Sunday, November 28, 2021

all the fall

Since we were quarantined at home for almost the entire month of November, I am especially grateful that we were able to cram a bunch of fall activities in during October! I have a bunch of cute photos (and art) to share, but first a COVID update. We are finally done (hopefully) with our COVID ordeal. Colin tested positive 10/27, and Dan tested positive shortly afterward on 10/31. It knocked him out pretty hard for several days, but he started to improve about 24 hours after receiving a monoclonal antibody infusion. I started feeling run down with a mild cough on 11/7 but tested negative. I improved but then developed sinus symptoms and tested positive 11/12, right at the end of Colin and Dan's isolation period. I completely lost my sense of smell and 95% of my sense of taste, but those are starting to come back. We are extremely fortunate to have been vaccinated, since I'm sure it would have been much worse without vaccination. Mae continued to test negative but was quarantined from school the entire time due to contact with us. She was finally able to return on 11/23 after 26 days of quarantine! Her teacher dropped off some worksheets, but it was hard for Mae to be apart from other kids for so long. I loved this Halloween picture she did at school shortly before quarantine. I really cannot decide which is my favorite: witch, mummy, bat, ghost, or vampire.
Dan made her this worksheet/coloring page. I think he drew the dog, the teacher, one of the kids, and the chair/table. Mae added the faces, a bunch of kids, all the "Hi" word bubbles, and solved the math problems. She's very into drawing 3D shapes (cube, sphere) right now since they're learning those at school, hence the little purple pyramid on the table.
Anyways, back to the pre-quarantine stuff: Mae was very nervous to get her flu shot shot this year, so we let her choose a fun activity afterwards. She chose apple picking and was very excited to see an orchard. I think it lived up to all her expectations!
Colin didn't care as much about picking apples, but he sure loved eating them! He spent the whole time with an apple crammed into his mouth and juice running down his chin.
The orchard also had a pumpkin patch. Mae thought it was pretty cool to wander through a whole field of pumpkins. We selected two and rinsed them off in the creek before taking them back to the car. It was a good way to break in Mae's new rain boots!
Colin has learned a bunch of new words recently including car, cup, shoe, hat, and pumpkin! He says all the words normally except "pumpkin" which he says in a deep, growly voice for no apparently reason!
Our other big fall activity this year was a trip to the renaissance festival. We went two years ago and Mae had asked about going back to "that thing where the guys ride horses and hit each other with sticks." We made sure to catch the joust again this time!
We all enjoyed watching various acrobats, comedy shows, and an escape artist (although Mae was a little stressed out when they set his crate on fire.) We also went to the "Mudde Show," which was actors performing the story of Beowulf while messily slinging mud at each other and the audience. It was the height of comedy to a 5 year old. Colin mostly had fun running around on such a beautiful fall day!
In other exciting news, Mae has finally conquered the monkey bars. She worked diligently over the course of several weeks during school and on our family visits to the playground. I was so proud of her for setting her mind to it and accomplishing her goal!
Colin and I were enjoying our quiet Wednesdays and Fridays before we all ended up stuck at home. I took him to outdoor story time for several weeks. You can see how engaged he was with the rest of the group. Mostly he just wanted to find sticks and explore this big rock. Can you blame him?
Fortunately, our COVID quarantine wrapped up just in time to travel for Thanksgiving! We had a fun holiday with family. More pictures to come!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

cinderelly cinderelly

I want to share a few more photos of my beautiful little Cinderella and some details about her costume!
The dress is based off of the Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations. This is my fourth time sewing this pattern! The fabric is inexpensive polyester satin and the sheer fabric is organza, both from JoAnn’s glitterbug line. (See versions 1, 2, and 3.) I used the same fabric for the lining, but with the matte side facing in. The satin was impossible to cut straight and the serger hated it, but it was surprisingly easy to sew (with a microtex needle.) I left the inside seams unfinished, so this dress might eventually fray itself to death, but it survived Halloween!
I only made a few small modifications to the pattern. I made a size 5 but cut a longer skirt. I trimmed the cap sleeve and added little organza poufs to the sleeve and at the hips, just like Cinderella. The sleeve poufs are made from an organza trapezoid cut with the long end placed on the fold and the sides and top pleated. The hip poufs on the skirt are made from an organza triangle 16” wide x 8” tall with the long side placed on the fold. Then I ran a gathering stitch along the two unfolded sides of the triangle.
The accessories and sock-bun hairstyle really completed the costume. I bought the gloves on Etsy and was so pleased with how well they matched the dress. I cut the fabric off of a cheap headband from Target and recovered it with scrap fabric from the dress. Sounds simple right? It actually took much craft knowledge, skill, and three attempts to get it right! I ended up using a piece of fabric cut on the bias (very important to eliminate wrinkles) held in place with fabric glue stick, and I covered the inside seam and ends with a piece of satin ribbon and a glue gun. The choker is one of my favorite tricks: cut about 1.5” from the leg (or thigh) of a pair of pantyhose and roll it up to get a soft and super stretchy choker! No seams, no closure, no sewing, and easy to take on and off!
Mae’s “glass slippers” are a pair of shimmery stride rite sneakers. I shopped for fancy glittery princess shoes on Amazon but they all looked uncomfortable. I realized these sneakers were only $5 more and likely to get much more wear. Pretty happy with this purchase!
Like I said in my Halloween post, I'm so glad I got these photos of Mae the week before COVID struck our house and turned us all into pumpkins! I even got some photos of Mae walking down a big staircase like Cinderella! (Her shoe did not fall off.)

Sunday, October 31, 2021

halloween quarantine

Well, COVID has finally hit our household. On Wednesday, I got a call from Colin's day care that he was a close contact of a confirmed positive case. Both a home test Wednesday and a test at the doctor on Thursday came back positive. So far, he seems to be doing okay. He has a runny nose and just doesn't quite seem like himself: reduced appetite and occasionally laying his head down on the couch or floor to rest. Mae and I are okay, but Dan started feeling yucky today and is waiting his test results. We are doing our best to mask and distance, but it's challenging within our house. Mae is out of school for at least 10 days, and Colin is home from day care for 2 weeks. Wish us luck, and say a little prayer that the rest of us stay healthy.
Obviously, quarantine has disrupted our Halloween plans quite a bit. Colleen and Bobby had to cancel their visit, which was the worst part. I can't dwell on it or I'll get too bummed about how much fun it would have been. We did our best to still make Halloween special for Mae. Yesterday was our street's Halloween party and costume parade. I cordoned off our yard with some wooden yard stakes and red "DANGER" tape so that Mae could watch from a safe distance while the other kids walked up and down the street. Even though she couldn't attend the party, she won a prize for her Cinderella costume. (I heard that everyone cheered.)
This morning, we went out to the backyard and carved a pumpkin. Mae still isn't a fan of cleaning out pumpkins, but Colin dutifully carried around the bowl of guts while she scooped.
Mae designed the face: triangle eyes, a circle nose, and a big smiley mouth with teeth like Colin: 4 on top and 3 on the bottom.
After we were done carving, Mae could not resist the blank canvas on the back side of the pumpkin and had to draw an elaborate Halloween scene with a witch and a pirate and several other characters.
In the afternoon, we set up an indoor scavenger hunt for Mae that led her all over the house to find hidden candy. Dan and I had fun writing the little rhyming clues. After dinner, we put on our costumes and went outside to take some photos and wave to the trick-or-treaters from our taped-off porch. I'm really glad I didn't put the effort into an elaborate family costume theme this year. Colin wore the hand-me-down bee costume and looked SO cute.
Mae chose to be Cinderella, and her costume turned out great! I got her all dressed up last weekend for a fall event that ended up getting rained out, but I was able to get lots of glamour shots after the rain cleared. I have more photos and dress details to share later.
Our neighbors, friends, and family really helped keep Halloween special despite the quarantine. When we realized that pumpkins were sold out everywhere, one family gave us an extra one to carve! Mae received Halloween treats in the mail from GranE and Batman and Grandma and Grandpa this week. Jen dropped off a little bucket of goodies for Mae (and Starbucks for me!) today. Mae's friend from across the street collected an extra piece of candy for "his quarantined friend" at each house tonight and surprised her with a huge bag of treats at the end of trick-or-treating. We'll have candy for months... especially since we didn't hand out any of the candy we bought!

I am really loving this photo that one of our neighbors took tonight. You can't tell we're all smiling, so it has kind of a solemn American Gothic feeling. I also think our mismatched combination of skeleton, bumblebee, and Cinderella costumes represents the chaos that was Quarantine Halloween 2021.
P.S. Did I mention our car broke down Saturday? When it rains, it pours. At least we aren't going anywhere this week.