Friday, June 26, 2015

Aaaaand I'm Off!

Well, ladies and gents, I'm off again! Tomorrow afternoon I'm taking off for Someplace Else for a week to teach a 5 Day Club. I'm excited but also kind of extremely nervous and really I'm not sure I want to leave home again. I mean, I just got home after being gone for a week and a half and I'm ready to be home for about a month and a half. 

But I'll go and it'll be a blast and all that jazz. And I'll be home for most of July so it's okay. 

I love teaching, I love my group, I love the town I get to teach in, I love all of it, I just wish I could move Someplace Else and everybody on my team out here, you know? When I left for CYIA I was excited and it was nice to get away and have a little change of pace. But now I'm just ready to stay home and knit and wander the house in slip slops and pajamas. 

Oh well. I know I'm going to love it. And then I'll get home with a hundred stories to tell about how awesome it was. So don't go anywhere, folks, I'm comin' back. 

For now, sayonara, and I'll be back on the 3rd. God bless!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fiberizing

It's been a while since I've posted anything about my WIP (work in progress, for those of you who wonder), so here you are. Right now I'm in the middle of at least two things...probably three...maybe four... I don't know. Join me as I dig through my yarn baskets and bags and we'll find out.

Probably my newest project is a pair of toe-up socks. For a while, I was pretty socked-out, but I rolled across a half-used skein of laceweight while I was absentmindedly flipping through a sock pattern book...and basically I didn't have a chance. The battle was over before it began. The S.S. Scotty was doomed. Sunk. Headed for the Cliffs of Insanity...er, Sock Making.

Anyway. Hence, I'm in the middle of the first sock (and with the way this yarn is diminishing, possibly the only) of a pattern called Peppercorn, from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' Two-at-a-Time Toe Up Socks. It's a super easy pattern, just a four-row repeat, and the stitches feel like they're literally flying off my needles.

My next project is a baby dress. I'm kind of feeling guilty just thinking about it right now because it's been perched in a heap on my dresser pretty much since I got back from CYIA. The poor project has been sadly neglected. Oh well. I'm working my way through it, and I'm almost to the sleeves in the front.
 Yes, I know it doesn't look like much and it probably looks like the wackiest baby dress you've ever seen. For one very good reason: you're looking at the wrong side. All you can see is what will be the inside of the dress because that's what I took a picture of. See, the baby dress's recipient's mother sometimes reads my blog, or used to, or I don't even know, but I don't want to post sneak peeks and have her see them because I want the finished project to be a surprise.

Last night I did a little fibery thing, not exactly knitting but I like the way it turned out so I'm posting a picture of that too. In our family, we looooooove Old Navy flip flops. So much that we call them 'slip slops'- an age-old tradition dating back to when the Squirt and I were tiny (or tinier than we are now), at least, and possibly even further back than that. So anyway, every summer we (the Squirt and Momma and I, that is, Daddy's not into slip slops, which I'm very grateful for- in my opinion dudes should not wear slip slops. Ever. Just don't.) make several trips to Old Navy and at least one of them involves sandals. This year mine are light pink and I love them.

Except the darn things rub! You know how the straps rub along the inside of your foot and it hurts? Yeah. Normally we just slap a Band-Aid on it and call it good, but this time I took action. Daddy and I were walking home from Runza (we have a weekly tradition of walking over, reading the Federalist Papers over ice cream or french fries, and walking back, occasionally in the rain.) and my shoes started acting up. Then I had a thought. What if you could find a way that was both decorative and functional and cutesy and stopped the rubbing? My first thought was of a ball of camo yarn that is THE softest ever. I don't remember what all is in it or what brand it is, but it is amazing. I haven't used a lot of it because it's pretty heavy yarn and most of my knitting lately has been for my niece on little tiny needles with lacey yarns, so it's been sitting on  my bookshelf (yes, there is yarn on almost every surface in my bedroom) for quite a while. I loooooove the idea of camo and pale pink together, so I took the camo and wound it around the straps.

And that, ladies and gents, is my WIP stash. G'day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ballet Recital


It's been almost a month since the Squirt performed in her third dance recital! How time flies when you want to blog about everything, aye?

I took tons of pictures of the getting-ready-for-dance-recital part, however, I was unable to get any pictures of the actual event. Which I was super disappointed about. But I can tell you about it and show you the getting-ready procedures.

This one is one of the first that I took, and it's one of my favorites. I did edit it a little, but seriously she's beautiful all on her own and nothing I did added to that. The first part of getting ready was the costume and tights, which I have a full picture of in a minute. Step two was the hair...and in our house we have a ton of hair. Except my dad, whose bald spot isn't shrinking any over the years. But the three of us girls have "hair to spare," as Momma says. Getting all of the Squirt's mass of hair into a bun can be a stressful chore and I have no idea how she does it but my mom always manages to get it all up perfectly. 

































And that big smile! My word, she's gorgeous. #don'tmindthephotobombingMcDonaldscup

We have a running joke that the Squirt develops "Ken-hair" for the last week of May, what with all the hair-gelling and pinning and such. Her hair literally feels like plastic once it's in the bun and boy howdy, Nebraska, you can huff and puff but none of your royal windiness is gonna move one hair in the bun, trust me on that one. 
I love this picture. It cracks me up. She's actually shielding her face from the hairspray, but she could so totally be hiding from the sisterazzi (sorry, Grammarly, I know sisterazzi isn't a word but just deal with it today, okay?). "No pictures, please, step away, no cameras, excuse me, ma'am, no pictures until the show..." Someday when she's a famous Radio City Rockette (her newest dream), I'll have to get a special ID or something that says I'm her sister and I have photographing rights.

Pardon the porch railing, but this is hair and costume all done. The last step on the road of Preparation for Ballet Recital is makeup, so bear with me and let's finish this baby off.
I could say this about all of these pictures, but this is one of my favorites. And the best part is I'm pretty sure she didn't even know I took this one. It's just perfect. 

Okay. Last picture. All ready to dance!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our Town

This year our beloved SongWeaver hit a home run onstage, people. Earlier this month she starred as Emily Webb in the Little Theatre's production of Our Town and she rocked it.

Literally.

I've seen her act and perform before, and she has this way of so completely disappearing into a part that I almost forget it's really her and not actually Emily Webb. It's fantastical, like she was born for this and I really truly believe she was. SW's been acting since she was like, eight. And she loves it and she rocks the stage so well.

So anyway. Early this year she auditioned for Our Town, and one night during rehearsals for Mary Poppins, she leaned over to me and informed me quietly and somewhat calmly that she made it, that she was a lead, that she was the lead and I flew through the roof.

It was a little hectic in the weeks leading up to opening night- probably more so for her than me- with script-reading in the cafeteria and all that. It seemed like June was never going to come. Then one morning I woke up and lo and behold, it's opening night! I wasn't able to make it to the first show, but I did get to see her once and it was fantastic. To be honest, the story line was a little bit lacking but the actors were phenomenal and SW totally carried the show. I think Our Town is one that could be really super boring or incredibly thought-provoking, depending on the talent and passion of the actors. And this production was really, really great! SW was on fire and she did a great job developing Emily into her own person with personality and passion.

The third act was a little creepy for some younger audience members, as it took place in a graveyard with Emily talking to other deceased and revisiting her 12th birthday, but I loved the second act. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a little romance, but it was super sweet and I looooooooooooved it. Basically all of a sudden Emily and George realize they were made for each other and he more or less proposes over an ice cream sundae in the drugstore. Totally Hallmark Channel but I love it.

I would post like eight thousand pictures, but I don't have any yet, so maybe when I get some I'll come back and edit this and add them. Until then, use your imagination. But you won't even get close to the magnificence of seeing my SongWeaver onstage leading an entire show.

Monday, June 22, 2015

CYIA

So maybe some of you noticed that there were no new posts for like two weeks recently...sorry about that. I was living in a little tiny town across the border of Wyoming. I'm back home now and it feels like there is so much to blog about!

I think first I'll expound on where I've been. Last January, the NE State Director for Child Evangelism Fellowship came and spoke at my Sunday School class about a youth training camp in the eastern end of the state. My dad is the treasurer of the local CEF chapter so I was pretty familiar with CEF stuff, but I'd never heard of this thing he told us about. It was called Christian Youth In Action, and it was a two-week training program to train teens to teach 5 Day Clubs and VBS' and things like that to reach out to children in communities across the world. CEF is currently in 192 of 207 countries, with a goal of being in every country in the world by 2017. It was one of those things that sort of grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go. I got home and said, "Daddy, I want to go do this." We talked about it and prayed about it, and when God gave us the okay, I started raising support. I decided that I would attend the training in Wyoming since it was closer to home. It was two very intense weeks of learning and studying and practicing, but it was so worth it. One thing that I really pulled out of it was making my faith my own. All of a sudden I was out all alone, forty-five minutes away from home, and I didn't know a single soul. All of a sudden it was up to me to make sure I got to class on time, kept myself healthy, did my devotions- it was up to me and it was a little scary at first. I didn't realize how much I had grown spiritually until I got home and went to church and thought, "okay, that's all well and good, now can you teach me something deeper?" I literally had a meltdown because I was angry and tired and I didn't understand why church felt so empty. At CYIA, we have chapel every morning and every night, and our speaker was amazing. I learned so much every single day and I was challenged to grow closer to God. This year was the same. Only minus the meltdown, because I was a little more prepared for church on Sunday.

Anyway. That's where I was. It wasn't quite as overwhelming as last year, but still pretty hectic. At least this year I knew people and all that great stuff. It's kinda hard to walk into a group of people who are all divided into groups based on where they're from and they know everybody in their group and then there's you, all by yourself, trying to make friends and everybody looks so clique-ish and closed off.

It's a little worse when you go back the next year and realize how friendly and open everybody really is. Oops.

But this year was super fun. My goal is to take ten other kids with me next year. This end of Nebraska doesn't have an area director right now so I'm not completely sure how it would all look yet but that's my prayer.

I'm glad to be home, but I'll be spending three weeks of the summer in WY so blogging might get a little scanty here soon. I'll write when I can and y'all have a nice day!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Sorry I'm Not Sorry: A Review

My first book review ever on my own blog is finally ready to go up and I am super hyped! Let's do this thing!

I've so far reviewed the first two books of Nancy Rue's Mean Girl Makeover trilogy (you can find those reviews on my mom's blog). Last week I almost literally did a happy dance when the third one, Sorry I'm Not Sorry arrived in the mail.

I absolutely loved the first two books in Nancy Rue's latest trilogy, Mean Girl Makeover. The latest addition to the series proved just as delightful as the first two.

In Sorry, readers will take a peek into the mind of Grass Valley Middle School's Alpha Wolf, Kylie Steppe. Those who have read the preceding books will remember Kylie as the leader of the sixth-grade bullies. I admit, I had my doubts about this book, since Kylie seriously got on my nerves in the last two installments. But Ms. Rue has once again delivered a true-to-life, captivating, and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious depiction of yet another aspect of the ever-growing bullying problem in America.

Kylie is one of many characters in Mean Girl Makeover that that girls from fifth- or sixth-grade through highschool will laugh with, cry for, and cheer with in Sorry. Through weeks of guidance and mentoring with Lydia, Kylie is finally starting to find her new identity as the beautiful, loving child of God that she was created to be. But her old friends see the change- and they're definitely not fans of the new Kylie. When  they turn on her through social media, Kylie is left with a decision to make: fight for what she knows is right, or give in to her old self and retaliate against the pain she suddenly sees and feels. She begins to realize that her choices and actions affect other people as well as herself. The online bullying campaign hurts her in a way that she's unused to and she's unsure how to respond. Will she make the right decision? Will Tori and the Tribelet be willing to trust Kylie even though she's hurt them? And will Kylie have the courage to stand up and take back the 'the power to'- to be her own person?

I highly recommend this book and the entire Mean Girl Makeover series to any girl in middle or high school. Ms. Rue, you've nailed it once again! Congrats and many many thanks to you for your effort to help the campaign against bullying. I give this book five out of five stars.

We received a free copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions are my own.