Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Great Adventure: Day 2- Nevada to Nebraska

We had big plans on Day 2.  We woke up early and got the girls dressed and fed.  We all piled back into the car, ready to drive over 200 miles to attend Mass at the cathedral, before getting back on the road.  It was going to be close, but I thought we could make it.  Until, a half hour into the trip, I realized that we were about to pass from Pacific to Mountain time and lose an hour. 

And 80, going through Nevada, isn’t one of those roads doted with Catholic Churches (nor is it in Utah). 

So instead, we stopped in Salt Lake City for a quick lunch at a deli, before getting back on the road, having arrived one hour too late for Mass. 

Our next non-gas stop was dinner in Laramie, Wyoming, which may well be one of the friendliest towns in the US, before we were back on the road.

We drove 900 miles on Day 2 and made it to the Knight’s Inn in North Platte Nebraska, a little after midnight, feeling as if we’d made up a bit of the time we’d lost the first day (although not yet on schedule).

I was beginning to feel confident in the direction the trip was taking... little did I know that less than ten hours after we pulled into the parking lot of our motel, the second mini-disaster of the trip was going to strike...

The Great Adventure (Misadventure?): Part 1- Making it to Nevada...

I'm finally typing up and posting the adventure of the last three days, after three days without turning on my computer!  I'll post pictures later... right now I'm just too exhausted to look for the camera and cord and load them!

The adventure began, as adventures tend to do, in an unexpected way (I should have known better than to call it an adventure when I described our cross country trip to Sadie).  We packed carefully and loaded the car on Friday night after Paul got off of work.  I woke up early, showered and got dressed, made sure everyone else was ready, and loaded the last few bags into the car.  It was packed full.  Then we said goodbye to Nini and Gigi and Nani and Grumpa and piled into the van and turned the ignition. 

And nothing happened.  They key simply would not turn.  After a few minutes of trying Pau yielded the drivers seat, and I gave it a try.  You see, all summer our car had been doing this and it had always worked out the same way. Paul would try to turn the key and it wouldn’t budge.  My dad might even give it a try.  At one point one the law enforcement officers at the courthouse even tried.  And then I would drive to wherever the car was, fiddle with the steering wheel for thirty seconds, and give the key a turn and it would start up right away. 

It’s a security feature, I would say to Paul.  You have to turn the wheel and step on the break and it works every time.  Or almost every time at least, because up until Saturday morning it had never taken me more than five minutes to get the key to turn.  On the morning of our expected departure, however, the key just wouldn’t budge. Even for me.  

"Security feature," Paul would later scoff during the following seventy two hours of rubbing in how wrong I had been (It's come up quite a few times, you may not be surprised to know...).  "I thought the key was the security feature." 

Fast forward two hours and the van was being loaded onto a flat bed while I watched tearfully, trying to figure out how we were going to get to Michigan to find a place to live, and then to Florida to get our stuff and then back to Michigan, all before Paul’s classes started. 

I drove with my dad to pick up Paul from the shop where the van was being dropped.  Paul had already called every repair shop he could find in an hour radius and no one could help until Monday morning, which was still forty eight hours away.  We were quoted prices in the $400 range.  Some of the places, that were over an hour away, had the part in the parts shop which was open, but their service department was closed, while others had open service departments with parts shops that wouldn’t be open until Monday, and no one would agree to installing a part from another (open) parts department.

At the local mechanics I sat on a wooden chair outside, gigantically pregnant and teary eyed behind my sunglasses, and prayed as I waited that something would happen, or that I would at least no go crazy thinking about all the things that needed to be done immediately, so we don’t end up homeless in Michigan with classes starting and no place to live. And I hoped that maybe the mechanic would pity the gigantic pregnant woman hanging around and try extra hard to fix her car and save the day.  

The mechanic promised to take a look, but his voice was less than optimistic, and we headed home, resigned to wait until Monday morning.

Less then a mile out of town the phone rang.  It was my mom.  The mechanic had called the house and, with the help of ample graphite (which we had already tried) had gotten the key to turn.  The car was on and, if we really wanted to give it a try, we could.

Back at the repair shop he explained that we couldn’t remove the key from the ignition.  We could turn it back one click, so the engine stopped running, and lock the car.  Then at least we could get on the road two days earlier.

I was willing to take a chance.  After all, anywhere we broke down would be closer to where we were going then where we were at the moment. 

A little after noon (four hours after we’d initially all been buckled in) we all piled into the car and began the long drive east. 

We stopped outside of Reno for dinner at Taco Bell and the girls were both in good spirits. Then it was back on the road where they finally began to doze shortly before we reached Elko, Nevada.  We’d driven 500 miles, and were short of our goal, but glad to be on the road. 

Paul had purchased a club (steering wheel lock) and I draped a blanket over it to hide the key, before we piled into an inexpensive motel for the night that was surprisingly nice (we’d been turned away at two other motels that were full by then… and hadn’t even gone it at motel 6, where there was no parking in the parking lot…).

Our first night on the road was ended and the key was still safely in the ignition.  I was feeling pretty optimistic about how things were working out... but still wondered... would the car make it to Michigan?  Could we find someone to fix it quickly once we were there?

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Chicken Debacle...

When I heard about the Chick-Fil-A boycott I didn't actually have a problem with.  I read the quote and thought that the whole thing was blown out of proportion, but people can spend their money where they see fit, and since I boycott quite a few companies, I can understand where Chick-Fil-A boycotters are coming from.

Then local governments decided to embrace the roll of thought police and things started to get a little bit scary (okay, a lot scary).

Before I get into this any further let me go back over what exactly happened to cause this whole uproar, just in case anyone missed it.  Chick-Fil-A's President, Dan Cathy, said this in an interview with the Baptist Press earlier in the week:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit....We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
That's the quote that launched a thousand news articles decrying the bigotry and homophobia of Chick-Fil-A, which left some wishing cancer on anyone who dared step through one of their restaurants' doors.  

Apparently Mr. Cathy missed the mark when he said that we thankfully live in a country where they can believe something and operate on biblical principles, which include being closed on Sundays and supporting a scholarship program, foster care, and a conference and retreat center.  

Now let's be clear: Chick-Fil-A doesn't discriminate in hiring or in service, which is what you might believe if you read some of the articles circulating around out there, which is a conclusion one could reach if they took Cathy's words out of context and did some major twisting.  

So that's why I was baffled when I began to see press articles about cities like Boston and Chicago vowing to keep Chick-Fil-A from opening new stores.

What would happen if a city with a conservative majority decided to ban a Starbuck's or a JCPenny's from opening their doors because those businesses "didn't reflect the city' values"?

And let's think about what's happened in every. single. state. that has opened up this issue in a referendum: the majority of people have, over and over again, said that they support the traditional model of marriage.  Which means that if we're going to play the "if you don't think like I do" game, and institute it across the board, we're going to have to shut down half the businesses in our nation.

I'll admit that I generally avoid this topic, because I know that there's a very good chance that anything i say on the topic will be twisted a misunderstood by those who don't understand that someone can believe that an act is wrong, and still love the person who did that act.  JoAnna summed up the way many pro-traditional-marriage supporters feel at the moment, very well, in this post.  And for those who are truly curious on what many of us believe, Jennifer Fulwiler's article a few weeks back gave one of the best explanations  that I've ever seen.   

I do wonder how many of those who boycott Chick-Fil-A would consider expanding the ban to other organizations that are less then friendly to their beliefs.  A Chick-Fil-A boycott is rather easy.  Other boycotts are more difficult to stick to:

And for the most excellent post I've seen on this whole debacle, click here.  

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---

I'm thankful for apartment rating sites at the moment.  We were just about to apply online to a beautiful apartment.  It looked fantastic (and better yet, had an online application, so we could have actually been approved when we went to see the apartment on our trip).  Then Paul went and googled their reviews and began to have doubts.  I was a little annoyed at first, and glared across the room, as if he were a little gloomy rain cloud who'd appeared to rain on my happy "look, I found an apartment" mood.

Until he said two words.

Bed bugs.

Apparently review after review mentioned bed bugs.

Shuddering, I closed the window for the application and began searching out other options.  Yuck.

--- 2 ---

Some people might be more likely to rent to you if you say:  "Hi, I'm a student." rather than "Hi, I'm a law student!"

Lesson learned.

--- 3 ---

I'm still marveling at the amazing-ness of the various vacuum bags I've been using to pack up our belongings.  I used some of the roll, travel bags and packed up our outfits for the trip today (with a lot of help from Mae Bae).

I used each package to pack an outfit for Paul, Sadie, Mae and myself and then rolled them up, compressed the air out and put them in the suitcase.  This is definitely going to make traveling easier, since I just pick out one roll of clothes everyday and everything else stays neat in it's own little package.

--- 4 ---

I was starting to feel nervous at dinner tonight, when I suddenly realized that I hadn't felt the baby move, all day long.  I told myself at the time that I probably hadn't noticed movement, because I'd been so busy rushing around packing.

After another couple hours of silence the baby is now having a party, complete with plenty of kicking.  I have a feeling that after such a quiet day, we're probably about to have a very wiggly night.

--- 5 ---

I've nearly finished a quilt for Sadie, that's a map of the US (she loves looking at maps).

It's just a panel that caught my eye earlier in the summer at Joann's, but I machine quilted around every single state and I've excited with how it's turned out.  Quilting the east coast and Alaska were definitely huge challenges, that I'm not looking to repeat anytime soon.

I can hardly wait to finish the binding tomorrow!  I think it should be ready to hand over to Sadie by the time we load up the car.

--- 6 ---

The movers called today and I noticed a definite difference (based on climate I think) between the answers I got from the movers in Florida and the movers in Michigan.  Both companies asked what time they should be there.  In response I asked each company what time they usually start in the morning.  The Michigan company said eleven (which was fine with me).  The Florida company said 6 am (I went with 8 instead).

Yes, knowing that it's going to be 80 degrees and sweltering by the time the sun comes up would definitely motivate me to be up and moving furniture early.

I'm very excited to have seasons again!
--- 7 ---

6 Quick Takes later, I'm still totally creeped out by the bed bugs.  I was so close to filling out the application!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Working Out the Details: (and trying not to panic!)

I am entering back into panic mode at the moment.

I finished and packaged every order left on my stores yesterday.  Then I hauled out the giant vacuum seal bags that I'd ordered, packed up the fabric I have left, and the remaining snoods and used the vacuum to shrink the bags down to travel sized... and I have to say, those vacuum bags, even the really super cheap ones that feel like they'll fall apart when you pick them up when they're empty, work really, really well (they felt much sturdier when they were actually full and compressed).

I did leave out the still pinned but not yet sewn sewing projects, and I have a bag full of snoods just waiting to be hand stitched while we're in the car, all ready to go.  I think I'll sew tonight after everyone's gone to bed, just to decompress, since sewing helps me relax.

Tonight after the girls go to sleep we'll clean out the van and start figuring out how to fit everything back into it, after two birthdays, and with quite a few more toys and books than we arrived with (I'm to blame for the books!  We found boxes of the books I loved when I was little and I'll be trying to create a bottom layer of books in the car so that they can make the return trip).

Paul also sent me an email from an apartment complex with an online application, that will work with us on a short term rent deal... So I'm praying that goes through quickly, so we have an address to move to and forward mail, before we actually arrive in Michigan.

You'd think I'd have relaxed about this whole moving thing after doing it so often.  In slightly over two years this will be our fourth move... So we're averaging a move every 6 months.  Move #1 was at 9 months pregnant (into a filthy apartment with lipstick smeared on the wall... if you recall... that required me to scrub pretty much every surface before we could unpack...).  During Move #2 I was wrangling a two and a half year old and a six month old.  Move #3 was when I was 3 months pregnant (and found out the baby was distressed the night we finished packing the U-haul... although the doctors have all assured me that had nothing to do with it.).  And now, for Move #4 I'll be 6 months pregnant and unable to lift anything at all (Paul pointed out last night that I'm absolutely not allowed to move the condensed bags of fabric since they're much heavier than they look... right before I pointed out that they'd magically made their way out into the hallway a few minutes earlier, and hadn't felt all that heavy to me...).  And Move #5 will hopefully be in the next six months, since I'd be willing to suck it up and move yet again, in order to have our own home (hopefully that will be a more gradual move).

Move #4, however, is why the panic of Oh-my-goodness-there's-so-much-to-do-and-so-little-time-and-this-is-going-to-cost-a-fortune has set in.

Deep breath.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a lot done during nap time today....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Review

As a Catholic convert, and a mother with small children, I've been passionate about learning all that I can about the traditions and celebrations that ocur throughout the liturgical year.  I'd spent the last year trying to come up with feast day ideas that would make the liturgical year come alive for our daughters, and had scoured the internet and the books that we already had for ideas.  I wanted to learn more about traditions that, as a convert, I wasn't familiar with.  
When I was given the chance to review The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions, I was thrilled.  Our cross country move this summer meant the book had to chase us across the country with the rest of our mail, but when it finally arrived I was thrilled.  I was even more excited when the book not only met, but exceeded my expectations.  
I spent the afternoon, in the sweltering heat, absorbed, as the girls splashed around me in their kiddie pool.  Ideas for the upcoming year were unfolding in my imagination.  
The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions is perfect for teachers, parents, or anyone looking to pass on the faith, and the traditions that nurture that faith, to the children in their lives.  It would be excellent for a teacher in a formal classroom who's looking to add the rhythm of the liturgical year to learning time, and it's perfect for parents who want to make Catholic celebrations a vibrant part of their day to day life.
One thing that I appreciated that really set this book apart from other books that I've read, is that it not only gives ideas and actvities for crafts for Catholic Holy Days, it also gives ideas to help Catholic families celebrate traditionally secular holidays in a faith-filled way.  And that is one of the many things that I appreciate about this book!  
I also really appreciate the month by month format of this book.  The first page of the month tells you what you have to look forward to and then you can flip through the chapter and come up with plans and ideas for celebrating in the upcoming days.
As a mom, this is definitely one of my favorite books.  I've already spent hours pouring over it and I know that it's going to be a well used book for years to come!
I wrote this review of The Big Book Of Catholic Customs And Traditions For Children's Faith Formation for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore.

I receive free books from Tiber River in exchange for reviewing them!

Sewing Machine Rebellion

My sewing machine started attacking fabric last night.

I should have known that this mechanical act of rebellion was coming.  The machine had been snapping off needles all week (a record four in a twenty four hour period), but I had ignored the symptoms, telling myself that I simply had remarkably bad luck, hitting pins right and left, while buying another pack of sewing machine needles.

Then I hit yet another pin, only this one contorted into a L-shape and was slammed down into the sewing machine gears.  A tiny piece of pin poked out, and I thought about grabbing my pliers, but laziness after sewing for several hours won the day, and I went with the less than awesome decision to try to retrieve the pin without pliers and get it with my fingers.  The pin disappeared the moment I touched it, into the recesses under the sewing machine foot.

I sighed and began to deconstruct the machine.  I shook it a few times, hoping that maybe the pin would fall out.  I removed the plastic bobbin cover and then determined that I needed to remove the metal plate with the screws.  That was when I discovered that the entire machine was stuffed full of rather oily lint.

Now I know I'm supposed to clean my sewing machine.  I used to clean my kenmore several times a week.  But my Brother takes quite a bit more work to take apart (or at least it did the first time, I figured out a trick tonight, so I'll definitely be doing it more frequently) and I'd avoided it for... an embarrassing number of months.  Considering that the machine averages a minimum of three hours of sewing time each day, and as many as six hours on days like today, I had a pretty good idea that it was really, really going to need it.

After fifteen minutes of removing lint from all the crevices it had filled, I found the pin, removed it with pliers and put the machine back together.  Amazingly it worked on the first try.  And I was able to finish up all the machine sewing that I absolutely had to do before our long drive east.

Now if I could only finish machine quilting the U.S. Map quilt I made Sadie my sewing goals for the week would (pretty much) be complete!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Worrying Trend of Blaming Children for the World's Ills

I'll admit that one of my first thoughts earlier in the month, when the Supreme Court upheld Obama Care, was a small, nagging worry that I very much wanted to ignore.  Yet I couldn't help but wonder:  If the federal government can force us to buy something, and tax us if we don't, what else will we find ourselves being taxed for in the future?

My mind went back to that story going around the internet a few weeks ago that was out of China (warning: this link does show graphic, incredibly saddening pictures), with the picture that I just couldn't click on to see because I knew that at that point I simply couldn't handle the site of a murdered baby laying next to his grieving mother.

I remembered reading that had the family been able to pay a fine of 40,000 yuan (a little over $6000) the baby would have been sparred.

Pay a fine and we won't kill your baby.  

The line between a "fine" and a "tax" is so thin these days that even courts and lawmakers can't seem to find a real difference.

I'd like to believe, wholeheartedly, that the possibility of something like this happening in our culture is out there in the realm of fanciful, overly paranoid conspiracy theory.  I really hope that it is.

But with many politicians and lawmakers in office these days that don't seem to see a connection between the existence of future taxpayers and the existence of programs like Medi-Care and Social Security (much less put any stock in the innate value of human life) I can't help but feel a bit edgy about the possibility.

What will we be asked to do next "for the good of our nation and society"?  And when will we cross the line from being asked to being told that we have no other choice?

In England, a senior government official, has seen the solution to their problems in telling mother's with large families not to have any more children.  After reading the article, detailing her complaint, I found her seeming obsession with "shaming" women into not having children to be even odder.  She says that 1 in 5 of the problems she sees are within large families.  1 in 5?  So 80% of the problems she's dealing with don't involve large families?  And yet large families are somehow the problem (there's a quote about how she's sure there are lovely large families out there, but she's certainly never met any)?

I think the problem is that the answer in much of the developed world, to any problems pertaining to poverty, is to throw contraceptives and "family planning methods" at the problems until they go away.  Then there is shock when an estrogen pill doesn't cause all of a woman's problems to magically evaporate and turn into a cheesy commercial with women picking out which house and husband they'd like in a store, along with a trip to Paris.

Sure it seems that large families make up a rather small minority of the group this senior official encounters, but their problem must be that they have too many children. It couldn't possibly be associated with the other ills found in a culturally relativistic society that tells us that nothing is really wrong or right and then wonder why making the wrong yet immediately gratifying choice doesn't make us happy, could it?

The delusion that children are the root of the problems in society, is especially delusional and repellant. I can imagine who came up with it.

"I know!  We'll get them to believe that children are the root of all the problems in the world!  And if they just get rid of them all, they'll all be rich and happy and carefree!" seems to be a perfectly diabolical approach to the destruction of a society who'd already like to completely separate sex from it's intended outcome of both bringing a family together, and building that family towards a grace filled future.

Yes, the fact that our politicians wail about the evils of bringing children into the world, and then give themselves the power to "tax" or "fine" pretty much anything, makes me more than a little nervous...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ready, Set...

I think that the obsessive list making will start soon.

Paul is fielding calls from apartments.  Plenty of emails are coming in and saying that they can't lease month to month, but we are getting positive responses to, from apartments who are willing to work with us.  I emailed quite a few places that said they required a 12 month commitment, asking if they would consider anything more flexible, because I figured it couldn't hurt to ask!

When I get too tired to sew I obsessively pin home improvement ideas and crafts on my pinterest.  After all, I can't quite start packing up our limited belongings here, and I'm going a little stir crazy thinking of the massive too do list that needs to be done, that I can't get to work on until we're back in our apartment rushing around 24 hours a day for three days.

I did stay up until midnight sewing a maternity dress to wear to Mass yesterday.  I held it up before inserting elastic into the waist, neckline and sleeves and Paul looked at me like I was insane (it looked like it would have been a bit to big for him, pre-elastic and I think for a horrifying moment he thought I was making him a giant mumu type shirt).

Now to go enjoy our last Monday in California!  I still can't believe how fast this summer has gone by!

Sometimes it feels like the time in law school is lived in double time.  It's so stressful, but it also goes by so quickly!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And the Official Announcement...

 So many of you guessed what the big surprise was, but I just had to make the official announcement for those of you who wondered why there was a giant green spartan mascot on my page yesterday (before this week I wouldn't have known what school he represented!).

Paul has been accepted as a second year law student at Michigan State University, and we're making the big move north.

The idea of transferring law schools can be a bit stressful, since you don't find out if you've made the cut until after grades come in (and the new school has reviewed everything and made their decision), which means it's often a last minute scramble, right before school starts.  In our case it's going to be a cross country scramble.

Paul finishes his internship this Friday.  Saturday morning we hop in the car and head (at a much quicker pace) to New England, where Mae Bae will finally meet her Grandma and Grandpa and all the Aunts and Uncles and cousins that she's never gotten to see, before we rush the rest of the way down to Florida.  On the way to New England we'll be taking a detour up to Michigan and hopefully finding an apartment to move into when we get up there (more on that in a moment).  In Florida we'll pack up all our belongings, see my doctor for the scheduled ultrasound (and hopefully find out if this little one is a boy or a girl), hire movers to load the truck (I learned my lesson last time) and then drive up to Michigan.

I have to take a deep breath just thinking of how insane this is going to be.

In order to not feel so panicked, I have been trying to do everything I can do from this side of the country, to get ready for the coming weeks of frantic rushing.  So far I've made a tiny dent in my "to do" list.

You see, when we began checking out the prices for apartments in Michigan, we discovered that houses were for sale for less than $30,000.  And these weren't listed as "needing work."  They were listed as "Totally renovated.  New hardwood floors.  New siding.  New roof.  New heater."  I wondered if this was some sort of craigslist scam, until I went to the local real estate website and found 350 homes in the price "wow how is that possible" price range.  A mortgage calculator estimated the mortgage at around $150 a month and thoughts like "why would I want to pay $750 in rent each month when we could put that towards a mortgage" started going through my head.

I emailed a few real estate agents, compiled a list of properties for Paul and waited to see what happened next.

The consensus after speaking with a couple agents is that we need to make the move, get an apartment for a few months with a month to month lease and then start looking at houses once we get there, because it will likely be 3-4 months before we can move in (but it looks like we should be able to buy a house!).

Which is why I emailed 50 apartment complexes in the area, asking if any would be willing to consider a month to month or super short term (4-5 months) lease.  Yesterday Paul's phone began ringing off the hook (he'd said I could use his number and he'd talk with them... although he pointed out the number of apartments I'd contacted seemed more than a little high... but hey, I'm a little panicked about the idea of not having an apartment to move into...).  Hopefully he'll be able to line up a selection of choices from my list for us to see as we pause for the afternoon/evening on our cross country dash, and we'll be able to get approved for an apartment and move in after the 6000+ miles of driving that our in our immediate future.

And then I'll have to find another doctor, immediately, who's going to be willing to take me at the start of the third trimester (leaving my NaPro doctor was actually one of the hardest parts of the decision)...

Leaving our current home was a difficult choice (and when we left for the summer we were both so confident that we were coming back that I was putting up bookshelves and hanging artwork on the walls), but an offer of jumping up two tiers in the law school ranking system was just too good to pass up... and the lure of four seasons and a snowy winter definitely played into my enthusiasm in the decision (and no alligators!!!  And I doubt we'll have to risk our belongings molding if we turn the air conditioner off for a day!).

So here we go on another adventure!  I have the feeling the next four weeks are going to leave my head spinning!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

This Week's Work: The Big Reveal (A Guessing Game)

If I had a little bit more energy right now, I would go, get my camera and start snapping pictures of the snoods I've been frantically sewing and the dolls that I painted this week.  

However, at the moment those projects feel kind of like footnotes, because my focus is on the upcoming month.  And I can finally reveal the beginning of the details of the big surprise that's in the works (okay, so the big reveal will actually be tomorrow morning, when I begin publicly fretting over details!).  

First I thought I'd give you a few hints, for those who are up for guessing.  If you're really curious and click on the source button for each picture, it becomes pretty obvious what's going on!  

It's another year of big changes!  

And don't forget the link up party at the bottom of the page!  I can't wait to see what you're working on!

And now the link-up party, for those of you who were productive this week (and documented your work!):

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---

The craziness, which I will soon be able to tell you about, although still not just yet for reasons beyond my control, means that my shops will be closed for a little longer than I originally planned.  I'm hopeful now to be reopening at the end of August, instead of on August 8th.  I am planning currently sewing as quickly as I possibly can, so I have a giant bag of snoods to hand sew during the 4000+ miles of driving we'll be doing in the next month.  So when I reopen, there will be quite a few new creations up.

It makes me feel a little panicky closing down my shops for that long and having no income whatsoever.  Actually, as we were sitting watching the new Spiderman movie, during our last date night for a very, very long time to come, I was pretty much having a panic attack about everything that's going on in our lives right now.  And I actually really liked the movie.  However, I think that was my first panic attack ever... and I have to say, I have a whole new appreciation of what people who regularly suffer from anxiety go through.  I can't imagine feeling that way on a more regular basis.

And again:  I'm blaming pregnancy hormones combined with sudden incredible stress.  Those two things do not go well together.    

--- 2 ---

Speaking of the new Spiderman movie, as I mentioned above, I actually thought it was quite good (much better than our earlier in the summer date night movie Promethius, that made me feel like I wanted to toss my brain in the waste basket at the door on the way out, rather than be bothered with all the gaps in logic that had occurred, not in a science fiction sort of way, but while the writers were delving into issues that I'm sure they felt were "deep.").

I do like action-type movies, and comic hero type movies, but the last two Spiderman movies made me feel like 90% of the cast really, really didn't want to do a sequel, but had somehow been roped into it, and yawned through the script halfheartedly in order to fulfill their contracts.  The new movie isn't like that at all.  Getting a new cast was the best thing that could have happened to the franchise.

Paul and I weren't sure if it was better than the first movie (probably because it's been so long since we've watched it and can only remember bits and pieces) but it was certainly up there with it.

--- 3 ---

I'm sure you've all heard about the Presidents statement earlier this week, where he basically told business owners that they "didn't build that."

I went and read the whole statement, and felt like I knew what he was trying to say, although the thought that kept popping into my head all week was that I sometimes feel like my business is kind of succeeding, in it's own little teeny tiny business way, despite the fact that USPS seems determined to lose a package every two weeks.

However the Darwin's have written a much better response than my juvenille, "no Mr. President, my business is succeeding despite the incompetence of the government run mail system in the American south..." and I would suggest anyone interested in the quote, read their take on his words.

Image from CatholicVote.org.
--- 4 ---

Oh my goodness.  This September I'm going to be in one of my best friends weddings with Sadie and Mae, baring a disaster of some sort.  This week I received my maternity bridesmaids dress.  And I'll admit, I wanted to grab the designer by the shoulders and shake him, very, very badly.

Now when the dress arrived I was confident that it would fit, what with it being a size to big (in a maternity size) and all.  But apparently the designer had never, in his entire life, met a pregnant woman who wasn't a super model about to give birth to a tiny, cute, five pound baby.  The dress fits everywhere at the moment, but the bump, with it's cleverly folded crepe fabric to make a cute little bump pocket, which is already fitted against my bump, and the fabric has absolutely no give whatsoever.  Who makes a maternity dress without any give in the bump area?

Can I dare to dream that my bump might actually not grow much in the next month and a half?  I think we might have a serious problem...

--- 5 ---

Mae Bae has decided to talk quite a bit more lately.  And it's generally to disagree with whatever I'm saying, while smiling at me sweetly.  We knew that she could talk, because we hear her upstairs during nap time, having long conversations with Oatmeal Bear.  However, she's chosen not to talk much around non-Oatmeal Bear family members.

Yes, it's pretty clear that we now have a two year old in the house.

--- 6 ---

Right now I am incredibly thankful for all the pininterest recipes I've been finding with various uses for zucchini.  Zucchini is becoming a staple at every meal in our house at the moment, thanks to Nani and Sadie's plentiful garden, and the latest recipe, for Parmesan Baked Zucchini fries, which is a combination of two other recipes I had seen and altered to fit the ingredients on hand, is one that I need to write down...  There's also been quite a lot of zucchini bread being baked here... Now we just need to figure out what to do with the other dozen zucchini that the garden is producing each day.

--- 7 ---

A week from tomorrow we being the long drive east.  I can't believe how fast this summer has gone by!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside the Snow Globe

I am horrible about blogging when I have something on my mind that I can't blog about.  If I've decided not to write about something, even if it's only for a couple of days, when I sit down to write, that topic becomes the only thing that I can possibly think of blogging about, even though I had a number of different ideas bouncing around in my head until the-topic-which-I-can't-mention came up and apparently chased all other ideas out of my mind.  So it's unlikely I'll be posting anything ground breaking in the next few days, until I can put together a post about the loudly shouting idea that's ricocheting around inside my skull.

Hopefully that will be before I go completely crazy with writer's block.

I don't think the pregnancy hormones help with my obsessiveness.

In fact... the writer's block apparently extended into sewer's block because I couldn't even focus enough to sew anything last night... or paint... which is, in my mind at least, shocking.

When I finally blog about it you'll see why.

I kind of feel like I'm inside of a snow globe that's being shaken violently.  Sure when the globe gets put back onto the table everything is beautiful, but the shaking up part has got to be a little bit stressful for those little plaster people inside the cute plaster house.

(image from wikipedia's snow globe page).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Heading Cross Country Sale (with a coupon code!)

I do not need to go to the fabric store on Saturday.

I've been repeating these words to myself over and over again, each time the opposing thought, "I think I'll ask Paul to go to the city with me this weekend to pick up some dupioni silk" goes through my mind.

Because the last thing I need right now, is new fabric, to be hauled from California to Boston and then back down to Florida.  And there's not additional room in our van for fabric, no matter how pretty or discounted it is.

At least that's what I keep telling myself whenever the fabric buying impulse arrives.

I did find one of those vacuum bags at Ross to put the fabric that I haven't yet sewed into for the trip, so that I don't have to worry about the giant tupperware container shifting and falling out of the van and spewing silk and lace everywhere, when the time comes to load up the car in a week and a half.  And I have another one to safely protect the snoods that make the trip with us.

However, I am hoping to leave the state of California with considerably less fabric and crafting supplies than I arrived with.  And that is actually the point of this post, because I just posted a coupon code for a discount on both of my Etsy shops.

With all the craziness of the upcoming months, at the moment my next planned sale is my Thanksgiving sale in late November, because I'm not really certain that I'll have time before then to handle a potential sale-size rush of orders, between returning cross country, losing Paul to his second year of law school, and entering the third trimester... so if you're looking for a sale this is definitely the time to shop!

The sale starts now and will end on Sunday the 22nd, so that I have time to finish up all the orders and ship them before closing down my store for the return trip (which begins on the 28th).  I'm hoping to reopen the shop around August 7th, although that will depend on the level of craziness that faces our family during the first two weeks of August (and there's quite a bit of potential for craziness in the next few weeks!).  Hopefully though, I'll be up and running around that date (and I'll definitely keep you posted on the possibility of a wonderful curve ball that would set back the reopening a week or two).

And now for the coupon code!  Shop now and insert the phrase CrossCountry10 into the coupon code box on Etsy in either A Snood for All Seasons or Sadie's Saints (or both) to receive your 10% off discount!

I'm going to try to keep posting new items in the coming days, along with the sale, depending on how busy things are and how much time I have to paint and sew!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Turning Point for Worry

I've spent much of the past year wondering if I would ever stop worrying about this pregnancy (because even months before we found out we were expecting I was already worrying... and worrying... and worrying...).  I knew that the traditional twelve week sigh of relief that often accompanies the end of the first trimester, just wouldn't be coming along.  And passing fourteen weeks, that terrifying date when we lost our previous little one, didn't make me feel any better either.

As twenty weeks approached I might have felt better, but those two second trimester incidences of spotting (note to self:  If you have to carry the toddler for more than five minutes, you will begin spotting within 24 hours...) took away any of the possible confidence that I had begun to feel.

Twenty weeks arrived, nearly a month ago and I felt slightly better.  Then week 22 arrived.

And I have to say that the past two weeks have been a worrying turning point for me.

I think it's probably because I can feel little kicks and backflips and hiccups around the clock, instead of just the delicate on and off fluttering of previous weeks.  Mae Bae sits on my lap and the baby gives her a good hard kick.  I take one hand off of the stroller to open the door and use my baby bump to gently push one side of the handle as we walk forward and the baby is suddenly executing a gymnastics routine to let me know that he or she very much felt that encroachment against the bump.

It helps that the twenty fourth week also brings about the time period when the hospital would actually try to save the baby if I were to go into labor.  Just knowing that helps me relax a bit more than I was last week.

I am finally beginning to relax and trust that things are progressing as they should (I think I'll relax even more if the doctor's appointment goes smoothly upon our return to Florida... when we'll also discover if our little one is a boy or a girl!).

Now to survive the whirlwind month that lies ahead.  In a month Paul will be back in class and we'll be a second year law school family.  I can guarantee one thing in the coming weeks.  I will not be doing any heavy lifting!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saint Anne and Mary Dolls

I was up until after midnight painting last night and these two are two of my favorite saint dolls!  I love how the little peg turned out!

A Trip to the Beach

Nani and Grumpa had planned a short weekend getaway this summer and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  With a fire blazing twenty miles from our home, and eating up 600 acres of forest in one night, things were unpleasantly smoky, and the idea of fresh sea air was inviting.  Sure we had to piloted through the fire zone to get there, but as we reached the opposite side of the burn the air began to clear (the wind must have been blowing the smoke towards us pretty consistently).  A few hours later we were walking on the beach.

Now this was Mae Bae's first trip to the Pacific as a big independent toddler.  And she was ready to hit the beach.  At first she loved the idea of holding Daddy's hand.

But then she realized that Daddy wasn't going to let her propel herself into the very cold water and they had a difference of opinions over whether she could actually swim (she can't).  After playing with Mommy in the water and soaking my dress thoroughly, Daddy carried a screaming baby back up to the motel.  She was not happy about leaving the beach or having to get cleaned up for dinner:

The next day we decided to try something new.  The baby backpack.  Mae loves the view from Daddy's shoulders.  At first she wasn't quite sure she wouldn't like to be down splashing in the surf...

But then the giggles began and she decided it wasn't so bad up in the pack, even if it meant no splashing:

Sadie, however, raced up and down the beach at a sprint.  She didn't seem to mind her dress being soaked in the creek (and ocean) water!

After lunch we returned to the beach.  Nani had gotten each of the girl a souvenir sweat shirt, since neither of their wardrobes currently contain anything even vaguely warm.  With a sweat shirt over her bathing suit, Sadie followed her Ariel kite down the beach:

Then it was time to release the Mae Bae.  For a moment we hoped she might stay in the shallow creek, which is rather warm when compared with the ocean water.  But it didn't take long before...

...she was ready to head down to the beach to join the surfers and paddle boarders (who, by the way, were all sensibly dressed in wet suits!):

I don't think Sadie was really planning on getting quite that wet.  But a trip in ankle deep water meant she made quite a splash!  And got to experience the cold on a whole different level (she was up and playing seconds later!):

Sadie was feeling quite daring:

Mae Bae wanted to lead Daddy out into the deeper water, and there was quite a little tug of war as she attempted to pull him further and further out (and when that failed she tried to drop his hand and head out on her own):

Finally it was time to head back to the motel to warm up.  Mae thought a few more hours of swimming would have been nice, and wasn't quite ready to go:

It was a wonderful weekend!  And it was so nice to feel the cool ocean air!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This Week's Work Link Up Party: #3

It's time to share another Week's Work and I can't wait to see what you've come up with!

Here's what I've been up to:

This week I felt much less rushed.  There's no more birthday present creating going on in our house, and so I could take a deep breath and only focus on the shops.  

And that meant quite a few more saint dolls were painted:

And here are a few close-ups of some of my favorites.  First there's Saint Philomena:

Our family's patron saint: Saint Martin de Porres

Another favorite, Saint Michael, took forever to paint!

Then it was on to snoods.  Quite a few didn't make the cut for the link-up party, mainly because I don't want to post the same snoods, which sell every week, over and over again.  So here are some of the one's I photographed last night to post:

Purple Lace and Crepe

My first snood made from knit material.  Cuddly for winter and autumn!

This one was finished last week, but didn't make it into the photograph pile:

I love the color of this one!

Blue Dupioni Silk!  I love sewing silk!

 The dress:

A custom snood for a baptism (it's teeny tiny!):

More brocade:


And finally black silk!

So that's what I've been up to this week!

Now for the link up fun: