Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring, She has Sprung

Everyone I know is pregnant.
This is only slightly an exaggeration.
As I do know some fellows.
But the ladies? They're all reproducing like it's their J-O-B.

You know what? When I was incubating the Munchkins I was not a big Social Networker.
I had a MySpace Account (yep. That dates me right there. I haven't been pregnant in a hot minute). But these days people toss belly pictures up on facebook, tweet about their morning sickness, and commiserate with each other via blog comments over swollen feet and weight gain. There is ZerO mystery surrounding pregnancy anymore. It's all laid right out there for ya' in black & white.

I would have LOVED that.
Not so much the belly pics, I've never been a big one for voluntarily  hopping in front of the lens, but the communal aspect of everyone bitching and moaning and supporting each other through the awkward moments and ickiness that can, generally speaking, be pregnancy? Priceless.
I've always adored that aspect of social networking that allowed me to be myself, insane one that I am, and not seize up with anxiety when divulging something private about myself in person.  I remember walking around terrified at least 40% of the time all during my first pregnancy, sure that I was forgetting to ask some question about the placenta that would be integral to the whole giving-birth process (I wasn't...but you get the idea, right?) See? Social Networking to the rescue! Guaranteed someone else already had that question, posted it as their status and has over 39 comments in reply going into more detail than you ever wanted to know about the placenta.

And then, there's all those who have just spawned and are posting like crazy about their new little bundle of joy. And I'm right there with the rest of the world wide web...oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over teeny tiny baby toes and brand new baby clothes... Posting and tweeting and blogging about the smell of the top of a new baby's head and the joy of that first night of four-plus hours sleep... And a part of me, a very tiny, hiding in the shadowed corner part of me, wishes I could do it all over again one more time.

And there, my dears, is the crux of the matter.
For all intents and purposes? This baby machine has done gone out of  business.
Ohhh, all the parts are still intact in the machine, but I've clearanced out my merchandise and put a big ol' Closed Sign on things. I am done having babies. I have several. I don't intend to have any more.

And it makes me a little melancholy to think that I'll never be able to rest a cereal bowl on my stomach again; never be able to slouch on the couch and watch my stomach move after dinner; never get that warm-and-fuzzy moment where you realize you're GROWING another PERSON.

Don't get me wrong, now. there are parts of new motherhood I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot-pole again (can you say, Meconium boys & girls?) But the good stuff...well...perhaps I just have selective memory? But the good stuff seems to far outweigh the bad...

I miss holding my babies all snuggled in the crook of my arm, feeling their entire bodies shudder in sleep. I miss having them so small that I could slide them inside a front carrier, without waking them up, and slip out of the house without having to pack a bag the size of a small, third-world country full of sippy cups and goldfish crackers to soothe cranky toodlers. I miss that feeling of contentment, like I'd just conquered the world, when my baby smiled for the first time; cooed for the first time; chuckled hard, from their belly, for the first time. And I know that there is a lifetime of firsts just waiting for me as my children grow, but those very first signs of personality? Those were some of my favorites.

Anywho, there are my two cents on the current state of the internal no-more-babies struggle.
And, for those of you who really only come here for the crafting?
Below are a few shots of what I've been working on of late...
Happy Tuesday, Gang.

The Gavinator's fully reversible cape + multiple masks for playtime

Circle Skirts!!!

With a little less than a yard of fabric, 30-ish inches of 2-3inch elastic and a solid half hour, you too can be the proud owner of multiple Go-To wardrobe skirts for your Mini-Me's.

A photo of that baby blanket I promised you.
It's not a fabulous photo of the blanket, but it does feature one of the most completely adorable pregnant women on the face of the Earth (Everyone say "hi, Megan!") These blankets have been occupying my every spare moment lately...you'll see a LOT more of these popping up very soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Friday...and I realllllllly want a cheeseburger.

It's Friday. We're coming up on the third Sunday of Lent. 
And I REALLLLLLLLY want a cheeseburger today.

Lent is HARD.
well. and it's supposed to be. otherwise, what's the point?
So I offered it up and went with the salad instead today. blerg. Who wants a salad when there's a lovely gorgeous Black & Bleu burger staring you in the face? All warm & steamy with melty bleu cheese dripping off around the edges? *sigh*

So we're two Sunday's into lent...three masses in (counting Ash Wednesday) and I had my first major stumbling block last Sunday.
I skipped mass.
There! I said it!

I was kid-free...and I had a baby shower to go to that morning...and I should have set the alarm early enough and scuttled my little butt over to service beforehand, but when the boyfriend looks at you with big ole' puppy dog eyes and asks if you think you have time to go to breakfast at this great little diner around the corner?  Well. I just caved. The end.

And you know what? I don't know that the hour-breakfast wasn't, in some way, holding true to the spirit of things. Maybe I'm just stretching here (and, let's be honest, that's proooobably the case) but it was one of those meals that makes me thankful for other people.

We both put away our phones and talked.
Actually talked during the meal!
You can't tell me that's not rare these days...
And we took our time.
And we enjoyed our food and didn't wolf it down, precut into a thousand tiny pieces for tiny little hands to grab off our plates.
And I said a little prayer when I got back into my car
It went something like:

"Dear God, thank you for this gorgeous morning and thank you for warm crepes and Dan and for the extra hour to sit and enjoy both of those things at my leisure. Oh, and God? If I could make it through the next hour without exploding from all the amazing food I just ate? That would be lovely. Amen"

But. I should have gone to mass.
I know.
What can I say? I'm flawed.
I'll try harder to stick to my guns this week.
I am determined to go this Sunday.
Munchkins in tow.
Maybe we'll even go out to breakfast afterwards...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


You know those mornings where it's IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the house?

The mornings where Mr. Man's favorite pants are still lying at the bottom of the dirty laundry bin?

  The mornings where Monkey is melting down quicker than marshmallows at a campfire because she can't fit all three pairs of dress-up shoes into her purse?

The mornings where Munchkin #1 is certain the entire world "hates" her because she's got a funny ponytail kink in the hair on the back of her head?

The mornings where I've crawled back into bed after waving adieu to Mr. Handsome who had to be up at the crack of dawn for PT?

The mornings where I oversleep after returning to bed for just five more minutes?

The mornings where effing jeggings*  are the only thing readily accessible and clean on the top of the folded basket of laundry in the corner of the room. You know, the one that's been there for the better part of a week because I can't find FIVE-SPARE-MINUTES to put away the folded clothes?

The mornings where I want to be the one laying, spread-eagle-sprawled on the cool linoleum tile of the kitchen floor lamenting our sudden lack of breakfast cereals?

We had one of those this morning.
There's no amount of coffee in the world to make that kind of morning better.
But, Here's to cup #7 being the magic cup...

*(italicized for effect and to communicate my utter loathing for these things. WHY do I even own them... they are...tacky and stretchy and comfy with lots of wiggle room, and ohhhhgod...maybe I DO love these things)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The New Obsession

There are very few things I love more of a quiet evening than curling up in the big stuffed chair in the living room with a blanket thrown over my legs.

Remember this one I made for Mr. Handsome?
It was fleece & sweatshirt material back to back with a (painintheass to do twice over) handmade Lions applique. It was fairly simple to construct. I've done a couple of those now...and branched out to try something new last weekend...for a baby blanket for one of the cutest little pregos out there...

I followed this tutorial over at the Aesthetic Nest
(which, incidentally, is chock full of gorgeousness. Photos and crafting and art, Oh My!)
And basically just inside of 8 hours of work had one gorgeous baby blanket I was loathe to give away.

A few notes:
Claw Hand Hurts. 
And I'm not talking about achy plam muscles here, kids. 
I'm talking all out, spasming fingers, can't unclench my hand, cutting for over an hour straight CLAWhand.

Keep your GUTTERS at 1/2 inch exactly (or as relatively close as you can get to that) The closer your stitched liner the better your finished produce will appear on the flipside. Small gutters = closer rows = less gaps for Side A quilting material to peek through = better felting/faux-chenille coverage.
That looked suspiciously like math, but it wasn't. promise. it was just me being lazy.

SPLIT this one UP~
Fortunately I had the kid-free weekend to spend on it and crammed the entire project into two four-hour days. No biggie. But, imagine, if I'd just quilted a few rows each night, maybe an our at a go, I'd have had more time for cocktails and bon-bons on a kid-free Saturday [read: laundry and Cloroxing the bathroom. You know, whatever.]

duh. right?
Nope. I spaced it. Completely. There might be a picture floating out there somewhere from the baby shower so I'll hunt around & repost if so.

I absolutely fell in love with this blanket, and I think (if I start now?) I should have one for everyone's wedding anniversaries/birthdays this year. That's the plan anyway...unless I find a new style I like better.

But like I said, there's just something about curling up under a blanket that's so satisfying and comforting... I'd like to be able to wrap that up with a bow and give it to friends and family sometimes. And now? I can.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Birthday Girl

And just like that...Munchkin #1 turned SEVEN.


You can find the stellaramazing Birthday Cake Candelabra  locally here at Silver in the City]At Home in the City...where they have...well... pretty much some of my favorite items and sales people in the entire world.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Duck & Cover

I've got this twitch, this urge, this drive to get out of dodge.
And I'm almost to the point where I don't care where I go so long as I go. Spring's here and I already find myself tapping my toe for warmer climes.

The days where you can very literally feel the edges of your life closing in are the ones that set my teeth on edge.
I no longer just require a day off...I need a way out... I need an escape hatch for my life. Just for a while. Maybe a week? Just to remember I'm more than someones mom. That'd be nice. Just to be me. Just for a while.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Legwarmers Tutorial ~ or~ the easiest craft on the Internets

THIS is the kind of project that takes 10 minutes to complete and is easy to become rather obsessed with
You'll Need:
One Pair women's knee socks (Target $1 special! woot!)
Sewing Machine/Needle & Thread.

Step 1: Cut
Cut your sock(s) into four parts. You'll need to save the calf portion & the mid foot portion.
Ball up the toe, throw it at your son.
Roll up the heel pieces, let your daughters wear them as bracelets.

Step 2: Roll the mid-foot piece over on itself until you have a foreshortened tube.

Step 3:
Slide tube over long leg piece, Matching up your raw edges. Pin in place.

Step 4: Sew along the inside of your tube...all the way around... Isn't this fun?

Aren't those cute pins? Beccah got those for me!

Step 5: Roll up your short tube to form the upper hem of the leg warmer. Sit back, relax, admire your work.

Aren't those pretty? And sooo easy to make!

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I may have gone a little overboard the other night.
10 pairs of $1 socks = 10 new pairs of legwarmers in just under an hour and a half (including breaks for snacks and such, of course)

Ta Da!!!
*I know...I k now...there are a bazillion different tutorials out there about how to make legwarmers...but these are simple, quick to make, and actually stay on the girls' legs really well thanks to the rolled cuff at the top!

Dear Self

Dear Self:

You have a good life.
You have three amazing children and a support network and a handsome guy who pays you compliments. You have a job you occasionally enjoy and a roof over your head and a full tummy on most days. You have absolutely nothing to complain about. There is no tsunami in Indiana. There is no fear of guerrila attacks or threats of nuclear meltdowns. And, even on your worst day, your life was nothing like the second half of this: Dear Sugar Column. Even if once, for a time, it resembled a softened-around-the-edges, blurry version of the first half.

Appreciate what you have.
Every day.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can we go HERE?

have i mentioned lately how much I really need a vacation from my everyday life?

It seems like EVERYONE is taking vacations lately... to fabulous locales...how do you do it?
I ache for a week off of my responsibilites some times.
And it's not that I don't adore The Munchkins, and love being with them every day, because I DO. But sometimes, even on my kid-free weekends, I'm so busy catching up on laundry and sewing and cleaning and grocery shopping  and errand-running, that I don't make time to just relax. That's why vacations are so delicious...they're forced relaxation. When I'm home, even if I indulge in a nap, or an overnight, or the occasional breakfast sandwich, I have guilt because I know that there are a million other things I ought to be doing.
If I'm lounging poolside, or in a hammock on the beach, there's no way I could possibly skipping out on daily duties...they aren't even in the same time zone.
You follow?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned.

Don't get your sewing machine out after dinner unless you're prepared to do 3+ hours of on-demand stitching.

Last night I made:
 One Fully-reversible, soon to be flame-covered Superhero Cape & Superhero Eyemask

Three Fully lined, appliqued & zippered Stash Pouches

The initial pattern cutout & prepwork for a new baby blanket (gift)

Last night all I intended to to:
Hem a pair of my dress pants.

The only project I DIDN'T get to:
Hemming my pair of dress pants.

What I'm wearing today:
A skirt.

oh well.
The Munchkins were in heaven playing with my fabric stash, so all was calm and bright into the nine-o'clock hour at my house...

The green canvas pouch w/bug fabric interior & applique robot on the outside? Far&away my favorite. Plus, now Mr. Man has a pouch to put his Daily Word Cards in...so they make it to & from home & school intact...and I can stop receiving notes like "Sebastian failed to return 2 of his 5 word cards this week. Let's work on this!"  ugh. Where do those things even GO after we put them in his book bag each night???

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bieber Fever

We've got it.
Actually, Isabelle has had it. for a while now.
But this weekend we all caught it.

For Munchkins #1's upcoming SEVENTH Birthday (how is that possible?!) I treated her & the gang from MunchkinLand to the Bieber-tacular event Never Say Never...in 3D [insert echo and delay effect]

The kids have now successfully attended two movies in two weekends. 
I cannot express how delighted I am that they are all nearing the age to enjoy one of MY favorite pastimes: Escapism via the Silver Screen.

little things. good days

The Munchkins and I had a good weekend.

Actually we've had two consecutive good weekends.
And that's no small task, let me tell you.


In Laymans terms that breaks down to a full 48 hours of waking up when the first streaks of dawn stretch across the sky, and doing so in a semi-cheerful state. It helps when momma has her coffee before the Munchkins come tumbling and stumbling down the stairs, but this doesn't always happen.

It means mornings full of giggling and snuggling under quilts on the couch, Saturday Morning cartoons on in the background, 20 questions in the foreground. It means balancing two hardback books, one phone, one ipod and one universal remote while keeping at least one hand wrapped firmly around my coffee mug at all times.


It means minimal fuss at the request for the Munchkins to dress themselves for the day. At a minimum it means one child, but probably no more than one child will fall to the ground complaining of lack of socks, pants, sweater, superhero mask or twirling skirt. It requires patience and an abundance of Counting-to-Ten on my my part.


It means lunch is a buffet-affair containing three to five of the following:
Crustless sandwiches
Sandwiches in the shapes of dinosaurs, hearts, diamonds or giraffes
Chips, but NOT pretzels
Cheetos but NOT cheezeballs
Red or black grapes but rarely green (they're too "rubbery")
Chocolate Milk or Strawberry Milk or Orange-Pineapple-Mango Juice.
Bananas for two of them, one of which I'm not allowed to peel or even "get started"
Oranges or Clementines for the third, although pieces must be sections and "de-pulpied"

LittleBakers                                    LittleMessmakers

It means afternoons must be committed to out-of-the-house activities a'la:
The Children's Museum
(where we could visit every weekend and STILL find something new every time we go)
The Zoo
(shark tanks. duh.)
The Park
(where mom appreciates the post-afternoon exhaustion levels)
The Movie Theater
(where we absolutely want to roll around in the popcorn butter...and appear as if we've done so at least once by the time we leave)
The Dollar Store
(where everyone can pick something out without us forgoing food for the next week)
(yeah...they're my kids all right)
JoAnn Fabrics
(which they tolerate when they are allowed to: (a)pick out one yard of their own material for new pajamas or (b) pick out one craft kit from the normally overpriced (but this week on super-duper-clearance) kid's craft aisle
The Downtown/Central Library
(where we could happily spend entire weekends locked away with books and stages and story times and elevator rides and escalator races and oversize glass display cases to press out noses against and snack bars with cheap hot chocolate and overpriced extra large cookies to split)


It means dinner must needs be crock-potted well in advance of leaving the house for the afternoon, lest dinner not be ready the very second we walk back in the door. Otherwise you have limp, exhausted, whiny Munchkins littering a path from the front door to the kitchen entry... and this provides a bumpy, unsatisfying gait to anyone [read:me] trying to get about the house.

It means post-dinner activities either need to make a mess the size of a small country (i.e. craft-time extraordinair) or take place out of doors (thank goodness the new place has a fenced-in communal play area out back!)


It means at least one bubble bath per child, because they've finally achieved the age in which they flat out refuse to bath together. At. All.


It means a minimum of eight to 10 bedtime stories.
Read in each bed.
Using all the voices.


It means me falling asleep of absolute exhaustion curled into abnormal shapes in the armchair in the living room, trying desperately to carve out a few minutes to myself, drifting off to the sound of Alton Brown's voice on dvd...


These are the good days.
Some day, if you're lucky, I'll tell you about the bad ones.
But it's these good ones I'll hold close to my heart long past the point when The Munchkins' shouts and laughter echo off the walls of the apartment.


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