Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nothing at all

It's strange...with three of the children off to school during the day, and Jonah's nap giving me 2 free hours TO MYSELF...I'm not really getting much done.  I mean, I'm still baking things, making dinner, keeping the house clean...but I don't feel much of any creative impulse right now.  I don't feel like photographing our days, I don't want to start any new projects right now...I just want to BE.  I'm sure I'll snap out of this soon enough, but right now, I'm kind of enjoying doing "nothing".

Since I don't really have anything else to share with you today, here are some videos our friend Thad shot of our church band this past Sunday:


King of Glory

I Am

Your Love Never Fails

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Feathered Fascinators

Two weeks ago, Greg was out at a late-night rock show, so I invited a few girlfriends over for an evening making Feathered Fascinators (hair-clip/accessories).

Feathered Fascinators (Hair Clips)

We made a great big mess of the living room rug (holy heck, feather bits float EVERYWHERE), but it was superfun!  We were each able to knock out a whole handful of fascinators in just an hour or two.  (It was late and there was no natural light to photograph by when we were done, so all of these are just mine -- but collectively, we made a lot!)

Feathered Fascinators (Hair Clips)
For me

Feathered Fascinators (Hair Clips)
For Lavella

I love wearing feathers in my hair.  It feels so glamorous and unnecessary and fun.  I love playing dress-up in real life.  Next, I want to try experimenting with silk flowers!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Polka-Dot Apron

Somehow, amongst all of the busyness of our summer, I managed to carve out some time to make a project that was all for me.

Polka-Dot Apron
Simplicity Daisy Kingdom apron pattern # 3701

A while ago I had asked Greg's Aunt Susie for apron pattern suggestions, and this was one of them.  I immediately wanted to make it for myself, but, as it happens with Projects For Me, it got pushed further and further down in my queue.  I actually used the little girl version of the pattern to make an apron for Lavella this past Christmas.

Polka-Dot Apron

Happily though, I finally decided to take some time to make this, and it fits so nicely!  The criss-cross straps across the back make the apron comfortable to wear and keeps it from shifting around without having to tie it too tightly.  Such a great design.  I love the completely unnecessary shoulder ruffles as well.

Polka-Dot Apron

Polka-Dot Apron

The piping and rick-rack details are a little fussy to work, but I am so charmed by the finished product, and the lined upper makes this apron feel like a true quality piece that will last for ages.

Polka-Dot Apron

Predictably...I want to make at least 11 more!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New babies and mohawks

Early yesterday morning, my friend Becca gave birth to her third girl, sweet little baby "C":

Meeting tiny baby "C", Chris and Becca's baby

All of my babies have been so large (the smallest was Elijah who was 9 lbs, and the largest was Lavella, weighing in at 10-1/2 lbs), so when we went to the hospital to visit yesterday, it was quite a novelty to hold such a petit little person (5lbs, 14oz).

Jonah fell asleep on the way home from the hospital, so when we got home, he decided his nap was over.  Not so good.  However, he got the thrill of helping me spin on my spindle while we waited for Lavella's school bus to arrive.

Spindle spinning while waiting for Daisy's bus

Spindle spinning while waiting for Daisy's bus

I shaved Jonah's mohawk off today, but here's one last picture that I took of my two Summer Mohawk Boys last week before we did school haircuts:

Mohawk brothers

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day Of School

Last Thursday evening, our family packed up 6 bags of school supplies and went to Meet The Teachers Night at our school.

School supplies for 4 children, bagged and ready to go
(The 7th bag is for Jonah's Pre-K/Mother's Day Out program that he'll start in September)

Apparently Texas does not provide school supplies.  On the upside, they do provide amazing teachers, so...I suppose that is more important.  Frustrating though.

Yesterday morning, Greg was able to report a few hours late to work in honor of the 1st day of school.  When we woke the children, we discovered that they each had their own excited expectations/anxiety about their first day in each new grade.

1st day of school

Greg settled the boys in their classes while Jonah and I walked Lavella in to her class (her First Day Of School Ever).  Once I'd gotten her set and choked back my tears as I said goodbye, I went down the hall to kiss each of the boys.  They were both happily and peacefully coloring at their desks.  No more thunderclouds for Andrew.  

For a late breakfast, Jonah and I met up with two of my best friends at Chick-Fil-A with their toddlers, and we spent the morning visiting (mostly) un-interrupted while the children played in the playroom.  So peaceful.  By the time we went food shopping and got back home, it was his naptime.  I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (our family favorite recipe) for our traditional First Day After School Celebration Snack.  I am not ashamed to say that I spent a good 10 minutes of bliss, all by myself with the cookie bowl, making sure it was clean before I put it in the sink.  Oh yeah baby, I'm livin' large!

On the first day of school I always feel peace/sorrow/loss/excitement/guilt/relief....and then they are home again.  Before my afternoon had barely begun, Lavella's school bus rolled up to the house....

Daisy's bus bringing her home

Daisy getting off the bus after her 1st day of Pre-School
And when I scooped her off the step, I hugged her like I would never let go and tried not to cry all over again.

We ate cookies together and I listened to her talk all about her day...her new friends...her beautiful teacher...her new class songs...
Daisy eating Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
And for one precious hour, while Jonah napped and the boys were still at school, it was just she and I.  There is no way that I can ever feel prepared for that first day (for each of my children).  There is no way that I could have spent enough time with her, had enough silly little conversations, played dress-up enough, painted our nails enough...there is no such thing as enough.  But then that day comes, and my little baby walks out of my house and into the great big halls of SCHOOL...and I let them go.  Yesterday, I let her go.

I heard this poem on the radio yesterday morning, and it speaks directly to how I feel.  If you don't want to cry, don't read it.  Just sayin'.

I Trust You'll Treat Her Well
By Victor Buono

Dear World:
I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two brown eyes...and a happy laugh that ripples all day long.. and a flash of light brown hair that bounces in the sun when she runs.
I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning...and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine.
Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Goodbye" and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she'll learn to stand in lines...and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school-bells...and deadlines...and she'll learn to giggle...and gossip...and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy 'cross the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn and kiss lilac blooms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about those important grades and which dress to wear and whose best friends is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and mother and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ...which is only right. But no longer will I be the smartest woman in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time...she'll learn what it means to be a member of the group...with all its privileges and its disadvantages too.

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud...or kiss dogs...or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...or even watch ants scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.
Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.
So, world, I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two brown eyes...and a flash of light brown hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.

Soaking in the last drops of summer...

Summer adventure checklist

San Antonio Children's Museum
San Antonio Children's Museum

San Antonio Children's Museum
San Antonio Children's Museum

San Antonio Children's Museum
San Antonio Children's Museum

San Antonio Children's Museum
San Antonio Children's Museum

"Kid's Bowl Free" summer program

"Kid's Bowl Free" summer program

"Kid's Bowl Free" summer program

"Kid's Bowl Free" summer program
Not Bowling

We have had a beautiful, crazy, fun, stressful, joyful, tearful, wonderful Great Big Summer.  These last few weeks have been spent accomplishing as much of our Summer Adventures checklist as possible, and relishing the time we have together.  Now we are excited to begin this new year of school!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Famine Destroyed...

The Famine's Farewell Show #32

Last Friday, August 12th I witnessed the final show of one of the greatest metal bands of all time, Arlington, Texas’, The Famine. The band was originally formed by guitarist, Andy Godwin, drummer, Mark Garza, and vocalist, Kris McCaddon, all formerly of Arlington metal band Embodyment, and former Society’s Finest guitarist, Nick Nowell on bass. Having released two records over their brief four-year career, The Famine created a unique blend of groove-metal and metal-core on their first record, The Raven and The Reaping, progressing into mid-paced death metal on their most recent The Architects of Guilt.

The Famine's Farewell Show #27

After suffering declining record sales, a devastating studio fire last summer which destroyed all of their gear and studio tapes, and the inevitable strain of trying to juggle family life with road life, the band made the tough decision to disband shortly after the release of Guilt earlier this year. Subsequently the band announced several local show dates around the Dallas/Fort Worth area this past summer, culminating with their farewell show at Tomcats West in Fort Worth. Performing with the most recent lineup of Nick Nowell on vocals, Andy Godwin on lead guitar, Jonny Richardson on bass, Jon Tooley on second guitar, and former Devourment drummer, Brad Fincher on skins, The Famine ripped through an absolute killer set.

The Famine's Farewell Show #24

Rain poured outside and anticipation filled the air in Tomcats as Nowell kicked off the night enthusiastically proclaiming, “We’re The Famine, from Dallas, Texas, let’s do this one more time, here we go!” The band opened their 11-song set, going straight for the throat of middle-class arm-chair politicians, with the sixth song off Guilt, “The Crown and The Holy See”, followed up quickly by the two best songs off Reaping, “Behemoth” and “Consume, Devour, Repeat”. It was great to see these veterans effortlessly tear through all the crowd favorites as every band member reached out and connected with their most loyal fans. Throughout the night there was noticeable positivity in the air and I couldn’t help but notice that these guys really do enjoy what they do, which made it even sadder to see them go.

The Famine's Farewell Show #21

Toward the end, the ever articulate Nowell was a bit emotional as he hesitantly announced their last song ever as a band, “Stitched In Plastic”, followed by a surprise cover of Pantera’s “Domination”. A few weeks before the last show the band also recorded the “Domination” cover which will be released as the last demo ever from The Famine.

The Famine's Farewell Show #6

I got to chat a bit afterwards with Andy Godwin and he was very happy to see me wearing my ooold Embodyment shirt from back in the day when the band was all still in high school. I felt it only proper to commemorate the end of era from where it first began.

The Famine's Farewell Show #3

I will remember The Famine from early 2007 as the mysterious band that buzzed through the internet underground with rumors of early-era Embodyment aggression. I will remember the closeness with which I followed their studio progression on YouTube anticipating a face-melting record which promised not to disappoint. I will remember The Famine with great respect as a bunch of guys my age made the noble decision to forsake well paying careers to instead create great music. I will remember the pain I felt as tragedy struck their studio and the tenacity they exhibited as they hunkered down and started recording a record from scratch again. I will remember the day the coffin finally closed and I shook hands with Andy Godwin thanking him for all the great years. Farewell and may our ears always ring, “All hail the dark new campaign!!!”

Me and one of my favorite electric guitarists, Andy Godwin (The Famine)

Here's a link to the video I took.

10th Anniversary Date

Instead of going out for dinner for our anniversary, we decided to think outside the box, and go back to something that we loved to do when we were dating.  We went out for a daytime date the Saturday after our anniversary, and hit South Congress for some exploring, lunch at a food truck, and lots of thrift/antique shopping.  So much fun!

The Mighty Cone
Lunch at The Mighty Cone

10th Anniversary Date
Getting hand-pulled cream soda at Big Top Candy Shop

10th Anniversary Date

10th Anniversary Date

10th Anniversary Date
Also at the Big Top Candy Shop -- real larva and other bugs in a variety of flavors. (Oh my!) (Not me, not now...)

10th Anniversary Date
Jeffrey Campbell shoes at a vintage boutique!  (OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH)  (My dream closet is stocked with shoes primarily by this designer.)

10th Anniversary Date
Shopping at a bazaar on SoCo.

Anniversary shopping in Austin
A headwrap, little birdie hair clips, and a handmade necklace from our little shopping trip.

We ended our day with a Completely Necessary Stop at Amy's Ice Cream.  It was so refreshing to spend the day with my favorite guy.  We plan to have more daytime dates in the future!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 Years

Well.  I had never intended to leave such a large gap in the blogging.  Sorry for worrying some of you!  It seems that summer has gotten in the way.  Busyness -- for the good and for the bad -- has overtaken the past few weeks, and I can hardly remember where the time went!  We are now in our last week of summer vacation, and we are all looking forward to the start of school on Monday.


On July 28th, Greg and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.

As per tradition, Greg had this fabulous bouquet delivered to the house (calla lilies are my favorite flower):
10th Anniversary Bouquet

And as usual I had NO IDEA what I would make for our special at-home dinner-date...and at the last moment remembered that seafood is the one thing that I almost never cook, but we both love!  Since seafood also tends to be so quick-cooking, it's perfect for an elegant -- but low stress -- meal.

10th Anniversary dinner

I sauteed mussels with shallots, garlic, serrano chiles, thyme, ginger, white wine and cream to serve over fresh angel hair.  I also roasted some Hasselback Potatoes (without the pesto this time), and made a mango salsa (all ingredients cut in tiny cubes to make it easier to eat it scooped up in the mussel shells).  Using some dough from a batch of Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day I baked a loaf of French bread.  On the side I tossed some salad greens with an asian-sesame dressing (Annie's brand -- love it!).

My intention was to share with you the recipe for the mussels, but...then there was this really long blogging gap, and I don't remember exactly what I did.  Whoops!  So if you want to try it, take the above description as an unofficial recipe, and let me know how it turns out!

Greg and I, waiting to get into Roller Derby

I am so incredibly thankful to be married to this amazing man.  Greg is not only thoughtful and loving with me, but also an amazing father to our children.  He takes the time to listen to each of us, he is generous with his time, and he works hard to provide for our household.  He seeks out ways to make each member of our family feel special and important and noticed.  I feel so privileged that I get to spend the rest of my life with a man who is faithful to me, and a true partner in this journey of life.

Greg, I love you even more now than I did 10 years ago.  Thank you for choosing me.