Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Well Holy Crap. . .I Actually Made - A CRAFT!

Every year Joshua wants me to re-create the same construction paper/cotton ball Santa's beard advent calendar that he had when he was in the one-year old class at his preschool.  Yes.  You heard me correctly.  The ONE-YEAR OLD CLASS (How does he remember this stuff?!?!?!  Seriously!!!)

And every year I remake it as best I can.  And it's kind of a pain, really, but he so looks forward to having it that I can't say no.  I'm such a sucker. 

So as he reminded me the other day, it's getting close time to make the calendar.  And I got to thinking, wouldn't it be nice if I could make just ONE more, and then use it year after year?  (Except that now that I've actually made one that will be reusable year after year, he's going to say he's too big for it.  And then I will ask Santa to put coal and switches in his stocking cry a lot and tell him how I sustained third degree burns from using the hot glue gun and we are putting it up anyway, and by gosh he WILL like it smile serenely and put it in my bedroom and do it myself.)

Wow.  OK, so back to my spectacular craftiness.  Which isn't really all that spectacular, but it was the best I could do.  If someone actually thinks it's a good idea, I'm sure they'll copycat it, make it totally super cute, post a picture somewhere and then theirs instead of mine will be pinned like 90 million times.  And I'll only be completely a little bitter.

So I headed to the craft store and looked around.  I used felt, but now I wonder if that foamy board stuff might have worked a bit better.  Take that for what it's worth.  I took pictures of how I basically made it, but since I don't normally "craft", I am missing a bunch of steps and I left all kinds of stuff out.  But it's not rocket science, folks.  I made it.

So the first thing you want to do is buy your supplies.  Here's my picture:

The supply list is:

Felt -

1 Red
1 White
1 Pink
2 Green - One of these was a "stiffer" felt.

Some sort of "wire"ribbon
Hot glue gun
Puffy Paint in black and red
Those little puff thingies  (100 count white ones - not too big, not too little.)
Velcro - (I bought squares of them and cut them to the size I needed.)
Hole Punch
Black fine tip magic marker

I think that's it.  As you can tell by my descriptions of things, I definitely lack a craft gene.  It really is a miracle I made this at all.

OK.  So I used the "stiff" green felt for the backing.  Then I cut out a piece of red felt and glued it to the backing like this:

Then I cut out a pink piece shaped like this for the face and glued it on:

Then I cut out a white piece for his beard and glued it on top of the pink:

Then I cut out a little red mouth and a hat shape, as well as a pink nose and glued those on:

After that, I started gluing on the white puffy things.  I glued on enough for his hat trim, his hair, his mustache and the start of the beard:

Then I took the Velcro and trimmed them into small pieces.  Twenty-four to be exact.  I took the rough piece and stuck it to 24 of the puffy things:

Then I placed them on the rest of the beard and spaced them so I'd have the placement nice for the rest of the beard.  I'd pick one up and stick the soft side of the Velcro to the white felt:

After that was done, I took my fine tip magic marker and wrote out all the numbers:

I took my second piece of felt and cut a strip about 3 inches wide and stapled it to the top, leaving a gap so that it made a sleeve where I could slide a dowel rod (or something else) through.    I hot glued the top pieces together.  I made little ribbons out of the wire ribbon and glued them on top of the staples.  I'd have taken pictures of all this part, but I got too lazy I forgot.

Then I decided I needed a pocket to hold all the little puffy things till we were ready to use them.  I took the rest of the felt and folded it in half and stapled the sides shut.  And then I hot glued puffy things along the sides to hide the staples:

I made black puffy paint eyes, and I puffy painted "Christmas Countdown!" on the pocket.

I then slid the dowel through and wrapped it with the wire ribbon to make the hanger.

Then, with my hole punch I punched holes in the top sides of the pockets and at the bottom of the calendar.  I took my wire ribbon and strung it through so that the pocket is now hanging down from the bottom of the calendar.  And here is the finished product!

The one thing I regret is not having Joshua help me.  I wished I had, because it would have made it more special.  But frankly, I had no idea what I was doing.  'Nuff said on that.

Also, if you are someone reading this who has a craft product and you want me to test it out, I will forwarn you.  I am NOT crafty.  And you may regret asking me to try your product.  Just sayin'.

And one more thing.  I know I did not do a great job at explaining the steps here, and I more than likely (well no.  I'm sure I did) left a bunch of steps out.  So if you have questions, feel free to ask.  Unless you think it's ugly, in which case you are not nice to make fun of craft challenged people like me and you should really kiss my ass be ashamed of yourself for making fun of a normally uncrafty gal who's trying to make her little boy happy.

Happy Day, folks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MARATHON! I DID IT! And. . .Dear God, Please Don't Let Me Look Like An Idiot In My Race Picutres (like I usually do). Thx.

Well if you have been wondering where I've been the last month. . .

I have been running (sorry mom) my ass off.  Seriously.  It's not there anymore.  OK, well it is, but it is smaller than it was.

If you remember, back in June, I told you all I had signed up for the marathon.  And I've been training.  And training.  And the miles have been getting longer.  And longer.  Our longest run was a 20 mile run.  That's far. 

But not 26.2 miles.  Which is what we all did Saturday.  And let me tell you.  Your race doesn't even begin until you finish that first 20.  The last 6.2?  That's where the race starts.

Oh yes, my friends.  THAT is where it starts.

So Saturday November 12, I woke up at o'dark thirty.  I had been downing Vitamin C like it was crack candy since I had to substitute teach a bunch of germy darling preschoolers.  (I do really love them all.  They are great kids.  But let's face it.  Preschoolers at this time of year?  Germfest.)  But I digress. . .I got up with Jamey and we left the house at about 5:45am.  For a race that started at - 8am.  Why you ask?  I'll tell you.  Whether you wanted to know or not.  It was because, I being the paranoid freak that I am, was afraid we wouldn't get a parking spot. 

So we got downtown and Jamey drove past all the shmucks who were paying for parking and drove right underneath his building where parking was free and no one knew about it.  It was awesome.  We had decided to use his office as a warm and cozy place to hang out until race time.  And I must say, it was quite lovely!  My friends, Kara and Polly, got there shortly after, and we all hung out.  I ate my ritual of a toasted peanut butter pita pocket, got to use a real bathroom instead of a port a potty, and before I knew it, it was time to go up to the start.

My friends and I all walked up and stood around in the cold for about 5 minutes and then we were off and running!  I have to say, for the first 7-8 miles, I thought if I could stay feeling the way I was feeling then, I'd have a stellar day.

And I must remind you that I had a few goals for this marathon.

1.  I did not want to stop and walk.  I wanted to run the whole way and not bonk.
2.  I wanted to get anything under a 4:45.  If I could get under 4:30, I'd go crazy at the finish.
3.  I did not want to look like a raving lunatic in my race photos this time.

Rule three was pretty much broken right away, unfortunately.  See we were rounding a corner, and there was a band playing, and it was early on, and I was all hyped up.  And so unfortunately, I believe a photographer caught me in my "old form".  You know.  The one where I'm not running with a super cute pony tail and smiling serenely for the camera?  Right.  The other one is how he caught me.  Where I'm waving my hands all around and screaming and looking at the camera with a crazed look on my face.  Sigh.  I will post my pictures when they come out to show you.

And so my second rule - I had amended it during training.  See if you remember, Jamey ran the marathon last year.  And he didn't have his very best day, truth be told.  I'm still totally proud of him, but he made a fatal mistake.  Because my pace has been very consistent through all my training.  And it put me within striking distance of his time from last year, which was a 4:13:35.  So I had made it my extra super secret goal - to beat him. 

I knew it would only be possible if 1.  I were having a stellar day, and 2. if someone ran me in.  And who better to run me in than the person I was trying to beat, right?  Uh-huh.  And he didn't know about my goal.

So I was running.  Felt great, and ended up losing my lovely friends I had trained with around mile 7.5.  We knew it was a possibility and had made the deal that we would all run our own race.  And I knew if I waited for them, I wouldn't make my goal.  So when one of them stepped to the side to go to the bathroom, I kept going. 

And I still felt great.  I ran along and grabbed a handful of pretzels that someone was handing out (THANK YOU, to whoever you are - they were delicious!), and kept on and kept on.  And then somewhere around mile 15 or so, I started feeling. . .not as great.

If you are a marathoner, then you know (and some of you who aren't may still know) that this is not good.  Because "the wall", the point you hit and start to get tired and worn out, isn't until mile 20.  They literally call that "the wall".  Yep.  And I hit it at 15.  But I kept running.  Because I knew in about 3 more miles, I'd meet up with Jamey.  And maybe he could help me out.

I actually sped up and ran to find him.  And when I did, I was worn out.  I was hurting.  He asked how I was.  I said I was doing crappy or something like that.  And he asked what he could do.  So I said, "Talk.  Just talk.  I might not say anything back, but I just need you to talk to me."  You know.  To get my mind off the fact that I wanted to lay down on the lovely black asphalt and die.  Quickly.

And so he talked.  I would like to tell you a lot of what he said, but honestly?  I am not even sure.  I know I listened.  I remember nodding a lot.  And saying "yes".  And not much else.  The sad part for him is, he could have asked me if he could buy a brand new Porsche that day, and I'd have said "yes".  So actually, I guess I better not be surprised if one shows up in my driveway.

I was tired.  My legs were cramping.  I wanted to stop so very badly at mile 25.  And at that point, I knew that whether Jamey was there or not, I had to keep going, because I would never forgive myself for being so close and stopping.  So I slowed down.  WAY down.  It was the only mile I went out of the 9's and I clocked a 10:17 mile.  And finally at one point, I looked over at Jamey, my wonderful, gorgeous husband, and said, "STOP TALKING."  He was like "Got it."  And he did stop talking.  Which was good because otherwise I might have upchucked on him and then killed him with my bare hands been very angry. 

But then God smiled down on me.  Because shortly after that, we turned a corner.  And I could see it.  The FINISH LINE.

And Jamey started screaming at me, "RUN!  RUN CAROLYN!!!!"  And I screamed back, "I love you!"  And I took off!  And I ran for all it was worth and crossed the line!  I looked down at my watch, and I had. . .

DONE IT!!!  I BEAT JAMEY'S TIME!!!!  My watch said 4:12:48.  Later the chip time - which is the "official" time, said I completed the race in 4:12:35.  I had beaten my lovely husband by exactly one minute.

He's super proud of me too.

I must say a special thanks to a nameless medic who helped me out after I stopped.  Because after I stopped, I was very woozy.  He came right up to me and asked if I needed assistance.  And I couldn't even talk.  I just nodded, and he grabbed me firmly by the shoulders as I wavered around a little bit.  He put one of those lovely foil blankets around me and then I put the death grips on his hands because I was afraid he was going to let go of me and I would keel right over in the finish area. 

Then he said, "Let's go get you a medal."  And I nodded and he walked me over (still holding on to me), and as the other man put that beautiful medal around my neck, I leaned against both of them.  And sobbed.

I was in a lot of pain.  But it was totally worth it.  Happy Day, my friends. 

PS - Brightroom just posted their pictures.  In a word?  Sigh.  But I did promise to post them.  They even have a video of my finish.  See them here.

PPS - Someone else took a picture of me where I actually kind of look like a badass.  I like it much better.