I’d Like To Thank the Academy…

Well I’m glad I checked my email today, because there was an email from the lovely Bonnie of A Knotted Life and other (good) notority.  Turns out someone out there thinks this blog has something special and has nominated me for an award in the Sheenazing Blogger Award.

Well, shucks folks.

I’d love it if you went over to A Knotted Life starting on Tuesday and vote for me – I don’t even know what category I’m in as of yet!  Voting starts Tuesday and goes thru Thursday! EDIT – It’s “Best Under-appreciated Blog”

Thank you to whoever nominated me, I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside!  And honestly I’m just honored to be nominated (but who wouldn’t want something called the Sheenazing Award to show off?)

Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know

     I’m not a huge fan of the Twilight Series of books – long story short I think they have little literary merit (due to equal parts poor writing, poor plot development and poor character development) and are marketed to too young of girls for my taste.  That kind of literary fluff concerning the topics central to these books are best left to beach reads for older girls and women at best.  My friend Haley does a great job at expressing her dislike of the series and I can’t say I disagree. *as you read her letter please remember there is a difference between allowing a child to read what interests her and encouraging certain materials over another*.

    My daughters, should I have any, will be encouraged to read to whatever encourages them to read – as many will be quick to point out it’s better to read something like Twilight than nothing at all, which is true to a degree.  However, I hope before my girls pick up a beat up copy of Twilight out of the quarter bin of Goodwill (where I presume most copies will be in 15 years) I hope they’ve already been introduced to many more strong, relatable female protagonists.

    The following is a far from complete list of some of my favorites – they are warriors, scholars, mothers, daughters; they can be wildly in love and impressively practical; they are a little too perfect and incredibly flawed.  Most of them have happy endings, some of them don’t.  In an nutshell – these are girls who act like girls

    1. Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden
    2. Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy  from Little Women
    3. Sara Crewe from A Little Princess
    4. Laura, Mary and Ma Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie Series
    5. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
    6. Beezus and Ramona from the Ramona Series
    7. Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time
    8. Hermione Granger, Tonks and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter Series
    9. Coraline Jones from Coraline
    10. Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons (and the rest of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles)
    11. Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess
    12. Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle
    13. Nausicaä from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
    14. Lireal/Sabriel from the Abhorsen Series
    15. Alanna from the Song of the Lioness Series
    16. Lucy and Susan from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    17. Eff Rothmer from the Frontier Magic Series
    18. Jane from Jane Erye
    19. Lizzy Bennet and her Sisters from Pride and Prejudice
    20. Eleanor and Marianne from Sense and Sensibility
    21. Anne from Persuasion
    22. Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings
    23. Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
    24. Kate from The Taming of the Shrew
    25. Hester Pryne from The Scarlet Letter
    26. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird
    27. Princess Buttercup from The Princess Bride
    28. Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web
    29. Margaret Halefrom North and South
    30. Antigone from Sophocles’ Antigone

    If you’d like links to the books mentioned in this list hope over to the Great Girls Pinterest Board for these and other great suggestions!

    If you’d like an even longer list about women and girls real or fictional check out A Mighty GirlAnd let’s not forget – stories about strong girls are not just for girls, let’s encourage our boys to read these books too!

    This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

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      Glowing Motherhood – the Rest of the Story

       Today I’m taking a big step out on a ledge and I understand that doing so will make the fans of my blog drop suddenly – All I ask is that everyone reading this today will be civil and respectful in their opinions.

      Today  I’m reposting a post from last year about my experiencing battling severe ante-partum depression while pregnant with my son.  At the end of the post there is a new section about something I wasn’t will to share last year.  Please read down to the end.

       **********************

      Tonight is the eve of my sons first birthday.  Tonight I glow as I feel I’ve glowed throughout my first year of motherhood.  Sure there have been some sleeplessness nights and graceless moments, but it’s a year that literally glows gold in my memories.  I am so thankful to be at this stage in my life and I am so thankful for this wonderful little person who was given to me; trusted to me to shape in to a good man.

      Tonight also marks the anniversary of last night of the worst 9 months of my life.
      Now before I begin I want to say one thing, I hated being pregnant, but I loved my pregnancy.  These were two very different things to me; one was the state of carrying a living human being for nine months and the other was the little human being.  So if you have trouble sympathizing or relating while reading this please remember that to me there was a line.
      My pregnancy was planned, but nothing could have prepared me for being pregnant.  After well over a year of trying and deciding that perhaps God was leading us in a different direction we discovered I was pregnant two weeks after our second wedding anniversary.  We were elated, a little surprised, but elated and promptly sat down making lists of names while we continued on with that nights “date” at the laundromat.
      For me that elation was short lived.  In a matter of days the sickness started.  Not that “once in the morning, walk it off” kind of sick, but rather all day, every day, constantly running to the bathroom to revisit the paltry meal I managed to keep down for an hour sick.  Little did I know this was to last well into October, and it was June – the beginning of June.
      I tell you of the sickness just as back-story.  Severe morning sickness is nothing new in the course of pregnancy history, and though I lost upwards of 15-20 lbs during the whole course I always managed to just barely keep my self hydrated enough to stay out of the hospital.  That alone was miserable, but it was only the tip of the iceberg.
      Within those first few weeks the worry began.  A small niggling concern in the back of my mind had grown to full blown despair within a month.  By the time, at 12 weeks, when we made our announcement to the world I could barely muster up a “Yea, I guess.”  when asked, for what seemed like the millionth time, “Aren’t you excited?”
      It was a combination of things that snowballed into hopelessness.  I was concerned at the type of mother I would be, and I was very concerned about how we’d provide for a child, the costs of pregnancy and birth, everything.  I was so sacred at how little I knew and how little I felt prepared that one day all I could do was sit in my dry bathtub holding my cat while sobbing.  I kid you not.
      It wasn’t long after the tub/cat/crying incident that we realized where we were living and what we were making a living at was not going to provide the type of life we wanted for our children and by September we were in a Uhaul driving back cross country.  My parents had offered us safe-haven at their house for as long as necessary as we got our feet back on the ground in our new location.
      I thought that the move was going to fix things.  We’d be closer to family, in a better location to raise our family, in a state with a better economy; all those things so many of us want, but that wasn’t how my mind was going to let me see things.  I wasn’t someone make a temporary sacrifice for the betterment of her family; I was a looser, a bum living in her parents basement, bringing a new life into the world that she didn’t know she could provide for, I was the lowest of the low.  I made list of everything I should of had and achieved by the age of 27 – the house, the stable job, the income and compared my self mercilessly to every friend and acquaintance who had what I had lost.  Everything I had worked for was  for naught, my mind told me, and this was going to be my life forever and I believed “Me”.
      By November all of these dark thoughts were also combined with the reality that the thoughts were keeping me from connecting with being pregnant at all.  I couldn’t stand the fact that I was never truly alone.  I hated the attention and unprompted opinions of strangers.  I was filled with life and felt so empty.  It was all just too much.
      By the time winter started to roll across the mid-west, a particularly bitter winter at that, I was defeated.  I’d had enough and it was at that point I had a long conversation with God.
      I told Him that I understood.  I understood that some women weren’t meant for motherhood and I was certain that this was what He was telling me.  I had obviously been coveting something that I wasn’t prepared for and I had learned my lesson. 
      I am not proud about this next part, but it is true.  Completely true.  I’m sorry.
      I told Him that I understood that sometimes children were taken away and that it was often for the best.  I loved this little boy so much that I’d understand if that was His choice.  My little boy did not deserve the mother I was bound to be.  I told God I wouldn’t resent him, I told God I’d understand and I told God I’d understand if He wanted to take me too because I was a failure and I was beyond worthless.
      I know God listened to me that day.
      He just didn’t act in the way that I expected.
      I can’t tell you that things got instantly better.  Physical pain replaced physical sickness in the last month and I eventually got to the point where I had just accepted my fate in life which was the the culmination of all those terrible thoughts.  In the days before my induction I was fairly convinced I was going to die, and my labor and delivery was, well, let’s just call it “eventful”.  There were no booming voices, no trumpets and choruses of angels come down from the heavens to tell me “fear not”.  Rather the little things kept going.  The bank account kept balancing, the bills got paid, the savings even increased.  A few days before Christmas I had a good, solid job interview and two weeks before delivery I had a job offer.  I even had a few moments, when my son wasn’t practicing his roundhouse kick to my ribs that I even thought “I make a darn cute pregnant lady.”
      And on February 8th 2011 at 9:15 p.m. I knew it had all been worth it.  With my sons arrival to this world every fear and concern melted away.  I was just where I was supposed to be, doing just what I was supposed to be doing.  I spent the early hours of February 9th speak quietly to my slumbering son thanking God that he knew what he was doing and telling Henry everything I hoped and dreamed for him, all my plans for, everything and every bit of me that I’d gladly lay down for him and trying to put into words all my love.  I still can’t do it justice.
      I now believe that my 9 months of being pregnant were so dark because I need to know and appreciate how much my journey through motherhood glows.  I needed to know how to truly value life and how to trust in the timing.  I need to understand the signs so that I could be there for friends and I needed to know that what can come from sacrifice and how amazing it is to be filled after feeling so empty.
      I share this story not to be be applauded or praised.  I have my reward and I have my battle scars.  I would gladly and willingly go through it all over again and that is enough for me.  I share this story because APD, antepartum depression, needs to be recognized. Because we, as a society need to understand that not every woman’s nine months are glowing and happy and we need to be able to say that that is alright.  I believe that these uncontrollable fears and panics, when coupled with a strained relationship or an uncertain situation can be the push over the edge that makes women make life altering decisions.  While I, even in my worst moments, would not have made those choices I can see how those options can appeal to those who are lost and confused.
       I wrote all the above last year because I was ready to share my secret, but I didn’t share the whole story.  The part I wasn’t ready to share happened in June, only weeks after I discovered I was pregnant and only a few weeks in my depression.  

      I was scared, incredibly scared.  I was sick, incredibly sick and the combination of the illness, the hormones and crushing reality that the career I had chosen would not support the family life I wanted meant that I was feeling desperate.

      Desperation and fear always make for rash decisions.

      Up the street from my home was a place that could make all the fear and the illness go away – you know what kind of place I’m talking about and I considered it, heavily considered it.  My opinions about my child’s life were not what they are today and I spent about two weeks considering my “options”.  I even told myself no one needed to know – it was early enough I could just tell people I had a miscarriage.

      I am ashamed of myself plain and simple.

      But I am also proud of myself, in the most important adult decision of my life I decided that I couldn’t do it.  I had already made a choice and that choice had resulted in a new little life and I knew I had a responsibility to it.

      I know I was lucky – I had support, I had job training, I had experience and skills and a lot of women don’t.  We need this to change so that no one has to make a decision like that out of fear and a lack of resources.

      If there is any woman out there facing the same situation please know that there are people in your community dedicated to helping you through this – they just don’t have the marketing budget of other places and it may take a little more work to find them.   

      Fear is not a choice.  Lack of resources is not a choice.  If a woman feels abortion is her only choice then we have failed her.  Choice is support, resources and protection.

       APD can happen to any woman, in any pregnancy.  APD can be caused by everything ranging from changing hormones to the stresses of real life.  It can strike the woman who finds herself alone and in an unplanned situation, the mother multiple times over and even the one who’s spent months or even years waiting to see that extra little line on that test.

      If you know a woman who’s expecting a seems less than radiant extend your arms to her.  Let her know that it’s okay.  It’s okay not to glow.  Tell her that it will get better and that you’ll stand by her side until it does.
      For more information on APD please go to:

      If you feel that you are showing the signs of APD please open up to your doctor and your loved ones.  If you feel that you are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies please seek help immediately.
      Proper support can be key in getting you through this moment and on to the next and know that it’s okay not to glow now, but I know you will someday.
      I know this is a touchy subject for many and I’ve tried to address it and my feelings without getting too political and preachy because that is not the point of this blog.  If you feel the need to engage me in discussion about this subject I welcome your reasoned, controlled discussions via email @ mollymakesdo at gmail dot com.

      share @ GrowingSlower BabyLinkUp

      More Money Tight Montessori : Sensorial Supplies

      I’m excited to delve back into Money Tight Montessori – the first, my practical life post, is still my most popular post to date and I’m so glad that folks have been enjoying it.  At first I didn’t know how to continue with Money Tight Montessori – there are just quite a few tools used in this educational process that just are worth the money.  However, looking a little closer there are bits and pieces that can be gotten around particularly when it comes to making the sensorial games, toys and activities that Montessori education is so well known for.  Go HERE for a great little introduction to Montessori Sensorial Lessons.

      The following is a list of items easily found in your local craft or grocery store – or perhaps items you already have in your kitchens or craft rooms.  Combine with some items you’ve already thrifted for Practical Life then possibilities could be endless.  (P.S. If you’re not a crafter and don’t have room for a lot of pantry staples ask around to friends and families – you never know what folks want to get rid of!)

      • Beads – While these should be age appropriate beads of various sizes come up in all sorts of Montessori activities from lacing to pattern matching to sorting.  A nice collection of size, shape and texture can only grow with your child.
        •  How easy would it be to create a bead box collection for math out of your own beads and safety pins? 
        • Fabric Scraps – Matching games and tactile experiences.  Check your craft stores remnants bin (where they keep all the scraps) or put out a message to your local quilters group for odds and ends.  A bucket of fabric scraps can move from tactile experiences for a pre-K child to a wealth of crafting supplies for an old child. 
          • Carpet remnants would also be a fun addition 
          • Fabric Sample Books from interior decor stores would also be great fun for small children
        • Buttons – Along the same lines as beads buttons are good for so many activities and age ranges. 
          • Paint Chips – Like fabric scraps those little paint color samples you can pick up at any hardware store can be a tool for a young child to learn their colors, an older child to learn about ideas about hue and shade and of course a great thing to have on hand for a rainy day craft.
            • You could easily create your own Color Box for next to nothing!
            • Canning Jars or Salt/Pepper Shakers – A set of (cheap) small canning jars (or just recycled jam jars) or even salt and pepper shakers are great for collection storage and for playing sensory games of sight, smell and even sound.  (If anyone can still find them “oldschool” film canisters are amazing for this sort of thing). Just add every day items from the kitchen like:
              • Spices
              • Baking supplies
              • Dried Pastas
              • Rice
              • Noodles 
              • Dried Beans 
            • Dropper Bottles – another great tool for exploring taste and smell
                • Hardware – The hardware store – or even just your garage if you are a handyman or woman can be filled with sensory materials:
                  • Sandpaper – Homemade Touch Boards, or Letter Learning
                  • Nuts and Bolts- a few minutes in the garage could find all the materials for one of these
                  • Samples of Tile and other types of Flooring would also making excellent additions to additions to any Sensory activity – you could even make your own Thermic Box or Baric Box with the right finds!
                • Rocks, Shells and Other Outdoor Ephemera – Even better, get outdoors and have your kids help you collect these materials while you help them experience shape, smell and texture.

                AND

                • A BAG – Last but not least a favorite Montessori “game” that can use any of the items listed above is the Mystery Bag and it’s just what it sounds like – A bag, usually cloth (though my elementary school teacher used a plain brown paper sack), that can hide any range of items for discovery.  You can encourage your child to discovery the mystery item(s) from any number of ways from a series of questions to any of the senses!

                    *To decrease a choking hazard please use your best judgement when pick size and shape of these objects for your children to play with and never leave a child alone with such items*

                    If you want to go a step further here are a few great links of other Homemade Montessori Sensorial Materials:

                    *How to Make Your Own Montessori Sensorial Materials @ The Little List
                    *Choosing Montessori Materials @ Montessori Free Fall 
                     
                     *I’m not a trained educator in the Montessori Method, only an enthusiast with a few years of real life experience in a Montessori Charter School and what I’ve gleaned from books.  What I share here should therefore be taken with a grain of salt and not considered a completely true and accurate account of Montessori Education Methods.*

                    Shared @ Living Montessori, Frugally Sustainable, Your Green Resource, The Play to Learn Blog Hop and Little House in the Suburbs

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                      Bedside Books for 2013

                      Oh I love January book posts.  I love seeing how much of the written word is being devoured each year – it gives me hope for the future.  I love getting inspiration for books that I need to taste myself.

                      I’d love to join in with long, luxurious lists of books that I read in my free time last year or the plans I have for reading no less than two books a day for the next year.

                      But….

                      Let’s be serious folks.

                      True, there are some great works I’d love to tackle this year, but I’d also just like to finish a few of the pile of books around my bed.

                      So for this year I share my inspiring list of “Books I Need to Finish (or at least start) for 2013” taken directly from a stack of books near my bed:

                      • Orthodoxy and Heretics by GK Chesterton 
                      • A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit (This has been on my shelf for about 4 years now)
                      • The Sword of the Lady, The High King of Montival, The Tears of the Sun by S.M. Stirling
                      • Island in the Sea of Time and Conquistador by S.M. Stirling
                      • At least 3 books in the Discworld series
                      • Just about every book in the Harry Dresden series (this and the above to get my husband off my back)
                      • Most of my Collected Works of C.S. Lewis 
                      • At least 3 books in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Series by Anne Perry

                      And of course a list of books I’ve been meaning to read (or reread) but haven’t made it to the bedside yet:

                      • The Lord of the Ring Trilogy... haven’t actually sat down and read them all since Junior High
                      • The Hobbit
                      • Signs of Life by Scott Hahn … Protestants ask you “Have you been saved?” Catholics ask you “Have you read Signs of Life?” (p.s. Sarah O. this was on my list before you published yours and it just made me laugh)
                      • Brideshead Revisited
                      • Bring in to the Table by Wendall Berry
                      • Book 2 and 3 of the Kristin Lavransdattir series 
                      • Finish the Little Britches collection by Ralph Moody 

                        Of course no booklist would be complete without a little sharing of last years books so I give you a few of my favorites.

                        • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
                        • Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin
                        • Little Britches by Ralph Moody
                        • The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry
                        • Radical Homemaker by Shannon Hayes
                        • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness 

                        Go Here to see my list of books I’ll probably reread at some point this year.

                          Books Worth Reading Again… and again

                          I love January book lists.  I lover reading about the books devoured the year before and the plans to continue in the new year.  I love finding new books to add to my own lists and I love the chance to geek-out a little and tell person after person “You must read this!”

                          So, instead of sharing my list of books of 2012 or list for 2013 I want to geek out a little.

                          I can reread a good book like other folks re-watch movies or re-play songs.  To me a good book is something you come back to over and over again.  I might put a book aside for years to pick it up again and read cover to cover again years later or I might pick up one book often, re-living my favorite moments.

                          So this is my list of “Book Worth Reading Again… and again”

                          • The Lord of Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – I started with these books when I was in elementary school.  My parents used to read LOTR as a bedtime story.  Every time I pick these up I’m at a different point in my life and something new catches my eye.  I’m looking forward to experiencing them next as a fellow member of Tolkien religious beliefs.
                          • Persuasion by Jane Austen – My favorite of all Austen novels.  It’s her most mature love story in my humble opinion and I always want to cheer for Frederick and Anne at the end.  Twilight eat your heart out.
                          • The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry – An eye opening look at the world around us – his take on local economies and the nature of man and women are just dazzling.
                          • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeliene L’Engle – This book inspired so much in my childhood and I’ve returned to it many times in my life for many different reason.  If you’ve never read the final book in this the Wrinkle series, An Acceptable Time, it is a must read if for no other reason that to read some of my favorite quotes.
                          • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – A delightful read that real makes you question your philosophy.  I have a theory that if you read LOTR and The Screwtape Letters alongside each they will sync up like Darkside of the Moon and the Wizard of Oz.  I’m kidding… only a little.
                          • The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – An amazing collection of excellent storytelling that can grow with you from childhood through adulthood.  I look forward to the day I share these with my children.

                          These are just a few of the books I could re and reread, but I want to hear from you.  What are your favorite books to reread? 

                          *This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links*

                          A Little Making

                          Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s Keep Calm and Craft On to share just a little something I made to keep me warm in the 5:30 in the morning sprint from front door to car and from car to bus (Have I mentioned how ridiculous my “commute” is?). 

                          It was a fast knit – the scarf is just a simple seed stitch and the hat is just a straight stitch with a few decreases, but both are fantastically warm and comfy and really isn’t that the reason for knits in the first place?