The year of big girl panties: a recap.

My presence on my blog has been scant recently. I come to my laptop tonight from my sewing table. I always seem to think better when I’m sewing… my mind is free and it wanders while my hands are still busy. I’m so fidgety, just like my grandpa.

I doubt I’ll be posting much over the next few weeks; I finish up the semester this coming week, in a little over a week we fly to Illinois to spend Christmas with family, then we come back to Texas to go to the World Missions Summit in Fort Worth. I hope the last few weeks of 2012 go slowly and we’re able to enjoy them as much as possible.

So, the title. In the military-spouse world, when we talk about getting through “grown-up” things by gritting our teeth and putting our whiny ways aside, we call that “putting our big girl panties on”. A silly metaphor, maybe, but you can’t wear Disney Princess underwear forever. At least, I haven’t found any in my size…

This was a year of gritting my teeth and getting through things. It wasn’t a horrible year; I wouldn’t even say it was a bad year. But there were a lot of tough situations that have forced me to mature (we all need that, right??) and trust God more. That’s a generalization though, for sure.

Two-thousand twelve started out with me working a job that I severely disliked. Severely. Life is short, and in my 26 years I like to say that I’ve learned how to make sound decisions, so I decided to quit. I barely had another “job” lined up… nannying. It was enjoyable enough, but definitely something I wouldn’t want to do long term. I love kids. I love other people’s kids, for the most part. But I don’t have kids yet, so it’s safe to say that taking care of other people’s kids when I haven’t yet decided to go down that road just isn’t fun sometimes. However, on a farm in southern New Mexico, I finally learned what was important in life and became content in my situation.

I experienced a couple more firsts this year, namely the death of a close loved one, and the absence of my husband during this time. Actually, the absence of my family during the few days before I flew to Illinois. I would not relive those days or wish them on anyone. Never in my life had I been so anxious and desperate that I couldn’t even muster an appetite, and if you’ve been around me for even a day you know that I love food! It was awful. I am very lucky that I was able to go home and say a proper goodbye.

This year was also the first that my husband and I have gone on separate trips out of the country. While I would have loved to have him with me in Honduras, and I would have loved to go with him (sorry, still have to be vague about where!), it was a good experience to travel on my own. It only feeds my desire to travel somewhere every few months!

And as an ongoing event of 2012, I’ve finally become happy(ier) with my body and also with my fitness and eating habits. I haven’t been tracking my calories or paces for awhile now, and it’s freeing. Having no expectations of my paces makes good races and paces that much sweeter. I was just getting so bogged down with looking at my watch constantly and figuratively beating myself up over it, and then getting on the scale and beating myself up about those numbers. Damn numbers. Done. Done done done.

One of the most freeing aspects of 2012 was that I’ve finally, finallyFINALLY surrendered my baby fever. We, my husband and I, came to the conclusion that we are not ready for children yet, despite what people say. What do people really know anyway? They just want to oogle and stalk pictures of your family on Facebook; they’re not thinking of the sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and expenses that come with having children. We want to be a little selfish for awhile still. We want to finish degrees and fly on planes to cool places and just be us for awhile longer. Our family is complete the way it is now. It’s taken me awhile to be okay with that, but now I am. This pretty much sums it up:

my dog
Thanks, Jess!

…but really. My dog is awesome.

2012 was absolutely 100% essential for my development as an adult. I wouldn’t do it again, but I wouldn’t change it either, at least the things that weren’t outside of my control. 2013 will see a subsequently 27-year-old Elizabeth with her big girl panties on, guns a-blazin’. Strange picture…. but whatever. 😉

A challenge for every day of the week

I have to say… I quite content right now as a stay-at-home wife/nanny/tutor/seamstress/entrepreneur????/short-term missionary/volunteer “Sunday school” teacher/dog trainer… I think some of the best jobs are ones whose titles you really can’t pinpoint to a couple words.

Even with Husband Man being gone for almost three weeks (he comes home in two days, wheeeee!!) I’ve managed to keep myself quite busy. I’ve been working out 4+ days a week, hanging out with friends, sewing like a mofo, grocery shopping, cleaning….

The other day in my whirlwind of such exciting domestic activities, I got a call from a private school organization here in El Paso asking if I were interested in a part-time Spanish teaching position through the end of the school year, with a  possibility of full-time employment next year. Ehhhh. For once, I didn’t feel pressure to jump on a teaching opportunity. Besides, I’m already committed to the family I’m nannying for, committed to the trip to Honduras, and I love spending so much time with Aaron when he’s home.

Truth is, I am content. I’m truly excited for the next few months, as they’ll be super busy and challenging! I think for me, being challenged is a requirement for contentment. I feel challenged in my workouts, in training my dog (I got a Gentle Leader and it’s working well so far!), in creating something for someone when they send me a picture and say, Hey! Can you make something like this?

Just yesterday I made a messenger bag, and while I didn’t have a pattern for a smallish messenger bag, I had one for a purse with a long strap. So, with my super-awesome mathematical skills, I used proportions to make the pattern bigger and guess what? It totally worked! I may make one like this for myself….

I also finished my first legit quilt this week, with squares cut with my fancy-schmancy rotary cutter, batting, and actual quilting stitching on top! That took patience… and then I had to miter corners. Phew. However, I believe this is just one of many quilts I will make in my life.

Anyway. Today I had this idea of a shop I’d like to open someday before I die. Call it a bullet on my “Bucket List”, whatever… but a shop like the pottery shops where you can take your mom, grandma, BFF, whoever, and paint pottery. Except mine would be a sewing shop, where you can make a project in one sitting, or have your daughter’s ninth birthday party, or take a class, or buy a coffee (an in-house cafe would be essential!), or purchase supplies for a project… wouldn’t that be fun?? Maybe someday, after we are done traveling and serving around the world, and our children are grown and have given us beautiful grandbabies, and we’ve purchased that $590,000 property in the New Mexican valley, and opened our animal rescue….. and my husband would work next door in his used bookstore…. someday. 🙂

The early bird gets the… workout

A certain husband of mine left for TDY (temporary duty) this morning, so we were up at 4 AM to get him to the airport. He was supposed to leave yesterday, but on our way to the airport he got a call saying his flight had been cancelled. I’m thinking it’s because of the crazy winds we’ve had this past weekend. In any case, it was nice to have him here for one more day! (By the way, whether he’s gone for 18 days or 205 days, I hate saying goodbye.)

The gym on post opens at 5 AM, so I was there and on the treadmill by 5:15. I’ve had such a running complex recently. I think that if I can’t run 3 miles and xx:xx pace, then it’s not even worth it. Well, we all know that’s a load of rubbish. Yes, pure rubbish. While I haven’t gained weight, I can feel my body composition changing since I haven’t been working out. Since Bataan I’ve been suuuuuper lazy. Horribly lazy. Making 571853 excuses to not work out lazy.

how true is this?!

This morning I walked/ran for 30 minutes, and then got on the bike for another 30 minutes. It’s about moving and burning calories, which in turn give me happy endorphins for my morning. While I hate getting up early, I love the feeling of having my workout, being showered, and drinking coffee by 7 AM. While he’s gone for the next couple weeks, I’m going to get back on this proverbial horse. I need to.

I’ve been working on a couple of orders over the past few days! I opened my Etsy shop and also started a Facebook page for the things I make. On Saturday I went to JoAnn’s to get more fabric. I’m excited for the next few months; they’ll be busy! I start a couple online classes at Indiana State University for a graduate certificate in ESL on May 14, and I still need to get my books for that. Once school is out, I’ll be watching the kids all day rather than just after school. There’s also the possibility of going to Honduras in August with a group from church. A busy summer is ahead!

Do what you love & leave your legacy

I’ve really been thinking about my legacy lately. While it’s something that can’t be touched, it’s probably the most important “thing” I will leave behind on this earth. For such a long time, in fact, until just a few weeks ago (!!), I thought my “career” defined me. I’m a very driven person, and success is something I’ve always strived for. Then I thought about people I’ve felt have left an amazing legacy. People like my Grammie Leta (great-grandmother) who had five children and outlived two of them plus her husband. She sewed, knitted, crocheted and crafted her little heart out. I don’t think there’s a wall in my parents’ or grandparents’ house that does not have something of hers hanging on it. She dyed her own yarn to make rugs, stitched tiny stitches on beautiful quilts and  made needlepoint projects like you would not believe. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.

So, I was thinking about her and her legacy. She passed away when I was only 11, but I remember that she loved her family, poured into others’ lives, and used her God-given talents to bless others. That’s what I want my legacy to be. It doesn’t matter if I teach full-time, start my own business, or stay at home as a wife and someday a mother. (Seriously, being a stay-at-home mom is my dream job. Always has been.)

What do I love??

I love… sewing/crafting/anything you can think of that involves fabric, yarn, thread, and the hum of a sewing machine.

I am seriously, very seriously, considering opening my own Etsy shop in the next few months. Many would say, “Finally!” Although at the age of seven I was armed with a needle, thread and embroidery scissors, I have my reservations. What if no one buys anything? What if it’s too cheap? What if it’s too expensive? What if my products don’t fit my customers (or their children)? Those are silly worries… I love sewing. Like, LOVE. I am not an expert by any means. I don’t have a ruffle foot, or a zipper foot, a rotary cutter, a fancy sewing table, or a serger. I plan on investing in some of those things, but for right now I’m turning out projects on a sewing machine I inherited when my mom’s father passed away seven years ago. Sewing and crafting is a way for me to honor my family’s traditions, and I experience such joy when someone tells me her daughter feels like a “princess” in the dress I made.

Annnnnd, I need a name for this shop! (Suggestions welcome!) I have no idea where it’s going to go… but it’s exciting and it will offer me a great creative outlet.

I love… teaching, creating relationships with students, impacting their lives for the better.

I am blessed to be able to be a nanny. I can’t wait to see where the summer takes us, and I much prefer having a closer relationship by having only two “students” than having 100. Don’t get me wrong; I miss teaching in a classroom every day, but I love feeling like I’m part of their family.

I love… running. When I actually run.

Today I went on a two-mile run, on the treadmill. It reminded me that I can. (I doubted for awhile after Bataan;)). I have no races on the calendar any time soon, but just because I’ve been maintaining my weight for 2+ years doesn’t mean I can give up on what got me there! Plus, it makes me a happier wife.

Anyway, here’s something that’s in progress… hopefully soon I can offer you a link to my shop!

 

A favorite sewing project

I just had to blog about this because it’s been one of my favorite sewing projects so far. My mom gave me a gift card to JoAnn Fabrics (YAY!) for Christmas and of course the day I opened it, I went shopping. With coupons in hand, I bought almost everything I needed to make a messenger bag. Since I’m planning on going back to school in 2012, I needed wanted a new bag.

I used this pattern. I probably could have found a good tutorial on Pinterest, too.

mccall's #5824

The bag is pretty big and can probably hold a laptop, books and notebooks. I will eventually make a laptop sleeve.

I had a hard time picking out fabric. Since I was using a gift card and coupons, I wasn’t too concerned about the price. Normally I’d go for fabric that’s cheaper, but I was looking for perfectly complimentary fabrics. Thank goodness for a patient husband who actually helped me out with that.

I encountered a few new things in this pattern. For one, there were about 20 pieces to cut out, no joke. And some I had to use more than once for the contrasting fabric. I forgot to buy fusible fleece, but I actually had a mix of fusible interfacing, cotton/bamboo batting, and polyester batting. The strap has the cotton/bamboo and it’s so comfy!

For another, there was piping. And not premade piping, but the kind where you buy the cord and make the piping. Whew! The most difficult part was working without a zipper foot. It was hard to get close to the piping, but I managed and it turned out great!

There were also three zippers, but I’m a pro at those so no biggie. 😉 Anything is easier than an invisible zipper in satin on a wedding dress. I used thread I had. I ran out of tan eventually, but by that time I was done with the outside and could switch to brown.

The pattern was a little tricky to follow. Sometimes patterns have mistakes, and I found a couple. The problem I have with patterns is that I’m a visual/tactile learner and sometimes I just need someone to show me how to do it. But I’ve learned to trust the order of all the steps and it turned out fine.

Now I just have to get accepted to this program and have a legit reason to use this bag. 😉 Someday in an alternate universe, it will also make a nice diaper bag. Lots of pockets for organization!

It took me only a few days; sewing is one of those things that I can do for hours and hours on end and not even recognize my need for food or water. 😉 This week I worked half days, so I had plenty of time!

peek at the contrasting fabric in inside pocket
front of bag. LOVE the fabrics!
fits nicely! and happy to see all the christmas cookies haven't had their effect... yet. o_0