Sunday, December 28, 2014

bat cave

Jackie has called Matthew "Bruce Wayne" since he was born. She never worried about him stating, "he'll be fine, he's Batman".  Matthew was born premature and also had to have emergency surgery when he was about 1 month old.

I was at my mother-in-laws for Christmas and my niece had made one for her son, who is exactly the same age as Matthew. "Well, I'm stealing the idea!", I told her. She told me she fond it on Pinterest, The next time Matthew was over with his carrier - I made one.

I went to the fabric store and found some batman material. I had to do a batman one and now we call it his bat cave. :)

Here's the link for the detailed instructions on how to make yours. It is nicely done and filled with a lot of step by step instructions. It's done by a young lady named Chelsea, and her site is Life With My Littles.

The only thing I did differently was put a piece of fleece in between the 2 pieces of flannel. It can't be too warm with our Michigan winter. And warm it was .... I used it in the car seat when he took a little catnap and when he woke up - he was sweaty.

So now, our little Bruce Wayne has his very own bat cave.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

favorite memories for Christmas 2014

Growing up, we spent many Christmas s with Aunt Dottie. Some of my most memorable ones in my life were spent with her and Uncle Frank, Darlene, and Barbara Gail. One year, Nick (her son-in-law) has a ruptured ulcer and was rushed to the emergency room. It delayed Christmas for us which was traumatic for a young, eager girl. 

Another year, my dad had sent us 3 of the very same dolls for Christmas that we wanted so badly. It was there in Cincinnati that I received that doll. He did that every year - we all 3 got the very same thing. But those were the coolest dolls ever - they talked.

Every year I get more and more content with my life and this year, Christmas was filled with my family - all of whom I just adore - a perfect Christmas recipe.

During my two weeks off work, I decided to put all my Santa s under the tree and do a special photo shoot. These are all the Santa s Burke has bought me over the years - some of them came bearing gifts.

I got a new camera early for Christmas so I was happily learning how to use it. I must have took 25 pictures of our tree. I never really got the one I liked the best - but this one will do.

Burke shot this one of the Christmas stocking. Sometimes he can be very clever, often taking the opportunity to shoot photos as I am complaining about not getting good pictures. I made the Christmas stockings for everyone in our family.

I made this one for Julia. I found a cool image of a combined American/Swedish flag and embroidered it on her stocking. I told her she could have this and take it back to Sweden when her student visa is up.

We went to a new church this year for Christmas Eve. It was called the Unitarian Universalist of Ann Arbor and I really enjoyed the Christmas Eve celebration. We sang Christmas carols, talked of the Christmas Story, and the message was that every child born brings light into our worlds.

Our dog Butters, who sat patiently at home and waited for us to return. We all stayed up past midnight and I had no problems sleeping that night.

First thing Christmas morning, I headed up the stairs and was greeted by our cat Q who always runs me down to fill up his food dish. He always freaks out if there is the smallest of missing food.

Burke set up the tripod and we took a few family pictures before the unwrapping of gifts began. This one I was more interested in talking with Matthew than looking at the camera.

Jason got a Chuck Norris movie from Jackie. I think he really liked it. We got him a new desktop that he asked for.

Jackie calls Matthew "Bruce Wayne", so she got him this bib. I love it!

Julia opening her presents. She hates it when I take her picture - but she lets me.

I didn't get a good one of Jenny's family, I'm so mad about that. Jen sent me this picture the next day. Aren't they gorgeous?! We got Bobby a new coat, Jenny got some dog grooming supplies that she really loved.

This present was for lil Bobby. It was the video game chair that he really liked. I bought 2 for our basement for when the boys come to spend the night.

Jackie and Mel with Matthew. I really like Mel's present from Jackie - it's a NASA space camp jumpsuit. I got Jackie some clothes and Mel got a herb garden.

The boo bear. It's so weird I have to wake her up every year for Christmas morning. She turned 14 this year and is more beautiful every day. We got her a new desk chair for her room and some new headphones.

William played Santa this year and did a great job. He got a chair just like Hollys.

I got a new Santa from Burke, bearing some rolled up money in his hand. :) I think he might be my favorite one so far. God, I'm getting so fat..... *sigh**

We went over to Burke's moms house later that day for Christmas dinner. It was great to see Maryann, Sean, Peter, Molly, Noah, Archer, and Chuck. A small crowd considering there are 7 brothers and sisters in his family - but nice all the same.

Monday, December 22, 2014

the making of a christmas stocking

With two new additions to the family, I finally got a chance today to make their stockings. I started with Matthew's stocking first. I also made one for Julia, our Swedish foreign exchange student.

I have the advantage of owning an embroidery machine, but if I didn't ..... I would probably use some glitter glue to write the family's members name on their stocking.

I got out my pattern which I made a few years ago. Here's how I made it.

I took an old stocking I had and used it as a template. Cut 2. Keep one in tact, that will be the inside of the stocking. I usually make this out of fleece. The second one cut the top off (for the name), and the heel off for some extra decorations.

I'm using my embroidery machine here to complete the top of the stocking. I bought the fonts several years ago - it's called Walt Disney. I have this entry level Brother embroidery machine which I bought for about $300 and I love, love, love it. It only does 4x4 designs and only a single spool at a time - but what a work horse! I haven't killed it yet!

I sew the top to the bottom part of the decorative stocking. I used some brick brack over the seam line. Do the back the same way.

I embroidered the heel of the stocking to make it extra special for my grandson. I used a nice big block of white to do the actually embroidery. Once it was done, I put the heel out around the design.

And then sewed it to the stocking.

With right sides together, sew the decorative stocking together at the sides.

Use the full size sock template to cut out the fleece for the inside. Cut 2.

And sew the fleece together at the sides leaving about a 2-3 inch opening in the seam to turn the stocking inside out.

Make the hook for the stocking by taking some fabric, fold inside and again. Iron it very well to make nice sharp edges. Sew edges together.

Put the fleece stocking inside the embroidered stocking with right sides together. Basically, you are putting one stocking inside the other. Always, always, always make sure right sides are together. Pin the hook hear the seam.

Sew together around the top of the stocking.

When it's done, pull it right side out through the 2 inch opening you left in the fleece. It should look like this.

Sew the 2 inch opening in the fleece closed.  Push the fleece inside the embroidered stocking and voila! There you are!

The stocking is done for my sweet baby grandson, Matthew. It matches his brothers and his mom's. On to Julia's!

Isn't that just the sweetest face ever! My little monkey face ...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Giggle Box Graduates!

Congratulations Jacquelyn! You made it! You conquered the Chemical Engineering program at University of Michigan and came out the other side.....victorious!

Congratulations to your son... who walked with you through every struggle.

Say goodbye to long long hours studying at the library .... And crazy lab partners.

Say goodbye to driving to campus to park and take a bus to the different classes.

Say goodbye to stressful final exams and late night SWE meetings.

Say hello having more time to spend with your family! And what an awesome bunch of people we are. Hahahahahaaaaa! But ... we always got your back.

Say hello to your awesome sister ... and Bruce Wayne.

Say hello to seeing more of your friends and girl friend.

And just as important - but not more than .... say hello to the dollar billzzzzz!

We are super super proud of you! Congratulations University Michigan, School of Engineering Grad of 2014! What an accomplishment!

Now you can say hello to being a U of M alumni!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Samsung NX30 Digital Camera

I wanted a new camera for Christmas and I finally got around to looking at the different ones available. It has been awhile since I looked at the digital camera technology.  

When I started thinking of what was truly important to me in a camera, I came to the conclusion that it was the ability to share my pictures and videos quickly. Share them to social media sites and for my blog. I wanted a nice digital SLR that was SMART.

After reading a bunch of camera reviews, I settled on the Samsung NX30, which is a mirrorless digital camera. The mirrorless technology also makes the camera smaller, so it's easy to just throw it in my bag and go.

If you're looking for me to spout all the technical shooting specifications, then you're going to be disappointed. It has all the bells and whistles of being a good digital camera, but when it arrived - I set out to discover all the sharing capabilities. I knew it was Samsung and the picture quality would be excellent. The HD Video capability is fantastic as well!

I loved the fact that I could easily share my pictures and videos to my smart phone. Right away I was using my smart phone as a view finder for the camera. It was quick and easy to attach to my wireless network and just as easy to log in and share my photos to Facebook. Done and Done.

The one gotcha that I found with sharing was with Picasa, which is the Photos capability through Google. I keep logging in and it was tell my that the username/password was wrong. In my email, I got several notices from Google saying "We recently blocked a sign-in attempt to your Google Account."

After monkeying around, I figured I had to move to the 2 step verification process in my profile's security options and ta-do! It worked! It caused me a little heartburn as every device I had logging into Google was now changing through a 2 step verification process. 

All in all, I love the camera and I'm having fun going through all the shooting features and trying them all out. I also ordered a close up and long range lens - coming soon!.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

MunchingBrotato Quest

Holly turned 14. OMG! Holly turned 14! What do you want for your birthday Boo?

She finally came downstairs and said, "I wanna go to Chicago. MunchingBrotato is having a meetup - can we go?" She lives and breathes the Minecraft You Tuber.'ll be fun for us and Julia (our foreign exchange student) too - she'll get to see a really big city. OK then - let's do this! She packed her special edition phone case for his signature.

Four hour drive to Chicago from Michigan .... and both the girls fell asleep. Julia does this all the time - sleeps sitting up.

After a couple hours, we stopped off in Indiana.

Burke was super excited ...he was born ready! For what? We have no clue. Julia has now been in 3 states in the US.

Super scary Skyway bridge. STOP sightseeing Burke! and keep your eyes on the road.

After we got into our room at the Chicago Hilton, we went out for some sightseeing. The Christmas tree by the Grand Ballroom.

I had Burke, Holly and Julia stand by the non-working fountain for a photo op. It was cold - they were not amused.

And then we froze out by Lake Michigan.

My first panoramic view of the city line with my new awesome camera!

 Julia's first encounter of one of our lovely Great Lakes.

Walked right by a protest. "Hands up - don't shoot!".

We finally got to Gino's East for their famous deep dish pizza! It was so good, we ate it all! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for a good nights sleep. Big day tomorrow!

First thing in the morning after breakfast, we went to the Art Institute of Chicago for some art sniffing. Renoir, Monet, and much much more. It was awesome to see the long line to get in.

Eating lunch at the Art Institute..... it was nearly time. She was so nervous - freaking out really. Was having weird anxiety dreams for weeks now. She looks calm, but inside she was flipping out!

We headed over to the Bean or Cloud Gate.

Ahhh the Bean. As we approached the meeting place, the Tweet went out. He was on the way - but 15 mins late! Oh no! Super cold and already I couldn't feel my feet.

It wasn't on the news, but the bean fell off it's track and started to roll. No worries, Burke was there to stop it and put it back.

The weirdest thing happened.... A parade of Santa's showed up. Couple hundred and lined up in front of the bean. Sweeeeet....

We watched the ice skaters at Millennium Park while we huddled together trying to keep warm. Waiting ..... for mashing potato, brunching motato. Wondering if he had a brother .... munching tomato?

A large herd of people started to gather. "Who is that?" I heard someone say. "It's something potato.", said someone else. Holly immediately freaked out. He's here!

She managed to squeek near him. OMGlob! The crowd gathered around him and started spilling out into Michigan Ave. Suddenly a sheriff appeared out of nowhere and guided the poor boy into safer area, as he was signing autographs.

And finally, it was her turn. Look at that beautiful smile! And he's ok too. Tyler Kristy is his name.

Finally the crowd thinned out and there was a few die hard fans. Selfie! Those girls were die hard fans!

Holly was in hog heaven! She floated out of there. We went back to the hotel and waited for Burke and Julia, who had slipped out to go up to the Sears Tower.

Once Burke and Julia made it back to the hotel, we headed out! Mary Lambert, Fitz and the Tantrum, and Sam Smith all at the Miracle on State Street. The place was rocking!

Burke captured this amazing shot the very next morning. Sunday .... heading back.

Best weekend ever!!