Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

I did an absolutely horrible job of documenting Christmas this year. In fact our Christmas morning picture is the only picture I have of all three of us. Nothing says Christmas better than bed-head, pajamas, and sleepy eyes. Oh well, just means I'll have to do a better job next year.

We had 3 celebrations this year due to various siblings not being around for the normal holiday celebration routine. So here are a few highlights:

*Skyping with my brother Joseph who was unable to come home from California. Owen was glued to the computer trying to tell him all about what was going on at my parents house. The best part being when Owen opened his first football from his dear sweet Uncle Joseph. Before showing anyone else what he'd gotten he turned to the computer, held out the ball and said "Whooaa!" I don't think you could have had a more perfect reaction.

*Nanimo bars made by beautiful mother. If Christmas had a taste, it would be her Nanimo bars.

*Our Christmas day celebration with Josh's family was one for the memory books. There was a windstorm which proceeded to blow all the smoke from our glowing Christmas fire back down in to the house. Presents were put down, windows and doors opened wide as we tried to control the smoke and in a final act of desperation Santa Tom came with his snow shovel and carried the remnants of the glowing fire outside.

*Watching three overly blessed little boys play together happily with their oodles of cars, race tracks, and new balls.

*Feeling blessed by the thoughtfulness of our siblings (Chelsea/Nathan, and Joseph) to send presents despite their absence.

*Ultimately, my favorite part of Christmas has nothing to do with presents or food but rather feeling grateful that because of Christ we have this holiday at all and the chance to create such wonderful memories. From beginning to end His life was a gift to us.

Posted by Picasa

Boxing Bear

While celebrating Christmas with Josh's extended family, Owen found these...

About three weeks ago we wouldn't have dared show Owen these gloves as he was testing the boundaries of what hitting means. After a few weeks where hitting, even when playing or pretending, was not an option for Owen he finally grasped the concept and regained control over his hands.

Boxing gloves were a whole new world of fun. Wrestling and punching Daddy without getting in trouble, what could be more fun?

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little people and TV

These pictures crack me up. Look at those blank stares, slack jaws, motionless's a sight to behold. On the one hand they make me chuckle as they are so enraptured by the Letter Factory. On the other hand, they are a good reminder to me that TV and movies need to be handled with care at this age, well at any age really. I'm not gonna lie, I appreciate the fact that Owen will sit through a show. It comes in handy now and then when Josh isn't home yet and dinner is needing to be made. I'm sure when baby #2 makes it's grand appearance, there will be days Owen will watch more TV than I care to admit simply as a means of survival. But, these pictures remind me that I want TV to be a treat especially while the world around holds so much intrigue and discovery for my growing little man.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Craft

Once again, I have to thank Pottery Barn for yet another fabulous decoration idea.
I scoured the internet for a photo from their catalog but my efforts came up void so my two measly photos will have to suffice. I did alter my banner a bit from Pottery Barn's version, their edges were scalloped and mine are ridged, theirs was adorned with just leaves and I added berries to mine.

So here is my second attempt at a DIY project -

Christmas banner

Felt - I purchased one in cranberry and one in cream plus
green for leaves

Letters - Merry Christmas in Times New Romans font size 215

Scissors - I used pinking shears to achieve the ridged look, you'll also need regular sharp scissors
Single Hole Punch
Sharpie Pen
Tacky Glue

1. Rectangles - Lay your felt out flat and cut out 14 rectangles 4x3 inches . Don't worry about the rectangles having perfectly straight edges as the pinking shears will cover a multitude of crooked edged sins. Trim the edges using the pinking shears.

2. Letters - Lay your letters on the rectangles face down (i.e. the white back side of the letter should be what is facing up at you) leaving a wider margin of space at the top, trace around the letters. The purpose of lying the letters face down is so they aren't backwards from the other side. Plus your tracing lines will be on the back side of the rectangle so you don't have to worry about making sure there is no black pen residue. After all the letters are traced cut them out. Once the letters are cut out, punch two holes at the top and center of each rectangle. Thread the rectangles on to the twine in the correct Merry Christmas order.

3. Leaves and Berries - The berries I purchased were from Joanne fabrics sold for $0.50 a bunch and each berry had a thin wire stem. To make the leaves, cut out a small eye shaped oval from the green felt. Place a dot of glue on one end of the oval and pinch the sides of that end together. After the glue has dried thread the "stem end" of two leaves on to the berry wire pushing it up to kiss the base of the berry. Twist the leaves so there is one on each side of the berry. (I made 7 of these by the way = 7 berries and 14 leaves.) Thread the stem of the berry through the two holes of the rectangles, wrapping the stem through the holes a couple of times to anchor to the twine.

Random notes:
- If some of your letters flop you could try starching/ironing the rectangles. I used some clear thread to tack the floppy centers of a few letters to the sides. However my font size was a lot larger and I think the smaller number will help eliminate the flop factor.

- In the pictures I used berries on some squares and leaves on others. After making a few more banners, I decided I liked just having berries on every other rectangle as the twine showing through on the "off" rectangles was a nice contrast.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stroh family photo shoot

My sweet Strohs - a family composed of my fabulous and amazing sister-in-law Casey, her handsome and studly husband Micah, and my most precious nephews and niece Jude, Levi, and Naomi.

I have the pleasure, and great challenge, of taking their family pictures every year. I'm sure at some point they will realize there are far better photographers out there than me. But till they decide to shell out the bucks, my trusty ol' camera and I manage to do the trick. (My not-so-secret wish this year for Christmas is a photo editing program that would make my pictures better than they really are.)

Anyway, for whatever reason I meet this responsibility with a certain amount of fear and trepidation every year. Part of it's feeling like there's some one better. The other part is knowing that taking good pictures that are in focus, with the right lighting, and nicely posed (or not) while trying to keep little people happy and clean and looking remotely in your direction is quite a feat.

Thankfully they are family. Thankfully my nephews have irresistible dimples. Thankfully they aren't paying me. All those things together with a gorgeous setting and my photography worries fade away and we come up with some pretty awesome shots...each and every year.

So till you decide to move on to greener pastures Stroh family, I sure do love you.
Thanks for letting me take part in documenting your ever growing
and awesome family and for giving me the opportunity
to do something I truly enjoy.

P.S. My fabulous mother-in-law was a wonderful asset to this year's photo shoot. Nothing like an extra set of hands to corral little boys or someone to say a silly smile inducing saying.
Posted by Picasa


For some reason or another I'm feeling rather uninspired by this post. I don't know if it's the lack of pictures or what, but it's probably because I'm over Halloween, and am really excited about the holidays I actually find worth celebrating-Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But for memory's sake, this was Owen's first experience at Northshore's Harvest Carnival. A community event that fills the halls of the church with copious amounts of costumed children, giant inflatable toys, candy and carnival like games. For the most part Owen was overwhelmed; however, once we found the games that required throwing a ball into various holes and targets the happy little man we know and love emerged.

The other portion of Halloween was fairly undocumented thanks to forgetting my camera at my sister-in-laws coupled with my long-standing hatred for our wretched point and shoot. But, the beginnings of a new tradition were born involving two dear families that live close by - the Regans and Izzards. Our children happily screeched their way from house to house down our street fully enjoying the thrill of knocking on the door more than the candy they received. And that's all I have to say about Halloween.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Owen 17 months

Kissing/holding Naomi with the help of Aunt Casey

A quick post to chronicle my ever changing son
at 17 months:

* Closed mouth kisses. His tiny puckered mouth is so cute. We have a bedtime/nap time routine which always ends with cuddling and singing Jesus Loves Me. Usually he just rests his head on my shoulder and gets sleepy, but this past week he has started turning his face up to mine 3-4 times to give me kisses. Nothing sweeter to melt a mommy's heart than spontaneous kisses from your little boy.

*Owen continues to LOVE infant babies. I have a feeling when his sister or brother shows up there will be no shortage of kisses and hugs, smothering is probably an appropriate word for what will happen to his sibling.

*Trying new words, Spanish and English, he will actually try saying a word when prompted by us.

*A growing list of words: cup (cuck), kick, ball (no more ba-ba...sad day), ni-night, adios, hello, gracias, all done,
Pop, Woah!, snack, and lots of new animal sounds including - horse, chicken, cow, duck. It's amazing to see how all of a sudden new sound combinations/words pop up.

*His favorite book is by Eric Carle (I can do it, can you?) which I'm going to have to purchase since it was a library book. I actually watched him search through his book basket to find it only to have to tell him we'd just returned it to the library.

* He is still OBSESSED with any kind of ball; balloons are an ever exciting sorce of entertainment. Trucks and tractors are starting to hold his interest, but he'd still take a ball over a truck any day...although watching the garbage truck with Nana every Wednesday is a highlight of the week.

*Singing is one of the sure fire ways to change a diaper easily or calm him down. His current favorite songs are: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (and consequently the ABC Song), I may never march in the infantry, Old McDonald had a farm, the frog song.

*He has 4 molars, four teeth on top and four on bottom.

*Still in 18-24 month clothing.

*Wrestling with Daddy is becoming a nightly activity. I can tell he's starting to need this interaction with Josh daily.

Owen and one of Pops carrots.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thanks Pottery Barn!

The holidays are coming and my mailbox is quickly filling with lovely seasonal catalogs from stores tempting me to spend my precious dollars on silly decorations that are over priced. With that said, there's nothing more I'd love to do than decorate my house like crazy for each season that comes. However, my practical side just can't ever find a reason to rationalize spending the money that this kind of decorating suggests.

While perusing through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog I came across this lovely jewel - A Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar.

Each day has it's own pocket to fill with things you are thankful for. I was in love and dreaming of what a fun tradition this could be with our kids in the future. Then I looked at the price tag and my dreams came crashing back to reality...$70 dollars are you kidding me?
Then it hit me, I could make my own, or attempt anyways. So thank you Pottery Barn, for being soo expensive that I'm forced to be creative!

Hope you enjoy my very first DIY project:

Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar

5-6 different remnants of fall colored fabrics (They sell samples of 1/4 yds of fabric at Joanne's for $1-2)
1/2 yd brown felt
1/2 yd yellow felt
1/4 yd red, green and white felt
Crotchet yarn
1 pointy needle with a large threading hole
Tacky Craft Glue
1 leaf cut-out
Lettering (font size 150 and 200)
Chalk (for tracing)

**Disclaimer, I didn't take photos of every single step so use your imagination****

1. LEAVES: Start with the leaves as you will need these to know how big the top of your tree will be. 30 days of November divided by 5 colors of fabrics = 6 leaves in each color. I layered two colors of fabric to speed up the number of times I had to cut and traced my leaf on to the fabric using a sharpie. Then cut them out.

2. NUMBERS: After cutting out all my leaves, I began on the numbers alternating fabrics as I traced. After cutting out all the numbers I used Fabric Stitch to glue the numbers in the center of the leaves and laid them out to dry.
Here is my chart for how many I needed of each number:
1 (12x)
2 (13x)
3 (4x)
4 (3x)
5 (3x)
6 (3x)
7 (3x)
8 (3x)
9 (3x)
0 (2x)

Lay out all the leaves in a random pattern over the golden yellow colored felt. Following the shape of your leaves, cut around the outside row of leaves.

Beginning to cut around the leaves...

...finished "leafy" portion of the tree.

Lay out your brown felt, place the "leafy" tree portion over top of the trunk felt. I left about a 4-5 inch "seam" for branches.
Using a piece of light colored chalk draw out the shape of the trunk.
The top of the tree trunk I drew five branches, some of which would eventually overlap on top of the leafy portion of the tree. Even the branches that went under the yellow felt, I left a one inch seam to glue to the leafy portion.

Using your green felt, place the trunk on top and trace the shape. Make the base a few inches wider on either side of the tree base (my picture below doesn't show this fyi.) Cut inside the chalk line about a quarter inch, you will need this allowance for stitching the base to the trunk. After cutting out the base shape, using white crotchet yarn, stitch the base and trunk together (see final picture or lettering picture for an idea of what this look likes.).

(You could do this step before cutting out the trunk, but I chose not to as I didn't know where my branches would lay on top and which leaves would lay on top of the branches.)
Using Tacky glue, fix the leaves to the felt. Make sure not to glue the upper portion of the leaf otherwise you will not have a pocket for your thankfulness notes.


For the lettering, I printed off the saying "GIVE THANKS"
in several different sizes of font. Cut out the paper samples, use your trusty sharpie to trace the letter face down on to the felt, and cut out the fabric letters. Then using your Tacky glue, glue them to the trunk.

The next part is optional, since the word THANKS was larger I used my crotchet yarn again to stitch the letters on to the trunk.

You did it! Now find a lovely place on your wall so when November comes you can start the thankfulness party! This part is still not finished on mine, since the tree is rather floppy, I'm going to find a thin dowling rod to attach to the back of the leafy portion and base on the tree to help with the flop factor. I'm also going to sew on a string at the top to hang the tree from instead of using 2 million tacks.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dress Up!

Naomi Constance Stroh
Meet my sweet little niece Naomi. She is one week old today. Last week she was making her debut, an event I had the immense pleasure of being a part of, tears of joy welling in my eyes as I watched my strong, courageous and beautiful sister-in-law bring her into this world. My role is a quiet one, to capture those moments of the birth process that are so inspiring, so tender, so full of emotion. This time around was just as precious as it was when Levi was born. I planned on posting some of those photos, but then today happened...

For her inaugural one week old celebration, Casey decided to introduce Naomi to the wonderful world of dress up. It just so happened to coincide with the newborn photo shoot I was about to engage in - perfect. What is more precious than a tiny naked baby girl with a flower adorning her head and pearls draped across her chest? Nothing, I tell you, nothing is more precious than that.

Tiny sweet Naomi, I so look forward to all things princess and ballet with you in the years to come. What fun it will be to watch you bring a sparkle to this boy filled family. Having grown up amidst all things boy, I will make sure you have an appreciation for fort building, Legos and snakes but make your girlie mark sweet girl for it is priceless and beautiful.


Posted by Picasa