Friday, December 28, 2012

Sicker Than the Dog

1. I know my legions of readers (HA!) are shocked that I'm actually posting on a Friday, especially when I have a nasty cold, but this is really going to be Quick Takes, I promise.

2. We are delighted to have my cousin's beautiful dog staying with us for the weekend while she and her family are away in Florida. Little Pepper is a darling pooch and we are trying to keep the children from fighting over who gets to play with her next. Here is a picture I unabashedly stole from my cousin's FaceBook page:

She is tiny and adorable and we really are fighting over who gets to cuddle with her next.

3. If you're a fan of Simcha Fisher and her blog and you missed all the brouhaha this week, here's a few helpful links:

4. I was planning to do an end of the year movie wrap up today after seeing Les Miz this morning, but being sick has postponed everything. Dang.

5. I watched the entire series of Beauty and the Beast on Sunday night, all 9 episodes. For what it is, it is well written.

6. We took the children to the Family Christmas Eve service at church on Monday afternoon and they did remarkably well. Alex still doesn't like congregational singing, but her only had his fingers in his ears for the first song or so.

7. Jen is particularly funny today. Don't miss it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Voice Calling in the Wilderness

At the close of this year, a mournful darkness seems to inhabit our land. But listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:

The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
   light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
   you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
   Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
   sharing rich gifts and warm greetings....

For a child has been born—for us!
   the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
   the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
   Strong God,
Eternal Father,
   Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
   and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
   over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
   and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
   beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
   will do all this.

Isaiah 9: 2-3, 6-7 (MSG)

Let the message of God's unyielding hope saturate your mind until the light of Christ is the center of your existence and the future can be seen through the lens of His love.

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Car, New Car, Move Down!

1. We bought a replacement car for me on Saturday, a 2003 Subaru Forester. I'd give you a picture except that Marshall is out driving around in it right now. I took it to church last night in the dark and the rain and liked the way it felt steady on the roads, even if I am still a bit spooked from the accident. And it has a tape deck (Marshall has ordered a new stereo that will work with our MP3 players) so I resurrected some of my mix tapes from the 90's. We bought it from Auto Direct Cars in Delran, a used car dealership notable for not having even the faintest hint of slime. Very nice people.

2. I was chauffeured by both my mother and mother-in-law last week, as well as borrowing my mother's car for several days, so big thank you's to both of them. It meant that I didn't miss anything important all week long.

3. I don't have to go to traffic court tomorrow to give testimony against the person who caused the accident, which is a huge weight off of my mind. I've requested a copy of the police report which I hope will have more details. The insurance companies are working on their own piles of paperwork, but we should have most of the reimbursement from Allstate later this week.

4. We made the final adjustment to Alex's anti-anxiety meds over the weekend. We'll sit down and discuss it with his doctor Wednesday afternoon. I'm hoping for a happy boy for at least a month, especially with Christmas vacation just around the corner. He's been grumpy since Memorial Day and we need a break.

5. Miranda's been suffering from chronic diarrhea for several weeks. I thought it was her exotic food allergies rearing their heads again but after several consultations with the pediatrician and a few fun tests, the judgment is too much fecal material in her system, so she's on a diet of Miralax milkshakes (well, milk + Miralax + lots of chocolate syrup) for several weeks at least. It means lots more messy pull-ups this week, but at least the end is in sight.

6. My cleaning lady texted me this morning to say she has an opening first thing tomorrow, so I will have a clean house by lunchtime!

7. Here's a bunch more pictures from Thanksgiving that I promised ages ago:

Brandon, Piper & Madelynn.

The "originals;" that is, my parents and siblings.

Grandparents with all 4 grandkids.

Stephanie with Colin and Piper with Madelynn.

Grandma & Grandpa with babies.

Jonathan, Stephanie and Colin.

All of us together!

The four of us.

My parents.

Our kids between photos.

Alex had pretty much had it with pictures by this point.

I love this picture of my dad and Maddy.

Here's Jen.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I know, another Friday goes by with no blog post. Again, apologies.

If you missed it on FB, Miranda and I were in a car accident last Friday afternoon on our way home from a pediatrician appointment. We are fine. We have a few bruises from the seat belts that saved our lives, but on the whole, we don't have any permanent damage. Our Scion xB is totaled, but cars can be replaced.

So the blog fell to the way side this weekend as I was resting up from the trauma of experiencing a head-on collision (another driver drifted into our lane and hit us). And now I am being chauffeured around by my mother or mother-in-law, trying to take care of all the doctor's appointments both for my body (to just be sure I didn't suffer any damage from the accident) as well as Miranda's to try to figure out what's causing the problem we were at the doctor's for last Friday in the first place. And finish up all the Christmas gifts for the teachers and aides and therapists that work with Alex & Miranda at school and church.

Our insurance company is incredibly helpful and reasonable and we may have a check in hand with which to purchase a replacement car by the end of next week or soon thereafter. And, because the police have found (in a preliminary statement) that the other driver was at fault, there will be other matters to attend to. But we have been praying for that other driver who was injured in the crash and went directly to the hospital. The roads were slippery and it looks like she simply lost control and ran right into us.

Please pray that Miranda is able to work through her emotions about the crash and not suffer any long-lasting effects. And that we will find an answer to her current health condition. Please pray also that Marshall will find a replacement car quickly and that everything will work itself out. Please pray also that I will give over to Christ any anxiety I might have about driving in the future.


Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry

1. What with the whole family visiting for Thanksgiving and babies to cuddle and then catch their cold, we've been a little busy. But I have to post something, so here's a bunch of photos from the visit. BTW, this only covers the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I might need to do daily posts this week to cover all the days photographed so excellently by my brothers and their wives. Apparently, I'm the only one who didn't get the "can take a good picture" gene in the family. So not fair!

My mother and Colin.

Maddie wants to walk but still needs to prop herself up with something.

I loved how Colin was always watching Maddie to see what she would do next.

Maddie has the most amazingly expressive face; it's so fun to watch all the features change and rearrange, especially at the dinner table. So sweet!

Colin can't quite pull himself up on furniture yet but Maddie's quite good at it (she is almost 3 months older), so he was always trying to pull up on her.

My kids enjoying the park behind my parents' house.

With Aunt Piper.

Brandon, Piper and darling girl, Maddie.

Maddie thought Miranda was the coolest, after Mom and Dad.

My darling with Maddie.

Miranda's always been very photogenic.

Maddie loved playing in that swing.

2-7 Enjoy the photos!

Here's Jen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Melancholy Zombie

1. It's Sunday afternoon and I really need to have something posted for the week. But, just like Saturday night, Alex was up half the night and so my brain is really not all there. And I missed church this morning, again. Sigh. I like going to church. I actually look forward to sermons now. I also enjoy listening to A Prairie Home Companion now, which in the past I abhorred. I must be an actual adult now.

Speaking of Garrison Keillor, I caught the show on Nov. 3 and absolutely loved the segment with John Lithgow called "Cowboys Script" (laughed hysterically all the way home) but the introduction to Storyhill was arresting. I mean, it's been weeks and I still remember them and the song "Avalon," and for something to make more than a momentary impression on my brain these days is nearly miraculous. Once again, Youtube to the rescue.

I think that's the first time I've successfully embedded a video. I must not be completely brain dead, yet. One of these days I'll finally get around to buying the album.

2. It was a very full week. I spent all of yesterday in my pajamas doing laundry, trying to recover. And because of Alex's late night (I think he finally went to sleep about 3 am; I got some sleep before and after, but all I know is it wasn't enough), I'm still in my pajamas. I did shower, I just put on clean pajamas afterwards.

The week was so exhausting because I had to spend part of every single day relating to people. I am essentially an introvert; I am not energized by spending time with people, but drained by it. Since I spent the week going from event to event, by Friday night, I was toast.

3. And now it's Monday morning and I'm really out of time for a comprehensive blog post. It's cleaning day (that is, the women who clean my house are coming today) which is the impetus I need to get everything picked up so they can clean. Besides, I rarely want to reflect on bad weeks. My attitude is basically, let's move on.

I did have good meetings with both kids' teachers, though. God bless those teams of women who work with my kids because I don't know how we would manage without them.

4. For long time readers of my blog, they know we had an infestation of bed bugs last year. Well, our prayers have been answered, because there is now a magic pill that kills (most of) them.

5. On Saturday night, I watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and mostly enjoyed it. What's sad is that none of the slashing and blood spurting really surprised or upset me; maybe I've seen too many gory movies. The man playing Lincoln was decent, but the guys having the most fun were definitely Dominic Cooper and Rufus Sewell. Still, like the reviewers said, it is an interesting way to reinterpret the causes of the Civil War and the train scene over the flaming bridge at the end is so amazing, it's almost worth watching the rest of the movie for. I'm sure it will make quite a contrast to Spielberg's Lincoln.

6. I've finally been delving into my regular shows that have been stacking up since May, like Castle and NCIS. At long last, I did decide to give up on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I stopped watching it last winter  but still kept recording it and when I tried to pick it up again this week, it just didn't seem worthwhile. I am enjoying the final series of Flashpoint, though. I'm going to be sorry to see that finish in a couple of weeks.

7. 3 days until Thanksgiving. My brother Jonathan, his wife and their son arrive by plane tomorrow night and my other brother, his wife and their baby girl are in D.C. presently and my father will go down to fetch them early Wednesday morning. It's going to be a very full holiday but lots of fun with two adorable babies crawling around. I'm sure lots of pictures will be taken.

Here's Jen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sky is Falling

1. I have exactly 15 minutes to produce this blog post before I have to run off and start my week. So it really is Quick Takes this week.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you would understand that this weeks blog title refers to the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, which opened in the US last Friday. I saw the movie with my father last Friday; we highly recommend it.

2. Last Monday we celebrated Halloween here in Mt. Laurel, so pictures of the children in their costumes will be scattered throughout.

Here's Miranda walking in her parade.

Here's her class picture.

More parading.

3. To get Alex to sit down and do his spelling homework last Thursday afternoon, he needed a laptop, a book, the Angry Birds Space Red Bird, and a bowl of chips. The actual homework needed the crayons and his notebook to do "rainbow words," where you write the spelling words 3 times in different colors, tracing the letters over each other. He is a little high maintenance.

4. Here is Alex trying on his costume at home. He was the Red Bird from Angry Birds Space.

5. Here he is at school, leading his class with the class sign:

Here he is with the other boys from his class:

6. Alex elected not to go trick or treating Monday night when we were all ready to go, and then regretted it for days. Sometimes being a good parent means helping your children live with their own decisions, but it really sucks.

7. Alex is still having a tough time transitioning to new anti-anxiety meds. His insomnia is really bad (so he sleeps well every other night) and he's awfully grumpy. And in the few moments he's not, Miranda is trying to make him grumpy by mimicking everything he says. Not a fun week. Hopefully, this week will be better. And I will have time to stitch!

Here's Jen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Much Ado

1. It's been a big week. I was watching David Tennant's Much Ado About Nothing when the lights went out on Monday, and watched more of it last night, when we were all once again settled in, safe and warm at home. I've watched it many times, in fact; when I am distressed, Shakespeare soothes me.

From the opening scene:

BEATRICEI wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
Benedick: nobody marks you.
BENEDICKWhat, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?111
BEATRICEIs it possible disdain should die while she hath
such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come
in her presence.
BENEDICKThen is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I
am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I
would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard
heart; for, truly, I love none.
BEATRICEA dear happiness to women: they would else have
been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God
and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I
had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man
swear he loves me.123
BENEDICKGod keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some
gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate
scratched face.
BEATRICEScratching could not make it worse, an't were such
a face as yours were.
BENEDICKWell, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEATRICEA bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.131
BENEDICKI would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and
so good a continuer. But keep your way, i' God's
name; I have done.
BEATRICEYou always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old.

Here's one of the final scenes, trailer, and another fun scene. And here's a very fun review with lots of other scenes. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are really brilliant in the production; everyone else less so, but that's alright. No one production can be perfect.

I have been watching a bootleg copy of the performance and only learned last night I can buy one of my very own from here. I'm so excited!

2. Yes, Superstorm Sandy was a big deal here in NJ and yes, we had no power for nearly 3 days and so spent our days toing and froing from my parents' condo and their new house and our own house and trying to keep our kids from falling apart because their schedules had been torn to shreds. School was cancelled Monday and Tuesday (and Marshall's office was closed so he didn't have to venture forth, either) and then started up again Wednesday with a 2 hour delayed start so I kept having to come back to the house to put them on or get them off of buses. It was all rather exhausting. I was so tired, in fact, that when I discovered yesterday about lunch time that the power was back on, I wasn't at all pleased because I had finally got us settled in my parents' new house and would now have to move it all back again. Sigh.

3. Universal Truth highlighted by this adventure (which will come as no surprise to any parent): your children are ungrateful whelps and your parents are saints.

4. I don't have time to reflect any more upon my recent experiences because we are having the family birthday party for both children at my parents' new house tomorrow afternoon. I have to shower, visit three grocery stores, make a cake, make at least one more trip to my parents' house to drop off party food, and who knows what else.

5. We have yet to celebrate Halloween, what with the storm and all. One of our friends posted this on FB on Wednesday, which I found to be terribly succinct:

Happy Halloween I. Halloween II will be at the kids school on Friday. Halloween III on Saturday when WD trick or treats and now we have Halloween IV on Monday for the rest of NJ. Lets hope Halloween V goes right to video.

We are only doing Monday with costumes, school parades and parties (I'm going to Miranda's and my mother is going to Alex's) and a little trick or treating. Oh, and then they are off of school on Tuesday for the election because our schools are used a polling places. 

6. Election? There's an election on Tuesday? Who knew?

7. Here's Jen!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We're All Fine Here, Now, Thank You. How Are You?

(Image from Google's Sandy crisis map)

I waited too long to write my blog post; Jen@ConversionDiary closes up shop about noon, Eastern time. Mostly, I was doing storm preparation and trying not to worry, or watching baseball.

At present, we are fine, if a little grumpy, while it is windy and rainy outside. We're just waiting to see what happen next, which isn't fun.

I haven't been stitching much because Alex has been so unhappy while we continue to adjust his anti-anxiety meds and when he's unhappy, everyone else seems to be, too. But here's my progress:

Also, we got Miranda's costume squared away on Friday, supposing Halloween isn't cancelled (or drowned):

This is just the "try it on to see if it all fits" picture. She's still cute.

Marshall is still in the process of jury-rigging an Angry Birds Space Red Bird costume for the boy, also supposing Halloween isn't cancelled.

My apologies to all of my West Coast friends who've been posting messages to find out how we're doing. I realized I hadn't done the blog post and that's why you might be worrying. So far, it's wet and windy. Hopefully, that's all it will ever be. We are as prepared as we can be. If God spares us an extended power-outage, I'll call it good. But, at the moment, I'm planning to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and watch The Avengers with my honey.

Any prayers are welcome. Everyone is on edge, mostly because we just have to wait. Marshall let me sleep in because he got up to go to work before he found out the office was closed (they made the decision at midnight last night) so I feel decently rested. Alex just can't find the old iPhone that was his game phone last year and neither can I. It's somewhere in the house. I put mail out a couple of hours ago but no sign of a mailman yet. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't show.

You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

Psalm 91 (MSG)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Roller Coaster Week

1. Last Saturday was spent on retreat at Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown, PA, and what a lovely day it was (except getting stuck on the Schuylkill Expressway--when we were looking for the Pennsylvania Turnpike--on the way home because of bad signage). I was out of the house from 7 am to 7 pm and my kids were safe at home with Daddy. It was a one day conference called "Celebrating Christ the Healer" with Russ Parker from Acorn Christian Healing Foundation as our main speaker. I think I took 9 pages of notes. Lots of good stuff to listen to and be encouraged by, as well as prayed for. I was introduced to the concept of Christian Listening and I wish I had the leisure to tumble off to Texas to take actual courses from the Institute for Christian Healing. Someday, hopefully. Still, I was able to absorb enough to certainly keep me thinking and praying and behaving a little differently in the mean time. And listening. :)

2. As many of you know, Alex has been struggling since about Memorial Day. His anxiety has been difficult to manage, for him and for us (medicinally and emotionally), so we've been trying a couple of new things, with mixed results. We went back to see the doctor on Wednesday afternoon with some observations from home and school and our doctor decided we needed to try something new. We are going to start the new medication tomorrow but in the mean time we've had to start easing him down to a lower dose of the current anti-anxiety medicine, which is always difficult. I remember how hard it was for my body to change drugs and how miserable it made me. Please pray with us that God will ease the transition for our darling boy. He was up late last night with terrible insomnia and fought with us when we tried to wrestle him back into bed, crying himself to sleep while I prayed and prayed.

I've gone back to all my comfort music this week, lots of Iona and John Michael Talbot. Lot's of The Lord's Supper, which I memorized as a child. The last song, "Lamb of God," has been my theme for this week. And, since the song is so old, there are no helpful YouTube videos, but here are the lyrics:

Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the World
Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the World
Have mercy on us
Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the World
Grant us Peace

Lord, we are not worthy
Lord, we are not worthy
Lord, we are not worthy
To receive you
Only say the word, and we shall be healed
Only say the word, and we shall be healed
Only say the word, and we shall be healed

I have been singing this every day, all day, breathing this ancient prayer over all the pain of my life. 

Last month, I made reference to the Samaritan woman in Matthew 15:21-8. Here's the passage again, from The Message translation:

From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”
He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”
She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.

This woman was persistent and Christ healed her child. Sometimes, as the parent of special needs children, I feel like a beggar dog settling for scraps, but today her persistence gives me hope. And I can trust that Christ will ease Alex's pain.

3. Persistence in prayer has paid off in other ways in our lives this week. On October 6th, Marshall mislaid his wallet, he thought, while he was cleaning the garage. So he kept cleaning and I cleaned in the house, hoping to find it in one of the many, many piles of stuff that lie everywhere (but we are making headway, thanks be to God!) and we prayed. And we prayed. And my parents prayed. And then Wednesday afternoon, 10 days after the wallet went missing, I got a call from our library saying someone had found it there and turned it in to the front desk. I was reminded of Luke 15: 8-9, and we rejoiced greatly.

Also, one of my dear friends has been Alex's Sunday school teacher for several years and last Sunday morning, she had a major breakthrough with him and with the rest of his classmates. He finally seems to be grasping more of who Christ is and his classmates are starting to understand what autism means and why he has difficulties sometimes listening and participating in class. My son has such a concrete mind that the ineffable nature of God is often hard for him to understand. But all these years of listening to the lessons, of participating in the classes where Christ is honored and discussed and listened to are finally making an impact. This is also an answer to prayer. 

4. Baseball season is almost over and since both the Nationals and the Orioles lost last week, I haven't been doing much more than checking the scoreboards, but I watched the Tigers sweep away the Yankees last night, which was a good thing. Even the 800 lb gorilla deserves to stumble, now and again.

What I have been watching is the new seasons of New Tricks and Flashpoint. And this is a good change because it means I can now cope with some additional drama in my life, even if it is only televised. My DVR has been recording hours and hours of programming for me that I just haven't felt emotionally capable of facing. 

I also deleted Rookie Blue and NCIS: Los Angeles off of my favorites. The former is just too much about who is sleeping with whom and the latter is too violent without having a good reason to pile up the corpses quite so high, even though I really like the actors. It needs better, less manipulative writers.

5. Not much stitching this week; too tired from all the running around. Still, I made a little progress last night:

6. Miranda has lost two teeth in the last two weeks and I haven't even one picture of her holy smile. I meant to take one, really. Sigh. I haven't transitioned to taking pictures with my phone yet, not really.

7. The ladies who clean my house are just finishing up as I type this so even though is grey and rainy outside, the house will be clean to start off our weekend.

We really have to decide on Halloween costumes. Alex has settled on the red bird from Angry Birds Space, who looks like this:

But, because he is so similar to the regular Red Bird, there is no official costume available. We have to jury-rig something. Well, Marshall may have to jury-rig something. The extent of my costuming abilities consists of going online and ordering a costume.

Here's Jen. And if you missed her hilarious ruminations about being an introvert from earlier in the week, read about it here. I had been thinking all this time that I was an introvert, but maybe not.

Friday, October 12, 2012

News From Flannel Sheets Land

1. The overwhelming thought in my mind for the last 2.5 hours that I've been awake is, "Must go back to bed!" I have plenty to do today (we're almost out of peanut butter, which is practically catastrophic in this house) but once the children are off on their buses and the husband safely off to work, there's no one left to scream at me and I can usually put my To Do list on Mute. So, while I'm enjoying my morning tea after finishing my breakfast, I read Jen's Quick Takes on my wonderful smart phone and realize, "She's giving away free money this week! Must go blog immediately!" Which, of course, I can do from the warmth and comfort of my flannel sheeted bed. It's not that I didn't go to bed on time last night, because I did, not waiting to find out who won the last two baseball games (Oakland lost, boo, but Baltimore won, YEAH!). But somehow, I can never have enough sleep. Must be a mommy thing; someone is always there to wake you up before you want to.

2. Not a whole lot of stitching this week because I was too tired from (lesser amounts of) antihistamines and doing other things, but on Wednesday, when I sat down to stitch, I looked at the clean up work that needed to be done to finish the rest of the current section and I rebelled. And started working on a new section entirely. Sometimes, a person is just sick and tired of sparkly bits and needs the comfort of straight lines:

I either new to order a new Q-snap or something, because the fabric wouldn't stay stretched and made it difficult to work. Or maybe the fabric is just too old and I just need to hurry up and finish so I can frame this one and move on to the next project! For the record, my Q-snap is probably 10 years old and has teething marks on it from when Miranda found it when she was a toddler. So I'm probably due for another.

He is a very pretty dragon, even if he does have green feet. And, I'm told by the designer, that the Chinese Characters in the corners translate, clockwise starting in the top left, to Happiness, Longevity, Wisdom and Virtue. Here's your finished shot, again, if you need to remember, like I do, what he'll look like when finished. Maybe I'll just stay home and stitch all day. But, wait, peanut butter! Sigh.

3. Tomorrow, my parents and I are leaving early for Pottstown, PA, to attend "Celebrating Christ the Healer." Jim and Judy Shelly, who are good friends of my folks, are helping to organize the conference. I'm looking forward to spending the day in prayer and community and away from all the problems at home. Please pray that the children are good to my husband while I am gone.

4. Our new (used) dryer was fixed on Monday evening, which has meant I've spent a lot of time since then doing laundry, which means I am a much happier girl. And it reminds me of some of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies:

Bianca: There's a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack. 
Chastity: But I love my Skechers. 
Bianca: That's because you don't have a Prada backpack. 

I could live without a dishwasher, but not without a clothes washer or dryer. 

I need to watch that movie again; it's been too long. But it's harder, now, that Heath is gone. Sigh.

5. Movies? What are movies? I forget. It's the post-season; I'm watching baseball and hoping for a World Series between Baltimore and D.C. I always root for the underdogs. Besides, the Cardinals won last year. And the Yankees have won too many times before. A franchise that can buy their way into the post season by buying up all the best players doesn't deserve to win. 

BTW, I would like to know how many of the Yankees players actually live in the state of New York. I mean, don't they live in the North Jersey suburbs like everyone else who works in NYC? 

6. Life on the homework scene is better and worse. Wednesday Alex took 2 hours to write 5 sentences (with his spelling words), absolutely refused to write the other required 5 sentences, and was sent to bed at 7 pm with all privileges revoked. But then yesterday he was perfectly happy to work through his spelling and math homework and then happily toddled off to beat the new levels of Angry Birds. But Miranda was a complete pill. 

It makes me wonder if the children conspire against me behind my back, deciding whose turn it is to make me miserable. Wednesday was Alex's turn and yesterday was Miranda's. And her homework that required the hour long fit? Writing her name, first and last, 2 times. Now, I will say that I should have fed her first. Low blood sugar almost always set her off. But I did try. She kept seeing something shiny walk by and forgot about her hunger until she sat down at the table with her pencil and paper. Convenient, that.

7. We still haven't settled on Halloween costumes and I now have 2 weeks left. Dang. Need to nail that down soon!

Here's Jen. Don't miss her post, especially numbers 2 & 5. Very funny.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pickled Brains

1. I have been faithfully taking my antibiotics and antihistamines and am slowly recovering. I think. 8 days straight of Clarinex and Benadryl has left me with a rather wifty personality. If you received any kind of correspondence from me this week that seemed stranger than usual, I apologize.

2. That replacement dryer that I mentioned in last week's post? Well, it never worked. So I have now washed 11 loads of laundry here at my house and then hauled it 2 miles down the road to my parents' new house to dry it. The installer claimed it was an electric problem with our house but on Thursday my father loaned me the electricians doing work at his house and they proved it was the dryer at fault. So the dryer repair guy is supposed to come today. He was supposed to come yesterday. I am a bit peeved.

If you know me, you know I love to do laundry. It makes me so happy to make dirty things clean. One of my favorite books, thanks to Kimberlee Conway Ireton, is The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work by Kathleen Norris. 2 weeks of no laundry has compounded my I'm-grumpy-because-I'm-sick attitude. And all I see as I look around my house is sheets and towels and piles of clothes that desperately need washing. Shower curtain. Rugs. Pillows that need fluffing in the dryer. It's pathetic, really.

Maybe it will get fixed before dinner. I can hope.

3. Thursday was Alex's birthday. We had a small celebration with my folks at supper where he got 3 pairs of Angry Birds pajama bottoms from us (even though they are just the next size up from his last ones, the waist is too wide and has no drawstring, so we'll need to cinch them a bit; he is a skinny boy), the newest National Geographic Angry Birds Book (50 True Stories of the Fed Up, Feathered, and Furious), and from my parents, an Angry Birds Space shirt with long sleeves. We'll have a larger family party, celebrating Miranda's birthday as well, on the first Saturday in November.

Here is my happy, 9 year old boy, with my parents:

Of course, he's holding the other National Geographic Angry Birds book that we gave him in August for the plane ride to California. Still, he's a happy boy. And now 9 years old. Wasn't it just yesterday when he was a toddler? Yikes.

4. My dragon proceeds apace, although I was too tired (or brain too pickled) to stitch much this week:

I've reached the clean-up stage for the current section (5 stitches in this color, 6 in that one, ugh!) and then I will move to the bottom corner section. I realized that if I finished the dragon body and left the golden-chain designs for last, I might never finish. They are a pain!

Previously, I loved the dragon's head best, in terms of design, but now I love the tail. It's just so gorgeous! And I had the same thought I've had before, when I was stitching his foot earlier in the week. Why are his feet green? I mean, he's teal and gold and iridescent, but why does he have dark green feet? No idea.

This week: more baseball, more stitching. Bring on the post-season.

5. Thursday was also my work day with my mother-in-law and we took Miranda's room apart, sorted through lots of old toys and clothes, the closet, the toy bins, and cleaned out everything she'd thrown behind her bed (seriously, ewww). Should have taken some "before" pictures, but I have a few "after" to show off:

We found the new bookshelf on the street 2 weeks ago that I can use to store everything that was on the old bookshelf and a bunch of toys that were in a big bin on the floor in smaller bins I had bought for Alex's room but will work fine for here for now. Now if we can just get Miranda to put her things away?! I know, she's 5, what do I really expect?

Big thanks to MaryLee who kept me moving and motivated to finish the job. Hopefully, we'll get to Alex's room in the next few weeks as well. But no room in the house has quite the piles that my bedroom has, but that's a shared problem with Marshall and myself. Too much life, not enough time to sort and clean and do anything beyond what has to be done RIGHT NOW. Like I said last week, we are living Crisis to Crisis.

6. Here's my darling girl from this morning with her too-small princess dress from 2 years ago on over her pajamas this morning, with her belt doubling as a tiara:

In recent weeks, she has been eating as much as I usually do, so I expect to be replacing most of her clothes by December.

7. The children have yet to settle on Halloween costume choices. They usually pick something over the summer and do not change their minds, even as October starts. I am a little concerned.

And here's Jen.