Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Stellar Parenting

I had one of those stellar parenting moments yesterday. We were having an awful Monday, but at some point I managed to spend a few minutes alone in the front yard, cutting lilac blooms, while Cash used his stamps at the kitchen table. A moment of peace.

It was short-lived because our trashy neighbors (you know the ones) decided to spend that 5 minutes yelling at their 3 year-old across the street. They sat on the front steps (as they do most of every day) watching their son cry a few houses down because his new training-wheeled bike was stuck in the mud and he needed help.

They kept yelling, "You can do it! Figure it out!"

But not in that nice, encouraging way. More in that, "I don't want to get off my butt to help you, so you're on your own, kid" sort of way.

For a moment I tried to be understanding. Maybe their day was going as poorly as mine was. Toddlers can drive you insane. But pretty quickly my sympathy turned to, "get off your butt and help your kid!"

And then I came inside and brought my high horse with me. And there was Cash. Stamping. And he immediately whined and asked me to help him get one of my stamps out of the box. He couldn't do it. He was stuck.

And I said, "Just use the other stamps." Because I was too busy with my lilacs to help him.

He asked me a few more times in that screechy, whiny voice. And as I walked upstairs to put my sweet-smelling lilac blooms in the bathroom I snapped something like, "You can do it! Figure it out!"

I immediately saw the irony and burst out laughing.

P.S. And I sewed that sheet for Story's crib.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kayleen Delivers

Cash is trying to show you his Popeye muscles. Nice try, big guy.

I like to think of myself as having a wealth of information--which grocery store has the best deals, which thrift stores to visit depending on what you're looking for, how to avoid botching your child's hair (hint: don't cut it yourself).

And now, another tidbit of information: If Kayleen is sending you a "happy baby" package and tells you, "It's nothing big," you might as well get yourself a paper bag to dry heave into and wait by the mailbox--she's lying.

Before I even get to the sweet things she sent for Story, let's talk about Exhibit A, shown in the above photo--the sailor tee she sent for Cash. This shirt has made me prouder than I've ever been of Cash because the boy actually removed his beloved Colts football jersey to put on what he has now deemed "the Popeye shirt."

He took the jersey off.

Without me having to yank it from his cold, dead hands.

I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

And in addition to that, Kayleen sent Story a few of her handmade girlie items! This great reconstructed sweater dress, a teeny pair of her adorable boatdeck shorts (I grew up at the lake, so these are right up my alley!), and a little floral tunic. What a lucky baby!

Thank you, Kayleen! I hope one day you can start selling your wares again so that I can outfit these kids in something other than team apparel.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's a girlie!

Story Louise
8lbs. 8oz.
Chubby little chipmunk cheeks.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Halloween 2009

This summer we were talking about Halloween, and Cash blurted out, "I wanna be Mats!" (Translation: Max). Okay, I can do that. Sew a wolf suit. Done.

It took me about a month to realize that the film would be coming out just before Halloween (a film that I am avoiding until I get over my snobbery and give into my curiosity)--that we'd be over-stimulated with movie trailers, book store displays, and excited blog posts on the subject.

But by then Cash was too excited. For the past month we'd be paying for groceries or checking out library books, and he'd look at the employee and blurt out, "Mats suit!"

I found a vintage simplicity pattern at the thrift store to use as the basic shape--changed the zipper closure to velcro, added buttons, make-shift claws, unevenly long ears that made everyone think he was a bunny, etc. He had a little bag. The tail is my personal favorite.

But for the week leading up to Halloween he kept telling us he didn't want to wear the costume or trick-or-treat or get candy.

Well, great. Say goodbye to your last homemade costume, pal.

But when he saw that first group of trick-or-treaters come to the door, he immediately said, "Where's my tostume?" He was suited up and out the door in under 5 minutes. And gone for and hour and a half. No smiling or laughing or running. Just straight-faced, methodical trick-or-treating. Like it was his job.

He let loose once he got home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Gnomey hat front.

Stegosaurus freezer paper stencil.

There has been some kid-related crafting happening around here recently:

I've wanted to make helloyarn's gnomey hat pattern for ages now, but I was waiting for the perfect yarn. I completely forgot I had this Karabella Chameleon in my stash--an insanely soft merino, silk, cashmere blend. I knit this on size 6 needles, so I had to change the pattern up a bit. How could you not want to knit this hat? It has ear flaps! And poms! And a little i-cord on top! I'm selfishly saving this one back for baby Ella/pie/hooha/seester (these are just a few of the names Cash has called the baby).

And Cash and I had another little magic moment last week when we cranked out this stegosaurus freezer paper stenciled shirt. Cash has caught the dinosaur bug. I realize that in no time we'll be able to distinguish a stegosaurus from pterodactyl. But, right now, this is all new to us, and last night the plastic brachiosaurus got called both a stegosaurus and a brontosaurus. So sue me. It's been awhile since I studied about "ancient creatures that I'm not convinced ever really existed."

Anyhow, we needed something to do, so I thought:

New dinosaur obsession
+ Thrifted muscle tee

= Something to do

Cash got to help pick out a dinosaur pattern and do a bit of painting. When I unveiled the dried design later that night he jumped up and down clapping.

Oh, sweet gratitude.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I can read. . . It's a miracle! Non-readers: skip this post.

Finally, after a two month long hiatus, I'm back on the reading train! I'm usually a pretty obsessive reader, but something about excessive nausea mixed with first trimester depression and lack of motivation made sounding out words seem like too much work (unless those words were, "Dear husband, could you bring me some more cheez-its?")

I started off easy (don't want to get all disoriented) with Sue Monk Kidd's book The Mermaid Chair. I read it. It was fine. Moving on.

But then, the clouds opened up and a voice sounded (via Facebook) saying, "Here is an advanced copy of the sequel to The Hunger Games, should you desire to borrow it."

Me: (Pause to catch breath) "Oh, thank you, self, for deciding to work at a library for 5 years and make librarian friends who have similar reading obsessions and who share advanced reading copies with you."

Oh, it's good. Pretty darn good. Finished in under 24 hours good. And you only have to wait until September to get your hands on a copy!

Once I recovered from a straight day of reading I moved on to The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Gross (loaned to me by Jean, thank you!). It was pretty good. Not insanely good, but good.

And now I'm compulsively checking my library account for the day that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book of stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, comes in. Her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, was incredible. If I owned it, I would loan it to you.

I'm trying not to make a summer reading list because when I make a list I never read a single thing on it, but I did just find this older list (2006) that Slate put together of good beach reads. You might just find something on there worth reading.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Mom, you make these?"

Last week Wes was out of town, so, whilst thrifting with a very cooperative Cash, I decided to treat him to a root beer float at the drive in diner. Cash was very excited (of course, he'd hardly share the float), and as we sat there in the warm, summer air the radio began to play "This Magic Moment."

Ahhh. . . those sweet glimpses of what good, happy days spent with your kids ought to look like (instead of the usual bribing and arguing that goes on in most conversations with a 2 1/2 year-old). "Cash, listen, if you get in the car seat on your own I won't kill you. That's the deal."*

Cash and I had another magic moment as we sewed his first batch of summer pajama shorts a few weeks ago. He couldn't do much to help, but he did make sure the t-shirts we cut these from were fully spread out on the floor. He held the scissors for me, threw things away And, when he was especially cooperative, he got to push the reverse button on the sewing machine. Oh, the excitement of being a toddler.

At first I thought it was an insane idea to try to sew these with Cash's help, but I'm glad I offered because he was so proud of the finished products. And still, every night, he points to his shorts before bed and asks (in his high pitched question-voice), "Mom, you make these?"

"Yes, Cash, we made those."

*Oh, hang up the phone before you dial Child Protective Services. I'm just joking.