Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Happy birthday to a wonderful person! Kate is my B.F.F. (best friend forever) - we used to write it on all our notes to each other. We were also known as a pair to her grandfather (and really anyone else that knew us as kids) - Katie Did and Sarah Kidd. Cute, right? I wish I had a picture to post of what a funny pair we made as kids. She was small, with a lovely perm and thick glasses. I was, um, not small, more like round and also had a bad haircut. We met in preschool and went all the way through elementary school together where our moms taught. After school we would hide from the daycare people in our moms' classroom closets. High school we joined several youth groups together and spent summers going to camp and vacationing together. We learned to ski together. In college she made a day's drive to be with me on my birthdays (in particular my 21st - she does know how to have a good time). Kate was at the hospital after each of my babies were born. She has loved my family and we love her.
We were inseparable as children and even now as we find ourselves well into adulthood we share a bond stronger than friendship. I am so proud of you, Kate! Love you and miss you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I got off work a bit early this morning - a nice charge nurse, few patients at 6 am (a rarity these days), and a blatant request to go home and I was on my way. I love getting home to see my cherubs off to school. Jacob asks me every night to try and be home before he leaves for school. This morning in particular I was pleased to be home early. Just as I was rounding the corner for home I noticed this unbelievable sunrise. Glory.

I ran out our back door and took some quick shots. You can see the water tower in the background and the greenbelt in the foreground. I took a moment...

An update on yesterday's post: here is the Scottie dog I made yesterday. Brian just enlarged the pattern for me to make him more than 5 inches tall. I found the pattern here: http://http//

Brian added seam allowances of 1/4 inch to mine. Perhaps I will figure out how to post that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kitten Krazy

Our Thanksgiving this year was wonderful. As you can see by the previous post we feasted. It was nice to have the in-laws here. I enjoyed the company, someone else entertaining my children, the projects completed and the free dish washing help. Brian got a new workbench in the garage courtesy of his father and their endless hours of measuring, sawing, drilling and figuring. We also got a beautiful planter in the front yard. Our previous front yard planter left MUCH to be desired and this new brick lined beauty is just what I wanted. Brian and his dad put so much back/knee breaking work into this project it was truly a labor of love - and I LOVE it! I even noticed a walking neighbor stop to admire it yesterday.

I worked Thanksgiving night, black Friday night, and Saturday night so forgive the absence. I am back to work tonight for a few nights but hopefully there won't be such a delay before I post again. I think the lack of sleep this weekend did me in. I shopped after work on both Friday and Saturday morning then went to church on Sunday morning. I only slept through part of your sermon, Madeline! My eyes were closed but my ears were open:-) I don't intend to miss so much sleep this week.

So now the family is gone. The left-overs are almost gone. The holiday sales are gone. What is a person to do? Why, sew, of course! I hit up JoAnn's Friday morning (well - and Saturday) and came away with some stellar deals. Snuggle flannel for 99 cents a yard! Who could resist? Not I - and the thousand other crazed women there that morning. I had to go back Saturday just for all the other things I wanted. With all this new stuff my mind was working over time with projects I could do.

I started with a scarf that I work on when I am hanging out with Brian. He watches TV (I get bored if I am just watching) and I knit. Ahhh.... So soothing. Knitting will take a few hours of TV so I quick whipped up a couple of other projects in the down time. Check out these adorable little guys. I found the pattern at this site: Don't discriminate against White Kitten whose stripes go the wrong way. And don't mind the fact that neither have faces. I need to go purchase some embroidery floss for the finishing touches. Now, I am off to make a Scottie Dog, I will post on him later.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hill Country Thanksgiving!

We cooked...

And we, um, ordered BBQ...

Then we cooked...

And we cooked...

And Reba never changed out of her jammies (doesn't she remind you of Molly?).

We took the bread, broke the bread and gave thanks...

From our family in TX, happy Thanksgiving! Love especially to you in CA - we miss you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pushin' up daisies...

Just in time for my in-laws to arrive I completed the Daisy Quilt. This is the fast and easy project I was going to finish before I finished my knitting project. It seems I got more waylaid that I originally thought. I had the whole thing pinned and ready to quilt for a week while we sanded and painted the concrete floor. I had to shake a bit of dust off and finish the darn thing so the in-laws could ogle over it. And well, yay, they did - at least my mother-in-law did. Father-in-law was more impressed with the concrete floor.

Anyhow, this was an easy one and all made out of leftovers from last Christmas' quilt gifts. I felt thrifty and brilliant - two of my favorite qualities! It came out pretty well considering. I am still debating whether I will keep it or gift it. It looks so good on my couch across from the other quilt on the "I love you couch." I have more of all the fabric used. I may just make a sister quilt to this one...

After the in-laws arrived I still had a bit of a project before me. I just HAD to have place mats for Thanksgiving. And who ever heard of a holiday meal without cloth napkins? So, I made both, yesterday (also out of leftovers from X-mas and curtains). My mother-in-law sat with me talking (my other favorite thing to do) and trimming all my stray threads. (Could she sew with me always?? - I hate those pesky threads.) So now we are ready for a great meal - er, at least a great table setting. I can't wait!

My little turkey...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mr Rodgers was ahead of his time

I happened to be flipping through channels the other day - a very rare occurrence since we got TiVo a few years ago - and I found Fred Rodgers in his familiar sweater, slacks and sneakers. Dear old Mr. Rodgers. I was a fan - I will admit.

Mostly I loved when Mr Rodgers would visit someplace to find out how they made something. I clearly remember the crayola factory. Hundreds of thousands of precious colored wax sticks rolling off the conveyor belt - what kid could forget that one. This particular morning when I found Fred (I call him that now that I am an adult) he was visiting the Electric Car manufacturer, probably circa 1970 something judging by the hair.

I was enthralled. This car had 18 batteries that they showed you before they put the revolutionary fiberglass shell over the body. I watched the whole thing. I am wondering now if my kids were even in the room - oh wait, I remember Jacob telling me this was like "How it's Made" - his favorite show. Fred was a true pioneer. He was showing us how it's made and driving electric cars back before it was all the rage. I was completely captivated and amused when Fred drove off in that little electric car. When he was back at the house and it was time for make believe I flipped the channel. There was something freaky about the puppets.

Thanks, Fred, for all the years. You will always be my neighbor.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Kitchen Sink

I promised a picture of the kitchen sink for all of you who couldn't believe that I have truly changed my ways. I took this earlier today. I realize the sink does not exactly look clean but please keep in mind we have just (like as in yesterday) painted our dining room floor, the dishes on the left are clean, sitting in a dish rack and only from the previous night's dinner, and nothing is growing in there. I will actually scrub the sink tomorrow before the in-laws come. For now I am satisfied that I can see to the bottom of it. Simple pleasures.

A note for Mommy

When I woke up the other afternoon after a long night at the ER I almost rolled over on to this. What a sweet note from my little boy. I was four nights into a five night stint. A little pick me up like this does a lot for a mother's heart. It also helps when said little boy is obnoxious and pitching a fit to remind me that underneath the five year old exterior is "an angel with no halo and one wing in the fire." (Gotta love country music.) He pushes the limits all the time but loves to snuggle and draw me notes at school. Drats, he gets me every time.

How cheap can be brilliant

When we first moved here to 2742 we mooned over how clean and beautiful this house was. We loved the paint schemes of the rooms that actually had color and we marveled at how the previous owners had kept the place so immaculate. Now WE have lived here for four months. Some of the rooms have lost their luster. The dining room in particular had become an issue.

First off, we did not own dining room furniture for at least a month. We made do with a card table for quite a while then purchased our kitchen table. The dining room table (not pictured here) was a steal of a deal find on Craigslist. Check table off the list. Then we changed the hideous gold chandelier to this lovely black number by painting it with textured black spray paint. We have done some serious HGTV watching. Next the cheap metal blinds came down and these lovely curtains went up. The organza came from IKEA and the fabric for the drapes also came from IKEA and I did a quick stitch to make these curtains. Almost done.

Unfortunately we had white-ish carpet - which wouldn't have been so horrible except for Little Dog. Little Dog had not completely been housebroken when we moved here. I find the smaller the dog, the more difficult potty training can be. Little Dog in particular was a pisser (literally sometimes) and he relieved himself regularly on the dining room floor. I could never completely get the smell out. I used an entire gallon of Natures Miracle to no avail. The carpet had to come up. Those of you who know my disdain for carpet know how ready I was to get rid of it.

So, one day when I had enough I ripped up the carpet and tossed it out. Too bad when they put it in they nailed the stripping to the concrete and I took up chunks when I pried the stripping out. Not to mention the fact that when the painters initially painted they managed to spill large amounts of paint on the concrete floor. Not pretty.

We lived like this for another month or so then finally had to do something about our concrete dining room floor. Laminate floor would be ideal but the kitchen and living rooms already have two different color laminates, I couldn't convince my husband to do the manual labor, and we didn't have the budget for it. So, we went cheaper.

HGTV has shown a couple of home owners who have stained their concrete floors. Brilliant! We had to do some sanding, some patching, some moving out of furniture, some airing out of the house, and some dusting off concrete dust, but the final project looks great. Cheaper worked out for us in this case. A beautiful sand color and the floor has new life. Eventually (read years from now) if we have the budget we will redo the whole bottom story laminate flooring but for now the concrete works. And I feel pretty smart for thinking of it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reasons for Seasons

Thank God for seasons. I just worked my first 12 hour night shift in a string of 5 over six nights. I was emotionally tired and physically exhausted. When I got home I barely got out of my scrubs (which is a good thing I did -think of all the germs) before I knocked out in bed. Now that I am awake and preparing for anther night of work I am reminded that this too shall pass. I came across this picture from a fall I got to visit Kristin in the Catskills a couple of years ago. The beauty of this season is striking but also is the distinct chill in the air and less day light - two things I am less inclined to love.

God gives us seasons (in most places of the world) for both the cycle of life, death and growth of Earth and nature and to remind us of the seasons in our life as well. Here in Austin things change much like they do in Southern CA. What was green during the Summer is brown in the fall. There aren't too many color changing trees and the weather is a cool 85 degrees today, but there is a change in the air (some would say it's the change of allergens that I am sensing here). Winter is coming with all it's chills but also all of it's wonderment.

So, tonight as I wearily put on my scrubs and crocs I count my blessings for the nice weather, the brown grass, the cedar brush trees, and growing children. In a week this will all be over and I will have a week off while family comes in for Thanksgiving. Everything passes eventually - thank God.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cleanliness is next to...

I don't know about Godliness, but I would say, general cleanliness makes you feel good. Most of you that know me really well might be shocked by that statement rolling off my typing fingertips. It's true, I have turned over a new leaf. I realized it yesterday while dusting (seriously, don't laugh, Mom) and Jacob announces, "You sure do love cleaning!" I started to chuckle at his so misguided judgement, and then I realized, in some deep, twisted, albeit latent way, I really do love cleaning - more or less. Mostly I love having things clean. Clean makes me happy.

There was always a constant struggle - more like battle at times to keep my living space orderly. Once when I was in probably 5th grade, give or take, my parents came into my room with garbage bags and bagged up every last thing I had not put away in my room. Imagine the desperation they must have felt to get to that point with me. I had to earn it all back by keeping what was left of my room clean and practicing the piano every day. Horrors.

When we were very young my sister Jenny and I shared a room. Like a little dictator I would sit on the top bunk and order Jenny to put things away (to my defense I did pay her a penny for every item she picked up). Kate (BFF from elementary school) and I would bribe my mother into allowing a weekday play date by promising Kate would help me clean my room. And she did. Kristin, my college roommate, tolerated my piles and overflowing mess for 4 years while we shared a bedroom - sometimes I would come home to my clothes magically folded and put away. Sarah, my former neighbor, has done my dishes and helped me clean for family events. I didn't realize all this until just now, actually. It is sort of depressing.

Sandra Felton observes in her book The Messies Manual (my mother got me this wonderful book - it is a must have for anyone with this problem) that there are categories of people which can generally fall in the Cleanie category or the Messie category. Cleanies are generally able with ease to maintain their spaces in some sort of clean/orderly way. Cleanies see a mess start and can stop it before it is out of control. Messies are missing a link in their brain that allows them to complete an easy clean up job. For instance, a Cleanie will see a scrap of paper on the floor and bend down and pick it up. A Messie will see the same scrap and think, "Oh great, now I have to vacuum. Now I am going to have to lug out the machine and go over the whole house." Messies are exhausted by cleaning before they even start - while simply picking up the paper would probably avoid the need to vacuum as frequently in the first place. My friends are definite Cleanies - maintaining order with general ease. I am clearly a Messie - a reformed Messie, if you will. Cleaning is still an effort, but the finished product makes me so happy, sometimes it is worth it.

So, today I relax in a house that is, well, pretty clean. I admit, I am still a Messie. I have to think about cleaning. I generally have to have company coming to really gear up for a deep clean (we had our friends David and Madeline over last night). But at least I invite people over fairly often in order to motivate myself. It's a system - a weird system, but it works for me. I wonder who we will have over next week so I will clean again - ooh, Thanksgiving is coming up and that means the in-laws will be here. I might have to even do windows, gasp! I told you, a new leaf. My Cleanie grandmother would be so proud.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Knit picky...

Yes, knitting. I know, I know - how many hobbies? So, knitting. I have watched Shawn knit away with enthusiasm and create some really beautiful things so far. My fondness of fibers and my creative bug got the best of me. I needed to know how. I have knit once before for like 3 or 4 weeks straight about 3 years ago to make Christmas scarfs for my sisters, girlfriends, and cousins. Grandma taught me - I used fuzzy yarn, size 17 needles, never learned to purl and have completely forgotten how to cast on. I was seriously under educated in the area. Then I all together quit before I really got started. Sounds like me, doesn't it?

In preparation for future endeavors I felt it was time again to learn to knit and I have the ultimate teacher right at my fingertips (not that Grandma wasn't wonderful - I just didn't listen). So, yesterday in my totally sleep deprived state (I worked that extra hour in the ER while you all got to sleep the other night) Shawn taught me to knit - again - and cast on and purl too! I was so tired. By the end of our day at the Dennis' I had tunnel vision and all I could see was the knitting right in front of me. I feared that I would forget the entire lesson after a good night's sleep. But I woke up this morning and I still had the right moves. Shwew.

I decided to start small - totally out of character for me, I realize. But I needed a project I could actually finish for my first time back. So here we go with another scarf. I will be moving on to trickier things soon, I can tell already. I am really fascinated by the idea of socks - or slippers. I do hate cold feet. Perhaps I will knit a cap for my baldy hubby - you have to do that on a round or loop (I think that's what it's called). More lessons are in my near future. A knitter is born - again.

Knitting is slow going, definitely, and to feed my instant gratification mentality I did have to work on some quicker projects. I did some more whipping up and all I need on this baby is the batting and backing. Finished project to be posted on later... The rumpled up white is the backing. Now I have to iron, pin, straighten - boring stuff. This might take a while. Then again, the scarf will take longer. Daisy quilt, here I come.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Here's a peek...

inside my heart. I went around one day photographing some of my favorite things. Of course my favorite things are the people and pets that I surround myself with. I am not big on things, but as far as things go - these rank right up there. I am sure I missed many of my faves, but here are some I can't pass up sharing today:

The little church birdhouse: I loved it so much when I saw it, I got one for my mom. It just reminds me of simple priorities. Stripped down from religious things, we get just this simple church where Jesus is the center - not a whole bunch of other stuff. One of my wedding pics is behind it. I also love those - what a great day to start a great life.

My coffee maker: This is the one thing I couldn't wait to have in our new house. It was already here when we moved in. Shawn and Vaughn bought it as a house warming gift to us. The only item in the whole house! It was immediately put to use as we moved in, and it really hasn't stopped since. What can I say? I love my coffee.

The shower head: This is a new purchase. We had this shower head that came with the house that gave us perhaps the most painful showering experience I had ever had. If you had any skin left when you exited the shower - it was so raw it hurt to towel off. Since we installed this new shower head - basic hygiene has been delightful. It is my chance during the day to escape. I wish someone would inform the husband and kids though, as they like to bang on the shower door when ever they need something. Brian actually delights in scaring the crap out of me while I am in there. How rude.

Corks: It's also not a secret that I am a fan of wine. We joined a wine club in CA and have regular shipments to us here in TX. Don't worry, I don't drink as much wine as I do coffee and these corks are a couple years worth of collecting. I just find corks fascinating - plus I like the way they look in my mason jars.

My trusty old sewing machine: Alas, I'd like something a little higher octane than my original 80's era brother, but this is my little piece of happiness right here. I love to sew. There I said it. Last night I was sewing, as per usual, and Jacob asked me what I was making. I truly didn't have the plan entirely worked out in my head so I told him I didn't know yet. He responded in 5 year old fashion, "You have to know, because you are making it." Huh, never thought about that.

A little door knob hanger. I think this came from my wedding shower. I am fairly certain that my Aunt Myrna gave it to me and possibly made it as well. Myrn, did you make this one? Anyhow, it is lovely and it has traveled to each place we have lived (we are on residence #6 - in 6 years - plan to stay here a while). I like it because it is, well, home...

Jar of rocks: These are no ordinary rocks. These are Reba's Crystals. She and her little friend collect these on the playground at school and they come home by the tiny handful in pockets for me to find when doing laundry. To honor their value we store them in the jar in the sink window.

You may see some of these pictures again with more elaborate stories behind them. Sometimes I am hard up for pictures because Brian hordes picture uploading and I am dependent on him (for that). Besides that, you know I love to tell a good story, so I may just be inspired one day to write more. Today, I am just making it through after a night of little sleep due to sick children and looking forward to a night of less sleep with other people's sick children :-) Thanks for understanding...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

As Promised..

Here are some shots of my pumpkin heads...

And here's the Cowboy and the Doctor...

Don't ask me why they look so happy and healthy. Both were home today from school. Reba is now in full blown pneumonia and Jacob wasn't far behind. What kind of mom am I, anyway? At least I'm the kind that has a stethoscope so I could make that call this morning that this was way more than a little cough and we did need to see the Doctor - the real one. Incidentally Dr. Joe said he completely agreed with my assessment. Wonder if he would have agreed with me when I let them trick-or-treat?