Thursday, August 29, 2013

what I want from you is....your voice

Girls always want hair they can't have right?
I've tried a variety.  But if I could choose, mine would either be dark-brown thick curls, orangey-golden Autumn-leaf red.  Mmm. 
Because then I could have lived with Daddy Warbucks and had a special locket.  Or maybe I could have an amazing Scottish accent and ride horseback like Merida.  Or...I could live my 8th-grade dream life and be Ariel!---with the most impossible-possible shade of red hair ever.

I'm going somewhere with this.
Basically, when I was 13, I lived and breathed The Little Mermaid.  It had just come out in theaters. I saw it multiple times, I owned the soundtrack, I loved the music.  And when it came out on DVD my cousin Rachael and I memorized it.  We spent two weeks at her grandparent's lake house that summer watching the movie every single day---quoting and singing along.
I can still quote it today.
Maybe you can too?!

When Disney emailed asking if I'd like to review their latest DVD release of The Little Mermaid, it was an easy yes! (the re-release comes out October 1st and is the first time on Blu-ray with HD)

The criteria for my review were to watch the movie with my daughter Lucy and then ask what messages she took from the film. 
So I decided to do the same for myself, from an adult perspective.  Because compared to my 13-year-old self, I definitely have new vision on how to follow your dreams.  And I was curious to see what would jump out at me this time around and what would jump out at Lucy....other than amazing flowing hair.

Sorry. I keep talking about that hair.  But in the water, it never stops moving!  It's just beautiful!  Amazing animation.
And that first time you see Ariel swim into screen, you just have to smile.
I felt like a kid again.
So for our special screening we invited over our good friends Savannah and Virginia.
And they invited over stuffed Ursula and Ariel.  Dude, is that the best stuffed villian or what?  The lips, the mole, the hair!  We're back to the hair again.
They'd all seen the movie before but it had been a while so they soaked it in, feeling tense at the tense parts,
and laughing at the silly ones.
And after a couple hours of lively music and colorful story-telling, we had a funny conversation.

I asked the kids, "so....what is something we can learn from The Little a lesson?"

[Blank stares]

[Take it down a notch]

"Savannah? (6) What was your favorite part?"
"Oh, I loved her pink dress.  It's just so pretty."
[Totally agree. Love the puffy sleeves]

"I love the pink dress too!" chimed in Virginia (3), "and that silly seagull"
[Yep.  Scuttle is the best.  Thank you Buddy Hacket for giving us a lifetime of "that" voice]

"Owen? (5) what was your favorite part?"
"When they killed Ursula! They stabbed her with the ship!  Can you believe it??"
[boy, boy, boy]
"And Mom? You know? I bet Mace Windu could probably just swipe her with a light saber."
[had to pull Star Wars into it] 
"Yep. I bet he could.  I bet any Jedi could beat Ursula."

And then came Lucy (7) with her golden-child moment.
I promise, I can't make this stuff up.  Her innocent demeanor is something I love best about her.
After thinking for a while she looked at me with those little girl eyes, "Well.  I think that what we can learn is that we should probably obey our parents because they know about dangers that kids don't know about.  If Ariel listened to her dad she probably wouldn't have gotten in so much trouble."
[my heart is melting.  Please remember this moment when you're a teenager]

"You're right. That's a great point Lucy.  And you know what else I was thinking?  Maybe Ariel's dad could have listened to her a little more too.  Maybe if he understood that she wanted to do something different they could have figured out a better way to make it work."
"Yea.  That's true.  I think it's important for parents to understand how their kids feel." 
"Yep.  That's right.  So you can always talk to me about anything, okay?"

And I suddenly realized that in the middle of a simple kids' movie there really is a good parenting message.  It's not about who lays down the rules or about getting your's about understanding each other.  And if Ariel and Triton could have come to an agreement and compromised a bit, Ariel could have spent a year swimming by Eric's castle each week, casually dating, dinner dates on the sand, traveling abroad to the check out the Pacific ocean, gaining her own life experience, and then her father wouldn't have been reduced to a wimpy Ursula weed. 

We have to give our kids an inch and help them explore paths that are likely different that what we love.  I love to sew.  She might love math and science.  Or she might take up fencing.  Who knows?  And in return, our kids should respect our life experience, take our advice, and then learn to find their own voice.

Whoa. Who knew The Little Mermaid could get so deep?
I told you I loved that movie.
And, I'm done.
Now it's your turn.
If it's been a while since you've seen it, I highly recommend picking it up! (details HERE)
Christmas gift for the kids' stockings?? 

And if you're up for a little giveaway, how about:
• $50 Visa Gift Card,
Little Mermaid Diamond Edition DVD

Just leave a comment below and share how you help your children to follow their dreams. 

Ah, ah, aah.
Ah, ah, aaaaaaah.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First-Day Dress

The good news about not sewing all summer is that my sewing room has stayed spotless!
I've loved walking in there and breathing that fresh, clean, organized scent.
The bad news, however, is that I've missed it.
And it only takes one project to remind you how fulfilling it is to take a 2-dimensional piece of fabric and create it into something wearable, and cute!
News flash: sewing is amazing.
Okay maybe that was more of a reminder.  But it's good to have the previous know, being away from your kids for a weekend (or your machine for the summer) so that you're extra happy to reunite?
Well with a new school year coming up I did what I do every year:  freak out that I waited till the last minute to sew a new outfit and started rummaging through fabric.  I showed Lucy a few fabric options, she picked her favorite, and sewed it up:
My dainty little 2nd grader. 
The pattern is a spin on the KITE dress I've been working on for a while now.  And when I say spin, it really spins!  I used the bodice from the kite dress pattern and added an almost circle skirt to the bottom (creating it from 2 "semi" circles)
Lucy totally loved it.
I wanna spin like that!
Some of the added details....
The dress has a full lining (because honestly, that's the easiest way to sew a dress, rather than creating facings and heming sleeves, etc.  And it looks pretty)
I popped a MADE tag in the side.
Lucy picked a yellow button for the back closure (which was my pick too!  I love it when we're on the same design page.  It's funny how often that happens)
And I went back and forth on the hem...should I attach the lining to the dress hem, keep them separate?  Make the lining hem longer so it shows?  So many options.  I decided to keep them separate which seems to make the skirt a bit fuller (and twirlier?)
And if I pull the dress inside out, you can see how fun it would be to leave the lining a bit longer than the dress so it pokes out a bit.  Maybe on the next dress.
We pulled it all together with a few accessories,
...and some hidden accessories for those kind of moments (yay KID Shorts!)
And just like that, my baby is ready for another year of learning and excitement.
Do you ever drop your kids off at school and wish you could be them?
Being a kid is the life.

Friday, August 23, 2013

TRAVEL: 11 ladies + 3 days + 0 kids = Palm Springs

I've been in a blog funk lately. 
Maybe the summer has zapped it out of me. 
It just seems that every Monday I have a well thought-out plan of the 3 to 4 blog posts I'm going to share during the week.  And then before I know it's Friday.  Like today!  And nothing's happened on the blog. 
I've tried not to fight it.  I'm enjoying the summer fun with the kids and taking trips where we can and plugging away at the house!  Okay, truth....THAT has been sucking away my blogging mojo.  All I want to do is scour Houzz and online design shops to make it as perfect as I envision.  

So it's a mix of things.
But when you're in a funk I guess the best place to start is by blogging about something that totally excites you. 
A weekend getaway with 3 of my sisters and 7 of my cousins, in Palm Springs, CA?
Yep. That'll do.
Dude. This was just what I needed last week.
A rental house in Palm Desert, CA fully equipped with a swimming pool, beach cruisers, and my favorite people to hang out with.  Yay! 
Between the 11 of us, our husbands took care of our 25 kids. 
And I love my kids. 
But I truly believe that taking breaks from them makes me a better mom.  It helps me remember that I used to be fun once, and I'm excited to see them again when we reunite.
In fact "being mom" this week has run a lot smoother than I would have thought, since Casey is now away on his own trip.
A little food, folks, and fun.  That's all you need.
The Beatles had it wrong.
Oh, and some crazy large palm trees.
And about 3-4 hour sessions in the swimming pool.
And a little bit of this....
(come check out the rest!)
My sister Camille and sister-in-law Laura coordinated the whole weekend and invited all the girl cousins in our family to come.  11 of us were able to go and they found a lovely house with enough beds for everyone.
...after a bit of rearranging.

I coordinated swag bags and everyone threw goodies inside when we got there.
We loved and laughed at the decor.   Tons of pretty damask and throw backs to Hollywood.
And then some really random Japanese items thrown in.
But everywhere you looked, there were tons of great details.  I loved looking for the fine design print. crystal doorknobs. 
And a pile of Streisand and Sinatra.  Pure Palm Springs.
Even the A/C grills were pretty! 
And it definitely wouldn't be a house with out Marilyn and Elizabeth.  They watched over our Kickboxing in the morning and Just Dance moves at night.
They even left their swim caps behind, if any of us could reach them.
It was a fabulous little (big) house, with a spectacular view of San Gorgonio.
We used the bikes to cruise around the neighborhood.
And loved all the local architecture.
If I were a Palm Springs house, I'd definitely have an orange door.
And if I were as cool as my sister Mere, I'd skate by Elvis Presley's honeymoon home.
The reality of the weekend? that we mostly did this:
and this:
It didn't suck.
We also ate at local spots:
found local icons:
and yea.
We did a whole lot of this:
It's funny to think of leaving hot Texas to hang out in the hot California desert.
But it was really great!
Even riding bikes in 110 degrees was a blast.
Sweaty ride = diving in the pool later.
And who can resist all these mid-century modern lovelies?....and my sister Camille who can ride with a Diet Coke in-hand.
...or the whacked off palm trees that remind me of a Lloyd Christmas haircut.
Thanks Palm Springs!  I had a great weekend ladies! Hope we do it again next year....or sooner...
And I hope that brings me out of my funk!
Stay tuned next week as the kids go back to school and I go back to Dana default.
Have a great weekend!