Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh give thanks....for He is good!

Have any of you been keeping up with the thankfulness challenge that is floating around on Facebook? The challenge is to express your thanks for your blessings for the thirty days of this month. I have not been a good example of this, but I am resolved to do better and I would encourage you each to develop a more thankful spirit as we move into this blessed time of year. Today I am thankful for one of the most challenging parts of my life right now: my job. I had a long, tiring week at work. There were many ups and downs; many uncertainties and discomforts. But my Lord was always there and He reconfirmed daily that I am in the center of His will. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

I'm thankful for other things, too. Peanut found her toes this week. She started eating cereal last week and peas this week. I introduced her to solid foods earlier than I wanted to but she is always grabbing for my fork or my phone or anything that was on her eye level and shoving it in her mouth. It seemed like it was time. She loves cereal! She hates peas! I'm not pushing her to go after solid foods just yet. Thankfully, she still has time and I am very grateful that I am still able to provide all her nutritional needs through nursing. This is a great blessing and provides many wonderful bonding moments for us. I'm so excited to watch her grow and learn.



 At my husband's request, we set up our Christmas decorations this week and it was a special bonding moment for all of us as I pulled out the ornaments I have collected over the years and reminisced over where each one came from. I told her about the ornaments my parents got for my first Christmas, the Life Saver man I made for my Grandma when I was 5 that was recently returned to me, and the ornaments I made on arts and crafts days when I was being home-schooled or part of the Girl Scouts. I told her about the ornaments Dearest and I received for our first Christmas together, which was also the day of our engagement! Traditions and memories are so important and are such an integral part of building a solid foundation for our children.


In other news, please check out all the new exciting things that are going on over at
http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/2012/10/celebrating-new-look-giveaway.html#comment-form. They have a new blog design and are hosting a wonderfully inspirational giveaway, which includes some delightful treasures. Who wouldn't love to have a beautiful Lilla Rose flex-clip AND a free blog critique from Wise Woman Consulting AND a DVD of a recent interview with America's Top Mama, Michelle Duggar, on the art of Hospitality? Visit the site, read the reviews, enter the giveaway, and prepare to be impressed with a Godly perspective on womanhood. Whether you win or not, you won't be disappointed!

Peanut is asleep and Mama and her Dearest are rapidly losing the fight to stay awake, so off to bed we should go.

Coming Up Soon: pictures from our recent trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch with my dear friend Sharla and her son, as well as my Mother's dee-licious recipe for applesauce! I'll give you a little advance notice - no measurements are required :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

DIY Clothespin Bag

I love hanging clothes out on the line. I love to watch them flap in the wind. I love the way they smell when I bring them in. I love knowing that I just saved us some money and energy by not using the dryer. I used to hang my clothespins on the line in a little bag I made when I was a teenager. But that little bag is now ripping at the seams (I was trying to improve my hand-sewing skills) and it was never very convenient to have to tie and untie it from the line whenever I needed it. So today, as I waited for the rain clouds to clear a little, I had an idea. Why not make another, more convenient little bag? I'm mentally quick like that...hehe.


 
This is what I came up with. Start with an old hand towel, a wire hanger, and of course, clothespins. You also need a sewing machine, scissors, and basic white cotton thread.

 
Fold a short edge of the towel over the hangar and pin securely to keep the fabric from slipping while you sew. You will see in the picture that I didn't fold over much of the towel because I want to use most of it to create a good-sized bag. I'm glad I chose a towel that already had lines in it; they make a good stitching guide. Sew a straight seam, backstitching at the beginning and end for extra reinforcement. 

 

 
 
This is the finished seam across the hangar.



 
 
Next pin up the bag as deep as you want it to be. I found it was helpful to pin across the top of the bag as well, again to prevent slipping. Just don't sew across that part!
 
 
The finished bag portion. At this point I thought I was done with this project. So I loaded it with clothespins and.....
 
.....see my problem? Sag! In the grand scheme of things, a saggy baggy is not a biggy wiggy problem, but the more clothespins you add, the more it pulls and the more stress is placed on the seams, which shortens the life of the bag. Solution? Another seam.
 
 
This seam goes straight up the middle and creates two pockets. This solution serves a couple purposes. One, less sag. Two, you won't have to chase clothespins all around the bag. They are much more confined. And three.....
 
 
...you can separate your clippie pins from your pins with heads. As a person who enjoys being uptight about the laundry, I find this knowledge very comforting.
 
 
 
There you have it! Now I'm off to squeeze as much sunlight out of the day as I possibly can. :-)
 
P.S. I recommend you bring this bag in after every use to prevent the hangar from rusting during wet weather. I keep mine on a nail right inside my basement door so I can grab it as I am on my way up from the laundry room.

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Giving Thanks in a Thankless Moment

 Photo Credit: http://everydayfamily.com

Sometimes it seems as if my job is more work and less reward. I find myself forgetting the "carefree" days of singlehood and newly-weddedness and looking forward to getting a break. Except this is not the corporate world, and I don't get scheduled breaks. I get momentary lapses of activity. This is new for me. It makes me grouchy. It makes me mopey. It makes me grumble. When I grumble, things go awry. But as my baby girl grows up and I begin to get more sleep, I find my common sense slowly taking over again.

You know that saying, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? I used to think this meant that if I didn't do my chores, my mom would raise cane until she got what she wanted. Now maybe there are mothers who can do this and get very positive results. But my sassy Italian temperament leaves me little room for pitching fits. In an effort to keep myself from expecting too much, I pulled a U-ey, flew through the intersection, and settled down in the other "wrong side of town", where I assured myself that I was making the best choice by expecting too little. I started to let things go: groceries, cleaning, cooking, time with people. This went on for years after I got my own place and continued for over a year after my marriage. I told myself and my husband things like "I don't need to sweep/mop the floor. It's not like we eat off it." Or, "I didn't make it to the grocery today. I lost track of time." I even blamed it on a lack of society. I come from a large family, where chores are accomplished en masse and chatter never ceases. "How did isolated pioneer women survive?" I wondered. "They had purpose: a better life for their family. Where is my purpose?"

Thus I spent many days moping, Facebooking, Pinning, and eating while I waited for something to happen that would distract me from my deep boredom. Working a full-time job didn't solve the problem. Neither did preparing for baby's arrival. Sure, I had fits of inspiration and bursts of energy, but when they were gone I was back on the couch, plugged in and maintaining what I considered to be my role in a situation that was, surely, not my fault. Usually, I pulled myself together in time to fix dinner before my husband got home. Poor guy. He is a detail-oriented person, and I think he always knew when I had been lazy. He would let the chores go only so long to see if I would step up, and then he would just quietly and happily volunteer himself for the job. Let the guilt commence!

Early one recent morning, I finished nursing my colicky baby and laid her in the Pack'n'Play for a nap. I then did several odds and ends job around the house: got dressed, ate breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, etc. I had just run a sinkful of soapy water to tackle the dirty pots that had piled up over, oh, the last couple of days (!!!) when my baby began to fuss. Feeling disappointed that my grand plan for the morning was hanging in the balance, wrapped her up and sat down to rock her. All the while I was thinking my goal was to get her back to sleep so I could get back to work. As her fuzzy head nuzzled into the crook of my arm and her little fist closed around my finger, I had an epiphany.

It's not the child's job to keep Mama from going loco. It's the Mama's job! In other words, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. So Mama needs to choose to be happy". My purpose in life is to be a thermostat. I was created to manage the atmosphere of my home. People need to be comfortable here, and it's hard to be comfortable when you stub your toe (so hard you tear up) on the mess your wife has made but not cleaned, go to sit down a minute, and have to move a pile of laundry to get to your favorite recliner. I am, as Danielle says in Ever After, "...born to privilege, and with that comes specific obligations." And I am so privileged and have so much to be thankful for. A sweet baby girl. An adoring husband. A sturdy, albeit not ideal, home. Food in the fridge and shoes for my feet. Cute shoes, I might add. So I wasn't unhappy because my home was dirty and there was no one to keep me company while I cleaned it. I was unhappy because I chose not to be content in my circumstances. Kettles and cauldrons, now I can't blame it on somebody else!

So now that I have suddenly gained some smarts, I have to make a resolve: to give thanks even when the situation doesn't warrant such. When the dog randomly hurts her paw and she is leaving bloody tracks EVERYWHERE, I can give thanks for a cage to confine her too and a Swiffer Wet-Jet to clean it up with. When my forgiving hubby gently razzes me for forgetting to buy bread, I can give thanks that I have the money, the car, and the fuel to make a second shopping trip with. I can also give thanks that I have a husband who will help me make my shopping list, if I would only remember to ask.

Now that I have figured this out, it's time to go accomplish something with a thankful heart. Such as sweep and mop my floor, which really needs it, even though we don't eat off it. Viva la Swiffer!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's In a Name?







This is my baby girl. My new love life. One of my dreams come true. I love her.



Here she is again. My heart is melting. I rarely ever call her by her given name - except  when I am using my big-grown-up-Mommy voice, of course. When I use my reverting-back-to-childhood voice, I find myself speaking in code. Words that I have never used on anyone else. Phrases that have never been breathed on earth are suddenly commonplace. Four years of college and four years of teaching and I never studied this vocabulary list. What is wrong with our education system?

When she makes faces like this I can address her in relatively sane terms. Sweetheart. Darling. Cutie.


When she makes this face, I begin to lose it. Pretty girl. Baby girl. Happy girl. Mama's girl. I am impressively repetitive. Daddy is far more explicit. He calls her Cutie-Patootie.



When she looks like this, she becomes Milk Face. That's her daddy in the background, eating a bowl of Fruit Loops. I call him Milk Face, Sr.



When she makes this face she earns herself my favorite name for her. Punk-a-doodles. Even better - My Little Punk-a-doodles! I made it up....I'm gifted like that.
(P.S. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to take a good picture while holding a squirming child? I knew you'd understand.)



This is her sorta-kinda-maybe-starting-to-get-worried face. This is where I start snapping my fingers and blowing bubbles and generally making a fool of myself in an effort to extract the last smile that I know is cowering somewhere in one of her chins. I call her Little One.


This face is self-descriptive. I say Uh-oh!!!!


She really is a one-smile-per-photo-shoot kind of baby. Daddy calls her Fussy-Butt. I call her Milk Monster.

But then she does something like this.......



Or this.....


.......and I call her My Precious. And I say it in the most non-Gollum voice I can summon.

Ooops - time to go. She is rapidly descending through the faces and is somewhere between Uh-oh and Fussy-Butt. Ciao!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DIY Mama

I know that many new Mama's-to-be don't have the time or desire to make their own baby stuff. But I thought I would give it a try and see how much I could come up with before "Peanut" makes his/her appearance. I started with making my own diapers just to see how much money we could save. I now have 32 newborn diapers finished and plan to make another 20 or so of the next size up before the baby comes (I will be 34 weeks huge tomorrow. Yes, I think I am crazy). Then I found I could make my own reusable wipes. And that got me thinking....what else could I do to save money? About this time, I was introduced to http://www.pinterest.com/. If you are a crafter/creator and you don't know what that is, you really should check it out. Pinterest has pretty much sealed my fate...I am now on the fast-track to failing as Super-Mama. After all, nobody is superbly perfect. But I thought I should at least give it a good run.