Sunday, 26 January 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014." 

More about the 52 project here.

Mila: I have to laugh at my noble efforts to have both girls dressed and 'ready for the day' by a certain point in the morning...only to inevitably end up in just undies a few hours later. I'm pretty sure that's what 3 is all about.

Dani: My mischievous lovebug, combining peekaboo and chase into one game. We are all so in love with our Lu. p.s. the shirt is a Wugs hand-me-down, I made it for Mila's 2nd Valentine's Day :)

Sunday, 19 January 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014." 

More about the 52 project here.

Mila: It lightens my heart a bit to see that she still fits the chunky gnome hat I knitted her already two Christmases ago. 

Dani: Oh she's being quintessential Scrubby Lu right here, dismantling the contents of her favorite drawer in the bathroom, the one she empties approximately 27 times a day. That's a hair tie she's snacking on.

Friday, 17 January 2014

New Year Resolutions.

Resolution is such an intimidating word when you think about it. Requiring resolve. So what does it say about my resolve if I've already broken one of these resolutions (totally not giving up which one although you can probably guess!)? I guess I'm a work in progress, like many if not most. At some point last year I read something along the lines of 'balance is just prioritized choices.' It really is. On the evenings I get a great workout...something somewhere isn't organized or put away the way I'd love it to be. When I go to bed with a clean house, chances are I'm frustrated that I didn't get to work on one of my 10 projects (at least) I have going on at the same time. And on the evenings I bake, forget it...everything else is on the backburner (but my house smells delicious). It's not a balancing act at all but really more like a Tug o war. I'm fine with that, with a little bit of everything, as long as my family is at the forefront. They have my days. I have a very clear-cut vision of how I want things to be for my family, how I want the girls' childhoods to play out--not so much exact events because hello! where's my crystal ball at?--but traditions, values, memories that I hope they'll carry with them forever. Make it count. But in the vein of trying to make a few changes, and with the neverending goal of being more patient, more kind, and more mindful: 

1) Exercise at least 4x a week. This can even be a quick 15 minute pilates youtube video for goshsakes. I'll count that even though I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't. Or it could be a run which I'd rather...but sometimes, even getting out for a run can be feel daunting.

2) Finally put all the pictures, videos, baby books in order. I'm putting this into the universe as one lump sum resolution but really it's about making slideshows, starting a yearly 'yearbook' tradition where I'll print out all the year's favorite photos, and finishing the almighty baby books. All of that, lumped together, has been one big albatross around my neck for the last six months and I really want to use the first half of this year to get it under control. And come up with some sort of system to not let it get this overwhelming again.

3) Make a sunflower house for the girls this summer, as outlined in this awesome book which I've only begun to scratch the surface of and devour.

4) Go camping two times. That'll already be double the amount we went last year. Steve's the apprehensive one--even though we've been with Mila, we were wanting Dani to be a little more mobile. I've already made reservations for early summer at a local spot to get our feet wet (literally! gonna do some canoeing finally) and then am hoping for somewhere elsewhere in Florida/Georgia. 

5) Read two parenting books that have been sitting on my dresser collecting dust. The Five Love Languages of Children and Siblings Without Rivalry. I'm not a huge parenting book person but I think I should give these two some effort and time. 

6) Go on ten dates with my husband this year. This year we'll have been married ten years. How'd that happen?! At any rate we owe it to each other to start spending more time 'dating.' It's all too easy to get caught up in the day to day stress and feeling overwhelmed and broke from house stuff--and suddenly you're turning on each other because dang these kids we created are amazing but they are also emotionally and physically so so much . 

7) Keep doing some things I already started last year but try harder at them, like planning activities for the girls in advance and reading to the girls at the table when I finish rather than jumping up to do dishes, clean up etc. I'm a huge, HUGE believer in open-ended play and I think Mila's imagination is juuuuuuuuuust fine (trust me). But it might be nice to do some low-key, no pressure planned activities to help nurture other interests. It's easier said than done: 20 minutes of carefully thought-out preparation only to hear "I'm not going to do it." "But try. Just try!" Super frustrating...which brings me back to the whole more patience, more kindness thing I prefaced all of these resolutions with in the first place. 

8) Really try to be more thoughtful with my friends and family. I have such thoughtful friends, really, they're the best. The kind of friends that bring over chess pie because, well, they know you love pie. Friends who see a magazine article about making felt crafts in a magazine and actually mail it to you. Like mail in a mailbox, not email! And Marmousch, well, she's the queen supreme of thoughtfulness and inspires me daily. I want to make more of an effort to do thoughtful gestures for all the amazing people in my life, things just because that say I'm thinking of you. 

So I'll leave it at that. There's other things I would like to do--I'd really like to finally knit a big blanket this winter (that's more a matter of being able to afford my spensy yarn) like I crave yearly; I want to travel more, enter some fun races, yada yada. And who knows, maybe this will be the year I finally do something with all those quilting squares! And (but?) of course there's renovations for all our house goals (another post). I have a feeling house stuff is a definite to happen. It's not just me doing it so already that's easier. These resolutions above, though, those are my babies. I have to see them through from start to finish, holding myself accountable. Said in my most confident voice, I've got this.

Sunday, 12 January 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014." 

More about the 52 project here.

Mila: We painted her room this week! In between coats 1 and 2 Mila came in and painted as well. She kept saying, "I'm painting my own room, I'm painting my own room!" And of course now she's all, "I painted most of my room. I did almost all of it!" Well...

Dani: Fellow parents you know the risk this picture required. We joke that Dani would awaken to the sound of a butterfly; she's such a light, fitful sleeper. I'm proud I was brave enough to capture this moment :)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Christmas Memories.

The year Steve and I got married I bought a blank journaling book called Our Christmas Memories; it's scrapbook-ish spanning a decade with pages each year for photos, Christmas cards, descriptions of special gifts and visitors. It's pretty much the closest to scrapbooking I get. 2013 marked the last one for this book and gosh the feelings I'm feeling when I leaf through it. I still have a lot (a lot a lot) of things to fill in but it's coming right along. Wugs woke up around midnight the other day with a cough attack (hate those!) and instead of making her go right back to sleep per usual, I let her stay up with me at the dining table as we pieced together a few pages. I'm so glad I've kept all the cards from friends; it's so sweet watching their own children grow each year and Mila was so excited to see them in their babyhood (yes they were babies too Wugs!). I'm happy I stuck with this little book. Now off to find a journal for the next ten. 

p.s. the first pic is of our first ever Christmas card (it took having a Wugs to turn us into Christmas card sending people)...the last pic is our most recent card :)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bits of Christmas (2)

So, Christmas morning. Mila really got Christmas this year. Did I say that last year? I was wrong. This year she got it (although you would never know it by her reaction to mall Santa, did you catch that snub?!). Excited, tearing into the presents, not looking confused or bewildered by everything but instead thrilled and full of joy. It was pretty much the kind of Christmas morning every parent dreams about when they see that happy plus sign on the pee stick. She loved all of it. She loved all the Christmas carols (my favorite is how she called it Angels Hark for Hark the Herald Angels Sing), was crazy about and over-analyzed each Christmas card we got that went up on our card "tree" (pretty lighted and felt ball branches), and could recite snippets of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by the time it really was the night before Christmas. And the nativity...oh my gosh. Admittedly we had a few. A toy wooden Melissa & Doug one, another beautiful, more heirloom-y wooden one that I've been collecting over the years, and Marm let us borrow her nativity this year with all the villagers, grotto for the manger, etc. Let me tell you, Mila was in her element. Every night before bed she'd lay everyone down, even the trees would go to sleep, and she would spend hours out of her day just playing in front of it all, talking for everyone, acting out scenes. My Wugs. Her imagination was in full tilt and it was enthralling to see, reminded me of myself and how enchanted I was with our nativity and all the magic it held. 

We didn't do elf on the shelf this year, it was a conscious decision for now as I don't really want Mila's good behavior to solely be motivated by the promise of toys. I want her to be kind because she has empathy, period and end of story. I'm probably overthinking it and I do plan on incorporating kindness elves for next year as that concept really resonated with me. As well as a service advent calendar. But Marmee also heard of the idea to reward good behavior with a straw under baby Jesus each time something kind is done...and conversely a straw is taken out if an unkindness happens. Wugs makes good choices and her wonderful baby Jesus has a soft bed of hay beneath him. For the most part she got that. And she was motivated by love (her love of babies? Okay. I'll still take it.).  

For Santa's wish list we kept it to the old something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Mila's requests were as follows (obvi I found ALL of this super adorable)...Want: a baby. Need: a new placemat. Wear: pom-pom clothes. Read: the books Good Night Brown Bear and Wake Up Little Bear. Let me tell you, Santa done good! Even when it came to the books, he came pretty close to finding some with nearly the exact same titles as Wugs' made-up ones. Mila also made up one more category, Something to Ride On: a bicycle. Ha! That rounded things out nicely.  

Dani, sweet little Dani Lu,was wide-eyed and interested in all of it. She was content being in the middle of it all on this different-than-usual morning--where I wasn't holding her on my hip while trying to make coffee, but rather kept nudging her towards another present to rip open. She was taking it all in too, of course in different ways than Mila but I think she absolutely knew today was special.  

Oh and about those toys...I mentioned before that I kept things simpler this year, more intentional. I didn't go overboard at the last minute and start buying crap just to have the illusion of more under the tree. Pretty sure that's not what it's all about. Right? Well, I have to say I was and still am THRILLED about that decision...Mila was the opposite of disappointed and she was happy for all the right reasons. She was just as much gaga over the candy in her stocking as she was about her balance bike with the shiny red bow 'neath the tree. Maybe even more! Doesn't that innocence and simplicity just speak volumes? And the first thing she mentioned in recounting to my mom wasn't how many presents Santa had brought but he had put all the baby Jesuses (plural???) in the mangers. Because He had been born. 
early early morning or way too late at night, depending on which way you look at it.

wouldn't it be grand if this linoleum were gone by next Christmas? Here's to hoping.

Santa came!


Best Christmas ever.

Best Christmas ever.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The 52 Project, 1/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014." 

2 children, 52 weeks, 104 photos...more about the 52 project here.

Mila: taken New Year's Eve. We told her she could stay up as late as she wanted on this special night, and...she lasted until 1 am. Three years old. We're in so much trouble.

Dani: she's all about exploring every nook and cranny these days. I'm actually surprised she's not attempting to scale this shelf, little climber that she is.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bits of Our Christmas (1)

There were some rough spots, mainly being sick from weeks 2-4 of advent! Dani had a cold that was getting worse rather than better and lo and behold...double ear infection. Mila held out the longest but once it caught up to her oh boy. My heart broke to see her laying so listless on the floor, not wanting to move from the aches and fever. It troubled me to no end but really brought things into focus. I feel like some of my best mothering happens when my girls are sick...rubbing backs while they're throwing up, snuggling them on a pile of blankets--unconditional, selfless love in which nothing else matters. Back to our Christmas, though, which was perfect. I'll save Christmas day photos for another post because my computer is shuddering under all this uploading.

First things first, I never knew how much we needed a mantel. Maybe not need, I guess a mantle is more of a want. But boy am I ever glad we have one here on out. A whole new decorating surface! And it makes such a statement! I need to hang something in that big empty space, but I think I'm going to like this mantel thing, yes ma'am. My newest obsession took hold in early December (still wild about pom-poms though). Mini bottle-brush trees, bleach them white, then re-dye all sorts of beautiful colors. It's very seussian, no? I saw a pic floating around pinterest and then in a very timely fashion A Beautiful Mess posted a how-to. p.s. I totally googled mantel or mantle for spelling. 

 Other things I made this Christmas season...I finally finished Dani's Christmas stocking. I never did get around to making one last year but at six weeks old...she forgave me. Hers is the embroidered elf-girl one and I love how it turned out. Might be my favorite. Mila's is the sparkly red one with felt flowers--those were made last year for her whilst nursing nursing nursing a newborn. Steve's is the lone knitted one, made by me and there's somewhat of a story there but I'll spare you for now. Mine is the ragtag peach one. It started out as Mila's stocking but I never was satisfied with how the snowflakes turned out. I will say that for once I'm not loving how all our stocking are different...I'm the queen of NON matchy-matchy but I think there's something very traditional about matching stockings hung by the mantel with care. Still trying to figure out how I can marry the concepts of my homemade stockings with some sort of common thread. Maybe Christmas of 2014.

But enough about stockings, I made a couple other things. Even though I swore off the homemade dolls and softies after Mila's doll from this Christmas lost an arm and Huckle Cat lost both his eyes...I still ended up making a special doll for Mila and then one for Dani. Dani's ended up looking like Niki Minaj and her pink mop of hair is already coming undone. I may call do-over on that one (sorry Dani!). Mila's turned out perfectly. It was really sweet how the whole thing unfolded, actually; she's always leafing through my making-stuff books and I told her she could pick something out for me to make her. She firmly decided on the little boy from Wee Wonderfuls, "because I don't have any boy babies." Together we went to Joann's and she picked out the green corduroy fabric for his pants, his skin color, his hair, and I used one of her newborn onesies and turned it into a shirt. She loves it. And I do too.

But much more exciting than me making stuff: MILA made DANI a doll! They had these kits at Hobby Lobby with pre-made fabric dolls and you add the accessories. Mila had picked out a ballerina girl for her sister. And even though the double-sided tape it comes with to attach everything sucks, it's still a good little kit for a toddler (so long as their parent has a glue gun). The perfectionist side of me took a deep breath, stepped back, and let Mila affix the yarn hair all sloppy to her heart's content, with a nonexistent bun, askew tiara, etc. And it was wonderful--for her and for me. I LOVED having a special 'secret' project we worked on together over a couple days, loved seeing how excited Mila was to make something for her sister she adores. She even painted the box she gifted it in and helped write the label. Hands down one of my favorite moments of 2013, Mila giving Dani that little doll she made herself.

Dani got in on the making, too. Like I did with Mila just two years ago, her first painting was done on canvas and gifted to Steve. I have video footage, Dani Lu was NOT afraid to get dirty and all up in that paint and it was glorious. What a turkey she is. Another favorite moment, see the pictures below.

  • times I watched Love Actually this Christmas season: 1. My sister and I quoted it the entire time.          
  • This was the year Mila got a mini PINK tree in her room. I love it just as much as she does and we decorated it with hairclips and some homemade spin-art ornaments :) 

  • Because everyone got so sick and things were suspended for a few days there (all except for tv...oh how the media comes on when we're sick!), there were some things we didn't get to. I had wanted to take Mila shopping to pick out a gift for a needy child, Toys for Tots or something similar since we had missed the giving tree Sunday at church. Salt dough ornaments happened after Christmas and not before (still fun though).  
  • My Christmas fail: only buying one giant wreath at Michael's because I was being cheap and wanted to use a coupon for a second one as well, to hang a wreath in each of our dormer windows. Home Alone style. Of course they sold out for the season on my return trip. Hashtag next year.
  • My unintentional Christmas gift: Steve getting called off on a day where Dani hadn't slept the night before and getting to bake my heart and stuffings out the next day while Steve drove around so she could sleep. I baked and I baked. Chocolate cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, gingerbread loaves, gingerbread caramel corn, sugar cookies. The gift of time, every Mama's favorite.
And at the end of every day in December (well from the 4th on), no matter how harried and crazy (and miserable, when they were sick) it got, I always had this: I'd sit in the chair where I nurse Dani to sleep each and every night and from there, through two sets of windows, I could see the white lights twinkling in our tree. And all was well for those wonderful, calm moments. 

Also, huge for my mental state, there's been something about having a home to decorate that has made this place feel more like ours. Whether you do white lights for days the way I do or put lots of evergreen everywhere or glitz and's hard to not feel the warmth and love in a place all decorated for Christmas. It all came together, just in time. We're finally home.

our nativity

get it girl

very thankful I hadn't cloth diapered her in that moment

made with love by Mila

Santa 2013. The Weibel girls probably weren't his favorites.

Christmas Eve


store-bought wreath for our front door. money well spent...

...because this was my homemade wreath. i consider myself good at a few things...but wreaths just aren't my thang.

how Dani spent the first half of Christmas Eve mass. Steve waited it out in the car. Merry Christmas Eve, Dani Lu :)