Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall decorations

Tonight the kids went to bed at 6:45, and after tidying up, I scattered my fall decorations throughout the dining and living rooms...it was a very nice pick-me-up!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday misc.

Today's picture is of the kids during "music & mural" time in school. On Mondays during Activity Time, we listen to classical music -- today's was Chopin -- while the kids work on their mural. We started with a fresh piece of paper today and the kids went right to work making trees and attaching some falling leaves (courtesy of their Florida grandmas!). The 3D effect is actually quite pretty! Yes, they wore their pajamas for school today -- no smart-aleck comments necessary! Monday mornings are always hard because we are up past bedtime on Sunday nights, so I don't crack the whip as much on the little things come Monday morning. It's one of the joys of being the teacher and setting the rules! :) Abigail had OT today and the therapist was astounded (again) at the progress Abigail is making. She is gaining much finer use of that left hand. "Lifestyle therapy" is normal for us now (that is, encouraging better and more frequent use of that hand during the course of everyday activities), and the OT is also beneficial, but we have seen piano make a HUGE difference for her. Through her burning desire to play piano and the exercises and songs she has to practice, she has gained isolation of every single finger on that left hand. It's truly amazing. She has also started dressing herself completely, including taking off the old shirt and putting the new one on, which is a very complicated task that we used to take for granted! Again, we are so thankful that God has built into her such a strong persistence and a willingness to practice until she can make something work the way it ought. So have you heard about the gas shortages around Atlanta? It's true. Most of the gas stations here are reminiscent of ghost towns, with blank signs, bags over the pumps, and no one in sight. Even my two little "secret treasures" -- two very out-of-the-way stations that have been heretofore unnoticed by the general public -- were out of gas today. The few stations that do have gas are so packed it's unbelievable, with lines that extend out into the main roads and snarl up surrounding traffic. It has been a really good reminder for me to be thankful for the typical abundance of gasoline here in the USA. Well, I need to get back to the expense report that I am supposed to be working on. I tried ignoring it, but it still hasn't gone away...so I guess I should conquer it!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today's project - daisy dress

Throughout the day today, amidst a relaxed and wonderful day of snuggling the kids, doing housework, reading a chapter in my book, making homemade waffles for dinner, and enjoying a family stroll through the neighborhood, I have been sewing a dress for Abigail. It just needs to be hemmed and have its as-yet-unpurchased zipper installed and it will be finished. The ribbon detail on the edges of the sleeves and around the bodice was a new attempt for me, but it went very well and I'm very pleased with the result. I encountered the usual glitches...but I am finally getting better about calmly solving the issue instead of wadding up the errant project and stuffing it in a basket to wait for my mother to fix. It's only taken me thirty-one years to stop being a wuss about it. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

I wanna be like my mommy

When I decided to get my hair cut short, I didn't think about the fact that my daughter is usually watching me and wanting to imitate what her mommy does (well, except for things like cleaning up after oneself...and not punching David when he's irritating...not freaking out over bugs...and trivial matters like that). Well anyway, I got my hair cut on Tuesday afternoon, and by that night she had started asking to get her hair cut short like Mommy's. I matter-of-factly explained that Mommy and Daddy love her beautiful long hair and that she can get it short when she's thirty-one like Mommy. She gave me her "this discussion isn't over yet" look, but she dropped the subject. She mentioned it several times on Wednesday. I gently pushed back against the idea. I should have known that there was a lot more plotting going on in her head than she let on at the time. Wednesday night, as we were getting ready to leave for church, I put her hair in pigtails (i.e. two ponytails) and sent her out of my room to go get her shoes. When I finished getting myself ready a minute or two later, I headed out to see how she was doing, and I heard her sweet little voice upstairs calling, "No, David, you can't see me while I get my hair cut short!" I think my heart dropped into my stomach and my stomach twisted into dozens of knots simultaneously. There she sat with the scissors in her hand, and a rather bald spot of forehead where the middle of her bangs had been previously. I was horrified, yet at the same time, thankful and relieved that she took it to her bangs and not one of those lovely, long tails! Many tears and much discussion ensued in the following few minutes. When I showed her in the mirror the results of her DIY job, she burst from tears into downright wailing (yeah, even she could see that it was a hack job and not a style!!!). After we made sure that she understood that she was NEVER to take the scissors to anyone's hair ever again until she's a grown-up, her daddy lovingly assured her that it would grow back. Later Bruce and I discussed how much say she should be allowed to have in her hairstyle at this age. We decided that if she persisted in asking to get it cut like Mommy, we would trim a few inches off for her, which would still leave her with long hair but allow her to feel special like Mommy. But I had one more proverbial ace up my sleeve. Yesterday when she asked again for a haircut, I played it! I explained to her that if she had short hair, she wouldn't be able to have two braids. This has been her style of choice for a couple of weeks now. She contemplated for a minute, then hopped off my lap and went back to playing. She hasn't said a word about a haircut since. Hopefully that's the end of it for a few years! Who knew my millions-bucks cut would cause such a stir in my house?!

Apple day

Today was the anniversary of Johnny Appleseed's birth, so our history lesson consisted of a quick bio of him, and then for art class we made felt magnets of (what else?!) apples. We also had apples for lunch, although Abigail was very concerned that I was going to make her eat the seeds since we learned about Johnny Appleseed. She is so advanced when it comes to learning and such that sometimes I forget that she still sees the world through four-year-old eyes! Here are the kids with their apple magnets...forgive David's expression, but he was going outside to eat his lunch and his mother was really trying his patience by making him pose for a picture...but at least he complied without arguing or complaining, despite my "unreasonableness"!

Here is a picture of Abigail working some addition on the chalkboard. She really is something else.And yes, she is wearing a Christmas shirt. I tried to explain to her that it's for Christmastime, not for September, but then I thought, what does it matter?! I let her wear it and she was so enamored with her pretty Christmas shirt that it took some convincing to get her to exchange it for pajamas tonight.

Incidentally, today was school day #40 -- hooray!

Mystery projects

After so enjoying the "connection" we felt while making the same project in three different states, my grandma, mom, and I decided to continue with the Mystery Projects. (Our totes are featured in the Mystery Tote gallery -- just pretend my name is spelled right! -- it's fun to see the diversity of bags from just one pattern.) The project we've started now is a Mystery Tablerunner, and below are my fabrics.
Border fabric (dk brown), then fabrics 1, 2, 3, and 4, and backing fabric on the far right

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Anniversary wishes

Happy 15th anniversary,
Uncle Chuck & Aunt Connie!

A million bucks

At risk of seeming a bit narcissistic, here is a picture of me from this morning. Lately I have felt so blah about my look and it is wonderful to feel like a millions bucks again! The first few days are always a bit of a bridge while I figure out how to make the style happen, but I think we're getting close now! A chilly morning (45 degrees), a pair of jeans that are actually long enough (something I never take for granted), a new corduroy top (garage sale find), a little lipstick, and a new hairstyle make me feel ready to take on the world today!!!
(Bruce, don't scold because I smiled without my teeth!!!)


Now you see it...
Now you don't!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some recent kid-isms

Abigail, shortly after my grandparents left: "Daddy, when are Grandma & Grandpa going to stay for a few days?" Bruce: "They already did stay for a few days." Abigail: "When are they going to stay for a LOT of days so I can be happy at them?" ~ Abigail, watching a husband and wife cooking together on television: "Mommy, is that man that mother's husband?" Me: "Yes, it is." A: "Do they kiss on the mouthses?" Me: "Yup." A: "When I grow up, will I kiss Daddy on the mouth?" In our house, we kiss the kids on the cheek and "only Mommy and Daddy" kiss on the lips. Abigail has been quite fascinated with that lately and is always busily trying to figure it all out. She understands that she will kiss her husband on the lips someday...but she is still convinced that she is going to marry her daddy! (and we are in no rush for her to outgrow that stage!) ~ Abigail: "Mommy, is God sad at me when I sin? Me: "Yes, He is. Sin makes Him sad." Abigail, after pondering very seriously for a minute: "Is God sad when I cut my brother's finger with my scissors?" (She had recently done that very thing when she got mad at David for spitting on her paper during school...) ~ David is in the boy-stage when he is completely convinced that he can beat up anyone who might wish him ill. This leads to amusing-but-quickly-turning-wearying comments like those he has been making in school recently. In Bible class, we have been learning about the Israelites' slavery in Egypt. David points out daily that he wouldn't let "those bad guys" (i.e. the Egyptians) make him be a slave because he would punch them in the face/beat them up/grab their whip and hit them with it/take the soldiers' weapons/grab them and knock them down (etc etc) and thereby escape. He is completely serious, and trying to gently refute him only leads to more detailed explanations of how he would prevail over the bad guys. (Don't worry, we don't let him run too rampant with it...we have vetoed all comments from the kids during teaching time. Only the teacher gets the talking privileges! ...but I can still see it in his eyes and I know exactly what he's thinking!!!) I vividly remember my brother Jared with the same cocky ideas at this age...but I don't remember the phase passing very quickly...if at all...sigh...!

"First day of fall" celebration

Since today is the first day of fall, we made it a day-long celebration
both during and after school.
We listened to Vivaldi's Four Seasons
while the kids worked on an autumn mural...
...and made cookies shaped like pumpkins and oak leaves.
The mornings are crisp, the fall breeze is wonderful, and we're so excited that fall is here!

^Our bowl of pumpkins and gourds from Grandpa & Grandma

New season...

Happy first day of fall!
(The picture above was taken at Burt's Farm)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Special visitors from the North

On Thursday afternoon, my grandparents arrived (from NY) for a visit! The last couple of days have been a wonderful flurry of great-grandchild snuggles, games, sewing, fix-it projects, etc, and today we got to share our annual tradition of a visit to Burt's Farm. Below are a few highlights of their visit...
Playing baseball
My sweeties at the pumpkin patch

...and with their great-grandparents

Our family

On the hayride

On the covered bridge

My Grandma, Abigail, and me...Grandma and I are holding our finished Mystery Totes!

(My mom finished hers, too!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy birthday

Happy 25th birthday
to my brother Matthew,
who is affectionately referred to in our house
as "Uncle Mattie" --
hope you have a great birthday!
We love you!
Above: Matthew, Abigail, & David playing on Abigail's birthday...uncles are so much fun!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This boy bleeds green!

Ever since we first pointed out a John Deere to David, when he was just a little guy, he has been a fervent fan. Today was a big day in our household...Our very first John Deere. Look at that smile!
He did manage to let the rest of us have a turn, too...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

School year milestone

Bruce pointed out this morning that
we have now completed
one-sixth of our 2008-2009 school year
(That's one of the reasons I love him so much...
he's always handy for pointing out
random and obtuse -- but very interesting --
facts of life!!! He is my very own and very loveable geek!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Science trip

In celebration of beginning a new science chapter, we went on a trip as part of our school day today. We did a scaled-down version of our other lessons first thing this morning, then headed over to my friend Karen's house to visit her chickens, help to feed and water them, gather eggs, and go on an insect hunt so that we could feed the chickens!
Refilling the water tank
David gathering eggs
Abigail getting in on the fun

David showing off some of his insects

Abigail said she would rather find berries for the chickens!

Throwing "candy" to the chickens (yes, I enjoyed it as much as the kids did!)

Abigail especially liked that they were in a fence, so she could enjoy them "safely"!

After we exhausted the local insect supply,we dug up a clump of pampas grass that Karen bequeathed to me. The kids got into the action, too.

After that, we went inside to clean up, eat lunch, have dessert, and for the rest of the afternoon Karen and I looked at pictures and chatted while the kids alternately played and got nosy around her house. :) We ended the day with one last foray to the chicken coop because David insisted that we should check for eggs again...and the kids were delighted to find another half-dozen or so eggs waiting for them!

We had such a great day! A wonderful end to our *thirtieth* day of school, and a great beginning to our new science chapter. Thank you so much, Karen!!!

The downside to steroids is...

...a middle of the night insomnia buzz (but hey, my sinuses don't hurt anymore!). I woke up at 2:50 this morning, and after using the restroom, reciting Scripture, eating a bowl of cereal, praying, etc etc, at 4:15 I finally gave up on going back to sleep and decided to sew instead! I was not particularly thrilled to be awake at that hour of the day...

...the cat was my only companion, and she kept giving me insulting looks for messing up the normal schedule...

...but I was very happy to finish most of my GI quilt blocks! I also managed to have my devotions (it's very quiet, even in our house, at that time of the day!), get today's school stuff ready since I didn't have a chance to do it yesterday, and eat breakfast (again?), all before everybody else woke up. It was nice to get so much done, but I really would rather sleep until a normal time...here's hoping for a full night's sleep tonight...but just in case, I will have my sewing all laid out and waiting for me!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleeping, quilting...what more do you need?!

Yesterday my body showed its appreciation for the medication by wanting to do nothing but sleep! We finished school, and then other than getting up to get dinner on the table, I pretty much holed up for the afternoon. Bruce and the kids headed out to church and I went to bed...and I was asleep before they got home!
I am feeling much better today, thankfully. We did school, of course, and then my friend Karen came over to sew. We worked some more on the mystery quilt, ate dinner and enjoyed a triple chocolate cake she brought while we watched The Sound of Music, ripped out a seam on the quilt (whoops!), and ended the evening with a completed quilt top (well, it's still waiting for its borders). Success!

Recap of Tuesday

Everybody woke up. (Good.) No one felt like getting school started. (Bad) We managed eventually.
We finished school, ate lunch in the car, stopped at the neighborhood pool to check chemicals (I do this four days a week), then on to urgent care to deal with my sinus infection (my dr couldn't get me in until Thursday and I couldn't bear to wait that long). Two shots and two prescriptions later, I left with assurances that I would be feeling better soon. On to piano lessons, then to WalMart for an oil change, groceries, and filling the prescriptions (all of which seemed to take an inordinately long time).
We got home late and were all tired...the kids ran around outside for a few minutes while Bruce carried in groceries (he pulled in right behind me). I went in to the kitchen to put away refrigerated stuff.
Word of advice...the tireder one is, the more likely one is to drop things, and the more likely it is that said things will break and make a huge mess. One tired woman and one dropped 24 ounce container of cottage cheese are not a good combination. These are the moments that a dog comes in handy.

Above: Baker partway through the clean-up process...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A wonderful invention

Happy 162nd birthday to the sewing machine!
Today in History:
September 10, 1846: Elias Howe patents the sewing machine
(Thank you, Mr. Howe!!!)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Recent discussions with the kids...

David: "But Mommy, when a baby grows in a mommy's belly, how does it get there?" (Oh man...it gets harder and harder to satisfy him with vague answers!) ~ Abigail: "Mommy, what color is my skin?" (I hesitate as I decide the best color choice to use) Abigail: "I know! Skinny!" ~ David, at the dinner table with company recently, happy to have an interesting story to tell the grownups: "There was a strange dog that came in our yard. It was kinda like a bulldog. It came in our yard and pooped and peed." (He didn't understand why we quickly shushed him. Especially since there seemed to be a great response from everybody around the table who couldn't swallow their laughter!)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Woofs and giggles

One afternoon last week, David came inside to get some bowls filled with water. He explained that he needed to take them outside because they were pretending to be dogs. I gave them a minute and then went sneaking around the corner to watch... ~
After Abigail's Saturday night bath, I wrapped her hair up in a big old towel-turban and we shared some sweet giggles over the results!

Friday, September 05, 2008

No more water, no more politics...and a straight jacket might be next!

Although I don't have any "real" pictures to spice up this story, I thought I'd share it anyway. Most of my posts are about what happens around here in the daytime, but lately the nights have gotten rather exciting, too. My sleeps-like-a-rock husband has started sleepwalking. Over the last couple of months, he has awakened himself several times by pouring his glass of water on the floor, on himself, and even in the bed. Two nights ago, he woke me up twice by pawing at the blinds, insisting that he was pretty sure he saw something, once by stomping around the bed, and once by repeatedly pushing down on my stomach and muttering about the Republican National Convention. Each time, I told him he was asleep, he tried assuring me he was awake, and after I turned the light on and coaxed a bit, he came back to bed and commenced his sound sleep. New house rules: No bedside water unless it's in a sippy cup. No politics before bed. (No more large ice cream sundaes right before bed, just in case they're contributing.) If that doesn't work, we may have to resort to restraints. And in the meantime, if he should show up on your doorstep in the middle of the night, please call me!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Catch-ups from this week

Before I get to the pictures for this week, the kids' hearing checks yesterday went as follows...David was stable again, and Abigail had some significant loss in her left ear. We had a treat after checks because we ate dinner with RaDora. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken my camera with me (I usually just take it whenever I leave the house these days, but...). We ate outside, which afforded the grownups pleasant conversation while the kids ran around and burned off steam...Abigail filled her hair with the tiny flowers from a nearby tree, which would have made a great picture if I'd had my camera...sigh... Well anyway, Abigail and I are still battling colds, but other than that we are all doing alright. On to news from around here: A couple of weeks ago, our lawnmower started acting up. We have been debating how to deal with it and finally decided to call the lawnmower repair shop a mile down the road from us. They came and picked up the old beast today. We are hoping that it comes back to us next week ready to roll and with only a small bill. :) This past Saturday, in the midst of vacuuming, the vacuum died. We've been nursing it for the last year or so, but this time it died in a "carry it straight to the trash can" sort of way. Below is my new vacuum...and I love it!!! (My mom insightfully pointed out that a bride should get a ten year anniversary shower just like she gets a wedding shower...when you hit the ten year mark of marriage/using your wedding gifts, a bunch of your stuff starts to fall apart!)We now have 24 school days done. The kids are just flying right along and we're all still enjoying it. Below is a picture of them working on a project at our school table (aka the kitchen table!).

The kids are also continuing to do great with their piano lessons. They do very well with practicing (most of the time, anyway) and below is a picture of David finally starting to conquer his difficulty with keeping his fingers rounded -- hooray! Seeing them learn has even reinspired me and I have been plunking away at one of my old lesson books, trying to re-limber my fingers (I can't believe how stiff and out of practice they are!).

Guess that catches us up for now...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mystery Tote Step 2

Perhaps it's a horrible thing to do, but we did school today...the kids were blissfully unaware that everybody else had the day off, Bruce was working all day (albeit at home), and I want the extra day off later this month when we have special visitors from the North...so we went ahead with school! However, other than the usual daily house-maintenance (laundry, dishes, dinner), I celebrated the holiday by spending the afternoon 'fabricking'. After much good-natured ribbing, my mom and I have both finished Step 2 of our Mystery Tote and are waiting for the next step to be revealed. Just for the record, she did finish hers before I did...but only by a few hours! :) I was very relieved to have my blocks turn out the proper size (and pretty, too)! A nice, artsy-style urn, don't you think?
It'll be exciting to see how different all three of our totes will look due to different fabric choices.
I also cut the rest of the strips for my remaining GI quilt blocks, so I can sew a block or two whenever I have a spare minute over the next week or so and have them all ready to head to Florida soon.
What a pleasant afternoon -- relaxing, enjoyable, and something to show for it, too!