Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Milestone Moment: Charlotte Can Stand

Imagine my surprise when I went to get Little Miss one morning...

 And she was standing up to greet me!!

What??  She looks so BIG standing there like that!

I knew this milestone was just around the corner because she is starting to transition from scooting to crawling and tries to pull up on furniture, my legs, Sassy, you name it.  I even caught a peek of her standing in the pack-n-play at my parent's house over the video monitor, but until November 25, 2011, I hadn't seen it in person!

Now, she greets my this way most mornings, and I can't think of a sweeter way to start our day :)

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Milestone Moment: Barrett's Second Haircut

On November 18, 2011, Barrett got his second-ever professional haircut. 

Um...mama?  Are we sure we want to take hair advice from the man with the ponytail??
 Even though the first haircut is usually the major "milestone," this was a big deal too because it had been nearly a YEAR since his first haircut.  I'd just been trimming up the ends myself and it was time for another professional cut.
What is he doing to me???
Barrett was VERY apprehensive, but didn't cry at all.  Of course, we were armed with fruit snacks and juice, which helped tremendously. 
All done!

The cut is a little shorter than I anticipated, but it will grow out soon.  What a big boy!!! 

Milestone Moment: Snack Cup

We've had several important milestones lately, so brace yourself for a whole series of Milestone Moment posts to catch up!

Charlotte Can Feed Herself!

Around early November, Charlotte started feeding herself from her snack cup! 


This is a life-changing milestone for me too -- now I can bring along pacifying snacks when we are out to run errands, at the doctor's office, in the jogging stroller, on long car trips...you get the drift. 

It is SO nice to be able to give her something to occupy her little hands and appetite, even when I can't be holding her.  My little lady is growing up!
So proud!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cargo

We all know that Barrett is somewhat obsessed with truck and trains.  Or, as his sweet teacher says, he's "possessive" with certain trucks in the classroom.  We are working to remedy this "possessive" streak and are enforcing a strict sharing policy at home.  If Charlotte is playing with something first, Barrett is not allowed to snatch it from her. 

In attempt to circumvent our efforts, Barrett has started stockpiling his favorite toys in the back of his dump truck and pushing it around with him.  This way, he won't have to share, because the favorite items are safely within his truck, which he keeps at hand at all times. 

Usual truck cargo: other trucks, the train puzzle piece from his sound puzzle, the tiger from his zoo, sippy cup, Christmas ornaments, any shoes, the jingle bells that are supposed to hang on the front door handle, etc.

In a new twist, he has also started appropriating items that are NOT within his purview, but that he covets and loves to play with even more than regular toys, probably by sheer virtue of the fact that they are off limits. 

For example, in the last two days, I've found: a cordless phone, remote to the bedroom TV, my cell phone, and the baby Jesus from the nativity scene. 

I'm really worried that baby Jesus might permanently go missing from the manger and be suspiciously replaced with a handful of goldfish.  I don't mean to make a blasphemous joke...that is a pretty realistic scenario.  This dawned on me yesterday as I automatically ran to the Tonka truck when I heard the phone ringing.

But still, his favorite cargo, hands down?
Tickle, tickle!

Hold tight, Char-du!!

Editorial sidenote: Barrett habitually calls Charlotte "Char-du" -- I guess as an adaptation of the nickname Kristopher uses - "Charlotte Sue," even though her middle name is Vivienne.  I know.  None of this makes sense.  But what can I say??  I call her Buttercup or Bunny more often than Charlotte so I don't really have room to talk.

You Can Make This: Holiday Appliques

Make your list, and check it twice!
The holidays are a fun time to make children's appliques.  Anyone can do it, even without a sewing machine (although it does help to make you appliques permanent by sewing them down, you could easily use iron-on interfacing for holiday clothes, especially since they will only be worn and washed for about a month). 

Fall appliques
Turkey turtleneck and candy corn shirt with matching brown gingham pants
Here's a few of the Christmas outfits I've made for Barrett and Charlotte:
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer with glitter pom-pom noses, to light Santa's path, of course. 
Barrett LOVES pointing out the red nose to passersby when he wears this...
Also made this outfit as a holiday gift for two sweet cousins!
Santa Claus is coming to town!
Santa still needs a mouth...I'm thinking solid red felt.  His beard is fluffy white minky fur and his hat has a white pom-pom!
And matching Christmas pajamas!


They could also wear the ornament shirts with the red gingham bottoms that go with the Santa turtlenecks.
I'm having so much fun!  Although, I think I'm done with the Christmas outfits for this year, at least for my own kiddos.  Hopefully, I got my sizing just right and a few of these may even fit next year!!  It would be a Christmas miracle...

Thank-full

When I stop to think about it -- really ponder hard -- I am completely overwhelmed by the blessings that God has placed in our life.  Of course, it is important to remember these blessings every day, but in honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to dedicate an entire post of why I am FULL of thanks.
Look at the baby cousins!
Seven reasons to be thank-full, just right here!
No matter how hectic life can become as a mother of two small children, it is important to consciously cherish each precious moment.  I know this is my worn-out refrain, but it is so true and really resonates with our personal family experiences.

Most certainly, my cup runneth over with thankfulness that Barrett's heart is miraculously healed.  Without a doubt, I know that God touched his little heart to heal it, and we have felt His comforting presence throughout this journey.  God must have very special  plans for Barrett and we endeavor to do our very best job in raising him so he can fulfill the potential that God has laid out for him. 

And of course, I am endlessly thankful for baby Charlotte too~  Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love another baby the way I love Barrett, God blessed us with our sweet little buttercup, and we discovered a different -- and equally fulfilling -- type of love.  I love her smiles, her easy-going attitude, and sweet disposition.  I can't wait to see both of these babies grow up, but at the same time, I want to slow down every second of the day so it doesn't pass by too quickly.  I am so thank-full for our children.

Although I don't want to make him blush, I really couldn't do a thank-full post without mentioning Kristopher.  He is truly my rock, comforter, partner-in-silliness, and best friend.  I love him more than I knew I could -- and even knowing this, it surprises me how that love deepens further as the years and life experiences enrich our relationship.  I love you. 

Last but not least, I think I speak for both of us when I say that we are thank-full for our awesome family and friends.  This support system is another huge blessing and source of thanks~~ we have *amazing* people in our lives who are upbeat, fun to be around, supportive, excellent listeners, silly, dependable, unwavering.  What more could you ask for?? 

Kristopher and his brother, in matching Tonka pjs with their trucks.
So appropriate, since they grew up to own a construction company together!!

Me and my sister, Jessica, at a family friend's recent wedding
In fact, this bounteous bevy of benefactors has given me the maturity and courage to let go of relationships that drag me down.  Guess what??  Not everyone has to like you.  And guess what else??  YOU might choose to remove yourself from a relationship because it is not best for YOU.

Groundbreaking stuff, huh?  Sometimes, you just have to cancel your subscription and let it go.
Eliminating poison from your life is important, so that you can focus on the wonderfulness you already have :)  Doesn't it seem silly to waste time fretting over toxic people or influences in your life, when you could be spending that time celebrating the positives?  I think so.  I am thankful for that realization.

Also, I have to admit, that I am thankful the Christmas season is here!!  My very favorite time of year~~ everything just seems merry and bright.

Trying to corrale my squirmy boy for a quick picture while we picked out our Christmas tree.
We got the one in the middle behind us -- the fattest one we could find!
I hope everyone had a very thank-full Thanksgiving and is enjoying the kick-off to the holiday season!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pillow Talk

I had no idea that it was so easy to make pillows~ it's really just a square and 4 (relatively short) straight seams.  What could be easier??  So, here we go!

I had some zebra fabric scraps leftover from recovering chairs, and decided to use them to make a few pillows to jazz up the living room. 
Do you spy Little Miss tugging on the tablecloth?  The one underneath the mercury glass lamp?? 
Yes, I learned my lesson about that...
I love zebra print...I know it isn't for everyone, but I can't get enough of this tone-on-tone zebra.  I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate more into the living room and I'm considering a zebra area rug in a similar pallatte for the dining room.  Go ahead, dare me.

I've also been trying to make pillows to go with the living room valance, but I haven't got those just right yet...I think I'm using the wrong stuffing for silk, because it feels like its full of cotton balls.  Not the effect I was going for...

Not quite right.  Very lumpy.
 I was using a groupon at a local fabric store this week and I happened across a gorgeous satiny rose fabric. 

Perfect to make pillow for a certain little lady!


I like it so much, I may have to go back for more...my mom had the genuis idea to save it to incorporate into her big girl bedding whenever she moves out of her crib.  I love this idea!!  The delicate roses will hopefully soften the horrible blow of her growing up....sniffle.
Matching little pillow for the baby rocker (aka, Barrett's favorite chair in the house)
Meanwhile, did you know my monogramming machine could do this??

just a test monogram on an old towel

Turns out my sewing extraordinaire mother-in-law gave me design software I've been coveting a year and a half ago!! I didn't know what it was! 

I think I would have been less surprised if I was slapped in the face with a wet squirrel.  I was gobsmacked.  Totally. Gobsmacked. 

At the time, I thought it was a computer CD with tutorials to teach you more about stabilizer, proper threads to use, etc.  I tried to navigate through it but quickly got in over my head.  We were also moving and I wasn't spending much time monogramming...apparently, I was a monogramming idiot and just didn't "get it."

But still!!!  Can you believe that??  When I discovered what I had, and had been sitting on since 2010, I was so excited I couldn't sleep.  Not exaggerating.  My head was swimming with project ideas (I will stop gushing here, because I've probably already cemented myself as a sewing nerd, but I can't help it...)

My old guest chair pillows from my office, now on my bed.
I just upzipped the pillow on bottom to take out the down insert and monogrammed the flat sham!

Man!!!  I wish I would have figured this out before I did the monograms on the zebra pillows!  These are so much prettier, and easier too~ But more importantly, I wish I had understood enough about sewing/monogramming earlier so I could have been utilizing this software sooner...
 
So, now I'm busy making up for lost time.  I've done 13 of the "new" monograms so far.  I'd post more pictures, but most of the things I've done so far are gifts, so I don't want to spoil the surprise...
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Window Dressing

Window treatments are kind of like an outfit for your windows,  no?
Dining room drapery fabric and beaded trim
Well, my windows have been naked since we moved in.  Over a year ago.  Eek. 
Time to get dressed. 
Close-up of dining room valance
So, I decided to try to make some window treatments, and it was surprisingly easy.  Mostly because I took great pains to find the most fool-proof way to make them.  Here's my tips:

Dining room drapes
I could only get decent pictures at nighttime because there was too much glare coming through the windows during the day, but everything looks so dark and you don't get a nice view of the colors.  :(  oh well.
 1.  I strategically only picked designs that were based on basic rectangles.  This means you only have to sew straight lines.
2.  Plan to gather your window treatment along the top of the rod.  Gathering is your friend!!!  It hides imperfections if your panels don't match up exactly, even though you painstakingly measured them out precisely.  Ugh.
3.  Use fabric glue to attach the trim.  I got this tip from several sewing blogs I happened across when researching the window treatments and it worked like a charm!  It holds down the wide band of trim better than a single stitch and your trim doesn't get "handled" as much, which keeps it looking prettier.
Living room valance fabric and trim

Come to think of it, you could probably achieve a similar effect using iron on fusible tape instead of sewing the seams. 

Everyone should try it!!  It was easy and rewarding.

 And who doesn't like a new outfit, right??
Living room valance
(please excuse the exersaucer and truck balloons in the corner!)

For the Record

Lest I forget to record this in their baby books, here's an update of our latest milestones and everyday happenings:

Charlotte is crawling!!  She can push up on her toes into an excellent plank (working on her abs, I guess) and then drops to her little knees, starts to rock back and forth, and then scoot forwards.  She still prefers scooting/army crawl as her primary mode of transportation, but she is officially on the move.  I hope I'm ready for two mobile babies...I also need to increase my vaccuuming frequency since my precious little buttercup is scraping herself along the floor all day every day.

She can feed herself puffs, cheerios, raisins, beans, and pieces of olives (she likes them too, what are the odds?  Clearly, this is hereditary~~) and is beginning to show a definite preference for being spoon-fed baby purees over being bottle fed.  I think she knows that she is missing out on grown up food and wants to be a big girl. 

Charlotte plays peek-a-boo!  It is the sweetest thing.  She pulls her dress or bib over her face when I say "Where's Charlotte....?" and jerks it down with a grin when I say "peek-a-boo!"  She is such a happy and sweet baby~~
In her faux fur swing coat (more on this later...)
We are working on saying "bye bye" with a wave; she can return a high five most of the time~~

Barrett has liked to count for a while, and now he initiates counting things by himself.  For example, he'll count the black beans on his plate, the pumpkins on display, the apples in our grocery cart, or the tractors on the chest of his coveralls.
Delicious goldfish in my wagon
His favorite past time must be announcing and identifying each and every truck or piece of machinery equipment that we encounter while stopped at an intersection, driving on the interstate, in a parking lot, or even small replicas of trucks that we see in stores.  I mean, he is a real eagle eye for all things truck.  Not much slips past him. 

Just woke up and still a little sleepy
Gobble gobble!

Here's a normal conversation in the car:
Barrett: TRUCK!!!  There you are!  You found me!
Me: That's right Barrett, it's a truck!
Barrett: Truck!  You found me!  (trying to teach him to say I found YOU instead of the other way around, but he prefers it this way)
Me: (keeping the conversation going) What color is the truck?
Barrett: Yellow...? (he always says yellow first when I ask him a color....that's a mystery)
Me: No, buddy, it's not yellow...What color is the truck?
Barrett: (triumphantly) BLUE!!  Blue truck!  I found you!

We have this exact conversation at least a dozen times a day, no exaggeration.  Usually in relation to trucks,  but sometimes to other favorite things/people like Charlotte, bananas, pumpkins (new seasonal favorite), or a special toy.
 
"Zoo!!  You found me!"
A favorite for Barrett...and Charlotte...and just about every friend that comes over to play~
We already added a dolphin to our zoo animal family.  But the tiger is his favorite~

Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Tame Your Lion

For Halloween, Charlotte was a lioness, and Barrett was her lion tamer. 

Naturally, he immediately took to this role...

 As a sweet bit of history, Kristopher was a lion tamer for a preschool play when he was three.  Who would have thought that lion taming runs in the family??

Little Kristopher
I didn't know where to find a toddler lion tamer costume, so I thought I'd try to make one.  This is probably the most ambitious sewing project I've taken on so far, mostly because I'm very intimidated by the complicated and precise construction of a tailcoat.  If you squint your eyes and turn your head to the side, it could pass as a lion tamer costume....
Black velvet pants
Red velvet jacket
"Whip" made from cardboard and a strip of velvet
Black top hat with red velvet trim and lion
Back of coat -- little tails!!
Barrett loved trick-or-treating and says a pretty solid "trick or treat" when he gets up to the door too~~  Although, it was so much fun for him to run up to the front door with all the other children and see the nice people open the door, that he'd say trick or treat, look around excitedly for a minute, and then run down the sidewalk to the next house, without ever getting candy!  Ha!  Something tells me that he won't forget that crucial part as he gets a little older...
video

In reality, Charlotte didn't need much taming.  She is a pretty laid back lioness as it is.

Happy Halloween!