Monday, March 31, 2008

I did get some "after" pictures, so thought I would share. Mostly, they are of the flowers I planted. The whole garden doesn't look like a lot at this time, but....give me a few weeks, and I think it will be amazing!

Lavender Plant, Columbine and Pincushion plant

Hollyhocks along the fence, Poppy and Bleeding Heart, and the whole area.

My first try at trimming bushes! Actually, it is my third try with the trimmer - the first time, I managed to "trim" the cord for the electric trimmer, and a couple of years ago, I trimmed the camellia bushes in back. I guess you could say it is my first try at trimming these bushes! I did manage to trim up both bushes and not trim up the cord - I'm getting better! They don't look too bad - I like the "free form" look of them. I was afraid if I tried to even them up, I would keep trying to make them even until there was nothing left! There is a good foot of grass-free area where they had grown out that I trimmed.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday was Alli's first baseball game of the season. I don't think she had a lot of fun, but she did play the whole game, and did pictures. We even did pictures after I threw her on the ground and stepped all over her (actually - she tripped, and I tripped over her trying to keep her from tripping!) The only thing that was hurt was my dignity (and a smallish bruise on my hip - good thing I learned to roll with my falls!) Needless to say, AJ did manage to capture it on film. I am very glad he didn't capture it on video! (There was someone there from the City of Redding filming, and I think Ralph slipped him a couple of bucks for a copy of the film, though he denies it!) It was cold out there too! If the wind wasn't blowing, it wasn't bad, but that didn't happen very often. I don't think Mom warmed up until much later in the day, if ever.

On base, and getting directions from the crew. The last shot - I even caught her throwing the ball - something that doesn't happen very often!

Coming up on third base, and.....we're all safe! (For some reason, I don't think we are supposed to slide right there!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I found a couple more pictures from my Susanville trip I forgot to put up. This is my girlfriend, Cindy, and her daughter, Rachelle. Part of Rachelle's Easter basket was a bubble wand, so, of course, we had to go make bubbles. She went through the bubble mixture once on her own. Luckily, Mom had plenty to refill the bottle with. (We found some that was so old it needed to be tossed - left over from daycare?) By the time Cindy and I went outside with Rachelle for the second set of bubbles, the wind was blowing too hard for good bubbles. (That's our excuse anyway!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

We had some success today! Mom came in on Thursday and we tackled the front side yard. We got quite a bit done, but I forgot to take pictures before we started. I did take pictures after we got it cleaned up some. I don't have pictures of it planted yet, either. Those will wait until tomorrow. What you don't see is the plant we dug out - a Lady of the Nile that was huge! It was in front of the boulders on the left. Luckily, I was the only one that fell on my butt digging it out! We also did some major trimming on the tree/bush in the right corner, and took out three Margarita bushes in the front of the house that were pretty sad looking.

We put in a Potato Flower Vine in the left corner, a Delphinium on the left side, near the front, a Lavender plant by the rocks in the front center, a white Poppy in the center back and white cosmos scattered around as well. I am looking at a garden planted mainly in blues/purples and white.

Here are some of the plants we dug out/cut out.

The front of the house - minus the Margarita bushes. We planted a couple of Bleeding Hearts there in their place. Mom suggested Hostas as well, but they aren't out in the nursery yet.
We did get about $100 worth of plants in the ground, and I have a few more to go in, but I ran out of enthusiasm. I have a dozen hollyhocks to plant against the back fence, and some snapdragons to plant around the yard, wherever bit more color is needed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I actually made a doily in two days! That must be because I am on vacation and have been a slug about the other projects I was going to do. This doily is just a bit over 12 inches across, so it wasn't a large one to do either. I did do a few small projects while on vacation so far, but nothing big - yet! I still have hope, though. Mom is coming in today, and we are going to try our hands at landscaping part of my yard. It is a small, neglected corner that has great possibilities! Of course, we may decide to just go shopping instead, too!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vacation time! I am feeling guilty, but...I am on vacation! I put it off one day as it was - I worked yesterday, because I left too many things "undone" on Friday. It took me all day to clear my desk off from Friday, not counting what went on it new! More conversion computer issues keep raising their nasty little heads. We found a couple of new ones yesterday afternoon, so we will see what solutions come out of them in my absence!

The kids and I went to Susanville for Easter - gorgeous weather! Mom and I were wondering if we were going to have to hide eggs in the snow this year, since Easter was so early. The week before, they got an inch of snow, but it did melt before we got there. As it turned out, we didn't hide any eggs! AJ didn't want to play, and I know Alli wouldn't, unless we put candy in plastic eggs for her to find.

Alli had a great day on Saturday at Mom's. She started getting cranky, and wandered outside for a while. She played out on the deck and patio for quite a while, spinning and rocking. When she came in, AJ had "borrowed" the TV in her absence to play his games, so she sat down and watched him play for well over an hour. She went upstairs and played on the beds, and did all sorts of self entertaining things - very unusual for her! On Sunday, though, she was back to her normal cranky self, including a major temper tantrum. I was hoping she would wear herself out enough to nap on the way home, but no such luck.

Here, AJ is giving Alli her Pokemon toy the Easter bunny left her, and on the right, is Alli saying - "No, Thank you - no toy for me." She did eventually play with the toy, but not right away. Funny girl!

What she did like was the jelly beans I left on the table for her. She tried a chocolate covered marshmallow bunny, but the jelly beans were more her style! Of course, the puppies got treats from the Easter bunny too!

Mom had a ton of finches on her seed bags, and here is Dad napping (or trying to) with Alli on the couch with him.

Rachelle loved her basket I brought her, including the bubbles. The doll clothes were a hit with the adults, too - we dressed Barbie in them, while Rachelle was out playing!

Soccer season has started - here are pictures of AJ at practice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I finished another Barbie dress. This one fits better, but I tried it on the doll as I went along. I added beads on the bottom just to jazz it up a bit.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I finished a couple of projects. The dress is for Rachelle for Easter - I think sewing the fasteners on the dress took as long as making it - and more frustrating! The dress doesn't fit the doll. I think they changed the shape of Barbie just a bit, and I had an old pattern (circa 1999, so it isn't that old, and no doll to try it on until after it was done.) The waist and hips fit great - it was too wide across the shoulders and too long through the upper torso. With a little bit of Velcro to pull the top in, and adding a bloused effect (much more stylish!) it fits. I'm still not too happy with it, but it fits. I will try another dress to see if it is me or the patterns!
The doily is called Bridal Nosegay, and I don't like the colors, but I was too far along by the time I decided I didn't like them. I finished it anyway, and it isn't too bad! It is almost 15 inches across, done in size 10 thread.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I waaaaay underestimated Alli today! Today was a "work day" at the church, and Ralph, AJ, Alli and Dallas and I went in to help, expecting Alli to last about 5-20 minutes, at which time, Ralph would take her home. Poor guy - he had to work for a couple of hours, because Alli was a perfect angel for two hours. She was still going strong when we broke for lunch, but Ralph took her home before she got tired. The boys did a great job helping - they polished pews, painted a bathroom, and worked outside doing I have no idea what. I did see them unloading bark from the back of a truck with shovels. I think they even had some fun! They got a lunch of bean soup and sandwiches, and cookies and brownies for dessert. I cleaned windows (with Alli hanging out with me, spinning in circles and amusing herself) and then helped clean the kitchen, including cleaning out all the cupboards and shelves. Alli stayed in the kitchen with me the whole time, playing in a chair, spinning, laughing and giggling the whole time. No one from church will believe me now when I tell them what a rotten child she is!

I did a little work in my own backyard after I got in today, cleaning up the messes the dogs made during the week. Willey came over and talked to me, and teased poor Koori! He lay down just inside the pool fence, and Koori was just outside the pool fence. They actually play pretty nicely together. If Koori starts annoying Willey too much, he just clobbers her!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another busy week! This week saw the start of sports - Challenger Baseball for Alli - practice once a week, and Spring Soccer with the Redding Youth Soccer League for AJ - practice twice a week. AJ has practice on Monday and Thursday, 5:30 to 6:45, and Alli has practice on Tuesdays, 6:00 to 7:30. Both have games on weekends. Add this to Scouts on Tuesday from 7:00 to 9:00, and we are busier than ever! I do enjoy soccer, so it will be nice to hang out for the practices. It does give me a chance to sit and do nothing for a couple of hours, too. (Except crochet, of course!) Tuesdays are a bit difficult, since both kids are running in different directions - which means Ralph and I are running different directions too! Alli's practices won't run for very long - they usually stop when games start - which is the last Saturday in March.

It looks like AJ's soccer team is primarily a U-Prep team. The four kids that made it to the first practice are from U-Prep, and the coach is the parent of a kid in U-Prep. I think another couple of kids on the team are from U-Prep too, but couldn't make the first practice. I think this may help increase AJ's chances of getting on the team this fall for the school. We shall see!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Well, I finished the bunny I was making for Rachelle, but I'm not happy with it. The original picture was a lot cuter, but they had it in grass, so you didn't see the feet. I will probably throw it in a basket with some other "stuff" for an Easter basket for her, though!
Alli managed to make it through one whole day of school yesterday. I kept waiting for my phone to ring (which it did constantly!) from the school asking me to come and get her. She was "okay" in the morning, but she isn't up for very long before I put her on the bus, so I really don't know how she is going to be feeling all day at 6:30 in the morning!

AJ even managed to get through a whole week at home with no video/computer games, too! He did spend a lot of time at the neighbors, though. We got a deficiency notice in the mail last week - he had a 44% in Algebra II - which is actually one of his favorite classes. It seems that he had never made up the work for the days he missed in January when he was sick, and he needed to re-take a test from that time too, since he failed it (and he was out due to illness) and had never done it. He was also missing assignments for his recent illness. Most of his classes had slipped to C's - mainly from not doing the homework. According to AJ, he has now brought all of his classes up to a B except for Algebra, and he has re-taken the test and is just waiting for the teacher to grade it. Funny how he can get all this done in a week! (if he has no games after school!) I think we found a solution! Now, to find a way to make it a workable solution - how much does he really get to play now?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Here is a quick little Easter bunny! He worked up very quickly. His eyes should be bigger though - I'll have to pick some up tomorrow!
What a week! Poor Alli came down with an infection in both ears - just as she was beginning to get back to normal from her cold! Added to that, she developed a little constipation issue. She was absolutely miserable! Lucky for me, Ralph could stay home with her, since he has a laptop and can work form home. Work is still a big pain from the recent conversion. I did take a little time and make a crocheted sachet for Ralph's ear piece for his i-phone. The variegated thread gave it a nice pattern!

AJ went snowboarding last month, and Kimberly gave me pictures she took of him up at Mt. Shasta. He had a great time. Kimberly went up again last weekend, but AJ was still feeling poorly after his bought of stomach flu, so didn't go up.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Yes, I am slowly but surely catching up. I actually left work on time today (okay - I left a little bit later than normal, but it was just a little bit later! - I am getting better!) Today is the first day that I have really even wanted to sit down at a computer after I got off work! Of course, tonight was Scouts, so I had all of 45 minutes home before I had to leave again.

The computer conversion went "well", but all that means is that we were able to operate after we converted. We are still picking up pieces, and we don't even know everything that "broke" yet. Every day is a new adventure! One of my regular loan customers called today to ask a question about his checking account, and it took me a couple of minutes to find the answer - I have been so busy playing in the loans that I haven't learned the checking side of the system at all!

Scouts had a long meeting tonight. Not only their regular meeting, but AJ had a "quick" meeting afterward for his summer trip. A group of the older scouts (and 2 adult leaders) are going to Minnesota this summer on a canoeing trip. They will fly in, canoe for about 5 days, and fly back in August - just before school starts. It ought to be an awesome experience. I don't want to be in a a canoe with a bunch of teenage boys for 5 days, but a relatively short canoe trip sounds fun.

I am fighting for the Rav now - Ralph has fallen for it. Any excuse he can find to drive it, he will! I caught him shopping the other day for a new one for him. I told him he needs to find a way to pay cash for his - I don't want two car payments! He decided that he could pay half a car payment with the savings in gas from the Tundra to the Rav. I haven't fallen for that one yet! I am trying to get him to part with some of his "collection" via e-bay - he should be able to raise enough money with what he has out there, and clean out the garage a little bit! We have about 8 bikes in the garage, and only three of them will ever be used. (Ralph has a recumbent bike - since his neck surgery, he can't ride a "normal' bike, and he has three regular bikes in the garage!) I am hoping that the motivation of a new car will get some stuff moved out of the garage! It hasn't worked yet, though.

I'm a fine one to talk - I have a ton of stuff out there too that needs to find a good home. I am on vacation the last week of March, and I am hoping to go through a bunch of boxes then. Most of the boxes are kids clothes that are too small for my kids, so they just need to go to Salvation Army or some other thrift store. Mom is planning on spending some time with me that week, so I may enlist her to help me sort things out. My big plan for the week is to get some yard work done, with Mom's assistance. I missed the green thumb in the family (Ronna got my share!) so Mom is going to help me plan some stuff for the yard and give me a push to get started (I need a BIG push! I hate yard work - but I am tired of how my yard looks now.)

I finished a doily, done in size 20 thread - and it it worked out about 19 inches across. When I first got the pattern, I thought it would be an "easy and quick" doily (i.e. lots of open spaces!). Then....I looked a little closer. It is all treble crochets, which always take me longer to make, and the pattern was more complicated than I thought. It turned out very nice though, and the ecru color makes it a classic!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Well, I think Alli is on the mend. She slept most of Friday (she fell asleep in school, fell asleep on the school bus, fell asleep at day care, fell asleep on the way home, fell asleep at home, slept through dinner, woke up just to go to bed, and slept until 6:30 this morning. She was a much happier camper today! I had a hair appointment this morning, so she didn't go to the store with me. When I got back, and was unloading the groceries, she came out and tried to get in the Camry, and then got in the Rav. She stayed there until Ralph made her get out, and she threw a fit! Ralph eventually took her for a ride in the truck - he went to get gas! That helped tremendously! She then napped a bit after lunch, and is ready for another nap. (Meaning she is cranky!)
AJ had Alan (neighbor kid) spend the night last weekend, and Koori decided they were fun to play with. I am going to blackmail AJ later with the shot of him kissing Koori! Alan was a bit shy, and was trying to hide from the camera.