Thankful

Tis the season to be thankful.  A lot of people (myself included) do the whole 30 days of thankfulness on Facebook, and most of the posts look like this: “Day 22 – Today I’m thankful for my wonderful partner/children/parents/friends/family/ect.  They are the wind beneath my wings!  Love you guys!!  xoxoxxox”  And while I am in fact very thankful for all of those people, it’s kind of a given.  The things we normally think of to be thankful for are pretty basic:  our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs, our faith, our lives, our health.  That’s the go-to list of stuff people are generally thankful for.  Or they are thankful for something going right in their lives, like getting a new job or their kids getting good grades.  And that stuff is awesome.  But that’s not what this post is about.  Today I’m going to give thanks for things most people may not think are “thank worthy,” but that are things I am thankful for nonetheless.

1. I am thankful for being poor.
Yes, that’s right.  I’m thankful for our lack of money, for our penny pinching, for our barely scraping by, for our “oh shit we bounced the account again” lives.  Why?  Because it has taught us how to live with less, and how to appreciate what we have even more.  We don’t have cable, so we don’t get sucked into the 30 different TV shows we use to watch religiously.  Instead, I follow a handful of shows on Hulu Plus.  (Gleeks of the world unite!!)  The girls aren’t inundated with commercials and cartoons telling them that the only thing girls can be is pretty pretty princesses.  We can’t afford to eat at restaurants very often, so when we do it is special.  We can’t afford to buy pre-made anything, so I have become a kick ass cook.  We can’t afford to buy a lot of clothing or toys for the girls, so I have learned to sew, and found my new passion.  We can’t afford to take cool vacations to theme parks, so we take the girls camping and instill in them a love of nature.  Being poor has helped us see what really matters, and what doesn’t.  Of course, I wouldn’t turn my back on winning the lottery, either.

2.  I am thankful for never finishing college.
My mother will kill me for this, but I’m glad I never finished college. I wish I had never gone at all.  Think of the money I could have saved everyone.  I never really had huge ambitions like some of my friends.  And heaven knows I’m terrible at finishing the things I start.  (My mother can wax poetic about this for hours.  Hours, I tell you.)  Some people feel they are destined for great things.  I’ve never really been one of them.  I had great idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, but in all honesty, I never really saw them working out.  However much I’ve bitched about working retail or as a secretary, I really do like it.  I like not having to take my job home with me at night.  I like not having to deal with deadlines, crazy bosses, and mass quantities of stress.  I like my quiet, simply life.

3.  I am thankful for my crappy little house.
Chev would disagree with this one, but I like the quirks that came along with this house.  So, the water in the bathtub is always set to shower.  Its annoying, but it is ours.  So the windows in the living room leak cold air.  Our first place together (fondly referred to as “The Hovel”) was WAY worse.  So the floors are creaky and old.  At least the girls will never be able to sneak out without me hearing them.  So our neighbors are kind of dicks.  We don’t really ever need to talk to them.  I love our little house because it is ours.  Not some crappy rental.  Not something that belongs to one of our parents.  Ours.  Our little piece of creaky, leaky, crazy showered heaven.

4.  I am thankful for the girls’ craziness.Yes, every scream, cry, shriek, and growl.  Every toy thrown, every shin kicked, every hair pulled.  Every jump off of the couch, every jump on the bed, every climbing of the cabinets.  Every time out, every hug, every kiss to make it better.  Because even when they drive me crazy, I know that this is just a phase, and that one day I’ll look back and laugh fondly at what little imps they are.  And when they are oh-so-cool teenagers, I will miss this.  I will miss the time when their worst troubles were not wanting to share or eat their peas.  I will miss the time when a hug mended a broken heart and a kiss healed all wounds.  I will miss being able to make things better just by holding on to them tightly.

5.  I am thankful for the sleepless nights.
Ellie still sleeps with us.  We don’t even bother putting her in her own bed anymore, because who wants to get up in the middle of the night?  Some people will scoff and roll their eyes and talk about how we should sleep train her.  How she’ll never want to sleep in her own bed.  But you know what?  One day she will want to sleep in her own bed.  One day she’ll outgrow us.  And I will miss this.  I will miss having a little head snuggled up on my shoulder.  I will miss her little baby snores and her sweet toddler smell.  I will miss Laurel climbing into bed after having a bad dream, and only Chev can make it better.  I will miss the crazy tangle of arms and legs and heads that pushes Chev and I out to the edges of the bed, hanging on in silence because we don’t want to wake our slumbering angels.

6.  I am thankful for the mess.
There are toys everywhere in my house.  In the girls’ room, our room, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the bathroom, the hallway, the yard, and even the car.  There are paper chains and painted pumpkins and toilet paper turkeys in my living room.  There are dinosaurs protecting the pantry door.  There are naked dolls (why are they always naked?) lined up in my hallway, having a parade.  There are stuffed animals everywhere.  Seriously, everywhere.  I found one in my coat pocket the other day.  No idea where it came from.  But there it was, inside my glove in my coat pocket, keeping warm.  My mother comes over and talks about clutter and how can I stand it?  But I don’t see clutter.  I see imagination taking wing.  The blocks all over the dining room floor aren’t really blocks.  They are lily pads, and Laurel was making her toy animals jump from one to the other.  She asked me about frogs and how they lived the other day, and BAM!  today there is a swamp in my dining room that her toys have to navigate.  I told Ellie about reindeer last week, and today she found every single reindeer toy, book, and picture in the house and put them all on the coffee table.  Then she showed them to me, signing “reindeer.”  She was so proud of herself.  But I was prouder.  So don’t look at the mess when you come to my house.  Look at the ways the girls are learning.  Unless you are offering to clean it up.  Then you can call it a mess all you want.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine!

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I’m a Crafty Lady

So there is something you may not know about me.  I’m crafty.  And I don’t just mean that I’m clever and sneaky (which I am); I like to make crafty things.  Mostly I make clothing for the girls, but I recently got a sewing machine and I’ve been branching out to other things as well.  This is why I’ve been seriously slacking on my blog.  So as an apology for neglecting all of you, here are some pictures of the things I’ve been making along with the links to the tutorials I used.

Floor cushions for kids to sit on!

Floor cushions for kids to sit on!

I made a couple of floor cushions for my niece and nephew for Christmas.  And for the record, I made these before I had the sewing machine.  That’s right…I sewed these bad boys by hand.  Which is insane.  But I like doing it.  Especially while I watch Dr. Who.  Want to try your hand at these?  Check out the tutorial over on Living With Punks.   http://www.livingwithpunks.com/2010/05/tutorial-land-of-nod-inspired-floor.html

Whooo doesn't love owls?

This blanket is dino-mite!
This blanket is dino-mite!

I’ve also started making weighted blankets.  What is a weighted blanket, you ask?  It is a blanket that has a grid of pockets filled with little plastic bead things (Poly pellets).  Some kids have a hard time settling down to sleep, and the extra weight can help sooth them.  Like a big hug you can sleep in.  These were made for a couple of my friends after one of them was talking about the cost of weighted blankets online.  There is a joke that if you want to charge more for something, slap the words “baby” or “wedding” on it.  Unfortunately, that hold true for anything made for special needs kids, too.  Companies that make things for special needs people know that there is little competition, so they can charge a lot more for their product than what it is really worth, and people will pay for it because they have to.  It is a terrible truth that special needs families are wrung dry on a regular basis, paying for the specialized items they need.  So I made these for a reasonable amount of money, not the 200-400% mark-ups I found when I searched for them online.  I used the tutorial at Compound LIving.  http://www.compoundliving.com/2013/01/diy-weighted-blanket.html

Ta-Da!  I'm a cutie!

Ta-Da! I’m a cutie!

Not nearly as thrilled with her shirt.

Not nearly as thrilled with her shirt.

Thanksgiving tunics for the girls.  They are going to be gobbling turkey in style thanks to some very pretty fabric scraps and this tutorial from Once Upon a Sewing Machine.  http://onceuponasewingmachine.com/diy-toddler-peasant-dress/

Ready for Santa!

Ready for Santa!

Like a little angel

Like a little angel

Prettiest present ever!

Prettiest present ever!

And of course, what follows Thanksgiving?  Christmas of course!  Here are the girls in the dresses I made them.  The first two are based partially on the peasant dress pattern, but I changed the bottoms so they were more fitted.  I don’t have tutorials for the rest of the dresses because I just made them up.  I saw pictures of dresses I liked and just did my own thing.  That’s the cool thing about sewing.  You can just MAKE stuff!  Right out of you head!  Like magic.  Sewing magic.

Aurora

Aurora

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

These dresses were made for a gift exchange.  I wanted something she could play in, but that looked like her favorite princesses.  Laurel very much enjoyed modeling these.  Again, no tutorials because I just made them up.  Maybe I should make tutorials.  In my spare time.  ha ha ha

Picture 040

Laurel and Ellie have been turned into dolls!

Picture 043

Yarn hair sucks

Ok, I have to admit that I am ridiculously proud of these dolls.  I never thought I’d be able to make something like this.  But thanks to the super easy tutorial at Make It & Love It, I have made three so far and am planning on two more (a Princess Peach from Mario Bros. for my niece and a Batman for my nephew).  I love love love these.  http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/02/girl-boy-fabric-dolls-pattern-pieces-included.html

What does the fox say?

What does the fox say?

A fox scarf.  Because it’s freaking awesome.  I want to make a million more of these.  Different animals, different colors.  And I will.  Oh yes, I will….. after Christmas.  The tutorial calls for minky fabric for the bottom of the scarf, but I didn’t use that.  I just used more flannel.  Why?  Because minky is the devil.  Ask anyone who sews.  The. Devil.  Should you wish to make a little friend to wrap around your neck, check out the tutorial at Prudent Baby.  http://prudentbaby.com/2012/12/baby-kid/diy-fox-scarf-with-free-pattern/

Cutting takes a LOT of concentration

Cutting takes a LOT of concentration

Gobble gobble

Gobble gobble

This caption is so corny

This caption is so corny

And, of course, I’ve been crafting with the kidos.  Mostly with Laurel, since Ellie does crafts at preschool in the morning, but Ellie got in on the action with the bead corn.  Laurel really liked making the turkeys, even if she does think they are chickens.  We also made native American head dresses out of construction paper feathers, but they were destroyed during our impromptu drum circle/pow wow.  Our pilgrim hats were an epic fail, cut we all enjoyed getting glue everywhere.  Ok, they enjoyed it.  I enjoyed sticking paper to their arms and listening to them shriek with glee.

What kind of crafts do you like to do?  Do you craft with the kids?  Do you have a favorite pattern or tutorial you’d like to share with the class?  Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to!

Sister love in the flesh and in the fluff

Sister love in the flesh and in the fluff