Mid-sabbatical update

(Is is the middle of my sabbatical? The exact middle? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. If it’s more than halfway done, I’ll be sad. Okay, I don’t think it is. But it’s close. That’s okay! As long as it’s not actually halfway over. It’s not. Whew.)

I want to open with this really exciting work thing – I know, I’m not even working! But I haven’t been able to talk about it until this month. Ages ago, I mentioned to our marketing team that sewists use WordPress.com for blogging about sewing a lot. And they paid attention, particularly my friend Michelle, who is on the editorial team and is one of the most amazing and funny and coolest people I know. We chatted a bunch about it at a lunch at the GM, and then she brought it up at one of their meetings. And things led to things and I told her about The Sewcialists website, and then they created this really amazing list called the Anything is Possible list, and look, I don’t want to take too much credit, but I mean, I want to take a little credit, but who ended up on the list but The Sewcialists! And check out this video, which gets me choked up every.single.time!

 

On the other hand, yesterday was a horrible, terrible, not good, very bad day. The van has been not wanting to start sometimes for a while, but it always would start after a little while with some prodding. (I feel bad now that I never named it.) Yesterday, it just wouldn’t. After some coaxing and sweet talking and banging on some parts, and trying to jumpstart it, I finally gave in and had it towed to the mechanic. Fingers crossed it’s not too expensive. I’d just like one more year out of it. At least. George’s car only has one more payment, and it sure would be nice to have no payments for a while, eh?

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When I came home from bringing the boys to the bus stop (where it died, which was not convenient) I found that Ziggy had snuck into my bedroom and was curled up on my bed, which was cute. But the puddle of pee on my bedskirt, where he has peed a few times now, was most decidedly NOT CUTE. Taking the bedskirt off a king bed to wash is not fun, but I’m looking forward to putting it back on even less. Argh.

One positive part of the day was taking the ferry across the river to the aquarium to see Linus giving a presentation with a group of his classmates on the Gulf of Mexico. Thank goodness we got in for free again. The aquarium costs THIRTY DOLLARS if you don’t have a membership. Ridiculous.

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Anyway, while I was at the aquarium, the school nurse called. Of course. Because Miles’s asthma was flaring up. Of course. Fortunately, she was able to get it under control. But I stressed hard about that for the next several hours.

But that’s enough about yesterday. Today I’m stuck at home so I’m going to tackle the reorganization of the upstairs bathroom. Time to throw out the makeup from my wedding, finally. Ha ha! I kid! Um yeah! For sure, totally kidding!

What else has happened? Well, the Saints game. I’m not even going to talk about that. I made some scarves with pockets and sold them to neighborhood moms and, well, I guess I won’t be selling any more until next fall. But they are super cute. I’m going to try some Mardi Gras prints next. The pockets are super handy!

Also.

Linus had a disgusting bump on his arm and we had to get it…dealt with. (Any other words I could use in conjunction with that are too gross.)

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Soccer started back up for the spring.

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gotta tackle the dining room next. eek

We went to visit Granny and Grandpa, and the boys are very very very close to being as tall as them.img_1803

My kitchen is still clean from Kiki’s visit! And yes, I have cooked!!! (and yes, that is clean!)

I ordered new glasses.

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Okay, no more procrastinating via blog post. Gotta go tackle the bathroom!

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Soccer tournament #2 – Pensacola

I really need to make more time for blogging. You shouldn’t have to look at a picture of my desk for this long. (Though it is still neat, I’m proud to say.) (I say this like my blog is something people just “drop by” to see if I’ve written anything new.)

I think part of it is that I have all these pictures from the soccer tournament earlier this month that I need to finish editing to upload, but I’m just kind of blah. Here, how about just a few?

Quick (yeah right) recap of the tournament weekend.

I flew home from Orlando. Linus was sick, got him to the doctor, he wasn’t contagious, but by the time we got his prescription filled, it was 6pm, and there was traffic, and we didn’t get to our hotel until close to 11. And I hurt my back getting frantically packed.

First game Saturday morning, a win! Linus didn’t play, he spectated instead. I think he got really annoyed with me for asking so many questions, so he decided he felt well enough to play the later game. Which they also won!

Game 1: 4-1 win!

Game 2: 4-2 win! (A lot of pics, but the light was just so beautiful at that time of day)

Saturday night, the kids swam a bit in the hotel pool while the parents watched and partook in an adult beverage if they wished, and then we all ate pizza and went to bed. Sunday morning was another game! Which…they won! Which also meant that we’d be staying later for the finals. Remember, I’d been gone for the whole week prior, so all I wanted was to go home and sleep in my own bed.

Game 3: 6-2 victory!

Of course, I was proud they were heading to the finals of their second tournament. But I was also tired. So tired.

Anyway, the fourth game rolls around. It’s hot. And this game was hard fought. It was a nail-biter. No one was scoring. Both teams were really great! And so after overtime (or whatever they call it) the score was still 0-0! ACK!

So it went to penalty kicks! Eek, this is like World Cup level stuff, right? (I dunno, I didn’t watch it.) The deal is, whichever team gets to 3 penalty kicks wins.

The other team kicks…and misses!

Our team kicks…and gets it in!

They kick…and miss!

We kick…and get it in!

They kick…our goalie stops it!

We kick…it goes in!

Eeeeeeee! It was very exciting. All the kids went nuts, and let’s be honest, so did the parents. It was awesome!

Champs again!

 

Soccer champs!

The boys’ team (with the catchy name 07B Louisiana Fire WB Red or something – you try yelling that while cheering them on) had their first tournament last weekend, and I guess I spoiled it in the title, but they won!

(Their division, I mean, which consisted of four teams.)

It was only their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth games as a team, because so many other games were rained out, so that makes their victory especially sweet.

We had to get their early Saturday for the first game. It was hot. They won! Yay! Warning: Lots and lots of photos to follow…

(Linus is 90, Miles is 91, Oliver is 92)

The second game wasn’t until late in the afternoon, so we went home and I took a little nap and they rested and ate. If I thought it was hot for the first game, that was nothing compared to the second game. It was scorching. George and I sat there sweating while the boys sat on the bench.
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Soccer and sewing (again)

Two things taking over my life right now – soccer and sewing.

Let’s start with soccer. I took a lot of pictures at Saturday’s game, but don’t worry, I won’t do this at every game. But it was their first, after all, and they even won! (Can’t say the same about the game on Sunday, though.)

Some of my favorite pics from the game:

Miles usually was playing closest to where I was sitting, so I got more pictures of him, but for the next game I’m borrowing a 300mm lens from a friend (this one only zooms to 105mm) so hopefully I’ll get better pics of all three. (Linus is 90, Miles is 91, and Oliver is 92.) I mean, if someone wants to buy me this, I won’t say no…

In sewing news, you know that Upton dress I made the other day? Well, I wasn’t super thrilled with the fit, so I made some adjustments and was able to squeeze the dress out of less than 3 yards of fabric I had lying around. And this time, it’s much better!

Observe:

The fit on the right is more like how it should be. I also raised the waistband an inch (well, I lowered it 3″ the first time I made it, but only 2″ the second time) and went down a size in the bodice, but up a cup size (Cashmerette patterns have different bust sizes, which is awesome.)

 

Also, I got a zipper foot for my sewing machine, so I was able to get my invisible zipper slightly less visible:

Couple more pics. Note to self: the waistband pieces should be cut upside down if they’re directional, because I have a little bird peeping down from the waist. Hee!

Next time, I think I might try the box pleated skirt version. Or add sleeves. Who knows?!!?

 

First game!

Today the boys have their first soccer game with their competitive team! Ok it hasn’t started yet, so I’m blogging these from my phone as I roast while they “warm up.”

Here’s to hoping no one gets heat stroke.

But don’t they look handsome?!?!?

Numbers!

Summer of sewing and soccer

Don’t you just love an alliterative title?

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Fancy soccer training jacket

I haven’t blogged much this summer. Mostly because we just haven’t done that much. I feel bad for the boys – they keep asking if we’re going to go somewhere. And then I keep reminding them that they’re playing soccer, remember? And soccer is very expensive. (Guilt trip much? I learned from the best!)

But don’t feel too bad for them. We are going on another big ol’ family cruise at Thanksgiving, and thanks to soccer, we’ll have a few small trips to soccer tournaments throughout the year. In fact, the first one is already on the calendar.

Unfortunately for me, it’s also the weekend I’m supposed to come back from this year’s Grand Meetup for work, so I had to get permission from work to leave a day early. Get this: the GM is in Orlando this year. So I’ll fly home Friday afternoon, load everyone in the van and drive BACK to Florida that very same evening for the tournament. Ha! At least the tournament isn’t also in Orlando – it’s in Pensacola which is just a few hours away.

So what have we been up to this summer? The boys went to camp for about six weeks. They didn’t love having to go to camp, but it got them out of the house at least. And they went to a few days here and there of soccer camp as well, which they enjoyed. Of course, nothing was close to home so I feel like I spent the entire summer in my van, and not in a fun road-trip kind of way.

They also participated in summer soccer, which was two evenings a week for seven weeks. I think it was good for them – it was their first experience playing “elite” soccer, not just recreational. At first, they were kind of disheartened, but as the weeks went on, they enjoyed it more. It was mostly drills and scrimmages, so they learned a lot. Of course, thanks to our summer afternoon thunderstorms, there weren’t seven weeks worth of soccer, but whatever.

Another highlight was Aunt Jenny and Emily and Andrew and Uncle Rob coming to Baton Rouge to visit. We spent a few days at Grandee’s hanging out, visiting with my cousin Sara’s baby, and as a bonus, the boys got a haircut, which was sorely needed.

There were also playdates and me breaking a tooth and having to get it pulled (so now I have two gaps in my mouth which makes me extra classy) and hanging out with coworkers in town with their family, and saving the world, and going to visit a giant mural of a French soccer star.

I’ve been sewing a lot when I haven’t been working. I took a class at a local sewing store (blog post to come) which was amazing, but have been mostly working on sewing up household goods to sell to help pay for soccer. It’s a win-win – sewing relaxes me and hopefully, it’ll ease the stress of the endless costs of competitive soccer. (If you’re interested, you can check those out here and here.)

Movies, murals, sewing

I have a few little things I want to blog about, so I guess I should do that before too much time passes!

Last Friday, George and I went to go see the documentary Three Identical Strangers that was briefly playing at a local movie theater here. I had been hearing about it for a while, ever since it was making the rounds of film festivals earlier this year, thanks to the Google notifications I get for “identical triplets.”

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In a nutshell, the movie is about a set of identical triplets that were separated at birth and reunited, just by sheer happenstance, 19 years later. It’s heart-wrenching and emotional and funny and sad and tears rolled down my face for the first thirty minutes and then I pulled myself together. It was just so good and so thought-provoking and if you can see it, you should. If only I could have worn a shirt that said “Mom of Identical Triplets” so I could have gotten free popcorn or something. Or a free daiquiri. The movie theater had daiquiris. I could have used one.

Later that day, I went to the first day of a sewing class at a local store, which was so amazing and exhausting. The goal was to make a box-pleated skirt. By the end of the weekend I had spent 11 hours in the store, and I still didn’t have a finished skirt. I still don’t. Still have some work to do on it. Heh. But it’s going to be amazing. And I learned so much! I will have an in-depth blog post about it later, once the skirt is all finished, but I have about 20 feet of hem to hand-sew so it might be a little bit.

Sneak peek:

And then the other day, my friend Jenn told me about a mural that a local artist painted last month on the side of a building of a French soccer star. Well, obviously I had to take the boys, so we went yesterday on the way to soccer. It was pretty cool! Oliver was less than thrilled, as this guy, Paul Pogba plays for Manchester United (when he’s not playing for the French national team) and Oliver is a Manchester City fan. Kids.

 

Sewing and soccer

I started to make this just about sewing, but there’s more to life than sewing, you know.

There’s soccer, of course.

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Speaking of, my latest post for NOMB came out today.

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Generally tongue in cheek, as I am wont to do. Check it out!

Okay, this is probably really, really wrong of me. But I was videoing some of the soccer game because I knew the boys would want to watch it, and I just happened to get a video of this kid on the other team getting knocked over by a ball. He was FINE. But the video is VERY FUNNY. SO I can’t decide if I should share it or not. Hmm. How about I won’t embed it, but I’ll put a link here so you can click on it if you want to be as evil as me and watch a little kid get conked in the head with a soccer ball? Fair enough. (And yes. I slowed it down so you could see it even better.)

Last weekend, some long-lost (not really) cousins were in town and we had lunch with them. I wish I had some pictures. We were half an hour late because the French Quarter was packed so it took us forever to park so I was too frazzled to take pictures. Except of my barbecue oyster poboy. Mmmmmm.

Oh, and my Uncle Lee was here and he showed me a photo of my Aunt Nancy from when she was younger. She was my dad’s big sister, and of course I only knew her when she was older so it was lovely to see this.

Oh, look at these adorable sailors in the FQ for Navy Week!

Sewing-wise, I made this dress and this dress and both were fails (one was WAY too big, and I don’t feel like going back and reprinting and taping the pattern in a smaller size, the other was just…meh) and then I decided I needed to try the Cashmerette Springfield top again because by golly I wasn’t going to give up on it, and I was much more successful the second time. Except the bust darts were too high and the arm holes a smidge tight.

Try three was a winner! My friend Jessica sews kid’s clothes for a living and had two full boxes of adorable fabrics that she gave me and I am in HEAVEN. I made both of those Springfield tops out of fabric she gave me. I love the plaid!

And then last night I decided to try the Cashmerette Washington dress and as seems to be the case with these patterns, they don’t fit right the first time so I am going to re-make the bodice in a different fabric tonight and see if it works better. I hope so!

I also am excited about trying out this dress pattern and this skirt pattern. This weekend, I hope I can get to at least one of them!

Oh, but my nieces’ birthdays are coming up and I want to make them things too. So much to sew, so little time!

Ooh, and look at my cute shoes!

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Also I’ve been to Orangetheory five times in a row now because I want to get this stupid t-shirt that you have to earn by completing “a marathon” in April. Which normally, fine, 26.2 miles over the course of a month’s worth of workouts wouldn’t be so difficult except that I was out for about 10 days of the month because of travel and a funeral last week. So I might fall apart by the end of the month but BY GOD I WILL HAVE A SHIRT THAT IS PROBABLY TOO SMALL.

Some nice things

I have a longer post coming soon, but for now I wanted to highlight these two nice things people said to me on Saturday.

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Nice thing #1:

Scene: The boys’ soccer game had just ended. Their team lost (barely) but they played really well. 

Coach: Pam, can I talk to you over here?

Me (thinking): Uh oh, what’d I do? I’m in trouble.

Coach: I just wanted to tell you that your boys are a delight to coach. They’re so well-behaved and are really supportive to their teammates. They just have great attitudes, unlike some of the other players on the team. I just wanted to let you know.

Me (is it dusty here or what?): Thank you, that’s so kind!

END SCENE


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Nice thing #2:

Scene: Cute little sewing store.  I went in “real quick” to pick up some fabric since they were having a sale that ended that day. Miles came in with me, the rest of the fam was in the van outside, frothing at the mouth because I was “taking so long.” Pleeeeease. But look at the pretty fabric I got!

Fancy Uptown older lady: Did you make that shirt?

Me: This old thing? (Not really, I didn’t say that.)
Me: Yes!

FUOL: That’s really nice! What pattern is it?

I tell her. She looks carefully at the seams and admires the bias binding. I self-deprecatingly say it’s not perfect, and I only started sewing recently. She says some more complimentary things, and some of my imposter syndrome around sewing fades. (Some, not all.)

END SCENE

Not totally about sewing

I’m going to try to blog about other stuff for once. I will probably fail.

Let’s see.

Okay, well, how about I get the sewing stuff out of the way first, and then I will talk about other stuff? Okay.

I currently have a wealth of fabric. Definitely not complaining! I don’t have plans for most of it, I’m just going to wait for the right project to come along. I am going to make another Akita shirt out of some teal linen for my upcoming trip to Singapore, though, and I want to make a dress as well out of another linen I got. (Okay, since I started this post, I made the Akita shirt, and I even made my own bias tape for it and NEVER AGAIN at least not until I forget what a pain THAT was.)

But the dreamiest is this gorgeous Art Deco rose gold sequined fabric. I don’t have the skills to use it yet, but I will one day. It will need to be lined in satin or something, and zippers might need to be involved. So it will have to wait until my skills have caught up. But it’s going to be amazing. And I’m going to wear it every day.

I had a pretty bad fail this weekend. I have been dreaming of this Charlie Caftan for a while and finally bought the pattern and made it with some fabric that I was given and liked but wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t work out, and guess what, It didn’t work out. It looked like a hospital gown. Probably partially down to the fabric, but also the fit just isn’t great, and I think the pattern just isn’t for me and I just need to accept it and get over it and deal with it. Probably because I’m so cheap the hardest part to swallow is the $14 loss on the pattern – since it’s a PDF pattern it’s not like I can just give it to someone like I could if it was a paper pattern. But it’s a lovely dress on plenty of people. Just not for me.

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Random stuff (and I made another thing!)

Okay, I’m deep into this sewing obsession (it won’t last forever, don’t worry) but I don’t want to only blog about things I sew, so I’ll combine it with other stuff I need to blog about.

The boys are now playing soccer, and aren’t taking guitar lessons any longer. Deja vu to two years ago – Linus wanted to sign up for soccer, so I did, happy that he wanted to do it by himself. And the other two went to a game and of course then wanted to play as well. So now all three are playing soccer again. Linus had his first game on Saturday and they won. I took a bunch of pictures, of course.

A while back, Linus and I were on a very short segment on the morning news about a toy (on behalf of the moms blog) and I never blogged about it because there’s no clip of it online (thank god), only terrible photos of the screen my brother posted on social media. Sigh. One such gem:

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OKAY NOW CAN I SHOW YOU?

Very simple pajama pants for Oliver (whales again!) and I can tell you now, my next project is two more pairs (in other fabrics.) He was ecstatic. 🙂

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It’s mid-February but I think spring is here now. Sigh. I hate spring. Except for this.

That 366 project

No, I’m not giving up on it like I did last year. But I am definitely being lazy about it. Here are a bunch of pics in gallery format to make catching up easier.

The 9th through 15th are covered in my Austin recap post. I mean, I’m pretty positive I posted at least one picture from each day I was there. Let’s just say I did, mmkay?

So now for the 16th – 25th:

Okay, yes, I missed a day in there. Whatever. I’m being nice to myself and not obsessing over it.

We had a nice weekend in Baton Rouge. My mom and Larry hadn’t seen all three of them in a while. (Miles and I had seen them after his second day of filming.) There was hula-hooping and playing on a playground and going out to dinner for pizza. Sunday I was able to sneak off for a bit to buy some new workout clothes which was nice. We also made some more homemade cupcakes – lemon cupcakes with strawberry buttercream this time, but I don’t know if we should be making a habit of Sunday cupcakes. Well, we still have to make chocolate, so this isn’t the right time to be making a decision.

Speaking of my new workout, I’m really liking it. I am sore, but not like so much that I’m debilitated. It’s more like the “oh right, I have muscles there!” kind of sore. I’ll admit a big part of my motivation is the trip to Europe I have in June where I’ll be up on stage with my beautiful colleague Erica. There will be video of our talk. Need I say more?

Okay, on with the week!