Absent But Not Idle

So Husband has returned after a long three months away and life is returning to normal.  The blogging break was not ideal but very necessary for my sanity.

While I shall not attempt to recap the last three months in this post, I will give you a glimpse of what I’ve been up to by sharing two very successful Pinterest projects!

Bat Garland

Check out my bats cut out of black felt using freezer paper templates.  This is a wonderful thing for those of you that have never heard of it.  Iron on shapes cut out of freezer paper (not waxed paper) to felt, cut the shape out of felt, and then peel off the freezer paper.  Genius!  A quick zip through the sewing machine right down the middle of each bat with the tips slightly overlapped completed the garland.  I hung it with double sided tape and clear thumbtacks on the ends.

bat garland

Toddler Bird Costume
(inspired by http://mayjuneandjuly.com/2011/10/31/happy-halloween/)

I am very proud of this costume!  With minimal sewing skills, I modified the design of a post on Pinterest to make this adorable costume.  Wings were cut out on my lunch breaks from about 12 different fabrics and 2 shades of blue felt.  I used a bottle of no-fray liquid on the edges of the fabric feathers.  A store bought dress from Baby Gap (on sale) was the base.  For the bottom layers of feathers I just sewed them to the dress in a straight line.

cutting feathers2 rows of feathers

The wings were 2 pieces of fabric I liked sewn together.  I pinned them right sides facing with the alternating felt feathers in between and feathers pointing in (this took a little trial and error to come up with the right order to pin items).  I sewed the perimeter leaving about a five inch hole to turn the wing right side out and then hand stitched the hole closed.  Here they are pre-iron.

wings

Once I got about 2/3 of the way up the dress, I was no longer able to sew on the feathers.  Too much material to fit in the machine.  So I used a pea sized dot of glue from a hot glue gun to afix the feathers.  I followed up with a very large hand stitch  across each glued row in hopes of making the costume a little more toddler-proof.   The final step was to cut out of yellow felt two feet to attach to her shoes and a narrow strip of felt to cover the unfinished edge of the top row of feathers.  I sewed the feet onto the velcro straps of her shoes.

     finished bird costume

And hear she is after a full morning of playing at daycare!

Happy Halloween 2012!

The Concrete Jungle

Apartment?  Check.  Townhouse?  Check.  Single family home?  Umm

Driveway FunWhen we bought our townhouse back in 2006, Husband and I thought it would be a short pit-stop on our way to single family home ownership.  Three to five years tops.  We certainly never intended to raise our children here.  For starters it’s three stories tall with the washing machine on the first floor and the bedrooms on the third.  That’s two flights of stairs for every load of dirty clothes the kids turn out.  The children’s bedrooms are also directly above the front door.  Thanks to a double story foyer, the click of our front door latch sounds like a gunshot to sleeping babies.

However the most frustrating feature of our home is the one thing it lacks: a yard.  Sure the missing yard was a minor disappointment when we bought the townhouse.  With the addition of two young children it is a near intolerable void.  What parent doesn’t envision their children playing outdoors, frolicking in the fresh air?  How was that going to happen with no yard to speak of just a modest stretch of concrete driveway?

But this past weekend it did.  Sunday night, hours before bedtime, I took one look at my cranky kids and I decided to take the party outside.  Concrete jungle be damned, we had to get out of the house for a bit.  I put Amelia in her swimsuit, placed Haiden in his walker, filled a plastic beer tub with water, tossed in some Tupperware and let them have at it.  The kids had a BLAST and I got to rest for almost an hour.  As I sat in a lawn chair admiring my own ingenuity I thought “there may be no grass, but this is pretty darn close to what I envisioned.”

The plan was always to raise our family in a single family home with a yard.  You know what plan I’m talking about.  The plan.  That invisible playbook that’s drafted up long before we know what life will send our way.  I’m not knocking the plan.  I have a plan and it’s awesome.  But sometimes the plan changes and sometimes it gets blown to pieces.   You accept and adjust because, honestly, there’s not much else to be done.  Do I still long for a lush patch of grass to call my own?  A place for my babies to run barefoot through sprinklers in the summer?  Definitely.  It’s in the plan. Right now though I’m going to scour Pinterest for more driveway fun.

The Poignancy of Superheroes

Mind-boggling special effects, quick moving action, witty banter between arch enemies, gadgets and supernatural powers… What’s not to love about superhero movies? Hollywood has been driving the superhero/comic train full throttle lately and both Husband and I are on board. Nothing gets us searching for a babysitter faster than the premier of a new superhero movie and The Dark Knight is no exception. We have been eagerly anticipating the movie’s premier for months.

What is it about superhero movies that has us all so captivated right now? Yes, a quality movie’s ability to entertain is worth its weight in gold (and there have been a lot of quality superhero movies lately). But I think superhero movies are doing more than just entertaining the masses. At a time when headlines are full of real people spreading fear and devastation with little regard for the lives they destroy, we need to be reminded of the good in humanity. And that’s what superhero movies do. Underneath the explosions, car chases, and fight sequences, they are about courage and strength in the face of evil. Superhero movies are our Bat Signals. They remind to never give up hope and never stop fighting.

Stop and Smell The Garbage

This morning I did something for the first time in the five and half years I’ve lived at my current address.  I met our garbage man (well men to be more specific.)  With perfect timing a garbage truck rolled around the corner as we stepped out our front door on the way to daycare.

Both kids were instantly captivated first by the loud rumbling of the truck and then by the two men sprinting from truck to trash can and back again.  In a moment of what I’d like to consider great parenting I accepted I would be late for work, put Haiden’s car seat on the ground, and leaned back against our car to enjoy the show.  Amelia, who was being held by her Nana, remained riveted as they worked their way down our block.

When the truck finally pulled up to our house, she greeted it with a whispered “truck” and a shy wave.  Both men flashed my girl a big smile and waved back.  I exchanged some pleasantries with them and then they got to the business of our trash.  I could be mistaken but it seemed they emptied our can with a little more pageantry than required.  Amelia was thrilled by their performance and she called “bye, bye” to the garbage men long after they had continued down the street.

This morning I watched Amelia experience something new.  I made a connection with two people that do a job I’d hate to do but rarely give a second thought.  I saw two men hauling stinky trash on a hot, humid morning stop and smile because my sweet girl was fascinated by their work.  It was a good morning.

Blog Round-up: The Fourth of July

Summer is here.  It’s almost 100 degrees outside and this coming Wednesday is Independence Day (or “The 4th of July” as I always say).  Nothing screams summer like a blistering heatwave and fireworks!  The exclamation point to that sentence is that I finally have a child old enough to appreciate a celebratory salute to our country.

I have been scouring the internet for months in search of toddler friendly decorations and activities.  However compared to Christmas or Halloween, the 4th of July is largely ignored.  Note to self: start brainstorming ideas for next year’s 4th before I pack up the winter clothes.

Below are two of the more unique concepts I came across.  I like that both ideas are low cost and simple.  Two vital prerequisites for all holiday projects while my children are young.  One never knows what a toddler will be afraid of or decide to destroy.  Happy 4th!

From Lizard & Ladybug – sprinkles that pop in your mouth!  I consider this an activity since I’m betting Amelia will have great fun decorating our cupcakes.

Mason Jar Sippy Cups from Two Shades of Pink

Less Really Can Be More

For about six weeks I have been contemplating Husband’s Father’s Day gift.  I found many cool ideas scouring Pinterest and my favorite blogs, but the kids’ young ages and a rather paltry budget ruled out most of them.  In the end I grabbed my babies and our beloved dog for an outdoor photo shoot.   Simple letters spelling “DAD” let their personalities shine.

In what felt like a rare moment of easy harmony, we laughed and played as we took these pictures.  The result was a wonderful gift for Daddy and a precious memory for me.