Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome 2009

Happy New Year! Some photos of our holidays...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And To All A Good Night

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mr. Charming's Birthday

Happy Birthday to my sweet charming husband! You don't often get spoiled as much as you should on your birthday, but we love and appreciate you every day of the year.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Style Expert

A few weeks back I was involved in a really cool project. I told you we had a lot going on around here!
The very lovely and very multi-talented Jessica Barabas is a finalist to become a Style Expert on the W Network.
Her challenge was to do a 5 minute make-over with 4 items. Jessica asked me to be her make-over model. Whuhoo. A little intimidating to have a camera doing close ups of your face, but SO FUN!
A producer came from the W Network in Toronto and a local camera man set up in her home, and we did a morning of filming. Luckily I didn't have to do much but sit and watch everyone else work!
Check it out

AND as a special bonus I've invited Jessica to do a Style Expert Q&A here to share some of her style wisdom. I know I can use all the help I can get.
I have often thought it would be great to invite some of the fantastic people I know to visit here at Twomittens, so I'm quite excited about this.

Please welcome Jessica Barabas!
Here is a little background on our stylish expert.
I've been a professional hairstylist and makeup artist for over a decade. I currently freelance for photographers, and do some bridal and graduation looks as well. My mother is a hairstylist, so I grew up in a salon. I love hair as sculptural media, and applying makeup is like painting on a 3 dimensional canvass, so they both really appeal to the artist in me. As far as fashion, I've always been visually entranced - I could window shop for hours, just looking.

Jessica you have a great personal style. I wouldn't call your look trendy, but you always look fresh and hip with an element of the unexpected. You always look put together and polished.
How would you describe your style and what influences you?
Well, thanks and thanks. I would describe my style as one part nerd, one part sexy librarian, with a dash of eccentric elderly lady. I am influenced by how I feel, or by an item of clothing. I may have some extra love for my yellow skirt one morning, and then build an outfit around it. I know my body type and I try to dress to compliment it.

A lot of women, especially busy moms seem to dress for the job. You seem to truly enjoy fashion and have a lot of fun with what you wear. Is that how you approach clothing? Or do you take it quite seriously?
Fashion should ALWAYS be fun and make you feel good. Seriously.

Now that I am a busy mom, I really like to feel dressed up in the day - it makes me feel more energetic. Although I have to limit my choices to fabric types that baby barf will wash out of, ha ha. I understand that some days you just need to wear stretchy-pants around the house for comfort and laziness. However, if I have to leave my abode I will NOT wear them outside the house. Not ever. I get dressed in something that makes me smile.

You managed to maintain your own style throughout your pregnancy. I was both amazed and slightly horrified with my body when I was pregnant with my twins.
You seemed to take it all in stride. Has motherhood changed how you see yourself or your body image?
I think you've described my thoughts perfectly with amazed and horrified. Pregnancy felt like an out-of-body experience to me. I hated things I loved and crave things I hated. My body changed completely. With all the major changes that happened to my body, being well dressed made me feel good about myself. Now I'm almost back to my pre-baby size, but I have a different body shape; I've had to re-learn how to dress it. My body will never be the same but it is great change with a purpose - life and nourishment! So that helps me be kind to myself.

At this point in my life, after having kids and getting closer to the big 4-0 I find myself asking the question at times, Is this age appropriate? I'm not always sure. Not that you have to worry any time soon but do you have any hard rules? Like no knee socks after 7th grade? Or no gouchos after 1974?
Hmm, good question. I don't think that there are any blanket rules that can apply to everyone individually, but I think that everyone should dress for their lifestyle and personality. I tend to dress however I feel like, regardless of whether it is "in fashion".

Ok, how about a few current favorites...
Fave designer/fashion inspiration?
I love seeing footage from big runway shows for the visual eye-candy. I don't have any favourite designers, just a love for individual ensembles that happen to catch my fancy. As far as fashion inspiration, I am addicted to the blog StyleBubble. Its a woman in London, UK, who takes some MAJOR fashion risks. I don't always agree with her style, but I love her panache.

One of my biggest style influences was when I lived in Tokyo for 3 months when I was 20. I saw the most avant guard street fashion there, and no one ever looked like a slob. Not even the average person walking down the street. So, if I ran to the corner store for milk in sweats, I would have looked ridiculous in comparison. At that point I started to have a lot of fun dressing up. To this day I still feel like every day is an occasion to look special, you don't have to wait for an event.

Fave makeup line or product?
I have an unhealthy obsession with finding the perfect lipgloss. I have about 15 different brands of approximately the same shade. I love Makeup Forever for their vibrant pigments, and Ben Nye for the same reason. Oh, and mineral foundation changed my life.

Fave hair product or product line?
I love the smells of TIGI products. I've been using a shampoo and conditioner from abba called Pure Gentle. It is 100% vegan, free of synthetic dyes, sulfate free, and DEA free. Love it. My favourite hairspray was a drugstore brand that got discontinued last year (so sad) and I've been on the search for a replacement ever since......

Fave place to shop for clothes in Calgary...high end? steal of a deal?
For a splurge, I love Purr on 17th Ave. If I was given a free shopping spree, that would be my destination. For a steal, I am a hard-core, avid thrift-hunter. I love searching for elusive treasures, never knowing what I'll find. I also revamp a lot of my vintage finds to personalize them or to fit me better.

Fave accessory?
Earrings and colourful tights.

Speaking of accessories, you seem to have a particular flair for them. Something I can barely manage. Tell us about your latest project.
I recently opened an Etsy store (online site for all things handcrafted and vintage). Its called Crave Again. I sell unique hair accessories and cool reworked vintage clothing. I'm also available to do custom work to the items I sell, to personalize them for my customers. You can find my store at

Thanks again Jessica.
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Here we are on the shortest day of the year. At least it can only get lighter from here.
We don't really do any special solstice activities (although it seems like a fun idea), but we did have a small celebration last night. December is a time for several family birthdays including my brother, nephew and grandpa, and then Mr. Charming next week. AND Happy Birthday today to Papa, my father-in-law. It's such a busy time but it's always fun to get together with friends/family and enjoy each together.
And thank goodness for the lights! I love the glowy bright colors and soft lights everywhere you go. It's one of the best parts of this dark cold time of year.
There is actually a name for this kind of lighting effect. I thought it was bocca, but I can't find a reference for it anywhere (I must have imagined it). So anyway, here are some fuzzy glowy shots from our can't even see where the strings are out due to small fingers pulling the tiny bulbs from THE SOCKETS.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Stockings Are Hung

Well I've managed to finish at least one project. Our family Christmas stockings! I love the look of stitched felt and for my first attempt I think they're not bad. I remember growing up our stockings would change every few years as my mom had new ideas and tried new things ( we had giant boots for a few years ).
The only thing is I won't actually hang them up until maybe Christmas eve. The first/last time we tried hanging the stockings from the super heavy duty hooks made to hang stockings from, a certain young Bee promptly pulled it right off. The hook chipped the fireplace, dented the floor, and was close to leaving a whole in his wee Bee head. Danger!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby Girl 18 Months

18 months old seems to be a very busy time for The Babe. Or Little Miss Thing. Or Little Misery. Depending on the kind of day or moment she's having.
The Babe is a very busy girl.
She spontaneously learned how to climb up on the top of the counter (after one day at Nana's house), and apparently use the vacu flo. (Which may be the secret to why our vacu flow seems to be plugged with a foreign/mystery object.)

She has VERY strong opinions about things. And will let you know how she feels. Or throw things. Or lay down on the floor and kick and scream so you get the picture.
And oh my goodness she is strong willed (so unusual in our family). She was getting in trouble for something with her daddy the other day and he was giving her the 'you'd better not do that' look and she just gave him stink eye right back without backing down an inch. And then the next moment she will giggle with a twinkle in her eye and you just have to kiss her sweet baby cheeks.

She loves to get dressed. Only everything is pants. And she loves to wear shoes. Anyone's really, but I think she has figured that her own stay on better. So she normally wears her favorite (easiest to put on) purple rubber boots around the house. Very stylish.

She is sassy and smart and loving with hugs and kisses, although she's pretty happy with smacking you too. She is not shy and loves going to nursery at church all by her big girl self. If I were a different person I might sigh with some sadness over my Little Miss Independent, but I'm too busy skipping down the hall to feel that twinge.
My little girl is definitely growing up, but in the most delightful way!

Friday, December 12, 2008

45 Months

So two very *exciting* things happened in November at our house.
1. It snowed.
This is always cause for excitement. The boys LOVE being outside in the snow. And of course it always takes forever to get all their gear on, but it's usually worth it in the end. They love playing in the snow. And it usually keeps them pretty happy for quite a while.
2. We got a kitchen table.
OK, this sounds a bit lame, but we haven't had a kitchen table since the boys were babies. We have a really big island so we do have a place to sit and eat, but new chairs and a table were quite a cause for excitement. The Bug is a pro at putting things together and helping Daddy and The Bee took on the job of spinning everyone around in the new chairs. Hours of entertainment I tell ya!
And then Daddy took some great action shots of the boys and their 'super packing foamy' capes. Wheeeee! Super!

The Bug is loving books lately. Although when we go to the library regularly and he usually picks out a whole handful of movies. Which we may watch one or two in the van, but mostly he likes to pick them out and carry them around. Just because. But he is also really enjoying reading stories with me and talking about them, which is quite fun for both of us.
And while The Bug is generally quieter than The Bee, he is very friendly and not as shy meeting new people.

The Bee is still Mr. Chatter. From the minute he wakes up (usually first) until he falls asleep at night (he literally will be talking one minute and asleep the next) he is making noise. And his favorite question, of course, is WHY??? I try to answer as much as I can, but it usually ends with me saying, 'because that's just the way it works!'. He is curious and eager to try things on his own and loud and musical. He can really carry a tune. One day he was banging on something and I told him to stop making so much noise when he told me he was making music. I think with a little direction he will be making music indeed.

I think one of the most interesting things is to hear how they talk to each other. They taunt and tease one minute and lovingly look out for each other the next. I guess that's what brothers are all about.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Think The Poop Is Winning

Yes, this post should be about the past month and all the fun and cuteness of three year olds and 18 month olds, but day is just one big succession of poop.
When the coughing and sniffles start, I cringe a little because I know it will mean a painful loss of sleep and all the trappings that come with it. But in reality I will always take a hacking cough and a snotty nose over the dreaded poop.
EVERY YEAR. Always around November our family contracts some sort of disgusting bug that morphs and lingers. My CH and I usually get some form of it as well, just for fun. We like to share.
But it is the poop that is killing me.
I woke up at 6 am to scrape and poop off a small boy and the RUG. And I've lost count of how many fresh bubbly tubs I've had to drain and disinfect in the past few days. TOO freakin' MANY.
And the in-between is just a steady supply of stink.
There are just so many things that you cannot fully comprehend before you have kids. No one tells you that the cute, the lovable, the wonderment of childhood comes completely covered in pooh.
Instead of those fake babies and sacks of flour, I welcome any and all teenagers to spend a day changing diapers at my house. I guarantee a genuine dose of reality!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Dinosaur Ate My Blog Post

Ok, last week we were away and this week we're sick. Not like dying sick or anything, just grumpy, tired, want to hang out on the couch while we cough and sneeze sick.

Last week we spent a few days with Grandma and Grandpa. At their new/old place. The kids have never been to the house where I grew up. They've only known the orange house in the mountains. So it was new for them and old for me. It's kind of weird to look out the same kitchen window you looked out of every day when you were growing up. The same, but different.

ANYWAY, we had some fun and went out to Dinosaur Park. We spent a lot of time there when I was a kid and there's something about it that I thoroughly enjoy. Maybe it's the way you drive along the flat prairie until you almost fall into the park, or the hoodoos and the mysterious bones themselves. Mostly I think it's just a strange and magical place that always stirs my imagination.
We didn't spend a lot of time there, but I'm already looking forward to the next time we go.