Friday, November 30, 2007

I Never Want to Forget ...

how my eldest comes in to my room in the quiet of the morning to snuggle in bed with me until my alarm goes off. He gets up early to eat breakfast alone (his preference) and then comes to my room. He slides into my bed and cuddles right up next to me. Most days I'm lucky to get nothing more than a "side" hug from him. But in the morning it's different. And sweet. It's only on school mornings. And I get a kiss from him before he leaves.

This morning was different.

At 12:30 a.m., my bedroom door opened. I was startled and begun, "Shhhhhhhhhh," so he wouldn't wake the smaller kids in the adjacent bedroom. I asked him what he needed. He said he just ate breakfast. You just ate breakfast? ::looking at clock again:: He tried to tell me it was 7:00 a.m. ::looking at clock again:: ::looking towards window (it's still dark):: He said his alarm clock had gone off, saying it was 6:00 a.m. and so he went downstairs and ate breakfast.

I finally convinced him that it was only 12:30, and that he could get in bed with me if he wanted (Joe is out of town).

As I slept, I wondered if he was sleepwalking. Or confused. Or if the power surge earlier in the night had messed with his clock settings. When the "real" morning approached, I asked him if needed breakfast again. He declined, at first. (I was still wondering what actually happened. Did he imagine eating breakfast? Was he dreaming? Did he even look at the clock in the kitchen? Did the neighbors think we were weird?)

When I opened my bedroom door, I heard his alarm clock beeping. He went in to check and it was set to the proper time. When I went into the kitchen, I noticed his cereal bowl in the sink.

While it is still a mystery to me, I will appreciate the extra time I had to cuddle with him. I know that one day soon it will end. Maybe this will be his last year. He starts middle school next fall and he might realize that it's uncool to snuggle with your mom. I hope it's not the case, but I'm prepared for it. I'll just appreciate the moments that I have with him now. And I hope I never forget it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Last year Jackson loved to decorate these little guys. When I found some among Christmas crafting supplies, I showed them to Jack. We liked looking at his creations and he wanted to make more. We decided that it could be one of the crafts for his birthday party on Saturday.

Yesterday I got the idea to make them into cards that the children could decorate, instead of ornaments. After I made a stack of little people cards, I thought about Christmas tree cards. Then I had to make some of those, too. And, before I knew it, it was midnight. As I was packing it up for the night, I thought about stockings. That would be cute, too, but I think I'll just have to stop here. Maybe next year. Or the next birthday party ... in two weeks.

The cards were printed on cardstock (two to a page), cut in half and then folded. The "invitation" envelopes are the perfect size for these cards. And they are readily available in the stationery aisle of Walmart. Now I just to buy some Christmasy buttons and a little more rickrack and ribbon and lots of glue and we'll be all set for the crafting portion of his party.

I finished 18 stockings. Two didn't turn out. I tried a different decorative stitch on one but the two layers of felt didn't feed smoothly through my machine (I probably should have used my walking foot). The other was when my machine started having issues. Either way, 18 is plenty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Arrow of Light

Last night my eldest, Taylor, received his Webelo and Arrow of Light for Cub Scouts. It's a big deal for cubs. Taylor is now out of cubs and in the 11-year-old scouting program. Maybe that's why he is smiling?
Oh, now that's the Taylor I know. Hating his picture taken. Just like his mama.

Last night I busily worked on getting new patches sewn onto his uniform. Yes, that would mean that my sewing machine is working again. I had the machine unplugged all night and in the morning I wound a new bobbin. Then with all of my hot air, I blew away all (or most) of the felt fuzzies. It worked like a charm. Thanks for all of your suggestions. I appreciate your knowledge and expertise.

And, just another question: Have you ever used invisible thread before? I use it on all the boys cub scout and karate patches. I use regular, color-coordinated thread in the bobbin to match the uniform and the invisible thread for the needle. I am very impressed with it. It's a little bit like thin fishing line. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the needle is still threaded. Cool stuff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The First of Three

The first of three December birthday parties is upon me. Jackson is having his birthday party on Saturday. We talked about different crafts and foods. We decided that we would do another "decorate a stocking" craft and make-you-own mini pizza.

I cut out the stockings on Saturday night. I started to sew them last night. I bought some craft felt at the store on Saturday for $1.99 a yard. I used white baby rickrack for the hanger, like last year.

I decided to be fancy and use a decorative stitch. I regretted it shortly thereafter as they were taking about five minutes each to stitch. I finished eight. When I started on #9, I had machine problems. My new machine. The bobbin stitching was bunchy. I cleaned the shuttle numerous times. Rethreaded the bobbin and the top thread many times. Nothing seemed to help. I was so sleepy from the night before, but I was persistent and wanted to fix my machine before I went to bed. I didn't fix it. Then I heard more spooky noises. I heard a knock or something and then a voice. I packed it up immediately and went to bed, scared out of my wits and mad that I forced myself to stay up and sew when I should have been sleeping.

I still have several more stockings to sew. If my machine will cooperate. Is there anything else I should try to get rid of the bunchy bobbin threads? I unplugged my machine all night, hoping it is just a glitch and will work perfectly today.

Monday, November 26, 2007


This past holiday week went by quickly. The boys had off of school all week and Joe had been home from work since Tuesday. Joe didn't take off for pleasure. He just finished taking a class and had a ton of assignments due by Saturday. I don't think I ever told you, but Joe is a PhD candidate. He was working towards getting his second Masters degree, but decided to look into the PhD program. He applied and was accepted before he even told me about it.

Joe had seven writing assignments and a final exam to finish this week. His final grade in the class? 97%. Wow! On some of his writing assignments he earned 100%. [I think those were the ones I edited and proofed. :-)] I'm so proud of him.

And remember how I was worried about flashing people in my Thanksgiving skirt? Well, I'm happy to report that I did not flash anyone due to running out of fabric. However, I have to sadly report that I think I flashed some people about three times when I was getting in and out of my car and I was sucked into a wind vortex and my skirt flew up to my face. I'm not sure if anyone was looking out the window, so I don't know if my flashing was noticed.

And this. It almost makes me laugh. Look how guilty she looks. Not to mention she is holding the incriminating evidence in her hand.And the pattern in his hair confirms that he was only an innocent bystander. Poor guy. He smelled great, though.

* * * * * * *

I feel like Night of the Living Dead. Sawyer was awake quite a bit last night with a congested nose and moaning. I brought him into bed with us and he laid across my chest and slept peacefully. Until my back started to hurt and I had to get off my back. Then I laid him between us. Then he tossed and turned and thrashed until I finally but him back in his bed.

Poor Joe has to travel today and has a long car trip to make. I feel terrible for him.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I am thankful that I have another Thanksgiving to spend with my family. I am thankful for six beautiful, healthy children. I am thankful for Joe. He works so I can stay at home with my children. I am thankful for my home. I am thankful for an unseasonably warm and sunny day. I am thankful for my sewing machine. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for yummy food I am about to partake.

Enjoy. I'll meet you back here on Monday.

(Pilgrim hat cookies information is here. It's an annual treat at our house.)

P.S. Spenser refuses to wear the dress.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving Dress

What started out to be a square-neck smock turned into a dress. Joe thought I should add sleeves. And so I did. And then I added ribbon for ties. And I think it's wrong.

And then I swapped out the zipper for a vintage button and modified it a bit. And it's all gaping and weird now.

And then I made her a matching ponytail holder because, you know, she is three and hates all things in her hair. Including this one. I just wasn't finished torturing myself.

And it all started because of this cute vintage pattern I found while thrifting a year ago.

(She did like the dress before I hemmed it, unlike at Halloween. After hemming, I tried to assess the damage and she wouldn't stop dancing around with it on. Maybe today she will stand still long enough so that I can figure it out.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Thanksgiving Skirt

Last night I finished the skirt. When I was cutting it out the other night, I was short about an inch in width for the wraparound part for each side piece. I'm hoping it doesn't cause any problems. I guess the real test will be Thanksgiving Day when I wear it. If I accidentally flash someone, I'll know that inch is crucial.

I'll wear the skirt with my staple white tee and my jean jacket. I think I'll attempt to wear these shoes again (pair #2). Although I think I wore them last Thanksgiving and I think I regretted it.

Here is the fabric closeup. I'm not sure how old it is, but it came from the vintage fabric stash from Joe's mother's best friend's deceased neighbor. This Thanksgiving week, I am thankful to little old women hoarders who loved to sew in their prime.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Complete Randomness

  • Saturday morning was our first soccer-free Saturday in over two months.
  • I didn't sew my new skirt because our power went out for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday. I wore this skirt instead (the second one).
  • It was freezing in our house while our power was out. Only one of our gas fireplaces was working at the time. Joe (who was out of town until late Saturday afternoon) found the above toys in the other gas fireplace. It seems that Sawyer found a new hiding place for all of the toys.
  • The other fireplace is now working.

  • We went to Michaels on Saturday night. Spenser decided she was "buying" this pink plastic tote for me for my birthday. Uh-huh. She also tried to buy "me" a handbag picture frame. Joe let her buy the tote. I wouldn't let her buy the picture frame. She's so cute.
  • Sawyer founds some miscellaneous crumbs between the couch cushions and was eating them yesterday. He was angry when I wouldn't let him continue. Note to self: vacuum the sofa! Soon!
  • I have parent-teacher conferences this morning for all four big boys.

That about sums up my weekend. Pretty boring. But I liked it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Autumn Bliss

When we bought our pumpkins for Halloween, we also bought a bunch of apples from the orchard. We bought some Jonagold, Mutsu, and Red Delicious. I bought a bunch thinking we would make applesauce. Everyone was eating apples like crazy for a few days. And then we had some hanging around forever. Finally yesterday I was tired of looking at the remaining sad apples and decided to make applesauce.

I haven't made homemade applesauce in years. Years. It's not cost effective for a family my size, so sadly I buy it already made from the store. It's just not the same. At least for me. Well, and maybe for the boys, too. Jack and Mason wouldn't eat it. Sawyer loved it though.

When I think of autumn, I think of apples and applesauce and apple cider and pumpkin pie. I also start thinking I need a different wardrobe ...

I've been thinking that I need a new autumn-to-winter skirt. Yes, the weather is getting cooler, but I wear a skirt to church every Sunday. A girl can't have enough skirts for the Sunday morning rush. It's going to be a wrap skirt, like these two. The fabric came from the "jackpot" I inherited so it won't cost me a cent. Can't beat that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Year in the Making

Over a year ago I started sewing a pair of brown corduroy pants. They didn't turn out. Well, technically they turned out. I just hadn't lost all my pregnancy girth by the time I made them and they didn't fit. Frustrated I tossed them aside and vowed I would not try them on again until I knew I was back to my normal size.

Well, when I returned to my normal size, it was just about time for corduroy season to end and spring season to begin, so I left them in my WIP bucket. Until yesterday. It's finally corduroy season again, and I finished the pants.

To "finish" the pants, all I had to do was sew a casing for the drawstring, feed the drawstring through the casing, and hem them. Easy.

Because I wanted comfort, I used a pajama bottom pattern. They are super comfy. And honestly, now, they are a little too big.
Edited to add: I used McCalls pattern 4979.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sewing and Drawing

Last night, after much bugging from Karyn to sew one of her pyramid pouches, I sewed one. It was so incredibly easy, just as she said. (She's always right.) I can see mass producing these babies for gifts. Maybe next year, because this year's gift is already planned and a few have been started.

When I showed Joe, he said, "What the heck is that for?!" He couldn't fully appreciate it. (What does he know anyway?)

This is a drawing from my little artiste, Jackson. This boy is so talented. The things he draws and cuts out amaze me. He's six. This drawing is titled Robots in Love. How cute is that?!?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Babies, Babies Everywhere

I think just about everyone I know is having a baby. Last week I received an invitation to a baby shower for the end of the month. I had already planned on making something for the mother-to-be because she is a friend of mine. She had told me that she really didn't like pink for a girl and that she was painting the nursery green. I have been searching for a nice green fabric, when I realized I had this repro print in my stash. I paired it with some tiny yellow gingham and loved the combination.

Of course it's a baby kimono and a onesie. What else would I make? I'm thinking she'll also get a diaper/wipe case, just like last week.

And, just for the record, when I found out that Spenser was a girl after four boys, I welcomed pink. I wanted the world to know that I finally had a girl. She loves pink now, which only means that she'll be dressed all in black one day. Just like her mama used to.

The End of a Season

Soccer season for our family came to an end on Saturday. Mason, Jackson, and Carter had their soccer tournaments over the past three weeks. Saturday was Taylor's. It was cold. But I don't think it was as cold as last Saturday.

Taylor and I kept warm drinking a ton of hot chocolate.

The tournaments are "double elimination" -- after two losses, your team is eliminated. Due to rain the day before, the tournament was delayed and the halves were shortened to 20 minutes each. The Iron Eagles (Taylor's team) lost the first game and then had a two-hour break. They were tied the second game and went into a "death match" (I think that's what they call it). Each team gets a "free" shot at the goal. After about eight or so turns each, the other team won. (It sounds horrible, but it was cold and we welcomed the opportunity to go home.)

During the many times I poured hot chocolate for Taylor, I was taking my gloves off quite a bit to loosen the lid to our thermos. Because it was cold, my fingers were shrinking, too. It wasn't until after I came home that I realized I had lost one of the rings off my finger. I was sad. The soccer field was too far to go back to and too crowded. I thought for sure if it was found, it wouldn't be turned in. Sunday after church we decided to drive up and see if we could find it because the soccer field is only 10 minutes from our church. Joe, Taylor, Carter, Jackson and I searched the grass for it while Mason, Spenser and Sawyer sat in the car. Just as I was about to give up, Joe found it in the grass! I was so happy. It made my day.

(Today Joe is home for Veteran's Day. It is also National Education Week and we are going to stop by the boys' school to observe.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's Boring to Me

Yesterday I had three calls from the school nurse (my sidebar is really getting filled up). Mason was sick. And Carter had two separate head injuries (besides a goose egg on the back of his head, he is fine).

When I picked up Mason, I was expecting him to be really sick. He wasn't. Thankfully for both of us. He was coughing in class and spit up a little bit. It wasn't a stomach virus, just a cough. Whew!

So after I put Sawyer down for a nap, Mason, Spenser and I sat down at the dining room table and crafted while listening to Christmas music on XM radio (via the laptop). I made gift tags. Some for Christmas, some for everyday and just in case.

I got out the craft box and the boredom bucket. They stamped. Hole-punched. Drew. Did origami. Made crowns of paper. Painted wooden and plaster things. You name it, they did it. I thought we were having a great time. While I was fixing dinner, Mason (5) asked me if I wanted to paint. I told him I was fixing dinner and I couldn't paint right now. This was our little conversation:

Mason: "But, Mom, you didn't do anything fun today."

Me: "Yes, I did. I made gift tags."

Mason: "That's not fun, that's boring."

Me: "It was fun, Mason. It wasn't boring to me."

Mason: "Well, it was boring to me!"

What a funny little man! I'm sorry I bored him.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

For a Wee One

My friend is having a baby any day (if she hasn't had him yet). I was invited to her baby shower a few Saturdays ago, but it was a soccer day and I wasn't sure if Joe would be in town or not, so I couldn't attend. It ended up raining that day and soccer was cancelled, but I hadn't made the gift yet. (I hate when that happens!)

I finally got around to making it yesterday.

A baby kimono in red polka dots. It is lined in a crispy white cotton. The kimono is one I've made in the past and is from a vintage pattern I found on eBay. Since she is having a boy, I added a blue vintage button at the top. I love the contrast.

Then I decided that he needed a tie onesie for church. AND a diaper/wipe case.

And my friend totally needed a necklace.

I'm totally loving that polka dot fabric. Can you tell?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


A friend of mine had given Spenser this little pair of Old Navy overalls a year or so ago. Now that she is potty trained, there is no way I would let her wear them (can you imagine the accidents?), not to mention I think they are size 24 months and would be too short.

I decided to turn the overalls into a jumper/smock. I cut right above the leg opening and hemmed it. It took minutes to finish.
Because of the length, it was definitely designed to be worn with something else (i.e., leggings).

And you know what? She likes it! She doesn't, however, like having her picture taken lately. After about two or three shots she holds up her hands and politely says, "No more, please" and walks away. I feel like paparazzi. (That's why I took the one photo while she was sleeping.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fleece Attire

On Saturday, it was cold. Very cold. No amount of clothing could keep a person warm during an early-morning soccer tournament. (That would include two coats and a scarf and being wrapped up in a blanket, while sipping hot chocolate.) ::wink, wink, Nikki::

Being the only girl, Spenser's wardrobe is surprisingly lacking in clothing. She has several pairs of leggings, lots of skirts, but nothing to keep her warm. Toasty warm. Until ...

I made these drawstring pants out of some fleece I bought on clearance nearly two years ago. I had just found out that I was pregnant and thought maybe it might possibly be a girl, so I bought the fleece with hopes of making something for her. We all know how that turned out. She was born a he.

Anyway, I couldn't stop there...

I decided she needed a Sweet Wee Jacket from Bend-the-Rules Sewing. I used some more fleece from my stash and a vintage button for closure.

I used a decorative flowery-starry-snowflaky stitch around all of the edges in white, including the cuffs.

Of course, since making the warm, fleece outfit, the weather has returned to being cool, not bitter cold. I have no doubt, though, that it will get plenty of wear this season.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Giving and Receiving

Spenser had a great birthday. (Thank you for all of your birthday wishes.) She was quite spoiled the entire day from sun up to sun down. We had a small party for her on Friday night and at the end of the night she said her favorite thing was gum. Go figure.

Our oldest son, Taylor, who had gone on a field trip on Friday, bought her (with his souvenir money) a "Wilbur." I thought it was incredibly thoughtful of him (and was saddened that he didn't buy anything for himself).

My mother's birthday was Sunday, so we put together a gift for her. We gave her some gourmet chocolate-covered pretzels, a box of Toffifay, a Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer, a linen change purse and a necklace.

I even splurged and used my Japanese fabric. (I'm getting braver these days.)

And Friday I received a lovely, patchworked, quilted bag from Amanda Jean. She was having a 200th post giveaway and, out of 376 comments, I won! Me! Thank you, again, Amanda Jean. I love it!!! I am now the very proud owner of two great fall bags! Lucky, lucky me!

'Tis the seasoning of giving. We have been trying to instill in our children the gift of giving and service. We started Operation Service a few weeks ago with hope that our children will learn to give more freely and lovingly. This weekend was no exception. We delivered two meals, in which the children helped deliver. They are still just as happy and eager to deliver the meals as they were a month ago when we started. And Taylor's thoughtful gift to Spenser was really beyond what I would have expected a ten-year-old boy to do. I think they're finally getting it.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Today is the birthday of a very special little girl.
She is three.

She has been such a blessing to our family. And she is adored by each one of us. I can't imagine our lives without this little bit of feminine sweetness.

Lately she has been pulling back my hair and telling me "secrets." They go like this:

Spenser: "I love you."
Me: "I love you."
Spenser: "I love you more."
Me: "I love you more."
Spenser: "I love you the mostest."
Me: "I love you the mostest."
Spenser: "I love you more than you love me."
Me: "I love you more than you love me."

And we giggle the whole time.

Happy birthday, Spenser. I love you more than you love me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Boy, Was That Fun!

Halloween came fast and furious at our house:

  • We had nearly 100 or so trick or treaters.
  • Spenser's leg was too sore to walk, so she rode in the stroller, as a princess should.
  • Sawyer wore the same bunny Halloween costume I made for Taylor, which all five boys have now worn.
  • Mason was Luke Skywalker.
  • Jackson was a soldier.
  • Carter was a knight, doing his best impression of a "middle-aged man who starts a town riot."
  • Taylor was a soldier.
  • Me, well, I dressed up as a soldier in one of Joe's old uniforms.
  • I discovered at the end of the night one of the reasons Spenser had a hard time walking. I found a green ball in her boot! Not kidding!

And a group shot.

I think we have enough candy to feed a small army. (Pun intended.)