Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Travels

It's been over a week since we returned from LaPine State Park in Central Oregon, and I'm just now getting around to downloading our pictures. We did a lot of hiking, sight-seeing, adventuring, and s'more roasting; and it was also our first trip in our new pop-up camp trailer. It rained the first two nights we were there, and we were able to fully appreciate the cozy warmth of a dry camper immediately. Not to worry, it only rained while we were driving or in the camper, so no vacationing was ruined in any way.

So here's a little peek into our new home away from home, and what a perfect little home it is. I can't wait to take it up to my very favorite place in the world in a couple of weeks: Deception Pass. Plus we get to share our next trip with family, and it can't come soon enough. We are very blessed and, as Erik says, very spoiled.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Evelyn Marie Antisdel

Last week my Grandma passed away. I've wanted to sit and write down some of my favorite memories of her, but none of my words seem to adequately describe who she was. My Grandma was an amazing, beautiful lady who grew flowers and crocheted doilies and loved the outdoors. Their house was the setting for some of my happiest memories. She had a candy dish, a green glass chicken, that was always filled with peanut M&M's, and their house always smelled of pot roast and coffee and oatmeal cookies. She gave me an endless supply of yarn for finger knitting, fabric for tiny sewing projects, and wooden spools and clothespins for crafts. She let me take my books out to their camp trailer so I could read somewhere quiet. She let me dress up in her old floral skirts because they made me look like Laura Ingalls, and then took me on walks through the neighborhood while I pretended I was in Walnut Grove. She cut dahlias or hydrangea blossoms for me whenever I asked for them. She let me explore the attic for treasures, and let me crawl through the tiny door in the back of her closet because I told her in the book Ten Kids, No Pets a girl found a secret room in the back of a closet.

But mostly I remember how much she loved my Grandpa, and how much he loved her. And how much they loved all of us. What a beautiful life they had. 

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Avery's First Quilt

It's been really hot here in Southwest Washington. We have a small air conditioner that has kept our house cool for five summers but has met it's match with the Heat Wave of 2015. Each morning we close up our house, turn off most of the lights, and pray that our little air conditioner keeps on working. So far, so good...however, sometimes the days get a little boring. Last Thursday I told Avery we could set up my sewing maching in the living room and make matching sleep shorts for her and her American Girl dolls. Only when we got the fabric store Avery decided that she wanted to make herself a quilt instead. I pretty much scoffed at the idea, but she was so adamant that I told her she could pick out two fat quarters for her "quilt". She insisted that she needed three for her color scheme, and when I realized they were 50% off I let her pick three.

We got home and I measured the squares while Avery cut them out. I figured she'd get bored pretty quickly, but after cutting out 60 4"x 4" squares she was ready to sew. So we sewed and ironed and sewed and ironed, and Avery cut every little string and pushed the pedal the entire time. When it was bedtime she laid out the squares for the the next day and got up bright and early, ready to sew. By 10 the next morning we were done. Now, I can sew doll clothes, and sleep shorts, and 4"x 4" squares...but I am NOT a quilter. So we called up Grandma and persuaded her to go to the fabric store with us to help us find the border and backing. And with a donation of leftover batting and a generous offer to bind the edges, Grandma helped us finish Avery's quilt.

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It's just a small lap quilt, but it's perfect (well, not all the corners are perfect, but it's pretty darn close). Avery's very proud of her quilt and she's rarely let it out of her site since it's completion (except when she generously covered our sweet Molly dog with it, along with a handwritten note)...

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So, what started out as a story about pajamas, turned into the story of Avery first quilt. Which is kind of a better story anyway. But I still made the jammies, a set of blue owl shorts and a set of orange elephant shorts for Avery and both her dolls (and two little white tank tops for the dolls as well). Here's a little peek at the elephants:

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But back to the quilt, I just happened to take this video when Avery was telling my mom that her favorite part of sewing was pushing the pedal because it was like driving a car...

So very sweet.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

You'll Be My [Second] American Girl [Doll]

Since the moment we took Avery to get her American Girl doll last year she's wanted another one. Erik and I paid for half of the first one and Avery saved up her money for the rest, but we told her that if she wanted another one that she was going to have to pay the whole amount herself. Both Erik and I felt as though one American Girl doll was enough, but Avery is pretty determined when she makes her mind up to do something. She saved every dime she made from her chores, all of her tooth fairy money, and all of her birthday money...and had about $62. Luckily Avery got an American Girl gift certificate and a $10 off coupon (and Erik and I chipped in for tax, because tax is pretty hard for a 7-year-old to understand). So on Thursday Avery, my Mom and I headed to the American Girl store in Seattle so Avery could pick out her doll.

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For her second (and last) doll Avery chose Kit, and proudly held out a big wad of cash to pay for her. After the store employee took Kit out of the box and handed her to Avery, she floated through the store grinning and holding both of her dolls in her arms. I honestly believe that she was so gentle and careful with her first doll (whose name is Audrey) because she had to save up her money for her. And you could tell as she touched Kit's face and hair that she was so thrilled to have her and so proud to have bought her on her own. It's really hard for kids to save their money...there is always something new they want, and so many things to tempt them when they walk into a store. We're really proud of Avery for sticking to it and saving her money...she's a pretty special girl.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Avery's Birthday(s)

Avery had two birthday parties this year...one to celebrate with friends and one to celebrate with family. Avery wanted the theme of her parties to be "Garden Fairies" (and she was very clear that she did NOT mean Tinkerbell). Her friend party was very casual, the girls came over after school, ran around the backyard, ate cherries off the tree, played in the playhouse, made jewelry, and wore the flower crowns that I made them. I found some cute reusable shopping bags at JoAnn's and filled them with every non-Tinkerbell garden fairy thing I could find on Amazon for party favors. Since I was working up until the party, my Mom very generously offered to come over and do the food so everything was ready to go when school got out. Avery wanted blueberry mini -muffins, fruit, and chips and salsa...and my Mom went above and beyond as usual.

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The family party was the same weekend, but after the kid party the family party seemed like a breeze. My mom made the cake, I glued together some flowers for the cake topper, Erik barbequed chicken for chicken burgers, and we sat around in the backyard soaking up the sunshine. Avery opened presents, Erik opened up the tent trailer again to show everyone, and we all had a great afternoon. We are lucky to have such an amazing family to share these moments with.

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Oh, and there was also Avery's REAL birthday celebration when she got her birthday crown and cupcakes at school, a new bike from Erik and I, and the three of us went to dinner at Northwood Brewery (at Avery's request). That was a pretty great day, too. 

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I just can't wrap my head around the fact that Avery is seven.