Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The girl is crafty like ice is cold!

Four. Feet.
 I just got back from a wonderful afternoon crafting with three of my favorite people.  While I worked on the neverending crochet shrug (FOUR FEET of the same stitch over and over and over), Rainbow Bekah and Easily Amused Jamie made flowers and hair bands and all manner of cute creations I couldn't make from scratch if my life depended on it (The lovely Miss Mandy spent her time holding the cutest. baby. ever.). 


After my hand went numb from single crocheting an hour of my life away, Bekah took pity on my flowerlessness and showed me how to make a fabric flower clip of my very own.  Not too shabby for a beginner, eh?  Now I'm desperate to go through my fabric scraps and see what flowers I can create.  My girls are eager to help, and I'm sure this will end up being a project for the three of us.
Currently holding a pocketbook, comb, brush, receipts,
hand lotion, sanitizer and one small blue racecar.

The sewing machine is intimidating me less and less, and I have two projects to show for my determination to show it who's boss.  The first is the Amy Butler Birdie Sling.  Since making this one, I've ditched my teensy handbag and embraced the gigantic shopping tote-sized purse I made from the pattern.  Sure, it's huge.  Maybe a little ostentatious.  But boy, can I fit a lot of stuff in it!

The second is a dress I lovingly refer to as Pollyanna's First Mumu (for blogging purposes, I've renamed my children The Professor, Pollyanna and Hit Girl. More on that in another post).  The pattern is for your basic pillowcase dress, of which you can find any variation on the web.  Just google. 

Not to be confused with the
sound a cow makes.

Because she's 7 and taller than the toddlers pillowcase dresses are designed to fit, I let Pollyanna pick out any fabric she wanted off the clearance rack so we could make the dress as long as we wanted. True to form, she chose a very loud flowery rayon type material that resulted in a flowy, parachutey look that she loves.  I'm still forming an opinion on whether I like how it turned out, but being enamored with anything Mama makes, Pollyanna is thrilled and has vowed to wear it as often as I'll let her. 

Obviously, I'm still a fledgling crafter, but each time I make something I feel that much better about my skills.  Maybe someday I'll create my own tutorial or be featured on one of those fantastic craft lists all the creative bloggers make!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day is one of those holidays I've never seen a point in celebrating.  My earliest memory of Father's Day is in second grade, when I presented my mother, a struggling single parent, with a card that said "Happy Father's Day to the best dad I know" - a wry twist of humor that sends a pang to my stomach even now.  At that point, my biological father had been absent for a little over three years. He'd abandoned his children in favor of a life and another child with someone he'd been seeing at the same time as my mother.  A couple years after that, he ended up in prison for a violent crime, and that's where he was when I gave that homemade card to my mother.  The following years saw him re-enter prison shortly after he was released, and saw me with a new stepfather who didn't do much to earn the title of father, apart from being a male presence in our home. 

Growing up without a strong male role model was tough.  I had grandfathers I loved dearly, but didn't really feel particularly close to them.  Male teachers were few and far between, but those I did have, I had a great respect for and did my best to impress them with my academics.  Kind as those teachers were, the space left by the absence of a decent father never has been filled. 

Thankfully, I had the good sense to marry a kind, family-oriented man who is extremely involved in our childrens' lives.  The knowledge that my children are growing up with a fantastic role model who obviously loves and cares for them gives me a bit of peace about my own fragmented upbringing.  I can deal with the aftermath of failed fathers knowing they'll never have to.  And that, my friends, is a happy ending.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Take Me to the River...

Way back in the spring of my senior year of high school, I was baptised.  Growing up in the Southern Baptist church, there was no infant baptism.  Parents were encouraged to dedicate their children to God, which had the family standing in front of the church as the pastor prayed for them all, and specifically that the child being dedicated would grow to lead a life pleasing to God.  But there was no water involved, apart from the tears of emotionally overwhelmed grandparents.  I don't think my siblings and I were ever dedicated, but I saw many other kids in our church dedicated over the years.

As a child, I was a non-swimmer.  Even now, at thirty-four years old, I can only manage to swim a few feet before panic sets in and I need to touch bottom with my feet in order to calm down.  One really bad experience with the water left me afraid to ever submerge my face, which meant baptism was out of the question, no matter how much I felt I wanted to do it.  Discussions with my pastor about the possibility of performing a baptism that kept my face out of the water were fruitless.  Unless I went completely under, he said, it wasn't an actual baptism.  I still fail to see the logic in this (did he suspect the symbolic washing away of sin would leave my face vulnerable to bad, bad things?), but that's the way it was.  Finally, my senior year of high school I decided it was time to suck it up and get baptised.  I'd been doing daily bible study and was interested in truly living the type of life Jesus outlined in the New Testament, and in order to be obedient, this was the next step. 

My timing could have been a little better.  The baptism took place in March, after our sanctuary had burned down as a result of arson (still unsolved, by the way).  Because we didn't have access to a baptismal and this was before the days of portable hot tubs, we waited until the rain stopped for a few days and trooped to the banks of the Mad River.  Looking back, this was downright crazy. The water was freezing and the river was swift and high.  I'm not sure whose idea this was, but they probably weren't firing on all cylinders.  Anyway, my turn came and I waded out, breathless because of the coldness of the water.  I still remember the sensation of icy wetness over my face before being hauled back above the surface, gasping for air and plunking my way to shore to scattered applause.

I'd like to say I took things seriously enough to have a solid Christian experience from that point on, but as most young adults tend to do, I became self-involved and relied heavily upon my own logic to get through daily situations.  That particular issue has been a cyclical struggle ever since.  But I managed to get it together partway into my college years and do my best to be mindful of the way I'm supposed to be living and who I'm supposed to be relying on for even the little things (hint: not myself).  I figure if I counted on Him to get me through the two seconds underwater that felt like much, much more, I can certainly count on Him to get me through the harder stuff that doesn't terrify me half as much.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Play, Magic Fingers!

When I work out on the elliptical machine each morning, it's become a habit of mine to watch a show I've recorded on the DVR that I'm sure nobody else in my family wants to see.  Most of the time it's an episode of Troy Dunn's The Locator or Antiques Roadshow, but occasionally I'll have a full length movie that I break up over the course of a few days.  This week I've been watching Immortal Beloved, starring the ever-versatile Gary Oldman.  It's about Ludwig Von Beethoven and the search to find the mystery woman he willed all his possessions to after his death, referred to only in writing as Immortal Beloved.  I'm just over halfway into the movie and it's goooooood.  So good that I'm tempted to watch the rest of it during the day, but I can't because my little one's here and it's rated R.  So I get to wait until my next workout session, which is probably good incentive to exercise anyway.

Over the past two years or so, I've taught beginning piano lessons to several kids in town.  In my home I have a two foot high stack of music books, several hymnals and chorus books, and a portfolio full of loose sheet music for piano.  Despite all this, it's been years since piano practice has been part of my routine.  I'll sit down every now and then and play for ten or fifteen minutes, but it's never a regular thing and besides, there always seems to be five million things to do and five million kids running around making noise, asking me why someone else is making noise or complaining about noise in general.  With three very active kids, it's very easy to let piano practice fall by the wayside as I have done.  It's a lame excuse, but it's still an excuse.

So, spurred on by the life of Ludwig Von Beethoven and the haunting beauty of Moonlight Sonata, I'm going to make an effort to practice on a regular basis.  Right now my goal is three times a week, even if it's just ten minutes each time.  I've dusted off my copy of Fur Elise and after twenty minutes of play, my creaky fingers are slowly warming up to the tune I could play with my eyes closed in high school.  Cross your fingers I can keep it up!
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