Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kids and beauty

Here's an article sent to me by my friend Dianne that really horrifies me -- about how our kids are becoming obsessed with beauty at younger and younger ages.


Reared on reality TV and celebrity makeovers, girls as young as Marleigh are using beauty products earlier, spending more and still feeling worse about themselves. Four years ago, a survey by the NPD Group showed that, on average, women began using beauty products at 17. Today, the average is 13—and that's got to be an overstatement.

...According to market-research firm Experian, 43 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss; 38 percent use hairstyling products; and 12 percent use other cosmetics. And the level of interest is making the girls of "Toddlers & Tiaras" look ordinary. ...

Much has been made of the oversexualization of today's tweens. But what hasn't been discussed is what we might call their "diva-ization"—before they even hit the tween years. Consider this: according to a NEWSWEEK examination of the most common beauty trends, by the time your 10-year-old is 50, she'll have spent nearly $300,000 on just her hair and face.

...But today's girls are getting caught up in the beauty maintenance game at ages when they should be learning how to read—and long before their beauty needs enhancing. Twenty years ago, a second grader might have played clumsily with her mother's lipstick, but she probably didn't insist on carrying her own lip gloss to school.

Sheesh. Between this and the current obsession with weight with every elementary-age girl I know, I worry deeply about how we're going to shield Sofie from this stuff. How can we keep her a kid for as long as possible?

New dress, camera shy as always

Sofie, modeling her new dress:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quilt For Mom

Here's one of the two quilts I started the other night - all finished except for a label. It's going to the nursing home to brighten up Mom's room as soon as I get that done.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Quilting Book

Just wanted to post this for those of you who love crafting, quilting, or just books full of amazingly gorgeous pictures of quilts -- I bought this lovely book, Material Obsession, today at a local sewing store and am just drooling over it now that I have it at home.
It's gorgeous, both in its content and in its general layout and design. It's inspiring. It's a hefty tome with a ton of good projects and eye candy. I want to make everything in it.
Worth a look! Definitely one of those books I'm going to end up referring to again and again. In fact I already made use of one of their flower applique shapes for a shirt project...

Separated at birth?

From my friend Christina, who said she found herself staring at this cat on icanhascheezburger.com and wondering who it reminded her of...

Until she looked at this picture and realized it was Sofie.

How cool, to look like a cat.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Leo, Stylist to the Stars

Sofie and Molly were perfectly happy playing and wearing their flower headbands last week during a playdate...

Until Leo noticed that things were not quite perfectly aligned.

Let me just fix that for your girls. That's better.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Milestones, visits (and owls)

I'm not keeping up with the blog very well these days! I got so knocked out of my loop by the events of February that I'm way out of practice with regular blogging, twittering, flickr, and all the other things I used to do so much of.

Things have been a little better lately, though. My sister was here last weekend for four days, up from Dallas, and that was a huge help. We spent a lot of time visiting Mom and also helping Dad get more settled into a routine in his house, but we also managed to go out for an evening with some of my friends for a little birthday celebration, and she and Dad got out to one of her favorite fish restaurants up here.

Yes, somewhere in the midst of this whole thing I turned 40. I can't quite believe it! I remember being a kid and sitting around with my sister figuring out how old we would be in the year 2000 and being completely unable to imagine that we would ever be older than 30. And here we are now, even older! Kids I used to babysit have children of their own now and are showing up on Facebook looking mighty grown up themselves. It's odd.

That said, I had a wonderful birthday, and I have to admit that I'm generally extremely happy with where I am in my life at this major milestone. I have a home and a husband and baby I adore in a town I love living in, wonderful friends, a supportive family, a substantial set of career accomplishments behind me, an interesting business I'm running from home, good health, enough money to live comfortably... things are good.

Mom's been doing a lot better lately - the staff at Ida Culver discovered she had a minor infection and since they began treating that she's been way more cogent and in much better spirits. For over a week now, visits with her have been very positive and good. This helps too. Yesterday she went on a bus trip that the facility sponsors once a week, a driving tour of some of the big local parks or nature preserves. I think she enjoyed it. We're hoping to start getting her more involved in some of the other things that are happening there.

Dad's doing pretty well, settling into his new life. He's starting to look for ways to get involved in some of the senior centers around town, and has been really open to accepting invitations to go to things he wouldn't normally do. He went out with us and eight of my friends for my birthday dinner, which made me really happy, and he came over last night when we had ten parents and seven kids over for a monthly potluck dinner and watched the craziness that is five toddlers and two babies in a small place. I'm really proud of him for how he's doing. He's such a pleasure to try to help and to have around.

Business is going really well too! I made 50 sales in January and 50 in February and am turning a profit now each month. So far this month I think I have 24 sales already made, so I'm hoping to be able to hit that again. I'm starting to get caught up on restocking my inventory, since all the crises lately have prevented me from doing as much sewing as I'd like to, and am slowly approaching my 100-item inventory mark I like to maintain in the shop.

One thing I'm making (and selling) a lot of right now are these owl coffee sleeves - aren't they cute? I've got a local store that's potentially interested in selling them, just need to get a dozen or so made that I can offer as starting inventory. That's exciting.

They come in lots of different colors - you can see the whole line here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ambiguous Loss

We finally got to an Alzheimer's support group today, Dad and I. We've tried to get to a couple others but the scheduling never worked out. Today was the one we really wanted to go to, since it's at the Ida Culver House where Mom lives. I had to laugh on the way in, when Dad said something about how he hoped they didn't ask everyone to talk about how they were feeling or something. Um, Dad, I said, I think that's probably exactly what they're going to do.

But it went just fine. The group has been meeting for about two years and the facilitator was really skilled at making the conversation seem very natural and not along the lines of "Ok now stand up and tell us all of us strangers all about your feelings, sir." I'm so proud of Dad, watching him in these new situations - he's really opening up in ways I didn't know if he would be able to, talking honestly with people about his situation and feeling and sharing a lot of complicated emotions. We both really liked it and are definitely going to go back.

It was mostly Alzheimer's spouses, and two daughters (me included). Most were still caring for their partners at home or in assisted living, but a few had partners who were either in an adult family home or in the dementia unit. One of the ladies at the end said how wonderful it was that there were adult children there supporting their parents, which made me totally lose it and cry in front of everyone.

Afterwards we went to visit Mom, who wasn't having a very good day. She was really agitated and upset when we got there, off in a delusion about teaching classes and how hard she has to work that is probably rooted in how hard she finds all the every day tasks she faces right now, and as we sat and talked with her she relaxed and calmed down and started to smile and converse again. We couldn't stay very long because we had to get home to Sofie and it just broke my heart to leave her so quickly, after about 35 minutes, when I could see how much good our being there was doing her.

Came home and plucked Sofie out of her nap and held her for a while and ended up crying and crying. (Me, not her.) She was trying to get me to read a book and I just couldn't calm down enough to do it, and she finally said hopefully, "Well how 'bout Daddy read it?" Which made me laugh even while I was crying, and it was just such a complicated and sweet and sad moment.

I'm feeling much worse these days instead of much better - I was definitely feeling better last week about the whole situation than I am this week. Probably things I just haven't given myself time to process before now finally seeping up. It's so hard to see my Mom so sad and upset and watch my Dad struggle not to cry in front of a roomful of strangers and feel my own sense of bereavement and all of this all mixed up together with a hundred other things.

In the group today they talked about "ambiguous loss," which was very interesting - the idea that the person you love is physically right there, in front of you, but in a sense they're no longer there too. It's a terrible loss, but it's terribly ambiguous. As one woman whose husband has advanced Alzheimer's put it, "you're neither a wife nor a widow." Definitely true for Dad. I don't know how to word it for me, but the same feelings apply.

Sometimes I feel, like today, much more like a parent to Mom than anything else, and to her I'm usually just the nice lady who visits her rather than anyone she knows. She recognizes me for short periods of each visit but it comes and goes.

Sometimes I feel like my main job is to be Dad's caretaker in all of this, more than hers, because he seems so lost and has no one else to help him, and she has a lot of people watching over her right now. Sometimes like today I feel like I should be with her a lot more than the four or five visits a week that I do manage to make. There's no right way. It's all devastating.


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