Getting my Fall on

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I was asked by two different wards to come up with some easy, cheap, and fun decoration ideas for the fall season Super Saturday event. A trip to the grocery store for candy and some dry beans was on tap, but the rest of the vases, candles, ribbon, and basic supplies were all already in my house….except for the crab apples and seed pods….those I picked up off the sidewalk 20 feet from my front door.

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Sadly, one of the wards completely changed their program and they cancelled everything I had prepared for them. Everyone at the meeting thanked me for my ideas, but in the end I carried it all through the rain for naught. Oh well….now I have a fantastic centerpiece for another week before they will be used at another Saturday that I’m told is set in stone.

I think it will be pretty entertaining!

Darth is Back

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Whew! Update from last time…Jon’s dad was EXTREMELY generous and after a couple of hours of research, phone calls and coordinating, dad drove to a dealership where they had cut us two new keys to our van and he then took those keys up to Jon in Park City. We now have an extra key in the house, not on the key ring in case of some future emergency. The keys only cost $30 too. I’m also extremely glad that I had filled up the gas tank in dads’ truck just the night before. Our black van, Darth Vander has returned, is working like a top, and was priceless to us in our work and deliveries over the last week.

Goodbye, StellaI never did post this picture of the day we traded in our Kia, Stella for the black van. He earned the name Darth Vander during the test drive, and he’s been perfect. We LOVE the room an versatility of a minivan. Little as Jon wanted to be one of THOSE owners, he’s got to hand it to Darth for being everything we need (except light on gas).  Hannah wouldn’t smile in the picture because although she understood the need for a bigger car, she gets so attached to things and didn’t like having to leave Stella behind.

More insanity this weekend with double weddings for both Jon and myself…the coordinating of photos, flower delivery, and child coverage is exhausting. Luckily, our beautiful Erin was here on Saturday and graciously helped watch the girls while I placed flowers in vases and on a cake that was late. Sunday was a smaller affair and more casual. There were several kids the same age as ours and they were very welcoming and relaxed so the girls played and danced and we enjoyed the canyon. Having Darth allowed us to take all our gear as well as the kids and Jon’s assistant. An official goodbye to Stella. She was also well-loved and served us so well. We’ll miss her and hope she goes to a great home. And, welcome to the family, Darth! You’ve had some struggles already, and we’ve dinged you up too soon, but we love you and are grateful that you’re here. Here’s to being a van family.

Highs and lows…they say things come in threes, but I’m looking at #5 already.

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It’s been a tough couple of weeks with many many things happening, so we’ll keep things short.

First was Hannah falling off the slide at her cousins house. She screamed for a couple of hours, and though we think of her as a tad dramatic it did worry us a bit. We wrapped her arm up, gave her some Tylenol and let her sleep on the couch. The next day she felt better, but the day after that she was still favoring her arm and wincing when she turned it, so we took her next door to have an x-ray taken.

Desktop6She actually did great with the office, the doctor feeling her arm, and even the x-rays only made her slightly nervous, and she swore that it was fine…just a bruise. When the doctor showed us the x-ray with the little bump that meant she had a Buckle Fracture, she burst into tears. We realized that when toys get broken they most times can’t be fixed and get thrown away. The idea that she was broken broke her heart and she didn’t want to be thrown away. Poor thing. More medication for swelling and pain and some quiet time on the couch for a couple of days and she’s been right as rain. A purple cast and lots of attention has eased her pain.

Upside? Olivia has been potty-training and doing really well.

That weekend sweet Aunt Melissa took both the girls to stay with her at her house because mommy and daddy had a LOT to do. Saturday was a huge event at The Grand America hotel for a charity that we have been invited to help, the Global Poverty Project. I had spent months coordinating imported artwork and crafts to replace the normal flower centerpieces as a way to highlight the talent in African villages and to give attendees at the event a way to purchase smaller items that directly help those in need. Rich people can bid on $15,000 guitars, but this was for the every-man. $40 for something beautiful and lasting that would actually go back to the village and do some good? I thought it was a pretty good idea. Luckily, people agreed with me, and the director of the charity in Utah said that everyone loved the tables and that my idea would now become the standard for design in charity functions for the project. Whoah! Go me.

dolls,baskets,jewelry,teabagsTeaBags,beads,mommas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did, however, have my picture taken with the $15,000 guitar that was signed by the likes of the Foo Fighters and Neil Young.

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After cleanup and helping people load their gear into their cars, Jon and I dragged ourselves home and to bed around 2 a.m. We were up and out the door before noon (Jon even had a 6 a.m. meeting in there too) and tried to head up the canyon for a huge wedding that Jon was slated to photograph. The car wouldn’t start. After several attempts and getting to the point of asking a neighbor to jump start our car it started on its own again. We made it up the canyon and worked for 10 ten hours straight with some fantastic people. I tested the car several times and it still wouldn’t start. I got to take some great leftover flowers to take home and some wonderful friends from the event gave us a ride all the way to Jon’s parents house where we borrowed a car. Yup…had to leave ours up at the Sundance Resort and call a tow truck the next morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver lining? Hannah took some of the flowers to her teacher the next day for her first day of school. SO much better than an apple.

485492_10151844074104432_377228878_nHannah’s first day went well. She liked her teacher, her broken arm was the left and didn’t stop her from writing, she got to see her new classroom, classmates and ran around the school seeing how things played out. She’s excited to be so grown up and I bawled like a boob. My baby is so grown up!  I learned where to pick her up after class and then we went for Panda Express for lunch. Hannah’s officially a Kindergartener. It was awesome fun. The next day she had a 10 minute assessment with the teacher and we confirmed how things go. She got a box of supplies and a take-home folder with info from teacher to parent. Done and done. Now the teacher knows she’s smart, communicative, and not a trouble-maker or problem kid. I did notice one of the other girls writing her full name with better than average penmanship which was a bit of a letdown when we were thinking Hannah would be the sharpest crayon in the Kindergarten box. But, I also saw one kid break down in tears and another stare at his paper without knowing what to write, so she’s still quite far to the top of the scale. She’s going to be great.

She’s already been a great sister all week. She has helped continue the potty-training of Olivia and is her biggest cheerleader. She’s gotten just as excited over every successful flush as either of the parents in the house or the toddler herself. There was even an incident with more solid forms of waste where Hannah brought soiled clothes down to the laundry and informed me of the trouble. She helped clean it up too, so yeah, she’s an AWESOME kid. Upside to a mess on the floor? Livvy’s learning and knock on wood, we’re out of diapers.

Unfortunately, all the cheering and changing for Olivia has brought about a bit of jealousy in Hannah, which leads us to today’s fiasco. We finally got the word that our van was fixed and we could come pick it up. We got things coordinated and while Jon went to a noon meeting I used his office to finish some work. When I came back out, I heard a quick snipping sound and then silence. I looked over to see Hannah hiding a pair of scissors, Olivia standing mildly in the middle of the floor, and a pile of hair. I was so shocked at first I couldn’t process what they’d done…soon enough I proceeded to scold, cry, and raise my voice. Both girls burst into tears and ran for different parts of the house. All I could get out of either of them was that they’d decided that Olivia’s hair was getting ‘too long’ and Hannah was helping her to cut it. I messaged Jon and told him to get home because I was too upset (over that as well as some other things) and he needed to be here. He rushed home and after snapping a shot of the mess on Livvy’s head and chatting with then both he said that the idea that Livvy’s hair was TOO long meant that Hannah’s hair was too long too and would also need to be cut…which sent Hannah into tears again. On the way home between other stops and errands, we visited Great Clips and got a couple of new dos for the girls. Sweet Livvy kept telling me that Hannah didn’t have to get her hair cut if she didn’t want to…that it was okay. I told her SEVERAL times that Hannah was getting a haircut whether she wanted it or not.

Silver lining? Despite a crappy phone photo before bed, the bouncy cuteness in real life cannot be stopped, and Livvy enjoys her new hair. She’s never been one to care much about her appearance, and yet she’s still so stinkin’ cute! Hannah, however, is just so happy that I didn’t make her cut her hair as short as Olivia’s required that she hasn’t complained once since we left the salon. I kept one of the longer strands of Livvy’s hair from the pile left on the floor and we used that as the measure for how much the barber was to remove from Hannah length. Eight inches. She’s just lucky her hair was so long to begin with. The barber was very sweet, and they both got great haircuts. Now it’s just mommy that’s going to have to learn to move on and be happy again despite shorter hair. Actually…sort of makes me want to take some scissors to my own hair again.

Desktop7It took some time, but they finally settled down to bed when I got a call from Jon. I had dropped him off at the repair shop to get our van that was now repaired after a couple of days at Sundance and the shop. He drove that up to photograph a house in Park City, but because we’d removed the key from the normal keyring, he somehow got to the house, shot it, and then couldn’t find the key to drive home again. He says that he’s combed the house itself, the car, his equipment and pockets, but nothing. His only explanation is that it must have fallen out of his pocket in the overgrown weedy lawn that he went through on the way to the door. It’s well beyond dark now though and even with a small lantern he can’t locate that darned key after hours of searching. As luck would have it, it’s also the ONLY key to the car so even if I did have a way to drive up there, I have no second key to take him. He’s sleeping for a bit and said he’d look again when he wakes.

Silver lining? I got a check today from the very company that sent Jon to Park City. We loves us some paychecks. Here’s hoping my hubby finds the key and comes home soon to make it even more silver.

I’m sewing again…

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It’s been a while. I’ve gotten so caught up in work and kids and trips and more work and potty training kids, that sewing fell far and away to the bottom of my to-do list. The mending pile continues to grow and the tear in the couch cover continues to widen* and yet, I’m not at my machine regularly to fix these issues. Every time I look into the sewing corner it’s with longing and feelings of inadequacy. And an acknowledgement of bad housekeeping. There’s lots of dust over there.

*See “kids” and “potty training kids” who like to jump, poke and tear said couch cover.

I really do enjoy sewing when it is on my terms. Sewing gives me a sense of connection. I’m connected to my mother who sewed so beautifully throughout my childhood. I’m connected to creative and crafting women who attempt to build beauty out of scraps of colored fabric. I’m connected to times past when sewing was a staple in education for young women and a mark of achievement. I’m also filled when I sew. I’m filled with calm. There’s a soothing calm to regular stitches and simple math that comes together in the 90 degree angles of a quilt and the curves in the construction of a garment. I enjoy the back and forth. I enjoy clean rows and flat seams. I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment when I can fix something, create something, or check a project off the gargantuan list of ideas that brew in my delusional little head.Advice from 1949

(Minus the French chalk {keeps the oils from  your hands from getting on the fabric}, and the lipstick which I rarely wear even on fancy days, this is pretty spot on for me! …and you have to love an advice page that uses the word ‘lackadaisically’!)

A couple of  months ago one of my gorgeous nieces got engaged and we hooked her up with flowers and photos. She chose one of her cousins to be a bridesmaid and showed her the dress on Etsy that all the maids would be wearing. Lovely. Fashionable. Simple and elegant. $100. That’s $100 that said cousin didn’t have, being newly home from a mission and working full time to try and make ends meet to get out on her own and possibly get married herself.  There were some words, back and forth, a squabble about money and worth, and in the end the deadline for the dress to be made was missed. Enter Aunt Lori.

Of course I can help. I printed out the picture from Etsy, trips to JoAnn’s happened quickly, measurements were taken, and there was even talk of teaching her how to sew so that she could make the dress herself, but none of us at this point have time for that. Leave it to me. I’ll get it together. Thank you, thank you! Don’t mention it. My pleasure. And it was my pleasure…I was happy to help. The bride was even appeased because she too has faith in Aunt Lori’s sewing skills. The fabric may not be exact, but everyone felt better knowing that Lori would make it as close as possible to the other dresses.

Travel for work, other events, charity commitments and children all took their toll and now the wedding is less than a week away. The dress was cut out last week, but I didn’t get another stretch of time to sit down to my sewing machine and work until tonight. But, tonight, I did not experience the regular soothing calming joy of my normal sewing memories. Tonight fabrics slipped, seams bunched, thread garbled it all up. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the darned thing to work right. Tension, bobbin, thread direction and brand. I changed it all and still couldn’t get the machine to sew a straight clean line. I unpicked the same zipper three times. Happily, these issues were happening on minor mending projects that I told myself I’d finish before starting on the dress because they’d take twenty minutes, they’d been waiting for weeks, and the black thread was already in the machine. Finishing these little things would mentally prepare me for a bigger project and would make me feel more accomplished for checking multiple items off my list. Twenty minutes of minor repairs had turned into two hours and I was NOT happy.

E20My lovely, fancy, and fairly expensive Huskuvarna sewing machine. I bought it only a few years ago when my old machine was in the shop and I had a job to do that I was being paid to finish. As soon as I’d dropped my other machine off at the repair place I ran to JoAnn’s and bought the best machine I could afford, and loved pulling it out of the box, setting it up, plugging it in and lighting it up. It was brand new and it was all mine! It caused me fits, and my paid project suffered. I meant to take Husky back to the store, but when my other machine was repaired she just ended up in a closet in the hopes that I’d figure her out one day and utilize her. Since she was sitting in the closet I didn’t have a problem lending Husky to a friend for a year or so and when I got her back recently, she was actually working just fine! Go figure! I started using her exclusively and was enjoying it. I got used to the different positions of the presser foot, and that little blade on the side to cut end-strings was handy. I even used a couple of the decorative stitches on some baby blankets for my church. I was being won over by flash and accessories…even if once again it was only pretty plastic posing as posh. Just like a woman!

For whatever reason, tonight the drama began again and my Husky wouldn’t function. After so many attempts to make even the minor repairs work right I got too frustrated and switched machines. Husky was shoved to the back and Ken came back to the front.

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Meet Ken. Ken is my circa 1973 (yes, that’s actually the year I was born!) hernia-inducing heavy metal machine. Solid metal parts made back in the day when machines were meant to last. My parents gave me this beast when I graduated high school in 1991. Before I’d even started using Ken, he was nearly 20 years old and had been found at a Deseret Industries where he’d been sent after years of service to other lovely ladies. Ken was old, used, slightly green in tint, had no abilities beyond straight lines and a zig-zag stitch…and I loved him totally. I was in love and exclusively committed. I took Ken with me everywhere I roamed and he has made everything from pillows and quilts to princess costumes and wedding dresses. Ken is King. Ken is the bomb. And Ken can do it all even WITH only two stitches.

After Husky frustrated me beyond the point of no return I pulled Ken to the front of my table, transferred the black thread to him and THEN finished replacing that zipper, closing a tear in Jon’s shirt, and fixing a canvas bag for my mother in law. I did those things in twenty minutes. Thank you. Next, I switched thread again and got started on the pretty bridesmaids dress. 40 minutes later I have a basic dress ready to fit and when I pull the iron out tomorrow it’s going to start looking sharp!

Ken and I turned 40 this year. We’re both old, heavy, slightly green in hue, and have limited functions…but it’s still nice to know that we can make beautiful things, work steadily, help people, and find that inner calm that a lot of chickies half my age can’t even imagine. We don’t have or need all the bells and whistles, but we’re pretty rocktastic. Thanks, Ken! Here’s to 40 more.

Root Canal

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Curse the Lindsay bad teeth. I think everyone in my family has bad teeth. If I’m wrong about someone they can argue, but out of my 8 brothers and sisters I know that two of them already have dentures, one has all implants and another has mostly caps and a few implants as well…and I know one or two of them are just missing a tooth here or there. I’m sure there’s more that I’m just not aware of, but that gives you a good start. My dad is just flat out missing a bunch of teeth too, but because he eats mostly soft things and every single breakfast is his infamous smoothy, he hardly needs teeth. Yes, he’s 90 in a month, so he’s allowed, but the rest of us? Yikes.

My teeth are horrid. Awful. Evilly bad and scary. In my life I’ve had root canals, cavities, crowns, extractions, and more. Being self-employed means not being able to afford lots of preventative work, but then again, we can’t afford a lot of post work either, so I really just end up with half the teeth I’m supposed to have, and payments towards the ones that are left. We were lucky enough to find a dentist last year that took some trade-out for his work in photography and that helped quite a bit. I hope he needs new pictures though because today was a doozy and I’m not done yet.

When I got in the car when Jon came to pick me up I started to explain what I’d gone through, and then said, “I don’t need to say it, right?…you’ve had one before?” No. Jon’s never even had a cavity. (Lord bless that our kids get his teeth, not mine.) Still, that means he needed to know how they screw a tiny post up into the decay and rip it out so that they are scraping out as much of the bad stuff deep in a pointy root as they can without losing the tooth itself…over and over and over again…scrape after scrape after scrape…hollowing out what feels like your soul…but then when I started to wince because I could feel it, the dentist gave me more numbing agent. That’s good, right? Yes, but because my mouth was all covered up and specially prepared for the one tooth he was working on, the needle needed to go somewhere…where?…normal entry through the gums is blocked…oh, that’s right…let’s just shoot straight into the nerve in the middle of the tooth he’s scraping! Numbness followed quickly, but that was quite a shock for a moment. Ahh. The needle sharpness abated, yes, but then the scraping began again, and again and again and continued for over an hour.

 “That sounds awful!”

I thought about it, agreed with Jon, and bawled.

To add insult to injury it cost me more than $600.

…and that wasn’t even the tooth I’d hoped they were going to work on today. Did I mention that a tooth right next to the front cracked and fell out? Yes, I now look like a yokel from the Ozark region. That happened two weeks ago. Front tooth, gone. The other tooth, the molar, yes, also cracked and partially broken two weeks ago. An old filling had started to go bad and when I ate a particularly crunchy bit of food up at camp, the molar chipped off a good portion and started poking me in the cheek. Ouch. The DDS did a temp fill and shaved off the pointy parts, which worked just fine for me, but then they told me they’d look at the front tooth a little later. (Yeah, the temp fix cost me $175 too.) Well, I had a trip to L.A. for work so I spent a week doing Mona Lisa smiles anticipating a quick solution to my front tooth issue when I got back because the molar was feeling fine. While sitting in the chair today, the doc started work on the temp fix on the molar and I thought, okay, he’s just getting that done right and checking it off his list and THEN he’ll get to the front bit. And, maybe he would have, but once the work got started he found that things were worse in the molar than they’d assumed and the rooting began. Ugh. I guess he had no choice. Part of me wishes I’d stopped him and told him to focus on the front tooth instead. A big part of me. A big BIG part of me.

They did take an impression of my top teeth at the end there, and as of next week I will have a sort of retainer with a fake front tooth until I can get things squared away for an implant option in a couple of years (apparently it takes that long for the root area to heal after removing the broken tooth before they can do a clean implant). Yeah…cost for all of that to come together? Nearly $4000. Ugh, again. I was hoping they’d do a crown or some sort of temp option in the front, but, apparently I’m a victim to what was once considered great dentistry but which only recently they’ve realized was actually damaging. Braces. Braces forcing teeth to move too quickly causes the teeth to sort of pull in on themselves and shorten their roots. Did you know that? I didn’t. I had braces. Apparently, the four top front teeth in my face now have roots half the length of a normal adult because the orthodontist moved too quickly when I was 10. Hence, basic construction rules apply. For the sake of stability the rules state that a post needs to be as long on the outside as it is on the inside. So, the size of my posts would leave me with creepy little baby teeth. Nope. Implant it is.

I’m exhausted.

And broke again.

One piece of comforting info the dentist offered was to explain that I have extremely aggressive plague. Acids and corrosion are part of the genetic makeup apparently. I finally had a small piece of reassurance as to why my brushing and flossing did so little compared to others who rinse with Mt. Dew. “It’s not my fault” is small consolation though.

When is someone in my family going to marry a dentist?

 

Oh, and I think I had a random sighting of Russell M. Nelson leaving the same dentist. At least I’m in good company.

I love this…

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My dad turns 90 in a few weeks and he is going strong despite his age. He has health problems, yes, but more often than you’d think, some of his trips to the V.A. are due to his attempting things that he shouldn’t (moving a tv on his own and dropping it on his foot, etc.) because he really is such a stud. I think it surprises him when it just doesn’t work the way he expects it should. Believe me, I know THAT feeling all too well. Health varies, schedules shift, but the one thing that is constant through any other change is the utter joy and entertainment he gets from my kids. He isn’t the one babysitting, really, but he ALWAYS offers and actually asks if there are places we need to go or when the girls will be back to play. He just loves to see them running around, he loves to listen to them talk, he’s always bribing them with Cheerios or chocolate from his private stash, and you can see the unmistakable love he has for them any time they run up to hug him, dance for him, or kiss him to wake the prince up. He loves feigning surprise or fear when they play monster or wolves and the thrilled giggles he gets in return is payment in full. Everyone loves to go for rides on Grandpas scooter. I can’t count how many times he’s roared with laughter and then shaken his head at me to warn that their teachers won’t know what hit them. I know. He knows exactly which channels have cartoons at any given moment that they show up, and he absolutely revels in getting to snuggle. There are days he’s hurting and can’t hold them, or they’re too squirmy and make him hurt, but when it works out that everyone is calm and healthy, this is my favorite thing in the world to see.

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Grandpa loves his girls and the girls sure love their grandpa! I do too for that matter.

We finally got her to say it.

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Olivia has such a cute way of speaking and as she is growing up and correcting some of her speech patterns, we wanted to capture some of them on video before they are no more. Here is an example of a couple of the funnier ones that we caught a few months ago. She’s already fixed these, so I’m sure glad that we got them when we did.

<a href=”http://www.jonwoodburyphoto.com/PersonalBackup/Winter-2013/28403642_Fkqb4f#!i=2406055753&k=mZMGw5H&lb=1&s=A” title=””><img src=”http://www.jonwoodburyphoto.com/photos/i-mZMGw5H/0/L/MVI_0624-L.jpg” title=”” alt=””></a>