Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap day

When I was a little girl growing up in WI, there was this tall, dark and handsome man in our church that was married to the most beautiful woman and they had two darling little boys. I thought they were the perfect family.
That is, until I found out that he, the tall, dark and handsome man, was only 8 years old. Yes, 8 years old! I was mortified. How could this beautiful woman be married to a man that was only 8 years old! I remember thinking how embarrassed she must be when others find out her husband is only 8! And whatever will they tell their sons! All of a sudden, this perfect family did not seem quite so perfect after all.

You see, he was a Leap Year baby. But in my little mind, it did not occur to me that he still celebrated his birthday every year. It did not occur to me that he told people he was 32 years old and not 8 years old (cuz that would be lying). I just remember thinking that I could never marry someone that only had a birthday every four years. And worse, what if I had a baby on Leap day! I would be so devastated! Birthday presents only every four years! How sad is that!
Oh, the places our little minds go. Well, mine anyway.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

thrifted linens

Look what I found last night at my little thrift store! A 1958 muslin calendar! Wow, 50 years old! I was born in 1956, but 1958 was the year that my parents bought the dairy farm where I spent my growing up years and still visit each summer! How sweet are the four season farm scenes! And the colors are still so vivid. What a rare find! (and 99 cents!) Should I frame it? Should I slip a dowel through the top casing and hang it up? Mmmm...

I continue to be delighted each time I uncover more unique, hand-made linens at my little thrift store. Wherever do they come from?! Who cares... I know where they're going! And I rarely ever spend more than 99 cents for each piece.

Certain colors are 99 cents every Wednesday, and with Randy staying late because of worship rehearsal, that has become a nice little pit stop on my way home from work. Ok, so it's only a mile from my home, but regardless, a much needed respite from my 35 minute drive home. And they always have some very unique baby clothes... and well, I got me a granddaughter I've got to look out for now!
Emolyn is still doing so well. She will be a week old tomorrow and I can hardly wait to see her again!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the yellow blanket

Emolyn will be the third generation to be going home swaddled in the yellow blanket. Which by the way, is the softest flannel blanket you have ever felt!
Randy came home from the hospital 54 years ago wrapped in the yellow blanket.
Our son Shawn came home 25 years ago wrapped in the yellow blanket and now Shawn's daughter Emolyn will be going home wrapped in the yellow blanket in a few weeks.
But we couldn't wait till then, so today we took some pictures of Shawn, Randy and myself with sweet Emolyn and the yellow blanket. And it was my first time to hold her! Oh my goodness, she felt so good.
The sweet little hat that Emolyn is wearing was from one of Miranda's dolls that I found in a box, threw it in the laundry along with the yellow blanket and a few other recieving blankets and we were off to the NICU.
All three of our kids came home in the soft yellow flannel blanket and the sleeper Shawn wore home 25 years ago.

Shawn Michael
born in 1982.

Miranda Rachael
born in 1984.

Tyler Christian
born in 1989.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

movies that move me

The Oscar's just started so I thought I'd do as I did last month while watching the Grammy's. I spent the entire show making a list of the music that moves me. So tonight, it will be the movies that move me. Have you figured out yet that I enjoy award shows? Well, I do. And have I told you that I have not graced the inside of a movie theater since July of 2001 when I saw "Pearl Harbor" on a vacation while in San Diego? Ok, I did see "Passion of the Christ" in '04. That experience went well, cuz people were very quiet and respectful while watching it. You see, I am HYPER-sensitive to movement, sounds, smells and well, noises not associated with the movie, like unwrapping candy wrappers, eating food or a cell phone going off, people whispering, babies crying... oh, don't get me started.
**Miranda just called to tell me that I saw "The Notebook" and "A Walk to Remember" with her at the dollar theater. It must have been such a horrible experience that I blocked it from my mind!**
All to say, I have not seen any of the movies that are up for any awards tonight. None. So why am I watching the show? Well, just like the Grammy's, I find myself remembering the movies that mattered while I was growing up. The movies that I find myself watching over and over. The movies that touched my heart so profoundly that I was forever changed.

The very first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was "The Sound of Music" (1965) followed by "Yours, Mine and Ours" (1968 with Lucille Ball & Henry Fonda) and "Six you get Eggroll" (1968 with Brian Keith & Doris Day). I was hooked! I loved the movies! The magic. The drama. The fantasy. The romance.
I distinctly remember going to the big city to see "The Sound of Music" and there were these gorgeous red crushed-velvet curtains that dramatically rose as the music started. I was entranced. To me it was theater. It was real. Well, many years later I move to Phoenix and it's 1977 and I see "Star Wars" at the famed Cine Capri movie theater at 24th Street and Camelback and they have these gold crushed-velvet curtains. I lean over and recall to my friend that they are so reminiscent of my experience watching "The Sound of Music" as a little girl. WELL, years later on the 20th anniversary of "Star Wars" (just before the theater was demolished) Randy takes our then 5 year old son Tyler to the Cine Capri and what does Tyler make a point of telling me later in vivid detail? Yes, how the gold crushed-velvet curtains dramatically rose as the music started. He actually leaned over to his Daddy and asked if what he was seeing was real. He too, thought it was theater, not a film. That made me cry hearing that Tyler had the very same reaction as I did at his age.
Just a little trivia- The Cine Capri held one of the highest grosses for the 1977 "Star Wars" movie and played the film for over a year – the longest run in the United States! I did not know that! Thanks Wikipedia.

Some of my very favorite films are also some of the most violent films. The reason I can tolerate the violence is because they are important historical films. Events that changed our world. That we must never forget.

Saving Private Ryan (World War II)
Pearl Harbor (World War II)
Braveheart (Scottish and English battles)
The Patriot (Revolutionary War)
Last of the Mohicans (French and Indian War)
Crash (War on racism)
Forrest Gump (Vietman War)
Passion of the Christ (the War between good and evil- Christ defeating death on the cross- for me)

My other favorites-

Mr. Holland's Opus (my very favorite)
Frequency (what a great movie! love Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel)
Apollo 13 (how it that I can see this film over and over, KNOWING they all survive, but I am still on the edge of my seat!)
Step Mom (I love this film! the little boy steals the show!)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (hello- who doesn't love Steve Martin and John Candy)
Father of the Bride (again Steve Martin)
Count of Monte Cristo (again Jim Caviezel)
The Amercian President (love all the secondary characters in this huge favorite of mine)
Pretty Woman (I own the film, but I'm sucked in every time I find it showing on TV)
Pure Country (love this romantic film where the lead love interests never even kiss)
The Notebook (have you read the book "The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks? can't wait for that film)

I am so tickled to have finally recorded this list of movies that personally affected my life.
Maybe some of these films will trigger sweet memories for you.

our little peanut

How cute is our little peanut! Emolyn has her Mommy's gorgeous lips!
This was the very first pic taken of Mommy & Daughter right after Baby Emi's birth.

My very favorite pic of Emolyn Kate! She has such a pensive look, so inquisitive, deep in thought... maybe wondering 'where am I? Will you take care of me?'

My son Shawn and I just before he becomes Daddy to daughter Emolyn and I become Grammy to my first Grandbaby!

You can check out more pics on Miranda's blog here!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Emolyn Kate is here!

She's perfect! Thank you so much for your prayers. Our little Granddaughter weighed in at 2 lbs. 7 oz. and 15 inches long. And she is miraculously very healthy! She was immediately breathing on her own. The Drs. and nurses can not believe how alert and fiesty she is. And her Apgar score was 9.9! Thank you Lord Jesus!
I took this picture mere moments after Emolyn was born. You guys, that's my son with his daughter! I'm a Grandma!
We are so thrilled and tired and forever grateful.
Continue to pray for our precious Emolyn, as she will be in the NICU for many weeks.
I am so proud of Shawn & Nicole. They handled the early arrival of their daughter with strength and humour and maturity.
Oh and Emolyn is named after Randy's Mom, Shawn's Mamaw and my dear, sweet Mother-in-law. And was she ever surprised!
Thanks again for interceding on behalf of my family.

Please pray!

Oh my gosh, my grandbaby is going to be born tonight... 6 weeks early! I am asking you to please pray for this little baby.
I am scared, peaceful, anxious, excited, crying, laughing and pretty much every other emotion in-between.
Please pray that Nicole and the baby are healthy and that the C-section goes well.
Please pray that Shawn & Nicole will know the peace of God that passes all human understanding and they will put their trust in Him. Pray that we will all keep our eyes on Him. He is in control and He knows everything. This has not taken Him by surprise, even though this has shaken me to the core. He loves and adores this little baby even more than any of us can ever imagine and who am I to worry and fret. But I do... I am human... so Lord, I will choose to believe by faith that You will protect this little baby, that this little fighter will be strong and healthy.
Thank you dear friends and family and loved ones and those that I don't even know. I covet your prayers.
Thank you so much.

snowed in lattes

Ok, so many of you may find this rather strange, but I have a longing to be snowed in. It's true.
My computer is set up to show me what the temps are in places where my family members live. And it sorta makes me a little envious when I see that it's snowing in WI and the wind chill is 40 below 0. For me that just sounds so cozy and romantic and all. I know, I know, I am well aware of what it's like having to function in all that snow and ice. But still. I miss it. I want to feel like I can't go anywhere. That I have to make do and well, do nothing but make stuff. See what I mean? That's what I would do while growing up in Wisconsin. Sew and knit and crochet and work on my scrapbooks. Yes, I was scrapbooking back in the 70's, all through JR. HI and High School. I saved every memento from every event. I saved the gum I was chewing while I was asking Harmon Killebrew for his autograph at a Twins game... the tissue I cried in when I made varsity cheerleading... the ticket stub from "The Exorcist"... candy wrappers from bus trips to away games...
I was all about preserving the images and remembering the stories. And I still am.
Anyway, when you live where the sun is always shining and the weather is always nice, you just long to have to stay in doors with a homemade latte and oodles of projects to keep you busy for days on end. 'Sigh'
And speaking of homemade lattes, I guess I could tell you about my latest, greatest, life-changing discovery... making my own lattes! You see, I rarely ever go to coffee shops. I just won't pay those prices. But I do love a good latte.
It all started when my favorite blog in the whole world mentions that she loves her frother from Williams and Sonoma. Well, if Alicia loves it, than I will too. So my daughter gets me one for my birthday in December. And there it sat, in the box, in my coffee cabinet, till a few weeks ago when I decide to make my first latte.
The part that surprised me the most was reading in the directions that non-fat milk makes the best froth! What? Are you kidding me? Quite frankly, I feel that consuming anything non-fat is wrong... but especially in your coffee! But, out of curiousity and that I am rather ADD (I couldn't stop thinking that I may be missing out on the best froth ever!) I break down, and buy a half gal. of non-fat milk and guess what? It really does make the THE BEST FROTH EVER!! Much forthier than the 1% froth! Thooo thrilled! Umm, why do I feel like I am mithing my two front teeth as I read this back?

Anyway, I use my little stove-top coffee pot that my daughter-in-law bought me. Makes the perfect shot of caffeine. I add one cup of microwaved milk that I have frothed... my one packet of Spenda and a little splash of sugar-free carmel Torani. The perfect latte!
And that my dear, is what I look forward to sipping every single morning.
And the best part... almost priceless... and darn near close to calorieless! (ok, but it should be a word)
Oh and I bought the bigger coffee pot yesterday at Savers for $4.00 so I am equiped to make several shots at one time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the simple wife

So, I survived the 'the elegant evening' and then washing 50 dinner plates, 50 salad plates and 50 appetizer plates by hand the next morning before an all day scrapping affair at my home. Our church owns 50 place settings of China and unfortunately they have to be washed by hand (we borrowed the remaining 30 place settings). But I didn't mind one bit because I knew that I was going to a lovely dinner that night, where I was being served! The night before, at our 'elegant evening', I had two spoon fulls of the orzo and a slice of the pork roast and a couple bites of the chocolate cake dessert. That was all.
So needless to say I was excited for the dinner party at John & Stacey's home, to celebrate John's 55th birthday and to celebrate the completion of his latest book. We were all gathered to thank John's editor Toben for his part in making it all happen. And Toben is such a fun guy! But here's where I get real excited! Toben is married to Joanne and they live in Denver and Joanne has a blog that I LOVE called THE SIMPLE WIFE. Her and I have been commenting on each other's blogs and oohing and aahing at each other's projects and well, we were finally going to meet at the party! And guess what? I love her! And her and Toben's daughters are simply darling! So please go spend some time with her at her blog. She is so multi-gifted, it's ridiculous! Check out her shops, especially The Simple Wife Handmade shop! Oh my gosh, amazing stuff! We have plans to do more together the next time they are in Phoenix. I can't wait! Thrift shops, here we come!
Thanks to Joanne for the sweet pic of her and I! Now go visit her!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An elegant evening

What a wonderful evening of dinner & dancing! I am just now coming down from it all!
My evening highlights- romantic dinner music, rows of candles everywhere, watching Randy (who had never waited tables before!) serving our 80 guests, heart-shaped beets surrounding a most delicious salad on chilled plates, tasting orzo for the first time- yum, serving each course with lots of drama and fanfare, my hubby asking me to dance to "Save the Last Dance for Me" by Michael Buble, watching dear friends in deep conversation with one another and dancing cheek-to-cheek. (thanks Nancy for this pic of us dancing!)
Oh, I could go on and on. It was a magical night! One I will never forget!

The "A Time For US" teaching team at your service! I helped host the event along with these hard-working "waiters"!

How cute are these "heart-beets"! Oh be still my heart!

This gorgeous pic of our yummy, delectable dessert does not even do it justice!! What you can not know is that it is GINORMOUS! Made for each couple to share, but could have fed an entire table of eight! Really! Each couple took home most of their dessert to share with loved ones. What a show-stopper!
Thank you Sandi for capturing such special images of the evening! If you live locally, be sure to check out her photography web site here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ironing memories

Today I sewed ten large white napkins for a dinner we are having at our church Friday night. They're to keep the bread warm at each table, in case you were wondering.
Randy & I are a part of the Marriage Ministry team that is sponsoring this "elegant evening of dinner & dancing". And we have forty couples attending and we are pretty excited about it!

Back to the napkins. I love sewing, but what I really love is the ironing and the pressing. I really do. And I have been thinking for the past hour while running endless stitches on white fabric, why?
Well, I think it goes way back. Ironing being the first 'job' I can recall having as a little girl that seemed so grown-up. I mean, ironing was always done while watching the soaps with my Mom and older sisters. I can still remember the clean, fresh scent of the freshly laundered clothes. I would spend hours and hours ironing hankies and pillow cases, tablecloths and napkins. Eventually graduating to dress shirts and dresses, and like everything else!! Cuz everything needed to be ironed back then!
We didn't have a dryer till my baby brother was born in 1969 and even then we still hung out the majority of clothes. Oh and we got the dryer a few years before we finally sprung for a washing machine. Yup, up till then, my Mom used a wringer washer!

Just remembered something, when it would snow for days, my Mom would hang all the blue jeans (we lived on a farm) in our cold, damp basement and when they were finally dry, you could actually lean them up against the wall! They were THAT stiff!
Oh and remember the pop bottles with the cork sprinkler that you'd sprinkle the clothes with while ironing? Someone?

And I also love hanging clothes out on the line. So gratifying. Here in Phoenix, we can literally take down the clothes that we just hung out before we hang out the next load. They dry that fast here. Remember, it's a dry heat, no humidity. Nice.
Come to think of it, I just really like the whole laundry process. All of it. Now, I don't iron much anymore. But when I am sewing, I iron constantly. Just makes what we are making much better, crisper and cleaner.
Hey, did you notice that my ironing board is extra-wide? It's the best! I LOVE it! Found this deluxe, state-of-the-art ironing board at a thrift store a few years ago and well, it was love at first site!

Oh and Mrs. McGillicutty (Lucy) just had to get all dolled up for Valentine's Day. I found this cute little number at my little thrift store for two dollars last Saturday. Brand new too! I don't have a clue what I'm going to wear Friday night, but I go buying Lucy a fancy cocktail dress. What's up with that! And no, it wouldn't fit me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Valentine memories

A Valentine's memory? mmm... easy. The day my husband asked me to marry him, 29 years ago this week. We were asked to sing at a Valentine's banquet at a little Baptist church on the west side. Now remember, we are not even engaged, but the program they are handing out as people arrived said "Mr. & Mrs. Linda Larson are providing the music for the evening"! How funny is that! It should have said Randy Thompson & Linda Larson. But little did I know that hours later Randy would ask me to be his wife while sitting in his '69 Dodge Charger at Luke AFB while watching fighter jets take off. I had no idea! I was the happiest girl in the whole world that night! What a memorable Valentine's Day that will always be!
The other Valentine's Day that sticks out to me the most was when Miranda was a baby. Up till then, I had pretty much held her the first 3 months of her life. Shawn was 2 1/2 years old, so needless to say, I had my hands full. Well, Randy walks in the house that evening and he has one of those shiny mylar balloons. Miranda could not take her eyes off the sparkle and shine. So I layed her down on the couch, wrapped the ribbon around her little wrist and well, miracle of all miracles... she didn't cry! Our little lamb was as happy and content as I'd ever seen her! I was beyond thrilled!
So thrilled that we immediately took a picture to commemorate the event. And then of course another when I had her all dolled up!

Thank God those balloons stay inflated for a long time... cuz it proved to be the best baby mobile ever! Come to think of it, the best Valentine gift my dear husband could have ever given me!
Oh, you have got to clic the pics to enlarge! Too cute!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

music that moves me

Tonight is The 50th Annual Grammy's and I find myself reflecting on the music that influenced my life over the years.
I thought I'd sit here and just start listing some songs that come to my mind, that I vividly remember. Another words, I am able to recall what I was wearing, who I was with and how I was feeling whenever I hear that song. They will be in no particular order, just whatever pops in my head as I'm watching the show.

The Supremes- I would sing "Lover's Concerto" with Linda and Iris on our way to school every day. Oh that poor bus driver that endured us singing... "How gentle is the rain, that falls softly on the meadow..." over and over.
Lesley Gore- as a little girl I would sing along with that 45 record "It's my Party" for hours on end!
The Lennon Sisters- I loved the song "Sad Movies" so much that I taught my daughter Miranda the entire song while on our way to Wisconsin when she was barely 3 years old.
Creedence Clearwater Revival- "Lodi" and "Bad Moon Rising" and "Have you ever seen the Rain?". Oh, the memories of those songs.
Cute story. My sister Kathy and her three kids drove from Oklahoma City and Randy and I and our kids drove from Phoenix and we camped at Storrie Lake in New Mexico. We layed in our tents that first night WIDE AWAKE because someone across the lake played the Best of Creedence all night long on a real loud stereo! Oh but what a great bunch of songs we had to endure!
The Carpenters- I was in the 7th grade, at my friend Naomi's party and "Close to You" comes on and I will never forget how that song made me feel. Ever.
Bread- the very first album that I bought with my own money. It was my freshman year, in 1972, I paid $3.98. Loved "Make it with You" and "The Guitar Man". Years later, I married me my very own guitar man!
The Rolling Stones- I would go dancing every weekend in high school and every band would cover my favorite Stones song "Gimme Shelter". Oh and another cover favorite- Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"!
The Turtles- "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather be with Me". Great group, great songs!
Led Zeppelin- I went to two different Proms my junior year and both had "Stairway to Heaven" as their theme. Umm, what school didn't that year!
Bob Seger- "Against the Wind" is a huge favorite of mine.
Olivia Newton-John- "Have you never been Mellow". Loved her!
The Eagles- the very first song I ever learned on the guitar was "Peaceful Easy Feeling".
Loved The Holly's "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" and Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" and Aerosmith's "Walk this Way"!
Barbra Streisand- I performed a medly of songs from "A Star is Born" for a talent show in 1976 and got 2nd place.
Patti Page- "Tennessee Waltz" still makes me cry.
The Grass Roots- "Midnight Confessions" and "Temptation Eyes" and "Sooner or Later". Oh my gosh, I loved those songs, loved this group!
And I love anything Bruce Hornsby and Marc Cohn ever did.

The show just ended and this list has gone on long enough but I know that I have forgotten many.

*** show highlights***
Oh my gosh, Carol King came on the show and I thought, who doesn't have "Tapestry" in their album collection.
Oh, and didn't you just love what Vince Gill said to Kanya West!!! GO VINCE!! Sorry, but Kanya bugs me.
OK, so I cried as Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli sang "The Prayer". How moving was that!

Thanks for letting me share the music that moves me. That was fun for me. And please feel free to comment with a song or two that defined a moment in your life.

Friday, February 08, 2008

hanging glitter

I adore these metal glitter ornaments hanging from my craft room window!
I pulled them out at Christmas time and remembered I had purchased them the year before for a fraction of the cost. I knew when I saw them at JoAnns that they would one day hang in my craft room because the colors were so perfect... but forgot I had even bought them once the room was done months later. What a sweet surprise!

Monday, February 04, 2008

my apothecary jar

I love apothecary jars. But never dreamed I would ever own one! They are rather pricey. (as you'll see from this site)
But low & behold I walk into my little thrift store last Friday and find this 18" beauty for $12.00. You're gonna think I'm nuts... but I decide to wait till it's half-off the next day. I even wait till the store has been open for an hour before I stop in and thank you Lord... it's still there! Whew! I know, I can't even stand to pay full price at a thrift store!

When I bring it home and turn it over, the original price was $39.99! Oh my, I'd say I got a deal!
This week I have it filled with my wooden spools of thread. Who knows what it will contain next week... ribbons, buttons, balls of yarn? The possibilities are endless!
Be sure to clic the pics to enlarge.

Friday, February 01, 2008

the long good-bye

I want to elaborate on that last item in my last post... the long good-bye.
Umm, let me set the record straight... the 15 minute good-bye was more like an hour long good-bye in our home!
I grew up on a dairy farm in a Scandinavian, Lutheran community in Wisconsin. My parents married in 1950. Five couples they knew also married that same year and they have all remained dear friends after all these years. My Mom came from a family of six kids and my Dad from a family of nine kids. Yes, cousins galore! I have wonderful memories of having these huge families over for visits. And yes, many of these families had ten kids or more! We only had six kids in our family and they used to feel sorry for us that our family was so small.

But you have got to hear about our long good-byes.

Here's how it went down. First the visiting family mentions that they need to be heading home soon. That is when my Mom would get up and refill cups of coffee and offer another round of cookies and bars. After a while the visiting couple would get up and holler for the kids to get ready to leave. They would then stand around and visit for several more minutes... eventually going outside, only to stand around and visit some more while slowly make their way to their vehicle. That was usually when us kids would start playing outside again, resulting in more time spent corralling all the kids together and piling them in the station wagon. Remember, they have lots of kids. The visiting couple would then get in and proceed to roll down the windows. My parents would then position themselves on either side of the car and visit with the couple for another fifteen minutes or so. When they'd finally start the engine, my Dad would still be hanging onto the side of the car as they inched forward, maybe reminding them to hold off cutting the hay in the morning, as rain was in the forecast. I kid you not, we would still be waving and yelling our good-byes long after they drove down the lane!

Well, it did not even occur to me till only a few years ago that Randy and I do the same. Ok, so we don't visit through rolled down windows while they are pulling out of our driveway... ok, so maybe we have... but we always walk our guests out to their car, talking for quite some time before they get in and then waving our good-byes as they drive off down the street.
Mmm... more like the half-hour long good-bye as I see it.