Yes, I'm back! Hopefully my bloggy and Etsy peeps are still around -- and I am so super happy to make new ones, too -- because after five years, I've opened up my Etsy shop again! This is all so super exciting for me, the hubbs and the kids too, of course! And after 4.5 years, I'm also back to blogging too...because somehow, somewhere, in the midst of homeschooling our 3 children, returning to college for a Bachelor's degree in Science, Mathematics and Technology with a concentration in Information Systems, coordinating a homeschool STEAM playgroup, and cooking, cleaning, and taking care of myself, husband, home, and family's needs (not in that order!), somehow I have carved out some time to sew and create designs, and post some of my handmade creations for my blog visitors to see. Woohoo!
A few sweet moments of quiet bloggy goodness in my sewing studio and makerspace is really good for the soul. So that's where I am right now, here in my home studio:
I have realized that I really miss writing and sharing my creations here on my blog, and also in my Etsy shop. The kids and I have been working on lots of new items, and bringing back some beloved classics too! So I'll be posting photos of handmade goodness that I create and sew, along with 3D printed designs straight from our 3D printer, which will all be available in my shop.
And if you're wondering where that baby of mine is, the one from my last post/last bloggy giveaway back in 2012, well...he's almost 4.5 years old now and that's him up there in a monster shirt that I made for his big brother Joey a bunch of years ago. Isn't he amazing?? :D
By the way, his big brother is now 10 years old. YES, TEN, and big sis is now 8, (*eight!*) and they are three of the most fantastic kiddos you could ever imagine. They continually amaze the hubbs and I on a daily basis, and we are so very thankful every day as we get to spend our days together and enjoy homeschooling. Nothing in the world compares to spending time with my babies, and I am thankful to God daily for this time together.
We have also added another few additions to our family over the past few years. Another German Shepherd Dog, who is so one beautiful, big awesome doggy. Then there's our uber fluffball, a French Angora Rabbit who is more like a kind little puppy than a bunny. She knows her name and comes running when she's called. It's very funny to see. I'll find a video of her to post someday soon. There's a photo of her way up there at the top of my blog's header image. Next to the throw back photo of me and the hubby.
And hmmm...I'm thinking pretty soon I'll have a Grand Re-Opening Monster Giveaway on my Facebook page! So be sure to go follow my Facebook page so that you'll be notified when the giveaway begins: https://www.facebook.com/handmade.childrens.clothing.by.joeyandaleethea
And just in case you've forgotten where my super cutesie shop is, it's okay, it's been 5 years since it was open! Joey & Aleethea is here: http://joeyandaleethea.com
Off to sew now, I have an order to fulfill for a super cool Mama and her baby girl in the Netherlands! How awesome is that? I'm so excited about making it, and need to go create some handmade goodness now, so I'll post a photo of the super fun dress when it's done.
The world today needs a whole lot of happy, colorful, fun, creative goodness, and this is my way of sharing some of mine with you. So come back and visit whenever you can. We'll be here!
Update: Well everyone, here I am...Tuesday 2/7/12 8:30pm EST and I'm officially 5 days past my due date! We're still awaiting our baby boy who is apparently on his own little schedule. :) In order to have a winner for this sweet giveaway, I want all of you to have another shot at guessing the birthday of our little guy! So come on back to my blog -- and just comment again with a different date. And if you haven't yet taken a guess, then stop on by and let's keep this party going! Here's some new info for you guys: As of this evening, I'm 2cm dilated and 95% effaced. Woohoo!!! :D
We're all anxiously waiting for our "Baby 2012" to arrive. I'm due in 5 days, and cannot wait to meet him.
The Hubbs Joe has spent many nights fixing up lots of things around the house, making it more comfy for us all. He's also gotten all of the remaining boxes unpacked from our move, thank goodness. Every room in our home is now box-free!! (umm...except for those dozen or so boxes that we're hiding upstairs in his office...but we won't talk about those, mmkayy?)
My wonderful Doula Helen is on call, and my awesome Midwife Barbara will be ready at the birthing center, along with the tub for our planned water birth. These area exciting times!
The baby's nursery awaits. Joey and Lily await their little brother's arrival. Our pup Souvlaki naps at my feet, and won't leave my side - even more so than usual. Gosh how I wish Aleethea were here too.
The super cutesie and tiny little newborn sized Ankle Biters lounge pants are hanging in his closet, the handmade newborn monster onesies and necktie shirts await, the sweet little colorful handpainted onesie from his patient big sister Lily, some art for his walls made by big brother Joey, a cozy little sleep sack for him to travel home in, and the crib bedding I made is (almost) all ready to be enjoyed. I keep sewing more and more things for him. Maybe if I stop sewing, then he'll get here already! :)
Wanna guess our baby's birthday? Cool, because it's giveaway time!!!!!!!!!
It's time for some FUN! If you can correctly guess what day my baby boy will arrive, then I'll make you a little something awesome; either a monster onesie or monster shirt, handmade by me, especially for you. Woohoo!!
Ready to guess? Need some more info?
- our son Joey was born 3 days past his due date
- our daughter Lily was born 4 days past her due date
- my official due date is Thursday 02/02/12
- I've had very strong Braxton Hicks contractions every night like clockwork for all of January
- as of three days ago, I'm 1cm dilated.
- Groundhog Day is also February 2nd...will we see my baby??? hehe.
- my beloved dog's birthday is February 3rd, the Hubbs Joe thinks the baby will be born on Aleethea's bday
- my nephew's birthday is also February 3rd
- Superbowl Sunday is February 5th...and I do NOT want to be anywhere but HOME to watch it...so I will need to do everything in my power to either have this baby on his due date in order to get back home in time for the Superbowl...or, hold my labor off until Monday, at least. haha.
So that's pretty much everything. Now your guess is as good as mine!
Sometime shortly after our new babe arrives, I'll let you know via my blog (which also updates my Facebook page), to annouce our baby boy's arrival. I will contact the winner directly for their address, and since we'll have a newborn in the house, I probably won't get to sewing the prize until March.
Here I am with my belly, so you can sort of see who needs to come out and have a birthday. And don't laugh at my funny hat!:
I've been having some fun reading up on the type of personality and characteristics my baby boy will posses, as an Aquarius aka the Water Bearer. Wikipedia has some interesting info re: Aquarius in Greek Mythology. And here's an article I found describing Aquarius babies:
January 20 - February 18
"Your Aquarian baby will be outwardly calm, relaxed and delightful and grandparents in particular will dote on your baby. From an early age Aquarians are quick thinkers who will want to analyse everything and everyone. An Aquarian child will often be totally unpredictable and come up with with lots of ideas; and she will also be sensitive and intuitive. You may find your child will rebel against commands and rules, but if you leave her to think things through she will normally come to a sensible conclusion on her own. Young Aquarians like to have many friends, although few will be very close, and will be generous towards them. Parents should watch out for the typical Aquarian absent-mindedness which may seem strange in one so young.
An Aquarian child will be full of energy and will be constantly on the go and needs plenty of opportunity to make discoveries. Your child will thrive in a peaceful, calm, harmonious environment. These children are sensitive to any underlying tensions, so if you have to argue with a partner or other family member, try to do so out of earshot of your child. Aquarian children can often look more confident than they feel and so they will need genuine encouragement and praise from their parents.
Young Aquarians should be encouraged to think logically and practically. Their minds are always working quickly, sometimes too quickly so they often get in a muddle.
When I called Joe and the kids at 6:45am on Tuesday 12/6/11, I had left the house 15 minutes ago, and was just a few blocks away from the Emergency Vet. I knew Aleethea had already passed away, but the kids didn't yet know.
Just a little over an hour before...it was so early in the morning, and still dark out. It was raining. Joey and Lily had just woken up since they heard me already awake, and I told them Aleethea wasn't feeling well...but I had no idea she was as sick as she was. Soonafter they saw me crying while laying down on the floor next to Aleethea, and Souvlaki was laying down next to us too...as if Souvlaki knew what was happening right before our eyes. I started to get dressed and ready to go. Within moments Aleethea was very, very weak, and she couldn't stand up. Moments later her breathing was labored, her gums were grayish, then a minute later they were blue.
I told the kids Aleethea is not in any pain, but she had suddenly become very sick, and I'm going to have to take her to the Emergency Vet.
But I knew Aleethea only had a few minutes left to live, and wouldn't make it to the vet 15 minutes away. I had seen her life slip away in the moments prior.
Then the kids saw Joe carrying Aleethea and rushing out to put her in the car. I told the kids Dad will stay with them, and they will sit and have breakfast together. After I left, Joe and the kids prayed for Aleethea, to not be in any pain.
When I was on the phone with them, I told Joey and Lily to get their crayons and paper. I told them if they wanted to, they could draw a picture of Aleethea, and draw a picture about how they remember their dog. Also, if they had to say goodbye to her, what would they want Aleethea to know.
When I returned home at 8am, Joe and I had to sit down and tell the kids that our sweet puppy Aleethea had died. After a little while and lots of tears, the kids showed me their art.
This is what Lily drew:
Lily described the drawing she made:
"That's a rainbow. And the big blue is home. The little blue is the doctor's. Aleethea walked over the rainbow."
This is what Joey drew:
Then Joey described his drawing:
"I knew Aleethea loved me. Thats how I remember Aleethea, on the grass, playing, under the blue shining sky."
Children are simply amazing.
After I told them what to expect at the vet's office, we all drove to the emergency vet where they knew they would see Aleethea laying down on the vet's table, with her blanket over her, her face showing and her eyes closed. We brought Souvlaki with us too. It was our time to say our final goodbye, pray together next to her, and pet our Aleethea for the very last time.
We returned home. Joe and I spent the day with the kids, and no one went to work or school. We talked about why Aleethea died, and what the vet said, and how she died. They watched the movie "All Dogs Go To Heaven". They painted quietly that day. We talked about how important it is for them to draw, and write, and talk, and express their feelings.
We talked about how she will always be with us, and how she will always be remembered in our hearts and minds. We discussed how to remember her, and how to talk about what we remember about her. We answered lots of the kids' questions, and talked about how it's ok to be sad. We also talked about how their sadness might make them feel angry. We talked about how to express that anger and sadness. We talked about how they're going to see Mama and Dada cry over Aleethea, and we'll all need lots of hugs and understanding and compassion, because we are very, very sad for now. and how they won't be sad all the time.
We talked about how it's ok to be happy and sometimes forget your sadness, and always remember to play. We talked about how they could tell everyone they know about Aleethea, and that she died and is now in heaven.
We talked about how their other puppy Souvlaki is still here, and needs lots of extra love these days too. Souvlaki lost her best doggy friend and also who she saw as her "Mama". We talked about how lucky we are to still have a dog in our lives, and we should always let Souvlaki know how much we love her.
Throughout the day, we told each other of our favorite memories of Aleethea, and we looked at lots of pictures of Aleethea. We held each other through tears. We cried alone, we cried together.
We also went out to buy the book "Dog Heaven" for our bedtime story. Our first bedtime in 7 1/2 years without Aleethea. Our young beautiful energetic dog now sleeps and plays in heaven.
It all just happened so quickly that morning. Aleethea wasn't supposed to die. She was healthy. She was so energetic. She never showed signs of slowing down. She never showed signs of being ill. She was supposed to live long. She was supposed to have an old age. We just moved back to NY. She was supposed to play in the NY snow this winter. She was supposed to have another Christmas with us.
What happened to my sweet and energetic dog, my loving pup of just 7 years young??
Aleethea died of a Spleenic Mass, aka Hemangiosarcoma (HSA). Some refer to it as Spleen Cancer, and it's known as the Silent Killer. It is a terribly sudden death, and often very unexpected. Her abdomen was filled with blood. She had a tumor in her spleen near her heart.
It's called the Silent Killer because there are hardly any noticeable symptoms which would lead you to believe death was imminent, until it is already too late. Even if we would’ve rushed Aleethea into the vet weeks earlier when the tumor probably began to grow, she would’ve needed emergency surgery to remove her spleen. Even with spleen removal surgery, dogs would then require chemotherapy and have some painful days. And after the surgery, a dog would generally only live a max of 1 to 3 more months. To read more about this awful Hemangiosarcoma (HSA), see this article - warning there are graphic photos involved.
The day after Aleethea died was Wednesday, and Joey and Lily returned to Kindergarten and Preschool. They each carried a photo of Aleethea with them, and a note for their teacher informing them of their loss. The kids told their friends at school about what happened to their dog, and they received many hugs.
While the kids were at school, I now had hours to grieve without worrying about my kids...and I went numb. I could hardly breathe. I was walking around in a foggy haze. There are only two things getting me out of bed and eating food thru the day...one is my husband taking such good care of me and his kids. The other is because of this baby boy that I'm carrying inside.
Today I'm 32 weeks pregnant, and I am absolutely heartbroken over my first baby, Aleethea Faith.
As the owner of two large breed dogs, I keep a list of pet and dog-friendly destinations all over the world. Pet-friendly hotels, dog-friendly vacation home rentals, dog-friendly restaurants and outdoor dining in NC, US and Worldwide.
The website I use for Pet-Friendly hotels and vacation home rentals for US destinations is called Pet-Friendly Travel: http://petfriendlytravel.com
When travelling out of the United States, the website I found to be the most helpful for Worldwide destinations is Dog Friendly. It's super useful for searching the City by City guides to find dog-friendly beaches, dog parks, outdoor dog-friendly dining and restaurants, as well as campgrounds all over the world.
Over the past 2 and a half years of living in Durham, NC, my 2 German Shepherds and I enjoyed meeting and having fun with some wonderful dog owners and their furry friends. We've also of course frequented some local pet-friendly businesses in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill who have gone the extra mile for our family and dogs on many occasions. Now that we're moving out of NC, I wanted to share these resources which I highly recommend to any local dog owners in in the Triangle Area.
The Teamworks dog pond in Youngsville NC is where Aleethea, Souvlaki and I had so much darn fun this summer!! It is where Aleethea jumped off a dock for the very first time ever, and also where Souvlaki learned to swim! We've spent lots of hot summer mornings at the dog pond, then when we arrived home my dogs would drop to the floor and be knocked out in a deep sleep for hours! The owner of Teamworks is a professional Dog Trainer of many, many years, whose credentials are astounding. Michele is also the author of The Sentry Dog, a book about "territorial aggression, a common dog behavior problem. Dogs that bark at people or other dogs through windows, doors, and beyond fences..." Michele is amazing, a wonderful person and we have so many great memories of her and days enjoying her property with my GSDs. Michele and the Teamworks facility is rated "The Best of Raleigh" in Dog Training in 2009, 2010 & 2011.
If you live in the NC Triangle area, and you have an aggressive dog, who you absolutely love and want the best for -- please look Michele up. She will work wonders with you and your fur baby.
I've seen too many aggressive dogs while living here in NC. I know of several dogs who just over the past couple of months who were part of a dog pack - and frequented one of the local dog parks together - who appear to suffer from territorial aggression. And they were all female! The dogs belonged to a few different owners, and were all dogs who I had initially thought were friendly. I would see them hanging out at the dog park together - but last week the dogs were suddenly aggressively barking and showing their teeth in public. Other dog owners mentioned it had been going on for a couple of months now, and it got to the point where many other dog owners didn't want to visit the dog park anymore. They said it was as if those female dogs were feeding off of each other's aggression, because while alone - the individual dogs wouldn't bark at their masters. But once they got together at the dog park and other locations, the dogs were mimicking each others behaviors, and essentially training each other how to be more and more aggressive and frustrated as time went on. At the dog park, the aggressive dogs would bark at me and other people who appeared at the park's entrances and whenever someone left they would bark at the parking lot exits. Ultimately one day a few of the dogs pointed their aggression directly to their owner - and all the while in a public and hosted location! As if that property actually belonged to them, which clearly it did not! So sad that their problems have escalated to that point. Those dogs had been coming to the dog park together for years, and I even gave some of them water, and snacks, and even food at one time or another. But it's as if they were no longer individual dogs - and instead they are now a pack of aggression. I felt so bad for the dogs, they seemed very confused and lonely. They obviously had forgotten how to be friendly, and had no real understanding of how to act in public via basic dog park manners. Maybe they needed to be walked more often, or were acting-out because they needed more attention. Surely the barking and showing of teeth and public displays of aggression was clearly not the way to go about obtaining what they wanted, but the poor things just needed help. Even in addition to the barking and showing of teeth, they showed many more signs of major issues of aggression, which must've been underlying and brewing for a very long time. I honestly could not believe their sudden unruly behavior. These dogs were so sweet at one point. I kept looking for drooling of the mouth and other signs of rabies, because surely they must've caught something and need to be medicated immediately! Really, I hope each of those dogs receive the training and help that they each need in their lives, because they've already been banned from the dog park! And everyone is on the lookout for them in the neighborhood - just in case further action needs to be taken by local businesses that they frequent. It is really very sad, and I am sure so limiting for the owners and the dogs alike.
There is also a new dog-friendly facility opening up in the Durham-RTP area called Lap It Up which is soon to be an indoor "canine swim (and activity) center. A year round water playground for your dog, so you can hang out for the day, an evening, or just squeeze in a few moments to get the energy out." to enhance "the human/animal bond through controlled activities and games..." It will feature "a maze that you and your dog can use and many other fun activities". My energetic GSDs and I were anticipating this facility's opening all year long. I was so looking forward to taking Aleethea & Souvlaki to the Grand Opening! My plan was to wait for the perfect cold and rainy day to take my pool-loving furry beasts for some fun and games, play in the giant maze together, and for some swimtime too. It would've been hilarious and such fun, I'm sure. According to their website, Lap It Up is scheduled to open this Fall (but we're relocating very soon). See their Facebook page for contact info. Although the facility isn't open yet - they truly sound to be planning a fantastic place to hang out and play with your beloved K9s. So I hope you go check it out, and have fun for all of us!!
And before I go, I want to share with you some more doggy links that I've found very useful over the years. Some are local businesses who have gone the extra mile for us on many occasions - and I highly recommend them, and also some very helpful dog resources on the web:
Here we are, this week I'm 6 months pregnant. Do you see that major roundness I've got going on?
I'm looking and feeling rather huge lately, and I'm just getting used to the belly's growth spurt over the past month - but loving every tiresome and interesting minute of it.The kids run over to me when I tell them the baby is kicking in there, and I ask them who wants to feel the belly and come say hello to their baby brother? "Meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
First time wearing that vintage dress, and the very first time trying it on in all year long. Got it last January from Etsy, of course - a sweet shop named Wunderbar vintage. Had I known how much I would love the dress, I would've at least put on some lipstick for the photo.
Adoring the looks on my kiddos faces - they did so great staying there for the photos - they're such troopers because they initially started out smiling - but this was an impromptu picture-taking moment, which turned into a super long 5 minutes...and do you know what 5 minutes is like with 2 kids and 2 dogs? More like 20 minutes. So this photo was after a dozen or so snapshots were already taken - all the while I'm saying under my breath and behind my smile to my pups "Aleethea, Souvlaki, ssstaaaaaaayyyyyy, good girrrrrrls, ssstayyyyyyyyy."
Joey could not wait til the picture-taking was over so he could go back to playing with his cardboard craft. Lily was taking it all so seriously, she was also saying "sstaaaaaaaaaayy" to the dogs. Do you see how Aleethea's ears are all pushed back? She is so sweet, she was patiently listening to and obeying Lily. Souvlaki isn't quite as patient yet - she was just waiting to pounce up and run once we were all done. Afterwards Lily was just so happy because the dogs listened to her. Ugh, so cute!
Missing in the photo is the Hubbs Joe - because he was taking the picture. And if he would've moved even just a bit, and attempted to turn on the auto-timer thingy on the camera in order to jump into the photo...well, forget about it...those 4 adorable sweeties next to me would've each started walking away in their own directions. So I've learned ya take what ya can get around here some mornings.
I think this one is going to get framed in black and white, and hung up in the new house once we move. That is, after I photoshop the Hubbs Joe into the picture too. :)
Not sure when I'll check-in here again since we're surrounded by boxes and moving this month. Sad times because I will miss the dear friends I made here in this small and quiet country town. But at the same time we are ecstatic to be moving back to our hometown of NYC.
Thank you to everyone who entered my recent giveaway and took a fun guess at our baby's gender! So are you ready to see what we're having? OK so you may need to imagine a baby sitting on a glass table, and you're underneath the glass table looking upwards. Wait for it...
We're having a BOY!!! And for the record, this is the only time you will ever see me post a photo of our offspring's private parts. I think at 18.5 weeks pregnant, the photo is still pretty much rated G. :)
I've known our baby's gender since Friday - and lemme tell ya, it has not been easy keeping this a secret online - I've had to keep it hush everywhere from Facebook to Pinterest to Twitter to Etsy...so I'm very happy this moment has finally arrived.
Of the 19 total guesses in my "boy or girl?" giveaway, 7 guesses were for a girl, and 12 of which guessed a boy. At first, everyone was guessing a girl! Then the boy guesses starting rolling in. It was lots of fun reading all of the comments and guesses.
And so, we have a winner! It's comment # 9 of the boy guesses.
Congratulations to Amanda Sue!! She commented "I'm gonna guess a boy!" - and she was not only right, but also the lucky winner!
Amanda Sue, I'll be emailing you momentarily to ask you which monster you'd like, also your preference of monster onesie or monster tee, and the size you'd like. Congrats again!
Thank you to everyone who played along!!!!!!
And now, I'll leave you with a much better image of our baby boy:
Isn't he awesome? omg...IT'S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
This giveaway is over and comments are closed -- see the winner here!
Tomorrow is the day!! Tomorrow we find out if this baby in my belly is a baby boy, or a baby girl!!! Our kids Joey and Lily are both so excited to find out if they're having a little brother or sister, it's the cutest thing how they start jumping up and down when we talk about it.
Joey says he wants a baby brother because "if we bring any more girls in this house, then forget it. Just forget it!..." And he goes on and on...and at 5 years old, he means it! He's referring mostly to our German Shepherds Aleethea and Souvlaki, who are both females, and how he helps feed them and train them on a daily basis, which is alot of fun for him, even though they're super intelligent beasts and very stubborn...yet they listen to him of course, and it's also important and responsible work - even if it only takes 15 minutes per day. Joey is so smart and quite specific about what he says and wants. That "forget it" he speaks of also covers a wholelotta ground! He's also quite the listmaker, and that list of an answer gets longer and longer each time he's asked the question about the baby's gender. Joey has always been so great and kind and loving with his little sister, and with any younger kids or babies, so I know he'll be a fantastic big brother again.
Lily says she wants a baby girl so she can "help dress the baby, and give the baby a bath, and play with the baby, and tell the baby 'no, baby, that's not your doll, that's MINE." Nice, eh? Already so helpful, yet already fighting with the baby. All very good reasons, though. I know Lily will be such a wonderful big sister, and I think she will enjoy having more responsibilities around the house. She is always happy to offer her help, which really is so sweet. You should see her reinforcing training with Aleethea and Souvlaki, and how well they both listen to all 3 feet tall of her. She is so strong, and so adorable, and so amazing.
But I do have to often explain to my little monster babes that just because they tell me that they want a baby brother or a baby sister, it doesn't actually mean that they will get what they ask for. That's still a grey area around here. We tell them it's all in God's hands. But at their age, they think if they ask for a baby boy or a baby girl, then that's what I'll deliver! You know, like any other typical choice I give them such as "What do you want for lunch? Peanut butter n' jelly...or...macaroni and cheese?" So I give them a choice, they answer, and I deliver! Yeah...not quite the same situation here.
So I told my sweet, smart, and overall just so awesome children that they should add "baby brother" or "baby sister" to their Christmas Lists and prayers. :)))
OK so getting back to this baby...as for me, for a while I was on the fence about finding out the gender of this baby, and almost wanted to leave it all up to be a surprise. The Hubbs Joe has never been indecisive about it, he's always wanted to know the gender. It's really just more practical with our hectic lives these days. The Hubbs Joe wants to find out also because he says he knows it'll just be so much easier on me since I can pace myself and start sewing up the baby's 1st year wardrobe and get it done before he or she arrives. Which pretty much was the deciding factor for me, because that definitely does sound like a whole lot of fun!! :D
When I was preggers with our son Joey, we didn't find out what gender Joey was until moments after his birth. Does anyone even do that anymore? Joey was our surprise gender, and the Hubbs Joe and I loved the whole mystery of it all, throughout my pregnancy. Months and months of contemplating the gender, talking about what if's, hearing all about how patient we were from other people when we told them we weren't finding out, and decor and clothing in lots of neutral colors like sage, yellow, and orange filling the nursery...until the baby blue gifts starting pouring in once our bouncing baby boy arrived. Good times.
When I was pregnant with Lily, we wanted to find out what gender she was since we had a toddler at home and not as much time on our hands - so we wanted to ensure we could prepare everything for her arrival. If she would've been a boy, easy peasy, we'd have all the hand me downs and no need for anything new. But then we found out a sweet baby girl was on the way! So I had to get to sewing, and make her the most lovely dresses and the most pretty little things, yet as non-uber-girly as could be. No frilly frills around here, yet I had lots of time to start thinking like the Mama of a girl, and not just a little boy's Mama. It was quite a transition in thinking, and I was glad to have that time to prepare and research some of the girly stuff I needed to know. Which, of course, is never really accurate because the day arrives and then your daughter tells you and shows you the way it really is, and not what you've read! :)
So...what do I think we're having? That's the question I hear alot. I think...based upon the amount of morning sickness I've had these past few months, I think we're having a boy...only because when I was preggers with Lily I was sick all day long for months and months...and this time around although I've been sick here and there, and for a few weeks it was kinda bad...but still, it just hasn't been as awful as before.
At my last OB visit, the baby's heartrate was 140 bpm. They say a faster heartrate could mean a girl, a slower heartrate could mean a boy...but I'm told this heartrate is right in the middle. So...who knows!
So what do you think? Are we having a boy or a girl?
And you know I love sewing and giving things away...and wow it's been so long...so how about we have a fun little G I V E A W A Yto make this even more fun (as if that's possible!), and to celebrate!!!
How would you like one of those super cutesie monster onesies in the photo? For freeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Your prize is one of my signature items from my Etsy shop, Joey & Aleethea. So it will be custom made by me, just for you! You could have either Vasilis, Limoni, Or Daphne...on either a onesie or a tee shirt if you prefer! It will be handmade by me especially for your baby or big kiddo, or a present for your friend or family!
The GIVEAWAY is open starting right now, and all you need to do is leave a comment with what you think I'm having! From the correct guesses, a random number generator will then select the winner!
Giveaway ends on Labor Day (hehe), Monday night 9/5//11 just before midnite, at 11:59pm EST.
The winner - and my baby's gender - will be announced...ummm...when this pregnant Mama feels like it, darnit! Or...on Tuesday 9/6/11 before midnite...whichever comes first. :P
Be sure to leave your size and monster preference in your comment (Vasilis, Limoni, or Daphne, in any size, newborn thru 10yrs), because you know you're gonna win!
This giveaway is open to everyone, everywhere! You only need an email address and a mailing address in order for me to contact you and mail out your awesome monster onesie or shirt. Please note: it will take a couple of weeks for me to get your super cutesie monster onesie/tee out to you. Just sayin...I'm kinda busy building life here!
Oh and only one entry per person.
Isn't it neat for you that you have a friend who is pregnant...and who also sews? haha. :D
Good luck, peeps!! And I can't wait to tell you guys what we're having!!!!!!!!!!!!
My furry babies, tolerating a heat index of 110 degrees while I take their picture.
Souvlaki (on right) is 11 mos old now, and doesn't look like such a pup anymore. Look at how tall she is! Her paws are bigger than Aleethea's, and Souvlaki still has more growing to do.
Aleethea (on left) at 7yrs old acts as the Mama, showing her "baby" Souvlaki what to do and when, and lovingly disciplining her too.
Wouldn't you think that the older dog would physically be the slower dog? And the pup would be the more physically active one? Not in our house. Actually Aleethea is the one with twice as much energy as Souvlaki! Aleethea has always had a high drive and still acts the same as she did when she was 2 years old. She is still the fastest dog I've ever seen (in person). She runs faster than Souvlaki, and is all around much quicker on her feet and more agile. Souvlaki is very playful, but would rather lay at my feet than initiate any running games. But once she sees Aleethea running and playing, Souvlaki is quick to follow.
They have so much fun together - they play like wolves and make crazy and wild growling sounds as they stand up on their hind feet with all their teeth showing, nip each other in the paws, and bite each others necks. All in good fun.
Oh and they adore swimming!
Here's Aleethea growling at Souvlaki as Souvlaki attempts to playfully attack her while swimming:
These pups of ours are just so wonderful and amazing.
My sweet and ferocious German Shepherd Dogs. ^..^__~ ^..^__~
June 11th, 2008...and it feels like just yesterday that we were playing a bloggy giveaway game here on my blog entitled "Where's My Baby" because it was days before my due date, and my belly was huge!! Everyone started guessing when our baby girl would arrive, and it was such fun. Lily ended up being 4 days "overdue" at 9lbs, 6 oz. Yikes! And that was 3 years ago. Amazing.
So my youngest is now 3. She had just self-weaned her nightly nursing at 35 months. Yes, thirty-five-months. Did I ever imagine I would be extended breastfeeding for that long? Never. I thought Joey was a marathon nurser when he self-weaned at 23 months. I had no idea Lily would keep asking for her "nay nay" until just before her 3rd birthday. The girls are officially mine again. A bit smaller, but mine all mine.
OK so enough about babies and boobs. Let's talk about my preschooler...
Lily was actually very sick in the above photo. This picture was taken on the morning of her birthday, the day before her birthday party...which we had to reschedule for the following weekend! Darn fever, sniffles and hacking cough.
We stayed inside all day, rested up, and made some birthday crafts, and enjoyed some birthday cake. Here's a little video of Lily, just after we sang Happy Birthday to her. She's about to blow out her candles...poor thing barely had the energy, but it was so darn cute!! Wait til you hear what she wishes for.
(The video may take a minute or so to load, it's a fairly large file.)
Those awesome retro cake decorations (carousel horses, balloons) are from the super fun vintage shop HeyYoYo on Etsy.
That fabulous birthday crown Lily in the photo is by WendyMiracle who was just so great to ship out that lovliness to my little girl the day after I ordered it, and it arrived in time to wear for Lily's birthday breakfast.
Oh, and what is Lily eating for breakfast on her special day? A big goey puff of sorts, made from pink popcorn. It's called a Hello Kitty Caramel Popcorn Ball. They're just like having pink cereal, but without the milk, and instead with some pinkish glaze and caramel sticky stuff. A fun and yummy special 3rd birthday treat! Got them here from SugarBunchCreations on Etsy, who packaged up those popcorn balls and a bunch of cotton candy favors so nicely, and shipped them overnite to ensure their freshness.
You can't really see the poofy Pink Bubblegum gown Lily has on in the photo, but it is super poofy and full of pink felt circles. Lily picked it out, from approx a dozen dresses I showed her on Etsy. It's from a wonderful Etsy seller, a talented and super sweet costume designer named Starina23, and you can see the dress here in all its cuteness.
The whole pinker than pink theme of Lily's birthday was all her decision, everything from the pink gown, the pink crown, the pink cupcakes I baked the next weekend for her party, and pink balloons. She is over the moon with pinkness these days. Convincing her to wear any other color takes a bit of creativity on our part!
Anyway, so after some restful days of medicine and recovery, and 2 days straight of wearing that same pink dress because she simply did not want to take it off...one week later Lily was all better, and the party was on.
I'll get Lily's birthday party photos posted soon. A clown, face-painting, frozen margaritas, Greek food and good friends!
The skies are all dark and grey today, and the rain is coming down pretty heavily. We sure are looking forward to the sunshine and rainbows after today's stormy weather.
Until then, to bring some of those anticipated colorful skies inside, Joey and Lily are snuggling up on the couch together, hanging out in their tie-dye shirts from Splendid Little Stars. Yep, those shirts are hand dyed! Don't they look like such fun? Splendid Little Stars is an Etsy shop owned by Margaret, she's a bloggy friend of mine and you have got to see the items in her shop. They are simply wonderful little pieces of colorful happiness!
My kids really love those shirts, and always ask to wear them. Especially on rainy days! The rain plus their colorful shirts make them all smiley and silly. They sure do know how to bring the rainbows inside. :)
Via PBS: "In the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week, aid organizations are working to assist survivors and are calling for donations. We've compiled a list of a few of the organizations lending a hand. It's not an exhaustive list, but it can help those interested in contributing get a start on their research." - see the list here via PBS.org and donate what you can. Every little bit helps.
Etsy artists are helping via tagging their products with " See the Etsy blog post, Thinking of Japan.
And from the Etsy forums, the below is from LisaJune, Etsy Admin:
Also see this info from ProjectHope: "As Japan races to prevent a nuclear meltdown in the wake of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, frightening uncertainties abound. At least 10,000 quake-related deaths have been reported and it’s feared that the ultimate toll could be much higher. Amid a desperate search for survivors, millions more are without power, heat and water." Japan Tsunami: What's Ahead After Massive Earthquake, Nuclear Crisis
Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts are with you, Japan.
"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." ~ Hal Borland
In between making stuff for my super awesome customers, (from January/February orders) we are also enjoying the fresh Spring air. We've enjoyed some days in the mid 70's and today was a beautiful and very breezy high 60's.
I've been sewing soooooo much lately, too. Even though my shop is closed, there are dozens of items that I am getting done for some very wonderful people across the globe. Thank goodness that I design my dresses to last for a very long time, because Lily is wearing lots of things I made her last year, and really doesn't need anything new this season -- or next!
And I am so happy this little Books and Elephants dress finally fits Lily!! I had made it for her last year, and I made it a couple of sizes too big - so that it would fit her for Easter. But she had such a growth spurt over the winter that it already fits her, and just perfectly too. Here are my kiddos taking a stroll together in their coordinating outfits:
I think I'm going to make one of these for myself, as soon as I have the time:
Here's Lily wearing her sugary sweet bows which she ADORES!! And keeps in her hair ALL DAY LONG!!!
Got them from a very awesome Mama, SugarBearsBows on Etsy. Picked up a whole bunch of "colitas" aka pigtail thingies, and some velvety soft hair clips too. Lily is sooooo picky when it comes to her hair. But she loves her some SugarBearsBows!! She chose Buzz Lightyear bows, and Lightning McQueen, and all sorts of non-uber-girly bows, and she actually lets me put them in her hair. WOWWWWWW. :O We now have an entire bow collection. I never thought I would say those words. I am thrilled that Lily will let me put pigtails in her hair now!!! Her hair is so super curly, and unless we wash it everyday (which would dry it out), it gets all crazy and unruly-like. So the bows are not all overdone, or over-girly - they're small and super cute, just what we needed! Oh and we picked up some bow-holders too, of course. A robot, an owl, and a princess castle - ya know, to mix things up a bit. Such fun. Love that shop!!
Lily loves lots of girly-things...just not so much in her hair...but she ADORES her handmade dollhouse!!
Got that little bit of wonderful from a super fab Etsy shop named AHigherPlaneDesigns -- whose wife just happens to be my BFFOL...hehe. Lily asked Santa for a dollhouse, and it arrived all packaged up nice and safe and secure...and the thing is complete AWESOMENESS.
It's made of wood, it's super sturdy (and I often have to tell Joey to stop climbing in it!) -- and he built it for Lily and he even painted it for us too! Who knew Chicago Lawyers were so crafty? Yes, a Lawyer built that. I find that part just a wee bit funny...hehe - but in an awesome way! :D
Cool Vespa Scooters dress by her Mama. But my shop is now closed. Just sayin'. :)
Having fun breaking the slide rules with big bro. "No Mama, it's okay, not one at a time, we'll go down the slide togedderrrrrr."
Joey sharing the plot of his next adventure with his little sis...and looking all cool doing so, too:
Joey is quite the thinker...here's my future Engineer busy at work, building another one of his everyday structures:
He spends 10 or 15 minutes, quietly by himself, and comes up with something like that every single day. Amazing, isn't it? :) My little Architect. Those are just wonderfully plain blocks, all the same size, and the incredible buildings he creates in such a short amount of time truly amaze us. He explains them as airplane towers or sometimes rooftop-garages, or launching pads.
As for the pups...our little furry one is now 6 mos old, and the big furry one just turned 7yrs:
Yep, of course I had to get them to sit and pose for that photo...because usually they're doing this:
Apparently they're practicing for the Easter bunny. They don't know he doesn't really exist. sshhh.
okay, back to sewing for me. I'm going for a record amount of orders to ship out this weekend...fingers crossed!! Along with some free Springtime gift goodness, as a thanks to my patient customers. :D
The kids are asleep, the Hubbs Joe will arrive for movie time in a few minutes, (probably 2 or 3 movies in a row, actually) and lots of fabric all ready to be sewn awaits!
After Valentine's Day, my handmade children's boutique Joey & Aleethea will be closed indefinitely. As some of you already know, over the past four years I had closed up shop for 6 months, then re-opened again for a couple of months...and then I closed up shop again for an entire year. And this time? Who knows what the future will bring...I hope to return someday...but we'll see. It is definitely time for me, Joey & Aleethea to close up shop...and say goodbye, my loves.
In the meantime, please enjoy the SHOP CLOSING SALE!!!!
❤ ❤ ❤ EVERYTHING IS 15% OFF!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
From Saturday 2/12/11 @ 3pm EST
thru Valentine's Day 2/14/11 @ 11:59pm EST
please enjoy 15% OFF all items in our shop!
Thank you so very much to all of my super awesome customers and fantastic Etsy friends for your wonderful patronage and continual support!! I am of course still here, and always available via Etsy convo/eMail/my blog/etc, so if you have any questions please do contact me.
update 02/18/11: thank you all for entering my OWOH giveaway!!!!! The winner of my handmade Vespa Scooters Pillow was selected via random number generator and I am happy to annouce that the winner is...NoodleBubblefrom the UK!!! Her comment was "Lovely to meet you - we have a kitten the same age as your pup - HARD WORK! Having a whistle top tour of the OWOH Blogs today...will pop back again for a longer stay...look forward to see you soon - #728 http://noodlebubble.blogspot.com" Congrats NoodleBubble!! I hope you love your Vespa Scooters pillow!! I'm off to eMail you now. I had plenty of fun visiting blogs and participating in this OWOH, hope you all did too! Thanks again everyone for all your super lovely comments!! Stay tuned for more giveaways this Spring!!
Have you heard of the fantastic mega bloggy giveaway event called "One World One Heart"? It's where bloggers all over the world connect to meet other bloggers and make some new friends - and also offer a giveaway, absolutley free to their blog visitors...how fun!! Here's what I'm giving away...the pillow on the right side of the photo -- a handmade Cool Vespa Scooters linen pillow + pillow insert!
The main point of the One World One Heart bloggy event (other than the fun and free stuff) is for the online peeps to get to know the bloggers a bit more...and so, for anyone who hasn't ever visited my wee little blog before, (and for those returning) -- welcome to Joey & Aleethea's blog! I'm "Mamaaaaa!!!!!", but you can call me Sandra. I have two super awesome kiddos - a 4yo son Joey, and a 2yo daughter Lily.
Where did the name Joey & Aleethea originate? Well, when Joey was newborn babe and I was just launching my clothing line, I already had a furry baby named Aleethea, our loyal loving pet...who keeps me on my toes and tries daily to be the boss. :)
Here's Joey & Aleethea on a stroll in our yard:
I'll tell you a bit about me...but for those who are my regular (not that you're regular!) but my usual bloggy friends, you'll already know most of this, but do try to stay awake, k? :) I'm a wife of 6 wonderful and adventurous years to 1 amazing man whom I refer to as The Hubbs Joe, with whom I've been with for 10 years. I'm also a packleader to 2 crazy fun and well trained, loving, yet simultaneously ferocious German Shepherds named Aleethea and our new puppy Souvlaki, who is an adorable 6 mos old:
This picture sums up my days with them:
You can always find me with a camera in my hands as I adore photography.
There's always music playing in my background wherever and whenever possible, as it feeds my soul and allows my children and I to dance and sing together. We try to instill in them a true love for music and the arts, and incorporate that into our daily lives as much as possible:
This is me with my baby girl at the park, doing what she loves...singing and saying higher, higher:
And here's my son and I, doing what he loves...being a super hero:
Yes I am a lucky Mama of a super hero, for sure. I was born in New York City to Greek and Latin parents and into a big and loving family. I lived in the amazing and multi-cultural NYC 'til I was 30 - for a decade of which I lived most days in Manahattan as a workaholic in the corporate world. I've also lived in Athens, Greece and can still see my beautiful home there when I close my eyes. My college degree says I'm a Computer Programmer, but my Website and Application Development days have of late been overtaken by my creative side who likes to sketch and sew, run a handmade business, raise kiddos, train the dogs, go out and play, and sometimes cook and clean.
The Hubbs Joe and I were married on a beach wedding in Jamaica, West Indies while the waves crashed into the sand and our flip flops imprinted "Just Married" on the sandy shore.
Before we were blessed with children, The Hubbs Joe and I spent many hours each week playing sports together, and were usually found on the handball courts in NYC on weekends til the sun went down. Awesome days. Then when our babies were born and I started sewing much more than programming and building websites, we were living in Orlando Florida just a few minutes from Disneyworld, which was a very touristy few years for us, filled with many trips to famous destinations, busy theme parks and very busy beaches. After 5 years of forceful hurricaines, and days where the sidewalk was too hot to walk my dog, we decided to relocate where the trees were not all palm, and where our chances of getting struck by lightning were quite lower. :) Now our little family currently resides in Durham, North Carolina, I'm a stay at home mom to my kiddos (although for clarification, we don't just stay at home) and we're pretty much living a small town life. It's very, very quiet here. We live amongst the tall trees on a quiet block and there's not much noise here at all...oh, except for us of course. We bring the noise. Yep, we're those neighbors. :D
In my free time (haha, "free time") I love love love to design handmade clothing, touch textiles, and feed fabric to my sewing machine. We're the ones at the local playgrounds wearing the coordinating outfits in designer fabrics, handmade by me. Good times:
So, with a toddler and preschooler and two rather big and active doggies, my days tend to be very, very busy. Even if we just spend a day lounging at home or in the backyard, if you have kids you'll know what I mean - there is always a whole lot going on with the little ones, and always something to be done. In addition to raising my kiddos, I also run a handmade business where I make everything myself - and somehow, I actually get a whole lot of sewing and business tasks accomplished during the week. Not as much as I'd like to...but, alot.
But when I'm with my children, I actually focus on not multi-tasking, and so I don't usually have time to crank up my sewing machine and sew up any fun handmade goodness during the daytime...although I would really, really, love to be able to. But my children are very young, and I do know that it won't always be like this, and so I cherish this time in their lives and we spend as much time together as possible, because they won't be little forever. I adore being a stay at home mom, waking up with them, taking my children out to explore nature, museums, fun places, etc -- and watching my kids play and learn and grow (and fight, and nag, and yell, and scratch, and throw things and...I digress).
But after the day is done, and while they're all tucked into their beds and asleep, I'm a bit of a nite owl...and I really enjoy sneaking away to the other room for a few hours - to my little studio here to sew some super fun clothing.
And then...ocassionally...I get to make something just for myself, or for our home.
Something that keeps me up even after I finish it because now I have to stare at it :) and then photograph it, over and over again...something that keeps me awake, and makes it necessary for me to have to repeatedly slap my eyelids to keep them open the next morning...yet something oh so worth it.
I adore sewing. I really, really do. And if a little piece of yummy couch happiness comes out of an extra late nite of sewing...then I am all the happier!
And what's better than that pillow on my couch? How about that pillow on your couch? That's right, I am giving it away!!!!!!! This super fab piece of lovely can be yours!!! Since I am participating in the "One World One Heart" event, I am giving away that incredibly delicious "Cool Vespa Scooters" designer pillow cover, and the pillow insert too! It's 18" x 18" (45cm x 45xcm) and it's made from a gorgeous and now out-of-print and super rare linen fabric, and it will be handmade by me, especially for you. It'll go out to someone, somewhere in the world, and it just might be you!!
How can you enter to win that lovely Vespa Scooters pillow? Just leave a comment right here on this post. So simple! The winner will be announced here on my blog on February 17th - via a random number generator. I'll also eMail you - so be sure to leave an eMail address and your blog address/Facebook with your comment. Good luck to you!! Hope you win!! :D
And I promise to have more giveaways in 2011...just because!
I really appreciate you stopping by my blog, and thanks especially if you didn't fall asleep while reading all the boring stuff about me and mine...and last but not least, your comments most definitley, really truly mean so very much to me.
This giveaway is part of the wonderful and mega bloggy giveaway event entitled One World One Heart - and if you're a blogger and want to participate by giving something away, then see info via this link.
We're not even going to talk about the Superbowl. mmmkay? Thanks for understanding (*sniffle*, reaching for tissue). All I'm gonna say is this...congrats to the winning team...and there's always next year. Whatever. I never liked dumb football anyway. Silly sport. I mean, really now...they're grown men running around in tight pants, and they pat each other on the butt. okay so maybe I like that part. But nothing else. Whatever.
Moving on now people...
Here are some shots capturing what my kiddos and I like to do every morning. We make fresh squeezed orange juice! Yep, every single morning...it's a tradition of ours, actually. That's right. Every morning at the crack of dawn, while the roosters crow, and before I bake a loaf of bread, we squeeze out some orange juice. hahahaaaaa!! okay, okay, okay, so maybe not every morning...maybe it's just a couple of times per year...and maybe not while the roosters crow, okay so it's generally a tad bit later in the morning than that. But I do have roosters on my kitchen curtains. Just sayin'. And maybe I don't bake bread everyday...but I do eat it everyday. But whatever, minor details.
Anyway, stay with me here. So here's how you get a 4yr old and a 2yr old to become actively engaged and happily participating in deliciously quiet fun for a full 30minutes. Here's what you will need, so take careful note because I don't post recipes often...and this one is a real gem:
* some oranges, sliced in half
* 1 vintage glass juicer
* 4 semi-clean little hands
My kids could not wait to get started. And the moments to pause for photos was killing them. But with a little teamwork, they were making Mama a glass of juice making juice in no time at all!
Did you see the roosters on my curtains?
As soon as they started seeing all those pits, they asked if they could plant the pits outside when we were done, so that new oranges could grow. :)
While they were busy squeezing the oranges, we talked and talked and talked. This fun little activity sparked lots of interesting discussion. We talked about vitamins, and why they're important, and where they come from. We talked about cost and nature and color and all sorts of related things.
We also talked about the vintage glass juicer and Joey asked if I got it on Etsy. hehe! Actually, I didn't buy it on Etsy - this one has been in my family for many years. There are, however, some nifty vintage juicers on Etsy that look just like ours.
And then...it was time for the taste test. We first talked about oranges and how they grow, and the ingredients needed for fresh squeezed orange juice. Then I read aloud the ingredients on the juice container from the supermarket...and we talked about additives and why they are - or aren't needed.
Then they fought over who was going to drink "the yellow one" and would get to drink "the orange juice".
After the taste test, we talked about making fresh squeezed orange juice more often. Definitely.
And then Joey threw the seeds over the balcony, into the backyard.
Now at times during our week Joey runs to check the yard, to see if the orange trees are growing yet. And Lily runs after him...as if they're going to get to climb a beanstalk. These kids of ours are pretty darn magical...so I wouldn't be all that surprised. :)
Here's a fun an inexpensive way to decorate for Valentine's Day. This lovely paper goodness is a "conversation pom" by SweetandSavvyDesigns aka Michelle, a mom in North CA. She is a "mom of three (one boy & two twin girls) with a passion for putting a personal touch on my families special occasions! I look for inspiration in everyday things and places."
We have ours hanging in our living room, and I love it!