Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Settling back into the routine has been anything but "settling". Seems I have been home over a week and haven't gotten all the laundry done, I can barely keep up with the dishes and sweeping the floors and then I ended up with mastitis over the weekend that went away yesterday. On top of that we had to deal with a population of fleas that moved in while we were away (they seem to be gone thanks to Anna's suggestion of Borax!). And Isabel has been the ultimate grump. She used to be the happiest baby in the world, and now if we aren't going anywhere or doing anything social she is completely fussy and grumpy and is only quiet if she is sleeping. I think she is just a little social bee, wanting to buzz around and be cute for everyone. Well. Its cute until we bring her back in the house. ha.

I started cutting out squares for my first ever quilt. I cut out 5 of them before someone small desperately needed me. again. Someday I will make a quilt. I envision sitting around all day quilting when my kiddies grow up. In between quilting I will knit sweaters and hats for the grand babies. I will get nice and plump watching chick flicks and crafting all day. Actually, I thought of the perfect store in the world that I need to open. It would be a little fabric/yarn store in the downtown area with bolts of designer fabrics and bins of super soft yarns made of natural fibers. If I have room, I would also include paper-crafting supplies as well. There would be comfy chairs, couches and tables in the back for crafting and chatting. There would also be a kitchenette for coffee and tea making. Because caffeine and crafting were made for each other. :)

So all the little things combined with time outdoors, walking and the girls wading in their pool while their mommy hangs ridiculous amounts of laundry on the clothesline because the dryer isn't working well either. Did I mention the vacuum cleaner also broke? So I have been slightly overwhelmed since we returned home, as well as inspired to redecorate. Let me make it clear that being inspired and having the time to do are two different things entirely. so while I have so many great ideas, I don't have the time or money to put them into action. And I am secretly dreading winter. I mean, 2 days until August? Holy cow... then fall and winter. I hate winter. I just hate being cold and I am always cold. I wouldn't mind if it snowed all winter and I had a warm house. I do love snow. I love Christmas but would be perfectly happy celebrating it in Australia on the beach. I guess it wouldn't be as "cozy" but it would be warm.

I think I will stop rambling and go to bed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trip in Pictures

I am posting pictures and short captions of our trip. I really meant to do it while we were on vacation but forgot my camera cord, and heck, it was nice prying myself away from the computer for 10 days. I realize the my blog helps me when I scrapbook because everything is in order, and I write certain details I might otherwise forget. So, I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Days 1-2

We left at 11pm friday night and after a very smooth car ride (including a nap at a rest stop) we arrived in Munster at Grandma and Grandpas around 1:3o. We relaxed and napped the first day and had a surprise visit in the evening by Jimmy and Carolyn, and Shelly and Ashley. It was tiring, but great to see family again.


We started the day right with a midwestern breakfast at a 24-hour diner, as we did almost every day on our trip. And we had Gayety's icecream:

Poor Isabel wasn't feeling her best, and came down with a bad cough. Poor thing. She recovered quickly. We also went to Cabelas, a sportsman's paradise. I didn't buy anything, but did really well on the shooting gallery. Anastasia loves the glass elevators and all the animals. What fun!

Day 3 Shedd Aquarium

We went to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. It was AWESOME. Pricey, but worth every penny. Anastasia loved the penguins, and being one and playing on the "penguin playground".

Isabel made an ADORABLE penguin too.

The jellies were nifty.

Day 4 Lincoln Park Zoo

It seems to be our tradition to go to the Lincoln Park zoo. My favorite zoo ever.

We FINALLY got to see the polar bear. How cute and wonderful is he?And he got to see us. What fun.

And they have sprinklers like every good zoo should. And after all that, some Jamba Juice, and Sanfrantello's for dinner. Isabel went NUTS for the pizza. They put it in front of her and she dove in. Thankfully it wasn't Too hot. She might not have cared if it was so long as pizza was in her mouth. lol.

Day 5-7 Brookfield Zoo

We started out Wednsday as usual and went out for a hearty midwestern breakfast. Mmmm. Then we took a quick trip to Cabelas to look for some sandals for Nick. Here is Isabel in the cart: We then headed to Brookfield Zoo with the Grandparents. It is a HUGE zoo. Almost too huge to see in one day! Anastasia loved the sea lions, dolphins and the "Fari Train" (Safari Train).

Watching the sea lions swim is really fun:

Before we left we had to see the giraffes per Anastasia's request. Then we rode on the carasel which was really fun:

Until it started moving. It was a bit of an overwhelming day for a 2 year old.

Isabel woke from a nap, and was pretty mesmorized by the carosel.
After the zoo we had an insanely wonderful meal at Connie's Pizza. It was heavenly. Delicious pizza, and scrumcious tirimisu. The best I have ever had.


It was July 16th, our 4th aniversary!! It marked the fourth best year of my life! I didn't take any pictures, but we did eat a yummy midwestern breakfast, went to Chicago to REI for sandals for Nick, and then I found a cute little fabric boutique called Quiltology. I didn't find any FarFar Away fabric, but I did find some aqua and green fat quarters to make Isabel a quilted blankie. Maybe I will do it in my spare time! In the evening we went to Nick's brother Jimmy's house.


Another day with no pictures. What is up with that? We had another big breakfast and went to Nick's sister's house. We had a very low-key day relaxing. Anastasia watched a lot of TV. She loves TV. Maybe because we don't watch it at home. I watched this show called YoGabbaGabba, and it was SO WEIRD. I have a stupid song from it stuck in my head STILL. grrr. We had dinner at Aunt Marsha's house where we all sat around watching HGTV and it was a surprising highlight of our trip.

Day 8- I <3 Chicago!!!

We woke up early on Saturday, and being our last full day at the parents house, we decided to do something fun. The family already had their own things to do so we headed out by ourselves into Chicago to Millennium Park. I love Millennium Park!! All the gardens and promenades, and exercise classes in the park on Saturdays: And of course the bean: Here is us taking a picture into the bean:

Isn't that just the craziest thing? Anastasia loved it. Don't you love how both of my kids are picking their nose in that picture? lol. I think it is called the skyscape or something nice like that. But really, it is just a giant, reflective bean. Am I right? Unfortunately the big fountains were closed because of technical difficulties, but with some Jamba for Nick and a latte for me we went to Buckingham. Buckingham Fountain that is.

I love how Chicago feels old and new all at the same time. When I walk around among the old buildings and parks, I can almost see horse drawn carriages, and families in Victorian attire sporting parasols and prams walking to the beach or along the old streets. And in some places... I can almost see Al Capone. Definitely my favorite city!

Trip Day 8.5-10

For the second half of the second Saturday of our trip, we went to Uncle Jimmy's for a party for Grandpa (Nick's dad). We got a great shot, and the only shot, of all the cousins together. Notice how the girls have taken over!!! lol. The girls had a blast with all their cousins. I really wish we lived a little closer sometimes.This is how we light the candles. Anastasia is a good candle blower outer.


We left Nick's parents after packing the car around 7ish and headed to mass. Then we drove to Lafeyette and this is all we saw for that two hour drive:

Corn, soy, clouds and flat flat flat. In Lafayette we got to hang out with Annie and Martin and their adorable girls. Girls girls girls!!! ;) Nick and Martin went shooting. What else would they do? We girls hung out at Annie's cottagey house and took a nice walk around Lafayette and just had a great time. Its funny how Annie and I are into the same things, and Nick and Martin are into the same things... we live parallel lives in other parts of the country. I think stopping in Lafayette on our way out of town should be a tradition! It makes leaving so much less depressing when we get to hang with good friends. :)

Then we drove uneventfully to Columbus and stayed in a hotel.

DAY 10

Before heading home we stopped by the German Village in Columbus. It was very neat with brick buildings and streets and a few shops. The highlight was a coffeehouse called "Cup O'Joe" which wasn't really German at all but had DELICIOUS coffee. yum yum. We stopped at Cabela's in Wheeling and with a little fussing and naps we survived. I think the best thing for the ride was the bag of Cheerios that Annie gave me. I would hand them to Isabel one at a time... and it kept her quiet and entertained for hours!! Thanks Annie!!!! You kept us from going a little more crazy than we already are! lol!

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're Back!

Finally made it home from the midwest. We had a really awesome trip with plenty of family, friends, pizza and Chicago. I look forward to settling into life at home again but miss the relaxedness of vacation and the midwestern lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Getting ready...

Unfortunately Anastasia came down with a yucky little cold... and Isabel and I are fighting it or getting it. So needless to say, moral has been a little low around here. Watching Totoro and Lady and the Tramp (I forgot how great this movie is!) have been lifesavers for my sanity. Its 10:30am and Anastasia is STILL sleeping, so I hope that she wakes up feeling better.

I have been trying to get items for the car ready while simultaneously making creative meals out of all perishable items in the fridge. Don't ask me how I ended up with loads of watermelon, a pineapple, half of a cantaloupe and a BIG bag of sweet cherries... all to be eaten by Friday, packed for the trip or composted. Not to mention all the dairy and farmer's market produce loaded up in my fridge. So onto the cute stuff, I made wing-less fairy outfits for some little babies I picked up from Target. they are only about 8inches tall, and I bought them for the trip, one for each girl, but Anastasia saw them and has adopted them both.
The hats were my favorite part. But I think these will be the only handmade outfits theses teenie little dolls will ever get. The sleeves on the flower dress were more than I could bear. Never again. I also made the little fairy book on the left below (notice a theme yet?). It is just some sketch book paper, a few printed fairy coloring pages, folded and sewn together with a cereal box. Easy peasy, and practically free.

I found the flower fairy coloring pages here. I adjusted the printer settings to print 2 per page and they were the perfect size. I know there are a lot of folks who are anti-coloring book, but I don't have a huge problem with them now and again.

I also added some Fairy stickers to some of the pages. My mom picked me up a Cicely Mary Barker fairy scrapbooking kit which had really lovely stickers.

I am thinking when the girls are older, these would make really great travel journals. Just put in a little drawstring bag with a glue-stick and a pen and colored pencils, and wa-la, you have a cheap creative outlet and documentation of all your adventures. And even though I am really usually a crayon and colored pencil person, long trips in the car generally weaken my lofty ideals and "less is more" mentality, and so when I found this Color Wonder stuff on clearance, I couldn't pass it up.

Ok, and let me tell you, I tried out the finger paints, and this stuff is AWESOME. I mean, really, really neat. So much for my lofty ideals, I have sold out. Actually when I was small, my mom used to buy me and my brother those magic ink activity books. Did you ever have these? We only got them on trips, so they were really really special. Color wonder is the new magic ink and more open-ended in my opinion. I am really hoping they buy us a couple of fuss-free hours. At least from Anastasia's end, I am a little more worried about this little monster:

Notice she is bathing in our sink with NEW faucet from Ikea. The greatest thing is there are actually handles (instead of previous nubs) and a faucet that swivels which is why Isabel is smiling in the picture, and not crying because she bonked her sensitive little head. For her, my mom bought her a backseat mirror that lights up and plays music. She rarely sees herself in mirrors, so I think it will be interesting for her for a little while. A friend lent us some baby toys she hasn't played with yet as well, so hopefully that will entertain her when the novelty of the car wears off.

I am hoping and praying the rest of us don't get sick, and that Anastasia doesn't get any ear infections because we have a very fun vacation to look forward to.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Red, White and Cute

That is how I would describe my Star-spangled girls yesterday. I didn't get any really good pictures yesterday though. Too bad. Here is another swing pic:Can you believe Anastasia is only 3 lb.s heavier than Isabel? Weird. Anyhow, we had a great Independence day, and I hope you did too. We ended up going to a BBQ at Bridget and Jason's, and then having one with my parents later at our house. Yum. I think this is the only time of year I eat a hot dog. And I love it. Otherwise I skip the processed meat-like thing on a bun. The fourth is a great day to celebrate our awesome nation. It means something more though to those in our own neighborhood. Our neighbors are great. Classic, wonderful rednecks. The 4th of July is of great importance in our neighborhood. It is a day to try and outshine one another in the realm of illegal (in Va) fireworks. My neighbors had AMAZING fireworks. Really amazing. Just as good as any small-town firework display except better because if the kids freaked out, we just walk inside our door. And, no crowds to have to deal with when leaving the show. Both girls were entranced by the fireworks and we even did some sparklers. So I decided I am going to spend the 4th of July at home from now on!!

And Isabel upgraded to a bed from her basket finally: I put a little basket of toys on the bottom shelf for her too. It gets me an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning. yeah! And I made Anastasia a very buggy lunch last week:

She thought it was neat... but I think I was far more excited about it. Isabel used to hate anything with bananas in it... but she seemed okay with this one:

We are leaving for the midwest on Saturday (at like 12am) so I have a busy week of preparing ahead of me. I have several activities for the car so hopefully the 12-14 hour drive won't be TOO bad. yikes! Anyway, God Bless the USA.