Last day of elementary school!

Can you believe it? Today is the boys’ last day of elementary school. Sniff, sniff. Not that they’ll be changing schools or anything, but they’ll be in sixth grade, and things will change a little bit. They’ll be switching classes (though staying with the same classmates all day.) They’ll have lockers. They’ll start learning Spanish (along with continuing French, of course.) They’ll be able to join clubs! Pretty cool.

As usual, I’m gonna get all nostalgic and stuff. And I’m going to post this picture from the first day they started at their school, in August 2011.

And a picture from this morning, the last day of fifth grade:

To compare, a picture from the first day of fifth grade:

Geez, it looks like they were more excited about starting school than it ending. Hmm. Maybe I should look into summer school?

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It’s been too long

What’s up? Why haven’t I been blogging? Is it that life is boring? Maybe a little. I mean, not that that’s a bad thing. Or maybe it’s been busy? Or maybe I just don’t want to sit in front of my computer when I’m not working? Maybe all of those things all at once?

(I started this post two days ago. What is wrong with me?)

Okay, here’s some random stuff we’ve been doing:

I chaperoned a field trip to the swamp and we saw lots of gators! Yay! Finally!

I finally sent Kiki the skirt we bought the fabric for in January. Egads. Look at the frogs and the flies!

The boys and I did a 5K! Oliver and Linus ran the whole thing (!) and finished in about 34 minutes. Miles and I walked with Jen and Ethan and took about twice that. It was fun. Oh, and it was the Pink Bra Run to raise money for breast cancer research, hence the…bra on the outside of my clothes.

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The boys had an end-of-season soccer party. It was kind of sad, but also cemented all of the reasons in my head we decided not to do competitive soccer again next year. I mean, we may go back one day, but probably not to the same club. Anyway, the coach had shirts made for all the boys, which was so sweet.

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George and Rob celebrated their birthday and I made them a cake. (Chocolate stout.) Aren’t they cute?

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For Mother’s Day, I got cards from the boys (and breakfast from Chef Ollie!). Later I had poke for lunch (yum) and went to see a movie with Steph and Terry (our Mother’s Day tradition.) It was pretty nice.

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Look at this beauty! My aunt passed on to me my grandmother’s old sewing machine! Isn’t she beautiful? I’m still working on getting it sewing, but I am stuck on bobbins. I’ll figure it out. I also need a table to put it in. I found the one its sitting on, but it was made for a different machine, so I need the table to be modified so this machine will fit in it. Anyway. Soon, I hope to be sewing with it! It’s pretty incredible. It’s from 1950.

As far as Me Made May goes, it’s been a success in some ways, and a fail in others. A success in that I have worn something I’ve sewn every day. A fail because I haven’t taken pictures every day. But just picture this cardigan, which I absolutely adore, worn over everything, all the time, every day. It’s the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan in this lemon knit I got at Joann’s. I’m obsessed. (Need to get a better pic, though.)

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Me Made May 2019 – week 1!

Just like last year, I’m participating in Me Made May, which is a very flexible sewing challenge because you can make up your own parameters. Mine are that I wear at least one item of clothing every day that I made, and that I post it on Instagram. That’s it. I don’t have to make anything new, and it doesn’t have to be something different every day.

So here’s what I wore for the first seven days of May…

After the first day, I tried using a prop to have something to do with my hands in the hopes of taking photos of myself somewhat less awkward. It helped a little bit, but on day 3 I decided I would make the boys take them instead (or at least someone else.) So you’ll see a lot of pictures in the boys’ messy room since I might not remember until bedtime. And a prop can also be a human. 😀

I’m excited about week 2 – I made something new that you can get a sneak peek of if you follow me on Instagram. 🍋

A visit to LSMSA

I honestly can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted. I’m ashamed. I have no excuse. I really need to post about the trip we made to Natchitoches because it was pretty great. So I’ll start there.

Well, my last post was about being in Alexandria, which ended up being fine. We spent most of it in the hotel because the weather was horrific. We were in IHOP having lunch when a tornado warning went off on everyone’s phone, and I thought, “we’re not dying in an IHOP,” so after checking the radar and being reassured there was no tornado near us, we drove the five minutes down the road back to the hotel. (And there wasn’t a tornado anywhere near the town, thank goodness.)

So we got to Natchitoches the next morning, and went to the hotel, but couldn’t check in yet. We sat in the lobby so the boys could watch a Premier League soccer game (you know, British soccer) and funnily enough, the guy at the front desk was also watching it. After that, we walked around downtown a little bit and got some lunch at Merci Beaucoup. The boys had meat pies for the first time. They liked them. Yay!

Since it was Sunday, not much was open, so we didn’t get to go to Lasyone’s, so had to settle for mini meat pies, but better than nothing!

After lunch, we headed to the school campus to wander around. I couldn’t wait to show the boys around! First, we went to Texaco (where we used to spend hours eating fried food, but now the fried food and food booths are gone – probably for the best), and then I made them take a picture in front of the high school building.

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Then we narrowly escaped a pack of kids doing an Easter Egg hunt (you can see some of the eggs in the picture above) and just wandered around the buildings, then onto the Northwestern State University campus (which Louisiana School is on). They really wanted to see the football stadium for some reason. I may have mentioned that we sneaked into the stadium once or twice. 😇

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Afterwards, we went to a park off campus so they could, what else, kick a soccer ball around. Later, we grabbed some pizza for dinner and I introduced them to yet another bit of Natchitoches culture, Maggio’s drive-through liquor (just a daiquiri for me, obvs.)

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Bright and early the next morning, we met up with a student at the high school for a tour! It was pretty great. The boys got bags of swag, and I got a nice walk down memory lane. So much of the school hasn’t changed (the high school building is largely the same), and so much is vastly improved (the other new buildings like the art/music building, the cafeteria and new student center.) I want to go back! Can I go back? I wish I’d taken more pictures. They can even play soccer, whew!

The boys were pretty fascinated, and dare I say, maybe a little excited about the possibility of attending? The tricky part is keeping them interested for the next few years until they can apply for 10th grade. Fortunately, next summer (in a year), they can attend a week-long residential camp, so I’m hopeful we can send them to that.

Before we left, we wandered around the general store on Front Street, which was my dad’s favorite place. I got Larry an Easter present there, and then we headed home.

And I now know I haven’t really blogged about Louisiana School, and I’m going to have to do that. (Not now, don’t worry.)

 

 

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor…

…well you know the thing they say about the USPS. The same could be said of the boys and soccer.

Their tournament this weekend in Alexandria (a smallish town 3 hours from NOLA) was cancelled at the last minute, but me being the cheapo that I am, booked our hotel room via hotels.com instead of the team travel agency. And of course it was non refundable. So we decided to make a road trip of it!

And so I find myself sitting in the car while the boys play in the rain (only a mist right now, but it had better get worse later since they ended the season early for this, breaking little hearts all over the state) at a park that Ren found for us. THANKS RENNY!

The exciting part of the trip for me comes tomorrow when we head an hour north to Natchitoches, the small town where I went to boarding school for nerds (LSMSA) for two years. I am hoping it will spark an interest in the boys, like when my sixth grade science teacher told me about it. (Thanks Mrs. Schucker!)

We’ll be getting a tour of the school on Monday morning but tomorrow we’ll wander around town and I’ll tell them about all some of the hijinks we got up to. And we’ll eat meat pies and get drive through daiquiris, just like the old days. Well, maybe Sonic slushes for the boys.

Sewing clothes for myself again!

I feel like it’s been forever since I made something for myself (not counting the pink satin shorts I made for Mardi Gras, even though they are now in use as the most comfy pajama shorts ever) but I finally finished my first Ellis Skirt by Cashmerette.

The day the pattern came out, I ordered a kit complete with this beautiful dark blue stretch denim and the rivets and topstitching thread and all that good stuff. But there was no way I was going to cut right into it without practicing on a less precious fabric first. So I found some inexpensive gray stretch denim at Joann’s, and set to work.

Well. I mean, it’s an intermediate-level pattern, so it wasn’t easy. But it was fun. I set up two sewing machines (thank goodness I got another one!) as suggested – one with regular thread, and one with topstitching thread. That way, you’re not constantly changing out the thread.

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The pattern comes with two size variations, one for apple shapes, and one for pear shapes. I always assumed I was a pear, but after scrutinizing the measurements, I decided to go with the apple. (In all honestly, I’m more like a slice of bread. Kind of square.) And you can choose between two styles – one is a traditional jeans look with rivets and a jeans button and all that, but is knee-length with a slit up the front. The other has different details on top – it uses a slide fastener, and there’s some topstitching on the pocket area, but it’s short.

I wanted the jeans-style of the first style with the length of the second, so that’s what I made.

I could wait to blog about this after I finish the second skirt, but I learned a lot while making this, and I want to write it all down so I remember.

  1. The zipper. Oops. This is a big one. I somehow misread the instructions and it’s somehow shifted to the side a bit. It’s actually fine, it works, and when the skirt is all closed up, you can’t really tell. I don’t think. Maybe it looks off-center, but it’s not immediately obvious. I’ve since watched tutorials on installing the zipper, so I’m fairly confident I’ll get it right next time.
  2. Topstitching. There are a few things here I need to think about for the next time. First, I need to really figure out what the tension settings should be for each area of the skirt. In some parts, especially around the waistband, you’re sewing down several layers of denim and lining, and the stitches don’t look quite right. But it would probably need to be adjusted for other areas where you’re only sewing through one or two layers (pockets, hem, etc.) And for this skirt, I didn’t think too much about the pattern I stitched onto the pockets, but this is an area where you can really have fun! So I want to think harder about what I put on the pockets. Maybe a different thread color? Some kind of pattern? We’ll see.
  3. The dang button. I bought a pack of five or six jeans buttons from Joann’s and I destroyed three of them trying to hammer them in. What’s up with that? Why can’t they just screw in? Hmmph. I ended up having to repair the hole and just sew on a regular button. I hope rivets aren’t as difficult.

I guess those are the big things – doing a neater job with topstitching will go a long way towards making the next skirt a bit more polished. But if anyone has any tips for the button, please let me know.

Now for the awkward pics! I swear I wasn’t trying to make any particular face in any of these.

Detail shots:

PS This is random, but just a demonstration of what a small world this is…the model wearing the longer skirt is Meg, who is a prolific and awesome sewist I have been following ever since I started sewing. The crazy thing is, she is also good friends with George’s cousin! We were even at the same wedding a couple of years ago (before I started sewing, sadly.) Isn’t that random? So awesome.

Well that was a weekend

Lots of things going on.

Let’s see, Saturday started out early with an hour plus drive in dense fog to Houma, a small town with a vicious soccer team. The boys played well, but alas, their team lost. It was only their third loss (the first was a friendly, so that doesn’t really count, right? and the second was in a tournament that they ultimately won so I don’t count that either, heh.) Anyway, whatever. Onward!

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Once we got home, I got to rest for about half an hour before I had to head across town to the girls’ tournament to be a field marshall, to fulfil my volunteer requirement since we get financial aid. And I got a sunburn. Ugh.

Sunday was better. We went to the World War II museum for the first time (well, it was George’s and my first time. The boys had been with camp a few years ago.) I probably should be somewhat ashamed to admit how much I learned – it helped me understand a lot about the different parts of the war and how it all happened in various parts of the world.

And I got to launch some torpedos, which is always fun.

We didn’t get to see it all, but hopefully we can go back before too long. We got a free pass from the library, which was invaluable – the tickets for everything we saw would have cost us nearly $200 if we’d had to pay. Yikes.

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After that, Terry and I took the kids to get crawfish. Yum! We somehow missed eating crawfish last year completely, which is a travesty, and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We took them to a restaurant that was lined with taxidermied animals. And not just any animals. There was a lion. And a monkey. It was creepy and weird and I won’t be going back there, that’s for sure. Eeek. But the crawfish was good, at least.

Yesterday was also the 15th anniversary of owning our house, which is crazy! 15 years! I know I complain about it being too small (I mean, to be fair, we weren’t expecting to stuff it with boys when we bought it.) but I hope we stay in it long enough for the boys to bring their kids one day. 😀

It’s times like this I’m glad I’ve been blogging forever. Here’s my post about our super fun closing!

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Ziggy, meanwhile, is obsessed with this squeaky ball that lights up that we caught at Mardi Gras. He very carefully carries it around in his mouth, and GOD FORBID it squeaks. And don’t try to take it from him. If you even go near it when he doesn’t have it, he’ll grab it so you can’t get it. It definitely seems like a love/hate relationship. It’s the cutest thing.

 

Back to reality

I’ve been at work for a week now, and I’m starting to remember how to do it. Ha! Things changed a lot while I was gone, and also I’m very forgetful so yeah. It took me the whole first week just to get reacclimated. Thankfully I have very kind teammates who have already taken their sabbaticals so they know what it’s like.

And then, of course, soccer has filled in all the gaps. The boys had their first tournament of the spring season this weekend, and it was in Gulfport, Mississippi. ROAD TRIP! I mean, tiny road trip. It’s only a little over an hour away. Closer than Baton Rouge, even. But it sure was nice to take in the new car! Even though she got muddy on the outside and dirty on the inside. Sniff, sniff. (Don’t worry, she’s all clean now.)

They had a game late Saturday morning, so we left bright and early. It was chilly. I took pictures. They won the first game, hurrah!

The second game should have been an easy win – the team they played had lost their previous game something like 8-1. But alas, they must have been tired and sluggish from lunch because it was a 1-1 tie.

We went to the hotel after that and rested for a bit, then met up with their friend Joseph and his family for dinner at a restaurant on the water. After that, even though I was exhausted (and surely so were they) I let them run around a park nearby for a little while.

Then we slept and woke up early, ate breakfast, met up with Joseph and his mom and sister at a school playground and they kicked a ball around for a little while, then headed to game #3. If they won this game, they’d win the tournament.

And they did! It was a nail-biter, but our goalie kicked the ball all the way across the field and scored a goal in the final minutes of the game. That was exciting!

I got a bit artsy with the pics from this game.

On the way home, we listened to a podcast about soccer, and I think I finally understand offsides now. Though I probably still won’t be able to identify it during a game. We’ll see.

This week should be fairly quiet. A couple of soccer practices, followed by a game this weekend and finally a visit to the World War II museum (scored a pass from the library!)

Wrapping up my sabbatical

The last time I wrote about what I was up to was in late January, at the mid-point of my sabbatical. Oops. Today is actually a bonus day off – I have thought for the entire three months that I was going back to work today, but I’m actually going back tomorrow. My last day off is today. Score! I sure was smart way back when I requested my time off. I was pretty bummed when I realized I was going to be going back to work right after Mardi Gras break, with no down time from the boys being home from school for a week and a half. So it’s nice to have some quiet time today to straighten up the house and get some things done and just to chill.

SO. What have we been up to?

A lot, actually.

Let’s see if I can remember it all.

First, I want to say that I really thought my sabbatical would fly by. I guess to everyone else it has, but to me, it really hasn’t. It felt like three months. It felt like a nice long stretch of time. Mid-December feels like a long time ago. I think maybe it’s because I didn’t try to fill it with too much stuff. I really did relax and laze around a bunch. 😀 Continue reading