Friday, July 17, 2015

Too Hot to Blog

Or that's my excuse anyway.

I drove to Andalusia yesterday to see Mama, and she didn't want me to come because of the heat.  My car was probably 10 degrees cooler than her room.  Maybe more.

She is thriving in The Manor, and her only complaint is her back pain and not having enough time to do all the activities they offer.  She got back from exercise yesterday and was laughing about "all those old people" and how much fun they had playing wheelchair volleyball.  Being awake is optional, but if you doze, the ball might bounce off your head.  She found that hilarious and admitted she missed quite a few times and got it in the face.  I'm not sure how much the Elvis impersonator a couple of weeks ago knows how much he has been discussed.  The activities people there do an excellent job of planning interesting things.  I know it's not easy when half the residents don't seem to know what's going on - but to the other half, it makes for a lot of enjoyment and discussion.  Once on my way out, a heavily made up lady with a tiara and evening gown came out of a door and winked at me.  HE was on his way to the womanless beauty contest.  From the looks of the pictures on the bulletin board, he had a lot of competition.  There are sad and unfortunate people there, but overall there is a sense of contentment and happiness there when you walk up and down the halls.  I know Mama is thrilled with the attention she gets from the nurses and staff.

Today I've decided on 3 things I have to do.  Write something here.  Make a nice lunch trying a new recipe.  Start on a new project.

This is what I've going to make Graysen for her tent - a Little Boy Blue Toddler Bean Bag.  Just reading the instructions, it looks doable.  The zipper might give me problems, but I'm going to worry about that when the time comes.

When I started to print the pattern, 3 pages were blank.  I finally figured out that using the Chrome browser caused it and went to Internet Explorer, and there they were.

I figured we would have an awful time figuring out which fabrics to use, but I sent Emily a suggestion of a line from the Michael Miller line, Wee Wander.  She immediately found 2 that she loved, and we think they will work together well.

This is really a pretty coral and not the orange it shows in this picture.  Graysen is going to love the horses and hop-hops and deer and everything going on in those fabrics.

I'm washing the fabric now and can't wait to get started.  The bean bag has a lining, so that will be a good test of whether things are going to fit together like they should.

The chicken recipe I'm going to try is Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken.  We'll see.

I walked around in the yard briefly this morning - VERY briefly - and found that a few things are withstanding the heat.  

Mike planted a row of sunflowers in a tiny space between the driveway and fence, and there was not enough soil for even these hardy flowers to grow.  They did their best but turned their faces to the fence.

I sneaked up on this one and found this beauty.  It is HUGE.  

The very best zinnias that I bought early at Home Depot.  They have not wavered during the heat and are even lusher than before.  They look a lot like marigolds with their short stems and rounded blossoms.

The zinnia bed keeps getting taller and taller, and the white crepe myrtle adds bit of a cool feeling.

Even with a new haircut, Darby is still not enjoying the heat and humidity and wants only to lie in the sunroom under the fan.

These might be the last of the tomatoes in the yard for awhile.  I just sliced one for lunch.

I did get to the library to look for the list of 53 books that someone had recommended on Facebook that were supposed to be good.  There were only 2 at our Pike Road branch, but that didn't keep me from bringing home a full bag.  Reading sounds like an excellent way to spend these hot summer days.

I was excited to find a new book by Anne Tyler.  I used to read everything she wrote.  This one was okay but not as good as I expected.  The one on the bottom I've almost finished, and it's kind of strange, but I still want to see how it ends.  When I start reading, that's all I want to do.  I love having a big stack of unread books waiting for me to open them.

Time for lunch.  The chicken looks and tastes really good but nothing like that picture!  

I'm not sure what the maple syrup does for the recipe, but I think I would use less and use more mustard.  Still, a lovely flavor and so moist and tender.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

So, It Wasn't a Bad Dream

That crash that woke us up about 1:30 has now been identified.  I don't think either of us wakes us easily, but when it sounds like a car has crashed into your house, it will get your attention.

The problem is that it was very noisy for a couple of minutes and then silence.  No car accident in the street.  No sirens.  No voices.  The air conditioner still worked.  It was eerily silent.  We checked all the doors and windows and turned on lights and fretted and wondered and worried.  My first thought was that it was the air conditioning unit because as we were standing in the hall, just as all the noise went away, the air conditioner cycled off.  And doesn't that always happen when you decide to sell your house?   If I could describe the sound better, it was like 4 garbage trucks parked next to the window.

It shook me up.  Mike seemed to not be TOO worried.  We stayed up in the den and talked about it and even made cups of coffee, knowing we weren't going right back to sleep.  We kind of knew that it wasn't crepe myrtle limbs, because the noise was too loud for that.

He finally went to sleep on the couch, and I just watched a movie on my computer until 4:30.  Even then, I still had a trembly feeling that wouldn't go away, afraid we were going to find something bad in the morning.

When I finally woke up, the guy from Home Depot was just leaving, having come and measured the den for carpet, and Mike was out front with a wheelbarrow full of topsoil and a rake.

He had been busy.

This used to be a huge lugustrum (I think) on this corner.

This was the first thing Mike saw when he went outside.

The beautiful lawn that Mike had worked so hard on and babied through all the heat.  

Our neighbors seem to be out of town, but they had a near-miss also.

We were just going to let it go, but an insurance adjuster passed by on his morning walk and advised Mike to contact the police just to cover all the bases.  Which he did, and a policeman came by and checked it all out.  We figure there's not much chance the car made it out of that unharmed; in fact, we found broken tail light pieces on the ground.  He said he would be on the lookout for anyone reporting a "hit and run" or something similar.  But it doesn't matter to us who it was or the reason.  We're just hoping it made an impression on the driver to change his or her driving habits.  Doubtful though.

This was not the only visitor we had last night.  At some point yesterday, these were whole hostas -  2 of them - certainly ragged and heat damaged - but whole.  Looks like the deer are checking for food.  They loved the hibiscus last year, but we don't have one this year, and the hostas are all we can see that they've dined on so far.

Just walking around the yard with the camera, everything else looks peaceful and happy to have had a couple of days of rain.

I always enjoy throwing out several packets of zinnias in the spring.  They hardly ever let me down.

For some reason, Mike decided to fill in a narrow slice of soil between the driveway and fence with sunflowers.  Interesting.

The Texas vine has started to bloom but not too enthusiastically.  I think it's just begun.

Since I've been back from the NW, I've been useless.  Just cannot drum up any enthusiasm for any projects or much of anything.  Luckily, I can get by with it - so far.

We decided to go ahead and replace the carpet in the den.  We were going to leave it old and stained for any potential buyers to decide what they wanted to do with the space.  But it was beginning to bother us and figured it might bother lookers too.

I tried to sew a little.  I bought this cute fabric when Emily and I were shopping for Graysen's hideaway tent.

I started a Bapron since Graysen has outgrown all hers.  It's about the only thing that will cover enough of her when she eats, but the old ones just barely cover her tummy.  I made a 24 month to 3 year size, and this looked more like it.

I'm not sure I'll ever enjoy putting on seam binding.  I even bought a special seam binding foot, but maybe I'm not using it correctly.  I have better luck just eyeing it with a regular foot.  Guess it doesn't matter for this article destined to be smeared with yogurt and spaghetti.

Since I had enough fabric, I have one cut out for Baby Kate, although it's hard to imagine her being big enough to eat.

The Febreze is always there because I share my sewing space with Darby, and she doesn't smell the best all the time.

And not to leave out Little Baby (named Rusty briefly), I made him one too.  He normally doesn't wear clothes, but maybe he will wear the bib.

I bought a couple of yards of cute vinyl fabric some time ago and finally cut out something.  I think this might come in handy when Graysen paints.

Or maybe not.  It seems to work now to try to get her into the downstairs shower and let her play for awhile until all traces of the paint are gone.  

I did find this beautiful fabric at Joann Fabrics.  I was looking around with the idea of finding something for doll quilts for the bunk beds Mike and are I going to fix up for the girls.  This one has the grays, corals, and aquas of both the nursery and Gracie's room.  My photography and lighting don't do it justice.  I forgot to notice what it is - not 100% cotton surely - because it has a lovely feel to it, like maybe it would work for clothing.  

Just a couple of pictures of our sweet girls.

Memories of a happy morning at Snoqualmie Community Park.  Gracie had all the space she needed to run and run.  Kate slept, and Emily and I had a rare clear view of Rainier (ust to left of this picture).  

One of many picnics once she decided she was "hungry outside."

A grownup-looking girl who is finally allowing mini pony tails, bows (sometimes), sunglasses, and even a bracelet.  Yay for Gracie!

These pictures always make me happy.  Poor Baby Kate is getting used to whole-face kisses from big sister.  It could be worse.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I didn't spend my WHOLE time up here holding and taking care of babies.  Emily and I did get one project finished and got a good idea of things Graysen needs made for the summer or matched or altered.

I am actually amazed that we pulled this off.  Emily send me this link a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it looked pretty difficult.  was more confident.   She wanted a place where Graysen could sit and read or play while she feeds the baby after all the grammas are gone and they're alone.  She ordered a hula hoop, and Ryan picked up one somewhere, and I figured this was all that would become of them.

The smaller colorful one was the one we ended up using.

We first went to Joann Fabrics looking for a nice jersey knit that would drape the way it should.  We never thought we would find the exact gray and white stripe used in the tutorial.  It's perfect, so stretchy, so when it gets pulled on, it has a lot of give.  All we had to buy then was some white cotton (we underbought and had to go back and get more - blame cheap fabric and my misjudging some) and Velcro.

Emily printed the template and drew it onto the white fabric, and I sewed the scallops.  Again, I misjudged and made too few to fit around the hula hoop.  Next time (ha), we'll do a lot better on measurements.  The directions for the tent top baffled me up to the actual sewing them together.  Ryan did a little math, and he and Emily handled that part.  It was so exciting to see it all put together and become a real circus tent top.  We could have used another inch or so to fit down over the hula hoop better, but we are so proud of ourselves.

Here are some pictures of the end result.

She seems to like it.  Ryan is going to add an LED light inside so she will have light to read or play by.  Right now, Graysen's little chair is in there, but we now have plans to make a beanbag in the nursery colors.  Nothing can stop us now that we're so crafty!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It's finally summer in Washington

When I left Alabama, it was already hot, humid, and sunny, but here it has been mainly overcast.  Hardly any rain but just cool cloudy days, especially in the mornings, although midday and afternoons are perfect.  But yesterday, real summer came.

To celebrate, Emily, Graysen, and I had a picnic on the deck.  Grapes and cheese and leftover Greek salad.

Griff enjoyed it too, especially with the hope of getting a taste of strawberry yogurt popsicle.  Gracie likes lemonade popsicles best of all - LOVES them - and is not crazy about the yogurt ones, but she carries it around until it melts.

Once she went down for her nap, Emily and I headed out on our own little adventure.  So exciting to get away for a few hours.

First we stopped at Starbucks and got an iced coffee, and then went to Value Village, a really nice thrift shop in Issaquah, in hope of finding Gracie some outdoor toys, but we struck out.

We then went to Fred Meyer.  

I had been here before and liked it.  It's a grocery store and home store, etc., sort of like a nice Wal-Mart with a greenhouse and plant section.  Just look at these beautiful plants.  Good prices too.

Emily and Ryan have 3 big pots on the front porch, and this is what we got to put in the middle of 2 along with lots of herbs and some annuals.

Baby K slept without a peep through all the plant shopping and grocery shopping.  This was in the greenhouse, and she was getting a little warm - but still sleeping.

The simplest toys are the best.  We got Gracie this bag of dinosaurs, not even knowing if she knew what one was.  She loved them so much and spent a lot of time organizing them and whispering about them.

Then we took them outside with a bowl of water, and she washed and played and then washed a little more.

The giant bottle of bubbles was a big hit too.  It's so frustrating, though, to want to blow a bubble, but your whoosh just doesn't get there, so Mama and Mimi have to do it.

Stomping them is still a lot of fun.

Ryan grilled hamburgers while Emily did some side dishes, and I had the terrible job of holding Katherine for as long as I wanted to.  She slept no matter what direction I moved her and is just so beautiful and perfect.  It was impossible to take a good picture of someone that close, but it didn't stop me from trying.