Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When I dreamed about family.....

Before I had kids, before I was even married, I used to daydream about family life and how great it could be. This picture is exactly how I imagined it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fine Tuning- Career edition

I love my life. Really I do. In the past, I have been through times when I really, really didn't love my life. Those were very dark times so to be able to wake up every morning and say without question, I love my life, is a big deal for me. 

I have everything I ever wanted. I have a husband that I love and is truly my partner, co-conspirator through it all. I have wonderful, healthy (knock-on-wood. PTL) children, who make me smile constantly. I have a nice home. I never worry about whether the bills will be paid or if there will be food on the table. I have friends, the kind I can hug and the kind that I can only reach through a keyboard but they are all real friends.  

I have a nice life. I don't take it for granted.

I feel like I have to put all that out there before I start talking about the things in my life that I want to change. Not because, I'm  complaining. Not because I worry that I'll be viewed as ungrateful. But as a baseline. There are things I want to change in my life but I don't need to change my life. I need some fine tuning.

Not everything is peaches and cream. My career for one. It is at a complete standstill. I have job, it pays pretty well. The boss is understanding about the needs of a working mom but something needs to change. cannot continue with the long commute, 40 hours and lack of fulfillment. Temporarily that change may come within my current position.

My career is truly one of the lowlights of my life. I had potential when I was in school but a series of bad choices and bad luck, have left me underemployed and with a very low opinion of my worth to the working world. I honestly did not pick the right major in college and I have spent my career trying to fit into a field that doesn't fit me. But there is a saying, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." I am trying very hard to embrace that philosophy and be who I want to be. The challenge is that I don't really know who I want to be, career wise. 

At 40 years old, I am attempting to find my passion and jump start my career. It is not an easy task. Years of being in the wrong field have left me wondering if I have any talents that can be translated into a new career. Fear of leaving my family in a financial lurch has kept me from taking any risks. A lifetime of self-esteem issues have kept me from thinking I could ever be good enough to succeed in making a career out of the things I enjoy. 

This is a post without any kind of resolution. I am putting my goals out there without any real plan for making them happen. However, writing this down has been cathartic and a little eye opening. My fears don't seem so daunting when I go back and read this. I do have the safety net of my husband. My parents are nearby now to provide the extra support I might need, whenever it is I figure out what I want to do. Even if I fail, I still have kids that think I am the greatest. They are the best reminders that who I am is not what I do. 

Hopefully, there will be some follow-up to this post. A plan of action? A revelation? I don't know. 

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears" -Les Brown

I would love any resource recommendations for career transitions and finding your passion.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good news Monday.

Look, it Monday. That sucks. How about some happy stories?

The 7 year old sister of the little boy who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing is doing wonderfully with her prosthetic leg. A little good news for her parents who most certainly need it.

This! Watch it. But is anybody else bothered by how much this guy looks like Anthony Weiner. This guy would be a much better candidate for Mayor of NYC.

Prince’s new album cover is fantastic.

Complete Twitter awesomeness from Patton Oswalt. How did he come  up with all of that?

OK. SO not everyone cares enough about the royals to consider this good news, but I like Will and Kate, and I love that they are bringing modern parenthood (Men changing nappies! I never!) to the monarchy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

18 months

Oh my goodness, my little Landry, I cannot believe you are 18 months old. I know that every parent says that of every milestone but it is always true. The time simply speeds by in a blur with children. I can't believe it's been a year and half since you came into the world and changed it for the better.

You are 100% adorable and at least 50% evil. That biting thing is going to have to stop. Your love of trains can be exhausting but the smile on your face while you play means that I will assemble that bridge another time as you knock down, again and again. You are such a stereotypical boy. I've tried to not press the idea of boy or girl toys and lord, knows you have access to all the pink toys you can handle. But you always go straight for the trains, the cars, the tractors and bulldozers. I guess some things are just ingrained.

I love hearing you speak. And although, I want you to improve, I love that right now, it's a language only a few understand. "Dowa", OK, I'll get you an orange. "Bink?" Here's our special blankey. "Car?" Sissy is still sleeping. "Tom?" Yeah, you and Thomas the Train are tight like that.

Landry, I know you have to grow up. I want you to grow up. I can't wait to see who you become. How you harness your size and strength into something great. But right now, I am savoring
every last snuggle, because you are a world class love bug.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sometimes I think I have it together....

And then there are nights like tonight. As I write this it is 9:30 PM. My 3 year old is still awake.  I've been dealing with trying to get kids in bed since 7:00. My son is going through a "screaming bloody murder unless someone is in the room with him, preferably holding him" phase and taking forever to fall asleep even when he is exhausted. It never fails that just as he is about to drift off my 3 year old will yell something out in the hall and get him worked up all over again. By the time I am done with him, I have no patience left for her typical pre-schooler bedtime shenanigans. You can put your pajamas on all by yourself? Well F'ing put them on already and stop playing with that damn hand towel. Then I speed read a book chosen for its brevity. The Princess and the Pea tonight, as story with no redeeming qualities that I can discern but it's short so I picked it. And then I feel bad because she hasn't done anything to deserve my snappishness and probably has no idea why it's pissimg me off that she won't just put the damn toothbrush in her mouth.

I don't whether to drink or cry.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Deep thoughts...from my 3 year old.

C: Grandma, I am getting so big!

GMa: You sure are. You are big girl.

C: Yeah, but not my nipples. They are not big like my mommy's. When I get bigger, my nipples will get big and a baby will drink milk from them. Grandma, you have big nipples. :pokes her grandmother in the boob:

* by nipples she means breasts

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Polka Dot Pencil Skirt

Like sew many sewistas I love Gertie's blog and had to have her book on sewing retro fashions. I love it and plan to make everything in it even, though I shudder at the thought of me in a wiggle dress. Anyway, I just finished my first creation from the book, the pencil skirt.

Can I just say, I love. this.skirt! Not only is the pattern great, I love it in this navy/white polka dot cotton sateen. This may be the first clothing item in my new post-kids plus size that I truly love. I even think it is, dare I say it, flattering. 

I got the fabric at G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. It was normally $19.99/yd but was on sale for $12.98. I scooped up three yards and used two for this skirt. I have no idea what I am going to do with 1 yard of stretch cotton sateen but I'm pretty sure it will be for my three year-old. 

I also lined this skirt. This is the first time I have done a lining. It wasn't too hard and certainly did make the skirt seam more luxurious. I used a navy rayon lining from Joann $4.19/yard.


I modified the waist band to be straight across the front. It just seems more comfortable that way. I may make another version with the high band complete with boning.

I converted the back slit to a back vent using the tutorial on the "A Fashionable Stitch" blog. It was an easy change that I think really takes the skirt up a notch. 


I inserted the lapped zipper using the method taught in the free Craftsy class "Mastering Zipper Techniques" taught by the same Sunni that gave me the back vent tutorial. She was very useful in the making of this skirt. Anyway, the technique worked perfectly. The class is free. Check it out.

I hand basted all the seams before sewing them. I have been having lots of trouble with my fabric getting out of alignment and this helped a lot. It didn't really take too long. 

I know that you don't technically have to finish seams in a lined garment but I felt the need to do something, so I pinked the seam allowances and ran a line of straight stitches down each piece. It was less than the overcasting I would have done on an unlined item but still made it seam more finished. 

I added a some red bias tape to the hem allowance on the vent. Just a little something flashy on the inside as a surprise. I uses my blind hemmer foot to do the hem. It's the first time I have used it on an actual garment and I think it turned out well.

Errors and conundrums

My waistband ended up not having enough length to overlap and put in a button. I guess I shouldn't have done 5/8 seams down the ends? Next time I'll do 1/4 there. I ended up putting a flat hook closure there. 

Speaking of the ends of the waistband, one of the corners keeps turning back inward no matter how many times I push it out. I 'll have to do some research to find out what is causing it. 

I'm not really sure how I was supposed to finish the back vent. I just kind of winged it and overcasted the edges. I don't have a serger.  

I'm still working on proper fitting. This one is pretty good but it could get quite a bit better. The waist definitely needs to be tightened up a bit. 

But overall I think it turned out pretty well. 

Did I say I love this skirt? Cause I do! I plan to make this pattern several more times. The total cost of this one was only $36!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Help is here

As a child, I didn't grow up with my grandparents nearby. By the time I was five years-old, I was down to one grandparent, my mother's mother, and she lived in Florida while I was growing in Tennessee. She died when I was 10, so there was never the option of having grandparents nearby. But I was always jealous of the other kids, who not only had grandparents, but had grandparents they saw all the time because they lived locally. To be honest, I was also jealous of the idea of getting presents from grandparents too, they always seemed like the best gifts.

But it wasn't to be for me.

After becoming an adult and moving from Tennessee to Maryland (with stops along the way) and then having children of my own, I was once again jealous of in-town grandparents. My husband's parents had both, unfortunately, passed away before I ever met him (his mom during his senior year of high school) and my parents lived 600 miles away in Tennessee. Right where they had lived their entire lives.

Until last week. 

I had never ever considered the possibility of my parents moving. I could see my mom being on board but my dad, no, I just couldn't see it. Even when my mom mused about the possibility. I paid her no attention. When she talked about getting rid of stuff and putting the house on the market, I didn't think they would pull the trigger. 

Then they did put their house on the market. And then they bought a house five minutes from where I live. And then last week they moved everything out of the house they have lived in for the last 38 years and drove it all to Maryland and became my neighbor. 

I still can't really believe it. My kids have grandparents they can see if not everyday then almost everyday. My husband and I have a babysitter anytime we need/want it. Free! 

I have help. If one of my kids is sick and can't go to daycare- they can go to grandma's. If I get the call from daycare 11 seconds, after I walk int he door at work- grandma. If I need somebody to be at my house so a repairman can come in the day- Grandpa! The list goes on and on.

My parents aren't quite up for taking care of an 18 month-old and a 3.5 year old 40+ hours a week, so they will still go to daycare, but Caroline will cut down to 2 days a week and start going to part-time preschool 3 days a week. This is a possibility only because Grandma is now available to take her and pick her up. 

And it goes two ways. They have us to help them with all of the things that get hard as people get older. Repairs around the house, lawn mowing, navigating this and that. And down the line (hopefully, years and years down the line) care during sickness and beyond. I am so happy that they will be near me for however many years are left. 

The truly best part of it all though is that my children love them so much and vice-versa. Nothing makes my day more than seeing my "grumpy-old-man" father break into a huge smile as my little runs to him yelling,"'Pa! 'Pa!"

Wordless Wednesday