The new house

Here is a poor quality cell phone picture of our new home. It is on a court in a quiet neighborhood just minutes from here. The kids will be able to stay in the same school, go to the same church, piano teacher and soccer club. John however still has a long drive and did not get his 3 car garage. The things we do for our kids.

A girl obsessed

Emma started to take piano lessons "officially."this fall. I say this because over the course of the last year or so Jack has been her "professor of music." How cute they were, when they sat with their heads together. Jack teaching and Emma hanging on every word. Jack even came to me every now and then to commiserate on the difficulties of teaching his sister. (how, cute is he?)

I knew from watching her practice and practice that she was learning differently than Jack. They are so different in everything they do, why I thought they would be the same now is still a mystery. I guess, I assumed in my ignorance, that teaching music would basically consist of learning the notes and then learning where they correspond on the keyboard. Sounds like a sound theory! lol. Okay, that's really bad. While Jack approaches the piano in his lessons methodically and logically. Emma is full of passion and emotion. She will put together a string of notes of her own composition and say, "listen to how sad the piano sounds." Or alternately she will say, "This song makes me want to dance."

For weeks before she had lessons she practiced and practiced. I was amazed by her drive. It seemed every-time she was bored she would turn on the keyboard and practice. I assumed she would burn herself out and then say, "I don't want to practice" once lessons began. Boy, was I wrong! She continues to practice. She is truly obsessed with learning to play. She practices so much that I find my self saying, "Please, stop practicing." Is this a good thing? It was soon called to my attention that Emma learns by ear. She only has to hear the song a number of times before she no longer needs the sheet music. She knows by sound when she has hit the wrong key and can correct herself more often than not.

This week as we walked up to greet her instructor Emma explained, "Ms. Melodie, (great name for a piano teacher) I really don't feel as though the work you gave me was hard enough. I think I need to work on harder things this week!" Her confidence is astounding. It's as though she has some predetermined knowledge of just how much she should be able to handle. I watch her struggle and get frustrated and scream and cry for days. Then just as if a switch has been thrown, BAMM! she gets it. It is truly a site to watch her confidence grow and see how proud she is of herself. Time will tell where this next adventure will take us but with Emma I am sure it will be full of ups and downs.


Seasonal Cheer

As promised here is the log-cabin type quilt I have been working on. It is a pattern designed by Christine Schnaufer, entitled Boo!-ti-ful. It is located at the QuiltBus website. Mine needs to be quilted and embellished with the spider web and dangling spider but, should be a cute addition to our holiday decor.


Raise the Roof

After months of searching we have a contract on a home! Pictures and info to follow at a later date.

Pieces of a Whole

I started on a new quilt this week. Surprise! I have tons of patterns accumulated in my filing cabinet. I have books on quilting. I have magazines on quilting. I even have patterns saved on my computer. A whole file filled with quilting patterns. Yet, when I was looking for a pattern I didn't feel like quilting any of those. I spent days surfing the net for a pattern that interested me. I was hoping to find something seasonal or "holiday-ish" (can I even use that word?) Anyway, I found a pattern that I thought would work. It was very cleverly designed using log cabin blocks. I am always amazed at the cool patterns you can create with log cabin blocks. Anyway. The pattern called for 1 1/2 in strips for the blocks. I hate working with strips that small. So, I adapted the pattern an made the strips 2 inches wide. Well my 30 x 36 in wall hanging is a wee bit bigger. The tiny little details slipped by me this time. Here is a picture of several of the blocks lined up.

I know doesn't look like much. I believe Emma's quote was, "What the heck is that supposed to be?!" Vision child! That's what you need. Quietly I continue on my merry little path. I'll let you know what it is tomorrow.



I am always amazed by the ease at which children except. Sometimes we as adults overcomplicate life in general. Things that seem to cause great controversy as adults, simply ARE to children. Such was the case yesterday on the way to school when Jack, out of the blue states, "Mom, I believe God made people like seasons. The way trees are different shapes and colors during the seasons. In the summer they are bright green and then one day you look and they are changing colors. I think people are like this. One day you look and suddenly you realize that people come in different shapes and colors just like trees. I am glad God made us all different."



Daddy was home this weekend and let me just say,
He has been traveling for much of the last month. It seems we see just a glimpse of him as he comes home to unpack then repack and head out the door. While this pattern will continue for the rest of 2009, we were all overjoyed with is presence this weekend.
Mark has always been really, really good at breaking things. A talent believe it or not I feel is actually inherited. He is forever saying, "It just broke." I've seen it myself. All the boy does sometimes is touch something and "it's just broke." Its never malicious or even premeditated but unfortunately it happens all to frequently.

We have had a number of things recently, die on us. The lawn mower and the hairdryer are two that pop into my mind. When they did break the first thing Mark said was, "Cool! Can I take it apart?" What the heck, it is already broken. The hairdryer was much simpler than the lawn mower so he was aloud to take it apart by himself. After the destruction, John spent time with him going over the mechanics; the fan, the switches, the wires to explain how it works. Jack and Emma wondered up and were drawn into the workings of a hairdryer. They were all fascinated.

Needless to say, they were all pumped up about taking the lawn mower apart. They repeatedly asked, "When can we take the lawn mower apart?" and I repeatedly said, "When Dad gets home you can take it apart." You would have thought Christmas was coming. The excitement that ran though this house was enough to drive me crazy!

Finally, FINALLY! Dad was home and they were able to dismantle the mower. Everyone gathered in the garage. John distributed tools to each of them, and when that tool was needed it was their turn to help. Emma ran in the house screaming, "Mom, come take pictures of us for your blog." (The girl knows me a little too well, scary. ) They spent nearly 1 1/2 hours taking apart the mower. Much of it was spent laughing and giggling. There were times when John was explaining something that you could hear a pin drop in the garage. Such was their interest for the dirty old thing.

They took apart as much as they could before bedtime. Mower parts were strewn all over the garage. Parts were trashed. Some parts were saved (why? I have no idea). And in honor of Mark, many parts were further broken. I took pictures, as per my job description, but was not allowed to help. shucks.



Zen is the latest quilt pattern to have been finished off. This pattern I pulled from the February 2009 edition of American Patchwork & Quilting. I have been wanting to work with batiks for at least a year and had been unable to decided on a pattern until I ran across this. What struck me most about this pattern was the use of the blues and green batiks in the original pattern. The colors spark the memory of our trip to Los Cabos and I new I had to make this. Overall I am pleased with the result.


Well, isn't that special.

When I meet someone new, I am always hesitant at telling them I quilt. I know it may not be a good business strategy, but still I am reluctant to speak of my quilting business. People who don't quilt have really no clue when it comes to quilting. I get a variety of responses when I answer the dreaded, "What do you do?" question. Sometimes I get, "So. (pause) You make quilts?" The absurdity of this shows on their face as clear as day. I may as well have said, "I work for Santa" Which in truth I occasionally do. Sometimes individuals will say, "You sell quilts?" As if knowing me will get them a good cheep quilt. Of course I get the,"My grandmother did that, well before she died." as if quilting is a disease someone catches that is contagious and fatal. Well, contagious it is. I don't have the statistic of how many people actually die each year from quilting. Not a bad way to go though. Honestly, I run into quite a few people who try, really try with questions such as "How does that work?" Unfortunately, when I start to explain I see their interest fade when words like: quilt top, batting, and long arm machine start to enter the conversation. And I know the moment they start faking understanding and interest. And it is very disappointing. Often I feel like a small child, who is explaining a picture they drew to an adult. I cringe and wait for the dreaded pat on the head and the "That's nice dear." However, the most annoying response I get is "Well, isn't that good for you." I never quite know how to take this statement. Is it "Good for you" like a vegetable that no one wants to eat? Does it mean "good for you" but not for me? Are they saying, "Good for you," as a dismissal so they can talk about themselves? Or could it be "Good for you." because you are making me feel incredibly incompetent? I never feel as though they are truly enthusiastic that it really is "Good for Me!" Really, I am not sure what they are saying. My best understanding is that it is a catch all of sorts. Perhaps the adult version of "That's nice dear. Now run along."


Natural Nature

Mark found a Polyphemus moth caterpillar this afternoon. They look a lot like a Luna Moth caterpillar until you do some research and discover the differences. Check it out! We stuck the caterpillar in a flower pot and observed it as it climbed and ate leaves. Ginger became much to interested in the little guy. For its own "safety" Mark placed it in our butterfly house. The kids had great fun collecting leaves, twigs and general items necessary for its habitat. Through out the evening the 3 kids could be found laughing giggling or discussing (ok, arguing) about the little critter. Several Internet searches were done for information and knowledge about Mr. Polyphemus. At one point Jack said most enthusiastically, "I just love Natural Nature!" Looking more than a little perplexed Mark counters with, "Which is different than UN-natural nature HOW?" Jack explained further, "Natural nature is more, well natural, of course. You know. Not the fake nature like at the zoo. The real nature like it is outside in our yard."


Seek and Ye shall Find.

I'll be the first to admit that I am always loosing things. My husband believes firmly in the old adage, "A place for everything. And everything in it's place." Time and time again he says, "if you put it back, you would know where it is." Blah, blah, blah. I know he is probably right. But I am just not organized in an OCD type fashion. Heck, half of the time I cannot even remember why I went upstairs!

My kids, unfortunately, have taken after me. Well, at least Mark and Jack. Emma, like her father, can almost always find what she needs. (You guessed it she put it back where she got it. Crazy). In the same way Mark and Jack, "loose" things they also can never "find" things. Kids as always will say, "Mom, have you seen...? or Where is my....?" If I know where it is, I can give specific directions to Emma and POOF! Just like that she will find it. I can give the same directions to the boys and I get, "Where?", "I looked there." and my favorite, "IT's NOT THERE!" as if yelling will convince me that they searched thoroughly.

Case in point. Saturday Mark had 2 soccer games. John was out of town and I had to get all the kids up and out of the house by 7:30. This is our normal school routine so, I figured we could do it. HA! More the fool am I. At 7:20 I asked Mark, "Do you have everything?" To which he mumbled something that resembled a "uh-hu." Not believing for an instant that he did. I rattled off the list of things he needed: drink, cleats, shin-guards, home and away uniforms? Oh, yeah uniforms. Rolling my eyes, I watched as he proceeded to dump the entire contents of his bag on the floor of the kitchen. This is standard procedure for Mark. Just dump it on the floor. Is it any wonder the boy looses things. Nope. No home uniform.

Going through my mental list, I remembered I washed it just before we left for Cabo. So I say, "It's been washed check your closet and your dresser." Off he goes. 20 seconds later, "Mom! I can't find it!" Hmmm. Did he really look? "Did you check in your t-shirt drawer?" I bellowed back. "Yes!" Continuing on this path I rattle off a list of other places, in his dresser and closet where the uniform might be. Thinking maybe "check your closet" was too general for the boy. Then I progress to, "Check under your bed!" To which I get, "I did already." Yeah sure you did. We progress further with mom naming unlikely places for said uniform to be lying. I reluctantly dive into the search. I check under furniture, behind furniture, and in the couch cushions. I then look up to realize Mark is missing. I find him in my bedroom doing an awesome job of distributing the dirty laundry all over my bed. "It's not in here." He states. How could he tell? I have no idea. We go back through the list a second time, still no uniform. Well, now I have moved from annoyed to fuming. Jack and Emma are now fighting about something utterly ridiculous. Not only that, but they are tattling on one another. Furious I yell, "EVERYONE GO MAKE THEIR BEDS!" Just to give them something to do while I look for the @#$! uniform. Then approximately 30 seconds later I hear Mark yell, "I found it!"

Apparently, the stack of clean and folded laundry that I set on his bed for him to put away was "overlooked." Rather than putting it away before he went to bed, he just through the covers over the pile and climbed into bed. I am informed that he was just "too tired." But then he just didn't make his bed for a week and forgot all about the laundry. I am not sure how you forget about the large lump at the foot of your bed, but for Mark it is possible. The kicker was when he said, "Hey, I was looking for this t-shirt all week!" Out of sight, out of mind. It truly is a good thing his head is attached.


The Wedding

As promised here are pictures of the wedding.

The setting couldn't have been more beautiful.

It was the perfect compliment to this couple. The bridesmaids (sisters of the bride) dressed and waiting for their sisters arrival.

The day was hot and humid but no one noticed once the wedding started. The breeze was cool as the bride walked down the sandy beach.

The vows were as original as the couple who read them. They were a true testament to the strength of their relationship.

Pictures were taken, on the beach of course, by the hardest working photographer ever seen. The man even ran into the ocean to get the perfect shot.

While Emma was quick to partake in the dancing. The boys were happy sitting and chatting away with Grandpa. Mom and dad even managed to steal a dance.

Before and After

Just to really drive home the whole Hurricane story (I promise I'll stop).

Here is a picture taken Monday as the Hurricane was approaching.

And here is the Wednesday photo of the same spot. Mother Nature is truly amazing!!

(Okay, I am done now.)


The calm after the storm?

Well, as you may have guessed we are still very much alive. I apologize to those of you who thought (or may have wished) otherwise. We weathered the hurricane in Cabo without incident. Tuesday night most of the storm had passed us by and we were allowed back into our room. The high winds continued through the night but we never got much rain. By Wednesday morning the staff of the Westin was busily cleaning up the mess left behind by Hurricane Jemina. Thursday afternoon when the bride and groom arrived any trace of the hurricane had all but been erased from the resort. Here is a cell phone picture of the view from our room on the eighth floor.

The events of the weekend went smoothly and the wedding was beautiful! Emma even declared she was getting married on a beach. Big steps for a girl, who minutes before, was never going to get married, ever. More to come on the wedding in another post.

Monday was a flurry of airports and assorted stops such as customs and immigration. (always a good time & was made even better with 3 kids and long lines.) We made it home late Monday, actually Tuesday morning and were able to procure a whopping 5 hours of sleep.

Tuesday passed in a gray sleep lacking haze. I am sure I did some things as there are no more suitcases out and several baskets of laundry are sitting around the house. However, my exact wear-abouts Tuesday remain a mystery even to me.

Here we are at Wednesday already. WOW. Now that was fast.


Another day in Paradise

Paradise. Just the word conjures up images of sandy beaches, pristine waters, palm trees, lush vegitation and a day of laying in the sun. The reality doesn't always meet up with expectation, which is a lession I guess we all have to learn. This is what our first day in paradise, specifically Los Cabos, Mexico looked like. Hurricane Jimena.

If you google The Westin Los Cabos you will find their website. Once there, you will find the photos on which our expectations were so highly set. Now, imagine if you will the same place covered in rain, with puddles everywhere. Imagine the ball room with the tables removed and the floor littered with temporary cots (aka the cushions from the chaise lounge chairs). This has become our reality.

I have to first commend the staff here at the Westin. They obviously had a course of action layed out and the staff was most efficient in setting it into motion. Their dedication to the safety and comfort of their guests has been impecable. I suppose if you had to stay in a hurricane a resort would be the way to go. Not that I am recomending it.

We have been evacuated to the ballroom, a staff corridor and some of the smaller meeting and conference rooms. My best estimate is about 400. They have fed us and provided us with water, coffee, tea and soft drinks around the clock. They have set up one of the meeting rooms for movies (the highlight of today is HSM incase you wondered). They have even dug out board games, cards and bingo. The best part is that we are safe. Sure the kids are bored. Sure my hip is killing me from sitting on the floor and I would love nothing more than to take a long hot shower. But again we are safe.

It has been difficult for many, as this is not the vacation they had planned. I feel terrible when I look at all of the honeymooners who are sleeping on a couch in the hall. I have been angered by the audacity of the select few who complain non-stop to anyone who will listen. I agree it is unfair but again, what choice do we have? Fortunately most people are understanding and we have come to enjoy the company of several guests. All of whom I am certain we would never have met under normal circumstances. The disaster has brought forth the good and the bad in all of us. Together we will weather the storm ( HaHa). Tomorrow we will all go about our vacations. (I hope) For now I listen to the unending droan of the kids Nintendo DS games and the slow hum of the conversations around us.

Sending you all love.