Expecto Patronum!

Why do moms have such a propensity for guilt? patronum

Why does this guilt seem to surface most visibly around our children’s birthdays?

I have a secret to share: I suffer from a lesser-known anxiety disorder. It’s called Party Compulsive Dysfunction. I’ve had this affliction going on nine years now. It is a wholly personal affliction that usually sets in 8-12 weeks ahead of either one of my children’s birthdays.

I suffer from PCD because I am under the false pretense that having in-home birthday parties is more low-key and easier than the expensive, elaborate off-site parties so prevalent these days.

(how very wrong this assumption is) More


Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.



My mom painted me a step stool when I was little enough to need one. She was an avid reader of Beatrix Potter books and I was her number one listener so I imagine that the characters on the stool are Mrs. Tittlemouse and Babbity Bumble but I’ve never asked. I still have the stool today, thirty-five years later. More

The Truth About Parenting…

Sometimes, it boredcan be really boring…OK, so perhaps this just pertains to the early years, from 0-3 but believe me, for all of the rabble-rousing, raucous times your young charges may cause and suck you in to, there are also large swaths of time spent numbing the mind.

Here you sit, a parent with a good education, probably a higher education and very possibly even a graduate degree (or two). Maybe you’re even lucky enough to have opted out of the work force, of a decent paying job, of financial independence, of a system that provided performance reviews every 6-12 months. Now what?

Welcome to parenthood.

You came home from the hospital, overwhelmed by the tasks before you (for which there is no prior job training). You have to figure out the needs of your constituents, except they speak a completely foreign dialect and there will be no Babel fish coming to your aid. You have to completely alter your sleep cycle, eating habits, home decor and daily routine.

For the first year, you desperately look for parenting outlets, classes, playgroups, anything that affords some modicum of a social network. Your days are intermittently spent at ground level, trying to stimulate and attract the attention of your wee charge, or trying to get back in touch with the unique individual you once were, just a short time ago.

By year-two, your groundlinghas mobilized. Watch out world! there’s no need for that Exersaucer anymore. Now everything below waist level has to be rearranged or safe-guarded to accommodate exploring hands, curious eyes and wandering toddler. But at least life is starting to get more interesting. Play gets a bit more interactive, you might even share a few words between you; behold, a conversation evolves!

I don’t claim to be a vaudeville act or anything but I do like to think I’m at least capable of carrying on an intellectual conversation, possibly even about a current event.  Children, on the other hand, expect you to be constant entertainment. And, unless you actually masterminded Legos, patented Mr. Potato Head or work in Mattel’s play lab, you’re probably not cut out for the job.

You may be required to play Uncle Wiggly (for the 4th time this week); to build yet another wooden block zoo for the bucket of escaped dinosaurs; to stealthy fit 200 minuscule plastic beads onto a ridiculously small peg board and iron them together into a coaster. And when all of that is done, they’ll ask for more.

Sure, there are many fabulous, memorable and blog-worthy moments of parenting but I also want to be honest, to take the sheen off and say it like it is. Now, please excuse me, I think I’m being beckoned back to the train table to play the vivacious role of windmill.

Lay Down your Sweet Head

Aretha’s earned her keep (not like it was costing me anything to begin with, since she was a freebie) but hey, she can stay

I figured, if I got the kids involved, I’d be more accountable for finishing the project. So I took them to the fabric store (see prior post on this one: One too Many) and let them pick out the above choices. The sewing class I signed up for got Aretha and me through the remedial stages of straight-stitch, zig-zag and reverse, yielding the results pictured here. In the process, I also developed a keen understanding for why sewing guilds  developed in the first place: it was fun!

I once attended a Bunco night and I’ve gotta say, my sewing class is a little like that. It’s part serious, part funny, all moms and completely social, we just happen to be learning how to sew instead of rolling dice. I didn’t know any of the other participants going in but gradually, like our projects, we’re piecing together. So much so, in fact, that this blog, which I thought I’d launch quietly, with just a handful of loyal, familiar readers, is now public knowledge to my fellow fashion mates. Three weeks in and I mentioned it enough during class that it’s entirely possible some of them are reading this very post.

So here’s to you, ladies of the Wednesday, Mothers & More sewing crew, thanks for talking me around my first edge; now if only one of you could show me how to wind a bobbin…

Sweet Dreams

Sew Long but Not Farewell


Somewhere along the way, I tripped over my Modern-day-free-wheeling-independent-woman persona and fell smack into Domestic Maven. So in keeping with my new role, about a year and a half ago, I expressed an interest in learning how to sew. It was shortly after moving into our first home and I thought it would be a handy skill for hemming curtains–possibly even making some from scratch–and certainly for mending kids’ clothes. I mentioned this idea to my Darling Husband (DH), who sallied forth to find me a respectable and reasonably priced (read: free) machine. Here’s what he found:

She’s a Singer Fashion Mate 360 circa 1978. Note the unique addition of red, model paint speckled gingerly across the front, adding to her already diva personality. She’s also really heavy and, despite her advanced age, still works great. For all of these reasons, I call her Aretha.

Through the benevolence of a sewing-spectacular friend of mine and the quilting group at my church, I did manage to learn how to use Aretha enough to hem several curtains, mend my son’s favorite blankie and make a potholder but beyond that, nothing…UNTIL NOW!

Last night I ventured into the guilded world of sewing by signing up for a class. OK, so we’ll disregard the fact that my inaugural project is making a pillowcase for each of my small charges and instead hope that this is just the beginning of Aretha and my glorious new career. After all, “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

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