Monday, November 30, 2015

Cupcakes with Sprinkles

Trying to think what to include in this journal and having the time to do it is just too much, so I'll concentrate on cupcakes right now.

I had found a bottle of Christmas sprinkles in Target right before I came here, and it was discovered early by Graysen, so of course the talk of cupcakes came up.

On Friday morning, Graysen and I went out on a mission - to buy cupcake mix to bring home and make cupcakes when Mama came home from work.  Fun!

Not much else could have sent me out in 29-degree weather.  I found that if I wear 2 pairs of socks, jeans and pajama bottoms, a cotton sweater and a windbreaker, I'm just fine.  I feel like a snowman, but I'm warm.

We set out on our usual path, picking up rocks and leaves and talking about sticks and grates and trees and planes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cars, wheelbarrows - and much more.  The leaves were perfect for kicking and crunching.

We walked by the apartments on the way - the one with the American flag that's small and the one with the 2 red chairs.  She walked on the stone wall and took every set of steps she could find.

Inside the market, Graysen was soooo excited at getting to pick out her very own cake mix.  I found a set of 99-cent ones and let her take her choice; she chose German chocolate.  She carried it through the store, pointing out bacon, yogurt, cheese, carrots, broccoli, apples, and grapes, and getting thrilled at the sight of every one of them.  I love this age.  There were Christmas banners and Christmas displays to exclaim over.  She stood in line so patiently and let her cake mix box be put on the conveyor belt.  But one she got it back, she never relinquished it until we got home.

She would stop every block or so and squat down and study the ingredients and discuss eggs and clocks and measuring cups.

She reluctantly let it sit on the counter until Mama got home, and then we could get started.  She broke the eggs, poured in the water, and did the mixing.

 She put in the liners and picked out a special one for herself.

 Then came the sprinkles - the most fun.

We didn't do icing - to the displeasure of almost everyone.  I thought it would be good for them to not be TOO delicious.

Some random pictures that I have that don't need much explanation.

Wendy and Allen with their daughter Audrey spent the afternoon and had dinner with us.

 I didn't cook a thing - what a great Thanksgiving.  Allen made the hors-d'oeuvres - cheeses and crackers, bacon deviled eggs, and shrimp cocktail.  Ryan did the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans and Emily made the dressing and cranberry sauce.

Grandmama Windham's china.

 Being watched over by Jack the Cat.

Beautiful Audrey who will be a big sister Sunday.

 Graysen stringing beads with Aunt Wendy while Audrey does a little cooking.

And some park pictures.

She's encouraging another little boy here, giving him a round of applause and a "good job."

Today has been a cold stay-at-home sort of day except for Katherine who went to the doctor for her 6-month checkup and got 4 shots.  Glad I didn't have to go.  :(  You would never know it though because she's smiling and curious and just her usual sweet self.  Graysen is taking her long afternoon nap, so the grownups get some free time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day Before Thanksgiving

I just retrieved my camera from my bag  and I haven't even opened the computer since Monday, so this will be a picture-less post.

Monday - The trip was uneventful - Montgomery to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Seattle.  It was an especially nice flight to Seattle - nice flight attendants and nice seatmates, not too much turbulence.  It's just that middle seat that gets a little cramped.  I did have someone so interesting that I met in the seat next to mine - someone who has dabbled in even more crafts and sewing ventures than I have.  Her work with miniatures sounds out of this world, and I'm hoping to get back in contact with her and see some of them.

Mike and Emily picked me up - in the rain, of course, and before we were out of the airport fully, Emily just couldn't wait to tell me.  She said do you want to know some good news now or wait until we get home?"  Silly girl!  I couldn't imagine.  It turns out that Mike's spot on the brain that was thought to be a metastasis from the lung cancer was not that at all; it was a blood vessel and not in any need of treatments.  It was just too amazing to comprehend how almost the worst thing in the world could turn into a situation where the words "cancer free" were spoken.  Dr Kaplan, the oncologist was said to have done a dance in the hallway to celebrate.  We're all pretty thrilled ourselves!

Yesterday, Emily and I left the babies with the guys and went shopping.  We first went by a little house in Fall City that is going to be for rent in December.  Teeny little cottage but in such a cute neighborhood and an interesting little town.  Only 13 miles from Snoqualmie too.

Then it was Starbucks (of course) and then Nordstrom Rack in Factoria.  Emily was needing work clothes, and I was just along for the ride.  We did take a total of 20 things into the dressing rooms, and all but 2 got a thumbs down.  The clearance prices on some things there are probably more than twice what I would ordinarily pay for something -  it was fun to look around and try on shoes and stuff, but I didn't see a thing I even considered twice.  Except for some warm owl slippers.

We next went to Costco.   My few experiences at the Costco in Issaquah have amazed me.  It's like a Black Friday sale every time, and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was not a great day to be in there.  We waited in line to order a pizza.  We waited in line to check out.  Emily waited in a LONG line to pick up a prescription.  It was hard to maneuver the aisles because of 10 or 15 people in the same aisle.  Not a place I would want to take children.  People were nice though, and it wasn't a bad experience.  I was kind of spooked by the creepy guy pushing agave honey.  I passed by him  about 3 times, and every time I heard a whispery voice saying "Ahhh-gaaaa-vay.  Ahhhh-gaaaa-vay."  He went on about diabetics and blood sugar, but I didn't see anyone lining up to try it.

Today:  Both mornings, I've been awakened by a shy little knock at the door and then a not-so-shy knock at the door and then a little head appearing around the corner.  Graysen loves to get up early and loves to come get in Mimi's bed to snuggle.  Mike gets up early and goes downstairs to read or try to sleep some more, so we have long and random talks about dreams and owls and birthday party hats and Cinderella - and much more.  I treasure those times - sleepy eyes, hair all messed up, and warm little arms and legs.  She's learning about Christmas the past few days and is so excited even before Thanksgiving at hearing about Rudolph and Frosty and Jingle Bells.

I had wanted to take her to story time at the library for a long time, and we actually pulled it off today.  The fact that the temperature was in the mid-30s didn't stop us.  She was so cute waking along with me and making comments about everything.  It took us maybe 10 minutes to get there, checking out all the cracks in the sidewalk and all the leaves and pine cones.  We were early, and the place looked dark, so I had a feeling story time was cancelled.  We walked around the town, looking in windows and talking about important things until the doors opened - and sure enough it was one of the weeks when it was cancelled.  I still got a temporary library card and went over to the children's section to let her look at and hear a few books.  We checked out "The Lost Mitten," and one about Cinderella and a ballerina - lots of pink and stars on the front.

Then we walked across the street to a deli for hot chocolate.  I don't think Graysen had ever had any, and it was such a treat to watch her taste it.  Really nice lady who waited on us cooled it down and put in more milk than anything.  She was talking about how she was frying turkeys for a free Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wanted to come.  Such a nice thing.  She said they would serve everyone until it was gone.  We then walked home and again examined every puddle and light pole and bush she wanted to.  I loved that I had the time and patience to do this with her.  My hands were frozen into claws carrying her pine cones and leaves, but it didn't matter.  It was a special time to share with her.

Katherine has been sweet and smiley and bubbly most of the day, but there have been times when she got tired of all the distractions offered and just wanted to be walked around or fed or bounced.  I don't mind.  There's nothing like kissing the back of a nearly 6-month-old's neck and watching those little hands reach for things.

I took Graysen up for her nap and read her 2 books and she was already yawning.  As I got up, she said, "Thank you, Mimi, for reading me books.  I love you SO much."  Again, my heart couldn't get any fuller.

Now she's still asleep, Ryan's downstairs stuffing a turkey for the big dinner tomorrow, and Mike is feeding Katherine.  I took this chance to get away for a few minutes and write.  I might not get a chance for days, and I don't want to forget anything.  Maybe I'll remember to take some pictures next time/

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 4

Since I have been absent so long, I just want to dump a bunch of pictures and thoughts before I forget them so one day I will halfway remember this part of my life.

Just looking at pictures from my camera:

This is what happens when I get up from my chairs.  It happens in the den and in the sewing room.  If I leave, Stella takes my place immediately - and then acts miffed when I make her get up.  She usually sleeps with her front paws in Mike's shoes, so I guess she's missing him.

I was lucky enough to get to type another paper for Daniel, and this one was more interesting to me than his usual "indians and presidents" I tease him about.   This is for the Natchez Antiques Forum of which he is the director.  His lecture is on Octavia Walton LeVert, a socialite who lived in Mobile in the 1800s, traveled to Europe, and entertained literary and political figures in her home.  She compiled her letters into a book called Souvenirs of Travel.  I enjoyed it, and I'm sure his audience will love it too, especially with the beautiful slide presentation.  

Daniel showing much relief at having wrapped his paper up almost a week early!  He's become a good friend to us through the years, and we'll miss him if we move.

I did a little bit of sewing this fall.  I have to admit that I would love to sew more with knit fabrics.  They are so comfortable for children - easy on and off, never need ironing, etc. - but they're a little tricky to sew.  I kept seeing patterns for leggings and knew that they would be super easy - but I just needed someone to hold my hand.  Beth's Heirlooms in Wetumpka offered a class that I signed up for using this pattern.

I went and picked out my fabric and pattern a few days beforehand and found some brown corduroy for a matching top, then came home and traced the pattern and cut out my leggings.

The class was on a Thursday night, and there were just 4 of us, so it was a really fun time.  Beth gave us some tips and instructions, but we mainly just followed the pattern and sewed them up in no time.   I made both girls a pair, and they turned out so cute.

I can see myself making a lot of these over the next few years.  With the NW climate, these are almost necessary we wear under dresses and long tops.

I had the idea for the dress/tunic and did the embroidery first thing.  I found this fox pattern from Urban Threads, and it just makes me happy.  This is the same place I found the leaf patterns I posted earlier - just a little different from the usual embroidery sites.

I think it looks very fall-ish without being too Halloween and different from the usual pumpkins.  I did the embroidery and then the leggings, mailed the leggings, and then started working on the top.

I loved making this pattern.  The neck facing and pockets just add so much to the look.  I knew kind of what I wanted for the contrasting fabric, and when I saw this at Joann's, I knew it was perfect.  

Peeking out just a little bit from the neck and pockets, it adds something to this otherwise boring brown corduroy.  Which is going to be a pain to keep lint and cat and dog hair free.

Right now, I have it hemmed for more of a dress length, but I'll mail it and see if it fits and whether to hem it to be a tunic.  I thought about looking for some fox buttons, but I'll wait to see about the fit before I order special buttons.

Once I see the whole picture, I can see that the embroidery is a tad too high but not terrible. 

Next time, I'll use lighter fabrics and skip the embroidery - maybe I'll even try a knit.

The only other thing I've done this fall is the Lazy Day Skirt from Oliver + S.  There are several versions of it, and I want to try them all.  I did Graysen one to match her pumpkin using piping.  Easiest think I've ever made, and I love the hem facing.

Lots of orange!

And this!  Graysen was asking Google to show her pictures of "leopard cubs" and her parents were teasing her about leper cups.  She is very serious about it though and has surpassed me in her knowledge already.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I think it was worth it

Mike left Thursday morning in the Big Yellow Truck with probably half of our possessions headed to Snoqualmie.  Probably if he had listened to anyone, traveling 2000 miles alone the week after finishing radiation and chemo was not a good idea.  But who's listening.  The idea was to go ahead and move everything, and then we couldn't change our minds,

This was the size truck he decided on after a lot of research and a lot of measuring and realizing the kind of truck he could reasonably handle.  It just took 2 laps around the Home Depot parking lot before he was gone, and I had to follow the best I could.

Mustard yellow seems to be our color lately.  This was a Washington-looking morning to be unloading at Uncle Bob's.  We'll miss Uncle Bob's - but not much.  We'll miss the monthly payments when we have to pay triple in WA.

This was the first backing-up trial, and he did it flawlessly and parked with the big boys at the storage lot.  I've seen worse parking with the little silver car.

There was more room in the truck than we thought.  There were 70 boxes and other items from the storage unit, and he took 3 of the heaviest pieces of furniture plus the Japanese maple that I couldn't leave behind.  We hired 3 people from a moving company to load it, and they did a wonderful job securing things and using the space well.

The trip took 4 LONG days and 3 nights on the road.  He stopped in northern Arkansas, Sioux Falls (where he enjoyed the company of Ryan's parents for a Chinese dinner and good conversation), and the last night in Montana, I think, or Idaho.  He got there fairly late Sunday night and then felt pretty rough yesterday, running a fever and having chills.

He has what he calls an 85% recovery this morning and is receiving the best medicine ever.  Here he's reading Graysen a book on fish - fish eyelids, fish eggs, daddies, mommies, babies, frog eating flies.  Fun, fun.  And it looks like a nice cozy fire to read by.

I have 25 different things to do this morning and am determined to get them done, so hopefully I will add some sewing pictures later and Halloween ones.  It's just hard to ever get pictures and thoughts together - and find the camera USB cord.