Tuesday, March 13, 2018

7 Months Young!

The princess of the bunch is officially 7 months old today! 

She is currently 16 pounds, 4 ounces and approximately 26 inches in length.  Wearing size 6-9 month clothes and size 3 diapers.  

Surprisingly not crawling just yet.  But she barrel rolls and spins like a champ, so she still gets wherever she would like to go.  Only a matter of time before she takes off!

Also... NO teeth just yet!  This is not unusual for my kids.  All of them have been late bloomers in the teeth department.  And so far with the older ones, it has translated to losing their baby teeth later than many of their friends too.  But I have no doubt that they are coming soon.  Our typically happy happy baby has had some nights of frustration, and just look at her gnaw on that spoon below.  

This month she has begun to grasp the whole eating with a spoon thing.  She has tried sweet potatoes, apples, and bananas so far.

She also traveled like a champ on our trip to Williamsburg!  We sure are blessed with this easy going girl.  We have another trip in the works for Spring, so I'm definitely thankful for a baby that can keep up with us so to speak.

Also, in the above pictures, she's sporting the first outfit I sewed for her!  This particular pattern is the Kate pattern (baby top version) and ruffle shorts from Violette Field Threads.  Little girls are so much easier to sew for, and I've loved making things for her.  They aren't perfect, but it sure is fun! 

Happy 7 months little love! 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Williamsburg, Virginia

We spent the last few days on a family field trip to Williamsburg, Virginia!  We were blessed to have been given a 3 day, 2 night stay at the Williamsburg Plantation Resort and did our best to take full advantage of the sites and fun to be had.

Our trip began on Wednesday with eating breakfast, loading up the van and hitting the road just before 8am.  We packed our lunch and decided to stop at a rest area off the highway just outside of Williamsburg to eat.  Our check-in to our resort wasn't until later afternoon, so once we loaded back up, we went straight to colonial Williamsburg.

Twice a year, Colonial Williamsburg offers "homeschool days" and discounted tickets to be purchased online in advance at a special discount.  (A big part of why our trip was planned for this week even though, it's technically "off season.")  We parked at the visitor center and rode the shuttle over to the historical area.  If you ask the kiddos, they would probably tell you that riding the shuttle bus was a big highlight of the whole trip!  Haha!

Other favorites of Colonial Williamsburg was the capital building and learning about the laws of the time and how they were punished.  All felonies were punishable by death, however, only about 16% were convicted because of lack of evidence.  The kids also enjoyed checking out the jail.  Part of Blackbeard's crew actually spent time in the very jail that our kids were running around.  There was also the stocks outside of the courthouse which of course made a great photo opportunity, and some delicious cookies we grabbed in an old grocer store. 

And lastly was the horse drawn carriage ride.  An 18th century limo!  The kids kept seeing them around town and we couldn't resist.  We got a leisurely ride around the town, and learned a few things from our driver Dan.  And of course the horses, named "Tom and Jerry" were beautiful.  Joel was quite entertaining through the whole ride, waving, greeting and wishing everyone we passed a good day.  He thought he was in a pageant or a parade.  

We knew in advance of our trip that the weather forecast was calling for rain on Thursday.  Gradually through the week before we left, the chances increased until they were at 100%.  Obviously any outdoor plans were out of the question.  We went out to breakfast for local fare to a small hole in the wall called "Honey Butters".  The two concierge suggested it when we checked in.  I won't deny that when we pulled in, and saw the outside, we weren't sure we wanted to go in.... BUT, I am so glad we did!  The food was delicious.  Especially the garlic potatoes.  Mmmmmmmm....

After breakfast, we did some exploring-- we checked out the famous Yankee Candle flagship store, and also the local "Trading Post", and not quite as fun but necessary, a Food Lion for groceries! The kids dipped wax ornaments at Yankee Candle, and we goofed off at the Trading Post.  

We headed back to the resort for lunch and the two little ones took a nap while Daddy took the two big kids swimming in the indoor pool for our indoor afternoon on a rainy day.  Then we decided to head out to eat.  I'm not going to lie, vacations typically revolve around the food.  Is that the same for other families?  Even if we are packing our own food, the question of what snacks we are packing comes up before what clothes we are packing.  We also try to avoid chain restaurants and places that we could eat anywhere or at home.  For the most part, this has went well for us, and based off of online reviews or asking a local, we have found some good spots.  I can only recall one time that we've ever found a dud.  For dinner we found "Craft 31" and it did not disappoint!  Craft beers, a burger for the man, and oysters for me.  The kids even cleared their plates as well.  If we ever head back that way, we would definitely stop there again.  

Friday was check-out day so we began the morning early packing up our things, loading the van, and making sure the resort room was tidy.  We could not have been more thankful for our accommodations!  The resort was really spacious, everything we needed was provided for us, and the staff was very pleasant.  

Once we checked out we went to the Jamestown Settlement.  Now, the downside to going to such a fun place in the off season, is that you really have no idea what kind of weather you will be handed.  We knew before heading out that we would have rain Thursday and could avoid outdoor activities then, but we had no idea that Friday was going to be strong wind advisories.  The wind was BRUTAL!  Shortly after we arrived to Jamestown, they ended up announcing that they were closing the outdoor activities.  The wind was too wild and there were branches and things falling all over the place.  Thankfully they sent someone around to warn us that they were closing shortly and we were able to speed walk and do an express version of the outdoor sites including the Indian village, ships and colonial fort.  And then once we were back indoors, all of the enactors were inside giving demonstrations throughout the museum.  Honestly, I liked this set up better.  There weren't many people in attendance to the museum, (not sure if that's weather or season) and so our encounters with each person were very intimate, and the kids got to ask lots of questions and really get hands on.  We chatted with a Powhatan Indian captain, learned how to tie knots from a sailor and learned all about colonial weaponry and armory from a couple of soldiers.  

After we left the Jamestown Settlement, we went to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.  Both Jamestown and the American Revolution museum offer a homeschool discount daily by the way, along with special programming in the Fall.   Again with the high winds and being under a weather advisory, the outdoor activities were closed.  No express tour at Yorktown since they were closed before we got there, but again the enactors were indoors doing demonstrations and answering questions.  Lots of wonderful displays at the American Revolution museum, along with hands on trivia, sounds and games.  We chatted with a battlefield surgeon, played with some 18th century toys, checked out lots of weaponry, the declaration of independence, the bill of rights, and discussed what liberty means.  

Then we packed up and set our directions to head back home!  Sadly because of the wind advisory, we couldn't take the ferry on our way back like we had hoped, but considering that's the only thing we missed on such a full and packed trip, we definitely came out well.  On the way home, Daniel and I were already chatting about doing it all again in a few years when the kids are older.  Maybe then we would add in Bush Gardens too.  Definitely a great trip, rich in history and learning, but full of fun and family time.  And at the end of the day, family time is the best time!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hayden's 6th Birthday!

Last week we celebrated and it was all about the second born!  As the years continue to climb, I have found that the old adage about the years being short has never been more true.  These are the years that we don't get back and the memories that each of these kids will look back on.  I know that they won't look back and see perfection or any attempt of perfection, but I pray that they look back and see love, care, and hard work.  A life that built them up, grew them, nurtured them and one that they might want to recreate with their own family and children.

The kiddo decided that he wanted to have a ninja turtle birthday this year.  We have actually never watched ninja turtles, so it sort of seemed like an off the wall request, but alas, we went with it.  We celebrated with family in our home and kept it small and simple.

The invites-

The cupcakes-

.... all Michelangelo at the birthday boy's request. 

The menu was salad, pizza and chips.

And the take home treats were courtesy of the Pioneer Woman's "spreads" recipe.  Spreads with green sprinkles, and green M&Ms. 

Simple and fun!  But there's not much sweeter than the cousins running amuck, growing up, and enjoying each other's company on a Monday night.  

What a honor it is to be Hayden's Mom.  And what a joy to celebrate and throw parties for this kiddo.  His carefree spirit and humor remind me not to take life so seriously.  To take a peek at life through a child's eyes once in a while, and to cherish every moment with our family.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy 1/2 Birthday Evelyn!

6 months!
Our baby girl is celebrating her 1/2 birthday today. 

Not much has changed since the last update-- she is still barrel rolling, and while we have seen her get on her knees a couple of times, she isn't crawling just yet.  Though, not crawling doesn't mean she can't get into the photo props and totally destroy the look I was going for.

She still wakes at least twice (occasionally 3 times) in the night to nurse.  We are finishing up our very last box of size 2 diapers, and we are bumping her up to size 6-9 month clothes this week.  

She weighs 15 pounds, 2 ounces and is about 25 inches in length.  

She has tried some baby food (sweet potatoes) but really wasn't all that into them and didn't really know how to eat them so we haven't tried much further.  

Probably the most exciting thing from this month is that she was dedicated at our church this past Sunday.  We chose a verse from Psalms for her dedication. 

"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
-Psalm 16:11

We are feeling like that 1st birthday will be here before we know it.  Eek!  Happy half birthday sweet Evelyn!

Quilt Projects

I have no idea where January went, and I'm sort of feeling like I could just blink and it will be Christmas again.  So this post is pretty late-- these quilts are a project that I took on in January and intended to share then.... though my Facebook and Instagram friends got a peek at them already.

Just for a little back story on why I would even take on such a project with little ones underfoot..... It was around November when it finally began to get cold around here, and my kids began to drag their blankets around the house in a "Linus" fashion.  The big kids were full of questions about the blanket that I crocheted for Evelyn when I was pregnant with her and wanted to know where their baby blankets were.  Of course when I pulled them out of the closet, they quickly realized that their crocheted baby blankets no longer work as well for warmth on their now big kid bodies.  So naturally they began to ask for new blankets.  So as my kids are getting older, I'm trying not to divulge too much about their own personal stories because those will be stories that they get to tell or choose not to tell later in life, but with that said, we had been dealing with a behavior issue for a while and so I mentioned to them, that if the behavior could stop for the month of December, then I will not only make them new blankets, but that I would let them have a hand in helping to make them, or at least help pick out fabric.

December came and went and they earned their blankets which landed me in the fabric store, not once, but twice with 4 kids in tow for each of the big boys to pick out their fabric and get all of the essentials for their quilts.  For reference, I have only made 1 quilt before in my life, and it was back when I was in high school for my senior project.   That particular quilt was sewn entirely by hand, and was quilted together using the tie method.  I wish that I could share pictures of it, but alas, that was before we took pictures of every piece of our life with our cell phone, and part of my project was raffling it off to raise money for a cause, so I no longer even have it.

Without further ado, here's what the boys quilts look like.

I won't deny that I attempted to talk the 5 year old out of this bright green.  Yes, I told him, he could have his choice and then tried to talk him out of it.... But in the end, I embraced it and helped him find a fleece back to match along with a bright green flannel for the binding.  As I sewed it together, the green began to grow on me eventually and to see the smile on his face that he was so proud to have picked each piece of the quilt was priceless.  

The 7 year old's color choices may not have been as bright, but he was just as opinionated about them.  Every part of the quilt *had* to be grey, black and blue.  

Each of the quilts followed the same pattern obviously, and I decided to quilt them each the same also by finishing them with 18 squares-- there are 9 larger squares with 1 smaller square in each as you can see from the pictures of the back.  Both have fleece as the back and flannel as the the binding with special thanks for those tips to the This Pilgrim Life blog and her "quilting 101" videos that she posted on Facebook last fall.  

The pattern for each quilt is one that I have had for YEARS and have never used.  Shameful?  I actually won this pattern and two others in a blog giveaway years ago.  The pattern came from a little shop called "For The Love" on Etsy, but I'm sad to say that it appears her shop has not been active since about 2015.  ( Shop link. )

Completing both quilts took me about two and half weeks with a 2 year old and 5 month old underfoot.  And there was certainly times that I felt like I was a little bit crazy, but overall I am so proud of how they turned out.  And as a Mom of little people, I find having things around that I can complete, whether it be a book, a craft, or a project so important.  All Moms, but especially stay at home Moms, can get so easily wrapped in the monotony of the day to day.  My floors are never clean because something will inevitably get dropped on them at the next meal.  As a family of 6, I have no idea when the last time the laundry baskets were empty.  There's always a list and always something to be done, so while it might seem daunting to take on an extra project like making a quilt, nothing compares to that feeling of success in just finishing something.  I love each of my kiddos, and I am blessed to be able to serve them through folding their laundry and cooking their meals (and hopefully teaching them how to do those things along the way), BUT, I also need to do things for me occasionally too.  

And alas because I couldn't resist the girly fabrics in the store-- little Evelyn got a small "taggie" style  blanket out of the deal too. 

Pink and mint fat quarters, and an adorable fairy print flannel.  She loves all of the little ribbons (tags) too.  

So now a few weeks out from these projects, I'm craving another project and trying to decide if I am brave enough to attempt sewing Evelyn some clothes.  Aside from a few pillowcase dresses, my only sewing experience are things that don't have to fit something.  And in reality a pillowcase dress is very forgiving.  I've spent the last week or so perusing the internet looking at little girl styles and ideas, so now it's just a matter of getting up the courage to try.  

What are you working on friends?