A few new projects

My mom and I did a bit of shopping this weekend – the best kind.  I went with the intention to stock up on wool felt for boy projects, a bit of flannel for some of the quick-change trousers, and for some lining for new oven mitts.

Instead, I came home with this.  I hope to turn it into a few things – most necessary?  New oven mitts.  But I have also been wanting to try those informal looking log cabin blocks – a runner for my new kitchen maybe?  I love the orange and turquoise for that.  I will have an eat-in kitchen in our new apartment – can’t wait!  Of course, I should probably continue decluttering and packing my house instead of daydreaming about sewing projects.

But just one more daydream.  I got this fabric on the same trip – it is called Choo Choo You by Richard Newman.  I’m thinking a quilt for the baby’s first birthday.  (I know from prior experience these birthdays happen MUCH quicker than one would like.)

There may be a snag in this plan though.  This is his older brother, who ran off with the “twains” as soon as it came out of the shopping bag.

I think I need to go shopping again.  After all, I did forget to buy will felt.

What projects are you dreaming about?

A Little Sewing – Reader Cover

Today is my wedding anniversary!  I have been married to my extremely patient husband for nine (9!) years.  I can’t remember I time before he was in my life, and yet, the eleven years we’ve been together sounds sooo long.

So, as a gift, I made him a cover for his Sony reader.  I used a Kindle slipcover pattern I have had pinned on Pinterest for a while.  Yes!  I finally made something I pinned!

It came together pretty easily – 2 hours maximum, and that includes looking for supplies, not having everything handy, climbing the stairs several times to look for the iron, ironing board etc.

Happy Anniversary Honey!  (and by the way, you know you have been married a long time when you buy each other the exact same card.)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Can I get a booya (or other appropriate self-congratulatory remark) for this one! We have never celebrated valentine’s day – Captain Jack and I usually smirk over the “hallmark holiday” and at most get each other a card.

This year, in my newfound obsession with treasuring every minute and celebrating every occasion, I converted. My son took handmade valentines to his thirteen classmates. (No Martha worthy artwork, but still.) And then, in the hour it took my mom to drive into the city to pick the boys up, I nursed the baby. I decorated. I cooked dinner. I baked cupcakes.

Cookie cutters hung from the chandelier with ribbon from my stash.

Heart-shaped meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas (my son’s favorite green vegetable.)

And chocolate cupcakes with the worst butter-cream frosting ever (I cut the recipe in a third, but used the full amount of vanilla. Gross.) Decorated in hugs and kisses with vintage red icing from my refrigerator.

Talk about something out of nothing. Without shopping, planning, or lists, proof once again that love is all you need.

PS: I’m blogging with a baby on my chest, prompting me to pray again a mother’s most heartfelt and desperate prayer – Please God, let them outlive me.

It’s been 12 days, and I can’t imagine life without this little boy.

This is Vital

My blog quietly turned one year old this month. Happy birthday poor neglected little blog.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about finding balance. – I work in a challenging environment and like my career. I’m also a mom and love to spend meaningful time with my little guy. I love being creative – cooking, baking, sewing, generally making things for my family and our home. I dream of writing, taking great pictures, traveling. I know I can’t do it all but I want to be sure that the way I chose to spend my time but those things that are most vital first.

If I have learned anything this year, it is that I don’t have it figured out. I am welcoming another little boy to our home, and my time will become even more precious, my choices more important, the stakes higher.

So I’m doing what I know best – start where you are. Ask for help. Trust your instincts.

Where I am:
My husband and my son are the most vital ingredients to this life I’m trying to live.
A new baby needs love, a mom who is present, and not much else.
My work is important to me, but I am surrounded by capable, wonderful colleagues who will happily help despite their own workload.
Doing something creative as frequently as I can, renews my spirit and is the most refreshing me-time.

Ask for help:
When I felt anxious about my impending responsibilities the past few weeks, the world has certainly reached out to bless me – from blog posts that seemed written just for me, to calls from friends who have been there. Here’s some of the blogs and women who helped- even though they don’t even know me:

This Big Sister’s Advice

Parenting – I’m Totally Winging It

Letter to a New Mom

New Baby Anxiety

It’s Not Rocket Science

Raising Up

Now, all that’s left to do, is to trust my instincts that what I do will be the right thing, and to keep doing it.

Thanks for reading this year. I look forward to sharing my journey with you as I learn more about what is vital.

Home-made things

Since I didn’t really want to post Christmas things before Christmas (can’t ruin any surprises now can we?)  I thought I’d show you the little elving that did happen.

Earrings:  I used the Martha Stewart ideas… there is another pair but I didn’t send them out yet, so no picture.

My forest:  This forest was supposed to become part of this cake decoration, but it is one of the things that got scaled back big time.  Instead, the forest made itself at home between my beloved german Christmas decorations on the mantel, and I loved it so much, that cake may not happen this year either.  If it does, there may have to be even more trees.

Oh, and I had every intention of making fabric gift bags this year, but since I didn’t, Jack Jr. had plenty of art to share.

We’ll be better next year…  maybe.

The Christmas List

I was going to share my elving list with you today – the good, and the bad. I have scaled back this Christmas, and then scaled back again, and again. There is just so much a third trimester mamma with a sick toddler can do. There are gifts that didn’t get made, gifts that were wrapped in store-bought paper instead of the lovely gift bags I planned to make, some home-made gifts that got put away for next year, recipes that weren’t made.

Instead though, I want to talk about what did happen.

I have had a trying third trimester. But baby is practicing his yoga stretches in my belly as we speak, and is doing well. My little boy has an ear infection, the kid version of a sinus infection, and has been sick for over 2 weeks now. However, he is still his happy go lucky self in between bouts of clinginess. He is saying thank-you unprompted, and has made the transition to a toddler bed proudly and effortlessly.

We had a lovely quiet Christmas in our own home for the first time since we’ve been married (8.5 years.) We tried to give each other thoughtful gifts. Christmas dinner was lamb chops, peas and carrots, and mashed potatoes. Desert was gingerbread with whipped cream. A simple dinner by former standards, but wonderful. And I discovered a new gingerbread recipe I adore. (Unfortunately no pictures.)

My parents came for a visit on boxing day, and will stay for the week. Having them here has been so wonderful. My father finally explained that ISO setting is not the problem after all, and showed me how exposure compensation works. Eureka! My mom and I sat around looking at patterns of beautiful things to make, and a few simpler things I may be able to complete in time for my babies to enjoy before they head off to college.

We had a second Christmas dinner – this time, a grilled turkey. I can tell you that it was the most beautiful and most delicious turkey I have ever eaten. (Again, even with 3 photographers in the house, no pictures.) We ate it with potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts, and my Mom’s amazing pound cake with cherries for dessert. There is enough turkey for several meals in my freezer, and we made stock that will turn into delicious smoky bean soup later this week.

I don’t want to remember how I “failed” at my ridiculous Christmas to-do list. Instead I choose to remember this: Sitting with a sick boy snuggled on my lap while he tells baby brother in my tummy about his new legos. Sitting quietly with my husband, enjoying the eclectic mix of Christmas ornaments we have picked up through our travels. Chatting with my parents about the things we hope to do this coming year, learning new skills from them as they patiently continue to teach my even in my (later) thirties.

If I can carry this lesson with me into the coming years, I have truly received a gift worth having this Christmas. Merry Christmas my friends – and may you too enjoy the quiet moments more.