Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where did 2009 Go?

As I venture farther into adult life, I am taken by surprise every Dec. 31. Where did the last year go? It seems like I just got used to writing "09" when noting the date, and now I've got to try to remember to write "10"? Years didn't seem to zip by this quickly when I was younger.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Present

I requested a mother's day ring for Christmas this year. My husband told me that I should pick out what I wanted (he knows that I'm kind of picky when it comes to this sort of thing). I checked out the jewelry stores, but did not like what I saw. So instead of getting something that I didn't absolutely love, I had a set of stacking rings custom made by and etsian,
Through a series of emails, we worked out the details together (parents have gold bands, kids have silver; girls are faceted stones, boys are smooth). Kyle was lovely to work with -- it's like she read my mind!

Check out how GORGEOUS this is! The postal service can not go quickly enough to get it by Christmas, but I'm super excited.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Pretty Girls

I brought Mady to a *Real* photographer for her 6 month pictures. Molly came with and got a little time in front of the lens, too. I've gotten the photos back, and they are gorgeous!

Friends and Family: Let me know if you'd like to see the rest: I'll email you the link to mpix.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We're Just Not Like Other Families

A couple of days ago, in a tired-induced mini-fit, Molly complained that she didn't have any candy to eat on the bus. She insisted that all of the other kids ate candy on the bus and that she felt very left out. I told her that I understand that it must be very frustrating to be candyless when everybody else is eating sweets all the time, but that we eat healthy foods in our family and that's just the way that it is. Even though I've told her a million times, I said that candy is a special treat and not something that we eat every day. She continued to cry and fuss about her lack of candy, but she got over it by the time we got home.

Later that evening, we were working on the gift baskets that we are giving to many of our friends and family members for Christmas this year. Molly was helping me scoop potato soup mixes into baby food jars (which are the perfect size for a single serving) and decorating the the jars with stickers and curly ribbon. She tells me, "You know mom, most people just go out and buy Christmas Gifts." I agree with this observation, and she continues, "But I figured it out mom: We don't eat candy and we don't buy Christmas gifts -- We're just not like other families."

We aren't like other families. We aren't involved in a million activities, we eat supper together as a family every night, we often go all day without turning on the television, we value experiences over possessions so have relatively few possessions compared to other people, we reuse things whenever we can, we make things instead of buying them, and we don't eat candy very often. I know how difficult it is for a child to feel different than her peers, but I hope that the quality of the time we spend together will make up for the fact that we are no where near to keeping up with the Jones'. And that evening, as we were laughing and singing and curling ribbon around baby food jars, we had more definitely enjoyed our time together much more than those kids on the bus enjoy their candy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Computer is Broken

I've been a bad blogger and haven't been writing anything. It's not my fault. I swear. Our computer is totally broken. The screen goes black after about a minute and a half. I was afraid that it was a virus, so I hooked up the screen from my old desk top. The second screen worked fine, even after the laptop went black. I have no idea how long it's going to take to fix, or if it's even worth fixing. Either way, I probably won't be a master poster any time soon. This is a total bummer, as I have a ton of super cute pictures to put up and a ton of really fun projects to write about (my first machine quilted table runner, a recycled jeans quilt, my kids' hats and mittens, and *my favorite* snowman kits). Some of them went really smoothly and turned out awesomely, some of them were what I like to call "a learning experience." I also have a ton of slippers to list on etsy -- it doesn't look like I'll have them up in time fore the Christmas shopping season. :-(

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Corn Cob Slippers

Pictured above are the original corn cob slippers. Of course, they are not slippers, but pot holders. My grandma used to keep them on her kitchen counter, and when I went to visit her as a little girl, she would let me put them on my feet and slip and slide all over her kitchen. A few years ago, she gave them to me. They now live on my kitchen counter and I even occationally let Molly slip and slide around the kitchen in them.
I have a crochet pattern for slippers that I love to make, which I refer to as "corn cob slippers." They slip and slide as well as the originals (unless I purposely un-slippy them with puff paint) and I can easily modify them to make them in any size imaginable. Last Christmas, I made a bunch of these slippers for gifts for family members... even Uncle Max yelled, "Yes! Corn Cob Slippers!" when he opened his.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stubborn Little Twerp

Micah woke up at 6:15 this morning, took off his jammies, and went potty -- all according to our regular schedule. But that's as far as he got in his morning routine. He told me that he was hungry and I told him that I'd like him to get dressed before he had some breakfast. I gave him his clothes, but he proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes doing anything but putting his clothes on his body. I reminded him a few times, with updates on how long he had until it would be time to leave. "Micah, you'd better hurry up and get dressed. We need to leave in 10 minutes," to which he would reply, "I don't wanna get dressed." I suggested that it might be a cold ride to daycare if he didn't have any clothes on. This usually works, but today he decided to test me. Well, after numerous gentle reminders of what he was being asked to do and what the consequences of not doing it would be, he was brought out to the car in his underwear.

Yes, he went all the way to daycare, roughly a 45 minute drive, without his clothes on. In Northern Minnesota. In October. This does not surprise me. What does surprise me is that he didn't even complain -- not even once. I even asked him if he was cold and he just said very calmly, "Yeah, a little bit." I seriously started to wonder if my logical consequence (if you don't get dressed, you get cold) was even going to work. It was a little chilly out this morning -- it should work.

Because he has legs that work quite well, I generally do not carry him around. So, he had to walk in from the car and into daycare. In only his underwear. At this point, he started to complain about being cold. "Mmm," I told him, "You probably should have put your clothes on, huh?"

When I left him at daycare (with instructions to the provider that he not be allowed to eat his breakfast or play with toys until he got himself dressed) he was still mostly naked. What kind of 3 year old can seriously hold out over 2 hours before doing what he was told? He is simply a stubborn little twerp! I wonder if he'll get dressed tomorrow? Honestly, I do not know.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finally... A completed project!

I've got a million projects in progress, but it seems as if I've been so busy with school starting, birthdays, and returning to work full time that I haven't been able to finish anything at all. Well, that changed last night with the completion of the season's first pair of slippers. I love corn-cob slippers! I'm going to sell these ones, so I can't wait to get some nice pictures taken and list them on etsy.

Birthday Party

Last weekend, we had a birthday party for Molly and Micah. Micah turned 3 years old on Sept. 12 and Molly turned 6 years old on September 23. Since we have so many people that have to travel for the party, I usually do just one party. They don't seem to mind.

I made Molly as Strawberry Shortcake cake. For some reason, I just couldn't get it right. I started out with a plan to cover the cake with fondant, but the fondant kept tearing. After the third try, I just used plain frosting. Yummy home-made frosting, but plain frosting all the same. I did my best to make a girl who at least looked a little bit like Strawberry Shortcake -- my work did not live up to my standards, but Molly told me it was beautiful, and that's all that matters.

For all the trouble I had with Molly's cake, Micah's cake was a breeze. He absolutely loved it, and spent the whole morning singing the spider man song. Notice in the pictures that he stole the frosting off the entire base of the cake. He snuck tastes, but he was ever so careful not to wreck the cake...

The kids got some very nice, very appropriate gifts. There were no toy guns and no slutty little girl things, so I didn't even have to take anything away and hide it on top of the fridge!

Micah's favorite gift was a remote control front end loader and bulldozer. We had to talk him into setting it aside opening the rest of gifts. He particularly enjoyed the scooping action.

Molly's favorite gift was a fashion drawing kit. It has clear films with different clothing pieces and that you layer on top of the picture of the model and then trace the figure onto tracing paper. There are also some textures to rub and other fun things. I think she drew about 10 girls (fabulously well dressed ones, of course) that night alone.
The funny thing about this gift is that earlier that week, Molly had told me that she wanted to be a fashion model. If she's lucky, Molly might grow to be 5"1". I told her that I think that she is beautiful, but that fashion models are usually very tall. She was disappointed until I suggested that she might like being a fashion designer instead. I explained what fashion designers do, and she said, "Well, I do like to draw... Could you teach me how to sew?" That-a-girl!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

Little Miss Madelynn has learned to give hugs and kisses. Last night, during out designated Sponge Bob/Calm-Down-for-Bed time, she had herself a little hug and kiss frenzy. It was a slobbery mess, but it was seriously one of the cutest, sweetest things I've ever seen. She is just full of love.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kindergarten Rocks!

Molly started Kindergarten last week, and I have never seen her happier. She came home from the first day of school and told me, excitedly "We did the letter A, the number one, and the color red." I noted that Kindergarten moves a little faster than pre-school, and she agreed.
Our school offers all day, every day Kindergarten. This is a god-send for my sharp little girl. She's been more than a little bored and is very excited about the faster pace.

After two full weeks of school, she is still glad to get up and ready in the morning. She has her own alarm clock, and comes down stairs dressed for the day and ready to get down to business. After telling me about her day, she falls asleep on the way home nearly every day, so I know she's playing hard and learning lots.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Missed a big goal ... Now what? Reassess!

I was one of those people who spent the vast majority of my childhood with my nose in a book. At some point, I decided that because I loved to read so much I should try writing. I wrote quite a few little stories, but was never terribly serious about any of it. I was a journaler, so I constantly had a little note book. It was mostly filled with complaints about my life, as writing has always been very cathartic for me. Writing something down was a way that I could wrap my head around a problem and work toward a solution. In college, I took a teaching course about teaching writing and it resurrected this interest in a way that surpassed simple journaling. I developed a rough plan on how I wanted to write a book by the time I turned thirty years old. Now I thought I was being rather realistic at the time. I didn't specify that it had to be a particularly good book, or that the book needed to be published. There wasn't anything in this plan that even addressed showing this book to other people. I admit that I occasionally daydreamed about this book being selected for the Oprah book and giving a rocking interview to Oprah herself (or at least Gail), but I didn't seriously entertain such thoughts.

Well... I turned thirty years old a couple of weeks ago, and I've not so much as finished filling in all the blanks in my children's baby books. I think that the saddest part of this story is that I pretty much forgot about this goal. About a week after my birthday, I was driving home and listening to Minnesota Public Radio, as usual. Carrie Miller was talking about her book club and that she was going to interview an author about his writing process and it just hit me.

I'm thirty. I was going to write a book and I totally didn't do it. I didn't even give it a good try. Oh Shit. I'm such a loser.

Instead of coming up with all kinds of excuses for myself, and there would be plenty legitimate excuses, I began to reassess. Well, I let myself feel like a total loser for a few seconds and then began to reassess.

Do I still want to write something? Well, yes, I do. Writing has always been something that I truly enjoy. Do I still want to write a novel? Maybe one day, but I feel a little too out of practice to just jump into such a major project. Novels have lots of words. Lots of words means many many hours on just a rough draft. I have three children and a full time job, so that just isn't realistic. Plus, other than listening to audio books when I go for walks, I don't even remember the last time that I even read a novel. Good writers read, and I'd feel like a bit of a fraud if I just sat down and tried to write a novel. I do read a lot of children's books. I've read hundred's over the last six years. I could give that a shot. I also read a lot of non-fiction, especially about sewing and craft projects. I could try that, too. Now I know that a children's book or something non-fiction will still be a lot of work. I'm not nixing the novel because I'm afraid of hard work. But, for some reason a children's book or non-fiction book just feels less daunting to me. They are familiar, comfortable, and interesting to me. Both are things that I would want to read, and isn't a writer supposed to write for herself?

Shortly after I decided to update my writing goal, I ran into an old friend. She's recently finished writing a book and is working on finding an agent. Wow! Talking to her was very refreshing and inspiring for me. I think I'm really going to do this. I'm going to write something. So, since I didn't get this done by 30, when do I get this done by? I've always thought that it is very important to have realistic, attainable goals. I'm going to aim for 35. If it doesn't work out, I'll just reassess again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Me? Blogging?

I can't believe I'm blogging. I'm lucky if I get a chance to check my email on a regular basis, what am I doing starting a blog? I've recently listed some of my crafty things on etsy, and I keep reading over and over how important it is to have a blog. So, I'll try. If nothing else, it will be a good place to post pictures of my kids -- maybe all of my aunties will stop complaining about never getting any pictures if I have them here!