Monday, December 12, 2011


When I was pregnant with Stella I didn't really look that big (all due to her and my height - she was only 5lb 10oz and I'm fairly tall).

When I was pregnant with Lucy Jim told me at about 6 months that I looked as big at that time as I did just before I delivered Stella.  This is NOT the kind of thing a girl wants to hear from her husband and I knew I was bigger, but I didn't honestly think I was THAT big...!

I was looking for some old pictures last night and ended up looking at Lucy's newborn pictures.  THIS is one of the pictures that jumped out at me.  Taken the morning Lucy was born before we headed out to the hospital.  That thing is RIDICULOUS - it doesn't even look real!  I remember being in Target a few weeks before she was born and I was kind of bent over looking at nail polish.  When I stood up and turned a girl walking down the aisle let out a loud (and scared sounding), "AWK!"  She tried to cover, but it was obvious.

Yep, I was in denial - that thing was out of control!  Still, wish I could feel those little feet kicking around again and feel the anticipation.  There's nothing like it in the world!

This post has nothing to do with anything but I know someday while I'm going through old posts I'll get a good laugh out of it again!  Plus, maybe it will make some of you girls who are still preggo feel a bit better, "at least I'm not THAT big!" ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Fun

This isn't the first time I've mentioned that I made an advent calendar last year but it didn't hold up well and there was no good way to store it so it was dumped at the end of the season.  I went around and around about what kind of calendar to make this year, scouring Pinterest, Flickr, and the web in general looking for ideas.  I narrowed it down to two:

Oh, how I LOVE this one!  There are two issues however...  Virtually nothing will fit in one of those little mittens, I didn't have time to knit them all, I couldn't decide on colors, I kind of want each girl to have their own they can take someday and I REALLY don't have time to knit two!  (ok, that's four issues).  I think I may work on this for next year just to hang from the mantel because I do love it so much.

This is the inspiration for mine. (found on Pinterest). I really like the idea of it but I wondered how long it would need to be to fit 24 numbers and I wanted their names at the top.

So... I ordered their names and numbers 1-24 in vinyl.  I got 2 boards, clothespins, ribbon, and glue from JoAnns.  When I got home with the boards I quickly realized the numbers were MUCH too big so I ended up getting 2 sets of numbers meant for board games or something.
 I painted the boards white, glued ribbon to the clothespins, and glued everything to the boards.

As I've mentioned, some of our days are activities, while others are small gifts.  I got a piece of red/white paper to write the activities on and hung them from the pins.

Here's Stella's finished with her wrapped gifts.  It's a bit more jumbled than I'd care for, but it seems to be working well.  So far the only issue is that without fail, Stella wants whatever Lucy has.  Last night I finally had to tell her that if she whines about what she gets again and wanting Lu's I'll be taking the rest of her gifts down and donating them. We spend a lot of time talking about having a grateful heart and how blessed we are.  I need to find some new ways to express that to her because I'm not sure she gets it.

I know "activity only" Advent calendars are big right now, but I like finding little things for them (mostly from the dollar section at Tarjay) and frankly, I wouldn't make it doing activities everyday for 24 days!  I like that they each have their own, I'm always thinking that one day I want them to each be able to have things to take with them when they move out.  It's crazy because I don't even know if these boards will survive the next year! Like I said, I'm kind of a nutty worrier of a Mama.

Christmas pictures

I have a whole list of Christmas pictures I want to take this year.  I've checked the first two off my list.  The first is of Lu's chubby little legs/feet with our 24 days of wrapped books.  I can't get enough of those toes, I wish I could keep them forever.

 The next shot I wanted to get was of Lucy in a wrapped box.  Stella was asleep on the couch, Jim was gone, and the dog was being his normal 'I need to be right in the middle of everything' self.  I was trying out a lens that I'd rented and fighting the dog and lack of light so they left a lot to be desired.  Sadly, the cutest ones weren't focused on her face. 

This is her, "whoa, what the heck am I doing in here?" picture:
Here's, "oooh... it's fun to tear up the paper".  I LOVE the tongue sticking out concentration.  Stella does this too, so does my Grandpa.  Tearing the paper was followed up by tasting the paper.  The photo shoot was continuously interrupted by me get up off of my belly and crawling over to her to get it out of her mouth.
 Finally, we have, "hey, I can get up on my knees and look over the side..." This is the last picture I got, can you see where it's going? 
Yep, baby faceplant (her first but not last of the weekend)

They're not professional quality but I'm ok with that.  The memories are better this way. ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Polar Express!

Our Advent calendar activity Friday night was to have a movie night and watch the Polar Express.  I think the movie is so beautiful and this year Stella got into it much more than she has previously.  She asked a ton of questions about the train and told me that she wanted to go on a train to see Santa.  I played it cool, "hmmm, really?  Yeah, that would be fun... we'll see..."  HA HA - inside I was fist pumping and cheering.  She'd fallen right into my plan.  You see, the next day's activity was to ride the Polar Express train!

Saturday we'd planned to get family Christmas pictures taken (which Stella was well aware of) and we hadn't told her about the train.  She asked for her calendar for the day and I "read" it to her but I told her that we were going to get our pictures taken and then go to dinner.  She frowned and said, "well that's not a very exciting activity". Oh Stella, just wait my love!

When we finally got to the train Stella was in disbelief.  Check out that, "is this actually happening?" look on her face, I LOVE it!  She doesn't get excited about doing stuff like this.  You'd think she's not having fun at all.  Actually, she's just soaking up every single second of it.  She will talk about every detail for a long time to come (she actually told me about going to see Scrooge last Christmas - she remembered things I didn't)

Mama and Lu snuggling.  It was SO cold!  Thankfully we'd brought blankets for the girls and our picnic blanket was in my trunk.  It took the entire ride home for my toes to thaw.
The girls
 The whole fam (decent considering we just asked the people next to us to snap one quick pic)
 Santa giving Stella her bell.
He gave one to Lu too with a little, "aww..."  She loved it!
This is it for our Santa pic for the year.  We don't ever do anything with them so there's no way I'm going to take them to the mall for another pic.  I'm perfectly happy!  We actually got a few and I couldn't believe that Lucy didn't mind him at all.  Maybe next year will be the hysterical year - every kid needs to have at least one.
It wasn't fancy, but it was a great outing for our family. I adore making memories with these 3 people, I'm so very lucky to get to be part of their lives.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wreath mania!

We're hosting Jim's families Christmas this year so I want to amp up our decorations a bit without spending a lot of money. Stella and I made three new super easy wreaths that I'm pretty happy with overall.
The first is an ornament wreath for the front door.  Seriously, SO easy! We untwisted a wire hanger, threaded on our ornaments, twisted it back together.  I have seen people who have issues with their balls popping off and suggest glueing the tops on before stringing them onto the hanger but I tested ours and they were pretty tight (and I didn't want to spend that much time on it), so I was a rebel and did without the glue!
The second is my yarn wreath which I think is fitting for any knitter!  At first I was trying to be so careful about wrapping the yarn and glueing it every few rows but then when I looked at some on Pinterest I actually liked the ones that were a bit less uniform better so I just started wrapping like crazy and glued it at the end.  I've been making felt flowers for headbands for the girls so I had felt on hand and cut some spirals for flowers, glued a pearl in the middle, and DONE!  The only thing I'm not thrilled about is that I tried making my own wreath form like I'd seen on Pinterest and it's not perfectly round.  If I were to do this one again I'd spring for a premade wreath form.  I did turn it so it looks a bit better now (I put the wonky spot under the yarn hanging it.)
You can see our new PB stockings here...  I've wanted them for years and when I tried to order them they were gone.  On a whim I checked one more time a few weeks ago and they had them!  We spray painted the "JOY" letters too.
The last wreath we made was a boa wreath.  I saw one on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the fluffy soft white loveliness.  Have you noticed when you take pictures of your house you notice things that you don't notice otherwise?  Here I noticed that the blue tealight holders are spread too far apart...  I've moved them!  (Just a little something that helps me get perspective on things - I do it with my haircuts too!)  I'm not in love with the color of the ribbon, I'd picked a cozy copper color but it didn't go with the colors on the mantel and Jim liked the green better.  Next year I'll probably change it out for something a bit more subtle.  I also have some mercury glass candle holders that I'm going to switch out for the "peace" and "joy" ones because I ADORE mercury glass and they'll probably get some pretty new candles.

Our last Christmas craft so far is our PB inspired NOEL. Note...  Check out our nativity.  I set it up and when Stella got up she "arranged" them for me.  Such a nice little straight row they're all in - yep, she's definitely my girl!
I tried to get a picture to show the finish of the paint but it doesn't show up very well.  I really like it in person, it has a bit of a metallic look to it.
I've been taking pictures of Bob's adventures, I'll try to post those soon.  Today we get to start our Advent Calendar which I'm so excited for and opening a new book a day.  (Stella could tell that they were books and asked me if they were new books or books from our bookshelf.  She's way too smart for us and onto all of my tricks!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mama guilt

If I get home and get some pictures taken while it's light out I'll be back soon with pictures of Bob (our elf), our new advent calendars, and our new wreaths! We got our tree this weekend too.  Stella had a great time decorating it (I'm refraining from "fixing" it though it looks like someone chucked mardi gras beads at it).
 I love this one of Jim and Stella!

For today however...

I tend to be a BIG worrier, and I think I carry a lot of guilt.  Not two of my better qualities, but we all have our things right?  One of the biggest causes of guilt for me is Mama guilt.  I feel bad I don't spend all day everyday with them (even though Stella was sobbing Sunday when I mentioned we may have to stay home Monday if her fever didn't break.  She said she missed her friends - love that!), I feel guilty we don't have more fresh homemade meals, homemade quilts/clothes/accessories, etc.  The most recent cause for my guilt is Lucy weaning.  Stella and I only made it for about 2 1/2 months before she weaned when I went back to work.  I REALLY wanted to nurse Lu for longer and was thrilled that I'd be home with her for 5 months before returning to work.  I also planned on pumping while at work this time around and let me tell you how much fun THAT was!  My goal was to nurse until she was 6 months old.  I always said when she's old enough to walk up to me and ask for it or pull my shirt up I was DONE.  Each person has their own views on breastfeeding and/or comfort levels, and that's been where I start to get uncomfortable with it.

Lucy was 8 months old yesterday and over the past week or so she's been less and less interested in nursing and I was getting less when I pumped.  I was down to once a day at school (that meant I got my lunchtime back) and nursing once or twice a day.  Yesterday I forgot the bottles so I didn't pump and then I didn't bring them today.  Now, I'd MUCH MUCH MUCH prefer her to wean herself when she's ready so we don't have to go through the trauma and misery of me denying her and I made it past my 6 month goal.  She'd much prefer real food to bottles and there's no doubt she's growing just fine, so it's crazy for me to feel bad about it, but I do. 

I know it's nothing to feel guilty over, perhaps it's not as much guilt as sadness that it's coming to an end and that means she's getting older and more independent.  I'm such a sap!  When she sprouts that first tooth I'm going to lose it - those gummy grins are one of my favorite things!

I haven't even touched on my irrational and totally excessive worrying and anxiety, I've been told more than once that I need medication! Do any of you have irrational guilt?  What things set you off?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A finished hat!

I finished a new hat for Jim last week but it's wool so he's decided it's too itchy for his bald head. :( Anyone know of a guy with hair that would like a new wool hat???

I finished one for Lu tonight that seems to be a bit more successful though she's not a fan of wearing hats. I used some Berroco Flicker that I won in a blog giveaway. I LOVE it! It's soft, a little sparkly, and I still have enough for a hat for me - yay! I had to add just a bit of pink so people can tell she's a girl (which still doesn't always clue people in...)

The addition of the brim is what makes this hat in my opinion. It was a great fast easy knit that I highly recommend. Now I can start on Stella's sweater, a hat for me, or a new hat for Jim... I think Jim's going to be last in line. ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crafty crafterson...

I've been getting my craft on (and loving it) the past two weeks. I've also been on the hunt for the PERFECT advent calendar for the past two years.

Last year Stella and I made a paper forest. While it was cute, it wasn't very functional since not much fit under the trees and I didn't consider how I'd store them when I decided to make it.

Here they are if the link works when posting from my phone.

I've been scouring Pinterest for months now trying to decide what to do next. Halfway through and I'm seeing a LOT of potential for things going wrong... I think I should have stuck to one color of ribbon and it looks like its going to be a measuring nightmare for my anal self! What I really want to do is to knit one but I wouldn't be able to fit much in that either... If this doesn't work I'm definite going to try a knit one next year though!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Helping an almost four year old wait

I am NOT a patient person.  When I decided I want my haircut, I want it that day.  If I want to do a craft I want to do it now.  I'm sure Stella has gotten a bit of that from me.  In addition, she's not quite four.  Waiting for anything is pure torture when you're that age.  When we have something fun planned we don't usually tell her until a day or so before just because we know how hard it will be.

She is also a little decorating diva, she loves to help me decorate the house and her room (she always says, "let's step back and see how it looks").  All of this to say she is DYING to start decorating for Christmas!  We've been working on a few new things and she wants to put them up so badly she can't stand herself.  I feel like I'm always trying to help her with time by saying, "today is this, tomorrow this" etc until we get to the event we're looking forward to.

I decided to make her a little daily countdown.  She can't read so I needed a way to help her distinguish between the different days.  This is what I came up with:
I put a clipart picture of something happening each day that I could think of to help her visualize (gym, going to Haley's 1st soccer game, Thanksgiving) until finally we get to the last day with the elf representing Bob, our Elf on the Shelf, and the tree.  The day after Thanksgiving we get to go cut down our tree and decorate the house.  She's getting into it and looks forward to crossing of each box at the end of the day.  If I'm honest I'm probably more impatient than she is!

I've also been planned out our advent calendar for this year.  I didn't want to spend as much on them as last year.  Buying things for 24 days adds up even if you're trying to be careful.  I tried to plan some activities and I hit up the $1 section at Target to fill in gaps.  Some of the days may change of course, but I'm hoping to make it a bit easier on myself this year to have the days set ahead of time.  I'm making them each new calendars this year and it needs to have all of the presents ready from the beginning so I'm glad it's done.  Now I just need to finish them up so I can post some pictures!

*Edited to add MORE activity ideas, I can't believe I forgot some of these!!!

~Zoo lights
~make glitter ornaments
~letter to Santa
~sign Stella up for video from Santa
~make magic reindeer food
~pipe cleaner candy canes
~cottonball snow(wo)man
~handprint wreath (fun!)
~paper plate/cottonball santa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My stint as a single Mama will come to an end tonight and I'm SO stinking excited to have Jim home!  Though we missed him desperately, we did manage to do ok on our own (though I didn't get a single fire and I missed them).  I just have to get through conferences tonight - YUCK, as my neighbor teacher said, the worst night of the year! :(

Lula bug is now waving "bye bye" to me when I leave in the morning and even almost says something that sounds like "bu bu".  She also says, "mamamamamama" which I wasn't going to count as mama, but she definitely says it when she's upset/waking up and it's recognizable to others, so I just may claim it as her first word! Even though it's a sad little whimper, I think it's one of the cutest things I've heard in my entire life!

I finally got around to writing down an interview that Stella and I had during our tea party the week before school started.  I look forward to doing these each year and eventually making a book out of them.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! (I'm already thinking about Christmas!)

My little Lovelies all done up with matching headbands Mama made last night (and this morning) with felt and feathers. Yeah, I'm that Mom. What can I say, I guess I love having little girls. Jim says they're my little dolls. I say Stella is MUCH too opinionated to be anybodies doll! I'm crossing my fingers that Lula Bug will let me put her in jeans and Toms/Converse! ;)

We will be out Trick-or-Treating with Snow White and a chunky monkey tonight.

Have a fun and safe night tonight and don't forget to pull 24 pieces of candy (per little one) to make a candy garland countdown for December with me!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The little things that get me.

There seem to have been a lot of changes around here lately. In a matter of days Lucy started feeding herself finger food, clapping, jumping in her jumper, scooching on her belly, and saying, "mamamama" (I know it doesn't count as talking or Mama but it's still darling!)

Stella's changes are less measurable but no less noticeable to me. The thing that's really gotten to me lately are her feet! I've been saying she's not a toddler anymore for a while now but the changes in her feet are making me sad. I'm nuts huh? She has kid feet instead of toddler feet and I haven't been able to get over it, Jim's tired of me talking about it! It's funny the stuff that hits you. Before that it was her coloring. She tries to really color things and much like another type A person in our house she wants things to be 'right'. The poor girl couldn't even color a spider for a contest anything but black because that's the color they are and she wants to win. We tried to suggest purple but that wasn't going to fly.

Time is going MUCH too quickly. They're still little and I already stress over and dread the day they leave. The house is so loud with two little girls screeching and though there are moments I'd like a bit of quiet, I can't stand the thought of a Saturday morning in this house without those sounds.

*Lu's my little bread loving girl. Here she's enjoying some Albertsons 4:00 bread like her Mama has so many times. The picture of Stella is from Jim's phone taken last Sunday when I was at a photography class. I love getting glimpses of their time together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Lil Pumpkin

I'm posting from my phone again. Jim's hogging the computer, Stella is sleeping on my shoulder, and the fire's crackling! I don't mind except that all of the pictures just pike up at the end.

Lu is getting so big! I swear she looked different when I got her home yesterday and all of the sudden today we have a little one who can feed herself finger food and is beginning to scooch on her belly!

This little girl just OOZES love. She squeals, kicks, and flaps her arms when one if us approach her or talk to her. She is just so darn happy!

Stella loves to feed her and surprisingly Lucy likes Stella feeding her. Stella also loves to play with her which I must admit surprised me a bit given their age difference. Initially I'd hoped to have kids about 2 years apart so they would be able to go to school together for a year. Now, I'm so glad that my plan wasn't THE Plan. I think they're perfect! Stella understands, can help, and appreciate having a sister. She's constantly telling me how much she loves Lu, snuggling her, and playing with her. I've also been pleasantly surprised that we've still had no jealousy issues even though Stella was a total Mama's girl. We are do very blessed!

* edited to add: some words are strange due to iPhones lovely autocorrect and I know that 3rd picture is so blurry but I just had to include it because I adore that smile!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The purpose of blog reading and how Pinterest is taking over...

I first stumbled upon blogs when I was knitting and looking for patterns.  Not long after I fell in love with Google Reader and could quickly and easily add new blogs and check blogs.  I now subscribe to very few of those original knitting blogs but have added "deal" blogs, a few friends, and a lot of DIY/decorating and baking blogs.

At some point, checking Reader became more of a chore.  Now I just mark the deal websites as "read", skim the DIY, and have a few that I save for the end to actually look at.  There are even a few that 90% of the time I leave just feeling annoyed.  I've unsubscribed several times, but I keep thinking that if it's not someone I care to read about their family or leave feeling inspired/happy I'm wasting my time reading.  I already learn FAR more about most people than I ever care to know via Facebook and now we get much fewer interesting and new ideas with Pinterest.

I could share the DARLING headbands I made for the girls this weekend, but anyone who would care about headbands for little girls has probably seen them all over Pinterest.  I feel like pretty soon we're all going to have identical pictures/crafts/food because everyone pins the same things.  This is another reason I think I could cut down on the blogs I read - if there's a great idea, it will show up on Pinterest!

There are things that I LOVE about the interenet and its effect on me as a Mama.  I learn a TON, get questions answered quickly, and get a lot of ideas.  However, I also think that it makes us more competitive.  People are "sharing" what they do, but sometimes it feels more self-promotion?  I can't even come up with a word, but I know that at times it makes me feel like I'm not doing enough.  I'm not home with my girls all day, I don't have amazing home cooked meals every night, I didn't even make the hand-decorated sugar cookies that I bought the cookie cutter for for Lu's baptism (gasp - I let it go...), my photos are professional quality, I haven't sewn/knit them all of the things on my list, and ON and ON. In my heart I know that I'm making choices that are best for our family and that I'm enough for them, but it still leaves me feeling like it's not enough at times.  I need to remind myself that it's not one mom doing all of these and that what I'm doing is enough.

I realize I'm probably sounding negative, and I don't intend to be.  I do enjoy reading blogs and will continue to keep up some of them with people on Facebook, but I think I need to put myself on somewhat of a "tech diet".  I'm finding myself wanting to just turn things off and hunker down with my all too rapidly growing girls.

So, for the handful of people who read this, I apologize if I completely bore you, but this lil blog is going to be pretty much dedicated to documenting the wee ones.  They're

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm trying to ward off a panic attack!

Jim just called me and told me that he's going to be gone for FOUR nights in November!  I'm trying not to panic (yes, I know there are MUCH worse things that could be happening), but I'm not looking forward to being a single mama for almost a week!  I keep thinking of all of the things I'll be alone for...  trying to get myself and two girls out of the house on time in the mornings, bed times, dinner, I highly dislike going to bed when he's not home, and I may go crazy without having him around to talk to in the evenings.  (not to mention that there's a really good chance the girls won't get baths while he's gone!)

I'm afraid he's going to return home to this:
Go ahead, tell me what a baby I am.  I can take it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Browsing Etsy

I'm ordering the silver to FINALLY make my bracelet with Lucy's song lyrics on it and decided that I really want a new necklace too.  I made two before Lucy was born.  One I wear daily - it's just two tiny circles with their initials on them.  I do love it and it's perfect for a girl like me who does not really like big flashy blingy necklaces.  I also made one with two larger square pendants and a pearl.  I stamped their names on the squares.  I liked it when I saw a similar one, but I don't actually like to wear it.  It's too loud!  The pieces jingle and jangle all day and make me CRAZY!  So, I went back to Etsy shopping.

This isn't the most exciting, but it's classic and has always been popular in the shop.  I like it! 
 I like this one but I'm not sold and I'm afraid it will be as loud as the two squares.
I know there are still two pieces, but I think I really like this one.  I wouldn't put the birthstones though, either pearls or nothing and I don't know if I'd hammer it. 
I kind of like how they just threaded the chain through the washers for this one.  I'd probably add a pearl in the middle and I'm not a fan of the beaded chains.
This is my sister-in-laws.  Again, I like it but I'm not over the moon...
I'm kind of impatient, but then again I guess I should wait until I know what I want.  Anyone seen a stamped Mom's necklace that they love?  I'd love any ideas! (mine will definitely have the new font on it) :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Yesterday we went to the wedding of one of my all time favorite students (oh wait, teachers don't have favorites). She also just happened to finish college with a math ed degree just months before Lu was born and she was my sub while I was out. She looked gorgeous and the facility was so perfect it almost made me want to get married again, it would definitely be my choice!

Anyway, I'm taking a break from dishes and putting off sewing (I decided to make Stella's Halloween costume and think I'm in WAY over my head). I'm making baby food and thought I'd tell you about something that's making it so much easier this time around. I got this immersion blender from Amazon (love their free 2-day prime shipping!)  It's making baby food making process so much quicker and less messy this time around.  I can't wait to make butternut squash soup with it too!
I'm also liking Sally Hansen's Salon Effects.  I put my first pair on Friday night for the wedding Saturday.  They made it through chore day yesterday and still look like they did the first night.  I'm hoping they'll make it through another wedding this Saturday.  They're a bit pricey, but I'm sure I'll do them again sometime. Here's a cell phone pic of them.  Super easy to use!
Walgreens has special edition Halloween ones that Stella and I will most definitely be trying out! How cute are those ghosts?  I think if I cut the strips I can use one pack for both Stella and I.
Sally Hansen Salon Effects Ghoulie Girl LIMITED EDITION HALLOWEEN
Finally, I got a few new apps for my phone last week and really like one of them.  I've been using GroceryIQ for a while now for my grocery list and I've really liked it.  I found ZipList though and thoug it's taking a bit to adjust, I think I'm going to like it better because you can link it.  Jim has it on his phone and you log on to you account so you can add to the list from either of our phones or a computer.  The only drawback so far is that while I was shopping yesterday new things kept popping up on my list.  I think I'll need to make sure that he knows that the list needs to be done BEFORE I'm shopping, not while.