Ivy eats chalk.

She totally does. And by eat, I mean eat. She’s eaten several entire pieces of chalk. White chalk, colored chalk, she’s not picky. She will even lick the chalkboard, saying “yum” after each lick. It’s pretty weird, but we still love her.

While we were having our morning cuddle this morning, I looked at Oliver’s huge blue eyes and his long eyelashes and asked him why he was so beautiful. Ivy piped up right away, “I boo’ful, too.” I told her, yes, of course she was. And then she told me, “Mommy boo’ful too.” And that’s why I keep her, folks.

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Today I’m at home with the babies, getting over a sore throat that resulted in yesterday being super non-productive. We’ll have to leave the house to buy milk, but I think I’ll wait until the sun warms the day up a bit. It’s currently -16 C (feels like -19 though, apparently). Such a lovely spring day. I mean, why don’t we just live in Antarctica or something? At least we’d get to see penguins there. All we got here are geese right now. Anyway, I’m hoping to crank out some projects on the sewing machine today, too. Finishing up a jumper for Ivy, and thinking about making her a couple of skirts, since that’s basically all she’ll wear these days. Pretty skirts, and only pretty skirts. “PITTY SKUHT!” Neil’s managed to sneak her into pants once or twice when she was totally distracted, but usually she’s asking for a pretty skirt as soon as she’s done breakfast every day. I also want to sew Seth a wallet, because that kid’s money just seems to be reproducing in his sandwich bag of a piggy bank. He always has SO much money. I don’t even get it. He spent $25 on rainbow loom supplies on Saturday, but he still has a pile of cash. So I think he needs a wallet, or something more practical than a sandwich bag, anyway. He has big plans of selling stuff on our driveway this summer so he’s gonna need a good place to keep all his moneys. Hopefully our day goes smoothly, and Ivy and Oliver don’t spend too much of the day fighting with each other. She’s already checked herself into her crib for some down time while Oliver ran to his room and shut the door saying he needed some alone time. And it’s only 8:30. Same old thing every day around here it seems…

The children draw.

And draw, and draw, and draw. Our table has been strewn with papers and markers for over four years, it seems. I fantasize about having a work station for them in the basement, but for now I’m not really complaining about the fact that ALL of my kids LOVE drawing and literally spend hours of each day churning out amazing artwork. There are much worse pastimes for young children, I’m sure. Drawing is quiet and doesn’t require parental involvement, so besides the mess of papers, pencil crayons, markers, and crayons, it’s pretty much the best ever.

I feel like the kids have taken their picture quality up a notch lately, and I’m loving the latest creations.

Seth’s pictures continue to include a lot of weaponry and armor, good guys/bad guys/guys with super powers, etc. but he’s also including some humor in his drawings lately. Toilet humor, of course, but humor it is. I’m a fan.

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That last drawing started as a pair of eyes I had drawn. We did lots of those for awhile. I drew eyes and the kids made them into weird things. It was fun.

Ben’s latest artwork had me pretty much dying. Apparently he was paying closer attention to that show on animal planet than I realized…

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Why yes that is a nursing mom and baby animal about to be eaten by a giant something or other. I’m just really praying no nipples show up in any of his school artwork. And clearly we need to discuss the anatomical differences between mammals and reptiles.

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What is even happening here?? I also love this picture he drew yesterday:

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I helped him figure out how to spell a lot of the words, but wow is his printing ever neat. Just like his dad, this one!

He also started signing his name Benji, which melts my heart. One of my stipulations when picking his name was that I had to be able to call him Benji. I’m glad he’s calling himself that now too.

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Oliver’s drawings are FILLED with detail. He draws and draws till every little space if filled up, both sides, usually spinning an elaborate story while he draws.

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He’s starting to write his name too, although he only ever wants to write it “however I want” which always includes many, many O’s, I’s, and L’s, but never any other letters. Sometimes his name includes as many as 20 letters, but only those three. Thankfully we have a year and a half until kindergarten.

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These are only a fraction of the amazing drawings we have laying around the house. 95% of them make their way into the recycling bin, but I do save my favorites. Some of them make it into their “keep forever” boxes, and a lot of them get photographed and make their way into photobooks. I love looking back at all of them and seeing how their style has changed and evolved. Hoping Ben’s anatomically correct drawings don’t evolve too much, though…

Ben designs a hoodie.

Like two years ago I pinned this awesome t-shirt tutorial by Petit A Petit and Family, with great intentions of making one for my kids. But unlike most things I’ve pinned, I actually made it! Yes, it took years, but hey, it got done.

Ben drew me a picture, and I made it into a hoodie.

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I made the shirt part of the hoodie using the Tee for Two pattern by Patterns by Figgy. I could not find a link to that pattern- maybe they don’t sell it anymore? It’s also found in the book Sewing for Boys. I used the size 6/7 and just kind of widened everything so it would fit more like a sweatshirt and less like a skinny tee. I’m not a pattern drafter or anything, though, so I ended up with a super wide neck at the end of it all. Next time I try a trick like that I’ll make sure I stay away from all neck parts. I was a little at a loss what to do. I tried using some super stretchy ribbing and just making the sweatshirt fit into the neckband but after two tries, I realized it was not going to happen. It just left the sweatshirt with too many puckers, plus I didn’t like the color of ribbing I had anyway, so I had to come up with a plan B. Thankfully I had an old grey hoodie hanging out in my sewing stash and with a little cutting and a little sewing, the cuffs and hood got a new life. The neck still ended up being wider than I wanted; I should have overlapped the hood a bit more in the front, but it works, and Ben loves it, so I’m happy. I’m actually very happy with the overall fit of the hoodie. It’s not too big or baggy, but has just enough room to be the right amount of cozy and comfy. Just what I wanted.

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Clearly Ben loves a good photo shoot.

Did you notice? Ben lost his first tooth a couple of weeks ago! That’s big stuff, people.

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I may have to put Ben to work as a fashion designer more often, I think. This was such a fun sewing project, and I’d love to make one for Seth, but I’m intimidated by his ultra-detailed tiny drawings of dragons and warriors and various weapons. Oliver’s drawings would be perfect (and simple!) on a shirt, so I might have to get on that for summer. Maybe I’ll try a muscle tee or something.

“I love Ivy, but why does she always ‘mack me?”

You would think that the days I just have Oliver and Ivy at home would be the easiest, but they’re not. I feel like I spend most of my day breaking up fights between those two. Well, not so much breaking up fights as pulling Ivy off of Oliver, telling Ivy not to hit Oliver, or asking Ivy to leave Oliver alone. It’s like she can’t though. She lives to irritate him. Whatever he has, she all of sudden NEEDS. Immediately. Whatever couch he’s sitting on, she must sit on. Directly beside Oliver. Oliver’s a kid that likes to have a little personal space, and Ivy’s the kind of kid that refuses to give it. A bad combo.

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Ivy is just constantly picking on her big brother, and Oliver just continuously takes it. He never hits back. He just starts crying, every time. Sometimes I wish he would give her a good smack.

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It’s hard to find any pictures of the two of them together where they’re both happy, but they do sometimes like to play together in Ivy’s crib. It’s usually short-lived, but you gotta take what you can get I guess.

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As I was tucking Oliver in the other night after he’d had a particular trying day with his little sister, we prayed that Ivy would learn to be nicer and would quit smacking Oliver.

Oliver looked at me and said, “I love Ivy, but why does she always ‘mack me?” That kid, no matter how bad he gets it from her, he gives nothing but love back. I hope Ivy knows how lucky she is to have a brother like that. And I hope she’ll leave him alone one day soon.

Gettin’ stuff done.

Neil and I had a kid free weekend! We shelled the kids out to various relatives and got ready for a weekend of relaxing.

It’s funny how things change; how ideas of relaxing change, and how sleeping in changes, the older you get, and the more kids you have.

We did have a wonderfully quiet and relaxing Friday afternoon and evening. I vegged out on the couch, we ate what we could scrounge up, watched a movie, and went to bed. We were up at 7:40 on Saturday. Which is so dumb, because when the kids are home, and Neil lets me sleep in, I can easily sleep till 9 or 10. I blame our early waking on the fact that we actually slept ALL NIGHT LONG with NO INTERRUPTIONS. It’s amazing how much better you feel in the morning when you can sleep for a solid eight hours as opposed to an interrupted nine. Just sayin.

So Saturday we were inspired to start a project. Before we knew it, Neil was removing screw pops and patching holes and I was scouring Pinterest. I also cleaned up my sewing room, even vacuuming up all the little sequins from my latest project. It looks so nice and clean now! That was good for my soul, I tell you. Then we went into the city for a lovely lunch at Stella’s, then went shopping wherever we wanted, because we could, darn it. Apparently everyone else goes shopping on Saturdays too, unfortunately. Our last stop was Rona, where we loaded up on supplies, paying with some random gift card we’d found ages ago and can’t even remember where it came from.

Saturday evening we patched and painted and Sunday morning, after sleeping in till 8 (!), we finished up. You guys, these hats were $1.48. I mean, they had to be had. Totally made our work experience that much better.

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And tada!

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A giant chalkboard! I, like everyone else on the internet, love chalkboards. I had seen this giant magnetic chalkboard on Pinterest once, and kind of forgotten about it. We have this big space here in our dining room that we just could not figure out what to do with. We would have liked a big piece of art, but we don’t really agree on art, unless it’s art we can’t afford. Anyway, thank you pinterest, because we love our new chalkboard.

I was planning to make it magnetic but after reading mixed, mostly bad, reviews on magnetic primer, that costs a lot of money, we decided to skip that part. Who cares, anyway, it’s still awesome. A little washi tape can do the work of a magnet, and look prettier, too. If only my kids hadn’t used up all my washi.

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So basically this project required taping off the area we wanted to chalkboard, painting it with chalkboard paint, and then cutting, painting, and putting up the trim. I think the whole thing cost us about $60, and I still have about a half a can of paint left. Perfect.

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The other thing I did this weekend was finish my ikea stool that I started painting four months ago.

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I’m sooooo happy with it. I don’t have a before picture, but I’ll describe it for you: pale bare wood covered in paint splatters and dried on food remnants.

So much better, right? I’m basically in love with it.

So all in all, I’m not sure if it was was most people would call a relaxing weekend, but Neil and I had a great time. It feels good to get stuff done around here, and it’s so much easier to get stuff done without four small children interrupting you. Heck, we even washed the floor! And no, you can’t tell anymore.

Cheers to the family members that bless us so much by taking care of our children!

Ps. Ivy has already eaten half a piece of chalk (add that to the countless others she has eaten), licked the chalkboard while saying “yum”, and scribbled on it with a purple crayon.

Ivy as a two year old.

Ivy turned two a couple months ago, and what a two year old she is.

She still doesn’t talk too much, but no worries, she can get her point across. She’ll take on anyone who dares to cross her. Her favorite retort is sticking her tongue out, but she’ll also shout no! no way! go ‘way! or whatever else will work. She’ll hit you too.

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She’s fiercely independent. Her cries of “‘ELF!!” are heard many, many times throughout the day. (Self, if you’re not sure what elf means. Ivy has a thing abut consonants. As in, she doesn’t use many of them.) She wants to put on her own clothes, take off her own clothes, go to the bathroom all be her ‘elf, etc, etc. Sometimes I can’t even peek in the bathroom to check on her without hearing a loud, “‘ELF! ‘WAY!!” And she really can do it on her own. She pushes the stool up, puts the seat up or down, depending on who left it in what condition, climbs up, gets her pants down, and climbs on all by herself. It’s pretty awesome, really. Her independence plays out in other good ways too- she always clears her place at the table after supper and always cleans up the toys in the bath when she’s done too.

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She remains OBSESSED with babies. Everything CAN be a baby if you just hold it the right way (ie a tiny grape, a small carrot, anything smaller than it’s usual size IS a baby). At home she is almost always carrying a baby around, or pushing it in a stroller, or changing it’s imaginary diaper, or putting it to bed. She loves real babies the most, obviously, and will go up to any baby, anywhere, and comment on it and probably ask to “hode” it. She will die of happiness when her baby cousin moves home in a couple months, I’m sure of it.

She’s starting to love clothes, especially any “pitty dess”. Often I have to wrestle her into her clothes (if you follow me on instagram or facebook you may have noticed that Ivy is almost always only half clothed) but never if it’s a pitty dess. She loves anything “pincess” too. She’s a real girly girl.

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Well, except for when she’s beating up Oliver. Which is almost every day. Poor Oliver, Ivy is such a bully to him. She smacks him and pushes him and has even bitten him several times. Oliver has never fought back, the little angel. I always coerce Ivy into apologizing and hugging Oliver, but she doesn’t seem to be learning her lesson.

Frozen. She’s in love with that movie and Elsa and Anna and the soundtrack but mostly just “Let it Go.” I’m pretty sure she can sing more of that soundtrack that she can speak words. She sings a lot, really, always singing some made-up song with some little actions too. Her other favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast. She LOVES “beast!” and randomly brings up how the beast turns into a man on a semi-regular basis.

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She loves doing my hair. She grabs pieces of it and just runs it through her hands over and over again. She also loves pretending I’m her baby and making me go to “eep.” She sometimes asks me to lay in her lap, like I’m a teeny baby. As I type she’s singing to me, stroking my arms, and saying “‘ay ‘own” (lay down). If I only I COULD lay down and go to sleep, Ivy. She also loves pretending she herself is a baby. I’m always amazed at her imagination. When she is pretending to be a baby she IS a baby. She won’t talk, only make whiny baby noises. She won’t walk or crawl, but insists on being carried. She wants to go in her crib, where she pretends to sleep. It’s hilarious to me. Her other favorite thing to be is a cat. The only time she and Oliver get along is when they’re being cats together.

She’s so friendly. We stopped in at Neil’s office the other day and she literally hugged coworkers of Neil’s that she’s never met before. It was hilarious. And awesome. At the museum the other day she was playing next to a one year old and she introduced herself to her, patting her chest saying, “IBY.” I died. She gives THE BEST kisses and hugs. Her normal “good-bye” routine (even if she’s just pretending to say good-bye while she pushes her baby to “school” or something) is a kiss on the mouth, sometimes a kiss on each cheek, a “‘ug too!” (big hug) and then a “fife” (high five).

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She’s grown so much since she was a baby. At her check up last week she was 28 pounds. I could hardly believe it. She’s jumped from the 10%, where she stayed for almost her whole first year, to the 60%. Her legs are almost as long as Oliver’s now. Also at her check-up her doctor heard a heart murmur. It’s so weird to me, our kids’ hearts. Ivy will be our THIRD child to go to the heart clinic for an echocardiogram. I don’t know anyone else who’s even had one kid go there. Anyway, I’m not worried. I’m sure her heart will be healthy and fine just like everyone else’s!

I could go on and on about Ivy and her big personality. If you don’t know her, it’s kind of too bad. You’d really love her.

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A different face.

Seth finally lost one of his front teeth. That thing has been so loose for so long. It sems like most of the kids his age lost their front teeth ages ago. Anyway, the day came. At school, eating a carrot. He came home with a tooth in a sandwich bag and a huge smile on his face. And a new tooth, already peeking through.

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I was happy and sad at the same time. Kids with their adult front teeth are definitely, definitely big kids now. I remember loving that little front tooth of Seth’s when it grew in six and a half years ago and it looked like a giant chiclet in his baby mouth. So fricken cute. But, he’s a baby no more.

Obviously.

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Still cute though, right? In an awkward sort of way? His brown eyes melt my heart every time!