Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oh the adventure...

Our time in Anchorage is coming to a close. This time, at least! Who knows if we'll ever make it back--we certainly didn't expect it when we left last time! It's been a great 3 years and I'm a little sad to leave. (Ask me in October if I miss it...I'll probably say HECK NO! because I'm not having to deal with snow and extreme cold!) Yesterday we went to the Alaska Zoo for the last time, got some great views of the moose, he even posed for me! We also got to see the Funny River pups (5 wolf pups that were rescued from the Funny River fire) and I just wanted to go cuddle them. They are so adorable! There were also 3 moose babies that ran up to the fence when Munchkin and I came up to see them. I wouldn't mind cuddling them either. 
Mark managed to get us an amazing room--since on post lodging was full, we're out in town--and I will miss the amazing views around here. It's nice to be able to sit here and really soak it all in before we go! 
The movers were in last week and they were AMAZING. They were fast, courteous, and SO careful with our stuff. The most amazing part? They had common sense! Some movers don't and some crazy stuff gets packed. We did end up with a couple things getting packed that weren't supposed to (like Munchkin's Epi-Pens!) but nothing that we can't fix. It wasn't my purse or dirty dishes (both of which I've been told have gotten packed before...). 
Lightning headed off to visit Auntie, the kids were NOT happy to leave him at the airport for his flight, but he got there safely and is happily waiting for us to come get him. 
The kids are doing really well for the circumstances. Munchkin has accepted this and is just going with the flow--I've been telling her ever since we got the official word that the Army is telling Daddy that he has to go work somewhere else now, so we have to move. We've talked it up to her and she's excited to be close to Texas! She'll tell anyone that'll listen that Louisiana is Texas's neighbor! Lil' Man, on the other hand, isn't taking it as well. He cried when we left our house for the last time, keeps asking to go back, and generally is just stressed. It's hard to remember he's only 2 1/2 some days, because he acts so much older most of the time! This is the only place he's ever known, he doesn't understand moving, and we've just ripped away everything he's known and thrown it upside down! Munchkin does her best to comfort him too and he just needs some reassurance every now and then. I think he'll be the most excited to get a new house on the other end of all this!
I'm excited, nervous, and a little terrified for this trip. The big carrot on the end of the stick is Disneyland. I CANNOT wait to get there and see our kids go crazy (hopefully in a good way!) and have an excuse to act a little crazy myself. I'm also super excited to see my parents there too. (Yes, we'll be seeing them a couple days later in Texas too...but still) Canada is my biggest anxiety-inducer. I have printed off info from both the U.S. and Canada about what ID is required at the borders since we had problems with that before and really just since we're driving through some remote country, I always worry. At least we're in the summer for it and if there is a place, it's more than likely open! 
I think we'll have a pretty amazing trip, I just hope we all have our sanity at the end of it. 19 days on the road (plus 4 at Disney) is a long trip! Then we'll have almost a month in Texas before finally heading to Fort Polk in August. Here's crossing fingers that we don't have to wait for housing!!
Sorry that this post is more than all over the place, I can hardly have an uninterrupted thought these days with everything that's going on! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Project: Finish!

It's getting incredibly close to moving time--the movers will be here the middle of next week! I went through my pile of mending/items to be finished and got them all done this morning! (I'm still working on my birthday sewing projects, but I'll tackle those in a little while, only two little things to go!) The biggest thing I had to do this morning was a jean skirt refashion for Munchkin. I'm glad I got it done now because when I was getting her to try it on to see how it fit, it's not too big like I thought it would be! So now she has another skirt to wear this summer! Woohoo!

Jeans to skirt refashion, of course with as much pink as possible!
I'm glad that I'm finally using up this pink polka dot fabric, it was originally intended to be a shopping cart cover for Munchkin (that'll tell you how old it is...) and I never got past cutting out the pieces, so I've been trying to use them up however they'll fit in something! The ruffle came from being frustrated at trying to hem it otherwise and of course it added more pink that Munchkin loves. It's from my birthday projects and there's plenty left over, so yay for that!

Other things finished today that I didn't take pictures of: Munchkin's Minnie Mouse skirts that MG made for her got the buttons for their adjustable waists and a few of our reusable shopping bags that ripped got stitched up. 
I'm so happy to not have those things get packed and have projects looming over my head when we move in now!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jamberry vs Nail Polish

Wifey at Wife Of A Sailor has recently become a consultant for Jamberry Nails. She generously offered samples and I jumped on that! Who wouldn't love a manicure that lasts longer than nail polish and in more designs than even some of the most talented nail artists could do? All at home? I want to try that! My sample arrived yesterday and I got a chance to put them on this afternoon. As always, I'm totally honest. I had issues applying these. I think I just have oddly shaped fingernails (and one of my nails I knew would be an issue, I *think* it's funky due to slamming my fingers in a car door as a kid, but it might not be) but I don't think these are going to last the 2 weeks that they claim they can last. I also had issues with trimming them. I can't get them to trim without being jagged (my scissors are the problem here, I'm sure) and I don't have a file (WHA?!) so I can't file them like is recommended. I want to love them, and I absolutely LOVE the designs, I'm not even sure how many pages I dog-eared in the catalog and I know there were a few pages that I wanted more than one design shown! (My favorite? The Mommy & Me options!) I have a few more strips on the sample sheet left, so I'll continue to give them a try and see if I can figure out how to make them work for me.
The sample challenge is this: see how well Jamberry holds up vs regular nail polish after 7 days. So I actually ended up doing 2 nails on each hand with a Jamberry wrap (since the first one I did is my problem nail) and the other 3 with Essie nail polish. Nail polish typically lasts 3 days before showing major wear/chipping for me, so we'll see what the end of the week looks like. This week isn't going to be a week I can pamper my hands either. It's the week before the movers come and we've gotta get busy making sure we're ready for them and to get out of this house the following week. *insert minor freak out that it's getting insanely close to moving time!*
Here are my starting pictures:
Chevron and lace. The lace is on my problem nail, so I don't expect it to really last long.

Other hand! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hip to be cool

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but as part of our PCS trip, we're going to Disneyland!! We're SO incredibly excited and I can't wait to get there. The kids are super stoked and keep taking about who they want to meet. I've been looking up tips/tricks/ideas for doing Disney with little ones and one thing I kept seeing was to give kids their own way to have snacks and other little things. Backpacks are ok, but require adult help to get into/out of, so not as great as I'd like. Fanny packs/waist packs see to be the best option. They're accessible by the wearer and aren't in the way on rides, so they can stay on all day long! I couldn't find any that were really cute and even the not so cute ones were kinda pricey. So I turned to Pinterest and one of the very first pins was an awesome tutorial/pattern for "hip pouches". I had most of the material needed, so I didn't spend much and I used up some of my fabric stash!!
Here's the pin:

And here's my finished projects!
Munchkin's bag! She was SO excited that it was pink! 

Lil Man's bag. I thought this fabric was a great fit for him since he's super excited about Cars Land! 

He was SO excited to show it off! He wants to wear it everywhere now and got mad at me when I made him take it off! (This is his "Cheese!" face...I have a lot of pictures like this!)

So I noticed *after* I had finished Lil Man's that I put the zippers in opposite ways. Which may actually work out because Munchkin is definitely right handed and Lil Man is showing signs of being a leftie like me and I think that I managed to get them in accordingly. So we'll call it a custom design feature. They're also the first two zippers I've ever done, so they aren't perfect, but they work and aren't TOO bad! There's lots of room on the waistband too, so they'll be able to use these for a long time. Oh...and the buckle that looked black in the store? Yeah, it looks more navy at home. Oh. Well. The package didn't have a color listed and everything else looked black. At least it's not up against the black of the fabric!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The end of the diaper bag era, or why I want to make my own birthday present

Well, I'm surprised it's come so soon, but we're pretty much done with our diaper bag days! We try to remember to at least grab it and stick it in the back of the van on the rare occasion that one of the kids has an accident (and that means remembering to keep extra undies and bottoms in there too!), but more often than not it gets left at home and thankfully we've only had one incident that we needed it and didn't have it.

I'm not sure what to do without a diaper bag to lug around since I've been carrying one for almost 5 years! Our current diaper bag was bought when Munchkin was about 7-8 months old and is still in fabulous condition (thanks honey, for convincing me to spend what I thought was WAY too much money, it was a good investment!) so I'm not going to get rid of it since we can use it for trips and whatnot. Since I've had a diaper bag to carry, I haven't carried a purse in what feels like forever. I did both for a little while, but it got too cumbersome and I quit when I was pregnant with Lil Man. I just had my wallet and tossed it in the diaper bag, then when my wallet bit the dust, I moved everything to a wristlet and that's what I'm still carrying around now. Without the bag to just toss it in though, it can get in the way. So now I'm back to needing a purse. Trying to find one I like and am willing to spend the money on though? That's a problem. So now I've come to the conclusion that I just need to make one. Since I literally have a whole slew of Pinterest boards dedicated to sewing, and one with quite a few bag patterns/tutorials, I've decided to make a set for myself.

Here's where the making my own birthday present comes in. I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again, I HATE spending money on myself. I know I shouldn't feel guilty because I don't buy frivolous things and I only buy things for myself when I need them, but still, I feel like I should be spending money on the kids, Mark, or the house. Mark says I'm terribly hard to shop for, because I won't ever say that I really want anything (because again, that means spending money on me). Mark will tell me this isn't birthday present worthy, because it's something that 1) I have to make and 2) is utilitarian. Oh well, it's my birthday and I'll ask for something boring if I want to. So here's what I want to make!

So a bag, a phone pouch, a chapstick coozie, and an earphone pouch, all out of matching and coordinating fabrics. Oh, and also a new key fob, since the one Mom & I made (not long after Lil Man was born) is starting to fall apart.I am going to have to do this way before my birthday though, as we will start the moving process the following week, but hopefully I can do it all before we move! Now to find a chance to go to JoAnn by myself....hey, there's another part of the present! Of course I'll post the finished product once I'm done!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wardrobe remix

A few months ago, after reading different blog posts on jeans and such, I really got tired of the fact that jeans are so hard. It's like you can pick two: fits well, comfortable, affordable. I'm not going to spend $100+ on jeans. Ok, I'm super cheap, I don't even like to buy Old Navy jeans at full price. After being annoyed with fussing with my jeans for the billionth time, I decided I'm done. No more jeans for me. Now don't go thinking I'm in sweats or yoga pants all the time, I decided that skirts & dresses were my new best friends. Especially with moving to Louisiana this summer, jersey maxi skirts are awesome. I bought a couple chambray shirt dresses and a denim half button shirt dress from Old Navy and a couple new maxi skirts. Plus, a lot of tights!
It was a little more difficult in the winter months, but with my fleece tights, insulated Skhoop skirts, and leg warmers under my boots, I was ok. I only had to deal with February and some of March for the really cold weather, so I'm sure I would've done it a little differently if I'd started in the even colder times.
I joked that people are going to start thinking we're religious fanatics because Munchkin also prefers skirts and dresses coupled with our super long hair (hers is past her bum, mine is waist-length right now). I did run across a lot of religious blogs when I was searching for winter dress/skirt ideas and some of them were informative without being preachy, but others were just in-your-face. Then recently, Jessica at Beyond Moi shared a link on their Facebook page for a satirical piece about the purity culture. The sad thing was, when I read it, it read just like some of the blogs I'd come across! If I hadn't been made aware that it was satire from the get go, I would've thought he was just another zealot. I don't want people to think that this is where I'm coming from. I think that modesty is a mindset, not a list of rules. Every culture has different body parts that are considered immodest, for some it's breasts, for some it's knees, for some it's everything but the eyes (and even then...), so really, you can't please everyone! Even within the same religion, it varies by region and denomination! I also don't buy into the thought that men are little more than animals who can't control themselves and that I should be responsible for everything they say, think, and feel.
As it turns out, skirts, especially jersey maxi skirts, are insanely comfortable. With the dresses I've bought, I do have to be more careful when wearing them because they're just above the knee, but my maxi skirts, I can get on the floor with the kids just as easy (or easier, because they're not cutting my legs off) than if I was in jeans. I did keep one pair of my jeans for "emergencies", if we ended up doing something that really required them, but I don't know when I'll wear them again. I also still wear my workout capris (see, I'm really not buying into the purity culture modesty dress code!) for exercising, as well as my SkirtSport skirts. Pretty much whatever's clean and matches the top I want to wear! If you'd like to see more about my outfits, I'm always adding them to my Stylitics closet & calendar, which you can see a little bit of here. To be able to view the closet, you do have to sign in though. It's free and actually a little addicting once you get started, if you're interested!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oh, Munchkin!

Our Mother's Day has been pretty low-key, but a good one for our family. We were excited to find out that the Anchorage Market & Festival (colloquially known as "Saturday market") opened yesterday, so we decided we'd head down to see how it was shaping up this year.
Munchkin got excited that they had sidewalk chalk and a big area to draw, Lil Man just wanted to walk around, holding Daddy's hand, and pick up pebbles, and we were happy to be out in the GORGEOUS weather. We talked to a guy at the Alaska Coffee Roastery table, got some coffee samples, and got invited to a tour of the facility when I mentioned that I love the smell of coffee.
We walked around downtown for a little bit and stopped for a treat at the Alaska Cake Studio (where Mark ended up buying me a treat for there and one to take home as a Mother's Day gift..hmm, he knows I'm a sucker for sweets!) and then decided to get some hot dogs from the corner vendor and eat lunch in the sunshine.
Munchkin had been having some problems listening this morning, but she was back to her normal self by then, and having finished her chips, she was ready to throw her trash away. She came to me, showed me her trash and asked if she could walk over to the trash can. I told her sure, since it wasn't far away. To our shock, she walked to the curb, stopped, looked both ways, and started to step off to cross the street! We started yelling her name to get her attention, trying to point to the trash can that was on OUR side of the street! Mark went to her and got her before she made it off the curb (and thankfully there was on street parking that she would've walked through, so she had a little bit before actually being in the road!) and the poor girl almost started crying! She couldn't understand why we were upset when she had asked permission--and received it! Mark explained he was scared, and that's why he yelled "at" her, and then I told her I had misunderstood which trash can she wanted to use. She spent the rest of lunchtime in my lap. I did tell her that I was proud of her for being careful and looking both ways before starting to cross the street. At least we know she's really learning some of the things we're trying to teach her!! Next time we'll be making sure that we're all on the same page about what she's trying to do!