Monday, December 20, 2010

December's Projects

December has been absolutely packed full of projects of all kinds.  Small and large, new and old, fun and...otherwise.  One of the first things I finished was the Blankie Project.  Audrey's original blanket was getting so worn out that it was obviously only a matter of time before my continual mendings would no longer be enough to hold it all together.  She's 6 years old, she could stand to set aside the blankie.  But she's my littlest and I couldn't bring myself to make her phase it out.  I'm going with the idea that she'll do it herself when she's ready.  So I ended up making a new one.  Audrey went to shop for the yarn with me, and checked my progress quite often to make sure that the bumps all felt right.  She was thrilled to have it finished, although she doesn't use it much.  It's so fluffy that she's not used to it.  I should probably run it through the washer to get rid of the new, fluffy feeling.  I did end up confiscating the oldest blankie without her knowledge or consent.  Surprisingly, she hasn't mentioned it yet (it has been a couple of weeks) so we'll see how that goes.

Another project had to do with two trees that we inherited when we moved into our house nearly a year ago. They are actually real branches with silk flowers hot glued on. And covered with decades of dust.  I didn't manage to transform both of them (mostly because the perfectionist in me wasn't entirely happy with the results...I think I need to find different pots to put them in.)  We pulled off the flowers, removed the old containers, then I spray painted the branches and chipped off some of the plaster that the branches were set in.  Then into the new pot, a few Christmas lights and ornaments later, and voila!  A new modern addition to our decorations.

We also did some furniture shopping.  The family/friend Christmas party was to be at our house, and we had a rather empty great room.  We ended up finding some great pieces on sale.  I fell in love with the green recliner, and then soon after we found the sofa/chair set, so those had to come home with us too.  The original brown couches that came with our house were slightly regrouped in order to make better seating areas.

All of a sudden our great room feels like a Great Room!  It feels great to have done something to make the house more personal.  It is such a huge place, and there are so many things that we dream of doing to it at some point, that it can often more like a house and less like a home, if that makes any sense.  Homey is a nice way to feel in December.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

I've been remiss in keeping this blog updated. :(

Yes, I've been crazy, nuts-o, reee-diculously busy. Am still, actually, but somehow almost a month has passed since we enjoyed our Thanksgiving spread and I haven't even addressed the subject, let alone anything that has happened in the month of December.

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday.  It was great to see family and friends, and as always, the food was fantastic. (is the word "fantastic" supposed to sound so plastic and elastic and spastic? hm.)  My mom and dad got to visit before the actual day-of-the-turkey, and we had a wonderful visit.  The snow kept coming down, piling up like an end-of-the-year storm instead of a beginning-of-the-season storm.

The Thursday in question was spent with great friends, cooking all day long.  Of course, everything was homemade.  Is there any other option?  (....oops, just remembered that the cranberry sauce this year was canned.)  So then, almost everything was homemade.  I made yams, rolls, pumpkin pie, and cherry pie.  Chris made the turkey, mashed potatoes, and some of the best dressing and gravy on earth.  Mmm.

That weekend, I finally watched Breakfast at Tiffany's all the way through.  Every other time I've tried to watch it I get distracted and disengaged.  Melinda and Timothy joined me in being amazed at the quirks in this movie, as well as the fashion of the very early '60s.  I'm sure that 1961 New York (setting for the film) was different from 1964 Southern California (when our house was built) but it was still fun to draw on any possible similarities.  Oh, and I happened to get a picture of Audrey with Audrey Hepburn in the background.

Now on to December...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Like Snow

 My established love for snow is joining my new found appreciation for poetry today.  When we were in Tahoe for Thanksgiving, we had some great snow storms, the kind of storms that usually wait until Christmas/New Years.  I hope it was just a practice run...we'll be back there soon and hope that the snow keeps falling!  This poem is by Wendell Berry, and is called "Like Snow".  I thought it would be fitting for my snowy pictures.

Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly
leaving nothing out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Bits and pieces of Autumn 2010: the random photo version.

That's me...fell asleep while reading.
Chris was so kind as to take a picture
of me.  Thanks hunny. <3

Timothy's favorite should
have seen the web!  and the photo
just has great perspective.

Yes, with Timothy it's all a matter of
perspective.  This is the costume he
wore to school--he looks huge!

This is a picture of Andrew's pocket...holding a book.
That's my boy, figure out a way to bring some good
Lit with you wherever you are.

There's my sweet boy.  11 years old and
reading Lord of the Rings! Amazing!
This is Audrey trying to look all serious.

Yeah, serious didn't last long.

I think this is supposed to look appetizing.

One of three raccoons hanging in my
backyard and climbing on my roof.

There's those Disney Princess Eyes this
girl was famous for when she was little.

And that, my friends, is a can of tuna.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Melinda!

Congratulations to my girl for making it into the double digits! What a major stepping stone on her quest to make it to adulthood. She is becoming such a little lady!

For Melinda's birthday we went out to dinner at the place of her choosing: Ruby's. Apparently they have the best chicken strips? The hat her brother gave her off his own head just might be her most treasured gift ever.

Melinda also had a small birthday party that Gramps & Tutu, and a friend from church came to. This started off with a cake of her own design: homemade chocolate cake with homemade frosting, decorated with mini M&Ms. Decorating done by the kiddos of course, since they know how to do it right.

The girls could hardly wait do beat up the piƱata...they wouldn't wait for proper rope and ideal location, but it didn't really matter since the important thing was getting at the candy inside.

Gifts and swim time followed, with cake and ice cream shortly after.

(One of Melinda's gifts was a keepsake trunk that belonged to her great-great-grandmother Amy. What a treat!)

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Festive Festivities at the Festival

Joshua Fest 2010! May the rain be with you!

Yes, this year's festival was the 7 Year's Storm version. This was the 7th JFest we've done, and it rained THE ENTIRE TIME. But despite people getting flooded out of their tents, they moshed on. In big huge muddy puddles. With big huge smiles on their faces. What a great crowd of people! And what a great, positive, hard working, supportive staff we have. God definitely schooled me about attitude that weekend.

Because my time in the rain (midday Friday through Sunday night--heavy and constant) was spent either sleeping, eating, working the coffee shop (Joe Bean! Yay!) or making mad dashes through the torrents, I mostly have before and after pictures. But that which I have, I give unto you:

Trying to level the RV...we never
did get it to work.

Happy hang-out time before
the rains came down and the floods
came up.

Setting up Joe Bean--let the craziness begin!

Melinda was beyond thrilled to be
able to help and learn in the kitchen
with Sam this year.

15 minute break.  Good times on the golf carts.

Great fun at Camp Jericho--it was dry inside!

So much fun to have family by me
during church service!

Story time.  Is that cute or what?

Really odd bathroom encountered on the drive
home.  (sorry.  the post wouldn't have been
complete without it.)


Friday, October 29, 2010

Pre-Festival Concert #2

Sigh No More
The second concert was a newer favorite: Mumford and Sons.  They have one album out, and every song on it is great (although I suppose I should add the parental language warning about the song Little Lion Man...Do NOT blast this song with kiddos in the house!)  This group hails from London, and the style of music is sort of a bluegrass/Irish/rock concoction.  This concert was at the Hollywood Palladium and was totally sold out and packed.

I'm sorry to say that the openers at this concert were rather dreadful.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I found out that the first opener had been featured on the American Idol rejects.  Not that he had an excruciating voice, just he wrote songs only a mother could love and his whole get-up was simply preposterous.  The second opener was a little better, but still--for a crowd of 4,000 people waiting to see a very talented and popular band, they just weren't up to par.

All was forgiven (though the scars remain) when Mumford and Sons got on stage and said "We hope you enjoyed [the opening bands] as much as we did." [wink, wink]

Anyhow, the performance was great, and it was tons of fun to hear thousands of people singing along to some great songs.  The four guys in the group are all great musicians, playing a variety of instruments: drums, keyboard, guitar, upright bass, accordion, banjo, mandolin.  The song where the lead singer was also drumming, and the bass player was playing while holding the upright bass above his head left me amazed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pre-Festival Concert #1: The Weepies

HideawayAs a pre-cursor to the weekend of concerts coming up (countdown to Joshua Fest 2010!)  we've attended two concerts by some favorite bands.  First was The Weepies.  We were at the first concert they'd done in four years--having taken touring time off in order to start a family.  They have four albums (in order of release): Happiness (2004),   Say I Am You (2006), Hideaway (2008), and Be My Thrill (2010).
Be My Thrill
We had a great time at the concert--it more than lived up to my hopes.  You know how it is when you really enjoy a musical group?  Seeing them live can prove how great they really are, or it can destroy your view of them altogether.  (Similar, I guess to the book/movie relationship.  The recorded/live contrast can be great.)  Musically it was great, but it was also a lot of fun.  Steve and Deb are from California, and are warm, fun people.  It made for a great night.

When first appearing on stage, Steve was amazed at how packed the El Rey Theatre was.  He said something to the effect of: You don't understand...we've been in our living room for the past four years.  There are a lot less people there.  It was a night to remember; my fan-hood has been solidified.  I loved the background on the song Can't Go Back Now--it was written for their niece when she began to walk.  Here are the lovely lyrics (I was going to link the YouTube video, but the graphics are weird...oh hey, look, I linked them anyhow):

Yesterday when you were young
Everything you needed done was done for you
Now you do it on your own
But you find you're all alone, what can you do?

You and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now

You know there will be days
When you're so tired
That you can't take another step
The night will have no stars 
And you'll think you've gone as far 
As you will ever get

You and me wak on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now

And yeah, yeah, you go where you want to go
Yeah, yeah, be what you want to be
If you ever turn around, you'll see me

I can't really say
Why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter
Are the ones you take all by yourself

You and me walk on, walk on, walk on
Yeah, you and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now
Walk on, walk on, walk on
You can't go back now

Here's a little video I took of one of their songs at the concert, (although the quality is a bit sketchy since it was done on my phone).