Monday, June 29, 2009

An Important (and CRAZY fun) Announcement!

I'd like to make a quiet activity book for Rhett for Christmas (it's only six months away people!). But the thought of doing everything by myself is quite daunting. Then it hit me (things often do and most of the time Chuck isn't throwing them). Why not do a quiet book swap?

This is how I see it happening. People comment on this post and tell me they'd like to participate (emily, you're already in, so deal with it). I'll send the basic felt for the pages to each swap participant so that each book is uniform in size and basic material. The participants will design one page; I'll assign which "activity" should be highlighted on their page. Then, participants will make up to 10, or however many people want to participate, of their page using their own fabric and embellishments. At the pre-determined end of the swap, the participants send me their 10 pages, I'll put the books together, and then I'll mail them out to everyone! Voila!

Some ideas I came up with for the "activities" are:
Telling time
Writing a note

I know some of you will be concerned with your ability to complete such a project. I think that this won't be that hard and, really, there is no expectation for greatness. It's just a great idea (humble, ain't I?) to be able to share something handmade with a special little person. Addendum: After reading Meg's comment, I concur with her about this definitely being a sewing project. Not only am I concerned about the life of these sweet books, but I am certainly concerned about pieces coming unattached and becoming choking hazards. If you don't have a sewing machine, either find someone who does, commit to hand sew these objects, or wait for another fun swap. Hope that's not too harsh. :)

So what do you think? Would anyone be interested? If so, do you have any other "activities" you'd like to see or not like to see? Would those interested still be interested if I asked for money (probably around $10) to reimburse me for the cost of the felt and mailings? What is the largest number of pages you'd be willing to make? How long do you think would be an appropriate time for you to make your pages?

Of course there are some details to be worked out, but I think it could work. It has to work! Think about how fun for your favorite little one to have something made by so many lovely hands from all over the country. SO FUN. And $10 for a handmade quiet book? Not possible anywhere else. If you have friends that you think would be interested, please send them a link to this post. I'll make a decision by the end of the week.

If you want to see some examples of books and book pages, look here, here, here, or here. The internet has tons of different images and books for you to copy.

And P.S., don't forget to read our Saturday post about last week's return to full-time work for me. That's right: our post; I got Chuck to post his thoughts about being Mr. Mom.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mr. Mom and Ms. Dad, Week 1

He said: Well, one week down, I'm not too sure how many more weeks to go. I have to say that I love that little boy. I was asked by a friend if staying at home is harder than going to work. The answer to that is yes, it is harder to stay at home. I like my job, the day goes by quickly. I love teaching...etc. That doesn't mean that I don't love my son or staying at home with him. I do love that. It isn't that staying at home is demanding labor; it isn't. That is perhaps what makes it hard. I feel as though I am not doing anything. I don't know how many times I can read The Very Lonely Firefly. The hardest part so far is seeing e not happy leaving and being away.

At the same time, I love the idea of being at home over the summer. It gives me a chance to get to know my son. I can only imagine how valuable summers can be to the relationship that I have with him. We'll see how the next few weeks go, but for me so far, I have been able to handle it to a certain extent and I have even enjoyed most of it.

She said: This week was much harder than expected. A lot of that has to do with Monday's Metro accident which snarled my commuting pattern for the rest of the week thereby keeping me from home longer than expected. A lot of it has to do with not getting my laptop from work by Tuesday which meant my work-at-home day was pushed until Friday and so I had to work four days in a row. It was tough. I feel like more should be attributed to missing Rhett, which I did tremendously. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that working is far easier than being home. Yes, I would choose being home, even with the hardness of it. I love that little boy more than I ever thought I could. But being home is hard work, and work isn't.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Made by e: Fabric Box

I'm not opposed to stuff gathering on my counters. I am, however, opposed to that stuff being disorganized. Enter the fabric box (as inspired by this). I am really pleased with how it turned out. And I love the detail added by the grommets and ribbon, which are repeated on the other side. Too cute.

(And yes, Angie, that's e-bean's announcement in that box. It's simply adorable.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Since Some Have Asked...

...I am okay. I was not affected by yesterday's Metro crash that so far has killed nine people and injured 70.

A couple of things worked in my favor. First, the train wasn't heading the direction I travel when I head home. It was on the opposite track heading in-bound. Second, as yesterday marked the return to full-time work for me, it also marked the return of eight-hour days (instead of the tens that I do when part-time). Given that I get to work at 6:30 a.m., I left the office at 3 p.m. yesterday. However, if I had been doing a ten-hour day yesterday, I would have likely been stopped at a station just north of work and had to wait who-knows-how-long because the crash happened just as I normally leave for work on those longer days.

For this morning, the trains aren't even running at the few stops surrounding the crash. I would have had to get on the train, be unloaded and take a shuttle to a stop down the line, get back on the train, and ride to work. Metro said to add an hour to commute times to account for this. However, I was able to take the other side of the Red Line to work this morning, at a cost of only 20 minutes. Sure that means 40 minutes added to my work day, but all things considered, I'm lucky.

Incredibly lucky.

(The Washington Post has tons of coverage if you want more.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm Addicted

Clearly I can't stop making these darn things. They are really easy, take little time, and are so completely satisfying that I need to start practicing self control and not make anymore. I mean, what am I going to do with 16 pendants, except just admire them?

I left the picture very large so you can enlarge and look more closely at them if you want. Three are cut from a map of Yellowstone. Awesome, huh?! I just love these things. If you do too, be sure to check out this tutorial (or just make me an offer--I accept PayPal). I wouldn't make any changes to the tutorial as it's perfect. And yes, I still need to attach the jewelry pieces to make them actual jewelry instead of fancy Scrabble tiles. As soon as I have thy money to do so, you better believe I will. Dang budgeting!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Treatise on Young Women, Ziploc, and Bounty

Do you remember when you were a kid and you told your parents that "NO WAY" were you going to be the kind of parents they were? You know, because they were sooooo mean when they didn't let you get your ears triple pierced. Stupid parents. But now that some of us are parents, we see that we're totally doing those things because, well, they made sense. Those things make me laugh.

Then there are things that you never really noticed your parents did until you moved in with someone else and they did them differently. For example, there were three things of infinite worth in our household: young women, Ziploc bags, and paper towels. The baggies and towels were not to be used in any haphazard manner (neither were the young women, for that matter). Oh no, we used Ziploc bags and then reused them (especially if they were Ziploc brand--oooh, we knew we were living the high life when we had brand-name Ziploc baggies!). It was quite a frequent occurrence to see them drying on the side of the sink after a good washing. And paper towels? You better spill an entire gallon of milk before daring to use even one paper towel. Even then, maybe you could get by with using only half a towel.

As another example, my mom never put pots and pans in the dishwasher. We always had to wash those by hand. Consequently, neither a pot nor a pan has ever seen the insides of my dishwasher. Until tonight. On Tuesday I made these mini muffins. The dirty muffin tin sat in the sink for nearly 48 hours because I hate cleaning muffin tins. Hate. Apparently the hate I feel for this task is greater than the love I feel for a clean kitchen. That's saying a lot. But I finally broke down after dinner tonight and realized that it was time to clean it (after realizing that Chuck wasn't going to be nice and do it for me). While I begrudgingly cleaned the darn thing, I asked Chuck if they make mini muffin liners because I'd totally buy those. He remarks, "Why don't you just put it in the dishwasher?" WHAT? You can do that? A muffin tin in the dishwasher? I never! But I did. And it feels so good. Sorry Mom.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Know You're a Wuss When...

Trying to open a bottle of Mod Podge gives you a blister. Seriously.

(Although, it was totally worth it. I was making these and so far they look great.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Inspire Me, Please

I've had these fabrics for far too long, but I can't decide what to do with them. Usually I am instantly inspired by fabrics and know immediately what to make, not so with these three. So please tell me what to do with them. It can be for the kid, for me, for the house, anything. Just help! My sewing machine is crying neglect and may soon report me to DCFS. (The elephants and bright flowers are both flannel and the other, fleece.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Plans

Having a husband who works in the school system means I still ask (and get asked) the question, "Any fun summer plans?" While I wouldn't necessarily call our summer plans "fun" (except for the trip to visit emily!), they certainly are interesting.

For the past four summers, Chuck has worked at a summer camp, and he has four t-shirts to prove it. For those of you from Utah, summer camps are HUGE out here. These are all-day, all-summer events that cost a lot of money (which is why none of our kids will ever attend one). But he hasn't really loved the job. The kids are too young for his taste (he's a high school teacher for a reason) and he certainly would have chosen to stay home all four of those summers, had I let him.

When we looked at this summer, we saw two choices. Choice One: I keep my two-day-a-week schedule and Chuck goes back to camp. Choice Two: I do full-time work and Chuck stays at home. Financially, it's a wash. Without paying a babysitter or Chuck's tithing and doubling my income, it's the same. So we thought, let's give Choice One a go! I'll work full-time, doing one day a week at home. (Five days on the Metro?! Way too much for me.) Chuck will stay at home with Rhett, becoming my very own Mr. Mom.

My feelings about this are all over the map. I'm excited that Chuck will become much more acquainted with the chore chart than he's ever been. I'm excited that Chuck will learn how un-fun it is to grocery shop with a one-year-old. I'm excited that he'll learn that our baby is the cutest baby on the planet, nay, in the universe (which, of course, he already knows but what better testimony builder, right?). However, I dread leaving my little man four days a week. I dread riding on the Metro eight times a week. I dread trying to fit in my running.

But if it's successful, I have high hopes for repeating this each summer. I imagine the summers being times when the kids are excited to spend time with Dad. I imagine summers where I get to stay inside a cool air-conditioned building (Chuck deals with humidity far better than I) and come home to hot meals and a happy family.

If it's not successful, well, it's only nine weeks. And one of those weeks I'll be spending a couple of days at girls camp (maybe that's what I should truly be dreading!). Another one of those weeks we'll be spending in Colorado with my beloved sister. It's only 30 total days. I can do this, right?! RIGHT?!

Yes, I think this summer will be incredibly hard for both of us. I also think it will be a great experience for both of my boys. But I'm 99% sure that come August 24th, we'll both be ready for a return to our regularly-scheduled lives.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Quick.  This is another "come-up-with-your-answer-before-you-look-at-other-people's-comments" kinda thing.

Question: Let's say that you took a two-hour drive to attend the temple.  Another ward (three leaders and three YW) offered to babysit twelve babies (under 18-months-old) in order to raise money for camp while you did a session.  How much do you pay them for your one child for 3.5 hours?

Made by e

First is a set of gifts for a new little one.  Chuck designed the monster doll; I just sewed it.  The onesies are a little cryptic on purpose, but I'll let you in on the secret.  "EH" are the new baby's initials (and darn fine initials if I say so myself).  And the other is the sign of the zodiac, taurus, that this new baby is.  Hey, the baby's mama is into that stuff, aren't you Angie?!  I gotta say, I love doing appliques with fabric instead of the iron-ons.  The iron-ons didn't last more than two washings.  Bah.

Second is a new tablecloth.  Chuck scored 18 bandanas after last weekend's youth conference and I knew I had to find something fun to do with them.  I think the tablecloth will be perfect when we have friends over; it's casual and bright and happy, even if a little like Tibetan prayer flags.

And just in case you forgot, I made this dude too.  He's my favorite.

And oh my goodness, I made these and they are the Best. Chocolate. Chip. Cookie. Ever.  Seriously.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I HATE This Bumper Sticker

Seriously, I'm going to have to change my running route if this car continues to park where I have to read this sticker.  (Click on the picture to enlarge, if you must.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Feel Like I'm Taking Crazy Pills

As Chuck and I get closer to thinking about having a second baby, I can't help but think having two kids will be easier than having just one.  But this thought makes me feel like I'm insane.  Why would two kids be easier than one?  It just seems like everything that was hard about having one baby would be not applicable with two babies.

First.  With your first baby you have no idea what to expect.  Now I do.  Do I think that baby #2 will be exactly like Rhett?  No, I'm a statistician; of course I expect variation.  But just knowing what I'm getting myself into will be helpful.

Second.  Rhett made me feel like a complete idiot.  I had no idea what I was doing most of the time.  Not that having one child made me a parenting expert, but I have a better feel for how to keep little babies alive (which is all that they really need for about the first six months).

Third.  Another very hard thing for me was the identity crisis in which I found myself.  Who was this new person that having a baby created?  It seemed like everything that defined me had changed with Rhett's birth and I didn't know what that meant.  I had to get to know erin-the-mom, not just erin-the-wife (that change was another huge adjustment, too).  But now that I know who I am as a mom (and still wife, and still lots of other cool things too), I can't see this coming on as strongly as it did before.

Fourth.  The boredom.  Oooh, the incessant boredom.  With an eight-month-old, I was so bored, I felt real anxiety for the days home alone with the baby.  I wondered what in the world would I do with him?  He can't walk, talk, and playing with his toys (while possibly entertaining to him) for six hours made me want to cry.  And in fact, probably did make me cry on many, many occasions.  Yes, yes, I could take him to the library, but to what end?  Yes, yes, I live near D.C. and have a plethora of museums near me, but again, what's the point?  The little guy has barely figured out his hands belong to him and you want me to take him to the Air and Space Museum?  But with two children, this point is deleted.  I can go to the Air and Space Museum for Rhett, not the baby.  The baby will go and do whatever Rhett and I do.  Rhett and I will love it and it won't feel like such a waste of time.

Okay, now tell me that in fact, I am taking crazy pills.  Tell me that having two kids is much harder than having one.  I can take it.

P.S. Someone please tell me that you get the movie reference in this title. I feel like Monday's reference (not in the title, but in the text of the letter) was a little too obscure.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dear Maryland:

Just when I thought you couldn't get any heinous-er, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself.


(Last week our weather was horrible. Hot and muggy and then more muggy. But for some reason, today is in the 60s, sunny, and not a drop of water in the air. Total redemption, in my opinion.)