Wednesday, January 30, 2013


 Emmitt was collecting icicles on the deck the other day.  He thought it was so so fun.  I thought he was so so cute until I realized he was putting all those icicles in his coat pockets!  When he found the raingutter downspouts and the foot long icicles, I wanted him to leave those alone until Matt suggested in front of Emmitt with a wink, that I put them in the freezer for later.  So, I have a baggie of foot long, 3 inch in diameter icicles in my freezer now!

Yesterday the three of us bundled up and headed to Kendal's school to help with the 1st grade Gold Medal Mile.  It is a program her school participates in to encourage better health and active lifestyles.  So after lunch on Tuesdays, all the first graders walk or run around the playground instead of heading to the playground to play.  When I heard of this program years ago, I was surprised because I wouldn't have stood for this as a 1st grader at Loa Elementary!  But, the school as been doing this program for many years, so the kids know what is expected of them and just do it.

All the grades have an assigned day for Gold Medal Mile.  The goal is to get 3 laps in before lunch recess is over, but winter makes that difficult.  So, my job was to make dots on all the 1st grader's hands with a marker as they passed by me while walking their laps.  Some kids get 3, 4, 5 and even 6 laps in, and some are lucky to get one lap completed.  They go back to class with dots on their hands that get recorded.  It was snowing and my kids were great.  Kenna loved it.  She just kept gazing at the sky.  I put my rag gloves on Kenna's feet because they were just so out there and I was worried about them getting cold.  It was a good time spent helping at the school.

And yes, Emmitt is wearing girl snowpants from the 80s!  He will survive!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Family Friendship Quilt Block Exchange

 These are a few of some of my favorite people.  
They are my family.  My cousins, aunts and uncles, and assorted children.
I have such wonderful memories of every single person sitting right there on my Grandma's front lawn.
Some of those memories were made at my Grandma and Grandpa's house at our annual 
Labor Day Family Reunion that I adore, but many were made just everyday.

 On this exact lawn, the one on the east side of the house,
I remember watching my grandma hang clothes out on the clothesline,
watching her tend her baby tomato plants in her homemade hot houses/frames in the spring,
watching my grandpa walk with his cane along the sidewalk and into the house,
watching my parents and their generation play volleyball,
then playing it myself when I was old enough,
picking snapdragons and using them as little puppets on my little fingers,
playing kick the can with cousins and getting grass stains on my pants because it was pretty intense,
weeding the flowerbeds with aunts, uncles, and cousins,
playing 'Mother May I" with cousins and my brother,
getting thrown into the air by my uncle George and standing on his shoulders,
playing sack races and three legged races (I will never forget watching my super tall uncle Dave and super short aunt Kaye do a three legged race - he just picked her up and ran),
watching my aunt and uncle get married on this lawn,
playing for endless hours with a huge inner tube from a rear tractor tire,
watching the birds that my grandma loved so much fight over the food in the bird feeders,
celebrating my grandparents' 50th Anniversary on this lawn,
picking apples out of the tree so my grandma could make applesauce,
hiding in the lilac shrubs from the younger cousins,
getting drinks from the hydrant on a hot summer day,
and so many more memories, right on this very front lawn.   

I am a pretty sentimental person.  I care about the people in my life.  I am grateful for the people in my life, especially my family.  They mean more to me than I could ever let on, and more than they will ever know.

So, with my sentimentality, we started a Family Friendship Quilt Block Exchange.  
There are 14 of us participating so far.  8 first cousins, 2 aunts, 1 sister, 1 niece, 1 mom, and myself.
Our first two quilt blocks are due Feb 15th.
It is going to be so much fun.  It already has been, just communicating back and forth and getting everything ready to go.  I look forward to having quilt blocks made by these ladies that I have so many great memories of in my mind, as well as making new memories.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Civil War sewing wish list

I can't remember where I got this picture, and I apologize, I should be better about that.
But I want to make a sheer dress very soon!

This is Lisa, from the northwest, and I adore her ensemble.  
She does a little pre-1860s impression, but I still adore it.  
I love her son's clothing as well.  I need to make Emmitt something similar for this next spring and summer.

I love all of these dresses.  I want to make them all!
The red cape is wonderful too!

This little gal's dress is so sweet.  I love her boots as well.  I love that she has long sleeves 
coming out from under the dress bodice.  Something you don't see very often.  
I need to make another dress for Kendal this summer.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this hair!

Sarah Jane made this paletot.  I love love love it.
This cold weather makes me want to make one too!  
I really do NEED one!

This medallion quilt was made in the 1830s.  I love love love it.  I want to make 
 one like it as well!  The scrappiness of it draws me to it. I can only imagine what those fabric scraps came from - neighbors, old dresses, sisters, a trip into town and splurging on a yard of chintz, husband's old shirts, maybe something from mom.  There are endless sentimental possibilities.

These are a few of the things I would sew up tomorrow if I had the time.
I do need to make the time for a few of the necessary projects.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Helen Alcy Tanner Maxfield

I like to read when I nurse my baby to sleep at night.  I have been reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice on Kelsey's Kindle, but Matt was browsing on it tonight looking at an upcoming Angus Bull Sale in Charlo, Montana that he would love to go to.  So, as I sat down to feed Kenna and settle in for a few minutes, I grabbed a book off of my bookcase and read a little excerpt about my great great grandmother, Helen Alcy Tanner Maxfield.
Here we go from memory - she is was born in 1839 in Illinois.  She married Elijah Hiett Maxfield when she was 17.  The portion I read about tonight talked about her medical career.  In 1861, she was called by the LDS church to be a midwife in the Salt Lake Valley.  She was 22 years old.  She became quite the doctor and received her license to practice obstetrics from the Territory of Utah.
In the late 1870s, Elijah and Helen moved south to Rabbit Valley, specifically East Loa, now known as Lyman.  That is my hometown - where I grew up.  Times were rough and Lyman is now and was especially then, a very rural place.  At the time, there was not a real road into the valley and the closest large town was Richfield, 60 miles away.  She charged $3.00 for her services which included delivery of the baby, care of the mother, cooking and feeding the family, and cleaning the home as well.
Reports say she delivered over 2000 babies into this world, and only lost a few.  She helped her sister in-law deliver Siamese twin girls and both babies died, and later a sickly mother of 11 children also died during childbirth.  Those are the only deaths she attended as a midwife.
Her last child born, Ethel Mae, who is my great grandmother, was delivered by herself of course, with a bit of help from her husband Elijah.
I wish I could find a good picture of Helen right now while I am on the computer since she is fresh in my mind, but I can not find one right now to put on here.  I do know they exist though. I have pictures of both of her parents.  Helen came from a very well known and prominent family, the Tanners.

This picture is of her husband Elijah.  His eyes remind me of my own dad's eyes.  This overall picture actually looks very much like my cousin Mike Welch.  
The picture at the top of the page is a picture of their headstone found in the Lyman Cemetery.  I remember riding bikes out to the cemetery.  It is not in town, but a mile or two west of town.  It was sort of a right-of-passage when you became old enough and big enough to ride your bike clear out to the cemetery.  Anyway, my cousins and friends and I used to ride out there often.  I remember loving their headstone.  There is a phrase engraved into the bottom of the headstone that you can not see very well in the photo.  It says "Weep not children, for mother and me
For we are waiting in glory for thee"
I always loved this phrase and maybe that is why I loved their headstone so much.  I remember leaving the cemetery and chanting that phrase in my mind as I pedaled my bike back home.  It is a beautiful and wonderful assurance to a child like myself who liked to hang around cemeteries I guess.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My fan chart

This beauty here is my 9 generation fan chart, yep, 9 generations.  I think it is pretty amazing.  
I grew up with my dad telling me stories of my ancestors.  I loved it.  I remember watching a movie in 4th grade Utah History that talked about the Pony Express. The movie mentioned 3 or 4 names of great Pony Express riders, and one of them happened to be my great great grandfather and I recognized his name.  My teacher had her doubts, but I was adamant.  I went home and asked my dad if Elijah Hiett Maxfield rode for the Pony Express.  He answered in the affirmative.  I told my teacher the next day, but I am not sure if she even believed me then!
My dad told me stories and  I remembered many of them.   I still love a good story now.  I have always always loved family history.

My name is in that center circle in the bottom center of the chart.  My dad is on the left and my mom is on the right in the white spaces next to me.  I have a ton of the old fashioned pedigree charts filled out and I love to look through them and see what needs to be filled in and where they are all from and where they died, but recently I have been trying to get more into the stories, not just the names and dates.

The blue portion is my dad's paternal line.  Mostly English and Scottish folks.  My maiden name is Chappell, and every outermost blue portion of the chart is the Chappell name that extends back to James Chappell, my 6th great grandfather.  Do you see how all the blue parts of my fan are filled in?  Luckily these folks kept good records and someone has been diligent enough to track it all down.  A few of my favorite names in the blue portion, the Chappell, Sperry, Maxfield, and Tanner family lines are Thankful Peet, Joy Sperry, Sarah McLeod, and Rachel Winter Smith, who I would like to think I was named after, but it is not true.  My mom claims it was a TV show called Rachel Rachel.  I think I will go with the ancestor story I like better, who knows, maybe my dad had some say in it and thought about Rachel Winter Smith as well!  This blue section of my family tree is the one I know the best.  There are great and amazing stories in this portion of my family.

This green portion is my dad's maternal line.  They are all from Holland and Denmark.  The Ackerman, De Groot, Sorensen, and Rasmussen families are all represented here.  By the time this section gets back to the 8th and 9th generations, the information has died out.  I need to dig a little deeper in this section of my family.  I think a trip to Holland and Denmark would be incredible!  I know some stories about this portion of my family tree, but not enough.  One little tidbit I like is before they emigrated, the Akkermans and De Groots were peat farmers and also owned fishing boats that fished in the fiords of Holland.  A few of my favorite names in this section are Maaike Jikkes Dijkstra, Bodil Mortensdatter, and Geert De Groot.  I just wish I knew how to say some of those Dutch names!

The pink portion of my fan chart is my mom's paternal line.  I have just started to research this side of my family, so I know very little.  My mom is not interested in family history, so I don't know as much about her side of the family as I do my dad's.  The Chesnut, Knox, Staley, and Petersens are represented in this part of the fan.  The Chesnut and Knox families go back to the McDonalds of Ireland and Scotland, while the Staley family have roots in the USA from the Mayflower and the Petersen line is from Denmark.  There are many empty places in this pink portion, mostly with the Irish and Scottish side, so once again, a super good place for me to start researching!

The last yellow section is my mom's maternal side.  The Smith, Moss, Coleman, and Hunt families are represented here.  Some of the fun names in this group I like are Mette Marie Villadsen Johannesen (she was a triplet born in 1841), Holger Moss, and Prime Coleman.  The Smith and Moss families are from Denmark.  The Colemans from England and Scotland, and the Hunts are another one of those Mayflower family lines with Patriot ties to the Revolutionary War.  They lived many generations in Kentucky, so I think a trip back there would be fantastic!  I know some amazing stories from this portion of my family history because this is the area I have been recently researching.  I love to know the STORIES, not just the names and dates, and the stories I have found concerning this quarter of my ancestors has been amazing.  Such courageous and brave people.

I have really been trying to make an effort to search out my ancestors, learn more about them and the amazing lives they lived, and to see who it is that made me who I am.
I have been inspired to be better because of what I have learned about them and can't wait to learn more.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I am feeling very lucky to have these four beautiful blessings in my life.  They ARE my life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Friendship block quilt from 2008

For the Friendship Block Exchange at my local quilt guild in 2008, I chose the Dutchman's Puzzle quilt block pattern.  I handed out coordinating fabric with my pattern to 5 friends in the guild.  They all made me a block, and then I made a few more, the center and put this quilt top center.  I love friendship block exchanges.  I was reading who made these for me.
Nita Graham who recently had a nasty battle with breast cancer and has come out as the winner and is a wonderful lady made one block.  Jen Rowser, one of the few people who really understands me and is a dear dear friend that I love made one block.  Connie Steadman who moved to Arizona a few years ago and is the sweetest grandmother to her family made one.  Natalia Bonner who is now a nationally known long arm machine quilter, pattern designer, and has even published a few quilting books made one.  Liz Palmier who recently lost a son and is a strong and amazing woman made one block for me.  I attended her father's funeral a few days ago.  Her father was a WWII veteran where he was a turret gunner in a B17 and her mother is the sweetest woman on the planet.  Liz in turn, is wonderful as well.
 I think of all these ladies when I look at this quilt.  I am such a sentimental person and I love remembering so I love this quilt, even though the fabric is a bit outdated.

So I dug it out over the weekend and decided it needed to be finished.  I just put on the last border this morning.  This isn't a great picture because I couldn't get the whole thing in the camera view, but there it is.  I showed it to Matt and Kelsey last night.  Now off to be quilted.
I asked Kelsey if she wanted it on her bed since it would fit a twin nicely (it is 72" by 86") and she quickly said "No."  I then said maybe I would put it on Kendal's bed then since she didn't want it.  She quickly said "No way!  Not on Kendal's bed!  She will ruin it.  It will not last very long on her bed.  A bloody nose, or something horrible will happen to it.  But I don't want it on MY bed, the colors are JUST NOT ME."
She cracks me up.  I agree, the colors are not her at all, but she doesn't want Kendal to use it either.  There are things like that in all our lives aren't there?  Something is good and desirable, but we don't necessarily want it, but we don't want anyone else to enjoy it either.  Silly human nature.  Let's get over that little phenomenon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What not to wear and the Gibson Girl body proportions

 One day at my local library I was searching for this book:


I found it, and right next to it I found this book as well.

I checked both of them out for 3 weeks.  I kept them and studied them both for 3 weeks.
Every word, every picture, every detail was taken in by me in both books.
I learned so much from both books.  Appropriate 1860s cuffs and undersleeves, as well as that my body shape should not wear pencil skirts.  Super no no for me.
I actually learned very much about what types of modern clothing work for my body - the pear with saddlebags.  Skirts on the bias are a no way, once again pencil skirts are a horrible thing, stilettos are a no no, skinny jeans are social suicide, and the best advice for me is to keep the bottom half of my body in dark clothing and a total mystery while playing up the top half.  I should wear chunky shoes, wide leg pants, lots of attention drawn up to my shoulders with accessories and the cut of the shirt, accentuate my waist, A-line skirts with lots of ruffles going on, and boots are my friend.
It has helped because I am quite fashion challenged.  It helped alot.
So then I read this blog this morning and I am obsessed.
 American Duchess

I am quite sensitive about the lower half of my body.  Very sensitive.  I would love to change it, shave half of the flesh away and walk away with the cutest little sporty body around.  I have a few good friends who tell me that curves are good and womanly, but I just feel like there is a tall, slender gal hiding somewhere inside this pear.

American Duchess posted about Victorian Era proportions of a woman, mostly the Gibson Girl era of the early 1900s.  They are much different from modern day proportions as shown by Camille Clifford's hourglass figure at the turn of the century. 

So, the way I understood from the American Duchess blog is that your bust should have been at least 10 inches larger than your waist measurement.  Also your hip measurement should have been 17 to 23 inches larger than your waist measurement to be considered a 'Hollywood Runway' Gibson Girl beauty.  WOW!
So, I measured myself this morning and I can't believe I am posting this on here, but I measure 36-28-42. (I am nursing, that first number will deflate here in 6 months or so!)  Do the math with me - Lets leave my waist as the constant.  To be a Gibson Girl hottie, my bust should be at least a 38" and my hips at least 45", but up to 51" is super glamorous. 
Can you imagine?  Now I have myself a rear end, hips, and some thighs and I can NOT imagine them that much larger and being happy about it!

I was so intrigued by this idea that when Kelsey got home, I changed out of my pants, cowboy boots, t-shirt, and flannel long sleeved shirt into some clothing I never wear - you know, those pants that hug you so tight you couldn't possibly wear in public?  That is what I put on.  Kelsey saw me and said "You want me to take your picture wearing THAT?"  Yeah, she gets me.

Super embarrasing, but here I am today.

Yep, that is the rear end I try to hide from everyone I see everyday, but I am putting it up here for friends and strangers to see it all!

So obviously, this is not the kind of clothing the book from the library told me I should wear because they camoflage NOTHING!  The wide leg pants it recommends hides those saddlebag hips because the fabric goes straight down the leg and doesn't taper back in to accentuate those baby birthing hips like these pants do.  Now, scroll back up and look at Camille again.  I CAN NOT imagine wanting to show that off!  I try so hard to hide mine, but to flaunt it!  Holy smokes!  If you notice, my hand automatically goes to my hips to try to cover it up!

Now this is the picture that I will regret posting tonight because holy cow, there it is.  My rear end.  Right there, all of it.  WOW!  When I dress up for civil war, I am grateful that it is hidden beneath my hoop and my skirts.  I joke that I was made for that era because by the time a fella would have married me for the top half, it would have been too late and he would be stuck with the bottom half as well!
My proportions are considered quite curvy by modern standards.  I hate buying jeans, because if they fit my hips and thighs, they are way too big at the waist, and if they fit my waist, I would never know because I couldn't get them over my hips to get them on in the first place.

(be kind to this shot, I have carried 4 eight pound plus babies in that pooch)
But according to Victorian standards, I would need to increase the bust a bit and increase the hips as well.  
I measured Kelsey, who is almost 11.  She is pretty average sized, definitely not chubby.  Her waist is 22.  So imagine my bust, her waist, and my hips on a woman.  That is almost what Miss Camille Clifford's measurements would have been, but some say her waist was around 18".  The American Duchess blog says that Marilyn Monroe's measurements were 37-23-36.  The blog also states that there was alot of bust and hip enhancing, and waist slimming going on with their undergarments.  Check it out - pretty amazing.

So, now that I have born my soul, my rear, and everything else to you, lets hear what you have to say!  Anyone giving away their beautiful Victorian and Gibson Girl measurements?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wishing for a bubble today

Kendal wore an eye patch to school for the first time today.  Its one of those days that you wish you could go with your child to protect them from mean words, to make them feel good about themselves, and to just give them a solid comforting hug all day long.  Well, that can't happen, so I am at home thinking about her all day long.  I worry about this day.

We went to the eye doctor yesterday afternoon and he was so impressed and happy with how much her bad eye has improved in just the one week of her wearing her new glasses.  He thought this process might take 6 months, but now he is thinking 2 or 3.  That would be wonderful!

He put a patch on her before we left and we came home and finished a math page of homework and a few more minutes of reading.  I was actually impressed she did so well.  The eye doctor showed me what Kendal can see with her good eye patched and covered, and with the glasses on the bad eye.  It is not not not pretty at all.  So blurry, plus her 3D perception is messed up since one eye is covered.

After homework I was thinking this was going to be a breeze.  Well, not a breeze, but not as horrible as I expected.  She only messed up words like "than" for "that" and easy mistakes like that.  What do you expect with super blurry vision?  Then we had dinner.  The poor thing took a few minutes to realize where her mouth was!  She made a mess for the first half of dinner because she really kept hitting her cheek with her food.  She figured it out after a bit, but that is going to be an issue for awhile.

We had a talk this morning before school about how hard the day might be.  We talked about PE and recess, we talked about lunch, we talked about what the kids are going to say and what she should and shouldn't say back to them.  First graders don't have the ability to censor what they say.  They are just curious, and most of them are not trying to be mean, but some of course are mean.  Kendal can take things pretty well, and hopefully today will be a good day for her to be confident in herself.

Matt took her to school today, which rarely happens because he is usually long gone by school time, but not this morning.  Kendal adores her dad and that was a good start to a hard day.  Matt called me after he dropped her off and said "Rach, I think you are doing a great job with Kendal."  Now, mothers rarely get complimented on the mothering we do.  We get complimented on the quilts we make, the dresses we sew, the delicious dinners we serve, the flowers we grow, even the new pair of shoes we waited 2 years to purchase.  But we rarely get complimented on being a good mom.  That right there added to my emotional day because it did mean so much to hear.  I do hope I am the mom Kendal needs me to be, so I can help her develop into the incredible person she is destined to become.

I will continue to think about her all day long until she gets home.  Then I will hug her and tell her how sweet she is, how smart she is, how brave she is, and how pretty she is.  (It seems like the book 'The Help!')  I will remind her that our home is a safe and loving place.  I will give her something good to eat, because Heaven knows that always makes me feel better!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

a storm is coming

I grew up in a high mountain desert South-Central Utah farming community.  I grew up hearing prayers in church that always thanked God for the moisture received and asking for the blessing of more moisture in the form of rain or snow, it didn't matter.  I went to college in Utah, got married, and more college in Utah still hearing a prayer of thanksgiving for the snow and rainfall.  I then moved to Oregon and Washington for 4 years with my husband to go to vet school.

I never heard those words uttered in a prayer there.  Oregon was a glorious place for this plant lover and gardener - SO MANY PLANT OPTIONS and no sprinkler systems!  So much rainfall!  After vet school we moved to Southwestern Colorado, the 4 Corners area.  Once again I heard prayers for moisture at church.  We only lived there one year and then moved back to Utah, a northern Utah valley this time.  We have been here ever since and of course hear prayers again thanking God for the moisture and asking to be blessed with more.

We are supposed to be getting a good storm tonight.  I sure hope so. As much as the snow makes driving a mess and  I worry about Matt driving to work, we need it.

This is out my kitchen window today, looking south.  It is crazy that we can see grass in January here.  The snowfall has been nearly nothing this year. 

This is looking out the same window in February of 2008.  You can barely see the fence!  Of course this was an exceptional winter of snow, but more like what we are used to.  The reservoirs were full that summer and the farmers and cattlemen were happy.  We were all happy.  No yard watering restrictions, no campfire restrictions in the mountains, and no guilty feeling for letting the kids jump on the trampoline with the sprinkler on in the middle of a hot July day.  We are used to about 8 or 10 inches of snow on the ground all winter long.  Hopefully this storm will deliver.  Hopefully after Matt gets home of course! (But I will take it either way!)

This was also in February of 2008.  It is Kendal on our front porch walk and steps.  We had a bit of a tunnel shoveled to get to our house!  I think this is the year Derek and Kelsey made an underground snow fort in the front yard.  It was awesome!  Actually, I am pretty sure this is the winter Derek used our driveway as a snowmobile jump.  He would plow our driveway for us and make the perfect jump platform for his snowmobile.  He could catch some air!  I may have to search for those pictures!  Anyway, say a little prayer that the Utah farmers will be proud of!


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