Things I Learned This Weekend

This weekend Olaf and I went to a Halloween Party. It was thrown by our favorite DJ and we, on a whim one day, bought tickets. We haven't been to a Bar/Party since we've had kids. I learned a few things that I'd forgotten in the last 17 years.

  1. Several days after I bought the tickets I looked at them. I quickly texted Olaf "The party doesn't even start until 9pm! In downtown SLC!" I had forgotten that nothing of consequence starts before 10pm in the Party World.
  2. We tried to get there fashionably late but left early because with the highway construction you never know when they're going to shut the whole thing down and wind you through town, making your trip twice as long. Unfortunately we were on time. A big no-no in the Party World.
  3. We weren't the only middle-aged, responsible, babysitter-at-home, type. We weren't even in the front of the line for the party. 
  4. They carded us at the door. I've never had my ID looked at with such scrutiny and I used to go out with my friends back in college (they needed a driver).
  5. Once the doors opened we were faced with the possibility of actually hitting the Dance Floor. Something we were never good at before and a 17 year absence makes you feel even more insecure.
  6. All we had to do was wait an hour for people to get good and drunk and then it didn't matter what we looked like on the dance floor.
  7. There's No Smoking in bars anymore!
  8. There are a lot of Boob Jobs out there, and they like to show their assets off to the world. Hence the costumes: Slutty Pirate, Skanky Cowgirl, Bad Angel, Delicious Devil, Sexy Kitty, and of course Black Leather-Clad Go-Go Dancer.
  9. I left my cell phone in the car, I didn't want to lose it, drop it, break it, get it stolen, etc. But I learned that the Cell Phone is an accessory to the dance floor nowadays. People were taking pictures and videos and posting them to Facebook, Twitter, their blogs, and anywhere else they could. Apparently if you go to a party and don't document it, it didn't happen. So sorry, no pictures of us in action.
  10. 12:30 with an hour drive home is really late nowadays, we were both so tired the next day. And we didn't even have a hangover the next day to nurse.
We had a blast doing something completely out of the norm for us. We might even go next year if there's another one. We'll have forgotten what it was like by then. Maybe I'll even take my phone for dance floor pictures.


Rain Boots

The other day it was raining wonderfully hard. It was dark and wet and beautiful. As I was getting ready for work I decided I would wear my Rubber Rain Boots. I love them and it doesn't rain much here to I have to get as much use out of them as possible.

While I was at work I decided to go to the Library, I think Middle Child needed another book. (That is the best perk of where I work, access to a good library).  That kid reads so fast that the library has saved me a small fortune. As I was looking at books one of the librarians started walking towards me. I moved closer to the books so she would have room to pass through the aisle.

But then she stopped right in front of me and said, "Can I ask you a question?"

I knew I had paid all my fines so I wasn't sure what was coming next I said, "Sure."

"Where did you get your boots!"

I instantly felt good. Here was a lady commenting in an enthusiastic tone about my boots, I had made a good choice. And then,

"My daughter would love them!"

I wasn't quite sure what to make of that. If she's buying boots for her daughter she can't be that old. Maybe I need to start shopping somewhere else.


Halloween Purses

Remember how I mentioned that I went a little crazy and bought way too much Halloween material? Remember how I created my own Holiday called Halloween in July instead of Christmas in July? Remember how I decided to make all my sisters, mom, and sister-in-laws purses since I had bought so much luxurious fabric?

I did it! I finally finished the last two bags! I had previously mailed out all the bags to everyone and now my littlest sister has finally got hers. Of course, I didn't take pictures of all the bags, I'm forgetful sometimes. But this is the front of my bag in that hideously wonderful Alexander Henry 'The Ghastlies' old lady fabric. I love the old ladies in this fabric. You can just feel them glaring disapprovingly at you whenever you look at them. No wonder I feel guilty all the time lately.

Even thought I bought yards and yards of many different, velvety soft, cotton fabrics I still had to piece the front of my bag together because I didn't have enough. I guess I should have bought just a little bit more.

Lesson learned for next year, 'When in Doubt, Buy More Fabric.' Thought I already knew that, but obviously I didn't. Next year I will be better prepared. Maybe you need to place your order now, then I'll have even more excuses to buy fabric!


40's Pin Up Girls

We stopped at the Heber Fly In on our way camping on Labor Day Weekend. Guess who was there? A bunch of 40's dressed Women.

We had no problem getting Middle Child to pose with the girls.

But Baby was playing shy and we had to bribe him with Double Stuffed Oreos to get him anywhere near the girls. See their hands on his shoulders? They're holding him in place for a picture. But they sure loved him!


Crafty Items

I'm thinking of turning this into a quilting blog. Hahahahaha! I don't sew near enough to do that. But I did finish a quilt I've been working on all year. Granted I took a Block of the Month club, so it was supposed to take a whole year!

But I'm very excited it's done! Well, almost. Now I have to get it quilted and then I still have to bind it! But I love how it turned out.


Thanksgiving Decorations

Found this at a home decoration store. I love it. I may need to get it to grace my Thanksgiving table this year. Think of the conversations.

P.S. Does this count as "Put a Bird On It"?


Missing Someone

Sometimes I just miss Calvin so much. I wonder what he would be doing now. Would he still be taunting Boomer the Basset Hound with the Antelope Head? Would he be driving Boomer the Basset Hound around town trying to pick up chicks? Would he be busy with school and getting great grades or would he still have a hard time turning things in on time? Would he be thinking about which college to go to and getting ready for a mission in just over two years? Would he have actually burnt something down? Would he be grounded from the car every other week?

This year I got the Halloween decorations out early. I decided I have to get the decorations out early if they're going to be put out. As it turns October it just gets too hard. I waited too long and didn't get them out last year. In 2008 when I put my Halloween decorations out life was wonderful and normal. When I put them away my life had changed horribly. I was still in shock. I just couldn't believe that my life had changed that much. Forever etched in my memory is the change that happened while the Halloween decorations were out. This year I put them out early, before October, so I can enjoy them awhile.

While the hurt is still there the rawness has dulled and the pain becomes something I live with everyday. I don't want to lose it because then I would feel as if I had forgotten. The pain is something I treasure and hold close because it tells me how much I love that crazy kid.

I just hope someone hid the matches in Heaven!


Experiences in a Tire Shop

Several years ago I got new tires on the truck. I went into the store and got a decent deal. A few months later I went in to get them rotated. While they were rotating the tires they came in to tell me I needed quite a bit of work on the truck, about $600 worth to be exact. Did I want to complete this work right now, while they had it in the shop?

No, I told them, I'd talk to my husband. So they left it at that. As soon as I got home I called Olaf's step dad and asked him to make an appointment with our mechanic to get this work done. We couldn't get the truck in for a few days and I worried the whole time the truck was going to break down because of how urgent the shop had made it sound. Well, when we went to pick the truck up our mechanic told us that NONE of the work was needed. None of it at all!

A few months later I went back into the same shop to get my tires rotated again. Once again they hit me up on the "needed" repairs and added a few more so that the grand total was now $1000. Did I want to complete this work right now?

No, I'll talk to my husband.

Are you sure you don't want to call him right now and check?

That was the last time I stepped foot in that local tire shop.

Several years later I am getting new tires again, but for my car. I thought I had grown up enough that I could complete this task all by myself. Other people buy tires all the time, I should be able to also.

I stopped at a different local tire shop. The sales man checked what kind of tires I needed and proceeded to show me the best tires for my car. At $250 a tire. But he was gracious enough to knock $10 off and the store was running a promo that would take another $25 off each tire. By now I'm down to $215 a tire.

I asked what else they had available. For only $170 I could get an unknown brand tire that was only good for 50,000 miles. I almost ran out of the store.

So I came home and asked Olaf's step dad if he could help. Apparently I'm not old enough to buy tires by myself yet.


Iowa in the Evening

Isn't it gorgeous? The view from Sister-in-Law Farmer's childhood home. Soon after this the fireflies came out. They were flitting around in the corn and the trees and the kids chased them till we dragged them home.


The Beginning of School

Baby started 5th grade this year. Maybe one day he will demand a new name on this blog, but in the mean time he's my Baby and always will be.

The beginning of a new school year is always an adjustment. After a summer of sleeping in and few responsibilities the children always buck the change back to normalcy. Can't really blame them. Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in a never-ending summer state. But life always smacks us back to reality.

After school I talked to Baby and asked him how he liked his first day of 5th grade.

"I hate it! Our teacher is mean! We aren't allowed to talk in class!"

Olaf and I didn't see any problem with that since that has been his main infraction since kindergarten (other than the fighting with that kid in class last year).

Baby was cranky that whole evening. I could have sent him to bed at 6pm and it wouldn't have hurt anyone.

The next day I asked him how school had gone for the day.

"Our teacher told us that we're fifth graders. We're not little kids anymore. She's our teacher and not a babysitter. That's why we can't talk in class." He didn't seem quite as upset as the day before. Things were improving and he wasn't grouchy that evening.

After the third day of class I asked Baby how school had gone that day.

"Our teacher's mom was one of Walt Disney's first 25 employees and Walt Disney considered his employees family and they used to go for free at least six times a year!"

After the fourth day of class I asked Baby how school had gone that day also.

"Our teacher said that everybody has an inner voice that wants to sing. I'm trying to find my inner voice and let it sing. We sang in class today and it was fun!"

It's official. Baby's teacher can do no wrong. He's in love.


The Family Reunion

We had an awesome family reunion this last summer. It took place in Iowa at the end of July. Smack dab in the middle of the heat and humidity. But I loved it! I even loved our drive to Iowa. I miss the Midwest and the gorgeous scenery. I used to think Nebraska was flat and treeless. Then I moved to Utah. Talk about flat! And treeless! Utah has mountains but other than that it's pretty flat. And the trees aren't much taller than a single story home, unless they're cottonwoods along a river.

Once we finished out marathon drive and got to our hotel the boys helped bring up our luggage. When Olaf found this and took it to our car the boys got all kinds of excited! I think Baby even said, "I didn't know these were real! I thought they were only on Suite Life of Zac and Cody!" Apparently we don't take out kids to hotels enough.

The next day we started by having lunch at an old favorite from when I was a kid. Although it was just usually Mom and Dad that went, us kids were left home with a sitter. This place was huge! And they were set up for kids.

While I perused the menu I was shocked at the prices. Probably 90% of the food was under $10! But Middle Child kept choosing items from the 10% expensive menu. He wanted ribs and I wasn't paying that price. Finally we met in the middle with this meal that came with a few ribs, quarter of a chicken and two sides. I even got everyone drinks. We all ate good meals, had an appetizer, and a dessert and after tip only spent $50!

Here's the whole family! All 29 & 1/2 of us! One of my sisters is pregnant.

That evening we had a birthday party for my Mom at Brother Accountant's house. Him and his wonderful wife were hosting this little shin dig. They were so gracious to let some people stay with him and host several dinners and activities at his house. Thankfully he has a large home and there was plenty of room.

Brother Accountant also found these cool glasses depicting the different states. He got my Mom a glass from each state she had ever lived in!

I love how the grandkids are gathered around my Mom to see what's going to be opened next!

The next day Olaf and I took Baby and his Cousin D on a tour of the State Capitol. It's a fantastic building with the largest gold dome. It's beautiful. But the best part? The cannons out front!

The boys thought the steps were pretty impressive. You have to go up all these steps just to get to the second floor.

And to get to the third floor you can ride the elevator or take this iron spiralesque staircase. Baby didn't really like these stairs but we made him walk down them. He was nervous the whole time!

Here are the boys walking along a hall enjoying the grand murals.

The next day we visited John Wayne's birthplace. Olaf and Baby love John Wayne and when I discovered it was so close to Des Moines, it was a must see on our trip.

John Wayne happened to be born in Winterset, Iowa, smack dab in the middle of Madison County. Yes, that same Madison County where the torrid illicit affair happened in the book The Bridges of Madison County. So we decided to visit several of the bridges. There are six but we figured the three closest were good enough for us. Remember, it's hot and humid. And all the bridges kind of look the same.

This bridge had been moved to a park in town, easy to find. It was really pretty and the kids ran through it from one end to the other. Yes, they were little sweatballs by the time they were done.

Here is me, my Mom, Sister Accountant, and Sister-in-Law Farmer posing carefully. None of us wanted to get too close to each other and actually touch cuz we were all sticky!

The next bridge we went to had been burned down by arson several years earlier. But it had been rebuilt and we could drive right on through!

This is what the inside of it looks like when driving through and looking out your bug infested windshield.

This is that same one and it was quite pretty. Middle Child was with us on this whole trip but chose to be a teenager at times and sit in the car and miss valuable photo ops. He thought sitting in the car in the heat was better than standing outside in the heat. Not sure which is worse.

The last one we visited was in it's original spot! Right over a river! At first the kids didn't understand why there were bridges over nothing. But know they know their real purpose, getting over water safely.

On our long trek home we stopped at The Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles. It was a huge museum full of all kinds of vehicles. The kids even got to climb around in a few of them. We got our fill and stayed a while. Got us out of the car for a bit and that was nice.

We had a great family reunion. It was so good to see everyone. We were only missing my Baby Sister and her Hubby, he was away on training. I had looked forward to this reunion all summer and it didn't disappoint. I only wish it could have lasted longer. I was really sad to see about half the family leave Sunday to head back home to jobs and school. But we will do this again in two years and I think people are voting for Denver!

I am missing pictures of our little trip to Pella where we got Dutch Pastries. The best! And then the evening on the Farm. SiL Farmer's family was so gracious to host all 29 of us out at their farm. There was so much fun to be had! But you can catch all of that at SiL Farmer's blog!


What Everyone Else Didn't Learn in Kindergarten

There has been major construction on the local Highway here. It's barely half over. And it's a major inconvenience because to go anywhere out of town (which is most of the time) I have to get on the Highway. And people have forgotten how to be civil, or they never learned how. Here's the list of things the people I share the road with every day didn't learn in Kindergarten, or maybe they missed Driver's Ed.

  • Share
  • Wait in line with everyone else
  • Play fair
  • Don't cut people off so you can get ahead of everyone else
  • Wave Thank You when someone lets you in when you felt the need to race up to the front of the line in front of everyone else
  • Don't text on your damn cell phone
  • Pay attention
  • The Fast Lane is the Fast Lane, don't sit in it driving the speed limit
Someone help me cuz we've got almost a year and a half of this construction left and driving in it is driving me crazy!


Where I Sew

There's this blog I follow. Every week they spotlight someone's Sewing Space. They are all pretty fancy stuff. Some of them look like a designer came in and decorated. I thought I would join the trend and show you where I sew.

I get to sew under this gorgeous tree. When we first bought this house a long long time ago Olaf's aunt and cousin came and painted this tree just for Calvin. He asked for a Hole in the Trunk and a Squirrel on a Branch. And over time we added Glow-in-the-Dark stars and moons on the ceiling. I made these simple curtains for him, they are muslin edged in leaf-decorated fabric. Calvin moved out of this room four or five years later but we kept this awesome tree. And when I look at it, it reminds me of my sweet little boy Calvin, not the older Calvin.

And then Olaf shot an antelope and hung it on this wall, long before I started sewing for real and needed a Space to sew in. When he hung it up Boomer the Basset Hound didn't like it. He would wander down the hall and peek in the room. He'd look up and see the antelope head and start barking. It was the funniest thing ever! He made us all laugh so hard with his barking at the dead antelope head, as if he was afraid it was going to take his place.

When I started writing this I meant to make fun of the fancy rooms that all these other sewers have and show them that sewing could be done in any kind of room, no need for fancy wall decorations that need dusting, pretty table covers, and other totally impractical things that would only get in the way of sewing. And instead I found out why my sewing room is so special to me.


Adventures in Shopping with Teenage Boys Part 2

The other day I was happily wandering around Target all by myself. There is a Heaven on Earth. I was looking at socks. I was deep in a debate inside my head about whether Baby needed men's socks or boys socks. He's on the cusp of wearing men's shoes. I don't think my budget can afford that but his feet aren't listening.

Right in the middle of the debate on what size socks to buy Baby a Mother and her Teenage Son walked up to the Men's Underwear Wall. Standing right in front of all that underwear the Mom turned to her Teenage Son.

"What kind of underwear do you like? You like this kind right? The boxers, not boxer briefs, made out of t-shirt material, right?" She sounded a little exasperated, frustrated, and frazzled all rolled into one slightly loud statement.

The boy, probably 13 or 14, was completely mortified that his Mom had brought him to the Men's Underwear Wall and was talking to him in a voice loud enough for anyone to hear. He answered her in a low mumbling voice, trying not to bring any more attention to himself than she had already brought. I looked around. I was the only one anywhere near them. I tried to look like I was completely absorbed in the debate about sock sizes for Baby. And while I felt a little sorry for the Teenage Boy, I totally understood his slightly exasperated, frustrated, and frazzled Mom. It was all I could do to not laugh, not at her, but  with her, not that she was laughing, but she will one day. Maybe not for 20 years when he tries to buy underwear for his boy, but one day she's going to laugh at the day she stood in front of the Men's Underwear Wall with her Teenage Son.


Adventures in Shopping with Teenage Boys

Sometimes shopping with Teenage Boys is wonderful. You're in, you're out, you're done! Hallelujiah! If it wasn't for the grocery bill boys would be the best!

And then there's the times you need to find certain clothes for the Teenage Boys. Teenage Boys don't do well shopping. Most of them abhor the whole ordeal. And so do their Moms. But there's no choice!

I took Middle Child back-to-school shopping last week. It was the highlight of my week. If I was rating it according to the lowest point of the week.

We got to the store. I had scoped the store out a few days earlier. When we came in I was excited that the sale prices had dropped even more! Wow!

And then we tried to find clothes that he liked. We were searching for shorts because after our family trip I realized he didn't have near enough to make it a whole week between wash days. That's my goal in life, to have enough clothes to make it a whole week between washings. Of course he is very particular, only plaid shorts. We searched high and low. Once we found the things he liked we tried to find them in his size. That's where the luck ended. Apparently not only do I have the most common shoe size but he has the most common waist size, severely limiting both our choices.

Finally we had a handful of clothes to try on! We headed to a fitting room. I sent him in. Another mother with her teenage son was right behind me. Middle Child headed in and I didn't see him for a minute or two. The other boy came right out.

"There's no rooms in there, there all full!" he said.

"Is there people in the rooms?" she asked.

"No, there just full of clothes."

"Well, that's just because no one puts their clothes away. They're empty rooms."

"No they're not!"

"Trust me, the rooms are empty." Which was true. There were no boys or men milling around modeling clothing for their Moms, Spouses, Girlfriends, Mistresses, or anyone else.

The boy hung his head and reluctantly went in a room. I was kind of proud of Middle Child for already figuring this out since he hadn't come back out yet.

Apparently I thanked my lucky stars a moment too soon. He came out right after this exchange with the same complaint. Before we could have the exact same conversation he headed to another fitting room. After he came out making the same complaint we then repeated the exact same conversation with the same conclusion.

We spent a good half hour trying on shorts, shorts, and more shorts. Finally we found a few he liked. After all the shorts trying on we didn't have the patience energy to try on shirts. The first Friday of school is picture day and I was hoping to get the shopping for this crossed off my list. No such luck. I was just happy to round out his shorts to an even seven. Now he can go a whole week between washes!

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Shopping with Teenage Boys.


Boy Pants

While searching around different sewing blogs I came across these.

These lovely pants came with a whole tutorial so you could make them for your kid. The saddest part? These were on a little boy.The second saddest part? They're not jammy pants. I felt so bad for him. There comes a point in your life when you need to pick up new sewing projects and quit sewing "cute"things for your kids.


Free Summer Entertainment (Almost)

Remember when we got new chairs at work?

And I brought home those HUGE boxes?

And I said I would let you know what the kids did with them?

Hours and Hours of sawing and cutting and taping later...

This is what has been concocted.

The best summer entertainment only cost me a roll of duck tape. Take that Corporate America with your Deep Pockets!


Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle-K

Well, maybe not the Circle-K, but definitely at 7-11.

The other day on my drive home I saw a billboard announcing the Cowboys and Aliens cups at 7-11.

I called Sister-in-Law Nurse.

"Did you see the billboard? We are going to 7-11."

So for the first time ever I went to 7-11 of my own free will and accord.

Only 18 more days!



It's back! A new countdown. For the movie Cowboys and Aliens. Coming soon to a theater near you!

For all of you out there that need pictures of Daniel Craig, I'll provide a few until his newest movie comes out.

And if anyone besides me is interested there might even be a few of Harrison Ford in there too.


Adventures in a Box

Today at work our new chairs arrived. In big glorious boxes! With smaller boxes and pieces that came with The Big Box. I promptly volunteered to take one or two.

Of course I could only fit one Box in my car at a time.

But Baby was so incredibly excited to meet The Box.

He brought the box in the house and promptly pulled everything out. I told him if he didn't use something to throw it in the recycle bin.

He replied, as he got cozy with The Box, "There won't be anything going in the Recycle Bin!"

Stay tuned for Baby's Adventures in a Box.