Thursday, April 30, 2009

Craft Hope

We don't have a ton of extra money around here for charity. We give what we can, most regularly to St. Jude and Heifer International. But you always want to do more. Luckily, I spend a lot of time reading blogs. And luckily, many of the women who write those blogs have the resources and wherewithal to gather the mama-troops to do good in a more creative, more heartfelt way than just writing a check (not to belittle check-writing--I think that's likely what charities want more than anything else).

My point, and I do have one, is that I have recently happened upon Craft Hope. It is, in Jade's words, "a faith-based, love-inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world."

Although we clearly are not a religious family, (and even if we were, I don't think we're the same religion as other contributors to Craft Hope) I think all mothers live mainly on faith and we'd all do whatever we could to make sure that babies and children everywhere have not just what they require in terms of food and shelter, but what they need, in terms of love and kindness.

So, (I do carry on, I know) the current project is for us mamas to make dolls to send to the Casa Bernabe orphanage in Nicaragua with Eren of Vintage Chica. Please read this post for more information because every time I try to summarize it here I start crying. So, you know. Go there.

Anyway, I made some dolls. I've never attempted anything like this before, and I may have been a touch ambitious, but I did my very, very best. And I hope if you have a few scraps of fabric, a sewing machine and a couple of hours to spare, you'll join Eren & Jade in their quest to make the world a little better, a little brighter for those who have far, far less than we and ours.

I made a total of seven dolls, so I rocked an assembly line like Ford, yo.

OK, maybe not exactly like Ford since I got to eat strawberries & drink coffee while I worked.

Dash & I drew some hearts onto red fabric and I stuffed the cut-outs into each doll. I hope, hope, hope they carry with them some of the love and goodwill our family feels toward the sweet doll recipients.

Because they wanted the dolls to resemble their new mamas and papas, Eren & Jade requested that they have brown eyes and hair.

Here they are. I made three girls & two boys. The girls are wearing dresses from the sweetest fabric I could find. The boys are rocking baseball jerseys & red pants.

The pattern is from Black Apple, via Martha. The pattern calls for you to paint the face once the doll is finished, but I was fairly certain I'd eff it up, so I painted the faces before sewing them up. Good thing, too. I screwed up about five.

As I was digging through my stash for fabric, I happened upon some sweet orange and yellow felt, so I made a doll for our favorite little redhead, Erin, and one for Dash.

Here they are all together.

And again, being studious.

Here is the part where I would joke about how I bit off more than I could chew, blah blah blah. But that would sound like complaining, and I am absolutely nothing but privileged to be able to participate in this project, so no. I won't complain. I will, though, mention to the novice sewer (like me) that maybe seven is a lot of dolls to get right. Try two to start.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pajama Day

Pajama day at Dash's school may just be my favorite day of the year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Cheeky One

I don't know how I found out that it was possible to see Thomas the train live and in person. I think they implanted a chip during my stay in the maternity ward that sets of an internal alarm when cool shit for three-year-olds happens within a 100 mile radius of our house.

One of the major benefits of living in the middle of nowhere is that when stuff takes place in Bumfuck Egypt, we're already halfway there.

We didn't tell Dash in advance what we were doing that day. I thought his head would explode from the anticipation. When he finally saw Thomas I think he was just mostly confused.

They tell you to arrive an hour before the train ride begins. They had all sorts of activities set up for the kids. Bouncers, story tents...

... little railroad sets scattered around on tables.

Finally, it was time to take a ride.

The train crossed the highway & all the cars stopped behind the railroad crossing honked and waved. Could you imagine driving somewhere with your kid and being stopped by the actual Thomas? And you don't have a ticket? And your kid is just sitting there watching 100 beaming kids take the train ride of their lives? The thought still depresses me.

As you probably already know, Thomas lives and works on the Island of Sodor. It is a beautiful place.

Here was our view from the train.

"Free Tires"

Afterward, we found a sweet little antique store that had a giant bowl of vintage Star Wars Pez dispensers for $1 apiece. Josh bought one of each.

Then we headed into Diamond Dave's Diner for burgers & corn dogs.

After lunch we headed to the fountain accross the street. I gave Dash 20 pennies and he just wished his ass off.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Noah & His Ark

We were gifted with passes to the Skirball's Noah's Ark exhibit for a repeat visit. Dash was maybe a hair too young last time, but this time I think he was just perfect. We invited Davey and his lovely mommies, and his 12-year-old cousin Mako from Japan to join us. Afterward, we ate hot dogs at The Stand. It was a very, very nice day.

He blended right in with the zebras in that shirt.

Animal conveyor belt.

I'm sorry, but really. Lookit how cute toddler butts are in jeans.

The turtle shell was made of old basketballs.

No idea what they were doing here.

Davey is a hugger and Dash is a big grump, so Aunty Nic likes to torture Dash by telling Davey to give him lots of hugs. Since we're the ones who'll likely end up paying for their therapy, we feel ok about fucking with them and laughing about it.

More cowbell.

Even more cowbell.

Cannot resist pictures of him smiling.

The Skirball also had a Superhero exhibit. The cartoon Dash is watching is, like, 30 years old, but he's not picky.

You feed this car a quarter and it bobs and rolls and plays the Batman theme song. As he's riding he's singing, "Dananananana BAT MAN!"

Every time this kid puts on a superhero costume (ps-how awesome is it that they had costumes for the kids?) he gets deadly serious.

Like he knows the fate of the universe is in his hands.

Don't laugh. Maybe he knows something we don't.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Boys

I'll be wandering around the house--distracted, picking up the endless debris of living with a three-year-old, puttering, trying to find a better way, a smarter system--and I'll happen upon a little vignette. A small illustration of my new life with these amazing men.

Monday, April 13, 2009


OK, I guess I got my second wind. I ended up making some sweet little cashmere bunnies for Dash & Davey from a tutorial from Betz White. The blue cashmere came from a onesie that Dash received as a gift from his beloved Pookies. The orange was from a sweater I got at J. Crew on sale for like $20 and was my most favorite item of clothing ever until the moths got to it. The ears are lined with the Jay McCarroll fabric that just never stops giving.

I'm only showing Davey's bunny because Dash's ended up with a snout. I'm contemplating pulling it apart and fixing it, but I'm not optomistic that it'll happen. We'll just call it an aardvark.

THEN! I finally made these and brought them to Mooma's Easter party because my sense of humor is impeccable!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Junk Drawer

Nothing much happening in our world lately but a bunch of little tidbits. Not enough for an actual post, so I guess it's time for another series of unrelated bullet points--my specialty!

* We've had a few setbacks in the garden. The birds (or squirrels? no idea, really) obliterated all the seedlings except the cucumbers & one green bean. We've started more seeds and will keep them indoors until they're much, much bigger this time. If that doesn't work we'll have to fence the raised beds or something. Maybe we could make a scarecrow!

* It's Easter time and I'm kinda half feeling it. We never, ever celebrated Easter when I was little (being Jewish and all), but I'm kinda drawn to the holiday now--bunnies and chicks and eggs and pink and green! Really, at its core, Easter is just a celebration of Spring, so I don't feel that weird about it. But it just isn't really on my radar the way other holidays are. I did throw together a basket for Dash with some candy, art supplies and a new Lightning McQueen (his third--he goes through them like Kleenex), and we're going to Aunty's mom's house (Mooma) on Sunday for ham and an Easter egg hunt; but my big plans for dyeing eggs and a cashmere stuffed bunny made by me fell apart. Maybe next year.

* Getting Dash dressed in the morning is a Sisyphean task. He just will not do it without a fight. Every goddamned morning. Either he doesn't want to wear what's available (if he had his way he would rotate between three shirts for the rest of his life: Angel's Guerrero--which is fast becoming a belly shirt; "Rock 'n'Roll"--which is a black shirt with a band set-up in white silhouette, a gift from his Pookies; and Yoda--a new gift from Mama.) Anyway, so we started having a "race" to get dressed every morning. I get in the shower as he's starting to get dressed and we race to see who'll be ready to go first. It's funny and kinda works, but he's now mocking me, which is hilarious and also a little mean. "You're too slow, Mama! You never win!" So these days it's taking me about 10 minutes to get a shirt on--because I don't want to know what'll happen if he ever loses--and I get made fun of for it. One of these days I'm just going to get dressed like a normal person. You'll know when that has happened. You'll be able to hear the screaming from your house.

* They built a little outdoor shopping center with a little pond and a bridge where ducks hang out & where we like to take Dash to just run around and play in the fountains nearby. We were there the other evening and Dash made up this little game where we each stood on a floor light and danced to the piped in music (I'll try to get a picture next time) [edited to add: lookit! Josh took a picture on his fancy new iPhone!] and every few seconds one of us would start running for another light. Once one of us ran, we all had to run and you'd never know where anyone was running and it was all pretty silly and funny and fun.

Nearby, a little girl was having dinner with her family and finally she couldn't resist the draw any longer and wandered over to us. We taught her the rules and that was that. She and Dash played the running game until it stopped being fun. Then they started playing in the water fountains until they were both soaked. Then they just chased each other until they were so worn out they started to melt down.

Josh and I had a lovely chat with her mom while the kids played, and although I wanted so much to ask for her number or offer her ours so we could get the kids together again, I just didn't know if that would be weird so I didn't do it. I've been kicking myself ever since. Why is it that little kids can just roll up to each other and without so much as an introduction start playing as if they've known each other all their lives? But I can't even hand out a phone number after talking with someone for an hour? I suck at making friends.

* At Target a couple of weeks ago--Me: distracted and not listening, Josh: too far away to intervene, Dash: pointing at a woman of small stature and screaming, "she's so little!" over and over again while everyone around us just laughed and laughed.

* This is the worstest blog post ever, but I'll make it up to you! Lots and lots of good stuff is in the works! Promise!

Friday, April 03, 2009


Dear Dash,

When you're 16 and you're all, "My asshole parents don't get me! They're too old and lame to ever understand anything!" just remember that by the age of three you owned both a Batman sword and color-changing Light Saber (red=Sith, green=Jedi--we weren't really sure what side you were on) and your Dad fought you, on command, in the backyard (and mostly let you win.)

Although, he also wore brown dress socks with sandals and shorts, so who knows. Maybe we are totally lame.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


As you've maybe gathered by now, I do an awful lot of thinking about Dash: how to parent him, how others see him, how he sees himself, and what kind of man he will grow into.

Josh & I do what we can on our end to ensure he grows into a self-assured and responsible citizen of the Earth. We talk a lot about stewardship of the planet and about the Golden Rule. We set limits, but not arbitrarily and not solely to serve our convenience. We talk talk talk as much as we can about everything. We run and jump with him and make sure to tell him 50, 100, 1,000 times a day how much we love him. I read articles about how to raise a self-reliant child. I talk to him endlessly about possibility and trying and the lessons of failure. I want so desperately to see him live up to his potential. To exceed it, even.

Because Josh & I were both rather timid children, much too worried about failure, we didn't take enough risks. Not that we mind--we both absolutely love our quiet little life in our happy little house. But I want more for Dash. I want him to be absolutely fearless. I want him to take huge risks and I want him to fail spectacularly--so that he'll know that failure isn't ever the very worst thing. I want him to strive for the best schools, I want him to join the debate team and compete in the academic decathlon. I want him to play sports. I want him to put himself out there and do his very best and fuck the haters.

I want Dash to save the world. To cure cancer. To make important things with his hands and his brains. To be the greatest athlete the world has ever seen. To be President of the United States of America. Or just even maybe an accountant. But the very, very best one. I want him to know that every option is available to him. I want him to pursue his dreams recklessly.

I want to teach him that his life is one of unlimited possibility. Now I just need to figure out how.