Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our first blizzard

It's been a very interesting and fun weekend here at the Callahans'. First of all, we have a heater that is not working in the master bedroom. It was supposed to be replaced on Friday, but due to some miscommunication, the repairman didn't actually get here until yesterday (and it's still not done!). It's been so cold in that room, so Paul and I have been camping out in the living room on an air mattress. It's actually been kind of cozy and fun with the snow outside and the Christmas decorations inside. We also get to watch TV in bed, which we never do!

The snow didn't start here until Friday evening about 8:30. We had some friends over and of course ran outside as soon as we noticed the blizzard (yes, it's officially a blizzard!). I'm sure many of you have your own experiences with this very same storm, but this is more snow than I've seen in at least 15 years and probably EVER! We received somewhere between 16 and 19 inches! It's the first time I've seen it snow that hard for over 24 hours! It's just gorgeous. Because it was soooo cold yesterday and the snow was coming down so hard, we stayed in and didn't venture out until the sun appeared this morning.

Sipping from a mug of homemade chicken soup, I made a movie of our fun family time playing in this prefectly fluffy white blanket that the storm left for us:

I hope you all are happy and warm and enjoying the closeness that follows a storm like this.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

I've been going through a real comfort food kick lately. I think it's the cold weather, but anyway, it's been so great to snuggle up with a warm cup of lentil-vegetable soup or butternut squash risotto this week. Today Charlie helped me bake this loaf of homemade French bread. I can't wait to tear into it with tonight's dinner: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

We were also brave enough to bundle up and get outside! Here are some pics of my beautiful (pardon my pride, but they really are) children having a ball:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Season 2009

We like to celebrate things as long as we can around here. Well, some of us do. SOME of us don't think it's okay to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people feel that way, but personally I think it's ridiculous. I always just consider Thanksgiving part of the holiday season thereby lumping all the holidays together into one great big time of year.
Anyway, I digress. So, because we (and by "we," I mean the non-Grinches of us) like to celebrate a long time, we get a tree pretty early--usually as soon as our little church where we buy the tree has them out.
Here are a few photos of picking out the tree, decorating it, and sneaky Judah indulging in his cute little temptations:

When we finally got home with the tree that evening, it was too late to decorate it completely, so we just put the lights on it and put the kids to bed. The next morning we all woke up early, made some hot cocoa, turned on some Christmas carols, and finished trimming our beauty. Which explains the grumpy face here:
Last Saturday was my birthday. :) Believe me when I tell you that at least 5 of the 7 birthdays that we've lived in this area it has snowed. Crazy, but true. And this year was no exception. Here is a photo of the very excited kids and me posing in our little dusting of snow:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Charlie's Dance Recital

So, I'm a little behind on my blog updates, but I just couldn't put this one off. Charlie's ballet recital was this morning, and she just blew us away! Here's a little movie that we put together of the highlights:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New digs

We recently came across a deal for new couches that was too good to pass up! A friend of ours needed to unload a couch and a chair, and our sofa-loveseat-ottoman combo was pretty old and also just way too big for our space, now that we have two little ones and all the gear that accompanies a growing family. So one weekend we picked up our friend's set and a few days later we sold our set on Craig'sList for pretty much an even swap! With the furniture, I put my sewing machine to great use again and made some new curtains and pillows to pull together a spacious, bright, and peaceful look (at least we think so!) I promised some friends that I would post pics of the "new" furniture and set up. Here you go:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More sewing projects

Today I'm shamelessly featuring some of my own creations. :) My wine cozies are here just in time for Christmas! I'm selling these at Joyful Gifts and at A Show of Hands in Del Ray, Alexandria, VA. I've got some really fun, whimsical prints and some more traditional styles, depending on your gift recipient. Everyone loves wine, right?

This morning during baby naptime, Charlie asked me to make her a sling for Henry (you do remember Henry, don't you? he's her little puppy sidekick) and also a matching apron, since she doesn't know what happened to her old apron. She doesn't remember that she outgrew it almost a year ago. :) Anyway, I made this pair for her. I put a ruffled pocket on the apron so that it can go from play kitchen to arts and crafts time, holding either a spatula or a paintbrush, depending on whatever task she's performing.
I love her expression (or lack thereof) in this photo:

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I know it's been a while. I know, I know, okay? No, really, I'll be better. I promise. And before we get on to the Trick or Treat photos, some of you have asked when I'm going to post about the family trip to Pigeon Forge, TN. The thing is, there are other family members (you know who you are) that have yet to share pictures. As soon as I get those, I will be more than happy to post about the wonderful, peaceful trip to the Smokies.
Now on to tonight's (well, last night's) business. We had a very fun, warm-but-drizzly Halloween night. We started out at Parker and Micki's house for some pizza and homemade chili and then into the costumes! Here is Judah looking more precious than ever, if that were possible:

He even growled a few times for us, which made him cuter and actually less ferocious. :)
And here are Charlie and Parker. Oh my gosh, have you ever seen anything cuter? These two were practically tied at the hip the entire evening.
And a close up of those gorgeous green eyes. She still has glitter all over her blonde head, by the way.
We had a blast running around the neighborhood with friends. As soon as we got home, these two heads hit their beds and were fast asleep. This morning Charlie and I went through her candy and sorted out all the Red #40 for Paul to take to work. It kills me that Charlie is probably more cognizant of that than I am. That's my girl! :)
As I'm writing this, my two babies are sound asleep in the next room, and I am filled with peace and utter joy. My fairy princess and my little tiger. Thank you, Lord, for this family.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Judah's first birthday celebration

Maybe he was tired, but here is the reaction to the organic carrot cake that Charlie and I baked for Judah's first birthday. He made that face pretty much the entire time, but he did have a few mouthfulls of that cream cheese frosting. :)

Here is the big sister doing her job of helping her little brother:

And here is our little guy's reaction to one of his gifts: Once Judah had this guy in his hands, he was just tickled! I bought this monkey name Mandalay from this incredible shop on etsy: Charlie also received the pink elephant named Petaluma for her birthday. I have been oh so pleased with their customer service and quality of their products and just wanted to share. My parents bought Judah the toy train set from that is also of very high quality and so cute! Take a look at both of these shops when you can--Christmas is not far off!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy birthday to precious Judah!

So, as I write this post, I remember where I was one year ago right now. Charlie and I had dropped off Paul at work and were heading to breakfast together. I had mentioned to Paul that "I guess I'm not going to have a September baby." I don't know why, but I thought it would be fun if all our babies were born in the same month. Now I think it's crazy.
We were sitting in our normal booth at Panera when I noticed that I was having contractions somewhat regularly. I'd been having contractions for weeks, and I was five days past the due date, so I really felt that he could come at any time. I'd felt for a month that he could come at any time. This is a picture of my belly 2 weeks before Judah was born. You can see what I mean:
Anyway, we sat there and ate our breakfast, I had contractions, and so the morning went. We had planned a stop at Trader Joe's, so we headed over there for a few things that I thought would be helpful for the few days after the baby was born. While shopping, I started timing what had become significantly more painful contractions. They were anywhere from 10 minutes to 15 minutes apart at this point. I quickly realized that I was actually in labor.

I had resigned to a long labor, since that had been my experience with both other times I had a baby. We took our time shopping and headed to the park to continue the day that I knew was going to be my last day being momma to only Charlie. It was bittersweet sitting there on the bench watching her play with two other girls while I made my phonecalls to the midwife, birth assistant, friend/sitter, and Paul. She was so carefree, having very little comprehension of how much her life was about to change.

The plan was that we would go home and eat lunch, and then I would put Charlie down for some rest time and evaluate my labor situation, and then check in with everyone again. I love this about natural childbirth--it's all up to me! I love that Bradley classes enable the laboring woman to know what's going on and to make the call based on the signs that her body is showing her. I continued to labor for a while, contractions getting closer but still not extremely painful.

After a short while, I called everyone and told them to go ahead and come on over. My friend Ami was the first one on the scene. I'd asked her to be on call to watch Charlie during labor and delivery. She did a wonderful job with her. At times, I could hear her laughing so loud, and that was so helpful during the painful points. Actually made me smile a few times.

The midwife, the student midwife, and my birth assistant all arrived, and then Paul. It was about 2 in the afternoon, and contractions were getting pretty painful by now. I labored in the bath tub for a little while and then back to the bedroom. Charlie was still nearby playing with Ami. The house seemed peaceful, with everything surrounding this beautiful event.

Sometime around 4:30 I felt the urge to push, and shortly after that, my water broke. I knew that I was in transition, because I honestly wondered if I could keep doing this. But Paul and everyone else did very well with reassuring me. At one point, I said something like, "He's coming." I could feel him moving down, and though this might sound painful, it was a very encouraging sensation, knowing that he would soon be in my arms.

I had mentioned to my midwife early on that I'd like to try a few positions for the pushing stage. One in particular was the birthing chair. Since we didn't have one, we sort of created our own by having Paul sit on a low stool and then I sat on his lap facing out. I had tried a few positions for pushing and really couldn't get comfortable (a relative term). Then I looked right next to me and saw Paul sitting on this stool while I was squatting, so I just sat down on his lap and continued to push.

I think it was the next contraction after I sat on Paul's lap that Judah's head was born. I was resting between contractions with his head right there, and then Charlie ran in and saw what was going on. Then she screamed and ran back out. Paul thought that maybe she was just concerned about me and asked me to maybe yell to her that "Mommy's okay," so that she would be calmed down. I told him I really couldn't say anything right then, that I was a little preoccupied.

So the next contracion came, and I put my hands down and caught Judah myself--all 9 pounds of him. It was the most incredible feeling. He has been the sweetest big boy ever since. Having this homebirth was such an incredible experience. I'm so thankful to everyone who helped!

Well, I just thought it would be fun to share Judah's birth story on his birthday. He's an incredible little guy, as are all my little ones. And, frankly, I'm a little relieved to have September nearly behind me now. ;)

Happy birthday to sweet, wonderful Judah, who teaches me every day how to love more and more. I am in love with your smile and your laughter, and your patient eyes that love me back. I adore you.

Just a couple hours after Judah was born:

Just a couple weeks old:

First Christmas:

Best buds:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another weekend in Winchester

On this beautiful first full weekend of autumn, we thought it would be just lovely to do some apple picking. So we packed up the fam and headed to see our friends in Winchester. Here are some shots of Charlie's (and my!) first time picking apples.
Poor kids have the sun in their eyes, but they were still so sweet to let me take a shot:

Yes, I dressed Judah in these overalls specifically for the apple picking. :)

Our friends own and run this incredible Italian restaurant Violino right in the heart of Old Town Winchester. If you are ever nearby, you absolutely must try this place. It is authentic, quaint, charming, and has the best Italian food I've ever eaten.

Before we headed to the orchard, our chef friend was kind enough to feed all of us, and he even handed me a jacket and apron and allowed me in the kitchen with him for a cooking lesson! It was my first time in a professional kitchen, and it was so much fun! Here I am prepping the shrimp for the grill and then the white wine sauce. Amazing!

Paul and Judah are hard at work, too, playing bartender.
Some shots of the dishes we prepared:
Happy dining:
This is just a shot of Charlie riding her friends' trike while she waits to eat:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Charlie in ballet

"Smile and look here, Charlie!"


"I said, 'smile, and look here!'"
"Dad, I'm cooooold!"

"C'mon, Charlie, I just need one good picture!"

"Finally. Sheesh."
Yes, our little one received ballet clothes and classes for her birthday. So far she's been to two classes and just loves it, although the parents are not allowed to watch, so we have very little idea what's going on in there. It's so great, though, to watch her walk in with confidence and know that she's having a good time and probably learning a few things, too. :)

Charlie's party for the big number 4!

Charlie's party was a huge success and lots of fun! It was held 2 days before her birthday on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. The kids topped their own homemade pizza crust with a variety of local veggies, raw cheeses, and pepperoni and bacon. Then they enjoyed them on a picnic blanket outside just before running around and playing a few games like hot potato and pin the tail on the donkey.

Charlie had requested a dinosaur ice cream cake. I found these wooden dinosaurs on etsy, and Charlie and I painted them together to go on top. Here we are blowing out the candles as a family. :) And there's Judah eyeing the camera as usual.
It was such a great time. We had many friends here, some from quite a distance, and we are so blessed to have had so many loved ones to share in the celebration of our "big little girl's" happy day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy birthday, sweet Charlie

It's a little late in the day for this post, but a very happy day to (one of the) the love(s) of my life, my incredibly beautiful, brilliant, and hilarious Charlotte. My life became so much more the moment that I caught you with my bare hands the morning you entered the world four years ago. (Has it really been that long?) I only started to understand at that time what it means to have my heart outside my body. Thank you for teaching me and for making me the woman that I am--your mom. I love you more than you can know.