Friday, July 29, 2011

A Week of Projects

We are headed to our nephew's second birthday party tomorrow. Michael is only a little younger than him and loves dinosaurs (I've never met a little boy that doesn't) so I decided that maybe doing a dinosaur themed gift is good. I'd seen this tutorial for making really cute dinosaur/dragon tails awhile back and thought I'd make some of those for Michael and my nephew. I also planned on getting him some books.

So all I needed to do was sew a couple of quick tails this week.

With a week to sew these tails in I decided to procrastinate and make myself another bag. I'd been thinking about it for awhile now. I like my last bag, and I'm glad I finally have a big bag to contain EVERYTHING, but most of the time I don't really need to carry that much and I just want a very light bag. So I decided to sew the taller option of my market bag pattern. The inside is a pretty, inspiring print I found at Joann's and the outside is black pleather (oh yeah). I really love this size for everyday trips.

(I love my pretty blue zipper!)

I learned (the hard way) that you need to use a walking foot to sew pleather (pleather is 'gripy' and a regular foot will not slide over it). Luckily, I'd just bought one the week before. I also probably needed to increase the tension on my top-stiching and the backside of it is not so pretty in some places because of that. One of these days it's going to bother me enough to fix it or make another one.

With that out of the way I could make the dinosaur tails. I made an orange one for Michael first. I thought the straps sounded too big for even the rotund Michael's waist so I made 10" straps instead of 12". I should have stuck with the tutorial because Micahel's is a bit small (no room to grow). I made nephew's larger and green.

Michael wasn't sure about it when I first showed it to him but I got out one of his story books with dinosaurs and pointed out all the different tails and then he loved it. It's pretty cute on him too.

Then with that out of the way I decided to tackle another project that I'd been putting off. DH's grandma gave me a nice piece of green fleece awhile back. At first I thought, "What can I do with green fleece?" but then I thought, "DINOSAUR!" and happily accepted. So I'd been meaning to turn it into a dino anyhow and with the birthday thing I decided that I should go ahead and try. So I made up a little pattern and gave it a go. The first one (right) had really short and splayed legs, so it looks more like a Nessie than a dinosaur. So then I made a second one (left) and changed up a couple of things. They are both pretty mediocre, but I decided the first was the better of the two, so nephew gets it and Michael gets the one that looks like it giving me attitude.

Fun note, Michael is good at signing 'dinosaur' and saw the pattern as I was making it the other day and signed dinosaur. I <3 baby sign language.

Oh, and a walking foot makes sewing fleece 1000x easier too. I'm kicking myself for not knowing about this years ago.

So then I had this white t-shirt sitting around I got for ~$1 while ago too that I'd intended to cut up and make into a shirt for Michael (following this tutorial). I've made 5 or 6 of these for Michael already, so I can whip these out pretty quickly. So I got this shirt made and I was really happy with how it looked. I just love the crisp white against the bright green. I was in love. This is my favorite one so far, by far.

So then I decided that I had to make him some shorts to go with it. I'd been needing to make him some more short and putting it off for awhile. In my defense, EVERYTIME I make him new shorts I have to make a new pattern, which is kinda a PIA. He's big to begin with and his big cloth-diapered-inseam is hard to get right so I spend a lot of time thinking about this. I'd just made him some grey knit shorts the other day and did not get the pattern right (actually the shorts he's wearing the in the dinosaur tail photos. They look ok in the photo but they do not come up high enough in the back, and they are sewed like crap). But I was resolved to make him some shorts to go with his shirt.

So we drove to fabric store #1 and had no luck. There are so many cute girls prints... but good luck finding something with a hint of masculinity, grumble grumble. So we went to store #2 and I found a nice green plaid that I decided would do. So today I crossed myself and drew up a new pattern. I carefully matched up all pieces and sewed and, OMG, these are my best pants yet! I'm so proud of myself. They look like they came from the store. I'm going to have to make a couple more pairs with this pattern!

Ok. I'm pooped.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I've been avoiding my blog (and blogging in general) for the last couple of weeks. I wasn't trying to avoid it, but I found myself a little depressed and completely frustrated between the heat and a fussy toddler. I still really believe that this depression is tied to my menstrual cycle and the timing was spot on again. So I'm caught between being happy that I'm "normal" and depressed due to my "normalness". Also, I think there is a strict limit on the amount of fuss that I can bear witness to in a given time period and Michael has totally blown that limit a couple of times lately. I think it's teething... constant, never-ending teething, but some of it is just being a toddler, so I will just have to learn to deal.

But a new cycle cometh and my mood has been better lately (less the fussiness). But I've still been avoiding by making excuses about working on projects or being tired. And I have completed a couple of projects which I will post pictures of soon.

So what have we been doing lately? Well, I found a nice bike on Craigslist to pull the Chariot with and I have been trying to improve my long-dormant biking abilities. Michael seems to like it a lot, but he started to get tired the other day and fought it (and fussed) rather than succumbing to the nap (this is his specialty).

Me and Michael are still tending the weed patch garden. Our squash did great but is pretty much done now. We may replant it and try to get a second harvest. Our pepper plants have been a total disappointment. Most of the tomatoes are looking fantastic! The tomatoes are going to start infesting this house like tribbles.

I'd been wanting to take Michael swimming, but the admission prices for the public pools around here are criminal if you ask me. I don't see why 2 years and under shouldn't get a reduced rate... when you've got a kid that little you can't stay that long and I feel like I'm just wasting money. So we drive up to a park with a free "beach" and play in the fountains and lake. It's probably as much fun and there are other things to do around there.

Speaking of other things to do near the swim beach, I thought it might be a good idea to take Michael for ice cream after swimming the other day and the best place I could think of was the parlor on campus in the building attached to my graduate programs' building. I have avoided that place like the plague since graduation. But I have such fond memories of the ice cream parlor that I thought it was worth it. I remember my first class as a freshman and the seniors all walking in late (yes, seniors in with freshmen in this class) because they all stopped to get ice cream before class... ah, those were the days (it became a bit of a tradition to somewhat defiantly flaunt lateness with this particular prof with ice cream). But not only did I take Michael for his first scoop of St.ripe, but I got the bravery to venture back into the lion's den and stroll through my building. I ran into several profs and got to show off my adorable toddler. I was kinda glad that my old advisor wasn't there. In the end it wasn't nearly as scary returning there as I thought it might be. Maybe I shouldn't have been working so hard to avoid that place for the last 4 years.

I promise to post again soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


DH was watching Michael the other day and took him out to see our land and noticed that some of the wild blackberries were almost ready for the picking. So we went back tonight and picked the ripe ones.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but this was actually my first time visiting the land. It's not far away or anything, just not too accessible and not the best place for a young baby (however it's perfect for a rough and tumble toddler).

I tried to pick a couple of berries but the thorns were getting me bad so DH picked the rest and Michael and I walked up out of the wooded area to the clearing.

I know my picture sucks. If I cared more I would have taken a bunch of pics and stitched a panoramic together, but I don't. It's hard to see everything anyhow due to the lay of the land. Below is the aerial of the land. We own the big field and some of woods on the north side (about 40 acres). It's an especially nice piece of land if you're into seclusion.

Michael had fun walking through the weeds. A lot of them were as tall as him but he didn't mind. I think we got all the ticks off him, hopefully the chigger and mosquitoes didn't get him too badly. He's definitely becoming a nature boy. We were at the nature center this morning Michael got to see his first deer on one of the trails. I think the deer was as interested in us as we were in him.

The fruits of our labor.

I don't have any special plans for these berries. Just eat them as they are. I've been really surprised how much Michael likes them since I've tried to feed him blackberries on several occasions and he would eat one and squish the rest (he hasn't squished any of these, yet).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unexpected news

I love my baby. We have so much fun. Just looking at his sweet little face melts my heart. I love it when he hugs and cuddles with me. And it's because of him that I can say this: I'm so glad that I'm not pregnant right now.

One of my neighbors had a baby a few weeks ago and she asked me if I would be interested in being her full time babysitter when she goes back to work. Honestly, it was kinda flattering and part of me thinks it could be fun (her baby is really easy going, which helps). But there is no way that I could. Aside from the very obvious issue that my own kid makes me want to run away screaming sometimes (and I don't mean that as a joke, Zoloft anyone?), but we have just gotten to the point where we can go and do and have lots more fun these days. There are some things that we simply could not do with a bobbly-headed newborn, and some things that would be extremely difficult with a baby and toddler. I know I could make it work if I had to, but the point is that I don't have to just yet. A part of me would probably enjoy the challenge, but I know that I'm not ready yet.

But it seems like everyone is pregnant again. And all due around Christmas for some reason. I suppose it seems like everyone is pregnant right now because I'm starting to think about it again and that's when you start noticing. Pregnant bellies everywhere! And again, I don't want another kid right now, but there is still a draw to pregnancy and perhaps my subconscious is more interested than I thought.

And although my mind seems drawn towards the idea of another kid and I get anxious thinking about taking care of 2 kids, I don't get anxious about getting pregnant again. I'm really not worried about that, for a couple of reasons.... First, I have a great little boy that fills me with contentment. Second, I'm an ovulating rock star these days, that definitely adds to the confidence. And third, we have excellent IF insurance coverage now and for me most of the anxiety about reproducing came more from 'how will we afford treatment'.

And now a story.... When me and SIL were pregnant we heard DH's cousin, A, say that she was getting the itch to have another kid. She was catching a little baby fever. This really pissed me and SIL off because she had the only 3 great-grandchildren in the family and those kids were spoiled at every holiday and family gathering. And A and her husband are also terrible parents and I often refer to her children as the "monster" children (a situation caused by really poor parenting, the kids are not intrinsically monsters, of course). IMO, it was time for her to take care of the kids that she had and let some of the other women in the family have the babies. I was glad that SIL and I were having kids around the same time and I like that the boys are the same age, but A having another kid at the same time just seemed like she couldn't stand that she wasn't getting all the 'mommy attention' anymore.

So now SIL is pregnant again and scheduled to deliver in November. Good for her. But, it got dropped on us over the weekend that A, at 38, 'without trying', is pregnant with her 4th. I thought I was going to be ill. I talked to SIL, and yes, she's definitely a little perturbed by the timing. And as Michael and his cousin were trying to sleep and the monsters were running around, screaming and slamming doors, SIL reminded me to remember this when A's new baby comes. Of course, it's not like it will matter, they don't keep their kids on any kind of schedule or insist that they get enough sleep or anything.

And then their's A's 37 year old sister that has been trying to get pregnant for about a year now and hasn't had any success. I have told her that she should go to an RE after 6 months, but she hasn't... I think she's in a little bit of denial about the difficulties... and with a Fertile Myrtle sister it would be easy to be so. But I know it was kinda a stab in her heart when she heard the news too.

And then there's A's mother that has raised those kids for the most part, providing free, full time day care for the last 9 years. Just a year away from getting the youngest in school. Never actually getting to play the part of Grandma because she has to be the parent most of the time. I bet she had to have drink after hearing that news.

So when we were all having lunch over the holiday weekend A's husband was looking for a place to sit and eat. He came into the den where me and a couple of others were sitting and said, "Oh good, there's no children in here." Not exactly the attitude that a guy that's about to have his 4th should have. I've had to shame that man into changing his baby's diaper because it was hanging down to his knees. And the most ironic part is that he is wearing a "World's Best Dad" or something like that shirt EVERY TIME I see him. In fact, DH has forbidden me to get him any of those daddy shirts because of the joke that A's husband has turned it into.

And I'm sorry if it seems like I'm making A having another kid out to be the worst thing in the world. It's not. Obviously. It's just very, very irksome because these are people that don't seem to enjoy parenting, don't to do a good job of it, probably can't afford it, are blessed beyond belief to begin with, and possibly just doing it for the attention. And I guess that maybe I'm still a little bitter about how easy it is for some people to reproduce. Sigh.