Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Roots Tech 2016!

My siblings and I usually go in on a gift to my parents for Christmas and for 2015 I convinced my brothers and sisters to get Mom and Dad registered for Roots Tech in Salt Lake City for their Christmas present. I was going anyway and I figured it would be something they would enjoy as well. Fingers crossed! Once they "opened" their gift, we had a lot of back-and-forth on how this was going to work. Dad and I worked out which classes we wanted to be in and we had Mom go with one or the other of us, depending on her level of interest. 

Our day started with a long drive to the Salt Palace in rush hour traffic. That wasn't great, but we found a good parking spot and got in just as the first keynote speaker was introduced. Brian joked with me that there would be music and lights and they would pump us up like they do for computer developer conferences. Ha! Yeah, right. But they did! Let's get this family history party started!!! The first keynote speakers were a husband and wife blogging team from New York. They are young and they take beautiful photos and movies of them with their kids. I have to admit that I was worried that this was what we were going to get - I already blog and document our lives and tell our stories. I wondered if Roots Tech was a huge mistake. THEN! David Isay, founder of StoryCorps, took the stage. This company started with a sound booth in Grand Central Station where two people could go and have their interview/conversation professionally recorded and archived for posterity. Simple. He played one excerpt of a granddaughter interviewing her 91 year-old grandfather and it was beautiful and wise and I cried. After playing that first excerpt, Mr. Isay said that people cry during these interviews 100% of the time. Why is that? When we have a chance to sit face-to-face and really talk to one another it is a spiritual experience. Also, he quoted Mother Theresa who said that we can't help but love a person once we hear their story. It was fantastic and meaningful and I loved it. 

Another highlight was our FindMyPast- sponsored lunch. While we finished eating (Thanksgiving Dinner, my fave!), an Irishman explained the deal with Irish records. They're not all lost! They weren't all burned in a fire! Take heart, Irish descendants. 

I enjoyed my solo class on how to read Danish and Swedish records and the class I had with Mom on how to get my grandchildren to be interested in their family history. 

Our final class was on using the Joseph Smith Papers as a primary source in our own family history stories. That project is taking every single word written by or to Joseph Smith and documenting it with references. They will have 22 volumes by the time they finish! These are not small books. And Joseph Smith was killed before he was even 40 years old. So he spent, like, 75% of his time writing. The class was fascinating - I'm excited to implement what they showed us. And I'm excited to tell my own story in this way - so that my children and grandchildren have my story from me in a verifiable format.

I only saw one person I knew (I found out later that I knew plenty of people there, I just didn't see them), the head of the Missionary Department and my old boss, Steve Allen. He asked me what I'm doing now and I told him I'm a Mom. :) 
When we got home Brian had made a Mississippi roast that we put on toasted buns with pepperocinis. I highly recommend. Then I slept like the dead and forgot to set my alarm. My hair was ridiculous for the temple the next morning, but we still had a lovely time there with my parents.
Then it was time for Grandma and Grandpa to leave. Grandma Peggy brought her American Girl doll, Lena, to play with Bridget's doll. Back in December I gave my Mom a yard of red wool to play with and she made that amazing coat for Bridget's doll, Analy. It's lined, you guys! WHAT?! I get can't get over it. 
As you may know, I'm the second of eight children. I believe this was the first time I'd been alone with my parents ever. :) Their Christmas gift ended up being more for me than anyone. I'm energized and my faith in humanity is restored. People are good! I can feel the love. :)
Now I'd better get back to my work.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sew & Tell Friday: Amy Butler Love Ring

One year ago I was shopping for fabric for a HUGE quilt I wanted to make for one of my favorite sisters, Katy, because she was turning 40 in January 2016. I had already decided to do the Quiltsmart Love Ring pattern and I wanted to use Amy Butler fabrics. I'd seen a very intricate quilt that had used about a dozen different modern fabrics and they ended up looking so great together. I loved the intensity of all those rich colors together. Since this quilt was going to be big enough to put on the bed, I thought I'd get colors that wouldn't bother her husband too much. So, not pink. Okay, a little pink. 
While I was choosing fabric, I kind of had a nervous breakdown because they all looked so different and I couldn't tell if it was in a good way. I also didn't know how much to get because the directions didn't have a king-size recipe. And Bridget was dancing around me at the fabric store. In conclusion, I got too much fabric. Better than too little!
The morning after I'd finished it and washed it we had a beautiful snowfall outside. I couldn't tell where I was focusing, though, because it was so cold. 
I decided to use eight of my ten fabrics when I had the thought that one particular fabric made me think of Katy. And hey, I have two fabrics that are a wee more masculine than the rest and there are two boys in her family (her husband and son). Then I was like...HEY! I can use one fabric to represent each person in her family and put them in order of birth (except the parents). Katy is in the middle, then her fabric makes a complete square when the quilt pattern is finished.
Ta DA! Eighteen rows with eighteen squares. I didn't take pictures of the process. Probably because I did a little here and there for a year. I finally put it together during my retreat with Kristi in November. I had a box full of 4" squares and quarter circles that I had to iron onto the correct square, so I had to have it laid out on the floor to make sure I wasn't ironing the wrong fabrics together. I felt pretty triumphant when I'd finished that part of the process, but then I had to sew all those quarter circles onto the squares, cut the interfacing out of the back, then sew all the squares to each other in the right pattern. When I put it away at the retreat, I had each row in a Zip-lock bag and labeled. 
The back is a little less of an assault on the eyes. I used the gray and white version of Helena's fabric and a plain white row in the middle. I'm still on the fence with the fabric I chose for the border. I probably should have gone with something less busy. I can live with my decision because I don't have to live with my decision, knowwhatI'msayin'?
I had Wendy quilt it for me. I chose a modern pattern that wouldn't be too busy on top of everything else that was happening. I love that you can see it so clearly in the white stripe on the back. 

Whew! I finished it! And I got it to her before her birthday! Pretty proud of myself, actually. On to my next assignment... Maybe I'll push pause on that and finish cleaning out my Stash Under the Stairs. Hahahahaha! I make myself laugh.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

November - December 2015 Book Report

I think every two months works for me with the book report. When I report on a book, I feel like I retain it better and that it leads me to reading better books. In conclusion, these posts are for me.

1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Dickens is one of my all-time favorites. You can't beat him for characters - he captures nuances like no one else. David Copperfield is not one of my favorite Dickens characters, but the book did have some great ones. You also can't beat Dickens for villains. 

I found David Copperfield to be a little too close to Oliver Twist, without the whores. It starts with David's happy childhood with his saintly mother, Clara Copperfield. His father passes away very early (before the story begins maybe?) and David enjoys a few years with his beloved mother and their long-suffering housekeeper, Clara Peggotty. Notice anything strange? Why would Dickens use the same first name for two characters? Is it because that happens in real life? Was it so we'd have to call Peggotty by her goofy last name? What's the deal, Dickens? 

David goes on holiday and stays with Peggotty's family in the country for a few weeks - tra la la la la - and comes back to find his mother has remarried! Somehow Dear Mother doesn't recognize that Mr. Murdstone is The Villain even though he's cruel to children and doesn't let David's mother speak her mind ever. Oh, well, David is off to boarding school and Mr. Murdstone's un-dateable sister, Jane, moves in to take over... everything that has to do with the house, really.

David has the worst luck for a really long time. He's too naive to notice that his bff at school is also a villain (like mother, like son), James Steerforth. Steerforth is the star of the B Story, so we won't worry about him. I bring him up because David Copperfield CANNOT read people. Saintly Mother Clara dies tragically (what else) and David goes to another town (I don't think he's even 12 yet) to start earning his keep at a factory and living with a crazy husband and wife, all arrangements having been made by The Villain who is now in charge of David's life. The husband of the couple David lives with, Mr. Wilkins Micawber, goes to Debtor's Prison, so David has no where to live and decides to run away and find his aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Betsey is my favorite, FAVORITE character. Maybe in all of Dickens' books. She's perfect. AND, she's played by Maggie Smith in the BBC mini-series of David Copperfield, which I watched. Young David is played by Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, before he was Harry Potter. Professor Umbridge is also in the mini series. More evidence that there are approximately 12 actors in Britain. 

Where was I... Oh, when Mr. Wilkins Micawber is on his way to Debtor's Prison, he gives David a golden nugget of wisdom, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery." Testify!

Okay, this is a really long book and a long mini-series, let's sum up. David learns about life by trusting the wrong people, marrying the wrong (but still kind) woman, having his fake friends betray him and his real friends come to his aid as often as he is in need, watching his first wife die, then marrying the right girl. The End. I wanted to like it more, but David Copperfield is probably not even in my top five favorite Dickens novels. It was saved for me by Betsey Trotwood and her chasing donkeys off her lawn and telling the right people What Is Up and referring to David's "sister" (she wanted Clara Copperfield to have a girl). I hate to recommend the mini-series over the book, but I do.

2. The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whipple

I couldn't resist a deal Persephone had last year, something like buy two books get one free. After David Copperfield I needed something short with less than 25 characters to keep track of - short stories were just the ticket. 

The very first story was quite long - long enough to get to know the characters; a mother, father, and only daughter. This was not a happy family. The mother sucked the life out of the daughter, controlled her every move. The father ruled the house with his mood. If the room felt tense, he'd leave and go to his club where he didn't have to deal with anyone. It was an interesting study. Dorothy Whipple is so observant of unexpressed emotions. It's one of the things I love about her writing. 

I can't even remember more than a couple of the other stories. They were too short for me to get involved and I missed the very thing I love most about Whipple's writing - the slow unfolding. Still good, but I recommend her longer novels first.

3. Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough

I am fascinated by Theodore Roosevelt. Such an interesting combination of characteristics and ideals. He's one of those people in American history that was destined to do what he did. (The picture is him as a boy looking just like my nephew, Jake.) Mornings on Horseback goes back to Theodore's parents and his unique upbringing and ends before he becomes President of the United States. 

The Roosevelts were wealthy, but Theodore Roosevelt Sr. was different from his siblings and peers in that he could empathize with poor people and he wanted to use his status and influence to better the lives of the people around him. Theodore's mother, Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch was a southern belle. Margaret Mitchell interviewed an old woman who was a child at Mittie and Theodore's wedding and used Mittie as a physical muse for Scarlet O'Hara and the Bulloch plantation as a stand-in for Tara in Gone With the Wind. That information made me geek out in the worst way. Also, this is the only combination of people who could create a person like Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Destiny!

During the Civil War, Mittie's mother and sister came to New York City and lived with Mittie and Theodore. Theodore wanted very much to join the war effort, but he loved his wife more than his country and he hired someone to take his place in the battles for her sake. I think that is the most romantic thing ever, but Theodore Jr. did not like it. He was all about the battle and the war and defending the country, so his father not taking part was embarrassing. On the other hand, Theodore Sr. was Teddy's champion in every way. Teddy always wanted to make his father proud of him. 

As a child, Theodore Jr. suffered from asthma attacks that were traumatizing to him and his whole family. McCullough went into great detail about asthma, what was known at the time and what has been discovered since. He also laid out when the worst attacks occurred for Theodore and the pattern emerged that the worst of them occurred when Theodore was in emotional turmoil. When he was active and doing things that made him happy (especially when he was doing those things with his father), no asthma attacks. When his father was away or he had to attend church or if something he loved was coming to an end (a family trip or summer), he'd have an asthma attack every time. Doctors told Theodore's parents that he needed to be kept still, he wouldn't live an active life. Theodore Sr. was having none of that. He told his son to teach his body who was boss. Teddy Roosevelt had so much energy - I'm positive he would have been diagnosed ADHD today. Back then, though, his parents taught him to engage his body and his mind at the same time as much as possible. 

There is too much! I loved this book. I was watching Ken Burns' documentary of the Roosevelts at the same time I was reading Mornings on Horseback. During the same time period, I mean, not simultaneously. Don't be crazy. It's mixed up in my mind now what came from the book and what was in the documentary. I'm pretty sure it was the documentary where Teddy Roosevelt said that he would be as disappointed in his boys if they didn't volunteer to fight in WWI as he would be if his girls told him they didn't want to be mothers. Is it just me? What a remarkable thing to say. Duty and love. I think that's what I admire so much about Teddy Roosevelt.

4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This was the perfect companion to my building a giant quilt over the Christmas break. I listened to it for hours while I was doing the most tedious part of the quilting process and the time went by quickly. It's the story of two women, Julie and Maddie, during World War II. Julie is a spy for England and Maddie is a pilot and mechanic. They are kindred spirits and a great team. The first half of the book is told from Julie's perspective, written while she is being held prisoner and tortured in a French hotel that has been taken over by the Germans. Julie is telling the story of her friendship with Maddie as a confession to her German captors. Julie is an aristocrat from Scotland, very educated.

Maddie is from a small English town where she grew up working on bicycles. She ends up being a pilot, but just before the war begins, so her opportunities are cut way back. Maddie is flying the plane with Julie as a passenger when they are shot at and have to make an emergency landing. Julie parachutes out and Maddie crash lands much farther away. Maddie's version of what happens is the second half of the book. 

This book is cool. Julie and Maddie had to be one step ahead of the enemy and use their individual strengths to the best advantage. I've read quite a few books set in WWII and I liked that this didn't feel like a rehash. I can't believe I've never read anything about women who were in the battles - just the sidelines. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Loudest Christmas Ever

Bridget asked Santa for a karaoke machine. Emil asked for a remote control monster truck. Colin got Power Ranger Zords (who knows what he was asking for). Santa came through and who knew we were in for a very noisy morning.
This is what they looked like waiting to go in to see what they'd won. They're all wearing the new pajamas they'd opened Christmas Eve. Bridget's American Girl doll, Analy (her spelling) also got new pajamas. When Bridget went shopping with Grandma Peggy just after Thanksgiving, she bought a Christmas stocking for Analy at the American Girl Store. Then she wondered many times what Analy would get from Santa. You. Guys. Where was I? Oh, Colin's face. Not to worry, one second later it was this:
Dino Zord Mega Pack! Later Christmas morning Brian watched a 30 minute video on YouTube of a grown man putting all the Dino Zords together. Please tell me I haven't just seen Colin's future. The guy kept saying that some things were "show accurate" and some things weren't. Yesterday I watched an episode of Power Rangers with Colin and guess what? It is a giant, red plastic T-Rex that stomps into the forest during a Power Ranger stand-off with a guy who looks like he could be the mascot for a coastal university. 
Bridget opening her karaoke machine. (Analy got a suitcase. She was very happy.)
We got lots of books this year, which is awesome. Melissa's family had us this year and we got each person in their family's favorite book. I totally stole that idea from my brother, Aaron, when Melissa asked what she should get us.
I gave each of the boys a giant animal pillow and books to read. Colin's is a lion and Emil's is a dog. They both drag them all over the house in case they need to stop and be "cozy." 
He has too much power. Brian is studying how to get songs on Bridget's karaoke machine. Both of us were totally sweating after getting all the toys out of the boxes, putting batteries in, showing the kids how to use stuff. Next year, wooden toys.
She is so happy! (Pretty sweatshirt from Grandma Peggy.) She's been perfecting Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" since Christmas. It's as good as that song is ever going to be. Last night she performed it with Colin on the other microphone. He sang the chorus with her. :) (Brian got the boys sleeping bags. Quiet and useful gift. We needed that.)
Seeing this mess again is making my blood pressure go up. It was the whole upstairs! So many boxes and so much paper! The kids were loving everything, though. Emil is showing Colin the Paw Patrol watch he got in his stocking. Bridget is opening her gift from me - fabric that she can color with fabric markers and then I'll help her make something with it. And a book called 100 Science Facts. Bridget used her microphone from Emil to read us science facts while Daddy and I did the LaVell Edwards Stadium puzzle she gave Brian. Facts!

It took us a lot longer than usual to get everything opened and operational, so we got to Grandma and Grandpa's later than we'd planned. That meant we got to see more people, which is fun. The kids each brought a gift they wanted to show Grandma. Bridget took the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera she got in her stocking. I can't help it - I'm totally jealous of most of Bridget's gifts! She got a Wylde Style Lego alarm clock. It's okay - I got what I asked for - new measuring cups and spoons and a tripod for my camera. I just didn't know I needed a purple instant camera and a Lego-themed alarm clock. ;)
What can you do? Zords make Colin happy.
Emil got this Lego set from Grandma. It has a red motorcycle in it.
Show-accurate Dino Zord and Plesio Zord. 

One last thing, the boys got Cars Walkie-Talkies in their stockings. I had no idea Brian's hidden talent is speaking Walkie-Talkie. :) 

I've taken down the Christmas stuff and we're on to 2016 now. It was a fun Christmas. I'd like to do less next year, if possible, though. I'm for real about the wooden toys.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Marco's Quilt, Last of the Lone Stars, and Pop Picnic Quilt

Just a quick report of three quilts I made that are now safely in the hands of their new owners. Since Makenzie decided to have a boy instead of a girl, I made a grid quilt with more appropriate colors than the pink and red I originally had for her.
The fabrics are from a line with characters from the "Guess How Much I Love You" book, which is one of my favorites.
Minky on the back, of course. I don't know if I love the quilting pattern. I liked it on paper, but not so much in real life. Hmmm.
Once again Makenzie had The Most Beautiful Baby Ever. Little Marco, from the pictures - I haven't seen him in real life yet :(, is perfect.

I have completed my mission to make every couple in my family a lone star quilt! It has been my homage to our Great Grandma Rhoda Paskett Lee. She made one for all her children and grandchildren and now I've made one for eight of her great grandchildren. This year I made a lone star quilt for Rob and Claire.
I took fabrics from a few different lines, starting with the center fabric. I liked it because it had black with all those bright colors and I don't see that very often. The colors reminded me of Claire, so I went with it. (These same colors reminded me of Claire when I made Moira's blanket last year. Interesting.)
Dragonflies, amIright?
Thank goodness Kristi was with me when I chose the background fabric. I was STUCK on getting a black and white polka dot for the background fabric, but she found an awesome alternative. I'm glad I didn't use a solid. So much more interesting that way.

Lastly, I did a quick picnic quilt for Kellie this year. I found the bottle cap fabric and couldn't think of a cute way to put it into a new pattern, so I just used one big piece of fabric with a border. Denim on the back, of course. The only technical thing I did with this quilt was the piping on the binding. That equals special. ;)
That's it for December 2015. For all of 2015, actually. I should do a collage. Or eat breakfast. One.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 2015 in a Nutcracker

I don't want to have to include Christmas with all the stuff I still need to post here, so I'm going to unload a little bit. I'm just now realizing I haven't put Thanksgiving photos here either. So, even more unloading.
Once again Kyle and Diana hosted for us. They live right next to Utah Lake, so it's nice to have a pretty view while we're eating great food.
One of the kid tables included these handsome gentlemen.
Kyle had carving duties.
Such a pretty table.
Grandma with all her granddaughters minus Janessa, on a mission in Peru. 
This makes me smile. 

Next! We had the Festival of Trees with Bridget's grade school choir. Denise took Emil and Colin (and saved them and me from destruction) while I drove Bridget and Clara to the Festival of Trees. I haven't been to that in YEARS. Still pretty cool.
These two were huge goofballs all afternoon. 
They talk and laugh constantly. Pretty adorable.
I thought the boys would have liked this tree.
There she is! I spotted her.

The boys celebrated their birthday at preschool TOGETHER this year, because I'm winning that game. I made sugar cookies (with their help) and let them decorate them for their big birthday treat at school.
Emil went CRAZY with the sprinkles. Especially on the cookie he decorated for Daddy. Bridget: "Dad doesn't like sprinkles." (She is correct, but it was very cute. Emil watched Daddy eat every bite of that cookie.)
Mysterious frosting all over Colin's face.
Bridget was home sick because she's always home sick during the weeks that they are doing NOTHING at school. I don't think party days should count against her record. I also think Bridget should stop getting sick or injured every Christmas.

On December 19th we celebrated Emil and Colin's 5th birthday AND had the big family Christmas party. Doesn't get any bigger than that.
They got new bikes! We didn't tell them which one went with which boy. (I know what you're thinking, and yes, Emil does need new pajamas. He's grown 4 inches since March! I can't keep up.)
They knew which bike to go to. Daddy had to get the pesky training wheels off before they went for a ride. They don't need no stinkin' training wheels!
We ate breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa Lee before they had to leave for home and we had to leave for Heber for the North Pole Train.
Last year it was all new and magical and this year the kids knew what to expect. Also, Bridget and I (mostly Bridget) have been fighting multiple diseases over the last couple of weeks. When we boarded the train this time they were just finishing cleaning up a kid's puke right by where we sat. All to explain why this time was not as amazing as last year. It was still fun and the snow covered views were much prettier this year, but it really wasn't the same.
Bridget's big break and she had no voice to sing.
Colin had no fear. I love Bridget's face in this one.
We had to wait a little longer to see Santa this time since we were in coach with the peasants and the pukers, but Colin gave him a warm welcome anyway.
The kids got jingle bells from the big guy again.
We couldn't linger very long after our ride because we had to race home so Daddy could watch the BYU vs UofU game. That is the most important thing.

After I got all the presents wrapped, picked up the food, and shopped for a few last-minute things and Brian got the first half of the game watched, we were off to the family Christmas party.
Cousins with phones. This was after Kalvin played "Why are you hitting yourself?" with Emil. I love it when Emil gets The Business from his older cousins!
Harold had a funny video to show us on his Kindle. He collects them. :)
We did the fishing pond again this year. You can see Emil making quick work of that Slinky in the background. Sigh. But, they love the fishing pond! I do too.
We gave Bridget the option of doing the Dice Game with the adults and big kids or doing the fishing pond for one more year. She finally chose the fishing pond because there was no way she'd end up with a toilet brush doing the fishing pond.
After the Dice Game, Santa came! We saw two Santas in one day! Emil told this Santa that he wants a motorcycle and a remote control monster truck. 
Colin said he wants a Machine. What for? What is going to happen?!! Santa said he'll see what he can do, but I'm putting the Mom Veto on this one. "Machine" indeed.
Bridget asked for a karaoke machine. She's got to practice her skills for the next time someone shoves a microphone in her face!
All the grandkids and great grandkids with Santa. Tradition!

The next day, Sunday, Bridget and I were on our death beds with fever and coughing and sore throats. I went to church anyway because I was accompanying a string ensemble, but I came home right after that and went to Instacare with Bridget. They were convinced she and I have strep (no swab test - Bridget's throat was covered in pustules), so we got on anti-biotics right away. We rested up during the afternoon so we would be ready for my big birthday plan. We stayed at the (or I should say "a") Marriott in downtown Salt Lake City so we could walk over to Temple Square to see the lights and then walk back to our hotel for the night. No traffic, no parking headaches. It was a perfect plan.
If Emil wasn't making a weird face this would be one of my all-time favorite photos. We didn't get there in time to see the lights come on, but it wasn't super-busy yet and that was nice.
That's Colin contemplating the Nativity. Just kidding, he was pouting because he wanted to go back to the hotel every minute that we were at Temple Square, he just happened to be by the Nativity.
A lady inside the Tabernacle came up to Brian and Emil and made an Alabama noise that we don't understand because Brian got that hat at an airport while he was on a business trip many years ago. I felt bad we weren't that lady's people. She seemed nice.

We came back to our hotel after seeing all the lights and hearing all the complaints. I'd brought "Elf" to watch on a DVD player that didn't exist in our room, but as fate would have it, "Elf" came on TV! It was a birthday miracle. With commercials. Colin and I played his new Disney I Spy card game during the commercials. And we ate treats and popcorn. It was delightful. During the night I couldn't sleep for all the coughing I was doing. Bridget's fever came back, so I got her some medicine. And I kept Emil from falling out of the double bed he was sharing with Bridget several times. I didn't even know they made double beds anymore. What a ridiculous size. So, not a great night's sleep. The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, then took the train to City Creek to window shop.
"Oh, oh, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street..."
Mostly we went up and down escalators a lot.

We were wandering around waiting for noon so that we could go ice skating at the Gallivan Center. Bridget was so excited to try ice skating that she got me excited to go. She dressed up her American Girl doll in the ice-skating outfit and everything!
Noon finally came and we were almost the first ones in line to put on skates.
Notice what side of the rink Colin is on. This was after his one and only lap on the ice. I gotta hand it to Emil, he fell down a lot, but he tried and he did it with a smile. We've always got to have one stinker at every activity and Colin's number was up. Bridget and I did several laps together - I think we got the hang of it. Every once in a while Emil would make his way over to us and grab both my hands as if he expected me to whisk him into a turn with me. Um, I was just barely not falling down myself. :) Emil thinks I can do anything. Pretty soon, though, Colin got his way (after lots of running away from Daddy and following me around the outside of the rink yelling at me to get my skates off and put my shoes back on) and we headed home.

The rest of my birthday was one failure after another. We got a correct diagnosis for Bridget, though, after waiting at the doctor's office (AGAIN) for over an hour. That girl was SICK, y'all. (Ear infections, tonsillitis, AND influenza B.) My Christmas wish is to stop coughing. On Tuesday I got to go see Star Wars with Brian for FREE and FREE of children, which made up for most of the birthday failures. So! That's December 2015 so far.