Saturday, April 30, 2011

Halter Dress

I got the book I've been looking forward to, Girl's World: Twenty-One Sewing Projects to Make for Little Girls, last week!  The girls and I want to make pretty much all 21 projects.

After my mother taught Molly how to sew, she's been begging for us to sew something.  I finally pulled out a little table to set up for her yesterday and let her pick out her material and pattern.  She picked out the Tallulah Halter Dress from the book, and some swirly Michael Miller fabric. 

I am pretty impressed with her skills.  I cut the pieces out and pinned them for her, but she sewed the entire top pieces, lining and all, by herself.  She was pretty mad at me for choosing the polka dotted lining ...she, for some odd reason, is not a fan of polka dots.  Crazy, I know - she must get the quirk from her father.

She decided after the halter top that her hands hurt and she wanted me to finish.  I have to say, I was confused about the casing for the elastic in the back.  It was until several hours later (after watching some Royal Wedding footage), that I reread the directions and realized I did some things out of order.  I had already sewn the side seams before I did the casing.  That could be way things were tricky for me.  Let that be a lesson, kids, read through ALL directions BEFORE you start a project.

I think we make a pretty good team.  She hated my choice of lining, but ended up loving it in the end.  I also questioned her choice of a zebra print ribbon that she wanted to add at the waist.  I think that little detail makes the dress! 

She loves long dresses to the floor, and was a little upset that I didn't make this one longer, so I think I'm going to go back and add a nice zebra print ruffle at the bottom for some more length. What do you think?


Bottom line - we both love the dress and the pattern.  It was very quick to whip up, I think it could've been fairly easy if I would have read the directions, and very cute end result.  I think I'll go make my other daughter one.

*Edited to add - Ms. Sis Boom herself commented on my blog!  Squeeeee!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Charlie's Violin Solo

We had another solo last night with my 3rd grader's violin concert. Our elementary music teacher goes above and beyond and teaches a strings class ..... for FREE. All we had to provide was the violin back in 1st grade. Charlie loved it so much that he has been also taking private lessons for the past year. Our lower elementary school only goes to 3rd grade, so this is Charlie's last year in the strings program. Every year at the Spring concert, his teacher has all the 3rd graders do a solo. Charlie has been dreading this day for a long time.

Charlie did not want to play in front of people, and his Mama did not want to accompany him. His teacher thought it would be special, though, if I did. The mess up parts were not him, they were all me! In fact, he told me the night before the concert that he would prefer to play alone because I was messing him up! Check him out.

Considering it was 7, 8, and 9 year olds playing a violin, the kids did AMAZING!

And guess what else! He found out today that his private teacher (who is a senior in high school) is having her senior recital and she wants Charlie to play in it. Sorry Charlie, but you've got one more performance to go, bud.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Band Concert and Proud Mom Moment

Tonight was the Jr. High school band spring concert. It opened with Matt playing the trumpet with the 6th grade band. It's amazing how much these kids have learned since the beginning of the year. From never picking up an instrument to being able to read sheet music in this short amount of time, and then performing four tough pieces was quite a feat. I don't think I'm being biased when I say this, but the trumpet section was by far the best!

At their school, they have a jazz band that 7th and 8th graders can join; Nate joined this year with his trombone. The first song they played, Nate had a solo and I couldn't be more proud. He did so good! For my family and friends who missed the concert (and for the whole front row who left right before his shining moment), here's a clip of the song:

Sorry about the shaky in the middle, I was so excited when he was done that I forgot I was filming!  The video quality isn't great, but you should be able to hear it fine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they went in, they did not find the body.  While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.  The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."  Then they remembered his words,  and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.  But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened."
~Luke 24:1-12

After a wonderful worship service at church, I wanted to snap some pictures of the kids while they were in their Sunday best.

I just love the picture of Nate hugging his sisters; mainly because it shows Red's true redhead temper.  She did not want him in her shot.

Check out this guy.  He learned to tie a half Windsor knot this past week from his Language Arts teacher and asked to buy a tie yesterday.  I can't believe he chose a pink one; but very glad he did because I think he looks sharp.

Too bad I didn't catch him smiling because uunfortunately, my battery ran out of my camera right after this shot, so no pictures of the family together.  

There were also no photos of the ultra cool egg hunt we put on.  I'm sorry, but I'm not into the huge egg "hunts" that go on nowadays.  Throwing eggs on the ground in plain site isn't much of a hunt to me.  How about call them Egg Grabs?  Also, egg hunting with 500 other kids isn't my idea of excitement.  Needless to say, we didn't take our kids to any organized egg hunts this year.   We have plenty of kids of our own to make it exciting enough; and we hide them well enough that it takes them a good 10-15 minutes to find them all.  We also had, in my opinion, some pretty great prizes for the prize eggs - coupons!  Okay, so maybe that's not a great prize .... but the kids liked them.  Some of the coupons were "One item from Dairy Queen", "Dinner out with Mom", and "Dinner out with Dad".  I really should of specified on the dinner out part - one of my boys got that coupon and said he was choosing The Melting Pot as his designated restaurant.  Not only is it over an hour away, but it costs a pretty penny.  Maybe we'll be able to talk him into Taco Bell.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bunny Cake

We made a bunny cake tonight that my Mom used to always make from my childhood.  You use two round cakes, and cut one of them in a way to make two ears and the piece in the middle would be a bow tie.

I let the boys frost it, although they were trying to get away with only using half the frosting so they could eat the rest of it.

We colored coconut for the bow tie and ears.   I remember my Mom's bow tie being a distinctive bow; ours looks more a blob of green - maybe we should tell others that it's grass.

Also from my childhood, we used Twizzlers for whiskers.  Me, not being a planner, forgot to buy those; so Derek decided to use some canned icing.

I'm really not sure what went wrong with those whiskers, but they look almost like a dead spider.

Since those didn't look quite right, I added some big ole Kit Kat bunny teeth.

The cake didn't end up quite like I envisioned it and not nearly as perfect as my Mother's cakes always were, but we had fun making it and it will taste delicious after my first ever try at cooking Easter dinner.  That's right - I've never cooked an Easter meal.  We always go to my folks.  They are, however, on a well deserved month long vacation at the beach, so it's up to me to make lunch. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Package for Valera

Through our adoption agent, I met another family who is finalizing the adoption of their son - who happens to be from the same orphanage as Valera.  She was kind enough to deliver a package to Valera for me on her trip over to pick her son up, and even better, she took pictures of him for me!

I don't remember what I wrote in my letter, but I do remember that Charlie and John each wrote him a quick note and ended it with "Boom chicka boom chicka boom boom boom", something Valera would say a lot while swinging his hips back and forth.  Hopefully his teacher isn't thinking we are crazy Americans!

I really thought he would love the Jelly Bellies and finger flashlights I sent- but my new friend wrote to tell me that what he really loved and shared with his class were the pictures of us.  Lesson learned for the next package, send more pictures, and less "stuff".

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Open Arms Ukraine Slideshow

Through meeting people over the Internet, I found this great organization, Open Arms Ukraine. I love that they are trying to change these children's lives - and the orphanage that they minister to is Valera's! I've messaged back and forth a few times with a sweet member of the team, and she tagged me (on FB) in some of the pictures she has taken of Valera over the past couple of years. It's so fun to see him a few years ago and know that he was being loved on and shown the love of Jesus.

If you watch the above video - towards the end, you'll catch a peek of our boy.  It's the picture of four boys all wearing matching sweaters.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kitchen Redo

One of the things we loved about our house when we bought it was the spacious kitchen. In fact, the biggest selling point was the ultra cool, huge, commercial sized Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. What we didn't know when we bought the house, however, was that our Sub-Zero was really a huge piece of crap that didn't function properly. The freezer didn't work for years, and the fridge finally gave out last fall. When Derek pulled the monstrosity out of the wall, there was a mammoth hole where the freezer had been leaking and the sheet rock rotted. I had been wanting a different color in the kitchen since we bought the house six years ago, and now I had an excuse.

I took a few before shots (the hole from the fridge was almost as big as the piece of new sheetrock below).  Notice the random light in the middle of the wall - I guess it was to light up the top of the refrigerator.

In case you're wondering, when we threw out the Sub-Zero, we replaced it with my favorite, normal sized refridgerator I've ever owned.  It's a Samsung with the freezer on the bottom and I love it.  The layout of our kitchen didn't really flow well, so thanks to my handy husband, he was able to take out some unneccessary cabinets, reroute the water, and move the fridge to the other side of the kitchen.

Here's a peak of the work in progress.  I  LOVE  the new color of my kitchen and it's brightened the whole room up.  We replaced the random light with a random sconce.  I fell in love with this little red hutch at a consignment shop and also the BIG painting.  Derek thought the hutch would be dwarfed by the big wall.  Maybe it does, but I still love it, anyway.  All that is left to do is paint my table, make some benches, and sew some curtains.  More pictures to come when all is done.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I met a lady through the power of the internet that is at Valera's orphanage right now adopting her son. She wrote me an email today -

Hi Amy,

As we were driving off this afternoon, I saw two little guys come running by. Of course, I noticed the little bow legs. I told the driver to stop, and I cranked down my window and yelled. Valera stopped. I said, "you know Amy in America....she said hello". He gave us the biggest, cutest smile! He nodded his head as though he understood. I wish I had thought to grab my camera.

There are some very precious children here! Their smiles are priceless. We will be praying that your process goes well and that Valera will have the courage to say yes. I can give you some advice on that later.

How sweet is that?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


You might remember my posts about hosting Valera, an orphan from Ukraine.  When we hosted him, we were adamant that we were not interested in adoption.  We already had six kids and adoptions are expensive!  I'm sure most of you know, though, that we fell in love with Valera while he was here.  The car ride home from the airport after dropping him off was the most quiet I have ever experienced in my life. 

The next day during church all I could think about was Valera and I wished we could afford to go get him.  I thought I knew Derek's heart on the matter, though, and knew he would think I was crazy for wanting to adopt.  That night as I was sitting on the phone talking to my sister, Derek tossed passport applications in my lap and said, "If we won't go get him, who will??"

So I'm pleased to announce, we have made the decision to adopt Valera!  He is not available for adoption until August, so we are just now starting the process.  We are meeting with our agent on April 14th for our first home study visit.  I've met a lady through email who happens to be at Valera's orphanage right now and she's seen him!   

This process is going to cost a lot of money, and we are stepping out on faith and relying on God for the funds.  We have a few ideas for some fundraisers and are anxious to get started.  If you'd like to help out, I have a paypal account that you can donate to.