Monday, February 28, 2011

simple is hard work

Eleanor was baptized last night - it was a beautiful and humbling experience.  As soon as I get pictures from my dads I will post about the night as best I can.  I'm still feeling many, many things.

You can check out one picture and a very sweet letter here.

In other news
I've been reading Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, which has really helped me continue the process of living a simple, meaningful life with my family.  Since I might have some "stuff" issues (i.e. I attach way too much meaning to my things), this book has been a helpful exercise in having a home that enables simple intentional living.  The basement flood helped too :)

The room that is working on having purpose.

I begged Josh to take this from my Great Aunt Joan's house when my family was getting ready to sell her house after she passed away last spring.  He argued we did not have a corner in our house that was available for the three corner cabinet.  Au Contraire - there was one - an old corner closet that the previous owner had taken off the door.  It fit perfectly.  I love everything about this cabinet, especially because it reminds me of Aunt Joan.

I added Abby's artwork and a quick origami butterfly mobile to the changing table area.    Eleanor fell asleep while gazing at the butterflies.  Mom, do not worry - the changing table is attached to the dresser and she doesn't move when asleep.  She was safe!  

Crewel work made by my Gram.  Framed for now, but maybe could be a pillow one day?  

It's a start.  One nap at a time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Great Indoors/Part 2

Abby has been begging to have a picnic.


I can't handle that yet so we improvised.

A blanket, some snacks, and a few books made her morning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Great Indoors/Part 1

This week has been a little crazy - hence no postings for over a week.  I fight that craziness with projects that both Abby and I find fun.  It is a lot of work taking two outside in the winter.  Snowsuits/buntings, boots, hats, mittens that make a little girl very flustilated (translation : frustrated).  You get the point.  So I decided Abby should get to experience the snow even if I don't have the wherewithal to get both of them out.  Truth be told, I don't care for being out in the cold all that much.  So I opened our back door and filled up a beloved bin with snow.  To make it more exciting, I gave Abby spray bottles filled with liquid water colors.  I also had an old contact solution bottle (that I had been saving for a month for a purpose such as this) held her attention for a much longer time.  She also added some spoons, a pot, plates, and bowls to serve up her creations.  

By the way, I think I fixed the commenting issue for those who have not been able to do so - feel free to try again!  I love to hear from you.  Aaaaaaand less importantly, I had to stop using all lowercase  - it started to drive me nuts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

eleanor (three months)

dear eleanor,

you've already celebrated thanksgiving, christmas, new years, and a lot of pretend parties in these three short months you've been here.  it's only been three months but i cannot imagine life without you.  you are generous with your smiles and patient with your hands on big sister.  i loved watching the first time you noticed abby and tracked her as she danced across the room.  she loves you so much.  the night you were born she wanted to hold you right away.  as she looked at you for the first time she asked with such innocence, "mama, can we take her home with us?"  i hope this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship for you two.

you have changed my life completely.  you have changed our family completely.  you have caused me to slow down - to enjoy just being home with my girls.

at three months, you are smiling and starting to giggle (although you get the hiccups if you laugh a few times in a row).  you are rolling from your belly to your back.  you like to look at anything hanging, especially our light fixture in the living room.  you sleep.  thank you.  you like to be held facing out and maybe a little swaying - not a lot of bouncing or jiggling.  you like your swing.  you go to sleep quickly with a little swaddling and a pacifier.  we call you:  eleanor, ellie, elles, elles bells, bells, elsie, little bubs.  yes your big sister made up a lot of those nicknames.  you are a joy.

love, mama

yes,  i did it.  matching christmas jammies.  

does anyone else see the furlow in her???  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy heart day

a few heart themed things happening here today:  
stained glass hearts sewn into garland

painted hearts sewn into garland.  yes i love sewing garland.

heart soaps.  i think i found a tutorial via martha stewart.  

the girls' surprises (felted slippers for eleanor and a rainbow playsilk for abby)  in heart pouches/necklaces.   Tutorial for heart pouch/necklace found here.
josh did good.  i love them.  abby named them mama, big sister, baby.  i already broke baby.  ridiculous.   

homemade heart donuts after a dinner i didn't have to make!    recipe for donuts here .
donuts were delicious.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the good news. the bad news.

bad news first.  always.  and then end with the good.  our basement flooded.  and my basement looks like a hoarder lives there.  so it wasn't pretty.  we had to use a lot of bleach.  we had to throw some things out.  nothing major - some sentimental things.  i would have cried but i was so angry i had to clean up...ummm, poop.  i do enough of that everyday.  here's a picture for your enjoyment or horror.

but here is the good news.  that picture and the one below was taken with my loaner camera.  remember my little camera dilemma posted here?  well before i had to even discuss future camera plans with josh, my sweet (and brave) father in law called and offered one his cameras to help me continue this mom blog until i get a new camera.  and the loaner is 1000 times nicer than my old one!  so bear with me as i learn how to use it.

prior to the basement incident, i had been mulling over something all last week.   in light of my technology mishaps, i kept telling myself nothing i own is irreplaceable.  (i tend to get very attached to my things.)  my husband is irreplaceable.  my girls are irreplaceable.   and they are with me.  so i'm good.  and grateful.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

brown paper packages

once a season or so we receive our version of brown paper packages tied up with string in the mail - huge moving boxes FULL of fabulous clothes from our cousins in the far off land of connecticut.  it is awesome.  i grew up wearing my cousin's (mama of cousins sharing clothes with abby and eleanor)  hand me downs and loved every minute of it.  she had impeccable taste even at the ripe age of four.  and now the tradition continues with our girls.  not only is it so generous and thoughtful, but it is so much fun!  i love pulling out each dress, leggings, and jammies from the box giving it a smell (it still smells exactly like my cousin - amazing) and then seeing the joy on abby's face when she sees something she loves.  if its soft, a dress, or purple we've got a winner.

eleanor will be rockin this out in the summer 

self chosen outfit of sweatshirt dress under a summer dress, with jammie bottoms, and easter shoes
dear girls, we love the clothes - thank you for sharing with us!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

i can't have nice stuff

i remember a certain father yelling throughout the house, "this is why we can't have nice stuff...because you bust stuff."  we would scatter and laugh hysterically.  now i must admit, he was saying it with humor in voice but he was dead serious.

and i am dead serious.  i can't have nice technology because i just break it.  my iphone  - submerged in water.  done.  my camera - dropped on cobblestone today at phipps conservatory.  finished.  i'll show the pictures i took right before it crashed.  i'm really bummed because the shutter will no longer close and it will no longer turn off but will not take a picture.  i'm really really bummed because i just started to take regular pictures of the girls.  what is a mom/family blog without pictures?!?!  

so my dear husband reads this once in awhile.  maybe he will see my desperate plea for an indestructible camera so i can continue to document the growth of our lovely little ladies?  maybe he will talk to this girly to figure out what i could manage to keep in once piece?  

on a brighter note, phipps is one of my favorite pittsburgh places all year long, but especially when it is so cold out it hurts one's lungs to take a breath.   the orchids and bonsai were spectacular. it was great to be in a beautiful, warm place where abby could run a bit.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

rice table

run to giant eagle.

buy the biggest bag of rice you can find. 

run back home.

put the bag of rice into an empty bin.  you know you have twenty (oh wait that's just me).

lay a table cloth/drop cloth under the area where you are going to play.

find cups/jars/measuring spoons/empty containers.  place them next to bin of rice.

take a deep breath.  this will require patience and a blind eye.  this will make a mess, but it's worth it.  

invite your toddler over and go over some rules.  rice stays in the bin, unless it's in another container.  rice does not belong on the floor.  have a blast, little girl!  

breath.  rice could will get all over the floor.  the table cloth will help. be happy your toddler is fully engaged in something not digital and working on skills that are increasing her hand/eye coordination and independent play (e.g., doing it "all by myself.") 

this could also be done with pasta, beans, cotton balls, water etc... 

reviewing the rules

abby chose which containers she wanted to try out first - after  just digging her hands right in!  

real life:  abby played independently for 15 minutes...which is record in our house.  she did throw rice on the floor...more than once...which resulted in the bin being put away for another day :)  she helped clean up a bit and i did the detail work.  it made the cut for a repeat activity.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow...

 so i could possibly be the worst Steelers fan ever.  i grew up with three brothers, a dad, an uncle, and cousins who worshipped loved the Steelers.  game days were huge and there was a lot of praying that church would be over at a decent hour so kickoff would not be missed.  i probably did a lot of grumbling about how i didn't get to watch what i wanted to watch and it most definitely fell on deaf ears.  now i always enjoyed uncle jim's world renown hot sausage and a pepsi.   i laughed as the man cave erupted with cries of, "oh o'donelllllllllllll."  i laughed as things were broken from wrestling during half time.  i became nervous if things weren't going well for the guys on the field and the mood of the cave became gloomy.  so for me the Steelers represent family, heart attack inducing food and not so much football.  although i was present for most games for as long as i can remember, i still don't fully understand the game.  what are all those downs about anyway?!?!  prechildren, the games represented uninterrupted knitting and napping time - pure bliss.  so here we find ourselves on the day of the superbowl.  i am trying very hard to instill the culture of western pa into my girls - to cultivate little ladies who love their Steelers (yes there is just a touch of sarcasm in that statement).  and the only way i know how to do that is through...a little crafting!

decorating the felt bunting

sewing it together

Go Steelers!  

Pom Pom Shakers - pom pom attached to a wooden skewer  wrapped with yarn

black and gold painting - do not mind the mess in the background :)

Here is a great tutorial if you would like to make pom poms of any kind:

colonizing the cosmos (best band out there, but i am not partial one bit) covered wiz khalifa's black and yellow.  Perfect match, yes?  check it out here to get your Steeler pregame on:

so maybe i am not the worst fan out there.  i do care.  and i am proud.  go Stillers.  shut 'em dauuun.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

dear God...

please protect ellie from the dragons.  amen.

-abby's bedtime prayer

i don't whether to laugh or worry that abby's imagination is waaay out of control.  after the day i've had, i'm choosing to laugh.

7:15 a.m  -  back to sleep after an early rising

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

stained glass valentines - not for the faint of heart

i think know this might have been more for me than abby but she LOVED it and asks to do it everyday.
disclaimer:  this project involves pretty much everything unsafe for a two year old, but abby still has all her fingers and no burns so it was considered a success!   when i worked in early intervention, my most awesome speech therapist showed me this idea but with leaves.  it was a terrifying experience then too but the results were so pretty - totally worth it if you can muster up some courage.

Peel the wrappers and grate your favorite color crayons with an old grater. This is a great way to use up bits of crayons.  If you only have one grater it will get clean in the dishwasher, but it looks pretty terrible beforehand. 
Sprinkle the crayon shavings on contact paper.

Put another piece of contact paper over the crayon shavings.  Make sure there is about an inch border because the wax will spread once ironed. 

Place an old dishtowel over the contact paper and iron away until just melted.    Abby was sitting about two feet back with "quiet hands"  (hands folded in her lap).  

Here it is just melted.
Abby proudly showing her work.

Cut out and enjoy!  Abby wanted to play with them  in the ice cube tray before taping them to the windows.

I made loops of tape and Abby put the tape on the hearts and then could choose where to put them on the window.

so this activity is a little more hands on parent wise than i usually care for...meaning abby could not do as much and had to sit and watch while i ironed and cut.   the funny thing she was completely enthralled and sat by me the entire time telling me how to cut the hearts - big, little, long, etc.  when i asked her how she felt about doing this project she said with a big grin, "mama, i feel all wiggly inside!"  so all in all it was fun and she enjoyed each step even if it wasn't that hands on.  

when abby is a little older she can grate the crayons,  draw shapes with a sharpie,  and then cut them out -  making it more her own.  

let me know if you try it!