Saturday, December 30, 2006

Definitely a sign of the new coming year….

Look what came in the mail today. There’s nothing like the receiving of those seed catalogs to let you know Christmas is over. We’ve still got 4 months of hard winter left but the first two have been pretty mild. My garden shoes were a $9.95 purchase from LLBean. I’ll be smarter this year. I left my old pair on the back porch and Ransom and his buddies hauled them off into the woods somewhere. The kids always say, “Mom, you’re such a dork in those shoes…” I think they’re awesome, the dorkier the better—and as long as they are dorky, Chelsey doesn’t borrow them, plus they’re pretty easy to spot in the closet…

I took a break from quilting… that right. I took a break from quilting, not work, not housework, and not even laundry. I took a break and Ransom and I took a walk. It’s about 35 degrees.
The fresh snow makes everything seem so clean.

I took the Christmas tree upstairs down today. It’s something that Don usually does. I put the decorations up and he’ll take them down. I don’t like doing it. It’s not about being lazy; it’s about the ending of the season I think. But I realized time is going to pass and procrastinating isn’t going to make it “not happen”. So I sucked it up and did it. I’ve got to rearrange the quilts around… but that’s the fun part…

1. Sleeping late (6:15am)
2. Ice cold water to drink
3. Listening to my kids laugh downstairs.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I thought I’d write a few lines before heading to work. Chelsey is working on a class project. I worked with her on that last night. I can’t wait to post it after we’re complete. I got another row done on my quilt. I pulled the machine out away from the wall to let the quilt flow from the back. I remembered reading that from you girls, somewhere--- thanks, it was a big help. Then I brought out the bubble gum like Libby suggested and it was a better night. I was tempted to start another row, but didn’t. Limits are good. I picked up a little and went upstairs and read a book and played with Ransom.

Plans for the New Year's Eve? None--- just the way I like it. Chelsey is having a few friends over for board games. Eric will probably hang with her a while and us a while. Don and I will watch football, maybe play dominos, backgammon, and cards. Quiet….I’m not the partying kind, being at home is perfect on New Year’s Eve…..

Here’s the buggy out front, decorated for the season.

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. I typically fall short. With Work and Teenagers, life is way too unpredictable. I will try to be dedicated to exercise in some way. If I take care of myself, I’ll feel like doing others things. Statistics show exercising 20 minutes a day 5 days a week lowers your risk to so many illnesses by as much as 50%. I’ll take those odds. Television is the enemy. Unless I’m watching with family (we do the Survivor thing, probably American Idol & 24) it robs me of valuable time.

If I quilt something at least twice a week, I’ll feel like I’ve done something for myself. It’ll make me a better Mom if a take that time. I’m not going to make lists of quilts, because at this point it sort of overwhelms me and I get bummed that I don’t accomplish things fast enough.

And then there's reading my bible every day, because I'm smart enough to know that life is way too tough to make it out there on my own.....

1. My horse Buggy
2. Cyber-friends
3. Pizza take out

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It’s official—I’m not having fun….
I’ve got My Heart Crazies quilt stretched, basted and pinned. I finished 6 weeks ago. I’m determined to use it this Valentine’s season. I don’t want an unfinished project lying around. So, I started machine quilting last night. I’ve machine quilted before, but nothing ever this big. It’s not easy.

Maybe I was tired; I pulled a 10-hour day at work. It couldn’t be helped. But there will always be a reason I’m tired. I get up early; I’m a wife, a mom, and an employee somewhere. I completed one row of the quilt. There are 5 rows and a border. Maybe in a week it will be done.

I got tickled. My sewing room is down in the basement. Don and Eric were downstairs playing video games with the speakers wide open. Eric is in one room, Don in the other. It was a freaking war zone and my sewing room was in the middle. Doesn’t matter how much elevator music you pipe in when the “Gears of War” video game is running…. After I completed a row, I said, “Enough”. It took an hour and a half. I found as I went along, I did get better at it…

I guess I don’t mind the video game noise—it’s fun hearing them laugh together. And I love having Eric home. Chelsey learned to snow ski last night. Remember we’re parents from the South. So while we taught the kids, swimming, bike riding, roller blading, tennis, etc….skiing was out of our league. I just kept thinking—“Good skiers break their legs….” But there’s no challenge my fearless one won’t take. She had a ball.

1. Family at home.
2. My watch marking the minutes until I can be at home again.
3. The heater in the Jeep – warms up real quick.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First things first…. Gifts from my Mom. When I was home in December, she took me to a quilt shop that had fat quarters on sale for a buck each. I can’t wait to play with these. The thread is from Connecting Threads. Great Colors.

I had a productive day at work yesterday. There was a skeleton crew there, so I got a lot accomplished toward our inventory on January 2nd. I took off a little early. Don and the kids were still off on holidays. It was 28 degrees and we took Ransom for a two mile run. I’ve about decided as for as winter weather goes, that’s about perfect for outside exercise because you don’t have the dirty slush on the roadsides.

Eric and Chelsey are headed to Green Bay today to pick up a friend of Eric’s that is spending a week with us. Jasmine is flying in from Denver. Her French class and Eric’s went to France over the summer and they kind of hit it off. We’re pretty excited to meet her. I baked a dessert last night. I keep asking Eric,” What are you going to do for a week? What does she like to eat?” The only response I get is, “Mom—Got it covered…relax…” We’ll see.

1. A Mild winter--- so far.
2. Books to read. They take you places you could never go otherwise.
3. Digital photos – Holiday pictures you can share as fast as email.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006 was outstanding…. The picture below was a surprise I received in the mail on Friday.
The ornament is made with a punchneedle crow. Pretty cool. Surprises are the best…. I am grateful for all the quilting friends I’ve made this year.

Everyone was healthy for the holiday. That in itself was a blessing. The Christmas feast consisted of Grilled Steak and Shrimp. I have to work today so I leaving a note on the fridge because everyone else is off today and still asleep== “Don’t eat the Steak and Shrimp leftovers for breakfast…We’re Having it for Supper!!!” Wonder if the note will work???

I remember my first ‘married’ Christmas. I got new cake pans as a gift. I cried. I was definitely over the hill at 21…Well, I got new pots and pans for Christmas this year. And I was doing the “Happy Dance” around the tree!!! I guess with age does come wisdom. For the past month Don has been throwing a pot away at a time for different reasons—the pots & pans were 22 years old; they had probably earned their fate. I knew I needed new ones—even had these picked out---but I just struggled with letting go of the money. I didn’t even mind doing the dishes on Christmas day because I was washing my NEW pots and pans along with the Christmas dishes.

My mom took care of me on the quilting front—21 new fat quarters and 10 spools of thread. Pictures will be coming.

My Mother-in-law gave me a set of dishes… can’t wait to share them…

I hope everyone’s holidays were special….

1. My new thread holder from Eric
2. Snowshoes for Ransom & I
3. Board games with Family--- Have you ever played –‘Buzzword?’

Sunday, December 24, 2006

From My Home to Yours --
I wish you a Truly Memorable Christmas....

Chelsey's skates age 3.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The bunnies are set for Christmas. They are sitting on a rocking horse my father in law built for Eric’s first Christmas.

We had fun at my office Christmas Party last night. They gave $100 bills away if you took a Christmas carol of a fish bowl drawing and sang it. Neither Don nor I can carry a tune in a bucket. But we gave it our best shop and did “The 12 days of Christmas”. The crowd joins in after you start…

We’ll be busy with all of the holiday fun but I wanted to take a second and wish everyone safe and happy holidays.

(Chelsey got an extension on the Spanish project and got enough study time to pull a ‘B’ on the test. She leads a charmed life--- she’s got a 2-hour delay from school today because of icy roads.)

Steady Tires on Icy Roads
My Sewing Machine
Ribbons on Packages

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I’m off to a good morning. I spent twenty minutes in my sewing room before leaving for work. It’s incredible therapy. I have a couple of last minute gifts I have to get finished.

Chelsey was up early this morning. She worked last night. Normally she gets home from the dress shop between 9 and 9:30. The registers broke, so it was after 10. She has a Spanish project due and a Psych Test at 8:30. The conversation went something like this…

“Mom, I’m just going to fail the test. I had not planned on working late. I have to finish the Spanish project. Let’s just accept it and Move on.”

“Hey, I’ll go to work late. I’ll quiz you. We can go over the chapter facts while you eat breakfast.”

“No Mom. It takes longer than an hour to retain that junk. There’s nothing I can do. I have to finish my Spanish.”

Keep in mind, she’s an A-B student. She has known about both all week. This is one of those times I want to ‘fix’ it and just can’t. It wasn’t the time to give her a lecture on planning ahead and not waiting until the last minute on these things. Gut instinct--- I wanted to save her and say, ‘stay home sick and finish everything’….But no… this is one of those life’s lessons that is just as hard on Moms as it is on daughters.

The picture above is mittens I made a couple of years ago. They hang on the closet door. I made my mom a set too. They hang until after Valentine’s Day. There’s just something about plaid.

1. My daughter
2. Thread in every color
3. The high school girl that cleans my office

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We have two Christmas trees at our home. The Boyd’s Bear Christmas Tree is downstairs. Over the last 20 years I’ve collected the Boyd’s ornaments. Three years ago we purchased a tree and they now have their own home. I have a curio cabinet that Don and My Father-in-law built that is their home eleven months of the year. The lighting wouldn't let me photograph it. The tree is trimmed in grape vines. Chelsey and I went out and harvested grape vines growing wild along back roads. The location is “top secret”. We had more fun gathering them.

We have a cut Balsam tree upstairs. It has always been our family collection of ornaments. Hallmark ornaments with the years written on them. There are the ornaments with each child’s age for the first 6 years of their lives. Don’s Star Trek Ornament, the Coca Cola Santa Claus, and of course the Packer ornament the year the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. Don’s rule is the angel is always on top. We’ve looked at fancy ornaments and Star, but he always said the Angel goes on top.

This year, I found berry vines that drape the tree instead of the usual garland. I also added burgundy (my favorite color) poinsettias and balls. My collection of bird’s nests is pulled out and somehow there are always perfect spots for each. The tree really came together this year.
Even Eric says, “Mom, it’s my kind of tree”.

Chelsey left for work before we had finished decorating it last Saturday. My Mother started her a collection of Barbie ornaments back when she was three years old. Each year she gets a new one. Even though she’s past the Barbie years, she still gets an ornament. We saved the ornaments for her to place on the tree. One day went by, two days went by, finally last night I said, “Chels, you going to put up your ornaments?”

She hesitated a second, “ I didn’t think they matched the tree…”

I sat down by her and emphatically told her, Christmas trees aren’t about matching, they are about memories. That tree was her tree too. And one day, she’ll have every one of those ornaments for her own tree.

It kind of got me thinking. Maybe Christmas trees symbolize a season where everyone “fits” in. But I think in the grander scheme of things, maybe it’s a time when it’s OK not to fit in—to be differentand still accepted. That every one can celebrate the season of believing and remembering and thankfulness.

So smack dab in the middle of our Christmas tree, not at the bottom or even on the back. But front dead center is Chelsey’s collection of 12 Barbie Ornaments…

Monday, December 18, 2006

Other than a few presents to wrap, I think I’m ready…I’m enjoying this holiday season like I haven’t enjoyed one in a long time. I keep trying to put my finger on exactly what the difference this Christmas is as compared to others and I can’t place it. Maybe it’s because we had an early Thanksgiving, giving more time for the Christmas season. Maybe work is at a comfortable pace right now. I guess it’s one of those things that you ‘don’t ask why--- just be thankful.’

Eric made it home. One semester down --- nine to go. Chelsey is really enjoying him being home. This week our church has a live nativity scene. I’m a greeter for two nights. It’s always fun and a good outreach to the community.

Here it a photo of my Christmas dishes.
These are my favorites. They weren’t expensive. They’re not china. I just loved them. We eat on them throughout the holiday season. I have a real weakness for dishes. I’m not sure my marriage can withstand another set. I don’t know what it is. But I have a ‘dish shelf’ and the dishes change with the seasons. My husband always laughs and says if there is a natural disaster everyone needs to meet at our house because I could feed a small community with the number of plates and bowls I have.

I look back and think… when did I start collecting dishes? I go back to when I was in high school and worked at an old department store “Woolco”. It was back before the Wal-Mart era. I bought a Christmas crème and sugar bowl set just because I was charmed with them. I still have them.

My Mom and I have matching apple stackers.
When I was home she had hers decorated with Christmas ornaments….too cute. This weekend, I found ornaments for mine. We’ve put pumpkins on it, pears, and apples of every color. I think I’ve talked with my Mom every day since I’ve come home from their house. Moms are great.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Today’s picture is of a table runner I. made several years ago. It was one of the nice things about having a quilt shop in your home town. We were having friends over and I decided I needed a small table runner for the buffet that had the dips and chips. You walked in told her you were in a pinch and she had all the answers---something fast and easy. I really miss that.

A story from Louisiana….

Preface: I believe religion is a personal thing. I’m don’t want anyone feel like I’m trying to convert anyone.

I’ve gone to church my whole life. I’ve been in the little kids class, classes through the teenage years, classes for the young married couples, and even classes for parents with little ones. All approached life and God with different perspectives. My Mom insisted I bring a dress when I went home to Louisiana, because we would go to church. When I got down there, Daddy (yeah, he’s still Daddy) said we would also go to Sunday school because we could visit and see more old friends.

Soooo, I go to My Mom and Dad’s class--- a class for ages 70 and up. The teacher was Mr. GW—a family friend, I’ve known my all my life. He even reminded me he was a guest speaker in my 4th grade class. We all did the “Meet and Greet” thing, and then sat down for the lesson.

Every time I would lose my train of thought, or started to ponder something else, Mr. GW was call me by name and bring me back down to earth. I was having a deja vue of the 4th grade over and over again.

The most incredible part was seeing life’s lessons spoke through the wisdom of a 78 year old man. The lesson was about Faith…believing in something you can’t prove.

Mr. GW spoke, “I’ve had faith in 3 things in my life: My Doctors, My wife Ruby Kate (We’re in the south, it’s Ruby Kate), and God. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized my faith has changed...”

I’m thinking…’With age comes wisdom—how could your faith change? You’re on the right track, why the change?”

Mr. GW says,
”As I’ve gotten older my faith has changed.
I have less faith in my Doctors,
More faith in God,
but my faith in Ruby Kate never waivers….”

It’s true—for the past 20 years God has held his course and my faith in the doctors has been steadfast. I’m sick or the kids are sick, we go to the doctor and they give us medicine or remove the broken part (appendix, tonsils) and we’re fine. But I realize, with age, there will come that time that the Doctors will not be able to heal the ailments and I’ll have to keep my faith on something stronger.

And for the hopeless romantic that I am – the moment he said—“My faith in Ruby Kate never waivers...” Well, it doesn’t get much better than that…. That’s the good stuff…

Until tomorrow—
Live up today…

1. Someone holding the door for me at the grocery store.
2. My dishwasher.
3. The fortitude to put 2 miles on the treadmill when I was tired after I got home.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This is one of those Thimbleberries Club quilts from a few years ago.
Last year I wanted a new table runner so I pulled it out, cut the size down a little and put it together. It’s machine quilted. As you read, the quilt sits on the kitchen table with my Wooden Snowmen and gift bag I made.

My Mother, 74, had a reaction to some medicine she was taking about 3 weeks ago. I made up my mind that I was getting a plane ticket and going down there to check on her. She lives in Louisiana. We talk about every other day, we write, (she thinks the internet is the Anti-Christ). But until you see how your folks live day to day, you really don’t know how they are doing. I flew down Dec 1 – 6. We had a wonderful visit.

She had been stressing about Christmas. We got her tree up. She has a story for every ornament. We shopped--- she even took me to a quilt shop. We did some cleaning. It was the first time I had really spent any time alone with my parents in 20 years. I’ll never forget it. I’ve decided to do it more often. Hey--- the family survived with out me. I survived a week without a computer too. Over the next few days I’ll share stories with you. You may think they are ridiculous, but I just want to write them down, because I don’t want to forget this visit.

1. Safe Travel.
2. Everyone’s holiday Spirit.
3. Warmer weather - 40 degrees.