Thursday, January 31, 2008

You're the Cheese to My Macaroni

First: Does anyone else do this? I have a blog or two that I go to, but do not read. I simply load them up for, oh, four hours, and stream their music. "Soul and the Sea" is the name of a song I never heard of until the moment I loaded up my blog. It's beautiful! Anyway, I just want to know I'm not the only one out there who does this. If I was feeling particularly constructive today, I'd make one for myself. But it's oh so much easier to just listen to someone else's good music.

Anyway, on to our regularly scheduled programming. I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty random post.

Michael and I saw Juno the other night. It was every bit as good as everyone has said. I would highly recommend it, and its soundtrack. Anyway, for those who don't know, the movie is about a girl named Juno, aged 16, who becomes pregnant and wrestles with the idea of adoption. I don't want to give anything away, but that's not the point anyway. The point is that I was able to watch this movie with absolute, complete, detachment. Which was totally weird.

It took my husband pointing out to me the next day that I should have been a little emotional watching the movie. See, I was adopted. And my biological mother was sixteen, and made the hard decision to not abort me (I am way too young for Roe v. Wade to be before my time), carried me to term, and then gave me up to two really wonderful parents who were unable to have children of their own. And wow. Now that I'm thinking about all of that in terms of the movie... it's a miracle that I wasn't a complete wreck.

Which makes me wonder... how much do I just let wash over me like that? In my Bible Study on Tuesday (Beth Moore's Stepping Up), Beth taught on songs and worship (since that's pretty much the core of our study). She was talking about how often we can be moved by a beautiful melody in a worship song but not really worship. Like, for example. We often sing this song in church, Chris Tomlin's Enough:
All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough
Usually, I sing it and get goosebumps. "Wow, what a beautiful, moving song." But do I mean it? Really? Of course not! I want my comfortable house with a scheduled day and my perfect husband and fashionable clothes and bottled water and a skinnier waist and time to myself and more money and dust free appliances and supper on the table at six and...

Anyway, Beth's point was that just being moved by a song isn't worship. And Lord, I want to be a Worshipper. I want my heart to change and I want to look more like You.

And it's interesting what the Lord uses to drive a point home, but I was thankful that the movie was a reminder of that... and that a few days later, I'm still pondering on it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

All Done

For the past, oh, six months I've been trying to teach Phoebe how to sign.  And according to the books, she could have started signing three or four months ago.  This was a tremendous source of frustration for me because I was certain my Baby Genius would have it mastered well before the books said she could.  

Anyway, I finally came to a place of resignation.  I figured that Phoebe would just talk instead of sign, and it really wasn't that big of a deal if she could sign or not.  And really, it isn't that big of a deal.  

Well, I should have known that she would surprise me.

Like magic, we signed "all done" after breakfast.  She'd eaten her bottle, fruit and cereal, and had moved on to her Cheerios while we ate our cereal.  And then she stopped picking up her O's and waved her hand wildly in the air.  We weren't sure if this was really a sign, but determined it had to be since she immediately proceeded to feed Jake her leftovers.

Miraculous!  The child will sign!

Well, she was so excited about our enthusiasm for her newfound skill, she began to sign all done for everything.  Tired of sitting?  "All done."  Ready to play?  "All done."  Happy?  "All done."  Finished going potty? "All done."  Reading?  "All done."

Now, I realize we should diversify, but... for now, she can be done with whatever she wants.  We think it's pretty darn cute, anyway.

In other news, I've been updating Everyday Gourmet again... check it out for some easy, family-feeding recipes.  

Monday, January 28, 2008

Free! Really!

Comments for this post are now closed! I will draw a winner sometime tonight, and will post before 9:00am on February 2. Thanks for all the great entries -- and book recommendations!

I am feeling just the tiniest bit geeky doing this, because it means that I may occasionally blog for reasons other than personal journaling. But honestly, this sounded like fun. And because we all know I really am geeky... well, I decided to go ahead and do it. But really, I think the geeky thing is that this is blog entry number three today.

Anyway, I am going to give away something. For free. As part of the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival.

That something is one hand-appliqu├ęd and embroidered baby onesie. I will custom make this based on the size and design requested by the winner. These make lovely baby gifts, but they're great to keep, too. Here is a sample of what I mean (winner can choose their own fabric and shape, if a whale's not your thing):

Here's what you have to do:
  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite children's book.
  2. If you are also hosting a giveaway, please let me know in your comments so I can check it out!
  3. You have to live in the U.S. My husband would kill me if I told him I needed to ship something to Japan. Really.
  4. Please make sure you leave a blog link or email address in your comment so I know how to get in touch with you, in the event that you are lucky and win.
On Saturday, I will randomly choose a winner. I'll get in touch with that person, and send a free, handmade baby gift your way! Sound exciting? I thought so! So comment away!

Happy Birthday, Mops!

Happy Birthday, Mops! Your little ladybug (and the rest of us, too) love you so much! We'll see you tomorrow!


Be careful what you pray for, or you just might get it.

No really.

On Fridays, Michael leaves the house before six (that's in the morning, friends) so I'm on my own with Phoebe all day long. Which really is a lot of fun, but come 1:00, I'm running out of steam. I'm ready for Michael to get home and give me some kind of clue of what I should do, because how many times can Phoebe really dump the bookshelf in one day? My creativity as a mom often begins to lag.

Well, Friday morning, I prayed that we would have a memorable day. That we would do something beyond our normal, mundane stuff, and that my mommy brain could be a little creative.

Turns out, it's God who's the Creative One. He has such a sense of humor sometimes.

Michael had forgotten his lunch, so I sweetly offered to bring it to him. Well, on the way, I realized I'd forgotten it too. So I called to ask if I could bring him Zaxby's instead. (He was thrilled at the prospect, by the way.) So off I go, into the drive thru, and order him his totally sinful chicken finger platter. Only to get to the window and realize that I had no money. My wallet was on the table at home.

Which posed another problem. Not only was I bringing lunch, but I was out of diapers so I absolutelypositively had to go to the grocery store.

So instead of me, delivering lunch to my sweet husband, he had to come deliver me with his check card. And he had to buy his own lunch.

Oh yeah. I also forgot my grocery list, so he had to bring me recipe printouts. (I still ended up forgetting a couple of essentials.)

So although I was very forgetful on Friday, the day was wonderful and, most of all, memorable. I am so thankful that I serve a God who answers prayers, consistently and creatively.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Oh Lambie...

The Lambie infatuation began innocently enough. Always fond of her critters, we piled a few blankie-type friends in bed with Phoebe for naps and bedtime. I thought for sure that Friendly Frog would be her favorite, but I was mistaken. I'm not sure when it actually happened, but Lambie quickly emerged as Phoebe's absolute favorite critter.

And by favorite, I mean the only way to get Phoebe to sleep.

The other night at bedtime, Phoebs had a ginormous spit-up all over Lambie. I mean, Lambie was soaked. I immediately thought to chunk her in the washing machine (the lamb, not Phoebe), but decided to wait. I temporarily held Lambie hostage to see if we could achieve sleep without her. After fifteen minutes of sad, sad restlessness in Phoebe's crib, I decided to return the soaking wet critter to her owner.

Phoebe was asleep thirty seconds later.

Phoebe takes tremendous comfort in her little Lambie. When she's falling asleep, she rubs Lambie's ears, ribbon, and face. She does this adorable nuzzle into Lambie as soon as she sees her. And when Phoebe isn't feeling well, Lambie is just the thing to calm her down.

Lambie is a tangible thing in which Phoebe takes comfort. She doesn't flirt with other toys, Lambie is it. What a valuable lesson she has to teach her Mommy!

As I was reading Psalm 121 today, I was reminded that I have a Lamb, too, in Whom I can take comfort. He is my Comforter, and my Keeper. He will watch over me and protect me, now and forever. When times are difficult, when I need a rest, He is there. He never sleeps, He's never missing... I only have to call His name.

Phoebe probably won't take Lambie to college with her, though I joke that she might... but it's my prayer that as Lambie loses her importance to Phoebe that the Lamb becomes her true comforter.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Balanced Diet?

  • Breakfast: Toasted english muffins with melted shredded cheese
  • Lunch: Pimiento cheese sandwich on toast
  • Snack: Basil and cream cheese torta (leftover from party) on crackers
  • Dinner: Macaroni and cheese with a couple of slices of pork (also leftover from party)
I am setting such a good example for my child.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

If you are looking for the handmade onesie giveaway from the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, please click here!

I have posted previously about the wonders of paperbackswap, but that was before I had actually received any books.

You may remember that, in an attempt to do some new year purging, I listed several books that I didn't want or need to hang on to... Blount Initiative paperbacks, anyone? Anyway, my list grew to about thirty books. I have now mailed four of them, will mail three later this week. That's seven books no longer taking up space on my shelf!

Now, I did have to pay shipping for these books. But the beauty is that I get seven books that I really want to replace them, free of charge. (The sender will pay shipping on these books.) I received Pilgrim's Progress yesterday, and I think it is far more valuable than, say, The Great Human Diaspora... but maybe that's just me.

Anyway, it's a great way to recycle books, and it works on a credit system -- no paypal account to create, no credit card numbers, no real money. It's really been a great way to get some books that I was really wanting to buy anyway, and get rid of some books at the same time.

The great thing is, if you sign up for paperback swap by listing ten books, you automatically get two credits (that's two books). If you list me as your referrer, I also get a credit. So we all win! If you click the link below, you can get started in your paperbackswap journey! (There are also more details on the site, so that you can get all of the details before signing up.)

What are you waiting for? This totally works for me! (Check out more great helpful ideas at Works for Me Wednesday.)

Edited to Add: My sweet friend Rachel, whom I've been friends since we were reading books (and playing MASHO) in Mrs. Stidger's 10th Grade English, reminded me about media mail! It costs under $2.50 to mail most paperbacks using media mail, which recommends you do!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Oh Jake, how we love thee.

Those of you who know Jake, in the flesh, know how much we adore this dog. And how much Jake adores food.

Jake has what we like to call "impulse control". Once he sees something he wants, it's like he can't help himself. In the early days, he ate an entire package of Boar's Head lunchmeat off the counter. And now that Phoebe is here, he likes to eat anything of hers...particularly diapers, but that's another story.

Anyway, this weekend Michael and I helped throw an engagement soiree for Fave and Gus at my parents' house. The party included an extensive menu which my mother worked tirelessly to prepare. She even made her famous Southern Living Dark Chocolate Chunk Cake.

Friends, this is the cake to trump all cakes. I cannot even tell you how delicious it is. It is a thing of beauty.

And apparently, Jake thinks so too. He ate half a cake when we weren't looking.

Now here's your public service announcement for the day: chocolate is toxic to dogs. And the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

The short story is that Jake deeply regrets the day that he ever tried chocolate, thanks to the effects of two cups of hydrogen peroxide, some other nausea medicine, and activated charcoal. After five hours at the ER vet, we're so thankful that we didn't experience death by chocolate for our beloved boy.

But I found out something about dogs and chocolate. Once they have that first taste, it's like they can't get enough. We now have to be extra careful about it, getting all temptation out of the way.

Which is kind of like those sins that we particularly love. Gossip. Lying. Lust. Once you start, you can't get enough. And this whole situation made me think of something I just read in Romans 7:15-20 (ESV)

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

We're like Jake and the chocolate. We just keep doing what we don't want to do, because we're infected with our flesh. We have to sometimes go to extremes to resist temptation -- but that resistance is worth it. Especially if we desire to be more like Christ.

Anyway, we're happy to report that Jake is fine. He's out chasing chipmunks and birds, and I'm sure he'll want to lick our plates after dinner tonight.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sick Day, Revisited

I sat down with the intention of being witty. But seriously. I haven't slept in two days, so give a girl a break.

Phoebe's cold is really no big deal, until nighttime. Which is when she can't sleep. And when Phoebe can't sleep, neither can Mommy or Daddy. And I'm all for sleep training the no-nonsense way, but not during a time of illness. So Mommy spent a few hours in the chair, Daddy did a great job keeping us all from losing our minds, and Phoebe did finally sleep a few blissful hours.

Leading up to this night of little sleep was a day of little sleep and even less energy. At 5:15, Phoebe was falling apart, ready for bed, ready for... anything. Her nose and mouth were dripping copious amounts of liquid, and I was trying to get dinner on the table. So what do we do? We bust out the DVDs.

You can tell that Phoebe watches very little television.

She sat, stunned and still, for thirty minutes. Thank heavens it was a DVD of Bible songs and not cable! Friends, I would highly recommend the Five Little Ladybugs DVD. My little ladybug absolutely loved it.

And yes. That is my Christmas tree in the background. That was on the list, but... it'll come down before Valentine's Day I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Act Like a Lady

Phoebe comes from a family of ladybug lovers, for sure and for certain. So I'm pretty sure the ladybug outfit was a no-brainer for Mops... and it found its way under the Christmas tree for our little lady. Can I just tell you that I was just filled with delight every time I looked at this little bug crawling around my floor?

And crawl she did. Oh my goodness, did she crawl.

When did she get so fast?

It normally takes me about eight minutes to dress and make the bed with a little one underfoot. She entertains herself with the bookshelf, a few toys, or just standing up at the side of the bed. Yesterday it took over twenty minutes. She's moving, grooving, and really... she's wanting to explore it all.

I think under normal circumstances, I would've been extremely frustrated with all of the training and disciplining and chasing that had to go on yesterday... but when the thing crawling around looks like this... can you help but smile?

In other news... the little ladybug seems to have caught a nasty cold in all of her flitting about yesterday, so we're hiding away with some Sesame Street and Veggie Tales and Lamby today. Perhaps we're just in recovery mode from all the places we flew yesterday?

Monday, January 14, 2008

For Good Measure

Here's our little proud walking girl in action...
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10 Month Day

It isn't Christmas...but it IS Phoebe's 10 Month Day! We had such a typical, but such a joy-filled day today. I think the picture above captures the day perfectly: Phoebe is trying to get into something, I'm trying to smile while keeping her out of trouble, and Michael is steady as always.

Has it really been ten months, though? Really? It seems like she has, overnight, gone from baby to little girl. This past month has been filled with milestones... even this past week! I'm not going to wax poetic for too long since I am completely exhausted today, but here's what the little big girl is up to these days:
  • walking with a walker/push toy -- she can cruise from the front door to the back of the kitchen, provided there are no obstacles
  • teeth! we finally have a tooth!
  • narrating just about everything... she is not a quiet baby! her favorite time to talk is when she's playing by herself and I'm not in the room
  • eating all kinds of big girl foods like toast, baby goldfish, wagonwheels, broccoli, yogurt... she loves to try new things, and for this I am so grateful
  • opening and closing cabinets
  • speed crawling and "monkey walking" -- she's started walking with on all fours, but with no knees... very cute
  • beginning to respond to music by dancing
  • signing(?) "get me out of here", and I think she signed "milk" yesterday... but the whole sign language thing is iffy
  • sleeping well again, praise the Lord. she typically takes two good daytime naps and now seldom wakes at night... we are thrilled!
  • rarely sitting still -- she gets very impatient in laps right now because she just wants to be on the go
  • splashing and squirting toys in the bath
  • loving other babies... she loves to look at pictures of babies, see babies in the grocery store, kiss baby dolls (occasionally)... she will make a wonderful big sister some day!
  • reading, at least to herself -- her favorite book is Baby ABC because it has pictures of real babies, of course! she pulls off all the books on her shelf until she finds it. she's also a big fan of texture books (I would highly recommend Feely Bugs to my other mom friends)

Also, just today, Phoebe figured out how to crawl into her toy box, and I think it's her new favorite hobby. We'll have to try to get it on video... it's pretty cute.

For ten months, Phoebe has been our great delight... we can't wait to see what the next month will bring!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Free! Books! Now!

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read.  I have vivid memories of sitting on the swingset in Arizona with a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age Eight, chewing on a piece of my hair and absolutely loving good ole Ramona and the incident with the blueing.  I also remember sitting up late at night in my wicker daybed with all sorts of literary friends.  We were also huge Scholastic Book Club buyers.  Reading was my great delight as a kid.

And then this thing called required reading came along.  And somewhere around the time I was forced to read The Good Earth (which I didn't like then, but would probably love now) my love for reading dropped off significantly.  It suddenly became this big haftado instead of something I got to do.  And then college came along, and it was more of the same.  And once I started teaching?  Forget about it.  I was too tired to read for pleasure at the end of the day.

But since Phoebe has arrived, I've had this great desire to read again.  I was a bit depressed at first, because books cost so much money.  And then I discovered the public library.  And how do I love the public library, let me count the ways.  I plowed my way through all kinds of great novels this summer, discovered a new genre or two, and renewed this great big infatuation with books again.  

The only problem with the library is that you don't get to keep the books.  

But then I discovered Paperback Swap.  Oh friends.  I am so stinkin excited.  It is free, first of all.  It works like this:
  • you list ten books that you would be willing to swap with someone else
  • you get two credits for books you can "order" off of the site (mailed to you by another member)
  • when you mail your books out, you get one credit per book -- and one credit equals one book that you can choose
I mean, what could be better?  You simply pay for shipping of the books that you send out.  That's it!  You also get credits for referring people, which I am doing now.  Simply click this link:

And sign up!  Once you list your ten books, you can get started in the fun.  This is also a great way to clean out the shelves of some old college books that you've been hanging on to, or anything else that you think you might not want to read again.  Please say sarahrosie referred you!

And now I should go read!

Friday, January 11, 2008

You Know You're A Parent When...

Poopy is no longer a big deal.

Before you are a parent, the thought of dealing with diapers is pretty much the grossest thing you can think of.  And honestly, poop is pretty gross.  I'm sure I don't need to explain this to any of you, though.  

Well, the reality of it all is that it's a whole bunch of build up.  After the first couple of weeks, you figure out how to deal with it all and it's just a part of life.  You sniff little bottoms for evidence, change the offending parcels anywhere and everywhere, and you get on with it.  If you can pawn it off on a spouse or grandparent, it's just that much better.  But really, it's nothing.

But poopy out of the diaper is another story.  It's wild.  It's unconfined.  And most of the time if it's out, you've got a mess on your hands.  Or the stroller.  Or the sweet little outfit.  Gags usually accompany this kind of mess.  

Then after several months, the poop loses its mystique.  In the case of our little critter, poop is hard to come by, so you're thankful that it finally does because then we're all happier.  

Well tonight, Phoebe was having a difficult time taking care of business.  When things started moving, though, she was in the tub.  Michael and I looked at each other and made a quick decision:  we would allow her to finish things up.  

That's right:  two consenting, college educated adults made the decision to allow an out of the diaper poopy.  Afterwards, I assured Michael that I'd clean everything up once Phoebe got in bed; my sweetheart decided to go ahead and take care of it.

"It's just poop, honey," he says.

Although I don't know what makes us more officially parents:  the fact that we think poop is no big deal, or that we're willing to talk about it so openly.  

But really.  It's no big deal.

Where's the Teeth?

Things are not always what they seem.

Especially with children.

For example. At first blush, this picture appears to be one of a very messy little girl gleefully enjoying broccoli, pasta, and a wagon wheel cracker. And apple juice. And actually, it is. Isn't she cute?

But if you look further, beyond the green and gold fragments into that wide, wide open mouth... and take a magnifying glass... and use your imagination just a tiny bit... you would see...

a tooth!

That's right, friends. The tooth has arrived. Finally. After what must have been six months of teething, if you listen to her Mommy. Now, it's just the tip of that tooth and it still has a ways to go... but friends, it is here. Hallelujah!

No really. Her teeth have been the subject of prayer requests since October. Because I was convinced that she started teething back then. And after all the encouragement that some children are just difficult teethers, that the sickness and diarrhea and all that is a sign of teething, that she'd have her teeth soon enough... I mean, I felt like it was so bad that I was just certain that she'd pop eight teeth at once. But the teeth never came.

Well, sleep eventually came back to our house (praise the Lord!) and all was peaceful. And then, all of a sudden... here it is! It came without whining or fanfare or frustration. What a blessing that they really can just "appear" out of nowhere one day.

The thing of teething was certainly not what it seemed, but more likely just a normal child with normal sleep patterns and normal parents just trying to, by the grace of God, figure out what this whole thing is all about.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Baby Food, the Rerun

Food equals love, or at least it does in my house. And probably yours, too. But especially mine, because I claim Italian descent, and we all know how Italians say, “I love you”...

With meatballs.

Anyway, I want to love my family with food. I want to make it healthy, and really, really satisfying. It’s not necessarily gourmet, but it sure is love. So when it was just two of us, I put a lot of love into our mealtime event. And now that it is three, I still want to put a lot of love there.

But see, baby food doesn’t exactly scream “love” to me. Pop open a jar, nuke for twenty seconds, feed. So since I have all these romantic notions about food, I commenced with the grand making of the baby food the second Dr. B told me Phoebe was ready for taters. 

And make I did. Carolynn and I even had a blitz fest with the food processors and we stocked our freezers. It brought great delight to my heart.

And then we ran out. Two weeks before Christmas.

So Gerber became my best friend. Because two weeks before Christmas, you don’t care how lovely jarred vegetable chicken dinner is. You just want to keep everybody happy and fed.

But with the New Year came a Resolution to get back on the baby food wagon. I needed to get the food processor out again, and fast.  Phoebe was tiring of ultra-soupy textures, and I was tiring of the grocery bill.  So Nandee graciously agreed to entertain at her house, and I was determined to get it done.

The Facts:
  • Six consecutive hours in the kitchen
  • All kitchen real estate occupied (and by all, I mean all -- stove, oven, counters, you name it)
  • 10 ice cube trays filled, twice over
  • At least 24 varieties of baby food
  • A nasty set of dishpan hands
I even did the math, girls.  It hurt my brain a little bit, because I haven’t divided this added, multiplied, and divided this much since I had to figure out semester averages.  But the bottom line cost of homemade was over fifty percent cheaper than store bought.  Well worth the extra effort!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Maybe it IS Rocket Science

After two hours, we finally got it to make its first stitch.

I say "we", because after about an hour and a half of wanting to throw the bobbin out the window, I called in Michael. He fixed it in about 15 minutes.

But then I spent an hour trying to get the tension just right. I am convinced it is not possible, at least not tonight.

But hey, I have about forty-seven pretty black and white seams on hot pink fabric. Which is more than I had at 7:15 this evening.

It's Not Rocket Science

I've always been a little bit of a perfectionist. (Quit laughing, honey.) It doesn't manifest itself everywhere, and I certainly make no claims to be perfect, but... for as long as I can remember, the quest to get myself as close to perfect as possible has pretty much overtaken my life. And any "failure" of any sort (I remember myself claiming that a B on a Calculus test was "practically failing!") was devastating.

Now, my sweet parents and now my husband have done nothing to impose these expectations on me. I've just always been a bit of a stinker with my own expectations. For the most part, these perfectionist expectations have served me well. I did really great in school, for example, as a result. But at other times, they've been rather paralyzing.

Since I hate to fail so dadgum much, I hate to try anything that I think I might fail at. And I get totally intimidated by new things and new skills.

But in an attempt to start this new year off right, I'm getting over it. Or trying. See, my sweet husband got me a sewing machine for Christmas and I am totally excited to try it out. But the one and only time I've ever used a sewing machine was when I was eight and made a patchwork doll quilt for a school project. Knowing this, Michael also got me all manner of really wonderful guidebooks that are really like a 101 course in sewing.

So here's the thing... I'm not even going to sew it right when I try it. I'll probably jam it up and sew crooked and ruin my fabric. But I have to keep telling myself: it's not rocket science. If I can just remind myself that gazillions of women all around the world use a sewing machine successfully (and I was one of them, at eight no less!)... well, surely I can (eventually) sew a straight seam and maybe even a few projects as well!

So hopefully, if all goes well with bedtime tonight, I'll be sewing my first seams today! Hooray!