Life as Lou

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Bamboletta Cornrows

  • July 30, 2012 11:03 pm

Today I am going to show you ow to do cornrows on your Bamboletta doll. These make for a really funky style and are easy to do.

To begin with, separate the bottom layer of hair from the top. divide those into smaller sections and create several braids. Leave about half a braid’s worth unbraided at each “ear.”  Now- you could do smaller braids than this, but I don’t recommend it.  If you try a three strand braid, you will find that they knot up when you try to take them out.  Also, smaller braids will leave the hair more kinky afterward than a thicker braid.  It is helpful to do this layer first so you can gauge how long you want your top braids to be.  If you do the bottoms last, you will probably find that you want the top braids longer.

When you are ready to go on to the top, separate out small sections.  Start braiding at the part line and pick up one or two more strands per braid as you work down the side. This will attach the braid to the head so they aren’t sticking out all willy-nilly.

It should look like this.

Pick up at the next bit down, taking some hair from both the center and that bottom hair you left.  This just helps the braids be more face framing, rather than all pulled way back. It creates a slightly fuller look in front.

Braid it up!

Then go down the part doing the same thing.  You may want to get your top ones done before you go back and get the center layer braided. With the center braids, you won’t need to add in bits of yarn to make corn rows- just braid it straight out.

When you have your top finished, it should look something like this.

Once you have your braids complete, you can play around with a few styles.  I like to pull it back like this twisting the braids as I go.

And then I like to flip the ends up under that twisted style to create an even cuter look.  There are loads of things you can do with these- braid the braids, pig tails, the options are wide open.Do make it a point to not leave the braids in too long.  The smaller braids will leave small waves in the hair, which looks pretty for a day or two, but which you probably don’t want to have last forever.  I leave these in for a week to ten days and within a few days of being loose the yarn has completely straightened back out.  Leave it in for months, and it will probably hold the waves a lot longer.

Until next time, Bamboletta fans!  Get ready for some ideas on styles for boucle babes like this one!

This Crazy Journey Begins

  • July 29, 2012 10:40 pm

Chris and I have decided to try to adopt through the foster care program.

I know.  WOW.  I literally cannot verbalize that without feeling like a single point of light just exploded in my brain, and we made this choice several months ago.

It feels the same as saying I’m pregnant, with lots of the same “whoa, so we’re really doing this” moments, and “oh no, what if it doesn’t work out and we lose this kid?” (After three miscarriages, I am very familiar with that feeling). And then there are the golden bliss thoughts of adorable children and imagining those crystalline moments in motherhood where everything, for one morning, or one hour- or even one minute- is so breathtakingly beautiful and fulfilling- that you can absolutely do all of the hard stuff that mothering a unique and precious individual entails. Possibility is empowering.

Chris and I have spent the past several years casually tossing the idea of adoption around.  Even before the hysterectomy we were well aware that another pregnancy was a bad idea. My six pregnancies have all had serious complications- three didn’t make it, and the other three were so physically debilitating that more than one doctor recommended that for my own health we call it good. Chris was always very pro-more kids, just very against ever having me pregnant again.  We told ourselves- when the time is right, we can adopt- and then tucked it away, a tidy little package that we might never have opened.

When we found out I needed a hysterectomy (right on the heels of a miscarriage) I was of two minds. I understood everything I just told you, but I also hurt, knowing that incredible door of creation was closing, and that there was a definite finality to that part of my life. Frustration aside, I knew it was the right course. I can’t tell you why, precisely; I just knew. It really didn’t matter that I didn’t like it- it just mattered that it was the right choice for us.

Two weeks after my surgery, adoption was the farthest thing from my mind. I was making myself very content with the concreteness of what we had been given.  I was ok. I was accepting. And honestly, I was so preoccupied with feeling like crud from the surgery that I didn’t even have a chance to mourn my now non-existent fertility.  Hey, adoption was still on the table as it had always been, but it wasn’t a pressing issue at all.  I didn’t need a baby to make me feel better- I was so jacked up from post surgery hormones and recovery that I didn’t even feel like I was thinking straight. I even banned myself from all life-altering decision making, because no one should do anything too crazy when you are that physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. A hysterectomy sucks the life right out of you.  I had been wholly unprepared for that phenomenon and it was cruelly humbling.

I was well enough, on St. Patrick’s Day, eighteen days after my surgery, to attend a Women’s Conference at church.  I love these. You get to attend a bunch of wonderful mini classes on a variety of topics and I always leave feeling stronger and better and more capable of being exactly who I want to be. I could barely sit down, still being so sore, but I was getting that spiritual boost, no matter the cost!

I walked into my first class feeling jazzed to be in the company of such excellent women and grateful to be spending time with good friends.  I delicately arranged myself on the chair, a friend on one side and on the other a woman I hardly knew, but who I was familiar with from church.  She mentioned that she had heard I had surgery, but didn’t know what kind.  Hysterectomy, I told her, and before the word was out of my mouth, she left me positively gobsmacked when she said, “I have a six year old granddaughter in foster care who needs to be adopted.”

I cannot begin to describe the feeling that came over me at that moment. I began to cry, immediately, and I had no explanation.  I felt the most profound sense of joy and direction and rightness. I felt that deeply compelling, sacred feeling that you experience the first time you hold your very own newborn child in your arms.

I felt as though a minute earlier, I had been a completely different person.

When the conference was over, I called my husband right away and explained what I had learned about this child, and many others like her and also a small portion of how I had felt.  I would never, ever push my husband into something like this, and I held back how strongly I had felt because I didn’t want to pressure him in any way.  He grew silent for a moment and then affirmed my feelings, saying that this really bore looking into. We talked about it at length, and decided to look into it.

I held back a few days, waiting for him to bring it up (I was really worried about putting any pressure on), but he did ask a few times if I had the information yet.  I talked to several people on the phone, got a packet of info in the mail, and then sat on it for nearly a month- almost afraid to do anything with it. Chris was definitely on board with going down this path, taking the classes, doing the incredibly involved home study, the background checks, putting ourselves through an unnerving level of judgement and scrutiny, and jumping all of the other necessary hoops.  We completely agreed on the ages and genders of the child or children we were looking for. We completely agreed on all of it, which for our marriage is almost unheard of.  We are yin and yang, always striving for balance and cooperation, because we make each other so much better, but often stepping on each other’s egos because we don’t see eye to eye. This has improved after eleven years of marriage, but even so, being so unanimous on a decision is a rare thing for us, and typically only happens when we are dealing with the truly important choices.

During this time work was crazy for Chris.  Church callings were overwhelming.  I was still in a lot of pain, and riding out the hormonal and physical aftermath of a surgery with complications and ten weeks of prescribed recovery.  Part of me worried that this intense desire to do this NOW was a reaction, and not a decision, but deep inside, I knew it wasn’t. What I had felt hadn’t been me.  It wasn’t my reaction.  It was a gift; a divine directing.  All of this talk about possibly adopting later, in the future, down the road- well, later was now, and it was time to be very faithful and just start walking down that path, even if it seemed a little crazy on the heels of so much stress.

Chris and I walked into this together, knowing that we might be rejected from the system. We knew and were ok with the fact that the child mentioned at the beginning of all of this might not be ours. We kind of assumed that, actually. There are thousands of children in this system who need homes, permanent or just for a little while.  We just prayed that we would learn what we needed from this journey, and that whatever child or children were meant for our family would be prepared and watched over, and that whatever was supposed to happen would happen.  We gave it to God and started the journey.

This all started waaaaay back in March 2012.  I’ve been sitting on it since then, telling only a few of closest friends and family members, quietly keeping my thoughts in my heart, praying and processing. So if this (and the next few posts seem like they are coming at you quickly- remember that it is nearly six months for us). This is the (mercifully) condensed version.



Polished Insanity, or Yet Another Reason Why I Will Forever Be On My In-law’s Bad Side

  • July 21, 2012 3:24 am

me on vacation in manti, ut

When we were at my in-law’s home a few weeks ago, I had a horrible experience. I need to preface this with some back story.  You need to know that my in-laws built a beautiful new home just a few years ago. You should also know that shortly after they laid the gorgeous Brazilian cherry flooring, a tiny, tiny rock got caught by the wheel on Gabe’s high chair, and when I went to take the chair out to our car I inadvertently scratched a HUGE scratch in the floor in a very visible place. I felt terrible. I cried. In fact, I still die just a little bit inside every time I see that scratch, and that was two years ago.

This trip was a little exciting because my in-laws had just finished the basement. There was now a bathroom and two guest bedrooms, all designed to make someone staying in their home feel very comfortable. It was finished literally days before we arrived, and it was beautiful.  The bathroom has lovely tile flooring and a very striking glass and tile walk in shower in natural, neutral tones.

So one morning Chris and his parents went to the temple and I stayed behind to watch the kids.  I had all the time in the world, and I enjoyed a long shower and some extra primping in that beautiful new bathroom. After I got dressed, I decided that I would paint my toenails. It should be noted here that I have never, ever in my whole life made a nail polish mess. EVER. So when I put my foot up on the lid of the toilet and set the polish down next to it and began to apply the bright red polish, I wasn’t worried at all.

I got two thirds of the way done with my toes when the unthinkable happened. Somehow that little bottle slipped and fell to the tile below breaking off half the neck of the bottle. It then proceeded to bounce, flipping back and forth, back and forth on the floor no less than seven times, wildly spraying streams of very bright red all over the floor. In slow motion I watched this bottle bouncing as though possessed, and all I could think was “the devil is in the details.”

Now, I am not one to use the excuse “the devil made me do it”, but for the first time in my life, I honestly felt sure that there just had to be a pack of demons in that bathroom, plotting my demise. I had already wrecked one new floor in this house, and I was sure that some evil being had a plan that my in-laws would just never, ever like me, no matter what I did. Since things had been going relatively well, Satan just had to intervene and make sure I stayed firmly planted on my mother in law’s bad side forever. I was going straight to hell, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.

I was in a state of total panic.  Nail polish clean up usually involves attending to the spot as quickly as possible, but when there are streaks of polish across at least fourteen ten inch tiles and up the side of the shower, it is impossible to even know where to start. I grabbed a roll of toilet paper, got on my hands and knees and started dabbing up the thickest splotches. This, of course, smeared the red lines into hot pink blotches, but I had to get the excess off before I could do anything else.

Once I had the bulk of the goo removed, I poured nail polish remover all over the floor and began to scrub like crazy. I wasn’t getting very far. I bolted up the stairs and found a magic eraser sponge. That, combined with the acetone, started getting most of the polish up. I put good old fashioned elbow grease into this for at least twenty minutes before I just knew I wasn’t going to get any more up this way. I reached up to the sink, grabbed my own toothbrush, and started working on the tiny divots in the tile that were still stained. After about ten minutes, I had almost all of it up.  I stood up to survey my work, took a few steps back and screamed.

I had forgotten that my toenails were wet. During the entire time I had been erasing the evidence from one half of the floor, my wet toes had been leaving a second set of streaks behind me. I had to start the whole process over on the other half of the floor. Maggie had heard the scream and walked in and asked what I was doing.  I explained and then swore her to secrecy.

By the time the worst of all of it was up, I had spent almost an hour on my hands and knees. I was certifiably high off the acetone fumes, and still in a state of panic because though the tile was back to normal, the grout was still hot pink in at least twenty places. I called my mother in desperation and explained my situation.

She laughed at me. Then she told me that I should have visited her, and that if I had, I would be eating a Dairy Queen blizzard and taking a blissful nap on the big white swing in the backyard.  But no.  I had gone to my in-law’s home, where things never seemed to go right, and look where that had gotten me. There is nothing so bad that a little extra guilt can’t make worse.

I asked her what she would do to remove nail polish from grout, and she quickly ran through the remedy list of everything I had already tried. She googled it, and came up with the same answers.  I tried soaking the grout in even more nail polish remover, but NOTHING was going to get the pink out. She put me on hold and asked a co worker who had recently grouted a bathroom what she would do. Her answer was that she would stop trying to remove it, go to Lowe’s, buy matching grout and cover it.

BRILLIANT. Except I was in teeny tiny Manti, Utah and I had no idea where one might buy grout, (the closest Lowe’s was about two hours north) and I had no idea what this particular shade of grout was called. I decided to go look through the garage to see if there happened to be any left overs.  This house has two garages.  One is a two car and the other is a one car garage. Both have shelves and stuff lining every single wall, and it is packed with everything from motor oil to Christmas decorations.  Holy cow, how would I ever find anything in this place? I started in one corner and methodically worked my way through the shelves.  At three fourths of the way around, I found a bag of left over grout. YEA!

Now I just had to deal with the totally insignificant fact that I had never in my life had occasion to mix or apply grout, and had no idea what I was doing. It was also getting to that point where people should be coming back home. I was nearly hysterical.  Reason and common sense were completely taken over by wild eyed insanity.

I lugged the grout into the kitchen, and read the side of the bag. The directions were for people who wanted to mix up gallons of grout at a time. I only needed a cup. I put a few spoonfuls of dry grout into a large dixie cup, put the cup under the faucet and proceeded to add way too much water. Aaaagh! In a mad hurry, I thought to myself, “I’ll just dump most of it down the drain and it will even out.”

I can only imagine the pack of demons that must have been rolling around on the floor, sides splitting from laughter when they realized what I was about to do. “Oh this is TOO good- better than we imagined,” I’m sure they said.

Thankfully, my guardian angels yelled loud enough to access even my shorted out, acetone riddled brain cells, and seconds before I tipped the cup into the sink I heard them yell, “YOU DO NOT EVER POUR CEMENT DOWN THE DRAIN!!!!!!!!!” Oh yeah.  I knew that. Whew. I shudder imagining what explaining that would have been like. I stirred a few more spoonfuls of dry grout into my cup and thickened the mixture up to what I hoped would be appropriate.

I ran downstairs with my cup o’ grout, knelt down on the floor and prayed that it would work. I carefully dabbed the wet grout over the hot pink streaks. It was covering it!  Except it was all smudgy and didn’t have that nice clean, linear, professionally applied look any more. This was more like what a finger painting preschooler would do. I ran my fingers down the sides of the tile, pushing all the grout into the right grooves and finishing it off with a knife like swipe of my thumb nail. It looked perfect. I did this about twenty more times, until I had no fingernails left, and stood up and inspected. The grout I was using was darker than the grout already there.  I willed that stuff to lighten as it dried.

It had been just over two hours since the start of this debacle, and I was still shaking from adrenalin when Chris walked in the door a few minutes later.

There is no evidence whatsoever left in that bathroom.

I’m Alive

  • July 11, 2012 6:10 pm

It has been a busy summer so far- two vacations to see both sets of grandparents and now back home and trying to settle back in to a routine (or non-routine, as it were ha!). I have a few stories to tell, but need to find the quiet and calm long enough to sit down and write for a while.  Just wanted to leave an update for now.

Potty Training- Now With Mater

  • July 2, 2012 11:33 pm

We are at the beginning of our potty training with Gabe.  I hate potty training.  Really, truly, if I could hire out for this one task, I would.  I wish I could snap my fingers and make it happen, so anything to help is welcome. Their timing being perfect, Pull Ups asked me if I would be willing to check out their new Disney Cars themed training pants and their new online features to help with potty training.  Gabe is the world’s biggest Cars fan, so of course I said yes.

The most fun tool they have is a special phone call you can sign your child up for from either Mater or Cinderella.  If you want to check out Gabe’s reaction to the call you can check it out here.  Gabe was excited to hear Mater- but then frustrated that there was no video going along with it.  I think we will try it out again when Gabe is on the potty.  It is basically a cute motivational speech about taking a potty break.  If you want to sign your kiddo up for a call, check it out here.

They also have cute character pull ups to help encourage your kid- I always tell mine to try to keep Mater and Lightening McQueen dry  because they don’t like to have yucky pee on them.  The Pull Ups site also has a great kid friendly potty timer and many other fun features.  If you’re fighting the potty battle- check it out!

For some other great tips and tricks- check this out!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Pull-Ups. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating”