Saturday, June 6, 2015

Life of a Mom: Showering

I normally shower at night, or occasionally during nap time, and today I was reminded why.
You would think I could steal away for eight brief minutes and the children wouldn’t notice, after all, they had been playing quietly for the last half hour. But no. 
No, no, no.

The water starts running, I get in, first minute goes by…

Interruption 1:
Brooklyn: “Mom! Mom? Oh, there you are, Mom. Did you know that Lego Friends now has all the princesses? And each one of them has their own pet. Can you look at this picture? Isn’t it neat?”
Me: “Wow! That looks pretty cool.”
… She then proceeds to list all the princesses and their pets, and we discover that Snow White is missing. Then she leaves the bathroom.

Interruption 2:
Avonlea: “MOMMY!!!!!! ARE YOU???? ARE YOU, MOMMY?????”
Me: “I’m in the shower!”
Avonlea: “Oh, yes.”
(haha… her cute little “oh, yes” did make me smile!)

Interruption 3:
Brooklyn: “Mom? Can I go on for a little while?”
Me: “Sure. Set the timer for 30 minutes and then get off as soon as it beeps.”
Brooklyn: “Ok”

Interruption 4:
Brooklyn: “Where is the computer??? I can’t find it!”
Me: “It’s in……”

Interruption 5:
Selah: “Mommy! My bike wheel is broken! Can you come and fix it outside?”
Me: “Your bike wheel is broken?”
Selah: “Yes. But you can wait until your shower is done to fix it.”
(You are so kind, child.)

Interruption 6:
Brooklyn: “The internet is not connecting!!!” It’s not working at all!!!”
Me: “Calm down. I’ll have to reset the router.”

I get out of the shower and proceed to dry off and change.

Interruption 7:
Selah: Now are you going to fix my bike wheel?

Interruption 8:
Avonlea: Ower? Mommy, ower? Ower, Mommy? Ower? Ower?
Selah: “Mom, she’s saying ‘shower.’”
Me: Oh. Yes, Avi. I took a shower.

Interruption 9:
Cassie: Mom! I learned a new song! “There was a girl who wore glasses and Molly was her name-o. M-O-L-L-Y, M-O-L-L-Y, M-O-L-L-Y and Molly was her name-o!
Me: Cute!
(Oh so close, Cassie! You almost won favorite child of the day! You almost made it through my whole shower/dressing without coming to me.)

Interruption 10:
Brooklyn: “Mom. Can you please fix the internet? It’s still not working.”
Me: “Yes. I’m on my way.”
Selah: “But Mom! You forgot about my bike! Remember you need to fix the wheel!!!!”

Wow! I feel so refreshed! ;) 
Lesson learned: Shower when children are sleeping!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trick or Treating

Here is a quick post just to show the girls and their costumes in action during our neighborhood trick or treat. We couldn't have asked for better weather! It was 65 degrees -- unheard of for Wisconsin!

Cowgirl Brooklyn

Cinderella Selah

Emily Elizabeth (Avonlea) and Clifford (Curtis)

Super Star Cassidy

Run!!!! Go get all the candy!

Trick or Treat!

Our friend Sam wasn't enjoying himself as much as Selah!

My parents handed out candy at my house! They were so fun!

Group Shot attempt #1

Group Shot - Attempt #2 (Avonlea was ready for a nap!!)

Picture with all the cousins! The one on the right is my brother Tony's son.

What a fun day!!! Now to hide all the candy before we have a bajillion cavities. ;)

Emily Elizabeth Costume... and Clifford

The last little peanut didn't really have a choice for her Trick or Treat costume. My sister decided that my nephew was going to be Clifford and she persuaded me to make Avonlea be Emily Elizabeth (Clifford's owner). The best part about this costume is that Avonlea can wear it every day as a regular outfit.... as long as she keeps the collar and cuffs white. Wonder how long that will last! I was tempted to make her wear a bib for trick or treating! haha

I used the Neverland Shirt from Cole's Creations for the top. I was fortunate to test this pattern just a few weeks ago, so I knew it would be perfect. The skirt is loosely based off of the Whimsy Couture's Ruffled Circle Skirt pattern, but I did a yoga waistband instead of elastic and left off the ruffle. The leggings are Jocole's pattern... the best legging pattern ever in my opinion! I've made many of these for my girls and I love the fit. 

My sister did an awesome job on Curtis' Clifford Costume. I helped out by making the little collar out of black elastic and some scrap white fabric.... just in case anyone would wondering who the red puppy dog was. ;) Aren't they just darling together? My sweet friend Sarah L. crocheted Avonlea's hat. We thought it would be chilly, but the temp ended up being 65 degrees so she didn't wear it as much as I anticipated. It will be nice a nice hat for the winter, though!

Whew! I did it! It was a fun challenge for myself to make the costumes for all four of the girls this year. I've only made one per year for previous years. I'm glad I did it, though I admit on Saturday morning I was so relieved to have this project behind me! It was very rewarding to see them so excited about their costumes and having it be exactly what they were envisioning. Because of the handmade quality, I'm hoping these costumes last for many hours of creative play and dress up!

Cinderella Costume

 My third daughter decided she wanted to be Cinderella for trick or treating. Honestly, I think she picked Cinderella because we already had a store bought costume and she was just thinking through what we already had in the dress up box. I looked at the dress we already had and it was quite disheveled and torn. I thought about trying to repair it, but the more I looked at it, the more I just wanted to make a new one. So I did. :)

This was the hardest costume out of the four. I don't believe I have ever sewn with satin before, and it was a bit challenging to work with. I had to cut out each piece as I was ready to sew it, because it started fraying like crazy. It was one of those projects that I couldn't stop once I started... just had to keep pushing through until the end! (The end being 1:30 AM. Oy!)

I used the Almost Famous Dress pattern from Whimsy Couture for the main dress, and I followed a tutorial from the Scientific Seamstress for adding the "white poofy thingies" on the side that are a must for every Cinderella dress!

It turned out so darling, and she is just in love. It was so hard to keep her from wearing it until trick or treat! I gave in a few times, and thankfully she kept it fairly clean.

When it was time for trick or treat, my sister came over and did her hair in the cutest princess up-do. She felt like a true princess. It was so fun to see. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Singing Super Star Costume

Daughter #2 is into all things fancy. The other day she complained that I had named her Cassidy instead of Fancy Nancy. My husband promptly came up with "Classy Cassie" which seemed to satisfy her for the time being. She just celebrated her 6th birthday, and was so excited to receive lipstick, black high heels, a barbie hair salon doll, and a bunch of other fashion accesories from family and friends. She even used her gift money from Grandma to buy a play make-up kit, red sparkly shoes, and a set of rings -- one for each day of the week! That pretty much sums up the child. 

So, all things considered, it was no surprise when she asked for me to create a Singing Super Star costume for Halloween. The only direction I received from her was "purple, a crown, sparkly, and a star on the chest." Um.... ok. After asking for a bit of help from "Sew & Tell" - a fabulous sewing group on facebook filled with helpful seamstresses, I decided on using the Paris dress pattern from Create Kids Couture that I had used a few years ago for Brooklyn's Easter Dress. My sister helped me pick out the fabric from Joanns, and we settled on a crushed purple costume velvet (lined with solid purple woven) for the bodice, ruffled turquoise elastic for the back straps (already in my stash from making headbands), and ombre silver and torquoise costume satin for the skirt. The underskirt I made from an old sheet and some lavender tulle left over from my wedding! I love how poofy and fancy it turned out.

She will wear it with some black sparkly leggings from Walmart, her new birthday heels (from Target), a $1 crown headband from JoAnns, and either a plain white long-sleeved t-shirt or a hot pink open cardigan. She has yet to make up her mind. ;) Thankfully, we already own a play microphone and the colors match great!

Two costumes down, two to go! Our trick or treat is next Sunday afternoon, so I gotta stay on task! I kinda got distracted this week making these pumpkin dresses for our extended family pumpkin carving party this weekend. Oops! But aren't they fun? I made them from orange tshirts I found at the dollar store and green and black scraps left over from other projects. The pattern is the Katy Panda Pattern from Cole's Creations. I received it from a testing this summer, and I really love it. So many different looks can be created with this pattern. Hopefully I can get a decent picture of the four girls wearing these dresses tomorrow!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cow Girl Costume

Part of being a sewing mama is my kids think nothing of asking me to make their Halloween costumes. I really do love it, even though it is probably much easier, possibly cheaper, and definitely faster to buy store-bought costumes. This is the first year I've attempted to make costumes for all four of the kids, so we'll see how I do! Perhaps putting it out there on the blog will keep me motivated. ;)

I completed Costume #1. Brooklyn asked to be a cowgirl for Halloween this year. Shew. Something simple! We bought the boots at Sears on an awesome sale last weekend. The hat was $4.95 at Walmart and included the neck scarf and sheriff's star. The star isn't cow girl-ish, but she likes it!

For the skirt, I was inspired by this tutorial on Andrea's Notebook blog. I didn't follow her instructions exactly. Instead I used two bandanas cut in half diagonally. I overlapped the corners by about 4 inches and gathered it to be the same size as the denim skirt (upcycled from pants that I had chopped the legs off.) If I would do it again, I would overlap a bit more -- possibly as much as eight inches, just so that the length wouldn't be as short in between the points. But even the way it is, the shortest parts of the skirt hit right above her knee and she will be wearing leggings since it is cold here at the end of October!

The vest was a pattern hack of Peek-A-Boo's Hangout Hoodie Pattern. I used the back piece as is, making it as long as a shirt she typically wears. For the front, I just cut two mirrored pieces after folding the front pattern piece in to make a v-neck shape at the top. Since the suede will not fray, I just sewed the shoulders and the sides! Unfortunately, the vest doesn't overlap on her. I didn't think about adding to the width of the front pattern pieces to account for that, so instead I just added a ribbon tie for closure. The costume suede is from Joann's and came already with the fun decorative fringe!

Ta-da! One costume down. Now to start on the next one...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to My Dad

Happy Father’s Day to the first man who loved me.

In Sunday School this morning I had the kids come up with reasons why they loved their dad. I loved their responses. Most mentioned things their dads do with them… play baseball, wrestle, ride bikes, swim…. 

It made me start thinking of why I love my dad. I have many reasons, but here are a just a few:
  • He loves to spend time with his family. When I was growing up, he filled many Saturdays with fun, interesting activities to do as a family. Most were simple and free, but he seemed to be always planning something special. Now that we are (mostly all) grown, he invites all his kids and their families to his home almost every Sunday afternoon. I think the fact that we all enjoy being together is a tribute to the fact that he has always enjoyed being with us.
  • My dad lives out the saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” He taught me to not only do my best, but to go above and beyond. Be creative, don’t just do the minimum, be different, stand out, think outside the box. Whether it is school projects, Sunday school games, decorating the bus for VBS, or costumes for different events … my dad always has the best ideas and then takes the time to actually make them come to life… even if they are crazy and time-consuming! I hope I have inherited a sliver of his creative gene!
  • He has always pushed me to do things I never thought I could do. He forced me to leave my comfort zone by participating in speech competitions, taking voice lessons, and flying all by myself to Canada to visit friends (with a layover in a huge airport), all while I was an extremely shy high school student. I was always surprised when things turned out well, but he never was. He had confidence in me even when I didn’t. I know his influence is the reason why I am now more willing to take on different challenges and try new things.
  • My dad loves me no matter what. Today in Sunday school, I read the story of the Prodigal Son to the kids. What better story can be shared for Father’s Day? My dad has lived out this story with all nine of his children. We make wrong decisions, we make a mess, but we always know we can come home. I thank him for living out the gospel truth so literally, providing for his children an accurate reflection of the Heavenly Father’s unconditional love.

My dad with his lovely wife and nine children (and Rambo)

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day Trail Mix - Free Printable

My husband and I are teaching children's Sunday School tomorrow. Since it is Father's Day, I wanted to have a craft that the kids can make for their dads. Last week, Cassie brought home from school a fun trail mix she made for Scott. I thought it was super cute, so I adapted the poem to include "Christian" elements, perfect for our children's Sunday School class. It will be fun for the kids to put all these snacks in a sandwich baggie, then we'll staple a sheet to each bag. It will be a perfect little gift for them to give their dads. And we can serve the leftovers at snack time, because you know those kids will want to eat some!. ;)

In case anyone else will find this useful, I'll share the document here. I'm sorry it is a bit late for anyone to get use out of it this Father's Day, but you can always pin it for next year!

For free Father's Day trail mix printable, CLICK HERE.

This is the poem I adapted/wrote to fit our Sunday School class:

Dear Daddy,
A treat for you, because I think you are neat,
and you always like something yummy to eat!

Because you are my "Pop"

Because your heart is soft toward God

Because you love me and teach me through all life's
twists and turns

Because in my sea, you are the big fish

Because you are "raisin" me to love God

Chocolate Chips
Because I'm a chip off the old block

Teddy Grahams
Because of all the "bear hugs" you give me

Because you give the best kisses


Here is a picture of the snack bags the kids made in Sunday School. It turned out really well, and all the dads seemed to like it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wrapping Up the School Year

The teachers are sending home the back packs stuffed with pictures, journals, reports, art projects...  It is fun to look through and even more fun to decide what to keep and what to toss (when the kids aren't looking, of course!) Brooklyn had several fun journal entries and books that were great to look through. She writes with such expression, it surprises me! She wrote about her Nana (Grandma R.) turning 25 this year, and our family trip to MN to see her Aunt Dorothy graduate from high school (really, college), and dedicated two books to her sister Cassie because the first words Cassie wrote were "I Love You." So precious.
My favorite was this little report. I decided to snap a picture to preserve it in case it gets lost in the paper piles. And now you can enjoy this little gem, as well.

Cassie brought home this fun shirt that she made with her class. Her teacher's class theme has been "Bees" all year, so this shirt says, "We will always BEE friends." The kids each put their thumb print on the shirt, and then got to write their name in puffy paint (with the teacher's help, I'm sure!). Cassie is very proud of her shirt and her ability to read all the names.

School ends on Friday, and Cassie has her K4 graduation tomorrow! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pet No. 3 - Samara

Well, I had to keep my word. That is all there is to it. 

When Brooklyn was barely two, she asked for a pet kitty. I blame Dorothy. She took her to the Humane Society, showed her long haired white cats and Brooklyn fell in love. She wouldn't stop asking for a pet kitty, so I told my BARELY TWO YEAR OLD that when she turned eight, she could have a cat. Please understand.... she was barely two. I never thought she would remember. And if she would remember, eight years old seemed soooooo faaarr aaawwwaaaayyy... 

But then she started telling everyone she met that she was going to have a pet cat when she turned eight. And she never stopped telling people that. Except for the brief time that she thought she couldn't have a cat because her grandpa was allergic.... but that simply isn't true. He just has a slight aversion to them, let's just say. 

Brooklyn's eighth birthday is looming closer and closer. She just officially turned seven and half a few weeks ago. To those who have just birthed their first child, please be warned.... it goes much faster than you think. As a wise person once said, "The days are long, but the years are short."

It really was a miracle from God. Really. You see, a friend of mine mentioned out of the blue that she needed to find a new home for their older cat because they were moving and couldn't take her. It was so perfect. An older cat.... already litter trained.... used to a family with small kids.... Brooklyn is almost eight..  I couldn't wait to tell Scott! For some reason he wasn't so thrilled. But being the soft-hearted, loving daddy he is, he eventually agreed to give Samara a home. (And don't be fooled. He claims he pets her more than the rest of us!)

Meet Samara:

She likes looking out windows and playing with windsocks. And sleeping on our bed. We are trying to discourage that last one. 

It's really hard to get a picture of a cat. Especially a black one. (All my friends are blowing up their facebook and instagram feeds with adorable pictures of their pets, and I'm over here like, "Here is a side profile of my kitty... oh and one of her back as she looks out a window!") I'll keep trying. She is actually quite pretty and very friendly. 

The girls love her and pet her as much as she will allow. Brooklyn made a maze of cardboard boxes for her in the basement in a little play arena. And on Saturday morning they wooed her into their bedroom, shut the door and played "parade" as she walked in circles and they clapped. Who knew having a cat could be so much fun. ;) 

Now if only they would learn to keep the door shut when they run in and out of the house so we don't lose her... I think I have had a several heart attacks already with near and imagined escapes. Sigh... another living being I'm responsible to keep alive... but I can't complain. Scott says it's all my fault.

Anyway, we welcome you to the family, Samara! 
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