Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pants for Alyx

Alyx Pants 013 - Copy 

Erik decided he wanted to make a pair of pants for Alyx for Christmas.  Last year he made a skirt for Anna and did almost all the work; not with this project.  He picked out the fabric and pattern and I pretty much took it from there.  These are the “Baby Bloomers” from the book Making Children’s Clothes by Emma Hardy.  The pattern and instructions were easy and this project would normally have taken me a couple of hours – tops.  But not this year – not with this back.  This project took a full month working in five or ten minute increments and was not finished until after the big day.  Oh, well.  This year has been full of “good enough”.  The lemonade we have been making from our lemons is a little bit off, but not bad.  Enough about life – back to these cute pants!

 Alyx Pants 012 - Copy

I like a lot of things about all this flowery fun.  I like the pink ruffle at the hem, the contrasting lining.  I like the pants equally well with and without elastic at the cuffs.  The next pair I make will have a contrasting waist and be elastic-free at the hem (keeping the ruffle, though).  Another great thing about this pattern is that it is roomy enough for a diaper-clad bum.  My very favorite part of the pants is the fabric flower on the right pant leg.  I originally made the flower as a hair accessory for the pants, but it looked so cute on the pants I had to stitch it in place right then and there.

Alyx Pants 021 - Copy 

One of the things I whiled away the hours on the couch doing over the past two months was hand-sewing.  Here is a little doorknob hanger I wanted to create for quite some time.  It was nice to finally get it done.  I keep meaning to put together a little sewing basket with all my hand-stitching projects, mending, etc. so I can work on it while I’m sitting on the couch.  I sure enjoy doing it when I take the time to do it.  I still have a pillow on a chair in my living room that has been waiting to be stitched up for a year – it’s inner pillow form spilling out from time to time.  Oh, my needle is calling . . .

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


2010-12-27 Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

2010-12-27 Christmas

Christmas Morning

2010-12-27 Christmas1

Christmas Day

I hope yours was as wonderful as ours!


Monday, December 27, 2010

First Recital

Ballet 006

Our darling little Annabelle had her very first ballet recital a couple of weeks ago.  Ballet had turned into a bit of a nightmare over the past two months as rides were constantly having to be arranged and then rearranged since I was not able to drive her myself.  Little angels in the form of my mother, husband and sister-in-law kept swooping in to save the day.  The day of her recital was no different.  Anna had a rehearsal at two in the afternoon and our schedule did not have a hole big enough to fit it in.  Our angels from heaven arrived in the form of some dear friends, one of them being home from college on Christmas break with a strong desire to hang out with my kids (don’t you just love people like that???)  So, our wonderful friends, the Franzen’s saved the day, allowing Sean to Christmas shop in the only time slot left before Christmas.  We love you guys!!!

Ballet 024

Anna’s recital was darling.  Because of my back we had to make some special arrangements.  Sean had to be there an hour early with Anna.  There is no way I could sit or stand for that long waiting for her performance to start, so my in-laws  picked me up, I watched Anna little number and they drove me immediately home.  I was so grateful.  There is no way I could have seen my daughter dance in her very first recital with out the help of these wonderful people.  Thank you! 

 Ballet 034

This is Anna’s curtsey.  Thank goodness my silly back did not keep me from seeing her first one of those on stage.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Djeryd’s Gingerbread House

Yea, me!  Two whole blog posts in one month!!!


Last Thursday Djeryd got home from school and asked when we were going to make gingerbread houses.  From my prostrate position on the couch, I sort of laughed and told him if he wanted a gingerbread house he would have to make it himself.  So that’s what that boy of mine did.  I handed him a Martha Stewart book that had a recipe and house template, and he did the rest. 


I took him a few days to finish it – one step at a time – but I think he did an outstanding job.  (Don’t you love that sweatshirt mess?  The funny thing is he actually attempted to wear it to school the next day without it going through the wash.)

Gingerbread House 001

He finally got around to decorating the house on Sunday after church.  He had to rig up some Lego supports to keep the roof in the right place long enough for the icing to harden.  Djeryd and Anna made two different kinds of frosting and reveled in all that sugar.

Gingerbread House 017

I loved hearing Djeryd continually telling Anna “This is a lot of fun, huh?”  After about the fifth time Anna said, “Why do you keep saying that?”  It made me chuckle.

Gingerbread House 018

I am so proud of Djeryd for seeing something he wanted and going after it, even when it got frustrating.  Djeryd, you are one amazing kid, and so much fun!

Gingerbread House 019

Friday, December 10, 2010

I’m Baa-aack

In an effort to stem the tide of the thousands of letters, phone calls and emails I have received from fans wondering where on earth I have been for nearly two months I am writing an explanatory post  for the world in general (because I know the world really cares).  Here’s my big news, my big excuse for not bothering to sit at my computer and share details of my life on the world wide web.  Are you ready? It’s big.

I hurt my back.  I know what you’re saying, “So what? My back hurts all the time.”  Without making this post too miserably long and detailed I will simply say that having recently experienced the pain of childbirth with a faulty epidural, I spent two weeks with pain of heavy-contraction-intensity radiating down my left leg.  The good thing about contractions (I bet you didn’t know there was anything good about contractions) is that they last for one to two minutes and then you have a rest.  My leg was not so fortunate.  You see, my 23 pound hunk-of-love baby bulged a beautiful, but unseen disc in my lower back.  That excited my sciatic nerve to a level of inflammation that the spine specialist staring at my MRI (a very interesting experience in itself) told me that “any surgeon in the Pacific Northwest would operate without question.”  Considering back surgery is a big deal and most doctors try to avoid it if at all possible, that’s serious. 

At present I am going through a series of injection shots until the inflammation subsides and I can get back to living a normal life.  I go to physical therapy twice a week to learn how to do normal household things without causing further injury to my now fragile back.  I have been on the couch, basically not functioning in any useful capacity, for a month and a half.  I can count on one hand the amount of times I have picked up my beautiful wee babe over the past six weeks.  Yes, that makes me cry.

So you’ve heard the sob story, but the good from it has been so good.  And since complaining rarely makes things easier to deal with I have decided to list the blessings that have come our way as a result of this experience.

:: watching the teeny, tiny day-to-day, moment-by-moment process of my daughter learning to crawl

:: coloring endless pictures side by side with Annaliese

:: learning to love my ward on a whole new level as meals have been brought in, floors have been vacuumed, laundry has been washed and folded, my children have been played with, dishes have been washed and bathrooms have been cleaned

::  hearing every single coo from my baby’s lips

:: seeing the hand of the Lord in so many tender mercies – prayers answered before they were finished, friends knowing just when to call and just what was needed

:: cuddling with my littles – I am usually far too “busy” to enjoy them

:: knowing I have the most amazing kids in the world as they help and help and help without question and without complaint

:: being able to sit at my sewing machine, even if it only for fifteen minutes at a time every few days

:: recognizing the sweetness of hugs and kisses – they often cause pain and so are rather scarce

:: reveling in every glorious moment of family time (life can feel very lonely when there is so little that distracts)

My husband, moms, sisters and sweet friends have been life-savers.  I have been so humbled by their service and so grateful for their love.  I could seriously make a laundry list of all the trips to the store, chauffeuring of my children and cleaning that has been performed in my behalf.  I don’t dare list names for fear I would forget someone.

I have no idea how long this will last when it is all said and done.  The good news is I can blog again.  And the best news is I know there is so much love around me.  Thank you all.


Love, MyLiege

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cinnamon Pretzels

 Van, Activity Days 055I checked out a children’s cookbook called Honest Pretzels a couple of months ago.  I am always trying to get the kids to spend more time creating in the kitchen.  We decided to try out the pretzel recipe because I figured if a kid can do it (remember the cookbook is designed for the young chef), I can do it.  So here is our first go-round of pretzel-making:

Van, Activity Days 064  Djeryd was on a quest to make the longest possible pretzel which just wound up losing its shape in the water bath, but it was fun.

Van, Activity Days 068

The water bath was much less intimidating than I expected.  The whole process was really fun and the kids loved making their own pretzels.

Van, Activity Days 053

After they came out of the oven we dipped them in melted butter and then a cinnamon-sugar mix.  Really, really yummy.  And ridiculously satisfying because a.) nothing beats super fresh baked goods, and b.) we made them with our own ten hands in the happy glow of our own home.  Anna keeps asking for another round – perhaps next week . . . De-lish!

Van, Activity Days 071

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Last Picnic

Van, Activity Days 020

We had a small spell of summery weather a couple of weeks ago.  To take advantage of it we headed over to a park for a Family Night picnic.

Van, Activity Days 040

The kids played until it was almost dark and then we walked over to our favorite library and whiled away the rest of the evening.

Van, Activity Days 047

This is my favorite picture because I think it captures our life right now – bags and strollers and half-finished juice boxes, coolers and lunch boxes and blankets, my baby  growing and stretching and reaching, all the kids running off on new adventures with me holding up my babe and holding down the fort.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HELP – Pass It On: One Million Pillowcases

In August my sister directed me to this website.  It is a quilting magazine that is encouraging the production and donation of one million pillowcases for those in need.  Since I am always looking for crafty service projects, I jumped right on this one.  Unfortunately I did not get around to involving my kids in this one.  I got them all started with my Activity Day girls (all five of them LOVED the sewing) and then finished the pillowcases up at home and sent them on to the Department of Human Services to be given to foster kids in our area.  It was really fun and really easy and pretty quick. 

Van, Activity Days 096 

They have an instructional video at the bottom of the web page that explains how to do this very cool roll-it-up method that encloses the seam along the band.  I did french seams on the sides so there were no exposed seams at all (instructions are on the website).

Van, Activity Days 093

It’s pretty important to line up the fabric edges well so that you don’t have to do a lot of extra trimming when you finish the french seams.

Van, Activity Days 097

Pressing at each and every stage is also key.  I got all eight pillowcases to the same stage and then whipped through each step with the whole stack before moving on to the next step.  It made it easier on my brain since I did not have to constantly refigure out where I was in the process.

Van, Activity Days 106

They fit a standard pillow.  It was a great project and so much fun that I am dreaming up reasons to make as many as I can for Christmas presents.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Which Part Is Mine?

As my son stomped out of the house this morning in a full-blown rage, with the only provocation being told he had to go to school, I couldn’t help but wonder what part of this growing personality is mine?  What part did I plant in him in infancy and feed and water and nurture until it grew into this frightening monster that appears from time to time?  I get so discouraged when I see my kids do things or hear things coming out of their mouth that I know came from me.  And I think, “Oh, I’ve cursed them – they’re doomed.”  On the other hand they will do something wonderful and helpful and I think, “Yea!  They’re learning.  We’re getting something right!”  But as I see all of the very different personalities of my children, who are all raised differently, but by the same two people, I wonder if I have anything to do with it at all.  And I know I do, but how much?  How much of my son’s explosive tantrum this morning was my responsibility?  It’s the whole Nature vs. Nurture question.  And it’s a question I struggle with constantly.

At what point do you say to your child “I’m sorry you’re struggling with this.  I hope you can figure something out,” and at what point do you assume responsibility and do everything in your power to fix the situation?  Sometimes I feel that I am not expressing enough love to my family, so I cook.  I make pancakes for breakfast, veggie platters for afterschool snacks, a feast for dinner with an ice cream covered dessert.  I do most of the dishes because I don’t want them to be put out and I pick up after them constantly just so they won’t have to hear my nagging voice.  They just get grumpier and grumpier and I get more and more frustrated, so the goodies subside and the jobs increase and everyone seems happier after a few days of complaining about the job increase, and then it all starts falling apart again.

We make a million decisions in our lifetimes regarding our children.  The things we do with them; when to push and when to let it go; what to encourage or discourage; when to fix it and when to let them learn how to cope.  All these decisions have an impact on the development of these little people, their memories and sense of self-worth.  It seems there are endless amounts of worry in child-rearing.  In the end, what really counts?  In the end, how much is my responsibility? and how much is my child’s?  And do I really care how much is mine or his when I just want him to be happy?  But you can’t make a person happy – it’s a personal choice.  But am I doing everything I can to help make that choice just a little bit easier for them, or a little more natural?  And is all of this just a matter of not getting enough sleep? 

Does anybody really ever really figure this stuff out?  Or do you just get through it?  And if it’s just a matter of “getting through”, is that really how I want to live my life, and how I want to teach my children to live?  It seems like there must be a better way.  I’m truly grateful I have as many kids as I do because I hope I will finally be the parent I want to be by the last one.  Djeryd, you have my sincerest condolences and appreciation for blazing the “childhood trail” in our home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life, Lately

Amidst all the craziness of school starting and our ever-dying van, life has been full of a lot of wonderful, regular, day-to-day things:

Girls, Legos, Cooking 123

my sleeping baby,

Girls, Legos, Cooking 031

Djeryd’s Train Show (only $10 a head),

Girls, Legos, Cooking 092

Star Wars everything (including a trip to the local Lego-trading store),

Girls, Legos, Cooking 069

homemade Lego Star Wars games,

Girls, Legos, Cooking 056

making a Star Wars dinner (it was not very appetizing, but it was fun – and the kids liked it - photo credit goes to Erik on this one),

Girls, Legos, Cooking 110

reading silly children’s stories together,

Girls, Legos, Cooking 020

and lots of staring at each other.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Movie Review: Tinker Bell

I know it’s silly, but the Tinker Bell movie makes me cry every time I see it.  I think it is beautifully drawn.  I love the wonder of the seasons.  I love the creative use of natural elements.  I love the music.  I love the voices.  I love the story.  One of the things I really admire about John Lasseter films is the way they portray the human condition.  From Toy Story to Finding Nemo to The Incredibles.  They are all stories that teach us something about ourselves – about who we are or who we were or who we want to be. 

Tinker Bell is the story of an individual trying desperately to find her place in the world.  After being told where her talents lie, she rebels, trying to be something she isn’t, something she was never meant to be.  It is not until a tremendous amount of damage is done to others and herself, that she finally turns to who she really is.  I could get really philosophical and relate all this to the Plan of Salvation and our eternal identity as children of God and the horrible mess of “identity crisis” we go through in this life, but I won’t.  Suffice it to say, when Tinker Bell finally embraces her true identity she creates miracles.

I love watching this movie with my daughter (my boys, too, but it is kind of girly).  I love that somewhere in her subconscious the message of this movie is sinking in – that being the best at who you truly are (a daughter of God) is what will bring you your greatest joys.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of School

First off, I have absolutely no recollection of a photograph ever being taken on my first day of school – ever.  Consequently, I never know what kind of pictures I’m supposed to take on the first day.  Some years I photograph everything, from waking up in the morning to, well, to when I get tired of taking pictures.  Other years, like last year, I took a total of three pictures of the kids eating cookies after school.  That’s it.  This year, for the first time ever, I took the camera to school and got pictures outside their classrooms (I did not post them because Djeryd would not be happy with me, and the pictures are kind of crazy, panicked looking (my panic – not the kids’).

So after an incredibly intense selection process (I jest), I present to you the most noteworthy first-day-of-school photographs.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 239

I got up really early (6:30am – I know - I’m amazing) and made the kids muffins for breakfast.  This picture is telling me my kitchen needs an overhaul.  Actually it makes me really happy to see all of us up so early eating breakfast together as this NEVER happens due to my warped definition of “early” (does anybody else feel like 8:00am is the absolute earliest anyone should ever get up?).

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 243

I love the walk to school.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 249

And I love the pink detailing on those pockets paired with that fuschia  hoodie.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 273

Since I could not follow the boys around school and take pictures of them doing their thing on the first day of school, I followed Anna around and took pictures of her doing her thing on the boys’ first day of school. 

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 287

I think I may have fallen upon a tradition: this is the second year in a row I made cookies for the kids on their first day.  I hope I remember to do it again next year.  (Don’t hold your breath.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Hike, Path, 1st day of school 004

Anna spruced up her wardrobe as part of the whole back-to-school thing.  We got home kind of late, but Anna wanted to show Daddy all of her sweet scores.  Oh, my gosh, I love this girl!  She was so cute.  Sean had to work on the computer so Sean drug the mirror into the office so Anna could check herself out.  She actually changed her socks for every single outfit!  It was so cute.  The thing I love about the picture above is all the black and blue and white in the mirror with Anna’s burst of pink.  I love that it’s kitty-wompas.  I love that I can see that wonderful man loving his sweet daughter by honoring her “Take a picture of me, Daddy” request.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 011

Anna is the best big sister.  I’m the big sister in my family and I don’t think I internalized my responsibilities very well as a child.  I am always telling Anna what a great big sister she is and how lucky Alyx is to have her.  She is always singing songs to the baby or dancing around the living room to delight Alyx.  Man, I’m lucky!

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 014

And I couldn’t pass up posting this one.  Girls, I love your eyes.  Oh, mama loves you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Garden Walk – Phase 1

For our Labor Day weekend project, Sean and the kids began the installation of a garden path that will eventually wander across the back yard.  Last weekend they focused on simply getting the path installed as it runs along the grow beds in the side yard.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 201

Sometimes we really worry about our kids not knowing how to work.  I will be kind and not mention the name that causes us so much worry.  The little one above is AMAZING when it comes to digging in on a serious work project.  Erik shoveled gravel all day long on Saturday.  And he was ready bright and early Monday morning to dig in with the cement work.  I don’t think Sean could have done it without him – seriously.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 213

After lunch on Monday Djeryd and Erik switched places and Djeryd put in a couple of hours working beside his dad.

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 218

Then, of course, Anna had to get in on the action.  Actually she was begging all morning.  I finally talked Sean into letting her try to help.  He agreed and then Anna spent another three hours complaining about the required wardrobe.

Anna:  But I hate these pants!

Mommy: That’s why you’re wearing them – to get yucky cement all over them.  They will be ruined and you’ll never have to wear them again.

Anna:  But I hate these pants!

2010-09-07 Hike, Path, 1st day of school   

My job was to keep everyone fueled with food and drink and “It looks awesome!  You guys are doing a great job!”

Hike, Path, 1st day of school 252

We Sean & co. will mortar the spaces between and head on to the next section.  I think it is going to look absolutely fabulous.  (Just wait until we get the meandering path through the flower garden in – yea!!  I can’t wait!)  Sean, you are wonderful!  Thank you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend in the Woods

Wilcox Family Campout 338

Every year my family gets together to hang out with each other.  It is the most anticipated vacation of the entire year (at least for my little family), hands down.  We love it!  We love playing with cousins and staying up late and talking and laughing and getting reacquainted with each other.  We normally do this for four or five days in Sunriver, but Disneyland is slated for next year, so we decided to do a family vacation on the cheap this year.  Welcome to my brother’s back yard.  We all pitched tents on their acreage and settled in for two days of fun, fun, fun.

The hottest attraction was a water bottle rocket contraption that my dad and brother made.  It began as this:

Wilcox Family Campout 012

Air from a bike pump gets pushed into the pop bottle half-filled with water, you pull a cord, and yippee, a rocket shoots into the air.

Wilcox Family Campout 167

(You can see the air being pumped into the bottle on this one.)

Wilcox Family Campout 157

The kids all made a rocket and then the dads got involved.  The rockets started getting pretty elaborate after that.  Sean’s swirly ones were my favorite.

Wilcox Family Campout 180

Eventually they upgraded to a foot pump, “cemented” down the launch pad, and moved the rip cord several yards away from the launch site (much safer).  Check out that jet stream.  ;>

Wilcox Family Campout 146

All the little girls sat on the trampoline and screamed out the launch count-down.  They were awesome cheerleaders.

Wilcox Family Campout 029 

Love that baby!  I’ll also take a moment here to mention that on Friday night we celebrated Erik’s birthday with cake and ice cream, had a campfire and watched a movie on the side of the house.  Fun!

Wilcox Family Campout 205

My brother also put together an “Amazing Race” for all the cousins to go on.

Wilcox Family Campout 253 

They got clues and zoomed around to all kinds of fun activities, like cannon building, golfing, and b-b gun shooting.

Wilcox Family Campout 345

This is my very favorite picture of the weekend.  We are fortunate to live pretty close to one another, and yet a moment like the one above is very rare.  Between kids and spouses and general activities it is very unusual for the four of us to be together – like in the same room, in the same conversation – at the same time (sitting around the dinner table on Thanksgiving does not count).  I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with these people.  I can truly say that my favorite people in the whole world are my family.  Mom and Dad, you done taught us good.  I love every last one of you.

And I love my brother’s shirts – seriously – where do you find stuff like that?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...