T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Saturday, December 31, 2011

House Fire...Drill...

Remember when T Rex pulled the fire alarm at T Rex Dad's company health center? That pales in comparison to this. At least none of us are to blame this time. Here are two versions of the same story.
T Rex Dad's version...
Did you know that it's standard procedure to send two fire trucks, a hook and ladder truck, and a command vehicle to a 911 call for a fire alarm at home? We didn't either, until last night when we were forced to call because every smoke alarm in our house went off for 30 minutes starting at 2:50 AM (of course).

After evacuating the kids and dogs to our most excellent and kind neighbors, we called 911 and the firemen arrived in about 4 minutes. They were super friendly and kind, and searched the house from bottom to top, finding no fire or hot spots. Weird? They said it's very common for dust or even a spider to trip the detectors. The detectors stopped screeching about the time the firemen arrived.

In case you are wondering what this is a picture of, it is a spider emerging from a smoke detector in our bonus room at 3:27 AM....
Much embarrassment and very little sleep for all involved. Thanks Mr Spider..... Glad this was only a 'drill' though.
T Rex Mom's version...

Awakened to a single, loud chirp of a fire alarm at around 2:50 am, I asked T Rex Dad to investigate. As he emerged from bed all the alarms started to go off. I reached for my glasses, robe, and slippers, took a quick sniff and look around. The kids were still sleeping. T Rex Dad raced around the house looking for the fire which he could not find. We decided we could not stay in the house in case there was something smoldering somewhere. I bundled up the kids and with little Bebe Sister wrapped in blankets ran over to the Good Neighbors' house and rang the door bell. 

They emerged and heard the alarms and whisked us inside to a warm bed. I can only imagine what they were thinking seeing the kids and me in our PJs outside their doorstep at 3:00 am before they heard the alarms.

While we comforted and warmed the kids, T Rex Dad called 9-1-1. T Rex was a bit upset by all the noise in our house. Bebe Sister woke up the moment I laid her in the soft, cool bed (silly girl). We could hear the fire trucks arriving and T Rex kept asking to go see. Neighbor D went to see if T Rex Dad needed assistance. He also grabbed his camera and took the firetruck photos knowing it would be great blog fodder - seriously, these people are always thinking of others.

Neighbor M, beloved of the kids, stayed with us and kept us company. Finally after about 30 minutes we bundled back up and went home. Verdict - something tripped the alarm system - dust or spider. Alas, we could not ignore the alarms knowing we have small kids and pets that rely on us in case there was truly something wrong. The firemen said it was the right thing to do and it happens more often than people think. Sometimes, the house really is on fire and all those trucks are needed.

We are so glad everything was alright. Also glad to know our tax dollars cover this house visit, too - I was not looking forward to that bill. I kept telling T Rex we could take him to see the fire engines this year. Guess we had to sneak this in on the last day of the year! The fire chief personally invited him to tour the fire house at his convenience. T Rex was most gracious and shook all their hands and thanked them before bidding them farewell.

Here's a little interview I took just as the fire trucks were pulling away:

Well, we needed a fun and exciting story for 2011.  We bid thee farewell and express our gratitude and thanks to all those who have made this year a wonderful one.

Onto 2012 - here's hoping the excitement we have is equally innocent.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011...

Wearing Christmas PJs.
This year we declared we were keeping things as simple as possible. We also wanted to be home as much as possible to enjoy our little ones while they are still little. Our families were most kind to understand our feelings in the matter and helped to accommodate as such, too.

Here's a little recap:

(be forewarned - lots of photos)

December 23rd - Christmas Eve Eve:

Dinner with my family. My sister always sets a beautiful table. This year was no exception. We had surf and turf - organic beef and wild caught snow crab.

The kids had so much fun playing with their cousin Dede. T Rex was literally jumping and pouncing on him. He is really great with them and can always make them laugh. Actually, we were all laughing non-stop.

Dede found a basket with and handle and offered to pull them around like it was a wagon - poor kid, he was doing that for about 20 minutes. Good thing he is young. 

T Rex was fascinated by my sister's Christmas village. I have not put ours up in a couple of years so T Rex has no memory of ours. Yes, my mom has an eye shield on as she had surgery a couple days prior. She is doing great and can see significantly better.

Christmas Eve:

We were up early as Bebe Sister is still adjusting to her sleeping situation. Getting up early worked out fine because we had a house full of guests who stopped in for Christmas Eve brunch - T Rex Dad's sisters and their families. I felt bad as they were earlier than expected and I was still in my PJs. Luckily, family is forgiving and the kids, who were dressed, were kind to entertain while the adults dressed and prepared the food. No photos of this are posted as I did not obtain permission to post. It was a nice gathering and the kids love hanging with their aunties, cousins, and Uncle Doc. Grandma and Grandpa were certainly missed. When our guests departed, the kids and T Rex Dad took naps while I did some last minute preparations.

The evening brought Christmas Eve dinner. Alas, I do not set beautiful tables like my sister. I forgot to make the bread or even prepare a dessert for our meal but the roast was delicious and our wonderful neighbors brought over these frosted sugar cookies that were decadent and severed perfectly as dessert. Then the kids and I made gingerbread cookies. T Rex has this book he loves to read called "The Smells of Christmas". In it, the young bear makes gingerbread boys. T Rex gave this request and since we are working on developing some of our own traditions, I complied. 

The cookies took a while so afterward we quickly bathed and checked the Santa tracker one last time before departing to bed. Yes, Bebe Sister is naked - she insisted on no clothes and these days she is very opinionated and strong willed. We're fine with our independent girl.

Bebe Sister went to bed and T Rex set out cookies - some of Auntie J's homemade ones and some of the gingerbread boys he cut and decorated. Then a viewing of Charlie Brown Christmas.

It was tough to wind the little guy down but he finally went to sleep. Fortunately, everyone was so tired we had a lovely Christmas morning not waking before 8:00 am.

Christmas Day:

By the way, T Rex reported hearing Rudolph's nose and that it woke him during the night. (I'll try to post a video interview with him on his blog soon along with other Christmas photos.)

This is the photo of the tree as we saw it first thing in the morning. 

The kids delighted in opening their stockings. Bebe Sister would have been fine unwrapping one gift and just being allowed to play with it. T Rex had fun in the opening so it was a lovely partnership. 

T Rex was most excited about the small Jeff Gorvette Cars Car that Santa brought. Oh, the little things...I love it.

A few of the gifts the kids received...

Handmade vest from Auntie J
Driving the new Jeff Gorvette on Ms. Julie's car roll she made for T Rex - thank you!
From Grandma and Grandpa
New mitt with soft balls from cousin Dede.
Then off to ride that new scoot(er) that Santa brought T Rex, as requested. After T Rex Dad helped T Rex get started he wanted to give a demo to his cousin Dede.

Everyone was far too generous to us. Honestly, having a healthy Christmas was more than enough as last year we were all too ill to do much other than watch a Christmas show. Thank you all for sharing these Christmas photos, moments, and memories. We hope you also had a wonderful and blessed Christmas, if you celebrate it. 

Onto the new year...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crafted Gift Preview - 2011...

Be prepared. Many, many photos. I've had many ask about my various crafting projects so this is a preview of many. Some I shipped without photographing and some are gifts that cannot be shared until a later time. 

If you're like to recall some of last year's projects, you can go here.

These are for keeps. Next year I'll make them some snow kids.
In all these instances, every item had a predestined home. There is always great love and care which goes into each item. 

Most commonly I am asked how I find time. Yes, I'm a mom to two very busy kids but I'm also a full time graduate student. Well, I'd like to say I'm pretty good with time management. But I also have help from my wonderful and very supportive husband, a mom that sometimes helps with the projects or just plays with the kids so I can finish them up, and kids that are also good about playing and allowing me time to finish. They know these projects often mean new things for them to play with.

Here are some other methods I use to find crafting time:

- Stay up late. (Julie in CT, you can attest to this!) Rarely am I asleep before midnight.
- During breakfast. I always drink protein shakes. I cannot eat breakfast. After 8 months of morning sickness while pregnant with Bebe Sister, I still cannot bring myself to eat in the morning. Crocheting and drinking my shake are the way to go for me.
- While sitting at the foot of my little girl's bed waiting for her to drift off to sleep - sometimes this takes 15 minutes and sometimes it takes 2 hours. I just keep a tiny light handy so I can work.
- During arts/crafts or playdough time with the kids. Alas, one of my major projects ended up with markers on it. Such as it is. Still, I could not get too upset as the little bean said she wanted to help.
- While listening to school lectures. This past semester I usually had 2-4 hours of lectures each week so I would often crochet during some of the not-so-challenging subject matters. Actually, it did a great job keeping me from falling asleep.
- While working out - while I'm on the elliptical I can do some simple crocheting. 

Needless to say, often my items are not perfect (and I'm a perfectionist - hence, a life learning lesson to deal with less-than-perfect work). As I said, sometimes there are marker stains or even dropped stitches due to poor lighting conditions. However, each item is crafted with love and care for the person who will be receiving it. At this point in my life, I don't have much in the way of monetary items to give but I do have my crafting skills and very precious time and that I can share.

I hope you enjoy seeing the projects as much as I had making them. 

I present to you the 2011 Crafted Gift Preview...

My nephew wears this sock monkey hat in his favorite team's colors. Thus, I made him a matching sock monkey. This one is my own design. I used a pattern for another one I made in the traditional sock monkey colors but I cannot seem to find a photo of that one.

I also made a bag to wrap his gifts in. I kept with the blue and orange theme. (Don't worry, he does not read the blog.)


As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I restored one of my old dolls to pass along to Bebe Sister.  This was my most treasured Cabbage Patch Doll from 1985. Yes, I know some of you were not even born then. Well, I was about 7 years old when I was given this doll. I loved her for so many years. Actually, she was quite dirty. I read a few online tutorials about cleaning and restoring dolls. She came out looking great. I dressed her in an outfit I purchased months ago on Etsy. I cannot take credit for her outfit. However, I did make her more clothes which I can take credit for. Her name was Julie. We'll see if Bebe Sis wants to keep the name or change it.

Then, I made a dress and some pajama pants for Bebe Sister with matching clothes for her dolls. I had to also make a Hello Kitty to go with that particular set of clothes. I was very pleased with that result.

I found a local artist who made this baby doll cradle. It was only $15.  Love shopping local. I went ahead and made a mattress pad for it and a doll blanket. The blanket will match one of Bebe Sister's which she received from her great-aunt L, a very treasured item. 


I used one of T Rex's old long sleeve shirts along with a snowflake I made to pull this little item together. This took such a small amount of time yet our daughter has LOVED wearing it. I gifted this to her early so she could enjoy it this winter season. I also made several more of these snowflakes to tie around gift packages. The snowflake is an "advanced pattern" - I guess I am achieving higher crafting status!

These little mailboxes filled me with giggling glee as I made them. I saw these somewhere online and thought they were really cool but I was not going to pay a stitch of money for something I knew I could make with some felt that was crowding my closet. They are a little on the small size but only because I was using tiny scraps of felt. I really think the kids are going to get a kick out of them as they've pulled the three mailbox ornaments we have off the tree and have been trying to mail letters out of them.

Another project with the kids in mind - baking/crafting aprons. I really wanted to find a set at the local craft show but there was nothing with full clothing coverage which I think is needed - my kids make huge messes. I basically used an appropriately sized t-shirt as a template and made these. Little crowns for my girl and rockets for my little guy. Again, I think they'll get a kick out of them - especially with the pocket in front.

I made several of these wash cloth/face cloth sets to pair with my homemade lavender frankincense soap. I am not terribly happy with the soap but at least it turned out alright. Next time, I'll double check my recipe so I don't have to rebatch it. It does sud up nicely but I don't like the fragments of lavender in it - clogs up my sink. It does smell nice, though. 

Every year for the past 15 years, my dearest friend and I trade packages. It's really become a tradition and we look forward to seeing what we come up with each year. Before kids the packages were really about us. These days it's more about the kids. She has four so I always need to start early so I'll be able to get the package sent out in advance. This year I asked her to have her kids send me a list of their favorite animals. The list included: elephant, baby elephant, King Cobra, and a shark. It took some creativity for some of these (the snake pattern is my own design) but these are the end results. Note the baby elephant has a pacifier around it's neck.

The yarn on the shark was awesome to work with. I used it to also make this wolf for Bebe Sister's little friend who's in the UK celebrating his 2nd birthday this week.

Another dear friend received this before she embarked on her Europe trip. I thought it would be the perfect size for her passport. It's 100% wool. I just loved the color.

On the past couple outings to "the big Joann's store" T Rex has spotted this red monster. I think a child stitched it during a crafting class or something as it really is asymmetrical and kind of ugly. But he just loves it and always goes on and on about. So, last time we were there I looked at it, made some mental notes, and made one for him. I tried to make it a little less hideous and at least kept the eyes about the same size (unequal pupils are not a good sign when I see someone in the clinic with them). Here's the result. Behind him is the fabric bag made to go along which I'll be wrapping T Rex's homemade gifts in. He loves the Rudolph movie.

Taking an idea from Caboose Cloth, I devised this Cars carrying case for T Rex. It folds up so he can take his Cars on the road  or unrolls to reveal little slots for up to 5 Cars. It is intended for the larger Pixar Cars but will also hold the smaller Hot Wheels. Honestly, I think he'll be most excited about the fabric pattern.

I still have a couple of items to finish up this week. My goal is to not be crafting on Christmas Eve. Dear T Rex has big baking plans for us that day so I don't want to be sewing and missing out on baking.

This will likely be my last posting until after Christmas. Please let me wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. We celebrate Christmas so a very merry Christmas to you. Thank you all for the kinds words and support you bestow upon us here. It does warm our hearts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Garden-a-Glow 2011

Since I'm on break from school the fun can begin. Actually, T Rex Dad and the kids wanted to take me out to celebrate a successful school semester.

Some dear friends, before departing for the UK for the holidays, gifted us with tickets to the local botanical garden's Winter Garden-a-Glow. (Thank you!) We go every year and especially love to go the week before Christmas as the lights just seem to bring out the Christmas cheer in all of us. If you'd like to see our trip from last year, you can go here.

There are many photos so I will keep the commentary short. 

Both the kids ran around and had the best time. Bebe Sister looked like a little State Puff Marshmallow in her snow suit. She was well padded too as she kept falling down. She does has a pretty ugly scratch on her nose which will hopefully heal up before Christmas. It did not seem to stop her or even make her cry. She just keep going and going. It was her first time running the Garden. (Yes, she slept well - we had to wake her at 8:40 the next morning.)

"The Bridge" - a favorite of Bebe Sister's. She loves saying the word "bridge" and we love hearing her say it. 

Our little daughter is becoming a bit of a prankster - see how she's peeking through the bars of the bench in the first photo? T Rex is becoming our great poser and will actually hold still long enough for us to take a photo.

T Rex taking a break. He did a fair amount of running around, too. He was most proud, though, that his listening ears were working that night.  He was certain to remind us several times before departing to bed.

The kids rang the bell - Bebe Sister's first time.

Complimentary cookies for the kids and hot cider for the adults. Mmm. Somehow they always taste better there in 25 degree weather. Bebe Sister had a death grip on her cookie which she took before we had even given a donation. T Rex went back for seconds on his sugar cookie.

Meeting Prancer - she is very sweet and soft. 

Truly a wonderful time. The trip seems to just get better every year and even more fun having little ones to enjoy it with.