Friday, February 27, 2009

Mrs. Davis gets a Snuggie

Aaron and his study buddy Brianna were prepar- ing for an up- coming test. I was in the kitchen minding my own business. Making a delicious and nutritious dinner while simultaneously listening to their conversation, you know, the things all good mommies should do. 

There was a break in their conversation when I overheard Aaron mention to Brianna, "Did you know it's Mrs. Davis' birthday tomorrow?" I can't explain what happened next but in less than 10 minutes something really weird happened. On an impulse, I offered to make Mrs. Davis a birthday present.  I'm also not sure why I didn't just volunteer to make a pretty card but for whatever reason, I offered to make Mrs. Davis a snuggie! That's right, you heard it, I offered to make Mrs. Davis a snuggie!

Now I have never made a snuggie before but thanks to a quick google search, I found a free on-line pattern. Here it is for you if your son's Spanish teacher needs a snuggie. It looked really easy! Mrs. Davis was going to love her snuggie, I knew that deep within my soul.  It would make her part of American pop culture and oh so snuggly. As we all know, snuggies are the latest craze. I crack up every time I see the commercial, doesn't everyone? I realized the popularity of the snuggie when one day, while having sushi with my husband, I saw a group of teenagers at the Walgreens walking out with a snuggie apiece. That's how I knew snuggies were da bomb. Here is a YouTube video about the snuggie. Please take a moment to

With no time to waste, I set to work on the snuggie immediately. Because I am a fabric fiend, I have quite a stash of material just waiting for a project. I knew immediately what material would make the perfect snuggie. Three yards of blue and green circles made of fleece. Oh yes, Mrs. Davis would look fantastic reading a book on the couch in her snuggie.

But before I could get it to Mrs. Davis, I needed someone to try it on. Aaron was busy studying, Ike is too small, Nate is at West Point, hmmm, whom could I find? That was when my husband fulfilled his lifelong dream and became a model. A snuggie model.

That man was really workin' it! As you can see, the camera loves him. Each way he turned, seemed to capture a new dimension to his personality.

We have here the pensive look.

This is the "I see dead people" look.

If Jesus wore a snuggie, I'm pretty sure he'd look like this.

We have coined this picture, the "Do I look chubby in this? shot.

It was sad the morning that Aaron dressed up on Spirit Day as Mr. Grumpy Box of Crayons and gave the snuggie to its new, rightful owner Mrs. Davis. The diminutive Spanish teacher's mouth dropped open when Aaron stood and presented her with the much unexpected gift! 

She told her students that when her own kids stopped by for a visit, she modeled the snuggie and even took pictures of herself in the poses of the people in the snuggie commercial. 

Let's hope she didn't try and imitate the pictures we took of my DH because no one can look as good as my man in a snuggie

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mr. Grumpy Box of Crayons and a Little Wiggle

The final theme for Spirit Week in middle school was TV characters. Again, my friend Michele and I masterminded what we believed would be the most epic of all ideas for TV character days not only at our kids' school but quite possibly ever in the history of mankind. What we didn't know was that there were other moms with some crazy ideas of their own.  After kicking around a few ideas, we asked our boys what about being the international children's Australian music group sensation, The Wiggles? To our surprise, our guys said yes! 

was pleased that Ike was willing to be a Wiggle. He is my subdued child and far more self-conscious. Not only did Michele's son and my boy decide on being The Wiggles but they recruited two of their buddies to be the two remaining band members! Michele and I went full-force with our plans. She bought t-shirts for all four of them and created The Wiggles iron-on transfers and expertly applied the logos to the front of each shirt. 

Then after lunch one day, Michele and I found black hairspray. When Ike came home, he was eager to try it out. I took him outside as to not make a mess indoors and put a few squirts of the black hairspray on his hair. His lovely orange hair began to turn the ugliest shade of gray I'd ever seen in my life. It turned a thick, lifeless gray and to make matters worse, the hairspray became powdery on his head. We also probably destroyed another ozone layer in the process. Sorry about that. 
The next morning Isaac woke early. After he put his Wiggles t-shirt on, I placed him in the tub and began lacquering his hair. A thin film of powder covered his head. Before my eyes, my sweet 12 year old son had turned into an aging Wiggle. I gave him some dark eyebrows with my eyebrow pencil and once he got the blue plastic recorder I bought at the Dollar Tree, Ike's transformation was complete. Ike trepidatiously walked into the sixth grade hall searching for his aging band mates. Their moms had also bought the hairspray and they all complained about the gross stuff in their hair in the corridor. 

The hallway exploded with energy. One student was the Cookie Monster and he passed around cookies to everyone he saw. Another guy was the guy complete with a little pirate outfit and guitar. 

But I think my personal favorite TV character was Billy Mays from OxyClean!  This student was a hoot because he absolutely personified spokesman Billy Mays. He had a penciled-in beard, toted around his OxyClean bottle and recited the entire OxyClean schtick!

Ike said everywhere Derek went, he was trying to sell his product! Smiles and laughter, cookies and cleaning products, music and merriment, what could possibly be better!

And then there was Aaron. The grand finale of high school Spirit Day was Crayon Day. Poor fella was clueless about what to do. 

After a long night of homework, Aaron began working on his costume after 11pm. Ingeniously, my middle OS turned a grocery bag inside out, grabbed some markers, a bottle of White-Out and my resourceful child became a box of Crayons. 

With little sleep, Aaron was pretty unpleasant the next morning. He was Mr. Grouchy Box of Crayons even in the car as these pictures clearly demonstrate. 
It probably didn't help that his annoying parents took a million pictures and found the whole thing terribly amusing!

I miss Spirit Week but am kind of glad things are back to normal...I'm already thinking about next year's plans!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Men in Tights, Men in Black

Now we're back to our regular school uniforms and I admit I am both relieved that Spirit Week is over and nostalgic about the fun times we enjoyed.

Aaron's class had Black-Out Day. I wasn't ecstatic about the theme since it seems dark (duh, it's black!) and gothic but then Aaron wanted to know if I had any black tights and suddenly Black-Out Day sounded more weird than anything else. My OS would have killed me if I had taken some pics but you should have seen him trying on my stockings. At first he tried on a pair of black nylons. "How can anyone wear these things!" he groaned. 

When I saw that he was wearing nylons, like the kind I wear with a dress or skirt, I had to intervene. He needed an emergency hosiery alternative so I recommended some black tights. It is strange rifling through my drawers trying to find a hosiery alternative for my teenage son.

I hearken back to the Halloween when my oldest OS was about six years old and dressed up as a spider. He wore my brimmed black hat and to complete the ensemble, I purchased some girls' spider tights. I didn't think it was a big deal but he did. It took a lot of convincing but my son who is a now a plebe at the United States Military Academy VERY hesitantly wore them for trick or treating. To my knowledge, he hasn't worn ladies' tights/nylons since that day.

Aaron also decided that compression shorts were necessary and I'll leave it at that. If guys only had a clue how much effort we put into looking good, I think they would be surprised. In addition to covering his shapely legs all in black,  my OS donned a black ski cap, black UnderArmor and smeared black camo make-up over his face. Yes it was creepy, especially when I came to pick him up after school and he continued to wear the ski mask. He was talking normally about his day through the ski mask and it was creeping me out! I had to tell him to take it off just so I could drive.

I am not only the mom of three sons, but I guess I'm the mom of Men in Tights and Men in Black. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pajama Day for the Record Books

The suspense has got to be killing far I have shared that Spirit Week in our family is a BIG deal. We take Spirit Week seriously and bring it, if you know what I mean. But what I haven't shared is the final result. 

After all the exhaustive effort, the travail, at last Pajama Day was at hand.

I had finished my middle OS's pajama pants around 11:30pm Sunday night, the costume was ready. 

Before I reveal the actual outfit, you need some background. We have a standing joke in my family that I have yet to grow tired of saying. True, everybody in my family is tired of hearing this joke but that's beside the point. Here it is...every time my sons eat something healthy, especially if it is green, I tell them something marvelous is going to happen to them in the near future. A very special, VERY manly thing that will leave them eternally gratefully for having me as their mom and for having eaten that healthy, green thing. 

I tell them that thanks to eating that healthy thing and having me as their mom, they are going to grow chest hair. And not just little tufts here and there, my friends. Not just a random hair on a barren land, oh no, we're talking prolific amounts of chest hair, a veritable yet tasteful explosion of virulity and testorone will arrive shortly. 

Essentially I say the same thing each time but I have a knack for making it sound fresh and new. For example, Ike will be sitting at the dinner table, eating/being forced to eat some salad and I will affirm him by saying, "Isaac, that salad is going to grow a centimeter of hair on your chest one day!" Or recently when they tried/were forced to try brussels sprouts, I encouraged my youngest OS after he ate/choked one of them down with these supportive words, "Oh, Ike just you wait, Man.  You are so gonna grow some chest hair!"  

How does that relate to Pajama Day?...take a look at these pictures, dear friends...
To the untrained eye, this might look like real chest hair. That would be wrong. On one of my million trips to the fabric store, I purchased some fake fur. My expert (HA!) seamstress skills allowed me to sew some "chest hair" onto a ripped t-shirt. I wanted to sew "back hair" also but felt close to exhaustion.  

Aaron played the part to the hilt, from the beginning of the morning at home till the end of school that afternoon, my boy scratched his newly sprouted chest hair to the disgust of all the freshman girls and possibly some of the teachers. I don't think it is humanly possible to have more fun with chest hair, real or otherwise, than we had that day!

Unless something new develops, I'll soon blog about the new painting in our house from a talented and aspiring artist, as well as Mr. Grumpy Box of Crayons and The Wiggles AND a certain Cadet of the Quarter I know quite well and the new SNUGLET model who might one day seriously be strutting the cat walk! ;) Stay tuned and come back soon, love to hear from you if you have enjoyed any of these posts. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pajama Pants are a Pain in the Neck and the Butt!

After gobbling up the chicken manicotti, I whipped out the sewing machine for my last project, not knowing this one was going to be a real doozy.

I had begun Aaron's Thomas the Tank Engine pj pants on Saturday and felt fairly certain they were nearly finished. That feeling quickly dashed as Aaron tried the pants on for what I presumed would be the last fitting and announced these words which I will edit for my more puritan readers.

Aaron declared, "Mama, these pants are riding up my b_ _ _ s!" When I asked him to turn around, it was obvious that the pants were not only riding up his "area" but up his butt as well...basically like an Atomic Super Wedgie. I couldn't help but chuckle. Honestly, they looked incredibly uncomfortable. They were hugging his behind and the seams of the material seemed to disappear into the "Great Unknown." Ew

So what was I going to do? My neck/back/shoulders were in agony, I had been sewing for hours, it was past dinnertime and they had to be done by 7AM the next morning? GA! My first inclination was to tell Aaron to just deal and suck it up. Couldn't he wear them to school for seven hours and leave well enough alone? I suggested he just pull the pants down a little bit, that would do the trick. Problem solved, case closed. Personally, that would be the simplest solution as far as I was concerned.

Not so easy. Aaron reluctantly pulled his Thomas the Tank Engine pants lower but that was almost worse. I burst out loud. Now he looked slightly obscene and there is nothing worse or grosser than seeing a 14  year old boy in Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants looking really inappropriate!

Aaron told me that he wasn't going to wear the pants in their current situation. Great. I began to rip out the crotch with my trusty seam ripper and then I had him try the pj pants on again (with boxers!) because I thought if I simply relaxed the seam, it would be fine.

I was wrong. I don't know about you but these are the moments where my self-worth is totally challenged. I go from feeling like the best mommy in the world to being the dumbest, stupidest, most worthless excuse for a mother ever. I was hurting and feeling more desperate by the second. Am I the only one who can be so cruel to herself?  

That's when I called in the big guns. My husband. Mind you, Mark hasn't sewn a thing in his life but I needed a fresh perspective and had run out of options. We surveyed the pajama pants like we were looking at a map searching for a great treasure. Like a surgeon looking inside a body cavity. The crotch seams were completely gone and it looked hopeless. Then we got an idea, something preposterous and probably impossible...

Hey, how about creating a waistband?

Why was this so outrageous?
1. I have never created a waistband. 
2. Mark can barely sew a button and has therefore never created a waistband. 
3. I was beyond tired.
4. Did I mention I was really hurting???

I emerged from a fetal position and I'm not exaggerating, there we were Sunday, about 10:30PM, commiserating over how to make our first waistband ever either individually or as a couple for a pair of Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants for our 14 year old son. Y'all, I have no idea how we did it but glory to God, by some miracle, without instructions, we saved the pants, the junk in the trunk and the family jewels! How do you like that! By 11:30 that night, after nearly nine hours of sewing, this project was almost complete. 

I was telling my friend this story and she reminded me of a perfect Scripture verse...

James 1:3-5

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 

These verses fit as well as my boy's pj's!

Please take several moments to admire the waistband. Behold the craftmanship.  Please, I beg you, behold the craftmanship!

I don't think I had a stitch left in me but I loved the strong hugs from my boy. His dignity was restored and he could go to Pajama Day with his head held high. Ok, maybe not, just wait until you see his outfit...check back tomorrow for that blog post and be prepared. May I suggest not reading Friday's post on a full stomach? You'll see...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things Always Take A Lot Longer Than You Realize

So if you have been with me so far you know that Spirit Week is a big deal in our family. The resourcefulness, creativity and fun my OS and I put into the week makes my little mama's heart soar. I feel as if I am in the TMZ, the Total Mama Zone, like I am racking up some serious AMP, Amazing Mama Points. 

But that nearly came to a screeching halt the Sunday before Spirit Week began. Michele and I decided to get together after church and make three pair of pajama pants and corresponding appliques. 

My bff prepared some tasty chicken cabbage soup and fresh pineapple and afterward I realized that I had brought the wrong pajama pants patterns to her house. We rushed back to my house, grabbed the patterns and scurried up to her craft room. At this point, we were slightly behind our imaginary schedule but not too concerned.

The mood was lively and jovial as we cut the material and set to the task of cranking those pj pants out in record time. Our machines were purring like kittens and I was especially excited to be using a stitch on my machine I had never used. It's funny the things people, (ok, not everybody, but some people, like me) can get excited about...maybe it's like a guy using a new kind of nail or a fancy hammer, I don't know.

Ike took pictures to document the day. Surely we will be done with these before dinner, Michele and I mused. Yeah, right. Michele spoke these ominous words repeatedly, "things always take a lot longer than you realize," and that became a foreboding truism as the day grew longer and longer and longer. 
I believe this picture is Michele's "things always take a lot longer than you realize" face.  

When the two boys tried on the pj pants, we made some changes and started more custom sewing. Scott is small and his pants were gi-normous. Then Ike felt like his pants were pretty huge too. I guess sixth grade guys don't like their pants poofy. We plodded on.

And then there was me. Michele wanted to make simple elastic
 waistbands but I lobbied for them to have elastic waistbands and matching draw strings. I assured her it wouldn't take too much longer since both of our machines can make buttonholes. We could whip those out in no time at all. She complied and we still remained optimistic. We could doey it! 

Admittedly though we were getting a tired and a little punchy. Michele also said she never sews at night...too many mistakes. Daylight was slipping away and although we were making progress but it was apparent she would be working into the night. 

I averted a horrible accident and a nice little trip to the ER when I narrowly missed digging/shoving/implanting a pin into my right knee. I guess I needed to cut something and with one fell swoop, my knee/pajama pants all hit the carpet simultaneously. It was only then that I felt a little pin in the material breeze past my bent knee. Oh, how I praised Jesus that that unsanitary pin didn't get rammed up there! All I could think about was some medical show I watched recently about a woman with a needle in her knee and wow, it was really, really gross! 

We weren't lazy and we talked while we sewed but there were no coffee or cigarette breaks (HA!) Why was it past six o'clock and these pants were still not done! Ike tried on his pajama pants and got fitted more times when he probably will when he gets a tux for his wedding! 

And the buttonholes were a mess. Maybe the machines were getting as tired as the seamstresses behind them. But we plugged along and bless her heart, when we realized that I hadn't made enough drawstrings, Michele forged ahead and completed the job. 

It was past 7pm and the end was near, at least for this project. Though my shoulders and neck were screaming, I think the satisfaction of spending time with my friend and doing something for my son and his buds made it all worthwhile. That is until Ike started to have second thoughts on the way home and panicked about what people were going to say. I tried my best to remain calm which was a feat in itself. 

I made dinner with the help of my family and immediately after shoveling in the last bit of chicken manicotti, I whipped out my trusty sewing machine and worked on Aaron's Thomas the Tank Engine pj pants.

Why did we do this? I'll tell you why. Love. Pure, unadulterated, mushy mama love, that's why. Love for my children, love for his friends, love of my friend, a chance to bless. I don't regret a minute of it even though I was exhausted. 

And check these out! First, check out Ike's face as he got ready to walk into his class with Orange Train emboldened on his chest! Aren't they adorable! Here are the guys workin' it with their matching pajama pants and appliqued t-shirts. They were a big hit at the middle school and I'm already thinking about next year's design. Yes, I'm insane. 

And Aaron's Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants, just when I thought I had nothing left in me, well, those pajama pants were about to rock my world...I'll blog about that next.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PJ Pants

Now that Ike's in sixth grade, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't make him his first pair of custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week? 

Answer: I would be the worst mother in the world, that's whom I'd be! Not saying that YOU are a horrible mom of a middle schooler if you haven't made a your child custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week, I'm only talking about myself! No guilt zone, k?

As I talked with my friend, Michele, we agreed that since our sons are besties, we would make them matching pajamas. Then we considered another one of their good buds and decided to offer to make some for him too. When I suggested to Michele that we could probably crank out maybe even pj pants for two other kids, Michele was quick to use her assertive communication skills and say, "NO!" I am very thankful for her common sense because it preserved both my sanity and our friendship!

After a basketball game, Michele and I took our two boys to one of a sixth grade boys' favorite stores...JoAnn Fabrics. Oh noooooo, they didn't feel too awkward looking through all the material! Hungry and tired after the game, we were relieved when when we finally found the perfect material but then discovered there wasn't enough of it to make three pj pants so guess what we got to do? That's right...we got to take our tired and starving 12 year boys to their second favorite store...Hancock Fabrics! Try it sometime. If you have a 12 year old son and he complains about having nothing to do, offer to take him to a fabric store and see what happens! So much fun!

Our stomachs were growling and with only 15 minutes before closing time, we all settled on this fabric. It had to be the perfect blend of not too serious so people thought it was lame and not too babyish so people aka the dreaded eighth graders wouldn't mercilessly mock and shame our sons for the remainder of their lives. That is not the easiest thing to do by the way. Michele and I planned on beginning our sewing project on Saturday and we were going to crank these pj pants out in no time at all...

Famous last words...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Having fun during Spirit Week - W-H style

Every year at my children's school, there is an opportunity to ditch their school uniforms and participate in Spirit Week. It has become five days my sons look forward to from the first day of school. Spirit Week is a time for the kids to let loose, as much as is humanly possible in a private Christian school and just have some fun. Truly a rare and welcome treat. 

But my sons are not the only people in our family who anticipate Spirit Week. I do too! For the last several years, it has become a tradition in our family, mostly instituted by me that when it's Pajama Day, and there is always a Pajama Day during Spirit Week, well, the W-H's, we are gonna represent. We are going to bring it! We are going to take it to the limit, no holds barred and therefore no ordinary pajamas will suffice. Whether they like it or not, I determine to make my OS their very own, "designer" pajama pants.

One year our two oldest OS wore a matching rubber ducky pj's. Nate wasn't exactly overjoyed about being twins with his dorky middle school brother but I had some spare material around the house and whipped those pj's out pretty quickly during the Super Bowl game. They were quite a hit at school not to mention super comfy and that fed my addiction to purpose to make more pajama pants for Spirit Week. 

But before I tell you about our current Spirit Week events and ideas, let's take a journey back and visit Spirit Weeks of days gone by.

There was the time when Nate dressed up as a Super Hero...I believe he was Super Nate...Not sure what his super powers were but we always think of him as Super Nate! 
I cannot take credit for the costume he created except to say I helped him put the N on the back of his cape. 

And who could forget Nerd Day? Aaron took that day VERY seriously and if you know him, he's such a un-nerdy guy. Nonetheless, he wore a computer tie the boys bought him years ago at the flea market. Shockingly, I believe Aaron is the only person to have ever worn this tie. Even when I have told Mark that his kids bought it especially for him for Christmas, he still hasn't put the thing around his neck. At least someone has gotten good use of it after all these years. 

Last year Aaron was Prince Charming. 

I made golden silk pajama pants which I hemmed at the knees and a felt vest. (Obligatory ew-ing and ah-ing from my readers, please!) 

We then made a golden crown out of poster board and glued beautiful authentic plastic jewels which surely bedazzled the ladies. We even went to the Goodwill and got him a shoe to carry around the entire day as he searched for his Cinderella who was nowhere to be found.  

I'm not sure what Nate was this year but I think he had limited time, talent and resources so I think he was Captain Hook...check out the black Lady Godiva wig we have used for countless weird things. Oh and don't forget the "hook" made out of aluminum foil. 

There was Favorite Bible Character Day...Nate was Noah...check out the stuffed animal on his cardboard ark. He duct-taped the defenseless teddy bear to the ark!

I just had to tell you about our past experiences before I got you up to date on what we've been working on currently. Next blog...Spirit Week 2009...and the NINE hour sewing project which nearly killed me...and I'm not even exaggerating. More soon,