Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

So we are heading to Indiana a little earlier than expected. Apparently a blizzard is coming to the Midwest by 3 pm tomorrow. So we are leaving as soon as Nick gets home tonight with hopes we will beat it. I have been too busy with all the fun things about Christmas to post regularly and it will be a while before I post again probably, so I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas before we leave town!

We spent the weekend celebrating Christmas! On Saturday morning Santa had come (he must have heard about the blizzard heading to the midwest and decided to come early) and we had our little family Christmas together. Sunday was spent with my family! Here is Anastasia and her new zebra she always wanted. :)
I bought Nick a harmonica just for fun, but he actually played it quite well and loved it!Here is Isabel and her stocking (and me of course) which had a few rattles and a little lamb for her enjoyment.So I have wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer for a very, very long time but they are SOOOO expensive. My uncle (who is a notorious collecter of everything) found a Kitchen Aid at a yard sale and asked if I wanted it. HECK YEAH!!!!!!! I am SO Excited about it! My aunt cleaned it up so nicely for me and it has a nice dough hook and a couple other attachments so I CAN'T WAIT until we come home and I can actually try it out! It compliments my retro tupperware so well! Santa was really looking out for me this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis the Season

I can't believe Christmas is in 2 weeks and a day! Over the weekend my Aunt Donna, Cousin Caitlin, my dad and I took the girls to see Santa. It went a bit better than last year as Anastasia didn't pout or cry! She still wasn't too sure about him. Isabel just enjoyed all the pretty decorations so she didn't mind Santa too much. Later that day we ended up going to the Fredericksburg Christmas parade which was entirely too long.... and very cold... and even snowing! Isabel was a bit fussy but stayed warm. Anastasia enjoyed it up until a point, and seeing as the end of the parade was no where in sight, we left as Anastasia had a meltdown. Poor kid. We have decided we won't try going for several more years.

We don't have a Christmas tree yet as it seems we have been busy or sick on the weekends. Now I don't even think getting one is a very good idea because we are going to Indiana in less than 2 weeks and there will be no one to water it for 6 days so I am thinking it will die completely. I am sad not to put all our ornaments up... but I think I am the only one who really would appreciate the sentiment. I did make Isabel a stocking though with her name embroidered on it. Thanks to my little house I made, I am no longer afraid of embroidery, nor do I dread the task. So I am looking forward to getting some ornaments embroidered this week!

We just recently started watching the tv show "Heroes" via Netflix' "Watch Instantly" feature. Now we are totally addicted!!! AHHH! It is kind of nice though because we all watch it together in the evenings and Anastasia and Isabel fall asleep right away almost, so it feels like a bit of quality grown-up together time. There isn't too much of that these days. I don't mind too much though :)Isabel in her Santa hat

Anastasia shopping at Ten Thousand Villages

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Gnome Home

I FINALLY finished Anastasia's fabric dollhouse loosely based off the tutorial here. I also made some super cute little peg gnomes. The house turned out pretty crooked and I had to take it apart several times because I tried to make it more complex and it didn't work. That being said, I am still completely in love with it and hope Anastasia will be too. Here is the front of the house and the family that lives there:The gnome family:
Daddy gnome doing laundry without being asked by mommy gnome (only in a perfect world, eh?)
Blurry shot of the inside and back yard:
and a shot of the fireplace:

Unfortunately the uneven walls and floor make the inside look really weird but thats okay. I don't think my almost-2-year-old will mind. It is SO nice to be finished.

Look who's 2 Months!

Isabel turned 2 Months old on Wednsday!! What a big girl!! It was funny that her first smile was on her 1 month old birthday and then today at 2 months and 2 days she laughed her first laugh!! I beeped her nose and smiled and she thought it was hilarious. Glad she has such a good sense of humor.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"back in my day..."

This is how I remember Candy Land:

I must be getting old because this is what I found at Target last week:
I wanted to get Candy Land for Anastasia since it was on sale for $4 at Target. I was so enraged when I saw a modernized, drugged up looking Candyland! Yuck. Then today I went to Walmart and saw a collectors edition of the Candy Land that I had as a kid and it was described as "Retro"!!!! I felt so old!!! Retro is the 1960's!!! Not the 1990's! I think I will dig through my parents game collection for my old game. They have modernized Carebears and Strawberry Shortcake too. What will they come up with next?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Quiltmaker's Gift

So as I had mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to do a Christmas book and activity for each day of advent up until Christmas. There is a nice book and craft list at the Crafty Crow right now. Only most of her crafts are a bit advanced for a less-than-two-year-old. So today we read The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and I made a little fort for Anastasia out of all our quilts (and a comforter) and the table. I put pillows inside and she made sure to fill it with more pillows and toys and pretty much didn't care about it other than that.

I made sure to also include snuggle time by the woodstove under the quilt made for me by my Great Aunt Marie (who passed away about 3 years ago). My mom's mom died when I was very young and my mom was in her very early twenties. My Great Aunt Marie took my mom in under her wing even though she had her own 8 or 9 kids and countless grandchildren. She made every single one of her grandchildren a quilt that she was saving for each of them for when they got married. She had arthritis and was going blind and made atleast 15 quilts. Apparently she had done the same for my brother and I. She gave us our quilts the Christmas before she died because she knew she didn't have much time left.

Now when I snuggle under the quilt, I have a link that surpasses time, and even death to that woman who survived the great depression, several wars and raised her 8 kids in a humble Virginia farmhouse. I will never forget one of the very last things she told me a few months before she died, "I do not envy you young people having to live in this world you have inherited." (I am paraphrasing a bit because I don't remember her exact words.) We live in a culture so obsessed with youth and she aged so gracefully and didn't fear the death we all want to run from. Instead she felt sorry for us young people who have to grow up in such difficult and uncertain times. My great aunt Marie lived a very modest and simple life and took such great joy in being with her family and loved ones. I hope all of you, my faithful blog readers find that same joy this holiday season and may you reflect on those memories and people dearest to your heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Yuckies

We had a great Thanksgiving with my family this year. No drama. No fussing. Just food, chit-chat and fun. Unfortunately Sunday Anastasia woke up with a nasty little stomach bug that has managed to pass through all of our systems. So I have spent the past 3 days cleaning up puke, puking and soothing an upset baby. Needless to say, Advent has been off to a bit of a rough start. And I had so many plans to read a Christmas book with Anastasia each day and do an activity or craft every day until Christmas. I barely managed to pull out the Christmas decorations today and the cardboard advent calender a day late. Ah well. Most (if not all) of my holiday shopping is complete and now I just have to craft away. :) Hopefully I will have some completed projects to post this week.

Off to bed I go... with hopes that everyone will be healthy tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Give Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Sometimes its easy to be caught up in the worry of our uncertain economic future and a government that has no clue how to fix the problems at hand (apparently throwing money at anyone who asks makes them feel better). Its easy now to overlook all the blessings in our lives. I found out last week that a girl I grew up with lost her full-term baby girl during the final days of her pregnancy. The news has effected me greatly... and has renewed my sense of deep gratitude for the little ones that I love and care for. I can't imagine the pain of the loss of a child. My patience has even been renewed. Even though I don't know her well now, my old friend fills my prayers and I feel incredibly blessed to have my husband, my girls and my family for this holiday season.

On a more upbeat note, I also am thankful for pie. I made apple pie, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake today. While I was making pie I let Anastasia make a pie for the birds this Thanksgiving. I made some suet which is 2 parts shortening or animal fat, 1 part peanut butter, 1 part oatmeal and 1 part bird seed. I heated the shortening and peanut butter in the microwave for 45 seconds and added the oatmeal and birdseed, then I spread it in the bottom of a pie pan (you could do this in a muffin tin too). I then let Anastasia add some of the stale items from our snack cupboard. I gave her utensils and let her make a mess. She didn't make a mess, she just ate the stale cookies. Ah well. I am sure the birds will appreciate my effort tomorrow. :)
Here is my artistic shot of our backyard in our first snow last week:

And here is Isabel waving bye:

Happy Turkey Day! Remember your blessings!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Handmade Christmas

I love these clothespin dolls from Fantastic Toys.

I am so in love with making things as Christmas gifts. I am hoping to finish up Anastasia's gnome house this week, I have also been eyeing ideas of items to make out of felted wool sweaters like this adorable forest hat by Mosey that if I made 2 of, my babies would have matching cute hats:
The hardest part is coming up with items to make my 4 nieces and 1 nephew. They are all teenagers now, and my best idea is to make little softies to hold a gift card to i-tunes or something. I am constantly turning to Etsy for inspiration. I am completely in love with these little Jollypop clothespin dolls by Allsorts. Check out her blog for some cute Christmas crafts and inspiration.

Its amazing what you can do with a clothespin and some paint! Can you guess what kind of dolls Anastasia might be getting for Christmas? :) Anyhow, I wanted to share some of my most favorite links with tutorials for excellence in handmade gift giving:

One Pretty Thing has dozens of tutorials a day featuring handmade gifts from now until Christmas.

Skip to my Lou has an entire handmade holiday section with plenty of ideas!

and lastly Melissa Goodsell has 25 Days of Christmas Crafts to check out!

I also love JoEbi's Etsy shop for some delicious Japanese fabrics and bento supplies. She also sells some cute Japanese buttons and is currently hosting a giveaway on her blog. I have ordered buttons and forest fabric from her shop and her shipping costs from Japan are excellent as well as the speed of deliery!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We have all been sick here on our family. Anastasia first, who has been incredilbly cranky and snotty... followed by me and a stuffy Isabel and finally runny-nosed Nick. :( So I haven't felt much like posting... or cleaning or cooking or doing anything other than watch movies and surf the net all day with steaming hot beverage in hand. Anything to distract me from my scratchy throat and foggy head. My most recent distraction has been cuckoo clocks and other wonderful, German hand-carved goodies. I have decided our kitchen desperately needs a cuckoo clock. It will fit perfectly with our old handcarved shelves and real wooden cabinets that make me feel like I am in an German, fairy-tale cottage. There is something so warm and comforting about these European treasures. All I need are some lederhosen and a whole lot of money to feed my new obsession.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mittens and fallen snow

When I was in first grade we read the book "the Mitten" by Jan Brett. The beautiful story and enchanting illustrations have stuck with me my entire life. It is about a mole who finds a mitten and crawls in... and he is followed by every animal in the forest until ultimately a tiny brown mouse is the straw that breaks the camel's back... or mitten. I now own this book for Anastasia and have read many of Jan Brett's other books courtesy of the library and have not been disappointed by a single one of them. In fact, I love reading them... even when I am having to read them over and over and over again. They are also great for Anastasia because she LOVES animals and enjoys pointing them all out and naming them.

I decided today that Santa would bring one of Jan Brett's books for each of the girls for Christmas. The books are so magical and comforting, most with a wintry theme so I thought they would seem like something elves would send to little kiddies for Christmas... if they are good of course. Anyhow, I was thinking the other day how nice a calender of Jan Brett's illustrations would be. I ended up at the author's website: where I found a free printable calender and a million other wonderful things like coloring pages and games, etc. I highly recommend you read her books, which you can find as little as 1 cent on Amazon (plus 3.99 shipping) and go to her website.

I also think I might have solved Isabel's fuss problem. I cut out milk and cut back on coffee already and it seemed she still got really upset in the evenings usually within 10 minutes of me nursing her. It seemed that when she ate again, she would get even angrier so I knew it had to be something I am eating. Well I think it is eggs! Weird huh? Eggs have become my lunch of choice since I can't have cheese or anything slathered with delicious cheese. At least I don't have to completely give up coffee, my most favorite beverage in the world.
I have been pretty lame about blogging lately, but I have had a lot of company lately (which has been great!) and have been trying to craft in my spare time. I did want to share a quick story: I was walking out of the library last week and this 70 year old woman commented on Anastasia's curly hair. First she asked me, "is her hair naturally curly?" which I have been asked about 20 times by people. If I wasn't a nice person I think it would be funny to just say, "no I torture my toddler by curling her hair everyday!" I assured the lady that it was in fact naturally curly and then she turned and looked at Isabel and her eyes got huge, "That baby has red hair!! I have never seen a baby with red hair!!!" She seemed really excited about that. I guess at 70ish it is probably rare that you come by something you haven't seen before.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some Things To Smile About...

...In this crazy world.

Over the weekend Nick and I took a drive out to Skyline, and then my parents came yesterday and we took another drive. My mom, Anastasia, Isabel and I hiked a small 1/2 mile hike to a very pretty, but hard to photograph waterfall. It was "socked in" as the park ranger termed the overwhelming fog clinging to the mountains making it hard to see at the overlooks. It cleared up during our hike making for some fantastic views from the ridge. We are so blessed to call this area "home."

I truly hope all this will be preserved for future generations, that my children and theirs will be able to fall in love with nature in this beautiful country. Anastasia had a walking stick just like my mom. What fun!! Is there anything better than a big stick when you are 21 months old? I think not.And look who is smiling!!! At 1 month old! I call that impressive in my own biased way. Perhaps mentioning that Anastasia didn't smile until 2 1/2 months adds credibility to my personal opinion that this baby is very advanced for her age. She just seems so much older than 1 month old... maybe because she is somewhat big. She is 12 pounds already!! Wow.

I took Isabel to the doctor on Monday and the doctor asked if she was smiling yet. "Sort of I guess," was my answer as she didn't have any major smiles. Then the doctor started talking to her and she just started smiling away! It was really cute. Both my girls (and myself) love our doctor! I was a bit jealous that she got her first really big smile, but since then I have seen several beautiful baby smiles. :)

PS-I didn't realize in the picture on my previous post that the flag flying from the Statue of Liberty was upside down. Aparently that is a sign for a Nation in distress. I didn't mean to signal that with the picture and am hoping that it is not prophetic in any way. All I can say is we need to pray.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Sad Day....

I can't believe he won. The "chosen one". While our enemies rejoice, I suggest we pray. Because Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright are celebrating their victory. He won in the states that will pay the most. Ronald Regan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson are all turning over in their graves right now. I hope that it only takes one term for us to realize that Obama is not the answer... before his socialistic policies and his crummy international ideals make our freedom less available. I know our nation is not completely hopeless, we have just been completely mislead by the media and Obama's words. I hope my children will know America as we all have. God bless the USA.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween '08

So Anastasia was a princess and Isabel my little pumpkin. We had a great evening after a bit of a trying day. Nick's dad fixed our dryer over the weekend which was a total blessing. Otherwise I would still be drowning in dirty laundry. Unfortunately I dried an orange crayon in the dryer with a load of clothes. I ruined 2 of my favorite things, salvaged almost everything else, and overlooked orange blotches on my diaper covers and newly handmade napkins. My "Life Is Good" shirt that fits so nicely and happened to be white was destroyed as well as a little sleeper with huskies on it belonging to Isabel. She would have outgrown it in a month anyway.

I also made sugar cookies and decorated them today. In the decorating process poor Anastasia reached for some sprinkles from a chair and fell out of the chair. She brought with her the entire container of sprinkles (to Leia's delight) and a glass of water (which didn't break!) and landed flat on her back. I was covered in icing and wiped my hands and Anastasia didn't scream for several seconds... it scared me... she totally had the wind knocked out of her for like 15 seconds or more. It seemed like an eternity and gave me a real scare. She cried for 10 minutes afterwards and needed to be cuddled. She was okay after that. Poor kid.

When Nick came home we went trick-or-treating at the Hibl's house and socialized a bit afterwards. Both girls had many admirers and Anastasia had a lot of fun but was slightly overwhelmed by all the kids there. She had a meltdown and we had to go but boy was she cute!!! It was fun while it lasted! So that was my crazy halloween. Thankfully everyone is okay and we have candy, cookies and pumpkin pie.

Happy Halloween!!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spoiled Pumpkin

That is what Anastasia was after our weekend with Nick's parents. We enjoyed a trip to the pumpkin patch, some caverns, the Shennandoah museum, a winery, the Wayside Inn (which was AWESOME!!!), a little shopping and a lot of eating out. A great time was had by all especially Anastasia who adores her grandpa. Anastasia is like the miniature version of her Grandpa M. I think he sees himself in her. Aparently his childhood picture is very similar to how she looks now. They definately connect so quickly whenever we visit which is a great thing.
And so not to leave out my little Belle, here she is in her favorite little bunny suit:

And guess what? She definately has red hair!!! I love it. It is this lovely light shade of auburn and I am hoping it stays. Like I said, she is the complete oposite of Anastasia. And I call her Belle for short.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Apply Day

My parents came to visit yesterday and we went out to Roy's orchard for some seriously delicious apples. They didn't have pick-your-own which was probably good because it wouldn't have been easy with a toddler and newborn... even with 3 of us adults.
Here is Isabel sporting her apple attire. In her apple and pear covered car seat! I am such a nerd I know... I love all the coordinated items. Even Anastasia wore her apple shirt. How cute is that?

Anastasia's favorite part were Roy's cows. Especially when the mama cow mooed.

The most popular place in the house these days is in Isabel's basket. Anastasia loves to climb in with her. Don't they look like little canoers-in-training? I am so proud. It must be because we live in "the canoe capital of Virginia." I am sure we have a lot of competition for that title. Even Leia attempted to curl up in the basket a few times when it was empty. Silly dog. It kind of makes me want a big basket to curl up in. Anyhow, the posts have been few and far between. I have been successfully carting two girls around and it really isn't so bad. Anastasia has been awesome on our trips with little fussing and fits lately. I have been trying to emphasize the importance of her roll as a big sister and she seems to take it all in. We have been to Joann's, Michaels, Martins, the doctor and the library all on my own! Nick's parents are in town so I doubt I will be posting too much in the next few days. They did bring me a brand new HuskyStar sewing machine that my sister-in-law bought and never used!!! I am so excited!! Hopefully I will have some good naps next week to test it out during!!! I also have some fabrics I ordered from Etsy last week that should be coming in the mail soon! Until I steal some time away again... I wish everyone a GREAT weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday ramblings...

We had another nice weekend... but way too short. Mondays are always a harsh reminder that we didn't win the lottery so Nick is actually at work today. Isabel has had a couple rough evenings of crying for an hour or so. I am sure it is milk related because she is also ultra-congested so I am now on Day 2 of a dairy-free diet.

Our dryer is still broken but I think I have the clothes-hanging thing down now. Our electric bill was down $30 last month so that is AWESOME. I have decided I would rather have a freezer than a dryer... especially for when Nick learns to hunt and we have a garden next year.

I finished Christmas shopping for the girls with a few crafts left to make them. I spent less than $50 on Anastasia... and only about $5 on Isabel for a silver-plated rattle in the clearance bin at Target. I may pick her up some nice wooden rattles if I can find any between now and Christmas. I got Anastasia a ride-on zebra and some playsilks from A Toy Garden. I have a few small items that I found via my travels to yard sales and thrift stores so we are set. I am considering a trip to Joann's today for some material for Isabel's stocking. I have a 50% off coupon and so I am thinking I might brave the public arena with 2 kids... all in the name of Christmas.

This is going to be a full week for us as we have a Dr. appointment tomorrow, Apple picking with my parents on Wednsday and then Nick's parents are driving here from Indiana on Thursday. I am trying to plan some evenings of desserts and wine and a breakfast or two for them while they are here. I smell apple pie on the horizon and a lack of self-control needed to lose my extra baby weight that is clinging to my tummy area. Any one have any good tummy-toning excercises other than crunches? I hate crunches with a passion. (Elementary PE still haunts me).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our first outing

Everyone fell asleep and I am in my pjs, with a glass of Spanish wine and a delectable brownie so I figured I would write a quick blog post.

I had my first experience taking the girls out alone. I was supposed to have Isabel at her first doctors appointment at 9:30am. I woke up at 8:00 and by the time everyone was diapered, dressed, fed, in their seats and on the road, it was 9:15. The doctor I go to is 30 minutes away so I knew I would be drastically late. Especially since I was supposed to be there a little early to fill out paperwork. So I called and asked if I should still come or reschedule. When I was asked to reschedule due to the doctor's heavy schedule I felt defeated. I had failed at my first attempt to go somewhere as a threesome. Then I decided to stop at Target for some eggs and cheese and a few other odds and ends. I found some nice headbands in the dollar section and some halloween bows for Anastasia. I felt much better... so good I didn't give in to the in-store Starbucks calling me for an ultra sweet and fattening comfort beverage. I felt so proud passing up that Pumpkin Spice Latte... and was reminded that this trip was far more successful than my first outing with Anastasia alone.

I took her to Target and tried to feed her in a public restroom due to my fear of nursing in public (I overcame this fear pretty quickly) which was far less than ideal. I had a successful trip and then locked my purse, phone and keys in the Jeep!!! Thankfully I didn't lock Anastasia in the Jeep too (atleast not that time) and I had to use the courtesy phone at Target and call Nick at his work number because his cell was long distance. I was so happy that he answered (I usually got his answering machine) and happened to work right around the corner. He came over with a coat hanger and took a long time (much to my dismay) unlocking the Jeep in the cold of January while I sat in his car with baby Anastasia. I felt like such a uncapable mom... but have overcome that as well. Its amazing what being a mom teaches you. Its always somewhat overwhelming at first but I imagine I will find the balance of mothering two eventually.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please excuse the Mess!

This is just a corner of my kitchen table right now... which is home to multiple unfinished projects and other clutter. Anastasia and I made the tree picture in the back out of sticks and crinkled tissue paper. I also made her the magic want yesterday to go with her costume and Isabel got a wee pair of pants and an argyle diaper cover (not shown) from a wool sweater I found at a thrift store last week. There seem to be crayons EVERYWHERE and notebooks with paper and toilet paper crumples all over the floor. The The crafting is not over, just more sporadic. Last nights dinner dishes are in the sink still, and diapers and clothes are on the clothesline and draped over the deck (because I ran out of room on the line) and our dryer is still broken. And the reason for this mess? Pictured here:

Don't they just look super cute and innocent? I assure you that they are trouble in disguise. :) And I love them to pieces. Anastasia loves "holding" her little sister but sometimes doesn't understand why I can't attend to her as immediately as I would like when Isabel is nursing. My first couple days at home without Nick weren't too bad. The hardest part is single handedly keeping everyone fed, diapered, with clean clothes and clean dishes to eat off of. It seems when I finish attending to one little person's needs, I have another little one's needs to attend to.

We had a nice weekend attending the local leaf festival and a harvest festival at the arboretum. Isabel slept through most of it but Anastasia had a ball! Now it is almost the weekend again!!! I hear a baby....
*2 Hours Later*
Fed the baby... twice. Started laundry. Took Anastasia outside to take pictures of her costume to send with announcements. Made eggs and bagels. Now we are eating lunch. Isabel is sleeping in her basket. Let me post before anything else happens!!!

Its hard work being a big sister.