Thursday, July 28, 2016

Something That Will Last

There is a blog I follow by a mom of four who I don't know.  She lives in another state and her blog focuses on her daily mom fashions and her hand made jewelry business.  I found her through Pinterest.  If you were to search for any type of fashion inspiration her pictures would come up. I have trouble relating to her sometimes because she is so tiny and perfect and she always tries to pretend like she shows an honest and raw side of motherhood but I can tell she isn't exposing the worst of it and it seems kind of fake.  But, I keep going back because I love her style.  She's LDS so she dresses modestly (no short shorts or tank tops or low cut shirts) but you would never guess if you looked at her cute outfits.  Anyway, she admitted one day that she feels like nothing she does in her work as a mother is anything that lasts and that everything gets undone as soon as she does it so she tries to do something every day that will last and that a child can't come along and destroy.  Her thing is writing blog posts, which I guess is mine too!  But, every once and awhile I pull off something even better!  Now that both my new nephew and niece have been born I can finally show them quilts!  I had a rush of inspiration that weekend back at the end of April when I had a weekend at home with Milo after he had been in the hospital. As  watched the NFL Draft all weekend I cut and sewed and ironed and managed to get most of the quilt tops done.  Then, almost two months later, the first baby arrived two weeks early so I got motivated to finish the first quilt for him before we visited.  Then, I put off finishing the second quilt until I knew my sister was getting induced at the end of that week.  That's how I roll.  It is really nice not to have these half finished things folded up in the laundry room anymore. 

This is the "boy" quilt for the now known baby Gus. 

The picture below is the Pinterest photo which gave my the color inspiration.
This is the "girl" quilt which now belongs to baby Alice. 

Here is the Pinterest inspiration.  I used the diamond/triangle blocks for both quilts.

Maybe I can start quilting more...I had no choice but to sew when both older kids were awake in the afternoons and they were pretty good although they had to sit right next to me.  Ben even helped me pin the layers together. 

Although he didn't get the pins through all three layers every time the layers were still smooth.  I was impressed! 

Yesterday I engaged in a chore which most certainly won't last but it made me feel happy for the moment at least.   I sorted out the many containers and bags and bowls filled with Tessa's "treasures".  These include vase filler marbles, Shopkins, erasers, miniature Frozen figures, beads and lots of other weird junk.  What inspired this sorting fest which involved the whole surface of the kitchen table covered with little piles was me giving Tessa my old Caboodle makeup case from the 90's to use for a treasure chest.

Remember Caboodles?  They were THE accessory to have in the 90's.  I waited a long time to find the perfect one and I knew when I saw this jewel-toned box at Target that it was the one for me! 

Check out that sweet lipstick tray! I also had a miniature pink one and this tiny jewelry holder that I received as a stocking stuffer one year.

I used to have my caboodle packed with my mom's junky old reject makeup and chapsticks and cheap Avon nail polish and I would bring it to every sleepover.  Caboodles are actually pretty useful things.  I don't know why they are now relics of the 90's.  I suppose they are too big for most travel situations and the insides would get kind of gross from all the makeup powder.  Instead, I prefer to have all my makeup thrown drawer with a silverware tray that is supposed to keep it organized but it's still all mixed up but at least it's mixed up in nice oblong compartments.

Now it is full of Shopkins and their choking hazard friends.  I was unsure if I should keep it during my childhood bedroom purge but I'm glad I did. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Storybook Land

There aren't many tourist attractions on the plains of the Eastern Dakotas.  But, off we went to Eastern South Dakota over the weekend.  The reason we went there was to visit my sister, who had a baby...Baby Alice!  The kids were very excited to see the new baby at the hospital. 

There is a fun park/attraction in that city called Storybook land.  It is a very strange place.  It is free since it is park of the city park system but it is quite a deviation from the usual city playground. 

Storybook land has a train that runs around the perimeter.  There is a large castle in the center and throughout the park there are statues and playground equipment based on famous fairytales and nursery rhymes.   There are also a few amusement park rides like a small rollercoaster and a merry-go-round and a petting zoo.  It appeared that each attraction, drinking fountain, shelter and bench was donated in someone's honor or memory.  What a lasting legacy. 

We went with my parents, my brother-in-law and the new big sister.  It was pretty fun although it was very hot and very humid.  I would like to visit on a crisp and pleasant day instead of a sweaty and sauna-like day. 

First we rode the train because the kids were all wound up about it and we wanted to see what we were in for once we ventured into the park.

Then we started walking though the park.  There was some kind of festival going on so there were booths for crafts and activities set up.  One table had a bunch of small water balloons with rubber bands attached that the kids could wear on their wrists.  Gee, what could go wrong with that?  The inevitable happened within ten minutes.  Fortunately, neither kid seemed to care that a water balloon broke all over the front of their clothes.  It probably felt nice in the hot weather. 

Here are a few of the attractions:

Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after!  That's Ben up there at the top of the slide.

Some horses...

I don't remember what story these were supposed to be...maybe Old McDonald?

This was part of a Christmas display.

And, my favorite...I knew as soon as I saw this from the train that I would be posing for a picture with it...

The three little kittens who lost their mittens!

I took this for the view of the castle and that dumb old Little Miss Muffet eating her nasty curds!

"Hey, diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon..."

Me and my dad acting as the responsible adults on the carousel. 

There was a lot more than I have pictured here.  I was to hot and distracted to take too many good pictures.  We didn't really get into the Land of Oz portion of the park and we purposely avoided the petting zoo.  Been there, done that...many times...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stealth Update

OK, this is going to be fast.  My sister is having a baby tomorrow and I need to finish the baby quilt today!  I should be sewing right now!  I remembered that I keep forgetting to share these.  Ben's t-ball pictures!  Tonight is the last game so I am going to bring my camera and get some good action shots. It's only about 1,000 degrees with 99% humidity so it should be a fun evening.  Actually, I like the heat. Too bad coolers of beer are not socially acceptable at t-ball.  Maybe they should just blow off the game and have water games instead.  My kids haven't experienced water balloons yet and I fear that day.

Will this be my gateway sports photo that leads to me wearing three different photo buttons on my coat in a few years? 

What have the other kids been up to?  Nothing much...this photo is a good example of what Tessa is usually doing. 

Yeah, I know, it is a bit overwhelming.  And it is a huge choking hazard.  Yet, the days go by and Milo hasn't swallowed any of this yet.  I am on constant alert. 

I have been thinking it is time to get to the hair salon to get Tessa's little mullet trimmed again but today she brought me a hair tie and asked for a ponytail...awwww...

It's pretty minimal but I guess the trip will wait.  She was really proud of this. 

And then there is Milo...he has become very mobile this last week after mastering the pull to stand routine.  This morning I spaced out for a minute and realized that I hear splashing that I shouldn't be hearing and came upon this scene.

He was wet up to his elbows.  Thank you LAWD that the water was clean.  With a little boy and a newly trained girl the rest of the comment on the cleanliness. 

OK, time to sew now.  Oh, and maybe you noticed my patriotic background...I realized I still had a Valentine's Day background on here.  It's a bit late for the 4th of July but that's not why I chose it...I chose it because I'm excited for the Olympics! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Summer Indulgence

Compared to many adults, my history with coffee is short lived.  As a teenager I didn't even entertain the idea of drinking coffee.  I didn't really even drink soda in high school.  My abstinence from pop was mostly due to my coaches recommending that we not drink it.  There was never a specific reason behind this.  I recall the phrase, "it doesn't do you any good" being thrown around and of course, that is correct although I doubt a star player would have been affected in a detrimental way by drinking a Diet Coke every once and awhile.  I don't even know what they would have thought if they could see the Starbucks frequenting teenagers I see around town.  Of course, my hometown did not have a Starbucks.  It had a cafĂ© where adults gathered to drink straight coffee poured out of a pot that cost .$35 a cup and it had churches where adults would linger over what I thought was quite watery and unappetizing cups of coffee on a weekly basis and sometimes more often.  When I was in 9th grade a new convenience store opened which brought the ultra sugary and sweet gas station cappuccino to us but even after that I didn't have any interest in drinking coffee.  I made it through college hangovers, law school finals and even my working years without coffee. At my job I actually witnessed several full on office meltdowns when the free coffee provided by the company ran dry and someone had to rush to Sam's Club before everyone lost their minds.  I was rolling my eyes big time as I sipped my hot tea and Diet Coke, thinking I was so awesome.  I just didn't get was gross.  The beans smelled good, but still...

And now, this is a regular sight at my house:

That's coffee being brewed into a pyrex cup which I let cool and then pour into ice trays which I freeze to use in iced coffee.  Yes, there is random debris in the frame.  I can't even pretend my house is neat anymore.  There are boxes of legos and packing tape on the counter.  And that's the least of it. 

How, you might wonder, does a person tumble down the slippery slope of distaining coffee to occasionally purchasing a gas station cappuccino half cut with hot chocolate to having a cup if someone made it at their house to owning a Keurig and making ice cubes out of coffee?  The obvious answer would be having kids and not getting enough sleep but this didn't even start until after Tessa was born I had two newborns without coffee!  The real answer is...creamer.   This creamer, specifically. 

Image result for almond joy creamer

My mom had it when I was visiting and I love coconut and almond joys so I thought I had to get in on the fun.  Soon, I was digging out our coffee pot which only came out when the parents were visiting to make myself a pot.  Then I got a Keurig for Christmas and my journey along the continuum was complete.  If all the adults I know are any indication, I'll never go back and I could go even farther and become my parents who drink watery coffee at 9:00 at night. And then there was that time that my mom wanted coffee after running a half marathon...I still think that was weird.

So now I often brew up some iced coffee before an outing or just to drink around the house.  There are many recipes out there and you can also buy it in big bottles from the store. I feel like buying it premade is not very economical and having a big bottle of a favorite beverage sitting in the fridge just taunts me to finish it so I drink more than I should.  I make single servings from the Keurig by brewing one cup and then brewing a second serving of the smallest cup size through the same K-cup.  I don't even know why they have that teacup size portion on the machine.  Who only wants a few ounces? Then I let it sit out while I go about my morning.  For some reason, it takes forever to get cool even though the coffee I try to drink hot seems to be cold in minutes.  How does that work?  Then I put a few regular ice cubes in with coffee ice cubes and creamer in a big water bottle with a straw. 

Speaking of that, Tessa is potty trained now.  She's doing really good.  She's four months from turning three so it was time and she took to it right away.  She also immediately figured out that screaming "I have to go potty!" every five minutes is an effective way to avoid napping and going to bed. 

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.  I was home alone with the kids all weekend and it was rather boring and tedious.  I tried to entertain them through the days without structure but there is only so much a person with a brain can handle.  We saw some footage of those little pills that turn into sponges shape like things when they are placed in water so I braved the dollar store with all three kids to find some.  They had a few packs left and they were all "princess" themed but I didn't even care.  Not having toys defined for certain genders is a new thing, right? 

They got a kick out of this activity, as did I since these things were around when I was a child.  Tessa chose to be unconventional and pop her pills open before dropping the wadded up sponge in the water.  The end result was the same so it worked out fine.  I also let them each choose something else at the store since Ben saw a magnifying glass and said, "Oooh, I really would like that magnifying glass!  I have always wanted one of those!"  Tessa chose those beads she is wearing in the picture.  Of all the fun junk in the store she picked those.  Oh well.  I chose some Sour Punch Straws in the movie theater sized package and ate all of them in the car on the way home. 

And finally, Milo started standing.  This is big news  to be placed at the end of the post but that's just how the pictures were in order.  He has been doing it here and there for the last week, usually on shorter surfaces like the dishwasher door.  But now the breakthrough has come and he is doing it everywhere.  This means that our safe zones for choking hazards and such are no longer safe!  Awww crap! 

I have been waiting for this day since he has come to this milestone later than the other two.  Ben started standing when he was six (almost seven) months old.  I don't remember when Tessa started.  I will probably only remember when Milo started because he was older.  Now the chaos in the house will be taken up another notch, just when I thought there were no more notches. 

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend.

Here is Tessa amusing herself with carrying shovels of dirt between the rock wall and a bucket.  What a thrill.

Here is Ben at the park trying to use the big kid swings.  I have tried to teach him to pump his legs but he doesn't quite get it yet.

And here is Milo hanging out in a baby swing.  He liked it.  Ben liked pushing him.  Tessa liked sitting in the other baby swing screaming, "NO PUSH MEEEEE!" whenever I pushed him. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lilies in Bloom

Last year we (Justin) remove some scrubby little bushes from our landscaping and we obtained several varieties of day lilies from his coworker who is a botanist.  She gave us our irises too.  When we planted the lilies they didn't have flowers on them and we knew it would be a year before they bloomed.  Well, now that year has passed.  I have been waiting for the buds to open and now they are showing their colors!  These are really giving me a thrill.  I'm so glad that coworker was willing to share her plants with us last year!

These are the plants lined up in front of the house.  There is lemon yellow,




and blackish-purple. 

I don't know which color is my favorite! 

We also planted six different varieties of gold ones along one side of the house.  I wasn't as excited about these because gold daylilies are everywhere you look.  They seem to be a popular landscaping filler for public places and parks.  This is probably because they require no maintenance and minimal water.  However, I have been enjoying the different types of gold flowers.  There is a plant with tiny flowers and really slim leaves and a giant one with bloom as big as my hand. 

They look kind of tropical, although we all know there is nothing tropical about this region! 

When I was taking pictures of the lilies I took a few of my front yard planters.  This one was kind of an add assortment and I crowded an extra plant in at the end and it has turned out to be one of my favorites from this summer.

It's so bright!  Here are a few others. 

They are really growing full and I haven't found a single dead plant yet.  Usually there are several that don't make it for some reason.  YEAH! I've also been giving them fertilizer.  The backyard pots are looking nice too.  I will save those for a later post. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Strange Light

We've been in a rather active weather pattern around here, which is very normal for June and July.  It seems like at any given hour of the day I can look out the kitchen window that faces the west and see some sort of storm rolling in.  They are usually fast moving and minor and the rain has been good.  This weekend was a wild one.  I went to a wedding in Fargo of a college friend (I went by myself and it was awesome!) and it was fun taking pictures outside with the dark clouds looming behind us.  At least the downpour came at the end of the night after I didn't care about my hair anymore!  slammed with hail.  Real hail that I had never seen until recently that is compared Meanwhile, the many other places in the state, including my hometown, were getting to various balls.  Golf balls were the most common sized balls.  That was on Saturday and then yesterday another vicious system lumbered across the state.  A city in Western ND received so much hail that the siding on houses was shredded and the hail looked like snow several inches deep.  The town's nursing home had hallways lined with skylights which were all shattered and the whole place was full of water and hailstones.  We knew that was coming our way and put our flowers under the deck but we didn't get hail. We just got a lot of rain and a strobe light show of lightening.  Oh, and the whole sky glowed orange for several minutes and it was like something out of the Book of Revlations. 

It was 9:30 and I was trying to get the kids to bed (yes, they stay up that late.  Darkness comes around 11:00 p.m. here and we are often still playing outside at 8:30 or 9:00.  It's a long day and I try to get them settled down earlier but it never works).  I came down the hallway into the living room and dining room area and noticed the windows were glowing.  I actually had a moment of panic, thinking something was on fire outside or wondering if it was the apocalypse.  It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.  Of course, it was just the setting sun lighting up the wall cloud from behin as it was making its exit. 

It was so weird.  Allan was actually hiding in the laundry room because he was not comfortable with this at all.  Poor cat.  It made me think of a historical fiction novel I read a few years ago that took place during the 1400's when there was a total exclipse of the sun and the world went dark and no one knew why because they thought the Earth was flat and all so they all panicked and started looting and debauching.  And then the sun came out again and everything was normal.  This glow lasted about ten minutes and I will never forget it. 

I heard another round of storms and rain in the early morning hours and now another little cell of thunderstorms is approaching and my app is beeping.  Thunderstorms fill me with anticipation but this is getting to be too much.  I hate to wish summer away but I am looking forward to the more pleasant September weather patterns!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

4th of July 2016

Just when I thought the Internet was operational again I was let down.  On Tuesday evening our TiVo boxes were acting up (the Internet was working) and Justin called the company and by the end of the call the Internet was no longer working.  I have no idea what went on but they couldn't sent a tech here until 8:00 a.m. this morning so we didn't have Internet all day yesterday and the tech was here for three hours (yes, THREE HOURS) this morning and he even had to call for backup help but now think it is finally functioning correctly.  I think.  So I have a lot to catch up on.

Before getting into our 4th of July festivities I have to mention that it was our 9th anniversary last week on June 30th.  The traditional gift for a 9th anniversary is pottery and the updated gift is leather (which is also the traditional gift for the 3rd).  Justin strayed from the traditions of the rule following society of the past and gave me a giant inflateable raft with cup holders and an anchor for floating at the lake. 

I was always saying I wanted one of those whenever we saw them in stores and now I have one.  The box said "Great for kids!!!" and I wanted to scribble that out with a permanent marker and write "Adults only!" but of course that didn't work out. 

Oh well, I guess the kids can play on it too.  And they did, all weekend.  We also brought a new tube for pulling behind the boat just for fun.  There is another tube there but it is a ring that you lay on and this is better for the kids (see, I think of them too!). Ben actually named this thing the "water couch".  A perfect name, indeed.

I thought that was Justin and Ben from the thumbnail but it is actually my brother-in-law and nephew.  But the idea is the same. 

After spending the weekend at the lake we went to my hometown for the annual 4th of July festivities there.  On Sunday night we waited until dark, which is after 10 p.m., to do fireworks and then I went to the street dance in town at 11:30 p.m. because I like to pretend I'm in college still.  I say "I" because Justin had a sore throat and still does so he didn't want to go out at 11:30.  The band playing was one I used to watch in college so it was fitting. 

Here is Tessa's first sparkler.  She wasn't sure about it.  Both kids really liked the little snappers that you thrown on the ground.

On Monday morning there was a Kid's parade that took place right before the real parade with a short route and we put all the kids in it (seven total).  We did an NDSU theme.  Ben walked and threw candy with me as I pushed Milo who was sleeping.  Tessa rode in the wagon and ate candy. 

Tessa also got to be part of the big parade.  I will say more about this later but we have brought Justin's dad's old car, a 1964 Ford Galaxie, home with us after it has spent many years at his mom's house.  Our retrieval of it coincided with the 4th of July weekend so he put it in the parade.  Ben didn't want to ride because he wanted to get candy but Tessa was Daddy's helper.  I hope that car seat recommendations are overlooked for parades but if not...please don't report me!  Haha...I know you won't but there are some sanctimonious monsters out there that would.

Here she is, hording candy.  And don't be alarmed, that Tidy Cats bucket was thoroughly cleaned. 

Then came the big event, the demo derby. 

I don't know why I get such a kick out of this foolish display, especially since I don't have much interest at all in racing, monster trucks or any other automotive exploit.  I think it's the local nature of it and the festivity (I know, I have used that word excessively in this post, but my mental thesaurus is not working today) of the afternoon.  Also, I love sitting out in the hot weather and relaxing and socializing.  Also, who hasn't fantasized, at least once, about stepping on the gas pedal in a fit of rage and just letting loose on whatever is in your way? 

Ben had a lot of fun.  For awhile there was not a cloud in the sky and we were worried he was getting too hot but he didn't want to leave and then the sky became overcast and the weather was perfect.  The highlight was when a car started on fire in the back seat (I think the fuel tanks are moved back there) and the driver had to dive out the window as the fire department guys put out the fire with extinguishers.  I should add, and I know I have mentioned this is previous years, that I have seen this event probably 20 times (it has been going on since 1990) and I have never seen an injury or a driver needing medical attention.  Despite their low budget atmosphere, derbies are a regulated sport with rules and officials and strict inspections of the cars.

There has been talk for years that demo derby-ing can't last forever because the old metal bodied cars will become harder to find.  Those days are arriving, unfortunately.  I heard what the person who won spent on his car and it was as much as a nice gently used modern vehicle would cost. More than many, actually.  Another competitor had his car ready to drive and at the last minute was offered $4,000 by another driver who wanted it for their town's derby so he chose to sell it instead.  The prize for winning 1st place isn't close to that much.  This one had a grand prize of $1,500 so that gives you an idea.  The days of finding old station wagons and four door sedans and buying them for a few hundred dollars are over which means derbying is becoming unattainable.  There were thirteen drivers (including the pickups and a veteran heat) when there used to be thirty or more so it's not quite the same anymore. 

So, what, you might ask, makes a good derby car?  I was reading the rules after I came upon them on Facebook while clicking through pictures from the event and this lead me to some internet research.  Because that's what I do.  INTERNETTTTT!  I MISSED YOU SO!!!  American cars from the 1970's are ideal and of course the 60's and 80's are fine too.  So that means the ideal cars are 40+ years old.  There is a legendary car, the Chrysler Imperial, which is so strong and can handle so much crashing that it has been banned from demo derbies along with hearses and limos.  'MERICA!  DETROIT! Reading about old cars makes me nostalgic for the old days when everyone was so proud of the cars made in America.  I still am, but many people are not. 

Here is an Imperial out to pasture (Google images photo)...

Image result for chryser imperial demo derby

I bet derby people would lose their mind if they came upon this scene even though Imperials are not allowed anyway.  Apparently, any old and long luxury car like a Lincoln or Cadillac is best and station wagons are also a very good option.  I have seen many station wagons in action in demo derbies and they can really take some hits. 

Anyway I hope I get to see a few more derbies before they are obsolete.  Something tells me that watching 90's and early 2000's era Ford Tauruses and Chevy Impalas shattering on impact with all their computer system wires dangling out would not have quite the same effect as the watching the current standard derby cars. Also, I would hate for the town to lose the money that this event raises through gate admission and raffle tickets because it is ALOT.  I don't know what could take its place.

And speaking of old cars, I snapped a few pictures of the Galaxie as it left our garage for its new storage unit home. 

Every Tuesday night in the summer, there is a gathering of "car people" in town and they "drag Main".  The street is actually called Main Street. People set up lawn chairs along the street and get some ice cream from Dairy Queen and watch as hundreds of car enthusiasts parade their cars, along with the regular traffic, up and down the streets.  Well, guess what we found ourselves a part of as we drove the Galaxie to storage.  I was following Justin and I was delighted by our impromptu showing.  He thought it was dumb but it wasn't.

I think old cars are so beautiful in their designs and colors even though I don't know a lot of automotive details like some people do.  For example, as soon as my dad heard the year of Justin's Galaxie he knew some trivia about the position of the headlights from that year. I thought it was interesting that there were no Ford blue ovals on the Galaxie.  There was one on the floorboard though.  Maybe when I am older I will know things like that about cars...such as the year that all cars were mandated to be manufactured with car seat tethers or how many car seats could fit in a Ford Expedition or...never mind...I'm boring myself.