Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunny Sunday With Jason

On Sunday we had the privilege of having Grant and Margaret, my sister Ruth, her boyfriend Jason, her room-mate Sam, and friend Paul over for dinner. We wanted to spend some quality time with Jason in particular before he moves to Florida in a few weeks.
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and we had a lovely time together playing, chatting and eating. There was a VERY intense game of Jenga.

And plenty of kids games, too. Jason was a very good sport about playing with the kids.
He even showed off his Marine muscles a bit swinging the boys around like they were dolls.
(Is he wearing mis-matched socks? Could I have missed that all afternoon?)

After dinner Richard, Ruth and Sam (who, by the way, is a girl) took the kids for a walk while Jason and Paul snoozed. Ruth couldn't resist a cuddle with Jason when she got back.
It really was a very fun day. We approve of Jason whole-heartedly. He seems like a very good, fun, clever guy, but most importantly he seems totally smitten with our Ruthie! (But if he ever breaks Ruth's heart we shall smite this blog post from the record and claim that we hated him from the beginning!)
(above is Paul, Ruth, Jason, Sam and various children)

Men's Shirt Skirt

As I passed by Richard's closet the other day, I noticed this lovely Springy print plaid shirt sticking out of the back. It was a shirt that he never wears anymore, so I stole it! It had "cute little girls skirt" metaphorically written all over it!

So I chopped off the bottom part like this:
Then I sewed shut the front opening where the buttons are. I probably could have skipped this step, but I thought it might wash better if they were sewn shut. I tried to stay right on top of the existing stitch line (but of course came off of it repeatedly). I sewed down both sides of the buttons.
Then I did the usual waistline with a tiny fold then a big fold, making sure to leave enough room for the elastic. I actually ironed the folds and everything. Usually I skip that step and end up with a big mess. I really tried to be neat this time and it totally paid off in the end!
Now here's a step you could definitely skip. The step where you have to use your seam ripper to open back up the stitching a bit because you forgot to leave a space open so that you can put the elastic in. DUH! Then feed your elastic in with your handy safety pin as the guide.
THEN you can sew up that last couple inches in the waistline. And voila! An adorable skirt with a cute pre-made hemline. I love that it still has the shape at the bottom of a men's shirt. Oh, and as a final step I moved two of the buttons from the top of the shirt down to the bottom because the buttons on a Men's shirt end before the tail. I thought about putting entirely different buttons on - it would have been cute with pink flower buttons of something - but in the end I really loved the "Men's shirt" look and wanted to keep that.

Hmmm, what other shirts can I steal from my husband's closet?

I'm getting my craft on with Kim at Today's Creative Blog.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

100% Intelligible

That's what Isaiah's speech therapist said he is now: 100% intelligible. All the speech errors he makes now are "age appropriate". He still has a "frontal lisp" which makes "things" become "fings", and he still drops the end sound sometimes which makes that "fings" become "feens", but apparently that's OK. I asked the therapist if that meant she thought he didn't really need to be in speech (because, frankly, my life would be a whole lot easier without speech therapy twice a week) and she said, "Oh, no! Now that I've got him in the system I wouldn't dream of kicking him out! You worked hard to get him in and I'm gonna keep working with him and helping him. We'll talk again soon at his next IEP about next year, but for now we'll just keep working." And I like that answer, crazy schedule or not.
There was a point in the past when I went to sleep dreaming about Isaiah on his mission stuttering out a few words at a time and really struggling with each word. I dreamed of mocking classmates and isolation and a hard life for him. Because "they" said he might never speak or that if he did it would be a struggle. I'm so grateful that they seem to be very, very wrong.
So this might not be the end of our speech therapy days, but it is the end of my bad dreams - at least about this one thing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grandma's House

Here is my mother, Liz, at the center of a pack of my children. She's reading them a bedtime story - just like she does every night when we're at her house.

Needless to say, we all love to visit Grandma and Grandpa's house. This trip we only get to stay for 8 days, but this past summer we were here for a full month - and we felt welcome and at home that whole time.
Part of the reason we feel so at home at Grandma's house is the accomodations. Years ago my parents expanded their house to make a little extra room for my mother's mother to move in with them. That left a large attic space above the add-on that was soon turned into a kids playroom. The roof is angled multiple directions, the floor bumps up and down here and there, there are nooks and crannies everywhere - in short, a perfect kids room. My Dad did much of the work himself. And my Mom did all the decorating.
The main feature of the room is a "family tree" painted by my talented sister-in-law, Kelly. My parents names are on the trunk (as if carved into the wood) and my siblings and I's names, along with our spouses and children's names, are in the leaves in family groups using vinyl. That way whenever a new baby or spouse joins the family, their name can easily be added.

My talented mother decorated this room perfectly. The walls are sky blue, the carpet is grass green, and all along the walls there is white picket fencing. For storage, they use plastic flower pots! Genius! The lights are clouds and the sun and stars (from Ikea). It is just such a sweet little space.
Here's a little nook with a bookcase. The bookcase is filled with vintage toys and books mixed with new star wars guys and Disney princesses.

After the first open area with the tree and the bookcase, there this narrow passage to the back area. Here is the first toddler-sized bed. Oh, and Franz, the larger-than-life nutcracker. He stands guard over the children while they sleep.
The back area has another toddler-sized bed, a little dormer window, a dresser, a shelf-lined storage area, dress-ups, and a black board wall.
Here's the little storage area. We use these shelves for the toys that shouldn't be down all the time like play-doh and kinex and such. There's also hooks for towels, swim-suits, etc. (Are you noticing something similar in all these photos? My little Sammy followed us wherever we went as we staged these photos and sweetly said "cheese" whenever asked.)
Here's the blackboard wall. This seems to be a hit with younger and older kids. Who doesn't love writing on the wall? And there's the dress-up basket in the corner.
Not only does Grandma have this wonderful room where two of my children can sleep, she also has a nursery, a guest room, and a sewing room with another bed. So we actually have more room when we come to Grandma's than we do at our house!
Below is my favorite part of the nursery. The little shelves have vintage baby booties and other small keepsakes from our family's past and those dresses are the real-deal, too. I love the cross stitch of the mother with children. We all really do love babies around here.
Also brag-worthy at my mother's house is her brag wall. She acquired a huge, elaborate frame and turned it into a pinboard. She keeps current photos of all her grandchildren, children and other family on it. It's right in the dining room, adjacent to the kitchen so we see it often.
Grandma loves it because she sees her grandchildren and can think about them. I love it because my children can see their cousins and remember the fun times they had with them. Our family is close, and we want to stay that way.
And since I'm bragging about my Mom so much, how about a shout-out to my super talented woodworker of a father. This week while we've been here he has spent hours out in his woodshop (use to be garage) making the most amazing cradle for my brother and his family who are about to have baby number 4.
This cradle is not only stunning, it rocks, and it easily dis-assembles to lay flat for storage! The pattern came from Wood Magazine (Sept, 2007). I have a few things that my father has made from wood in my own house, so I know from experience what a treasure this cradle will be to it's new owners.

What talented and fabulous parents I have! We've had a great week at their house and will be sad to go home tomorrow.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Look at all these lovely white dishes lined up in my cupboards! After extensive negotiations between Richard and I about dish patterns and shapes, I gave up and bought all white. I think I like it.  I certainly like having anything different than the set we've been using for the last 10 years!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sammy's Words

*I hope you appreciate the pictures in this post because, I am not exaggerating, it took me two hours to get them on here. I am having serious computer issues. If only there were someone in my family who knew a lot about computers...*

Sammy is growing like a weed and learning like a sponge.

His favorite place to hang out, or at least to get my attention, is the top of the kitchen table. Part of the problem is that he knows how to get up there, but has no idea how to get down. We're working on that down part.
Sammy loves Winnie the Pooh. My favorite word that he says right now is "Wi Pooh!" It is just so sweet. The "Wi" part is more like a wistful little puff of air and then "Pooh" is strong and emotional.
He's a happy, energetic boy. He keeps up with his siblings no matter what they're doing. I really don't think it ever occurs to him that he might not be able to do whatever they're doing.

His words so far are: Mom, Dad, Wi Pooh, ball, bus, dog, woof, meow, go, up, vroom, eye, me, cracker (well, ca-ca), cookie (well, ke-ke), yeah (as in "yes"), yay (as in "hooray!"), wow, all done (well, ah-dan"), I want that (well, ah-on-da!), shoe, xuxa (the portuguese word for pacifier)
(I'm sure there's more of these that I'll remember over the next day or two and add here)

Below is he playing Wii with Asher and their cousin Ethan. Well, Asher is the only one actually playing Wii - but don't tell Sammy and Ethan!
Gosh, it still chokes me up when I think of the drama and risk that this boy entered the world with. What on Earth would we do without him? What a blessing he is to us. I'm thankful for him every single day.