Friday, October 21, 2011

What I do when I'm not Blogging - Day Five

Ok, this has to be quick because it's date night, and I have some things I still need to check off the ole' to-do list before we feed the little guy, tuck him in, and sneak out for the evening. 

I am sure, in some capacity, eveyone can relate to me on this one: holidays are a lot of fun...but they can also require a lot of preparation and work, too.  The big ones--Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter--are self-explanatory.  There are gifts to be bought, stockings to stuff, baskets to fill, meals to be prepared, etc. 

But in my particular situation, the holidays I am worst at {and create the most anxiety for me} are birthdays.  Birthdays are meant to be special days to honor dear people in our lives, but I am always behind on birthday gifts, cards, phone calls, and text messages {if you're super lucky you get a gift, if I am somewhat productive you get a card a week late, if I remember between the hours of 6 and 8 pm in your time zone you get a phone call, and if all else fails you get a text}. 

With my four siblings,
who have four spouses
and eleven children {four of whom are Godchildren and deserve extra special attention},
my Dad,
my mother-in-law,
my father-in-law,
and TEN siblings-in-law {can you imagine when they start getting married and having kids?!},
I have a really hard time keeping up. 

It makes me feel badly when I miss a birthday, but sometimes I think I should just send everyone their birthday cards at the beginning of the year and be done with it.  Not because I don't care, but because I am really that bad about remembering and getting a card in the mail on time. 

Anyway, there is another holiday coming up that I have been investing some time into...Halloween.  Halloween has always been a commercial holiday to me--I dressed up as a kid, got a bunch of candy, and never worried about any of the dark side that is emphasized by a handful of teenagers each year. 

I plan to always keep Augustine's costumes on the light side--no devils, witches, or super scary monsters--but I don't think it's bad for him to dress up in a cute costume and walk around our block on Halloween.  And, of course, we will also celebrate All Saint's day November 1st and All Soul's day November 2nd {it's crazy how pretty much all of our cultural holidays are derived from the Catholic faith, no?  St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Halloween}. 

Luke and I are dressing up as Fred and Wilma for Halloween, and Augustine will be Bam-Bam.  Luke and I wore these costumes three years ago, as well, after I couldn't resist buying him the Fred costume going for $3 at our church yard sale.  I easily made a Wilma comtume out of a white sheet, and we were good to go. 

Bam-Bam's costume took a little more work...

Materials + elastic = just under $10!
First I covered the visor with orange felt and black triangles
--gotta love the glue gun.
Then I cut the fabric for the skirt
and made A try it on for a visual.

I wanted to make the skirt with an elastic waist,
so I folded over about 3/4" and made a hem.

Next I wrestled the elastic through the hem
--there is definitely a trick out there to making this easy,
but I opted for wrestling with it.

After folding the faux fur in half, I sewed a seam so it would be soft all the way around {no pic}. 
Then I cut a bone out of off-white felt and cut slits in the the fur for it. 

I left the bat making to my hubby. 
He cut it out of cardboard, and then we covered it in felt.

Back to the glue gun to decorate the skirt.

I measured my little Bam Bam to decide how tight to pull the elastic
and then sewed it into place.
I finished the skirt by turning it inside out and sewing the seam.

The last step is to attach the sash.  I used a button in front and a safey pin in back - I will sewn it on permanently when I have a minute!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I do when I'm not Blogging - Day Four

Keeping up with my little man takes a lot of time and energy!  He is at a really fun and social age right now, so this fall we have really upped our out-of-the-house social calendar.  
All but Friday mornings during the week, we try to get out of the house.  It is a good thing for me because it inspires me to actually get dressed in the morning {not that I don't have a tendency to slip back into my sweatpants when we get home...}.  And I think it's good for Augustine to experience new things with new friends, as well as learn to take directions and interact with adults other than Luke and myself.  
On Monday mornings, Augustine has his Romp 'n Roll class.  It took me a few months to justify the cost of a R'nR membership, but I waited until they were promoting a good deal and made peace with it.  His class is called Tumble Tunes and is a combination gym and music class.  He absolutely loves music, and you can't go wrong with exercise and energy burning!  He is learning to listen and follow instructions, and it is great for his gross motor skills.
Tuesday mornings we enjoy "Storytime" at a local library.  If we are super ambitious, we attend Mass {and sometimes even hit up Starbucks!} before heading to the library.  Augustine is still a little young for a 45 minute storytime, but the leader is great at mixing it up with relevant songs and dancing in between books, which Augustine really likes.  He tends to start wandering toward the end of storytime, but overall he does well, and I think it's a good challenge for him.
Augustine attended a music class for several weeks on Wednesdays this fall, but that ended last week.  Our Mom's group from church also meets on Wednesday mornings, so we are going to try to get more involved in that group, although most of the activities are on the other side of town, which can be inconvenient.
This fall Augustine and I joined MOPs {Mothers of Preschoolers}--a Christian, Mom's group that offers programs internationally.  It provides a good morning of recollection, fellowship, and fun for me, while Augustine is across the hall enjoying Bible stories and play time with other kiddos his age.  MOPs meets officially every other Thursday, but there is typically a play date or other activity scheduled for the other Thursdays.  
Fridays we just chill in the morning.  If Augustine is up in time we like to go to 7:30 am Mass with Luke and they come home and have pancakes for breakfast!
Among Augustine's other favorite things to do during the day are take walks--in and out of the stroller--; play at parks; read books; watch "T" {t.v.}; help me with everything--cooking, cleaning, laundry; play outside on his play set in our screened in porch; go potty; carry his stuffed cat and baby all around the house; push buttons on every appliance we own; get into lots of things he shouldn't; wrestle with his Dad; and eat noodles.
All of this, plus running errands, cleaning the house, and cooking {also known as being a wife and mom} keeps me busy!!  Luke keeps reminding me, "just wait until you have two!"  But being a Mom to Augustine is the world's greatest job in my eyes, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 
I used to sneak onto the computer a lot more during the day, but now I am very rarely on it at all while he is awake.  Sometimes I have a chance to blog while Augustine is napping, but taking a rest myself or working on something else often takes the priority.  This week I have mainly been blogging in the evening after Augustine goes to sleep...but Luke told me that after this week is over I need to take a blogging fast, so I can give him more attention again :).             
Tomorrow I will post pics of Augustine's completed Halloween costume!  Super excited to be finished with it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I do when I'm not Blogging - Day Three

One word:  PICTURES

Taking . downloading . uploading . cropping . captioning . dating . ordering . developing . sorting . organizing . 
album-ing . dreaming of scrapbooking get the idea.  

About a month ago I was alarmed to discover that I had not developed ANY pictures since February!  {And I take a lot of pictures!}  As all of us in this world of digital photography can attest, it is way too easy to take a million pictures, download them onto your computer, and then put off actually having them printed.  For some people that works, and they are content with the pictures saved onto their computer.  But I am a bit fanatic about the whole thing, and I refuse to delete pictures off my camera's memory card until I am holding a hard copy in my addition to having them saved on my computer...and hard drive.  
This picture makes my heart smile.
Anyways, it was recently getting to the point that I couldn't take any more pictures because my memory cards were full.  So I finally made a huge order on Snapfish and got caught up on the developing aspect...but then I had hundreds of photos to date, caption, sort, etc.

I have been hard at work to make a dent in the process, but I still have a ways to go.

The top shelf of my desk presently looks like this:
...and my husband is none too thrilled.  {We may have had a little agreement that if I had a desk on our main floor, I would keep it looking nice and tidy.  Last night Luke said my "hobby lobby" (aka desk) was overflowing onto our kitchen table and that I needed to do some work on it--agreed!}.     

I arrange the majority of Augustine's photos in regular photo albums, but I have always planned on creating one BIG scrapbook of his most memorable pictures.  So as I put the captioned, dated, and chronologically ordered photos into albums, I set aside my favorite ones to put in the scrapbook.  

Pictures reserved for the scrapbook...
the first picture is, appropriately, of me in labor--real attractive.
At this point, the photos are all labeled, and I just need to finish putting them in the album...and then I am ready to begin the laborious, yet rewarding, task of scrapbooking.  It is my goal to have it finished before Baby #2 arrives!
Good intentions.
It feels like such a big job, especially because scrapbooking is messy and not at all conducive to "help" from a toddler.  Sometimes I wonder if I will ever actually get around to the scrapbook.  I sure hope so.  ...So does Luke!

I promise to keep you updated on any progress I make, and if you have any tips for photo organization or scrapbooking, please share them with me! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What I do when I'm not Blogging - Day Two

This girl loves to read!!  I admit there was a few years in high and throughout college where I was totally burned out on all genres of ink on paper, but as soon as college was finished my childhood love of books came flooding back {thankfully!}. 

My current reads that fill up lots of my free time are:
The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield
Truth be told, I am not far enough into this book to give it any sort of a review, but none of my past book club selections have disappointed, so I am sure this will be an enjoyable read as well.  I love being part of a book club because a) it is nice to get together with my club friends once a month to discuss not only the book but life in general, b) I end up reading books I never would have read otherwise, and c) I like the fulfillment of actually finishing the book club book each and every month. 

*On a side note, my book club read The Help last month, and I definitely reccommend it!  I literally couldn't put it down!  I haven't seen the movie yet, but I have heard the book and the film follow each other very closely.  Luke and I plan on seeing it as soon as it comes out on Netflix--can't wait!

A Severe Mercy
by Sheldon Vanauken
This is my second time reading this book--the first time was several years ago, and I wanted to refresh my memory...and bask in the romantic--yet real, sacrificial--yet perfect, love between the two main characters {it's hard to come by a romantic novel like this these days}.  The book, written by Sheldon Vanauken, tells the true story of his life with his beloved.  During the book, they both undergo tremendous conversions, which I find so inspiring and hopeful.  And, as an added bonus, the book includes 18 letters written by C.S. Lewis to Sheldon.  As one critic put it, "Here is a book for anyone who has truly loved another person."  Beautiful.

Montessori from the Start
by Paula Polk Lillardand Lynn Lillard Jessen
When we were in Charleston last week, one my of girlfriends suggested I read this book.  She said she felt it was compatible with aspects of my parenting style and had seen great results in applying some of the books ideas in her own home.  Ironically, one of my closest friends finished her training to be a Montessori teacher this summer and is now teaching at a Montessori school in Kansas.  She, too, recommended that I look inot it and has nothing but great things to say about the program.  Having been founded by a Catholic, she notices a lot of ties in with Catholic and Christian thought.  As I speed through this book--because I am just so curious to get to each and every chapter--I have noticed the emphasis put on the mind, body, spirit connection and how relevant that is to our faith.  I am hoping to implement some of techniques and tweak some of our current practices to help Augustine develop and learn in new ways.

Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
by {the one and only} Matthew Kelly
The Vercollone family are big Matthew Kelly fans.  I am pretty sure either Luke or myself has read and/or listened to on CD every book and talk the man has ever produced.  I enjoy MK's writing style because he writes as he would talk--which means he repeats himself a lot, making it easier to pick up and remember all the little nuggets of advice he offers.  I always like to be reading some sort of book that will inspire me to grow in virtue {because I am in constant need of reminders!}, and this is a great one.  If you are ever looking for something to read, pick up any of Matthew Kelly's books, and you won't be disappointed.  I especially like The Seven Levels of Intimacy and Rediscovering Catholicism  

Well, I am off to read...or sew? before my little man wakes up. 

Hmmmm, decision, decisions.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I do when I'm not Blogging - Day One

Over the past few weeks--if you were a fly on my wall--you would observe me spending a lot of time curled up on the couch with thread and needle in hand.  And that is because I am sewing a baby blanket for Baby #2...and the blanket is big...and my time before his/her arrival is running short! 

Although I purchased said blanket months ago, I didn't actually start working on it until we were on vacation last week.  {Yikes!}  It is primarily a cross-stitch blanket--with a bit of satin stitching and detail stitching.  {I made one with the same technique for Augustine before he was born.  Except his was completely finished before his 20 week ultrasound--except for the little angel because I wanted to wait and stitch it in blue for a boy and pink for a girl). 

Augustine's baby blanket.

Because of all the background color, Baby #2's blanket requires a lot more stitching than Augustine's, and as you can see, I have a LONG way to go!  It is amazing how long it takes to make those little x's appear.

Um yeah, all I have finished is the border...

and a little bit in the upper left corner.
You may wonder why I am making my baby a blanket.  After all, everyone knows that babies receive more blankets than they know what to do with when they are born.  Augustine, for example, received a beautiful, home-made quilt from my Mom's cousin, a couple of crocheted blankets, and countless other blankets of various sizes and finishes.

So why add to the collection??

The answer is easy: I want my babies to always have a special blanket made for them by their Mama.

You see, when I was born, my Mom cross-stitched a blanket for me, as she did with the all of my siblings.  For the first seven years of my life, I didn't take much notice of it.  I suppose I saw it hanging on the wall of my bedroom everyday of my life, but it was mostly just there for decorative purposes.

When my Mom passed away, however, my blanket took on a whole new meaning.  My Dad took it down from my wall and had a backing put on it so I could sleep with it.  And sleep with it I did!  It quickly became my most valuable possession.  It spent each night with me for the next 10+ years.  Initially, I even took it away to college with me, but within a month I brought it back home, fearful that it would somehow get misplaced or walk away from my dorm with the constant influx of people in and out of my room.

As children, my sisters and I were terrified that a robber would come into our house at night and steal our blankets.  Our fear was so great that it inspired us to lie in bed at night and engage in rehearsed conversations--conversations that applied a most juvenile reverse psychology to any burglars who may be hiding in our closets listening to us.  They went something like this:

My Sister:  "If a robber comes to our house tonight, I hope they steal our blankets."
Me:  "Yeah, me too.  They are worthless.  I hope they are the first thing he takes.  Who would ever want these stinky blankets?"

We were convinced, of course, that our conversations would have the opposite effect and ensure that no robber would ever take our beloved blankets.       

I love my Mom's tradition of making blankets for her babies--and I love that all my sisters have continued that tradition.  My sister, Ellen, has sewn blankets for both of her kiddos, and my sister, Sarah, has sewn blankets not only for her four children but also for my sister, Caitlin's baby and baby-on-the-way {Caitlin isn't into sewing}. 

I hope one day my wee ones love their blankies as much as I love mine.

So there you go--when I could be blogging, I am often baby-blanket-making instead.  What can I say, it's a great pregnancy activity that I can do anytime I am just sitting and relaxing...and it requires a lot less thought than blogging!  You should try it sometime if you haven't.  It's time consuming but very rewarding to see each little completed section come together to make a beautiful blanket in the end.   

Whew, I barely got this posted before the day ended...but a little someone I know decided not to take a nap today, so I had a less time than planned.  See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Excuse to Blog

I'm a good way.
Since not blogging makes me sad, I have decided to blog every day this week!

...but the catch is that I will be blogging about all the things that prevent me from blogging on a more regular basis.
Let me explain.
I think about blogging quite a bit.  I have ideas float in and out of my head.  I start blogs from time to time that I don't get around to finishing.  And sometimes I sit down planning to blog, but then I get carried away with something else online, and before I know it my "blogging" time has run out and it is time to sleep or eat or get my wee one up from his nap.  

But those aren't the only reasons I have been slacking in the blogging department.  I am also keeping busy with several little projects and, of course, the day to day duties of being a Mom and Wife.  They are things I enjoy doing, and things that I think are worthy of my time...yet, they are time consuming and can easily fill any free time that I have.    

So, over the next week, I am going to be sharing with you some of the ways I spend my time--projects, crafts, activities, life etc.
Tomorrow's topic:  Cross stitching - woo hoo!  Tune in for pics of a pathetically slow start to Baby #2's baby blanket.

Happy Sunday!    

Black, White, & Shades of Gray

When I left the house to go clothes shopping this morning, I reminded myself not to buy anything black, white, or gray. 

...And this is what I came home with:

I intended to buy this in periwinkle--promise-- but they didn't have my size at the store. :(
 Seriously??  EPIC FAIL.

Does anyone else have this problem??

 It's not that I don't like clothes in those colors, it's that I LOVE clothes in those colors
...and my closet is already full of them:  

Exhibit A: Candid snapshot of my closet.
For the past few years, it's actually been a goal of mine to be conscious about buying more colorful clothing, yet I still have a hard time sticking to it. 

When I left the house this morning, I had visions of fall sweaters and scarfs and fun earrings...all in bold COLORS!  But in my defense it's hard to have a successful shopping trip when your shopping companion is unpredictably squirming to get out of the stroller, crawling under dressing room doors, lunging out of my arms to run for jewelry displays, pleading for me to hold him, etc. 

We shopped for an hour, only made it to two stores and left with three items--only one of which has any aesthetic appeal-- and all in forbidden colors!

O'well, better luck next time. 

But let's be real, I am already planning on sneaking back to Motherhood Maternity for nursing tanks in black and gray...  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Honeymoon

I just got back from enjoying a week long vacation in Charleston with my boys, so I am just now catching up on my favorite even though I am a day late, I still wanted to participate in this fun link-up about honeymoons. :)  

Long story short, Luke and I both lived in Charleston before our wedding, flew to Colorado to get married {after a brief segway in Virginia to drop off our things}, and had to be living in Virginia permanently five days later...!  Needless-to-say, we didn't have time for an extended honeymoon on an exotic island.  And, to be perfectly honest, I am glad.
We stayed in the upper left cabin unit. 
We didn't see anyone come in or out of the other three cabins during our stay.

When many people think of the ideal honeymoon, they imagine being somewhere warm and far away for at least a week. Yet, our honeymoon was relatively short, cold, and just an hour from where we got married...and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Taking in the views and beauty of the snow on a walk near our cabin.
The reason we had to be in Virginia so soon after our wedding is because of Luke's soccer contract starting--since the Catholic church doesn't typically celebrate weddings during Lent, we either had to get married on the one weekend between Easter and Luke's season starting or wait until September to get married.  We chose the former!!  March 28th isn't exactly prime wedding season, but there was no way we were waiting another 6 months!

Happy. In love.
Because of our time restraints, we planned a mountain get-away for immediately after our wedding and reserved a cruise for that September when Luke's season ended.  Don't get me wrong, the cruise was absolutely wonderful,
Yeah, that was pretty awesome, too :)

Our second honeymoon.
but our mountain retreat was the better choice for our immediate honeymoon. It was so nice just relaxing and being together, without worrying about being anywhere, or doing anything, else.

Mrs. Luke Vercollone--I'm a lucky girl!
After spending our wedding night at the hotel where we hosted our reception, we made the scenic hour long drive to Estes Park, Colorado, where we spent the next three nights.  We had our own little cabin unit...and our own hot tub...on our own balcony deck.  It was magical.  We loved sitting out in the hot tub, surrounded by snow {and often times, eating ice cream}.  The views were breathtaking.

Talk about a breathtaking view...see that guy on the left?!
He's mine ;)
We lived life slowly.  One night we went out for a nice dinner.  For at least a day we, literally, got snowed in and took a long walk, etching our initials in the snow and stopping to kiss just because.  We bought my favorite ice cream at the local grocery store and left it outside in the snow to keep it frozen.  We went to Mass together.  We both got sick but it didn't matter because we were together.  We visited the beautiful chapel at St. Malo's.  We walked along the main street in Estes to buy a few souvenirs.  We watched movies, snuggled up together in bed.  We cuddled on the couch, captivated by the flames dancing in the fireplace and talking about our dreams for our future.      
L.V. + A.V.
Most of all, we were just together.  

Yes, I did put on real clothes once or twice--here we are out to dinner.
Luke and I love thinking back on and reminiscing about our honeymoon, and one day we plan to make it back to the Fawn Valley Inn for a special vacation.