Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Santa's" workshop is getting busy

I started making one of Annika's Christmas presents (shhh, don't tell her!), and it's so stinkin' cute that I just had to share this picture of it.  She's going to flip - I can just see her wearing it all day long on Christmas.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Today I am feeling frustrated.  And I know I have the power to change that, but sometimes it's just easier to wallow in our frustrations.  And I also know that I'm feeling frustrated about silly things - "first world problems" if you will, but I'm still frustrated.

Switching Emmett from bottle to sippy cup is not going as well as I had hoped.  When we first gave him a cup a few weeks ago, he drank from it like a pro, and I thought "oh, this is going to be so easy this time around."  Annika was a nightmare to switch from bottles to cups, so I was really hoping that we wouldn't have to go through all that again.  However, somewhere along the way Emmett decided that he doesn't really like cups, and it's been quite the battle since then.  And it's just more frustrating because this time around we're not just dealing with one kid and meal time issues - more often than not, it's both kids making a fuss at meal times.  Which can also make Carey and I irritable, and then we're all in a bad mood.  I just keep telling myself "this too shall pass", which I think is the unofficial mantra of motherhood, right?

The other thing that has been causing me major headaches is our car seat situation.  Now, I know that safety is important, and it's great that we've learned so much about how to keep our children safer in a crash, but sometimes I wish we still lived in a time when you could just stick a few phone books under the kid to boost 'em up.  Emmett is at the very limit of his bucket seat (height-wise actually, not weight-wise), so we need to move him to a different seat.  However, I still wanted to keep him rear facing for a little while longer.  My plan was initially to move him into Annika's seat (which is a 3-in-1 seat - rear facing, forward facing and booster), and buy Annika a new seat (just forward facing and booster, since she's not quite ready for just a booster).  However, when I tried putting Annika's seat into our car in the rear facing position (which we had never done before), it didn't fit.  Well, it fit if the person sitting in the front seat had no legs, since the front seat had to be pushed all the way forward, rendering it pretty much useless.  So that was no good.  Then I contemplated switching him to forward facing already (since he meets the height and weight requirements no problem and he'll be a year on Friday), but I heard that there's a recommendation (that will apparently soon be law) that you need to keep kids rear facing until 2.  :P  So we got a different rear facing seat, which I think will fit okay in our car, but it will be quite squishy in front.  Now I just need to return the new seat that I had bought for Annika (hope the store takes it back!), and convince her to go back to sitting in her old seat (which she doesn't want to do, but she doesn't get much say in the matter).  Also, I feel like writing a letter to all car seat manufacturers and telling them that not every parent drives a mini-van, so please stop making these car seats so big!!

I know these are silly problems, and there are people out there that have far bigger issues than me, but this is what I'm dealing with.  And sometimes I just need to vent a little. :P  Now to go eat some chocolate - that makes everything better, right?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guilty pleasure

Okay, I'm going to admit one of my guilty pleasures....
I love the song "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz. 
You know the one -

I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying a-yo
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying a-yo
Baby, let's go

I have to admit, though, that I actually had to google the name and artist of the song right now.  I just know that when I'm listening to the radio in the car (that's the only place I listen to the radio anyway), if I hear it, I gotta crank it up and sing along (and of course, throw my hands up in the air - or at least one of them, while I'm driving).  And I will also admit that most of the time I will sing "a-yo, galileo" (it totally sounds like he says galileo, don't you think??).  Anyways, I heard it the other day, and it's been in my head since then, and I guess I've been singing it around the house.  Perhaps a little too much.  Today I heard Annika singing about "hands in the air" and "a-yo, gotta lego".  I had to laugh - that's my girl. :)

This moment - together

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." SouleMama

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Emmett's first hair cut

Today was Emmett's first hair cut!

Here's the before - getting a bit shaggy.  He wasn't in serious need of a hair cut, but I wanted to get it tidied up a bit before his birthday and Christmas.

Sitting in the big chair, a little uncertain about those scissors...

He wasn't too crazy about getting his hair cut, and it took a lot of distraction to get the job done.  Luckily I have a very good stylist - I couldn't imagine trying to do that myself!

Here's the after....

At first I thought he looked a little bit like...

...but after a little re-styling it wasn't so bad. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm still here

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately, and when I do post something, it's usually just pictures, but don't worry, I'm still here and I'm doing okay.  Just been really busy lately.  Here's a few random snippets of what's been going on in our lives:

The kids and I have been dealing with minor colds.  Nothing serious, but enough to feel a little crummy (and no sick days in this job!).  Hopefully it passes quickly, and hopefully we don't pass it onto too many others - when we're just "a little sick", I don't like to quarantine.  Sorry if my kids cough on you, but we can't stay at home for every cough and sniffle. :P

Emmett will be one next week!  Where does the time go?  That means planning a birthday party (what do you get for a one year old who doesn't need anything??? Seriously, if anyone has any good ideas let me know!), and lots of other changes.  We're switching from formula to whole milk and from bottles to sippy cups.  The switch is going okay, but it's not great yet.  We've also been dealing with some car seat challenges (I won't go into details here and now, maybe some other time).  Next week is Emmett's one year check up, and he'll be going for his first hair cut on Thursday this week (pictures will definitely follow!).  He now has 4 teeth, eats lots table food (whatever he can gum), and sleeps about 12 hours a night.

Annika has been doing well with her swimming lessons and with preschool.  She's learning to write her name, and sometimes gets the letters pretty neat and clear.  Sometimes she's a little dyslexic, though.  I once saw her print her name perfectly upside-down and backwards.  I joked that she's ready to become a waitress at Montana's. :)  Her behaviour is still a challenge some days (or most days), but we're working on it.  The calm down jar didn't really seem to do much (although I like to give it a shake every now and then), but I have been encouraging her to do deep breathing when she's really upset.  It seems to be working, as it will usually get her to stop crying (or screaming uncontrollably) and talk to us instead.  Now just need to be consistent with it, and maybe she will learn to take a few deep breaths before launching into a tantrum.  One can hope, right? ;)

I haven't really started Christmas shopping, or Christmas present-making (I'm still hoping to have a handmade element to each one of my gifts this year - we'll see how it turns out!), but I've got lots of ideas, thanks to Pinterest.  Lately I've been making a few little crafty things here and there, but I'm hoping to soon get started on some sewing projects.  As much fun as it is to have little projects that you can quickly finish, I also like to have bigger projects, that you can come back to for a few days and keep working on.

I guess that's all for now - sorry that I don't have more exciting or interesting news to share!

Friday, November 18, 2011

This moment - flying

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." SouleMama

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I actually made something I pinned on Pinterest!

For anyone who uses Pinterest for craft ideas, if you're like me, you probably pin a lot of things that you know you won't end up making.  Sure, you'd love to be able to make all these neat projects, but often you're lacking time, skill or materials.  Probably time most of all.  It takes just seconds to "pin" an idea - it could take hours (or days) to actually make it.  So I was very excited when, the other night, I came across an idea, and I was actaully able to make it that evening.  I had everything I needed at home, Carey was at hockey and the kids were in bed, and it wasn't very difficult.  I think it took me about an hour.  Here is the idea - a funky headband made from an old t-shirt:

I found this link that showed how to cut up an old t-shirt into one long, continuous strip.  Then you just tug on it until it rolls up a little to make "t-shirt yarn" (I did this while watching a PVR'd episode of The Office and snacking on some leftover Halloween candy - it was a pretty good evening. :) ).  Here's how my headband turned out.

This one I actually gave away as a gift, but I'm looking forward to making more (I've got a whole ball of "t-shirt yarn" now), so I can have one for myself, and maybe one for Annika.  She's not crazy about headbands, but maybe she'll like this one, because it's very soft and stretchy.  Me, I'm just excited that I was actually able to bring an idea to life!

Monday, November 14, 2011

1000 gifts: #122-130

yummy banana bread, made with my little helper

taking time to play

having the priviledge of leading worship at a friend's wedding - what a joy to play to a packed house!

baby babbles - "mum mum mum"

finding neat homemade gift ideas, and actually having the time/supplies to make them

a surprise pulled off

an evening of delicious food and wonderful company

a house that is well-suited to hosting and entertaining

my watch found!  (it had been missing for about a month, and Annika found it today under Emmett's car seat)

Friday, November 11, 2011

This moment - snowsuit

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." SouleMama

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Refashion: dress to skirt

October 2009

Annika has this dress that I am absolutely in love with.  I bought it in 2009 from The Children's Place and it's a size 18 months.  However, she just recently stopped wearing it - 2 years later!  Once the length was no longer suitable as a dress, she wore it as a tunic top with leggings.  The full-length sleeves became 3/4 length sleeves.  However, now it's really too small in the shoulders and so I was getting ready to put it in the "too small" pile.  Then I came across this idea - turn a too-small dress into a skirt!  Genius!!  Here's how it turned out.

 By the way, the color has not faded that much - just poor lighting for my photos and too lazy to try to fix it!




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Birthday vs. Christmas

Now that Halloween is over, we have 2 significant events that we're looking forward to - Emmett's first birthday and Christmas.  It's kind of funny, I had told Annika that after Halloween was Emmett's birthday, and then Christmas.  So the day after Halloween, she woke up and the first thing she said to me was "how old is Emmett?"  I had to laugh (quietly, so she wouldn't be embarrassed by her mistake), and then explain to her that his birthday wasn't right after Halloween, but in about a month - many, many days.  :)

Anyways, Emmett's birthday is coming up on December 2nd and of course, Christmas is on December 25th.  I had never planned to have a December baby, and in fact, it was the one month that I really didn't want to have a baby in.  But I guess God had other plans, because here we are with our December baby and I wouldn't trade him for anything.  My due date had originally been December 15th, and I prayed and prayed that he would be early, or at least not late, so that his birthday wouldn't be overshadowed by Christmas.  And he cooperated!  Actually, he was not just 2 weeks early, but 4 weeks.  After he was born, the nurses at the hospital told us that the due date was wrong, and he was actually about 4 weeks early.  We had had fetal assessments in the month leading up to his birth (due to high blood pressure and the fact that I was measuring small), but they figured everything was okay, since he was already weighing about 7 lbs (which was his birth weight - can you imagine if he had stayed in for 4 more weeks!!  Yikes!).  However, the nurses could see signs in his development that told them that he was a bit more premature than we thought (despite the fact that he was a decent weight).  Luckily everything turned out fine (other than some initial feeding issues and unpleasant glucose-level testing), and he was able to stay in the room with me and we could all go home together.  So, even though I now had a December baby, at least he had picked a day that wasn't too close to Christmas and everything worked out okay.

So now that his first birthday is approaching, I'm making plans for it, and also getting ready for Christmas.  I don't know why - maybe it's all the stuff in the stores - but I felt like the day after Halloween was over that I should start getting ready for Christmas.  Now that there's a little snow on the ground, it feels even more Christmas-y.  I'm one who likes to have Christmas decorations up for quite a while.  Last year I think we put up our tree in mid-November already, although that was due to different circumstances (I knew I wouldn't feel like putting up a tree after the baby came, so I wanted to get it done beforehand).  However, I was thinking about it the other day, and I came to the decision that I will not put up any Christmas decorations until after Emmett's birthday (I can do other Christmas prep, like baking and shopping or listening to Christmas music, but not decorating).  I want his birthday to be about him.  There's lots of time for decorating, and enjoying the Christmas season, after that.   I think this will probably be how I do things from now on.  This year presents a challenge with Christmas decorating anyway - with Emmett crawling around and "exploring" everything (i.e. pulling things apart, putting them in his mouth, throwing them around), I don't think we will have a Christmas tree anyway!  We will probably just put up a small one in our wall niche, or somewhere out of his reach.

So that's my plan.  Does anyone else struggle with the dilemma of birthday vs. Christmas?  How do you make it work??  I'd love to hear some other ideas, especially when it comes to gift-giving.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A quick refashion - romper into shirt

Now that I'm addicted to sewing, I spend time (probably more than I should) looking at other sewing and crafty blogs and see what other people are making.  A big thing is upcycling or refashioning - taking something old and creating something new out of it.  It's a great idea, as you can get a lot more wear out of your existing clothes (a definite plus with kids clothes that they grow out so quickly!), or you can take something not-so-pretty and create something totally new out of it.  It takes a bit of a mind-shift though, to start looking at things and not just seeing what's there, but what could be there.  I'm slowly learning, though.

So here's my first refashion project.  It's fairly simple, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.  I loved this romper on Emmett (not sure why, maybe it's the little tie), but unfortunately, the weather turned cold before he even grew out of it.  With girls' summer clothes there are ways to extend their lives into fall (e.g. add some warm tights and a shirt underneath a summer dress), but not so much with this romper.  I don't think Emmett would look good in tights, and I think Carey would probably kill me if I attempted it!  So rather than pack away this little romper with a sigh, I found a way for him to get more wear out of it - I turned it into a shirt.  Here's how I did it (it's very simple!).

Take the romper...

Cut off the legs (use a shirt that fits to check for length)...

Hem the bottom and you're done!

I thought about trying to sew on sleeves (cut off from a long-sleeved onesie that doesn't fit anymore) for the faux-layered look, but I gave up on that idea, and decided to just layer it over a long-sleeved shirt instead.  Pretty cute and now we can get a few more wearings out of a fav!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Calm down jar

I posted a few months ago about the "thundering threes" that Annika is going through.  Things have not improved too much since then.  Sure, we have good moments, or even good days, but overall, it's still pretty challenging.  Some days I feel like pulling my hair out.  Sometimes I'm at a complete loss as to what to do - how to handle the tears and the tantrums and the complete meltdowns; what to do when no punishment seems to have an effect.  The past month has been particularly challenging, since we've been very busy and it seems to have taken its toll on Annika.  I'm hoping that this next month will be a little more relaxed, and that more routine and predictability will help Annika (until December comes and that all goes out the window with Christmas coming!).  :P

I came across this idea on Pinterest, and I want to make one of these for Annika.  Hopefully it will be helpful for her.  It's called a "mind" jar or a calm down jar.

       It looks sort of like a snow globe and the purpose of it is to help your child take a few minutes and calm down when they're stressed or upset or angry.  You shake it up and then watch as the glitter swirls around and then gradually settles down.  It can also be used as a "time out" - they have to sit and watch the jar until it settles down, which takes a few minutes. 
I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but at this point, I'm willing to try just about anything.

UPDATE - December 12, 2011 - click here to read my update on how the calm down jar worked for us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The jumper

Last week Wednesday, at my last sewing class, I started working on a jumper for Annika.  Well, I was so excited about it, I couldn't help myself and I finished it by Saturday.  Those of you who attend our church got to see it in person already, as I made Annika wear it on Sunday (she was enthusiastic about wearing it on Saturday, but had changed her mind by Sunday morning.  I made her wear it anyway :P).

Here are some pics...

The pattern is very simple - no buttons or zippers - and now that I know what I'm doing, I think I should be able to make it again fairly quickly.  I will probably make another one (or a bunch more - the pattern goes up to size 6x) in a lighter fabric by spring time.  I'm pretty proud of myself that, except for getting everything ready and cut at my sewing class, I did all the sewing (and figuring out) all by myself.  There were a few things I didn't quite understand and I made a few mistakes (thank goodness for Google and a seam ripper!), but I persevered and it turned out really well.  I love how simple and neutral it is - she can wear it with pretty much anything.  I'm still debating as to whether I add a few buttons on the front or just leave it as is.