Saturday, November 17, 2012

Finally, Some Finishes

I have done it!!!  I officially am done with my dissertation.  Everything has been turned in, I passed my oral defense, did revisions and formatted it correctly.  It ended up being over 200 pages of text and close to 250 pages with all appendices and front matter included.  I had to print it out once to get an idea of the scale of it.
 I am so happy to have this done!  It does feel a bit weird not to be working on something for school.  I have always been in school.  This is the first time in my life where I will NOT be a student.  My graduation is in December and I will have to post pictures of it later.

Another big event in my life is that I was a semi finalist at the AQS (American Quilters Society) Quilt Show in Des Moines.  Only around 200 quilts total were juried in, and I was privileged to have created one of those quilts. 
It was so neat to see my quilt in this venue!  I am trying to think what I can do this year that will be good enough to get in again.

Other things have happened in our lives since I last posted.  The kids have started back to school.  They are growing up so fast.  Iris played volleyball this year, and still is involved with orchestra and show choir. 
Zadok has a really good teacher this year and is enjoying 2nd grade. He is getting to be such a tall boy.   
We have also celebrated Halloween.  I decorated the outside of the house similar to last year.  Zadok went as Perry the Platypus and Nathan went as Dr. Doofenshmirtz.  I think it was a cute costume pairing. 
The cats are also doing well.  Mr. Nibbles is about as crazy as ever, and still loves sleeping in weird spots.
Don't worry this happened after a friend's baby was done using it.

I might be more regular at posting now that I do not have the dissertation looming over me.  My short term goals are to get my life back in order.  I can tell that I have let my housework slip while concentrating on the paper.  It will take a while to get everything back in shape, but that will soon happen.  I am still unclear about what I will be doing now that my degree is done.  I would still love to teach on a college level and am looking for a job.  In the meantime, clean and sort!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Busy Summer So Far

We have been really busy so far this summer.  The last two weeks of June, we took a family vacation.  This was the first vacation that we have really been on as a family that did not involve going to stay with family.  We went to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We did so many things that it would be tough to list them all. On the way we went to the Omaha Zoo.  It was a really nice zoo.  They have an aquarium that the kids enjoyed.  It had a part that you could walk through the tunnel under the water.

They had a variety of animals running loose.

Noooo... I was not chasing that peacock....

We stopped at the Corn Palace on the drive through South Dakota.

Nathan was acting a bit "corny".

While we were driving we saw signs inviting us to feed the prairie dogs.  We ended up stopping there at least three time to feed the prairie dogs.  We all managed to get them to eat out or our hand eventually.

We stayed four nights in Spearfish South Dakota and went hiking in Spearfish Canyon.  We liked the hike to Devil's Bathtub.

We visited devils tower.

We went on other hikes, hung out at the campground, visited Deadwood, and went to the DC Booth historic fishery.

After Spearfish, we went to Custer State Park.  We stayed 6 nights there. 

While we were there we explored the park we went to Bear Country

Went to Reptile Gardens,  rode the 1880's train, saw The Cosmos

Visited Mount Rushmore

Went and saw a replica of a 500+ year old Norwegian Church in Rapid City

In the middle of the vacation we had a bit of excitement.  We were on our way to see the Mammoth Site and we were t-boned at an intersection.  Thankfully we were in the Expedition and were able to walk away from the accidents with very minor injuries.

 But, this is not what you want to have happen right in the middle of vacation.  We were stuck in Hot Springs SD for a while but eventually we got a rental and were able to finish out our vacation.
We did go back to the Mammoth Site the next day.  This is one of the few pictures with me in it.  It is a little blurry because Zadok took it, but it proved that I actually went with my family to SD.

After Custer we stayed a couple of nights in the Badlands.

While there we got to go down into one of the missile control centers from the cold war.

That was neat.  On the way back home we stopped at the 1880's town in Murdo SD
Zadok was pulled on stage to "perform" with the group.   He is the hairy guy at the cymbal.

This picture sums up Zadok pretty well.  He is trying to make the train go faster!!!

After we got home we had to deal with the insurance and unpacking everything.  I am also working top speed on the dissertation so that has been taking up most of my days.  I have not even touched my sewing machine in a month and doubt that I will till this paper is done.

Last weekend I had a neat experience.  Nathan's mother, brother, and nephews came for a visit.  It was also the Red Rock Balloon Fest.  We went for a picnic on Saturday to watch the balloons, but because of wind they did not fly.  They did a tethered glow flight that night.

The next morning, Judy and I went chasing the balloons at 6am and watched them set up for a competition flight.

We went to both drop spots and watched the balloons for a couple of hours.  It was pretty to watch 20+ balloons come over the lake.

Well off to work on the dissertation a bit more...and do a bit of car shopping.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tulip Time Aftermath

This year's Tulip Time was an exhausting one.  Because of the early spring there was not very many tulips in bloom.  The peak was a little after Easter.  I did manage to get one picture of the tulips.
 It was difficult because of the number of tourists in the area.  This year the kids were not as involved with the parades.  Zadok was only in two.  He walked with his class in the Wednesday and Saturday afternoon parades.  Iris was in the Friday night parade walking with the Girl Scouts, even though she has not been one for a while.  All her friends were walking and I think they wanted more people to pick up trash later.  She seemed to have a good time.  It is nice that she is old enough that she does not have to be supervised the entire time.  I gave her money and she hung out with her friends.  Easy.

Zadok had to have a dutch costume for marching in the parade.  I went to the costume exchange a little late this year and all they had left was a very used costume for $65.  I did not buy it.  I went the true Dutch route and went to the thrift store and bought items and modified them.  I got a larger striped button down shirt and some baggy black pants.  Here is what the shirt looked like before...
I cut the cuffs off and straightened the bottom.  I also turned the collar in.  With the hat and the kerchief, it looked "dutchy" enough.
With hundreds of kids marching no one will notice that it is not a true dutch costume.
This gives an idea of the chaos before the parade.  I title this picture "Boys in Black Hats"
The reason that this year's Tulip Time was so busy was not because of the kids, but because I was chair of the Quilt Show Committee for our local guild.  Every year during Tulip Time the Pella Area Quilter's Guild puts on a quilt show in the Opera House.  We had over 110 entries and I was in charge of making sure that everything got done.  It basically consumed my entire April.  We had to set up frames, figure out where all the quilts would hang, hang all the quilts, keep track of all the bookwork, etc.  Whew.  I have to have a few years to forget all the work before I volunteer for that again.
I had several quilts in the show and even though I have shown most on the blog before, it is nice to have pictures of them all when they are hung nice.
This one is my favorite of the year.  Every seam is matched perfectly, the quilting is beautiful, and I love the colors.  It placed 5th in the viewer's choice for large quilts.  I called it "Cabins by the Seaside"
This one is called "Floral Chains".  It was technically hung upside down.  whoops.
"70's Film Star"
"Pixilated Blossoms"  This one was 6th in viewer's choice for large quilts
"A Quilt for Iris"
"Lilacs for Mom"
"Oriental Mystery"
"The Pond Quilt"
"Tropical Fruit Salad"  This one tied for 3rd in viewer's choice for small quilts
A new feature this year for the quilt show was a window display.  I was able to put my Grandma Top's sewing machine in the window.
Now everything is dismantled and I have a pile of quilts to figure out what to do with them all.  I cleaned off the board where I put all my cards with finished projects.  I do not think that I will get this many done for next year. 
On the family front, Nathan is in Germany this week working with Vermeer.  This is his first time over seas and I am happy for him.  I got a call this morning saying he arrived okay.  When we were packing I insisted that he take basic toiletries with him like shampoo and soap.  He insisted that the hotel would have them, but packed them anyway.  When I talked to him this morning, he said that he was glad that he packed them because the hotel he is staying in is a dead ringer for the happiness hotel from the muppets.  I hope he has a great time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Evolution of a Girl's Room

This is what Iris's room looked like when we first moved into the house in 2009.  We reworked the room pretty quick after moving in.

She choose purple (of course).  We did not paint the room the exact shade she wanted because she wanted a really deep purple and the room does not get alot of light.
We used the same bedding that she had and decided to do accents of turquoise and neon green, but we never really got around to it.
At the beginning of the year, Iris decided that she wanted something different and was asking to rip out the carpet, repaint the walls, and paint the woodwork.  I said no.  But she could pick out some new accents and try a new color scheme.  I used pinterest for the organization of the decorating and it worked out really well.  I was able to post all the pictures of options on one page.  It was easy to compare bedspreads and curtains.  Iris was able to look at one page and instantly tell which ones she liked and did not like.  She picked out new curtains, bedding, lamps, and a new rug.
One thing on her wish list was a lamp for reading in her chair.  The chair was her 13th birthday gift.  We replaced the wooden blinds and sheers with new white roman shades.  This gives her a really nice spot to curl up with her books or kindle and read.

We left several things in the room the same.  The wall color stayed the same along with all the furniture and their basic location.  I had found the chandelier at a antique store and we installed it when we painted the room.
The light fixture goes well with the new curtains.
It also goes well with the new bedding.
We got a new rug.
And of course she will need a new throw quilt to match
I just love the focus fabric.
There are still a couple of projects that we need to do.  We need to recover the chair seat and hang the bulletin board over the desk.
We are also going to paint another flea market find black and put it over the dresser.
In the end the room looks more like a teenager's room.  Including the mess.