Is there anyone who reads this blog that makes t-shirts? I could seriously use one that says "I survived Chuck E. Cheese's!" That place is nuts. It has all the creepiness and sensory overload of a summer carnival....without the fun of it ACTUALLY being a carnival. Grease and sugar filled children running frantically from game to game, slapping buttons, pulling levers, turning wheels, half the time without even putting in a token. Tate could not focus on ANYTHING. All I could think was "Forget the hours you've let him rot his brain in front of the television, this one trip to Chuck E. Cheese is going to send him over the edge of ADD." A man was sleeping on a booth with his head tipped back and mouth open ever so slightly. I am not sure I prefer to think he was there WITH his children or without them. Either way seems SO wrong. Parents and children were crowded around the plexiglass cases of cheap junk prizes with their ticket winnings, pointing at prizes and making choices like they were at Tiffany's. I wasn't sure if it was more disturbing that a place like this exists or that it is perpetuated by greedy little children and pushy parents. I saw a little girl climbing up the skee ball aisle to drop the balls in the bigger numbers to get more tickets. Really? Instead of paying a token to play a GAME, just using it to get more tickets to go buy crummy little toys? Go to the dollar store. I was exhausted when we got home more than an hour after the boys' usual bedtime. I am glad that is done and I am just hoping I don't have to do that again any time soon. I was miserable. Oh, and the boys loved it. Of course.
...or you may find a sink full of a half a box of tissues floating in water that are apparently some cupcakes that are being mixed up for a friend's mommy. I will say nothing of the water that was cascading over the edge of the counter and flooding the floor. At least it was in the bathroom. This time.
Jeepers, you'd think I was a newbie.
(another sweet giveaway to enter at Artfulife... check it out!)
Today is my ten year anniversary. We aren't doing anything fancy or expensive, just a nice dinner out without the kids. (Thank you A & A) Mike and I have spent 10 years driving each other nuts, making each other laugh and balancing each other out. I couldn't ask for a better partnership. I've always thought we have a nice combination of things in common and things that either compliment the other or that we get to have all to ourselves. But in searching for a picture for this post, of the two of us together, it became apparent to me that our common distaste for having our pictures taken has caused us to never appear together in a picture that doesn't have children in it or wasn't forced by his mother in front of the Christmas tree. I could not find a single one from the last 5 years (since we've gone digital). Not. A. Single. One. I'm not talking about no GOOD ones, I mean there just weren't any. I am thinking this is a bit of a problem. Possibly, I will have to try to convince him that we should take some tonight. Just to prove that we are actually still together; in case someday the grandkids wonder.
So, remember yesterday when I made myself sound all sweet and thoughtful? How I pointed out my love of gift giving and the joy that the right gift brings to giver and receiver? Uh uh. Not this time. This time my gift sewing is making me feel downright selfish and evil.
The gift is a little girl's purse with a matching headband made for a playmate from Calvin's preschool class. It is modeled here by a sweet and cooperative bunny. (By which I mean that no one else was sweet and cooperative. Although modeling purses and headbands is not every little boy's gig and Ellerie doesn't really hold still when it is necessary. Or at all)
Cute right? Sweet vintage button closure....
Trendy and modern appliqued bird....
Headband and lining from a bright, spunky pattern.....
What, you may be asking, could be evil about that? And here it is folks: I DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT TO HER. It's too cute. It's fabulous in fact. I am really proud of how cute and fun it is. I'm not sure I want this to go to some little girl who we may or may not ever see again and who may have no appreciation whatsoever for it's cuteness. Don't get me wrong, she's a nice little girl. Calvin really loved playing with her at school. But I'm not sure she's going to have ANY appreciation for handmade. Bad enough that I have to go to Chucky Cheese's for this party after receiving Hannah Montana invites from a 5 year old, (hence the reason I sewed a purse and headband: 5 going on 11) but now I have to GIVE THIS AWAY? *sigh* I'm not sure I can do it. It's almost enough to make me replace it with a Hannah Montana purse. Almost.
(Here is someone else who is having some trouble giving something away. I am trying to boost my chances of getting this gorgeous quilt from her grip. Check out the contest and her site and store. )
In recent years, I have often found gift giving financially discouraging. Not because I don't like to give gifts, but because I LOVE giving gifts and LOVE finding just the right thing for someone to bring them joy. When my bank account doesn't cooperate with the occasion, I end up feeling depressed about what selection I am left with or don't give anything at all. I have to say that pulling my rusty sewing skills out of the closet has made for a huge change in all that. Not only is it fun to choose just the right project and fabric and function, but I truly enjoy giving something that I've made, even when it is imperfect. And, I don't have to leave the house with all the kids to go around shopping, an added and much appreciated bonus! Recently, I have had a few occasions to be sewing for gift giving and today's post is the first of these projects.
This spring my good friend, Angela, graduated from dental hygiene school. Today she is taking her boards exam and since I am already thinking of and praying for her this morning, I thought it appropriate to post a pic of her graduation gift. I asked her awhile ago to bring me a picture that her son had drawn and she was very excited, waiting for just the right one, as she thought I was making a bag. I hope the clothespin apron doesn't disappoint her:
I was a little nervous about the picture she brought me, I must admit. Her son drew this FABULOUS rainbow flower, but I was not certain I would be able to capture the scribbly spirit of it with my limited embroidery skills. Cal's drawings tend to be simple and controlled, so have been easier to reproduce. I am happy to say though, that I am really pleased at how it turned out and think Angela will be too.
So, now that I've shared that the move date is almost here, let me share a glimpse into why it has taken us so long to get into this other house. The "new" house was purchase 9 or 10 months ago (thanks to the (hopefully soon to be) temporary generosity of my folks, without whom we would NEVER have been able to swing two mortgages) and Mike has been working evenings and weekends ever since to "spruce" up the place. I am placing the word "spruce" in quotes because it really was in dire need of some major TLC. Not only was it ugly, it was dirty, poorly maintained, and (in some areas) really not very safe. I won't go into all the gory (or moldy) details, but I will show you the kitchen.
Not all of the rooms are QUITE this drastic, but the bathrooms were for sure and the other rooms really were not too far behind. It just wasn't well taken care of. And I must say, as superficial as it is, I have really enjoyed being able to pick paint colors and light fixtures and drawer pulls....things I was never able to do at this house. Mike has done everything himself, with the help of our families when they are able, and I am so pleased and proud of him. Honestly, I am more of a forrest kind of girl, so Mike's unwavering attention to EVERY leaf and piece of bark on EVERY tree has often tried my patience and made me want to tear my hair out screaming "Please, let's just MOVE IN to the stinkin' house already!!!" But thanks to my meticulous husband (and often our fathers), we now have proper wiring with proper switches routed to proper lights. We have clean, mold free walls, we have functioning and stable toilets, and we have beautifully painted and cleaned up rooms. I would have slapped some paint on the walls, scrubbed the floors and moved in! ;-) Thank you Mike for this beautiful transformation. This has been a tiring and difficult time for both of us and I SO appreciate everything you've done to create a lovely home for us to move in to. We have a long road ahead of us still, as the contract that we did have on our house has fallen through and we are back to square one with that. But I know the stress will ease moving into that lovely, cozy house and just being a normal family again. I can't wait! (But I will....)
We've packed up the childrens' books, so you know we mean business around here. Living on library books and one box of saved out stories. Two weeks and we're moving. FINALLY! Even the bookshelf was sent over with Daddy. Today it's on to the media cabinet. Wish me luck!
We got rid of our microwave awhile ago. I have since been mostly living without popcorn (I KNOW, I KNOW!!!) as I no longer have an air-popper and never have good luck with jiffypop (aside from it being stupidly expensive). Thanks to my friend, Deb, I NOW know how to make it in a pot! Just in case I am not the last person on earth to learn how to make cheap and delicious popcorn on the stovetop, I wanted to share my latest love.
1. preheat empty saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes
2. coat bottom of pan thinly with olive oil
3. cover bottom of pan with one layer of popcorn kernels
4. cover pan with properly fitted lid
5. shake occasionally during popping, wait for popping to slow or lid to come off!
6. pour in a bowl and season to your liking. yum!
We made ours tonight with my other new love:
Vanilla Honey Lemonade
1 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed or in the bottle)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup HOT water
Mix all ingredients. Stir. Add cold water to make 2 quarts. Pour over ice. Double yum!
Finally, add to the popcorn and lemonade, a movie of your choice and call it dinner. Happy Friday Night....
I don't want to forget how Ellerie sits through entire meals with her toes gripping the bottom of her highchair tray. Or how Tate currently ends all of his prayers with "the end." Or the way Calvin is trying so hard to pronounce his Rs correctly that he sounds like an old "Ruffles have ridges" commercial without the rolling. I don't want to forget how they all look when they are sleeping or how sweet it feels to have their little arms circle up around my neck or the way they laugh when we rub noses. And even as I write all that, I know so many memories have already faded or slipped from my mind altogether. Which boy was it that used to laugh so hard when we read "Hop on Pop?" Will I remember Ellerie's Lucille Ball-like assembly line antics with the peanut butter sandwich if I don't write it down? Will I REALLY remember it even if I do? Will I still taste the soggy sandwich that I ate after Tate "helped" pour the water not quite in the glass? Will Calvin's made up nonsensical knock-knock jokes pop in my head at some odd moment in the future? Will I remember the flutter of the first time they each said "mama" and, even more, "I love you!"? So often I find myself not savoring these things, not appreciating the moment we are in. I know I won't be able to hold all of this forever. I hope what we manage to keep is good and sweet and funny and full.
Judy, Jill and Jean are Ellerie's room decor. I did this all about a year ago, but loved how they turned out and thought I'd post the pics. They look very sweet now against her peachy-pink walls, but I am too lazy today to take new pictures. Judy and Jill are featured in the frames along with a favorite outfit and accessories. Jean is hanging from the bottom of the mobile (not pictured) with almost all her clothes swirling above her. I backed Jean and her attire with some pretty scrapbook paper bought at the craft store, (I have no real desire to scrap book, but I can see how it is addicting... so many pretty things! Almost as tempting as fabric!), to give them a little visual interest and color for the times they are not facing their audience. I love that these are sweet, but not babyish. I think she'll like them for a long time. (Fingers crossed here, as I am praying they are not replaced by an early desire to decorate in full-on Dora the Explorer!)