Share and Share Alike

Dear Erin,

Thanks for the book ideas; Little Mister loves the last three you mentioned, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the others.

Here are our Halloween costumes, all finished:

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A t-shirt I colored, and a Tigger costume without its hat (I lost it somewhere in the last two months, but I know it didn’t fit anyway). Meh… Good thing the kids are so cute. Here is Little Mister’s costume more fully:

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I’d claim he posed, but I really just got lucky. And here is the inspiration:

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Charles’s request, and MUCH less work than my choice last year:

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I figure next time, Little Mister will want to have some input, but at least we got some geeky stuff in for ourselves while we could.

Captain Wiggles was more or less just along for the ride, but he didn’t seem to mind much that he was wearing a hand-me-down costume with a big piece missing. He slept through all Halloween festivities. He came out better in the photo shoot at the pumpkin patch. Babies and gourds, right?

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I put him in the outfit that his brother wore the last time we were there (again, hand-me-downs).

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But Captain Wiggles does have his very own hat, so he got his very own, non-hand-me-down elf pictures, too.

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No gourds, maybe, but I do like this one a lot.

So it’s basically all about sharing around here – like it or not. I guess I’m lucky that I’m the only girl – I don’t have to share anything!

What We’re Reading

Dear Kristen,

Procrastination looks good on Little Mister!  I loved his costume! Simple. Clever. And unique!

We weren’t so clever or unique – but simple was the name of the game.  Batman and Tweak.

Costume Recipes:

Batman: pajamas with a homemade cape attached with safety pins to the shirt. Perfect for Little Man.

Tweak: Found it on the internet, bought it, and it arrived at our doorstep.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  What do you do when your daughter insists she wants to be a green bunny engineer from her favorite TV show (Octonauts)?  Well, you don’t try to make a light green sweatsuit with bunny ears, that’s for sure!

So people thought she was the Easter Bunny or weren’t sure what to think.  But she was happy.

And reading is making her happy, too, so I thought I’d share what we’ve been reading of recent.  Munchkin is entering the world of reading all on her own (little squeal of delight!) and so we’ve been working to have fresh, exciting library books available and fun things to explore!

Munckin’s Recent Reads

  1. Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  51olbjkb2bel-_sx363_bo1204203200_I think I’ve mentioned these before – but there are a variety of them and she can make out many of the words all on her own.  She also has a quick memory, so she can usually recite it after the second reading…so then I’m not positive how much reading is being done….
  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  51o8luyt2il-_sx378_bo1204203200_Silliness and rhyming out the wazoo – all good things!
  3. Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess.  51clhaltlfl-_sx355_bo1204203200_We got this as a listening book at the library.  God bless audio books!  But seriously, if I had to read Hop on Pop as often as she listened to it, I might go slightly nuts.
  4. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson.  51gthz-af4l-_sx385_bo1204203200_Another audio book, but since Halloween is over, Christmas books can come out!  And her brother likes this, too.

Little Man’s Recent Reads

  1. Little Blue Truck (any of them) by Schertle and McElmurry. 51m07baimtl-_sy448_bo1204203200_“Boo Truck!” is how he asks and its adorable.
  2. Frankenstein by Adams and Oliver. 519fcmyv-ll-_sy498_bo1204203200_“Monster!”
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin and Archambault. 51hsu2qlyhl-_sx378_bo1204203200_“Boom! Booooommmm!”  He likes singing the alphabet song at the end, which is awesome with his gibberish.
  4. Anything his sister is reading……which makes for epic fallouts….. Is it better that they are fighting over books?

So there you have it!  Reading with the 5 and 2 year olds is bringing delight and smiles.  Today, I’m giving thanks for those moments of joy. (And for coffee.  I’m giving thanks for that, too.)

My Little Doctor

Dear Erin,

I hope the rest of your Halloween festivities were lots of fun. Now we’re officially into the “Oh no, Christmas is coming! How am I going to get all this other stuff done?” season.

But before we leave October behind entirely, I’ve got a couple things to show you from last week. First, Little Mister’s visit to the pumpkin patch.

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We went with friends, and they had a great time in the hay maze and on the train ride. I didn’t actually buy a pumpkin, so we went vegetable-less for the holiday. But we weren’t costume-less!

You had seen my basic pattern schematics, and a small part of the costume that I got pre-made, but let me tell you about the main event (from my perspective).

From the schematics and a list of Little Mister’s measurements (approximate since he’s a one-year-old and doesn’t understand the concept of “be still!”), this is what I came up with.

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Plus back pieces. You may see some troubles looming; I did not. Before I went to bed Friday, I had sewn together the front and the back, the skirt, the collar, and stitched up the sleeves although they weren’t attached. Looked like Saturday would be a couple hours’ work and it would be all done.

Oh, by the way, I don’t have a sewing machine, but I do have access to a sewing machine from the crafting group at church. Part of Friday night was spent learning how to use this sewing machine, which was notably different from the Singer we grew up with, but in the end wasn’t too complicated.

I dreamt about that costume all night long – what I still needed to do, how I probably needed to fix certain things, what might go wrong – and woke up exhausted.

On Saturday, we actually tried it on LM.

Well, he couldn’t get the sleeves all the way on; the arm holes in the jacket were too tight; it didn’t go all the way around his middle. The biggest problem, though, was that it was way too short across the shoulders, so the neck was far too wide and it was going to have a hard time staying on.

Like I said, approximate measurements from a one-year-old.

So the neck piece was redone.

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The sleeves were redone (and not tapered this time). The front pieces were redone – with lots of extra fabric at the front so that a lapel could be cut out instead of being added on as I had been planning to do (see above picture). It turned out that with wider front panels, the skirt also needed to be widened, so I added panels for that. And when it was again tried on?

The collar was still too small.

So at that point, I just added another three-inch surround to the piece I had already attached. Some red edging and decorative trim, a little ironing, a little strategic folding and sewing of fabric, and after 8 hours of work, this is what we ended up with.

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Add a piece of celery, question marks on his shirt collar, and the rest of the clothing, and here’s the finished product.

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He still had a hard time keeping it on, and there were a couple of times he was reaching for something on the ground when he face-planted because he had limited range of motion in the shoulders. Clearly there were some fundamental measuring flaws that weren’t compensated for in the end. But I was pleased; Charles was pleased; LM kept the coat on for awhile and looked adorable. Success!

(Here’s the original model.)

And They’re Done!

Dear Kristen,

Don’t ask me about making patterns.  I am not capable of doing that well AT ALL.  The very thought that there are people out there who can make a pattern is fascinating to me – so I think yours is awesome!

I will say though, I didn’t know you had a sewing machine….

I just put mine away for the day.  (The sewing table is also the eating table here in our bungalow – and guests are on their way! They will need a place to eat and I doubt they seriously want to eat crammed in next to my machine.) That means, the costumes here are done.  (Sigh-for dramatic effect)

Mickey:

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Minnie:

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Yesterday, we went to Munchkin’s school’s Trunk or Treat, which I mentioned was the plan.  She loved it.  She got candy, her dad promised to get candy she’s allowed to eat so he could have the candy with red dye, it was a success.  My heart, however, needed to repent a fair amount during the event.

There were a lot of very well put together costumes.  Some were fancy, some were simple, and most were store bought.  And looking at my daughter, I felt self-conscience.  But the Lord is gracious, and by the end of the event He showed me that Munchkin cared NOTHING that her costume was simple and homemade, she cared only about being a part of the event (and getting candy).  And it really doesn’t matter what other people (mostly strangers) thought of her costume or its maker.  (And let’s be honest, probably no one was thinking about it anyways.) It only matters that I know who I belong to and she knows that we love her.

So…by the end I felt the fun and hilarity of making costumes for toddlers and babies and it wasn’t a weight, it was a joy.

Things to Remember in Costume Making:

  1. If you let your toddler pick out her own shirt – it’s probably not going to match.
  2. A baby is NOT going to wear Mickey ears.  He will only want to eat them.  Don’t bother making them.
  3. Hot glue is a wonderful tool – don’t discard it because “you can sew anything.”
  4. If your daughter’s hair is very fine and silky – consider this fact when constructing the Minnie headband.  Otherwise you will be carrying it the whole time. (Which I did.)
  5. Forget about the gloves.  Entirely.
  6. Consider learning how to see in the future so you can buy yellow socks for the Mickey costume in advance.  There will be no yellow socks in the stores in October – except Minion socks.
  7. Your baby may have small feet, but you should still measure them.  Otherwise you won’t be able to get the Mickey shoes on and you will have no more yellow felt left to fix them.
  8. If they have fun and love the costume, its a win.

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Lesson for you – no matter how the coat turns out – Little Mister will have a WONDERFUL time, so it will be a success!