16 January 2018

Climate Acclimation

I grew up in southwest Oklahoma, which certainly gets cold, but I don't remember using lotion on any regular basis. When I was little I know I had rough elbows, which I believed to be from laying on the carpet on my stomach, so perhaps I did need lotion somewhat. But when I was in high school and playing basketball (season mostly in winter) if I did put on lotion I'd feel greasy and gross on my legs so I just didn't use it and didn't mind or need it. The water at home is very soft, so that may have had something to do with it too.

When I went to college a few hours north of home the weather was a little colder in the winter, and the water was much harder in the dorm. My skin revolted and was itchy and felt weird. I couldn't figure out what the deal was until my middle school-age cousin said "use lotion."

Duh.

I started using lotion, and it certainly made a difference. I don't really use lotion that much in Baton Rouge, just because of the humidity levels and my skin being OK without it.

An exception to this is my facial moisturizer, which I've been doing for years -- the Clinique yellow stuff moisturizer and in the last few years an eye cream from Clinique too, plus Argan oil that I dab under/in my nose as a preventive measure because even if my skin is fine sometimes my nose gets dry and gross.

In the ~2 weeks we've been in Minneapolis we've definitely stepped up our moisturizer game as a family. Liv always got lotion after a bath, but for Jane we'd kind of slacked. No more -- they're both slathered after a bath or shower, and I put a bottle of Aveeno lotion in their bathroom to use after every hand washing. (I used the rubber band trick to make each squirt only half a pump since their hands are so small.) The girls have also had some chapped skin -- Jane on her hands, Liv's on her cheeks -- and CeraVe ointment has done wonders, really making a difference overnight, and it's not too greasy once it sinks in. Shawn has been using it a lot on his hands too.

I can tell the difference in the air because of my skin after the shower. At home I can't always tell if I've put on my face lotion, but here my skin drinks it up and is definitely tighter/uncomfortable without it. And if I don't put lotion on my body it's a little itchy (not like the college-era itch, but that probably built up over a few days or weeks). I'll go through my moisturizer faster (that Clinique stuff isn't cheap), but it's worth it for comfort and skin protection.

No product in hair - washed last night.
Could use some actual makeup.
So far I'm having trouble remembering to sunscreen up, even though it's only our faces showing there's so much white from the snow and the sun is so bright that we'll definitely get burned if we're out for any amount of time. I sent a sunscreen stick with Jane for her recess and she puts it on her face herself. Such a responsible girl.

My hair can tell the difference too. I'm washing with random Pantene that I bought for Shawn (the siren song of the Target gift card if I bought four bottles was too much for me), so that's a little different, but I'm pretty sure it's the climate and air. My hair isn't as puffy and without any curl enhancing product it is going flatter and straighter, although not straight by any means. I think it will be easier to run a flat iron through and get a straight style to last. I need to work up the energy for that effort though.

(This has been an entry for the world's most boring blog post...)

11 January 2018

A Bus Rider

Jane  has decided she wants to ride the bus to and from school. It's about a mile away, and bus service is part of free public education here.

Yesterday morning the bus didn't stop for her as it was supposed to so we drove her in. She was really upset, as upset as she was when she found out she couldn't start school on Monday. But she DID get to ride home on the bus, and that was "amazing," she said.

She told me about the ride and how her friend from class, Braden, helped her know where to go and so the other kids on the bus said "Braden's got a girlfriend." UGH. She thought it was funny and said he's her best friend.

Before he let her get off, the bus driver confirmed her address with me. I asked if it was the same place he would pick up in the morning. He said "no," shut his window and drove off!

This morning, it was snowing, and I was glad to not have to drive her to school on possibly slick streets. I still have to bundle up Livia and put her in the stroller, and we waited on the street for a few minutes since we didn't know EXACTLY where the bus would stop (the stop the school gave us is wrong, wrong, wrong).

We ended up having to run to catch the bus as it sped past us and stopped half a block down. I don't know if that's where it normally stops OR if it stopped because we chased it. The driver (not the same one as the afternoon route) acted like he didn't know there was a new kid to pick up.

Bureaucracy.

BUT Jane got on the bus and presumably made it to school, since the bus sign said her school name, I told the driver where she was going AND I haven't received a call that she didn't make it in! It's still so weird to be a step removed from Jane's school life. I know it's normal, but the weather and the newness of our living situation are combining to make some serious anxiety for me.

Also, I didn't get a picture when she got on the bus for the first time (since that happened at school). I didn't get a picture of her getting OFF the bus the first time because I was on the wrong side of the street (waiting at the stop the school gave us). And I didn't get a picture when she got on TODAY because I was running my fat ass down the road and then talking to the driver. Will try again today, but eventually I will get a picture of her with a bus ... or at least a picture of the back of a bus that contains my first born!

Edit to add:


08 January 2018

Inflexible

Our lives have been shifted dramatically in the new year. I began on January 1 with a day of physical labor -- cleaning and preparing our house for a house sitter as we have moved 1200 miles away for a sabbatical season. We will be gone for six months, and I was packing and sorting and putting away -- laundry, scrubbing, vacuuming, washing, panicking. I haven't worked so hard in a long time.

Then we left the next morning, and my legs and entire body felt the ache of the previous day's efforts. We drove two long, hard days in the bitter cold. It was about 20 degrees when we left Baton Rouge and it got progressively colder as we traveled north. Only today has the temp gone above freezing, almost a week later. (Incidentally the weather has been fine and clear throughout, and it's going to get snowy later this week ... not sure how we'll fare driving in that, but time will tell and we'll be extra careful/stay in mostly.)

My biggest concern hasn't been the packing or even the effort of cleaning -- it was today, taking Jane to a new school for the first time, leaving her in the care of new people, people I'd never met, and in a building with no one I know. (Her school at home has a great church friend as a 5th grade teacher and other children we know, plus I'd been able to meet her teachers and see the classroom first.)

When we got to the school, however, we were told she couldn't start today and would have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest. In the end this is a better thing for everyone. It will give the teacher some time to prepare (not much but some), and it was one more day of winter break for our girls.

But we've known we'll be here, living in this apartment, for months. Why it couldn't have been done in advance I don't know. We had to go through a district placement office, and apparently that MUST be done in person, which Shawn was able to do Thursday, the day after we arrived.

I did not react well in the school office when they rebuffed us. The guy looked at us like we were crazy (which I agree, it's a crazy proposition, but it's what the placement office had led us to believe would happen, so we had prepared Jane). She was SO mad. It was awful and uncomfortable, while we sat in the room and Shawn filled out even more (duplicative) paperwork. Jane felt inflexible, and I felt the same.

After some time to process it, and an impromptu discussion with the principal who asked about Jane as a person and student to help her decide which of the two classes she might fit into best, I felt better and thought it would be fine to wait a day (or longer). Jane has already been in Kindergarten for 70+ days, and she'll have many more left because this school system started a month or more later than back home, meaning Jane will continue another month of school long after her Kindergarten friends back home will be on vacation (meaning her summer 2018 break is going to be a month shorter!).

But I'm embarrassed by how frustrated I became and how that frustration and aggravation were visibly apparent to everyone. I hate how Jane reacted, and I didn't handle her disappointment well since I was poorly managing my own irritation and disappointment.

I have to learn to be more flexible, but I'm not sure how. I am having plenty of opportunities to practice (and fail)!

18 December 2017

Teacher Gift: Crochet Coffee Cozies

I made two coffee cozies for Jane's teachers at school. Originally I was going to give bigger Target gift cards, but then the room mom asked for donations for a big group gift card, so I put that money toward that and whipped up these to give with smaller CC's Coffee gift cards. I slipped them into cardboard CC's coffee sleeves and added "Thanks a Latte" (I love a good pun, and that's a good one, right?)

The snowflake cozy is the same style as the sister squad hats I just made -- front post double crochet. So it's super thick and plushy. It took me FOREVER to get the snowflake pattern right because I kept screwing up. This was done with a graph I found online for a simple snowflake, so basically a new pattern. Once I got the hang of it and switching colors it went OK. I love the look of it.

The star cozy is a quick pattern from I'm Frayed Not that makes a very stretchy cozy. I added the crab stitch/reverse single crochet in white at the top and bottom to lend a Christmassy look. The star was a One Dog Woof ornament pattern that I did very fast this morning to sew on -- next to the snowflake one a plain red cozy didn't look special enough.



With an empty coffee cup that I used to be sure the sleeves could go on and off easily (imagining the cups full and hot!).

17 December 2017

Sister Squad Hats

Crocheted hats using the same pattern as these. Free pattern from My Hobby is Crochet.
Playing "puppies" while wearing their new hats
New mug from Target -- don't need it. Wanted it. Bought it. (Should save it for my stocking...)

10 December 2017

Out of Place

We've lost a library book. I am about 75% sure that I returned it to the library, but they can't find it. And I can't find it anywhere in the house. It's a big book, so not one that could slip inside another one (we check out tiny paperbacks sometimes that I fear will get lost that way). This is the third time this has happened, and every other time it's been on the shelf at the library. Not this time (so far). The search continues. It's Jane's card so no late fees, but I could just renew it I guess and do that indefinitely? I don't know. Aggravating. I can always throw money at the problem and just pay for the book. It may come to that. Need to do the sweep a few more times though.

Something even more aggravating is the fact that Jane was left out of a Kindergarten-wide girl party. All the girls in her grade were invited to a cookie swap or cookie decorating party. Two girls were left off, supposedly accidentally, and Jane is one of them. It's apparently a tradition and each grade does a separate girl-boy party around Christmas.

The organizing mom, a woman I've felt the side eye from (and given to), said they sent home invites in their backpacks (nope) -- and suggested Jane threw it away (double nope) and that they emailed everyone, but they may not have had my address since teachers won't give out full class list emails. NOPE, as I've emailed this mom directly, inviting her kid to Jane's birthday party (to which she didn't respond -- and I sent TWO invitations in hard copy, since I had to change things at the last minute) AND I've met this mom a couple times -- once saw her in the orthopedic center and we spoke to each other. She knows Jane and we're in her actual class, so this feels like more than an "accidental" oversight.

BUT I'm sure it was. We're not thought of any more than a speck of dust to these people. At least it feels that way. Certainly feel out of place, although Jane holds her own with her classmates, is loved by her teachers.

I am fuming STILL, 24 hours later. Only found out about it because of Facebook, and I've lost too much sleep about it.

01 December 2017

That Old Habit?

The world is burning, and the tax bill is going to break us all. (Handwritten edits?! In a 500 page PDF?! To be voted on in mere hours?!)

But here are some things:


Jane's Kindergarten class has a Christmas tree. I'm surprised they used that verbiage, but that's what it's called. They asked every family to make an ornament to hang on it -- something that represents the family and their traditions. I thought and came up with this -- our hands creating a tree that Jane could draw on and add stickers to show things that are our Christmas traditions. Originally I thought of hobbies too -- like a skein of yarn picture from one of my yarn catalogs, some woodworking contraption from one of Shawn's catalogues, etc. But Jane didn't want to wait to take it in and wasn't really interested in that either. She didn't want photos of us (I was thinking small, as if they were ornaments on the tree), so this is it. There are books because we do the Advent book-a-day tradition, plus a candle, Baby Jesus, an angel, etc. I'm not sure what all Jane drew. The ornament is big, since our hands are real-size, and I figured TOO big -- I had to send it in her backpack in three folders put together with binder clips so it wouldn't get banged up too badly. Jane said the teacher said it was perfect, so I guess the tree is big enough to hold it.

My question -- what if a family doesn't celebrate Christmas? 


I never got my free Starbucks birthday drink that I normally get via the app. Perhaps it's because I do this with the stars that come off the bags of coffee I buy instead of inputting them in the Starbucks system? CURSES!


A completed crochet doll dress, front and back. It's not exactly like the pattern, which I got from a book. I had to make up my own top using the suggested stitch. I followed the top's pattern but got this weird almost E-shaped piece and the next direction was "sew shoulder seams" without an explanation as to what the seams were. Maybe I am a visual learner, because a picture could have really helped. Instead I just started my own top right into the skirt part. It worked out fine, although could have been better fitted. I didn't do great on the starting chains, so put a Christmas ribbon around her waist for the pictures. If we can find a solid purple ribbon to sew onto it that would be good. The buttons were $2 from Walmart, but otherwise the cost was nil. I used Gran's thread, which is why the colors are kind of weird. The original pattern had three sets of four ruffles in the skirt in shades of blue, but the designer crochets tighter than me, because it would have made my skirt too long. I could have stopped at the dark purple, but didn't realize it until after I'd done the pink. Oh well. It's fine as it is. I should take better pictures for my Ravelry page. These were fast on my phone because Liv was on the move. She's been a terror -- broken three or four Christmas things, and we haven't even had the Xmas stuff out for a week yet!