The Connolly Family

The Adventures of Matt, Shannon, Liam & Paige

Month: September 2011

Latest Creations

Again — that title isn’t exactly accurate.  I’ve had these finished for a while but I had to get them shipped off and make sure they had reached their destination before I could post pictures.

James Marshall Leonard (my cousin’s FOURTH!) was born in mid-July and although mom and I had decided before he arrived that a handmade blanket was in order it took a good 6 weeks after he arrived to *finally* get it to him.  Working on a major project with two kids (and without a blueprint) apparently takes a bit longer than I had anticipated.  Eventually I finished and was really pleased with the result.

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I used the same faux chenille tutorial that I used for a blanket for Paige several months ago but I added a monogram (which for someone as lacking in the spatial skills department as I am wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done) since I wanted to make it a one-of-a-kind special deal for this little guy.  Here’s a close-up:

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Here’s a shot of the backing:

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Close-up:

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Another close-up, this time of the faux chenille side.  I used a flannel for the top piece and I really like how it helped to beef it up a little bit.  Plus:  the softness can’t be matched.

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I always have a fear when I work on any big project that I’m going to screw it up somehow and that all the hours I put into it will have been wasted.  I always feel a great sense of relief when this turns out not to be the case.

I also sent another little goodie to Sweet Baby James.  I have been working some with old clothes to repurpose and/or improve what I already have on hand.  Just before I began work on the blanket I spent some time going through old t-shirts and came across the USNA Class of 1995 t-shirt I bought during graduation weekend and had worn for years and years (until I had children and ended up wearing a different size t-shirt…but that’s another story for another day).  While poring over the blanket I remembered that it was sitting in the stack and immediately knew I wanted to try making a romper.  I merged a tutorial and a pattern, added navy cotton knit as a trim fabric, and came up with this:

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Because the original shirt had been well loved for 10 years I had to do some tricky cutting to make the front and back straight.  I lost a bit of the wording at the top, but considering that it originally covered my entire shoulders and was downsized into an infant romper I was pretty pleased with the result.

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Serendipitously JJ’s name is near the center of the back, taking a starring role in the outfit.

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I know I could improve upon both designs if I were to do them again anytime soon, but for right now I’ll just leave well enough alone.  We’ll call them couture, how’s that?

I hope Sweet Baby James enjoys the blanket for years to come and that the romper will fit him when it’s warm enough to wear, despite a very strong genetic tendency towards being extremely tall!

Firsts

Last Wednesday Liam had his first soccer practice (and Matt is coaching the team).  Here he is before leaving:

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Liam was *very* excited:

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So was Matt:

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This Wednesday was Liam’s first day of preschool for the year.  In sharp contrast to last year he went into the room, saw his friend and said “I’m gonna go play with William, bye Dad!”  He never looked back.  Also?  I’m NOT PREGNANT which means that A: I spent the time while he was gone relaxing and catching up on some creative pursuits (instead of driving around with Matt for the entire time biting my fingernails and intermittently crying that my baby was gone and crying that there would be a new baby within the week that I had to GET OUT OF MY BODY) and B: I wasn’t anxious or sweating.  It was fabulous!

All ready to go:

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He had a great time and was disappointed that he didn’t get to “stay longer so I could eat lunch at school” like he did during summer camp.  Thank sweet goodness for a wonderful preschool experience!

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We rounded out the week of firsts by taking Paige to the park and putting her in the swing that Liam loved so much at her age.  For the first time.  At almost a year old.  Because I’m trying to see how terrible I can possibly be at this whole mothering thing.  Ah well, better late than never, no?  She thoroughly enjoyed herself.  Here are some pictures I snapped with my phone.

You don’t think she’s enjoying herself, do you?

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She looks so LONG here!

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Ahhhhhhh.

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Swinging siblings:

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It’s been a big week!

Happy 88th, GGMom!

A couple of weeks ago the Williams clan gathered at the Moore’s house to celebrate GGMom’s 88th birthday.  Here are some pictures from the day:

We got there early so we could put Paige down for her morning nap and Walker, Liam, Olivia, Matt, and David spent the morning playing Mario Kart together.  After the boys were cut off from one driving game they avoided withdrawal twitches by moving on to another…

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Liam helps get Walker hooked.  Into his own game.  This is yet another example of the difference between the first born and the second born…

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Caramel cake!

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Contemplating wish options:

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Dance party!

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Liam digs in:

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Paige joins the party!

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Dueling laptops:

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Entertaining Mama and GGMom:

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Mutual Adoration Society:

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Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie!

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Baby Girl Never.  Sits.  Still.

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Clapping with GGDad:

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Whistling with GGDad:

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Ham:

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Back for more:

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Mutual Adoration Society (2):

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“Yaaaaaaaaay!”

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It was a lovely party and Paige enjoyed stealing the show as usual!

Brother & Sister

I finally got a fabulous shot of Liam and Paige.  Both looking happily at the camera.  Without hair pulling, eye poking, or runny noses.  Within two days I had it in a frame in my house.

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Runner-up:

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She’s melllllllllting…!

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A little closer to the norm:

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Here’s hoping we get many more like that first shot in the years to come!

The One Where I Admit To The Utter Filthiness Of My Toilet

Tonight as I was getting Liam ready for bed (which he does in our bathroom…I’m not entirely sure why except that one night he asked to do it that way and I didn’t feel like putting up the effort to keep him in his own bathroom and then I just never moved him back into the hall) we had quite the conversation.

Last week our toilet had reached such epic heights of dirtiness that when my mom was here taking care of the kids on Monday night while we were at preschool orientation she ended up cleaning it.  Because that’s who she is.  Wow, right?

For at least a week prior to this, each night as Liam took his final pee of the day he would make a huge dramatic scene about how “SUPER DISGUSTING” our toilet was.  I couldn’t argue with the kid.  I don’t know if there are health codes for inside people’s homes but if there are I’m fairly certain we had broken many of them with that toilet alone.  And let’s not even get started on the state of our kitchen..but I digress (as I am (obviously) wont to do).

Anyway.

So each night since it was cleaned Liam goes in there and makes an equally huge dramatic scene about how clean the toilet is and how wonderful his Gran is for cleaning it for us.  Tonight after the usual discussion about the state of cleanliness in which we currently find our toilet we had the following conversation.

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Liam:  Mama?  Gran is a hero.

Shannon:  I agree.  What kind of hero do you think she is?

Liam:  Well Mama, she’s a toilet cleaning superhero!  She flies around to people’s houses and fixes ALL the disgusting toilets!

Shannon:  Not quite, but I’ll agree that she’s *our* toilet superhero.

Liam:  Mama?  When I grow up to be an old man I’m going to be a toilet superhero.  I’ll start at our neighbor’s houses and then I’m going to fly all over the world and clean up people’s toilets so they’re not disgusting so that little boys only have to use nice, clean toilets!  No more SUPER DISGUSTING toilets anywhere ever again!  That will be fantastic!

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This started out as a way to record a funny conversation I had with Liam but after revisiting his line about little boys only using nice, clean toilets I’m fairly certain that I need to stop right now and go clean the other toilet…

Latest Creations

The title of this post is a bit misleading.  It should be called “Things I Created A While Ago But Couldn’t Unveil Because I Had To Wait Until I Had Given Them To The Intended Recipient As Well As Things I Finished The Night Before Leaving Town But Couldn’t Post Until Just Now Because They’ve Either Been Dirty Or In The Process Of Being Dirtied.”  Somehow that wasn’t catchy enough for me.  Go figure.

First up is the birthday outfit I made for Sylvie’s 1st birthday.

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I used a mash-up of resources to come up with this outfit.

First up was the Peek-A-Boo Bonnet from Made By Rae.  I put up an earlier post here about making one for Paige.

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Peek-A-Boo!

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But I (photographically) digress…I love the pattern and knew I wanted to make one for Sylvie to match her outfit.

It took me a long time to settle on which dress pattern to use and I eventually ended up winging it by taking the (adult) Spring Ruffle Top tutorial, monkeying with the proportions, and adding a ruffle to the bottom to come up with this:

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I love the way it turned out and I wish I’d done a better job of recording what I did so I could replicate it, but that makes it even more special for Sylvie!

Next up were the bloomers.  After a lot of hemming (pun intended) and hawing I decided that although PJ loves a beruffled hiney I would skip the ruffles on the bum since there were already ruffles on the shoulders and bottom of the dress.  I used the MADE Perfect Diaper Cover tutorial (which was fantastically easy to follow and came together very quickly with the use of my new serger).

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Next on the docket was the repurposing of some of Liam’s old onesies.  Paige was in desperate need of something to sleep in and why pay for something new when I have something old that can be turned into something new without much effort?  I’ll tell you why.

I NEVER do ANYTHING without much effort.

It’s not in my make-up.  I’m a 32 year-old woman who is desperately trying to learn how NOT to go overboard on the details in every conceivable way.  I’m getting better in a lot of areas.  Apparently sewing is not one of those areas.

Anyhoo.  So I wanted to cut the sleeves of some of Liam’s long-sleeved onesies to make something for Paige to wear to bed.  All I really had to do was chop off the arms and run them through the serger to finish off the sleeves.  This should have taken a total of 15 minutes MAX (for 6 onesies).  Instead I ended up playing with different finishing techniques, adding ruffles, playing with the fullness of those ruffles, trying out new stitches on my sewing machine, adding a skirt, using buttons to cover boo-boos.  You name it and I did it.  For sleepers that will largely remain inside our house.  Because that’s just who I am.

I began with basic light blue, grey, & white long-sleeved onesies.  Here are the results:

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Although I clearly have time-management issues, I’m calling this a win.  I love how everything turned out.  I learned a TON about the best ways to use my machines.  I dove right in to working with knits (which I LOVED!).  I learned that putting buttons on Paige’s shoulders is an open invitation for her to stick them in her mouth.  Constantly.  I just can’t wait to get back at it and use some of those skills to make more fun things for Paige.

I have an actual “latest creation” up my sleeve but it hasn’t reached its destination yet so the unveiling will have to wait.  Fingers crossed I finish doing the bulk of the prep for Paige’s birthday party very soon so I can get back into the s(e)wing of things with some more fun projects!

Siesta Key 2011: The Final Chapter

I know you can hardly believe that this will be the last post of pictures from Siesta Key this year.  You’re probably saying to yourself:

“Self (because I know that’s how you refer to yourself when no one’s listening).  I really wish Shannon had taken more pictures of her family at the beach.  She didn’t get anywhere near enough shots of her children doing cute things in the sand and it’s only been 4 weeks since she got home so you know there must be thousands more pictures that she’s spent those weeks sorting through, otherwise why has it taken her so long to finish?”

Well…you’re mistaken.  This will be the end.  Cry yourself to sleep if you must.  I know the withdrawal will be tough.  Without further ado (there’s been plenty of ado already, no?) here’re the rest of the pictures.

Hanging out at the pool with Mo:

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Cooling off the handrail using the world’s worst watering can:

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Mo makes sure it’s just the right temperature:

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Watering his button:

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Watering his noggin:

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Mo looks on:

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Getting ready to go out:

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We got everyone all suited and coated up and then the rains came…

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Matt decided to do a rain dance (I’m not sure that he realized that rain dances are typically performed in the interest of bringing *on* the rain, not stopping it…):

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Waiting to go outside:

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Boy under a basket:

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Raingazing:

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The sun eventually came out again:

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Sink bath:

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Baby Girl loves a bath, no matter where it takes place:

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Measuring cup turned tub toy:

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She looks *so* much like baby pictures of her Gran here:

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Baby tummy!

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Making a break for it:

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Dinner, Big Olaf style:

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Liam approves:

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Pok & Mo (enjoying a little Chocolate Almond for Granny, no doubt):

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Paige was majorly bummed that she’s currently not allowed to have dairy or nuts…

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…so she went outside to enjoy the porch with Granddaddy:

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Still miffed that she wasn’t allowed any chocolatey goodness…

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…but then Liam finished up and came out to do a little dance for her and she cheered right up!

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Plotting her next move:

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Being photographically uncooperative:

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Bonk!

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Checking out her Beach Bazaar goody with Mo:

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Every year as a child I was allowed to pick one goody from the Beach Bazaar.  We’ve continued the tradition with our own kids.  The whole place is full to the brim with ticky-tacky crap: fake roaches, highly inappropriate mugs, seashell necklaces, etc.  My kid?  He finds the only train in the place and decides he MUST take it home.  Here he is showing it off after we got back to the condo:

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Mo kisses!

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Mo enjoyed Paige’s goody more than Paige did:

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It was a wonderful trip and we’re already looking forward to next year!

Bristle Block Sandwich

Lately one of Liam’s favorite pastimes is making “food” for me out of inedible objects and then telling me that it’s made up of some sort of disgusting concoction.  He’s very big on the gross-out factor and the more twisted and dramatic I get with my facial expressions and verbal reactions, the better.  We just had the following conversation after he handed me a ‘bristle block sandwich.’

Liam:  Here Mama, taste this.

Shannon:  Mmmmmm, tasty!

Liam:  Mom.  It has BUGS in it!

Shannon:  Ewwwww!

Liam:  Take another taste and make sure you get a bug this time!

Shannon:  No!  I’m not eating another bite of a bug sandwich!

Liam:  But Mama!  What if I told you that it has bugs…and also…it smells like poop!

Shannon:  I’m not sure you understand the best way to sell something to me…

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Ahhhhh, to be 3 again.

Siesta Key 2011: Family Photo

We convinced (and by convinced I mean we announced, with no other options given) Pok to go with us to the beach one afternoon so we could get some family shots.  I couldn’t be any happier with how they turned out.

The first step was to figure out how to work the remote control.

Testing, testing…

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Still working…

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What you don’t see in each of the shots above is that Matt was desperately trying to catch himself in midair using the remote.  In each of the above attempts the remote fired at the wrong time.  If you know Matt you know that there was no way he was giving up that easily…

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After we got that out of the way we had to get situated…

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But when we finally got to this point, the results were well worth it!

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Then we broke it down into a smaller group.  I LOVE this shot!

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This is just after we lost Liam…

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Thankfully Paige was having a blast with Mo and Pok and I got the chance to take some pictures:

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W.O.W.

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Liam had a major case of the wiggleworms so he and Matt decided to go for a short run to shake some of it off…

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This is where Paige discovered that sunglasses also make great teethers…

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Paige also had a case of the wiggleworms so Gran took her on a little walk:

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And here they come!

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Crossing the finish line:

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Paige makes her way back into the sand…

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A shot that captures both Mo’s and Pok’s feelings about the beach…

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Paige demonstrates her standing prowess:

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Liam makes his mark:

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Heading out to the water:

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My sweet boy:

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Showing off his new Lightning McQueen shades:

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Brother & Sister:

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Stay tuned, (I know this is shocking, but…) there’s still more to come!

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