Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY Advent Calendar

JD's one request from me this holiday season is that I get the girls advent calendars. As a boy, he loved opening the little flap on the cardboard version to find chocolates counting down the days until Christmas. I have looked and looked and but could not find a single one. So, today I scoured Pinterest for a DIY version.

I found tons of inspiration, but since advent season starts tomorrow, I opted for a semi-quick project. I also wanted something big that both girls could see and touch and something that could be apart of our decor. Here's what I came up with.

It's an advent stocking bunting! Cute, huh? I really wanted to sew a long lasting felt one, but that would take all day. Plus, I have a ton of scrapbook paper sitting around so that's what I used.

 First, I drew a stocking and cut it out. I used that as my template for all 24.

I folded my paper and cut along 3 sides of the stocking. I wanted to create a little pocket for the treasures to reside.

Once I had all 24 stockings cut, I glued them along 2 sides leaving the top open. I also punched holes in the top 2 corners so I could string them up.

Once I had all the stockings glued, I strung them on yarn.

But then I realized I needed to number my stockings, so I used my Cricut machine to cut out a bunch of 1s, 2s, 3s, you get the idea.

I glued the numbers on and was ready to hang.

Ta-da! I need to buy chocolates and treats to fill each stocking, but I did print off Bible verses about Christmas to read to the girls each day. They are going to be so excited to open their little gift each day and count down the days until Christmas!

It was a bit of a last minute advent calendar, but I like how it turned out. Next year I will plan ahead of time and sew something a little more sturdy, but for now we are enjoying this one.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mother Daughter Style

It's been cold in southern California this week, so the girls and I busted out the moccasins. We all have a pair of Minnetonkas and let's just say, I really, really like having 2 little people to dress like me. Happy Thursday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Arizona Thanksgiving Adventure

A few weeks ago, my aunt invited us to her house in Scottsdale for Thanksgiving. It's a relatively short drive for us and we were eager to spend a holiday with family, so Wednesday morning we loaded up and drove to Arizona.

It has been such a fun, laid back trip. We have spent our days walking the dogs, cooking, hiking, eating, and hanging out. 

The weather has been gorgeous so we have been outside a lot of the time. Honestly, we have worked out more than we have eaten, which makes me feel good. Exhausted and good. I am kind of obsessed with the desert, so yesterday we hiked Pinnacle Peak to check out the awesome desert views.

The path was steep and narrow at places and since I was wearing Penelope in the Bjorn, I was really nervous most of the 2 mile hike. At the end of the trail, hikers could either turn around and hike back up the mountain the same way they came or exit through a private road and walk around the mountain back to the parking lot. We were tired and hot and the thought of hiking with 2 little kids up a mountain again sounded horrible. We decided to exit through the private road.

None of us knew where we were so I used my phone's map to navigate us back to the cars. We were a little discouraged to learn that we had 4.7 miles to walk around the mountain to get to the parking lot, but we pressed on.

We didn't have much water left since we only planned on a short hike. The girls were hot, we were starving (we rationed a granola bar between us), and the long walk ahead of us became a bigger feat than we thought we could handle. So JD and my cousin, Brad, ran on ahead the rest of the 4 miles back to the car. The girls and I stayed behind with my aunt and other cousin. We sat under the shade of a cactus and played in the sand, while repeating "ration the water!" about a hundred times. It was all very normal for all of us, just hanging out next to the desert without any water or food or transportation. Not out of the ordinary at all. The only thing on our minds was staying alive. Not really.

JD and Brad showed up an hour later with the cars and we made it safely back to Pam's house. It was quite the adventure.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing and eating and talking. We had a great holiday weekend in Arizona and are so grateful for the time spent with family. And the great hospitality. Thanks Pam and family!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sleep Out

When we went to Tennessee in September, Beatrice had a sleepover with her cousin at my mother in law's house. It was a big deal for all of us. Beatrice has never had a sleepover with a friend (or cousin) before and she's only been away from me overnight when Penelope got sick. She was so excited. I was excited for her.

She took her best Cinderella baby and packed jammies, extra undies, and her toothbrush. 

I was nervous that she may be scared once it was bedtime, but she proved to be a really big girl. Grammy reported that the girls stayed up late giggling and telling stories in bed without any tears or requests for mom. Beatrice still talks about her "sleep out" and tells me about how much fun she had.

JD just got back from a work trip. He was gone for 27 days. Since I was a single mama for the month and had an empty side of the bed, I thought I'd have a mommy/daughter sleep out with Beatrice. Our month without daddy ending up being really busy (and hard) so I waited until the night before JD returned to tell Beatrice about our sleep out. It was late when I decided to even do it. I already put her to bed in her room, but around 10 pm when I came to check on her and found her still awake I thought, why not? I asked her, "do you want to have a sleep out with mommy?" She squealed. "Oh yes, mama, I do!"

I brought her in my bed, she laid on JD's side. She brought her pillow, blanket, and 2 of her babies. First, the giggles began. She giggled for a good 10 minutes before we started talking about anything. Then we talked. Oh boy, did we ever talk. We talked about daddy and sissy and Ariel and mermaids and Isaac and Ella and sleep outs and toys and Christmas and swoopy hair (like Ariel's) and, phew, we talked about a lot. Then we played peekaboo under the covers for oh, an hour and a half.

I was SO TIRED and just wanted to go to sleep, but we were making memories so I stayed up and made silly noises under the covers with my 3 year old until after midnight. Finally, she settled down enough for me to suggest going to sleep. I'm pretty sure she would have gone all night playing and talking though, silly girl.

I fell asleep first (I woke up to her making choo choo sounds and playing with my eyebrows) and barely slept all night because every time I moved, she woke up asking if it was morning time yet. Penelope woke up early and as I was inching out of the bed to get her before she woke Beatrice, I heard "good morning! That was a wonderful sleep out! I'm still tired." We were up for the day by 7. Yawn. All she could talk about was our "so fun sleep out."

Of course now that we have had our mommy/daughter sleep out, all she wants to do is have another one. I'm glad we did it, it was definitely a sweet memory we will both remember for a long time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pajama Pants

So, you guys know I'm tall, right? Well, I am. I'm 5'10" and finding pants that are long enough can be a challenge. Finding pajama pants that are long enough can be nearly impossible. I own 1 pair that have a 36" inseam and they are pushing 7 years old. They are flannel and most of the time, flannel does not work in California. So instead of shelling out $60 for a new pair, (J.Crew, I heart your jammies, but why so expensive?) I made my own. 

I basically made a pattern out of my favorite pj pants. I laid them on my fabric and drew around the shape of the folded pants, allowing extra room for seams, hems, and waistband. 

I cut out 4 leg panels and sewed them up, wrong sides together, starting with the inner leg seam. 

Like many of my sewing projects, my first attempt was not great. I cut the legs waaaaaay too wide. It looked like I was wearing a weird pajama, maxi skirt, culotte thing. I didn't realize this until I had the pants assembled. So I took them apart and started over in order to make a pair that fit a bit more tailored. 

I am standing on a step stool because I thought I would take the picture in the bathroom mirror. It didn't work out, so I angled the camera down and forget to step off before I took the photo.

I really like the way they turned out. They are a bit low rise, which I like, and kind of tailored so it doesn't look like I have a load in the back of my pants. The fabric has some stretch to it and is really comfy. The best part is they are long. I love them and can't wait to make some more!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Apology Letter to Target

Dear Target,

I'm writing you because I need to make sure we are in good standing. You are one of my favorite stores and keeping a good relationship is very important to me, but I get the feeling I am not your most favorite customer.

You see, I have 2 little kids. When I come to Target, they are always with me and we leave a trail of destruction in our path. We don't mean to, I assure you. I am a very conscientious shopper and do my best to return unwanted items to their original place, but my little ones are mesmerized with all of your wares and can't help grabbing everything within arm's reach. My cart is endlessly being filled with crap I don't need, want, or have use for.

Half the time, I don't realize my cart is full of cat treats, mens socks, and clearance gum. It's usually several aisles into my shopping trip that I begin removing these items. So, those 2 Cabbage Patch dolls in the cosmetics? Sorry about that. My baby had them wedged between the child seat and the rest of the cart. I didn't notice them sooner. Oh, and that Ariel stocking left behind in electronics? My 3 year had that stuffed under my coffee creamer. I had to be quick and remove it from my cart before an epic fit ensued. Thank you for understanding.

And since we're talking about epic fits, I'm really sorry that both of my kids screamed and cried in the pharmacy and caused a major scene. They were playing tug of war with a bag of chocolate chips (probably left behind by a mother with small children like me) and could not be consoled. They're used to getting treats when we shop at your store so they couldn't understand why the chocolate chips were off limits.

I guess I need to apologize for all of the snacks consumed in the store too. Sometimes a fruit roll up is the only thing keeping my kids (and me) from falling apart. All those sticky wrappers in my cart are just a reminder to pay for them. Please pass along my sincere apologies to the cashiers that have to pick them off my other items so they can scan them.

I need to get one more thing off of my chest that has probably been bothering you for some time. The cart left in the parking lot, sometimes wedged in the landscaping? Ya, that's me. Because my children are so little and have the tendency to run into traffic, I have to buckle them into my car before I unload the cart. Once they are buckled in, I don't feel comfortable leaving them alone in the car while I walk the empty cart to its proper place. Wedging it in the landscaping is usually my only option. So sorry!

As you can see, I'm no model customer. I'm pretty terrible, actually. But I love your store and hope that you can overlook these offenses until my girls grow out of this little phase they're going through. Will you forgive me?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sad Face

Earlier this week during my morning devotional time, I read the story of Job. If you're unfamiliar with his story, he loses everything he owns, his entire family and people that he loves, and his health. Through it all though, he never curses God. The man endured the worst imaginable things and never once blamed God or walked away from his faith.

This came on the heels of talking with a friend about the commonly misinterpreted notion that God won't give us more than we can handle. This is untrue. The verse that people often refer to (I Corinthians 10:13) doesn't state that God won't give us more than we can handle, but instead it says He won't allow us to be tempted to sin beyond what we can withstand. He will always give us a way out of the tempting situation without the only option being sin. The idea that He won't give us more than we can handle is a inaccurate and unbiblical. Our lives are routinely filled with more than we can handle. Look at Job! As Christians, we are supposed to rely on His strength in impossible situations, not our own. II Corinthians 12:9

Anyway, after reading about Job's horrible misfortune, I thought, "man, I'm glad I'm not Job. It had to be really tough to go through so much and not shake a fist at God." Then, my week promptly fell apart. I won't go into detail, but we have had major financial distress, health issues, and an overwhelming and seemingly impossible situation that I have no choice but to keep fighting an uphill, losing battle. Not to mention a heartbreaking election result. I haven't lost any family members (thank God), but I am smack dab in the middle of a Job situation. And I'm not handling it very well.

I am living proof that God will allow you to endure more than you can handle. The things on my plate this week are more than I can deal with. Seriously. I haven't cursed God, but I have ugly cried everyday. I have considered making some drastic changes. I have been hopeless. Just for a minute though because my God is way bigger than any of this mess. I try to be joyful and "count every trial as blessing" (James 1:2-4), but I'm not great at it. Maybe that's the point of all this: I need a little refining in the patience and long-suffering departments.

Today though? Today, I have a sad face. Will you pray for me?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

She's 3

Yesterday a certain someone turned 3. We woke up, opened presents, and spent the day doing whatever she wanted.

She wanted to go to the mall and spend her birthday money. So, that's what we did. She got some new clothes and 4 new Ariel dolls. She's a little obsessed. We ate lunch at a restaurant and she enjoyed telling everyone we met that it was her birthday. She had a great day being 3.

We ended the day with me telling her about the day she was born. She asked me if she was scared inside my belly before she came out. I told her no, she loved it in there where it was warm and cozy. Then she asked me if her bed and pillow were in my belly too, since those are warm and cozy! I love this precious girl. Happy birthday my Ariel loving, sensitive, sassy, sweet Beatrice! You are loved beyond belief.

Photo by Sara Rose Photography