Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wha...? And Where Did June Go???

Wow! I can't believe its the last day of June!!!! Where did it go? Well....let me tell you....

Several days in backyard/front yard neighbors pools
A trip to Young's Jersey Dairy and an amazing ice cream experience (plus a carnival)

Library Reading Club (which went by the wayside with our schedule)
A teen Birthday Lunch at TGIF
Followed up with a teen sleepover with 3 friends
Mouse got her ears pierced....out of the blue
Fun Girl Scout meeting making things
A Father/Daughter dance put on by the Girl Scout Troop
where Mouse ate her weight in fruit but would not dance
An all day drive to grandma's in Arkansas
Swimming at the lake 2x complete with picnic dinner
An amazing Ecuadorian lunch and a walk thru downtown Hot Springs
Crystal mining with cousins
Another car trip to another grandma in Texas
Cousins and Aunts and Uncles too!
Another car trip to see another Uncle and family
And drop mommy off for a lake house girls weekend with her buds!
To Hell and Back
A special Double baby shower
Bones!!!!!!!!!!! My Bones!!!!
A sword fight at Hobby Lobby
A play date with old friends
Back to Arkansas
Antiquing for the bigs and the mall for the littles
Back to Ohio
Big Jesus burned down! There when we left...gone when we returned
Ortho consult
I could buy a car with that money. Not joking.
What insurance coverage? Its government insurance.
Beginning piano lessons for Songbird
More trips than I care to count to local malls.
A wonderful neighborhood birthday party
Family bike ride with picnic
Several books read
several Netflix movies watched

And July starts out with two camping trips - church camp for the teen and Girl Scout camp for the mouse and I.

I'm gonna be rather tired when school starts back up I think.

In a very good way.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Sunday Nap

Sneak away quietly as everyone is busy doing their own thing
lay down on the cool sheets of the unmade bed (left that way in anticipation of a nap)
wince at the wood creak from the bed...did anyone hear?
hear the comforting drone of the air conditioner kicking on
enjoy the feel of the moving air from the ceiling fan with the tick..tick..tick noise
Then comes the tinkling of the little dog tags as the rat has heard the bed
A hop up, a scramble in the blankets and a sweet dog sigh as he settles in
(this is the only time he is allowed in my bed as he is NOT my dog)
hear the drone of the NFL channel in the living room
And the pitter patter of little feet as it is realized I am out of sight
The big sigh when the Mouse realizes its Sunday nap time
a quiet retreat
the drone of the lawn mowers
the tweeting of the birds
a sweet fade into oblivion
There is nothing like a Sunday nap

Saturday, June 19, 2010

SnapShot Saturday: Why You Never Take Your Husband to a Craft Store Edition

Snaphot Saturday

Joining my friend Tricia in Snapshot Saturday
She started out with one sword...and then decided to use two....

How we managed not to get thrown out after a very loud, at least 5 minute sword fight I will never figure out.

The things we do to amuse our kids when plans fall through!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mademoiselle Moo Cow

Baby quilt number two for my friend Kelly! It's a girl! Patriot will have a little sister! Woooo hooooo!!!!

And you know, I loved the black so well in the safari quilt that I used it again!

I saw this fabric line - Urban Farm- online and fell in love with it. I don't know why. I'm not a farm kind of girl really. So I was pretty excited when we found out Kell is having a girl. But I admit, if she wasn't going to have a girl I would have used this for a charity quilt or something because I bought it before knowing.

So...the reveal....
Front.....the patten is called Urban Baby. I like all the different sized blocks. Love the raspberry color picked up in this top paired with the black.

The Back. I actually used a solid piece of fabric for the majority of the back. I did piece some of the scraps from the front along the top and bottom border...its a thing with me.

You will have to excuse my model....I drug him away from I Am Legend. Not very nice of me.
A close up of some of the front fabrics. The black has little barns on it.
A close up of the back. I LOVE the pigs. And the chickens. And the cows. This is actually the fabric that grabbed my attention and started the wheels turning in my head. Love it.

Hopefully this little blanket has found its spot in its new home. Kelly, I love you! I miss your sunshine so much! Wish I could be there to welcome your little girl into the world! Hugs friend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sweet Dreams of Africa

I am typing up theses two baby quilt posts as I complete the projects. It is so hard to wait to share in the reveal!! By the time this posts, both ladies should have received their gifts and this should not be a spoiler.

I have two sweet friends in Texas that are both pregnant at the same time. Funny thing is they also share a birthday! Luckily I was able to talk another friend into arranging a lake house visit that can double as a baby shower so I won't miss out on their joy! Claire - you ARE the best.

My sweet friend Kylie is having a boy! Seeing how her little bitty Avery is such the perfect princess, I was hoping it was a boy! It's just not time for little A to share that crown yet.

Kylie and her husband - the youth pastor that my teen and I miss and mourn - were once missionaries in Africa - Namibia to be exact. They have left significant pieces of their hearts there and have many forever friends still there. Last summer they were able to take the two kids and visit in conjunction with a mission trip. It was so wonderful for them!

I'm not sure how soon they will get to take the newest baby to see this beloved place, so it occurred to me that I could bring a little bit of Africa to him. (Even though its not like they lived in the jungle!)

I was given an African Animal panel by a friend that I knew I wanted to use in a baby quilt. I was going to do one of the charity quilts with it....until I found out Kylie was pregnant. Too perfect!

I changed patterns several times and it went from something very baby to what it is today - less baby and more WOW. I have to admit, if this was a first baby I NEVER would have gone this bold. And I still am kind of freaked out that I used BLACK. On a baby quilt!!

Want to see it??
The front. Most of the blocks are either African animals or animal skins/textures. It was not easy to find enough different ones but I did manage with the help of the internet. I had envisioned more cartoonish/babyish fabrics but when I ran across some of these awesome, rich, more real looking ones, it was all over. Baby went right out the window.The back panel. This is where I took my colors from. It also determined the size of the quilt. I think if I had it to do over again I would make it a little bigger...more square and less crib sized.
Originally I was going to use a bamboo fabric like frames the back panel as the sashing. It took awhile to find what I wanted (on the internet - forget looking for cool stuff here) but finally I had one picked out. Then, while re-reading the pattern it dawned on me that the strips run side to side - not top to bottom. This would make for some strange, stubby bamboo unless I ran it the wrong direction. Hmm. I was thinking about that.

Then I made a quick stop at one of my least favorite fabric stores on the way home from some errands and ran across this cross weave looking fabric that looked "African" to me. And the color looked like an exact match to the panel. I didn't have any of the other stuff with me but I took a chance and bought it.

And I'm so glad I did. It is perfect.

I have to say this has turned out to be one of my very favorite creations to date.

I tell you - I'm really loving taking an idea and making it my own and then watching it turn into the final product. Why didn't I discover quilting sooner???

And to my sweet Kylie...

Lots of love went into your baby's quilt friend. I thought about you every time I touched these fabrics and worked on it. Of course it made me miss you all the more...but I am thankful to have an outlet to remind you that I am thinking of you and your beautiful family! How I mourn not being able to watch your littles grow right before my eyes!

Love you friend!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Your Childs Reality Does NOT Belong To You

Hopefully this will be a cohesive post. My thoughts are pretty jumbled on the subject as I have children I gave birth to and an adopted child and what I've learned and lived is all rolled up together in both sets of issues.

The key point: Our child's views and realities do not belong to us.

I read a post over at a friends blog about a mother who spoke out recently when her son died. He had a drug problem. And she has been crucified in blogland and her parenting questioned. Her worth as a parent and person has been questioned by others. Because its HER failure....

I have raised a son to adulthood. It was not easy. During the most important years dad was always deployed. This resulted in lots of anger and acting out. It resulted in incidents. And that first incident? It about killed me. I was feeling really broken. I was feeling like a terrible parent. We were beating ourselves up and discussing what to do -- and Hubs made the comment that we had failed. Where had we gone wrong? What should we have done differently?

And while pondering together I had a revelation. We weren't bad parents. There is nothing we could have done to prevent this (outside of never letting him leave the house). The things that I would have done different if I had it to do over again -- I don't think they would have changed the outcome either.

Because bottom line is...

Your kid is a separate individual than you.

They have their own personalities.

They will make their own decisions regardless of the teachings/parenting they have had. It is all in THEIR hands.

And that is the way it is supposed to be.

I know, I know. You are sitting there saying, "We knew that already!"

Well so did I.

Or so I thought. But just like faith -- believing something and living something are two different things.

Now jump forward a few years and add adoption into the picture.

I spend a fair amount of time reading the blogs of adult adoptees. As an adoptive parent this is very rarely a pleasant experience. (Not that it is necessarily unpleasant either - it is just reality and not pretty when you look at the true realities of adoption.)

And reading one adoptee's site is always painful for me. Not because of what she is saying about the evil adoptive parents and the industry....NO. It's just her thoughts and feelings and her life. It's real. It's all about her thoughts of what could have been, etc.

And it reflects the inner life my daughter lives/will live.

And no one can change it. Not her, not me, not anyone.

And its not even my place to try.

But you will have the people come out of the woodwork and say that adoptees need to get over themselves. Be grateful for all the good they had. Like the good cancels the bad.

How brutal!

My daughter has a life that pre-dates me. And she doesn't need to be grateful to me! Her personality is not to be bound by MY reality (sunshine and rainbow and adoption is so grand!). HER reality is that she has a mother other than myself. A mother that did not keep her. And no matter what she has with me -- it does not cancel out what she lost. What could have been.

Get over it?


So adoptees are supposed to amputate part of who they are because its ungrateful not to?

That is sick.

Because our children - adopted or biological - are not bound by what we give them. Or what we teach them. Or what we think they should feel.

They are just a separate person that we have the gift of loving. The gift of raising (if we are lucky).

And they don't belong to us. They only belong to themselves. Our boundaries and teachings and love, etc., is only valid in their lives as long as they allow it to be valid. They can turn all of it off whenever they want.

And it doesn't matter what you taught them. It doesn't matter what you gave them. It doesn't matter all you did for them. It doesn't matter what YOU feel they should think or do.

It's all up to them.

So please. Don't treat your children like their reality is what YOU make it. Don't tell kids why they should think like you and then be surprised when they reject your standards. Don't tell an adopted child the good cancels out the bad.

Respect the fact that they have their own reality. And whether that reality reflects good on you or not as a not up to us. And don't let yourself fall into the trap of letting their choices define YOU as a parent or a person.

And for goodness sake people....get rid of the word "grateful". Not a single one of our kids ASKED to be born or adopted to us. They don't OWE us ANYTHING.

****Just to be clear - I'm not saying we shouldn't parent or teach or model or be anything less than a 100% involved parent. I'm just saying you do not have control over what your child ultimately thinks. You do not put the thoughts in their head. They don't owe you certain behaviors or thoughts. They are not your robot. They WILL make decisions you would not have made. They will feel whatever it is they feel, whether you agree or not. They do not OWE us certain behaviors or thoughts.

And let me assure you, if you can really embrace this reality and live it...

it actually makes all those bumps in the road so much easier. Because you learn to respect your child on a different level. You learn to allow them their mistakes or feelings without tying yourself and your feelings up in the situation also. You learn to start building that person-to-person relationship sooner alongside that parent-child relationship. (Notice I said ALONGSIDE...not IN PLACE OF.)

So parents...get over YOURSELVES.

And find a whole new depth in your relationship.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dear New Military Wife..or Military Wife To Be....

On Facebook, I am a member of a group that is military spouses.

I'm going to unsub myself because it is just ridiculous. Women ask hard questions and the majority of the answers that they get are totally selfish and a step down the road to divorce.

I cringe whenever I get brave enough to read the newest thread. And occasionally I get brave enough to go against the crowd and answer with a different voice....but not too often.

What in the world am I talking about??

Well, I don't want to really bring in specifics as I don't want to point to any one or more persons and say LOOK AT WHAT SHE SAID!!!!

So, for those young military mothers or spouses to be....

1. Your husband will be gone. Alot. And you might even make it ten years without this happening...and one day you will turn around and a good year will be the one where he was home more than he was away. This is the post 9/11 military. If you are not good with this DO NOT marry a military man. He has NO CONTROL over this for the most part. Taking it out on him is wrong, unfair and a divorce waiting to happen. Forcing him to leave the service because you don't like it is selfish and a step in a very wrong direction.

2. If you choose to be a stay at home mom, that is great. It is also your JOB. If you were to go into an interview to start back to work when the kids return to school -- and your resume was how well you kept your house, your kids, dinner on the table, your husband and your attitude....etc.....Would you get the job?

3. Your husband will look at you being a stay-at-home like it was a job. See above. He believes in you. He believes in why you stay home. He makes it possible. Do not repay this trust with a disaster of a house, no dinner on the table, kids that are not properly parented and a bad attitude and kids shoved into his face the minute he comes home. You will be fired. Bank on it.

4. If you want to work outside the home, that is great. Do realize that when your husband is deployed, it will be 100% you getting the kids up, fed, out the door, all appointments, dinner and other meals, and to bed at a decent hour. Many women do it. Do not take this out on your husband as he has NO CONTROL over his deployments. Get help if you need it. Hire a maid. Do not suffer in silence until he returns and then unload on him.

5. Very important. DO NOT TURN TO SHOPPING TO FILL THE VOID WHEN YOUR HUSBAND IS GONE ALL THE TIME. Debt can destroy his career. It happens all the time. It destroys marriages all the time. It is too easy to let it get out of hand and he WILL pay for it and be hauled in front of his Commander for it. People get discharged for it. THEN how are you going to pay off those bills?

6. Your kids are going to suffer because daddy is gone all the time. Did you get that? Your kids are going to suffer because daddy is gone all the time. It is a given. It sucks. It is NOT your husbands fault. The military does not care beyond some token services provided at some bases. Each child will be affected in a different way - but there are consequences for these absences. Be pro-active and get your kids any help they might need. And this could look different for each child involved. Some might even need professional help. There is no shame in this. Just do it. Suck it up and do the right are partially responsible for being married into the military - so don't take it all out on dad.

7. As a mother, the kids ARE your responsibility 24 hours a day. There is no time clock. Men tend to be totally confused and resentful when you shove their children in their face the minute they walk in the door and rant about how awful or hard your day was. From the beginning, be sure to have an understanding with your husband on some alone time for mom. Ideally you will also make a standing date time for the two of you with NO kids. (And a date does not have to cost money.) Talk it out. Find what works for you -- and it shouldn't be the minute he walks in the door. He needs time to decompress from his job. You know, the one that actually pays the rent and puts that food in the fridge? And if you both work, make sure you come up with some kind of divide and conquer routine on who is doing what so one partner does not get stuck doing it all. You have to actually talk this over and make a plan - assuming he's being a jerk by not jumping in and taking the kids while you handle dinner is not going to get you anything but worked up and mad. TALK about it.

8. If you are a stay-at-home, don't let yourself fall into the "I work harder at home, than he does as work" mentality. In a way that could be true.....but you are NOT providing for the family...he is. You are not paying the rent. He is. You are not buying the food. He is. You are not providing the medical coverage. He is. And most importantly -- he did not choose to stay did. If you are resentful being at home, go to work. It's not better for your kids to see a grumpy housewife that harps on her husband or teaches her kids how to be resentful by modeling it...being happy outside the home is much healthier for them. And if you work and feel this way - TALK about it. Men actually do not read minds and are happy to fall into the old fashioned idea of dad walking in and sitting in front of the tv or whatever. Don't enable them.

9. Military wives can be the most brutal bunch of women you ever come in contact with. It's not a tv show. You will run across the working moms that think the stay-at-homes are scum of the earth, beaten down slaves. You will have the stay-at-homes that return the favor. You will have women who call in any infractions they can just to get people in trouble. And that is a big one as nothing like it occurs in civilian life as they are not micro-managed in the same way military families are.

10. Military wives can be the most caring, supportive and amazing women you will ever come in contact with. They love hard and they love fast...because no one knows what tomorrow brings. They stick together in adverse situations. They step in quicker than most other women when bad things happen. They can also be a little harder to get to know for all the same just never know what is going to happen. But once you have made a true friend of a military wife...chances are it will be FOR LIFE. No matter the miles. No matter how many years pass.

This is a hard job ladies -- whether you work or stay home.

And let me qualify a few points....

A clean house is subjective. I will never win any cleanliness awards...but I'm not embarrassed for someone to drop in for a surprise visit. And toddler mess never counts as a true mess...its more like a temporary explosion to be dealt with AFTER the little whirlwind is asleep. So, when I say to look at being a stay at home like a job -- I don't mean you have to be spotless. I don't mean you have to be perfect in any way. You just need to show that you can MANAGE those things you are in charge of...and not that there is NO management or they manage you.

Dinner means different things to different people. I'm a believer in home cooked, fresh meals for my family's current and future health -- but again, that can be subjective. If your husband is walking in the door after work and wanting a meal....most times it should be available. If he doesn't care - more power to you. A frozen pizza is a meal. Some men like to do the cooking and don't expect dinner on the table. Whatever your dynamics are, as long as you are both in agreement, you are on the right track. Again, its all about the managing of the details.

The kids? Be on the same page. You don't have to agree 100% in order to provide a united front. You just have to know to parent WITH your partner, not against him.

If you read any books on how to understand men, you will find that the number one thing they need from their wife is to feel like they are important and worthy. They need our respect. Need. If we aren't giving them this, you won't last. They need to feel like you need/want them. If we can't give them that we had better do some serious soul searching. Things will eventually implode if you don't get this worked out.

And tearing down their job? One of the biggest marriage killers there is. Because they are programmed to be the provider. You make them feel like a less than in this area and it will hurt.

And the military will give you all kinds of reasons to rant and rave about his job.

Be careful.

Be very, very careful.

And if you are going to spend all your time focusing on whats in it for want to stay far far away from the military. It will never be about you. It will never be about your kids.

It will always be about improvising


and overcoming.....

Together. Side by side. In agreement. Supporting each other. Sacrificing for each other when necessary. COMMUNICATING expectations to each other. And being each others biggest fan.

That's what you need to make it through being married to a military man.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Snapshot Saturday: That's My Girl! Edition

Songbird dusted off her sewing machine and got busy last week.

She has a special friend that is in for a surprise on our vacation.

That's my baby! (Who just turned 15!!!!!!!!! Noooooooooooo!)

Snaphot Saturday

Friday, June 4, 2010

On My Way Home

Yes it is! With a new binding made from the material you picked out! I hope it meets you there the day you return...or at very least the next day.

To all of my friends who have ever considered sewing blankets for any charity....

The above quilt is 13 years loved. It was a gift to a very small girl in a shelter many many years ago. A quilt that has followed a child through many moves and many of life's ups and downs.

It is very very important.

It's binding was in tatters. There were many little places that were loved to pieces. But it is better now. And it is by far the most important quilt I have ever touched or worked on.

If you have any interest, please make the step this make those quilts or blankets and donate them. There are so many causes....from Childrens Hospitals, to homeless shelters, to battered women's shelters, to foster care....

I have joined our states Binky Patrol to donate to our foster children.

And as a side to that....

I was told by a former foster child that a pillow case that could double as a bag would be great for the teens (who make up the majority of foster children). She would have rejected a blanket as too "baby" but still needed that something to cling to in the night. A pillowcase would have been great. And the bag ideal comes from her sharing what it makes you feel like to put what you have in a trash bag when you are moved yet again. You feel like trash.

(A quick side note on that: People have suggested suitcases, but most foster agencies have no where to store them so can't take them. A fabric bag that takes up no room is more likely to be accepted in your area.)

So friends, let this be the summer. Find out who in your area is in need. Make ONE. And if you find you enjoy it....well, commit in whatever way your heart tells you.

And let me know! Tell me about that ONE.

And let me know I made a difference.

Because if you knew the love of that little quilt I patched couldn't NOT make one!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adoption Poetry At Grown In My Heart

This months adoption carnival over at Grown in My Heart is all about poetry.

Oh, the agony.

This isn't my thing really. (And its not Tonggu Momma's thing should check out her poem...which is really the Tongginators poem).

But here's a shot at it.... (don't expect it to rhyme...that is asking too much)

A Frymark Adoption

Our world was all shiny
all rainbows and ladybugs
The anticipation was intense
Awaiting this new child to love

Yet there was so much we didn't understand
while we had light and happiness
Half a world away you had darkness and fears
A break that can't be fixed

And while we knew
We were giving a child a home
A child that did not have a family
We didn't really know

That there is a hole that is unfillable
In your tiny little heart
And love does not conquer all
No matter what the adoption agencies say

So for my little girl
I can only hope and pray
That the life we live together
Is at least better than an orphanage

Because we will never be what was best
We can never be even what is second best
Or even third best
We might only limp in at fourth best

And you deserve so much better
My beautiful little mouse
So I promise you MY best
For all my days