Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sewing for Boys, the Accidental Cookie, and Further Adventures on the Bike Path

Am I a horrible person for admitting that I really wanted Sawyer to be a girl? And am I even more despicable for confessing that my number one reason for wanting a girl was so that I could sew cute little things for her? Shallow and selfish, I know, but I am being honest here.

But two boys I have, and two boys I love and of course I wouldn't have it any other way. (Sawyer could have done something other than scream for the first FOUR MONTHS of his life, but other than that, I suppose I can't complain. Too much.)

Sewing for boys kind of sucks. There are only so many pairs of pajamas and Halloween costumes that a sew happy mama can make. It's really hard to get inspired to sew cute little things for boys. But! Look at these adorable pants I made for Sawyer! It's all about the fabric with boy clothes and I picked this print up over the summer in Portland and stashed it away for something special. I love how the cuffs turned out.

And I'm so glad that someone finally told me to add an extra row of stitching across the top of the waistband to give the pants a more finished look. I really love how these turned out.

Brent and a few friends went out and picked Chanterelle mushrooms last weekend. I was all freaked out about us accidentally eating poisonous/possibly hallucinogenic mushrooms but Brent looked up mushroom identification online and found that Chanterelles are unique in that they smell like apricots. Who knew? So nobody got sick or tripped out and we all enjoyed mushroom lasagna and a mushroom and onion quiche this week. Even though Brent hates mushrooms. Which makes you wonder why he picked them in the first place...

Mmmmm. Dirty, earthy fungi. I love mushrooms.

We had Lily at our house for two evenings last week so her mama could work late while her dad is out of town. I love that she feels so comfortable at our house and fell into our family rhythm just fine. Everyone got tired so I just tucked Lily into bed with Jack and she was out like a light. It's so nice to have friends around to share in the raising of your kids.

This weekend was the last farmers' market and it was a cold and wet one. Instead of trucking down to visit dad at work, the boys and I kept busy in the warm kitchen making ciabatta bread, vegetarian chili, and oatmeal cookies. As we started the cookie dough Jack and I discovered that the sugar ants had invaded the brown sugar (how do they do that? It wasn't even opened yet) and so we made the cookies without much of the required amount of sugar and then, just for fun, I threw in some wheat flour. These cookies were seeming healthier by the minute, but I worried that they wouldn't be sweet enough, so Jack suggested that we add some coconut flakes. They turned out delicious. Oh, and if you are wondering if we make cookies on a weekly basis, wonder no more, we do.

Jack's Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter (this is why I run!)
1/2 cup brown/white sugar (I had to mix the two)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups wheat/white flour (again, I mixed)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups uncooked oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Oven to 350. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla. Add eggs. Combine your dry ingredients and mix in to the wet. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Bake 10-12 minutes, let cool on sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

And it just wouldn't be a blog entry if I didn't mention running, now would it? As you may recall, I have found myself in some interesting situations on the bike path near our house, but there has been nothing new to report in that department for awhile. No Lance sightings. No blood. No guns. Just your run of the mill bike path encounters. I am a totally bike path regular and over time I have discovered that there are other regulars on the path, as well. I often see the same group of people sitting under the same bridge and they often wave or call out cheerful greetings and words of encouragement to me as I run by. I am always friendly and sometimes engage them in small talk as I heave that stroller up the incline, because I figure that the friendlier I am the more likely these people will come to my defense if Bloody Drunk Guy comes after me. Or if I get in Lance's way. So anyway, I have developed somewhat of a rapport with the bike path locals, I guess is my point.

Wednesday afternoon I decided to go running, completely forgetting about that pesky daylight savings business. I coerced the kids into the stroller and off we went. They were being quiet and kicking back to relax and so I pulled out my iPod and started to listen to the podcast "This American Life", which many people had recommended to me but that I had never actually listed to before.

The topic was unconditional love, and the host, Ira Glass, was talking about studies done on monkeys in the 1950s which proved that the bond between a mother and infant goes much deeper than the feeding (duh!) but then he went on about the cruel ways in which this theory was proven and I started to sniffle a bit as I thought about those poor baby monkeys who had been taken away from their mamas.

As I rounded the corner that marks the halfway point of my run, I realized that there was no way I would make it home before dark. No choice to make there. I just had to keep going.

The kids were getting restless and started bickering about leaves and cups and whose boots were touching whose side of the footrest, etc. I just turned up the volume and ignored them.

So then Ira interviews this couple who adopted a son from Romania who (no surprise here) suffered from attachment disorder and their experience really tested the boundaries of unconditional love. It was a heartbreaking story and the mom spoke so candidly about raising this son who seemed incapable of love. I was really getting choked up at this point. The kids were still bickering halfheartedly at this point.

I turned on to the bike path. The home stretch! Only a mile and half to go! By now it was totally dark, but the path is well lit and there were enough bikers and other runners that I felt safe enough. Ira then goes on to interview a couple whose son had severe autism and they told the story of their excruciating decision to institutionalize him at the age of twelve. This story was so incredibly sad, you knew that the parents ultimately were doing the right thing for their child, but it was so hard to listen to them as they described the moment when they said goodbye and returned home to an empty house. At this point I was sobbing uncontrollably. If you've never experienced this before, crying while running is an interesting phenomenon that doesn't really work out so well. I would have stopped to walk, but the kids had reached their stroller breaking points and were now alternating between trying to jab each other's eyes out and shrieking. So I kept on running, trying to catch my breath, and making a sound that I could only imagine to be akin to that of an asthmatic donkey.

And then we see a large group of people coming toward us with a couple of dogs and a shopping cart or two. And then they stop me to ask me for directions. And then I recognize a few of those people as some of my regulars on the path. The kids are screaming and I am a sobbing mess. I try to answer their question but all I can do is croak out this raspy incoherent response.

"Are you okay? Do you need something?" They think that something is really wrong and that I need help. I can barely get the words out to explain that I miscalculated the daylight left, my kids are grouchy, and that I have been listening to this gut wrenching podcast about unconditional love. I then recognize how insane I must seem.

Ahem. So, crazies on the bike path. I am one of them.

Back to sewing! Look at this adorable shirt! I copied this tutorial and you should, too. This one was easy because I simply "repurposed" an old shirt of mine and so I did not have to bother with the hem. I really can't believe how easy this was.

The author of the tutorial uses a serger, but I just left the edges raw and I love the way it turned out.

In fact, sewing this shirt was way easier than trying to get a decent picture of Sawyer modeling it.

Many of our pictures of him end up like this...

He really wants to get ahold of that camera.

The half marathon is next Saturday at 9. Here's a link to the course map, in case you plan to come cheer us on. We'll be running (hopefully) 9 1/2 minute miles ish so you can do the math if you want to. Or just stay home in your cozy, warm house and make some of Jack's cookies. Which actually sounds like the sane thing to do.


  1. Your blog posts are always so great, a great mix between funny and profoundly, yet subtly emotional. I think you should someday be a columnist, Cassadie. I laughed at your running story (it's funny now, I'm sure it wasn't as funny at the time) and I love the kids clothes! Best of luck at the half marathon... I won't be able to be there, but I'll be thinking of you!

  2. good luck on the race!!!! your blogs are my guilty pleasure (though there's really nothing to feel guilty about ;-) . i love reading them and the pictures just enhance them. i agree, you should be a columnist or write a book. i would read both with great zeal! thank you for sharing your life so openly. i love it.

    p.s.-i have a little girl you can sew clothes for ANY time!! :-) i WISH i knew how to sew so i could make her cute little clothes!!! what fun.