Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zombies of Pella

All right.

So our church does a Trunk or Treat in which we invite the children (with their parents) of Pella to walk through our parking lot and "Trick or Treat".  Multitudes of cars (members of our church) come and dress up and hand out candy.  Last year and the year before we walked through, but we weren't a vehicle handing out candy.

This year I decided that instead of taking Julia Trick or Treating and getting a multitude of candy none of us should be eating, we would be a car and pass it out instead.  Knowing that Adam was going to be gone to the Hawkeye game (which they WON today, btw... beat the pants off of Michigan State, who was ranked #6), I thought this could be a fun activity for me and the girls.  But, I didn't want to spend a lot on costumes and I also didn't have access to a ton of cool decorations without going to Des Moines, so the pictures above are the product of my imagination.

I dressed the girls up as Zombies (which I had decided upon some long time ago) and then for kicks I put boards across the back of the car and a "Don't Feed the Zombies" sign.  At first glance I thought it looked really stupid but hey, it would work to "contain" the girls until they became restless and maybe it would be cute.

Well, it was a hit.  I have to laugh at the number of people who thought it was hilarious... ("Look at the baby zombies!  Ha, ha, ha!  Don't feed the zombies!!!  Ha, ha, ha!")... and the number of people who asked if they could please take a picture next to our car with the girls inside... HILARIOUS.  So, in the end it proved out to be a good idea.  Ha! 

And, thankfully we only live a block from church.  I ran out of candy... THREE TIMES... and got refills from church people going around even though I had brought a bunch of my own.  Also, Raven was on the verge of SCREAMFEST! because she was so tired so at 7:25 pm, I locked up the car and we walked home.  We'll pick the car up tomorrow after church.  FANTASTIC idea.  Heh.

Julia was REALLY awesome about getting dressed... I got her psyched up during (our very early) dinner and she had no qualms with the face paint or hair spray.  Raven, however, was done after the hairspray so we didn't put face paint on her.  BUT, she was so dang cute in her little outfit anyway and with her hair all crazy... we got a lot of "OOOOOH, look at that baby zombie!"  Tell someone your baby is a zombie and I guess it doesn't matter if your baby actually looks like a zombie or not.  I told them that she was a Fresh Zombie... she hadn't started to decay yet.  HA!

erin

BabyLegs

Maybe you've heard of BabyLegs... not real cheap ($12 a pair) knit "legwarmers" or footless leggings for kids... well, we have a few pair of them, but they are SUPER easy to make.
 
My friend in CA, Katie, inspired/reminded me to make some BabyLegs today. I had some Halloween socks (adult women knee socks) that I bought to turn into BabyLegs. Socks? $1.99 a pair. PLUS, the toes are GREAT doll undies!

erin

Friday, October 29, 2010

Freddy Krueger

Today Adam was able to dress up for work and he decided to dress up as Freddy Krueger.  The costume took all of 30 minutes to pull together, which included time for spray paint to dry!  I think it was a pretty convincing costume in the end... it was definitely enough to scare his children!

On the Other Side of that Coin

However...

Raven has increasingly found trouble.  Today it was the buttons on the DVD player and receiver.  To make her stop, I tap her hands and say No.  After doing this about 100 times today (or so it felt), she began to tap my hands back whenever I would try to fix the buttons she had pushed.  Fun times.

Imitation...

... is the sincerest form of flattery.
 
A scene from our house today:
 
Julia is playing with a doctor's kit ($2 garage sale score!).  She asks me to take her blood pressure, so I affix the cuff to her arm, and we are interrupted by the phone ringing.  I say, "I'll be right back.  I need to get the phone."
 
I go answer the phone and am back promptly.  We check Julia's blood pressure, heart beat, etc.

Julia then takes the cuff and affixes it to my arm.  And here is where the sweetness begins.  She says, "Mommy.  Be Back.  I get phone."
 
She runs off to the kitchen and I can hear her chattering to no one, then she runs back and says, "Okay, I back."  She checks my blood pressure, heart beat, etc.

Too. Sweet.

erin

Hello, Minnesota! Buh-Bye, Camera!

Part of the reason I haven't blogged much in the last week is that our camera is... *sniff*... DEAD.

We visited our nieces (Laila and Hannah) this last weekend in Northern Minnesota.  We had a blast!  Though the weather was less desirable than we were hoping for, it was fun to snuggle in the cabin watching movies and playing and we did enjoy quite a bit of time outside playing.

So... how that relates to the camera... well, Adam brought his canoe up and I was helping him put it in the lake Saturday morning.  As I bent down to put the canoe in, the camera dropped out of my pocket and into the very clear, very COLD lake.  I saw it descend and the first thought I had was RETRIEVE!!!!!!!!!  Adam held me as I bent down over the dock and reached my naked arm down into the VERY COLD lake to get the camera back out again.  We found that the SD card still works so my pictures are still on it, but the camera itself is toast.  Now I'm in the midst of researching cameras.

But, Grammy Laura was very nice to let me burn a CD of pictures from her camera from the weekend to bring home, so here are a few for your enjoyment.

Julia LOVED LOVED LOVED the Barbie car and the tire swing... the two highlights of the weekend, fo' sho'.  We let Julia drive Raven around the yard a little bit (with me following closely to scream at Julia to take her foot off the gas as she didn't seem to realize she needed to watch where she was going and was often headed towards a tree).  Julia road the tire swing with Hannah multiple times, and I think that the cousins truly enjoyed playing and hanging out with each other.

Lots of driving for a short weekend but... TOTALLY worth it.

Love you guys!
erin

Kid Kraft Friday!

Today we hosted the first of what I hope to be a numerous amount of Kid Kraft Fridays.  I invited a number of area mothers with children between 2 and 5 to come over for a craft day.  Sometimes I have a hard time digging and pulling out things to make a craft with one child, but I thought it would be fun to prep a craft for a number of kids.

Unfortunately due to illness in the area, most no one was able to come today though there was definitely interest.  Only one person w/ her grandkids showed up today (mom had to work today) but we still had a blast.  We made sponge pumpkins and paper trees. Lots of fun! It was a challenging but engaging craft for Julia and Nile (he is almost 4).
I am hosting another craft day on November 19th.  We will be doing Thanksgiving crafts.  Yay!  Can't wait!

Erin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A few weeks late... DUATHLON!

So... last year my crazy (love you!) friend C asked me if I was interested in doing a Duathlon in Bloomington/Minneapolis with her and her family/friends, BUT I was pregnant with Raven and was due with her just about 1.5 weeks before the event... so that didn't pan out.  BUT, crazy ME said, I will do it next year!

So, earlier this year we discussed it and SIGNED UP for the Iron Girl Duathlon which was held Sunday, September 27, 2010.

For those that don't know, a Duathlon consists of a 2-mile run, a 22-mile bike ride, and a 2-mile run.  Also, this particular Duathlon was part of the Iron Girl series, which are female-only events.

So... that weekend, I drove up north to Spencer, WI, to drop off the kids with my in-laws (Adam was off playing Oktoberfest that weekend), and then I drove to Minneapolis on Friday.  It was great to see friends Matt & Kim and their new baby and also to see Nate & Jaime and celebrate their son's 2nd birthday. 

I met with Chrissy, her mom, her sister, and friend Angela in Minneapolis on Friday night.  (Angela and I had GREAT supper out with her friend P from high school!)  Saturday we spent a crazy wonderful amount of time shopping, I went to a birthday party... it was a GREAT girls' weekend.  :)  After a dinner at Olive Garden Saturday night, we turned in for the night.

Sunday morning was a beautiful day for a run/ride and my 'wave' started at 8:00 ish.  I was able to run most of the first 2-mile leg, and then I hopped on my bike.

This is where I tell you that I am NOT much of a biker.  For the past three and a half years, I have either been pregnant or had a baby under one, which is not old enough to take in a bike trailer.  So, I haven't done a lot of biking.  So, a month or so before the race was when I really focused on training, as I knew I could ride out early in the morning and also Raven was finally big enough to pull around in the trailer.

SO... it was a big deal for me to have to bike THAT MUCH in one day, let alone as fast as I could.  Thankfully Pella DOES have some hills in it and I made sure to ride those A LOT because the Duathlon...?  Yah, it was fairly hilly by my standards.

I wanted to puke about 2.5 miles in, but that feeling passed and WOW, how exhilarating to complete that first lap (it was 2 laps of 11 miles) and know heading into the second that I was halfway done.

When I got off my bike at the end of the ride portion, my legs were numb.  Basically, I couldn't have told you I had appendages but I could tell I was lugging around some serious concrete.  So, the last 2-mile run was more like a 2-mile hobble.

BUT, I completed the event and did so in under 3 hours.  (I think my finish was 2:48:43.)  We went back to the hotel, showered, went out for lunch... and then I DROVE HOME.  Ack.  Wow.  My body was dead.  Thankfully my mind wasn't!

What a great weekend!

Leading up to the event, most people didn't know I was participating in a Duathlon and believe me, I didn't talk about it much.  I have found that the less I think about it and the more I focus on training, the less anxious I get about the thing.  I simply woke up Sunday morning and did it.  Yah, that three hours was full of pain and sweat, but it was AWESOME.  And, those races are like a drug... despite the pain and fatigue, I want to keep on doing them.  And the camaraderie.,.. is AMAZING.  I love it!

Hence why I did a Half Marathon this last weekend... but THAT is a whole other post... :)

erin

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my darling husband, Adam!  Today is our 8th anniversary.  What a beautiful fall day it has started out to be!

Love you, hon!
erin

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

(forgive me for the lack of quality pictures)
 
Last Friday, Miss Amy and I took Julia, Raven, G (Miss Amy's daughter) and R (Miss Amy's niece) to Carroll's Pumpkin Patch.  Miss Amy and I BOTH love fall, and we even both got married in October... she on the 16th and our anniversary is tomorrow.  We thought it would be a load of fun to spend some time at the pumpkin patch.

We arrived a little after 10 am and played, fed goats, pumped water, held kittens, etc.  Around noon we took a hay rack ride out to the patch and walked around searching for our perfect pumpkins.  Julia had a blast out in the pumpkin patch looking for a pumpkin and invariably continued to pick pumpkin after pumpkin that while cheap enough, was definitely too heavy for mommy to carry with only one arm (Raven was in the other).  Thankfully Miss Amy found a nice small pumpkin that Julia could carry (and that I was able to carry when she got tired!).

All of the girls were really good, and we took them to KFC for lunch after the pumpkin patch.  Miss Amy and Mommy were both tired and hoping the kids were too... Raven fell asleep almost instantly... Julia followed some time later... and G fell asleep right before we got home.  Raven ended up taking a longer nap in the afternoon (thank you!) after we got home, even after being transferred from her car seat to her crib.  Gotta love that morning air.

While Julia was scared of certain things at the patch (for instance, a big huge jumping thing, that I was sure she would LOVE, but she started screaming almost instantly, even though Raven LOVED it), overall she did really well, and it's too bad we didn't end up doing the one thing she requested... swinging!  (There was SO much to do there!)  Oh, well!  Maybe next year!

erin

Challenge Block

I believe that the more you create, the more creative you become.  Like math... or, ha... excuse me... I have a super fuzzy brain today and cannot think... what I'm trying to say is that the more you use certain brain cells, the more the brain cells "enjoy" being used... the dust is shaken off and their intended purpose is once again realized.

Case in point... this block.  Our quilt guild has had a number of challenges over the last few years, but either I'm not feeling creative or I have something else going on and I find myself not getting around to doing the challenge... and mostly it goes back to me not feeling creative.  Let's face it, before this last week, I haven't been ON creatively for some time... and even though I am using other people's patterns, the physical act of sewing and knitting causes those neurons to start firing away.

So when I received these three paint chips at quilt guild about two weeks ago, I gladly accepted them but gloomily wondered if I would actually DO anything with them.  (My friend Nancy picked out two pairs of three because I was speaking while the basket of chips was going around and I had a choice between these and a green-blue-purple trio... I picked these because I knew I had orange and yellow hand-dyeds at home...)  The challenge is to make a block that contains three of the colors (one from each paint chip) plus you could add another color.

I didn't know WHAT I would do...

... but, then I was working on the baby quilt and happened upon the green lattice fabric with white daisies...

... and, I recalled an episodes of Sewing with Nancy that I watched part of at my mother-in-law's house in late September on the Dresden Plate...

... and, like that, those little neurons starting going insane and an idea was born.

I had always wanted to do a Dresden Plate but they LOOK so hard so I never have, but I figured, I could do ONE, right?

So, off to the quilt store I shot to see if they had a Dresden Plate template... and they did...

... and then back home again, and honest to Pete, in less than one hour, I had a Dresden Plate block completed.  SO easy.  SO fun!  Now I want to do a whole bunch of them!  And, I think I fulfilled the challenge rather well, dontcha think?  :)

erin

Friday, October 15, 2010

Inspiration

I've hopped on the gray/yellow bandwagon and in dreaming of my very own office, I have thought that a gray/yellow design would suit me well.  I found this fabric by Joel Dewsberry (Ginseng Mulberry) and I have found my muse.  I think it's absolutely gorgeous... too bad it is discontinued!

But, regardless... inspiration has been found!  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ROOOOOOAR!

My hat model is asleep so you'll have to make due with a picture of the finished product sans cute girl.  :)  No matter; this hat is for a boy anyway.  Heh.

If you haven't guessed, it's been a busy week for me craft-wise, but the more time I spend crafting (mostly after the kids are in bed or during naps!), the more whole I feel.  So, it's been an AWESOME week for me this week.  :)

This hat came out of a Google Chat session combined with a Facebook link... technology, I tell you what.  Originally I saw this hat on a blog (Tot Toppers) after following a Facebook link posted by a friend.  Discussion with another friend who thought that her son and the son of a mutual friend of ours would be cute with Dino hats led to us searching on etsy.com and eventually led to me remembering this hat through Tot Toppers and finding the pattern on etsy.com.  Too fun!

The hat is very basic but the spikes were new for me; I've done spikes, but these are "double-sided", or done in the round... on double-pointed needles... holy cats.  I actually like DPNs and have done full small projects on them, but... it would help if I had lighter-weight and sharper-pointed DPNs in the size I needed for these spikes considering how small they are, but I made do with what I had, knowing that making this hat wouldn't require purchasing new needles.  (To do the next one, I will probably purchase a new set of wood DPNs!  Ha!)

Very fulfilling to complete this hat tonight and ship it off tomorrow.  I hope the eventual recipient (who won't receive it for a few weeks yet) has a roaring good time with his hat.  Grin.

erin

ps.  I'm learning more and more that I need to find a much better place to take my pictures... outside, most likely... too bad I'm always finishing stuff and taking pictures at night!

Julia @ the Royal Amsterdam




Every time we walk by the east side of the Royal Amsterdam, Julia sits on the walkway up to the hotel and says, "Picture?"  (Can you tell I ask to take her picture a lot?)  Sometimes I take pictures, sometimes I don't, but she was adamant today and I figured I would take the pictures and blog about it today.  Sadly my phone camera isn't as quick as my point-and-shoot digital, so often she is shooting off the ledge to ask to see her picture before my phone even manages to take it... but we get a few cute ones here and there.  It is too cute that she wants her picture taken in that exact location Each. And. Every. Single. Time.  Of course, Mommy loves it.

erin

Like Mother, Like Daughter

(Reading book while eating snack... and Charlotte's Web, of all books... she thinks she can read it... she talks a lot about spiders and pigs.  Smile.)

Ghosties






Today after breakfast, Julia and I made little ghosts, or ghosties.  I remember making these out of Kleenex and cotton balls when I was younger, but today I chose to use some cheap white cotton I had lying around.  Julia put the cotton balls on the fabric, and I scrunched up the neck.  Then she would help me tie the bit of yarn around the neck and I would give it a little pizzazz with a bow.  We now have about four "big" ghosties and eight "baby" ghosties, and I plan to string them together and then use them as a decoration.  Very cute and just long enough of a craft to hold her attention.  :)
erin

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Congrats!

Congrats to my friends K and J on the birth of their daughter Eloise!  So excited to hear tonight that Eloise was born earlier today and all is well... yay!  God is so good!  :)

13 and 13

Raven is 13 months old today, on the 13th of October!  Too fun!

I don't have a photo to post of her because I forgot this morning before daycare and she was a mess of a child tonight... but, all the same, the day is here.

We are also anxiously awaiting news of a friend of ours whose water broke earlier today... we can't wait to hear the news of a new baby!

erin

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miss Lena's Sweater FINISHED!

Yay!  So excited to post this tonight that I finished the sweater.  I hope that the recipient loves it!  I'm really happy with the look... with how it turned out!

Though, I have to say that I did something unorthodox and I hope that it turned out okay... I didn't know the button size or how many to put on while I was stitching, so I didn't stitch in button holes, and then I realized that I had to figure out a way to put button holes in a knit piece.  I found a few ideas online and tried one of them and it seemingly worked, but I'm afraid of a possible integrity issue and I really hope that's not the case.  Also, I didn't have the EXACT same color thread as the yarn.  Whoops.

Regardless, I'm really proud of the end product and after trying it on Julia, I'm positive it will fit Miss Lena. 

erin

Buttons

Umm... aren't these buttons simply... DELICIOUS?

Here's another "If you know me"... so, if you know me, you know that I LOVE buttons.  So, it was pretty exciting when Miss Lena's mom suggested I use buttons from Miss Lena's Great-Grandma for Miss Lena's sweater... and the buttons arrived today.

I am in Button Heaven.

As you can see on the card (the ORIGINAL CARD with ORIGINAL TISSUE), they are made in Austria.  The second I opened the package I thought "edelweiss", which became familiar to me after our trip to Germany in Fall 2006.  So I checked online and I certainly do think that the flowers are edelweiss.  (Ah, to have that song stuck in my head now.)  That makes them extra special to me, considering my heritage.

The best part?  The BEST PART?  Miss Lena's mom said I could KEEP THE BUTTONS that I don't use on the sweater... umm, what?  How SWEET is that?  Yes, I am truly in Button Heaven today.

So... I will place the buttons on Miss Lena's Sweater tonight, take another picture for the webs, send the sweater off, and clutch the rest of the buttons in my grubby little fists.  (Okay, that is a bit gluttonous.  So, I suppose I will dream of a project on which I can use the remainder.  YES!)

erin

Surprise for Julia: Dolly Clothes!

Julia (and I) received an extra special package in the mail today... DOLL CLOTHES!

My friend Melinda over at 28 Peppermint Grove made this special set of clothes for one of Julia's dolls and they arrived in the mail yesterday.  I have been friends with Melinda for about 3.5 years now, and though we've never met, we've discussed family and crafting for that long... so it was really special to receive this package from her today.

I had been off the web for a bit this last weekend and so yesterday was delighted when I saw this post... I was REALLY REALLY hoping it was for us... BUT, being a crafter myself, I know that Melinda's always got a project on the table and sometimes those that don't typically have deadlines fall down the list... so again, what a great suprise when this showed up today!

This outfit combined with many that my mom surprised me with back in September gives Julia a number of options for clothing her babies, so here's hoping that we can start working on the fun of dressing our dolls.  After last night's interest in my sewing machine and wanting to "help" me, I think she might need a kid-sized one before long and maybe she can start making her own doll clothes much like I did when I was a young pip...?  *sigh*  To dream.

love ya!
erin

ps.  Melinda... you are the SWEETEST!  Thank you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Project: Owl Quilt

Here is a sneak peek at an owl quilt on which I'm currently working... it goes to the quilter's on Monday (NEXT Monday, the 18th), so I need to finish it by then, but it's going swimmingly so far, so with a few more nights of the kids going to bed "on time", I'm sure I will be able to finish it...

erin

Project: Miss Lena's Sweater

Lately I've been blessed with the desire to work on projects (needle-related), and while my house may be suffering a bit, my creative side is on fire and spitting like a madcat... in a Happy Madcat sort of way.  :)

This picture is of an almost-finished sweater (it is waiting for buttons only!) for a friend's daughter, Miss Lena.  My first sweater attempt didn't turn out so well... well, the sweater turned out beautifully but it was the wrong size (by a long shot), despite following the gauge, and I was severely disappointed in the finished product after the amount of time I spent on it.  But, I was wanting to try another and offered to make a sweater for a friend of mine's daughter, and while again the sweater is a little larger than expected (and again, I followed the gauge), I'm really happy with how it turned out and it will fit well enough that it won't be an issue.

I found the pattern through a sweater search on Ravelry.com and it ended up being a free pattern through Lion Brand
 
My friend picked out the yarn after I suggested another of blends and colors through KnitPicks (this yarn in color Planetarium).  I think that I barely have about 50 inches left of the yarn that I purchased... just enough to put the buttons on. 

I'm excited to receive the buttons, which are heirloom buttons from the friend, and she graciously is allowing me to keep the rest of them... so wonderful of her!  I will post a finished project picture as soon as I have one!

Erin

Fall Festival

Saturday we attended a local Fall Festival with the girls.  Raven and Julia enjoyed the corn "sand" box, the baby kittens, and watching the horses, tricycles, and train.  I also gave Julia a wheelbarrow ride and we poked our heads through the pumpkin cutouts.  And, it wouldn't be a festival without a balloon animal (or two), and Julia was excited to take home a balloon dog and flower.  So glad we were able to spend some time together as a family at the festival Saturday morning.  Next year we might attempt the pumpkin painting and also getting Julia ONTO the horses, tricycles, and train, instead of just watching them.  It was a really neat outing and it was ALL FREE.

erin

Walking

It is such a fun thing to be able to say that Raven Is Walking now, as in, she is choosing to walk more than crawl and it is SO fun to experience!  She is doing this at a younger age than Julia did (by a couple of months), so it is fun to see her "know" less but still be trying... for example, Julia knew not to run into things much by the time she started walking but Raven just doesn't *get* that part of it yet... so much fun!  Next we need to work on going DOWN the stairs because she has a bit of daredevil in her and I think she's going to take a nasty tumble one of these days.
More video to post soon... yay!

erin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Julia Says Her Name

Love this little video of Julia... I thought I would teach her how to say her name... since she has been able to repeat the names of all of our family members.  How fun!

video

World Piece

A few weeks ago I took a quilt class on a pattern called World Piece, taught by Kelly Irwin, the owner of the quilt shop in Ames, Iowa.  It is always fun and interesting to take a class where you learn new ways of seeing and doing things, so while the pattern LOOKS simple, the piecing is definitive and creates a really neat effect.  It was also fun to take a day for myself (well, part of a day!) and do something for me!

This quilt was inspired by some Strawberry Shortcake fabric that I have had stashed for years, and I plan for this quilt to be Raven's when i finish it.

erin