Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Itsy Bitsy Spider and other Memories

We sit on the toilet and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Well, it's more like Noelle sits on her little potty and I sit on the bathroom floor singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

There are moments during the day where I look at her and she has her two tiny pointer fingers touching each other, and she is staring intently at her fingers meeting. She sings some melody, not quite "Itsy Bitsy," but it's supposed to be something like it. She's thinking so hard -

"How does it work? How does mommy make her fingers look like a spider climbing up the spout?"

And then I remember so vividly of thinking the exact same thing when I was little. I remember putting my two pointer fingers together and thinking, "It's something like this...but I can't quite finger out how to make the fingers climb..."

It is amazing how we go from simple, happy, goofy, little things to complex, self-sufficient, knowing adults. It happens moment by moment, song by song, letter by letter. And suddenly we are grown up.

This afternoon I put in a ballet workout video. For the first time Noelle got on the floor and imitated what I was doing. Leg in the air, stretching.

And, of course, I remember when I did workout videos with my mom.

Do you ever feel like you are just living the dreams/lives of many mothers before you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Sewing Revelation

I have owned a simple sewing machine for 10 years that I got from Walmart for $99. For those 10 years I could never finish an edge to look like it was done with a serger:


All the projects I wanted to do that called for this serged edge required a more expensive sewing machine. But, now, NO MORE!

I cannot believe it took me 10 years to realize that I can create a serged-like look with my humble, little machine by simply using an "over edge stitch."


Also known as the "overlock stitch," it is used to prevent the edge of a fabric from fraying. All you have to do is switch your presser foot to zigzag and sew your edge with half of the zigzag on the fabric and half of the zigzag off.

Or as my instruction manual writes: "Place the edge of the fabric under the presser foot so the needle enters the fabric when the left side of the zigzag stitch is sewn and misses the edge of the fabric with the right side of the stitch. Sew with this needle position along the edge of the fabric."

This little piece of knowledge - just like when I discovered how easy "bias tape" was to use - changes my creative sewing endeavors forever!!!

Going from mere "vision" to "reality of making the vision happen" is so rewarding. There's so much more to discover, too. I think over the years I've realized that I'm not really a crochet, knit, scrapbook or knick knack craft kind of person. But sewing has always stuck, and along with ballet (being my chosen form of dance), it is now a recognized recreational pursuit worth investing in.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Waking up the mind

A curious thing has been happening here in the Lee household.

We are reading more.

During dinner Kevin reads The Screwtape Letters aloud to us. We also read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for some fun. During dinner prep, I put on The Swiss Family Robinson audiobook for Noelle and me to listen to.

My mind is waking up!

The fire that once burned bright in my schooling days has been lit again, and the flame is burning stronger everyday.

I notice that Noelle can entertain herself for a longer time now. What a huge change from a few months ago! She used to get bored easily and want to watch Sesame Street. Now she's always busy doing something, reading a book, pretending to cook, pretending to dress up, feeding her doll, looking at bugs and dogs. Recently she's been fascinated with Chinese audiobooks and learning her Chinese alphabet. She's not running to the laptop screaming, "Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!" any longer. What a relief! The "no tv" experiment is working. One of the things I seek to give Noelle is the ability to be resourceful and creative and imaginative, and the ability to experience the joy of reading.

Our resolutions are working on me, too. I have a whole, new list of books I want to read and am reading. I'm journaling again. That part of my mind that has been underused is now getting exercised again. To my shame, all the time I've lost, all the moments I did not use my mind for God's glory, when I did not love Him with my fullest potential - may God restore the years that the locusts have eaten.

And Kevin's having a renaissance of his own as well. He's the one who wanted to watch a theatrical adaption of C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, an interest which has plunged me delightfully back into the world of thinking and imagination again. Tonight we sat through a 1.5 hour theatrical adaptation of Screwtape Letters at the Alex Theater in Glendale. Can I just say that my mind felt very strained for the first 15 minutes of the show? My modern, image-dependent, sound-bite addicted, ADHD sensibilities simply could not adapt so quickly to a one-person monologue, much less a monologue written by one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. Ever sat through a Shakespeare play and just got really nervous because you couldn't follow anything they were saying? That was me tonight. But it got easier once my mind started waking up a little to do some work. Paying attention, I am realizing now more than ever before, is really a skill to be cultivated. Neglect it and your whole life suffers.