Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Lego Party


David turns eight this week so naturally he wanted to celebrate with a Lego party.  We threw the standard Reintjes Family party involving a theme in which we could use mostly our old decorations, a homemade pinata, beer for the grown-ups, and pretty much no scheduled activities.

We brought down most of the boys Legos for everyone to play with and they were almost completely ignored.  Mostly the kids all ran rampant through the yard and house playing with various weaponry, Pokemon cards and eventually the opened birthday presents.  I think everyone had fun.

This year was fun because David was able to do a lot of help with the planning and execution of the party.  He put together the invitations, made Lego crayons for party favors with me and even took charge of the table decorations--which consisted of his Lego train and track and a big number eight.  He had very specific requirements for his cake, i.e. the same strawberry cake he always wants, which was tricky to bring into the Lego theme of it all, but we settled on a bunch of minifigures holding birthday candles.  It was pretty professional.

The whole party was pretty professional.  Or the opposite of professional, it's hard to say.

Either way, David had a really good day and that's the important thing, right?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This Is My Dollhouse

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I grabbed this book at the library a while ago and it is so cute.  It's all about a little girl who builds her own dollhouse out of a cardboard box and other random bits of this and that and then compares her experience to that of her friend who has a "perfect" plastic store-bought dollhouse.  Spoiler alert:  they have more fun playing and creating things in the cardboard house.  It reminds me of my own dollhouse as a little girl and how I was always making things for it out of odds and ends.  Of course mine was not made of cardboard, but a lovely three story wooden Victorian but the sentiment was similar.  It's so much more fun to make things for your dollhouse than to just buy it all.

The kids love the book so much I think I may have to add it to Margaret's birthday list.  John just about burst into tears when I told him this is our last week with it from the library--we only have an eight week max before they make you bring things back :)

Now Margaret's new dollhouse isn't exactly made from cardboard either but I thought I'd share an update on the renovations in case you haven't been following along on her dollhouse's Instagram account.*

I wanted to giver her a dollhouse for her birthday, because clearly two is the perfect age for a first dollhouse, so I grabbed this little beauty on Craigslist for $15 without any of the furniture or people.  And by "I grabbed" I mean I sent Chris on a three and a half hour journey to pick it up along with the amazing patio furniture I also found for a steal that same day.  Both things needed a little sprucing up.  I tackled the dollhouse and Chris handled the actual furniture which in his words "was not in the best condition" to which I responded, "that's why it's in our price range."  It was all worth it.    I'm sure Chris would agree.

I might have gotten a little carried away with my sprucing.  Obviously the dollhouse needed paint and shingles, and a brick chimney, and wallpaper.....and popsicle stick shiplap,  I mean, what would you have done?  I did have to order some specially sized furniture on Etsy because apparently Melissa and Doug decided to make these fold and go dollhouses a completely different size than any other toddler dollhouse in existence.  The beds and little chair I found are adorable though and fit the little chipmunk family perfectly. I even went ahead and ordered the "diy special" so I could do all the bedding and upholstering myself.  Sewing dollhouse bedding is surprisingly satisfying.  Well, dollhouse crafting in general is satisfying.  I would do it all day if these children didn't keep needing things like being fed and bathed and homeschooled.

I'm almost done but I'm still trying to decide if it's lame to have a dollhouse with no kitchen in it.  I could make something out of wooden blocks, or order an actual wooden kitchen and just use the parts that fit, or I could do no kitchen and put in a cute little fireplace I saw at the craft store for three dollars. I was also considering making a felt play mat similar to this to go with it since I have a giant sheet of green felt in my basement that someone passed on to me a while back.  That might be a bit ambitious though.  Ambitious but adorable.

Besides the great kitchen decision of 2016, I have a few little things I still want to put together before the little miss is presented with my masterpiece and I have to give over control of my house to a newly minted two year old.  Every time I pull it out to work on it though, the boys immediately swoop in and commandeer it for their own.  It would be precious if I didn't have things that need to be done.  Those tiny pictures aren't going to frame themselves, am I right?

I think the main draw is the stash of dollhouse accessories from my childhood that I've managed to save.  They love to put them all in and rearrange and rearrange and rearrange some more.  I totally understand the appeal but I'm going to simplify what very tiny things are in the dollhouse anyway and pack most of them up for when Margaret is old enough to have an actual, real, hopefully three story Victorian, dollhouse of her own to work on--with me--you know, if she's into that sort of thing, which I may or may not be desperately hoping that she is.

No pressure sweetie.

What do you think?  Kitchen, no kitchen?  Play mat?  She might really need the play mat.  And don't fret, I'm sure I'll have at least one more update with the whole completed work of art once it's totally finished.  Well, as finished as a diy dollhouse ever is.

*Don't judge me, making dollhouse Instagram accounts is a completely normal thing to spend my time doing.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Getting Away

Last weekend Chris and I went away for the weekend and I managed to leave my actual camera behind and return with just one picture on my phone that really doesn't do our destination justice.  We went to Solomans Island, which is on the water.  This is a cornfield. With some cars.  

It really was a beautiful place though.  All boardwalk and crab cakes and old men singing Jimmy Buffet songs.

Before you get too jealous of our escape from the children I'd just like to point out that this was the first time Chris and I have gone away together since 2007 when his ship pulled into St. Augustine and I drove down to meet him for a couple of days--before we had children.  You might say we were overdue.

Elizabeth offered to come and watch the children so we could get away and I'm pretty sure on her way out she said something about how wonderful it was and how well behaved my children are and how absolutely no one pooped all over themselves, their sheets and everything in between their bed and the bathroom.  Absolutely no one.  You know, just in case any other family members were thinking of offering their services.  Of course I might have still been coming down from our post alone-time high so I can't be held responsible if I'm not remembering her exact words.,,,,,

We spent the weekend at an adorable bed and breakfast situated right behind the local Catholic church eating in restaurants where no one was yelling at me, walking along beaches where I was completely unconcerned with the potential of anyone drowning, and perusing little stores along the way where no one asked me approximately one hundred times if we could leave already.  We also got to have the fun of watching strangers' reactions when they asked if this was our first baby and we got to say that no, actually it was our fifth.

It was pretty amazing.

Especially the part where no one was yelling at me.

It's the little things.

Now we're home and I'm feeling very rested and recharged.  Well, I suppose as rested and recharged as a very pregnant person can feel.  Hopefully it won't be another nine or so years before we can sneak away for a couple of days again.  I could certainly get used to this whole taking vacations thing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

On Summer Weekending

We've been packing a lot of family bonding time into these summer weekends.  We've had to, since Chris's current summer work schedule involves being gone every morning before anyone else is awake and getting home just in time to put the boys to bed.  Margaret is mostly out of luck and has to get in all her daddy time on Saturday and Sunday.

It's super lame but almost over.

Last weekend that meant that we all went to the quilt shop together (and by "together" I mean I went inside while everyone else stayed in the car and listened to Chris read Lord of the Rings) and then out for a rainy picnic/playground/geocaching adventure (this time I stayed in the car and read while Chris and the children frolicked in the downpour).  Togetherness.

Once we were home, Chris and David also spent a good bit of time out in the yard adding a tailgate to the thing-a-ma-jig.  It's got some sort of pully system and it's pretty spectacular.  David also wanted to add a license plate or eight so that it could be "street legal" as soon as he also gets a driver's license.  And an engine.

Instead of helping with what was clearly a male-bonding project I sacrificed myself and staying inside in the air conditioning and worked on hand quilting baby Christopher's quilt.  I wanted to try out quilting with perle cotton this time but when I went to the store to get some they only had size 5 thread in the pretty colors when what I actually needed was size 8.  Since I just wanted to start my project right then I got the size 5, too thick, thread thinking to myself, "how bad could it be?"  Well, it's been fairly difficult to work with but since I'd already brought it home I figured I'd just go with it.  I think it's looking pretty cute even if it is doing a number on my fingers trying to pull it through all the layers.

It's actually quilting up pretty fast and I think it will be done soon, which is good.  My third trimester fatigue is combining with my lack of husband to create one very tired mom.
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