Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boot liners on the fly

It rains a lot up here in Northern California.  Which means you really need a good pair of rainboots, sneakers just aren't gonna fly when there are puddles the size of a small pond in every parking lot.  The thing with rainboots, though, is that they're like little refrigerators for your feet.  It also gets really cold up here in Nor Cal, so that can be a problem, too.  I've seen boot liners, but they're not that cheap.  I've seen tutorials for making your own out of felt, but I don't have any felt.

I do have a felted wool sweater, though.  So here's what I did...

Makeshift boot liner on the fly:

1.  Felt a wool sweater by washing and drying it (mine was already done--thanks for accidentally ruining your sweater, Danielle)

2.  Put your foot into the arm hole (I put mine into the top of arm, by the arm pit) until it gets too tight to go in further

3.  Cut the arm of the sweater off, then do the next foot in the other arm

4.  Once you have your feet in the arms of the sweater, cut off the remaining excess fabric so it is the size of your foot.

5.  Sew the toe shut if you wish. (I didn't, because I was rushing out the door to head down to San Francisco and the airport)

6.  Voila! Toasty feet.

Now that this is actually up on my blog, I realize how ridiculous these look/seem, but I never claimed they were pretty, right?  Or professional.  One thing I will claim, though: they ARE warm.  They keep my feet toasty.  Just something to keep in mind if you're ever in a bind.


Look me in the eye and tell me that picture didn't just make your day.  Or make you grin at the very least.  She's a crazy one, she is. She's always saying things like, "Poke ya in da EYE!" or "my shirt!" or "my haaar!"  Guess you have to be there...

Caiden Keats, you're a doll!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Need Paper!

My little man, Elliott, is quite the pen pal these days.  In fact, he has used up every last writing paper, note card, envelope, and blank white paper that we own.  It is the cutest thing I have ever seen.  Almost every day he will sit down and "write" half a dozen letters-- most of them to me, Daddy, and sister.  He's already memorized how to spell "mom" and "dad" and no longer spells his own name like the martian "ET" which is what he was doing for a while.  I'm pleased that he's learning how to spell and can recognize letters and their sounds and is enjoying a creative outlet in the process; it makes him so happy.  However, I've run clean out of supplies!  And I have a couple of pen pals of my own to keep up with.  So if you find that your next letter is written on newspaper clippings and receipt stubs, you'll know why.

That's our house with me in it, I think. Oh wait, maybe that was his rendition of Noah's ark...

I must admit: he takes after his mom.  I was a faithful note and card writer to my mother.  I found a bunch of old notes and cards I wrote to her in an old suitcase somewhere.  Very sentimental and dramatic.  Here's a look at a memory lane, letters from little Cryn.

"you're somthin' special."

"I love you, hope I do not give you a brokan heart"

I better get some more paper, and soon, so I can have lots of these little letters of my own to look at once Elliott and Caiden are grown.

As my mother in law always says, "Happy Hump Day!"  Wednesday is hump day, don't ya know?  Its the middle of the week! You have successfully made it over the hump.  Congratulations.

Meet Liz!

This is Lizzie.  She made a trip out from Connecticut to come see me--I mean, us--this January.

(Lizzie and her handsome husband, Dave!)

My kids loved Lizzie.  They played endless rounds of hide and go seek together.  They invaded her privacy and had to use the potty almost every time she took a shower or shut the door.  They took her hairbrush to play with, and her cell phone.  I'm sure they rooted around in her luggage and in general pestered her for her undivided attention.  And she gave it.  Which was so wonderful.  But not, at the same time, because--hey!  I thought she was supposed to be visiting me!  It seemed like I had myself some competition.  Being away from my five siblings for the past eight years or so made me forget what it was like to have to compete for attention with my friendships.  Good thing Elliott and Caiden are so cute.  I guess I can share my friends with them...

Elliott has this old VHS tape called Wee Sing in Sillyville.  Some of you may have heard of it.  Its pretty '80's fabulous.  Anyway, there is this one particular song on there that goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old."  I think I finally get that.  It is so nice to make new friends.  I love all my new friends.  They are so dear to me.  They encourage me all the time and keep me company and meet me for coffee and we have fun getting to know each other.  But having an old friend is such a beautiful thing.  The easiness and smooth feel of it.  It is so comfortable and nice, like an old shoe.  Having Liz here was like finding an old pair of my favorite shoes that were tucked away in the back of my closet somewhere that I finally found and took out and got to wear for a few days.  Once I put them on, I remembered exactly how it feels to be in them.  I knew exactly how to walk in them, I knew where they are worn and what their strong points and weak points are.  I was reminded of how well they compliment all of my outfits.  Oh, how I love that old pair of shoes.  I wish I could wear them all time.

There was also an element of newness there, too, of course.  We are both now almost 26, not 16 anymore.  She's in law school and works for a state senator and I have two kids.  At night time, instead of lying in bed side by side and giggling about boys, I lie on the pull out bed next to her and talk until I see her eyes start to get heavy and then I get up and get into bed with my husband.  It was beautiful to see all the ways she's grown and changed, and the ways she's still the same.  It was also a gift of enormous proportion to see and understand all the ways we are actually very similar, when in highschool it always seemed we were so diverse.  It was good to remember how easy it is to be with her.  Someone you can take anywhere and not have to worry about whether they're having a good time or not.  You can just... be.

(If this picture were taken 10 years ago, we wouldn't be sitting in a hip coffee shop sipping loose leaf tea and french pressed coffee.  We would be sitting in a diner called, Twin Colony, with two cups of crappy coffee and sharing a blueberry muffin that we managed to scrounge up change for in the nooks and crannys of her car.  I'm pretty sure you saved my life, with your friendship, back then, Lizzie.)

It is good to have years and history with a person.  Someone who has seen you when you were young and stupid.  Someone who was young and stupid with you.  Someone who has stuck by you all these years and still cares about you and would still choose you if they met you today.

Liz and Me at 15. (My email used to be "sneakergirl25" or something like that. Nice.)

I moved a lot growing up and spent a lot of time around people much older than me, so I don't have a lot of these.  So Lizzie is pretty darn special to me.  And her family, too.

I didn't take many pictures...  Shame on me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mom Secret

If you are a parent, or plan on being one in the future, then this is a secret that would behoove you to learn.  It is no secret that kids spill things, but are you aware of how many things they spill?  And how often?  I'm talking like practically every day.  And usually it is spilled in a very unfortunate place and usually what is being spilled is a very undesirable liquid soaking into your carpet or your person or your table or your couch...  Nothing is sacred.  There is little else worse than spilled milk rotting in your carpet.  Do we agree?

Enter The Absorber.  Da-da da DAAAA.  I took over ownership of one of these puppies that was given to my husband for drying the car.  When I had 2 or 3 cups worth of milk all over the table, I was looking for an efficient way to soak it up.  I stumbled upon this shamois in the cabinet and now it is my go-to absorber for all spills.  It soaks up everything, in the carpet or on the table.  The best part is that it is synthetic so it doesn't mold or rot.  You just soak up, rinse out, and then roll up and put it, wet, back into its container.  Best thing ever.  Get one.  It will be the most well spent $10 ever.

Image from Amazon


Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those that who have no might
He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and
be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Sometimes life gets really stressful.  Some times when I'm driving, or I'm at home looking at a gigantic mess of dirty plates and utensils, clothes and toys strewn about everywhere, bills that need to be paid, I start to feel overwhelmed.  And then I think about what I should make for dinner and the crisis heightens.  Which is precisely when random thoughts start swarming my head reminding me of everything I may have done or said wrong that day, or any day, for that matter, from the past 26 years.  I start looking down at this whole mess of my life and I start to panic and wonder how I can fix everything and somehow do the impossible and be perfect and fix everything and never do anything wrong again in my entire life.  But, its all rubbish.  Everything we can try to create is ugly in comparison with what God creates.  Take our most complex creation like a modern marvel or a bridge--ugly, lifeless, pretty much one dimensional.  Look at a tree, which God, in His wisdom has created.  It is beautiful, vibrant, it has life.  Amazing.  Incomprehensible. Beautiful. 

When I start freaking out about life, I've been reminded to look up.  To look past all of the man made garbage, the world we've created for ourselves.  I see massive clouds racing by and I realize that they are huge and I small, teeny.  I realize that God can make the clouds move across the face of the earth and sky.  I realize that I cannot.  I realize that I cannot control anything.  I remember the character of my God and that He created me and loves me.  I realize that He knows my frame and remembers that I am but dust.  And then I realize that I don't need to do much.  Just keep breathing and trusting Him.  He loves me.  I'm listening.  He will lead.

Photo credit: David Escalante

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Heart Lists

I love making lists.  There's something about making a list that makes you feel as if you have a little bit of control and order in the world.  Before we went to the market the other day, I decided to give Elliott the power.  I drew him pictures of what we needed to get and then I put him in charge of the list.  "Don't lose this," I said.  And, "It is your job to hold on to the list and tell me what we need to get."

Normally, Elliott would much rather be at home, playing, than off at the grocery store; but the list changed all that.  It was surprisingly effective in engaging him and he took his job very seriously.  He was stoked.  He was happy.  He was in the know.  Such a simple little thing, but oh, so powerful.

Behold the power of "The List."