What a little sewing time can do

September 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Bilingual papi took the kids to the library this morning leaving me to solitary sewing time for two hours! I didn’t know it was going to be two hours so I didn’t really plan my time. Still, I did get a lot done. I finished 7 of the dozen diapers I’m fixing for a local mama, I sewed and free hand quilted another pod (I still need quality time with my sewing machine to get to the straps- time consuming!), and I started on a recon tee for a friend. I’ve had this tee ransom for months now. I’m so embarrassed. Luckily, she’s nice enough not to make me feel bad for taking so long. I really did need time alone to work on it… only because I needed time to think it through. Having worked a lot on it I realize I didn’t need alone time. I could have done it with the kids around, so long as they were immersed in something.

With baby brother asleep and bilingual baby involved in a dvd (she keeps checking Harold and the purple crayon and Corduroy from the library) I’ve got a little bit of time to finish hemming some maternity pants for a friend. Better get those done fast before they don’t fit her!

All in all, yay for me!

Fair Trade, Buy Handmade

September 27, 2009 § 1 Comment

A while ago, I was trying to make a black and white decision about what I thought was better for my family: local or organic. What I’ve learned since starting those questions is that in our area most of the time local means organic, though it may not be certified organic. Either way, right? So, I’m tending toward local, even if it doesn’t have the organic sticker on it. Am I missing something here? Let me know, if I am.

Another thought came into my head later: What about Fair Trade?

It depends what it is… Coffee needs to be fair trade, since there is such a history of people trying to make a living off of very little in this field. Most things local will be fairly traded, but you must be cautious. There are companies who say they are local but their goods are manufactured in China. I don’t have a problem with China; it’s with the companies in the United States that pick China to do their dirty work. Cheap labor is not good for anyone. I know times are tight (I know I’m feeling it) but cheapening the work of others, despite the fact that we don’t know them, lowers their worth and in my opinion lowers ours as well. I’m learning this from living in Vermont; from having two little kids who are so pure and so giving to others. Bilingual baby even said that I made her baby brothers scooter simply because she saw me put it together- quite a feat, putting together something with all those tiny pieces, with two kids wide awake, ready to help- though it was more fun to have them help me than to have it appear in all its red shiny glory. In her eyes, people make things. I love it!

So, if a kid is going to ask, wonder and beg you to tell them who made this or who painted that, who grew the food, who put it in the silo (still with the silos), who made it? I can see why people take pledges to buy handmade. When you buy handmade, you get to know the person (even if only briefly) who has made whatever you’re buying. You get to know pieces of their life- you get a story with your purchase. If you buy something at a farmers market, you’ve probably seen the person under their tent several times, looked at their creations and talked to them about how they make it, what gives them inspiration, etc. Can you imagine knowing the first and last name of the person who made your dish towels, your spatula, or your … whatever? I know most people have a little mug that someone made. It was either a family member who took pottery classes or someone local who sells them in town. You treasure that mug. You pull it out when you have a friend come over for tea. You talk about it. You are so proud of the fact that someone- a person, not a machine- put time and energy into making the mug (or mugs) you love to use the most. It’s a great feeling.

We don’t buy handmade all the time, but we do try to go out of our way as much as possible to reach for handmade. It’s simpler when you have a sewing machine to reach for that fabric and make the thing that your family member needs. Bilingual papi kept using plastic grocery bags for his gym clothes. I stumbled upon a tutorial on how to make a cloth bag that looks like a plastic grocery bag. Need met. It felt really good, too.

I think the next step for me is to buy handmade (or make) the gifts I give to others. Most times I try to since I have a hard time shopping for gifts. However, when I find something cool to make, I can just make it and prep it for giving. I don’t know if I’m ready for the pledge but for now I’ll show you the button that you’d see if I were ready to make the pledge to buy handmade.

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

A couple of months back, I wanted to take the Wardrobe Refashion challenge, where you pledge to make all your clothes for a determined period of time from preloved clothes or from fabric, etc. Basically, you aren’t supposed to buy new for yourself, and you get to take it as far as you want (i.e. your family, gifts, etc).

2 month pledge

Where does that leave me?

Lots of ideals. I like being an idealist, even if people peg me for a dreamer.

Bilingual papi is a Librarian

September 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

As Librarians are prone to want more and more information, conferences for disseminating some of that are always on the ready. Now that I know more Librarians I don’t think I fit the bill, but at one point I thought that’s what I would do for a living. I worked at the Salazar Library on my college campus for 3 of my 4 years and then later on worked in an elementary school library in Skokie, Illinois for 3 years. Ooh. Maybe I can only work in libraries for 3 years at a time… Maybe I’m haunted by Librarians of the past and they don’t want me to…

Okay. That was fun. Back to the reason of my entry this rainy morning. Bilingual papi is heading out to Salt Lake city for a conference and I’ll be the pants of the house (wait, I already am the pants! ;)) for a long weekend. That part doesn’t worry me. My concern, or rather, my poor me session is related to his flights to and from Salt Lake. He leaves at 6am and gets back at 10 to 11pm. Yes, my friends. That is what happens when you live so far East. Everything takes forever. I guess New Hampshire is quite close. Great. Anyone in NH want a visit?

The fun part is having the car for two “work days”. I’m thinking of going to Heart of Vermont to pick up more organic fabric. Now that I’ve been there once, I know what to look for. Since talking to one of the owners of Bebop Baby Shop, I’ve turned away from the bamboo batting that Joanns sells. Read more on the processing of bamboo fabric and the harm it’s causing our planet here. The nice thing is having Heart of Vermont. I’m using their thick flannel for batting – the padding, of my pods. Yummy.

Other than that, I’ll be doing our regular grocery shopping alone and who knows what else I can do. Should be fun…

The dog

September 25, 2009 § 2 Comments

We were walking home with a friend last night and after turning the corner to head to our place, the dog from the yellow house (they just moved in a couple of months ago) ran toward us. My friend, M, kept cool, while I was feeling so threatened and scared. I had baby brother asleep on my back and this was the same dog who had scared bilingual baby a couple of months ago. Her scare got her to think that she doesn’t like any dogs and we have to ask friends to hide their dogs when we come over- and they’ve been great about it. Last night, however, even with the owner of the dog standing at his door, it was as if the dog was in the wild. I kept looking back, worried that the dog would jump on my little baby boy or that bilingual baby would catch wind of this and start freaking out- which she didn’t. Luckily she was on bilingual papi’s shoulders several feet ahead.

I can’t seem to convey the fear that went through my body. The fear kept the real question out of reach, until M voiced it: Why didn’t the dog’s owner reel him in? Or more importantly: Is this guy out of his mind?

I think the whole house needs an intervention- I’ve heard stuff as we’ve walked by but never wanted to get involved as I am always at home and always with my two little kids. To protect them, I’ve stayed out of it all. It does concern me that this dog, especially when the owner is outside, becomes more crazed. Bilingual papi remembered later on that something similar, however less stressful, happened on another night when he was out with bilingual baby.

I’m thinking about complaining to the police, but I’m going to take M’s advice and swing by the station someday instead of call.

They breathe in unison

September 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

After a day full of debating with a two year old lawyer and consoling a teething one year old, the sound of two children sleeping is music. Pure music. It’s so easy to fall asleep next to them after putting them to bed. I guess I should say that they put us to bed as much as we “put them to bed”. Our sleep routine, for lack of a better term, begins when baby brother starts to get tired. He leads us upstairs where we get everyone’s teeth brushed (mine, too) and possibly do a bath, if someone requests it, and head into our room. Baby brother and his big sister play as he gets in some pre-bedtime nursing in between giggles. Just when I think he’s about to fall asleep, I’ll hear bilingual baby get off the bed, head over to the closet and say, “I think my brother wants to play with me”, and he in turn gets off the bed and plays with her. They laugh so hard together. It makes a long day melt away.

When this first started I was alone with the kids- bilingual papi was doing one of his late nights at the university library. I don’t care when the kids fall asleep when it’s just me and they usually fall asleep when they’re tired, so that night I went with it. They were enjoying their play so much, and nobody was getting hurt, so I couldn’t bring myself to break it up. After a bit of play, baby brother came to the bed, crawled up, and fell asleep as he nursed. Eventually, bilingual baby also came to bed, pushed her tiny body against mine and dozed off in the middle of a thought. The breathing began.

Simply nursing baby brother puts me to sleep but now I get a double whammy. Even if I wanted to get up and be a night owl, I’ve got two little bodies keeping me warm, breathing that deep sleep breathing. Just thinking about it is putting me to sleep. Baby brother’s breathing is still shallower than bilingual baby’s but they come together so often, I can’t help but think that they are in sync even when they are asleep.

My spirited child

September 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Some thoughts have been brewing in me and today, a weird day at best (with baby brother asleep on me and bilingual papi and baby asleep in bed still at 8:33am), I figured I’d attempt to jot down some of those ideas.

I’ve been reading a book called Raising your spirited child. This book has been supporting me through a time of realization. I had always heard statements like, “it’s different for every child”, or “you’ll figure out what’s best for your family” and hadn’t really understood what they meant until recently. I knew I had on my hands a very wonderful person. I love bilingual baby. I love that she has a piercing stare that makes you wonder how old she really is, and the biggest smile, and the gentlest, most caring hand. When she’s not like this, she’s going a mile a minute, renewing energy through connection. I’ve never been one to favor running around after my children and luckily the living choices we’ve made have enabled that to happen. I feel like I can respond to my kids needs in a timely manner and I still feel I get time during the day to sew, knit, send out an email and chat on the phone and in person with friends.

What am I trying to get at?

A spirited child takes a lot of energy to keep up with; a lot of creativity; a lot of patience. A two year old takes a lot of patience in general. They know it all and they want to share it all with the people they know best: me. (I can’t believe it’s a quarter to 9 and everyone is asleep in the house. keep typing.) I’ve been getting suggestions on how to manage the enormous amount of energy bilingual baby has and some of it has been really mindful but most of it simply doesn’t work for my little girl. This is where those LLL saying come into play. Time outs, for instance, simply don’t work on my kid. One time I tried it and she kept coming out of our room saying she didn’t want to be there. I didn’t have the heart to keep sending her back again and again and realized she wasn’t getting the point I was trying to make. Another time I tried to give her some space (or rather, give me space) and sent her to the stairs to sit. She sat there and the whole time stared at me with her big (read: HUGE) brown eyes and again I didn’t feel like my point was getting to her. All she read was that I didn’t want her. After about 20 seconds (which felt like an eternity), she came back into the living room and we hugged.

What’s the alternative to doing this sort of punishments?

In our case, (again this doesn’t work for every family or is even necessary for every family) I just have to be on top of things so that we don’t get to the point of explosion. It isn’t always possible but giving her time to adjust to the new realities helps a lot. Spotting when she needs a cuddle, a conversation, outdoor time, a walk, etc, helps her release energy in smaller doses. In heavier doses, she has a hard time handling a change in plans, toast cut in an unfamiliar way, etc.

The hardest thing about having a spirited child?

The looks I get from strangers and even friends that I translate to mean: What a pushover. Or maybe they’re thinking: What a handful, that kid. I’m glad my kid isn’t that way. It’s all imagined. Or maybe that’s what I would be thinking if I saw someone being the kind of mother I am. This is where every family has a different dynamic. It does all depend on who the parents are, who the kids are, who the family has as friends, etc. It all affects the kids. So, I hang out with a few people a week because of difference of opinion and how much I can take as well as how much my spirited child can take. It does seem isolating at first but once I slow down and really tune in I find myself enjoying a lot of the silly stuff we do during the day and the days go smoothly. Not every day but if I can get my groove going 70% of the time I think I’m golden.

My own personal trainer

September 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

A personal trainer here in the Central Vermont area, Richarda Ericson, and I did a trade. Lucky me! I did some t-shirt alterations (which I should photograph sometime) for a personal workout that she organized for me based on the things I already do plus she created two personalized workouts for me to do through the week. She showed me the different exercises and gave me a calendar for the month of September with the different activities I would do.

How am I doing?

I haven’t been able to do either of her two personalized workouts but I have noticed how much I already do during the week. I do want to get to the workouts as they are tailored and focus on areas I don’t feel as strong. They’re also strength training in nature which boost your metabolism far more than just doing cardio. I have been wearing both kids at the same time while going for hikes and hilly walks so I know I’m getting more than just cardio but, again, I liked the exercises when Richarda showed them to me so I know I’m going to like the workouts. It all boils down to making time for this stuff. I make time for sewing. Now I need to make time for a workout. It can’t be that hard.

I’ve been sending Richarda weekly emails to let her know how I’m doing. She’s been supporting me so much through this process. She’s awesome! She started Illume Fitness with her sister and she offers local classes which everyone loves. If you live in the area and you want something that fits your needs, get in touch with Richarda. You’ll love the process!

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