Monday, February 05, 2018

Review: Wildcat

Wildcat Wildcat by Max Monroe
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

A little bit geeky, a bunch of humor, and love finds a way despite ignorance being in their path. Another great read by Max Monro who puts humor in every book along with a nice look at social issues facing relationships today. Again, I can't wait to read the next one in the series.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Growing into Parenthood

We are officially 6 for 6 for Christmas illnesses, Hannabert starting out with what was probably an ear infection and resulting in projectile vomiting a mere 2 blocks from Midnight Mass.

It was at the moment that I was testing the water and stripping him off for a much needed shower that he is growing up. He knows his opinions and isn't afraid to share them. I am OK with this, though it takes others a bit back. He is is own harshest critic and that makes me sad.

I knew when we had him that at some point he would realize that he isn't always the center of attention and that he would need to learn how to make and keep friends. He would get in trouble for things that don't matter to his father or me but are important to others.

He has to navigate our rules, grandparents rules, daycare/school rules, and rules of the other adults in his life. While unlike to think our rules are the most important ones, I know that sometimes they take a back seat toore finicky adults in our lives and it is tough in him and us.

I am constantly conflicted: Do I wrap him up and protect him from disappointments or let him get in trouble with others?

So far, the worst part of being a parent is knowing I can't protect him from the disappointments of life which of course means it is the most important part of being a parent.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Safety Words and Ground Rules

I am not especially close to my family. Sure, I talk to them on a frequent basis but when I had exploratory surgery to see if it could be determined why there hasn't been a second child, my mother wasn't aware that I had it or that the the surgery couldn't pinpoint any specific issues. I didn't tell her because I didn't think that she would offer to come and help out while I recovered and it would cause me more stress to hear her assumptions (we didn't want to have more children, we couldn't afford another child, etc).

My grandmother hadn't been well for quite some time, suffering from dehydration and malnutrition as she tried to make due on as little as possible. I hadn't seen her since 2011. I tried to remember to call her and make sure that our son said "hello," sing a song, or draw a picture for her. I always felt like I had the best intentions and then fell far short of my goals.  When it became obvious that she wouldn't be returning home, I asked my mom if I should visit. She said no, just remember her how she was the last time I saw her and that there wasn't a reason to visit. I really regret not being able to say good by to my grandma in person. Yes, my son and I briefly talked to her the night before she passed.

She wasn't having a funeral or a memorial so going up to where she lived didn't seem to serve a purpose. Her house and possessions has already been sold or donated earlier this year. My mom and aunts where there but none of them are the type to sit around and go through a bevy of "remember when mom.." In fact, my mom was a bit put out that my grandma did what she said she was going to do - die before the 1st of September. I actually really respected her carrying through with her goal.

I did need to do something and that something was going to the mountains. There is just something about being at your campsite, smelling the fire, listening to the calls of the night time birds, and catching glimpses of the stars that just brings calmness to my soul. Each time we go, I have intentions of getting in miles of hiking and exercise and it never happens but it doesn't matter. Long ago, my husband and I decided that life happens for a reason and you can fight against it and complain about it but you have to let go and Let God and that is what this trip was for me.

We had a family friend with us on this trip - all of sharing a 10 person tent. Our conversations turned to "safety words" and "ground rules" and while our conversation definitely wasn't about life, this became our group mantra for the trip. Our safety words, never utilized for anything, were obscure and we never talked about "ground rules" in relationships.

What stuck with me is the need for all of us to have safety words. A phrase that we utter where those that love us the most know that we need help. Sometimes the act of explaining that we need help and what kind of help might be needed is overpowering. Being able to utter a safety word and have those that love you know that you need a way out of a situation is incredibly powerful. Same for ground rules.

We all have ground rules that we probably haven't defined but that we know exist. No drinking and driving. No straying outside the bounds of the relationship. Be positive. Love like you haven't been hurt. How many of us have actually voiced this ground rules? Put them on paper? Made a family motto our of them?

We need safety words and ground rules. We need them in our families and we need them with our friends.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lekala - #8000

Long hiatus from the blog....and returning with a project that my mom mostly made with/for me.

Review of the website:

Lekala makes customized patterns based on measurements that you provide to them in a form. The patterns run about $3 each though there are some free patterns (can we say sleeve options??) which this dress was one of.

My mom (mostly) and I (machine technical work) made this dress over a weekend visit.

Approximate 3.5yard in 60 inch; 5 yrs in 45 inches. We used a black pique (stash - forgot to measure how much we started with but I would guess we had about 5 yards and we definitely have some left over). We didn't prewash (I am lazy).
Interfacing (1/2 yrd) - neck and arms
Zipper (invisible is recommended but we used a regular one more legnth)

Printed tabloid size (11x17) at Fedex/Kinkos Print Store for less than $6.00

Our Cutting Directions
Folded top front bodice and skirt pieces in 1/2 and placed on fold.

Even though we ordered the pattern with seam allowance (1 cm or .4 inches), I would leave yourself additional allowances for adjustments and comfort. I read another review that suggested to increase the size by an inch...

My mom thought that I had a high waist, so when she realized the line was supposed to be at the waist, we had to add about an inch to the bodice pieces. I have since updated my profile on Lekala.

We also suggest perhaps angling the skirt to make more of an A-line rather than straight skirt

We ironed each piece prior to sewing to make sure all the kinks/wrinkles were removed

The top front has 4 darts for shaping. Two are very slight darts (match the darts in the back bodice) and the other two are designed for sizing adjustment.

Sewing Directions
1. Sew the darts and then pressed them towards the center.
2. Sew back bodices to back skirts (2 pieces) using a serged seam. We used an hem stitch followed by a straight stitch as I don't have a Serger
3. Press the seam towards the skirt.
**realize that you sewed the the back to the top incorrectly and rip out the seam which is difficult because you realized it AFTER you pressed and seam ripping pique is TERRIBLE.
4. Sew front bodice to front skirt and press. Make sure you have it done correctly do you don't have to rip and redo.
5. Sew back skirts together in preparation for zipper. We went with a visible zipper rather than invisible because we wanted a longer one. You can also get some super fancy zippers if you want to bling this up a little.
6. Place zipper according to zipper instructions. We ran into a problem at this step because I couldn't remember how to attach my traditional, slanted zipper foot, and when I used my other zipper foot, it caused my need to strike incorrectly, bending 3 of them....I need to buy the correct zipper foot. This step took us as long as the rest of the steps thus far.
7. Sew side, shoulder seams and iron.
8. Try on. Amaze your mother with the fact that the side seams weren't too small and it fits fine with a pair of Spanx. My mom really loved how the back fit but thought the front seam was a bit dowdy and too low. The

9. Move onto the neck and arm facings - these required a very narrow seam allowance because they didn't fit very well into the pattern (possible user cutting error). Because they are angled, they aren't going in very well

Waste a bunch of times with bobbin/needle issues. I take apart my machine to try to recenter the needle since it keeps hitting off. briefly loose a small screw that hoodles the needle clamp screw in place. Find it with help of a flashlight.

Next up - tension issues.

Overall - SIX needles to make this dress.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Talking to My 18 Year Old Self

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Oh Hannah,

So much to say and so much that I wish I could tell you but you need to experience life for yourself.

You are 18 years old and you are just beginning  your life as an independent woman. You have a lot of self-doubts. You have no sexual experience and you don't know what you want to do with your life. That is A OK!

Keep your independence a bit longer. Don't kiss the first guy who presents yourself. It won't be what you thought it will be. It will be incredibly wet and a bit disgusting. As in wipe off your face with a towel. You waited 18 years, waiting a few more won't be terrible.

When you do start dating, don't let his goals define your goals. It is ok to be smart so be smart! You love to learn so learn! Have fun having discussion about literature, religion, and science. Enjoy those conversations, enjoy the challenge they present to you, and enjoy how they compel you to learn more. Don't shy away from it. Don't change who you are because you think you need to be someone else to find love. The person who loves you will love you and won't want you to change. He will love you and your intelligence and want you to be an even more of you.

Travel! Travel! Travel! Yes, there is a cost, but what you will gain will far exceed the cost of not working at a fast food restaurant for the summer. Find an a summer internship and go for it. Learn everything you can and meet new people. These people will one day help you find yourself and your career path. Travel anywhere and anywhere for any reason. Go on Alternative Spring Break Trips, send time traveling abroad by yourself and with groups. Explore and learn about yourself and the world in which you live. Stay with friends, on couches, in tents - just go and be.

Learn about money and finances. Credit cards and debt are NOT your friends. They will pretend to be but they aren't. Figure out how much college will cost and pick a career where you will make more money your first year out than what  you owe for schooling. Trust me, you don't have to owe 250,000 and make less than 40,000 a year. The stress isn't worth it. Plus, if you are debt free, you have freedom to do what makes you happy rather than feeling pressured to work multiple jobs to support your student loan  habit. Save early and put your money aside now and don't touch it until you retire.

Make lifelong friends. Friends that you can rely on and that will always be there for you even if it is a phone call away. You will want these friends as you navigate marriage and motherhood. Not having them is very very lonely. Make friends and be a friend - don't forget that friendship is a two way street. Be the person who always answers the phone in the middle of the night to just listen or to provide advice. There will be plenty of times you will want to a have a friend like this.

Be real. It is ok that you don't know what you want out of life. Heck, you still don't at nearly 40! Life will be exciting without knowing the next chapter. Roll with it.

Love You.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she's come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
  • Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
  • A Letter to MyselfThe Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
  • A Letter to Myself — Holly at Leaves of Lavender offers a missive to herself in the past... three years in the past, to be precise, when her little one was only four months old.
  • Dear me: Nothing will go the way you've planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
  • A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
  • Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she's about to enter called parenting.
  • Talking to My 18 Year Old SelfHannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
  • Dear highly sensitive soulMarija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits - one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
  • Talking to myself: Dear Pre StoneageparentStoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
  • Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
  • My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she'd figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that's when her first baby was 6 moths old).
  • A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment post partum.
  • To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
  • To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Children and drugs

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

Joining the Carnival of Natural Parenting to tackle my parenting fear.

I, like I hope most parents do, look at wonder at my toddler. His excitement over having a semi-truck honk its horn at his gestures; his pride at informing me that "theres and emergency! Let's get outofhere!" when he sees a fire truck.

I look at wonder at my toddler, soon to be preschooler, son as he sleeps in our bed. He woke up lonely and came into our room at some point during the evening and asked to snuggle between my husband and myself. Fitting tightly between us, he knows he is safe.

There are parts of me that want to keep him this size forever so that he always retains his wonder and excitement at the world. I know that I can't.  I hope he grows, matures, and make choices that he can own as his own thoughts and ideas. I already worry about him becoming a teenager, being offered alcohol or drugs. How do I prepare him for that?

For all respects, apparently my husband and I must have lived some sort of an incredibly sheltered life or else we were really really not cool enough to be invited to any parties because we both made it to college before encountering alcohol.  I still refuse to drink cranberry apple juice with vodka...

Unfortunately, I know our experiences will probably not be the same experiences our son has. Children are encountering alcohol and drugs at increasingly younger years. I was a product of D.A.R.E, but never once had an opportunity to use it. I can't help but wonder if my son will encounter having to "Just Say No!" before he is out of middle school.

For me, these thoughts are increasingly present as we watch a family that is close to struggle with the effects of addition of their oldest child. A child who is an adult, just a few years younger than me. She is a heroin addict. She has been in treatment 3x in 2 years. She has been kicked out 2x for testing positive. She has been arrested for various parole violations. Her parents are raising her daughter. Her daughter that once found her mom, passed out, overdosed from an intravenous hit. Her sister, a senior, the year that all should remember as being "one of the best ever!" has to put her hopes for college on the back burner. Their parents have spent their money on attorneys, programs, addiction counselings, and living expenses.

I know, 30 years ago this couple look at their sleeping daughter, snuggled between them and never imagined that this is where they would be today - fighting off creditors, worried about making their next mortgage payment. They imagined seeing their daughter grow up, graduate from high school, completing college, falling in love, marrying for the right reasons, starting a family, and loving her job...They had the same dreams that I have for my son.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please speak to someone. Get help for yourself if your loved one isn't ready for help. 

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.