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Happy 6th Birthday Dia

My Darling Daughter Dia,

6 years ago you came into my life and made me a mom. When I asked our family to give me one word when they think of you, they sent such beautiful words describing you. One day when you look back upon your childhood years you should know how much you’ve touched not just my life and your dad’s, but pretty much everyone around you. You are much loved my dear. Stay blessed my “Bitiya“.

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Dia is rocking her glasses!

Dia has prescription glasses! tunic_4

 

Of course she is my daughter so just any frame wouldn’t do. She also has a tiny face and most kids glasses in stores were too big for her. Thanks to some suggestions from friends on Facebook we bought this cute frame from Zenni. It was a long process though because the first frame we picked ended up being too big for her. Then we took her to Costco where she tried on a few frames and the optician told us to get a frame which is between 30-35. There are a lot of numbers and things which don’t make sense but they do now. So if you’re looking to order your first pair online, be sure to research and measure. We are very happy with this frame. Its sturdy and cute both of which are important at this age.

I started wearing glasses when I was 8 or 9 I think (maybe a little later) and I’ve lived most of my life hiding behind the glasses until I could get contacts. I don’t want that for my daughter so it is important for me to educate her and think of them as a good thing. “They help you see better and you look so cute in them“.

I am writing this post because I want to point out an amazing experience at Dia’s preschool today which warmed my heart and made me smile. I also want to document this because I want Dia to realize how awesome her school and friends were today.

Today was the first day she went to school with her glasses. The kids were having circle time. Dia was a little shy and just clung to me. When I asked why, she said “Mom, my friends won’t know its me because of the glasses“. Before I could answer, the teacher said something to her in her ear to which she nodded.

Everyone, Dia has something to share with you all today“, said the teacher. “Go on Dia“.

I got new glasses!” She said. The kids were really excited for her. And started asking questions.

Not like this“, teacher said “Raise your hands if you have a question, and Dia will answer them.

How civilized  I thought. tunic_2

Sure enough one by one the kids asked questions and Miss Dia happily answered them. I tried to remember the questions because they were all so cute.

Q: “I really like your glasses

Q: “Did you know that your glasses have hearts on them

Q: “Why do you wear glasses“.

Dia: “Because I see better with them

Q: “Do you wear them at night“.

Dia: “No, but sometimes my daddy wears his. He forgets!” We all had a big laugh at this one.

Q: “I think you look like a pretty princess“.

Dia : “Thank you” (with a big smile)

I wish I had taken my camera with me to capture some of this in photos but after this little exercise she was so confident and back to being herself. I wanted to hug each and every one of those kids. So adorable and so kind.  A big thank you to the teachers not just in her school but to all the teachers who truly care and understand kids and make an effort.

BTW I think more than the glasses, she loves the eyeglass case!!! tunic_7

Sewing For Kids


I don’t know why people spend so much time sewing for their kids when they outgrow the clothes so fast

This is what I used to wonder. *BEFORE* I became a mom. And even though I still didn’t sew for Dia too much in her first year, I now know WHY. Well at least I know why I sew for her. And this blog post is MY answer to the question above for anyone who may be wondering like I used to.

This post is also a little bit about gushing… you’ll see why.

The First Year

In their first year babies do outgrow their clothes every 2 to 3 months, so I didn’t sew too many things for my little one. However I still wanted to, so upon a friend’s suggestion I decided to sew for special occasions and events. I made birthday clothes, and one for each age bracket (0-3, 3-6… you get the idea).

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Jalie 3133

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Minikrea 20003 (Thanks to my friend Maria of MariaDenmark)

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Ottobre 04-2008-02

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Pattern Hacked from a free Ottobre t-shirt

 

When it comes to patterns for kids, there are two pattern companies I absolutely love and admire. Oliver & S and Jalie. Both of these indie companies produce REALLY high quality patterns with EXCELLENT instructions and sewing techniques. Not only that, I admire the people behind O&S and Jalie. Both are family owned businesses who have a passion for sewing. Like us they SEW!  Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with them personally and I like them even more.  I guess this is one of the perks of running PatternReview. I have made some lovely friends!

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A Learning Tool

As I was finishing up a Swingset Skirt (elastic waist twirly skirt) for Dia, following the instructions and making the drawstring, it struck me how much I learn with each and every pattern I have sewn using Oliver & S. Even though this is a simple elastic waist skirt, but the fact that there are channels of narrow elastic on both sides of a drawstring casing, combined with a lining which can be totally reversible is what sets this apart from millions (ok maybe not millions) of patterns out there.

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I’ve always been terrified of making jackets for myself, but I made this gorgeous unlined, jacket for Dia using liberty bias bound (self made of course) seam finishes. Pattern – Oliver & S Sunday Brunch Jacket.

 

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I think of sewing kids clothes as mini-lessons.  Even if they don’t work out, its less investment in time and fabric 🙂 And if they do? Your child is probably going to be the best dressed kid in school (like mine).IMG_5752

 

Faced hem and piping was a first for me when I sewed this Tea Party Sundress.

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This Ruffled Halter – a Free Pattern was my basis for many gifts.

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Every summer, I make a new summer hat for Dia and up until this year, I used the Bucket Hat pattern. I practiced my topstitching skills with rows and rows of concentric circles.

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I did my first Vent Hem in a skirt when I made this thanksgiving outfit for miss D. Also my first time making a partial elasticized waistband. Pattern Sunday Brunch Skirt.

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Oliver & S Sunday Brunch Skirt

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used the Hopscotch shirt pattern.

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This may be simple PJ bottoms but the addition of contrasting bound hem and casing takes it to a whole different level.

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Oliver & S Bedtime Story Pajamas

I’ve been a Tea Collection Fan for years so imagine how thrilled I was when there was a pattern hack post on Oliver and S blog for hacking their library dress to make the famous Wrap Dress. I’ve made two already and on my way to the third. This is one of my favorite dresses on Dia.

 

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Hacked Oliver & S Library Dress

Here’s another project I made for her following a tutorial on Oliver & S blog. How cute are these leggings?

Oliver & S Playtime Leggings

Taking it slow

I have my #mommysweatshop moments when I am cranking out leggings and basics for her (because I love it) but when I am sewing with Oliver & S patterns, I take my time. I enjoy each step and do it leisurely, taking care to press each and every seam, making sure everything lines up. Carefully pressing the bias tape. There is no need to rush because I know when I am done with the project, I am going to be proud of it. So don’t look at Oliver & S patterns if you are in need of some quick and easy sewing. But do try them if you want to create a quality garment you’d be proud to claim as me-made and when someone asks “where do you buy your girls clothes“, tell them with all the smug you can manage “Oh I make them myself” and then watch the expression on their faces 🙂 Precious!

I LOVE Jalie Patterns

Because they make some of the best knit garment patterns out there. And I know my knit patterns. I’ve used Jalie for years for myself but did you know that they come in teeny tiny sizes also? In the same envelope! What a bargain! After gaining confidence in hacking patterns, I hacked the 2805 knit t-shirt so many times, the pattern is in tatters..

A Shrug

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Peplum Top

Fit and Flare Dress,

Elsa Dress – Costume

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Circle Shirt

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Another winner is the Dolman Sleeve Top – 3352 for a quick t-shirt. I’ve also used it to make Mom-n-Me Matching outfits 🙂 because they have 22 sizes in one envelope!

 

Most recently I’ve used Jalie pattern to make applique gymnastics leotard and I can’t believe how easy it was. Not to mention so cute.

 

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Rewards are great when you sew for kids!

Its definitely rewarding to sew for your kids, especially when they “pay” you in hugs and kisses but its also a GREAT way to learn and practice new sewing techniques. Things which I am hesitant to do for grown up clothes, I can always “try” them out on her. Now that she is growing up… (almost 5 years old), I take even more joy in sewing for her because not only can she wear the clothes for a longer period, these are the clothes I will save and cherish and perhaps pass on to a dear friend or her cousins.

So thank you Oliver & S and Jalie. Please don’t ever stop making patterns for kids.

I hope this post encourages some of you to sew for kids. Even if you don’t have any kids to sew for, they make great gifts for friends or even charity!

Yay for Kid Sewing! On another note – Kids Clothes Week has just begun.

Are you participating?

 

 

 

 

 

Dia’s Lego Birthday Party

You guys, it feels like yesterday when I was gushing over becoming a mom and its as if I blinked and she turned 3!

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With 3 younger brothers growing up, I’ve planned my share of birthday parties but January in New England… Brrrr…  The party has to be indoors. We decided to host it in our basement. First things first, I had to come up with a theme. Not only are themes fun, it makes planning easier.  There is something you should know about me. I am a Pinterest junkie. And here’s another thing…. I love making and creating all sorts of things. Not just sewing. Since Dia is really into legos and they appeal to both boys and girls I decided to throw a lego party.  Upon research on Pinterest, I found tons of ideas. A month before the party, I started collecting them on my “secret” board on Pinterest and started making notes on what will and will not work. I only had limited time given that I work full time and take care of a 3 year old when I come back. But then again, she is my daughter, she loves to create too! So Mother and Daughter team got to work…

In this day and age when children have pretty much everything, how do you teach your children the value of money and things? You teach them to MAKE ’em. I want her to learn to enjoy the process of making and not just the end result. And she loved every minute of it. She was involved in every stage of this party. It was kind of cool actually. We started prepping for the party 2 weeks before the party so it gave us plenty of time. I’ll add the resources at the end of this post, so read on.diaage3

Party Favors

We made lego men chocolates in white and milk chocolates. Dia watched as I melted the chocolate and poured it carefully in the molds. This was super easy but each round only made 8 little men so we did a lot of rounds! I think we made about 60 lego men. I wanted to use them as cupcake toppers also. I bought the molds here.

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We made lego crayons too. This was a little more involved. We soaked the crayons, took the paper off, broke them into small pieces (Dia helped with that) and placed them into the molds. Then we baked them in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. A quick rest in the refrigerator and they were perfect!

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collage_crayonsI didn’t take photos but I made barrettes for girls. I bought “Bricks and more” Legos from Amazon.com and used some of the pieces for decorations (to follow) and used the square legos for the barrettes, Super simple, just hot glued them on carefully. Speaking of bricks, how cute are these! I got the ideas of these boxes from deliacreates.com Actually a lot of the ideas for this party came from her blog. Thanks Delia! These did take a while to make but that’s what evenings were for. So fun. For boys, I ended up buying minifigures. I couldn’t figure out what to make,, so I gave in..

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Decorations

I bought this banner PDF from Etsy, printed it and hot glued it to baker’s twine.  Gagan wrote DIA on lego plate. Cute right!

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I set the table the night before the party. Juice boxes were wrapped in lego printables and I added lego men stickers on the plates. Dia filled a couple mason jars with legos and we used them as balloon weights.

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Lego (actually mega blox) utensil holder. This one was a favorite with adults 🙂

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We even had lego soap. Hey, the kids need to wash their hands and what’s more fun then lego soap. The moms got a kick out of it too. And of course, Miss Dia helped with this too. She filled the soap dispenser with legos.

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I didn’t do paper invites but I did make thank you cards. I simply took a photo of a girl Lego on top of a base plate. Added a speech bubble in Photoshop  and got them printed at Costco as a 4X6 photo. Wrote the note on the back of the photo. Cute ha! Not my idea again. Delia rocks!

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Food

I kept it very kid friendly, I made mac n cheese in muffin cups for kid sized portions. I used the fun wheel shaped pasta and the kids loved it. We also had a few snacks like veggie straws, hummus, chips, cheese and fruit skewers (another favorite). Gagan made the skewers. They were a huge hit. Put anything on a stick and they’ll eat. We also ordered pizza and asked them to slice two of the pies into 16 slices instead of 8. Adults had coffee, pizza and salad.

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We also made graham cracker legos.  I put frosting on the crackers and Dia decorated them with M&Ms. She made all of these!

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And then there were the cupcakes! I made 48 chocolate cupcakes using my go-to recipe from cooks illustrated. Yup, I don’t think I will be eating cupcakes for a long time. But the kids ate them and we had like 4 left over! I tried to color the buttercream frosting red and blue but it was pink and sky blue. Does anyone know how to get deep red color from food coloring?

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Don’t they all look cute?

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Games

It was hard to come up with games which would appeal to 3 year olds so I created “stations”. We had a lego building station. I put dia’s foam mats down and put some of our legos and other games so children could play on the floor.

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I also put a small coloring station where I put a big box of crayons and lego coloring pages. That table got a lot of attention!

IMG_8258Pin the head on the lego man. I thought of this last minute and once again, Pinterest to rescue. I found a template here. I already had the cardstock from the boxes, all I needed was foam core and we were ready!

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Finally on the day of the party, my friend got the kids to play musical chairs. It was hilarious. They obviously did not follow any rules and kept running around the chairs. Hey, at least it got them moving. And it brought back some fun childhood memories.

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THE DRESS!

And last but not the least, I made Dia’s dress. As I always do on her birthday. I wanted to tie in the lego theme and red looks good on her. I bought these handmade buttons on etsy. The seller was so sweet. When I told her it was for my daughter’s birthday dress, she rushed them to me.  I will totally buy from her again. Since I wanted the buttons to be the focus, I selected a solid fabric and added a ruffle to showcase the ruffles. I’ve written a full review on PatternReview.

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buttonsI also made a felt flower headband and added a tiny white lego piece, just because!!! Yup I’m crazy that way.

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My favorite moment from the party? When she was blowing out the candle and everybody was singing happy birthday to you, Dia was smiling from ear to ear. Totally loved the attention. Another one.. when I was frosting the cupcakes that morning, she came to me, kissed me on my cheek and said “I love you Mama”. AWWWW I love you too Munchkin. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Now that the party is over, I am a little sad… Valentines anyone???

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Our Bermuda Vacation

We love to travel. Always have. We find places which are off the beaten path. Love to sample local foods. We even attempt speaking foreign languages but most of all we love to  meet people on our vacations.  Most of our vacations are about exploring and adventure. ( I really should write about the time in Chile  when we got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere… TWICE! )

Post baby, our vacations are a little bit different. Don’t get me wrong, we still explore and do some adventures (we hiked the Torres Del Paine , Chile with a 11 month old on our backs)  but we’ve also learned to relax a bit.

Why haven’t I blogged about our Chile and Paris trip (last 2 years)? Maybe it’s time or maybe I’ve become lazy. I am going with the former 🙂

Anyway, this year we decided to go someplace close (Bermuda is only a 2 hour flight from Boston!). We spent 4 days there and came back totally relaxed. I’ll let the pictures do the talking… (Okay Okay I admit I am lazy!) Check it out will you?

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aboutme

29 inches…

When Dia was born, one of the first things I bought for her was this green Janome Mini Sewing Machine. I know I know… I am usually not an impulsive buyer but if you hear me out, it makes sense.

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If you know me at all, you know how much sewing means to me.  And one of the things I wanted as a new mom was to expose Dia to it.  I decided early on to educate her about all things in our home. And to involve her in our everyday activities. When I am in the kitchen cooking, she is there with me so its only natural that when I am sewing, she should be there too. Now, I know what you’re thinking … “The Pins!” Yes, with the pins, the scissors, the rotary blades, the whole thing.

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When she was an infant, I would bring her tummy time mat into my studio and she would peacefully sleep while I sewed.

As she grew, she started enjoying spending time with me in my studio. When she was able to sit up, I created this sewing basket for her with odds and ends from my sewing room. In an ideal world, she would be sitting in one corner just playing with it. But as soon as she was able to move around, my drawers which were once organized? Not so much anymore. But the important thing is, that she kept herself occupied while I sewed.

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Instead of putting everything away, which wouldn’t be practical for me, I decided to introduce her to all of these things. I showed her how scissors work and that they are sharp and not for little ones. I taught her how to pick up the pins from their heads.  I am of course always in the room with her but the important thing is that I do let her explore.

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One of the things she enjoys playing with is empty bobbins! She places them on top of each other and says “Look Mummy, I made a tower”.

And now my two year old is conversing like a sewing buddy! Here’s what happened the other day. I was talking to my brother on the phone. Dia wallks in with a measuring tape and starts measuring me. After a few seconds, looking very serious she says “29 inches”. I almost fell off the chair!

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One day, I was busy tracing out a pattern on my table, Dia made herself comfortable on my sewing chair, and said “Mummy I need fabric.” When I asked “Why?” She said “Because I am sewing”.

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At her day care, she likes to wrap scarves around other children and tell them that she made it for them.

When I sew, she hands me the pins and then puts them back on the magnetic pincushion.

Because I make a lot of clothes for her and take her photos for reviews,  she thinks every time she gets dressed, we should take a photo of her. Have I created a DIVA????

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I am writing this so I’ll remember how early she started sewing even if she didn’t churn out clothes every day 🙂  For us, it is about the journey rather than the end result.  I feel that by making her a part of my life, she already has a head-start on all things sewing. Heck, I didn’t even know what basting was when I started sewing. Dia, knows her sewing jargon, so when it is time for her to actually sew on her Janome, she’ll be fearless and winding bobbins like a pro 🙂

How old was your child when they entered your sewing studio?

She wore all me-made!

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Well we did it. And it was a lot of fun! And it has inspired me to sew even more for her. These days her grandparents are visiting (my in-laws) so we’re having a blast! Next up – A July 4th outfit…

Me-Made-Week for Dia

The whole Me-Made-May had me baffled! Hundreds of sewers/sewists and crafters took a pledge to wear self-made items every day in the month of May. Super cool. But you know, I almost wear Me-Made every.single.day. I am not boasting.. just stating a fact. In fact, upon inspection of my closet I found that the pieces I do not end up wearing are all store bought! Now that is something to be proud of and I am. But you know me… I always need something to challenge myself so since I’ve been sewing up a storm for Dia.

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How about next week (June 17th – 23rd ) I am going to dress Dia in at least one piece of clothing which I’ve made for her. And while we’re at it, I’ll make sure that I am wearing a me-made every day too. And at the end of the week, I’m going to document the things she and I wore.

Another reason I am doing this is because she loves it when I take photos of her so this will be an added bonus and something to look forward to. So stay tuned for some cute show and tell.

Surviving power outage

Yes, we can laugh and joke about it now. We can talk in past tense. Heck, we can even write a silly blog post about it because guess what? We survived power outage with a 9 month old baby in freezing temps! So here’s what happened.

 

On Saturday evening, we got hit by our first snow storm this season – yup in October! We were on our way to a friend’s house for Diwali celebrations and that’s when it started… The car started sliping and sliding because nobody was prepared for the intensity of the storm. We turned around, only to find no power at our house. No worries, it’ll come back. It always does. And it did — in one hour. Not bad. We went to bed. Woke up next morning to a chilly house. Yup – you guessed it. No power. In the meantime, all night long we kept hearing thuds of trees falling. The branch which fell on our roof was the most scary.

 

On Sunday morning as Gagan stepped out he noticed a big branch of pine tree blocking our driveway. No power so no snow blower either. While Gagan started shoveling the driveway, I shovelled the deck (6+ inches of snow!) to dig out the gas grill to heat up some water. “This is not so bad” I said and started prepping for a gourmet breakfast. I can be a little crazy sometimes.

Outside, it was like a war zone. We have over 6 trees damaged and our yard is covered with them. Thankfully no roof damage.

As we drove around, looking for firelogs, we saw a live wire sizzling in the street! That’s what caused our power outage. Thankfuly we still had running hot water (gas powered) so we were able to take showers. Sunday night, Dia and I went to sleep at Emily’s while Gagan tried to keep the falling temps in control with a fire going.

10 pm I find out that there are problems on the site and immediately started debugging. By late that night we had things under control but what a night!

Monday morning looked better instantly with Emily and Stephen’s overnight French toast and the power back up in the office.

Gagan, Dia and I set up home at the office where we were able to work and keep Dia warm. Meanwhile, we had trick or treaters at the office!

Monday night Gagan joined Dia and I for a sleepover at Emily’s again (thank you!).

 

Tuesday was a long day at the office trying to catch up on work while Nicole (Dia’s nanny) came to help out with Dia. Tuesday night the power finally came back and I went home and cooked a simple meal of rice and lentils. I had learned my lesson, no gourmet today. And as we gathered in the living room enjoying our hot dinner, we realised how lucky we were to have our power back so soon and we are thankful for the nstar crew who worked night and day to restore power. Our thoughts go out to the 200,000 homes still without power as of today 😦

 

Lessons learned
1. The gas grill can be used for heating up water for coffee/tea but you don’t need to go overboard with a gourmet breakfast! Scrambled or even boiled eggs would have been just fine.
2. Use disposables for eating in.
3. An old-fashioned candle still provides the most light – Yup bright enough for knitting!
4. Bring a tired baby to a sleepover so you can actually have some alone time with your friend 🙂 Dia claimed all rights to Emily and was playing with her until midnight!

 

On a more serious tone, we are so grateful for loving friends and family members who offered to help out during this crisis and we’re so grateful to have power back on last night.

It’s nice to be able to sleep in your own home with heat. Not to mention, to be able to cook a nice meal for your family.

Dia of course loved this because she got our undivided attention the whole time 🙂 It’s nice to be taken care of 🙂

Happy Halloween and Happy WINTER!

Don’t fence me in…

We have a bedtime routine. Most days… I give Dia a bath, sing to her, read to her, feed her and she sleeps. Most days… The days when bath time somehow turns into “I am all alert now”, I indulge and play with her. So the other day, I put her in her crib and stepped out for a minute. When I returned, this is what I see… Are you kiddin’ me? Didn’t we just start crawling? Oh yeah… we’re standing now! And there is no fencing us.

And now, that’s all she wants to do. Hold on to something and stand up. My mom tells me that my brother started walking when he was 9 months old!

Check out this cute video I took the next day. I have watched it at least 20 times!

And needless to say, we adjusted the level on her crib so the mattress is way down. That doesn’t stop her though.

 

 

 

 

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