SUPER-MOM or Super-crazy

Last night I struggled with homework, dinner, unpacking and playing single mom. Emma was watching The Incredibles. Jack was trying to finish up homework. Mark was succeeding masterfully in distracting Jack from said homework. Just when I thought I would go insane this scene from the movie pops up. Helen calls Bob at the office, while bathing Jack-Jack in the sink. (typical super-mom multi-tasking abilities aside.) And she says...

Helen: I'm calling to celebrate a momentous occasion. We are now *officially* moved in.
Bob: That's great, honey. And the last three years don't count because...
Helen: Because I finally unpacked the last box. Now it's official! Ha ha ha! Why do we have so much junk?

I just could help feeling a special kinship with Helen. Which I felt was entirely too funny because I laughed and Laughed and LAUGHED. Finally, I can relate with someone and she is an animated super-hero! My life is crazy. And apparently so am I if the looks I got from my children are any indication.


Lots of Boxes

Boy! Do we have boxes. As I was unpacking last night with my helpers, I decided to take a few impromptu pictures.

I also decided we have way to much stuff! haha :) Our growing stash of cardboard.

The view from the kitchen. Lovely, isn't it?


Moving In

Is it over yet?
Can I come out from my hidey-hole?
I feel as though I have just been through a battle. This past week, I was sure I had thoroughly ticked someone off and was being forced to fight to the death. Moving just is so stressful and at times painful. It is somewhere in the top 5 most stressful events that can occur in your life. Next to childbirth, planning a wedding, death of a loved one and starting a new job. In perspective it is a relatively simple thing. Considering I didn't have to pack or actually move the boxes I am quite lucky. I only have the unpacking to do. But boy am I sore! I am sure some of my muscles haven't seen this much activity in ages. I am keeping a positive outlook and see it as "training" for when I can operate my quilting machine once again. Assuming of course, that I can find it.

Here is my soon to be, place of employment. This fuzzy picture calls to mind an "I spy" book or quilt. Let's see how good you are...I spy a Quilt, a sewing machine, a TV and some boxes. Can you find the sewing basket, the fabric and the foxes. (Okay so there are no foxes. I couldn't come up with a rhyme.) I took a couple of cell phone pictures this week and I thought I share.

Here is the unloading of the 1st, yes, I said first, truck load. This load came from El Paso via a couple of months in Charlotte. The inventory alone was enough to boggle the mind. Thank goodness I had help!

Here are the fellas that brought in my new washer and dryer. (Yes! I could hardly believe it myself. After 16 years of marriage, my first new set. Holy Cow!) Here they are carrying the dryer, observant aren't I. These guys had the most unusual harness contraption for carrying the appliances in. I had never seen anything quite like it, so of course I took their picture.

Basically the rest of the house is one Gigantic stack of boxes. We have unpacked over 100 boxes yet there are at least 2x that many left. Perhaps they breed? I am fortunate that in the first 100 we found clothing, food and my sewing machine. Must have our priorities. I had hoped to continue unpacking this week while my helpers were in school, yet once again life got in the way. For now I am back to wiping noses, helping with homework and driving to practices.


The picture i was going to post

The latest of my Halloween quilts is finished. Number 7 of heap of quilts I have made since moving here to South Carolina. It turned out really nicely. The Halloween prints are artfully shown. The oranges and blacks are pleasantly arranged to make a lovely pattern over and above the pattern of the blocks. I took lots of pictures to show you how nicely. However, my computer is current boycotting iphoto. I mean iphoto loads. It shows me all the files. It even shows me the number and megapixil for every photo. There is a tiny little square, which I suppose represents the photo, yet in the square is a giant "i" Not one picture is loading up. Nothing, Nada, Zippo. Instead of showing you a cute little picture of my latest quilt, you get babbling, furry of words expressing my deep resentment of technology failing me once again.



With all of my kids, teaching them to read has been an adventure and a struggle. I suppose that is the way it is for most things dealing with children. They struggle along until your sure you are going to pull out your hair and then "poof" a light bulb is turned on and "ha-ah!" Mark was the first and I was sure he had severe learning disabilities. Now he reads every chance he gets. Jack I thought would never get reading, simply because, to him, reading was a waste of his time. It wasn't until he stumbled upon a great series that he took off. Emma, as did the others is struggling along. It is not that she can't read. She reads, actually much better than her brother's at the same age. She just would rather have some read to her.

Daily we fight at reading time. A habit which I believe she rather enjoys. Why else would she challenge me so? This quarter Emma's class has been assigned to read Bibliography of a famous person. She chose George Washington. I would have chosen someone different for her but I am sure I would have been WRONG! We set out to read yesterday. The preparation for the event is, I assure you almost as frustrating as the reading itself. We must have the right pillows, the right lighting, the right blanket to cover us with, a drink in case we get parched, and so on. Yesterday was no different. Once settled in she began to read. It went a little something like this....

excerpts from: How to Draw the Life an Times of George Washington
by Philip Abraham

And she began.
"In 1789, Washington was elected to be the first president of the United States."

"WoW! I didn't know that." she exclaims.
"Yes. Isn't that wonderful."
"Why would it be wonderful? Maybe for him. Not for me."
"OK, keep reading Emma."

"George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington..."
"Mom? Why does his mom have three names?"
"Ball was her maiden name, Emma. Please continue."
"Ok. But mom? What is a maiden name?" she asked
and so I explained and she started again.

"George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington on February 22, 1732."

"Wow, Mom, that was even before you were born!"
"Yes, Emma it was. Please continue."
"Mom, was it before your mom was born?"
" Yes Emma."
"Ok, but mom? Was it before your mom's mom was born?"
"Yes, Emma."
"How about Great-Grandma?"
"Yes Emma that is my Mom's mom. Keep reading."

So she read two more sentences and we came to " In 1754, a war broke out between Britain and France over land in America."

"I hate war don't you."
"Yes Emma"
"Why do people have war mom?"
"I have no idea. Keep reading Emma."

"During this war, Washington and his men attacked some French soldiers on May 28, 1754. Ten French soldiers were killed.."

"Oh Mom! That is so SAD!"
"Yes it is Emma."
"Why do people have to DIE!"she asked, as real tears start so flow, REAL TEARS!
"Emma that was a long time ago. Would you rather read later?"
"No now is fine." Sniff

".. and 21 were taken prisoner,"
"That is just so mean!" she exclaims but continues on.

"In 1755, he became an aide to Major General Edward Braddock. Braddock's goal was to drive the French out of Fort Duquesne. Instead, on July 9, 1755,

"Hey, that's my birthday!"
"Yes it is Emma. Keep going."

"..the French and their Indian allies kill Braddock and many other soldiers."

"He died on my Birthday! That is so sad! I cannot believe it."
"Yes Emma it is sad. Keep going you're almost done with this page."
"Mom? How old was Mr Braddock?"
"I don't know Emma?"
"Why don't they tell us?"
"Because it is a book about George Washington, not Braddock."
A few sentences later..

"In 1759, he married widow Martha Dandridge Custis... "

"Mom? My friend Mikaela cannot play on Sundays."
"I'm sorry."
"Mom? What's a Mormon?"

And it is there I got up and left. Perhaps we will never no more than that about President Washington but then and there I didn't care. My patience was exhausted and so was I.


Engineering a shopping excursion

"To define it rudely but not ineptly, engineering is the art of doing that well with one dollar, which any bungler can do with two after a fashion."--- Arthur Wellesley

Such is the philosophy of most engineers, I have encountered. Engineers are an entire species unto themselves. They seem to know only black or white, gray simply is not. As a result they are an extremely unemotional group, dealing only with facts and logic. When they are placed into a situation where there are unknowns, they strive to find out all of the answers. Once and only once the answers are clear can they proceed. Therefore, it can be excruciatingly painful to those of us who don't operate on such a system. I have dealt with this persona for a long time. I have a husband and an astounding number of friends who are either engineers or are married to them. Normally, I am prepared for on-slot of data and questions. This weekend was not one of my best.

Our goal was simple, or so I thought. Buy appliances for our new house, namely refrigerator, washer, and dryer. Appliances are to me, functional. They are not fun or exciting by any means. I need something to do a job, I want it to look nice and not cost an extreme amount of money. I want it to work reliably when I need it to. Given this set of criteria I set out to look for our appliances. John however had his own approach. Setting out at noon on Saturday we traveled in and out of no less than 7 stores, talked to numerous employees and wrote down several hundred model numbers. We pre-measured the new house. We measured the appliances. We re-measured the new house. We placed obstacles around the appliances in the store to act as counters, doors and even used our children to see who could reach the highest shelf. We stopped looking at 10 pm only because, nothing remained open. Oh, did I forget to mention we had 3 kids with us? Once home, both computers searched online for reviews, repair records, cost of operating, comparison shopping between online stores, and numerous other facts that I know nothing about (I believe their was some question regarding quality of sound deadening material? I was tired OK?). Every time he seemed to have come to a conclusion another result would disappoint him and we would be off on another path. After printouts, graphs, and schematics were written up, plotted and analyzed, we continued. Sunday armed with extensive knowledge, a large cup of coffee and 4 Motrin we set out again. Our choices were clearly laid out and we poised to put competitor against competitor to get the best price.

The kids clearly exhausted and BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS. Were however, quite ingenious in their own right, creating numerous games to occupy themselves. Jack and Emma kept busy playing a game of restaurant at one of the kitchen displays. Mark and Jack had a wild west rubber band shootout, holding Emma as captive. They did not try to shove one another into any appliance and only played switch the sale signs once. The finagled many free objects out of several sales people and one very nice Time Warner representative.

To be fair, we did get great deals, not that their was ever any doubt. I do have new appliances coming on Tuesday. One's I am fairly certain John knows how to assemble and operate. I am thankful now that it is over and I will indeed have new operating machinery. I can't wait to see what we got!



Yesterday. Emma lost her 7th tooth. Not quite as exciting as the first but, there is still the potential for cash. She had lots of questions regarding the tooth fairy. I fear the days of believing in fairies, elves and giant rabbits bearing candy are soon going to be a thing of the past. Emma relayed a conversation she had with a classmate regarding the existence of the Tooth Fairy. It was explained to Emma that the Tooth Fairy was not real. She was told that it was not possible for a fairy to sneak into your home and take your tooth. The classmate in question, also called into attention the fact that fairy or no, that is a lot of baby teeth to gather. After what appeared to be a very difficult conversation for Emma she stated most firmly, "I believe in the Tooth Fairy!" I was glad that at least for now we still believed.

Then last night she showed me what she had done. Emma felt a need to praise the tooth fairy and her efforts, so she left her a note along with the tooth. It said:

Dear Tooth Fare,
You need this ledr.
you have a big job.
it mit be hard but I be live in you.

P.S. pleas rite back.

How sweet is that! Sometimes I cannot believe that she is the same girl who picks fights with me. Perhaps, I need to give her cash when that happens? I digress. This morning Emma woke, grouchy as ever, until the money was discovered. At which time her mood brightened considerably, go figure? She brought the note she wrote, along with the tooth and the note the Tooth Fairy wrote to her, down to breakfast. During breakfast she and Jack talked cordially to one another, a rarity, discussing the note the Tooth Fairy wrote. The Tooth Fairy was nice enough to leave Emma her tooth and the money. The brief note said.

Thank you Emma for being so Nice.
I am glad you believe in me.
I love you.
The Tooth Fairy.

Jack stated that he thought the Tooth Fairy was certainly nice for letting Emma keep her tooth, something he pointed out, she had not let him do. (sigh) Emma agreed with Jack and stated most enthusiastically. "The Tooth Fairy sure is nice! I didn't know she was such a good Speller!"
As compliments go you can't ask for better.


trick or treat?

Fall. It has to be my second favorite season, coming in close behind spring. I love not sweating every time I spend time outdoors. I love being able to wear a really comfy pair of jeans and a t-shirt and being cool but not cold. I love the colors that appear suddenly. I love picking apples. I love making cookies and baking. I love the need for things warm from the oven or stove. I love the crisp cool air that smells of fires in the fireplace. I love being able to get into a cold bed and fall asleep warm and snugly. Which brings me to my next quilt project. In the spirit of the season I was led to a new pattern. It's called Frightfully Fun and I found it at allpeoplequilt.com. The thought of having a cozy Halloween quilt to snuggle under while sitting on the porch passing out treats, thrilled me. Just add a cup of warm cider, maybe a little rum, stir with a cinnamon stick, add a chewy caramel or two. Yummy. I just couldn't pass it up. I know what you are all thinking. "Hot spiced cider sounds awful good right now!" or possibly if you were paying attention, "That quilt has an awful lot of triangles."

Either way, the quilt does have a lot of triangles. Which can be a little bit of a trick.
However, only 1/2 of the blocks are stars. The other 1/2 are a log cabin block in colors fitting of Halloween, orange and black. The neat thing about this quilt is the fact that the Halloween prints are artfully showcased.

I love walking past the blocks I have already made and having little ghosts and pumpkins pop out at me. A little surprise waiting for me neatly wrapped in a 8x8 inch block.

I am only just getting stared on this quilt but I know this one is definitely a treat!



The other day in the car Emma and Jack were having a discussion about the color of their tongues. It went something like this.
"What color is my tongue, Jack?" inquires Emma.
"Reddish-Purple." was Jacks reply.
"Let me see your tongue." Emma asked.
"Why?" Jack asked.
"Because my friends say that if your lying your tongue turns white. And if you are telling the truth you tongue is normal color." Emma explains.
"Mom. Is that true?" Jack asked.
"I don't believe I have ever heard that before." I replied.
Jack counters with, "My friend told me that if you lie you don't see in color anymore."
Emma chimes in, "That's not true. I lie all the time and I still see in color."
"WHAT!!" I exclaim.
"What I mean is that when I do sometimes, but not often lie, I still see color."
Hmm! I see.

Funny how things seem to work out. Sunday at Mark's soccer game I overheard another conversation about lies.
Jack was playing Monopoly with a new friend. (great game for a weekend full of soccer) Jack asked his friend a question and his friend replied.
"Jack, you know I always lie. They aren't big lies, of course. Only tiny white lies."
"It's still a lie." Jack rebuttals.
"No, white lies are really, really, really small. Only the size of an atom really. They don't count" states his friend.
"It's still a lie." Jack continues.
"White lies don't hurt anyone." his friend continues to argue.
"It is still a lie." Jack goes on to state. "So, if you have one Big Black Dog and one Little White Dog. Your telling me because the white dog is little it is not a dog."
And for once his friend didn't have and answer. But don't worry Emma did.
She chimes in with,
"See! So, you better not tell lies because your tongue will turn white."
I see. I have more work to do than I thought.