Things I love: (making) Quilts

Ella has been hinting that I make her a quilt.  I made my first quilt for Adelia when she was a baby.  Then I made this one for Audra:

(this might be my favorite part of the whole thing)

While I knew Ella wanted a quilt, I didn't really have any ideas.  But then recently I was cutting off the bodice from a dress of Ella's (that my mom had made her) to transform it into a skirt.  I thought it was a shame to toss the whole top away, so I cut up some square pieces from it and decided to set them aside.  A couple days later I was hunting through my fabric scrap bin for something else and kept coming across other pieces of fabric from things I've made over the years.  My stack of squares grew and then I talked to Ella about her quilt.

When I told her I didn't have a lot of any one piece of fabric, but just lots of random scraps from different projects, she was super excited and informed me that it could be like a "crazy quilt". 

view from my sewing machine

So that's what we've been working on.  Ella's quilt.  With scraps from:

*the prairie dress my mom made her
*two dresses I've made her
*the curtains in the girls' room
*Audra's quilt
*Adelia's quilt
*doll dresses
*an apron my mom made for her
*a shirt I made for the little girls a few years ago
*other random pieces of fabric that Ella chose, just because she liked them

Ella set out all the squares and determined where she wanted everything to go.  She's delighted with the whole process.  (I'm happy to have a project to work on, too.  There's something about Fall that always makes me itchy to start something with my hands- either a knitting or sewing project.)  Right now I'm going to work on this, and in the meantime, I'm collecting fabric to start a quilt for our bed.  I'm inspired by Posie's log-cabin quilt.  We'll see if I can pull off something so- um, large.

Thoughts on sports and outside activities

I'd love to hear your thoughts on kids in sports or outside activities sometime.  What has worked best for your family?   ~Wendy

I have to say that I cringe a bit as I think of delving into this topic, because I know that people are very passionate about their opinions on this one.  In fact, I think all of our family members and all of our friends have landed on the other side of this decision from where we sit.  This is just where we're at.  I say "we" because I talked this over with Mark before I sat down to write this post and I'll have him edit it when I'm done, to make sure that I've expressed this well. 

I know.  After that intro, I bet you all think I'm going to say that we're totally opposed to our kids doing sports.

July 4th, and the annual game of flag football with Mark's side of the family.

We're not.


We are not convinced that sports would add enough value that it would be worth the cost to our family.

What we have observed- by watching friends and family- is that involvement in sports takes precious time away from things that we value.  One thing that comes to mind right away is sitting down to eat dinner together as a family.  We value that.  Growing up, each of our families (Mark's and mine) ate together almost every single night- throughout all of our school years- with very few exceptions.  That coming together at the end of the day, the connectedness, the space provided for conversation, discussion and questions-- that was significant for us as we grew up.  We think it's important.  (It took me years to realize that it was not the norm for most families; that many families ate at separate times or fixed their own individual meals or had the TV on the entire time they ate.) 

Another thing that comes to mind is that as a family, we're bound together as a little community for these years and I'm not a fan of being split up for various activities.  From what I see, when children are involved in sports it seems to divide the family.  (Mom stays home with the little ones, or the parents divide and cover different children's practices or games, or Dad is still at work so Mom takes the kids and Dad meets up with them later.)  It divides the family, and we don't want that. 

Also, we purpose not to have a run-around lifestyle.  There is greater peace and harmony in our home and in our relationships when we aren't running to and fro in a bunch of different directions.  We simply choose not to do that.  We stay home. 

Other thoughts:

-I think the level of involvement required for participation in sports is generally too taxing and demanding for a child.  That's just my humble opinion.  I think kids are getting run ragged being involved in so much and for so many hours and I think it's just too much.

-We did two sessions of dance classes for Ella at a local dance studio.  Ella really enjoyed it, and that's why we did it for a season, but in the end it was just too difficult for me to manage the little girls and the boys while she was in class and- you know-- whatever benefit there was for Ella wasn't worth the challenges it brought for the rest of us (the girls had to skip their naps or get woken up, all of us missed quiet times, we were home later for dinner those nights and it generally lent itself to a hurried, frazzled evening.)  Also- it was expensive!  When you add in the cost of the class, the costumes for the performance, the performance fees, all of that?- it's a lot of money!

-Ella (and possibly Isaac) will be taking piano lessons this year.  (But one of the benefits of that is that their teacher will come to us and do the lessons here.  That's huge.  It makes it so much more doable in my mind.)

-I didn't grow up being involved in sports, so that's probably a factor.  (In middle school I did do one year of track and one year of volleyball, but that's it.)

-Mark would like the boys to play football at some point, and we may do that.  Mark has fond memories of playing football as a boy.  (Then again, his dad was the coach and he was able to be on the same team as his older brother, and it was a whole lot less of a time commitment.)  Times have changed.
In August, at the boys-only annual camp-out (once again, Mark's side of the family).  My boys are gearing up for a game of wiffle ball with daddy, their uncles, cousins and grandpa.

-It's not practical for Mark's schedule for us to do sports.  He works almost every Saturday, so if we were to do the sports thing, he would miss any games on Saturdays.  (I think that would be a lot of them, right?)

-I think that the physical element of sports is probably a very good thing- especially for boys.  I don't deny that.  I also think that it's valuable to learn teamwork, and to handle defeat well and to win well, too.  There are other things like dedication and perseverance that can be built through sports.  But I also think those qualities can be sought and taught in other venues.

-I will say, too- that Mark is more "for" sports than I am.  He will emphasize that it's just not where we're at right now, at this season with our kids at their particular ages.  (I, on the other hand- would probably be perfectly fine if we never ventured down that road.)  But he's the boss. What he says goes.  For now he thinks that it's not worth it, so here we are.  Someday down the road, if Mark were to have Saturdays off and if we discovered a lower-commitment football team for the boys to be a part of?  We're in.  And I'll be the cheering-ist mom on the sideline.  But I do think we'll be choosey, no matter what, holding to what we value.