Friday, July 31, 2009

Dia Del Muerte Purse

Finished my purse today!

In all fairness, I’ve only been working on it in earnest for a day or two, but it’s been on a back burner for months. I bought this cute little purse back in November when I was at a teachers’ convention in San Antonio. It had this Dia Del Muerte print that was really cool and I was super excited about it.

However, it had a few small problems. First of all, it was super tiny—I could barely fit my cell phone and wallet in it, much less any other paraphernalia I might need to carry around (and this was pre-iPhone when I was carrying around a little Samsung slider!). If I wanted to carry my iPod with me, I was out of luck unless I had a pocket in which to stow it.

Secondly (and probably for the better, as it turns out), the zipper on the purse died a few weeks after I bought it (no pun intended). I was much peeved, but I carefully, carefully dissected it, taking it apart stitch by stitch until I had two small panels of the fabric left. These scraps of fabric sat on my inspiration board for months, waiting for me to get to them. I knew I wanted to make another purse from them and I was pretty sure I wanted to use the Dotted Dream pattern from Ottobre’s online pattern selection. The ‘how’ of it all has been percolating in my mind for some time, though, through baby clothes for my daughter, several shirts for my son and a birthday outfit for my best friend’s kid. Finally, though, I was able to get to my sewing and here’s what I came up with.



I ended up using a red baby cord to go along with the skulls. I fussed with the cutting out of the top panel pieces since I wanted them to come to a chevron pattern, but I wanted them to come to a 45 degree angle.

Ottobre Dia Del Muerte Purse

I got these panels sewn together and the side panels sewn on and then I had to interface it.



Because I was using baby cord, I decided to use a sew-in interfacing instead of iron-in, and I think it worked out pretty nicely. I got the stiffest stuff I could find, but it was still flexible enough that when I was turning the lining bag outside in, it fit through fairly easily.

Speaking of the lining bag, I added pockets to it so that I’d have places for my phone, my wallet and a pen or pencil. I think I’m going to make a matching Purseket-type thing for it, as well. I made one several years ago, but I used really ugly fabric for it since I was just figuring out the dimensions of the project. I got really lucky with my pattern since, size-wise, it was pretty perfect, but I think I’m going to make another one using this really stiff interfacing and see how that works.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sitting in the Dark (A Little)

I hate the idea of saying that nothing of particular importance happened on a particular day. Of course, something must have happened. I couldn’t have sat in the house all day, alone and in the dark.

Oh wait, that was my morning.

This tricksy East Texas summer weather wrecked havoc on our electricity today. I was sitting in the office, drinking coffee and waking up after the husband and the kids had left for the day when I heard a pop. Now, we’ve been having a lot of rain, thunder and lightning lately, but this was definitely not a lightning-thunder-type pop. This was no boom followed by a larger, echoey boom. It was a single, loud boom. At the time, I thought to myself, ‘Transformer explosion—that doesn’t bode well. Electricity won’t be up for much longer.’

I fooled myself into thinking, though, that it must have been thunder because it didn’t go out immediately. I was continuing the coffee dance that I follow each morning when several minutes later the lights flickered on-off-on-off-onoff (really quickly that time!), and then settled at off for a while.

It’s funny, though, that with my iPhone and its almost constant connection to the rest of the world, I never really missed a beat. I turned off and unplugged my sewing machines and the computers—yeah, we have surge protectors, but I’m still paranoid. I text messaged Robert to let him know what was going on and then I got one of the eight dusty phone books from the end table in the living room and looked up SWEPCO’s phone number. I could have looked it up on my phone, but really, I just like the feel of a book in my hand when there is a problem to be solved.

Within an hour, really within about 30 minutes, they had the electricity up and running again. Several things of note with electrical outages:

  1. There are waaaaay too many clocks in the kitchen. I had to reset them and realized that, not counting the battery operated one hanging over the sink and the one by the back door that is connected to the thermometer outside, there are four clocks. Just in the kitchen! Crazy. When we replace our stove some day, I’m looking for one that doesn’t have a clock built into it. Do they even make those?
  2. With the sound of the computers’ whirring silenced, I realized that the battery operated clocks in the house (there are two more aside from the one in the kitchen that could  all be heard from the office in this absence of white noise) are reeeeealllly loud.

Moving on, Carle seems to have done fine in his little abode overnight. After all the thumping and watching I did last night, figuring that he’d die before the boy ever got him to school, there were about a dozen little pellets of poo on the floor of the bottle house. Honestly, I was pretty impressed—Carle was pretty prolific. They looked, for all the world, like someone had taken little bits of brown clay and put them through a tiny Playdough Fun Factory. I started to take a picture, but it’s poo. You don’t take pictures of poo, caterpillar or otherwise.

So anyway, Harrison took Carle to school and apparently he was a big success. They’re going to keep him (the caterpillar, not my son) in the classroom and watch as he cocoons himself to turn into a moth. It’s always cool to help facilitate learning—it’s one of my favorite things about being a teacher and definitely one of my favorite things about being a parent.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I found a visitor in the garden tonight.

Tomato Hornworm

Upon researching, I found that he (she? it?) is a Tomato Hornworm. Apparently pretty nasty in the garden. Instead of freaking out and being a big goosey girl about it, though, I captured him (her? it?) in a plastic container I had laying around and Harrison and I looked it up online. He (Harrison) was very intrigued by the little bug and we decided to call him (definitely going with male at this point) Carle, after one of our favorite authors.

Our next order of business was to get some housing established for the critter. I dug around and found a cranberry juice jug in the fridge that was past its freshness date, so I washed it out and took to it with a corn-on-the-cob holder. I punched quite a few holes in it, but I’m still paranoid that the poor guy’s going to suffocate, so I occasionally walk past and tap on it a bit to try to get a reaction out of him. If lack of air doesn’t get him, heart attacks from the giant who beats on his house will. (All this concern despite the fact that this dude was trying to take out the little bit that is left of my garden. I really am too soft, I think.)

Caterpillar Casa

Catapillar Casa - Detail

Carle's Casa

I plan to send him to school with the Boy in the morning, assuming Carle is still kicking. (Or crawling, or whatever.) They’re studying birds this summer in his class, but I think a live, very cool looking bug might be a pretty interesting distraction.

In other news, I finished up part of Harrison’s gift exchange package that he’s going to be sending to his pen pal, John. Harrison picked the fabrics and helped pick the pattern and supervised a good portion of the construction. As soon as I get the package sent (due by this Monday, but I’ll hopefully get in the mail earlier), I’ll post pictures of it. Don’t want to ruin the surprise if John and his mom, Kelly, are reading! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Super Birds

I’m not sure what the motivating factor is, but my son sees poultry as superheroes.

Back in June, Harrison came home with an activity he had done at school. He has been studying birds this summer and apparently they were studying the birth cycle of chickens. The children colored each of the four steps—egg sitting there, egg slightly cracked, egg with baby chick starting to emerge and baby chick standing triumphant—and then were to cut them out and glue them in order. Pretty standard stuff at Montessori school.

Chicken Birth Cycle

Something—something—made my son look at this order of operations activity and decide that that chick was no mere baby chicken. It was super Super. Chicken Birth Cycle

Super Chicken

I like that he included hair and a cape. My boy is into the details, you see.

So today at the library, I shouldn’t have been surprised. We went back for story time—it was better today, but I just don’t know that we’re going to bother so much going to that specific activity. We’ll still go get books (more on those later!), but the story time just doesn’t seem to capture his imagination.

Except for drawing time, which is after story time. Harrison loves to draw and color. I’d like to say it’s because I’m an art teacher and he’s gotten so many lessons in it and he knows how important it is to life. It’s not, though. He’s just a kid who likes to draw. Everything. When we show him new movies, he usually feels compelled to draw the characters immediately after the show is over. During The Iron Giant, he asked me to stop the movie at the end so that he could draw the statue of the Giant that Dean has made. He’s all the time bringing home little cut up pieces of paper that have superheroes drawn on them.

So anyway, at story time today, the books were counting books so the coloring activity afterwards was a dot-to-dot. He drew it in well enough—little bugger had to show off and count backwards instead of frontwards, but he was probably the oldest kid in the room so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. He gets it drawn (“Great job, Pal!” He’s a stickler for the praise!), colors the eyes red (mean duck, apparently), and the beak and feet are yellowed. At this point, the duck’s a little scary, but whatever. He likes weird stuff. He starts coloring the duck’s chest red—dunno why, just did—and eventually colors the whole thing red. I, the art teacher, tell him that he can make his duck any color he likes, which he likes to hear, and then he looks down at it and says, “Mom! I forgot to make his lighting!”

I, of course, have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s a duck. Quack. But he gets his yellow marker back out, adds the lightning bolts to the head and tries to add them to the chest. Have you ever tried coloring yellow marker over anything? No dice. So he gets the grey and colors Flash’s logo on the duck.

Phew! Superhero Fowl Emergency averted!

I think it’s quite a handsome duck, personally. ;)

Flash Duck

So, books from the library today included Tedd Arnold’s Even More Parts and Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name. Man, that guy can make some cool kids’ books! I had never heard of him before, but read about him on another blog and now we’re all hooked on his goofy self. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well, you got trouble, my friend…

So you’ll remember I roasted a chicken a few nights ago. Super easy, super delish. For Part 2 of the sustenance that that particular fowl provided my family, I whipped out probably the easiest chicken soup recipe I could find. (Yes, easier even than roasting the chicken itself!) I boiled up some rice-in-a-bag, dumped beans, veggies and chicken with broth into a big pot and had a fabulous meal in all of, like, 20 minutes. (Strains of ‘Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble’ filling my brain as I clean up after supper… :) )

We had lots of playing time for Harrison today. Laura pretty much just kicked back all day, eating when the spirit moved her, playing when she wanted to and basically just being the laid back sweet thing I’ve come to expect. Harrison, on the other hand, had to sit on the Green Carpet (our version of Time Out) with both of his play dates. (Not that I’m keeping score, but he drew on one friend’s drawing without her permission and didn’t listen at his other friend’s house. Nothing big. Basic kid stuff.)

This morning, the little girl across the street came over to play while her mom took her brother to the doctor for a well-baby visit. Listening to the two preschoolers play, it was pretty hard not to laugh. Five year olds have a need to top each other that I rarely see anywhere else. They argued over whether super heroes are real (final concession: they’re real people but they’re just dressing up for pretend) and whose Dad spanks harder. Apparently, Robert is the harder disciplinarian. The topper was when the little girl told me that while Harrison was on the Green Carpet, she had prayed for him.

[If you feel the need to tell me about how barbaric spanking is, please just head elsewhere. There is a difference between a spanking and a beating. I received many spankings as a child—far fewer than I should have, I’m sure—and there is nothing inherently wrong with me. The same goes for my husband. My son receives the occasional spanking for flagrant misbehaviors when visits to the Green Carpet and denial of privileges have not proven effective.  Sometimes, when all else fails, a stinging butt makes an impact when words alone do not. At least I do discipline my child, which is more than I can say for lots of parents whose kids I see coming through my classroom each year. But that’s a rant for another day.]

This afternoon, we went to visit some of our friends from church. I really enjoy visiting with this family. They are interesting, quirky and an all around fun group to be with. The older daughter is Harrison’s favorite babysitter and the younger brother and he run and play like they, themselves, are siblings. Their mom and I sit around and watch the kids play, laughing and chatting, playing with Laura and just hanging out. It’s nice to have another adult friend to talk to. I always end up staying much later than I planned when we go visit, but they’re so interesting and it’s so nice to be able to talk to someone who doesn’t care about Transformers or Speed Racer. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Low activity Sundays are rapidly becoming one of my favorite things. We went to church this morning and visited Robert’s mom afterwards and other than that, we did pretty much nothing at all. Robert went out for groceries, I hung out with the kids. Hung up laundry. Just a quiet Sunday. Really nice.

At church this morning, the program was about diversity and tolerance. It was pretty interesting, because Richard talked about how we talk the talk about each person’s inherent worth and their freedoms to explore their path as they see fit, but that we often don’t walk the walk. There is much to think about on this topic; I look forward to seeing where my mind goes with it.

I thought it was cool that we kept the kids in the sanctuary for the first part of service this morning. In the past, Harrison has immediately run off to go play with his friends in the RE room, but today he (and the other kids in attendance) got to hear the music, listen to the choral readings and see what the candles and stones on the altar are all about. He asked me about the candles later in the day and we talked about what they meant and why people would come up and light a candle or lay out a stone. I think we’re going to get a bowl of pretty rocks or something to keep here at the house so that we can do a nightly blessing count.

Here are some pictures of Laura from today and yesterday, just because they make me laugh. Sometimes we just need a laugh, I think. :)

The bear's gonna get me!

Ooooh, I'ma Get'cha!

Cute Laura

I know pride comes before the fall and all that, but dang, I’ve got cute kids! :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I finally finished working on Sarah’s outfit! Yay! I used the Hertta skirt (#19) from Ottobre 01/09 and the free tank top pattern from the Ottobre website. All fabrics came from my local Hancock’s.


Overall, I’m really pleased with how it came out. My serger acted like an absolute brat a few times, but I think that forced me to find some creative solutions I might not have tried else wise. For example, when I couldn’t get the cover stitch function to work, I had to apply the binding with my sewing machine. I got to playing with it and realized that I liked the look of the raw edges, as that tied to the raw edges of the appliqué, thematically.


Speaking of the appliqué, I really, really love the way that came out. I had planned on putting the chipmunk from pattern #20 in the same issue on the shirt and ‘girling it up’ (Sarah’s request—it was to be wearing a dress and shoes). However, time and fabric stash decreed that that was not to be on this go-around. Down the road, maybe this fall, I’ll get around to doing that special order shirt, but for today I decided to go with a flower from the skirt fabric. It spiffed up an otherwise very plain tank top and now the shirt  can be worn with the skirt or it can be worn with some jeans or solid colored shorts that match the colors. Very versatile, I think.


In the future, when I’ve got two weeks to work on something that can go as quickly as this did (actual sewing time was only two days—half of one day was the tank top!), I need to get going much sooner so that if problems do come up I can deal with them in a much more timely manner.

Happy Birthday, Sarah!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Apple Bites

Blogging from my iPhone tonight since my iTunes seems to have some kind of Trojan horse that wants to get out. Wasn't there some kind of stereotype about Apple products never getting viruses? Or does that just apply to the computers themselves?
Almost done with Sarah's birthday outfit. Will post pics as soon as my goofy computer learns to mind its manners.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Time For Sewin’

I was supposed to be able to sew all day today since both kids were at their respective schools and I didn’t have any workshops to take. What happened, instead, is that I got to take my van out to the Chrysler place to get the door worked on. They were really nice about ferrying me back and forth between my house and the dealership, but  a good chunk of my time was spent riding in cars.

In addition, instead of staying home during lunch (after being ferried back here), I got Robert to take me out to eat. We went to this new (to us) Thai place downtown that was really good. I had never had Thai food before, but was really pleased with what we had (Pork Pad Thai). Prices were reasonable and the food was awesome. The only glitch was that it took over 30 minutes for them to get the food to us. In their defense, though, they cooked it fresh right then and didn’t have it sitting around waiting for someone to come in and order it. All told, I will definitely eat there again—just might call my order in ahead of time.

Back at the dealership this afternoon, I was struck agog when I tried out the door they had fixed and it still didn’t work!!! I mean, yeah, you could push the button and the door would open and close. But it wouldn’t stop at the end of the ‘open’ cycle so if you were planning on getting in that door, you had to be very, very fast. I showed it to the guy who had just handed me my keys and he seemed surprised. I was surprised that he was surprised—did they not have someone check the button to see if it worked when they finished installing the part? It seems so logical to me, but I’m just an Art teacher—I don’t know anything about being an auto mechanic. Perhaps I’m over looking some pertinent piece of information here. Or maybe they’re just maroons.

But it’s fixed now. Works like a charm.

Didn’t get to do much sewing before supper because I was watching Transformers with my son. Robert finally got it fixed, removing all the vulgar language and the worst of the violence (yeah, he left some fighting in, but c’mon, they’re robots! That’s different!). When he realized what the ‘surprise’ movie was, his jaw just about dropped off and his eyes nearly fell out. That’s my kind of reaction to a surprise. :)

Transformers GoodnessTransformers

I’m still not done with Sarah’s skirt—my stinking coverstitch machine is being a brat. It works fine as a serger, but when I try to use the coverhem, it goes postal on me. I’ve already called the shop in tears because of this machine and it’s tweaky performance. I’m getting very near ready to tell them exactly what I think of their machine. Or maybe I should just call them and ask for help again….

Either way, I’m getting Sarah’s skirt done under duress, but it will get done. Soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Truth In Advertising

Mom was over at the house this afternoon looking through old pictures of the family.  One of her favorite games is to ask Harrison if he knows who the baby in the picture is. It’s usually someone older—me or Mike, Mom or Dad, whomever. Sometimes, it’s one of the kids—mine or Mike’s.

So anyway, she’s looking through pictures and finds a few of Harrison when he was a toddler. She asks him, “Hey, Harrison, do you know who this is?”

“That’s me, Nannie!”

“Aww, weren’t you cute!”

“Yep, I sure was!”

“What were you doing in this picture?” I didn’t see the picture but if I know my kid, he was making some kind of face or something like that.

“I was being a rooty-poot.”

At least he knows.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Gastronomically, it was an interesting night.

I made this killer roasted chicken. I’m ashamed to say I had never tried doing so—it always seemed so intimidating, so I never bother. Three solid decades under my belt and I’m just now finding out how freaking easy it is. I found the recipe for it on Tammy’s Recipes, which I found through another blog I read regularly, Simple Mom. I’m now taking the carcass and simmering it to make chicken stock to freeze for later use. I’ve done this before (the chicken stock part—not the roasting!) and have had mixed results, but I found a more reliable (or at least reliable sounding) way of doing it, so I have high hopes for it.


Either way, the chicken was beautiful. And delicious. Although I might have inadvertently created a vegetarian in the preparation of it. Harrison watched me wash the raw chicken and pull the giblets out. He seemed ok with the fact that this pink lump was chicken, but when he asked where the head was I felt it disingenuous to lie to him so I told him that it had been cut off. Or maybe I was just too slow on my feet to think up some lie to tell him. Either way, he declared he was not going to eat any of that chicken because it was yucky with it’s cut off head.

He did, of course, eat it at supper—chicken is one of his favorites. But he also did an elaborate pantomime for his father showing how the poor fowl had had it’s feathers plucked and head chopped off. (Another topic we covered: “Mom, that doesn’t look like a chicken. There’s no feathers.” “Oh, um, well, they had to pluck them out.” “Like you pluck your eyelashes sometimes?” “Yeah, like I pluck my eyebrows sometimes.”)

In other, and quite frankly more ground shaking, food news, Laura ate solids tonight! I wanted to wait until Harrison’s birthday was out of the way, which we did. Other things kept popping up, though, that were keeping us from trying it. The biggest impediment was that I kept forgetting to put it on the grocery board, so Robert kept not buying it. (Can’t blame a guy for something that’s your own fault, can you?) I got some while out running errands, today though, so we went ahead with it after dinner. She drank about six ounces of formula and had about half an ounce left over to mix with a small sprinkling of rice cereal.

She was pretty receptive to it after she figured out that I was trying to feed her. Her instinct, because I was feeding her and she normally sucks her food from a bottle, was to push her tongue forward to try to get it. It took a little while to get the movements figured out and there was still plenty that ended up on her chin and bib, but I think she enjoyed the overall experience. When she was done with that bit, she still seemed hungry so I mixed her another tablespoon or so but made it just a tiny bit thicker. She ate probably two-thirds of this before she declared herself done by going red in the face and squealing at me. ‘Nuff said.

Not terribly appetizing...NonplussedThis is what I eat with!

I'ma Eat You!Got it!

In non-food notes, Harrison and I went to the library today for story time. We have avoided this for some time, not intentionally but it was just never convenient to go. The library is across town and by the time I remember that A) it’s story day and B) it’s story time, it’s too late to get over there. I remembered today, though. Not sure if I’m going to try to remember it in the future.

Story Time in Bookville

Harrison sat pretty well for the stories (both about Texas animals, and both pretty awful—how does this crap get published?), but then he’s been busted at school plenty of times for goofing off during story time so I expect he behaved more out of fear than interest in the armadillos and wolves. I guess the fact that it’s labeled as toddler story time should have clued me in on how many other kids would be there and how young—and unruly—they were. It was like being in a toddler zoo. Kids squealing, jumping up and running around, pretty much doing anything but sitting and listening to the story. In retrospect, I have to ask—why did they have the stories they selected for such young kids? There are literally dozens of other, more well-suited stories for toddlers.

Anyhoo, we checked out some books—Tommy dePaola is still one of my favorites. It strikes me that Strega Nona is very similar to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which we also watched today, oddly enough. Harrison was much disturbed by the little girl in The Legend of the Bluebonnets burning her beloved doll as a sacrifice for her people. I think he was worried that I was going to make him burn his Optimus Prime.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Month Down…

If you follow my blog, you have noticed that there has been a sharp upswing in the number of entries lately. Most people do not follow it. I’m ok with that. I hate people in real life making snarky comments about what I’ve written and so for a long time I’ve avoided writing much of anything. It always seems, when I publish like this, someone has to say, “Well, I see that you’ve been writing…” almost like they expect me to deny it. As if I should be ashamed of myself. I don’t know. I don’t quite know what to say to those folks.

But I decided recently that I wanted to try an experiment. I wanted to see if I  could blog every day for a year. I tend to have these grandiose ideas that are larger than perhaps I have the stamina to complete. But I thought that I should be able to sit down for a few minutes each day, collect my thoughts and record them. I’ve seen others online who have done it, but this isn’t about me trying to best someone else. It’s a single person sport, much like running or bicycling. Yeah, you can do those things on a team, but you can much easier do them on your own and the achievement is yours and yours alone. It all comes down to your stamina, your dedication and your drive.

Like I said, I tend to get kind of grandiose.

Anyway, I’ve been blogging for a month now—I started on June 21 and it’s now July 20. It’s cool for me for several reasons. First, I’m happy to see that I’ve got the endurance I suspected was in me. I know the year is far from over, but I’ve got 1/12th of it under my belt.

I wanted, when I was younger, to be a writer. I felt I had a talent for it. A way with words. I don’t know if I still feel that way now—sometimes I do, but other times I curse my overuse of parenthesis and hyphens. Either way, if you don’t ever practice something, you’re pretty much guaranteed never to get any better at it. Conversely, if you practice, even if you don’t call it practice, there is definitely potential to get better. You have the opportunity to try things out, see how they work and learn from them. Daily blogging has given me this opportunity. I look forward to seeing what my style will look like in another eleven months.

Finally, it’s cool because I have already started going back occasionally and rereading things I’ve written about. I don’t know about anyone else, but my short-term memory is almost non-existent. I live something, it makes something of an impression on me, but a week later I often can’t remember what happened to save my life. Harrison will say something or Laura will look at me in a certain way and I’ll think to myself, ‘That’s so awesome—I’ll never forget it!’ Except that I do. Almost immediately. And so having this daily log of what we’re doing—the interesting, the mundane, the weird—is nice because when I read it, I remember it and I can actually go, ‘That’s so awesome!’

I fancy myself reading this drivel many years down the line, perhaps when the kids are grown and gone and being able to rejoice in the beautiful things they did. Emily in Our Town laments that people—live people—never really see life for what it is and how quickly it goes by us. In a way, I like to think that this is my way of noticing the fleeting moment. I’m no saint or poet, and I don’t capture “every, every minute,” but I think that from time to time, I do get glimpses and “realize life while [I] live it.”

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Movie Day

We didn’t really do much today. Went to church this morning and they talked about the Civil Rights movement, which was interesting, and this wrestler, Sputnik Monroe, which was much more interesting than I thought it would be. The speaker was a guy I’ve enjoyed talking to a few times (we’ve not been going for a long time, so most of the people I’ve only really talked to a few times…) and I thought he did well. After service, we did the monthly cleanup. I was, after bathroom duty, on window duty in the foyer, which I didn’t mind until I got to cleaning the outsides of the door and saw that there was a huge wasps’ nest up in the awning. No one got stung, but I definitely decided that the windows could wait a week until they could get the nest taken care of. :)

After church, my parents came over and watched the kids while Robert and I went to the movies. Without the kids. Let me say that again—it just feels so luxurious. We went to the movies alone, without the kids. It was refreshing to glare at other people besides Harrison when there was unwarranted noise in the audience.

We saw Transformers and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I thought Transforms was ok—plenty of action, lots of fluff. Good summer movie. To be honest, I got kind of bored with the fighting robots by the last 45 minutes of the movies, but I guess since people complained so much about the last movie only having 20 minutes of robot action, Michael Bay felt the need to make up for lost time. I enjoyed it, but I spent the better part of the movie making mental notes of things Robert is going to have to cut from our copy when we get it just so Harrison can watch it.

Rant Alert!!!!

[It really does wear me down that movies targeted to little kids are so inappropriate for little kids. More than that, it exhausts me to think that I’m the only parent who actually enforces the ratings guides. It’s not like I feel the need to shield the kids from every little thing out there—I just think that if you’re going to make kids salivate at the mere mention of your movie, you shouldn’t load it down with vulgar language and sexual innuendo. They grow up too fast as it is—leave that kind of stuff for movies marketed to adults!]

Rant Over!!!

Harry Potter was the better movie, I felt. I have seen several people’s reviews of it who said that it deviated quite a bit from the books, but that they liked it nonetheless. I’ve read all the books, but it’s been a while. When the last book came out last year I ensconced myself on the couch, read it and then started back at the first book and reread the whole series. Seeing the entire story laid out like that really clarified it for me and was very enjoyable. That said, I guess I should have re-read (or at least re-skimmed) Half Blood Prince since I didn’t notice anything terribly amiss. I’m sure there were things that didn’t align perfectly with Rowling’s version, but nothing jumps out at me in the here and now. Perhaps after I go and skim through it I’ll see things that should have been done differently, but I feel like even if I do, I’m still going to like the movie.

A few comments on the actors:

  • I really hope the ‘Harry Potter’ kids can keep working after all these movies are done. The more they grow, the better they get and I’d hate for them to not ever get to act in anything else. I mean, yeah, they have buckets of money and could probably not ever work again and still be ok, but how sad would that be if you did all your life’s work during puberty and never had anything that drove you for the rest of your life? I just hate the idea of them being typecast and locked in to those characters for the rest of their lives.
  • Speaking of typecast, is Helena Bonham Carter incapable of doing any acting that doesn’t involve lots of black eyeliner and being a freak? I mean, yeah, she’s perfect for Bellatrix, sure, but it just seems that all she ever plays is kooky. Am I missing some role that she’s done that’s not like that? I’d really like to know.

In all, a good day. Now if I can just remember not to mention to the boy that we saw Optimus in all his glory, I’ll be doing ok. That kind of betrayal, I’m afraid, would never be forgiven.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Well, technically, he’s a pretty big boy already. The kid is long. He’s all legs, though. When he cuddles up on my lap, I feel like I’ve got a grasshopper in my arms. I think he’s going to be tall—much taller than me (which isn’t really saying much…), but also taller than Robert, probably. My brother is and my grandmother was very tall, so the genes are there. On the other side, both Robert’s mom and her twin sister (natch) are tall. He doesn’t stand a chance.

We bought his supplies last night and spread them all out this morning to see what it all looked like. I’ve always loved this part of getting ready for school. I enjoy the cataloging of belongings, thinking of the great things I’m going to do with them. Granted, lots of time the things I plan to do with the supplies get laid to the side and I end up doing something else with them. I love the potential, though. The idea that these tools could be part of something great. And I love the smell of them. Just do.

Holy Crap! He needs all that for Kindergarden?

I think he was most excited about the new shirts. He’s been going to a private Montessori School since he was 18 months old, so all he’s ever known for school clothes are polo shirts with the school logo embroidered on them. When we decided that this was the year to go on to public school, he was apprehensive at first, but once he found out he was going to be a Pirate (the mascot for our school), he was pretty psyched. When he found out he could wear t-shirts if he wanted—any kind of t-shirt at all, not just the once-a-week t-shirts he has at his Pre-K—he was over the moon. He’s now got a respectable collection of Transformers (four, plus the one he already had!), Star Wars (one, plus the one he had) and Super Hero (one, plus an older one) shirts. Add in the Transformers shoes, underwear and backpack and it’s not hard to see where his allegiance lies these days.

Laura is teething, I think. She’s fussy and won’t take her bottle very well, but she’s giving all the hungry signs. She’s not got any fever, so I guess I should be glad of that, but there is slobber everywhere. We tried some Orajel on her tonight and I can’t quite emphasize how unhappy with that experiment she was. She was OK at first, because it was cherry flavored like all the stuff they make for kids these days, but once the first wave of cherry was gone, she was pissed. There is no other way to describe it. She looked at me as if I had betrayed her in the worst possible way.

I, of course, laughed because 1) I’m just mean that way and 2) …yeah, I’m just mean that way. She was so angry and I couldn’t make her stop crying and so I laughed. She was not amused.

She did, however, finish taking her bottle and fell asleep. Of course, when I put her in bed, she woke up and was angrier than before. Robert took the reins, though, and so he put a little more Orajel in her mouth (I had only gotten the top gums—she was pissed, y’all!), fed her some more and she’s in bed now. I’m hoping she’ll be able to sleep through this. We’ve not had any teething issues with her at all, but I figured it was about time. Harrison, if memory serves, didn’t start teething until he was about five months old, but she’s only a few weeks off from that, so I don’t think it’s remarkably early.

The pictures I include here are from earlier today. We were at a birthday party for one of Harrison’s friends and I took the girl in to change her diaper when I was struck by how beautiful she was. Man, I’ve got a pretty kid. Two of them, actually. Just thought I’d share the wealth. :)

The one of the left shows her personality a little better—she’s such a happy baby (when I’m not putting Orajel in her mouth), but the one on the right shows her peaches and cream skin tone better. She’s a little paste baby on the left. :) I guess I could Photoshop the first one, but I’m lazy. At least I own it.

Happy GirlInquisitive Girl

Friday, July 17, 2009


My ducklings are growing up!

Laura, at her well baby visit, was almost 16 pounds!!! That’s double what she weighed when she was born, and then some! The pediatrician was very impressed that she’s so strong—she has been standing (with support from us, of course—she’s only four months!) on her own legs, bearing weight, for at least a month now—maybe more. She holds her head up extremely well and rolls over like a champ. I’m really not trying to play the ‘My Baby’s Better Than Your Baby’ game, but my baby kicks butt! :) She did not like getting her vaccinations, but she’s all but forgotten them now, so I guess she’ll be ok.

While there, the doc said that when she gets to be five, maybe six months old we could put her in an exersaucer or a Johnny-Jump-Up. I looked at her sheepishly and admitted that I had put Laura in Harrison’s old exersaucer-type walking thing (I don’t know what to call it—it’s not the kind that’s just a wobbly disk—there’s a leg that the whole thing rotates around and it’s got all kinds of toys that make noise) this very morning. She seemed surprised, but said that as long as she’s not slumped over and is holding herself up reasonably that she could keep playing in it.

I'll Get You My Pretty!

Almost there...


I think we could say that she’s holding herself up reasonably well. :)

The jammies, by the way, are the ones I finished the other day. I need to get a better picture of her in just them and not in a giant toy, but I think you can get an idea of how they fit, more or less. They’re kind of big in the torso, but just about right in the legs—I’ve got a long-legged pony here! There’s plenty of torso room, so I think even as she gets taller, she should be able to wear them for a while. Pattern is Ottobre 03/04, #6.

My other little duckling is getting one step closer to starting kindergarten and so one step closer to being grown up. :( We went shopping tonight for the school supplies he’s going to need—there was a pretty extensive list! I know that the weekend before school starts there will be all kinds of sales and there’s going to be the big tax free weekend, but I abhor crowds to the point that I can’t breathe or maneuver and so I don’t mind paying retail, or very near, to avoid them.

And besides, I love new school supplies so much, I don’t want to miss the experience for all the misery. I know it’s dorky and not a little crazy, this need to smell the crayons, feel the fresh paper and write names legibly on everything, but at this moment in my mind, all things seem possible. The boy can listen to his teachers and do what they ask! His work will get done, the first time he is asked to do it! Or at least, I hope these things for him. Whether they do or not is up to him. He’s getting better at following directions, but I always worry for him. I guess I need to stop hovering and let him fail something a time or two so he can see his consequences. He’s still young enough to learn. I think I’m just too old to.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scooting along

Laura is scooting—there’s no denying it anymore!

She’s been kind of getting a little bit moved around lately, but it’s mostly been roll, semi-scoot, roll, roll, semi-scoot, roll. Tonight, however, Robert sat her in the middle of her explor-a-blanket (I don’t know what else to call the darned thing—we got it at Ikea and it’s got squeakers, mirrors, textury bits and a hidden spider) and came into the office for a minute to get something. When he got back in to the living room, mere minutes later, she had scooted her way all the way off the blanket a good foot or so onto the carpet. When he called her on it, she reacted pretty much the same way she acts every time she gets caught doing something—she laughed.

I guess this means I need to vacuum the living room now.


I guess this also means I need to get going on baby proofing, at the very least, the living room and her room.

Double crap.

In other news, Harrison went back to school today (yay!). Not that I don’t love my son and his every wish, desire and whim. But seriously, I need a rest occasionally. The one day of resting means that when he comes home from school talking a mile-a-minute, begging to play video games and bouncing off the walls, I have the patience to talk him down from the proverbial ledge and calm him down. Have a civilized chat with him. Cuddle. All the good stuff, without the desire to Homer-style throttle him.

[Disclaimer: Yes, my son gets spankings when he as done something that is off-the-charts-bad, but he usually sits time out on his green carpet. My threats to choke/beat, throttle him are hollow, and he pretty much knows it. Getting the monkey after him when he’s piddling and wasting time, though—that’s another story entirely.]

So I had today off, which was nice. I did f&@k all. Watched a few episodes of This American Life on Netflix. Played YoVille on Facebook. Pinged messages back and forth with friends from my childhood with whom I’ve recently gotten in touch. Between three of us, we identified nearly every kid in several class pictures I had posted. It was pretty cool being in contact with them again. My family moved to East Texas when I was fourteen and so I didn’t get to graduate with the kids I grew up with. I kept in touch with a few from the old school, but for the most part I had completely lost touch. Apparently, they are going to have a 15 year reunion this August, so I’m going to make Robert go to Houston with me and go see all my old buds.

I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m a little worried about it too. Robert and I were just discussing the complete randomness of schoolmates just the other day. The kids you grow up with are a total lottery that is entirely dependent on your parents’ choices of where to live, whether to put you in private or public school and a whole host of other factors. Once you get into your school, you generally have a group of kids you have in your classes year after year. This could be good, or this could be bad, depending on your relationship with those kids.

My point is, these relationships are totally random. When kids become friends in this kind of situation, I wonder if they are actually hanging around with the people they choose because they like them and want to be around them or if it’s a defense mechanism. Going with what is more comfortable, if you will.

I worry because I spent years with these guys and I remember them being really good people. I see the adults they have become and I’m truly excited for them—they have gone to prestigious schools (UT, MIT, etc.), they’ve become doctors, innovators, and adventurers. They’ve done some really cool stuff and I knew them back then!

I just wonder if we’ll have things to talk about after the ‘I remembers’ are out of the way. Tony Soprano said that ‘Remember when…’ is the lowest form of conversation. Now, I don’t take all my life advice from a mob boss, and I enjoy a back-in-time conversation as much as the next person, but I just worry about the conversation after that one.

Seeing what these guys have done and where they’re going, I have a feeling there will be some pretty interesting discourse in the future.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Pinches, Mommy!

Harrison had his five year visit with his pediatrician today. Overall, no problems—he’s had a fever for the past day, and she said that he had a virus that seems to go around our community in late June/early July every year, but it’s short lived and he should be able to go back to school tomorrow. What relieved his mind the most was that he didn’t have to have any ‘pinches’ (what he calls shots).

Last year, when the nurse was gearing up to give him his four year vaccinations, she said that they had kind of a slogan around there—“Four years, four shots.” I said that she needed a better slogan, perhaps one that wouldn’t incite fear in preschoolers.

This year, though, he didn’t have to have any and that garnered a big sigh of relief from him. It was short lived, though, when he heard the doctor mention that when I bring Laura in for her four month well baby visit, she’d have to have a shot or two.

He didn’t say anything immediately, but by the time we were in line to pay and set our appointment for next year, he was very concerned for his sister. By the time we were to the van, he was almost in tears and insisted that Laura couldn’t get any pinches on Friday. I compromised with him and said that she’d only get small pinches. This calmed him for a little while, but before he went to bed tonight he declared that Laura was to get NO PINCHES.

It’s endearing to see him so concerned for his sister and her happiness. He doesn’t want her to feel the pain and, more importantly, he doesn’t want her to cry. I hope this empathy between them survives their childhood and that he always considers her his friend.

On a totally different note, we were driving out to my parents house yesterday and a car pulled up next to us on the Loop. Harrison looked over at him, glared and said, “Tear him up, Mom!”

I think the boy’s been watching a little too much Speed Racer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You take the good, you take the bad…

Today was almost entirely good. The boy stayed home with me, but we filled our time quite nicely. We ran out to my folks house to take care of the dog and then we headed back to Longview to go on a ‘date.’ We went to the Lunar Golf place in the mall where Harrison did reasonably well—he shot most holes in 4-5 shots, which is pretty good for a kid who never goofy golfs. We only played 10 holes, but, again, for a kid who never does this and is only five years old, 10 holes of putt putt is not bad. This place is indoors (air conditioning!) and has black lights and fluorescent paint everywhere, which makes it pretty darned cool in any book, I think.

After the golfing, we headed off to Chick-Fil-A for some lunch. Am I the only one who remembers when you only ever found Chick-Fil-A at the mall? We have two freestanding restaurants in Longview and I still feel kind of off when I eat there.

Best part of the whole ‘date’? The fact that it cost, all told, under $5. I had free passes for the Lunar Golf from a teacher bash the student council/leadership kids have for teachers at the end of the school year, so that was free. I bought glow in the dark necklaces for me and the boy, two for $1. The Chick-Fil-A was mostly free—I had a free kid’s meal coupon and a free adult size chicken sandwich coupon, both received at the Alleyfest earlier this summer. I felt guilty about not paying for anything (although they probably would have let me), so I bought some fries and a small soda to go with my sandwich. (That, and I was still hungry!) Total cost, about $3.

On the downside of everything, we had to cut our meal short because I had to rush to the mall office to reclaim my checkbook. With our bank cards. And my insurance card. And the HSA card. All of which, miraculously, were still in it. How could I be so stupid that I would leave such an important thing laying around?

Well, the thing is, I don’t like carrying a purse, especially during summer. I usually have keys, phone and a little cash in my pockets and I figure if I need anything else, I’ll worry about it when the time comes. Most of the time this works out fine for me. I’d just rather not be lugging a bag around with me in the heat—it’s depressing.

Today, however, knowing I was going to the mall, I knew I might need a little bit of money beyond the $10 I had brought, so I brought the checkbook. Without a purse to carry it in, I simply placed it in my back pocket, which is not a terrible thing—I’ve done this before with nary a problem. The problem came when I had to go to the restroom.

I’ve gotten in the habit of going to the family restrooms whenever I can, just because I don’t like the idea of sending my kid into the men’s room without supervision. (Yes, I’m sure this will cause need for therapy later on. Whatever.) So anyhoo, we go in, I tell Harrison to wait in the little anteroom they have in this particular facility; he’s to sit on the provided bench and not touch anything. Simple enough.

Except that he’s five. And he has a glow-in-the-dark necklace. And he’s five. I do my business in the restroom, where I had to remove the checkbook from my back pocket because it was falling out and wash up. As I’m opening the door to leave the room and look back, I think, “I need to grab my checkbook!” And then I hear Harrison scream.

I look to see what the problem is. At this point, he’s not screaming any more, but I’m pretty rattled nonetheless. He complains that I ran over his toe with the door while he was trying to hang his necklace on the door. He’s hopping around a bit. I look at his foot, preparing to give him the obligatory kiss-and-make-it-better when I see a tiny bit of red on the toe of his sock. Holy crap.

Peeling off the sock, I see that I have crushed the end of his toe. It sends shivers up my spine (even now!) and I start to think what to do (first aid training fresh in my head and all). I gather up his socks and shoes and we head out of the bathroom in search of Band-Aids. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony that I usually carry the darned things in my purse during the school year…) None in the vending machines in the women’s (regular) restroom. Don’t see any on the men’s room wall from where I’m standing. The mall office is around the corner, so I walk and he hobbles and we get there in short time. The lady in the office says she doesn’t have a first aid kit, but she does have a few Band-Aids. Fair enough. We grab one, I put it on, kiss the toe and all is right with the world. We head off to Chick-Fil-A in a cloud of oblivion and tuck in to our fowl lunch. Only twenty minutes later when Robert calls and asks why the bank had called him about the checkbook do I even have a clue what a major calamity I had on my hands.

So all is well. The checkbook has been reclaimed, the boy and I had a nice outing and the day has wound down nicely. He ran a lowish-grade fever this evening, but I’m taking him to the doctor for his five year visit tomorrow anyway, so I guess we’ll address that at that time if need be.

And them’s the facts of life. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009


I finally finished Laura’s jammies! I used #6 from Ottobre 03/04 and was really pleased with them. Fabric was the pink color way of the Chickadees and Hearts knits offered by The Joys of Sewing co-op recently, as well as some brown velour I got in a grab box from Sewzanne’s a few years ago.

Fabrics for jammies

I have plans to make another pair of these jammies in the blue Chickadees color way. I’ve already got the pattern cut out—all I have to do is find the time. (Ha.)

They have not been very hard to sew at all—there was that invisible zip, but it was really no problem. The velour I used for the middle panel was kind of tetchy, but even that wasn’t terrible. I put the last snaps in tonight and the girl is asleep in them right now. Of course, that means I don’t have any pictures of her wearing them yet, but I’ll take care of that in the morning. The size is a little large for her—I made a 68 and I think she’s closer to a 62 right now. However, they’re close enough and she has plenty of room to grow into them. I hate making an outfit and having it outgrown in just a few weeks!

Next up, sewing wise—got to get the “Hertta” skirt and “Tiku” t-shirt from Ottobre 01/09 made up for Sarah’s birthday party this weekend. Both patterns look really easy—should be able to get them whipped up over the next few days, especially as both Wednesday and Thursday the kids will be in their respective schools and I will be able to devote both days to sewing. Have needle will travel!

Finally, here are the final pictures of the cake/cupcakes from Harrison’s birthday party. I was/am very proud of what I got done and don’t even mind that I’m going to have to get my chiropractor to pop my heel (!!!) since I had to stand on it for so long. :)

Coolest. Birthday. Cake. Ever

Final cake/cupcake arrangment

Happy birthday, little man!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just Call me Cassandra

My son does not believe me. What’s more, he ignores me when I offer sage advice. Crazy kid.

I was helping him hang his Bumblebee poster tonight. We first had to convince him that having a Bumblebee poster was acceptable in his “Optimus Prime is the leader so he’s the best—nay, the only—Transformer deserving of my adulation” attitude. This poster came with the insanely impossible for mere mortals to figure out Optimus that Robert got for the boy’s birthday. It is, of course, a tool to sell more Transformers as it’s a traditional ‘poster’ on one side and has baseball-card-style photos of a dozen other Autobots on the back.

So Harrison asks me to hang the poster on his wall above the head of his bed. No problem. I look at it (honestly, it was the first time I had actually had the thing in my hands) and make note of the front vs. back side aspect of it. I realized this is going to cause problems. I know things.

“Honey, which side do you want out? Bumblebee or the side with all the other characters?”

“Bumblebee is the awesomest! I definitely want him on the wall!” (He’s a tough sell, but once he converts, there is no going back….)

“You’re sure you don’t want the side with a whole bunch of Transformers facing out?”

“Nope, Bumblebee it is.”

“What about if we don’t put it on the wall? What if we just put it on your desk and you can look at either side you want whenever you want?” Genius, if I do say so.

“No, I need Bumblebee on my wall.”

At this point, he’s told me a minimum of four times that he doesn’t want the multiple character side; he wants Bumblebee.


I pin the poster to the wall.

I don’t get the fourth pin completely in the wall before the boy says, “Wait Mom! I can’t see the other characters!”


Anyone want to hear about a Trojan horse that’s going to be the ruin of us all?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Harrison!

Man, it’s been a long day! We had Harrison’s party at the park and despite the heat, it was a wonderful day. We had lot of friends and family around to help us celebrate and the kids had a blast. The cake was, according to Harrison, “the best” and the cupcakes were a nice addition. Overall, I feel blessed to have such good friends and family and to have such a wonderful husband who helped [read: did all the hard and/or repetitive/boring stuff so I could concentrate on the cake and cupcakes] make the day so special. Above all, I am blessed to have two beautiful children who are well behaved (reasonably) and very happy (for the most part).

After the party and the inevitable naps that followed, we went out to the balloon glow at the airport and the kids got to spend some time with Mike’s kids. Harrison was really excited about this since he doesn’t get to see them very often. The lights were, as always, beautiful and magical. This has become another birthday tradition that I love—the city hosts the event every year on the weekend that is closest to the boy’s birthday.

I’ll post pics tomorrow—too tired tonight!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I’ll take my crown, now…

I spent the better part of the day working on baked goods for Harrison’s birthday party tomorrow. I baked four dozen (!!!) cupcakes (or, as Harrison still calls them [for how much longer, I don’t know, but I imagine not terribly long], ‘pupcakes’) and his Transformers cake. I can’t quite emphasize how much my feet and back hurt from standing at the kitchen counter icing Optimus Prime. It’s really cool, though, if I do say so. I have documented it (of course) and posted the pictures at Flickr (and here, of course).

Optimus gets BakedOptimus Out Of the PanStep 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6

A few things:

I totally owe my mom much gratitude because she made me several of these kinds of cakes when I was a kid. (Not Transformers, obviously—Wonder Woman and Raggedy Ann.) These take some serious hand muscles and I fear that I will be cramped up all day tomorrow. It’s worth it, though. :) Also, the eyes got kind of hosed up at the end, but I think I’m going to go back in tomorrow morning and re-pipe them. I’ve got plenty of frosting left over, so I think that will be quick and easy. Either way, I think the boy will be happy. He saw it when the light grey was half done and was very excited. He told me when he came home from school tonight and saw that I was working on the cake that I was his best friend. Now, I know that’s entirely because of the cake, but I’ll take it. :)

As badly as my feet and back hurt, my heart hurts even more. I had my last four year old kisses tonight from Harrison, which makes me cry a little. We read his On the Day You Were Born book, a tradition that I love. Tonight, as we were reading along and seeing “him” throughout the book, he would say, “There’s me when I’m three. Now here’s me four. Look, I’m five on this one.” and so on. He got up to thirteen and I just couldn’t handle it. My baby is gone and has been replaced by this wonderful little man. I am so blessed to have had these past five years. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with the next five and beyond.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Soooo very near done….

…with Laura’s pajamas. I’ve been fighting working on them for several days now, between fighting with taking care of the kids and trying to not completely neglect hubby. They’re really not that bad to sew; it’s the velour that’s giving me the most fits. I’m using the pink and brown hearts and chickadees coordinating fabrics I got from The Joy of Sewing co-op a few weeks ago, but in between them, I’ve inserted a panel of brown velour. It’s soft, cuddly and pretty much a total brat to work with. That being said, I really like how the thing is coming out, so I may or may not use it again in the blue colorways of the same fabric. We’ll see—I’ll probably want to take a break from it pretty soon…

Tonight was Harrison’s last swim lesson for this cycle. It' was ‘Family Show Off Night',’ so my parents came out to see him strut his aquatic stuff. Since Mike is in town with his family, Mom and Dad brought his kids along, as well. The kids seemed to have a good time watching Harrison in his lesson, but I felt pretty badly that they didn’t get to swim with him. Maybe sometime soon before they leave.

Robert’s got some video from the class. Here he is swimming underwater a little bit and finishing up with his patented Wolverine move. :)

Tomorrow is Harrison’s last day as a four-year-old. On one hand, I’m sad to see it happen because it means that my baby has, indeed, grown up and that he’s only going to keep doing so. On the other hand, he’s such a cool little dude and I’m so proud of him. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next—he never fails to amaze me with his wit and his kindness. For all that I want to strangle him, Homer Simpson-style, some days, I really do love my little Bug Boy and know that deep down, he’s a keeper.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I may have screwed up…

Harrison has been on a ‘wedding’ trip lately. He is all the time talking about getting married and planning for the big day. I had to tell him that he’s not allowed to marry me because I’m already married to Daddy, which was very disappointing to him. He then decided that he would marry Laura, which we also had to shoot down since we don’t live in backwoods Arkansas. (JK to any Arkansas readers—I have family there and it’s beautiful country.)

So Harrison asked tonight if he’s not marrying me and he’s not marrying Laura, then who would he be marrying? Thinking quickly, I told him that one day when he was a grown up with a house and a job and a college education, he’d be bringing home a girl for us to meet. I said that she’d probably never be truly good enough for my baby, but that we would love her and she would become part of the family. I told him that she would be beautiful, smart and would make him very happy. Then he wanted to know her name. I told him he’d be marrying a girl named Rosie, since that was the first name that popped into my head.

So now he’s walking around the house, whispering “Rosie” to himself over and over. I wouldn’t worry, except I know how long he can remember stuff, so I fear that some other great girl will come his way when he’s 25 and he’ll have to tell her, “Sorry, I’m destined to marry a ‘Rosie.’” He thinks that way.

In other news, we missed swim classes tonight because of the impending thunderstorm. We could have hung around and they would have started the class later, but we just didn’t see sitting at the pool and watching the water for 30 minutes. We instead came home and watched The Rescuers. Harrison liked it, but not as much as he likes Speed Racer (as he felt the need to tell me).

I took a first aid/CPR class today. Apparently, things have changed in the past five years since Harrison was a baby. They do not advise checking for pulses at all anymore unless you are a medical professional. The American Heart Association’s stance is pretty much that if you aren’t breathing, your heart isn’t working so when you check for breath and there is none, go ahead and administer CPR along with the breaths. Conversely, if your heart isn’t beating, you won’t be breathing for long so you start the 30 pumps/2 breaths cycle at that point as well. I also learned how to use the AED, which is not as scary as I thought it would be.

I guess the only thing I would have liked to cover that we didn’t hit on in class was infant CPR, but I can look up the specs for that online, I’m sure. With a Kindergartener (!!!! He turns 5 in 3 days!!!!) and an infant in the house, I think it’s good to have as much knowledge as possible on hand. I never had to use any of that info for Harrison, knock on wood, and I’m hoping that I will again be over-qualified. Better to have the training and not need it than to need it and not have had it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bugs, Hearts and Avatars, Oh My!

So, we got the caterpillars finished yesterday and Harrison really enjoyed them. Here are finished pics of Mr. and Mrs. Callapillar:

Finished Callapillars

Mr. and Mrs. Callapillar

As an art teacher, you know I’m a sucker for patterns, so I just did random textures and colors on mine. Kind of a Matisse/Klimt mashup. :) Harrison, being the boy that he is, made super heroes and Transformers on his. Here’s a video of him and his creation process:

Today, Laura was back at daycare and Harrison and I hung out at the ranch. After the prerequisite video gaming (45 minutes—it’s summer, give the boy a break!), we played with Playdoh for a while and then decided to try another activity from the binder I’ve amassed for this summer’s brain degoopification.

After looking through the various crafts and games, Harrison finally chose the Heart Healthy Exercise Game from Make and Takes. We simplified it quite a bit—we already had bean bags, so I didn’t worry about making special heart shaped ones. We were also out of toner for the printer, so I had to go to Plan B on making the game board. I had planned on making some fancy-schmancy pictures that matched each activity and printing them out, gluing to construction paper and calling it good. What happened instead is that I just drew stick people doing the activities and labeled them in my neatest hand writing (note, I’m an art teacher, but I have zero interest in ‘cute’ writing—my posters usually really suck, so much so that people never ask me to do them again). Once we threw the bag, we had to pick a number out of the bowl (up to 30 in increments of 5) and either do that many reps of something or that many seconds. I was really in trouble when I drew 30 to correspond with rolling over! :)

Once we started playing the game, Harrison really got into it, but he was much perturbed that I had drawn my people all nekkid. Once I moved on to other activities for the day, he got my markers out and put clothes on them. I feel like I’m living with a post-Renaissance Pope. :)

Exercise Game

His favorite was jogging in place—he tried to land his beanbag on that sheet more than any others—but he really enjoyed it all. I think the key is that it was presented to him as a game instead of as a drudgery and a chore that must be done to insure health and longevity. I hope that by doing this kind of thing, he’ll end up making healthier choices than Robert and I.

Finally, we spent a good chunk of the afternoon making cartoon versions of ourselves on You can see them, as well as Harrison’s Vulcan face (that’s his face superimposed on top of the new Spock’s [can’t remember his name—the guy from Heroes, but I’m too lazy to go look him up…] face) in my sidebar and at the top of the page. I’ll probably move Spock somewhere else on the page later, but I wanted to make sure Harrison could see it when I pulled the blog up. Robert says my avatar looks like Sarah Palin, so I guess I need to go change my hair. Thing is, I actually do wear my hair up and I do wear horn-rimmed glasses. Whatever.