Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I am 29. Next year will be the hard one. This one I can accept fairly easily.

Tonight we are going to dinner with April (my friend from a message board) and her husband at Alligator Soul. Should be fun!

There was a funny incident at the espresso stand today. I was getting an afternoon pick-me-up for J and I and the lady there was one of the more friendly ones. She once asked Jason if the "the girl with the doll face" was his wife. Well today I have my hair all nice and curly and she gushed over that for a bit, and then went on to tell me about how she refers to me as the "porcelain doll" because I have a cute face and pale skin and pretty hair. What does one say to that? Then she wanted to know if my hair was soft or coarse and how did I get it curly? It was quite a long conversation and I kept hoping that someone would pull up behind me so I would have a reason to go! Just awkward, though flattering I suppose.

Tomorrow, J and I are going to meet Becki to pick pickling cukes, then head over to Mom's to can our pickles. I'm making tons, so those of you who have wanted some will get some this year! I've so enjoyed having these two days to myself, but I do miss the kidlets a little. I know they will be happy to see us tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We spent a few hours outside today, picking blackberries for a pie. Donning my sunglasses so no one would stare at my freakish eyes, the kids and I walked up to the cul-de-sac, picking what we could over the bushes that had been hacked back a few weeks ago (idiots!). Then we strolled down the hill to the park where we had good luck finding lots of berries. By the tennis court we even found a blackberry bush that had grown into the trees. It was loaded with ripe berries, but most were out of my reach. After we got home, we went into our backyard and picked the ripe berries from back there. I really wish there was a way for me to trellis them or stake them out in a way that would make it easy to pick, without them taking over my yard. I'll have to ponder some solutions.

In any case, after many eaten berries (Gwen) and stuck fingers (Ethan and I) and fights over berries being eaten (Ethan and Gwen) we ended up with just over the 6 cups we needed for our pie.

I whipped up a crust out of the boring old Betty Crocker cookbook (I wasn't interested in the rigmarole that most cookbooks put you through for a crust). This is what it looked like right before the top crust went on. The filling was simple. Sugar, cinnamon, flour, berries, with some butter dotted on top. Note the little hands lingering around the edges.

Prepped for the oven. I brushed the top with cream and sprinkled with sugar.

You'll have to wait and see the finished product as its still in the oven!

Ok, here it is... all finished. It smells divine.

So I woke up looking like a hideous beast this morning.

No joke, I really did.

Yesterday, after getting out of the shower, I noticed that the skin under my eyes was really dry. I stupidly applied a great deal of lotion to that area somewhat clumsily and got some in my eyes. Then they started itching and swelling. By the time we got home yesterday, they hurt SO bad. At bedtime I popped two Benadryl hoping that would calm down the reaction. I slept very well, but upon waking I looked like a hideous beast. My eyes are hugely swollen, still. They itch less, but I struggle with not wanting to rub them.

UGH. I'm not sure what else I can do besides keep taking Benadryl and icing the eyes. Its bad enough that I can't really go out in public. Its like I've aged 60 years or something.

Yesterday we met April, Gibson and Grady at PumpItUp for bouncy house fun. Ethan was a grump at the beginning and didn't want to do anything with other kids. Eventually he came around, but my Mommy sense was piqued once again. I know that its probably all normal, but I worry about his attitude keeping him from making friendships when he starts preschool in a few weeks.

Gwen had a blast of course. That child is fearless and is always looking for an opportunity to safely throw herself down from heights and tumble without fear of injury. Its a good workout for the parents too, eh April? Both her and I were more worn out than the kids by the time it was over.

I have to tell you what my Mommy is doing for me. I had asked if she would take the kids Thursday night so J and I could celebrate my birthday, which is on Friday. She not only said ok to that, but offered to watch them Friday night as well. *faint* Yes, this means that I will have nearly two full days of time to myself. What shall I do? I shall sew, I shall finally use the certificate for a free facial I got in MOPS and perhaps get a pedicure. I shall go to Costco. I shall go out to eat two nights in a row, once with Jason, the other time with Jason and April and her husband Gregg. I suppose I may clean, if I get bored. Its the bestest present my Mom could give me. Seriously. Thanks Mom :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've been feeling really crummy lately. No energy or motivation, crabby, well no thats not it, lets just say it, bitchy, angry, fat, ugly, etc, etc. You name it basically, I've been feeling it for the past week or so. I don't know why, but there it is. Its tempting to blame it on the Zoloft reduction, but certainly enough time has passed for that not to be the case. It will shake off in time, always does. It just seems to endless and frustrating while you're in it.

Today we're going to a Likkel family reunion in Mount Vernon. This year it holds special importance because of my Grandpa's death. The weather is dreadful and wet but hopefully we'll have one of those covered areas. Its a potluck and I haven't yet thought about what to bring. I should probably get on that, and also get the kids out of bed. They've been yelling at me for about 20 minutes now.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I've been sewing like mad this week.

Unfortunately, I'm in a "I'm an ugly cow" mood so you shan't see any pics of me in the clothing I made right now. Maybe later.

I made this skirt/apron combo, from Amy Butler's Barcelona Skirts pattern

And this skirt

It was actually really easy and fun to do. I love the fabrics too.

And this dress, Prairie Girl, by Favorite Things. Also very simple and easy to assemble.

made with this fabric, Amy Butler Lacework Grey.

Yesterday Jason gave me an early birthday present... A Serger! Its an entry level, Brother 1034D. Very good reviews on Amazon. I can't believe I have such a complex piece of machinery for my sewing now! Thank you honey!

We also went to Jonathan's wedding yesterday which was beautiful and sweet. How weird to see someone the age of my siblings getting married. I feel old.

Off to do some yard work before it rains.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where to start... so many activities, pictures, events, stories.

I guess I'll start at the beginning.

Saturday we took the kids to the park and tried to get the kids to learn to ride their bikes. Bikes didn't work out so much (Ethan was crabby), but they had fun at the park. Unfortunately, all I came away with were Gwennie pics (she was the more willing subject)

Her "Movie Star" sunglasses

This pic is blurry, but I love how my legs are at the bottom and hers are at the top.

Sunning on Mr. Frog

It looks like she's riding the bike, but she still doesn't have the leg motion down.

Sunday we had a goodbye party for Michelle, who leaves with her boyfriend Peter and 3 other male friends to live in Boston. She plans to establish residency there and then start her graduate studies at Boston University.

Chelan, oh Chelan. This year, the trip was definitely worth it. Last time we went, Gwen was a baby and it was NOT worth all the work.

It started off very early Wednesday morning, when we arrived at my parents house at 7:30. We were driving my Grammy's Suburban (to tow the boat) and my Dad's truck (to tow the jet ski). We couldn't get the lights to work on boat trailer, and thought our trip might be over before it started, but my ingenious Dad found a solution.

So we're off (quite late)... but its not long before more drama hits. Not 10 minutes after leaving the Suburban (which my Dad was driving) starts smoking like mad at a stop sign. The brakes. We drive very very slowly into Monroe to the Les Schwab where they tell us the calipers are going bad and they will do nothing less than a full brake job, costing many dollars and many hours. My Dad declines, buys his own calipers and we head up the pass, prepared to stop at any point to change the calipers ourselves if need be.

Now get this. My Dad drove down the pass without ONCE using the brakes. That is amazing! He drove very smart, down shifted and kept all pressure off those dang brakes. Not only on the pass, but also on the Navarre-Coulee Road, which we take to 25 Mile Creek to launch. That is VERY steep and he only used the brakes once. It would have made my Grandpa so proud. I could just see him slapping my Dad on the back and getting a good chuckle of how my Dad worked it out.

We finally arrived to launch our boat at around 4:30. Our original plan was to arrive around noon, so we were very late. Becki had been at the cabin since 10am, having taken the Lady of the Lake. She was quite worried that we would never arrive! Due to some delays at the dock caused by the Domke Lake fire, the last load was finally taken over to the cabin around 6pm. What a LONG day.

Thursday we didn't do much. Swam, rested, got things in order. Most of the days were pretty smoky. More smoky than we'd had in previous years, even when the fire was so close that we were under a Level 3 evacuation! Most of the sunsets were a strange orange color from the smoke. My first set of sunset pics, you can clearly see that eerie glow.

Friday dawned fairly clear (thanks to winds shifting uplake) and we were all excited to have Mike and Ben join us, via the Lady. I decided to take the jet ski for a spin and, because I'm a klutz I fell while I was getting on (check out the pics, you'll see) and busted my little finger. Its STILL swollen. Once out on the choppy waves I got entirely and dreadfully soaked, but it was all good fun. The boys arrived soon after on the Lady. Its so cool to see this huge boat pull right up to the shore and lower a gangplank.

Saturday, our jet ski died so Jason and the boys rented one from 25 Mile Creek. WOW. That thing was powerful and fast (Michael topped out at 60MPH). Jason rode it over and picked me up for the inaugural ride. We traveled a bit uplake, then he tried out the turning radius since the guy had said that some people had been complaining about it. Indeed, we could see why as it flopped us neatly right in the the lake! We both had life jackets on though and came up laughing. You know, I am not very comfortable around water and have always wondered how well life jackets work. They work darn good! I popped straight up to the surface and didn't have to try at all to stay afloat. After we climbed back on the jet ski and tried to regain some of our dignity, we drove back to the cabin and everyone got a good laugh out it.

Later in the day, another funny incident occurred when we noticed a boat that had been drifting in front of the cabin for a few hours. We could see no one in the boat. So, Aaron jumped on the jet ski to drive out and see what was up. Just as he was leaving, those of us on shore saw a completely nude man stand up and start peeing off the boat... right in front of our cabin! Aaron at this point was right up at the boat, but swerved away quickly to avoid seeing anything he wouldn't want to see :) Good times.

Sunday was rainy and cold. We had boat troubles, but all was resolved in time and we made the long slog home.

What a fun time we had. Chelan is not quite the restful retreat it was in my youth and before children, but it is a place where one can really relax and enjoy family and the outdoors. Everyone who has gone there has loved it, has wanted to go back. Its hard to explain my connection to the place. The best I can describe it is how Scarlett O'Hara loved Tara. It was in her blood, it was her land, it was part of her. This is how I feel about our Chelan. Its so connected to my childhood, to good memories and now, part of my heart rests there with my Grandpa's ashes. I hope beyond all hope that this wonderful and unique place can be the haven to my children as it was to me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A successful dress... kinda!

This was my test run of Threads 3803, using super cheap fabric I got from the local craft store. I LOVED the polka dots.

It had serious issues at first, namely it was enormous around the bustline. I use a piece of elastic and wrangled it. Not pretty, but it works. Its a fun dress to wear around the house and to Chelan. I'm hoping my "real" version of the dress using this fabric will be easier and fit better!

Lots of pics from this weekend, including our first attempt at getting Ethan to ride a bike and Shel's goodbye party, but I'm swamped with stuff to do for Chelan. Maybe tomorrow!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I made a test run of this dress last night (Butterick B4790) in muslin to see if it would be workable. Despite the concept being really fun and the styling unique, it would not work on my figure. I'm too wide in some places and too narrow in others and, very much like the photo shows, a Barbie like figure looks best in this dress. I, dear readers, am NO Barbie. Maybe when I reach my ideal weight I'll try again. For now, not gonna happen. Good thing I did a muslin run first :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This is 10 days worth of house dirt (entry, living room, stairs. It does not include J's office, bathroom or kitchen). In my defense, I offer that we were gone each and every day, all day and were camping all weekend.

Disgusting, isn't it? I thought Labs weren't heavy shedders.
Ethan cracks me up.

This morning as I was making breakfast, he was running laps (into the kitchen, through Daddy's office, out to the living room and back through the kitchen) and saying "FAST" and running really fast, then saying, "S.L.O.W" and running really slow. He even asked me to stop and watch him. He explained the difference between fast and slow and gave me a demonstration and telling me what animals go fast and which go slow.

I thought it was pretty cool of him. He's growing up so fast.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

About the time I was miscarrying, I dropped my Zoloft dose by half. I don't know, I guess I felt that it might help things stick. Obviously it did not. At first I didn't really sense much of a difference, but the last week has been HELL for me. Not only am I feeling crappy (uber-tired, short fused, zero motivation to do anything) but I can't even cry. Generally crying is my main stress reliever but I can't seem to summon it up. So I'm walking around feeling all pent up with no way to release my angst and stress.

I'm sitting here trying to decide if I should stick it out and allow my body to regulate, which could take a month(!) or just go back up to my full dose.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Here are the best pics from the last week or so. I may add more as I go through them, but these were the ones I picked at first glance.

If you click on the slideshow, you'll be taken to the album.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I don't know if utter exhaustion would be a sufficient expression for how we're feeling. We returned home from camping just a few hours ago and we are all filthy, cranky and plain worn out.

Right now I'm just biding my time until 1pm when I can put the kids to bed. Then I will take a hot soapy shower, blow dry my hair and crash into bed for a few hours.

We've had such a fun but grueling week. There are mountains of pictures as you might imagine (I'm downloading around 160 at present) and it will take time to get all those edited and up. Tomorrow, quizás, quizás, quizás. That's from one of Ethan's favorite songs at present... Titled Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps) by Nat King Cole. I'm glad my eclectic tastes in music have been inherited by him :)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Just a quick note to say hi.

We've been busy busy this week. Les and Karen, Angie, her boyfriend and two girls (Dakota and Jaden), Nicole, David, Christie and Tyler are all up in our area and we've been doing all sorts of things.

Monday we went to a Mariners game. With the kids. They did as well as could be expected and we had a good time (good game too, what we were able to see of it!).

Tuesday we went down to Kent to a KOA that David and Christie were at. Yeah! There is a KOA in Kent. We were surprised too. We spent the day visiting, swimming, playing on the playground and just hanging out.

In about an hour, we'll be leaving to head to Lake Sammamish State Park where we'll play on the beach, picnic, ride on Nicole's boat and let the kids play.

Tomorrow we're off to the zoo, which will be cool now that the kids are old enough to get it.

And if that wasn't enough for us, Friday we pack in a flurry and head out to my Mom's church campout for the weekend. We figured that this would be the best time to try out camping... when we have family close for help! I think it will be fun once we get there. The idea of doing everything in such a hurry is daunting though.

Ok, off to pack for the beach and get going.

Pictures and more blogging later.