10.21.2014

What's in a Name?

[I will post about the birthday party-- a great success-- later this week. Apparently it was so much fun that we forgot to take many pictures so I'll need to get some pictures from my father-in-law.]

Google "Amal Clooney" and you'll get a long list of search results, many of those are about her name change. I saw a linked story on my Facebook feed this morning and started thinking about her name change, feminism, my name change, the grocery list... You know, random shower thoughts. The flow of thoughts that seemingly pour out through your scalp while you're blowdrying your hair. 

I changed my name, without hesitation, when the Mr. and I got married nearly 9 years ago. I had no connection to my maiden name, the name from my father, as he has been almost completely absent from my life. So in my mind I was changing my last name from a name that didn't mean much, given to me by a man who was essentially a ghost, to a name that I had some part in choosing since I was choosing to be with my husband, to follow him where he goes, until the end. We're together, we're a team. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people...  

Just because I changed my name when I got married doesn't mean I think that women who don't change their names are any less married, any less committed. It also doesn't make me any less of a feminist. Even though I stay at home with the kids, our roles feel quite equal. He's the one who makes the kids' birthday cakes! And I handle the money and take out most of the trash. How less gender-typical can we get? 

Had I been attached to my maiden name (what an odd, somewhat antiquated term anyway), I could have kept it as my middle name, or suggested hyphenation. But that's a lot of letters to write and I didn't want that for myself or my (at the time) future children. I gladly accepted his name without thinking that I was losing any of my identity. But I cannot stand for someone to address mail to Mrs. Husband's Name. The name change was frankly the last thing on my mind when we decided to get married. I was thinking of how to handle holidays and how we'd handle shared finances and how to be a wife. 

And now that we have kids who are going to school, I'm Little Lady's Mom or Sweet Boy's Mom. I'd wager that most of the time the kids' teachers couldn't think of my name. How many times have you sat with the same moms at dance class or music class, talked about everything under the sun for weeks on end, and never even know their names, just their kids' names? Talk about losing your identity. Are feminists worried about unknowingly surrendering their identities to their children? 

Changing your name does not transform your identity at the time of your marriage. You find your new self in learning to be a true partner to someone.  

10.16.2014

DIY: Big Sister Bag

Our niece is becoming a big sister around Thanksgiving. While my kids were visiting with grandparents over fall break, I had time to sit at my desk with my craft supplies and get lost. It was amazing. I decided to make something that would use up some of my supplies and be a useful gift for our niece. A bag to take to the hospital to visit her new little brother, for her activities and snacks.


I used a bag that I had in my craft stash and made a freezer paper stencil of "Big Sister". I love freezer paper stencils. The font is Century Gothic in 220 size. Simple but still cute. The flowers are the same clip art I used for my little lady's mended pants (some sized smaller) and backed with fusible interfacing to make appliqué so much easier.


After tracing the "Big Sister" letters onto freezer paper, I slowly cut out the letters while listening to a podcast, saving the insides of the B and G. I accidentally cut the inside of the E in "sister" so I free-handed it with my Pilot FriXion pen. Love those things! 

After I traced and cut out the freezer paper stencil, I carefully ironed it onto the bag, making sure the letters were firmly adhered for painting. I ironed on the flowers at the same time. 


I used some Tulip Soft Fabric Paint- Pearl that I had on hand, in Scarlet, to paint the letters. I peeled the stencil away almost immediately because I wanted to see how it looked. Squee! It looked so cute.

I actually followed the directions on the back of the paint bottle and let it dry for four hours before handling it. I did a backstitch around each flower and attached a button to the center of each one with embroidery floss.


I hope our niece loves her bag, and I can't wait to love on her little brother later this fall. 

(*This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.) 

10.14.2014

Finding Nemo Birthday Party - Preparations

We're getting ready for our little man's 3rd birthday this weekend. 3. How did that happen so quickly?

He finally settled on Finding Nemo for a theme after saying everything from Lego to Wreck-It-Ralph.  Now he just says, "My birthday is coming soon." I'm glad he went with something fairly easy and colorful. Planning the kids' parties is one of the most fun parts of motherhood for me. I like doing their parties and I like doing them big.

Here's what I'm thinking.


We already had the netting from a Little Mermaid party a few years ago. And I have an ever-growing collection of crepe paper and balloons. Yay for party supplies! I found the stickers to hand out as favors on clearance at Meijer last week-- 50 cents each. Useful and cheap.

Before my favorite party store closed last year, I went there and scooped up lots of clearance napkins and invitations, including the Nemo napkins above and the invitations I used this year. I found the scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby today and plan on making a banner with our little man's name. And the balloons and book were purchased from Amazon. We'll use the book as a guest book, asking the attendees to write a message to the birthday boy.

My husband will make the cake, and he found a (discontinued) fish pan on eBay. They were asking $25, he offered $12 and they accepted.

Now to keep the house clean and finalize the menu and decorations. Stay tuned for a picture-laden post of the party.

(*This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

10.09.2014

DIY: Mending Holes in Knees

Our little lady has a problem with scooting around on her knees. Yes, she's 5 but that kid loves to walk around on her knees, crawl around during play, slide into an imaginary home plate for unknown reasons. So her pants all get holes in the knees.

She loves two particular pairs of pajama pants and didn't want to get rid of them when she got holes in the knees, so she asked me to fix them. You know, with my mama magic... My plan was to cut them off into bermuda length shorts. She didn't care for that idea one bit. So I took it as a personal challenge to figure out how to repair them myself, with minimal frustration.

I found this tutorial for reverse appliqué and I am amazed with the results. The first pair of pants I used a flower clip art shape that I found online and printed it large enough to cover the hole. The second pair (not photographed) is a pair of polka dot pants so I did a simple circle in a rose fabric scrap that I had. #makeitwork (One thing I miss about being cable-free-- Project Runway.)


This kid. How is it always her right knee?


Yep, that flower will cover the spot.


So I traced it using my handy Pilot FriXion pen-- which faded away when I ironed on the fabric backed with fusible interfacing.

See the tutorial linked above. And pin the heck out of it. Amazingly handy.


2 hours later. Seriously. This took a ridiculous amount of time. The circle was much faster-- not as many curves and I had the hang of back stitch by then. I do enjoy hand work though.

I've washed them a few times and it's held up well. Most importantly, she still has her comfy pajama pants and we fixed something instead of just throwing it away.