Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Still Sleep With My Baby Blankie.

Now you know something about me that people really shouldn't know but there's a reason I'm telling you this sensitive piece of information.  My Grandpa's sister, my aunt Janey, made me my baby blankie.  It's so soft and comforting and you can totally see through it if you hold it up to the light.  Aunt Janey died this week. It was unexpected and quick.  She's a Christian woman so we know that she's in heaven with her husband and her baby sister who died when she was only nineteen.

Viewings and funerals make me very uncomfortable.  Not because of the body or because of death but because I have absolutely no idea how to act, or what to say in those situations.  That's pretty unfortunate in Brian's line of work and I had a professor say one time that no one remembers what you say but that you were there.  I hope that's true because I am a bumbling fool during these times of grief.

What I can do is make a casserole, bake a pie or toss a salad. So I contacted my Aunt Dawn to see if there was something I could bring since she was heading up the dinner.  During the course of that correspondence she told me she was holding up o.k. but that Aunt Janey was her favorite aunt.  And, that's when it hit me.  Aunt Janey is my great aunt and my papa's sister but she's my aunt's aunt.  I love my aunts desperately and thinking of loosing one of them really strikes me to the core. It brings Aunt Janey's death home a little bit more. I'm still more of an observer here because I really didn't know her well, but I do hurt for her children and for my mom and her siblings.  To wonder how papa is holding up; there's only three of them left now; how strange that must be how sad.

My aunt's have been there for me and been part of my life all along.  I've spent the night at their houses and played with their children.  They can give me advice in a way that my mom can't. I know they root for me because they root for my mom they love me because they love my mom.  The feelings I have for my sister's child are really sweet and complex they feel that for me and Aunt Janey felt that for them.

My family is HUGE papa had five brothers and sister's he then had six children of his own and I have no idea how many kids his siblings had.  After seeing all of us (some I don't even know by name) it made me think of how we're each like a thread that gets woven into this big family blanket. And our threads are all integral to the integrity of the blanket and maybe some of the threads don't touch but we still influence and effect each other.
My Oldest, whose aunts adore him, with my blankie.

Thank you God for my aunts for their continued love and support and thank you God for Aunt Janey and the different threads that she wove in and out of the fabric of my "family blanket" even when I was unaware.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Made a Quilt.

It's true I made an itty bitty quilt for Conster.  Today we took down the crib and put up the toddler bed complete with the new "Farm Quilt" and matching pillow.  I cried a little because my baby is no longer going to sleep in a crib.

I used the pattern for the farm quilt from Alicia Paulson's book An Embroidery Companion I've mentioned many times how much I like her patterns and projects and the same is true for this little number.  I did add two rows to the bottom because it didn't seem big enough and I'm glad I did it just barely covers the toddler bed.

Why I did it: I like sewing and always want to learn a new skill. I want my kids to have unique hand made things, and I find that finding cute things for boys is really difficult so I decided to make a cute quilt instead of buying a stupid monkey or truck blanket.

What I Learned:

Making an itty bitty quilt is very time consuming.  There are lots of steps.  Because this one has hand embroidered farm animals it takes a little longer (though I enjoyed that part a lot and think the animals just totally make the blanket).  While it was time consuming it was super rewarding but because it was time consuming I'm not sure I would make one bigger then this it seems like it would take forever.

Picking out fabric for a boy quilt and using almost totally scraps from my stash is super fun and super exciting.  I felt very very frugal when I was able to use up the last bits of some of my more charming fabric (mushrooms and three little pigs just to name a few.)

However, it's a good thing I used all those scraps because just the batting and backing was $30.  I did splurge a little on the batting, I got 100% cotton because I'm hoping Conner uses it a lot, I want it to breath and it's going to get washed plenty. However, if your thinking of making a quilt because the only ones you can find that are cute for a boy are from Pottery Barn Kids and seem really pricey, you may want to price out making one first (especially if you don't have a stash to bust) It might not be that much more to purchase one from a higher end retailer (especially if you won't find the project enjoyable and need a bigger size then toddler).  I used the word "especially" a lot there, I've also used the word "rewarding" a lot sorry about that.

The actual quilting part (that's when you make the little stitches in each square to hold all the layers together, it's also decorative) is the worst part.  It's very tedious and hurt my fingers (doing it in front of the television helped).

Which leads me to the fact that I learned using a thimble type thing to quilt would probably have saved my finger tips some bruising.  I also bought a walking foot for sewing the "sandwich" together and that was awesome, best $20 sewing money I've purchased (plus it looks cool).

To sum up, I'm glad I did this it was very rewarding, and while it's far from perfect I think it's really really cute.  However, I don't know that I would do it for some one I loved even a scosh less then my sons.  I mean part of what made it great was knowing they would have something hand made from me that was really unique and all those little stitches are filled with love.  I liked the different steps and found that seeing it come together was a neat feeling but I like sewing and I'm not sure I would have been able to stick with getting it done if it had been bigger (unless I wasn't doing all the embroidery before hand) and would have taken longer.  So if your wondering if you want to try something like this the answer is... I don't know either you'll love it or hate it but I hope my experience helps you make the decision.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I've Been Dreaming About It Again...

No not those kinds of dreams silly.  I've been dreaming about dress patterns and fabric again and hair styles.  How weird am I? Wait, you don't have to answer that I'm simply quirky and charming.  Ok, the problem is, Hunter has been watching old Super Man cartoons from the 1940's pretty much non-stop, at the same time I have been discovering some amazing sewing and sewing vintage websites and blogs (I did not even know these kinds of things existed! The World Wide Web can be so amazing!) and Brian, knowing how much I love cheesy comic book movies (it's so true), keeps showing me Captain America Trailers, all this adds up to me being obsessed with the clothing and look of the 1940's (Lois Lane is a really snappy dresser) and with me wanting to sew them my self (well I mean how else do you get garments with these specifications unless your going to pay $$$$).
This is my favorite so far I love the green and the two tone shoes!!!

Why oh why do these things happen to me? Remember my last attempt to sew myself a dress it did not end well... But I also remember a time when I wanted to learn to french braid my own hair and I spent hours in front of my mirror screaming at myself (I was in Jr. High) however, I can now french braid my hair... So the question is; is it worth trying and trying and trying until I can make my own clothes (from old patterns and using vintage and reclaimed fabrics)?  Remember I have to set every thing up on my table and it's always in the way and a pain and I'm a little on the chubby side and my poor poor husband must get so sick of this weird hobby of mine and having to see my sewing machine balanced on the back of the couch while we eat dinner.  On the other hand it would be good for the environment and could cost less if I find those elusive places where you buy old fabric and notions (like I keep reading about on line). Brian has strange hobbies that include video games and he's never once complained about the sewing. I wouldn't have to worry about slave labor involved in the things I make. I love a more vintage look... And the biggest bonus? I will have to go junking junking junking to find patterns (which I will now have to collect) and fabric and notions etc. YEA SHOPPING!
This is actually from the 1930's but I'm LOVING it!
I will have to junking eh? (In case your wondering junking is our term for antiquing b/c we like to go to junky antique shops and look for treasures).  I think it may be worth it! Who wants to go junking with me, and soon, I have an itch that must be scratched?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sister's Three.

The Sister's Three is my imaginary coffee shop.  I own and run it with my two sisters Courtney and Heather.  In a word it is Magnificent.  You see, this coffee shop is the perfect place to sit, chat, and relax with girlfriends over a nice hot cup of coffee.

We are located in a super cute down town and our shop has wide planked wooden floors and a tin ceiling with lots of natural lighting.  There are live red geraniums all over the place along with other plants that are for sale and are grown in vintage coffee and baking tins.  There are also a few other things for sale along the lines of antiques from the forties and fifties, vintage books, original art work by local artists and super unique hand made items and vintage fabrics.

On the menu is all manner of wonderful coffee drinks and lattes.  All of our coffee, chocolate, coco and tea is sourced from responsible companies who pay their farmers fair wages etc. (this may make things a tad bit more expensive but once people find out why, I think, they'll be willing to pay an extra fifty cents for a latte.  Plus our place will be so cute they'll come any way.)  We'll also serve a different soup every day made in store and thickened with out flour so people with wheat allergies will have a cute place to eat lunch.  We'll also serve different scones and muffins and cookies made in house as well.  I would like to have one sweet thing also made with out flour (this is a big market people aren't really tapping into, at least not around here, and I want Megan to have something to eat when she stops by for some Java).

We have groups that meet here through out the week that include writing groups, book clubs and youth groups.  We have regulars and people who stop in once a week with their mom and sisters to catch up.  It's a really great place to be.

Courtney informs me that she has already worked in a coffee shop and did not like it but her boss was super crazy (think Martha Stewart is your coffee store boss). And she will be a part owner in this venture plus I have already decided I will take the early morning shift and open the store so she can sleep in.  We will be closed Sundays and Mondays so that should help us recharge our batteries.

I totally get that in real life owning and running your own business is not nearly as romantic as it seems in my imagination, but hey dreams are fun aren't they?  Plus wouldn't you all like a place like this to come and get a great cup of coffee?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Baby is Two Years Old Today.

Sigh, two years old.  How is that even possible where did all that time go? When did you look like an old man alien?

This is Conner at his first birthday (like, yesterday right?)
Before we lost his curls.
No, it isn't possible that he's two.

Ode To Conner

My Youngest child
I do love you.
When You came into this world
No epidural It's true!
I would not do that again, for sure
But, it was worth it to get to you.
You are so funny my grumps you cure.
Every day more and more I love you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This isn't a post about Glee or Yoga...

Like it was suppose to be.  I just don't have it in me to organize my thoughts about last weeks episode or download photos Brian took while I was in downward facing dog.  I am up to my eyeballs in laundry and up to my elbows in fecal matter and vomit.  I'm sorry but it's true.

Brian left this weekend for a youth conference.  I stayed home with the children because that is what mothers are suppose to do.  Last year when Brian was at this conference Hunter got sick in the night and I had to deal with it all by myself.  This year Conner got sick in the night and the only help I got was a dog trotting along beside me to keep me company (thanks Ranger). The second night when Conner threw up again Ranger just lay on the couch and watched me walk by a million times.  Conner is teething really bad so I figured since he was only sick at night it was too much mucus and I could deal with two nights of little sleep.

Then today Hunter got it, or something, and while failing to get his pants totally down in time (thanks Brian for putting the kid in blue jeans could you not see enough into the future to let him go pantless?) pooed all over the bathroom and I mean all over.  Try not to imagine it and sorry.  Then after lunch he unsuccessfully tried to vomit in the toilet but didn't really make it...

Did I mention I had just mopped and cleaned every thing including the bathroom rug? By this time my emotions are a bit on the frayed side.  So Brian brings me some pull-ups on his lunch break which was really nice of him except it just made me mad.  Seriously, I haven't left the house since Friday and he just breezes in with pull-ups and no lunch (again, hello how are you not reading my mind husband?) and leaves again.  Which isn't exactly true, he kept asking how he could help but that just wasn't helping (I know, I feel bad).  I usually don't torture my husband with things like that (I give him a count down to our anniversary and my birthday so he won't forget).  But, today I just wanted him to think to switch the laundry and take the afternoon off and magically make the children well and tell me what to eat... That's when I thought "Oh I haven't eaten yet today at all and it's one o'clock."

You should know I'm pretty nice unless I get really hungry then I stop functioning.  My body prevents this from happening by pretty much telling me that I'm hungry every few hours.  Except today it didn't (maybe the lovely smells in the bathroom and the piles of laundry had something to do with it) so I tortured my husband and felt bad for myself and cried.  Then I ate a bagel and felt a little better. Then I dipped peanut butter cookies in tea (because I love dipping cookies in milk, it's almost my favorite thing, but I can't drink milk) which tastes a little weird then I sent my husband a message saying that I love him and ate a bagel and felt better, just so he would know it's safe to come home... I think.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Went to Mom's Dairy Free.

That sounds weird doesn't it?

I'll explain.

I went to my mom and dad's this weekend by myself. Which meant that I got to eat all meals uninterrupted, sleep uninterrupted and pee uninterrupted. It was really nice, I feel very refreshed.  I went out there to go bride's matron dress shopping (as all three of us are married now) for my mom and dad's vow renewal ceremony coming up at the end of April. It was also mom, dad, and Grammy's birthdays and my mom turned 50 (well technically I think she turns 50 some time this week.  What is the date today any way?) so we had a nice dinner and dessert party (yes, I said dessert party they were the main attraction, why do you ask?)  Since mom is turning 50 I made her a purse using a pattern from Alicia Paulson that I tweaked quite a bit and then we filled it with 50 things. Nice things, funny your-old type of things, and cards from her siblings and nieces and nephews. I think it went well and the purse turned out really cute I am VERY happy with it. The pictures aren't great because I took them at night and that is not the best time for pics.
Happy Bday mom! Your still younger then all of my friends parents!

So the dairy free part is that I've been having all these tests and problems and the day before I left for moms, the specialist called me to tell me to stop eating dairy and high-fructose corn syrup immediately. I was seriously licking vanilla cream pudding off a spatula when they called. This is exciting and depressing all at the same time.

It's depressing because I have to change so much. I got groceries yesterday and it took me forever because I had to read the labels on every thing. It's very limiting one of those two things seems to be in every packaged food and loaf of bread and box of cereal and package of oreos... It's hard to travel and eat out because I don't know what's in any thing so basically it's going to be a lot of research and take some time to get used to it.

It's exciting because it is a huge relief to know what's going on in my body and not have it be super serious (I could have had a gluten intolerance, that would have been so much worse). It's a huge relief to be able to do something to make it better. But it's also exciting because I've been wanting to make some changes in my diet but have not had the will power to do so, now I don't really have a choice.  Mom's renewal thing is in two months and I know cutting all that food out (even just packaged stuff) will help me loose at least a little weight and I'm sure I'll just feel so much better before then. It feels good to think I may have a pre-baby body some day (or a lot better then now any way) and this is the kind of no-choice-motivation I needed.

So we'll see. I have to be super strict for four weeks (even avoiding butter in baked goods etc.) and then slowly add dairy back in to see what I can tolerate. This is week one of being really strict (I was good out east but not perfect we did have all those deserts to eat after all) I'll keep you all updated on how it goes and how I feel; so far I've been eating a lot of Nature Valley granola bars and oatmeal until I can figure out what exactly I can eat.

Here are some pics of the family.
This is my dad's dog Rolly.
She has the worst breath of any other
living creature.

This is my brother-in-law Patrick and my nephew Eli.
Eli is sooooo cute. Being an aunt is really amazing
isn't it?
This is Heather and Eli. Her and Patrick don't think
they'll have kids of their own but we all know how that goes....
This is Athena, my niece, and her step-dad Patrick. She thinks she is their kid.