Showing posts from October, 2011

DIY Lord of the Rings Costumes

The young hobbit inscribes his sword with elvish runes.  Our family has never really done much for Halloween, but ever since our church started throwing this great masquerade party every year we've started dressing up for it. This year the kids started planning costumes a month ago and I kept warning that between all the wedding sewing and the fundraiser and the other stuff going on around here I probably wouldn't have time to make anything special. Well, it turns out that Saturday was free, and that's all it took, and not much sewing either.  It started with the Boy deciding he was going to be Samwise Gamgee. Well I have a tea stained blouse that Aaron bought me in Thailand before we were married that finally tore this summer. I was trying to decide if I should throw it out or not. Underneath the blue vest that his Beema made for one of his uncles to wear to our wedding 11 years ago it makes a perfect hobbit shirt. The Jedi pants I made him 2 years ago are now

For When You Feel Powerless

A friend's daughter spent the last several weeks in the hospital because she told her mom she was thinking about how to kill herself. She is a sweet, bright, beautiful girl and that she is able to believe that the world would be better without her in it just kills me. That same weekend another girl at her school did try to kill herself, and succeeded. Ever since I've been mulling over and over and around and around just what sort of words I could say that would help her. I still don't know. But I realized it ties into my series on learning to not be afraid , these thoughts I keep thinking. So here is what I would say to her if we were sitting down together, just the 2 of us to have a chat. It's actually quite normal to think about dying you know, I think. Just about everyone does. I have, hundreds of times and in various sorts of ways, just as I imagine what I'll do when/if my loved ones die also. It's actually a sign of intelligence and imaginatio


All morning, whenever I sit still for her, Little is making me a princess. She inserts hair pins at random, and brushes and pulls. Bangles and bracelets pile up on my wrists, necklaces stack up under my chin."You look so beautiful mommy", she says. "You have to keep your princess things on all day, even when you go to the store and the bank." I'm a princess stirring porridge. The bangles clink as I lift the baby. It feels odd to realize that she thinks I'm beautiful, and then to understand that she notices only details, not the whole picture. My long hair makes me a princess, even in a stained t-shirt. Blue jeans don't matter if I have on enough bling. But I see the ratty and tattered parts of myself. I know I am not worthy of this adoration. I'm familiar with my ugliness. She notices only beauty. Bam Bam is restless today, cranky, pulling on things climbing on and off my lap, impossible to satisfy. He snatches at the necklaces, screams as I pr

10 years old

It was your auntie Ana who pointed it out to me. "You have your first double digit child." I hadn't really thought about it. One whole decade I have been a mama. By the end of the next you will be an adult. It's really brief this childrearing thing, only so much time to figure it out before you're gone, on your own, and living the rest of your life. I still feel like I'm faking it, trying to get it all right so you have a good childhood. One day you will figure out that no one really knows what they are doing in life. We're all just making it up as we go along and there is no magical age where you just suddenly become wise and have all your stuff together. You either choose to do it, or you don't. Each day is what you make it. That's really all you've got. I like what you are doing with your life so far. I love your generous heart and the way you take joy in being able to help someone. When I asked what you wanted for your birthd

Pretty Happy Real

Pretty - Flower girl dress with the sash I sewed. Funny - Bam Bam decided to eat his little friend's shoe last week at church. I believe he's trying to demonstrate his slavish devotion to her in exchange for her cereal snacks. Happy -  This is everyone about a minute after Aaron walked in the door after being gone for a month. Real -  She fell off a scooter and right into our wrought iron fence. I bought cover up in case it doesn't heal in time for the wedding.

An Embarrassment of Riches

They are all very loud, standing on the outside edge of the window sill, just behind this couch I sit in. There are bird sounds and many characters acting out voices and I wonder if today is another failure. Should I be letting them just run wild now, at 2:42pm with the school day so incomplete. (Why does it feel that way even as I remind myself that 2 out of 3 actually finished workbooks that were supposed to last until Christmas today?) The living room is tidy, finally. Well almost. It's an improvement a least, even though the vintage NordicTrack with it's wood and it's leather still sits awkwardly, juxtaposed against the brick and white molding on the fireplace. I loved it, but we really don't have the room for it and so it must go. Maybe if I post it on Craigslist someone will come and take it away for free. How did this house get so full of of so much stuff? I'm overwhelmed by it all and that was before I stood on a chair and took down the bins full of fa

the story of moonscape

A couple of years ago, when Aaron and I were first starting The Charis Project Melissa , the daughter of one of our board members, came to us and said, "I'd really like to help you guys out. I don't have a lot of money but here are a few things I could do." She was in her last semester of design school and she took us on a her final project for her class on creating a branding package. She designed our logo for us and then expanded it into everything else, letter head, business cards, newsletter layout, and even web graphics. She's the reason we look so good. She says that having the work she did for us in her portfolio helped her to land her first job out of school. They liked that she had already done something real. To this day, whenever I have something I want to try I can shoot her an email and she get's back to me right away with something awesome. She even designed my business cards for blogher, which were super pretty. At that time I reme

The Horrible Weight of Freedom

photo by aparejador - Used under CC licence Sometimes when I'm hurtling down the freeway at 70 miles an hour, all 4 children tucked into seats in the back and the road curves slightly and I feel the tug of inertia against the change in direction I wonder at the fact that we are given so much power. It only takes a slip, a small lapse in judgement, and all that steel and flesh becomes a mangled mess on the asphalt. Why should I be trusted with that? What if I make a mistake? What if someone else makes a mistake? Are humans really supposed to go this fast? How did speeds like this go from something only daredevils attempted to something housewives do every day, while mediating arguments in the back seat and doling out snacks to keep the short people from screaming? On the freeway there are no guarantees. I know how frail I am. I fell asleep at the wheel once. I woke up screaming. Sure we have to take a test, demonstrate we know the rules, that we can see far enough to


I don't know how clear it is from the photo but that guava tree is bent more than double under the weight of all it's fruit. Ever one to get the kids to do something I would rather not, I told them they should pick it all and sell it to the neighbors for a dollar a bag. Their first 11 bags sold in about an hour. Given how many guava remain, we have 3 trees in our yard, if they keep it up at this rate they will be very flush this fall.

A Day Out

Rosie from  invited us to join her at the botanical gardens yesterday. It is a very interesting place, and smelled divine. It sprinkled on us just a little, which was exciting for my California children. We'll go back. Thanks Rosie for inviting us. (I have no idea how this will look. I'm posting from my phone for the very first time. Replacement modem is still not here, so I have no other internet.) -- Sent from my HP Veer Carrien Blue

Flitting from one thing to the next

I'm missing Aaron really badly this week. I haven't talked to anyone older than 9 in...more than 24 hours. Hurried phone conversations about money transfers don't count. (I am a total wuss. I have a friend who gave birth to her 3rd child while her husband was in the middle of a 13 month deployment to Iraq. He's been on 2 year long deployments! I have nothing to complain about, really.) I can feel the unraveling going on, the struggle to remember what I need to do next. There are so many next steps I can't decide on which of them to begin, so I stare. Aaron is really good for me in that respect, he helps me sift the details I find overwhelming until I can find a beginning place, a simple place, and can go from there. I am in full on hovering mode, flitting from one thing to the next, totally aimless, distracted from all of it. The irony is that I know I just need to begin, but I find that part the most difficult and there was the part that got swallowed by the ph


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