October 8, 2014

DIY Family Costumes: Carl and His House

I loved making our Halloween costumes this year. Once we decided we wanted our family to do an "Up" theme, the list making, pinteresting, and creating began.

I knew from the start that I wanted to be Kevin and that Giuliana should be Russell. And a darn cute Russell she was, at that. It only made sense for Brian to be Carl. I already shared how I did my Kevin Costume and my G's Russell Costume. Now it's time for Carl and his house to take the spotlight.

Anyway, Carl is the epitome of a curmudgeon. So Brian was perfect. =D 

In all seriousness, Brian was a great sport about it- it was over 100 degrees the day we dressed up for Mickey's Halloween Party, and Brian fully committed to the costume by wearing slacks, a long sleeved shirt, and fake glasses that kept fogging up on him. But he sure looked good!

I found fake glasses cheap on Amazon. I had already made the Ellie Badge for G's birthday party (more on that another day). We borrowed suspenders from my brother, but I bought bow tie. Now we can be fancy. The rest of it is pretty much clothing most people would have around the house... or at least, their dads might!

One thing I did get was white hair spray form the party store. It was a bit unnecessary, but it added to the effect.
I would only recommend it if you have time and/or access to a shower before bed though. Brian said it felt weird by the end of the night and it was difficult to get out. Sweating from the heat of the day probably didn't help much either. I think when he dresses up again on the actual day of Halloween, he's going to skip it.

So one thing Carl does throughout the entire movie is pull his house around. Well, Brian got to push his!

Making Hudson's costume was hands down my favorite part of this whole thing. Once we had settled on Up, I knew I wanted to incorporate the stroller since Hudson would only be about 3 months old. It was easy to find pictures and ideas for the rest of the costumes, but I couldn't seem to find anyone that built a house around a stroller. Using the basic idea from this tutorial, my dad and I made it happen.
Step 1- We made a prototype. We knew this wasn't the final product, so it made it a little easier to experiment. With some moving boxes from Lowes, we put together a basic house structure.

Step 2- Since we would need to transport it from our house to Disneyland (about an hour away without traffic), the house would have to removable from the stroller so everything could fold down and fit safely in the car. We figured out that we wanted to attach it to the stroller by hanging the back from the handles, while the front would rest on the front of the stroller. We attached it with some floral wire I got at Dollar Tree.

Step 3- We had to make sure it was baby-approved. It was. We made sure to make the opening in the front big enough to get Hudson in and out easily. The back side of the roof flipped up too for easy access to give him a binky. It's not pictures, but we also cut windows on the side for added effect and air movement.

Step 4- We added some details to the front to make it look as much like the "Up" house as possible. Of course, the dimensions couldn't be spot on- we had to be able to see over the top of it, push it through crowds, fit it in the car, and ya know, fit a baby inside of it- but we could add the little things to make it recognizable- the bay window in front, the eaves on the roof, the chimney....

Step 5- Paint! We spray painted the house white as like a primer. Then I went to town painting the house all of the fun colors the movie used.
Step 6- I added some more details. I found a little fence from Hobby Lobby that I used around the front yard. I painted some used brick detail on the chimney. I painted on windows and trim. And my favorite thing of all...
I recreated the mailbox out of construction paper and leftover cardboard. <3 p="">
After we arrived to our hotel and put the kids down for their nap, Brian left to go get some balloons and we had our finished product! 

The boys were a hit! A lot of people stopped us and wanted to take pictures. We got a lot of compliments. But the best part was we were able to make a lot of fun family memories.

If you're interested, you can see our DIY Monsters, Inc costumes from last year by clicking here!

DIY Family Costumes: Russell and Kevin

Even though Halloween is a good three weeks away and it's like, 102 degrees around here, we have already started celebrating! We went to Mickey's Halloween Party last weekend and we had SO much fun!

This year's family theme was Up!
Doing an entire family theme seems daunting at first, but once I made some lists and broke it down, it really wasn't that bad.

This is how I made the Carl and house costumes. In this post, I'll share how I put together the Kevin and Russell costumes.

They were pretty easy, and actually a lot of fun!

I'll start with Russell, mostly because Giuliana was so cute! :)

 Here's what you will need:

1- Iron-on Transfer paper, similar to this. Note- it has to be made to iron onto dark fabric.
2- A yellow T-shirt
3- Khaki shorts or if you want to make it girly like I did, a brown tutu. I got mine here.
4- A yellow hat. I found mine here.
5- Brown felt. How much will depend on who you're making the costume for, but for G (who is a pretty big 2 year old), I didn't need more than half a yard.
6- These Carter's socks (but that's just a small detail, not necessary to complete the costume)
7- An orange bandana (I found mine at JoAnn)

Basically, all I did was find a scout sash shape that I liked by Googling "scout sash template." I eyeballed it and cut it out of the felt. Next I googled to find some Wilderness Explorer badges, and I found them here! I also found the WE logo for the hat. I cut everything out and ironed it onto the felt.
  Because the sash is made for a toddler, I couldn't fit a lot of badges on it, so I picked out my favorite ones and made sure I left room for the all-important Ellie Badge.

I cut out the WE logo and basically used baste stitching to secure it to the hat. I just eyeballed it, so it's not perfect.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted G to be able to feel a little girly in her costume, so although I brought the khaki shorts just in case, she wore the tutu. I also didn't want to stress about finding a yellow polo shirt, so i just used a yellow T that she already had. And of course, she didn't want anything to do with the bandana, so that got left out of the night's festivities. :)

Now for Kevin...

1- I already had a yellow skirt, but any yellow or blue tutu or skirt or dress would work just as well!
2- Kevin-colored tulle
3- An elastic band the same color as the skirt
4- Kevin-colored feathers
5- A bird mask I found in the kids' dress up section at JoAnn
6- Pipecleaners
7-Blue leggings (or tights) and a blue tank top (or shirt)

At first Kevin was stumping me. I knew I wanted Kevin to be my costume, but I had no idea how to pull it off. I thought about making a paper mache mask, but I have never done that before. Then I stumbled upon that bird mask and figured I could make that work. Paper mache will have to wait until next year! :) I tweaked the mask a bit with some paint and scissors, added the pipe cleaners and feathers, voila!

It's not exact, but you get the point- it's a bird. A bird that looks a lot like that bird from that movie Up...


Then I sewed the elastic to the shirt at a couple of different points across the waist band- just in case I decide to wear the skirt again.
Next I went around the elastic, making a no-sew bustle.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but I made the dark blue longer, the light blue shorter.
Then I hot glued the feather to the ends of the tulle, to give the skirt some weight, texture, and of course, bird-like qualities. :) Simple. And fun!

Love that kid!

Psssst... if you're looking for other Halloween ideas, HERE's our family theme from last year!

Disney Halloween

I love Summer. I love being off of work. I love going swimming and spending time at the beach. I love dining al fresco and not having to worry about carrying a sweater.

But there's just something about Fall, isn't there?

Family gatherings, baseball playoffs, pumpkin everything, a crispness in the air (everywhere but So Cal, apparently)...

And Halloween!

 Last year was my first year as a Disney Annual Passport holder, and a whole new world was opened up to me. (Pun intended)
That's when I discovered Mickey's Halloween Party.
Once I discovered there was a Halloween party at Disneyland, I was sold. I'll talk more about it in the future, but it's basically discounted tickets for Disneyland. You can enter at 4:00pm, but the "party" starts at 7:00pm. That's when they start to kick everyone else out. Party goers get a wristband to distinguish them from other guests. There's special parades, fireworks, and all you can trick-or-treat candy lines. Seriously, you can get A LOT of candy. Costumes aren't required but they are encouraged, and everyone that does choose to dress up usually looks amazing!

Last year, little Miss G was 1, able to walk, and we could just barely get her hair into high pigtails. An idea was born...
 We did Monsters, Inc! My mom helped me sew G's Boo costume. It's basically constructed like a backwards vest. It's attached in the back with some velcro strips. I attached the sequined purple fabric to an old hood from a sweatshirt of hers, along with some yarn and the eyes (pipe cleaners and Styrofoam balls). With some white pants and long sleeves, her costume was complete!

I painted our monster shirts, but now of course, they sell very similar shirts like these for Mike or this for Sully, but I enjoyed the process of making them and I saved us a couple of bucks too. I made my tutu out of tulle and elastic from JoAnn. I found my blue hat at Party City and I painted the Monsters logo on that as well. We got a lot of compliments and had a blast. I was sold.

G even still uses her costume...
This was literally like, 3 weeks ago. She wore it while she was watching the movie.

THIS year, we had an extra family member to add to mix.

The movie Up has kind of been a running theme for Brian and I during our relationship. He proposed to me during a picnic/movie in the park night featuring the movie. We threw G an Up themed 2nd birthday party. Why not run with it, right?

I give you...
An Up Family Halloween!

We just did Mickey's Halloween Party last weekend and it might have been even better than last year! My brother and his girlfriend joined us and we met up with a couple of other friends. Giuliana is actually old enough to trick or treat now, and she partied like a little rock star. I'll update with a recap of the night soon, but it was definitely one to remember!

Here's how I made the Kevin and Russell Costumes!
And here's how I made the Carl and the House Costumes!

August 11, 2014

Baby Love

Something amazing happened today. Another first for Giuliana, and possibly, my favorite so far.

I was folding some laundry and she was "helping" me. Her helping consists of picking up items that I've already folded, shaking them out, and then laying them back down. Extremely counterproductive, but you better believe I will not discourage her form assisting with any chore, even if that means more work for me!

Anyway, back to one of the best Mommy moments ever. She was so adorable that I stopped what I was doing to just look at her and admire her. I laid my head down on the couch, so now her head is above mine and she's looking down at me.

In a moment of pure emotion, she grabbed my face with each of her sweet little toddler hands on my cheeks, bent down and kissed me. Then she pulled away, my face still cupped in her hands, and said as clear as day, "I love you, Mommy."

This should not have caught me as off guard as it did. She has been talking for a while now. She regularly speaks in full sentences now. And one of the first things we taught her to say was the phrase "I love you." But we've always had to prompt her to say it. "Do you love Daddy?' "Tell Nona you love her."

She's also always been very sensitive. She likes to stroke my face as she drifts off to sleep. She frequently asks for "big hugs" which means that as soon as you wrap your arms around her, she squeezes you back as hard as her little 2 year old body will allow.

But this was the first time she came up with the words all on her own. She wasn't asking for anything or being silly. She was just acting on what she was feeling. It made me pause for a moment. I was filled with pride that she was able to put these words together to form such an amazing sentence. I was filled with wonder at her sweet little brain was able to correlate her emotions with her actions. Most of all, I was filled with so much love for this little girl that I felt like I was going to over flow with it.

I jumped up from the couch as fast as my soft postpartum body would allow me and I told her I love her too as I swooped her up into a big bear hug.
This little girl is the walking definition of love and my greatest accomplishment to date. She most likely will not remember anything that happened today, but it was one of the best, most real moments in my life, and a memory that I will cherish forever.

August 6, 2014

Beneath the Walnut Tree

This is currently my "About" page, but if all goes the way I want it to, I will be updating that page very soon. :)

 I've always been an athlete. About 5 years ago, I had placed first in my age group at a local 5k, participated in my first triathlon, then half marathon, and then the full 26.2... and I loved it. I was playing tackle football on the weekends and flipping friends on the mat during some after-work Jiu Jitsu sessions. I didn't know it at the time, but I was at my highest level of fitness to date. When I first started this blog, I was in my mid-twenties, newly engaged, and eager to lose about 5 pounds to look awesome on my wedding day. I was ready to try any and all new activities. When I originally started this blog, I called it The Try-Athlete. It was going to be about all of my athletic adventures and I thought I was pretty freakin' clever.
At the finish line of the LA Marathon

My mileage was shrinking to nothing. Well, nothing to keep track of and blog about, anyway. My nights gave way to DIY sessions for our upcoming nuptials. I kinda started falling in love with crafting.

Our wedding was perfect. Outdoors in a walnut grove surrounded by all of our friends and family.

Cut to 3 years later... we are the proud parents of our two year old daughter, our newborn son, and an enthusiastic Labrador Retriever. We are the new owners of a 50 year old fixer-upper. We both work full time. Needless to say, my priorities have changed and I won't be up for consideration for world's most amazing athlete any time soon.

This blog is a little bit of the stuff I love. I love my family. I love making over our new (to us) home with my husband. I love decorating my babies' rooms. I love doing things with and for my family- going to Disneyland in particular. (If I ran as often as I go to Disney, I would be ultra-marathon ready.) I love making things with my own hands. I love party planning. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with writing and running (and if I'm being honest, cooking and cleaning), but I want to conquer it all. 

And so here I find myself. I might be a little softer than I used to be. My mile time might be is significantly slower than before. And sometimes, just a full day with a toddler and an infant is a real struggle. But my heart is happy and my life is full. Everything that I do, everything that I am- I am because of those precious moments when we shared our vows beneath those walnut trees.