendly faces and to have moral support. We had so much fun and had great success. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3 Little Birds & The French Made-Objet de detritus

So here it is, one last picture of my "objets de detritus"(trash objects) for the Craftacular. We have had so much fun creating from lost rubbish into found treasures! Moral support is the only requirement if you stop by-no need to buy. I will be with my crafting sister Anastasia Korbitz at the booth The French Made. The show is downtown, at the Masonic Temple (301 Wisconsin Avenue) on Saturday, November 28 from 10am -5pm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An annual tradition

We completed our annual Thanksgiving chocolate candy making session with a lot of help from our youngest, Joe. Zola wins the prize for staying involved and interested in making the candies. The boys made one candy (in hopes they could eat it immediately) and focused the remainder of the time on scoping out any remnant chocolate or toffee pieces. Based on how jacked up they were on sugar, they were very successful in their search. It was a win win situation for all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Craftacular November 28th 10am-5pm Madison, WI

Here are just a few items I have ready for the upcoming Craftacular. Come and visit if you have a chance (My dear friend & I will be at the booth called "The French Made") So many talented crafters-it's a terrific environment and sponsored by Glitter Workshop and Anthology (a store located on State Street) If you don't get a chance to stop by the craft show, Anthology has an incredible collection of handmade items as well. Perfect unique gifts for the holidays.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crafting and Shooting

The days lately have been filled with a lot of crafting. Any spare moment I have had has been spent on trying to piece together the ideas I have for the upcoming Craftacular. (Stop by & visit The French Made -would love to see you!) My kids have caught the crafting fever as well. My crafting space has amebaed it's way across our finished basement. It is so exciting to see how they have each found their own way to creatively express themselves. Zola is making funky earrings and pins with miniature plastic farm animals, Mack is making Bot (as in robot) boxes and Fisher is making tiny scenes with fake snow, glitter and teeny plastic figures. Nothing makes me prouder than to see my kids with a glue gun. Joe (our 18 month old) is busy climbing anywhere he can get access.

We survived our first specimen dissections (owl pellets, cow's eye and a starfish). I've noticed a bit of a slow down after the last dissection. I guess one can only take so much dissection at a time.

Today, we received a package with Zola's Red Rider BB gun-only it's pink. Mack received my husband's childhood Red Rider so it was only fair that Zola get one as well. They have had such a great time creating targets and practicing their aim. It has also led to a lot of constructive discussions about safety and respect for guns. When I had my first son, I was hell bent that we would not have fire arms or anything that even slightly resembled a gun in our house. I even ordered squirt "animals" online before ordering online was convenient or affordable. Then, one day when Mack (my oldest son) was 2, he took a bite of his toast, pointed it at me and said "bang bang". I then realized that this would be a part of our lives and better to face it head on and talk about it -Really talk about it. As long as we don't receive and "frag-il-e" packages and no one "shoots their eye out," we'll be ok.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Me, wearing the fabulous scarf my friend made for me last year.

I missed my dear friend's birthday today. I missed calling her. I missed sending her a gift as we have done since she moved 2 years ago. She has been my "go to" friend, my "I could tell anything to, even if it was through a glass window in prison and she would still be there" friend.
Happy Birthday my dear dear friend and your gift is on its way.

Like so many things in our house, sometimes the important things get lost in the shuffle. I love that our house is busy, full of life busy, most of the time. Yet, I just remembered that we have a dead bird in a ziplock bag in our freezer and a butterfly habitat that needs to be dismantled. (Sadly, Kevin, the monarch butterfly died) Since we declared that we were slightly interested in wildlife rehabilitation , it seems like we've had an onslaught of creatures finding their way into our life. I'm starting to think that we need to dedicate our vegetable garden to a cemetery for the little creatures.

In the homeschool arena, we are thrilled to learn that another family that home schools has just moved into our neighborhood. Nothing could be better then learning that the boy who only lives a 1/2 a block away, loves Nerf guns. My boys have had a blast meeting a new friend over the weekend. We also received our dissection kits today. The reaction to seeing the specimens was mixed-from fascination to grossed out. Tomorrow we'll start with owl pellet dissection. The afternoon will probably bring Nerf gun modification.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Bear Cub, Han Solo, the Alien and the Owl. Oh and Kevin.

Super Lou. Saucy went as Saucy Drew (due to her keen ability to detect any missing candy. Unfortunately Saucy eats all evidence. Sorry Nancy.)

Halloween was a whirlwind of getting home made costumes ready (especially encouragement for my kids to make their own-very wise words from a very dear friend!) and decorating the house in a "spooky " manner. The spooky part involved tacking up a 2 ft piece of printed plastic (a smiling skull) onto our dirty picture window. I must admit, it did look a bit ominous from across the street (one can't see dirty window from that distance) until the I realized that the bar that divides the top window from the bottom made the skull look like he has braces. Or some serious orthodontist equipment. By morning, I found the pricey piece of plastic ripped down from the window on the floor. I was sure that our 17 month old had ripped it down but as I found hundreds of tiny teeth marks along the perimeter, I realized that it was our cat Duke. Duke is truly the most mellow easy going cats I have ever met but he has a serious addiction to chewing on plastic materials. (Barnes & Noble bags are rated top notch with Target bags runner up). So much for reusing the "spooky" skull with braces for next year. The rest of the night was hectic but fairly effortless-well with a glass of red wine beforehand. Zola made her owl costume completely on her own and it turned out to be better than anything I could have hot glued together for her. She has such vision & patience. Mack was just thrilled to be trick or treating with one of his best friends and at the prospect of getting full size Snicker bars. Fisher thinks Halloween is the best day ever-he has always been a candy fiend. Joe was resistant to the face paint needed in making him into a little bear cub but we distracted him with a preemptive piece of candy (or "gacko" as he refers to it as) as he was blissfully content to have anything drawn on his cherub cheeks.

The kids built a scary graveyard from graham crackers and candy (it was devoured by boys and beagles by sundown the next day) We also picked out our pumpkins at Kalscheur's farm (the perfect size with just the right number of animals to make one feel like we authentically picked pumpkins).

The day after Halloween felt exhausting. We have all (well, me, my husband, our oldest and our youngest) been recovering from whatever viral nastiness has been surrounding the rest of the world in nasty contagion cloud of congestion, fevers & just plain crumminess. One highlight amidst all the ho hum of just trying to feel better was the arrival of Kevin. Kevin, is a monarch butterfly that emerged from his found cocoon. Zola brought home the cocoon after finding it blowing in the wind under a basil leaf. The butterfly hatched and we released him on a gorgeous fall day only to find him huddled against our garage the next day. We placed him in a large Snyder's pretzels container (Costco size) with air holes at the top and some sugar water. So far, he appears to be doing alright. We have taken him out to clean out his habitat and he flies around a bit. After examining him, his bottom wings look like they never developed correctly. They look like crinkled crepe paper. So, until a warmer day when we can try to release him , we'll continue to refill his sugar water and ripe fruit and to learn as much as we can about rehabilitating butterflies.

The kids are really excited that we ordered a dissection kit (I hope I have the stomach I did back in college) We plan on dissecting an owl pellet, a cow's eye, an earthworm, a starfish, a clam and a frog. We'll keep you posted on the dissection front once they arrive.

We have been doing lots of crafting these days in preparation for the upcoming Craftacular on November 28th. I have so many ideas but I just don't have the time or little elves to make it all happen. I will pick and choose once the weekend is over and I'm able to really evaluate what is doable. My daughter and I visited Anthropologie for inspiration tonight. Some day when I'm all grown up, maybe my house will resemble the storefront windows. It was such a thrill to share the store with Zola. She is so present to all of the amazing trinkets and colors. I never imagined that Anthropologie could get better but having her with me raised the bar. We couldn't walk away empty handed-we bought a lovely metal hedgehog ring holder (oh so practical and how could we resist?), a metal "D" paper weight for my husband's bday and as Zola pointed out has double meaning for Dad & David and 2 clearanced dish towels that I plan on crafting into pillows for our bed. Remember the Mixed up File of Basil E. (can't remember the rest of the title) where the kids spent the night in the art museum? I could spend the night at Anthropologie.

One last mention: I've decided that it is crucial for me to add the moments of embarrassing truth/shame/confessions to my archives so that I will be able to truly remember everything in all of its realness. I'm calling it The Index. I sincerely hope that I will have readers/followers/friends after writing it. As my husband stated, once he enters our door, he can't think about anything else because being home consumes him entirely. Did I mention that my kids found a shrew today?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homemade Pie, Tiki Men and Apples

Peeking into the past
"Tiki Men" as my kids have coined them. They have found at least 10 of them so far. A true mystery in our neighborhood.

We have had so many things just occurring lately that it has been hard to find the right time to blog. I so wish I could bottle these moments-I realize that someday, I may not quite remember what the Tiki Men that my kids have been finding around our neighborhood pond, look like. I won't remember the time it took for us to make our homemade raspberry pie (so fun to make with my little Zozo) and how amazing it tasted!

We also had a chance to visit my husband's Uncle's property-a beautiful sacred place with Native American Effigy Mounds in Muscoda, WI. We were in awe over the sacred mounds created. During the Fall Solstice, the Corn Woman appears as if she is giving birth to the sun at sunrise. The mounds that can be seen across the horizon indicate what crops should be harvested. How were the mounds created? The patience it must have taken to make such works of art. We had a chance to pick "potaters" (as my 2nd youngest son calls them) from the earth and gorgeous Gladiolas and Zinnias.

We also visited Ski Hi apples to grab a bag of apples and enjoy a carmel apple on site. While there, we peeked into the old estate or cabin that was built back before 1900. You peek into the windows and you feel as if you're transported back into time. Imagine what the mama of the estate saw out her window-the pies she baked-the apples she picked-the connections she made with her little chicks. Experiences like this ground me. They remind of the moments when things seem so busy to slow down and appreciate the view.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So many ideas-so little time!

Our house has been a buzz with so many projects.  our kids have been off in a million different directions with different ideas they are trying.  I've been busy sprucing up our nest and crafting.  Every time I walk downstairs where my creative nook exists, I start to feel excited about the numerous possibilities that exist for creating-oh if only I had a 48 hour day.  I'm squeezing in as much as I can for creating while our littlest one naps in the afternoon.  I made a declaration to myself that I wouldn't clean during his nap time any longer. ( No, not even organize or empty the dishwasher)  I felt empty at the end of the day when I would clean for the whole day but no one could never tell I had.  I read something by Mary Englebright in her article for Where Women Create (a terrific quarterly magazine that allows one to be voyeuristic and look at other amazingly creative women and the spaces they use for creating)  she said " ...Try doing the exact opposite of what you  were originally thinking.  Who cares if it doesn't work out?  You will have learned something in the process!"  Her quote has jump started me into trying something different whenever I feel like I'm stuck in the day to day routine.  I've had more creative ideas, more real connection time with my kids and more time to create as a result.  Check out the hand made pants I made for my littlest guy from my husband's repurposed t-shirt.  So very soft and super easy to make even for people like me who do not do patterns!  I was inspired by Amanda Soule's book, The Creative Family, as well as the cost of simple cotton pants for 16 month olds.  I could do a lot of thrifting for the cost of a few pairs of his pants!  I added the star to accent his cute caboose.  I figured that there is a fairly short period of time in ones life where one can call attention to one's right rear cheek and it's considered cute.

On the home school front, we have been really interested in Insects.  My kids started an ant farm today-unfortunately, the ants found their way out of the plastic tank and met their demise once discovered on my kitchen counter.  They created ant creatures out of Sculpey clay which morphed into making symbols that represent the elements from the periodic table. (The star=hydrogen, the balloon=helium, the oxygen tank=oxygen, the pencil=carbon)  We have been reading about insects and we are continually fascinated by them.  (Did you know they have holes in the sides of their bodies for breathing?)   We watched the Eyewitness video on Insects too-anything made by Eyewitness is so amazing.  I love their books and videos-maybe even more then the kids do.

We also visited Eugster's farm in Stoughton.  Perfect weather for it.  The animals were good sports about being loved and the corn maze entertained all.

We have a bit of something to celebrate over here as well!  I have been selected, along with my dear friends, to take part in the 5th Craftacular in Madison, WI on November 28th.  I've attached a photo above of one of  the refurbished suitcases I'm going to sell at the show as well as some of the vintage pillows I've been making.  It makes me so happy to see the little dish towels that someone spent so much time making, repurposed into a new life.   So, please mark your calendars-buy hand made, buy local if you can!