Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Family Reunion: Part 1

We're here. And my first observation? DANG. It's bright here. Seriously, I wouldn't believe it unless I lived it. But the sun is ridiculously bright. I can't get used to it.

What I can get used to, however, is the lack of humidity and the 40-degree morning. Simply sublime. Mostly we're just hanging out and seeing cool things. But now we're just able to do it with cool people.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Taste of Things to Come

For those of you we're about to see this next week, here's what you can look forward to:

And for those of you we're not about to see, well it's what you're missing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three Coats of Paint Later...

...and all 40 shirts are done. On Saturday we leave for the family reunion and I couldn't be more excited. I just hope the plane rides go smoothly. Hi--o! (The rallying cry of the reunion-ites; I'm sure of it.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

It's a great time of year to be a teacher's wife, which makes a Father's Day tribute very easy. Here in Maryland the high schoolers have final exams the same way I did in college. (I did not, however, have them in high school; did you?) We are now fully entrenched in finals. Why do I love this so much? Take two Fridays ago: Chuck's school was doing finals for third and fourth periods. Well, pretty awesome that Chuck doesn't teach third and fourth periods and therefore could stay home with me and Rhett. Love me some three-day weekends! It's just so nice having him home.

Why do I love having him home so much? Because he's such a big help. He lets me run on my own, watching Rhett when I go (sometimes they even wait outside for me and cheer for me when I cross the finish line). He helps with dinner, or watches Rhett so I can get it. He helps with chores. He adds a soundtrack to our lives with his new guitar. Plus he's fun and I like him.

Then there are the special times like two Saturday mornings ago. While I ran, Chuck got Rhett ready for the day. Then, so I could have some time alone, he took Rhett to his parents' house so I could shower, do some chores, and then go fabric shopping. He didn't mind at all that I met up with him right at nap time (coincidence or no...actually it was but still). Did he complain? Nope.

He really is a great dad to Rhett and we both love him tremendously. Happy Father's Day Chuck! We both love you very much.

(I made both ties so they'd match and then wanted to feel part of their group so I made me a bracelet.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

What We've Been Up To this Week...

Forty freezer paper stencilled-shirts for the upcoming family reunion. Let's just say it's a process.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Here!

One week after finishing the photo book, I have it in my hands. I was afraid that might not happen, given one small hiccup. (Something about me entering my street name as the city--d'oh!). But thank goodness: USPS and UPS both came through in spite of my boneheaded mistake.

Here it is. I absolutely love it. It's solid, well put-together, and the images are sharp. Rhett didn't want us to put it away the first time we looked at it. It's perfect and absolutely worth it. It is exactly what I hoped it would be!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Made by e

This is a short version in the "Made by e" series. Other projects are still in the works or won't be unveiled until Father's Day. So hopefully you're content with these.

Last week my sister saw some cute little treasure bags and said that her six-year-old would LOVE one. She also said that if she could sew like I can, that she'd make one that night. I knew it was serious when she used all caps. Well, thought I, I know someone who can sew like I do: me! Plus, I needed a new project. So I whipped one up that night. But like my dear paternal grandma, I can't mail one child a present and neglect the others. Or worse, mail two children a present (I had a gift for Emmy) and neglect the one. Emily indicated that Jonas would probably like a little treasure bag too, so get one he will. Hopefully they arrive soon.

For Father's Day, I made matching ties for Rhett and Chuck. Knowing they'd be matchy-matchy left me feeling left out. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine (who also made her four boys matching ties for Father's Day), she told me about a fabric bracelet she was making for herself. Her description: a flat scrunchie. Awesome. I knew I had to have one. Saturday night I made one that matches the boys' ties. But because I can't wear it until next week, I made another one before church to match what I was wearing that day. Here it is!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flashback Friday

Exactly ten years ago today, my dear friend Rachael and I were wandering around Europe with two huge backpacks on our backs. It was the trip of a lifetime and I am forever grateful that I got to spend it with her.

On this exact date ten years ago (June 11, 2000) we weren't having the greatest day, however. We tried to go to Fussen to see King Ludwig's castle, but when we got there, we found there were no hostel beds available that night. We knew we couldn't stay as we'd already tried the sleep-in-a-train-station thing and let's just say that it wasn't our best night. So unfortunately we only saw the castle from the train as we returned to Munich. Awesome.

But that night turned out to be one of the most memorable of the entire trip. When we arrived back in Munich at 9 p.m. we lucked into a hostel (and I mean LUCKED). We checked in, threw our packs on our beds, and returned to the train station to call our parents (and cry, probably). The day had been a bit, let's say, stressful.

When we got back to the hostel, the only thing we wanted to do was relax in quietude. But if you've ever stayed in a hostel, you know that's not always the easiest thing. In our room of eight beds, there was us two girls, three Canadians, three Irish people, and who knows on the others. Now I will quote from my journal:

"Rach had her Jerusalem stuff out and they asked about it and then it came out that we were Mormons. So they started asking us about stuff we couldn't do then they pretty much left to go clubbing! We thought that would be the last we saw of them because our train [the next day] left at 8:14a but at 4:00a they came in--loud and turning on lights. And as mad as I was, it was pretty funny because one Irishman kept bugging this other guy from England named Abraham [heretofore known as A]. It started out with the Irishman telling A that if [the Irishman] came to London [the Irishman] should get A's address to visit him and A was like 'Why? You don't know me' and the Irishman said, 'Sure I know you.' His logic of knowing him was that he knew A liked army pants and sex. So A says that doesn't mean he knows him. So the Irishman says that A is getting grumpy and he must not be religious because God wants us to be happy. Then A keeps telling him to be quiet then the Irishman finally says that if A ever shows up in Dublin, he'd murder him!"

Because Rachael and I were sleeping in a bunk bed, I couldn't see her face as this was happening. But as we got further into the conversation and our bed was quaking from our stifled laughter, I knew we felt the same way. It was a memory I'll have forever; and if not, it's recorded in my journal. Thanks Rachael! Here's to hoping that after all these years, I know her better than simply knowing her opinion on army pants (no) and sex (yes).

I'll leave you with one of two photos that contain both of us. This picture is a totally different story, but I'll leave that for May 27, 2020.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What to Do?

Seven years ago I bought these pants. I love these pants. They're comfortable and not hideous: a perfect match.

But now they have this lovely stain on them, a stain that refuses to be removed. Given the location of the stain (ahem, butt) and the color of the stain (ahem, brown), I feel I can't wear these pants in public. (Disclaimer: I believe the stain to be chocolate in origin. It's just not in the right location to be anything bodily.)

What to do? Do I cut them at the knee and use them as my around-the-house summer shorts? (Options for endowed Mormons are slim, and summers here are wicked.) Do I put a patch over the stain? Do I bleach the pants white? Or dye them another color? Help!

As a last resort I could freezer-paper stencil the words "HOT MAMA" across the buttocks in brown, hoping to cover the stain. I guess I'm hoping it doesn't come to this.

Monday, June 7, 2010


If you could travel anywhere in the world right now (with unlimited budget and without kids, if that makes it easier), where would you go?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Manna from Heaven

I know not many of you will care about this, but it's changing my life. Seriously.

I like scrapbooks. I like to look at old pictures of others and myself (well, some of them). My memory isn't the sharpest, so having pictures helps me remember events and people I would have never remembered otherwise.

However, I don't like scrapbooking. Through August 2007, I went through the motions to create books to take up space on shelves. But since August (close to Rhett's conception--any relation? I think so), I haven't done anything. Sure, I've taken tons of pictures and even organized those I'd like to have in a scrapbook. But I couldn't get myself to print them and put them in pages.

Then came along digital scrapbooking. We bought Photoshop Elements and I was determined to catch up on the scrapbooks. But our seven-year-old computer was destined to keep me from doing just that. Seems that running Elements on a weak computer isn't the greatest idea if you actually want to use Elements. It was incredibly frustrating; so I stopped.

Then came Blurb. My sister uses it and loves it and creates beautiful books from it. I tried it, but found that it didn't work well with the silly blog I keep. I post weird things from "why-oh-why did I change my last name?" to silly polls. Only every once in a while do I include pictures that I'd like to keep. It was too cumbersome to sort through everything to find the gems. Besides, I don't post all the pictures I'd want in a book. So that went out too.

Then there was Lulu. For Christmas 2008 I made two books for two of my nephews. I used a site called Lulu but fought with Elements to do so. When I recently saw that Lulu (a self-publishing website) has a Word template that you can use to create you own books, I thought "This is it!" I am really good with Word and knew I could make this work. It would mesh my style of layout with journaling and would be perfect. I just didn't know it would be so ugly. I started but didn't get beyond the first month because I just had this plain white page looking back at me and I didn't like it.

[Cue the pillar of light to surround me, please.] Then I found Shutterfly. I'm sure I'm the last person to find this (making this post useless, but just in case...), but it is makes me so unbelievably happy. They create these photo books and have an option for you to customize. What does that mean? it means that I am going to create awesome photo albums that look great, aren't bulky, and are created on a computer! I love everything about that. All I had to do was upload the pictures I want, drag them into their correct pages, pick different layouts and backgrounds, edit with text, and publish! Seriously that easy. If you do an 8x11 book, with a hard cover, and 60 pages, it works out to be almost exactly $1/page. If you do more pages, the price per page decreases; of course, if you do fewer pages, it's more expensive per page. And if you get it done by June 10th, you can get free shipping and 20% off (the prices I quote reflect this discount)! Can you tell I'm excited?! And really, considering the cost of paper, supplies, and printing the pictures, I don't think my $70 book will be considerably more expensive than doing it with paper.

I'll definitely be done by June 10th (yes, it's that easy). I'll show you the finished product when I get it. Oooh, mail gets exciting again!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend in Pictures

I already mentioned that we spent Saturday morning running in Northern Virginia. Here are the pictures to prove it. Don't I love my bright red running face? Oh yes.

Here we are at Gravelly Point. That plane is much larger, closer, and louder than it appears here.

The new tie and suspenders set. I love this plaid. Thinking of making a matching tie for Chuck for Fathers' Day.

Saturday night my friends showed up. Here are the little guys in the "beep" (Rhett's word for the cart, not mine) while picking up some essentials Monday morning.

After grocery shopping, we visited a park with a train, carousel, and playground.

Meanwhile, we got to eat these two yummy dishes: this salad on pitas and this "salad." Guess which one I like more.

Lesson of the weekend: Being a single mum is a LOT easier when you don't have to do it alone.