Sunday, December 14, 2008

ho ho ho

L: Mommy, is Santa Clause real?
Me: No
L: Good, cause I want to be bad.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Despite the look from this picture, I did not celebrate my birthday alone. On Sunday, November second, my actual date of birth, I was treated to lunch at Gertrude's by some girlfriends. That same evening, another special girlfriend came over with food and cupcakes to watch a movie with me. The following day, my folks celebrated with me over a lovely meal prepared by my mom. This particular moment captured on my new camera(yay! and thanks family!) is funny because the reason I'm smiling/laughing is because my adorable five-year-old daughter is screaming in the other room. Why is that funny? Well, sometimes I just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. She was having a particularly difficult evening, and by the time dessert rolled around, she was being disciplined until she could settle down. She wasn't allowed to join the rest of us until she could and here she was screaming, "I'm calmed down now!!"

Today, a whole week later, she asked me if she could sing Happy Birthday to me, because she didn't get a chance to. I had forgotten that she missed out on the singing and presenting of the cake (which only added to her fury, but I wasn't going to let my birthday wait on her unpredictable attitude). Anyway, it was a very nice birthday... even if my special cookie arrived the day after due to a mistake on UPS's fault. It just made celebrating last a little longer.

The trees (these in the East yard) always put on their most colorful leaves to celebrate the occasion.

Here is more glorious foliage, an example of our Creator's great work. The boys play on the tire swing in the background of the yard at "Mrs. A's" preschool.

So I'm teaching art this year at a home school co-op... On Halloween my third grade class finished up their paper masks. D is in that class, he's on the far right, his mask reminds me a little of Darth Maul. K wishes he was in my class too, and often tries out our projects at home. He made his horned mask and then made a kitty one for his little sister. (What a sweet big brother!)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Costume Cuteness!

On left Z, L's best friend, and surrogate sister, is Sparkle Mist fairy. On the right, L as Princess Hello Kitty. I made L's costume, a stroke of genius, I think. :) White fleece pillow like head stitched to a hood lining I made. I copied the design from a placemat L already has. The tiarra was from Target $1 bin. I drew a yellow nose on L, but it didn't really show up. L picked the fabrics for the dress out of my stash and told me how she wanted it to look, then I made fleece underthings and mittens (not shown) to keep her warm. She got lots of compliments and double takes, "Oh, it's Hello Kitty!"

Left, D is a glow in the dark skeleton again, which simplified things for me. Center, Puss in Boots, he's not mine, but oh, so cute! His parents made his costume! On the Right, K as Teen Titans Robin. I made this one from scratch too. I cut the sleeves off a red t-shirt and sewed on green ones. I used a p.j. pant pattern I developed for the green pants (which will now be worn as p.j. pants!) I bought the green cotton rib knit and yellow poly double knitfrom The black poly I purchased last year at Walmart. The cape is a separate piece, I didn't use a pattern, just sort of guessed at it, and it worked ok. I made his gloves by tracing my hand as a pattern, knowing his hands are just a bit smaller than mine. The mask is white fun foam and black paper tied on with string.
And I grabbed a pair of L's kitty ears and pinned a tail to my darkest jeans, paired with a black sweater, and drew on some whiskers and a nose and I was all set to trick or treat with the kiddos!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blog? What Blog?

Yesterday, Lil Miss turned five years old. The night before her birthday I took out her baby book, which was also my prenatal journal and read some of the entries to her. I was surprised that I took the time to write so much in the midst of very difficult circumstances, and was pleased to relive some of those very happy moments.

That said, I have noticed that I haven't taken much time to write or journal, here or elsewhere over the past many months. And it's a shame really. I've been spending my free moments sewing for my kids and myself, maintaining important friendships or taking deep breaths... it's a very busy year for us and it's only just begun. L is in preschool this year, three days a week, which she LOVES and requires about 4.5 hrs of driving a week for me (Ugh). Also this year we are in a home school co-op which is stretching all of us in good ways. I'm teaching third grade art, and the boys are getting some subjects I don't have to teach at home. The kids have all made some nice friends, but it is one more thing on the calendar each week.

So, the blogging hiatus hasn't been due to anything bad in particular. Things are going generally well for the kids and me, just a change in circumstances that require me to be "on duty" a whole lot more than before. Unfortunately, swing dancing has been placed on the back burner for the time being, but I hope to resume my efforts in swing and Lindy Hop once again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

I'm presently out in Cheyenne, Wyoming, visiting my brother and his family on F. E. Warren AFB. Last weekend it was Fort D.A. Russell Days and also the beginning of Frontier Days. It's the biggest thing that happens around here and there's a lot to do and see. So far we've watched a parade, seen civil war reenactments (I missed this because D fainted and I had to take him to the ER)*, historic house tour on base, Indian flute playing, Native American Dances, Thunderbirds Air Show, and "The Daddy of 'em All" CFD Rodeo. And there's still more to do!

*D had been tired, Johnny's kids have been sick and we (the doctor's and I) think that he was suffering the onset of a virus coupled with the heat and some dehydration. We had been watching the Trotters (a civil war horse battalion doing called manoeuvres) and been invited over to pet the horses. While I was helping L to pet a horse on it's nose, I heard a thud and D had fallen down. We quickly got someone to call 911 and then he came to. I moved him into the shade and immediately some military personnel came over with a cooler full of ice water and tried cooling him down. Within minutes the ambulance had arrived. D was able to climb on himself, but he was ashen faced and very tired. They ran tests (all negative) and gave him IV fluids and after a couple hours let us go. He's been improving each day, but the other kids have gotten the cough, gunky nose, bloodshot eyes virus from their cousins.... so we're trying to break up the activities with periods of rest.

Here are some pictures: Home on the Range
Indian Village

Friday, July 04, 2008


I spent last weekend at Beantown Camp in Beverly, MA. It's dance camp for adults and it was absolutely fabulous! I can't remember the last time I had so much non-stop fun. So instead of boring all of you with the rundown of my weekend, I thought I'd just list my favorite things about it, in no particular order.

1. Beverly, Massachusetts is a very quaint little town. I fell in love with it the second I saw the knee high stone walls that bordered the streets.

2. Endicott College campus, where camp was held, is absolutely beautiful. While the campus map was impossible to comprehend, it provided opportunity to explore the campus to find my classes. I found a lovely little path which led to a bridge over a pond, complete with croaking frogs and ducks.

3. Camp food. The food was good, and I'm not going to complain about any food I didn't have to cook or clean up after, even if there wasn't any beef served (that I can recall).

4. Alone time. Because I drove the 8 hours to and from camp and also didn't know anyone who would be there, I was afforded lots of much needed alone time. Since I didn't bring anyone or know anyone, I felt no obligations to anyone. I came and went to classes, meals and dances as I pleased.

5. Fun, Talented Instructors. A few of the instructors seemed really familiar to me, and I'm not sure if it is because I watched videos of them on Youtube or saw pictures of them on the Beantown website, or what... I think I actually had Jojo and Kevin at a Charm City Swing workshop, but I'm not sure. Personal favorites: Evita and Michael, Marty (so adorable I kept making mistakes because I was distracted by his cuteness) and Sylvia, Ryan and Jenny (famous UK dancers with credentials longer than my arm) and Eric the amazing hiphop/ movement instructor (I was feeling his class for days afterward).

6. Social dance time. Every night there was a dance giving us all opportunity to practice the days lessons and to fake at being better dancers than we really are. I was happily surprised to have several of the more experienced leads ask me to dance and show me how it's done.

7. Diverse people. From a grumpy octogenarian to the perky 18yr old hiphop dancer; French Canadians and Brits; many races, religions and origins. There were even French Canadians. Overall I found this diverse group fun and welcoming to a newbie like myself. I do hope to get back there again.

8. Dancing all day. Can't feel guilty about eating dessert at lunch and dinner when you're moving all day long :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Six Million Dollar Man Intro

Six Million Dollar DAD

So dad is doing pretty well now. He's back home, moving about the lower level of the house and the upper area of the "ground" in his wheelchair. It will take a lot of physical therapy and another surgery to get him back to full mobility. We learned this week that he will need a new shoulder. I have a joke with my kids when they get hurt that I ask them if I need to go to the ____(fill in the hurt body part) and get them a new _______(body part). Usually this makes them laugh, but if it doesn't, I suggest that we'd better hurry in case they run out of the little kid parts, and we get stuck with hairy man parts and then I get a little chuckle. Well, I had no idea you could actually get a new shoulder! It's pretty cool, really, but will be a major surgery and can't happen until dad is ambulatory perhaps in a few months. When all is done, my dad will have lots of metal in him... not sure if his surgeries and care will total six mill, but it's getting close to one.

"Gentleman, we can rebuild him....better, stronger...."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hanging on

Dad was in a motorcycle accident last week. He'll be alright, eventually. His doctor's expect a full recovery, it's just going to take a long time to heal his two broken legs and bum shoulder. Because of this and some other stuff I've been clinging to these verses a friend sent me. I thought I'd share the blessing.

From Isaiah 43
...listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

5 "Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

10 You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God—
there never has been, and there never will be.
11 I, yes I, am the Lord,
and there is no other Savior.
12 First I predicted your rescue,
then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world.
No foreign god has ever done this.
You are witnesses that I am the only God,"
says the Lord.
13 "From eternity to eternity I am God.
No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
No one can undo what I have done."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Twins! sort of

My latest project was a birthday gift for L's best friend. L requested that I make "Twin dresses" with the pink and white fabric I promised to make her a dress from (last year). There wasn't enough of that fabric to make a "Spinny dress" so I incorporated some soft pink cotton knit fabric, the last of my pink knit stash I'm afraid. But the dresses turned out super cute. Here are the girls, Z on left and L on right.

Celebrating Z's birthday was a pretty big deal too, since her birth nearly killed her and her mom. I'm happy to report that both are doing great, five years later. Mother and daughter are spunky and adorable as ever.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Where did April go?

April breezed on by because we've had a bunch of things happening. We started the month getting ready for our first Eternal Blessings home school science fair. K's project was to make a battery from lemons. It worked in the sense that we got some voltage from the lemons, but not enough to actually power anything, not even an LED. But it was fun nevertheless. The other kids projects were great too.

I've always wanted to go to Longwood Gardens in the Springtime, and so, Oma treated the kids and me to a very lovely day there in mid April.
The new Children's Garden was the highlight, and it was hard to tear them away, but we took lots of pictures, and will certainly visit again now that we're on Oma and Grandpa's membership :)

Then we had a trip to tour Baltimore's Fireboats. Not only were the two boats we boarded extremely cool, one being very old and antiquated and yet still fully functional, the other brand-spanking new (by about 2 yrs) and under repair because electrical problems, we also got to see a water show where the boats exhibited their awesome ability to put out fires with Inner Harbor water (ew). And since my crew needed to use the lav, we also got to see the firehouse and use real firemen bathrooms (it was cleaner than mine at home, but that's not saying much.)

When we got to the car to go home, with a quick stop at Ft. McHenry, we discovered the spray from the boats had landed all over the Green Machine. Disgusting. I don't even want to know what makes the harbor water leave such a nasty residue, but it's taken 3 days of heavy rains to wash it off.

I must also mention that I was stopped (while L was on the verge of a tantrum) by a PBS reporter and cameraman to talk about what I think about when I look at that big flag. I had nothing brilliant to say, because I was thinking only of my four year old daughter who was refusing to use her own legs to walk. But later, on the way home, in the solitude of the car (the kids were either asleep or otherwise occupied) I did think of some things I would have said to that PBS man. I would have told him that the flag reminds me how blessed I am to live in such a country where I have so many freedoms. I am also reminded of a friend who's in Iraq right now, my AF chaplain brother, and the rest of our military doing their jobs to promote peace, stability and freedom. I am thankful that there are such people who do those jobs so willingly and I'm proud to know a couple of them.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My New Favorite Fairytale

After finishing the good books sent at Christmas from my brother's family, and Robin Hood, I've moved on to reading fairy tales to the children at bedtime. On Easter, my mom presented me with a book that belonged to my grandmother. It's a Reader's Digest collection titled "The World's Best Fairy Tales" and it's quite good. The boys are eating these stories up, "Read another one, Mommy." It even has some decent illustrations. On Thursday and Friday I read the Hans Christian Anderson story called "The Snow Queen*" for the very first time and it is now my favorite fairy tale. Here is my summary.
It begins with an evil mirror breaking, the shards of which fall and corrupt those they pierce. A boy named Kay gets a splinter of this mirror in his eye causing him to see everything that is beautiful as ugly and also one in his heart which begins to turn it to ice. He then meets up with the Snow Queen and she chills him even further with her wicked kisses. But Kay has a faithful and loving friend, Gerda, who goes looking for him and has many adventures along the way winning people to help her on her journey for she is true and loyal to her friend. Eventually she finds him and he is nearly frozen in the Queen's icy castle, where he is trying to spell the word "love" to free himself but he can't remember how. Gerda rushes to him crying, her tears melt his frozen heart and as he too, begins to cry at the sight of his dear friend, his tears wash away the splinter in his eye. He then remembers how to spell "love" freeing him from the Queen's power. After a long journey home, hand in hand, they discover they have grown up and it is summer.

Also we watched Disney's "Enchanted" last weekend, and since we are becoming well versed in fairy tales, it was even more fun. The children were identifying which parts belonged to the different stories, and since parts of the movie are in cartoon, Little Miss was also pleased with the choice.

*The version that I have linked is slightly different than the one in my book, but only in little details.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I made my annual pilgrimage to Lilburn, GA, an Atlanta suburb, last week. I had asked K what he wanted to do for his birthday and he said he wanted to spend it with his cousins! So I planned to come a little earlier than his birthday so we could also celebrate my sister's forty-fourth. I offered to watch all of the kiddos while her hubby took her on a date for a nice dinner in the revolving Sun Dial restaurant in the Westin building downtown. They even brought back a delicious pecan tart for my dessert.... absolutely fabulous!

The children have been having a blast, although today's celebration of K's 9th birthday was tinged with sadness as the evening wore on, because we leave for home in the morning.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hello, Hello Kitty Dress

After making L the "Ballet Dress" she hardly wore anything else. Everytime it needed washing, it was a sad, sad day... So I made another dress, similar, but different, since I just can't stand making two things that are identical. I searched the fabric store for some warmer, more seasonal fabric with kitties or more specifically Hello Kitty and all I could find was this flannel backed satin. I knew she'd love it, even if it's intended for sleepwear. Besides, pajamas are her second favorite thing to wear after the "Ballet Dress."

Three quarter sleeves keep them from getting as dirty (dragged in ketchup and the like) and also will transition into the Spring wardrobe despite the Winter themed print of Hello Kitty in ice scates and snowflakes.

Two tiers of gathers make this a great spinning dress, which is the true test for dresses among girls (and some women, like myself).

Twirling to her heart's content.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Results not too suprising ;) (except for the "man" part)

Your results:
You are Superman

Wonder Woman
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Swingin' into action

Look who's on this month's brochure for the Friday Night Swing Club!
Yep, it's yours truly dancing in one of my very own sewing creations, doing a little East Coast Swing with my good friend, Brian. (Those are the shoes I got for my birthday that I was so excited about! They make my feet happy too, thanks again mom and dad.)

So even when the crappy winter doldrums have got me down, I can look forward to dancing on Friday nights, which instantly lifts my spirits. But really, I think the doldrums have waned for now. I found great encouragement just the other day while out walking. I noticed tulip bulbs breaking through the cold, crusty dirt, and buds tinged with green on the Dogwood tree. I also noticed, as I was out around dusk this weekend, that the days are getting a teensy bit longer now. And while I know we've still got more winter to bear, I've seen the signs of Spring and I'm heartened by them. It was a somewhat mild day today, so I spent some time on a bench, while the kids played "mud pies," facing into the sun and trying to absorb those rays. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, and so does dancing on Friday nights.

Monday, January 21, 2008

why bother?

Lately I've been trying to decide if I still want to keep blogging. I feel like it's lost it's importance to me, having been replaced by, well, nothing really. I'm just not sure why I blog anymore. The reasons and motivations have changed over the past few years. Perhaps it's just a slump... or perhaps I'm just feeling like everything in my life these days is futile.... it must be the winter.

It is hard to feel motivated to do much around here, knowing that I'm the only one who will notice. Maybe I need to remind myself that I'm worth it, but it's not really that. It's not that I don't feel worthy of a clean, tidy house... it's that the work, the tiresome, repetitive work of maintenance goes unnoticed, unappreciated and only gets messed up again within minutes. Mopping the kitchen floor seems an invitation to spills, changing the bed linens seems an invitation to "accidents" in the night, putting all the toys away only stimulates more creative play at which time, everything comes back out again, and cooking interesting food just produces extra dirty dishes and frowns around the table. "Why can't we have___________ instead?"

So I push the boulder up the hill once more, only to watch it roll back down again.
After rereading that post from Christmas past, I am somewhat encouraged by my own musings and those writings I quoted in that post, and now I remember why I do this blog thing... to remind myself why I do any of it at all.

All for Jesus!
All for Jesus!
All my being's ransomed powers:
All my thoughts, and words and doings,
all my days and all my hours.*

Monday, January 14, 2008

kind of a mom

Watched "Nanny McPhee" tonight with the kiddos. And they were having some trouble understanding who the women in the household were at the beginning. Being middle class kids of the twenty first century it's hard to comprehend the idea of servants, cooks and housekeepers. It's made clear that the mom has died at the beginning of the film, which is the reason a nanny is needed, however, my children were perplexed with the roles of the scullery maid and cook. "Is she the mom?" they persisted in asking. "No," I replied, "she's a housekeeper. You know she brings out the food and cleans up." To which my daughter (age 4) responded matter of factly, "That's kind of a mom." I'm trying not to let that oversimplified job description irk me... and let it be a reminder to get my kids to help out more, especially with the cleaning up!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Red Door Day

Since I've been posting for a few years now, I'm sure I must have mentioned how depressing I find New Year's Eve, and just the whole New Year hubbub etc. This year isn't any exception...but I'm doing my best to fight those new year-pre-post holiday blues.
Last night was dance "therapy" and today I fought them with a very "hands on" approach. Starved for physical touch and wound tighter than a corkscrew from the stressors of single motherhood I took a "Spa Day." I thought that would be a good way to start off the year.

On my birthday a few of my friends gave me gift certificates for "spa treatments" so today I redeemed the Red Door half day of treatments that my cousin so graciously gave me. I started with a deep tissue massage (I upgraded from the "Signature Massage" which is a Swedish one, which in all honesty feels like being petted and caressed which I find a little bit creepy from a stranger) and I HIGHLY recommend it. Darlene, my masseuse, used her elbows to iron out all my kinks and recommended that I come in regularly like every 4-6 weeks for deep tissue massages, and perhaps the knots in my upper back won't get so bad. Now wouldn't that be nice? ( She worked out most of the spots, but I could have taken another 50 minutes easily.) Then a facial with Jenella ... cool name, eh? She was keen to notice my sensitive skin and was careful not to aggrevate it. She also used this tool, that kills all the bacteria on my skin with heat, I forgot what it was called, but that was a first for me and it didn't even hurt. Then on to a pedicure and manicure followed by a "complementary make-up refresher." The mani- and pedi-cures were good especially since I asked Anna the nail specialist not to cut my cuticles.... that always hurts and then stings and kind of ruins the whole relaxation experience. The color I chose for my toes, Sasha, was the same that several other women there kept choosing, I noticed this while I was waiting for my makeup. The makeup refresher was an odd experience. I've never ever had anyone apply my makeup for me, (maybe my sister did once, but I'm pretty sure she just showed me by demonstration)... anyhow, this woman had never seen me before or how I normally do my makeup and so I guess she did pretty well. I asked for a "fresh look" which to her meant lots of brown eyeshadow and pink lip gloss. She also applied some blush and mascara and lined my lower eyelids with a white liner, which I never do and I thought that it looked sort of Bambi eyed. I didn't look like a drag queen but I also didn't look like me so after I dressed I wiped about 30% of it off, blotted the gloss applied my own lip color and looked almost normal. Then I did a little shopping, got a portabella mushroom salad and tomato bisque at Donna's and came home to watch Spiderman 3.

Spiderman 3 was awesome. I wish more hero movies like that were out there. The themes of responsibility, goodness, forgiveness that are woven through the plot are classically refreshing. I know everyone has probably seen this film several times already, but this was my first viewing and it was a great movie to end a great day.