Picky is as Picky does.

My mom recently gave me a book called French Kids Eat Everything (affiliate link). I started reading it rather apprehensively, because I just can’t take one more smug parenting book about how I am doing it wrong.

It is not one of those books.

Basically, it’s a memoir of a North American family who move from Vancouver to the author’s husband’s home country of France, where the author is expected to feed her children the way the French feed theirs, which is…very very very differently than she is used to. And, well, it works. Her children develop better eating habits and more diverse palettes. In the book she lays out ten rules that she followed to achieve her goals, and gives tips and recipes to help others follow them.

What the fuck. I am pretty desperate.

DAY ONE

Today I informed the children that they will no longer be allowed to snack whenever they want to. One of the key principals in the book is that grazing on snacks all day leads to kids who aren’t hungry for meals. Seems legit.

I fed them (and myself) a good breakfast around 8-8:30. Baguette with butter (no butter for Sam–I will work on that aversion slowly), bacon for them, eggs scrambled with goat cheese for me, and a square of dark chocolate each. Coffee for me.

We went to the playground and then speech therapy. On the way to Pasadena, Grace started crying because she wanted one more turn on the swings. She demanded a food treat to make her feel better, and I informed her that we would no longer be using food to make ourselves feel better. I offered to read her books instead.

We came home and I made lunch: pasta and sausage, both favorites, but this time I mixed them together. It was on the table at about 1:00. Sam spent twenty minutes saying he just wasn’t sure he could eat them together. I ended up feeding him about half, then he had a bit more on his own. I let them be done when they felt full. I did not let them move onto the next course until they were both finished with the current one. After pasta (I had parmigiana on mine, which Sam shockingly tasted), I had a carrot salad. I insisted they each try one bite. Grace was the harder sell this time. Then we had a fruit course (apple and banana, Grace is not required to eat the banana because she is very averse to the texture), and then–and only then–they were allowed a popsicle.

It took an hour and a half and there were many tears.

Sam gets a video game on speech days. He ended up with only about 40 minutes because lunch took so long and I wanted the TV off for an hour before snack time. At 4:00 I gave them peanut butter pretzels and frozen strawberries (which they have never agreed to eat before, and which disappeared into Sam in five seconds flat).

I’ve insisted that they eat at the table, such as it is. (We are overhauling the apartment again, and our table is currently under a tarp on the porch. They ate at the coffee table.)

I’ve corrected their language about food fairly constantly. “No, thank you” is the only negative talk I will accept.

This is exhausting, and we still haven’t gotten to dinner.

Heartbreak; new dress and a trip; sorting

Last night I received the impossibly sad news that my friend Laurie has died. I am still reeling and can hardly believe it. She was the funniest, warmest person I knew. And oh, she loved Sam. Whenever she was down she would ask for a Sam story to cheer her up. She was also my knitting pattern line’s #1 fan.

Laurie loved movies. We went out at least once or twice a year to Cinefamily (formerly the Silent Movie Theatre, aka where I got married), and to the Egyptian Theatre for the American Cinematheque’s Noir festival. This is the first year we missed it.

I feel like there is a hole in my chest.

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Because life goes on, I will also blog about the stuff I was planning to write about.

I finished sewing this in time for my friend Jim’s wedding:

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

I swear that huge wrinkle didn’t really show in person, and the pocket is sewn on evenly.

I flew to New York BY MYSELF overnight last Wednesday-Thursday. I bought a SIX DOLLAR MOCHA at JFK, then took the AirTrain to the A train and rode into Manhattan. I got off in the village and had breakfast with my dear friend Nova, then walked to the 1/9 and went up to Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Tiny Amy met me there and we wandered up Amsterdam to 72nd street, where we got some amazing falafel at Soom Soom Vegetarian Bar. Then I headed to Grand Central Terminal and took a commuter train up the river.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

I spent the long weekend with my mom. This is the first time I’ve been childfree since Sam was born, and the first time I’ve ever been away from Grace. The first night I slept twelve and a half hours (though to be fair, I’d only slept about two hours on the airplane).

It was nice to be back in Woodstock.

Forsythia

Forsythia

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In my grief and confusion today, I did not know what to do with myself. So naturally I signed up for Pottermore to get sorted.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

This is so appropriate that I cannot even.

Meet Virginia

virginia-quad

Oh hi. I design knitting patterns occasionally.

Virginia is a modification of Ginger, with a contrast band, shorter headsize, and different brim. For a limited time, if you have already bought Ginger (or if you buy them together), Virginia is free.

In the next few weeks, I plan to release an ebook of four art deco cloche patterns: Ginger, Dorothy, Virginia, and a new one called Nora. Stay tuned!

No big deal.

Last week I worked my first game in stripes (only penalty calling refs wear stripes, and I had thusfar worked administrative, non-penalty calling positions).

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I was an Outside Pack Referee, which is the only referee position (besides Head Referee) that does not require skates.

So, uh. Guess what I am doing on May 18th.

If you said skating, you are incorrect. But if you said Head Refereeing a game…Yeah.

If you are so inclined, you can purchase tickets here. They are sold with tiered pricing, so if you purchase before May 1, tickets are $6 off, before May 8, $4 off, before May 15, $2 off. And that’s based on the already low Sunday afternoon prices.

I don’t want to imply that if you don’t come to the game, you aren’t really my friend. But that is totally true. (Local friends only. Far off friends may prove your love in other ways.)

Outrage of the Day: Awesome, Sexist T-Shirt

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Isn’t this shirt amazing? And look, there are three* lady writers on it! Three out of 26!

Hey, wait a minute.

Not only are there at least as many great writers who are female as there are who are male, but like. Women invented the novel, and also science fiction. Probably other genres, too.

This would be my favorite shirt ever if the creator had expanded the concept from his own personal favorite authors to a diverse mix of authors of interest to most readers.

And, like. Did he mean Thomas Jefferson? Because if he is suggesting that The Declaration of Independence is more important to literature than We Have Always Lived In The Castle, then I would like to resign from the human race.

Here is a draft of an all lady version:

Jane Austen. Judy Bloom. Willa Cather. Kate DiCamillo. Laura Esquivel. Rosario Ferre. Cristina Garcia. S.E. Hinton. Laura Ingalls. Shirley Jackson. M.M. Kaye. Madeline L’Engle. Carson McCullers. E. Nesbit. Joyce Carol Oates. Dorothy Parker. Q. Rainbow Rowell. Nova Ren Suma. Amy Tan. U. Cynthia Voigt. Elizabeth Wein. X. Y. Sara Zarr.

Obviously still a few to fill in. I’ve never read Quindlen or Xi. And yes, putting Laura Ingalls Wilder under I is totally cheating.

*Dickinson, Quindlen, and Xi, as best I can guess.

It’s just a jump to the left.

(and then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight!)

Blogging! It’s making a comeback! I am pretty sure of it! My mid-year resolution is to blog more, and I think you should too! Unless you are Violet and never stopped blogging multiple times a day. My hero!

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Trust me, I’m a blogger. A blogger who needs a haircut.

A lot of my Twitter friends blog, but if I met them through Twitter I wasn’t following their blogs. Which, ack. So today I am collecting URLs to add to feedly. In the process, I found myself looking at some of the feeds that are still on my list but haven’t been updated in forever, and I happened to find this post, which is where I first got the itch to have a closet full of Simplicity 3835s. It was six years ago. OMG.

We went to the renaissance fair on Saturday (pictures to come!) and while we were out the postman left a slip for two packages. The children and I walked to the post office yesterday and picked up my fabric order and part of my Old Navy order. My new wardrobe is underway! And just in time, because I got rid of more clothes after my last post. The patterns for Dress No. 1 and Spin Skirt arrived last week, and I bought a digital download of Violet (because I couldn’t stomach $6 shipping for one pattern).

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Riley Blake Cherries for a summery Spin Skirt

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Birch cotton voile Flight for Violet

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Robert Kaufman Essex linen blend for Dress No. 1

First up, I am going to make a muslin of 3835 (with unbleached muslin I found in my fabric stash) and one of the dresses (I don’t think I need to make a muslin). Place your vote for navy, orange, or lime! (The grey is a remnant that I might use for pockets or more likely to make something for Grace.)

Morning people

You know what’s fun (and for “fun,” you should substitute absolutely any other word)?

Having a kid who is as crabby as I am in the morning.

Grace takes after her father. They both have the uncanny ability to brain immediately after waking (shut up, “brain” is too a verb), a talent that eludes me. It seems that Sam has inherited my level of functionality. He does not (yet) tackle the problem with gallons of caffeine, as I do. On a good morning, he simply stays in bed until he feels capable of facing the day. On a bad day, though.

Today Grace decided, almost immediately on waking, to play with her Playmobil family. She’s been setting up her dollhouse for them.

“Mom, will you play with me?”

“After I drink my coffee,” I tell her, guilt eating at my stomach lining. (Okay, guilt and strong black coffee.)

So she plays by herself until Sam stumbles out of the bedroom, yawning (he’s been awake for at least 20 minutes at this point), and collapses into a chair.

“Sam!” Her bright eyes turn to him like he is her favorite person on earth–which he is. “Will you play with me?”

“Ugh, Gracie. I don’t want to play.”

And just like that, everyone’s morning goes to shit.

And because I recognize in him my own failing, I have to work extra hard to keep from exploding with anger at him. Why can’t he just be nice to her? I know the answer, but I want him to hold it together in the morning, the way I often cannot.

Making Clothes

I recently emptied out my closet, removing everything that doesn’t fit. There was…not much left.
closet
About a third of this is referee stuff, and another third is stuff I don’t really like, but will wear if I have to. There is some stuff in the dirty laundry (not much, though), and I have a pair of jeans (and underthings of course) that are not hanging.

I have a plan. Kind of.

First I freaked the fuck out on Twitter, because I have no idea how to build a wardrobe. I don’t know how to determine or build my personal style. I am just clueless. Kind friends talked me down from the ledge, recommending various style blogs, etc., but what I really want is a checklist that is for people like me, and that doesn’t exist.

As far as I can tell, my style falls into two general categories (three if “lazy slob” counts): rockabilly and hippie. NOT SUPER COMPATIBLE, but I am not going to listen to any ideas my brain might have about needing to stay consistent. Those are the styles I am comfortable wearing. END OF STORY. (Right? Please validate me.)

So I’m going to do some shopping, but also some sewing.

sewing-tops

For years I have wanted a closet full of Simplicity 3835 tops. The pattern booklet looks super-dull, but a quick google image search should show you why I am smitten with the pattern. I will have to make full bust adjustments, which I understand in theory but have never actually done. Cross your fingers for me.

I only recently discovered Sonya Phillips‘ patterns, but I can very very easily picture myself wearing leggings and a linen Dress No. 1 every day. (I will have to get some leggings.)

I’m also thinking about Colette Violet, but not until I have pattern adjustments mastered. (And eventually: Tia dress.)

sewing-skirts

I also want to make myself some skirts. The Spin Skirt (WITHOUT THE RUFFLES) is my front-runner, but I am also looking for a simpler A-line pattern for corduroy skirts because I want to be Melissa Auf der Maur circa 1995, which the one on the right looks promising for. Possibly I could use the Spin Skirt for both, though.

I’ll be shopping for fabrics, but I also have these:

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I originally intended to use the (top) blue fabric for a Sew Liberated Lola apron, but I am open to using it for something else. The strawberries were for Grace, and I feel like an asshole considering using them for myself. I don’t know for sure how much I have of the stars, but it looks like at least 1.5 yards. I planned, years ago, to use the pond print for the Trapeze Sundress from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing, and I might still do that but I don’t have to.

I don’t have to use any of them, of course. Just brain-dumping. I kind of feel like I should be looking for small, subdued all-over prints, but maybe that is boring? I DON’T KNOW.

Please dress me.

Balloonist

I was still in bed this morning when Sam brought me an orange balloon and asked me to blow it up for him, which I did.

Later, he was playing a game of Don’t Let The Balloon Touch The Floor and I told him he needed to stop because it was turning into a game of Hit The Balloon Into Mom’s Face.

Later still, when I’d had some coffee, he asked if he might play with his balloon again. I said yes, and he did, and he had a good long run of keeping it in the air before it landed on me.

“Oh, why am I not good at this?!” he cried in frustration. “I guess I will not be a balloon thrower, after all!”