Keeping your pluck

It happened.

Yesterday at Sylvie’s ballet class, they opened by asking each girl to tell her name and favorite Disney Princess. The thing is, my daughter doesn’t know any Disney Princesses. It’s not that I am hardcore against the princesses or Disney, it’s just that my daughter is easily frightened by things she sees, and most of the villains in those films are kind of scary for her. (Example: the many nights of terror after seeing the “Bumble” on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.) So, we don’t watch them, because I like sleep.

She’s been faced with these kind of questions before in her last ballet session. Once when Sylvie was asked her favorite movie, she was the only girl who said “The Cat in the Hat goes in Space” instead of Frozen. Her favorite Disney Princess last session? Madeleine.

Yesterday as each little girl named hers one by one, Sylvie listened carefully. Then she said, “I’m Sylvie.” Favorite Disney Princess, Sylvie? Pause. “Snow White.” Exactly the same as the girl beside her answered.

That’s when I knew. She gets it, and she doesn’t want to be different. And my heart broke a little.

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To Do List- How’s that whole thing going?

Pretty darn well.  Thanks for asking.

Get a massage |Learn to make 3 dinners that I know are spectacular/go-to dinners | Go camping with Sylvie | Get the blog redesigned | Take better pictures- complete the Mamas with Cameras Manual class | Throw a party for no reason at our farm | Have a slumber party with my girlfriends | Go to NYC |  Attend the Mermaid Parade |  Knit a scarf | Make a tee-pee | Complete Reiki 3 | Go to Italy!! | Eat at the Corson Building again (the scene of my wedding) | Try 3 new foods this year (2013)  (2014)  (2015) | Get our will in order | Take our family portrait | Take the whole family (5 of us) to Kansas | Crochet or knit a hat | Do something nice for someone anonymously | Truly forgive that one person I don’t really want to forgive | Make at least 5 recipes in every cookbook I own (I own a lot!) | Get a dog (Guido, we will) | Keep the inside of my car as clean each day as when my parents visit | Go back to Harmony Hill | Go to each continent:  1. Africa 2. Antarctica 3. Asia 4. Australia 5. Europe 6. North America 7.South America | Go to Yellowstone | Have a Fig tree that actually grows figs | Collect stories of my parents’ childhoods on film | Make a Waldorf doll for Sylvie | Visit NYC with Tali | Go to all 50 states | Take fish oil regularly (not just buy it and intend to take it) | Run in a Color Run and Dirty Dash | Try Zumba |  Make at least 10 crafts from my Pinterest boards in 2013 (10 - 9 - 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) |  Take a weekend away with my husband | Go to Tallum | Touch the Ganges River |  Make Tiramisu | Go to Machu Picchu | Needlefelt an animal for Sylvie | Eat a meal from another country each week via Global Table Adventure |  See Rumi’s tomb in Turkey |  Be in Germany for Christmas | Make homemade marshmallows | Attend high tea with Sylvie | Participate in shearing a sheep | Take this wine tasting class in Paris | Make my own mozzarella |  Make a quilt | Go to cities that interest me that I’ve never explored:  Asheville NC, Nashville, Washington DC, Sedona, Chicago | Make creme brulee | Grow my own pumpkin for our Halloween jack-o-lantern | See the Northern Lights |

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Where have I been?

I was calling it a Holiday vacation which many bloggers take.  Last week I called it my “extended Holiday vacation.”  My MIL has been here from Germany the last few weeks, and we also celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday last week.  It’s been busy, but really, every blogger/person on the planet is busy.  We’re all busy.

So, what’s the story with my lack of writing?

I’m not one to make excuses, and I absolutely plan on starting to blog regularly since I enjoy it so much.  It’s just….well….we are all having quite an adjustment to the big girl bed.  Actually, our entire schedule has been turned on its head.  It’s been wild.

I don’t want to scare anyone who will face this transition in their future, and I’ve heard of lots of other parents who transitioned with no issue.  We aren’t those parents.  I guess we’ve had it pretty easy in the sleep department.  We were always sort of average in the number of wake-ups when she was an infant.  She transitioned herself to the crib at about 7 months.  (My girl likes to sleep alone.)  She’s slept through the night since she was 1, and at that time she never made a fuss when it was time to go to bed.  So, we are very grateful that we had it so good until now, and, because of that, we were TOTALLY unprepared for the shakeup of the big girl bed.

I could go over the entire dramedy, but I’ll give you the short version:  no naps (except in the car), Sylvie can turn her own light on by climbing on the door, she doesn’t stay in bed, and she doesn’t sleep for hours after being put to bed.  (She’s out at about 9:30pm.)

I could lose my mind about this, and at one point I thought I might (until I read this and remembered how much truth there is in it.)  I’m just kind of going with the flow, trying some things, and not creating an expectation of what the end result will be.

So, basically I’m saying that there’s not a lot of time for writing.  Fortunately, Sylvie loves to play alone. (I credit early adoption of some RIE techniques for that).  The exception to this is her neediness whenever I go near a computer or my iPhone.  Isn’t that strange?  I can read, craft, clean, cook, ect without her even caring, but she’s not keen on the electronics.

We’ll all figure it out soon.  (Childcare search again, anyone?)

I have so much to tell you.  I’ve been making progress on my life list.  (crocheted a hat and made an Afghan meal this week).

I can’t wait to catch up.

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The To Do List

I make so many to-do lists.  They usually go something like this:  1. Vacuum 2. Clean bathroom 3. Reorganize cleaning supplies under sink since I can’t find anything 4. Call (insert mundane but necessary phone call here.)  You get it?  It should be called a No Fun List.

So inspired by Mighty Girl , I am making a new To-Do list, and I will keep adding to it as I’m inspired.  Some of these I hope to accomplish in 2013, and some are on my life list, but just writing them down makes me feel like I will do them.

Get a massage |Learn to make 3 dinners that I know are spectacular/go-to dinners | Go camping with Sylvie | Get the blog redesigned | Take better pictures- complete the Mamas with Cameras Manual class | Throw a party for no reason at our farm | Have a slumber party with my girlfriends | Go to NYC |  Attend the Mermaid Parade |  Knit a scarf | Make a tee-pee | Complete Reiki 3 | Go to Italy!! | Eat at the Corson Building again (the scene of my wedding) | Try 3 new foods this year (2013)  (2014)  (2015) | Get our will in order | Take our family portrait | Take the whole family (5 of us) to Kansas | Crochet or knit a hat | Do something nice for someone anonymously | Truly forgive that one person I don’t really want to forgive | Make at least 5 recipes in every cookbook I own (I own a lot!) | Get a dog (Guido, we will) | Keep the inside of my car as clean each day as when my parents visit | Go back to Harmony Hill | Go to each continent:  1. Africa 2. Antarctica 3. Asia 4. Australia 5. Europe 6. North America 7.South America | Go to Yellowstone | Have a Fig tree that actually grows figs | Collect stories of my parents’ childhoods on film | Make a Waldorf doll for Sylvie | Visit NYC with Tali | Go to all 50 states | Take fish oil regularly (not just buy it and intend to take it) | Run in a Color Run and Dirty Dash | Try Zumba |  Make at least 10 crafts from my Pinterest boards in 2013 (109 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) |  Take a weekend away with my husband | Go to Tallum | Touch the Ganges River |  Make Tiramisu | Go to Machu Picchu | Needlefelt an animal for Sylvie | Eat a meal from another country each week via Global Table Adventure |  See Rumi’s tomb in Turkey |  Be in Germany for Christmas | Make homemade marshmallows | Attend high tea with Sylvie | Participate in shearing a sheep | Take this wine tasting class in Paris | Make my own mozzarella |  Make a quilt | Go to cities that interest me that I’ve never explored:  Asheville NC, Nashville, Washington DC, Sedona, Chicago | Make creme brulee | Grow my own pumpkin for our Halloween jack-o-lantern | See the Northern Lights |

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Big Girl Bed = Big Girl Room?

“Of the forest” is the meaning of my daughter’s name, and it couldn’t be more suiting.  Sylvie has always been fascinated with animals, and she shows a particular fondness for the woodland variety.  She frequently begs to read the Beatrix Potter books and knows every character by name. (Lots of big lessons and realism in those, by the way.  It’s not every book where a kitten narrowly escapes being eaten as a dumpling.)

I’ve been thinking of upgrading the art in my daughter’s room after our recent big girl bed conversion.  (More on that soon, I promise.  We’re just still in it.)  I came upon these wonderful prints from a designer and illustrator named Teagan White .  Below are some of my favorite examples of her work.

Art Prints from Teagan White- A Little Pluck1.  The Last Acorn of Autumn  2.  The Early Harvest  3.  The Fort  4.  Growing A Garden

If you find these as adorable and amazing as I do, definitely check out her other prints here.  I love these, but I definitely want to mix one or two with other kinds of prints to avoid making a theme in the room.  Hmm…lots to think about.

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How do I even begin?

I had planned a post last Friday on how we celebrate advent in our house.  After the events in CT, I wasn’t at all interested in that, and I chose to focus elsewhere.

I wanted to hug my child, play, and when she went to bed, I wanted to just let it all in and cry.  Cry because people lost their babies.  Cry because those teachers were so brave.  Cry because I felt powerless and scared.  Cry because as much love as there is in the world, these things happen.  Cry because I don’t understand.

Since then I’ve felt every emotion you could imagine.  I’ve felt sad, grief, anger, judgmental, and love.  All of it.

The opinions started flying around on Facebook about how to solve this or what to do about guns, mental health, and parenting.  Some of them were helpful, some of them got nasty, and some of them made me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable because I was able to see that it’s all so complicated that everyone is a little bit right, and no one really knows how to ensure little children are never senselessly murdered again.

Where do we or I even begin?

Here’s where I am:

I’ll start by just being in those feelings of vulnerability, powerlessness, and uncertainty.  I’ll find a way to be in those things, because those are a reality of all of this.  Those feelings are a part of being in this life and also of being a parent.

I’ll start by finding the places in me of love, compassion, understanding, hope, friendship, character, and light.  I’ll set an example for my child of allowing others to believe differently than me and of respecting their opinion and mine.  I’ll treat people the way I want to be treated, and when someone sends out hatefulness, I will either find a way to return love or walk away until I can.

I’ll listen for the truth in myself and in what others are saying.  I’ll have discourse, and I’ll talk it over when appropriate.  I’ll consider things, and I’ll speak up or act when I truly feel it is right.

I will find a way to live in love and not fear.  I will be grateful.

All of this will be not be easy for me.  I sometimes struggle with being reactionary and getting angry.  When I am not what I know I should be, I will need to apologize.

Changing the world feels hard right now, but I know I can start by doing some hard work on myself.

 

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Oh, Christmas Tree……

Last year, we opted out of having a Christmas tree.  Sylvie was crawling everywhere and able to pull herself to standing, we were in the middle of the remodel and living in the basement, and honestly, I just couldn’t deal with it.  The day before Christmas we made our own from a tree branch and some wood.  That “tree” made the Charlie Brown tree look like it belonged at the White House.

I knew this year I’d be up for the adventure.

Getting a Tree:
We went to the Christmas Tree farm for our tree.  It was so exciting for Sylvie, and she wanted every tree, of course.

Picking out our tree- A Little Pluck

A day at the tree farm- A Little Pluck

(I’m going to be honest with you right now and say that if it makes no difference to you, you might want to consider a fake tree when you have a toddler (gasp).  It’s easier and you won’t have needles everywhere each time the tree gets roughed up by your little one.  This wasn’t an option for our family since I have to convince my German husband not to put real candles on the tree each year.)

Decorating the tree:
Sylvie and I already helped decorate my mom’s tree in Kansas, so I had one tree under my belt.  Here are my thoughts on decorating Christmas trees with a toddler:

decorating-the-tree- A Little Pluck

1.  Let go of the ideal.  If you are a person who is really aesthetically minded about your tree and need it to look perfect, I am not going to be much help here.  The idea that I can stop my curious girl from touching a giant tree WITH LIGHTS ON IT that we have sitting in our living room is beyond my comprehension.  I mean it sparkles, people.  It sparkles.  I went with the minimize any damage approach.  If you aren’t feeling that, maybe you could get a gate around your tree or maybe this.  (Has anyone ever seen or had one of these trees hung from the ceiling?!)

2.  Sort your ornaments.  Take some time to place breakable ornaments on a table away from the toddler and find all the ornaments that are going to survive them.  Let them hang “their” ornaments on the bottom of the tree.  They are going to need one parent to help, and yes, they will likely hang them all in the same area….lol.  You can either have one parent hanging the breakable ornaments, hang them later, or, as in our case, the older girls hung them.  (I opted out of using hooks and just used twine or the string already attached).

3.  If you don’t have those kind of ornaments you can make salt dough ornaments.  We used twine to hang ours.  Here they are:

Cookie cutters from IKEA

Cookie cutters from IKEA

4.  Have fun.  Play music.  Eat treats.

5.  Prepare yourself that your toddler is going to be fascinated with the tree.  Encourage them to leave the ornaments on the tree.  I use the words “admire with your eyes” often even before we got a tree, so I’ve been using that.  We still have a lot of ornaments being removed and stuffed animals going into the tree.  The good thing is that they are safe ornaments, and she’s not going to break an ornament in which one of us may be emotionally attached.

Toddlers and trees- A Little Pluck

Toddlers and ornaments- A Little PluckIf you celebrate Christmas with a toddler, do you have a tree?  How did you handle making it child-proof?  I’d love any other suggestions!

 

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A weekend back at home

I didn’t write much last week.  Sylvie and I got back on Monday evening, and I’ve been catching up ever since.  The two hour time difference really didn’t help us since we had 4 days of 4:30 to 5am wake ups.  Have I mentioned I am NOT a morning person?  Luckily, we seem to have eased into the old schedule of 7am, and my husband has been home to cover the mornings the last few days.

Speaking of husbands at home.  Guido watched Sylvie most of Friday while I took a class.  They made cookies and everything went smoothly, well almost…..

No more monitoring the toddler- A Little Pluck

Art on the shirt- A Little Pluck

Here's what she thinks of this book- A Little Pluck

It seems a Sharpie fell from my husband’s Carhartt pocket.  “In just a minute” Sylvie had done some new decorating.  Not pictured:  My nightstand (came off with a magic eraser), the tissue box, and our later discovery of the art on Elsie the cat.

I was pretty unfazed by all of this mostly due to the picture I saw on Instagram only an hour earlier in which another toddler drew with a Sharpie on a white, velvet couch.  After that I thought, “This isn’t so bad.”

I did a bunch of cooking this weekend as well.  I made this delicious sauce from my friend Eileen’s blog.  (A recipe from another friend and blogger, Emma).  I used Sun Butter instead of peanut butter and placed it on quinoa fried rice from DamnDelicious.  It was really good!  More importantly, Sylvie loved it.

I also made granola from The Homemade Pantry.  I seriously LOVE this cookbook.

On Saturday, all three girls came with us to pick out a tree.  More on that trip and my lessons learned when combining a Christmas tree and a toddler tomorrow.

*I wrote this in the afternoon and had an unexpected last minute event on the Sunday evening.  Sylvie repeatedly climbed out of her crib, and we converted her to her twin mattress.  Whew!  I was ready with the mattress but not emotionally ready to move her over.  It felt like such a huge step towards growing up.  We are still in transition with this, so more on this later.

(For those of you who might wonder, we don’t co-sleep.  We haven’t since Sylvie started crawling.  At that point she became unwillingly to sleep with us, and saw us as play objects.  So, I lost my bed snuggles, and gained no bed room since the cats just moved right back into our bed.)

So, how was your weekend?

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Pinspiration- Felt Crowns

I’m just like everyone else in that I have Pinterest boards full of things I want to make. “Someday,” I tell myself.  Then I find myself pinning more things instead of making any of them.  There are a few exceptions, and as an early New Year’s resolution, I plan to make “pin it and actually make it” a regular feature on the blog.

This past year I was really inspired by all of the felt crowns I was seeing on Pinterest.  While you can buy some truly beautiful ones on Etsy, they are really very easy to make.  You don’t even need a sewing machine as you can hand sew them.

Here are some of my inspirations:


From top:
Autumn crown of flowers and rocket ship crown- maureencracknell on Etsy
Bright flower crown- mmmcrafts

And here are the crowns I’ve made:

Felt Crowns- A Little Pluck

The May Day Crown was a play on the bright flower crown above.  Next time I will use larger flowers, but I was concerned with Sylvie not tolerating the crown and wanted to make it less noticeable to her.  I used a ribbon in the back to tie it on.

May Day Crown- A Little Pluck

I wanted Sylvie’s first birthday crown to specify that she was turning one.  This crown was hand-sewn using a combination of embroidery and regular thread.  I embroidered patterns, Sylvie’s name, and the number one on the crown.  Learning to embroider was my 2010 resolution, and I learned from this book by Jenny Hart.  I didn’t make the crown with an elastic back since I only wanted it to fit her on this day.  I will make future crowns adjustable so that she can play with them for a while.

Birthday Crown- A Little Pluck

- (If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest)

 

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The tantrum that saved us

On Monday, around 1am, my mom and I discovered we had food poisoning.  I won’t go into details, because it’s gross.  I still can’t even think about the food that caused it, but we believe it is a faulty crockpot that didn’t get hot enough.

Two sick people in a home with one bathroom is bad enough, but it could’ve been worse.  You see, Sylvie didn’t eat anything.  She refused to eat, because she wanted to be outside looking at the “pwetty lights!”  She had a full meltdown and went to bed without dinner.

She spent Tuesday playing quietly and checking on us here and there.  She was unbelievably good, and I am so grateful.

So, I’d just like to take a moment to thank all of my mom’s neighbors who went Griswold overboard on their holiday lights.  I will definitely be driving my daughter around this evening to see them.  She earned it.

Speaking of the holiday spirit, have you heard of Reindeercam.com?  It’s a free sight where you can see a live cam of 2 reindeer.  Santa comes out and feeds them at 11am, 6pm, and 9pm EST.  Sylvie is addicted.

Here’s a little video:

How are you getting into the holiday spirit?  I feel like this is our first year with Sylvie where we can start some holiday traditions.  What are some things you always like to do with your family around the holiday?

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