Friday, May 28, 2010

Quit Stalling!

We are trying very hard around here to help Ingrid go to bed with less stalling.  For the past few weeks it's been taking her an hour or so to fall asleep.  First it was that she wanted a drink.  Then when I realized she was just saying that, but not drinking when given her water bottle, she moved onto throwing her nuk on the floor and then calling "I can't find my nuk!"  After we stopped going in for that, it was that she "dropped" her doll, or that the glow worm needed batteries, or that she had to go to the bathroom.  It was one thing after another, with me putting her to bed and then every five minutes popping up and running in the room.  And getting more and more pissed as the time went on.

It all starts out so innocently, I just wanted to give my child what she needed before bed.  And then it grew so gradually into a big deal that one day I was blindsided by the fact my daughter had been manipulating me for weeks!  How did that happen??  However it happened, it's stopping.  NOW. 

Last night was my first trial of letting her go and not going in to give her anything.  Most of the time I'm sitting there wondering if I'm being a big meanie, maybe she really is thirsty, maybe she really does have to go to the bathroom.  But then I'd sit and listen to her and laugh--"I need my water bottle!  I need my water bottle!  I need to poo!  I dog!  I need...I need...uh, my water bottle!"  It was making me laugh last night listening to her because she was just grasping at straws, what will make mama come back into my room to get me? 

She cried for a half hour on and off.  Sometimes screaming, sometimes really sounding pathetic and tugging at my heartstrings, and sometimes sounding like a maniac.  After a half hour I went in, told her it was time to go to sleep, and I left her.  She fell asleep about a minute later.  Instead of it taking over an hour to fall asleep, she fell asleep in a half hour.  Progress!  Tonight she's quiet, just talking to herself and not calling out for me, so we'll see.  Hopefully she's getting the picture that there is no more stalling to go to bed.  Hopefully.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Handmade Nation

There was a little gathering of crafty ladies at Blue House tonight to watch the documentary Handmade Nation.  It's funny I've never seen this, because it's from a lovely lady I know from Milwaukee!  But I had never seen it before, and when I dropped my goods off at Blue House today, Siobhan told me they were showing it.  Usually I am so tired by the end of dinner, I can't think of leaving the house and being coherent.  But I figured why not, it's a nice night out and Mama needs a break from the stress that is bedtime around here!!

I'm so glad I went!  It was about ten women, some sangria, beer, cheese, and a big tv playing a documentary about crafters, what could be better?  It was a little intimidating because everyone seemed to know each other already and they had already been doing things together for a few months it seems.  But I'm not one to be too shy, so I just jumped in and asked people's names and asked what things they've done and hopefully I'll get to know some people better.

It's funny, though.  I enjoy making my stuff, and I have to admit that when someone went to the shop part and saw the little baby slippers I'd made and oohed and aahhed over them, I felt pretty good to say yep, that's my stuff.  But I don't know that I'm into it enough to make it an actual factual business...Like there are tons of craft shows and other things going on, which sound fun, but I don't know.  I just don't ever have that motivation needed to continue on with things.  I like to blame it on Ingrid and the fact I have to do my sewing around her schedule, which is true to a point.  But I know I could be creating things in her down time, or nap time, or after bed, or really focus on the weekends when Brendan is home.  And I don't.  I go in spurts--I'll get all into it and make about 10 bibs and five blankets and then be done with it for weeks.  Or I'll try a new pattern and make 7 of the thing and then I never look at it again.  Is this normal or am I just lazy?? 

Whatever the case may be, it's nice that I can sell stuff on consignment and through etsy and have a reason to make things.  Sometimes you find an old Star Trek sheet and you just know a blanket has to be made from it, but really does your daughter need another handmade blanket?  No, she doesn't, but the blanket still has to be made!  This way at least I have an outlet for those urges!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blue House Ann Arbor

Awhile back I got an email from a woman who was starting a cooperative craft center.  She was wondering if I'd be interested in selling some of my goods there, but since I thought we'd be moving I told her no thank you but good luck.  Then the other day Brendan and I were taking a walk in our new neighborhood and we passed this cutest building--an old blue house that had a sign out front saying it was an artists space.  I said hmmm, I wonder if that's the same lady that contacted me last fall?  Sure enough it was!

I went over to talk to her on Tuesday and it was so amazing!  The place is an old house, the front room has goods for sale from local artists.  Some photos, some jewelry, some sewn goods, a little of everything.  Then there's a sewing room, and upstairs are two studios.  They have classes and events, host birthday parties, and will be taking part in the local art fair this summer, which is a huge ordeal around here! 

And the best thing is, they want to sell my things!  I am so excited to be doing this, it's another way to get my stuff out there.  When we were moving and I had boxed up all my sewing stuff, I realized how much I love to sew.  I love to make things, and I love to sell them, just to know others like it, too.  But I'm not really interested in making a ton of money, just enough to support my fabric addiction!  And to be able to join a group of local artists and have the support of a community will be really nice, too. 

So, if you're in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and need a bib, blanket, or baby shoes, be sure to stop by Blue House Ann Arbor

Friday, May 14, 2010

No Impact man

I just watched this documentary last night and it was wonderful!  A family in NY city decides to try to make no environmental impact for one year.  They give up cars and take to biking.  They give up elevators and take to the stairs.  They give up toilet paper, premade cleaning products, and washing machines.  They start composting and eating only local foods.  I never heard of it at the time, but I guess it was a big deal in New York, they were in the Times and on Good Morning America.  It was all new to me, though, and I loved watching it.

They got a lot of negative comments about what they were doing and it just amazes me how people think doing little things like using cloth instead of disposable anything, or making your own cleaning products, or buying local food, is so crazy.  To me it has become so common to use cloth wipes, rags instead of paper towels, and although I haven't done it in awhile, I used to make my own laundry detergent and cleaning products out of cheapness :)  And it's not hard!

The wife of this family was into reality tv, shopping, and eating meat.  By the end of the year, though, she was definitely turned on to the positives of the changes they'd made.  She no longer spent $950 dollars at one clothing store (??!!) and she gave up her coffee addiction (no coffee was grown in New York, therefore had to be nixed.)  There were wonderful scenes of the family stomping their laundry in the bath tub, and playing with their daughter, and eating by candlelight.  I was just so excited to see someone that had a ton of reservations about the project totally turn around and embrace things. 

Obviously not all was good.  They gave up electricity for six months and instead of a refrigerator used a pot in pot contraption that was supposed to work but didn't.  They were basically camping in their NY city apartment, as the wife said.  I'm sure there were times it sucked beyond belief and they probably wanted to go out and get fast food and not have to cook their root vegetables.  But like they said, they were going to the extreme to see what worked, what was possible, and what wasn't feasible.  They realized that it wasn't about giving things up but doing the things they wanted to do in a more sustainable way. 

It was really interesting to me because a lot of what they were doing reminded me of "olden times" for lack of a better term.  Before everything was processed and marketed, people used what they had to do what they needed.  When I was looking at making my own cleaning products everything I read was recipes from someone's grandma.  That's just how it was done.  You took some things you had in your pantry and you cleaned with them.  You drank water from the tap, you didn't buy plastic bottles of it.  You bought your food from local farms or markets, and didn't depend on having blueberries shipped in from Chile in the middle of the winter. 

I know that convenience is really nice sometimes.  I have been known to go for the easy way out many times.  But is it really worth it?  (The stupid thing about this is that I just bought a pack of disposable diapers for Ingrid yesterday after her cloth ones leaked through three nights in a row!  I guess some things are convenient, aren't they?  Sigh...)  For me the movie just drummed up ideas of what I was comfortable with and what I wasn't.  But it got me thinking, and that's the good thing.  I think more people need to think about what they are doing and see what they could maybe do better.

One thing I think I need to work on is the local eating.  Every year I want to do a CSA but every year it seems too expensive.  Every week I say I should go to the farmer's market and then realize I missed it the next day.  When I shop I should look for more locally grown things, and things with less packaging.  What do you think you could change about your habits? 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We're On Little Sooti!

There's a great blog called Little Sooti that features fun and creative kid's rooms and birthday parties.  I sent in a link to my post about Ingrid's new room, and they featured it on their blog!  Go check it out!  And then check out all the other amazing things they feature on there, there are really some adorable ideas.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peaceful New Home

So, a week later and we're settling in nicely!  Living room is painted (thanks for the kick in the butt, Heather!!) boxes are unpacked, even the playroom is set up.  The only thing needed is my sewing table set up (I need to get to Ikea and get some table legs) and pictures hung on the wall.  And can I say thank god we are here???

Number one, we are so close to things, it's awesome.  Brendan can bike to work, or if he needs a ride it's not a big deal.  Stores are close by.  Fun things are close by.  There are tons of new parks to check out. 

Number two, Ann Arbor is amazing.  All the taxis are Priuses.  They have a great recycling system, so you can put all numbers of recyclables in the bin instead of only #1 and #2.  And they have curbside compost bins!  Just like a trash bin, only you can put your fruit and veg scraps and lawn debris in there.  Then if you want, you can go get cheap mulch and compost for your garden from the recycle center.  How awesome is that?

Number three, because we are so close to things, Brendan is so much less stressed out.  Mornings are enjoying a cup of coffee and playing with Ingrid instead of rushing around to leave before traffic gets too bad.  Evenings he's home at a decent time, we get to eat dinner at a leisurely pace, and there's time afterward to go for a family walk instead of rushing to get Ingrid in bed.  It is so nice!

Number four, the house is full of good vibes.  Unlike the apartment that had noisy trashy neighbors, we have a real house, with lots of windows and sunlight coming through.  We have a backyard that Ingrid loves, and we can let the dog out without worrying about him.  Every day we say how much we love this place, and how we can't believe we lasted more than a year at the old apartment!  I feel so lucky to be in a great neighborhood instead of in trashville where we were before!

So basically, things are good here.  I'm loving life again, and I'm thankful that our move is over and we don't have to think about it again for another year.  And then hopefully we'll be able to settle somewhere for good!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Lyndsey over at Motherhood Moments wrote this blog post about unschooling.  I am so inspired by it and had to write my own ideas down about it. 

My schooling was okay, there was nothing majorly wrong about it, but it left me uninspired and even though I could have gone to whatever college in Michigan I wanted to on a great scholarship, I didn't go to college.  I was burnt out on playing the game of school.  I was always getting negative comments on my report cards about bothering other kids who were still working.  I would whiz through whatever we were doing and I'd be bored, so I would try to help my friends along so they could be done, too.  Teachers didn't think oh here's an intelligent kid, they just said oh, here's a nuisance, we need to shut her up and slow her down.  So I began to think I was doing something wrong.  Teachers would tell me I was going too fast, I wasn't reading the directions clearly, I wasn't double checking my answers.  Yes, I was!  I was just really fast! 

And don't get me started about middle school!  As a girl it is hell.  Absolute pure hell.  I would not wish that on my daughter for anything.  The gossip, the dirty looks, the backstabbing.  I had a group of friends in 6th grade, one of whom was a neighbor girl I would play with often.  One day she decided she didn't like me, so she talked all the other kids into not liking me, either.  Suddenly I was left floating in a class with no friends and no idea why it had happened.  Luckily I was switched to another class and found girls I am still to this day friends with!  But how awful to go through that, right?? 

High school was not much better.  I was "good" at school because I would do the work, but I wasn't interested in any of it.  Most of the classes were spent trying to quiet people down, then teach a little, then make us regurgitate what we were told.  If you had a good memory, you were "smart."  If you didn't, then you weren't.  By my junior year I was over it.  I stopped playing the game, I stopped going to class, I was this close to dropping out.  Everyone thought I was on drugs, or hanging out with the wrong crowd, they never stopped to think that a 16 year old could just be sick of school and all the drama that went along with it!

One thing I remember is that older friends that had graduated would say stick with it, college is so much better!  You know why they thought it was better?  Because they had freedom to learn what they wanted, take classes they wanted, and people were there because they wanted to be there.  There are those classes with people that have to take a requirement, but most classes are filled with people who chose to be there because they wanted to learn that subject.  You know what that sounds like to me?  Homeschooling!  Why make my kid wait until she's burnt out with "normal" schooling?  Why not just teach her that way all along?

I remember our family friends switching their kids to a new charter school.  They went to an info night and when they got back with folders of the new curriculum, I was so jealous!  Sixth graders were expected to read the classics!  They got to take interesting science classes!  I said that if I had a chance to go to a school like that, I wouldn't have almost dropped out of school, I would have gone to college right away, I would have enjoyed learning.  I still remember that, and if I can't find a school like that for Ingrid, I don't want to send her anywhere.  She can stay home with me and read whatever books she likes, and we'll go to museums and movies and look stuff up online.  She can take music classes or dance classes or whatever she wants to do. 

Yesterday we were at the park and there were some older kids playing on the merry go round.  They were going a bit fast and Ingrid wanted to join in.  I thought for sure the girls would give her dirty looks and not let her play but right away they said HI!  Do you want to play with us?  We'll go slow, come on, let's play!  I was amazed, and completely happy.  Then I met their mom--she has seven kids and homeschools.  The kids aren't raised to see kids as younger and therefore inferior, they just  That want to play.  How lovely!

This is a bit of a rambling post, but it's stuff that is on my mind so much.  Part of me wants to "get rid" of Ingrid at 5 so I can focus on sewing and stuff, but that's a small selfish part that comes out on the days she acts up and is a true 2 year old!  Another part wonders if she's learning enough social things, and if she'll be okay with other kids if she's not in a preschool or whatever.  Even though I know she's learning social skills from me, I wonder.  And she's just turning 2 so I have time to figure stuff out, but Lyndsey's post inspired me, so here you go!