Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Uncle Phil's Trailer Leaves W-Ville

I am not the person to tell you the deep history of Uncle Phil's trailer and how it first came to the hill in Weberville. That blood, sweat, and tears tale, full of triumph and tragedy, belongs to someone else, namely Uncle Phil. My story of its parting with the family complex spans only a few brief moments of its existence, from the top of the hill to a quarter mile down the lane.
These house movers worked for several days prepping the site, yanking bushes and jacking up the trailer.
Finally it was time to move.

Through the yard and onto the lane! Glad it made the first turn.
Continuing its slow progression...
The first bridge!
Only to be stopped by a tree branch.
No problem!
That is that!
Back to the serious work of home transportation.
I think I heard a few soft creaks.
We certainly don't see this every day!
Off to new lands! May you enjoy steadfast ground and stalwart owners!
15 minutes later. Yes, it really is gone!

Some Handmade Gifts

So many adorable nieces and nephews, so little time!

Here are some Christmas gifts, made and sent early to Costa Rica for Karis and Jeremy. Freezer paper stencil dump truck shirt and princess nightie. I have borrowed that nightgown pattern so many times, I finally bought my own from Ebay.Here is a birthday present for cutie-pie Allison.
And here is a shirt I dreamed up for a sweet little girl at church, after being contracted by her momma!
So much fun! So much more fun to come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Every year, I buy each of the kids a new ornament for the tree. I try to find one that fits them for the year. For example, I found a rooster for Owen one year since he was fascinated by their crowing. They love this tradition and so do I. They hang their own ornaments, usually in one big clump to be spaced out later by Mommy, and proceed to admire them the rest of the Christmas season. This year I once again began the search for the right ornaments. And then I stopped in my tracks. Why was I wanting to spend (too much) money for a little trinket that had no previous meaning? Especially when I had all my inexpensive crafty resources laying around?

Here's what I came up with for this year, and I just might stick with making their ornaments from here on out!
I made my own pattern and cut two felt pieces for each crayon's color. I stitched the kids' names with embroidery floss onto black felt, cut them out in an oval shape, cut out some black squiggly lines for the crayon paper, and handstitched everything onto one crayon shape. I embellished it with a few more simple stab stitches, then put it all together with a wee bit of stuffing in the middle, adding an embroidery floss hanger. Easy, peasy! And a whole lotta fun too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Great Idea--Picture Display

I love to look at bulletin boards, the kind that people hang in their homes and thumbtack all their pictures of family and friends onto. This was mine.
Pretty pathetic, huh? I indicate the actual bulletin board, not the images on it! I had tried to make a French memo board when Jason and I were first married, using ribbon remnants from our wedding bulletins. Nine years later, it had lost the ribbons, but was still not looking great. To spite it, I refused to change my pictures from last year's Christmas greetings. So my poor friends and family were either suffering allergies from dust build-up or suffocating in a plastic baggie in my junk cupboard. (Pardon my blurry pictures! I work best at night, after the kids are in bed.)

Enter idea. Jason's cousin Lynette repurposed a crib rail from a junked crib. She hung it on her wall, strung ribbons on it and taped up pictures for a modern take on the ol' bulletin board. Knowing how I like crazy salvaging projects, she gave me the other three sides of the crib. Side note: I have also received a whole bag full of (new) mismatched socks from her. Hmmm....

Jason cut down the crib rail for me, since it was too long for my wall. I got out the trusty black spray paint! I always love an excuse to spray paint. Since I didn't have great ribbon on hand, I carefully measured, cut and ironed some stash fabric from IKEA.
The finished product! Just in time for Christmas this year.
Any good ideas for displaying Christmas cards?

Party III: More Birthday Mania

Now that Helen has reached the ripe old age of three years and one month, let me post some pictures of her long-past birthday party! Her cake was very simple. She wanted a purple H, a pink cake with purple frosting. How could I refuse? I baked two 8x8 cakes--thank you, you 88-cent box of strawberry cake mix! Then I disected and spliced them together with loads of purple frosting. I sprinkled it with decorating sugar and tied on a bow to pretty up the muppet look. By the way, that purple frosting left reddish marks on my floor. I have no--ahem--idea how any of it landed on the floor.Helen was very pleased, even though she had wanted a Dora on top too. (Dora?! Seriously? She doesn't watch Dora! She wanted Dora on top because that's what her friend "Kafflyn" had this past summer. Aren't we a bit young to be starting this?)We actually tacked Helen's party onto a celebration for my mother in law, who had turned 60 the previous week. Hers was the main event, but it would have been a shame to not take advantage of the opportunity! I think grandma would have almost been offended if we hadn't have. The birthday girls:
Some pre-cake euphoria:We served three different kinds of cupcakes for Ruth. It's hard to resist a cupcake!
This is not even all of the kids that were here for the party! The noise wasn't bad, really. WHAT? SPEAK UP!!

Apparently the furry icing was irresistable too. And I get the prize for leaving the butcher knife at the children's fingertips.

Happy Birthday, Helen! Have fun being "this many" (hold up three fingers.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your day is lovely!My parents are here from Indiana, and we're having a great time so far. They brought along their dog as a surprise for the children. The kids refer to them as "Sparky Grandpa and Grandma," so it was fitting.This morning, some friends hosted a Turkey Trot 5K, and we had fun running the beautiful streets of Atmore. Jason and I made it a whole family event, and took the jogging stroller along. My Dad, who started running on Labor Day, ran too! It was his first race. I am so proud of him.
These lovely oranges awaited us at the finish line, along with a delicious breakfast buffet inside. My favorite was the Nassau grits. No pictures, so you won't have to worry about wiping drool off your screen.
On to the next item on the list:
And then the big feast will come this evening. (Rub hands together in suspended glee.) I'm off to make the gingerbread dressing while this guy is sleeping!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

(More than) one of these things just doesn't belong here!

Ever play Travel Bingo? This is what I checked off today during my run.

a recliner
3 dog food bags
a deer skin
empty beer cans
fast food wrappers
a change of clothes--medium wash, high-waisted, tapered-leg jeans included
carpet remnants
a toilet
a zippered gun case*
empty cigarette boxes
Solo cups
4 four-wheelers (5 adolescents included)
a possum with tire tracks across its nasty dead back (I almost stepped on this one!!!!)

Thank you, Ewing Drive for your endless entertainment!
*Actually discovered later to be a heated/vibrating?! seat cover, a small disappointment for my opportunistic husband. ( :

Friday, November 20, 2009

Party II: Owen Turns Five

It is still hard to believe I have a five year old! Owen hit this big birthday on October 19th. Somehow, it just seems pretty old! With our firstborn turning five this fall, I know that this is the end of an era. Next fall, for the next howevermany years, we'll be enrolling kids in school and embracing the whirlwind of activity that comes with our involvement there. As hectic as our lives can be now, and as irritated I get with food and toy messes, sometimes I want to hit the pause button and hold the kids, remembering every detail about how they looked, what they said and what our relationship is like. I treasure this time in their lives! Our kids love us and they want to please us. What a humbling thought to realize the responsibility we have to them.

Owen and I finally decided on a 5 cake for him.
What can I say, but that I got in a hurry decorating and messed up a few details?

Owen was still delighted with his cake, and that is what mattered.
He opted not to blow out his own candles this year. Too many people staring at him, I guess! We had a great little party with immediate family. And then I had about two weeks to rest until it was time to bake the next cake!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party I: Choctoberfest

Looking through my pictures, it would seem all we have done lately is eat cake. In order to avoid sweet tooth overload and a bad case of gut rot, I'll post the parties in installments.

The MOPS Choctoberfest was a chocolate party I hosted in October (if the title of the event wasn't self-explanatory enough.) MOPS=Mothers of Preschoolers. Hurrah for MOPS of Atmore, but that is an aside.

Choctoberfest was a blast, and we quickly decided it will have to be an annual event. That much fun oughtta be illegal. We loved being together, able to talk without being interrupted. It was a wonderful girls' night out on a Friday evening. And did I mention no kids were there?!

I gave prizes for the most chocolatey dressed, and let me tell ya, we had some people in all the brown they could find in their closets! I myself appeared as a cup of hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top, my creative description of brown pants and a white top. We even had some women wearing chocolate accessories, I kid you not! Tootsie roll necklace and earrings, Hershey's Kisses dangling from a bracelet and a Reese's cup foil-wrapped medallion necklace and hoop earrings! Their creativity amazed me. Quite a bit of effort for a nice-smelling candle, some chocolate-flavored lip balm or chocolate-named fingernail polish, mmm-hmm.

We also had some games, like NUM3ERS, where we guessed the number of Hershey's Kisses in a jar. We played Are You Smarter Than a Candy Bar? and guessed at unwrapped, non-cut candy bars. And of course, we had to vote for the new Iron Chef Atmore! We voted on the best chocolate desserts and gave out candy bars as prizes.

The chocolate itself was extremely delicious, but there was so much there that after we had served ourselves, we had made barely a dent! As we munched, the conversation slowly was overtaken by groans of too much chocolate, so one sweet and thoughtful friend popped a bag of popcorn she had brought for that very purpose. My sister in law really wished she had brought some chocolate-flavored Tums to pass around!

We filled plates to present to our families, those of us who could stomach the sight of another full plate of chocolate, and one by one, my friends left, all smiling, glad to have had a night away from responsibility at home.

I got my idea here and here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What to do when my child believes humor to be the most highly prized quality in a person?

Our little Helen is our resident humorist, and she knows it. I have even heard her nearly deadpanning into Owen's Leapfrog recorder. "Helen is a funny girl," she said with a only a very small hint of hilarity. She regularly cracks us up with her actions, faces and words, and we mostly love her sense of humor, because we love to laugh.

But there's the really annoying side of her that cannot be serious. We look into her deep brown eyes and try to impart some wisdom to that sweet little face without busting a gut. She leads the game by a split second, and plays it well, a twitch in the corner of her mouth, as soon as she senses it might be forgiveable to laugh. She has learned very early in life that quick smiles and jests might possibly get her off the hook, should she ever find as much as her pinky toe in trouble.

Tonight before supper, Jack who has just learned to walk, had a tremendous splat of a fall, and nearly bit through his lip. In fact, Jason fished a chunk of his cheek wall out of his mouth, so we knew it was a bad bite. We got the bleeding stopped, made some phone calls to nurses in the family, and figured out he was going to be all right. And yes, yours truly had to sit down in the recliner and close my eyes while I waited for my nausea to subside, my tunnel vision to go away and my hearing to return. As I was sending Helen to bed later, I told her give Jack a kiss on the head, not the mouth, not thinking that she might leverage herself against him to lean in for the kiss. Sure enough, his lip got another sharp bump on an end table, which set his mouth to bleeding again and his pitiful soul to ear-numbing wailing. Helen's response was to sing the alphabet song at a louder decibel level to comfort and/or tease him out of his sadness. I sent her to bed, and while we were discussing Jack's ouchy, her effect on it, and praying for him, a half smirk settled onto her face.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Jack in Motion

A few months ago, the Flintstones car got parked helter-skelter off the back porch, and several gully-washers later, it toyed with a meterological career change. Its stint as a rain gauge gave Jack an idea.

Hmmm...that was great. Now what else?
...and CUT before you fall out backward and crack your skull open! Bathtime!


Truly, there is a hum of pregnant silence, randomly punctuated with the occasional tink and crackle of an object hitting the floor and soft baby grunts of concentrated effort. I now know the sound of a new bottle of canola oil thudding onto hardwood and the whisper-soft flutter of toilet paper being unfettered into the toilet.
This dude is a climber, too. Scary thought, that. Besides joining his toys in the drawer, he climbs onto the back of the couch and crawls back and forth. He climbs into the window seat. He even climbs in and out of his walker. He tried out a trip down the stairs while in his walker. Yes, really scary!
And he recharges soundly.

Some of the words he is saying:

STUCK!!!! I'm stuck!! I'm still stuck!!!!!
Dishstuck!! (This is stuck.)
Bompaw (Grandpa)
WHOA!!! Yook DIS!!
tractor (can't remember the pronunciation)
Mawball (Meatball, the cat)
Ah, ah, ah, ah, chaw (fake sneeze)
I did it!