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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Matt's turn for braces. He's the fourth and last kid of ours to get braces. (OJ never got them.)

So, the necessary before picture. Keep in mind, this is an uncooperative subject. He has to make a face.

 And the after picture. The braces were only fitted to the top teeth to begin with.
No he is not naturally cross-eyed, but he will be if he keeps on making faces while I'm trying to take close-up pictures of his face.

This process will involve exposure of #11, same as Hayley had to have done. He also is missing 2 permanent teeth, but we won't be doing implants. Perhaps someday. The orthodontist is fairly sure the braces will be off before his senior year.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Because Valentines

I'm in danger of turning my own personal Valentine's day into Christmas-like intensity. It's been that way for a few years. I don't know why I like to have so much personal satisfaction sunk into Feb 14. And it's not about what's in it for me as much as what's in it for me when I watch the kids do their treasure hunt and what's in it for me when I sit down to a heart-shapes-and-shades-of-red-infested table at dinner time.

I guess I do it for love. And if that isn't a bad pun, I don't know what is.

I just love to do it. I love making up puzzles. Thankfully the kids are receptive to the idea of brain teasers and tests of random knowledge based on family favorite TV shows, movies, and silliness mixed in with general knowledge.

A small sampling of the puzzle clues from this year's treasure hunts for Matt and Hayley:

Where souffle girl crash landed
The poltergiest who fears only the Bloody Baron
The message John thought he got from the flashing lights on the moor
The last airbender
What a Minnesotan's legs are like especially in winter
One of the reasons I would go see the second Hobbit movie
MST3K's Shadowrama effect
A weird thing with rainbow hair who holds a plunger and stands on a ball (Matt argued with me that this thing doesn't hold a plunger. It's a wand. I argued back that I was the one writing the clue and it looks like a plunger. Plus he knew what I meant. Also I like to describe stuff in such a way as to provoke arguments with him)
Things that totally cannot exist because fungi cannot achieve sentience (there again, a clue for Matt that provoked an argument. "Mom! It's a video game and they can do whatever they want!")

Anyway, I have as much fun watching and listening to the kids solve the clues and then get frustrated looking for the prize as they do when they finally get their candy. Hayley was so SURE that she had looked EVERYWHERE relating to quilt fabric, as her puzzle suggested. And I told her, as I tell them every year, "Then you aren't looking hard enough." I LOVE saying stuff like that.

Matt works on his acrostic puzzle with the help of the internet on his phone

Hayley works on hers while listening to music. She says she and her friend worked on it together in school during a class where they had some free time.

One of my valentine food offerings. Red velvet cupcakes

Another food offering. Layered jello with a squirt of Reddiwip. And OJ in the background. He's cutting up strawberries. He has been so compliant with requests for help. Seriously, this kid has learned to serve with a smile on his mission. He's even learned to look around to see what needs to be done and then do it. I LOVE OJ! The money I paid for him to go WAS SO WORTH IT.

Answers to the clues above (because I'm pretty sure you didn't get all of them although you probably tried to guess and now want to know the answers):
Asylum of the Daleks
Lemmy Koopa

How many did you get right?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The return of the elder

OMYGOSH you guys! Other Jim is HOME.

Matt says he should be given credit for spotting OJ first, and I will concede. However, I spotted him loudest, as you can hear in the video clip.

Jim got first hug, but I got longest (I'm so competitive) and I demanded a second one a few minutes later.

He is happy to be home, but of course he is unused to "regular" life. He says it will be weird doing normal things without having to make sure he and his companion are within range. He occasionally lapses into Spanish, and couldn't remember the word Sacrament--referring to it as Santo Sena. He'll start sentences with "Pues" or "Tambien."

We spent over an hour with the stake president. He asked Other Jim lots of questions about what he learned on his mission, about companions, investigators, etc, and at the end of the interview, he said, "Elder Evans, you may now remove your missionary name tags and I officially release you from your mission. You are now Jimmy again." Big smiles!

There's the smile we haven't seen in two years!

I seriously was jumping up and down in my head

three kids

Three kids and Grandpa

Matt used the items he had on hand to invent a way to carry his poster without using his hands.

OJ now has his book

For some strange reason, OJ wanted to go outside in his missionary clothing...

...and do this.  It was 1 degree (minus 13 windchill). He hasn't felt that cold in more than two years.

And now he's skyping with Katie and Christian.

Welcome home, OJ!

PS, OJ was reluctant to remove his tie.