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.
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