Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Christmas Miracle

You may remember the big cabinet fiasco from September 2007, in which my custom-made cabinet broke (while still attached to the wall) and came crashing down around us. Well, I had been waiting patiently for a year and three months for a new cabinet to be installed. We bought the new cabinet immediately after said incident. And it sat in my formal living room until Spenser's birthday tea party, when I realized it had zero chance of being hung anytime soon. I, single-handedly, carried it to the basement. (And, man, it was heavy!)

Anyway, for Christmas, Joe bought the family a new under-the-cabinet LCD TV with DVD player. Which only meant one thing: it had to have a cabinet to attach to.

And that, my friends, was the Christmas Miracle. On Friday he hung the new cabinet and installed the TV.

Now ... if we can just super-glue the fan cover back onto the microwave. That came crashing down in the middle of the night a few months ago. It seems the little clips that attach it broke off. It's always something.

I will leave you with a photo of the sweetest feet in the house. The other day Sawyer climbed onto a stool in the kitchen, and fell asleep with his head on the island. Poor guy. (I love those feet.)

I wish you a very Happy New Year with lots of big and small (and everything-in-between) miracles in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Jumper (Or a US Dress)

Last year I won the most fabulous ruffly rickrack and matching bias tape. I knew exactly what I wanted to make, I just didn't get around to making it. On Saturday night, I had some dark brown corduroy leftover from some Christmas gifts and decided I'd rather sew it than put it away.

I traced an existing jumper, size 5, that belonged to my niece, Alana. (My sisters found it when they were cleaning out Krissy's apartment. Since Alana was only five when her mother died, it was probably a dress that Krissy had bought for her. Spenser wears it now, but I will keep it for Alana for when she is older.)

I used the bias tape for the neck opening, arm holes, ties, and hem. It was a quick sew. Spenser loves the jumper. But, when asked if she wanted me to make more, she replied a nonchalant, "no." Well, she needs more dresses like I need more fabric ... (Just don't ask Joe his opinion on that statement.)

My uncooperative little model, once again.

* * * * Updates * * * *

This morning I took my boys to the dentist for checkups and cleanings. We go every year the week between Christmas and New Year's (and also in the summer) so the boys don't miss any school. Apparently, word is getting around that this is the best time to go, because it was crowded. Carter has a cracked front tooth from roughing around with his brothers. It happened one or two weeks ago, but I never noticed the hairline fracture across the front of his adult tooth. The dentist x-rayed it and said it looked good. It has a 5% chance of decaying and/or breaking off. Nice. After that great news, I took the kids to the store to spend some of their birthday money.

Carter's birthday party went so smoothly yesterday. I attribute it to the fact that I said a prayer before it started. In fact, it was the best birthday party I threw in the month of December. (And we had three.)

Taylor went on a youth temple trip today for baptisms. It's his first time going, since turning twelve two weeks ago.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Belated Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas, despite Joe having to work on Christmas Eve and not getting home until 4:30-ish. And despite two children's eye injuries (one serious black eye given to an older brother by Sawyer of all people). And despite the fact that I've been sick for over a week now.

I started coughing a week ago Saturday and it continued until the nasal/sore throat/pounding head came a few days later. On Christmas Eve morning Joe served me a cocktail of Sudafed and Motrin before I got out of bed. I can't say it helped a whole lot, but it didn't hurt. At one point during the holidays, I lost most of my voice. Only syllables would come out. Much to my children's dismay, my voice has mostly returned with only some syllables missing.

Two of my best gifts were a pink laptop from Joe. "My" laptop died in October and there has been a computer shortage in our house with the children.

I'd like to say I was completely surprised, but I wasn't. It's kind of like Autum's story. Joe ordered the laptop from Dell, and Dell called here on Monday, Dec. 22nd. When I told them Joe was at work, they proceeded to tell me they were calling to "extend the warranty on the new laptop." What idiots. I mean, can't you call on December 26th?!? I didn't tell Joe that they had told me. (I mean, my name was not on the account, so why would they talk to anyone other than Joe is beyond my comprehension. Especially three days before Christmas).

Oh, and they did call again on the 26th. Or was it the 27th? I don't remember. All of my days have blended and blurred into one.

And my other prized possession is this Pink Daisy Pyrex casserole dish from a very, VERY good friend of mine. This is my most favorite Pyrex patterns of all time. And I finally own a piece.

* * * *
And today my second son, Carter (the boy with his own style), has turned ten. He is a decade. It seems like just yesterday he was born. He is charismatic. Friendly. Stylish in his own way. Sensitive. Thoughtful. Creative. Funny. And devilish. Don't let his smile fool you.

He's the boy that (when he was 3 or 4 years old) woke up in the middle of the night, turned on all the Christmas lights and the TV, and chowed down on some Christmas cookies.

He's the boy that chewed a piece of beef jerky, didn't swallow it, fell asleep in the car (for a two-hour car ride), woke up with a wad of chewed jerky in his mouth, and still didn't swallow it. It wasn't until I noticed dried jerky (I didn't know what it was at first) on his chin that I realized he had a mouth full of rancid meat. It was the foulest thing you could have ever smelled. And I'm not just saying that because I was pregnant with morning sickness at the time. There was rotten meat in his mouth.

For today, I'll forget about the feces he spread around the crib. Or played with in the sun room. I'll forget how he pulled a newborn Jackson off the bed. And how he drew on Jackson's face when he was a wee infant. And tried to feed Jackson bubble gum, when he was only three months old. Or all the stickers he placed on Jackson's face. I'll forget the time he ran through a busy parking lot and my heart sunk as I tried to chase him at full speed, with Taylor at my side and infant Jack in the car seat, weaving through all the parked cars. Today, I'll just be happy that he survived his tenth birthday.

Happy birthday, Carter. Please be safe. Stop being such a daredevil. Please?

We are having a birthday party for him today from 2-4 p.m. Please pray for me. Joe is working and I'm flying solo today (and still not feeling the greatest, although I'm sure I'm not contagious). There are three boys coming and my six.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Couture

I had it in my mind that I needed a new Christmas skirt. And then I saw the Asymmetrical Fold Skirt. I knew it was the one.

I used red linen, an Alexander Henry print (Arvika) for the facing, and vintage black buttons from my stash.

And I had just enough fabric to make a dress for Spenser.

Two yards of red linen: $15.98 (no tax or shipping)
Facing: from my stash
Buttons: from my stash
Interfacing: from my stash

A Christmas dress and a Christmas skirt. $15.98. Not bad.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Am Ashamed

I was invited to a cookie exchange yesterday. After pondering all the different cookies I could make, I finally settled on one.

As I mixed the ingredients on Friday afternoon, I noticed how dirty and yucky my can of baking powder was. Out of curiosity, I turned over the can to see how old it was ...

In case you can't see it, the expiration date says "20 Aug 96." It expired before Taylor was even born! With the assumption that baking powder has a decent shelf-life, I am guessing that this can was bought before Joe and I were even married, in 1995.

Where has it been lurking all this time? I know not. We bought our first house in 1995. Bought our current house in 2000, and moved to Ohio for a year and a half in the interim. And I know that I've had other baking powder cans since then. I guess it's either moved around a lot or sat around a lot.

In case you were wondering, the cookies turned out.

Maybe a little too good.

Note to self: Buy baking powder. Immediately.

(Remember my little local grocery store with the outdated goods? Well, they went out of business two weeks ago, unrelated to their outdated goods. I couldn't even make a quick dash to buy more.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wintry Totes

I've been using my candy corn totes since I made them. And, well, it's Christmas time. Well past candy-corn season. I've just been a little busy lately. (Santa's helpers are hard workers, you know.)

I bought a few more plain canvas totes and got to work embellishing them. The first one is a snowman. I had just enough large white buttons to make him. Again, I embroidered brown stick arms. (Like my secret Christmas project.)

And then I made a candy cane tote. (Sorry I can't show a better photo of them, it's so darn overcast here today.)

Anyway, I decided to give away the candy cane tote. If you would like to enter to win, just leave a comment on this post. I will randomly draw a winner on Sunday evening.

Let's see, how about you leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday treat or food. Any holiday. Any food. I don't know if I can decide which is my favorite. There are really so many. I love my buckeyes at Easter and my toffee and truffles at Christmas. (Oh, and let's not forget my spiced nuts at Christmas!)

(And I feel like I have to say how relieved I am that for last week's giveaway, no one picked Last Christmas by Wham! as their favorite song. That really might have changed my opinion of them. I think if I hear that song one more time, I'm going to lose my mind. Update: It's 11:40 a.m. and they are playing Wham! on XM.)

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Congratulations to Lisa - Life With 4! You are the winner of the candy cane tote. Please email me your mailing address (on sidebar) and I'll pop it in the mail.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Drops

On Sunday night I noticed a bloody scab in Spenser's ear after her bath. I extracted it with the tip of my pinky nail and saw there was more. Joe flushed out her ear and the next morning it was bloody again.

I called the doctor on Monday because her eardrum ruptured almost two years ago. The doctor thinks the eardrum is fine but saw a bump in her ear. She said it could be a pimple or a cyst that ruptured and thought an antibiotic ear drop would help for now.

On both Sunday and Monday nights, Sawyer slept terribly. He kept saying "boo-boo," but wouldn't tell us where. Finally in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday, he held his ear. So, on Tuesday morning we were back in the doctor's office. His ears looked fine, but he had pink eye (which he woke up with on Tuesday).

Now I have to remember which drops goes in whose whatever.

And guess who has pink eye now? Me. Yep. But I got it innocently. I mean, how can you not cuddle and snuggle with this:

Be still my heart.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photo Outtakes

I think it was the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving when we retreated to the backyard to take our annual Christmas card photo. After hundreds and hundreds of photos, and three different settings, we have narrowed it down.

These are the ones that did not make the cut:

Look at Rico Suave on the left. (What's up with that?!?) And Mason on the right. After last year's photo of Mason, we knew we had to have a good one of him.

Another ridiculously funny photo of Mason. You can see that Taylor is not amused.

Carter's hands? He was making faces in the back row.

Not so bad. In fact, I might detect a smile from Taylor back there. But Mason ... Well, he's not looking so good again.

I have no idea what they were looking at here. I know it's not the camera, despite the "Look at me!" chant that I made up.

And, this one (I think) was the winner. Mason still looks like he's about to poop in that squatting position, but Taylor is almost smiling and Sawyer does not look like he's about to take off out of his seat at any second.

Thank goodness it's done until next year. I think I can only handle this once a year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Boy With His Own Style

Carter started trumpet lessons this fall. Last night was his band concert. I told him to go put on his church suit (which was thrifted earlier this year) and boots (the cowboy boots he wears to church every Sunday). When we hopped out of the car to go into school, Joe noticed he wasn't wearing his boots, but

his beloved Chucks instead.

It was a nice concert. If you like listening to beginner instrumental music. And it was a tad bit long. Over an hour and 15 minutes. But we got to watch him play a few songs. In his suit and Chucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Boy Who Almost Smiled

There's a certain boy in my house that turned 12 on Saturday. He is the boy that doesn't want to have fun or smile. Well, I think he wants to have fun with his friends, but never admit it to his parents.

We almost captured a smile, but it never happened. He fought it with every energy and strength he could muster.

For his birthday we gave him a BB gun. He was disappointed. He didn't want one. He wouldn't tell us what he wanted for his birthday or what he wants for Christmas, so we mistakenly assumed a 12 -year-old boy might want a BB gun. I know a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old that think it's the coolest gift in the world. But not the 12-year-old. (Boy is he going to be disappointed for Christmas ...)

On Sunday he was ordained a deacon in our church. It's a big thing for the 12-year-old young men. He is officially not a kid and doesn't attend the children's Primary anymore. He will now have responsibilities on a weekly and monthly basis at church. And we are thrilled for him. He is happy, too.

Then on Sunday afternoon we had our annual Christmas party. Santa comes and delivers gifts to all the good boys and girls. After Taylor's disappointment on Saturday, we were afraid to give him the gift we bought for this party, so I wrapped up a giant bag of beef jerky for him. And, guess what! He loved it. There was a partial smile. (I think he's going to be getting a lot of beef jerky for Christmas.)

And the children weren't the only "good" ones. Apparently yours truly was a good girl, too, this year. Santa brought her a vintage Pyrex bowl. (He knows me so well.) It's the matching chip bowl to my dip bowl. You know, the one with the blue inside! Sweet! (My sister snuck the gift into one of Santa's bags.) Thanks, Kate. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Pendants

I couldn't resist a little candy cane pendant for myself. Which means

a little girl needed one, too.

And I have an extra one. To give away.

If you would like a chance to win this candy cane pendant, leave a comment. And, if you will, tell me your favorite holiday song. It doesn't matter which holiday it is. Any old song will do.

My favorite holiday song(s)? Well, it would be Mary's Boy Child by Boney M (go watch that video and laugh with me over that man's skinny legs!). Oh, and I have an A cappella version of Let Me Call You Sweetheart that I like, too. And I really like this Christmas album. It's different, but I love it.

Leave a comment on this post by Sunday evening and I'll randomly pick a winner. Good luck.

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Congratulations lucky #16 (the number randomly picked by Taylor)! Martha, please email me your address and I'll pop the pendant in the mail!

Keep your eyes open for another giveaway later in the week.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Ornaments

Yesterday mid-morning I got a phone call from my friend, Kim, asking if I remembered that we were supposed to take a small gift to Young Women's to go in the goodie bags for the elderly women we were going to visit last night. Uh, no, I had not remembered. In fact, I'm not even sure if I knew it at all.

I kept wondering if I had four small gifts somewhere unearthed in the house, and I couldn't think of anything. I usually have a stash of miscellaneous gifts, but I don't think I have things for "elderly women." And I haven't even started my holiday baking yet, so that wasn't an option.

Then I remembered a post I had just seen at Whip Up. Maybe I should have gone back and looked at that photo again, because I like those better.

Anyway, I whipped these up on some thick, fuzzy wool felt. They are completely wonky, but oh well.

While I was busy making the ornaments, Spenser was hanging out in a new-to-her pink snowsuit. Oh my. She wore it all day with the hood on. Well, I made her take it off for dinner. And there was a time when she dressed Sawyer in it. He was so proud and declared, "Look at me!"

And, Karyn, here's a closeup of yesterday's ornaments. It was dark and overcast yesterday, so none of my photos turned out that hot.

The kids weren't sure what the ornaments were. They asked, "Are they purses?" "Are they pockets?" I had to disappointingly tell them they were only ornaments. ::sigh:: Purses and pockets would have been a good idea ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scrappy Christmas Ornaments

I've been slacking on Advent lately. How did it become the 10th of the month already? My kids are always excited in the evening when it's time to look in the stockings. And, honestly (as much as I'd hate to publicly admit this), if they don't remember, I don't always remind them. Our evenings have been so full and busy with baths, showers, Family Home Evening, family movie night, karate, brithday parties, and scouts, that a little breather is nice once in a while. Now, I still attempt to do something for Advent, I just don't always follow through. Last night I made soft pretzels while Joe had the big boys at karate and it was a nice treat when they came home.

Tonight they are receiving ornaments. I kind of started a "tradition" two years ago with handmade ornaments and did it again the following year and decided it was a good thing to do with my time this year as well.

These little ornaments are made from torn strips of fabric, sewn wrong sides together. There is a layer of wool felt in the center, and

the backs have an appliqued initial of the child it belongs to so there will be less quarreling over which ornament belongs to whom. (At least I hope.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tweedle-Dee & Tweedle Dum

Jackson and Mason. The two children who are closest in age. People think they are twins. Jackson is smallish (for his age). Mason is normalish. They (to me) are obviously not twins. But sometimes they like to dress that way.

This past Friday in school was Favorite Holiday Shirt Day. I guess this is the school's way of celebrating December holidays, without celebrating December holidays. (Every year they have a Fall Harvest Week during the week of Halloween and the kids can dress up as cowboys one day. Some teachers even have a Dress-As-Your-Favorite-Storybook Character Day during the week of Halloween, since it can no longer be celebrated.)

So, when my boys came home Thursday after school and asked me to make them a shirt, I obliged. They each grabbed a shirt out of their drawers and came down. We discussed design ideas and they were pretty elaborate. One wanted a teddy bear, to which I replied, "I can't do a teddy bear (with such short notice), PLUS there is no 'teddy bear' holiday." They both got Christmas trees. Jack's has a present by the tree with a real three-dimensional ribbon sewn on it. Jack's also has some Christmas lights on his. He decorated that shirt a few years ago at an after-school club. He made thumbprints and they connected them with a line drawn in black. They were happy with their shirts.

(And please excuse the dirty shirts. I didn't take their photo until after they had worn them to school.)

Update: Woo-hoo! Joe just now found my cell phone. In his car. Under the seat. He was out of town all of last week and I'm not even sure when I was in his car last.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Day

Started with a baptism ...

(Here is Jackson, just after his baptism. Still a little wet. And sweet as can be.)

then a birthday party ...

and ended with friends and eating
(and mama running on the treadmill after eating four pieces of angel food cake).

He had the perfect day.

The party was much, much better than last year. There was no couch flippage. But, it was a little loud (one child was extremely loud). The same kid told me he wasn't going to decorate his house because he had barfed the night before and the morning of ... Nice. (Why do parents do that?) If we all get the pukie germs, that kid will never be invited back ... And you think I'm joking. But I'm absolutely not.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Holiday Legs & A Giveaway

Remember Rainbow Legs? Well, since they are a big hit with the little girl in the family, I decided to make a few more pairs for her. Introducing Holiday Legs, also known as Candy Cane Legs and ...

Rudolph Legs.

And, because I'm feeling festive and full of holiday cheer, I am offering this pair of Candy Cane Legs in a giveaway. This is a brand-new pair, unworn. This would be a great gift for a little girl (or boy) on your gift list. They fit Spenser, who is four, and would probably fit any age child. [I tried them on (not these, but Spenser's pair) and, while I have thin calves, they felt a little tight on me. I think it's the strings from the red that restricted full stretchability.]

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. I don't have any high demands. I'm not going to make you link back to me to be able to enter. Just leave a comment here. If you would like, help spread the holiday cheer by leaving a positive comment. It could be, "Hey! I lost a pound this week!" or "I found a penny yesterday and it was heads up." I will randomly select a winner on Sunday evening, around 7-ish, EST.

Good luck and happy weekending!

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The winner of the Holiday Legs is Myrnie, lucky #13 (number picked unbiasedly by Joe). Congratulations, Myrnie. Please send me your mailing address, and I'll pop them in the mail on Monday morning.

Thanks for playing along, friends. Stay tuned for another giveaway later this week.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Party Favors

Jackson's birthday is Saturday. It's going to be a big day for him. He will be turning eight and getting baptized and having his birthday party all on the same day. He's very excited.

Last year's party didn't go so well. I have higher hopes for this year's party. My plan is to make gingerbread houses from graham crackers for the children to decorate. I think that will keep them occupied for a bit. (We'll see how that goes.)

And for party favors? Well, I couldn't stand the thought of buying those plastic party favor bags, so we are doing the old December-standby party favor. Felt Christmas stockings filled with goodies. They are made entirely from my stash, hence the different color reds. I used a decorative stitch along the edge in white to fancy it up. In the spring I call it a flower stitch. In the winter I call it a snowflake stitch. Pretty versatile.

Now if we can just survive the party ... Next weekend we'll be having Taylor's birthday party.

(And, dang, I can't find my cell phone. I use it so rarely that I don't even know when I had it last. How is the school nurse going to reach me now? lol)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

He Travels A Lot

I know that Joe travels a lot, but I didn't realize how much until I filled this five-gallon bucket with hotel toiletries ... and had some left over. (This doesn't include the times he has requested "no room service" because his work laptop was not secure.)

In our church, we are encouraged to be prepared. Be prepared for the unexpected. And to have 72-hour kits available for each member of the family and a year's supply of food, etc. Just in case. More and more lately, it is apparent how wise this counsel truly is. With the economy the way it is, it is comforting to know that we are a little prepared. We don't have a full year's supply of food. But, I'm pretty sure I have my year's supply of fabric. And pretty close to a year's supply of hotel toiletries to keep us clean and hygienic. If nothing else, I think I have a year's supply of jam and applesauce and wheat and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that can sustain our family.

Are you prepared for any uncertainty in the economy? Do you have a stash of odd things?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Candy Cane (Hair) Clips

Remember the candy corn clips? Well, how about candy cane clips?

I have the same love-hate relationship with candy canes that I have with candy corn. I eat them because they are of the season, but I'm not sure if I really like them. I have to say though that my head has been swirling with red and white striped projects. I just don't have the time.

* * * *

I have a very sick little man in my midst. Sawyer awoke with a tight, croupy cough yesterday and was miserable all day long. I gave him two nebulizer treatments and lots of ibuprofen and Tylenol for his fever. But last night, he was up all night long. And so was I. As miserable as he was last night, I think he may have slept more than me. And Joe is out of town. Again. It's going to be a looooooong day.