Wednesday, December 29

Lookie here!

I submitted a sort of back story on our road to having an intact son and it was posted! :)
Check it out at  Do It 4 ERIC.
That's a great site doing great work by the way, look around a little while you're there!

Christmas and other goodness.

 The holidays this year are by far less exciting than last year, but nice none-the-less.
I was really looking forward to Johnny opening gifts for the first time. He wasn't so interested though. He did get some really nice (even handmade-not-by-me) toys and I got a sweet potato cook book. Chris got a saw (more on that in a minute).

He did love the traditional shipment of Chex Mix from the New Hampshire grands!

....I think that may be his 'chewing face'.

I was able to complete a project I'v been thinking of for ages! We had two old night tables that I imagined would be perfect for a mini kitchen, they are!
I picked up free white paint from the recycling center, but just about bought a can of it when I was on my fourth coat! Five was the magic number and I don't think that paint will be going anywhere any time soon. I used my friend's jigsaw to cut an oven door and epoxied all the other pieces on. There's even a batch of wooden fruit I painted and an oven mitt for him to play with. He's played with it every day and he even stirs things in the pot, which is something he never did before :)

Another handmade gift, a purse for my sister-in-law:

And I know that you in the States have been getting hammered with snow! We have been getting our fair share here, it's the worst winter since we've been living here anyway (and in a long time I believe, last winter was the worst in 25 years and this one is much harder so far.)

I hate being cooped up. Hate hate. But it is icy and a little hard to carry a 20-something pound child on your back while trying to maneuver the snow that NEVER gets plowed in your town while walking two excited dogs.
It sucks and I am going out of my mind. Johnny is not a fan of the snow as of yet since he's still gaining balance and has a hard time getting up once he's down.
My dear husband just made my life 100% better.... Remember the saw? He used it to build us a sled! I can't wait to load J up and take it for a spin (yay!! YAYYY!!!). 

Funny enough it's made from the headboard that went with the side tables above. Genius.


Tomorrow is my sister's baby shower, here's a peek:

....As you may be able to guess, I finally received the new computer charger in the mail! So I'm back on my beloved Macbook and should be posting a little more often... xo!

Saturday, December 18

Party dress.

I've been, working on a dressmaking/design class for well over a year. I started it before Johnny was born and had hoped to finish it long ago. Luckily it was self-paced so I was able to pick it back up when my motivation showed up again. The class is through Penn Foster and if you are interested in learning to sew it is well worth it! I already knew how to sew but learned an immense amount in the 22 part course. The one thing that is notably better is my confidence in "I can do that!" I'm not afraid to take on any project now, before I didn't want to ruin or waste fabric and I was always worried it wouldn't come out how I hoped, ect. Now I'll just do it :)

My final project had to be a full outfit, either a dress or a top and bottom or a suit or something. I could use a pattern but I really loved the last part of the course on design by draping (which is how most of the designers do it on Project Runway in case you're wondering) so I chose to create a dress from scratch for Tricia. She will be wearing it to her boyfriend's squadron holiday party tonight.

She needed a maternity dress, obviously, so high-waisted was a no-brainer. The style she had in mind was the Nepolionic Josephine dress with a long skirt and tight, low cut bodice. It could not be a costume per project directions so I tried to keep it simple and modern in line. I think we nailed it :)

Everything it's made of was already in my sewing closet, except the zipper. The top is taffeta from Maastricht, lined in dark green cotton (from an old sheet!). I'm not sure where the lace came from but it is hand-made, each flower delicately sewn into a mesh base. I, in turn, hand sewed it into the neckline. The skirt is made from a really pretty lightweight cotton that came from a family member.

In my opinion the good parts are the lace inset, the bias draped skirt, the rouched belt. The bad parts are the too-tight bodice that pull too much on the back darts and the lack of enough fabric for the skirt. I pieced together more blue taffeta for the gaps and it's super pretty and kind of modern, but I would have liked to have had enough to do it 'right'. The zipper is not as invisible as it should be, I will have to practice that more.

So there you have it. When she is no longer pregnant I can re-hem the front of the skirt and she can wear it for awhile :)

I'm so, so happy to be done with this program. I was afraid I wouldn't finish, that it would just be tossed to the side or I'd never find the time. I realized a few short months ago that I was trying to do too many things at once and so buckled down to finish up and move on. Not sure yet what I'm moving onto but I'll keep ya posted :)

lazy dogs, scary santa and why my husband sucks.

When all the spots in the house are covered in holiday-making fabric piles,  Nova gets creative with Johnny's bean bag! She's always been the most resourceful I've ever seen.

We took J to a kids Christmas party and of course Santa was there. We have been talking about the Santa factor and how he will fit into our family over the next few years. I was leaning towards just leaving him out for the most part and this *kind of* sealed the deal, haha!

Although, someone could use some Santa spirit around here. Yesterday this was a gift to me from Chris under the tree, and unwrapped and open box.

Johnny got ahold of it and now it's a stack of books sitting on the t.v. center next to the tree. Awesome. I love surprises.

Saturday, December 4

Some more on surprising birth feelings.

I just found a blog about the aftermath of c-sections. I wasn't looking for it, but I needed it.
Here's a quick quote..

"...birth by cesarean is an emotional experience, not just a medical procedure.Women’s experience and perceptions of their birth may have very negative consequences despite good medical outcomes."

"The women who had an assisted delivery and those who gave birth by cesarean were much more disappointed. Although five years had passed since they gave birth, these mothers expressed dominant feelings of fear and anxiety about their experience and were more reluctant to become pregnant again"

It's good to know I'm not alone or crazy or just feeling sorry for myself.

The emotional scars of cesarean birth.

It does state that some women heal wonderfully and some don't. Guess I'm a don't and I'm in awe of you ladies who do.

I never even thought I was feeling depressed. I've battled with depression for years and what I was feeling wasn't the same. Looking back it's all pretty clear. I was afraid to leave the house most of the time, even to go grocery shopping- my dad was visiting over Christmas and we hardly did a thing. It was cold but, really, that was just an excuse. J was nearly three months old in January when  Dad left and there was no reason for me to be so wrapped up in anxiety.

I suppose I could chalk that up to being a new mother but a lot of times it really felt like more than that. And feelings resurfacing like this now make it clear that there were some issues then. I had a wonderful midwife who talked me through every moment of uncertainty and cloudiness before I even knew they were there. I was very lucky. I do feel like that part has long passed and I am not afraid to take this kid anywhere or do anything, so there's that.

Yesterday I saw my midwife (she's been attending to my sister) and today at dinner we saw the doctor who attended to me my entire pregnancy. I didn't even want to talk to him and was hoping he didn't recognize me. I didn't want him to ask a question about our planned home birth, I couldn't bear to explain it. I slipped out while my friend talked to him, he remembered her and her little girl and was of course very pleasant (because he is, I always liked him).

Our midwife is still a steady point and I'm so thankful she is coming around. Somehow it's healing to recall that she was involved and encouraged the best for us.

Sorry for all the down-in-the-dumps talk, it'll pass. It's really nice to have this outlet and it's probably saving me a trip to the therapist. ;-> I guess I'd like to learn more about healing from this unexpected wave of emotions. If anyone has any resources to share I'd be happy to take a look!

*PLEASE excuse my spelling. My macbook is still out of comission and somehow my husband's spell check is set to German! So it just popped up with almost all my words misspelled, haha! Now you know how bad of a speller I really am!

Tuesday, November 30


I have babies on the mind.

 Baby J, 2 days old.

Not sure when or how that happened, but all of a sudden there's a little baby fever around here. Probably because I'm watching my sister's cute bump grow, and just heard my cousin is going to have a girl (yay!) and now we are headed into the hit-push-pinch-scratch-bite phase and it's already a little overwhelming. So I suppose I just miss my sweet little cuddly baby.

There are several things stopping me. One is, I think I'd be more suited to two children when J is a little older, maybe four or five?
I think that and then I remember how ridiculous it is to make a "plan" as if I'll just take out my IUD and get pregnant. Ha! So the second thing is that I'm not ready for infertility again. I'm not ready for another possible five years of unknown, or feeling hope draining out with every pregnancy test I take. Someday I might be. Someday I might just decide that the time doesn't matter. J can be 12 and have a little brother or sister on the way for all I care, but right now I'm not prepared to let the sadness of constant disappointment creep back into our little family.
The third thing is something I didn't even realize until a friend of mine said something very insightful. She asked if we were going to have another soon and I kind of shrugged it off. Then she said, "You know, not every birth is the same."

Screeching halt.

I immediately felt all the pain (emotional, not physical) of Johnny's birth come sweeping back into my heart. I haven't thought about it in a long time, but as I do now I can feel my heart start to beat faster and am becoming a little light-headed...
I didn't know it hurt so much- I wasn't letting it. But I was certainly 'shrugging off' the thought of doing it all over again. Trauma is something I've never had to deal with. There's been sadness and loss but never such a feeling as this that I'm finally allowing myself to acknowledge.

And so there it is: Fear... of the unknown (this month? maybe THIS month?!), of disappointment (nope, not this month... again), of emotional pain. I've always been proud of the way I've dealt with fear in the past but I think this time it may take awhile to move on from it.

I would go into a new pregnancy with all the optimism of the last for sure, and it would probably be much better because I'd be more prepared by default. Just getting to the pregnancy and then through the birth is something I'm not yet looking forward to.

But someday :)

Monday, November 29

Sunday Sunshine.

It's cold and dreary outside of the house, but inside.....

What an amazing gift his bright smile is!

Saturday, November 27


Ugh. The MAIL is being s-l-o-w!
Waiting on a new charger for my macbook (J shorted out the last one by putting it in his mouth!). Once that gets here I'll be back to photo posting.
Waiting on boxes for dozens of cupcakes that are destined for Weisbaden- hopefully next week.
Waiting on a give-away! (Yayyy!!)

We have to drive almost half an hour one way to check our mail, and I need to drive out that way tomorrow, but I'm resisting a special trip just for the mail today. Ah well, Monday...

On a different note...

I've been thinking about traveling. It's easy here (except for the baby in the car part) but I'm thinking further- like India. Plane tickets are not nearly as expensive from here as they are from the States, so I think that's my new goal; Visit India before we leave Germany. :)

P.s. We had a wonderful (95%) vegan Thanksgiving!! My husband insisted on a turkey roast so I obliged, and my sister made mac and cheese, but I was so happy to see it all come together perfectly and everyone really enjoyed it. Here's to great friends!

Friday, November 19

30 things.

I was tagged in a post on Facebook, I could post it back on there but I thought it better suited to my blog. So, if you can stand a post with no pictures, here ya go...

Oh, and consider yourself tagged ;>

Things I am/do/believe:

1. Sit in front of the oven window while baking and marvel at chemistry in action.

2. Can't survive without buffalo sauce. My mouth waters at the words. Every. Single. Time.  

3. Wear size 10 1/2-11 shoe, they 'grew' when I got pregnant. 

4. Love immaculate, organized houses but am too wrapped up in other stuff to keep mine like that.

5. Collect friends. Real ones, good ones. I want it to be so that no matter where I go, there is someone there that I love.

6. Wish I was more feminine.. I try but usually it gets tossed aside these days for other things, like trying to get ketchup and saliva out of my favorite fresh clean sweater.

7. I'm an intactivist. There, I said it... Albeit maybe a little more passive than most.

8. Also a lactivist, and definitely not a passive one!

9.  Probably mostly just a human rights activist.

10. Believe animal rights are as important as human rights.

11.  Human and animal rights are why I buy used/handmade clothing (and LOTs of other stuff), don't eat meat, bake/make responsibly and do almost everything I do every single day.

12.  Not religious, but very spiritual in my own gaze-at-the-trees-blowing-in-the-breeze-and-marvel-at-the-Earth sort of way.

13. Having a really hard time coming up with 30 things!

14. Have so far reached and, in some cases, exceeded my goals. Maybe not my original ones but this is far better. Now time for new ones.

15. Think maybe I should start with keeping my house clean and laundry folded. :::yawn:::

16. If you are my friend or family member I probably have an art/sewing project started for you (or your children) that I put down and haven't gotten back to yet. I'm sorry, I love you and will get to it someday. 

17. Don't subscribe to a certain 'style' of parenting. AP, Free Range, Gentle, Hippie... call it what you will it is my style, just like everything else I've ever done.

18. Am nearly an 'official' Dressmaker/Designer. So add that to Tattooist and wannabe Doula?  Makes for one interesting future. 

19. Might mention that at the moment I'm a SAHM and aspiring Un-schooler. 

20. Will someday have a shop with KatieCorn. Preferably on a communal property with several friends.

21. Rarely regret, but sometimes it's necessary for a moment to move on.

22. Gossip is not my bag. In fact, it's anti-good and usually wrong anyway.

23. Don't show it outright very often, but my husband means everything to me. I just think that's kind of obvious since I'm married to him.

24. Have to schedule dog walks or I forget to do it. Super sad.

25. Don't remember much of my childhood/teen/young adult life. Not names, places, times, conversations. I remember the weather, and the colors of houses and cars, the way grass feels and air smells in different parts of the country, peoples' pets, the way food tasted or smelled. My sister and I argue events all the time and I know she is probably always right. Please don't ever take this personal, I'm learning it's just how my brain works.

26. I'm stopping here because my favorite number is 6. And 2 is a multiple of 6 so 26 is a pretty good number. 36 is better, but I'm running out of things to write. 

Tuesday, November 16

Giveaway results!

Last week we went through several hours of trying to choose just one photo to give away to you lovely folks. But alas, we just couldn't agree or decide, so had to leave it up to you (oh, darn!).

So, congratulations #22 BRENDA (yay!) who said, "They are all so beautiful! It's very hard to narrow down, but I love the poppy/wheat field and the two doors. She really does do great work."

 Haha, now YOU need to pick one!

May I make a suggestion? ;->

Thanks to everyone who participated! And thank you to Jessica!! You can purchase any of Jessica's art prints through her gallery at any time. 

Be on the lookout for more Handmade Holiday giveaways in the next few weeks. THANK YOU!! Xoxoxoxo!!

Sunday, November 14

Mmmm... Pizza...

I would eat pizza 7 days a week. I'm convinced that it's healthy (at least you could make it so!) and you could also include most or all of the food groups. So there.

Since giving up cheese (I could devote a whole blog post to that alone) it's all I've craved! :( 
I finally found a good recipe for tofu/cashew ricotta so I decided to make a pizza with it- I've spent a couple years experimenting with dough, nothing is ever just right tho. This week I had some naan dough on hand and used that as a crust. Perfection! Johnny and I both gobbled it up!

I really love pizza. No, really. And just for the record, the best pizza I've ever had was in Naples, up in the hills on a beautiful Spring night almost five years ago... sighhh....

Wednesday, November 10

Love to our Veterans!



I have to make an entry for Veteran's day! Patriotism and military service run very deep in our family, and I can't help but get all teary-eyed thinking about the sacrifices the millions of men and women have made for our freedom. My two grandfathers, all of my awesome uncles, my one very loved aunt, my amazing dad and now my darling husband have all served. It's an honor to be related to them, and I would go to the ends of the Earth to support them. I have fond memories of meeting my dad's ship, waving flags and cheering for the sailors lined up on deck in perfect form. I've now met my husband coming back from deployment once and was overwhelmed with pride for him in that moment. I am a pacifist and am proud to be married to a soldier (tho he'll be quick to tell you that what he loves the most about his job is the humanitarian aspects!). I'm proud of all the friends we've made and all the people who support on the outskirts, there are so, so many people to just be thankful for.


(Grandpa Lincoln)

(Grandpa John)

And let me tell you something, I can't do a post about my family and military without including some military arts and crafts! Ha! How amazing is this? It's a hooked rug made by my great grandmother in 1970:

I love my family.  Thank you!!!
And Aunt Kari, I lifted photos from you! Thank YOU!

Tuesday, November 9

Homemade Holidays Giveaway #1!

These past few years I've been leaning towards handmade/recycled gifts and Christmas is no exception. This year will be a special exception in that I'll be making all the gifts I give to use up part of my stash and save money at the same time. 
Hmmm, I imagine a sort of Little House on the Prairie Christmas...

But if I were buying, it would be handmade and small artist goods dominating the tree for sure... In that spirit I'd like to do a series (my first) on homemade holidays and have some giveaways for you (also my first!).

So, without further ado, please let me introduce you to our first giveaway sponsor: 

I had the extreme pleasure of recently meeting a very talented photographer, Jessica Ceason. She lives here in Germany and is a friend of a very lovable (persistent) friend, and now I'm fortunate enough to call her a friend of my own! 

As she explains about herself:

"When I was four years old, I found a camera in my grandmother's China cabinet. I begged her to let me take it home, to no avail. I stared at her, disappointed, wondering how I could convince her. With her legs crossed, she fit cozily in her easy chair, her crochet needle flicking against her long fingernails, "On your 5th birthday" she said with a whisper. My 5th birthday came. The promise, she kept. I haven't stopped taking pictures since.

My grandmother painted with oils. Her paintings were sometimes whimsicle, sometimes scenic, sometimes moody. No two were ever alike. I picked up a paint brush once. My trees were never as straight as hers, my deer never as proportionate. My mood never conveyed. I decided to paint with light instead. I received a compliment recently that was intended to be criticism. I was told that no two of my shoots are alike."

I just love that, paint with light...

This adorable little lady takes some of the prettiest photos I've ever seen. She took our family photos and I couldn't be more in love with them, she has a way of capturing the most perfect moments in the most perfect ways. Her travels have afforded her some classic European shots and her eye offers you an extraordinary perspective.

One of the things I admire about them is the lack of photo-shopping, 99% of it is artist and camera working together in perfect harmony and there is something very simple and beautiful (and old-school) about that.

She will be giving away a canvas art print of your choosing! Just drop by her Art Gallery, have a look around, and leave a comment here letting us know which print you L-O-V-E. A winner will be picked randomly in one week and you will get the photo of your choice!!! I personally like the Irish cows, but that may be a given ;}

I'm excited for the holiday season to begin and even more excited to offer you some really creative and fun giveaways from some amazingly talented people! Thank you for reading and happy commenting! Xoxo! 

(P.s. ANYONE can enter! No friend/family limitations, I love you all!!)

Monday, November 8


This past summer my talented husband and Johnny's Opa worked on a sweet little push cart for J's birthday. We got it in the mail from Opa the other day, and it's great! His favorite activities involving it are sitting in it and playing with all of his other toys, and playing with the box it came in. No pushing involved, ha!

But he is walking, boy is he walking! It's like he hit a milestone and broke down several barriers all at once, it's amazing. He talks (A Da! Or 'all done', that's the cutest..) he signs more everyday, he understands an awful lot all of a sudden. I'm not going to lie, it's a little scary as I'm not sure where my baby went. This little boy chased him out of the house like 2.5 seconds after he turned one!

Watching him grow and learn is one of the most rewarding things I've ever been involved with. Today he flipped his lid in the car and started yelling and pointing in excitement at some brightly colored flags in the distance, and then continued to do so the rest of the afternoon any time he saw a flag (and on base there are a lot of flags). It's the first time he's ever showed interest outside of the car, it never really occurred to me that he was ever paying much attention. He also gestured and yelled some nonsense at the dog when I told him to leave the kitchen this evening. He was very stern and Luckie left right away, haha..

Life around here can be so mundane. I hate housework and it's been rainy and the dogs have been difficult and we are trying to adjust to a new way of living life that takes a lot of patience- but all he has to do is attack my leg like a little giggling monkey and everything melts away into the universe and we are just here right now being happy.
To have such a naturally happy child is a real blessing and a perfect reminder to not take things too seriously. :)

Thursday, November 4

Sleep is for wimps.

I'm up way too late, again. It's so worth it though. There is Irish bread in the oven, apple butter on the stove and these in my tummy:

Oh wait, I mean these:

I didn't make them, but the cupcake queen herself, Brenda, made them for her dear husband's birthday... and shared :)

But forget all that, look at this picture my dad took (you can see it in action here): 

It instantly makes me feel like the world is a perfect place. I love my dad. 

I'm exploring new territory tomorrow with him in mind. He's an incredibly social person and I'd like to be that someday, again (I lost it somewhere between the ages of 18 and 23). I'll have a good friend with me but it still makes me extremely nervous. I know there is no reason to be scared about meeting a new bunch of moms but my nerves kick in at the mere thought of being in a room with more than 3 people to begin with, whether I know them or not. (This may explain the lack of sleepiness tonight.)

Breath in, breath out. Eat apple butter on Irish bread for breakfast, enjoy the fall drive to the base, and all will be good with the world. :)

Monday, November 1

Nom nom.

That happens to be one of the things the J says nowadays, "nom nom nom." Usually while he's snacking on peanut butter crackers. 

Up until now we've only had store-bought crackers because I thought it would be a huge pain to make our own. I was so wrong!
How stinkin' easy! These ones are oat and wheat crackers, they are the heartiest ones I could find,  the recipe is here. Have I ever mentioned how much I love I hate wasting time and energy on bad new recipes and the rating system they have makes it pretty easy to pick out the best ones right from the beginning. They were so, so simple and tasty- they taste like Kashi wheat thins, not like cardboard, which is what I was afraid of!

I'm so happy to be baking again (something other than cupcakes anyway!) today it was crackers and naan and tomorrow I'll try Irish wheaten bread.  I'll also be making pumpkin butter in the crock pot, since we didn't get to carve all of our pumpkins in time fore Halloween.

Tuesday, October 26

Eight long years.

 October 26, 2002 Chris and I sealed the deal in St. Augustine, Florida. I've never scanned in our wedding pictures and I guess I'm not about to start now- these pictures were taken of the actual photos with my iPhone, so please excuse the shoddy quality!

 Here we are looking all happy and in love:

And here we are looking like we have no clue what we're doing (psst! we didn't, we were only 20 & 21):

My long-haired musician husband, not be confused with my crew-cut mechanic husband:

All the amazing people who came from all over to share our day with us:

And the most adorable attendants in the whole wedding party :)

Chris, if you read this I would tell you what an amazing journey it's been by your side and how, with all the struggles and up and downs, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But you don't read this so I guess I'll just go watch you play video games now :)

Happy anniversary love. We totally know what we're doing now.

Sunday, October 24


My baby DOES look like me!! 
Here's my Aunt Kari and me in the 80's:

And Johnny today, well, a few weeks ago:

So there!! Haha!!! 
Of course he still really looks like his dad too! 

Saturday, October 23

The making of a Socktosquid, part 2.

The halloween costume is done- a full seven days before halloween! But only the morning of the first party so really just in time, in true halloween costume tradition, haha...
I love love love love LOVE it! 

He HATES it! Haha!

There is a sweet matching stroller cover made out of a very heavy interfacing and felt. It's really kind of a hack-job, as it was finished just 1/2 hour before we had to head out the door.

It will be handy for trick-or-treating with friends next week, and it also holds his crazy tentacles in place pretty well.

So now, in continuation of Part 1, here is a quick rundown on how this was made:

Once all the socks were cut into squares I started sewing the bottom halves together end-to-end for the tentacles.

Once about eight of them were sewn, I folded the line of them in half and sewed down the long side, ending each one in a little swirl, kind of like this:

Then each tube was turned right-side and four of them were stuffed. The other four were set aside until the base of the top and pants were done.

For those I sewed the tops into rows of three, then sewed two rows together to make a block of six. I made four of these blocks.

I used a hoodie in the right size as a rough pattern and cut a front top, back top and two pants legs.
The front and back top pieces got sewn together at the shoulders and sides and at each armhole an open end of one an unstuffed tube was attached.
Once the pant legs were assembled and elastic inserted in a casing in the waist, I cut them off short and attached the last two unstuffed tentacles. Two of the stuffed tentacles were then hand sewn on each the top and the bottom, one on front, one on back.

For the hood, I made two blocks of four and two blocks of two. I used the same hoodie to cut and inner hood, then a much more exaggerated outer hood and sewed the two together along the front (where his face would be). It was stuffed in the top and sewn to the neckline of the shirt. Then I put a casing along the opening for a drawstring.

The unstuffed arms and legs get stuffed only to the point where your child's hands and feet will reach. I cut a slit right where his hands reached to in the tentacle so that he could slip them out.

The fins are just two triangles hand sewn on.

I wish I had the energy to write a full tutorial, (or the forethought to take take all the right pictures!) But for now this is how you make a Socktosquid!!

(borrowed this photo from a friend!)