Monday, September 29, 2008
He immediately wanted to film his train tracks and Thomas Carnival. Unfortunately, I was headed out the door, on my way to work, but I think I have budding film maker in the works. (But with the unsteadiness of the above video, I don't think I'll be of much help to him!)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I searched the internet for a bee costume and although I found some, I've convinced myself I can make something for a lot less money. Hubby seems to have his doubts when figuring in the labor (and probably all the whining I'll do to him) but that just makes me more determined.
In honor of my upcoming challenge, I thought I'd look back at previous costumes (some hand-made and some store bought). In 2005, we all dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I found green sweatsuits for the boys and made them some shells. I also made shells for Mike and I and we all wore masks that Nicklas had and we carried our weapons with us. (Although, it's hard to carry a weapon, while holding hands, carrying a bucket for candy, ringing a doorbell, and eating candy.) Oh, and Seeger wouldn't keep his mask on.
In 2006, Seeger wanted to be Thomas the Train. We turned his wagon into Thomas and put him in a train conductor uniform. He was more excited about the train whistle than anything else! He loved having a Thomas wagon and was devastated when we finally removed the panels the following summer. He still asks for them when he sees photos of it.
We always go trick or treating with the cousins - a nice tradition. Ben was an airline pilot. I loved his costume! (See how Seeger is still blowing on that whistle? He did that ALL NIGHT LONG!)
Nicklas decided to be Wonder Guy. What, you've never heard of him? That's because he made him up. He had a visual in his mind of what Wonder Guy would look like. After drawing it out on paper and talking through it with him (I felt like I was on Project Runway!), I was able to determine that he had a red mask, a red cape, he wore a red shirt with a lightening bolt and cloud, and he wore red and yellow tights. It was funny to hear people ask him who he was dressed as. "Wonder Guy!" he'd reply. They would always comment that they must be out of touch with kids stuff because they had never heard of Wonder guy before. I'd just shake my head and smile. Anna was a cowgirl.
Last year, Seeger wanted to be Curious George so Nicklas decided to be the Man in the Yellow Hat. I found Seeger's costume for $10 at an Old Navy in Milwaukee. Score! Nicklas wore some Spongebob pajamas turned inside out. I spray painted a straw hat and my mom made him a tie to wear. Again, it was interesting when people would ask what Nicklas was dressed as. He'd say the Man in the Yellow Hat but few actually knew who that was. I'd try to explain it and point to Seeger. It was their turn to smile and nod at me!
Ben was a boxer and Anna was Snow White. I can't wait to see what they dress as this year! And hopefully my costume making will go well. I have an idea in my head of how I'll make Seeger's costume. I hope to do some fabric shopping this week.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Of the Big 3 networks, abc.com was the first to really do a good job of streaming their shows. Their site was easy to navigate, streaming quality was good, and they were dependable about posting shows by 2am the following day. Anytime I tried to watch something on cbs.com, I would curse them for not being more like abc. But this season has been a struggle (this isn't the first time my blood pressure has risen over abc.com). I hope this little glitch with Grey's and abc is fixed pretty quickly. Or I may be changing my loyalties to the peacock!
The boys haven’t been excluded from the fun. Nicklas joined Scouts this year so he’s in the midst of selling popcorn. Of course, most fundraiser’s have prizes to reward those that excel with their door-to-door skills. Nicklas has his eyes set on a Nintendo DS which requires $2300 in sales. Although he’s up to $300, he has a long way to go! I’m hoping he can at least hit the $800 level and earn a free week of Boy Scouts Camp next summer.
Seeger’s preschool is also doing a fundraiser. They are selling rolls, strawberry jam, and apple butter from the Covington Beef House. Each item is $7. Benefits from this fundraiser will go toward new chairs and tables for their classrooms.
In addition to the popcorn and Beef House rolls, both boys are collecting alumni cans (Nicklas for Boy Scouts AND his classroom field trip and Seeger for preschool), used cell phones, Box Tops for Education, Campbell’s Soup can labels, and we have to shop at Marsh/Payless/Meijer/Target to earn credit for our school. Oh, and we have to eat at Triple XXX or Route 66 on September 30. Whew!
To top it all off, I’ve somehow become in charge of the fundraising committee for Nick’s school (it wasn’t intentional – honest – I agreed to be on the committee but then no one would get the ball rolling so I offered to host the first meeting and it all went downhill from there) and we’ve decided to organize a carnival/silent auction to raise money. Ironically, this was chosen in lieu of a fundraiser because everyone was tired of selling wrapping paper/chocolate/address books/magazine subscriptions.
You feel my pain, right? You can sympathize, right? Awesome… I’m now taking orders for popcorn and rolls. And if you have any aluminum cans, box tops, soup can labels, or used cell phones, let me know.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Me: "Seeger, eat your chicken, please."
Seeger: "But I don't like it."
Me: "Seeger, you haven't even tried it. You have to least take one bite."
Seeger: "But I think I did." (Touching his forefinger to his thumb.) "I think I had one little bite."
Me, inspecting his chicken to verify that indeed, he did NOT take a bite: "Seeger, you did not take a bite of that chicken. That was a lie and you should never lie. Now take a bite please."
Hubby, using his dad voice: "Seeger, take a bite of your chicken."
Seeger, taking a bite of his chicken: "Mmmmmm.... I think I do like this chicken!"
Hubby and I, laughing: "Good, we're glad to hear that."
Seeger: "I think I also like to play Hide and Sink."
Hubby: "Hide and what?"
Seeger: "Hide and Sink."
Hubby: "I think it's called Hide and Seek."
Seeger: "Hide and Sink."
Hubby: "Hide and Seeeeeeeeeek."
Seeger: "Hide and Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiink."
So after dinner, while hubby took Nicklas to swim practice, Seeger and I played Hide and Seek. He was so cute - every time I went to start counting, he would tell me he was going to hide in his secret, special hiding place. I'd remind him that he isn't supposed to tell me where he's going to hide so then he would choose a new place.
And no, no one hid in the sink.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
(I love to build train tracks for Seeger which I suppose is sort of like building a puzzle since it sometimes takes some reworking to get them to connect. And of course, finding the right pieces to use among the scad of train engines, freight cars, stations, and other train paraphernalia that all thrown together in a ginormous tub is like looking for those border puzzle pieces you use to get the thing started!)
So I was excited this past weekend when Seeger got out a few of the puzzles I've kept on his toy shelf. He had a friend over to play with on Saturday and he watched her do a few. Then on Sunday during his quiet time, he got out a few more. Our Sunday was pretty busy so I wasn't able to help him but on Monday morning, we brought one downstairs and with a little guidance from me, he put this together.
I must admit, I'm somewhat relieved that he did so well with the puzzle. I think I took his refusal to do them in the past as a sign of a lack of ability or knowledge about completing the task. Nicklas is such an obvious smart kid. Seeger is very different. He isn't as vocal and it's been harder to determine his cognitive skills. But knowing he can put together a puzzle has provided a small victory for me. Yay, Seeger!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I was inspired to start this project after I saw several versions on Flickr last spring. I love the use of different sized blocks and fabrics. Some of the versions I saw were very scrappy with many different colors. Others focus on pastels or a specific color (one was in all blues). I choose to blend together yellows, oranges, and reds. This quilt is done quite a bit differently than others as I had no pattern and there is no rhyme or reason to how big to make the blocks or how wide my strips and center blocks should be. I randomly made blocks of different sizes, would lay out a section and add or cut away from the blocks to make them fit together. Oh, the freedom!
I've been home from work most of this week after having my wisdom teeth removed on Monday. The narcotics made me a bit loopy and sleepy but in between naps and nausea, I was able to put together a large chunk of this quilt top. I had hoped it would be big enough for a full or queen size bed but right now, it's rather square which makes it a bit short on the ends. I have few leftover blocks but will need to put some more together to add length. After which, I can layer and start the quilting process.
I hope to finish this project soon however the Charity Quilt is still in progress. It's currently on the Beast and has been partially quilted. Because I haven't been feeling well, I've decided to give up my ticket for the IU football game tomorrow and take it easy in Lafayette. That should give me some time to to do some more quilting on it (and it will be my first time really getting to use the Beast!). If MIL and I make significant progress, we hope to finish it up and get the binding on this weekend. That would free me up to work on the Kaffe Fassett quilt for the next few weeks.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Christy and our friend Scott Clevenger were on the journalism staff together. I think we spent as much time in the journalism office as we did in class - and we weren't usually working on the school newspaper! We partook in so many crazy, wacky activities (re-enacting scenes from Helter Skelter, sniffing pixie sticks through straws, choreographing dances to Copacabana, marking the undersides of the computer tables with inappropriate comments), many which also revolved around torturing our advisor, Mrs. Heminger, aka Dot. (We put things her in her coffee, forged her name on passes, wore her clothes, and one time even stole keys to her car and drove it around the parking lot.) The poor thing. But she was a good sport about being the butt of our jokes and if we did anything too questionable, it only took Scott telling her to get over it and she would suddenly forget about it. Seriously. He had some strange power over her which was a good thing because he was usually the instigator.
Although there weren't nearly as many classmates at the 15 year reunion as there was as 10 year, I think everyone still had a great time. Here's hoping there will be a 20 year!!
Friday, September 12, 2008
This is what you get with you give a camera to a four-year-old....
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I visited NYC in 1996 with my friend Christy. We spent part of an afternoon at the top of the World Trade Towers, looking out over the city and it's Burroughs. We also visited Liberty Island where I took the following photograph of the beautiful Manhattan skyline.
That skyline was forever changed on 9/11/01 and it was very sobering to think about during my recent trip to New York.
One of the blog writers stated she felt that people weren't doing enough to remember. Her comment bothered me. Who is she to assume that because some people don't post their thoughts or talk about it or because they go about their daily business, this means they aren't thinking about it? I AM thinking about it. And not just today. I think about it every time I talk to my uncle who was in working in the city that day. I think about it every time I watch the opening credits of an episode of The Soprano's (both the first few seasons with the towers in the background and the latter seasons when that image was removed). I think about it when I'm at the airport, struggling to get my shoes on and gather my belongings quickly so as to not hold up the line behind me. People handle tragedy differently. The way its handled doesn't make us better - or inferior - to others.
My thought.... keep remembering but keep LIVING. Our country is becoming embattled in an upcoming election. We have bitterly different opinions about who should lead our great country in the next four years. It's about now and it's about the future. Thanks for reading my rant - best to you and yours.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
One family ritual we have is to ask everyone at the dinner table about their day. Question 1 is "what was the worse part of your day?" and question 2 is "what was the best part of your day?" We learn a lot about each other based on those answers and it's one way we've taught our kids to open up to us. Asking Nicklas how his day was generates nothing more than one-word answers. But answering the worst and best part of his day questions provide him the opportunity to really think and review what happened in his life since waking up that morning. Answers to those questions often lead to lengthy conversations and opportune bonding for the four of us (and any dinner guests we may have!).
Rituals can be simple - special kisses for the kids at bedtime, watching the same tv show together every week. I love to hear about other family rituals. I have one friend who lets her kids open up one present every Christmas Eve. She picks the present they can open and it's always new pajamas which the kids wear to bed that night. When my kids spend the night at their grandparents, they always "snore" at bedtime and their Papa has to yell, "there's no snoring in this house!" That leads to fits of giggles from everyone. When I was growing up, there was a period of time when my mom worked weekends. Rather than cook, my dad would always take us out to eat at Ponderosa. We could count on that every Sunday night. There was some comfort in having that routine and I'll always remember that. Or in the summer when we spent the weekend at my grandparents lake house - on the way home, we would always stop for ice cream. I would get bubblegum and my brother would get Superman flavor. I have several other rituals I remember from growing up and I'm hoping to create traditions my children will remember fondly.
Meg sent her last e-newsletter today. Her words made an impact on me and her love of rituals has been passed on to me. I hope you take some time to think about the rituals you've created in your life. And if you're so inclined, please feel free to share them with me.
This is photo of Mike and our friends, Marty and Lindsey, getting ready the night before the tailgate; six coolers, three tents, enough food for two meals, and enough drinks for 13 people.
We had to take a picture of this for Seeger who LOVES butterfly's. This fella sat on Nick's hat for awhile. I'm guessing he smelled the grill and wanted to check things out.
Yes, the stands were that empty. Hopefully it will fill up more once the conference games start.
Nicklas and Anna...
Ben and Seeger...
Game over, time to head back to the grass lot for more food, games, and fun.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
We divided up the pieces and everyone took some homework with an assignment of putting the pieces together within two weeks. Of course, I was the only one late with my homework. I only completed 10 of my 33 blocks as I've been busy making corn hole bags for my brother-in-law (side note, if you need a corn hole set, check out his website at http://www.partyfowlbeerpong.com/). The MIL graciously offered to complete the rest of my blocks.
Today we go together to strategize about the next steps in finishing our project. Unfortunately, some of the blocks returned to us were nearly 1/2 an inch too small so we've done some readjusting. After, we'll start the sashing and hopefully get the top put together. MIL is hoping to get it quilted on a friends long-arm machine (affectionately called The Beast) next weekend.
In the meantime, I snapped some shots from making the 10 blocks I finished. In the first, I've started strip piecing.
Seeger loves to be involved with my quilting projects...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Nicklas: "Uhhhh, you guys need to get up."
Mike, trying to figure out what's going on, looks at the alarm clock. "Nicklas, what are you doing?"
Nicklas: "I'm getting ready for school - it's time to get up."
Mike: "Nicklas, it's one o'clock in the morning!"
Nicklas: "What???? I just took a shower!"
Yep, that's right. Darling Nicklas, who is so great at getting up and getting himself ready in the morning, heard his alarm go off at 1am. Not realizing it was a mistake, or what time it really was, he took a shower! I felt so bad for him, although we're all laughing about it now. I took him to school this morning so he could sleep for an extra hour. He told me when he got up and got in the shower, he wondered why he was so sleepy. Bless his little heart... It will be a great story to share for years!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Before the official start today, the school invited the kids and parents to do a practice run last week. They condensed their typical 165 minute day into an hour so I took the morning off to experience his excitement and learn more about what he'll be doing every day. Here is picture of him with his backpack, right before we made our way to the building.
Upon arrival every day, Seeger will get a star to put on his attendance chart. When the chart is full, he'll get a special prize.
Every day, Mrs. Maris and Mrs. Sieplindga will have the children take turns leading the class on the calendar and weather report.
For the mini class session, the teachers had the children work on a art project. Each child received a 9 piece blank puzzle and were asked to decorate it. Seeger drew his name by writing one letter on the top six pieces. For the bottom three pieces, he drew a picture of me, a picture of himself, and a picture of Uncle Mike.
It looks like the class will be doing a lot of singing which I love to hear. I feel like I missed on the singing songs with Seeger. I tried and tried to sing with him when he was younger but he always refused. (I blame this on his speech delay; not my singing ability!)
I really enjoyed experiencing his "first" day. As a working mom, I'm always jealous of the moms that have the luxury of dropping off and picking up their children from preschool. On the rare occasions that I do get to play the role, I always feel like an outsider, standing there waiting for the end of class. The other mom's are always chatting away, talking about their children's accomplishments and upcoming activities. I'm jealous that they see each other often and become friendly throughout the year. I miss out on that.* Also, the teachers post announcements and sign-ups for fields trips or class activities that can only be seen while picking up or dropping off the children. So I really feel disconnected and as a result, less invested with what's happening at preschool. This year, I plan to make more of an effort. I have the email addresses of the teachers. Seeger will be going to preschool Monday-Thursday so I hope to pick him up at least once a week.
* I think I'm extra sensitive about this because Nicklas attended a very cliquey preschool. It fed into a private school at it seemed like every mom stayed home with her children and they all knew each other long before their children started preschool. When the school had a mother's day party, I totally felt like the reject in high school that didn't have any friends. All the mom's were chatting animatedly to each other while I watched from across the room. And then during the party, the teacher read aloud the kids responses to questions she asked specifically about their mom's. Like, my mom is ___ years old and my mom is funny when she ____ and it seems like my mom is always _____. I was mortified when Nicklas said "it seems like my mom is always WORKING." I think at least half of the group gasped aloud and then looked at me pitifully.