Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It is absolutely ridiculous how long it has been since I have written here. I have thought about it periodically and each time it saddens me! Life just got in the way. We moved to a new home, so basically THAT is what got in the way.

We are so happy and fulfilled to be where we are now, but the journey was rough. It was a short sale, which meant we got a great deal financially but with that came a great deal of stress: banks, banks, banks! Add to that the stress of selling a home in this kind of market. If that is not enough, there was also the stress in trying to box, move, and unbox EVERYTHING (I wonder how we have acquired so much STUFF and how it ever fit into our old house?) with a two year old. I guess she is not two yet but she definitely hit the terrible twos long ago! I think I used the word "stress" too many times there and my recollections from English Comp 101 tell me to switch it up a bit, but stress is exactly what it was and I can think of no better word!

All of that was not even the worst. I think the hardest part of the whole ordeal was showing the old house to potential buyers, because of course the house had to look pristine and pristine was nearly impossible with The Terrible Two! Thank goodness for my mother and her willingness to watch Maari in a pinch. I think she is the person most to thank for us being where we are today, as there is no way I could have turned chaos into pristine without her.

I am rambling on about things that do not matter anymore. Done and over, right? This particular post is not supposed to be about introducing our new home, saying goodbye to our old home, or going on and on about the road we traveled to get here. That can all wait for another day. We have something, or should I say someone, much more important to introduce!

Meet Betsy Blue!

She is our new Boxer/Spaniel/Maybe Dalmation rescue pup. I guess you can see why her middle name is Blue. I love that blue (actually 1/2 blue as I have been corrected by Connor) the brown one too! Betsy was 11 weeks old when we adopted her, last Saturday. We told Connor he could change her name if he wanted...he came up with Lizzy but then decided he didn't like it so much. So it is still Betsy Blue, usually just Betsy (or Mommy has taken to calling her Betsy Boo). We'll see if Connor comes up with something else, but if so he better hurry because she is responding to Betsy quite well. I do like the name Betsy - liked Lizzy very much so too!

More on my Baby Betsy (yes my Baby is a mama's girl as all my babies have been) and our new home when I find the time to find the picture uploader for my camera (this picture was taken by Betsy's foster mom from Homeward Bound). Yes, I write to you now as I clean dog poop off the carpet (I have done very well with the pee pee outside but her poo just comes so sporadically - can't quite figure out when she needs to relieve). And yes, I should have been in bed 2 hours ago...but so is life~

Friday, February 26, 2010

Looking Out

And what is it that she is so mesmerized by?

Of course!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Virus

I am giving up on the series...we have all been a little under the weather so I have been ignoring it. Being sick is no fun as it is, but being sick and having a sick little one brings on a whole new meaning to exhaustion. First it was Connor who didn't have it too bad, then me with the three day sinus headache (by far the worst headache I have ever put up with), then Maari, now Justin with a so-far mild version.

The poor little girl has not been sleeping well. Plus, she is just so stubborn that when she wakes up (usually 2 am) she does not want to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. This makes mom + dad (and Maari too) very tired.

On a side note, our Nana turns 60 today! We gave her her first gift: our nasty little virus, just in time to celebrate her birthday. Sorry Nana!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

(4) A Plaid Hat

I never would have expected myself to fall for pink and purple plaid. But, this little remnant really caught my eye one day and being that it was on sale I bought it, not knowing what I would ever make out of it. After stumbling upon this pattern I knew.

The pink and purple plaid hat was made using the White Melton Hat pattern from the book Carefree Clothes for Girls by Junko Okawa. Lots of cute stuff in that book, although the sizing starts at size 4 so we have a couple years before the clothing will fit our girl. I lined the hat with really thick (and really soft) fleece so I think that is why it turned out small enough to fit her now. The strap is much too long but I left it that way in hopes that I can add another buttonhole for future use.

The other day Connor asked me if I could make a hat for his cheetah. I asked if he wanted one like this one? No, more like his Vikings hat he said...hmmm, knitting for a cheetah. Not sure if I am up for that task!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

(3) A Little Sweater

My first hand-knit wearable sweater! Technically, I knit my first sweater over a year ago for Maari when she was teeny tiny. It was quite sloppy and therefore deemed unwearable. This one I am much happier with.

It is the Wrap Top from Claire Montgomerie's Easy Baby Knits. It took me awhile to complete, as I am a very inexperienced knitter...but it was worth it.

I love the ribbon. And I love that it is in the back because that way the little munchkin cannot untie it, although I'm sure that eventually she will figure out a way.

Kind of like the socks...they never stay on for more than ten minutes. Hey, who needs toys when you have pretty socks!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lucky Connor

A break in my silly little series to announce something much more exciting...

Connor got to meet two MN Twins baseball players this past weekend. Pictured above are Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer and of course Connor. Being the sports fanatic that he is, he was thrilled. When Mauer walked into the room the first hand he shook was Connor's...pretty special stuff!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

(2) Puppet Show

A grand puppet theater, complete with tieback curtains, ball fringe, and storage case:

The pattern is from Amy Karol's Bend-The-Rules-Sewing. It hangs from a tension rod in a doorway and rolls up nicely for storing. As for now, we are more interested in using it for peek-a-boo than puppet shows!

(By the way, this is my 100th post!!!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

(1) Flip Dolls

I guess I am going to do a little series here. One of the purposes, among others, of this space for me is to have a spot where I can keep track of the things I make. I like to think it will be a place I come to five, ten years from now and reminisce. Things got away from me over the last 2 1/2 months so I have some catching up to do. Many of the projects were Christmas/Birthday gifts and others were just for fun. Most were made for Maari as it is much easier to come up with ideas for a baby (I am refusing to call her a toddler) than it is for an eight year old. So anyway, each post will be a new little something.

First off, meet Lily and Grace. These were the names they came with, although I'm sure that in the next few years they will be given new names.

They are flip dolls that came as a kit from Umbrella Prints. Each has a smiley face, a laughing face, and a sleepy face. Very sweet.

I think right now I am enjoying them more so than Maari but that will likely change. Connor is also somewhat interested...the fabric on one doll boasts a cheetah (well we think it is a cheetah anyway). This proves his obsession of this animal - even a doll can catch his attention! So in a way we are all enjoying the new dolls.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And Now Breathe

Wow, I haven't visited this place in over 2 months...I think that is a record. We have been so insanely busy that it has sadly gotten away from me. Just in the last few weeks we have had enough life changes (some good and some no good at all) to cover five years. I will start with the good because they are just so much easier to write about...

December brings three birthdays in this household. This old mama turned thirty on the 4th of December. It is a little scary, but I take relief in what I have heard from others. Everyone seems to love their thirties - still young, but much more stable than the twenties. So thirty, I welcome you with open arms - although it is probably time to invest in a good anti-aging cream!

And as for the holiday first baby turned eight on the Winter Solstice. I guess at eight he is not a baby, but I still think of him as my babe.

Connor is...well Connor. He is truly one of a kind. He is uniquely sensitive and caring for his age in years. I admire his kind character more than I know how to say. Strange as it may sound, sometimes I feel as if I look toward my own child for guidance. He is oh so special to us!

Can you tell we are still obsessed with cheetahs, I think even more so than last year. It is quite possible that my son knows everything there is to know about this animal!

And, my second baby (who truly is STILL a baby) turned one on Christmas Eve. One whole year! How is it possible that it seems as though she was just born yesterday, yet also like she has been a part of our family forever?

She is quite different from her big brother. Whereas Connor's personality is comparable to a fine wine, Maari's is more like a spicy enchilada. This girl has spunk and we are loving it! She has brought so much laughter and energy into our home.

Yes, she fell asleep after cake. She woke up with a jolt, shocked to be in her highchair. I thought she would start crying, but instead looked down, saw cake crumbs, and went right back to eating.

To add to the mayhem of the holiday season, Justin started a new job on Monday. After over ten years with the same small business he decided it was time to move on. He has now entered the world of "Corporate." He went from a small close-knit company to one of the largest corporations in the Midwest. The whole move is bittersweet, but in the long run is probably for the best. It has been exciting, scary, anticipated, and just plain different. But, each day it gets a little more "normal."

For his accomplishment he was given the Special Plate...and Gooey Butter Cake for dessert, although, I made the wrong one. Apparently my family has two recipes for Gooey Butter Cake. That just seems wrong, to have multiple ways to make something that is so bad for you. Anyway, I guess it is the thought that counts. We are so proud of our Daddy, he truly is special EVERYday.

Amidst all the celebrating - the birthdays, the new job, the Christmas festivities, the New Year - our family was pained with a terrible tragedy. It breaks my heart so just to put it down in words. I watched a woman I admire lose her child. I watched another admirable woman lose her husband and best friend. I watched my husband and two dear friends lose their father. I watched my own children lose their grandpa. As if watching all these people I love hurt is not enough to break a person's heart, I have also been burdened with my own pain in losing someone very special.

Our Papa Dave was truly a unique individual and his absence is shocking and painful. We had no warning signs - it just came and we have been left to cope. Put simply, it is hard, really hard.

On a positive note, he will be remembered fondly by all who knew him. I know that is what is always said about someone after they are gone, how full of life the person was, what a wonderful parent he/she was... With Dave though it is not being said just because that is what you say. He truly was SO full of life. He had this crazy energy to him. It was the kind of energy that you see in children. But he was like a child in a good way. He was extremely hardworking and responsible. For example, he built his entire house and just about everything in it with his own two hands. His youthful qualities came out in his enthusiasm. When he told a story, no matter how mundane the topic, it was always told with huge doses of suspense, smiles, and laughter.

It is interesting that after years of knowing a person often one dominant image remains in our heads after they are gone. I picture my grandma in my childhood bedroom holding one of my dolls trying to remember the name I had given her. I picture my great grandma greeting me at her front door ready to attack me with a multitude of forceful kisses. I picture my grandpa as I sit in the back of his van (in a lawn chair!), a small smile on his face seen in the rear-view mirror. I picture another grandpa, also with a small smile on his face, sitting at the kitchen table playing cards with his family. I picture my best friend from high school lying flat on her back on her bed laughing hysterically after another prank phone call to that really hot senior soccer star that she was a tad bit too obsessed with. And now I picture Dave sitting at the head of his dining room table telling a story. I do not hear what the story is but I see the gestures: the arm movements, the giant smiles, and the hearty chuckles. I think Connor summed it up pretty well a few years ago when he told me that, "Papa David is my funny Papa."

I can't help but wonder what image of myself would stick in people's heads if I were gone. It has really pushed me to want to strive to be a better person. Who wants to be remembered as cranky, or sad, or mad? I guess if anything good can come out of this whole trauma, maybe we can realize the importance of making the effort to enjoy life and those around us, to have the childlike enthusiasm for life that to me was the core of Dave.

So in the midst of grief and tragedy, we found some happiness in our annual celebrations because that is how Dave would have wanted it. It provided some distraction from the sadness for both the adults and children. I suppose in that sense having it all happen at once is a blessing in a way. Now that the chaos is all over we can just take a deep breath and try to resume as best we can in daily life, hopefully with a better appreciation for what we have been blessed with.

And to our Papa David: We will miss you!