Thursday, July 31, 2008

true colors

When we brought our second child home from the hospital, our first born went into full time mothering mode. She was only two and a half...but going on 24. She just loved her brother.

She loved to be near him. She loved to help. With everything. She was great. Still is.

For a long time, her love would bubble up out of when she'd hold his little hand, her hand would be gentle, but the rest of her body would wiggle and sometimes she'd grit her teeth and tense up her neck and head. Trying so very hard to be careful with him, when you could see that all she wanted to do was squeeze him as hard as she could.

Things were very normal and lovingly for a good long while. Several weeks into the game of sibling hood, she helped me lotion up her brother after his bath. There was this moment, so tender, so sweet and loving, when she leaned in really close to him and whispered in his ear,

"One day, when I push you down the steps, Daddy will give you a BIG hug!"

*the record screeched to a halt*

Cough, choke, snorkle.

We had a talk about appropriate things to do with a baby. How fragile they are, and how much care we need to give them. With all those cautions and lots of prayers, time marched on in a normal fashion.

Only from that point on, we established regular date nights with Daddy, girls only shopping trips, and other big girl things to put the focus back onto the most important person in her life. Herself.

It will be interesting to see how the dynamic shifts with this next new baby. Both kids are much older now, and I'm hoping that rivalry does not begin to rear its ugly head again.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

on gum...and noises...

Maybe it's the pregnancy? Maybe it's because I'm intolerant? Maybe it's because I'm just a snotty person? Who knows? I don't know why, but there is something about the sound that a person makes while chewing gum that makes me want to stab my ears with a pencil.

I'm rather sensitive to noises. Like the sound my younger sister makes when she eats carrots. Or the sound my husband makes while he eats potato chips. Or the sound any one makes while eating corn off of the cob. OR! Radio personalities that have dentures. There are specific qualities to each of those noises that make my skin crawl, and my insides to big for my outsides.

It's something I can't quite describe....and as I type this, I notice that I also hate the way typing sounds, too.

Am I normal? (This is not something I want anyone to try and answer. )

Anyhow....I was thinking today, about the brain surgeon, and how my level of annoyance grew exponentially in direct relation to the decibels of the smack coming from between her teeth.

And then I thought about when I was pregnant with my first child, and how I worked in retail. And how at Christmas, when the customers would be especially brain-surgeonesque in their wants, desires, expectations and gum chewing loudness.

Which prompted me to recall one specific brain surgeon that brought her return to my counter. From a different department. With out tags. Or a receipt. And was in a hurry. And was chewing gum.

And that gum of started swearing at me. Not so that any one else could hear. It was just for me. My nerves swelled to 57 times their normal sizes, and tried to come right out of my skin. As she smacked and cackled and huffied and crankied at me, I tried to smile, and be polite, and not raise my hand with two fingers pointing at her, taking aim and gouging out her eye balls.

I didn't harm her. She made her return. I went to my boss and gave him my two weeks notice.

I didn't want to become fodder for a lifetime movie special.

I've yet to poke out any eyes (but for the grace of God.) And I'm still working on my noise intolerance. Maybe one day I'll become hard of hearing? Perhaps it would be best if I purchased ear plugs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To the lady in the express lane at the grocery store last night

Dear Very Important Lady,

I can see that you are someone to be reckoned with. And even though your casual clothing suggested otherwise, I'm guessing you to be a brain surgeon.

It was clear in the 5 minutes you spent in the express lane, with your 20 items (we all know they don't really mean 10 or less...especially for the most important people....with coupons) that you need to be readily available by phone 24/7. It must be horrible to have to be on your phone while you are shopping. And such a drag to be SO important that you can't even set your phone down while the check out girl rings you through. By the way, it was so rude of her to give you your total, and to try and tell you that you had $.09 off of gas. Couldn't she see you were on the phone?!

After your purchase was complete, none of us minded that you needed to organize your receipt into that special corner of your purse. And I can see that it's difficult to situate your wallet just right in that purse as well. Every thing is harder for me, too, when I'm trying to keep my phone pinched between my shoulder and my ear. It's an awkward dance. We all know that no one relinquishes their place at the cash register until they are completely finished with their transaction. I understand that, as a brain surgeon, you have an end of shopping regimen. A well orchestrated, slow motion process of putting all things in order before you are off on your way.

I do have one piece of advice for you. You know that gum you were chewing? I really think if you tried just a little harder, you could smack it much, much louder. Because we all know the REALLY important brain surgeons that need to be on their phone at all times chew their gum very loudly.


The girl two people behind you with only one item

Monday, July 28, 2008

shop news

Getting ready to add some stuff to the Etsy shop. It's been a long time since I opened it....then put some things in it, and proceeded to give all those things as Christmas gifts.....

I've made a few lavender and rice eye pillows, shoulder pillows, and have some other special things in the works to be added this afternoon. Hopefully.

I figured, this time, I'm far enough away from Christmas, and may not be as tempted to give it all away, again.

It was so much fun to put these together. And the lavender was soothing, so I was centered and calm during the entire process. *wink*

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If you are a size small/medium...

.....will you PLEASE go and buy the shawl collar sweater at this Etsy shop?

I can't stand it! It's SO lovely.

And this quilt?!!? So much loveliness!!!

(and if you buy the shawl collar sweater, will you wear it in the fall, while you are sitting in your back yard, in the hammock, reading a classic novel, with chai tea in your favorite little whipped cream on top, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, while snuggled under that quilt? Thank you.)

oh, dear me


I don't know if I mentioned pregnancy weight gain when I reflected on my last two pregnancies and their subsequent deliveries....and if I didn't, it was because, well, who wants to remember that? Unless of course, you are the kind of woman that only gains 10 pounds per pregnancy. And walk out of the hospital in pre-pregnancy jeans. (Which is unfair, mean, and wrong.)

((Unless, of course, that happens to me this time. In which case, I will be leaving the hospital in a bikini.))

Whew. Where was I going? Ah, the weight gain. With my first sweet bundle of joy, I gained my fair share of weight. That first trimester was a time of nausea. The ONLY thing I could stomach were fried mozzarella sticks from a Petro truck stop. I'm serious. So, not only did I not reap the weight loss benefits of early pregnancy food repulsion, I set a dangerous tone for the entire 9 1/2 months. Yikes!

Then, when the second pregnancy rolled around, I found Swedish pancakes were the cure for my morning (all day) sickness. Sweet little crepes drowning in a sea of butter and syrup. Oh be still my heart. And grow my thighs. So with that baby, good gravy! Hello, weight gain! And lots of it! (My only consolation, is that I have never weighed more than my beloved. He is such a trooper when it comes to sympathy weight gain. And I love him all the more for it.)

This time, however....this time was going to be different. I promised myself that I would be one of "those women." The kind that looks so good right after her baby is born you want to go up and spit in her eye. (Not that I would ever spit in some one's eye....I may WANT to, but I don't actually do that. Naturally.)

This time I rode out morning sickness with avocados and tomatoes. Remember? And up until two weeks ago, I had only gained 9 pounds. That's right! NINE! But then, something happened. Something called "The One Hour Glucose Test."

Having passed The One Hour Test in both previous pregnancies, I was not worried. Not even a little. So, the night before, I went on a date with my husband to a Mexican restaurant. It was fried and cheesy and wonderful. When we got home, I capped off the night with a slice of French Silk Pie. And then began to fast from 7 pm until morning.

I drank the yucky stuff, had my blood drawn, and went on my merry way. Later that day, I got a call from my Dr's nurse. "Your numbers were sort of high. We like them to be under 130-140 *pause* and yours were 163. You'll need to take THE THREE HOUR GLUCOSE TEST and we'd like you to follow a gestational diabetic diet up until that point, just in case."

It was at that moment my heart broke. My world fell apart. I became belligerent and manic. Almost.

Stink. So for a week, I followed the special diet of complex carbs, high fiber, and lean protein. It was physically painful.

Then came The Three Hour Test. (This time, I did not eat pie or Mexican food for my pre-fasting meal. I ate two eggs and dry low-carb toast.) And this time, I passed. And the world broke out in song. And I ate all the gestational diabetic forbidden lovelies that I could get my hands on.

The scary part is that I have not stopped eating all the forbidden lovelies. I don't even want to know what my scale has to say about it. I've got about 11 weeks to go, and avocados and tomatoes are no longer calling my name. Simple sugars and fatty meats seem to be singing my song. Those naughty things.

And! To make matters even worse, my husband has amped up his workout regimen, and is watching what he eats.

I better pack away that bikini.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Objects in motion

I decided to apply the principles of physics to my day yesterday. You know, the concept that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, while objects in motion tend to stay in motion?

I had to fake my way into things. I certainly didn't feel like moving. I blame physics, the whole "at rest" thing....

I was rather delighted to find that even slow motion is motion. The beds all got made. We went grocery shopping. I baked cookie bars. Which, frankly, were the catalyst to regular motion. Which propelled me through the day.

And then something happened today. I began the day in motion...and this happened:

A baby blanket for a future niece.

...and maybe because I'm having a boy, I couldn't stop adding ruffles to this girly blankie.

....this heart, too. It might be over the top...but I couldn't help myself. If I would have had lace and sequins on hand, you can be sure that this thing would have looked like a prom dress from the early 90s.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Started the morning with my allotted cup of coffee. Just black today. Trying to cut back a little on the unnecessaries.

The day opened really slowly. Motivation is illusive. So many things I need to do. And want to do. But can't make my body move forward. I can make my body sit down. And lie down. (I can also open and close my mouth just fine.)

I ironed my husbands clothes, and sent him off to work.

I made our bed. The kids were still sleeping.

Descending the stairs, I contemplated my lack of motivation. Is it pregnancy? Laziness? Something else? A blend of these things?

I saw my coffee mug. Full of plain unmotivating coffee. This certainly isn't helping. I poured it out and started over. Coffee. Cinnamon. Sugar. Cream. Hmm. Feeling better already.

The kids start rolling out of bed. My daughter grabs an embroidery project from her sewing basket. Not ready for any sustenance. (She is not struggling with get-up-and-go-mo-jo.)

I shepherd my son through toast making. He globs 2000 calories worth of butter onto carb-watching bread (grocery shopping and bread baking are on my list). A few squeezes from the honey jar, and he's happily set with breakfast. Made by himself. He offers me a bite of toast. I grow one dress size. Good stuff. Good stuff.

Still reflecting on my own idleness, I sit down at the computer, coffee in hand. I look through a few inspiring blogs, and feel that twinge of creativity....a little bit of oomffph. Do I stand up and move forward?


I hop on over here to pontificate. And drink that coffee.

Maybe once the caffeine hits, I'll press onward.

Or, maybe I'll hop back over and type up a dissertation on domestic motivation and the lack there of.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

chocolate strawberry scones

I made these for tonight's book club. I had to try them, to be sure they aren't poisonous. And they aren't. Perhaps poison to skinny that skinny thighs would likely swell into chubby thighs after consuming these....but who likes skinny thighs, anyhow?

Not this gal.

The recipe is one that I've had for years, and have tweaked it here and there. Mostly because I have trouble following a recipe to a T. You know, that whole "don't boss me" thing I have....patterns, restricting.

Anyhow, the recipe I used for these...

chocolate strawberry scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter
{cut these together}

1 egg, beaten with enough buttermilk to make 1 cup

{add to mixture}

1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup fresh strawberries, cut into 1/2" bites

{fold into mixture}

Turn out onto floured surface.
Pat into a square shape, about 3/4" thick.
Cut into triangles, place on baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

(I find it's best to test 3 or 4 of them, to be sure they are safe for consumption by loved show how much you really care.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the solution

Remember this corner? Does it look a little different? Like, no toys? {ahem, no visible toys?}

Did the children move out? No. They're still here. For a long time. With all their stuff. But now, some of their stuff lives in these boxes.

The top two hat boxes...I painted them. And then painted them again. And then smeared on a little more paint. And then I did that again. And again. I couldn't stop myself. I just don't know when to quit. So I didn't. I kept going and going until I wasn't quite sure if I liked them anymore.

Then I tried a new technique with the bottom one. Just some smearing of paint. Once. I like it okay. They're all okay. For now. I figured I needed to call them 'good enough.' They look so much better than the random chaos that was residing in this corner fifteen minutes ago. And I was really sick of them drying in between coats on my counter.

So here they are, for now. Good enough, I say. Good enough!

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Another problem

I've begun the process of transforming the fancy dancy hat boxes. A few of them have been painted. With a first and secondish coat of paint. It must be this pregnancy that's slowing me down, because it usually only takes me 20 minutes to finish any project. I can paint my entire kitchen/dining room in the time it takes my kids to watch Calliou. Almost.

When I get a wild hair, and NEED to do a project, I NEED to do that project now. I want to see the finished results. NOW! It's all too exciting. I have no patience. None. Not even a little.

I used interior paint on those boxes, and it's taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. for them to cure. They still have the tiniest bit of sticky-ish-ness. Once they're set a little, I'm going to give them some kind of pattern. What kind of pattern? I don't know. And I won't know until I start wrecking on them. That's my style. No real thoughts or plans.....just a lot of jumping right in with out consideration. That's how I roll. Crazy style.

Impatient and callous. My parent's are very proud.

Is that my other problem? Perhaps it's another problem, but not the one I'm considering right now.

My other problem is that now I'm thinking in terms of wanton reckless painting. My bathroom isn't content. It doesn't have cohesion. It has a bad case of mishmash. Random paint colors, free wallpaper, a cluttered counter, wrong shelving.....

When I was putting on my make up this morning, the bathroom started talking to me!

"You should really paint me. I'm feeling neglected. Like an afterthought. Please. Take pitty on me. Go out to the garage and nail together a new armoire for my towels. You know there are random bits of lumber in there. Your husband won't mind. He loves when you go out there and haphazardly staple things together. Mitered corners, shmitered corners. Shabby chic is a style that covers a multitude of crude decorating ills. You know you want to. Go to the paint store and grab a gallon of grey. Not gray. Grey. It's cooler. Like I want to be. Toss in some bits of sand for texture...go to town! Psst. You don't even need to mention it to anyone. Before they know it, it will be done. It will only take you 20 minutes."

The stinker. It knows just what to say. So, now, once those boxes are finished, I might just have another project on my hands. (Unless the man I'm married to reads this first and locks up the garage when he leaves for work.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

the problem

See all these toys in this corner?

Of course you can. They're right out in the open.

This is what remains of the toys that are "allowed" to be out of the bedrooms. (That sounds way harsher than I mean it....they spend nearly all their time playing in their rooms. We don't have a toy room, and I really don't want my living room to be a living room/toy room. So there are a few random blocks, Mr. Potato Head and his family, a block train and some wayward trucks piled up next to the sofa.)

The mussieness of it is my "problem."

The solution. Part one:

I found these hat boxes on major clearance. But, they're the wrong color. Or pattern. Or something. I like that they're hat boxes, but I don't like that they're floral. Maybe one floral one would be nice, but not all.

So, as the day progresses, I hope to make them a little different.

I'll put up some pictures when they're all done.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

project handmade Christmas 2008

I'm doing it again. Only this year, I'm making my goal a bit loftier. I'm aiming for no purchased toys this year. I'm so sick of plasticky, poisonous, recalled toys. SICK. OF. THEM.

Sorry. I'm getting all worked up.


Where was I? Christmas. In July.

In my afternoon daydreaming, I was trying to imagine the kinds of gifts I could make. What do my kids need? Nothing? Nothing. They have everything. But it wouldn't be fair to them to give them nothing for Christmas. Would it? I don't think they are quite old enough to grapple with heady philosophies on excessive consumerism, our culture of greed (at a level concerning their own Christmas gifts) blah etc blah.

So after mentally removing 50% of the toys they already have (to be physically removed some afternoon when Daddy has them out of the house), I came up with a few ideas.

Here's the beginning of the first:

The butterfly family.

A mama and big sister butterfly....

.....daddy, big brother, and baby caterpillar brother are in the works.

They will have a fold up fabric home and accessories. I'm imagining this as a travelling toy. Something easy to pack in the car for long trips. They have been the perfect way to use up scraps of fabric. I had thought of adding wire antennae and arms, but really like the fact that there isn't anything chokey or pokey on them. Kid friendly.

I'll share more when the rest is done. I'm hoping to get most of my sewing and making of gifts done this summer. I promise to share the ideas...and encourage you to try your hand at a few homemade gifts this year. It's only July. You have plenty of time!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

recycled clothing

While going through my closets, I found several shirts that weren't in the regular rotation. One is this lovely natural linen blouse that a friend had given to me. I love the fabric. The buttons. But it didn't look quite right on me. I also had this sleeveless maternity shirt. It was something I found on clearance 6 years ago for under $2. I love the fabric. The fit is good...but I can't help but feel like a picnic table every time I wear it.

What to do? What to do?

Then it hit me. I'll cut them apart, and make them into dresses for my girl.

So, in my usual style, I started cutting. I cut away everything that wasn't a dress:

Finished the edges around the shoulders, sewed up the sides, which was all it took to get this:

Did the same with the picnic wear:

I snazzed this one up a little with extra edging around it all, added a button, and sewed up the v-neck a bit, and that's all it took.

I'm hoping to find more inspiration soon. That sewing machine and I are getting along really swell lately. I'm feeling some projects coming for Handmade Christmas 2008.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend!

(P.S. Wearing all black is not slimming when you are 6 months pregnant.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Two months before we found out we were expecting baby #3, we cleaned out the basement. I was getting a bit tired of looking at all the stuff down there, and we decided to donate all the baby furniture to a local caring pregnancy center. The swing, the highchair, the bouncy seat, some bigger toys, a car seat, etc. The crib was in the corner, and I was just itching for it to find a new home. To be used. To not be gathering dust in my basement. But where was the hardware? Ugh! Somewhere safe. Where I had placed it. Some where I would remember....

No such luck.

Which was lucky. Since two months after that big clean, we were blessed again. Thank the Lord for sisters with extra baby gear gathering dust in THEIR basements. And that I couldn't find the crib hardware that day!

I had decided some months ago that the crib would wait to be put up until the baby was a few months old. You know...because all my babies just sleep with me anyhow. Why waste the energy putting up something that won't be used for a long time anyway?

Well, Monday, I decided to waste the energy. For some unknown pregnant reason, I NEEDED to have that crib up. Monday. I gathered all the parts and carefully (you know, so as not to tweak my back again) brought each piece up to "the boys' room." (I like the sound of that.)

And then I remembered. The hardware. I still didn't know where it was. I racked my brain. There was nothing in there. Just some random cobwebs and an innate desire to put together a crib. And a hankering for some chocolate. Those were the only things rolling around my otherwise useless brain. My crib plans were foiled.

Then, Monday night, I was putting away laundry, and in my boy's dresser drawer I found a screw....looked further...lots of screws...and some random other hardware. Bingo! Of course. Of course I put them safely away in his sock drawer. That is the only logical place for crib hardware to go. Why hadn't I remembered?

Yesterday morning I got straight to work. I assembled the crib, and set about finding its bedding. All I could find were random piece's from both his and her crib sets. Thankfully her crib skirt and blanket were green and cream. But his bumper pad had these weird splotches of discoloration. (thank you, Rubbermaid.)

I fished out some tan and green Rit dye, and voila! The crib is ready!

Here's the bumper pad before:

And after:

And the whole thing put together:

I'm moving on to closets next.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Nothing warms my heart more that hearing the sounds of my just awakened child's footsteps slapping against the floor. Especially when those footsteps lead to his big sister's room. The one that's still sleeping. Until he "whispers" her name. And then crawls into her bed. And then they read stories to each other.

I am so blessed.