Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crafty Exploits: Millinery Part 2

Here it is! I successfully trimmed my first hat. It was easier than I thought and a lot of fun. I personally think that the hat is an underutilized accessory in the US. I'm looking forward to sporting one of my own creations!



Final piece*

*Note: The plumage will actually be worn to the side, not to the front.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

James--The Golden Age

James is currently in the Golden Age of Infancy. He likes to eat; he sleeps reasonably well; he isn't really mobile and making messes, and he needs no discipline. He is also super happy, which is so refreshing on days that Monica is tantruming and just throwing lots of challenges at us. Don't get me wrong. I love Monica more than any little girl on this planet, but 2 1/2 can be trying. God is good in giving us such a wonderful little man to cuddle.

This Golden Age of Infancy is why we ended up with two kids so close in age. When Monica was this age, we thought, "Hey! We could handle another one of these!" Enter James 9 months later. I now realize that one does not give birth to another 10 month old. There are 9 months of pregnancy and 10 months of infancy before you have that 10 month old again! (I am the master of the obvious, I know...) So, the rose colored glasses are gone and I now realize that for us, there is some wisdom in spacing children a bit more. But I will be soaking all of the baby love I can get before our little James turns into a little man.

Oh James, how do we love thee?!

Happy Easter!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Triduum! We were able to spend the weekend with family, which was great.

Now that Monica is older and excited about helping in the kitchen, I decided to put together some yummy treats to celebrate the easter season. This Bird's Nest isn't the most traditional of desserts, but it is springy and sugary. I just made a batch of Rice Krispie treats, molded them into nest shapes and put Peeps and jelly beans on top. Monica thinks they're great! She told me that the birds would eat the eggs and that they were looking around the kitchen. I love how little kids think stuffed animals and dolls, and really anything shaped like a living thing, is alive.

I think Kevin and his notorious sweet tooth will appreciate this more than Monica!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don't forget Daddy...

A blessed Holy Week to you all! I hope your Lent has been fruitful and grace-filled. I've spent my free moments today reflecting on my own lenten experience this year and I've decided that it has been humbling and hopeful. I didn't give up much in the way of food, since I'm still on my dairy-free nursing-friendly diet, which is mortifying enough in and of itself. I specifically focused on being patient and gentle with Monica. There were times of great victory, and times of total defeat.

I also decided to get the kids to one daily mass per week, which has also proved to be quite a sacrifice. There were a couple of times where Kevin joined us which was super helpful for me, but definitely stressful for him. I think Monica might have amped up her mass-time craziness just because she knew there were two of us to handle her.

We go to daily mass at a small chapel in an office building. It's nice because the daily masses are no more than 30 minutes. It's not so nice because it's super small and any little bump, rattle or shout carries for all to hear.

And, since Monica's whisper capabilities are still latent and she has only two volumes, loud and louder, it can be really challenging it is impossible to keep her quiet and in the pew for the entire mass.

I definitely spent no small amount of time doubting that it was worth the effort.

As always, God came through in the end. Today, as we were pulling out of the driveway for our last lenten daily mass, I told Monica that we were going to church to see Jesus. She said, "Jesus loves Monica!"

"Yes, he does! He loves all of us, the whole world."

"Jesus loves Monica and Mama and James and Daddy and Buck..."

"You're right, Monica!"

"Mary loves Monica." (Mary, as in the Blessed Mother.)

"She does, Monica! Mama Mary loves all of us. Who else does Mama Mary love?"

"Mama Mary loves Monica and James and Mama and Buck and trash."

That made it all worth it, right there. On some level, the all-encompassing love of God and the Blessed Mother is sinking in. Granted, the whole skipping out on Mama Mary loving Daddy and then adding trash was a little weird, but there's time to work on that. It is wonderful to see that even our most feeble and frustrated of efforts can be used for eternal good.

May you have a blessed Holy Week and a joy-filled Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crafty Exploit: Millinery!

James and I will be flying to Albany NY in a couple weeks to visit my dear friend Claire. She has a serious preoccupation with British royalty and so, to commemorate the upcoming royal nuptials, she will be throwing a party. And, of course, in typical UK fashion, I have to wear a hat.

I spent way too much time on Saturday combing the internet for a fun and inexpensive fascinator, but nothing in my price range really screamed, "You must have me!" The fascinators I really liked (those that didn't look too prom-ish or flapper-ish) were upwards of $60, which I really didn't want to spend.

On an impromptu trip to Target, I found this little cloche for $12.99. I admit that it is rather drab, but the neutrality has its appeal. The party isn't formal, so I'll probably wear jeans and fun shoes, and since I'm traveling and won't have access to my closet for last minute wardrobe changes, I'll have to deal with what is in my over-stuffed suitcase, i.e. black, pearls and easily packable. So, I went on Etsy and found some fabulous feathers and a cameo brooch to dress it up. I'm really excited to embark a completely new creative endeavor. I've never really worn hats (knit snow hats don't count!) much less trimmed one myself. This will be an adventure.

Stay tuned...

Birdie and Bubbles

Two weeks ago,Monica, James, and I were sitting on the driveway blowing bubbles when Monica found a little house finch near the garage. I think it was injured or ill, since most wild birds don't stick around long enough for anyone, especially unpredictable, fast-moving two year olds, to get this close.

I was proud of Monica. She followed my directions and did not touch the bird or scare it. She was also very generous in offering the finch a blow on her bubble wand. If she would always be that generous with James when he is interested in her toys...

Eventually, the finch did fly off to a nearby pine tree, although he didn't seem to have his bearings. I hope he ended up finding a safe place and recuperation from whatever ailed him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This Sunday's mass was a doozie for Monica and Kevin. I was out of the church, changing a diaper when this all went down so pardon any lack of detail.

Apparently, in her boredom, Monica started picking her nose and succeeded in finding a hefty booger. Once she had it on her finger, she began waving it around and talking loudly about "the boogie" on her finger. I had the diaper bag, so Kevin didn't have a wipe, kleenex or burp rag to take care of this really large boogie, and he really didn't want to wipe it on the dry clean only pants. So, Monica continues to wave her hand and yell about the boogie while Kevin tries to keep the boogie out of his face. This is, of course, totally hilarious to Monica so she tries to stick the boogie in his mouth. He deflected that shot, but then she shoved it into her mouth, laughing the whole time.

Apparently the boogie survived her mouth but no one's really sure where it actually ended up...ugh crusty boogies...smeared on clothes or a church pew, always disgusting. At least the people around us got a chuckle out of it. And, kudos to Kevin. Can you say that someone else has tried to stick their boogies in your mouth?


Yesterday we went to the grocery store just before 1pm...naptime. While that was defintely not ideal, it's just what happened. I knew it would be rough, but I just buckled down and readied myself for a meltdown.

It was all I expected and more, believe me. Monica actually tripped over her own feet multiple times in her sleepy/cranky daze, but the last time was apparently the worst because she walked down the aisle moaning "Boo boo!" I stopped and asked her, "Where is the boo boo? Does it need a kiss?" and she affirmed the need for a kiss but also told me the boo boo was on her bottom.

That's definintely the first time anyone has outrightly asked me to kiss their bum, in public no less. I love my kid, but I just wasn't willing to plant my lips on her behind in the middle of the frozen food section. I just kissed my hand, patted her bum, and moved on. Motherhood, you never know what it will bring.