Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nix is a ginger!

I guess since JD got his own post about his Halloween costume, then it is only right that Nix get one too. Usually she turns last season's ballet recital costume into something. We've had a great couple of years with it fitting into something awesome. This year's didn't lend itself to anything fun. Since JD decided on Doctor Who, Nix picked Amy Pond. She is really more of a Rose fan, but we already had most of the needed items for Amy hanging in the closet. Here is what we were going for.

The details:
red hair
leather jacket
long red scarf
plaid flannel type shirt
black tank top
brightly painted fingernails
The only thing of that list that we didn't already have was the red hair. Since most of the costume is just regular clothes, Nix wanted to dye her hair to make it really official. She is 13 and not at all fussy when it comes to hair and makeup, so I decided to grant her request. I took to the internet to find out how to very temporarily dye her hair. The short answer is that there isn't one. I got warned off Koolade by a lot of people. We went to Sally and found a product called Jazzing. It seemed to be exactly what we needed. It washes out in 1 or 2 shampoos. The problem is that after letting it set you are suppose to shampoo it. That is shampoo #1, and guess what, it all came out. Supposedly if you have light hair it works much better, but on brown hair it did nothing. I should have known when I got a drop on the carpet and it wiped right up that it wasn't going to work. So, at 9 last night I made a quick trip to the drug store and bought a 28 day dye. It worked great. We are doing all the wrong things (not using the color booster, put it on wet hair, not washing with the dye friendly shampoo...) so it shouldn't last more than a couple of weeks at most...I hope.
Here is a split screen to show you how close we came.
We added a few minor details. Her nails are TARDIS blue, she is wearing the TARDIS necklace her uncle sent, and she has on a wedding ring, because Amy is after all a happily married woman. As she headed off to school today I reminded her not to fall for any guys dressed like the Doctor, but to look for the one dressed like a Roman solider (it's a very sweet story line thing). I also reminded her that Amy is referred to as "the girl who waited", because I'm her mom and it's not often I can sneak in that message in a fun geeky way. Tonight she'll add some hash marks to the back of her hands and arms (also a specific show reference). The school tends to frown on writing on yourself, so she thought it best to hold off on that little detail.
Each year her school picks a special cause and allows kids to come in costume on Halloween if they donate to that cause. This year they picked the Red Cross. It is great when you can do something fun and help others at the same time. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Doctor (JD) Who

If your 8 year old son came to you and said that he wanted to be a doctor and dress like one for Halloween, you'd probably be thinking about surgical masks and scrubs, but not in my house. This year we introduced JD to the British sci-fi classic Doctor Who. We started with the modern versions. Although he did enjoy David Tennant, he found Matt Smith to be all possible definitions of awesome. It's not a big surprise. Smith's Doctor is charmingly goofy, much like my boy. So, I set about deciding how to turn JD into a mini Doctor.
Things needed from top to bottom:
1 red fez- no tassel (it is a rarely seen prop but an identifier)
1 bow tie (JD wanted red)
1 set of suspenders (also red)
1 slightly mismatched dress shirt
1 brown tweet jacket with elbow patches
1 pair of slightly short dark pants with cuffs
1 pair of dark socks and shoes
1 sonic screwdriver
All together it looks something like this:

We already had the pants, socks, shoes, and a blue and red striped dress shirt I found cheap at a consignment sale. The bow tie and suspenders were fairly easy as well. The site Dapper Lads had both and got them to me quickly. Think Geek has sonic screwdrivers. It was on JD's Christmas list, so we agreed that it could arrive a couple of months early. As it turns out my brother had already purchased one for him at Dragon*Con this year and, always wanting to support the next generation of geeks, he agreed to ship to him early.
Now comes the hard parts. The jacket and the fez.
The jacket turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. All it took was hitting the kid consignment stores and looking in the girl's section. I found this gem for $6.

Note the flower, metal buttons with rhinestones, and girly pockets. One seam ripper and a pair of pliers later, and we had one ungirly jacket. I found some wooden buttons to replace the old ones. There was some debate about switching which side of the coat the buttons went on, but that seemed like overkill. For the elbow patches I used simple brown iron on patches cut down to size.
The fez was really the only part I had to work for. Plain red kid sized fezs ( fez?,fezes?, fezon?, fezi?) are hard to come by in suitable costume price range. So, I googled it, and then ended up melding a few ideas together to come out with one that isn't perfect, but will do for Halloween.
The best help was found here. I ended up hand sewing the whole thing using the heavy duty needle that I use to sew ribbons onto Nix's ballet pointe shoes. I also didn't want trim or tassel, so the top is glued in to the inside of the fez instead of sewn to the outside. Like I said, not perfect, but workable. Here are a few fun action shots of that work.

And the finished product along with Nix who decided to be Amy Ponds, the doctor's traveling companion. We found all the parts to her costume in either her closet of mine. We threw in some hash marks on her arm, but not a lot because Silence is not often found in our home. We are temporarily dying her hair red tonight to make it more official. I'm a bit nervous about how that is going to go. The perfect accent to her costume also came from the uncle as an early Christmas present. It is a TARDIS necklace that really brings the whole thing together.

We got to try it out at a church thing Sunday night. JD was a huge hit with the teens and young adult crowd. He even had a few requests for pictures. The kids his age had no idea who he was dressed as, but that didn't phase him one bit. He told me that it was his favorite show, and 11 was his favorite doctor, so he wasn't going to let other kids not understanding keep him from being what he wanted to be. How did I get such a self confident kid?  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mom jeans: fashion horror or family friendly

I was recently shocked to learn that I wear mom jeans. Can you imagine? A married woman, in her mid thirties, with children no less, wearing mom jeans. Oh the horror, or so the informative blog article told me. It seems the tides have turned and Old Navy and Gap jeans are no longer cutting it. There were pictures of a woman trying on various jeans, and indeed her posterior did look much better in the clubbing at 2 am jeans (that's the opposite of mom jeans, right?). Why should I care how my rear view is perceived by strangers? I want to look nice for my husband, I want to present myself as well groomed, but I am not looking to attract attention with my derriere. What kind of person is looking any way?  Do I really want to encourage this behavior?
One Sunday I was having a really bad ugly day. My hair would not do what I wanted, my clothes looked wrong, and makeup wasn't helping. In hindsight, I know it was my attitude of the day and not reality, but I felt hideous. We were running late for church and Rocky was trying to get me out the door. Almost to tears I said, "I'm just trying to look attractive."
He replied in a mockingly accusatory tone, "Who are you trying to attract?"
"Good. Done. Get in the car."
That exchange changed my life. I now dress for comfort, to be pretty, and to present my best self, but never to be "attractive". If my best self is being sat on, than I've got bigger problems than mom jeans.
Out of curiosity I looked to see what these magic jeans would cost. What is the price on a glorious gluteus maximus ? The top two picks were between $98 and $198. Seriously? What kind of mother spends $200 on jeans just because the $25 ones at Old Navy have wide set long pockets? I need that width. I put my phone in my back pocket. I won't even pay full price for Old Navy Jeans!
I have decided that I am very content with my mom jeans. The sagging, the long zippers, and the dreaded pockets that elongate my back side are a badge of honor. They tell the world that my family come before fashion. My bottom is not more important than my bottom line. If you don't like the way it looks then stop looking. I am comfortable!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Jewish Pajamas

We finally caved and turned our heat on for the nights this week, the bathroom space heater reappeared, and it is fuzzy socks and flannel pajamas time, too. I love having a nice (ish) pair of matching flannel pajamas. It makes them seem less ho-hum when there are little ice skating penguins on them. Since I am terribly hard to shop for otherwise, fuzzy warm things often appear for me under the Christmas tree. Last year I managed to actually make up a wish list for myself, which resulted in me not getting pajamas. I hit the after Christmas sales and got a great bargain on the only pair left in my size. After I got them home I realized that I had bought myself Hanukkah jammies. It's not like they have menorahs and Dreidels on them, but they are blue with white snowflakes that form doves. As I wondered if it was okay for a Baptist to wear Jewish PJ's, Rocky tried to tell me that articles of clothing do not have a religious affiliation. I had three words for him. Mormon. Temple. Apparel. Argument won, or at least left confused, which is sort of like winning.
Then the whole debate started of whether or not colors could be co-oped by a group. Obviously, since breast cancer is pink, the answer is yes.
After we settled that I was right, I decided to back up my thoughts with facts. Christmas colors are red to symbolize the blood of Christ and green to represent the everlasting love of God (evergreen- everlasting...). Blue is for vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance and justice. White covers peace and honesty. Those are the colors used on the flag of Israel, traditional prayer shawls, and as the colors of Hanukkah. An argument might could be made against Christmas colors (Constantine, pagans, the Saturnalia festival...), but the Hanukkah colors are pretty solid.
So, there you go. Useless fact of the day learned. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on my Jewish pajamas.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

To Toss or Not to Toss

For the last day and a half this has been on my kitchen counter. (try to ignore the silly pumpkin in the background)

I'm not going to say who left it there because, although I do know who left this mess, all of us have issues cleaning up after ourselves. Usually we stay on the side of clutter and not actual trash. The jello crosses that line. It should have been thrown out right away. Everyone in the house is old enough to know better. I could have just tossed it myself when I first noticed it before dinner last night, but I was curious to see if the guilty party would take care of it, or if anyone else in my house would take notice and toss it. It is becoming a monument to a bigger problem.
If I ask one of the kids to clean off the table then more often than not they only clean off the part they feel responsible for with the excuse that is rest of it is "not my mess." I've been trying to stress that if I only cleaned up my own mess then we'd be living in a trashed house very quickly.
I have decided that tonight I am going to gather the family around the old jello to talk about our messy ways. I haven't decided yet how exactly we are going to fix the problem, but something has to change. I have decided that I will not be the one to throw out the jello. I'm very curious to see who does and how long it takes.

Friday, October 05, 2012


I've posted everyday this week, so there was no way I was going to skip today. I just had to update you all about the big meeting. I am completely and totally in awe of how my whole day has unfolded. All week I have been readying myself to break down walls and instead found that the doors were already wide open. I was worried about feeling alone in the fight and I arrived to find an unexpected friend there to sit next to me. Instead of the feared half hour brush off, I got a two hour planning meeting filled with joy.
It didn't stop there. After the meeting I ran into a great source of hope. Then I was met with a great resource. Finally, I found confirmation that this was the right road for me to be on. All unplanned, all unexpected, all a great blessing. In all my years I have never seen mountains move like this.
There is so much work to be done and I'm sure a lot of stumbling ahead, but wow, what a start!
The other thing I wanted to share was that I found out why. What do I have that would put me here? It is simply, time. I have the time to put into this. I have the time to work on it. I have the time to learn and grow and hunt down what is needed. Far too often, and especially with this, the very people who need the ministry are the ones given the responsibility of creating it. We forget that the very reason for starting this is so that they can, for once, not have to fight and work and schedule. We wouldn't dream of asking the hungry to create a soup kitchen. Why, oh why, do we expect families with special needs to create their own program? Sure we need their help to get it right, and their input and assistance is invaluable, but it can not be on their shoulders. It has to land on someone who has time.
Thank you all for praying! I saw them working. I need them to continue.
For our next mountain moving project, please pray that the eyes, hearts, and minds of my church's congregation are open to this. The church has to embrace it for this to work. They are loving and welcoming people. I just need them to recognize that to the fullest extent.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Happy Re-birth Day!

It is that time of year again. I like to think that I show my faith regularly to all of you, but today is special. Today marks the day that I realized I sin like everyone else, and that my sin keeps me away from God. Thirty-one years ago, for the first time, I cried out for forgiveness and mercy, and I accepted that Jesus had died for that very reason. He traded places with me that day, and now I know that in spite of my sins and failures, when I stand in judgement before God, my slate will be clean because Jesus paid it all. It was the best day of my life by far, and easily the best decision I have ever made.
I am so very thankful that the adults in my life at the time did not brush me off or give me silly answers to my questions. I was just a few days from the 5th birthday. At that age people are usually still telling children pretty little stories that make angels sound like fairies and God is all double rainbows. There was so much talk of Heaven and eternity in my house because my grandfather was very literally on his deathbed. I remember sitting in church and the preacher giving a sermon from John 3. It wasn't the usual 3:16 that got me. It was Nicodemus asking Jesus, "What do I do?" My ears perked up because that was the biggest question on my mind. The simple and yet powerful answer was, "You must be born again." I felt like someone had finally answered the question that had been burning in me since VBS that year. It was a question I didn't even know how to ask. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be "born again" I figured that she bore me the first time she'd probably know how to redo it. She asked me the important stuff.

Do you know that you sin (do stuff that isn't perfect and that hurts God)?

Do you understand that we can't be close to God because of those bad things?

Do you get that Jesus took our punishment for us by dying on the cross?

Would you like to be closer to God, have Him help you through life and move you through the Holy Spirit?

That was Jesus' gift to us and all we have to do is accept the present by praying. We tell God that we know we have done wrong and that our actions are what stand between us and Him. We don't want that roadblock any more. Thank Him for sending Jesus to take your punishment and tell Him that you are accepting that gift of unconditional love. There is no magic to it, no special words, no dance to learn or special hats to wear. You just agree and accept. Welcome the Holy Spirit into your life and watch Him work on you like He works on me.
After I accepted Christ as my personal saviour, my parents took me to the hospital and parked our car under the window of my grandfather's room. I was too young to be allowed up, so my mom went to tell him. My grandfather who was in the final days of lung cancer got up out of his bed and waved to me with joy and excitement that I will never forget. It was the last time I saw him. He died very peacefully just 5 days later. He died knowing that our separation was temporary and that I was taken care of. So, you see, my salvation was a present for him too. God's timing for me was perfect, and that is why I never question a 4 year old who says they want to be saved. I just tell them how it works.

(Sorry Mom, I'm going to try to stop making posts that make you cry. And thanks for answering my questions truthfully even though it wasn't the easy thing to do.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Since the start of October my facebook feed has been bombarded with posts about how October is (fill in the blank) awareness month. After about the 6th different topic I started wondering how aware I was expected to be, so I googled it. All total, I found at least 65 different topic that we are suppose to take note of this month alone. My favorites are the conflicting ones. For example this is vegetarian awareness month and also national pork month. greens with bacon in them?
I'm having a Princess Bride moment with the awareness. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." To become aware of something means that before today you were unaware of it. Of all the many, many topics I saw listed today the only one I had to look up was Rett Syndrome.
There were several topics, aside from the pork thing, that included me.
Dyslexia- aware of that one since childhood
Bullying- in high school I wore a Hard Rock Cafe shirt from the planet Vulcan, trust me I'm aware
Squirrels- saw one on the way to take the kid to school today
Cyber Security- my passwords are so complicated even I can't figure them out
Diarrhea- 3 words "Welcome to Moe's!" and I'm all caught up
Sarcastic- I'm sure no ones knows about sarcasm!
So, here is my request, if you want to post about your favorite thing to be aware of, please share one fact about said topic that most people would not have been aware of.
This is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Did you know that roughly 90% of women who prenatal testing shows to be caring a child with this syndrome will elect to abort the baby? Furthermore, there are foreign countries now pushing this as a "cure". Because death is so much more evolved than when we sent children to live in an asylum (sarcasm, in case you weren't aware).
It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that only 5-10% of women who get breast cancer have genetic predisposition to it? That is a fact that will wake a girl like me up.
And finally, it is Emotional Awareness Month. Scientists have discovered that emotions are contagious and that you can alter your mood by simply altering your facial expression. So, smile and fake it until you make it is a real thing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Unintentional Project (aka why I need your prayers)

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Facebook status that said, "Sometimes God sends opportunity to knock gently on your door, and other times He sends it to break down your door and drag you out by your heels while you scream 'You've got the wrong guy!" The latter would be a more accurate description of where I am right now.
It all started last year when a friend innocently asked me to read over a plan she had for starting a ministry at her church for children with special needs. While reading it I learned about the surprisingly large number of families who don't attend church because a member of that family doesn't fit the mold of a typical kid. There is a whole group of people, being unintentionally snubbed and that's not okay. You can find her plan on her blog Just a Little Muchier Muchness. It is pretty straightforward. There is nothing difficult about it. It just takes people willing to help.
Once I saw this need it was pretty hard to ignore, so I went to the leaders at my church with a good "you should do something about this attitude". This is not what happened, but it felt like they were looking back at me with smirks saying, "You are right. SOMEONE should do something". In the mean time we got a new children's minister, VBS came around, and there was the Awana's kick off. Then out of no where (ha!) I had, not 1, but 3 different families with different special needs children ask me where I went to church. Two of these are people I only know casually and never just run into them. I felt like God had decided that since I wasn't working to open the door, He was going to kick it down on me. ME? The girl who doesn't teach children because she is afraid of runny noses and kids who don't listen. Is He crazy? I am not in any way qualified. And then those words that haunt me flood into my mind. "God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."
I'm telling you all this because I have a meeting Friday morning with the children's pastor about getting the ball rolling. I am terrified. I'm worried that I'll mess up. I'm worried that I'm in over my head, which I totally am. But, most of all, I am terrified that my life is about to take a major change, and even though it is certainly for the glory of God, I'm not great with change, especially when it is out of my comfort zone.
I summed it up to my friend with every pregnancy cliché. I'm so excited, wait I'm going to throw up, shouldn't I have known more than this before I started, this is all your fault, is there a "What to expect" for this, pray for us!!!
Do not miss read this. I am excited about this. I am ready to get to work. It just feels a bit like waiting in line for a rollercoaster, and since the line is where I usually chicken out, I'm having to remind myself regularly why I am here. The kids, the families, and most of all, the moms who need someone from the outside to for once understand and do something to help.
So, yeah, here I am, standing in the need of prayer, hoping to help, and much more willing than I was a year ago.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Mommy the killer of dreams

My title is overly dramatic, but it is gray and rainy today which tends to bring out the melancholy in me.
When Nix was 6 I decided it was high time I started living vicariously through her, and put her in ballet classes. Luck for me and my inner child, she loved it. As the years have gone by she has gotten pretty good, made nice friends, and I've become rather attached to my fellow dance moms (they are nothing like the ones on tv). I was a little afraid that getting pointe shoes would put an end to her dancing. She isn't big on pain, and those things can be murder. Instead, it brought her to a new level of enjoyment. She wasn't that little girl in the pink tutu twirling to her own beat any more. Now she is a graceful young woman leaping with beauty. Up until this last Spring, ballet has just been a hobby, but after a taste of the spotlight this Spring, she wanted more.

Being a good supportive mother, I sought outside advice. I was informed by people who would know that Nix did indeed have all the raw tools needed to become a professional ballet dancer. The next step was looking into what it would take. I did my homework, and realized that if she was serious, we needed to get a move on. As a first step, I took her to some outside eyes to be evaluated. It was an eye opener for Nix. She actually did pretty well. It boiled down to, yes you can be a professional, but you need to increase the number of hours you dance per week, and sharpen your skills. In other words, her hobby needed to become her job. It was humbling and sobering for her.
She spent the weekend in deep reflection. I told her that she had the better part of the year to decide, but I could see that she wasn't going to let it sit. More than anything she wanted me to pull the mom card and tell her what to do, but I refused. I explained that it wasn't my place to tell her what to do with her adult life. It was my job to give her the tools to decide for herself. Boy, that was hard! I prayed, she prayed, we all prayed together. Last night after she was in bed and her lights had been out for awhile, she came down and wanted to talk. She told me that she is not going to stop dancing and loves ballet, but she no longer feels like it should be her career path. It is something she finds joy in, and if it became her job she would have to set aside joy for perfection. Professional ballet dancers will tell you that the joy is in the perfection, and since that isn't true for her, even though she has what it takes on the outside, she doesn't have what it takes on the inside.
She was a little sad, as was I. I am certain she has made the right choice. It just means she made her first adult decision about her life. She got realistic about "what I want to be when I grow up", and a little piece of her childhood slipped away.
I keep telling myself that I was supportive and was doing my best to give her every advantage in pursuing her dreams, but in doing so I killed her dream, and that hurts a little. I feel like I broke her, or at least the little girl part of her. I'm glad that she doesn't want to quit entirely, that would have been too much. I'm looking forward to her getting back to dancing for fun this week. It will take a lot of stress out of it for both of us.
Maybe her next career choice will be something that can wait to die until her junior year of college like a regular kid.