Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas from our Home to Yours

Most of our family received our Christmas card today, and if not, they should be getting it tomorrow. Here's what they received:
I took the idea from Tracy and modified it a bit to make it work for me. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Family Pictures

Noah and Marlena came over on Tuesday night and Noah took some family pictures. He's going to school right now for photography. I think they turned out great, although it was difficult getting Ian to sit still with all his toys around. We finally figured out that if Marlena held a "cookie" (yogurt melt) on top of the camera, Ian would say "cookie" and Noah would snap a picture. Didn't work the best, as he was trying to get down to get the cookie, or reach out for it, but it worked enough and we got some good ones. We just need to decide which one to use for our Christmas card now. Here's some of our favorites:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Productive Saturday

This Saturday was quilting Saturday with the girls, and it was one of the most productive Saturdays we've had in awhile. Quite often we're so exhausted by the time Saturday rolls around we barely get started before lunch and we leave before dinner. Not this Saturday, though. I was quilting by 8:30 am, though I didn't make it to Sara's until 10:30. I was busy sandwiching my Dick and Jane quilt before I left. I had to sandwich the morning of because the night before I was finishing my Christmas ornaments. We exchanged ornaments this year and I paper-pieced a present ornament from a pattern Carol Doak offered her yahoo group. I also gave them each a spool of Aurifil thread, in the hopes of converting them.
I didn't take a picture of the others, but Sara hand-stitched mittens out of felt/wool, Virginia made Santa Clauses out of fabric, and Marlena painted a clear glass ornament with stained-glass paint. They're all beautiful and as unique as their creators.

I worked on quilting Dick and Jane the whole time, stitching in the ditch around the small pinwheels. I got about half of the pinwheels done. It took a little while to figure out how to hook the walking foot up to the Janome, but with Marlena's assistance, we got it working. It was nice being able to quilt on my own machine, as in the past I always had to borrow Marlena's or Virginia's. The Janome worked beautifully and I'm so glad I made the switch.
While I was busy working on that, Sara was hand-appliqueing a quilt with an interesting story. The quilt was worked on by her grandmother and her aunt, but after her grandmother died, it was packed away for about 10 years. It was recently pulled out and Sara's aunt asked her to finish it, making it a 3-generation quilt.
Marlena began the day working on fabric books to give as Christmas presents. Ian is getting a Rudolph book to add to his expanding collection of cloth books. When she finished up those, she moved on to a wall-hanging she picked up on our Iowa shop hop. It's a Schnibbles pattern called Nash.

Virgina had an equally productive day, piecing together a tree skirt and a Christmas wallhanging.

I only wish I was caught up with school work and Christmas shopping so I could continue the productivity of that day here at home.

And just because he's the cutest kid in the world (in my humble opinion), here's picture Darrin snapped of Ian today before we headed to church. I broke down on Friday and bought some clippers. After dinner, I gave Ian a haircut, and he screamed the whole time. It didn't turn out too bad, though I've got to figure out something to do about trimming around his ears. At least it has 18 days to grow in before Christmas...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

These last four days have been wonderful. We had three Thanksgivings filled with delicious food, and time spent with family we don't see very much. We took off from Omaha Wednesday night and spent Thursday noon eating with my dad's family. Ian shocked everyone with the amount of food he can eat, and he had a great time playing tractors with Connor.
After eating with dad's family we had Thanksgiving dinner with my mom's family. My grandma has 24 grandkids and 6 great-grandkids, Ian being the youngest of them. We alternate years of all of us attending either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Because most of us (and all of the great-grandkids) won't be there for Christmas, we had Christmas early. Christmas at my grandma's is an epic event, and I wouldn't change it for the world. It begins with Santa stopping by and delivering presents to all of us, and ends with opening the presents grandma and others have for us. Ian got about 12 presents to open, and he quickly learned how to say the word Santa, although he didn't want to sit on his lap. This year he learned to pull the paper off the presents, but he still wasn't obsessed with figuring out what was in them. He got lots of books, play-doh, a "laptop," some clothes, and some vehicles.

We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying time with extended family: eating breakfast with my dad's parents, lunch with my grandma, celebrating Brittney's birthday for dinner, and going to a cousin's engagement party for desserts.

We left after breakfast on Saturday, and after Ian's nap, we worked on putting up the tree. Ian had more fun playing with the ornaments on the floor, and he didn't want us to put them on the tree. He put one of them on there, but after that, didn't really want to touch the tree. Judging from his reaction, he doesn't like the feel of it. Our lights are on a remote because the plug is hard to get to, and Ian was a bit scared when we would say, "Lights on!" and the tree would turn on, and then we said, "Lights off" the tree turned off. We finally had to show him the remote and let him play with it to figure out what we were doing. Now whenever he sees the tree off, he wants it turned on.
We spent Sunday shopping for a few Christmas presents (a new vacuum and some Wii games for Darrin and me) and watched the Packers lose yet another game. We had our last Thanksgiving meal for the year on Sunday night for supper. Marlena and Noah had dinner at their house with Marlena's mom and grandma. Even though we'd had so much turkey already, we were up for eating more, and it was so yummy.

This weekend was great, and I can't wait for Christmas break to spend more time with our families.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scrap Mania

Marlena and I spent Friday night at Archiver's for Scrap Mania. You scrapbook from 5-11, with supper and a snack included in the price. I got four pages nearly completed for Ian's book, which is double my normal finish. I usually spend most of my time trying to figure out layouts, but I actually went in with a plan this time. The first layout I did was a two-page spread from our trip to Pooley's Pumpkin Patch. All it needs is a title and journaling and I'm done.
For the next page, I emailed Darrin earlier in the day and asked him what he loved about being Ian's dad. I then copy and pasted his response to be the journaling for pictures of Ian and him this summer. I just need to add the title.The last one is one of my favorite pages of all time. The picture is of Ian's first smile, which Darrin amazingly captured, and I love the layout. I also love the fact I used a color other than green or blue for the main color. This one is completely done.

The rest of the weekend has been filled with lots of creativity,too. I'm nearly done with the middle part of the purple ocean waves blocks, and I spent 3 hours today at a friends stamping a stack of cards to use as inspiration for others.

Ian has been helping with his diaper changes for awhile; I say up and he pulls his legs up, and then I say down and he puts them down. Being the teacher I am, I said, "Up and down are opposites, Ian." Wouldn't you know, he spits out the word opposites- and it's actually pretty understandable. I also taught him "She'll be coming around the mountain." He adds the choo-choo perfectly, and even tries singing it himself- "She'll be comin' choo-choo." I am in constant amazement of how well he talks and how quickly he picks up on things. Now, if we could just get past the tantrums... those amaze me, too, but in a different way. Where does a child that age learn such aggression? I know he doesn't see it at home, and he's one of the oldest at day care, so I don't think he sees it there, either. I'll just be glad when he outgrows it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Does it have to end?

This weekend was FANTASTIC, and as the hours of Sunday are quickly slipping away, I just wish I could have a few more days like this weekend.

The weather for Halloween on Friday night couldn't have been better for Ian's first trick-or-treating experience (it was about 60 out). Noah, Marlena, and Sara came over for supper, and then Darrin and I took Ian trick-or-treating while they stayed back at our house to hand out the candy. Ian was a moose this year. Mom and Dad bought the brown fleece outfit when they were here last and I sewed the antlers on. We went to about 6 houses on our street. He wasn't quite sure what to think, but he definitely figured out by the end that you're supposed to grab some candy and put it in your basket. At one house, Ian was concentrating on walking up the stairs and didn't realize that at the top was a man in a 'scream' outfit. Once he glimpsed him, Ian started backing down the stairs until the man stuck out the candy bowl. Ian was right back up those stairs- and that was the only person Ian said thank you to the whole night. The camera crew was ready back at our place and captured Ian's expression as the door opened. Once inside, Ian proceeded to take every piece of candy we had to hand out and put it in his basket.
Saturday I headed over to Marlena's house for quilt Saturday. I brought my Shadow Play Ocean Waves to work on, and it was nearly effortless sewing on my Janome compared to my Bernette. It is no longer frustrating to work on; I'm just amazed at how much better sewing on this machine is. I go all my half-triangle purple squares done while I was there. Now I'm in the process of squaring them up and trimming those darn little triangles off.
I left at 3:00 to meet with my bookclub from work. We only read books that are coming out as a movie. So far we've done P.S. I Love You and Nights of Rodanthe. This time it was Secret Life of Bees. Of the three we've done, this one stuck the closest to the book, and so was the most enjoyable to me. I loved the other two books, and probably would have enjoyed the movies if I hadn't read the books, but the movies just didn't compare. If you haven't seen it- go, or at least rent it when it comes out.

Today's weather continued being great, and after watching the Packers lose a close one to Tennesse, we headed outside to work in the yard. Of course, before we could work, Ian had to play in the leaves. He brought quite a few back inside the house attached to and inside his diaper (poor guy).

Thank goodness for our mulching lawn mower; after Ian's fun Darrin just mowed the lawn while I dug up my calla lily bulbs and planted some tulips that will hopefully come up in the spring. Ian helped me make apple-snicker salad for supper tonight, and got to lick the spatula when we were finished.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family Weekend

We had a great 3-day weekend back home in Iowa. It is about an 11-hour round trip car ride, and Ian slept for a whopping 30 minutes total.

Luckily, he's a very good traveler. He loves reading books, dancing along with the radio, and playing with cars..
We didn't do anything special this weekend, just enjoyed watching Ian show his grandparents, aunts, and uncles everything he can do, and of course eating wonderful family meals with no preparation by me! He played with his Tonka truck, played with Lacy, drove his tractors, and made some music on the xylophone. It all just makes me wish we lived closer to our family, so they can experience these everyday moments more often.

Before we left on the trip, I got my prize in the mail from Regina. It's a cute homemade basket filled with an orange fat quarter, a Halloween fat quarter, and a bag of candy corns. Thanks Regina!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's Here!

Yesterday while Ian was down for his nap, I went sewing machine shopping. I went with the intent of just figuring out which one I wanted, so that I could buy it as soon as I lost my 4 pounds... but it's so hard to leave without a machine after you've tried it. I ended up buying a Janome Quilter's Companion Marie Osmond 200.

I did not buy it because M.O.'s name is on it (I'm way too young to know her from anything other than her fainting spell on Dancing with the Stars), but because it had the most features and quality for my price range. My favorite features are the needle-down, tie-off, and start/stop feature. I can't believe it's possible to sew without a pedal.

I didn't get much sewing done yesterday because Marlena and Noah had their annual pumpkin-carving party. Ian picked out his pumpkin and helped scoop the seeds out, but he got bored waiting for me to get it carved out and had more fun playing with the bocce balls and eating Noah's homemade marshmallows. He enjoyed checking out his pumpkin when it was all done.

Today I got a chance to sew after all my errands were taken care of. I wanted to start something new with the new machine, and I worked on the block of the month for the quilt guild meeting tomorrow. I just joined last month, so I didn't have last month's done. I got both Sept. and Oct. done for the meeting tomorrow. The guild is celebrating its 20-year anniversary, and so our block of the month is the same one done 20 years ago.

I got a quarter-inch foot with the machine, and it is so nice to use. The machine went over the seams without pulling them askew and started without wadding up the thread, both problems I was having on my old machine.
I wish I could go and start sewing on November's but I should probably get ready for the school week. It's parent/teacher conference week, which always proves to be a hectic week. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do a bit of sewing before heading home to see mom and dad this weekend.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surprise Guests

While Sara, Marlena, and I were busy quilting away the day today, we had some surprise visitors drop by, although they stopped by to see our neighbors first.

These turkeys hung out for nearly 5 hours. They moved between our yard, the neighbors on either side of us, and those behind us. I would have expected this back home where my parents live, but not where we live, which is a pretty heavily populated part of Omaha. We do have a big park close to our house with some wooded area, so that has to be where they came from. They enjoyed perching on the fence in our backyard.

As always, I had a great time quilting with Sara and Marlena. I choose not to work on Shadow Play, but get some other things finished up. We were all exhausted, so the conversation wasn't as lively as usual, but we all managed to be very productive and quilt for a long time. I'll post pictures later after the camera battery has charged.

Marlena was organizing her sewing room and made a list of every project she has fabric/yarn for. She wouldn't tell me how many until I figured my list, so I did. I came up with 15 projects, which is actually more than I thought I would have. It's nowhere near what she has, but in a quest to reduce that list, she brought Ian over a pillowcase that is just perfect for him.

He is really into any type of vehicle, so he loves his pillow. It was the perfect gift because he's also really into pillows and blankets. He'll pull the blankets and pillows off the couch to curl up with them, even though it only usually lasts for about 10 seconds. He gets mad if Darrin and I use them because he thinks they're all his. Before the girls got here today he was busy reading on the couch.

I had to smile while taking this picture because the quilter in me loved that he is infatuated with blankets/quilts right now, and the teacher in me loves that he's 'reading' a book.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's Shaping Up to be a Great Weekend

Reason #1: I stopped by a sewing store a couple weeks ago looking for thread, and on a whim inquired about the machines sitting there. Came back and talked to some of the Online Prolific Quilters, and now I really want a new machine. The hold-up, I made Darrin bet me (back in April), that I have to lose x-number pounds before I could get a new machine. The trip to the quilting store and this talk has helped motivate me, and I stepped on the Wii-Fit tonight (because who needs a scale when you have a balance board), and I only have FOUR pounds to go until a new machine. I was shocked to see it so low! I can do four pounds!

Reason #2: I WON! Regina had a giveaway for her 300th post, a game much like The Price is Right, and I won. Amazing!

Reason #3: Tomorrow I'm scrapbooking with Marlena at Archiver's all night long. I love having plans to be productive, because without plans, I tend to be lazy. My goal is to get 3 pages done from before Ian's first birthday.

Reason #4: Saturday is quilting day. See above reason about having plans. Plus, it's just fun hanging out with the girls. We're quilting at my house, which means Ian will be popping in seeing what we're doing, and that leads to lots of fun, too.

So, it's looking to be a good weekend. I'll get back to you on how it actually all turns out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pooley's Pumpkin Patch

My parents are visiting this weekend and we spent this morning at Pooley's Pumpkin Patch. It was a perfect place for Ian to run and explore (he had so much fun running I had to take the stroller back to the car). The farm was very kid friendly. Our first stop was a chicken coop where Ian had fun feeding the chickens and petting the chicks. He really loved hearing the rooster "Cock-a-doodle-do".After the chickens we headed to Cornyville- a corn crib converted into a "sandbox" of corn kernels. Ian loved putting them in the bucket and dumping the bucket on himself.

After that, Ian got a tractor-driving lesson from Grandpa. It was hard getting him down off of it. They had a corn-maze up, but we skipped that in favor of a straw bale maze perfect for Ian. He had fun chasing Darrin around inside and taking Grandpa through the maze. The pumpkin patch wouldn't have been compete without the hay rack ride out to the pumpkin patch. Grandma and Grandpa had brought a big pumpkin from their garden to Ian this weekend, so he picked out a pumpkin the perfect size for him. We did a few more things like petting goats and sheep at the petting zoo and pushing Ian around on the toy tractors and trikes, but all he really wanted to do was run around from one area of the farm to the other. We had so much fun watching Ian experience all the different things the farm had to offer. It will definitely become an annual experience for us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...

How does your garden grow, because Darrin and I need some advice. We were working outside this morning in the yard, and Darrin was trimming our shrub. This is definitely not something he enjoys doing, but he hates picking up the trimmings from the ground more, so that's my job. We've never been fond of this shrub, and every time we trim it, I mention digging it out (because it really is an ugly shrub). Today, he finally got sick of it and took me up on my offer.

Getting the small stuff wasn't too bad, but getting the root system out was a pain! At one point, we joked about just leaving it like it was (short little sticks shooting into the air). Little did we know that the digging part would be easier than picking up all the trimmings from the ground. Six lawn bags and two bundles later, we were finished and exhausted.

So, now we have this bare spot in our front flower bed. I'm not sure whether I should just wait til next spring and extend my tulips, irises, and calla lillies all the way to the end of the bed, or if I should put in another type of bush. We want something that will look nice, but does not require one to have a green thumb or require multiple trimmings a year (oh, and I hate evergreen, so that's out). Any ideas?

Ian had fun playing in the dirt that was left. He kept calling the clumps of dirt "poo-poo" until we corrected him multiple times. He was having more fun throwing the clumps of dirt out of the flower bed. Then we put him in the flower bed and the correlation between boys and dirt became apparent. He loved picking the dirt up and putting it on the brick, but in being true his hated of things on his hands/feet, he immediately had to rub his hands off on his shirt. Still, I think he would have been content to sleep in the flower bed if we would have let him.
(please disregard his cuffed pants/rolled down waistband, as 24-months clothes are proving too big for him right now).

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Now, I'm off to hopefully finish the scrapbooking pages I started last night.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Go Pack Go

Ian has just one thing to say: Get a touchdown Pack!
Touchdown! Go Packers!

Recapping this week, I joined the quilt guild Marlena and Sara belong to on Monday. The meetings are the 3rd Monday of the month, so hopefully they won't correspond to staff meetings too often. Thursday was Open House at work. I had a couple of students show up with their parents. It's always nice when they do, since we go to a lot of work setting up for the parents.

Saturday night we spent over at Marlena and Noah's cooking hot dogs, smores, and hot sandwiches in their fire pit. Ian got marshmallow all over his clothes and face. He wanted to eat it, but didn't want to touch it.

I spent sometime this weekend sewing. I only have about 10 more green ocean waves blocks left. It will feel good to get them all done and move on to the purple squares.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Break in the Action

Life's been busy, what can I say. There's been little time to post, much less do anything else I really enjoy. The posts would mainly all be about school, anyway, because the school year has started up and the time I'm home is now filled with Ian while he's awake, and working on lesson plans, grading papers, and writing IEPs when he's asleep. We've been in school for 4 weeks now, and I think things are starting to work themselves out and I finally have things in order enough to take some time out for myself and update everyone on our lives.

We went home to see our parents Labor Day weekend. First time Darrin had been home since spring break in April. Darrin's parents had a fish fry and we took my dad to see The Dark Knight (mom had to work). It was such a relaxing weekend. I didn't touch a computer the whole time I was there. I did try to trim Ian's hair around his ears. I did such a terrible job my sister took the shears to it and gave him a summer haircut just in time for the weather to turn fall-like. It took a few days to get used to, but I love it now, and the best part is I don't have to worry about getting him a haircut for a long time now.

This past weekend it was rainy and cool here; perfect quilting weather. I made some progress on my Shadow Play Ocean Waves quilt, getting all the green/tan center strips completed. Now I just need to sew the big triangles on. I've got only 4 of those done, but at least it's a start. I'm glad there's a bunch of colors in the quilt, because these tans look a bit funny together. I'll be able to play with it more. This weekend is Quilting Sunday so I'll be able to make more progress.

That's really about it from here. Work will be interesting this year. I love my 4th graders. I had them last year in 3rd grade, so they're used to me and we picked up right where we left out. Still working on the relationships with the 3rd graders and trying to determine exactly what each needs to be the best student. They're a very interesting bunch- and there's only 4 of them. I'm sure by May I'll love 'em like I love my 4th graders.

Darrin's busy working on a school project for me, too. He always sits at home and programs at night (even though he does it all day long at work!). I decided if he was going to do that, might as well program something I can use for school, so he's making something to help my students with sight words. Can't wait for that to be done, except for I promised a batch of cookies when he finished...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reading Books

One reason I don't get a lot done around the house is I get completely engrossed in a book and I can't put it down until I finish it. I become obsessive. All I can think about is finishing the book. That's how I know the difference between a book I love and one I don't; the one's I don't I can put down for a few days before I return to. Two days ago I was obsessed with James Patterson's book Sunday's at Tiffany's. He had such an interesting point of view as to how imaginary friends come into your life, and their impact on your future (it's a total romance story). Better than his interesting view is the fact that he uses my first and last name in the book. I was so struck by seeing my name in the book I had to run and show it to Darrin, who, of course, didn't think it was nearly as cool as I did.

Ian is also obsessed with books, particularly the book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Darrin and I have it memorized we have read it to him so many times. For awhile now, he's been "reading" the pages of the words he knows when we read to him, those pages that say, "No, please, buh-bye". He pulled his book off the shelf last night and started reading to himself. When he would get to the red page where the pigeon gets really mad because he can't drive the bus, Ian's voice would go up and get loud. I swear on the page that says, "True story" Ian was trying to say it as he kept saying "Oooooooo". But the kicker for Darrin and I was as he was flipping through the book, not in any order, he came across the page that says "Vroom-vroom-vroomy-vroom-vroom" and without any prompt, Ian goes- Vroom. Darrin and I looked at each other in shock. It's so amazing to us how quickly Ian picks up words and says words we haven't really worked on, like Vroom, meow, and lion. Here's Ian reading a bedtime story for you:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bliss is when...

your son, who is normally up shortly after 6 in the morning, sleeps in until 9!

That's how Saturday started, and it was fantastic. I can't remember the last time I got to sleep in that late since Ian's been on a regular sleeping schedule.

Saturday continued its blissfulness, as Darrin hung out with Ian and I got to go back-to-school shopping for myself. I'm not a big shopper; I do it at this time of year and Christmas. It was actually enjoyable this time. Most clothes I tried actually fit really well.

Then, what's better than having your hubby make homemade pizza for dinner. Ian really enjoyed it.
Ian enjoyed even more the frozen yogurt we got at TCBY for dessert later that night. He wore his cowboy outfit for the first time, and it actually didn't get completely covered in yogurt.

The weather has been perfect this weekend. We took Ian on lots of walks, and then spent today playing in the water. First, he helped me wash my car.

And then he had a blast playing in the yard sprinklers.

Got caught up on some things around the house I was behind on, so not really any quilting or scrapbooking this weekend. The kids show up at school tomorrow. It brings more routine back into my life, but more stress and work, too. Can't wait to see what this school year holds.