Spirit Week fun


One of my children (who shall remain nameless because I like my life,) is afraid of midgets.

If you want to creep him out, turn on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I’m not exaggerating. We are a short-statured people so I’m not sure what his problem is but I have been known to sing the Oompa Loompa Song or the Wizard of Oz Munchkin Land song around him. It is funny to see this otherwise very macho OS squirm.

So it’s a good thing this un-named OS isn’t home very much (ahem,) because today would have been very unpleasant for him.

I say this because it’s Spirit Week for the middle schoolers and today is Character Day. My anonymous OS would be in a dither because his orange hair, freckle-face brother along with six other buddies dressed up as the Seven Dwarfs!

When Isaac told me about the idea last week, I agreed as long as Ike wasn’t Dopey. Considering our most recent challenges, there was NO way my OS was going to be Dopey. Or Grumpy!

But Ike is Happy and so am I! Several moms including myself banded together and individually added pieces to the boys’ costumes.

One mom and grandma made hats. They even researched pics of the Seven Dwarfs from old Disney books and pictures! Another mom made white beards and wrote the names of each individual dwarf on a colorful t-shirt. Talk about authentic! I purchased seven pair of black sweat pants on sale at Wal-Mart and some twine for a belt. The moms are as excited as the sons and our collective talents made this particular Spirit Day less stressful and totally adorable!

To Ike’s chagrin I came to school twice today to take pictures. Apparently there is nothing worse for a 13 year old boy then seeing his mama two times in one school day, even when she’s wearing makeup! Excitement filled the air, giggles and smiles abounded. I cracked up at the creativity in the middle schoolers. There were two guys who dressed up as Michael Jackson, before and after. There was even a Lucky Charm leprechaun. So fun!

My OS attend a private school. They wear uniforms, adhere to strict behavior policies and must study hard for the stringent academics. Spirit Week is five days when the standards are just as high but the atmosphere is more relaxed. High school Spirit Week begins next Monday and it’s sure to be memorable as well. If Aaron succeeds in his plans for Spirit Week, it will be epic, mark my words!

I leave you with some pics of the recent fun and links to former Spirit Weeks we have enjoyed.

We’re already brain-storming about next year!

Pajama Day for the Record Books


The suspense has got to be killing you…so far I have shared that Spirit Week in our family is a BIG deal. We take Spirit Week seriously and bring it, if you know what I mean. But what I haven’t shared is the final result. 

After all the exhaustive effort, the travail, at last Pajama Day was at hand.

I had finished my middle OS’s pajama pants around 11:30pm Sunday night, the costume was ready. 

Before I reveal the actual outfit, you need some background. We have a standing joke in my family that I have yet to grow tired of saying. True, everybody in my family is tired of hearing this joke but that’s beside the point. Here it is…every time my sons eat something healthy, especially if it is green, I tell them something marvelous is going to happen to them in the near future. A very special, VERY manly thing that will leave them eternally gratefully for having me as their mom and for having eaten that healthy, green thing. 

I tell them that thanks to eating that healthy thing and having me as their mom, they are going to grow chest hair. And not just little tufts here and there, my friends. Not just a random hair on a barren land, oh no, we’re talking prolific amounts of chest hair, a veritable yet tasteful explosion of virulity and testorone will arrive shortly. 

Essentially I say the same thing each time but I have a knack for making it sound fresh and new. For example, Ike will be sitting at the dinner table, eating/being forced to eat some salad and I will affirm him by saying, “Isaac, that salad is going to grow a centimeter of hair on your chest one day!” Or recently when they tried/were forced to try brussels sprouts, I encouraged my youngest OS after he ate/choked one of them down with these supportive words, “Oh, Ike just you wait, Man.  You are so gonna grow some chest hair!”  

How does that relate to Pajama Day?…take a look at these pictures, dear friends…

To the untrained eye, this might look like real chest hair. That would be wrong. On one of my million trips to the fabric store, I purchased some fake fur. My expert (HA!) seamstress skills allowed me to sew some “chest hair” onto a ripped t-shirt. I wanted to sew “back hair” also but felt close to exhaustion.  
Aaron played the part to the hilt, from the beginning of the morning at home till the end of school that afternoon, my boy scratched his newly sprouted chest hair to the disgust of all the freshman girls and possibly some of the teachers. I don’t think it is humanly possible to have more fun with chest hair, real or otherwise, than we had that day!

Unless something new develops, I’ll soon blog about the new painting in our house from a talented and aspiring artist, as well as Mr. Grumpy Box of Crayons and The Wiggles AND a certain Cadet of the Quarter I know quite well and the new SNUGLET model who might one day seriously be strutting the cat walk! 😉 Stay tuned and come back soon, love to hear from you if you have enjoyed any of these posts. 

Pajama Pants are a Pain in the Neck and the Butt!


After gobbling up the chicken manicotti, I whipped out the sewing machine for my last project, not knowing this one was going to be a real doozy.

I had begun Aaron’s Thomas the Tank Engine pj pants on Saturday and felt fairly certain they were nearly finished. That feeling quickly dashed as Aaron tried the pants on for what I presumed would be the last fitting and announced these words which I will edit for my more puritan readers.

Aaron declared, “Mama, these pants are riding up my b_ _ _ s!” When I asked him to turn around, it was obvious that the pants were not only riding up his “area” but up his butt as well…basically like an Atomic Super Wedgie. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Honestly, they looked incredibly uncomfortable. They were hugging his behind and the seams of the material seemed to disappear into the “Great Unknown.” Ew

So what was I going to do? My neck/back/shoulders were in agony, I had been sewing for hours, it was past dinnertime and they had to be done by 7AM the next morning? GA! My first inclination was to tell Aaron to just deal and suck it up. Couldn’t he wear them to school for seven hours and leave well enough alone? I suggested he just pull the pants down a little bit, that would do the trick. Problem solved, case closed. Personally, that would be the simplest solution as far as I was concerned.

Not so easy. Aaron reluctantly pulled his Thomas the Tank Engine pants lower but that was almost worse. I burst out loud. Now he looked slightly obscene and there is nothing worse or grosser than seeing a 14  year old boy in Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants looking really inappropriate!

Aaron told me that he wasn’t going to wear the pants in their current situation. Great. I began to rip out the crotch with my trusty seam ripper and then I had him try the pj pants on again (with boxers!) because I thought if I simply relaxed the seam, it would be fine.

I was wrong. I don’t know about you but these are the moments where my self-worth is totally challenged. I go from feeling like the best mommy in the world to being the dumbest, stupidest, most worthless excuse for a mother ever. I was hurting and feeling more desperate by the second. Am I the only one who can be so cruel to herself?  

That’s when I called in the big guns. My husband. Mind you, Mark hasn’t sewn a thing in his life but I needed a fresh perspective and had run out of options. We surveyed the pajama pants like we were looking at a map searching for a great treasure. Like a surgeon looking inside a body cavity. The crotch seams were completely gone and it looked hopeless. Then we got an idea, something preposterous and probably impossible…

Hey, how about creating a waistband?

Why was this so outrageous?
1. I have never created a waistband. 
2. Mark can barely sew a button and has therefore never created a waistband. 
3. I was beyond tired.
4. Did I mention I was really hurting???

I emerged from a fetal position and I’m not exaggerating, there we were Sunday, about 10:30PM, commiserating over how to make our first waistband ever either individually or as a couple for a pair of Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants for our 14 year old son. Y’all, I have no idea how we did it but glory to God, by some miracle, without instructions, we saved the pants, the junk in the trunk and the family jewels! How do you like that! By 11:30 that night, after nearly nine hours of sewing, this project was almost complete. 

I was telling my friend this story and she reminded me of a perfect Scripture verse…

James 1:3-5

because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 

These verses fit as well as my boy’s pj’s!
Please take several moments to admire the waistband. Behold the craftmanship.  Please, I beg you, behold the craftmanship!

I don’t think I had a stitch left in me but I loved the strong hugs from my boy. His dignity was restored and he could go to Pajama Day with his head held high. Ok, maybe not, just wait until you see his outfit…check back tomorrow for that blog post and be prepared. May I suggest not reading Friday’s post on a full stomach? You’ll see…

Things Always Take A Lot Longer Than You Realize

1 Comment

So if you have been with me so far you know that Spirit Week is a big deal in our family. The resourcefulness, creativity and fun my OS and I put into the week makes my little mama’s heart soar. I feel as if I am in the TMZ, the Total Mama Zone, like I am racking up some serious AMP, Amazing Mama Points. 

But that nearly came to a screeching halt the Sunday before Spirit Week began. Michele and I decided to get together after church and make three pair of pajama pants and corresponding appliques. 

My bff prepared some tasty chicken cabbage soup and fresh pineapple and afterward I realized that I had brought the wrong pajama pants patterns to her house. We rushed back to my house, grabbed the patterns and scurried up to her craft room. At this point, we were slightly behind our imaginary schedule but not too concerned.

The mood was lively and jovial as we cut the material and set to the task of cranking those pj pants out in record time. Our machines were purring like kittens and I was especially excited to be using a stitch on my machine I had never used. It’s funny the things people, (ok, not everybody, but some people, like me) can get excited about…maybe it’s like a guy using a new kind of nail or a fancy hammer, I don’t know.

Ike took pictures to document the day. Surely we will be done with these before dinner, Michele and I mused. Yeah, right. Michele spoke these ominous words repeatedly, “things always take a lot longer than you realize,” and that became a foreboding truism as the day grew longer and longer and longer. 

I believe this picture is Michele’s “things always take a lot longer than you realize” face.  

When the two boys tried on the pj pants, we made some changes and started more custom sewing. Scott is small and his pants were ginormous. Then Ike felt like his pants were pretty huge too. I guess sixth grade guys don’t like their pants poofy. We plodded on.

And then there was me. Michele wanted to make simple elastic
 waistbands but I lobbied for them to have elastic waistbands and matching draw strings. I assured her it wouldn’t take too much longer since both of our machines can make buttonholes. We could whip those out in no time at all. She complied and we still remained optimistic. We could doey it! 

Admittedly though we were getting a tired and a little punchy. Michele also said she never sews at night…too many mistakes. Daylight was slipping away and although we were making progress but it was apparent she would be working into the night. 

I averted a horrible accident and a nice little trip to the ER when I narrowly missed digging/shoving/implanting a pin into my right knee. I guess I needed to cut something and with one fell swoop, my knee/pajama pants all hit the carpet simultaneously. It was only then that I felt a little pin in the material breeze past my bent knee. Oh, how I praised Jesus that that unsanitary pin didn’t get rammed up there! All I could think about was some medical show I watched recently about a woman with a needle in her knee and wow, it was really, really gross! 

We weren’t lazy and we talked while we sewed but there were no coffee or cigarette breaks (HA!) Why was it past six o’clock and these pants were still not done! Ike tried on his pajama pants and got fitted more times when he probably will when he gets a tux for his wedding! 

And the buttonholes were a mess. Maybe the machines were getting as tired as the seamstresses behind them. But we plugged along and bless her heart, when we realized that I hadn’t made enough drawstrings, Michele forged ahead and completed the job. 

It was past 7pm and the end was near, at least for this project. Though my shoulders and neck were screaming, I think the satisfaction of spending time with my friend and doing something for my son and his buds made it all worthwhile. That is until Ike started to have second thoughts on the way home and panicked about what people were going to say. I tried my best to remain calm which was a feat in itself. 

I made dinner with the help of my family and immediately after shoveling in the last bit of chicken manicotti, I whipped out my trusty sewing machine and worked on Aaron’s Thomas the Tank Engine pj pants.

Why did we do this? I’ll tell you why. Love. Pure, unadulterated, mushy mama love, that’s why. Love for my children, love for his friends, love of my friend, a chance to bless. I don’t regret a minute of it even though I was exhausted. 

And check these out! First, check out Ike’s face as he got ready to walk into his class with Orange Train emboldened on his chest! Aren’t they adorable! Here are the guys workin‘ it with their matching pajama pants and appliqued t-shirts. They were a big hit at the middle school and I’m already thinking about next year’s design. Yes, I’m insane. 

And Aaron’s Thomas the Tank Engine pajama pants, just when I thought I had nothing left in me, well, those pajama pants were about to rock my world…I’ll blog about that next.

PJ Pants


Now that Ike’s in sixth grade, what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t make him his first pair of custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week? 

Answer: I would be the worst mother in the world, that’s whom I’d be! Not saying that YOU are a horrible mom of a middle schooler if you haven’t made a your child custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week, I’m only talking about myself! No guilt zone, k?

As I talked with my friend, Michele, we agreed that since our sons are besties, we would make them matching pajamas. Then we considered another one of their good buds and decided to offer to make some for him too. When I suggested to Michele that we could probably crank out maybe even pj pants for two other kids, Michele was quick to use her assertive communication skills and say, “NO!” I am very thankful for her common sense because it preserved both my sanity and our friendship!

After a basketball game, Michele and I took our two boys to one of a sixth grade boys’ favorite stores…JoAnn Fabrics. Oh noooooo, they didn’t feel too awkward looking through all the material! Hungry and tired after the game, we were relieved when when we finally found the perfect material but then discovered there wasn’t enough of it to make three pj pants so guess what we got to do? That’s right…we got to take our tired and starving 12 year boys to their second favorite store…Hancock Fabrics! Try it sometime. If you have a 12 year old son and he complains about having nothing to do, offer to take him to a fabric store and see what happens! So much fun!

Our stomachs were growling and with only 15 minutes before closing time, we all settled on this fabric. It had to be the perfect blend of not too serious so people thought it was lame and not too babyish so people aka the dreaded eighth graders wouldn’t mercilessly mock and shame our sons for the remainder of their lives. That is not the easiest thing to do by the way. Michele and I planned on beginning our sewing project on Saturday and we were going to crank these pj pants out in no time at all…

Famous last words…