Monday, October 31, 2011

diy sock monkey costume

I have always loved Halloween. But I have to say that trick or treating in a rural area is not like trick or treating that they show on TV. When I was younger and would watch TV shows or movies that showed parents and kids walking around in neighborhoods to trick or treat, I would always think it was so strange. I couldn't imagine that people would actually do that - we had to load up in the car, drive to someone's house, unload, grab some candy, load up, and hit the road again. We could have walked to about two or three houses, but that's it.

We always went to a few neighbors, some aunts and uncles, and my grandma's. Even when Lovey and I got married and didn't have kids, we went to Grandma's every Halloween. She handed out popcorn balls. And they were yummy.

For a very short time I did live in a small town, and witnessed families out walking around to trick or treat. I was just amazed.

Now I live in the boondocks. We get very few visitors on Halloween. Most years, we don't have any trick or treaters. This year we had 4 - and it was a great turnout. We have two little girls on our road, and I just knew they would both show up. But one has been sick, and her daddy came by to let us know that she just wouldn't come. He said she only put on half of her costume tonight. She got sick over the weekend, and the most of the family has it now.

Lovey's little cousins were our first visitors tonight. Ella wanted suckers, and Eli really racked up - Jus has a tub of toys saved for him. Then Emma came by. She is allergic to nuts, so she got all of the Dots in the bowl (I don't like those, so I was glad to get rid of them.)

Finally, Baby Eli got here - remember what I said about driving? His momma was exhausted. They  had visited all grandparents which meant a lot of driving. I had supper waiting (actually, we had given up and eaten already).

The little sock monkey got his first sucker and loved it. He was just a smacking on it, and Lulu was laughing at him.

Until they both got a glimpse of the TV -

I lost 'em for just a few minutes.  Look at that - same expression.

He's the cutest sock monkey I've ever seen. I made his costume from a women's sweater. We acutally bought two sweaters - his momma is wearing the other one.  The socks are mittens with the thumb cut off and then sown to the bottoms of the sweater. I didn't stuff the tail so that it would be easy comfortable in his car seat.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

abby michelle

I love this girl.

Friday, my niece was in SCHS's homecoming court.

Abby is so much fun. I just love spending time with her.

A few weeks ago I tagged along as she and her mother shopped for her homecoming clothes. As a kid, I never liked playing with Barbie's, but it sure is fun to play dress up with a real-life Barbie.

Like Barbie, she can do anything. She stays busy with cheering and basketball.

She's vice-president of her junior class, in the student council, and the girl is smart.

I did her night time hair, and I have to say, it was great.

This is my favorite mother/daughter picture of the day. It was a "Mom, what are you doing?" look, and Jen was trying so hard to pretend she was doing the right thing.

And where does she get this expression?

I do believe it comes from her daddy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

too cute to not post

I have posted several pictures of our trip to the Arkansas State Fair last week. I love so much about the fair.

The food - for the last several years we have eaten a porkchop-on-a-stick while there. It is amazing. But this year we never made it down to that area of the fairgrounds. I did get a funnel cake on the way out. It was amazing! Everyone went home with powdered sugar sprinkled down the front of his/her shirt.

The colors - the rides are beautiful. I love to see them during the day and then again at night; they look so different when the lights are on.

The people - of course. One never knows what will show up. The clothing, the hair, the tatooes - I have to be careful to not run into something or trip because I'm watching everyone else.

The animals - yes, we always walk the barns and check out the animals. This year the kids came across a tiny calf and couldn't wait for Lovey and I to see it. You might think we never see new baby calves or cows or chickens.

But I haven't post this pic. I just couldn't find a place to fit it in. So it gets its own post. And then I'm leaving the fair; I promise.

That is the fluffiest bunny I have ever seen. Some guy was just walking around with several of these on a wagon. He was making a sale when we walked up. Of course Jus, who is such a cuddle bunny himself, couldn't resist a chance to cuddle a bunny.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

going to bed happy

Just last night I started working on my nephew's first Halloween costume. Tonight, I finished it. When his momma was little, I spent days and days making costumes for her and her brother. Sewing costumes for my nieces and nephews is a tradition.

I'll post pictures after Halloween - he is going to be a sock monkey. I used a sweater that we found in the lady's department at Wal-Mart. It was the perfect color and the correct "sock" feel. We bought two because I wasn't sure about how much material I would need. We also got a cream colored beanie and mittens. I had to cut the beanie down to fit his little baby head and then add ears from the sweater material. And I cut the thumb off of the mittens and attached them as feet.We bought a red scarf and cut it down to baby size. I also added a red oval on his booty where the tail is attached.

I only used one of the sweaters. His momma is going to wear the extra sweater and a red scarf so that they will match for trick or treating.

Tonight I can go to bed knowing the costume is finished.

Tomorrow my niece is in homecoming. She will have an afternoon ceremony and an evening ceremony. Several weeks ago I went with her to shop for her dress and suit. I can't wait to see her in both.

I took a personal day and don't have to be at school tomorrow. Which means I won't be in a hurry to get dressed in the morning. Which means I won't be needing in the bathroom just as Lovey gets up.

Tonight I'm a happy camper.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

what a difference a week makes

Last Wednesday was cold and windy. After school, Melissa and I walked the loop around the school. We set the timer for 30 minutes. Time flew as we chatted between my huffs and puffs. We managed to get two miles in before the timer finished. Today was down right hot for October. Melissa is off on an adventure, so I came home to walk with the puppies.  I set the timer for 30 minutes but didn't get close to two miles finished. Apparently, I need a pace car.

Last Wednesday, we didn't have chickens. I was able to get out of bed and dress on my schedule. One house of chickens arrived yesterday. This morning, I wiggled my foot from under the covers, and just as I predicted, Lovey got up and went in the bathroom.  I kept my spot until he was finished. Then he wanted to hug on me for about five minutes before I had coffee - he knows better.

Last Wednesday, I was looking forward to visiting the state fair. I love the colors and lights and sights.

This week, I'm just looking forward to Friday and the weekend.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

just to be fair

On top of all the WHS homecoming busyness this past week, I had a workshop in Little Rock all day Monday. It was also Baby Jus's birthday, so I met Lovey and the birthday boy in PB on my way home. We picked up the girlfriend, did a little birthday shopping, and went to eat. Jus chose a restuarant that I do not like, but I agreed to suck it up and let him have his way - only because it was his birthday. And the visit reminded me why I don't like the place. I hope not to go back there any time soon.

After school Thursday, we headed to Little Rock to the state fair. Jus, the girlfriend and LKN had big fun on the rides. Thanks to armbands, they were able to ride all that they could stand.

The weather was perfect - cool enough, but not too cold.

And because it was a Thursday, the lines weren't long. The kids could get on rides with little or no wait time. LKN only skipped out on one ride.

Even Jus, who used to be such a daredevil at the fair, wasn't sure about this one. He waited for about 15 minutes to ride, and just before climbing in, this is the look I got.

A reporter for Channel 7 rode this one for the early morning show. And LKN knew she didn't want any part of it.

Just before the ride started, this wire panel dropped out of the way.

The pendulum started to swing back and forth, getting a little higher with each pass.

While we waited on the ground, LKN put it very plainly, "When I ride a ride, I'm not looking for brain damage."

After a few swings, the riders find themselves completely upside down and paused in midair.

I'm thinking Jus was celebrating just a bit too soon. After the breathtaking moment of being suspended extremely high over the entire fair, the quads of seats begin to randomly spin and turn upside down as the pendulum swings back and forth. I think this part scared Jus more than the mid-air pause.

That face just cracks me up! He may have left fingerprints in those armrests.

I think this ride is named appropriately, and I think LKN made the right choice.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

spirit week

Going back to school on Monday may be a little boring. Kids will be wearing jeans and t-shirts, toms and sansuks. There may be a little sparkle here and there, maybe a new pair of shoes or a cute hoodie; but our students will look like normal kids. There won't be hordes of nerds in the hallways. No morph suits sliding around corners. The cast of Toy Story 3 won't visit the nurses station. And trash bags won't be high fashion.

I spent several hours of the past week working on Laynie Kate's wardrobe. Monday was nerd day and didn't need much help from me. My first task was to create Tuesday's costume using only trashbags and duct tape.  And LKN decided it should be a softball uniform.  I wish we had taken step-by-step pics, but you know I forget to take pictures, even when I think about it ahead of time.

From two trash bags and a few rolls of tape, we were able to pull together a cute uniform.

I have to admit that when I heard Tuesday's theme, I didn't know what to expect. But the outfits were amazing. My cousins Luke and Callie had great costumes. The gladiator costume was awesome! And Callie could wear that trashbag dress anywhere. There were several cute dresses; many of them looked like regular clothes.

Wednesday was Disney character/super hero day. Most kids stuck with the theme, but a few just wore a costume of their choosing - all were cute. LKN chose Jessie. I made chaps and added a sequined yoke and cuffs to one of Jared's white shirts. At school, she joined more of the Toy Story gang; we had Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, and Squeaky the Penguin. I saw Wendy, several Tinkerbells, and I think Peter Pan made an appearance. Morph suits showed up as PowerRangers, and I continued to see them at various points in Homecoming activities, even at the dance.

On Thursday everyone wore homecoming t-shirts for the afternoon's activities. This is a tradition at WHS. I remember having games each day of the week, but now we only play on Thursday afternoons. For many years now, the obstacle course and tug-of-war have been very competitive - classes take much pride in winning and plan their game day strategies early. Chandler feels that his class was robbed in the obstacle course last year and has been plotting his revenge for the entire year.

I am sad to report that even with his great lead, the freshman class didn't win again. And last night I heard his play-by-play analysis of where their strategy failed. He takes this stuff seriously.

LKN and Megan chose to compete in this year's new activity, the tire challenge. Each team lines up behind a bale of hay, competitors race to a pile of tires, grab a tire or two, and carry it to safety behind the home hay bale. Until the tire is behind the hay bale, it is fair game for other teams.

I know LKN didn't get a single tire behind the hay, and I don't think Megan did either, but they proved their tenacity. Megan wrestled Brittany for one tire for almost the entire game. While LKN held on to her tire and kept a few more tires from crossing behind the enemy lines. Those girls just don't give up.

There was also egg tossing and a hulahoop race.

And the guys in their morph suits continued to pop up everywhere.

Homecoming week at WHS always reminds me of just how lucky I have been to grow up in and continue to live/teach in such a great community.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a weekend review

Last week was 9 weeks testing. I had the great idea of assigning a narrative writing assignment for my 9 weeks test. Students got the prompt, information, and rubric on Monday. Final drafts were due Friday. Grades have to be uploaded by 8:00 Monday morning. What was I thinking???

All week I dreaded the grading. I knew my weekend would be spent indoors, pen in hand, papers in lap. Saturday morning Lovey asked what I had planned for the day. I thought maybe he needed me to run an errand for him, so I told him that I would grade one class's papers and be ready for a break.

He had a great idea. So I got busy grading those papers, and he took off to complete some job or another at the chicken. I was just finishing with my 8th period papers when he came back.

We got on his motorcycle, rode to town, had burgers and a beer, and spent an hour or so relaxing. It was great. And what a beautiful day for a ride.

While we were eating, I was tagged in sister's status. It was a call for help. This is homecoming week, and Lulu needed help with dress-up days.  Lovey dropped me at her house; we discussed it a bit; then headed to back to town for supplies.

We got suspenders and some cute buttons for her nerd day costume.

Today, I made her trashbag/duct tape softball uniform to wear on Tuesday. Lulu and Brooke helped. It was my first attempt at this type of costume, and we just had to make it up as we went along. But I'm pleased with the final product, and I think Lulu is too.

Wednesday is Disney character/superhero day. I've started on her Jessie the cowgirl chaps. I've got tomorrow night and Tuesday night to finish.  (I'll post pics of her in the outfits at school this week.)

I came home Saturday night and graded one more class set of papers. This morning I graded a few before church. And I finished the last few just a few minutes. My grades are in, and it's not even midnight!

The next week is my Abby's homecoming; she finds out this week what dress-up days she has. Wonder what I'll be making next Sunday?

don't talk to me

This school year has been full of changes. For the first time in many years, I only have to get me dressed, fed, and out the door. I didn't feel guilty that I never made it to teachers' rooms during open house; I only have to remember my homework at the end of the day; and for parent-me, progress report night was a stress free evening. And for these first two months of school, Lovey hasn't had any chickens. For those of you who don't chicken farm, this might not mean much. But I tell you, it changes everything.

Each morning I have gotten up and dressed in complete silence. Well, except for maybe talking to the dogs, but even they haven't gotten up many times. No one to rush along. No one to bump around. I make my coffee, take my shower, gather my things, and don't have to say a word until I'm ready to walk out the door.

But my morning paradise is coming to an end. Lovey gets chickens back in just over a week. Then he will be getting up early again. He won't think at all that I have been doing things at the same time now for over two months. Even after 21 years, he won't consider that I don't care what the temperature is outside; I don't want to discuss this week's weather forecast; and I am not going to wear a jacket to walk 10 feet to my car, drive to school, and then walk 20 feet to the door. And while there are two sinks in our bathroom - I'd rather not use mine while he uses his. I don't want to get dressed while he puts on his socks. And no, I don't want to brush my teeth while he pees.

Through the years I have explained to him that I need my quiet time in the mornings. I have told him that growing up, I sat in the kitchen alone to eat my breakfast. I have huffed at him. Ignored him. Rolled my eyes. Closed the door in his face. And been down right mean. He just doesn't get it.

I need my own bathroom. By next week.