Mending Mondays

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I never realized how much being a mom would wear out my clothing.

 Maybe I should be more specific. I never realized how having a small being hanging off me and tugging on me at least 15 hours a day would wear out my clothes.

 

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I still haven’t figured out stain removal either. Right now my system is soak and hope. There is a bucket of clothes in by basement soaking and hoping I don’t forget about them.

 

My mending pile is out of control. I decided to start tackling that pile and it is far more fulfilling than shopping. In order to shop, I have to battle getting my child in the car seat at least twice. My kid screams as soon as we go inside the mall. She has been like this from the very beginning, taking after her father and grandmother’s hatred of shopping. I have to occupy her while trying on clothes, which only doubles my frustration in the dressing room. Plus I’m not really paying attention to the fit so I end up disappointed. I am frustrated just writing about shopping. I will not start on how childbearing causes one to need clothes in 4 different sizes. Online shopping always disappoints me. I spend too much money and am never as excited opening up the box as I was when placing the order.

 

So, I’m mending and refashioning these days. Some may think I am crazy, but I find it fulfilling. Saving money and shopping frustration is a bonus.

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 I’m going to start a weekly series on mending, hoping to inspire others to fix a garment instead of tossing it. Mending is also a traditional way to live green.

 Please bear with me as I experiment with tutorial writing and sharing!  

Be Kind. (and reactions to our urban garden.)

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Our urban home has received many garden compliments this year.  The best way to make this homeowner’s day is to compliment the garden. We live in a (small) city so our cheery garden, cloth diapers line drying, and willingness to chat with strangers is often a surprise.

 

People of all types stop to look at our flowers and are interested in the strawberry patch and watermelons (growing across from a bus stop.) I enjoy observing reactions to our unexpected garden when the passersby are not aware of my presence. (Please note that when in a city, people inside can probably hear what you are saying as you walk on the sidewalk!) Other than our one incident with a girl picking my flowers, strangers have been kind and appreciative of the garden.

I am pleasantly surprised by reactions and kindness towards our urban garden.

I am pleasantly surprised by reactions and kindness towards our urban garden.

 

I often feel a sense of community is missing from today’s modern lifestyle.  I grew up in the South, where greeting strangers is commonplace.  When I started walking with my daughter I made a conscious effort to observe and be apart of our neighborhood.  I also decided to purposefully say hello to every person we passed on our walk. I want my daughter to be kind and welcoming.  The only way to embark such qualities is to model them myself.

 

Today is 9-11 and one aspect I keep remembering about that earth shattering time 13 years ago was the kindness displayed in the aftermath. Everyone felt vulnerable. Pettiness was brushed aside and folks started to say hello to one another. Strangers helped strangers. Everyone was affected by the tragedy and it seemed (to me) that everyone remembered that you never know what life has dealt the person next to you.

 

One of my biggest surprises of motherhood was how being out and about with a baby seemed to bring a smile to strangers. Even tough looking high school students smile at her. Babies, like our country post 9-11, are vulnerable. That defenselessness seems to attract graciousness.

 

I challenge everyone to say hello to at least 5 people tomorrow. 

Don’t get frustrated if their reactions are curt. Some will surprise you. You never know what kind of a day someone is having. A kind smile may be just what they need. 

It is easy to get caught up in our own world, but there is a big world around you.

 

As I say to my daughter, be kind.

The world needs more kindness.

 

Children and Flowers

"The earth laughs in flowers." -Emerson

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A few weeks ago we had issue with a neighborhood child (repeatedly) picking our flowers. This drove me crazy as I had no idea how to handle the situation. In retrospect it seems like a silly, minor situation. We live in an urban neighborhood so I cannot expect a perfect garden. However she came back the second day wearing gardening gloves. Clearly something had to be done. 

 

I consulted other Moms, pondered reactions to intervention, and strategically placed myself outside when I thought she would be bike riding. My husband ended up catching her picking and had a nice chat with her (one with kind eyes, smiles, and a sincere explanation.)  I dodged a disaster, as I clearly wasn’t thinking straight.

 

A week later, our daughter decided picking marigolds was great fun. It was karma.

 

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We get dirty.

We get dirty.

I cannot get her to stop. The word no doesn’t seem to be understood. I have raised my voice out of desperation, which of course doesn’t help. Bringing her inside immediately when caught picking is my current plan. However, I cannot say that this stops her from repeating the offense.

 

Today I came home to two marigolds in a bowl of water in the kitchen. This is a part of my mother’s explanation of flower picking to the toddler.

 

Once again, we are learning together as I discover more patience while gardening with tiny hands beside me.

Little hands are constantly exploring in the garden.

Little hands are constantly exploring in the garden.

 

On Reading Aloud

Pre-child me would have scoffed at parents not reading to their children. But, now with a toddler, I can completely understand how parents would give up on reading to their kids. Thankfully, I was determined because it took about 14 months to not feel like a reading aloud failure.  It was HARD.