Thanksgiving 2015

hey y’all I didn’t delete my turkey picture this year! Boom!


This is going to be a good year I can tell. I’m kinda blogging again and I’m not making stupid mistakes like deleting an entire holiday memory from my camera. Watch out 2016…I’ve got my shit together again!


Truth: this Thanksgiving nearly killed me.  I love Thanksgiving, it seriously is my favorite holiday…food, friends, relaxed fun, no present ‘pressure’.  But it totally snuck up on me. Between traveling for work, Sydney’s birthday party and having 648 things to tie up at work in a 3-day work week, I didn’t have a chance to think or prep for the holiday til about 6 pm on Wednesday. By the time 6pm rolled around though I was so tired all I could do was make center pieces and prep the table by counting and sorting silverware.  Thankfully I saved a shopping list a few years ago with all the ingredients for all the dishes so after running through our pantry and fridge I was easily able to make a list which Royce successfully executed on Monday while I worked.

Since I had to make everything the day of Thanksgiving instead of what I usually do (which is at least get the pie and other sides out of the way), I had a very busy day of cooking and cleaning.  By the time my guests arrived at 4pm I was tired! But we all had fun and the meal was great. This year my old FDA friends Leslie and Kim and their families joined us; we had 10 around the table, 6 adults, 4 kids. Was the perfect amount of chaos. Hopefully I will be better prepared next year!



Sydney :: 6


Sydney turned six last week on Saturday.  So while Ingrid napped we went outside to take some photos.  She picked out her outfit which always makes me happy when she chooses something I made! Especially since that sweater took so long to knit. 🙂


Such a big girl now.  Crazy to think  how tiny and helpless she was just 6 years ago!  They grow and learn so fast.


Since her party was on Sunday, I couldn’t help but make her a little cake on her actual birthday so we could celebrate here as a family. Nothing crazy, just a boxed cake with pre-made icing… she helped make it of course so that is what made it special.


For her party Sunday she invited some of her neighborhood friends and her old friends from pre-school over to the house. There was 10 kids in total and I think she had fun running around and playing with her friends.


Syd is a sweet thing, a great big sister but she is still very hesitant, mopey and often lacks confidence.  She is my sensitive child and can get very mad if she (thinks) she can’t do something or you don’t pay attention to her and often limits herself and requires a lot of attention so its a dicey game she plays which always leaves me guessing as to if I should help or let her figure it out on her own and risk being scorned for not paying attention.  Oy!  Kids!


Thankfully she seems to save all these traits for us (how lucky!), as her teacher said outside of some shyness early on Syd is asking questions and participating in class and often helps other students once she has completed her assignments.  Little trickster.  Alas even though she pushes our buttons I’m glad to see when we are not around she is confident and put-together.


We’ve been going through a phase of separation anxiety for the past few months too.  Bad enough that she will wail and not let go when we leave for a date night.  It’s rather awful, I’m not sure what it stems from but it is rather cute whether little sister comes over and holds her hand to tell her it will ‘be ok’ when mommy and daddy leave.


For her birthday my little brainiac asked for a dictionary and math games. So that is exactly what she got!  She sits and reads her dictionary in the mornings while I sip coffee.  The math game we got her helps with spatial and pattern recognition and is rather fun and we all can play and be challenged.


It’s been a fun 6th year… they each keep getting better and better as we transition from baby to toddler to kid!

Christmas 2014

Yes you read that right, I’m just now writing about and getting to photos taken last year at Christmastime.  As in nearly 11 months ago. Glup.


It was fun to travel back in time though.  Seems like longer than a year looking at the photos. And oh my has Ingrid grown! She looks so teeny in these pictures.


We had a cozy quiet Christmas in 2014.  For the first time Royce was home on Christmas eve and we joined our friends Andrea and Jed and their families for a traditional Canadian Christmas Eve dinner which was ah-mazing fun and fantastic food.  It helps that Andrea and her family and extended family are just pure joy to be around.


Christmas morning was spent at home doing what one does when you have young children — opening presents at the wee hours of the morning.


Crazy to think that Syd got her big girl bike which has already shed the training wheels!  Among dolls and puzzles and a stroller I can safely say that the few things our kids get each year for Christmas are well loved throughout the year!


It was just the four of us for Christmas supper.


Royce made his first ever prime rib and we all were in meat-heaven with a side of creamy horseradish.  This for sure will become our Christmas supper tradition!  Since I stupidly deleted my annual Thanksgiving turkey picture we decided to recreate the moment with prime rib for 2014!


Looking at all these pictures is getting me excited for the 2015 holidays, hopefully it won’t take me a year to blog about them this time!  More pictures are up on Flickr.

Little Red Riding Hood and her “Big” Bad Wolf


This year for Halloween we ventured outside of the woodland creatures for the first time! Well for Syd at least…


Syd was Little Red Riding Hood and Ingrid played the part of the Big Bad Wolf…but she was more of a grumpy wolf at first since she refused to put on her costume once it was time to suit up and head out.  She finally cheered up once I showed her how adorable she was and after a good game of chasing her tail which put a smile on everyone.


I went as Grandma and Royce was our woodsman but he got stuck at work too late to partake in a family photo.


Both of the girls capes were from the Oliver + S “Little Things to Sew” book.  I think this is the third year I’ve made Halloween costumes from an item in this book. Typically I use the cozy hood but couldn’t resist the cape for Little Red Riding Hood this year.  After looking at other Wolf patterns it occurred to me that I could use the cape for Ingrid too.


The capes went together quickly. Ingrid’s required a bit of hand sewing because of bulk from the layers of fur at the hood line.  Other than fur everywhere in my sewing room it wasn’t actually all that hard to work with!  Ingrid’s cape is lined with felt and in hindsight I should have used something lighter like sweat shirt fleece or even fleece because it was a heavy cape.


Syds was made from the Let’s Pretend line of “velvet” and “satin” from Joann’s.  Since I had to add 9 inches to the pattern it took a LOT of fabric and I didn’t have luck scoring real velvet and satin from a remnant table like I did last year.  She still loves it all the same and it does still look rather luscious. Syd’s apron was self drafted and I added a rick rack heart for some fun.


More pictures are up on Flickr!

First Day Dress

Sydney’s dress for the first day of school was the First Day Dress by MADE.


It has a swingy circle skirt (great for twirling) and a fitted bodice.  It went together extremely quickly.  The hardest part is the hem since it is a circle, but I used an old trick I learned and basted a line of stitching where I needed to fold and it makes it much easier to iron into place.  I didn’t do the full lining, only the partial lining on both of the dresses.  To ‘test’ the pattern I made the A-line version for Syd to gauge size which was spot on for the bodice fit but a wee bit short.  Still looks great with leggings though.


I made both of these dresses during our summer vacation at the beach. It is nice to have a trip that is a driving destination so that I can bring along my sewing machine if I have a project to work on! Sydney requested her dress have cats on it so I was able to find this cute little cat print (Kitty Dreams in Cranberry) from Hawthorne Threads by Lizzy House.  Ingrid wanted bunnies so hers is made from Bunny Binkies in Fluff from Art Gallery.


I think my only problem with this pattern would be the fact that there is only a slash back no zipper or button back which is nice to market to for the beginner sewer, but makes it extremely hard to get on and off especially if you have a layered shirt underneath.  I guess my kids are broad shouldered like their mama cause I even made our slash larger than the pattern recommended but it is still a tight squeeze.


I may take these current dresses and sew on an exposed zip making them hip, trendy, and edgy all at the same time…while allowing us to wear them through the winter!



Sydney started Kindergarten back in August on the 31st.


She no doubt was ready, being at the ripe age of 5.75!  Her teacher this year is Mrs. Finke and she is going to our local public school which is split with K-2 at one building and 3-6 in another.  Since the K-2 school is in another neighborhood she gets to ride the bus which is fun (if you are 5)!


We head down to the bus stop around 8:05 am with a few other neighborhood kids and their parents armed with coffee.  She will transition to the school in our neighborhood when she is in the 3rd grade, then we can walk her to school!

So far the transition has gone well. There was a bit of separation anxiety that hit around week 2 but other than that she has had a good time and is learning a lot.  She seems to be doing well with the no-nap adjustment well and doesn’t even nap much on the weekends anymore (but she still enjoys quiet time alone so that we can nap!).


Its cute how she is learning new words through singing, she adds about a new word or two a week.  We stopped in for a open house a week ago and were able to see how ‘Math hour’ worked and it was cool to see how they incorporate play into the various stations to reinforce math concepts. pOverall its been a good start. The hardest part was dealing with the new logistics of having one kid one place and another kid somewhere else. DSC_4408.jpg

It also seems like they have a ridiculous amount of holidays thus far…we are on week 8 and I think they have only had 2 full 5-day weeks of school.  This is very different than where I grew up where only federal and christian holidays were observed. Thankfully the before and aftercare program she is participating in is open almost all the time, even when school is closed. Its basically the only way we can both work while having a kid in public school.  Crazy!

I hope to document each year the kids likes and hobbies as they progress through these years. Syd and I sat down on her first day and documented some of these before heading for the bus! More pictures are on Flickr.


Age: 5

Likes: playing hide-and-go-seek, tag, coloring, ‘do math’, practice writing, riding bikes, playing board games, doing puzzles, reading.

Favorite food: fish or steak meat

What do you want to be when you grow up?: a doctor or a chef

No more training wheels!


July 4th weekend Royce decided to take the training wheels off Syd’s bike which she got for Christmas.  They never worked that well anyways…our roads here are very uneven and she would get herself stuck with a training wheel up high enough that her rear bike wheel didn’t even touch the ground so she would just spin out…kind of defeated the purpose and made it frustrating.  And they were made of steel so we were unable to bend them up to make the bike a bit more “wobbly” to avoid the problem.

She has been using a balance bike since she was about 3 (or tall enough to use it…can’t recall when) which I think helped the process cause according to Royce she got it the first time he let her go!  She still has a hard time getting started, the concept of keeping one foot on the ground with another on the pedal is not quite there yet but hopefully after some more practice she will be off and riding all by herself.

If only we had side walks here for her to ride on… 😦

Matching Sundresses

UntitledOne of Syd’s favorite dresses is her ‘firecracker dress’ which is a Tea Collection sundress I picked up off a sale rack at Nordstroms a while back. Its a 4T but still fits her thanks to the forgiving fit. It’s a simple peasant dress with shirred bodice and halter straps.  I’ve made a couple of knit halter dresses for the kids but Syd really likes her cotton ‘firecracker’ one so I sat down one morning and measured it out and made one from some light pima cotton I had here in my stash! Untitled

This dress is sooo easy; is literally 3 rectangles cut out and sewn together took me only a few hours to put together! There was a fair amount of gathering which can be fiddly and the elastic shirring isn’t too difficult once you know how your machine handles elastic thread.  I actually bought a separate bobbin case that I ONLY use for elastic thread because you have to loosen some of the components for it to pull through.  Once you figure that out, I use a longer straight stitch (3 mm) and increase my tread tension (around 7 on my machine) till I get the desired amount of gathering.  The rest of the rectangles are just gathered using basting stitches and sewn together. I top stitched those seams down for durability but that step could be skipped if you want to save some time.


Of course once I made Syd’s I had a similar request from Ingrid… and I had enough fabric left over I figured why not!  I took a few inches off of Ingrids to size it to fit her based on her height and chest measurements in proportion to what I did for Syd and it worked out pretty well!  They sure like them and I have to say the relaxed fit with the airy pima cotton does look cozy for a hot summer day!

Ingrid :: 3


Ingrid turned 3 back in May. In comparison, Ingrid was a much easier 2-year old than Syd was, but that had a lot to do with Sydney dedicating her second year to not pooping. Ingrid wasn’t prone to tantrums, was relatively content watching other children or pestering her sister.  They also play well together so I can’t really complain to much when they argue over a project or toy. I often would find Syd in Ingrid’s crib playing with her in the mornings; always melted my heart.


Potty training was *relatively* simple for Ingrid although the processes was a bit forced against us by day-care which both she and I resisted.  They started transitioning her into panties back in March, but Ingrid wanted nothing to do with it here at home so I usually just let her wear diapers when she wanted to because I didn’t want to deal with a screaming child over something I didn’t think she was ready for anyways. It all worked out for us in the end, just took longer than it did with Sydney. In the end she was potty trained by the time she turned 3 and accidents are few and far between (but happened way more than they did with Syd!).

UntitledIngrid is a sweet funny little thing.  Full of silly smiles and coyness. I don’t feel like we have the mental battles I did with Sydney, but maybe I’m still distracted by the mental battles Sydney keeps throwing at me to much mind noticing those from Ingrid. Untitled

Ingrid isn’t much of a talker. She has definitely taken to words slower than Sydney and her peers.  One of her friends at school can talk circles compared to Ingrid. I would blame it on having an older sibbling who is around to do all the talking for her but her comparator classmate has an equally (if not more) verbose older brother the same age as Syd.


Ingrid is definitely known by her silly hair. She got her mom’s curly fro that is usually a rats nest each morning and typically looks that way throughout the day.  It fits her personality though so I hope it never changes! Untitled

Its funny, Syd’s 3-year post was all about her favorite color and how we were working on letters and phonics. I can confidently say I have no idea what Ingrid’s favorite color is because she either never voiced such a strong opinion or has been fickle about the concept.  We haven’t sat down and gone over letters with her once that I can recall. I never got far with Sydney on the concept so I leave the education to school and try to fill her days in with play and reading.  Oh how your time-priorities change when you have two kids to focus on instead of one!


In addition to a joint day-care party with one of her close friends, we had a quiet birthday party here at home among our neighborhood friends per tradition.  We had a Doc McStuffin’s themed cup-cake cake from the bakery and Ingrid seemed less than impressed with the cake and our signing apparently.

Ingrid had her 3-year well visit on May 19th.  Since her 2-year visit she gained 6.6 pounds and weighs in at 32 lbs (64%).  She grew 2.5 inches, and is now 37.25 inches tall (45%).  No head measurements are done at the 3-year visit but I can assure you Ingrid’s head is plenty big!  Some of it may be the hair though. For the most part Ingrid is a tank compared to Syd at 3 (who was the same height but weighed only 28 lbs).  Poor Ingrid is built like her mama from her head to her bones!  I wonder if that is why the pediatrician calculated her BMI for us…16.2 (65%)…

Ingrid still seems so much more of a baby to me than Syd did at 3 and I don’t know why…I’m in no hurry for it to change much though since she will always be my baby!

Why hello there…

What a neglected space this is…and I apologize for that!  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since February — 6 months! yikes!  It has been a rather busy six months so I’ll run through the happenings right now…

We came back from Cancun greeted by snow… My home office was renovated; I got a door and the basement got new floors!… It snowed again… Syd and I bought copious amounts of hyacinth to scare away winter… We potty trained Ingrid… I made a quick trip to SanFran for work… A week later I took a week-long trip to Australia for work… I spent most my time in Australia in a conference room but I did manage to get to the zoo to see a Kangaroo and a Koala bear… Charlie ate all the TimTams I brought back from Oz for the girls… Dain and Crystal visited us for a week; we did the usual (drank too much champagne and hit up a concert)… The Easter Bunny came to visit…  I went to the middle-of-nowhere Germany for a conference… And also hit up a night in Frankfurt with an old ex-FDA colleague… I went to Boston for work and walked around my old stomping grounds from my summer at BU…  We got rid of our giant TV and had built-ins added to the living room… Sydney had Kindergarten orientation (???!!!!!)… Spring finally showed up although it was fickle at first; we spend so much time outside you would think we were prisoned by winter (we were)… Ingrid turned 3 (more on that later I promise!)…  Sydney graduated from pre-school (more on that later too!)…   We cancelled our May vacation-trip to MI for a ‘stay-cation’ instead… The pool opened; we spend as much time there as possible… We got rid of Ingrid’s ‘kib’ and moved her into a big-girl bed… Crystal visited us; again lots of champagne with a generous side of Plath… I went away for my annual weekend with my girlfriends and it rained the entire time but I brought my sewing machine so it was all good…  I learned to make a bra, and it fits (and I’ve made more)… Royce turned 40!… Syd learned to ride a bike without training wheels!… We had the pleasure of going to our first Foo-Fighters concert on (a very rainy) July 4th with my cousin Steve who is their biggest fan… My Mom visited to help out while Royce took his boy’s trip to WI…

That pretty much covers it.  Its been a busy, full, chaotic, jet-lagged, messy 6-months with lots of big milestones and transitions.  I’ve got a couple of posts to follow-up on so hopefully it will not be another 6-months till I post next.  My new MacBook Pro that arrived yesterday should help in this endeavor (it was always hard to get motivated to go downstairs to post a blog when I spend all my time down there during the day now)!

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