Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Victoria For A Weekend

Mike had a conference on the Vancouver Island and he invited us to come along.
I love that he brings me or all of us as often as he can.
It's no small task or ticket to bring us but the fact that he makes it happen speaks volumes to myself and the kids.

Six kids on the ferry.
First time.
So exciting!

Caiter Gator!

According to the locals, "it never snows in Victoria"
It snows.
The fountain was incredible, the water was freezing as it poured out.

Oh- for all ya'll Americans out there...The building behind the kids is the Parliament building.  This is where the Legislature meets for all of British Columbia.
{you know, where laws are made...}

The room where the law-making goes down!!

Fancy lock to keep us out.
We really appreciated the amazing attention to detail in this incredible building.

Meeting the Queen.
{This was a school filed trip, this is my class!}

Amazing rotunda and some of our foreheads:)

The following day we hit up the Royal BC Museum.
Another awesome place to visit, the kids enjoyed it and it was educational.  

Caleb approves of the Native artifacts!

Mads likes this guy's outfit.

Cambi was a perfect stroller baby all day.
She carried all the coats and bags.
She smiled when she was awake and most importantly, she slept for a large chunk of the day.

Caity asked me 
"Mommy can you take my picture with that scary cat?"

They had an exhibit with artifacts from each decade.
This blew me away.
The kids were not surprised that I recognized all this stuff.
Apparently I am the only one who does not think I'm very old.

I still have that exact pony.

I had a vision for 6 kids on the couch.
It was not to be.
Nap time.
Cranky time.
No bribe under the sun will work time.
{notice the toddler bum in the air on the left}

Wild West
{Hi Californians... you aren't the only ones "out west"}

BC had a gold rush too!

Mailee found some gold!

Captain Vancouver

When you have lots of little kids you do NOT have high tea at the Empress Hotel.
{As fantabulous as I am sure it would be for $47 per person!!}
Instead, you stand out front and get your picture and promise your older girls that you will come back "one day" for tea.


Cait's favourite mode of transportation was a sissy piggyback.
{Mikayla carried her most of the day like this, Maddie just happened to be holding her when I took a picture}

We found some cool alleyways.

Saw some dancing
{Chinese New Year}

The kids played for an hour in the POURING RAIN at an awesome park in (of all places) Parksville while Mike completed the last few hours of his seminar. 

Matching sissies at the amazing pool in our hotel.
I want this wall/floor combo in my house for pictures!!

Cambria Love was cute all weekend.
She didn't sleep much.
But she was cute:)

The big girls were so helpful and pretty happy to get a few vacation meals!

And the swimming.
Oh, the swimming.
What is it with kids and hotel pools?
Add an underwater camera and oh boy...
Hours of fun I tell you.

Our weekend trip was extended a day due to cancelled ferries.
Frustrating to spend 12 hours in a vehicle with 8 people
{6 of whom are quite young & restless}
But I wouldn't have chosen anyone else to spend those hours with.

Isn't it funny how as we live through moments we often take them for granted,
we spend time pouting
or complaining
or nit-picking at those around us.
Meanwhile, life is happening!
Fun moments, precious memories.
I want to work on embracing each moment and blissfully soaking it all in.

Imagine if we all chose to see how blessed we were instead of focusing on the imperfect details!! 

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowy Family Pictures By Simone

 Hey!  My Christmas cards have most likely made their way to their final destinations so I can finally share the fun photos from our photo shoot with Simone.
{most of which you have already seen plastered all over the blog!}

Originally I envisioned sun-drenched autumn photos with tan kids and fall leaves.  
 By the time I got my act together and scheduled the session, it was cold and the forecast called for SNOW!!! 

I had a slight panic the night before
{wet shoes, red noses, whiny kids, cold hands...}
 but Simone reassured me that all would turn out fantastic and she was soo right!

I love how unique these photos are.
The snow makes them amazing!!

Look at my cute kiddos!

This Narnia-like photo is my favourite!

The girls:)





Cait played shy for her close up.

{Simone even made Cait's pouting look adorable!}



A big family hug.

My love!

In case you are thinking that your family hates getting their pictures taken and mine loves it, here's my dose of reality...
As we were getting out of the truck Mike instructed the kids "Do exactly what she says so we can get this over with as quickly as possible"
{no offense to Simone of course:)}
I am not sure why men are not into pictures but ever since our wedding day (and the hours of photos he endured) I have known that it is an act of love when Mike willingly agrees to a photo shoot:)
{Thanks honey!}

I am working on a post with some tips for planning a fabulous family photo complete with a mini tutorial, color scheme thoughts and some prop ideas.

Does your family enjoy photos as much as you do?
Or is it just me fighting the masses to get a pretty pic?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Taggie Blankie Tutorial

Now that Christmas is over,
I'm excited to share this fun tutorial.

I must warn you; I am not a perfectionist.
{well in some ways I am but not in the way of keeping track of numbers and measurements}

You will have to be willing to take some liberties of your own with this tutorial.
I am merely trying to inspire you to get sewing!

Here is my Cambria with her taggie!

This is the first moment she saw it.  She was very interested in the bright, colorful tags!

Here are the other recent taggie creations in Banmanland...

Four in a row...
I always like to pick fun textures.
It's mandatory that one side be silky.

This fun color combo was made for a cute baby friend of Cambria's named Kingsley.
His Mommy loves fluorescents.

{his nickname}

The hand-embroidered felt tag is my favourite part.
There is nothing like creating something beautiful simply with a needle and thread.

Mikayla made this taggie for her cousin Jamin for Christmas.
She embroidered and everything all by herself.  
I was proud!

A whole lot of tags!!

This part has to be completed before you can sew your taggie up.
I *may* have gone a little overboard on this one.
I couldn't stop.

Select your ribbons.  
I have an endless supply of ribbon and I still can't seem to manage to leave Michaels without a new roll.
It's my addiction.
You may need to go out and purchase ribbon.  If this is the case, I am sorry I do not have exact measurements for you.  

This is what I know:

I used about 10-15 ribbons per side. 
4 sides. 
Each ribbon is between 3 1/2- 5 1/2inches long.
Choose all sorts of ribbons.
Skinny, thick, silky, grosgrain.
I vary the lengths of the ribbons so they turn out to be all different shapes, sizes, textures AND lengths.

I cut a perfect square in each of my two fabrics.
My favourite square size is 19 inches.
{before sewing}

Pin the ribbons to the heavier of the two fabrics.
{I pinned my ribbons to the pink minky dot above}
Pin those ribbons inward.

Sew all the way around the blanket to secure all ribbons in place.
Before I pin and sew the two fabrics together, I carefully pin the corner ribbons in place (see red pin above) to avoid accidentally sewing them into my seam.
{hard to explain but believe me, if you skip this step you will know what I am talkin' about!}

Pin the "right side" (meaning the pretty side) of the second fabric(in my case it's the grey with white dots) to the "right side" of the now-ribboned first fabric (pink minky).
{when sewing with silky, use lots of pins:)}

I make an X with pins to mark where I should start and stop sewing.
{you must leave an opening so that you can flip the inside, out.}
{another awkward sentance. sheesh.}

I sew around the entire blanket once.
{with the exception of the opening for flipping}
Then I flip the blanket to the other side and go around again so that I can ensure all edges are secured.
I use a zig zag stitch for the second time around the blanket.

Don't forget to backstitch the edges of the opening:)

Time to flip!

Now pin the opening shut.
{oh- I'm not into ironing.  Years ago, when she was still alive, my Grandma taught me that I must iron between each step.  She was correct, everything turns out nicer when ironed.  If you can, this is the time to iron your blanket.  In my case, Grandma only had two kids so I believe she would be cool with me skipping that step!!}

Sew around the blanket very close to the edge (pink) and then a second time about 3/4 of an inch in from the edge(teal).
{more awkward explaining.  Just look at the picture!}

I told you I'm not a perfectionist.

Baby loves it.
She's very forgiving of her taggie's imperfections.

Your baby needs one too!
Get to work!

Show me your taggies when you complete them!!