by Melanie Bettinelli on November 11, 2012
This week Leila’s Master Bedroom Challenge didn’t grab me. My bedroom definitely needs a little something; but the first step is moving a bunch of stuff out to the shed and I wasn’t up for that. So I decided to sit it out. Plus trying to do anything at all just seemed too overwhelming.
Then Dom decided that on Saturday he wanted to move the television out of the living room and into the office. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. We’d talked about it a few times. When we watch shows after the kids in bed we’ve had to wear headphones or watch on the computer screen in the office because the sound of the tv wakes Anthony, whose bedroom abuts the living room. On Sunday afternoons when Dom wants to watch the football game it drives me crazy because the game just sounds too loud, lasts too long, and in our small house there is nowhere I can go to hide from the sound. But with the television in the office, the sound is much more muffled and the office is at the other side of the house from the bedrooms.
The only reason this solution didn’t occur to us before is because there was no room in the office for the television. Until we moved a bunch of the book shelves to the living room. Then we could push the desk against one wall of the office and put the television in the corner.
The bookcases, now in the living room, where the children are so excited to have more room for playing. Don’t you know that bookcases make excellent doll houses? Though here it’s a museum and the board books and picture books that are facing out are the paintings which the animals have come to view.
So we spent all Saturday afternoon taking dusty books off shelves, moving bookcases—two went into the living room, one moved to a different wall in the office, where a couple of small filing cabinets were holding a bunch of old papers that I decided I could get rid of or move. Goodbye filing cabinets.
It was hard work; but of course when you move furniture you end up dusting and vacuuming—or at least I do—once I had started doing all that, and arranging the books and tidying the shelves, then suddenly I found myself motivated to clean off my sewing table, which hasn’t been used in almost two years. I started that job on Saturday after the books were all moved and while Dom was hooking up the electronics. I finished it this afternoon.
And then today after Mass I cleaned off the shelf between the kitchen and the living room, dusting it, removing junk that had accumulated, throwing away some old candles that were just gathering dust. I cleaned off the shelf where the printer sits. I finished cleaning off my sewing table and while Anthony napped and Dom and the big kids watched the Patriots game in the office, I actually did a bit of sewing on the quilt I started for Ben almost three years ago.
The shelf between the kitchen and living room. Dusted and decluttered. Now that the tv isn’t in front of this space, I can actually reach the shelf without crawling through a jungle of cords and cables.
The printer shelf. I removed a huge pile of papers and other junk, put the printer paper and ink cartridges into the basket to keep them organized. The legos are up there to keep Anthony from throwing them around the living room. They are a “by request only” toy.
It’s funny how once you accomplish one big task and see one space open up and put in good order suddenly you want to do more and more and more. All those tasks which before seemed too big to even start now seem possible. Vacuuming always gives me a sense of profound accomplishment, of having restored order from chaos. Rearranging the furniture makes me feel like I’ve gained a new home. I would never have started this project had it not been for Dom, who wanted to give me the gift of a quiet Sunday afternoon while he watched the game. He gave me so much more, though. Now I think maybe it’s possible I can squeeze out the time between now and the end of the year to finish a few sewing projects. Maybe I can finish the quilts in progress for Ben and for Anthony. Who knows, maybe I can start one for Lucia too. And a couple of other small projects. Now that the work area is clean and not a big messy pile, I feel like I can sit down and sew for fifteen minutes, half an hour. What seemed impossible a few days ago now seems not only possible but imperative. And maybe that’s what I need, a way to accomplish something tangible, a work that doesn’t need to be done over again the next day like cleaning, laundry, cooking, and child care. A blanket that a little boy can wrap around himself and feel his mama’s love. (Sophie says that about the quilt I made for her, her “Flower Blankie:—it feels like getting a hug from me.)
by Melanie Bettinelli on December 30, 2011
It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done a quick takes post.
1. This week in the stable: The angel, St Joseph, and the donkey are going for a ride in the school bus while Mary changes Baby Jesus’ poopy diaper.
2. I’m sewing again. A bit. I’ve decided a realistic goal is to do just a little something or other on one Sunday afternoon a month. No sense of having to get anything finished, just make a little progress on my ongoing projects.
Before I could jump into my ongoing project I had to placate three children who were utterly fascinated by the whole thing. I promised to make each of them a dolly quilt. Sophie’s was first. She picked a bunch of fabrics and I stitched them together and then used some scraps I had for binding. For Ben I used some pre-sewn scraps that I’d been fooling around with a long time ago. It came together pretty quickly. Bella opted for a more complicated bunch of fabrics and is insisting that the dolly blanket is for one of her cousins intead of for herself, which I’d be all for except I suspect the cousin in question is a bit old to be interested in a doll quilt.
I also made each of the big kids a dolly pillow using some squares I already had stitched together. All I had to do was make the final seams and stuff them. All of them are so happy about these little projects and it’s been nice for me to have something that was easy to finish and therefore had an immediate payoff. I’ve got some bigger projects that it will take much longer to finish. The last time I was actively sewing was before Ben was born and I was able to get bigger things done more quickly because I had larger chunks of time to work with. I now know I can make progress in smaller increments but it does take some patience when I’m not progressing as fast as I’d like.
3. Here is Ben’s dolly blanket. (I couldn’t find any of the pillows or Sophie’s blanket to photograph. Which is another difference between now and then. Back then I’d never have let a project leave my hands till I’d photographed it thoroughly.)
I love the fact that even with a dolly blanket you can see he’s all boy. He’s put it on the iguana, which he insists on calling a dinosaur.
4. My sister is teaching Bella to crochet. I hope they both stick with it and don’t get distracted. It makes Bella so happy to be able to imitate her aunt and to make something for herself.
5. Ben found the box of tri-color rotini in the shopping bag and insisted he wanted some for lunch. When I said I needed to cook it first he threw a fit. Stubborn child! Rather than admit he was wrong sat there with a bunch of dried pasta on his plate trying to eat it with a fork. Finally he declared, “I’m done!” and agreed to let me cook him some. At least he did like it when it was cooked.
6. The other day in the car Bella was playing a game in which she and Sophie were firefighters in New York City. This is a recurring game but this was the first time I understood the full context of the game. There’s a huge cast of characters: John, Frank, Bernie, Sam, Patrick, Miss Irwin, Miss Jelsie, and Miss Leen, who is the fire chief. Sam and Miss Jelsie are the silly ones. Bella is Miss Irwin, I think. Sophie is Miss Jelsie. I think the name Miss Jelsie comes from Sophie’s mishearing the words to the GloriaL in excelsis Deo became first in dusty’s deo and then in Miss Jelsie’s Deo
7. Last Sunday at bedtime Ben told me, “I told God no.” Not sure what that was about except that Father’s homily that morning was about Mary’s fiat and telling God yes.
It was all I could do not to laugh. At least I didn’t have to keep a straight face because the light was out. This was during his nightly 20 minute winding-down monologue, which would be hilarious if I weren’t so tired and wanting to just go have some me-time before going to bed.
Is there anything in the world better than a sleeping baby on your lap?
Well, maybe a baby who really, really wants to take a bath. (This was about fifteen minutes after he woke up, about two minutes after he threw up.)
For more quick takes visit Conversion Diary.
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