Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All she wants for Christmas ...

are her two front teeth! So awesome. She's got an enormous gap and is learning how to sing the appropriate song. Her lisp is 1,004 times more pronounced, as she would say herself. V likes to let her teeth hang until they fall out on their own. I know some parents are bugged by this, but it doesn't bother me. As long as I don't have to pull it, I don't care. Yesterday I almost fell over laughing because she had turned her tooth all the way around and then couldn't turn it back. Luckily she wasn't concerned that I was laughing at her and cheered right up once the tooth was back in place. E (just turned 3) occasionally tries to wiggle her teeth, to no avail.

Gratuitous pic of the baby. Apparently the bumbo seat is in the news again for being unsafe. Don't put it on the table, parents. My kids have wiggled out of it, yours will too. Apparently we have to litigate this. Oy.

Also in the news, the death of Vaclav Havel. He was the George Washington of the Czech Republic (and Slovakia, for that matter) -- a world-changer, and he is missed by millions.

Last Friday was the sugariest day ever. It was the last day of school before the break, so my two older kids had class parties. Junk food is heavily restricted at our school. (I think they get 3 non-nutrition days a year. Otherwise things like birthday cake are food non grata.) So when one of those free days comes up, there's a lot of sugar and fat going on. They ate treats at school and then brought home goody bags to eat and share with their little sister.

M1 had made a gingerbread house. When I went to pick him up, another 2nd grade class came out of the building first, each kid carrying a gingerbread house. Their teacher showed off all the cute things the kids had come up with -- an ice cream cone as a tree or as a Santa, marshmallows as chimneys. And then my kid came out. "Look, I made a machine gun!" Yes, a machine gun on the roof of his house (cleverly made with a large marshmallow, chocolate chips and a pretzel stick), a tree that had fallen down and was crushing the house, etc. I have no further comment on this.

Further treats: of course, this would be the day that E decided to finally make the next big step in potty training, requiring a trip to Braum's for some ice cream! So after the early day at school, we headed over and got pink ice cream for her. And of course the other kids got ice cream, too. THEN we had a church party making ... gingerbread houses! They had pre-made the houses for us (using caramelized sugar, which I haven't seen before), and there were quite a few extras. So we came home with a lot of houses. E in particular loved putting things on her house. She made two houses and then really wanted another, but Nathan convinced her to make a yard for her houses instead. That cute house in the picture with the smiley face is V's, of course.

Extra funny moment: the following day, M1 had eaten all the good stuff off his houses and experimented with eating the graham crackers. He told me that the one from church didn't taste good at all. "That house is not put together with sugar. It's not sweet at all. I think it's glue. I just ate glue!" Yeah, it wasn't glue. I tasted it -- the sugar had just gotten a little scorched.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway day!


Sew, Mama, Sew gift certificate:

Electronic copies of Snarky and Sweet:

Congratulations! I'll be sending emails shortly (after I feed the baby). I've loved all the comments -- everything from sweet statements about having already achieved life dreams to be wives and mothers, to amazing goals like growing your own food or opening businesses. The most poignant were acknowledgments that sometimes our goals change -- we choose the greater good. Best of luck with all the other giveaways, and thanks for lifting my spirits!

I'm giving away $30 at Sew, Mama, Sew! as part of their semi-annual giveaway day madness. Check out all the other amazing stuff!

This year has been a very exciting one for us. My husband and I bought a small business early in the year. We now own Alcor PetroLabs, located in Fort Worth and San Antonio. It's a culmination of one of my husband's life-long dreams. In the time that I've known him, everything he's done in school and his career has been with the aim to own his own business someday. And it's going fabulously well. He loves it, his employees love it, and so do the customers. It makes a huge difference at home to have a happy husband and father. So proud of him.

Elsewhere in the family, this year has brought us a quilt in the Quilt National show, one of many amazing goals my sister Naomi Adams has completed recently. My little sister Georgia Leigh had her sixth child and continues to homeschool, run a fabulous online shop with PDF patterns (check her out this week, her giveaway is fab), and is currently selling her house to move closer to us! OK, so they're moving because of a job, but the closer to us part is very exciting.

And my dear mother has finished a life-long dream of having a book published. I don't think she expected to wait until she had 10 grandchildren to complete this goal. I don't think she expected this particular novel to be the first one published. She works hard, running a shop with vintage patterns, working as a reporter for a local newspaper, and writing novels. I hope she publishes many more. In honor of her, I'm also giving away a few copies of the electronic copy of her first book, Snarky and Sweet. It's clean and fun, a fabulous holiday read for anyone. Think classic Elizabeth Peters or Georgette Heyer, but featuring a Texas schoolteacher.

To enter and win $30 at Sew, Mama, Sew or a copy of Snarky and Sweet, please just leave a comment! If you want to tell me about your life-long goal, go for it. (Mine? PhD.) But any comment gets an entry. If you win an e-book, I'll let you choose Kindle or Nook format. (Kindle e-books can be read on your computer.) Giveaway open until midnight December 16th, winners chosen randomly.

Good luck and enjoy Giveaway Day!

Recent sewing and pattern reviews

Here it is! The infamous mermaid doll that E already saw in process. So the picture was taken in my closet -- I don't want her to see the finished product! Some parents tell me that it's OK if their little kids see a present or two ahead of time, because they'll forget by Christmas. This is 100% not true. At least for little Wickers. Every time someone talks about presents, E mentions the mermaid doll. Yeah. Anyway, I made it with a pattern from Dolls and Daydreams -- e-patterns on etsy. It was fabulously easy to follow, and turned out just like the picture in the pattern. Highly recommend her patterns.

Here are some dresses I made recently for V. I've been feeling like I haven't done any sewing since having our newest baby, but obviously I have. Just not as much as I want to be doing. These dresses are from my favorite knit pattern -- Hopscotch by Oliver + S. Yes, her patterns are expensive, but this one has been totally worth it for me. The knit portion of this pattern runs small, FYI. I redrafted the front to make the pink dress. I took away the cross-over yoke and added a pleat instead. Aren't the little buttons cute? A vintage gift from my mom. And on fabric choice -- I think of zebra print as more of a tween/teen choice, but it's so cute on a 5 year-old! The first day she wore it, V spent a lot of time pretending to be a zebra, often using our zebra hand puppet.

M2 has long outgrown these particular ones, but I wanted to mention my sister's e-pattern for zippered swaddlers. It's available from Georgia Leigh Designs. These were very quick to make, and since I use a lot of knit fabric anyway I was able to use up some extra left over from other projects. So they were very close to free to make -- compared with $30 to buy a good one! If you have a baby that likes to be swaddled, these are so much easier to use than other options. And the baby doesn't get too hot, which is excellent (and safer).

A nice boring one to end with -- since I was making E a fabulous present, I thought I should make something for the other kids, too. M1 is getting pillowcases. They take almost no time at all, and he'll love them! I used a tutorial from MADE for this one. And after reading that post of hers, I totally want to make pillowcases for kids with cancer. Planning to make an apron for V, although I was very tempted by the fishy purse on Make It and Love It this week. Maybe for her birthday.

In other news, we went to a holiday party last night with a white elephant gift exchange. Best gifts: fireman cookie jar that says "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the cookie jar", book of cards called using animals to give bad news (picture of a puppy and the caption "It's Syphilis", or "Grandma's Dead", or "Daddy's not coming home", stuff like that), and the definite winner: a live goldfish! So glad we didn't end up with that one. But kudos to the couple who brought it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

funny stuff my kids do and say

First, may I report that 5-year-old V put my newly turned 3 E to bed last night. I had told them that everyone was getting extra reading time while I fed the baby (this is code for I'm sending you to bed early, and they buy it every time and even like it, ha). So V decided to read some herself and then read to E. And since she was brushing her own teeth, she helped E brush hers. And then tucked her in bed! I was so surprised, and then quickly ran to put E's nighttime diaper on her before she fell asleep. Just imagine what little mommy V is going to be like with M2!

Other funny stuff:

E: I'm peed is not a word. I'm wet is a word.

Makes the linguist mommy happy.

M1: I'm buying my lunch today since you didn't bother to make it. (Ouch.)

M2: doesn't say anything, but coos more than any of my other babies. And he laughed in his sleep yesterday :)

I was singing the B-A-Bay, B-E-Bee song the other day and when we got to P there was total pandemonium. V and M1 were both so amused that the song says "pee" AND "poo". Rock on. The song's from a Three Stooges routine and called Swingin' the Alphabet. Check it out:

Also, V let her tooth hang until it literally moved back and forth every time she talked. She finally lost it over a piece of toast one morning, but her nice teacher still let her go to the school nurse to get a treasure box for her tooth. I don't have a good picture of her yet, but I'll get one soon. She's really hoping to lose her other front tooth on Christmas Eve so that Santa and the Tooth Fairy will come the same night. Love that girl.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

M2 blessing

Little M2 was blessed by Nathan on Sunday. This is the dress -- the dress that has crossed oceans, mountain ranges and political boundaries. The dress that my grandmother made and so many of us wore. I love using it, but also live in fear that my kid will be the one to finally stain it (didn't happen).

Nathan of course gave a sweet blessing, and it was fabulous to have extended family there and at our house afterward. I have no pictures of that part. Unfortunate, but I think Naomi got a few.

Had to take a picture this morning of E's little orphan Annie hair. It's always fabulous on a humid day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween! We had a little drama at the trunk or treat last week, so we had to acquire a new costume (E needed to wear the princess dress). I give you Supergirl! V was much happier with this costume, anyway.

M's been a Star Wars person for several years running, and doesn't seem at all bothered by this. Maybe next year I'll get it together and come up with some new costumes, but maybe not.

So, this is E's princess pose. More like a zombie pose, right? She was so happy to be wearing our one and only princess dress (obviously she would like more, but luckily has a birthday and Christmas coming up).

A note on the pumpkin buckets: we always used grocery sacks for our candy-gathering bags as kids. We often decorated them, which was fun, but only ever managed to get enough candy to fill the very bottom, which wasn't fun. I always thought that those kids with pumpkin buckets were the rich kids. Yeah, they cost $1. Of course, grocery sacks are free. Another note -- I thought that the stash from last week's Trunk or Treat activity at church was excessive, but surely the real trick or treating wouldn't be quite as bad. You can hit a lot more cars in an evening than houses, right? They're further apart. So wrong! The houses give more candy to each kid, so we ended up with an even bigger stash last night! Candy, candy, candy.

And here's a gratuitous pic of M2. He's doing great, and we finally had a normal night last night. As in, he woke up a lot but went back to sleep right away each time after I fed him. Miraculous.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Crayola reviews

Random, I know, but as E's on the floor coloring, I thought I'd throw out some hits and misses from Crayola. This 64 pack of markers is definitely a hit at our house. The same size as crayons and with the same variety of colors, what's not to love? Of course they're tiny and the ink runs out faster than larger markers, but they're still awesome.

Color wonder books with markers. Ideal for my 2-year-old. No mess and she likes to see hidden pictures appear on the pages. Downside is the price.

I have mixed feelings about model magic. It's lightweight, so easy for small hands to manipulate. It's fun to make your own colors (starting from a white base, you can mix in colors from markers or color a finished model. Downside is that if you actually leave these out to dry, they will harden as promised, but they fall apart easily.

We've tried color wonder sets with paint pens as well as regular paint pens from crayola. Supposedly it's water colors in the paint brush. Really they're just nasty markers. Total fail.

Bath tub crayons! Love these. They color on the tub - even under water -- and wipe off easily. Only disadvantage is that they don't wipe off grout as easily.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I know that most of you who read my blog have already seen pictures, but here are a few extra. Baby M2 was born quickly, once things actually started (as usual, I was on the sloooow road to baby). A couple of hours of painful contractions, a couple of pushes and he was here! The nurses and doctor all commented on how pink he was. A very healthy infant. I'll try to get some detailed shots later -- he has the longest fingers (and toes) ever, as well as just big hands in general, which makes me think Rachmaninoff. Or basketball, I guess, if we were at all sports-inclined. He weighed 8 lbs 5 oz, which is just barely bigger than my last baby. 21 inches.

And now a whole series of proud siblings. M1 is very good about telling me that he wants to make the baby dance, or something equally cute but not appropriate, instead of actually doing it. Just like with his littlest sister, he finds M2 quite adorable.

V is serious about the baby. The day we came home, all the grown ups were elsewhere and M2 started to cry. She ran in to help -- and will definitely be our little momma with this baby.

E seriously grew two inches when she was holding M2. She is very tickled by him when she notices him. Luckily, she mostly ignores. I was a bit worried about smothering him with love, but it looks like we've got a bit of a respite before that happens.

Smiles! He's eating and sleeping and doing all the things infants are supposed to. So glad to have you, buddy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011


New furniture!

This one is V's favorite, because it's just her size.

The nursery class at church has gone posh, and E had her nails painted for the first time. She was very excited about this. I just realized I have no nail polish remover in the house, to take care of it once half of it falls off.

A nice young lady came to pick up our old couch, and V got to the door first. "We have a rodent in our kitchen." Remarkably, said young lady thought V was cute and still took our stuff. Of course, it wasn't really a rodent. It was a young possum, caught in my bathtub UPSTAIRS at 2:30 in the morning. By Nathan, thank goodness he was home. I did not get close enough to get this picture. That was Nathan, realizing that M would be disappointed that he didn't get a peek at it.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Win: Homemade Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream (4 oz unsweetened chocolate!) + Walmart brand peanut butter cups

Fail: Accusing frequent culprit V of removing the laces from Nathan's shoes, only to have E explain, "I did it!"

*I 100,046% do not need another mischievous sprite in the house. (100,046 % in honor of V who writes lots of love notes, saying "I love you [ridiculously huge number] %")

Win: M and V die laughing over a clearance joke book from Half Price Books.

Fail: Money flashcards bought on the same trip have the wrong answers printed on the backs of the cards.

Win: My kitchen is clean, thanks to my husband and kids.

Fail: No more library trips until we find the NINE books I couldn't locate today.

Win: E's crazy wink face showing up often.

Win: M made his own mother's day coupons at church yesterday, offering items like "a new house", or "a new sewing machine".

Win: V learning to add in her head and count to 100.

Win: Nathan worked from home today, so we got to have lunch together.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


My kids played charades last night with our fabulous babysitter, and we got reports on the game from her and the kids. Here are some of the more memorable items:

M -- white blood cell, sneezing nose, a tooth chomping, the solar system, the water cycle

V -- a light blinking, a piece of glass (hint: it has to do with fire), a computer mouse

Apparently the babysitter understands our kids and acted out photosynthesis for M's sake. So awesome.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


We were having a pretty rough afternoon (I'll spare you the details), but then I sat down to play through two options of the song I'm teaching next month in primary. (I was looking at a possible key change.) I asked M to come over and sing with me so I could see how the versions worked for him. He sang the first verse in both keys, then asked if he could sing all the verses, just for fun. So he did. Love my sweet boy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


My camera battery was almost dead this morning as I tried to get one good picture of the kids before we headed to church. Of course, this is what I mostly got. It may not be the most beautiful, but I find it so amusing -- what's with M's pious hands, and V's squished face? Not to mention E. I don't think she even knows how to wink.
Today was pretty low-key. We did church and later had chef salad and deviled eggs, also leftover lemon meringue pie from Auntie's birthday celebration yesterday.
We combined Aunt N's birthday with an Easter egg hunt. M was especially great at leaving the easy eggs for his littlest sister! This is a picture of her first egg. After that I couldn't get a good shot, because she was busy. Finding eggs is fun!
Uncle Zach was also over for the fun. He and Nathan really got into the sneaky egg hiding places. Here V has retrieved an egg from the pool, courtesy Nathan. Uncle Zach loved that our backyard is full of camouflaged locations for bright eggs. Pool toys, kid chairs, frisbees, even the blue tape on a wire served to hide some eggs. The kids got Easter baskets yesterday morning and were lucky enough to have Kinder surprise eggs. Kinder has a new trick -- long plastic strips that they roll up in the egg. E now has a 6-inch giraffe toy that came out of a chocolate egg! Sadly, the kids did not buy into the Easter bunny aspect at all. They kept saying, "Thank you, Mommy!" when they looked through their baskets.