Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do It Yourself: Silhouettes

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I really have been a busy lady lately with my craftiness.  It is my place to escape once the kids are in bed and there is peace in the house, I pull a project out.  Sewing, knitting, cutting, painting, it all calls me.  I have high hopes to finally share some of my most beloved projects I have worked on in the past six months. 

I literally finished these silhouettes in September and finally just took a picture of them today!  I have wanted a special something to put in our front entrance.  Looking around online I thought that some simple silhouettes of the kids would look great in our front entrance.  I spent a great deal of time researching how to make them myself.  Like everything this is a very complicated way to make them involving Photo Shop, which I don’t have!  So, I took the more basic plan to make them and I am really happy with the results!

After doing a great deal of searching, I felt this tutorial was the best for how I was going to complete the project.  I found in on this blog, At Home with the Gadbois Family.  I haven’t ever read their blog until this project, but it pulled up when I was doing my silhouette research.  I love her detailed descriptions and adding details to your silhouettes to make them look unique.  For example, she suggests exaggerating their eyelashes and the outline of their hair to really give things definition.

Here is the basic run down…

take a side profile picture of your child with a light background

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Then I simply dropped this picture into a Word Document.  I stretched it to the size that I wanted the silhouette to be by using the ruler outline in Word.  I printed them roughly to a 5 by 7 sized picture onto a durable cardstock.

Using sharp scissors or a razor blade I cut around their picture.  Then I outlined this shape with a white colored pencil onto a black piece of cardstock.

Repeat the cutting process with a sharp pair of scissors or razor blade.  Add details for hair, eyelashes, and lips to draw attention to the important details of your child’s face.

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Finally I spray painted some black frames from Michaels and a “W” monogram.  I wrote the date and year on the back of the silhouettes so I could change them as my children grow, but save them forever!  I love the way they turned out and I love coming in each day and seeing them in the entranceway of our home.

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Lastly I made this crazy paper wreath with ripped out pieces of an old book.  I am not 100% sure about the wreath, but it has been hanging up there for awhile now.  I will probably change it with the seasons or when I want something new.  For now it stays.

There you have it, Do It Yourself Silhouettes!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Don’t Miss the Moment

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I figured I better get these pictures up before we creep into February.  Christmas has come and gone and I have hardly had a chance to share about Christmas Day.  The tree was looking beautiful on Christmas Eve and filled to the brim from Santa.  Bradley’s toy pile was on the left and Ellie’s was on the right, and Gracie’s few toys from Santa were in the middle….

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A few of Santa's treasures…

I find it easier just to take video on Christmas Morning.  Here is Bradley and Ellie making their way downstairs for the stockings.  I feel like Ellie really “got it” this year….so fun to have two littles in the house that love Christmas Morning.

Christmas Morning

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Ellie digging in to some of her presents

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This picture really shows just what Bradley looked like for most of Christmas morning.  There was just no stopping him and his present opening has now reached a new speedy peek!

 

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Bradley opening his BIG present the Ninjago battle temple.  I am learning quickly about this Lego world.  There is a lot to learn for the ballet dancing mama.  He knows it all though, and was super happy!

Gracie mostly received books this year.  She has everything from her brother and sister, and at the same time doesn’t really play with anything.  She is just in the walking/tearing apart the house stage.  She got a few simple bath toys, a puzzle, and stack of books.  She was happy with her new loot though too!

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She pretty much loves all of her “touchy feely” books that have a bit of fur or a soft spot to find.  Santa found some perfect books just for her!

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Santa brought both kids a set of roller skates.  I thought these would be a huge hit….I had two or three birthday parties in a row growing up at the roller skating rink.  Bradley’s skates haven’t even been outside yet.  I tried to take Ellie out in her skates on a warmer day and she started crying so hard and said that they were “scary.”  Mommy fail on that one.

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I will say the Legos were a huge hit and he has put together almost everything he got for Christmas.  I absolutely love Legos.  They require a lot of thinking and are a wonderful toy to have in the house.  I am sure we will have a lot more Lego Christmases to come!

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Ellie has loved all of her toys too.  The top toys have been the American Girl Bitty Baby, Mobigo, and her dress up clothes.  She is pretty much dressed up every day once we get down to the basement.  Here she is with all of her holiday loot.

I bought her some specific princesses, Tangled and Snow White are her favorites.  But she also got a lot of open ended costumes, princess hats, and capes which she has really been drawn too.  So cute on Christmas day…

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“Snow Wipe” as she calls herself…

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Opening our stockings 2012

All in all it was a wonderful holiday.  It was much better then the bleary, sleep deprived Christmas of 2011 when Gracie was just a newborn.  As Christmas approached this year I had high hopes.  I was looking forward to the holiday so much with anticipation of seeing two children excited for Santa and all things magical.  It was all that, it was.  I guess I just forget that we still have a very young child in the house.  You can see from the stocking video that it always poses challenges when trying to do things with everyone.  Bradley is trying to open his stocking, Gracie is eating his stuff, it is frustrating for everyone. 

As much as I want to “be in the moment” I am pulled away by the littlest one’s needs and wants.  She still needs her milk, her yogurt, her food spoon fed to her.  Then I have Bradley who is as sweet as sugar, so much fun to be around, and I am torn.  As much as I would like to sit and play Legos with him for hours on end there is a baby who still needs me, or is pulling ornaments off the tree, or climbing up the stairs.  I feel this tug of war in my head and my heart to meet everyone’s needs, and celebrate the holiday in a way that is meaningful to all of my children.

I guess I am writing this more as a note to myself.  Although things look sweet and fun and the kids have on matching jam jams.  It is still diapers, and spilled milk, and always the pull of a mama to be there for all of her children.  I wasn’t necessarily ‘let down’ by the day itself, I guess I was just gently reminded that the first three years are just a LOT of childcare.  It doesn’t matter which way you slice it.  They need you in a major way, and sometimes all of the fluff stuff has to be pushed aside.  There isn’t calmly unwrapping presents with Christmas music in the background.  If you look closely in the photos, there are Cheerios on the floor from Grace because she didn’t have breakfast yet, there was noise and paper everywhere.  It is the chaos of my life.  I guess they didn’t get the memo that is was a peaceful Christmas by the fire…

There will be a day when we all sit around in a circle and talk about each other’s presents and smile patiently while watching each other open our gifts.  It just isn’t right now.  My day was more spent fishing strings and paper and tissue paper out of Gracie’s mouth while telling Bradley to move his Legos off the floor because I saw Gracie chewing on one.  Such is life. 

I just don’t want to miss the moment of now while I am trying to thing of what the moment “should” be.  Because now is good too.  It is just crazy and messy.  But good.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Love Her. It’s That Simple.

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I am going to take a moment from my sick filled week to talk about something that is near and dear to me. 

This little girl.  Her name is Eleanor and she is such an important piece of our family.  Her personality.  Her fire for life.  Everything that makes someone unique and special she has. 

She will bring you to your knees with the power of her determination.  Nothing will stand in her way.  This can be used for good or bad.  Either way, she has her mind set on it, it is going to happen. 

She has enough personality for ten children, just all stuffed into one little body.  No, I’m not saying she has multiple personalities, buttttt she is just full to the max of who she is.  If that makes any sense?

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Her vocabulary is astounding.  She rattles off words, songs, and phrases that are just plain hilarious and unbelievable by a two year old.  I’m not sure where it comes from. 

She will sing and dance and “put on shows” daily.  Bradley is usually the DJ with the keyboard in hand, and she is center stage of the family room.  The songs definitely have a chorus that repeats over and over again.  But, she has a few different originals pieces that are quite fun to listen to.  I know a few friends and babysitters that have fallen under the “show” spell of Ellie.  Believe me, some of the songs never quite end.

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Sometimes when I see her marching to her own drum I am in shock.  I think back to the beginning.  What might have been.  Those first scary few weeks and months when we didn’t know what was ahead of us with Ellie.  Our biggest concern was what a wrong with her and was she going to be alright??  To look at her now it almost seems impossible that her story started off so rough. 

She is a miracle.  I know that word is used all the time, but she truly is.

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I snapped all of these shots the other day for her first ballet class.  She was over the moon excited to go, and I was right there with her.  I danced for a good portion of my childhood.  Not just danced, but took ballet five, six or more times a week depending on shows and recitals.  It was a huge part of my childhood.  To share that with her would be so special, if she decides it is something she loves doing. 

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In this really hard week, full of sick kiddos, and me still not feeling great, I just wanted to remind myself that this is the stuff that dreams are made of.  The little baby girl that was just barely sitting on the floor is now a budding ballerina wanna-be with long pig tails. 

I still see the same twinkle in her eye. 

I love you Ellie Bell.  All of you.  It’s That Simple.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Land of the Living

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I am somewhat back to the land of the living today.  Sort of. 

Last week’s cold/flu/bug/super cold/death is finally leaving and I am feeling better and better each day.  I was pretty much asleep or out of commission for thursday, friday and saturday.  Lucky for me the weather was supposed to be bad so Chris had a light week at work and picked up the slack at our house in a major way.  I barely made it downstairs most nights to help with dinner and bedtime.  And Saturday I didn’t leave my infested bedroom, in fear of giving the plague to one of my lovely children.

Yuck. 

I just wanted to pop in and share some fun little snippets of life lately. 

Princesses are the thing right now.  We got the little people princess castle for Christmas from Gigi and Pop Pop.  We play with it everyday, multiple times a day probably.  The little princesses sing and talk and Ellie has their little voices and songs memorized.  Too cute.

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Each princess has a special place.  They each have a certain color of shoes that must be on.  And a certain crown that must be in their hair.  All these items are important when you are playing princesses with Ellie. 

Grace just likes to eat them and rip off their shoes.  She’s not as particular.

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The mini pig tail has emerged.  We are in love with it and all of its cuteness.

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Right before I got sick I did take Ellie to her first Ballet Class.  It was all things awesome.  It started with her first pair of ballet slippers.  Then we added the little pink leotard and prima ballerina tights and I was in heaven.  Lastly the hair was pulled back for a perfect three year old bun and she was ready.  Ballet here comes Ellie.

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I did take more pictures on my camera.  Those will be coming soon, once my full recovery takes place.

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Hope you have a healthy Monday!  Love, Clare

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Then She Pooped Glitter

Yep, I am not really done with all of the Christmas Craziness if you can believe it…but I have to stop and talk about this wild thing that has taken over our home.  Her name is Gracie.  Remember that sweet and docile newborn that we brought home not too long ago? 

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Yep, that is her.  So sweet and innocent with those blue eyes.  Don’t be too easily deceived.

Lately she is getting into everything.  And by everything I mean, ANYTHING that she shouldn’t be touching she gets her little hands on.  From toilet paper, toilet bowl water, markers, pens, crayons, chalk, stickers, old food on the floor (yep, totally just admitted to that), trash cans in the bathrooms, Bradley’s Legos, the list goes on and on.

When I only had Bradley I never understood how kids could get into this and that around the house.  I would hear Moms talking at playgroups about how they found their little one squirting paint around the basement or some other crazy story.  And maybe I thought I wasn’t judging them, but I totally was.  How in the world did they let them get in the basement alone?  How did they get ahold of the paint?? Etc, etc.  Looking back it was very easy to keep an eye on Bradley.  Sure he got into the dog food and spice rack once or twice.  But, I usually caught him red-handed before he did too much damage.  The second he was a little too quiet I would quickly go looking to see what he was up to.  I just didn’t quite get it.  Now I do. 

I guess I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge their parenting style or their kiddos.  I am totally, completely, 100% that mom, and probably then some.

Three kids in the afternoon kicks my rear.  There is crying, snacks, attempts at activities, playing outside or in the basement, dinner to prep, cook, clean up, little people to feed, bath, and in between try to have a conversation with my husband.  Let’s just say that Grace can get off and into something and I will hardly notice with all of the other commotion.

That is how she ate the glitter. 

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The amount of glitter is hard to grasp in this photo.  It was EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The picture is blurry and the red glitter blends in with the hard wood floor.  I had been doing a Christmas craft with Bradley and Ellie and used the red glitter.  Grace waited until I was cleaning up dinner and made her way into our extra pantry space.  Let’s just say she found the glitter. 

Ellie actually came running into the kitchen to inform me that “Gracie was eating the sprinkles!”  I had no idea what she was talking about.  This is what I found when I got in the pantry.  She had dumped mounds of it onto the floor and was flinging it around with her hands.  And eating it too of course. 

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One baby + One large jar of red sprinkles = a long bath

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Just for an up close look.

Oh Gracie girl, you are going to give me grey hair.

After a long bath and a lot of vacuuming I got Grace and the mess cleaned up.  I thought that was the end of it until I found glitter in her poop the whole next day!!!!!!!!!!!

And now she started doing this…

Gracie’s First steps

What will she find next?  Please don’t judge me, because it probably won’t be anything baby friendly.  And to all those moms whose kids got into stuff around the house.  I totally get it now.

Love, Clare

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Santa Miracle

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We had such a great Christmas holiday, and the whole month of December was filled to brim with family time and Christmas traditions.  I LOVED getting to have breakfast with Santa again at the Boar’s Head Inn.  It is all things Christmas and magical.  From a yummy, kid friendly breakfast, to the most gorgeous d├ęcor, horse drawn carriage rides, and of course Santa himself. 

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Everyone was in good spirits and we had a great time at breakfast.  The kids always love the choices and the amazing “real hot chocolate” if you know what I mean.

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The decorations are just just beautiful and we took some quick pictures by the fire before our horse ride.  Not the best picture of our clan, we were facing right into the sunshine, but the kids loved the horses and the carriage ride.

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After all of that Christmas craziness we sat the kids in front of Santa and actually got a picture of all three of them looking at the camera.  With happy faces too.  It was nothing short of a little Santa Claus Miracle.  Pictures like this don’t happen very often with our group of five.

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I promise I only have one more thing to post about all of the Christmas fun and then it is all about winter.  Which isn’t that much, except that footage of Grace taking her first steps!  Oh Happy Day!

Love, Clare