Tuesday, December 08, 2009

First Loss

We thought it would never happen. Everyone has lost a tooth in Ainsley's school class. Her cousin, Kamden, who is 6 months younger has lost 8 teeth already and even has 6 grown up teeth in. A few weeks ago Ainlsey's tooth went from rock solid to decidedly loose. This caused her much anxiety. She got up the next morning and began one of her panic attacks. She paced and said she felt sick and didn't want to go to school. Her face was pale and her expression stiff. This was the first time this school year that she has one of these episodes. I was trying to figure out what was different this morning than every other day. I realized that it was the loose tooth. So I calmly talked to her about some of the fears she might have associated with the tooth and determined that she was afraid to eat fearing that it would hurt or worse, come out while she was eating. I couldn't get her to eat much that morning but I did talk to her about what very soft things we could pack for lunch. I told her that she could NOT stay home because I had an extremely full schedule that day and I really needed her at school. She went. She did fine. No more episodes.
It took a few weeks of constant wiggling. She was very diligent. She pulled it out herself after being asked repeatedly by her parents if we could help. She was NOT interested in our help, even though that is what her Dad does for a living. She did however embrace the advice we gave on what directions to push and pull and twist.
We told her to put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy but she wanted to take it to school on sharing day. I said to put it on her dresser then. She was worried that the tooth fairy might come and take it off her dresser so she asked me to write a note. The note said, "Dear Tooth Fairy, Please do not take my tooth. I need it for sharing day at school on Thursday. Love, Ainsley". We laid the note on her dresser with the tooth on top. The TF did not take the tooth. Then next night Ainsley said, "I don't care about sharing it at school anymore, I'm putting it under my pillow" I guess the wait was unbearable. The TF brought her a dollar.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Halloween was a long last afterthought this year. I didn't even realize it was the week of Halloween until Wednesday of that week. Ainsley and Chase both wore their costumes from last year so that made things easy. The afternoon of, I tried on a monster costume we have on Piper. Much to my dismay - it was way too big. Now we only had a few hours to figure something out. Luckily we have a Barbie, Island Princess dress-up dress and then I found a blue tiarra while running errands that day. MacGregor had still not decided an hour before we left for trick or treating. I told him he could be the storm trooper from last year or a mariachi band member. We have the mexican poncho, the sombrero, and a trumpet. But NO - that was not cool enough. He wanted to be James Bond so he wore church clothes (the blazer was way too small - no one has worn that in ages) with sunglasses and carried a pistol. He looked more like a Blues Brother but he was happy so who am I to complain?

We went trick or treating with friends this year - in their neighborhood. Their neighborhood is much more conducive to trick or treating as our neighborhood only has about 20 homes - 2/3rds of which are NOT home on Halloween. We were running a little late and by the time we got there the kids formed their groups and ran off before I could get the individual and group pictures I had hoped for. Ainsley got to go with a group that was delivered to each house via golf cart - not a bad ride!! So here is what I cropped out of the mixed matched pictures I got as they were running off to trick or treat.

MacGregor the kid at church in the summer - I mean James Bond, special agent.
Here's the princess before she got "beat up". She absolutely LOVED wearing make up and looking beautiful.
Ainsley is the ever Beautiful "Cleopatra"!
MacGregor with his buddy Nick E. and Chase.
The after-party. Do you think they got enough?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hide and Seek in the Dark

Hide and Seek in the dark is NOT a great game for Piper to play on Halloween night in our friends' basement. The Ping Pong table has 4 sharp corners. The corners are all eye level.


At least it was after trick-or-treating so she didn't have to be the princess that was also the domestic violence victim.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Quilt

Gave away another quilt today. It's always so bitter sweet. This one was for little Drake. Daniel's assistant, Amber, had a little boy about 2 weeks ago. This was their first so I made a quilt for him. I used 5 by 5 inch squares and picked a theme of Black, White, and Red. I used prints all over for to create a lot of visual interest and stimulation for the baby.

I used thin cotton for the front and binding and a thick flannel for the back. Used a light polyester bat and I quilted it myself on my machine.

Here are the pictures:
Center squares. Used some black fabric with army jeeps left over from Daniel's Iraq quilt.
Close up of the white prints which include music notes, penguins, flowers and ink spots. The red print has stars on it. You can also see the machine quilting in this photo.
The black prints include safety pins, dalmatians, circles made with dots and soccer balls.
Here a look at all three in verticle form.
Back and binding. The backing flannel has animal tracks on it. I used a grey thread for quilting. Wondering now though if I should have used a black bottom thread so you didn't see the quilting on the back. It's certainly NOT perfectly straight but from a distance it doesn't look too bad.
Whole thing - Front and back.
After seeing it lying around my house for nearly 2 months in different stages - it is now gone, and it took a little piece of my heart with it. On a good note though - I received a quilt in the mail today. It was one I made over the summer and dropped it off at the long arm machine lady I use in New York. She just now finished it - 2 and a half months later. with a beautiful butterfly and loop pattern. Yes, one day I'll own a long arm machine and won't have to wait so long to get my quilting done but for now I'm not sure if it was sitting in my house that I could have finished it any faster. Short on time is my motto these days. So I have a new quilt to look at for a while - just need to put the binding on and then I'll be shipping that one out to Brinn.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baby Shower

I know I have't blogged in forever and this one isn't going to be long. I wish I had more time to do ALL the things I want to do but my family does take priority and the kids need a lot of time and attention. By the time they are in bed and we've been non-stop working on homework, practicing, extra curricular events - I'm downright pooped and don't feel like organizing photos and editing text -

But here's a short update on one of the things that has kept me busy lately. I hosted a babyshower for a girl in our ward - Annie P. She was Chase's primary teacher. She had a little girl Meggie. I am not a great party planner and don't have a great eye for decoration but I did think the table looked pretty.

I served mini black bottom cupcakes, seven layer dip with tortilla chips and gazpacho dip/cheese blend served with baked pita chips. My friend made an awesome punch with lemonade, orange juice, vanilla, almond extract and 7-up. It was delicious. I also got to use one of my wooden African bowls for the first time (pita chips) and my new Wilton Armetale platter/salad bowl (tortilla chips) that we bought at the dental charity event we attended recently.
We had a great turn out - I think 17. It was perfect. We wouldn't have fit many more comfortably. It was fun to have a girl party and we should do it more often whether a new baby is involved or not.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yes - I turned this...
into THIS...
I've really gotten into canning this fall. I made strawberry jam in August. It was the first time I had canned anything without my mother. She helped me do peach and strawberry jam and also applesauce over the last 2 years. I didn't think I could do it without her - I just wasn't brave enough to do all that work on the chance that I'd do it wrong.

I missed strawberry picking season in June. June was a beast with non-stop baseball, end of year school activities and our trip to Africa. So when I saw strawberries on sale for $1.44/lb in August, I bought 12 pounds. I said, YES I CAN!! I did call a friend over and she helped me. We followed the directions and I called my mom to make sure I was doing it right. The jam came out just delicious.

Since then I have done Salsa - which is the only one I got pictures of so far, and peach jam, also delicious. The jam I did with another friend and I had some great helpers that helped in the cutting up of all the veggies for the salsa. Sure helps to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen and in the case of the peach jam, it sure helped to have a 5 burner stove so we could fit 2 big canner pots on the stove (not my house, I wish).

This Thursday my peach jam friend is coming over and we are going to bottle peaches - a first for both of us. And I bought more ingredients to make more salsa. The salsa goes quick because you eat at least 1/2 a pint in each sitting. I only have 6 more pints and that is certainly NOT going to last through winter. So I better make some more while I can still find big baskets of tomatoes. The first batch of salsa I made I used the tomatoes from our very own back yard. We planted 2 plants this year, another first for us, and did receive quite a bounty. However, we are nearing the end of the season on these little plants and I know I won't get enough off them for another batch of salsa.

Also I used my new attachment for my kitchen-aid to slice some peaches and then I put them on the dehydrator. I got a sandwich baggie full of sliced dried peaches and I tell you - I could nibble on those all day!! I also cut some of the dried peaches and put them in my oatmeal yesterday and it was really delicious.

I hope to use the new attachment again when it's time to do applesauce. I have hope of canning up a few more things before the fall harvest is over!! Hooray for the Harvest!

Here's our very little garden plot. It was some unused area in our back yard landscaping. I planted 2 small 10 inch tall tomato plants and they turned into this giant bush bearing fruit galore.
This bunch of tomatoes took FOREVER to turn red. But they have been sweet and juicy. We eat sliced tomatoes with dinner at least every other day.
Here's Ainsley with some of the very first we picked. At first they came very slowly - one or two every few days, but by the end of August 3/4 of the plant turned red at once and that's when I made the salsa.
Can't wait for applesauce!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"What is this Stuff?

Our ward (congregation) uses clear plastic sacrament cups. But this past Sunday we were visiting a small branch near our cabin. They use the pleated paper cups. As I held the sacrament tray and took my water, Piper who was right next to me and who would receive hers momentarily, said (in a NOT very small voice) - and I quote

"What is this stuff?? Ketchup??"

The older ladies sitting behind us started cracking up. I guess she's been to Wendys and Micky Ds just a little too often lately. :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Brielle came for a whirlwind visit. We only had 5 full days to pack in a lot of activities and a lot of visits. One of our favorite, but also most exhausting, activity/visits was with our aunt Nantha and her friend Gloria at the beach. Gloria's sister has a house in Wildwood, NJ and we got to stay there for an overnight. Our food and fun was all provided by Nantha and Gloria and we all felt extra special.
Brielle arrived around 2:45 am on Wednesday morning. My grandfather heard I had to pick Brielle up at nearly 1 am and decided that he did NOT want me doing that in the middle of the night by myself, since Dan would not be coming because he had to work the next day and we didn't have room in the car for our whole family and hers. So my grandfather made and paid for Brielle to be brought to my house in an airport limo. I pictured a van, nope she and the kids were picked up at the Baltimore Airport and driven to my house in a stretch limo. (I'm so mad I didn't think to grab my camera and snap a picture with her sitting in it or standing next to it) I set my alarm for 2:30 am but woke up on my own at 2:20. I called her and we talked until she arrived. We got the kids settled and went back to bed.
The morning came early and Brian and Stacy and the kids came to visit about 10:30 AM. We spent the day with them and then packed up for the beach. (On a side note it was Daniel and my 14th wedding anniversary that day but it kind of got left in the wind - we will try to get out to dinner one night soon to celebrate. We did get each other cards and he got me flowers and I gave him chocolate. That was good enough with everything else that was happening) We left for the beach by 8:40 am on Thursday, Aug 20th. Dan had to stay and work so it was just Brielle and me and 7 children. What could be more fun than that, right?
It took nearly 4 hours to get there and we had to drive 2 cars which was a bummer but we made it. Aunt Nantha had called earlier and gotten everyone's order for sandwiches so they were ready when we arrived. We quickly changed everyone, ate lunches, put on sunscreen and headed out to the beach. We got there about 2:30 pm and spent almost 4 hours soaking up sun and salt and sand. Brielle had to leave earlier with her 2 youngest because they needed naps so badly. We had big plans for the boardwalk later that night so we wanted to make sure everyone was happy. Piper, amazingly was doing quite well so I didn't take her back for a nap. I figured since she doesn't eat much that she would probably nap while we all ate dinner.
It was sure hectic at the beach. The boys wanted to be out in the breaking waves. Because Hurricane Bill was moving up the coast the surf was quite rough and currents were strong. The lifeguards were on edge and constantly blowing their whistles to move this way or move that way or come in toward shore. The boys wanted to be in that mix. The big girls wanted to be out in waist deep. They would jump the waves often getting knocked down to their knees. This made me very nervous because I was afraid they would get tumbled and get sucked back with the strong current. The little 3 were eating sand, throwing sand, crying, hungry, in the water, out of the water. It was rough to keep eyes and hands on the shore, the surf and the breakers. Plus the beach was jammed packed and the jersey shore tidal discrepancies are incredibly large. We set up camp a few feet from the surf but an hour later you felt like you had to walk a mile to get from the water back up to the towels or the cooler. I had asked aunt Nantha a question up at the house about our plans for dinner. She said, Oh we'll talk about it at the beach. Then later at the beach I asked her again and she was laughing saying - yeah I thought we'd come to the beach to relax and it would be easier to talk now - NOT. It was so hectic and not very relaxing. Fun but NOT relaxing!
We went back to the house somewhere around 6:20 pm and did assembly line showers in the outside shower. I washed the girls while Brielle dried them and dressed them. We got everyone clean and ate the Dominos pizzas that Gloria and Nantha had ordered for us. By the time we finished eating and cleaned up it was nearly 9pm. (Piper never took that nap I was hoping for but again she wasn't really cranky, thankfully) We headed out to the boardwalk to ride rides. Again we were treated by Aunt Nantha and Gloria. We had to split up because the boys were interested in a whole different set of rides. Gloria took the boys to do big rides while Nantha Brielle and I stuck with the 5 little ones. The little ones had a great time and begged for more when we were all out of tickets. I'm glad we were all out because it was 11:30pm by that time. I got some video at the boardwalk but no stills. You just can't do it all!!
On a scary note, after we rode the carousel we exited together. Piper was not back in her stroller yet and in about 3 seconds time I looked around and didn't see her. I began to panic a little and then I saw Brielle had spotted her watching a neighboring ride. We both ran to her and in THAT quick second Kamden must have thought we walked away and she went to find us. We got back to the group and started counting heads and realized that now we were down Kamden. Again the group started to panic. I stayed with Ainsley, Piper and Aspen. Brielle ran off with Cash in the stroller and Aunt Nantha ran another way. It seemed like hours even though it was only about 5 mins til I saw Aunt Nantha coming back with Cash. I must have said a thousand silent prayers in those 5 mins. I was scared to even ask if they had found her yet but they had. She was walking away from the rides and toward the crowded boardwalk. Luckily there was a couple that saw her and recognized that she shouldn't be alone. They tried to coax her back toward the rides when Brielle found her. The man told Brielle that Kamden was taught well because she wouldn't talk to strangers even though they were trying to ask her if she was lost and if she needed help. (side note - he was heavily pierced and tatooed - I'm not sure I would have talked to him either) But I'm glad that there are more good people in this world than bad no matter what they look like.
Piper finally crashed in the stroller on the way back to the house. We got everyone into bed around midnight or so. I felt bad for Brielle because she was up all night because Aspen was coughing and they were sharing a room. Also Cash was up at like 5 or 6 am and she couldn't let him fuss back to sleep because the house is cooled with window unit airconditioners so no one was allowed to shut their doors. Poor Brielle, she was REALLY exhausted on this trip.
We spent some more time on the beach Friday. From about 11:30 to 2pm. This time the adults didn't use sunscreen. It was sunny but much cooler with a brisk breeze. Hurricane Bill was out to sea causing rough surf and cool breezes. I figured I would put some on after a little while. I wanted to tan a bit and the SPF 50 cream I used the day before had worked amazingly well. I sure didn't look like I had been to the beach. Well Brielle, Nantha and I were sorry later that we hadn't used any. We all had massive sunburn. For me it was my shoulders, Brielle her upper thighs and Nantha her neck and chest. Ouch - but at least I now looked like I had been to the beach. Also poor little Aspen fell asleep in a beach chair and her poor little thigh and part of her belly had been exposed too long and she also felt the effects of a beach sunburn.
We headed back to the house around 2 to shower and pack up. Piper did take a nap this time and after we had a late lunch/dinner (between 3-4 pm) we headed out to the boardwalk one more time for Wildwood T-shirts. Also a treat from Aunt Nantha. The kids had a great time picking out their own colors and pictures even if Brielle had to bite her tongue when Kamden picked out a "princess kitty" for her shirt and Aspen picked "Dora and Boots". When I think of Wildwood, NJ, nothing but Dora and Boots comes to mind... (hahaha) Ainsley got Spongebob - but hey if that's what makes them happy - they will always remember (plus it's written on the shirt) that they got the shirt at the beach. Luckily Piper, Cash and the big boys got shirts that were a bit more beachy.
We didn't end up heading out until about 8pm so we got home around 11:30 pm and were absolutely EXHAUSTED. What a great trip that we can't wait to do again - when the kids are all at least a year older!! :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First Day of School 2009

Our lives are so jammed packed with events and special moments and although I am getting them on film, I have not had time, or when I've had the time I've been suffering from "lackawana", to blog about them or catch up on anyone else's blog. So bits and pieces will come I as I can.

August 31st, 2009

The kids started school. Chase is now in 6th grade and has moved up to another school where they change classes every period and have lockers with combinations. He's "Big Time" now. But poor guy has a fever today so he missed his 3rd day of school and most likely will miss tomorrow too. Hope he is able to catch up quick and doesn't feel lost already.
I had to take this first picture showing the flower beds in front of the house. This was the first year we planted annuals in the front flower beds. It added so much color and I loved it yet, I didn't take any pictures all summer.
No more sleeping in til 7:30 or 7:45 as we have done for the last 4 years. Chase now has to catch the bus at 7:40 so he and I have to be up by 6:30 or so. The other kids don't catch the bus til 8:45 so our morning routine seems to go on and on and I'm tired by 9 when they are all finally out the door.
Ainsley started 1st grade with Mr. B. (Beaumont but EVERYONE calls him Mr. B). He's a year older than my Dad and still teaching first grade. I don't know how he does it but he is definitely the favorite. Ainsley wanted him SOO SOO bad and I didn't know what I was going to have to deal with if she didn't get who she hoped for. She had a lot of anxiety issues the end of last year and I was afraid they would start all over if she got someone she didn't know - not that she knew Mr. B all that well, but MacGregor had him for first grade and she thought that sounded good to her too. We have 5 first graders on our street. 4 of them got Mr. B, Ainsley and the 3 boys. The other little girl on the street got a different teacher. So with getting the teacher she wanted and going with so many neighbors, her first days have been fantastic.
Somebody else just HAD to be in the picture.
MacGregor started 4th grade with Ms. Philips. She is a new teacher at his school although she did quite a bit of subbing last year. So far he has been very excited about all the things she has planned and organized for the class. He especially likes the duck call she uses to get the children's attention.
And there they go.
I had great aspirations of all the things I was going to do while I had 3 away all day. I mean 7 hours - I was going to have a spotless house, run errands, sew to my heart's content. NOPE, 7 hours goes much too quickly and I still have a toddler so my schedule isn't quite as free as I was thinking it might be. The house is certainly not spotless, I've only gotten 2 loads of laundry done in 3 days, some errands have been run but I haven't touched my sewing machine yet. (I will say however that I have done my visiting teaching, a primary visit, and managed to go out to lunch with my hubby. Those things were much more difficult last year when Ainsley had half day Kindergarten.

And now they're home.
Didn't she have a great day? I'd love to be that bouncy!
My little slow poke. Last one by a mile off the bus.
Bye Bye Bus. only 179 more days to go.