26 June 2009

A Package

So how fun is it to get a package? Brent and I are both online shoppers so we get a lot of packages. But I don't mean those kind of packages, the kind with printer ink or shaver blades. I mean the mysterious ones that you have no idea what's inside. I just got one of these earlier this week from my Aunt Betsy. And look what was inside! YARN!

Gorgeous New Yarn

It is from Dancing Leaf Farm in Maryland. My aunt lives in Raleigh and her neighbor was going to the Maryland Wool and Sheep Festival, so she asked her to get some baby yarn. I think it is just what I would have picked. I wonder what I should make. Any ideas?

The same neighbor made the felted pin cushions, which were also in the box. Bella immediately snarfed up the pink cupcake one.

Felted Cupcake Pin Cushion

Leaving Emily/me with the purple turban-y looking one.

New Pin Cushion

There was also a book for the girls.

New Book

Hey, that book looks familiar! Didn't we already get that book? From BETSY? Tee hee.

Overall it was such an exciting package. Thanks Betsy!

I am feeling a tiny bit better with my UC, hopefully due to the big Remicade infusion on Monday. So I'm hopeful that we can get out and pick huge heaps of strawberries this weekend (normally this would be very stressful since strawberry fields have no bathrooms. I always say I would make a terrible migrant worker.) Here's hoping for one rain-free morning this weekend! Mmmm... strawberries!

21 June 2009

Father's Day Camping

It's Father's Day weekend so time for our annual camping trip! Not that Brent particularly likes camping. But who asked him?

Brent and Bella

This year we went to our new favorite campground, discovered last fall: Willow River in Wisconsin. We like it because the sites are gorgeous, big, and wooded. Also, you are welcome--nay, encouraged--to have alcoholic beverages. As opposed to Minnesota State Parks, which are dry, so you secretly bring in beer and pour it into your camp mug and then try to hide the bottles in the van. It's humiliating.

Bella and me

The weather was fabulous. Mid-80s, sunny. We went for a big hike through the woods and popped out at a huge waterfall. Wow.

Willow Falls Bridge


Then we hiked up some (like 500) steps and were swept off our feet by this view.

Willow River

Having a rest

Whew! What a hike. Emily woke up for the walk back, so I turned her facing out in the sling and she looked all around. I think she liked it.

Back at the campsite, it was time for a well-deserved snack. Bella and I whipped up some camp ice cream! We did it Girl Scout style with ziplock baggies. I knew all that Camp Lakamaga action would come in handy some day. I forgot to pack sugar to add to the half-and-half, but I did have cinnamon-sugar. So it was cinnamon ice cream! mmmmm.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Camp Ice Cream

Then Bella and I put together a special project: a camp funicular! We glued it all, hung it up from some trees, and then delivered lots of leaves, rocks, twigs, and corn chips to the people "up the mountain."

Every campsite needs a funicular

We had a great dinner of grilled corn, pocket pizzas, and baked beans. I got to use our new propane camp stove, which worked great! I forgot marshmallows, but I did bring crescent rolls to cook over the fire. So we had a nice bedtime snack. Anybody else know any good camping dinners? I usually blank out right before it's time to go.

Here's Emily Bea sitting around the campfire the next morning, still bundled up from sleeping.

Emily buzzes around the campfire

After some pancakes it was time for Brent to open his Father's Day presents. Bella had been keeping hers secret for a long time. Only once divulging that "It's a pillow!" to Brent. But no details, so we were still ok. She had packed them all up in this strawberry shortcake bag. Very manly.

Father's Day Card

Father's Day Presents

Father's Day Present

She drew the picture of Brent holding her upside down and the word "Dad." Then she picked what colors I should use to embroider them. We had fun with our Secret Project! He also got a paint project from Emily, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (our next read aloud book), Wii Active (so we can get hot bods), and Repo the Genetic Opera original soundtrack. All excellent gifts for our excellent dad!

Emily caused some excitement on Sunday when she almost rolled over. But it turned out to be more of a tip over and resulted in me having to clean leaves out of her mouth. Here she is seconds before:

Tummy time in camp

But she wasn't too upset, so it turned out fine. I think she liked camping--she watched the leaves over our site for hours and slept in the tent like an old pro.

I hope you all had a nice Father's Day. When we got home I was so sad to hear that my co-worker's beautiful, sick, 2 year old daughter had died on Saturday night. I'm sure her husband did not have a nice Father's Day, and it made me so grateful for all that I have. I am so thankful for my girls and their wonderful dad.

17 June 2009

What's this? Another dress?

Look at this super cute Mendocino sundress for Bella! And the cutest part is that Bella helped make it. She sat on my lap for almost half the time I sewed it (about 30 minutes), waiting to push the reverse button when requested. The other half she spent trying to play in her new sleeping bag but yelling that she was FRUSTRATED by the ZIPPER and could I come help her RIGHT NOW.

Smocked Sundress

You'd think with my pension for ironing, I would have done something about all those wrinkles before taking this picture. You'd think.

A close-up so you can see the smocking and the fishy fabric (Heather Ross Swim School).


Bella put it on immediately and ran into the backyard to show off. She sang a big song about sewing a dress and putting it on to show daddy and grandma. There were arm movements and a few dance steps and it ended with a big finale of "Me and my, me and my, ME AND MY MOMMMMMMMMMMM!!" I could have just poinked over from the cuteness.

Too bad I wasn't really listening since I was busy trying to capture it on video. Which I didn't. Drat.

Smocked Sundress

And here's Emily Bea, enjoying the nice weather.

Emily Bea in the Backyard

What's that Emily? You're wondering where YOUR Mendocino Sundress is? Um. Ooops. I didn't make you one. YET!

13 June 2009

What a Day!

What a day what a day what a glorious day! I am just glowing after a wonderful day playing outside. This is the kind of day I think of in the middle of winter and almost cry. Oh, and to be a senior having a graduation party today! Can you imagine? Unbelievable. Did you go to any?

We got up early and got all set up for having our friends Natalie and Elizabeth over to play. We scrubbed the pool and filled it up. We got out the turret slide. We filled up the Billions of Bubbles machine and gave it a test run. We combed through the sandbox and removed all the accumulated wormies. We even set up my old 2-man tent to play in. Oh how Brent and I laughed when we saw that tiny little tent set up. We used to camp in that? Oh my goodness. It looks like it would fit a dog. Well at least it's good for pretend camping.

Here's us all ready to go:

Are we ready to play or what?

And then after the girls arrive, with their mommies of course.

Elizabeth, Natalie, and Bella

They are playing with the Fisher Price Little People Town Center, which is one of our most favorite toys. I normally keep it in my sewing room, because it pays to have a big gun down there.

Here they are giving themselves some tattoo stamps. "Here kids, draw on yourself!" Always a popular activity.

Time for a Tattoo (or two)

One of my favorite moments of the day was when one of the other girls dumped some sand on Bella and she looked at her and said, "Oh No You Di'int."


The girls managed to polish off an entire bag of Dora animal crackers (and then eat almost no lunch, of course!). We had pizza, a salad, sliced apples, cheetos, and yogurt. The pizza was that Culinary Circle stuff from Cub and it was super good. Have you tried any of that line? I know it's for yuppies who don't cook. I bought it as a way to simplify and have minimal work for the lunch today and it definitely worked out deliciously! Nice job, yuppie Amy!

To go with our BLT supper, I made the remaining apples into a salad with celery, raisins, and a peanut butter/yogurt dressing that was totally Top Chef worthy, if I do say so myself. Bella would barely try it, even though it was a quarter cup of mini marshmallows away from toddler food. Oh well. Brent gobbled it up. That's my man.

Here's Emily, waiting to put on her PJs tonight.

Emily Bea

I could just hold her for the next 12 years.

12 June 2009

Mendocino Sundress

So let's be honest here. It's been a tough week. What can I say. Ulcerative colitis is a bitch.

It was a relief to send Bella to daycare today and have a nice little nappy with Emily Bea snuggling into my shoulder. And I was feeling much better by the time preschool was over. I even put on my freshly-made Mendocino Sundress. It has octopuses on it! How can that not cheer you up? It certainly did me.

Mendocino Sundress

Mendocino Sundress

At supper tonight I was holding a squirmy, fussy Emily Bea and realized my boob had popped out. I looked at Brent, "HELLO! You could have said something!" Brent: "Why would I do that?" So now I'm just a teensy bit scared to wear it in public. Maybe we should have a code word? You know, in case you see me stumbling around town wrangling two kids with a boob out? That would make me feel better. How about "octopus." Got it? If you see my boob, shout OCTOPUS.

Glad we got that out of the way. 

When Bella saw my new dress, she excitedly asked if SHE could have one TOO. I had to go in the other room to dance around and do a little cheer before I came back, "Well. I suppose. If you're really good." Ohmygod ohmygod mother-daughter dresses. Stay calm. Don't look too excited. Don't blow this.

We made the most delicious cookies tonight after supper. You see, Martha Stewart emails me cookie recipes every day. I know, so thoughtful of her! And a while back she sent me the Strawberry Shortcake cookie recipe, and I thought, as soon as I'm feeling a little better I'm going to try that one out. So tonight we did.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Emily was ready for hers!

Ready for some grub?

Just kidding. Tee hee. Isn't she so cute? 

06 June 2009

Rainy Day Rebound

Tonight we were going to have our good friends Jay and Ary and their two super cute kids over for dinner. I had big plans for some chicken marsala and a banana chiffon cake. But then poor Ary called, she has a cold. We had to be responsible mommies and call it off. Damn. Being a grown-up sucks.

I went downstairs and ironed 4 1/2 yards of new fabric and then I felt a little better. Ahhh. Wrinkley, smooth. Wrinkley, smooth. That's better. Sometimes I think my favorite part of the whole sewing process is the ironing. 

Here is my washed, ironed fabric, ready to be made into a wrap skirt for me, a dress for me, and a dress for Bella:

Heather Ross Fabric

When my new very exciting much anticipated Far Far Away fabric came in the mail today from Superbuzzy, I tore it open and, in a burst of love for fabric, asked Brent why I don't just open an online fabric shop. His response? "You totally should!" See, that's why I love him. 

I wonder what everybody's doing on a rainy day like today. Let's see. Well, here's Brent and Bella, doing puzzles in the playroom. That looks cozy.

Rainy day in the playroom

We call Bella "The Puzzler" because she is so good at puzzles. For an extra challenge, she likes to mix up the pieces of several puzzles and then put them together. She learned that from Grandma Joanne, who is somewhat famous for working on a Golden Gate at Night puzzle, where almost all of the pieces were black, for a couple years. And why would you do that when you could be knitting? I have no idea.

And what about Miss Emily Bea. What are you up to, little one?

Hi Emily!

Watching her aquarium and having a nice buzz buzz in her bouncy chair. And a nice smile for mama, too. Well aren't you cute.

Emily's having a little growth spurt and has gotten up the last two nights for a midnight snack. (Apparently her cheeks do NOT store milk like camel humps, as I previously thought). Brent got her last night but I went in to help with the diaper change, only because one time he took off the soggy one, put on the dry one, took off the dry one, and put the soggy one back on again. Poor sleepy daddy. So last night I get up to help and he has decided that all the snaps on her sleeper are optional. "That'll take me like 20 minutes to snap them up!" I thought he was joking. But when I went to get Emily this morning, she was laying there kicking little naked legs she'd worked out of her unsnapped sleeper. 

We made a delicious chicken tikka masala (as recommended by Alicia, I left out almost all of the salt and cayenne) with naan and rice pudding for supper. Also, no banana chiffon cake, but we did make Martha's Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies--a delicious recipe and it only makes a few sheets' worth, which is good from the making end of things as well as the eating end. 

A few weeks ago I tried to whip up a batch of those tricky blueberry and cream cookies without Bella's "help" and got totally busted, "AREYOUMAKINGCOOKIES?!" [bulldozes her helper stool into me] "EXCUSE ME!" I laugh every time I think about it. 

I felt exactly the same way on Thursday when I happened to drive by my cousin April's annual garage sale, which she had forgotten to tell me about. "AREYOUHAVINGAGARAGESALE?!" [bulldoze my way to the girl clothes] "EXCUSE ME!"

Tonight in bed Bella asked if she was going to daycare in the morning. I said no, tomorrow we'll read the paper and make some coffee and have a playdate with Natalie and watch a movie for movie night. She closed her eyes and smiled and fell asleep.

So how is your rainy weekend going?