Charlietalk, family

Four years.

Our Charlie turned four years old last week. And boy oh boy, was he ready. He’s been talking up his birthday for months. In fact, according to him, it’s still his birthday because it’s still April. And that’s fine with me. Hey, if you can find a reason to celebrate, by all means—celebrate!

Charlie, this year has been another fascinating peek into who you are, what you love, and how you interpret the world. You’re bigger, you’re braver, you’re LOUDER. More aware, more gentle, more compassionate. Independent. Full of in-the-moment joy (of course, the year has been interspersed with plenty of three-year-old doses of in-the-moment crankiness too.)

What fun we’ve had with you this year, little one. Let’s take a look back.

You love to be silly. And when you make someone laugh, I can see it in your eyes—you feel like you hit the jackpot.

Charlie01Your silly side gets me giggling.

No surprise–you’re still hamming it up with your brother.

Charlie09You still tell me secrets about how much you love Jacky, when Jacky’s not around.

If there’s a moment of silence in the room, you fill it with a request: “Can I have some candy?”

Charlie11Or ice cream, or cake, or… anything sugary sweet. Sometimes I worry. But I’m learning that a little (five jellybeans) goes a long way.

You’re still falling asleep in strange places.

Charlie06Foot in the popcorn bowl.

But you’ll fall asleep in plenty of normal places too.

Charlie12Story time with daddy.

Your speech is near perfect—all of the right sounds are in almost all of the right places. But your daddy and I never encourage you to say some words correctly. We find the way you say them too adorable to put an end to.

* brefkissed (the first meal of the day)
* lellow (the color of daffodils)
* sumping (I'd like to tell you…)
* teese (brush twice a day)
* mouse (what you put your brefkissed in)
* a-yoad (in regard to Nerf guns)

I see you consciously working on your “L” sounds. Last year you would sing “ya-ya-ya.” This year you make an effort to sing “la-la-la.” Part of me is proud to hear you challenge yourself. Part of me wants you to stop trying.

You have an unexplained affinity for people dressed up like animals. Unlike your brother, you don’t run screaming from them. Instead, you chase them down and jump into their arms.

Charlie13I admit it–they do look kinda cuddly.

You're such a charmer. You started an unexpected exchange of words a few months ago, between you and me. I don’t know where it came from. But I hope it sticks around for awhile.

Charlie: “I’m in love with someone.”

Me: “You are? Who are you in love with, Charlie?”

(He points to me.)

Charlie, we've spent such a fun, funny year together. You're always willing to try new things, and you're always striving to be self-sufficient–you just may be the most adventurous soul in our famly. But in the small, quiet moments, you still reach for my hand, still want to be picked up, still want to cuddle and be close. Sometimes it seems like my heart will burst if I love you more. Sometimes it hurts. And then I love you more.

What I'm realizing is that my heart won't burst. My heart grows with you.

Thank you Charlie-Barley, for helping me grow an ever-bigger heart. I am grateful.

On to year five.

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ALERT: Jackspeak

I love music lessons with my boys. Tonight, while folding laundry, we’re going old school with a little Frampton Comes Alive! (Do You Feel Like We Do?, of course.)

Jack: “Is Peter Frampton dead?”

Me: “No.”

“So, is he really old?”

“Well… he’s older. He’s kind of a rock legend.”

“If he was dead, he’d be a real legend.”

“They have a name for legends who are still living. They call ’em ‘living legends.'”

“And if he was dead, he’d be a dead legend.”


crafts, holidays, sewing, style, tutorials

a wearable handmade valentine: minkee heart wristlet

One of my favorite times of year is here—making handmade valentines with the boys! This year we’re going with this supremely cool idea from I am Momma Hear Me Roar. Photos, construction paper, staples, and Pop Rocks:

Jack valentine copyJack rocks with all the energy of a late '80s hair band (without the hair).

Charlie valentine Charlie rocks, too. Straight-up three-year-old grunge. See the angst?

I also took on a handmade challenge at work and made a special valentine gift for… myself!

Minkee heart1

This simple wristlet is made from a scrap of denim and a scrap of fuzzy Minkee. If you have button-sewing, hand-appliqueing, and scissor-wielding skills, you can whip this up in less than an hour.

Seven other staff members joined me in the handmade valentines challenge at work. Talk about getting creative on the job!


You can get the how-to for all of these Valentine’s Day projects on Martingale’s Facebook page (scroll down to the February 6th posts). The projects are all of the quick-and-easy variety, which means there's still plenty of time to create something special for your sweetheart. Even if your sweetheart is you.

If you'd like to stitch up a wristlet, read on!

a wildcards tutorial: minkee heart wristlet

Denim heart bracelet
  • Large scrap of denim from jeans
  • Small scrap of pink Minkee fabric
  • 3 small pink buttons
  • Dressmaker’s measuring tape
  • Washable or air-soluble marking pen
  • Hand-sewing needle and thread to match Minkee and buttons
  • Seam ripper
  • Freezer paper
  • Glue stick
  • Tweezers


1. Measure around your arm, 4" up from the bottom of your wrist (my measurement was 8"). Cut a rectangle that is 3" wide and as long as the measurement around your arm (my rectangle was 3" x 8").

2. Lay the rectangle flat, right side up. Space the buttons evenly along one short side of the rectangle, 1/2" away from the edge. Mark button placement with a pen; hand sew the buttons to the rectangle.

3. Using the button placement as a guide, mark placement of the buttonholes on the opposite short edge of the rectangle. Make small slits in the fabric for the buttonholes using a seam ripper. (Make the slits small—you should have to work to get the buttons through the holes.)

4. Machine wash and dry the bracelet so the edges fray; clip and pull the frayed edges until you like the look. Clip any stray threads away from the buttonholes.

5. Print out this heart pattern (it should be 2" high):


Cut it out, trace it onto the freezer paper, and cut it out again. Iron the heart template onto the back of the Minkee scrap, shiny side down. Cut the heart shape from the Minkee, adding a 1/4" seam allowance.

6. Center the Minkee heart widthwise and lengthwise on the bracelet; glue to baste in place. Hand appliqué the heart to the denim, turning the 1/4" seam under as you go.

7. Fuzz up the heart edges by rubbing the tip of your seam ripper quickly and lightly along the appliquéd edges. This releases the fuzzy fibers from the sewn edges and softens the look. Cut a 1/2" vertical slit in the center of the denim on the back of the wristlet where the heart has been appliquéd; pull the freezer paper out using tweezers. Whipstitch the 1/2" slit closed.

If you don't like the frayed-edge look, you can turn the long edges of the wristlet under 1/4" and press; then topstitch the folded edges down.

For more more repurposed projects, check out my book ReSew.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers to an extra lovey-dovey Valentine's Day!