Monday, October 31, 2011


When I was a kid, my mom painstakingly stitched all of my Halloween costumes, and I loved them.  So it matters to me that the girls have their own little labors of love.  My mom always searched through pattern books, finding just the right costume, and spent weekends at the kitchen table with her sewing machine.  I don't know how she found the patience, especially when I think about how my favorite thing to do was pick up pins with a magnet, which always ended up with the whole box of pins spewed over the kitchen floor.  (Plus if you magnet-ed them enough, they would stick to each other, which I thought was awesome, but I can see now was probably endlessly annoying to my mom.  So far, Hannah is forbidden to touch my pins, even though she has a familiar manic gleam in her eye when she spies them.)

I'm trying to get as much mileage out of girly-girl and matching outfits, while neither girl has too much of a say.  So my little love bugs dressed as insects this year: Hannah was a butterfly, and Lydia a ladybug.  I thought about both girls having wire wings, but finally decided that there was nothing Hannah would like better than to flap her own wings.  I was right (wait and see for yourself...).  But for Lydia, I fashioned a tiny pair of wings from a coat hanger and half a pair of knee-high stockings.

A tulle tutu finished the look. 

Who knew, but the wings double as a super-cool pair of giant sunglasses.

And here are the flappable wings!  Ever practical, they're attached to a long sleeve leotard.  Also, recognize this tutu from a Halloween past?

Paired with some pink patent boots, she could almost be a new hybrid ballet superhero.
Hannah picked the sequined trim herself.  I have to admit, she has good taste.  It totally made the outfit.  And there was exactly enough left over to make a headband.

On a kid this cute (when she was one, Hannah won a costume contest by sheer force of personality, not because her costume was anything special), you can imagine the candy haul she came home with tonight!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Shirts

Yesterday morning, the girls and I met friends to play. While the kiddos were swarming over the play equipment, my friend said, "Oh, look at that girl's cute appliqued pumpkin shirt." Little did she know that she sparked some kind of dormant pumpkin mania deep within me, which caused me to stop at the fabric store on the way home and crank out knock-off pumpkin shirts before supper.

I started with white shirts from the thrift store. This is why the shirts are so different from each other. They are also not ideal for a pattern (turtleneck and a pocket), but that's what I found, and they cost me a grand total of $1.30. So...two white shirts.

Next, I found some pumpkin clip art, which I enlarged for the baby shirt and enlarged some more for the toddler shirt. I transferred the outline to fusible web...

...which I attached to orange polka dot fabric. I also drew some stems freehand and cut those from some brown polka dot fabric.

So here are all my pieces, including some extra-large green rickrack for the vines. (Hannah got a real kick when she learned we were buying something called "rickrack." That was funny enough to keep her entertained while we were waiting at the cutting counter.)

I fused the fabric to the shirts, then stitched over the edges. In retrospect, there should have been some stabilizer under these, but good enough is good enough.

For the finishing touch, I added some buttons from my stash.

And are some cute pumpkin shirts for my little pumpkins to wear. (Too bad I didn't get obsessed with these before we went to the pumpkin patch, huh? That would have been super cute.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We're having a ball this fall with all things pumpkin.

First, check out these jack-o-lantern fruit cups we brought to our Halloween party. There were so easy to make, and super cute. The kids loved them!

I made them by cutting the tops off of oranges (it helped to first find the end of the orange that sat best of the table, then cut off the opposite end). Next, I cut out most of the orange with a knife. I didn't worry about scooping out all the pulp, just enough to make a cup. Then I chopped the removed orange, added some other fruit, and filled them back up. The faces were drawn on with permanent marker. This was actually the hardest part because the oranges weren't completely dry. So some of them are augmented with a regular ball point pen.

And we made our now-annual visit to the pumpkin patch. (This time we drove instead of hiked...uh...walked.)

These girls are just so stinking cute!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grandma's Door

I was into my teens before I learned that the annual ritual of recording one's height on The Door wasn't something that every family does. Yet this tradition is so deeply entrenched in our family, it is hard to imagine not doing it.

This door, as you can see by looking at it, has history. Quite a lot of history. I think half the town of Benson, Arizona has their height recorded on this old piece of wood. This Door started out at the "old house," and a doorway was built especially to fit it in the "new house." (This was in the 1960's, so the I use the term "new" in a purely relative way.) Because of it's incredible historic data, The Door can't be washed, and is a little worse for wear, but you won't find another door like it anywhere.

This Door contains the growing-up of my dad, aunts, and uncle, me and my cousins, and now our children. It has the names and heights of the neighborhood children (from both the old and new neighborhood), spouses (some of longer part of the family, but still on record), friends, in-laws, and a plethora of other people. Upon closer inspection, I even see the name of the contractor of the "new house."

Many of the names are recorded in my grandmother's meticulous handwriting. At a certain age, children are allowed to write their own names. This creates its own kind of growth record.

This is where I stopped...I guess we figured that if I hadn't grown between 1996 and 1999, I wasn't going to grow anymore. The next step is to shrink, right?

Along the very bottom of the Door are the measurements of various dogs and dolls - all important persons are welcome to be part of the the tradition.

Most poignant to me are these measurements of Hannah, alongside my own childhood growth. Even though she's small for her age, she dwarfs me at the same age: as a preemie, it took me a long time to catch up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleeping Beauty (Birthday Party) Awakes!

Well, I hope you haven't been holding your breath waiting to see the rest of the pictures from Hannah's third birthday party. They're worth waiting for, but it's been awhile, hasn't it? So, here they are, in all their glory.

This is Hannah's look of absolute joy and excitement: mouth open in the world's biggest smile! She wanted an "Aurora Cake," and she got her birthday wish! (Even though Hannah helped bake the cake layers and add some of the icing, this was the first time she saw the finished product.) In fact, she was so excited that she got up and ran around the yard for awhile. Finally, we got her settled down enough to sing "Happy Birthday."

And to blow out the candles. (By the way, don't you want to know what Ella's thinking? Look at that face!)

After opening presents...

...and some boy time, because all that princess stuff was getting a little too girly for some of the guests...

...there was a lot of running around in the grass...

...and playing in the pink castle.

We had so much fun with this party, and I hope you had fun seeing the pictures of it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Desert Travels

Looking out the airplane window as we approached Tucson last week, Hannah observed, "Those are dirty mountains!" That pretty much describes the difference between the mountains in Tennessee and those in Arizona, doesn't it? Tennessee is as overwhelmingly green as Arizona is predominantly brown.

Hannah's birthday week continued, as we spent time with grandparents - including the actual day of her birth, which we celebrated with three of Hannah's four sets of grandparents, a great-grandpa, and an aunt-uncle-cousin set.

We also had a fabulous birthday breakfast, which included eggs benedict for the grown-ups, and scrambled eggs and toast for the birthday girl. (Hannah asked for her favorite breakfast, and my mom and I improvised.)

And what's a birthday breakfast without cake? Or in this case, cake balls a la Sleeping Beauty?

Awwww...I just had to share this moment!

Next, it was off to visit Jonathan's mom, where Grammy and Hannah were very busy making stuff. They made some tutus (which were worn for the remainder of the visit)...
...and brownies...

Have I ever mentioned that in spite of Hannah's manic love of baking, she doesn't really like baked goods (with the logical exception of chocolate chip cookies). She does, however, love to lick the beater.

We also chatted with Jonathan's brother and nephew over the webcam. The best part: Brady showed Hannah is belly...

...and she showed him hers. Don't you wish you were three?

It was also Cousin Zane's birthday, which was celebrated with the classic party game of Spin the Lettuce. Who knew that would be so much fun?

On the other hand, check out Zane's new ride. He can drive surprisingly well for a four-year-old.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Big Oops

I have two oopses to report.

First, literally seconds before the first party guests rang the doorbell for Hannah's birthday party (and I mean, they were in the driveway), I was trying to get down some lemonade mix from the top shelf of the pantry, and instead dumped a container of oatmeal everywhere. Jonathan couldn't believe that I was taking pictures of it, but I'm kind of glad I did, aren't you? Thanks to some really fast vacuuming, no one was wiser...until now!

The second oops is, I uploaded all these birthday party pictures minutes before we left for the airport on our way to visit grandparents in Arizona. The idea was that I'd get the pictures done, and write the posts from my mom's computer. Our ride to the airport was in the driveway, while I was desperately working at the computer. Do you see a theme here?

Turns out, about half of the pictures didn't upload. So I've shown you all of the party that I can...until we get home, that is. Thanks for reliving Hannah's Sleeping Beauty birthday party with me, and hang in there for a few days. I promise more when we got home. (It's worth the wait to see the look on Hannah's face when she saw her "Aurora Cake.") In the meantime, I'll show you some of the fun we've been having on our vacation.
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