Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For the Birds

Several years ago my sister gave our family a children's book--Euphonia and the Flood.  I honestly don't remember a lot about the book except the motto that's repeated over and over again, "If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well."  I remember not really liking the book way back then and it's interesting to me how often I think about that motto with a bit of annoyance.  I guess it's safe to say that I don't agree.  

Certainly it's great to do something well.  I like that idea and I like to encourage my children to try their best.  But does that mean that if you can't do something well, for one reason or another, that you should just not try?  I'm not sure I like that message.  I think that perfectionism is paralyzing.  I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately as I've been teaching knitting at the local women's shelter.  There are some ladies who are such perfectionists that they can't make any progress.  If they make a mistake in their knitting they'll rip the whole thing out or have me fix every little mistake and they just aren't getting enough practice in because of their hang ups.  It's so much easier to teach someone who's fine with some mistakes, who can see past a few flaws to the excitement of the finished product.  Getting something done, even if it means that it's not a perfect product, is satisfying and fun and it gets you somewhere.  

So what does that have to do with birdhouses?  I was reminded of this idea when Nate was working with the girls to make birdhouses for the Ogden Nature Center birdhouse competition and exhibit this past week.  He made comments to me like, "it certainly looks like a six year old made it, even though I helped quite a bit."  And, "My woodworking friends would have done such a better job at making a bird house."  The fact is, his friends didn't--he did.  With all their imperfections, Nate and the girls made birdhouses.  This is what they got out of not doing something well--but just sitting down and doing something:

A couple afternoons of time spent working together
Some instruction on working with power tools
Interest and care for small creatures
A chance to enter a competition--even if they don't win anything
A chance to look at and admire other entries in the competition
A cool looking birdhouse that they made prominently displayed in our yard (after the competition)

Not a bad list of benefits for doing something even if it's not great.  I recently told someone that I'm totally fine with mediocrity.  That doesn't mean that you shouldn't put forth any effort into what you do.  But if I don't have the pressure of doing everything exactly right I can certainly do a lot more things and get great satisfaction in the things I accomplish.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Outdoor Work

It's that time of year when our interests and activities move from indoors to outdoors.  There is soil to turn, gardens to plant, dirt and sand to rediscover and projects to start on--yes projects.  This is the time when project plans thrive--energy and excitement are up and the weather isn't yet too hot.  Of course it's also soccer season and all sorts of other Saturday activities making it difficult to actually put all those lovely plans into action.  But still, we attempt, as much as we can, to carve out little bits of time to work outdoors--get our hands good and dirty and check something off that long list of big plans.

Vamped up trailer
Chicken coop
Pea teepees
Prepare garden beds
Sand creations
Pizza oven
New fire pit benches

We'll see how many of these actually get crossed off.  But I can assure you, we'll enjoy working on them at the very least.  Ahh, this weather!

Friday, March 20, 2015


I'll admit I was a little reluctant to greet you.  My winter wasn't all I had hoped it would be.  But I'm ready now.  Welcome spring!

If something left an impression on you this week, feel free to share it here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yarn Along

I'm just finishing weaving in the ends of my two puddle duck sweaters.  I hate weaving in ends.  So instead, I'm starting a new project!  I've got a couple of friends' baby boys on the horizon.  So I grabbed my favorite baby hat of all--the Alfalfa Baby Hat.  Such a fun sweet pixie look. I'm using a soft merino wool in cinnamon brown.  I think it will be just right.  I had forgotten that this hat, though it doesn't take long, requires concentration pretty much throughout.  I've been doing a lot of mindless knitting lately so I'm not used to this thinking stuff.  I'll just have to watch a really slow paced movie tonight--no more Tom Cruse for me.

As for reading, we just finished and LOVED The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  So sweet. So well written.  So I thought we'd keep with that mood and try Kate DiCamillo's newest book, a Newberry Medal book, Flora and Ulysses.  The library had it on CD so I thought we'd go that route this time.

Linking up with Ginny today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"The Twins" or "Am I emotionally damaging them for life?"

Before I was pregnant with the twins I found myself chatting with another mom from my church who was then pregnant with her own set of twins.  They were her fifth and sixth babies.  Her sister in law had just given birth to her second set of twins and was very opinionated about all things twins.  Her twins were named very different names, she never dressed them alike, and she wouldn't allow anyone to refer to them as "the twins."

I commented to this mom that I had brothers who were identical twin brothers named James and Jonathan.  My mom often dressed them alike and even now we still call them "the twins."and they don't seem adversely affected by it.  In fact, I think they love being twins and all the fun that comes with having another half.  I think she was glad to hear another opinion on the subject of " recognizing differences but also celebrating sameness of twins.

Now, with my own set of twins I find myself thinking about this issue often.  A couple of years ago I wrote a post about matching clothing.  I still feel conflicted with this.  I wish I didn't care.  I wish I could reach in their drawers and pull anything out and dress them independent of one another.  It would sure make it easier to shop for them at savers.  And it would be nice to use some more hand me downs from Byrdie and Louisa.  But I do care.  Something inside me begs for them to be dressed similarly.  As with two years ago, I don't like them in the exact same outfit.  I prefer for them tho have the same outfit but in different colors or fabric.  That's probably one of the reasons I sew for them so much.  It allows me to dress them just how I want.  It's probably also allowed me to hold on to this impracticable method of clothing my girls for far too long.  Although, it's also really boosted my sewing skills in the meantime.

But my current dilemma revolves around labeling them as "the twins."  I'm reluctant to embrace that label fully though I'll admit it's convenient.  If I think about it scientifically, though I haven't really been able to find much scientific research out there on the subject, it makes sense to just use their individual names.  However, I'm not a scientist removed from every day life.  I'm a mom and I also have three other kids.  From a practical point of view it really does take longer to say Georgia and Beatrice every time I want to refer to these two.  And at this point they do most everything together and so usually are referred to in the same sentence.  It is so much easier to say "the twins."  I just worry I'm doing something that will emotionally scar them for life.

I don't have a problem putting other kids into categories when the occasion arises, such as, "the big kids are at school."  And we've called Georgia and Beatrice "the babies" for their whole lives up until now.  But I don't think we can get away with "the babies" much longer.  I hear other people calling their twins "the boys" or "the girls" which would be great except that we have two other girls so that could get confusing.  So if I'm alright with putting a label on this little union of two people, then what's wrong with saying, "the twins?"  Is there something specifically harmful about that label?  Or is it really just lumping two people together in a sentence?  I do recognize that they are two different people and as they get older those differences are becoming more evident.  But being a twin is a special thing too and I don't want to disregard that close bond.

I think I have a lot of reading and thinking and understanding to do regarding twins. Any thoughts?

Monday, March 16, 2015


We had a busy but really great weekend around here.  It included something fun for everyone.  I like those kinds of days.  In the morning the whole family headed down to Salt Lake.  I met up with some friends at the Vintage White Sale at the fairgrounds.  At the last minute Nate decided to tag along. After he kept convincing me not to buy a particular item I was looking at I started to question his motivation for coming along.  He certainly kept me from any buyers remorse.  In a way, however, I think it was good for him to be there.  I think he maybe understands me and my decor style a bit more now--and maybe even appreciates when I bring home cool colored glass cups from Savers or other such treasures for much less expensive than can be found at an upscale shabby chic market.

After gathering up the kids from my mom's house we headed to a huge Americana Lego Road Show at the Fashion Place mall.  It was super crowded but really cool to see these huge structures all made out of Legos.  The kids all got a free Lego kit (the supreme court) and had a good time.  We headed home to get Louisa to a Lego birthday party in the evening and then had our first outdoor fire of the year--goodbye Christmas tree.  Hot dogs, German potato salad and marshmallows were on the menu in addition to a Village Inn banana cream pie in honor of Pi day.  And as a final treat, Nate asked the kids if they wanted to sleep outside under the stars.  Of course, the answer was a resounding "Yes!"  Nate's such a fun dad.  And I got to enjoy a bed to myself for a change (I wasn't about to sleep on a cold hard ground with my soft bed just on the other side of the door).

Friday, March 13, 2015


Whoever deemed the twos to be terrible must have forgotten about moments like this.

If something left an impression on you this week, feel free to share it here.