Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Over the Moon Baby Shower

3 amigos--Vicki, Stacie (Mommy-to-be), and me

My friend Vicki and I have decided that we could go into business as party planners.  That is, in addition to the bakery and gift shop that we are going to open.  Winning the lottery or finding some generous financial backer would be essential to any of these businesses actually coming to fruition.  I tried to talk Vicki into marrying a rich older man, but she didn't like the idea of that too well!

This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to plan a baby shower for our friend Stacie, who is expecting her 2nd baby, a boy who shall remain unnamed until birth, on July 15th.  She chose bedding from DwellStudio for Target Space Baby Bedding Collection to decorate her nursery.  That was all the inspiration we needed to start planning.

Everyone wanted to know where we got our ideas for the shower.  Honestly, most of them came from reading blogs and finding bits and pieces of similarly themed parties that we liked and bringing all the elements together to make the shower that we wanted for Stacie.  The activity and major decorating element were ideas that Vicki and I came up with ourselves though.  We're not totally unoriginal!

The white circles on the rocket will be filled with photos of the family's faces after baby is born!
The guest book was a memory board that will be framed (and hopefully hung in baby's room).  The focal point is a rocket surrounded by stars that all of the guests wrote their names on made by Becky of revelationart on Etsy.  I sent her an extensive custom request based on a rocket item she had listed in her shop.  She gladly accepted the challenge and went above and beyond on my request at a fantastic price.  If you need any die cut work done, please go visit her shop!  A starburst with the family name and year is in the corner of the board.  The final touch will be 4 small pics of each member of the family to place in the white circles in the rocket.  Obviously, this cannot be completed until Baby Boy Nelson actually arrives!
Here you can see the blank quilt squares we decorated.  Make sure to mark out your seam allowances.  We learned the hard way the first time around when people decorated right up to the edge!  We used puffy paint and fabric markers both.  Fabric markers are much less mess!
 So many baby showers have a number of games, which can be fun, but when the guest list has a big age range and contains a variety of people from different backgrounds, games can sometimes make people uncomfortable.  We chose an activity to entertain guests instead.  With Stacie's first baby, we decorated quilt squares at the shower that were later sewn into a quilt for her daughter, Leah, to match her bedding.  We didn't want Baby Boy Nelson to feel left out, so we decorated squares for him as well.  Of course, a lot of guests say, "I'm not creative enough to do this."  To that I say, "pffft".  It doesn't have to be a work of art.  Once some of the guests got going it inspired ideas throughout the room.  Cute sayings for baby or just a kind sentiment are easy things to do with fabric paint pens or fabric paint.  You can always suggest the theme of the party be incorporated too.  The kids at the shower also had fun decorating squares, although it can get messy as the paint will NOT wash out of the fabric.  If children will be participating, I recommend having aprons and disposable tablecloths or newspapers handy.

The major decorative element at this shower was the paper lantern solar system that was hung above the food table across the room.  The paper lanterns were purchased at and were very affordable.  We tried to choose sizes and colors that would represent each planet and the sun too!  And yes, we included Pluto even though I know it's not really a planet.  We're old school like that!  A few of the planets had foil wired star garland wrapped around them that was purchased at a local party supply shop.  We used fishing line to hang them so they appeared to be suspended in midair above the table.

Here's the best shot of the cakepops and the other ultra cute cupcakes at the shower!
The centerpieces on the tables were done with a dish of solar system cake pops with a rocket for good measure.  The cake pops were inserted into floral styrofoam pieces, surrounded by granulated sugar decorated with chocolate rocks edible candy purchased at the Wal*Marts.  The idea for the solar system cake pops was seen at Neatorama.  We modified ours a bit to make them our own.  The Earth turned out fantastic!  Some of the planets were finished off by applying edible luster dust which gave a really cool effect.  If you are interested in learning more about how to make cake pops or balls, visit Bakerella's blog for tons of ideas.  Believe me, if you make them once, you'll want them all the time.  They are delicious!

Vicki did the cupcakes with a buttercream icing to match the green and blue color theme of the shower and used a Meri Meri cupcake decorating set for the papers and picks.  Super cute and easy!  Even the punch matched the theme, blue with white clouds, and was equally yummy.

The punch was so yummy, but definitely not figure-friendly!
The final touch for the shower was the favor of a Moon Pie (purchased at Cracker Barrel's gift shop) that Vicki made little fold over tags with a piece of clipart that stated "Thank you to the moon and back".

If you have internet access, ideas to have a fantastic party are right at your fingertips!  I provided as many links as possible to help out if you want to plan a rocket or robot themed party for someone special!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Custom Toddler Quilt

My friend asked me to make her 2-year-old a quilt with fabrics she chose from Moda's Frolic by Sandy Gervais line for her new "big girl" bed.  I love to do custom quilts and don't get the opportunity very often (they are a bit time-consuming, so probably a good thing!)  Since my quilting experience is limited, we decided on using charm packs to do the design layout.  Mom chose the coordinating sashing, binding, and backing colors.  The goal was to be girly without going pink and purple.  I think this fabric line accomplished the goal beautifully!

Since doing my very first quilt, there has always been some type of applique, usually done as the quilt tag, but sometimes just for fun.  It's kind of my signature now when doing a quilt.  Here's a little secret...if you're not the perfect quilter (and who is?) appliques are a great way to cover up mistakes where things just don't match up perfectly or turn out like you expect them to.  Yes, I know a seasoned quilter would probably cringe when reading this, but it's how I roll!  And so far, the results have turned out super cute each time and add to the charm of the finished quilt.  I think it makes them unique and special.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ramona---Zombie Dog Extraordinaire

This is the last pic I took of Ramona and one of the best.

**This blog post was actually written 8-31-10 and never published. Sadly, Ramona, zombie dog extraordinaire, had to be put to sleep just 4 short months later on 12-30-10 due to worsening health and being unable to use her back legs any longer. We miss her terribly, stenches and all. After re-reading the post though, I didn't have the heart NOT to publish it because it made me smile to read it again. Love you Mona!!

Our dog Ramona, has just a few health issues at her ripe old age of fourteen years.
She is missing quite a few teeth from her years of misadventures with her dental health. She has the sugar-beetis and gets insulin twice a day. She has a narrow trachea that makes it difficult to breathe when she gets too excited (when you're a million years old...peeing can be exciting) This makes her snore like a freight train even when she's just "cat-napping", grunt when she's walking, and makes eating so taxing that she now sometimes lays in front of the dish to feed her piehole. In addition to her 2 daily shots, she gets a total of 4 pills. BUT WAIT!! If you call in the next 90 seconds, we'll throw in a quart of noxious dog gas that could make even the most heinous beg for mercy.

After taking all of this into consideration, my husband has decided that she is part zombie. Parts of her have died and the rest of her body just hasn't received the message yet. The first really dead part of her has been determined to be her underbelly. It is hairless and pinkish-grey. It has lumps, bumps, anomalies, scabs, dry skin that peels off in large sheets, superfluous nipples that have grown in since we got's just gross. No doubt about it, it has died at some point along the way.

We also have a new call for her...not the regular whistle or tongue click...we just moan "BRAAAAAINS". She always comes a-runnin'. (Well, not really. She's all but deaf and has cataracts and can't see for shit.) Despite all these seemingly terrible things, we love her to death and would hate for anything truly terrible to happen to her.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

iPod Randomness

I won't claim this post was my idea. One of my fellow twitterers @karlerickson of Secondhand Karl posted it on his blog and I liked it so much I decided it had to be on my blog too. But I was at least nice and asked if it was okay before I stole it because I am unoriginal and uninspired at the moment. So's the deal. I open my iPod list, hit shuffle and tell you my 1st 20 random songs that come up. Keep in mind that while I have edited my playlist, my husband added most of the songs to begin with because I am technologically challenged and generally lazy. I swear to God if Fleetwood Mac's 'Tusk' comes up in these 20 random songs, I will puke. I hate it. Jeff loaded it. I have unchecked it in my iTunes list, deleted it, had a Catholic priest come exorcise it from my iPod to no avail. It is evil. It keeps coming back!!! (I am also editing out all the lullaby music I added for the baybee because it does not represent my musical choices although it does rock the casbah because we're cool parents and don't pick no sissy lullabies!)

1. I Gave You All-Mumford & Sons (my new fave obsession)
2. Long Way Down-Guster
3. Other Side of the World-KT Tunstall
4. Modern Love-David Bowie
5. Assassin-Muse
6. Around the Way Girl-LL Cool J
7. First Love-Adele
8. Cosmic Girl-Jamiroquai
9. A Day in the Life-The Beatles (Love soundtrack...awesome show. Go see it!)
10. Tired-Adele
11. Unnatural Selection-Muse
12. Take a Walk-Edie Brickell
13. Viva La Vida-Coldplay
14. Life in Technicolor-Coldplay
15. I Am the Walrus-The Beatles (Love soundtrack)
16. The Story-Zee Avi
17. Hunter-Dido
18. Come Downstairs and Say Hello-Guster
19. We Never Change-Coldplay
20. Saturday-Josh Rouse

Bonus Track: Give it Away-Red Hot Chili Peppers

In conclusion, it looks like I have a very unoriginal taste based on this list, but my iPod shuffler is a dirty whore and likes to play the same artist incessantly. Don't judge me!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cole at 7 Weeks

Not really sure what this face is all about, but it's funny!
Tomorrow will mark 7 weeks since we became parents in whirlwind fashion. Cole will be 8 weeks old on Monday. Last night, for the first time, he slept from 9pm-6am with a feeding at 2am. It was pure bliss! I also hope it's a sneak preview of good things to come.Cole's "Old Pappy" Great Grandfather Rosenwald with me and Cole in his James Dean outfit.
Most people have 9 months to prepare. We had 2 1/2 hours. Combine that with a baby who was less than happy for his 1st 6 weeks and things were difficult to accomplish. But with Cole's new-found fondness of napping, I finally feel like I have been able to accomplish some things around the house. I unpacked the last bag of donated baby items given to us by friends this morning. I still have a couple "piles" of things that are too advanced for Cole to use yet that I need to find homes for until they are needed, but everything else is finally put away.Cole looking all "cool dude" in his bucket hat and shades. Our first walk outside.
My favorite part now is that he likes to play. He can spend minutes (literally minutes!!) staring at his brightly colored toys dangling above him, kicking his legs and punching the air with wild abandon. He also has started smiling more. He smiles when we talk to him. He smiles when he gets picked up after a nap. He even smiles when we make hilariously funny jokes (not really, but he IS gifted!)Cole's big bro, Charlie Murphy, guards his little brother closely during naptime.
He is the cutest baby we could have wished for. As I thought about writing this post, I wondered how I would ever decide just which pictures to include in the post. Then I decided I would have to just choose a number and pick my favorite to fill the quota to keep it from being ridiculously filled with adorable baby pictures. So here are my top 5 pics of Cole in recent weeks....enjoy the cuteness!
Come on, who can resist this pitiful little face?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cole's Arrival Story

I mainly use this blog space to blog about my Etsy business and my craftiness with occasional personal entries interjected. (although I've been a terrible blogger over the past year!) So many of you don't know about our struggles with infertility. It just seemed a very emotional and private part of our lives that I didn't feel ready to share with the world. I'll spare everyone the details unless there is someone out there that has a burning desire to know the specifics. I'll just say that we tried to conceive by not preventing pregnancy since 2004, casually sought answers in 2006-2008, got tired of it and took a break for a while, and then really hit things hard with full infertility work-up and treatments starting in Nov. 2009 until Feb. 2011 with one failed pregnancy in Mar. 2010.

After the failed pregnancy in 2010, we sought information on adoption. We were ignorant. So we met with a social worker that helps families through the process by completing the home study and assisting with all the work that goes into adopting. It sounded like something that was definitely an option for us, and I felt good about it after the meeting. But the mom inside of me just wasn't ready to give up on the idea of being pregnant. So back to the treatments we went. Then in December of 2010, I did laparoscopic surgery thinking my issue was endometriosis and all would be right with the world after that. Well, it wasn't endometriosis and all did not magically become right with the world, which we discovered after 3 more agonizing months getting to know our reproductive endocrinologist on a first name basis. It was especially romantic when I was inseminated on Valentine's Day. It's just every girl's dream!

My breaking point was when my husband and I decided on one last try. An end point was in sight. Either it was going to happen or we moved into the adoption route. The thought was comforting in a way. I went in for my baseline ultrasound and had a large cyst in my ovary. The options I was given were to take a month off or go on birth control pills and try again in 2 weeks. I chose option 3. Put a fork in me, I was done. It was too hard emotionally to deal with month after month. So we talked about it and decided it was time to have our 2nd meeting for our home study (10 months after our initial visit). We had already done our fingerprinting for our FBI and state clearances and had our child abuse checks done. We were on the road!

We had meeting #2 on Saturday, Apr. 2nd (oddly enough, 1 year to the day of my miscarriage in 2010). We discussed all the possibilities, options, etc. We chose an agency, started making calls to ask questions, and working on our application. We told our friends and family what we were doing. We called to get references written. Jumping in with both feet. We wanted to get the process rolling as soon as possible. I was just finishing up our application for the agency on Thursday evening (Apr. 7th), putting it in a priority mail envelope, and was sitting at the computer typing a cover letter to let the agency know that our home study was nearly complete and would be following our application shortly................

and the phone rang. It was 10 pm. It was our social worker. She wanted to know if my husband was home and asked me to put him on another line so she could talk to us both. There was a baby. He needed a home and he needed it tonight!!! We were both shocked and overwhelmed. We have no children...we have no nursery, no crib, no diapers, NOTHING!! Yes, we wanted him. Bring on the noise, bring on the funk!

We spent the next 2 hours glued to the phone calling our parents, our friends, our employers, random people from the phone book, and customer service lines to tell them the good news. Jeff ran out to Wal*Mart to get some essentials to get us through. A little after midnight on April 8th, our son, Cole, arrived on our doorstep and he was perfect! We became parents in the blink of an eye. So from start to finish I guess you could say our process was 10 months. Truthfully though, from the time we decided to be "in it to win it" until our son was placed with us was a whopping 6 days!!!! What a ride!