Friday, March 29, 2013

What is so good?

Think for a moment on your worst day.

What happened? What or who was lost. Which hopes and dreams crumbled into ashes before your eyes. And how did it feel?

Was tomorrow even on the radar? Or did it feel daunting to even think about?

And so it was with what we call Good Friday
That is what I am venturing to guess was many people's worst day. When I think of what happened and who was involved. Does it get any worse? A mother loses her child. Guys who left their jobs and lives and pinned all of their hopes on a semi-homeless guy who had a propensity for making miracles,  healing the sick, eating dinner with degenerates and really ticking off political leaders.

What in the world do they do tomorrow? Run? Start again? Wait? Cry? Give up?

In those dark places. Where did they go? And were do we go?

Recently I have had some difficult conversations with my dad. And may I say that he is very brave for engaging with me. Because I went there. To his darkest place, without really realizing I was going there.

I asked him about the events surrounding the day I had an accident with a lawn mower 30+ years ago. I asked him about that year and the accident and what it was like for him. The truth is, he was the one driving the lawn mower that was millimeters from severing my entire leg.

He told me that was the worst day of his life.

I never thought of it like that before. When you are carrying your bloody screaming child into your hatchback how do you even imagine what happens next. How do you go on? Where is the hope and redemption?

Perhaps it came 30 years later as he is talking to healthy me and watching his grandson play on the carpet while I tell him that I never blamed him. That accidents happen. And that he is loved and lovable.

Or do you know the story of Abby from the Biggest Loser. I can't even talk about it because it is my worse fear. But out of her broken life, she was able to resserect meaning and herself and live a beautiful life.

Sometimes it doesn't come right away.

Easter is only a few days after Good Friday. That part of the story was a shorter wait. But it was and is transformative. Life and hope can come from the deepest death, the most humiliating places where all hope seems lost.

The disciples are known throughout history. They went on to live their lives for the sake of the hope that they had seen first hand when Jesus stood before them a few days later.

And the power of that love and that hope are still making waves now. Making a difference.(sadly it is also misused in places).

Love is for EVERYONE. Hope is there for EVERYONE.

And that, I think, is pretty darn good.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Practice.. Practice. Practice.

When I was in line at JoAnne fabrics holding Ben and purchasing my brand new Singer sewing machine for my birthday, an older lady behind me looked so excited for me. She started giving me thoughts and pointers on what to do or expect with starting to sew. I am not usually one to take or hear unsolicited advice, but I loved the feel and where it was coming from. The sentiments she said that stood out were...

"The only way to get good is practice. practice practice practice."
"Don't expect to save any money making your own things" BUT
"You get to make things the way you want to make them"

And its only been a few days that I have had this machine, but I have been doing just that...

practice practice practice

The first thing to do was just make sure I set it up right and read directions. I read directions. This is a big deal because, well I almost never read directions. I always think I can just figure it out. Which  usually I can(Maybe I am growing up a little!).

I got it to work and made one weird thing. I just used scrap fabric.
yes, that weird "wrist pillow" again...

Oh...on a side note. I have this thing were I go on Etsy or to craft fairs or whatever and look at cute handmade items, but rarely pull the trigger and buy it. Unless its knitted. Usually because I look at the item and think " I could make that". And I cannot knit.

This is where my practice is coming in. Those cute things I see, are what I am trying to practice/work on.

So the main item of practice is headbands. I am not going by any pattern but again using scraps and memory I am making very simple headbands. I mean pretty decorative ones for my hair. Or your hair. Or whatever. I have stitched together a total of about 8 so far. And I have to say that I am enjoying experimenting and sewing and feel rather creative as I learn how to do it better each time. Try to figure out what ways look better or are more efficient. It also helps that each one does not take terribly long to make. I am not very patient with projects. As evidenced by my unimpressive history with crocheting. So I feel pretty accomplished in having finished 8 projects in the past few days. Would you like to see some of my pretty creations?

The four in a row got sent to someone for "review" as I call it. What works. What doesn't. How can they be improved. Which designs work best. Would you ever buy something like this? Or want something like this as a present?

I also started learning how to make tutus. Random. I know. But I blame running those crazy obstacle mud races. Buying vs. making. I am starting to lean more again towards making. And the tutus are so easy. Especially when you make a small one for a child. 2 little girls are getting pretty tutu's here soon.

(I recognize that the picture isn't that impressive, but I didn't really have anyone to put it on right now to show it off. Unless you wanted me to put it on Ben. )

And while I am having fun creating and practicing, I am starting to think about possibilities of other things I can do. I originally wanted to relearn how to sew to make Ben a Christmas stocking. And then went a little overboard on fabric. But I will have lots to do with making some stockings this year.

Anyone want a stocking?

I am also already thinking, if I can get any good at this , about Etsy or craft fairs, etc myself. I would love to make things to raise funds for a cause that is becoming more and more dear to my heart. But we are not there yet.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birthday fun

I LOVE birthdays. Yours, mine, Bens, everyones. Its a chance to celebrate, not just a thing, but a person. A life. I forced this annual celebrating of birthdays upon my dear husband, but he has come to enjoy them. As long as it is just us, the immediate family. Surprise birthday parties are out of the question for him. I have made it that everyone takes the day off. No one works, and if we are lucky, maybe we will do a little weekend something.

And so it was with this, my 34th birthday.
34. struggling with that number (another post for another day)

It started with a weekend drive up to Madison, Wi. On the way up we stopped in my hometown of Milton and found an adorable winery. I found a chocolate cherry port I fell head over heels for. shocking. And since its my birthday weekend, I bought some.
Once we reached Madison we hit the Madison Childrens Museum as something to do. He is still  bit young for most of it, but was fun to check it out.

I wish I would have taken pictures of our other adventures and meet ups with friends. We met up with Bills college buddies, my sort of cousins, drove down to New Glarus, and had yes, New Glarus beer tour and tasting. Bill was highly impressed with the cleanliness and efficiency of their production facility. I liked the berry beer. And Ben beautifully slept/napped during the driving stints.

Then came Monday, actual Birthday!!!
Lots of playing with Little Buddy and Bill (who took the day off of work per tradition!)
Around 9:30 I put on these beauties, a present from my little sissy and headed out alone

(please note the snow. it was 30-something degrees, as opposed to the 80 -something degree birthday I had last year)

got me a massage

popped next door for some coffee and gelato and read for a bit

then went back home where we all then went out shopping for my birthday present. Here is what I wanted and what I got. Great for all of the little projects I want to attempt...

making sure it worked, here is the first thing I made. I really don't know what it is. I just wanted to make sure I could get the darn thing to work. I told Bill it was a wrist pillow. I'm sure if I decorate it with little buttons or whatever it can be a toy for Ben. Or Kitty. Or I could just toss it. lol.

And finally went out for a special dinner. This new local restaurant (Ad Lib Geocafe)that sources from lots of local sources and farmers, meats and produce, was having a special wine dinner. Pairing each course with a wine from a winemaker that was brought in. Starry Night winery. 
(I had a great seat/view of them putting the dishes together)
(lobster broth with truffles...I would marry this soup)

Holy man, this may have been the best dinner I have ever had. Or the wine got to me. Or both.

Either way.

It was a very happy birthday indeed

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Its coming upon one year since I decided to make the switch to cloth diapers.

When I was pregnant, I never really even gave it a thought. In fact one of the biggest things that I was hoping to get at my shower was boxes and boxes of the disposables so that I did not have to buy them myself. Everything baby was pretty overwhelming for me and did not want to think about it all too much. Picking things out, knowing what was necessary, setting it up. I mean, my nursery wasn't even set up until after Benjamin was born. Including the crib. Perhaps it would have made it too real! I was very excited and yet very nervous.

Once Ben was born I started seeing how many diapers we were going through a day. It was crazy to me, but everyone seemed to be doing it this way. Yet it still made me a little uncomfortable  My waste hating side was getting irritated.

Cloth seemed difficult. Overwhelming. How messy? How expensive? How much work? How much laundry do I have to do?

While I was pregnant, I found out that an old friend was due right around the same time I was. In fact, she had her baby 3 days after I did. After she gave birth to her beautiful baby girl I followed her blog with pictures and journey into motherhood, including her starting to look into cloth diapering. She did all the work and research for me. It sparked my interest for sure. After reading her research it seemed do-able, I just needed it to be super duper easy. I mean, I can be so lazy with certain things.

So after seeing different benefits I decided to just give it a try. Benefits such as less garbage. Less diaper rash. Fewer chemicals touching my babies skin. Can use these ones on the next kids. And cute, cute cute. I have recently seen a benefit of the extra padding on his butt when he falls back after standing up for a bit. Downside being more laundry, more water usage, one extra step of removing #2 from dirty diapers before the wash. More changes (every 2-3 hours except overnight). And explaining it to others! But I thought it certainly was not going to hurt to try, since cloth diapers have a pretty good resale value. I invest a little bit of money, which I would use on disposables anyway. I went the easiest route I could find...called "all in ones" which pretty much functions exactly like a disposable except you put it in the wash, instead of the trash.

Here is Ben in one of his first cloth diapers. A "monkey doodlez".

I tried several brands to see what I liked best. Even some Stay at Home moms from Etsy made diapers and tried some of those. (my favorites being now Bum genius Elementals and Chelory- a little pricey , but worth it in my opinion). The MD's are small and now part of the next newborn stash.

I ended up finding it pretty easy. Eventually I got my husband to buy into it. He felt good about switching, however still throws on a disposable for a "change of pace" as he calls it. And I always have some on hand at home and at the babysitters. I always like to be prepared for any scenario.  
                                                                                                                     (to the right is a beloved Chelory)

Cloth diapering is not for everyone. I don't care what you use or if you are into that elimination communication or whatever. But it works for me. This satiated my personal guilt for hating garbage   and waste and feeling environmentally friendly. And its a little old school, which tends to be more my personality anyway.

And I guess I have a little bit of hippy in me too. :)

cloth diaper blogs

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have a love/hate relationship with milk. I love to hate it.

I have never liked it. I am not sure I could tell you when or why my dislike started. But there is something about the taste and texture that I cannot handle. It's gross and has a slightly sour taste every time. 2% 1% whole skim whatever. Only skim is somewhat almost tolerable. Perhaps cause its more like water and I can drink that by the gallon.

"Can I at least eat it in my cereal?" I have been asked. That is a double no. Worse than drinking it out of a glass. It makes my wonderfully crunchy cereal soggy and that sugary wheaty milk left at the end is akin to battery acid for me. I eat my cereal dry thank you very much and I enjoy it immensely.

Every so often I do try it in some form to see what the fuss is about. Is it really that bad? I do this with almost all of my despised foods. Like ketchup. Creamed corn. And every time. Terrible. I tried it over my oatmeal this morning cause Bill can't eat oatmeal without it. While it wasn't vomit inducing, it added nothing for me.

Some things will never get a second chance. You hear that braunschweiger? Tamales?

And so it is with milk. We will only meet as I pour some for my son. As I use you in a recipe such as pancakes. Or a spot of you in my coffee.

Except chocolate milk. Chocolate is the exception to everything, isn't it? If you have ever had Oberweis chocolate milk, you know where I am coming from. Incredible. And no, I am not 6 years old.

Anything you can't eat. For pure taste?

Monday, March 4, 2013

music lessons

I love music.

I love to listen to it, groove to it, run to it, create it and share it with others.

Sometimes I wonder how anyone cannot love music at all. I mean, I truly think that our bodies and the world are set to music and rhythm. It seems everything is set to a beat, our hearts, our breath, the roll of the tide, the beating a horses hooves, crickets chirping, the whistling of the wind....need I go on?

I literally cannot run without it. I need a downbeat for my foot to fall to. A driving beat to inspire my next step. A positive message in the lyrics to set my mood and remind me what I am capable of.

Its been a while since I have performed anything. I sing, write, play guitar and pretend to play piano. I can play piano enough to impress and untrained ear. I used to lead worship at my old church and play at coffeehouses. To be honest I kind of miss doing that. However I have not had much time to practice and I do not miss the butterflies I get in my stomach.

What I do now is still teach guitar lessons. Mostly beginners. I used to teach at a store on the side before the store closed. Some of my students came with me. My numbers have dwindled significantly since having a baby. It is just something fun that I like to do and I really enjoy the people who I work with. One student I have been teaching on and off for maybe 3-4 years. We have similar tastes in music and she has such a sweet family. She is old and mature enough now that I am excited to use her for some babysitting (which is a big deal for me to trust anyone with my baby...but also good to have choices. I sometimes feel bad asking the same wonderful sitter to always watch my sweet boy).

Running and music.

And so with the month of March, my favorite month anyway. Yes, completely for selfish birthday related reasons, I will connect my music and running and lessons and training.

All money from every music lesson I give in the month of March will go directly to support my fundraising efforts for my half marathon in the end of April to support a local Domestic Violence Agency. That will be $15-30 a week. Which is not a lot, but it is something.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I want to follow up on my last blog post.

In the time since I started writing the last post about my "funk", I have been trying to be pretty intentional about being kind to myself. About rewiring what I think/believe. And part of it has been understanding things that happened and why they did. And seeing others and hurt broken people, just like I am. Yet capable of change and worthy of love.

While it is incredibly difficult to be vulnerable and open about what is going on in such a public forum, two things that I was not quite expecting happened.

1. Is how relieving it was to just get out of my system. Its a kind of stress, a burden to hold onto such negativity and walk with it on your shoulders. I do feel a bit lighter. But also minorly concerned about what people are thinking of me right now. lol!!
I suppose this is partly why I do encourage people to go to therapy. I have gone before to have a safe place to sort through such obstacles. And sometimes writing or talking to a friend can also be therapy. I suppose opening up to people more is something a therapist (i.e. myself) might say. However, not necessarily in the public forum of a blog. This is just where I chose to do so

2. The outpouring of support. And not the patronizing pitying (I despise pity) or  "oh God, she's going to kill herself so we'd better say something" kind. But genuine "I get it" "I've been there" and "this too shall pass" kind. And "here is an author, a speaker, etc who is validating where you are at." People I hear from all of the time and people I haven't spoken to in years.

While I know that outside circumstances or peoples reactions should not define my inner world. I am going to be okay even if the world hands me crap.  Sometimes life isn't fair. But also what I give the world to respond to is a projection of my inner self, whether conscious or not. If that makes any sense.

So I am working on it. This "Work in Progress".

Working on silencing or at least quieting the shame and doubt and energizing/strengthening the hope and love and security. Positive support from others certainly helps. And I thank you for that. Immensely. It means more than you may ever know.

And as if she knows I need a little somethings extra, my slightly anti-social kitty has decided to sit on my lap too. And purrs. Which NEVER happens. Maybe she is working on similar issues. :)

One last thing that I wanted to share is something that an old friend shared with me. I dig it. Social psychology research that I found myself nodding my head to the entire time. And its slightly humorous. Enjoy.