Dec 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

Oh my goodness, I have been MIA for about a month on this blog...which has totally never happened before. Call it a hectic holidays with toddlers and I'm pregnant and there is your reason. I have sat down to type out posts many times, or gotten out my camera to take pictures of the decor, only to realize I have no time or the house is too messy for photos. I have great posts. Really I do. I have an ultrasound picture, I took engagement photos of my sister and her fiance, my son did a great job in his Christmas program at school, but it just didn't get written. Maybe for this post I'll just focus on Christmas and save the rest for later in the week.

Hunter did a great job in his little performance. That's him front and center in the striped shirt doing a little twirl. He told me where he was going to stand and that he had a dancing part. I about had a heart attack. If you don't remember his first day of school and what a freak out he is new situations, well, lets just say he doesn't do well. The last time he was on stage about six months ago for his child dedication at church, he cried for about an hour first and spent his time on stage trying to hit Ainsley.I was a good mommy and just smiled and said, "that's great, Hunter!", when he told me. And much to my surprise he did great! This boy is growing up. He was so pleased with himself, that he found me in the crowd afterwards right away gave me a thumbs up as the song was ending. That's my boy.Now our tree doesn't look half bad in the above picture (sorry for the was taken with my point and shoot). This was taken about a week before Christmas after the kids were in bed and the house was semi decently picked up. And then there is the aftermath on Christmas day about one hour after opening presents. Oh help! They all had to open and play with their new toys right away including the big child who received Guitar Hero Rock Band and had to try out the new drums right away.

Now I realize that the reason for the season shouldn't be all this hectic hurry scurry. And for the most part, it wasn't. We did advent activities every night, we read the Christmas story many times, and sang lots of Christmas carols. We baked cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, sent out cards, visited family and friends, and enjoyed the season thoroughly. It's just that for me, this is not the season to be posting idyllic posts of my decor. Every thing about my house and life during this season screams "I have two little kids!" There is kid crafts everywhere, sticky cookie hand prints, and clutter galore. I mean my kid's favorite piece of Christmas decorating is the veggie tales nativity set. Hardly the photo op. So this year, I enjoyed it through the eyes of my children, and didn't worry about having a perfect house. Sorry blog for the lack of pretty pictures!

I do have some new fresh ideas for shoes wandering around in my head, but those will have to wait because next week we are visiting Tone's family in Missouri. Life marches on!

Dec 3, 2009

The Thanksgiving Marathon

We had a very busy week last week which involved two full Thanksgiving dinners. First stop, my Papaw's house in Angels Camp, California. Being that he lives on the end of a mile and a half dirt road on several acres, with lots more down the road, we took advantage of the scenery and outdoors. It's really lovely at his house up in the high foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The kids loved riding the ATV around and were squealing their heads off. Which was great until my sister, Krista and I took it out next, got a mile down the road, and then realized that they had run it out of gas. We were not looking forward to the walk back, but a kind neighbor helped us out.And a vacation at Papaw's house always includes shooting BB guns off the front porch at cans on the pasture fence . What? Well, OK, the Stover kids grew up country and we like to be a little redneck, even if we appear very cultured now.We drove straight from three days at Papaw's house to my Aunt's house here in Fresno for three more days of eating. My Uncle is an excellent cook, and makes sure we can only roll out the door by the time we go home. The menu included two turkeys (one smoked), AND a ham. Speaking of hams...these would be the sisters. And every year at their house, we attempt to get a Christmas photo. This requires everyone grinning and waving at the kids behind one of my sisters who is trying to get a decent photo of us. Ainsley was not amused. She looked mildly bored with all the gesturing at her.What can I say? A week with family included a whole lot more fun such as badmitton tournaments, a golf course set up in the horse pasture with manure standing in for sand traps, lively games at night, laughter, goofing off, many jokes, and making table decorations for my sister's upcoming wedding (yes, this was our one dignified thing we did). I am so thankful for my crazy, laughing, loving family. It's the spice of life don't you know?!

Nov 22, 2009

Nov 18, 2009

A Weekend at the Beach

We went back "home" this last weekend to Salinas where I grew up. My parents live only 20 minutes from the beach. We visited lots of old friends, stayed with my parents, and spend Saturday in Monterey enjoying the ocean. We first walked out on the Wharf to have clam chowder in bread bowls for lunch. Domenico's is delicious, but the best part is the view overlooking the wharf and the pelicans which sit against the window and entertain you while you eat. Seals, sea lions, and otters popped up every now and then too, and many different kinds of boats sailed right past the window on their way in or out to sea.Then we walked out down to the Coast Guard pier where the sea lions love to hang out. That one trying to get up on the rocks was particularly loud and noisy.Most sea lions ignored him however, and slept peacefully in the sun.We were enjoying the outdoors too much to go home, so we headed out around the point to Asilomar beach where the tide pools are. Hunter and grandad are scouting out sea anemonies, star fish and hermit crabs.
The rocks were slippery. Ainsley preferred hanging out on the beach and playing in the sand. She did not like climbing around on the rocks. The kids were too afraid to touch the sea anemonies even though I demonstrated how harmless and squishy they are. They covered almost every square inch of the rocks. Finally I got Ainsley to touch them, and that convinced Hunter that he should try it too (however cautiously). All in all, it was a lovely three day visit, and a nice break in the business of life.

Nov 10, 2009

If I only I had posted.......

Throughout the day I compose twitter or facebook updates in my head as a way of mumbling to myself about my lot in life. While pretty much NONE of these get posted, I would just like to share with you a smattering of a few of the ones that were composed in my head and discarded this week.

Ainsley has taken her pants and diaper off in her crib for the umpteenth time this week. Why does she insist on sleeping naked?

Hunter has decided that underwear, and only underwear, is the perfect outfit for the day.

While baking a pie for our friends tonight, it dripped and just about smoked us out. The pie was still good though.

I forgot I still had pie drippings in my oven from last night, and just about smoked us out again while I preheated the oven for tonight's biscuits. No bread tonight.

Ainsley told me her room was "spikey". I figured out the light was off and she meant "spooky."

Hunter woke up this morning with a ring around his mouth from last night's chocolate sauce on his ice cream. I guess I was more into getting him into bed than cleanliness. Oops.

Ainsley dressed herself this morning. The bottoms were the pink sparkley bottoms of her bikini swimsuit. The top was her heavy jacket. She told me she was ready to go outside now.

Hunter is running around our backyard with his cowboy hat, trench coat and underwear on. That's all.

Hunter has decided that if we have a girl, we are naming her Angelina. Daddy and I veto.

Hunter's new word is "ridiculous." He uses it quite liberally. Especially on things I do.

Ainsley was told not to bounce on my bed. She fell off and bit all the way through her lip. Guess she learned.

Why do I find racetracks clamped to every piece of furniture in my livingroom? I'm not allowed to move them either. Hunter says so.

Why did Ainsley feel the need to dump over all my folded laundry so she could find and dig out a shirt on the bottom to wear?

How is it two kids can fight so hard, and then cuddle like this on the couch like nothing ever happened two minutes later?
How come supermoms don't get paid?

Nov 7, 2009

8 weeks or so...

I am 8 weeks or so now. This picture was taken a week ago at 7 weeks. And I'm already showing. Crazy huh? And so not fair! I just hate moving into those maternity clothes and leaving my closet behind. Because I was (and am) feeling so sick, the doctor on Wednesday did an ultrasound to make sure there was only one in there (I wasn't so sick feeling with my other two kids). Rest assured, there is only one with a big strong heartbeat. The doc prescribed Zofran so I can get back to the land of the living. It only seems to work about 50% of the time and then only for the first 2 to 3 hours after taking it. But I have to wait 8 hours for another dose. Maybe a black shirt would have worked much better for this picture, but that would have involved finding one in the massive piles of laundry on my floor. See those deep circles under my eyes.....I was so not in the mood.I popped out very quickly with Ainsley too, but luckily I slowed down to normal size after about 4 months. Here is a picture of me a week before she is due and one hour before my scheduled c-section with her. See! Normal size. So I'm not too worried. I feel humongous, but don't look it too much. The main problem with feeling sick is the state of my house. After about 3pm, I feel like I can't cope and spend the rest of the day on the couch or in bed. Making dinner is pure torture. Poor poor Tone. He comes home from being gone for a few days to find a messy (OK, disastrous) house and no dinner and the kids going crazy. He said I needed to ORDER the doctor to give me something. Haha. Just one more month....just one more month of this.....I hope.

Nov 3, 2009


Halloween. The holiday where Hunter decides to be something weird and then I have to figure out how to make it. He decided this year he wanted to be a "big fat hippo." Really? Yeah, so this is what I finally made him. Here he is at school in the costume parade. Obviously he won for his grade level for "funniest costume". Luckily, Ainsley informed me she wanted to be a ladybug. Good something completely normal. Something you can buy at Walmart for $12. My kind of costume. Then we went to the pumpking patch for a birthday party. Actually, we had two birthday parties and a block party to go to on Halloween. I think we were home for all of one hour that day. It was pretty tiring to say the least. In fact, this next picture is at about 4:00 and napless Ainsley is starting to show a little attitude. This stump was the first step into a set of tall steps that went up the tree to a big tree house. And the train went by underneath it. So Hunter loved to stand up there and watch the train go by. And then of course we rode the train too.
Captain Jack Sparrow made an appearance at the party. Who knew he loved shaved ice?
And what tree house is complete without a rope swing?
So way too much cake and sweets later....
We finally went home just in time to join the neighbors for some trick or treating. Hunter didn't like it (shyness always gets the better of him), but Ainsley did. She thought it was the best thing ever. She also figured out if you say "trick or treat" more than once and keep holding your bucket out, you might get double treats. What a conniver!
Hope you had a happy halloween!
And if you made it this far through the post, then you should know that the winner of the cap is Sarah Stepanian! Congrats!

Oct 29, 2009

A warm cap giveaway

'Tis the, not for Christmas. Aack! I don't even want to go there yet! The season for cold weather! It's finally getting a chilly around here in California. This morning was the first morning we have woken up with a thin layer of frost on the roof. There go my roses! Drat!
Anyhow, in honor of that, I made a "warm weather set". I guess I could have made it with boots, but shoes work better with the type of leggings I make because they have a ruffle at the bottom. Just wear 'em with socks I guess (there's plenty of room).

Here are some other caps currenly available in the shop. And unlike my shoes, I make them in sizes newborn to adults.

Pink fleece with a polka dot posy. Pink fleece with a satin yoyo and pearls posy.
And lastly (my favorite for adults), a grey fleece cap with a cream felt flower.
This was taken of Ainsley last year in the middle of December. Her cheeks are a little flushed with the cold. The poor thing didn't have really any hair last year, so she wore caps all winter long.She looks as cute as a button though and didn't mind putting her bare legs on that rock. The things I put my children through for a picture. I didn't have my super duper nice camera then, so this was as good as it got with a point and shoot. She was wiggly and it wasn't until after I took as many pictures as she would let me that I realized that I had cut off part of her head in the best photos. Oops! I've gotten better since then....but I digress..... The MAIN point of this post is to let you know that I am holding another giveaway...a cap! And everyone can play since I will make it in whatever size you want. Christmas is could be a cute gift if you win. Some are obviously for little girls but I have had women order and wear the grey one with the cream felt flower.

Here are the sizes:

To enter just let me know what size you would pick, which one and who you would give it to (or maybe you would keep it).

I'll pick a winner November 2nd....just in time for cold weather!

Oct 28, 2009

Playing catch-up

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Morning sickness has kicked me to curb. Do you know how far behind I feel? In my shoe orders from my shop I am about 4 days behind. I did manage to sew four pairs to today and feel rather successful. I am also rather behind in household tasks. Can I just say I HATE folding and putting away laundry. However, if I did it a little more often, it probably wouldn't build up to the point where the clean loads take over my whole bed. Note to self: maybe try doing it more often! Ha!It probably didn't help that during my main "work" time when Hunter is at school and Ainsley is napping, I found this cheerful face asking to get out of bed. This happened a couple of different days this week where she never did actually nap and I ended up giving up after an hour or so. *Sigh* So much for sewing.We did attend a fun halloween party. Somebody, somewhere took a picture of our whole outfit, but alas, it's not on our camera. Tone was the Dread Pirate Roberts and I was Princess Buttercup from the movie, "The Princess Bride". I had the full red dress on with boots, and Tone was in black from head to toe with black pants, a sash, and cuffed boots. We watched the movie a few times to make sure we got their outfits just "so". Call us nerds, but it was totally fun. I ended up having to sew mine because nowhere could I find a dress with a full red skirt. And yes, Tone nursed that stache a full two weeks so he could trim it just like Westley's. We did win best costume though. I believe we won because of the mustache. A note on the bedrooms:
Our room is only one in the house that is not finished. It still needs to be painted. We are going for a travel theme since we both travel together so much. The white walls really bug me. Oh well, maybe next spring or summer. Our whole bedroom set was made by Tone. He made the dresser, bedside tables, and headboard. Actually the headboard is a heavyweight canvas shower curtain I found on clearance and he stapled it over a plywood backboard he made. It cost around $30 to make. No one has ever guessed until I tell them.

Ainsley amazingly has never pulled off the netting hanging above her bed or has ever messed with it. She even still has the mobile hanging up and likes to have it turned on when she goes to sleep still. She has never made an attempt to climb out and so for now, we still have her in crib where it's easy to make sure she stays in bed. If only Hunter was that easy.......

Oct 23, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Hunter!

So this little baby is growing up on is Hunter at one week old. We put him in the leaves on a lawn near our house. He was born during "peak week" in upstate New York. Back east, the leaves all change during one week called, "peak week." It couldn't have been more beautiful.
And here he is now. This was taken at five years and two days old on his first school field trip to the pumpkin patch. Such a big boy. Actually at birth he wasn't that small either at 9lbs 15 oz. That's 10 pounds of baby folks! It made for some kissable cheeks though. His pants never stay up and you can see all his bones, so I wonder where all that cute chub went? Oh well.
For his birthday, he wanted a pirate party. Of course, because that seems to be the "fad" boy party right now. And every year I make a special cake for him. This year I made him a pirate ship. I make it the night before and when they wake up on their birthday, it's waiting for them to see. It's our main birthday tradition. Even daddy helps me with the cake if he's home.
Happy birthday big guy! We are proud of the boy you are becoming!

Oct 19, 2009


Well, we have some shocking news over here..... Can you read her shirt?

If you can't, I'll read it for you. It says, "I'm Going to be a Big Sister (but I'm still a little princess)."
Yep. Six pregnancy tests later.....Yep.
Here are some factoids for those who will ask:
1. NO! We were not trying.
2. Ooops!
3. Mommy is now excited. Daddy is still processing. Hunter has decided twins would be good so that it would be even. We don't agree. Ainsley is clueless.
4. I am six weeks along and feeling good (only a little queasy). Still running full speed ahead with life as usual.
5. Due June 16th.
6. Yes, we will be finding out what it is.
7. No, I am not giving up the office/sewing room. We believe in bunk beds.
8. I'm still not buying a mini van.

Oct 10, 2009

A busy week....

Many friends coming in and out....

Children in and out of my house all day (some of them mine, some of them not).....

Toys littering the ground, multiplying just as fast as I pick them up.....

Craft projects all over my kitchen table.....

School papers, which I should as least look at, piled up on my counter.....

Rounds and rounds of pots and pans which get cleaned and magically get immediately dirty again and land back in the sink.....

Ants have decided to invade the house and I have been on the hunt for the last week trying to figure out where these zillions of ants are coming from......

Large shop orders coming in, most with special requests I have to pay attention to, and then madly sew....

A feeling of being so overwhelmed, I listened to my Bible reading from an online site while I sewed. Such a cheater I know........

One big surprise which took me off way off guard......

Travel plans for the year being made and unmade.......

Tone gone most of the week.......

Many long surprise phone calls from family and friends.....

And event I had looked forward to tonight was completely forgotten. I guess I was too busy to remember it...

Watching my son watch "Star Wars" for the first time. Sharing something I used to love as a child with him. He wanted to know why "guy in black breathes funny like he's been exercising or something.".....

God speaking to me in the quiet moments of my heart, when I actually slow down and take a breathe.....

He has richly blessed me. Each friend, child, meal, shop order, and the happy sound of laughter is a blessing.

Thank you Lord for busy weeks. Now next week, can we let it slow down a bit?

Oct 6, 2009

I just really like the hat.....

I just really like the hat. And maybe the girl who is modeling it too. Enough said.

Happy Fall!

Just a post of my mantel. Very inexpensive. In fact, most of it was bought at the Dollar Tree. The crows, vases, pumpkins, white berry wreaths, black candle stand and apple....all one dollar. My living room is red, pink and green. I can't put orange decor in there or it'll clash! So this is my solution. Shades of neutrals, whites, and black. I made the boo banners out of craft paper, tulle, and ribbon. The ones in the vases are on skewer sticks stuck in spanish moss.

You can see in the mirror that I even have some crows and pumpkins on the shelf on the other side of the room.
This next picture seems to channel a little "Snow White".

What's that? You actually wanted to see a picture of the shelf on the other side of the room? Don't we always love to peer into other people's spaces? Ok, well here ya go. But I hadn't put the crows up yet when I snapped this picture. I had just hung the three botanical fern pictures under the shelf. However, I do now have two crows on the shelf and one perched on the moss in the vase. And yes, (I know you are thinking it), as an English major, I have definately read every single work Edgar Allen Poe published. Hmmm, it's bothering me now that I didn't notice the hanky hanging there was crooked.

Here's a little note about my photographing today. I cropped in close so you couldn't see the floor. We had a bunch of friends over yesterday and there are still a lot of toys laying around. I stepped awkwardly around cars and tracks to get these shots.

Happy fall everyone! I couldn't resist a picture of this little guy who has been living on this plant for weeks. He eats the bad bugs, so we let him stay.