Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday Family Bowling

We haven't seen as much as we would like of Gary, with him starting his new job in Sacramento. So when the weekends come around - and when he's home with us - we've been trying to have some Family Fun time (in addition to working on the "get the house ready for sale" list).

So this weekend - we all went Bowling!

I don't think Gary or I have been bowling since before we were married - that's over 20 years ago folks!

Little K has been to a few bowling parties in the past few years, but never without the bumpers up.

I wasn't about to bowl with bumpers. That would mean, if I did good (AKA - beat Gary), I couldn't really take the credit. I'm way too competitive to give up on a chance to gloat - err I mean win gracefully.

In my day - I was actually a pretty good Bowler. I even bowled on an after work League. At least I think we did some bowling along with all that beer drinking.

I remember my average was around 130. Guess what I bowled my first game? 127! I kicked some Bowling Butt.

Let's just not discuss my score for the next two games.

Gary and Little K improved their scores quite a bit by the end of the 3rd game. I can't say the same. I broke a nail, have a blister on my thumb, and this morning my leg muscles are so sore I almost tripped down the stairs.

How sad is that....even bowling makes my muscles ache. Time to get going to the Gym again.

But it was a great opportunity to wear some really cool footwear.

I must say, we all had some pretty good bowling form. Little K did a great job without the bumpers (she was the only kid not using them). If you didn't actually look at the score board, we could have looked like a family force to be reckoned with. I'm surprised no one asked us to join their league? Maybe next time.

Little K did take some shots of me bowling (just to prove that I have good form as well), but they are on her camera and I (conveniently) forget how to upload from hers.

We had a great time together - just having silly fun. Need to do more of that for sure!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Clothespin Doll for Grace

The very first clothespin doll I ever made was for our little friend Ava's 6th Birthday. They have been so much fun. I've made several more (for Little K, and for other friends).

Ava has a Big Sister Grace....and last weekend was Graces 9th Birthday. Their mom put in a little hint that Grace might want her own clothespin Doll - so that's what we did.

I used a coordinating dress fabric (to Ava's doll), as the girls share a room and the dolls will be displayed together.

Grace's Birthday was a Scrapbooking Party -and we coordinated the doll to the invitations. Added to the base is a picture frame. I used the same paper from the invites for the back of the frame so it still looks cute even without a picture in place.

We even found wrapping paper that coordinated with the party colors.

Don't you love it when it all comes together.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thinking of My Dad Today

Thinking of my Dad, who passed away two years ago today.

James Henry Blackburn
August 30, 1936 - March 21, 2008


took us to amazing places through his Military Service
was a great artist (even though he didn't think so himself)
hummed and whistled
taught me how to build anything - out of anything
looked like Elvis Presley in his younger days
would sing round robin songs with us in the car
played the guitar
passed on his quirky habit of finger tapping to his children and grandchildren without us even realizing it
whistled the same reveille tune to get me up every morning - that still makes me shudder
hated it when I was late
owned and ran a successful Upholstery business with my mom
had a soft spot for stray animals
was the life of the party
hated to talk on the phone
was incredibly patriotic
loved racing
grew up on a farm
could be incredibly stubborn
taught me how to bait my own hook
was a terrible speller, but a genius at math
loved to play games
was very proud of me!

When folks tell me I'm like you Pop
I almost burst with pride,
'cause ever since I was a pup
just standing by your side,
I liked the way you faced the world
the things you say and do,
and would be glad to be a Chip
off such a Block as You!

Remembering my Dad Today
- and my Mom, and Brother and Aunt -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day

Last Year - St. Patricks Day sort of sprung up on us. We didn't put much thought into making a Leprechaun Trap until late the night before.

Needless to say - it may not have been the best design and didn't work. The little bugger got away. No pot of gold for us.

This year, St. Patricks Day falls during Spring Break, so we had a bit more time to research how to make the most successful Trap.

Little K's original thought was to make one out of wood - because last year he chewed his way out of the paper box trap we set.

When we saw this version at Family Fun Magazine, Little K decided it was the one to make.

A "Keep Out" sign for a little reverse psychology - you know those guys are tricky and never do as they are told.

A Leprechaun sized ladder was nearby, just in case he was tempted.

But here is the "trap". A door cut into the top. Did you know Leprechauns only weigh 1-1 1/2 pounds? Surely he would fall right into our trap.

It was cleverly hidden by (chocolate) Gold Coins. You know how they like those shiny, glittery objects. We were sure our mischievous Leprechaun would not be able to resist.

Alas - foiled again. The little bugger escaped. Although he did replace the chocolate coins with quarters. Perhaps we should re-think the wooden box idea for next year.

What kind of mischievous pranks did the Leprechauns play at your house?

Monday, March 8, 2010


That's how long it has been!

Since my sweet hubby has been looking for a new job.

It all started back in December.

When I got a Call...
On a Tuesday...At 2:00 in the Afternoon...
from my Husband...
Telling me he would be Coming Home....

My first thought was that he was coming to help get ready for the Party we were hosting that weekend.

I couldn't have been more Wrong - or more Shocked.

It turns out his company (like so many others) was going through a re-structure due to declining business (like so many others) and would be consolidating. His Region was being dissolved - so there would be no need for him as a Regional Vice President.

Gulp - we were unemployed. After a few nights of crying and indulging in self pity - and a call to my Mother - it was time to look on the POSITIVE side of things:

1) My dear one has amazing skills, interviews well, and makes a good first impression
2) We live in a big city with plenty of opportunities
3) He received a fair severance package, so we're not destitute
4) We don't live extravagantly, have a fairly low mortgage payment and both our cars are paid off
5) Savings doesn't have to be saved for retirement
6) We're willing and able to relocate if needed
7) I was a pretty sharp cookie in my day and I'm sure I could get a job - gulp - if I had to
8) My sweet husband has a calm personality and a positive outlook that is totally contagious
9) I don't eat when I'm stressed, so I didn't gain my usual Holiday extra pounds

I had faith it would all work out OK in the end. Maybe not exactly as I had hoped - but still, we have much to be thankful for.

He has accepted a position with a successful Retail Company and started training for his new job last week.

I am so proud of his accomplishments. We were fully prepared to be without income for many more months, based on the current job market trend. The fact that he has landed a new (dare I say - better) job in just over 2 months is quite remarkable. Although I am not surprised - he has much to offer this world - both professionally and personally.

Although he might have had a little help from this guy. It's a Lucky Frog. I can't remember where we found him, but Little K and I gave him to Gary as a gift during his last job transition. He's well worn, and travels in Gary's pocket, along with all his change. He's been on every phone screening and job interview. I think he did the trick.

The sad news is, that we have to move - again. We went through a similar situation just 3 years ago when we moved from California to Arizona. This time, we will be moving from Arizona - back to California - to the northern part of the state.

I grew up in a military family, so moving is in my blood, you could say. We love to travel, and experience new places. But it brings on a whole new dimension when you have a child involved.

Little K will now have moved 3 times in her 9 short years. I keep telling myself, that moving as a child is what helped me develop my outgoing personality, and that she is young enough to not be terribly bothered by the move. But I can't help but worry if she will make the transition OK.

So far - she is dealing with it all amazingly well. We won't be moving until after the school year is over, so that helps. The fact that she is going "back" to California seems to ease the fears as well. I don't think she quite understands we'll be 4 hours away from our "old" town and friends, but I don't see the need to point that out just yet.

I couldn't be prouder - she is mature way beyond her 9 years.

Hopefully, in a few months, we will be packing up and moving on to our next new adventure. For now, keep your fingers crossed that we find someone to fall in love with our house here in Arizona, and want to buy it - quickly.