Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo Friday: Sammy's Sale

Whoa. People were not joking when they said yard sales are a lot of work. I'm ready for bed and it's only 7:03. Could it be from the 3 short hours of sleep I got last night? I'm going to go ahead and say yes on that one. I'm not complaining though. Not a bit. I loved getting ready for the sale. I adore organizing and sorting and setting things up. I've wanted to try having a yard sale pretty much my entire life. And today was my day.

Early this morning
Do you want to know what I do NOT adore, though? Snippy garage salers who walk into my yard an hour before the sale begins and loudly complain, "This is all there is?" Um, ma'am, I just nursed my baby, am dressing my three year-old for preschool, frosted 30 dozen cupcakes, and got three whole hours of sleep. And now you're coming into MY yard and giving me sass? You can just turn right around and be excused. But of course, all I did was gently mention that the sale was scheduled to begin at 9 and items were still being set out.

Sammy's table

I knew it would happen. I had been warned. But what was I supposed to do? I had no other time to set everything out before the yard was bombarded with fanny-pack-wearing, quarter-shuffling salers. And holy moly, do they take their shopping seriously. I could not work fast enough for some of them. I'm quite sure they had a carefully mapped out plan of attack on every sale within a 30 mile radius and my snail-speed figuring of prices was slowing their pace.

Maira checking out the sale
And then promptly at 9am, when the sale was actually scheduled to begin, everything slowed. The rest of the day was completely enjoyable. We had a steady flow of shoppers who smiled and chatted and enjoyed the process of searching for treasures. Sammy cooed and smiled as guests paid for their goodies and left generous donations in Sammy's glass jar. And the weather was perfect. My mom and I spent the entire duration of the sale sitting in the yard, sliding our chairs every 30 minutes to stay in the shade. I'm actually looking forward to doing it again tomorrow. After the morning rush.

Nana Scott & Sammy
 Tomorrow I'll be ready for them. I'll wake at the crack of dawn to set up my tables. I'll set out my cupcakes and sit in my chair ready for their arrival. Then I'll look those crazy serious salers in the eyes and know I have them beat. 'Cause I will. I'm a mama, and mama's can do everything.


neighbors had a sale, too. these were my treasures.
Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2012

For Sale!

No, no! Not the baby! Ella was just getting a little excited with the price stickers last night. We're having a very special yard sale!

I've always wanted to have a yard sale. It reminds me so much of playing store with my sister when we were little. I loved playing store. So, about a month ago when I thought of the possibility of having a yard sale, I realized this is as good a time as any! And then I got a really fun idea. We can have a yard sale and put all of the money toward Sammy's Superheroes and the Step Up walk here in Duluth. Lovely!

My living room is now filled with great big moving boxes labeled with signs written in red permanent marker in my attempt to keep things organized. Baby clothes, household, kitchen, FREE, etc. Yes, there are certainly those few items that I don't feel I can ask to exchange for money. Everything else is pretty cheap. I hate making my way through a garage sale where things are priced comparably to what it would be new at the store. Seriously? Doesn't that sort of defeat the whole idea of a garage sale? I take it as a good sign that I've already run out of 25 and 50 cent stickers. I'll be swinging by Target later to pick up another package since I still have a huge bag of baby clothes to price.

I want to make this yard sale a bit like a party in our yard. I already have a string of bulbs hanging from our big tree. I'm going to buy balloons to attach to the lamp post by the street and hang bunting above the front door, just like I did for Ella's birthday. It's not your everyday yard sale, anyway. We're doing this to celebrate Sammy's Superheroes! The Little Yellow Kitchen will be selling cupcakes and donating all the money to the team. We'll also have a jar out for scattered donations along with a sign explaining the walk and Sammy's team. My mama (Nana Scott - a garage sale expert) will be helping all day Friday.

Yesterday Ella was helping me put price stickers on items while in her own garage sale find - this lovely princes dress. We were working away when Daddy came home from doing a c-section at work. As soon as he came through the door, Ella put her hand on her little hip and pointed to my mess, telling him, "Look at Mama's mess, Daddy. She made a biiiig mess." What?! She was tattling on me? It was too cute. I had to take a picture of her sassiness. 

So here are the details: Multi-Family Yard Sale for Sammy's Superheroes and Step Up for Down Syndrome in Duluth. Lots of boy/girl baby clothing, adult clothing, kitchen & household goods. Friday 8/31 and Saturday 9/1 from 9am-3pm. It will be postponed if there is a lot of rain. Location is right across from the old East High School. Look for the bright signs! Feel free to email me if you need more details or if you are in the area and happen to have a table or two we could borrow Thursday through Sunday. olsen.angela {at}

Thank you so much to those of you who have already made donations to Sammy's Superheroes or are starting to make plans to join us in Duluth on September 30 for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk! We're stepping closer to our goal of $1000!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sammy's Superheroes!

Through the last three months, we've entered into a world that we knew very little about before our little man arrived. It's not one that we're constantly aware of, but Down Syndrome has certainly become much more a part of who we are as a family. I think there's a line that crosses into "we're completely consumed by this diagnosis and it will be in every single thing we do" as opposed to "this is one part of who we are, just like other things are part of who we are." I've learned through reading blogs and magazine articles and following advocacy groups on Twitter and Facebook that, at this moment, I would like to have DS as one part of our family but keep it in balance with other parts of who we are. We embrace it as a part of our "new normal" and know it is becoming a part of the intricate fabric of our family.

With that said, I'm pretty excited to share about something fun just around the bend. Every year, families and friends around the world participate in what has been know as Buddy Walks, big events that raise money and awareness for Down Syndrome resources and advocacy. Minnesota has been hosting walks for 15 years and for the last 11 years, there has been one right here in Duluth, though now Minnesota calls them Step Up for Down Syndrome walks. I've done a little searching and reading and have looked at multiple albums of photos from past walks in Minnesota and beyond. Everyone gathers in a central location for a big ol' party and completes a walk of some kind. Besides raising money and awareness for a really great cause, one of the best parts (in my opinion) is that families can create teams for the event. And yes, dressing up is an option. Yay!

Therefore, I'm very excited to reveal...

Wohoo! Mr Sammy Sam will be the center of our team as we head down to Canal Park in Duluth on the afternoon of Sunday, September 30. We would love, love, love to have lots of family and friends join us, so if you have even the slightest desire to be a superhero, come to the walk! We'll be making signs, carrying balloons, and dressing in our very best superhero attire. All of the official information can be found on the Duluth Step Up for Down Syndrome website. Registration for the walk is fast, easy, and FREE - which includes a t-shirt! - and can be done on this REGISTRATION PAGE. Registrations need to be done before September 4, though, if you'd like a t-shirt the day of the event.

As I mentioned, one of the big parts of this walk is to raise money for Down Syndrome resources in the state. We've been fortunate to benefit from some of these resources already. Right away in the hospital, we received packets of information, and once we registered as new parents with the organization, we were sent a box with multiple books and a DVD. This fall we hope to be a part of a local family group, which will be largely supported through this walk.

Ella reading to Sammy at the flower shop

After considering what we think we might be able to do for our part of the walk, Pete & I decided to go with a number that seems really big, but one that we think we just might be able to reach with your help - $1,000. We've set up a donation page through the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, which makes donating super simple. Whether you're able to join us for the walk or not, you can still donate. We really want to make Sammy's first Step Up walk memorable with a sweet party and a strong donation, so will you help us? These resources really do make a difference. We're proof of that. And I know we'll rely on the continuing resources for Sammy through the entire year to come.

big sister strikes again
To be a part of Sammy's Superheroes team, visit his DONATION PAGE or click on the widget in the right sidebar on this page. Even a little donation makes a difference. I know that sounds cliche, but it's true. We needed support and information after Sammy was born, and the things we were given right at the hospital made a pretty big impact on our first few weeks with our little man.

This weekend I'll be posting another way to get involved that you won't want to miss if you're in the Duluth area. Check back for details!

Who is your favorite superhero? We're looking for a bit of costume inspiration and would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photo Friday: First Day of School!

My sweet baby girl has started school! We were all pretty excited as we counted down the days (remember the paper chain we made a couple weeks ago?), so when the big day finally arrived, we had things all in order. I mentioned that, after lots of searching, I found a backpack I knew Ella would love and ordered it from Paper and Polka Dots on Etsy. I wrapped it up and Pete & I gave it to her on Sunday night. She was so excited that she slept with it. I didn't mind a bit.

Monday morning, Miss Ella put on the dress we had set out the night before, slid a bow in her hair, and put on the new "running shoes" she insisted on wearing. At least they were the same color as the dress. After saying goodbye to Daddy, we both ate a big bowl of Cheerios, made a lunch to put in her owl backpack, and took the mandatory first-day-of-school photos. Then we were off!

I was so excited for everything Ella would be experiencing at school that it wasn't hard for me to drop her off. She's so social that she gave Sam and I a quick hug and kiss and ran into her classroom. The quiet time at home while she was away was a little harder than I had imagined. I have no doubt I'll get used to it, but when she's not with me I'm usually busily working on something. Monday morning was just quiet. So different. But it helps knowing that she's getting to do so much on her mornings away. This month she has school every day from 9-1. Beginning in September, she'll still go every day but the hours will be different. I'm still not exactly sure what they will be, but she'll come home before lunch. I'm glad. I've been missing our lunches together in the nook.

And now we're off! We'll be heading out the door in just a few minutes to make our way to Minneapolis for an annual family pig roast at my aunt and uncle's place. I'll also get to see a few friends and introduce them to Sam. I love showing off my little guy!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To Wisconsin We Go!

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we went. And what a time we had! Our very short trip into the heart of Wisconsin farm country was relaxing and lovely. This was Sam's first time to Nana & Papa Olsen's house and his first time out of Minnesota. I'm so very fortunate to have two amazing little travelers. Ella read books and watched a movie while Sam slept nearly the entire way. Near the end of the long trip, things got a little silly.

At one point I wanted to show Ella a few Wisconsin farms with their expansive barns and picturesque farm houses. It reminds me of where I grew up. We took a country road off the main highway to "find cows." As soon as we saw our first one, Ella started singing Old McDonald.

At last, we arrived at Nana & Papa's. Ella set to work helping them water their plants, something she's very good at. (Probably didn't learn that from me, though. You should see our outside plants. Or not. They don't even exist anymore. After the flowers on the deck dried up, I tossed them with the yard waste. At least that way I don't have to be reminded of my lack of plant growing ability. Inside plants, yes. Outside, no. Maybe next summer will be better.)

At dinner, Ella was given this enormous book to use as a booster. I remember sitting on a stack of phone books at my grandparents' house when I was little. I couldn't resist capturing the moment.

The first evening of our stay, Auntie Kristin and I were watching the Olympics while Sam slept and I wondered what Ella was up to. When I searched in a basement bedroom, this is what I found. A perfect little picnic. 

Papa and his boy. The two of them together just makes my heart happy.

While I was out, I saw this shirt in Ella's size. Pete says this all the time.

It was hot during our visit (so thankful for air conditioning!), but we still spent plenty of time outside. Ella loves to walk around the small lake behind Nana & Papa's house.

Ella loves her Auntie Kristin. We're so fortunate to be able to see her just about every visit to Wisconsin. Ella also loves taking pictures, but we already knew that, didn't we?

She's gotten really good at throwing rocks in the water after all her dates with Daddy down by the lake. I think they always end up throwing rocks on their dates.

Another moment I love of Papa and Sam.

I know this picture was taken moments before leaving Nana & Papa's because Ella is holding a melting M&M. Nana always has a bowl of dark chocolate M&Ms out, but I don't let Ella know that until it's time to go. If you ask what her favorite food is, she'll tell you without hesitation choc-o-late. Just hearing the way she says the word makes me want to give it to her. Choc-o-late. I hope she says it that way forever.

After our 48 hour stay, it was time to head back to Duluth. The drive back wasn't quite as peaceful as the way there. I was a bit on edge before we were halfway home. Not good. The sun was beating down on me as I drove and Ella was practicing her two favorite questions "what?" and "why?" a few too many times for my liking. We finally stopped at a park in Solon Springs, a little town I've been wanting to check out. Ella played, I fed Sam, my sanity returned, and we all got some fresh air.

We had been watching gymnastics on the Olympics the night before, so when Ella saw this parking block, she pretended it was a balance beam. My dad was a gymnast back in the day, so I had to capture these photos.

We eventually did make it home. I was ready for a nap the moment we did, but of course the little ones had been in the car so long that they refused to rest. Isn't that always the way of it? No worries. Being a parent just wouldn't be complete without a few moments of exhaustion every now and then. And after such a relaxing stay at Nana & Papa's, I didn't mind quite as much.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Brother & Sister

A long post with lots of pictures from Grandma & Grandpa's house last week is on its way but isn't quite ready yet. In the meantime, I'm posting these lovelies from play time this afternoon. The Pea Pod tent was delivered to us earlier today. We plan to use it for Sam's bed when we are in Kenya this winter. I've had friends rave about them, and we just happened to have a gift card for Target where they're available. So far, I'm in love! It's small and light and even looks like it was made for adventure. Ella is a huge fan and I didn't hear any complaints from Sam! They were both very happy to play in the tent side by side. Melt. My. Heart.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Photo Friday: The Olympics!

I love the Olympics. The hype and pride and athleticism and endless coverage of individual background stories that make a mama teary. (I'm not the only one who gets teary watching those, right?) I've been looking forward to these games for months and months, planning way last winter that I would be watching a majority of them in the air-conditioned comfort of Eli & Krista's house since we neither have air-conditioning or (even more importantly) a TV on which to watch them. Krista & I are huge Olympics fans. Therefore, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a little opening ceremony party last Friday.

We sent a few texts to each other and to friends to get the party ball rolling, making it clear that everyone was expected to dress to represent an Olympic event. Immediately, I knew how I would dress the kiddos, but my own outfit was only selected about 20 minutes before leaving the house. I'll admit, the main reason for that was because so many things still don't fit this post-baby bod.

Can you tell what our little Samuel dressed as? (Hint: that's a stuffed horse next to him.)

Yes! A jockey! Our little equestrian was set to represent in a polo shirt and little cap. Isn't the cap adorable? I think it came to us in an enormous box of hand-me-downs from Jess and her boys. I want more pictures of him in it. It's so boyish!

Here it looks like Jack & Caleb might be attempting to get arm wrestling into the games. Jack (4 months) was a sailor while Caleb (11 weeks) was a swimmer.

It's just not a proper party without a cake. I have to explain the holes in the top of this one. I was practicing various wedding styles the night before and stuck a large monogram letter in the top. After the practice session was complete, I painted the Olympic rings on top, wrapped it in gold ribbon, stuck in the flag and - viola - a party cake. (chocolate with almond frosting & fondant, I think)

I ended up going as a weight lifter! I've got plenty of workout clothes, so I dug up a couple sweat bands from my running garb and lugged a set of 8-pound weights to the party. Eli was a tennis player and Krista was a biker. (The great thing about Eli's outfit? Apparently he wore that to every tennis class he had for a semester of college. Nice work.) I'm crazy about Caleb's goggles here. Ella had a pair too, but was far more interested in writing "checks" than taking a party pic.

I've been soaking in as much of the Olympic action as possible. I catch what I can online. One night I saw swimming at the hospital in an on-call resident room while Pete was working. Then we were at Grandma & Grandpa Olsen's house for a few days and I got to see a lot more. Tomorrow we'll be watching with Eli & Krista again. I would be so sad if I missed them!

I think I'd have to say that my favorite summer Olympic event is gymnastics. It's so hard to decide, though. They are all so much fun to watch, especially after learning the personal stories of the athletes.

What is your favorite summer Olympic event? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below!


Since I mentioned the practice wedding cake, here are two versions of what I made. The final cake was a lot like the bottom of the two but with higher tiers. I'll be posting the real photos soon on The Little Yellow Kitchen website.


I did something crazy this week...I joined Twitter! It's actually been a really fun way to stay up on all the Olympic action, seeing pics and getting results right after things happen. I've also found some cool people to follow, like other parents of kids with Down syndrome and cute boutique shops. I'm still figuring out how it all works, but if you're on Twitter, look me up! I'm @OlsenAngela.


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