Our 9 year old

Happy Birthday Jack!!

Yesterday Jack turned 9 years old!  WOW!  Hard for a mom to believe.  He had been super excited all week (if you can imagine).  He was tortured by me all week.  I kept his birthday cards, that came in the mail, hidden until his actual birthday!  Nothing like taunting a poor child. (Here it is but you can't open it! hahaha)  I think he was up with the sun rise.  Asking "When can I open my presents?"  from the moment he rolled out of bed.   We made it through the day, with an outing for pizza, baking a cake, 
( it is a model of a plant cell) and finally opening presents.  What a great day!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This thanksgiving we are having neighbors and friends over to celebrate the holiday.  Many people we know here in El Paso are not native to the area, or the State.  We find many who are in the same situation we are having no family close to share the holiday.  For the past few years we have gotten together with friends to celebrate the holiday. This year we are hosting.  Ugh.  I don't mind having people over, and I enjoy the company, the problem is I am not a good hostess.  It is an awkward situation for me and I always feel incompetent.  One thing is for certain we will have plenty of food!  And our decorations are top notch.  Emma has been busy cutting, pasting and coloring for days.

We have our festive napkin rings..

Our turkey cutouts.

And our Thankful leaves.  

Every year since the kids knew what it meant to be Thankful we have had a Thankful book, tree or leaves.  I enjoy the fact that this is a tradition that they initiate.  It makes me proud to know that they are thankful.  (Because often it is not to obvious.)

We wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and hope to see you all soon.

To: God.com 

Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I’m lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head:
God bless all my family
Wherever they may be,
Keep them warm
and safe from harm
For they’re so close to me.

And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do;
Hope you don't mind me asking,
Please bless my computer too.

Now I know that it's unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.

You see, that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.

I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scraps of metal
Takes me in to where they live.

By faith is how I know them
Much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.

Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That's filled with so much love.

Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits ’send’.

When you update your Heavenly list
On your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to God.com


quilts,Quilts, QUILTS

Quilts, quilts and more quilts.  This past 2 weeks I have been a busy little quilter.  I have made several new quilts to post on my etsy shop, made and quilted a wounded warrior quilt and made another circular needle case. 

Table runner
Gift Package wall hanging
The Challenge Quilt

Wounded warrior Quilt 

I have been so busy quilting, that everything else seems to have fallen by the way side.  I'll admit I am the type of person who will gladly put off cleaning the kitchen until the morning to have a few hours of quilting in quiet.  Yet, in the morning I trudge downstairs and dive into the pile of day old dirty dishes.  Usually, I am very good about setting limits for myself.  Small attainable goals that once reached, I move on to a "Mommy Job."  You know the jobs that no one else does that mom has to do, like laundry, cooking, changing the toilet paper roll.  This weekend I don't know what came over me but  I just didn't care.  I went to bed Sunday knowing that no matter what else didn't get done, I had bound 3 quilts!  I had not done all my mommy duties and the world was still OK.   Monday morning, I am sad to report things did not continue to run smoothly.  Mark had no clean school pants, oops.  Jack couldn't find any clean gym uniforms and Emma had no clean socks.  Double Oops.  But did I mention that I had bound 3 quilts!


The Great Debate

Sunday mornings are great.  Everyone is quite lazy, we make a big breakfast, read the paper and the kids hunker down with blankets and watch cartoons.  This morning was no exception.  The feature of the day was a Tom and Jerry marathon.  The kids love Tom and Jerry, as did I as a child.  When you become a parent you realize how much violence is portrayed.  When you get down to it the whole cartoon is really just fighting.  As a parent you begin to wonder if this is such a good thing to expose young minds to.  We watched it and no one wondered if that violence contributed to the violence elsewhere.  This morning I was surprised to wander back downstairs and be drawn into the debate between my two youngest.  

"Mom, who do  you like best, Tom or Jerry?"  Jack asked.
"I always liked Jerry."  I answered in truth.  Although I do have a certain fondness for Spike.
"Emma and I were just thinking we like Jerry best too!" Jack continues, "Tom can be so mean."
Emma chimes in, "Yeah Tom does all kinds of things to Jerry.  Like try to eat him!"
"But, Emma" Jack argues, "Sometimes Jerry does stuff to Tom for no reason. And that is mean.  I mean Tom is just doing nothing and them Jerry ties his tail to something and tries to get Tom to chase him and them BAM Tom is hit on the head."  
Didn't Jack just say he liked Jerry best?  Now he is defending Tom?
"Well, you might do that do if some big cat tried to eat you."  Emma adds.
" No Emma, he wasn't trying to eat him.'  Jack defends
"Well,  maybe the day before he did." Emma adds to her defense.
"Emma, No, Tom can be mean but you cant do something to someone unless they do it first." Jack rambles on.  Ah, the logic of a 9 year old.
"J-A-C-K!" Emma whines, "I wasn't saying that."
At this point Jack turns to me, rolls his eyes,  and says, "Mom!  Emma wont believe me!"  As if somehow I am supposed to resolve this.  And I realize that he is defending Tom, for no other reason than to argue with Emma!  
"Jack, this is called a debate.  You cannot always get people to agree with you.   Sometimes you just have to present your facts and let them present theirs."  I return.

To which he promptly ignores me and says.  "See that right there Emma," as he points to the TV  "Jerry just did that to be mean."

"I know."  says Emma, "but, it's funny."
And isn't that the point? Or is it?


Plan B

The sights and the sounds of holiday season abound here in El Paso.  It is somewhat difficult as an adult who grew up in the Midwest to get used to the thought that Thanksgiving is only 5 days away.  With the weather mild and the trees, the few there are, starting to turn, it just doesn't feel like the holidays.  Sure, I have gotten my Christmas lists made for each and everyone,  made up the menu for Thanksgiving dinner and I have even purchased a present or two.  Perhaps it is not the fact that I am in El Paso but just the fact that I am getting older.  sigh.  For the impending holiday has stirred up the kids just the same.  Even Mark who is trying to look "cool" and play along with Jack and Emma as they tell stories of Santa, has been found making lists and looking online for games and such.  Every morning starts out with Jack and Emma discussing, arguing, hell, lobbing for the best of the best for Christmas.  They are like a small group of lawyers discussing the pros of having the newest this or the biggest that.  Their logic while shaky at best, is still evidence of how important the holiday is to them.  Jack even tried to put a spin on the walky-talkies he wanted saying, "it would keep the house quieter because they wouldn't have to yell for one another."  They have decided together that they need a lap dog.  heavy sigh.  Dad told them Santa doesn't bring live animals.  To which Jack responded, "I am just going to test that theory."   Never fear, even if Santa does indeed hold firm on the live animal policy, they have a back-up plan.  They plan to pool their money and purchase a dog.  yippee.  I wouldn't mind having another dog, IF I wasn't the one to have to do all of the work.  Emma decided to play another angle saying, "if we got a rescue dog, we would be helping, and isn't that what Christmas is about?"  such a big heart we have.  

"Dear Santa, 

If you leave a new bike under the tree, I will give you the antidote for the poison I put in the milk.

Okay, so perhaps they wouldn't go that far but their excitement and determination are indeed a force to be reckoned  with.  Whatever their motives, it is a happy, contented feeling to have the joy of the Holidays in the house.  



Zits by Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott

I love this comic and read it everyday.  This particular post today seemed particularly apropos.  As a mom, I try to stay on top of the homework assignments of my three darlings.  However, if it is not written down or if  they don't tell me about it, I can't know about it (am I right?)  I mean my mind reading skills are far from or ordinary but come on!  This year, hell every year, is a struggle with my oldest.  He is a true procrastinator.  He doesn't truly realize this is his destiny, Oh but he is a procrastinator of the highest caliber.  I was, and occasionally still am a very good procrastinator.  My husband seems to find it quite humorous that I am dealing with issues I my self placed on my parents.  As you can imagine I myself do not find it the least bit funny.  

Somehow, this weeks assignment all had the same due date, TODAY.  Mark had a book report, a math test and his science project report due today.  Jack had to rewrite a music composition he wrote for piano.  I knew this an badgered and nagged all weekend and well into last night trying to get everything finished.  If there is one thing I hate, it is being kept up late "helping" with work that should, and could have been done. Despite my best efforts, uncontrollable things happen and we were still up until 10 pm completing homework.  

Yesterday, the kids had Thanksgiving at School.  This is where the kids get to invite parents/grandparents to school to celebrate the holiday.  After lunch, which I had to sit thru 3 times and took nearly 4 hours, we were able to take the kids home early.  We arrived home at 1:30 and mom had a killer migraine.  I took my meds and crashed.  All I needed was an hour peace and quite so could decrease the severity of my headache.  Somehow, that was to much to ask, so I made due with 25 minutes. Needless to say I wasn't at my best.  When I woke everyone said, "No, we don't have any homework."  or the equivalent "I finished it all." Silly me, I fell for it.  Last night as John and I are taking a walk,  clarity came,  everything that was due today hit me and I realized I had been fooled.  Thus when we got home, the @#$! hit the fan.  Kids were crying, I was calling them out on everything.  They were truly in awe of my mom memory, they thought they had gotten away with it!   Silly, silly children. What I don't understand is WHY?  Why would you not want to do your homework, isn't it only going to get you into more trouble the next day when mom finds out.  Or are they just hoping I won't.  Threats were made, punishments dished out and everyone at one time or another ended up in tears, it was a joyous time.  (the things they don't tell you about having kids)

So why am I still stewing about it hours later.  Well, the fact remains, that while I thought I was finished when everyone went to bed I was sadly mistaken.  This morning 15 minutes before their ride is to arrive Emma says, "Mom, I have homework I forgot about!."   (really, how odd. )  She did her best to finish what she had, but it wasn't finished when their ride arrived.  I picked up a clipboard, put her homework on it, handed her a pencil and told her she would have to finish on the way to school or explain to her teacher why she didn't have it done.  I am so mean.  I know she is only in first grade, these things happen.  When I came inside and finally sat down with my cup of coffee and the paper this comic was right there consoling me.  I was not alone. 


Mount Pan

This year Mark has an English teacher whom I am growing to Love!  She is doing a fantastic job of drawing the kids into the subject, rather than just studying it.  His last assignment was to write a folk tale.  As you will soon see my attempts to lure him away from death and destruction were a complete failure (ah the mind of an 11 year old).  He had to use illustrations as part of the assignment.  Mark hates to color and draw, so this part was dreaded and put off until the absolute last minute.  When I suggested he stage the folk tale using items we had around the house and take pictures to illustrate he was much more motivated.  I was impressed with the final out come. Hope you enjoy.

One upon a time, in a land not so different from this one, there was a peaceful village.  The village was called Shroomishcan.  The people in the village were not wealthy but they were happy.  Then one day the dragon came.

The dragons had actually lived there for thousands of years under the Mountain Pan.  They recently came out because the evil Cyclopes had invaded their kingdom.  The Cyclopes invaded the kingdom for dragon blood.  Dragon blood is the most powerful energy resource.
These dragons were no ordinary dragons,  they could talk.  They told the villagers about their problem.  The dragons and the villagers became friends and made a plan of attack.  Then they went up to Mount Pan to fight the cyclopes. .

When they got there the cyclopes were waiting for them.  It turns out that the cyclopes were not huge.  They were only as tall as the villagers.  So, as you can guess, the fight was not very long.  The villagers hit the cyclopes on the head and then the dragons ate the cyclopes.  

The dragons planned to return to their mountain.  The dragons promised to power the village from under Mount Pan.  That is how electricity came to be.  And they all lived happily ever after.  

The end.



This Saturday is going to be very hectic.  (I know what you are thinking)  And yes most of our Saturdays are hectic!  Today's schedule goes a little like this.  Jack has a solo festival, for piano, at 8:45 am, Mark has a soccer game at 10:30.  Mark's team is having a party at 1pm, which really means 2 pm in El Paso, (time is a little tricky here).  We are bringing drinks to the party.  After the soccer game we are stopping to pick those up.  John and I are going on a DATE tonight (wohoo!) so we have to pick the babysitter up by 5 and come home get dressed, go out to dinner, and make the show at 7.  Meanwhile we have homework and science fair projects due next week that we have to work on (more on those next blog).  This morning while I should have set an alarm to ensure enough time getting Jack and John out of the house, I didn't.   I have been stricken by the same cold virus as the kids so I fell into bed, fully dressed, at 9 last night.  Jack woke me at 7:30 and said, "mom, I have to leave in 30 min"  Well, I don't have to tell you that I rocketed out of bed and began, shouting orders like a Drill Sargent.  I was more than a little perturbed when Jack came down from getting dressed in ripped sweats and a t-shirt stained with God only knows what.  I sent him back up to change, again, and he cursed me the whole way.  He came down the second time a much improved t-shirt and jeans.  I don't know the official "dress code" for the solo festival but, he was no longer a homeless vagrant so it didn't really matter.  After forcing pancakes and sausage down his throat and making him practice his song one more time, ("MOTHER, I KNOW IT ALREADY!")  John and Jack were scooting out the door, at the last minute when I ran up and picked out a sweater for Jack to throw over his t-shirt.  It is chilly this morning and Jack is one of my kids who is chronically cold.  As I was pulling his sweater over his head he said, "Why are you putting this on me?"  I told him it was colder than he thought, as a cold front went through last night and it is very windy.  The sweater I picked out for him was an expensive sweater I had bought for Mark to wear one Christmas.  It is navy with I-cord piping outlining the under arm of the sleeves which are decorated with intarsia.  The front has very elaborated embroidered sports balls on it.  It really is beautiful.  After I forced Jacks arms through the sleeves he looked at it and said, "When did you knit this?"  I almost cried.  I knew he was my favorite.


More Knits

Recently I have taking a liking to knitting hats.  I am not sure why but, other than scarves they are a quick knit.  Here are two hats I knit recently that I really think are super cute.  It could be that I am a bit biased by the model.  Here are the links if anyone would like to knit them up.

Lost & Found

Yesterday I had errands to run in the morning.  While out and about I got seriously hungry!  It was then I realized I had not had breakfast.  Thinking I was going to be out a few more hours, I ran through the drive through window and grabbed a burger.  As I was driving to the post office I noticed a little dog standing in the middle of the intersection FROZEN.  She was so scared.  All of the cars were honking and driving around her she didn't know what to do.  Fortunately for her I had a hamburger, and after about 5 minutes I was able to lure her to the sidewalk with the promise of Burger King.  She had a collar but no tags.  I took all 6 lbs of her to the Vet's office.  Here in El Paso the law is that all dogs must be micro chipped.  She however, was not.  The Vet was able to give me a list of people to call to help find her owner.  She was very sweet and gentle with the kids.  Even Ginger was happy that I brought her a squeaky toy.  Ginger tried to play with the little dog but Ginger being at least 8 times bigger than her TOTALLY freaked her out!   For the most part we kept them separated.  This morning I printed out fliers to post near the area where I found her.   After posting just 2 fliers I ran across a "lost dog" flier.  And there was a picture of her.  I called immediately and the owner was so Happy.  It seems her son was absolutely devastated by the lost of his dog.  I was happy to return her to her home, Ginger however is extremely put out that I took her plaything away.

Last Quidditch Quiz

1. Who was Tom Riddle Sr.'s girlfriend before Merope gave him the love potion?
a. Eleanor
b. Cecilia
c. Sally
d. Mandy

2. What does Luna say floated into Harry's ear when he was in the train car that supposedly caused him to lose focus?
a. Demiguise
b. Jobberknoll
c. Wrackspurt
d. Runespoor

3. How much do the primary Apparition lessons cost?
a. 10 galleons
b. 8 galleons
c. 15 galleons
d. 12 galleons

4. What is Professor Merrythought's first name?
a. Eileen
b. Galatea
c. Carol
d. Jocelyn

5. What Hogwarts club was Eileen Prince captain of?
a. Charms Club
b. Gobstones Club
c. The Slug Club
d. Occlumency Club

6. Who is head of the Goblin Liaison office?
a. Ambrosius Flume
b. Dirk Cresswell
c. Ciceron Harkiss
d. Barnabas Cuffe

7. Mrs. Weasley offers Fleur a goblin-made tiara for the wedding with Bill. What family member is currently in possession of the tiara?
a. Aunt Muriel

b. Aunt Ethel
c. Aunt Edna
d. Aunt Thelma

8. How many points does Snape take from Gryffindor for Harry's late arrival and muggle attire?
a. 30
b. 70
c. 50
d. 90

9. When Profressory Slughorn first meets Hermione, he asks her whether she is related to Hector Dagworth-Granger. What society did Dgworth-Granger found?
a. The Most Extraordinary Society of Charms
d. The Most Extraordinary Society of Herbology
c. The Most Extraordinary Society of the Defense Against the Dark Arts
d. The Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers

10. Which of these describes Golpalott's Third Law?
a. The antidote for blended poison will be equal to less than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components
b. The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to less than the product of the antidotes for each of the separate compenents
c. The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the product of the antidotes for each of the separate compenents
d. The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separtea components



Yes, I'll admit I have slowed considerably in my blogging and should be shot!  Ok, maybe that is a little extreme.  But, I have good reasons for being sluggish.   So, maybe they are not good reasons but reasons none-the-less.  Last week, as I reported was incredibly horrid.  Jack and Emma took time occupying my time (awake and asleep).  Both of whom, I should inform you are now officially off the "deathly ill list"  Jack was home from school Tuesday, Emma home Wednesday,  I sent everyone to school on Thursday, because I had Bunko and totally needed adult conversation.  Of course, I ended up being called into school because Emma "didn't feel well" (Big Surprise)  Friday, I kept Jack and Emma home.  I took Jack to the doctor, where we were promptly sent for a STAT chest X-Ray.  Which, comically took about 4 hours to complete.  We then went to pick up the plethora of medication that Jack needed to be on, because he now had Pneumonia.  So the rest of the weekend I spent giving Jack medication every time I turned around.  And I am happy to report he is now doing much, much better, and actually went back to school.  
In the mix with all of this the Van had serious issues.  Our van is 7 years old and has 105,000 miles on it, (it is bound to have  issues)  In the last month we have had to put new tires, and new breaks on.  Then the radiator started leaking, so that needed replaced.  Then the people who put the radiator in decided not to correctly hook up the Transmission fluid tubing. This caused a complete loss of fluid and unknown status of the Transmission.   So, for the entire week we were down to one car.  Which meant John was home working, thankfully he didn't drive into Mexico and leave me without a vehicle.  Unfortunately he was home and in my way.  Those of you with husbands know that when they are gone you have your routine and when they are home your routine is adapted.  Well, I tried, really tried to be patient and understanding after all he was doing me a huge favor.  But, by Friday when he said, 'but, you already went to the grocery once this week?'   I lost it.  I cant help it.  He has no clue what I do every week.  Does he realize that I go to the grocery just about every other day?  No he doesn't.  If not the grocery there is always something that someone forgot that mom has to run and get.  But, I digress. 
Ok, sick kids, sick car and mom sick of it all.  So if I slacked off last week, I apologize but all is well and good now.  Knock on Wood.



I have been participating in a Harry Potter Swap for the past  6 weeks.  It is now down to  the final week in which we get to swap all of the goodies we have been working on for our swap partner.  My package went out on Tuesday of last week. I haven't heard anything from the person I sent it to so I am assuming it is not there yet.  It did have to go to Rochester, NY so if it isn't there yet, it is to be expected.  After a horrid week I was most pleasantly surprised to find a box FULL of goodies waiting for me on my porch.  I am
soooooo SPOILED!  All I can say is my spoiler totally gets me, right down to the fat quarters and the package of tissues!

  She did a fantastic job and I cannot fully express how Great a job she did!  

Thanks Ashley! 


A Cacophony of Coughs

The weather here in El Paso has gotten cooler, the tumbleweed has bloomed and the wind has picked up.  All signaling the start of Autumn here in El Paso.  Another little known season here, at least for us, Croup season.  Unfortunately for me and the little ones, allergies signal sinus problems, which trigger sore throats, which in turn lead to Croup.  The past few weeks have been a flurry of doctor appointments, late night stints on the porch and waking to find myself crammed between John and one, if not two children.  This morning being no different started with the barking cough of yet another child "Emma."  I had been expecting this, since the last 2 weeks have been devoted to Jack's cough.  By the time I had everyone up for school I felt like it should be time for lunch.   I wasn't the only one who was cranky.  Emma and Jack both were complaining and jockeying for position to be first in line to use the thermometer.   It started innocently enough with a cough-cough here, and a cough-cough, there.  Pretty soon, yep, a cough-cough everywhere.  Before I knew it there was a coughing competition at the kitchen table.  Jack and Emma were actually forcefully coughing louder and louder to see who was the sickest.  I could not believe it!  What more could they possibly find to compete over?  Just then I heard John coughing.  Oh Brother, time to go back to bed.



Project update:

I have been working on this latest quilt for a while now.  I found the pattern in a fall issue of McCall's Quilting and the Authors notes said "Great project to easily finish in a weekend!"  I liked the pattern and I already had most of the fabric for this quilt in my stash, so hey, why not start two.  I finished the quilt tops in record time and cut out the 64 applique pieces just in time to load up everyone for a trip to Phoenix.(literally, John was loading the car as i was putting the ironing board and iron away.)  I figured with a 7 hour drive up and an additional 7 hours back I would have the applique done.  So, I  also took 2 knitting projects to do during the 4 soccer games we would have to sit through. HA!  Little did I know that apparently I am severely applique deficient.  I just finished appliqueing the first quilt this past week!  Two weekends after we got back from Phoenix.  Oh, and I haven't even had time to knit during that time!  Did I say applique deficient, I meant applique handicapped.  I did get the quilt quilted and bound this weekend which made me feel much better.  I actually had the gall to cut out the additional 64 applique pieces for the next quilt.  (I am insane!)  Not that i have decided to use them (yet).  I just really love how the quilt turned out...

I just don't want to put that much time into another quilt just yet.  This quilt was made with the sole purpose of selling it on my etsy store (see link on upper right of blog page)  I fear however that my time has been given away for free or at the very least slave wages.  But, somehow, perhaps it is insanity, I am driven to to more quilting.  I am indeed already planning and collecting fabrics for at least 3 other quilts and 3 other knitting projects.  

I have also started making crochet and knitting needle cases.  I am also posting these on the etsy site. This is my latest I know there are a few of you who will find this very "spirited"

Off, I go to work, and plan and quilt and knit.