Friday, November 19, 2010

A Great Friday!

1. My folks, aka Grandma and Grandpa, arrive tomorrow for a 2 week visit. Hooray! We're going to celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of food at my sister-in-law's house, my father will help Marshall finish the living room project and do lots of other fun little things together. A trip to the Aquarium perhaps, a littleHarry Potter, playing in leaf piles (our neighborhood leaf pickup starts Monday so there are lots of great piles all over the streets), and Crazy 8's. Miranda learned how to play Concentration (aka Memory) two weeks ago and now beats me regularly. Mimi gave her some Crazy 8's cards earlier this week and she's learning how to play.

2. Speaking of leaf piles, my children wanted to "help" me rake the leaves to the curb this week and this is the first time Alex really did help. Miranda was there for the company but Alex was a significant asset. I'll have to remember that for next year.

3. The living room is accessible again, which the children are enjoying. The worst of the mess is cleaned up even though the project isn't finished. Still, I like the chocolate brown walls and Marshall is looking at Craig's list for new couches. Our children are kinda hard on furniture; they bounce a lot. I'm sorry I don't have pictures yet. I'll put some up in the next few days.

4. Miranda pretty much potty trained herself in 2 weeks. It's weird. Alex was a several year process. She still wears a pull up at night but half the time that's dry, too. Her teacher was right: take away the pull ups and make her wear underwear and just deal with the mess. It worked. I think I'm still in shock.

5. I have finished with whatever illnesses have been plaguing me for the last 6-7 weeks and am now just back to allergies. I'm tired because Miranda's sleep pattern in the last week has been irregular, but not sick. This also seems weird.

6. Not having a television throughout the remodeling process has been a great thing for the kids. I think I missed it the most, and that was primarily because it made watching the World Series a lot more complicated. They can still watch their programs on the laptop, which they do on occasion, but they are watching less than half what they used to. I'm sure this is healthy for them even if it made my life more difficult. And making them eat dinner at the table is actually easier now. We'll see if it lasts after the house it restored to rights.

7. Miranda seems to be growing more and less flexible as she gets older. We can talk about what we're doing and where we're going with a lot more ease and I can now make more than on stop on an errand run with her in tow, which I haven't done since she was an infant. But if she's upset about something or tired, she doesn't want to go out, no way, and most times, it's not worth dragging her. I guess this just means her development is starting to follow a more "normal" pattern; it's just delayed. Strange. When your first kid is diagnosed with autism, you never know what to expect for any subsequent child. Ah, well, parenting is an adventure.

Sorry there are no photos today. I am weary from leaf raking.

And here's Jen.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fudge & Cookies Fund Raising for Haiti Trip

Friends in the SIG Community,

We are helping our friend, Mark Olson, raise funds for his trip with other members of our faith community, Hope Church, in January, 2011, to Haiti. The purpose of the trip "will be building a home for a needy family, providing some local water and food distribution and help deliver water purification units for an effort to aid in bringing safe drinking water back to the Haitians." More information about it can be found on our church's website here.

Since we know SIG friends are already fans of our fudge and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars (officially known as Baylis Bars, named for the woman who invented them), we thought we would offer portions of said goodies for an absurdly large price (this is a fund-raiser, after all) with all monies going directly to the Haiti trip.

An 8 x 8 " pan of Baylis Bars will be $10.00.

A small loaf pan of fudge (weighs a little more than 1 lb.) will be $15.00. The available flavors are plain chocolate fudge, mint-chocolate fudge, and peanut butter fudge.

Orders can be made in person, through the comments section of this blog page, on Marshall's Facebook page or through his Gmail account (

All payments should be made electronically through Hope's Egiving online mechanism. WARNING: The page DOES NOT work in Firefox. Our abject apologies. Please use Chrome or Internet Explorer.

Pay for your goodies here. Feel free to use the Guest Transaction option so that you don't have to bother with registering a login and password. Once you have made your payment, please forward your payment confirmation to Marshall's email, and we will begin processing your order asap. Delivery will be in person on all normal working days.

Thank you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Different Friday

1. My mother's book launch is tomorrow in Madison, WI, and I am so sorry to miss it. My life is just too complicated right now to try to extract myself and leave town, for anything. It was a huge gift to me that my husband took a week off of work in July so I could fly to California for my brother's wedding. The largish consolation prize is that my parents will be here next Saturday, the 20th, for a 2 week visit. So, if you haven't already, order your copy of Bathsheba's Lament now and she'll sign it for you while she's here.

2. Speaking of books you should buy, my dear friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton has a great post today about her excellent book, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, which has it's 2 year anniversary today. Or you could post a comment on her blog and have a chance of winning a free copy. It makes a great Christmas gift, or housewarming gift, or birthday gift....

3. Movie Update:

March 12
Green Zone (never managed to see it-we were too sick to go out when my folks were visiting for Easter; just got the DVD from the library and now it is waiting on the server to be watched)
April 2
Clash of the Titans (poor reviews; may see it on video)
April 23
The Losers (saw it by myself and really liked it)
May 7
Iron Man 2 (loved it!)
May 14
Robin Hood (it has received poor reviews so we do not plan to see it)
May 28
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (went to see it by myself and enjoyed it more than I expected to)
June 11
The A-Team (we saw it together and while I liked it, I think I liked The Losers better)
June 18
Toy Story 3 (we liked it but since we were older when the series started, we've rather identified with Andy's mother rather than him, so it did not effect us so much)
June 23
Knight & Day (never managed to sneak out and see it)
July 14
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (I enjoyed it)
July 16
Inception (We both enjoyed it)
July 23
Salt (still would like to see it)
August 13
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (It's now out on DVD so I need to find someone to borrow it from)
October 15
Red (got a sitter this afternoon and went to see it by myself; it was fun but there was a very high body count. The casting was excellent, though.)

Upcoming movies
November 19
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
December 10
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
December 17
Tron: Legacy

I should probably start arranging for sitters for those last 3 movies because we will want to see them together. 

4. I developed a throat infection this week so am back on medication, a new antibiotic. It seems to be helping a great deal, though, but I am sooooooooo tired of being sick. This is just ridiculous!

5. We had a great time at the Adventure Aquarium last Friday and while I tried to take a bunch of pictures of my children petting baby sharks and sting wrays, watching large sharks and turtles swim by and marveling at the jellyfish, none of them came out. I need to work on how to take photos in a dim setting with a lot of reflective surfaces.

6. For some strange reason, last Saturday I starting watching the British series Being Human which is about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who share a house in Bristol. I was already coming down with whatever new bug is living in my throat and wanted something different. It certainly is that, but it's also well-written. Not as good as Sherlock, but still worth watching.

7. I took Miranda with me to Wegman's the other day and they had cut tulips for sale (which I find almost impossible to resist unless there are live ones blooming in my yard at that exact moment) and we had to have a discussion and compromise over what color flowers to buy. She wanted purple and I wanted orange and so we settled on red. It was a very interesting conversation and not one I had expected to have with her. It's like we can see her verbal and mental skills expand on an almost daily basis.

And here's Jen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Good Friday

1. Most of my family is right now gathering in the Bay area in California for the memorial service tomorrow morning for my uncle, Michael Murphy. There is a wonderful obituary here. I am so thankful God gave us all the years with Mike that he did and then took him home.

2. On a lighter note, even though Alex & Miranda have had 3 days off of school this week, we have had a great week. I usually dread this week every year since both kids hate to be out of school and off our regular schedule but I've been able to keep them moving and going places and (sometimes) doing fun things and everyone has gone to bed happy every night. That's a miracle, truly. God is gracious.

3. Speaking (writing) of God's graciousness, earlier this morning I took Alex for his yearly blood-work appointment. I thought I had made arrangements to leave Miranda with a sitter (but I messed that up) so I had to take both kids with me on short notice. Usually , I dread this for weeks because it takes several people to hold him down while the nurse takes his blood, but he was remarkably well behaved, didn't fight us, didn't hurt us, and recovered quickly. Yes, it hurt, but he's okay. Of course, it doesn't hurt that I've arranged to take both kids with our friend Ashley to the Adventure Aquarium this afternoon. Our yearly membership starts today!

4. Yesterday I was finally able to meet my sister-in-law's new puppy, Ruby. I took both kids over to Leah's to play with Lilly and Ruby, who is this tiny ball of fluff but so adorable and sweet and we had a great time. I am such a dog person and being 2 years now without a dog is breaking my heart. But life is too full right now to take in another creature. Soon, Lord, please. I want a dog. Well, what I really want is my dog back. But, barring that, I want a new greyhound. Someday.

Here's Havoc during the glory days of the early 2000's. Man, I miss this dog.

5. I have been making great progress on my cross stitch lately, in spite of all the crazy upheaval in our house. See the photo below.

6. Hope's Youth Ministry this weekend is starting a new program called Inner Mission. I will be leading a small group called "Praying for Each Other" with three high school sophomores and I am so excited! A whole hour to share and pray together every Sunday night. It's going to be one of my favorite hours of the week!

7. Alex has been helping to put Miranda to bed. Here he is reading my favorite book, Tiger Can't Sleep, to her on Wednesday night:

I know my children make me crazy on a regular basis, but this week, they have been especially sweet and cuddly and I am so grateful to God for blessing our lives.

And here's Jen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lilies Progress Picture

I finished Page 6 tonight and wanted to share with the world how beautiful this design is turning out. The original is here. A reminder to any new readers, there is no white thread used anywhere in this design. It's all about shading.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Wrap Up

I know, I know, it's Monday. But I wanted to post some pictures for my blog readers and other assorted family members to see how well our costuming efforts turned out.

First of all, a major CONGRATULATIONS to Marshall for finishing all of his work in The Pit of Despair (aka, the crawlspace under the house) right before Trick or Treating was scheduled at 5 pm. The sistering of the joists that needed to be done is now done and while there are a few other improvements he'd like to make down there, they will wait for another time. Marshall would like me to add that working down there is like wriggling around in a very dirty (a fine, dry dirt that gets everywhere), very tightly cut coffin, less than 12 inches tall.

So, after cleaning himself up, he set himself to working on Alex's makeup. It's so handy to have a husband with a background in theatre.

Alex had an aide when he was in the preschool class at Springville who would paint his face several times a year as a special treat, so he is well trained for this procedure. And, probably, far more patient with it than I would be.

The finished product picture is at the top. As you can see, Miranda opted for the red dress, so we were well coordinated, color-wise. Here we are walking up and down the street.

This is actually the first time all 4 of us have been Trick or Treating together. Alex's first year was when Miranda was a year old and she and I had the stomach flu. Then the year after that it was a week-day and Daddy had to work. Last year I had a bronchial infection so Mimi came and joined Marshall for the special day. So, finally, in 2010, we were able to do it all together. And we had a good time. For about 10 houses. And then Miranda decided she was tired. So Marshall took her home. And then Alex found something he liked much better than candy: leaf piles!

He jumped in every one we passed. (The leaves only began falling in our neighborhood in the last week so this was his first opportunity. He's going to want to go for a walk every day after school from now until they're all picked up in December to explore each and every one of them.)

I think Miranda's favorite part was handing out candy to the Trick or Treaters who came to our door. Cheerful little woozle.

It's our policy to let both kids dress up in their costumes for the whole year following Halloween as often as they like, as long as they are playing in the house. It gives them joy and stimulates their imaginative skills, so it's win-win for us. I'm just hoping the princess dress will go through the washing machine without a lot of hassle. Maybe turning it inside-out is the key.