Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Super Rewarding

Today I made a trip down to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta with a bag full of super capes to donate. I had 14 in all. I'm still a little giddy over it all.
I talked about the idea here in my post Super Funny. After that I sent a cape to my nephew for a test run. It was a big hit.

My ever brilliant sister suggested that I sell a few to fund a bigger donation. Her idea worked better and faster than I would have thought. I got 5 orders just from mentioning it to my "running" group. Thanks to those ladies, I was able to make 14 capes of various sizes and colors, and thanks to an awesome fleece sale, I still have money to buy more supplies. I just ran out of sewing time before Christmas.

I ended up making things a little harder on myself, but with great reward, by adding satin blanket binding to the bottoms of the cape. It brought in more color and has a soothing texture. It required a bit more sewing for each cape, but was well worth it. Other than that it was as simple as cutting them out and sewing on a little velcro.

I consulted with some friends who have had long term and/or repeated stays at Children's. The easy on, easy off with no tying was a very important feature, as was it being washable. The thing the donation lady got most excited about was that I had them packaged individually and clearly labeled. Those two simple things made her work a lot easier (Thanks for that tip Laura!). She was also really excited that I had some that were obviously girly. There is a group that brings capes and tutus to the kids, and more often now girls have been wanting the capes. (happy dance!!!)

I didn't identify myself on the cape tags because one can not reveal their secret identity, but I did include a note on the back. In case you can't read it, I quoted Joshua 1:9 and at the bottom added, "This cape was given in hopes that it will help you find strength and courage during your fight." And, I'm getting choked up again. After I left the hospital I was all grins and floaty until I got in my car. It was then that it hit me that I was free to leave because my kids weren't there. My children are healthy. I went there because I wanted to, not because I had to. It crushed me for a minute, and I had to sit there and cry a bit before I could drive home.
I'm not sure where I want to go from here. I'm not much of an organizer, and tend to work alone. I know a lot of people who can and would help, but asking for it is where I always fail. Maybe once I run out of supplies and supply money I'll put something together. For now, I am just so thrilled at how this turned out, and can not wait to take another batch down there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Warning about Arm Knitting

I was pulled in by the promise of a chunky handmade scarf in just 30 minutes. It sounded so easy. You just loop things around and *poof* a scarf. I bought yarn. I made plans. I had a dream.
See here at Simply Maggie for the right way to make this.

I settled in on a video that had several angles and seemed easy to follow

My first clue that I was in trouble was that I only had one thingy of yarn, and there was no way I was going to give myself an excuse to go back to Hobby Lobby this time of year. I'd come out 3 hours later with who knows what and twenty eleven projects that had to get done before Thursday. So instead I unrolled the entire package of yarn and worked from both ends as if I had two packs. Surprisingly, this did not come back to bite me like I thought it would.
From here things went wrong. The following is the progression of my project.

  • I discovered that arm knitting a scarf "only takes 30 minutes" because once you get a couple of rows in, a claustrophobic type feeling sets in and you just want it off of you. I'm typing while looking like I have tied myself up with yarn and have a slightly panic/crazed look on my face. Scissors may come into play if I don't figure this out soon.
  • I've gotten to the stage where I look like I am making a dwarf beard. Dinner will be late tonight because Thorin's beard is attached to my arm. I get myself into the most absurd situations.
  • I'm fairly certain that if I had just unrolled the yarn and wrapped it around me it would look the same as it does right now. I'd like to think it is because of the yarn I picked out, but it is probably because of my awesome arm knitting skills.
  • I'd make a picture, but I am literally tied up right now. Thank goodness I ignored that part about using two full scans of yarn. This thing is gigantic and I don't know how to stop until I am out of yarn.
  • Oh dear heavens, I have to go to the bathroom.

Dobby is FREE!
  • I don't even care what this thing looks like. I am just so happy to have it off of me.
  • The video said something about finishing techniques, but there at the end I just started tying things into knots.
Once you start this thing you had better have a good hour where no one will need you and you have an empty bladder. If you have any sort of fear of having your arms tied down, don't even think about trying this. The crazy thing is that I am considering buying different non-beard hair type yarn and trying it again. It might make a fun car trip project. Hopefully next time I will get better results than this.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cow Down

I had to blog this because I don't want to forget it happened. We were gathering for family prayer time tonight when I looked at our manger.
I jokingly said, "Oh no! Cow Down"
JD jumped into action and said, "It's okay, I know mouth to mouth". He then proceeds to blow on the cow stopping to shout, "Don't you die on me" and then "We've been through too much together!" He then raises the cow up and exclaims, "He lives!" It's a Christmas miricale. 
It took several minutes for us to collect ourselves enough to have prayer time after that. 
JD has been on a roll lately. He suggested that a good gamer battle cry would be "For the llamas!" and then proceed to give a shout out "to all the kids and by kids I mean baby goats." 
He makes me wonder what Steve Martin was like as a child. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Extra Education

Yesterday was world AIDS day, and after reading a couple of articles on the subject matter and a talk with Nix, I wanted to write a little something about sex ed. This is a departure from my normal light topics. Feel free to skip it, but if you have kids, you might want to push through the awkwardness.
Two big things prompted this post. 1. I have a friend who works at a health department who occasional likes to warn moms with things like, "Saw another pregnant 17 year old today. It isn't her first child" and "Guess what kind of VD is going around the young teens."  2. Nix has been hearing a good bit "locker room" talk in high school that prompted me to make a penicillin joke, and she didn't know what I meant.

Still here? Good! First, I want to make clear the abstinence is the only 100% way to remain pregnancy and STD free. It is the method I teach first and most in my house. It is not only for the sake of physical health but also mental health, as I fully believe that sex has consequences outside of the physical that kids can not begin to grasp. Keep in mind a large number of teen see no point in seat belts or why starting to smoke might be a bad idea. Consequences are not their strong suit.
After a brief conversation with Nix about STDs, I realized there was a gaping hole in what has been covered up to this point. There has only been talk of HIV, which can kill you slowly, and a vague mention of generic STDs.
The CDC's site lists 10 STDs by name and also has an "other" category.
For all of our "enlightenment" on the subject, kids seem to still think that if a guy isn't gay, hasn't used needles in the their drug use, and looks reasonable healthy, then they are probably safe. That should scare us all.
Let's talk about herpes for a minute. They never go away. You might not be having an outbreak at the moment and appear fine, but the virus is still there. You are still contagious. FOREVER. Your partner may have only had one other partner who "looked healthy", but that doesn't mean there isn't a chain of herpes in that line.
Let's move to gonorrhea. Most people think of this as a harmless one because it can be easily treated. Here is where it gets scary. A lot of people don't have symptoms. Even when you do see symptoms, it can be mistaken for a bladder infection. By that time you have already passed it on to your partner. Even worse, a woman who shows no signs can let it go untreated for so long that it damages her ability to have children. Plus, it makes you more susceptible to HIV.
Chlamydia is very similar to gonorrhea, but even more common and more likely to go untreated. They report that 1 in every 15 sexually active teen girls has it. Many of them have no idea. They actually recommend women under 25 get tested annual for it.
Now for a fun one, syphilis. The first sign in a small painless sore that may go unnoticed. Then you might get a rash that you may or may not notice. Up to 30 YEARS later it can hit your brain, make you crazy, and then kill you.
Are you horrified yet?
These are the things we need to be making sure our teens know. My daughter is 14, and she knows at least a half dozen sexually active girls her own age. We live in a nice area. Most of my kid's friends are sweet kids. Unsupervised and naive, but sweet. Freshmen girls seem like targets almost. Older guys can show them attention, convince them that "everyone is doing it", and talk them into sex with a lot more ease these days. (Thanks Hollywood!) After that the girls seem to become the predators. If a girl's last boyfriend wanted that from her, but her current one doesn't, then he must not care enough for her. The pressure gets turned around, and even the most gentlemanly of young men start questioning the idea of waiting.
Talk to your kids openly and honestly. Tell them it is okay to wait. Tell them that sex does not equal love. Tell them that they are worth more than that.

On a side note, I am told by healthcare friends that size is a popular excuse for not wearing protection. Did you know that you can put a condom on your foot like a sock? Yeah, size is not a valid argument for forgoing safe(ish) sex.

I'm sorry if this post has been too gross/harsh/blunt/real/horrifying for you. It is important to take a look at these things so that we can do better, and teach our children effectively.