Friday, January 29, 2010

Flame Runner

Wednesday evening was a historic first for our family. We entered the world of Pinewood Derby, not to emerge for the next five years. I know I went to these with my brothers when I was little, but have only vague memories (mostly of not winning--is that accurate?). It was all new and exciting to me. The dads all made a car also and had a separate tournament. Ben had a good time learning the ins and outs of sanding, weights, spray paint and rad decals from his old man. It all paid off the tune of 3rd place out of nine. Not too shabby for a rookie.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm sorry I keep talking about how great my kids are...

...but I can't help it. Because they are.

Yesterday I was helping in Ben's classroom (cleaning out glue lids and sharpening pencils--woo!) and stayed to have lunch with him. After lunch he was walking on the blue tape line that leads to the big garbage can to throw away his trash. A kid a few feet behind him tripped and spilled his tray full of trash all over the place. I (not being as good as Ben) just kind of watched for a second as the kid started to gather up his trash...until I noticed Ben (being much better than I) was headed right back to help him pick it all up. Other kids walked on by, while I finally got my act together and went to kneel down and help do what my eight-year-old son did automatically.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if all of your kids did not have asthma?

I do.
All the time.

Are there really people who go out of town and don't bring a nebulizer along just in case? Who never have to tell their kids they are not allowed to run for a couple of days when the wheezing is acting up--or when it's really bad that they are not allowed to go up and down the stairs? Sometimes the kids will have a friend over when someone needs a breathing treatment and the friend is all intrigued by it and I'm confused by this for a minute, then I realize the friend's family doesn't have any breathing issues. Then I daydream about a xopenex-free life.

Let me be clear though, I'm not complaining. Not even a little. There are a lot of things far worse than asthma that they could have and we live in a time and place where effective medicines are readily available.
I'm just wondering. Because sometimes propping kids up on three pillows so they can sleep sitting up seems so normal that I forget it's not.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas sewing

For Brad (commissioned by Susan), an iphone case. Complete with an ear-bud pocket and flap closure. (Is that a button hole?? Why yes, yes it is. Like magic.)

For Julie, a banner for any celebration.

For the kids' teachers, initialized hand towels.

Made by Emma: wonderful cross-stitches for her grandmothers. Still in progress is a great scarf she's making for Ben.

I forgot to ever take photos of the eyeglass cases I made for Mom, oops! They were cute, there were four of them (I think, or was it three?).
EDIT: Sweet little Mom took a picture of them and emailed it to me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas highlights, part two

(I got my camera back, yea!)
The big morning at home. This shot is post-Santa chaos, when the big kids are passing out the gifts from under the tree.

At the compound celebrations, the grandkids are made to behave in a ridiculous manner while waiting for their gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.

And what did they get?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still sewing

From weeks ago. I forgot to ever take photos of Emma's bag for her piano music/books. She picked out the fabrics.

I finally made myself a good long apron. I've been hankering for one of these bad boys for some time now. Take that, messy cooking!
P.S. Remember how I said I might post some of my 2010 goals so as to try and hold myself to them? One of my goals is to open an etsy shop or start a new blog with stuff for sale. eek. Stay tuned...maybe for a long, long time. I'm giving myself till the end of the year to do it. And at that point my new goal will be not to be too embarassed if no one wants anything.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Did I mention...

...that Lydia recently signed with a record label to do a rap album?She calls herself "Lydi the rapper". (Oh yes, she does.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Emma = Ten

What the...huh? Double digits already?
Emma turned one decade over the weekend. I will never stop complaining about the kids getting older.
Ben made her this celebratory message with strips of paper from the recycling bin.
Oh yes, she is very into being an official tween (she's been a tween-at-heart for ages now).
When she was two or three she coined the name "Potaski" (po-task'-ee) for herself whenever she was taking a shirt off and she would leave it on her head--you know, with the neck hole of the shirt like a headband and the rest of the shirt hanging down behind her. "Look! I'm Potaski!"
When she was a little bit older than that she would say to me or Scott with affection, "You're my best."
Around this time also she saw Toy Story and would jump off the couch proclaiming, "To infinity, and be ire!"
Her first favorite color was purple. Then it changed to red. Then pink, where it stayed for a long time. Finally she outgrew it and has oscillated mostly between shades of yellow, green, and blue ever since. (Right now it's lime green.)
She loves to hold babies, the littler the better.
She is going to be an artist when she grows up.
I can't think of anything wrong with her.
Happy birthday Emma.

Friday, January 8, 2010

David: friend or foe?

One time we were all over at the Sexton's. David is a fun uncle who likes to show off his skills by throwing kids around the in the air and/or bench pressing them (oldest kids required spotters). They're having a great time and are glad they have a cool uncle to toss them up to the ceiling.You can't see their faces, but every single one of these lucky children is smiling...

...every single child




Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas highlights, part one

I still don't have my camera back. (Part two coming next week, I hope. Some time before St. Patrick's day for sure.) But here are some photos my mom emailed me...

TN Barber girls on Christmas Eve. Sometime shortly after we moved back to Tennessee seven years ago we started posing for pictures like this. I don't know why, but we've done it pretty much every holiday since.TN Barber girls and boys on Christmas day.
Another successful pageant!
Cousins have mixed feelings about trimming the tree.
My favorite of the batch she sent. This is so Josh (he's an affection-addict), and Mom just looks beautiful.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 Books

Last year I read 23 books (three more than in 2008!). However, many of these were very short. I noticed my theme for the year (especially the first half) was kids' series. I love series...I hate it when a good book is over. And I guess I like kids' books too.

For posterity, here is what I read in 2009:

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Christmas Jar - Jason Wright
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
The Wednesday Letters - Jason Wright
The House at Riverton - Kate Morton
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
The Diamond of Darkhold - Jeanne Duprau
The Prophet of Yonwood - Jeanne Duprau
The People of Sparks - Jeanne Duprau
The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Gifted Hands - Ben Carson
The City of Ember - Jeanne Duprau
By the Shores of Silver Lake - Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Sarah's Quilt - Nancy Turner
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder
My Life So Far - Russell Barber
My Turn on Earth - Sharlene Barber
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

I love the City of Ember series, I recommend it to you and your kids. I finally finished Harry Potter -- yea! (By the way, Emma has renewed her interest and finally finished #3 and is deep into #4. We decided to go ahead and let her since she's almost 10 now, while frequently talking about what she is reading. She says it's not too scary so far. The deal is she can watch each movie when she finishes reading it...but I'm still going to edit #4 for her.) I like the page-turning Collins books very much, but hate waiting a year for the next one to come out. The Guernsey LAPPPS is just as good as everyone says it is...I love the letter-style. The last book I read was another one of my favorites, The Help. The voice was so wonderful and the writing was hands down some of the best I've ever read. There were sentences I read over and over again because they were SO remarkable, I couldn't believe someone could craft a thought so beautifully.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Did you know that dirty laundry continues to accumulate, even during the holidays?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The kids go back to school next week

Boo. And Scott goes back to work. Double boo. I really thought Christmas break would be relaxing. I envisioned spending whole days in our pajamas while laying around and playing with our new toys. I thought we'd have plenty of time to do all the things we wanted to do and even end up feeling bored. In the weeks leading up to this break we frequently said to each other, "we'll just work on that during the break." Now here we are, the last day and I can't believe how full our time has been. Not in a bad way, not at all. Just full, busy. Full of good stuff. Food, and thorough cleaning, and basketball at the church, and an overnight getaway, and tons of games, and family, and bingo. Anyway, I'd love to share some photos of the magic, but I left my camera at the Compound a whole week ago. Rotten luck. Perhaps next week I'll have some time to regroup and share. Maybe I'll retire the '09 reading list. Maybe I'll make some goals. Maybe I'll even make some of them public so I'll be more likely to hold myself to them. Boy, this was one meandering post. I'll put a new Chuck Norris joke on the sidebar to tide you over...
Happy New Year!