Friday, December 26, 2008

Goin' Solar

The van is packed! Don't know how I'm going to get the divas up and moving in the morning since the excitement of headng out delayed bedtime but up they must be so we can get to Florida. All of us are in need of some recharging in the warm sun to try and get us through what portends to be one heck of a winter!!!! No computer at Grandpa's house so I'll only be able to update you if I can drag myself off the beach and into an internet

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night

The presents for the cousins are all wrapped and placed beneath the tree! The reindeer food (carrot chips, raisins, and oatmeal) has been spread on the front front snowbank I mean.
Two little girls pretended to fall asleep on the couch...but Mom wasn't born yesterday!! They are now tucked in and hopefully seeing sugar plums dancing in their wait!! ...that would be too weird in this day and age.
The baby Jesus has been placed in the manger...I know you see the Maji already but we don't have a mantel for them to 'travel' across and we will be traveling soon so they are already at our stable!
Now it is time for me to wish all of you the very happy, healthy, and holy holiday. May all your roads be plowed, all your stairs salted, and may you all be adrift in family and friends!! Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Nollaig Shona!!!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Today, so far, has seen a great deal of progress. The van has had it's oil changed and four new tires in anticipation of the flight south.There are forcasts of precipitation for the next couple of days so it will be an interesting challenge to get the luggage up into the cargo bag on the roof but we will be on the road by Saturday evening NO MATTER WHAT!! Christmas shopping and wrapping is nearly complete! The little Puppy Love outfit got some more trim and is now only awaiting a little blouse. I've ordered labels in my new company's name "Sticky Kisses Studios" and hope they arrive in time to get put into all of the outfits I hope to sell on eBay. Let's hope the wheels of progress stay this well oiled for a few more days.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh the weather outside is frightful....

All morning I hid in my sewing room hoping that the party would be cancelled due to the weather. I'm well under way on a little Valentine's ensemble to list on eBay that I'm calling "Puppy Love". Still going to get more trims and need to make co-ordinating blouse and hairbows but here's a peek.... Very ruffley twirl skirt that I've attached to a denin overall shorts which I found on a sale rack. Cut off the legs to make it a skirt and appliqued on back pocket and bib.
Close up of the applique on the back pocket.
These are my divas waiting for Santa to arrive at the party.
Funny how Father Christmas makes even the most "mature" diva eager to join "those babies" waiting for her name to be called.
The party got waaaay more fun after Santa made his appearance!
Suprising turn out given the FREEZING weather. My van's two sliding doors are frozen shut so the girls have to climb in through the back hatch and the radio is out ....need to find where I wrote that darn security code after the last time the battery went dead! Have I mentioned lately how much I'm looking forward to Florida??


Woke to -6 degrees and wind!! No more want to go to the Christmas party today than fly a kite!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Greased Pigs

Well folks, today is just one of those days when you wish you could go back to bed and get up on the other side! The schedule was pretty tightly packed and the backup plans scarce. As I raced around trying to do my best supermom impression I knew I was losing ground early....and then the car sabbotaged the whole afternoon!!!!!!!! Picture the scene, an excited 8yo dressed and ready to attend a classmates birthday party jostling her sister who was looking forward to spending a Target giftcard as they layered on the winter gear. Then pan to the Mom shaking the contents of her purse out on the diningroom table in the hopes that the car keys are just hiding under the other ...ah...stuff. Nope, no keys. Scurry, scurry, scurry looking for keys then bright idea! Send 11yo out to check the porch and walkway in the event that they fell from overloaded hands on the way in from the mornings errands. Success......sort of....they are found sitting in the ignition of a now battery dead car! Watch sobbing 8yo as multiple friends and relatives are called hoping to find an angel who can run her up to the party which is 3 miles from our home. Watch Mom wishing she could sob as she hung up from the last chance call with no success. Quick camera pan to the bathroom where 11yo sister is doubled over in pain crying because worry does that to her......OFTEN. Back to UN-supermom who does not know who to comfort first while she wishes for a nice hot tub for herself. Ring, ring listen as Mom profusely thanks Auntie Peggy for coming to the rescue. Watch eyes being wiped and noses blown. Fade to black...real black.....freezing cold real black as Mom stands in knee deep snowbank trying to hook up battery charger brought by Uncle Steve now REALLY wishing for that hot tub!! Pan to bright window and see same Uncle feeding laughing 11yo pizza. Pan down driveway to see laughing 8yo being dropped off by Auntarie (aka Aunt Anne Marie) carrying her party goody bag. Slow pan back to snowbank where Mom climbs into car and turns the key.....varoom. Pull back as Mom lays head back on headrest and blinks back tears. Just when do you learn how futile it is to chase after a greased pig? Thanks guys for giving this UN-supermom a soft landing when she crashed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dresses for Shoes!!

Well Mr. UPS man did NOT help my latest plan to raise money for shipping the shoes to Guatemala!! Since I no longer have little co-operative models anymore I sent off a batch of little Christmas themed outfits and dresses to Vanessa hoping to have them there in time for the pre-school Christmas party. The idea being that envious tot moms would possibly buy the extras after seeing the two darlings in theirs. The delivery was a day and a half late for the party so there they sit in New Orleans with the weekend Christmas parties about to begin!! So if any of my southern readers are interested leave a comment and I will put you in touch with Vanessa. Meanwhile, I'm now officially taking orders for upcoming holidays. $25 + shipping will give you a two piece outfit in holiday prints made to your measurements. I am donating my labor to this project but will be deducting material costs which results in $12-$17 to be placed in the shoe shipping account. Remember my northern friends that a tee or turtle neck can be worn under the pillowcase top to make it more weather friendly!!....or if you would just like a top to pair with her favorite jeans that can be done for $15+shipping. Paypal is accepted. Meet my new models! Miss Olivia and Miss Arianna of NOLA.
The outfits can come capri length or full length and can come with or without a ruffle.
The tops can be long enough to be a dress this year and a top next year...two holday seasons for the price of one!
The tops can have a set in shoulder strap as in this style or ribbon ties as in the above style!
Valetine's day anyone??
How about a "puppy love" Valentine's ensemble?
Mardi Gras outfits are not just sitting on any store shelf you know!!
How can she not have this for the Easter egg hunt?
Of course, St. Patrick's day prints will be available soon and for the very organized readers I can even start your patriotic styles now too!! If you are interested please leave a comment and I will answer all questions ASAP.


When the phone rang at 5:40am I knew that it was going to be a looooong day! As the automated voice informed me that my divas need NOT go to school due to "weather conditions", I sputtered "You wimps" in the direction of their freshly plowed parking lot which is LITERALLY across the street from my home!! This was purely a case of teachers not wanting to get up and shovel before the last HALF day of school. It was only FOUR inches!! Granted it was that heavy wet kind, but not so much that the world needs to come to a halt. One diva cried because of the missed school party and gift exchange but soon enough the snow pants and parkas were making their appearances. This is how northern children handle the disappointment of no school! They are climbing on the mound left by the snow plows at the end of the school parking lot.
See, barely enough to get a decent snowman!! Oh yeah, maybe it was the lure of the snow mound that cut his construction short.
This is when I really wish I had a mudroom! Sometimes there is more snow on them than on the ground.
I have to wonder just why I have two sleds, two flying saucers, and two snow boards when the body slide seems to be the preferred mode???? Notice the absence of the older siblings! One is now a teenager and needs to sleep through a snow day while the other quickly ducked inside once her help with the shovel was complete.
This is the sweet reward of a snow day! Time with my sister getting to some of the Christmas baking. This pile is just OUR portion after dough sampling, product quality control testing, basket for Grandma, and a basket for P.P.Peggy were deducted. Hey, Vanessa, notice the empty space just begging for a few pralines to fill it?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rockin' the House

Here we are on another Thursday "Family Night"! Usually it's just the P.P.Peggy(as in practically perfect) with Andrew and Alyssa but with the holidays approaching we had the pleasure of Grandpa's company as well. The weather men have been hyperventilating all day about a wicked snow storm that is headed our way so even the teachers eased up on homework assuming that tomorrow will be a snowday. This left our post dinner routine lacking so we decided to give a try to one of those gingerbread house kits. The men quickly melted into the livingroom leaving the construction woes to us women. The icing made according to the directions was so thick that Alyssa was calling it the "silly putty" so in short order Peggy took the bowl to add more water to soften "the glue" as she kept calling it. Alyssa tried to pipe the next trial while Peggy kept fussing with the consistency.
It took alot of "holding" to keep the pieces in place as the icing set and Mari was the designated relief holder...lots of fingerprints as you can see!
Andrew came back to check progress and decided that it looked a little less girly than he imagined....nothing more than caulking you know.
Once the candies appeared for the decorating phase there was suddenly a renewed interest in our doings. Suddenly Grandpa and Patrick found their way back to the construction site!
....caught red handed!! Seems that eating the finishing trim is man's work!
Small but sweet....
By the way, as of 10pm not a single flake of snow has fallen from the skies...guess I better go lay out the uniforms for school tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The title says it all! She was dead on in her assesment and BFF went to call backs tonight without my diva. I cannot say how proud I am of how she handled the news. After a few moments of quiet she took a deep breath and shook it off followed by a call to encourage her BFF to "go for it". Not that she's bounced all the way back at all but she's moving on and is exploring her feelings about being on the stage crew. She so wants to share this experience with her friend but she's not yet sure how it will be to work behind the scenes while her friend shines in the limelight? There is a gut feeling on her part that maybe the friendship would be less strained if she leaves this endeavor to her friend...........time will tell. The snow is coming fast and furious and while it bodes well for a "white christmas" it sure is an awful nuisance. Too dark now to do a great job shovelling so an early morning to get the driveway cleared is on the docket. Makes me loooooonnnggg for the gulf beach that is calling us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Giving

Past project here from last week! Our dear friends joined forces with us to make travel pillows for a few guys we know heading off to Iraq as Christmas/Bon Voyage gifts. These two characters insisted on this photo because they were proud as peacocks that they actually sewed the pillowcases for these two pillows by themselves!!! My friend has never sewed before so not only was it a service project but a sharing the knowledge moment to boot!! Here's proof for Mike that she actually did sew all by herself. I'm pushing for her to move on to curtains for her new home next.
The Laurel and Hardy team really put their big sisters to shame! They sobered up, took the project to heart, and sewed up a storm....while the diva's opted for a pure playdate with no work involved!
Somehow we missed recording the closing ceremony?!?! The diva's redeemed themselves by suggesting we pray over or bless the indeed we did. Out came the bottle of "Irish water" as it is nicknamed in our house...holy water brought back from a visit to the shrine of our Lady of Knock in Ireland and each girl blessed each pillow by saying, "Dear god please bless the head that will rest on this pillow."....while the adults were silently saying "Please let them come home soon!!!"

Monday Madness

Well this is the face I saw as she emerged from the auditions! Pleased with her personal accomplishment but pretty sure that a call back is not in the cards for this production. Since no parents were allowed in the auditorium I have to go with her word on what transpired and those were, "I'm medium Mom. Some had great voices and some were bad and I'm somewhere in between."
She and her BFF had formed an emotional support team and they made sure to draw numbers close enough to be together in the audition. I might have a judge in the making because she very genuinely told me that the BFF did great and probably will get a call back...tomorrow will tell. Meanwhile this is how the little sisters handled the wait.....

Sunday, December 14, 2008


How is it that only the female half of the species developed multitasking? Some days I am beyond frustrated at the cavalier attitude that my housemates take to job distribution. The conundrum is however, if I insist that the divas start multitasking then I condemn another generation of women but if I don't expect it then I am the only practitioner in this house! Christmas is looming and Santa isn't the only one with a long list you know.
Poor hubby went to work the PM shift this afternoon not sure how many of us he would find alive upon his return. The perfect storm hit this morning and he did his utmost best to keep the sparring parties in neutral corners but too much conspired against him! Let's see, two very hormonal females at opposite ends of the fertility spectrum, grey and drizzling weather, my weirdly rare Compressed Loop Syndrome acting up, and too much to accomplish in one day on the agenda with tomorrow not promising any relief. You'd think by now these little ladies would see Mom staggering out of bed holding her head and know what was in store. It's been a couple of years now that I've had this freaky 'syndrome' which causes headaches coupled with severe ringing in the ears, vertigo, loss of smell, and sinus pressure and it's never a good day with those challenges. So you would think they would lay low and hope it passes quickly? You would think that but apparently tweens have no long term memory capabilities!!
Besides the usual parent/child conflict, the diva extraordinaire has decided it's time to pursue her Hollywood career plans! Tomorrow she anticipates auditioning for the local children's theater production of The Wizard of Oz. Simple really, only 16 bars acapella of a song of their choosing and a 20 SECOND recitation of a nursery rhyme. Problem is that this is my frozen with fear perfectionist who ended up quitting the competitive dance that she so loved after four years because she could not handle the stage fright!?!? Break a leg Mari dear!!
On a more positive note, one of the dancers who promised to send me a picture of herself in the costume I made for her actually did it! They all promise to but none ever follow through. Thanks B and congrats on your win!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Ducking Allowed

I've aways needed just that little extra push to get going on anything and everything in my life but once on track I'm known to charge full steam ahead. For instance, when I saw this picture how could I NOT collect shoes to send to Guatemala??

1400+ pair have been bundled and sent so far but the need is SOOOO great that I'm still nagging everyone I know to give me their children's hand-me-down shoes. Vanessa has just returned where she personally handed out 700 pair and still it is just a pebble in the ocean of need!! The power that a simple pair of gently used shoes hold in a place as poor as Guatemala is very hard for us in the land of plenty to grasp. That simple act of generosity often means the difference in whether a child gets to go to school or not!! A mother who must walk miles a day searching for firewood can protect her feet from harm or a father can stand on the hot cobbles in the market trying to sell whatever he can for the little bit of cash the family brings in as income. I've been working with several NGO's and take pride in the fact that "I get it!"......and then God picks back up that 2x4 that he uses to get through my thick skull and takes another whack!!!!!!!!!!

Today I was scheduled to work on the mobile clinic which was parked in the parking lot of a primary school in one of the wealthiest communities in our county. As I pulled in I wondered to myself just how many children could possibly meet the poverty level income requirement in this neighborhood and expected a 'short day'. The first four children were brought over from the Junior High and there was no ducking from God's lesson this day....four refugees just arrived from Burma. Imagine being born into a refugee camp where even your live birth was a stroke of luck and then a childhood where you managed to survive contagious diseases and physical assaults. Then like a bolt of lightening an American charity manages to arrange for visas that within days lands you in a place as alien as Mars would be to us. A place colder than your tropical birthplace was hot, where the light comes by touching a bump on a wall, and the toilet is made of porcelin and uses more water in one flush than your family would be rationed in a day!!! Then picture being led by people who's language you do not understand from your classroom out to a truck where more people you do not understand guide you to a reclining chair and turn a blinding light towards your mouth!!! THIRTEEN years old and getting their FIRST dental check-up in their lives.

I will probably spend more sleepless nights trying to work through the myriad of issues that this day raised. Is it really charitable to bring these people to a community in which they will take generations to "fit" in if ever? How much less would it have cost in money and psychological trauma if that same charity had worked with NGO's in southeast Asia to find a sanctuary within their culture? Will these families ever thrive here? Did I do as much as I could today to ease their transitions? Will I be able to teach my daughters to appreciate our good fortune in light of the deprivation that so many of our fellow humans must endure? Will humanity ever band together to reduce this deprivation? As I climb into my bed tonight and pull up the thick, warm blankets I know I will again struggle to tell myself that those shoes do matter.....and that God is swinging that 2x4 at alot of others to get the blankets, clean water, medicine.........come on folks!!! No ducking allowed!!!!!!!!!!!

Morning Madness

Computers are bad for my sleep! After only hours, that one could count on the fingers of one hand, I'm heading into a day that promises to be loaded to the hilt with things that need to be done. So far, we made it up, showered, dressed, and girls off to school with no major drama. I'm hoping for a drama free day on the mobile clinic where I work because I'll be heading home to my neediest child who's suffering from a chest cold...his brogue mixed with congestion makes for quite a communications challenge! Need to stop and procur his medicinal wishlist and be home in time to get "Cousins Thursday" underway. Auntie P comes every Thursday with Andrew and Alyssa to get a little homework done before they need to go across to the church for R.E. Following R.E. is a communal dinner and more homework time if necessary until A & A's mom comes to bring them home. Today's events are running up against two ladies with fresh giftcards burning a hole in their pockets...feeling very strongly that we need to move "Cousin Thursday" to the Target toy aisle!!! Then I need to get into the saltmine and finish some Christmas pillocase dress sets for my NOLA girls...I've cut out a few extra that I'm hoping Vanessa can sell to raise money to ship the shoes to Guatemala! More on the shoe drive later...

So Begins the Blarney!

Well here it is! I finally took the dive and opened the family diary as a blog. I know I promised some of you I'd do this long ago but I'm still not sure why it is someone would feel compelled to read about this odd lot. The birthday season is drawing to a close with only Auntie P's left to celebrate on Friday. Our eldest diva turned 11 on the first of December and the younger made 8 yesterday (still today for this nocturnal Mom!!). This year I really felt the time rushing by and cannot yet accept that I have two tweens already! This morning they both flew out of bed at the alarm and jumped in with us to snatch a minute of snuggle before the morning rush. Julia asked for 'her story' again and it seemed so surreal to relive those moments when the call came telling us that she had been born and was waiting for a name. The shock at seeing just how tiny the little preemie was when we finally were allowed to travel to Guatemala to visit with her at six weeks old and the tears when her big sister could not bear the act of returning HER baby to the arms of a fostermother as we left for home hoping that the rest of the legalities would pass quickly. We headed into our day all giggling at the traditional closing line of the oft told tale, "...and then when you finally came home Mari decided that little sisters were not what she bargained for and you've been the thorn in her side ever since!" As soon as I figure out the trick for posting pictures I'll be sure to add some of the birthdays. Don't get too anxious though, I'm back working for the rest of the week!!