Monday, January 31, 2011

Embroidered handkerchief

I have been working on this little hanky for several months, of and on. The lace was on there before so is not from my hands. I wish it would photograph better. The stitches are textured, so you really feel as if it is a bouquet on the linnen. I am nearly done. The second part of the stem still needs to be finished and then the monogram letter comes on the place where a ribon would bind the stems together.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Joseph had his toys confiscated today. He kept nagging for a toy in the store, and when we reminded him of all the nice toys he had at home, he said he did not want them. The attitude of entitlement is really something that irks me, and I am determined not to foster it in my own son. After he had repeated a few more times that he did not want his toys, I calmly explained that if he said so one more time, I would take up all the toys in his room and put them in garbage bags. Alas.. he repeated.

And I always follow through when I say something. (You think that he would have found that out by now.) So we came home and I grabbed two garbage bags and filled them with all the thomas take and play and puzzles and every toy in his room. I had planned to leave the books untouched but he declared "He did not want them" as well. So... A third garbage bags was retrieved and therein went all the books. There was a minor tantrum of course but I ignored that. When he was calmed down, I sat Joseph down for a little talk on gratitude. How people work hard and when they give him things, it is not nice to say that he does not want them. It makes people sad.

Fast forward a few hours. There were no major incidents anymore. Joseph was not all that grateful for his dinner, but he eats what he eats and mommy does not make anything else, we do not make any scenes about that here. If he declares himself finished after one or two bites, that is okay, but he will need to remain at the table like a semi civilized human being for x more minutes. Then he can be excused from the table. I love it when that little boy's voice asks: "May I please be excused?".

After he was excused Joseph played a little bit. Since he seemed in a good mood, I thought it was a good moment to repeat today's lesson a bit more.

Me: "Joseph? Can you tell dada what gratitude is?"

Joseph: " gratitude...."

Dada: "Yes, can you tell dada what gratitude is? What it is to be grateful?"

Joseph, trying to put it in the right phrase: "ehm.. gratitude and be grateful and mama take them away... mama takes the toys away"

Dada: (helping out) "Yes, if you are not grateful, your toys are taken away. Now, do you know what 'being grateful' is?"

Joseph: Getting it back!!

I had to run out of the dining room and was literally bend over in laughter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some prayers please?

I hate to yell. I dislike people who yell. I even cringe in restaurants because I think the tone in which people all around us speak while having dinner is too loud. Needless to say I do never want to raise my children yelling. Now I don't speak of a frantic "STOP!" right before you see your child running unto the road. Clearly that is a moment where "Sweetheart, if you wouldn't mind slowing down a bit before the vehicle that is aproaching might accidentily crash into you." would be a bit too much. Though I have used similar sentences in advance explenations of why hands need to be held on parking lots and play in the front yard needs to remain on the grass. But that "STOP" example isn't what this post is about.

I have found myself, more frequently than I want, yelling at my boys. I don't call them names or say ugly things. I just shout at the top of my voice. I NEVER shout. I dislike.. I detest shouting. And yet here I am. I think I have shouted three times this week. And it's not about disobedience or horrible things that they do in and of itsself.

It's just those days when your baby woke up so you didn't get a good night sleep, morning routine went wrong, so you didn't even have a shower, you tried brushing your teeth while keeping someone from running the faucet constantly in the sink enxt to you and putting toothpaste on his brush five times over... And you promise yourself that you will deal with everything with Grace. And you pray to God to give you enough patience that day.
And all through the day all those little things seems to go wrong, and then it is early afternoon and you need to go to the toilet, but you need to get the baby out of the carseat first even though that means you have to wake him when he finally fell asleep which you know will ruin his naptime later, and then your todler decides that he wants to climb over to the front seat... and you already burned your fingertips earlier in the day, trying to get something out of the toaster and because somebody spilled juice all over themselves just before you had to leave you have been almost late at a doctor's appointment and after the appointment you ended up on your knees trying to get the cheerios that the baby overturned from underneath the chairs in the waiting room, while keeping an eye on your todler who wants to play with a little girl who is being ignored by her mother and keeps pushing him away and the baby on your hip is howling and the nurse finally comes out with the prescription you need and you try to get them all out of there, and then you sit in the car and you realize you need to go to the toilet yourself , but you can't just unstrap everybody, so you try to get home. And the todler that you are trying to potty train poops in his diaper for the three thousand time and fills the car with stench. And of course every light is red, and ... you just.. can't seem to handle one more thing... and then one more thing happens. And then you yell: GET OUT OF THE CAR! NOW!

And I don't want to yell. But I get so stressed. It's not a matter of yelling to get him to obey, it is just.. pure pent up frustration.

So I ask you to join your prayers with mine for more.. understanding.. ease.. and gentleness towards my children. Because there will be more of those days, many more, and the only thing that can change in them is me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"The secret"

On a message board I belong to, a lady asked us to list just one thing that we love about our husbands. There were many answers given: deep, funny, happy, every day and very special. One of the answers struck a cord with me. The woman shared how wonderful it was that her husband made her feel desired and desirable every day of her life. We are not talking about undergarments and roses... no. The wonder of it is that her husband (and mine) makes her feel desired as she is. When the children have left her no time for a shower, when she has not lost the weight after a baby, and even when she is very grouchy!

This is one of the great 'secrets' I so much want to tell to younger girls. There is so much emphasis on how girls look, that even feminist broadcasters are called to CNN to bemoan it. Young girls should be thinking about becoming doctors and lawyers, not breast augmentations, false lashes, hair extensions, diets... Being your own woman is what makes you happy, not looking phony to atract a man. But guess what? Women still want to get married. They want someone to be with and grow old with (although they do not want to think about the growing old part. Or even about growing up.) And since developing your womanly side has been banned as an option, women seem to think that looking like a superstar, being sexy is the only way to be 'atractive'.

The sad thing is that all the attempts to look like Miss. Perfect will fade over time. No matter how much plastic surgery, creams, and super fashionable underwear you have, there always will be someone younger and prettier than you. On Tv talkshows you see husbands being boed away as they complain about their wives not being the atractive trophy wife they married. And of course they should not feel that way, but if that is the way a woman 'catches' her man, he expects her to keep up her end of the bargain, and it simply is impossible. Growing older, having children, the day to day life... will make you into a real woman and not a clubhopping energizing bunny who can swagger and sashay like a fantasy.

There is however an alternative. I always advocate on this blog to look elegant, and to be modest without being frumpy. And I try to live that. But well.. babies do spit up, and some days.. even a five minute shower just is not in the cards. Some days, no matter how much you quote scripture and inspirational texts to yourself, you get grouchy. And here is the good news: if you chose well, you have a husband that loves you even on those days. And that desires you on those days.

If you are a young woman, looking for marriage, work on your character, AND your discernment... you may be lucky enough to marry one of the good guys. And to them.. all of the exterior matters just fade away. You will be loved, you will be desired, you will have a love life that reaches the stars even your hair has not been washed three days in a row, and you have been chasing cheerios for hours. Of course your husband will still appreciate it that you try to do your best to look pretty, but his love, nor his desire will depend upon it.
This means however that you need to have to offer something beyond good looks. So instead of having "I want to lose weight" this year as your new years resolution, try: "I want to practice more patience." Instead of planning to "pamper yourself with a manicure at least once a mont", try practicing "self denial". And instead of buying a stylish wardrobe, consider developping your conversational skills. Those never go out of fashion.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cottage shawl

I finally finished this shawl today. It is made, over the last four months, in lace weight yarn. The pattern is called a cottage shawl with spiders.

Over the last four months I have put aside embroidery in favor of crocheting a shawl for a very dear friend of mine.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Magic Kingdom

My wonderful husband's parent's are treating us to a vacation in Orlando Florida, and decided it was time to introduce our oldest son to... the Mouse. I have never been a big Disney fan (I detest the way they alter classic stories and I could make this into a three page rant over the way they changed the ending of the Little Mermaid) but instead, I want to focus on the wonderful time we are having. Disney World is executed very well. The whole park is lovely and all the personnel helpful and kind. Joseph, who had been shown some Mickey movies for the last three weeks and thereby developed a Mickey Mouse obsession, was thrilled beyond belief over the fact that he got to meet Mickey. He saw his house, he loved Minnie's house even better. He loved "It's a small world after all" and the Peter Pan ride. (His father's favorite from when he was a child. We went to see a 3D movie with Mickey and Donald and lovely music, and had a fun time in the great weather. My proud old fashioned heart beat a bit faster when the first ride of Joseph's choice was the carousel (Yay!) And we just generally had a wonderful family day.
The one thing that kept bothering me was the high way robbery that the prices in Disney are. I can not believe how much everything costs and how many people are willing to spend it. A "princess make over" for a little girl costs... wait for it... 159 dollars. For a hairstyle, a bit of glitter, and a rather flimsy dress. Though of course in the eyes of the girls, it is the experience of being a real princess for a day. At the end of the second day, Joseph wanted a special balloon. Now of course I didn't expect a Mickey shaped balloon that changed colors to be fifty cents.. but fifteen dollars? Fifteen dollars for a bit of plastic and air? It was out of the question. (Do I sound like Scrooge?) Joseph actually bore it very well, and received a special gift a little bit later which was cheaper, more durable, and much more to his taste! Mickey in a train.
A few times in the park I saw parents who had beaten the Disney "Give us all your money" specter. I saw one girl in a princess dress which clearly had not come from a Disney store. It looked homemade in the best sense of the word: it radiated quality and taste and individuality. And she looked so much more charming than all the other little girls in their cookie cutter dresses. Now don't get me wrong, in general those dresses are very nice, but they have that 'factory princess' feel to them. I don't remember any specific girl in those dresses. But the girl in the homemade princess gown is vivid in my memory.
It reminds me of my favorite 'princess' book: A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett, in which a young girl tries to act like a princess by having perfect manners and a kind behaviour towards everyone, even when life deals her setbacks.
I remember the stories of princess when I was younger, they were kind, industrious, and self sacrificing young women. Certainly they were beautiful too, but it was their gentleness and good behaviour that made them worthy of the Prince on the White Horse.
But I digress. Princesses do that to me.
Let me just conclude for now that we had a wonderful time. That we managed to avoid many of the highway robbers. That we saw some beautiful sights, and had some beautiful rides. Michael's favorite seems to be "It's a small world after all" and Joseph just wants to see Mickey, though he loved the whole experience. Pictures will follow when we are home and have them downloaded. I am tired but happy. I always loved fairy tales, but experiencing them all over through your children makes them even more wonderful.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas pictures

We are nearing the twelfth day of christmas and the conclusion of this christmas season, so I guess it is time to put some christmas pictures up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

I had a wonderful, cozy new year's celebration. My husband and I took a leaf out of our christmas book and just had a quiet picnic on the floor of our living room. We drank some sparkling wine, and his face was the first thing I saw when the new year started.
The first day of the year started with mass, then a simple restaurant. We bought a new car seat and I managed to get two surfaces empty that were cluttered. Now that our little man is almost 11 months, I hope to slowly get more things done. I am trying to accept the fact that he is one of those children that has enormous trouble teething and that the holding and crying will not be done with right away. A little bit of organisation and some new routines however should get some things on a better track. In a clean house and with an organized life, everybody here just feels better.
I felt woefully unprepared for the new year. Usually I am thinking ahead and trying to plan things and enact them before the new year actually starts. This time, I am winging it, and trying to relax and adjust. I did download the Motivated Mom's planner. I do better with some boxes to tick off. Let's see if it helps me out.

I hope everybody reading this has a wonderful new year. May you see old dreams come true, and new ones created!