Posts filed under ‘anne’


proactive about forming traditions, or not; we all have them.  i’m the type of person who despises routine, but cherishes the traditions that our little family has organically formed. 

on christmas eve, we squish into the living room, and have a sleepover. there is always one gift opened, and that gift in itself is a tradition: footy pyjamas, and a toy made by me.  we sleep late the next morning, and slowly get through breakfast, and reading the christmas story from the bible. 

my kids are growing up, and so am i.  they no longer “play” with the toys that i make them, and i no longer have the time to make weekly toys.  so this year, i really struggled with what to make them for their christmas eve gifts.  i didn’t want to break with tradition, but i also didn’t want to waste time and resources. 

i brainstormed and consulted with friends and family, and came up with handmade ornaments.  and now i kind of wish that i’d had the idea many years ago.  the ornaments summarize the year that is coming to a close.  in doing this, the kids can have a chronological record of their childhoods. practically, they can start a collection for their own trees in their own homes- days which are too rapidly approaching.

elliot has been into pokemon for years, but this year he was pretty focused on the release of a new game, and counted down the days for at least ⅓ of the year.  given his history with pokemon (it was really the first “thing” he was into), i thought it fitting that his first ornament be a pokeball.

anne’s been in ballet for almost 4 years now, but this year she made the decision to focus on it more seriously.  she doubled-up her lessons, and began daily practice at home. she’s even been teaching me!

tomorrow night we’ll continue our tradition of pyjamas, handmade “toy”, and a sleepover.  i’m looking forward to seeing the reactions of my not so midgety-midgets when they see the new twist on an old tradition.

merry christmas to you all! thanks for reading!

December 23, 2016 at 23:14 Leave a comment

my midgets… part 2

i posted a brief note about how unbelievably amazing my kids are.  somehow the post got deleted, so i’m trying again, but i’m feeling way less-wordy.

here are the pics you wanted!

November 17, 2015 at 18:10 Leave a comment

4:30 has to be good for something 

good morning, friends. i’m really tired. i woke up at 4:30, which is more of a bed time for me, than a get-up-and-go time.  since i’m lying in the dark with a gigantic box of tissue, and a myriad of reasons that my body won’t sleep, i’ll use the time to post a quick update or two.

let’s go!

update #1: anne’s birthday party.

cousins  in tutus

i rented a hall, and schemed with anne’s ballet teacher, and together we threw anne a ballerina party with all of her friends.

despite my being super-prepared for this party,  it was still chaos. i love chaos.

the guests arrived and ate, made their own tutus, had their ballerina hair done, and did their own makeup.  then they got to work with miss maggy (anne’s ballet instructor) to learn, practice, rehearse, and finally perform a ballet for their parents. the girls all worked so hard, and miss maggy was a wizard with them. I also loved that entire families came to see the performance!

behind the scenes (and often the camera), my sister bernadette was a whirling dirvish of activity. we’ve started this tradition of helping each other out with our daughters’ birthday parties, and i really really really could not have pulled off the party without her!

did i mention there was also a blizzard that day?

okay, on to the next:

update #2: anne’s birthday gift.


her birthday gift from us this year, was an elsa dress, and tickets to see disney on ice.

we took the train into the city with a group of girls and their moms, and had dinner together, before walking to the arena for the main event.

when anne first received her elsa dress, she was ecstatic because she had been asking for one since first seeing frozen.  plus she absolutely loves anything handmade. she looks past all of my sewing mistakes and genuinely believes that i can make anything. it’s simultaneously endearing and terrifying.  when I told her about the rest of her gift (train, dinner, show), she was apathetic about the whole thing.

the day after the show, however, she was so thankful for her gift, and declared it “the best birthday present ever!”  shout out to my friend rachel for being the most organized person in the world, and arranging the tickets & dinner!

i’m wordy before the sun is up! and also, so done. i’ll hopefully do another update before we leave for belgium (if you follow me on instagram or have noticed the theme in the sidebar– you’ve been counting down with me!).

going to try to nap now! i know this is totally morning for most of you, but it’s really not morning for me!

March 26, 2015 at 06:54 Leave a comment

Anne’s compelling argument

when i was a kid, one of my aunts married some sort of international ambassador who was rumoured to be a prince of a small african country.  my sisters and i thought it was soooo glamorous and instantly told all of our friends that we were really princesses.
the aforementioned marriage fell apart, and the rumours of royalty were never actually confirmed.  why then, did i even mention the lebrun legend to my children?

apparently i was hoping to have a recurring argument with the children who can’t be convinced that they’re not really princes and princesses.   we’ve had many discussions about it, and the only thing that gets me out of the “no we’re not, yes we are” banter, is to distract the midgets and hope (in vain) that they never bring it up again.

today anne’s argument took on more power when she paired logic with bits and pieces of facts that she’s learned in school:

“mommy, just look.  i have to be a princess because i have golden hair like rapunzel (punctuated with a tug on the braid i was attempting to finish while she listed off princessy criteria), i have my own chapstick, i have blood flowing in my body, and i have lots of pretty dresses (twirl).


March 7, 2012 at 15:03 3 comments

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

party girl

my baby is turning six on tuesday!  i am officially the mom of big kids.  anne celebrated last night with some of her favourite friends, and our tiny house was hopping with 8 six(ish) year old girls and my hyper little elliot.

the theme: pyjama party, with most of the ideas coming from scouring pintrest and google.  i didn’t take a picture of the invites, or the stack of sleep masks that i made for the goody bags.  i barely got any pictures at all of the party, but my friend jen (and mother of two of anne’s guests) snagged my camera and got it done for me (thanks jen!).

i decorated the dining room like a bedroom, with the table being dressed in bed clothes and a headboard made from toobeez with a blanket thrown over top of it.  i raided our bead container of all pink/purple/blue and clear beads to make the light fixture in the dining room more girly, and made some poofy flower things out of tissue paper to hang above the “bed.”

the living room was where the girls laid out their sleeping bags, and i decorated it more like a “sleeping under the stars” experience.  i basically just hung shiny stars all over the place, threw up an owl, and hung another poofy thing in the centre of the room to make it festive.  oh, and lots and lots of star-shaped post-it notes, too.

for food, i kept is pretty simple.  star-shaped sugar cookies, rice krispie squares, croissants, cheese, and strawberries.  the girls descended upon the food like locusts!  the cake was a stack of doughnuts with purply-pink frosting drizzled onto it and coated in star-shaped sprinkles.

games:  i had planned a few quiet games like charades and making fruit loop necklaces, but the girls were waaaaaaay too wound up after i fed them all of that sugar!   we stuck with the more rowdy games on my list like:
pillow fight. hands-free doughnut chop (see the top two pictures).  hide and seek inside sleeping bags.  freeze-dance (but when the music stopped, the kids had to pretend that they were asleep).

eventually the sugar rush turned into a crash, so we threw on a barbie movie and all of the girls cuddled into piles of sleeping bags and pillows and stuffed animals.  i made some popcorn to keep their hands and mouths busy, and it was a fairly peaceful hour & 24 minutes.

there was about 20 minutes between the end of the movie and when parents began to collect their children, and the kids enjoyed running around the house playing “spies” or something like that.  honestly, i think they enjoyed the unstructured time more than the games!

goody bags: every child went home with a smile on their face and a goody bag containing some sugar cereal, chocolate milk and an owlish sleep mask.

anne had a great party, and seeing her smile and laugh with her friends was so satisfying for me!  i really think that there is nothing that i wouldn’t do for that sweet little girl.  after her friends had gone and we were waiting for derek and elliot to come back home (they left after the fun and before the barbie movie), anne and i sat on the floor together looking at the gifts that her friends had lavished on her.  she really is blessed in the friendships that God has given her!

February 5, 2012 at 16:21 2 comments

that’s a lot of hair

this summer i’m going away for a whole week and leaving the kids with derek.  he’s an excellent father, but he’s not so good with the hair.  specifically, anne’s hair.  she’s got a ton of it, and i’m pretty concerned that when i come home after being away, her mop will be so knotted that her quest to become rapunzel will be at an end.

so today i did a test run of the only solution that i can think of for this problem.  it took me an hour, but if it works then it’ll totally be worth it.   she has white girl hair so it’s guaranteed to frizz up, but i can guarantee that frizzy braids will be much easier to deal with after a week of being ignored than loose hair would be.

the braids are easy enough to put away into a ponytail (although derek probably won’t do the elastic wrap thing… slacker!)

and i’m also hoping that the braids will help to keep her noggin cool during this heat wave.  if you’ve never had long hair then imagine putting a wool blanket over your head and down your back, and try to get through the day without daydreaming of shaving it all off à la G.I. Jane.  in fact, just thinking about how hot my noodle is right now makes me want to try out the braid thing on myself.

hopefully this technique will work and i’ll have one less thing to occupy my thoughts while i’m away next month.  if it doesn’t then i’m going to have to find a way to sneak the girl into my backpack and take her and her crazy amount of hair with me.

July 11, 2011 at 18:48 3 comments

best day ever

today we went on a family hike.  derek wanted to check out a new biking location, elliot wanted to go exploring, and anne and i wanted adventure.  

along the way we hunted for pokémon, swatted mosquitos, and discussed what animals might be living in the forest.  we ran up and down the bike jumps, jumped over creeks, navigated mud pits and drank water in the shade of a tall pine.

i am constantly reminding elliot to enjoy the journey instead of just focussing on his goals.  the destination is guaranteed to be awesome, but the trip there can be equally so.  we achieved our goals of exploration and adventure, but it was the journey that enabled quiet times of conversation that led to happiness that made my heart nearly burst.

elliot and derek were deep in discussion about forest animals, so anne and i started our own conversation about forest animals that went something like this:

me:  “what animals do you think live in the forest?”
anne:  “reindeer.”
me:  “well, maybe just deer?”
anne:  “but santa has reindeer.”
me:  “yes, but santa’s not real.”
anne:  “yeah, some people think that he is, but not us!”
me:  “that’s right.  who is christmas really about?”

and that’s when it happened.

the conversation turned to Jesus, and how anne wanted Him inside her heart but she just didn’t know how to do it.  we’ve had conversations that got oh-so-close to anne being able to comprehend the gospel message in the past, but she would change subjects and lose interest just before the conversation got serious.  this time though; this time if felt right.  this time she was determined to get Jesus inside her heart before another second passed her by.  so she did.  then she ran after the boys (who had gone a bit ahead of us to pray together) and leapt into her daddy’s arms to declare the good news:

i feel blessed beyond expression to be able to say that this family as a whole, follows Jesus.

June 15, 2011 at 20:39 1 comment

birthday party

we kicked off anne’s birthday festival today with something that i never thought i’d EVER have anywhere near me:  a princess party.  i was too occupied during the actual party to get very many photos of the girls all together, so here are some photos that i took before all chaos broke loose in the house:

each guest arrived adorned in princess gear, and my house had more flowers and pink in it than i’m sure it’s ever had, previous owners included.  (learn how to make the flower garland here)

we had a huge dance party with princess skirts twirling and played princessy party games like “pin the ponytail on the princess”, and “poisoned apple”, adapted from hot potato.

the girls decorated crowns, painted their nails, assembled necklaces, and showered anne with gifts.

instead of making a cake, i made cupcakes which each girl decorated with various candies to make a princess face.  we inserted crowns, and sang happy birthday to the girl before adding ice cream to the plates and devouring their creations.

as the festivities wound down, each little girl was sent home with a thank you gift from anne, who truly appreciated all of her friends celebrating her birthday with her.  each little girl added something special to the party, thanks to all the mom’s who brought them!

just as i was too busy with the party to take many “during” photos, anne was too busy with the other girls to take time to get her nails painted while the party was in full-swing.  never one to let the partying cease, anne plunked herself down in the livingroom as the day came to an end, and studiously painted her toes.  she has no idea that her birthday celebrations are just beginning though.  tomorrow her grandparents are coming to visit, and on monday (her actual birthday) she’ll be getting her gifts from elliot, derek and me.  the girly decorations are staying put, and there will be more cake, more celebrating, more dance parties, more presents and more occasions to randomly yell “happy birthday little banana head!”

February 5, 2011 at 22:39 3 comments

glimpse of the future

on the weekend  i discovered anne colouring her fingernails with the crayolas.  she hid her hands behind her back, ashamed when i asked what she was doing.  slowly she revealed her painted nails and admitted, “i just wanted to try it.”

so monday night we had a girls’ night filled with delivering cookies (she insisted that she had to make cookies for her friends, and i loved watching her decorate and designate each one),  and shopping for nail polish.  i had no idea where to look for that stuff! in the end my hbc gift card brought us to zellers and a selection of colourful paints for the girl.

that night, after anne and her one blue fingernail went to bed (we were out too late for the full 10!) i took a look at my bathroom counter, littered with a hairbrush, elastics, and bright-coloured vials and realized that it was only going to get worse.  soon potions and paints and whatever other “beauty” products will have been invented by then, will cover the bathroom counter.  i’ll be droning on to anne about how she has to share the bathroom, and she’ll be screaming at me to respect her space while she slams the door in my face.   there will be drama, hormones, emotions, boys that she “loves”,  brand name clothing that she “needs”, and i’m totally going to be baggage to her.

but then i think about the other thing we did during girls’ night, and i begin to hope.  not hope that i can avoid all of the teenage girl mess, but hope that there will be more to her than the beauty of her outside.

i remember her smile when she watched her friends eating their cookies, and how she eagerly hopped out of the van to deliver them.   how her little fingers dipped the heart-shaped cookies into the frosting,  and how she wanted every cookie to look perfect for it’s intended consumer.   she’ll be a looker alright, but hope tells me that she’ll have an unparalleled beauty inside that will shine brighter than the glitter on her nails.

January 12, 2011 at 17:17 4 comments

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