Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gobbledygook at Grandma's

For the fourth time in five years we were able to make the drive to Bryan's folks for Thanksgiving. When I reflect on the insanity that is our family I'm amazed they keep inviting us back.  Which almost makes me hesitant to post pictures because then they might actually remember next time and not invite us back.  Of course, we might just show up anyway in that case, so here come the pictures...

Thanks to Grandma there was plenty of food and plenty of fun surrounding it.   It was especially neat how she found lots of ways for the girls to be involved in the festivities.

Grandma had the neat idea to make little cornucopias out of sugar cones and munchies like M&M's and goldfish.  (Robyn was our special helper when it came time to put these together.)

Robyn, Amber, and their cousin Lylia each brought a small craft to use as centerpieces.
Adding Fruit Loop feathers to Cocoa Crispie-treat turkeys.  (Crazy expression to the contrary, this was Amber's favorite part of the trip.)
Turkey-treat erector set.

And, like always, the table was set beautifully.

Cornucopias at each place setting.  Aren't the blue glasses stunning?

All the details were perfect.  Even the salt and pepper shakers.

The traditional Thanksgiving Kangaroo salt and pepper shakers.  These were Bryan's to his mother when she turned 50.  Because nothing says, "I love you, Mom," like kangaroo crockery.

Of course, I shouldn't poke fun, because my mom gave me this salt and pepper shaker set this year and I actually really like it. :)  Go figure.
All the talk about salt and pepper shakers led Bryan to start poking around for other unusual sets.  Here's hoping they're still selling this little beauty when it's time for Bryan's mom's next big birthday...

Bryan's mom did most of the heavy lifting when it came to the big meal.   Which is probably a good thing, because the result was fantastic.  Besides, who knows what would have happened if we'd been in charge.

For instance, the main course might have been more tyke than turkey.

Matthew weighed approximately the same as the turkey.  Thankfully, he generally doesn't smell anywhere near as a good as a roast turkey so we managed to keep them straight.

We did contribute a little bit in the dessert category though.  Bryan loves this time of year because of all the emphasis on non-cake desserts.

The thing Bryan is most thankful for this time of year: pie pie pie pie PIE!
Turns out Matthew is a pretty big fan of pie too.  You've never seen a baby get so excited about pumpkin pie: he would throw his hands out and dive bomb for each spoonful.

Pumpkin pie: the consistency of baby food, the flavor of grown-up dessert.

Speaking of Matthew, I was clicking through some old pictures and stumbled across this one. My first thought was, whoa, who put the baby in PINK footies??  Then I realized it was Amber at her first Thanksgiving four years ago. 

Name that baby.
Not that we are entirely against girl-ifying our baby boy.  For example, we decided he looked right at home in Grandma's Tinkerbell Chair.

Now, lest those last few somewhat sedentary pictures convince you we were a docile group, I better end with a few to give a better feel for what Grandma and Grandpa were actually up against.

Bodies CONSTANTLY in motion!
Thanks for a wonderful holiday weekend!  We're grateful to have such loving family to spend time with!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Felt Band-aids

This week in Kindergarten Robyn's class talked about "community helpers:" police officers, teachers, fire fighters, and doctors.  For years Robyn has said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and the conversations at school brought that interest back to the forefront.  The long-scattered doctor's kit was reassembled and for days Dr. Robyn has been making house calls to various siblings, parents, and stuffed animals. 

To go along with their pretend play it occurred to me that it wouldn't be hard to make up a handful of felt band-aids, especially since I was already sitting at the sewing machine when the thought struck.  And since whipping up band-aids sounded positively whimsical compared to wrestling the horrid piece of cheap satin I've been doing battle with this week as part of making Christmas dresses, it didn't take much deliberating before suddenly we were in the medical supply business.   A few scraps of felt, some leftover grosgrain ribbon, and fifteen minutes later we had band-aids.

No flesh-colored bandages here!  (Unless you're a smurf.)

Since the band-aids were made of felt they actually stuck to surfaces surprisingly well...including baby clothes.

Poor baby apparently was in pretty bad shape: good thing Dr. Robyn was there to patch him back together!

Our Thanksgiving tree made quite the band-aid magnet.

Now back to work on those Christmas dresses... :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guess I should stop complaining about counter space!

It started with Matthew.  I put him up on the counter to keep me company while making brownies.  Then Robyn slid over a chair and hopped up to play with Matthew.  Then along came Amber to hang out with Robyn.  Then Katie realized something was going on--without her!  forbid!--and climbed up too.  I turned around and suddenly it was obvious that brownie batter was no longer the sweetest thing on my counter.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just in case

Just in case your blog reader isn't already bursting with posts about pumpkins and other October festivities, we thought we better put up a few pictures.  Just in case.  After all, we'd hate for anyone to be deprived of their annual fall-photos fix.  (Besides, I promised certain grandparents I really would finally update the blog!)

A few weeks ago Bryan's folks were able to drive up here for a last-minute weekend.  Even though it was a quick trip, we really enjoyed being able to see them and the girls were glad to have grandparents along for a trip to our favorite pumpkin patch.

Getting to ride in the wheel barrow out to the patch was probably one of the girls' favorite parts of the day.

They miiiiiiiight be getting a little old for the whole wheel barrow thing though.  Good thing Daddy's strong!

Grandma sneaking some snuggles while keeping baby warm.  (We are fiercely in denial here that winter is actually going to come.)

Family photo.  Everyone say, "Apple Cider Donuts!"
 Although we bought the pumpkins early in the month, we waited until Family Home Evening just a few days before Halloween to carve them, thinking they would last longer that way.  Katie was pretty traumatized by the whole thing once she realized we were going to actually start cutting up her beloved little pumpkin.  I could almost here Charlie Brown's little friend Linus wailing, "You didn't tell me you were gonna kill it!  Auuughhh!"  when she started crying.  Poor Katie!

Robyn had no qualms about gutting her little guy.

You might notice Amber's pumpkin is a little teeensy bit larger than the others.  This is not (necessarily) because we love her more than the other kids.  On the Saturday before Halloween Amber brought her cute little pumpkin from the patch upstairs to our room, which also happens to be pretty much the only carpeted room in the house.  She walked in, announced, "I think my pumpkin is getting mushy," then accidentally dropped it on the floor.  Shplatt.  The next comment was Amber calming saying something like, "It looks like throw-up," followed by Bryan going, "AAAAAhhh!  AAAAAAhhh!  AAAAAhhh!" At that point I leaped out of the shower in the master bathroom expecting to find burglars or dead bodies.  Discovering Amber's pumpkin reduced to the consistency of oatmeal in a pile on our carpet wasn't that far off.

Since we were then effectively down a pumpkin, Amber and I made a quick run to the grocery store Monday morning, just in time to gawk in amazement at all the empty shelves as shoppers frantically bought bread, milk, batteries, and water ahead of Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully, most people apparently don't consider giant pumpkins emergency essentials, so there were still piles of gargantuan, grocery-store-style, pumpkins waiting for us.  Rather than race off to a farm to find something smaller before the storm hit, we coughed up the cash for this big fellow and called it a day.

Pumpkins beware!

Matthew slept through most of the carving activity. 

He probably wishes he'd slept through all of it.

 Really, though, with a pumpkin that big we just HAD to know if it was big enough for him to fit. :)

I suppose wearing a pumpkin was good practice for Baby's Halloween costume.  I remember buying our little pumpkin outfit on clearance Halloween afternoon when Robyn was about eight months old so we could go to a party with Bryan's sisters that evening.  It never occurred to me that someday we'd be on baby number four and still using it.

Our sweet little pumpkin. 

Not having to make Matthew a costume also freed up time to have a lot of fun with the girls' clothes. 

Amber really wanted to be a fairy this year.  While we were brainstorming how to do it (we didn't want to necessarily be a Tinker Bell-esque fairy) we came across the book Flower Fairies by Cicily Mary Barker at the library and loved the old-fashioned illustrations.


It didn't take long before we were smitten with the beautiful pictures and decided Amber would be a flower fairy instead of a Disney fairy.  I especially like how the vest turned out with all of it's bright pink petals.  

On the other hand, Robyn has wanted to specifically be Disney's Rapunzel for a good year now (seriously: since last November 1!).  I had a really good time putting her costume together.  I think I look forward to doing costumes so much each year because you can do so much more in terms of trims, colors, and styles than you could ever get away with on a Sunday dress.  I think I probably have as much fun making them (most of the time...there are definitely moments--most of them involving my dear friend Mr. Seamripper--when I want to skip the whole business :) as they do getting to dress up.  The striped sleeves and long yellow yarn hair were my favorite parts of this one.

Posing on the stairs.  I hadn't finished the hair yet in this picture, but you can see it in some of the other ones.

This must be the year of the yarn over here, because Katie also got to wear a woolly wig.  I was so excited to have Katie be a Raggedy Ann!  She didn't know who Raggedy Ann was going into it, but she loves baby dolls and she loves the color blue, so she was game after I explained it and showed her some pictures.  I've always had a soft spot for Raggedy Ann and it was fun to turn our sweet little Katie into a living doll.

Our very own "RaggeggyAnn" as Katie calls herself.
Plus it was a great excuse to play with a retro pattern my mother gave me a while ago. I added an apron to the bib to make it a pinafore and I figure, minus the striped pants and wig, it can also work as a Sunday dress.  (And if it still looks too Raggedy Ann-ish we can replace the pinafore with a red ribbon around the waist.)

Ahh...children of the 80's!

I also decided to make Katie a Raggedy Ann doll of her own.  Decades ago my mom made me a blonde Raggedy Ann that I loved and I really liked the idea of being able to give Katie something like that from me.  I figured it would be an afternoon project.  HA!!!  Turns out the darn little doll was by far (by FAR!) the most difficult Halloween sewing of the year.  I got my first clue that we were in trouble when I had to cut out THIRTY pattern pieces.  Thankfully, Katie loves her dolly (she's gone everywhere with her: bus stop, grocery store, etc.), so all the muttering under my breath at itsy-bitsy three-dimensional seams was, as dorky as it sounds, totally worth it. 

Our Raggedy Ann's own Raggedy Ann doll.
 And, as a bonus, Bryan likes it because it means Katie's costume is now fractal.  Cool.

With costumes and pumpkins done we were ready to face all the fun of Halloween itself.  Below are a few pictures from our various holiday activities this week.

The Church's Fall Festival:

Amber giddy with excitement at the ward Fall Festival that was scheduled, canceled, and then un-canceled following Sandy's fickleness.
Robyn trying to catch a donut without using hands.  Imagine a dog trying to chase it's tail and you'd get the general idea.  She didn't actually get it until it finally fell off on it's own.  She was also the first child to try it at the Fall Festival and no one else wanted to try after they saw how hard she had to work for her donut!

The Fall Festival was the only time Katie let me put make up on her to go with her costume, and even then she only let me do her cheeks.  While my dreams of drawing a triangle nose and cute little lower lashes just like a Raggedy Ann were dashed, we all still survived. :)

 Being a "Room Mother" for Robyn's Kindergarten Halloween Party.

Robyn's teacher said it was ok if Katie tagged along for the fun, which was great!  She seemed to fit right in with the Kindergarteners.

Katie even walked in the parade costume parade with Robyn.

This is a picture of Robyn's classroom during the party.  She has the greatest teacher and is loving Kindergarten!

And, finally, Trick-or-Treating.  It was a cold, wet, Halloween, so we did the whole coats-over-costumes thing.  <Nostalgic Sigh>  It reminds me of Minnesota where you were lucky if your pumpkin wasn't buried under a foot of snow.

Had to take a picture at this house for all of my apple-loving in laws.

The last stop: one final piece of candy from mom to round out a week full of sweets and treats.
 Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Dah Dee Doh Does in a Fabric Store

We are hopelessly behind on posting pictures, but before just throwing our hands up in the air and giving-up on catching-up, I had to at least share these.  My parents came out to NY for Matthew's baby blessing in September.  It just so happened that the weekend they were in town there was also a sale on fat quarters at JoAnns, so, even though we were crazy busy, I begged them to let me run in and grab some.  Dah Dee Doh very graciously offered to entertain the girls in the store while Mom and I careened over to the calicoes. 

Later that week when we exchanged photos we were surprised to discover these pictures on Dad's camera.  And now we know what Dah Dee Doh does in a fabric store.  And guess what?  It isn't look at fabric...