Friday, December 28, 2007

The littlest snowman

We received the tiniest of snowfalls yesterday, but it was just enough to make a very short snowman. Little Omi did not like to put her feet on the snow, so we had to clear away what little snow there was so she could stand on the grass to admire Aunt Sassy's handiwork.

Tonight we got together with our good friends B & L for some home-smoked pork ribs. Mmm! B smoked the ribs, and Aunt Sassy made mashed potatoes and cole slaw. And to top it all off, she and Little Omi baked ginger snaps, which we enjoyed with some delicious home-canned peaches from B's mom.

After dinner, B entertained us with some great guitar playing and taught me the chords to Wilco's "California Stars," one of my all-time favorite songs. Little Omi accompanied us by playing the harmonica and scratching the walls.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night

We had a very fine Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For Christmas Eve, Aunt Sassy (or Sa-sa as Little Omi says it) really outdid herself this time by preparing a feast of seven fishes. It was a wonderful meal, complete with baccalà, or salted cod, which was actually quite good. While we were missing Little Omi's ojii-chan, we were happy to be spending the evening celebrating with so many good friends and the rest of our Oklahoma family.Little Omi enjoyed checking under grandma's tree, where she found her first present for the year.
Where's Omi-chan?

There she is!

Grandma gave Little Omi a choo-choo train, and since she has had enough storage space all these many years, she still has my train set from my childhood, which thankfully fits with all the wooden train sets of today. So, we are all set with tracks and tunnels and bridges for the next several holidays.

This was our first holiday where Little Omi could unwrap presents and really get what was going on. It was unbelievably fun watching her enjoy all of her new toys, dashing from one to the next and then back again. Her new words for today were house and chair.

My Christmas was pretty wonderful, too, and one of the best gifts I received was this gorgeous Liberty fabric my sis picked up on her recent trip to London. I hope I will find a project wonderful enough to justify cutting into them soon.

Big Omi received a little Christmas miracle, one that I will enjoy as well. Keeping it a secret from him was really tough!

Monday, December 24, 2007

And since we've no place to go

Things are falling into place around here. I finally finished decorating for Christmas. I put up the wreath we bought at Ikea and found a lovely branch of deciduous holly covered with stunning red berries in the local Methodist church parking lot (it had been a casualty of the recent ice storm). I am lucky enough to have 2 blooming amaryllis plants. Even the closed pine cones I picked up outside have started to open and are looking beautiful.

We're so excited that we actually got some snow yesterday! Aunt Sassy arrived safe and sound and we managed to cram in a Sonic run before it got too crazy out there. Then we spent the rest of the day snuggled up inside, watching the great big snowflakes falling. There was even a tiny bit of accumulation, and here's what we had outside this morning:

Of course, the sun came out and by noon it was over 50°F and the snow had pretty much disappeared. But it's probably the closest we'll come to a white Christmas, so I'm taking what I can get.

Oh, and, thanks, Aunt Sassy, for bringing this to our attention. The British really do advertising much better than we do.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On being a big fat copycat

Gosh that Amy Karol is a crafting wonder. After seeing these easy little crafty gifts on Angry Chicken, I decided to give them a go. Here are a few of the little blank books I whipped up:
I put these in little packages for the moms & kids in the little playgroup Omi-chan and I recently joined. For the kids, I made little personalized name clips for hanging photos (again, from this Angry Chicken craft, which I copied almost exactly, right down to the baker's twine. Like Amy, I got the stars, clothespins, and twine at Michael's. N.B. The twine was in a special Christmas display of Martha Stewart stuff, and not in the baking area. When I asked an employee where I could find baker's twine, she said they didn't carry any and I should try a specialty foods store.).

I also had each mom send me a photo of her child, then had them all printed up at Walgreens and included a montage of all 6 kids in each package. Little Omi wouldn't let me hang up her copy of the montage, instead she just carries it around the house and gazes fondly at all of her pals.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Flashback Friday: Ghost of Christmas Past

Some comments have been made by people who shall remain nameless about how the Flashback Friday photos often show me as cute and my sister as a bit on the dorky side. Well, I can't help that my cutest years were pre-1985, which is one of the rules of FF. Believe me, many photos exist that captured my awkward years, which began right around 1985. But I think I've found a good compromise in this photo, since it shows off my amazing fashion sense: striped socks, rolled-up jeans, and a sweatshirt with satin appliqué hearts. It's not surprising to see this outfit. I'm pretty sure I wore it all the time.

And, yes, that's my sister placing the angel atop the tree! And we wondered why I got so excited by all the Scandinavian ornaments at Ikea the other day.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We finally went out and got a Christmas tree last Sunday. It's the first live tree we've had, which kind of amazes me because I am such a fan of the live tree. Little Omi greets it every morning with a cheer, and loves to visit it and all the ornaments throughout her day (especially when the lights come on). And, yes, for those who are wondering, those are pool noodles wrapped around our coffee table. Got to protect the wee noggin, now, don't we?

And here's our darling tree-top angel. She was our tree-topper when I was growing up (I'm sure you're not surprised, considering her dress is orange calico). When Little Omi sees her, she points and says, "Baby-doll!" which is her newest word. She got a book about babies from a friend recently and now she's all about the babies and her baby doll (who can be seen on the sofa in the above photo).

I've been playing Christmas music non-stop, in an effort to catch up before the day actually arrives. While usually I am nuts for Charlie Brown's Christmas music, this year I'm afraid it has been a bit overplayed, and so I've opted for Ella Fitzgerald and some other classics like Dean Martin, Andy Williams, the Jackson 5, and Elvis. And in the car, it's all Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas all the time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sweet wee bathrobe?

After my initial success sewing the sweet wee jacket and woodland elf hat from Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing, I decided to make another set for a friend of Little Omi's 2nd birthday. I wandered around the fabric store for hours, trying to find just the right fleece to match this girl's personality and sense of style, and ended up picking out a really fuzzy hot pink number and some orange to contrast on the hat. Well, the hat turned out as cute as can be (and I totally failed to photograph it before giving it away! Drat!), but the jacket was a different story. I scaled it up from the pattern and when I was finished (yes, finished meticulously hand-sewing the bias binding around the neck) I tried it on Little Omi to see how it fit. Well, I'm not sure if it's the color or the fuzziness of the fleece, but it turned out looking more like a tiny bathrobe than a cute jacket. So, I've still got it. I just couldn't bring myself to give it to this kid. And as it turns out, she already had a jacket that matched the hat perfectly, so thanks for that bit of providence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whipped up

I made this felt mat as a gift for my mom's birthday using strips of a felted sweater sewn together in a rag-rug sort of style. I started out trying to make a little bowl, but that project went nowhere, so I decided to try a flat mat. The most satisfying part was ironing it when I was done. It had been puckering a bit in the center, but it ironed flat in about 2 seconds. Would that every project could be rescued by a quick steam press at the end!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ice storm update

Well, we made it through Ice Storm '07 mostly intact. We sat mesmerized at our window all day Monday watching branches fall all over our street. We were very lucky to have our electricity on throughout the whole ordeal. Over 600,000 Oklahoma households were not so lucky, and many are still without power.

The pansies and violets I bought to plant way back before I injured my knee held up remarkably well, even though they are still not in the ground:

Unfortunately, the fun ended for us on Monday evening, when we heard a crack and a bang that seemed to shake the house:

The top of a pine tree had snapped off and landed on the hood of our car. Wah! Oh, well. After some initial panic, we discovered that we do have insurance coverage for such accidents, so soon the whole thing will hopefully be a memory. We feel pretty lucky that this was the only damage we had.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flashback Friday: Kid crafters

When I was growing up, my mom was an avid knitter. In this photo, my sister and I have just learned to knit and we are diligently working on our first projects. I am pretty sure mine was going to be a Barbie scarf. I am also pretty sure I never finished it, and I never knitted again! Too bad, because now I wish I could whip up some cute little sweaters for Little Omi. What I love about this photo is the looks of concentration on our faces, and the look of pride on my mother's face. I wanted to include this photo of her today, too, because it's her birthday! Happy birthday, Mom!

This photo is from that magical Christmas we spent in Colorado. I've been dreaming about it lately, trying to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Freezing rain and falling tree limbs just don't quite compare with quiet, deep snow and cozy nights knitting by the fire.

n.b.: Fans of previous Flashback Friday posts might recognize the blue booties my sister is wearing.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

It's Oklahoma winter weather doing what it does best, that little thing called "winter mix" by our local weathermen. Freezing rain, a touch of snow, thunder and lightning, and trees creaking and cracking under the weight of all that ice. Kids (of all ages) are glued to the TV, practicing alphabetizing and watching to see if their school district will be closed Monday morning.

Did Big Omi and I let this stand in our way of our very first date night since the birth of Little Omi? No way, José! Even thought we had to scrape the ice off the car 3 times (and for the last one, Big Omi had to climb in the car from the back hatch because the locks had frozen), it was sure worth it. We saw The Golden Compass. We are big fans of the book, and the movie didn't disappoint. The casting was very good, the costumes and production design were wonderful, and the overall adaptation was well done. Fans of the book should be prepared for the movie to end a bit earlier than the book does, but it's understandable why they had to lop off the cliffhanger (and a bit of a downer) ending for moviegoers. Obviously if a sequel happens (there are three books in the series) they will put the ending at the beginning of the next one. Thumbs up.

Big thanks to L and Grandma, ace babysitters!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Little Omi is not a fan of Santa Claus

I'm this close to using this photo for our Christmas cards this year.

50 gifts under $50 from

OK, so there's a few misses, like the peppermint pig, but it's a surprisingly good gift idea list.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Holiday Happening

The family spent a lovely evening at our local natural history museum for their annual holiday event. Little Omi had her picture taken with Santa and her playgroup pals. She was the only one who cried. I hope the other moms didn't mind me being in all the shots! After the trauma, Big Omi and I gave her a tour of the museum, which is a special place for us because it's where we were married. Here she's posing for the museum brochure by pointing at the world's largest skull (from a land animal), which was discovered by my great uncle, Willis Stovall in 1941. (In case you're wondering, it's a pentaceratops.)

Flashback Friday: Sister love

This week I am either late or early with Flashback Friday depending on your point of view. I've taken a bit of an unscheduled blog break so I thought the best way to get back into the swing of things was to do a flashback photo. Angela at three buttons has been hosting Flashback Friday all these months and has decided that we'll go theme-free from now on. So I'm just going to make up my own themes and see how far I get.

I am quite sure I could use the theme "Sister love" for the next several weeks, as I have many, many photos of my sister and I palling around. This is one of my favorites, though. I have very vivid memories of this day, and how wonderful it felt to be hugged by my big sister like this. Also, I'm wearing the coolest dress I ever owned, but you can't see why. There's a Rowlf the Dog on the front, playing a piano keyboard, and the keyboard was also a big pocket! It was so neat. I loved to pretend I was playing the piano on the keys, too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Qu'est-ce que c'est Anthropologie?

I am head-over-heels in love with all the Christmas decorations and ornaments at Anthropologie. Some favorites:

Sunday, November 25, 2007


So, Thanksgiving came and went while I was away from the blog, so I think I need to back up a bit before we get too far down the Christmas-frenzy path. As I mentioned, my sister was in town, which was just wonderful. We are very close, and it's hard to be separated by distance especially now that she's an auntie. The phone, which one served us very well, just doesn't cut it anymore. I am 100% positive that each time she gets to be around Little Omi, our girl's intelligence and abilities just skyrocket. On this trip, Aunt Sassy taught her little niece to roar like a tiger, buzz like a bee, and say "please." We couldn't be more thrilled. Plus, with my knee on the fritz, Aunt Sassy had to take up a lot of the slack that I couldn't do. This was in addition to cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal!

In addition to my wonderful sister, here are the blessings I am so very grateful for this year:
Of course, I'm thankful for my hard-working husband and clever daughter. The two of you are just the bee's knees as far as I'm concerned.

I'm lucky to have my mom back in town, and she's brought such a sweet and funny companion back with her. J is a real spark plug and a great addition to our family.

I am especially grateful, and I know Big Omi is too, to have such wonderful friends as B & L. They really know the meaning and spirit of family and friendship, and they're the most genuine people I think I have ever known. Spending time with them is always a delight, and I can count on them to make me laugh, think, cry, and simply appreciate the life I have. They are both so good with Little Omi, and B is so very patient with me as I continuously forgo my guitar practicing to do some other crafty project. On top of that, L makes the most amazing pies and B can smoke a mean piece of meat! Who could ask for anything more?

I am also really thankful for this blog. I love having the opportunity to take a little time out and think about my life, and to share the things that seem to matter from day to day. I appreciate every single visitor and love to read the comments you all share. Most of all, I like the way that thinking about a post has made me tap into my creative side a bit more than usual, and it seems to be spilling over into other areas of my life, like crafting, sewing, or just playing with Little Omi.

This morning I woke up in a really crabby mood. Missing my sister, worried about all the clutter around the house, my knee, and our general lack of money, I was quite inconsolable. But now that I've just spent 20 minutes thinking about everything wonderful in my life, I do feel a bit better. Now, if I can just close my eyes and make it out of this cluttered room without tripping over something and further injuring my knee, I think this may turn out to be a swell day after all...

Christmas is coming

My sister is having a holiday party, so we thought it would be fun to Gocco the invites. I was a bit rusty since the last time I used the old Gocco was to make our wedding invitations 5 years ago, but it came back to me after I had printed about 30 or so of these. I was a tad disappointed in the way the master came out; I would've liked the text to have printed better. All in all, though, I'm happy with the final product.

Flashback Friday: Hippie Love*

I am pretty sure my parents qualified as hippies. This photo is from my sister's christening. Not shown are all of my sister's godparents, who stayed for the pickin' and singin' party after the ceremony. I'm blanking on the name of the little band that was there; who can help me out? Mom? Dad? Sis?

Just in case you didn't get a good view of my sister's christening gown, here it is in all its glory.

By the time I came along, Mom and Dad had grown out of their hippie days somewhat, although my mom is still looking good in her prairie skirt. Dad has moved into his western shirt phase (for more proof, see here). And notice my christening is taking place in a proper church, and I'm wearing a (somewhat boring & conservative) white dress.

*OK, so I'm a bit late this week on Flashback Friday, but my sister was in town and we had a lot to accomplish. Better late than never, as they say...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Headed for the glue factory

I've injured my knee somehow. I don't know how it happened, but for the past several days I've been walking around with a hideous limp. And I can't walk very fast, which got really irritating this morning when the temperature dropped to the low 40s and we were trying to get from the car to the library as quickly as possible. Harumph. Feeling old.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking a break from all your worries

It's just 3 days until Thanksgiving, and my sister is in town. She's already whipping things into shape around our house, and for that I am eternally grateful. For our Thanksgiving dinner this year, we will not be eating turkey. No, no, it's not for some moral reason. It's because my sister always gets sick on Thanksgiving, and we think it might have something to do with the turkey. So, we're going to make a pork rib roast instead. Tomorrow we will make the first of what will surely be 25,000 trips to the grocery store for ingredients and supplies. Wish us luck!

p.s. Good grief!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Flashback Friday: Travel bug

When I was growing up, my family took two epic road trips. The first, when I was almost 8 years old, was to the Pacific Northwest via every state in between Oklahoma and Washington. This trip was really amazing. We camped a lot in our Volkswagon Vanagon (see below), which was always really exciting for my sister and me because we got to sleep in the bed that was up in the pop top. We saw Old Faithful, The Grand Tetons, and Seattle's Space Needle. The photograph above was taken at Yellowstone. (Who's that cute little boy standing next to my sister?) A park ranger there inspired me to pursue a career in the park service (later, when I was working at the entrance gate to Rocky Mountain National Park, I met a woman who had been that ranger's roommate at Yellowstone). We drove into British Colombia, where I remember a waiter at a restaurant hesitated to give me a menu because he didn't think I could read (!). We went on a ferry that had a wonderful hammered dulcimer band, The Wild Rose String Band, whose music would become the soundtrack for every road trip our family took thereafter. On this ferry I also met a man from New Zealand who taught me that (at the time) NZ had 3.1 million people and 65 million sheep.

This photograph is from our second major road trip, to the East coast. This was probably the coolest place I've ever car-camped. I'm pretty sure it was in Tennessee, and the camping spaces were giant decks on stilts. In case you're wondering why my sister is wearing a blue bootie on her right foot, it's because earlier in the summer, she stepped on one of these:
And she had stitches in her foot. I guess she couldn't wear a shoe on that foot, until after my dad removed the stitches in a hotel room in Washington D.C.

By the time this photo was taken, we had been in a car wreck in Virginia (we were rear-ended on the highway by a man who was asleep at the wheel) and so here we are standing in front of our second rental car (a Buick Regal) but still making progress on our trip. Looking back on it, I am sort of shocked that my parents were so willing to persevere on our trip after such a harrowing experience!

These road trips are some of my favorite memories from my childhood. I sure hope to be able to give Little Omi experiences like them when she's a bit older (without the car wreck, obviously).

Thanks, AJ, for this week's theme!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A very small diaper

Little Omi has started displaying mothering tendencies by carrying her dolls around and patting them reassuringly on the behind and trying to feed them at the dinner table. I decided that it's never too early to teach a kid how to put a diaper on a baby, so I made a little cloth diaper for her Miffy doll.

This is my first attempt at sewing doll clothes. And as Tim Gunn says, good clothes are nothing without good undergarments, so I guess it's a good thing I started with the basics.

Here's Miffy modeling her new diaper. Why is she also wearing a hat and mittens, you ask? Well, you and I know that they come off, but Little Omi doesn't know that yet, so for now let's just keep it between us, k?

And here's our model seconds later, naked as a jay bird (except for the hat and mittens, keeping her hands and head nice and toasty). Well, we did already know Little Omi was a pro at taking diapers off. I guess it'll be awhile before she's into the whole diapering thing. But when she is, she has her own diaper bag to store it in!

And the land we belong to is grand

On Friday, Oklahoma will celebrate 100 years of statehood. It's a pretty big deal around here, with parades and dedications, concerts and re-enactments, special exhibits and free admission days going on. It's also a bit of a touchy subject, what with the whole "Here's some territory for the Indians, let's make them all go live there. Uh, whoops! Actually we'll be taking all that land back now." history of our state.*

So, in appreciation of our centennial day, I'd like to write a bit about what I love about Oklahoma, and share some interesting facts about our state.

Oklahomans are, on the whole, quite humble, so we don't like to toot our own horns very often. Ours may not be the most beautiful, or cosmopolitan, or forward-thinking of places, but it's a nice place to live and start a family. The people are usually kind and courteous, the weather is mostly pleasant (except for those pesky tornadoes), and the cost of living is quite low. Oklahoma does have its own beauty, too, that unique kind of prairie beauty of rolling green hills and our wonderfully red soil.

Spring in Oklahoma is my favorite time of year. I just love that first day when you can drive with your windows rolled down, feeling the warm sun beating down and smelling the soil heating up.

Did you know that the shopping cart and the parking meter were invented in Oklahoma? Also, the first-recorded sale of cookies to benefit a Girl Scout Troop took place in Oklahoma.

We Oklahomans have our very own Christmas song, in the form of a jingle for a local jeweler. It's not Christmastime until you hear it.

Plus, we have a panhandle. How cool is that?

Frank Lloyd Wright built the "prairie skyscraper" Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It has recently been converted into a hotel, where you can stay for a shockingly affordable price. Big Omi and I stayed there for our first wedding anniversary, and it was a blast.

Oklahoma is also the birthplace of a ton of famous people, from Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie to Carrie Underwood, a slew of astronauts, J. Paul Getty, Carl Albert, Walter Cronkite, Ralph Ellison, Louis L'Amour, Tony Hillerman, N. Scott Momaday, Bill Moyers, Hopalong Cassidy, Joan Crawford, Gary Busey, Iron Eyes Cody, Blake Edwards, James Garner, Ron Howard, Terrence Malick, Rue McClanahan, Megan Mullally, Chuck Norris, Brad Pitt, Mary Kay Place, Tony Randall, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Alfre Woodard, Hoyt Axton, and his mother, Mae Axton (who wrote "Heartbreak Hotel"). Other musicians include Gene Autry, Chet Baker, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Bob Wills, The Flaming Lips, JJ Cale, John Denver, Color Me Badd (but without them, would we ever have been given this?) and Hanson. Let's not forget Oklahoma outlaws Pretty Boy Floyd and Belle Starr, and then there's the infamous saloon-smasher, Carry Nation. Oh, and perfect-ten Nadia Comaneci lives here with her Oklahoma-native husband, Bart Connor.

Finally, Oklahoma has its very own musical, which is just pretty darn cool. And here's the most ridiculous version I could find**, starring John Schneider (aka Bo Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard) and Pam Dawber (Mindy from Mork and Mindy):

(If you get a little bored and want to skip ahead to the song Oklahoma!, it's at 5:25.)

*I do regret not paying better attention in my Oklahoma history class in high school. However, my teacher, a football coach who on the first day of class listed his priorities on the chalk board as being: 1. Football, 2. Oklahoma history, 3. Family, and 4. Scuba, and was later found to have forged his teaching certificate, was just not a very captivating man.

**For the second-most ridiculous version, see this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What the flip?

Today I saw, within minutes of each other, not one, but two different guys driving their cars while wearing headphones. Seriously, dude.

At least they weren't text messaging each other. Apparently, all the kids are doing it: texting and driving. Yikes. I sent a text (from my house) the other day and it took me approximately 20 minutes to type it out. So you know it won't be me out there texting on the roads anytime soon, unless I have someplace really far away to drive to.

Proud of the Pride

It has recently come to my attention that our marching band (aka the Pride of Oklahoma) has been performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at halftime shows at the past few football games. And by perform, I mean perform. Check it:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flashback Friday: All in the Family

So, I've been a bit behind on my blog posts this week due to large amounts of scary editing that I am turning in today. This is why I'm running my Flashback Friday photo on a Sunday afternoon.

The FF theme for this week is All in the Family, suggested by Hyena in Petticoats. Here's the only formal family portrait that I'm aware of from before 1985 (and thank God the FF rules say pics must be from before 1985, because there's another formal portrait from the 90s that is just horrible. But enough about that!). I like to call this one the Sunshine Family photo, after the 1970s hippified Barbie-alternative dolls we also had and played with a lot. Favorite bits of this photo include:
  1. My sister's braids. AWESOME.
  2. My dad's hair flipping out on the side, echoed by my own hair flipping out in the exact same way.
  3. My dad's Western shirt. He had a whole collection of these, all with wonderful mother-of-pearl snaps instead of buttons.
  4. My mom's shaded lenses and velour dress. YES!
I'm also going to have to check with my mom to see if she still has these two little girl dresses in her stash of Precious Baby Clothes (that's what it says on the outside of the box) because they are too cute. Can you even remember the last time you saw a Pooh-themed dress that wasn't in pastels?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Eye candy

This crocheted wreath from Garnet Hill.

These bed linens from Ikea.

And this adorable passport cover from Etsy shop revontulitikku.

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