Monday, May 30, 2011

For Dad

My dad told me today that he checks my blog a lot to see the progress of my babies on my little widget. But he says I don't update enough. So this is for you, Dad.

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Hmm...I guess that's why I don't update. I can't think of anything!

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Well, I thought of something that HAS been rolling in my head for a while. But this really has nothing to do with my dad. The fact that I'm updating at all is for you, Dad, but the subject matter is totally random. Anyway, I have been listening to "Scream-Free Parenting" on CD, since my sister lent it to me. It's been very interesting and I can't wait for Trevor to listen to it so we can talk about it. But in the last chapter, he talked about something that I've been thinking about all week--the four levels of love. I actually sketched it out in graph form because it made me see it better:
Level 1: I love me for my benefit - Obviously the lowest level of love, a very selfish level. You care only for yourself and your needs, and will do whatever it takes to fulfill them. Babies are pretty much at this level. So are some pretty non-functional adults.
Level 2: I Love you for my benefit--a higher level, because now at least you are thinking of someone else. But you are only thinking of them so long as, once again, it benefits you. If it gets hard, you are out of there.

Level 3: I Love you for your benfit--this can sound like the highest level, because it's so self-sacrificing. It's also pretty unhealthy. And impossible. You can't really completely love someone else without putting yourself into the equation in some way. A relationship is made of two people--a truly healthy one will fulfill the needs of both parties. Loving at this level is exhausting and unrewarding.

Level 4: I Love me for your benefit--I love this. It can sound a little selfish, but it means that you take care of yourself, so they don't have to. You bring yourself to the relationship as a whole person, who can give of yourself freely. You don't rely on someone else to make you happy--your are already happy, and are then able to make them happy. You love yourself, and thus don't have all that baggage that can keep you from loving them freely and unconditionally. Therefore, THEY benefit from your healthy love of yourself.

Isn't that cool? For some reason, this really got me. I think sometimes we think we are bad people if we take time out for "me-time." I'm not one of those people. I love me-time. It's been the hardest thing for me to adjust to after having a baby--not having as much time to do what I want to do. I'm just glad to know that I'm not a horrible person for wanting it and making time for it.  Trevor is the same way, and we often barter in our household for me-time. It's basically our currency. We take turns, so the other can have time to work on hobbies or do what they need to do. Of course, this book wasn't really about your marriage, but about your kids. Afton is so young still, I have a hard time applying it. But you can most definately apply this to parenting. If you are loving your child at the highest level of love, then you aren't as hurt when they don't give back or appreciate your sacrifices--because your motivation is completely changed. You are not doing it so you can get a reward for it. You are doing it because it's just part of who you are. I know a lot of people that I benefit from, just because of who they are. I am blessed just to know them and have their example. These are people who are taking the time to take care of themselves, and I benefit from what they are becoming. Does this make sense at all?

This concept originally came from a monk, who was talking about man's relationship with God. So at church on Sunday, I was thinking about that too. How to apply it in a spiritual sense. I'm still working out the kinks on that, but I do know that you can't truly give selfless service unless your motivations are at the highest level. Unless your love for God and your need to do something that will better yourself is of higher importance than being awarded or noticed for your efforts.

Well, that's all. I usually have no real deep thoughts in my brain--I'm pretty much in this "TWINS, TWINS, TWINS" mode all the time. So I'm proud of myself for having something a little deeper to think about this week. Hope you weren't too bored, Dad. I love you!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Boredom/Anticipation

I am so freaking bored. I don't know what to do with myself. I find that I suddenly seem to have an abundance of extra time and I have no idea what to do with it. I'm not reading a book right now--nothing seems to interest me. I work on my scrapbook, but get bored quickly, or I don't feel very inspired. When Afton is awake I can think of a million things I need to do, but then when she's asleep I am so bored I want her to wake up again. And this is just on the weekend! Today is Stake Conference, and as we aren't remotely willing to drag Afton to it, we aren't going. And I find myself sad there's no church to take up three hours of a long boring day. Now THAT is bored!!

I know why this is happening. As a general rule, I don't get bored for long. I always have a million projects and things I'm working on. This has everything to do with pregnancy and nesting. I was the same way when close to my due date with Afton. It's like the anticipation of a coming baby makes you sub-consciously make room for them. I know that when the twins get here I will have less free time than I've ever had in my life. I will look longingly back at these boring days in May and June and wonder how I could ever have been bored. At least, that's what happened with Afton. But regardless, I'm making room for these two little ones. And that's good. Sometimes I long to hold them with a severe intensity, and can't believe I still have so many weeks to wait. Especially becuase I'm getting HUGE and officially, my waist is bigger now than it was when I was full term with Afton! It feels like I should be going into labor any time. And though they are now big enough--probably between 3 1/2 - 4 lbs--to survive outside the womb, 31 weeks is certainly not an ideal time to give birth. I need to give them AT LEAST four more weeks.

I'm frustrated because it's hard to get out and go anywhere. This weekend has been hard--walking very far is suddenly a lot harder, and get this pulling sensation when I do that makes me need to sit. (No, it is NOT a contraction!) I have so little energy, and so despite the decent weather, we can't go to the zoo or the aquarium or swimming or anything else fun. It sucks.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind today. I have no idea what to do with my day, though I'm toying with the idea of cleaning out the tumor. (The tumor, if you don't know, is an ugly "addition" added by the previous owners of our house in which we store all kinds of crap.) But cleaning out the tumor would really mean me sitting there and telling Trevor what to do, so as you can imagine, he's not particularly keen on the idea.

Well, that's my boring Sunday morning. I don't even have a picture to share. So sorry!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

List of Random Thoughts

So I was wondering what to update my blog with, and found that I have a million unrelated thoughts. So...sounds like it's list time.

1. I have a new phone. We transfered to Cricket and they LOST my phone number. Never were able to port it over. After six days of waiting, we decided it was fruitless to keep waiting, when obviously they are a bunch of idiots. So we went to Verizon. And you know what? Apparently we get a huge discount because of Trevor's job at the U. And apparently I get the same discount for being a teacher. Did you know that? So, yeah, information, that would have been useful to me NINE YEARS ago when I got my first phone. I want all that money back. (If you need my new number, just email me and I'll get it to you!)

2. I finally found a lamp base for my baby room. I went to a consignment store. Its off-white instead of white, and a little too big once I brought it home. But it's ok. Didn't cost me much. THEN, I go to my sister Jen's house last night and we were downstairs in her storage room, and THERE IT IS! The perfect lamp base. White. The right size. Exactly what I imagined. The one I knew in the pre-existence. And she doesn't even want it and she gave it to me. So now I have two lamp bases. Hmmm...guess I'd better make another lamp shade and put the other one in Afton's room.

3. There are only 13 days of school left! Hooray!!! I cannot wait to get out of here! I'm not near as stressed as I was at this time last year, but I still want to be home with my little girl and my husband.

4. My mom told me the other day that I'm not near as ornery with this pregnancy as I was with my first. I think she's right. Maybe because school isn't as stressful this year as it was that year, since I dropped pretty much all the "extra" stuff I do. I've learned that doing extra stuff only stresses me out and is not remotely appreciated by my administration.

5. Trevor passed his last pre-requisite classes this quarter. One by the skin of his teeth. He needs at least a C+ in each class to be considered for the program his work offers that pays for all his nursing school. I was SO afraid he wouldn't pass, and then he'd have to go to school next semester. And if he has extra time, I'd rather he spend it working than going to school, seeing as we are going to be dirt poor once these babies get here.

6. I am not (at the moment) getting seven periods next year. I usually teach an extra period, and it means no breaks during the day but also another $400 (before taxes) a month. This year the enrollment in another teacher's classes in my department was unexpectedly low, and we had to switch everything around and the bottom line is, no 7th periods for me. So yeah. I'm having freaking TWINS and I'm LOSING $400 a month. Like I said, we're gonna be poor. But--very happy.

7. We're working on the Badge Unit this week. My students design badges, make them with my badge-making machine, and then "sell" them to another class. This is my favorite one that my kids have made:

Not that they came up with it on their own or anything. I just really like it. I want one. Maybe I'll go make one and wear it on my lanyard. I only have one badge on my lanyard right now. It says, "I"m gestating TWINS. What have YOU done today?"

8. We went swimming the other day at my sister-in-law's mother's house. It was so nice to go to a private pool instead of a public one. Miraculously, my swimsuit actually fit me this pregnant. I'm pretty sure that's because I got it at Layne Bryant. Afton wouldn't do more than sit on the first step of the pool and splash. She was VERY upset when we put her in a floating waterlily, and when Trevor held her and carried her into the water. But she was content to sit on the step and have us blow water at her through one of those water wormy thingies. It was very cute. Thanks for inviting us, Becky!

Afton pretty much stayed in this spot as much as she could. She was happy there.

Trevor and his brother David try to coax Afton out on the lily pad. She may not look upset in this picture, but trust me, she is.

I wanted one with me in it, so Becky obliged.

This is Trevor getting after me for having the camera while I'm in the water. Yeah, as if I'd drop it! (Oh, good thing I didn't...)

9. This morning in the school announcments, something was wrong with the speaker and everyone who talked sounded like a Transformer. Only not quite as articulate as a real transformer, because you could only catch a few words. It was really annoying.

10. I went to the doctor last Friday for my 30-week visit. The doctor checked me and said my body is showing ZERO signs of going into labor or dialating or anything. So that's good news. He thinks I'll go full-term with these kids! And he won't schedule a c-section until I'm 38 weeks. So that's good news--they are going to be huge. I am going to be huge. Right now I'm the same size as I was at 9 months with Afton. But I don't mind. Its the only time in my life where I don't have to be guilty for being fat. And where I can pretty much eat what I want and not really gain weight. At this point, I've only gained 11 lbs! (that's because I gained all my pregnancy weight BEFORE I was pregnant...)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Update on my Nursery!!!

So I have been having SO MUCH FUN with my baby nursery!! I feel bad I didn't go this crazy on Afton's room. I have a ton more done so I thought I'd post a few pictures. It's not completely done--there are two things I still need:

  • Blinds. They are ordered but won't be here until June 13! Urg! The room looks so UNFINISHED without them!
  • Lamp Base. I cannot believe how hard it is to find a good lamp base. I made a cute lamp shade, but I just want a medium sized white lamp base to use with it, and I can't find ANYTHING that doesn't already come with a shade and is what I want. So frustrating. Trevor is actually thinking of making one. So in the pictures, the shade is just sitting there without a base.
We spent the weekend making both quilts for my babies. I took Thursday off work and made Ripley's quilt with Trevor's help. It was so fun to work together on this project. I remember when we were dating we made the cloak for Trevor's Aragorn costume together. It was such a fun day, and we even talked about one day making costumes for our future children. (I was SO excited about that conversation...)

This was just like that. We work so well together when we sew together. We just figured out the pattern together. And whereas at first I was showing Trevor how to thread the needle and stuff, by the end he was trying to show me the same stuff! He actually has a knack for sewing, and whenever it calls for something super straight and perfect, I have him do it for sure!

So here we are sewing. Trevor is working on Ripley's quilt that Thursday. We didn't finish it that day--I had to figure out how to actually "quilt" it, since I didn't want to pay $40 to have someone else do it. Luckily my awesome machine came with a walking foot, which is required in order to do the quilting yourself. It made the whole process quite easy, actually!
Though, I really suck at sewing perfectly straight lines.

When Ripley's was all finished, I was ready to start Scarlett's on Saturday. I did most of hers by myself as I watched my sister's kids. Trevor helped out toward the end when I had to match the back on with the batting. And he sewed the edges around the whole quilt because I was scared to! All in all, I'm quite happy with out it turned out, though Scarlett's didn't wash very well. I have learned my lesson to ALWAYS
wash the material before you sew with it!

This is me on Sunday morning frantically trying to finish the quilt before church. I wanted to wash it while we were gone. Yes, I know I look horrible. But I don't care! What a perfect little mother I am on Mother's day, making a quilt for my baby girl! And how happy I was to finally get it DONE! I have tons of leftover material, so I'm still trying to think of ways to use it. I might even try making some baby clothes out of it, but sometimes leftover material doesn't work because there isn't enough to cut it the right direction. So we'll see.


 Ok, here are some pictures of my baby room!






Isn't it adorable?? There's the finished quilt, and the bedding as Nicki and I made it. The picture on the wall is just something I printed off the internet, and I backed the matting with some leftover material. Scarlett's is a rose and Ripley's is a lily.

The letters of their names were really fun, and were a hybrid with digital scrapbooking. Here's how I did it.
  • First, I took the letter (wood, bought it from Hobby Lobby) and traced it on a piece of blank paper.
  • Then I scanned the paper into my computer and pulled it into Photoshop. I re-sized it to 8 1/2 x 11.
  • Then I pulled in the digital paper I wanted to use. I used the kit Ma Bebe from Dianne Rigdon--she created this kit for me when I requested someone to help me on the Two Peas in a Bucket digital scrapbooking forum. You can read all about it on my scrapblog here.
  • Then I just "punched" the letter out with the paper I wanted. Just did the magic wand tool on the scanned letter, then clicked on the paper layer and copied and pasted.
  • Next I used an action to create the painted look on the edge. See, a real paper scrapper would have done this with actual paint, but I didn't trust myself to get it even, so I did it digitally!
  • Then I printed it and cut it out.
  • Painted Scarlett's letters red and Ripley's letters green, though really all you will see if the paint is on the sides.
  • Then I used mod podge to glue the paper onto the front. After it dried, I used a light sanding block to sand the edges. I really liked how this made the edges look rough and more authentic. Then I mod podges over it again! That's it! A BIG thank you to my sister-in-law Andrea, who told me all about how to do this--I never would have known without her!
  • We hung them with nails, and Trevor did a great job tipping them from side to side so they looked really cute on the wall.
So then I had this REALLY old round table that my dad made. I've been using it as a nightstand forever. It used to have a different cloth cover on it, so I thought I'd made another one that matches the room decor. It was so easy! I just cut out the cloth, hemmed the edges, then sewed on the ribbon. But I used one of my fancy stitches that my machine does to make it look more embroidered. I was so glad to use one of those features--it's the kind of thing they show you when they are trying to sell you a machine, but in actuallity you never really use it.

And last is the lamp shade. This was easy--but not as easy as I thought it would be! I bought the shade at Joanne's, and it's made for this. You just peal off the outer layer, then use that as a pattern and cut out your material. Then you just stick it on the shade, which is covered with sticky paper. It was kinda hard to get it to line up just right, but it was nice to not have to sew anything. Then I used a glue gun to glue the ribbon on the top and bottom. So easy! Much easier than finding a stupid base for it!

Here's a shot from the other side of the room. I had to get the awesome closet that my dad put in for us! And it wasn't easy--apparently this closet used to be a doorway into what is now our upstairs bathroom and used to be the closet. Well, I guess that explains why that bathroom is the size of a closet. As you can see I've already started putting up their clothes and blankets. Man, I am SO nesting right now! And I still have eight weeks to go! But I feel more and more ready for the impossible task of raising twins with every little thing I add to this room. Maybe that's why I'm doing more for this room than I did for Afton's--I'm MUCH more terrified than I was then!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Happy Little Girl

This was my baby last night. I swear she was drunk. (But I promise she wasn't!) She gets that way when she's tired. But--it took FOREVER to get her to sleep after that, so maybe she wasn't tired. Maybe she's just obnoxious like her Momma.


Monday, May 2, 2011

My New Obsession!

I am suddenly possessed with the desire to learn how to sew. Why has it taken me so long to do this, anyway? I know this feeling. When I get like this, I DO learn. It's like when, a few years ago, I got obsessed with digital scrapbooking. As soon as the bug really bit me, I was all over it. And now I've discovered--or I should say, re-discovered, sewing. This is my new project. Well, until the twins are born--then who knows waht I'll have time for. But they are part of the obsession--they are actually the reason for it. It's an amazing thing to just pick your fabric and do everything custom, they way YOU want to do it. And knowing that no one else in the world has the same thing you do. I want to make them clothes and fun things like that!

Yesterday was my birthday, and what I really, really wanted was my own sewing machine. This is what has stopped me from persuing this course in the past--I really wanted my own machine but they are so expensive! So we finally just bit the bullet and got one. THIS one. It's normally $400, but I got it for $300. Plus my in-laws helped pay for it so I really got it for less. Yay! Isn't it cute? I love it. Last night I was just messing with all the fun stitches it can do.

Looking back, I'm actually really surprised it took me this long to get into sewing. I showed an interest in it at about 5th grade. My mom showed me some basics, and then I was always sewing crappy Barbie clothes. I made skirts a lot--they were easy. My sister would make me some really cool clothes, and I loved them. I loved how you could use the more expensive, fun fabrics because you needed so little of it. I took sewing in 7th grade, as required in our state, and loved it. Then I took it again in high school, making an outfit that I actually wore a lot after that. So--with this interest--why didn't I just continue? Two of my sisters are very proficient seamstresses. Nicki helped me make my bedding for the twins. I am so jealous how, if she has an urge to make something, she just DOES. She can just buy a pattern or figure it out. I want to be able to do that! My other sister Cindy makes all kinds of cool stuff. She has a tutorial on her blog for making peti-skirts--I really want to learn to make them too! They are so cute! And so much better and cheaper to make yourself than to buy the crappy expensive ones in the store.

So now I am just full of ideas of what I want to try. Only--I need to learn how to read and follow a pattern! I know the basics about how to SEW, but sewing is a lot more than putting in the material and pressing the presser foot. How the crap do you follow a pattern? I look them over and it's familiar, but it's just been so long. I think I might make some simple baby clothes--then if I screw up, it's not very much material and oh well. I really ought to take a class, huh?

Trevor grumbles as he puts up the valance I made. Can't wait till the blinds come!

This weekend I made a valance for the baby room all by myself! It wasn't very hard--it was pretty much exactly the same as the dust ruffles we made, so I already had practice. But I was OH so proud of myself. Today I have a new project. I am going to cover a lamp shade with my own material. This won't require much sewing--at Joanne's you can get lamp shades that you just peel off the outside of the shade, use it for a pattern, then stick your material right on and line it with ribbon. Very easy. I'm so excited to go home and try it today! Then I'm making a simple table cloth-just a square peice, really, with hemmed edges, to go over the round table in the baby's room. And then--the quilts. I have the patterns for my quilts for the twins--but I am in NO WAY good enough to do them myself. So I'm gonna ask around for help on that one.

Recently the superintendant for another school district in my area released a statement that the new junior highs and high school in his district will not have sewing facilities. He feels learning to sew is a waste of time and isn't a skill necessary for those high-paying jobs out there--so why teach it? His exact words were:

“Our middle school students need to be spending much more time on core academics, especially science and mathematics. I do not see the benefit of requiring them to spend multiple days sewing dish-towel aprons and pajama pants.” ~Superintendant Doty
What a freaking idiot. This is a skill I am so glad that I learned. No, it may not contribute to my actual job, but it's something I can use all the time. I sure hope the new superintendant at our district is not this misguided!