Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Life has been all consuming lately. We have baseball 3 nights a week. Cub scouts, dance and piano lessons are still on our weekly list - plus homework, pre-school, and the norm - groceries, laundry, meals, church. So thus - I haven't been posting very much and I have a lot to catch up on but it will probably just trickle in.

So two Fridays ago we finally had our first barbecue with our new patio furniture. The only catch was we had to put it together first which took us a while. We didn't end up eating til close to 7:30 but it was so worth it. And yes I did forget to take pictures and right now all the cushions are in the basement because we've had rain.

I was so excited for this particular dinner. It was almost like summer in a bottle, but it wasn't in a bottle - it was on the table, so I guess it was like summer on the table. I had totally planned on overeating all day long. We had cheese dogs on the grill, veggies and dip, corn on the cob and my favorite of all favorites - chips and salsa from Chilis-to-go. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the chips from Chilis so I like to go on Friday's and treat us for dinner. I always ask for double the salsa because we go right through it. And to top everything off - you need watermelon for the perfect summer meal and it's sort of pre-season right now so I had to plunk down $7 for a watermelon. But it was totally worth it. We would have spent a lot more if we had take every one out for an ice cream cone etc...

The weather was absolutely perfect. Eating outside was divine. We took a walk around the neighborhood and talked to all the neighbors. Every kid on the street from age 2 - 18 was outside visiting in the street. It was the most PERFECT Friday night.

So this was Piper's first time experiencing watermelon and she really liked it. Here's a series showing her interest and enjoyment.

Boy that girl has a big smile but I can't get enough of it! Don't you love all that sticky watermelon juice dripping down her chest?

I often feel like I don't get enough pictures of my big kids, especially the boys. They aren't with me as often and don't change as quickly or do new things. So I am making an effort to take more pictures of them doing whatever they do.

Here's Chase trying to ignore me and the camera - just eating his watermelon.

Here's MacGregor totally posing for the camera. These boys of mine have very different personalities. One totally shuns the camera and the other can't get enough.

And here's Ainsley chatting it up on the phone. To whom? Anyone who will listen!

Proud Papa

One of Daniel's partners is a member of a fishing club that has private land on Spruce Creek somewhere in the middle of PA. It's about 2-3 hours from here. He invited Daniel as his guest last Wednesday.

Daniel received a fly fishing pole, vest and flies for Christmas last year (didn't I pick the perfect gift? It helped that my Dad's eyes had gotten so bad he couldn't see to tie the flies anymore and just happened to be selling his barely used equipment) Daniel hasn't really had much experience fly fishing but he's practiced his technique plenty in the back yard and all the practice paid off this trip. He had a great time and caught the fish of his life. I now say to him, "Why do you ever have to fish again? Anything now will be a disappointment in comparison."

Here he is with a rather large trout.

Here he is with the longest brown trout ever seen (ok maybe a little exageration but no one in Daniel's group had ever seen one so big.) He measured 27 inches long.

Here's his biggest baby. A 12 pound rainbow!!!! Daniel fought with him on the line for 30 minutes. What a fight. And what a fatty! Just look at him - he's short and fat. I can't believe he lasted 30 minutes - you would have expected him to be out of shape and out of breath much faster. (I'm talking about the fish, NOT Daniel)

2 summer's ago Daniel got the chance to go fly fishing in Idaho and fish several mountain lakes in Idaho and Utah and he caught NOTHING!! Not one fish! (He did catch a few little ones in Spanish Fork Reservoir, but I'm not sure that really counts). But now he knows that he doesn't have to go all the way to the well reputed Rockies to catch big fish - PA has some of the best!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Patio Complete

When we bought this house there was NOTHING in the back (just hard baked dirt that turned to mud when it rained) - nothing to even step down on from our sliding glass door. We had two back doors - one off the laundry room and the other was the sliding glass door from the kitchen. As part of the buying negotiations - I asked for at least a step. We got the cheapest wooden step imaginable that sunk in the mud and shook when you stepped on it but I guess that was better than a cinderblock. These steps were probably 12 inches wide and 36 inches long. Dan used to call it his 3 foot deck. He used to like to ask people what they thought of his deck. They always rushed to the back door and looked into the yard to find our deck and then Daniel would point to the step. HAHA!

So last fall we looked into a deck. We wanted something rather large because we wanted it to wrap around from the laundry room door to the kitchen door so we had a solid surface and could exit or enter at the same level etc... The decks were SO expensive so we priced out "stamped" concrete patios and patios made of pavers. In the end we went with the "stamped" concrete which was a third as expensive as a deck made of trex and half as expensive as a real wood deck. Plus I like the fact that the concrete is level with the ground so I don't feel like it takes a section out of the back yard which a deck that was raised 18 inches would.

We had had a very dry October last year and that is when I finalized the patio details. We were supposed to have it started on Nov 7th but then the rains came and came and came. They put it off several times because they didn't want to ruin my yard with their bulldozer. The big tracks on the bulldozer just sink right into the lawn and tear it to pieces. Finally it was the beginning of December and getting to cold to pour concrete so they just had to do it - they did ruin the yard but over the last few weeks we have spent a lot of time getting the yard back in shape.

I wished I had taken before pictures. There was a GIANT mountain of dirt in the back yard where they removed it from around the house so they could pour rock that goes under the concrete. As a family, but mostly Daniel, we moved that dirt one wheel barrow load at a time. We filled in the bulldozer tracks and leveled out the dirt all around the patio because our yard slopes down into the back yard. We ended up with a step down from the concrete. So we used all the dirt to level out the yard even with the patio.

This past weekend Daniel bought some sod to plant over the bulldozer tracks and fill in the giant circle of dirt where the mountain had been. Then he tacked weed paper in place - went plant shopping with my Dad (he knows what looks good where and how hearty things are etc... ) and planted and mulched with J all day Saturday. He also added this border around the outside edge. I think everything looks fantastic. We still have some seeding to do to get back some more of our yard they ruined while pouring the concrete, but I can't wait to get a patio table and chairs and have our first outdoor barbecue.

Here's the view where the sliding glass door opens. Now we have a step that goes the distance of the whole door instead of just half way. And this step doesn't sink or wiggle.
Here's the view from the side yard where you step out of the laundry room door. So you can see how it wraps around the corner of the house. I know it would have looked better in the pictures if I had moved the hose, scooter, grill and wheel barrows but I was tired and have a gimpy shoulder. My dad really wanted to see the final so I took these pictures quickly. If you look out toward those pine trees, you used to see a giant circle of dirt 12 to 15 feet in diameter. I love sod - you can't even tell where it was. We've never used it before (I'm sure it's expensive to do a whole yard) but I definitely like it and think it was perfect for our patch job.

Dress Up!

There is a small children's museum here called the Hands-On-House. In February, while the boys were in school, my sister and I took our girls. We only stayed two hours but we had a lot of fun. The girls were NOT ready to leave.

Ainsley also had her birthday party there 10 days ago. She invited several girls from her preschool class and her dance class. One of the favorite rooms in the museum is the dress-up room. It's also the best for taking pictures. Here are a some photos from the two visits.

It's not just the kids who get to dress up either!!
Here are all of Ainsley's friends from the party. They all dressed up and sang into a giant flower that was their microphone. They sang us the alphabet song and twinkle twinkle. Everyone in the room clapped and cheered - even those not with our group. It was really cute, but hard to get a picture that wasn't blurry - these girls were always on the move!

Here we have our medieval heroes.

Here's our little giraffe.

She had a crush on this big parrot!

Silly Boys!

The girls also had fun in the machine shop. They have an assembly line and you have to add each thing to the project until it is complete. Piper enjoyed stacking these "star thingies" (yes, that's what they call them).

You'll also notice a lot of face paint. There is a face painting station that my kids LOVE. They like doing it themselves and coming up with new creations. Except Kamden - she would not touch the stuff! At Ainsley's party she painted her whole face gold and shimmery. Then she had me add whiskers - she wanted to be a tiger but she looked more like a bronze goddess. MacGregor on the other hand - LOVES to do camouflage and does it every time. Here he is mid-bubble.

Monday, April 14, 2008


The surgery was a success. My experience was great - I felt well treated. It's funny though because my mom dropped me off at the front door of the hospital. She was watching the girls for the day and had to get Ainsley to school and such. I checked myself in and went through all the pre-op by myself. Several people asked me where my family was? I told them my husband would be coming to pick me up. Daniel worked his morning schedule and took an extended lunch hour so that he could pick me up and drive me home. I guess it's odd for someone to totally check into surgery without a family member waiting. (Daniel did arrive about 40 minutes into my surgery). He said he had a scare - after arriving he inquired about me and they said I was currently in the OR. He said seconds later her heard over the intercom - "Anesthesia Emergency!!!". He knows that's code for someone quit breathing in the OR. Luckily it wasn't me but ironically it was an oral surgery case. Not his practice though and the man having the surgery was in very poor health to begin with.

Here you can see the lump is gone! Also you can see that the surgeon marked the site with his initials. I am really glad they do that because there are multiple ORs with multiple surgeons and if you are asleep already when the surgeon walks in, you want to be certain that the correct surgeon is working on the correct area.

During my interview with the Anesthesiologist she found out that Daniel was an oral surgeon who did cases at this particular hospital and it turns out that she ran his anesthesia 3 days before. She told me that case was really interesting and hopes he brings in more cases like that. The two surgical nurses in my OR were on that same case. They remarked that they liked working with him - that he was really nice and that they couldn't say that about everyone. I felt really good knowing that they had a working relationship with Daniel. You just feel like you'll get the absolute best care when someone knows you.

Here you can see that the scar is quite big. The doctor said the lipoma was 10 cm (4 inches) so they had to make a 6 cm cut (roughly 2 1/2 inches) to get it out. He told me he'd get some pictures of it so I guess I'll see them at my post-op visit. In this picture you can see the scar I had from my last lipoma (diagonally above to the right). It's not quite as big as this new one. My new one doesn't have any surface stitches. I guess they stitch the underneath layers with dissovable stitches and use a glue (durabond) to close the surface wound.

Saturday I felt well enough to go to my hometown, 2 hours away, to a baby shower for a good friend I grew up with - Angie L. My mom was invited too and so she drove me there and back. I admit I did feel a little sick in the car ( I think it was from the medicine) on the way down but by the time I got there I felt great. I had lots of fun and saw so many people from my childhood memories... Young Women leaders, friends' parents, piano teacher etc... The blanket I made was for this friend. She also got 4 burp cloths that I sewed in the middle of the night on Friday night. The pain medicine made me all twitchy and itchy and my mind was racing so after 2 and half hours of just laying there, I got up. I turned on the radio and got out my sewing machine and spent an hour and 15 minutes pinning and sewing. It was great actually although I was a bit tired the next day.

So overall it was a successful weekend. A big thank you to my mom for sitting Friday and driving me Saturday. Thank you to Dan who watched the kids all day Saturday while he landscaped around our back patio. And thanks to M and J who helped with the landscaping and made dinner Sunday!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Snip Snip

I finished a new rag quilt. I branched out a little this time. I usually just do them in 6 to 9 inch squares, but this time I alternated with a 4 patch. Then I also appliqued a star on. I have never appliqued anything before. I then ragged the star and the four patch. I think it came out cute but I free handed my stencil for the star and I think it might have come out better if I had used a professional stencil.
Here's a close up:

Here's the back:

Of course then I had a lot of snipping to do but overall I was pleased with the final result.

Speaking of snipping - today I am having surgery. I have a lipoma ( fatty tumor) growing just around the back of my armpit. I had another removed several years ago - it was the size of a raquetball growing on my shoulder blade. This one is larger - maybe baseball size. We've known about it for about 2 and half years but it grows slowly and is almost never cancerous so we just let it go. But it has gotten pretty big now and I don't want to have a huge pit after they remove it because the skin has stretched so far over it. So it's time. Wish me luck! If you're curious - here's a before.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Uncomfortable Moment

So today we went to Ainsley's 5 year old well check. One of the things the doctor was assessing was her ability to draw certain things. She drew a circle, a square, a triangle and a very good attempt at a diamond. Then he says, "while I talk to your mom, can you draw me the best person you can."

A few moments went by and he asked her if she was finished. She said, "one more cloud..." She proudly showed us her picture. The doctor and I both said, Wow Ainsley - that's really good. Then I asked her who was that in the picture. She told me it was me and next to me was a dog that I got when Daddy wasn't with us (which makes sense because Dan is allergic to dogs and cats and Ainsley would love to have an animal). I asked why Daddy wasn't with us - Ainsley said because he lives somewhere else. She then added that she and Chase and MacGregor all lived with me but Piper lived with Daddy. WHOA! So I said, Why doesn't daddy live with us? Ainsley replies "because Daddy doesn't love you anymore!!!!!!" YES - all this in front of the doctor that I am sure at this point thinks that there is an eminent divorce and kids are choosing with parent to live with!!!!

I then realize where this is coming from and try to explain it to the doctor - whether he believes me or not remains unknown. Ainsley is having a birthday party tomorrow with some of her friends from her pre-school and dance class. One of the girls is not able to come because it's her weekend to be at her Dads. When Ainsley found this out she had a lot of questions - Why does her dad live at a different house? Why aren't her parents married anymore?

Daniel tried to explain to her that sometimes people don't love each other anymore and they choose to live apart. I think that was all in her head because the party is tomorrow and Mollie won't be there etc...

The doctor said he thought it was interesting that Piper was the only one to live with her dad - I think there are probably two reasons. 1) There has been a bit of competition going on - even at the doctor's office - The doctor had Ainsley come over to where he was sitting to check her spine. Piper ran over and put her hands up and wanted on the Drs lap. She then sat on his lap for quite a while and was thoroughly upset when he put her down so he could notate the chart. Also as soon as the Dr came in - Ainsley said "I am the one for the Drs today" as to not be confused with a visit for Piper. 2) the other reason Ainsley would stay with me and not her dad, whom she loves dearly, is because apparently I have a dog at my house and she would most definitely have to live with the dog.

I thought I would share that story with you and get it written down because I would never want to forget that "GEM" of discomfort!!

Also - I posted a slide show -right beneath this post. It is supposed to work if you just click on that that button that says full screen. It wouldn't let me write anything with the post. I am still trying to figure all these new things out. But check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


We needed new team jerseys for the stake basketball tournament - where I got to be the coach! Someone had suggested the girls decorate them with puff paint - I thought that was a bit boring and since I am a fabric maniac I thought it would be fun to use scrap fabric (I love using my scraps - anybody remember this? We cuddle with this thing all the time and LOVE it!) and have all the girls make an original shirt. We used the same layout and stencils but since they each used scraps of their choosing - our shirts were all the same yet all different!!

We started out by giving them each a square, roughly 17 inches by 17 inches, of Wonder Under. It's a fusible webbing.

Then they were to use the scraps to cut squares and rectangles and overlap them to cover the entire square. Once they covered the whole piece of webbing - we ironed on the fabric and it was now fused into one big piece. These are a few that I did.

Here's a close up.
Next they traced their stencils onto the square and cut them out. We specifically told them how to trace the stencils so that they would NOT be backwards but we still had a few with backward Ls and numbers. We even had all the stencils labeled which side should be up etc... Oh Well - as I said each shirt is an original. Plus we had 16 girls show up to make shirts - more girls than we usually ever have on Sunday or at activities. I guess it was an exciting activity so it was hard to be over each of their shoulder's as they did each step. It was really fun but really stressful because Daniel had a meeting that night so I had to take all the kids with me and there was a stake meeting for the presidency so I only had one other adviser and one parent there to help me. Even with 5 irons and ironing boards - we still could have used at least 2 more. But the 3 of us got it done.

After the girls got their stencils cut out they peeled the paper off the back and ironed their Ls and numbers onto the T-shirts. Now their fabric pieces were fused to the shirts. We put L 3 on the front for Lancaster 3rd Ward. I found a font on the computer I liked and freehanded larger copies to make the stencils. I think they came out well.

But because we used pieced and overlapping fabric we had parts that were loose, flapping, and not fused. I was worried about these staying on especially when washed so my good friend the YW pres. came over the next day and we used free motion stitching to keep all the fabric in place. We had about 20 shirts to do. It was my first time using free motion stitching and I really liked it. I think I won't be too scared to try it again maybe on a quilt!

So here is the final product. This is my shirt. Sorry these are a little blurry.
And here are my crazy girls at the tournament.

We had 13 girls to get into every 20 minute game. We lost all of our games but I guess that is typical of our ward. We don't have too many athletic or competitive girls. Plus when you are working 2 and half teams' worth of players into such a short game - it doesn't allow your best 5 to play very long! But our girls are great sports and had a lot of fun! I was glad to be part of it (and we only lost our first game by one point - GO TEAM!) Plus we were the best dressed and won first prize for coolest jerseys!!!!!!!