Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Erik!

August is a busy month for us.  In the midst of all the back-to-school preparations, we celebrate Erik’s birthday and our anniversary within days of each other.  Plus, Sean and Djeryd are usually gone for an entire week in August at Scout Camp.  It always feels rushed and chaotic, and it’s hard for me to carve out meaningful time for the important celebrations of our family.

1-2013-08-27 Erik's Birthday, Bike Ride2

Because of Seminary, no one got a birthday party this past year, so Erik was just fine to have a family dinner and family presents.  He picked Red Robin for dinner (Yum! - I cannot get enough fries at the moment), and we enjoyed perfect weather dining al fresco.  The thing I liked best about eating outside was that it was no big deal for the kids to get up and walk around so they could be with each other or share treats.  I sat at one end of the table and just watched.  They laughed and talked and had so much fun together.  And considering we have spent the last two days in a constant state of contention, these pictures are helping me remember my kids do actually like each other.  Erik also wanted to go to the library and the park before the night was over.  We happily obliged.

2-2013-08-27 Erik's Birthday, Bike Ride1

The next morning was Erik’s actual birthday, so that is when he opened presents.  Memorable moments include Daddy making the cake (an old family recipe featuring tomato soup and peanut butter frosting – seriously yummy!), and Djeryd’s insane wrapping job.  Pretty much the only times we employ wrapping paper are Christmas and when a gift is leaving the house.  Otherwise, we wrap presents in blankets and towels.  It just kind of happened one year out of necessity and we like it so much we’ve never gone back.  So Djeryd wrapped Erik’s present in about eight different layers of blankets and towels and then stuffed the entire thing into the bottom of a mummy bag.  Erik just giggled and giggled and giggled as each layer was revealed.


We all love so many things about him.  He is a bright, wonderful star in our family.  I love his beautiful smile that he is happy to shine at a moment’s notice.  He always knows when I need a love.  He is very forgiving and kind and helpful.  He has enough energy to power a small city and a ready laugh.  He tries very hard to be a peacemaker, even when it’s difficult. He can play anything with anybody.  He is a great lover of games, thus encouraging a lot of family time as we join in with him.  His loving, welcoming heart is an example to all of us.

Happy 10th birthday, my sweet boy!  I love you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fifteen in Florence


Sean and I were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary in Florence this year (Oregon, not Italy, people).  We’ve always wanted to hit that little coastal town and we managed to squeeze in a weekend despite Sean’s busy summer schedule.


We stayed in a darling little house not too far from the beach, but it was in a densely forested area, so although we could hear the beach, we could not see it.  In fact we could not see much of anything except the lush wild plants that grew all around our little bungalow.  We loved it.


Saturday is really the only day we got out, besides church on Sunday (because I was icky-sick on Sunday and came home icky-sick on Monday).  But we both felt fantastic on Saturday so we made the most of it.  Sean took me to this very cool restaurant for lunch.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the inside – it was so cool!  The structure was essentially untouched since it was built around the turn of last century,so it had all these weird little half walls and cool doors.  The walls were khaki and red, the furniture was covered is animal prints, and the yummy green plants made me feel like I was in a jungle.  It was like something out of Disneyland.  The food was pretty darn good, too.


I could not resist a picture of the groovy Zoltar machine outside the ice cream shop downtown.  Who can look at one of these and not think of Tom Hanks in Big?


Despite the ickies it was a really nice 15th anniversary.  I’m very grateful that pretty much every day of the year I feel like jumping up and down for joy that I married the wonderful man I am blessed to call mine. 


We were all home on the actual day of our anniversary and kneeling for family prayer.  Sean looked around at everyone and said, “Just think, you guys, all of this started 15 years ago today.”  I felt so, so blessed in that moment.  I am such a lucky girl.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lu’s Quiet Book


About a year-and-a-half ago, I happened upon this beautiful quiet book over at girl. Inspired.   It is one of my favorite blogs for fabulous girly-girl inspiration.  My book does not look as lovely as Stef’s, but I’m just ecstatic it’s done, perfect or not.


Anyway, I saw this amazing book and decided to make it for Alyx for Christmas.  Then, because this is a much more involved project than it first appears, I only had the fabrics picked out in time for Christmas 2011.


So I decided to make it for her March birthday in 2012.  My sister helped me sketch out all the little patterns (which took forever!), and I started making some actual progress.


But not enough.  Lu’s birthday passed and the new goal became Christmas 2012.


I made some of these darling little fabric paper dolls for the girls to play with in the meantime. Complete with tons of little fabric clothes.


Then Seminary came along in October 2012 and the quiet book sat on a shelf, untouched, for six solid months.  I knew there was no way I would have the time to finish it all, so I chose not to even think about it.


Two Christmases, two birthdays, and one year of Seminary later, I pulled my box stuffed with quiet book supplies down off the shelf and dug in – determined to finish, no matter what.  It only took me a few days of leisure time once I started focusing on it.  I thought about wrapping up the finished product and waiting until Christmas to give it to Alyx, but I’m honestly worried she’s going to outgrow it in the next year, and six whole months seemed like awfully precious time that I was not willing to waste in wrapping paper.


So there it is.  All done.  I hated it many times along the way, but in the end I am so glad I made it.  And so relieved to have it finally checked off the to-do list.

I think Lu’s pretty happy about it, too.  ;>

Monday, August 19, 2013

Anna’s Sundress


The other day Djeryd asked me if, now that I’m no longer teaching Seminary, would I start blogging again?  I said, “Probably.”  Then he asked me if I would start sewing again, too.  I said, “Probably.”  Then he said, “Good, because I like it when you blog and then you make all kinds of crazy sewing stuff so you can blog about them.”  I still don’t know how to take the “crazy sewing stuff” remark, but it was the right encouragement I needed to jump back into the blogging saddle.  However, before I head up to my studio to “make all kinds of crazy sewing stuff” I have some projects I actually managed to squeak in between Seminary lessons last spring that I’d like to share.


I made this dress for right at the tail end of the school year.  I wanted Anna to have a pretty little sundress and I found a pattern in Sewing MODKID Style by Patty Young.  All of the clothing in this book is designed for knits, but I figured all the elastic shirring in the bodice would make it friendly for wovens.  I worked great.  I used the basic measurement guidelines that were in the book and then tweaked it to add more fabrics.  I also added a little flutter sleeve because I think they’re cute and they polish up the dress a bit.


After she had worn it a few times, I realized it needed a little pizazz, so Anna and I picked some trims from the stash and bumped up the style on her little dress.  This was another collaboration for us (we’re getting better at those).  I  really like it when Anna shares the creative process with me.  With this one, I actually drafted it up after we picked out the pattern and fabrics:


Obviously, things changed.  I think that is such an integral part of the creative process – flexibility.  For Anna’s sake I appreciate her being able to see that most things do not work out exactly the way we plan them.  Often better ideas will come along, or you cut where you weren’t supposed to cut, or a planned length of fabric comes up short, or a combination just doesn’t look quite right.  And we change.  We adapt.  We make it better.  We make it ours.


And Anna has definitely made this dress hers.  She climbs trees in it, plays in the sand, rolls in the grass, she even went canoeing in it.  She wears it everywhere and she loves it and that makes us both very, very happy.


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