Home Ec Fail

My daughter and I sewed a pillow tonight. That may sound mundane to some of you but let me be clear that this is a huge accomplishment for me….not so much for her as she is already ahead of me as a seamstress, but it is big for me.

I was not a student excited about Home Ec class; I wanted nothing to do with cooking, figuring out what color palette looked best on me, grocery shopping lessons, or budgeting. But the subject that frustrated me the most was definitely sewing. I just don’t get it. The patterns make zero sense to me. Pinning the stuff to the pattern (that is something you do, right?) just seemed like a waste of time plus I always stuck myself with the stupid pins. Forget about translating the pattern to actual fabric, that was just nonsense in my brain.

My teachers from junior high up through high school inevitably relented and helped me get my project ready for the sewing machine and then I’m sure they cringed because I can break a sewing machine in no time at all. In fact, I recently broke my mother-in-law’s sewing machine within 5 minutes of sitting down and hadn’t sewn a single stitch!

The sewing itself should have been fairly simple with the technology-enhanced machines available at our school but pushing the fabric through slowly and in a straight line requires a type of patience I simply don’t possess. Add to that the constant bunching and knotting of the thread, my inability to remember to remove the pins, and the attention I needed to pay to the hilariousness of my friends trying to sew around me and you can understand why Home Ec was a difficult class for me.

By my senior year (no, I’m not sure why I kept taking these classes but they kept showing up on my schedule), the teacher had relegated me to using the basting machine only. I’m not entirely sure what this machine does or why I was capable of using it but I can tell you that I churned out a number of knit pants that semester! Too bad the tunic and leggings look was out of style by then…..

With this background knowledge, let me tell you again that my daughter and I sewed a pillow today. (Thank you for the bright smiles and applause.) She sewed a bit with  my friend over the weekend and declared that she knows how to sew and wanted to sew some things. So, I put her off as long as I could and then dusted off the little pink sewing machine another friend had handed down to us a couple of years ago. I have to admit that I was terribly nervous that I would never figure out how to thread the stupid thing and we would have to wait for Daddy and I would be a complete failure. Luckily, instructions written for pre-teens are fairly easy to follow and I was able to thread the machine with little difficulty and no swearing.

I then found a swatch of fabric I had purchased for who knows what reason and realized we could fold it over, sew three sides, and make a pillow. Holy crap, we could actually make a pillow. It is not pretty, it is not perfect, and the stitches will likely not hold through the night, but we made a pillow and I am very proud of myself…I mean….her.


Things I Said Yesterday

This is a list of things I actually said yesterday. Yep, in just one day I was a font of ridiculousness.


Why are you fighting with light sabers when you don’t even have pants on yet?


How did your shoe get on the roof?


We’ll have to draw names for cupcakes.


Bring me the rubber bands, your boobies are showing.


Everyone work together to put away the jam, please.


I wish you could hug Grandma Shirley through the computer too.


She’s not looking at your penis, she is helping us give the dog a bath.


You’re right, I do get to see you and talk to you every day, isn’t that awesome?


Yes, using NFL player’s numbers is a great way to remember what page you are on in your book.


I don’t see any of your body parts on the street, I think you’re fine.


The girls were sweeping and now we’ve lost them, crap.


I think I should keep track of these nonsensical statements every day, yesterday surely wasn’t an anomaly!


Note: This is not a compilation or an exaggerated list, I truly uttered each of these things yesterday.

That’s Just the Way God Made Me

I joined a discussion at church this week on a book entitled “The Me I Want to Be,” a fascinating look at why and how God created each individual. I lobbied to be the representative of my committee to attend this discussion because I’m still just not quite sure who I want to be, let alone who I’m meant to be.


The first discussion centered around some important questions such as: what makes you feel alive and how do you discover who God intended you to be? I am sincerely baffled by these questions and that makes me sad. Many of the group participants could remember at least one specific moment in which they felt truly alive, they could imagine a scenario in which they feel at peace, or could pinpoint a habit, person, or act that gave them pure joy. I, on the other hand, struggled. Someone asked if the birth of my kids made me feel alive or joyful……. I remember feeling happy but also tired, sore, irritated, hungry, overwhelmed and a hundred other emotions. My wedding day? Fraught with varying degrees of happiness, confusion, tears, and some drunken dancing.


What does peace feel like? I honestly don’t think I know. Is that a product of having three small children and a house in disrepair or something internal, something broken?  I don’t want to get all maudlin and  I’m certainly not implying that I’m not happy; I have a wonderful, loving, and supportive husband who is still my favorite person to hang out with and is pretty cute too. I have 3 healthy, smart and engaging kids who bring me much joy. I have an extended family who, despite their quirks and odd behaviors, are a tremendous source of love and laughter. And my friends…well…they bring me a unique sort of joy….


But all the good things in my life are surrounded by questions and concerns stemming from my own negative self-talk, my own perception that I don’t know who I am or want to be.  I’m almost 35 and haven’t really started a career yet, for pete’s sake!  Although a woman at the discussion last night thought I was 25 so I may just go with it…


So, the next step is to figure out what I’m meant to do, what I’m intended to do, what makes me happy.  I wonder if anyone is looking for someone to dent their garage or shed? I just spent 20 minutes serving a volleyball against my shed and it gave me a lot of satisfaction. (Sorry, again, for the dented garage, Mom & Dad).  I wonder if I could somehow get paid to write this random crap without having to pander to advertisers or the visions of others.  I wonder if I could teach preschool in my basement?


I’m not sure I know who God intended me to be but it appears that my 4-year-old daughter already does. I took her outside to play catch this afternoon and kept admonishing her to keep her eyes open as she attempted to catch the ball. After the 5th or 6th time she replied, “Mom, that’s just the way God made me.”  If only I could have her self-confidence…but not her ball handling skills.

Snapshot of My Kids

It is so interesting to watch my kids change and develop; sometimes I have to stop and really notice how they have grown and matured. There are certain moments that act as a snapshot of sorts, highlighting who they are right now.


Drew: Bridget and 2 other children were playing a very complicated version of house that included strained familial relationships and hot lava, hopping around the yard to avoid getting burned up while maintaining their fort home and faux-sibling relationships. Drew had been invited to play but declined, choosing instead to intermittently shoot hoops with his older brother between breaks sitting on the deck and petting the dog. He was obviously playing close attention to the house situation, however, because he would periodically yell, “Here comes a bomb!” and chuck a soccer ball at the intrepid lava-avoiding family. He never intended to actually hit any of them, there was no malice in his addition to their game, Drew simply wanted to be included but only on his own terms.  He is not interested in imaginative play but does find it hilarious to make girls scream and run….great.


Sam: I recently bought the boys roller blades and this crazy amazing March weather has afforded us the opportunity to practice skating. Sam asked if he could ride his roller blades on our afternoon dog walk; I was nervous about our hilly neighborhood and his shaky skating skills but agreed that he could try it. He was very careful and slow on the trek down our street and around the corner and was struggling a little bit to go up the hill on the back side of our block…until he noticed that his good friend Ben’s dad was outside his house. Ben is very athletic and his dad is Sam’s soccer coach, facts that I’m sure were flitting through Sam’s brain as he casually sped up, started really working his legs like a professional roller blader might and refused to look in his coach’s direction. I was almost doubled over in laughter as I visited with the coach who honestly couldn’t have cared less if Sam could roller blade or not! Sam has an almost pathological need to impress those he respects but he would never want someone to think he was working hard to impress them.  Sam wants to impress teachers, coaches, parents and grandparents but will do it without eye contact or acknowledgement that he has noticed you are watching.  You can sometimes catch him glancing out of the corner of his eye, hoping you are suitably impressed with his skills; if you give him a sign of approval, you might even get an elusive real-Sam-smile!


Bridget: Oh how I hope this is a phase… I went to wake up the boys this morning and noticed that Bridget’s light was on. I know she didn’t sleep with it on so I sat on my bed and waited for her to emerge, nervous about the attitude that would rise from her bed. Before long, she sauntered (yes, sauntered) out wearing a new “every day” dress, a headband, and a preening pose. She carried the new big girl necklace Daddy gave her for her birthday and asked if I would help her put it on so that she would look “more beautiful.” Ugh.  She asked each of the boys if she looked beautiful this morning, reminded me that she was wearing a beautiful dress 6 times before 8:00, and brushed her hair without whining and crying because it would help her headband look more beautiful. There will be extra encouragement today to touch worms, play soccer or basketball, and a promise that she will be reading by the end of next week. Please be a phase…please be a phase…please be a phase….


Cement Rubble and Beanbags

It started with a trickle of water, an occasional small puddle and some hideous wallpaper and has turned into a disaster zone and catalyst for the newest grossest thing to happen in our house.


We get a small amount of water in our unfinished, cement block basement, nothing too major, but we knew we wanted to finish the basement eventually so Blair decided that now is the time to waterproof. Rather than hiring someone to do the work, he chose to sledgehammer out half of the perimeter of the basement himself and use child labor to haul the cement rubble out of the house. A great system which only caused two problems and revealed a third; the work caused an extreme amount of dust and small doses of neglect and revealed some plumbing issues….ugh. The dust is causing me to curse a lot and Drew to have some trouble breathing but the neglect and plumbing problems are the real issue.


Neglect: I almost forgot to feed the kids the other night before we had to leave for Parent/Teacher conferences because I’m awesome. Thankfully, pancakes are quick and fun and the kids thought it was a special treat! The dog, however, is being woefully ignored and has taken to carrying his leash around in the hopes that someone will take pity on him and go for a walk. I had the kids just run him down the street a little bit last night to take the edge off…I don’t think it worked and may have led directly to the grossest thing to happen in our house this week….but you’ll have to wait.

Plumbing: The plumbing issues raised questions in Blair’s mind about going ahead with the refinishing project now because “we might as well.” Yesterday we began the serious demolition work and finally removed the last vestige of 1968 wallpaper from our house. It was truly hideous (and yes, I saved a section of the best wallpaper selections we have removed and will be creating a memorial of some sort) but the removal of dark paneling and crazy shelves has opened up a ton of possibilities in the basement and led to even more neglect of children and pets. This whole project is both exciting and frustrating and will most likely be never-ending so if anyone h-as some free time and enjoys demo work, drywall hanging, plumbing, or dusting, come on over!


So, are you ready for the most disgusting event I’ve been a part of since the infamous mouse eating incident? I mentioned that our poor puppy is feeling a little ignored and apparently he has plans to exact his revenge on all of us. As we were getting ready for school this morning, Drew noticed a large pile of poop in the living room. The poop was not there when we got up so our bitter dog basically waited to poop right in front of us as a symbol of his discontent. Ugh. Sam is on poop duty this week so we got it all cleaned up and everyone out the door on time.  Bridget and I took them to school and came home to finish a grocery list and I realized that the stupid dog had stepped in his poop and tracked down the hallway and into my bedroom where he apparently danced a little jig on my cream carpet. Nice. Got it all cleaned up and away we went to buy some more very necessary craft supplies (ha!).  Warning: that was not the worst part of the story.


We got home from the store and Bridget convinced me to let the dog back into the house. The two of them raced to the living room where Bridget dove headfirst into Drew’s soccer ball beanbag, a favorite cozy snuggling place for both of them. Bridget’s head hit the beanbag, with Coby following directly behind, but she quickly jumped back up and yelled, “Mom, I’m all wet!” with a note of panic in her voice. Yep, my sweet Coby puppy peed in, not on, Drew’s beanbag and Bridget basically dunked her face into it.


She forgave him and was soon back to whispering sweet nothings in his ear (this is absolutely true, by the way). I’m still working on it. Now I have to go stop the stupid (and adorable) dog from eating any more drywall and cement….



Sometimes my husband is just plain embarrassing.

Example A: I am waging an all-out war on unwanted hair (thanks, Grandma) and spend an inordinate amount of time casually stroking my chin to make sure there are no coarse black hairs trying to emerge. I try to maintain two separate eyebrows and shave my armpits and legs regularly (well, at least in the summer I do.)

Blair, on the other hand, cultivates his errant hairs, coaxing the long eyebrow hair out of its nest so it can rest on the brim of his stocking cap. His goal is to one day join the two crazily long ear hairs he recently discovered with the power-of-Samson eyebrow hair into what he is sure would be a source of great power. He has become increasingly paranoid about the possibility of someone plucking his solid 2 inch eyebrow hair, probably because my sisters and mom keep attempting to pin him down and yank it out.

Example B: Blair arrived home this morning to remind me that a guy was coming to give us an estimate on water proofing our basement. I will still in work out clothes, hadn’t showered, and was just sort of grubby. Since I didn’t have time to shower or really make myself presentable, I simply changed into jeans and finger-combed my hair so that I at least didn’t look like the stereo-typical low-rent housewife.

Blair went ahead and changed his clothes as well, exchanging his poop-stained farm jeans and t-shirt for a pair of plaid pajama pants and a t-shirt. What a great first impression we must have made! Especially when you factor in Blair’s car sitting in the driveway: a rusted out 1985 Pontiac something or other. We are awesome.  But it gets better….

Blair and the sales rep ventured outside to look at the foundation of the house while I helped Bridget finish her lunch and get laid down for her nap. I glanced out the window and seriously almost died; Blair had added a plaid flannel jacket type thing to his ensemble and was walking around our yard in a plaid tuxedo. Honestly? Why not grab a plain sweatshirt of jacket? Why not put on jeans?

I love him dearly but sometimes he is just so painfully embarrassing… thankfully he is also adorable, smart and funny.

PS: Blair came up with plaidopus name when I called him out on the embarrassing outfit….gotta love him.

Weight Loss Epiphany

Good news everyone! I have found the key to weight loss! Read on for more information…

I’ve been contemplating recently exactly how I got to my current weight status; I like to ignore the obvious factors of eating too much and not working out enough and search for the entertaining answers that make me feel better about myself.  As Blair and I were reminiscing about a particularly memorable night out in college, I was hit by a major epiphany: it’s all about the shoes.

Allow me to explain in more detail. I was a very active child who spent at least an hour after school shooting baskets, sometimes with one or more of my oldest sister’s unsavory boy “friends.” I was a skinny kid with a very high metabolism and ate whatever my mother would allow. As I got older, I continued to be active in sports year round and continued to eat virtually anything I wanted at any time of the day or night.  Anyone remember the single serve Cheese Whiz things that you heated up for exactly 34 seconds? We could go through an entire package of those during a sleep over and think nothing of it; it was a more innocent time.

When I got to college, my activity level decreased somewhat since I didn’t have a coach yelling at me to run line drills every day but my weight didn’t increase all that much. The weight didn’t start creeping on until after I had kids but I am done blaming the kids for my tummy because I now realize that fashion is the real culprit. I didn’t put on weight in college because I was wearing shoes that each easily weighed 5 pounds. Want proof? Check out this photo.  (By the way, Heather, we need to discuss the fact that we are wearing matching shoes. I don’t remember why or how but it is slightly disturbing…) I would also like to point out that I would only wear boys’ jeans at this time in my life. Clearly I was a fashion icon.

How could I have gained weight while constantly lifting these monstrosities and the numerous pairs to follow? Sadly the shoes pictured here are not the heaviest pair I would own but I could not find photographic evidence. Let’s just say, they were my favorite shoes ever and to this day the most expensive pair of shoes I have ever owned. I loved them even after my future sister-in-law vomited on them and while my future husband ridiculed their density.  And it turns out, I had good reason to love them because they kept me in reasonably good shape!

I thought about trying to bring the days of giant Frankenstein shoes back into style but then I saw a woman wearing them and thanked the Lord that I am no longer stomping around on club feet and wished that she weren’t either.  I suppose I’m back to working out and eating right….but maybe I’ll work out in some shoes from my college days.