Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

From the our resident pumpkin and fairy.

Isabel's costume took less than an hour to put together. She is a polka dot pumpkin! Here is Anastasia "flying in the sky":

And did you know fairies love to swing? Especially Anastasia fairies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Monday:It was one of those FAIL days. Everyone was grumpy. Our trip to the Animal Shelter was halted by vehicle problems. So we went out into the prettiest spot in the yard for some leaf time. The maples just turned gold and it seemed to make everyone happier. It lifted our spirits so we could tackle the rest of the day. Fall, we loved you on Monday.On Tuesday it was cold and rainy. It was not the pretty side of fall, yet a little Coldplay, and a trip in the Jeep to the animal shelter made our day quite sweet:Nick was home because his neck was hurting pretty bad. It has been bothering him ALL weekend. I put Isabel down for a nap and left her with Nick so I could take Anastasia to get a kitten. I had a knot in my stomach on our way there, as I felt like we could not be as fortunate to find an awesome cat after Figaro. Originally we weren't going to get another cat for fear of Figaro's fate to come to another furry feline. But Anastasia begged. She told strangers, "my cat Figaro got hit by a car. He can't come back." Really, really heartbreaking. I prayed for the right cat. Did you know St. Gertrude of Nivelles is the patron saint of cats? Really cool. Cats have a saint too.(The above picture isn't great but it gives you an idea of his size, and his compliance to Anastasia's whims. Anastasia's eye is not black, her crazy hair was in her face!)

We walked in to the Animal Shelter expecting to walk out with a little fuzzy kitten. I figured I would pick a kitten out, hand it to Anastasia for her approval and that would be that. The 5 fuzzy kittens were cute. Only 2 were boys, and I had to get a boy. We love boy cats. But one of the older cats labled "Tuna" was meowing and rubbing up against the cage for attention. I put my finger to the cage and rubbed his nose. He started licking me. He was the one. Anastasia wasn't thrilled with my pick and insisted we take home one of the tiny fuzz balls named "Jack". I thought it fair to hand her one of the tiny guys, and assess the personality a bit before taking Tuna home. When I handed her the kit she squeezed him so tight his eyes almost popped out! He was timid and way too small for the torment he was sure to get from the girls. She squeezed him tighter as I tried to pry the little guy free. Someone would take little Jack home. It wouldn't be us. Tuna had less of a chance of finding a home as he was older. So I paid my fee, and boxed him up. Anastasia got a lollipop (her very first one in fact!) and decided to name him "Ally the Cat", referring to Thomas O'Malley the alley cat from Aristocats. He has been one affectionate little furball. Bigger than Figaro, and a completely different personality... but he seems to be fitting in well with the insanity of our house! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

A New Project

So my mom picked up this log cabin-style dollhouse at Goodwill for $8.
It needs some serious help! But I want to give it to the girls for Christmas along with some cute furniture and Calico Critters. The outside needs some TLC but the thing is quite sturdy.

I sanded down the inside, but there is still glue stuck on it in places, and some of the finish leaked in from the outside. I think I am going to try and get everything off of the inside and leave it unfinished and add some pictures, a little painted border and knit some little rugs.

The chimney doesn't look so bad in the picture, but it real life it is really yucky. It looks like someone sprinkled pepper all over it. Its really gross. I want to get some sort of plaster and put it on the outside of the chimney and make a mosaic out of small pebbles. That would be so nice! And I am *thinking* of painting the wood on the outside of the dollhouse a dark brown and fill in the spaces with some white plaster. Something like this:

Please excuse my unprofessional, uneven drawing... but it gives you a sense of my dream for the little place!! I really want shutters, a nice door with hinges and the scalloped edging along the roof and the windows but have you seen the prices of dollhouse supplies? Holy cow. It is cheaper almost to decorate your own house!! Or atleast comparable. If anyone has any great ideas, please help!! I have never tackled a dollhouse project and I don't have A TON of patience. It doesn't have to be PERFECT, just kinda pretty. Like a little gingerbread house. And then I can decorate it with candy and it will be Oh so exciting for 2 little girls on Christmas morning!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Pumpkins

Today I took the girls to Great Country Farms where we met up with my friend Andrea and her daughters Kaylee and Sammie (my God-daughter). It was SO MUCH FUN!! It was a perfect day and I ended up staying 6 1/2 hours because the girls were having such a ball! The red of her hair just kills me. I love it so:
Perhaps we should have saved our money and took the girls to a junkyard! LOL. They are quite a duo these two, let me tell you:

They walk around holding hands, having conversations, and giggling and it melts my heart in a dozen ways.

Here was a random wall of Jack-O-Lanterns. I really have no idea what this was, or is for, but it was kinda cool:

The scenery was so majestic! This building was by these goats that climb in trees. I am not kidding. There were really goats in the trees!!!! How awesome is that?

We have been so busy with everything, and it has all been really fun, but I hope things wind down just a bit now so we can get back into school and crafting. I do love fall and feel this urgent need to spend every nice day outside because I know the nice days are disappearing for a while.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Visit From Grandma and Grandpa!

Nick's parents came for a visit this weekend from Indiana. It was really good to see them, and we were very busy all weekend. Unfortunately it rained most of the time they were here. We went to Staunton, took a trip to DC to the Bascilica and the National Gallery of Art, and on our only sunny day we had a nice outing to Elizabeth Furnace- one of our favorite local spots! It was just BEAUTIFUL with all the turning leaves. And in case you were wondering where Isabel got her red hair:
I couldn't get any great pictures of Anastasia. She is always go-go-going. But Isabel is just so fabulous at posing:

She really had a ball with all of our outings and adventures! Nick called the Isabel-Grandma combo the Ginger Fest! lol. I think Isabel was glad not to be the odd one out with her Grandmother around! Passage Creek is just AMAZING! We spent a lot of time doing this:And this:Stuffing our faces! We get so spoiled with cookies and dessert and food when the grandparents come to town! We got these really tasty cookies in Staunton, and after ordering them, they rang them up and they were $2.50 a piece!!! I mean, they were cute, shaped like acorns and ghosts and they were yummy, but $2.50? Wow. I also finished most of my Christmas shopping for the girls at Pufferbellies. I just LOVE that toystore. I think the kids like it too. One of the best parts of the weekend was a nice trip to the Pioneer History museum also in Staunton! Here was Anastasia feeding the ducks.There were several different farms showing life in the 1600's all over the world. It was really, really awesome! The best reinactor was the blacksmith:

Unfortunately we only had an hour and a half before they closed, and we really could have spent ALL DAY there. I think Nick's parents had a nice stay, I really wish it had been nicer weather for them. I know the kids had a blast.
Oh, and Nick got me a dryer off of Craigslist this weekend for free! And it works! I forgot what it was like to do 5 loads of laundry in one day... or even that it was possible to do so. I will still try and dry clothes on the line because I just really enjoy it and the clothes seem so fresh, but when we have 5 days of rain in a row, it is nice to have other options! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Patch!

Last weekend we went to the Leaf Festival followed by a trip to the pumpkin patch! Anastasia has been BEGGING me to go to a farm, ride the hayride and get a pumpkin so it was great to finally make her dream come true (atleast one dream anyway!). She had a blast! And Isabel had fun too.
We enjoyed picking grass for the horses. I used to be a bit aprehensive of horses, but I guess living in the country really helped me warm up to them! And maybe the fantasy novels I have been indulging in has helped me see horses in a whole new light. Since Anastasia LOVES horses and ponies, this was very exciting for her. We had a neighbor move in a few months ago who I think has ponies, or is getting some. I wanted to bake her some pumpkin bread the other day, but it was really dry and not sweet enough and I would be ahamed to make it for her. Maybe next week we will bake something, and introduce ourselves and apologize for my husbands loud gunshots that she will forever endure living down the street from us! lol.

Anastasia LOVED the hayride. Last time we went on a hayride, she was scared and cried most of the way... this time she LOVED it. And we picked our own pumpkins and picked an apple from some barrels under their apple trees!

It was very atmospheric sitting on hay bales pulled by a tractor, seeing the mountains in the distance and gnarly apple trees, with apples in our mouths as well.

Mmm Fall. I loved you that day at the pumpkin patch. I hate you on this cold, cold, rainy day as I am stuck inside with two grumpy children who thought that 6am was a good time to get up today. Maybe for them it was a fine time to get up. 4 hours later they are little grumpmeisters. And I was up until 1am MAKING A FAIRY COSTUME!!! Hooray I am finished!! Well, 92% finished anyway. I need to make the flower crown, a flower wand and adjust the straps a bit. And let me give some words of wisdom to any of you talented (or not) seamstresses who are considering sewing a costume for your child: STAY AWAY FROM CHEAP COSTUME SATIN!!!!!! The stuff is EVIL. It frays in every direction, and then makes up new directions just so it can fray in those ways too!! I hate Hate HATE it. Ok, I feel better now.
Other than dealing with that stuff, the costume turned out well. It fits her really snug, which is really cute, but I will probably have to add some stips of fabric down the sides to widen it a bit in a couple of months. And it is hard to get on and off, which is not really ideal for the dress-up box. Alas, she only has to look perfect for 1 night right? I think we can pull that off.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Yesterday my mom and I took the girls to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond. I wish they were closer, but a stop at my mom's made the 2 1/2 hour drive more doable. They had a really nice butterfly room with all kinds of exotic butterflies.
I have never seen Anastasia so excited about a butterfly room, and we have been to several since she was a baby. 2 1/2 is a good age! And she isn't as scared of flying butterflies as she was 2 months ago. Isabel enjoyed them too, and tried to touch each one and giggled when they flew away. *sigh* babies are so stinking cute! Here she is looking at a pond from the children's tree house: I don't know why I love that picture. I guess I just love kissing the back of that big baby head. There was a little cottage in the greenhouse. It was so cute, like out of a fairy tale. I want it in my backyard.

And Anastasia has had definate tastes in the clothes she wears. It saddens me that I can't put her in everything I want... but I am also excited to move into this new stage of style. There was an awesome tree for climbing:

And many bridges.
And I just love the fall lighting. I have this love-hate relationship with fall. It is such a beautiful season with apples, changing leaves and pumpkins. BUT it is such a trickster because it beckons you on with all its lovliness and then leaves you in the middle of yucky cold winter. It is a very sneaky season. One minute you are jumping in leaves and the next you are freezing your toes off. I love-hate fall, and I dread winter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Ugh, so I wish I had my camera at storytime today, because this happened to be Fire safety week, and Anastasia got to get in a firetruck!! How exciting is that? She was a little scared of the fireman in his complete garb, but she warmed up a little when he gave her a sticker and a bag of goodies. Anyone who gives out stickers and candy must be awesome! :)

So, the real point of this post? To let you know that if your blog is in my sidebar and you haven't updated in 6 months or more then I am kicking you off! I am not trying to be mean, but I am going to add some buttons, some more blogs and a list of labels, etc, so I am trying to clean everything up a bit. So if you are one of those blogs in question... you have 1 week to update or you are gone. Sorry! :) Also, if you are a blogger who reads my blog and would like to be added to my sidebar, let me know! Email me: .

Hope your day is as fall-esque as mine!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"...we'll fill our mouths with Cinnamon..."

I keep getting "Sons and Daughters" by the Decemberists stuck in my head. Its so anti-war that I really hope our enemies are jammin' out to it, getting it stuck in their heads and taking it to heart. And look at the new little cook in the family: She started standing up... alone yesterday! And, she can say some words. She says "nigh nigh" and waves her hand before bed. She also says "kittykittykitty" to cats, and her new red panda stuffed animal that does in fact, resemble a cat. She sometimes repeats things I say, and even says "mo" for more, and waves her hands. I have been trying to teach her a little sign language but she pretty much just waves her hands for everything she wants that I taught her a sign for. I also decided to start trying to potty train her using the lame-titled "Elimination Communication" method. I originally thought it was crazy and a little over-the-top. But now I know the real crazies are the people with 2 CHILDREN IN DIAPERS. Cloth or disposables... all I do, all day is change diapers. Anastasia wants nothing to do with the potty unless it involves washing her hands so Isabel is my only hope. So basically I just try and get Isabel to go after her naps, first thing in the morning, when it looks like she is pooping, and 10-15 minutes after nursing. Maybe it is a little crazy... but it actually works!!!!! And she loves using the potty! I thought I had to try with her because she keeps getting rashes within minutes after she poops (and I really do mean minutes) thanks to her sensative, ginger fair-skin. And she HATES having poopy diapers so I hope I am not really going insane, and that this actually is working. haha.

I love how angelic my girls look in the above picture! haha. If only they were as sweet as they look! :) Today Anastasia bit Isabel in the back while they were in the sandbox... Isabel has not been happy since! Sibling rivalry starts way to early doesn't it? ;) So everyday Anastasia asks multiple times about getting a new cat for Christmas. Oh how I want to get her a new cat... so bad. But I do not want an indoor cat (ok, Nick doesn't want an indoor cat) so it would have to be a porch/outdoor/sometimes indoor cat and I am so worried for another Figaro-like fate. I can't take the sadness again but I mean, one of Isabel's first words was "kitty" and Anastasia keeps telling me she will "hold it nice, like a baby" if I get her a cat. *sigh* how my heart does melt for those big brown eyes. And if I get a cat from a shelter, it would be like saving it from death-row anyway right? I miss Figaro. It would be perfect if he were still here.

Nick is coming home late, the girls are cranky and I am hungry. Time to cook some lentils and rice. Yum!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Isabel's Party

Isabel really enjoyed her party. She fell asleep just before everyone came over, had a nice nap and was ready to rock by the time the party started. She is wearing Anastasia's first birthday hat that Nick's mom bought her in the above picture. When Anastasia was a little baby, my aunt's friend gave Anastasia this huge hand-me-down angry dog ball pit:

Despite the fact that it looks like he wants to eat little children while puking balls, the girls really loved it... for a little while. And since I was going with a polka-dot theme, this just took it to the next level.

And while we were hanging out on the porch, Anastasia found some presents. Here she is under arrest with proof stuck to her dress:

It was really nice that we used the porch for almost the entire party! It was so perfect because we finally can see the mountain from our porch now that the leaves are falling off the trees in the way.

Anastasia is OBSESSED with cupcakes, and has been asking to make them for Isabel's birthday for a while now. Then of course, when I asked her if she wanted to help me, she was too busy playing and could care less that I was making her badly wanted cupcakes. Instead, the morning of the party, she broke into the fridge and licked the frosting off of a bunch of them. These remained and are the prettiest cupcakes I have ever made.

Usually my cupcakes turn out very ugly and globby. After we at lasagna, bread, and salad for dinner, we opened gifts. Isabel had so much fun with the paper! We were glad she only had a few gifts because she was done unwrapping after the first few. She also made a point to throw all the clothes right on the ground... so we all know how she feels about clothes as presents. Here she is putting paper on her head like the little funnyface she is:And here is the really cute cake my mom made for Isabel! I love all the dots! I still have a bunch left. Yum. She made Isabel her own tiny cake which she devoured:

I also made these really cute cupcake pops from Bakerella . They were really, really, yummy though a bit time consuming. They are very addicting and I want to make more for halloween shaped like pumpkins!
I think if you make these 2-3 days before a party they would be great! Otherwise it is a lot of work if you wait until the last minute. Like me. I meant to give them out as favors for everyone and I completely forgot!!! Oops. So we have had to eat them. It has been so horrible, let me tell you. ;)

2 cups of coffee down, I better go hang laundry and start my day!