Tuesday, January 26, 2010

first official haircut

I took Charlie to get his hair cut the other day and would be totally remiss if I didn't post the pictures on the blog...especially since my blog ends up serving as an online baby book for my poor, neglected second child most of the time.

It's so sad that Avery's baby book is filled with random, silly facts about her eating habits, sleeping patterns, and bowel movements, but poor Charlie's is totally empty.

I stink.

So I guess you'll have to bear with this guilt-ridden mommy as I blatantly post braggadocios and completely obnoxious mommy photos for the sake of memory keeping.

...Or you can just go on to the next blog in your Google Reader.
It's cool.
You won't hurt my feelings.
I promise.
Go ahead...

On to my post:
Here's my little Shaggy Shagster before:
(loving on his "buddy". A fact that makes my heart a little too happy for words.)

(somebody wasn't liking it)

And After:


Such a Little Man.

That will be all.
Carry on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

so - a needle pulling thread

I come from a family of extremely talented women. Women who can sew, crochet, quilt, and embroider like champs.

I have some priceless memories of my grandmother teaching me to hand stitch quilt pieces when I was a girl. I've been intrigued and inspired by women who have the ability to create beauty out of simple fabric ever since.

With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I was when my mother-in-law gave me a sewing machine last Christmas. Excited...and completely overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, in fact, that I didn't touch my machine for the first 6 months that I owned it.

One day last summer, I got fed up with my whimpy-ness and decided to do something about it. With the help of some very patient friends, I managed to make this nursing cover:

...and I didn't touch the machine again for another 6 months.

Finally, one random day in November, I got an amazing idea: a stroke of genius. I decided that I would make dolls for Avery and Charlie for Christmas. Dolls like my Great-grandmother made for me when I was a little girl...sweet, pretty, handmade dolls.

What better way to learn to sew than by making something that your children could enjoy for years to come, right?

I could just picture Avery ripping open the wrapping paper to reveal her lovingly hand-made doll. Her big brown eyes would well up with tears, she would wrap her sweet little arms around my neck and whisper, "Oh thank you, Mothah... It's the loveliest doll I've ever seen. I am the luckiest girl in the whole, wide, world."

It was going to be awesome.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make the dolls happen, but they were definitely happening.

I found Bit of Whimsy Dolls on etsy - the dolls were adorable and just perfect for my little guys, and each pattern came with step by step directions.

I took my doll patterns, my tiny sewing machine, and my delusions of grandeur to Craft Club for some tutorage from my more experienced girlfriends.

That night, I made half of a doll.
In 5 hours.
If you're doing the math, that's some seriously slow sewing.
Some seriously slow, seriously pitiful sewing.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that I ripped more seams than I actually sewed that night.

My doll looked like Flat Stanley after a fight with Edward Scissorhands.
Not pretty and definitely not whimsical.

I took my little Mutant doll and went home feeling a little tired and slightly disillusioned.

That's when I realized that my expectations may have been a little high.

But here's the deal: If there's one thing I am it's stubborn.
The dolls were happening.
They may be horribly disfigured, but the dolls were happening. Period.

So I tried again.
And again.

It started to get a little easier.

Until I got to the legs.
Then the doll looked like this for a week.

That's when I started to think that maybe the dolls weren't happening.

It took a pep talk or two from friends, but eventually, I got back to work.

After way longer than any doll in history was ever taken to create, Avery's doll turned out like this:

She was unclothed, but she was finished.

After I finished Avery's doll, I started feeling confident... and if I'm honest, pretty darn proud of myself.
But pride goes before the fall, people...and I have the photo to prove it.

While making Charlie's doll, I sewed THROUGH MY FINGER. Don't ask me how it happened...'cause I have no idea.

What I do know is that jamming a needle through your finger hurts.
A lot.
Thankfully, my pal Scooby Doo helped me avoid hemmoraging to death.

I have to say, the image of my finger with the needle going in one side and out the other is one that I may carry with me to the grave.
It haunts me.

Dispite my horrifying needle experience, I managed to finish Charlie's doll just in time for Christmas (I told you I was stubborn).

Giving Avery her doll turned out to be a little different than I thought it would be. It went something like this:
"Oh. My Doll. She has bony tails (a.k.a. pony tails)".

Then she put it down.
That's right, SHE PUT IT DOWN.
And went on playing with her other toys.

Isn't that just about right?

I did manage to get a picture of her pretending to love it for the camera. She named it "Princess Daisy" and insisted on wearing her own "bony tail" for the photo session.

Little Charlie loves his doll and has from the moment I placed it in his arms.
He hugs and pats his baby regularly and with vigor.
A fact that makes stabbing my finger almost worth it.

Since Avery's baby dolls live happily in a mini nudist colony located in the corner of her playroom, I probably could have avoided making a dress for "Princess Daisy". But this week, I bought Bit of Whimsy's peasant dress pattern and made a little dress for her.

Thankfully, making the dress was much easier than making the doll itself. 

Could I have bought a doll and saved myself a lot of blood, sweat, and tears?
But I did it.
I may do it again, too.
In like 20 years.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Charlie's Nautical Birthday Party

I realize that Charlie's first birthday was waay back in November, but with the holidays and a million other crazy things going on around here (more on that later), I'm just now getting around to posting the details.

Surprising that I should be late for something, no?

Moving on -

I'm a big fan of birthdays.
In fact, it's one of the many things that I seriously enjoy obsessing over.
The planning, dreaming, and  creating... oh...
It's so much fun.
Sure it's CRAZY stressful, but I really love knowing that I am creating special memories for my kids on their special day.

Typically, I try to find a party theme that reflects my kiddo's favorite things during the previous year.

The thing is, a one-year-old's main interests are pretty much sleeping, eating, and pooping.
Talk about a seriously un-fun party theme.

So - I had to dig a little harder to come up with Charlie's party theme.

Before Charlie was born, my aunt sent Charlie a sweet little Skippit the Sailor Dog. It quickly became his favorite little snuggle blanket.

The more he loved on that little guy, the more my party-freak wheels started turnin'.

I searched a bazillion different ideas on the internet and found some fun starting points...and with a lot of help from some very sweet and creative friends, things started coming together.

At the last minute, of course.

We decided to have Charlie's party at our church playground because our teeny tiny house isn't big enough for our family, much less 20 + party guests.

Since our only option was an outdoor party, we prayed really, really hard for a pretty day.

Y'all - we didn't just have a pretty day - we had beautiful, unusually warm, fantastic, amazing, day.
Birthday Miracle in the howse...

As the guests entered the playground, I had a table set up with a sign that read:
"Say Ahoy to our Very Good Boy!"

Guests were invited to write a note to Charlie and place it in a bucket for him to read when he gets older.

Sadly, I don't have a fancy photographer-created photo of the bucket, but I managed to use my janky camera to show you what it looks like.

Ugh. Back to the pretty pictures, please.

Past the playground area was an open space where I put three large round tables for my guests to sit and a large rectangular table for the food.

Each round guest table had center-pieces created with toy boats in galvanized buckets.

I made the boats from $1 wooden kits from Michael's. David and I spent approximately one meellion hours the night before the party painting and putting them together.
Not David's idea of a fun night.
He really loves me.

Originally, I wanted to put real water in the buckets, but it turns out that $1 boats don't so-much like to float. So - I had to use blue craft paper instead.
You do whatcha' gotta do.

For the food table, I bagged up some tasty fishies for snacks
and served "fish and chips" for lunch.
Not real fish and chips- but the kid/picnic friendly version of fish and chips: chicken tenders and french fries from Abner's.

I served them in the most adorable red plastic baskets I borrowed from my friend Maribeth and found red polka-dotted napkins at Michael's.

I made my first fabric banner (!) by hot-gluing scraps of a white t-shirt, some pretty Michael Miller fabric, and some blue seersucker on some burlap twine.

For the party favors, I fashioned scrapbook paper into paper cones, and attached natural string for handles. Inside the cones were swedish fish, gummy worms, and a beach themed bath toy.

I tied burlap twine to the fence and clipped the favors to the string to double as party decor.

For the craft, I had the guests decorate newspaper sailor hats.

The kids had fun choosing their "flair" for their hats.

Charlie enjoyed watching the big kids create their hats.
He wore a hat I bought from an internet store called Grammie's Attic (how do you like that name?).
I embroidered his name on it to match Skippit's sailor hat.
After crafts, we enjoyed some delicious birthday cupcakes made by my amazing and generous friend Breanne.

Charlie seriously enjoyed his cupcake.

And his second one.

And yes, he had a wardrobe change for his cake-eating. 'Cause that's how I do.
Ok. Definitely.

After cake, we opened gifts...
Look at Charlie's face in this picture:

David helped me create a sailboat out of a cardboard box for the kiddos to play in.
I don't have a picture for this, but I also had fishing poles made out of dowel rods and string for them to pretend to fish with.

Charlie was happy to just crawl around and explore.
Ok - so this next picture is Maribeth and I taking off the packing tape that held the boat together, and then hot-gluing it together again.
Why do I have a hot-glue gun at a birthday party?
Why am I re-creating a boat when I should be cleaning up?
I wish I knew...

Actually, we did it so that we could get this picture:

Oh It's good to have equally freakish, perfectionistic friends!

Thanks again to Josh Malahy, our talented photographer and friend for the great photos!
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