Sunday, October 12, 2014

This post is for Jessie

Because you, Jessie, asked for it. I give no excuses for not blogging since May-ish.

I believe in love at first sight. No, it didn't happen with Jim and me (and that's ok. We've managed to remain married for nearly 26 years despite not falling in love the first time we laid eyes on each other. The first time I saw Jim at work at the Morris Center back when it was a cafeteria, my first thought was "He looks Hispanic. I wonder if he has an accent?" and then I wandered back to my job in the dishroom and giggled my way through the rest of my shift and didn't think anymore about that "Hispanic" guy") (I have no idea what Jim thought the first time he saw me. He probably thought "She works in the dishroom and I bet she giggles a lot" and then he went back to work on C line and did his job like he was supposed to).

Anyway back to love at first sight. It happens with your babies. I experienced love at first sight with Katie, Jimmy, Paul, Hayley and then Matt. It was that overwhelming urge to hold the little bebe forever and hug and kiss them every single second. (I still have that urge, by the way, but none of my babies will allow me to indulge in it anymore. Don't let your little babies grow up to be big babies)

I experienced it again this past week when I walked in the door to Katie and Christian's apartment and beheld little Jackson, my first grandbaby.


I spent the week holding him and kissing his face, arms, legs, feet, ears, neck, knees, hands, elbows. I would have kissed his cute little butt too, but I didn't because he poops a lot. And frequently when his diaper is off.

I have WAY more pictures of little Jackson but this will suffice for now.

As for what did we do on our visit, the answer is mostly hold Jackson. Jim and I didn't want to leave him. I'm not fond of the idea of being a long-distance grandma, but I know it can be done and done well, so I will have to make sure I invest the time necessary to be a good long-distance grandma.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Prose and Cons

It's a Sunday morning, I have an hour before I have to leave for church, my Sunday School lesson is prepared, the kids get themselves ready for church, I've eaten lunch, so now what? Blog!

It's almost the end of the school year, which means I tend to think about how old my babies are and wonder where the time went. Hayley is almost done being a junior and Matt is almost done being a freshman. I started this blog back in 2008 when Katie was just graduating, and Matt was in 3rd grade. It boggles the mind.

Ok enough of that.

I gots pictures.

Band concert in the gym. Matt looked all nice and I think he knew where I was sitting.

Trombonist in action
This was taken at the Robotics end-of-the-year banquet. The girl sitting next to Matt had no problem being photographed. Matt, on the other hand, would not cooperate. This was the best shot I could get of him.
Matt and the KING TeC robot. I don't remember the name they gave it.
Matt helped a little bit with the innards. He said he made wire tabs or something.

Hayley bassooning at the band concert

Hayley likes to go to nerd or geek conventions. This weekend is Animinneapolis and here she is with her friend. She is dressed as.....something saiyan. I tried the wig on once and made faces at her, but she looks much better in it. Anecdote about what she has in her hand: A package arrived a couple months ago and it was opened. I looked in and saw what I thought were soaps. But the package was addressed to Hayley. I wondered why she would order soap when I think I do a pretty good job of providing body cleaning agents. I asked her what they were and she said, "Popsicles." No way. These things did not melt, and they weren't cold or made of a frozen material. She insisted they were edible. She let me taste one, and despite the blue-green color, they are pretty tasty. They taste like butter carmel. And are apparently intrinsic to the costume of this particular character.  This was her costume on Friday--they were out late at a concert by Steam Powered Giraffes.

And this is her costume for Animinneapolis for Saturday. Frozen fans will know who she is portraying here. I like how she used her hair to simulate muttonchops. Also, I will have you know that she spent all week worrying about the boots. The zipper was stuck and she wanted me to buy her a new pair of boots for the convention. I didn't give it much thought until Friday afternoon as she was getting ready for the con and she started whining about the boots again. "See this is why I wanted to get new boots this week" Wah wah wah. So I grabbed the boots and pushed and pulled and yanked and finally got out the tweezers and got the zipper unstuck. Go me! I was a hero. The boots stuck again on Saturday morning with her foot still in the boot, but we managed to get the boot off and I worked my zipper unsticking magic again. And then I cut off the part of the boot that kept getting stuck.

 Ok, time to get ready for church.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Domo arigato

Styx song anyone?

This post isn't really about Mr. Roboto.

It's about Matt. And robots. When Matt was little and when he talked all the time, I thought he was going to be interested in theater. He liked hamming it up on the stage--one time he sang "Bob the Builder" for a church talent show when he was three or four. Another year, he told jokes. He seemed to like the limelight.

But now that he's a teenager, his interests have taken a very different turn. He came home from school one afternoon and said, almost as an aside, "Oh by the way, my friends want me to try out for the robotics team." and then he wandered off to help himself to a post-educational snack. He had never shown an interest in anything mechanical or computerical (other than using a computer to play games). Let me amend that: he did like drawing thousands of miniscule robots on pieces of paper when he was little. He could fill up every inch on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with tiny little robots of various shapes and sizes and varying styles of appendages. But drawing them and building them are two different hobbies in my mind. I just thought robots were something he would draw, not actually take part in building.

Anyway, he tried out and made the team.

And this spring, he was part of the KING TeC team that won the Chairman award at the Regional tournament, which meant they were invited to the World Robotics competition in St Louis.

KING TeC is a very respected robotics program, despite the fact that they wear capes and crowns (King, get it?).

Matt had a good time in St Louis with the team. His main task at the competition was to scout out other robots, see what they were good at, what their weaknesses were, etc. I was able to watch a couple of their matches on a live stream on the internet. Their robot didn't win and it had some trouble in some of the matches, but I'm still amazed that these kids built an actual robot that actually functioned--the robot had to be able to toss large balls into a target zone, pass balls from one robot to another, and toss them over a truss. They also had to block other robots and defend their zone.

It's not an activity I would have suggested for him, but then he isn't me. I'm glad that he has found something he likes to participate in. I look forward to watching him on the Robotics team next year and the two years after that!

I don't want to write novels about Matt's time in St Louis but I would like to share a couple of pictures that were sent to us of the team: (click on the pictures to enlarge)
the official team portrait. I'm glad Matt is a smallish guy so that he gets put in the front and I can spot him easily.

The team just before heading off to "Roboprom." You can't really tell but Matt dressed up. He went to Roboprom as "The Second Doctor." Two of his friends (on the very right side) went as the Fifth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor. Matt said people wanted to take pictures of them. Also, I asked Matt if they did the Robodance at Roboprom and he said No. I said that it wasn't a real Roboprom if you don't do the Robodance. Big time Fail.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Over the river and through the woods

A picture I stole from facebook. Those feet are not Jim's and mine, those are Katie's and Christian's. So Jim and I get promoted from dad and mom to Granddad and Grandma! And all the kids get promoted to aunt and uncles!  (except Katie, who is already an aunt to Christian's nephews)(and besides, Kate will be promoted to Mom!)

First of all, my official mother of the mother-to-be congratulations to Katie! And mother-in-law congratulations to Christian as well!

Yes, I have known about this for a while, but Katie made me not broadcast it because she wanted to do it herself, which I guess I can understand.

I can't wait to be a grandma! I had two fantastic grandmas from which to draw some lessons on how to be a grandma. Sadly both of them have gone on to heavenly things, one just little while ago. Grandma Hawley, if you're listening, you are going to be a great-great grandma! I wish I could have told you while you were still here. And Grandma Talberg, you are a great-great grandma several times over but I still would have liked to tell you too.

Some lessons I learned from Grandma Hawley: take the grandchildren to be with aunts and uncles and cousins. Get out of the way of the cousin fun. Buy pizza and Kentucky Fried chicken. Let them watch The Price is Right. Take them to movies. Make desserts for them. Smell good. Smile and laugh a lot. Tell stories of the grandchildren's parents often and make sure to point out that they were bad sometimes, but still loved. Keep dress up clothes and Barbies for the girls to play with. Always have gum on hand. Buy them treats when in town. Send them out to gather eggs from the chickens, or out to get the mail. Show them how to get the dog to do tricks. Let them sit in the recliners and recline. Smile and give them hugs when they come to visit.

Some lessons I learned from Grandma Talberg: Tell grandchildren to be careful (an offshoot of this is to have a "catchphrase" that your grandchildren can giggle about behind their hands--Grandma Talberg's was "No, you don't know" whenever we said, "We know" to her admonitions to be careful at the park or the pool. We still say that in remembrance of Grandma Talberg). Cook wonderful dinners with lots of food. Grow lots of food. Send the kids outside to play. Let them go to the park and to the pool. Let them watch "I Dream of Jeannie." Tell them stories of poltergeists in the house. Give them Honeycomb cereal. Take them shopping with you. Let them go to the library by themselves. Keep candy in glass dishes around the house and let them have some even close to dinner time. Pay them 25 cents to straighten the rugs. Smile and give them hugs when they come over.

There are also lessons to be learned from my own mother. She's a wonderful grandma. Write letters to them. Send stickers, gum, and the occasional dollar bill. Teach them to play the piano. Pay them to pick up sticks and pinecones. Build fires for them. Have Easter egg hunts for them. Make them do a Christmas program. Sew for them. Have them over to clean your cupboards and let them stand on the counters to do it. Give them ice cream. Buy them books. Go to Bethesda Thrift store with them. Get lost while driving. Talk to them. Take them to the Arboretum and let them run around. Have a toy closet and a toy hall. Have puzzles on hand. Smile and give them hugs when they visit.

From all three of them, I have learned to leave the lecturing to the parents.

Bring on the baby!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cue the scary music

Early this morning, before the sun was even sort of up, I went out to the van to hit the gym for some early morning exercise (I joined a club at the beginning of the year. I am not thin yet. I am blaming the club). The garage was pitch black, even though the garage door was open to the driveway, but I thought "Meh, I don't feel like turning on the garage light. I know my way to the car door and that way I won't have to turn the light off later." So I stepped into the garage.

And promptly bumped into a box with a big squishy sleeping bag on it, which rolled to the side and bumped into something else.

That bump triggered a tinkly musical noise...a music box.

I don't recollect a music box in the garage. I wasn't familiar with the tune. I am familiar with horror movies though, and this seemed like the perfect opening to one.

So I hustled my buns to Vanna White (the vehicle, who was NO help at all) and squealed the tires out of the garage.

After I exercised off my terror and after the sun had come up, I ventured back into the garage and looked around the squishy sleeping bag for the music box. But I never found anything that would have made the tinkly music.

I'm toying with the idea of telling Jim we need to move.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's a 52 things kind of day

But I'm not going to list them all here. Besides, really it's just a list of years; on the other hand, those years add up to Jim. And I'm kind of partial to Jim.

Yes, folks, it's make-a-cake day! And also eat-a-cake day! I'm sure you all saw pics of his cake on fb or instagram (or both) already.

But here it is again:
Jim never did give me any input on how to decorate the cake, so I had to come up with it on my own. I picked what I hoped was a highlight of this past year (despite the red eyes--come to think of it, I should have put a pair of red eyes on the cake somewhere). He has also been complaining about the winter. Personally, I don't know what there is to complain about; it's Minnesota, winter is SUPPOSED to be cold and snowy. But whatev. He seems to like "warm weather" or whatever it's called.

Last night we went out for dinner and then he suggested a stroll around Barnes and Noble. Jim grabbed the one book he wanted and I had to limit myself to four. Today we're just relaxing around the house and finding excuses to sneak finger-scoops of leftover frosting.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Do I need more skirts?

Yes. Always.

I've been on a sewing binge lately. I shared on Facebook this past week that I spent a whole day cutting out skirts, shirts, and a dress. I have started sewing up what I cut out.

So far, I have completed two of the skirts and one shirt.

Gray maxi skirt.
 I love maxi skirts. SO comfortable and they cover up my legs. The pattern was one I got for a dollar and the fabric was close-out priced at Mill End (sniff. I am so sad that they are closing).

White pencil skirt
I LOVE this fabric, which I also got at Mill End for cheap. It's got a chevron pattern on it, and it is technically a knit so there is some stretch, but it's heavier than a regular knit. The only thing I don't like about the skirt is that I put an elastic waistband. I have half a mind to undo it and sew some darts in the back and put in a zipper and a waistband. 

See the lovely chevron pattern?

Lavender shirt
I've sewed a teal shirt out of this pattern before and really liked it, so I decided to do another one. I have many skirts that will go with a lavender shirt. The material was also purchased at Mill End for rock bottom prices. Also see my hair in the picture? It does that on it's own. I like it, but the other side of my hair doesn't flip out like that so it ends up looking unbalanced. Then I get frustrated and put it all up in a ponytail.

I'm in the middle of another shirt (animal print!) and I'll post that when I finish. I think so far, each item has cost me about $5.