Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Christmas

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas with good food, family, and friends.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Judges Meet

Calvin had his first gymnastics meet of the season today, and did pretty well! He placed 14th in his level (5) and age division (7-9) with his All Around score (79.6), out of 46 boys. Considering that six months ago he had never even been on 3 of the 6 apparatus (rings, pommel, and p-bars), that's great!

Before I get to the videos, I want to let you know that there is a new scoring system. If you watched the Olympics, you saw gymnasts get scores above 10, such as 16.325. In 2006, FIG instituted a new scoring system that combines an execution score (where the 10.0 would be awarded for a perfect routine) with a degree of difficulty score (such as 6.5, this is decided by the skills that are combined in the routine). This year the new scoring system is being used not just in the elite levels but in all levels. So, the boys are now getting scores like 13.8, or 14.1. At Calvin's level, all boys do the same routines, so in order to get the higher scores, one tries for bonus points. For instance, on floor, bonus points are awarded for holding the press to handstand for 3 seconds, or for doing 2 back handsprings at the end of the routine instead of 1. (Trust me, I don't understand it all yet either)

Ok, on to the videos! Unfortunately half of his floor routine is out of focus because it was quite crowded downstairs in the actual gym, so I was trying to get pictures from upstairs. (word of advice: taking video through glass doesn't work) Here is his floor routine, with a score of 14.1:

I then moved down into the gym. Next, his pommel horse routine, with a score of 11.2. Pommel horse does not get the nickname "the beast" for nothing:

Currently, Calvin's favorite apparatus is the rings. Bonus points are given if one can do the muscle-up (a pull-up that transitions into a dip. It's the first skill he does in the routine) without help. He got a 14.2:

On vault he got a 14.0. Bonus points are scored for height:

He got a score of 12.8 on the parallel bars:

His last event was high bar. He is so close to getting his kip (he's managed to do it once or twice), and when he does, he'll get bonus points for doing it on his own. He got a score of 13.3 yesterday:

I had a really fun time watching him compete. Now he has about 3 weeks to refine his routines for the next meet.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

HotPatterns Cosmopolitan Dress

Dudes. I am so making this dress again.

My 20 year high school reunion was last night, and I needed a new dress. I chose to finally make HotPatterns Deco Vibe Cosmopolitan Dress, after having this pattern for ages. I traced off a size 10, but then started thinking that it might be a bit small, so I serged the whole thing together using 1/4" seams. I needn't have worried, as it's a wee big. The only other adjustment I did was to add the constrast bands, like Jalie 2449. I used the long version of the skirt, shortening it 4" before I cut it out, and then shortening it another 1" before I put in a 1" hem.

This is a quick dress to make. I think I took more time deciding which fabric to use and cutting it than actually sewing it. The fabric was from my 'collection', bought locally, and the black contrast is powerdry, since that's what I had and I started this Friday night after supper. I was finished by Saturday afternoon, and I had taken some breaks to feed people, do the housework thing, and paint my toenails (important stuff, you know!). I wore it last night to my reunion, with a black cami (since it's a bit big, it's also a bit low) and my black patent boots. It'll make a nice holiday dress too.

FYI -- HotPatterns is doing a buy one/get one free sale right now, but only through midnight Monday. I've got my eye on the Kimono Wrap dress.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a lovely day, though my brother and his family were not able to come due to sick kidlets. :( We had my mother, my friend Beth, her dad and his wife:
Our yummy meal consisted of turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (I tried a new recipe which was delish), cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls (another new recipe I tried and was also a success).

After gorging ourselves, we took a game break before having dessert, and played a few games of Horse Race.

Then we had dessert: pumpkin pie, apple pie (still warm from the oven), banana cream pie and tiramisu (not pictured, sorry!). It was all soooo good!!!

Tomorrow I plan to spend most of the day sewing my dress for my HS reunion on Saturday. The pattern is traced off, but that's as far as I've gotten!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BookWorm Meme

Gwen, of After the Dress, tagged me for this bookworm meme I've seen going 'round. The meme says to pick up the closest book, open to page 56, and copy the 5th sentence, plus a few more for context. We've been discussing Advent traditions/ideas on the DAR board at Ravelry, so right now the closest book I have is Celebrate Jesus! At Christmas: Family Devotions for Advent Through Epiphany.

Page 56 is in the section for the third week of Advent (the Bethlehem Candle), and is the hymn Away In A Manger.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus Laid down His sweet Head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus. Look down from the sky
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.

I stopped at Target today after Calvin's gymnastics practice for some cleaning supplies. While we were there we did a little Christmas shopping for Connor (since he had stayed home), and I finally found a wooden Advent calendar I like! I never thought I was too picky, but I guess I am: it couldn't have Santa, it couldn't be 'country' or juvenile, it couldn't cost $100, and it had to have decent sized boxes/windows. This is the one I bought (looking online I like this one too).

Advent starts next Sunday, I need to get some goodies for the calendar now!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I got my hair done today:
I have a bunch of uniforms to hem, and then I need to get started on a dress for my 20 year high school reunion (on the 29th). I'm planning to do the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan Dress.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Here in Milwaukee, trick-or-treat is always held on the Sunday before Halloween, in the afternoon. It's always been that way (I don't know why); I never trick-or-treated in the dark on Halloween as a child. Anyway, here are the boys:
Caleb was a biker. He was going to be the Joker, but I didn't get a costume done in time, and it actually turned out for the best, as we had to quickly leave town a few days later for a family funeral (having green hair at the funeral probably wouldn't have been the best thing. ^_^)

Calvin was Zorro, Connor was a ghost. He was going to be a doctor again like last year, but at the absolute last minute he wanted to be a ghost. It's a good thing I keep a bolt of muslin on hand at all times.

As I mentioned above, we had to go to Iowa for a funeral. They do trick-or-treat there at night, usually on Halloween (it was on the 30th this year, and they call it Beggar's Night instead). My FIL dressed up as a clown, Caleb decided to go as a pirate this time, and Connor decided to skip the whole thing and stay home to play with trains. One of the traditions in Iowa is that you have to tell a joke to get your candy. Calvin told everyone that he doesn't do jokes, he does tricks. So he'd go into the person's yard and do a running roundoff into a backhandspring. In a cape. It looked pretty darn cool. People were pretty impressed, and would give him extra candy. He scored big on the candy in Iowa!

I used Butterick 5656 for Calvin's Zorro cape, adding 10" to the length, and using the collar piece from the tunic. To finish off the collar, I stitched it on as if I were making a dress shirt collar stand. It's sewn all around the neck and front edges, leaving the top open.

I then trimmed and clipped the collar. After pressing it, I turned under the open edge on the top.

To finish it off and close the opening, I edgestitched all around. A finished collar, with all edges enclosed!

Friday, October 24, 2008

DAR Swap

I'm participating in a swap on the Discussions About Religion board over at Ravelry. The "theme" of this swap was Low-to-No-cost, meaning we all are picking stuff from our stashes, gift closets, etc. My package came this week!
Isn't it great? I got 4 skeins of a lovely red bamboo yarn, oodles of dpns (my partner knew that I like to knit socks and mittens), a little candle, and a book on home preservation, from the LDS church. I have wanted one of these pamphlets for a while, since I'm all into preserving and gardens and stuff like that. It's going to be fun to read and from a quick skim I can see it'll help me organize and inventory my 'pantry' in the basement. So, I want to say a big Thank You to MaggielSelah!

This swap was set up as a round robin swap, so my package I'm putting together is going to someone else. I hope to get it out next week.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'd like you to meet Randall:
We adopted him yesterday from the Humane Society; he's a Pomeranian and tiny (4.25 pounds!). He was one of the dogs from the Haven Puppy Mill, and is 1.5 years old. Apparently he was used as a stud. He's not used to people, though he's been exploring the house, and isn't scared of us, just a bit shy. He adores other dogs, however, so once he settles in, we'll probably start looking for a second dog.

I never thought we'd get a foo-foo dog, but this is why we ended up with one. David wanted a lap dog that can sit on him while he plays his video games, and Randall certainly fits the bill. Calvin enjoyed letting Randall snooze on his lap while he watched some TV last night, and he's sitting on my lap right now as I type. OMG, I'm probably going to end up with a little carrier and he can come with us to gymnastics practice (Calvin's coach brings his little dog to the gym every day -- they can play!).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Apple Season

We went to pick apples today, at a local farm. We had a great time, and only got rained on a little bit.
The trees were laden with fruit. Caleb's friend James came with us (he's the one jumping to get an apple).

The boys said all the apples were good, though the Spartan ones were a favorite. We picked Red Delicious, Jonathans, Spartans, and Cortlands. We also got some of my favorite pears, Starks.

I wore my Notre Dame De Grace sweater, since I thought it was a bit chilly (though Caleb insisted on wearing his shorts). I love the sweater, though I think I could have made it a size smaller yet. Even though I took 2.5" off the sleeve length, I could've taken another inch. Connor had a blast running through the orchard.

A day picking apples means apple pie for dessert in the evening. Yummy! I plan to make applesauce in the crock pot tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Thing Of Beauty

What does it say about me that I am thrilled to have a new oven? Am I all grown up now?
It came yesterday. I had to leave to take Calvin to gymnastics practice while it was getting installed, so I didn't get to see it in all its glory until about 7:45 last night. It's beautiful and I <3 it.

We had lemon poppyseed muffins for breakfast this morning. I plan to make cookies later. I can start making bagels again, half of my dinner plans won't be thwarted for lack of an oven, AND I have 3 oven racks (when previously I only had 1).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A little bit of this, little bit of that

Oops, it's been a while since my last post. We've been busy here at Chez Mamafitz, with school open houses/meet the teacher nights, soccer practices, cross country meets, gymnastics practices, art classes, library storytimes, and I finally got to see one of Caleb's soccer games last Sunday (they spanked the other team, 7-0!). My sewing machine power cord died, got a new one, been doing some alterations and patch sewing, and my oven died. New one is supposed to get installed on Tuesday (I so miss having an oven!).

Halloween costume sewing must commence soon (oh, and Christmas sewing). Caleb wants to be the Joker, and Calvin wants to be Zorro. Connor wants to be a doctor again, like last year, so that's one costume I don't have to make. Phew!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


My nephew, Spencer, was baptized on Sunday. He wore the same gown I made 2 years ago for his big brother, Pablo.
Spencer got dressed when we got to the church, a nice little walk from the house.

Tim (Julie's brother) and I were the Godparents again.

Afterwards, we walked back to the house and had a little cookout. It was an absolutely perfect day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day

Today was the first day of school! Needless to say I was a little distracted and spacey this morning, but I remembered at the last minute to get a picture of Caleb, and totally embarrass him (that's in the mama job description, right?):
"No! We'll do it when I get home. Aw, come on, in public even!"

We found out that Calvin is in the same class as 2 of his good friends, and his teacher has the most awesome hair (it's silver! gorgeous! great cut! yes, I am shallow!). I told her about Sonja, and she said she'd give Calvin a little extra TLC. I also, in my spacey-ness, forgot to pack his snack, and took forever to find the thermos for his lunch (he went with grilled red potatoes, a cut up pork chop, some BBQ sauce, grapes, and a drink).

My mom helped me get Sonja's body to the vet for cremation. Now Connor and I are home, it's a little too quiet, and I finally got a shower in. It'll be a long day for Calvin, as I won't see him until about 7:45, when he gets home from gymnastics practice (my mom is taking him today). Caleb has soccer practice, and the crazy Tuesdays/Thursdays begin....

Monday, September 01, 2008


Our dog Sonja died a little over an hour ago, with me by her side telling her it was ok to go, and that I'd see her on the other side. She had been acting lethargic and not eating since Saturday. I took her in to the animal emergency clinic and they said that she was probably in renal failure. They wanted to keep her overnight and do more diagnostic testing, but I opted to bring her back home, keep her comfortable, and let her be with her family.
She would have been 10 in early November. Sonja was a great dog, loved chasing tennis balls, and loved her boys (though I was her favorite. ^_^). I am going to miss her very much.

(and for those of you that know us -- I cannot believe that my scrawny, pathetic looking 18 year old cat that looks like she has been at death's door for the past few years has outlived this dog!)

Friday, August 29, 2008


It's official. My middle man is now 9.
As usual, we talked about the day he was born, and shared his birth story. It's an especially cool one, as he was born at home (unplanned), on a staircase. He LOVES hearing his birth story! He had 2 friends over on Tuesday for a slumber party, and tomorrow gets to go to another birthday party (for one of the friends that stayed over). Life is good when you are nine.

(I'm scheduling this one to post about the time he was born. We're not sure of the exact time, but this is close enough, and what we decided to put down 'officially')

Friday, August 22, 2008

Floral Friday

There are more new flowers blooming, some of which surprised me!

First, though, we finally have a monarch caterpillar! Unfortunately, the day after I took this photo, it was gone. Hopefully off to find different milkweed and not eaten.

My lavender is blooming. I just planted these in spring (5 plants), and honestly, I wasn't expecting blooms this season. Don't know if I'll get enough to dry, but it sure smells good now. The boys brush the plants every time they walk by because they smell so good.

I think this is some sort of hibiscus (? really I have no clue). It's winter hardy; I bought it last year from the little variety store down the street. It is loaded with buds, these two bloomed first, and each bloom is about 8" across (seriously, these things are big).

The coreopsis has been blooming for a while, I just forgot to take a photo of it.

Those darn asters still haven't bloomed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

10 and lots of 5s

My SIL Julie tagged me with this little meme that's been going around:

10 years ago (August 1998): I had only one child, and he was 2. I also had my 10 year highschool reunion, which was pretty fun! (my 20 year is this November).

5 years ago (August 2003): My dad had died unexpectedly 2 months prior, so I was busy petitioning the court to be appointed executor of the estate, meeting with the lawyer, and cleaning up his house.

5 months ago (March 2008): We took a vacation to visit my MIL in Arizona, and had a wonderful time. There was a big snowstorm the day before we left, so the boys got to build forts and play, then the next day they got to go swimming in the sun!

5 things on my To Do List for tomorrow:

- Calvin has gymnastics camp, need to pack a lunch
- laundry (every day. I use MyChores to schedule my housework duties)
- weed/water the plants
- bake some stuff
- walk the dog

5 bad habits:

- wasting time on the computer
- being lazy
- not putting stuff away when I'm done
- procrastinating
- pack rat tendency

5 places I've lived (in no particular order):

- Scottsdale, AZ
- Des Moines, IA
- Long Beach, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Shorewood, WI

5 things people don't know about me (well, if you just met me):

- I don't like chocolate
- my second child was accidentally born at home, on the stairway
- I am allergic to raw apples
- I don't like driving
- I love popsicles

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Birthday Surprise

Connor's birthday surprise was A Day Out With Thomas! My brother told me about it in March or April, and when I realized that one of the days was Connor's 4th birthday, well, you know I had to get tickets. All Connor knew was that we were doing something very special on his birthday.

Needless to say, when we arrived and he saw what his surprise was, he was THRILLED.

My brother and his family met us there, and Connor was so excited and wouldn't stop talking about all the different trains.

There was a LEGO Thomas to play on.

Thomas himself gave rides to everyone with a ticket.

You bet we had ours!

There were also other trains and engines to look at; we got to play in some sleeper cars, and see trains from long ago.

We even got to play on train tracks!

Tomorrow we'll have a little bit of cake, and on Monday, 3 friends are coming over for Connor's first "kid" birthday party. Wow, turning 4 is pretty cool!

Friday, August 15, 2008


Four years ago a very special someone was born. FOUR YEARS OLD?!?!

We have a very special day planned, and it's quite the surprise. I can't wait to see his reaction.

(also, how cool is it that I can plan this post to publish at the time he was born?)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ren Faire

We went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire on Sunday. Calvin dressed up in one of the jester outfits, and we all had a lovely time.

Friday, August 01, 2008

State Fair

Today we went to the WI State Fair, to see my winning entries and eat. A lot.

A rare photo of me and all three of my boys. Connor is going through a phase of not wanting his picture taken. It was a hot, humid day.

My photo of Calvin whittling got 2nd place AND a Staff Favorite ribbon! FINALLY, after 10 years of entering, I've won a fancy ribbon! (My trillium photo didn't get anything, and I should've entered it in the general flower category. It wasn't close-up enough, compared to the winners)

Caleb's jester costume placed 3rd. I also placed 4th for my sweater, and 4th for a skirt.

We watched all the different salespeople demo their wares and ended up with this fancy peeler (from Switzerland, people!) and all the freebies that came with it. Last year we bought a Quick Chopper 2000, and we just love it.

We explored the DNR building, and Connor had a good time looking at the reptiles. I talked with some of the master gardeners, and found yet more plants I'd like to put in my gardens.

Caleb and Calvin went down the big slide. Connor was scared to go.

Cheryl, we had a cream puff! They are still delicious!

It was a long day, and one little boy fell asleep on the way home.