Saturday, December 31, 2011
Thumbelina has been taking sewing classes at the high school. This year she made a coat for a competition called "Make It With Wool". She had been working on it at school, so I wasn't able to see it until it was almost finished. And when I saw it... holy cow! I was SO impressed. Not only is it awesome from the outside, the inside is fully lined!
I mean, seriously - check out how nice that looks!
Gorgeous! And probably her favorite feature is the ability to instantly become a Jedi when necessary:
She took 2nd place in the sewing competition with this coat. I can't wait to see how she does next year.
About a week before Christmas break, Thumbelina mentioned that she'd like to make Christmas gifts for all of her siblings. She was still working on her last one on Christmas Eve, but she did it! Want to see what she created? I thought you'd never ask!
ElemenoB got this reversible shoulder bag which was crafted from an old sheet and pillowcase found at our local secondhand store. (If you're interested in actually making this, Thumbelina's version has a longer strap.)
Thumbelina made Princess this adorable pleated wrap-around skirt.
Every superhero needs a cape, so naturally that's what Little O received.
Mom! Take anudder pitchur of me wif my gun!
Well, okay, since you're so stinkin' adorable...
Curly got a cute tiered skirt to wear with her favorite leggings.
Cowgirl was gifted some much-needed new pajama pants made from the perfect western-themed flannel. (McCalls pattern #8434)
And the oldest 3 boys got ties. (The links are for 2 different tie patterns depending on the size of person you are making it for.)
Incidentally, I can not even begin to express how difficult it was to get these three bozos to stand still long enough to take a picture. They kept wanting to cross their eyes or throw me a creepy gaze or jump in the air or some such thing. I finally got them to just be normal for half a second with the promise of taking this next picture, too:
Nice job, Thumbelina! You put my sewing skills to shame.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Since Christmas the kids have been pretty much glued to the Wii controllers and the computer screen. So after lunch yesterday I declared our house an electronics-free zone. "Go do something creative that does not involve electronics!" I announced.
The kids asked:
"Can I paint a picture?"
"Can I play in the backyard?"
"Can I ride my bike?"
"Can I build my train set?"
"Can I make cookies?"
"Can I search out the true location of Sasquatch?"
I answered every question with a resounding YES. And I made the last kid take her camera along - you know, just in case.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Our cute little caboose.
And what a wonderful year it has been with him in our lives!
It is amazing to watch time just fly past right before your eyes.
It's hard to believe it was a whole year ago when this picture was taken...
But look at him now!
Like all one-year-olds, he keeps us on our toes. He climbs, tastes, explores, walks, laughs, sings and dances.
He is growing up much too quickly! We all adore this baby boy.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This year we got some cute penguins dressed in winter garb. Little O has been obsessed with putting ornaments on our tree so we let him put these on for us. At first they were hung so low from the lowest branches that each one touched the floor beneath the tree. We left them there, knowing he would be rearranging them often.
A few days later, I found them arranged on our bookshelf near a small picture of the temple where Allen and I were married:
I asked Little O what the penguins were doing there instead of on the tree.
"Dey lub to see da tem-po!" he told me in his matter-of-fact little voice. "Dey jus lilly, lilly lub to see it." *
We left them there, next to the nativity, for the rest of the Christmas season.
* Translation of 3-year-old speak, for those who need it:
"They love to see the temple! They just really, really love to see it."
Monday, December 26, 2011
For your reading pleasure, here are 54 of the best/worst similes, metaphors and analogies I have ever laid eyes on.
- Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
- He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.
- Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
- From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
- John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
- She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
- The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
- He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
- Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
- She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
- The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
- The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
- McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
- His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
- He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
- Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
- Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
- The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
- Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
- The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
- They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
- He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
- Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
- He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.
- She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
- She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
- The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
- The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
- It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
- It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
- He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
- The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
- Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
- Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”
- The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
- The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.
- She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
- Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.
- Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often.
- They were as good friends as the people on “Friends.”
- Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein’s Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances.
- The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.
- He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
- The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747.
- Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light.
- The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas.
- I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.
- She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.
- Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
- It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.
- You know how in “Rocky” he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in.
- The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.
- Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.
- The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Or a card as hilariously hideous as this:
Or a pair of awesome bootish-socks with SOLES! like these:
Kind messages in my inbox, pictures and Christmas greetings in my mailbox:
Spending time with my family every year on Christmas Eve:
and watching cousins (along with my Mom) having a blast together:
The Santa at the grocery store tonight who took the time to talk to my wide-eyed Little O without being asked (I wish I had my camera with me!) even though he probably just wanted to buy his Diet Coke and Wheat Thins and get home to Mrs. Claus.
It's the little things that make me happy during the holidays.
I hope your Christmas (and beyond) is filled with lots of Little Things.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
"Mom, can you give me alien ears?" ('Alien ears' is the term that my oldest two girls created to describe a bun of twisted hair on each side of the top of the head.)
Once the alien ears were in place she asked, "Now could you make my bangs go straight up or something?" I asked why she wanted such a schnazzy hairdo. She told me that it was the school's Christmas Sing-In and that her class was going to be singing a song called I Want An Alien For Christmas.
I asked her, "So, everyone's coming to school as aliens for your song?"
"Um, no. I just want to do it for fun."
Well, how could I say no to that? I sent her off to school looking like this:
But this is not the end of the story. When I picked the kids up after school I asked Cowgirl how the Sing-In went. She gave me a sheepish grin and said, "Well... it actually wasn't today. I thought it was, but it's not until Wednesday." I asked if she explained the reason why her hair was so awesome but she said she just told people she was trying out a new style.
This morning, the REAL day for the Sing-In, she had a new hair-plan. "Can you make me look like I have antennas?"
You bet I can.
Looks like we're getting our own alien for Christmas.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Mom? Aw you may-king tow-nadoes for dee-ner?
Some days I wish I didn't have to go to school. But some days I wish I was a tow truck.
(Overheard at church) Before my mom and dad lived in a house they really lived in a hotel room or a car. I can't remember which one. But they really lived in it, with like 8 of their kids. And Santa still found them for Christmas. Or wait... maybe that was in a movie.
If #2 pencils are so great then why aren't they called #1 pencils?
If my presents were stolen at Christmas, I'd cry. But then I'd search the whole city until the robber was found and tell him, "YOU BIG JERK!"
How much cents did our house cost? Was it 100?
Did you see what Baby X just did? I think he's starting to get real brains now!
Little O: Santa going a bwing me my bike-a-my-Crissmiss!
Me: How do you know?
Little O: A-cuz Santa is my friend!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
As has become an annual tradition, I took ElemenoB shopping for her birthday last month. We enjoyed perusing the racks at various places and found a few great things to add to her wardrobe. In fact, we even found a new second-hand store that had some great things available at amazing prices.
The only problem was the music (if you could call it that) that they chose to play in this particular store. I am guessing that, in order to be a hip place to shop (does anyone say 'hip' anymore?) they felt that they needed to play what I consider to be offensive.
I'm talking about songs that are completely (and blatantly) talking about sex or sexual innuendo. And the majority of people shopping here were girls my daughter's age. It made me feel sick.
Do people really not listen to what's being played on the overhead speakers? Even when it's so loud you can hardly have a conversation? I was happy to leave. The merchandise was great, the prices were awesome - but the atmosphere that the inappropriate 'music' created cancelled those out.
I'm thinking a friendly email to the store is in order - because I'd love to shop there again, but not if the offensive mind-blather is coursing through my eardrums. If that's the dynamic they're catering to then I really shouldn't be shopping there, anyway.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Curly would color, paint and create pictures from the moment she woke up until the moment her eyes closed for the night if we let her.
Here is what my fridge looks like on any given day:
Every 10 or 15 minutes she presents me with one of her masterpieces and says with excitement, "I made this for you, Mom!" How can I say no? Yesterday she gave me no less than 30 pictures. I asked her, "Sweetheart, if I kept every picture you ever made for me, what do you think our house would like like?" Her eyes got huge and she answered,
It was getting to the point where I knew we needed to either wallpaper the house or channel her creativity into something constructive. I found some color-able Christmas clipart and made some simple cards on the computer, printed them off, cut them out, and now she's coloring to her heart's content with a purpose.
Once she's finished enough of them I'm planning to take her over to the neighborhood Elderly Care Center to deliver her cards to each of the residents there.
She also plans to write notes inside and mail a custom-made Christmas card to a few people. (She's making a list.)
She's happy coloring, I'm happy that it has a purpose, and the people who get them will be happy, too.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I had the chance to spend 4 days with Thumbelina and her high school's cross country team last week as a chaperone on a trip to California. I forget how fun teenagers can be. (Seriously!) On the bus ride there, I overheard all sorts of funny conversations going on... so I got my notebook out and started taking notes for the duration of the trip.
These quotes came from the mouths of teenagers from all over Utah - we shared buses with quite a few teams.
I wish I could speak that language that sounds like spitting and clicks.
Boys are so dumb. All they want to do is eat, sleep and make girls feel awkward.
Sometimes I wish my parents weren't such old people!
When people say "fat lard", that doesn't make any sense. Isn't that like saying "fat fat"?
Something's wrong with my cell phone - it doesn't have your number in it.
I do too know what Humble Pie is! I eat some every morning!
It must be your bedtime because everything you're saying sounds like Japanese.
Teen Boy #1: How many people do you think it would take to break this elevator?
Teen Boy #2: Let's find out!
Remember how yesterday I told you I had a boyfriend? Well, now I don't. So do you want my number?
Teen Boy #1: (loudly) People who got a problem with watching John Wayne movies got them a real serious problem.
Teen Boy #2: (quietly) And apparently people who do watch John Wayne movies have a problem with putting a real sentence together.
Teen Girl: One thing I learned at Disneyland is that Mickey Mouse is so much huger in real life than he is in movies!
Teen Boy: Did you also notice that in real life he's a person in a costume and in movies he's a cartoon drawing?
I would rather pull out my eyeballs and float them in arsenic.
Do my lips feel chapped to you?
Teen Boy: Hey everyone! The bus driver and I both got naked at the gas station!
Bus Driver: ...
Teen Boy: (holds up Naked brand drink) Right?
And here are a few 'Only A Utah Teen Would Say That' quips:
I got some hot chocolate at a gas station once and then I was SO self-conscious about carrying around a coffee cup! I mean, what if someone thought I was really drinking coffee?!
He's the kind of person they give all those conference talks about.
Teen Girl to Teen Boy: I can't wait to have a bunch of kids someday!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
This is what brings me true happiness at this time of year.
I try to bring the true meaning and spirit of Christmas into our home each year - but it is so easy to become distracted.
I would love it if you would share with me in the comments what traditions you have in your home to help focus on the 'Christ' part of Christmas.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My friend Michelle issued a challenge to blog everyday in November, and I did it. I DID IT! It's a funny thing, but when I am forced to write every day it actually triggers some sort of thinking mechanism that makes it easier to come up with things to write about by the end of the month.
Here are the final 6 things I am thankful for - one for each day of this month.
25. Words! And the ability to speak and write them in some coherent fashion. The more words I've got in my arsenal, the easier it is to say what I'm trying to say.
26. The grocery store and the truckers who bring the stuff there and the people who sell it to the companies that ship it through the truckers who bring it to my grocery store. Then all I have to do is hop in my car and buy it. I bet the pioneers would have thought that was awesome. Or lazy.
27. Christmas spirit. It brings out the best in (most) people and makes good things happen.
28. My kids' friends. They are good kids who come from good families. I'm thankful for them - and I like them. Really.
29. Inspiration. From books, talks, friends, family, songs, church leaders, quotes, etc. It helps keep me going in the right direction. It brings me encouragement, peace and happiness.
30. American Sign Language. If you don't know it, you should. It is an amazingly expressive language that comes in handy more than you'd think. If you do know ASL, the title of this blog post was for you. Isn't the picture that goes with it perfect?
I am also thankful for people who read my blog. It's nice to know that people like what I have to say enough to come back for more. Thanks, friends!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I'm going to be traveling as a chaperone with Thumbelina and the cross country team on a trip soon and I was thinking of what I could do so that the kids won't think I'm some meanie-pants parent. I thought maybe I could make myself a shirt that gets the message across for me.
First I came up with this:
but it seemed a bit creepy.
So I thought something like this might get the message across:
except that sometimes I am scary. And I don't want to be a liar. I mean, have you ever seen the way my nostrils flare when I laugh? Or my stalker-smile? Scary.
Well, how about this one?
Nah. More lies.
Well, this one would dispel any worries about my not liking them, right?
But that didn't seem subtle enough. And a bit too needy.
So I finally decided it would be more fun to just mess with them and wear something like this:
Maybe they're right. Maybe I am just scary.
Monday, November 28, 2011
There is something about family that just becomes ingrained in you. Their faces, the memories, everything is somehow etched upon your heart and stored away in the attic of your mind in a way that time has no power over the bond that was forged.
Last week was a week of reunions.
My Aunt Bonnie was reunited with her husband after 20 long years apart from each other. Just the thought of that brings emotion to the surface for me. Words can not describe how I love those two.
The gathering for Aunt Bonnie's funeral service was a reunion as well. I am not sure how to explain the happiness that came in seeing each of my Blitsch cousins again. It didn't matter that it has been such a long, long time since we've had the chance to visit. As I met their kids, laughed, cried and shared memories I just reveled in the feeling of belonging. It was wonderful to be a part of something that I didn't realize I had missed for so long.
When it was time to go our separate ways I was filled with melancholy because I knew that the chances of seeing any of them again were small. I wanted to stay longer, learn more about what they think and do and who they are. I thought about taking pictures at the funeral service and the gathering for lunch afterward but somehow it felt like taking pictures would rob the moment. I don't know how to explain that - I know it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I preferred to work at capturing each person in my memory, I suppose.
I have thought of each of them every day since, with hope for another reunion in this lifetime.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I'm going to mix up the whole thing.
That's impossible. Like Rubik's Cubes, if you twist one of the corners it is impossible to do.
You would know that.
I do know that. Because I've done it before. And it screws people up and it's hilarious. Okay, now do it.
I AM doing it.
No you're not. Why is the 1 down there?
Holy cow! I am doing it.
The 1 goes on top.
Now the 3 and the 4.
Goodness! I'm going to do it backwards in a different way.
That doesn't make sense.
Put the 4 on the top!
No. Oh, my gosh!
Here, Nub (headless Barbie) will help you. Nuuuub. Nuuuub. Nub, nub. Whoa! Look at this. Nub is backwards. Nuuuuub! Dude, her waist turns way too easily.
Nuuuub. Look. It's a nub-stand. Nub-stand! You can't even get the 4 up.
It's all in order. That's what you said.
Put the 12 up there.
It's in ORDER!
15 up. 12 over. 9 down. 11 over. 14 up. 9 over. I'm legitimately trying to get this right. 13, 12, okay, keep going...
Never mind. It will never work. It's like the Rubik's Cube. Mom, you should buy me a Rubik's Cube. 4 by 4. 5 by 5. (whispered) 5...by...5! It's only $25.32. Mom, do you love me $30?
Look, Nub can do the splits.
Are you writing what I'm saying? STOP WRITING WHAT I'M SAYING!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Scott and his wife used to have me come and babysit their daughter, Heather (now age 28! Man, am I OLD!) while they would go out for the night. They would always tell me to help myself to anything in the kitchen, so like any young babysitter, I would scout the goods and then decide what I was going to help myself to. On one occasion, the pickings were slim.
I started to pull things out of the freezer in hopes of discovering a stray popsicle or ice cream sandwich when I found a small white box. I was instantly interested in what this box could contain and opened it up to peer inside.
It was a cake! A small white cake with pretty silver candy balls and lacy-looking frosting. Why in the world would they be hiding this in the back of the freezer? And then it occurred to me - they weren't hiding it! They didn't want it.
I found a fork and took a small bite. It was wonderful. I had another few bites and then decided to box it back up and set it back where I had found it - just in case.
The next time I came to babysit I checked the freezer immediately. The box was still there! I took it out and ate a bit more this time then again set it back in the freezer behind the frozen vegetables and pot pies. They never said a word.
Over time, I ate that entire cake. Man, was it ever delicious.
It didn't occur to me until many years later, when I learned of the tradition of saving the top tier of your wedding cake and eating it on your first anniversary, that I realized what I had done.
I kept that secret all these years and finally was able to confess my deed to Scott. He threw his head back and laughed. And later, when we were saying our goodbyes, gave me a big hug, kissed me on the cheek and said, "I'm glad you liked that cake, Gerberta. I'm so glad you enjoyed that whole cake."
Friday, November 25, 2011
If you have read my posts over at Four Perspectives, this story may sound familiar. It is a post I wrote in November of 2009 but I thought it was worth reposting here.
Yesterday I had to run some errands at a local SuperStore. As I exited my car and tried to shove my keys into my purse I discovered that they would not fit. The keys were so bulky that I could not get them to fit inside my pockets, either. Dumb keys, I thought to myself as I threw them into the child-seat of my shopping cart.
Once my purchases were complete I made my exit. As I approached the corral for the shopping carts in the parking lot I noticed a man in tattered clothes sifting through a trash can there."You have a Merry Christmas!" he said to me, smiling. I grabbed my purchases from my cart, responded with, "You too!" and pushed my cart into the corral, hurrying towards my car.
I heard a voice from behind me.
"Miss! Wait! Miss!" the man called after me. I glanced over my shoulder and confirmed that it was the poorly dressed man who had just wished me a merry Christmas. To be honest, I was initially a bit frightened. Why was this man rushing towards me? Was he going to ask for money? Should I hurry to my car and get inside?
I stopped near my car, turning to face him. "Yes?" I asked, still somewhat nervous as to his intentions.
"You left your keys in the cart," he said as he handed them to me, still smiling.
I sighed. I was grateful and told him so.
"I used to have keys," he told me. "I remember how much I hated to lose them."
In that moment it seemed as if a million questions passed through my mind. What had happened to bring him to his current state? Did he lose his job? Did he have a home somewhere? A family? What sorts of locks did he open with the keys he no longer had now?
But before I could say another word, he was walking away. "You have a good day, now," he said with a sideways wave.
"Thanks again. Thanks so much," I called after him.
I looked at my keys. Keys to my car(s!) and my home; keys to closets and safes. So many keys. Keys that I complain about when really, each key represents a comfort or blessing in my life.
I had never been so thankful for a bulky set of keys.
And thankful to the man who reminded me that I take too much for granted.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with good people, plentiful blessings and loads of pie topped with freshly whipped cream.
Here are ten more things that I am thankful for...
15. Socks! They add that little bit of crazy to any outfit and keep my toes warm and happy.
16. Andes Mints. I have just rediscovered these and I can't get enough of them!
17. Books. Love them!
18. The company Allen works for. It is seriously the best place in the world to work. They are family-oriented and treat their employees very, very well.
19. Hats. They make bad hair days much more bearable.
20. Great deals and amazing bargains! I totally get an adrenaline rush when I save money on something that was needed. (And even when I find something that is not needed.)
21. My healthy body. When I think of all of the intricacies involved in the creation of the human body my mind is blown.
22. Tender mercies. You realize that they happen all the time when you make the time to recognize them in your life.
23. The four seasons. I have my favorites (head nod to spring and autumn) but I love living in a place where the seasons change so I can experience all of the beauty that comes with each one.
24. Mail. I can't say enough how great it is to get handwritten cards in my mailbox! It's becoming a lost art.