Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Our street is busy for Halloween. I bought 620 pieces of candy, and my friend Kerri brought over another 400 or so pieces. Other than the 100-something pieces that I personally consumed this evening, we gave away the rest. 1000 pieces! Just one piece per trick-or-treater for the first couple hours. Then as the stream turned to a trickle, I started letting kids take 2. The final 10 or so tricksters got handfuls. So I'm guessing we had 600-ish kids come through?

We had a perfect night for trick-or-treating. Kate went as a ballerina (I made 2 tutus... I used polka dot ribbon on the edging of one which was no good... apparently polka dots are too babyish for first graders), and Jack was a race car driver (black sweatsuit - Hanes has some made partially from recycled plastic - with patches down the sleeves). Nina Sprinkles was a witch. Next year I'd like to get more creative with her costume.
Hope you also had a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I love this quilt! I'm very proud of it.
I got the fabric in a fat quarter bundle (I think the prints are Denise Schmidt - I added the bicycle print) from Alewives Fabric in Maine when we were there in August. Loved the store! It is on the main land just a few minutes away from where my mother-in-law spends her summers (well, a few minutes from the landing... the boat ride off the island takes a few more minutes!). When I got home, I decided one bundle wasn't enough, so I ordered a second bundle (plus some other bits and pieces, of course!). What a pleasure it was to order from them.
The backing came from Target. Yup, really. I found it the end of summer with the "back to college" bedroom items. I was originally looking at the coordinating sheets, and found this packaged fabric next to it. It was being marketed as a do-whatever-you-want-with-it-in-your-dorm-room item. Curtains, room divider, etc. Wonder if they ever thought it would back a quilt...
This is only the second quilt that I've stippled. Although I notice a few funny spots, overall I'm really pleased with the effect. The binding came from Miss D's stash. She has got an amazing amount of fabric in her stash, and she loves digging through it for just the right piece! I like the contrast of the teal against the pieced fabrics.
I'm not sure what I am going to do with this quilt. I had originally intended to give it as a gift. I had no one in particular in mind (I find it difficult to start a quilt if I am making it for a specific person... too much pressure to make it "just right"), and now I think I may be the recipient. I did tell Matt that we may need to redecorate a room to go with the quilt!

Now I just need to come up with a title for the quilt. Any suggestions?

Check out other quilts at the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zen Ghosts

We are starting to outgrow picture books in our house. Not that we don't still love them and read them daily (or usually multiple times a day!), but I haven't been acquiring them quite as quickly as I once did. Instead I find myself collecting "chapter books" that we can read out loud now or that the kids can grow into as they become better readers.

But as I was shopping the other day on Amazon, I saw that Jon Muth had written another Stillwater book called Zen Ghosts. We love to read Zen Shorts and Zen Ties (I choke up every time I read Zen Ties...) so I had to have it. I made the excuse of buying it as a Halloween gift to the kids. I admit it is more for me.

So it arrived today, and I couldn't wait to read it! I loved the first read through. The second time left me a bit puzzled, but after reading the author's note and the story for a third time, I love it again (although maybe not as much as the first two books... the "fable" isn't as obvious) The book's theme is of duality. A concept I've contemplated without knowing what to call it. Can you be a different "me" with different people? Is it honest and can someone really know you if they only know one version? As the author put in the notes, "When our hearts are taken in two different directions, where are we?"

I haven't read it to the kids yet. Probably at bedtime tonight. I'm a bit doubtful that they will grasp the underlying concept, but I think they will like the sorta spooky story!

Monday, October 25, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge

I got the binding done on two quilts! My fingers were really sore. Plus I almost finished another quilt top this weekend (instead of doing laundry!). Of course none of these are the projects I want to do for the holidays...


I can't post photos of the entire quilts because I want to use one of them in the Blogger's Quilt Festival next week.

Things to get done today: tennis lesson, take Miss D to Costco, and loads of laundry

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Only 2 Months...

until Christmas!! We are going to have a full house this year, and I'm really excited. Every year I *think* I am organized for the holidays, and every year I still find myself going crazy with last minute tasks... presents for teachers, getting to the post office, hanging up the lights. Usually I feel so overwhelmed that I forget or feel like we don't have time for family traditions. I would really like the weeks leading up to Christmas to be about family traditions... baking (while not under pressure), doing our Advent calendar, sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire and just enjoying the season. So this year I'm going to try using the system over at Organized Christmas (today is day 1). I have my Christmas binder already put together and have even started filling out my master gift list and my meal planners. I'm not sure what is more exciting... the actual holidays or feeling organized for them!

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Thing, One Week

I haven't blogged much about my quilting, but I've been doing a lot of it. Not as much as I would do in my dream world but plenty for my reality. One of the reason that I haven't blogged much about quilting is that I have many, many unfinished projects that just need to get done. I just get so excited to start something new, or I don't have the right fabric to finish up a quilt, or I don't really feel like binding.

So this week I am participating in Amy's One Thing, One Week challenge. My goal is to get the binding finished on 2 quilts. Hopefully I'll be posting my finished projects next Monday.

I probably need a similar challenge for aspects of my life beyond quilting...

Silly Bandz

They are all the rage here. Still. Kate comes home daily with some new ones that friends either give her or loan her. Sometimes she has lots, sometimes she seems to have only a few. Somehow over the weekend she ended up with none.

I haven't actually purchased any Silly Bandz. It seemed that Kate was having enough fun just acquiring them from friends. Plus I hate buying trinkets. You know that Silly Bandz are just future landfill. And I am overly fearful of spoiling her by giving her everything her friends have. And I thought maybe the fad would last until Christmas so I could use Silly Bandz as stocking stuffers. And she has never actually asked me to buy her any.

However, this morning as we were getting ready for school, she had a bunch of regular brown rubber bands on her arm. She told me that they are *real* silly bands and make shapes when she takes them off. I wanted to know what shapes. She told me that they make potatoes and seeds.

Insert mommy guilt moment right here.

Poor girl. I appreciate the creativity, but she'll probably have some real Silly Bandz by this afternoon...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First Tooth

I bet not many kids can say that they lost their first tooth on take off while on an airplane!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Jack Photos

Other photos I found on Jack's camera... made me smile!

Me - doing my hair before I got my hair cut
This must be on the way to the pool 'cause that's my sun hat!
My dog
My dirty kitchen floor
My crazy child
Again
Me multitasking
My budding photographer

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Zoo Afternoon

I picked the kids up from school yesterday, and we headed straight to the zoo. It was an unplanned trip but a much needed one. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with life (not uncommon - especially after I've "volunteered" all day) plus I missed my kiddos after being gone all weekend (college girls' weekend - more on that later). Matt was off work, but he stayed home. I think he'd had enough of kids after this weekend, plus he needed to meet with the rodent man (to catch the squirrels that have been living in our attic... they are to be "relocated"... I won't mention that I've heard the scratching in the ceiling for well over a year and that it wasn't until Matt heard the scratching over the weekend that the issue became urgent... nope, won't even mention that...). Anyway, I love going to the zoo on weekday afternoons in the fall and spring. Sometimes we feel like the only ones in the whole place.
The animals are usually pretty active, and we often get to help out a zookeeper (yesterday the kids got the feed the mole rats). So, a beautiful, autumn afternoon at the zoo with the kids sounded like it was just what I needed. And it was.

We brought Jack's "adventure" camera as he likes to call it. Thought I'd share our zoo trip from Jack's point of view. He obviously listens to his mama and her photography frustrations, because he kept saying, "I need to get a different angle on this."

Meerkat
Giraffes
Mommy Feeding the Giraffes
Naked Mole Rat
Lion
Mommy and Kate
Self Portrait

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Things I Don't Do

A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast by the author of the book Bittersweet (I have not actually read her book, but I did put it on my BookMooch wishlist). During the podcast they discussed the author's list of what she does NOT do. As a declaration to myself (and now you), I thought it might be a bit of a freeing exercise for me. So I made my own do NOT do list (and do NOT feel guilty for not doing!). And it does feel good. You might want to try it. I'm sure I'll be adding to my list.

Things I Do NOT Do*
  1. Scrapbook
  2. Bargain shop
  3. Clip coupons
  4. PTA
  5. Clean my own house
  6. Sew cute clothing for my children
  7. Twitter
  8. Garage sale
  9. Hand make everything in my home (one of those self-imposed standards...)
  10. Decorate extensively for any holiday
  11. Listen to voicemail (this one I probably should do...)
  12. Iron
  13. Dress my children (they can pick it out and put it on themselves which doesn't always fit my image of my children, but whatever...)
  14. Send cards
  15. Comment on every blog post I read
  16. Make salad dressing
  17. Mow the lawn (that is the one household task that is clearly Matt's)
*Note that I'm not saying that I NEVER do these things. I have the freedom to do them if I feel like it. I just don't do them on a regular basis and refuse to feel pressured (by myself, by others, by society, or by some silly standard I imagine) to do them.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Shoulds

What I should be doing this afternoon:
  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Sorting donation pile for ARC pick up tomorrow morning
  3. Piecing a quilt
  4. Checking my voicemail
  5. Answering the gazillion emails in my inbox
  6. Cleaning my office
  7. Folding laundry
  8. Writing thank you notes
  9. Organizing the pantry
  10. Mailing packages at the post office
(I ran this morning so at least I don't have to feel guilty about that)

What I am doing instead:
  1. Relaxing in the hammock
  2. Reading a book
  3. Snuggling with Nina Sprinkles
  4. Considering a nap
Got to enjoy these beautiful days while they last!
(this photo makes me realize that I probably "should" also be getting a pedicure!)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Need Inspiration

I really need some inspiration for running. I've been feeling so "blah" since my triathlon in August. The first few weeks I could justify it by saying that I was resting, but I'm now long past that excuse.

I'm fitting in 3 runs a week... on a good week... and those have been few and far between. Long runs seen to be the toughest for me to get done. At first I thought it would get better once we got back in the school routine. Then when the season changed. Now maybe with the change in weather? Doubtful.

I also thought signing up for an event might help. So I did the Royal Gorge Rim to Rim 10K this last weekend with my friend Ashlee. It was lots of fun and felt good, but I was a bit frustrated with myself that I did nothing to prepare. I don't even think I ran the entire preceding week!
(As a side, this was the first time I've taken a bathroom break during a race. Since we started at the far back of the pack, I knew my time wouldn't be accurate anyway, so I thought no point in being uncomfortable!)
Being goofy at the start.
Can't help but make faces at the camera
(oh - and that is Stacie from Salida running with me. We met & chatted it up the second half. We kept a nice pace together. Wish she lived close.)

But back to my running woes...

I haven't even been keeping track of my mileage which I'm usually pretty particular about tracking. Just found my heart rate monitor next to my hair dryer in the bathroom this morning. Who knows how long it has been there. I didn't even know it was missing!

Matt really wants us to do the Austin Half Marathon in February. At first I didn't want to - you know, been there, done that. Now I think it would be a good goal and a fun annual comparison. I should just register. We'll see.

Life has been crazy busy lately which makes fitting it all in tough. But I don't see that changing anytime soon. Plus the crazy is all good and fun.

So if you happen to find any inspiration or motivation, send it my way!!

Parting Royal Gorge photo