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.

http://www.lekala.co/catalog/free+patterns/pattern/8000#model

Review of the website: http://steppenpuppy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/sewing-with-lekala.html

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.

Requirements
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.