Tammer is traveling to Shanghai this Easter, so the Easter Bunny visited our house a few days early! We were lucky enough to have a big celebration last weekend at Stavros’ Egg Hunt, but we also wanted a low-key celebration with just the three of us! Stavros got his basket, but gave it very little attention. It’s alright, it’s filled with candy that I love anyway! (Thanks A.J. and Linda, for sending the Jelly Belly’s! Yum!) Really, Stav’s only concern was with his present–a Kindle Fire! Stav has been playing, learning and “reading” on his Kindle since he got it! We’re happy that we (I mean, the Easter Bunny) made such a good choice for Stavros’ present! We also went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants before Tammers flight. I told Tammer he could pick the location, so he, of course, picked a favorite of mine! Stavros and I will be missing Tammer, but we’re grateful that our separation is for just a short time. Our hearts go out to all of the children without a mommy, a daddy, or both… this Easter and always.
I wanted to do something special, and memorable, for Stavros and his party guests for his upcoming birthday party; so I decided to make a hobby horse for the kids! In all, I made 28 horses! Each horse took me about 45 minutes to complete. It was really a fun and simple project, so I decided to make a tutorial! Your little one is sure to love this handmade, old-school toy!
Items you will need:
- Brown and/or Cream Yarn
- Red Heel Sock
- 1″ Wood Dowel
- Glue Gun
- Knitting Needle
Step 1: Fill the sock with poly-fil. Use ample poly-fil to ensure the “head” will not be floppy. Tie yarn or a rubber band around the opening of the sock to make sure the poly-fil remains in place while you’re working!
Step 2: Sew a “mouth” along the toe-seam of the sock using a piece of yarn. Above the mouth, loop two small piece of yarn for a “nose”. This step can be left out, but I think the horse looks quite friendly with his big smile!
Step 3: Use your glue gun to apply two small, round eyes made of felt. (I used felt, but buttons or “animal eyes” found at the craft store would probably be even cuter!)
Step 4: Pull your yarn through the sock with your needle and tie a knot in the middle to make the mane–this yields two strands of “hair”. I pre-cut about 40 pieces of yarn, each about 8 inches long, for this step. I started at the edge of the heel and continued about half way down the “neck”… This is the longest, most tedious step.
Step 5: Cut “ears” from your felt at your desired shape and size. Pinch the ear and glue one ear on each side of the heel–just behind where you started the mane.
Step 8: Insert your dowel into the sock, as far as possible. (It may be necessary to rearrange some of the poly-fil after doing this.) Fold back the sock at the opening and apply glue around the stick. Press the sock to the glue to secure the head. For an added detail, tie some yarn around the stick, where you added the glue.
Step 9: Use a long piece of yarn to make a bridle. I wrapped the yarn between the nose and eyes then tied a knot under the “chin”. To secure the bridle to the horse, I applied a small dot of glue where I made the knot.
That’s it! So simple, even I could do it! I hope the kids at Stavros’ party are as excited about receiving these as I was about making them!
Stavros wanted Tammer to have a weekend filled with things his Daddy loves for Father’s Day! We went to a nice dinner, played at the playground, spent time at the beach and read plenty of Stavros’ books. Stavros helped make a card and a peanut butter & chocolate pie for Tammer–Tammer could not have been happier. It was a simple weekend with just the three of us hanging out together, and it was nice to have things be “simple” for once.
Knowing I have a husband who loves spending time with his family is one of the best feelings! I can wake every morning and be certain Tammer will be an excellent example for Stavros to live by. Tammer and Stavros have a wonderful bond and I am anxious to see the bond mature through the years. I know I was lucky to meet Tammer and I know that Stavros is lucky to have Tammer too! My son has been blessed with an absolutely wonderful man to call “Daddy”. Happy Father’s Day, Honey! Stavros and I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
We are trying to take the time to do as much as possible during our stay in the U.S. and we were lucky enough to go on a getaway with friends! Initially, we all had the grand idea to go camping for a few nights in Saugatuck: the Michigan weather did not allow us to do that! Last minute, I canceled the camping reservations and reserved a condo for us in Boyne Mountain! While we were there, we checked out Petosky, and hung out at the local mountain lodge bar. Four of us went zip lining over the ski slopes of Boyne Mountain (http://www.boyne.com/), which was really fun, but quite chilly even though it is the middle of May… ugh, Michigan weather! We also went on a wonderful day trip to Mackinaw Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackinac_Island), which was my personal favorite! The entire island is incredible–complete Victorian style, where no motor vehicles are allowed–we took the Shippler’s Ferry to the island. While we were there, we had excellent food, some cocktails, had Starbuck’s with our famous Mackinaw Fudge, went to The Grand Hotel and Mission Point. We also went over the Mackinaw Bridge for a quick stop in the Upper Peninsula (Sandy’s first time… ha, ha). All six of us went in a Mirror Maze, which made us feel like kids again–definitely one of the highlights of the weekend! We wouldn’t change a thing about the weekend! We want to thank Dena for watching Stavros for us over the weekend! Dena, you’re the best! Also, I hope you had a wonderful birthday Tammer… I love you so much!
Yesterday, Stavros and I colored Easter Eggs together! It was Stavros’ first time, so I was extremely excited! The story of Easter is certainly something we want Stavros to understand and respect. However, Easter is a time that is filled with good and bad memories for me, so I want him to always know my story as well. The week of Easter, 24 years ago, I was taken from my biological parents (along with my four siblings) and placed into foster care. In our first/only foster home, we celebrated Easter for the first time. The morning we celebrated Easter, I looked at my chair before breakfast and saw a beautiful doll dressed in a pink dress. All I could do was stand there and stare at the doll, even after everyone else was seated and the rest of the room was staring at me. That beautiful doll was my Easter present! ”Wow, just for me!” I was five years old and I will never forget the feeling I had at that moment. It was the first new toy I had ever received. I had a far-from-wonderful childhood, but Easter was the one time of year that my adoptive mother tried making a happy time for all five of us kids. I want to make a point of Stavros having wonderful memories about Easter, and the rest of the year for that matter. When Stavros and I colored Easter Eggs together, they turned out to be the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen! Coloring eggs with my son is now my favorite Easter memory ever!
Two years ago today, Tammer and I went on an ordinary date–so Tammer thought! We began the evening at our friend Suzi’s house, then we went to a nice dinner of my choice. I “spontaneously” suggested that after dinner we should go sit by the water in Grosse Pointe where Tammer proposed to me in 2006. This is something we love to do on occasion, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to suggest it. Tammer agreed to go, although he was reluctant due to the cold weather. As we were walking to our spot next to the frozen water, I had my Louis Vuitton handbag with me. Tammer said, “Honey, maybe you should have left that in the car!”. I politely ignored his suggestion.
Then, there we were, sitting next to a frozen lake; just chit-chatting about everything and anything that came to mind. As usual, I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with my sweet husband. After about twenty minutes, I quietly reached into my handbag and pulled out a box from Tiffany & Co. that I had hidden all night. I then handed the box to my husband. (As most of you are aware, Tiffany & Co. is my favorite place and it is extremely special to us. Tammer first bought me a piece of jewelry from Tiffany’s in 2005, followed by several additional pieces of Tiffany’s each year thereafter. Most important of all, however, was our amazing Tiffany’s wedding in 2007!) Tammer proceeded to open the box. He reached in, grabbed a sterling silver baby rattle, then silently held it in his hand… just looking at me. Finally, I shook my head and said, ”Yes!” Immediately, the uncontrollable tears began for both of us. In that moment, at the same location we decided we would spend our lives together, it set in: we were going to have a baby! We simply couldn’t get the tears to stop for the rest of the night. Our ordinary date instantly became extraordinary!
I had planned how I would tell Tammer I was pregnant since we got married (I planned the place, the Tiffany’s rattle, everything). What I didn’t plan was the 20 months we endured of doctor visits, exams, hospital visits, tracking ovulation calendars, even a surgery that left me completely immobile for six days due to an allergic reaction from anesthesia. As a last resort to conceive, we scheduled to start fertility treatments, which I had desperately tried to avoid. The fertility treatments were scheduled to begin two days after I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say, the news that we were going to be parents was quite overwhelming. I am sure you can imagine my emotional trip to Tiffany’s to buy the rattle.
We know that so many people have stories like ours, or even stories that make ours seem like a very small hurdle, but it was definitely an emotional, trying time for us. A time we are grateful to have endured becuase we feel we appreciate our son so much more because of it, and a time we are grateful we have moved beyond. I wanted to share this story with you because it is so special to us. Ever since that cold, frozen day, we have been complete! Our precious baby boy is everything and more that we have ever wanted out of life. We feel Stavros knew from the moment he was conceived how much we dreamed of having him in our lives! We feel this is why he fought so hard to be with us today!… This is why he survived his tiny little heart giving out on him several times per day in the weeks leading to his birth. He will always know how much he is wanted, loved and adored! He will always know he is a fighter-at-heart, literally! We are so blessed, which we truly realized on this day, two years ago! Hopefully some day in the future, Stavros will give the special sterling silver Tiffany & Co. baby rattle to a precious little baby of his very own!
Perhaps it’s because a new year has just begun, but I often find myself thinking about my life as a whole: where I came from, where I thought I would be, where I am , and where I hope my life will lead me. Where I came from, bluntly, is somewhere I hope Stavros will never be able to fathom. Where I thought I would be, just happens to be exactly where I am… simply because I wanted this life I have so badly. Where I hope life will lead me is somewhere I can continue to feel as fulfilled as I feel today.
In the past, I have consciously defied what could have been mapped out for me. In doing this, I feel I am a better person, a better wife, and a better mother than I have been shown to be. Each year, I try to “make this year better than the last”. Making each year better doesn’t mean “having more”, it means doing more, giving more, and expecting more from myself. I feel that if I see the world, I will know with certainty, everything this world has to offer me. I feel that if I give to others, it will be impossible for me to ever feel empty. I feel if I always expect more, I will always do better, feel better and be better.
Many people I have met have left profound imprints on my life. Some imprints have been sad and tormenting, but other imprints have been uplifting and inspiring; those are the imprints I want to choose to remember. In the years to come, I want to choose to look at the good for guidance. I don’t want to let the bad be my motivational fuel any longer. I have been given an incredible husband, who blessed me with an absolutely amazing son, I have some family who would give their last breath for me, and I have some true friends who would never turn their back on me, no matter what. I guess my point in all of this is: regardless of anything bad that may have ever been (for any of us), there truly is always so much to be grateful for!… And I certainly am grateful, now and forever!
Today was Tammer’s first day back to work after spending three weeks in the U.S. then taking two weeks off for his automatic holiday vacation! Stavros really got used to having his Daddy around all of the time, so I wanted to do something fun with Stavros today while his Daddy was away at work! We went for a walk to buy an ice cream then we played at the park in our subdivision! Stavros kept saying “Daddy” while we were at the park. It was really sweet that Stavros wanted his Daddy to be there to play with him! Tammer is Stavros’ favorite person… It’s OK, it doesn’t hurt my feelings that “Mommy” isn’t #1. I love that my guys are crazy about eachother! It makes me even crazier about both of them!