Category Archives: Anna


Anna had quite the weekend. On Saturday she had her usual Tumble Gym class, to which her daddy took her by himself this week. I was at my once-a-month Under the Veranda meeting (can’t really call it a class) at Wish Upon a Quilt, so I missed out on the fun. Apparently she was so exhausted by the Tumble Gym, she fell asleep on the way home. So, she got her nap out of the way early and was just waking up when I got home around 11:30.

We had some lunch, and then headed out for Marbles Kids Museum. This was our first time there, so we weren’t really sure what to expect beyond what I saw on the web. I had a feeling Saturday was probably the absolute worst day to go, but it is one of those things that I have been wanting to do for a while now and we just never seemed to have time. Saturday we actually had the whole afternoon and evening open with no plans other than errands that could wait for another day, so I seized the opportunity.

Parking was surprisingly easy, even though we got one of the last few spots available. We only chose to pay for two hours of parking, but we probably should have done more because Anna was having such a great time that it was time to go before we knew it. The area meant for kids under 3 was pretty packed, but Anna didn’t seem to mind much. The the forest-themed “Toddler Hollow” room was fairly small, but had plenty of good stuff for toddlers. There were a few soft toadstools to climb on, a bridge with cushioned steps leading up to it, “vines” hanging from the ceiling, a log to crawl through, panels on the walls that opened to reveal images, and several different textures to touch on the walls. There were also some soft things laying around like a large stuffed black bear, a skunk, sliced logs, and fabric leaves that the kids could carry around. The first thing Anna did upon walking in was spot the black bear, grab it by an ear, and drag it across the room. After that it was up and down the bridge steps for a while until she found the log slices. The log slices were a definite hit with Anna; she spent at least half her time stacking them and carrying them around. She also really loved climbing up on, and then standing on, a little toadstool table that had a lighted center… that was one thing we probably could have done without, but she seemed ecstatic about it since climbing on stuff is her favorite thing to do lately.

I am strongly considering buying a membership, as I think it could definitely be worth it. It was a well-spent $15 (admission x3) for Anna to run around and have fun in a safe and climate-controlled environment. When I say ‘safe’ we of course still had to keep an eye on her and make sure she didn’t break any other children, or get trampled by the occasional big kid, and there were a few places where falling was a hazard, and a couple choking hazards from another area had found their way in… but compared to an outdoor playground that has about a bajillion little things for her to put her mouth, it was great. Plus, no worries about it being 100 degrees in summer, or freezing in winter.

While there, we ran into some friends that were there with their own child (so it was cool to see them, bonus! even though we were too busy watching our kids to really chat). They have a membership and reported weekdays were much less crowded than weekends, so I think it would also be a great place for one of the grandmothers to take her as well if they wanted to have an outing with the kiddo during the week. And as she grows, the rest of the museum looked great for hours of entertainment as well. At least, the first floor did… we never made it upstairs to the bigger kid stuff. I wish I could have had a place to play like that when I was a kid! I kind of look forward to the day when she is old enough that I can sit and just let her run wild with minimal supervision though, because I think we all needed a nap afterwards.

After our fun at Marbles, we made the short trip up Person St to Yellow Dog Bread Company and the little wine shop next to it. We got some tasty coffee and a couple breakfast treats from Yellow Dog (and discovered Anna likes the coffee tinged milk foam from cappuccino) as well as a bottle of wine and some cheese from the wine shop. That was a nice way to wrap up the day for the adults.

So, Saturday was a pretty awesome day for all of us.  And, all that was after I had a good morning at my sewing meeting, where people seemed to truly like my show and tell items. I took my little Lavender & Honey needle book, and the box I made instead of the table runner bonus project. Another lady that does handwork asked for the needle book pattern, and the teacher wanted to know where I found the tutorial for the box; the whole group seemed excited about the box and wanted to know about it. I also took those bag patterns I won during the shop hop to see if I could find a home for them. No sooner had I given those away, I won the weekly drawing and got a new quilt pattern. How’s that for instant karma?


Anna is too little for candy, so we didn’t bother with trick or treating this year. On Halloween night we took a quick trip out for dinner, and Sean got the idea to dress her as Calvin (as in ‘& Hobbes’). So, he put her in a red shirt with stripes and let her carry her stuffed tiger toy. It was pretty adorable. That was the extent of her Halloween Night experience though.

Saturday we went to a party at a friend’s house, so we dressed in costume for that one. Anna wore a cute little dress, and the Little Red Riding Hood cape I made for her. The basket I was making didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. It was too large and floppy, and I wasn’t really in love with the fabric combinations (it was all I had on hand that would work). In the end, I just took inspiration from the Japanese furoshiki and simply sewed a couple squares of fabric together, with some interfacing in between (leftover from the cape) to stiffen the fabric up some. Wish I had just done that in the first place… would have saved myself a lot of time and effort. Oh well, I guess the other will make a good jumbo lunch bag.

Somehow Sean convinced me to dress up as Red’s grandmother, while he bought a wolf mask for himself. This was the first time I actually dressed up for Halloween, or anything else, since… hmm, 2002? I must admit it was pretty comfortable though. I just got a granny-looking gown, house coat, knee high socks, and slippers from the store, along with an “Old Lady” wig from Party City.  I was really the only one of us that stayed in costume all night… Anna of course shed her cloak as soon as possible, and Sean could barely see in his mask so he wore it for maybe 5 minutes. No pictures of that unfortunately. My mother tried to snap a few of us, but the lighting was terrible so I am not sure any of them turned out. I didn’t really get any good pictures of Anna as Little Red Riding Hood either, but here is what I do have…

(blog post continues below photo gallery)

There isn’t much else to report on the Anna front, the only new things I can think to share are that she is becoming a little climber and she is starting to figure out the whole eating with a fork thing. We blame the Tumble Gym (light heartedly of course) for her recent fondness of climbing. Whenever we get a big package of something, like paper towels, all she wants to do is climb and wallow on it. She has also discovered the stairs and likes to climb up the stairs, and would also climb up the outside (other side of banister)  of the stairs if we would let her. The window sills in the kitchen are also very enticing, as they are quite low to the floor. We definitely have to keep an eye on her these days! Fortunately she seems pretty good at sliding down off things like the couch by laying on her belly and swinging her feet over, but she hasn’t gotten the hang of that on the stairs yet. We installed a gate at the top of the stairs a while ago, but now we have to worry about the bottom of the stairs as well. We’ve been temporarily blocking the bottom of the stairs with her play yard fence, but yesterday I was able to find a gate that can be installed on a banister post… so that is next up on our to do list.

Watching her figure out eating with utensils has been fun, and messy. Anna isn’t so good at keeping things on a spoon, even though she did seem to try to put stuff in her mouth with it. So, I decided to grab a baby fork and see if she had any luck with that. Turns out forks are much easier that spoons. Eating with fingers is still easier half the time, and stabbing the food is still a work in progress, but if we help her out by loading the fork for her she does really well. Spoons though, require a little more assistance from us to hold them level while she guides the spoon to her mouth. At this point we hold no expectations about eating with utensils, it is still just a learning experience. Although she did eat practically her whole lunch with a fork today, and Sean reported the same for breakfast yesterday.

Now to go eat some cookies while I ponder what my next sewing adventure should be…

Anna Update & Halloween Prep

This first photo isn’t the best picture of Anna, but see her little teeth? Around her first birthday, the bottom two finally popped through. Those have now been joined by one and a half up top, and a third is trying to pop up on the bottom. Anna has been making use of them too! It is cute to watch her take tiny bites of her graham crackers, and the other day she even had some of her daddy’s apple.

Luckily the teething doesn’t seem to bother her too much. In preparation for sore gums I had bought a few types of oral numbing medicines, but we have yet to use any of them. There have been days where we could tell she was a bit off, and we blamed the teething, but in general she has been her usual happy self.

Anna has also been practicing her artwork. We got her a big pad of blank paper and a box of washable toddler crayons a couple weeks ago. She seems to be getting the hang of making marks now, although sometimes it is still more fun to eat the crayons. I am looking forward to the days when she actually understands the concept of coloring in lines, or drawing pictures. Right now it is mostly banging the crayon on the paper, or scribbling back and forth.

As for me, I have been busy making Anna’s Little Red Riding Hood Halloween costume. Per usual, I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it so I have worked on it a little at a time. I got everything cut for the cape last week, and then spent every spare moment over the weekend stitching it together. Saturday I finished up the cape around midnight, and then started looking at what I wanted to do for her little basket.

My original plan was to make a liner for a basket I picked up at Michael’s… but I had grabbed it without really inspecting the basket, and when I got home I realized it was wobbly and wonky. When I started measuring for the planned liner I discovered the reason it was sitting wonky was because one end of the basket was 1/2″ deeper than the other end, and it was completely uneven on the bottom. For a bit I contemplated forging ahead with the original plan, but then started looking at other options, which lead me to a cute fabric basket tutorial. So, I looted my fabric stash and have that on my work table now… hopefully I will have time to finish it before this weekend!

I will add pictures of Anna in her cape once we get her in costume this weekend… if I can get her to stand still long enough for a photo! I put it on her briefly Sunday, and she had fun flapping the sides while she ran around. It is a little long, but I think it will be okay. Maybe when she is a little older she can still wear it for dress-up.


Busy Busy Weekend

See pictures from our iCloud photostream here 

We had a very busy weekend, but a good one. I kind of feel like I need a day off now! We were all on the go all weekend long, with hardly a moment to rest. Saturday usually starts with us taking Anna to Tumble Gym for her weekly 9:00 Tumble Babies class. Well, “class” is a loose term. It is mostly a bunch of under-two year olds running around in various directions while one instructor with far too much energy bounces around trying to lead the activities. Since there is no monthly fee until she turns two, it is totally worth it. Every week we see her confidence improve and it is pretty fun running around with her and all the other kids.

This weekend though, the first Under the Veranda block of the month class was at 10:00 Saturday at Wish Upon a Quilt. Since I wasn’t sure how the timing would go, I skipped Tumble Gym for the first time since she started (August 30), and let her grandma go with her and Sean instead. I was pretty sad about missing Tumble Gym, so maybe in the future I will just drive separately so I can leave a tad early and head straight to my class.

Class was interesting. It was just a lecture, so I felt really weird going to a sewing class without a machine. I got there right on time, sat through my lecture, did a little shopping, and then ran an errand and had lunch before rushing to pack up and head to another sewing class at the same place. That sewing class was pretty fun, although I can’t say I learned much. I did leave with a new pair of pajama pants though.

Then it was back to the house to collect Sean and Anna for some clothes shopping and dinner at Crabtree. Anna scored several adorable new outfits, and a new pair of shoes since she had outgrown all of hers. Man that happens fast. I swear we just bought her shoes with “room to grow” less than two months ago. I know for a fact she got a pair of size 3 sandals the day before her birthday, so that has only been like 5 weeks. Now she is in a size 4 shoe, although we got a size 4.5 so she doesn’t grow out of them by next week.

The new clothes are mostly 18-24 months, which she isn’t quite ready for. But sales were good, and she will fit them soon enough. She can get away with wearing the larger size in dresses, but the shirts and pants are definitely too big. For now anyway. Like I said, give her a week and we might find she has suddenly grown another three inches. I would much rather buy stuff ahead of time so we don’t end up scrambling the next time she suddenly can’t fit any of her clothes.

We stayed out far too late though, an hour past Anna’s 8:00 bed time. She was getting a bit cranky by the time we left, but in all we were proud of her for doing so well and putting up with us keeping her out so late. We normally try to keep her on schedule, but I guess staying up late occasionally shouldn’t be too detrimental. Being out late did not translate into a later morning on Sunday though, so the next morning everything started again at 7:00 as usual. After getting her to bed I was exhausted and was asleep by 10:30… so at least I got a decent night’s sleep.

Sunday was another full, but great, day. Sean had stayed up late the night before, so I let him sleep in a bit while I played with Anna. When he woke up we went out for a family breakfast at First Watch, a new breakfast/brunch/lunch place that opened where the Boston Market on Glenwood Ave use to be. It was awesome! The food was great, and the whole menu looked so good that it was hard to choose. At times the service could have been a little faster, but they were busy and new so we can forgive them that.

Anna especially enjoyed it; she had crayons to play with while we waited and lots of yummy food. It was only the second time she got to play with crayons, and this time she actually figured out how to make marks on the paper.  She seemed to really love the melon in the fruit bowl we ordered for her, and she liked the food we shared from our plates as well. From my plate she had quinoa, chicken, and butternut squash. From Sean’s she had egg, potato, avocado, a little bacon, and maybe some other things I didn’t see. We could tell she enjoyed it, because hardly anything hit the floor! Sean and I enjoyed our meals as well, and we will definitely go back. It may just have to be our new breakfast stop post-Tumble Gym on Saturdays, since Brueggers Caribou Coffee has been unsatisfactory lately.

After that it was a trip to Target for some needed things, plus some crayons for Anna. Then back to the house for Anna’s nap, although she fought that and ended up not having much of one. We were supposed to meet friends at a pumpkin patch at 2, but thanks to Anna’s lack of napping and super cranky awakening, it was more like 2:30 when we got there. That was a lot of fun, and Anna seemed to enjoy it. That kid definitely loves being outdoors, and the weather was perfect. Anna got to see her buddy Logan, play with hay, pick cotton, see goats, go on a hay ride, and walk around the fields. She was great the whole time, with lots of smiles and not a single fussy moment.

After a couple hours of wandering around the pumpkin patch she was exhausted. Once we got in the car I gave her a little snack, and then she was out cold. Our next stop was the grocery store. The poor kid was so tuckered out she barely stirred when I took her out of her car seat, and then she slept on my shoulder most of the time we were shopping. I swear that kid weighs fifty pounds when she is asleep!  So precious though.

One Year!

Apologies, I am falling down on posting again. I will try to be better! Life has been busy (as always) in the past month, so I haven’t had much time to sit down and post. There also hasn’t been all that much to post really. I will try to find time to update on my crafty stuff soon, as I have finished a couple small projects. My Elegance quilt is woefully behind schedule though, and I have honestly lost interest in the Thangles quilt even though it is still cluttering my workspace just waiting to be worked on between other projects.

The exciting news it that Anna is now a year old! I can’t believe it. It seems like only a few months ago we were bringing her home from the hospital. It almost felt like we must surely have the wrong date when we were planning the party, but no… she is really a one year old.

It was a busy busy weekend. I am so grateful that it was a holiday weekend; if I hadn’t had a half day on Friday and a holiday Monday I might not have survived! The half day Friday let me take care of some overdue errands and get a head start on our usual weekend shopping, which was great since the rest of our weekend was packed with baby related stuff.

Saturday was Anna’s first Tumble Gym class. There is a Tumble Gym location a few miles from home, near Rex; we were surprised to learn that their classes started at age “walking” so we decided we would sign her up when she was walking well. They don’t charge a monthly fee for the “Tumble Babies” class, so we figured it was worth the $35 registration fee to get her some socialization with other babies. We honestly don’t expect her to get too much out of the classes, but hopefully she will have some fun.

Anna was among the youngest there, although I didn’t catch the ages of the other children. It looked like maybe two others were about her age, while the rest were around two years old. The older kids really took to the place, while Anna and the other young ones were a bit unsure. In the 45 minutes we were there, Anna varied between smiles and tears. I think she was also tired, which didn’t help. By the end she did seem to enjoy bouncing (with me holding her) on the trampoline though, and she did have fun playing with cones and balls. Hopefully as the weeks go on she will warm up to it and get excited about it.

Tumble Gym is also responsible for her first cold. The second I stepped into the place I had a feeling she would end up sick, and that thought was only reaffirmed about halfway through when a two-year-old-ish child ran up to me with snot pouring from her nose. And sure enough, Monday night Anna woke up with a runny nose and looked fairly miserable for a couple days.

Sunday was the big birthday bash. We had always said her first birthday would be a small thing with family only, and we weren’t going to go all out like some people do. In the end though, we ended up renting a room at Dave & Busters because there was no way we could fit everyone in our house. I am not sure of the final count, but we had twenty some family members come to celebrate Anna’s birthday. We never expected so many! It was great to have everyone though, and Dave & Busters was awesome. Totally worth it.

I have a feeling all future parties are going to be similar affairs. It was so easy… just call up and set the date and food order, and then show up. The only thing we really had to bring was the cake and the birthday girl. We did end up picking up some balloons and a birthday banner, but other than setting those up Dave & Busters took care of everything. It was great not having to worry about cleaning anything up before or after, and we had a host of waiters to bring food and drink refills. It was practically worry free. Plus the manager was super awesome. The birthday kid is supposed to get a t-shirt, but the manager instead brought us a big stuffed Minion toy from the prize room when he saw she had Minion cup cakes. He said he didn’t think she really needed a Dave & Busters shirt, and I agreed. And, at the end, he washed the cake serving utensils we had brought with us so that we didn’t have to worry about taking the messy things home with us (they were covered in chocolate frosting) without us even asking.

I hope everyone had a good time. We tried to provide enough game cards for the folks that were interested to go play games, and I think all of the ones that wanted to play were able to. It seemed like people enjoyed themselves at least, and I didn’t hear anyone asking for a card that didn’t get one. We were also able to send leftovers home with people, so we must have provided enough food. I am always worried about things like that when planning a party, so it was great to know that even if we did fall short it would be a simple matter to get more.

Anna was perfect the whole time. At first she just snuggled with people she knew, but quickly warmed up to the situation despite being surrounded by twenty some people. We had a big chocolate cake for everyone, and some Minion cupcakes for the little kids so that they could each have their own. I think the Minions were a hit! I will have to remember that next year, although we will probably pick some new character(s) for it. Maybe Sesame Street or whatever she is into at that time. This time it didn’t really matter since she doesn’t know a Minion from a mushroom. Despite having her own cupcake to destroy, Anna still managed to swipe a handful of chocolate frosting while Sean was helping her blow out her candle. Everyone had a good laugh of course, and Anna was super adorable and clapped her chocolate covered hands when everyone else clapped after the candle was blown out.

After the cake it was present time, which Anna seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Pulling out the tissue paper was great fun, and some of the toys and clothes were fun too.  She walked around waving her tissue paper prizes about, gave hugs and kisses (with help of course) to everyone as she opened their gifts, and generally seemed to have fun digging into the gift bags and being the center of attention.

Shockingly Anna never took a nap after the party.  I guess there was just too much excitement for her to settle down and sleep, and all her new toys were just too much fun not to play with. By her bed time at 8:00 all three of us were thoroughly exhausted. We went to bed right after she did, and slept soundly until she woke us up at 7:00 something the next morning.

So, now we officially have a one year old on our hands. It has been a great year that has passed much too quickly. It truly is amazing to watch this little person grow up and learn new things every day. Thanks again to everyone that came to her party, it was great seeing everyone!




Anna has officially been walking for three weeks now. Before that she took a few steps here and there, but on July 7 she took her first “real” steps. Over the past few weeks she has gotten steadier on her feet, but still plops on her butt pretty often and does better on carpet than on hard floors.

Just in the past few days Anna has started walking more often than crawling, but will still drop down and crawl when it suits her better. I even saw her stand up to walk from a sitting position the other day, where before she would have crawled if she was already on the floor. Luckily she is still pretty slow at this point, so she is easy to keep up with. It won’t be long before she takes off running though.

Over the weekend she even walked around a little in a couple stores when she got tired of being held. That lead to us taking her for her first real shoes yesterday. She won’t be walking on pavement anytime soon, she falls too much for that… but if she is on grass or in a store, I feel better with her feet covered. So, yesterday we stopped at Stride Rite. The selection was pretty slim, but I found one pair I liked and one that I didn’t hate. While she has had some soft shoes before, these are her first real shoes.

Anna was pretty good while we measured her feet, and then shoved her feet into shoes. I wonder if they make baby shoe horns? Of course when we got them on her feet, Anna didn’t want to walk at all at first, so we spent a several minutes encouraging her to walk. It wasn’t long before she was off toddling around the store getting into trouble though.

Anna hasn’t spent much time in her shoes yet, but she does seem happier to be barefoot so far. I can completely relate, plus I think it is better for her to be barefoot as much as possible while her feet (and her balance) are developing, so she will only have to wear shoes when she is going to be walking around outside the house. If she keeps them on her feet anyway. It took her about two seconds to figure out how to undo the velcro closure, but at least she didn’t pull them off her feet… I am sure that is coming though.

Aside from walking, she is also picking up a few other skills lately. Sean got her one of those buckets with the differently shaped holes for various blocks months ago, and she is just now starting to put the blocks through the holes. She still doesn’t know how to match up the shapes, but if you turn it to the right side for her she can get the blocks in the bucket with minimal assistance. Anna is also starting to understand simple commands, even though she doesn’t always choose to follow them. It seems she might be starting to try out some words too, but I wouldn’t say she is talking. She might be close though!

Anna often says “ah-buh,” “mama” and “dada” as well as a few other sounds that we can’t quite line up with what they might mean. “ah-buh” is often said repeatedly when she is playing with her books, but she will sometimes say it other times as well so we aren’t sure there is any meaning there. There are times when she elongates that sound so that we wonder if she is trying to moo like in her favorite book “Say Moo.” The closest we have gotten to a moment where we thought she might really be saying a word was a couple days ago, while FaceTiming with her Nana. She looked right at the screen and slowly and deliberately (in a way we haven’t heard before) said “Nah Nah,” which is also a sound we haven’t heard her make before. Of course she never repeated it, so who knows.

Tonari no Totoro

I am really enjoying this felt thing, but I am in need of more good felt (cough… um, Aug 6…cough… just saying). I got that stack of six-inch squares at the sewing expo, but I need to build out my stash with larger pieces and a variety of color groups. The squares were mostly darker colors, I really need some bright and pastel colors as well.

My latest creation was a stuffed Totoro. Someone shared a tutorial for it (Aimee I think) months ago on Facebook, I can’t even remember when. At the time I bought some cheapo felt to make it, but it got put aside and I nearly forgot about it. After making my little felt birdies though, Totoro was on my mind… so I pulled out the felt and made him over the long weekend when I decided I needed a break halfway through piecing my mini quilt.

Totoro came out okay, but he could have been better. I might have to make another one with his trademark open mouth grin using good felt.. and if I do I will definitely make a leaf to put on his head. Maybe I will even see if I can give him some little buddies too. And whiskers!

Next, I think I want to make this Yeti Monster! Or maybe this owl garland. But alas, I lack the right felt colors. See?? I need to build a felt stash! Although the next thing I am truly itching to work on is my Geranium Basket table topper, for which Sean has promised me Valdani threads as a birthday gift!

The lessons learned when making this guy include:

  • actually read the directions (should have left a seam allowance when I cut some parts, so ended up trimming other parts to compensate)
  • cheap felt sheds and just doesn’t feel nice like the wool/rayon blend felts
  • when using poly pellets as a filler, be prepared to vacuum immediately afterwards and work over a large bowl
  • needle nose tweezers are hugely helpful in stuffing tiny pieces like ears (tweezers were a relic of my model-making days)
  • I dislike rayon embroidery thread
  • look at a picture when making a stuffed critter because Totoro’s nose should be higher up and it is going to bother me forever
  • while I never used it for its intended purpose, this formula dispenser makes a good funnel for poly pellets

Here is a video of Anna playing with Totoro for the first time… she seems to like him.

Totoro... I should give him a leaf. He is made with cheapo felt though, so maybe I will just make another one with the good stuff and give him a leaf.
Totoro. He is made with cheapo felt though, so maybe I will  make another one with the good stuff and give him a leaf and try making some whiskers as well.
Totoro's backside
Totoro’s backside