Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Vote Pleading, and the other kids August 13, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 12:42 am

So I entered those three pairs of shorts into an online shorts sewing contest and the “viewers choice” award is based on how many people “heart” the entries. So if anyone would like to vote for my shorts (Sunny Day Cargos, Rainbow Ikat shorts, or Fierce Shorts) you can access the entries at http://www.kollabora.com/projects/shorts-line. However, I think you will have to register at the site (although they don’t seem to send many emails).


Baby C got a post to herself, but in the interest of falling less behind, I am cramming the two older girls in here…

The new deck involved dumping a big layer of gravel on the ground. C spent some time sorting through all the gravel and managed to make a rainbow out of what seemed a sea of gray.


For a neighborhood party the girls baked cookies (almost) all by themselves. They were pretty proud.


M is getting the hang of her roller skates.


M also had her first piano recital and did pretty well. She had to unexpectedly introduce herself and played two songs (I do kind of wish the teacher had let me duet with M instead of the teacher herself…the duet didn’t go as well).




If you’ve got wings, why not use them?



For M’s kindergarten graduation the teacher wrote a poem describing each kid and read it to everyone. Guess who is an outgoing, creative, curious, good friend?


Last day of school….M showing off the current trend of attaching key chain charms to your backpack. You don’t want to be near her if she swings around quickly.



A naturalist at the beach found a moon snail for us to hold when we were there for low tide.


The kids have been doing camps, but I don’t have a lot of pictures from them. M did a drama camp—her character was Elsa 2 and she had to do an evil laugh. M has a frighteningly good evil laugh.



That same week poor C had major oral surgery—two baby bicuspids removed, the permanent bicuspids still in the gum removed, and then they tunneled under the gum to apply braces to her permanent incisors which haven’t come in yet. It all went fairly well, although C seems to be strongly affected by anesthesia and took a lot of extra time to wake up. And then burst into tears in the car because she couldn’t feel her top lip. I assured her it was still there and she said “I guess I will have to take your word for it.” She was pretty excited about 2 days of jello and milkshakes.

Fourth of July is serious business around these parts. Decorated bike and scooter, parading and tossing out candy, and neighborhood party with fireworks.



My attempts to get more interesting photos don’t always succeed. Or, I say Jump! and they say How High!



C did a girls math camp at a nature preserve..but somehow all I have is a picture of M with the huge pinecones.



Finally, the local Barnes and Noble had a Frozen day with related activities. We were all disappointed that “chillin with Olaf” was not attended by Olaf, but Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff were OK I guess.



Then this weekend we were driving to a wedding and M shouted “Anna and Elsa are in the car next to us”. We turned, and indeed these same actors? imitators? were in the car—must have been on their way to an event. The girls were pretty excited even though they knew it was just people dressed up…M was interested to see that Anna drives, and C for some reason carefully memorized their license plate.

Phew. All for now.


Thar She sews August 6, 2014

Filed under: Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 2:56 pm

With baby C’s new nap schedule I have gotten some blocks of time to sew this summer. Much less than I want to (or at least fewer items are getting sewn than are on the to do list) but still a pretty decent output.

Big C has been liking maxi skirts lately.


First skirt is from ruffle fabric with an exposed elastic waistband (although you can’t see that in the picture). Not sure I will do that kind of waistband again, it is kind of a pain. Second skirt is just a standard tube + elastic waist but gave me some practice sewing with rayon challis. Very poor attempt at pattern matching is luckily not shown…that is my challenge this year!

M got a fancy skirt…



Oddly sticky polyester fabric from Joann’s with flowers sewn on it (I mean, it came that way). Some challenge figuring out how to do the hem and the waist due to the bulk of the fabric, so this ended up like a bubble skirt with white voile on the inside and then some trickery to attach the elastic waistband. Same waistband as on C’s skirt but I am not happy with how the stitches show up on it—sewing in a perfectly straight line while stretching the elastic way out did not go well. But M was happy. And, er, the length should allow it to fit for a while.

I meant to follow a Sew A Long for this next item but didn’t actually make it until the week after. It is a woven hoodie that baby C wore for the 4th of July.


This is from the translated version of Happy Homemade Kids, although I added the lining to the hood. The hood fits oddly but looks cute on her back. Overall, was able to use up some leftover 4th of July fabric so that she coordinated with the other girls (who wore the outfits I made last year again). Well, the back of big C’s shirt matched baby C at least…



The rayon challis maxi skirt experiment was my warm up for sewing this dress from Ottobre Kids for big C:



Not quite as fitted around the waist as it was in the pictures (thanks skinny C) and the invisible zipper in the back gave me a lot of trouble. I think the zipper still pulls the back funny—it is heavier than the fabric. Maybe interfacing would have helped? At one point I poked a small hole near the collar while ripping out the zipper the 3rd? 4th? time and so had to stop fiddling with it and be satisfied. This fabric screamed C to me and she was quite happy with the dress. I did a very narrow hem at the bottom to keep some length. I think she is going to wear this to a wedding this weekend, so, success!

I have been on a shorts sewing binge, in part for an online contest called Shorts on the Line, but also because the kids needed shorts. One pair for M from a japanese sewing book (another pattern matching disaster, partially because the gridded pattern was totally off grain!) not shown, nor do I have pictures of my first Sunny Day shorts from Oliver + S which were for big C. But then I made three more pairs with various modifications…



Cargo pockets with a flap added for M.



Studded leather trimmed rear patch pockets, voile lined front slash pockets and an inch in length added for C.



Voile lined front slash pockets and rear welt pockets (!!) added for M.

The last two pairs the girls picked out the fabrics themselves at the store, and they just look sooo them. Pretty pleased to have sewn my first welt pockets too.

Let’s see…I also made myself a skirt, but no pictures of that. It is my one pattern matching success but the zipper gave me such a hassle that we are not speaking right now.

Lots of knitting going on as well, I think four or so scarves and hoping to get sweaters done for at least the two older girls before summer’s end. Always more to do!


Catching Up August 5, 2014

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 10:15 pm

“My” computer (the one with all my photos and photo editing software, and a comfortable chair, and not in G’s office) has been on the fritz for months. Sigh. G is in the process of fixing it but to say it isn’t top priority is an understatement. In the interest of getting some of these photos and thoughts up before they are completely forgotten I am giving in and blogging from the kitchen computer—sans editing software, sans comfy chair. At least I have photos though!

Let’s catch up on baby C first. When we last met…baby C was a delayed walker and the doctor finally insisted we see a physical therapist. Well, it took a few weeks to get in and wouldn’t you know, baby C took her first steps a few days before our first appointment. She was about 16.5 months old. Basically, at the first appointment the therapist agreed she was a delayed walker. And at the next two appointments she confirmed that baby C had caught up and was walking fine. Kind of a waste of three appointments (but ever closer to reaching our insurance deductible) but better than the alternative I suppose. Now baby C is a walking machine—up and down stairs, on and off curbs, running, dancing, you name it.


Oh, and climbing. For instance, she can climb onto the counter in the bathroom and get stuck between the mirror and the sink. No pictures of that, due to panicked rushing to grab her.

Baby C has graduated to sandals, as seen (barely) in picture 7. As had M before her, she loves to take off her shoes in the car and then look very concerned when you arrive at your destination and open the car door to find a barefooted baby. She then gestures vigorously as if to say, hey! I need some shoes on here! However we do not have non-sandals for her due to the incredible tantrum she threw at the shoe store and her continued refusal to allow me to put such shoes on her (although she is kind of OK about the water shoes in picture 6. At least she wore them that day, although refused to try on at the store). She is also a hat lover.



Eating wise she continues to try new things. She prefers stone fruits with the stones in…not much fruit actually gets eaten but she likes to dig the stone out. No ice cream pictures but that is definitely a recent favorite. Popsicles however continue to elude her.



In addition to banged up legs and various scrapes baby C had one bad injury on the 2nd last day of school, during the playground portion of M’s kindergarten graduation. C was running while carrying a hula hoop on gravel (it was a crazy time) and in falling managed to tear off a fingernail. I am not sure if there was more blood or more screaming. Not sure if you can see the damage here:


She bounced back quickly but for weeks afterwards, if you said “C, do you have an ouchie finger?” she would look worriedly at each hand and then show you the bad finger with a sad face. The funny part of course was that she couldn’t tell without looking which hand it was! All has healed now.

She loves being outside, especially on our new deck (er, in the blog silence G built an enormous deck in the backyard) and is earning her baby explorer credits.



Her clear favoritism for G continues.



Current favorite things include all the Bear books by Stella Blackstone. Refusing to give kisses or hugs. Finding rainbow loom bands all over the house. Helping at clean up time (but who made the mess….)

We have officially transitioned to one nap a day….and it is a 3.5 – 4.5 hour nap. Seriously. I don’t ask why, I just count my lucky stars! (Non-napper dues quite paid up with the first two kiddos though thankyouverymuch). 15 teeth with that last one very close to breaking through.

Not much talking. Well, not much understandable talking. Lots of babbling but her words are fairly confined to maaa, daaa, hi, and boo. Opting for now not to stress about it. Much. Her head size is near the top of the charts, height is 75ish percentile and she is a solid 27 lbs. Feels like a good baby size.

She is our happy, fairly easy going little sprite and despite a penchant for getting into things she shouldn’t be getting into I think the whole family is enjoying baby C immensely.