Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Motherhood and More: Overcoming sibling obstacles*


So I’ve gotten over my fear of taking my children out in public by myself.

Our summer hasn’t been that bad, actually. After a few very, very rough days full of bickering and yelling and bugging each other just for the fun of it, the kids settled down into a sort of truce.

They started playing together, actually, and seeking out each other’s company.

This is big. Super big.

I don’t know if it’s just a big brother thing or the fact that my daughter demanded much more attention from me, which cut into the attention he received, but my oldest always has just ignored his little sister. And he’s fantastic with younger children — always treating them just like kids his own age.

But with his little sister, he usually wants nothing to do with her. And I get it, I do. She has been known to rip things up that belong to him, that are important to him, just because she likes to watch him lose his mind.

Which, in turn, has caused him to lose his mind anytime she comes within two feet of one of his toys. That just makes her want to destroy it even more, of course.

With this dynamic, I’ve been worried they would never be able to be friends. And I’m not sure I’d call them that now. But I do catch him asking her to play with him, which, honestly, almost brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

I want them to like each other. I want them to be there for each other. Heck — I wouldn’t even be mad if they ganged up on their father and I just because it would mean they were collaborating.

This summer, they’re both a little older and my daughter doesn’t always want to spend her time actively annoying her brother, so I can see a bit of their relationship growing in a positive way.

That’s not to say they don’t have their moments, obviously. They’re just less frequent.

And I think they’ve had a really good summer, so far. They’ve had endless amounts of swimming and time with friends. We’ve been to the zoo and they attended Bible school and work picnics. They’ve watched a ridiculous amount of television shows and played an embarrassing number of video games. But my son has read a couple of big books, so I don’t feel so bad about the other stuff. Much.

I’m working from home, which means I struggle with finishing all those commitments while also being a fun mom. And a good mom. But I think we’ve done well.

We’ve kept busy. I’ve even taken them to stores without losing one or more of them. My daughter, the queen of wandering, was convinced of the importance of staying close to Mama, finally. And by “convinced” I, of course, mean “bribed.”

So we’re good. I have a couple of fantastic kids, full of energy and creativity. We’re almost halfway through the summer and it’s already been full compared to summers past.

It can only get better from here, right?

Jaime Thomas is a mother of two who lives in Elizabethtown. She blogs at jaimalaya.blogspot.com and can be reached at jaime.thomas@hotmail.com.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 24, 2015.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Homemade Friday: A circle skirt fail? Maybe?

This mirror wasn't this dirty two days ago. Children are disgusting.
I can't decide.

I've been on a novelty print kick lately.

Ahem:



And:


So as soon as I saw this material with the viewfinders, I kind of knew I needed to buy it.  And I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it: The Hollyburn skirt, by Sewaholic Patterns.

Not my photo.

I thought it was just enough retro, but also updated and classy and I thought the fabric and pattern would be fantastic together.

Unfortunately, in all my years of sewing, I apparently still haven't learned that you need to check the pattern for yardage requirements. I ordered two yards, sure that would be enough.  And it wasn't.

When I went to cut out the pattern I was pissed at myself.  It's such a silly mistake to make, you know?  But instead of finding a top I could make, I was determined to sew a skirt. I searched through all of my patterns and found a couple that probably would have worked. But I didn't love them, and I felt the fabric was so fun that I needed to use it on something I loved.  Plus I was on a retro vibe and none of those patterns fit that.

So I found a circle skirt tutorial, this one from Stylist, to be exact. It was actually fairly simple, once I resigned myself to math. I'm actually fairly good at math and use it regularly with the jewelry making and knitting and endless cooking in my life. So I jumped in.


I cut out the circle and waistband and sewed it all together.  The tutorial calls for a zipper, but since I can pull it on without one I'm thinking about just putting an elastic band in the waistband to keep it from stretching out and to hold it up.


The problem isn't with the pattern or the waist. I think it might be entirely too short. I haven't hemmed it yet, either, so it's just going to get shorter, though I can sew a tiny hem to keep it as long as possible.

I'm almost 34 years old. I try not to subscribe to fashion rules, especially about age. See my recent jumpsuit:


But I don't think I'd be comfortable wearing this because an errant breeze would swing it up, showing the entire world my underthings. So maybe it's a cooler-weather skirt to be worn with leggings. Or maybe it's a rip apart and sew into something for my 4-year-old daughter skirt.

What do you think?


I'm sassy. And it's early so you don't get to see my face.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Let's catch up, shall we?

I don't know why I haven't been writing. I suppose it's a mixture of busy and sick children and work and house cleaning and repairs and all of that.

Sometimes blogging becomes a chore. I don't want it to be. It's something I enjoy and a space where I can be me, but with less curse words because my mom reads it.

So when I last left you (other than my monthly newspaper column, which doesn't count) everyone was sick.

Guess what? Everyone is sick. Again.

Actually it's just the kids, but the oldest one is sick enough for us all. They both have strep, but Sebastian is the only one who has had a fever. Adele tires out easily, which isn't normal for her. And Sebastian lays around all day, too wobbly to really do much of anything.

I would very much like for all of this funk to leave our house, especially now, in the summer.

I've been steadily working at home, and telling my husband daily that I love my job. Because I love my job. I work when there is work, and it's work I really enjoy. And when there's not work I can work around the house and be with my kids and not waste my time staring at blank walls in a closet.

I really, really love my job.

I've also been sewing, because summer is for sewing, right? I've made dresses for Adele and myself, and have plans for skirts and tops.  I just finished up Me Made May 2015, and noticed something about my sewing - it's not really all that practical. I have a ridiculous amount of dresses. My closet is overflowing with them. But sometimes I don't feel like wearing dresses. I don't have a lot of separates. I want to sew jeans, but they're intimidating. But I will do it. Most definitely.  I also would like to sew more casual, everyday knit tops. But knit fabric is a pain for me. What I need to do is spend some time researching tips and tricks instead of just diving in to things.

Ideally I'd like to have most of my wardrobe be handmade - whether it's hand knits or sewn items. I don't know if it's possible, but I have the curse of my mother. I see things at the store I like and can't help but think "I can make that!"

At least most of my jewelry is handmade. I very rarely wear a piece I haven't made myself, though I have an embarrassing amount of non-me-made necklaces hanging up in my bedroom.

So, just for kicks, let's take a look back at my me-mades over the past month. I made it all but a couple of days, but there are some repeats. I've only sewn one pair of shorts and there were some really warm days.

Without further ado, here are a bunch of embarrassing selfies, most in front of a dirty bathroom mirror.  Also I cheated a bit on some days with hand knits and handmade jewelry. If you have any questions about patterns and fabric, just ask! And if you were interested in any of the jewelry, there's a link to my shop at the top right of the page!































Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Motherhood & More: Finding a balance between work and play*

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to survive with my children home for the summer.

I always say that. Every year. And every year we do fine, with mishaps here and there, fights and squabbles and whining. Normal, everyday stuff.

It’s just, I never know what to do with them.

Going places every day isn’t an option. Also, my kids aren’t the best behaved in public places. I have a runner, who has been a runner since she was able to run. So I still am overwhelmed when I leave the house by myself with both kids. I am working on that myself and still (always) working on the behavior of the runner.

But I vow to get out more. We are members at the local gym/pool and so I see a lot of that sort of thing in our future. Free childcare while I run on a treadmill most definitely will draw me in. And also both kids now can swim without floaties, so it will be easier to take them to the pool by myself. And maybe now that they’re older I can relax a bit, too.

And of course there’s always the library. And maybe the zoo.

But there still will be many hours and full days where we spend our time at home. And I’m not the best with developing activities for them to do. A large part of me believes they need to discover that themselves. Absolutely I will facilitate and play with them when I can. But I think they need to make things up themselves, to create their own games.

Added to all of this, for the first time, I also will be working part time from home. It’s going to be a struggle not to just set them in front of the television or a tablet so I can work. And, honestly, that probably will happen many, many times.

My kids don’t do so well with a bunch of screen time, though. They usually start acting out and generally being little meanies to each other and to me.

So I will have to write out complete sentences and thoughts in between games of Go Fish and perform research while also making lunches and kissing booboos and cleaning up the endless Legos strewn about.

Oh, I can’t wait. I’m so, so excited. Thrilled, even. Ecstatic. And every other hyperbolic adjective I can come up with. I’ve always wanted to work from home doing something I loved and somehow I was lucky enough to get just that.

But I’m also terrified of my children being home from school for the summer. I don’t know quite how I’m going to manage having my kids home all day, every day while still producing quality work. I suspect there will be a lot of late nights in my future and a lot of begging for help from friends and relatives.

And in between all of that, maybe we’ll have a bit of fun and create some lasting memories.

And hopefully they are good memories and not ones of me yelling at them to go play outside so I can get some work done.

I can’t wait.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on May 27, 2015.