Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conscientious Parents

Today I'm grateful for parents that are conscientious of how sending a sick child to school, day care, or therapy can infect other children. I'm so thankful for those parents that cancel plans in order to keep other children safe. I try very hard not to let my girls pass on what they have and I'm appreciative when others do the same.

I still didn't get the Eddie Cap made because it takes a lot longer to wrap 24 books than I thought. Last year I asked for Christmas/Holiday traditions to start with my little ones because I didn't really grow up with any to pass on. The one I decided to try this year is to wrap 24 appropriate seasonal books and the girls I and will unwrap one each day until Christmas. One of the books is actually a coloring book which I figure we can color together. I was also planning to mix in some seasonal videos to watch, but I never got around to acquiring any. Most of the books I wrapped were books we already had or books that were on clearance after last Christmas. The nerdlet helped me wrap the gifts and had a lot of fun pulling pieces of tape for me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The New Roof

Here is what the roof looked like when we discovered the hole in it.

And here is the new roof.

I can't wait to see what it looks like when the solar panels go up, hopefully next week.

I was going to make this today. I pulled out the quilting cotton that I used for my sister's quilt last year, but it turned out to be too thin. My husband has the perfect fabric for this in one of his few long sleeve shirts, but I doubt he'll donate it to my project. If I can find the time tomorrow, I'm planning on trying it again. My friend on facebook is doing a craft a day until Christmas and I'm going to do my best to follow along (at least the good ones).

Today was a very good day. I'm feeling grateful for so many things, particularly my wonderful family. I'm so very blessed. I'm especially grateful today for the DSASA (Down Syndrome Association of San Antonio). We have Kindermusik on Tuesdays for about half the months of the year, which is wonderful for all my girls and also for the mothers of the kids, too. The teacher of the class is a very patient woman (with the kids and the parents) and we had our last class of this year today. I know my girls will miss going until the classes resume next year and I'm so thankful for having the opportunity to go to these sessions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Roof

A short while back, our favorite neighbor's tree knock a big chunk of our roof off (and his own). Our insurance came and looked at it and said that we needed a new roof, not just that section. Q and I discussed it and decided that we would get bids for the new roof and also for solar panels. Since there are a number of rebates (including a large one from the city electric company) and we got some decent bids, we are replacing the roof with a metal roof and having the solar panels installed. Today they started the work and it looks like the roof will be finished tomorrow and I'm very grateful that the roof is being done so quickly. I don't know how long it will take to add the solar panels, but I'm hoping that those will go up quickly as well.

On a side note, to those considering a home equity loan, it is a very long drawn out process and if I had known what it was going to entail, we would have just refinanced the house which would have been a little more paperwork but better overall.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

BurdaStyle Magazine 12-2011

I really like this months Burda. I got it a few days ago, but I only got the chance to go through it today.

First, here are the technical drawings.

I recently learned that not all the versions of the magazine come with the pictorial style overview, so I'm going to post those, too.

I really like 107 and I think it would be fairly flattering on me.

I also really like 103 and 105, though I do wonder if I would like it as much without the really cool texture of the fabric they used (I'm trying to not purchase fabric for anything but use stuff from my huge fabric collection).

The only children's pattern I'm interested in is 144. I think the nerdlet would love it, but I'm afraid if I made her a version of this painter's smock that she would insist upon wearing it everywhere.

Normally, I stay away from anything that has any bias at all, but as the skirt part of 123 that is cut on the bias isn't as all near any curves, I'm wondering if it would work better. I also like this style as a top.

I would make a dicky to cover the cleavage of dress 106B, but I like the style a lot.

I'm not sure that I would make any of the dog items, but I'm glad to see them. If my sister sewed, she would definitely make this for her chiweenie (sp?). She wanted him to be Sherlock Holmes for Halloween and this would have been the perfect pattern.

Finally, the preview for next month. The plus size preview is in the upper right corner and I'm eager to see it. I think the produce costumes are hilarious, but they may someday serve me useful in a school play.

The Muppet Movie

Q decided to spend big and take us to see a movie. This is the first movie that we have seen as a family of five, the first movie that the nerdlet has watch the whole thing (she fell asleep at 'How to Train Your Dragon' which was the only other one she had been to), and the first movie ever for the bear cub and Darth Baby.

It was definitely a success. The nerdlet apparently thought she was going to see the penguin movie and kept asking me the whole time when the penguins were coming on. The bear cub clearly had to struggle to stay awake, but she was successful and made us let her free so that she could dance through the credits. They both paid close attention and clearly understood at least somewhat what was going on and the bear cub was signing appropriately for the story line which thrilled me to pieces. Darth Baby fell asleep in my arms about 15 minutes in and slept for the rest of the movie.

I'm so grateful that my girls were incredibly well behaved and that we had a wonderful family outing. I don't know that we will do it again soon as movie prices have gone way up since the last time we went, but at least worrying about the how the girls are going to behave at least won't be a factor when considering it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Make Up and Sibling Rivalry

For the nerdlet's birthday, she got a gift certificate for Toys R Us. I told her she could get anything in the store that it would cover and I was unsurprised when she headed straight for the arts and crafts kits. I was, however, very surprised when she picked up the box of children's cosmetics and insisted that that was what she wanted. I tried hard to convince her of anything else but she kept insisted on her 'treasure box of beautiful'. I made her carry it and explained that she could get it but would not be allowed to paint everything at her whim and only would be able to use it at specific supervised times. Right as we were deciding to leave she told me she wanted to put it back and picked up a watercolor book and some watercolors. A few days later she decided to spend the rest of her gift certificate on what she calls a dirt truck, but is a Caterpillar toy bulldozer. So yesterday I was extremely grateful to have missed the four-year-old with makeup bullet.

Today I am grateful that my girls do not fight over things. I was reminded today by the nerdlet's godmother's husband how rare this is. My girls get along so well and have pretty much from the beginning that I've started to take it for granted. All three of my girls are pretty good at sharing with each other and I'm a super lucky mama to have children that play together well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Double Day

I didn't post yesterday, so I'll list two things today.

I'm so very thankful for having an adequate water heater. I'm thankful that I can still get warm water for my shower when there is other water being used, such as the dishwasher or a load of diapers (pretty much the only laundry I wash in hot water).

Today, I'm especially grateful for this wonderful day of thanks. This is my favorite holiday. I love how you feel when you contemplate all the wonderful things in your life that you have to be grateful for. I've done this November thanks thing a number of times before and I find that by Thanksgiving it is so easy to find things to be Thankful for and that in general I'm in a better mood than at the beginning of the month. I really needed this little boost this year and am so glad that we have this holiday to inspire this.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Photography Piece

In the past I've mentioned that my FIL is an award winning photographer. One of his photographs that won an award a while back as part of the award was to have it printed on canvas and my MIL preferred to have it printed on normal photo paper and framed with a mat, and when I asked what they were going to do with the canvas version, I got an 'I don't know yet." So, of course, I offered very excitedly and pointedly to take it off their hands. So today I'm grateful that my beautiful new picture is currently adorning the wall by my front door. Obviously I'm not near as good a photographer as he is, but here is a picture of it's current home.

Monday, November 21, 2011

One step at a Time

I love my gym, but for almost the last three years, I've had to make appointments for every time I went 48 hours in advance. This is because as long as you have a little one in the baby room, you have to make appointments for them since there is limited space. To graduate from the baby room, they have to witness the baby take 10 steps. It took forever for the bear cub to graduate because she so rarely would take so many steps and never in front of them. She finally did very recently. Today I'm grateful that I no longer have to make appointments for the baby room because Darth Baby (after a whole lot of coaxing and the staff requesting that I go home and try another day) finally took 10 steps in front of them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quilt Pixilation Tutorial

I bought a game today call Ji Ga Zo, for the reason that it breaks down a picture into various color blocks (that are graded) so that you can then put them together to make a picture. It was being clearanced and I bought it to turn it into a quilting program. My idea doesn't look like it is going to work well, though, because the picture will end up being 20 x 20 pixels, which for most pictures will not have enough clarity to be recognizable. However, I do think that I have a solution to that, too.

I'm going to demonstrate with a picture of the nerdlet after she cut her hair two days ago.

Then I used MS Office Picture manager to crop it so that there were much fewer details for my image to contain.

Next I used MS Office Picture manager to take out all the saturation. This is done by going back into edit picture and choosing color; then just slide the saturation bar toward zero.

Then I went back into edit picture and chose resize and resized it to 50 x 50.

Here is a photo of this enlarged (since I couldn't find a way that it showed the pixels otherwise).

Then to see the different pixels, I opened the new picture in MS Paint and zoomed in large enough to see it. I'm currently having Q look for a way for to order the pixels in some way so as to assist with the fabric purchases, but worst case scenario, this is definitely something that you can match to.


Today I'm extremely grateful for the crockpot and deep freezer. I went out the night before last to pick up some medicine for Q and unfortunately I went on an empty stomach. My original intention was to pick up a sandwich at a fast food place on the way and I thought about how much cheaper and better it would be for me to buy something for dinner while I was out and instead of hitting Walgreens for the medicine, I went to HEB (our local grocery store). Also, I decided to make a mini-Thanksgiving for us to have at home instead of waiting for family meal at Q's parents on Thanksgiving. That way I could have oyster stuffing without forcing my tastes on my in-laws and not feel guilty about taking a turkey drumstick. I would also say that I'm really grateful that you can just buy drumsticks. I made the entire meal, which turned out to not be so mini, and most of it went into the freezer today after we ate. Also, I cooked the drumsticks and the sweet potatoes in the crockpot at the same time, which came out perfect. I'll do the regular baked potatoes the same way if I decide to do this again. While out, I also bought what I needed to make caldo and chorizo. The majority of the caldo is also in the freezer and likely most of the chorizo will go in the freezer tomorrow. The deep freezer is the smallest one that they sold when I was single and I'm beginning to think that it won't be long until I feel the need to upgrade, but for now my little freezer is definitely serving us well.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eating Well

I'm thankful that my girls did not inherit Q and my eating issues. We were both extremely picky eaters growing up and yet my girls will eat almost anything I put in front of them.

The nerdlet was born knowing how to eat and we could barely keep her away from food the first four months. She would scream to have food that we were eating when she was just weeks old and developed her pincher grasp at 3 months and would try every chance she got to dig into our plates (she still does). We introduced avocado on her four month birthday and she didn't have any of the typical issues you see when you introduce food. She sucked down the tablespoon of food I made for her and when she realized that I wasn't giving her more, she shoved the bib in her mouth and started sucking that. The pickiness that she does exhibit has to do with quality (like eating Chik-Fil-A chicken strips but not chicken nuggets from other places).

The bear cub is even less picky that her older sister. I was so worried about her when I introduced food to her which was also at four months. I had read all about how children with Down syndrome were especially prone to have taste and texture aversions and that the best way to combat this was to introduce foods early and often. So that is what I did. I followed the exact food introduction schedule that I had used for the nerdlet. She would allow me to place a small amount in her mouth. She'd tolerate it for a bit and maybe even chew a bit and then spit it out. At 15 months I still had not gotten her to swallow anything but breast milk and formula and only from a bottle. We had a nutritionist recommend switching her to Pediasure and at about a eighteen months she finally decided to start swallowing (thanks to her sister sharing cookies with her). She still doesn't eat enough to sustain herself and mostly only eats about 2 tablespoons at a time before she is done, but she rarely refuses anything.

Darth Baby was the least accepting of food. My plan was to again use the same introduction schedule and she quickly let me know that she wasn't going to allow me to even put it in her mouth. Nothing. Not even a taste. No way. I offered pretty much every day and she made it very clear that she wasn't interested. Then just about a month ago she decided that it all looked very good and started eating everything. I will admit that Darth Baby did not get the healthy introduction of foods that her sister did because of her resistance and she does show a marked interest in the unhealthy options that include a lot of sugar, salt, and fat. She is big into meat which isn't a particular favorite of either of her sisters, but she does seem willing to eat and try new things so far.

I'm just really thankful that I don't have to struggle every day trying to make sure my girls get enough good food. I am working on the bear cub eating enough as she is still getting most of her nutrition from Pediasure which bothers me a lot and not just because it's expensive, but I love that all three of my girls are accepting of a lot of fruits and vegetables and different varieties of flavors.

Bon apetite.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My first set of babies

I'm so grateful for my pets. I call them my babies still, even after having kids, and while they aren't near as spoiled as they once were, I love them so much.

This is Ally. I call her Ally Bally or Baby Girl. When I got her she was between 4 and 6 months old and that was in 1998. She's going to be 14 years old soon, and I'm thankful for that because when she was rescued she tested positive for everything except rabies and parvo. She has weekly trips to the vet for her heart worms, stomach worms, and mange and had so many drugs in her system for so long that they told me that she likely wouldn't live to see 10 years. She has been there for me through a divorce, a few breakups, a marriage, three moves, and a few job changes. She is amazingly intelligent and incredibly loyal and sweet and docile as can be.

This is Jasmine. In a way, she is the last gift I received from my ex-husband. She and her siblings were dumped in a box on his parents doorstep and his father was just going to let them starve to death. She was 3-4 weeks old when I got her in August of 2000. She is all cat. She is smart and athletic, and as you can probably see from the picture, dripping with attitude. Some how although she was so young when I got her, she already was a touch feral. She believes that Ally is her mom but tolerates me and Q pretty much as the only humans that she lets get near her nowadays.

This chubby thing is Misty. She is crazy but so incredibly loveable. She is the softest cat that I've ever felt. Q rescued her from an abusive home in 2001 and very shortly after that, she came to live with me. We renamed her Diva, but it didn't stick and Misty she still is. She has a special relationship with the bear cub and pretty much lets the bear cub do whatever she wants to her, but stays clear of Darth Baby and the nerdlet. This wonderful cat is stuck in kitten mode and will play until she drops. She also gives great lumbar massages (though so far only to me).

This is Suki. I tried so hard after getting this dog from animal control to rehome her, but I'm really glad that I was never successful. I got her in 2003 when she was about 3 months old and it was clear pretty early on that she was meant to be a working dog, either a drug or hunting dog. She has an amazing sense of smell and you can see her track the paths of other animals when she comes into a room. She also likes to hold smaller animals in her mouth, though she has never hurt them. She can jump the 6 foot privacy fence without a running jump, and she likes to sit on the fence like a bird and terrify people walking or jogging by. She is fiercely protective of my girls and will let them crawl all over her. A lot of these traits have caused me some grief, but she is definitely worth it and I'm glad no one ever took her off my hands.

I love these girls so much and my heart breaks just thinking about how much I'm going to miss them when they are gone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Zoo

I'm grateful that Q took some time off to spend with us and that there were lots of animals active at the zoo. Normally most of the animals are either sleeping or hiding behind things, but today was really good for seeing them up and moving around.

The rock squirrel isn't an actual exhibit. They are everywhere in the zoo. This was in the Cassowary's home.

The wattled crane reminds me of a crane crossed with a turkey.

The crested porcupine

The red kangaroo

The cassowary

Warthogs. Sometime this summer, there was a girl around five or six running towards them all excited and when she got there she yelled to her parents, "They're soooo beautiful." I thought that was great.

Sumatran Tiger. We go to the zoo a lot and this is the very first time that I've seen him active or close and he was both.

Speke's gazelle


This lioness seemed to get up from sleeping just so I could take a picture.

This jaguar's cell mate is currently in the San Diego zoo being mated. He seems really lonely.

Dama gazelle

The okapi. I love this animal. He is one of my favorites, but I never can seem to get a good picture of the ones they have.

Red river hogs

Reeve's muntjac

Last but not least are the nerdlet's favorites, the flamingos. I think these are Chilean flamingos.

These aren't anywhere near all that I took, but some of the better ones.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Abundance of Thanks

I ventured out to El Paso, then Yuma, and finally to Los Angeles. We had a good trip though my girls and I all were sick and I now have a high record for most times being thrown up on in a week which is unlikely to ever be toppled. I'm going to give a quick catch up on my thanks which are really all today's since I didn't keep a running record.

Nov. 8: I'm thankful for access to the internet. Who knew when I ventured out that I would be forsaking my habit of regular communication with my friends and family that live in the computer? I also was unaware that people were still accessing the internet with dial-up connection, which after having waited 10 minutes for my first page to load, I gave up.

Nov. 9: I'm thankful for having an opportunity to see some of the many beautiful sites in the US and their sunsets.

Nov. 10: I'm so grateful for having such a wonderful extended family and being close enough (I wish it was literally, too) to have my kids know them. Here is a pic of Darth Baby with her 2nd cousin's child (my first cousin's grandchild).

Nov. 11: I'm grateful that there are still some beaches left on the coast in California. This was the day that the nerdlet was puking all over me and I don't think that anything would have cheered her as a visit to the beach did. In my naivety, I was under the impression that from LA that you could just drive to the coast and see the beach, but apparently it is covered in industrial piers. We did ask the border patrol where to see beach and they fortunately directed us to Long Beach, which was a small little beach but nicely clear of people on this cold, overcast day.

Nov. 12: I'm grateful for relatives like my sister and my cousin that think nothing of driving 2 to 3 hours to visit someone that they haven't seen in ages. I hope we made it worth it for them.

Nov. 13: I'm grateful for beautiful churches. We went to mass at St. Thomas More in Alhambra and it was filled with beauty. Also, I LOVED that the sermon included a piece on how everyone could learn from a child with Ds giving their all while participating in the Special Olympics. I was even more thrilled when multiple people welcomed me as a visitor after mass and was jealous upon hearing their menu for after mass which include a lot of Mexican delicacies.

Nov. 14: I'm grateful for the many varieties of cactus in the world. I especially enjoyed seeing so many this trip and spent a great deal of time trying to get a good picture of a Saguaro cactus, which mostly only grows in Arizona.

Nov. 15: I'm grateful for 24 hour loratidine with sudafed (Claritin D).

Nov. 16: I'm so very grateful that we had a safe trip and made it home happy and healthy.