Monday, January 31, 2011

Crafting: Learning to Sew

So, I've wanted to learn to sew forever and a day. I love being creative...but I've never been in an art/craft class, sewing included (wow! that's kind of shocking, right? since I come from a family of artists and my mom sews). Most of my creative projects come from my limited knowledge of craftiness- I know how to Mod Podge amazingly well, and that's about it. IMHO-You really need to know how to sew well to make practical and cool things by hand. Here's my lesson learned- creativity can only get you so far.

Oh, I've tried to learn on my own. There was the (poorly sewn) pillow project. A couple of (poorly) hemmed dresses. My mom even gave me a new sewing machine (that I wanted so badly) a few years back, and I spent 2+ hours trying to figure out how to thread and sew with this said sewing machine, to no avail (pretty pathetic considering I had the directions too). Then this year there was the Christmas stockings: I can cut out designs, use the iron to attach the felt, but once I needed to sew to finish the project- I choked.

All that to say-- I think it's finally happening! A friend of mine from church has offered to teach me to sew. And it's not just an offer any more- we have set a date (this Thursday) to get started with the lessons. I am completely ecstatic to learn from this master sewer! Who-hoo! She's going to help me learn how to make a padded Kindle cover for my new Kindle. :) I'm super thrilled!!

Beware, you may soon be gifted with an amateurish hand-sewn thingamajig ;)

xoxo, Rebecca

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Being a Mom: Winter Funfest

Check out a slideshow of recent pictures of Sadie: Enlarge window and click "Show Info" to see captions in the top right

XOXO, Rebecca

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making the MOST Impact

I was introduced to Vitamin Angels today. Apparently this one of the charities that is making the most impact in our world.

Mission: Our mission is to mobilize and deploy private sector resources to advance availability, access and use of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, by newborns, infants and children in need. Vitamin Angels reduces child mortality worldwide by connecting essential nutrients, especially vitamin A, with infants and children under five. Essential nutrients enable young immune systems to fight infectious diseases, helping children attain good health and the opportunity to lead meaningful and productive lives.

Pretty neat.

See video for more about Vitamin Angels:

Vitamin Angels: Be an Angel from Vitamin Angels on Vimeo.

Thoughts? Have you all heard of Angel Vitamins before?

Books: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, By Rebecca Skloot

Interesting read. Skloot goes on a decade-long journey- researching the family behind HeLa, the cell line of Henrietta Lacks which has been pivotal in medical research over the last 60 years. The cells were taken from Henrietta's cervix in the 1950s (without her consent) for cancer research. In Skloot's book, the quality of the writing was satisfactory (weak in parts)- but the human interest aspect of it kept you reading.

Skloot spends a lot of time with the Lacks family in her research of the book. She goes on week-long adventures with Henrietta's daughter, trying to uncover as much as possible about the Lacks family history and the HeLa cells. Even though some have reported on the origins of HeLa in the past, the reporters did not have as much access to the family as Skloot did. Also, much of the previous research into the origins of HeLa cells were full of fallacy. As Skloot does research for the book (which is part of the narrative), the Lacks family finally learns the extent of the impact HeLa cells had on science. The family is able to resolve the personal rift they had with the medical field, and they are able to find peace about the death of their mother/grandmother.

Throughout the book, Skloot is trying to communicate that she's not in the business of writing this book to exploit the Lacks family. Yet, at times, it feels like she is indeed exploiting the family by exposing their simple mindedness and their glaring misconceptions about science. I feel like Skloot tries to justify her research intentions- rationalizing to the reader that it's okay to publish the idiosyncrasies of this family because she's different from all the rest- she's the nice reporter that's come to help the family. Hmmmm, to me it still feels exploitative. Oh well, still a worthwhile read.

4 stars out of 5

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life as a Mom: Complexities of Language

Little baby Sadie is quite the talker. Sometimes it's frustrating though...she has an arsenal of pretty complex words (for a 14 month old), but her favorite word is NO, of course. I get down on myself for letting this happen. I think, "Why is my baby so unfriendly and disagreeable?" or "I really should be able to 'parent' this out of her." But, alas, the "no" prevails every time.

In thinking about it more, it's pretty cool that she says no, in a way. She's picked up on our voice intonation and she knows when we're asking a question. She may not exactly understand our questions- Are you hungry? Do you want some lunch? Does Sadie want to take a bath?- but she gets that we want to communicate with her and that we are looking for a response from her. And her first response is no or no no no no no no, even though most of the time she is hungry and she does want a bath.

I'm a little worried about the next couple years; she's so strong willed already, I don't know what to expect from her when she's 2 or 3. Well, I love my little bundle, strong will and all, so we'll just have to deal with what comes our way (it's payback time, as they say).

Here's a pathetic video of her "no"ing me:

Here's a video showing off her smartness. Maybe she does know what we're the video I ask, "What does a cat say?" and she makes a cat sound, pretty cute :)

XOXO Rebecca

PS As I'm signing off, Sadie picked up my glasses and shook her head dramatically and said no. She's right, that's a no, no.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Miss: Walking :)

Here's a clip of Sadie walking.  Just a couple days later, she has so much more balance. Last night she was a walking machine...people tell us that we're in trouble! This morning she started climbing, she successfully got to the top stair of my wobbly step stool on her own, oh no! We shall see...

On another note, Mark and I have the tradition of volunteering on MLK day. Any good ideas of local volunteer work we can do with Sadie in tow?


PS. It's my favorite sister's bday today! Make sure you send some bday love her way- because she is just that fabulous!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


 Here are a of couple recent videos of Sadie on her new horse from Gma Ruff (a new fav), and another of her strolling along with a friend. Good times. She's officially walking, so I'll upload a video of that soon! She's gaining more and more balance daily- It's fun to observe her progress.

xoxo, Rebecca

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Books: Goodreads + Faithful Place by Tana French

I just got hooked to Goodreads over the holidays (see side bar). It's a really fun way to connect with family and friends over books- a book lover's facebook. I love getting to peek at books my friends love (or didn't love so much). Books can be a highly personal- what you read says so much about your personality and interests, so looking at friends' personal book shelves almost feels like reading their journal. It's so fun! And, it's a great way to find new authors/books to read. (My glowing review should encourage you to try it out!)


This year I set a personal challenge to read at least 20 books (and this list won't include any professional reading I do). I think 20 is completely doable (I'm hoping), especially with the new Kindle I got from my hubby for xmas. I'll keep you updated on what I've read/am reading.

This week I finished Tana French's Faithful Place. It was my first Kindle read- who hoo! This is the 3rd book in her Dublin (not CA) murder squad series. I've read all three. I thought I found an author that I alone adored, but apparently she's on a lot of folks' Kindle nowadays- and for a good reason. I've enjoyed reading everyone of her murder-mystery books. She follows a different murder/under cover detective as he/she slueths to find the murderer. Each detective always has a personal connection to the case in some way, so that adds a different element to her books.

Faithful Place follows an under cover detective, Frank Mackey, back to his family's home, which he's managed to successfully avoid his entire adult life. Frank's sister calls her cop brother when a suitcase is found in an abandoned building. The suitcase belongs to a girl that went missing in the 80's, a girl that Frank Mackey was dating at the time she went missing. So- the plot thickens! And, like I mentioned, French likes to add in this personal connection between the detective and the case. It definitely makes the plot more enthralling. The detectives have a lot more at stake in solving the mystery. The book is entangled with dysfunctional family drama, nostalgic childhood romance, complicated adult romance, and good ol' sleuthing.

I recommend it.

See the NY Times Book Review here.

Now I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. If you know the Kindle- I started today and am at 12%- it's really interesting so far.

Read on!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Wrap-up

Pre-Christmas my BFF visited with her little girl and hubby for the afternoon. It was great to catch up a have the girls play for a bit. I think they're all set to be BFFs too!

For Christmas we went to Chicago. The trip was a bit trying- we had a flight cancelled, several delays, 8 of us got the stomach flu on Christmas eve/day, and the airline lost the car seat on the way back. In the end, it was alright. It was good spending time with Mark's family, and it was especially good for Sadie to get some QT with her cousin, aunts/uncles, grandparents-  but makes me realize how hard it is to travel with a 1-yr-old. It took her 5-6 days to recover from the jet lag/lack of sleep/social saturation. She's finally back to her sweet self, but I have to say, was the crankiest, moodiest, most worn down I have ever see her for several days after we got back. Traveling takes its toll, unfortunately!

Cousin play time in Chicago! The loved banging the pots and pans.

When Sadie starts reading a book on her own- she gets a sing-songy reading voice. It's so awesome, especially to her reading specialist mom. :)

More cousin time in Chicago. The were definitely interested in each other.

Following in our southern sister-in-law's footsteps, we made Hoppin' John for New Year's Day. It was a last-minute get together with family and friends. Many were sick and couldn't make it, but we still managed to make great headway with the black-eyed pea soup- it was too delicious (Thanks for the new cookbook Andy and Claire!- we used it for this recipe). Folks say that every black-eyed pea you eat on New Year's brings you a day of good luck throughout the year. Considering Mark and I snacked on the soup all day long- I think we're going to have a pretty lucky year.
I made little cards with pennies glued on the front (for good luck), so folks could record their New Year's resolution.
Waiting for the party to get started, looking cute... (and maybe a little saucy)
Of course she was really interested in Dad's beer-
We're dog sitting and Sadie is in heaven. I think she said "Whatisit?" (referring to the dog) 40x in her first 10 minutes awake this morning- seriously.
Happy New Year to you! Hope this year is full of goodness for you and yours!