Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pollyanna Moments

I loaded Hope into our family gas sucker today to take O.Z. to the airport and she asked if we were going swimming at Grandma’s house. She has asked me if she can go to Grandma’s house every time I’ve loaded her up for a drive for the past week.

I can’t believe how quickly that two weeks flew by. We are really going to miss O.Z. I’d show you how exhausted he looked from several all nighters in a row but my camera’s batteries bit the dust when I went to download the pic’s. After two weeks with us he may need some therapy. I think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be a reality in his future after witnessing Hope’s Striptease Act a few dozen times a day. But I think he will survive.

So anyway, back to a few weeks ago while we were at Gran’s house, I had my girls watch one of her oldie but goody movies that I don’t happen to have – Pollyanna. And gosh darn-it those glad moments have been happening left and right around our digs as well. But Pollyanna’s crystal producing rainbows have nothing on Lea’s skylight CD ultra-color Rainbow.

I almost want to invent a CD encrusted floor that reflected this brilliance on the walls and ceiling daily. It would make Hope’s artwork pale in comparison and eliminate the need to paint color on the walls. It would make our three weeks of sun during the year quite the extravaganza.

My other glad moments were getting rid of the rest of the garage sale items as they went to the thrift store.

I did send a few a my nicer things to Smilie’s house since she is having a Bust-It-Out-Of-The-House money maker herself this weekend. Good-bye extra clutter – and good riddance.

And another summer dream was fulfilled today. I achieved that most elusive of all running dreams and ran a mile in under 9 minutes. Well, 8 min. 56 seconds to be exact and 1 ½ laps were even done in lane 2 at the track. I know a 9 minute mile isn’t a land speed record but it’s huge for me. HUGE BABY! Those Olympians should just watch their backsides because at the rate I’ve been improving I’ll whoop all of them in four years.

I just love these Glad moments.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Synchronized Swim Team We are Not!

Nothing like taking a dip in the Lake at 7 a.m. in 60 degree weather with a bunch of wild and crazy ladies. Then swimming across that lake without hyperventilating because your second guessing your reasons for being there in the first place.

I mean it - there is really nothing like it. I don’t think you will find another bunch of crazy ladies this awesome this side of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Synchronized Swim Team we are not – but you can bet your bottom dollar that we are working towards some great dreams. And even though we are not headed off to Beijing, achieving our goals is going to provide quite the thrill no matter the continent or location.

I'm the red-head with my nose barely above the water. In the far distant you can see Sunshine swimming away. She was the smart one who wanted to be done with the madness. There were a total of eight of us this morning that converged at a Private Lake thanks to Candyman’s Mom for some open water swim training for our upcoming attempt at a Sprint Triathlon. Four of these beauties have attempted their first open water swims ever in the past 3 days and lived to tell about it. There are three more of us who only have 1-2 triathlons under our belts. Then there’s Candyman’s Mom (The smart one in a wetsuit) who was there to swim twice as far and twice as fast but yet still take the time to give us pointers on how to improve our dignified dog paddles.

For me it’s a thrill seeing other marvelous chicks exercise with a new dream in their sights. I can’t wait to see them accomplish this new goal.

One of these hot mama’s pointed out ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch who passed away from terminal cancer this week. It’s all about remembering your dreams and living with a sense of wonder.

Sometimes we wonder what in the heck we are doing freezing our tushies off so early in the morning but most of the time I’m in awe realizing how great it feels to be doing this instead of walking with a cane like I was two summers ago.

So dang it – Live those dreams and you may get lucky and meet some great people to join you on your journey.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moving the Mess - Speed Style

Get up early enough in the morning and you might find one of these friends in your yard! I saw this little lady twice this week while doing my insanely quick yard sale.

Sooo... Three Days of Clearing the Clutter, Tossing the Trash, and Moving the Mess resulted in …

Wait for it…..

Because it’s worth it…

One truckload of garbage to the Dump…

And I made goal on my Garage Sale. Which means, I probably sold another truckload worth of stuff. To the fantastic tune of…

$198.55. Wahoo!

Beware good citizens of Forks, WA because Twilight obsessed Fawndear is on her way.

I had some awesome friends who loaned me some of their clutter to sell for them as well so it looked like we were a house worth stopping and shopping at. DaringYoungMom even braved my hoards of kids to sit and yak with me Saturday while we moved more money-making junk.

The only hitch was Hope. It seems like Friday while T-rev was in charge of the munchkins in the house, Hope confiscated a marker and…


Yep, she even got my sheets this time around.

That and she literally fought some customers over toys they were considering purchasing. Or she was playing with toys my friends brought over to sell. One way or another she kept me on my toes with her speed mess-up whirlwind.

It’s o.k. because we knew just where to have her take her time-out.

Kidding of course, don’t call CPS.

So I cleared a lot of clutter but I made a mess while doing it. So my De-clutter dream is still alive and kicking with all that less clutter to work with. Whew!

By the way I would never recommend pulling together a garage sale in less than four days. Too much freak-out moments to blog about. Just say no. Take your time, price it out and do it right. For me it was worth it because it's making two dreams possible in one shot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mom's Priorities

I love my Therapist! She encourages me in my favorite (Twilight) addiction, and has been helping me get over the others. Don’t know how healthy that is but I still love it! So I saw my Young and Gorgeous Counselor yesterday and told her I had pulled out of my Giddy-Girly Mom weekend Get-Away with other Insanely Fun Mommies, to celebrate the release of the fourth Twilight series book ‘Breaking Dawn’ in Port Angeles and Forks, WA of all places.

‘Why?’ she asked.

Mainly because of finances, what with Spooky’s vet bill and our recent gas-sucking trip to the Rocky Mountains – the bank account is a bit tight.

‘Not a good enough reason.’ She replied. She knew how big this trip was supposed to be for me because we’ve been talking about my guilty obsession for a few months now. So we spent the rest of the hour brainstorming my dreams and challenges and seeing if there was a way to overcome the hurdles while still making the dreams come true.

Now don’t get me wrong Ms. Young and Gorgeous isn’t encouraging me to go into debt by any means BUT she is saying that I need to make things that are really important to me a priority. Too often in the past I’ve given up on things I really want as a way to punish myself for my lack of financial budgeting skills or something or another. Until a year and a half ago I really never did anything for me. I was a Yes Lady who never said No to anyway and never took the time to take care of myself physically or emotionally – no time to exercise, attend concerts or retreats, give myself a pedicures, develop talents etc. I thought by putting my family and friends first I was teaching my kids about Christ like service. But what I realized was, that I was also teaching them was I didn’t value myself enough to take care of myself.

I’m a new person now and much happier. I’ve made taking of my physical, emotional and spiritual self Priority #1 and discovered that I’m now above and beyond better able to take care of my family and give service to others. I can give so much more now than I was ever able to give before.

The solution to my Twilight weekend dilemma that we came up with was … Garage Sale. That way I’m getting rid of a lot of the clutter, so I’m moving towards my conquering the Clutter Monster dream as well. And I’m putting a little change into my pocket so that I can afford to go to Port Angeles without my Prince seeing red in the checkbook.

Meanwhile I’m excitedly running around like a mad dervish through the house collecting clutter here and there with hopes that it could be worth a few pennies to others. I’ve even got some great friends who are bringing some of their clutter treasures over so that my sale looks big and will hopefully draw in more people.

So I’m getting excited again because the trip is officially back on if I can bring in around $150 or so. Cross your fingers for me. Less Clutter and More Fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Busy Slacker!

No I’m not really a slacker. I’m too busy to be one, yet. However I unwisely let some distractions put some of my dreams on a back burner. Like my quest to conquer the clutter monster took a back seat to the stupid Sudoku puzzle book I got on vacation. I’d been meaning to finish a room so I could do the customary Before/After shots but it didn’t happen. I started several different projects but didn’t really finish anything. So I was a little disappointed that I let so many really unimportant things distract me from some of my dreams that I really want to accomplish this year.

So this week I’m back on the clutter dream – full on. Might even manage to pull off tackling two different areas to make up for my slacker de-clutter dream of last week.

We also have visiting with us our cousin (a few times removed, but somehow still related), and Abners best friend Owen Zenos or OZ for short. OZ will be gracing our home with his absolutely wonderful model teenager temperament. He is the baby of his family and the only kid living at home with his parents, so our houseful of wild crazies might just send him into therapy when he goes back home in a week and a half. Abner and OZ are now brainstorming all the amazing movies they will be creating over the next so many days. Who knows maybe some will be post-able..

Now that summer is half over I thought it might be nice to hang a little color from the front porch. Our local grocery store had some plants on clearance and it was way cheaper to buy the plants than to buy a planter already decorated. I had these cute little metal baskets that have been sitting on the front porch for a few years just waiting for my brown thumb to attack them.

So I did. Evo-man helped me too.

I can’t even tell you the names of the plants or if they are shade or sun plants. I’m not a plant person and I expect they will look nice for a couple of weeks until I get to busy to remember to water them. Then they’ll die like all the other plants and I’ll rip them down and store the nice metal containers on the front porch until I get another sad urge to try and keep color around.

But until then I’ll enjoy them and try to remember to water them and hope they survive me for a little while at least!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Time Flies When You're...


Time Flies By Especially When Your Busy, On Vacation, and Busy again!!! And of course it flies by when your having fun. Wow, what a week.

My family reunion was a blast! The highlight had to be Grandma Serenading us with her Sweet Mystery of Love song. Oh I was sooooo tempted to upload the video but there would have been a good chance of me being disowned so I’ll just leave a snippet of a verbal picture to give you an idea. Not only can Grandma sew a mean seam, grow a literal Garden of Eden, and survive my kids and myself for an entire week, but she can belt out the songs too. Well, not really, but her trying to belt it out was too funny for words, and what was the best part was that she was game to the whole experience. She put all of us to shame.

Time Fies By When Your in the Garden. It seems like yesterday that I was weeding this same patch of earth and complaining bitterly about it (since I was a kid) but this time around I was enjoying the whole green experiance and having a blast. I think my other favorite part of my family reunion was jumping into my Brother Speedys garden. He was kind enough to host the whole reunion at his home – which was the home I grew up in - many centuries ago – so we thought it fitting to lend him a hand. His garden was great but needed a little weeding. My Bro Arrow, Sis Lyric, Myself and Arrow's wife spent many a wonderful hour visiting and pulling weeds and making plans for future family half-marathons.

So last Friday my Dream-On picture would have to be Speedys garden before…

and Speedys garden after our weed-pulling gab fest. So it's not the Garden of Eden, but now Speedy can irrigate with no excuses.

Of course, I had so much fun pulling the nasty unwanted green growth that I finally caught on as to why my kids are so attracted to dirt. See Cousin and Princess with their mud pie!

Dang – it’s genetics. They have farm blood in them after all.

Princess couldn’t resist Speedys dirt either, and as soon as we got home Hope donned one of her Sunday best dresses and went outside and used the hose to create her own personal mud puddle.

Thank goodness for bleach.

Also in the genetics were the kids swinging from the same willow tree I swung in as a munchkin.

Seems time flies when your also having fun.

And even though P.E. married into my family he has adopted my Dad’s Mad Dutch Oven Skills.

So the reunion was great and by the end everyone was so exhausted with pleasure they were dropping where ever they could find a spot of flat space that wasn’t likely to be stampeded over by the gazillion little cousins running around.

Uncle Cotton-Eyed Joe even zonked with Little Man…

As well as T-rev, Hope and Abner, and...

did you ever in your life see someone take a cap nap on a basketball standard base? Well I have.

So the reunion made the whole trip and kid mishaps worth the time, expense and effort. The trip home was three hours shorter than the trip out which made me ubber grateful.

And the day after we got home...

Whippie, it was Day One of Raspberry U-pick season.

Raspberries are my favorite.

So I took my slave labor army once again...

and made them pick berries until their little fingers ran red with blo…, I mean raspberry juice. Slaves + 1 1/2 hours = 41 lbs. of sweeter than all goodness. Lea and Abner where once again my biggest helpers.

Then it was back home to the sticky insanity of making eight batches of jam, sucking down a couple pounds raw, freezing a dozen bags of berries whole and trying and burn down my own house. Yep, this time it was my turn. I sat the boiling water bath canner on the stove top and didn’t realize that one of my hot pads had stuck to the bottom of the kettle. At least when Hope tried to burn down Grandma and Papa’s home there there no actual flames involved, just a load of smoke.

For my fire, the flames were shooting out from under the canner a good few inches high. So I guess we can add fire accidents to my kid’s genetic make-up as well. Yep! They’re doomed alright!
We got back from our vacation to see the Shasta Daisy's in full glorious bloom. I just love how honking big they grow in our northwest climate.

However, I have to admit the weeds can grow just as tall as those daisys. Especially when time flies and you haven't been out to weed in a few years or so.

Time doesn't fly by when your trying to post a blog however. In the time I've been spending on this post, Hope emptied a bottle of Dawn dishwasher soap on the kitchen floor. It hasn't been this clean in a long time.

That and I'm running on a tired tank. And when you are tired and want to go to bed it takes so long to get the needed things done in order to fall into said bed. I'm hoping that Princess doesn't wake me up at 2 a.m. again this morning by hurling on me like she did last night. Talk about a nightmare. Nothing like being woke up by your six-year-old losing dinner on you. So here's to some good sleep and hoping that time doesn't fly too fast while I'm sleeping.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I’m a homebody at heart. Vacations and I don’t do well. Thankfully when the vacations are over I usually remember all the great things that happened and all the wonderful friends and family that took time out of their busy lives to be invaded by me and my rascals. But I’m not quite thankful yet because I still have a couple days left of my ‘What are the kids going to do next?’ vacation. That and I’m suffering because we are visiting a climate that’s just a little to warm for my comfort level. I want my 75 degree’s back.

Hope took a break from driving us crazy and passed the baton on to her older sister and brother.

I’ve been walking my kids around small Grandma's small town for the past few days with grandma in tow so as to not get lost and trying to keep them active in the mornings when the air is still breath-ably less warm.

I decided to try the local pay-to-dog-paddle Swimming hole (at the hottest time of the day of course) and after three of my four vacationing munchkins had mini-meltdowns within 20 minutes of arriving. Surprisingly Hope was the only one enjoying herself. Something about getting pool water splashed in her face drove Princess to hysteric’s so we left early and bought an over-priced inflatable pool (small town prices for they have to make money somehow) for grandma and Papa to have at their cottage for the grandkids to use when visiting.

It worked great for about an hour. We showed the kids how to step in a bucket of water before getting into the pool so as not to clutter the water with too many blades of grass. Things seemed well in hand and so I went back into the house only to find out that Princess decided that rolling in grandma’s garden dirt while being totally wet kind of was fun. Oh, but she remembered mom fuming over Hopes dirt episode so she tried to clean up before she came in the house. What is it with my kids and dirt? Well the pool water wasn’t so much fun with all the dirt in it.

So after less than two hours we started using buckets to hand water the bits and pieces of lawn and garden that often get neglected by the good old sprinklers. That and I used the hose to blast the rest of the dirt off Princess.

See what happens when you roll in dirt. Mom gets revenge via the garden hose.

The kicker was when I was visiting my BFF - The Quilt Lady and I gave the car keys to Evo-man so he could bring in some food for lunch. An hour later when we were getting ready to leave we couldn’t find those keys anywhere. After frantically searching for a good while we concluded that Evo-man had either locked the keys in the trunk or I had thrown them out with a smelly diaper in the trash by the road. Not good when it’s garbage day and the can had been emptied while me and the Quilt Lady yakked it up.

So I called the locksmith to come open the car. He was there is less than 20 minutes and had it opened in a jiffy. Was nice enough to even give me a student discount because I told him I was a student of life. $40 bucks well spent? Nope - the keys were not in the car. We even made a nice old pile on the sidewalk while going through every nook and cranny of our travel trashed car.

Mr. Locksmith who I’ll call George because he looked like a George wasn’t having fun in the heat of the day right along with me. But he was kind enough to stick around while I dismantled my belongings. I then began the process of getting new keys made since I’d come to the conclusion that I must have tossed the keys in the garbage. Having new keys with security chips wasn’t going to be cheap. George tried making a couple without the chips hoping we would get lucky and one actually started the car but the engine would die after a few seconds because that security code I guess has omniscient power over the fuel pump.

By this time I’m sweating buckets in the heat by the road. We called my Sis-In-Law to tell her our visit was being further delayed and she promised to pray for us. Evo-man then remembered that he had visited the Quilt Ladies Master Bathroom because the main powder room was occupied by one of the many girlies in the house.

Tada! The keys were still there. Thankfully George took pity on me and didn’t charge me for the extra 20 minutes he had spent researching how to get me working keys. Good thing for prayers. I let Evo-man keep the non-working key as a souvenir.

Regardless I can’t wait to get home and start remembering all the good things about the trip.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mad Sewing Skills -T-shirt Dress Style

What happens when you hang out with the World’s Best Seamstress (A.K.A My Mom)?

See she even dresses the part with the measuring tape necklace and scissors. Thankfully no one has been maimed or hurt yet when she walks with them. Anyway if you hang out with her long enough then your creative skills tend to bubble up from their long buried depths. Or at least I find myself thinking on a much thriftier, self-reliant train of thought while I’m around her.

My brain thinking wheels thankfully started turning because of Hope (yes, her again). I should find interesting stuff about my other kids to blog about or rename this blog ‘Living with Hope’. Anyway, Hope loves wearing dresses. Makes her feel like a Princess. Thing is, cheap, durable dresses are hard to come buy and she is constantly stripping down and handing me her nice but extremely delicate Sunday dresses and begging me to help her put on her princess dress. So my big sewing project I decided to tackle while killing time at Grandmas home this week was T-shirt dresses for my girls.

So I paid about $24 bucks for 6 shirts. Three Kid decorative and Three Adult Plain.
For the Two Year Old I bought a size 4-5 Decorative Tee, and an Adult Medium Pain Tee
For the Six Year Old I bought a size 7-8 Decorative Tee, and an Adult Medium Plain Tee
For the Nine Year Old I got a size 14-16 Decorative Tee, and an Adult Large Plain Tee – However next time I think I’d get the Plain Tee in a XL or XXL size.

I hacked up the shirts like so….

Taking about 4 inches off the bottom of the decorative Tee’s and cutting the adult pain tee’s just below the sleeve line. However I made the 9 Year old longer and I tapered it a bit so I could use almost all the material from the neck down. I left the bottom shirt seam on the plain tees alone so I wouldn’t have to re-do the hems.

Next step – Gather the top cut part of the plain tee’s (future skirt). My mom showed me this trick and I’ve always used it to gather material. Sew a zigzag stitch over a larger thread and to gather just pull on the larger thread while bunching the fabric.

Then you pair the gathered skirt with the decorative tee – Right sides together and pin them in place.

If you have a Serger
(Lucky) this would be great but you can sew these two sides together with a regular sewing machine as well.

Flip them right side out and top stitch around the waist on the none gathered side of the decorative Tee.

TaDa! In my first attempt I've just made three dresses. But wait that's not all.
Hope now has a new Princess Dress.
Princess doesn't think this is a bad idea. She likes it too!
And Lea loves the opportunity to model.
Now if you’re related to the world best seamstress then you can take the Tee-shirt scrapes and make the 2 year old a bonus dress. Don’t ask me how? It’s a little too complicated for me to explain in this blog. Maybe future one? I somehow managed it and I think it’s my favorite of the three dresses.
But I like them all. Now Hope has some play dresses that will last and she might give her Sunday dresses a break.

$24 worth of Six tee-shirts = Four dresses at $6 buck-a-roo’s a piece. And it took about 2 ½-3 hours to complete the entire project. I think I’ll have to make some more when I get home. Definately worth my time.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fire! Help! Someone Save Grandma and Papa too.

I’m currently waiting for my parents to hand me an eviction notice. So far they have been Saints for allowing me and my four youngest rascals to camp on their floor for the past couple of days but we might be wearing our welcome out. They may even be planning a huge old ‘Thank Goodness They’re Gone Party’ for next week when we finally leave. That and thank their lucky stars that our families reunions are only every other year instead of every year.

‘Just How’, you might be thinking, ‘are we wearing their patience level to an all time see-through thin stage.

One four letter guess. HOPE!

Do you like the nice mud puddle she made on their living room carpet after she tipped over the plant?

But the kicker was today she tried to burn down their house. Not kidding folks. I’ve got a live wire here.

On one of her (too many to count) escapes to the backyard, she happened to turn on the stove top in the kitchen. Since my parent’s kitchen is teeny tiny they have a piece of board that sits on top of their stove and functions as counter space until the stove top is needed. Well since the stove top was NOT supposed to be in use the board was in place. Let me tell you a red-hot burner connected with wood results in a lot of smoke.

Fortunately Princess came to the rescue when she mentioned to Papa that his kitchen was full of smoke.

After three hours you still get a whiff of the smoky fumes when you walk through the kitchen.

Needless to say the portable counter-top is now put away for the duration of our visit.

Good thing Hope is so Shirley Temple adorable and you know she isn’t intentionally trying to drive us all nuts.

However I have a feeling it’s going to be a rather long week.