Thursday, September 30, 2010

Officially a Blogger!

Well, I have some excitement to share with you today.

It has to do with my blog!

I've had my lovely blog for three years and a month.  I've talked about my family (extensively).  We have moved quite a few times, one of which was actually coast to coast.  I've shared crafts with you.  I learned how to sew.   I practically shove my recipes down your throats.  I've confessed many childhood stories with you.  We've celebrated birthdays and anniversaries and holidays.  We even added to our family size, and shared our story of faith and celebration.

Through it all, each blog post added in number.

This blog post, TODAY, is my 1000th.  One Thousand posts!!

I'd really like to celebrate...but how?

I confess, I'm swamped with a dirty dirty house.  I've got three things cooking on the stove right now (one of which is another batch of salsa).  We are house hunting, and quite honestly, it has not gone well.  I've officially "broken up" with the act of house hunting, and refuse to resume until I've had time to forgive "it" for the unwanted roller coaster ride of emotional instability and disappointment.

We are in our busy birthday season, and the thought of my baby turning 1 in November kinda freaks me out.  We have visitors coming this weekend, and I'm overjoyed.  Christmas is coming up and I'd really like to have things done early, just in case we do find that perfect house and get to move in December like we plan to.

I wanted to do a giveaway.  I wanted to share some new tutorial or cool link.

Instead, I say, Happy 1000 blog post!  I love having a blog!  Thanks for being my audience.

Now, back to work.

Appliqued Shirts!

My Sister Sharon has been having a month long tribute to sewing on her blog.  I think she can whip up anything, and it would turn out great.  A few days ago, she made three applique shirts; one for Kimble, and one for each of his cardiac baby friends.  We plan to have them wear them when we deliver all the blankets to the hospital, then afterwards, we will have a combined birthday party for them.  Here are the shirts!

If you notice, she made little upside-down hearts, for the spikes on the dinosaurs, in honor of their  heart defects.  Thanks Sharon!  You are amazing.

We chat often, through our webcams.  Her little guy Max is about four months younger than Kimble.  What I find most interesting about our boys, is that on any given day, they are wearing the same outfit.  It's crazy how often it happens.  On this day, they were both in their blue striped pajamas.

 If you want great sewing ideas, head on over to Sharon's blog.   She even has a pdf file about how to do appliques, and she included a cool alphabet, as well as some cute animals too!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Without A Friend In The World

Good friends have always made a difference in my life.  Having friends around me, friends who aren't looking for anything in return except to be a friend, makes everyday enjoyable, and bearable, and full of richness.

The first time I felt alone, when I didn't have any friends, happened in Jr. High School.  I don't know what I did, or the reason behind this, but one day, I came to school and quickly realized I didn't have any friends anymore.  I was shunned, and shunned hard.

Nobody  talked to me anymore.  People turned their backs on me when I approached them.  No seats were saved at the lunch table.  No smiles were shared in the hallways between classes.  I was destroyed.  Crushed.   Alone.

I ate my lunch in the school bathroom, then went to the library and hid between bookshelves until the bell signaled the start of another class.  I walked home as quickly as possible after school, so I wouldn't bump into anyone.  I arrived at school right before the first bell, too late to dwell on the fact that I didn't get to enjoy the socialization that everyone else was a part of.  I sat alone at my classroom desks, surrounded by people, but very much an outcast.

I constantly asked myself "What did I do wrong?"  "Why are people treating me this way?"  I still don't know the answer.  It still hurts.

One day, weeks or months later, my friends decided I was ok again, and they were suddenly friendly again.  I was accepted again.  But the sting never went away.

I decided that I wouldn't ever, EVER,  treat anyone that way.  I would like a person for who they were. I would befriend the new people in class.  I would invite the funny-looking girl over to my house afterschool.  I would sit by the lonely person in the cafeteria.  I wouldn't participate in the ugly gossip and behavior that Jr. High and High School are so well known for.

I got through school just fine.  I learned to be "who I am" without apologizingfor it.  It's why I named my blog Just Because I Am Me   I don't have to try to change who I am, for anybody.  I learned that a true friend sticks around through thick and thin.  I learned that I can be a friend to many, without the restriction of who is considered popular, or how they dress, or what their talents are, or who they are dating, or not dating, or whether they walk to school or ride a bus.  I hated cliques.  Still do.

This mentality is still with me today.  Even though I'm not in Jr. High anymore, I still get anxious that I won't have friends.  In all my moves, I still long for and desire friendship, above anything else.  Until I have friends, I don't feel settled in an area yet.  As outgoing as I may seem, I am still afraid of getting hurt. 

The biggest thing I tell my kids, almost everyday, is to be a friend to all.  It doesn't matter what they look like, or what other people say about them.  Be a friend.  Please be a friend.  Nobody wants to feel alone.

Thank you to all my friends.  Because of the many states we have lived, I have many friends scattered around.  I deeply appreciate your friendship; your advice; your love; your constancy; your dependability.  I hope you know how much I love you and thank you for being my friend.

Keaton's Birthday Day

Keaton turned 9 years old this week.  He is a delightful boy who has a sensitive heart, and honestly tries to do what's right.  He doesn't like being in trouble.  He doesn't like knowing that he has done wrong.  He hates it when we are disappointed with his choices and actions.  He wants to be so helpful and good.

Keaton loves food.  I don't think there is anything that I make, that he doesn't like.  He is always very complimentary of what I make, how I look, or what I do.  He is a very attentive boy.  He likes to please people.  He is very articulate with his feelings.  He likes when he has a captive audience.  In these next pictures, he said "Now mom, take a picture of my sweet karate moves.  Now, another one from a different angle...".

After school, I invited Keaton to go look at houses with us (we are house hunting right now) and he was so excited to join us.  We looked at five houses, and liked the fifth one the best!

He enjoyed coming home and telling his brothers and sisters all about the house we want to buy. Unfortunately, there were some "hidden" problems with the house, as we discovered the next day, and we so we continue our search for a house.  However, Keaton still loved looking at the houses with us that day.

When we got home, we had his favorite dinner (Sausage Penne with breadsticks) and then we opened presents.  He got a book "Diary of a wimpy kid" and a Wii game "Speed Racer" and new cubscout items to be a Bear (including a belt so he can put all his beltloops on) and a pair of cowboy boots (which he's been desperate for).  He was a happy boy.

Then we had a snickers ice cream cake that I had made a few days before.  It was good.

Happy Birthday Keaton!  We sure like ya!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

High School Memories

My Junior year of High School, I had a really great time.  I was involved in lots of things (a school musical, Jr. Miss, Track, and I started my first job working at the local movie theatre).    It was definitely the turning point, for me, in realizing that I didn't have to buy into people's idea of "popularity" and that I could be myself, be a good friend, and enjoy life.

Everyday during lunch, I sat with a handful of friends.  Some were a year older than me in school, some were my age, and one boy, in particular, was a year younger than me in school.  We had a great 37 minutes of sitting at one of the tables, eating some of the "choice" options for school lunch.  Among my lunchtime friends, were my older sister Kim (and Bff), our friend Chuck (who visited us a few months back), my dear friend Bethany, a certain Sophomore boy named Heath, and one Mr. Cheyenne Jackson.

Cheyenne Jackson was destined for stardom.  He oozed "Broadway".  Cheyenne was the lead in every play we had, in High School.  He was in the Show Choir.  He was well known and well liked by everyone.  Cheyenne dreamed of making it big.  We all knew he would, too.

Cheyenne's Senior Year, he took the lead role in Lil' Abner.   I was also in that play, playing one of the hillbilly wives.  Here is part of a page of our yearbook.  Cheyenne, of course, is acting his heart out.  Below his picture, I'm in the background, with my acting face on as well.  Good times.

As I mentioned, Cheyenne was in the Show Choir; A choir of elite singers that I could never get into.  In our high school, choir wasn't "dorky".  All the really popular people were in choir, and show choir.  Here is a picture of Show Choir, my Junior Year.  I had many friends in this choir, and there was a boy I had a crush on for many years, that was in the choir.  There was also this skinny kid who could really sing, in this choir.  His name was Heath.  (I previously mentioned that I played a "wife" in Lil' Abner.  Guess who played my husband?  My friend Heath, who years later, became my real life husband.  Ahh..(sigh)).

Heath and Cheyenne and Chuck auditioned, and made it, to a special and elite Regional Choir every year.  One year, there were some mix-ups with the hotel situation, and they ended up sharing a room, and a king size bed.  I don't think they announced that, though. Some things you just don't talk about, especially if you are a guy, and in high school.

Cheyenne and my sister Kim had a bit of a relationship for a while.  More friends than anything else, we all really enjoyed being together.

One year, after Cheyenne played the lead roll in Phantom of the Opera (this one was a community play), I told Cheyenne that he was going to be famous one day, and that being said, I needed his autograph.  He happily obliged.

Fast forward about 17 years, and Cheyenne certainly has made a name for himself.  He spent years acting on Broadway (think Xanadu), and now has slipped into the mainstream.  He has been on Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock, and now he's on a little show named Glee.

On last week's episode, he was introduced as the new coach for Vocal Adrenaline.  Watching the show, it's almost weird for me to see him, because I can honestly say, "I knew you when".  Go Cheyenne!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blanket Drive Deadline!

The blanket drive for The Denver Children's Hospital is in full swing!  I get more and more excited about it everytime I get another blanket donation.

Last week, I received two packages in the mail.  One came from Ande in Japan, and another came from Ali in Pennsylvania, with a total of 13 blankets to add to our count!

I have four blankets in my sewing room that I still need to top sew, and then they will be done. More blankets were sent from my friend Jen in Washington that are at a friends house, waiting to be picked up.  I know I have a few sisters that have also been working hard to make blankets for this wonderful cause.  I also have many more friends who have embraced this cause, and are still working on making blankets.

The people at my husband's work have collected blankets too!

In June, 55 fleece blankets were tied by girls ages 8-11, during an area-wide church activity.  I haven't collected those blankets either, but I saw them, and it was a lot of work!

Yesterday, during another area-wide church meeting, many women brought blankets to donate. The total number of blankets I collected last night were 80!!

Julie and Teresa are busy in Denver, collecting blankets as well. They are also bringing in blankets by the armful.

As of right now, I can't tell you what the total number of blankets donated is, but we have surpassed our initial goal of 300 blankets.  The Hospital told us they could use 300 blankets a week, for their patients.  Our goal was to make sure that every single patient at the hospital, the first week in November, has a blanket to wrap themselves up in.  Thank you for helping us with this goal.

I hope that we will have enough blankets to give out during the whole month of November.  So if you have blankets that you haven't sent me yet, PLEASE get them to me!  We have just ONE MONTH left until we donate all the blankets.

Email me for an address to send your blankets to.  kamyrensmiles (@) hotmail (dot) com  We appreciate it so much. This project means so much to us, and so much to the patients at the hospital who are experiencing things beyond what most of us can truly understand.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Clothes

I got Mr. Kimble some new clothes yesterday.  Although he still fits into his 9 month clothes, we only had a few onsies and a pair of pajamas or two.  We survived all summer long with him wearing his onsies and his baby legs, which worked out great, but coming on fall, he really needed some new clothes.  I didn't have any clothes saved from my other two boys because I had given all of it to my sister, who has a boy Georgie's age.  Now, each new size Kimble is in, we get to start all over.  Anyway, we went the next size up.  12 months.  Crazy.

Crazy that my baby is almost 12 months.  Crazy that at this time last year, I was in the last few weeks of my pregnancy.  Crazy that Kimble is so incredibly strong and healthy right now.  Here he is, demonstrating his new jeans, one of  the 9 onsies I got him, and some pajamas.

I also got him a sweater, some soft soled shoes, and more pajamas.  I think he's all set for a while.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

House Hunting Blues

Starting Over

These are pretty much my mood swings, any given day.

Who knew house hunting could be so complex.

I like roller coasters...but not this kind.

I'm glad I have a good husband along for the ride.

Also along for the ride, is our realtor Tony.  He's really great and patient, and even holds Kimble while we critique houses.  What a guy.

I really hope this journey has a happy ending.  I'm thinking about just renting for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

School Pictures

School Picture Day is one of those days that got ignored last year, amidst all the chaos that arises the few weeks before you give birth to a baby that may....or may not.  So when I got the pictures back for preview, my kids were wearing ugly T-shirts, their hair looked  terrible, and I'm sure they had portions of breakfast stained across the corners of their mouth, and the front of their shirts.

Not this year. 

Yesterday was picture day for Kolby.  I think he's quite the handsome little boy.  He sure is looking more and more grown up everyday.

Today it was Kamy and Keaton's turn.  Keaton hates it when I spike up his hair, and he prefers to wear his blue framed glasses, instead of his black ones.  I, however, think he looks dashing in his black frames and curly hair and since I'm the boss, he is instructed not to touch his hair until after pictures are taken at school.

Kamy wanted me to put curlers in her hair last night, so she could wake up and have springy curly curls just like Ramona The Pest longed to have.  "Boing!"  We compromised with hot rollers this morning, and although we tried, Kamy's hair just didn't take to the curls.  They are big fat hair rollers, so it gives more body than anything else.  Anyway, I think she still looked beautiful.

Even if I don't order any pictures from school, I have three super good school pictures right here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Afternoon Routine

It's been about a  month since school started.  I think things are finally getting routine for us.  When the kids come home, they have a snack, and then pull out their homework.  I know after a long day of school, the last thing they want to do is more work,but honestly, if it doesn't get done right away, it won't get done ever.

So after their snack, and while they are still in the kitchen, we begin on homework.  Keaton and Kolby both have worksheets to do everyday, as well as spelling lists to study, and all the kids have 30 minutes of reading time to do.  Kamy has her long list of homework to do as well!
After homework  time, Kamy practices her piano. She's been taking lessons for a few months, and is progressing nicely (now that she's actually practicing!).  Georgie likes to watch.

Georgie has her work to do too!  She writes both her names, and draws pretty pictures for our viewing pleasure.

Kimble is working on holding his bottle, and drinking out of it more.  Although it's just water, he likes to drink it!
After all that hard work, it's play time!  Kolby turned everyone's bike into a  "motor bike" by adding a smashed water bottle by the bike tires.  Now, everywhere they go, the wheel whirrs around against the plastic bottle, and makes a sound like a motorbike.

The hour after school is the most busy and dreaded time of my day, but lately, it's been going pretty smoothly!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reversible Drawstring Cloth Bag Tutorial

For those of you who didn't see this tutorial on my sister's blog, I wanted to share it here.  Hope you enjoy making it!

I love making cloth bags. They are so useful for so many things. Instead of buying wrapping paper every time we have an occasion to give gifts, I use cloth bags. The best part is, I use them again and again. At Christmas, all of our gifts are wrapped in cloth bags. It makes cleanup a breeze, and saves us money every year. You can also use these cloth bags for birthday presents or baby shower gifts, or any other occasion you can think of. It makes the gift even more special.


So, I normally make my gift bags a single layer, much like a pillow case. However, I got the idea to have a reversible bag. This way, you can change things up for variety and still have your bag look just as good on the inside, as it does on the outside. Let's get started. First, you need to pick out two coordinating pieces of fabric and some cording (you could also use rope or ribbon). You can make these bags any size you want, but for purposes of this tutorial, cut out each of your fabrics 18 x 22 inches. (Don't cut your cording yet.) (Follow all of these instructions for BOTH pieces of your fabric!)


On the long side (22 in) of each of your pieces of fabric, fold down the top 1/2 inch and press it flat. Then, sew across it, making a nice even hem.


Now, fold your fabric over itself, with right sides together, like you are turning back a page of a book. There should be a fold on the left side, with the top hems aligned together. You are going to sew around the bottom and side of your material, starting 3 inches down from the top. You will also need to leave a gap along the bottom (3 inches) so you can turn it right side out later on (but only on your "lining" fabric. The outside fabric does not need the opening for turning) Make sense?


Clip your corners!


Iron your seam open, along the side of your bag, up to the top (even the 3 inch gap that you haven't sewn.


Sew along your open seam, at the top of the bag. It should look like a V when you are done sewing it. Keep your needle in the down position, when pivoting the fabric across, then up.


Fold down the top of your bag about 1.5 inches. This will be your casing for your cording. Make sure it's even, all the way around. Iron the fold to make it easier to sew.


Start sewing around the top of the bag. It should look like this, on your sewing machine.


Sew around the top, with your presser foot against the left hand edge of the fold, or you can follow your previous stitching line.


By now, you should have done all of these steps with both pieces of your fabric. At this point, you should have two bags that look like a pillowcase. One of them should have a gap at the bottom of the bag, which we will call your "lining" fabric. Keep your lining inside out, and turn the other bag right side out. Place the outer bag inside the lining bag, with right sides together, lining up the bags so that your casing edges match up. You should see the wrong side of both bags, looking at the outside, and the inside, of your bag, because the right sides are together.


Position your bag, once again, to your sewing machine, and sew along the top of your bag.


Remember that opening at the bottom of your "lining"? Grab hold of the inside bag (which will become your outer bag) and pull it out through the opening, essentially turning everything right side out.


It should look like this now...two bags joined at the tops.


Stich your hole closed with your favorite hidden stitch, and then push in your "lining" into the outer bag, then iron the top seam so everything is nice and even. Now, measure TWO strands of your cording (3x the width of the bag), attach one end to a safetyp pin, and thread it through EACH layer (lining and outside) of your casings.



Tie ends together and thread it through the casing so you don't see the knots. You are done with your bag! Simply pull ends to cinch bag closed.


Fill bag with treasures for your cute baby.


You can use these bags for lots of things. If you make a bigger bag, you can fill it with laundry!


There's no limit, to what these bags can hold. Well, I wouldn't fill it with spaghetti, or soup, or water...but you get the idea. Enjoy your reversible bag!