Thursday, January 31, 2008

On a creative roll

One morning of late, my mother in law called to ask if she could have the kids for the morning. YEShowsooncantheycome? I used the time to sew flannel pajama pants for myself that had been waiting since the day after Thanksgiving sale at Joann Fabrics. Unfortunately, I did not have enough fabric to make the pajama shirt, so I made Helen a little nightie. Which turned out very cute. She looks like a little puff of pink cotton candy. It's only a trifle too big for her. I tried to teach her how to hold the skirt up while she walked, so she wouldn't keep tripping over it. Several times when she stepped on the hem, she plodded onward, on up into the nightie, pulling the neckline down nearly to her belly! She stood there with a very puzzled look.
Last week I got to watch Ava. Helen was delighted to host a friend. Here she is greeting Ava, wearing the introductory shirt that Mama made her. Ava wasn't sure what to make of Helen's attempts at hugs and kisses, and in true Ava fashion, stood back quietly gathering information to make up her emotions later.

Ava woke up from her nap before the other two little people. She was all teasing and smiles. Not wanting to go back downstairs to my typing, I quickly sewed something, and within 10-15 minutes, had this silly little kitty skirt for Helen mostly done. Meow, meow. She wore it Sunday, and proceeded to stick her thumbs in the waistband, pull out, look down, then let the skirt ride up to her armpits. This was after having taken her out into the lobby. She had a snotty nose that prevented her from joining the other little people in the nursery, and 5 minutes into the sermon, decided to make a run for it to the man across the aisle (whom she didn't know but thought looked friendly). When I hissed at her to come back, she sat down and grinned at me. I leaned down, grabbed her foot, and pulled her back to me. She started up a gigglefest, so I bolted.Helen isn’t the only child around here getting new stuff. We finally bought curtain rods to hang Owen’s curtains that I made from an Ikea quilt cover. Originally, I had wanted to save money and go for the woodsy look of curtains billowing from tree branches. Unfortunately, the branches I found belonged to an adolescent shrub of brush, and they weren’t sturdy enough. Denying reality, I threaded them through the tab tops and rested them on the portable crib. The longer the curtains hung there, the more the sticks sagged. I’m sure Jason, loving husband that he is, would have actually hung them on the wall had I begged enough. He had even bought hooks at the hardware, but was looking hard at me, “Now HOW exactly do you want me to hang these things? The hooks are going to be all over the map…” The sticks eventually made friends with my compost pile. The “W” on top of Owen’s shelf is a wannabe papier-mache piƱata that didn’t get done in time for the W reunion this past summer. So I painted it and stuck it in Owen’s room. I had wanted to hang it from the ceiling. Guess I have the hooks now.

Jason himself was bit by the creative bug. Amazing, isn’t it? He took a pottery class in college, and the only thing he kept was an ugly head, which he attempted to recreate when we were all playing with play dough at the table the other night. The poor statue has a face only its creator could love. When we were at Ikea this past summer, we wanted to buy a child’s table and chairs. On looking at them more closely, the man said, “I could make that.” It was my turn to be skeptical. But hey kids, he proved himself! He used flooring scraps and made up his own pattern. The kids and I love it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Model H

When Mrs. Beth, the parts lady at Smith Tractor, Atmore's John Deere dealer, heard about Owen refusing to ride in the red International tractor, she told Jason to bring that boy in, she had something for him!

Owen has been inundated by the John Deere brand name, thanks to the All About John Deere DVD series, of which he owns #1 and #4. This is a well-produced, slickly-packaged, initially-appealing-to-adults-because-of-the-educational-quality, good-old-fashioned-learn-about-tractor video series that you should only purchase if you have a serious death wish. That's my parental warning. Owen watched his tractor videos all the way up to Indiana and all the way back. And when he got sick a while ago, he watched them over and over for more than a week. That's when I got the John Deere song permanently lodged in my brain, would wake up in the middle of the night to pee, and start singing, "John Deere made a better plow!"

Now he thinks he will die if he doesn't get to watch one at least once a day. It's one of the first things he asks for in the morning, of course following the usual, "Wake up mommy! Beep beep! Beep beep! (alarm clock simulation) Mommy, make oatmeal! Get up, mommy! Pulls covers off Mommy. Mommy, make pancakes!" We trot and/or stumble to the kitchen, and as soon as we pass the living room, "Mommy, tractor video?!!"
When he is granted viewing permission, he finds his John Deere tractor-driver-thingie, and nestles in to watch with great satisfaction.

So Owen's daddy proudly marched him into Smith Tractor, and Mrs. Beth presented him with his pick of toy tractor. Owen's daddy chose the Model H.

It's not just an It!

We found out yesterday that come the end of June, we'll be having us another boy!

Jason and I were surprised. We both assumed separately the baby was a girl. I was stressing out because we had a boy name, but we didn't have a girl name. Jason wanted to wait and see and didn't understand my NEED to have a girl name. This is so typical of us. He is so laid back it drives me insane. And I return the favor and get on his nerves by being on the north side of uptight (sometimes).

So now, it's official. Helen's room, the sweet little nursery created just for her, will be taken over by a boy. Thank goodness I painted it green, so after her stuff is taken out--sniff, sniff--the only thing that will have to be changed is the curtain.

Some days I feel like this baby is invading our little family. But then I remember that was the same way I felt about Helen before she was born. And now I can't imagine life without that little snickerdoodle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A little something for the garden

This may be old news, but I think it quite funny. Kris's entry about gazing balls got me thinking of yard ornaments.

And I'm deciding I want a garden gnome. But don't tell the Liberation Front.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Last week in my medicine closet, I found more soybeans.

Last night in my freezer, I found some applesauce cleverly disguised as "juiced trout liver, '87."

Helen is expanding her vocabulary almost daily. It's almost scary. She now says:

all done (AHHH-DAH!)
please (peece or beece)
thank you (thay)
NO and no-no (these are extremely clear)
woof (a barking sound)
baby (bah-bah)
cracker (cah-cah) Uh....yummmmm....anyone?
and probably a few more I am forgetting right now.

She is transferring the use of her known vocabulary to new situations, and it's fun to see her grasping language as a tool. When getting her diaper changed last week (not a favorite activity on anyone's part), she signed and said AHHHH-DAH, thay! And just to make her point clear, added, "No-no, NO!" Saturday evening after supper at Grandma's house, when told to tell Grandma thank you, she shook her head and said "NO!"

Owen says lots and lots of things, but still only vowels and a few consonant sounds. When we work with him on the "P" sound, Helen (gloatingly?) goes "Pah! Pah! Pah!" Little stinker.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Christmas Sewing

I had so much fun making most of the Christmas presents we gave this year. I completed most of them in advance, and then didn't face as much pressure during the month of December (except for the Christmas cookie plates...) And since I wrapped them ahead too, we got to enjoy them under the tree for longer than a day.

During October, I made Kaiya's nightie (on the left). Hers is flannel because Indiana winters are so cold. Jason's niece Abby was here the day I was making it, so she served as my model to check the fit. Her eyes glowed with pretty princess thoughts when she gazed in the mirror, and I decided she needed one too for her upcoming birthday. So hers is the lightweight cotton on the right.

Brian and Lincoln, the baby boys on both sides of the family, got very similar gifts. I got the idea from 60 bugs and then, you guessed it, my kids' big brother/big sister shirts were a derivative. I found the green t-shirts at Target. They had pockets on them, so I had to get out the ol' seam ripper. Once I had the gifts wrapped, I thought they looked a little plain. They had to be labeled somehow, or Brian was going to open a nightgown. I don't usually buy stick-on bows, especially not for presents that have to travel (hello ruined, smooshed, pathetic-looking gifts!), so I had the brainstorm of an idea to make felt initial ornaments. They didn't take long at all, and I was happy with the way they turned out.

And one last project that was NOT a Christmas present, but deserves a little piece of post anyway...
a homemade scatter rug for the garage, courtesy of velour scraps from my mother in law. In real life, it is a thing of ugliness. As soon as I have my waay-cool scatter rug made from my scraps of waay-cool vintage double-knit, this rug is headed to the back of the garage, so it won't be the first thing a person sees when stepping into my house.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Finishing Things

I am great at starting things. I love to brainstorm wild ideas, fun gifts to make, craft projects, new recipes, then charge ahead and begin. And the best time to start something is just before it's time to go to bed. I just can't help myself!! (Jason's classic answer, "Yes you can, you just don't want to.") Jason rolls his eyes, but truthfully, my best thinking is at night.

Unfortunately, I'm not so great at finishing things. Ahem...

Lately I have felt the call from God to finish things. Things as simple as folding laundry and putting it away and not leaving the supper dishes until the next....evening.

So I've been working on that. And it's coming. I'm being pretty strict with myself right now because I have to be--I have lots and lots of tried and true excuses to overcome.

But interestingly enough, I'm finding that it takes less stress to finish household tasks than it does to let them slide. Too many nasty consequences--like setting the baby down in squished banana (or worse) that I never cleaned out of the highchair.

So this attitude of completion is now permeating other areas. Saturday, I decided it was time to start cleaning my laundry/sewing room. I found lots of stuff that needed to be done. By that evening, I had ironed 2 shirts and a pair of pants for Jason, mended two pairs of jeans and one shirt, finished two doll blankets that I had started over a year ago, embellished two towels to make into baby bibs for gifts (I had bought the towels several years ago), and put elastic into two pairs of baby booties that I had crocheted several years ago for Sav-A-Life. I was especially proud of my resourcefulness with the blankets. All they needed were backs. I cut one from an old shirt of mine. The other was made from an old curtain that had been hanging in the basement.

And then I found a snowflake that I had crocheted last winter, just waiting to be starched, so I soaked it in glue mixture and pinned it onto cardboard to let dry overnight. A little embarrassing to have those projects hog space in my cupboards for such a long time, when it only took a few minutes to complete them!

And today I mended a pair of tights for Helen. Her toe kept poking out the hole. It looked cute, but also terribly uncomfortable.

So now I think I might be ready to start something new. Although--dread--now I'm remembering Owen's baby book that I haven't finished. And Helen's that I haven't even bought. And all the pictures that need frames. Groan.

So what did my kids do while I was so busy on Saturday? Owen took a nice, long nap. Helen found something else to occupy her.

I knew I should have taken a break from my sewing machine when she smilingly brought me the toilet plunger, stamping it on the floor as she walked. But I kept going until I heard the toilet lid. That fresh roll of tp was just too enticing.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Odd Findings

Before our trip to Indiana, we had our small group over. While filling a bowl with ice for the drinks, I found some strange, small, round-looking objects in the ice cubes. I looked a little closer. Aha! Frozen soybeans. Thank you, brother Kevin. In my haste that evening, I neglected to empty the whole icemaker. Last night, Jason's parents came for supper and my father in law found a soybean in his glass. Of course, he accused me. Now why would he blame me first?

My grandma B. made applesauce for me this summer. Hers is the most wonderful stuff on earth. I know those who like applesauce tend to be particular about it. But, seriously, hers could win a blue ribbon. When my family came down for the kids' birthday party, they brought it with them and stuck it in my freezer for me. After they left, I got a bag out. It was labeled "rhino mucus". Nice. Tonight I found one that said "clam sauce 94". Jason looked at me funny, and I could tell he was seriously questioning my habit of hoarding little bits of food in the freezer. Thank you, Kevin.

So, Jason and I had a little revenge this Christmas. I had saved all the soybeans I found deposited in my house, minus the frozen ones and the sprouted ones. I gleefully slipped a bunch into their luggage and shoes and Jason sprinkled them into their minivan, or booger wagon, as Sherri terms it. Apparently we didn't do enough. Next time, Gadget!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Help Wanted

So what's your best advice on getting a song out of your head?

Go ahead, serve it up, steaming hot.