Monday, June 30, 2008

Done, Done, Done!

Yup, I'm all done with Grace's 2nd birthday dress. Exactly 2 months before she turns 2. And does she ever look cute in it! The sleeves were horrible. Easing twice and basting 4 times and stitching 3 times and then removing all of the easing and basting. Then repeating the process on the other sleeve. Then I had to put on the ribbons, which kept wrinkling. And don't even get me started on the zipper. I have problems with zippers. After trying to sew it and messing up, and ripping the stitches out 3 times, I finally gave up and accepted that it probably wasn't going to be perfect. But because I'm still learning, I can accept that. :) All in all, I really like how it turned out. I definitely learned a few things, too. So, I'm going to carefully fold it and wrap it. And then buy her a new pair of shoes to go with it, of course!

While I had the sewing machine out, I went ahead and finished Adam's Transformers pillows. I refuse to let him have the 'character' bedding, but I can handle two pillows. He had a lot of fun helping me stuff them, and he loves snuggling with them.

So, two projects down, yay! I love getting things done. Unfortunately, other things have not been done while I've been having fun sewing (i.e. the laundry), so now I've gotta play catch up on that!

Have a great one!

Friday, June 27, 2008

So Far, So Good and Adam's First Sewing Project

So far, Grace's birthday dress is coming along great. And I hope I didn't seriously jinx myself in saying that. :) I've got the 'skirt' part sewed together, and the top and the lining done. I really just have to do the sleeves (which look like the hardest part of all), sew the bodice to the skirt, and hem it. Oh, and there are some ribbons that need to be added, too. I am loving it right now. I have decided that I really, really like sewing. And I think that the hardest part of this is going to be waiting for Grace's birthday to let her wear it. She's already dying to twirl around in it, and I think she's going to look super-cute, too. BUT, it's supposed to be a birthday present. So, we have to wait 2 months. :)

[Just ignore the bare mattress... my children really do have sheets to sleep on. Friday is just 'bedding washing day'. Because I'm a nerd. And, I did NOT make Adam pretend to model the dress-that's ALL him!]

So, I've been sewing either late at night or while Grace naps, and while I am, Adam always sneaks up and watches me. He has been begging me for a while now to get to sew, too. Today I decided to teach him the basics. He made a pattern (a square), cut out some extra fabric I had, pinned it together, and I helped him sew it. We then turned them inside-out, stuffed them with some lentils, and stitched up the outside, and voila! Two missiles beanbags for Adam and Grace to throw at each other play with. :)

[Check out those awesome action beanbag shots! Unfortunately, Grace is being hit in all of them. And BTW, lentil beanbags are pretty fun. They are much 'softer' than regular beanbags. Does that make sense? LOL.]
And, seriously, no jabs at Adam's masculinity (this means you, Nathan R.), because boys who sew are cool.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Missed Fortunes

I read this story today on one of my favorite blogs:

there is an ancient Chinese story of a farmer who owned an old horse that till his fields. one day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer's neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “bad luck? good luck? who knows?”

a week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. his reply was, “good luck? bad luck? who knows?”

then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. everyone thought this very bad luck. not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “bad luck? good luck? who knows?”

some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. when they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg, they let him off. once again, the farmer's only reaction was, “bad luck? good luck? who knows?”

there are no misfortunes in life. there are only missed fortunes… missed only because we fail to recognise and appreciate them for what they truly are: fortunes, experiences, learning opportunities, seeds of wisdom.

- author unknown

I thought it was a really neat story, and it got me thinking about some of my 'misfortunes' that turned into blessings. Some of them:

- If we hadn't been in the car accident in our first week of marriage and totaled it, we probably wouldn't have been able to make the payment on it, and it would have hurt our credit.

- If I hadn't had preeclampsia with Adam, and had to have a c-section as a result, and had gone into labor on my own, he would have died because of the vasa previa.

- If I hadn't had a c-section with Adam, and had to have a repeat one with Grace, the tumor might not have been found until it had spread and caused problems.

- If we had gotten all of the jobs with construction companies in the housing industry that Mike had interviewed with so much, and we had prayed so hard to get, he probably would have been laid off, due to the recent housing slump.

- If Mike had been paid more last year, we wouldn't have gotten as large of a tax return this year. We took the tax return we received, and used it to pay off a credit card, and are now taking that money and making extra payments on our car, to get it paid off this year.

I can think of lots and lots of other times, too, when I thought that a trial or some 'bad luck' had been horrible, and it turned into such a blessing later on down the road. I'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who knows so much more than I do, and blesses our family so much.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Plan

This is the fabric and pattern that I'm going to use to make Grace's 2nd birthday dress. I love the fabric; she looks so cute in blue, and it was $1/yard, and you can't beat that. As for the pattern, it fit my basic requirements of: a) being a little girl's dress; b) having sleeves (I don't want the little girls in nursery calling her a 'skank' :) ); and c) being relatively easy. It says right on the package "It's So Easy" and I believed them.

The directions, however, are not looking quite so easy. There are 23 LONG steps, first off, and they involve linings and darts and lots of stay-stitching, and I think I can handle all of that. But, if something is going to be labeled, "Easy", I mean, I think it should be a little easier. I was expecting it to be more like last year's dress, which really WAS easy. BUT, I think it's good that it will (hopefully) help me to become better at sewing and try some new things.

I know I shouldn't be beginning this project before finishing the quilt and Adam's pillows and the pile of photos on my desk to scrapbook. I'm not really a 'flighty' person when it comes to doing things; I usually stick out a project until it's finished before beginning another. But, not when it's comes to crafts/hobbies. I like to jump around when I get frustrated/bored. Strange.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Callings and a 2-Week Anniversary

So, Mike and I got our new callings. Mike is the new Assistant Deacon Adviser/Assistant Scoutmaster, and I am the Assistant Enrichment Leader. And I was totally lame and made a joke about being the Assistant Enrichment Leader, rather than the Assistant to the Enrichment Leader (like Dwight on The Office... anyone watch that?), and Mike and our Bishop think that I'm a nerd now. Oh, well.

I really, really wish I was excited, but I'm having a little bit of a hard time. Because first of all, I don't see how they will work. Our Enrichment nights are on Tuesday evenings, every month, and I kinda need to be there. Mike has to work until 10:00 on Tuesdays, though, and we don't have a nursery. So, he WAS thinking he could switch the night he has to work late to Thursdays, but that's when Mutual is. So... we will see. And I know I shouldn't be whiny, because, really, we are so blessed and want to serve in our new ward. But, Mike's had this calling before without kids, and it took a lot of time (meetings, mutual, lesson planning, camp outs, Scout camp, etc.), and was stressful, and now with kids, it will be even harder. Plus, Mike's job is seriously stressful right now, and he spends SO much time staying after and doing work from home and planning and making calls, and now he's just adding more to his load.

I know it's not as bad as it could be. And I know that these callings will help us grow. But...

So, completely different topic, our fish has been with us for over 2 weeks now. And if you know me, this is pretty much a miracle, because I just don't do fish very well. There was the time that I accidentally overheated one. And the time that the tank fell over and the fish were flopping everywhere. And the time that one died and I didn't realize until I literally saw his skeleton on the bottom of the tank. I used to have a little graveyard in the backyard at my parent's house growing up, because even if I couldn't remember to feed them, their skeletons needed a nice place to rest, darn it! I mean, really, the hospital would have thought twice about letting me take my kids home if they knew my record with simple goldfish. Seriously.

Henry is doing great, though, so we celebrated by getting him a plant. I think he really, really loves it, because his 'bubble nest' at the top of his bowl is large. And, according to our research, that means he is one happy guy.

Congrats, Henry, on surviving at our house for 2 weeks. You've been fed a Transformers arm, grapes, crackers, pepperoni, and cheese. You've dodged a little girl's curious hand aimed on petting you, and various strings dangled in by Adam, because he's determined to train you to do tricks.

I think that the kids probably got the pet care genetics from me. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Happy Median

So, in all of my spare time that I've had lately (I need to have some valid excuse for why Grace is left alone to try on makeup... right?), I've been searching the Internet for some new recipes. I think we were all getting a little sick of our 'tried and trues' and needed to mix it up a bit.

It seemed that most of the recipes from the websites and blogs I looked at fell into one of two categories. Either they: (a) contained lots of pre-made ingredients (canned soups, dressings, stuffing, etc.) that are expensive and that we are trying to avoid for health reasons; or (b) required ingredients that needed to be imported from Italy from an old Italian woman who made homemade pasta.

You know what I mean? Maybe? Kinda?

BUT, I found a happy place, that fits perfectly in-between the two, and of course, it's from Martha Stewart: "Dinner Tonight".

It's a blog with lots and lots of yummy recipes that use completely normal ingredients (for the most part), without all the expensive, sodium-and-preservative-laden pre-made ingredients that we're trying to (mostly) avoid. I mean, we can't give up Adam's current fave Creamy Italian Chicken, or this dessert for Orange Chip Cake that I'm trying Monday for FHE, that use pre-made ingredients, but it's little steps, right?

We're going to be eating happy this week!

(I really don't mean to sound like a food snob... honest... sorry if I did!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

At Least it WASN'T Waterproof!

She thought she looked extremely 'pretty' (and continually told us all), and was very proud of her makeup job. I guess I'm not much into the 'goth' look myself... LOL!

(I noticed that I've been saying 'at least' a lot... either, I'm becoming more positive about these mishaps, or I've just given up. I'm not really sure).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Signs Mom Is Sick

I woke up today incredibly sick with the stomach flu, no doubt passed on from Grace. Thanks, sweetie! I. Was. Sick. I mean, couldn't get out of bed, crawling to the couch sick. Yuck.

Mike walked in from work tonight (and, of course, he had to work late), and looked around and said (totally kidding), "Wow... you can't tell you were sick today, huh?"

Here are some indications that I was sick:

- every single toy we own is on the ground or table or beds

- every single book we own is off the shelf

- every single game we own has been dumped out onto the kids' floor

- the remnants of their lunch were still on the table when Mike got home

- they both ate ham (lunchmeat) for lunch, because that's what they wanted... that's it, and I didn't care too much

- Grace was still in her PJs at 7:30 (I really could have lied and said that I had just thrown them on... hmmmm....)

- Adam was in his underwear... only (okay, this could've happened if I was healthy, too)

- the table has purple marker all over it

- there are goldfish crackers everywhere from a game Adam made up

- Adam played a game today where he made 7 piles of crackers, and rolled "Tinkertoy" wheels down into them

- Adam reported excitedly to Mike that he had 2 sweets today

- we watched way more than 2 hours of television... shhh!... don't tell the AAP

BUT, as fast as it came, it has left, and I am feeling SO much better. There is nothing like the stomach flu to make you seriously grateful for good health. Nothing. :)

And there are also few things that result in a house as messy as mine is now.

(PS-I don't mean to make Mike sound insensitive, because he was amazing: he brought home pizza so I didn't have to cook, and got the kids bathed and in bed)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Just in Case I Could Somehow Forget...

... that while I was at Wal-Mart today Grace randomly threw up all over me, the groceries, and the conveyor belt (luckily the cashier was spared), resulting in me dying of embarrassment and just grabbing her and running to the bathroom to clean her up, before leaving the store without the groceries, Adam has drawn me a lovely picture depicting the event, and insists that I scrapbook it.

(And, yes, I'm sure her little bout of the flu has much to do with her hand washing methods, mentioned previously. :) )

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

At Least She's Washing Her Hands

Grace is a fairly cleanly girl. I mean, she loves playing in the dirt and dumping food on her head. But when she gets stuff on her hands, she generally likes to clean them.

At first, she just wiped them on something: her shirt, the carpet, or the couch, being her favorites. Every time I patiently explained we wash our hands in the sink, took her to the bathroom and cleaned her hands. She loved the soap part, especially. She's been good about coming to me and indicating that she wants to wash her hands, so I can help her clean them, too.

Apparently, though, she's become too big to ask for help. In the past week, she's refused to let me help her. And since she can't exactly reach the sink and turn the handles on, this has posed a slight dilemma. Her solution?

Just lift up the toilet seat and swish them around in there for a bit. And THEN dry them on the clean bathroom towels.

How beyond disgusting IS that? UGH! And she's just not seeing the problem with it... I mean, I can kinda see her point: it is a basin of water, at her disposal, and it makes her hands LOOK clean (though I shudder at how many germs are crawling around on her hands unseen).

But, even though I gag at her doing this, and I'm trying to find a toilet lock at the store, I do take a bit of pride in the fact that she is washing her hands.

I still can't get Adam to do that. :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Break is Over!

Last night I got a call from the executive secretary in our ward. And he asked me to come in on Wednesday and meet with the Bishop.

So... my break from church callings is over. Just kidding. I've missed being in the Primary. And it's fun having a calling. Adam's class doesn't have a Primary teacher, and I'm thinking it's probably that. But... we will see.

Yeah, and sorry for the lack of posting lately. It's just SO hard to post when we're just so busy swimming and playing at the park and eating popsicles and swimming... life's rough, I know. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Green Thumbs Here

Our oregano has died. One pumpkin has died. Our flowers have died. Our tomato plant has died. Which is a good thing, according to my upstairs neighbor, because we would've had to throw them away anyway, because of salmonella. I'm so evil for laughing inside as he told me this, while nodding politely. :)

We have one pumpkin plant hanging on, but I have no hopes for it, really, as it is on its way out from not having enough room to grow.

Our basil is still growing strong. I love basil so much, so I'm hoping that it sticks around.

Mike told me that I probably should have done some research on gardening before buying a bunch of pots and potting soil and seeds and going to town. Which is just the rudest thing to say ever. :)

So, none of us have green thumbs, as we've almost killed everything.

But it was sure fun trying. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday, Adam!

My little sunshine turned 5 yesterday, which is just insane. How did THAT happen??? We had so much fun celebrating yesterday. On Sunday night Mike decorated the house with balloons and streamers, while I made and decorated a cake for him. He wanted a carrot cake, and the recipe was one of the best I've had, so I'm going to have to post it on here. And I didn't make the cake that he wanted. Sorry. Not that talented. BUT, I did make the 'Transformers' Autobot symbol totally freehand on top, and that has to count for something, right? :) And he really loved it, so it was all good.

He woke us up in the morning screaming. He was so excited to see the decorations and cake! I had planned to make his favorite breakfast for him, but he asked if we could do presents in the morning and cake for breakfast (instead of after dinner, like we usually do). And I thought, "Why not?" So we did.

We played Transformers for a while and then Mike surprised us with a pinata! A brand-new one had been donated at D.I., so he had bought it and filled it with some small toys and candy. Grace thought that being allowed to hit something with a bat was just the best thing ever.

After we busted it, we headed out to go bowling! Adam has wanted to go bowling since he saw pictures of his cousins bowling a few months ago. Unfortunately, every single bowling center is in a casino. BUT, this also means that the prices are super reasonable. So after we ran Adam and Grace through the gambling area, we got to the bowling enter and it was totally nice. We had SO much fun. None of us did terribly well (Adam got a 43, I bowled a 78, and Mike a 93... but it's been a LONG time). But, it was a blast. And we found out that from midnight to 8 am Monday through Friday, it's only $1 a game with free shoe rental. We're thinking it would be fun to go early, like at 7am, before Mike has to go to work.

We came home and went swimming. And then when we checked the mail, Adam had got another package full of presents. So we did the present thing again. And ate more cake. :)

Happy 5th Birthday, Adam! We all love you!

(BTW, we had the leftovers from the missionary dinner for dinner last night, and they were much better the second night.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We Know How to Avoid 'Em

Tonight I realized that Mike and I haven't given a talk in church since we lived in Phoenix. I think it was Mother's Day, in like, 2002. I'm trying hard to think about it, and am pretty sure that was the last one. We didn't give a talk ever in Flagstaff, and haven't in this city, either.

And then I realized that Adam's been in Primary for awhile now, and he hasn't given a talk yet, either. Not during Sunbeams or his current CTR-5 class.

We've all said the prayers in various meetings, but no talks. At all. And, we are completely active, really. Really. Except for that month a while ago when we didn't go 4 weeks in a row. :)

Do we give off 'we give horrible talks' vibes or something? Weird. And probably true. I think that the last talk in Sacrament meeting Mike gave, he recited the Young Women's theme. I'm still not really sure why. But, it wasn't the finest moment in talk-giving history. ;)

I know that's totally a random thought. But 6 years of no talks, people. That has to be a record.

Yummy Recipes

Tonight we had the missionaries over for dinner. Mike and Adam always get very, very excited when we have guests over for dinner, because I make a "real meal." Which is seriously rude, because I make qualities meals daily. But what I think they mean (or at least, what they had better mean) is that when guests come over we have a side dish, rolls, and dessert, along with the main dish that I normally just do.

The other thing that happens when we have guests, is that I usually try out a new recipe. Which completely breaks every rule in the book, I know. But, I usually save more expensive or larger recipes I want to try for when we have guests. Which probably sounds like my family isn't worth it or something. Oh, well.

Tonight, we had Garlic Chicken Farfalle. Adam and Grace LOVED it. The missionaries told me that I need to make it for them everytime. Mike even liked it (and he's hard to please). I thought it was... okay. It was really, really, really rich, and after 2 bites, I couldn't eat anymore without feeling queasy. But, it was really easy (I did the bacon yesterday and the chicken in the crockpot during church today), and fun to try something new.

BTW, the picture is taken 'after' we had dinner of our leftovers, so sorry it doesn't look too appetizing. It looked better before. Really.

For dessert I tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe (also made yesterday) that I think is my new favorite. The recipe is here. Super good and really easy. If you try them, be sure and take them out when they are lightly golden brown. Yummy. And there are not pics of them, because they were gone fast.

We had a lot of fun with the missionaries tonight. Grace glared at them during the entire meal, and then spit a cauntaloupe onto one elder's plate. Adam entertained them by forgetting every manner that he's ever been taught, and drinking his milk from his cup like a dog. They both laughed and said it reminded them of home. So, I'm glad that we were able to make them homesick... and also prevent them from wanting children for a few years. :) I'm off to make a carrot cake because a little boy that I love is turning 5 tomorrow! We've got some big, exciting plans for the day. :) Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rule Breaking

Today Adam said to me, "Mom, on my birthday, I think that I should be allowed to make up all the rules." Ummmm.... no. If it was up to him he would eat nothing but junk all day, drink a gallon of milk, jump on the couch and bed, run around in his underwear, play in the mud and dirt outside and tromp it through the house to play hours of Xbox. Yeah, right.

He was very disappointed. And then I thought back to my childhood when on our birthdays, we didn't have to do any chores. And how much fun that was.

So, I said, "Well, you don't have to clear the table on your birthday or clean your room or make your bed."

"That's good," he replied. "But I really, really wanted to break the rules."

Curious, I asked him if he could break one rule, which one would it be.

"Not flushing the toilet all day."

Ewwww! That's so gross and so NOT happening! And really? That's the one rule he'd break?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Correction, Happy News, and Excited to Be 5

So, correction. We will begin potty training tomorrow. We just had too much running around to do today. But, tomorrow, we're staying in and going for it.

And in completely happy news (at least, to me), our car passed emissions! Yay! I have been stressing about it ever since we got the renewal notice. I'm just that kinda girl. But, I'm so happy that it's all good in the smog department. We've been so blessed to have both cars running well for the past few months. SO thankful for that!

Adam turns 5 in just 7 days. That is complete craziness. And he's SO excited. Not about the presents or cake or even kindergarten (I mean, he's excited about those things, but they aren't the cause for his extreme excitement). It's because he thinks when he turns 5, a whole bunch of knowledge will be bestowed upon him as he sleeps.

This is how our conversation went today:

Adam: Mom, do you know what the best thing about turning 5 is?
Me: What?
Adam: I will be able to do everything for myself. I will be able to tie my shoes. Ride a bike with no hands. And you will not have to read to me ever again. Not even Transformers instructions. I will be able to read everything myself. And transform super tricky Transformers all by myself, too. And my shots won't hurt anymore either. I won't be able to be hurt at all. I'm so excited!

I'm glad he's got goals for everything he wants to accomplish, but I think he's going to be a bit disappointed when he wakes up, and he's still... him. Not 'super Adam' or anything. :) I've been trying to gently explain that all those things will come in time. But, why would he believe me?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Big 3-0!

Yesterday was Mike's 30th Birthday. CRAZY!

He had to work yesterday, but they sang to him during devotional and had ice cream sandwiches. His really super nice co-worker, Bri, offered to watch the kids last night, while we went on a date for his birthday. Which would have been awesome, except Adam refused to be baby-sat by a 'girl.' :) He really wanted to celebrate with Mike, too, I'm sure. So, she offered to work a little later instead, so he could get off a bit early. Which was so nice!

He came home and we jumped out and surprised him. Adam's been dying to throw a 'surprise party' forever. He then opened his present from us: a scooter. Mike loves Adam's scooter, and is always stealing it from him. When I talked to Adam a few weeks ago about what to get Daddy for his birthday, he immediately said, "A Wii!" Which was so NOT going to happen. :) But, then he suggested a scooter, so that's what we got. And Mike loved it.

Adam and Mike raced scooters for a while in the street. Grace chased them around in her bare feet, because she refused to wear shoes, and her feet turned black. Ewww!

We ate dinner after awhile and had cake (pumpkin crunch). I think that there was probably more than 30 candles in it. Adam and Grace were sticking them in like crazy. But, that's just extra luck, right? :)

Adam and I had made whipped cream to go with the cake earlier in the day, and Adam was so excited to try it. And I thought it was kind of funny that he loved the cake, but wouldn't touch the whipped cream, and Grace would ONLY eat the whipped cream. She ate two servings of it off of her plate, and off of our plates as well. And she STILL didn't gain weight! She's going to be 23 pounds forever! :)

Happy Birthday, Mike! We all love you so much! Hope you had a great day!!!