Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little Bo Peep Skirt

A couple weeks ago, I found this mini-skirt at my favorite thrift store (Designer Bargain Outlet in Corinth, Mississippi. Hey, Amy!) and intended to make a peasant skirt for Suzy out of it.

It was so easy in my mind. Simply rip out the zipper, and sew up that seam:

Then cut off the existing waistband, which had some funky elastic on the hips:

I folded down 1/4 inch and pressed it, then folded another 1/2 inch and pressed. I stitched it up, leaving 1 inch open to thread elastic through. I sewed the elastic ends together, and there was my skirt. Easy, simple, no hemming, no messing with pins...except it looked like this:

Not very practical for a four year old. So I went back into my sewing closet. I divided the hem into sixths. Every six part, I stitched two parallel lines, set on the longest stitch setting and low tension:

I tied off the threads at the top of the seams, then gathered from the bottom and tied those off as well.

Then I added a little blue bow by hand.

This is how it turned out:

Much better! I love how whimsical it is, and it makes everything Suzy does look dainty. Here she's showing you how to look like a lady while preparing to chunk a rock.

The end result was one happy little girl!

Growing Up

Today was momentous. Well, for me, anyway!
This morning I was in the living room, and Nate was in the guest room/office/family room. I was reading, and everything was pretty quiet but I heard a girl's voice. I couldn't quite make out any words. I thought Nate might be watching an ESPN video, but as far as I know, they have no preschool-age sportscasters. I thought maybe the neighbor's children were getting an early start on their outdoor playtime. Because surely, it couldn't be...I went down the hall and listened at Suzy's door. She was singing softly to herself and obviously playing with her doll house.
I opened the door, and there she sat, in her little long john pajamas (because she's so skinny she gets cold even in summer) merrily playing with her doll family. She smiled at me and said hello.
You're probably waiting for the momentous part. That was it. It was the first time in her entire LIFE that immediately upon waking, she did not run and search for me. We always start our day together with a snuggle. This was the first day she woke up, and didn't think, "MOMMA!"
I was more than a little sad. I lose more of my baby everyday. I'm gaining a delightful little girl, but how I miss that baby!
The up side to the whole thing was when I held my arms out, she ran into them, and we had our usual snuggle. Yesterday, I read this post at Femina, about our children's love metabolism, and (to keep with the theme) it gave me food for thought this morning. Here is my favorite quote from it:
"...just like food nourishes the body, love and attention nourishes their little souls. And fat souls are what we want."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Suzy's Birthday Campout

I took picutres, I promise. And I will upload them as soon as I find the camera! There was a scary moment when I thought I washed it with our camp bedding, but fortunately that wasn't the case.
Suzy wanted to go camping for her birthday. I thought it was a great idea. I assumed it would be much cheaper than a party. I was a fool! I'm pretty sure we could have gotten her a pony off of Craig's List cheaper than the camping supplies.
Anyway, Suzy was thrilled with the whole thing, so it was a huge success. She cried when we left to return home. So did I, but they were tears of joy.
I couldn't sleep that night for the noise! It's quieter in suburbia. Apparently what I thought was a secluded campsite was not far from a train track - a busy one- and an airport? I don't know, but something was droning on. And it wasn't me!
And no amount of bug spray kept off the ticks. So now I will have several days of itching to remind me of this glorious time.
But it was so worth it. Suzy roasted a marshmallow (strawberry pink, of course) for the first time and made a s'more. When Nate asked her how she liked it, she said, "I shook with joy!" That pretty much somes up her attitude the entire camp out. So totally worth it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Making It Cute

I like to improve common items, to make them a bit more me. Nate teases me about my desire to make things cute, but he likes it. I think.
Today, between laundry and dishes, I convinced myself that I really should take pictures and make a post out of it. Because I'm sure you're dying to see, right?
First up, Suzy's breakfast. Oatmeal is the homliest of all breakfast foods, so I cute it up with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and rainbow sprinkles.

Isn't this pretty fabric? You'll never guess what it's on.

That's right, I sewed a coat for my spray bottle.
Next, my kitchen gloves. Just the Mr. Clean gloves from Walmart. Sooo plain. So I added a little lace trim. It may seem silly, but I have to wear those things three times a day, so I needed to enjoy looking at them. And they coordinate with my spray bottle and apron...though I admit I am the only one who cares!

And this is my lesson plan book. It came with a sterile green plastic cover that gave me chilly memories of grade school. I warmed it up with some fabric scraps.

Here's my daily planner. It was already cute on the inside (like so many of us) but very plain on the outside.

I just added a little ribbon to the cover to make it's outside more feminine.

Here is my Bible. It has a burgundy leather cover, half chewed up the spine by a puppy fond of over-stepping her bounds. Since it was the Bible Nate gave to me on the occasion of his second proposal to me, I made it this little cover to keep it protected from any future marauders.

I wanted a little journal in which I could write Scriptures that are significant to me. I looked many places for a cute one that was inexpensive. Finally I bought one with a plain cardboard cover for $4 at Borders. Or Barnes and Noble's. Or Books-a-Million. One of those bookstores that starts with a B. I knew it would be perfect, because I had enough fabric leftover from my Bible cover to make them match. How cute!

Look how cute they look with my coordinating sermon notebook, bought at the same B. bookstore:

For practicality, a 3 ring binder was ideal for my prayer journal. The plain white one I bought was so impersonal. I fixed it up with fabric from a vintage pillowcase and a scrap of ribbon.

Put all of them together, and it becomes clear the next thing I have to work on is developing a central color scheme:
Go here more people making it cute:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I am a dork. No, no, don't make polite denials. I know it. I ENJOY being a dork. It's fun.
I love to read. I love to read history, and occassionally...grammar. Yes, that's how bad it is. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves was a great book! It's a book making fun of people's grammar mistakes, for you non-dorks.
The podcasts I listen to? Several BBC programs: Global News, From Our Own Correspondent, The History of the World in 100 of Objects, and Documentaries, a French Word-of-the-Day, and Grammar Girl. Yes, Grammar Girl. I listen to podcasts about adverbs.
Last month, on my weekly trip to the library, I was really pleased with the three books I brought home: Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin, The Dog That Drove Home, the Snake Eating Mouse and Other Exotic Tales of the Animal Kingdom by Vida Adamoli, and The Story of English: Revised Edition by Robert McCrum, William Cran, Robert MacNeil.
I start reading all my library books at once; I don't go through them one at a time. I'll tote them around to various rooms in the house as I'm working, and just pick up which ever one happens to be handy. Eventually one will pull ahead and I'll focus on it for a while.
I really liked Animals in Translation. There was a lot I doubted, but I thought the facts and insights into animal behavior were fascinating. That means, if you know me, you will avoid me for at least two weeks, in order to prevent yourself from being bored to death by "interesting" anecdotes from the book that I simply must inflict upon you. If you know me REALLY well, you will merely brace yourself. It's futile to resist.
The Exotiv Animal Tales wasn't as good, but I did like some of the stories. Try not to mention nursing, puppies, or snow to me for a while, or I'll tell you about the Welsh woman who was snowed in without formula, and nursed her newborn on her loyal German Shepherd, thus saving his life.
The Story of English was very interesting - about the history and development of various forms of English. I didn't finish it before I returned it. It was overdue, so I wasn't allowed to recheck it. I have to wait until Friday to find out how it ends. Ha!
I like being a dork. I have to go now, there's a tornado documentary on PBS.


My blog that is. Excuse the mess and clashing colors. Nate's working on improving a header for me. As soon as he gets that finished, I'll put it up. If he does a good job, I may him to do a whole layout.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Martha Speaks

Last night I cooked for company. We had ginger-glazed pork chops, cream potatoes, roasted corn, and a spinach salad with a little of everything in it. The night before? Bean burritos. As I was whisking the glaze, I realized this must be why Nate always invites people over!
Actually, we invite people over because we enjoy spending time with them, not because my husband is angling for a balanced meal. Mostly.
Anyway, when we have people over, I start preparing that morning. I spend the first half of the day cleaning. Maybe, if you come over to my house, you wouldn't notice that I dusted the towel racks. But I did. Because I love you. And because I'm crazy. But mainly it's love. Ok, that's a lie. It's crazy to dust a towel rack, and crazier to put it on a To Do list!
While I'm cleaning, Suzy's has one conversation topic. "When are my friends coming? Are my friends coming today? Is today the day my friends are coming? Are they coming after my nap? Are they coming? When are they coming? My friends, are they coming over to my house? Today? When are my friends coming? Will my friends come today? Is today the day my friends are coming over to my house after I nap but before I go night-night? Is it? Is it today?" Did that annoy you to read? Play it on a loop for 8 hours, and you'll have an insight into my mentality yesterday.
After lunch and getting Suzy down for a nap, (last words: "Are my friends coming over after my nap?") I am already tired. I get a shower and clean clothes, but no makeup. On a very good day, I have time to put on makeup. That is not today. I have to get busy making dinner, and I expect the world to just be grateful that I put on deodorant.
So I start cooking and cutting and cleaning (because it never stops) and bustling about. I have a To Do list of 21 items, and I am smoking through them, occasionally adding more as I think of it. Suzy is up now, and repeating her loop again. By 3 pm I tell her that if she asks me one more time when her friends are coming, I will run screaming into the street. I think I'm being funny. Suzy looks up, horrified, and begins to sob. "If you run away, I won't have a mommy anymooooore!" More sobs rack her tiny body, and big tears roll down her face. That, my friends, is a joke that bombed. So I scoop her up and kiss her and tell her that I will never run away or leave her. After a few minutes, she has calmed down enough to ask, "Are my friends coming over before I go night-night?" I run screaming into the street, and it goes down hill from there. Just kidding about the end. (I have to say that because my mom will think I really did.)
Nate comes home, and starts the grill. I go outside to ask him to help me shuck the corn - we've already established that I'm crazy, right? He asks me to bring him a cloth so he can clean the porch rail. This has not made it to my To Do list at all. I have things I have to do, and I have things that I want him to do that I haven't told him yet. If you could see in my head at that moment, it would just be "The corn! The corn! Just shuck the stupid corn!" I am working myself up to a good frazzle. I tell him no. He mentions it again. I go off like a bottle rocket. There was nothing good to see then. I'm thankful I took the time to slam the door first, or the neighbors would still be talking about it. When slamming the door is the highlight of your behavior, you are misbehaving!
It is so bad, that I instantly know. Sometimes you can try to justify yourself, but some times the Holy Spirit immediately convicts you. I apologize to Nate and ask his forgiveness. He forgives me, but he is hurt, and I must say he rather defiantly cleans one porch rail before shucking the corn. We now have one immaculate white porch rail; the others are still dingy yellow from pollen.
While he's taking it out on the porch rail, I get a call from an old friend. I update her on the day, leaving out my impersonation of fireworks. As she's saying bye, she adds, "Be a Mary and not a Martha!" Very rarely do you have a whole day's worth of issues summed in seven words. This was my entire problem. I was being the biblical Martha (with an unholy dash of Martha Stewart.)

"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

I had so focused on my To Do list that I neglected to listen to Christ, in the process giving my daughter an abandonment complex and verbally abusing my husband. I repent.
When our guests arrive, I haven't set the table. I'm just starting the potatoes. I totally forget to grill hot dogs for the kids and end up microwaving them. And I don't care. We talk with our friends about the things the Lord has been teaching us through our trials. We listen and laugh and fellowship like brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm a Mary. Life's better that way.

After a Long Absence...

Last week I got an email from my mom, saying that she had went to the trouble of updating her blog as I requested, but she had checked, and as I hadn't posted in over a month, she was not going to feel guilty about ignoring hers. I got the idea that if I ever want to hear from her again, I had better write something! I procrastinated and finally pull myself to the computer, and I find an email from a friend pointing out that I haven't posted in a while!
I could lie and say that I had nothing to write about, but the truth is that my absence from my blog was chaotic and emotional, and most all of it is stuff I had a hard time even speaking out loud to people (so I mostly didn't) and I certainly don't want to publish it on the internet! But it's better now, so no worries!
So this is a post, to let all four of my readers know that another post is coming. I would go ahead and write something here, but that into just sort of kills the oomph of anything, doesn't it?