Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Ahead to 2012

2011 retrospectives and New Year's resolutions seem to be the order of the day, and maybe getting mine written out and in the stark light of cyberspace will help me accomplish some of them - at least it's worth a try!

For 2012, I would like to:

  • Establish a regular prayer time and routine - Nothing elaborate, but I need to find a few minutes each day.  Most days this past year, I think my prayers consisted of counting how many Hail Mary's it took for Elizabeth to go to sleep or praying, "Please God, let her sleep until morning now."
  • Finish projects - I have a great fear of actually finishing things, especially for myself, because they never turn out exactly as I build them up in my mind.  I want to do some new things, birthday and Easter dresses for Elizabeth, something for the boys, etc. but blue sweater, grey sweater, and coat, you're on notice! 
  • Create a home for our family - I have come to the realization over the last few months, that what I need to do is not "decorate" precisely, but create a home where my kids and husband feel comfortable and where they feel good about having friends come visit.  Yes, this means I need to put some paint on the walls, but I also need pictures of us and preschool art masterpieces.  Not every closet must be organized within an inch of its life, but things must have a place and go there regularly.  The house will never be spotless and glossy like a magazine, but it must be reasonably clean most of the time.
  • Parent more consistently - I need to stop giving a warning, walking away, coming back, giving another warning, moving the wash, giving another warning, etc.  I need to get to one warning and then consequences.  I also need to be consistent with expectations regarding help around the house - toys will be picked up EVERY night, not just when they make me so crazy I can't stand it any longer.

Well, that's as much deep thinking as I've done in a while.  Hopefully some of these things will actually happen!  I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Day.  Don't forget your pork and sauerkraut or you'll be left hopelessly in 2011.

2011 - The Year of Elizabeth

2011 retrospectives and New Year's resolutions seem to be the order of the day, and maybe getting mine written out and in the stark light of cyberspace will help me accomplish some of them - at least it's worth a try!

I'm not going to give any lengthy retrospective to 2011 - it was pretty much the year of Elizabeth.  From this in late February

to this a few days ago

with probably fewer than two dozen full nights of sleep in between.  I think that about sums it up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Angel

In the nick of time, noon on Christmas Eve, I finished Elizabeth's dress.  I had it all ready to hem the night of the 23rd, but when I looked at it, it looked way too long.  Thinking it would be down around her ankles, I left it for the morning when I could try it on.  Of course, it was perfect - just below her knees.  I didn't get any really good pictures of the dress, since it was being modeled by a perpetual motion machine.  I felt like I had gone 10 rounds in the ring walking out of Mass, between her and boys with visions of Transformers, not Baby Jesus, dancing in their heads.  Here she is after Mass with her brothers.

And here is an OK crop of the dress.

I ended up using my second idea for a smocking design, but in black and white.  I was afraid all black would be too heavy, and I think the white showed up well and lightened it up a bit.  Definitely not a dainty, frothy heirloom creation like the original shoulder button bishop, but it worked great.  There are definitely things I would like to improve upon for next time.  I think the cable row at the top should be MUCH more even, and the join between the smocking and placket could be tighter, but all in all, I'm pleased with it.  Elizabeth didn't mind it too much, except that the length made it difficult to crawl around under the table and eat things, which we all know is her favorite pastime.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Only Snow We'll See This Christmas

Yeah, so the only way we'll see snow this year is to put it on pajamas!  Here are the kids Christmas jammies, just in the nick of time.  The boys just got pants from Butterick 4222, although I fancied them up a little with a cuff.  It's quick and easy and as an added benefit, it gives a little weight to the pantlegs so they don't stick to them in our uber-staticky 10% humidity climate.

Princess Elizabeth got a shirt from The Handmade Dress' Miss Violet.  It is a straight 6-12 month size with the sleeve made long and larger elastic around the neck, but that's our secret, right Miss Butterball?!  The pants are McCalls 6152 made in the largest size with some of the excessive rise cut out.

All in all, I like how they turned out - now on to finishing Elizabeth's Christmas dress.  I'm getting there - the smocking is done and the placket is in.  I "just" have to bind the neckline and sleeves and sew up the sides and hem.  It'll get done, it always does!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Smocking Suggestions

So this post is mostly for my mom, who I'm going to call soon and beg for help getting started with this.  I smocked a few repeats of some candidate patterns for Elizabeth's dress.  Now I just have to decide what to do.

Option 1: Red and black only - this was my first idea based on the smocking design that came with the pattern

Option 2: Red, Black, and White

Here they are on the larger field of the dress.

Not sure where to go from here.  I'm not overjoyed with either of them, so I may end up with an option 3, but I REALLY need to get started!  Suggestions, anyone?

Oh yeah, for a little bonus cuteness, here are Shepherd Christopher and Angel Patrick (really?!) at their Christmas program at school yesterday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finally Getting to Christmas Sewing!

I'm finally getting a start on my Christmas sewing.  I know, no time like the present, right?!  I mean, I still have 17 days to make three pairs of pajamas and smock and finish Elizabeth's dress.  Not to mention the cookies to bake, a few presents left to buy, all the presents left to wrap and ship, etc. etc. etc.  Yeah, I'm going to stop thinking about that now.

Here is Elizabeth's dress blocked and ready to smock.

Now I just have to decide what colors to use and put needle to fabric.  Tonight.  I'm going to bind the neck and sleeves in black to match her brothers red, black, and white vests.  Looking at the thread, though, I wonder if I should just use black and white for the smocking.  The red looks like it will get lost.

Here is the cute flannel I found for pajama pants for the boys and pajamas for Elizabeth.  She'll get the shirt version of The Handmade Dress Miss Violet (below) and some long pants.  The boys will just get pants and purchased shirts - the one year I made them button up tops, they complained about the collars.

I suppose I'd best get out of here and clean up the kitchen and finish the laundry so I can get down to it tonight.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

This week's offering is a complete hodge-podge, but has only one kid pic.  That must be some sort of record for me!

Advent started this past Sunday, so we got out our Jesse Tree and started reading all about the Old Testament figures that lead us to Jesus.  The boys were very excited to read about Noah the other night - let's see what sort of interesting questions come from reading about Abraham and Isaac tonight!

The Saturday before Thanksgiving I rode the 42 mile length of the Tour de Tucson.  I finished in just over 4 hours, which was my goal.  Read more about that adventure here.

{Funny} {Real} 
Every one of my kids has gone through a stage where they are fascinated with watching the laundry go around, and Elizabeth is no exception.  Of course in true "the third kid has it easier than the first"fashion, we now have our own front-loading washer and dryer.  Poor deprived Christopher and Patrick had to watch Grammy and Grandad's when we went back to PA.

The {real} here is the ridiculous collection of stuff on top of the washer and dryer.  Where did all that come from?  I have such big plans for the two weeks Mike is off work around Christmas.  Maybe I should make another calendar for that!

round button chicken

Alpe d'Huez Here I Come!

OK, maybe not quite, but I DID manage to ride the 42-mile leg of the Tour de Tucson about a week and a half ago.  I finished in 4 hours 12 minutes, which was about what I expected.  Since I only started riding bike about 6 months ago and couldn't ride a whole lot through the hottest parts of the summer, I'm going to call it good. 

As I was telling my husband, so much of my life is very short term tasks (cleaning needs to be done every week (in theory), dinner needs to be cooked every night, kids are hungry ALL. THE. TIME). It was really nice to have a longer-term goal for a change. I do need to lay off now until E is weaned, though. The combination of nursing and riding 40+ miles did a real number on me and it's taken well over a week to feel like myself again.

Papa and Patrick waiting for Mommy to come by.

My cheering section came to see Mommy at about the 28 mile mark.  I was still doing pretty well then.