Friday, December 31, 2010

(Bill Watterson is a genius. Is there anyone alive on the face of the earth who does not love his work?)


I am a big fan of resolutions. Making resolutions is like making lists to me, and boy do I love making lists! Checking those things off my to-do list! Wooo! I've never been particularly good at accomplishing my resolutions, but that is probably because I have never broken my resolutions down to daily or weekly to-do lists to keep me motivated and keep me going.

Enter 2011. This is the year! (yes, I say that every year).

I have wanted to do a really good budget for a long time. I've done it! I've made a budget! It's all ready for being adhered to.

I have wanted to lose these 25 pounds that crept up on me. (giant sized candy bar by giant sized candy bar. You'd think I was trying to die of a heart attack). Well, I've got 2 friends committed to train for a 1/2 marathon in June! Woo! I'm sure I can do it - I just have to train really carefully and not jack up my knee again.

We're starting with the Couch-to-5K program for the first 8 weeks; and then a "beginners" training program that is 12 weeks long for the 1/2 marathon. Starting Monday! I'm excited!

Happy New Years to you all - may 2011 be the best year you have had so far!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sigh; Christmas is over and now the New Year is almost upon us. I'm sure I'll make resolutions, like I do every year. And like every year, this will be the year I actually accomplish them. Mm-hmm. For sure.

The boys all got bikes this year - we were appropriately ashamed that our 10 year old did not know how to ride a bike. Apartment living had ruined his youth. I was all prepared for a morning of gritted teeth and frustration as I helped him figure it out. On top of that we got him a BMX bike, which rides differently (read: more awkwardly). I knew I was in for it. As we headed outside I repeated a mantra to myself of calm and patience.

And then he hiked himself up onto the seat, kicked off, and rode the bike.

Without any help.

I was a little bit ashamed of myself, and my lack of faith in a kid who can ride a scooter and a two-wheeled skateboard without any problems. While he went in to change from slippers to sneakers, I hopped on the bike and tried it out.

And I almost fell over. More than once.

Friday, December 17, 2010

These pictures are taken from my phone, sorry for the blur:

It's all one house.

They've been decorating since 1987.

I'll tell you one thing about Burbank; they do Christmas lights like I have never seen!

It kind of makes up for the lack of snow. Christmas Cheer!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We got our Christmas Cheer on.

Advent calendar made by my Nana:

Stockings made by her, too.

Yummy smells in the house and on the door.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas festivities are fully underway in our household this season and our kids are having a blast. They helped us plan our 12 Days of Christmas venture for this year (for those of you who don't know, a knock-and-run daily gift that goes from the 13th to the 24th, usually treats and small gifts) while making gingerbread houses last night.

Connor discovered his ability to make icicles by accident.

Fletcher's icing was thicker, and not icicle-tastic but he was happy to have the gummy characters in front. Mmmm, appetizing!

Our decorations are up and there are already a few gifts under the tree. We've been reading scriptures from the New Testament every night to try and keep the focus where it should be.

I do wish the weather would be, if not snowy, at least SEASONAL! Looking to be 85 degrees today! Autumn is going out with a flourish, I guess.

Friday, December 10, 2010

So, we got a new bed....

HAHAHA! No, not that one! It's crazy, no? (found here) For several months Craig has been waking up kindof sore and achy and in the midst of reconciling himself to the idea of buying a new mattress (ours was 12 years old...) he ended up sleeping at a Marriott hotel in San Diego and declared that no other mattress would do for him!

However I could not reconcile myself to paying $1300 PLUS shipping from across the country to get a Marriott mattress. Happily, Costco carries a line that is similar (as far as I could tell - I'm sure Marriott would disagree) and it was on sale for nearly a third of the price (shipping included!)

My short story is getting long, and it's not even very interesting...

I ended up giving him his Christmas present early because he needs a good night's sleep, that man! Threw in some super-high thread count sheets, a down comforter and pillow, and Craig was all set for the best night's sleep ever last night.

Enter youngest son. Enter mild fever. Enter not sleeping in his own bed, and tossing and turning all night sniffling and coughing.

Yeah. You get the picture. Poor boys!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Late posting much? Yeah, that's me. Hi. How have you been?

Thanksgiving was wonderful! Our dear friends came down from Seattle for a week and we had two other families over and there was way WAY too much food (and yet, insufficient pie leftovers...)

The menfolk did almost all of the cooking this year, as it turns out. Nan and I were not complaining!

Now that Craig has a tophat, he feels he must wear it upon occasion. It gives the moment that little extra something.

The big kids. Con and Elle have been friends since the dawn of time. Everyone jokes that they will get married some day. And my dapper little blonde man. He is suddenly growing so big!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great family gathering on the 20th, and a wonderful gathering with friends here on the holiday. The Harveys are here visiting from Seattle until Tuesday! More pictures and posts to come soon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I took Fletch and Van to Travel Town museum on Thursday to celebrate Isaac's 3rd birthday. We hadn't been since Fletcher was about Van's age, so he really didn't remember it.

You can tell he's not very happy:

From the parking lot, Van saw all the big trains lined up and started pointing and saying, "Train, train, train, train!" and then once we started heading toward the entrance it was, "RUN! RUN! RUN!" He was so excited! They had two trains that could be climbed on and explored, and then we took the little mini-train ride around the park.
Good times had by all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving is 13 days away!

Last year we spatchcocked the turkey, using Martha Stewart's instructions. It was ideal for our situation - warmer weather and apartment living. The turkey cooked in half the time and we didn't have to keep our oven on so long it was too hot to stay inside for dinner!

This year we will probably do the same thing, even though we have more space. It was just so convenient and it tasted great. Maxine declares that the turkey must be brined, though, so brined it shall be.
Nan will make her traditional crescent rolls. She will make a quadruple batch so that we have enough for 4 families to snack on, have with dinner, and take for leftovers.

And there will be pie. Lots of pie! Pumpkin, apple, chocolate cream! And we're going to sneak in a pumpkin cheesecake just because.

Also this year I am going to make Pioneer Woman's recipe for green bean casserole. We tried her sweet potatoes last year and almost died from happiness, so I'm pretty sure we can't go wrong with her casserole. Plus, I'm the only one who really has to have the stuff on the menu, so I may as well experiment and see if I can't get any more followers, eh?

We'll have 8 adults (with a possible 10) and 7 children. We are hoping for mild weather so we can put the tables in the back yard and eat outside. I'd love to hear some fun and easy kid craft ideas! We have ages from 1 to 10....

Monday, November 08, 2010

World Map Quilt

Craig gave me all of Saturday "off" to do whatever I wanted! Yay! After heading out for some shopping and lunch with Hannah, I came home and kicked them all out so I could finally work on my world map quilt that I have been wanting to make for several months now.

First, I laid the map out on my water fabric to make sure it would fit properly:

Then, I cut out each individual continent (I'm adding small islands- like Taiwan, Iceland, Tasmania - later) and placed it on the water fabric, and pinned it down.

I cut out the fabric in the continent shape, slid my "land color" fabric underneath, and pinned them together.

I will reverse applique them to the quilt, going around each continent two or three times with my thread.

This part is coming together faster than I thought it would - it's really exciting!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I have a ten year old.

I have had a ten year old for nearly three months now and still, every time I say that sentence to myself I go "Huh....nawwwww". Because can it really possibly be true? Double digits? More than halfway to adulthood? I declare it impossible.

I mean, he still can't eat anything without getting evidence of it all over his face. Every day after school I tell him what he had for lunch. He droops his shoulders and makes this frown/smile and says, "sorry Mom" as I laugh and tousle his hair.

He spends 90% of his time living in his head. His imagination colors his perception heavily. There is consistently, (and unconsciously I suspect) a soundtrack sneaking out of his lungs to whatever thing is going on in his head. It's heavy on special effects sounds and anime-style drama. Oh, that anime. He loves it.

And, it must be someone else's kid who already has to wear deoderant and use anti-acne face wash. Right? Someone else's kid whose feet are bigger than mine and who is as tall as my chin. I noticed the other day that the little baby face hairs above his lip are starting to darken.

I am so proud of him. So proud I can hardly stand it, actually. This school year he has suddenly decided that he wants to work hard on reports and tests all on his own. He hasn't gotten a grade less than 95% all year. (man I hope he keeps that up)

Every single adult who meets him ends up seeking me out to tell me how nice he is, and how sweet, and how impressed they are.

And every single day I wonder if I'm giving him the right opportunities and advice, teaching him the right skills. I wonder what he will end up doing for a profession, where he will live and if it will be close to us, or far away. We are far away from our own parents, so it's not like we've set a precedence of "don't EVER leave" here. Well, there's one mistake. Maybe if I just tie him to a tether in the back yard? He'll be happy there for the next 30 years, right?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Last halloween pix post - some random shots Maxine took at the DreamWorks party:

There were several people who asked us what we were for Halloween. Which was kind of hard to answer because the Steam punk subculture doesn't have any characters - it's just a fun (read: totally awesome) way to dress up and tinker around.

Here's Connor's step by step:

Started the same way as his brother: white shirt (had to resize - I did so many alterations this year!), knickers (women's size 6 slacks. Don't tell him), and trouser socks and black shoes.

Added a vest (which I already had) embellished with more gears, and the tan silk scarf.

The hat and jacket we purchased at It's a Wrap, that tv/movie store. We got the black camera case at a yard sale, and craig added a lantern and one of the antiqued nerf guns.

The goggles were purchased from the surplus store (you can also get them on, and the loupe was from amazon. (that is the magnifier attachment) Craig removed the rubber head strap and replaced it with a leather one he had me cut out and sew on. Then he added a buckle to it from one of his own messenger bags, and painted the goggles with the copper rub.

He looked fantastic.
I may have decided that petticoats and corsets are no longer on my list of Things That Should Come Back in Style, but can I just say that I wish I could dress my boys in these clothes every day? So stinkin' cute.

Fletcher's costume was put together as follows:

White dress shirt, knickers, trouser socks, and black church shoes. To make the knickers, I bought a pair of women's size 0 corduroy pants (the thrift store did not have any slacks in my boys' sizes, of course) and took in the sides and back to make the waist smaller. Then I cut them off just below the knee and put elastic in the seam allowance.

Add a silk scarf and vest. The scarf we got at a store here that has clothes from T.V. and movie sets. The jacket was another thrift store find - a women's linen jacket. I cut off the collar and sleeves, and took in the sides. The gears were from a package that I purchased at Michael's.

The helmet is one we had (it's actually a Harry Potter quidditch helmet). We got the vintage WWII goggles from the surplus store and the corduroy blazer from the thrift store (again, I had to size it down).
Craig put together the jet pack from items he got from the surplus store, yard sales, and things we had laying around in the garage. We wanted to have smoke coming out of the top via dry ice, but we were unable to find any. Still, it was a really great look. The clear tube on the pack has a flameless candle in it, and it looked great in the dusk.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I made a bustle for my costume using a tutorial I found online. 25 feet of plastic coated wire, and a couple hours of grunting (that wire is HARD to bend!) later:

It is very difficult to sit in a car with a bustle. One may or may not be able to buckle one's seatbelt.

We went to the DreamWorks trick-or-treat party on Friday at lunchtime, and then the Trunk-or-Treat at the church last night. We were wildly popular, and only partly because of our fabulous costumes. (oh yes, I DO say so myself)

Craig found a bubble machine that fills the bubbles with fog so whenever the bubbles pop you get this little puff ... we had a mob of kids and parents around our car the whole night, popping the bubbles and asking "where did you get that" "how does it do that?".

Oh yes, it's good to be king.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This week:

Sewed 2 baptismal dresses, and shipped them to Montana.
Changed 2 pair ladies slacks from the thrift store into breeches for my kids.
Altered a ladies jacket into a vest.
Sewed leather straps onto 2 pair of goggles, and made a holster for a nerf gun.
Altered a skirt to fit over my bustle.
Built a bustle.
Sewed a collar and bows onto a Lucy from Peanuts costume.
Sewed dozens of gears and buttons onto vests and jackets.
Constructed a miniature top hat.
Never went to bed before 1 a.m.
Made pumpkin cheesecake.

That last item on the list made all the other items no big deal.

I'll post pictures of it all after the trick-or-treating at DreamWorks tomorrow. We all got to go see the screening of MegaMind today and it was good. Very funny, and the boys loved it. There was some romance though, which disgusted Fletcher.

Right now, it's 12:30 in the morning and my 1 year old is wide awake (having happed from 7-10 pm, nice) and watching Bob the Builder.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Craig convinced the boys to do a Steampunk theme this year for Halloween. Of course, this makes tons of work for him:

Taking apart nerf guns and painting, and rubbing, and sanding; and building a jet pack (dry ice compartment included) for Fletch.

Here are two of the nerf guns transformed. I think they look fantastic and the boys are so excited they can barely contain themselves.

He rocks my world, he does.
My 10 year old is murder on book covers, apparently. When he asked if I would make him some new ones, I asked if he'd prefer I sew them so they'd be guaranteed to last all year, rather than 5 more weeks. He was thrilled, and picked this fabric for his American History book.

It's padded and quilted (I sewed around a few of the stars) and he loves it. "It's a great pillow for when I get sleepy in class Mom!"

He was joking.

I think.
See? That's the rain. On my welcome mat. Because of lack of gutters. My welcome mat is totally thrashed now. Poor thing.

But we do love the rain!