16 October 2014

A Small Purse (what??)

I need a small purse. Just to hold my phone, some cash, some cards. This has never happened before. I love, love, love my giant TARDIS-like purses. It is very important that I carry everything I could possibly need with me at all times. But I will soon be traveling to a theme park, and I just really needed something for just my valuables (everything else will be left in the stroller). And I don't have anything small because I love my big purse and I'm not some sporty sorority girl on her way to the gym with just her keys, her phone, and her student ID. (In my head these are the only people who need tiny tiny purses.)

So I searched around on Etsy and Amazon, and of course I found things that would work okay, but weren't exactly what I wanted and/or weren't in my price range. So of course, I was like, "I'll just make one!" But like, all of the sudden. With almost no plan. Because that is how I roll.

I followed this tutorial (VERY helpful for figuring out the intricacies of layering for the double zippers). And of course, as I sat in my craft room and thought, "Hmm...what kind of color scheme or design should I pick?" the only thing my brain came up with was "SHERLOCK."

I used my leftover skirt fabric, some maroon for the lining, and yellow zippers and ribbon (because of the smiley face). It's perfect and I love it. Big enough to hold everything but not unwieldy. It can clip onto my belt loop (preferred), or onto the adjustable strap I made for it (plan B for my belt-loop-less low rise maternity pants [no I'm not pregnant -- low rise maternity pants are comfy and stylish]).

And although I wasn't actually trying, because trying seemed like a giant hassle that probably wouldn't work right anyway, the pattern actually does match pretty nicely on the front! Woot!

29 June 2014

Sherlock Wallpaper Skirt

Hello, there! I've been tremendously absent, haven't I? Well, I finally made a thing.

I started watching BBC's Sherlock last fall, and we finished up season 2 a couple weeks (I guess?) before the new season premiered on January 1. And uh, then I got on Tumblr, and then I watched season 3, and uh... let's just say almost all my free time in the last 6 months has been taken up by watching, reading about, or thinking about BBC Sherlock .

Oh, and also occasionally crafting about it. Fandom crafting has always been my favorite. I get very inspired, and it helps me deal with my overwhelming feelings of love and devotion. I've got 1960s Batman-themed jewelry that you've never seen. It can get quite serious.

So I saw a photo of a lady at a Sherlock fan con wearing a skirt that looks vaguely like the one I'm about to show you, and I was like, "OMG this is what I need. I must have it. And oh yeah, Spoonflower exists, and I can get fabric printed with pretty much any pattern I can imagine, BLESS."

Ta da!

It's lined. The waistband is made of part of an old t-shirt I had.

I didn't use a pattern (I hate patterns). I measured based off another skirt I have, and then did some very sketchy geometry that I then had to amend once I had the fabric all laid out because I'd done some of it wrong. That's pretty much how I roll when crafting, you may have noticed.

It's got yellow graffiti, like the wall in 221B.

[Except I did SH+JW instead of a smiley face because those two idiots are in love and they're going to grow old together and be happy forever. ::cough::]

I'm quite proud of myself.

11 October 2013

Book Sale Purchase as a Snapshot of My Life, Part 2

I wrote this other blog post three (three!) years ago after attending the annual library book sale in my other town. In it, I talk about how my pile of books had changed in the 8 years between the first time I attended the sale and the time I attended the sale as the mother of a 1.5 year old.

Well, now I have a 4.5 year old, and the pile has changed yet again. Three of those books up there are for me to read. (There are only three, mostly because my tastes have become... niche? You can check out my Amazon book wish list to see the kind of stuff I'm looking for and why those might not just materialize at a book sale.) The rest are for the young lady of the house. I was going for some solid reference type books that she can browse through over and over. And Mo Willems, of course. Always Mo Willems. She can read the Elephant and Piggie books by herself, so... yeah. The days are long, but the years are short, as they say.

A list of this year's books (because these are some great finds! look them up for your own kiddos!):
First Human Body Encyclopedia (shout out to Cousin Liesl for mentioning this series on Facebook)

The question is, have I read the books I bought three years ago? :-) 
Of the 15 books in the pile in the first post, I read (or tried to read) eight nine, four three are still in my to-read pile, and I've gotten rid of three of them. I think. Two of them became two of my favorites: The Teenager Liberation Handbook and Flipped. I list book reviews as public notes on my Facebook page, so please check them out. I love to hear what other people think about books!

10 August 2013

Eating Real Food During a Move

Over the last 7 or so years, I've gone from eating pretty much whatever/whenever to being a lot more mindful and informed about my food choices.  The title of the post refers to "real food", which has kind of a lot of different definitions depending on where you go around the internet.  But for my family, eating real food means making most food from scratch, using whole grains, trying to choose the lesser "evil" on the rare occasions that we eat out, and avoiding the most obviously egregious ingredients (corn syrup, MSG, artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, unfermented soy, and most vegetable oils [when cooking we only use olive oil, coconut oil, or butter]).  I personally avoid caffeine, milk, ice cream, and large loads of processed sugar, due to their effects on my health.  This is all just FYI, so you'll know what I'm aiming for during the highly stressful and kitchenless time of packing up and moving cross-country.

This is the third time I've moved cross-country by car in three years, so I'm just going to tell you what I've done.

Before the Move

First of all, we pack up the kitchen almost last.  About a month before the move date, I take inventory of all the food I want to use up before the move, and I make a month-long dinner menu to try to use up as much as possible and avoid buying extra. (Normally I make a dinner menu at the beginning of each week.)  I fill the last week or so up with frozen dinners.  I start stocking up a couple months before by freezing sufficient leftover portions of our dinners.  This is easy for me to do at the moment, as I only have to feed two adults and a 4-year-old.  Other families might need to do some dedicated freeze-cooking, or make double portions some nights.  With frozen dinners planned for the last week, I can pack up the kitchen without worrying about cooking at the same time.  The last day or two before we leave, we'll eat dinner out or pick up something to go.

Things I leave out of packing up the kitchen and bring in the car:
*my deep skillet and lid
*large plastic serving spoon
*paring knife
*wire cheese slicer
*small plastic cutting board
*hot pot
*scrub brush and dish soap

Those allow me to heat up the frozen dinners on the stove and also make sandwiches, breakfast, tea, etc.  (I can also hard boil any leftover eggs before we leave.)

While we normally do not use paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery, or disposable cups, we use all of these things liberally during our moves, with no guilt.  I start using these when we start eating the frozen dinners.  Then around the beginning of the last week before the move, everything in the kitchen is washed and ready to be packed up. 

During the Move

During the drive to our new home (the last two years we had 5 days of driving), we make two meals a day and snacks from what we've brought with us, and eat out for the third meal (whether it's lunch or dinner depends on the day's driving schedule).

Here is what I typically pack in the car:

In a medium-sized cooler:
*lunch meat
*cheese (string, block, and/or slices)
*sour cream
*baby carrots
*hard boiled eggs
*bottles of kombucha
*cod liver oil

In a box or other receptacle:
*crispy nuts
*raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc
*bread (sometimes bagels)
*crackers, chips, rice cakes, etc
*chocolate chips
*ranch dressing mix (I find this tasty on sandwiches and sad fast-food salads)
*apples, bananas, oranges, etc
*fruit leather, Larabars, etc
*peanut butter
*a sturdy Tupperware-type container with the paring knife and cheese slicer (for chopping things and assembling sandwiches)
*disposable plates, napkins, cutlery
*our regular vitamin supplements

Then we also have these things, which we mostly just take out in the hotel rooms:
*coffee and one of these
*tea bags
*travel coffee mugs

We eat toast, hard boiled eggs, tea, coffee, and fruit for breakfast. Sandwiches, chips, and fruit for lunch or dinner.

After the Move

This might be the hardest part for me.  First of all, unpack your kitchen almost-first (I think my mental list goes: beds, couches, some of Lucy's toys, kitchen).

One box at a time is best, I find. Put the stuff approximately where you think it will live, but it doesn't have to be perfect. You can rearrange things later.  You just want it all out of the boxes so you'll have room to move around and cook

Then there's the first trip to a strange grocery store.  Plan that for the time of day you have the most energy, after you've eaten, and plan for it to take five times as long as it should.  Of course make a list before you go. Then you'll have to go back two days later for the stuff you forgot to put on your first list.

Then I personally start the long process of building kitchen momentum back up.  By that I mean, getting my freezer stashed with cooked brown rice, cooked pinto beans, chicken broth, etc; starting to make homemade bread again; starting to put away freezer meals; finding a kombucha scoby.  Once you get going, it's easy to keep going, but staring at an empty freezer at first is so depressing! 
[First meal cooked in the new house this time. It feels so great to cook again after a week or more of fast food!] 

12 July 2013

Moving with a Toddler or Preschooler

As I mentioned, this summer will be the third summer in a row that our little family has moved across the country.  As such, not only do I have a lot of experience packing, but I also have experience mitigating crises of little person moving emotions.  Here are the things that have helped us help Lucy as we've shuffled her around as a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old, and this summer as a 4-year-old.

Put off packing their stuff.  Put off packing up the majority of your child's toys and clothing until as late as you're comfortable with. We do our entire kitchen before we do her toys. Then make sure their room gets put together almost first when you arrive at your new home. 

Have new fun stuff ready (especially if there's a long road trip involved). These can be simple things like stickers, a small doll, a notebook and crayons, etc. Obviously you don't want them to take up too much space, but they are lifesavers when your kid is going crazy with that horrible mixture of boredom and messed up routine. Dole them out sparingly.

Carve out a space for them.  I mean physically, make sure there is a space for them to play right up until the move.  Give them their own suitcase for their clothes and their own backpack for the toys they want to bring.  Give them some ownership over their stuff and a little control over the overwhelmingly out-of-control situation they are in.

Carve out space for their feelings. It's hard to manage your own emotions during a move, let alone someone else's. But toddlers and preschoolers need you to be aware, especially during stressful times like moving, that when they are acting out, it's not personal. They're stressed, and they need you to help them with that. Be there to listen. Ask open-ended questions to let them talk about things that have been bothering them or that they've been wondering or worrying about.  Keep routines as similar as possible to make them feel more secure. Hug, snuggle, and tickle often. It will be hard, but try to carve out time to play with them.

Let them help.  Find ways to let them help with the packing, even if it's only having them hand you things to put in a box. They can also decorate the moving boxes with stickers and drawings, or fetch things from another room.  This is another good way to give them some control over the situation. Last year, Lucy was very insistent that she be able to put something onto the truck.  So we let her haul one of her little chairs up the ramp and onto the truck.  Work stopped until she was done, because it was important to her.  Somewhat related -- don't pack up things that are important to them while they are asleep or away.  It will help them to see their things go into the boxes, so it's not as if their things have just disappeared.

Say goodbye to things. Be aware when you are on your last visit to a place you go often -- a favorite park, the library, grocery store, a friend's house, etc. Let them know beforehand that this will likely be the last visit, then say goodbye to the place as you leave.  Sometimes it seems like very young kids won't know the difference, but with my own daughter I've seen how giving her information that I don't expect her to be able to fully process has helped in many situations.  (This started when I decided to start letting her know when I was going to the bathroom when she was around 4 months old, rather than just setting her down, going, and coming back. It sounds crazy, but it helped her to stay calm. Since then, I've pretty much operated on the assumption that more heads up and more information about what will happen is always better.)

If your move involves a road trip -- all the usual road trip advice applies.  Plan for lots of stops, pack lots of snacks, don't be afraid to use a DVD player to keep them content.  I've been adding road trip tips to this Pinterest board, starting with the busy bags I chronicled on this blog.

The only other road trip advice I've got is, especially for the very littles, they must run around at stops.  There are many ways to achieve this, most notably, stop at a fast food place with a playground, or stop at a highway rest stop that has a large grassy area.  You can bring bubbles and have them chase the bubbles.  One of our favorite ways to get moving at a rest stop is to play "olly olly oop", which is a game Lucy learned from Blue's Clues.  Basically, someone yells "olly olly oop, [physical object]", then everyone jumps up, then runs and touches the object.  So at a highway rest stop, it would go something like "Olly olly oop, trash can!  Olly olly oop, that tree!  Olly olly oop, picnic table!" and so on until everyone is out of breath.  Very effective.  Kids who are a little bit older will be able to play tag.

So I guess this all basically comes down to remembering to remember all of your kid's needs. During a move, sometimes it seems like all you'll be able to manage is feeding them and making sure they sleep, but humans need more!  If you can anticipate their needs, and the whole experience will go more smoothly.

11 July 2013

Big Post of Packing and Moving Tips

I'm about to move cross-country for the third time in three years.  So I thought maybe I should actually write a post about how I do it.  I've pretty much got it all figured out.  ;-)

Let's get this out of the way: We move by packing our own boxes, loading our own boxes onto a semi truck, and then letting the semi truck moving company drive our stuff to its destination.  We pile into our car, beat the semi to our new home, then unload it when it shows up.  So all these tips are from that perspective.  We do it this way because we've found it's the cheapest for cross-country moves. Yes, even cheaper than renting a U-Haul and driving ourselves (gas is expensive), in addition to considerably less stressful. Neither Norman nor I wants to drive a U-Haul towing a car, nor does one of us want to be alone with Lucy while trying to drive that far.

Tip #1: Keep track of all expenses.

The IRS allows a tax deduction for expenses incurred during moves for changing jobs. (See the specific qualifications here.) If you qualify, you can deduct the costs of packing materials, transportation of your belongings and yourself, gas or mileage, hotel (but not meals), some storage costs, and some other stuff. Check the link. Keep track even if your employer will be reimbursing you -- you can still take a deduction on any qualified expenses that your employer won't reimburse for.  You'll need to file Form 3903.

Tip #2: Check out MovingScam.com.

This website helped me a ton before the first of our major moves.  They have hundreds (thousands?) of reviews of moving companies.  Definitely check the forums there before deciding on a company.  The forums also have pages and pages of packing tips -- it's where I got most of the ideas I implement.

Tip #3: Declutter before you start packing.

Maybe this is just me, but I can't declutter while I pack.  When I'm packing, I'm in packing mode, just trying to get everything to fit snugly and safely in the box.  I can't think about whether or not I want to keep the things.  So I sweep through the house for a while looking at everything and thinking, "Do I really need this? Do I use it? Do I want to pack it? Do I want to pay for the space on the truck necessary to transport it?"  It's easy to do most of this while you're going about life.  When you're putting dishes away, stop for a second and think about the things on the next shelf over.  When you're picking out clothes in the morning, think about the pieces in your closet that haven't been touched in the last year.  This phase can be going on while you're gathering packing supplies or finalizing your decision to move.

Tip #4: Start packing as soon as your know for sure that you're moving.

Fact: It will take you longer to pack than you think it will.  Start as soon as you can by packing stuff you can do without until after you move.  I usually start with seasonal items, books, craft supplies I don't use often, nicer china and the like, and stuff that is already in storage.  If you get done packing things you won't need way before you feel comfortable starting to pack things you *will* need, lucky you! Go for a spa day or take your kids to a museum or something.

Tip #5: Get the right stuff for the job.

Even though we move on a budget, I still want to use the right tools and materials for the job, because in the end, a few extra dollars will make my life way easier.  So here, in my opinion, are things to buy and things not to buy for packing and moving:

Don't buy:
*Boxes. These are free everywhere. Check Craigslist and Freecycle. Ask friends. Check your local liquor store. Here's a list full of suggestions of places to get free boxes.
*Bubble wrap. It's really not necessary. Paper, good technique, and your old towels will be perfectly fine. Not to jinx myself, but in two moves, we haven't broken one thing. Not one.

Do buy:
*Certain boxes. Yeah, I said don't buy boxes. But you really do need:
1.) Dish packs. These are large, extra sturdy boxes meant for filling with dishes. Get some cell packs to go along with them for your drinking glasses.
2.) Frame corners set. Like this. They'll fit almost any size framed thing. This would be for very large art or posters framed with glass.
3.) Wardrobe boxes. Actually I never bought any of these. Pro: You take your hanging clothes out of your closet, you hang them in the box, you pull them out, you put them in your new closet.  Saves a lot of time.  Con: Your clothing will take up more space in the truck that way. I've always taken the clothes off the hangers, put most of them into our extra luggage, and put all the hangers in one giant box.

*Packing paper/newsprint.  Really, just do it. I get mine from U-haul. It's blank newspaper. It comes all compact in a box. You don't have to save up newspaper and circulars for forever. And most importantly there's no ink to come off all over your dishes.
*Mattress bags. Super easy. Just spend a couple bucks and buy these. You just stick your mattress in (with the top sheet if you really want), tape it -- boom. Mattress stays clean.
*I use an old egg crate foam mattress pad to protect my picture frames. (I either had it from college or bought one at a thrift store -- I don't remember.) Just cut it up with scissors to the sizes of the glass in your frames, place the piece of foam on the glass, then wrap the whole thing in packing paper like a present. Then label the outside with a word or two that will tip you off to what is inside. You can also use bubble wrap (if you happen to have some) or wadded up paper to pad the glass.

*STRETCH WRAP. This one is so important I'm yelling it at you.  BUY SOME STRETCH WRAP. Your life will be so much easier.  I think we've gone through 3-4 rolls of 5" wide 1,000 ft stretch wrap on each move.  Use it to secure the lids on Rubbermaid tubs and the drawers of plastic organizers, wrap removable bookshelf shelves together, wrap folding furniture shut, wrap tall skinny things together -- last time we even used it to just wrap our flatware into its drawer organizer.  Endless uses.  You'll probably also want a much wider roll to wrap up couches and to secure moving blankets onto wood furniture.

*Packing tape dispenser. I almost forgot this one because it seems so obvious to me. (But I use packing tape for packaging Etsy items several times every week.) Definitely pick up a packing tape dispenser and several extra rolls. Doesn't have to be anything fancy -- I use one of these.

You'll also need moving blankets and a dolly/handtruck. These are included with the moving company we use, but if they're not you need to buy or rent.  Sometimes it'll be cheaper to buy a bunch of old blankets from thrift stores, then donate them to another thrift store on the other end.

Tip #6: Pack (and unpack) one box at a time.

Do not, under any circumstance except the most dire, have more than one open, half-packed box going at once.  Start packing a box, fill it as best you can with relevant items (i.e., items that will go in generally the same area in the new house), pad the rest of the box with extra linens or wadded paper, taped it up, then and only then, start filling another box.

Same goes for unpacking.  Unless you're just desperate for a specific kitchen utensil or something, don't leave half-unpacked boxes sitting around.  Find a place for everything from one box (even if it's not ideal -- you can shuffle and perfect organizational systems later), break the box down, then open another box.  This will save you mental energy because you won't have to keep track of what's going on in more than box at a time, and it will save floor space as you pack and unpack, which will help save your sanity.

Tip #7: How I label boxes

I read about this method somewhere (probably the MovingScam forums), and I just thought it was brilliant. It is, it's brilliant. It's the only way to label and inventory boxes for moving long distances, in my opinion.  Here's how it works:

You need:
*An index card organizer
*A pack of index cards
*A hole punch (optional -- some index card organizers are two-ring binders)
*A pen
*A Sharpie

You're going to write a code on each box (on the top and on at least two different sides) in Sharpie. It's going to look like this:  CR#11

The first two letters are an abbreviation for the room the stuff came from (you can make up whatever abbreviations make sense to you); the number is which number box from that room it is. (So this one is the 11th box from the craft room.)

Then write the same code on one index card.  Underneath, write everything you put in the box. It's a 3x5 card, so you have plenty of room.  Especially if you're packing kitchen stuff, you're going to want to know exactly what is in each box.

Keep the index cards organized in order, by room and number, in the index card binder.

Then, when you get to the new house, you can tape signs to the doorway of each room with the room code, so whoever is helping you unload can at least attempt to put everything in the right room.

This method will also enable you to:
*Cut down on theft if someone else is handling your items. If the outside of the box doesn't say "Bluray player", it's a lot less likely to get stolen.
*Check off everything as it comes off the truck.
*Give yourself a nice visual checklist when unpacking. Once a box is unpacked, throw away the index card that goes with it. The binder of cards will dwindle, and you'll feel like you might actually be making progress even though your house is a giant mess.
*Easily compose a household inventory for insurance purposes.

Find more tips: 

There used to be a fabulous website that showed, in depth, how to pack every kind of thing in a house. The kitchen section was especially helpful, and it's where I learned how to pack all the different kinds of dishes I have.  Sadly, the website is gone.  However, this video does a pretty good job of explaining the basics.  (Caveat -- for goodness sake, do not individually wrap every hardback book you own in paper. Overkill.)  Additionally, I've been trying to gather websites with excellent packing and moving information on this Pinterest board.

Bonus tip that maybe no one needs but me:  Stuff giant bean bags into twin mattress bags.

 And then... you just have to unpack everything in your new place. Good luck!

If you have questions or other tips, leave a comment! I will be adding to the post if needed!

26 April 2013


Lucy is 4 today! What?? I've been waiting a year and a half to be able to do this for Lucy, after seeing it over at SortaCrunchy, so now I'm finally, shamelessly stealing the idea from her.

This is the song.

Here is Lucy's birth story.

I'm sittin' here 
 I'm one day old

And I'm sittin' here
I'm two days old

I'm sittin' here
I'm three days old

And I'm sittin' here
I'm four days old.

One day I'll be a year

Then I'll be two

Then three

Then four

But as for now I'm sittin' here
I'm five days old, and no days more.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

14 April 2013


I spent $85 at an educational supply website the other day.  Part of me was like "85 dollars???" and part of me was like "::shrug:: Gotta spend money to be awesome."

What that $85 dollars got me:

*10 pounds of tempera paint powder (1 pound each of 10 different colors)
*168 colored wooden dominoes
*500 stick-on googly eyes
*One of these (cork board, hammer, tacks, and wooden shapes with holes in the middles.)
*a set of fabric markers (for Lucy's birthday festivities, the details of which will be coming in approximately 2 weeks)

Here's what I immediately did with the googly eyes:

Then Norman did some, then Lucy did some. Then I put some up at the rink where I ice skate every week. And in our car. And then Norman and Lucy put some more on some rocks outside.  Our house is so much happier!  (Apparently this activity is call Vandaleyes, and there is a website.) 

Lucy and I have also played with the dominoes. Good for counting/number/math practice, good for setting up and knocking over, and they also make good building blocks.

I plan to use the tempera paint powder to do all kinds of awesome Pinterest-y type activities.  Essentially, you can use it to make paint, or to sprinkle on and mix into various liquid and viscous substances -- pretty much it's like food coloring, but more awesome and less edible.  (That last part is probably not true, actually. It's just not made to be eaten.)

I started a new blog to catalog what Lucy does each day, so any of these projects we do are going to end up over there. Go subscribe if you want to see!

26 March 2013

Playroom Cleanup

Lest anyone is under the mistaken impression that I am 1.) a meticulous housekeeper, or 2.) a strict disciplinarian, I offer the following for clarification:

[Lucy's playroom]

It's looked this way for the last... two weeks? At least? Probably more because we were on vacation last week and it was like this before that.  

Every now and then Norman or I will go in and put some things where they go. We don't make Lucy clean it.  It's her room, and if she doesn't clean it, the consequence is that playing is harder and she can't find stuff.  Also I understand the frustration of having to clean up a "mess" when you're in the middle of creating something.

Lucy has free rein over safety scissors and a large amount of paper, scotch tape, stickers, and writing instruments.  She creates paper trash like nobody's business. She's quite prolific and is not sentimentally attached to most of it.  She also makes quite a mess of the drawers that all these craft supplies are kept in, of course. 

And every now and then, I just can't stand the playroom anymore.  I just can't stand that much of a mess for too long.  Plus I feel sorry for Lucy.  I know when it gets that bad, there's just no possible way for her to even begin to clean it.  Like, it's developmentally impossible for her.  So about every two months or so, I go through and really clean everything out and toss the scribbled on and cut up bits of paper and junk mail that she hoards.  Today she helped... a little.  I put everything where it goes and cleaned out and organized the craft drawers.

I got rid of almost a whole trash bag full of stuff (mostly paper).  But only the stuff she won't miss.  One of my earliest traumas was my dad going through my room and giving away a bunch of the toys I had left on the floor.  I was about Lucy's age.  I know he was doing the best he could, just like I am.  I'm about the same age now as he was then.  But man did that suck.
[Ahh, lovely.]

So it'll look half-decent for the next day or two. :-)

27 February 2013


Some of my Facebook friends and I have been thinking and talking about dreams a lot lately.  Not the sleeping kind.  The bucket list kind.  The things you want to do, but you're not sure if it will ever happen.  And you're kind of afraid to try.

We've been talking about what they are, why they're scary, and who's doing what to try to accomplish them.  It's really inspiring.  There are a lot of us taking chances and doing hard, exciting things.


This conversation is the intersection of lots of things in my life.  One would be the movie Accepted.  I've written about it before here.  It came out right after I finished college and got married.  Immediate love.  It's my favorite feel-good movie, seriously.  And this is the most important part:

What do you want to learn? Write it on the board.

For a while back then Norman and I had a list going on the little chalkboard in our spare room.


I think that movie gave me the courage to keep thinking outside the box.  First the college box.  Then the school box altogether.

Before my daughter was born, I discovered Attachment Parenting philosophy.  Thank God I did, because Lucy's babyhood would have been even more miserable than it was if I hadn't.  She had a lot of needs, and she refused to let them go unmet.  Attachment Parenting leads naturally to peaceful parenting and non-violent discipline.  And peaceful parenting and non-violent discipline lead naturally to Unschooling philosophy.

The thing about unschooling is... You have to know yourself well enough to know your dreams.  It won't work if someone else is always telling you what to do or what you can't do, and it won't work if you're afraid to stand out, to be different, to be passionate.

Lucy will learn from my example.  I want her to know that we don't live in fear in this family.  No fear -- of God, of our parents, of punishment, of hurt, of society, of failure.  So we don't hit her.  We listen to her.  We try to err on the side of love and gentleness.  And we try to live our own lives without fear.


Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote my own stanza to the song "I've Got a Dream" from the Disney movie Tangled.  It goes like this:

I've long been kinda flabby
Athletic skills are shabby
That I'm no jock, no one could debate
But despite my HSP
And a creaking in my knee
I really want to learn to figure skate!

Can't you see me on the ice skating to Chopin?
Salchow jumping while my sequins gleam!
My thighs in tights would be a sin
But soon I'll do a layback spin
Like little Russian girls, I've got a dream!

And that's my dream.  Since nearly forever.  I'm realistic.  I know I'm not in great shape, I bruise easily, and I've never been any kind of active.  But I just want to be able to do a waltz jump before I die.  But right before I die would certainly not be the time to try.

[First day of lessons]

And neither, I decided, would After the Kids Move Out.  (That mythical time that seemingly all parents long for and then immediately lament.)  I want Lucy to see me working hard and trying scary things.  I want her to work hard and try scary things!  I'm going to help her.  I already help her do it!  We all help each other. 

And eventually she will leave for her own life.  I would rather not be left with nothing.  I am a mom, and that calling is extremely important to me.  But the bulk of that work is gonna be over in about 15 short years.  And then I'll probably keep living for another 35 or so.  So I'm taking skating lessons.  And I love it.  Gotta keep dreaming.


I want to hear about your dreams. Leave 'em in the comments!