Thursday, January 31, 2008

January has left the calendar

I have nothing officially against January. My daughter and my mother were born in this frosty month so, for that I am grateful. However, it does usually end up becoming the month that just will not end for me each year. Why is it that July has 31 days, just as January does but January seemingly drags for for what seems to me like about 50 days...where July just seems to slip through my fingers amongst glasses of backyard lemonade and hoola hooping kids?

So, in this the winter of my discontent, I've been trying to keep busy. Remember the Target clearance sheets?

They have become this.

A nice bright spring green addition if I don't say so myself.

Here is one cute little kid trying out the new duvet cover.

I've also been wishing away the chillies with mind over matter through fabric. I'm stalking the internet and quilt shops for only bright happy springy colors and lighter weights! Mind over matter...the weather man is predicting 4 inches of snow tonight.

Anyway, stop on over at Pink Evita to see some bright and colorful additions to take away the winter blahs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My day and my back

Oh, my back feels old today. I rolled over this morning and heard a loud crack. Then the wind was almost knocked out of me as I attempted to move my arms, shooting pain. I groaned while attempting to slowly slink out of bed. I have no idea how I could have injured my back while laying on it...but I have. I wonder if this recent resurgence in back pain has something to do with wearing a 27lb. 2 year old several hours a day? Must ask chiropractor tomorrow about that.

After a very long, very hot shower in attempt at heavy duty hydrotherapy for my aching back I shuffled both children off to mom's morning out and kindergarten. Thank goodness for small favors if you have to have a bad back is always best to have it on a day where 4 hours are carved out without kidlets mangling you.

I scooted off to two quilt shops looking for this. Retail therapy is a proven analgesic for physical pain. I found plenty of Michael Miller sock monkeys and Dick and Jane prints but no Chinese kids playing. Sad. I almost had to cave in on the sock monkeys...but then thought better of it and scooted on home to order it online. I'm not sure why I'm obsessed with this material right now and think that I absolutely will die if I don't get it. But I do. Regardless of what the old ladies at the quilt shop think, Michael Miller fabric rocks. One pre-historic blue haired gal sniffed as I asked for my prize. She said that most of "that novelty wear" was mixed in throughout the store and she had no idea how I could easily locate the Chinese kids material amongst the 10,000 bolts of calico prints. Fine, go cut some of that heinous country blue small print for the next gal. Does anyone helpful under the age of 83 work in fabric?

Once home I pacified myself with a baked potato, 2 advil, and her. This is Hopper San, or Hopper three in Mandarin circles. I finished her little yellow coat, added some white eyelash trim and she is ready to be picked up by her new Mommy. Someday she will belong to a little girl who had a 9/2006 LID China date. The best part about Hopper San is her lavender bead bling on the bottom of her underskirt. What bunny doesn't need a bit of bling? Ava said that she liked this Hopper better than her original Hopper...she suggested a trade. Ugh, sorry babe.

Next up on this rainy day?

Green polka dots sheets that will be transformed into a duvet cover for Ava's bed. This is a project that I have been putting off for over a year. She has the best warm down comforter with no duvet cover. It will be ruined sooner or later if I don't cover it. I found the sheets at Target on clearance, for less than I could have purchased material. Of course bonus pillow cases already come made up when you convert sheets to duvet covers.

I'll post bed pictures when there is a pretty duvet to photograph.

P.S. I ordered some made in Mexico oil cloth a few days ago for sturdy grocery bags. (Arrow down for story.) I'm waiting patiently for the UPS truck to deliver my oil cloth...think sunny yellow and bright purple florals? Very Mexican indeed. They will surely make grocery shopping much happier.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grocery Bags

This morning the Muffin Man and I were watching the Today show over coffee. They have this series on going green where everyday they try to give you little tips on saving money and doing right by the environment. Go green.

They showed Matt Lauer "shopping" for groceries at this amazing store that looked like a high end converted train station. Obviously this store was in Manhattan. Ahhh, if only my dirty Meijer looked so nice. I found myself hard pressed to believe that Matt Lauer really shops for his own groceries in a suit and tie. But they did have these nifty grocery bags which are reusable in the piece. They were pretty bright colors and reusable. The grocery store clerk commented that she asks people if they want to purchase the reusable bags to cut down on plastic consumption. On my last trip to Meijer not only did they not even offer me paper...they were very careless about unsticking the plastic bags from each other resulting in me getting about 10 extra bags. I commented that I'd like to make sure we only got the number of bags we needed and I would help separate them only to be given the serious hairy eyeball by the clerk.

The Muffin Man made the comment that this reusable grocery sack stuff was fine for the slick urban folks who shop for about 2 bags of groceries at a time. Us suburbanites with 2 kids, pets, and a costco membership would simply never carry the 25 bags we would need to the grocery store each and every $220.00 run to fill the cart. He scoffed. I told him "Fine, pull your stupid straight republican ticket." And then I walked into the kitchen and poured myself another cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee that came in a huge plastic bag from Costco.

All day long I've been thinking about those ridiculous grocery bags. Why wouldn't we just get the bags hang them in the pantry and use them? Really is it that much more work? I make handbags for heavens sake. I could make the bags out of canvas or oilcloth.

Perhaps it is for spite, or genuine interest in reducing our rather large environmental footprint but I think I'm going to make the grocery bags and see if I can make it work. Yes, I think I want them in pink frilly patterns and then make HIM take them to the grocery.

Does anyone know where to get super cool looking oilcloth at ridiculously low yardage prices?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

About Race...and who killed MLK

We read Martin's Big Words now and again. I wouldn't call it a bookcase favorite or anything but since yesterday was MLK day and there was not so much peace here on the cul-de-sac I thought..."Hey, what the heck. Let's read this at bedtime." I think Ava "got it" on a different level this time. She is just beginning to understand what not being white is. And when you have to explain what "not being white" is to the sweetest most adorable little kid in the world whom you would throw yourself in front of a truck for, well, it stings. It stings like a pang of sour milk in the deepest pit of your gut. And then it resonates...hanging on like a dull headache that even 3 Advil will not help.

Last time we read the book she argued that she was white. "Look at my skin, Mommy. It's pretty much the same color as yours." Yes, I said...pretty close. But you were born in China...and your birthparents were Chinese, that means you are Asian." I say. "But you are Caucasian and grandma and grandpa are Caucasian." she rattled off in defiance. "You are adopted, and OUR skin color or race does not take away from the fact that you and your sister are Asian. Nothing will ever take that away from you." I say. I then tell her that I don't want anyone to ever tell her that she is not Asian, or somehow less of one race and more of another due to circumstances beyond her physical control. "Stand up, be yourself and don't be afraid to originally define whatever it is that makes you, YOU." I tell her on my bedside soapbox.

Last night there was no argument about skin color. There was no comparison of hands or eyes. She knows she is Chinese, Chinese American to be exact. As we read the book her focus was on injustice, not skin color. She just couldn't believe that someone would want to hurt Martin Luther King. She asked who killed him. I couldn't remember. I had to tell her I would Google it today. After school I will tell her it was James Earl Ray. That should be an interesting conversation to have with a 6 year old.

The very last thing she asked was if she could have a Martin Luther King Day party next year. She told me I could read the book to her friends and we would design party invitations. Then she asked if we could do a Martin Luther King craft too. I told her I wasn't sure if Martin was into crafts but sure we would come up with something.

I told her I thought Martin might like that. Next year, we are having a MLK peace party. If you're in town you're invited.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where is the peace?

Isn't Martin Luther King day supposed to be about peace and non-violence? My kids did not get the memo.

Ava, my 6 year old threw an embarassing tantrum when leaving Liv's parks and recreation music class this morning as she saw children using the indoor pool through the glass. She wanted to stay and swim. We didn't bring swimsuits since we were there for music class. Her solution was to simply run home and get swimsuits. I explained we needed milk and had to run to the grocery. Huge whining hissy fit in front of music class buddies ensued. I then casually remarked to another mother..."Thank God for full time Kindergarten.", and was met with blank stare and of course fit throwing 6 year old.

Twenty minutes later at grocery store Liv pitched a big old fit when she would not get in the cart...opting instead to walk along side of the cart. Which would be fine if she would truly walk along side the cart, which she simply will not. She has to skip gleefully while pulling produce down off the racks. Apparently watching oranges and apples bruise while hitting the dirty floors is monumental fun in her mind. As we moved to the self checkout lane Ava insisted in placing her hands on the overly sensitive bag plate. This completely confused the self check out machine and insisted I be carded for buying frozen pizzas. After convincing the attendant I was not hiding Jack Daniels in my cart I sniped at Ava to keep her hands to herself and stand on the other side of the cart. Then I found myself in a long conversation up in my head about the possibility of going back to aisle 12 and actually picking up a big old bottle of Jack Daniels...and feeding it to my kids. I have no idea how long this weird little day dream lasted but it was long enough for Ava to wander over to the in store bank and attempt to apply for a home equity loan at 6.25% in return for a cherry sucker. The obviously childless attendant gave me this lovely look shooting daggers at me for being one of THOSE yelling mothers. Fine. She then gave me the non-verbal look adoptive mothers sometimes get when one questions whether or not you are their mother. Seriously lady, why the hell would I take the time to bark at a 6 year old applying for a loan just to get the free sucker while pulling organic eggs away from the 2 year old in the cart if it wasn't my kid?

We are now home and Olivia is naked in my house which is set to a chilly 65 degrees. She has spent 1/2 hour contemplating the complexity of her belly button complete with waving at it. She is only distracted by tossing My Little Ponies at her sister's head. I'm not sure why she insisting on the naked bit...but seriously it would be a little smarter of her to go through this phase when June hits.

And I wonder why January brings the wet blanket of motherhood depression my way. I have a dream...yes I have a dream that someone will come rescue me and send me to Jamaica ALONE and toss in a load of whites while they are at it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

6 for 6

It's 1/18/08 and she's 6!

Here are 6 for 6.

1. The silly faces were her idea. I love that about her.
2. She wanted to make sure that her sister had her picture taken too. I love that about her.
3. She went to the fabric store with me for business on HER special day without complaining. Then she finagled candy from me at the counter due to her hardship and good behavior. I love that about her.
4. She trotted off to afternoon kindergarten singing at the top of her lungs. I love that about her.
5. She came home from school and asked where her sister was. Man, I love that about her.
6. The girl fell asleep this afternoon, tuckered out from the festivities. But not before stealing a bag of potato chips and forgetting to hide them well.

Seriously, this kid will be just fine in life. I love that about her.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We were ready for some football!

These are the happy faces of two little football fans before the big game on Sunday. Perhaps Ava was extra special smiley because she got to weasel out on Chinese school to attend the football party our friend's hosted. Please don't rat us out if you know us in person.

A great time was had by all. Everyone got to make fun of me because I brought my knitting bag to the game. (In my defense, I wore the Muffin Man's old jersey and sat down right in front of that football game.)

But then...they lost. Goodbye football until next August.

The Muffin Man professed serious disdain and is wondering what the heck he will do the rest of the month. Poor Muffin Man.

It is the reality of the life and times of a football fan.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More About Hopper

Forgive this, the gratuitous post and promotion of my little business. I've had a few sweet comments about Ava's new BFF Hopper. I'd be happy to make Hopper's baby brother or sister for you if you'd like one. Easter is right around the corner right? Can you tell I am already emotionally and physically over the month of January, it is about 15 degrees here.

Of course, this was not the original reason for making Hopper. I never had any intention of making multiple Hoppers, but hey she is pretty darn cute and she makes Ava happy. Hmmmm...maybe she would make another little child happy too? Come to think of it, don't rabbits have a reputation for multiplying rather quickly? Maybe making Hopper friends would be good bunny karma.

Ava's Hopper has an underskirt, dress, and jacket complete with fuzzy red fringe and a button closure. All of which can be taken on and off during playtime. She also has a removable red bow tied around her head. (Ours is now underneath the playroom sofa cushion, go figure. I know this because I sat on it this morning while cleaning up spilled coffee, grrrr.)

If you would like a Hopper you could pick his/her colors. Including the colors for the clothes too, of course. This might be on the verge of too much personal information about Hopper...but I'll add delicately that I don't stuff Hopper too tightly because I want Hopper to be a well loved and used doll. Too much stuffing makes for an uptight bunny and who wants to snuggle up at night with a brick bunny? Just ask Ava, she prefers a floppy bunny.

Hopper and the outfit sell for $50.00 plus $5.00 to ship her anywhere you'd like. email me at if you are interested in a Hopper.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'll take Montessori for 200, Alex

Preschool...who knew it could be so complicated?

When it was time for Ava, my now kindergartner to go to preschool, I simply pooled the other mothers in our playgroup and promptly signed her up where her LBF (little best friend) was attending. Proud parenting moment...I know. It turned out just fine though, the play based religious affiliated preschool was good for her. The first two years she had wonderful teachers. This, her final year there has been ok...not great but not horrible either. I know I've written about this before, LBF is also a Chinese adoptee whom we met on our first adoption trip. The girls are practically inseparable and will attend different public schools in the same district next year for 1st grade. Honestly, the fact that she gets to keep close contact with LBF is a large part of why I'm keeping Ava at the school for another few short months. But now that Liv is preschool age, or will be in the fall I'm more seriously considering our early education options.

I'm sensing that Olivia might prefer a more low key child centered individualistic approach to time spent off mama's hip next fall. She self entertains pretty well and seems to have a decent attention span for a two year old. She is sensitive and kind. She will walk away from any confrontation and is fairly compliant for a two year old. I don't see her leading the band of three year olds in animal antics any time soon.

So, with this being said I wonder if she might be the type of kid who would do well in a Montessori program? I toured one school this week and they are accredited and seem to be Montessori purists. I liked the director and the kids seemed really happy. (Many Montessori programs only incorporate parts of the Montessori philosophy into their curriculum but are mostly play based programs.) However, they suggest signing a three year old up for 4-5 mornings a week. Oh, no that won't do for us. I can't imagine Liv going to school that many days a week at just 3 years old. Obviously they are catering to the working parent's schedule...which is fine...but not for us. (This school even seemed to have a feeder day care center down the street.)

I could opt for the mom's morning out program where she is now and continue into next year. But, it seems more like babysitting and I hate the way the teachers do a craft for the kids each week. I don't need a preschool teacher's obviously created craft on my pantry door each week. Why do preschool teachers seem to think that parents need perfectly constructed art each week? And what is my kid doing when they are completing the craft for my kid?

I did a little research into Waldorf schools. But I don't think we have one here in town. Then I looked into Reggio Emilia. I think I'd spend quite a bit of time as a preschool taxi service, there is not one on this side of town...that is if we could even get in.

Maybe the happy medium is accredited Montessori and finding one with morning hours to suit Liv's nap schedule, my reluctance to spend $100 a week on gas going back and forth to preschool and perhaps more importantly...allowing her a place to feel comfortable with other kids and grow up into a fine upstanding citizen who knows her way around a basket of beans. (forgive the small Montessori joke.)

Good many more years until kindergarten again?

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Meet Hopper. She's the newest addition to the family.

Ava has been eyeing this green fleece with the red bugs material in my sewing room for over a month now. She would ask me repeatedly if she could have it. my new material is not for dragging around the playroom until it collects dust bunnies and gets all stretched out. So, I kept telling her I would make her something out of the material when I got a chance. The other day she asked about it again with forlorn little eyes. Oh, the guilt. I will sew for any old stranger out there but not my beloved little children. Sniff Sniff. (It goes without saying the kid can work her mother over like Tony Soprano with a baseball bat in his right arm.)

She wanted a stuffed animal. I wanted to make her a little skirt. Skirts are boring she informed me. I wish I would have known that when I donated all of her shorts last summer which she absolutely would not wear, instead opting exclusively for yes, you guessed it skirts. I couldn't see the green fleece being made in to a ladybug stuffed animal. Too predictable. Try explaining that to an almost 6 year old.

Instead we settled on Hopper. I pulled down scraps of material too precious to throw away and yet too small to usually be able to do anything great out of. I know most good crafters will save miniscule bits of fabric only to whip them up into something ready for a gallery wall one day. Me? I save them and then get tired of the bits of clutter and toss them every few months. However, Hopper is a reluctant savers dream come true.

Her little coat is made from Ava's favorite fleece material but the rest is just leftovers from handbags and Christmas decorations, ie. her hair ribbon.

Ava now sleeps with Hopper and carries her around the house after school. Ahhh, my heart swells two sizes.