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 birthdays...my 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!