02 December 2011

Every so often

The older boys are home from school today. Every so often, we have a day where they are all home together and they actually play, use their imaginations, and get along like I always hoped my kids would and should.

Today, while eating lunch, they were playing the "quiet game". Apparently their bus driver has them play this often on the bus ride home and rewards them with starburst and suckers. I can see why. The loser in this particular game had to be the student, and winner would be the teacher in a future game of school, to be played once lunch was finished. In between bites I overheard, "pause the game! you can talk to mom only", "pause the game! it doesn't count against you if you laugh at bubba", "pause the game, gotta go to the bathroom!" Until one final statement from the big brother himself, "Okay, NO more pause the games, laughs, or this doesn't counts--next one to make a noise really loses". To which middle brother burst into giggles and thus, became the student.

Immediately following lunch, the game of school proceeded, which included teacher making flash cards for student, and helping him learn his addition facts. Just a fun memory that I hope will be etched in my mind forever.

13 October 2011

New Book

If you, like me, are raising boys and want them to be honest, courageous, well-rounded and kind, this is a helpful, inspirational read.

Two things I loved about this book:

  • It is well organized and concise, beginning with the identification of troubles that face our boys today, and finishing with helpful suggestions on how to combat these troubles in our homes
  • The author, Meg Meeker, writes with a Christian perspective that is refreshing and empowering
A few things I learned from this book:
  • I gleaned a fresh perspective on the complex and wonderful relationship between a mother and her son. Meeker explains how a mother is a "dispenser of grace" and an "emotional connector" "Grace is love that is undeserved. Because a mother can see through a gnarled physique, a low IQ, a beast-like temper, or a chronic disease right to the soul of her son, she can spot the beauty within him, which allows her to love him. She can forgive him, excuse him, accept him, and love him when no one else will. Because her eyes pierce through the layers of this ugliness and finds the lost part of his self, she can extend him grace when no one else can. When a mother extends outstretched arms to a son who has failed in sports, or school, or socially, or been deemed not smart enough, 'manly enough', or just plain not good enough, he begins to understand what love is all about. (pg. 122)
  • "The reality of a mother's love is that it sometimes comes out sideways. Mothers are often tired, manipulated, and they make mistakes. They scream when they mean to apologize. . .They worry about all the things that can go wrong. But there's an easy way to take some of the pressure off--and that is to allow both you and your son more time to relax. Some of the most important moments of being a parent consist of just being there for your kids and sharing the most mundane aspects of life with them." (pg. 125) 
  • The chapter titled, "The Difference a Dad Makes" made me realize even more why my boys love and idolize their dad so much. I'm so grateful my boys have a dad who realizes how important this relationship is. "In a son's eyes, his father is the source of all correct answers. He knows what's going to happen next. He is smarter, stronger and tougher than the rest. A boy's world is shaped by how his father responds to those around him. Fathers are the authorities. They set rules, because they know the rules." (pg. 147)
  • I learned that my boys need more time with me, with their dad, and less time with all electronics. Their innocence needs to be preserved and they need to be taught how to progress from boyhood to manhood. Meeker offers helpful, encouraging suggestions on how to implement these things on a daily basis.
I feel empowered by this book, and would recommend it to all.

11 September 2011

Garden 2011: part 4

Just wanted to do a little garden update. Here is what I picked just the other day. I am finally swimming in grape tomatoes, and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. We were super proud of that long carrot, as we have had many misshapen, stubby, and forked ones--this one is skinny, but so long and beautiful.

There is just nothing so delicious as home-grown vegetables. Now I'm trying to grow my second round of cabbage, snap peas and broccoli, although the broccoli plants have been eaten alive by something, and I'm hoping they come back.

04 August 2011

Right now I am

Loving the Oregon summer that finally decided to arrive. 80 degrees during the day and a pleasant 60s at night. This is why we live here.

Contemplating for the millionth time the purchase of a new camera to replace our old Kodak 6.1 megapixel. How embarrassing to admit that we are still using that old dinosaur, but I'm really not a person who loves to take pictures, so it's never very high on my priority list.

Eating less than I have been or want to, not because I don't still have the voracious nursing appetite, but because I really want to fit into some of my pre-pregnancy pants sometime soon.

Hoping that the garden veggies that I'm picking and eating everyday will help with the goal above.

Looking forward to TWO weddings in the next two months of our littlest sister and our awesome cousin. Attending these weddings in Salt Lake City and Sacramento and the driving it will require is giving me a little bit of anxiety, but every minute spent on the road and every ,"are we there yet?" shouted from the back seat will be worth it to see these awesome kids be married for eternity.

Speed-Reading The Oracle of Stamboul, an interesting piece of historical fiction. Trying to finish it in two days because I can't renew it at the library.

Changing a lot of diapers. Grateful for gdiapers and the cloth inserts that fill them so that I am filling my washing machine instead of my garbage can every week.

Excited to be sewing for my Etsy shop again, after a couple month hiatus. Here's to hoping the orders will be just enough to fulfill my sewing desire, but not too many to add to the overwhelmingness that is life with four kids.

Trying to be happy for two dear friends who are selling their houses and moving their families to different states in the next few weeks. Happy for their new adventures, but sad for us who are being left behind.

inspiration for this post and future posts like this come from soulemama

03 August 2011

Busy Summer

In the 7 weeks since Thomas joined our family, we have been busy.

James was baptized, Thomas was blessed, and lots of family came from all over the country for most of July to be a part of these special family events. We celebrated Jeff's birthday #33 and had a Fuller family reunion at the Oregon coast where we had not-so great weather, fun matching shirts and 14 adults & 18 children all sleeping in the same house. We also discovered an awesome new beach on the way home in Pacific City, Cape Kiwanda, where we met up with some great college friends who we haven't seen for 10 years. Our 4 kids became fast friends with their 4 kids for the afternoon on this beach where they searched for baby crabs and we all climbed a ginormous sand dune that we will definitely be visiting again.

Now it is August, all the visitors have gone home, Jeff is back to work, and I am learning what life is really like with four kids. Trying to balance all their needs and get anything done is no joke and I'm just trying to figure it all out and enjoy this last month of summer before school begins.

13 July 2011

June baby

Having a baby in June is great for so many reasons. Warm weather (well, warm-ish weather in Oregon so far this summer) makes it okay for baby's wardrobe to consist solely of onesies and bare feet. Baby doesn't have to be quarantined in the house for fear of catching terrible viruses that are all around in the winter months, and I daresay sunshine and summer can definitely chase away any post-baby blues that might creep up here and there.

But one reason that it might not be so great? When older brothers come to mom wanting her to ride bikes, play basketball, and jump on the new trampoline they just earned after saving up since January and her postpartum body causes her, sadly, to say no over and over and over again.

These older brothers think that baby is pretty great, but also just think all their mom ever does anymore is sit on the couch and nurse him. And they're mostly right.

25 June 2011

Garden 2011: part 3

So the good news is, the spot outside my kitchen window is a perfect location for a garden. I originally thought it wouldn't be hot enough for tomatoes, but I think I was wrong. It gets plenty of southern exposure sun, which is the best and warmest kind.
  • The snap peas which were planted right up against my house took forever to sprout, but now are finally big enough to be covered in blossoms and producing little peas. I picked 5 the other day, which was just enough to make me want more. They might be one of my most favorite vegetables of all time.
  • You can see the tomato plants in the second picture down, in the left bed to the right of the blue hula hoops. I am pruning and staking my tomato plants again, with the hope that they will produce early and well. So far they are thriving and have lots of blossoms and even one small green tomato.
  • My dad was here a couple of weeks ago when Thomas was born and he generously agreed to help me install drip irrigation for my beds. I am thrilled to finally have a watering system that isn't just me standing outside with a watering can, or wasting water with an ineffective sprinkler. Here you can see the little tubing nestled into the carrot bed. Incidentally, we picked our first carrot yesterday and it was sweet and delicious. It was a part of the first planting, which was done in March, and the others should be ready any minute now.
  • I picked the broccoli a bit too late--lesson learned that it should be picked when the buds are tight and not flowering--but it is still delicious, and I feel proud of my very first four heads of broccoli. I look forward to another fall planting of broccoli.
  • And lastly, I am also very proud of my cabbage heads. Although the outside leaves have been nibbled on by snails, once you peel those away, the cabbage is like a work of art and the texture is soft and tender. Cabbage, like snap peas, is one vegetable I can never get enough of, so I am thrilled to finally harvest and eat my very own.

20 June 2011


Here I sit, a little over one week postpartum feeling happy, content & peaceful, and unbelievably thrilled that finally this pregnancy is over.

Thomas Waldemar joined our family on Sunday night, June 12 at 8:29 p.m. Of the four boys, he was our shortest and most medium-sized baby, weighing in at 7 lbs. 9 ounce and almost 20 inches long.

Thomas's birth ended up being very similar to Henry's, and I feel thankful that there were no complications, and that the experience was another intensely spiritual, painful & peaceful one.

My goal at the beginning of the pregnancy was to let my body go into labor naturally--no induction, but when I found out my doctor was going to Europe on June 14, four days after my due date, I had to decide if it was worth it to sacrifice him being there for the delivery just to fulfill this desire. As it turns out, just like with all my other pregnancies, my body was dilating and showing signs of being ready to deliver even two weeks before the due date, but didn't want to make the final jump into active labor. So we decided that having doctor there was more important, and went to the hospital on Sunday evening, two days after the due date, for him to break my water. I was certain that my body would do the rest, without any other induction methods, namely pitocin, which I really didn't want. Dr. Cooper delivered Owen and Henry, and his calm, relaxed and encouraging presence in the delivery room is just amazing and I really wanted him and not a stranger there for my final birth.

So, we arrived at the hospital at 4 p.m., dr. broke my water at 5:25, regular contractions were happening about 20-30 mins later, and painful ones about 1 hour after that. My body did cooperate, and I really think my desire and my will to not have pitocin was strong enough to make those contractions strong and regular. I was able to labor in the jacuzzi tub, on the ball, walking around, and only had to get in the bed twice, once at about 7:15 where the nurse checked and found I was about 6 cm, and then once again around 8:00 when dr. checked and I was 8-9 cm. He stayed and talked me through the final contractions, which were amazingly painful but also very cool. Since I was able to labor these last contractions while standing up, I could really feel gravity helping baby's head drop little by little into the birth canal. When I had a final, unbelievably painful, intense one, I and the nurses and dr. knew that it was time to get back in bed and push. The 15 minutes of pushing was crazy intense, but thrilling and fulfilling. I feel thankful that it was so quick, and I never, ever want to do it again.

We were so fortunate to have nurses that supported my desire for a natural birth. They were patient, calm, encouraging, and facilitated every desire we had. While pushing, when I had several moments of "I cannot do this", the nurse who was holding my left leg kept saying to me, "but you are doing it" and that helped so much. She was also the one who, when the painful contractions really kicked in, said to me, "you do whatever your body tells you to do and whatever feels good. If you want to be in the bath during one contraction and on the ball the very next one, you do that." I really appreciated that suggestion, and found that in the last hour when the contractions were intense and close together and very painful, I really did just what she said. Sometimes I was using the handheld shower head to relieve the pain, sometimes I was leaning on the bed, sometimes I was bouncing on the ball. It was a relief to know that being fickle and changing positions every 5 minutes or less was okay with everyone, and they all supported whatever helped me to get through the pain.

Jeff was a champion coach and partner through the whole thing. He was also calm, patient and encouraging and found a massage technique for my lower back that really, really helped the pain.

When Thomas was finally born, when that final push was done, I have never felt such relief and joy and elation. They put him on my chest, skin-to-skin, and the lights were low and it was pouring rain outside and it was just peaceful and emotional and wonderful. He was a bit fussy and pooped all over me, but just to know he was out of my body, and healthy and completing our family filled me with such joy.

And now, being home, watching the three big brothers with their new little brother has been such fun. I love that school is out, that we have no schedule to follow and we can get to know Thomas and love him all together. My parents were here for a week and did so much to help and support us, and now friends have taken over, bringing food and love and more joy into our home.

Babies are so special and I feel so blessed to have this little guy to snuggle and feed and smell and hold. He is a very important part of our family, and we couldn't be more happy to have him here with us.

***If you're interested, you can see some better pictures than we were able to take of Thomas's first days in the hospital here. The password is 504801361282318, last four of my name is Full.

31 May 2011

The final countdown

Two weeks(ish) to go before this Fuller baby arrives and today I'm feeling the feeling to fill up the freezer with food for later. I'm starting small, with some whole wheat bagels, bran muffins and chicken to shred for later meals. But I'm hoping my energy will keep me going to have a few casseroles and some chicken chimichangas to add by the end of the week.

End-of-the-year teacher gifts

Like many, I always like to give a small gift of appreciation to my children's teachers at the end of the school year. I prefer a handmade gift, and bookmarked this tutorial last year as an idea for something to give. I loved it for two reasons:
1) It can be made up entirely of fabric scraps
2) The embroidered name written in the student's handwriting includes the child in this gift in a special way

Just wanted to share in case someone else is looking for something simple, handmade and special for a teacher gift this year.

17 May 2011

Parenting is always a learning process

Just had to give a little shout-out to this book, which I'm currently reading. I've read a lot of parenting books in my eight short years as a parent, but have found that many of them give these systems that are too difficult to implement, or that the books themselves are simply too overwhelming to read after the first 30 pages or so. This one is clear, to the point and exactly what I have been needing.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows my oldest boy that the bold red words "STRONG-WILLED CHILD" on the front cover were the only encouragement I needed to check it out at the library in the first place. Second was the promise to eliminate conflict. Lately I have felt like all I have with this soon-to-be 8-year-old is conflict, contention, arguing and frustration. Our home was not a peaceful place, and I honestly felt like I really did not know how to change it.

The suggestions given in this book have helped me realize more than anything, that I had just become lax in my setting of limits. I think this happened in the natural process of this oldest child growing up, combined with my inability to reconcile how to give him some deserved independence while still commanding respect and making myself the in-charge parent. It felt like a loss of control, and in fact, it was.

The author doesn't give any new or earth-shattering suggestions, in fact, just the opposite, which is why the book is so readable and easy-to-implement. His ideas are basic and simple and stated with clear, real-life examples of children and their parents. I just needed to remind myself how to be in charge, but, like it also says on the cover, by establishing CLEAR, firm and RESPECTFUL boundaries.

I think that all children are strong-willed in their own right, but he has another version of the book, simply called: Setting Limits: How to Raise Responsible, Independent Children by Providing Clear Boundaries, which I would guess presents similar ideas but perhaps without all the comparisons made between extremely strong-willed children vs. compliant children. My second child is definitely compliant, so those comparisons were not lost on me.

08 May 2011

Garden 2011: part 3

1) This year I discovered garden cloth. I think and hope this will change my gardening yield forever more. I made a little greenhouse with a hula hoop and covered the broccoli and cabbage plants and they have been soaking up the sun and warmth the cloth provides and growing like crazy. I also covered my carrot and snap pea seeds while waiting for them to sprout and am certain it made the process several days quicker.
2)This picture gives a little peek into what's underneath the cloth. We have had some warmer days and nights, and even since this picture was taken 5 days ago, the plants are larger and more healthy. I am in love with this cloth and can't wait to use it on my warm weather crops in the next couple of weeks--tomatoes, cucumbers and bush beans.
3) Italian parsley in the front, snap peas in the back.
4) Spinach in the front, romaine in the back. I am already eating the spinach and it is so perfect. Some of the larger lettuce heads should be ready in the next week or so. I can't wait!

It seemed like May was so far away, but now it is here and everything can be planted and these cold weather crops can be enjoyed while waiting for the warm weather crops to grow and produce.

***POST EDIT: I called this garden cloth, but now I just went back and checked and the official name for what I'm using is plant and seed blanket. Here is the link to the one I have. It is a little pricey, at $13-14/roll but I would say worth every penny. I plan to use it to speed up the growth of my tomatoes & cucumbers by creating a little hothouse until it is hot enough outside to remove it and let the sun do its job. Here in Oregon that doesn't usually happen until late June/early July which makes for a late tomato harvest. I'm an impatient tomato gardener. I want them sooner than that!***

01 May 2011

Six week countdown

Just checking in for my once-a-month blog post. I just can't believe how much pregnancy takes the wind out of my sails. How's that for a corny cliche? The six-week countdown has begun, and although that isn't a long time in the whole forty-week scheme of things, it still seems long being that the final weeks are filled with so much acid reflux, sleeplessness and general discomfort. It has to be this way or no one would ever willingly give birth, right?

One thing pregnancy hasn't taken from me is my desire to garden, and the little beds outside my kitchen window are doing very well full of little sprouts and such. I plan to document that with some pictures this week, if only just for me to remember each year the stages of my garden in the different months of the growing season.

And now I'm off to chew some more ice, just another strange thing that my body craves during these last weeks of gestation.

16 March 2011

Custom order love

After a three-month hiatus from sewing, I reopened my shop at the beginning of February, and the orders coming in, along with my regular sewing for classichound, have kept me very busy these last six weeks.

I wanted to share a few of the custom orders I have made, as I always appreciate the challenge it is to meet the specific needs of a customer who has something special in mind.
A customer sent me this fun fabric, some of which were cloth napkins, and requested sandwich wraps with muslin as the lining instead of nylon. It is actually a great idea, as muslin is very breathable and it is something I will probably add to the shop at a later date.

This is a diaper bag made for my SIL's cousin, and I am mostly thrilled with how the adjustable strap turned out. I am thinking of making one for Jeff in this messenger style, with more manly colors and fabrics.

These brown canvas lunch bags, (which were actually originally added to the shop as a result of a custom order), have been a top seller at limabeanhome these last six weeks. A couple of teenage sisters in Canada wanted to change the closure of the lunch bag from a velcro to snaps, which was a fun challenge.
And the newest permanent addition is this cherry oilcloth lunchbag. Oilcloth is something I have been eyeing as a medium for many months and I was thrilled to see it arrive in my local fabric store so that I didn't have to pay for shipping.

Happy Sewing days!

24 February 2011

Garden 2011: part 2

My last post was about the warm weather gift we'd been given. One month later we're being given a different kind of weather gift. This is more a gift to my children and all children who get to stay home and play in the snow due to school being cancelled. Ah, the joys of living in a place where snow is a novelty and everything shuts down for two inches and then it melts in two days. Love.

My raised beds are built and ready to go after a weed excavation extravaganza, but I'm just glad I didn't follow through on my inkling to plant peas and parsley last week. My favorite thing about these new garden beds is that I can see them through my kitchen window.

Thankfully, the only thing that has been planted are these four little broccoli plants and two cabbage plants and they are growing well in the blaring south sun of said window. In fact, the growth of these little guys is giving me high hopes for future plants in the beds, as my garden plots in previous houses have not had this kind of southern sun exposure, and this has so far even been filtered through the window.

25 January 2011

Garden 2011: part 1

The past few days we have been given a little weather gift here in Springfield. Three straight days of 50+ degree, sunny days and more in the forecast. I have been staring out the window at my overgrown, leaf-strewn yard for three months feeling depressed that I would never again have the energy to rake or trim or plan a space for a garden. But fortunately, the gardening bug bit me thanks to this weather gift, and I have been inspired in all sorts of ways.

The best news is that I figured out a place in the new yard I think will be sunny enough to put raised beds for growing my vegetables. Originally I thought it was going to take some major excavation and taking out trees to do this, but I think this spot which is right outside the kitchen window should work. It probably won't be sunny or hot enough for tomatoes, so I'll have to figure out something else for those if I actually want them to yield any fruit. But since I have a goal to plant peas in February like I did last year, there is still much work to be done, as you can see by these pictures:

So far I have excavated the weeds out of the bottom layer, and moved over these raised bed frames that were left behind from the previous owners. Next up is to do the same thing with the second layer, build two more raised beds, fill them with all sorts of good soil and additives, lay down pea gravel all around the outsides (thanks for the tip, Shannan!) and install drip irrigation.

With more sunny weather in store, I'm hoping to have a good update next Tuesday to share.

Linking up:

Thoughts on becoming a MOB

***MOB=mother of boys. I just learned this acronym, and quite like it.

Most of you probably already read the news on Facebook, that come June, the Fullers will officially be that family, you know the one that when out in public all together, strangers feel the need to comment, "wow--four boys? are you going to try for one more, just to see if you can get a girl?" No. The answer to that is no. We are done, we will be a family of all boys, I will be a MOB and lead the mob of boys and I will enjoy it.

Just so you know, there is only a 1/16 chance of having your children be all the same sex, born four in a row like this. That figures out to be about 6ish percent. We seem to be on a lucky streak of beating the odds--we're heading to Vegas.

No, but honestly, I am feeling lucky and actually thrilled. I did have that moment, a similar disappointed moment to this one, and I took some time to mourn the buying of dolls, baby strollers, the sewing of cute dresses and meeting of a son-in-law. But the moment was less disappointing than I expected it to be. And the joy and excitement I've felt since that moment passed is actually quite amazing to me. This is a special baby boy--the child that completes our family, the child that almost wasn't, the child that helped effect amazing, big changes in our life so we could welcome him with peace of mind.

I am more thrilled than ever to know that being past the awful sickie , now I can just experience those fun milestones--the kicks that make your stomach look like aliens have invaded, thinking of a name (well, actually only medium fun), and those last weeks when you just can't wait to see the little babe in person and hold him in your arms.

Halfway there!

08 January 2011

Coming back to life

Now that I have passed the blessed 17-week milestone in this pregnancy, I am trying to catch up on life in general. I finally just unloaded my camera with pictures from Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. On that note, maybe I'll share a few.

This is a boy who is happy to play with any ball, even a dirty old one left behind by the previous owners discovered under a mess of ivy.

We did have some costumes this year for Halloween--none of them made by me, but cute nonetheless.

This year our family of 5 traveled to the Oregon coast for Thanksgiving and ate our meal at a funny little restaurant in Reedsport surrounded by old people. It was the only restaurant open for miles around, so we were lucky to even find it, but it was some really delicious turkey.

And finally, my three boys in their Sunday Christmas outfits provided by Grandma.