Thursday, January 23, 2014

Miss Natalie Ann's Quilt

 As a second daughter, I have a special place in heart for my newest niece, who is also born into being a younger sister.  Having an older sister can be tough, but I would not give it up for anything.  And I'm glad to have younger ones as well-best of both worlds.

Wanting to celebrate her birth, I spent the week before she was born and a few days after (first baby on our side who came before her due date) crafting this beautiful quilt for her.  I must say it is my favorite quilt I've done, and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

Here she is at 11 days old!

I got the tutorial from Diary of a Quilter here, though I did modify the dimensions a bit (the squares are 4.5" rather than 5") when I decided I loved the Dainty in Red Aqua of the Scrumptious Collection by Bonnie and Camille for Moda print enough to make it the backing (but only had a yard of it).  I quilted by simply stitching around all fifty squares (in the ditch).  So cute!

Now I'm in the mood to start working on more...

With big sis.

Eli loved meeting the baby.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dale City Winter Farmers Market

One of the things I love about our area is the Dale City Farmers Market that I posted about back in June.  It is large, and a great place to go with Theodore to pick out fruits and veggies.  During the summer and into the fall they have just about every kind of vegetable you can think of, and a lot of fruit too.  I definitely think it is easier to cajole Theodore into eating veggies if he helps pick them out and pays for them.

The market cuts back on it's hours in the winter, but does continue.  We recently checked it out (but it is hard to get there between 10-1 since church starts at 10:30).

Most of the vendors at the winter market looked familiar from the normal summer/fall market.  There was actually a lone produce stand still going, where Theo picked some Granny Smith apples he wanted.  Several bakeries had wares as well (scones!), and there were two meat stands (though we don't buy any of their's since we get free meat from my father's barn).   Pickles, pizza, herbs, and cheese were also available, as well as a small stall with one of my favorites types of food, Middle Eastern (we bought some Feta Bites).
Can you tell he's excited?
One vendor that really excited Theodore whom we haven't saw before was Cakes by Shelby, or The Gingerbread Cookie House as Theo named it.  It was at the opposite end of the stands and it immediately became Theodore's sole focus as we walked toward it.  I'm surprised we could even get him to stop and pick out apples with the gingerbread house looming in the distance.  When we finally got there he was so excited and they did have some tasty (though a bit pricey) cupcakes.

All in all, while it is not going to be a place we go every week to get fresh produce, I do think the winter market holds enough of a selection to make it worth your time to go pick up a tasty breakfast or lunch and support the vendors who are willing to brave the cold.  Even though it's not too cold here in Virginia.

Monday, January 13, 2014

1st Baptism Anniversary

While my family is celebrating the big birth of another member yesterday (Natalie Ann, who I can't wait to meet in a couple of weeks-see a future post for more on her), I'm also reflecting on this day a year ago, as it was Elijah's baptism day.

Wanting to go ahead and get Elijah baptized in Delaware (his birth state) before we moved out, he was baptized on this day at a day past four months of age.  Like his brother, he wore the gown that grandma had made for her children.  It fit him better than it did his older brother.

As our last big event in Delaware, it was great to have my mother, Brian's parents, my sister Erin, friend Mariah, and Brian's grandfather out for the occasion.  As it turned out, Grandpa was at the beginning stages of his terminal cancer, so looking back at the baptism is bittersweet for us as it was the last time we saw Brian's grandpa strong and in good spirits.  The photos from this day are even more treasured because of this.


Family Photos

With Mariah

Eli with his cake from one of my favorite places, Bing's Bakery

And a few more of my favorite snapshots from the day...

 As I mentioned when Theodore was baptized, I never really thought I'd even baptize my infants, since I grew up in a church that waited until you chose to be baptized (normally in early adolescence), but I gradually grew accepting of this idea after learning more about it in college.  The grace that is part of the Lutheran tradition was not a big factor in my religious upbringing, but one I hope my boys understand.  I love all the things that Theodore is already learning in church (like recently how God put a light into his heart, so cute to hear him say), and I anticipate Elijah learning so much about God's love himself in the next few years.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Toilet Paper Roll Snowmen & Indoor Snowball Fight Links

I cleaned out my art supplies area last night, and found out we have about 20 toilet paper rolls.  I think I can quit saving them for a while.  Since we don't have any snow here, but are stuck inside by the cold temps, we decided to make some snowman for inside.  This was a great little tutorial I found on, and we already had everything at home (except for white paint-that is going on the next shopping list).

Here are how ours turned out:

Theo loved helping glue all the buttons on and designing them.

We then kept the theme for a indoor snowball fight later with this activity from Toddler Approved.  Theo really still needs to work on identifying all his numbers, and this was a fun way to get him to do it.

Brian's Final Degree

Last January, we had a couple of milestones in our family.  At the time, I wasn't really blogging other than monthly updates for Elijah, so they went unnoticed on the blog.  For their "anniversaries" I've decided to post on them a year later, just to preserve the family moments for ourselves...  so many of these kind of things come and go so quickly, but I have finally learned to really soak up the occasions and enjoy them.

First, on January 7th, 2013, Brian presented and defended his dissertation.  At about 10am, Brian's parents, my mother, and myself joined his lab-mates and other miscellaneous students and faculty in Pearson Hall room 304 (and via tel-conference to the Lewes campus) to hear Brian present his work on green sulfur phototrophic bacteria.  His adviser introduced Brian commenting on how he is an unassuming and quiet worker, advising him to speak softly and carry a big stick data set.  Brian ended up going a little faster than he planned and finished quickly, but then ended up expanding upon some of his presentation during the q's and a's segment (we have the presentation on DVD if anyone wants a viewing party sometime).  Eventually, he concluded and we all left the room while he defended his work and findings to his committee.

Not knowing how long to wait for news of whether he passed, we all went down the street to the new book store and stocked up on UD gear (but kept the reciepts until we heard the news) and then I ran home to fetch the boys and bring them in.  By about 12:15 he was done, with news that his committee had passed him, and he was finally done (though really, he needed a few more weeks to do revisions and finalize the dissertation before publishing it)!  We took some photos at this time, very excited and relieved that everything had worked out. 

With the woman who helped him perfect many science fair projects and helped him study for Math Counts competitions.

And with the one who financially supported his family so he could study/research/learn.

We then celebrated lunch at a newer favorite on Main Street, Catherine Rooneys.

I had to make a quick exit to head up to my school to conduct a math league competition that was unfortunately scheduled for the same day, but Brian and his parents enjoyed taking Theo to the park near his work and spending some time together.

In the evening, we headed to Brian's advisor's house, for the traditional Ph.D. party that they host in honor of successful defenses.  I made both my double-blueberry and crumb-topped-apple pies (even though they were out of season-as this was a special occassion), and we enjoyed toasting the new doctor (and introducing Theo to the idea of a "fancy glass").

It was definitely a day that I'd been waiting upon for a long time, and I was lucky to watch my husband fulfill his educational goal, even if it took a tad longer than we'd of liked.  When I met him in December of 2000, he already knew he wanted a Ph.D., he just had no clear idea what he wanted it in.  What a surprise to us both that he ended up finishing it 13 years later in marine studies. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014


So last night, Eli did the tiniest little thing that I want to remember forever.  So, I'm writing about it here.  It's one of those things like Theo did with the nickel at twelve months that just surprised me so much about how grown up these little babies can be.

Last night Eli was "brushing" his teeth, as well as any 15 month year old can, which means basically chewing on his new toothbrush.  Then, he sees the bathroom door open (he is normally not allowed in there on his own because he likes to get in things he shouldn't), so he toddles right over in his footie-pajamas, stands right in front of the sink (though obviously, far below it, facing the cabinet underneath), takes the toothbrush out of his mouth, and spits.  Twice.  It was just about the cutest thing ever- he is so set on being grown and doing all the things his brother and parents do.

He even has a new baby molar as proof that he is growing so fast.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Snowy Day

I think my new favorite book this season is the simple, beautifully done, "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats.  It is a simple tale of a young boy's winter day, and one that is very easy to act out.  Today, after a light snow fell here last night, I decided to go ahead and have a "Snowy Day" of our own.  After reading the book we got all bundled up and went outside to play in the snow.  We didn't do everything Peter does in the book, because Eli is just not up for everything yet, but the kids enjoyed themselves for sure (once we fought over getting out of pajamas... going back to school next week is going to be rough on Theo).

Making snow angels seemed to be the favorite part.

 And of course, Eli also wanted to bring out the shovel.  We can't keep the brooms and vacuum away from this kid, he always wants to be pushing something around.

*I am guilty of collecting Caldecott award winners, so when I saw this one in the latest book order I had to get it for myself.  The Snowy Day was the winner of the 1963 medal!  I'm surprised it has taken me this long to stumble across it as it is a very popular children's book.*