Saturday, December 26, 2009

All I want for Christmas is WATER!


Guess what Santa brought us for Christmas? A broken water heater and valve!!! This might not have been the work of Santa but of that sinister Grinch or Scrooge. I would have preferred coal because at least we could have done something with it. Apparently Santa also doesn't read this blog because if he did, he would know all the good will and cheer I attempted to spread onto others through apron making. He would never have done something like this if he had read my blog and seen what a wonderful person I have been lately. Hmphf.

Thanks goodness I have been on two mission trips. In Peru, I learned the fine art of dumping water into a toilet to force it to flush. In El Salvador, I learned the fine art of pouring clean drinking water into a cup and submerging my toothbrush and toothpaste into it to maintain proper dental hygiene. On some very microscopic level, and I emphasize microscopic, it has helped me salvage a bit, and I emphasize a bit, of sanity which isn't saying much.

Here is a picture of a toilet in Peru outside of an elementary school. The orange bucket is full of water, the white bucket is using for pouring.

And this is a picture of a toilet in a poor village in El Salvador. This is actually a very nice toilet compared to what a wonderful pastor and his family used to have.

If I look on the bright side, at least the broken water heater and valve waited until our Christmas Eve company left before deciding to act the fool.

And if I continue to look at this as a glass half-full moment, than I must continue to be joyous that Isaac was feeling sick after our Christmas Eve company departed.

That's because instead of going to a late night Christmas eve church service, Ike, Aaron and I stayed home. Isaac was trying to go to sleep but heard this annoying tick-tick-tick sound in his room.

I thought I found the culprit to the sound and turned off a few ceiling fans. However, the tick-tick-ticking continued. Being the mama of a Soldier, I thought it sounded like a bomb. Freaked me out a little. The sound was relentless and I pressed my ear to the walls trying to figure out from whence the maddening noise was coming.

Aaron saw me listening to the wall completely dumbfounded as to the source of the problem. Pressing my ear to various places on the wall, I told him this reminded me of a close family member who had suffered from mental illness who also heard things in the wall. It was one of those awkwardly funny comments and Aaron wasn't sure what to say. Thankfully I wasn't the only one hearing this sound.

When the Hubs and Nate returned from church, Aaron was fast asleep, Ike had relegated himself to another room to sleep and the Hubs and OS began to hunt for the sound.

That's when we discovered that the tick-tick-tick was actually a drip-drip-drip coming from the attic and Christmas Day arrived with a very unwelcome gift...no running water. You can get batteries on Christmas Day but you can't get a new water heater and valve at a gas station! Where's a Jewish plumber when you need one?

We're Day Two of this annoyance and the saga continues...ergh...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Crazy Christmas Cookie Time

And my sisters have an annual tradition in addition to our Christmas Pickle video...

After my sister Lorri arrives from Chicago, the three of us along with other important members of the family, this year being Rachel's Christmas video debut, we make Christmas cookies. Last year Aaron made a video about it and it was so cool, he's now the honorary videographer.

Denise was the brains behind the "story" and I will say on behalf of myself, at the risk of stating the obvious, my acting is very natural! We are not a perfect family but it's moments like this that make me overjoyed to be a part of this clan!


video

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Christmas Pickle Video 2009

It has been a family tradition for many years. The day after Thanksgiving, we decorate our Christmas trees. Then when we are done, the Hubs and I dismiss our OS into another room and we continue another family tradition, the Hubs and I hide the Christmas pickle ornament somewhere on the tree. I'm not sure if the Christmas pickle is a Southern thing but we've been doing it since we moved here.

You might think that my OS are too old for such shenanigans, that they are too mature, too busy, too manly to engage in this family tradition. But you would be wrong. Very wrong. This year to our surprise, a new OS became the vanquisher and someone very shocking came in last place.

We give each OS an inexpensive gift for finding the pickle. Even at 19, 15 and 13 years old, they still expect a present. When one OS finds the pickle, he is automatically eliminated from the next round. I'm really making this sound more complicated than it is...

Hope you enjoy! Special shout out to middle OS Aaron for making what was now become another family tradition...a Christmas pickle video! And if you're a glutton for punishment, check this out...




video

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sew messy

For the last six weeks, I have been a mad seamstress. Not mad as in angry but mad as in crazy, frazzled and ridiculously blessed. As of this post, I will have made almost 70 aprons for Christmas. Since I am the mama of three OS, I have used nearly half a football field worth of material. I have sewn aprons for people who aren't even related to me, people who would not feel morally indebted to purchase something made by my hands.

Beyond my wildest expectations, the Lord has spoken to my heart deeply and when I have time, I wish to share with you my personal history as it relates to aprons. For me, aprons are more than an "outer garment one uses to primarily cover the front of the body." But alas, let me say that I am nearly without words to describe the depth of happiness and fulfillment it has brought me to make them for others including some of you who will read this post.

If there is a downside, it's that my house has been a wreck. Seriously. Sew messy. And it seems as if there hasn't been a room in my house where the Fabric Monster hasn't touched. Threads, pins, remnants have invaded this once fairly tidy domicile.

Since I do not have a craft room, my kitchen has served as the Command Center for this operation. One evening I took a few pictures to offer you a glimpse of the vantage point from my sewing machine. It looked worse at other times but I didn't have the courage to capture the chaos.

To me, it looks like one of those photos you'd see in an I-Spy book. "I spy with my little eye an orange dinosaur..." (I made dinosaur aprons) or "I spy with my little eye a Christmas ornament in a box..." (I personalized an ornament for a friend). We have a beautiful new room outside of our kitchen and to the Hubs' chagrin, the ironing board became a new piece of furniture. It didn't exactly match with the existing decor but I've had no choice.

And then there's Tess. Tess is the name of my dress form. When my oldest OS returned home from West Point for Christmas Break, I asked him if he had met Tess. He said no and when I introduced them to each other, he told me I was seriously freaking him out.

At this moment, our house is less cluttered as my apron making frenzy has calmed down. I am proud of myself for working hard and so happy to being slightly relaxed until Wednesday...aka Christmas Cookie Making Time!

Merry CHRISTmas!




Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sew not happening


Ok, I'm sitting here watching the Army/Navy game. I am so not an athletic person but this is one game where I attempt to pay attention in the warm comfort of my home. I find myself crying at nearly every military commercial the television station runs.

And I'm making aprons. From about 5 in the morning, my little sewing machine is stitching away.

I pride myself on raising three godly OS who love Jesus and remember to put the toilet seat down after using it. My OS can cook, do laundry and iron. Not joyfully, mind you but nonetheless, they are developing into capable, competent men.

But apparently they have limits and they aren't going to budge.

Don't ask me why but I was cutting fabric to make some snake aprons (a future blog post to be sure) and I blithely ask my middle OS and my orange-haired, freckle faced OS a question which will live in infamy...

"Do you think that you guys would ever be interested in learning how to sew?" I inquire.

Aaron squirms and suddenly announces an urgent need to use the bathroom.

And without forethought or hesitation, with nary a consideration about how his precious mother might feel, my 13 year old Ike states, "I'd rather be castrated!"

Allrighty then, I guess that closes that subject! I didn't think either one of them would be interested but it's been confirmed, it ain't happening.

My oldest OS is applying for some exciting overseas opportunities with West Point. They would take him far, far from home and be ridiculously exciting.

But then I had an idea...I told him that I was pretty sure there was going to be an exciting opportunity aka AIAD here in our neck of the woods. And you know what he said,

"Yeah but I heard it involves aprons so I'm not interested!"

How do you like that? Hmphf!

Boys will be boys. I will sew solo, get it?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sew blessed

Since I will never have a daughter, I have missed out on shopping sprees for dresses. I'm not complaining or feeling sorry for myself, it's just a fact. I have also missed temper tantrums, crying fits with a moody daughter who can't find anything to wear which is totally fine with me. Since I'm wildly crazy about my OS, I don't spend a lot of time lamenting the fact that I don't have a daughter, I just yank up my big girl panties and move on. Sorry for that word picture.

But in lieu of dress shopping, I have the privilege of guy shopping. Recently my OS Aaron announced to me, "Mom, you have to take me shopping!" I wasn't sure of the reason until I inquired. That's when Aaron emphatically reminded me of the Snow Ball, his school's upcoming dance. It was like a V-8 moment...you know where the guy gets whacked up the side of the head? How could I forget?

However as soon as my 15 year old OS told me that, I also translated his sentence. Really what he was saying is, "Mom, I need for you to buy me some new clothes for the dance." That's when I asked my son, "Aaron, with what am I going to buy you some new clothes? I'm not sure we have the money for that."

I could see that he was dejected but attempted to understand. I felt badly because I desperately wanted to do this for him.

That's when I started to pray. "Lord, help me find a way to get Aaron some new clothes for the Snow Ball."

I didn't tell the Hubs of my prayer, it was just between God and me. I didn't tell my friends so they would feel indebted to buy an apron so Aaron could have a new pair of pants or a sweater. I kept it just between the two of us, the Lord and myself. And do you know what happened? He heard my prayer, as He always does and this time, He honored it with a yes. In a week's time, I had enough apron orders that I was able to say to my boy, "Aaron, I'm going to take you shopping and buy you some clothes with the apron money I earned this week."

So last Saturday I took my middle OS out to lunch (used a coupon) and then we went shopping (with a coupon.) Our time was even more blessed because of who got us there (the Lord) and why (sweet folks wanting an apron). In my wildest dreams and prayers, never did I imagine that God would bless me so richly through aprons of all things!

The hugs and love my OS lavished upon me were reward enough. We had silly times as we tried to find pants that fit his trim frame and less than tall stature. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The pants were too big or too long, nearly impossible to get the perfect size but alas we found a handsome outfit worthy of my boy! We left the store excited about the upcoming dance and envisioned all the ladies swooning around him as they admired his muscles, beauty and fancy new threads! HA!

I have been sewing like a crazy woman. My sewing machine is whirrrrrring all the time. There is fabric strewn throughout the house and I'm having a blast helping my family and being creative. The Lord truly does give us the desires of our heart and this moment with Aaron is one of many blessings I've received through His goodness manifested in APRONS. More to come, I can't wait to tell you more stories like this!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sew sweet


"OUCH!" the Hubs screamed from upstairs. I wondered what in the world had happened and when he told me that he stubbed his toe, I must admit, I shrugged it off. Big whoop, everyone has stubbed a toe and it hurts like mess but seriously, it's NO big deal.

Besides I was busy sewing my aprons for unknown people for an unknown purpose and if he wasn't incapacitated, I had mounds of material awaiting construction.

However as the morning lingered, the Hubs continued to complain about his stubbed toe. When he eventually showed it to me, it was ghastly! Dark shades of red and purple melted together on his little middle toe, ew! It didn't look stubbed, it looked mangled! Talk about gee-ross.

So how do you know you married a good man? When your hubs traipses your handmade aprons downtown with a broken toe and tries to sell them at local stores. That's how you know you are loved.

The Hubs has successfully passed many "tests," - last year when I broke my foot, he proved his love for me and then there are scores of other times that are none of your beeswax when he has shown me sacrificial, undeserved love.

How many aprons did he sell? I can hear you wondering. He sold nada. Nothing. Zilch. They didn't kick him, his fractured phalange of the foot along with my aprons out of the stores, thank the Lord! Nor did they say they would never, ever consider selling such rubbish! But did it matter to me? Heck, no!

For me it's the humbling image of a man who believed in me enough in me that despite his discomfort, was willing to limp down the sidewalk with my aprons in hopes that he could sell them for me.

Lemme tell ya, making these aprons has turned into a spiritual endeavor. I have so much to learn and tell, isn't it amazing how God can use the simplest things to teach us?

The idea of my sweet hubs limping through our quaint downtown trying to sell his wife's wares is seriously a better gift than if he had sold every last one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sew blessed

For nearly eight years I had a wonderful part-time job. I poured my soul into the position and treasured every experience, from the funniest moment with a teenager to the most heartbreaking. Talking to young people about sensitive subjects, hearing their own stories often left me with little to give to my own precious family.

This summer the Lord saw it fit to have me step away from that job which came as both a relief and a loss. It was something I was good at and gave me something exciting to do. I stepped into a mission field of sorts and then one day, I didn't.

With a very low desire to step back into the work world and with a hubs who supported me staying at home, I have enjoyed days caring for my family. I have also loved looking at my calendar and seeing that there is nothing I absolutely have to do. That doesn't mean I've been lazy, it just means I haven't had the usual constraints on what, when and how I do certain things.

One of my passions is sewing. And I love cooking. So one day I felt a tug in my heart to combine the two. Here is a simple mathematical equation of my idea. It's a simple math equation because I can't do any complicated math. I'm a word girl, thank you very much.

Cooking + sewing = aprons

About three weeks ago I ran into a friend at the Whole Foods and I told her about me making aprons. She makes adorable Christmas ornaments so it wasn't just a random comment that didn't make sense, as if that has ever stopped me. That's when she suggested I participate in our church's Christmas craft party and try to sell my little aprons. My heart skipped a beat as I rushed through the checkout aisle ready to get home and sew my brains out.

I came home eager to tell the Hubs about this new project. I have a ridiculous amount of fabric accumulating in our room so it wasn't going to be difficult to produce many aprons. I knew he would be happy to see some fabric exiting our house instead of coming into our home Often I have wondered how I was going to get rid of it and if I would ever have the talent to make something people might like enough to buy.

My Project Runway sewing machine has been very busy as I have designed my own aprons not using a pattern but fashioning them based on qualities I have liked in several of my fave aprons I use regularly.

Many times I have spoken with the Lord. While making these aprons for imaginary people, I have confided in Him. "Lord, what if no one wants my aprons? What if I can't sell any?" As I awaited His voice, I heard Him tell me, "Just sew."

Last Sunday was the day of the Christmas craft party. I ironed each one and hung it on a rack. You would have thought I was preparing for a fashion show in New York City! There were moments when I actually felt slightly like a designer but not in an arrogant way, I assure you!

I arrived at the lady's home to get my display arranged. I lugged in a full-length mirror, 20 aprons and several samples of material suggesting other aprons I could make and waited with the other crafty ladies for people to arrive. It is a vulnerable feeling to have people look at your wares. Some walk by with nary a glance, others admire and window shop, it is strange standing in front of something you have made wondering if anyone will like it enough to buy. Like my previous job, I poured my heart out on each little apron. If anyone bought one, they were going to be taking home a little part of me.

And guess what? To my delight I sold 18 aprons! I sold 12 directly at the party and have paid orders for six more. They liked my aprons! As I returned home with more money than when I had left (and that is a rarity, folks!), I remembered the words the Lord had placed in my heart. "Just sew." He told me to leave the results to Him and in my obedience, the Lord blessed my family and me.

I can't wait to tell you more about aprons. Remind me to share with you something about the Hubs, a broken toe and aprons. And remind me to tell you about my mom and aprons, too. Aprons and Soldiers too. Stay tuned, dear friends!




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chuck Norris is in da house!

So basically it was just your typical day at West Point. You know, cadets in ACUs or as-for-class uniforms, cadets correctly addressing each other, cadets jogging by one another or concocting some buffoonery to torment on a fellow cadet. (Oh, how I wish I could blog about that but I can't because a certain cadet would disown me!)

However, there really isn't anything typical about West Point. Many notable people stroll this stately place. Geraldo Rivera, Miss USA and the President of El Salvador (prior to the communist takeover of that beautiful country) have been to WP. The Prince of Orange was at USMA this fall and I'm not ashamed to say this, I had no idea anyone could be the prince of a fruit! Actually it's the Netherlands - DUH!


Recently, Trace Adkins gave a no-holds-barred concert which was resoundingly NOT politically-correct. Yeah, West Point has brought some heavy hitters on post.

But none, and I mean, NONE as cool and awesome and wonderful and every other adjective imaginable ever known to humankind as the man/myth/hero who came by on Tuesday.

The day before Veteran's Day, West Point was ridiculously exciting because...drum roll, please...

Chuck Norris paid a visit to WP!


My son was unable to meet him personally, shucks, but Chuck Norris was announced in the Mess Hall as my OS was running to class from the auditorium. I guess that's a good thing because Nate was worried about getting a roundhouse kick from him! HA! And although Nate didn't meet Chuck, one of his buddies got a high-five from him and another had a photo op with the guy! What luck!


Chuck Norris is the man. He respects and supports the military.


He speaks his mind but with tact and passion. Every time I have seen the guy on tv, he sounds genuine and humble despite all the adulation. I understand that Chuck stayed well past his initial commitment and signed books for well over three hours. Solid.



Today ESPN is reporting from West Point and I am thrilled that the Army is getting some good press.

These last couple of days have been so sad and concerning...

In honor of Chuck's visit to West Point, here are some Chuck Norris jokes for your reading pleasure...


If you spell Chuck Norris in Scrabble, you win. Forever.

Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.

The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Check this out!

When my OS were little and I became a stay-at-home mom, I found sanctuary in MOPS. On really rough days, (oh yes, we have had plenty of rough days), I would LIVE for my MOPS day. It meant that I would have time for myself, talk with other moms, hear a great speaker and make a fun craft. My OS would be in a nearby room being cared for by generous ladies and we would all leave happy. They would nap, I would show the Hubs the craft I had made at MOPS when he got home from work. He would lavish praise even if it looked like something I could have made in kindergarten, MOPS will always hold a special place in my heart.

Now I have a sister in MOPS and I live vicariously through her when she goes to MOPS meetings. Quick MOPS story before I write the real reason for my post...

Last year, one day I was over at my sister's house. Our mom was visiting and Denise walked in from the garage and into the kitchen utterly exasperated. She was breathless and clearly overwhelmed and when I asked her what was wrong, she directed me to take a look at my nephew otherwise known as one of my Gooey Guys.

As Jon walked into the kitchen, I noticed something was amiss. Jon trotted in with a shirt, a pull-up and socks. Gone were his pants and his big boy undies...While at MOPS, Jon thought he had "let one go" or as he calls it had a "barking spider" and it soon became disgustingly apparent, that he had more than expelled flatus. My darling nephew had pooped in his pants and I mean really pooped in his pants thus rendering his Thomas the Tank Engine undies completely and irrevocably ruined. I found it hilarious; my sister did not. Oh those were the days, thankfully we are both laughing about that moment!

Ok, so awkward transition...there's no easy way to do it...

I just had to tell you about the most adorable craft the MOPS ladies made today. Check out this Advent Calendar. You can buy comparable Advent Calendars for $75 and up but not like this or at this price. You can have a Advent Calendar created by my friend Darcy for just $50. Darcy will include a personalized name on the top of the calendar if you like at no extra charge.

And for the uber crafty, Darcy is selling a set for you to make the Advent Calendar yourself. She includes a template for alternate ideas. The kit includes a dowel, twine, 25 monogrammed numbers, felt, ribbon and buttons, basically everything needed to create one like this including a picture of the sample. These are only $30 plus shipping and handling. And she'll personalize it for free.

Facebook was abuzz with MOPS moms writing about the nifty craft they made and judging from some of the moms' pictures, they all did a GREAT job! It is so cute to see all the creative ideas circulating! One mom has a husband who is a firefighter so she's making a fire engine. Another mom's son loves trains and she has a new daughter. She's making a train and a ballerina. And if you know me, you know I LOVE penguins! There are penguins on the Advent Calendar !
Darcy is a stay-at-home pastor's wife and mom. She is a tal- ented seamstress with such a servant's heart, I know it would bless her family's holidays if she sold bunches of these. Call Darcy at (919) 676-3159 if you want more info or to place an order. Tell her you heard about this right here! I love bragging about my talented friends!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Redemption para Senor Taco Cabesa (Redemption by Mr. Taco Head)

It's only taken 10 months for there to be redemption in my house. Say what??? I'm talking about coupon redemption, folks; we found redemption of the spiritual sort individually quite some time ago, which by the way, is a VERY good thing!

On my birthday, which happens to be January 27th so be sure to mark it down, my middle OS gave me a coupon for him to make dinner for the family. I read the fine print, "this coupon is a legal voucher for a complete meal on any non-school day. This must be presented to the giver before 3:00 on that day or before that day. The only other rule is that you must enjoy your meal and have a nice time doing whatever it is that you do while you are not cooking." Isn't that cool?

This morning I announced/asked Aaron if he could make dinner tonight. With only a momentary hesitation, he agreed.

Around 6pm, my middle OS began to make turkey tacos. He donned the family chef's hat, tied the apron around his trim waist and set to work. I worked on some sewing projects and snapped pics to capture every moment as he unabashedly posed for the camera not fully realizing the apron he actually had selected. Take a minute and you'll see what I mean...

Aaron was wearing a reversible apron I made in the summer. I chuckled seeing Aaron chopping onions, browning the turkey meat with the girly side of the apron in full view.

I think my OS forgot that the other side of the apron has something much more to his liking. Guitars. Aaron LOVES guitars and music possibly more than fashion. As soon as I pointed out which side he was wearing and he realized I had the pictures to prove it, Aaron reversed to the more manly print.

How interesting it was for me to see Aaron frantically running around the kitchen trying to get everything ready at the same time. HALLO~Welcome to my world! Moms, you know exactly what I'm talking about! Sometimes it's so crazy trying to put food on the table. I believe Aaron had an epiphany tonight and we shall see how long that lasts. The aroma filling the house was quite delicious and although it would make a funnier post to say the meal was a flop, that would be a lie. Y'all, my boy can throw down! Tonight was husband training at its finest. Excuse me while I take a bow...

The true test of a good meal in our home is silence. If people aren't talking while eating, you know it's good. Take, for example, my angel food cake. You could have heard a crumb drop. And if a crumb had dropped, you would have heard someone licking it up! Tonight's turkey tacos produced only the sound of crunching. In other words, we enjoyed mealtime.

I'm so glad I found redemption today and cashed in on my dinner coupon. In between bites, I bestowed upon Aaron a new nickname, thanks to a scrumptious meal, he is now crowned Senor Taco Cabesa!