Modern Day Pilgrims

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Party and More Sewing

This past Friday, we went to a Christmas party for Chris's job.  As is typical with all things State Department, it was a liberal party and there was not one mention of Jesus in song or otherwise.  For some reason, it's okay for the Embassy to sponsor, host, or attend Islamic religion events (especially around Ramadan), but a Christmas party specifically for Embassy families has to be "politically correct". Bah Humbug!  They put together a group of people to sing "Christmas Carols" at the party, and I was going to participate, but when I saw all the music was holiday jingles and that none of the songs had even a single mention of Jesus, I decided not to participate.  It was originally on the calendar as a "Holiday Party", so I guess I should be happy it was at least called a "Christmas Party" in the end.  Although, what is Christmas without Christ?  On our way there, I told Chris I wish I had a huge nativity necklace to wear to the party.  But I digress. As I stated in a previous post, I decided to make a Christmas dress for Charlotte to wear to the party and promised in that post to take plenty of pictures of her in it.  Well, here are those pictures!

Charlotte with her "ee ee" before we left.  I couldn't get her to smile.  I think she was still tired from her nap since we had to get her up earlier than normal to head to the party.

Charlotte and I before leaving.

Charlotte in a gazebo in the Ambassador's front yard.

Charlotte decorating a Christmas cookie.  I entered a Christmas cookie contest at the party and entered Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  I got third place....out of five.  :-)  I thought they tasted great, but I guess if not all the judges liked pumpkin....

Charlotte Decorating a Christmas Cookie

Back of Charlotte's Christmas Dress

Big smile!  This was the best smile we got from her all day.  She loves saying "Merry Christmas!" and smiles really big every time she says it.  She was in the middle of saying it when I took this picture.

Charlotte waiting for a Christmas story and for a present from Santa.

The Ambassador reading a Christmas story to the kids.  Chris was asked to read it if the Ambassador couldn't make it to the party (he was called away for something).  The Ambassador showed up literally a minute or two before Chris was going up there to read...bummer!

 Charlotte getting a gift from Mom and Dad via Santa.  She was shy once again.

On top of going to a Christmas party, I finished another outfit for The Boy.  I bought some teddy bear sailor fabric here in Bahrain about a year ago and figured I'd find a use for it someday.  I thought it had an adorable Japanese vibe to it and thought it was cute enough to add to my stash.  I looked through my sewing patterns and found one with an infant boy's sailor romper.  I wasn't sure if it would be super duper cute, but I thought I'd give it a try since I happened to have all the notions the pattern called for, along with coordinating fabric.  Even now that it's done, I'm not sure I love it.   I definitely wouldn't love it for a 2 year old, but for a 3-6 month old?  Maybe.  It's probably a little too cutesie for anything behind a 3-6 month old, but I did get Chris's stamp of approval on it, which is comforting.  Feel free to tell me your thoughts...good and bad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sewing for "The Boy"

So I FINALLY got around to sewing for The Boy.  I found a couple free tutorials online and decided to give them a try.  I was able to make everything below with a flannel pajama shirt I never wear anymore because it shrunk too much in the wash and just looked funky on me as a result.  I'm glad I didn't throw it away, because I think it made some super cute things for The Boy!

Keep in mind I dressed a doll.  They will hopefully look cuter on our little guy!

A profile pic of the hat.  Love it!  I got this "He's All Boy" baby cap tutorial from ThisMamaMakesStuff.

A front (smashed) view of the hat.  In case you missed it above, I got this "He's All Boy" baby cap tutorial from ThisMamaMakesStuff.

Basic baby pants from Made by Rae.  I will probably be making a bunch of these!

A bib pattern that I made myself.  I did the guitar applique with my embroidery machine.  Why a guitar? It's the only free applique pattern I could find that I didn't think would look stupid.  :-)  I got the free applique pattern from Planet Applique.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Dress

A family Christmas party for my husband's employer is this weekend and I had the sudden thought to try and make Charlotte a pretty Christmas dress and jacket for the party.  I have quite a bit of Christmas fabric on hand with no intended purpose for any of it, so I had fun looking through my patterns and figuring out what fabric I wanted to use with which pattern.  I'm definitely glad I stock up on patterns and sewing supplies when I'm in the states, because it makes it super easy to do last minute projects like this.  Charlotte loves the new dress and keeps asking to wear it.  I tried it on her last night and there's definitely not any room for growth.  I guess it's good she can only wear it this month!  I used Simplicity 2270 and made a few alterations, as you'll see in the pictures below.  The pattern called for a zipper on the backside, but Charlotte loves buttons and I think buttons are cuter, so I made the backside a button closure instead of a zipper closure.  I also added some pom-pom fringe to the neckline to make it more festive, which Charlotte loves and calls them "balls", along with rack rack along the bottom of the dress and some colorful thread as a fun decorative accent.  I promise I'll get plenty of pictures of Charlotte in her cute little Christmas dress this weekend.  In the meantime, enjoy these:

The completed dress and jacket.

The backside of the dress.
Closeup of jacket back

Here's the dress front without the jacket.  There's also decorative stitching outlining the pockets, but you can't see that very well in this picture.

Closeup of front dress neckline

Closeup of rick rack and decorative stitching at bottom

backside of dress

Closeup of back neckline and buttons

another closeup of the back buttons

The pattern I used.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Santa Claus 2011

Last night, the Navy Base hosted their annual Christmas tree lighting and live nativity.  This is the 3rd year we've gone and at the end of the program each year, they bring out Santa Claus.  It bothers me that "the best for last" is Santa Claus and not the live nativity scene, but unfortunately, that's Christmas in America today.  Honestly, in today's world, it's amazing that no one complains about the live nativity scene so I guess we should at least be thankful for that!

Chris and I are seeking to "redeem" Santa Claus in our home.  Charlotte and our other kids will know from the start that the modern day Santa Claus is not real and that he's just a fun, fictional part of Christmas and that all the gifts they receive on Christmas are from us or another friend or family member.  We plan to read a story to our kids every year about the real Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, who was a godly man and an example to look up to.  We want them to remember that just as God gave us the gift of His Son, our focus should be more on giving to others during Christmas rather than receiving, just as the real St. Nicholas did when he was alive.  So when we take Charlotte to "meet" Santa each year, these are the themes or lessons we have in mind!  Here are some pictures from last night...for the 2nd year in a row, it did not go well.  Her first Christmas picture with Santa went well because she was only 4 weeks old and was fast asleep in Santa's arms!  Maybe she'll do better next year when we get to celebrate Christmas in the states with all the grandparents cheering her on.

She refused to sit on his lap so I got in the picture with her.  They were giving out candy canes after each child sat on Santa's lap, and Charlotte LOVES candy canes, but even that incentive didn't help.

This is probably the best one we got.

Charlotte looks thrilled, doesn't she?

You may notice her fly is undone...whoops.  We went potty shortly before this and she didn't want me to button her jeans back up because they're a little tight and uncomfortable for her around the waist.  I obliged since her tank top covered it, but obviously in this picture you can tell.  Haha.  I wonder what Santa and Mrs. Claus thought!

Santa FINALLY giving her the candy cane we kept talking about.  She was one happy girl the whole way home and kept saying "Santa candy cane" as she got herself into a sugary, sticky mess!.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

20 Weeks

I'm 21 weeks today and never did post about my 20 week appointment.  Please accept my apologies.  The 20 week appointment went well and the doctor once again saw no causes for concern.  We definitely confirmed it's a boy.  That was quite obvious as soon as the ultrasound image pulled up in the doctor's office.  We also think we finally have a name.  We're not going to share it yet just incase Chris changes his mind.  I think I'm pretty good to go after agonizing over a name for a few months now.  Here's some pictures:
 This was taken this past Friday before church for those who want to see my growing belly.

 A picture of Charlotte and I.  She wanted to get in on the photo taking fun.

 Another of Charlotte and I.  You may notice the mark on her forehead.  She is as clumsy as I was as a kid (and still am).  She was running in the house and tripped over her own two feet and slammed into a concrete wall (all of our walls are concrete).  It looked waaaaay worse than this when it first happened.  Poor girl.

 Pictures of baby boy at 20 weeks

 Cutie patootie

 He was being very shy and wouldn't let us see anything but his profile, and even getting a profile shot was hard because he kept covering his face with his hands.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What I've Been up to

I have been working on a Christmas quilt for a couple months now and actually made my deadline!  I was hoping to have it finished by December 1st and I finished it yesterday.  I had enough fabric leftover that I decided to make two matching pillows today.  I love how the project turned out!  I got the pattern from Moda Bake Shop at this link:

We also went to an auction this past weekend and picked up a couple Tiffany lamps.  I'm very excited and I think they coordinate well together!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

29 Years Young

How does being 29 feel?  Mature.  Sophisticated.  Hip.  I still have my youth, yet I'm older and more experienced at this life thing.  Not that 29 is in any way old.  I quite like how 29 feels so far, though I can't say I'm looking forward to 30!  So yesterday was my birthday, as you probably already knew if you know me, and it was a good day, if you care to hear how a 29-year old's birthday went.  Chris and the rest of my family spoiled me rotten!

My day started off as usual: wake up, go to the potty, and stumble into the kitchen and pour myself a bowl of cereal.  I opened up the cereal box and noticed a white piece of paper inside.  I thought it was some insert that the cereal company put into the box that I hadn't noticed before, so I took it out and saw that it wasn't from the cereal company; it was from Chris and it said "Happy Birthday".  How cute.  I took my bowl of cereal, my prenatal, and a glass of O.J. into our office to check e-mail and facebook, as I do every morning with my breakfast.  Here I saw another note that said "Happy Birthday", and I figured this was a cute little birthday treat that Chris was giving me and that I would find more throughout the day.  Sure enough, I was right.  He placed the little notes on or in everything I use each day.  There was one in my coffee maker, one in the cardigan I usually wear, one under the presser foot of my sewing machine, one in my knitting bag, etc.  It was such a cute, sweet gesture!  Just when I thought I'd found them all, I kept finding more!  I even found another today inside my wallet.  Who knows how many more I'll yet find, but Chris definitely did a good job putting them on or in everything I use each day.  I guess I'm pretty predictable for him to know my routine SO well!

Chris made reservations for us at a Mexican restaurant in town that actually has a Mexican as the head chef.  I wanted to go there since I love, love, love Mexican and crave it all the time and was hoping the food would taste more like what we get in the states since the chef is a Mexican.  It was a very nice restaurant and we enjoyed our food.  We shared a crab empanada appetizer and we both got different types of enchiladas.  While it was good, we both agreed it still wasn't nearly as good as what you can get in the states.  Oh well.  I still satiated my Mexican cravings and it was WONDERFUL to have a date night with Chris, sans Charlotte.  It was weird not having her there with us but also so very, very nice.

I got absolutely spoiled with some amazing presents this year.  I would say the theme this year was "books".  I got books from my parents, Chris, and from my in-laws.  I looove to read, so books are always the perfect gift!!  My new hobby, ever since going to Italy, Turkey, and Israel, is studying church history.  I've already read a few church history and reformation era books, and I'm currently working through Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.  Yesterday, I got a few more church history books to add to my collection and study.  Yay!!!  One of them is a "collector's" copy from the early 1950's on Documents of the Early Christian Church...woot woot!  I also got a new study bible...the HCSB translation.  It's a pretty newish translation that finally came out with a study bible version.  I've been using the ESV translation solely since 2002 and people are hotly debating which translation is better.  Just google HCSB vs. ESV and you'll see what I'm talking about.  I haven't had a chance yet to really look through my new Bible, but I've been impressed with what I've seen from my skimming.  Will my new HCSB replace my ESV?  Well, I think it's probably too soon to tell, but I'm so excited to have it.

I also scored on maternity clothes, and they're all so comfy, timeless, and cute!  I'm currently wearing a new pair of corduroy's I got yesterday along with a black pullover top with an attached hoodie.  I look like a walking ad for comfort and I love it!

I got a few other bits and bobs that I'm so excited about, including all of the Harry Potter books, presented in a case that says, "Delivery: Hogwarts".  You can see it here:  It's awesome!  Now I know some Christians have a problem with Harry Potter, but most (if not all) of those people have never even read the books.  They're just taking another's word for it.  While I certainly don't want to be a hypocrite or inconsistent with my views (such as not liking most aspects of Halloween while loving Harry Potter), I don't really see the difference between Harry Potter and Christian-loved classics like Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings.  There are so many redemptive elements and situations in Harry Potter that it wasn't surprising when I read that J.K. Rowling claims to be a Christian.  Whether it's true or not, I don't know, and she's certainly no theologian like C.S. Lewis was, but I do know that I wouldn't bat a eye at allowing our kids to read the Harry Potter series when they're older.  In fact, I'm looking forward to reading them again with them.  But I'm not supposed to be on my soapbox with this post!

Here's some photos of me opening presents.  To the grandparents, I'm sorry there's no pics of Charlotte in this post.  She was at our friend's house when I opened presents.  She loves opening up gifts, and we didn't want the gift opening to turn into a fiasco.  She is quite the handful lately.  It's amazing how a naughty little switch is turned on when a child turns 2.

 One of my comfy new maternity clothes.  Chris was "all done" taking pictures by this point, so we didn't get any more pictures of my other maternity clothes.

 Harry Potter

 I'm still teaching myself piano so my mother-in-law bought me level 3.

 Church history books
 smelling my new Bible...I love the smell of new Bibles.  Weird, I know.

 Ah, how could I forget to tell you about this!  I'm sooo excited I got the Joy of French Cooking by Julia Child!!!!  Yesssss!  The only thing is that Chris said I have to make him sweet breads...not going to happen.  And no, I don't mean real bread.  Look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about.

 A novel called Madman recommended by my friend, Stefanie.

 another church history book!

 Here's the 1950s edition of Documents of the Early Christian Church that my beloved got me

 Francine her!

All of my presents.  For some reason, blogger downloaded all of these pictures opposite of what they should be, but I don't really feel like going through and putting them in the right order.