Sunday, August 31, 2008

The word of the day is frustration.

I'm not going to even go into the "Labor Day Scoreboard" because I'm sure the you'll be able to surmise what the score might be from the title of this post. ;)

I consider myself a "glass half full" type of girl, always walking on the sunny side of the street, oftentimes looking at the world with her rose-colored glasses on. (Well, that girl mixed with a healthy dose of reality, forced to acknowledge this reality from personal experiences which have taught her that life isn't always quite as rosy as she would like it to be, but that God is there to walk through it all with her.) So when I have frustrating days (which really are pretty few and far between, and I'm not talking frustrated with your three-year-old type days, not the "life happens" type days, but more like the disappointed in recurring situations type days), it sometimes hits me like a ton of bricks.

I'm not going to tell you how intensely frustrated I am after this morning. Frustration with complacency, mostly. Me + complacency = not the best.

I'm also not going to get into the frustration I feel after working on something for someone nearly all day yesterday to only hear today that they're not sure about how it is turning out.

I'm not going to elaborate on the frustration of feeling caught in the middle of relationships sometimes. (What's that saying again? You can pick your nose but you can't pick your family? Yeah, something like that.)

And really, I need to stop allowing myself (my control freak self) to become so frustrated from the world around me. I can only control myself (and sometimes I don't always do the best job of it), and it wastes only my time and my energy and my emotions to allow others and outside situations to frustrate me so badly. (Isn't this a life lesson I should have learned in kindergarten? Was I absent that day?)

On the flip side, the highlight of my day is my sweet family -- my son and my husband. My boy had a great day in his Sunday School class (no Kung Fu Panda moves against his classmates), and my husband and I have been really in sync recently. Not that we've necessarily been out of sync before; it's just that those times when you are really, truly in sync with someone, especially your spouse, it just makes life so much sweeter. And on days like today, where I am so frustrated with life, he helps to keep me from being overwhelmed.

So that is all. I'm absolutely fine, I promise. This is truly just a small venting session, and life in my little world is pretty fantastic. (Isn't that what blogs are good for? An occasional vent?) I'm going to go outside, exhale, let go of my frustrations, and move on. And I'm going to put forth my best effort and truly work on putting on my tunnel-vision goggles this week, blocking out the frustrations of life (as best I can), and seeking to focus on what and where the Lord wants me and my family to be right now. Because His opinions of me and my life are truly the only ones that matter, and He is the best place for me to carry my frustrations to.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day - 1, Me - 0

At the end of Day #1 of the Labor Day weekend, I am sad to report that I have a big fat zero so far on my scorecard.

I haven't picked up the paintbrush in the bathroom, haven't even walked remotely near the playroom, and I have averted my eyes when walking past the guestroom. Yipes, only two days left.

I have, however, gotten four loads of laundry done today, and I helped my mom cut out five bazillion three inch squares and showed her how to make a nine-patch for a quilt project she is working on for Christmas. The plus-side is that she had enough fabric left over that I was able to cut all of the squares out for an identical quilt top for me to keep. Not too shabby, getting a free quilt, although I'm afraid I lost a lot of time today by working on her (and now mine as well) quilt.

At least I labored, right? Tomorrow surely will be a bit more productive. (Oh, and my husband spent his whole day taking all five dogs to the Sloppy Dog Wash after he discovered fleas, which we've managed to avoid all summer long until today. So no Ralph Macchio house-painting either. I guess that leaves his score at 0, too. Aren't we a pair?!)

Off to do another 3 or 4 loads of laundry before bedtime. At least the laundry is getting done...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day, bring it on.

My boy is pretty much the cutest boy in the whole world. And yes, we can agree to disagree, since I'm sure many of you out there just might think the same thing about your little man, too. Not to mention you've never seen a picture of him, this I know, but just take my word on it -- not only does he have a winning personality, but the boy is a ladykiller in the looks department. Seriously one handsome little man. But here is my proof -- a small voice was crying out "Mama! Mama!" just now from his room. Papa had put him to bed an hour before, so I went in to see what the problem was. This is what he said, matter of factly...

"Iss too wate, Mama. Iss too wate." (It's too late.)

That's what was keeping him up apparently. Not an "I'm scared" or an "I'm thirsty" or the usual "I not tired", but "it's too late". Keep in mind the boy cannot tell time and hasn't quite grasped the concept of time passing, etc. It was merely a general observation, I suppose. Then, of course, he flashed me the million-dollar deep-dish dimples and I was a goner. He's way too cute.

It's Labor Day Weekend (at least here in America) and what do we have planned? Labor, of course! (Our family takes these holidays at their most literal.) As you already know, I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects (in a fitting marriage to the King of Unfinished Projects), so it is hopefully going to be a productive three days for us. Projects on my list may or may not include the following:

-continuing the mural in my bathroom (of course, at this point, what's another couple of years, right? the rate I seem to be going at is about an inch a month, yipes)
-cleaning the playroom (major UGH), and I promise to post before and after photos of that nightmare-hopefully-turned-fairytale-ending
-once again tackling the guest room (avoiding the question of why I actually seem to be physically unable to keep it nice and clean and not allow it to become the dumping grounds)
-purging the kitchen (we have WAY too many unused small appliances just taking up space and collecting dust; the madness must stop)

My husband's list will include painting the exterior of the house (we are on summer #2 of this project, and hopefully there will not be a summer #3), cleaning his office upstairs, and detailing my car. Ah yes, Ralph Macchio will be at my house again this weekend. Aren't you jealous?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All's quiet on the western front

Yahoo had an interesting article Monday on the top five college degrees offering the best return on your investment. Hmm, so strange not to see my Bachelor of Music in Piano degree listed on there (just kidding)...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. (That's me, prematurely accepting all the praise from actually finishing a swap days earlier than the night before the deadline.) Yes, I have finished my apron and potholder for the Fall Sassy Apron Swap. It will actually be going out in the mail tomorrow and on it's merry way to some lucky lady. At least I hope she thinks she is a lucky lady when she opens it up and tries it on. It's hard to know when you make something for someone you don't know if they are truly going to like it or not. This apron is technically my first finished piece of clothing (it can be lumped into the clothing category, right?), and I was pretty tickled pink to have finished it and actually have it resemble an apron! (Click on any of the pictures below to see them bigger.)

The apron:

The button detail:

The potholder:

I've never made a potholder before so I just made it up. It is about 7" by 9", and I made it so it is both a potholder and an oven mitt in one (sneaky, sneaky). I even went to JoAnn's and bought Insul-Bright batting to make it that much cooler. I guess it is supposed to better keep you from burning your hands through the potholder. It is a bit wonky at the bottom, but the main thing is that it works, right?!

I kind of went a more "traditional route" with the fabrics, since I wasn't quite sure what my partner would like (her preferences given to me were pretty open). Years back I went through a big toile phase, but in the last few years I've purged a lot of it from my house. I still like it, though, and I obviously was unable to resist when I saw the Thanksgiving toile fabric. Seriously, it's pretty cute. One color my partner also mentioned liking was blue, so I tried to find a blue fabric to go with the toile, a tad difficult since the toile didn't have blue in it, but I was able to find a navy-colored small floral that blended well with the greyish tones in the toile. And you know me, I had to throw some orange in there. The whole thing is lined with the navy fabric -- I love things that are lined. The buttons were kind of a splurge, but I had to have them since I am a sucker for cute buttons, especially cute dark green maple leaf vintage-looking buttons! I used McCall's pattern M5643, and, having never really made a clothing item before, I thought this pattern was pretty user-friendly and would use it again (to make myself an apron, of course, selfish little thing that I am, haha). I even took the extra time to topstitch it in several places and to handstitch it closed in others so that it would lay better (my mom will be so proud). I sure hope that my partner likes it as much as I do, and I am very excited to see what someone has made for me!

My boy and I took a road trip yesterday to see my sister-in-law and her two boys. We had a great time at the sand park. Note to self -- ALL LITTLE BOYS LOVE SAND. As you might have guessed, we were still finding sand in all sorts of nooks and crannies all the way until bedtime last night. We also ate at my absolute favorite restaurant in her city, pretty much the best Mexican food I have ever put in my mouth. In her city there is a very popular Mexican restaurant where people can wait hours for a table, but there is a less known restaurant in the same area that was opened up by former cooks at the popular one. Not only is the food to die for, but it is much much better. Instead of the regular sides of rice and beans, you can also choose from Mexican style mashed potatoes (lots of garlic, yum) and a cream-styled corn with green chiles (not as soupy as regular cream corn though). And free sopapillas for dessert. We rolled our stuffed selves out of the restaurant, let the boys throw some pennies in the fountains, and then went back to their house for some playtime before the boy and I had to pack it up and head back home on the turnpike.

Wouldn't you know, out of all of that fun, the only picture I snapped yesterday was this one (while driving no less, shame on me, and no, I wasn't speeding):

Yipes! Our beloved 4Runner crossed over the 100K mark.

Okay, off to wake up the boy. My not-as-good-as-he-used-to-be-napper has been asleep for almost 3&1/2 hours!!! This used to be a regular occurrence, but notsomuch since he turned three. Yes, it has been a very good afternoon...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trick or treat!

So I am torn between two Halloween costume ideas for my three-year-old, and maybe you can help by offering up your opinion. Believe it or not, on matters such as this, my boy is still not very opinionated, and if I were to ask his opinion, it would fluctuate daily or be both, neither of which would be any help to me in deciding. Keep in mind our Halloween activities are pretty much limited to the big day itself -- we usually meet up with the cousins that live a few blocks away for trick-or-treating, followed by a trip to our church for the big fun fall festival complete with his favorite, the pony rides. And before anyone goes off on me for getting so excited about Halloween costumes, here is my personal take on the holiday, in a nutshell: I am a Christian, but a Christian who sees the importance in a good imagination, and who even enjoys a few books and movies now and then (cough cough, Harry Potter, cough cough) that have witches and magic in them (banish me now, I tell ya'). I don't really make a big deal out of the holiday -- you probably won't find witches and other such decor at my house, mostly just pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, oh and owls and black cats maybe -- but I did grow up trick-or-treating every year and lived to tell about it without joining the occult, so any children in our house will enjoy the same.

Moving on -- do I order the oh-so-adorable United States Postal Worker costume (representative of the days he makes me want to go postal? I kid, I kid...)?

Or do we go down an entirely different path and have Mama make the Dragon Slayer costume?

I started out completely gung-ho on ordering the mailman costume -- who doesn't love the classic idea of a mailman, and he could put his candy in that bag to boot. (At least I think he could; sometimes on the mass-produced costumes, what you think might be an option may not be. I don't know for sure if the bag is usable.) But then, while at the local JoAnn's yesterday, picking up some batting, I sat down for fun to look through the pattern books (who am I kidding, I was totally wasting time since I was kid-free) and spied the Dragon Slayer costume. My little man loves Dragon Tales on PBS and anything related to dragons and swords and such. Then again, my kid + large plastic sword (which we already own) + church "Fall Festival" could = good times, good times. I'm already picturing in my mind parents and other children running away screaming from my toddler armed with a plastic sword. We'd definitely have to have a few come to Jesus talks about proper plastic sword etiquette. On the other hand, he is fascinated by our mail slot in our house and loves to go with me to our post office where every worker knows him by name, which, of course, in my brain translates to "plenty of great photo opp's". My only worries with the mailman costume are 1. quality, and 2. will the hat stay on his head.

I don't want the decision to be about store-bought versus made-by-me. I've done both in the past, so that really isn't a factor. His first Halloween he was the blue octopus from Babystyle (which they don't have this year), last year he was a skunk (ordered online and not the best quality, but cute nonetheless), and the year before my son came home I had made a frog prince costume for my nephew, hence the costume-making experience. (Here is the frog prince costume, bottom left):

It was dang cute, if I do say so myself. Hmm, decisions, decisions...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm baaaaaaack!

Or did you even notice I was gone? Stinker.

Really, I haven't been anywhere but here, although I haven't posted in a few days. Life just gets busy, you know? And we weren't up to anything out of the ordinary, other than my sweet man turning the big 4-0 (merciful heavens!), but it was just enough regular old ordinary everyday stuff to keep me busy and away from posting. (Notice I said away from posting, not away from Google Reader, of course.) I've been busier than a cranberry merchant (as my great-grandmother used to say, which, by the way, I'm not entirely sure exactly how busy that would truly be) with laundry, cleaning, reading, and playing with my boy who has a two-week break between the summer session of Mother's Day Out and the fall session of his new preschool. Oh, and sewing. This little procrastinator is trying her darndest to change her ways and actually get a project started earlier than a day or two before its deadline. I'm proud to tell you that I am already about halfway finished with my fall sassy apron for the fall sassy apron swap, and it is turning out terribly cute, if I do say so myself.

I've also been reading a lot more lately. I'm already quite the avid reader, but lately there haven't been too many books to get me excited. Until now. (And, before we go any further, no, I haven't yet read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.)

It started with this book, the first in the series, and one I had seen recommended on someone's blog, although I can't remember for the life of me which blog that was. Sorry about that.

Most excellent, it was. I'm guessing that this series of books would satisfy any of you Twilight fans out there since it is also about supernatural powers and such.

And now I am knee-deep into the second one:

I must tell you that these books are actually listed under the heading of "young adult" fiction, haha, but I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from devouring them so far. I have even done my best to not skip ahead and skim to the end, like I sometimes do when I am dying to know what happens and how it all ends.

After I finish this one, I will be able to move on to the last one:

So what are you waiting for? Go out and get these books. Pronto!

As for me, I'm off to check some more things off my list...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A day to go down in history today is the day my man turns 40 years old. We will be celebrating all afternoon and evening, so I'll return this weekend with glorious tales of all our shenanigans.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feverish ramblings

Boy, am I ever glad to see the morning. Last night was no fun. I had a fever that got up to 101 (high for me), chills, horrid body aches, the works. I've been feeling a bit under the weather off and on since Saturday afternoon, but last night was the worst. I have no idea what in the heck I contracted -- surely not the flu, in August?! -- but I am hoping it is on its way soon. Of course, today, a sore throat has started up, ugh. And yes, I did give myself a thorough once-over looking for spider bites, but apparently that is not the cause. No flesh rotting off here. :)

While I was sick and parked on the sofa, we stayed up last night watching the Olympics. I am not a big sports fanatic, but there is something about the Olympics. I watched Michael Phelps get his 10th and 11th gold medals, and then we watched the Chinese and the American girls battle it out for the gymnastics team finals. I feel bad for the Americans, but I must say, I am happy deep down that the Chinese got the gold. Apparently these girls are pretty much "sacrificed" from age three on, devoting their entire lives to the sport, oftentimes only seeing their parents once a year throughout their entire childhood. Can you imagine?! I think it is terrible that the Chinese government does that, but since they do, I thought it was only fitting that these poor girls at least got to take home the gold medals. Of course, all that time on the sofa yesterday also got me to thinking that soon, kids in China will be growing up not only without siblings, but also no aunts, uncles, or cousins! That "1 child per family" law eventually is going to wipe out the whole idea of extended family for China's people. Everyone eventually will only have their parents and grandparents, that's it. Isn't that crazy to think about?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The good news and the bad news

The good news: I finally was able to determine which species of spider I killed yesterday, and they apparently are not poisonous nor are they known to be aggressive (unlike myself, who was beating the heck out of it with my sandal).

The bad news: I saw an even bigger one this morning in my basement (which is not the creepy sort of basement, but rather a nice finished basement) and was unable to kill him as well before he ran under my dryer. And I mean bigger as in probably about 3 to 3&1/2" in diameter. These wolf spiders (as I determined them to be based on a picture that looked exactly like our former friend from yesterday) are apparently known for their large size. No kidding. I can vouch for that.

I have the most severe case of the HBJ's* that you have ever seen right now, and I'm definitely starting to rethink my love for rainy, cloudy days. If I see another one of those large suckers creeping across my floor, I'm packing my things and heading to Oregon.

*For those of you not in the know, "HBJ" stands for the heebie jeebies.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider (or notsomuch)

Um, yeah, so I just finished making this for the fourth time in less than two months.

That cream sauce is crazy good. If you haven't made it yet (after the numerous times I have already mentioned just how sickeningly good it is), well, you're just plain missing out. There is a whole big carton (you know, the big cartons, not the little pint-size) of blueberries in my fridge just screaming for some cream sauce. Just be patient, my little blue lovelies. In a few hours you will be dying the sweetest death by cream sauce.

So, if you already didn't think I was a bit nuts before reading about my obsession with Pioneer Woman's cream sauce (and witnessing my actual trying to verbalize with some nonverbal blueberries), let's just take it a bit further, shall we? One other vice in my life is C&H Pure Cane Sugar. That's right, baby, I am talking golden brown sugar. Every time I make this dang cream sauce, I have to dig into the bag of brown sugar, and I just cannot help myself. I shovel spoonful after spoonful into my mouth. Ever since I was a little kid in Sunday School, hearing the story of how God provided manna from heaven to those poor Israelites wandering for stinkin' forever in the wilderness, I reckoned that manna from heaven must have been brown sugar. If you think that manna from heaven probably resembled something else, well, just keep it to yourself and don't burst my bubble. In my little world, manna from heaven and brown sugar are ONE AND THE SAME.

I finally added a music playlist to my blog's main page. If you use Google Reader to read my posts (or any other subscriber) you wouldn't notice this, but if you click directly to my page, it will automatically start playing music. I've seen other blogs that have music and thought it might be fun to have some on mine.

(Insert major high-pitched girly-girl screaming here.) I was just in my bedroom making my bed (yes, it is 5pm, but no matter, at least I did it, okay?), picking up the big European shams off the floor when I noticed something move. Something, as in a brown with eight legs and about 2&1/2" in diameter something. And no husband home from work yet to rescue me. So I took my Coach sandal off my foot (don't worry, I don't own very many Coach items, but by golly, Coach sandals have to be good for something, no?) and pounded the heck out of that little something. As if this isn't enough to make me want to completely avoid sleeping tonight (not to mention the fact that if that was crawling around my pillows, is there anything in my bed???!!! Insert more major high-pitched girly-girl screaming here), I figured I should try and look at pictures on the web to see if it might have been a poisonous spider (Wonderland is known for poisonous spiders -- don't you wish you lived in Wonderland, too?), and now I'm really not going to ever sleep again. In between the pictures of spiders on my Yahoo Images search for "brown spider", there were also way too many pictures of people with half their limbs missing from spider bites where the flesh rotted away. I'm never going to be able to sleep again. I forget that along with my beloved rainy, cloudy, cool days, also comes eight-legged friends that feel the rain is an open invitation in for cocktails. Surely Oregon doesn't have spiders...

Singing in the Rain

This morning we had a very nice gentleman come by and look at possibly finishing off the beds in my son's room. It is a project that has been over a year in the works (from when we first decided to finally make it happen), so the thought of it being done in the near future is beyond exciting to me. I am proud of what my husband accomplished so far on it, especially for someone with no previous woodworking experience, and I am even prouder that he is man enough to allow a professional to possibly finish it up.

Just two weeks ago my sweet husband finally agreed to getting some quotes on having the bookshelves built and the drawers beneath added, something I never thought would happen. I really liked the man who came this morning to evaluate finishing it, and I know he could definitely finish it off to be exactly the way we envisioned it in the first place, so I am hoping and praying that his quote will be affordable for us. Please, please, please let it be affordable so this project can be wrapped up and fully enjoyed!

Here is the original inspiration for the beds, taken from an article in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion Magazine (my favorite, with Country Living Magazine a close second). The beds in the bottom picture were our inspiration (except the whole idea is flipped in our son's room). As you can see in our photo, there will be a few differences: on our beds, the arches are a bit more simple (less feminine), come down a little lower (to conceal the curtain rods better), and our bookshelves are going to go all the way to the ceiling as well as be quite a bit deeper to accommodate bigger books. Our beds will also be painted white when it is all said and done, and there will be a train going all around the ceiling and through the top bunk. Whew. Just typing all that out makes me realize how much more has to be done!

In fact, if you click on the link (above) to the article, you'll be able to tell that, beneath all of the added Christmas decorations, this whole house is what I would love my house to resemble. Plus, it's located in Oregon, and you know what a bonus that is in my book!

Okay, with all of the talk of poo on my blog over the past few months, I just have to share this link with you. Stacey has one of the downright most hilarious blogs I have read, but this uncensored post really takes the cake. You've got to go read it. Right. Now. Let's Play a New Game - Poop or Bread?

You wanna know what's making me so happy today? 80 DEGREES, people. 80 DEGREES. FOR THE HIGH. Today. In August. Seriously, it is so glorious I just want to run down the block singing at the top of my lungs. Wonderland is not known for its cool August months, and after that horrid bout of temps in the 100s for a couple of weeks, this is downright bliss. It's been this way for three days now. And it is supposed to return to the 80s by the weekend as well. If the rest of August is like this, I just won't know what to do with my happy little self. And it's rainy. And cloudy. My favorite. (See, I told you I should live in Oregon.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Show and Tell

Here it is, my submission for Doll Quilt Swap 4. I used a pattern called "Orange Slices" by Me & My Sister Designs. It's about 17.5" square. This little quilt is probably the squarest, least imperfected, and easiest to bind quilt I have made thus far. I really hope the recipient likes it as much as I do! The only thing I have left to do is to add the label to the back, which I will try and do sometime today. That means it will be on its way either Saturday or Monday, depending on when I can make it over to the post office.

(Click on the pictures for a closer look.)
The front:

The back:

Not only did I quilt and bind the doll quilt yesterday, but I also made the remaining four blocks for my mom's quilt. Here is all six of them together:

Today I hope to make my quilt square for Spring Fling Round Robin 2 and continue stitching the squares together on the "layer cake" quilt top. I'll be sure and report back later to tell you how it's going.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Progress Report

Before I go any further, I must point out something to all of my readers who have yet to be parents. You may see me as some crazed Mama, unable to think of anything beyond bodily functions and naptimes. Yes, on the one hand, this may be true. Sad, but true. But I once used to be a normal adult freedom-loving childless driven-to-success female like anyone else -- I used to get my kicks from shopping, going out at night with friends, traveling to far-off places, etc. Deep down, I am still that girl. And before you look at me and think to yourself, I will never turn into that as a parent, think again. You, too, one day will have a day where your child being able to poo-on-the-potty will be the #1 item on your personal wishlist, even above those coveted Anthropologie shoes. Oh, and this top, too. Oh, and....well, I'd better stop. You get the point. You, too, will one day dream of returning to your former self for a few blissful hours a day while your child is slumbering the afternoon away. You, too, will celebrate the days you survived with less than three tantrums from your kid. You, too, will transform into some form of a semi-crazed parent.

And you, too, will enjoy every last minute of it, the good and the bad. And you won't wish that you could ever be that normal freedom-loving childless adult ever again. (Well, maybe occasionally, on those 3+ tantrum days, but only fleetingly. I promise.)

Okay, onward and upwards, people...

Yesterday my son performed no less than six separate times on the potty, all #2, resulting in two movies yesterday. Can we say that he was probably backed up for months? Like I said, I now have a pooping fanatic on my hands and am actually having a hard time prying him off the toilet. Not that I am complaining. I love the smell of my poo-free laundry piles.

This, my friends, is my crack cocaine of choice:

Actually, this week you can find it in the form of "Blue Bell Mini Country Cones" -- basically little shrunken Drumsticks treats. Heaven in a small package. Please, please, someone come take them away. And let me tell you, this is how bad it is -- they are hidden from my son and my husband deep in the freezer. Yep, I am totally not sharing. How bad is that?!

Yesterday was productive. I'm talking productive, people. I made the quilt top, start to finish, for my Doll Quilt Swap 4 recipient. And I made two of my star blocks (out of six) for my portion of this months' work on my mom's big quilt project we are tackling together. And I started sewing the rows together on that "layer cake" quilt top I was telling you about the other day. And I made dinner for the third night in a row. And I juggled six teapots while balancing one-legged on a beach ball while playing the harmonica. (Not really on that last one. Just checking to see if you were awake and had made it this far.) And this morning I was able to get the fabric for my Spring Fling Round Robin 2 quilt block and for the Fall Sassy Apron Swap apron. For once I might actually get those things made and sent before the actual deadline day (I am always working on things up until the last possible second).

I hope you all are having a productive week as well! I'll be back soon with some sneak peeks at various projects...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The happiest Mama ever. Ever, I tell you. EVER.

You know it is going to be a good day when your son is still asleep at almost 9am. And you know it is going to be a great day when you just came off FOUR DAYS IN A ROW OF SOMEONE UNDER AGE FOUR GOING POO ON THE POTTY.

Yes, folks, I have high hopes for this day. High, high hopes. And let's just throw in the fact that it is supposed to be under 100 degrees outside today! What was I saying about high hopes again? Oh yes, high, high, HIGH hopes!

*2 hours later: It seems we have a pooping machine on our hands. We went from a three-year-old refusing to poo anywhere but his naptime or bedtime diaper, to a full-fledged poo-on-the-potty fanatic!!! He is now comfortably settled into his favorite chair, watching his beloved Polar Express movie (who cares if it is August), his poo-poo prize movie of choice for today.

So this marks day #5 of success. Of course, at some point, I'll have to figure out how to wean him off the movies as daily poo-poo prizes, but for now, I am simply going to enjoy this. After five long months of pottytraining, a little movie once a day won't hurt anyone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I heart Heather Ross.

For the love of Pete.

I finally got some Mendocino fabric (by the lovely and talented Heather Ross) ordered. And I hate to tell you from where, since it is no other than Crafter's Vision. But let me explain myself:

I wanted a specific colorway (blue/brown/orange), and one of the fabrics specifically (the brown background with the mermaids) had yet to even be found online, other than this dumb site. I also didn't want to pay shipping from several separate places (if I happened to find each at a different site). So I called them back today. Same scenario. No can do -- no phone orders today (yet again). So for the last attempt, I got online and figured out that it would keep my items in my cart all the way through checkout IF I didn't change the amount down to half-yard increments. (Lightbulb moment: items are sold only in yard-increments. I would say "DUH!", but they should have had something set up to not allow anything beyond one-yard increments to be entered into the computer. It was even refiguring up my totals with half-yard increments, so it wasn't exactly obvious that this was the problem.) Fine. I narrowed my seven choices down to three (now that it was going to cost more per fabric since I had to order twice the amount I wanted) and hoped for the best.

Bingo. The following three fabrics are now on their way to my home:

Seriously, I still maintain my opinion that this is terrible customer service, even if the gal I spoke with was very friendly enough. If a customer claims to be having issues several days in a row with ordering online, AND if there is a big old 800-number posted on their website specifically for phone orders, they should have made an exception for me and taken my order over the phone. If they were not going to be accepting phone orders for a couple of days due to heavy traffic on their website, they should have had that posted somewhere.

Ugh. I'll try not to take out my frustration on the mermaids when they finally make it to my house. ;)

Monday, August 4, 2008

A little bit greener...

Today my son and I went in hot pursuit of school supplies. Yes, he is only three, but his preschool supplies list was impressive in length nonetheless. It is a relief to have all of the items checked off the list and taken care of, and all from one store to boot. At the end of our little excursion, I purchased two of the reusable shopping bags in the checkout line.

Every time I see them, I mean to pick up a couple, but I always forget. Disclaimer: if you are against shopping at the big-box store, you'll have to forgive me and at least offer me a pat on the back for trying to go green. And please don't have a heart attack when I tell you that not only do I pick up my non-grocery items at the big-box retailer, but I also shop at their smaller, grocery store chain as well for most of my food items. I'm sorry, but in this economy, their prices are certainly hard to beat. Up until now, I'd been trying to figure out how to take in reusable bags to the grocery store because of how their bag carousels are already set up and preloaded with the plastic bags, but to my delight, I noticed an extra little loop sewn in the top of their reusable bags that is meant to clip specifically onto their bag carousels. Eventually I will only own reusable bags (at $1 each, I couldn't make my own any cheaper) and completely do away with using any paper or plastic. At least up until now we have been reusing the plastic bags as "poo-poo bags" to tie up the stinky diapers in. Baby steps, baby steps...

My son, who is supposed to be napping, just wailed "Mama! Mama! Mama!" from his room at such an alarming decibel level that I figured I should go in to see what the problem was. Perched on the edge of his bed, he happily informed me, "No hittups, Mama!" and repeatedly pointed to his throat. I congratulated him and ordered him right back into bed to try closing his eyes and resting since naptime is far from over. How random and silly he can be, especially since he didn't even have hiccups, but was apparently on the sunny side of the street today and dwelling on the good things I guess?

Sometime last year I won a "layer cake" from a great quilting blog. A layer cake is a stack of 10" squares (mine had 38 squares), and I won the stack of April Cornell's collection, "Portugal", from Moda fabrics.

(image via Fat Quarter Shop)

It's been sitting in my big container of fabric for quite a few months, so I figured I needed to get it out and do something with it. Normally this fabric wouldn't be what I would pick out from the fabric store myself, but I do love it and think it is perfect for, yep, you guessed it, a cozy throw quilt. I looked at pattern after pattern online, but when I found this Threaded Pear pattern, I knew I'd found the right one.

(image via Fat Quarter Shop)

I decided I liked the smaller of the two quilts pictured on the pattern (which worked out since I wouldn't have had enough squares for the larger one), so I laid out my squares haphazardly on the floor in the same fashion. Once I had them laid out, I cut out the smaller filler squares (along the edges), and voila! All it needs now is to be sewn together into a quilt top. My intention was to order the pattern, but after laying all my squares out on the floor, I realized I wouldn't even need the pattern after all. And all for free -- free fabric + free brainpower to figure out the pattern = free quilt top! The only thing that will cost me will be the fabric for the binding and the backing (unless I have something that will work already in my stash, which I don't believe I do), the batting, and the cost to have it quilted (we already all know how much I love having them professionally finished). But still, not too bad. Depending on how it turns out, I may keep it (the good Lord knows I need another lap quilt like a hole in my head) or I may gift it. We'll just see.

Not impressed. at. all.

Since Friday night, I have been trying to order fabric from a website called Crafter's Vision. They apparently had the entire new line of Heather Ross out -- "Mendocino" -- that absolutely adorable line of mermaids and octopi and seahorses. Hello, I thought I hit the jackpot because I couldn't find it anywhere else online, and here was the entire line, staring me in the face and at super-affordable prices!

So I loaded up my cart with fabrics to buy. However, every time I would load all of the fabrics into my online shopping cart and hit the "checkout" button, it would clear my cart of items and I was not able to check out. No problem, I thought, I will phone in the order to their handy-dandy toll-free number.

Hmm, all weekend, no people to answer said handy-dandy phone line. No problem, I say, I will wait until Monday morning.

Monday morning here, and I call the handy-dandy phone line. Yay! Someone answers.

I would like to place an order for fabric, I say.

We are not taking orders today over the phones, they reply. We had too much traffic on our website this weekend and will be busy filling orders. You need to place an order online.

(Say what, girlfriend?!, I think.)

I tried all weekend placing an order online, I say. It didn't work.

It must be your computer, they say. Something about enabling/disabling cookies.

Fine, but since it didn't work, could I please place my order online? I have all the item numbers handy, ready to go.


Fine, thank you very much for your help. (Not really, I didn't say that.)

I get off the phone, try to enable/disable my cookies like they said, and try once more on the order, this time noticing that many of the fabrics I wanted (and could have gotten Friday night if it had all worked) are now out of stock. Fantastic. No matter, I think, with my bright and cheery still-positive attitude, I will go ahead and order the ones they have and try later for the one I still need.

Nope. It emptied out my shopping cart yet again when I placed my order.

Maybe it's just my own opinion, but don't you think that customer service etiquette would have said, make an exception and please place this nice lady's order? Apparently that's not how they work. Now I am super-frustrated, not able to get the fabric, not sure I even want it anymore since I am so frustrated, and very disappointed in how this was handled. They lost a customer.

Shame on you, Crafter's Vision.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

5 things that made me smile today

1. There was a very cool song for the offertory in church this morning -- To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn.... (It was almost as cool as the Beatles' tunes all last summer.)

2. Air conditioning, baby. (104 degrees is so not cool. Where is Oregon when I need it?)

3. Tootsie roll pops. 'Nuf said.

4. My son went #2 on the potty again, leading us to #5 on the list (the poo-poo prize of getting to watch)...

5. A classic summer movie. (My favorite scene is the one with the little nerdy boy tricking the lifeguard into saving him from drowning and then kissing her. Classic.)

I hope you were able to find lots of reasons to smile today, too!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another classic

My three-year-old watched this movie in its entirety this evening, a reward for going #2 on the potty:

I remember seeing this movie as a kid, one of the summer flicks shown at our local museum. We lived blocks away, and my dad (or sometimes my mom) would walk my older brother and I over there to see weekly Disney classics shown in the big auditorium. Those are some of my favorite childhood memories. We're definitely going to have to check Toby Tyler out from the library again before we go to the circus here in October. It was a great introduction for my boy to the wonders of the circus, and now I can't wait to see how he reacts to seeing it in person!

I was so impressed that my three-year-old actually sat and watched the whole thing, especially since it is not a cartoon. Add in the fact that we were able to "discuss" it afterwards and work on his verbal skills -- a nice bonus. And the going #2 on the potty? Made this Mama's day. No, her week. No, her month!!!!!

Hope you have had a great Saturday as well!

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's Friday, it's Friday!

Our furry firstborn came home this morning, more than a bit sore and still bleeding a little from his surgery. My husband gave him a sleeping pill (from the vet), so he has been resting comfortably on the banquette in the breakfast nook all day.

Sweet little thing.

We watched "Flawless" last night via Netflix. It was a pretty good flick, and I almost forgot Demi Moore was married to Ashton Kutcher in real life since her character in the movie is such a different one for her. Michael Cain was fantastic, as always.

And look what came in the mail this past week -- my lulufish loot!

The soaps smell incredible, especially the heather-scented one, which I will definitely be hoarding for myself. (Smelling like Scotland will have to do for now until I am able to actually go there for a visit, a long-time dream of mine.) I am excited to try the bath salts and the body scrub this weekend hopefully. I already meant to reward myself with a long soak in the tub, but every night this week I've been so wrapped up in my projects that I've forgotten until it is too late. I'll definitely be reporting back to let you know what I think of all of them. These would make great gifts for anyone in your life, even the boys as there are more "manly" scented items as well, but especially for those you love who might have sensitive skin or eczema. What a great way to support this blogging community by buying handmade, and also by buying "green" products, since her products are all made from natural ingredients. Thanks again, Karen! (Karen, by the way, has a great blog, and I have cracked up so many times reading through her posts. Amen, sista, amen!)

Yesterday was a great mail day as well. On my doorstep I found a package all the way from my beloved Oregon (again, no, I am not from there, but man, it is my all-time favorite place to visit). What could it be, you ask? Why, my Four Seasons Summer Quilt!!!

How cool is this?! Not only is it very clever and creative, but personalized! See where she stitched in the words "From Oregon to Wonderland"? (You might need to click on the photos to make them bigger so you can see all the detail work.) I love love love that. It is so fun to me that not only did someone I've never met took the time to make a quilt for me, but to personalize it so much as well! If you could touch it, you would also find that it is already that wrinkly perfection that comes from the dryer, just like I like my quilts. Her free-form quilting is to be envied -- wish I knew how to do all of that. Clever girl that she apparently is, she included some loose references to the Three Sisters Mountains and the green valley to the ocean. Details like that make it even more special. She also included a lovely card and box of colored pencils in the package, to encourage my creativity. Come on, how thoughtful is that?! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jessica! It is fantastic!

So happy this group is back with a new EP -- "My Dear Machine". I love Leigh Nash's voice, and I'm thrilled that Sixpence None the Richer is coming back.

They also will have a new Christmas CD coming out in October, and another new CD coming out in 2009.

Last but not least, here is my latest contribution to my mother's quilt, a flying geese strip.

Months 1 & 2 are almost finished, save for more embroidery work that must be done around the appliques. We've been trying to work on it one night a week -- man, it is a boatload of work.