Archive | December 2017

Dashing through the snow…

Today we GO!

(lets not talk about when we get there…)

I have spent the past few days chipping away at the pile of things that need to be done as well as getting in a few things that would be harder to do later.  My NOT procrastination totally paid off because Lars and I were in HomeDepot, the 6th shop for the day, on a fact-finding mission about suites of appliances and we happened to see a fridge-sized box with a price tag of $160.  I dismissed it, figuring it was some odd special thing or something that needed to be part of a larger, much more expensive, system.  The sales lady just mentioned to us “hey, you guys need a fridge?” and we are like “um… yes?”  Apparently, the warehouse missed this one and now it had to GO because they couldn’t inventory it anymore (or some such inventory reason) so we got a fridge originally priced $860 for $160.  We have been working with our tiny fridge in the garage for extra milk but this will be way better.  I see it as our reward for #1 checking out appliance prices for the house months in advance and #2 already have a clean car ready for travel that all we had to do was move car seats.  #3 I just happened to have organized my ‘car bin’ of useful things including tie-down straps AND put it back in the car that day so we were able to fit the fridge in, and, tie the back gate down since it was just a little longer than our cargo area.

Don’t you just love a deal?!?

At this point, I have lists about my lists but we are near the end of them all.  All trip stuff and clothing is assembled and job #1 today is to pack.  People talk about ‘packing’ like putting things into a bag is hard, that is the easy bit – finding all the things you want for 5 people and a dog is the hard part.  There is one load of laundry to do, final dishwasher load to run for today’s things.  I need to make up the guest room for the house sitter but since we have guests often that is an easy thing.  Books reserved at the library for pickup, food ready for prep for the trip.  Lots to do but I’m in the last bit and positioned well.  Thank you yesterday self for NOT falling into the new book you just downloaded and have waited for a year, You can read that tomorrow as a reward.

Teacher and friend gifts are ready for delivery, already delivered, or ready for when we get back.img_4884

 

I think I’ve completed all the things I NEED for Christmas and I packed supplies for cooking and final projects at my parents.  Driving may mean 2x travel time but it also means I can bring more ‘stuff’.  The kids are so used to a second Christmas when we return that they asked about it so we made the decision that all the things that the kids picked for each other and us can stay for mini Christmas.

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Kid wrapped gifts under the tree ready for mini Christmas!

I’m writing this at 7:30 in the morning and our go time is 3:30 so I have time to do what I need to do as well as go to my birthday massage appointment.  I’m getting in the spirit here, things are looking good.  This is the first year in YEARS my sisters will both be at my parents so I’m excited to see everyone. I hope to avoid the panic of leaving last minute and so far so good.  Time to get breakfast, school lunch, kids to school.  T-7h to takeoff.

 

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Happy Birthday to me!

I’m now a whole year older but you want to know something funny, I’ve accidentally been telling people I was 38 for months because somehow in the birthday blitz of the summer where every other person in my house has a birthday, I just gave myself an honorary year.  So, I feel younger today, I get to re-do 6 months of 38.   This error in memory was found by a friend who is a Feb birthday in the same year and he insisted that he was 38 so I was 37 and I was pretty sure he was wrong because he just had a baby (really the wife, but, team effort of not sleeping) but nope, he was right.

Most years I have a ton of fun planned for the day.  With a birthday a week before Christmas, if you don’t make your own fun, it gets lost in the holiday crazy.  This year I just didn’t have plans.  The universe was helping me out because last night Fiona was up at 3am with a runny nose that kept her awake and the school nurse called about 10 min after school started so she is home with me.  Really, my plan for the day was to do the normal Monday and maybe go to the gym so having a Fiona just means I will schedule in some extra snuggle time instead of a workout.

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I did benefit from older children today though.  I remember birthdays when they were little that they didn’t know and/or care that it was ‘my’ day, they still wanted their mom 110%.  Today my oldest woke up early and made me breakfast brownies.  Opening your door to the scent of brownies is a beautiful thing.  They also succeeded in keeping a big gift secret from me.  That would have never been possible in the past and this morning I got to open an actual surprise birthday gift of an Apple watch.  Perfect timing because my Fitbit has broken for the final time…

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The day is going to be full of relaxing, finishing a few little projects, and reading all the nice birthday notes from facebook (and my normal Monday laundry, need clean Gis for JuJitsu)

The softness that comes in time

All my life I had known that the stereotype of ‘grandma’ included soft edges, kind words, endless encouragement, and cookies.

My grandmother, who we call Grandy, was basically none of these things.  She was always game to read a book to us and I remember sitting in laps long long ago, her encouragement was more in the form of challenge, her kind words were rare but insight or conversation was common and I learned more about avoiding sugar than eating it from her because she is a diabetic who gets sugar rage when it is out of control. She would hold us all to an internal standard and was not afraid to call us out and if you chose to fight about it she was up for a fight, often at volume.  She was a teacher, a mover and shaker, a businesswoman and the person who taught me first lessons about finance and investing (at probably 5).  There was time for us, when we fit in, because she was the glorious center of her solar system.  She loved us without question, wanted the best and helped push us all toward her vision of ‘the best’.

Every so often I wished I could have that soft grandmother figure but I was always proud of the grandmother I had.

Today I realized I have a soft grandmother now.  She is rounded around the edges. The fight is a flicker.  She may still be fiesty with aids but it is more petulant then defiant.  I talk and she listens and I know she loves me but she isn’t hearing me anymore. I’ve called every week for years and at one time I could talk to her for hours and these days she can only hold the conversation for a few minutes.  He voice is softer, her words are softer and I worry that it isn’t just a bad day anymore.

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4 year old picture – If I put a picture up now she would kill me

 

Suddenly Christmas is in 2 weeks

How does this happen to me every year?  I feel like there is ages to go and then suddenly it is crunch time.

I got the Christmas cards created, printed, address updated and printed, stamps and all in the mail.  I must say that Avery templates have gotten really good.  I used them to make super cute return address labels and they printed out so much easier than using the mail merge.

We have completed our holiday craft item.  I’m experimenting with essential oil sprays and settled on 2 – one full of anti bug stuff to repel anything crawly, and, the other is just good smelling and with the high alcohol content it is really good at taking the smell out of non-washable things.  We did a very scientific test – we took Lars’s riding gloves that are full of years worth of hand sweat and sprayed one and not the other and then got everyone who came over to do a sniff test.  I think we actually did it because while the experimental glove never exactly got to smell ‘good’ it no longer smelled bad and the control was found every time.  More credit to Avery for their printable templates.  I buy the labels and go online and super easily create the perfect size graphics.  I got the kids to do the drawings and I uploaded and tweaked them to fit and I’m happy with the results.

I’m in the middle of the sewing project for the kids.  This year I’m inspired by the fact that they constantly steal all the living room blankets and find ways to tie them onto themselves as capes or dresses or disguises…  I decided to make each of them a cloak with a hood out of a blanket BUT they have built-in scarf/tie to make them easy to keep on AND little hand pockets on the edge that can either be for better wing shape, or, putting things into.  I wish I had a loner kid to test the design, I can’t wait to give it to them!

 

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modeled by Good Girl Puppy who is about the same size as Fiona’s head and torso.  Note the paw pocket on the right. 

 

Decorations are on the scant side this year.  We put a bunch of them into storage and I don’t know where they are.  The 2 boxes we kept out did have some of the most important ornaments and there is enough to look festive overall.  It did hower prompt a Dad-joke.

Lars – “look there is a bare spot”

Me – “where, I thought we found enough to look pretty good”

Lars – “right here” lol

Me – eye roll and laugh, I do love a good bad joke.

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I’m glad the major projects are winding down and the decorations are all up (rather than in totes around the house waiting) so the house can get back to a mostly clean status.  I was reluctant to put up the tree given the ornament situation and that we are always away for actual Christmas.  However, all three kids have remarked on how much they love it and how magical it is that I’m glad we did it.  One bonus to not having our decorations – we had to go get new lights and we finally found a solution to our White v Color lights situation.  Target had lights that are BOTH!  and also LED so I don’t feel bad leaving them on for maximum magical moments.  Even being woken up by a 2am nosebleed is more magical when gently lit by a Christmas tree.

 

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color

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white

 

This is my last full week in MN for the year – next week is my birthday and then we take off for the holiday to return sometime near newyears (not totally planned).  I hope to do the gift rationalization where I go investigate my hidden stashes and see what I need to finish up.  That is my plan for the rest of today before kid time, just wanted to hop online to see how the blog world is doing.

Dress for cheap = cheap

We have all seen the super inexpensive sites with cute dresses or coats for unbelievable prices.  You know there is a catch.  There is always a catch….

When I saw this one though I was hooked.  It was the A-line, it was the cool top, and the real reason I forked over the price of 3 coffees was the fabric.  I wanted it for Christmas and it has been ages since I got a dress for an occasion so I took the risk.

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Note!  I have done some research on this topic, I’m not the first person to take a risk and so I learned from others that the sizes are very very very different.  I zoomed in on the size chart and found myself ordering an XL as that best correlated to my 6-8 American size.

I also know that shipping is slow but since I was seeing this two weeks before Thanksgiving I crossed my fingers and hoped it would arrive before Christmas travel.

  • It arrived yesterday, about a month later but in plenty of time
  • Right out of the package it needed an iron but otherwise, construction was decent.  Finished seams and the zipper worked.
  • Fabric was as cute as I hoped, very pleased with the print.

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The real test was fit.  I tried it on and it was both too big and too small at the same time.

I absolutely had to do some tailoring on the sides so I didn’t even bother taking a picture of it on me before I took out 2 inches on each side because instead of the hourglass shape in the model picture, mine was more of a cylinder with a pleated skirt.  Trimming in the sides did  make it better, I solved the ‘too big’ issue in just a few seams.

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black lines are where I pulled it in.

So here you see it.  It isn’t ‘bad’ but it sure isn’t good.img_4744

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Do you see where my hands are? They are on my natural waist, about where the skirt should be…  it isn’t.  It is two inches or more off and it makes the proportions of the top look wrong to me (and to the other people who saw it on me).  It looks frumpy and even if I carved out another inch or so to make it actually tight I can’t fix the length of my top.

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The second odd situation is the bust area.  I like the way the structure looks (still needs an iron) but it too high for my chest.  Ironically if I pull it down to be in the right spot for my chest then the waist is closer to correct but it is impossible to actually make it stay like that.  Maybe the shoulders are wrong?  If I added length to the shoulder then the armhole would be so big you could see my entire bra.  The armhole is actually the only thing that is about perfect.

I think the only way to salvage is to chop the top off and have a cute skirt with adorable fabric.  This is a test shot with the top folded down.  While I’m at it, I might shorten it a touch to be knee length instead of tea length but I’ll see about that later.  Since I’m cutting and sewing already I’ll probably add pockets.

In the end, I’ll end up with a skirt I can probably wear more frequently than once a year for Christmas but I’ll also have put in the time to make it happen.  I do like that it already has a zipper, that is my least favorite part and if someone said that they would do the zipper on a skirt for me for the price of 3 coffees I would absolutely do that.

I think I learned my lesson on internet cheap dresses.  Unless I’m looking at it for the fabric, it is not worth the price regardless how low it is.

Rememberance day 

Original bullet holes

Monument as seen from the base

Final rest and a rainbow