Tuesday, September 2, 2014

kids say...

I try to sing to the boys and the girls every night.  The boys get competitive, wanting me to sing their song of choice.  So they alternate nights.  Tonight it was Gregory's turn to pick the song.  He always asks me to come up with something original on the spot, which is something special I love to share with him.

Sometimes Kai isn't very gracious about having to wait until the next night for his turn to pick the song.  Tonight Kai whined and carried on about how he didn't like it when I just sing to Gregory and that it "breaks [his] heart", which he doesn't fully comprehend the meaning of.

He followed me when I left the room tonight and dramatically said, "When you sing those songs to Gregory it... makes my HIPS HURT!"  He put his hands on his thrust out little hips and glowered at me.  I laughed and turned him back towards his bed.

(picture from another night when he fell asleep draped across my leg
while I read a bedtime story to the girls.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A great tutorial a friend of mine sent me.  It was so great to see such a neat, original idea!  I was unimpressed until the last 15 seconds.  I'm glad I watched it all the way through.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kids say....

I post so much on Facebook, but that also means the true gems are easily lost amid all the mundane stuff I share with the world.  Yes, like what I ate that day.

Today Charla was uncommonly motivated to help Leora and Kai with their homework.  As in, this was the first time.  I'll take it!!  She very sweetly helped Leora with her spelling words, one of which was the word, "MALE."

I wish I'd have had a recorder on hand to tell you the exact words they used, but here's as good as I can remember...

Charla: "next word: MALE"
Leora: "M-A-L-E.  What does it mean?"
Charla: "OH!  It means a guy.  Because of the weird thing boys have."
Leora: ".....?"
Charla: "You know, the weird thing between their legs" complete with gestures.
Leora (hesitantly): "ooooh."

And later this evening, after putting them to bed, I overheard Charla telling Leora "facts" about Megatron (a bad Transformer... my girls have huge crushes on Star Scream and Megatron)...

Charla: Did you know, Megatron is 31 years old!
me: hey, I'M 31 years old!
Charla: I know! But he doesn't like brownies.

I'm glad she knows where to draw distinctions.

And to go perfectly with this little snippet, this incredible picture my sister Dora made as a birthday gift for Leora yesterday:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Needful Things" List for Craft Swap

I'm participating in my first Swap!  

I needed to list 20 things I can't live without...

1. Rain.  Nothing starts out a day better than the steady thrum and pitter-patter of rain.  Best way to go to sleep, too.  Throw in some rolling thunder and I am in my happy place.  Since I live in scorched Tucson, Arizona we have a thundering rain storm CD that gets LOTS of use.

2. Speaking of wet things, I can't live without my clothes dryer.  When we lived in Ohio I would toss in dry blankets and coats right before stepping out into the winter cold- so cozy!  I also throw a damp towel in to dry while I mix and knead dough for bread.  By the time the dough is ready to rise, the dryer is good and warm- works perfectly every time.

3. And after taking the baked bread out of the oven, I have to enjoy it's steamy yumminess with a tall glass of milk.  I have always loved milk.  I lived in Spain until I was 9.  My mom is German, so we made fairly frequent trips to Germany, where they believe giving a child cold milk will make them sick- they absolutely refused to serve it cold.  yech.

4. And speaking of Germany, while it doesn't happen often, I can't live without trips to that beautiful country.  Being in the military we have access to free flights on military planes, so we've made a couple trips.  I love the food, the weather, the beautiful forests and rivers and hills and mountains.  I love how timeless it feels.  And I love how the German I spoke as a child reemerges.

5. Childhood memories are one thing I cherish most.  My family and I love to reminisce about wonderful, hilarious, crazy times we've shared.  I also love sharing them with my children.  My family is pretty quirky.  OK, right out weird. So we've got tons of inside jokes and love to tease by endlessly quoting each other.

6. But quoting doesn't stop at family members.  If I couldn't quote and reference movies ALL day, I would be virtually mute.  A few years ago my family started this crazy tradition where we compile an enormous selection of quotes and string them together by starting one quote with the last word of the previous quote.  It usually ends in laughing so intense we're reduced to squeaks and tears.  I once visited a family member who doesn't watch many movies.  I got stumped so many times trying to share some insight or illustrate a point.

7.  Speaking of illustrating, that is another passion.  I absolutely NEED paper and pencil.  I've tried my hand at digital drawing and have the tools to do so, but I love the feel of the wooden pencil in my hands, the smell of fresh pencil shavings, the soft grainy sounds of pencil on paper, adjusting the paper so I can lean in and get lost in my work.  I have enjoyed doing commissioned work, but most love drawing for others I care for.

8. While I draw I love listening to books on CD.  I discovered it when the military started moving us and I had to drive one car by myself.  Lately I've been absorbed in the world of the "Outlander" books by Diana Gabaldon.  The reader has such fun inflections in her voice and I love the stories and imagery.  Of course stories like Harry Potter are great, too.

9. Another thing I enjoy doing while listening to books is to sew.  My sewing machine ranks VERY high on my list of needful things! It's ironic since, despite my mom's efforts, I had absolutely NO interest in the hobby until I was married.  Now there's always some project (or 2 or 3) in some state of completion on my machine.  I recently opened up an Esty shop to sell original handmade items, mostly for rambunctious little boys, although I get so many random ideas it keeps branching out into other themes.

10. And while we're on the topic of themes, I've noticed a theme in my movie selections.  I need chick flicks- the funnier, wittier or sappier the better!  When I don't have a book to listen to, I pop in a movie, which often ends up being something like "27 Dresses", "You've Got Mail", "Mona Lisa Smile", "Confessions of a Shopaholic"...  I also really enjoy a good suspense or drama, but I love the cheeriness of a good chick flick.

11. What better way to enjoy a good movie than in comfy fleece pajama pants?  I so very much NEED them.  In fact, I'm wearing the pair my hubby got me for Christmas as I type this up.  At 4:30 in the afternoon.  Yup.  I'm all about the creature comforts!  Which extend to include..

12.  My Jelly Crocs!!  I can't even begin to describe how comfortable these shoes are!  I wear them everywhere.  And they're even cute!

13.  But not as cute as my girls' hair.  I need the tote brimming with hair things I use almost every morning to do up my little princesses' tresses.  My 8-year old used to pull out her hair, to the point that she was almost bald.  She inexplicably stopped when we got her tonsils out 4 years ago.  Since then it's grown in so beautifully I just HAVE to play with it.

14.  Something else I HAVE to play is my piano.  I'm no accomplished pianist, but I love to play.  I often play a bit right before delving into a new project or preparing a presentation, to stimulate my creativity or just sooth my nerves.

15.  Maybe this is uninteresting, but my Kindle also does a great job helping me unwind, mostly at bedtime.  First I use it to read scriptures, and if I'm still too perky to sleep, then I play Spider Solitaire until I nod off.  I don't use it for reading as much as I thought I would, but it's a life saver at church when the kids are all squirrely.  I also love using it to peruse that popular website... what's it called again?... oh yeah

16. PINTEREST!  I know it's not that original either, but how else would I have learned that you can mix 2 parts corn starch with 1 part hair conditioner to make the most amazing, light, good smelling playdough ever!?  It's my main spot to find amazing hair styles to try out on my girls, the best ways to applique, ideas for products to sell, fun gift ideas, and always lots of laughs.

17.  Something else that make me laugh every day are my 2 cats.  Lapiz, the black one, is this lanky, mischievous fiend.  She likes to provoke the other kitty and is only affectionate when she obviously wants something, like food or to wake you up for no apparent reason.  We named the calico Serena because she's just so serene. My brother calls her "Pillow" because she's just so dang plump and soft.  She likes sleeping in the bathroom sink, has the funniest scratchy mew, and she's constantly trying to sneak nibbles of our food.

18.  I can't really blame her, though, especially when it has "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" spread on it.  yuuummm.....  yeah, I need that stuff every day.

19. My days also need something resembling organization.  I am so NOT type "A", I'm pretty sure I'd be a type "Z" if it existed.  In an attempt to achieve some semblance of order I have cork boards in almost every room.  I pin up permission slips, recipes, photos, ads, the kids' homework and good grades, project ideas, keys, bread, apples, very small rocks, cider, grey gravy, cherries, mud, churches!  oops.. I slipped into a quote.

20.  And finally, rather unrelated to the last "need", I need mountains.  I need to see them, from majestically towering before me, to lovely and steady far away.  I dream of living on one, thick with fresh trees, jagged rocks, wildlife, silent except for the music of rustling leaves, the songs of birds and the gentle thrum and pitter-patter of mountain rain.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

13 Months Overdue

I can hardly believe it's been over a year since I last posted... sounds like a typical journal entry. I shouldn't be so surprised.  If only my blogging skills were as strong as my Facebook skills.

the whole crew Veteran's Day 2013

It's been a big year in the Olsen household.  So let me recount everything that's happened...
HA!  In the words of  Inigo Montoya,
"No, there is too much. Let me sum up"

Fred stayed in Texas until he finished up training in July.

out to eat at Cici's Pizza the day he got home

In February I turned 30.  I got lovely flowers from my hubby, but the accompanying box of chocolates was inedibley chalky.  And that was it.  Most uneventful birthday ever. 

Also in February Gregory's Pinewood Derby car got to race at the next level after winning for his division in our ward.  Granted, he was the only Bear...  We were immensely proud!

Another great surprise in February was Fred sneaking a trip home.  We didn't tell the kids.  In fact, Fred arrived at the annual Renaissance Festival after our eldest got there with an earlier group- the reunion was wonderful.  And we had tons of geeky fun that day...

My brother so rocks his lederhosen he got on his mission in Germany.

The kids and I lived with my family until March when we were able to move into a rental 1 1/2 miles down the road.  I absolutely LOVE this house!  Even though it backs up to a busy road.  But that road pared with our very nice, almost deaf elderly neighbors, means the kids can be as rambunctious as they want to in the back yard!

 Kai posing in the family room the day we got the key

In May Fred and I celebrated 11 years together and 5 years active duty Air Force.  Our youngest also turned 4.  We celebrated with an epic Superman themed birthday party.  The big man himself came and the kids helped him stop the villain from stealing all the birthday presents!  

We somehow survived the summer, spending lots of time at the neighborhood pool.  And Minecraft.  Lots of Minecraft.  We managed to squeeze in a fun camping trip on the mountain by my dad's childhood town, Globe, AZ.

At the neighborhood pool.
Minecraft Legos!

on the mountain top with my dad and several million lady bugs

Probably the biggest perk of the summer (after Fred coming home) was seeing my extended family- this only happens maybe once a year.  For some people only every 4 years.  Cousins came from Utah, Ohio and even China!  We had SUCH a wonderful time- I really have the best family!
my goofy sister taking pictures of our Ohio family

Man, I LOVE these guys!!

I SO wish everyone in this picture had been there, but alas, only the back row.  3 of them live in China and the rest are Utah people.

Leora turned 6 in August.  We had a big family birthday tea party. 

birthday girl center

Also in August, the new school year started up!  The kids started at a new school, which we LOVE!
First Day of school

September is our busy month.
Gregory turned 10.  He had a Minecraft themed birthday party.  Shocker.

Charla was born on Fred's birthday 8 years ago, so it was cause for celebration!  She had a big pirate-themed birthday party, as per Jensen tradition which started with my 8th birthday.
The birthdayers

Kai walking the plank while trying to eat a donut on a string

My dad the pirate.  This is (NO LIE) the costume his mom sewed for him when he played George Washington in high school.  It has served as 8th birthday Pirate costume 7 times now!

My grandparents (the grandma who sewed the costume) getting in the party spirit

Charla was baptized in October with the other kids from our ward who turned 8 in September.  It was a beautiful occasion and we were so happy to have so much family come.  

My sister Anja took absolutely stunning pictures of my girl.

Feeling the love!

Also in October our family got 2 people bigger when the Nicolds sisters, Haile and Kayla, moved in.  They are now official aunts to my kids and we love having them here.
One of many fun mornings.  This time we watched movies late into the night, sleeping in the living room.

Later in the Fall Gregory earned his Bear.

Fred participated in the Tucson Veteran's Day parade by marching with other Airman also stationed here.

In November I had the amazing privilege of being there for the birth of my first nephew, little Caleb.

Also in November I opened up my own Etsy shop I named Fun Duds for Little Dudes, by Debbie Does That.  I sell handmade fun stuff, mostly for little boys.  Since then I've sort of branched out a bit.  I love it!

much is inspired by my little hooligan. 

We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving out in Ajo, AZ with Fred's siblings, their families and his parents.  It was a great day- all the cousins have such a blast whenever they get to see each other.  We wish the ones in Ajo were closer.

Like for most people, December was a bit of a blur.
We decorated the outside with life-size cutouts from the Disney show "Phineas and Ferb".  We plan on adding more characters each year.

There were school performances.
It was so great having family come to support the kiddos!

My brother graduated from the UofA with a bachelors in both History and German!  SO very much proud of him!
Kai was so done by the end of the ceremony!

We celebrated the All-together Olsen family Christmas the Sunday before.  We were all cozy at Fred's parents.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  
note that I have possession of my nephew.  Never mind the deranged expression on my face.  Who knows...

The Olsen brothers proudly sporting the T-shirts our beloved Aunt Sally sent them.

Christmas Eve was wonderful.  We did our traditional German dinner, all dressed up in our Christmas best. 
My mom made all the food and even brought the beautiful dishes we used

As per German tradition, the kids have to either recite a poem or sing a song before they can open their presents.

Blowing out the candles on the Advent wreath that had been lit by the Kristkindl while we drove around looking at Christmas lights and singing fun Christmas songs.

Christmas Day the kids woke up to a 14' trampoline Santa had delivered.  Yeah, they were psyched.  Almost as psyched as I was about getting a swing that is not only beautiful but even lays down into a bed!  YAY!

New Years was nice, too.  The girls were invited to a party just for the 8-11 year old girls from church (but they let Leora come, too).  I stayed for a while and did all the girls' hair up.

Having way too much fun with sparklers.

I love me my man!

Now that we're 1/2 way through January I can stop this post.  I wasn't quite at good as "summing up" as I had intended.  I guess I just realized what a wonderful, eventful year it actually was.  

This year looks to be a big one, too.  Thank goodness we get to share it with those we love most!