Friday, December 16, 2011

Teacher Christmas Gifts

I saw Bakerella's Cowgirl Cookies on Pintrest a few weeks ago and tucked it away in my memory for teacher gifts.  

The days flew by and as I dropped Wyatt off at preschool yesterday, I realized it was the last day of school before Christmas break.  So Ella and I ran home and put these together lickety-split.  

I couldn't find Christmas M&M's at Fresh so I bought Cadberry Christmas chocolate pieces instead.  And even though I'm off of gluten, dairy and sugar to avoid thrush with little miss...
 I couldn't help eating one.  
Just a tiny one, though. 
And it. was. good.

I tied a plush ornament on each jar and called it done!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Laugh With Me

Gah, I found this hilarious. Probably more so than I should. But laugh with me people, it will make you live longer!

Crafty Ryan Gosling

 By the way, I read the captions with my friend Kelli B's voice in my head. Because she always met me with a "Hey girl, hey!" when I came home from classes in college. If you know here, you know what I mean.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All The Time

We have seen a lot of family lately that we usually don't get to see very often and it has been so fun!

We went to my cousin's house in Houston for Thanksgiving.  Here's Nonie entertaining the kids with an iPhone.  What did we do without these things?

Then we got to go see Mimi and Pawpaw!  Those baby blue countertops are in so many of my childhood memories.  And now Wyatt gets to make memories there.  Ok, I'm tearing up.
 I'm so glad she's never replaced them.

Mimi, if you're reading this, don't be mad at me for posting this picture.  It was too cute not to!  
They are doing their bicycle exercises together. 

Opie Greg and Ella B.

Wyatt was mostly likely in a state of shock when right after our trip to Mimi and Pawpaw's, Tante Ilse and Oma show up at our house!  Suffice it to say, we were on grandparent detox hard this past week.

Being a helper.

Not being a helper.  
Being a co-conspirator with his good bud Noah. 

We should call it Mommygroup and be honest.  
It's as much for us and our sanity as it is for the kiddos.

Visiting all this family makes me wish we had some living nearby.  We were made to live in community with one another.  With family.  

And then I'm reminded that Jesus is enough.  All the time.  

When our very affectionate Wyatt has pink eye in both eyes and I have to keep him away from sister.
When Rob leaves for days at a time.
When I ache to the very marrow of my bones with a cold.
When I am brought to tears by the joy and love of our family.

All the time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ric Rac Ribbon Flower: A Tutorial

I needed a hair accessory for Ella's Christmas outfit to be complete.  
(Because I have a little girl to play dress up with now and I like to take full advantage of that!)

Things you'll need:

1 1/4" ric rac ribbon ~ about 12" long 
3/4" velvet ribbon ~ about 4" long
Felt scrap
Hot glue

1. Let your son draw on the family calendar out of desperation on your sewing table dining room table.

2. Get down to business.  Start your flower by pinching together the ric rac between your thumb and pointer finger.  

Keep adding 'pinches'.

Wrap the ribbon around your pinches and keep adding pinches.  Then wrap half way around and keep adding pinches.  

When you get to the end of your ribbon, make sure you have enough left to wrap one final time around everything.

Add a dollop of hot glue to the raw end and glue to the flower.  Keep your fingers on it though!

Still pinching the flower, cut off the bottom to make it flat.  Smear hot glue all over the flat bottom of the flower to make it all stick together. 

To make velvet leaves, simply gather a loop...

And then another... cut and hot glue to the bottom of the flower.

Then cover all that hot glued mess with a circle of felt.

Now sister's Christmas outfit is complete!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Sock Calendar: A Tutorial

I saw a Martha Stewart image on Pintrest for an Advent calendar made out of children's socks.  It was super cute and Christmas-y but when I went to make it, I discovered that Wyatt's socks are mostly white, grey, or light blue.  Hmmmm.  

So I came up with my own sewn version with fabric and materials that I had on hand.  Because no one wants to go to the store with a teething two year old and a two month old.  No one I tell you!

Thing's you'll need:

Fabric scraps 
--I used duck cloth for all fabric except the multicolored deer pattern, which is actually a pair of flannel PJ pants from Goodwill--
Sewing machine
Clothes pins
Stencil and sharpie (or stickers or embroidery or tags for numbers)
Advent activities and/or chocolate

I made a pattern.  But the top ended up being too skinny.

And when I stitched around the stocking and turned it inside out, it looked weird. 

So I decided to do what I usually do, which is make it up as I go along and change plans midway through the project.  

I cut a beefier stocking pattern out of one of my scraps and flipped it over to cut out the other side of the stocking.  Make sure if you're using a patterned fabric to cut out the stocking with the pattern going the way of your preference.  (I wanted vertical stripes on this fabric.)

Then I sewed with a straight stitch around all sides except the top of the stocking.  Use pins to hold the pieces together because as you sew around the toe, you have to turn the fabric quickly and the pieces slide easily apart from each other.

I didn't even backstitch on either end of the stitching.  But be proactive and do it.  They'll last longer.

It took me about 11 stockings to realize I could better conserve fabric by cutting out fabric like this:
(Like two shoes nestled together in a shoe box)

Lay all your stockings out in a row (out of reach of two-year-olds) and number them 1-24 with your marking of choice (sharpie, stickers etc).  I have yet to number mine because the kiddos were rambunctious and I plum forgot.  Insert Advent activity cards and/or candy into each stocking. 

Then clip those babies on a long strand of twine.  

And hang it up for all to see.  Our mantle is full so I hung it as a garland across a doorway.

Easy peasy. Done.

Some of our Advent activities:

-Go see the Tyler Christmas Parade
-Set up the Christmas train around the tree
-Walk through the neighborhood looking at lights
-Make snowflakes out of coffee filters
-Watch a Christmas movie and pop popcorn

But I also filled several in with pre-planned events like the company Christmas party and Polar Express Day at Wyatt's preschool.  
Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to go back and change several activities to things to be done for others. Like taking Christmas cookies to all our neighbors.  Christmas is all about Christ's birth after all.  What better present could we give someone else but the Way, Truth and Life?

Here's the inspiration photo:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You've Got Mail

To all our friends, consider this an envelope in your snail mail box!  I used Shutterfly to create Ella's birth announcement and they turned out great!  Now if I could just get our Christmas cards in order...

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Week In Pictures

Taking a cue from my friend Robyn, I'm going to attempt to capture my week in pictures via Instagram and do a 'week in pictures' post fairly often.  While this is not the weekend, I have pictures from last week to share!

Church family love!  Our fridge has been filled to the max since Ella arrived!

Comfort cookies.  Our sweet neighbor had to take their dog to be put to sleep while her husband was out of town.  When I'm sad, I appreciate baked goods.  So I baked giant ginger cookies for her.

Weeknight jam session.  Daddy was proud to be accompanied by a Yogi the Bear flute.

Does this need words?

The crepe myrtle in our front yard suddenly exploded into fiery reds and oranges.  So it actually looks like fall around our house.

Gluten free molasses bar batter!  

Brother helped sister eat for the first time.  He thoroughly enjoyed this and would protest if I even so much as touched the bottle to help him.  Mr. Independent.

Semi-homemade liquid hand soap via Robyn.  If you can't tell, I like that girl a lot and what she does. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Fall Y'all!

I love collages.  When I don't feel like writing a lot but I have a ton of pictures to share, I pop them in a collage (or three) and call it done.  

We've had a busy fall so far and it isn't over yet!  Little miss Ella is doing very well with life here on the outside.  Brother seems to care very much for her and likes giving her hugs and kisses.  So much so that we had to put Ella's swing up on a large side table so that she wasn't so... accessible. 

I am feeling almost 100% and have been for a while.  I cannot describe the huge difference between recovery from Wyatt and from Ella.  We went to church two days after she was born and have been out and about since then.  I just feel good.  Alleluia since I'm chasing around an almost two year old in addition to the newborn activities.  But let's be honest, Nonie is still here and does most of the chasing.  I kind of call out commands and admonishments to Wyatt from the wing back chair in our living room where I'm in a constant state of nursing. 

On to the good stuff.  This season in pictures:

Happy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ella's Birth Story

Since Nonie and Opie came into town the night of the 20th, Rob and I went on a date to see Moneyball and go out to eat.  We were the only people in the theatre and about half way through the movie, I started having pretty regular contractions that were stronger than the Braxton Hicks I'd been experiencing. However, this was the first date we'd been on since July and I wasn't about to cut it short for a few measly contractions.  So on we watched and Rob never knew a thing. We got back to the house and went to bed.  

At precisely 4 am, I woke up with contractions that I could no longer sleep through.  I got up, showered, shaved my legs (just in case), washed and dried my hair and generally wondered if this was it.  By 5 am I was pacing through the contractions up and down a long stretch of our bedroom.  Rob woke up and asked if my water had broken, I told him it was just contractions and he rolled over and fell back asleep.  He didn't snooze long, though, and soon he was timing my contractions with an app on my iphone.  I texted my doula and reported the stats.  She told me to call her when I wanted her there with us.  It being so early in the morning and knowing she has 4 kids, I didn't want to call upon her too early. (big mistake) 

They were getting stronger so we went for a walk in our neighborhood.  Never before had I noticed how hilly this area actually is!  We only went about 3/4 of a mile and decided to turn back.  On our way back Rob looked up the intervals of my contractions on the internet and told me he thought I was in transition.  I told him he was nuts, that I had at least 10 more hours of labor and please don't talk to me while I'm contracting, I need to focus!  Well that set him to worrying as he had just read that "women in transition will feel very focused during contractions and not want to talk..."

When we got back to the house I was dealing with the contractions by putting my hands on my knees and doing little mini squats.  We never made it to any childbirth classes, that's just what felt best.  Within 5 minutes of being back, I'm moaning through them and thinking maybe we'd better high tail it to the birth center.  I call my midwife, Vicky, to tell her that she'd better get up there and step on it but halfway through our conversation I have to put the phone down to deal with a contraction.  She told me later that while hearing me go through the contraction she jumped out of bed and started throwing scrubs on.

Since I thought I'd have all the time in the world when the contractions began, we hadn't installed the infant car seat in our car yet.  There I am, leaning on the trunk of my parents car, moaning, listening to my dad and Rob try to figure out how the freaking thing goes in.  I nearly jumped in the driver's seat and drove myself.  But they figured it out after what felt like an eternity and off we went, with me kneeling in the floorboard of the passenger seat and holding onto the headrest.  Let me just say that I now know why people have home births.  That 10 minutes in the car was possibly the second most intense part of the whole labor.  Rob was flying up Broadway with his flashers on, cautiously careening through red lights.  I told him as kindly as I could to please try not to gun the motor so much and send me rocking back and forth when I'm contracting, as it feels like utter he**. 

We got to the birth center but Vicky was nowhere to be found and the door was locked.  Somehow it escaped me that she lives 45 minutes away or I'd have called her sooner.  I think it was only 10 minutes before she arrived but it felt like an hour and a half.  The two contractions right before she got there give me a stunningly urgent urge to push.  So I did.  Vicky arrives and we barrel up the stairs into one of the birthing rooms and she is literally running from here to there getting things ready.  I ask if I can get into the giant bathtub and she tells me, "Honey, there's no time!"

I pushed for 20 minutes with Wyatt, a mere glimpse of time compared with most labors.  We thought that would be the case with Ella, too.  We were wrong.  Later on, Vicky told me that as soon as Ella crowned, she and Mica, my doula, saw her little head actually turn 90 degrees, indicating that her head was cocked funny coming down the birth canal.  Combine that and a bag of waters that refused to break and you get an hour and twenty minutes of pushing.  Let me tell you, God has designed labor so well.  The escalating pain in contractions gets you pumped, so to speak, for the final few contractions.  In other words, you just want that baby OUT and I mean NOW.  Also, when you feel the pain, you really want to push through the contractions because it relieves the pain.  It's crazy.  I didn't want to take a breath in between pushes the relief was so great.  

Honestly, a few minutes before Ella was born I thought, "Ok.  I'm done with the labor thing now.  I don't want to do this anymore and I don't really think I can."  But then she was here.  And I couldn't believe it.  This precious life had entered the world and I had done it.  God had given us a daughter. 

Ella Bethany
October 21, 2011
8:23 am
7 lb 12 oz
20.5 inches long

Monday, October 17, 2011