Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Sew-Sew Adventure

Stockings could very well be one of the best parts of the Christmas present experience (at least if you grew up in my household and had a mom that went all kinds of stocking-stuffer-crazy). My stocking would be filled with lip gloss, nail polish, bath stuff, travel size samples of random things, oddball toys, weird candy, and whatever other trinkets she had picked up throughout the year. I always felt sorry for those poor children who received a stocking full of oranges and nuts! LOL

I've carried on my mom's tradition to my boys. For about ten years now, I've wanted to make my own stockings for the family. I don't knit, I don't crochet, I don't cross-stitch, and I don't sew. 

I remember one time, I bought a pattern at the fabric store, got home, opened it, and quickly got discouraged when I realized it was written in a foreign language - or atleast it should have been. Cut along the bias? Back stitch? I sent that pattern and the bits of fabric I'd picked up to Craft-Siberia, where all well-intentioned but unfinished crafts go to die. 

But this year, my good friend Stacy decided to make her own as well. She found a Fabricworm blog that swore it was easy so we decided to give it a try. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun, food, and family

Oscar Wilde wrote, "After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations."

For the first time in many years, I spent Thanksgiving with my mom's family. Twenty-seven of us gathered to eat delicious food, tell stories we've heard millions of times, and express our thankfulness for an amazing family!

Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa's House 

From left to right (standing):
  • Grandpa - I don't know if there's a more perfect man than my grandpa. Honest, hard working, and loving. One of my favorite things about him is that he's a wonderful story-teller, something I think our world is lacking. I think it comes from before there were televisions and the internet. Love to sit and listen to his stories and marvel all the things he's seen. Grandpa is almost 85 and in wonderful health. 
  • Mom - What can I say? I get my awesomeness from this woman. Funny, loving, and loyal. The best grandma I could ask for for my kids. And she taught me how to cook so I guess I owe my big butt to her. And this white hair I've been growing since I was in my 20's. 
  • Kim - Stepdad extraordinaire. Spunky, awnry, and playfully grumpy. 
  • Me! I get at least 50% of my awesomeness from this group right here.
  • Rob - We've been dating a while
  • Zach  - Rob's middle son . Good kid! 
  • Nate - well, of course you know Nate. I talk about him often. I could talk for days on his awesomeness but let me just say he's my favorite youngest son!
  • Marcus - My favorite oldest son! Nuff said!
  • Uncle Joe and Gaye (in front of him) - He get his story telling skills from my grandpa. He was the uncle who always had the silly stories. You can count on him to tell some off-color, un-politically-correct joke or story in any setting. You can count on Aunt Gaye to always have the yummiest alcoholic beverages to drink. 
  • Danny - My cousin Corrie's husband. Don't know him well but always gives a great big hug when I see him. 
  • Uncle Jim and Aunt Darlene (in front of him) - He's my mom's middle brother and just an all around great guy. An awesome hunter and while he's not a teacher, he has taught Marcus a lot about taking care of animals. Aunt Darlene is a goof and an airhead, except she's not. She's just always laughing and it easy to pull pranks on!
  • Corrie - She's my closest (in age) cousin. Only 17 hours older than me and we share a middle name. She's a fun girl, a great hunter, and has some real style sense. 
  • Grandma - I don't know if there's words to tell you what a wonderful woman she is. Caring, kind, giving, generous, full of energy even at 80 years old. She used to drive to Colorado to pick us up every year, bring us to Oregon for a few weeks, and spoil us rotten. 
  • Tara - My sister. We fought like crazy when younger but I now count her as one of my best friends. 
  • Luke - my brother-in-law. Fair, honest, and quiet. Law enforcement is a perfect fit for him. A wonderful uncle to my kids, husband to my sister, and I'm proud to have him in the family. 
  • Liam - my favorite nephew. This kid is quirky, goofy, and intelligent. He knows random facts about random things and can remember things better than an elephant. 
  • Moving to those seated (left to right): Owen, Bobbi Jo, and Brian - Bobbi is my cousin and this is her family. Bobbi Jo was always the "cool" older cousin. Beautiful, thin, and I wanted to be just like her!
  • Ty - In a family full of girl cousins, Ty was the only boy. What a goof! Nuff said!
  • Max, Josie, and Sam - Corrie's kids. Max has to rank up there as one of the best big brothers ever. Josie and Sam are the cutest twins I've ever seen!
  • Paige - my favorite niece! Awnry, competitive, and tough but completely awesome! 
And now you know what I'm thankful for. 

Here are a few more photos from our trip:

Much to Tara and I's surprise, Grandma left all the cooking to us while she went elk hunting. We arrived at her house in the morning to get started and she'd left us a nice little note. She indicated where the pots and pans were, what temperature to cook her stuffing, etc. As we read on, we noticed Grandma had also included some funnies:
  • vaccuum?
  • Dust??
  • Clean Toilets?
  • Have a hot toddy ready when I get home??
Funny Grandma!

Mom with her brothers. Joe on the right is the oldest,
 Jim on the left is the middle kid, and mom is the youngest.

Four generations in this photo and a whole lotta awesome!

As you leave Grandma and Grandpa's house, you pass Turtle Rock.
We stopped so Liam, Nate, and Paige could pose for a photo!
Hines Park has the best playground ever. The weather was gorgeous so
we stopped to play. Here Marc and Zach teeter-totter (after promising not to
jump off and hurt eachother lol)

The Park boasts an awesome really tall slide that every kid wants to slide on.
Here goes Nate. 

All three boys pose for a photo
 Ok, now I have to brag a little. My mom and Kim live in a very small community. Last year, they identified a need in the community to provide meals to the needy. Being a small community, there isn't a mission or a food bank per se. So they applied for a grant and began cooking meals once a month for between 100 and 200 people. This year, they were awarded a grant that will enable them to feed people twice a month. Sunday after Thanksgiving was their day. On Saturday, they asked Marc and Rob to help out prepping the food.

Marc and Rob cut up enough meat to serve stroganoff to 150 people. I made brownies. Mom and Kim did everything else. Marcus actually enjoyed it.

Marcus helps with the HC Chuckwagon, feeding those in need. 
I'm proud of mom and Kim for taking this on. 

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family!