Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from The Geeks (...ALL of us!)

As Kendra pointed out recently, when a blogger takes an unexpected hiatus, there's really only one explanation.

Yep- after nearly a year of begging, Miss Chief is finally a big sister.  She's very excited to welcome her little brother or sister this summer (late June or early July...we don't put much stock in exact due dates around here).  Although, truth be told, she would really rather have a sister- in fact, she's already convinced it's a sister, though we won't find out until probably February.  If you ask her if maybe the baby is a boy, or if it would be okay if it's a boy, she responds with a firm "no."  (Although, last night she started telling people she has two little brothers and two little sisters...maybe that's retribution for the suggestion that she might not get the sister she's demanding.)

When my mom got pregnant with my sister, and I asked my parents how the baby got in her belly, they responded as most parents do- "We prayed, and God put the baby there."  I finally understand that this is not just some euphemism, it's not just a throwaway line to avoiding a more difficult discussion- it's true.  How did this baby get here?  We prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed, and just when I thought maybe God wasn't listening, this baby showed up in my belly.

We hope your Christmas is as joyous as ours, and that your new year is as full of just as much hope.

Merry Christmas,
The Geeks

Monday, November 14, 2016

Currently, Chief is... {3 Years}

Our marriage turned 4 on Thursday, and our daughter turned 3.  We spent all weekend with her opening presents, watching her favorite movies, Skyping with grandparents, and celebrating at Chuck E Cheese.  Here's a look at how she's grown over the past year.

baking cookies in January
Growing in sass every day ;)  She's been wearing size 4T since spring, and doesn't appear to be getting any bigger any time soon- at least I hope not, because she's got a full year-round wardrobe in this size now!

Looking fancy for Easter a toddler.  That whole being-open-to-new-foods phase was fun, but it's over now.  They say breastfed babies and babies who learn to eat through baby-led weaning won't be picky eaters...but "they" are mostly just trying to sell the parenting methods.  (Don't get me wrong, we did both of those things, and they have lots of benefits.)  My point is: kids will be kids, and this one definitely is.  If she had her way, we'd eat "burgers with cheese" for dinner every night, and eat candy every time we watched a movie.  While Mr Geek had been hopeful that she'd be a fan of spicy food, she's not nearly as adventurous anymore- and uses the word "spicy" to describe any food she doesn't particularly like.  Our biggest struggle right now is that when she does get a say in what she eats, she waffles back and forth- she'll change her mind a few times, appear to settle on something, and then once the meal is almost ready, change her mind back again.  (Which leads to frustration, and sometimes tears, but eventually she eats what's on her plate.)

surveying her new backyard this summer
Talking all the time.  Always.  Non-stop.  Except when I ask a question that she doesn't want to answer, then she's quiet as a mouse!  They are teaching her Spanish at school, so she can count to 10 and tell you most of the colors- at first that was mostly a party trick, but now she's peppering her conversations with Spanish and it's actually pretty cool.  Her favorite part of every Elmo episode is "the word on the street" vocabulary word, which she'll try to incorporate into her speech throughout the day.  And she's learning to spell!  Right now she can spell her own name, as well as Mom and Dad.  She love to recognize her name wherever it's written (her cubby at school, the artwork on her wall, even the box for a certain Disney movie for which she was named.

Meeting her idol
Making facial expressions that define the term "threenager".  I swear that girl has mastered the look- you know, the one I give Mr Geek when he's trying to make a joke to talk himself out of the hole he's dug and it ain't working- and she throws it my way if I suggests an outfit or activity that just doesn't cut it.

carving a jack-o-lantern for Halloween
Listening to music on the radio and singing along!  She actually requests the alternative rock station by name when I pick her up from school.  There are a few songs she knows the lyrics to and we'll sing it together (but mostly she tells me not to sing, only her).  It's pretty awesome that our music is cool- at least for now.  (We're even considering taking her to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in the spring, but we're worried she won't want to wear ear protection.)

dressed as her favorite fairy for trick-or-treat
Sleeping...Oh sleep.  How I miss you.  She has officially abandoned naptime, except for maybe a day or two a week at school.  But at home, she's just much too busy to nap.  This usually means that, on weekends anyway, mornings are the best time of day.  Nighttime is a battle of wills.  We have a general routine, and she'll keep suggesting things she needs to do to delay the inevitable- relevant things like brushing her teeth, and not-as-relevant things like drinking more water or finding that neglected stuffed animal that she suddenly requires.  But she always seems to wake up well-rested, so I guess our long, meandering bedtime "routine" is okay.

celebrating at Chuck E Cheese
Loving Elmo; living so near to her Aunt Helen; puppies that lick her face; getting frosting on her nose; Elsa (excuse me- Queen Elsa of Arendelle); Friday night movie night; breakfast at "the coffee store" (Starbucks); grocery shopping, but only at Giant, where they have the shopping carts with the ride-in cars attached; choosing her own outfit; reading; coloring; singing; pretending to be a puppy or a monster or a cat or a frog; playing Pokemon Go.

Hating not having a say in a decision; the apparently irrational rule that shorts are not allowed when it's cold outside; for that matter, sleeves; bedtime.

And now she's 3.  My goodness, where has the time gone?

How is your little one doing lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Photo by One Photo Gallery
I must've had a wicked childhood
I must've had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
I must've done something good
For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth
Or childhood
I must've done something good
-Something Good from Rogers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music

Four years is not a long time, and yet from where I stand, I feel this firm foundation we've built.  I see how strong and sturdy we are- and I can see it because every time the wind starts to blow, I can hold on to you, and you hold on to me, and you keep us upright until the storm passes.

I don't know that I could ever deserve you, but I'm grateful to be given the opportunity to try.

Year five promises to be the most adventurous yet, so let's hold on tight.


Our little one turns three today, too.  I'll share her update on Monday, along with a recap of the birthday party we're throwing for her on Sunday!

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from Abby Cadaby!

Friday night we went to Trunk-or-Treat at daycare, so we got to show off our costumes early (and get some candy!) as a test run for the real thing.  Since this little goober is absolutely obsessed with Sesame Street, and since Abby Cadaby is her favorite character, her costume was a no-brainer this year.

I assembled this quickly and easily- it's almost no-sew!  She's wearing a pink long-sleeved leotard, pink tights, and pink gloves as her "fur" (and to protect her from the cold without breaking character). I got a simple blue tank top and pink fairy wings from Amazon, and the wand was purchased from Sesame Place by her favorite aunt ;)  The only thing I made for this costume was her tutu.  I simply made an elastic waistband (using the same method I'd use to make her a regular skirt), cut 24" strips of turquoise and purple tulle, folded each strip in half and knotted it over the elastic.  I had also attached some smaller strips to the straps of the tank top using the same method, but she complained that they were scratchy (even though they weren't actually touching her skin but hey, toddlers) so I removed them.

The finishing touches on this look are pigtails with some purple yarn looped in, blue eye shadow, and big drawn-on freckles on her cheeks.

I went as a hastily thrown together Zoe, wearing an orange long sleeved shirt and orange tights as my "fur", a pink tshirt and pink tutu skirt as Zoe's ballerina outfit, and some pink and orange clip-in hair extensions to mimic her sparkly, multi-colored frizz.  (Mr Geek wore his Elmo tshirt to round out the crew, and carried Cookie Monster with him.)

We're so excited to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood tonight!

What are you dressing as for Halloween?

Much love,
The Geeks

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Crafting Adventures: Cinderella (and Her Mice!)

We've gone to the Maryland Renaissance Festival every year since Chief was born, and for the past two, we've gone in costume.  Last year we were Treebeard and two Hobbits; this year we were Cinderella and two mice!

Cinderella was one of the more complicated costumes I've ever made for Chief, but even still it wasn't super difficult.  Here's how I did it:


-a pink tank dress in your princess's size (I bought this one on Amazon)
-matching pink cotton fabric (1/2 a yard was plenty for my almost-3-year-old)
-pale pink grosgrain ribbon (nice and wide)
-3/4" elastic
-white scalloped trim (note: I didn't buy enough the first time around, so I used two different kinds for the collar and the ruffle on the skirt.  The kind I bought for the collar ended up being much too big, so I needed to fold it in half.  Don't be dumb like me; buy a ton of not-so-tall trim)
-accessories: a turquoise beaded necklace and a white headband

For reference, here's the dress we're making (you know, the one that the mice made for her):

via FanPop
The pink dress has sort of an over skirt that is gathered open, a white underskirt that peeks out underneath, a white collar, and pink ribbon at the waist and around the bottom.

1.  First, prepare to make the "over skirt" portion by cutting a rectangle out of your pink fabric using the math denoted in the diagram above: the height of the rectangle should be the length you want the skirt to be + 1 1/2", and the width should be the size you want the waist to be x 1.25, + 1/2".  Fold in each of the short sides by 1/4" and hem with a zig-zag stitch (or serge if you're fancy).  Then fold the rectangle in half, right sides together, lining up the short sides.  Stitch together the top one-and-a-half inches only using a 1/4" seam allowance; you've now basically got a tube of fabric, only one side is almost entirely open (except for that inch and a half).  Fold down the top 1/4" inch and press, then fold it down another inch to make a waistband for the skirt.  Sew all the way around, using a 1/4" seam allowance, and leaving a good inch or two gap so you can snake in your elastic.

2.  Cut the elastic so that it is just 1" shy of the circumference of your princess's waist.  Feed it through the pocket you've created in your skirt and then overlap the ends by 1" and stitch them together.  Push the elastic into the waistband and sew close the gap you had left.  If your princess were to put on her skirt now, it would have a nice triangular opening in the front.

3.  Take your dress and slide it into the skirt, lining up the bottom hems.  (If you want, you can use a quick whip stitch on the sides to attach the waist of the skirt to the dress, but I recommend you pull it back out again before your princess wears it.  It's more comfortable for a little toddler body and easier to put on if the elastic waist is not actually attached to the dress underneath- it lets the elastic stretch more naturally.)  Take your white trim and pin it all the way around the bottom of both skirts, upside down (right sides together).  When you've sewn the layers all together, fold the trim back down and press; your stitches are hidden and the bottom of your skirt is nice and full!

4.  Now, if you have purchased a reasonably-sized trim, this step won't be necessary.  But if you got something mega huge like me (oops), then you'll need to cut the trim so it's the right length to go all the way around the neckline of the dress (to include the straps), fold it in half (right sides together) and stitch the two short sides, then flip it right-side-out.  Now your collar is a decent width and also double in thickness, so at least it will hold its shape well!  Stitch it all the way around the neckline of the dress so that the two ends meet in the middle of the front.

5.  Okay, now for the ribbon.  You'll need enough to wrap around the waist, and then have the tail ends come up from the sides, diagonally, to meet in the middle (right at the point where the ends of the collar come together.  (I folded my ribbon in half first because the only options I could find at JoAnn were too wide or too skinny.)  I stitched the ends together and attached them to the top of the dress, and then I stitched the ribbon to itself at the sides of the waist, but otherwise I didn't actually attach the ribbon to the waist of the dress- again to let that elastic stretch as much as necessary for easy on and off.  (There are no fasteners on this thing, so it has to go on over the head and streeeetch at the middle in order to do so.)

6.  The only thing left is to run some more pink ribbon around the bottom of the dress (which you should probably completely stitch down, but I didn't because I was finishing this the night before the Festival and ran out of time!  I just attached it in a few places) and then make 3 bows- attach one at the top center of the bodice, and the other two at the points where the skirt opens.  That's it!

She's entering her "I hate posing for photos" phase, but she really does love this costume.  She's been asking to wear it almost every day since!  The weekend after the Festival, we went to a Halloween party at a friend's house and she got to wear it again, which made her very happy.  It's definitely not perfect, and was rather hastily thrown together at the last minute, but I think it's awful cute.

The costumes for Jacques and Nameless-Lady-Mouse were much easier.  For Lady Mouse, I adapted this tutorial to make an apron.  I used orange fabric for the top and yellow for the bottom, attached some yellow ribbon rather than a ruffle, and used ribbon for the ties.  Then I made a simple rectangular hat/veil/thing out of yellow fabric and wore it pinned in my hair with bobby pins.  I wore a yellow skirt and top, and made a tail out of floral wire with a little orange bow near the end.

As always, Mr Geek's costume was almost entirely no-sew- almost.  He wore khaki pants, a red tshirt, and an un-buttoned red shirt.  I bought a red beanie and attached two ears I made from felt, then made him a tail out of floral wire, too (but no bow for him).

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Much love,
The Geeks

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Oh, Internet... {91}

We're going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival tomorrow- which gives me just a few more hours to finish our costumes!  (Talk about last-minute...)  Between all the October activities around here this week, I found these awesome things on the internet:

Check out this (hilarious) DIY Halloween-themed doormat at Jojotastic!

For a costume or even just for everyday office wear: check out this easy victory rolls tutorial at A Beautiful Mess!

The Sew and Tell Project shared a look at a pattern for DIY wings- my little one needs wings for her Halloween costume this year, but I cheated and bought some cheap ones.  Next year I should snag this pattern!

How do you put big love into small things?  (See what Erin at Humble Handmaid has to say!)

Angie at Yellow Pelican shares 11 things she loves about NFP (and we Geeks agree!)

Julie at These Walls recently discovered her parish's adult faith formation class and now I want our parish to start one, too!  I really enjoyed sponsoring Mr Geek in RCIA because the classes were so engaging!

So what all did you find on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkin Carving

For the first time as a little family, we carved a jack-o-lantern this weekend!

And by "we", I mean me!  I'm actually super proud of myself because the carving bits were always my dad's job growing up, so this was legitimately my first time doing this.  But it was easy, because the company that makes those little carving knives now also makes tiny, AA-battery-powered jigsaws, and that sucker did most of the work for me.

But enough talking- take a look at the photos!

Are y'all carving pumpkins this year?  What designs will you be using?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, October 10, 2016

Family Costume Inspiration Round-Up

I'm sure you can tell by now that Hallowe'en is my all-time-favorite holiday.  I'm such a big kid at heart, and I've always loved assembling creative costumes for myself, so having two other people to dress up is like a dream come true!  (No joke, I actually had a dream once, before I was pregnant- or at least, before I knew I was pregnant- that I was up late finishing family Winnie the Pooh costumes...I might have a problem.)

My parents never joined in on the costume fun when I was little, but because I enjoy dressing up so much myself, I see no reason to let my little one have all the fun!  You've seen our past costumes- but what about some other inspiration for group costumes?

via The Sew & Tell Project
The Sew & Tell Project is run by two amazingly talented women who have made all sorts of beautiful outfits.  Check out this post to see how Eleri put together these coordinating Little House on the Prairie costumes!

via The Sew and Tell Project
And here are Emily's incredibly detailed and beautiful Zorro costumes.  You can check out more sewing inspiration from the Sew and Tell Project on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

via Love Our Crazy Life
Becca from Love Our Crazy Life has an adorable and super simple DIY father-and-son Wreck-It Ralph costume tutorial!  (Check her out on Instagram too!)

via Make it and Love it
Make It and Love It always does incredible family costumes every year- her children are adorable and her talent is peerless.  My personal favorite was the Tangled crew, mostly because that little chameleon is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen :)  (Also her Pinterest is seriously drool-worthy.)

And then of course there are All Saints Day costumes!  (Two occasions to wear costumes, back-to-back?  Awesome!)

Catholic Sistas has an amazing post of All Saints Day ideas- not just costumes!

And of course Kendra at Catholic All Year is the queen of Hallowe'en-turned-All-Saints costumes, because she's awesome.

So, are you inspired?  What will you and your family be wearing in just a few weeks?

Much love,
The Geeks

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Oh, Internet... {90}

Ah, October.  My favorite month of the year!  And it opened with some awesome stuff on the internet, like this:

My new favorite sewing blog, the Sew and Tell Project, shared a tutorial for a DIY candy bag for Halloween- it's super simple and super adorable!

The Modcloth Blog shared some super awesome outfits inspired by classic literature and I want all of them!

Speaking of outfits- Lauren at Fizz and Frosting is always one fashionable mamma (and if you hurry quick, you can enter her Sephora gift card giveaway!)

You know who else is one chic mommy?  Anna at In Honor of Design, who I thought just recently had a baby but obviously I'm mistaken because there's no way she looks that good...

Okay so over on Weddingbee, Miss Wishbone and her beau are getting married on Tax Day, so their save-the-dates were designed to look like W2's!  Go check it out!

Another insanely creative DIY that also happens to be sappy and romantic is this beautiful DIY wall art over on Bean in Love.

Better than Eden has a beautiful reflection on marriage- "Their marriage exists until someone has "changed," ours desperately hopes that we will be."  Go read it.  It's powerful.

And Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas is the queen of weekly roundups- she's got some wonderful stuff in her "This Week's Miscellany" post!

What awesome stuff happened on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Crafting Adventures: 101 Dalmatians

I think last year's 101 Dalmatians costumes were my favorite so far.  We're getting ready to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival once again, and the costumes I'm putting together for that are even better- so stay tuned!  But for now, here's the tutorial I promised you!

To make the puppy costume, you need: 

-a white hoodie in your little girl's size
-white tights in your little girl's size
-an adult sized white short sleeved tshirt (I got a simple v-neck ladies t-shirt with cap sleeves in size XL)
-1" wide elastic
-filling, used for making pillows (or you could just use cotton balls)
-1/4 yard pink fabric
-pale blue ribbon
-black fabric paint pen(s) [I used different sizes and different tips to vary the size of the spots)
-sewing supplies

1.  First, use a seam ripper and scissors to take apart the t-shirt- it's going to be the ears, the tail, and the skirt for this costume.  Remove the sleeves with the seam ripper.  Cut a straight line to remove the bottom of the t-shirt so that the height is the length you want the skirt to be + 1 1/2".  Don't discard the rest of the t-shirt quite yet!

2.  When I removed the cap sleeves from my t-shirt, and then undid the seam holding it as a cylindrical sleeve-shape, I was left with these two crescent-moon-shaped pieces of white.  If you use regular short sleeves, you might not get this half-moons, but that's not to say they won't work as puppy ears. Experiment with how you want the ears to eventually look by curling them and placing them on the hood of the sweatshirt; once you're satisfied with your ear shapes, use the white pieces as a guide to cut pink pieces (one for each ear).

Important note:  Now, the pink fabric I chose to use was from my scrap pile- it was the leftovers from this Valentine's Day project I had done a few months before.  It's a pale pink with white hearts, and I thought the hearts would be pretty adorable, but I didn't want them to be quite so prevalent- more subtle.  So I decided to use the fabric inside out so that the hearts would peek through if you're looking closely, but from a distance it's a solid pink.  I'm explaining this to you so that you understand that the printed side of my fabric became the "wrong" side for the purposes of this project, and the underside of the fabric became the "right" side.  So don't get confused by my use of the terms "right" and "wrong" in the next step!

3.  Pin the white and pink pieces with right sides together and sew all the way around, but leave a little over an inch undone- I left the gap at one of the corners.  Turn the ears right-side-out and stitch closed the gap you left.

4.  (Aaaaaand that's where I stopped taking pictures.  Oops.)  You'll want to curl your ears into C shapes and pin them on either side of the hood of the sweatshirt- it helps to get your model to wear the hoodie and then try a few different positions, gently pinning the ears in place and then removing the hoodie again and letting her run off to play.  I folded down about a 1/2" lip to stitch the ears to the hood- you can use a fancy decorative stitch since you're technically "top stitching", but as it'll be technically the inside of the ear, you can just use a zig-zag stitch and call it a day.  (The zig-zag is sturdier than a straight stitch.)  What your left with is floppy adorable-ness :)

5.  Remember how I said don't ditch the last piece of t-shirt?  Use what's left to cut off two vaguely tail-shaped pieces with a pointy end.  I actually ended up lining up my cut so that one side rested against the folded edge of the shirt, so that the two pieces are attached at one end.  If you use the fold, make sure it's not on the edge where the tail will meet the body- you want that edge open.  Cut out your tail piece(s), and sew up all the sides except the base (use a zig-zag stitch for that aforementioned sturdiness), and turn it right-side-out.

6. Use your pillow filling (or cotton balls!) to stuff that little tail until it's an adorable stubby little thing, and pin the open end closed.  Take a look at the bottom of your sweatshirt- there's probably a ribbed band that goes around the bottom.  Find the center of the back of your sweatshirt and snip that band in half (vertically) at that mid point.  Slide the pinned base of your tail into the slit you now have in the band, and use a zig-zag stitch to sandwich it in there.

7.  The blue ribbon is going to be the collar.  Wrap it around the neck of the sweatshirt and stitch it in place- I left the ends long so they could be tied in a bow (I had originally hoped to do a tag but ran out of time) but you could also stop at the edges of the hood and leave it open at the base of the neck.

8.  All that's left is to turn the rectangle you cut from the t-shirt into a skirt with an elastic waist using that tutorial from Make It and Love It that I always use.  Super simple!  All that's left is to use your fabric paint pens to place spots on the hoodie, skirt, and tights.  Use as many or as few spots as you'd like, and use varying sizes- I even placed a hidden Mickey in there, just because!  Fortunately, we have our very own Penny to use as a reference for spot placement.  And of course, on the big day, be sure to use face paint to give your puppy a little black nose!

That's it!  Super simple!

Cruella de Vil has been my favorite costume ever, but all of it was store bought.  I wore a little black dress, black tights, and red pumps that I already owned.  I found the coat, wig, gloves, and cigarette holder on Amazon; combined, they were much more than I would spend on a one-time costume, so I used my credit card reward points to pay for them.  I had intended to try to whip up a faux fur coat but I figured there's no way I could do it justice.  Remember Cruella needs a pale face, bright red lips, and blue eye shadow!

Jasper was also entirely store-bought, but these are all just regular clothing pieces Mr Geek can wear whenever.  We got the cargo pants for the Treebeard costume and he already had this brown corduroy blazer.  I found the newsboy cap at Target and the sweater at Macy's (and it just looks sooooo good on him, doesn't it?)

So costumes so far ;)  But this year's Ren Faire costumes are going to be pretty awesome, too, so stay tuned!

What's your favorite family costume from Hallowe'ens past?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, October 3, 2016



It's October!  It's time for pumpkins and sweaters and homemade costumes!!!!

Looking for ideas?  Here's a reminder of what our little family has worn in the past:

Here are tutorials for Han, Leia, and a little ewok if Star Wars is your thing.

Is Lord of the Rings more your style?  Try this simple Treebeard and his little hobbit friends!

Are you a total Disnerd like us?  This 101 Dalmations family costume was super easy, as Cruella and Jasper are entirely store-bought.  Stay tuned for a tutorial for the little puppy!!

Are you as excited about Hallowe'en as I am?  What will your family be wearing this year?

Much love,
The Geeks