Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Kenmore will be ok.

It probably only needs a new needle. Silly me, thinking I could sew through denim with a dull needle. What am I sewing through denim for, you ask? Wouldn't you like to know. I plan to show you on the impending post 325.

We are hosting a BBQ tomorrow. Those of you who knew me in my former lives might not find this that surprising, since I used to be quite a socialite (I had 10 or 12 friends in my attic bachelor suite appartment for Thanksgiving dinner the year I was married in Thunder Bay, and one year I fed all Jeremy Smyth's hungry eccentric bachelor friends Thanksgiving dinner, plus two other families). But since we have moved here, we have not really entertained very much. This is partially because Andrew was not the sort of baby or toddler who really made it easy to have people over, partially because I've been remiss in keeping the house in any semblance of order and so Dave doesn't like people to see the mess, and partially because we've just been too worn out from having to do pastoral and pastoral family type visits all the time, and I do eccentric meal nights with the youth group once every month or two, so I get my mass scale cooking bug satiated. I think the last party we had was having the Hetkes for Christmas, and before that it was Andrew's birthday in September.

The rules of entertaining are really different here than they are in B.C. Out on the West Coast, if someone tells you to come at 6, you show up around 6:15 and expect to be given an appetizer and wine and chat with them while they finish cooking, then eat around 6:45 or 7ish. Food was often experimental or ethnic (well, my friends were all from elsewhere, so my apple pie was ethnic to them). Since most of my friends were still childless or in the small house or condo - no furniture stage, seating tended to be of the informal food balanced on your lap with your drink on the window sill behind you variety. There would be one dessert that was consumed with strong coffee, but often followed with more wine. These gatherings would go late into the night, with rousing or mellow discussions of ideas, music, literature or just talking about our lives now and in the past.

In this part of Saskatchewan, I have found that if someone tells you to be there at 6, you had better show up at 5:50 because dinner will be on the table at 6 and cold at 6:15. You wait until you are formally seated, and generally eat your roast meat, potatoes, salad and two veg meal. This is followed by a dessert and dainties (squares and cookies and the like) and coffee. The main topics of conversation (since most people have known one another for their whole life) is the weather, the crops, and your family. Or the good joke so and so told you last week or last year or a decade ago. Given, most of the people I've visited who are from here are older, or have never really lived anywhere else, so their expectations and life experience are different than that of my friends on the coast. But it really is a different mindset, even with younger folk. You just don't talk about religion, politics or anything controversial. Its not really done.

In any case, the apple blossoms are coming out and Dave's birthday is coming up and we want to start building in to some of the young famililies in our church, so tomorrow is the day. The house is tidy, the lawn is mowed and I've baked a cake so we can sing happy birthday to Dave, and the groceries are all bought. We've only had one ÿes" out of the six families we invited, but we've had three non-responses. So we shall see how it goes. I will probably make a mess of it again, but perhaps I will get it sort of right this time. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thanks, Carla

For reminding me (see comments on a Complaint) of activities. We have had a much better, if messier, last few days. I just find that because I came from one of those "You're three and a half now. You can get up and get your own breakfast, can't you? Why should we wake up with you?"houses, Í can forget to be age-appropriate in my expectations. I fail to remember that you can't leave a 17 month old and a three year old alone for 10 min. and expect them both to be happy and safe when you return. I forget that they're still at the age where they need some help entertaining themselves, and that it is actually my job to keep them busy. Especially Aaron.

I did get him busy on Thursday, and in one hour he threw playdoh all over the kitchen, "washed"his plastic dishes (and discovered that he could get at anything on the counter with the help of my cooking spatula -- hello big sharp knives), went "shopping"in his cupboard of recyclables and raced cars. But he failed to damage himself or pester his brother, which is what counts.

So thanks, Carla, for the reminder. I bow to your years of child-rearing wisdom.

Disappearing one and four patch . . .

This is the little quilt top I was working on the other day. Remember how I said I needed a new brain? Well, I made this out of my head, and I was super tired and preoccupied whenever I was working on it. So first, its super small, becuase I forgot to add a half inch to the four patch squares. So they were smaller than my big patches. Then, my iron would not get hot, so all the seams were really fat and aukward and it just wouldn't go together nicely. Dave was kind enough to get me a new T-fal iron when he was in the city this week, so that should be fixed now. Then, I was piecing the final few bigger sections and not pinning. The baby woke up after I had put the squares together, but before I started sewing. So I guess I picked up the wrong side, becuase I sewed it together so that the entire pattern of the quilts (one patch, four patch, one patch, four patch) was obliterated. And I had the choice of a big pink square in the middle or a completely unbalanced quilt top. So big pink square it was. (I guess I could have ripped the seam, but I just didn't have the extra energy).

The abseloute saving grace of this little baby is the Freshcut fabric. It is so beautiful that no matter what you do to it, your end result still looks stunning.

Anyway, there's no batting, just a plush blanket on the back. At first I just topstiched the sides, but the cotton was shifting, so I put a few ties in it to hold it together. Of course, since my sewing machine isn't working, it will probably fall apart anyway, so i needn't have bothered.

This quilt was one of the many goofy things I've done lately that has made me realize it is time to night wean Aaron. 18 months without a solid night's sleep is catching up on me.

First spring rains.

Poor Little Kenmore.

It seems my 15 yr old Kenmore sewing machine is on its last legs, unless I can find a repair man somewhere. It is skipping stitches like crazy. I thought I was just sewing everything too fast lately, because I'd had a lot of things falling apart. Like the piecing on my quilts, the Olives I made for Christmas, the edges of some of my robots . . . I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner, actually, since almost everything I've made in the last year has fallen apart somewhere. I just thought I was overtired and harried from generally sewing while defending the machine from little hands. But here the machine has been skipping stitches all this time. So I'm not as bad of a stitcher as I had thought . . . I would guess this problem is about a year old, becuase the first thing that showed real signs of falling apart on the first washing was this quilt here . Lisa and Kris, you need to let me know if your quilts have fallen apart signifigantly since you've got them. I know Aaron's quilt was mostly okay, but it did need a few patches. But the bags I made myself and Andrew have been awesome, so I don't know if its maybe a tension problem, or a cotton vs heavier fabric problem .. . ug. Of course, I have made and gifted about four or five quilts during that time, so probably all the quilts I"ve made and blithely given to my friends have fallen to pieces . . . sigh. Sorry, guys.

Anyway, I'll have to do some research and find out what's wrong, and maybe see if I can borrow my friend Allison's machine until I sort the trouble out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Complaint.

Things are pretty lonely around here lately. I had been seeing less and less of the group of ladies that I used to do coffee with every week and various other things throughout the week and month. I kind of suspected that maybe they were cutting me out, because whenever I would phone anyone to try to set up a playdate, I would get the öh, we're kind of busy, I have this or that to do"routine, but I found out about a week and a half ago that they actually changed the day they were doing coffee and didn't tell me about it. So I'm pretty hurt about that, becuase it means I have maybe one or two friends left in town, and one of them is really busy, and the other is part of that group and usually keeps herself really busy. So I am an extrovert with no way to recharge myself except harassing my husband, the introvert who works with people all day.

Also Aaron is in that really evil toddler stage where he's hitting and throwing and having tantrums all day long about everything. I really find this stage draining becuase they just test and test and test all day and you just feel so negative at the end of the day becuase all you did was say "no. no. no. no. no."all day and pull them off of things / take things away / relocate / distract them. He's not very distractable, so the old diverting of attention ploy doesn't really work, its usually just got to be a direct no and remove the child with much screaming and flailing. But every time I get too tired and decide to let him be and not shadow his every move, there he is breaking a plate or smashing a mug into his brother's head or falling off the table, or standing in the middle of the street with a car honking at him.

And after his weekend being the centre of daddy's attention, Andrew has decided he doesn't actually like having a brother that much most days. He's all into playing by himself and not sharing anything. If Aaron tries to join in, he usually grabs the most precious item and the result is perilous screams of outrage. I let Andrew have a few "precious"items that Aaron isn't allowed to touch. These days he wants everything, especially anything Aaron decides to play with, is a precious item. Of course, the fact that his brother is mainly interested in taking the toys so he can smash them into Andrew's head doesn't help.

And I have a major BBQ, a fund raiser car wash, and a camping trip to plan and execute in the next three weeks. But I promise I will get those giveaway items done soon. Really.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Card Making

So, I am not a card maker. Despite being a relatively accurate quilter, I am not great at cutting straight lines. Or drawing straight lines. Or putting together things that are not fabric in a way that is pleasing to anyone buy myself. One of my friends sells Stampin'Up and I went to a card making workshop a while ago, and I got one of the two projects done, and it didn't actually work properly.

I was quite proud of myself, then, when I decided to make these invitations:

Since I'm no a paper person, I don't have one of those little paper guillotines, so I had to actually draw the lines and cut with scissors. This was all good, however, since it gave me a chance to play with the new 6 1/2 inch square plastic ruler I got at %25 off yesterday at my local quilt shop.

While I was doing this, Andrew happily cut apart all the ladies in this Sears catalogue. He can't really cut yet, but he sure has fun trying. He just doesn't beleive me that cutting is supposed to be done with ONE hand.

Sine I've Been so Text Heavy Recently:

There's been a lot of construction around here recently. This has been great for walks with the boys. We actually brought our afternoon snack to watch these guys for half an hour.

This is Andrew saying "cheese". Not sure where he got that from, since we never say it.

But Andrew obviously says it all the time, because when Dave was trying to take these pictures of Aaron and the 'do he gave himself with macaronni salad dressing, he kept saying "cheeeeisah". It cracked me up every time.

Idle parenting at its best. I did make sure they stopped at street corners.

See the big ditch they're playing in? That was one of the tracks from that giant excavator. We had many days excitement watching that thing. Sadly today there was just one small roller, which was cool, but not nearly as good as this guy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Really Good Quote:

Children do best when they are allowed to unfold at their own speed rather than being forced to adapt to their parents'expecations for achivement. Following this principle will help a child's true self flourish and greatly reduce the risks of a "false self"outcome. Holding back the excessive applause is equally important, as the perpetual cheerleading only highlights for the child the need to adapt to the parents' hopes and expecations for outstanding behavior, as children typically do want to please their parents and see that reflected in their parents' joy. If we can come to see more clearly our children's genuine need for a less pressured trajectory through childhoold, then children will be relased from the syndrome of worry that their parents will not respect them if they do not make it to the top and the constant pressure that they must always be the best, never having a failure, never being out of sorts. . . .
. . . We need to push our children less, allow them to play more, applaud them less, and allow them to do more on their own while at the same contributing in more to others.
-- Spoiling Childhood: How Well-Meaning Parents are Giving Children Too Much -- But Not What they Need by Diane Ehrensaft

So How Did that Weekend Go, Anyway, Jill?

I'm so glad you asked. After a harried day of packing, shopping (note to self: never try buying food for 13 teenagers while toting two children under 4 on the Friday before a long weekend again. Not. Good. 'Nuff said.), and saying 'I'm sorry, Andrew but I can't play with you right now. Mommy has LOTS of things to do today. Yes, I know I"m leaving without you, but I have to get all kinds of things done before I go"about a million times, I finally got everything ready. Except the house was a disaster, since the boys had essentially been left to their own devices all day. Seriously, to their own devices. As in, I was saying, "Now, get the banana out of the fruit bowl. Yep. And get a butter knife out of the drawer. Okay, now cut little pieces for Aaron becuase he can't chew very well yet . . . then some for you too if you want . . ." and "NO, no, Aaron! Remember, we only throw soft things . . ". As you can imagine, this works well for a three and a half year old, but less well for a 16 month old.

So, the house was turned upside down, the youth kids decided to start showing up after school, around 3:45 instead of at 4:30, so I was trying to entertain them while printing final things up on the computer and calling the Laser tag place in Regina to change our booking so that I could get the schedule to work out okay and basically doing all the crazy last minute things you need to do while letting other people amuse my children and pack the vans and wouldn't you know it, I forgot to add flour to the stew I was leaving for Dave and Andrew. Now, I realize that this is not the worst thing possible, but it is a fact that while Dave considers soup to be thin and unfilling, he considers stew to be a hearty meal. The only difference, of course, if 1/3 c of flour, but none the less, he was caring for Andrew for the weekend so I thought I would humour him. So I run inside and go to pull down the flour bin and discover that the lid was not on quite right and that there is now flour all over the counter and the floor and me, and the teenagers are starting to pack the vans and I can't find the dustpan, and well, finally I get the mess half-cleaned up and get all my stuff and Aaron into the van and deal with Andrew's inevitable last minitue bout of ïts not fair"wails and get in the van and start driving.

Friday night was fine. We got to the hostel, which was great -- this old, big rambling historical house a block away from Wascana park and two blocks from downtown. It was clean, the staff and visitors were friendly, the youth kids were respectful, Aaron stayed asleep while I got the youth organized and gave them a snack and etc etc. Then, because I was feeling sick, I went to bed. I was sharing a room with 4 of the girls, and semi-slept as they went in and out getting this and that and going to bed, then not going to bed, then going outside, then getting locked on the balcony, and doing all the other sorts of things teenagers do when in a group in a new environment. Then they all decided to come to bed and were very loud while getting ready which of course woke up Aaron. He sat up and started pointing and declaiming about everything. There were bars above his head, "car? car?", a mysterious door öut!out!", his backpack "pack!pack", and strangest of all, a girl sleeping on the floor öh-oh. oh-oh. cat. oh-oh". It took me about 20 min. to get him to settle down and another 20 to get him back to sleep. So in the end, Aaron and I didn't get to sleep until midnight or so.

Which did not stop him from waking at 5:30 and attempting to feed me an endless stream of Fishermen's Friend cough drops. I got up with him at around 6ish, and the teens started waking a few moments later, giving me no chance to lie on the couch and half-watch Aaron play with Jenga blocks for half and hour.

Anway, I was tired, but the morning went well. The boys made us bacon and eggs, we all went and wandered around Wascana park (which is very lovely -- if you've ever taken the Trans-Canada through Regina you've seen it. It is on either side of the bridge with the cool carved columns that you cross in the middle of town, just after the two "skyscapers"that make up the tall buildings in downtown.) and did our little talk and reflection time, and the teens played on the swings and teetertotters and got all the upper-middle class OCD parents all grumpy for disrupting their precious progenies' perfect mornings with some noise and rowdy behavior. Aaron loved the park, especially when the girls showed him how to feed the geese. Unfortunately he wanted to climb into the water to get closer to the geese and I spent the rest of the time in the park chasing him away from the waterfront. He was also fascinated by the leaves, because Regina is 3 hrs due south, so they actually had leaves on the trees (green haze, Lisa). He was so cute in his little red windbreaker and blue track pants and blue and red shoes. Aaron is really too little to run, but he does it anyway, simply by pushing off on the balls of his feet, so he has this really funny little jog that he does when he's excited. It was very cute.

After this, things started getting a little blurry for me as I got sicker and sicker. We went to the Cathedral district, a kind of funky area of town with little specialty shops and resteraunts and stuff. I guess I must have looked pretty retched becuase the staff kept coming over to ask if I was doing all right. I had been carrying Aaron on my back on the walk there (about 5 or 6 city blocks), and he is probably close to 25 lbs, plus the 5 lbs of the hard frame backpack, so I was pretty tired. I did get to have a really tasty Jerk Chicken wrap and a good latte and get to Groovy Mama and get myself some underwear that fit (yay) and get back in time for our meeting time, and Aaron fell asleep in the backpack, which was perfect. He also slept all the way on our walk another 5 or 6 blocks to the mall.

The funny thing about the mall that is downtown Regina (I don't remember its name) is that it has all the shops that you would expect at the main mall in the city: Gap, American Eagle, the Bay, Roots, etc, all those things that make you think "big mall", but it doesn't have any of the big box stores so its not actually that big. And it has the pillars of the old bank in the centre of it, which is pretty funny. Our time at the mall was fine. The kids had mostly been on band tour all week and already been at malls all week, so they were kind of bored, but that was okay, becuase I had given them a big lecure on the fleeting nature of material things that morning anyway, so they all would have felt bad if they'd bought tons of stuff. I did get a new pair of shorts and another pair of my favoirte jeans (for $20 no less), and then I decided to sit down and wait for our mall time to be over.

I found a couch and set the still-sleeping Aaron down next to me. Then I sat and watched people go down the escalator for a while. I love doing this kind of thing, becuase its one of those circumstances where people aren't really doing anything, so they tend to let a bit of their character and relationship with the people around them peek through. Watching strangers body language fascinates me, especially the writer /actor part of me. Anyway, this kept me busy for a good half and hour or so. Then I started to get tired, so I decided to take a nap. No sooner do I get really settled into my nap when I hear a voice say, Ëxcuse me, mam". It was the security guard.
me: yes?
guard: um, what are you doing, mam?
me: I am chaperoning some teenagers and they are wandering around the mall. Since I'm waiting for them and I'm sick I was taking a nap.
guard: I can't let you do that. Sorry.
me: what?
guard: you're not allowed to sleep in the mall.
me: but I'm sick.
guard: sorry, mam. If we let you sleep in the mall, we have to let everyone sleep in the mall. No sleeping in the mall.
me: okay.
Does this sort of thing happen to anyone else, or just to me? Seriously.
Well, I guess I was getting pretty sick by this point, so maybe I did look a bit dishevelled. But I was obviously not drunk, I had a small child and a bag of purchases from one of the stores in the mall . . . it was a bit ridiculous.

The rest of the night was just a continuing story of Jill being really sick with one of those colds that only I get and continue to go about my day as if nothing is wrong. Everyone else sensibly cancels out of things and goes to bed for the day. I, on the other hand, galivant around Regina with 11 teenagers and one other chaperone while carrying a toddler on my back. So I don't actually remember much about dinner because I was too sick to concentrate on anything but breathing by then. After that we took the kids to a movie, but I didn't go in because I thought the big screens would be a bit much for Aaron. Instead I went and got some expectorant from the drugstore and sat in a half-daze, watching Aaron overturn chairs in the vacant food court. All I will say about this part of the trip is a) I'm glad one of the teens decided to come out of the movie and play with my son for a while and b) never guestimate how much 2 tsp of extra-strength Robitussen expectorat is. Under any circumstances. Really not a good idea at all. Effective, yes. Pleasant? No. Eventually, after a rather unpleasant clearing out of the mucous in my lungs and the food in my stomach, I took Aaron out to the van and nursed him to sleep, then fell asleep for the rest of the movie. I drove the kids to laser tag (crazy day, eh?) and the other chaperone went in and got them set up and they played while I slept in the van. Then we went back to our hostel and I crashed right away with only a "breakfast is at 8:30, don't be late".

The next morning I was feeling significantly better, and only had my normal barking cough and prolific mucous (If you have never seen me with a cold, you really should sometime. I'm very gifted at being outragously ill). It was still a kind of surreal morning for me. Here I was, supposedly leading this reatreat, and all the kids are by now doing everything for me becuase I'm so sick -- taking care of Aaron, reminding me of things, doing dishes, etc, etc. And then two of the girls pull out a pack of Tarot cards they had bought the day before, which of course I had to veto. Then we met this older Sri Lankan man who was a buddist and was in Regina to go somewhere else in Saskatchewan and meditate at the tomb of some famous Indian spiritualist. Then we went to the Catholic Cathedral in Regina, which is a really beautiful building with a huge pipe organ and the great ancient catholic choral music, sung from behind in the balcony and all the pomp and ceremony of the cathoic church. It was really quite a strange, spiritually intense morning, all said, especially when one is sick.

After that we went to McDonalds, where Aaron had the time of his life getting all the teenagers to feed him fries and take him into the playplace and feed him MORE fries. Then we drove the 3 hrs home. Everyone was really grumpy with each other by then, and I was in the sleepy van, so it was pretty mellow. We finally got home, everything was sorted out, and I was left to put the boys to bed, have a bath and go to sleep.

We have spent the last two days in recovery mode. I spent all day Monday cleaning the house up (this is always my pennance for leaving it a mess -I come back to it in exactly the same condition I left it in ) and all day today convincing our boys that they really did like it better having one parent split their attention between two children rather than each having a parent (plus whoever else happened to be around) at their beck and call. Aaron spent all day today disrupting all Andrew's games and nursing (he was on a sitting-down-to-eat strike) and Aaron spent all day screaming at Aaron for wanting to play with any of the toys in the house. Tonight I put them both to bed and they had a good pat and tickle and snuggle time before falling asleep, so they should be okay again tomorrow, I hope.

So thats how the weekend went. I was once more reminded of my need to ask for help rather than assuming that I"ll be able to handle everything on my own. And the kids learned how to be sensitive to the needs of others (well, of me anyway) and had fun playing laser tag and seeing Iron man, even if I wasn't with them. And both my children survived and will soon be back on their regular un-even keels.

I don't have the stamina for this.

Colds. Round number two in the last two months. Dave is still getting over his first cold, and now the boys and I all have another (or maybe the same one still hanging on?) cold again. We're all sick at once this time, which is no fun because I'm sick too. There is nothing quite like trying to break up fights and give instructions when you can hardly croak. Croaking "sit at the table and eat"is just not as authroitative.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Off to Regina

Well, off I go a galivanting tomorrow. Not really gallivanting, because I'm taking 11 teenagers and a toddler, but none the less, I won't be around for a few days. Its kind of frustrating, though, because I never get to either of "the cities"in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon or Regina) and now I'm finally going and I won't have time to go to any of the places I want to go. This is especially unfortunate since I really need some new nursing gear and there's a great crunchy mom store in Regina and I probably won't get a chance to drop by, nor will I get to the awesome quilt shop in town. Thank goodness for online shopping.
I know what I'm going to make for the giveaway now. I was nursing the baby and I looked over and found something Dave had dumped in the garbage and went, "aha". No, its not made of re-used kleenex or baby wipes, don't worry, its much cooler than that. So I should get around to actually making it early next week, and let ya'll know whats what after that.

Have a lovely weekend, all. Hope its as nice where you are as it was here today.

Bedside odd stumpish thing

How much do I want to make one of these? Isn't that the cutest thing ever? All recycled wool sweaters. Want one, Kris (yeah, I'm sure you do . . .um, does Jonathan want one? Elijah?)? Send me your sweaters and its yours. Or mine if you don't want one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Great Quilting Book

I just got this out of the library, and I am loving it. I was just browsing for some information on applique, since I have this crazy floor mat project I'm thinking of doing for the boys, and inbetween distracting Aaron from his favorite library activity (tearing books off the shelves) and trying to tune out Andrew's blow-by-blow monologue about the robot book he had just found, I happened upon this. I didn't get much of a chance to look at it, but I noticed that one of the authours has a shaved head and a tatoo and I thought she might be interesting, and the cover quilt is a riff on my favorite Thom Thomson painting, so I took it out.

Wow. John Streicker and Jan Thompson are really cool. Their quilts are totally innovative and fun. This is their "cabin fever"quilt.

Not only backgammon and checkers / chess, but the flying geese on one side are for keeping track of crib and the cicle on the other side is a "generic game board". And there are pockets for checkers, chess, game pieces and cards on the side panel / borders.

You can't see it from this photo, but the comments on the swatches are awesome too. They say things like, "Scraps from a dress that never got hemmed"and "Leftovers from a 1970 polyester project".
Then, ironically, since I'm thinking of making a travel / playmat quilt for the boys, there was this (sorry its sideways):

The tunnel? You can put a train right through it. And its not really clear in my picture of the picture, but that is a hill that the tunnel goes through, and there are bridges in the road and railway for the river to go under, and they work. LIke, you can put a boat under them. Not only that, but they have instructions to attatch a duffel bag to it so it folds up into this neat little package. I want something that also has some "buildings"on it, but I was totally trying to think of ways to make bridges, and the tunnel is way beyond my wildest dreams.

They also have placemats with fortune - cookie type pull tabs, a puppet theatre quilt, a random word / poetry quilt where you can move all the blocks around, and thats only about half the projects. These are the kinds of interesting, innovative quilts I dream of making.

Not only that, but they are Canadian, and since they are published by raincoast, I am assuming they are on the west coast.

Two hours of free time equals . ..

a fixed curtain (woo hoo, there is light in my hallway again)

a quick quilt top (more on this when its finished -- lets just say I need a new iron, and a new brain would help, too)

plus a pillow for soxul furry and a chain of half-square triangles!
Apparently no decent photography, unforunately.
Imagine if I actually got a whole day to sew. I would have some serious home updates and wardrobe renewal finished.

Woefully Unprepared for Adulthood

I sometimes wonder if the reason my generation (by which I mean people I know in their late 20's and their 30's -- are we gen X? Or are we in one of those no-mans lands of generational mish-mash? Not sure) has such a high rate of depression and general frustration with life is just because we were not well prepared to become adults.
First, let me explain to you what I mean by adulthood. I am now in that stage of my life where I have to do a lot of routine, mundane things. I have to wake up with my children at 6 am. I have to sweep the floor about a hundred times a day. I have to remind my 3 year old to go to the bathroom, take his shoes off at the door and wear his hat about a thousand times a day. I have to remove my one year old from the kitchen table about a million times a day. Every night I must pick up the days detrius -- toy cars, cast off socks, and tiny O-shaped cereal. Every morning I know that I will be arguing with my son about his juice intake. Every single morning at about 9 am after he finished his second cup of juice for the day (and thus fulfills his juice quota). If I want to maintain good health at my age I need to eat right, excersise and get to bed at a decent hour. I have to accept and enjoy the small things in life, and fit in fun time in the small corners of my day and week. I have to let go of some of my dreams, for now, for the sake of my small children and my sanity. All these things are what I need to do for my life to run smoothly and my household to prosper and flourish.
But this has little relation to the things I was told and taught in my education or entertainment as a child and teenager. I was taught that I could do anything I wanted to. I was told I would be one of the first generations of women who could work and have children and have no apron strings attatched. I was given interesting projects and entertaining videos to help me learn, rather than doing rote memorization and practice assignments. I was innundated with television and movies -- where there was novelty all the time. The images I saw of women were young, glamourous, fun loving. They never had to clean floors and fold laundry. They spent all their time dancing with princes in glass slippers. If they were mothers they were either desperate single moms or overly conrolling Stepford wives. I was taught that I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to, that I had rights, and that I could do what I wanted, when I wanted.
Very little in my early experience (especially since I was the very much youngest of five) taught me responsibility, duty, and the necessity of giving up my individual rights to benefit the collective. Very little told me that maybe I wouldn't be a rock star or a star lawyer -- maybe I would just be a mechanic or a housewife. Nothing at all told me that it is not only noble but actually quite satisfying to do the tasks that are set before you to the best of your ability and to be content with the limitations of the time and place in your life where you find yourself.

Yet that is what I am finding to be true about motherhood. It is a completely unglamourous pursuit. I am lucky to get in a shower or get more than lip gloss on. I spend a lot of time down on the (stained) carpet playing with or picking up metal cars, wooden blocks and puzzle pieces. I spend most of my evenings just getting ready for the next day and then maybe, if the boys went to bed early enough, squeezing in a little sewing,a little blogging, a little reading. But I am finding that if I accept that this is where I am right now (and not where I will get stuck forever), and make the best of every moment, then I am content. I can allow myself to be transformed into this new creature: an adult woman. A mother.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Idle Parenting

Check out this article . Then go to the main Telegraph site and read all the other ones. They are a really great antidote to our culture's over-anxious parenting. And really funny, too.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I totally want this Olive Rose stuff

This is amazing fabric.
There was an add for it in Quilt magazine that showed it in the greatest quilt ever. I love the brown with the red and pink big roses, and the triangle-grid like flowers, especially the red and blue, and the tiny rose toss one, especially the pink and brown. Oh the things I could do with this fabric . . . quilts, bag linings, pin cushions . . . I really want to pick up a whole bunch of this, but first I must see what Heather Bailey has been cooking up to see if it compares. I may be forced to choose one of the other . . .

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spring time fun

We have been spending all our time lately galivanting around in our yard and at the park. This has been extremely cute becuase Aaron is so interested in everything, and so aware of the world around him (Andrew was constantly overstimulated and dealing with hidden food allergies at this age). He notices every little detail, and has really funny ideas.

For example, apparently what you really need when its cold is a mitten. Two days in a row, when Andrew has thrown on his boots and coat in the early morning and gone outside, I have found Aaron outside in a t-shirt, a diaper and a mitten. After all, if your hand is warm, everything else should be too.

He is also certain that he can and should do everything Andrew does. Andrew has this little red wagon that he pulls Soxul Furry (the purple bear) around in. So sometimes, when its his turn to use the wagon, Aaron pulls his bear around in the wagon, too. The other day he pulled it all the way to the park, all around the park and all the way home. It took us FOREVER, but he insisted he was going to tow that wagon the whole way. He also likes to dress up in half the knight's armour and run around chasing Andrew.

Andrew is intensely into his own imaginative world. He loves his knights from the castle set. They are presently named Rupert and Jonathan. They still go everywhere with him, and he even made them their own plates. This morning he was going on about how they should eat their plates, which i couldn't figure out until we were reading the "C" children's encyclopedia this morning and it talked about the medieval people using bread for plates. Aha.

He has also cleared all the sand toys into one corner of the sandbox becuase he is building a road. Aaron and I are not allowed to step on the road, dig sand out of the road or otherwise be near the road because we will make it uneven. Do you think I might have a perfectionist on my hands? Perhaps.

Anyway, as spring comes and the boys get outside more, their energy is focused more on playing and exploring and less on fighting with each other and clinging onto mom. This has been great and really allowed me to relax and enjoy watching them grow and have fun. The fact that I can strap them in the wagon and tow them around when I get tired of them has something to do with that, too, I think.

Here's to green grass, warm sun, lots of barbeques and no pots and pans after supper.


So it appears to be Tuesday and my last post was actually myt 300th post . . . but this is my hobby, so i will do a giveaway when I get around to making something. The thing is, I'm trying to think of something that many of the people who read this blog would want. So not something for someone with kids, but necessarily for someone who is crafty, but not necessarily something for someone who is my age . . . but something that might get people to come out of lurkdom for at least one comment. Hmm. I'm thinking about it. I will do something. Just give me a few more days to plan.

Still, since this is one of my main forms of entertainment, we'll pretend this is post . . . 295 or so, okay? I'm not going to stop blogging until I get something made to give away, but I'm doubting I'll get something made tonight. So I'll get back to y'all in a bit.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

okay, NOW try looking at the photos

I fixed the link to the photos of the boys. Scroll down and you can see them now. What I want to know is how many people tried the link and found that it didn't work and DID NOT COMMENT. Come on people! Tell me these things! The other option is that other than Jen (who just found me on flikr), Kris is the only person who actually wanted to see them. In which case I'm totally fine with that.