Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fabric and Things

Bird purse and Bunny pen holder I made one special 2-year old: I love fabric. I have been recently smitten for imported Japanese fabric. I like that the prints are generally small and very whimsical making for absolutely fanciful childrens items. Currently you can enter in a drawing for some Japanese fabric at the crafty crow. Even if you don't sew you should enter and if you win, you can give the prize to me ;) This is what I recieved in the mail this week:I ordered these and more from a seriously sweet Etsy shop called Fabric Supplies by Charlie and Linsay. My picture truly doesn't do justice. All that I ordered is in the line "My Folklore" by Lecien. I highly recommend this shop and their 5 star customer service. They also carry Alexander Henry, Amy Butler, Michael Miller... all the best. And I feel that their shipping prices are completely reasonable especially if you are like me and only want 1 or 2 yards at a time. I just figured because I often get asked, "where do you buy your fabric?" I would share one of my new little secrets. I will not share the absolutely perfect Easter dress pattern that these fabrics will soon be part of... not until they are fully assembled that is. Just so I don't have every girl at church wearing the same dress because it is just that cute. Onto other cuteness:She loves her tea set and I have just introduced her to tea. "tai chee" in her words, better known as Chai Tea. Common mistake. Even at the cafe I worked at many people came in ordering a tai chi. She of course gets decaf Celestial Seasonings and I miss the yummy Chai I used to serve. And look how big Isabel is getting! Where did my newborn go?
She was replaced with a drooly, lovey, snuggly, giggly 4-month old. Even though having 2 kiddies keeps me far more busy, I feel that I actually love my time with them more than when I only had one. Isabel reminds me how fast the time slips through the hourglass of life... of my life with my babies who live off of love and snuggling. I feel that with Anastasia I was still partially connected to my previous life prior to having children and it was harder to accept how invasive she was. She was much higher maintnance than Isabel as a baby. But now with 2, I have severed all ties with my life before motherhood and I can bask in the beautiful light of their goodness all the more. I don't take for granted being caked in spit up and dancing around getting my baby to sleep. Or even the neediness of a toddler who isn't feeling well and needs cuddling with momma to make it all better. Because I know that it won't last forever and I need to invest everything into these moments that well be sewn lovingly into the quilt of life.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Anastasia!

We celebrated Anastasia's birthday today with my family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Everyone had a really great time. Especially our little birthday girl!
The theme: Chinese new year. The cake: rasberry cheesecake and chocolate cupcakes. mmm.

The delectable food complete with a chinese lantern tree:

And I took the little peg people idea to the next level with my little peg centerpiece. I even had umbrellas for the drinks. Who doesn't LOVE little umbrellas?
I made chinese lanterns and strung them up over those icicle lights you see at Christmas. I just stuffed each icicle into a lantern. I hung fan-like flowers and the IKEA dragon from the rafters to create the party scene:

And the fake table (actually a very ugly space heater that doesnt work):

"Happy Birthday" Anastasia in chinese with the ox because this is the year of the ox:

I found this little radio flyer toy at the thrift store and because it is her birthday she got to have it inside, but from now on, I think it will be an outdoor toy.

I think this porcelin tea set was her absolute favorite gift, along with some haba gummy bears, both of which she has been playing with non-stop since everyone left. She also got some new clothes, and a few new books including a Mother Goose and Curious George Treasury!! What fun!
Since her birthday is tomorrow, and the true Chinese New Year, I was completely inspired by this post at One Pretty Thing. I still had so many ideas for the party, and just didn't have time for them all. We had a brunch with my French toast bake, an egg bake and a very popular batch of cinnamon rolls. Anastasia really enjoyed the company and had a blast opening presents. I was so pleased with her array of really nice gifts. She actually fell asleep when most everyone left, and the rest of us played "In A Pickle" (not my favorite game) and "Balderdash" which was a blast. Now Isabel sleeps in my arms as Anastasia curled up on her favorite blanket (Nicks baby quilt) at my feet. Better go put the girls in their beds and say Goodnight. Happy Birthday my beautiful girl. You are the light of my life.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Found It!!!

Almost 2... and I can't believe it. 1 didn't seem so big because she was still a bit of a baby. Now she is definately a little girl. I decorated for her party we are throwing on Sunday (with the fam) and my living room looks amazing. I am not going to tell you the theme, but I will give one hint: Her birthday is on Monday the 26th. We finally got some of my favorite fluffy white stuff. It of course melted a day later. Here is my beloved tree in our back yard. isn't it neat? I see a future tree house for me... and the kids when they are good. lol
I like these berries I found. I don't know what they are and I refuse to eat them!

We don't have a sled, so I pushed Anastasia around for a bit on a cookie sheet (so lame, but it worked a bit!). Leia went nuts. We think she might actually know what a sled dog is supposed to do with a sled.

This is a view into our neighbor's yard, and part of the reason I am so in love with Virginia.
And today it was about 50 degrees out. we went to the park, saw friends and made a new one. What a lovely day. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid*

Today will be the first time in history an African American is elected into office. Perhaps it is the first time a man was elected to presidency based on the color of his skin, the amount of money his campaign raised, cheating at the poles and the media's refusal to pay attention to the important details of who Obama is. Now he paints walls at homeless shelters while speaking of social equality as his brother lives in a hut in Africa on $12 a year. And during tough economic times he has the most expensive inaugeration in History. And the same people who tell us to be bi-partisan and to give Obama a chance, throw shoes at the white house, the last day it will be occupied with President Bush. Now I am not a huge fan of everything George Bush has done (eg. his record-breaking expansion of government) but I do know with all my heart, he has kept this nation, my children, safe. I will miss you George Bush, and all the babies you saved. All the lives you kept safe after 9/11. May America remember you for that. My children will.
*I just learned that "drinking the Kool Aid" is a reference to the Jim Jones lead mass suicide in Jonestown in 1978 where he gave all in his commune cyonide-laced grape Flav-o-aid (Koolaid knock off). The parallel to Obama is how people recklessly follow him, and believe every word that comes out of his mouth without researching what he truly stands for. Both Obama and Jones spoke of social equality and used that as a basis to promote their own socialist (in Jones case all-out communism) agendas. So don't drink the Obama Kool-Aid.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Have you seen my camera?

I think I left it at my parents house. Or it is hidden in the Jeep SOMEWHERE. I need it. I feel so lost with out it. All the cute moments I missed today are not on film! Ah!

It has been quite a trying week in some ways because everyone caught a cold. Except me. I have been drinking echinacea tea, adding ungodly amounts of garlic to everything and popping the Zicam every few hours. Seems it has worked thus far! Over the weekend Nick put new floors in the girl's room and they look so stunning! The greatest part is we paid around $100 for laminate floors from IKEA and the room looks amazing now. So much cheaper and better than carpet. Whoever came up on carpet came up with one of the worst inventions ever!! It can never be cleaned!

Today I actually got some sewing in!!! I was so stoked! I made 3 pairs of baby leggings from knee-highs. I made 3 pairs of wool pants from sweaters. And I started knitting a little Sunday bonnet that Isabel can where to church instead of her little Sherpa hat that I love. I am hoping it will still fit her by Easter, and that I can make Anastasia one too. I also have dresses I want to make for them. I basically dreamed them up and think they are totally do-able.

I am trying to have a better attitude with my children (an almost 2 year old in particular). I think sometimes I lay more responsibilities on myself than are humanly possible to accomplish and I forget to play and enjoy my kiddies. They do eventually sleep and I can always do housework or crafts then. I think I have this idea that being home while Nick has to work means that I should have an immaculate house, beautiful handicrafts and 5 course meals to show for my day at home. The reality is, I don't think anyone with small children can do such wonderful things without a maid. I need to invest my time in my children in more meaningful ways. I can do the housework when they go off to college.

Well, enough rambling... hopefully I will have pictures soon. My blog seems so empty.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Littlest Saint

Isabel Therese was baptized on Sunday. She was so happy with it too. I think she knew instinctively that she was becoming a little saint, a child of God. I find it hard not to imagine my children and the lives they will lead as adults. Their extremely opposite personalities seem to have distinctive qualities that will guide their spiritual lives and I hope in my heart that they will be leaders of their generation. A generation that will be handed a country tainted by our present mistakes and a true generation of hope.
Isabel is a relaxed and happy baby. She fills me with peace in all her ways. Her spark of red hair, her sense of humor and her squeals of joy are all part of who she will be forever. She loves to snuggle, and lay in front of the fire. She is everything a baby should be and more. Saint Isabel Therese may love and peace surround you all the days of your life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Love

I just love the little baby feet. Perfection. This is the picture I never took of Anastasia's feet. I guess thats whats great about baby number two, you get a re-take of babyhood. There are times it is chaotic and everything takes an hour longer than it used to, but the baby feet, baby smells, coos, smiles and pure innocence make every second of insanity worth it.
Speaking of babies, Isabel is enjoying her new Beco carrier. She sleeps more, and is happier when she is awake. She even enjoys laying by herself more when she is out of the carrier. I LOVE it!
Tara came over today for one last hoorah before she heads back to Christiansburg (3 hours away :( ) , and while holding Elan, I decided to pile all the babies in Anastasia's bed for a quick picture. The first and only one of them all together. A Pile of babies:

Its hard to believe not long ago we were playing in creeks and building secret forts.

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Monday

So it is the first Monday of the new year and being that Nick has had almost 2 weeks off, it feels like a real Monday today. For the first time in a while. Blah. So I am outnumbered by my children yet again. But I have a secret weapon coming in the mail soon! I ordered a Beco carrier for Isabel with hopes it will be more comfortable and more versatile than the Bjorn she currently rides in. My back is still a little sore from a trip to DC yesteday filled with walking.
We went to the National Gallery of Art that had a nice Pompeii exhibit. When we arrived Anastasia was in the Kelty back pack carrier and we were told we would have to check it in because backpacks are not allowed. As we left the carrier Anastasia threw a huge fit!! She screamed for her "chair" and we were a bit concerned that we may have to do something else. The lady at the coat check told us there were some strollers available, but when I checked all they had was one solitary wheel chair. So I took it and we strolled A-Bomb (that is her nickname because she is like a time bomb about to errupt at the slightest thing) around in a great big wheel chair. She thought it was pretty cool but soon got bored so the solution was to stroll me around with both girls on my lap. Everyone was happy. Except the handicap person who didn't get the wheelchair. lol. I kind of feel like having 2 small children is a bit of a handicap so I didn't feel too bad.

My goal for the new year is to purge and organize the house. I have a HUGE trashbag for the Goodwill Store and Cleaned our house really well last week. So there are a few problem areas (the bedroom, the girl's closet, my crafting shelves, etc) so hopefully I will have a chance to tackle those in the next few weeks. I already feel so much better with a clean house. I feel like my life isn't totally out of control! Isabel just demands to be held all the time, so it is usually hard to get anything completed. She hates the sling and doesn't like the Bjorn when I am standing still (I have to be walking ALL THE TIME). I grew up in a messy house where I was embarassed to have friends over. Now I feel like I HAVE to keep my house clean in order to maintain my own sanity and dignity. I mean, my house isn't spotless but it is tidy at present.

For some reason I just feel like rambling on and on and on... but the truth is I have laundry, dishes and wet diapers to change. The fun never stops! :) Happy 2009 Everyone!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Top Ten Things About the Midwest

We are finally back from our trip to Indiana and we had a great time!! We actually got back Monday at 11:30pm, went over to see my brother before he left for Montana yesterday, and started to bring order to the chaos that we came home to yesterday. Now it is 2009 and I am finally getting around to posting!!! woohoo! I could probably write a mini-novel about our trip, but instead I figured I would write a list of my favorite things about the midwest (most of which we experienced on our trip).

1. The People: It is always great to see Nick's family around the holidays!! One of the highlights for me was meeting Annie, Martin and Anja for the first time after following Annie's blog pretty regularly over the past year or so! What an adorable family! We went to a local cafe which is one of my all-time favorite things to do, and we were all instant friends. We also got to hang out with one of Nick's best friends, Jason, who lives in California now. We went to Three Floyds brewery and you would never have guessed that it had been a year between the last time Nick and Jason were together.

2. The Pizza: Need I say more? The Chicago pizza deserves a place of its own on my list.

3. All the Other Food: In Chicagoland, I consider Pizza its own elevated food group, but the reality is, all the food seems to taste delicious in the region. From loaded skillets at local diner's at breakfast to the grocery store selection of homemade breads and fresh fruit and Connie's tirimisu (their pizza rocks as well). And the best part? Its cheap!! We also enjoyed fine coffee from Intelligentsia in Chicago and on our way out of town found that the local grocery store brews their coffee deliciousness!!! And the worst part is all those trips to Starbucks when we could of had some really good coffee! I am such a snob.
4. Chicago: I love Chicago. I like it better than any other city I have been to. We seem to have an oppurtunity to visit a new museum each trip and this time we went to the Field Museum. There was an awesome Native American Exibit that totally blew away the Smithsonian Indian museum (which quite frankly sucks). There was also a really eerie mummy exhibit. Seeing mummified children was a little too creepy for my taste and I was worried Anastasia would have nightmares from it! Yikes! We also went to the Lincoln Park Zoo which I LOVE!! I love that it is free and that they have polar bears! We trekked across ice and snow for half a mile or so to see the polar bears (since Anastasia LOVES polar bears) and the polar bear was inside! I guess he didn't want to get snow on his paws! But the zoo was all lit up for Christmas and we saw penguins, lions, hippos, jaguars, and sea lions and Anastasia DID NOT want to leave. 5. The Pace: Everything seems slower and relaxed in the midwest! Even in Chicago compared to the east coast. It was perfect for making a relaxing vacation!

6. The Snow: I love the white fluffy stuff. I wasn't expecting 70 degree weather one day or I would have tried to enjoy it a little more right away! We even had a white Christmas!!!7. The Timelessness: I am not sure if that is the right word, but I feel like when I go to the midwest, I step back into my childhood a little bit. All the local diners and a bigger variety of non-big-box stores, as well as the feeling that I walked onto the set of "A Christmas Story." For some reason, I just feel like a kid again in the midwest.

8. The Beer: On our way out of town I picked up some of our local favorite brewskies: Three Floyds Gumball Head, Goose Island Honker's Ale and (not-so-local) Lienenkugel's Honey Weiss. I assured the cashier that I wasn't an alcoholic but we were just stocking up on midwestern beer. She probably thought I was in denial. Three Floyds has an awesome brewery in Munster, Nick's home town. They have really good beer.
9. The Culture: I love the midwestern blue-collar culture. Pizza and Beer. Big Trucks. Etc. Its just hard working Americans who like to have a good time and eat lots of great food. Cool. I also love the cultural aspects of Chicago (minus the nasty politics) with hip music venues, specialty shopping and boutique-lined streets, hot cafes, the lake, Navy Pier, killer museums, beautiful and unique parks, etc. A little bit of everything for every walk of life.
10. Did I mention the PIZZA or the Good Food? I feel like all we did out there was eat. Yum. We passed up Jamba this time, but normally we go to one of the half-million Jamba Juices in Chicago. We also gave Isabel her first taste of ice cream from Gayety's Ice Cream. It was love at first taste when I put a tiny bit on her tongue and she smiled ear to ear! They have the best chocolate ice cream I have ever known. It is a new tradition to give our kids Gayety's as one of their first taste's of people food. I know if I lived out there I would look like a beluga whale!