Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Very Special Christmas Gift

Maari Frances

Born Christmas Eve Day.

Feeling blessed New Years Eve Day on her one week birthday for all that 2008 has given us and looking forward to 2009!

(I just knew she would come on Christmas)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Trying out my new birthday/early Christmas present on the is going to need to get used to that camera. Justin's pictures seem to be turning out better than mine. After this crazy holiday stuff I am planning on sitting down for a one on one with this monster - so much to learn!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Redo for Baby

Well, we have been digging stuff out of the depths of the basement for baby. Seven years down there uncovered (oops) left some things a little gross. Nothing a new slipcover can't fix.

This project was a little more difficult than expected. Maybe if I had planned and marked the old parts before just completely ripping it apart it would have made things easier. But who has time for that?

Now I suppose it would have been wiser to just wash the previous cover, but the little trees were calling to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For Baby

Wow it has been a LONG time since I have written here! I guess things get crazy... we have been adjusting to first grade and all that extra homework, juggling soccer and football games, trying to finish bathroom construction, and rearranging rooms in preparation for baby.

I have started several projects and have actually completed 2 of them!!

One baby kimono & a pair of linen shoes:

The kimono is from a Martha Stewart pattern and the shoes from the Cloth Shoe Pattern from Stardust Shoes.

In the works: a quilt, bibs, sweater...sometimes my head works harder than my hands so we will see what actually gets finished!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


With another person soon to arrive in this house we are having to do some rearranging. In the spirit of things I have graciously donated my closet to the new arrival. I have been attempting to stuff its contents in other spots which has proven to be a frustrating task.

We happened to be out looking for a new computer desk, when I spotted my solution, a giant beautiful old armoire for only $160!! I have always wanted one but the typical $3,000 price tags are far outside of my armoire budget. I sat and stared at it for awhile wondering if it would fit in my room, trying to decide on whether or not to splurge. Then I opened it and saw little sign.

Yes, we are going to have a little girl, 95% sure we are anyway. Connor is still holding on to that 5% chance that he will get a little brother, but I think in time he will be very happy to have a sister. When I saw this little dress sitting on the shelf of the armoire I knew I had to have both. The first of many vintage dresses and a solution to my huge pile of sweaters without a home. It was a good day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Week 18 of Pregnancy 2 - we are having a baby!!

I am happy to be in the second trimester with much more energy and motivation, a nice treat for the end of the summer.

We are all thrilled and anxiously await the arrival of baby in early 2009. Or, if this one is like his/her brother and comes 10 days early, we will welcome a Christmas baby!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


2 years of wedded bliss. How come it feels like 20? I suppose when it is 20 it will feel like 50.

Happy anniversary to my fantastic hubby!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sleeping Beauties

We are enjoying all of the abundance in our gardens right now. Well, the abundance is mostly in the flowers and herbs, our vegetables are not doing quite so well. In my defense though, it was the first year I attempted to grow veggies. So I suppose it is a combination of inexperience and neglect, inexperience being the larger influence of course.

I am loving these poppies, something new this year. Justin got a bunch of seed packets as a giveaway at work so I figured I might as well give it a go. They were planted a bit late, but have been well worth the wait. They are amusing little flowers in the way that they close up in the evening and then burst open again bright and early in the morning. Flowers that sleep (although I have yet to catch them taking an afternoon nap).

Monday, July 28, 2008


It looks more like the farm here, but this is Connor at Day Camp. He enjoyed all of the many activities of last week - swimming, archery, games, art, even yoga. Mostly I think he just enjoyed being outside all day with a multitude of kids. What I wouldn't have given to have been a little bird spying on all of this!

Pictured here is the "art barn" where all of the children and counselors were packed in when I came to pick up Connor on Friday. We had a terrible storm, so bad I had to pull over and wait it out in a parking lot. Nothing life threatening or anything, but I was still relieved to see my little camper, dirt mustache and all.

And here we are at home, winding down from a week of camp, if you consider whipping the Friday afternoon craft around and around as fast as is possible a form of winding down.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Last week Connor attended an art class where he made a very handsome dragonfly all out of trash (ahem, I mean treasure). The kids also made some noisemakers out of recycled plastic bottles. Last Friday night I was serenaded by this little contraption - on and off for several hours.

And on Saturday he got to show off his art in a parade celebrating 25 years of the Phipps Center for the Arts.

It was not your typical parade - no clowns, no candy. Fire trucks did not lead the parade but rather a giant eagle that was pilaged by pirates. Yes, pirates in a speed boat.

And this guy. I am not sure what/who he was but he was my favorite, not including the dragonfly of course.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So just after we finished remodeling the upstairs bathroom we have mess...again. Just as I was getting used to the luxury of two functional bathrooms...bam it is taken away. And this time the bathroom we are sqeezed into has no cabinets, no closets, and no space to move.

We were not planning on this, however after a weekend away we came home to a wet basement and discovered a rotted bathroom floor. Evidentally something in the toilet was not installed correctly or had not been replaced, causing years of rotting underneath. I guess we are lucky no one has fallen through!?! (well I don't think it was quite that bad)

I have issued a timeline on this bathroom though, no two + years on this one. I am putting my foot down.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Fun

Weekend activities........


frisbee golf, fishing, dam building, popcicles from the ice cream truck, bonfires, fireworks.....

and a little r&r

It was nice to have Dad home for the whole weekend (for both Connor and Mom)!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


View from the backseat:

Two brothers in front spent some time on our road road trip this weekend listening to their Armin. I know, this is not quite legal, but on long rides Justin needs his music and Connor needs his movies. This was our only solution, plus they look pretty cute/silly/techie/goofy/ridiculous up there with those headphones on!

So, Connor and I sat in the back with the laptop propped between us watching movies, and season 1 of the Smurfs - love that cartoon, not so sure he does though. However, once in awhile I do get my way and due to some technical difficulties there weren't many other options. We also had some pretty great conversation. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the everyday that I forget to have these silly little talks. Eight+ hours in the car gave me a chance to do this! My favorite convo went something like this:

C: I used to be a girl.

M: No honey, you've always been a boy.

C: No Mommy, I really used to be a girl. I'm seeeerious. I was born a girl and then changed into a boy.

M: I remember when you were born and you were definitely a boy.

C: Mommy, I'm seeeeeeeeerious. I was a girl and then changed into a boy when I was like 1 or 2 or something.

M: Well Connor, if you are born a girl you stay a girl and if you are born a boy you stay a boy. (this comment brought some snickers from the front of the car)

C: Well not me.

M: OK Connor.


C: HAAAAAA, just kidding!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Riding the Waves

It has been a rough couple of weeks on Justin's side of the family. His sister left for Marine boot camp last week. She will have no communication with anyone for another few weeks. Personally, I cannot imagine having zero contact with family for that long. Not to mention, I have heard some scary boot camp stories. But, supposedly since she is in the officer's training program versus the entry level program, they are a little less rough on the enlistees (not physically but mentally).

And, right about the same time as Katie left, Justin's grandpa passed away. He had suffered from a second stroke and just could not recover from it. So, Friday we headed up to the North Shore of Lake Superior for the memorial service.

This was a hard death to deal with as Bob was such a kind man. Justin and I were talking the other night about how he was one of those people that never said anything bad about ANYONE and likewise you never heard anyone say anything negative about him. You know, there are just a handful of those people out there. That is one quality I really admire, the old "treat others as you would like to be treated." Such a golden rule.

Anyway, in addition to being a wonderful family man, Bob was a talented artist. He did drawings, woodworking, stained glass... Justin and I are lucky to have one of his infamous fish mobiles hanging in our living room. We think of him and his kindness everytime we look toward that corner of our home.

Grandpa Bob loved the outdoors. Justin told me that he did not want to lye in a hospital bed any unnecessary amount of time but would rather be pushed out in a canoe into the great lake in his back yard. When looking out over that big huge lake this past weekend I like to picture him out there riding the waves in his canoe,

smiling at all of those grandkids (and great grandkids)!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Recap

This little mother's day gift left me with a lump in my throat.....


side 2

He has just gotten so smart - I am shocked at what he has learned in only a few months time. He is actually writing his own sentences! Amazing what sponges those little brains are.

It wasn't just his intellect that made me teary eyed, but of course his sweetness too. I love that my one wish is "to go back in kinderagatin." Yes, I often tell Connor that it would be so fun to go back to Kindergarten again. Although (and this is the part I don't mention to him), if I were magically shrunk back to grade K, I know I would have to go through all 12 of those other grade too. Not so sure I would care to do that!

And I received a lovely bouquet of wooden flowers. The busy little guy also made a little painted pot holding a real flower, but we had a little accident with that one, resulting in a few tears :( but I think a little superglue might fix it.

And I spent some time with my mother on Sunday browsing through a local nursery. A beautiful sunny hour with one of my favorite people.

Justin had a good laugh at my gifts to her, only because they were exactly the same as his and Connor's gifts to me: garden plants and and a book. He even picked out the same card! What can I say, like mother like daughter, our interests are the same.

I also made her a little felt needlebook and one of those cute birds from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. I didn't intend for them to match but it turned out nice that they did.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We have been having some fun in the dirt, each in our own way. Justin planted a new tree in the front, while I started some seeds in the back. Connor, he will partake in ANY activity that involves dirt, so, he helped with both the tree and the seeds.

We planted carrots, tomatoes, and sunflowers using these small planters because I am still paranoid about frost - you never know. Obviously, they will need to be transplanted, but that just means more fun in the dirt. We also started a pot of cilantro because it is my favorite, I will eat it on everything! I never cleaned out the herb pots from last year and was shocked to find that the chives came back in full force this year - I thought they were an annual plant?

I would love to plant a full vegetable garden but am scared that those pesty little forest creatures will eat away all of my hard work. We'll see, but I definitely need to add some more herbs (fresh basil rates right up there with the cilantro)!

Although Connor loved the planting, his favorite "dirt" activity this year is digging for fossils. He has this special collection box in his room with all sorts of things that he finds captivating and says that the only thing missing is a fossil. Yes, he has been pretty adament about this (to the point of trying to crack open large rocks to see if they hold any fossils inside) - hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thinking Back

So I have been "reunited" with one of my dearest childhood friends. We had not spoken for years and then my mom saw her mom at Target, and well you know how that goes. It has been fun to catch up with Meghan after all of these years.

Although we remained friends into high school, our best times were in middle school. This is such an odd age I think, too old to be carefree kids and not quite old enough to be cool & mature highschoolers. We definitely leaned more to the side of crazy children than hip teens.

Japanese language class, 7th grade, complete with a double set of braces:

Anyway, this is a top I made for Meghan, the
Cabo Halter by Amy Butler. I actually made the same one for myself last year, yes she picked out the same fabric as I did - did I mention she has great taste!

So here's to middle school memories - silly sleepovers, first crushes, braces, Japanese language class, and a certain good friend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We have officially rediscovered the back porch. It is by far the best place in the house to spend a lazy weekend morning.

We received a warm birdsong welcome back from some backyard friends: little chickadees, a beautiful cardinal couple, and an entire flock of robins. The bird feeders hang directly off the roof of the porch so we have a great closeup view. Also, our soil must be loaded with worms to attract so many robins. Connor and I tried to count them and lost track at 15 - they started to move around too much.

The song and dance of the cardinal couple is just the cutest thing to watch. Last night the female flew up to the feeder for a snack. The male stayed in the apple tree, keeping a lookout I suppose. The entire time they sang back and forth to one another and when the lady was done eating and flew off into the woods, the male followed immediately - just like every good husband should do, right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Saturday we were lucky to have courtside seats to the Harlem Globetrotters. You know who was so very excited (still is)! Yes, we all felt like "important people" in our prime spot.

Papa and Nana treated us to the game/show, in which the Globetrotters won their twenty-some-thousandth game against the Generals. Of course it was a very close game, with the top player injured right before halftime. Luckily though he made a miraculous comeback and led the team to victory!

So now Connor would like to be a Globetrotter when he grows up. Immediately after the game, autographed ball in hand, he bolted from the car toward his basketball hoop. And, pretty much all day Sunday was spent shooting hoops. That evening, in an exhausted tone he said, "All I did today was play basketball."

Monday and Tuesday Connor took a little break from his basketball training.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Finding a Little Peace

This weekend got a little hectic, especially for a girl who is becoming more and more of a hermit! We spent one evening getting schmoozed (if that is a word?) at a hockey game, one evening at a birthday party, and almost an entire day at the elementary school's Kids' Kandyland Karnival. The latter was probably the funnest, although also the most draining especially after the sugar rush (cotton candy, mini doughnuts...) wore off.

Somehow I also managed to get some yard work done - clearing away leaves, etc. - I like to get this done (or at least started) before the plants start coming up, much easier that way. Under a pile of leaves next to the house I found this beautiful green peeking through!!

So, green outside and a little sunshine finding its way inside made for some peace in between the craziness that was this weekend.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Patchwork x 3

My latest obsession - patchwork.

A messenger for Justin's mom to use as a travel bag for her spring vacation:

She liked the similar wool version in my etsy shop, but I told her that wool just wouldn't do for a SPRING vacation.

A patchwork pouch:

This one is up for grabs here.

And of course something in linen for yours truly because it was absolutely necessary that I have another purse.

This one made it through the big bachelorette party last weekend. I too managed to survive.

Now I must finish my laundry and routine Friday cleaning so that when Connor gets home from school we can enjoy the beautiful day - FINALLY a warm sunny day!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Very Funny

Mother Nature's April Fool's joke on us:

The sun is out now though working hard to melt it.

Connor had fun fooling his Daddy this morning. We emptied out Justin's Smart Start cereal and replaced it with cat food. Connor also dropped some marbles into his work shoes. Unfortunately Connor chose to tamper with the black ones and Daddy chose to wear the brown ones. Well, next time he wears the black ones he will find a surprise.

Connor says he is saving his fool on me for tonight...ahh the suspense!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Inside

Snow all day tomorrow - last year at this time the temperature was 72 degrees! Yeah, March can be pretty unpredictable in the Midwest. So to help lift the spirits, a few attempts have been made to bring spring inside, since it is refusing to make an early appearance outside. It helps a little...

Connor was so excited last week for the first day of spring. It came, and then the next day we got several inches of snow. "Mommy, it still looks like winter to me."

Me too Connor!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Piano Man?

My poor old piano - not getting much use these days. Its main function: dropping spot for random mail and other loose ends. The other day however, as I was finishing up some laundry I heard its familiar echo as I was coming up the stairs. And there was Connor. He had cleared away enough clutter to open the old beast up.

It shocked me how lyrically he was playing. When he was a year or so younger he loved to pound out a few tunes all at one sound dynamic - LOUD and one tempo - FAST. This time he was alternating loud with soft, slow with fast.

I have been eagerly awaiting the day that he wants to learn to play, if that day ever comes. My big parenting philosophy is not to push. I have always cringed at those parents who are so adament about little Johnny or Susie following in mom/dad's footsteps that they make the poor child frightened of failing or just plain unhappy.

So I have held myself back, but this time he wanted to try to learn so I dug out my old first book. This little lesson did not last long. I think maybe Connor figured that after 5 minutes of learning he would master a song... Maybe he is not quite old enough yet...I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someday he might decide to follow in Mom's footsteps but who am I to decide that?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Experiment

I guess you would call this one a "transition" scarf - warm wool in spring yellows and greens. The yarn is hand-dyed and handspun from here. I really really love it - the colors, the varying thicknesses, the way every section looks different...

The process used to create this was a little strange. I started off knitting but preferred the way the yarn looked when it was laid out straight. So, I tried weaving, although I'm not quite sure that you would call what I did weaving, definitely not properly anyway. I used a thinner crosswise yarn that is pretty much invisible resulting in something that looks somewhat like a really big, messy, complicated braid. Random sections were left loose and unwoven. I'm not sure if any of this makes sense.

Yep, it was definitely an experiment!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Teeth and Bones

Lots of talk going around here about teeth. Connor has eight loose! Hopefully he doesn't lose them all at the same time. If so, we might have to alter our meal content (applesauce and bananas?). Also, it was recently dental hygiene week at school. All the talk about teeth prompted a certain someone to decide he wanted a special pillow to put his tooth fairy teeth in. So here it is, complete with a pocket to keep those shiny whites safe:

Not my best work, but I was under some pressure with eight ready to come and the constant "is it done yets?" The tooth pillow was made using this pattern:

Toby the dog has also started losing his baby teeth. Connor thought he would try to trick the tooth fairy by putting Toby's molar under his pillow. Well, she is not tricked so easily...Connor ended up with a giant bone in his bed the next morning. He's convinced it is a dinosaur bone. The tooth fairy also left a little something for Connor to thank him for the rarity. Both dog and boy were pleased.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Welcome March

Thank goodness for March. This winter has been LONG. What do we have, one month of slushy gray melting before a little green starts popping out? Sometimes I wonder why we live here and put up with it all, but I think each season makes us appreciate the next so much more.

This weekend recap:

Friday - movie night. I think I am somewhat of a jinx when it comes to movies. Every time Justin & I watch one together it ends up being a really bad flick. This could also be my requirement that the movie be less than two hours. It seems that the length of the average movie has doubled over the past few years. I can understand why some need to be three hours long for artistic purposes or whatever, but 3 1/2 hour romantic comedies......come on!! I guess I just lose interest after a certain point (unless the movie is so fantastic that it deserves taking up my whole evening).

Saturday - some friends we have not seen in so long came over - fun fun catching up.

Sunday - tiling the bathroom - Justin and my dad that is. Connor and I were a little less ambitious.