24 July 2010

Wiebe Family Photos

Really, what's not to love?

In the world of big Mormon families, relations can be complicated, so let me get this straight: Jared's mom's cousin's wife, Karen, took these photo's of the entire Wiebe clan.  She is so talented. It was fun to have everyone together and get some photographs without having to set the camera on timer and hope I get in the right spot before it shoots.

23 July 2010

An Apron of His Own

Ever since I made the aprons for the Craftaholics Anonymous gift exchange, Eli has been asking for an apron of his own.  While I'm all about letting my boys play with dolls and wear pink, I thought I needed something a little more manly for my little man than the cute half aprons I made.  So, I let Eli pick out the fabric, and this morning I made him an apron all of his own.

Pretty sure he makes the cutest cowboy chef EVER!

Eli picked the star fabric, and I used the leftover fabric from my apron for the pocket pouch.  The ties were just a fat quarter from my stash. 

Time for a Picnic

I love to picnic.  On one of our most memorable dates Jared took me on a picnic to a park near where he grew up.  My memories of picnicing as a kid are wonderful (except that one time when a mean old bee stung me right on the tip of my finger, and I walked around with grapes on my finger all day long - not sure why - but it seemed right at the time.)

Anyway, I love to picnic, but we haven't done it nearly as often as I would like.  In need of a little inspiration, I decided to make our family a picnic blanket that would be devoted to Wiebe Family picnics.  I want to find a picnic basket and some dishes and have it all together and ready so we can picnic away whenever we feel the urge.  While I was in Sandpoint with Renee I pieced the quilt.

Silas helped a lot!
Laying it out. 
All pieced.  I just have to put the back on, quilt it, and bind it and I'm ready for any picnicking adventure life can throw at me!

Hitchhiking, A Spring and Two French Fries!

Last week my sister-in-law, Renee, and I went down to Sandpoint, Idaho to get a little break and visit with Jared while he is studying to write the Bar.  This month Renee had something to celebrate, so that's what we did.  We shopped like we actually had money, ate really well, and did whatever we wanted for the week. It was great.  As it should, our trip was not without adventure, intrigue and excitement!  Well, maybe not so much intrigue, but it had enough of the other stuff to make up for that.

First of all, let me tell you about Renee.  She is wonderful, for one, and I just love her.  It was so fun to hang out for a week.  She is Jared's oldest sister, and while they both tell stories of how they didn't get along as kids, you wouldn't know it now.  She is an incredibly talented seamstress: six years ago, when I married Jared, Renee made my wedding dress.

She is also a budding photographer, so I let her man (or woman) the camera for the entire trip.  It is nice to have some pictures of me with the boys, for a change.

Although, she isn't to be trusted entirely. I left her alone for just a few minutes, and what did she do?

We did have a good day of adventuring though.  We were heading into Spokane to take advantage of tax-free shopping, and in the middle of a construction zone, in 32 degree heat, the truck broke down. I thought it might be gas, since the gas gauge isn't very reliable, so Renee graciously volunteered to start walking.  Well, let's be honest: the nearest gas station was 3 miles away, and 3 miles is a long way to walk, especially with a 15 gallon gas can, and Renee isn't really the type to stick out her thumb.  I, however, have found myself in similar situations several times in my life and am not afraid of risking it.  So, I left her with the kiddos and hitched-hiked to town.  The wonderful woman who picked me up then drove me back to the truck.  We filled it with gas. And... it still didn't run.  Plan B.  The wonderful woman loaded up Renee, Rhiannon, Eli and Silas and drove them into town to a really classy restaurant, the Rustler's Roost. I called Jared, who called AAA, and planned on waiting.  I'm not very good at waiting.  I tried to start the truck, and I found as long as I kept the RPMs above 3000, it wouldn't stall out.  Somehow I made it into town and to a shop.  Jared was finished his course for the day, so he came and picked me up and we went to save Renee.  Food had been ordered, kids had been fed, and everything was just fine. Except... my baby, who has thus far in his life only eaten organic fruits and vegetables, was fed by his favourite Auntie Renee two FRENCH FRIES.  Horror!!!  After a few minutes I forgave her though, and we went about our day, all six of us loaded into our little Cavalier, sans carseats, waiting for the truck to be fixed.  Turns out a spring broke. Don't ask me what spring.  One that cost $275 and 3 days to replace.  We spent the weekend dodging cops and cozying up in the Cavy.  It could have been much worse: Renee could have fed Silas a hamburger!

The rest of the week was wonderful though. We did make it back to Spokane, where Renee bought a new wardrobe for her new life, and I got a few things myself.  We spent a lot of time crafting, a bit of time reading, and even managed to get out on the boat for some tubing.

Jared even got to spend a few daylight hours with us, at the Farmer's Market.  Silas was glad to see his daddy.
Eli only wanted to play on the splash pad.
Rhiannon LOVED it, too.
We went for walks.  Eli brought a dolly along.
Look at this beautiful baby. I love him so much!
Roasting Mallows.
Eli doesn't get much sugar.  He really liked the marshmallows.  Me thinks I have an addict on my hands.
Noni was happy to sit in the waves and throw sand the entire time. 
Talk about multitasking.  That's me, ready to drive the boat, pulling Eli and Jared on the tube, nursing Silas.
That's Renee on the left and Eli and Rhiannon squished on the right.  Rhiannon wanted to go faster, and Eli wanted to go slower the entire time.
And Jared got a kick out of shooting at the ducks and geese on the dock.  I'm not much for stepping in duck poop, so I didn't mind.

All in all, it was a wonderful week. It was great for Eli and Rhiannon to play, and for Renee and I to do the same.  I love summer!

The Teacher in Me

The teacher in me is freaking out.  July is almost over. Summer is almost half done.  Four weeks of summer has already passed, and what do I have to show for it???


Okay, that's not entirely true, but seriously, I had planned on doing so much more.

So, although September means nothing more to me than tomorrow when it comes to daily routine,  here's the list of stuff I'd like to accomplish before Labour Day hits:

Scavenger Hunt Cards
ABC Board
A Bored Board

Plus, there's this rusty, nasty vinyl chair sitting in my parent's garage, which mom has said I can have if I recover it.  And, I am searching for the perfect piece of furniture at a garage sale to make a play kitchen for Eli. There's the picnic quilt I need to quilt, and the afghan I need to finish for Sarah...

Okay, realistically, there is no way I'm going to get this all done before September, but I've never been harmed by setting my expectations high.

22 July 2010

Spreading the Crafting Joys

Adrienne is throwing a baby shower for a friend tomorrow night. She already gave her a Moby Wrap, so didn't need to get her anything extravagant, but did want to give her something at the shower.   In steps Jenny, crafty and cheap.  Just what Adrienne needed.

So, my best friend, the cowgirl/firefighter sat in front of a sewing machine for the first time since junior high and made the cutest receiving blanket and burp cloth.  I bought the fabric at Joanne's on sale, so the whole thing cost only $5.  Who could complain about that.  I threw in a cute little hat, and I'm pretty sure it will be the best present of all!
Yup, those are skulls.  I never thought I would, but I love skulls.  I would dress my boys in skulls every day if I could. Get over it.

I bought enough fabric for two sets, and made one myself.  Now I just need a friend to have a baby so I can give it away.  Or maybe I need to have a baby... no, 9 months is too long to wait for this to be enjoyed.  So cute.

The Worst Two Months of My LIFE!!!

I have a friend, Coreen, who has six children.  She is amazing to me for so many reasons.  She is an incredible mother, a devoted friend, a spiritual giant and an inspiration.  Due to the wonderful housing market in the US right now, her husband has been finishing his residency in Pontiac, Mi. for the last 10 months, and she has been living with their 6 children in Tennessee.  I've always thought she was amazing, but having just spent the last two months with Jared in Spokane and me on my own in Calgary, I am in complete awe of her.  Honestly.  I am so sick of being a single mom, and can't wait until Jared is back with me. I can't imagine how single mothers survive day after day, week after week, month after month, and for some, year after year!  I see why Heavenly Father created us to procreate in pairs, because doing it alone is really, really hard (the raising the creations, not the procreating itself- although that would be really hard too.)

The past two months has given me a lot of time to consider just why I am so lucky to have Jared in my life, and why I love him so much.  So, here's to him:

It started a long time ago, before the idea of kids even crossed my mind. I thought you were crazy, and funny, and kind of liked you. We dated.  I was right, you were crazy and funny, and not ready for commitment, so I dumped you, and then I realized I loved you.

So, you said you wanted to get serious, move to Kelowna, and asked if I would come with you, as your wife.  Then you decided that Kelowna wasn't for you, and dropping out of university wasn't the best idea.  You stood faithfully by me through our crazy 3 month engagement with all the emotion involved there.  You supported me wholly through the worst teaching year ever when I worked for the crazy feminist, and we made it wonderfully through our first year.

When we decided to multiply you came to every one of my prenatals.  You supported my decision to hire midwives, even though they were expensive, and have a homebirth, even though it was so strange to you, knowing that although I was having our baby, it was my body and my experience, and so you researched and learned, and you were there when it all fell to pieces and I needed you most. 

You didn't want to leave Calgary, but you knew it's what you needed to do to "pay for the family" so you packed up the house and drove across the continent.  You suffered through 3 years of Law School. You spent countless nights reading, typing, studying.  You worked harder than you've ever worked before to finish school.

You have trusted your instincts, and mine, as we have learned how to parent.  You have embraced the gentle parenting approach that we try to live by.  When I bring information to you about health or parenting, you strive to understand it and then wholeheartedly go for it.  You are my biggest supporter when it comes to some of the things I do that others don't understand.

When we made another baby, you drove me to all my prenatals across the border, you again understood my desire for an empowered birth, and so you supported me in hiring midwives again, which was still expensive, and have a "hotelbirth," as we had no home.  And again, when plans changed, you were there to hold me up when everything around me was falling down.

You have used the power of the Priesthood, which you are worthy to hold, to bless me and our sons countless times.  You read the scriptures to them and teach them how to pray.  You show them how to be a good man and a wonderful father.

You continue to work hard, knowing that the adventure isn't quite over.  You are willing to live alone for two months to study for the hardest test yet.  You call me every night to tell me you love me and wish you were here.  You say prayers with Eli over the phone, and tell him you love him too. 

I love you so much. I am so glad that you stole me away from that boy.  I love that you love me, and can't wait to be with you again!

18 July 2010

A History Lesson

I had to do some digging in the dark recesses of my computer, but I found what I was looking for: a speech that Chloe wrote about the history of The Calgary Stampede. Why is Chloe's speech on my computer you may ask?  Well, because I love writing essays, and I love the Stampede, and so this speech was a little more of a collaboration then maybe it should have been - not unlike all of the research papers she and Holly had to write in junior high because they opted out of sex ed.  Don't worry, I worked with their teacher years later who said he felt like he had taught me because he had read so many of my essays - good guy.  (Poor Phoebe got shafted - it just didn't seem right to do her homework for her when I was her teacher.)

Anyway, back to the speech on the Stampede.  With all the Stampeding going on this week, I thought it was fun to brush up on my history and thought some of you might think so too.  Here it is:

Calgary Stampede

In 1912 when American Wild West performer Guy Weadick and his trick riding wife, Flores LaDue came to Calgary, they didn’t know the profound affect that Weadick would have on the city and the western heritage surrounding it. Weadick saw the city of Calgary, with Western roots as deep as any Canadian City, and saw an opportunity.  He envisioned the biggest "frontier days show the world has ever seen... hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls, thousands of natives. We’ll have Mexican ropers and riders... We’ll make Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Extravaganza look like a slide show."  With that vision he approached the General Manager of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition, a yearly Industrial fair held in Calgary. E.L Richardson agreed to let Weadick rent the Exhibition’s land, 94 acres previously purchased from the Dominion government, for his Wild West show.  Weadick then contacted some of the richest ranchers in the area, the men now referred to as "The Big 4": George Lane, AE Cross, AJ McLean and Patrick Burns, and asked them to each finance his dream with twenty five thousand dollars.  With a hundred thousand dollars in hand, Guy Weadick went about to create what is now indisputably "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth:" The Calgary Stampede!

Today the Calgary Stampede is best known for the many performers it brings, the midway, the mini-doughnuts and the cheesy western outfits, but at its birth the Calgary Stampede was the biggest rodeo and Wild West show in North America.  With rodeo prize money at twenty thousand dollars the rodeo brought competitors from all over Canada and the United States.  That very first year over one hundred thousand spectators came to see what Guy Weadick put together, cementing the Calgary Stampede into history.

But financing was not Weadick’s only stumbling block. What he had envisioned was even far greater than just cowboys and horses.  Women played a significant role in the first Stampede with trick riding, relay races, riding bucking horses and steer roping. He wanted all aspects of the Wild West, including the natives.  However, at this time in history the Natives were severely restricted.  They were not allowed off the reserves without government permit.  They were not allowed to live in Teepees or wear traditional clothing. They were not allowed to speak their traditional languages.  Weadick invited them to come to the Stampede, but the Indian Agents would not give them permits.  Undaunted, Guy Weadick travelled to Ottawa to ask permission for the Natives to participate in the 1912 Stampede.  Permission was granted, but the Natives were told that they could not bring their Teepees and traditional clothing and that they could only speak English.  While history is unclear if these restrictions were ever officially changed, Guy Weadick sent the message for the natives to come with their Teepees and not to worry about the Indian Agents.  1912 began one of the most prominent traditions of the Calgary Stampede, the Indian Village, a tradition which has continued ever since. The Stampede offered the Natives a time to connect with different tribes, to teach their young the traditional ways and to showcase their culture to the world.  Today there are 27 teepees at the Calgary Stampede representing the five major tribes of Alberta. The Natives still remember Guy Weadick for his role in preserving their culture.

In 1912 Weadick included already popular rodeo events, including saddle bronc and calf roping.  After dark the infield was lighted with the headlights of cars.  Tom Three Persons, Albertan Native from the Blood Tribe, won the Bronc event by riding the previously unridden bronc, Cyclone, taking home one thousand dollars and a fine saddle.  He was not only the only Native to win prize money that first year, but the only Canadian. The rodeo has remained one of the highlights of the Calgary Stampede.

In 1923 the organizers of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition saw the Stampede as a much needed novelty to bring life back into their sinking venture.  Agreeing to combine the two events, Weadick sought out a new and exciting idea to entice spectators to come to Calgary, and thus the Chuckwagon race was born.

Stories about the origin of the Chuckwagon race vary.  Some maintain that it was common for wagon races to be held on the open range.  Others believe that during the land rushes of the nineteenth century settlers would race their wagons to the prized pieces of land to claim.  Weadick claimed that he got the idea from his own experiences on the range when, after a cattle round up the cowboys would race the chuck wagons for the last half mile to the nearest bar in town: the crew that rolled in last would be stuck buying the winners a round of drinks.  However the idea came about, in 1923 Weadick instituted the notorious, sometimes deadly and always thrilling "Half Mile of Hell": the Chuckwagon race.  This gave the Exhibition the energy it needed to get out of the red and began the now familiar Calgary Exhibition and Stampede with rodeo and agriculture exhibits combined.  

For twenty years Guy Weadick ran the Calgary Stampede, returning in 1952 to ride in the Stampede parade, one year before he passed away.  Today his legend still lives on as strong as when he began it. The Stampede Grounds now cover over 193 acres of prime real estate.  In 2007 well over one million two hundred fifty thousand people attended the Stampede, one million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars were awarded at the rodeo and one million eight hundred forty four thousand two hundred eighty six mini donuts were eaten. The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede remains a non-profit event, preserving the culture that Guy Weadick so loved, bringing together cowboys, cowgirls, First Nations and spectators from all over the world for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!

The Greatest Outdoor Show on EARTH!

For those of you not from Calgary, let me tell you about a little event that happens in Calgary every summer. The 10 day Calgary Stampede turns our little city of oil execs and rig pigs into a crazy city of every sort of cowboy, from the rhinestone variety to the full blown wrangler wearing, bull riding type. "Stampede Grounds" is covered in rides, food stands, historical and cultural displays, and all sorts of entertainment, and millions converge.  It is awesome.

Years ago I was part of the action.
That's me on the far left.  I was a "Ranchgirl" for the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.  It was awesome to be part of something so amazing!

This week I took Eli back to see Auntie Adrienne ride in the rodeo.  He was so excited to see the lassos, although he kept calling the entire thing a "radio," not a rodeo.
That's AJ, riding a million miles an hour, on a crazy horse, holding a flag, with the #1 rule being: if your hat hits the dust, your head better be in it.  She's so cool!
I don't love the midway, I don't love the crowds, I don't love the drunkenness, but I sure as heck love the rodeo and the excuse I have to be a cowgirl once a year!


"Where thou art - that - is Home."  ~Emily Dickinson

 I'm feeling sorry for myself today.  I'm homesick for a home that isn't mine any more, and a life that will never be again.  Depressing, eh?  

They say you can never go home again, and I think I've learned that's true.  I couldn't be closer to home, living in my parents' basement and all, but some days it just feels all wrong.  When we left Calgary we were sad. We didn`t want to go, to leave our families and our friends, our house and our comforts.  What we didn`t know is that we`d find all that, and more, in Michigan, and today I`m really missing that.  I`m missing play dates, and zoo dates, deal shopping and comfort shopping.  I`m missing a ward where people talked to me and invited us over for dinner.  I`m missing walks in the park and backyard parties.  I`m missing friends that I could call and cry on their shoulder whenever I needed it, and friends that need me too.  

Don`t get me wrong, I love being back.  I love being close to family. I love that Eli can actually name his cousins, that he knows his Aunties and Uncles, that he recognizes the COP ski jumps as `Andy`s House.` I love that my parents have welcomed us with open arms, allowing us to live in their basement, eat their food, and otherwise impose.  I love so much about Calgary, I just have yet to find my niche.  

I left with a 10-week-old baby, and have returned with two kids.  Life is different, and I haven`t found how to enjoy Calgary with two kids.  First goal: I need friends.  Mommy friends.  Mommy friends that I can play with, and my boys can play with their kids. Second goal: find time to do the things I love.  I`ve been so busy since we got back I`ve hardly done anything I love to do.  Horseback riding is WAY hard with two kids to worry about, but I`ve got to find a way to get it in.  I`ve got to renew my efforts to create with Eli, to get out every day, and to give more than I receive.  

I miss Michigan and the life we had there every day.  I know I can never recreate that life, and that I probably I just need to get over it, but for today I am sad, and that`s just the way it is.

04 July 2010

Just me and Mr. Hookity Hook

I go through waves of crafting. Last week I was having a serious love affair with Mod Podge.  A few weeks ago it was sewing the aprons.  I pulled out three different quilts I want to make next week from my storage unit yesterday.  The past few days, however, I've been quite enamored by my good friend, the crochet hook (the needles haven't been neglected either, I assure you.)  I've tried a few new patterns, and fallen in love with a few.

This is my new favourite hat pattern.  I made the first one last week for Adrienne, for her birthday, which was 7 months ago.  I made another for my cousin Lindsay's new baby Ivy. I was super lame and didn't get a chance to sew the flower on, but she lives in Fort McMurray, and rather than not getting it to her until next Canada Day, I gave it to her to finish on her own.  (Lindsay, send me a picture of your sweet Ivy wearing it once it fits her!)  This newest one I LOVE LOVE LOVE!  The colours are perfect.  I might just have to keep this one for myself (shocking, really.)
I love the rose as much as I love the hat. It is huge, and super easy to crochet.

Chloe is a beautiful model. This little headband is so quick to make, and you can put any kind of flower on it you want. It looks terrible on me, but I love it, so I've made a few, and keep giving them away.

Just pretend it is actually winter and Chloe needs to be wearing Mom's winter parka, and those pine trees behind her are covered in snow. Cute ear warmer, eh?

And, with the excess yarn, another newborn hat.  I need to know more pregnant ladies, or maybe another blog giveaway!

Lost Keys

Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave the house, I couldn't find the keys to my car.  I had had them earlier because I had to switch the car seats around, so I knew they were somewhere close.  I looked and looked, and couldn't find them.  As I searched, Silas entertained himself.  At one point I went to check up on him, and where did I find him?  Right here:

And what was he doing?

What is that he's grabbing?

 Good thing I've got him around to find those things I lose! (Or he loses.)
I sure love that boy!

03 July 2010

The thing about "W"

I am a Wiebe.  I've been a Wiebe now for almost six whole years.  I have to admit, when I became a Wiebe it took me quite a while to accept it.  After 23 years, I was pretty attached to Evans, so when I got my drivers license changed, the guy at the registry had to assure me that I was not legally eliminating Evans as my name, I was merely changing what I went by.  Fewsh.

Acceptance is the first step.  Embracing is a whole new level, but I am actively trying to reach that level.

So, let me tell you the advantages to being a Wiebe:

1. As a teacher I just got the whole Wiebe rhymes with Dweeb thing right out there.  Once a teacher announces the insult no junior high student would be caught dead using it.  So not cool.

2.  Being called on last isn't always the worst thing in the world.  After all, it gives you a few precious minutes to finish that assignment, memorize that presentation, or hopefully be saved by the bell. (I'm a chronic procrastinator, so every second helps.) If people are calling around for volunteers or the like, I'm just guessing that they usually start at the top of the list, so by the time they get to Wiebe, quota's filled!

3. In my constant search for uniqueness, there are definitely less Wiebes in the world than Evans. 

4. Pluralizing Wiebe is simple.  Evans?  Well, is it "The Evans are coming to dinner" or "The Evanses are coming to dinner." By marrying a Wiebe I am doing my part to make grammar just a little easier on the world.

5. W is the only letter in the whole alphabet that has more than one syllable.  And it has THREE!!!  Again, very unique.

With so many advantages, whatever was I worried about?!  Surely everyone wants to be a Wiebe, and is dying of jealousy of me right now.  Good thing I am so good at making boys, because one day the lucky girls who marry my boys will have their wildest dreams come true!

In an attempt to embrace the Wiebe in me, I've found a few crafty gems of late to display my love of it.  I am a Wiebe, and I may as well be proud of it!

For the "Wiebe" sign I got the inspiration from this shop on Etsy (have I mentioned lately that I love Etsy, because I do!)  The boys and I spent a few hours wandering the isles of Home Depot looking for the right material.  For five letters I wanted five different textures.  The barnwood I got from Jared's Grandpa.  The rope for the "E" we made when we visited Nauvoo last year with the Snells.  We were supposed to put it on our mantle as a conversation piece, but I think it serves a much more appealing purpose here.

Here's a close up:

The "W" I bought from the sale rack for $1.25.  It was beat up and white, so I painted the sides black, Mod Podged on scrapbook paper (which I had to buy and cost more than the "W"), and sanded the sides to give it a weathered look.  So cute, I know!  The best part... it's double sided, depending on what kind of mood I'm in:

Now that my embracing of my name is underway, what other crafts can I find?
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