Friday, December 23, 2011

It's my birthday!

It's finally here. I'm 35! But you know what? That's just fine by me! I have so many blessings in my life, that each year just reminds me how lucky I am.

Today was a pretty normal was the last day before my son started his Christmas break (Lil A has already been off all week) so we took him to school and then enjoyed a peaceful day at home. That was probably one of the best gifts I could have had...just a day off. I worked 14 hours yesterday, and while it was fun, I was beat today. Lil even suggested taking a nap together, and I gladly accepted. Even though it meant I didn't get all of the cleaning or baking done I planned, it was a much needed rest.
Once hubby got home we puttered around the house a bit and then I got to open my gifts. The kids gave me a gift certificate to one of my favorite clothing stores (much needed!) and hubby gave me a poem he had written for me. It was so sweet, and he has never done that for me before. I loved it. My gift from my parents was a Swarovski snowflake's so beautiful! My best friend sent me a lovely necklace from Hawaii, which I opened early and wore to work the other day. It's so pretty!
But my two favorite presents have to be these darling faces:

(Don't you just love the GIANT sequined bow??? Well, Lil does anyway! lol She keeps hoping her bangs are finally long enough to pull back, but she's not quite there yet...)

(It's amazing...he's so tall now that when I go down on my knee next to him, I'm so much shorter than he is!)

Then we went to dinner...our favorite Japanese restaurant. It's a tiny mom & pop, not fancy at all, but has delicious food. It's really a family restaurant, and there were in fact lots of other families with small children there. We at far too much sushi but we get to go so rarely that it was totally worth it!

Once we made it home, the kids insisted on singing "Happy Birthday" with the cake before bed. We shared a single slice so they wouldn't be completely hopped up on sugar right before bedtime...yummy! Having a near-Christmas birthday meant my childhood birthday cake always has pointsettias on it, and it made me smile that that tradition still hasn't changed by the bakery my hubby went to.

Do you have any fun birthday traditions?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Visit to Santa

These are a few days late, but my schedule has been so hectic that I just haven't had a moment to post these! We dashed up to the museum on Friday after Big D and hubby got home from school. Following a quick change of clothes of course! Well by the time everyone was dressed , coats and boots on and parked at the museum it was about 4:45. Did I mention the museum closes at 5? lol Well we made it and thankfully there was no line.
The kids were soooo excited when they saw him!

Our Santa is great...he really loves children and is very patient and softspoken. He's the only Santa the kids have ever been to. The set up is's really like being in Santa's living room. The window is actually real, but no longer looks outside. Instead, this hand painted backdrop of the museum creates a festive snowy scene. Our winter has been very mild so far so we haven't seen snow anything like this yet. (In fact today it's in the mid 50's and has been raining this morning! Not very Christmas-y!)

 At the end of  their visit they each got a special coloring book and crayons from Santa. He also asked if they would be kind enough to put an extra cookie out for Mrs. Claus. Since Friday, both of the kids have been reminding me that we can't forget that! :)

I do love the magic at this time of year, and hope my children hold on to it for a very long time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Little hats for little heads

I've been working on a gift for a work friend. They were expecting twins at the end of January, but for some reason, she went into labor early and delivered them in early October. Such tiny little babies, the baby girl only 1 lb 6 oz and the baby boy 1 lb 10 oz.! It was a scary time...being so little there were many obsticles in their way, but miraculously both have done well and continue to grow! As a gift I made a set of little hats for them after seeing that their hospital hats were too big on their tiny heads. Once I started I just couldn't stop and put together 10 hats so far. I dropped them off yesterday and as an added bonus was able to see their mom and the twins in person! It was so exciting...I hadn't expected it since I had only planned to drop off the gift and leave, and it was great to see how adorable they are in person. Their baby boy even smiled in his sleep as I was watching him...I couldn't help but get a bit teary-eyed. :)

I have a few more done already and once there are enough for another batch I will drop them off. I made them in a variety of sizes, all using Preemie patterns, but they all turned out in varying sizes depending on the yarn, tension, etc.

It's been a great learning experience for me too. While I know enough about crochet to feel comfortable making hats, knitting is still something I am a complete novice at so this gave me the opportunity to learn how to read patterns better and learn how to knit in the round.

I have to say thank you to all the wonderful people who have posted free patterns for preemie hats. It's really heartwarming to find so many people happily sharing their patterns for such a good thing as hats for these babies who were born too soon. I have quite a few on my Pinterest board, so if you are interested in them, please stop by and check them out.

I've also been in contact with the twin's NICU and have found out that they accept donations of hats too, so I have a project to keep me going even after the twins are finally able to go home. If you have a hospital near you with a NICU, ask if they accept donations too. They may have some requirements about the materials, so ask questions. At the very least use the softest yarn you can find, nothing too fuzzy or bumpy since their skin is very delicate and fuzzy yarn can shed which they may breath in. And for preemies I read that yellow might not be the best color, since so many develop jaundice, and the yellow yarn wont  look so nice with their skin at that time. And have fun with it...preemies are so little that most clothing doesn't fit them, so providing a special hat that will fit will be such a gift.

You can also check if they accept other hats too...perhaps some full term babies or children could use them, or adult patients. A soft warm hat can really make someones day...and easily will make yours too.

UPDATE 12/12/11: I was sent a photo of one of the twins wearing one of the hats by his dad. Doesn't he look cute???

UPDATE 1/26/11: Their little boy has been home from the hospital for a few days now and doing great! We're just waiting for his twin sister to join the family at home...hopefully soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A happy weekend

We had a nice, peaceful weekend. I did quite a bit of running around on Saturday, grocery shopping, buying new pants for Big D who seems to be going through (another) growth spurt, a stop at the thrift store to find a white elephant gift for an upcoming cookie exchange etc.
Today I hung some of the Christmas lights least on the porch railings where I don't need a ladder to reach. :) Tonight the house has a bit of twinkle to it, which just puts me in the Christmas mood!
Then we had quite a cuddle session, enjoying a marathon of Harry Potter movies.
I do love those little pudding covered faces!


Even Jewel joined in!

And of course we got a little silly!

Naturally messes followed the kids wherever they went.
We had to clean up these beads at least 3 times today...sigh.

And my favorite moment was this:

At bedtime Big asked if he could read the story to Lil A.
It was so sweet watching him read "Olivia", a family favorite to his little sister.
They may wrestle and bicker with each other to the point I want to scream, but then they have these sorts of moments and it reminds me that the love and bond they share endures through it all.

On the other hand, I did get a little crafting time in. I worked on a quilt I have been piecing and did a bit more knitting. I'm working on a bright hat for Big using some very soft chunky yarn that I bought for him a while ago, but just haven't been sure how to use it. Hopefully this time I'll figure it out.

I hope you had a lovely weekend as well!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's December!

I can't believe that it is December already! I love fast as it flies, it's a fun month. At work it's a crazy busy month. Working at a museum, it's really busy! It's also my birthday at the end of the month and I will be turning 35. Wow. I had the day off with Lil A. She had her post Op check up scheduled so she and I spent a wonderful day together. We started off making French Toast...yum!

And since it's the first day of December, it's the first day of the kids Advent Calendars. Queue the awesome grandparents...we found the usual chocolate advent calendars, which were a bit of a disappointment. But a package arrived today from my mother who is visiting family in Germany (yes, my mom is that cool.). There were these, awesomer than awesome Advent calendars by Playmobil. The kids were soooooo excited!

Jewel was too, but about the box! lol

There were also chocolates and candies to decorate our tree. It's always been a tradition in my family to decorate the Christmas tree with chocolates. I can't wait till we get our tree to hang them, but I'm sure they will be gone faster than we can hang them! :)

I also brought out my Nutcracker figurines. Lil has never seen them, because between 2 cats and 2 toddlers I was afraid they would get knocked over. Please keep your fingers crossed that they make it through the holiday! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

So glad for Monday!

"Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today." from Many Colorful Days by Dr. Seuss

What a strange weekend...
Not strange in the sense that all kinds of weird things happened, but strange in that it was one of the most unproductive weekends I can remember. Days where you don't know where the time went because you were trapped in some kind of haze of laziness. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good lazy day, full of cuddling with the family, watching movies under blankets, etc. But this was the kind of soul-sucking lazy day where socks sat on the floor in front of the couch for most of the weekend because I couldn't be bothered to reach down and pick them up...because once I pick them up I have to put them somewhere, and goodness knows the bathroom hamper is so far out of my way... One of those days where yes, I technically got dressed (though socks and a bra were too much of a bother), and I think I brushed my hair, but honestly I can't be sure.
And I realized that at the end of my slump I wasn't the only one who felt put off by it all. Hubby stayed in pj's all day, and the kids got dressed mainly because they dressed themselves. We were all a bit more irritable, my body was  more sore and tired than normal, both of the kids were more whiney and bickered with each other more, the cats slept the day away in other rooms. The tv was on all day, but I don't even know what was on. Football I guess.
Looking back, I realized that the best part of the day for me was puttering in the kitchen making a pot pie to use up the leftover turkey and chicken from the weekend. It felt so nice being barefoot in the kitchen, unrolling pie dough, chopping and cooking veggies and mixing in the other ingredients and pinching the top crust over the rest of the milky white vintage Pyrex baking dish. When it was hot and bubbly, with a gorgeous golden crust, it was great to sit at the table and have dinner together. After some complaining from the kids that it looked "gross", a little coaxing and once they took a bite Big D's face lit up and he explaimed "This is exquisite!" lol He loves his new big word. And while I'm not sure it truly ranks as exquisite, I felt cheered that they enjoyed it. I wish I had taken a picture of it.
I really need to remember to take pictures of the little things.
Fast forward through an unproductive evening, and now we arrive at Monday. I woke up in a bit of a panic since I had no idea where Big's backpack was, whether he even had clean clothes, and needed to pack a bag for Lil A with a change of clothes in case she has an accident at Dad's house. But for all the rushing I felt in control for the first time all weekend. We were back in our routine. And we got out the door and to school a bit earlier than we have been the last couple weeks. I dropped Lil off, got to chat with my dad for a few minutes and off to work I went.
It's been so good to be back in my "normal" routine today. I realized that time isn't something to be squandered like we did this weekend. Some things I was grateful for this week:
  • Cooking for my family. I really love it.
  • Thrift stores. That's where I did my Black Friday shopping and found some great things!
  • Hugs. Our family didn't share enough of these this weekend and we all suffered for it.
  • Dinner together. It's something that we generally don't negotiate on, unless the house is filled with hubby's friends and there is lots of pizza involved.
  • Enclosed shower stall. I dislike just about everything in my bathroom including the shower the size of a phone booth, but for bathing cats it was a godsend.
 How was your weekend? Productive? Lazy (in a good way)?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wow, this is an amazing giveaway!

I saw this post on Birgit Koopsen's blog this morning and had to share! Check out this box of goodies she is giving away!

Are you drooling? I know I am!

If you are interested in a chance to win this stuff, go to her blog and check out how to enter!
You only have until tomorrow, so hurry!
Good luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Full and happy!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving feast full of all your favorite yums! We're all stuffed like turkeys here and spent a wonderful day with family. My kitchen is still a mess and my feet ache, but it was well worth it!
And no, Jewel didn't eat the fish for dinner, much as she wanted to!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey is in the oven and the house smells amazing! Not quite ready yet, but looking good so far!

Having a few minutes to catch my breath, I just wanted to wish my stateside friends a very Happy Thanksgiving! My family and friends are by far the things I am most thankful for.

Here's wishing you a great start to the holiday season!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Yesterday I needed to sit at my table and get my craft on. After the craziness of the week it was time to sit down and destress with some crafting. And I know I really need some craft therapy when the first thing I reach for is glitter. lol

I decided to make some ornaments. I used laser cut wood shapes and covered the entire surface in a single color of glitter. It was fabulous and messy. My whole house sparkles! :) But after the worry and focus of the past few days, seeing little sparkles around the house just made me smile.

The colors I used here were silver ("family"), gold (angel), champagne (Eiffle Tower), and a soft blue (snowflake). I also used a clear glitter on the shooting star, but I may redo this one. We'll see. I think the Eiffel Tower is my favorite! Sorry for the lighting in these pictures...the sun set faster than I expected so I lost a lot of my natural light.

I also made glitter filled bulbs. I have a video on YouTube showing how I made them two years ago. So easy, and the effect is just beautiful. And since the glitter is inside, no glitter mess when they are hung up!

I have plans for these bulbs already and have more to make as teacher gifts. I think I will also make a set for our tree at work. So many of the ornaments are breaking and while I love vintage ornaments, some are beyond their shelf life. :)

Are you making ornaments for your tree this year? What do they look like?

p.s. I just ordered a couple more colors of glitter, so look for those colors appearing in projects down the road!

Long week

This has been a very long week.

On Wednesday, my daughter Lil A went in for surgery. When she was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with Vesicuretural Reflus (VUR), which means that urine backs into the ureters and depending on the level of severity, may enter the kidneys. She has grade 4 out of 5, so there is significant reflux into her kidneys. Since then she has been on antibiotics to keep her urine as sterile as possible to minimize the chance of damage to her kidneys. Many children will reduce the grade of VUR as they grow, but at nearly 5, Lil hasn't shown enough improvement to continue the current treatment. So the decision was made to perform a Bilateral Uretural Reimplantation, which will finally stop the reflux. It has a 98% success rate, so we are confident that this will finally take care of the problem and prevent any further scarring to her kidneys.

So we went in on Wednesday morning and after some waiting got her prepped for surgery. She was very cheerful and upbeat as we were waiting to go in. I loved the drawing she did on the Magna was the two of us holding balloons :)

When it was her time, I went into the operating room with her, donned in a lovely yellow robe, hat and mask. She said I looked like a duck. :) We got her onto the table and they started giving her the anesthesia. After a few seconds she was out, and I gave her a kiss and left the room. The surgery took a few hours, and the doctor was happy with the result. After she stabilized in the recovery room, we went to her room. Poor thing, she was so groggy, but did give us a little smile.

The next couple of days were a blur. I stayed with her in the room, and needless to say didn't get much sleep. There was another child in our room when we arrived, but they were discharged a few hours after we got there, so I was looking forward to having the room to ourselves for the night. Unfortunately at about 1:30am another patient was moved down. It took quite a while for them to settle in and sleep, which meant it took a while for Lil to sleep also. And with lots of nurses in the room every couple hours, it was nearly impossible to sleep for long. Early in the morning her catheter was taken out which she was not happy about!

Thursday passed the same way. My husband, son and dad all came to visit when they could. The other child was released late morning and we enjoyed another few hours of relative peace. But we got another child later in the day, a very nice girl and her family who was admitted a few days prior to her surgery. We tried to get Lil A up but she was very sore and scared to move. So we just did the best we could. That night she rested more comfortably, and was able to sleep through the nursing checks most of the time.
On Friday, the doctors came to check her and said that barring any issues she could go home that afternoon. Hurray! She was still very hesitant to get up and walk, and really couldn't go further than the rooms bathroom. Her drain tube was removed and other than the connection in her hand, so was her IV. We took a wheelchair ride downstairs for a change of scene, though she was so miserable the entire team, it seemed more like I was shoving bamboo splinters under nails. lol We also played Bingo in the room, which the hospital offers to the kids on Fridays. She had funw ith that, but was still feeling uncomfortable. The nursing staff were wonderful the entire time and gave her pain medication as needed during the time we were there. After this dose, she fell asleep for over 3 hours! Tired little girl!

We we finally got her ready to go home, despite her claims that "I'm not ready yet!". Very funny concidering she had been going on and on since we arrived saying "I'm not happy, because I want to go home!". But after getting paperwork signed, prescription filled and bags packed, we got a wagon ride downstairs. We needed to switch to a wheelchair to get out to the parking lot and at that moment I regretted not parking in Valet! It took over a half hour to track down a wheelchair! In a hospital! Geez! But finally we tracked one down and got to the car and our escape! We got home at around 8:30pm, and I was never so happy to be home! :)

This weekend has been filled with getting Lil up and walking more and more, and was so happy so see her initate small walks to different rooms, watch her crouch down to pick something up, climb onto chairs and play with quiet toys on her lap. She still has painful urination, which is making her scared to use the toilet so we've had to deal with that occasional mess, but all in all she is doing well and seems to be healing on track. But I think she will still need a little time to recover, so I'm not planning on having her in school tomorrow and I think she'll be out of dance class tomorrow also. No need to push her. Today, she and I are enjoying a peaceful morning. My son is at school, hubby is at work, and I have been doing some cleaning to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. With my mother in Germany right now, I'm in charge of dinner. Wish me luck! :)

Watching my baby go through this has been really hard. She has been so brave! She doesn't like to tell anyone when she is hurting. She and I have been nearly inseperable during all of this and the time with her has made me love her more than ever, which I didnt think could be possible! I can't wait for her to be back to herself, running, jumping, dancing and doing all of the little things that I love about her.

Alright, so that has been our week. How has yours been?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A very kind gift

I work with some wonderful people.

My department has basically every working age group in it; from our youngest who is 17, to the eldest in her mid 80's. It gives us a unique perspective on our guests and provides a great environment where we can learn from each other. As different as we all are, we pull together and help each other when the time arises. I love that.

I recently attended the funeral of the wife of one of my staff. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer. Her husband is a very kind man and I know this loss has been hard for him.

I was visiting the cashier area he and others were working in and as we were chatting I mentioned that I was working on some new craft projects. I have been knitting & crocheting baby hats. He mentioned that his wife used to do the same and wondered if I would be interested in any of her supplies since no one in the family had need for them. I told him I would happily use anything he might want to give me.

Yesterday he came in with a bag. He showed me a few things inside and said I could have everything inside. Wow, what a treat! When I got home I had a chance to really look through it and was amazed at what he had given me!

Dozens of knitting needles in various sizes...regular as well as double pointed!

Lots of crochet hooks, kept in two different zip up bags:

There were also a couple smaller bags filled with other supplies like a tape measure, 3 tiny sewing scissors, pins, needles, counters, rubber tips, etc! And the tube with the red & blue embroidery in the first picture is a holder for all the knitting needles! It's packed full, and that's just with the unpackaged needles! I was overwhelmed by his kindness. I really can't wait to use some of the supplies for my upcoming projects and will think of Nancy and Dave whenever I use them.

I really work with wonderful people.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Silly hair day!

Sometimes I think that if I have a midlife crisis I will change my hair to this:

I do love it actually!

But for now I'll just pretend to be a redhead!

Ha Ha! Have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letter hunt!

This morning we were having a little fun with letters. To get the kids moving I had them try to make letter shapes out of their bodies. They had lots of fun stretching, rolling, bending and twisting into shapes.
Then Lil A jumped up and yelled "Letter hunt!" My Big D happened to have a Smurf tshirt on and she used her "pointer" (a found feather) to point at the letters and try to name them. Big was very happy to help, even if he didn't always give Lil time to think of a letter before he named it for her. :) I love watching them help each other learn things.
After naming the letters on his shirt, Lil found my husbands baseball jersey (Go Tigers!) on top of the freshly folded clothes. No worries! We laid it out and she pointed out new letters as well as the numbers. She was so proud of the letters she knew and had such a serious little face as she was trying to learn the letters she didn't know.
I love those little unexpected moments of learning! Now it's time to refold the shirt and find some new adventures!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vintage finds

I am becoming a thrift store junky. It starts innocently enough...I thought that some little glass sundae cups would be a perfect way to add a little pizzaz to some simple sundaes for the kids this weekend. So on the way to the grocery store I made a quick stop at the local St. Vincent de Paul and headed straight to the glasswear shelves. Searching through, I find these little juice glasses:

Aren't they cute? Into the basket they went. But no luck on sundae cups. So I head down aisle full of household goods, just in case. Plus, I might find some vintage Pyrex or milk glass, right? Nope, but my daughter did find this:

A little girl with a kitten? Of course she loved it. :)
Then I found this:

A few weeks ago I saw a gorgeous tufted chair, but the burnt orange color just didn't work. This one however, will work great in my living room! I should have stopped there...really I should have. But then I found this:

Now let me explain about the living room. It is a collection of random furniture from all over. We have black leather couches from my husbands bachelor days, a small dining room table from my single days, a piano, rug, and lamp from hubbys parents, and a set of stacking tables that used to belong to hubby's grandpa. Throw in a couple of mismatched bookshelves and it's a room that has no cohesion and generally drives me crazy. But it's also the kids playroom, so I try to let it go. The rug can get animal crackers accidently ground into it, the couches wipe down easily and can handle their fort building, tv watching, and anything else they can throw at them.
But I hope that slowly we can start to transform this room into something bright, cheerful and still comfortable. This little table will replace one of the stacking tables. I'm thinking of painting it, but not anytime soon. There are other projects to work on (like the marble topped table that I haven't had time to tackle yet).
So I went to the store to pick up the chair, because I didn't have our bigger car to take it this weekend. I just should wait outside! lol
Because I found these:

They didn't have a price so I asked the sales clerk. She looked at them and said, "How about $5 for all of them?" Sold! I love them, even if its a completely mismatched number. 5 cups, 7 saucers and 6 bread & butter plates. But the pattern is great and I loved the shape of the cups. I'm really picky about teacup shapes, it's just a thing. :)

I've done a little research on the pattern. It's by the Homer Laughlin Company and the code on the bottom indicates it was made in 1955. It doesn't have a cool pattern name, but I eventually found the pattern number after more digging than I expected. I checked everywhere I could but no one online seems to have replacement pieces in stock. I'll have to keep looking, because I would love to even out the set.

Finally I found two wire chairs...nothing fancy but I think I'll spraypaint them in a bright color and use them in the yard.
So, needless to say I had a LOT of fun at the thrift store. :) It's becoming dangerous territory for me! lol What are some of your favorite thrift store finds?

Have a great day!