Monday, May 21, 2012

oh the projects we'll sew...

Isis, my matron goddess, is driving me into fits of creativity insanity. In her honor, one of the diapers I'm working on for little bean has a Nubian Queen print.

So! I'm currently working on:

+a fitted cloth diaper. I've got all three pieces for the body cut out, and I'm hoping to get it more put together tonight.

+ soaker is done. Don't think I'll do a double length snap in with 3 layers of fleece ever again.

+still working on my Winged Knits tunic. I'm getting so much closer to completion.

+just had a small embroidery project get dropped in my lap. It needs to be done by the end of the week. It's small, but I have some wizardry to do with the machine that I haven't attempted yet, and it's been a long time since I've busted it out and played with it.

+I am functionally knowledgeable about my serger now. I serged the soaker, and realized one of the threads was not, I guess you could say. So, I figured out how to thread it, tried to serge it again, realized I needed to actually run more material under the knife if I was going to get a good seam, and wound up trimming the soaker a bit thinner. Not terribly complicated, but it's not beautiful or anything like that. I only have one color serger thread...white. I am currently out of money until I sell off more of my pocket diapers, so white it is, right now. I had some excess in my paypal account from selling 17 diapers and buying material to make some fitteds, but after a class this weekend, wound up with two bottles of kava and some kava butter, so buh bye to the excess fundage.

What else...

The DVR in my bedroom is 98% full right now. About 75% of it is DVRed craft, sewing, knitting, and quilting shows. I'm watching them slowly. Like, whenever little bean is feeling cuddly and needing to eat. (Yes, for those not in the know, my nearly 13 month old is BOTTLE fed, and still pretty much only eats from bottles).

The mister and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary on Saturday (9 years we've been together, not 9 years of marriage). And by celebrated, I mean he came down with a case of sun poisoning and I watched Black Death while he slept. Not a happy movie. Seeing Sean Bean get drawn and quartered...pretty gross.Also tried Amici's GF pizza, and a delicious salad, and then farted my way through the rest of the weekend uncomfortably. Come to find out, the mister KNEW it was heavily cross contaminated and didn't say anything about it to me up front. ...Jackass.

Our measly raised bed garden has now been filled with dirt and compost and is settling. It will receive plants this weekend. Our potato box is also ready, but I am an idiot and didn't order seed potatoes. Gotta figure out what we're going to do about that. I'm still looking for a mid-town vendor for vegetable plants that are organic. And by looking I mean I posted, once, on an AP forum I belong to. So, in other words, not very hard. The mister already bought our tomato plants. I have a heat treated wooden pallet down at my neighbor's awaiting some landscaping fabric, dirt, and greens. I plan to hang it along the fence in a relatively shady spot so we can enjoy greens all summer long. I do not have a good track record growing them.

Took a class this weekend on musculoskeletal stuff from an herbal, physical, and energetic standpoint. The herbal part was awesome. The physical part, I had hoped for more from. It wasn't that there wasn't scads of awesome information, but it's information I by and large already had, and stretches and exercises I already recommend to clients. I asked a fairly in depth question, and don't feel like I got any new info from it. The energetic standpoint, there was information in the slides I was interested in about specific cervical subluxations and their emotional/energetic messages, but when the class broke into groups to play around with energy medicine, I hit the bricks.

Martha Stewart's show today featured a really wicked awesome project I'd love to just hang around my house - Yeah, that's right...I was watching the Martha Stewart show. Wanna make something of it? They had an Israeli chef on and the food looked delicious too...there was some polenta dish and he made it with lots of cream, and I was thinking about how it could taste so much better if the cream was actually used to rehydrate dried morels... *drool*

I'm about to embark on some sugar free gluten free baking, using palm sugar and stevia as replacements. We'll give it a go. I really would like to eat more baked goods, but I'll be damned if I'm not already a chubosaurus rex, and need to cut down on the garbage that goes into my body.

Speaking of, here come the boys, with ice cream in hand. Check please!

Friday, May 18, 2012

things i am not good at, part...infinite.

there are many, many things on this wide round earth that I am not good at. Remembering to drink water. Feeding myself. Returning phone calls and responding to emails. Dealing with chaos and loud noise for more than about 15 minutes (ask me about kid's birthday parties. They're my favorite.) Reading directions. Following directions.

Directions. ugh. I am not destined to be a great seamstress. It doesn't help that I broke my machine out for the first time in five years. I missed sewing (and quilting, which is really my first love.) I am that person that reads the directions thrice, and still needs to make several cuts and corrections. It's not that I don't want to follow directions...I do. I'm just...distracted.

Anyway, so I decided that instead of paying a ridiculously painful amount of money to swap all of little bean's pocket diapers out for fitteds and covers, I'd know, sew them myself. In my spare time. Ha. Haha. Hahaahahahaahahaa. I work 3-5 days a week, have two children, and a house that doesn't clean itself. The sucktastic part is my working hours. I don't work a full 40 hour week. Oh no, no thank you. I work Tuesdays for about 4 hours during the day. It's a 30 minute drive, one way. I work Wednesday nights for about 4 hours...another 30 minute drive, one way, to a different job. I work Thursday day AND night, from mid morning, until after dark, and that's the same place as Wednesdays. I work Saturdays (2-3 a month), and Sundays (1 a month). It doesn't sound like much, until one thinks about how much time it takes away from "family time" know, the time AFTER most people get home from work. So, I'm gone a couple of evenings and a few weekends. It is SO hard to get our kids to bed that when I *am* home in the evening, I feel terrible about sneaking off to my sewing room to put stuff together. Wait until after the kids are in bed? HAH. By the time I get little bean to sleep, it's all I can do to stay awake myself, and then there's the mister, and I suppose he'd like to spend some time with me too, although I've no idea why.

Anyway, back to this sewing, I've made two covers now. I'm wondering if the lady who made this pattern was perhaps smoking crack. In one of the steps, it talks about aligning the gussets with the arrows on the pattern before sewing them in. Uh, there's no arrow on the Large pattern pieces. Thanks. So, I make the large one from just a singular layer of PUL. It's an unmitigated disaster, probably due to the pattern and my long dormant sewing skills, plus learning how to work a snap press. I wind up putting 4 snaps on backwards, and damned near destroying the diaper cover trying to remove them to put new ones on.

Next attempt, I make a medium, because the large makes her look like she pooped in it, it sags in weird places and is just ill fitting in general. This is not surprising, I didn't stretch the foldover elastic as I was sewing it down. This was a mistake. So, the has the arrows for where the gussets go...cha ching. I sew it out of 2 mil black PUL that I got for a song, along with a cute cotton print, more of the dreaded white FOE (foldover elastic), but this time I DON'T use a contrasting thread color. Thank heavens. This time I also forget what a 3 step zig zag is and wind up doing some ridiculous stitches around the gussets, and am just having an absolute devil of a time doing...oh, anything right. It doesn't help that the instructions are SO not detailed, and there's nothing about having to sew gathers into the gussets so they fit the allotted space, or anything about stretching the FOE as I sew it (which I learned from watching a video).

So, I look for my sewing machine manual. Surprise! In the last 8 years, it's been misplaced. So I download one. ...oh, I've been winding the bobbin wrong. Oh, that's what those stitches are for. Oh! Wow! My sewing machine is actually pretty smart! Oh...that's what those dials mean. *sigh* And then the bobbin runs out of thread, so I rethread it....and it's acting all...broken. So I have to go and troubleshoot and read the same suggestion about 50 times before I realize I've been threading the needle with the presser foot down and apparently that makes a big difference....Problem solved. Even put the snaps on the right way the FIRST time this time! WOW!

Without further ado, cover number one:

and now...cover number two:

I mean, I know they don't look that bad in the pictures, but they're not great, let me tell you. My grandma is coming home next week. She is going to put her glasses on the bridge of her nose, purse her lips, and proceed to tear them apart (verbally, of course). The good news is, though, she will help me become a better seamstress. This is the woman who taught me how to quilt, and she always pushes me to new heights. She told me once I couldn't hang doing a snail's trail quilt. I did. (Of course, it's not finished).

I can rise to the challenge.

I hope she'll teach me how to use my serger, though, so I can actually make some DIAPERS, instead of just covers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

thoughts on autonomy...

So, before i get off of my high, preachy horse, I've been thinking a lot about personal autonomy, feminism, motherhood, and attachment parenting. Oh ho, dear readers...I can't seem to pronounce autonomy right, either. I'm not an idiot, I just play one on tv.

I definitely understand the validity of choice, and am thankful for those feminists who went before me who have guaranteed such a thing. I am just having a problem with the third wave mommyhood backlash. However...

I don't see how giving up your autonomy for your children is any different than giving up your autonomy for a career. Your boss tells you what to do, how to think, what to wear, what time to show up, when you can eat, when you can leave. My bosses tell me when they're hungry or bored, and don't give a crap what I do, other than that, don't care that I may have worn the same tank top three days in a row, don't care that I eschew a razor for armpit fuzz, don't care that I eschew a trendy haircut for a buzzcut, don't care that I can't stand makeup, don't care when I eat or go to the bathroom or how I think. They don't care that our day might be spent outside, or cleaning up, or doing nothing but lazing on the couch. They are happy to be with me (in the case of little bean) or happy to have their freedom to do as they please (in the case of big moyashi). I am background noise, which leaves me the opportunity to coexist, enjoy my time with them, and then enjoy my time in their proximity doing my own thing.

I don't get up and spend time in rush hour traffic, I get up when little bean decides she's hungry and awake. I don't have high powered corporate three martini lunches. I eat out of tupperware standing up in the kitchen or try to keep chubby baby hands out of my lunch. I may eat lunch at 11. I may eat lunch at 4. I eat when I'm hungry. And the housekeeping? Or the "woman's work"? Man, you're gonna do that anyway. You have to do your laundry, why not do some more? You're gonna have to clean your bathroom too. Or you're going to have money to pay someone else to do it, and frankly, the opportunity cost to make enough money to hire a housekeeper is far higher than what I'd gain. I don't do the cooking here, so I can't speak to that.

I guess it comes around to what you value. I *do* value being able to make a living. Trust me, I've done it. I was the breadwinner for our family for quite some time before the current arrangement. I like this a hell of a lot better.

Just some thoughts. Next up...a return to our regularly scheduled programming. Crafts, food, the usual.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

last i checked, i was mom enough.

so, this whole attachment parenting issue with the mom nursing an older child is causing quite the stir. Before I even knew about the cover, I had read a few articles on, mostly critical of the AP movement, and one op ed piece comparing AP to a drug habit. ...Maybe I'd find that more entertaining if I weren't a recovering alcoholic.

Anyway, I was pretty pissed after reading some of those articles. And I've sat and thought on it for a bit, here, because lord knows the internet needs another blog post about this crap, with yet another parent on one side or the other self-righteously chest pounding that their way is the right way, or the only way. Time magazine is doing what it was designed to do - provoke thought and arguments. While I am now just rolling my eyes at some of their AP-critical articles, I am still (self righteously) pissed about Elizabeth Badinter's book The Conflict, and her anti-breastfeeding, anti-motherhood rhetoric, all in the name of feminism. That is a related blog post that could take me DAYS to write, and would probably take a few hours to read. We'll skip that for now, and probably forever. Well, not totally skip it - I would just like to point out that the publicity firm that Badinter has no small stake in is the rep for nearly all of the formula giants. Uh, conflict of interest much? Yeah. Thought so.

One thing I will take from Badinter's The Conflict is what she calls the "naturalist" movement of parenting (or some other similar buzzword). Call it naturalist, call it AP, call it evolutionary behavior, call it a biological imperative. I think it's ridiculous to separate us from the animals, because...uh, we're animals. Opposable thumbs have given us an advantage, but to what end? The population has exploded, we've got an assload of social problems, starvation, and now science tells us what's good for us. Oh wait. But now it's bad. Oh wait, but now only this part is bad. *facepalm*

There's this crazy thing called intuition. I use it in my parenting. I don't care how you parent. If you want to stuff your kids full of french fries and coca cola, shut them in a room while they sob til they vomit, teach them that competition and money are the only important things in life, more power to you. I look forward to when your segment of the population goes the way of the dinosaurs, just like Pottinger's cats. Going back to that first sentence there, how does it make you feel when your baby is crying? Like you should pick it up? Then go ahead and do it. Hey, how do animals throughout the animal kingdom feed their babies? Do they go to the store and grab a can of a breastmilk replacement? No? Then you probably shouldn't either. Again, we are not that far removed from animals.

If your intuition tells you your baby will sleep fine on his or her own, in his or her own crib, in his or her own room, awesome. If your intuition tells you your child will not be sleeping anywhere but in your arms, awesome. But just flipping listen to it! Jesus Haripod CHRIST. Why do we need someone to tell us what to do all the time?! Trust me, I am no huge fan of Dr. Sears. I could hardly slog through his Fussy Baby book. If you are looking for scientific studies to tell you it's ok to let your child cry for a little bit, I am sure they are out there, as well as evidence to the contrary. Eggs are good, eggs are bad, coffee is good, coffee is bad. Great, what does your body say?

Anyway, I guess the point here is I don't think modern society is all it's cracked up to be, and I don't need someone to tell me how to raise my kids. My oldest slept fine on his own. He never had to cry it out. My youngest let me know from day one that she would not be separated from me for even a second and lord help me if I thought about setting her down. I did what worked for each of them. Surprise! They're both still alive! I do wish I had known more about nursing when my son was born. I do wish I had been able to establish a nursing relationship with my daughter (who was born with a cleft palate). Would I have nursed them well into childhood? I don't know. It would be handy to not have to get out of bed 5x a night to make little bean another bottle (yeah, she still wakes up A LOT. Big moyashi did not.) Do I look at my friends who are happily nursing their toddlers and beyond and feel a pang of regret? Yup. Do I look at my friends who are trying to beg their children to wait awhile before nursing again and get pissed about getting stuck on the couch for hours on end with a pang of regret? Nope. The grass is always greener, and each option has it's pros and cons. I don't understand how we've evolved so much mentally to still have to have other people tell us what to do and what is right. I just don't. What's right should be individual and come from within. If you can't do a head, heart, and gut check and figure it out...well, maybe you need some more quiet time.

And the pain of natural childbirth thing...well, there's a big payoff. Ever experienced a birth high? It lasts for WEEKS. You don't get that huge surge of birthing chemicals if you're doped to high heaven. I wound up with an epidural after 28 hours of labor and 10 hours of intense vomiting and dehydration and back labor. That epidural wore off. I was able to move around to give birth. It hurt, a lot. I screamed and begged and pleaded for a c-section, because it felt like my hip was going to split in two (that's not normal, folks, she was coming out on an angle). That 55 minutes of pushing felt like an eternity. Then I spent the next several weeks in a state of sleepless bliss, contentment, and awe. Thank you, oxytocin.

Two other things and I'll end this already abysmally long rant.

One - We've grown up in tribes, and now we're all separate. Find your damned tribe and stop whining about how hard it is to be a parent. Yeah, it's hard when you have to do it all on your own with no physical, mental, emotional, and moral support. Meet other local parents. I promise they won't bite.

Two - jiminy cricket, if I hear one more "feminist" complain about what a time suck children are, I will slap them across the face with The Feminine Mystique. Can I get a huge and resounding DUH?! Yeah, having kids is a time suck. It's a priority change. It means putting something other than yourself first. Hard to do, I know. No, really. I know. Having children is making a commitment to a future generation. It's hard, it's tiring, it's thankless, and we're biologically hardwired to do it. Thankfully, we've got this righteous thing called free will. If you are not willing to give up EVERYTHING for your children, don't have them. When you're willing, you'll find that you don't need to give up everything. Or really, much of anything. We grow, we get old, we change. I'm sorry for those who feel having children is too much work. It's a hell of a lot of work. Especially when you have a high intensity child. I had no idea how much more work those were. But that work is some of the most gratifying I've ever done.

I don't know if I live in some kind of creepy alternate universe, or what. My partner, the mister, does a ton of work raising our children and helping the household run smoothly too. It's not about men's work and women's work. I have an awesome tribe I belong to of people from all walks of life who argue about EVERYTHING but never fail to give support when it's needed. I am constantly trying to find the balance between work, play, children, family, and alone time. Not everything always gets done. I think what we most need to fear is the cult of perfection. It's not about being mom enough. Or man enough. Or womyn enough. It's about being able to live with our decisions, know when something isn't working, and f**king change it already.

/end rant.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

a bit past walpurgisnacht.

Hunh. Been a bit here since I've updated. Late February? Check.

So...getting up to date.

Little bean's surgery was March 6th. I was worried it wouldn't take place, because she had been running a fever intermittently and vomited a couple of times in the 3 days before her scheduled date. Thankfully, they decided to do it anyway. She went into surgery at 7:30, and came out just after noon. To say holding her in recovery was heartbreaking is like saying Van Gogh could paint kinda well. Palatoplasty, veloplasty, myringotomy. She was bleeding from ears, nose, and mouth. It was horrific. We were in the hospital for 4 days. It took most of those four days for her to decide she wanted milk again. Her healing has been great. She's making new sounds, her mouth healed up with no complications. Those first few weeks were pretty awful, though. The painkillers did a number on her tummy. When constipation arises due to narcotics, it is not just a matter of getting the rectum to relax and move the stuff through; it's because gut motility has slown down to almost nothing. Horrific.

Not long after that, we got the approval from the bank for the house sale. Within 10 days, we moved into our new place. The next week, the mister's stepfather passed away, so he was gone for 4 days attending the funeral in the deep south. Two weeks later, he was gone for 3 days unsuccessfully turkey hunting. We've been here just over a month, and are finally starting to settle into some sort of routine. My work schedule changed the week after we moved, too. Oh, and little bean and I got sick.

We put big moyashi back in school for the last 6-8 weeks of it. At the time, my rationale was 3-fold: let him make local friends, check his progress against that of his peers, and give me some time to find my center again so I could be a better parent, and a better homeschooling facilitator. I honestly didn't think we would get such hassle from the local school district. I am blown away by how crappy most of them have been about it. They sent big moyashi to the social worker because the teacher hadn't gotten his records yet from his last school. For real? The social worker? That's not the part I have a problem with. It's the part where I found out from HIM, and nobody from the school contacted me, and when I *did* call his teacher, she was wicked defensive about it. I have a lot more to say on that subject, but that's a lecture for another day. Suffice to say, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have made the same decision. Our street is loaded with kids. I can't keep him inside, he is always out there playing (not that I'm complaining). He is doing just fine academically.

I do think we'll be trying time4learning in the fall for some subjects. I have heard rave reviews and I think it will help him work a bit more independently, which would be nice. I want to keep doing story of the world stuff, as well as some other science stuff.

I've been considering doing Hogwarts Summer School for him, and I did subscribe to Herb Fairies with him in mind (sorry, folks. Registration is closed now.) So I'm thinking about combining the HerbFairies content with traditional herbology stuff. I think this weekend I'm going to do the invitation thing, I still have parchment paper, and set up some traditional Hogwarts curriculum along with some stuff of my own making. I've got tons of magical books. I also have a gigantic folklore encyclopedia covering magic through many, many different cultures over history. I think that would be fun for him, as well as teaching the real world skill of doing research.

Little bean hates it when I use the laptop, because she wants to pound the keys on it, and she is determined. There is a lot of "no thank yous" and hand moving.

Speaking of baby frustrations, she is starting to stand without support, she is cutting 4 teeth, scribbling, not sleeping well, signing "milk" and "more", and throwing horrific tantrums. Love her so much, but I am so tired. All the time. She turned one two weeks ago. They grow far too fast.

On the garden front, the mister and I have been arguing a lot over how to plot and plant the garden this year. We are starting from scratch, and have VERY limited space. We live in the midtown area, where the soil is mostly clay and our back yard is a swamp. We will have to do raised beds again, or containers. My vote is containers, the mister wants raised beds. I threw my hands up in frustration and said, "it's YOUR body. You want to break your back building all that, knock yourself out." I love living over here, but hate that we downsized in terms of yard space. I miss our big garden. I wish I had more time and energy to be more creative with it. That being said, I am on the hunt for some heat treated pallets to do vertical shade gardening for greens along the fence. That way it keeps them out of the muck, we're recycling, and we have a longer greens season (they bolt awfully quickly here).

On the food front, well...nothing spectacular. Asparagus is in season. We actually bought some morels at the market last weekend. They were delicious. The mister missed morel season, which is usually ephemeral but was even more short, because he was way up north, not killing turkeys. We've been eating lots of hoophouse greens from the market. I actually cooked last week...blueberry coconut flour muffins. My body is not used to so much fiber. Oh dear.

On the craft front, I'm working on a tunic/pullover type thing from winged knits called Idlewood. It can be seen here. I am also working on a few diaper covers for little bean. Pulled my sewing machine out for the first time in several years. Hilarity ensued. I am not a fan of PUL, and it's extremely fussy to work with. That said, I am loving fitteds and covers, and once little bean grows out of the FB pockets we have, we are switching over to all fitteds. I know some parents can leave their babies in fitteds with no cover, but my daughter pees like a grown man finally breaking the seal after 8 beers. As such, even a high quality fitted like goodmama or bububebe goes from zero to soaked in a short period of time. Covers are our friends. Speaking of high quality fitteds...I want to make some. I cannot afford $40 a diaper for new, and I haven't even checked retail on used. Forget it, I'll do it myself.

So, happy belated May Day, y'all.