Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween!

We had a good day. Jake was so funny - at the church Halloween party he went around to all the cars doing what they call "trunk or treating" and since we had run out of candy by the time he got back to our car, he dumped his bag into our bowl and set off to get us more candy to give away.

On our way home from the church he announced, "I'm not going out tonight. That's my final decision".

And he didn't. He sat at the end of the driveway with me and handed out candy to all our trick-or-treaters. He talked the whole time. When we had only four pieces left in the bottom of the bowl he decided that he was keeping it and we were done giving it away.

Next year we'll have our dear little Buttercup with us for Halloween. I figure with my mad skills on the sewing machine and her mother's flair for drama and costuming Buttercup will be the best-dressed baby in town on Halloween night.

Jake and I watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV Wednesday night. He had never seen it, and I was surprised, watching it again, how cynical and kinda sad it was.

That's as scary as it got for us this year. Not a single horror flick.

And no, that's not my jack-o-lantern. I remembered, as we were getting situated outside tonight, that buying a pumpkin and carving it up would have been a fun and appropriate thing to do today.

Oh well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

We lived!

Though our creek is over-full, and our yard is soggy and littered with twigs and pine cones, we lived through last night's deluge.

My Little Friend asked me this morning, "So, freezing yourself for the future doesn't really work, does it?" (He had that super cute little squinchy face on when he said "does it?" like he was pretty sure what my answer would be, but not positive what my answer would be. Man, he kills me with cuteness sometimes.)

I had to tell him no, it doesn't work. He said, "Yeah, you probably just age while you're frozen".

I love how he still thinks all he has to do to find out something is ask me. Because he knows I have the solution to everything he needs. It's a beautiful thing. It will end, surely, but it's beautiful while it lasts.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Serious weather

Tonight we are under:
  • a Severe Thunderstorm Warning
  • a Flash Flood Warning
  • AND
  • a Tornado Warning.

Exciting stuff...

  • Our backyard is a lake
  • We've got water coming in around the back door
  • Our street is starting to look more like a river
  • Our electricity keeps going out

We're really hoping not to hear that dreaded "freight train" noise barreling down on us, but just in case we do we're saying our prayers and making right with God.

See you tomorrow! We hope. : )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twisted panties

You've heard the expression "she has her panties in a twist"?

Mine are. I'm all worked up today over something that is, essentially, nothing.

I know it's nothing, and yet - still twisted. I hate that.

Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity NOW.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paying bills

Today was bill-paying day. I like bill-paying day. I actually enjoy paying our bills. Does that make me weird?

Don't answer that.

Paying the bills makes me feel so grown up. Responsible. Organized. And somehow, it also makes me feel righteous.

I think that's a funny way to feel after paying money to the electric company and the insurance agency, but there you have it.

We are always somewhat broke after paying bills, but that's okay because we have everything we need and a little bit left over for fun.

My cup runneth o'er.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It used to be a lot more fun when the big kids were littler. Now it seems like every year it gets a little bit harder to get excited about Halloween.

Halloween Party
by Kenn Nesbitt

We're having a Halloween party at school.
I'm dressed up like Dracula. Man, I look cool!
I dyed my hair black and I cut off my bangs.
I'm wearing a cape and some fake plastic fangs.

I put on some makeup to paint my face white
like creatures that only come out in the night.
My fingernails, too, are all pointed and red.
There's no doubt I look like the evil undead.

My mom drops me off and I run into school
and suddenly feel like the world's biggest fool.
The other kids stare like I'm some kind of freak.
The Halloween party is not till next week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The best feeling

is when your kids make you proud. My Little Prince gave a talk in church today and did the most fabulous job. The bishop even called our house tonight to tell me:
  • what an outstanding young man James is,
  • that even an adult couldn't have done a better job,
  • that he hit every point he was asked to while keeping the congregation interested and engaged in what he was saying,
  • and that he, the bishop, respects and appreciates James.

Several people commented to me after church about what a great job James did.

It's a nice feeling to be proud of your kid for doing something hard with a good attitude and a considerable amount of skill. It adds to that feeling a bit when other people recognize that you have a good kid.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Region Choir Auditions

My Little Prince did well today. He made it through the cut and is on to All-State Choir Pre-Area Auditions.

Friday, October 23, 2009

the butterfly quilt

Remember how I said a couple weeks ago that I'd have it done in a week or ten days?

Ha! The thing has taken over my life.

  • 13 square butterfly blocks - each block has 27 seams
  • 8 large triangle blocks - each with only 1 seam
  • 4 small triangle blocks - each with 1 seam
  • sashing between all square and triangle blocks and bordering the whole thing - 12 inches of sashing contains 12 seams. I can't bring myself to measure the yards and yards of sashing I've made. It might possibly make me vow to never make another quilt.

(It's beautiful, though. A visual feast. It's also soft. Dear little Buttercup will have lots of sensory stimuli.)

And still not finished.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Never, ever #3

I don't ever want to go swimming again.

Sure, I'll go to the pool. I'll take the kids, but I'll be reading and supervising while high and dry on a deck chair. Maybe I'll dangle my feet in the water.

But I don't like swimming. I don't like anything about swimming.

I don't ever want to go.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Never, ever #2

I'm never, ever getting another paper cut. As long as I live. Whatever I have to do to avoid it, I'm doing it.

Want to hear something silly? I remember when I was a little girl (likely possessing a pair of skinned knees) making a vow that I would never get hurt again. From that moment on I would never again feel pain or have to witness vital bodily fluids ooze out of me.

Since making that vow I've given birth the old-fashioned way 5 times, broken some ribs, cracked my pinky toes numerous times on corners of baseboards and kitchen cabinets, and of course there have been various cuts, scrapes and burns while cooking and managing the DubDub household.

Be careful out there, people. And especially watch out while opening your mail.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Never, ever again

A new series for your reading pleasure, entry #1.

I never want to watch a scary movie ever again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The more things change...

the more they stay the same.

Taylor reports that he found a coat in their apartment that some unknown missionary left there. He's says it's a nice coat and he's happy to wear it.

He also found one really nice glove. He's "searching the apartment" for its mate.

This says two things about Taylor:

1. His place is a mess. (Seriously now, everything he owns can fit into two suitcases and a backpack, but the apartment must be "searched"?)
2. He won't spend his own money on stuff he needs if he can help it.

He's changed addresses. He's changed continents. He's changed hemispheres and he's changed languages.

But he's still the same kid.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm speechless

Actually I'm not speechless, I'm just not feeling bloggish today.

Do you think that if I've started to appreciate and understand the appeal of a sling-back pump it means that I'm getting old?

This is the question that will likely keep me awake tonight.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's a conspiracy

That's what it is.

Have you noticed that all, (and when I say "all" I mean every single brand) of the toilet paper rolls are narrower? Mr. Dub did. And now we have a mission - to buy all the older, wider rolls before they're gone.
Because what we've always had is what we want. Why do they mess with perfection, anyway?

Friday, October 16, 2009

dreaming of B

Buttercup that is.

Today was a very productive day - I finished piecing all the butterfly blocks for Buttercup's quilt. I also made a lot of progress on all the baby shower/thank you notes/birth announcements (200 in all) for the little darling.

On top of all that I am in the midst of an overhaul of all my food storage and food-storage storage systems. My old way of dealing with it isn't working for us. Hopefully the new way will be a more efficient use of space and add some much needed accessability. The next step involves emptying out some kitchen cabinets and reconfiguring the height of the shelves to fit my new containers.

This house is seriously trashed. I think it'll get a lot worse before it gets better. There's gallon-sized containers, bags of food, various sewing projects, multiple crocheting projects, numberless knitting projects, shoes, socks, backpacks, etc. and so forth all over the place. I better get busy or there won't be room for the humans. It's a good thing tomorrow is Saturday.
Cleaning day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

email woes

I got a lovely email today from a friend who moved away a few months ago.

Among other things she said she loved my blog and that some of my entries made her laugh her head off. I liked hearing that. Making people laugh is what I'm here for. Making people laugh warms my heart and feeds my soul.

Sometimes I try for a joke that falls flat and boy howdy do I feel stupid and ridiculous and embarrassed and humiliated when that happens. It almost makes me vow to never try for funny or light-hearted again.

But I always come back to it. I can't help it. Humor lightens the mood and makes things easier to bear.

Anyway, I was sitting here, enjoying the email, and I realized that sometimes when I'm feeling the dreadful insomnia most intently I do this weird and inexplicable thing: I check my email every minute. For quite a while. I'll read a news article and check my email. I'll play a round of Word Whomp and check my email. I'll feed all my fish in Fish World and check my email. I'll see if anyone has posted anything new on Facebook and check my email.

It's like an obsession and a compulsion.

There's never anything new in my inbox. All of my friends and family are sleeping at 1 or 2 or 3 am. None of them are awake, thinking "You know, I bet AmyDubDub would really like to hear my thoughts on whatever right now in the middle of the night. I'll dash off a note right now". They never do that.

And that makes me woeful. Does anybody else periodically do this repeated email checking thing or is it just another one of the wonderful eccentricities that make me the fun-loving, sleepless, and just a little bit lonely person that I am?

When I was a little girl my mom said to me one time that if I wanted to get letters from people, I had to send letters to people.

Something for me to think about. I have thought about writing email to other people when I can't sleep. I've even tried it a few times. But I've discovered something about myself and that is: when I'm exhausted and sleepless and anxious and middle-of-the-night lonely, it's never the right time to express myself in writing. My neuroses and hypocrisies and negative feelings are too evident. You don't want to share that kind of stuff in written form where it might be saved and printed off and passed around at family reunions.

Because that is just not the kind of laugh I'm looking for.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

product review and household hint

Do I have a super sensitive sniffer? Or do my men just really stink? They all shower every single day, and yet...

Either way, Downy April Fresh scented Febreze rocks.

I read on a clothing care site that before you store your clothes for any length of time you should spray them with anti-microbial Febreze.

So there you go. You can call me Heloise if you like.

Don't you think that 'downy' is a good word? It makes me think of soft, fluffy, sweetly-scented baby clothes. Also, duckies.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

it's getting cold in Gävle

I got an email from Taylor yesterday telling me that they had some cold weather. Here are his words:

"Yesterday was the coldest I've ever experienced. The water in the ditch was frozen over in the morning and you could throw rocks on it to crack the ice, it was pretty fun".

For some reason that makes me laugh.
Picture two guys in suits.
Throwing rocks.
At ice.
And having fun doing it.
I think it's hilarious. My sweet boy who grew up
  1. where the temperature dropped below freezing maybe 15 times in his entire life and
  2. where the only rocks that are available for possible throwing are stacked neatly in people's flower beds as part of the landscaping decor and are therefore off-limits and
  3. where you can only find ice in the freezer.

Did you know we don't have rocks in Houston? We don't. We have giant lumps of clay, yes. Broken chunks of concrete, yes. Bits of gravel that have come unattached from the pavement, yes. But no rocks.

I'm glad Taylor gets to experience ice (and I'm sure snow and plenty of it will shortly come to pass for him) and rocks.

If I remember right, from my childhood spent on the side of a Rocky Mountain, rocks are fun to throw.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am SO

  • Productive
  • Creative
  • Accomplished
  • Proud
  • Modest
  • and tardy

I finally finished crocheting a baby blanket for the baby girl that my visiting teacher had about 6 weeks ago. I sort of made up the pattern as I went along and I think it turned out lovely.

Hey, I've been busy, and it's been a struggle to complete it. But I did!

I'm getting things done and feeling good about it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

my friends corrupt me

They don't just love me, they turn me to the dark side. My friend Kathy's blog was about jokes that her family loves and won't let go of - "Your mom is so fat..."
My friend Donna told me one time about her family's jokes - adding "in the outhouse" to the end of the hymn titles.

Guess what I did during sacrament meeting today? Here are some of the highlights:

Now Let Us Rejoice in the outhouse
The Voice of God Again Is Heard in the outhouse
Praise To The Man in the outhouse
Master, The Tempest Is Raging in the outhouse
I Have Work Enough To Do in the outhouse
Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words in the outhouse
Do What Is Right in the outhouse
Called To Serve in the outhouse
I Know My Father Lives in the outhouse
Families Can Be Together Forever in the outhouse
Ye Who Are Called To Labor in the outhouse

and my all time favorite:

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go in the outhouse.

Have a good week, everybody!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gävle and birthday cake

In Houston, one of our favorite restaurants is Los Cucos. It's so good. I make Mr. Dub take me there once a week. Some weeks I don't get to go and it is just sad. We take the kids to dinner there whenever there is a reason for the whole family to celebrate.

In Gävle, Sweden the Turks own the Mexican restaurants. This is what Taylor has to say about it: "All of the 'Mexican' restaurants are owned by Turkish people and they are poor substitutes...there is no cheddar cheese in Sweden".
I wonder - are the Turks poor substitutes for the Mexicans or does he mean that the Turks are clueless when it comes to the enchilada plate? And no cheddar cheese? In a whole country?

Goodness gracious.

There are also no drinking fountains. "The only drinking fountain I've seen in the country was in the temple, which explains why Sister Rondahl in the MTC didn't know the word in Swedish for drinking fountain. They do have real Dr. Pepper, but no free refills".

My word.

I think that's what they call culture shock.

Today is my aunt Michele's birthday. One time she and I went to the Cayman Islands together, and when we came back and I was telling people about our trip most of the time their reactions went something like this -"You went to the Cayman Islands with your aunt? That's so nice of you!"

Aunt Michele is only a few years older than I am. It's not like I was pushing her along the beach in her wheelchair. We had a great time there. She's a fun person.

Hope your birthday is very happy, Cheli!

Friday, October 9, 2009

my friends

I'm blessed to have great friends and I'm feeling especially grateful for them tonight. They accept me for who I am and never make me feel ridiculous.

My friends see the good in me and pretend like the bad that's in me isn't really that bad and doesn't really count. For that I am so thankful.

A Friend Like You, author unknown

There's lots of things
With which I'm blessed,
Tho' my life's been both sunny and blue
But of all my blessings,
This one's the best:
To have a friend like you.

In times of trouble
Friends will say,
"Just ask... I'll help you through it."
But you don't wait for me to ask,
You just get up
And do it!

And I can think
Of nothing in life
That I could more wisely do,
Than know a friend,
And be a friend,
And love a you.

To my bffs, to my sweet, beautiful friends that I've brought into this world, to my mama, and to my manly, loverly, constant and true very best friend: you make my life good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sit down. Shut up. Please.

Tonight was the Little Prince's Fall Choir Concert at the high school. It's a pretty big deal and the kids do a good job.

It is usually very well attended.

Before every single concert the Booster Club president or the choir director reviews proper concert etiquette. They print the directions about how to behave at a concert inside every concert program.
At every single concert some of the parents act like apes.

It's not that kind of concert, Ape. I'm just sayin'....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


In honor of all the tests Jake is taking this week (and all the studying we are doing together):

World's Hardest Test, by Kenn Nesbitt

Preparing today for the standardized test
our teacher said there was a lot to digest.
We'd have to divide by the square root of three
and learn to spell zygote, facade and marquis.

We'd need to play xylophone, trumpet and flute,
accordion, banjo, piano, and lute,
recite all the capital cities by heart
and learn to take rocketship engines apart.

We'd have to speak Latin, Swahili, and Greek,
learn nuclear fusion and fencing technique,
remember the fables of Persia and Rome,
and crack all the codes in the human genome.

Then just when we thought that our heads might explode
from learning Chinese or dissecting a toad
she told us the very best thing she could say:
that she was just kidding; it's April Fool's Day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

girls' day out

I was able to spend some time with my bffs today. It was magnificent. I've missed them for the past several weeks due to one thing and another.

Usually we do crafts together. Sometimes we all make cards, sometimes scrapbooking or photo albums, sometimes we all make some sort of seasonal or thematic craft project to give out to friends or as visiting teacher gifts. Sometimes we don't work together on the same project because we are all involved in something different.

Sometimes we bring projects to work on but end up spending the whole day chatting or going off on some spontaneous field trip.
It doesn't really matter what we do because girls' day out is about spending time together and enjoying one another's company.

Today I worked on my butterfly quilt because I am determined to get the top pieced together by Thursday's quilting group get-together. I bought a quilting magazine the other day, which took me to the internet looking at quilt patterns and fabric sites and ideas and inspiration. I can easily become obsessed with this I think. I love the patterns, colors, textures and feel of fabric. I love patterned and textured papers too, but paper isn't as durable as fabric.

Oh the ideas! The plans! The desire to buy and cut and sew fabric! It keeps me up at night, I tell ya.

Monday, October 5, 2009

life's too short and today's blog is boring

Or maybe days and nights and weeks are too short.

Grampy went home on Saturday, and I think he was a little put out because there were so many things going on that he spent a good part of quite a few days at home alone. I was thinking, hoping, wishing that things would slow down just a bit when he went home because there are so many things to do and projects to complete that I need some extra time.
I think an extra week would do it. Where do I sign up for an extra week?

This week we have:
  • Monday - choir booster club meeting which I am skipping because for pete's sake, I need a night off!
  • Tuesday - back-to-back piano lessons and webelos scouts
  • Wednesday - college night for high school juniors and boards of review for advancing scouts at the same time
  • Thursday - high school choir fall concert and bunco at the same time
  • Friday - I don't know yet but I'm sure there will be something. I'm really hoping not though.

And of course there's the mending and the sewing and the laundry... (Can you name that movie?)

In Sweden Taylor is 8 hours ahead of us in Houston. I wonder - if you fly around the world fast enough do you get extra hours in a day?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

my self-esteem takes a hit

It always starts so innocently.

This morning my Little Friend wanted to cuddle with me in the big chair. That's so sweet, right? So sweet that I never even saw it coming. We sat there for a few minutes with our feet touching and then he said, "What is that crusty stuff on your heels?"

You know, I didn't have dry, rough feet before I had children. Before I had children I was pretty and soft and smooth. Now I'm waiting for science to discover that, among other things, giving birth ruins the skin on your heels.

While I'm waiting on science I guess I'll use my Pedi-Egg.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

an elephant is a cool dude

I had a long drive today and was remembering some funny things that my Little Friend Jake has said over the years.

One time I remember I asked him if he liked his name. He said, "Yes. Jake is a cool name".

He said, "'Jake' is a name that an elephant would have."

I love this kid.

Friday, October 2, 2009

eye candy

I do like Johnny in a bow tie.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I've run into a problem. It's not a problem, really. It's more like a choice has to be made. So I'm asking all of you lovely people what you think before I choose.

I've been working on planning and putting together quilt tops, and I am confdent that the oh-so-sweet and very-much-anticipated Buttercup will have a completed and ready-to-be-quilted butterfly quilt top within the next week (maybe 10 days). One of my quilting friends owns a long-arm quilting machine and will let me use it to machine-quilt Buttercup's blanket. She's very complimentary about my progress with the quilt piecing and really everyone is just so nice and encouraging about it and anxious to see it finished. It does look SO cute. But machine quilting?
I don't know. Something inside me says "NO, NO, NO! It HAS to be hand-quilted!"

What is that all about? And why is my inner voice shouting?

So here is the question: If you received a quilt that was handmade but had been machine quilted, what would you think about it? Would you consider it less than handmade? Would you value it less than if someone had given hours and days and blood, sweat, and tears to hand-quilt it?

I don't know what my problem is. I don't consider it cheating or stingy that I use a sewing machine instead of a needle and thread to hand-sew all the fabric pieces together into the pattern. What is it about hand-quilting vs. machine-quilting that has me so conflicted?
Am I a complete nutcase?

Don't answer that. Just tell me what you think about a handmade quilt that has been machine quilted. Can it ever be a valued and loved family heirloom? Or is it just another blanket that may as well have been bought at Wal-mart?