New Christmas Stockings

This year as I was putting out the Christmas stockings I decided I needed to make new ones. I love my stocking and I made one for Olaf and the kids, but I never really liked them. So at the beginning of December I went in search of cool Christmas fabric. Not to be found. Anywhere.

So late at night I got online and searched for some fun fabric. And found it. And ordered it. And waited. And waited. And waited. Only about three days, maybe five if you include the weekend, cuz I had to order it on a Thursday night, just in time for the weekend.

When it came I washed it up and dried it. I love folding freshly laundered fabric. It makes me happy. I know I'm weird. Then I cut it all up and pinned everything. Sister-in-Law Nurse was over laughing at my disorder of pins. I have these pins with pretty, metallic, pastel, round heads and I can't pin the same color right by each other. There's no particular order other than that. She laughed and threatened to send her two-year-old into my linen closet because it's so orderly (one day I'll take a picture and show you). I might have to change the locks. He's a Holy Terror but you can't get mad cuz he's so stinking cute.

Then after I got them cut and pinned they sat at for almost a week. I hate to get the sewing machine out unless I have a good chunk of time to sew, which doesn't always happen.

It finally happened and I got these stocking whipped up in no time at all. And with minimal seam ripping. For some reason it doesn't matter how small the project I always have to rip out at least one seam.

This fabric is my favorite. Candy Colored Christmas by Alexander Henry. So fun and whimsical. The other two with Christmas Trees are Michael Miller Fabrics, another one of my favorite designers. And the Santa Making a Snow Angel is another Alexander Henry stocking. That one's for Tank. I thought they turned out pretty cute with the Red Corduroy Cuff. I thought about velvet but decided in a family of boys corduroy was more appropriate. Hope you had an awesome Christmas! Olaf decided he wanted to keep his stocking that I made him. I told him that was okay, I'd give the dog the stocking meant for him. I guess he likes Tank enough that he was fine with that. At least he didn't want two stockings full of presents!


13 Birthday Parties

Today is Calvin's birthday. He would have turned 15 today. I thought in his remembrance I'd show you some pics from his previous birthdays. Sometimes the photographer didn't take very good pictures, or hardly an at all. (That photographer oughtta be fired!) But there are some good ones in here. Lots of him laughing, showing his love for fun, family, and most of all, life.

Calvin's 1st Birthday
We got a cake and he wasn't sure what to do with it. He finally dug in.

Grandma & Grandpa came down for Calvin's 2nd Birthday

He had some friends over for cake

Calvin had an exciting 3rd Birthday

He was pretty excited he had blown all the candles out

Time to eat yummy cake

Calvin turns 4

He just loves getting presents

He wore this cape constantly, as did his little brother

The 5th Birthday

Blowing hard to get those candles out and get that wish!

Playing games with his friends

Calvin made it to 6

One of the first Pinatas

The kids were all lined up to run for the candy

the 7th Birthday party

The favorite - a Pinata

And since there's so few pics from that party, here he is a few days later with Santa

Calvin turns 8!

Some present he was really excited to get

Another party at Nickelcade

Calvin's 9th Birthday
Somewhere between 8 and 9 he really grew up, no more little boy.

The family party at Los Hermanos

And an awesome picture with lots of cousins and his great-grandparents

And he turns 10!

Friends just as eager to see what he got

Calvin and the party crew

His 11th Birthday

Cake and friends

Calvin and all his Friends with their balls

Hopefully getting a strike

At the Family Party he got a lot of camping stuff since he officially started
camping on a regular basis as a Scout and not as a Tag-a-Long

His 12th Birthday

Shooting the gun from Grandma & Dave

Playing his guitar

The 13th Birthday



More presents

And a wild-eyed Brother

Thanks for sharing the pictures and day with Calvin.
Remember him tonight at dinner and tell your kids another story about him.


Bad Mom Incident #3,427 With No End in Sight

Baby brought a note home from school Wednesday. This means after school. After I've been to the store because my boys HATE to run errands (Hate is an understatement). I run errands on my way home from my Part-Time job before I have to drag boys kicking and screaming. When do the tantrums end?

"We will be making Gingerbread Houses on Friday. Please send some Candy and Frosting (if you made some) and a cardboard for the Gingerbread House."

I groaned. "I've already been to the store. We'll go tomorrow."

Thursday came and I got home from work with a grand project that would take me all night. Baby only reminded me twice that he needed candy. What's a mother to do without someone pestering her constantly? Two reminders is not nearly enough to actually get something done.

As Baby was going to bed he reminded me again. Now it's cold and dark outside. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the store. I told him I'd call Olaf and have him get some candy. Then I walked out of the room with that big project looming and completely forgot about the candy.

In the morning Baby didn't even mention the candy. I forgot too. I was thinking about that project I had finished and how to get it to work without anyone noticing. I sent Baby to school with his friend.

At work a little later I got on Facebook and saw some posts from other Mothers of 3rd graders: "Kitchen looks like it snowed on inside with powdered sugar everywhere from frosting for Gingerbread Houses." Great! I had completely forgotten! At least I knew that there were plenty of Stay-at-Home Moms who would make up for my slack. Thank goodness for them!

When he got home from school he had the cutest Gingerbread House. On a Piece of Cardboard! I hadn't even had the presence of mind to send a Piece of Cardboard. The whole Gingerbread Debacle just kept getting worse. Now I feel like I've got to make this up to his poor teacher that not only has to put up with Baby's antics in class, but now Baby's Mother's Antics of Non-participation. She just got the awesomest present I've even bought for one of my kids' teachers. A scarf and matching gloves. It's cold here sometimes.

The pretzel twigs in the bottom right corner are cannons. There was a fence to keep out invaders, but that has been eaten by baby. Apparently this Gingerbread house was stormed by the enemy at some point and he had to defend himself. Just when you think it's sweet and lovable Baby throws cannons and armies into the picture.


Brrr!! Updated!

Some people think I keep my house a little chilly in the winter.

What do you think?

Sister Accountant and her Hubby used to tease me while huddled under three or four blankets:
"When you come visit our house in the winter it's gonna be so warm you're gonna need your swimsuits! None of this cold stuff for us!" And they got their wish in NYC.


My Heirloom Stocking

My Grandma was an amazingly crafty woman. She could sew professionally and decorate wedding cakes professionally. I remember coming out for her youngest daughter's wedding. I was a candle-lighter. She had made me a special dress for my role. She had actually made all the dresses, including the bride's dress. They were beautiful. I loved that dress and wore it as often as I could. I also remember her coming to visit and sewing. She'd bring fabric, I assume, lay it out on the kitchen table and just start cutting all of us girls dresses. Then she'd whip them up into dresses. I don't remember her using a pattern and that may be wrong, but it adds to my Grandma's incredibleness.

She also made Christmas stockings for my parents, me and my younger sister. They are so beautiful. I just pulled mine out and hung it by the fireplace. My Mom is crafty enough that she also made the rest of the family matching stockings. I just think my stocking is so beautiful that I had to share it with you all. You can all drool and lust after one yourself.

She somehow thought I was an angel. She even gave the angel blue eyes just like me. See how the blues are different shades? For a few years I was a one-eyed angel until my Mom fixed it. I guess it was a premonition of things to come, a Pirate Angel.

See how cute it is hanging by the fireplace? I know you want one too. Unfortunately she's not taking orders anymore unless you can get to Heaven and back.

Notice the incredible detail on the letters? I have no patience compared to that!

To any of you who have thought I was crafty, now you know where I got it from. And I only got 1/16th of it, maybe less. Now you know why I laugh when someone calls me Crafty, I'm nowhere near where my Grandma was in the craft world. Where I wade in the shallows she dove in and swam with the big fishes.


The Dance

I recently explained Middle Child's need to be home more than should be normal for any elementary-age boy. I was worried about how that kid was going to turn out when he grew up. Would he ever move out and go to college? Would he ever be able to hang out with kids for hours on end, playing games, making prank phone calls, talking about girls, going to dances...

But he grew up. Well, only up to 12, he's not real old yet, like 15, or 16 and driving, or 18 and at college. He's still home under my wing. But less so than in the past. Nowadays he can play at friend's houses for hours on end. But at one time in the past I was worried.

A couple weeks ago I decided I didn't really have to worry about that child anymore. There was The Dance at school. Middle Child was going. And he wasn't just slinking in and hanging in the back corner. He called a couple friends and invited them over for a Pre-Dance Party at our house. One of his good friends is a twin, and the twin is a girl. He even called and invited her to his Pre-Dance Party, but "as Just Friends." His words exactly.

I had a bunch of 12 and 13 year old boys at my house hanging out. So I got them some pizza and soda. They gobbled up the food. Then just before it was time to go to The Dance one of the boys called his Mom.

"Mom, don't you NEED me to babysit tonight?" pause "Ok, I'll be right home." Well, some kids weren't so excited about The Dance. He beelined it home to probably his first willing babysitting stint.

The rest of the kids piled in the car and we dropped them off at The Dance. We had a good laugh that Middle Child was so excited to go. A couple years ago we could not have foreseen this change in his behavior.

After The Dance he called me to report on the goings on of The Dance.

"I danced with Nine Girls. And a bunch of those dances were slow dances."

"Wow! Did you ask them all?"

"No, I asked seven and two asked me to dance."

"So, who were they? What are their names and do you like them?"

"I danced with J and M and L and S and C and R and W. I don't remember the rest of the girls names."

I guess I better start doing my homework. I'm betting the girls' names that he "Couldn't Remember" were the ones he likes. I gotta go and call his friends, find out who those girls were.


A Curse and Double Hex on All the Meth Makers

Damn all the Meth Makers in America. We don't need Meth for the Masses. You're making life difficult for Non-Meth Users and I've had it. Stop. Not because you are making illegal drugs. Not because you are making something horrible for a person to ingest. Not because you are ruining people's lives. But because you are making it hard to buy Cold Medicine that works. I give you the worst Curse available in all the land and add a Double Hex.

Every year when I head to the store to buy this season's round of Cold Medicine the selection becomes slimmer and slimmer. For the past several years my Cold Medicine of choice has been put behind the pharmacy counter, even though I don't need a prescription, yet. I'm sure that's coming soon enough. But for now I have to show my Drivers License and they take down all my pertinent info to make sure I'm not buying enough to make Meth.

Today I went to get Old Fashioned Triaminic Syrup for Baby. He's got a cold and has been coughing for several days. Today he finished off last year's Triaminic and needed more. I went to my favorite store, Walmart. Only because it's close and cheap when it comes to Cold Medicine. I grabbed a couple things and headed for Cold Medicine. They had a couple kinds of Night Time Triaminic, but not the regular daytime kind. I was so mad I just left the cart in the middle of the aisle with my items in it and walked out. That'll teach them!

I'm about ready to take on all the Meth Makers just so I can have Cold Medicine back in the stores.



When Middle Child was young he was a homebody. Most children are grounded to their rooms when they are in trouble. Middle Child would be grounded to the outdoors and forced to play with friends. He could only handle so much interaction with the outside world. He would have to come home and hide in his humble hovel after so much time in the outside world. Some days I thought I was growing an agoraphobic-to-be. Besides needing "his" time he also wasn't very good at telling people he was going home. He oftentimes would be in the middle of playing with friends and just go home. To hide. No one had done anything to upset him, he had just had enough.

One time when I thought he should have grown out of his rude departures I coached him into telling his friends that he was "tired" and needed to "rest" and that he would come play some more later.

Later that week he told his bestest friend in the whole wide world, M, what I coached him to say, verbatim. Not an ounce of deviation. A little after he left M came to his Mom, who happens to be my bestest friend in the whole wide world, and complained.

"Middle Child lied to me!"

"He did? What happened?"

"He told me he was tired and was going home to rest. But I followed him. I spied on him through the window. He's not resting. He's not tired. He's home playing the computer!"

My bestest friend laughed so hard and when she was finally done and had come up for air she called me to tell me the news. I laughed hard and long. At least he finally listened to me and followed my advice. Unfortunately, it backfired. Maybe I should just let him use his rude departures, at least that wasn't lying.


Tank the Sleeping Dog

Can you spot the dog in the blankets? He's on Baby's bed. He's been in there 1 1/2 hours longer than Baby has this morning. He has no intention of going outside to take care of business.
Tank! Time to wake up! Sleepy Head!

Don't bother me. I'm trying to sleep here. I don't get enough sleep.
Being awake six hours a day is hard work.

Fine! I'm coming! There better be hot chocolate in that drink bowl when I get back in.