Monday, June 27, 2011

My Sewing Projects--So Far

So I'm finally doing a post on all my sewing projects! Yay! Yes, I'm still addicted--the excitement of it has not yet faded. It's something I can do without a lot of walking around--and right now, walking around pretty much sucks.

I remember the first time I tried to sew something. I was a kid and wanted to make Barbie clothes. I found a needle and thread (my sister Nicki showed me how to thread it) and would basically wrap the material around the doll and sew it on every which way. At some point, my mom noticed that I was interested in sewing. So she took me aside and showed me a few things--how to do a hem, how to gather, basically, how to make a skirt. I still remember the little pink skirt we made together with the pink ruffle on the bottom.

After that I'd make other Barbie clothes, but of course they sucked. But then, making Barbie clothes, especially the top, isn't really easy. I was so excited in 7th grade when we took Home Ec, and I already knew how to do a few things on the sewing machine. I don't think I took a sewing class again until my Senior year, and then I remember making a dress and some rice frogs and stuff. After that, I only used the sewing machine to make rice frogs occasionally--I remember making one for my husband when we first met. And one time Trevor and I made a cloak for his Halloween costume. I also made the skirts for my ballroom team the first year I taught it--they were simple circle skirts and easy to make, but a pain to cut out. But someone else made the boys' shirts and the sashes.

Why I never persued sewing more, when clearly I was interested at such a young age, is beyond me. I remember telling people "I don't sew because it makes me swear." But I've now realized that, although it still might make me swear occasionally, it helps to use a good sewing machine. My mom's machine is 40 years old and totally thrashed.

So now, if you've been following my blog, you know that I got together with my sister Nicki in April and made the bedding for my twins. That just got me going. So we bought me a sewing machine for my birthday. We made the quilts for our twins, and I made a valance and a table cloth as well--you can see that on my earlier post. From there, I've done a few other projects as well--and that's what I want to share in this post!

The first project I tackled really highlights how very little I knew about sewing. I still have a ton to learn, but now I can look at the pattern of this little baby dress and understand that I was WAY over my head with this one. Still, I DID finish it. But whether little Ripley will ever wear it remains to be seen. It has SO many problems. I wanted to use the leftover material from their bedding, and I used most of it to make this dress. But I sure which I'd waited until I had a firmer grasp on what I was doing! I don't think I can get more of this material--I bought it online. Anyway, I am going to make a similar one for Scarlett using HER leftover material, and it will be interesting to see how much easier it is the second time around. But I just haven't done it yet.

My next project was quite a bit easier, and I should have started with it! I chose a pattern that didn't have sleeves or collar but was very simple. I liked the first one I made so much that I made a second one! Only--I forgot the lesson I learned to ALWAYS prewash the fabric, so the second one (black) shrunk a little and doesn't fit her as well. Afton wears these two outfits all the time! Once you get to her size, it's a lot harder to find stuff for her at Kid to Kid, and I HATE buying new stuff too much--so expensive! (not that making her these two outfits was ANY cheaper, but at least I got to pick the fabric!) Anyway, I'm glad I have a couple of summer outfits for her to wear!

Next, I made this little yellow dress, from the same pattern that I used above. It was quite a bit harder than the first two. I love that about sewing though--each pattern I do teaches me something new that I didn't know how to do. And reading and understanding a pattern is the HARDEST part! But I've also learned to utilize Youtube. If there's something I don't get--like this pattern called for bias tape and I wasn't sure what it was for--I just type it into youtube and watch a video of how to do it. Very helpful! Trevor picked the material for this. I was afraid it was too bright but now I just love it! She looks so cute running around in it, though I wish I'd used this cute sunflower ribbon I found instead of rick-rack. Rick-rack always looks so--70's. And homemade. I mean, have you EVER seen an outfit in a store that uses rick-rack?


Trevor and I collaborated once again and decided to make drapes for Afton's room, in an attempt to get her to sleep longer in the mornings, instead of getting up at 6:30. This, by the way, TOTALLY WORKED. She sleeps till 9:00  most of the time now! Anyway, I must say I'm not overly thrilled with how this one turned out. I mean, they are sturdy and well made, and we used blackout material on the back so it really does block the sun very well. But it's just WAY too much green. The material is leftover from the twins room, and there IS a green highlight in Afton's room, but it's just too much. But I don't really care. They work.

Next, I decided to sew some curtains for the french doors in my kitchen. These french doors lead out to the TUMOR. The Tumor is an "add-on" room that a previous owner built--and built very badly.  If you don't believe me, observe Exhibit A:
Anyway, we haven't removed it because we are afraid the state of the siding underneath is really bad, so we aren't going to attempt it until we are prepared to replace the siding. The door that leads to the tumor has these large glass windows, and since we store pretty much all our crap in the tumor, people can see this the minute they walk in the front door. For 2 1/2 years I've been wanting to buy or make some curtains for those doors, but never have. Now I found it ridiculously easy! We bought the material at Joanne's on sale for about $30, and then the rods at Wal-mart. I managed to finish them in only a few hours, and only needed Trevor's help to cut the material. (Crawling around on the floor is NOT my forte in my present overly-pregnant state.) And of course, he installed the rods.
I think they turned out quite nice, and the effect on the room is quite startling. It's amazing how different a room can feel with new curtains!

And now my latest project. This I finished today. I love this little dress! But unfortunately Afton can't wear it yet because it's way too big. She's in that weird size right now where some 2T's are too small, and some 3T's are too big. I made this as a 3T and it drowns her. So we'll have to wait to see it on her!

Ok, this was a WAY long post with WAY too much detail that you don't really care about. But oh well. I'm pregnant, ornery, and totally bored. So there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

To the Fathers in My Life

I was listening to a radio station the other day that was talking about Father's Day and how it's not such a big deal as Mother's Day. People on average spend much less on Father's Day gifts than they do on Mother's Day. Among the many predictions from the commentators as to why this is, neither of them mentioned what I thought it might be. There are less dads. Many more children grow up without a father than they do a mother. Out of curiosity, I checked some statistics on fatherless children in America:
  • In a study of 146 adolescent friends of 26 adolescent suicide victims, teens living in single-parent families are not only more likely to commit suicide but also more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, when compared to teens living in intact families.
  • Teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households
  • In a study of 700 adolescents, researchers found that "compared to families with two natural parents living in the home, adolescents from single-parent families have been found to engage in greater and earlier sexual activity.
  • Children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two parent families.
  • The economic consequences of a [father's] absence are often accompanied by psychological consequences, which include higher-than-average levels of youth suicide, low intellectual and education performance, and higher-than-average rates of mental illness, violence and drug use

    http://www.photius.com/feminocracy/facts_on_fatherless_kids.html
We truly live in a world where having an absent father or no father at all is becoming more and more common. I feel so grateful that this is not the case for me, or for my children. I know that sometimes this is unavoidable and not the fault of the women affected by it--I don't mean to point fingers at single mothers, because I totally respect what they are doing. And am mystified by how they manage at all. But I am just so grateful for the great men in my life.

My dad is awesome. Everyone loves him. When I was growing up, several of my friends who did not have fathers or did not have close relationships with their fathers tended to adopt my dad. Dad is the kind of man that everyone feels comfortable around. He may seem shy, but he's not really. He can talk to just about anybody. Everyone likes my dad. Even as a child, when reprimanded and crying in my room and feeling really sorry for myself, I would often say, "I hate everyone!" And then quickly amend this with, "Except Dad!" You just can't hate my dad. He's honest, hard-working, and loving. He is always ready to give you a hug--and he gives awesome hugs.

My dad was always there, always reliable, always AROUND. He went out on his own with his cabinetry business when I was about four, and he works in the shop in our backyard. So he's always been home and accessible to me. Dad is always there. How lucky I was to have him home every day as I was growing up--to know there was always a parent nearby. Mom was always around too--he and my mom have an awesome bond. They don't seem to ever get sick of each other. They spend A LOT of time together. They just ENJOY each other. So many couples find it hard to adjust at retirement or when their kids move out, unsure of what to do with just each other. This never seemed to happen to them. They are just so compatible. Trevor and I have a very similar marriage, for which I am so grateful.

I love my dad so much. I think what I learned most from him is what it looks like to work hard and love your life. Work isn't ugly or undesirable--its something to take pride in. And my Dad, a total Master Craftsman with wood, takes pride in the work he does. Whether it's building a kitchen, growing a pumpkin, or playing music on his guitar. Dad knows how to take joy in the simple things, and not dwell on what he does not have or feel depressed for bad things that may have happened to him. Life is beautiful and simple for him, and it doesn't take a lot of money, fame or attention to keep him happy. He's a man who can find complete solace and joy in watching a sunset or staring at the birds in the bird feeder for twenty minutes. He finds the simple things fascinating--and that is truly a great gift. I think to be happy with you have, while still striving to improve, is a great way to find happiness in this life.
**I realized when I was writing this that I couldn't think of a single picture I had with just me and my dad! So I took one with him last night when I visited him for father's day. This is my favorite one:



And then there is my husband.

How did I get such a great guy? Seriously? What would I do without him? But this is about father's day, not husband day. He's a great husband, and much like my own father, but Trevor is an absolutely phenomenal father. He isn't the type to come home, play with the kids a minute, then leave it up to me. He is hands on. He gets it done, a lot of times much better than I can. Afton absolutely adores him. She almost always prefers him to me. He's so gentle and sweet with her, but he's not a softie either--he will discipline her when she needs it, without totally losing his temper. But I just love how much he loves her. He can play with her forever. His patience with her is never ending.

I CANNOT wait to see him with our new little ones. I remember when I was anticipating Afton's birth, one of the things I looked forward to the most was seeing his expression when they put that baby in his arms. How crushed I was when it became clear that I would have to have a c-section, and would not get to see that moment. After a quick look at her, they sent me off to the recovery room, and Trevor got to be with his little girl--without me. But he still got his moment, even if I wasn't there to see it. And I'm sure this is how it will be again when the twins arrive in a few weeks (days? please?) and he has that special one-on-one--well, in this case, one-on-two, time with them. But it's ok. I'm sure that no matter what I do, they will worship him as much as Afton does. Why? Because the love he has for his children is so real and tangible--he treasures them and they can feel that. He's not afraid to cry or be emotional. He's not afraid to stand up and be the authority. Pride has no place in his parenting--it is all about the best interest of his child. And I love that about him. I loved him with all my heart when we were dating. I loved him even more after we got married. But having children with him has multiplied that love beyond anything I ever knew possible. With each new child, the love just gets bigger and bigger. We created these children together--they would not exist without us--and they make us feel so complete.

In a world where good men seem to be so hard to find, where bad behavior in men is often excused and accepted and considered unavoidable, somehow I have been fortunate enough to be raised by and then married to two of the most amazing men God had to offer. Why I received this blessing I do not know--I am certainly no more deserving of it than anyone else. But I am truly grateful for these amazing men and what they have taught me. Love the simple things, love your children, love each other--and no matter what happens to you, you can still be happy. I love you two!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Memo to the Twins and Other Random Thoughts

My dad got after me again to update my blog. He says he's sick of looking at the picture of my feet every time he checks it. Sadly, my actual feet now look MUCH worse than they do in that photo. Picture them five times bigger and bright red. But, for my Dad's sake, I won't post a picture of them. Actually, that would be pretty awesome if I did...

***

Well, what can I post? Here are some updated pictures of my nursery. Not much is changed, except we got blinds, I finished the lamp, and I don't think I posted pictures of the awesome closet my dad put in for us.



The doctor scheduled my C-Section for the 8th of July--two days after my 38-week due date. Too long for me, but that's ok. I won't be having them on the 8th. I'm going early. The babies are going to start coming on the 1st of July. I have written this in a memo and sent it via umbilical cord. I am still awaiting a reply, but I'm sure once they read my reasons (longer time with them before I go back to work, our new insurance year starts on July 1st, and how completely miserable I am) they will discuss it between themselves and decide that I am thoroughly convincing and they should comply with my request. I also mentioned that they have a pretty awesome dad that they are TOTALLY going to want to meet. I thought about mentioning real food, but it will be awhile before they actually get real food and I didn't want to get their hopes up. I wrote this in proper business format, and as I tell my students, people take you more seriously when you write in proper business format. (I'm not sure if that's really true, but that's why I tell them.)  I'm sure Ripley and Scarlett will be so impressed with my skills, they will be eager to see what the outside of me looks like, and not just the inside. I smell a lot better on the outside, too, I told them. That should help.

***

Do you have words that you can NEVER spell? I can never spell CALENDER. Or EXERCISE. The only reason they are spelled right this time is because I have spell check on in blogger. Otherwise they'd be wrong. I can't spell RESTAURANT either.

***

Stretch marks are SO ugly. I'm so glad I'm not going to be wearing a bikini any time soon. You know, there are some distinct advantages to not being beautiful. Now don't get me wrong--I'm not putting myself down here. There's nothing wrong with having average looks, and I don't think it's putting myself down to say they are. I'm not super model beautiful, and I'm kinda glad. Here's why:

MEGAN'S LIST OF REASONS WHY BEING BEAUTIFUL ISN'T AS COOL AS IT LOOKS

  1. Beautiful people tend to define themselves by their looks--other people are always defining them that way. And it would be hard to be defined by something that can't last. So when the looks starts to slip and then go, they run the risk of having a major identity crisis. Of course, this isn't true of all beautiful people, but you get my drift.
  2. Beautiful girls get asked out a lot more, but they never know if the guy is interested in THEM, or just in the outside package. At least I know that when Trevor asked me out, he liked me for ME and not because he just thought I had a nice ass.
  3. Beautiful people are desperate to hold on to their beauty and suffer a lot when it starts to go. I don't have to worry about stretch marks, because no one sees my belly but my hubby, and we've already established that he loves me for me and not my ass. Or my flat stomach. But it must be SO HARD to see what was once a gorgeous body go to pot. Seriously.
***


When I was a kid I used to sing to the devil. Yeah. I remember wandering around the backyard singing to the devil, trying to convince him that he should give up the whole devil gig. I was pretty sure that being a really cute and innocent child, my words would hold a lot more weight with him than someone like a prophet or Jesus. I'm pretty sure it didn't work though. But at least I tried. No one can say I didn't try to reason with him.

***

You know what I find REALLY annoying? I mean REALLY, REALLY, annoying? People who don't use punctuation on their status updates in Facebook. It's actually pretty amazing how Facebook can expose the people who didn't pay attention in English class. It can be pretty shocking how many of them have no writing skills whatsoever. I'm not just talking about kids, but grown adults who appear to be perfectly well educated, and they probably are--but why do they write in run-on sentences? Don't they re-read what they wrote and go, "Wow, that makes no sense!" I hate updates like:

"oh my gosh you won't believe it I just got back from powell with my family well it was fun but i'm so burned ouch that really hurts."

Really? Can you not hear the commas calling from the sidelines, begging you to remember them? What about the old SHIFT key when it comes to capitalizing? Now as a keyboarding teacher I've had a few astonishing moments when I realize one of my students doesn't know how to use a shift key and has been using CAPS LOCK every time they capitalize a word. But--come on! That HAS to be a rare thing, right?

I often want to call these puncuation neglectors to repentence on my own status, but then I think, "this could cause Facebook drama," which, as we all know, is even worse than not using punctuation in your status updates.

***

Here's an awesome pic that explains why my husband will be such a freaking awesome dad to three little girls:






It also shows how women are multi-taskers even as children. Afton always wants to brush her teeth while getting her hair done. And I say, go for it. It keeps her busy while I do it. (And yes, I usually do her hair. Trevor just likes to blow it out before putting her to bed. Cute, huh?)

***

Well this has been fun, but it's Midnight so I suppose I ought to go to bed. I have A LOT to do this weekend, and I am so grateful for the friends and family that have offered to help take Afton while I get it done and/or watch Trevor get it done while I rest on the couch. Good night!

Friday, June 3, 2011

How Much Guilt is Normal?

Tonight I asked Trevor how often he feels guilty. He thought it was kind of a weird question. I told him I feel guilty ALL THE TIME, and I wanted to know if it's a "woman" thing, or just a "person" thing, or maybe it's a "mom" thing, or a "pregnant" thing. He said he feels guilt often--then asked how often I feel it.

Every. Day.

If I forget to make dinner. If I don't put Afton to bed. For every minute he's playing with her and I'm not. For every diaper he changes instead of me. For every time he does the dishes, even though I cooked the dinner and I know it's only fair--still, shouldn't I be doing something rather than lazing on the couch? And even though I KNOW I should have my poor nasty swollen feet up, how can I do that and leave it all for him to do? Or worse, NOT do? If I'm sitting there and he's cleaning (not a super common occurance, but it DOES happen) I feel guilty for being lazy. Though, often enough it's been the other way around and hasn't bothered him one bit. And then there's the unreasonable guilt--like how is it fair that I am having TWO babies when there are couples, much more financially stable than we are, who can't even have one? And how can I even dare to feel overwhelmed when I have been given such a blessing? And how can I feel so guilty for questioning, "Why me? Why did You give me TWO? Why did you think I can handle this, or afford this?" and then MORE guilt for sounding as if I don't want both my babies, when I DO! I DO I DO!!

Trevor conceded he doesn't ever feel that much guilt. He said that he wants to spend time with Afton, and not to feel guilty when he's having his own playtime with her. It made me feel a little better.

Do all women feel this much guilt? Is it normal? Is it healthy? Do women feel more guilt than men? Is that just part of being female? Or are my female friends reading this going, "Damn, girl, go see a therapist!"

I'm having a hard day. I had to try really hard not to have a complete breakdown at the park today. I KNOW it's pregnancy hormones, and frustration that it's summer and there's so much to do, and I'm too big and awkward and tired to do any of it. I don't want to miss this summer with Afton, as she gets older and is growing so much. But I can't walk around Wheeler Farm. I can't take her swimming very easily or least not without Trevor. Going to the zoo again is out of the question.  I can't do so many things. And so what do I feel? GUILTY!!

Man, I am SO FAT. (Pregnant fat. One thing I am NOT guilty about right now is my weight. One of my favorite things about being pregnant is it's the only time I feel no guilt whatsoever about what I eat and what I weigh. So liberating.  I can let it all hang out and not care. I'm HUGE. It's actually kinda awesome.)

So help me out, guys--am I crazy? Are all women like this? Am I just so pregnant I can't tell the difference between real emotion and hormone-induced hysteria? Grrr...