Sunday, July 19, 2009

Graduation, parts 3 and 4

A couple of days ago, I realized that I never finished showing off the graduates in the family. This whole moving thing is really throwing me for a loop!

Graduation, Part the Third

Tait didn't actually graduate, per se, but he did "move up" from 8th grade and so we attended a "moving up" ceremony for him. If you're wondering why there are no pictures of this event, that would be because 8th grade boys (well the one that lives at this house anyway) have a tendency to put their hands in front of their faces in every. single. picture. This sort of behavior does not make a blogging mother happy, which I think is the whole idea if you ask said 8th grader.

He does come out from behind the hand on occasion to bug his sister. Here he is at the graduation dinner doing his best.
Graduation, Part the Fourth
High school graduation followed a different pattern this year, and boy are we ever grateful! Let me just say two words about it: Air Conditioning.
Yes, air conditioning is a glorious thing.

In the past we have sweltered on the outdoor bleachers, wishing for the sun to go down just a little bit faster, hoping for the tiniest bit of a breeze, and praying that a monsoon won't sweep through and drench us. This year, as you might have surmised from the above photos, graduation was held in the Wells Fargo Arena. Yes, we were packed in like sardines and it was death for the long-legged folk in our crowd, but that inconvenience pales in comparison to the beauty that is air conditioning.
Not to mention the big screen.

Not a bad seat in the house.

Did I happen to mention that it was air conditioned?
I love me some air conditioning.

Finding the graduate after the festivities was a bit of challenge. We are used to just rushing the football field, after all, but eventually we found her and took all the obligatory after shots before she was whisked away to grad night.

With the conclusion of this event, we are exactly halfway finished getting our kids through high school. Three down, three to go!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beat the Heat

Supposed to be 113 F today.

Which means one thing.

Being outside is not really an option.

Unless it involves water.

(This beautiful pool belongs to our friends, the Webbs.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I am thoroughly enchanted by amigurumis these days, so I decided it was time to put my thinking cap on and learn how to crochet so I could make a little ami for myself. How hard could it be?

This is my tale.

First, let me tell you that once upon a time when I was in the third grade I knew how to knit. My mom gave me gigantic lime green wooden knitting needles and super chunky hot pink yarn. Did I mention that this was in the 60's? We took a road trip from Southern California to my grandma's house in Northern California, which is about a 12-hour drive. I would knit up all my yarn, then unravel it and knit it up again. I was proficient. And that is the extent of my expertise. I never really made anything to speak of; I just kept knitting and unraveling, knitting and unravelling. It was kind of addictive, I think.

Fast forward a few years. I'm a young mom. My friend is learning how to knit. She keeps knitting up a test swatch, counting stitches, and talking about tension and gauge. I'm baffled and astounded at the amount of work you have to put in before you can even begin. Looks too hard for me.

I move to Arizona. Theoretically, it's too hot to knit or sew. But I don't know anyone here, so I crank up the AC (or crank it down, depending on how you look at it) and sew a quilt. A flannel one. It's one of my most favorite things I have ever made. Finally, I make a friend. She knits socks and tries to convert me into a knitter, but I am strong and resist. I'm a quilter, I tell her. I want to focus on getting better, not flit from craft to craft. Besides, I have this image in my mind of the sweater my mom made for my dad back in the green needles-pink yarn days. It was gigantically huge, probably would have fit mom and dad together at the same time. I know that tension and gauge matter and that I don't have the patience for it.

Two days ago: Ah, but that's knitting and I want to learn to crochet. It's gotta be easier. It only has one "needle." I know I said I was going to stick to one craft, but one little foray wouldn't be so bad, would it? Besides, I just recently learned that acquiring new skills thwarts dementia, and I'm all about not being demented. So I do what any self-respecting 21st century crafter does--I turn to youtube. Yes! There is a great series that shows exactly how to make an amigurumi. The girl on the monitor actually makes it look simple and almost effortless. I decide to follow along.

And therein, I encounter my first obstacle. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep up, even though she has the patience of Job, and crochets very slowly. I'm stuck at the slip knot that you're supposed to start with. Half the time it turns into a slip knot and half the time it just slips off with no knot. I feel like an idiot.

Maybe I should just throw in this next little piece of information. If you're like me you'll totally understand my frustration. If you're not, I'm not sure I can fully express just how difficult my life can be. I'm....




Did you know we have a shorter life expectancy? Yeah, comes from living in a world bent on frustrating us, trying to conform us into something we are not. And don't even get me started on the topic of scissors. I'll just save that rant for another post!

Okay, back to crocheting the youtube way. I did another search and found someone who explained and demonstrated in slow motion (that was key) how to do a variety of stitches, including a slip knot, left-handed. And no, you silly right-handers, I know what you're thinking and I'll just tell you right now that I couldn't have just done it right-handed. That would be nigh to impossible. It would be like me telling you to just do it with your toes.

Well, the left-handed teacher got me on the right track, so after a little practice I took off. Here is my first attempt. His name is Happi.

I know the tension is off-kilter and he's got a few little problems, but overall I'm pleased. And while he's not quite suitable for giving, I'm sure he'll be perfectly content to live happily at my house. His name is Happi, after all.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beach and Babe

We spent last weekend in San Diego enjoying the cool coastal weather. Such a nice change from the Arizona heat! The boys had a swim meet (no picture, sorry, the camera is on the fritz), then we spent a little time on Imperial Beach, followed up with our traditional fish and chips meal on the end of the pier.

The day was a little drizzly, but that just made parking easier! Dad and I huddled in the shelter of some rocks while the boys got their saltwater fix.

Later that evening witnessed the birth of this little cutie. She came out the next day to have her picture made (as my grandma used to say).

(Just a little side note: you can tell we're in San Diego because the geraniums are surviving. Here in Phoenix they're all dried up!)
*Doll pattern available at Bowls-n-Annies.

*Pictures courtesy of Grandpa Sam (thanks dad!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Graduation Season, parts 1 and 2

(Biola Bell Tower)

Part, the First
The day started for us with a mad dash to California. The high school kids were supposed to be at school taking their finals, but we scrambled around and got them excused for the day (no small feat) so we could make it to graduation on time. Well, we just barely made it! We changed into nicer clothes in the car, then high tailed it over to the auditorium just in time to be seated. I'm not kidding you when I tell you we sat in the back row. And let me just add that taking pictures indoors with a zoom does not lead to the most quality photos. Or at least that's my excuse....

Here are some shots inside Sutherland Hall, where the Torrey Honors Institute graduation took place.
Part of the ceremony included what we affectionately called "The Bible Bonking."

Signing the book of membership

Geoff and Drew, just a couple of Torrey grads

Geoff, Johnny, Greg, and Drew

Part, the Second
The next day was the graduation ceremony for the general population of Biola.

Biola has a tradition of honoring graduates on the 50th anniversary of graduation. Guess which old geezer graduated from Biola in 1959? Yuppers, good old Gramps. Not only was he honored at the ceremony, but the university also reserved fantastic seats for the entire family!

Here are the two grads--old and new.

We didn't know who all of Dad's graduating class would show up, but it turned out to be a special day because we got to share it with Dad's long time friend, Buck Buchanan. Get this--they went to school together from 6th grade all the way through college and theological seminary.

Finally the big kid gets his moment with the president!

And, of course, after it is all over, little brothers have to try on the gear and dream of their own day in the sun.

Here is a video Dad put together chronicling the special day:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Angie, My Craft Hope Baby

You may have noticed the Crafthope button I have on my sidebar. (If you're reading in google reader, you'll just have to click over and take a look!) I'm really excited about this organization and the opportunities they are providing for crafters to create for a cause.

I missed out on their first project, which was providing handmade dresses and shorts for kids in an orphanage, but I was able to participate in their doll drive which just wrapped up earlier in June. These dolls will be heading off to Nicaragua today, so you might just want to say a little prayer for their safe journey as well as for Eren, their human escort.

You can read all about the project here.

This is the doll I made for the project. I tried to find her in the mass of dolls on Eren's blog, but I just can't see her! I dunno, maybe one of the boys is sitting on her.

Here she is pre-hair. Don't you just love her sweet little ears?

Naked baby alert! I can't remember why I took the picture before I stuffed all the limbs, but there you have it--a bald baby with one gimpy leg.

Look, she just aged about 2 years! Her hair was quite a learning experience. I had serious doubts about the first yarn I chose, but it was so soft and curly. I sewed up a wig, then attached the wig to her head. About that time, my reservations were confirmed, as the yarn was literally falling apart in my hands as I finger combed her hair. I figured that would never do, as she is probably going to have to withstand rougher play than that! So I unattached all the hair and seriously contemplated leaving her bald, because....well, scroll up...those little ears are so darn cute!

In the end, I chose a really basic utility yarn that I already had in my craft cupboard from some Native American weaving project Brian had to do for school last year. I made another wig, but this time I cut it too short, so I had to make two more to completely cover her head. Let's just say Angie has a very full head of hair!
Here she is in her top and unders.

And with a little skirt.

I have to say, she is a huggable little thing!
The next Crafthope project is baby booties, caps, and blankies for three children's homes in India. Won't you consider participating?