Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 25-31

I love hyacinths . . . at the first house we owned I planted some and loved when they came up the next spring.  They smell so good!  These aren't exactly *my* hyacinths--I ran past a house that was empty/for sale and thought nobody would mind if I returned with my camera and admired the flowers (I hope!). ;o)
There were rumors about a "3 feet deep!" hole that was getting dug in the backyard.  I didn't pay much attention as it was my boys starting the rumor and they are prone to exaggeration.  Let's just say I was rather shocked when I finally did get around to checking on their progress.  They were attempting to tunnel under the window well!
{where I subject you to gushings about a swimsuit}
So, for like TEN YEARS I have worn the most boring black tank suit every summer.  It got the job done and kept what needed to be covered hidden. ;o)  Each summer I hope to find a new suit and will subject myself to a few trying-on-sessions here and there and I never find anything that will work--and by work I mean look cute while allowing me to play with my kids in the water.  That takes a special suit.  One day I saw a cute little red polka-dot number pinned on Pinterest. It was lovely but $90, and I am just not going to spend that.  And then a few days later another red polka-dot swimsuit showed up . . . only this one was Old Navy and it was $45 (plus I just so happened to have a 15% off code).  I told Josh I had found THE SUIT.  Knowing my past fruitless searches he gave me the green light (even though it is still more than I would like to spend on a suit).  I had that baby bought in five minutes.  And would you believe I LOVE IT!  I can't believe I like a swimsuit I never tried on!  Not only does it have polka-dots (I rather like polka-dots) but it gives the illusion that I'm shaped more "womanly" and not so much like a 12 year old boy. *ahem*  As an added bonus it has "control max" and let's face it I've had five babies . . . there are some things that running just can't touch. Right?? Right. So yeah, perhaps I have entered the world of "old lady" suits, but I don't care--it is an awesome suit for a mama who is going to be playing a lot of Marco Polo and drenching her children with cannon balls. ;o)  And no, Old Navy did not pay me to endorse their swimwear, but I'm totally open to the option should they need a spokeswoman. (hint hint Old Navy)  They also have a black, blue, and plain red in the same style if you're in the market for a good suit!
Crabapples in bloom (while I play around with 50 mm . . .)
First run in the new shoes!  After a very brief midweek visit to Lincoln I had myself properly fitted for some new shoes.  It would seem I'm rolling in (or was it out?? I can't remember . . .) and flattening out my arches.  I must say as I eyed the shoe wall with all its brightly colored shoe candy I was a bit giddy at the prospect of what my "shoe-fitter" might bring out for me to try.  Sadly, the three pairs she brought out for me were all white . . . boring white.  I'm thinking if I'm paying more than $100 for a pair of shoes they could look more snazzy.  I have a hunch they might be old lady running shoes.  (And really, despite my several references to old ladies, I really do love them, it's just mentally I still like to think I'm nineteen-ish--the swimsuit and the shoes are telling me otherwise . . .).  ;o) However, the good news--I've completed several runs and no more stabbing arch pain, so the boring white shoes seem to be doing the job.  At least they have some blue on them--it redeems them a bit in my eyes.
We also brought back 33 lbs of hamburger from Lincoln.  I can never find a good deal out here, but Super Saver will have their "manager specials" and it just so happened they were having one that day.  Josh got home from school Friday and browned it all up and then we made hamburger patties for grilling.  I love when the freezer is stocked with ready-to-use meat!
Josh out mowing the weeds grass with a little helper.  Emmett followed him the whole time, one hand helping Daddy push.  So sweet. ;o)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hello Monday!

Hello view across the street!

Hello incredible March weather!

Hello truckload of laundry . . . (not feeling as chipper about you)

Hello happy spots around my house!

Hello pain in my foot ever since the 5 1/2 mile point of Saturday's 7 mile run . . . praying it goes away . . . wondering if new shoes would cure it?

Hello PB&B (peanut butter/banana) for lunch--my favorite (and nobody in my house will ever try it!).

Hello schoolbooks that are nearing their ends!

Hello $14 pitcher (on right) I found at Red Roof Antiques outside of North Platte! It's officially a collection now!  And I officially have a favorite antique store--that place is AWESOME!

Hello piano practice as I work on the accompaniments for the girls (and other students) for the upcoming recital.

Hello new lens in the mail today!!

Hello final week in March!  (Where did March go??)

(Linking up to Lisa Leonard's blog as she's giving away $50 gift cards for her beautiful jewelry)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 18-24

Before leaving Lincoln on Sunday we had a little birthday party for Emmett.  It was a gorgeous day to eat outside, however the wind wasn't all that candle-friendly.  We had to move the singing inside.
Isabella brought in the first spring bouquet--and first dandelions of the year.
Now don't freak out, but that is the tooth Marissa had removed on Tuesday.  Somehow she ended up with a full-sized extra one growing in her pallet.  I was utterly shocked to see how long the root was--I guess I haven't seen a lot of pulled permanent teeth.  I was afraid there might be a hole in the roof of her mouth leading to her brain! ;o)
The kids scavenged the neighboring corn field for left over corn and scattered it through the yard.  It made a flocks of birds (starlings I believe) quite happy.
Our week for the most part can be summed up in this poem:

Mud, Mud, Mud
Author UnknownMud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud! Mud, mud, mud.  What a glorious thing is mud!It sticks and stacks, it squeezes through cracks,Between your toes goes mud.It plops and drops, and oozes and goozes, thick or thin it's mud!Mud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud! Mud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud!
It's mud pie, in your eye,The cake it makes are grand.
It covers your feet, it covers your face, Stir it with both hands.
Mud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud! Mud, mud, mud. What a wonderful thing is mud!
Up to your elbows, up to your knees,
It slips and slops around.
It's easy to make a chocolate cake,
Take water and add some ground!
Mud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud! Mud, mud, mud. What a wonderful thing is mud!
Mud, they say, has a way
Of changing clean to dirt.
But after all, you tell them all,
What can a little dirt hurt?
Mud, mud, mud. What a glorious thing is mud! Mud, mud, mud. What a wonderful thing is mud!


A view of the Harlan County Reservoir at sunset. (The town of Alma, where we attended Jackson's wrestling meet is right next to it).
Oh look, more mud. ;o)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rosette Necklaces

(For all those Hansen girls) ;o)
This isn't so much a tutorial, but more "a few things I figured out by trial and error" should you attempt to make one.  As I said earlier, I found the necklaces here and loved the pop of color they would bring to an outfit, kind of like a big funky bead necklace. But I wasn't willing to cough up the $41 for one and so I started googling rosette tutorials, and this one seemed to most be the look I was trying to achieve.
What I used to create my necklace--
~About 1/4 yd of material will easily yield you enough fabric for two (maybe three) necklaces
(Kona cottons come in an array of colors, like these)
~An 18 inch chain (found in the Hobby Lobby jewelry section) that already had all the fastening pieces attached.  I ended up using a wire cutter and snipping my chain in half, and then snipping another 1 1/2 inches off of that.  I'm wondering if it might be better to just use a longer chain and then there would be no snipping involved--just attach the entire chain to the back of the rosette piece
~Some wool felt that I just happened to have lying around that matched perfect (to back and secure rosettes)
~Super glue for securing the ends of my chains to the outermost rosettes
~Fabric glue for securing the rosettes as you roll and twist, I used this kind from Hobby Lobby:
While it did dry "clear" it did not dry invisible.  I considered a hot glue gun, but I'm thinking you would end up with "webby stuff" all over the place.

My first rosette looked like this:
It's not terrible but I didn't twist the fabric enough as I wrapped it around (I was a bit afraid to have the raw edges show and kept trying to hide them) and I got the glue too high up while I wrapped.  When it dried I could definitely see glue all over the place (it doesn't show up that well in the picture, but it did in real life). This one was demoted to a Barbie play thing. ;o) When I went to do the next one I was more careful.  I squeezed the glue out first on a paper plate and then dipped a cue-tip in, carefully dabbing glue closer to the bottom of the twist and trying to keep it from squeezing out the top.  By about the 4th one I was on a roll.  Ha--literally. ;o)
I decided to do seven rosettes instead of the original necklace's eight--I just liked having a center.  That rosette was the biggest and probably right around 22 inches in length (before rolling the strip).  When I cut my strips I left them as long as the fabric was wide and then just cut the extra off when I got the rosette to the size I wanted.  I wouldn't cut the length before hand just in case you end up wrapping one a bit tighter and need more length to get it to the correct size. 

Once all the rosettes were done I played around with arranging them in a curve and tried to find places on each where they would overlap a little an not leave space showing underneath.  I then glued them to the felt and trimmed the felt so you couldn't see it.
I super-glued the chain ends to the back of the end rosettes--you can kind of see the lump underneath the felt?  After that dried I cut felt circles and glued them over the chain ends.  I'm not sure if that was the best way to do that, but so far it has held fine.  I'm wondering if I had originally gotten a longer chain I could have just ran the chain along the length of the rosettes and then there would have been no need for wire cutters.  I may try that next time around.

Hopefully that is a little bit helpful? A bunch of step-by-step  photos would probably make my instructions more clear, but I'm not talented enough to twist and glue and photograph at the same time. ;o)  When all said and done I easily had less than $5 in the whole necklace, so I was pretty thrilled with the result on all accounts!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 11-17

Not the best picture, but as this is a nightly occurrence I don't have the best lighting. ;o)  This is how Owen prays every night--scrunching up one eye, folding his hands over it, and then peeking with the other.  Some day I'm sure he'll outgrow it, but for now I needed to preserve this memory.
Jackson felt it a *bit* indecent and wanted a t-shirt.  He has really loved his mini season and it has been a joyous occasion for Josh and I to watch him really take to something and listen so well to his coach.
Isabella practicing--at some point I need to invest in a music stand for them, but for now we just use the piano. ;o)
A rosette necklace I worked on this week.  I got the idea here and then found a tutorial on how to roll rosettes here.  (I'm going to try to type up a few more details on these later this week if you're interested on making them yourself!).
Emmett's birthday morning (complete with some bed head).  Now usually the "present haul" consists of one present.  However, this year Emmett's sweet sisters both used some of their Awana money at the Awana store a few weeks prior to get him a present (Isabella got him a remote control truck and Marissa got him a "zhu zhu pet").  They kept them hidden and then had me wrap them the night before.  That was one of those moments when I melted a little bit and realized that they DO love each other even if that isn't adequately expressed on a daily basis . . .
Successfully demystified how to add cuffs to men's dress pants!  Josh had a wedding on Saturday (where they got to wear their own dress pants) however Josh was lacking in anything wedding worthy.  My husband isn't exactly the tallest guy in the world and any new pants purchase ALWAYS requires altering.  I brought my sewing machine to my in-laws and set up shop in their kitchen.  My father-in-law acted as an excellent consult. ;o)
In spite of the fact I hauled my camera to the wedding/reception I didn't manage to take it out once--trying to keep track of five children all afternoon/evening will do that. ;o)  But I did happen to take a picture of my mother-in-law's beautiful dining table set for spring--so very pretty!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy 5th Emmett!!!

It's hard to believe five years have passed since we welcomed a 6 lb 5 oz bundle of you into the world!
And what is even stranger--for awhile we considered letting you be the completion to our family, and if we had my baby would be turning five . . . goodness I don't think I could have been ready for that!!
This birthday has been long anticipated by you, "the talk of the town" for the last month or so.
You've given me at least a million different ideas of suitable birthday gifts, requests daily for chocolate cake (for breakfast . . .), and even announced last Sunday in church (in front of the whole congregation) that you would be turning five on Thursday.  I sure do hope this special day lives up to your expectations!!
You at five--

You continue to have *quite* the sweet tooth and I don't think you've ever met a treat that you weren't fast friends with. 
You continue to love animals, big and small.
You tell me daily what the "goldfinchies" are up to and with much giggling, inform me there are "woodpecker robins" in the yard (even though we both know there is no such thing).
Lately you have shown interest in being my kitchen help, particularly if the task involves whisking or getting to use the handheld mixer.

You love to build with Trio blocks and dabble a bit in Legos.  You go through drawing sprees turning out dozens of pictures of exhaust-streaming airplanes and race cars at a single sitting.  Rarely do I see a picture of something that resembles a human.
You know your letters and sounds and can write your name.  You have a slight interest in working on reading, but nothing has quite "clicked" yet.
Outside you are fond of water, dirt, and mud or any combination of those three. 
You weigh a solid 31.4 pounds. 
Considering there are some one year olds that probably weigh that much, we have to realize that's kind of on the small side. But truly, when push comes to shove (and it does when you're the 4th of 5) there's a solid streak of feisty running through you. ;o)  At least I can still easily throw you on my back and give you galloping piggy-back rides off to your nap.

You still nap!!  You can do that as long as you want! ;o)
You love band-aids. A day is automatically awesome when you acquire a wound that has drawn blood.  While ultimately you would rather be the bandaged one, if somebody else has need of "medical attention" you are equally delighted.
You love your Cubbies class.  You love going to the movies with Daddy.  Whenever you come home from either of these outings you are so excited that the words just tumble out incoherently when you try to tell me what happened.  It makes me laugh every time.
You are sweet but spicy and oh so impish.
We are so happy to be celebrating this special day with a very special you.
Happy birthday little buddy!

And because you were such a cooperative little guy to photograph, here's your favorite--
Because it's so much easier to get smiles from a boy you have promised a few "silly shots" to. ;o)
Love you!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 4-10

The ride home from Colorado . . . it's always that last hour or so of travel that seems to test the limits--that's when all the crazy breaks loose. ;o)
I was kind of surprised to discover a little bloom in our yard (of the weedy variety I'm sure) but impressive for early March none-the-less.
I found my boys had set themselves up with a game of Sorry--more Lego onlookers.
A date with my biggest man and littlest man to the McDonald's in Holdrege.  Usually on Awana nights Josh takes the kids, and Owen and I stay home, however at this point I had been one full day without internet and felt rather cut-off from the world (it crashed Tuesday afternoon, and we didn't end up getting it back until Thursday afternoon).  So, after dropping the kids off at Awana we made use of the free wi-fi.  And got a shamrock shake (not as good as I remember them being . . .) and some fries for Owen to keep him happy. ;o)
My littlest guys are snuggled up watching a little show
I was doing a quick little declutter of the girls' room and in the process found all of these pillows that Isabella had sewn for the Barbies.  Apparently the Barbies have a pillow store that I did not know about.  It's kind of funny, when my sister and I used to play Barbies we were all about getting them married and having babies (surely we weren't the only ones to make tube dresses out of old socks and stuff cotton balls inside for an instant belly??). And since between the two of us there are nine children, I'm thinking the pretend play was oddly prophetic.  However, my girls set up all sorts of weird scenarios--like "mining Barbie" where they tied a ribbon around Barbie's waist and lowered her down the air vents, or "circus Barbie" which seemed to overtake the whole bedroom. If we truly are what we play I'm wondering if Isabella might end up some sort of interior decorator and Marissa a mining "carny."
First "Sizzling Saturday" of the year (to replace "Soup-er Saturday").
Best sandwich EVER--
grilled chicken breast marinated overnight in Lawry's teriyaki sauce
Swiss cheese
lettuce, tomato, and sliced pineapple rings (grilled or not)
all layered on a nice big bun

Friday, March 9, 2012


This week--
~"Why?" to nearly everything we ask him or inform him of.  When we've given a sufficient answer he says "Ohhhh . . ." and then repeats what we've said.  If our explanation was insufficient he asks "why" again. For example:
                                 "Mommy, you going running?" he asks.
                                 "No, not right now."
                                 "I don't want to right now."
                                  "I want to stay home with Owen."
                                  "Ohhhh, you want to stay home with Owen!"

~Sitting in every open box shaped container and driving it like a car.  The other day he wedged himself into a lunch box sized cooler, gripped the imaginary steering wheel, and launched into the chorus of "I have the Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my Heart."

~Pulled down his Buzz Lightyear undies *just enough* to display his "wares" and chased down his siblings (who fought to keep straight faces when I lectured them "not to laugh it only encourages him" but have you ever been chased by a flasher of the two year-old variety?).

~On a similar note, he was sitting on the couch by himself when suddenly he started laughing and informed me, "I tooted!!" (which baffles me because NEVER has anybody made a big deal, or encouraged him to think bodily functions humorous).

~While I sat in the corner of the couch reading my book, he climbed over with a book of his own, "Mommy you read this to me?" he asked.  I replied, "Just a second." At which point he reached over, shut my book and said in a sing-song voice, "The end!" and then shoved his book in my face.  I got the point.

~After tucking him in for a nap and shutting the door I hear a small voice ask,"Mommy, you come snuggle with me?"  Melt.  So, I go snuggle with him and after five minutes or so a little arm tucks around my neck and he says, "Mommy, I love you."  Wouldn't have missed that moment for anything.

~LOVES himself a good reaction . . . not unlike a certain father of his I know. ;o) 

~Reminds me a lot of Marissa's toddler personality, what we like to remember as a "sunbeam."

~Was found "Fred Flinstone-ing" it down the street in front of our house on a Barbie tricycle (before anybody gets concerned there is only one other house on our "street" and basically no traffic--it's a dead end--he was out playing with the kids and decided he could ride a bike just like them).  Josh and I watched him from the window cracking up at the sight, by the time I had my camera he had made it to the drive way--
That little guy . . . he is continuing to keep us in giggles and snuggles . . . I don't know what I'll do for comic relief when he outgrows his current adorable-ness. ;o)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Colorado Weekend

We've had this little trip to Colorado in the back of our minds since moving out here.  And seeing as Josh had Friday off from school we decided it would be a perfect time to take a quick family trip and celebrate the end of wrestling season.  Josh pricelined a nice hotel just outside of Denver in Broomfield and we left about 7:45 on Friday morning. With just one potty-break we arrived at our first destination by 1:00--a lovely mall.  Isabella made a bee-line for American Girl to spend all of her savings on a running outfit for Felicity (for a colonial girl she sure has modern taste!!). ;o)  I'm not sure what to think of the fact that Isabella's doll now owns nicer running gear than me (and all matching too!).
And then we were onto the Lego store for Jackson.
After that it is entirely possible I lost myself in the biggest Forever 21 I've ever visited (while Josh kept the kids entertained riding up and down the escalator . . .). 

Next stop Ikea.  I've never been to an Ikea before and I must say what an overwhelming experience!  That store is a small city within itself!  One could easily spend all day (or perhaps several days) wandering it.  With the shopping fix out of the way we set off for our hotel.  Our evening was low-key, I had planned a supper to eat in our hotel room and then swimming.
(Pardon the garish elevator lighting . . .)

The next morning we set off for Dillon, mainly so the kids could see more of the mountains, drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel, etc.  We lunched at a Pizza Hut and then visited the Nike "Outlet" (I just don't feel like a $300 lightweight jacket clearanced down to $100 is all that great of a deal--even with a cool swoosh).  We happened to run into some gals we knew from our Lincoln church while there, so that was fun!

Leaving Dillon, we set off retracing our journey, only taking a detour up to Winter Park so the kids could take advantage of a sledding hill where sleds were provided free of charge (after packing all the boots and snow gear it was quite nice to not have to worry about sleds too!).
They had a blast!  I hung out for awhile snapping a few pictures, but seeing as Josh had it all under control (and I was a bit chilled) I returned to the van to lose myself in this--
(Ohhhhh is this a great book!! I found myself reading parts aloud to Josh, and if I went too far without giving him an update he would ask to be filled in on what had happened--that might be the first time he has ever been curious about what I'm reading). ;o)
With the sledding done it was time to head back to the hotel.  Here is where I tell you I don't do mountainous roads well.  It isn't for lack of experience.  Every summer from age six to eighteen (or thereabouts), my family took a summer trip to Colorado.  My dad loves the mountains, and I think at some point or another I've traveled every treacherous road Colorado has to offer. Mt. Evans, Pikes Peak, Independence Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park . . . and I'm sure others whose names I no longer recall. Most often I could be found huddled in the back of the van, hiding under a blanket.  As I've gotten older and become a mother and lost a balance nerve my fear of heights and tumbling off mountain roads has increased perhaps a hundred-fold.  Truth be told, it borders on highly irrational. I become the worst back-seat driver ever, utterly in a panic, screeching at Josh if he exceeds 20 mph, white-knuckled and totally riding my imaginary gas-pedal. It's not a pretty thing.  I envision our deaths a million different ways. 
So, that is what Josh has to work with.  And you can only imagine my extreme horror to discover that upon our descent we developed a flat tire.
That would be the tire, flat.

On the bright side of things we had a good place to be flat at--not balanced precariously on the edge of a road, we had a full-sized spare, and my hubby knew what he was doing.  I felt bad for him, out in the cold and light snow, but figured we had about a half hour delay and we'd be up and going again.  I pulled out my book and instructed the kids to hang tight.

Unfortunately, he got all but the last lug nut off before his lug wrench cracked, rendering it useless. A setback yes, but onto Plan B . . . we have AAA back-up.  So, Josh calls, and through spotty reception and fading phone batteries (due to roaming) we ascertain our location and request assistance.  We figure we'll be sitting there another 1/2 hour or so.  Somebody stops to help us, Josh borrows their lug wrench only to have that one crack too.  I take a call from the AAA dispatcher she says she can't find anyone to come out and help us.  I inform her there are five children and we are from out of state.  She offers to send a state trooper, I say, yes, please.

Another guy stops.  We ruin his tool too.  After sitting on the side of the mountain for about two hours the state trooper arrives.  At this point we have our phone plugged into the laptop to steal the battery juice from it.  We remembered "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is in Josh's laptop so the kids are happily watching a movie and taking turns answering nature's "call" in the snow.  We try the state trooper's tool--it strips out. That lug was not coming off.

Enter Plan C.  The AAA dispatcher is still unable to locate anybody to come help us out, so they decide to contract out and send up the first available tow truck they can find.  The state trooper waits with us until *finally* Keith and his big truck arrive (cue an angel chorus).  Here's the thing though, it's not towing like I think of towing, but more we're-going-to-drive-your-van-up-on-my-truck-bed-strap-it-down-real-good-and-get-you-down-this-mountain.  And the "good news"--we can just stay seated in the van and enjoy the ride, because once the van is strapped down all snug it becomes "part of the truck" making it a perfectly legal and viable travel option.  After sitting on the mountain for three hours, snow falling, temperatures falling, and wind rising, who was I to argue?

I will liken this experience to bad airplane turbulence.  Being strapped to a tow truck does not afford the smoothest ride.  And did I mention the wind, and all the flashing signs of warning for "high-profile" vehicles--which we now were? I was just bracing myself for the snap of tethering devices and there would go my family, bouncing down the mountain.  I have to say I'm thankful God kept us stuck until nightfall and I really couldn't SEE the scenery anymore because it's possible I may have been certifiable at that point.

But Keith got us down the mountain intact.  He took us to Idaho Springs where he completed the tire change and we enjoyed a very late supper at Carl's Jr.
Keith pointed out to Josh several AAA tow trucks that could have responded--one only four miles from where we were stranded--but it being a Saturday night  they obviously had better things to do than rescue a family of seven from the side of a mountain.  Not that I'm bitter or anything . . . *ahem*
Thankfully, the $247 ride will be picked up by AAA. We got back to our hotel room around 10:30 pm, the whole experience from start to finish taking about six hours.  The kids truly did great (although Isabella shared my thoughts on being strapped to a truck . . . Marissa thought it glorious).
Sunday was much more low-key.  We swam, we packed, we ate out for lunch, and then set off for home.  Whenever things go wrong I always wonder what could God want me to learn from this.  I'm starting to wonder if He doesn't just try to keep me in good writing material, because really, who wants to read about shopping, swimming, and eating out, you know? ;o)  Whatever the case, this trip will not soon be forgotten, and I realize good stories are not made by things always going right. My life would be downright boring if I were writing it myself--there would definitely be no mountainous terrain--literally or figuratively!! ;o)  But for now, I'm rather glad to be back on flat land again.