Friday, June 26, 2009

Keeping Busy

Summer is in full swing.

The kids are keeping busy.

And keeping me busy.

There's lots to do and see.

And not enough time in the day.

(Some people are relaxing.)

Our chickens are "nesting" in the dirt. They love snuggling in the hole they've dug. Even if there are two or three chickens in there at a time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Little Unseasonal

I bought a large bag of apples at the wholesale club, per Spenser's request, and they did not taste good. Well, the flavor might have been okay, if I could get past the mushiness. They just did not pass my apple-eating-taste-bud inspection, so they sat a little long on the kitchen island. A few went to the chickens, who gobbled them up immediately. (They eat almost everything.)

Yesterday I decided to make applesauce. We shared some with some elderly neighbors, and saved the rest for our dinner.

We still ended up with a great big, vintage, bowl of applesauce. And after dinner, we had some to spare. I don't expect it to last past lunch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Girl Has Too Many Clothes

... so I made her two skirts.

That would be me. The one who struggles to stuff everything into her daughter's dresser and then decides to sew her some new clothes.

But how could I resist when I saw this cute fat quarter skirt? I mean, I couldn't not make one (or two) for Spenser. How could I not, I ask?

The skirt was super simple and whipped up in hardly any time at all and it's an inexpensive project, costing around $3 for the two fat quarters needed per skirt.

For both skirts I used random widths. For the pink monkey skirt I used three fat quarters, but only about half each of the brown and yellow. (I wanted brown. She wanted yellow. So we decided to make it brown and yellow.)

She loves them both. In fact, she strutted her stuff in the monkey skirt to church on Sunday and then again when we went on a family walk Sunday night.

And, even though her dresser cannot possibly fit any more clothes, she is requesting a dress. Who am I to refuse?!?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Depot Day

Saturday our little town had it's annual Depot Day. 100+ years ago our town was bustling with railroad passengers. (There was even a hotel in town!) We have a little museum on Main Street at the original depot with old railroad memorabilia and a train garden.

Every year we have a small fair with lots of yummy food, tours of the railroad museum and the large factory in town, yard sales, etc.

They had a dunking booth this year and our mayor was in it. He is the boys' karate instructor, so they had a lot of fun trying to get him wet. Carter dunked him first, lefthanded (??).

And Jackson got him next.

The dunking booth was their priority. After that, we settled down for some lunch.

We waited around until the dedication of the town bell. Apparently there was a college on this property over 100 years ago. This bell hung at the college and, when it was torn down, it sat in someone's basement for almost a century. It was donated back to the town and dedicated on Saturday.

And we can't have Depot Day without getting inside of a train. These are the tracks that run right behind our house and this train is similar to (or the same one?) that goes by our house several times a day.

I love the history of our little town. I really do think we picked the perfect place to live.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Crappy Saturday

So Saturday was a crappy day.

On Friday evening, I perked up a bit and decided that, if I continued to feel better, I would go for a run on Saturday morning. (My first run since getting sick on May 30th.)

I got up, laced up my running shoes and publicly humiliated myself. That's right. I ran, or maybe huffed and puffed and barely moved my feet. I'm sure I looked like I was about to die as I ran up Main Street. (Oh, why did I pick Main Street to be my first run in two weeks?!?) I'm sure I could walk faster than I was moving during that "run." In fact, I was running so slowly that someone pulled over and asked me for directions! I kid you not.

I was going to go for a short two miles, but had to cut it shorter. I stopped and walked twice and only went 1.5 miles.

I ran two miles this morning (on my treadmill, thankyouverymuch). Maybe some day I'll be able to run again in public.

If that weren't depressing enough, on Saturday morning (shortly after my "run"), I started to smell something foul. I blamed Sawyer for a messy diaper, but he was insistent that it wasn't him. I started blaming all the boys in my house for stinking it up, but they all denied it. Suddenly I ran for the basement. Yep, sure enough. Town sewage was backing up into our basement. This was the third time it has happened to us. And the worst so far.

We spent the rest of Saturday getting everything out of our basement onto our lawn. Joe had a bunch of tools and such down there. All of our Christmas decorations, etc., had to be pulled out. I'm sure the trash guys loved us today. We probably filled up their truck with one stop. Not everything was ruined. We just pulled it all out to inspect. Joe built shelves to move things to higher ground as I sorted through was what salvageable, what was trash, and what could be taken to the barn (tools) or to the chicken coop (camping gear).

We still have stuff sitting out there under tarps while Joe continues to build shelves. (He took off Monday but we'll have to wait until Saturday until he can do more.)

We keep joking that, now that I'm in town council, I've "taken one for the town" and "officially have taken the town's crap." Oh, and when the guy came to remove the clog on the street, he said someone had flushed rags. RAGS! Who are these people? I'd like to find them. (We've also joked that it's him.)

* * * And not related to my crappy Saturday, but relating to my last "real" run on May 30th: * * *

On May 30th I ran a 5K with some friends from church. It was in honor and in memory of Caitlin, who died last fall from injuries in the car accident that also took her brother's life. The 5K was special, not only because it benefited the Living Legacy Foundation (Caitlin's parents donated her organs), but it would have been Caitlin's sweet 16th birthday, as well.

We got up bright and early to drive to Baltimore for this run. When the run started, I decided not to start off too fast. I had to dodge a walker and a little girl on a scooter (who should have been in the back), but I started at a good pace. As I'm running and jamming with my iPod I noticed a friend of mine not too far ahead of me, so I decided to catch up with her. When I reached her, I tapped her on the shoulder and blurted out, "My skirt is falling down!" (which I soon realized was way too loud because my iPod was way too loud). She replied, "Mine, too," at which time a few people ahead of us looked back. I guess to witness the two girls losing their skirts on the run. I didn't really laugh then because I think I was too mortified (and I was trying to run), but I can't stop laughing about it now.

The race ended way too short. Literally. When I got to around 20 minutes, I knew I'd have about a mile or so left. Then, we went around the turn and it was over. The run ended up being about 2.4 miles (more like a 4K) and we finished it in 21 minutes. I was slightly disappointed that the run wasn't longer, but it was a good run with good company, so I can't complain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beach Day

Yesterday my mother, three sisters, and one of my brothers took the children (15 children, total) to the beach for the day.

It was a long day. The drive alone was more than three hours each way. The day seemed longer by the chilly weather (not sure if it hit above 70 degrees all day) and the wind. Oh, man, the wind!!

So, we spent the day eating.

And watching the kids bury each other in the sand.

And build castles and forts and dig trenches and holes in the sand.

And then our mother took our picture together. (From left: Emily, Kate, Craig, Lisa, and me in the hat.)

It was so windy that I never took off my clothes that were over my bathing suit. And that towel became my beach wrap. The kids were much braver than we were. They got in the water. (The boardwalk was just as windy and cold.) Still, it was a great day.


Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. * * * * * I am starting to potty-train Sawyer today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Teachers Gifts

It's that time of year again. The time where I scramble trying to find something affordable to give our ten teachers.

This year I decided to give them covered notebooks. I used regular old composition books ($1 each) and jazzed them up a bit. I used this tutorial to get me started. After making a trial one, I decided against making a pocket for the back flap. (What can you really stick in there anyway?)

I wanted to decorate the front more, but with being sick, I was lucky to make ten of these things without dying. (Yes, I realize three are missing, but those were gifted to Spenser's preschool teachers earlier in the week.)

The children also gave their teachers a nice, plump, and very fragrant lavender plant. I figure the total cost of each gift was around $5.

(Maureen, the school nurse, also received a gift. She does so much for my boys, as you can see by their "trips to the school nurse.")

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Mason had a karate exam on Tuesday evening. He was promoted from yellow belt to red belt.

For an extra credit project, Mason had to make something from a fairy tale using recycled items. He wanted to make a gorilla (his all-time favorite animal), but we couldn't think of any fairy tales that had gorillas in them, so we chose a pig instead.

Taylor had to make a "museum replica" of someone he had been researching for Social Studies. His person was Hannibal. He wanted to make a papier-mâché project of a soldier on an elephant, but he procrastinated and then went to Outdoor School for a week and was running out of time. I came up with the idea to make a coin (as shown here). We used an old cereal box for the back, two layers of thick craft foam for the elephant and soldier, and thin craft foam for the details (like ear, tusk, soldier's leg, etc.). Then we covered it in aluminium foil. We rubbed black paint over the surface and slightly rubbed it off to to make it look aged. He was a little disappointed that he couldn't do the papier-mâché, but he really procrastinated too long. And his grade? 100%. (That did make him happier.)

  • I am still sick. I am still running a fever and have body aches. I am currently being treated with a round of antibiotics for Lyme disease. We are not sure I have it, because the results of the test came back "equivocal," which is inconclusive/borderline. Today is day 13.

  • I haven't really said much about this, but I thought it was important to write it in my "journal." One of my neighbors was running against me for town council. We had always been on friendly terms. In fact, he visited our house a few years back dressed as Santa. It is not uncommon for him to wave (several times a day) as he passes our house. Since the election, he won't even look in my direction. He accidentally waved to me the other day because he was standing on Main Street and I was driving by. I waved, he waved and then I think he realized what he had done. I was walking to the car last night and he drove by. He didn't even turn his head. I know he saw me. I continue to wave and be the same person I was before the election. It just kind of makes me sad because, for one, I felt sorry for him when I heard he didn't win; and two, I'd be the first one to congratulate him if he had won. Each election, he runs. Each election, he loses.

  • Two days after the election, the kids were riding their bikes on the sidewalk, so Joe and I were sitting on the front porch watching them. I saw the above-mentioned neighbor walk down the street to the pit bull people. A minute after that, my most-annoying-neighbor-of-all walked out of his house and started walking down the street. I turned to Joe and said, "I think all the neighbors who hate me are calling a secret meeting." The annoying neighbor actually walked over to his car, but it was just funny to see (what appeared to be) the three of them meeting. (I get along with the rest of my neighbors, I promise.)

  • Spenser is a silly little girl. Since the election, she walks around saying, "Hi, my name is (insert my name) and I'm running for town council." It is hilarious. Also, every time I help her with something (even as simple as pouring her a drink), she says, "Thank you (insert my name) for town council."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The $2 Bandanna Skirt

Summer makes me think of gingham and bandanna prints, so it's no surprise that Spenser's latest summer skirt is made from bandannas.

The skirt is super simple. I took two $1 bandannas, put them right sides together (making sure the words on the bandanna about being colorfast were at the top to be hidden by the casing), and sewed/serged up both sides (starting at the hem to make sure the hem was even at the end). Then I pressed down the top for the casing and sewed around the top of the skirt, leaving an inch to thread the elastic through. Then I sewed the elastic together and the opening shut.

It took minutes. The skirt is already "hemmed," but if you need to shorten it, you can do that, too. Spenser wanted to keep hers long. I think it will fit her for several more years. (And judging by the size of Jackson, she might be 8 1/2 and still wearing the $2 skirt.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Gingham Dress

A week and a half ago (before getting sick), I whipped up a little pink gingham dress for Spenser. I really wanted to make it in red gingham, but sadly, there was none in my stash. I had a momentary freak-out, but decided a pink gingham dress was better than no gingham dress. (I have some now, so don't you worry.)

The dress is actually the Simplicity 4206 shirt, lengthened to a dress, like I usually make. Then I added a little ruffle along the bottom edge. It kind of looks like a nightgown. I made her a size four (she is 4 1/2), but it seems big on her, even the elastic around the neck. I figure she'll have it for this summer and next summer.

* * * *

Thank you for your concern last week while I was sick. I am happy to say that I think (and hope and pray) that my final fever broke early this morning. I went to bed with a temperature of 101.9 and rising. I awoke in a bed of sweat. I think it's gone. It's been a long week. My doctor ran some tests, including Lyme disease and fifth disease. I do not have any results yet. (She said if I am still sick this week, she will treat me with the three weeks of antibiotics for Lymes before it goes into "the next stage," just to be safe.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Burning Up


I've had a fever going on four days now. Last night it reached 102.7 and I swore my skin was going to start to bubble and blister. It took over two hours to fall asleep because the heat of my body ricocheted off my feather bed, making me feel hotter than I already was.

This morning I was only 99.9, but I can feel my cheeks getting hotter.

I have perked up though. (I laughed a few times. And joked with the kids this very morning.) Just in time to get back to the dishes and laundry that have piled up.

I'll be back. Eventually. I just didn't want you to think I was locked in the chicken coop again.