Givin' myself the BOOT

The ebb and flow of my posting has been seriously ebbing.  However, the ebb and flow of this house has been flowing like the Nile!  (I'm shaking my head in confusion at myself for those sentences...)

Through it all, we're delighting in the creeping in of FALL!  Though I've yet to give up my flip flops, I'm enjoying sweaters and jeans... and cuddly clothes on my cuddle bunnies!

Last week Hazel came down with a nasty fever and spent two whole days cuddled on my lap.  She perked up just in time to get hit with a bad cold... which she gave to me... and now to Heidi.  Heidi is one sweet lump of miserable.  Yesterday she tried oh-so-hard to smile at us, but though we could tell she was trying, her red watery eyes just looked pitiful and sad.

Fortunately, her temperature has been normal all morning and she's FINALLY sleeping soundly.

We've also enjoyed a nice visit with Jake's dad and smom, a fall picnic with our church and some major crafting :)  Again I ask:  WHO AM I?

I can't yet show you a pic of my big project... 'cause it still doesn't look AT ALL like my vision.  I painted our front door RED and am making a wreath.  Hmmm... the paint color is perfect, the paintER was not.  And that wreath...hmmm... still tweaking it.

However, I've had a few crafty successes this weekend.  One simple project that I've been wanting to make for over a month:  another tee-shirt reconstruction.  This one was for Kenzlee, the sister of the boy who raises money each year for JDRF (juvenile diabetes research foundation).  I also made her a hair clip, though it looks pretty great as a corsage.  The discoloration around the waist is because I had just finished wetting and ironing the shirring and simply couldn't wait to get the picture taken and pass it off to Kenzlee's Grandma (Jake's smom, aka "Hadel's Gammy").
Side note to all who comment on Hazel's cute clothes:  90% of them are hand-me-downs from Kenzlee!  The furry boots in the top picture are one prime example.  Oh how we love our Kenzlee!


I seem to always have a problem with infant socks.  They are always the wrong size.  This problem is made worse by the fact that I refuse to buy socks because it's impossible to know if they'll fit.  Now that the air has a nip to it, poor Heidi has had some cold tootsies.

Awhile back, I pinned this pattern:
I'm not the only one pinning these boots.  Practically every time I look at the current pins (sorry if you have no idea what I'm talking about.  You "pin" pics of the things you like/ intend to buy or make.), these boots are featured.

However, the pattern costs $4!  With all the free tutorials and patterns online, I'm spoiled and really hesitant to spend a whole FOUR dollars on a pattern!  But then I got to thinking, "if I wait to make those baby boots and end up loving them, I'm really going to kick myself for not making them sooner".  And you know what?  I WAS RIGHT!  The pattern comes in sizes 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 & 9-12.  I made the 6-9 month size as my first trial and they seem a little tight on my 5.5 month old!  It took me about 4 hours to make the first set and I followed the instructions exactly.  Then I immediately began making another set with my own edits:  having a full liner in the shoe 'caused for lots of bunching inside and since the baby won't walk in them, seemed like overkill.  Also, my babies have chubby feet and the toe section could use more height.

So here they are:  the button pair are the original design, the flower pair was made with some adaptations.

*Partly due to my thrifty nature, but mostly due to my green nature, I intend to reuse clothing/fabrics instead of buying new when sewing items for my girls.  For these boots, I bought a suit jacket at Goodwill for $2.50 for the exterior (plenty left for future boots!).  The liner was made out of an orange fleece vest we've had in our sewing pile for years because its zipper was broken.  I splurged and bought 6 new buttons ($.60 total) for the original design... next time I will think ahead and buy something at Goodwill that has buttons on it!  I went to bed thinking that though I LOVED the boots, they are a tad boyish.  Then in that sweetened state of creativity right before sleep, it occurred to me that I could use more of the fleece scraps to make flowers as the decoration on the velcro flap!

**I enjoyed making these so much, I'm starting to dream about having a booth at our local craft fair next year.  AMANDA JANE.... robots and boots... has a ring to it doesn't it?  Applefest 2012?


the allure of the word "hibernation" and being a feathered friend

This morning Hazel pulled me out of bed at 5:30.  This is after about an hour of lying in my bed together, lying in her bed together, lying in my bed listening for sounds that she is not going to stay in her bed.  As I snuggled into the couch on this very chilly morning, I cat napped to the sounds of Caillou and then Sesame Street.

The episode on Sesame Street was teaching the word "hibernation".  A big word for a little tyke.  Hazel's speech has been snowballing and words that I never expect her to know continue to pour out of her mouth.  So tomorrow, she'll probably point tell me NO HIBERNATION when she pulls me out of bed before the sunrise.

Hibernation: 5 months of uninterrupted sleep.  I think we can all agree that that idea holds some major allure!

However, then I look over to my 5 month old who is one sweet pile of goo and giggles, I hardly want to sleep for 5 hours for fear of wasting precious time.  Until this week, I've been confident in my "NO MORE BABIES" mantra.  I've loved each minute of Heidi, but don't feel sad at the prospect of being past the newborn stage in life.  Now that she is responding to us, craning her neck and body to be a part of our conversations, begging for attention, smelling of milk/saliva/baby/soap... I am fighting back the desire to freeze time.  Last night Jake pulled out the tissues in preparation of the big 6 month milestone which is rapidly approaching.  That is when I introduce solids (probably)... that is when my baby ceases to be made up entirely of me (I'm aware of the selfish nature of that sentence).
To wrap up with a totally unrelated subject:  Yesterday was the first day I've had a really sick baby.  Hazel had a high fever and spent the entire day napping on the couch.  Watching her frolic around the house as I write this, it seems unbelievable that she in fact spent an entire day resting!  While I spent wasted a lot of time reading blogs and dreaming/project idea gathering on pinterest, I also put my sedentary day to use.  Hazel whimpered each time I left the couch, so what's a lazy mama to do but simply stay on the couch and cuddle her sick baby?  While I was sitting, I was inspired to FINALLY create a mobile for the nursery.

I've been wanting to make an owl or bird mobile for about 3 years now.  Hazel played with her mobiles, but not like Heidi.  Heidi squirms in delight and spends huge chunks of time swinging her hands into mobiles.

Inspiration and FREE pattern here.  This weekend I will glue the birds to sticks, balance them, and hang it above her crib in such a way as it can be raised and lowered.  I love getting stuff done... and love these easy hand-sewn birds!

One of the smartest things I've ever done was choose nursery FABRICS instead of a true theme.  I picked out three coordinating Amy Butler prints and gave swatches to anyone who asked.  As a result, I have TWO gorgeous baby quilts, a diaper bag backpack, curtains, a footstool, and cushions for my rocking chair ALL made out of this fabric!  I still have a bag of scraps of each fabric and barely dented the stack to make these tiny birds.  Perhaps I'll make 50 more... or save the fabric for another inspired day!

and that my feathered friends, is how you write a tangent-filled blog post off the cuff.


it's hip to be square

Phenomenal.  I've decided to turn 30 every year from now on ;)  Actually I'm going to work really hard to age gracefully and not try to hide my age.  We'll check back in on that goal in about 10 years :)

My SQUARE DANCE birthday party was my all-time favorite birthday party.  70-plus people joined us for an evening of food, drink, laughter and of course... dancing.  

Here are some visual highlights:

The attire:
The Kosker quartet decked out in homemade attire.
The decor:

All of the party printables were made by Snowcones & Lollipops (missing a pic of the birthday banner hung over the buffet).  They certainly made the whole event seem more pulled together.  One friend even asked me to plan/design her next birthday bash.  I say "sure, as long as it has a western theme"... you know... so I can wear my sweet Stetson boots!  The cupcakes are on the "pie tree" that my father made for my sister's wedding reception.  The cupcakes were made by Sweet Malu. If you live north of Pittsburgh (Butler-ish) and need some baked goods... ask me for SM's info.  Seriously.  Never have I ever heard people gush about cupcakes before.  Sooo tasty.  Hubby and I are still in a debate on whether the chocolate/chocolate or the spice/cream cheese were the best (def the spice/cream cheese.  hands down!).

The shenangians:

We didn't capture nearly enough photos of the crowd or the dancing.  That's what happens when you're having TOO MUCH FUN!  I did get a FlipVideo camera for my birthday... so there may be a video posted in the near future... once I figure out how to do that.  We fumbled our way through 4 dances... worked off any extra calories we ate that night!  As you can see, as the evening progressed... the hootenannies (it's a word if I write it!) took off!  Who knew one can do a strip dance with a skinny tie?  Or that saddles on a wooden saw horse can actually hold grown men?  Or for that manner... that Ron Jeremy (according to the name on his cup) can ride a toddler's pink rocking horse?

Oh man.  It was awesome.  Thanks to all of those who shared the special day with me.  I felt loved.  I feel happy.  



30!  Hip Hip Hooray!  Today is my birthday :)

Tonight we are throwing a party in celebration of life.  At 30 I am blissfully content.  I have met all my goals/dreams for this stage of life (married good man, successful (albeit short) career, settled down/own a home, have 2 healthy babies...).  I have A LOT to celebrate!
I won a blog contest to have all my paper goods designed!   Invites, cupcake flags, birthday banner, thank you tags, welcome sign.... This party is SOOO coordinated!  More on all that in the next post.
This morning at 6:30 on the dot, my little blond bombshell woke me up by bouncing into my room and crawling up on bed for a brief cuddle before she simply couldn't wait one more second to watch Elmo.  If you think there's a better way to be woken up on my birthday, I surely don't agree!  Heidi also conspired to give me a birthday present... 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I'll be posting lots of pictures of our SQUARE DANCE tonight.  Wish you could come!  In fact, if you live near-by, you're invited!  I always struggle with who to invite.  So, we've limited it to the people we rub elbows with regularly.  However, I was really haphazard with my evites... so there've been quite a few "hmm... didn't get an RSVP from so-and-so... oh no... I never emailed them the invite!".  Oops!  Still, we're expecting about 70 people to join us!  YEE HAW!!


name in print... CHECK!

There are 3 types of people reading this post:

1.  Someone who typed "Breech Birth" or something similar into their search engine.  I've had over 1000 people read the birth story I posted on this blog last April.  That post has been removed until November out of respect to a wonderful publication.  Why?  Keep reading!

2.  Someone who read my Birth story in Natural Child Magazine and followed my bio to this blog.  WELCOME!  I'd love to hear from you so please leave a comment or send me an email.

3.  My loyal readers.  I never made a Bucket List of things to do before 30.  If I had, I would have thought it too ambitious to admit that I've always wanted to make a dress (CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK.  I've made four this week!).  And I would have thought it too impossible to even dream of seeing my name in print (CHECK).  I have 10 days left... what other ambitious goals should I set out to achieve?

"A Breech Home Birth"... sound familiar?
I'm thrilled to be included in the Sept/Oct issue of Natural Child Magazine!  It's $19.50 US for a digital subscription.  Or if you know me personally, I'm sure I'll be shoving the printed version in your face :)

the zen of organized

I am not a naturally tidy person.  I'm not naturally messy either.  I fall right smack in the middle.  Often, I suffer from being a "placer"... a term my husband made up to describe my tendency to place something and then leave it there indefinitely.  Oops!

My Aunt Laney lives in a perpetually tidy house.  Her philosophy is to minimize work by putting things away the first time.  So instead of carrying it into the house, placing it on the counter, moving it onto the stairs, finally carrying it upstairs, sitting it on the landing and weeks later, putting it away... she carries it into the house and puts it away.  ROCKET SCIENCE!

The past week has been one of those weeks when I am energized and am getting things done (as you well know from my prolific posts).

One of my goals for this week (my last week before I begin babysitting an extra babe or two each day), is to get the house reorganized.  It seems that organization is a never ending cycle:  Organize guest room... move on to play area... move on to kids room... move on to bedroom... YIKES what happened to the guest room?

So far this week I've purged the upstairs of my house (our bedrooms and playroom/balcony) of all the things that don't belong there.  Goodbye Encyclopedia Britannicas... did I really think I was going to make you into a tall lamp?  Goodbye box of maternity clothes.  Goodbye box of newborn clothes (sob)... you certainly don't belong in my bedroom!  Goodbye typewriter that was left from the previous owners and never moved out of my kids room.  Goodbye cool wooden wine crate box that just collects odds and ends of crap.  And this is only the beginning!  I haven't mentioned the 2 bookshelves I moved out of the girls room... or the gazillions of old magazines and books... or the bassinet... or the box of toys that was packed up to wait until they're interesting/novel again...

This sweet lamp was my inspiration:

One of my mom's friends (the one with the pool and copious amounts of wine) was cleaning out her garage and getting rid of her daughter's (who is 40ish) things.  She asked if I'd like this lamp.  LIKE it... I LOVE IT!  The little zookeeper cart is a nightlight. The front clown is a music box.  Hazel sits at this desk completely enchanted with the music box.  It's magical to her.  Soon... I'm going to raid mom's trusty sewing box in hopes of finding some rick rack to decorate the plain lamp shade I stuck on top.  This lamp has been sitting on my woodstove for about 3 weeks... just waiting to find a home!  GUILTY.

As you can see, there is still a stack of vintage books and a set of children's encyclopedias that I can't bring myself to get rid of.  However, this is what I see when I walk up my stairs.  That poor desk top hasn't seen the light of day since we moved in.  I vow to keep it decluttered!

The play area while always looking a little crazy is also organized enough to make it easy for Hazel to clean-up as she goes.  This is something that is stressed in the Montessori book I just read.  So each day, when something is left out, IT goes into time-out for the rest of the day.  It's unbelievable how quickly this is working!  Granted, I still have some clean-up to do throughout the day and after Hazel's bedtime, but it's getting exponentially better each day!

Here's her playroom/ the balcony.  I had the telephoto lens on and it's a small space... so it's just a small peek.  Like how we've repurposed milk crates?

Lot's of brightly colored plastic toys and noise makers... clearly we're not following Montessori to a T :)

At night I leave the nightlight in the lamp on and it's the perfect amount of light to light the short hallway (to the left of the desk) that leads to our bedrooms and bathroom.  Each time I leave my tidy room to answer the calls of one of my girls, I don't need to turn a bright light on.  I must admit, I pause in each space:  my bedroom, the girls room and the balcony to appreciate the zen of organized.  Even at 3 in the morning, it brings me a sense of calm and satisfaction.

Last on my list is to clear-off the top of my dresser and organize the hallway medicine/bathroom closet.  Funny that those were the top two priorities... I get so much done when I procrastinate!  However, last night Hazel awoke with her first ever tummy ache.  So at 1am, I was neck/elbow/rumpus deep in bathroom products trying to find the natural tummy aide I had bought on sale last year.  That did not give me a sense of zen.  Nope, I was extremely ticked at myself!  My toddler was crying in pain for her mommy and mommy's lazy organization habits made her stay in pain for about 4 extra minutes :(

*Not sure if the natural stuff would really work so I also gave her some infant acetaminophen.  Not sure if that worked either 'cause ten minutes after I went back to bed, she called for Daddy!  She often lets me know that her Daddy can fix things that I struggle with.  "Daddy do" is what I hear anytime I struggle with a household chore.  GEESH!

**As I finished this, Hazel was hitting buttons on her toy laptop.  She accidentally hit the "off" button and noticed that there was no more sound coming from the 'puter.  She looked at me and said "Dada fix".  FINE... this incompetent Mama will let you believe that it's broken just so I don't have to hear the crappy music coming from the 'puter anymore.  HA!