NaNoWriMo, Writing Stuff

I Can See the Checkered Flag Waving in the Distance

I’m dying here. Both physically (I’m physically uncomfortable – intestinal problems – too much information? *grin*), and creatively. It was like squeezing tomato juice from a lemon today. Part of me WANTED to write, the other part of me RESISTED that urge to write. It was the oddest feeling. I felt like there were two sides of me at war and neither side was winning.

Really strange. Maybe it’s the Red Bull talking, who knows. (I am sort of buzzing right now).

At any rate, I’m close. Hopefully, I can cross the finish line and post a winner’s badge very soon.

However the story? Doesn’t feel close to being done. But I will continue to work on it. I’m determined to see this thing through.

In the meantime, pass the Pepto, will you? *burp*

NaNoWriMo Progress

Life

Another Thanksgiving Memory

The day of giving thanks is over and all I can think is, thank God.

Now please, don’t get me wrong, my husband’s family is great, in fact, they are beyond great, they are all fantastic people – and I like all of them (and no, I’m not just saying that). And when we get together, we have lots of laughs and enjoy catching up on each others lives, but honesty? They intimidate the h-e-double-l out of me.

And I think it’s partly because they are successful, attractive, God-fearing (which by the way, the word “fear” is a mistranslation in the Bible; it’s actually “respect” in Hebrew [in some cases] so anywhere you see folks “feared” God in the Bible, they actually “respected” Him – so I’m saying they are all God-respecting Christians) people.

In essence, they seem perfect.

I know, I know, no one is perfect, I get that. The intellectual part of me gets that, but the emotional side of me doesn’t feel like I live up to their standards. Which is stupid, I know, because they would all tell you I was crazy for even thinking that …

but I do.

When I’m around them, I feel fat and ugly. I feel stupid and flawed. And I feel ridiculous for typing that out because I know what their reaction would be if they read that – incredulous. They are down-to-earth people who love God and are strong family units. They are simply people trying to make the best lives they know how for their families, and yet, I don’t feel totally relaxed around them.

Which is really stupid considering I’ve known these people for 21 years now. I’m not sure why I feel this way. I have nothing to be ashamed of – I love my husband and my in-laws have seen how happy I’ve made their son. Our boys are amazing, well-rounded people and again, my in-law family sees, and appreciates, this. And when compared to other families? We’re the freaking Waltons, people.

And maybe that’s why I’m intimidated. It’s hard to live up to that standard, I think. On the surface, everyone is happy go-lucky people and heck, maybe they really ARE that way. But I can’t help but wish someone would get angry, or just be a complete arsehole once in a while just to keep things grounded, you know?

Everyone is just a bit too happy.

And what sort of warped individual am I to wish they weren’t??

Geez, I wonder about myself sometimes.

As a result of my irrational feelings, I don’t eat as much as I would like to every Thanksgiving, in fact, I am usually pretty hungry when we get home. And I can’t tell you the number of years I’ve turned down the HUGE assortment of delicious pies my MIL makes every year simply because I feel self-conscious stuffing my face.

And I leave the gathering with a raging headache each and every year because I’m assuming the pressure of being the “life of the party” (which I’ve been called) is simply too much for me.

I don’t know, this is a bizarre area for me because I’m not usually intimidated by people. And my mother would say I care too much about how I look or how I’m perceived by people and I would have to agree with her. And yet, here we are.

Let’s move out of the self-analysis range and chronicle the day because this is a journal after all and given my POOR memory, I need to write this stuff down or I’ll forget about it next week.

My husband drove my car in order to pick Nanny and L. up. He was quite happy with this arrangement because he thinks my Pontiac Vibe handles like a go-cart and he’s always fancied himself a race-car driver.

Here’s a great picture of Nanny that my husband took:

Nanny
(Isn’t she sweet? This woman helped me out in so many ways … I’ll have to write a vignette about her soon).

So, I ended up driving my husband’s F150 truck over there. *gulp* Yikes, his truck is HUGE compared to my Vibe and his leather seats are so slippery I was quite literally sliding from end of the truck to the other whenever I took a corner – it sort of freaked me out actually and I had to hide my fear of losing control from the boys.

We arrived right on time (noon) and took our salad and rolls in to contribute to the table already overflowing with food. The next fifteen minutes was spent saying hi, giving hugs (I’m not a huggie sort of person) and exchanging pleasantries. My brother-in-law said Grace and the husband and I promptly disappeared outside to allow the other 20 + people to get their food first.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. In fact, it was unusually mild for this time of year. It was sunny and about 60 degrees with virtually no wind – ideal weather to eat outside. Plus, the inside of the house was a sauna and there were so many people that we felt claustrophobic.

My brother/sister-in-law have a little dog, I don’t know the breed, but her name is Lady. And she was the sweetest dog! She barked maybe twice (at me, no less because I talked baby talk to her) and she highly entertained the boys.

Lady
(Don’t tell the boys this, but I could see myself with this sort of dog – I truly loved her).

The line finally ran it’s course and the husband and I filled our plates. Well, he filled his plate, I stuck to small portions of several food items (again, no pie *sad face*). We ate outside, just me, the husband, our boys and their uncle whom they are fairly close to. I don’t know if the rest of the family thought we were being snooty by not eating with them, but it was so hot in the house and it was such a beautiful day – it just worked out that way.

After dinner, the family fired up Skype in order to talk to my niece is who currently doing missionary work in Hawaii.

Anna on Skype
(It was good to see her – I haven’t seen her since last Thanksgiving).

After that, my other sister-in-law brought out the games and we started playing a new game called “Pick” using Scrabble tiles. In essence, here’s how it works – everyone gets seven tiles, everyone turns the tiles over and frantically tries to use all of the tiles making their own individual word puzzle. Whoever uses all of their tiles first says, “pick” and everyone takes one tile from the pile. Then you try and insert that tile into your word puzzle. The first person who is successful in incorporating their tile says “pick” and everyone draws another tile. This goes on until there are no more tiles left and everyone counts up their points, deducting for any tiles not used.

"Pick"
I loved this game!! It was fast paced and super fun.

(I later found out that it’s based on the Bananagram game. Though I prefer the regular Scrabble tiles because of the harder letters being worth more points).

We then went on to play “Whoonu” (which my youngest nephew got a kick out of) and then “Last Word” which a guest of one of my nephews won.

In the meantime, we were highly entertained by my nephew tickling the ivories …

Tickling the Ivories

And all the while …

Videographer

my husband ran around and filmed everyone and my father-in-law …

Resting

got some much needed rest.

I wish I had taken more pictures. Unfortunately, I always SAY I’m going to take a lot of pictures and then when the actual event is happening I chicken out and don’t.

I don’t know why I turn into this shy, awkward person whenever I’m around my family by marriage but I don’t like it – at all.

So, we can paste another Thanksgiving dinner in the memory book. And though I had a great time, I’m sort of relieved that it’s back to business as usual.

Friday Fun

Friday Craft: Christmas Stockings

Here are some fun and cute stocking ideas from Family Fun.

In fact, wouldn’t these be fun to scale down and put on packages? OR, maybe you know a child who has a birthday around Christmas? You could scale them down and make cute little goodie bags, er, stockings to take home.

Fancy Boot Stocking
fancyboot

This boot was made for stuffing, and that’s just what Santa will do this Christmas Eve.

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Scissors
2 pieces of purple felt, each 24 by 15 inches
2 pieces of black faux fur, each 24 by 15 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Purple embroidery floss
Costume jewelry buttons and chains (sold at many fabric stores)
Clear tape
9 inches of black twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the fancy boot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 boot shape from each piece of the purple felt and 1 from each piece of the black fur. Be sure to cut the fur boots so the toes point in opposite directions with the fur sides up.

3. Pin together the boots with the fur boots on the inside, furry sides in, and the purple boots on the outside.

4. Using the floss, whipstitch around the edges, sewing the boots together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

5. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

6. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

7. The Trimmings: Use floss to sew the buttons and chains to the boot.

8. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.


Elf Boot Stocking
elfstocking

Here’s a whimsical stocking in honor of Santa’s hardworking helpers.

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Scissors
2 pieces of light green fleece, each 24 by 20 inches
3 pieces of dark green felt, each 24 by 20 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Dark green embroidery floss
Red jingle bells, 4 medium and 1 large
Clear tape
9 inches of red twist cord
Fiberfill

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the elf boot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 boot shape from each piece of the light green fleece

3. Cut a decorative shape from 1 piece of the dark green felt for the front of the stocking and 1 stocking shape from each of the remaining 2 pieces of the felt.

4. Place a light green boot on top of a dark green boot, pin the decorative shape on top, and use the floss to whipstitch (see page 131) around the inner edge of decorative shape through both boots.

5. Pin together all 4 boots with the dark green boots on the inside.

6. Using the floss, whipstitch around the edges, sewing the boots together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

7. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

8. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

9. The trimmings: Use the floss to sew the medium red bells to the decorative shape and the large red bell to the toe tip.

10. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.

11. Stuff the curly toe of the boot with fiberfill to keep it from flopping over when the stocking is empty.


Bare Foot Stocking
barefoot

Add a touch of color to the season with this stocking that celebrates every kid’s favorite footwear — none!

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Scissors
4 pieces of gold felt, each 21 by 20 inches
Red felt and red embroidery floss
Green felt and green embroidery floss
Purple felt and purple embroidery floss
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Gold embroidery floss
Pony beads
Clear tape
9 inches of red twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The Basic Stocking: Click here to download the bare foot stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 bare foot shape from each piece of the gold felt .

3. Cut 5 circles from the colored felts for the toenails.

4. Place one foot on top of another and pin the toenails in place.

5. Using the matching floss, whipstitch (see page 131) around the edges of each toenail, sewing through both feet.

6. Pin all 4 feet together and use the gold floss to whipstitch around the edges, sewing the feet together. Leave the top edges unsewn.

7. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2.

8. Fold down the top to make a cuff.

9. The Trimmings: Thread pony beads onto a 24-inch piece of colored floss, wrap it around the ankle, and tie together the ends.

10. Tape the ends of the cord to keep it from fraying, then sew it to the stocking for hanging.


Ballet Slipper Stocking
balletslipper

“Nutcracker” nuts, for one, will dance with joy over this dainty stocking.

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Scissors
2 pieces of white felt, each 24 by 12 inches
3 pieces of pink felt, each 24 by 16 inches
Long sewing pins
Large-eye sewing needle
Pink embroidery floss
White embroidery floss
2 ½ yards of 7/8 -inch pink ribbon
Clear tape
9 inches of white twist cord

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours
1. The basic stocking: Click here to download the ballet slipper stocking pattern.

2. Cut 1 stocking shape from each piece of the white felt.

3. Cut 2 shoe shapes from 1 piece of the pink felt and 1 stocking shape from each of the remaining 2 pieces of pink felt.

4. Lay out the pink stockings, toes pointing in opposite directions, with a white stocking on top of each one.

5. Pin a pink shoe on top of each white stocking.

Stitch diagram 6. Using the pink floss, whipstitch (see page 131) along the inner edge of each shoe, sewing through the pink and the white felt. Leave the outside edges unsewn.

7. Pin together the stockings so the shoes are on the outside, then whipstitch together the layers using the white floss along the white edges of the stocking and the pink floss for the shoes. Leave the top unsewn.

8. At the top, sew together the front 2 edges, then the back 2, with the white floss.

9. The Trimmings: Cut the ribbon in half, tie it in a bow, and then sew the knot to the stocking.

10. Crisscross the loose ribbon down and around the leg of the stocking and tack the ends flush to the top of the heel.

11. Tape the ends of the cord to keep them from fraying, then sew the cord to the stocking for hanging.

Tips:
A Stitch for All Stockings
Thread your needle with a length of floss and knot one end. Begin sewing by pushing the needle up through the underside of the fabric and then out the top. Loop the needle back under the fabric and repeat the stitch.

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