Thursday, January 16, 2014

Of toast and tantrums...

I want to share something from our morning, especially for parents of "whiny" and "fit-throwing" independently minded toddlers. This is my *very* independent, 21 month old daughter, happily eating a new-ish food. 

That's actually really hard sometimes, getting Madeleine to eat new things. "Stuff" on toast has been a battle. (Weird, I know. Jam on toast is awesome.) She's had it on and off, but never very successfully. Today, after much prodding and careful questioning, she decided she would like toast for breakfast. I asked her if she wanted to try jam on her toast. She enthusiastically said yes. When I brought her her toast, she had a small fit. Whining, flapping her little hands, yelling "no no no!!!" I asked again, "Madeleine, you said you wanted toast, with jam. This is toast. Would you like toast?" She tearfully replied, "YES!" I sat down next to her and offered the toast again. She hesitantly reached for it, getting jam on her fingers and began to cry. I put two and two together at that point. She didn't want sticky fingers, can you blame her? I wiped her hands and explained that I would be happy to wipe them whenever she liked, if she'd eat her toast please. I again asked her to "try bites". She finally did, and she loved it!

Frequently, I read articles and blog posts about not letting children "manipulate" with tantrums. I hear to punish this behavior, or ignore her when she behaves that way. I submit another way. Perhaps, and I know I'm not the first to suggest this, tantrums are frustration at the inability to explain. Let's look at it another way. Many of us have tried to learn a new language, for example I speak very limited Spanish. Whenever I try to explain something, I frequently can't find the right words. I'm still learning. Sometimes, I get flustered and frustrated. Now if I, as an adult, get frustrated when I can't express what I'm trying to say, can you imagine what it might feel like for a toddler?  If we keep that feeling in mind, and attempt patience in dealing with tantrums, our little ones will learn that we hear them and are willing to help them. If we punish, ignore, or lose our tempers with them, what are they learning? Not love, patience, or nurturing.

Breakfast today was not a quick event. It took us probably 20 minutes to work through it all before we ate. Seeing the look of trust and happiness on Madeleine's face made it all worth it. I know that it can be hard. I know that frustrated, bubbly-anger feeling that can boil up when your sweet angel is thrashing around like a little demon. If we can just remember to look at it through our child's eyes, it may be easier to get through the tantrum and back to the happy. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Socks!

Thought I'd share... Here's my current WIP (work in progress):

I'm not going to elaborate... It's part of a gift. :-) yay for teeny tiny DPN projects! Am I weird for loving teeny tiny needles? They're my favorite. 

What's on your needles?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hooded Towel Turorial

When I was a little girl, my Mimsey (maternal grandmother) made me a hooded towel. I loved that towel to pieces. I still have it! See?

Not my best picture, but you get the point... Which is that hooded towels are awesome. There is no shortage of tutorials on the internet for how to make a hooded towel. I'm certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel, but I just didn't love any of the tutorials I found. Why? They were just towels! Nobody used pretty printed fabrics like the towel I grew up with and dearly loved. This year, for Christmas, I wanted to give my kids towels like my Mimsey made for me. I took all the things I loved about all the tutorials I found, and whirled them up in my mind-blender to make this special towel. After making the first towel, and realizing how easy it was (a great easy beginner sewing project!) I decided to make a hooded towel tutorial. It's easy, and it's a cheap project. You can make these towels for under $15, less if you shop with coupons! With sales and coupons, this project cost me around $12. 

Now, onto the hooded towel tutorial! Please forgive the picture quality, I'm using my iPhone camera tonight. I'm rushing to finish all my last minute Christmas presents before tomorrow... Yes, I sew all night on December 23rd. Tradition!


1 1/2 yd flannel or 100% cotton woven
1 1/2 yd coordinating 100% cotton terry
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter
Sewing machine

Fold flannel selvage edges together.

Cut one piece of flannel that measures 44" by 28". With my flannel, the width of the fabric was 44", so all I needed to measure was 28" and then slice away! This will be your towel backing. 

Repeat for terry. My terry happened to be 48" wide, and required a little more trimming. Make sure you measure yours and trim it if needs be. 

Next, cut one piece of terry 16" by 48". Again, that happened to be the width of my fabric.  Cut this piece of terry in half, giving you two pieces that are 16" by 24". 

One will be your hood. I like to use the second piece for a hand towel. If you want to follow along with that project too, now is the time to cut a piece of your flannel that is also 16" by 24". Set that pair aside. 

Now, let's make a hood! Start with your 16" by 24" piece of terry.  

Fold in half, widthwise. 

Sew along the short sides:

Turn right sides out so that you have a pouch. 

Now, we'll turn the pouch into a hood!  I'm a rightie, so this is how I do it. If you're a lefty, just use the opposite hand/corner than what I say. It makes no difference in the finished hood. 

Take the left hand corner in one hand, like so. 

From the outside of the pouch, place the right hand corner in your other hand... Like a sock puppet. 

See how it kinda looks like a puppet mouth with my hand in there? No? Well... Pretend. ;-)

Next step, put the left corner into the "mouth" (right hand corner) of your "puppet" and hold onto it with your right hand. 

Shake it out, but be sure to hold that inside corner while you do!

Starting to look like a hood, eh?

Flatten it out, and you're ready for the next steps!  Trust me, you just finished the hardest part of the whole project. 

Set your hood aside and grab your 44" by 28" flannel and terry. Match them up and pin, right sides together, but leave one of the long sides unpinned for now. 

On the long side you left unpinned (this will be the top of your towel) find the center. Now, we're going to use our hood as a template for a second. Match the center seam of your hood to the center of the towel.

Mark with pins about an inch away from the widest part of your hood on both sides. For me, that made a space about 17" wide.

Stitch around, starting and finishing at your markers, leaving that large opening to turn your towel. Turn it right side out. 

Now, my very favorite part... Adding the hood and topstitching. 

Match up the center seams, turning the insides under as you go. I do this by pinching on each side like this:

And pulling taut. It will tuck the unfinished edges under. Be careful, as the terry has a bit more give than your woven will. It's a good idea to press these edges under before moving on. You don't have to, but it certainly makes it easier. 

Match up the center of the towel with the center seam of your hood. Tuck the unfinished edge of the hood into the opening. Make sure the opening of the hood is facing the same direction as your towel. Best way to do this is to fit the pieces together with your printed fabric down and your towel facing up towards you. 

There are two ways of attaching the hood... You can just keep it pinned in and topstitch around the whole towel and call it good, or you can zigzag stitch along the inside where hood meets towel. 

Hard to see... But that's what I did. It tacks the seam down nicely, and gives it a little added reinforcement. Either way, you'll want to topstitch around the entire towel to give it a finished edge. 

And with that, voila! Hooded towel!

I think he likes it! Good thing he's only 7 weeks old and doesn't yet understand the concept of a Christmas present! ;-) He'll "unwrap" it tomorrow... Meaning daddy or I (but most probably big sister) will unwrap it for him. 

The cool thing about these towels is that they grow with you. It's huge on Remington now, but the hood still fits my head. The kids can use these towels their whole childhood. Hooray! 

Now, if you cut out the extra piece of flannel waaaaay back in the beginning of the tutorial and want to make the hand towel, here's what you do. Match up the terry and the flannel, stitch around leaving an opening to turn. Turn, topstitch, and bam! Matching hand towel. Here's the one I made for Miss Madeleine:

Very girlie... She'll go nuts over it. Ha! 

Enjoy your towel making!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

By popular demand...

Apparently, we have readers... lol!  Hello readers!  I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything.  I honestly figured nobody would care.  I have been informed *multiple* times this week that I am wrong in that regard.  Whoops!  So, here I am... posting.  You've asked what's been going on in our lives since last I wrote.

Since July we have:

  • Continued to be pregnant... despite our little boy attempting to make an early arrival from 27-37 weeks.
  • I have been IN LABOR for ten weeks.  At least 4 contractions per hour, EVERY hour, EVERY day.  The most contractions in an hour thus far has been 15.  Woof.
  • We received some amazing news back in September.  The First Presidency of the church granted our request to be sealed (married) in the Temple.  In our church (much like in the Catholic Church) if you have been married previously in the Temple, you must go through a process to be allowed to be married in the temple a second time.  In our case, it happened very quickly.  Much more quickly than usual.  We were able to be sealed on our first anniversary!  Some couples wait years, so we were extremely surprised and grateful.
  • Our sealing was on October 11th, 2013 in the Seattle Washington LDS Temple.  We chose this temple because it is of special significance to us.  My family was sealed there when we joined the church.  I was just a year and a half older than Maddie!  It was really neat to have our sealing there.  Not very many of our friends and extended family were able to come, it was very short notice and far away from many of them... but it was lovely to have the ones there who could come.  
  • Grammy Pam and Papa Chris (John's folks) and Grandma Alda (John's maternal grandmother) stayed with us for a little while after the sealing.  Maddie was basically in heaven.  She still asks for "Ammy, Papa, and Ow-Bah" frequently.  Hopefully we'll be able to see them all again in November for Thanksgiving.
That's just a short wrap up... there have been lots of little things too. :-)  Lots of sewing projects, lots of baby-belly drama, LOTS of illness and hospitalizations and tests (for me AND for Maddie)... but that's all pretty boring.  Suffice it to say, we're okay right now.  When I have pictures from our Sealing Day, I'll post them up for you to see.

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gotcha Day - The Best Day Ever!!!

On October 11th, 2012, we made our family official. I changed my last name, but Miss Madeleine wasn't able to change hers.  We've been the Martin-Parmenters for 274 days.

From the very early days of our relationship, we talked about adoption.  John already knew that he wanted to be Maddie's dad... and so as soon as we could (after we were married) we filed the paperwork to become an official, state recognized family of three.  It was a LONG process.  We were lucky enough not to have to struggle with any issues with her biological father.  He signed and sent in his paperwork almost instantly.  We expected this, and were very happy that it worked out as planned.  The long wait was due to the government agency paperwork.  For a step-parent adoption in Oregon, the Department of Children and Family Services does a background check with the state police and in cases like ours (where John has lived in Oregon for only a couple years) an FBI background check.  THAT is what took the longest.  After all the paperwork was in, the background checks completed, and we checked out as a-okay it was pretty quick!  We knew that the petition had gone to the courts, and we just waited, on bated breath, to hear back.

Flash forward to today, we went up to OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital to see a specialist about all the fevers Maddie's been having.  It was a scary morning, but it turned into a lovely day.  We were grateful to find out that Maddie is perfectly fine.  It was a huge relief.  It's been two whole months of unknowns, and to find out from a specialist that everything would be alright was like a huge weight off of our shoulders.  We decided to go up to the Portland Temple grounds and walk around for a bit.  It's just such a lovely place, and is one of my very dearest "happy places".  We brought a very special shirt along today, in the hopes that we could snap a couple of cute pictures of Maddie wearing it.

Mom saw this at the store, and thought it would be an awesome shirt for Maddie to have on the day we got the news that Maddie's adoption was finalized.  We got to the temple, finished lunch and ran around for some pictures.  We thought they'd be fun to have on hand for the day, whenever it got here, so we could use them to announce her adoption on Facebook.  Up until today, she's never had a picture of her face on the internet.  We've made a sort of game out of sharing pictures of her without revealing her face.  Sort of like Wilson from the show Home Improvement.  At any rate, the plan has always been to go on a Maddie picture sharing overload when her "Gotcha Day" finally came.  For those of you unfamiliar with adoption language, Gotcha Day is the day that you are officially granted your child for forever by the judge presiding over your case.  In our case that day was July 12th, 2013.  While leaving the temple today, we received the email that changed our lives forever.  Madeleine is now Madeleine Jean Parmenter!  Our attorney got the judgement paperwork in the mail just this afternoon.

She is OURS.  Forever.  We couldn't possibly be happier, and we think she's pretty happy too.