Saturday, August 15, 2015

Last Week with our dependent, that is....

So, this will be an epic post about our last vacation week with Drew before moving him off to college. We took a long weekend to Chicago, and stayed in a Trump hotel - nice view!

He's got his hotel staff on the campaign staff as well, apparently, because they loaded the kids up with giant suckers and Trump hats - nice!

We took in the usual tourist sights, like The Bean in Millennium Park....

and a Cubs game - note the pitcher for the opposing team is from our hometown - woohoo!

Even a little rain couldn't ruin this game - they won, too!

We've also taken to doing bike tours when we travel, so we opted for Bobby's Bike Hike through Old Town and along Lakeshore Drive.

It was a gorgeous day to do it...makes it hard to come back to the Armpit of America and it's 200% humidity.

Although I guess I prefer our winters over Chicago's...

Gorgeous lakeshore view....

And the last night we got to go out on The Terrace, which is cool for seeing the city lights up close.

Then it was home for 18 hours to pack. Drew had a hard time deciding which coffee cup he wanted to take with him. He's also wearing one of his shirts purchased in Chicago, on his first "real" shopping trip in a big city. Raising them on Target and hand-me-downs makes them very appreciative of the good stuff, and we actually had a good time in Nordstrom Rack and H&M looking for clothes.

I also had my best mother of the year moment by making him some cake pops to take with him to college....and in school colors, no less!

We went up the night before move-in day and had a nice family dinner at Arricia, then noticed the sky changing colors on the way home. Remember the giant Jumbotron I mentioned in the Camp War Eagle post? They were apparently testing it, because it went from green to blue to orange to white repeatedly - cool!

So here's what we started with in the dorm:

And here's what you end up with when you're a low-maintenance boy. I'm sure you can Google girls' dorm rooms and see what a huge difference there is - not a monogrammed pillow in sight! We actually visited a couple of his female classmates' rooms one floor up, and you couldn't even walk in for all the bed skirts, custom lifts, and handmade fabric-covered headboards. One poor girl's bed was 50% pillows - no kidding. But to be fair, Drew's suitemate's dad bought "a little more TV than they need," and it took up both boys' dressers. It was the largest TV I've ever seen that wasn't mounted in a restaurant, and of course they had a sofa to go with it. It feels like a drom room today is more about "how can I impress my new friends?" than "how can I have a comfortable place to sleep and study?"

Here're our goodbye pics, and you may notice my dry eyes.

We all held it together, though everybody was betting on tears from me. Drew said I'd probably lose it when I walked in his room at home, but I told him I'd be too mad over the unmade bed he left.

Plus I was smart enough to know I'd be depressed if we came straight home, so we went to my Mom and Jim's cabin at the lake, where they very kindly toured us around on the boat. Then we went back to the beach, where it really was depressing with rain and clouds. We saw the new Vacation, but that was a bit of a letdown. There are some funny scenes, but the cursing is a bit off-putting, and it sort of drags in places. And tell me why Beverly DeAngelo took a perfectly beautiful face and shaved her chin down, or something. They only showed her full face once, I think, and that might've been on purpose.

So anyway, I did cry a little at lunch today, but it was brought on mostly by something at the lake. We went by an old family friend's cabin that's been sold, renovated, etc. I was thinking about his son, who was a daredevil back in the 80's, and was always doing dangerous stunts on skis and with some little jet boat he built (my memory's fuzzy on exact details). He died in his 20's of cancer, and I was thinking how those people who live in that cabin now probably have no idea of the fun that kid and his friends had there. I guess that's the same with all of us; you have some great times with your friends and family, but everybody grows up, moves on, gets old, and then you die, and nobody may be around to remember how special it all was. And now I think I'll sign off before this gets REALLY I still do have a school-aged kid who needs to put his books in his locker!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Alabama Chanin Thread and Skirt, and Shoes

Why am I such an idiot? I guess that mad cow is back again (the family knows he never left). Remember I needed to order more maroon thread to finish my couched skirt? I thought 4 spools should get it. What a big box they shipped it in!

And individually wrapped each spool so nicely?!

Arghhhh! Did I seriously overlook something when ordering? Yes, in the description of the thread, it says that thread is shipped in quantities of 4, thus the price of $6. How did I miss that?! So do I really want to package this thread up and return it? Maybe I'll keep it and couch the maroon wrap they gifted me at the Blackberry weekend...yes, that'll save this situation.

Speaking of Alabama Chanin skirts, I told you I'd do an Auburn skirt, didn't I?! Nothing crazy - this is the Swing Skirt from Alabama Stitch Book, and I can wear this to work, though not with these shoes, of course (or this shirt - yuck)! These are brogues from Monsoon, which I found initially on Pinterest, then through Polyvore, I think. They came lickety-split in the mail from Great Britain, but are 1/2-size too big, so I'm exchanging them because I think they're calm enough but still interesting, which is all I ask in a shoe.

Here's a better combo, and these are the delicious Ivanka Trump heels, which make me feel like a ballerina.

The skirt does too! Question for you: Can you tell one of the panels is a different shade of blue? I had 3 Boy Scout shirts and 1 other navy blue that was very close, but not quite a match. After I sewed them up, I think they're all slightly different from each other, so I'm good with it.

Okay, it's fairly noticeable, but what are you gonna do? I thought about doing a reverse applique of the orange "AU" on it to distract you, but then I couldn't wear it to work. Oh well.

Now UPS came as I was typing, and brought me the other shoe I love. This is a loafer by Born (long-time fan of Born) purchased from Nordstrom/Haute Rack or something like that. Also found on Pinterest and tracked back through Polyvore.

This is not calm at all, so can't be worn every day, but look how perfect it is with my favorite pink pants!

Jake's a fan...

Can you believe the velvety pillow they call the insole? I had to take a picture because it's so pretty.

Okay, off to sew the elastic waistband on my new skirt...or should I jump back on the couching since I have the maroon thread nice to have choices!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cake Pops for the Birthday Boy

Lucas turned 13, and never gets to have a party since everybody's out of town usually, so I wanted to surprise him with cake pops at least. He's been asking me to make some for about a year, so instead of the usual surprise cake, I bought a cake pop pan and accoutrements in JoAnn while he was at band practice Thursday night. Stashed them in a cabinet till Saturday night, and while he was upstairs on the XBox with friends, I made my first cake pops. Of course, it might've helped to Google how to do it first, as most cake pops are a mix of baked cake and icing. Oh well, this silicone pan just said pour cake mix in, bake, and apply the sticks, so I went with it.

Too generous with the batter, so I shaved off the excess with a knife. These are flat pops according to the picture - not really like your Starbucks sphere.

So you melt some chocolate, dip the stick in it, then into the pop, and the chocolate supposedly hardens like cement, especially if you freeze them for a few minutes. I found that when I tried to cover them in chocolate with a little torqueing action, they got loose though.

So they're not real pretty in my homemade cake pop holder, which is some cardboard from the recycle bin covered in foil with holes punched in it, but I did have a nice selection of sprinkles, M&M's, and chocolate chips to put on them. I was just finishing up when I heard Lucas shutting down the XBox, so I raced around wiping sprinkles and chocolate off the counter, throwing away the candy containers, etc., and had just put them in the freezer to set when he came around the corner. Phew, thank you, God, for the timing on that one!

Here's the final product in the display stand I bought at JoAnn.

Sorry for the out of focus pics!

So here's the green innards - the Funfetti cake mix is actually really moist and tasty. Lucas and Drew both said these were better than Starbucks - I can die a happy mother!

But I was a little PO'd with the stand. We couldn't get the bottom and middle pieces to rotate away from each other, so when I squeezed some into the bottom, they rubbed the middle springs, and you obviously can't put pops in all of them, so I just used the top 2 tiers. Turns out you can unscrew each section, and it'll be a little bit wobbly, but would work.

And the big boys went to Washington, D.C. for yet another Spartan race. Lots of scrapes and scratches, and an open weeping blister - sorry I don't have pics of THAT.

OHH! One heartbreaking thing for me today was that I ran out of maroon button and craft thread for my couched skirt, and apparently Alabama Chanin is the only place that carries it. JoAnn, Michael's, and Hancock all let me down by only carrying red - AGONY! I'm halfway through the 4th panel and was hoping to wear it to Chicago next week for our last big vacation with Drew. Oh well, maybe I'll start on an Auburn-themed skirt while I wait....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

McCain and Trump

Went to pick Lucas up from his 3-week camp at Trinity University in San Antonio (yes, if you have deja vu, it's because Drew did this 5 years ago - here's the great train ride back after picking him up), and look who I ran into in the B-terminal! He was posing very kindly for pictures, and actually went and shook people's hands if he caught them snapping his pic. Nice guy!

Lucas was reluctant to leave his friends and asked that I come as late as possible to get him.

Very different from me...I called home at every opportunity begging to come back when they sent me to college camp at 11 years of age. Some older lady took to waiting for me in front of the hall phone so she could send me back to my room in tears, saying that I was upsetting my mother by crying every night. They gave it about 4 or 5 days before someone decided I could/should go home. I'm always so proud that my kids have never gotten homesick. That experience seriously traumatized me to the point where I had to switch an entire set of teachers in the 6th grade. Two schools came together that year, and none of my friends were in my classes, so I cried every day. One teacher made me move my desk into the hall since I was distracting the class, and I went home early every day the first week, except the day my mom was out of town and Papaw refused to come get me. About a week later they just moved me to the hall where all my friends were, and everything was fine...except for the stigma of being a crybaby. I was even terrified when I went to college that I'd be homesick again and not be able to stay - what weird emotional baggage!

Speaking of weird, this was in the bag of clothes Drew bought for college a couple of weeks ago, and given that we checked out in the Big 'n' Tall section, I have a feeling this was on the counter waiting for someone else. I decided that the fabric is so soft, I'll try fashioning it into Alabama Chanin style pajamas...if that's a thing.

And finally, in keeping with the title of the post, my precious Ivanka Trump Tenice pump arrived. The 10 was too large, but the 9.5 fit like a dream. I will be voting for Donald Trump for President simply because his daughter is so brilliant at her shoe collection. I am enamored with that woman and her shoes. Now if only she would make the edgy man-ish loafer I've been longing for...

A better picture with the tiny bow free...

Back to couching the 4th and final panel of my skirt, which will be worn with these beautiful shoes.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Downtown Polevaulting

So I read in Lagniappe about this polevaulting thing that I never heard of before. Apparently Mobile has been doing it for several years, and it's wildly popular with the track and field crowd, who long to break free of their boring stadiums and fly around balconies and traffic lights with a crowd of onlookers. See the guy in the sky?

Here's a guy running straight for us.

And after seeing Trainwreck (hilarious, but RAUNCHY!) at the Crescent, we found they were still going:

How fun is that?! They had hundreds of people from out of town participating - you go, Mobile!

In other news, God sent me a link for a new shoe last night. I got on the internet to log in to my hospital since I was on call, and a page from Nordstrom popped up from nowhere (okay, I know they spam you with ads, but why not have a peeky-poo?). I scrolled through the anniversary sale shoes till a heel from Ivanka Trump caught my eye (love her shoes), and would you believe one of the pictures was this:

Do you get the connection? It's a pointy toe with an ankle strap, which I love, but do you see her skirt? Can you picture it covered in couching? I mean it's the exact same color as mine! God knows I've been working on it all weekend, and He wanted me to have some beautiful shoes to wear with it when I finish - thank you, God! Does God talk to you like that, or am I just really lucky?

And one last thing. I realized today that I have handicapped my children, despite thinking that I raised them to be autonomous free-thinkers. Well, they are, but apparently they don't know how to shop. When I took Drew shopping for some new college clothes, he stuck to me like he was Jake following me around the house. I literally had to say, "Do you see anything you want to try on? Well, pick it up and go try it on!" That's kind of cute to me, because it shows how low-maintenance a woman I am, that I don't shop a lot. But today in the shoe store, he did the same thing. He liked 2 pairs of shoes and seemed frozen with indecision. I said, "Most people want to try a shoe on, and that will help them decide if they want it or not. Go ahead....try it on." I purposely stood back and waited. Do you know the kid could not get the plastic insert out of the shoe?!

It finally hit me that all these years of running in Shoe Station, asking what they like, then ordering them to sit down and rip off their socks while I unpack the shoes and hand them over, has handicapped them. He just could not figure out how to pull that thing out. I finally picked up the other shoe and demonstrated squeezing, lifting at the heel, and pulling backwards, THEN he was successful. So mothers of younger kids, remember there's more to being a grown-up than being able to make your own lunch and take a shower by yourself. You should really know how to unpack new shoes...although re-packing all that paraphernalia is optional, in my opinion.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Camp War Eagle, Among Other Things...

It's been kinda crazy around here! First off, I'm not the only crafty person in the house, as Drew has been wanting to build his own computer for a few years. He's kept a list of components and has been pricing them for over a year, unbeknownst to us, so once he had a few paychecks from his dishwashing job, he ran it all by us, then went ahead with his purchases. Behold what the future electrical engineer created:

After troubleshooting an issue with the power switch (a loose cable was touching the case and apparently shorting out everything - he figured that out by himself before the same situation was portrayed on AMC's Halt and Catch Fire - I'm very proud!), he proved that it worked. Proudest moment of his life so far, I believe, as evidenced by his ripping his shirt off and striking a Herculean pose, though I opted not to include that here for modesty's sake.

And speaking of crafty things, I'm wondering if my AC shirt is fading in the wash. Robbie, have you washed any of your fabric yet? I've washed it a couple of times, and I don't MIND it fading, as I wanted just a faint stencil anyway, but I've always cut out the stenciled part, so this was interesting to see....will follow and let you know.

So he finished his computer a couple of days before we went to Camp War Eagle, which is mandatory orientation and registration for new Auburn students. We drove up on Wednesday after work, and ate at Ariccia, which is a FANTASTIC restaurant inside the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center. I loved it so much, I had to take pictures. What a fancy bread presentation, but why do they provide sea salt? Are you supposed to dip your bread in it? I really think it's for looks, as my mouth puckered up immediately upon tasting bread dipped in oil and salt. But so pretty!

Lovely Caesar salad - about half-eaten - sorry.

Drew's delicious pizza, which is reminiscent of La Pizzeria's here in Mobile, before they closed. This was salami, I believe, and SO TASTY.

And the only minor disappointment was that the tortellini with mushrooms was more of a salad, and less of pasta with Alfredo sauce, which is what I was expecting. Still delicious though, and LOOK at that parmesan cheese! I forgot to capture dessert, which was little doughnuts rolled in sugar that you dip in chocolate, raspberry, or caramel sauce - YUM!

So on with CWE - Drew took a suitcase and was shuttled off on a bus to check into the dorm while I went to lots of parent orientation meetings, which were great.

After a farm-to-table dinner, we got to sit next to the students for a pep rally in the stadium. Have you seen the largest Jumbotron in the nation? Well, this is it!

And here's some fascinating entertainment, a hip-hop dance team called AU Rhythm. The guy who runs in near the end was Drew's student counselor, who started his first year in ROTC - loved this guy!

The next day was academic advising and more meetings, but I had time to walk over to Toomer's for a milkshake. Did I mention the heat index was over 100 degrees? You can't see my hair dripping, can you?

Here's a shot of the famous corner, but they were putting the new oaks in and have the intersection all torn up.

And this is what stress looks like. Racing 500 fellow students to get registered for your perfect class schedule is apparently tough, so they have them work through several worksheets to be sure they're all set. Drew literally got the last seat in one class, just before the guy next to him got locked out of it.

Meanwhile, this joker is at camp in Texas for 3 weeks learning how to build a website, so he can enlarge his current YouTube channel empire.

And after CWE, there were the Blue Angels.

Here's a little sample of a flyover and the crowd. We had nice weather for once.

So I better change for date night! With Lucas gone and Drew working dinner shifts, Dean and I are being empty nesters for a bit - FUN! (Because it's temporary, of course.)