Tag Archives: children

What Do We Value?

27 Feb

Yakima River Valley

I was standing in my kitchen tonight baking brownies for my kids and I found myself wondering how many more times I would bake brownies here. Usually that would be an odd thing to think, but we are at a defining moment in our lives, and suddenly I’m feeling nostalgic about my blue laminate counter tops and stark white appliances.

Lizze recently wrote about making changes in her life, starting over with a “New Beginning”. I am making some big changes as well, but rather than a new beginning, it is more like a flashback.

I grew up in Yakima, a small-ish town in eastern Washington state. For the last 13 years I have lived in the Seattle area where we have one season – overcast. Yakima has super hot summers where the cool breeze at night is just right. The winters are bitter cold with lots of snow. Spring is green and smells of flowers and fall is orange and red with a refreshing crispness in the air. I miss living in a town that has all 4 seasons, a place where you don’t need a calendar to know what month it is.

Decision time has come for us and we were given a difficult choice. The choice was, essentially, to pick what is most important to us. We could stay here in this cloudy and overcrowded place. The place where our kids have grown up, a long way from our families. If we stayed my husband was looking at a dramatic increase in pay, but also much less time with the children. Or, we pack up a moving truck and head back over the mountains and go home. Home to sunshine, family, and friends, but no increase in pay.

So what do we value most? Is it money? Having nice things? Yes. We need money to live and I do want nice things for us. But ultimately we chose experiences and family over the extra income. I want these kids to grow up having family around. When I was a kid we all  had dinner at my grandma’s house every Sunday. I haven’t had dinner at my grandma’s table in many years and I miss it dearly. I want family to come to my kid’s school performances, sporting events, and birthday parties. I want to get together and have picnics in the summer. I want to spend Christmas with them again.

We are scared of changing. Selling our home in this economy is a daunting task. Saying goodbye to our neighbors and friends will be hard. But it will all be worth it. I have dreams of big old farmhouses and 4th of July BBQ’s dancing in my head.

For Lizze and I, 2011 is shaping up to be quite a year full of new and exciting things. We are both afraid of some sort of disaster; of making a wrong choice. However, we have both made choices that are putting our families and our children before anything else. How can that ever be wrong?

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment” – Robert G. Allen

Selina

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What to do When Your Kids Grow

9 Feb

Two years ago I promised my daughter I would make her a dress to wear for her first day of kindergarten. I purchased fabric that was brightly colored with letters and sock monkeys on it (she loves sock monkeys!). It was a total pain, I even put in a zipper! Dang, I must love this kid. I got the dress done just in time for her first day of school and she loved it. It immediately became her favorite dress and she wore it at least once a week.

 

She is now in 2nd grade. Imagine her disappointment when she tried to put it on recently and the zipper broke. She had grown quite a bit, so her favorite dress no longer fit her. My mother in law came over one weekend and while she was here we went through the kids clothes to give a bunch of them away. She donates to a local battered womens shelter so I frequently send things home with her to donate when she comes to visit. She put the sock monkey dress in the pile of giveaway clothes. She must not have realized how attached my girl was to it! Well, when grandma wasn’t looking, she fished it out of the pile and hid it under her bed.

One day while doing some serious deep cleaning I found the dress wadded up in a ball under there. I asked her about it and she told me the story of how she rescued it from being given away. I knew I had to do something with this dress because it was so special to her. I asked for her permission to cut it up and make some new things for her from the fabric. She loved the idea and quickly agreed.

Out of this one dress I ended up with a banner for her wall with her name on it, and a really cute little bag. I even reused the tag I had sewn to the inside of the dress that says “made with love by mom”.

Banner for her wall

Inside made with dress lining fabric

The point of this post was to inspire you to use what you already have to  make something new. I know my daughter would have been upset had I just given away this dress that was so special to her. I’m glad I could repurpose it to make something she will be able to use for a very long time. If you look closely at the bag, you will see some stains on the fabric that she got on it when she was playing in the mud or rolling in the grass. Those stains are memories and thinking about how they got there makes me smile.

Selina

Dresses (and britches) for Africa

28 Jan

I had something else in mind for tonight’s blog, but when I came across this, I decided it was much cooler than my original subject.

When you were a child did you ever receive handmade clothing? We know our children have, and they cherish them very much. We have seen the gratitude on our kids faces countless times from getting things that were made for them by someone else (usually us). We think that every child should have something handmade. There are kids in Africa who very little or no clothing. So Lizze and I are going to spend this Sunday making dresses for girls and britches for boys. They’ll be shipped off and given to little girls and boys who need and will appreciate them.

The link to the blog explaining the charity is here:

http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/?page_id=477

There you will find the address to ship your finished dresses and britches, as well as a pattern you can use for the dresses if you don’t have one already. The dresses are a very simple, pillowcase dress style so they don’t take long to make at all.

If you are in the Seattle area, Pink Chalk Studios will be hosting a sew-in on Saturday, January 29th from 10am – 2pm. Here is a link to their blog for the info if you’re interested in participating:

http://pinkchalkstudio.com/blog/2011/01/15/little-dresses-for-africa/

This is something very small that we can do in one afternoon to make a HUGE difference in the lives of children. Please consider making a few or getting a small group of friends together and having your own sew-in! You’d be surprised how much little things like this can do to boost the spirits of children in need. Not to mention how it will make you feel knowing you are doing something to make a difference!

Selina