Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Joy

We had a wonderful Christmas with my family in Sacramento. It's been years since we've all been together, so it was really nice to all be there. The kids had a great time of course. It's so much fun to watch them rip into all of their presents. Their complete and utter glee is amazing, I love it! I'll do another post on the other fun things we did while on vacation later...

The fam, Christmas Day

The kids hanging out on the spiral stair case

Justin's fire truck from Grandpa and Grammie. This kid LOVES fire trucks!

Christmas excitement = hyperventilation - literally, she was dizzy

My family! L to R: me, my little (tall - 6 ft. 5!) brother Geoff, Dad, Mom, and older brother Eric

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Digital Christmas Card

I didn't get around to sending out cards this year. I created some on Snap Fish, but don't have time to mail them. So, this is the digital version. It was fun to make! I used pics from our performance, except for Justin's pic. The greeting is the line in the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" that was read as Ron and I walk off stage waving to Santa as he rides into the sky on his sleigh.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Decor At Our House

I love to decorate the house for Christmas. I got going a bit late this year, but finally got in gear and had some fun making the house look festive. I'm no Martha Stewart I can assure you! It's fun to make the house look Christmasy though, especially for the kids.

A beautiful bouquet from Sarah's ballet, a spiced orange Sarah made, and a croissant Ron brought me from Brio for breakfast.

The tree adorned with hand made and blown glass ornaments, and birds. I hand made the metal star topping it.

Sarah and Justin's ever growing nut cracker collection.

The stockings: Left to Right - Sarah, April, Ron and Justin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

T'was the Night Before Christmas Ballet

The show was a smashing success, and I've been recovering from all of the festivities this week! I didn't realize how challenging it would be to both help make the show happen and be in it at the same time - but it was totally worth it. Both shows were full, at 500 people per show, so it was very well attended. It was quite the experience to be on stage again. I think the last time I've been on stage was in high school when I performed for one of my dance classes.

For those of you who didn't get to see the show, the ballet is based on the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem. Ron and I were in the first act which follows the poem story line. We got to sneak around on stage watching Santa bring presents and eat his cookies and milk! The second act is a depiction of "what really happened on Christmas night." A pirate king and ballerina doll come to life. The ballerina doll emerges from a ballerina music box, and the pirate king comes out of a treasure chest. Other characters come to life, such as Ginger Snap, a cookie. There are also ornaments that come to life: Tinsellina, Silverbella, Poinsettia, Icicelle and Misteltonia. Sarah's modern class did a dance to the moon light sonata. They were the moon light beams in the first act. She was one of the pirate king's pirates in the second act. Sarah's teacher Erin did a fabulous job with the show choreographing for 120 plus students! Here are some pics from the big event.

Sarah and I after the show posing on the pirate's treasure chest (that I painted by the way!)

Our beautiful pirate - she did a great job!

Sarah in her moon light costume getting ready to go on stage for her modern dance.

Me in my kerchief and Ron in his cap...

Ginger Snap, the cookie who comes to life!

Sarah's class doing their pirate dance. Sarah is in the front on the far right.

Dress rehearsal. Ginger snap is begging the pirate king to return the star.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Almost Show Time!

We're gearing up for the 'Twas The Night Before Christmas" ballet this Sunday. For locals, the show is at 2 and 6 this Sunday at the Van Duzer. You can purchase tickets at Mosgo's and Moons - $8 general and $6 for kids and seniors. It's going to be a fabulous show, you don't want to miss it! Ron and I are playing the parts of ma and pa this year, and Sarah is a pirate and moonlight. This is a truly professional production full of kids and adults. There will be around 120 kids/adults performing. Kids love this show which is why we're going to 2 performances this year. So I hope you can come, especially if you have kids! It's a great way to celebrate the joy of Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mom's Night Out Cookie Exchange

Last night I went to our mommy's group cookie exchange and craft night. One of the moms (Liz) was nice enough to let us hang out at her quilt store - Scottie Dog Quilts. Some of us wrapped presents while others did sewing projects. I worked on the ballet slipper stockings we sell at Sarah's recitals. All of us brought cookies and got to load up our plates with a variety of yummy sweets at the end of the night, yum! Here are a few pics of the night:

Some of my favorite people in the whole wide world - Molly and Deanna, wrapping presents.

Lots of gabbing went on.

Yummy treats!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

So I haven't been doing much blogging lately...mainly because I'm super busy working on projects for the "T'Was The Night Before Christmas" ballet. I've been designing, sewing, painting, etc. for the past few weeks. It's so much fun, but it's also a lot of hard work! Since we did this production last year we are using many of the same costumes. This year I've been doing more detail work. Some of the classes had a preview show the other day, so I got some pics of some of the costumes I've been working on:

This is Sarah's modern dance class. She's fourth from the left. They are moon light, and they dance to the Moon Light Sonata. I designed and made these costumes.

This is "Ginger Snap." Her costume is sooo cute! I sewed the M & M's onto her costume and did some alterations.

Last year I painted the treasure box and music box stage props. This year we're selling pirate eye patches and bun wreaths. They will be in these mini boxes which I painted.

I added this pic because I thought it turned out so cool! You can't use flash when people are dancing because it can throw their balance off and cause injury. So, I took this pic without the flash on slow shutter speed. It is the prima ballerina doing a pa de deux with the pirate king. I can actually see both of their faces in the pic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Name This Dancer

Ok, time's's me! Making costumes, stage props, etc. at this time of the year brings back fond memories of the time when I danced. This picture was taken from a wedding I performed at. It was one of the few performances I did in pointe shoes. I made a collage and incorporated it into it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mosaic for Niger

Our friends Donnie and Allison are moving to Niger Africa to work with the native peoples there. They had a silent auction fund raiser to help raise money for their trip last night and had asked me to donate one of my mosaics for the cause. I haven't done any mosaic work since Justin was born really - like I have the time, ha! But, I managed to get this one done miraculously! I think it will make a cute candy dish or decor piece to brighten up the holidays. This picture is clickable, so you can see the details.

It's That Time Of Year Again!

It's that time of year again! I get the chance to work on the production crew for Sarah's ballet performances. Right now I'm working on the "T'was the Night Before Christmas" production. I love that I get to create and paint props, design and sew costumes and be my creative self! My first project was to hand sew a beaded applique onto the prima ballerina's leotard. Since the lace had to be sewed onto the bodice while the bodice was stretched I found the perfect model in Mr. Monkey. I stuffed his chest with a pillow falsie and he was the perfect model! Isn't he adorable?

"T'was the Night Before Christmas" shows at the Van Duzer December 14th at 4 and 6. It is an amazing professional production and kids love it because most of the performers are kids. This year Ron and I are making a cameo appearance, so you don't want to miss it!

A Visit From Old Friends

Some of our best friends came into town for a visit this weekend! Adam and Melia are good friends we've known for quite a while, probably around 7 years or so. The live in Sacramento now, so we don't get to see them too often. Adam used to be our neighbor and he and Ron were going to school around the same time. It was soooo great to see them! Here are some cute pics of them with the kids:

Justin, Sarah, Melia and a friend. Justin was not so happy at the moment...

Adam and Sarah being their crazy selves.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Father's Sorrow

The other day I was at my pharmacy picking up a prescription. The line was long and I had been waiting for a while. I got to the counter and the lady asked me for my last name then checked to see if my prescription was there. Justin was with me and he kept sneaking away, investigating the store like kids do. I kept having to look every few seconds to make sure he hadn't darted down an isle out of my sight. "Justin, stay by mama please!" I kept repeating. "What was your last name again?" the lady asked. I told her and she looked again. "I'm sorry, we're really behind so it's going to be about an hour before it's done" she said. Justin and I headed off and as we rounded the corner to go down an isle a man standing with a teen aged boy stopped me: "What is your husband's last name?" he asked. It's common for people to ask about Ron in our town. He knows at least half of the town from working at the coffee shop so he knows a lot of people. I assumed he was asking about him most likely. I told him his name, expecting him to mention that he was a customer. "Oh, I was just asking because I lost my two sons in 1973, and they had your last name...." It took me a minute to figure out what he was trying to tell me, I think I probably looked a bit confused. He continued, "I was in choir at church when it happened. All of a sudden there were police cars everywhere, I didn't know what was going on. I had custody of them, and she took them. I've never been able to find them." At this point his eyes teared up. I could tell he was over come with emotion. "Oh, I'm so sorry", I said. "They were three and four years old at the time, so they would be 38 and 39 now." "My husband is 37 I said, so I can see why you asked." I said. "I've even hired a private investigator", he said, "but I've never been able to find them." "I hope you find them, " I said. "Oh I will, I will he said." "Yes, you seem determined, so I'm sure you will find them someday", I said. Justin darted down an isle again, and I said, "Justin, get back here!" The man asked what his name was and I told him. It turns out his sons names started with J's as well. As I walked away he said, "I hope I didn't catch you off guard." "No, it's okay," I said. Then I said, "I have a common last name, so I get asked about it a lot." "Yeah", he said, looking sad. Then I felt stupid for saying that because it must be even harder for him to find his sons with a common name, but most likely they had a name change I figured which would make it near impossible to find them.

After I left the store I suddenly felt so sad inside. I couldn't even imagine how a parent must feel when they lose a child like that. Even 35 years later the sorrow is still present, right at the surface. This man is so desperate to find his sons still that he is willing to stop a total stranger in a store and ask her who her husband is, in hopes that it could be his son...after 35 years. I wonder if he feels it was his fault somehow...maybe if he hadn't sung in the choir that day...maybe if he had done something different they would still be with him. The sorrow of that blame must be indescribable. It made me appreciate my kids all the more, realizing what an incredible blessing they are to me. I can't imagine them being gone, stolen, lost. I prayed for this man, that he would find his sons...that his sorrow would end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Espresso Machine!

One of Ron's co-workers gave him an awesome espresso machine! Can you tell I'm excited? Tonight Ron worked his magic and made delicious mochas for the whole family - lucky us! Our entire family loves coffee drinks of any kind, (but most of you probably already know that by now!) and they're one of our family "hobbies." Now we can have yummy espressos, lattes, mochas, and hot chocolates whenever we want! So if you want a Ron made coffee drink let me know and we will have you over for coffee!

Dad showing son the tools of the trade

Ron loves red....and coffee!

Sarah loves hot chocolate!

Justin drinking his "hot chocat"

Danger...mocha addiction eminent!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thirteen Years Of Wedded Bliss

Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary! It's hard to believe it's been that long; time flies when you're having fun! So much has happened in the past 13 years, from having 2 kids to graduating from college...starting and running a successful coffee shop, to being youth pastors...and the list goes on! Here is a list of some of the many reasons I'm grateful to be married to Ron:

He loves God with all his heart.

He is a good provider and very hard worker.

He is an amazing and very involved father to our two kids.

He has a way of finding the good out of life and hanging on to it, no matter what.

He has deep character.

He is tenacious, has over come a lot in his life, and has made something of himself and that is no small feat! (i.e. he's my hero!)

He'll tell me the truth even when it hurts him, but he does it in love.

He is intelligent and innovative - some have called him a Renaissance man.

He brings change for the better wherever he goes.

He isn't a people pleaser - I love that.

He has a gift for making people feel special and unique.

He is genuine, you see what you get.

He loves me for who I am and doesn't try to change me.

He knows how to make me laugh, (and laugh, and laugh, and laugh...) and can get me out of my tree when needed.

He is good at helping me change, look at things differently, and be the best person I can be.

He encourages me to fulfill my dreams, and helps make them a reality.

He is willing to sacrifice for me, (for example he was willing to have another kid even though at first he felt one was he admits now that Justin has won his heart.)

He still finds ways to surprise me in unexpected ways.

He is a superb cook, (that's one of the reasons he stole my heart!)

He is a wonderful and talented gardener and brings beauty to our yard all seasons of the year.

Happy Anniversary Honey!! I LOVE YOU!! XOXO ~ April

Taken by Ron at Trinidad Beach

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Love This Man!!

Some of you may have read my post about the major appliance break down we had a while back...and the pioneer living...anyway, as of today all of the appliances are officially fixed! A repair guy came out and fixed the dryer a few weeks ago, to the tune of around $200, ugh. Then he diagnosed the dish washer with an electrical problem due to the cord which he couldn't fix. We didn't think it was the cord though since half of the cycle worked and then the rinse cycle didn't for some odd reason and the water didn't drain, (lovely.) Yesterday Ron got a new plug and installed it, and wala - it works!! I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to have both appliances working now! Plus the fact that I don't have to put out a few hundred more dollars to have the dish washer fixed, phew! I'm so happy to be married to a guy who can fix most anything, and who is willing to do it even if it's a pain! Thanks honey!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Orange Blossom"

Here is my latest creation! I used some cute retro vintage pieces, scraps and a fat quarter - I love how you can make kids' clothes out of such tiny pieces of fabric. My favorite part of this dress is the button loop - love those! The great thing about these little skirts is that they can be layered with tights or even pants for the cooler weather. Look for this one down at Shipwreck soon! I'm planning to make more cords (for girls and boys), so look for these soon too.

"Orange Blossom" Size 2T Made from repro. vintage prints and vintage button.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Great Truths

I ran across this poem from a blog on another friend's blog list and I felt it was so profound I wanted to share it. I love it when I come across something like this that speaks truth to my soul, confirming what God has been showing me.

Great truths are dearly bought,
the common truths,
Such as we give and take from day to day,
Come in the walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.

Great truths are greatly won,
not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream;
But grasped in the great struggle of our soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
But in the day of conflict, fear, and grief,

When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Plows up the subsoil of our stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.
Wrung from the troubled spirit,
in hard hours Of weakness, solitude, and times of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-plowed field,
And our soul feels it has not wept in vain.

From Streams in the Desert

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

April Diane Designs Are In Shipwreck!

Just a quick note to say that I took my kids' clothes down to Shipwreck today! They took 8 of the 10 items, so get 'em while they're there! :) I hope to add more clothes in the next few weeks or so: more cords and warmish clothes for chilly weather. So keep checking back in for new designs for the wee ones!
A pic of Shipwreck

Monday, November 3, 2008

Caps to Cap Hatien Project

Today I ran across an amazing opportunity posted one of the blogs I follow, Soulemama. The writer of the blog is partnering with a US agency called Konbit Sande who is working to save lives and improve health care in Northern Haiti. Here are some statistics from this area:

Just 1 in 5 women receives skilled medical care during childbirth.
Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere.
1 in 40 women will die as a result of pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, or obstetrical emergency.
Twelve percent of children die before the age of 5.

Konbit Sande is assembling safe birthing kits to be donated to birthing women in this area. These kits - consisting of plastic sheeting, hand sanitizer, a sterile piece of string and razor blade, and these newborn baby caps - have the potential to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and give babies a safer, healthier start.
So how can we as crafters help? If you go to this site you can down load a tutorial to sew a simple knit baby cap for these kits. From what I know babies who have low temperatures at birth are at a higher risk for sickness and even death. Making and giving these babies caps could save lives! What an incredible way to use the gift of craft for helping others who are less fortunate than us.
So this crafter is going to do some sewing in the next few weeks for the cause of global justice! Let's use our gift of craft to change the world - one cap at a time!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Fence!

We're really enjoying the new fence our land lord installed today! Here is Ron taking a peek out from behind it. Ron trimmed the cannas in the area and is getting the garden ready for winter.

The Princess and Her Triceratops

The kids had a fabulous Halloween this year. Sarah was a beautiful princess, and Justin was a triceratops. He refused to wear his dinosaur hat, but Ron had a stroke of genius and told him that he would get candy if he wore it...he quickly put it on and didn't take it off all night! Here are some cute pics of them:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Finally Finished!

I finally finished my "April Diane Designs" price tags at long last, and my kids' clothes are ready to take down to the shop! I called today all excited to take them in, but they told me I need to come in on, Tuesday it is. It feels sooo good to have these all done and ready to go, what an accomplishment!

A group shot of my wee creations: Two months' worth of designing and sewing.

Close up shot of the tags

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Daughter is a Genius!

So Sarah brings home this letter today that reads:

Dear Parent,

We would like to invite you and your child to participate in our Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE.) Your child has been identified using a series of assessment tools. We use the Exercise in Divergent Thinking and the Exercise in Divergent Feeling tests and we look at STAR test results for students that score in the advanced level in English/Language Arts, Math or Science. We are confident that your child will benefit from participating in our multi-level program...and on and on it goes.

So, it appears that Sarah is very smart, just as we suspected of course! I want to find out what these "divergent thinking and feeling tests" are though...I went to college and I have no earthly idea of what that even remotely means! I was involved in GATE when I went to school and I remember loving the language/English side of things, but since I was mathematically challenged they kicked me out of the program. It seems unfair, but it sounds like they have changed things since then and hopefully Sarah will love it. She excels in all subjects, (lucky her), so I'm sure she will do fine. She gets to go on an all day field trip up to HSU for special workshops in Math, Science and Language Arts in November. She's thrilled about it and can't wait to do the dry ice experiments class. Who knows, we could have a future scientist on our hands!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fire and Light

For the past 2 years Ron has worked at the annual Fire and Light Seconds Sale. Fire and Light glass is made locally from mostly 100% recycled glass. When Ron works the sale he gets paid in product, (firsts!) I am so appreciative of him putting the time in to get me gorgeous dishes I couldn't acquire other wise - thanks honey! Here are some pics of the dinner set for 4 and beautiful plum bowl we got this year, (can't wait to invite people over for dinner!):

The plum bowl looks so beautiful on my black side board...the picture doesn't even do it justice!

We also got the large Zen bowl the pumpkin is sitting in (see post below), at the sale.