Friday, September 28, 2007

Airing the Laundry

I always knew you guys were smarter than me! Thanks for letting me vent yesterday and for all of your comments and emails. I got an education, indeed. Hopefully I did not offend anyone with my post. It certainly was not my intention and I apologize if I did.

I think it all boils down to this: be nice. Be nice to others. Whether it is a public service worker, military personnel, or the bagger at the grocery store. Be nice and show respect. Everyone agrees that we all deserve it.

With the overnight rains, I feel everything has been cleansed again. Let's start anew.

(Because this is a family blog, I will probably unpublish this post in a few days so that search engines do not include that post. If you are interested in reading all of the comments, you might want to do it sooner rather than later.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007


What happened to being nice? What happened to common courtesy? I'm beginning to think they ran off together.

This past Saturday, while Joe was working with some recruiters at a local fair, people were rude to him. Why, you ask? Because he was in uniform and apparently the whole reason for the War on Terror.

While at the fair, one woman (I cannot use the term lady) came up to Joe and started to mouth off how disgusted she was by him and how he was causing their children to be killed. She kept ranting and raving about things and taking out her frustrations on Joe. Personally. Joe told her that she should thank the veterans in this country that she can talk the way she does because if she lived in another country, she'd be shot for talking like that.

You know, blaming (and yelling at) Joe for the war is like me blaming fast food restaurant cashiers for obesity. Seriously.

I'm learning that respect, appreciation, and even simple common courtesy are too much to ask from some people. And it's really sad.

Another incident that happened to Joe on Saturday. While standing at the Humvee, a child came and spat on him. That's real nice. And, to make it more special, the parents said and did nothing. No apology from either the parents or the child. The parents did nothing. What kind of society are we raising? I'm sure that kid learned it from someone. And, you know, we don't know if this child was HIV-positive. He could be. We don't know.

On Tuesday when I took Sawyer to have his portrait taken, another customer completely blocked the entrance to the only doorway in the studio. I was trying to leave and her cart was there. Except for a 4" gap, she was blocking the entire entrance. She made no attempt to even slide it out of the way as I walked up. Had it not been for two children in the cart, I probably would have moved it myself. Spenser hunched over and went under. I stood there, with Sawyer on my hip and I just looked at this woman. After a few minutes (only after telling Spenser to wait for me because I was stuck in the store, hint, hint), she finally asked "Can you fit through?" Flattered? Yes. Able to fit through a 4" gap? No.

A little common courtesy goes a long way.

My son, Jackson (6 1/2), talks a lot. In fact, he's been getting into trouble at school for talking so much. Not any serious grievances, just little ones. He's gotten in trouble for talking in the hallway line, in the bathroom, in music class (instead of singing). Those kinds of things. After the fifth time this new school year, I had had enough of his shenanigans. I made him write an apology to his teacher. He had to be accountable for his behavior. (He also lost computer privileges at home as his punishment for each account.)

Since that day, Jack has not gotten into trouble. I'm not saying it won't happen again, but at least he is learning. He's learning that it is disrespectful to his teacher and her time to misbehave. He's learning that other children may not be able to listen if he is talking.

If my son spat on another person like that, on purpose? Oh boy. Not only would I be apologizing profusely and forcing my son to apologize, I would be leaving the fair and teaching my son the lesson of courtesy.

[And just a note. Not all people are like the ones I described above. There are times when people (mostly men in my observations) will come up to Joe, shake his hand, and thank him for his service to the country. Sadly, it has also been my observation that most of the mouthy ones are women.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Waiting for My New Stove

Thank you for all of your birthday wishes for Sawyer. Y'all are sweet.

Yesterday morning I took Sawyer (in his new fall outfit) to have his portrait taken. He didn't want to smile. He smiled one-half of a smile in one photo. In the rest of the photos he just stared at the crazy lady trying to make him smile. Oh well. I bought him a soccer ball while we were out (because I forgot to give him his present in the morning before the kids left for school and Joe left for work).

Last night to celebrate we had blueberry muffins, Dibs (just because they were in the freezer) and Combos (just because they were in the cabinet). Then he opened his present. We're having a little family get-together on Sunday afternoon at our house.

Today I'm getting a new stove. Our "old" stove is only six years old. In the above photo you see an empty spot on our wall. There used to be a kitchen cabinet there (a KraftMaid custom cabinet) ... until Sunday when it broke apart and fell off the wall!

All I can say is Thank Goodness!!! that no one was injured. Taylor and I were standing there when it happened. The other children were eating lunch and Sawyer was napping (another Thank Goodness!!!). Taylor jumped out of the way and it landed where he was standing. It also landed in the very spot Sawyer eats when he's in his highchair. If he hadn't been napping ... I don't want to think about it. It makes me sick. Sick!

When it fell, the cabinet door did this:

to our ceramic-top stove. Ouch! We didn't even notice it at first. There were a lot of frightened children and there was food and glass (and bits of cabinet) everywhere. It wasn't until I was going through the debris on the floor that I noticed a strange object on the floor. It looked like glass. It felt like glass. But it had a funky speckled pattern on it ... Then it hit me. It was the stove top.

On the counter below the cabinet sits our 9" TV/VCR unit. At first I was very thankful that the cabinet missed the TV completely. Now I wish it would have hit the TV and missed our stove. It would have been less costly that way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My baby is one today. How did that happen? I know he was just born yesterday.

(Soccer on Friday night, courtesy of Nikki.)

My blondie-blue-eyed boy who turned into a blondie-brown-eyed boy.

(Soccer on Friday night, courtesy of Nikki.)

He's as sweet and dear as they come. One of my six miracles.

It must be official, because he's wearing the finally finished, important project.

(birthday crown)

(This morning when he woke up, being showered with love.)

Sawyer, I completely adore you. I love the few wispy blond hairs that reach your eyes. I love when you put your arm around my neck. I love to hear your laugh. I love your smile. And your eyes. And your chubby, most-kissable and munchable cheeks. And your determination. I love that you pick up dirt off the floor and hand it to me. (You used to try to eat everything, and you still try sometimes.) I love when you clap your hands. I love your playfulness. I love playing hide and seek with you, even if you get upset when you don't see me right away. (We still have fun.) I love that you peek over the sofa looking for Daddy in the computer room. I love your sweet baby voice. I'm so happy you're here. Happy, happy birthday, dear one. I wish you many, many more.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Fall Outfit

On Friday, while Spenser was at the fair with Joe, I took advantage of Sawyer's afternoon nap time. He needs some new fall outfits.

I found some long-sleeved onesies on clearance over the summer and stocked up. I even splurged and cut into my Japanese stash, and it felt good. The fabric is Counting Kids from Superbuzzy. The pants are linen (in natural #30). I bought the linen this summer, but the color was little darker than I wanted for the intended project. I think it's a perfect shade for autumn.

The blue vintage button is a cover up. As I was using my pinking shears to cut the seam allowances, I clipped a big hole in the front of the pants. Déjà vu. Using stitch witchery, I adhered a scrap piece of linen to the front and the back (to prevent raveling) and then satin-stitched around the scrap. The button is used for camouflage, but I think I like it.

Feeling cocky, I started another outfit for Sawyer, out of brown corduroy from my stash. I killed my machine. Loud noises. Refusal to work. Messages flashing ("Safety device activated"). I changed the needle. Cleaned the shuttle (about five times). Reinserted the bobbin (about five times). Lowered the feed dogs ... well, just because I had the manual right there and had never done it before so I thought it was a perfect time to try, except now the feed dogs are stuck down. It still won't work. I called the company where I bought it and they are shipping a new machine to me today. Another déjà vu.

However, I'm in the middle of a very important project that must be finished by tomorrow. No exceptions. I have to get my old machine from the attic.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It Was a Good Day

Today was a normal soccer Saturday. Jack had an early-morning game (they tied). Carter's team played last night (they lost). And Taylor's team played this afternoon.

It was hot. But it was good. I have been waiting for this day for years. Years.

Let me explain. My boys have been participating in soccer since Kindergarten. Each boy. They usually play defense positions (fullback and the occasional goalie, which flips me out). And they are good playing defense. They used to call Taylor "The Wall" because nothing would pass by him.
For part of today's game, Taylor played midfield. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a lot of experience in this position and it makes me nervous for him. Anyway, Taylor's team had the ball down towards their goal, someone passed it to him, and he made a goal. My boy made a goal! Not just a goal. His first goal!

I always thought I would be the loud, cheering mama screaming for my boy when he scored a goal. Today, I couldn't. I cried. I clapped my hands as hard as I could, but I sat there and cried. Tears of pure joy. It was beautiful. Not a word could come out of my mouth (which is a mighty rare occurrence, just ask Joe). I was so happy for him and so proud at the same time.

He didn't notice though, because everyone else was cheering and high-fiving him.

And did I mention? They won the game. It was a good day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Bag

Yesterday, during Sawyer's nap, Spenser and I sewed. We made a bag. But it's not just some ordinary bag. It's a portable DVD player bag.

With pockets for the AC adapter, the cigarette-lighter adapter, and other wires.

The DVD player and headphones just sit inside. It's even big enough to hold some DVDs, too.

There are so many wires and gadgets with this thing, I was terrified we would lose something. Now everything is contained in one spot.

Soon to come: bags for the Pixter and VideoNow. They need to be contained, too.

(Spenser went to work with Joe today. He was going to a county fair with the recruiters in that area and decided to take her along.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I had an off day yesterday.

Let's see. First, I was so engrossed in watching Emily Yeung that I didn't realize the diaper I was changing was messy until after I had finished. In my defense, he already had a messy diaper and I thought the faint odor was either a residual smell or one coming from the trashcan. (After all, I had just nursed him and didn't smell anything at all.)

Then I was called to spider-killing duty. Not one of my favorite jobs. In fact, it probably pulls a close second to cleaning up barf (or being in the same room with barf or anything barf-related). The spider was on the screen of our French doors. As I tried to kill it, it fell and the crunchy body hit my hand on the way down. I screamed bloody murder. And the door was wide open. I'm sure I scared a few innocent bystanders. I know my children were frightened.

And then I went to Bride's Night. To keep Sawyer quiet, I stuffed him with Cheerios (which he dumped no less than five times). At the very end of the night before I left, I realized I had dried, already-chewed Cheerios in my hair and on my shirt. And then I noticed my shirt was on backwards. Yep. All night I wore my shirt backwards. That's me. (I think I scraped off the Cheerios remnants off the back of my shirt and it won't leave a stain.)

It was in the midst of all this chaos that I needed a much-needed moment of accomplishment. Since both Sawyer and Spenser were awake (and busily playing together), I decided I should crochet, being as how I can't knit.

I crocheted a little wire spiderweb. Last year Shirley sent me the cutest pair of spiderweb earrings that she had made. They are so incredibly cute and I knew that I would love to make a necklace for Spenser. It was just enough crafting for me to restore my sanity and feel like I accomplished something more than diaper changing (which I can't do properly), laundry, dishes, killing spiders, and other household chores.

The "spider" is four strands of black embroidery floss tied in a knot. The four strands become the eight spider legs. Pretty clever, that Shirley.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No Sewing Here

I wish I had some sewing to show you today. But I don't. I have spent the past few days (and nights) working on a slideshow DVD for a Young Women's church activity.

Tonight we are having "Bride's Night," complete with guest speakers (a young married couple), a special musical number, and wedding cake. We came up with the idea of making a DVD of all the girls in our program and putting their pictures to music. So, these are our "wedding favors." 30 in all.

It was time consuming, but, alas, they are finished. It was worth the effort. And, I hope, at least the girls will think it is worth it, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What Is It?

Is it a smock? Is it a jumper? Is it a dress or a shirt? I'm not quite sure.

What started out to be another smock, morphed into this. A wrap smock of a different style. I played around with my pattern and, instead of doing side seams and ribbon ties, I constructed it from one piece of fabric.

It is made from part of the leftover sheet I used for my wrap skirt, and lined with yellow gingham. I used two white, vintage, flower buttons for the front closure (which are crooked, so don't look too closely). And because I used buttons (on the front only), it is not reversible.

When she put it on, it was very A-line. It totally reminded me of the 70's, especially with that fabric!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Every Boy's Dream ...

Saturday was a soccer day. It was freezing. Last week it was almost 100 degrees. Complete opposite this week. It was cold! We were wearing sweatshirts, covering with blankets, and huddling together (at least for the early-morning games).

Sawyer is a future soccer star. We're starting him young.

This has to be every boy's dream (and Capello's). Batman made from Legos. There were entry forms to guess how many Legos it took to build him. What would you guess?

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Wrap Smock

I had been fiddling around with ideas for different smocks. I had seen some cute wrap shirts and dresses around. Like this one. And this one (if only I could knit). And this one. And this one. Oh, and this one (love that one!). And then I saw this one. And then I decided it was time to do it.

While this is my prototype, I'm happy with how it turned out. I used fabrics I already had. And the basics of a dress pattern that I had made before. (It looks a little wonky on the hanger, but it's not so bad when she's wearing it. Overcast skies = no sun = not-so-good photos. Sorry.)

It is lined in green gingham, so I suppose it is reversible, too, if a little Spenser desires.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Little Sewing

Last night we went to my niece's 10th birthday party. You may remember a similar set I made for her sister's birthday in August.

These sisters are close in age and love to do things together. So, in August when I gave the first set to my niece, the older one said, "I want one, too!" Alrighty then. Thanks for making it easy for me!

And, I am not responsible for this:

I was running someone to soccer and Joe was "watching" the kids. Poor neglected baby.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Soccer and Why I'm Losing My Mind

Jack (goalie).

Every night of the week someone has soccer. When I say "someone," I really mean someone, because I can't keep them straight. No matter how hard I try, I can't remember who has what when. Seriously.

For instance, the kids had off of school on Monday, which would normally be Mason's soccer practice. Because there was no school, there was no soccer practice. It had been rescheduled for Tuesday. However, it rained on Tuesday (yesterday, I think), so the coach pushed practice back to today (Wednesday). The whole day-off-of-school-already-in-the-year has really thrown me through a loop. At least that's what I'm blaming (and my old age).

So yesterday (Tuesday, I keep reminding myself), "Jack" has practice. I called his coach to see if they were still planning to have practice because it had finally stopped raining, but was soggy. After I didn't hear back from the coach for awhile, I decided it must still be on. Five minutes before we were getting ready to go, Jack announces that he doesn't have soccer. Uh, that means someone else has soccer. Who? That someone would be Carter. So we had to scramble to get Carter's shin guards and cleats and water bottle. And then Jack's coach's wife calls to say she just got my message ... Yeah. I was busted.

And now you wonder why I almost left Sawyer home alone. I think I'm losing my mind.

Carter (right).

Taylor (front and center) on Saturday's game.

When I have time (ha!), I am going to make a spreadsheet (if I can remember) of where I have to be when. And who has to be where when. Then I will have to learn the days of the week, because apparently I can't keep them straight either. I have brain overload.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


On Friday I went to a flea market. Now I can stop boo-hooing that there aren't any around here. I haven't been to a flea market in years. Years. There was an annual local antique tractor show with a flea market. I have missed it for the past few years because of soccer games. This year I learned that they are open on Fridays, too, which I never knew before.

My favorite find of the day was this tin picnic basket. I have wanted one for years and I found a stall that had two. The other was the red & green plaid, which I had seen before. I had never seen this yellow one, so I was drawn to it immediately. So far I have used it twice. I filled it with snacks for soccer on Saturday and filled it with snacks yesterday when the boys had off of school and we took a little trip.

At the same stall as the picnic tin, I found a box of vintage Christmas ornaments.

I was happy to find some Tupper Toys (made by Tupperware). My grandmother had a set that we played with as children. I had bought an incomplete set many years ago (when Carter was a baby), but I found a complete set on Friday for $2.

This poor baby. Let me tell you. He has it rough.

Yesterday we were leaving the house. I was rounding up the children, refereeing some arguments, and it was hectic. It was hot outside so I decided to take my stuff (picnic tin and tote) to the car first and start the car so it could cool off. The older children followed me and got in the car. I usually put the baby in the car first (and not the "stuff"). I ran back up to the front door and as I was pulling it closed to lock it, I heard Sawyer talking. He was sitting in his car seat in the dining room. I almost left him home alone. If he had not been talking when I reached for the door, I think I would have left him there.

Yeah. I don't think I'm going to win any "Mother of the Year" awards anytime soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Smock

Thank you for your kind comments on yesterday's post. Each one touched me and I sincerely appreciate the time you have taken to boost my spirits. Thank you, dear friends.

Last week as my thoughts were continually turning towards my sister, I decided I needed a little "sewing therapy." I was actually trying to clean up my sewing area (which is a lost cause, by the way), when I decided I would rather be sewing instead of cleaning. I was digging through my notions hatbox looking for bias tape. Spenser walked up and in her pip-squeaky voice asked, "Mommy, whatcha doing?" When I told her I was going to sew something for her, she became totally excited. She picked out the fabric. She stood next to me as I cut the fabric. She sat on my lap as I sewed. We did this together. Some good mommy-daughter time. (Baby was napping and the boys were in school.)

It's another "Swing Swing Smock" from the Bend-the-Rules Sewing book. I seem to work in sets. Sets of skirts. Sets of smocks. Sets of totes. As long as she likes them (and wears them), I'll keep making them for her.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

In Sweet Memory

Five years ago today, my sister, Kristen, died tragically in a car accident. She was a young mother of two. I miss her dearly. Sometimes it seems that it was yesterday (when I feel the pain). Sometimes it feels longer (when I try to remember the last time I saw her; the last time I talked to her; the last time I heard her voice). All week, my chest has felt a tightness when I thought of her and the impending anniversary. Actually, most times I think of her my chest tightens and I feel sad. Sometimes, when I think of her I smile. But most times, I'm sad.
She was a wonderful girl. A wonderful mom. Very sweet. And funny. And many more wonderful qualities.

She died on my parents' 35th wedding anniversary. She died when Mason was two weeks old. Mason, Spenser, and Sawyer have never met her. Taylor, Carter, and Jackson vaguely remember her. Yet, they all know her. From the photos. From the stories. From her children, Alana and Timmy. I try to keep her memory alive. It's all I have left.

(Krissy was famous for her self-portraits. This is one of Krissy with her daughter, Alana. The top photo is of me and Kristen the night before her wedding.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Clutch

An "Artsy Clutch" from the Bend-the-Rules Sewing book. Using leftover fabric from the skirt, I lined the inside and made a little flower (or tree or whatever it is, trying to match the design on the fabric) for the front. I found a navy blue vintage button for the closure.

This was a very simple sew. I think there will be more.


You're gonna love this. Last night a salesman came to the door to sell magazine subscriptions "for college." Joe, being a former Army recruiter, answered the door. The person starts off saying he is earning money for college, he's from Mississippi, etc., etc., Joe pipes in and says, "You need to earn money for college?" And then goes into his whole recruiting sales pitch . . . The guy nearly ran down the street trying to get away from Joe. (Of course, the guy says he'd rather live in Iraq than join the military. What's up with that?!?) It was hilarious!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Another Skirt

Really, I couldn't help myself. I've been wearing skirts all week and I'm tiring of the ones in my stash. You know, I can only wear the new skirt for so many days until I start running into the same people. Actually, I've only worn it twice, but have run into two of the same people. I want to wear it more. It's comfy and roomy. So, I decided to make another one so I could switch them out.

This one is made from some vintage cotton fabric. It's the same style as before ("Breezy Beach Wrap" from Sew What! Skirts). Very quick and easy.

And I think the stitch in the ditch is improving. It's not actually the technique that I am having trouble with, it's the catching the back of the waistband in the stitch in the ditch (from the front) that is causing me some problems. That waistband is not being cooperative.

I must warn you: There will be more ...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just a Regular Day

You guys rock! Seriously. I received so many wonderful and helpful suggestions on my library tote. Thank you! I can't wait to work on it again. I will let you know the progress.

I've been asked a lot how things are in the house since the boys are in school. The truth is, it's still very fast paced. I would have liked to believe that the house would be quiet and still (and it is, to an extent), but I'm still as busy as ever. It seems we have hardly been home long enough to enjoy the peace.

The reality is that I'm still a mom of six. I still have laundry to wash and fold for eight. I still have the dishes (although less dishes for lunch these days). I still have to cook for eight and shop for eight. I guess I'm boy-wrangling less which is freeing up some time for me, but is quickly filled with school forms, homework, soccer, soccer, soccer ... And did I mention soccer?

During a rare down moment, Spenser pulled out her dress-up clothes. She put on every smock she owns and every purse she owns. I love to see her in the things I've made for her. (She's becoming camera-shy, so I need to sneak from behind and hope she doesn't hear the camera turning on.)

[Yesterday I stopped to chat to an older, widowed neighbor of mine. She is one of many who have asked about my days without boys. I told her that I "woo-hoo"ed at the bus pulled away. She informed me that, not only had she heard and watched me (with my arm flying through the air like "charge!"), but she told her daughter as well. Oops!]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It Needs Your Help

I started a new bag last night. A library tote.

I wanted something big enough to hold the books and strong enough so that it wouldn't rip. I interfaced the exterior and used white canvas for the lining ...

and it's still flimsy. I haven't sewn it completely together yet. I still have a small five-inch access hole at the top from where I turned it.

What should I do? Should I try to use fusible fleece? I normally don't like that stuff, but I'm not liking my bag as is and it needs something. Any other suggestions? (I'm not planning on taking the entire bag apart. In fact, I reinforced the handles about 9 times so they wouldn't rip off.) HELP!!!

[I think I should mention that it has a boxed bottom.]

Monday, September 03, 2007

They Were High-School Sweethearts

September 9, 1967
On Saturday night my siblings and I threw a surprise 40th anniversary party for my parents.

40 years + 8 kids + 17 grandchildren (so far) later:

They were surprised. And even more surprised when they were supposed to dance to "their" song (Cherish by The Association) and the DJ mistakenly played Cherish the Love by Kool and the Gang. My parents were confused because the DJ announced the song was specially picked by the children.

We were laughing so hard but had to wait until the end of the song to explain it to our parents.

Floor dancing ... or break dancing (?). I call it floor cleaning, which results in children cleaning.

Apparently the preferred dance move amongst the two- and almost-two-year-old age group is sliding on your bottom towards each other.