Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Job Update

It's been a while since I've mentioned anything job related and, well, the reason is because I have nothing to report. Rand is such a trooper. I know this is tough for him. He has applied to at least 40 positions all over the country. Almost all church jobs, but different positions he feels he is qualified for. We have gotten a lot of "no's" from many of the churches, which I am glad about because it is obviously a closed door. I am hoping for a very clear "this is where I am sending you" kind of opening. I know all the rejection is tough to swallow for dear Rand but he is trusting and waiting patiently which is sooo hard for him. He is a make-it-happen kind of guy.
He has had a couple phone interviews and one that we are currently waiting on to hear if it will be a no or if we will go onto the next step. There are a few other things pending too and maybe another phone interview with a different church next week.
Where??? You might be wondering. Well. Everywhere. Nothing in Arizona unfortunately, although Rand has given his resume to our church (CCV) and another bigger church in the city just in case. With every "maybe" that comes up I start researching the place, trying to find something to grab a hold of and love about that place, so that I can imagine myself there and be "okay". Some places are harder than others. Some places I would know people, some places would have great scenery and weather, some places are within driving distance of Wichita (Rachel's new home town as of this summer). :) Can't get too carried away for fear of disappointment, but I know that God has the next thing out there somewhere for Rand and He is making us wait....just like He does. I'm sure I can make the best out of anywhere we go whether it be the PNW, the Mid-West, or the East Coast.
In the meantime, Rand is working right down the road from our house at a resort called Cibola Vista doing Engineering (security, maintenance, landscaping, etc) to give us more time and no rush to land a job and no need for me to get a job. Bless his little (big) provider-heart. He would literally do anything to take care of us. He would even go back to water-delivery boy like the good ol' Portland days.
SOOO, that's where we're at. The kids don't really have a clue. They are just happy as clams living every day to its fullest. I'm trying to be like them. No worries. God takes care of the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and He takes care of us. I hope within the next couple months we will know more, but if not, we're still here, having fun and basking in the sun!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Summer Weather

I am sorry if my post induces envy in all my Northwest friends and family who have yet to see spring, but as I see it, I only have a few more weeks of bragging rights left. Soon our beautiful, "mild", winter/spring weather will be a faint memory....maybe a mirage, replaced by scorching heat and air conditioned houses. But as they say here, "it's a dry heat." Whatever. It's still hot. Although, dry is better than not dry.
I thought maybe today was the day we would hit 100, but it looks as if we still have a little more time before the triple digits of summer. Still, it was hot and I cleaned the pool out AGAIN and set the hose in to fill. Sitting down to dinner I remembered the hose....just as the water began to spill over the edge. The over-filled pool was too irresistable, so the boys had a little after-dinner-swim. (oops, I forgot to make them wait 30 mins.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Stink Bug

The other night, over at the neighbors, we found a new bug. Looked kind of like a beetle with an orange, ant-head. Really gross, but very fascinating. According to the Arizona veterans (our neighbors, ages 7 and 4) the beetle-like creature is called a "Stink Bug". I'm sure there is a more scientific name, but researching the thing doesn't thrill me much, so Stink-Bug it is. Apparantly they are harmless, although I could see his pincher mouth opening and closing, so I won't be putting my fingers anywhere near it. If the Stink Bug feels threatened it omits a terrible odor, hince the name Stink Bug. At first glance I thought, "yep, it does kind of look like a beetle". That was until I saw it's armored, black back lift up and become---WINGS!!!!! Oh--my--gosh! The thing flies. And it looks even bigger with it's airplane wings out. We all screamed and ran at that point.
So the bug was captured and released behind the neighbor's house where the children discovered an entire nest of these things. Lovely. We've been finding them everywhere, including in our swimming pool. (Poor thing didn't make it). As we speak, the kids, (mine, plus the neighbors 2, plus one that lives down the road) are outside screaming and yelling about this little (well, actually big) creature. One little Stink Bug can provide a lot of entertainment. Oh my...
They're out there yelling, "It's shooting it's STINK POWER!!!!!" Ah, boys....and one girl, and one mommy.

Here are some pictures of today's Stink Bug.

You should click on these pictures. You can see his pincher mouth!

One little boy is even protecting his privates, just in case! You never know what a bug might do.

Happy Birthday, Jayden!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jayden!
We love you!

Your present is in the mail!
(Found a use for some of my marbeled paper!!!)
Jayden, make sure you drive your parents crazy with your new toy! :)
Love, Auntie Kay-Kay, Uncle Rand, Brendan and The Wyatt

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Freezer Paper Stencils

So what do you do when little boys stain their little white t-shirts?? You do freezer-paper stencils!

This was an easy, fun project. Again...found it in cyber-land.

I traced dinosaur shapes onto freezer paper and then cut them out with an X-acto knife. Then, I ironed the freezer paper stencil onto the T-shirt and used fabric paint to dab on the color. After it was dry I peeled it off and set it with the iron. Easy!


It was my first try and the paint bled, but little 4 and 2 year olds don't notice stuff like that.

What is with the cheesy grins all the time now???

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Doggie Boots

I have 2 very independent boys. The way they should be, right? It's kind of nice because both boys like to dress themselves....so I don't have to.....unless we are going somewhere. Here is Wyatt ready to play in the 85 degree heat with his hand-me-down "doggie boots" with no socks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Watering Hole

You would be surprised how many people do NOT have pools here in Arizona. I'm really shocked by this. In fact, I am shocked that I am living in a house without a pool, but there aren't that many to choose from in our price-range. So, to improvise, we have a blow-up pool in the back yard...actually the back-cement that Rand has turned into the closest possible thing to a REAL backyard swimming pool. It is fully equipped with a cement hard bottom, a slide AND a basketball hoop. I haven't tried the slide yet. The water is still a little chilly.

Birthday Flowers

Thank you Dad and Mom!

Mors Bag

Time for some pictures that aren't quite so depressing....

Remember how I went to the Goodwill to get "practice" material for sewing? Here is a pillowcase turned into a reusable grocery bag, lined with some other cheap material that came from somewhere else. This thing is solid. I could carry home a lot of canned food in this bag. So, with this little project, not only do I "REDUCE" the number of plastic bags polluting the earth, I also "REUSE" an old pillowcase that I would have normally never bought to dress my pillows. Now if only I can remember to take this bag with me to the store! The pattern came from this website dedicated to reducing the use of plastic bags. I added the lining to make it a little sturdier.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008-One Year

Designed and made by Forrest Cooper (Will's best friend) and Tacoma Monument

Willie's logo

our clan motto

(on the back)
Son of Bill - Leslee
Brother of Kaylee - Rachel - Joanna - Jordan
Thank you Forrest. It looks amazing. Missing Willie, but loving having you and Amy in our lives.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, I now acknowledge the power and presence of Your life in and around me. I stand firm in the fact and Truth that Willie is alive and well in the hands of our Father. I agree and line myself with what You said in regard to allowing 'dead to bury their own dead.' I accept this Truth to mean that I should not allow the enemy to use his death to distract me from following You in my daily living. I now choose, by the power of Your spoken Word, for You to bring closure to my grieving process over Willie. I by faith accept his death and know that You will be using his passing as a tool of sharing the gospel with those who are in need of knowing You. I choose not to focus on how he died, why he died or his death itself. I take this time to reaffirm my commitment to serving You and You alone. I will go on with the life You have chosen for me to live, regardless of Willie being in my life. I stand against the ways of the enemy in tempting me to focus on death instead of life. I claim now all the Truth and Victory You offer through this difficult time. I pray only in the blessed name of Jesus Christ and His redemptive and healing ways. Amen. Taken from the Book of Prayers by Stephen R. Phinney.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Heading for "Home"

In about 2 hours Rand and the boys are taking me to the airport. I'm heading to Shelton to be with my family over the one year anniversary of Willie's extraction from Earth into Heaven. I like the way that sounds better than "died" or "death" or "passing", all words that, to me, imply an end. For it is far from an end, it is just a fork in the road and we are separated for a time. Just typing these words triggers in me a gush of emotion and I could probably type pages about tragedy and how our lives have been changed forever, but I will save it for another time. I'm trying to focus on the Truth which is that Willie still "is" and that gives me peace...as well as tears...but hope for the future. I choose to praise God because He IS and Jesus IS and Willie IS, too! It's about LIFE!

Anyway, like I said, I think I could go on and on. Right now I am finishing up packing and getting ready to go. I'm both excited and dreading it. Mostly I'm glad to see my family and be with them as well as get a very much needed break from the kids! I'll arrive late tonight and stay until Wednesday. Hopefully I will get to see as many of you (that are there) as time allows!

Pray for us. We will need it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Afternoon Craft

Well, it was another crafty afternoon. We couldn't just let the new art smocks sit there, we had to use them. So I found a fun idea: Homemade Puffy Paints you microwave. You can find the recipe here. It was quick and easy to make with a couple ingredients I already had and the kids had a blast globbing goo onto their paper and then drying it instantly in the microwave.

Project #2

Here is Wyatt in his new Dinosaur Painting Smock made from a bed sheet that cost $1.99. I can't quite justify spending money on cute, expensive material yet when one, I am probably going to mess it up and two, we're just going to get paint all over it!
It's supposed to tie in knots at the shoulders, but my boys are too big for it, so I added buttons! Got to break in my button-holer.

I will have to majorly adjust the pattern in order to make one for Brendan. I think this would fit cousin Jayden perfectly! :) Watch out, Rach, I'm going to be bringing you all my sewing rejects! Just kidding, Royal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wyatt's Nap

Here's what Wyatt was doing while he was supposed to be napping in my room yesterday!

Little stinker!

Monday, April 7, 2008

First Project

Here it is. My first completed sewing project.

Thomas the Tank Engine Cooking Aprons for the kiddos! Up next....Chef's hats to go with.
I guess we'll have to bake some cookies this afternoon just so we can break them in.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Art Hanger-Upper

Our dining room doubles as our school room. It does an okay job. I would love to have a separate place to do school, but this is the way it has to be, and really, I'm not complaining. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to have an "adult" place to dine for a while and my house isn't going to look like a PotteryBarn catalog. Luckily, I have a small dining room table, so the dining room can easily fit an additional kid's table, an easel and a book shelf. Today I added some art hanger-uppers because I was struggling with where to put wet paintings. I think it looks pretty cute with the art on there, albeit very preschool-y.
And here's Brendan using his easel/chalkboard. It's amazing how much more interesting the easel is when you simply move it from one corner to another. It's like a whole new easel! :)

Oh, and here's how I caught the kids while I was mopping the floor. They were staring at a bug.
I love them! :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My New Friend

Several weeks ago, Rand asked for my birthday wish list. I like how he was thinking ahead on this! I wrote down lot of really expensive things like a new digital camera, a new, bigger iPod, a new wardrobe, a new hair do! :) Well, if you read my previous 2 posts you'll remember that I've been in the mood for making stuff...crafts that is and so I told Rand that I thought what I really wanted was a sewing machine. I've been thinking about it for a while, but to tell you the truth sewing machines majorly intimidate me!

Let me give you some history on the topic. My mom is the queen of crafts. She would disagree with me, or at least challenge me for saying it, but it's true. She does crafts like crazy. Besides sewing, she knits, weaves (like with a big loom), makes pottery (like with a wheel and a kiln and everything), cooks like there's no tomorrow, and she likes to paint, not to mention the countless "experimental" craft projects we have done since I was a kid (like marbleizing paper).

Sadly (or maybe not so sadly), I was born with her curse of not being able to stick to one craft. I just jump around from one thing to the next and leave lots of stuff unfinished. Knitting the second sock or second mitten is nearly impossible. My mom has sewn as long as I've known her. I never have. I clearly remember jamming up her sewing machine a couple times and pretty much never touching it again. I just never understood that bobbin thing! :)

Well, not sewing really does limit you in the craft department. You can make a lot of stuff with a sewing machine. SOOO back to what I was saying, I told Rand I wanted a sewing machine for my birthday and I set off to research exactly what I should get. There is a lot of info and a lot of people out there sharing their opinion to anyone who will listen about how to go about buying your first sewing machine! I changed my mind several times about what to do. Get a cheaper, basic one since I've never sewn before and who knows if the thing won't just sit in the closet most of the time? Get a basic model "nice" sewing machine? Get a refurbished older model "fancy" sewing machine? The options were endless. I read a lot of reviews on machines and decided on one and ended up getting a different one at the last minute. Keep in mind, my budget for this thing was not limitless. So, here is what I got: Singer Inspiration 4212

It's definitely not the best thing on the market, but I think it can do what a person like me needs it to do. I've got a warranty for a year in case I totally damage the thing, and a Singer dealer right down the road for repairs I might need. I have to admit I was swayed by the Martha Stewart endorsement advertising on the Singers. Can't help it.

I've already jammed it up real good with the bobbin thingy but I got it worked out! :) And, I sewed a couple straight lines for practice.

Be watching for my first project! I guess I'll have to sew myself something when my actual birthday rolls around.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Marbelized Paper

While I was cleaning out my craft closet (by cleaning I mean just looking at what I have in there), I ran across some marbelized paper I made at least 5 years ago. It was a McComb family art project we did one summer (before kids) in my parent's garage. It was really fun and I have been thinking lately about doing some marbeling again. I think the kids would have fun swirling paint in a bunch of goo. Here are a couple of sheets:

After looking a little further I found that I actually still had a TON of that paper that we marbled 5 years ago. Oh dear. Can I really justify making more when I have so much in my paper box? Hmmm. I think I need to think of a craft to use my marbled paper. Better yet, I think I'll chuck all the paper I think is ugly and make some more better paper. (Not "more better" like the bad grammer more-better. I mean some more paper that is better!) :)

Any craft ideas for this stuff? I really have a ton of it. Here is just some of what I have!

Spring Crafting

I think my internal, natural instincts have gone a little askew. Normally, this is the time of year when that cleaning bug bites you and you start chucking everything you stored through the winter and clean house. Every once in a while I get that. Can't say that I really go with it much, but I definitely feel the urge to spring clean once in a while. Lately instead, I have been really itching to do some crafts. You may have noticed the new links I have listed to the right. Mostly those are for me because I usually find these things by clicking and then clicking and then clicking and eventually I am lost in cyber-space. I thought I would compile some that I would like to return to so that I don't have to waste a bunch of time searching and searching.

Anyway, I have been looking at all sorts of crafty people being crafty and today I got sick of it. Enough! Time to BE crafty. So I stole an idea that I saw somewhere else and thought it was cute. Can't tell you who or where the idea came from, but know that it is NOT mine. Well the idea wasn't mine, but I did create it myself in my own clever way.
Here's what I mean by clever....

I have had a huge, great piece of watercolor paper for about 4 months. My mom has a lot of art supplies and I was planning on using it with her, but I ended up using her paper. So I've got this paper but no water colors......except I do have watercolors! The kids actually have watercolors. You know the little pack of paints with the little ovals that comes with the little paint brush, and they always forget to rinse it and so it because a muddy mix of black in every oval?
Well, I decided to use those because it was all I had to go with my great paper. I really don't have any great markers or pens either (most dried up last summer in the storage garage). BUT, the kids have crayola markers, so I used those.

Despite creating this mainly with children's crayola art supplies I think it turned out pretty good. Now I'm starting to clean out my craft room closet so I can actually start creating some stuff with my own supplies!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I just watched a sweet documentary. (tid-bit you may not know about me......I LOVE documentaries) I know. I'm a nerd.

Anyway, this one was about something that I'm totally into. HOMEBIRTHS! I know some of you are pregnant and some of you are VERY pregnant, so if it's going to make you think twice about even having a baby, don't watch it. :)

Everyone else should at least watch this trailer. (Guys may not find this as thrilling as the moms out there)
You can watch the whole thing on netflix if you have an account or order it from the business of being born website.