Thursday, June 29, 2017

mae milestones

I didn't write a "thirteen months of Mae post", but we still have lots of fun Mae milestones to catch up on!

A few weeks ago, Mae started saying her first real word: doggy. As soon as a dog comes into view during our walks or runs across the TV screen in a Beggin' Strips commercial, Mae yells out "DOG-GEE!"

Just five days after her birthday, Mae stood up on her own for the first time. Since then she frequently just pops up in the middle of the floor looking super proud. She loves playing "How Big is Mae?" and keeps her balance (most of the time) when she throws her hands up in the air! Since she's finally standing, she has graduated to the next room at day care. That meant a quick shopping trip to get Mae's first pair of shoes! We got a cute pair of white and pink Stride Rite sneakers with little butterflies on the side. Mae thinks they are weird and tries to chew them off her feet.

Also, she has started to take a few wobbly steps at a time; I think her record is five. She looks like a tiny drunken Frankenstein, but she gets more stable every day. She thinks walking is hilarious and usually collapses into a giggly puddle at the end of a practice session. I'm looking forward to her walking just so her little knees don't get so scraped up now that she's in shorts most of the time!

But possibly more exciting than her first word or her first step, was Mae's first bite of cheese. She is now eating (and loving) all forms of dairy including cheese, yogurt, milk, and my personal favorite... ice cream. I made a cheesecake for my birthday last week, and I have never seen her mouth open so wide as when I was offering her little bites. I have to admit, I did selfishly hoard the thumbprint cookies that Kathy made me (using my homemade jam!), but I did share bits of the Boston Cream Pie cupcakes that she also brought to my birthday party on Saturday. I'm getting used to this dessert-sharing business; I haven't had to share with anyone for years now!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

oliver turns one!

Our little godson is one! Last Saturday, Emily and Christopher threw a "Little Blue Truck" themed birthday bash for Oliver at their home. They had great weather and excellent turnout... and we had lots of fun!

Oliver really got into the cake smash. He had practiced a little during his one year photo shoot, but had devised a new technique for maximum cake consumption at his party. He started out by bringing the cake to his mouth in big fistfuls, but figured out that smooshing his face directly into the cake was more efficient.

Ollie got lots of fun new presents including a slide, a water table, and a fancy blue coupe. All the kids were fighting over everything; I think Oliver is going to be one popular kid with all his fun toys!

If you haven't read the book "The Little Blue Truck," it's about a friendly little pickup who helps a big dump truck out of a mud puddle with the assistance of some barnyard friends. Emily's party decorations were really cute; my favorite was the cornstarch/cocoa powder "mud" that was super fun to squish and play with. She asked me to make a truck photo booth after seeing one on Pinterest, and I had so much fun working on it! It's made from a science fair board, craft paint, and some wood trim to reinforce the back. Emily bought balloons shaped like the cow, the pig, and the BIG GREEN TOAD!

On Sunday (Oliver's actual birthday), we celebrated Father's Day for Dad, Dan, and Christopher, plus Emily's birthday and my birthday! I sewed Emily an apron from this super cute bird fabric I found at Joann, and of course I had to add teal ties for her. I bought the Sweet and Sassy Apron Pattern from Modern Vintage Designs on Etsy. The pattern had great instructions and was easy to follow. Happy Birthday, Emily!

Monday, June 19, 2017

we be jammin'

During mom's birthday week extravaganza, we had a little extra time on Wednesday before I had to drive back home. Emily invited us to go strawberry picking, which neither mom nor I have ever done! I was shocked at how tiny (and adorable) the ripe berries were.

Each group got their own row of plants to work on, so we didn't have to worry about rushing around to find the best berries. Oliver kept wanting to eat the ones that Emily picked! We left with several pounds for each family.

Two pounds of fresh-picked strawberries was the perfect impetus for my first attempt at canning. I bought jars and pectin and set to work Saturday evening. I made a half recipe following instructions from The Pioneer Woman. The jam set nicely and the jars look to be sealed properly. We had some with breakfast on Sunday morning... successful (and delicious) first attempt at making jam!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

birthday fun for mom

Last week was a whirlwind of Mom's birthday activities... I think I drove 9 extra hours last week to make it to all the festivities! (Still nothing compared to Christopher and Emily's 36+ hours of driving on vacation). On Tuesday, I left work a few minutes early so I could surprise mom for her birthday dinner. She didn't expect me to make the 2 hour trip, but I couldn't miss such an important birthday!

We celebrated with presents and cake back at the house... sixty years young!

Wednesday morning, Emily invited us to go strawberry picking. More on that in my next post! I drove home Wednesday afternoon to get Mae to a doctors appointment. Thursday I worked a half day and then went sport clay shooting with my group from work. This was my first time even holding a firearm and my first time shooting anything more powerful than a nerf gun. I've never even been paintballing! I was pretty terrible, hitting only 10 of 100 clays, but it was still lots of fun.

After shooting and dinner, I drove again to my parents' house to be ready for Friday morning's continued birthday festivities. We met Aunt Ruthann, Jamie, Erin, and Courtney for lunch at the prettiest little pastry shop I've ever seen. We had a delicious lunch with sparkling drinks and, of course, delicious, glittery cakes! Such a fun Ladies Day Out to celebrate a very special lady... happy birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

bird print lark tee

I sewed a t-shirt! This was my first time sewing with knits, so I chose a simple pattern and an easy fabric. The pattern is Lark Tee by Grainline Studio, and the fabric is a cotton interlock from Jo-Ann. (I am just now realizing how thematically appropriate the bird print is for a pattern called "Lark.")

cozy birdhouse | bird print lark tee

I bought the pattern online as a PDF, which means I printed out the pieces at home and taped them together instead of buying an envelope with large tissue-y sheets of paper inside. I cut out a size 4, but I might try a size 2 next time.

I pinned and zig-zag stitched the sleeves and neckband in place before serging. For the straight seams (shoulders and sides), I just serged. For the hems, I serged the raw edge for stability before turning up and zig-zagging. I may attempt a double-needle hem in the future, but I really don't mind the zig-zag stitch look.

I put off doing this for a while, because I was anxious that I would have big issues sewing it. I bought the pattern 6 weeks ago! Fortunately, I didn't have any sewing problems and am really pleased with the finished item, so I see more handmade shirts in my future!

Monday, June 5, 2017

boats & beaches

​Remember back in August when Dan and I demonstrated our bravery/insanity by taking a whirlwind East Coast trip with a three-month-old baby? Certainly we wouldn't be bonkers enough to attempt that again with a one-year-old... right? Wrong! Our craziness knows no bounds!

We started off the trip with a flight to visit Dan's parents in their fancy new townhouse for one night. They have abandoned suburbia for city life and are enjoying the perks like nearby shops/restaurants and the ability to walk to work. We stopped by a local place for dinner (and a cute little pie shop for dessert).

The next morning, we were off again to visit my grandparents in upstate New York. After about 6 hours of travel, including a well-timed stop at a McDonalds PlayPlace (for Mae to exercise/exorcise out some of her wildness/demons), we arrived just in time to meet my family at the pool. Mae looked super cute in her new flamingo swim suit, and absolutely loved pretending to be a speedy motor boat in the floaty ring we brought.

The next day, Grandpa took us out for a boat ride. Mae and Oliver didn't look particularly comfortable in their life vests, but they didn't mind once we got them on the boat. Mae loved hanging over the front edge and watching the waves break along the sides of the boat. She cried every time we slowed down to look at something along the shore!

Monday, we celebrated Dad's 60th birthday with a lunch cruise on a big steamboat. All his siblings and a few of my cousins were also able to attend. We packed the dance floor as soon as the music started after lunch (no surprise there if you witnessed the bench-clearing dance party at our wedding reception). Mae especially loved spinning around the floor with Dan and me while shaking her head to the music!

After the cruise, Gramma and Grampa gave a little slideshow presentation with photos and facts about Dad. (We loved seeing his long hippie hair from the 70s.) Then we played bingo and enjoyed a cake which turned everyone's tongues blue. Oliver was very amused by his mommy's bright blue tongue!

We spent a quiet, rainy Tuesday playing cards and preparing for our drive the next day. Wednesday we drove about 5.5 hours to my inlaws' beach house. Our weather Thursday and Friday was beautiful, but the ocean was COLD! I tried to keep Mae on the warm sand, but she cried and pointed at the waves until I moved her into the shallow water. She splashed and played with her shovel in the sand until her little chin was quivering uncontrollably and her lips started to turn blue at the edges. GranE warmed her up with lots of snuggly hugs afterwards. Mae is a little water bug for sure!

As much as Mae loved being on the beach, I think she loved chasing Pepper around the house even more. She has a special raspy squeal that she unleashes whenever she's in close proximity to a canine. We're pretty sure she's mastered her first real word (other than the "mama" or "dada" she indiscriminately spouts at most objects) since she yells "DOG-GEE" every time we pass one on the street now. She has also gotten pretty good at saying "uh-oh," though it often comes out as "uh------uh."

Mae also showed off another milestone while at the beach. She stood unsupported for the first time before our vacation on May 22nd for Daddy and then again for GranE on FaceTime... though I didn't see it until a few days later. She had fun practicing her new skill on the porch at the beach house (and then diving onto Aunt Colleen's lap). Mae also frequently insisted that Batman help place the pieces in the new farm animal sounds puzzle that he bought for her.

After a lot of travel and a lot of fun, we were happy to head home. Mae got some of her sillies out by crawling under the airport chairs before our flight. She certainly has a lot of energy, and it was really fun to watch her experience boat rides and beaches on this trip!


Okay, so you thought we were nuts for cramming all this into a week? So, get this: Christopher and Emily DROVE from their house to my Grandparents' house (13 hours), then left mid-week and DROVE to North Carolina (another 13 hours), and then DROVE back home again (a measly 12 hours). All with a soon-to-be one-year-old baby! That... is crazy.