Saturday, February 23, 2013

Update on the Co-Op

Back in this post, I shared my angst about the babysitting co-op we joined.

To recap, when we were invited to join the co-op, I was beyond excited.  It made me so happy that we lived in a place where there was an organized babysitting group and we, somehow, were let into the club!  Then, I completely switched and I became freaked out that we were sending our toddler down the path to childhood obesity because at each co-op party, she would eat badly and watch television.

Now, I'm back to loving our co-op.   Here's what's happened since I last blogged about co-op.
  • We sent Star to her 2nd co-op party which was fabulous.  The family has a trampoline in the backyard, and they have house rules where the big kids can only jump as fast as the littlest kid on the trampoline.  So, Star was in complete control on the trampoline and she had a great time.  The other great thing about this family is that one of their kids is a vegetarian, so they are completely supportive of how we eat.  Woohoo!  At this co-op party, the trampoline wore out our daughter, so when we picked her up at 9pm, she was asleep in the parents' bed while all the other kids were watching the movie of the night and eating dessert downstairs.  I now have a note in my address book that Star should attend all the co-op parties that this family hosts. 
  • A weekend, later, there was a full co-op potluck brunch where we got to meet the other families and socialize.  It was great to get to know the other families. 
  •  Serendipitously, I listened to To The Best of Our Knowledge's podcast on the topic of The Other Money.  On it, there was a segment about a babysitting co-op in Madison which has been in operation since 2005.  (By comparison, the co-op that we're in has been around since the 1970s.)  One of the Madison moms interviewed talked about the benefits of being in this co-op.  Among the benefits, she said that she and her husband and the other parents have a better social life than other parents that they know; they are more connected to other neighbors in their community; and she said that her kids have become comfortable around various adults and kids of all ages because of the co-op.  This is a huge selling point to me.  Our daughter is an only child, and bringing her up with community that we create is a very important value for us.  
  • We have noticed increased connections in our community!  I ran into a co-op mom at a Dailey Method Class; and, we ran into a different co-op mom and her 2 daughters (one of whom is Star's age) while getting new iPhones at Bay Street.  It's made where we live feel more and more like a community.  
  • The biggest thing is that we hosted our first co-op party last night, and it was a success!  We were over-prepared and had too much food, but the kids we hosted, including Star, were happy.  We followed the basic co-op curriculum which was explained to me by email.
    • 5:30-7 - kids arrive.  Have a pad/pen near door for parents to write down cell phone numbers.  Kids play with toys, explore and do art.
    • 7ish - dinner.
    • 7:15-7:45 - more free play / art.
    • 7:45 - dessert.  We offered fruit popsicles.
    • 8ish - movie.  We watched a documentary on bees which probably was not the best choice.  My bad.  
    • After movie - lights out and quiet time.  Our daughter wanted to stay in the living room and sleep on the couches with the other kids, but she was too hyped up and eventually we moved her to her room so she could actually sleep.  
    • I was told that most parents pick up by 10pm and this was true.  Then, I collapsed into my own bed.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I went to the fabric store to get thread...

...and I came out with 2 yards of these three fabrics.  In my defense (do I need a defense?), they were each 50% off.  I'm not sure what I'm going to make with them but I love how springy and cheerful they each are!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Promise of a New Craft

I love learning a new craft: getting and organizing the gadgets that go with it, and then trying to perfect my new craft.  I've been known to become a bit on the obsessive side.

The first craft I became passionate about as an adult was crocheting.  I moved to Israel in 1993 after I graduated from college.  I was living on a Kibbutz feeling somewhat isolated.  Someone taught me to crochet, and I was hooked (bad pun intended.)  It only required yarn and a crochet hook, so it was portable enough for my lifestyle at the time.

After I returned from Israel, I was living in San Francisco with the boyfriend that I met in Israel, and he started to get more and more religious.  I needed something to do on Saturdays while he did Jewish stuff, so I learned to knit at a local San Francisco yarn store.  That boyfriend didn't last long, but my knitting did.

My monogamous knitting phase lasted about 15 years.  Knitting was essential to my sanity throughout law school in Salem, Oregon.  I mostly knit sweaters for myself during those years - big chunky warm wool sweaters that make me a bit itchy today, but were perfect for the Oregon weather that I was living in at the time.  After law school, I knit baby hats, sweaters and blankets for my sister's kids and friends of mine who were having kids.  I knit a skirt for myself which I wore to a boyfriend's cousin's rehearsal dinner (that boyfriend is now my husband.)  And, I continued to make sweaters for myself - now in light cottons.

In about 2007, I dove into spinning.  I bought a wheel and all the accessories.  I loved starting a spinning project at a time when my new husband would be coming home.  It felt cozy and domestic to be set up with my spinning wheel peacefully spinning away while greeting him at the end of a day.

With all the yarn I was making, I couldn't knit it fast enough, so I bought a weaving loom and started making scarves and rugs.  This spinning and weaving phase didn't last long.  I sold all those gadgets within 2 years.

When I was pregnant with our daughter in 2009/2010, my fingers were too swollen and stiff to knit comfortably.  So I got into mosaics.  I loved breaking the tiles.  I made the house number for our home.  I had visions of making a belly cast when I got hugely pregnant and then mosaicing the belly cast, but my daughter had other visions and was born early - before I got around to doing the belly cast.  I haven't done any mosaic projects since then.

Once my daughter was born, sewing became my new craft of choice.  Knitting, my fall-back craft, took too much time that I no longer had, but I still wanted to produce cute things.  I've sewn skirts, dresses, tops, pants and now quilts for my daughter. I bought a special ruffle foot for my sewing machine which I love a bit too much.  My next sewing goals are to make some things for me. 

Then, I got into beading - basic wire wrapping and jewelry making.  I bought many tools for this new craft and have created some pieces that I love.  Sewing and beading are both quicker than knitting, but not as portable.  My commuting time is no longer productive crafting time. 

Now, I feel the pull of a new craft.  Metalsmithing.  I feel myself about to fall in, but I'm hesitating a bit because it's going to be a financial investment to get started.  At a minimum, I'm estimating a $200 initial investment to get some basic tools (including a fire extinguisher!)  I've already been watching videos and reading books, and feel beyond excited about making my own rings, pendants and clasps.  My guess is that I'm about to fall over this new craft cliff.