Thursday, December 20, 2012

My two little buddies

Oh man, I love this duo. I feel so lucky to get to spend my time with them during the school day. They really are good-natured, fun little people. I have lots of pictures of them together over the last few months… (many of them that happen to be in the same spot and pose somehow)

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Ansley has enjoyed holding, handling, dragging, tickling her little bro from the beginning…and now it is evident that he likes it too. He stares with wide-eyes at most things she does and cracks up at her antics.

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Oh, they are fun. How is anyone supposed to get anything done with distractions like these? Today as Ansley was playing with her wooden trains and tracks, I breezed past her with packing tape in hand, in the middle of preparing Christmas packages for shipping…when she asked so innocently, “Mom, do you want to play with me?” Something about the way she phrased the question made it impossible to refuse. I wanted her to know that while I don’t actually DO it that often, I do WANT to play with her. I would never want her to doubt that desire, so I sat down and played. I’m so thankful for moments like these.

Too often I fill my days with good, but pretty meaningless/tedious things. I need to stop and make time for more important things—like quality interactions these two precious creatures. Maybe writing that down here will make me actually do it!?

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When I look at these faces, and realize how fast they are changing…I remember that it is OKAY that I get so few things checked off my to-do list each day. I know it is okay, but it’s December, after all…and that list is long!

Ahhh, the balancing act that is Motherhood…I love it, I do.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A few words about our Halloween

I realize we are already well into the month of December and this seems like the wrong holiday to be thinking about, but better late than never, I say.

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It’s all about the costumes—it’s what makes the holiday awesome for my kids, and sometimes stressful for me. But this year was pretty easy. We had some repeats (which are always welcomed), and some piecemeal get-ups, mostly from things we already owned.

Eden opted to be Hermione for trick-or-treating (it’s warmer), and Rapunzel for her school and church parties.

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Ansley put our Batman costume to good use yet again.

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I only had to create/construct a couple things…when my older two were asking, “is there some kind of vest that I could wear?”

We bought some faux suede fabric and made this fringy, hippie vest for Tessa.

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And then came my greatest personal victory. Tyler is stuck on the military/law enforcement theme, and wanted to be a S.W.A.T. team member. Pretty simple, since they basically just wear all black, and we had his army helmet from last year we could spray paint to match. But he told me that to be official, he had to have the vest. Something like this…

UTG Law Enforcement SWAT Vest

Obviously I didn’t want to spend $30 or $40 on that, so I started thinking about how to make one. A vest is a simple thing to sew, but what fabric to use...? I looked at fabric stores and goodwill for something I could maneuver into a tough-looking piece, but everything was flimsy and unsuitable. Then I remembered Tyler’s old snow pants—about the right type of nylon fabric with some bulk to them. They were worn-looking and too short, with a broken snap…so I didn’t mind sacrificing them. And they were the snowboard-pants style, meaning lots of pockets and zippers—bingo!

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So I cut them up and sewed them back together into a rugged-looking, “bullet-proof” vest for this serious agent. I stenciled on the letters, and he was good to go.

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It always feels good to create something out of nothing. It was a cheap way to make Tyler happy for those couple Halloween venues.

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Eli had no clue what was happening, but we had fun with him on his first Halloween. He was just starting to become mobile at that time, but luckily he didn’t know what was inside all of those small, brightly colored packages…

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The ultimate “kid” holiday. Not necessarily my favorite, but it is sure fun to watch my little ones enjoy themselves so much!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Tyler getting old

As long as I’m catching up on birthdays…Tyler turned 11 last month!

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No “friend” party this year; just a simple celebration at home. We ate Mexican food and then trifle for dessert, opened presents and played his new Wii game.

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Tyler seems extra mature and responsible lately. He is in his last year of elementary school, and going out with a bang. I am proud of him that he chose to be involved in so many extra activities at school this year—band, chorus, honor choir, chess club…all this on top of city tackle football this fall, with practices up to 4 times per week. (Glad we survived that one with no injuries.)

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It seems like expectations for quality and quantity of homework have also increased in fifth grade. So one day Tyler was feeling the pressure of it all and came up with one of his famous analogies. “I feel like the dam has broken and I am just throwing sandbags at it as fast as I can to keep from drowning.”

Then some time later, out of the blue, he told me, “Mom, I think I’ve got enough sandbags…” and I knew just what he meant. He’s got things under control; he’s managing. I feel like we can talk about life and important issues pretty well. He’s a good conversationalist, and I love getting inside his head. Tyler is always throwing facts at me from books he’s read—things that are new to me; the kid is quickly surpassing my intelligence.

I have also been touched by the gentle big brother he is to his only little bro. Tyler has stepped up and really figured out how to care for Eli—he’s got the rocking and shushing and soothing down. I wasn’t sure how much interest he would take in our baby, but Tyler has been a great help to me. I am so glad he has a brother now.

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My Tyler is a wonderful, one-of-a-kind kid, and I am so thankful I get to be his mom.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Eden turns 6

Where does the time go? I need to back up and catch up again

Our Eden turned SIX this Fall!

We squeezed in a little celebrating on her actual birthdate (it was a busy night with dance, tumbling, and football).

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DSC_0713New scooter with light-up wheels, which was a hit…

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…but it almost seems my kids get more excited about gum than anything else! Some sort of gum must be a part of every birthday gift list.

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Then on the weekend…a complete family birthday party with dinner, brownies and silly games.

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And if that wasn’t enough, the following weekend (when it fit into our schedule) we had a friend birthday party for our girl. It was the first year she seemed to care much about doing this. She wanted a party where kids come and “their parents don’t stay.” None of this inviting a family or two over and calling it her birthday party.

So that’s what we did. She enjoys (or has little other choice than) to play Star Wars Wii games, and watch the Star Wars movies with her big brother…and she has sort of gotten into that whole thing. Then we saw these fun storm trooper cupcakes, and Eden decided she wanted a Star Wars party. Why not? It turned out to be lots of fun.

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Here is her best Jedi pose.

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Tyler and Tessa were a huge help!! As the kids arrived Tyler entertained them with a little magic trick he has. He was very eager to do this, and his audience ate it up.

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The kids put on simple robes and headed outside for Jedi training…

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…and a scavenger hunt to track Darth Vader and find the Death Star.

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We uncovered the Death Star pinata and beat it to death!

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Pizza and cupcakes with these cute, cute friends.

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For the grand finale, Tom was a great sport and lightsaber-fought anyone who dared challenge him. I couldn’t believe how much the kids loved this.

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We all had fun….and the party really wasn’t too complicated to plan. My personal victory was these goodie bags. I thought it would be cool, not to mention environmentally friendly, to have an authentic-looking party favor/bag for collecting pinata candy…so I decided to sew these bags from some black polyester fabric I already had. Then I Xacto-knifed the Star Wars logo out of freezer paper and used it as a stencil with some random gray paint I had. Not every crafty thing I try turns out “as envisioned,” so I was happy when this did!

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Easiest birthday (cup)cake I’ve ever made!

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We had fun celebrating over many days with our girl. Eden is a precious part of our family. Right in the middle, she bounces between being one of our big kids and one of our little kids, and she juggles it well. It’s been exciting to watch her become an elementary-schooler this year. She is a responsible, caring, sharp little person and  we love her!!!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Onesie

I’ve never had a baby born precisely in the summer months, until this last time around…and I rather liked it. Eli’s wardrobe during his first 3-4 months of life could be summed up in one word—“onesie.”

Iowa summers are hot and sticky, and less is more when it comes to clothing—for babies anyway. I’m all for modesty, but there is nothing quite so cute as a baby in a onesie. The exposed thighs are so much more accessible and squish-able that way!

The weather is cooling now, and we’ve been obligated to put some pants on the kid. But it was fun while it lasted!

This is the way we saw our baby the whole summer…

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071120121438  (above is a “vintage” snapless onesie that my mom gave me. My little brothers wore it nearly 30 years ago.)

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On Sundays we did spiff him up a bit for church, covering his legs a little and mixing up his wardrobe somewhat…but a onesie is still the most comfortable and practical thing for a young baby.

~~Enter, the “tie onesie.” I looked at multiple online tutorials, then got to work appliqueing a tie-shaped fabric cutout onto various onesies (that I bought at a consignment store).

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If you’re going to the trouble of making one, why not make ten? At least that’s what I reasoned. Late one night Tom came in and saw the whole line-up across the kitchen table, and asked excitedly if I was going to start my own business and make us rich.

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Ha!! It was very sweet of him to even joke that such a thing was possible. He is usually oblivious to my crafting, so the fact that he even took note of something I made (and thought it was decent) sparked my curiosity as to whether these were sell-able.

There are already a bajillion similar items for sale on Etsy, and I didn’t want to hassle with that anyway. So I went the low-effort, low-commitment, low-risk route and threw a little post and some pics on Craigslist, just for fun.  And I made a few sales!!!

It was only 5 total onesies sold—including custom orders—and I didn’t charge much for them (which is what interested people, I’m sure)…but still. It always feels kind of cool to know something you made can be turned into earn cold, hard cash.

It was not a lot of cash, though—and probably not worth my time. I am certainly not going into business anytime soon. But hey, I’ve found my new go-to baby shower gift!

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