Archive for the ‘Princess’ Category

The day before I left Utah, I had a video-chat with my girls. My sister Maiken (their Auntie Mimi) popped on-screen to say hello and to remind Sophie that her birthday was just 3 days of waiting away! My exact thoughts were, “Ah, crap.” (Okay, I didn’t say “crap” in my head but sometimes I feel the need to edit my brain when I know my mom reads this. Sorry, Mom.) I had done zero prep for Sophie’s birthday before I left. Not only were gifts not purchased yet, I had promised to make her a Rapunzel dress. I repeat – “Ah, crap.” I also had wanted to make her a set of Minnie Mouse ears since Minnie is right next to Rapunzel in favorites at the moment. I wasn’t too worried about that one but still…my house would be filled to the brim and I had regular stuff to get done as well, so….(you know the words by now – insert them here).

I did actually go to the Disney store with Tom at one point to pick out some toys and of course they had a Rapunzel dress AND Minnie ears. Tom encouraged me to just buy them. Instead of listening to reason that sometimes you just need to go with what is less-stressful, The Stubborn inside of me rose up and gave him a dirty look instead. I left without a dress or ears, but some extra determination to get-it-done.

Thank goodness for crafty boys who are more-than-okay with the idea of setting up a sweatshop in the dining room and keeping me company (and helping with the girls – a lot) while I plugged away with a thread, needle and scissors. The ears were finished that afternoon. Two stuffed circles, sewn onto a headband, with a small piece of Velcro on one side to allow for swapping of pink and red bows. I did discover quickly (after making Zach try them on for me) that one of the ears flops. Normally I would have spent a lot of time trying to fix that. Instead, I decided that a floppy Minnie ear was “adorable” instead of “shoddy workmanship.” A three year old mouse-fan thought they were pretty great and has worn them at least twice a week out on errands, much to the delight of Target employees and the senior-citizen crowd at Costco.

(Oh, Princess…always one step away from a pout)

(photo by Enoch)

The Rapunzel dress was started that same day and finished uhhh…the night before her birthday. At least I got to type “finished” and not “scrapped.” I was not super thrilled with it because it turned out so plain. For the sake of time limitations, I had bought a purple shirt and attached a skirt made of sparkly purple satin-y stuff (I’m guessing polyester probably?) with a layer of tulle – also sparkly- on top. For the bodice I simply sewed ribbon down the front to imitate a corset. I had really wanted to do the strips of ribbon on the sleeves that the store-bought dress has but I could only find a long-sleeved dress and I didn’t have time to shorten the sleeves or figure out an appropriate way to attach the ribbons. So it was done and half-heartedly shown off to Tom and the boys before I went to bed.

I knew that she would like it, even if I wasn’t thrilled, and she did. It has, just like the ears, been worn in public – sometimes with a tiara, sometimes not. She was very upset that I wouldn’t let her walk around Target in bare feet (Pa-ten-zel doesn’t have shoes, Momma!) but after a discussion of appropriate footwear for a true princess, we settled on the most likely option. Pink cowgirl boots. Hey…some people are just born with style, what can I say?

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Dear Sophie

My princess ladybug,

At the moment I’m sitting on my bed, trying to think of how to condense your last year into a reasonable-sized letter, while you are crying in your room because your big sister indicated that she might try to play with some of your new toys in the morning. This has not been the first princess-moment of your day (every time your Minnie Mouse ears slipped off, for example, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth) and it very well might not be the last, depending on your level of exhaustion verses your level of irritation at whatever may arise before sleep comes.

The nickname of Princess is a term of endearment, but I must admit that it has always been a bit tongue-in-cheek. Yes, you do love dresses and skirts – the idea of wearing pants is usually met with horror and dismay that I would torture you so – and you love sparkly, pink anything. You are constantly toting around as many plastic princess figurines as your little hands can carry (4 is reasonable, but I’ve seen as many as 6) and insist on sleeping with at least 2, despite my warnings that rolling over them during the night will not be pleasant. And a few weeks ago, when we took you to see Enoch and Zach perform in the play, Cinderella, you sat the entire 2 1/2 hours in complete wonderment, ooohing over the best parts and clambering to stand on my lap in order to get a better look at the fancy ballgown. However, the reason your nickname stuck was due to the Attitude that one could only attach to a Girl of Privilege who gets what she wants, when she wants it. Where you got this sense of entitlement, I’m not quite sure, but it certainly has not faded over the course of 3 years, and I’m guessing is something I will be writing about for years to come.

The years go by so fast for me now that I sometimes think that not much could have changed in just 12 short months. And yet instead of my chubby-cheeked just-barely-not-a-baby, I now have a beautiful little girl who has grown much too fast in 4 seasons past. Your dad and I beg you to eat as we see all of your baby fat disappear into a slim frame that bears no resemblance to a baby, no matter how much I’d like to deny it. Your hair….oh my goodness…this is the hair that I have dreamed of having my entire life. It has gone from shoulder-blade length to grazing your waist, and miraculously, even with all that length, has held on to the most perfect soft curls. You still have words that you adorably mispronounce (anyone who has the chance to hear “Rapunzel” before it gets self-corrected should – I tell you – this stuff is more powerful for warm fuzzies than watching kittens) and yet you also speak in complete, understandable sentences, making conversation less frustrating and much more entertaining. Being able to see you think something over, and then clearly ask about whatever curiosity was mulling around in your brain – it is spectacular to behold and I relish this fantastic stage of learning new, wonderful things every day.

Of course some things never change. You are very smart and even though your dad and I are fully aware of this, you still surprise us on a regular basis with questions, comments, or finding loopholes to what we are certain is perfect reasoning for a toddler. You still love, love, love music and even though your tastes are varied, I can’t help but smile to see you seemingly involuntarily start to dance and bop your head when alternative or hard rock music is played. You will always be my hardcore princess if the level at which you belt out White Stripes tunes is any indication. And as any child of mine must be – you hold a special place in your heart for two of my true loves – shoes, and books (in no particular order). I almost never deny the opportunity to sit down for a story or to watch the parade of you and your sister trying on the highest, prettiest heels in my closet. My daughters should always be able to appreciate the finer things in life and if I can’t get you to try my risotto (yet – I’m still determined!) then I will gladly teach you the name “Steve Madden” right alongside “Hamlet.”

As I read your letter from last year, my heart ached over one particular change. No longer am I allowed to rock you to sleep at night – something I foolishly resisted in the beginning – and sing lullabies softly in to your ear. Instead, you listen to cds and mp3s, and the head that used to rest against my chest now barely touches me in a quick hug before running away to plead that Daddy be the one to escort you to your room. When it was time for your birth story tonight it took a little too much convincing (for my comfort at least) to get you to sit on my lap in that now abandoned rocking chair. Once you finally agreed, you gave me your complete attention and inserted some very appropriately placed “wow”s into the storyline. Daddy was there this time, which might have bothered me considering this has been my special birthday moment with both of my girls since you were each born, except that having him act out the doctor pulling you out by the feet was very well received with a requested (and granted) encore.

Today was such a busy day, even without birthday things added, and yet when I picked you up from your nap and you were still tired, I quietly carried you in to my room and sat in my bed with you still sleeping against my chest, where you now barely fit. If these are the only cuddling moments that I have left with my much-too-grown-up girl, then I will pray to every god that has ever existed that they last as long as possible.



(Photo by Enoch)

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When my mom bought me the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book for my birthday I wanted to make everything in it. Narrowing down the project I would commit to for Christmas was fairly easy though. A hat with bear ears, lined in velveteen? Perfect. And perhaps it would solve the problem I’ve been having with Birdie, who thinks every knitted hat (no matter how soft the yarn) is itchy. The book indicated it was an easy project as well so that seemed to finalize the choice.

The search for fabric became interesting when, faced with not finding any wool I liked through my usual fabric suppliers, I turned to Etsy in hopes of finding something vintage. And there it was – a large piece of vintage tweed. And there was something else – vintage velvet ribbon from France. Add in some patterned (plain seemed too boring once I spied the Anna Maria Horner collection) velveteen for lining and I was getting excited.

The worst part about making this hat was tracing all the patterns. The book comes with full size patterns – yes, but they are printed over-lapping each other, so there was no way to not trace them. Thank goodness for giant rolls of art-easel paper from Ikea – and I now have 3 sizes done for future use. It was a giant pain though, as far as time consumption goes. The hats themselves were indeed, very easy, and they turned out crazy cute. We get compliments everywhere we go and Birdie declares hers to be itch-free.

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The Little Things

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I tend to get just a teensy stressed out around the Christmas season. Gifts need to be bought, or made. There are cookies and treats to be baked for neighbors, friends, and teachers. Decorations to hang up, events to attend. This is why I ignore Tom when he mocks me for starting my holiday planning in August. This year though, even though I did start planning early, I managed to get behind and have spent the last two weeks trying not to have an anxiety attack. All the traveling we did this year was wonderful, but that plus a lot of visitors means your To Do list gets pushed back further and further.

Just this last week I have:

  • Sewn so much that it even exhausted the dog.

  • Had dinner with friends visiting from Utah. I hadn’t seen them since my wedding (even though we keep in touch on-line) so I forced them to take a picture with me, despite being in horrible lighting. That dinner made me realize once again that there are some people you will always be friends with, no matter where you live or how far apart your time together is. Funny side note: the girls were completely blown away by the fact that Randy’s boyfriend is named Tom. As Sophie said, “DADDY is Tom! We have TWO Toms?!” To think!

  • We attended Ella’s pre-school Christmas program. It was awesome. The kids all dressed up as Christmas trees and sort-of sang, sort-of yelled some songs. You can see one of them here, and the re-creation of a few (at home – in pj’s – with Sophie’s help, of course) here.

  • Started the first of several batches of anise drops. Made less boring (you have to beat the batter for at least 10 minutes) by my stand mixer and the iPad. I remember the years when I did those babies by hand – that was a labor of love.

(That’s not a filter, Jonny  – I know you were thinking it – it’s just my awesome kitchen lighting, creating that 70’s glow. And hey, Marty – I’m reading your blog there!)

  • Mixed in to all of that was more sewing, knitting, finishing and trashing pottery projects – all for gifts. And I’m not done yet, mostly thanks to some mistakes with clay that were partly my fault and partly out of my control. What does an anxiety attack feel like again? Oh yes, there it is…

In case all of this sounds a little Bah Humbug to anyone, I have to say that on the other end of all this, I have two little girls who completely believe in the magic of Christmas. Their faces light up so easily at any hint of the day to come and it really is catching. Their joy balances out my anxiety nicely. I am looking forward to Christmas morning almost as much as they are. Now if only I can get these last projects done…anyone want to keep me company in the sewing room?

Awesome. Next year I’m teaching her how to thread a needle – looking cute doesn’t get the projects off my machine any faster.

(P.S. – I finally put pictures from Wisconsin up on flickr. Did I mention I’m not exactly on top of things lately?)

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Dear Santa,

This year, we not only wrote letters to Santa, we actually went to visit him (Sophie will excitedly tell you, “at the fish mall!” – that would be Bass Pro Shops, in case you were wondering about the types of malls we have in PA). I love this age with my kids because their expectations aren’t that high – this is the second year in a row that Ella has asked if I thought Santa could please bring her a new toothbrush – so I don’t feel the stress of deciding whether or not an XBox is too extravagant. Wait. I have girls – so I don’t feel the stress of deciding whether or not I’m going to shell out $200 on a pair of jeans that all the cool kids are wearing. (By the way – the answer is no. I won’t.)

Ella wrote her list, BY HERSELF, MOMMY! No help in spelling – which means it was extra fun to decipher.

You can click on it to enlarge it, but this is the translation:

– Spinny Toothbrush (she said she made a mistake and had to fix the spelling over the top of the other letters)

– Beast Toy

– New Legos

– A Raspberry Toy (As in Strawberry Shortcake’s friend)

– Ariel Toy (That one has my favorite spelling)

I am putting this directly into her memory box. I think it’s awesome.

Sophie said she wanted help with hers, but she did draw Santa a picture. She wouldn’t tell me what the scribbles were but if you look very carefully, you can see the zombie girl.

It’s really hard to get Sophie to pick anything independently – she mostly just wants whatever Ella wants. The Lalaloopsy doll was the only thing she wanted that Ella didn’t, so I knew I had to make sure that Santa brought one. What preceded that decision would have made an excellent movie about desperately tracking down what apparently was the most popular toy this year (ever seen Jingle All the Way?). But thanks to my friend Erin, who not only stumbled upon the specific doll Sophie wanted, but hid it behind some other toys till Tom could get there, we now can happily indulge my youngest. I found the spinny toothbrush, no problem. I guess they are not on the Hot Toy List of 2011.

Once we had the lists made, we talked to the girls about the idea of visiting Santa. They were both on board, but Sophie was very adamant that she would NOT sit on Santa’s lap! She would sit on Mommy or Daddy’s lap, but certainly NOT SANTA. Okay then. After a failed attempt to visit him on a Sunday (at least 300 people in line – seriously) we walked right up to Santa on a Monday morning, ready to disclose the lists. Ella was awesome – she got so nervous that she could only remember to tell him about the raspberry doll, but she happily stood next to him for a picture (that was free, by the way – if you have a Bass Pro Shops near by, they have a really nice set-up and the Santa doesn’t look like a drunk bum off the street).

Sophie, as I had thought, was having none of it. She buried her head into my neck so hard I thought we might fuse together. Ella and I filled Santa in on Sophie’s list though and we attempted a family picture that went about as expected.

The fact that she’s showing one eye is pretty amazing. And she won’t stop talking about Santa at the fish mall – so maybe next year she’ll show both eyes. Baby steps.

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I feel like I’ve traveled with the girls enough to be prepared for the amount of entertainment a 5 and 2 1/2 year old will need in order to keep meltdowns at bay. A few episodes of The Flintstones and The Jetsons on the iPad, some new books, snacks, and individual coloring/activity packs. Add in one favorite toy, pillow pets and a small blanket and we are set to go.

I had not, however, anticipated sitting on the runway for an hour and a half before we were told our plane needed repairs and we would have to wait in the airport until they were finished. To their credit, the airline was very apologetic and really good about updating us, but I was getting more and more anxious about the possibility of a toddler meltdown.

Once we were finally back on the plane, we had spent about three hours waiting, and we had a two and a half hour plane ride ahead of us. I had sung every kid song I knew, plus a few from the White Stripes and Social Distortion (for good measure) while waiting for the plane to re-board and be cleared for the runway, and just as I was running out of distraction techniques our plane started to take off. Much to my relief, the entire plane ride went smoothly. The girls were tired but really shined as pro-travelers. By the time we landed, they were slightly disheveled but happily waved goodbye to the flight attendants and the pilot.

Once we were in the car there was just one question – “How long till we get to Grandma’s house?” We heard it probably 30 more times from Ella alone, but hey-you can’t expect complete perfection from a five year old. We start that standard at age six.

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Last year while on one of my many trips to JoAnn’s, I spied some corduroy fabric with some pretty adorable owls on it. The store had a pattern posted by the fabric that looked fairly simple, and since it happened to be on sale for $2 (patterns are crazy expensive if you don’t get them on sale, in case you aren’t a sewer – which is ridiculous when you can buy a finished garment at Target for the price of a pattern – but I digress…) I picked one up with enough yardage for a jumper – I thought it would make a great school outfit for Ella. Except last year I had decided to build up my stock of skirts for Etsy and the shop in Lancaster, so I didn’t have time to sew the jumper and that adorable fabric sat there until two weeks ago, when I decided it was high-time to utilize it.

Oh boy. I did NOT read the back of the pattern before I bought it. I would like to say that I generally do read the back (besides figuring out yardage) but I don’t. I almost always have to go back to the store for notions (buttons, trim, etc.). This jumper has a zipper, and for all the sewing I’ve done, I have never, once in my life, installed a zipper.

Flash forward through some cringes and muttering of various Words, and the jumper was finally put together, ready for an excited Birdie girl to wear it to school the next day. I do wish I had practiced the zipper on something else, because it’s a little wonky, as far as the stitching goes, but you have to look very closely and I’m guessing no one will do that, so I’m fine with it. I swear. I am.

You can’t really tell here, but there are pockets, and all three Schroeder ladies LOVE pockets! So handy. Her hair bow was a last minute addition, made out of an extra zipper.

And of course then I started feeling bad that the Princess didn’t have a jumper, after she asked so hopefully, “fit ME, Momma?!” I rummaged through my stash and found some fabric that she liked, but because I have a bad habit of buying fabric without a pattern in mind, I didn’t have enough. Lucky for me, Princess was just fine with a skirt she could twirl in. As long as it had pockets. Very important.

I think it’s terribly adorable when they love the things I make, and even more so that Sophie has now started asking me if I made everything. Including her socks. And if Momma didn’t make it, did Nona? Beth? Sorry baby, sometimes China makes things too. But I’ll keep working on having something Momma made in their closets at all times.

As far as the bee goes – remember that my sister Keeley had her birthday at the end of August? I had wanted to make her something besides the purse but really could not decide what, and she left it up to me, so it ended up being very belated. I finally decided to try something new with my clay – a necklace. I am obsessed with bees. Have been since I was a kid. Throw in that, with my nieces and nephew calling me Aunt B, and me always being lazy and signing every e-mail with just a “B” – it all evolved into my signature on my pottery being a sketched (with a needle tool) bee. Beth suggested it, and I latched on right away. Perfect. I do have to admit that it takes a few minutes and the bees are all a little crazy because I’m not that great of a free-sketcher, but that’s the charm, right? So that long explanation is just a lead to the fact that I know Kee loves bees too. So I made her this necklace – a bee, with its honeycomb.

I was paranoid it might break from clinking together all day, so I wore it for an afternoon to test it out. I loved it, and will be making my own very soon.


And now for something completely unrelated: Tom and I will be celebrating our 7th anniversary on Sunday, and we will be celebrating it by flying down to Jamaica, for a 6 day vacation with my cousin Maggie, and her husband, Colt. Holy Cripes! This year has been insane for travel, y’all, and I am definitely going to be living it up because it will probably never be repeated. So. I have not started to pack and I still need to clean 90% of the house before my mom gets here. Tomorrow. I know that we are supposed to get wi-fi at the hotel, but only in the lobby, so I may be absent for a week, or I may post some pictures – who knows. What I do know is, I’ll be drinking rum and dancing to reggae with the love of my life and two of my favorite people. I also know that I will NOT be coming home with crazy braided hair, whether or not they offer to do it for you on the beach. Tom – I’m not promising anything – he may or may not have been growing out his hair in anticipation.

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My friend Beth taught me how to knit about 2 and half years ago. I think I’ve made myself a total of 3 things since then, and have spent the rest of the time on my needles for other people. Last year when I mentioned this to Beth, she matter of factly told me that if I didn’t seem to be able to make time to knit for myself, then she would do it. She has now made me a headband, and two cowls. All beautiful and all loved. But currently, the knitted item being loved, loved, and loved in our house was a gift (read the story on how she got it here – it’s adorable) for Princess Ladybug. Both Beth and I have worried that Ellie (perfect name, no?) might not stand up to all that love but she is still completely intact, and receives lots of squishy hugs every day.


Another recent happening – our freezer is once again filled to the brim with half (260 lbs, to be exact) a grass-fed, humanely raised cow, butchered and packaged for us for $3/lb. Let’s focus on that awesomeness and not the fact that I should have done inventory on my remaining hamburger before I ordered. I guess this year if Beth’s family (see – told you – semi-related) runs out, like they did last year, we can be her temporary supplier.

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Princess – so restless tonight, despite a day with no nap, as Momma rocks her with stars and a moon shining on the ceiling above them.

What’s wrong, Ladybug?

Rainbow, Momma – Rainbow?

Oh  – I see…

The radio singing lullabies she doesn’t know is silenced and the favorite words are sung instead. Where troubles melt like lemon-drops…and a Princess is magically calmed as she sinks into her Momma’s chest, asleep by the end of the softly requested encore.

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