Jul 30, 2012


loving:  Chevron!  I have been making a ton of baby gifts out of some adorable navy, gray, green, and yellow chevron.  Obviously, Colin has benefitted from my chevron love.

reading:  Mostly books that I will be teaching this school year. *sigh* I can't believe how quickly the summer has flown by, and I can't say that I am very excited to return to work.  I love my school, coworkers, and students, and I know that I will get excited and motivated once I'm there, but the thought of waking up early, working all day, pumping, and rushing to get everything done in the evening doesn't appeal to me very much.  If I drop off the face of the internet around mid-August, you'll know why.

watching:  "Call Me Maybe" parodies on youtube.  And lots of princess movies with Cara.  Don't judge me.

thinking about:  CIO.  My pediatrician recommended that we start letting Colin cry at night because basically, I have conditioned him to wake up expecting to nurse.  Typically, he wakes up two to three times a night, and I'm not sure how well I will be able to handle this once I start back to work.  We've tried letting him cry himself to back to sleep if he wakes up before midnight, but he is one persistent, determined little boy.  He will go for 45 minutes or longer, and I decided last night that I can't listen to that anymore.  It just doesn't feel like a loving response.  Any thoughts on babies sleeping through the night?

working on:  meal plans for when I go back to work.  I want to find more healthy recipes for my slow cooker as I think this will be how we survive those first few weeks.  Suggestions welcome!

wishing:  I'm definitely wishing for a few more weeks of summer.  Colin is due to start going to "school" in one week, and I think the separation is going to be pretty tough for me.  Since I know I'm not going to get any time magically added to my summer, I'll just snuggle him a little closer, a little longer this week.

Jul 27, 2012

insta-Friday + a few links

(In all honesty, not all these pics made it to my IG, so I guess I should call this a Camera Roll dump.)

This man is such an amazing daddy.  Watching moments like these does my heart good.

On this particular evening, the paci and a glass of red wine saved dinner.

This girl with her wild, crazy hair.

Bless Colin's heart in this pink exersaucer!  My mom has this one at her house, and Colin LOVED it.  He felt like a big boy.

It's a Cara under a table!

We've started homemade purees with the baby boy.  For the first few days, his reaction to seeing the spoon was to suck in his bottom lip.  He's gradually warming up to the idea.  No pressure, little dude.

My big girl in her birthday bubble dress.  Cutie. Pie.

And a few links I've been loving this week:
  • My Meringue skirt was featured on Coletterie on Monday!  I am so incredibly flattered, especially because I still feel like such a sewing beginner.  Thank you, Sarai and Colette Patterns!
  • This recipe will be on my dinner table next week.  We love quinoa and peppers around here.
  • I am IN LOVE with this cute set of measuring cups!  I'm sure I know a certain sister who could paint a one-of-a-kind set for a Christmas present...
  • I should really frame this print in the shared nursery.  This sums up my parenting philosophy perfectly.
  • My friend Courtney posted everything she does in a day with her toddler son and her newborn daughter.  I can completely relate, but it makes me exhausted to read it.
  • DIY batik skirt--I love this look!
  • My Pastille dress inspiration!  I'm so very intimidated by this pattern, which is the next dress I intend to sew for myself (but first Cara's getting a first-day-of-school outfit), but this dress makes me want to spend the time to fit my Pastille perfectly.

Jul 22, 2012


Here is my third creation from the Colette Sewing Handbook, the Taffy blouse.  As much as I love this floral rayon challis with the navy polka dot bias trim, I have to admit that I was kind of meh about this top.  I wore it to church this morning, and that improved my opinion slightly, but I've decided that I will have to make some adjustments to this pattern before I make another Taffy.

I probably should have made this in a size two instead of a four, but I think I would still have a few fit issues even then.  The neckline was waaayyy too wide for my narrow shoulders (I added an inverted pleat to the front of this blouse to bring it in a little), and the darts are a bit too low, but I'm not sure simply cutting a smaller size would solve those issues.  Guess it's time to do some pattern tracing and modifying.

In spite of my issues with the fit of this top, I actually really like the big flutter sleeves.  I also adore bias tape, especially making my own, and french seams make me a little giddy.  Sewing nerd, I know.

When I first finished this blouse, before I decided that I did, in fact, like it, I wondered if I would even wear it.  I recently finished Elizabeth L. Cline's new book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, and it has had a definite effect on how I view buying and making clothing.  I began inspecting the blouses that currently hang in my closet and found only one with french seams (even though all were made of fairly thin, delicate, or sheer fabrics) but plenty with basic construction issues like seam puckering or uneven hems. I found myself liking my Taffy a little more knowing that it was more well-made than most of my own blouses, and it is not something that anyone else can run to Target or Forever 21 or Old Navy and buy.  Those seem like good enough reasons to justify the time and effort it will take to get this pattern fitting perfectly.

Jul 19, 2012

four months

Happy Four Months, Baby Colin!  The first thing Cara did when she woke up this morning was run over to her brother, kiss him, and tell him that she loved him "so much!"

Yeesss! I got my toes!

Mr. Colin is growing and growing.  At his four month well visit today, he weighed in at 15 pounds, 5 ounces and 27 inches!  That's almost six pounds and five and a half inches in four months!  He's getting some adorable rolls in his thighs and cheeks that almost rival his sister's.

Colin has definitely mastered rolling, and sometimes he rolls several times to get to a toy he wants.  According to Bitsy, this was also PJ's preferred method of mobility. :-) Like father, like son.

This is truly a happy baby.  Colin really only fusses when he is hungry or tired, and he smiles, coos, and laughs easily.  We have some very funny nonsense conversations, but it's so awesome to have that back-and-forth dynamic already.

One of Colin's favorite things to do is take a bath.  I've been laying him down in the tub with an inch or so of water, and he splashes and kicks and flails and LOVES IT.  Water in the face?  No big deal.  

The pediatrician has given us the green light to start some baby food, which should make for some interesting dinner times.  Maybe some dinner will help this boy sleep longer at night.  ;-)

linking up here

Jul 17, 2012

Cara goes to the dentist.

Cara went to the dentist yesterday for the very first time, and no tears were shed by ANYONE (not even Colin)!  I was a bit worried about my big girl, especially since she balked at a haircut, but she was so brave. She did spend the first 20 minutes or so pretending to be a kitten, but that's how I handle my nervousness too.  

(When I was taking pre-calculus in high school, I always said that my homework made me want to turn into a cat.  Seriously.  Cats have it so good: sleep, eat, get loved on.  No trying to learn mathematical formulas that make no sense.  I was clearly on to something...)

The dental hygienist found Cara's meowing adorable and convinced her to sit in that big scary chair and allow shiny, pointy objects into her mouth.  In fact, Cara went along with everything the hygienist wanted to do.  Counting teeth, polishing, even flossing!  Of course, there was a treasure box trip and an Ariel toothbrush waiting on the other side.  Maybe if we promise an Ariel hairbrush, Cara will allow a teeny, tiny haircut.

Jul 16, 2012

another weekend photo dump

This is the summer of traveling for the Cooper family.  You would think that adding another member to our family might keep us home for a while, but you would be sadly mistaken.  I think we've been to the beach more often this year than in the previous five or six summers!  Traveling with a baby and a preschooler can be a little stressful sometimes, but we've had a blast.

We just got back from a long weekend at the beach with PJ's family.  We had such a fun time!  Thank you, Papa and Mimi, for treating us to a wonderful vacation!

Cara and her cousins Ava and Jacob

soaking up some sleepy snuggles with my baby boy

This boy was made for naps on the beach.

Uncle Larry knew exactly how to win Cara's heart.

Jacob, Uncle Larry, Ava, Cara, and PJ

my sweet babies playing together
making Rapunzel a new dress out of napkins--this girl can find a way to entertain herself anywhere

Jul 11, 2012


May I introduce you to the Truffle, my latest completed project from The Colette Sewing Handbook?  This is my favorite dress ever in the whole world.  

I was so excited about having fixed my hair that I forgot to put on make up.  True story.

This dress went together smoothly, mostly due to the wonders of The Colette Sewing Handbook.  I hope all of the Colette patterns are this delightful to work with because I have my eye on a few more.  This was my first time installing an invisible zipper, which would be unremarkable except that I do not have an invisible zipper foot.  And my zipper still looks normal!  And my darts still line up!  

I caught this rayon shirting on sale at Fabric.com for $1.95!  Minus the cost of the book, this dress only cost me $6.83 to make!  The fabric has a linen-ish sort of texture, but a smoother drape and a silkier feel than linen, if that makes any sense.

I am very happy with the fit of this dress.  I cut both the bodice and the skirt by a size 4, and the only adjustment I had to make was taking up the shoulders just a bit.  Based on my research (ahem, reading blogs), it seems that this is a fairly common adjustment.  I won't say that it's a perfect fit, but it's quite comfortable and I feel awesome in it.  First day of school dress, perhaps?

And then there was this:



Cara's goal in life right now is to be a big girl. She wants to do things by herself and help me with whatever I'm doing. Don't call her a sweet girl or mommy's baby or a little booger; she will quickly correct you. "No, Cara's a big girl."

Because Cara is a big girl, I wanted to let her have a fun, big girl experience for her birthday. We love movies around here, so it seemed a good idea to take Cara to the movie theater for the first time. She was awesome. She loved the popcorn, she understood that she needed to be quiet, and she even managed that crazy, fold up chair.  However, we took her to see Brave, and I'm not sure we made the best movie choice.

I did a very small amount of research about the movie before we went, which was probably my biggest mistake.  The reviews praised the main character, Merida, for not falling into the typical Disney princess role.  She's more of a tomboy, and the plot revolves around her relationship with her mother, who, um...turns into a bear.  I did read that there were some scary scenes, but I pictured these scenes as the usual scary Disney stuff.  Remember when Maleficent turns into a dragon in Sleeping Beauty?  Or the fight between Gaston and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast?  These scenes are scary, but they are very brief and somehow seem very imaginary.  The scary bear scenes in Brave are longer and quite frightening.  They seem more real for some reason.  Cara ended up cowering a bit in my lap, and I wondered if I had made a mistake by letting her see the movie.

(That's not to say that Brave isn't a good movie.  I actually really enjoyed it, and I would say it's perfect for an audience of six and older.  Merida's mother as a bear was very funny; she worked really hard at maintaining her queenly dignity even though she no longer bore any resemblance to her former self.  The relationship between Merida and her mother was heart warming and true to life; neither was blameless, but they forgave each other and came to understand each other better by the end of the movie.  Love won.)

All of the good stuff from the movie was probably lost on my three-year-old.  In retrospect, I probably should have waited until Finding Nemo comes out in 3D (but even that one is a little scary).  I worried that Cara would have nightmares, especially when she asked if I was going to turn into a bear as we walked out of the theater.  I assured her that I was not planning to be anything other than her mommy, and I reminded her that in the end, Merida's mommy turned back into her mommy.

Fortunately, there have been no nightmares and no mention of scary bears.  I asked Cara this morning what she thought about going to see Brave.  Her answer was "it was fun and scary," and that's been the extent of her thoughts on Brave and bears.  Part of me feels like slapping my forehead, "what was I thinking??" but another part of me is offering grace.  I'm still learning too.  It's my job to monitor the media my children are exposed to, and when I fall down on the job, I have some explaining to do about why I'm not turning into a bear any time soon.

Jul 8, 2012

toddler no more

My baby girl is three years old.  I am the parent of a spunky, smart, sweet, beautiful preschooler.  One who had an absolute blast at her pink birthday party.

Her birthday weekend of fun started with a sleepover with her cousin Brooklyn.

Grandmama got the girls matching pajamas.

So silly.  I love it.

birthday breakfast

I made Cara two birthday outfits.  The first dress was really just a present:

the adorableness of the Oliver and S Bubble Dress

those buttons!  those scallops!

The twirly princess skirt was a special request.  Cara wore it underneath her Rapunzel dress.

Cara had some rather specific ideas about decorations for her party.  She wanted pink EVERYTHING.  Since we couldn't repaint the dining room pink, we had to come up with another plan, but I think these pink pom-poms added just the right amount of frilly, pink girlishness.  Cara loved them. (Side note: I have a feeling these will be hanging in our dining room for a little while longer, but they will eventually move to Cara's side of the shared nursery.  I love these so much that I might even steal one to hang in my closet or something.)

pom-poms from SnapLilly

My mom found this tablecloth at Big Lots, and my sister baked and decorated the cupcakes.  Her pink lemonade frosting was heavenly!

Cara's reaction to singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles was priceless.  These are some of my favorite pictures of her.  

One of the most fun things at the party was this cardboard castle:
three princesses

I'm so incredibly thankful to our family for coming to celebrate our baby girl.  Cara is surrounded by wonderful people who love her so much, and I couldn't ask for anything better for her.  Happy birthday, sweet girl!  

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