Mar 22, 2015

Tomatoes? Already?

Yes, I've planted my tomatoes already! A full 8 weeks before the normal planting date! The earliest I've ever put out my plants!

I told some friends at the Temple I was going to do this and one asked, "What if they freeze?" Well, then I'll jank them out and replant! Sounds pretty straight forward to me! But with our early spring I hate to see anymore of these warm days go by without at least trying!

Kaia, 11, Kevin's oldest daughter, is earning money so she can participate in a humanitarian effort with her church's youth group this summer in Guatemala. She posted on Kevin's Facebook page that she was looking for work.  Well, this Grammie just happened to be able to provide some of that!

So lasterday I texted Camille and asked if Kaia would like to help me with yard work. I'd just picked up a yard and a half of compost (aka centrifuged sewer sludge) which equals one heaping pickup load of compost! Fernando was really low on his poor old haunches! And speaking of haunches... this ol' Grammie can only make so many step-ups into the back of Fernando to scoop out said compost. (Looks like I might need to add some kind of stair-stepping exercise to my daily routine) I literally get to the point, after several dozen ups and downs with my short-Grammie-legs, that they will not lift me up. Last spring I almost feel over backwards on my last attempt. So I knew I would need some young legs to help me!

Camille came down with Kaia, Elise and the babies. Elise wanted to help too... she's quite the worker! They arrived just in time to finish the compost unload.

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Miss Bitty thought she could help too. She had so much fun playing in the dirt. At first Camille was concerned that Miss Bitty was dumping it into undesignated locations... no worries! It made her very happy...

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And very dirty! This is the cutest little dirty baby!

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By the time they left we had the tomatoes planted, complete with water walls, and all but one wheelie-cartload of compost spread.

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So here's looking forward to tomatoes; sweet, garden-fresh tomatoes in June!

Mar 17, 2015

Leprechaun Feet

Dieting finally caught up with me this last weekend. I'm normally a HORRIBLE dieter! I'm miserable and cranky. But, miraculously, I haven't experienced that until Saturday... I was cranky and irritable all weekend long! I mentioned this to Camille and she suggested that I probably needed to add some healthy fat to my diet-

Bring on the avocados!!

What the heck does this have to do with leprechaun feet, you ask? Did I eat so much green food that my feet turned green? No to both.

Rewind to Christmas (yes, I know... I'm moving in the wrong direction!) Stuart and Stephanie gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure at Stephanie's favorite place. I still hadn't redeemed it because my toenails needed time to breath after YEARS of non-stop polish.

In a non-fat way (remember the avocados and don't forget my new obsession with peanut butter and honey toast) to make an attitude adjustment I decided I needed to go to the Temple... so I did. (Sheesh, are you kidding me? Tell me about the stinkin' leprechaun feet already!!) I took my Christmas gift certificate with me so that AFTER the Temple I could finally go get my pedicure (see, I'm getting there at last!)

Before I got in my car at the Temple I looked at the address and saw that it was straight forward enough that I could just drive straight there- no Google maps needed. I found the shop with no problem and was immediately treated to the spa chair pedicure!

ANOTHER ASIDE-

Sunday, when everyone was here for 3rd Sunday Grammie dinner (this month was Leprechaun's feast!) I was holding a somewhat fussy Liam (not a usual condition for Mr Chill!) I laid him across my lap and was patting his back and remarked to Kevin, "Why do babies like this? Do you want someone pounding on your back?" We agreed, "NO!"

AU CONTRAIRE!!

I loved being pummeled by that massage chair! I even schooched WAY down in the chair so it would get right below my neck... Yup, and soaked my skirt!! Sweet little nail lady wrung it out for me!

And even though St Patrick's day is today I still got glittery, green toes. I LOVE GREEN!

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I was the only patron in the shop most of the time and totally enjoyed being pampered. Finally I needed to take my still-somewhat-damp skirt and be on my way. I gave her the gift certificate and a tip folded together. She opened it up and looked at me kind of funny...

"This gift certificate is for the nail salon across street."

Maybe I still have some residual brain damage from dieting!

BUT win/win... I get another pedicure NEXT month!!

Mar 16, 2015

Instant Gratification

"Instant gratification!" that's what Jose said.

"Go!" I replied!

"Ack! Camera!!"

And in the time it took me to run in to fetch it this was as close to a *BEFORE* picture as I got!

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This Jose wasn't kidding!

I've known that this tree HAD TO GO! Even though it gave some nice shade, that was the only positive thing I can say about it.

Cons-
  • Super-hard wood that defied loppers
  • Made my little electric chain saw strain
  • Covered with ugly, stinky blossoms in the spring
  • Dropped even uglier, messier, purple-er sticky berries all summer which then wanted to sprout into more ugly trees OR
  • Birds ate said berries then dropped purple poop everywhere
  • Stupid little leaves that turned ugly and were hard to rake up
  • Was fast growing and in danger of lifting the fence and cement where Fernando lives
Here is the only photo I have of what it looked like as a good shade tree.

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(Photo taken July 2013 and makes me long for beautiful flowers and lush grass)

I love to watch skilled workers do their job. You might not think someone who chops down trees qualifies, but he does. He told his helper, "I want to peel this limb." I knew just what he meant- cutting it partially and letting it peel down kept it from whacking the fence. Then the fellow on the ground could get control of it before he cut the last little part.

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And you remember the super hard wood from the list above? These guys really had to put their shoulders in it to get this thing to grind! (I even saw them using there legs to give it a push and had to look away!! I don't want any photos of severed limbs!)

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I was impressed that Jose and his team of workers had this bad boy cut, chipped, cleaned up and hauled away in just TWENTY MINUTES! Yes, that does qualify as instant gratification. All that is left is the stump, which has had it's brain killed!

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Well, and two more stumps added to the collection on my porch. Silly girl! But there you are.

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Yes, and all of this would have taken me TWENTY HOURS, minimum!

Feb 28, 2015

Liam's Puzzle Quilt

I don't know if it's that I'm getting older or if I've just made so many quilts that I don't think about it anymore, BUT I keep making quilts and giving them away without taking any photos of the finished quilt! I almost always have photos of the fabric AND the design wall but I've gotten lax in the *finished* category! (I had Camille bring Liam's quilt with her when she came down this week so I could get this photo.)

Be that as it may, I'm here to share Liam's puzzle. I am so pleased with how it turned out. (And it has a soft minkee aqua with white polkie-dottie back... but no pix!)

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This quilt involves a good story... and you know how I love good stories!

Early summer 2013 I was working on Bishop Doxey's thank-you-quilt when a friend in the ward told me she would donate fabric for the back of the quilt from her business. I didn't even know she had a business! But I quickly learned she had some absolutely darling Riley Blake fabrics that would be just right for Fiona's polkie-dottie quilt. (I'd clipped the pattern several years previous knowing it was just right for a Camille-baby!)

Camille and I looked at them online and decided on these wonderful fabrics. They are beautiful, fun fabrics! I picked them up at the warehouse and stuck them in my fabric closet to wait while I finished the Bishop's quilt.

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Several week later I pulled them out and lined them up on my ironing board... and although they were still beautiful, fun fabrics THEY WERE ALL WRONG FOR BABY-FIONA'S QUILT! So I quickly came up with Plan B... which was just right for Miss Bitty!

I carefully replaced these fun Riley Blake fabrics in the USPS mailing envelope I'd picked them in and returned them to the depths of my closet.

Fast forward 16 months... now I need to make a quilt for baby-Liam. Camille went internet shopping for ideas; she came up with a cute pattern- Connect the Dots quilt from  eQuilterPatterns.com with the predominate colors of aqua and red.

Well...

I still hadn't forgotten about the fun Riley Blake fabrics. I just happened to have a great start on Liam's quilt with fabrics JUST RIGHT for a baby boy! So I did what I do best... drove 2.3 miles to Corn Wagon to find more darling fabrics to round out this puzzle quilt.

The fabrics on the right are the ones I found at Corn Wagon. The four in front came in the neatest Riley Blake fabric panel made up of 4 printed fat quarter! PERFECT!! I pulled in two more stripes from non-Riley Blake lines to round out the collection! The red/aqua/white stripe also became the bias binding.

(And can I point out what a saver I am? Those teeny pieces up front will get used up in something else fun!)

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A design wall is essential for a project like this. Mine is nothing fancy. I picked up a set of full-size flannel sheets on clearance several years ago. The flat sheet is a permanent fixture in my sewing room. I used to take it down and put it away but then asked myself why! I just drove my old sewing machine needles [instead of nails] through the sheet to hang my rulers, cutters and mats.  I can temporarily add the fitted sheet, now flattened, when I have a really big project.

I always take photos during the design process for two reasons- Looking at the small photo helps me see the color/light/dark balance better and if I get confused in the sewing process I can refer to my photo.

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I also decided to add a red border (see the lead photo) to stop the eye and finish off the quilt before the fun bias binding.

And I can't just leave you hanging about Miss Bitty's new sleep arrangement. They got Elise's toddler bed out of storage and set it up in the baby room. Her polkie-dottie quilt is just right for her little-self bed.

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Yup, and this involves another story. Fiona and I love to go on walks, frequently to Target (to buy Bunny Milk!) I found a beautiful, soft, purple extra-deep twin size fitted sheet on clearance (do we see a pattern here?) I picked out all of the seams and elastic and made TWO toddler size fitted sheets. I still had a couple of good size pieces left... but not big enough for a pillow case.

Remember those little piece I save? Welp, I'd saved them from Fiona's quilt too and scratched together enough to make this pieced pillow case. I even embroidered her name on it (It reminds me of my tiny-girl pillow case my sisters made for me with MY name embroidered on it!)

I have to say I absolutely LOVE to create!  It just fills me up!

Feb 24, 2015

Certified [C]hunk!

We usually host 3rd Sunday Grammie-dinner each month. All of our local children are invited; some months we have more attendees than others. This month (and yes, I know that February 22 wasn't the 3rd Sunday) we had most of them here! Yay. After everyone had gone home Gordon said, "We had 23 people here tonight!" So we weren't surprised that there were NO LEFTOVERS!!

I so enjoy this facet of living near many of our children and grandchildren... and I always feel a longing for those that aren't here! I count this as one of my great blessings.

And even though there were 13 grandchildren here I only managed to get one decent photo- this little man!

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His shirt, which you can't read, says CERTIFIED HUNK... but Grammie thinks it should have a C in front of hunk!

This is the first time that I've really gotten to hold him for very long. And let me tell you... this Grammie drank in every drop of baby-sweetness!

Feb 17, 2015

At The Park

One of my things I loved to do when my kids were small is go to the park... now I've graduated to grammie-duties at the park. Know what? They are still just a fun!

I got to take these littles to the park THIS-day!

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Roxie was so good sticking with Jude until he felt comfortable on his own. (Well, HE thought he was on his own... Grammie shadowed him pretty closely!)

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They ran, climbed, slid and played on the swings until they were tired and ready to head home.

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But before we did Jude showed off his skills with a solo run down the big slide... giggling all the way.

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Feb 13, 2015

Happy Grammie-Duties

I was going to start this post by saying that one of my favorite, happy Grammie-duties is photo shots, and it is... but now that I think about it, I can't think of ANYTHING about Grammie-duties that I don't like! Seriously!

I always love to take photos of my family because then I get to come home upload them to my computer, look at them up-close and large, edit, examine and enhance them. By the time I'm finished I've gotten my Grammie-cup over-flowing!

Miss Bitty surely knows how to ham for the camera! I can't imagine where she get that from! Recently Camille described her as engaging. I love that word!

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One of the secretaries at Camille's school made this darling Very Hungry Caterpiller outfit for Liam. He truly lives up to that image. I guess when you come into the world half-grown you are mighty hungry!

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Now this is a funny one... I made this basket for Camille to use as the diapie basket: holding two sizes of diapies, wipes, bum cream, etc. As I was making it, and it is amply-sized, I thought how cute it would be to take newborn pix using this as a prop...

Erm... Liam didn't get the memo and, as you can see, he doesn't fit. (Now here's another thing I want to know. How do photographers get photos of mailable, play-doh babies? Do they drug them? None of my babies or grandbabies put up with that sort of silliness. Again, I wonder where that comes from?)

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This is one of my favorites. Fiona, just a tiny girl herself, is so sweet, understanding and loving with her new brother. She will put out her little arms wanting to hold him.

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When Camille saw this photo of Fiona she exclaimed how much she thought Fiona looked like her. So I went ferreting and just happened to find a photo of Camille at the very same age. These two photos don't point it out as much as I see it. These precious baby-girls born almost 28 years apart! I sure love these angelic faces!

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But the resemblance that still stand out to me is how much Fiona looks like my Mom, Elsie.

Feb 6, 2015

Liam Jude Anthony

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Somebody Some-baby was in a hurry to get here! Apparently he can't read Mommy's calendar yet to see that his birthday was scheduled for February 3rd!

In the wee hours of February 1st he started getting very impatient to GET OUT! NOW!!

Mr Some-baby persisted all the day long (yes, even during the Superbowl!) until the nice doctors said they would let him out.

This little, erm, not-so-little man made his appearance at 10:20pm, 2.1.15. He weighed in at a hefty 9 pounds 6 ounces and was 21.5" tall.

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Since Master Liam was born late at night the rest of the family played tag-team with not-so-big sister, Miss Bitty, it wasn't until the next day that Grammie and Grampy really got a good look at this wonderful newest boy! (And you know what? Even though Liam is #27 he is still just as special to this Grammie's heart as all the rest. See how that works... love just multiples exponentially.)

No one under 14 is allowed to interact with the newborns so that made for more tag-teaming. The next day Grammie and Grampy went in to visit with Liam while Mommy and Daddy visited with Fiona in the lobby. But you won't get any complaints from us...

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We got to have a wonderful one-on-one visit.

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Admiring his sweet little face...

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and his beautiful full head of hair.

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So it wasn't until he was 3-days old that Grammie could get a picture of Liam with his parents and adoring big sister.

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Feb 5, 2015

Waiting for Liam

When you're a tiny girl waiting can be hard...

Although Fiona was able to go to the hospital to see Mommy and Daddy in the lobby each day she wasn't able to meet her new baby brother due to flu season.

Finally, after three long days of waiting, Mommy would be coming home and bringing Liam and Daddy! We thought it would be nice to go get balloons for this new sweet sibling. Fortunately as we were walking into the story it occurred to this Grammie that Miss Bitty-girl would NEED a balloon too! The trip home was a little stressful for Fiona trapped in the backseat with balloons wanting to attack her... good thing it's just a short jaunt.

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After tying the *Happy Liam* balloons to the mailbox we couldn't bear to go inside. How many warm February days do we get in Utah? (Well, actually this month every day so far has been in the high 50s and today was 68°!)

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We walked up and down her street several times finding many treasures, running, saying hi to all and practicing stepping up and down all by ourselves without using hands!

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After such a busy morning we needed to have a nice peanut buttah-louw-unch! This Bitty-girl is crazy for peanut butter! Her Grampy taught her the delights of peanut butter straight from the jar on Sunday night just after Liam's arrival! Yes, and Grammie accommodated every request from this Bitty-girl for pb-straight-up on a spoon!

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Then it was time for a story or two, snuggles with Grammie, a bottle and a nap...

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She woke up happy and we played a little game. She is a funny girl, every time I get out my iPhone for a pix she comes running to see what photo I'm taking... but you get the idea of this darling, somewhat blurry, face.

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At last the time arrived! Miss Bitty waited at the window most patiently to wave as Daddy brought the rest of her family home. (Camille said it made her cry to see this little cherub waving at her through the window.)

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This look! This wonderful, most precious look sums up Miss Bitty's opinion about her new brother!

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And we all think he is pretty awesome!

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LIAM- 19 HOURS OLD

(Liam will get his very own post tomorrow)

As an aside-

I ruminate at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. One night I lay there thinking of the level a trust given me by MY precious daughter to provide care for her MOST PRECIOUS daughter for the past 3 days. My cup runneth over!

And now, today, here alone at Grammie's own house I'm having Miss Bitty withdrawals! Good thing we can FaceTime!!

Jan 29, 2015

Grammie Date

I had the great pleasure of going on a date with two of my darling granddaughters! What a treat! I've been to Thanksgiving Point gardens many times, but I haven't done much else than one movie and a quick walk-through the Dinosaur Museum. So when Jessica offered I jumped at the chance. This day we went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity- which is a bit like any museum... you have to go back many times to see everything!

Both girls were very excited to introduce Grammie to this new experience. They showed me the little door, which Grammie walked through too with barely a stoop!

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They made a beeline to this play area and told me all about the time Sophie plummeted from the top to the bottom all at once- and didn't even cry!!

I love how Roxie's hair is full of static electricity.

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They negotiated the rope bridges with Roxie never leaving Sophie behind. I am always so impressed at how kind and loving these children are to each other. (Good home training!) We poked around in a few of the rooms enjoying different experiences.

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One was the Cave of Courage. Roxie asked if I wanted to go through and since I could see that it required lots of bending and crawling, I opted out. So off they went. What I didn't know is that they were in the pitch black and had to feel their way through a maze! There were cameras so I could watch their progress. Roxie always had a hold of Sophie. After several minutes I started to panic... Yikes! Then I could hear Sophie's plaintive plea, "Grammie, how do we get out?" Luckily there was a very brave boy who went in, at my request, to help them find the way out. I gave Soph a big hug but there were no tears. Again with the yikes!

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They wanted to go outside and since it was a mild day, 45°, we did. They had a dandy time sliding, climbing, teetering and zip-lining! (Grammie even zipped once!)

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But after 2 hours Grammie was hungry and tired...

Then it was Grammie's turn to introduce these sweeties to a culinary delight. El Pollo Loco just makes my mouth happy! (We are lucky enough to have one of the two in Utah! That was a happy day for me since they are all over in CA!)

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The best part... I don't think these two have ever eaten drumsticks before. But the time Roxie finished the second one she told me she thought she had it figured out!

I can tell you, we need to do this more often!