Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bill’s first quilt

My 12-year old niece spent the week between Christmas and New Year with us so that I could teach her how to make a quilt. We had a good time. By “we” I mean me and the boys. Bub was sick for almost the entire week, and Bill got bored by the end. But, I loved having her there. I loved showing her something that my mom would have shown her if she were still alive. The boys LOVED having someone else to play with (and she was a good sport to play and play and play). She and I stayed up late at night and ate junk food and watched stupid movies. She is such a cute kid.

As for the quilt, I gave her very good instructions beforehand – like I always do, of course. I am clear and concise and never leave anything to the imagination (in my own mind). What she showed up with was something else entirely. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to be a 12-year old. I had forgotten that when I made my first quilt my mom was right there with me. I had forgotten that this stuff can be hard.

Instruction: cut the material into squares (did I actually use the word “squares?” I’m not sure) – lay it out beforehand to make sure that you have enough for the top of the quilt
Actual: pieces of all sizes of rectangles and squares (those are generous descriptions of the shapes) – enough material to make a quilt top if nothing had to be trimmed down – at least there was a general color theme going on (camo and denim)

Wait. There were no other instructions. I only told that poor girl one thing! So, she did a decent job, but we had a lot of adjustments to make.

When I make a quilt, I like straight lines and some semblance of a pattern. Not Bill. She wanted a “crazy” quilt. Thank the heavens that this wasn’t a true “crazy” quilt, or I would have lost it. I did not have the patience for that with two kindergarteners running around, a sick spouse, and a bored pre-teen!

Well, she wanted to learn, and I think that she definitely did. I didn’t do much for her at all. She did almost everything. I think the most I helped with was trimming the long strips before sewing them together. She learned how to lay it out to her visual liking, how to sew (even with back stitch), how to thread the machine, how to load the bobbin, how to replace the needle, how to sew an “L” line (yuck), how to pick a seam out and re-sew, how much to pull (or not pull) t-shirt fabric, how to tie a square knot, how to do the math to buy the material for the bottom, and how to finish the quilt.

She’s such a tall girl (as tall as me already, at only 12!) that I forget how young she really is. She is proud of herself, and she should be. She was given minimal instructions and had to really think on her own. And, honestly, it turned out pretty well! See?

What I really hate is that she doesn’t have her Grandma Arlene around to teach her this stuff. She would have been a better teacher than I was, for sure.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grizzlies Hockey!

I love hockey. I totally cannot skate, and I don’t know the rules, but I love it.

Bub knows this.

She can’t stand hockey. I know this.

She took me to a hockey game years ago – several years ago. I have been whining and hinting and begging and pouting ever since. The games are cheap, and our local farm team isn’t half bad. But, that doesn’t make her like it any more.

She surprised me with hockey tickets for Christmas. I was so excited! And, super surprised. She even got me the equivalent of the foam finger (except mine is a bear claw). Woo-hoo!

She was dreading it, and I couldn’t convince her otherwise. (Ultimately, I think that she managed to have a decent time but would have preferred a hot bath and a good book. OK, even a mediocre book…) I talked this experience up for days, so the boys were also excited as you can see here.

We bought an additional bear claw so that they would each have one. (I actually wanted to enjoy the game, not officiate our own brawls off of the ice.)

Here they are doing their own ferocious grizzly looks.

OK - not very ferocious, but at least they were holding still.

Meatball is an awesome cheerer. His voice is SO LOUD, and he has an amazing ability to really project it. He didn’t know what he was cheering for, but he was really good at it. He basically repeated anything that I said. Once, that was not a good thing. The family seated in front of us were constantly laughing, though.

Peanut bit into a soft pretzel and realized that he had a loose tooth.

He spent the rest of the game messing with it – wiggling, twisting, wiggling, pushing, pulling – until it fell out right before the end of regulation play. “Look, mom!” as he stuck his bloody tooth/palm in my face. Ug. (A couple of days later, this did ultimately encourage Meatball to finally pull a tooth that had been loose for weeks.)

The Grizzlies were ahead for most of the game until the opposing team scored at the very end of the third period. A tie! The game went to a five-minute overtime where nobody scored. A shoot out! YES! Both teams missed the first three shots. Both teams scored on the fourth shot. Only the Grizzlies managed to score on the fifth and final shot. It was an AWESOME ending to a game.

Well, for those of us in the building.

Bub went out to warm up the car at the end of the third period. She is so sweet, isn’t she? Well, although she was outside freezing her butt off, I wasn’t about to leave with a tied score! (I’m so NOT sweet, right?)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Year’s Eve, 2012

Our last day of Bill’s visit was New Year’s Eve. We celebrated the holiday with a crab dinner which we do every year. Now, Bill is notorious for disliking EVERYTHING, so we knew that this was risky, but she promised to at least try the crab. She almost backed out when we told her that she wasn’t allowed to put ketchup on it. But, her desire to impress us (or get us to shut up) prevailed and she gave it a whirl. She Loved It!!! Yay!!!

Then, we put our jammies on and watched the ball drop in New York. Knowing that they wouldn’t make it to 12 o’clock, we let the boys think that it was midnight here, too. We celebrated by dancing to Gangnum Style (unfortunately mixed with Too Legit To Quit).

It was a fun night.

And Billy sat still for a picture without hiding her face (for the first time the entire week of her visit).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Natural History Museum with the family

As mentioned earlier this year, I had a chance to go to the Utah Museum of Natural History. It was awesome, and I vowed to take Bub and the boys. Luckily, I got a bunch of coupons for $5 off of the admission fee, so we took advantage of it!

Nana and Bill went with us. Unfortunately, Bill got bored really early. I think that Nana would have liked to stay all day, but it’s hard for a museum to hold a candle to the last movie in the Twilight saga in a 12-year old's brain. Me? I would pick the museum 1000 times over before I even bothered to watch even a commercial-ridden, edited, version of that movie. (I can’t stand the actors – horrible “talent” if you ask me.) So, Nana and Bill headed off to the theaters while the rest of us had ourselves a great time.

I really like the interactive parts of the museum. Fun for little boys – and grownups, too! Here are the boys trying to fit the pieces of some “pottery” together, much like an anthropologist might. The forms are magnets, and the pieces easily stick where ever you think that they should go.

The cue cards in front of the boys accompany sounds on a computer. When the docent plays a sound, you try to identify which card matches it. It was very informative. I asked the docent to specifically play the sound of a rattlesnake so that they boys could hear it. I’ve tried to make that noise, but even though I’m a mean bitch, I’m no rattlesnake. Besides, there is nothing like the real thing.

These red/blue gel squares were quite interesting. They are atop a floor map of the Great Salt Lake, and they show the effects of the causeway built many years ago. Once, the whole lake had basically the same levels of salinity throughout. Now, the levels are dramatically different on each side of the causeway – so high on the north side that even the brine shrimp cannot grow.

Check out these dinosaur bones! Love it!

This was fun. There are a couple of places in the building where the floor is thick glass and artifacts are literally displayed beneath your feet. Super cool if you’re a curious kid. Not so cool if you’re a grownup with some phobias. Bub really didn’t want to walk across it. Once she did, we had a little breather while she allowed her heart rate to return to normal and the boys played in a sand box digging up skeletons of their own.

Another super cool section was the area dedicated to the backyard. There was a little stream where you could net some plastic fish, some burrows where you could crawl through to see garden snakes and some bugs. There were costumes (here a butterfly and a fly, but also a skunk and bear), binoculars, safari hats and vests, and an area for stories. Honestly, I think that the boys enjoyed this section the most!

In all, it was a lot of fun. I think that the boys are going to love it as they get older. (Plus, they have a program where you can sleep overnight in the museum in the room with all of the skeletons. Groovy, right?)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Santa Parade 2012

This year for the Santa parade, we invited Peanut’s girlfriend, JudiB. We didn’t tell the boys because if something happened and she couldn’t make it, then Peanut would have been heartbroken. Finally, as we were driving to the location we told them, and they were both overjoyed.

JudiB is a girl that we met during the meet-the-teacher night at their school. We all went out to give the playground a once over and let the boys expend some energy. I think that she was the first person that Peanut spoke with, and by “spoke with” I mean it went something like “HiMynameisPeanutandIlovetrains.” Her response was “me too!” It’s been true love ever since.

The three kiddos had a good time, and we really enjoyed getting to know Jud’s mom better.

Of course, Papa and Nana were there to get in on the action.
(This is her "please-no-paparazzi" pose.)

(This is his "my-wife-is-crazy" smirk.)

Gotta love it when Santa and the Mrs. show up on the fire engine. Preceding them is the local high school marching band and some local businesses who throw out candy for the kids. It lasts about 15 minutes, tops, but how do you put a price or time requirement on these happy faces?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mr. Electronics

This is Meatball at his computer (to which he has downloaded about 70 viruses – it is a constant clean-up for grandpa). The napkin on the head means that at some point in the night he was pretending to have long hair. I don’t know why they use dinner napkins because, frankly, they aren’t all that “long,” but they get a kick out of it, especially him.

Meatball doesn’t have a specific toy theme that he loves. Peanut has his trains, but Meatball is much harder to pin down. He does, however, love electronics. If it has a screen, he wants to use it. Oddly, much of what he does on electronic devices is draw and paint!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Zoo Lights

2012 was the first year that we had ever attended zoo lights. With our membership, we have been trying to attend as many of their events as possible. This was an additional cost, but it was at a discounted price.

We were happy to attend with Eileen, Amber, and Davis. The boys all had fun together. That Davis is a quiet and sweet kid. He’s about nine months younger than our guys, but they all play very well together. He likes trains just fine, but he actually likes signs and flags more. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. He loves signs of all kinds – stop signs, yield signs, railroad crossing, crosswalk, etc. Flags are another big hit – our nation’s flag, sports teams, holidays, big and small. I think that he would be happy without any toys at all if he just had a few flags to wave around.

This night, everyone seemed happy with the lights. We didn’t get many good pictures because my phone doesn’t have a flash, but it was fun nonetheless. Then, we went back to E/A’s place to barbeque some burgers and eat dinner. The boys spent their time running around the house while Bub spent her time snuggling with E’s dogs.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Christmas, 2102

My Christmas wish this year was that the grandparents would not go overboard like they did last year. I mean, seriously. We still have some 2011 gifts in a closet that we have been doling out here and there. 2011 was an exercise in complete excess. I got my wish, to a point. They weren’t as completely crazy as last year. It was still too much, but it wasn’t nearly as bad; it was something that I could tolerate.

As in years past, Granny and Grandpa spent the night. I think that they hate doing this, but they don’t want to miss Christmas morning because it’s so much fun. We had a couple of years where we stayed at their house, but as the boys get older, that gets harder and harder because there are more and more gifts. Plus, it’s not fair to my folks. Plus, they won’t allow the dogs at their condo, and I’m not about to leave my poor old Lizzy outside like that.

Here is Meatball with his electronic present. He has only set it down when the batteries need to be recharged. What a great gift.

Here is Peanut with his, you guessed it, trains. I swear, the first thing that boys says in the morning is something about a train. It’s a sickness.

As always, Grandpa gets stuck putting something together (although he managed to leave without finishing this train set – I had to finish it – but he did the hard parts).

Grandma fell back to sleep after breakfast (typical since 7:30am is WAAAAYYYY TOO EARLY for her).

Bub was happy with the C0wboys shirt and socks that she received.

And, look at my canning haul! So excited to fill these up in the coming months!