Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'll try again today

About that list … I was almost instantly derailed because I started playing around in my blog and managed to delete the place allowing for public comments. The next three hours of my day was spent trying to fix the problem.
I did manage to do laundry, clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, change the sheets, resolve the problem on my layout … then I started cleaning my scrap area.
Darn it all, there is so much adorable paper, so many cute embellishments, and Elisa from sent me this fantastic Pilot Permaball that insisted on being used.
So I made this scrap page.

Pretty ‘60s funk, isn’t it. But I had a blast doing it.
Maybe I’ll have better luck focusing on the task at hand today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A lick and a promise

I have had a request to post a photo of L with his new haircut and no glasses, so here it is. I think he looks like his daddy with this haircut.

I’ve been swamped this week, so I have been giving everything a lick and a promise.
Today I have vowed to spend some time with my paying gig, because as Bruce Springsteen said in one of his songs (I don’t recall which) “You don’t work and you don’t get paid.”
So here’s the list for today and tomorrow:
Write Stansbury article
Write Art Festival article
Interview for Children’s theater article
Figure out how to fix a problem on one of my layouts
Laundry, laundry, laundry, and more laundry
Change sheets on the master bed
Sweep and mop kitchen floorPick up and vacuum living room, family room and scrap room
Make supper and clean up after myself
Take DS-11 to ref a soccer game
Take DS-7 to play a soccer game
Go into town to get oil change on the car
Attend children’s theater; see if Troy’s photo instructions really do help
Fill out DS-11 health form for 11-year-old scouts
Put together newsletter for ScrappinTrends
(Perhaps) write an article for ScrappinTrends to fill in the holes in newsletter
What do you think the chances are that I’ll get everything done? Not good, my friend, not good.
BTW Wyo. Sis. Katie has learned how to use her door. But she is very sneeky about it, she doesn't want us to know she can use it ~ she would much rather have us open and close the doors for her.
One more thing ~ I put a comment moderator on my blog. You can go ahead and comment, but it won't show up in the comment section until I look at it and give it the go ahead to be published.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ducks in a row

My ducks are not in a row.
Some days I have the hardest time accomplishing anything because I am so frequently interrupted by outside influences, and easily distracted by inside influences.
Take yesterday, for example.
I proclaimed a plan to clean the floors. I started well, I emptied the dishwasher. But as I loaded it again I decided to throw in my dish drainer, the canisters lining the counter, and a few other odds and ends.
As the canisters took their bath, I noticed how nice the counters looked without them cluttering up the surface. So I decided to clean out a place in the cupboard where I could put the canisters after they emerged all shiny.
Digging out the various minutia in said cupboard, I noticed there were a lot of paper plates, plastic forks, etc. That could be consolidated into the cupboard where I stored my plastic. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about, the Tupperware, Rubbermaid and assorted frosting, containers kept by the artist/pack rat part of my personality.
Half-way through the project I began to get back spasms, so I crawled away to my bed to rest in hopes they would go away.
I could hear the cat in the kitchen knocking the plastic around the kitchen floor, but I wasn’t surprised by this, she is a cat.
Just as I reached that delicious state of sleep right before drifting off, the phone rang. It was my DS-11 informing me the PTA frozen cookie dough had arrived and I needed to drive down and pick it up.
When I went into the kitchen to get my keys I saw the cat had taken advantage of her food being out of the cupboard and spread it liberally around the floor, hiding bits of it under the plastic for her own entertainment.
But DSs were waiting, so I drove to the school and hauled boxes full of frozen cookie dough to my car ~ so much for my back spasms. Since we were all in the car anyway, I drove to the eye doctor’s office to pick up DS-11 glasses. But they were no where to be found. The receptionists searched high and low, called the lab, and then told me they couldn’t find them, but they would let me know when the glasses were located.
Back home I went to unload frozen cookie dough, sweep up cat food and crawl back in bed to rest until the pain relievers kicked in.
After an hour, I was recovered enough to get plastics and papers in one cupboard. I now have a big bag full of rejects I am sending with DH to work. There’s always a use for plastic containers in an elementary school.
Then I showered, cooked a gourmet meal of hot dogs and boxed macaroni and cheese. We called DS-ll’s ref coordinator and told her we didn’t think he could ref the soccer game because he didn’t have glasses, and couldn’t see to make the calls. DH and DS-7 went to soccer practice, I went to my community meeting for my job, and DS-11 went to Boy Scouts.
My plans for today are to finish putting the kitchen back in order. Clean the floors, write a news story, go pick up DS-11s glasses (DH threw a fit with the main office and the glasses have been found), and so on, and so on, and so on.
Meanwhile, I’m battling the “problem” my DS-7 had earlier this week. Let’s just say Imodium is my friend.
To answer your question, Wyo. Sister ~ No, L will not allow me to take a photo of his new haircut. Maybe I can sneak up on him when he’s asleep.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gifts for teacher

As usual, I have a busy day ahead. I need to clean all the floors, take L in to get his glasses back, take the older boy to ref a soccer game and the younger one to practice for a soccer game and attend a community board meeting for my job.
Somewhere in there I should probably pay a few bills, do a load of laundry or two, get the younger son’s hair cut, and take a shower.
A seems to have recovered from part of his sickness, although he came home early from school yesterday after having an “accident” during lunch recess. He is now coughing rather regularly, but as it is a short day at school I decided to risk it.
But at least the sun is shining, which usually cheers me up.
We have something of a tradition with our children that when there are flowers in the garden, we cut a few blooms and have the boys present them to their teachers. L is all over this tradition, he loves to do it. The boy is big on kiss up points.
But A was a little hesitant to give the flowers to his teacher because it was a little embarrassing. However he was willing to take a pair of scissors to them. After he started cutting the flowers, he warmed up to the idea of giving them to his teacher. So today’s photos are of the flowers being prepared to go to school.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'll try again tomorrow

Plans do get derailed.
My goal for Monday was to do a little laundry, go grocery shopping, picking up photos and adhesive while I was out, write the Utah State University Graduation story and spend the afternoon working on my November sketch.
But the joyful (not!) sound of a vomiting child and his father, my husband saying, “A---, get in the bathroom!” brought my sleep to an end at 4 a.m. and put a period on plans for a busy Monday.
I felt so bad for my poor little A as he kept asking for “medicine” between heaves as he hunched over the toilet. Alas, there is little a mother can do about those late night/early morning upchucking sessions but clean up after the mess.
As I have mentioned before, I have lost my sense of smell sometime this year. The benefits of this loss came clear as I mopped up after my child this morning. As the day progressed and I cleaned many pair of underwear and pajama bottoms, I began to feel downright blessed that I couldn’t smell a thing.
I managed to get some toast made for the older child and send him to school this morning before A and I curled up together in bed and did some sleeping.
Then I gave him a shower, started the laundry and he watched television between trips to the bathroom while I did my morning computer routine.
A has been begging me for weeks to dig the snow cone machine out of the cupboard. Today I did, and we ate ice chips floating in a little lemon lime soda to keep him hydrated. Eventually he curled up next to my by the computer on the folded sleeping bag we use as a cat bed and slept while I wrote my news story.
L came home from school long enough to drop off his back-pack before going over to a friend’s house. He came back about two hours with his broken eyeglasses in his hands. Apparently glasses, trampolines and children are not a good combination.
As DH was planning to go get a haircut, I sent the two of them to get the glasses repaired, get haircuts, and pick up supper.
The glasses had to be sent away for repair, so my 11 year old will be reliving his before glasses experience until Wednesday. Since he didn’t have his glasses while he was getting his haircut, he didn’t see how short his hair was being trimmed until it was too late to do anything about it. So now he has a butch haircut and no glasses. I’m afraid no one in his class will recognize him when he goes to school tomorrow.
Here’s hoping A is feeling better tomorrow so we can all get back on track.
Yesterday (Sunday) I remembered to pull out the huge bubble wands the Easter bunny forgot to deliver on Easter Sunday. Both boys loved making the monster bubbles, but only A let me take photos of the bubble fun.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunny, Sunday

I thought I would share some of my favorite songs from my childhood as well as a new favorite about spring. These are all songs from the LDS Primary Hymnbook. The Primary is the LDS churches organization for children.
If you are interested in hearing the words with the music, follow the links. I don't know how to put music in my blog.

In my pretty garden,
The flowers are nodding
How do you do
they say
How do you do
In my pretty garden
The flowers are nodding.

From the LDS Primary hymnbook
To hear the music, cut and paste this link.

I looked out the window

and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree
Spring had brought me such a nice surprise
Blossoms popping right before my eyes
I could take a handful and make a treat
A popcorn ball that would smell so sweet
It wasn’t really so, but it seemed to be
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree.

On a golden spring time,

underneath the ground
A tiny seedling lay a sleep

until the sun shone down

Awake, awake

O little seed push

upward to the light
The day is bright,

with all your might

push upward to the light.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

But I digress...

Saturdays are always a little crazy, but I think today may well have topped all of them in recent memory. (Except Easter Saturday, which was last week … but I digress)
My morning started at 4:30 a.m. with the cat climbing under the covers with me. Usually she does this for two reasons, she’s cold, or she wants me to let her out of the house. As it was warm last night, she was clearly looking to do a little early morning bird hunting, and needed me to unlock the cat door. (She caught a bird sometime earlier this week, because we found it's carcus in our window well by the cat door. Good thing she hasn't yet figured out the cat flap works both ways. But I digress....)
Eventually DS let her out, I went back to sleep and woke up again at a more civilized hour.
My 7-year-old DS had a soccer game so after a few minutes of “where’s my socks?” “I can’t find my pillow knees!” and “Tie my shoes” we loaded up the car with folding chairs and drove to the ball field.
We settled down in a comfortable spot with the sun behind us and the field in front of us. Then the coaches approached and told us we needed to go to the other side of the field. Apparently there is some kind of rule that the parents have to be on one side of the field and the coaches and team on the other side. Don’t ask me why the coaches didn’t end up with the sun-in-your-eyes side. I could tell this was going to get in the way of my photographing the game, but I decided once the game started I would just walk back around the field again.
DS-11, who is a referee, was pressed into service shortly after we arrived to work the game. Of course, he had his whistle with him, just in case. Both teams were wearing green uniforms, which were kind of confusing, but DS-11 told me they were calling them “light” and “dark” to tell them apart.
As the game progressed we noticed something curious. My son didn’t start the game, no biggie, they can’t all be starters. But another child in the starting line-up, let’s call him “air ball” had a tendency to do a lot of kicking without actually coming in contact with the ball. “Air ball’ was new to the team. Many players on the team have been with the coach for three years, including my son.
As the game progressed and my son continued to be overlooked when they put new players into the game.
Finally they put him in with minutes to go in the first half. I picked up my camera and walked around the field to get photos, and the half-time whistle blew before I could get in position.
The second half started and “air ball” was again in the starting lineup and my A was on the sidelines.
I was starting to suspect a problem. You see, the coaches’ wife had taken offense at a comment I had made in a church meeting in the fall. I had heard she was offended and had talked to her about it, telling her I did not mean to upset her and apologized. I did not apologize for my opinion, I do have a right to it.
While we were not best friends, we had remained cordial, although the family moved to a new (very, very nice) home in the winter and were no longer attending church in my congregation.
Not wanting to miss the brief moments my children was in the game, I walked around the field to get into position.
Shortly after I arrived on the coaches’ side, my son was put into the game. I wonder why? He had a great time, played okay, if not spectacularly, and I managed to get some good photos.
After the game when we were all loaded in the car and headed home DH told me the rest of the story. It seems “air ball's” mother was a few chairs down from us and talking freely about her beloved. Every time he missed a ball she thought it was "cute." Okay, he's seven, I guess it could be cute. But not only did he have an eye/foot coordination problem, he also had a tendency to pass the ball to the wrong team. This was due to him being color blind.
Hummm, a color-blind uncoordinated player, who has been on the team all of two weeks gets to start and my son, who has been with the coach for three years doesn’t get to play until the second half. Now I understand this is community soccer, we are there to have fun and every child should have a shot. But this turn of events makes me think it's a good thing I don’t get riled easily.
After the game DH dropped me off at the house and ran to do some garden shopping while I cleaned up so I could go cover a college graduation ceremony. Utah State University (my alma mater but I digress ...) has several satellite campuses throughout Utah, including one in Tooele. With a total of 55 graduates, it was not your typical college commencement, but it still took two and a half hours out of my Saturday afternoon.
The best thing about the graduation, in my view, was listening to a general sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
I raced home after the graduation to get the kids cleaned up so we could drive two hours to attend the wedding reception of my DH long-lost cousin. There is a long, convoluted story here. I can’t imagine how I can write it so it isn't remarkably complex and deadly dull. I tried and I even confused myself.
The point is, DH, I and our two children ended up representing the family at the wedding.
As this was a Utah Mormon wedding, we didn’t attend the actual ceremony, but we were invited to greet family at a reception, held in the church gymnasium.There we were treated to a cookie and a cup of milk after we greeted the happy couple and their family. Once DH's aunt figured out who we were, she told us her sister, (another of DH aunts) would be showing up shortly and invited us to sit and wait for her. .
So we did.
We sat.
We waited.
And sat.
And waited some more.
Just about the time I had convinced DH it was time to go, the second aunt showed up. Our children, who are generally very well behaved, were starting to get restive at this point, so I sent them outside to play on some swings located on the grounds outside of the church while we talked. As we visited we discovered the second aunt's daughter is getting married next week. But no, we won't be driving six hours to attend that event.
After another hour passed, we finally left and drove the two hours home in the dark.
So that was my Saturday. What did you do today?
This row of chairs on the stage at the graduation caught my eye. I have a thing for patterns, and this appealed to me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Snapshots of the girls

One of the reasons I was so excited about going north for Easter is the chance I would have to take photos of girls. I have a husband and two sons; I rarely get to photograph girls. So I had a great time with my camera and the more feminine side of the family. Most of the photos ended up being snap-shots, because the one female I really wanted to photograph, my great-niece Abby, was not all together cooperative. But we had a good time together, and the photos show the funky cross-generational connections in our clan.

Abby, my great-niece

Isn't she pretty, even with the dirty face? She had been wearing her hair in braids all day and when her mother took the braids out her hair cascaded into the most beautiful waves.

She was so much fun to watch, too. After being around sons, it was fascinating to see her feminine little mannerisms. But like her mother, she's not all sugar and spice and everything nice. When she was playing with "the cousins" her favorite game was slapping hand-cuffs on everyone and booking them ~ She want's to be a "bad boy, bad boy," as in the television show "Cops" when she grows up.

She also does a perfect elk calls. Her father, a hunter, took the family to Cabala's Sporting Good Store on the way to Granny's house. While she was in the busy place, she started making her elk cal. Grown men several hundred feet away turned and said "awwww," when they saw who was making the call.

Holland (left) and Ashlee

Holland is Abby's cousin, Ashlee is her sister. Holland and Ashlee are about three weeks apart in age and are the best of friends. We asked them to strike the "hair display" pose to show Abby what we wanted her to do. But the photo turned out so cute I had to include it here. I did do a little photo shop touch up to make the conversion stronger.

Holland, Abby and Ashlee

It's kind of interesting to see their faces together. I'm trying to see a family resemblance, but I have to really study the photo to pick out individual traits they all have in common. Holland is very long and lanky and Ashlee is getting her curves at the ripe age of 11. She has a cute little body, plenty of self confidence and that little extra that makes her mom be afraid, be very afraid.

Lisa, Abby and Karen

Here is Abby with her mother, (left) my niece, and her aunt. The two are sisters. I can see a similarity in their smiles. I enjoy the company of my nieces so much. Both of them are so cute and funny in that dry, sarcastic way that seems to run rampant in my family. Lisa is a fantastic mother and does day care in her home where she loves up and mothers other people's children. Lisa was her younger sister Ashlee's nanny for the first few months of her life. But she returned to college during winter semester and met the man who would be her husband and the father of their children. Karen is great with children too. She works as a children's librarian in a small town in Utah. She loves children, loves to read, and has the most amazing and creative ideas for her patrons. I can't wait to see her raising children of her own.

Ashlee and Abby

Aunt and the niece. Ashlee was a niece about two years after she was born, so her relationship with her nephews and niece is more like that of a cousin than an aunt. She has four older siblings, but is essentially being raised as an only child because of the gap between her age and the age of her older siblings. Most of them had left the house by the time she was past toddler hood. She is so self confident, and is well known in her small home town. One day her father went in to a local store and the lady behind the counter asked him, "did you want to pick up your lay-away?" He was puzzled, until she explained Ashlee had come into the store, picked up a book she wanted and ask the clerk to hold it for her because her father would be in later to pick it up. One of the most amazing things about this story is the clerk agreed to hold the book. The other amazing thing is her daddy just bought it, no questions asked. Ashlee has her father wrapped around her little finger. But I think her father had decided to put his foot down on one of her requests, she won't be getting a pony for Christmas.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Deep thought

More Easter photos. My nephew Lincoln brought home packages of soy sauce from a convience store when he went to get a soda, no one knows why. Then he challenged my niece, Lisa to a soy sauce downing contest. Don't ask me why.
My newspaper job has been something of a trial for me through the end of March and first of April, but today I finally found myself back on track, and it felt good.
The story was the ordination of “Mother Connie” as detailed in my blog yesterday. But the good feeling was not so much the story but the desire to write it. (here are links to the stories)
After I finished and sent it to my boss, he said, “glad to have you back.”
He clarified that the comment was in reference to my Easter vacation, but I’ve been “gone” a lot longer than a weekend.
I can’t explain why I haven’t been interested in writing, but I think the photo a day in March may have something to do with it.
Taking a photo a day really shouldn’t take very much of my time. But it changes my focus (if you will pardon the pun). I tend to be a “truly, madly, deeply” kind of woman. Once something has captured my attention, I obsess on it, study it from every angle and think about nothing else until the task is done.
During the month of March I had a tendency to drop whatever I was doing to pursue a photo when the light was good. This usually happened about supper time while I was puttering around the kitchen. We ate a lot of unimpressive meals in March.
This passionate pursuit of whatever it is I am doing can make me very poor company, because I spend so much time wandering around in my right brain, totally in my own world.
In a way I can not precisely articulate, this intensity is feed by the rigors of deadline work. I love the energy, the drop everything and just do it, approach to deadlines. It is a total rush to “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” through a task.
This single-minded approach to a job is great if I are doing something short term, like writing a news story or designing a page.
But it can wreck havoc on my nerves if things do not go as planned and I get interrupted. Woe is me; I am a mother, so I am constantly interrupted as I try to multi-task with my one-track mind.
The good thing about my dogged approach to every undertaking is when I do something; I do it really, really well.
The bad news is while I am fixated on one project, the rest of the world could (and often does) crumble around me and I would not notice.
It is one of those strength/weakness personality traits standing in the way of me ever getting my house clean.
Oh well, I’m so busy rummaging around in my head, I rarely notice the soup stains on the front of my pajamas. …
Why am I wearing pajamas?
Did I get a shower today?

Yes, I'm showing off my goods. The letters and cardstock on the left hand side were sent to me by Samantha Walker, the woman who designed the stickers. Which would have made my day. But I also found another package on my doorstep with a note saying it was a "gift from a friend." Of course I immediatley tore into it and made a page with it. Did I mention I am rather single- minded? If you are the giver of the goods, know you have cheered me up and helped me create at least one cool page. To the giver of the package ~ Thank You!

I also found an envelope from my mother in the mailbox. It contained a comb we had left at her home during our week-end visit. If you do not know my mother you are puzzled. If you are a family member, however, you are probably laughing hysterically right now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh the places you'll go

My job takes me to some of the most interesting places.
Tonight I went to what my boss calls (based on the outside appearance) “The Dr. Seuss Church.” There I covered the ordination of an Episcopalian priest, the Rev. Connie.
There are so many things about the last sentence that is foreign to my way of worship. While I have attended ordinations they were not Episcopalians, they were not open to the public, and they were not giving the priesthood to women.
I don’t really need to get into the difference of one religion over another. In my view, all Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions are based in truth. I know that is a hard concept for a lot of people to follow, after all, many wars have been fought over religion ~ at its core, the current war in Iraq is a holy war.
The divisiveness of people who believe in a creator is rather astonishing when you think about it.
But the truth is, the creator is not the problem, it is His followers.
I was born into a world where religion is served cafeteria style.
“I’ll have a helping of God is the creator, pass on the law of chastity, and could you give me an extra helping of Christmas?”
It is all so convenient, but it is also remarkably confusing for people seeking the truth. How does one know if they are hearing the teachings of man or the teachings of God? I believe one can find the truth by asking in faithful prayer.
The meeting I attended was heavy on ceremony. Priests were dressed in vestments, canters sang and parishioners replied, we stood, we kneeled, we passed the plate and in an extensive ceremony took communion. (Well, I didn’t take communion, because it isn’t my religion, but you get the idea.)
I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have attended this kind of church service. My traditional Sunday meeting is much more low key, but it lasts longer ~ three hours to be exact. We don’t serve a meal afterwards, either.
The three hour meeting is actually three meetings. Two are classroom meetings and the third is Sacrament meeting where our version of communion is administered.
It is all very simple. There is not procession bearing the cross. We do not stand to sing (unless it has been a very long meeting and the chorister is trying to wake us up), we do not kneel to pray. Deacons, usually boys ages 12-14, bring the sacrament to us after it has been blessed by priests, boys ages 16 and older. We drink water instead of wine, and it is served in individual cups.
In addition to the Sacrament, we sing an opening and closing song and listen to talks. Since it is a lay ministry the speaker could be anyone from a 14-year-old boy to an 80 year old woman.
None of them follow a text; instead they prepare their own talks using scripture and other church resources. Sometimes the speakers are given a topic by the Bishop, the congregation leader, but sometimes they are not.
I have no desire to leave my church. But I was impressed by some things about the Episcopal service. For one thing, everyone sang. The group was about half the size of the congregations I attend, but their enthusiastic singing was twice as powerful as the mumbling I hear in my church.
However I was less impressed by the drinking out of a communal cup. Ick.
But I did find a common thread in the Episcopal worship, faith in God. I heard words preached I might easily have heard from my own pulpit, I felt the sense of community I feel in my home church, even though I only knew one other person in the meeting, the staff photographer.
I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter what church you belong to, because I think it does. But it matters more how faithfully you follow the teachings of your church.
God looks upon the heart. He sees who is faithful, he knows if you love your neighbor, if you wish to serve, if you have repented of sin. God, the creator, whatever you want to call Him, knows who has integrity and who truly wishes to be good.
As I sat in the meeting next to three squirming little girls, hearing the choir raise their voices in an unfamiliar song praising a familiar God I felt a connection to strangers, my brothers and sisters.
When I came home from Easter I found these blooming in my yard under a layer of snow. By Tuesday afternoon the snow had melted enough for me to brave the out of doors to take some photos. I love bulb flowers!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter with the family, Part II

Three cousins born within a month of each other. They absolutely love to be together.
My family has started Easter traditions without really trying, which is the best kind of tradition in my view.
It all began some 13 years ago with the birth of Lincoln, my brother’s oldest son and the first of the second wave of cousins in the family.
The first wave came when I was 14 years old and my two older sisters started having children. These children are now in their 20s and 30s.
Lincoln started the second crop of cousins. It’s a convoluted mixture of cousins old enough to be aunts and uncles, and aunt’s young enough to be cousins.
Less than two years after Lincoln joined the family his mother and father (my brother and sister-in-law) found themselves expecting again.
So did I very shortly after my marriage.
Most remarkable, so did my older sister who was in her 40s, and whose youngest child was in high school.
The three cousins were born within a month of each other.
Then my sister’s daughter (yes, the sister with the toddler) married and began giving her mother grandchildren.
My brother had two more children, and I had one more.
We now have ten children ranging in age from 13 down to 2 for our Easter gatherings. It is a hoot.
We managed to get the whole group together maybe once or twice a year, on Thanksgiving and Easter.
On the Saturday before Easter we dye hard boiled eggs together. Then, all the parents (grandparents, great-grandparents) stuff plastic eggs with candy and toys for the family Easter egg hunt.
Since you can almost guarantee it will be raining or snowing on Easter in Wyoming, we started having the hunt at the local elementary school media center. My sister is the librarian at the school, which is practically in the back yard of my Mother’s home. The media center is a fantastic place to hide and hunt eggs.
This overview of the media center shows what a nice place it is for egg hunting. "The Pit" is the grey area in the back center.

We usually start the event by eating supper on the little tables. Then we clean up and send the youngsters into “the pit” ~ an ampitheater in the library children normally gather to hear story time. It is separated from the rest of the room with portable screens.
While the children wait in the pit, the adults and older cousins hide the eggs. The media center offers hundreds of books and crannies for egg hiding, and the older cousins ~ particularly the men ~ are tall and very clever when it comes to stashing eggs.
This year Lincoln graduated form egg seeker to egg hider.
We had so much candy this year; we ended up just scattering some of the wrapped pieces on the floor for the younger children to find. My niece Lisa was on scattering duty and while she tosses treats, her brother followed behind her picking up the goodies. She eventually spotted him and made him put it all back.
After the hunters are let loose and comb the books, computers, tables and toys for goodies, we finish off with an egg roll.
A ramp runs the length of the Media center behind a wall. It makes a perfect hill for the egg rolling. Each child picks out their best rolling egg and they are grouped in threes (based on age) for the roll off. Afterwards, the adults relax, chat and clean up after dinner while the children stuff themselves with candy, run up and down the ramp and roll eggs to their heart’s content.
The “triplets born of different mothers” are 11 this year, and probably have only one more year of hunting. So the pressure is on my sister’s two sons and oldest daughter to get into production so we can keep the tradition going strong.

There are almost as many cameras as there are kids rolling eggs.

Lincoln is now 13 years old, six feet tall and growing. The boy loves to eat. Notice the bandage on his thumb, that came from splitting it in half, lengthwise (like a hotdog) at Scout Camp.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The button jar

I had a great Easter weekend with my family ~ many great moments will be recorded in the blog, but as it is late and I need to go to bed, I think I’ll start with something simple. The button jars.
I remember the button jars from my childhood, which was quite some time ago. The jars are still in the same drawer in my Mother's craft room. They are even the same jars I remember from my childhood.
When I was a youngster the craft room was called the utility room. It held the washing machine and dryer, a place to hang clothes as they waited for the ironing board, her sewing machine, and a wall of cabinets and drawers filled with sewing patterns, zippers, spools of thread, lengths of fabric, needles, zippers, and of course one drawer devoted to the buttons.
It was also my father’s bathroom. Poor man, had a wife and four daughters, he had little chance of using the big bathroom, so he was relegated to a tiny little half bath with a toilet and a shower. He shaved in the laundry sink above which hung a mirrored medicine cabinet and a drawer where he kept whatever grooming supplies he needed.
The utility room was also a gardening center and a walk through from the garage to the kitchen and the back yard. It had a door that could shut and lock it away from the rest of the house, so when the holidays approached, Mom holed up in the room, emerging long enough to cook dinner and clean up before hiding herself away with the sewing machine fabric and plans for our Christmas gifts.
Mom was a daughter of the great depression and an art and home ec. teacher. She saved and recycled almost everything, which explains the button jars.
Whenever family members had worn clothing to the point where it could not be mended any longer. After a dress or coat or skirt had been passed down from one daughter to the next until it no longer retained it’s original color or shape. The clothing was still useful. Clothing could be made into quilts, torn up and woven into rugs ~ if all else failed, she could use it for painting rags.
Buttons were carefully removed and saved in the button jar.
I suppose over the years a great many ordinary shirt buttons, ordinary buttons and matching buttons made their way onto other clothing. But the very odd and unusual stayed in the jar as a form of entertainment for all of us.
This entertainment proved true when I was visiting my family this weekend. Mom saw the button I used on one of my scrapbook pages and reminded me of the button jar. Quite frankly, I though it had been retired long ago. But she brought it out and I opened the lids, releasing the scent of plastic, wood and leather.
Before long the little boys, Mom’s grandchildren and great-grandsons who had been playing together in the back yard, suddenly appeared to “help” me with my sorting.
Ohhing, and awing, they expressed their own unique personalities as they found buttons shaped like “shields” and “hats” among the jars.
Together we sifted through the colors, ran the small plastic disks through our fingers, and noticed the shapes, the bumps, the ridges.
They didn’t stay sorting for long; they were little boys, after all.
But for a few moments we worked and played together admiring little works of art, and I passed down the tradition of the button jar to my children. Yes, I did bring some of the buttons home. I’ll be putting them on pages and cards for years to come.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Happy Easter

Scrappers, check out this contest:

I almost don't want to share because the prize package is so cool!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Productive day

How is it possible for me to be so tired after spending the entire day sitting down? It’s 9:33 p.m. and I just want to crawl away in my bed.
My big household chore for the day was paying bills ~ and facing the reality of too much month at the end of the money. I haven’t worked a lot at the paper during the end of March and the first of April and it’s starting to hurt the paycheck.
It’s not that I earn all that much money, but with our tight budget, every little bit helps ~ or hurts, as the case may be.
I spent the rest of the day working on October Becky Higgins sketches. For family members and the non-scrap submitters out there, Becky Higgins is an editor for the scrapbook magazine Her regular feature is a scrapbook layout sketch presented several different ways. It is one of the doors open for free-lance designers like me out there looking to make a little money by being published.
So today I finished up one sketch that I started last night and started a second. Creating Keepsakes is very particular about not posting pages for the BH sketch, so I can’t show you what I’ve done, but I can show you a slice of the page. I submitted this one today and hope to have the other one completed tomorrow before I have to start packing for Easter vacation.
The layout I finished today is kind of fun, but I am really pleased with how the second layout is shaping up. I have really good photographs, and what I think is a nice looking design. We’ll see. Creating Keepsakes is a very hard nut to crack, particularly for novice submitters like me.
But there’s no law that says I can’t submit the page to other magazines as well.
I’m excited to finally be working on all those fall photos I took in November, but now and then I should climb out of my basement to remind myself it is really just starting to be spring.

Scrappers, check out this contest: I almost don't want to share because the prize package is so cool!