Friday, November 30, 2012

sibling pride

Jeremiah and Josiah found a box of dust-covered trophies in the shop.
They took it upon themselves to  lovingly clean them up,
certain that their owners will be so excited to take home the newly found treasures.

I sat in the living room, knotting, burying, and trimming threads on Lily's (this-close-to-being-finished) quilt
and listened.
"Here's Tony's basketball trophy."
 "We went to every single game of his, you know."
(Never mind neither are old enough to remember)
Picking up (I presume, I couldn't see...) a soccer trophy from over a dozen years ago, Josiah said with longing,
"I wish we could have gone to Lana's soccer games. 
I can tell she was really good!"
"Oh, look! TJ was a Ranger! Mom, did TJ play for the Rangers?" (not sure what was especially exciting about that...)
"I bet he did awesome!"

I love that they automatically assume that their big kids were great!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

so annoying

I find this stupid little smile so annoying first thing in the  morning.

Why is it, 
they still haven't designed a carton that will open without tearing?
And why must it mock me?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I don't remember my mom ever getting frustrated
as she deftly rolled out dough.
Making pies turns me into a crazy woman.
Just the thought of making pie crust
frazzles me.
You'd think I could just buy the piecrust already made (gag)
but alas, I cannot.
I did, stop and look at them yesterday, though,
but decided if I'm going to eat wheat, by golly, it's gonna taste good.
And then,
for a brief (very brief) moment,
I considered buying
- wait for it -
When I was 15
I won the 'most improved student' trophy at the end of the year ceremony at Bentonville Christian Academy.
It wasn't for improvement in academics.

Most Improved Student.
Think about that.
Is that really an award you want to win?!
How bad was I at the beginning of the school year to be singled out for this award??


am awarding myself
Most Improved Piemaker award.

While we made the cranberry jello salad,
Lily talked so much about helping make the pies
(although, truthfully, I think she just wants to eat the pies)
that I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a mommy-only job.
So I gave myself a stern talking to,
cleaned the kitchen and dining room (with Lil's help)
then told her she had to do exactly what I said,
and be quiet,
because pie making was tricky business.

You think I'm joking.

Just as we got started measuring flour,
Tyler carried Lexi to the LEM, opened a window, and in she came.
To the kitchen.
Right by my left elbow.
(But only because Lily was already on the stool - otherwise, she would have immediately dragged over the stool)
I sent Tyler a text 

Only, I couldn't really come up with something else to do;
I needed to make the pies;
Lily was counting on making pies.
And now, I had not one, but two 'helpers'.

Before it was all said and done,
all four kids were helping me.

We made 4 pies.
Pretty pies, even.
(3 pumpkin, 1 cherry - although, I just couldn't bring myself to do a lattice top)
I did not cry.
I did not scream.
I did not have a fit.
And therefore, I think I am very deserving of this prestigious award.

Most Improved Piemaker.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I don't know why I can't get my act together,
but once again,
we just barely managed to squeak in our shoeboxes.
Today is the last day to get them on the truck.
We're good though, 'cause Tyler dropped them off on his way to work.
(thanks, Hon!)

We went to Walmart and the boys and girls split up with our allotted money.
(The boys went over budget by $3, but the girls were under by $5, so we're okay)
I was really proud of Lily;
she was really purposeful and thoughtful with her selections.
(I imagine the boys were, too, but I wasn't with them...)
Some items she shunned because they'd take up too much room in the box,
others she thought wouldn't provide long-term enjoyment, so we passed.
Lexi, on the other hand, was wowed by glitz;
she didn't end up with a lot of say in the contents,
although we did go with her choice when we could.
We had a small Tinkerbell back-pack that we were really unsure of.
It was cute, but probably not very durable.
But it was cute....
So we prayed while we were waking through the store that God would help us decide.
And I immediately thought of fabric.
Lily and Lexi play with fabric more than just about anything;
the same piece of cloth can be a dress, a cape, a veil, a bag, a picnic blanket, etc
(all in the same day, even....)
We put the back-pack back and went to the fabric dept.
All the fabric we liked would put us over-budget,
but then I remembered that I had a whole bolt of cute, colorful polka-dot knit fabric at home!
(which is how we managed to come in under-budget ;-)
Oh ~ we also found a little baby doll without a tag of any kind, but she was by far our favorite.
We looked and looked for another one with tags, even checking the baby department, but didn't find one.
We went back to toys, and grabbed the lone doll, hoping that the cashier would be nice, and sell it to us anyways (maybe for a dollar?) 
She picked up the doll and said, "Do you know how much this is supposed to cost?" 
I told her I was so sorry, but I had no clue; we couldn't find another one anywhere, and she rang it up for $1!!

As soon as we got home, we packed our boxes.
There was a lot of rearranging.
We stuffed 'em so full, we had to tie them shut, but we managed to get everything in.
I paid for the shipping online, so we got a bar-code to tape onto the box,
and we'll be able to track our boxes and find out where the go :-)
Jeremiah kept saying it would be so cool if we could go along to deliver the boxes
and show the kids everything.
Maybe someday, Kiddo; maybe someday....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

for the files, just in case

A solution made of 50% Simple Green and 50% water
excels at getting lovely silky Colorix crayon out of carpet.
You might want to file that away somewhere,
just so you have it,
you know,
in case you ever have an 8 year old vacuuming,
and he happens to drag and melt and smear royal blue crayon all over the house.
And after he realizes what he is doing,
chooses to continue
dragging and melting and smearing crayon with the vacuum, 
"Mom says the carpets need to be cleaned anyways."
And if this should ever happen to you,
 though I seriously doubt that it would,
you may want to check the roller thing on your vacuum,
just to make sure there aren't any bits of blue left in there....

And if,
you happen to set your metal chair leg (the one without the plastic cap, of course)
 with your full weight on it
on your dog's tail,
hydrogen peroxide works wonders on blood...

Such things likely will never happen in your home,
and certainly not in succession,
but if they ever did,
a fuzzy navel (or two)
may do a decent job of restoring your sanity, or at least some semblance of it...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

cottage garden, a quilt

Linking up with Amanda Jean and  Elizabeth again. 
I've actually fit in a bit of reading this week: Sarah Veblen's Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting,
which I'm borrowing from the library, but think I may need to purchase to have on hand as a resource!

I've told ya'll before how amazing my friend is.
I don't do a lot of gift-giving for birthdays, but I do usually give one to Eva.
And if possible, I like it to be hand-made.
(not that I think hand-made gifts are necessarily better than store-bought,
but gosh, I do like to make stuff more than I like to buy stuff...)
As a bonus, the time I spend working on her gift,
is time I spend reflecting on her and the gift of her friendship all these years,
so it's a win all the way around.
(assuming she likes my gift, that is...)

This year, fresh on my mind when it was time to start thinking about her gift,
We couldn't have pulled off the reception without her.
she was a huge help!
Eva loves my kids well; and she loves me well.
So this year, I wanted to make her something extra special.
Something that would remind her daily
that she is loved.

I knew that she liked this quilt pattern, so that was what I was going to make.
I was going to use her living room pictures as inspiration for the fabrics,
but I couldn't actually get my hands on pictures of her pictures....
I went shopping anyways, figuring I'd just pull something together.
Nothing was speaking to me. At all.

I went fabric shopping again, still with that quilt pattern in mind.
Quilting cottons were 50% off at Hancocks, and it was the last day of the sale,
and it was already mid October, so I really needed to get my fabrics chosen.
I grabbed a few I liked, that I thought Eva would like,
but I just wasn't feeling it.

you know how I hate laying out the quilt blocks? This one was giving me even more fits than usual (spent 4 hours total, just on the lay-out. Lame!) blocks were falling off left and right, so I was laying out just a few rows at a time, then sewing 'em up, and pinning them back on the 'design wall'. I had huffing and puffing and sweating and trying to lay out a few more rows and reminding myself just how much I loved my friend, when Lexi came in, clapped her hands together and said, "Oh! My favorite part!"

And something was bugging me just a little;
I wasn't sure I wanted her throw to be for the living room.
I kinda thought I wanted it to be more of a cozy sit in her bedroom with her Bible study quilt
but with some browns, should she want it in the living room...

Then, I saw this fabric

and the rest was history.
Eva loves cottage gardens and English tea-time.
She's a great note-writer and dabbles in calligraphy (or decorative writing, at least),
so I wanted all of that to be reflected in the quilt.
I couldn't see the fabrics I'd chosen working with the pattern I'd planned,though,
I scrapped that idea and decided to go with 4" patchwork squares.

I was able to find almost all of the fabric at Hancocks that day,
including the back and binding,
found one more at Hobby Lobby,
and ordered just a few more text pieces off of etsy a few days later.

I spent a good chunk of my weekend alone working on it, but only managed to get the top pieced.
Monday I pieced the back and Brandon helped me baste it that evening.
I spray basted for the first time.
It was definitely easier than pin basting, but I used about half of a big can of basting spray
which is not cheap (and I thought I'd read that you could baste 8 throw sized quilts with one can?!
and it sure didn't seem like I was using an excessive amout, but maybe I was?)
so I'm not sure that will be my go-to method.
I started quilting it on Tuesday.
And started unpicking a whole bunch of nasty stitches Tuesday afternoon.
I've never unpicked quite so many stitches on one quilt before!
Then I took my machine back to the shop on Wednesday.
(it still isn't quite right. grrr)
The quilting isn't anywhere near perfect, even with all my unpicking,
but I figured if Eva can look past all my imperfections and love me anyways, maybe she could overlook the quilt's?

Saturday ended up being full, and I was only able to put in about 30 minutes on it,
 so on Sunday, I was starting to panic that I wouldn't finish by her birthday.
Which I thought was Tuesday.
Until I happened to see on my computer (on Monday) that Monday was the 12th, not Tuesday.
Which really was fine, since our kids have TKD together on Tuesdays, and I'd planned to deliver it via them.
I worked my poor fingers so hard on Monday to get the  binding sewn on in record time, they're still sore.
But, finish on time, I did ~ around 11:30 Tuesday morning, which gave me plenty of time to wash and dry it
(it shrunk almost 6 inches both ways! gah!) and snap a few pictures, before wrapping it up right before walking out the door.

And then, her kids didn't go to TKD!
So there I was, with this gift I'd worked so hard to finish 'on time' and it hadn't been delivered.
It was going to sit there for two more days, until the next TKD class.
Not acceptable!
At my sweet hubby's suggestion, we all hopped in the car around 8:45 Tuesday night,
stopped at Walmart to buy ice-cream treats,
and showed up at her house a little past 9.
(I did send a text giving her a 10 min. heads-up. I'm nice like that ;-)

Happy Birthday, precious friend. I love you more than words can say!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the nerve

I'm getting a little tired of having to put my money where my mouth is with this one.

For several years,
I've maintained
that when you find the one with whom you want to spend your life,
you ought to just get on with it.
No long courtship and engagement nonsense.

the kid got engaged
and just a few weeks later came to us and said they wouldn't proceed without our blessing,
but they'd prayed about it
and didn't see any reason why they ought not just go on ahead and get married.
In just a few more weeks!
Seeing that I'm nothing if not vocal - he knew what I'd say.
What I'd have to say....
I knew something was up when Tony called after 9:00 Tuesday night and said, 
"Can we stop by?"
I mean, Van Buren is not exactly on their way home from work...
Of course, I said, "Sure!"

It's probably worth noting
(at least for me)
that Tuesday was a bad day.
Election aside.
Cycle-wise, it was a very bad, no good day.

 Ton' starts telling us about joining the Marines.
And we started telling him why he ought not do that,
and definitely not now.
He's newly married for goodness sake!
And what about the scholarships  I  we worked so hard to get?!
The kid is getting paid to go to school.
You don't just throw that away.
And why not the Army, at least? Or the Air Force - they get maid service...
And what about deployment?
And death?
And who/what does our military even fight for nowadays anyways?

Then he pulls out the golden ticket.
"I just really feel like its what we're supposed to do. Like I'd be being disobedient [to God] if I didn't join the Marine Corps."

Well. Crap.
Nothing I can say to that one.
It's what we try to train all of our kids for;
to be obedient to the Lord.

I am proud of him.
And I will be happy for him,
but for now, I'm looking at it selfishly 
and I'm just going to miss him.
Dad-gum obedient little cuss.

Monday, November 12, 2012

senior pictures

Saturday, I spent a few hours with Andrew, snapping senior pictures.
I really wanted to go later in the day, but that didn't work out, so we had some pretty harsh sun.
I wasn't overly pleased with my work, but here are my favorites.
I'm hoping maybe we can run out another time or two, spur of the moment, when the light promises to be fabulous. 
But it's pretty hard meeting up with a teenager...

I love this one ~ He'd said, "I know it's kinda weird, and most Seniors probably wouldn't want to take their picture in front of it,
but I kinda want to do one with the national cemetery in the background."
 I took the opportunity to encourage him that what everyone else thinks doesn't matter....
I ended up not being real thrilled with the 'real' shots I got, but after I took them,
before moving on, he turned and just looked at the cemetery for a second.
It being the day before Veteran's Day and all, I got a little misty...

 They may end up hiring Roselle to do his pictures,
and that's fine with me ~ I really don't have a clue what I'm doing
and I don't feel like I got any 'wow' shots,
but I had fun,
and was glad to get to spend a few hours with a great young man.
It made me want - even more than before - to learn my camera.

I can also see why photographers charge so much for senior pics ;-)

My prayer for Andrew is that he will be filled with the knowledge of God's will through spiritual wisdom and understanding.

natural dam

I don't look at sidebars ~ okay, well, once I did, but as a general rule,
nope; I just don't see 'em.
All that advertising is lost on the likes of me.
One day, I happened to see my sister's name pop up on the side bar on facebook.
She'd commented on a picture, so I went and looked at it.
A friend of hers had gone camping near some waterfalls and the pictures were just gorgeous!
And ever since,
I've wanted to go visit some of the waterfalls nearby.

Friday, Tyler had taken the day off 
(he loses his vacation days if he doesn't take them by the end of the year. We usually try to save some for emergencies, 
but in the absence of emergencies, well, he ends up needing to take a few days off still as the year draws to an end)
and the weather was fantastic,
so we just up and decided to take a picnic and head to a waterfall.
I wanted something fairly close (2 hours or so) and an easy hike.
After a quick search,
Tyler had settled on Petit Jean.
Close, but the hike to get to the fall was listed as 'moderate to strenuous' and 2 1/2 miles round trip.
I wasn't sure my foot was up to that.
So he found a smaller, closer one, with no hiking required
and we took off.

We had a fabulously restful time exploring and enjoying all the beauty God created.

Lexi kept saying, "Don't worry about me. I've got this."

That driftwood was heavy! The girls worked together to get it down from the dam. They wanted to bring it home,
but Tyler said we'd just burn it. So we left it. But I loved that they loved the driftwood.

On the drive - Josiah kept calling out that he'd seen a 'rainbow tree' ~ this tree truly was.
There were plum colored leaves, oranges and reds and yellows and greens. I wish I were a better photographer!

The boys were sliding down that big flat rock behind the one they're climbing on. I was just waiting for a crash...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

pinwheels in Autumn

This quilt has been a long time coming.

I started collecting fabrics back in February of last year.

I finally acquired enough to suit my fancy 
and cut them all when I went on my lovely weekend away in early August.
(I cut way more than I needed.... shocker ;-)

I started sewing the pinwheels not long after.

I pieced the patchwork squares in late September. 

I finally got it all put together and basted in January of this year.

I started quilting it  right away.

I finished the quilting, except for the outer border and corner pinwheels in June
and set it aside, again paralyzed with indecision.

I really wanted to enter it in the Bloggers Quilt Festival, so I pulled it back out last week
and decided how I would finish the quilting,
and an hour later, that part was done.

Then I made a scrappy binding, sewed it on by machine, then sewed it down on the back by hand.
Then I remembered I still needed to add the addresses to the 5 verses in the inner border.
So, over the course of a few days,  I did that too.

And last night, I  finished it!
(But not in time to enter it in the festival. pooh.)
It's far from perfect, but I love it anyways.
And I'm so happy to finally be done ;-)

linking up with Elizabeth's with needle and thREAD, (but no reading has been happening ;-)
and AmandaJean's Finish it Fridays