Monday, April 29, 2013

The Drewstroyer

Things are super crazy around here, so I have a short post with mostly pictures.  Hopefully, I can download pictures soon from all the activities we have been doing and get back to posting.  I am planning two parties at the moment and working on gifts on top of the usual.

I spend a lot of time and energy keeping this guy out of trouble.  The time-out chair is no stranger to him.  Neither is the trip to the bathroom for a spanking.  He's giving me a run for my money!

Drew is saying everything we ask him to now, but not everything is successfully clear yet.  I am so happy he will try everything though.  He is getting better at saying what he wants without having to play "Twenty Questions" and him nod his head or repeat it. 

He is very silly and has a very cute personality when he is in a good temper. 

Balls and swords are still his favorite toys!

I could just eat that chin!
Isaac has long loved the "Pretend to be a blue rock" game after his baths with me, but now Drew likes to join in too.  Normally, I just pretend there is a blue rock and either I try to add it to my collection or sit on it.  Frequently, the blue rock will wiggle or talk and I pretend that is so surprising to me until finally the rock reveals himself as Isaac, my son.  Surprise and giggles ensue!

Now Drew likes to ride the blue rock and they have a great time with this game.  Baths are ramping up now with the nice weather and the dirty boys...and girls, but not quite so much.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Getting Ready for Her Special Day

Even though Hannah has the latest First Communion ever this year, we are trying to get ready with the details now.  We've been preparing for this her whole life spiritually, but there are physical details that have to be managed as well.  We worked on her banner together one Friday evening after all the kids were in bed so we wouldn't be disturbed.  Genevieve was reading and came down once to see how it was going.  She can hardly wait for her turn to come.  Luckily, she only has to wait one year for that.  

Anyway, since I am a convert, I knew nothing about this whole First Communion banner stuff, but once I looked at a few blogs about it, I figured this was right up my alley.  So I came up with a stained glass window basic plan because I thought Hannah could do it well, with little help.  I let Hannah pick what we would put on the window.  She picked a dove and a chalice and host.  I got the sticky felt letters before I noticed the rules said it had to be on a white background, so we had to make the stained glass big enough to contain the white letters.

This was taken before she added her glitter puff paint accents.  I turned it in already and forgot to get the final picture.
As for the dress, we had some trouble with it.  I ordered it March 1st and never received it.  The company was difficult to get in contact with; impossible is more like it.  We had to contact Paypal and have them deal with it. In the meantime, I was getting nervous that we wouldn't get it in time or just barely and not have time for alterations or an exchange.  I decided to try to cancel the order and go shopping at actual stores with Hannah to see what we could find.  The only dress with sleeves at David's Bridal turned out to be her favorite dress ever!  That is saying a lot for my picky girl.  She didn't think it was itchy in the least.  So we bought it, a tiara of her choice, and some shoes (from Payless,) all in an afternoon.  

Well, this dress is very suited to Hannah and wouldn't suite my fancy Genna at all.  So when the company finally replies and tells me they just shipped the dress, I decided to keep it for Genna next year.  My original plan was to have the girls wear the same dress, but plans changed with this mess.  I am not showing a preview of Hannah's actual dress, but I did have her try the one that came in the mail on to see if alterations will likely be necessary.  (They are!  It's too long!)  Anyway, she tried it on and it happened to be on the same day that I did her practice hair for her First Communion.  So these shots I will show...

These are the practice hair shots.  I can't decide if the tiara should be in front or behind the braid.

She looks like a me anyway.  Genna was in awe of the dress, so I think it will work out nicely for her next year.

Seriously, I wish she could wear this dress, but I know the other, plainer one, will suite her better.  When we were buying the dress at David's Bridal and I was lamenting the plainness of the dress she loved, she told me, "Mom, I am just not a fancy girl."  She's right.  So that's why I bought it for her, and you'll see that dress soon soon on my beautiful daughter who is growing up entirely too fast.
I am reading a book about Blessed Imelda, Patron Saint of First Communicants to the children right now.  I am also trying to make Hannah a baby clothes scrap quilt for her main gift for her big day.  This was a way bigger project than I anticipated.  There is so much measuring and cutting compared to the easy baby quilts I usually do.  At this point, I am hoping that I have the top complete by the 18th of May, but I have a crucifix necklace and a statue for her as well.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Sunday Family Activity

This is what we've been building on our Sundays in April.  Well, I should actually say that Brian has been building it (from scratch, by the way) and we have been playing outside in the backyard enjoying the weather and watching daddy work.  He has really taken to woodworking lately and decided to use his restful Sundays to do one big project for the children since he has no other free time until after his board exams.  He is still working on the house frame (that will sit atop the deck,) and is even using his evenings this week to catch up on what he didn't finish on Sunday.  He is also going to add a sandbox underneath the deck. 

The kids have really never liked to play in the backyard and for the first time they ask me to go out back.  In the past, it has always been them wanting to go play in the front which involves me being out there to supervise the whole time.  If Drew goes out front, I am on serious duty and can barely even sit down.  They have had neighbors over to play in the backyard while I can still cook dinner and have it ready on time.  

There have already been a few injuries though.  Splinters galore since the sanding will be last!  Plus, Isaac tried to get off the swing while still swinging high.  I know.  Sometimes he acts a lot like Genna.  And Genna and her friend spun around on the swings and knocked heads.  What a mess!  Most of these are rookie mistakes that will be solved through experience.  I am so proud of my husband for taking on such a task for his precious children.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cherry Blossom Bomb

 We went out to pick up Brian from work and headed into the city on Monday afternoon to get pictures of the kids and the Japanese cherry blossoms.  However, the funny thing about these trees is they bloom for such a short time and the wind and rain can make that time even shorter.  I guess we missed them by a small margin.  There were some blooms left, but nothing compared to what we saw two years ago.  They were kind of dull looking.

There were a couple of decent looking trees, but not even worth getting Drew out of the stroller for, in my opinion.  It was very windy on Monday and that must have done them in. 

This was the only picture we got next to a cherry blossom tree.
 We had planned to go to dinner in the city as well.  We got to see a lot of police since this was right in the midst of the Boston bombings.  So we took our time on the way back to the car and took some pictures by some monuments.  The kids had so much fun running along and playing with each other.  We have the traveling, sight-seeing kind of kids.  

Korean War Memorial

In front of the Lincoln Memorial

Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument- There were ducks and ducklings in the pool that the kids got a kick out of watching.

Someone stopped and asked if they could take a picture of the whole family for us.  I look exceptionally "large and in charge" here (I know, Mom, the stripes don't help!), but we don't get many family photo opts so I'll take it.

We went to the Elephant and the Castle for dinner which was dubbed number four on the kids' list of favorite restaurants.  This is probably because they had a Share menu where we got 4 plates of different kinds of food to share.  I shared with the kids, and Brian got a hamburger plate.  It ended up not being a ton of food, and I kept having to give my portion away to my hungry little chicks (AKA the bottomless pits.)  So I got a brownie ice cream dessert since I wasn't very full yet to share with the little chicks.  Brian thought the brownie tasted too much like cake (we prefer brownies to cake any day) and Isaac says, "Yeah, I don't really like chocolate, but I am toughin' it out."  I told him not to tough it out on my account.  I'd rather have more brownie/cake. 

I guess our afternoon wore out the boys a bit.  We got home at 8:30pm and they were sacked out.
We haven't done anything like that in a while.  It was just like old times.  Brian enjoys those little trips so much.  Once these board exams are over, I am sure we'll be doing a lot more of this again.  We'll catch those blossoms next year when we have Tad with us.

A Horse Party

Genna was grooming another person's horse because her horse was too feisty to groom.
 The girl's went to a birthday party at a stable.  I was a little shocked that they had the kids each on their own horse which made eleven horses.  They also had the kids help tack up and groom the horse they were to ride.  This seemed a little inefficient to me.  The kids would have been happy to take turns grooming and riding just a few and it would have required fewer people to run the party.  They had teenagers assigned to each horse and child.  Anyway, the girls picked the two horses I would not have picked.  One was described as "energetic" and Genna jumped on that one since she too is energetic.  The one Hannah chose was described as having "attitude" and was accused of making mean faces by showing teeth and laying his ears back.  In retrospect, they got the horses that suited their personalities.

Hannah enjoyed riding on Orion.

Genna is waving from her horse Gulliver.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cuteness Overload

I am the lucky lady that gets to spend one on one time with this cutie every Saturday morning when his big siblings all go to German school and his daddy goes to work to get some quality study time in.  One on one time is really special around this busy house. 

 This Saturday we went to the American Girl Store to get Genna's birthday gift.  The store is in Virginia at a mall and so it was a bit of a hike.  We took Brian's car since he drops the kids off on his way to work and picks them up on his way home.  I get all the way to the mall and then realize that my stroller is in my van.  Oops!  So this adorable boy had to walk most of the time since carrying him and my bags and Tad was a little much for this wimp.  He did such a great job holding my hand.  I had to carry him a few times, but not for long.

 Drew is quite the window shopper.  He wanted to look at everything!  When we first walked into the American Girl Store, he oohed, aahed, and wowed all over the place.  His attention was mainly on the dolls' pets and their cars, but it was funny to see a boy go so crazy in such a girlie store.  He had the same response in the baby clothes store that we went into.  He also enjoyed some of the mall's displays, the moving pinwheels and the airplane were his favorites.

 We only stayed about an hour because I was not wanting to get too close to nap time and have him fall asleep in the car on the way back.  He got sleepy though and would start to blink.  Then I would say, "Drew, don't you close your eyes!" and he would giggle and squeeze his eyes shut.  Funny boy!

These pictures were all taken when we arrived back at home after our mini adventure.

He's a total handful, but I couldn't love him more!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Communion Banner

This is the pre-sewn and pre-trimmed picture of the banner we made.  I looked at a bunch of examples online and came up with the stained glass idea.  Hannah helped me with the rest of the design.
Hannah and I got to work on her First Communion banner this past weekend.  She did all the stained glass cutting and layout, put her name on and drew in the details with the marker.  I am going to sew it down so that things won't fall off.  Glue is too iffy sometimes, and I love to sew.  Our church has a lot of regulations regarding the banners which was disappointing to me.  It could only be 8 1/2 x 11 inches big (which is too small in my opinion,) it had to be horizontal, and it had to be on white background (which I cannot understand at all.)  Since we already purchased the white letter we had to make sure they were on a dark background so they stand out and can be seen from a distance.  I would have liked to have the blue background like I planned, but you know.

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

 We finally made it to the National Shrine last week.  Shame on us for not going sooner, but I usually have to be meeting someone to have the motivation to go on field trips or into the city.  It is just so tiring that I always talk myself out of it.  However, if I am meeting someone I am faithful to follow through unless someone is sick.  So we met some friends there with my main purpose to find gifts for first communions in the gift shop.  I even got Genevieve's gift for next year when she makes her First Communion.  They also have a bookstore and we picked out a few children's books for the boys and a few saint chapter books for the girls.

This may just be my next "Pew" picture after Easter season is over.
The kids didn't ever want to leave.  They thought everything was so beautiful.  


Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Quest to Please the Unpleasable

 I have been making quite the stack of summer clothes for the girls.  Genna is easy and already has a bunch of dresses which she would be happy to wear everyday.  I took all of the winter leggings with holes in them and cut them off to make capri leggings to go under skirts and dresses for her. 

Hannah is where the problem lies.  She didn't really like the maxi dress that I made her because it has a seam that is itchy (FYI: all seams are itchy to her.) 

Here's another maxi dress I tried where I sewed down the seam to make it softer, but the armpits were apparently uncomfortable.  Fail!  To make it, I used an adult skirt from the thrift store and an old shirt.  This took almost no time compared to making the dress from purchased fabric and a t-shirt and was less than half the price.
But luckily someone doesn't care what things feel like, just what they look like!  Success!  If you can even call it that since, as I said before, she has a million dresses.

Hannah didn't like any of the capri leggings because she likes things loose.  So we painstakingly went through her summer clothes that we already have and eliminated all clothes that she couldn't stand which was almost all of them.  Then I set out to duplicate the only kind of capri/shorts she likes which are basically clam-diggers, which are loose, flowy capris.  The first one I made was a fail because I used a band she didn't like.  The second one was a success.  I made it out of one of Brian's old t-shirts with a soft elastic band.  The third one, I tried to make cuter, and you know that was a fail.  

Here was my attempt at cute-ing up the capris.  I took a thrift store skirt and cut out a triangle out of the bottom, then sewed them together as pants.  Cute?  Yes, but...Fail!  Itchy seams!  I am going to attempt to line them with a t-shirt material, but I have my doubts it will please my little Goldilocks.

Hannah liked most of the skirts though.  This was another thrift store find that I had to altar just a bit.  Genna will be borrowing them, I am certain.

I made these pants with holes in the knees into capris since Hannah used to love them as pants.  Alas, they failed the test as well.  They are tighter than last year.  Notice Genna's summer closet is growing, but Hannah's...not so much.
Hannah did like this patchwork skirt, but Genna modeled it for me.
What is amazing is that the first dress Hannah tried on for her First Communion was a total success.  She loved it!  She also found shoes that very day to match that she loved.  I was in shock since I was sure all communion dresses would be itchy, but this one was virtually seamless inside AND it was the only one at the store that had sleeves which was a bonus because getting her to wear a shrug over a sleeveless one would have been impossible.