Thursday, February 28, 2008

My life in pictures

I should be on my way to Pennsylvania right now, to visit one of Nick's good friends, Father Carmen. Unfortunately snowy weather (in PA) has kept us home for the weekend instead. I am really bummed. I was looking forward to a mini-family vacation.
Here my little rebel (who now refuses to sleep in her crib) at the Chancellorsville battlefield gift shop:Our home under contract:

note the mountains in this picture:

This is the back yard that ends at a creek:

I just finished up my first AWESOME craft swap. Here is what I received:

This mega tote bag that by the way, carried 15 overdue books to the library!!!
2 mugs and 2 lb.s of coffee from Seattle!!!

And a beautiful, hand-stitched biscornu pin cushion!! I love it!

Speaking of the library, I think they must read my blog, because I read yesterday that they are remodeling the old book shop into a cafe/bookshop!!! That was totally my brilliant idea!!! I am so glad they are doing it except for the fact that WE ARE LEAVING STAFFORD!!!! Isn't that kind of ironic? I finally get my wish and I won't be able to enjoy it. I doubt that Front Royal will put a cafe in their library anytime soon.

Well thats all folks, I think I will go mourn the loss of our road trip a little more and go buy groceries I was putting off since we were going away for the weekend. Nick even went to work when he already took the day off! So it is just me, and the baby in a boring old house that is a far cry from crisp, snowy Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


So a little update is that we have a verbal acceptance of our final offer. After a little haggling, it looks like in around two months we will have "our own little slice of the pie" as I like to call it. Once we have an opportunity to upload some outside pictures... I will share the beauty. In order to see the inside you will have to come and visit... and you will probably be put to work as this house truly is a labor of love. Perhaps I will post before and after pictures... once we get to the "after" that is. Hooray! I wondered if this day would ever come... or if we would be stuck living with family forever...

On another note, not only am I frustrated with cleaning up after 5 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats everyday... Anastasia has been teething and has been much grumpier than me on these blah winter days. After getting her on the dream night time routine (where she slept 11 hours straight) I am back on the waking with a fussy baby twice (or more) a night. And she is only taking 1-2 short naps now... so there is no time for me. AHHHH! The very thought of more children is somewhat daunting at this point. But this too will pass. Besides, we HAVE A DEAL ON A HOUSE! How exciting is that???!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kristiana Parn

One day while surfing around on Etsy, I came across the simply whimsical drawings by Kristiana Parn. I ended up purchasing this sweet little print for Anastasia's future bedroom:

I completely love it!! I love the Japanese feel it has as well the simple yet adorable picture. I like having something as a cenerpiece to base a room off of such as a painting or a fabric print. I was torn between a forest animal theme and a polar animal theme for a baby room so I felt that this was a perfect blend of a wintery forest for my January Girl.

Parn has plenty of other darling pictures (as you can see) that I would also love to add to my collection as space provides.

So the big news in our family is that we put an offer on a small mountainy cottage near Front Royal. The house is rather small (less than 1000 Square feet) but a perfect size for our small family. The yard is what won our hearts as it is a grassy little knoll with a crick and mountainous views surrounding. Every time we look at a home, the wheels in my head start turning with ideas on how to decorate, organize and functionalize the space. There is a show on HGTV that is called "Small Spaces Big Style", and while most of the style is modern and sterile looking, they have awesome ideas for making small spaces totally functional. Thanks to IKEA functional is relatively affordable.

My favorite things about the house are definately the old, open kitchen (with a gas stove!!!!), the aforementioned yard, the quaint and bright living room and the sunny mud room that could be my very own craft room. If anyone knows me at all, you probably know that I am a crafting FREAK. I have several projects to do at any given time and most of my personal belongings consist of craft supplies. So having a functional crafting space would be so ideal for me. I love this one from IKEA that I found at Cottage Magpie:
In case you didn't notice, I love Ikea.

My other hope for if we get this house, is to get a few ducks. I used to have ducks several years ago that I picked up in Manassass as an impulse buy. They were darling little birds and ate bugs out of the garden and weren't noisy and stupid like the chickens we had previously. Perhaps if I didn't spend my teenage years having to march out into a mud and poop filled coop everyday to get eggs that had been pooped all over I would have more of a fondness for chickens. Ducks lay HUGE eggs, but perhaps not as frequently as chickens. They just don't seem as dirty either. So there is my plug for duckies... now I just have to get my husband's gracious approval. Being that he wants another husky... and huskies like to eat small animals... perhaps I will have to choose between dog or ducks. Either way... if we get this house, (as we are praying) life will definately be more interesting. Just watching Anastasia play in the huge yard surrounded by trees and mountains sold us both on the fact that we want to raise our daughter outdoors in the country and this house is well suited for that--ducks or no ducks.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

From the Marmalejo Pack!!

Nick proposed to me 3 years ago today... sometimes it feels like a few months ago. I know... "How Romantic!" :) The funny thing is I used to boycott Valentines Day and wear black to show my feelings for the single person's most depressing holiday of the year. Now I have two Valentines! I even wore red, dressed Anastasia in pink and red (with hearts) and made some sugar cookies with pink and red sprinkles and gave them to the baristas at borders. Now thats what I call spirit! Thank you Hallmark for capitalizing on a day that would otherwise be dedicated to celebrating the life of a saint... and is instead a pink, heart-happy, lovey-dovey-infused holiday. Where did we go wrong?

(My apologies for the ranting post that follows!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The "Stuff" Generation

Every generation past had a defining name, "The Baby Boomers" "Generation X", to name the two that come to mind... what about my generation? Who are we? Lately I have felt an appropriate name would be "Generation STUFF."

There is a store here in NoVA called "BuyBuy Baby". Originially upon hearing of it, I thought it was "ByeBye Baby" and possibly the most horrible and morbid name for a baby store. It seemed a more apporpriate name for Planned Parenthood. (Okay, maybe I am a little over dramatic). Then I saw the actual name and am not sure if I am more or less mortified by it. I think it says it all about our generation... where shopping and buying and filling our lives with more "cute little things" seems to be a normal means for fulfillment. I am as guilty as the next guy, I freely admit. I can't seem to walk by the dollar section at Target without scanning the bins for cheap little items Anastasia can't live without.

I recently read a book (well, most of the book) called "BuyBuy Baby" (like the store) which was basically about how major corporations market to babies, toddlers and their parents. About 15 years ago marketing to children under the age of three years old was considered unethical by most major corporations. How the times have changed!!! The entire book discusses the marketing schemes that corporations use in order to sell their products. They often label items as educational that with no scientific proof of any sort to back it. It also discusses how television is the most prime way to market to children via the characters that children come to know and love.

Over the summer I was introduced to two fads of older children and "tweens": Hannah Montana and Webkins. Hannah Montana is actually an overall moral and somewhat intelligent show but has underlying messages that are common to all ages of our generation. Hannah Montana is pretty (like every child role model practically) and is famous. She lives in a mansion in Malibu and has an extensive wardrobe that awes her friends and every girl who watches her show. It all revolves around "stuff" in one form or another. It is cool to have big houses, fame, money and lots of clothes to flaunt. On top of that she has stores full of merchandise that successfully market to her cult-like following of tweens.

I recently registered a webkin that Anastasia recieved for her birthday. You go online, register your animal, get a virtual room for it and lots of webkin dollars. You get more money by playing games, getting a job, doing age-appropriate quizzes or buying more stuffed webkins or accessories. You use the cyber money to purchase furniture, food and toys for your webkin. It is a really awesome concept. I would have loved them as a ten year old! But again, you want and buy more virtual items and fill a pretend house with fake items. It just seems again like having more toys, clothes, things, money, etc is becoming associated with happiness and self worth in our society.

I didn't mean to rant so much, but as a purge my soul throughout the next several weeks, I can't help but note the excess items laying around my house that don't get used or played with. I have just been coming to grips with the fact that we really don't need all the stuff we have to have and we are in fact creating a new generation of stuff-wanters. I want to be a parent who is consistently grateful and content with my lot in life, making the most of everything I have, regardless of how little or much I have and pass that along to my children.

Finally a quote from Montessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen:

"As parents and grandparents, we think that we are showing children we love them by giving them things. In fact such practice, in and of itself may send them the wrong message. Children may conclude that if people give you things, they love you. If recieving things tells you that you are loved, the next logical step is to measure self-worth by what you have, not by what you are."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Little Rambles

It was somewhat Nick's idea, but my Lenten penance is to keep my partents house orderly, functional and under control. This may not sound too hard, or even a worthy sacrifice, but if you saw my parents house on a normal day (especially before we moved in) you would say I was "in Over My Head" in HGTV's Eric Stromer's words. Amazingly, we have totally cleaned the kitchen and kept up with the dishes since my brother's departure to Montana and my mom's business trip to Pennsylvania last Sunday night. My mom will be back tonight and the challenge will be to clean up after 5 people instead of 3. I am hoping that doing excessive cleaning and chores for God will be the inspiration I need to perservere when the going gets rough (and gross). We shall see.

I was told, and read in multiple places that stuffing your child with solid food before bed is not a good thing because it may cause gestational distress... or something else bad. YOU FOOLS!!!! I started giving Anastasia a nice wholesome bedtime snack of yogurt, fruit and cereal and guess what? for the first time in a year I got 7 straight hours of sleep. Last night I got 8!! My energy level is so much higher! I am finding that "the experts" are really not experts of parenting... but experts at making parents feel bad about their parenting. You help complete a major milestone in your child's life, and aparently you should have complete 8 others. They rush babies into childhood too fast. Anastasia doesn't want to fall asleep on her own, so aparently I am ruining her for life. Don't people realize that one day she will not want me to snuggle her to sleep, or sing her songs, or read her books or slow dance around the kitchen to classical music? Life is so short in the grande scheme of things... Anastasia is only this little for a little while... why should I rush her and push her to grow up?

That is all for now except that it is 69 degrees outside and very much like Spring and I LOVE IT! I will miss these little tastes of spring that Virginia winters provide to get us through the yucky winter blues. Hopefully the extra winter snows will make the winters in the Chicago region a little more bearable. Too bad there are no hills to sled down.