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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Look what I did!

A year or so ago, I got to help my neighbor do some minor sewing for a local music theater company.  It was really fun and it turns out they kept my name and number because I got a call last week asking if I would be willing to help sew for the Music Man.  I said yes! and just finished up this dress:

I'm very proud of myself because I only had a pattern to follow for about half of the dress.  The other half was the lady who designed it telling me she wanted it "like this".  Tremendously helpful, but I think it turned out really well.

Here's the back; you can't see it because of her pretty hair, but the zipper is fabulous!

I put in this picture to prove that the girl I made the dress for actually does like it!

In fact, she's going to be directing a production of Into the Woods in the fall (just a community group, I think) and she asked me to help sew for that show.  I'm super excited!  I love sewing and it thrills me when other people think I do a good job!  I'm also very excited and a little surprised to realize how much progress I've made in the last two years.  I knew how to do everything on this dress and it turned out exactly the way I expected it to.  I'm a seamstress, who knew?

Monday, January 24, 2011

I didn't ..... anything I severely regretted later.  I caught up on my sleep and sent several lucid and well-thought out emails.  I also reminded myself that Graeme's teachers are good people and are doing the best job they can. I will just keep standing up for my child and badgering, um gently nudging, his teachers into doing a better job.

It probably helped that I went to Weight Watchers Friday and found out that I've lost the 5 or 6 pounds I gained over the holidays plus one more.  And I'm up to jogging 5 and 1/2 minutes (three times) in addition to the rest of my gym workout.  The weight's not coming off fast, but I'm learning to accept that's the way it's got to be.  Plus I'm feeling over all much healthier and that's never bad!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So very tired

I'm exhausted.  I'm pretty sure I was asleep before 11pm, but I woke up around 2:45am and couldn't go back to sleep.  Not at all.  I stayed in bed trying to sleep until 5:20 when I gave up and got up with Chloe.

I think the problem was the conversation I had with Graeme's teacher yesterday afternoon.  It seems Graeme's acting up in class again (big surprise) and she just wanted to let me know.  She was pretty sure part of the problem is some boys teasing him so she's been keeping a closer watch (apparently) and she considering moving Graeme farther away from one particular boy.  Just out of curiousity I asked if she had called the other boy's mother.  Here's the response: NO.

Then today I got another email from Graeme's other teacher complaining about his behavior in class.  I have to admit, I'm not sure what she expects me to do.  I'M NOT THERE.  I'll talk to him (some more) but I just don't understand why she can't solve this problem herself.  She's the teacher, she's there, I'M NOT.  I would be willing to take more responsibility for his behavior except we've already been through this with Chloe.  Four years of teachers at that school telling me what a horrible child she was and now that she's in a different school she's getting straight A's, her teachers love her and she loves school.  What's changed?  Hmmmmm.

I'm this close to doing something I will severely regret later.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chloe's math project

Back before the Christmas break, Chloe's math class was studying ratios so her teacher gave them an assignment to take a small object and make it big (using correct math, of course).  Chloe chose to do a Laffy Taffy bar and has been working on it ever since.  It was supposed to be due right after the break, but her teacher changed the due date to last Thursday and then changed it again so it's due tomorrow.  Chloe's project is finally done and she worked really hard on it.  If she doesn't get an A I'm going to have words with her teacher!

Here's Chloe with the original Laffy Taffy:

And here's Chloe's project:

Here are the two together:

Pretty impressive, eh?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pinewood Derby

Last night was Graeme's first ever Pinewood Derby.  He and Brian worked very hard on his car and I think the final product was pretty darn impressive.  Behold, the Triceracar!

I'm not sure what was most impressive, the frill and horns or the fact that it weighed exactly 5 ounces.

Graeme was certainly pleased with the final product.

Unfortunately, the Triceracar had more style than speed.  I thought Graeme would be really upset when his car didn't win, but I think he just really enjoyed watching it go.  He was very cute when they started giving out the awards; as they called names he became sadder and sadder because he thought he wasn't going to get any award.  When they finally called his name his whole face lit up!  He got a certificate for the "Best Use of Imagination" which he wants to frame and hang on his wall :)

After the Scouts had all raced, they let anybody else who had a car jump in and race.  Chloe made a car last year that she brought.  It's very pink.

Her car was very fast and she ended up beating everyone else!

The kids all had a great time, but we felt bad afterwards that Kai didn't have a car to race.  Oh well, he'll be a Cub Scout too, one day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who You Are

A surprising truth that I've learned recently is that I love my Primary calling.  Those lessons aren't written for children, they're written for me.  Yesterday we talked about our premortal life and how Jesus volunteered to be our Savior because he loves us so much.  And even though I've known this all my life, it hit me:  God is the father of my spirit!  Jesus is my older brother!  They both love me and KNOW me.  I'm not just another face in a crowd of billions, I'm known and loved and I have a purpose and a part to play here on earth.

There's a song on the Hilary Weeks album that Angie gave me that just sums this up perfectly.  It's called "Who You Are"

I know you wonder if you'll ever have a day
When the kids stay calm, the laundry's done and the dishes are put away
And sometimes you feel like your days are spent and gone
And the question running through your mind is what have I gotten done?
And when you finally have a moment to slow down
At the end of your day, I know Father would say

Believe in what you're doing
Believe in who you are
Hold tight to the truth that you're a daughter of God
Believe in who you're becoming
Believe in who you are

It may seem simple - all the little things you do
But the lives you touch matter so much
And there's no one else like you
And Father needs you to stand tall and faithful
To be all you can be
Oh, if you could see what He sees, you'd

Believe in what you're doing
Believe in who you are
Hold tight to the truth that you're a daughter of God
Believe in who you're becoming
Believe in who you are

When it's hard to believe in yourself
And you feel like you're beginning to doubt

He believes in what you're doing
He believes in who you are
Don't lose sight of the truth that you're a daughter of God
That He believes in who you're becoming
He believes in who you are

I believe.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sue and company - #20

Sue is my second-to-oldest sister so I thought she should be next.  When I asked her if I could blog about her, she told me as long as I used old pictures it would be okay.  As I was searching for some old pictures to use, I came across some of my mission pictures and had to put them in to prove that I was, in fact, once thin.  Wasn't I cute?

Anyway, back to Sue.  Sue is older than me, but I'm not exactly sure by how much.  I think five years.  I didn't really know her growing up because of the age difference but now she's one of my best friends.  She has a great blog here.  She lives in another state south of here which makes me very sad because I don't get to see her very often but we talk on the phone almost every day.  Thank goodness for phones!  She's married with two kids, here's her cute son:

And her equally cute daughter (she's the same age as Graeme):

Sue married an Air Force guy and has lived in many different places.  When her son was born, they were living in Germany.  She had a very difficult delivery and my poor nephew ended up in the NICU for several months.  You'd never know it now, thank goodness.  Now he's a healthy, active boy.  I love and admire Sue.  She's overcome many things in her life.  I know, everybody has, but Sue is an exceptionally good example to me of what you can accomplish if you'll only put your mind to it.

I'm sad to say that I don't have any pictures of Sue's hubby that aren't recent with her in them so you'll just have to check out her blog to see him.  Love ya, Sis!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Angie - #19

I am going to finish this 38 posts thing if it kills me!

Angie is one of my visiting teachers and I can't begin to express my gratitude for her.  Before Angie came along, I never had a visiting teacher who was consistent and who I felt was my friend.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a horrible visiting teacher myself so I'm certainly not judging any of those previous visiting teachers.  I just never really appreciated the program until Angie was assigned to me. 

She lives down the street from me and we have some things in common (we both served our missions in Portugal for one) so we knew each other and were more or less friends before the whole visiting teaching thing.  She owns a wedding decorating business and she works at a Dominoe's pizza place.  She's also married and has five kids; her oldest daughter babysat my kids on occasion (Kai LOVES Ashlee!), her second oldest was in my Activity Days group, her son is the same age as Chloe and her second to youngest daughter has been in Chloe's Activity Days group.  Needless to say, she's very busy but she still manages to make time to come visit or check on me at least once a month.

I'm just so impressed with Angie's kindness and patience.  I've never seen her even come close to losing her temper with her children and she always has a positive thing to say in the midst of trials and tribulation.  She's one of those people who help me to feel calm because there's a quiet stillness about her.  She's a big believer in provident living so she cans and jams like a crazy woman.  One time I complained to her about raspberries so she went home, picked a big bucketful and brought it to me with a jar of fresh jam.  After listening to me whine and moan all year about various things, she bought me a CD for Christmas (Hilary Weeks) and took the time to write a long letter telling me how much she loves me and appreciates my friendship and how the songs on this album have helped her and she hopes they'll help me.  Incidentally, I had never heard of Hilary Weeks, but it turns out I have heard at least one of her songs: "He Hears Me".  I highly recommend it.  And of course, Angie was right.  In spite of my constant cynicism when it comes to LDS pop music, I love Hilary Weeks.

And I love Angie.  I guess my last New Year's resolution is to be a better visiting teacher.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (eventually)

Well, by Christmas Kai and Chloe were still pretty sick puppies so we stayed home instead of visiting family.  I was a little sad, but it was fun to stay in our jammies all day and through the miracle of opening presents nobody was grumpy the whole day!  Hooray!  And their fevers vanished a few short days later.  Now if we could just get rid of the coughing and congestion....

Anyway, here are some pictures in completely random order.  Enjoy! 

These are the kids' new Sunday duds.  I apologize for the pictures, I tried everything I could and they still keep publishing sideways.  Oh well.  I had to put them in, though, because I made Chloe's dress and it turned out fantastic!  The dress itself is a pink Christmas plaid with a shiny gold thread running through it and the jacket is crushed velvet with sparkly sequins all over it.  She loves it and I guess that's what's most important.  But I'm still pretty proud of myself!

Unwrapping on Christmas morning.

Unwrapping non-Santa presents.

Our impromptu Christmas ham.  We were planning on going to my Mom and Dad's for Christmas dinner but couldn't because of sick kids.  So we did a ham, but we forgot to buy some pineapple rings and decided to make do with pineapple tidbits.  It tasted great, but looking at it cracked me up.

I don't know why I've never bought the kids Bendaroos before, they are my new favorite toy!  Little scenes like this one appeared all over the livingroom walls.  All three kids were involved and they even worked together without arguing!  Maybe I should have taken a picture of that instead to remind myself that peace and unity in my home is not actually impossible.  I don't know, maybe it was just a beautiful dream.  Sigh.

When Chloe and Graeme were little one of my sisters gave us the Little People Nativity.  My kids have loved it so much that this year I added the Inn at Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men sets.  It's so cool, now we have six wise men and four camels!  My life is complete.

I stuck this picture in as an explanation of why I was so crazy busy in the days leading up to Christmas.  This year I spent a lot of time sewing gifts.  I made three I Spy bags for a friend of mine (complete with embroidered names), lots of Christmas hot pads, Chloe's dress, jammies for the kids, two dinos for each kid in the same fabric as the jammies, and these hooded towels (also complete with embroidered names).  I know, I'm crazy, but I really do enjoy sewing and I have precious few years left to sew for my own kids.  Besides, handmade gifts can't be returned to the store.  Mwa ha ha ha!

I guess if you can overlook the 103 fevers, congestion and coughing, Christmas was actually pretty good.  My sister-in-law came to visit (hooray!), which helped us all to feel a little less isolated, Brian and I didn't get sick (yet) and we got everything done before Christmas Day.  We even got to go visit my folks a couple of days later (I got to hold the baby!), got the house cleaned and un-decorated and went to see Tangled (which I really loved).

As for New Year's, the kids went to bed at the usual time and Brian and I shared a kiss as the ball dropped in Times Square.  It was quiet and no one threw up (unlike last year).  I'll try not to take it personally that the oven broke on New Year's Day, Brian can't drive his car because the door won't close tight (too cold) and Kai's cough is getting worse.  Really.  It's going to be a great year, I can tell.