Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Oldest Boy

It's after church. I am always gathering my littles. Trying not to loose anyone so we can go home and eat lunch. My youngest boy is missing. I peek my head in the Primary room (where the children meet as a group) and don't see him. The leaders of the children's group ask me to come in.

They share that they love my sweet son and I wonder which one. They are all dear to me. They tell me my oldest who we will call Gandalf, shared some wonderful words. They were watching Mormon Messages and rejoicing in an amazing program during our Sacrament meeting, or meeting where we all meet.

Check out this uplifting video here.

It's about a girl who loves her brother. Her brother has autism and sometimes others don't understand how his brain works. After the video Gandalf raised his hand and shared that he sees now that he is more special than he realized. These dear leaders told me the spirit was there and Gandalf had tears in his eyes.
{photo by Shari Hanson}

I'm so thankful he sees how important he is. I have always known it. My husband and I have always felt tender and sure he was a truly amazing spirit. Of course, all children are wonderful. And all my children are really amazing. But there is something about our eldest. And I felt this way before we found out he had Aspergers.

As a mom I tried to read as much as possible about child development and to watch out for markers or cause of concerns. My older brother suggested Autism when he was rocking one time. I knew that was a marker, but it didn't match up with what I knew about autism. There were so many things he was great at. I kept taking note and watching.

When he was four we put him in a great preschool. I am sure The Lord put us there for a reason. At one of the night classes one mom told me Gandalf was a lot like her son. And her son had Aspergers. I am so thankful for her courage. It must have been a little hard to suggest to someone else that their child could have autism. Some times people can be offended by that suggestion. I just listened as she told me about Aspies. It sounded a lot like my son. I was pretty sure that would explain his actions.

I remember driving home, thinking about my son and what this would mean for him. I wasn't upset. I love his brain! I love way he expresses himself. I love his pure heart. I love his quirks! And I remember feeling how important he was. That The Lord has a special plan for him. And I knew I wouldn't change the way he was. Maybe in some ways his brain was more like Heavenly Fathers's than mine.

That doesn't mean it's easy. There are times when we both had to leave preschool, both of us crying. There is heartbreak as children treat him unkindly sometimes. And we haven't even hit middle school.

I wish I could find the letter I wrote him that night when I came home from that preschool meeting. I didn't want him to feel bad because of this label because I knew he was a choice spirit. I knew it would be hard but I told him I wouldn't change the way his brain is because I loved him the way he was. And I trusted that The Lord had great things in store for him.

We had a great experience when we told him he had Aspergers. He was totally fine with it. And kinda thought it was cool. His brother was kinda bummed he didn't have it. I love Gandalf's  view. And I love that he is beginning to see his potential. I can only imagine the way our Heavenly Father sees him. And I look forward to see the great things The Lord has in store for him. I know I need to do my best as his mother and help him see his great worth.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baby Elsa Costume Tutorial

   Halloween is probably my 2nd favorite holiday (right below Christmas). Before I married my sweet heart I made him promise to have matching Halloween costumes every year. Of course when we had our first son we included him in our theme. To be honest, I am surprised our kids still are on board with doing a family theme. I thought for sure when they started school they would want to do their own thing.
   I was thinking Avengers or Lord of the Rings for this year because I have 3 boys. I asked them last year (because I plan way in advance) and they said they wanted to do Frozen. Super Surprised. But I have no problem letting my baby girl be Elsa. They told me I should be Elsa because I am older, and baby sister should be Anna. But I knew her hair was coming in blond. And she makes the cutest little Elsa, if I do say so myself.

And in case you haven't heard of Little Miss Basics you should check them out. They are my favorite under shirts for babies. Their Girlie tee is my favorite. I can put it under any sleeveless dress. And  I knew their long sleeve top would be perfect for my baby Elsa costume. It's form fitting and snug and would look more like Elsa's dress. Plus I can re use it and make any dress perfect for the fall, or in my case winter. My baby was a trooper taking pictures in the Arizona heat. 

Step 1: Using a dress that fits snug cut out a front piece on a fold. I made mine a sweetheart, you could make it straight across to make things easier. Cut out 2 on the fold so you can line it. Also cut out 1 interfacing to make it stiffer.

Step 2: Cut out four rectangle back pieces and two interfacing

Step 3: Iron interfacing to the wrong side of one of your front pieces.  Sew the 2 front piece, right sides together. Turn it out and press.

Step 4: Iron interfacing to wrong side of 2 of the rectangles. Put the right sides together. Before you sew them together pin in your tulle. I just cut a long piece of tulle and arranged it in a pleat so I could have as much tulle as possible. I sew the rectangle in a U share so only the bottom wasn't' sewn together. Sew and Press

Step 5: Sew sides to front. Because I am not perfect on making pattern pieces I had way more in the back than I needed. I like to play it safe, and I wanted to have enough for the zipper. I just pinned it together. And Later I hand stitched the flaps down, adjusting the extra tulle to fold over.

Step 6: Cut out long rectangles for the Bottom. You can use a dress as a pattern. I made mine longer than the bodice measurement so I could have some gathering. For the back cut two pieces that will be sewn together so make it a big wider to account for the seam allowance of sewing it together.

Step 7: Sew two back skirt pieces together; then sew to the front pieces. I left a slit on both sides. Iron hem and stitch. Pin the skirt to the bodice, matching side seams and such. 

Step 8: Sew together. Then you can sew your zipper to your dress. (kerr-azy story about putting in my 1st zipper. It was the day of Winter Formal in my Jr. year. I went next door to my neighbor to ask her which of the sewing machine feet that I held in my hand was the zipper foot. She looked at me like I was crazy and let me know. And I did it. It wasn't perfect, but hey, I had a dress for that night. And it was an awesome dress)
If you haven't done a zipper, don't be scarred. Sometimes I will read through a tutorial again because my dyslexic brain mixes things up a bit. I like this one here. She is one of my favorite bloggers. Love her!!! And after you put in your awesome zipper, in case it's a little less awesome, the tulle covers it up so we are all good. ;)

Step 9:Hem the very bottom if you haven't done so. Then add a little hook to the top of your zipper.

Notes: I would recommend zig zagging each piece if you use any kind of fraying material. It just makes everything easier. And it will hold up better in the long run.

The wig makes her costume more fun! Years ago when I saw this tutorial I knew if I ever had a daughter, she would need a Rapunzel wig. I added some bangs and made her braid go to the side to make it look more like Elsa. I would recommend that thick woolly yarn. It makes it easier to cover the cap. You can use different colors. I like that mine has some silver sparkles in it. 

I hope this tutorial help you out. There are patterns available at most fabric stores but my little peanut is just too small for most patterns I find. Happy Sewing!!!

Love my sweet girl! No frozen hearts here with this doll face. More family frozen costume to come...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pirate Traditions

It all started 9 years ago. Our family was in Barnes and Noble checking out children's books with my 6 month old son when I saw this sign. "Talk Like A Pirate Day September 19th" I said no way is this real. I found an employee and asked her. She told me she had never seen the sign before. I ended up buying a pirate book anyway. When I got home I looked it up and found out it was truly a real holiday.

And traditions were made.

Every year since then I have buried chocolate coins in a wooden treasure chest and invited the neighbor hood kids over to hunt for some pirate booty. I always draw a map. Most years I will use sidewalk chalk to draw rocks or shark fins or leave clues. I have even tied my pirate flag to our playground.  {Disclaimer: i didn't do a hunt in 2010 due to the fact I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and I didn't want to walk around the neighborhood drawing bridges on the sidewalk}

The point of this holiday is to have fun. And my family is all about having fun.

But it gets better. A couple of years ago I heard that if you dressed like a pirate and went to a participating Krispie Kreme and used Pirate Talk you would get a free doughnut. And if you dressed up like a Pirate (At least 3 pirate articles) then you would get a dozen FREE donuts for every person dressed up. My baby girl loved her 1st doughnut today!!!

Does is get any better???

So I am about to pick up my sons from early day. And if they clean their room, we just might have a treasure hunt today.

I have loved looking at photos of this holiday through the years. This is one of my boys favorite days. So join us in fun. Read a pirate book. Have a treasure hunt. Score some free doughnuts. Enjoy this fun day by taking time to enjoy the little things in life that are so fun. And if you are blessed with more doughnuts than you need, find someone who would be blessed by them. #sharegoodness

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Platform 9 3/4

Our family LOVES Harry Potter. And usually I like to use the excuse of July 31st (Harry's Birthday) to make some yummy HP recipes. But since we moved into our new place in July it was kinda crazy. So I figured September 1st (The day the Hogwarts Express leaves for Hogwarts) was the next best thing.

I'm trying out lots of Harry Potter recipes because I have already told my children that all of them will have a Harry Potter Party when the turn 11. Like a rite of passage. I've even sent Hogwarts letters to my friends kids. Getting a letter is kind of a big deal. Luckily all of my children have seem to like Harry Potter so far. You can go here for the recipe. It makes cupcakes, but apparently I gave away my cupcake pans. The recipe has you insert some butterscotch ganache inside and I find a Walgreens baby syringe works perfectly. I've been meaning to make cake pops out of them, and make them into a snitch. Maybe next time.

To make the night even sweeter, my eldest son just finished reading The Prisoner of Askaban. Which meant we could watch the movie. We also have Harry  Potter Clue, which I love, and I don't think it has any spoilers.

And because September 1st happen to be on Monday, which is our weekly Family Night, we finally got to play Dunbledore or Deiter? My husband won (probably because I was the MC ;) but my sons really liked it. It was a great way to testify about an apostle and admire a wise man. It was a little tricky as my sons only have read the first couple books. But still a lot of fun. This recipe would make a great treat to go with it. The cake is yummy on it's own. Baby girl got one without the frosting or filling. And I put extra filling in a Kerr jar to use as an ice cream topping later.

All in all it was a great Labor Day. And we only have two more years till we get our letter.