Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peach Ribbons To Beat The Rainy Day Blues

I spent my morning with a friend making these! Little girl dresses made from pillow cases.
For those of you who are thinking wow, she is crafty how did she come up with that idea? I didn't. I stole it from the internet. Not the dresses, the idea. If you are interested in making your own little girl dresses out of pillow cases, google it. Directions and tutorials abound!

They are ridiculously easy to make and the real fun is coming up with the decorations. It is sort of like buying cupcake mix at the grocery. Making the cupcakes is easy, decorating them with colored icing and sprinkles is the fun part! Ribbons, bows, and buttons just happen to be my icing.

My friend made this little one for her three year old daughter. Gillian loves bows and bright colors, this should quickly be a favorite in her closet.

Ava found some Panda bear buttons at the fabric store last week and they were so darn sweet I couldn't say no to buying them. Perhaps they will make their way to another pillow case dress very soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

14 Minutes

I ran on a treadmill for 14 minutes today. I also walked briskly for 16, but this little story is really about those 14 minutes of running or what that represents. To be quite honest I shocked the heck out of even myself. Now, I know that for anyone out there who is even the slightest bit in shape and or even minutely truly athletic this little milestone of mine is well, slightly anticlimatic. I get that, and yet I'm undeterred.

This whole get the ass off the couch thing started when I saw a Wynonna Judd commercial several weeks ago. Do you know how that pains me to admit that? Wynonna, who seems like a nice gal on the commercial even if her highlights are a bit extreme admits to "not putting herself on the list". Yes, it is a commercial and all, but I get that. That speaks to me. Did I run out and buy the diet pill she was hocking, oh no, but I do understand what she's saying. Look folks, I may not be Heidi Klum or anything but gees, I'm going to get heart disease and be in triple digit jean sizes if I don't pay a little more attention to myself. I'm with you sister Wynonna.

I'm almost 40, the kids have completely taken over my life, the wee little small business I have eats up many more hours a week than the clock shows exist and then there's laundry too. It's no longer about being Heidi Klum, but rather just being on a list. An important list. A list where there is time for me each week to help make me strong. I swear my goal wasn't really to run anywhere for any length of time. If only my goals were that lofty, run a marathon, hah, get real. No, I was merely motivated by the fact that I simply would not buy bigger pants for spring. And, truth be told I was down to only about 3 pairs that fit. And now, I'm a little stronger. I ran 14 minutes today! I wore a pair of pants that have been collecting dust, they were not loose but I was in them. I was in them!

And if that isn't enough, I 'm hanging around the section of the gym where there are free weights. Free weights, did you read that? I'm going after that little line you get in your upper arm if you hang out at a gym long enough and lift something other than a donut and a three year old. I'm going after that feeling of a light spring in your step after climbing a flight of stairs rather than that old tired slumpy I need to slow down for a minute.

I'm going after that feeling where I'm important too. Being strong is just as great as volunteering at the school, just as important as a balanced checkbook.

Now does anyone have any great ipod shuffle tunes preferrably quite snappy that you can get a little sweat on and work through an endorphin high while feeling about 20 years younger than you really are? Seriously, I'd like your very best thump a bump tune ideas.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

That's A Big Gap

Hey, psst...big news over here. There has been a dangling tooth situation over here for a few weeks. My mom couldn't take it anymore, gave my sister a paper towel and instructed her to take care of that disgusting dangling tooth situation.

Someone is losing a tooth today. And it isn't me. I need my front tooth to continue my thumb sucking habit.

Oh my gosh, you don't think they are going to pull MY teeth do you? I need them to chase tennis balls and decapitate small woodland animals.

Neither toddler nor hound were abused while minor home bound dentistry was performed, make a note.

But, damn that's one heck of a crater don't you think? Extraction of that one tooth entertained the whole family for hours this weekend.

I wanted to get busy with the three others that are loose but had my family orthodontia license abruptly revoked by the 7 year old.

Her first question was. "If I lose the other one soon will you cut the corn off the cob for me this summer?"

I know I'm a little gruesomely extraction happy but even I could answer a sweetly positioned "Yes, baby" to that one.

Then she tossed her hand on her hip and with tween attitude proclaimed the tooth fairy a fake.
I replied, "Ahh, those that believe in magic receive magic in the form of $1.00 bills." "Make it two and I'll be good all day, she bargained." "Hey, make it one, a pack of gum AND you keep the secret zipped up tight around your sister, comprende?" "Fine, she skipped off, wearing a new toothless off kilter grin."

And you know what she did on Monday? When the class asked what the tooth fairy brought over the weekend she told a tale of fakes. Yes, I am the parent of THAT child in the first grade class. I'm shocked I didn't receive hate mail.

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again. May she grow big and strong to use her powers for good and not evil.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Rowdy Crowd

I went to my speaking gig on Friday night. I drank a couple of club soda's...and in the end it was a little uneventful. The crowd was a bit unwieldy, couldn't control the masses. There was one lady speaking before me and all I could think was oh, dear this isn't going to be one of my more monumental earth moving spirit raising public chats.

The crowd simply would not settle down. But, then again they had a few of us speak before people could get through the very long food line and sit down to nosh on their yummy Bonefish Grill grub. And you know how difficult it is to control a crowd BEFORE they've been fed on a Friday night. The poor gal in front of me was a big supporter of the Wellness Community AND a recent cancer survivor. I would estimate about 20 people actually stopped to listen to her talk, about 5 less than stopped to listen while I had a firm grip on the mike. The rest of the other 300 folks too busy slurping down gin and tonics, scarfing down crab cheese balls and trying to outbid each other on the Peyton Manning jersey up for auction.

In the end it was all good. The older lady speaking before me got a little surly at the end of her 15 minutes of fame and clearly instructed the unruly crowd that they had better NOT outbid her on that week long trip to Sanibel Island also up for auction, she was a cancer survivor and for God's sake and she deserved a week in Sanibel. I should have stuck around long enough to see if she got the trip. I pity the poor fool dumb enough to out bid her auction bid.

When it was my turn I simply marched up to that loud crowd and did my best to entertain the 6 people listening with all the jocularity associated with having cancer 8 years ago. If you remember from the last post the theme of the evening was Laughing Matters. The whole time I was up there I just couldn't help feeling extremely grateful that I was just there, and not managing cancer on a daily basis. I'm living to tell the tale...to the 6 people who will stop to listen. Everything else that night paled in comparison. I'm lucky to have come so far that I have the luxury of being cancer cavalier.

I stepped off the stage and ran into a very old friend. Who, ironically enough was in my life supporting me when I was sick. She made meals and brought them to the house. She listened to me when I needed it with a group of amazing book study ladies for months on end. Now it was her time for some help, she told me about how her dear husband has advanced stage disease, and they are using the services of the Wellness Community. She told me the story with grace and dignity. I don't know what life holds for my friend and her husband but I do know that I cherish those few fleeting moments with her as she explained their fight with the disease. I suspect that was the real reason I was meant to attend the event...not to yuck it up with jokes about crooked wigs and strange mishaps with radiation. But rather, to be there connecting with people like my friend who are living gracefully with cancer.

I didn't stay for the free drinks or dinner after my little public chat. I didn't feel like it. I got in the car and rushed back to the house to see if the girls were still awake. Of course they were, the Muffin Man isn't as strict about that 8pm bedtime routine as I am. I gathered up 3 library books, hoisted them into my bed and read them their stories. I kissed their little warm heads as I tucked them in.

And that's it...that's how the evening went down.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Oh crap, I have a speech to give tonight

A few weeks ago The Wellness Community asked if I would speak at a local fundraising silent auction, dinner deal here in town. It's tonight. I simply cannot say no to these events since as many of you know who have subjected yourself to this blog over the last 3 1/2 years, I am a cancer survivor. The Wellness Community was immeasurably kind to me when I was quite frankly down for the count. I swear I cannot ever repay their respect and understanding when it comes to being a cancer survivor. It was the one and only place I had where people truly did know what it was like to be 31 years old and have cancer. They didn't pity me, they didn't treat me any differently than anyone else, and for a short time I got to be normal there...when nothing seemed normal.

So, I said yes to this speaking gig. It's at the swanky party pavilion owned by the big man around town who owns the NFL team. As you may have guessed, this is my first and perhaps last invite to the swanky party pavilion. And, the theme is Laughing Matters - Eat, drink and laugh away your blues away while supporting Central Indiana cancer survivors and their families. Rubber chicken dinner at 6:30 and silent auction at 8:00. All fine and good right?

Wrong. The Muffin Man has been working in Vegas all week and I've been single parenting the gals, volunteering at the school and making ten handbags to fill a custom order and make some yummy things for next week's craft show. Oh, and I've had to feed and exercise the dog, which is not usually my responsibility but the Muffin Man has dumped me temporarily to bet on Univ. of Pittsburgh at the Luxor and play 163 games of blackjack. Ok, fine he is also sort of paying the mortgage while supposedly working there too but still....I've been left busy this week. So busy in fact I have not prepared one little thing for my speaking gig. And, now it is 6 hours away and I'm slightly stressed. As in I might throw up. But watching 39 year old mid western housewives barfing isn't that entertaining for cancer patients and the wealthy folks who attend these things supporting fine upstanding nonprofits. So, I have to think of something else, barfing won't do.

I've done enough of these things here in town that I'm afraid my normal shtick could be oh, I don't know BORING to anyone who has attended these things before. The theme is Laughing Matters, so I'm contemplating digressing from my normal, I was a midwestern working gal living on the cul-de-sac and then I got cancer, yadda yadda yadda. Now everything came up roses for me and I got to keep my cushy life, fabulous husband and then as if that wasn't enough, God tossed in two of the most amazing little Chinese kids ever known to man...and said hey, keep 'em and raise 'em good. Instead I'm sitting here contemplating giving a whirl at the funny things about having cancer. Which, admittedly at the time weren't all that funny.

You know how time is? It passes and when you live to tell about it, sometimes it gets a little funnier. You know, I once left the hospital after a surgery to install a port-a-catheter hooked up to my central line to make administration of chemo "easier" with a huge needle sticking out from my chest. No, this was not a mistake on the part of the surgeon. He thought it would be better to do the surgery, and poke the catheter with a huge needle while I was still asleep so I wouldn't feel the pain the next day when they had to rig it up to give me my first chemo treatment. I walked around and slept with a gigantic needle sticking 4" out of my chest until they were able to easily hook it up to the chemo line the next day. It made navigating the car seat belt and quick trip to the grocery an interesting experience. They were nice enough to give me a generous band-aid but there is just something that seems ridiculously funny about walking around town with a 4" needle sticking out of your chest. I think if I had it all to do over again I would march myself to the downtown mall lay down in front of the Limited and scream, "I've been stabbed" and then watch the mall cops on Segways come rolling over.

Gah, I can't decide. Tell those funny but only 8 years later stories, or not. I might have to go throw up instead. Did I mention I have no idea what I'm going to wear? Of course you were expecting that one right? I'm going to ignore the situation a little longer by taking Livi into my bathroom, try on a few outfits and asking her to speak up when I've found an outfit that makes me look like a respectable cancer survivor who's butt looks very small in her outfit.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who Knew Preschool Drop Off Could Baffle...

And other reasons I might have to hit myself with a brick to start being more normal.

Against my better judgment I took Stein, otherwise known as Chloe the Puggle, with us in the car today while attempting preschool drop off. (As a side note, the dog is Stein, not Chloe. She was named Chloe by her first family and it is far too pretty and dainty of a name for this animal. And, Chloe rhymes with our last name, making the whole thing so ridiculous, even for us. ) Why Stein? I don't know if she were human she'd probably be Gertrude Stein, a personal literary heroine of mine. And seriously, that wrinkly little face and pudgy body makes for a Stein.

Upon getting Liv out of the car in the very crowded parking lot for preschool drop off, I give Stein the authoritative command to SIT and STAY in the car while I open the door to get everyone and everything out of the car. She immediately ignores me, and leaps over a row of seats to freedom in the parking lot. I drop Liv on the ground and scream at the dog to SIT. She does, under the very large SUV turning on the engine getting ready to leave next to me. I whip her neck around to come to me and she panic's and jerks her neck to rid herself of her collar and leash. I am completely forgetting that I have a three year old unattended in the busy parking lot. I once again yell at the dog to come. Some lady stops to ask if she is a puggle. I grit my teeth and and yes, an ill behaved puggle. The lady looks at me like I need to take a pill, which admittedly I probably did need to chill out a bit. I scoop up the dog and toss her furry little ass in the hatch of the Durango. I walk Liv into school.

Now we are off to get the dog's nails trimmed, which is why she was invited on this little tour through town in the first place. The dog has something resembling bear claws for talons, thus making her monthly expenditure on canine pedicures much more than my own. The gentleman waiting to grind those nails down is sporting the strangest purple goatee. Yes, purple. As I stood waiting hoping he would not inflict some strange grooming choice on MY dog the other lady in the shop piped up telling me that the purple goatee was in fact hair dye, not to worry they dye is purple but surely the final result would be some innocuous form of brown in about 8 more minutes. Doggie hair dye. I wasn't sure whether to begin the line of subsequent questioning about what doggie hair dye is or why he was using on his own face. So I chose to ignore the whole situation, which was admittedly killing me. The man trimming my dog's nails was pulling double duty by coloring his own facial hair, in front of clients, while making a few extra bucks on a drop in puggle nail trim. For some reason, I find this whole situation extremely twilight zone. When I went to pay he did not have change. We are not talking high finance here, he couldn't break a ten. To remedy the situation he left the shop and went next door to Subway for change. I felt like shouting, "Hey, pick up a 6" meat ball sub while your over there." But I refrained, completely entraced by that purple goatee, waiting for my two dollars in change.

While waiting for the nonexistent meat ball sub and change I tell the dog to SIT, as she was yanking my arm making it difficult to look for any spare one dollar bill. The lady behind the counter gasps loudly and says "Ugh, what did you say? This week is national no swear words week. No swear words in the shop!" It takes me a minute to get it, she thought I said...that swear word that rhymes with SIT. I explained that NO I said SIT to my DOG. You know the one your purple goatee'd employee just worked on? "Oh", she apologized. Right, because SIT is something you never hear while working with pets all day, every day.

You know, I love weird people. I suppose in that parking lot chasing a puggle while ignoring my CHILD amongst 35 running minivans, I am one of those weird people. Some crazy wacko preschool mom is probably blogging about the idiot woman who brings the puggle to preschool drop off endangering animal and preschooler alike this very minute.

Monday, March 02, 2009

New Recycled Outfits

I spent yesterday in the sewing room under a stack of clothes the girls have semi outgrown. By this I mean that the pants on the craft table still fit but with all the bean eating and surprisingly low amount of sunshine and it's benefits of vitamin D this winter, it appears both girls have miraculously grown about 6 feet each. Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration since I'm six feet tall and the little ankle biters are have only sprouted to knee biter status. Nevertheless, I simply cannot justify new winter jeans in March when we are only 4-6 weeks from short shorts and tank tops. Oh, could one only hope?

Armed with my small arsenal of clearance rack tee shirts, flood water jeans and enough scraps of material to clothe half of Nigeria, I set to work. Liv wanted flowers and Ava wanted their outfits to match. (I think it is simply adorable that my ultra independent and high minded 7 year old still wants her outfit to match her 3 year old sister's. But don't tell her I told you that.)

Here they are, three dollar tee shirts transformed into tri-layered flowers with flower buttons from secret stash button jar sewn in the middle.

To make those jeans last another few months; ruffles. More and more ruffles. This is the easiest thing to do, really. Simply cut strips of fun material about double the width of the circumference of the pant leg and whatever length you need to extend the pants. I cut my strips about 4" wide. Hem one long edge. Run one super long stitch with the longest baste stitch your machine has along the other. Pull the end top string to gather that basted edge into the exact width of the pant leg opening. Place right sides together with the gathered edge running along the bottom outside edge of the pant leg. Sew in place. Fold down to expose the pretty side of the ruffle. Press. All done, awesome girly ruffles.

Moving Onto To Why Ruffles May Not Be Cool For Too Much Longer

This little girl told me that she found a drawing of a tooth fairy in my desk this weekend. The drawing matched perfectly to the little drawing of the tooth fairy that she received on her most recent letter from the tooth fairy. Therefore, I have been found out. I think her exact words were "I'm onto you, Mom." And this is the exact face I stood dumbfounded looking into.

To which my only reply was a stumbling, "Hey, those who believe receive cold hard cash in payment for little girl teeth. Do you want the cash?" "Yeah, I want the cash, make it green", she eagerly replied giggling and skipping away.

All Smiles

Liv's at that stage where when you tell her to smile, she seems to transform her face into a contortion resembling what 70 year old men look like when having colonoscopys. It must be a developmental thing, as I remember Ava having a 6 month period where she absolutely would not smile for a camera. Only, sadly enough, Livi's has lasted 2 years. God, maybe she's channeling American Gothic.

Evidence that she does in fact smile on a daily basis. She has to be poked in the tummy by her sister, but she does smile.

And finally, silly diffused picture when they were tired of me snapping with the camera to prove no small children were harmed while sewing ruffles and flowers.

Post Script...sewing ruffles and appliqueing flowers and butterflies made me ridiculously happy yesterday. I'm tossing the idea around in my head of offering these for other children at ye old online store, http://www.pinkevita.com..but don't go there now silly...it's just an idea. Always thinking. Hmmmm.