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Monday, June 8th, 2009
8:00 pm - A delightful day
I woke up around 2am this morning, which is normally a problem but I had work to do so I was just as glad to be up.  I got my bills paid and out of the way and spent the rest of the wee hours making cashmere baby hats out of thrifted sweaters -- this is such a simple and satisfying project that it overwhelms me with good feelings of soft fuzzy accomplishment.  I had a therapy appointment early and left the house before Daniel and Katherine woke up.  Spent a little time shopping and returned home to a happy daughter and a hard-working husband.

Peanut-butter sandwiches were perfect for a quick lunch, and then by some miracle Katie entertained herself for a long enough time for me to take a pleasant nap.  She did wake me up at one point to ask me to get the scrap fabric box down, but that occupied her for a good while and I woke up on my own, ready to take on the afternoon.  I did a menu plan for the week and a grocery list and packed K in the car to go shopping.  

We hit Rita's for some water ice before the market and Katie was thrilled.  She behaved tolerably well in the Acme and only lost it in the car on the way home, when a brief rain shower threatened to wash out the My-Little-Pony-Pool-Party she'd had in the works.  The rain stopped and she pulled herself together, so I gave her a bucket of water and she went to town.  It really was a ridiculously easy afternoon.

I spent some time working on plans for the week and then hit the kitchen to make the first home-cooked meal I've done in quite a while -- it's been Kraft Dinner and frozen pizza all the way these last weeks, but I had energy today so I took advantage.  We didn't eat until quite late but it was really good, ham and scalloped potatoes and green beans, with strawberries for dessert that K picked herself that we made into strawberry shortcake.  While we ate we watched an episode of Good Eats, our current favorite family show -- a really fun episode, "The House of the Rising Bun."  Daniel and Katie both helped me clean up.

So I'm basking in the calm and peacefulness of the day and trying not to hear Katie thrash out her nightly tantrum at going to bed -- let Daniel take care of that.  (I did offer to help and he declined.)  I'm going to play games for a while and then take a shower and go to bed, because tomorrow Katie and I are on our own, and while i expect it to be another good day I'm sure it will not be without its challenges. 

Meanwhile -- a lovely quiet evening!  I hope the rest of the summer goes as well as today did.

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Friday, March 20th, 2009
6:28 am - Help me name my quilt!
I'm having trouble coming up with a name for my newest quilt, so I'm sponsoring a contest on my other blog to generate ideas, and maybe to beef up readership as well.  If you're interested, the quilt top is viewable here, and the relevant blog post is here.  Win a miniature quilt designed and made especially for you!

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Sunday, March 15th, 2009
4:25 pm - Sick chick
Poor Katie has never been quite so sick before.  She's got everything wrong with her tummy that could possibly go wrong with it.  Her head hurts.  Her fever goes up and down since she can't keep Tylenol in her for very long.  Gross things are coming out of every part of her body.  She keeps getting pins and needles in her hands and feet -- why?  She cries and cries.  It's such a relief when she can fall asleep for an hour.  The house is neat as a pin since she can't run around wrecking everything in it, and for once that doesn't make me happy.  I know she'll feel better soon, but till she does I'm just sad.

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Saturday, February 7th, 2009
9:23 am - Update and thanks
Thanks to everyone who answered my call last night.  It is so comforting to know I'm not alone.  The memories are flying fast and thick and including some things that nobody wants to hear about, so I'm not going to mention them here, but knowing that you all care is making it possible for me to get up and face another day.  So thank you.

I've been working on little projects to keep myself busy, the most useful one being a new ironing board cover -- yay! I can iron without shredding the padding underneath!  It's very cute and made of the ultimate yellow-and-blue ironing board cover print, like it was born there.  I'm a little proud.  And I did a little patchwork this week, throwing together a Valentine's table runner for my mother-in-law, who collects seasonal ones to help keep the clutter off her dining room table (though I've noticed this doesn't seem to work very well.)  A St. Patty's one is in the works, too.  Then I'm starting on a comfort quilt for myself, a scrappy one made with only 3 1/2 " x 3 1/2 " squares -- a present to myself to remind me that I have the power to care for myself and comfort myself when times get hard.  I'm looking forward to working on that one.

Katie is doing well in school and loving going to after-care, where she gets to play with kids her own age all afternoon instead of being cooped up in the house with stodgy old Mama who only wants to sew and do housework.  I would feel guiltier about leaving her there if she weren't so happy, and if I felt I could handle her at home, but right now I really can't.  I'm so damned fragile I feel like I'm walking on eggshells with myself, trying hard not to think the wrong thoughts so I won't burst the bubble of equilibrium that rests on the surface of my mind.  I know things will get better with time and effort, but I want them better now.  Patience, patience.

Will get the other blog back to speed within the next week or so, hopefully -- need to tidy up around the house and do some deep breathing exercises.


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Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
3:47 am - Knock Down The Mama
This favorite game of Katie's is pretty self-explanatory.  It would be really obnoxious if it were not so endearing; she manages to be so careful and considerate about how she knocks me down so I never get kicked in the stomach or elbowed in the cheek, just temporarily pinned to the floor with a great big smooch from my jubilant daughter.  It's so worth letting her push me over to see the grin on her face.  Plus, it makes me feel special, being The Mama.  Nobody else gets to do that.  (Of course, nobody else has to, but that's another post.)  (Have I mentioned that she's calling me Mama consistently again?  Delicious!)  All in all, I'd say it's a win-win situation.

What habits or rituals do you find endearing about the children in your life?

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Friday, January 9th, 2009
2:58 am - Quick question -- selling craft items
I made a felt caddy to hold Katie's colored pencils while she's coloring in church so they don't go clattering all over the stone floor, and a friend saw it and asked me to make some for her niece and nephews.  Specifically, she offered to pay me to make them.  I'm not generally comfortable selling my crafts, but the more I make and the better I get at making things, the more people have been asking to buy things from me.  I guess I'm wondering -- if anybody has any experience selling crafts, either to friends and family, or at craft fairs or on Etsy or some other way, could you tell me what worked for you and what didn't; and if anybody has been in a position like mine and decided not to sell, how did you handle requests to buy things?

(I made the felt pencil rolls and I'll be giving them to my friend today. The details are here along with a photograph and pertinent questions for anyone who's still reading at this point.)

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Thursday, December 25th, 2008
9:08 am - From under the Christmas tree
"Santa Claus is the BEST!"
"It's just what I wanted!"
"And it's in my FAVORITE color!"
"You guys are the GREATEST!"
"Thank you, Mama and Daddy!!!"

All in all, a pretty rousing success, I would say.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Monday, December 22nd, 2008
5:21 pm - Present anxiety
I've spent the better part of the late afternoon wrapping presents for K..  And now I find myself in distress, with worries about how she'll react on Christmas morning:  Are there enough toys?  Will she mind getting mostly handmade gifts?  Will the clothes fit her?  Will she like them?  Will there be enough presents for her to open?  Will her stocking be full enough?  I've even reassigned one of her birthday presents (meant for Jan. 3rd) to Christmas just to be on the safe side. 

This is totally ridiculous.  She is getting presents from Santa, from us, from her grandparents (maternal and paternal), her aunts and uncles (five in total), her great grandmother, her great aunts (two of them), and several members of our parish -- and who knows who else?  There will be at least three unwrapping sessions.  She will be overjoyed.

Beyond that, there will be plenty of magic -- the creche and carol service at church, where she will sing "Away in a Manger" and participate in setting up the Nativity scene; caroling with the Choral Society; the unutterably beautiful midnight Mass; and most importantly, time spent with her loving family...

I must remember that Christmas need not be the three-ring circus it was in my childhood to be memorable and special.

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Thursday, December 11th, 2008
12:59 am - Enough already
Is it too late to cancel Christmas?

current mood: Gaaaaah!

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Thursday, December 4th, 2008
5:53 pm - Quick question for creative types
Katherine has completed her first embroidery project:

My question is this:  what would be an expedient and yet sufficiently attractive way to bind/frame/otherwise finish off this work of art?  Any suggestions will be gratefully considered.

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Monday, December 1st, 2008
3:33 am - new blog
Yesterday I started a new blog. My goal is to use it as a tool to help me focus on 1)Creativity in general and my creative accomplishments in particular, and 2)Spirituality and how that relates to creativity. I'm going to try to write in it every day, so it probably won't be very profound, but if anyone wants to follow it, it's called magnificasti mirabilia.

current mood: excited

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Thursday, November 20th, 2008
8:13 am - At the breakfast table
"Mom, come look, I made a buffalo out of my toast!"

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Saturday, November 8th, 2008
1:46 pm - Crafting for a cause
I'm encouraging all of my friends to visit the Mama to Mama blog site to see why I am trying to convince Daniel that all of his ratty old SFA t-shirts need a new home.

Basically, it's a new site designed to link mothers to other mothers in need through "the gift of handmade." The first project is geared toward Haiti, where the maternal mortality rate is obscenely high, as is the rate of death among children under five. The project supplies birth attendants with a "safe birthing kit" for each new mother, which will include handmade baby caps (from recycled t-shirts) which anyone can make.

Yes, anyone. I tried it. Even if you can't hem a pair of pants you can make this cap. It's a lot of fun. And if you can't part with your old college t-shirts *AHEM* you can go to the Goodwill and buy some on the cheap. Try it -- it'll make you feel good. And tell me if you do -- we can be cap buddies, as Katherine would say.

current mood: inspired

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Thursday, November 6th, 2008
2:13 pm - Doing well
So I haven't posted in a while, probably because I've been busy doing things like making quilts, cooking and cleaning, running around and generally taking care of business. I wish I could say I'd been really productive, but I don't suppose that's the point. The point is, I've been safe, calm and and virtually free of flashbacks and painful memories. This is a good thing.

Halloween went well. Katherine dressed as a mushroom. Well, a toadstool. She wore a silvery-goldy outfit with a tutu we found in Target that we just couldn't resist, and we covered a sombrero with puffy quilt batting and red-and-white-polka-dotted fabric for the top. She looked fantastic. I marched in the school's Halloween parade with her, and every few seconds a spectator would call out, "Look at the mushroom!" The teacher in charge of the yearbook could not stop snapping photographs of her, so despite the fact that my camera was broken I feel sure that her adorableness will be saved for posterity. Why a toadstool, you ask? She saw it in Family Fun magazine, next to a picture of a gnome costume. Ah, it all starts making sense.

I have a new name, and I do not like it. I have been Mama for 4 1/2 years and I have liked that very well. Now I am nearly always "Mom," not even "Mommy," which I think I could tolerate. I have tried correcting, I have tried gently requesting, I have tried begging, I have racked my brain to try to think of other ways to get my old name back, but I think it is history, so I am trying to be as accepting as I can. *sigh*

current mood: peaceful

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Saturday, October 25th, 2008
1:39 pm - My boy is home!
Safe and sound! We did it! Alleluia, Amen!

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Sunday, October 19th, 2008
7:23 am - A friend's diagnosis; losing it
My good friend of twenty years, whom I haven't seen in a long time, came over yesterday. When he greeted me I could barely understand a word he said. Within a few minutes he was able to make it clear to me that he had been diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. I didn't know much about it except that clearly it was debilitating. He told me that the average life span after diagnosis was two to five years. My old friend.

I told him I'd make him a prayer quilt. Have I talked about them on here before? They're small lap quilts that are tied, rather than quilted, and we bless them in church and then leave them by the door, and as people walk out they say a prayer for the intended recipient and then make a knot in one of the ties as a symbol of their prayers. When everyone has done this we send the quilt to the person it's been blessed for as a tangible sign that they are being held in prayer. It can be a wonderful comfort -- I've talked to people who've received them and they've been so grateful. I hope my friend will feel that way about his.

I'm going to church today, but my heart won't be in it. I'll carry the cross in procession and sing with the choir, but that's all.

Between one thing and another, I'm totally losing it. Daniel's leaving for Mountain View tomorrow and will be gone for a week. Reach out to me, please, if you're reading this? I need some help.

current mood: distraught

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Saturday, October 18th, 2008
2:11 am - Some teacher
The other day I had reason to wander through Katie's classroom in the early morning, before school started -- usually I stay fairly close to the door and the coat hooks. I came to the "circle area" and noticed the current read-aloud sitting on the chalk ledge: Charlotte's Web. Katie told me they had begun it the previous day and confided that they had read the whole first chapter (emphasis hers.) A far cry, I must say, from Bread and Butter for You and Me, or, for heaven's sake, Barney videos. Have I mentioned lately how I love Katherine's school and especially her teacher. Because I do, I really do.

P.S. On Thursday morning, in their "families" -- groups of students that span the grade levels from pre-K to 12 -- the whole school had a scarecrow-building contest. Katie's family won 2nd place with a most entrancing scarecrow-witch. Katie brought the broom.

current mood: impressed

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Friday, October 10th, 2008
3:54 am - Safety in numbers
Thanks to everyone who has helped me this week and last, either by coming to stay with me when I needed help, working from home (thanks Daniel), commenting or emailing me, calling me, praying for me, or whatever you did, it helped. I'm surviving and improving. I'm told that this is the hardest part of the process, and that I will heal in a way that I never thought was possible. Here's hoping.

current mood: grateful

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Sunday, September 21st, 2008
3:22 am - Just so I remember
Things Katie and I have done recently:
  • Told each other nursery rhymes and made up silly rhymes in the car on the way home from school
  • Had a beanbag fight
  • Sorted and counted pink and purple buttons (at her initiation)
  • Made a button string
  • Read the story of "The Christmas Horses" from On the Banks of Plum Creek (which includes the story of Laura and Mary making a button string for Carrie's Christmas present.
I continue to be astonished at how in love with her I am. Other things to remember:
  • Our favorite lullaby at the moment is "I see the moon and the moon sees me." I always sing it twice: once for her, once for me.
  • She has recently discovered the American Girl catalog: "Oh, Mama! An ice skating doll! Oh, Mama! She has hair clips!"
  • She is beginning to want to write words and even stories. There is one about "Baby deer and her mother" that is lost forever because Daniel neglected to transcribe it -- I must remember to do this when she makes up stories for me.
  • She loves her daddy too. She's been begging to go to Google with him for weeks now.

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Friday, September 19th, 2008
2:46 pm - Oh, my gracious
Today I walked past the grade school where K will go if she goes to public school in first grade. Which will happen over my dead body. This is, what, the second full week of school? And I saw rows and rows of kids sitting on white lines on the asphalt (there's no grass on their playground) during what was presumably recess, being berated for participating in a food fight during lunch period. Their heads were down. "This is trouble," said the teacher. I had chills.

current mood: surprised

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