Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Here are some fathers that are special in my life. Love you Dad, Guy, Mark and Charles!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dylan's Graduation

At the end of May Dylan had his graduation celebration from preschool. He will begin kindergarden in the fall. Can't believe it!

The cake had blue frosting on it.

Update on Maya

Jeannine has been sending lots of videos lately. Her daycare babysitter says that Maya is about a year ahead of where other children her age are. She is 19 months old here.

Maya had earlier gone to a friend's first birthday.

Jeannine said that Maya has this book memorized. A bear sneezes when a bee lands on his nose. Somewhere it talks about a grandma, "where's the mousie", and at the end of this video, she says, "It will be hard to find."

Here is the little "drama girl."

They got some flowers planted in their barrels. She's got about 3-4 weeks to go her until her due date.

She just practicing getting used to the potty.

Time to catch up....

I guess it is time to get caught up here since the break is over and I'm into the next break! During the break between semesters, I got a lot of quilting done. It was so weird to spend all day in my quilt room. I kept thinking I needed to work on something for school since that is all I had done for the last 5 months 24/7. I felt like a bird out of a cage. Here's is some of what I finished.

This is a nearly twin-sized flannel that came in a kit I purchased in Bozeman a year ago. It is pieced and appliqued. It is a lot prettier in person. I freehanded the squiggle quilting and the hearts in the inner border blocks.

The is a little gizmo to hand on the backside of the front car seat. The yellow pockets on the bottom hold larger toys, books, etc. and the elasticized pockets at the top hold the smaller things.

This is called an I Spy quilt. Most of these I've seen I don't really care for because every square is just sewn together and it is too busy. I decided to "fussy cut" two of every square - two matching 3" sqaures in the center, and two matching 2" squares in the border. This is going to Maya, and she can play with it finding the two blocks that match. The boys have had fun playing with this since I finished it.

This next one, I had pieced and appliqued this top several years ago and didn't quilt it because I didn't how to quilt it. Every time I picked it up, no inspiration would come to me. A couple of times when Jeannine was home, she would see this top and tell me that someday she wanted it if I ever got it done. So I decided that I would sandwich the top, batting and backing and just start stitching. That is what I did. I basically quilted "in the ditch" and squiggled on the border. The qpplique on this one is fused with blanket-stitching. I much prefer to needle-turn applique, because I don't like the stiff feeling you get with fusing. I've now learned to not fuse the entire piece down, but just use a "rim" around the edge and that keeps it much softer.

The other project was the reversable place mats. You can click on any of these pictures to see the details. When I fly out to Bozeman next Tuesday, I'll have to take an extra suitcase just to take all the quilts.

Trying the cube

create your own slideshow

Trying something different. I found this new place on the web where you can post your pictures using the cool affects, and you can use the affect as a screen saver, too. It is free for the first month, and $19.95 per year after that. I'll see if I want to continue enough to pay after the month.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

2nd week into the break....

Time sure flies when you are having fun. This week I've spent nearly every day in my quilt studio. I have the top for the flannel quilt completed; now I just have to quilt it. The part I dislike the most is sandwiching the top, batting, and backing together and basting or pinning it. I just want to get on with the fun part - the quilting! I also stuck another little project in the middle. I'm making place mats for the table in the kitchen. The purchased ones we have were very nice until we washed them. There is very little quilting on them, so the batting has bunched all up in places. It you set your plate just right, it rocks back and forth! :( Unfortunately I didn't go for something just simple that could be made in a day. They are made with a technique called Cotton Theory. You quilt them as you piece them, and they are reversable with one side being totally different from the other. I'll post pictures of them, too, when I'm done with them.

I did manage to get one thing done. There is a narrow strip of wall space between my living room door that leads into the kitchen and the door that leads to the screened-in porch. It was just the right size for a wallhanging I wanted to make. This fabric was purchased at a quilt show I went to in Paducah, KY a couple of years ago. I love the dyed gradations of this fabric. It looks just like suede, but it is cotton.

Sunday, Mark, Fernanda, and the boys came over for Mother's Day. Dylan carried a little gift bag to give me, but before I could even take it and open it, he had it out of the bag for me. He's so cute - he never can keep a surprise. :)

Today Fernanda came over to the house while the boys were in preschool. When she went to pick them up, I had to take Mom to the doctor for a check back on her hand. As I drove by the church where the boys go to school, Fernanda was still there. I pulled in by her car and waited for the boys to come out. As they did, I peeked around the end of my car, and when Dylan saw me, his face lit up like a Christmas tree, he RAAAAAN across the parking lot with his arms ourstretched, yelling, "Vovo Sheryl! Vovo Sheryl!" He leaped into my arms, and I thought, "I wouldn't take anything in the world for times like this!!!" I had talked to a lady earlier in the day who said how fortunate I was to have a relationship like this with my grandchildren. She said her boys didn't have any connection with their grandparents. That is so sad! I can't imagine having grandchildren and not being able to have a close relationship with them. Both the boys wanted so bad to get into my car and go with me. I had to explain to them that I had to take Great Grandma to the doctor, and Dylan said, "AGAIN?!" That cracked me up! I don't know where that came from. :)

I did take Mom back to the doctor today. All they did was take out her 3 stitches and tell her that the x-rays looked like her hand was healing well, and that took THREE HOURS! ARGH!!! It really irks me to go somewhere where no one thinks YOUR own time is valuable. NO one should have to sit in a doctor's office for that length of time! By the time we were there that long, we were both freezing, and Mom could hardly walk even though we got up occasionally and just walked around to keep our circulation flowing. They didn't do a thing for her that I couldn't have done myself. I certainly can take out stitches. I can't take x-rays, and if it hadn't been for that and wanting to be sure her bones were healing OK, I would never have stayed around that long. I think doctors' offices should have a policy whereby if you have to wait over a reasonable length of time, they should have to pay YOU! That seems only fair to me. I'll bet they would stop that over-booking. I hate feeling like I'm just part of a herd of cattle. That's what you end up being. Only cattle have it better - they can stand around a eat while they are waiting. All they need are a few blades of grass. You can't even take food or water with you in a waiting room. Thank goodness we each had a good book with us that we could read. But after THREE HOURS, your eyes are blurred, your seat is asleep and your bladder is bulging. Can you tell I got a bit irritated??? (Deep breath...)

Jeannine and Charles went car shopping today. She had planned to buy a car when I got there to help her, but with Charles' good job starting next week, they couldn't wait. They found a 2003 GMC Envoy (SUV) with 56,000 miles, a one owner car in mint condition. She sent pictures of it, and it looks brand new - has lots of bells and whisles. She is sooo excited and I'm soooo happy for them. They needed something that would easily hold two babies and be dependable during their snowy winters. They also needed something with air conditioning. Their temperatures have been in the 80s already. Since they have no air conditioning in the house, they can at least get cool in the vehicle.

After Charles' graduation, they had a huge cajun cookout at their house. Earlier in the week, she thought she might be going into labor. As it turned out, she was just dehydrated, and it made the Braxton Hicks contractions (those tightening feelings that occur during the later months) strong and painful. Throughout the whole weekend she didn't have a migraine or any more contractions. God is good!

Seeing that lilac bush at the end of their house reminds me of last year when I was there Mother's Day and had a bunch of pictures of Maya and I beside that gorgeous bush.

Jeannine, Charles, Maya, and Charles' dad all went to the park about 2 blocks from their house on Mother's Day. The day was warm and sunny. You have to listen close as Maya turns and walks away from the camera, but she does wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

She also knows her "flowers."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

One week into the break...

I can't believe that my break is nearly half over! Where did the week go??? I had such big plans to quilt all week, but the best laid plans.....Mom took a tumble in their front yard, ending up with three stitches in her left hand to repair a pretty nasty gash and 3 broken bones in the hand. Amazingly, it has slowed her up very little! The wound seems to be healing nicely, and the swelling is going down in the hand and wrist.

I did start on a quilt for Sophia. It was from a flannel quilt kit that I bought in Bozeman last year and had never taken it out of the bag. I'm not overly fond of working with flannel (makes my nose itch!), but this is so cute! I'm anxious to get it done. I'll post a picture here when I get it quilted.

Maya had her 18-month checkup, and the doctor was totally amazed at her ability to talk - in complete sentences. She was amazed that she could put things together - like the little disposable black thingy that goes on the otoscope (the instrument used to look in the ear). The doctor said Maya was very very smart, and she was glad that she was born into the family that she has. She knows that Jeannine will provide the necessary stimulation to keep her challenged.

Charles had his graduation ceremony today!! Woohoo! I know he is soooo glad - and Jeannine, too! I wish we could have been there. His dad was able to come for a visit. Charles has a great job waiting for him. This will cause a change for them that they have never experienced in their almost 9 years of married life.

It won't be long until I get to make my trip to Bozeman. I've been watching for an airfare that I thought I could afford. So far, I've not found one. I hope I don't have to bite the bullet and just buy. I may have to get a part time job when I get there to pay for the ticket!

I miss seeing the boys. I tried all week to meet up with them after preschool, but things kept getting in the way. Hopefully next week I'll get to see them. Dylan keeps asking to come to Vovo Sheryl's house. When you think about it, our house was his house for about 6 months, so I guess he just wants to "come home" for a visit.

Here is a picture of them a few weeks ago when they loaded up the last of their toys to take to their house.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Semester is nearly over!!

The spring semester is nearly over. I just have to give their final exam tomorrow. I don't know who will be the happiest - me or the students - when it is all over! The last faculty meeting is Thursday. Then I'm taking off for Gatlinburg, TN to enjoy our annual church ladies' retreat. When I return, I'll seriously start looking for an airfare to go to Bozeman. I probably won't go until some time in June. I'll be teaching the first three weeks of the summer term, just to get my subsititue started. I hope to do a little quilting in my time off before I go to Montata. This has been such a horrendous semester; I haven't even had time to THINK about quilting. Working day and night, seven days a week, just to stay ahead of my students with this pediatric material wasn't exactly my idea of fun. I need some time off!!!

Jeannine keeps sending little video clips of Maya that make my day. This one is called "Maya singing opera." (Click on the arrow twice.) I can't believe she is talking so much!! She gets on the phone and says, "Hi, Grandma!" just plain as day. I know when I get there, I'll see a very different little girl from when they were here for Christmas.

The boys seem to be adjusted to their new house. Dylan called the other day and said he wanted to come stay all night at Grandmas. Last night Mark and Fernanda had a wedding to attend, so they brought the boys by for supper and to stay all night. Then we took them to church with us this morning. We had a lot of fun. There certainly is not a dull moment when they are around!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Coloring Easter Eggs

Today we colored Easter Eggs. As you can see, they really got into this. Dylan said, "We never did this at our "skoo." I love to hear him say the word school! It was just too cold today to hide them. I'm not sure tomorrow will be any better. We may just have to hide them in the house. As I recall that is where we always hid eggs for Mark and Jeannine anyway. That must have been because it was always too cold in Kansas at this time of the year, too.

Later in the morning we went over to Mark's house. Fernanda had just dried the boys' sheets so we made up their beds. Dylan's room is all sports related.

Chris' room is more tropical related.

Happy and Blessed Easter!

I don't know where the time has gone. This semester has been such a whirl-wind! I've been spending day and night, 7 days a week, working on these pediatric lectures, just trying to stay a jump ahead of the students. So far, so good, but it has not been particularly fun! It's called "surviving."

I'm so looking forward to the summer and being off. I'll teach for about a week - just to get them oriented and started. Then, I'm out of there! I don't know exactly when I'll head for Bozeman yet. I'm just watching the airfares. So far they are way too expensive. Every now and then there is a sale, but not for June yet.

ALLERGIES!!!! AARRGGHH!!! I will be so glad when this spring is over. Ordinarily, this is the most beautiful, wonderful time of the year in Alabama. But this year I have not been able to enjoy any of it. It has been the worst year for allergy sufferers. I'm on shots, oral medication, nose sprays, and eye drops. And still I'm miserable. It's the eyes - I can take sneezing and a dripping nose, but when I want to take my eyeballs out and scratch them with a wire brush, well..... you get the picture.

It turned warm really early this year. Everything has been in full bloom, and then a huge cold front came through last night. I'm not sure what it got down to, but the forecast was 26. Tonight it is supposed to be 24 - that will set an all-time record if it gets there. They are saying at that temperature the entire peach crop will be totally destroyed. That will be devastating. Peaches are a very big product of Alabama. About an hour south of us is Clanton. They have a water tower in the shape of a peach. We usually get a good number of peaches from there and freeze them, so we have fresh peaches all winter.

Mark and Fernanda closed on their house last week, but the furniture they bought doesn't come until Monday and Tuesday of next week, so they are still with us. Their things from Brazil are not due to be shipped out of Brazil until April 17th. It will be at least 2 weeks after that before they arrive. We'll loan them some kitchen supplies until then, but their summer clothes will be on the ship. I may get pretty warm here before their ship comes in.

I've got such mixed feelings about them moving. It will be bitter sweet. We are so settled here with them. Fernanda is such a big help with the house. The boys are a bit confused because they are used to visiting us and then going back to Brazil. I'm making a big poster for them with pictures of houses and people to try to help them get the concept of where Birmingham and Brazil are, how you get from one place to another, and who lives where. We'll see how it goes.

Jeannine seems to be doing better with the migraines. She is into her 3rd trimester now. Maya is talking up a storm now. She says, "Hi, Grandma," just as plain as I do. You can see in the video clip that she really knows her animals. Be sure to notice the little "spit" at the end of "sheep." I've laughed until I nearly get asthma.

Well, the boys are waiting to color Easter eggs, so gotta run. Hopefully, I'll not wait so long to post again. Things are about to get a lot quieter around here!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Valentine's Day in Alabama

Here is our Valentine's Day snow storm!! OK, I know some of you are thinking, "Yeah, RRRRIGHT! She doesn't have a clue!" Well,'s a big deal here!! When I came out of my room Wednesday morning, they boys had their coats on and couldn't wait to take me outside to show me the snow. This is the first time the boys have ever seen snow. Fernanda had asked Jeannine to send some video clips of it snowing there, so the boys would know what it looked like coming down - thinking that they would never see it here. Now I must admit that the flakes were very tiny. One talk-show host said he had seen bigger flakes on his shoulders! At one time it was really coming down - for a very short time. If fact, it is a good thing I took the pictures when I did, because by the time I turned around twice, it was only a few drops of water on Mark's car.

I got the boys cupcakes with pink and red sprinkles on them. I think Chris enjoyed his the most - or at least we enjoyed watching him eat his the most. (You can click on the picture to really see his face.) I never made it a habit of having dessert for our meals, but since the boys have come, I try to have a little treat for them. I started by telling them that if they ate all their food, I would have a surprise for them. Now, after every meal, they want to know if I have a surprise. Dylan will always ask what the surprise is. I always say, "Well, it wouldn't be a surpise if I told you!" They have come to think that the words "surprise" and "dessert" are synonomous.

Here is the video of Chris and his Valentine cupcake. When Grandpa takes a bite, you can hear Dylan gasping in the background.

It's going to be a girl!!!

Jeannine had her 20-week sonogram yesterday, and it's a girl!!! She was just sure she was carrying a boy, because this pregnancy felt so different from when she was carrying Maya. I asked if the baby was in a good position to see. She said that she was not in the best position, but the lady said she had only been wrong once in 16 years. You know, sometimes these girls turn out to be surprise boys. Boys are seldom misdiagnosed, but sometimes the girls are boys that are just hiding. But being wrong only once in 16 years is pretty good.

I was all set to get out my blue fabric and start on those baby quilts this weekend. But I guess I'll hold onto it a little longer. I've made so many quilts for Maya, they hardly have room to store them. Jeannine is very excited. She said that it truly didn't matter, because she just adores Maya, and thinks that little sweet cuddly girls are wonderful. She didn't think she was quite ready for a rowdy little boy anyway. I reminded her that sometimes little girls can be rowdy, too! :) Mark told her she wasn't a real parent until she had raised a little boy. :) Either way, we are just thrilled!!! We're glad to finally be able to refer to the baby as "her" now rather than "it."

They checked out the rest of the baby, too - the legs, arms, spine - and all seemed to me just fine. I think we've all been a little anxious about that with all the medication she has had to take for her migraines. She is really battling them with this pregnancy. She can't take the preventative medication or the meds she takes when she usually gets them. Boths of those medications are incompatible with pregnancy. I just hope they don't continue the whole pregnancy. As the last pregnancy progressed, they lessened.

They have had a lot of snow in Bozeman, and it has been extrememly cold. Earlier in the week, she went out to drive the jeep and it wouldn't start. She hates to drive her Civic in the snow. She just doesn't feel safe in it. Today she got the jeep out of the shop after $400-$500 worth of work. She stopped at a store, came out to get in the jeep, and it wouldn't start!!! AARRGGHH!! I don't know how many times they have had that vehicle worked on, and nearly every time, it continues to act just like it did when she took it in. It is a 1994 and has over 200,000 miles, so I guess it might be on its last leg. She really depends on it though because they have so much snow there, and she just feels safer in a big 4-wheel-drive vehicle. With two little ones, a husband and a dog, she is going to need more than a little Civic. I know after driving my SUV for nearly a year, I don't think I can ever go back to a car. For one thing, they are soooo much easier to get in and out of. You sit up higher, so your view is better. Mine drives just like a car. Acura builds theirs on a car frame. I understand why the SUV is so popular.

Just Trying to Catch Up

Whew! I can't believe it has nearly been a month since I added anything here. I got several new pictures and thought at times I should post them, but just too much else to do.

These are some pictures Jeannine sent of Maya at 14 months. She got a big kick out of wearing her daddy's boots. I think Mama and Daddy got a bigger kick out of it!

Here she is reading again. She really loves her books. I enjoy so much the little videos of her reading. Of course you can't understand a word of it, but she sure is intent.

Here she is at 15 months, and Jeannine at 19 weeks.

Here is Jeannine and Maya (reading, of course) on their new leather sofa. I think it is the first new piece of furniture she has ever had. There is a love seat to match. They are beginning to see an end to this long tunnel of school and a job for Charles just around the corner. It was one of those 12 or 18 months of no interest things. That's the only way we buy things, too. Several years ago Guy and I were all set to order a new leather sofa, love seat and easy chair. Just as we were about to place the order, we got the results of our taxes for that year. We owed nearly to the penny what the furniture cost, so, needless to say, we are not sitting on leather furniture today!

A couple of weeks ago, Mark took the boys to enroll them in soccer. Here is Dylan playing in the park beside the enrollment place.

Here is Chris. It was terribly cold that day with the wind blowing, so they didn't stay long. They went into the outfield of a nearby baseball field and kicked the soccer ball for awhile.

Here are all four of them. Even though it was a very pretty sunny day, they were about to freeze.

Mark told the guy at the soccer signup that even though Dylan was 5, he had been playing soccer in Brazil for 2 years, so they signed him up to play with the 7-8 year olds. Then a week later they all went to this big field to try out. There were about a hundred boys there. The main guy over the whole program was really impressed with Dylan even though he was the smallest one out there. The man's friend, who is going to be an assistant coach, had his wife there watching, too. She said to her husband, "Did you see that little Dylan??!!!!" Apparently he made quite a showing. They won't start the actual practices until March. Hopefully it will be much warmer then. Mark is going to coach also. He is really looking forward to that. He went to all of Dylan practices and lessons in Brazil, so he knows all about how to coach. If you know anything at all about Brazil, you know that Brazil and soccer are nearly synonyms. Chris was too small to even play in Brazil, so he will jsut be learning to basics. I'm looking forward to watching them practice and play their games. I've heard of "soccer moms", but I guess I'm going to be a "soccer grandma."

This is a picture of Dylan and his soccer class in Brazil. He's the one on the left and as you can see, he is the smallest in his class there, too. This was taken about a year ago. I couldn't find the picture of him guarding the goal. That picture is so cute because his shirt is waaaay too big for him, and his shorts come down over the top of his knee socks. His socks are so big that the heels can be seen coming up the back of his lower leg above his shoes tops.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bike Riding Videos

Hey, I've learned how to put some videos on the site here. It is a round-about-way, but it works. Here is Dylan the day he learned to ride his bike without the training wheels.

Here he is a little later doing it all by himself.

Mark drew a big figure-8 on the drive for Dylan to follow to get him to learn to turn both ways. By the end of the afternoon, he was riding like a pro!

Winter in Bozeman

Winter arrived in Bozeman loooong before it ever got here. They have winter there about 9 months out of the year. I don't think I could ever get aclimated to that! But Maya is ready with the hat I knitted for her for Christmas. At first, she didn't like it.

Then she realized how soft it was and began to smile.

Here she is in a little fuzzy jacket and jeans outfit I got her. So she is ready for winter.

Winter Has Arrived Here

This past week winter finally arrived. Now, I know it is not the winter much of the country has been immersed in, but, nevertheless, it is winter for us! And I don't like it one bit!! I'm already ready for spring. Today it has been cold and rainy. I'm really thankful that it is not below freezing causing ice. Our entire city would be literally paralized if we had ice. With all our hills, no one could drive further than the end of the driveway. We wouldn't even be able to do that. Our drive is not nearly as steep as many others, but if we headed down out of ours, we would end up in the neighbor's yard across the street.

As you can see in these pictures, the boys had to bundle up. They are not used to this kind of cold either since winters in Brazil are very mild.

One day this past week as I pulled into the drive, Chris came running all wide-eyed telling me something in Portuguese that of course I could not understand - all except the word "jeep." I thought that he had gotten a new little toy car, because he loooooves to play with cars. But, NO, it was one of those little battery-powered two-seater cars. I see so many kids riding in those as I pass by yards. In fact the children in the house next to ours has one. I've looked at them before, but they are quite expensive. Fernanda found one drastically reduced at WalMart and got it for the boys. For the rest of that day until bedtime (except during supper), they were sitting in it as it sat in our garage. They couldn't ride it because the battery was charging. It finally got so cold out there, they had to come in.

They've been going to preschool from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. They really enjoy it. The first day Dylan was a little shy, but Chris walked right in like he belonged there. I wonder how the teachers do with him since he doesn't speak English. He is starting to say a few things in English now if you ask him to. It is amazing how you eventually learn to communicate with him by facial expressions, body language, me picking up bits of Portuguese and him picking up bits of English. Most of the time I can figure out what he is saying - or at least the gist of it. The rest of the time, I just ask Dylan what he said. Dylan is getting to the place where he just goes ahead and tells me before I have a chance to ask him. :)