Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I am so excited about Elanor's Halloween costume this year. I actually made it and it actually looks good! I mentioned on here before that Elanor was going to be Little Red Riding Hood and I have been prepping for this costume since August (I bought the material and supplies back then) and I actually finished the costume in plenty of time. I made a corset type vest, a skirt, apron and of course a little red cloak.  My inspiration for this costume were the traditional Norwegian folk clothes such as this:

I went this route because I wanted a very old-fashioned, traditional feel and something that Little Red Riding Hood might have actually worn (though the story is from Germany, not Norway). I also used this cloak tutorial, but I lined the cloak, and used a button and elastic instead of velcro. 

When we were back in Oregon two weeks ago, we took Elanor into my parent's forest for a little photo shoot/walk/picnic--she pretended like she was going to "Grandma's house" the whole time.

I could not get Elanor to slow down. She was bound and determined to get to "Grandma's house", obviously she would not have stopped to chat with a wolf.
I could not keep up!

We stopped for a sunny, pleasant picnic.

This hair style is my favorite!

A very brief video of Little Red Riding Hood in the forest:

We found a ton  of leaves and Elanor wanted to play in them, of course!

In these two pictures, you can see some of the details of the costume:
 The cloak exterior is corduroy, and the interior is cotton. The vest is canvas, and gave the outfit the rustic feel I wanted. The skirt is some sort of felted wool material. I am not completely sure, as I found about 2 yards of it at a vintage shop for only $2! The little apron is just some white cotton fabric I already had and I added the eyelet trim, and the band with the ribbon. This ribbon is traditional Norwegian ribbon and it is so beautiful! I ordered the ribbon from an Etsy shop. 
 I enjoyed making this costume and we are so excited to take Little Red out trick-or-treating tonight (we are all feeling much better, fyi).

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This Happened...

...on Monday night. This poor little girl is sick and claimed watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang might just help. Unfortunately, it didn't. Elanor threw up six times throughout the night, as did Tyler and I. Uggghh. Throwing up is possibly one of the worst things humans have to endure. All three of us hardly got any sleep and poor Tyler still had to go to school in the morning. We are doing much better, but I have not been able to get Elanor to eat much. I am hoping we will all be well enough to go trick-or-treating tomorrow, because Elanor has been looking forward to it so much! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Weekly Photo

Some photos just look better in black and white.
{hiking in the snow up at Alta}

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three Autumns

This is Elanor's third Autumn, which obviously makes sense as she will be turning three in December. It feels like it has all gone by so fast but at the same time she has changed so much. Here are some pictures of Elanor at the pumpkin patch (it is the same pumpkin patch every year actually) starting at almost 11 months, nearly two and this year being nearly three.  

This little girl is growing up into such a fun, creative, smart and funny little girl.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Weekly Photo

I was is Oregon (again) from last Thursday to yesterday. Sorry for the lack of posts and for a late Weekly Photo! Elanor and I went back to see the play my mom directed, I did the choreography for and my brother is in, "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Elanor was even able to watch a show, which was super fun. She loved it, was engaged pretty much the whole time and asked many loud questions. It was adorable. When I did plays with my mom, we also did "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and so on the Friday night show a few of those actors came to see this show. It was so fun to watch the play with them and some of them I had not seen in several years! I was sad that more of us were not able to go, but many of them are spread across the U.S. and world (one in England and another in New Zealand). I am so glad I was able to go back for the show, as I miss being involved in theatre so terribly much.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

This is our third year going to this pumpkin patch (more on that on another post) and we love it! It is always a fun time and I look forward to it every year. I just wish I could find a good place to cut down a Christmas tree here.... 

Elanor with her pumpkin!
This picture is so funny to me.
There was a huge corn pit here, which Elanor had a ton of fun playing in!
I love pumpkins and this patch (Petersen Family Farm, if you were wondering) has so many varieties. We all picked out a carving pumpkin, plus I picked out several "decorating" pumpkins. Pumpkins are pretty much my only Halloween/fall decoration--as I do not have many actual decorations. It was a fun evening, plus I made some delicious meat pies for the road (it is a bit of a drive).

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Weekly Photo

 Elanor and I spent a lot of time at home and without Tyler this week. He has a very busy school and work schedule and this week he had a ton of school stuff to finish up. So when Saturday rolled around, we headed for the pumpkin patch and spent most of the day together. It was lovely. Elanor and I sure miss him when he has to be gone so much and I know he would much rather be at home as well. It has also turned very fallish here. Many of the leaves on the trees are colorful and it has definitely decided to stay cool. Ah, Fall... I love you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Princesses and Bravery

So, I see things on Pinterest all that time saying things such as, "Top Ten Books for girls--no princess books on the list!". I feel like there are either women/girls who are super into princesses, especially Disney ones and basically think they are a princess or there are women/girls who are adamantly against princesses and their stories in every way. Why can't there be a middle ground? A place where you can like princesses but still be smart and brave. I say there can and so would Sara Crewe (from the book, A Little Princess).

I do sort of get the anti-princess movement to an extent. Disney markets their princess stuff in often very tacky, overly pink, covered in jewels junk. However, I am fan of Disney movies and Disney princess movies. I even like to go to the Disney store (gasp). The Disney Store often has better merchandise than the horrible stuff Disney sells elsewhere. Disney makes such awesome characters and it is a pity that they ruin them when they sell such tacky stuff.  Do I want my daughter to grow up to be a subservient, woe is me adult? Of course not. Do I want her is be smart, brave, lady-like and imaginative? Yes!
Elanor at about 18 months old.

So here's the thing: I think many women don't exactly know what bravery is or how many sorts of bravery exist. Many women are for having women be more violent and wanting to see women on the battlefield. While there is a time and a place for physical fighting, it is not the bravest thing a girl can do. I love Mulan (the movie) and though she is a very good soldier, that is not what made her brave. Sacrifice and endurance are the two things that make someone brave in my opinion. Mulan sacrificed herself--in taking her father's place in the army, knowing that if they found out she was a woman she would be killed. Belle from Beauty and the Beast likewise sacrificed her freedom and life for her father. Cinderella (both in the actual fairytale and Disney movie) is brave in a very different way. She quietly endures her slavery and then despite her step-mother and sisters, with a little help from her fairy godmother, she goes to the ball. She bravely entered the ballroom and in making that choice she freed herself from her step-mother. The prince saw something rather more special about her and chose, rather intelligently, to dance the night away with Cinderella. A girl, who was humble, kind, hard working, patient and hopeful even in her hopeless plight (in the fairytale her father was alive and well and let all of this happen to her). Most of the Disney princess movies do actually highlight very brave girls, just not brave in an in your face, fighting way. Though Merida is brave in the in your face way, her skill with the bow and headstrong attitude are not what make her truly brave. When Merida learns how to swallow her pride, understand her mother and then speaks to all of those wild men with composure and grace, those were signs Merida had found true bravery.

Our little Merida in the making.
 Elanor and I were reading the story of St. George and the Dragon the other day. In it, St. George meets a girl (a princess) who is walking alone from her castle to the dragon's lair. He asks her what she is doing. She explains that a dragon has been terrorizing her kingdom, all of the people are now within the castle walls, and they have been giving the dragon sheep to appease it. However, when they ran out of sheep, the princess on her own decided to offer herself up to the dragon so that he would leave her people alone. That willing, lonely walk to death is much more difficult than slaying the dragon and takes a good deal more bravery. Of course, St. George took care of the dragon and everything ended happily, but the point is that slaying the dragon was not the "brave" part of the story for me. It was that princess who was willing to die to save her people. 

Most of the popular fairy tales (Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc.) were not only meant to entertain children, but also to instruct. Beauty is not everything, be patient and hold on to your dreams, don't talk to unsavory strangers, do not steal lettuce from a witch's garden (yes, that one is Rapunzel). {Sidenote: Also, Gretel, from Hansel and Gretel is the hero of that story. That little girl is so brave.} Lately, I feel like fairytales have been getting a bad rap. I hear, "too many girls have these expectations of a prince coming to save them and then he never does", etc... There is obviously something else going on here. I was raised on fairytales and had no such delusions and Albert Einstein highly recommends them (it is true!). It is the parents that create silly, self-obsessed girls. Fairytales and princesses have no place in that argument. If girls were going to truly emulate some of these fairytale princesses they would be much more humble, meek, lady-like and so patient. Also girls could take a hint from real-life queens and princesses, because there are some pretty brave women there (Queen Elizabeth I and II, Queen Victoria, Princess Diana, Princess Kate Middleton). They are not perfect, but brave, yes they are. {side note: watch Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn to see what princesses life is really like. I love that movie (so terribly sad).}
Elanor channeling her inner Audrey.

Basically, I am trying to say that princesses and their stories are still important and they will not turn your daughter into a prima donna. Fairytales create imagination and magic in a child's life which is so vitally important. I am all for strong, brave girls but she must also be humble and kind. She must also be a lady and girls can learn this from fairytales (obviously not from the likes of the witches, step-mothers and such). I am so tired of feminists saying women should not be like this. What should we be? Men? No! Women. Women who act with grace and meekness and strength (in every sense of the word, both physical and mental). Women who can so easily change the world without swords, guns and wars. Bravery is so much more than fighting, not to say fighting is not brave--it can be when necessary. Bravery is sacrifice, endurance and as Coraline says, it is "when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave". {Sidenote: Coraline by Neil Gaiman is such a good book for girls. Coraline is one of the bravest little girls in children's literature.} There is nothing wrong with princesses, it is the media and advertising and
 attitude that girls need to be beautiful to be valued that is wrong. If you read those age old fairytales, even watch many of the Disney movies, you will find there are many good, strong role models for girls. Plus, girls have so many great books with awesome heroines from the American Girl books to The Little Princess to Anne of Green Gables. 
{Sidenote: In my opinion, there are not as many good books or movies with great role models for boys.} Girls also have plenty of real-life role models and the most important and best one should be her mom. It is a lot for me to live up to. More than anything I want Elanor to be brave, smart, kind, and a true lady.   

{Sidenote: I also think it is important to introduce your daughter to a variety of things. She can like princesses, but also space, jungles, and trains. Elanor's favorite color is yellow, not pink, and she loves alligators, dragons and dinosaurs. She loves a variety of movies and books about all sorts of things, not just princesses. This whole post was about defending princesses, but like everything it should be loved in moderation. Also, girls in many ways have the better end of the deal. They can read "boy" books be into "boy" things, but if a boy decided he would like to dance, then he is teased to no end by his peers and often harassed by his own parents.}

So let there be dressing up, stories and most of all magic. 

Elanor last Halloween as Rapunzel (the costume was kindly bought by Tyler's mom--we cannot afford the Disney store fancy versions).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I belong...

to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). I do not often talk about it here, though I clearly state so in the "About Us" section. I suppose I don't because not many people read this little blog and many of the people that do are already LDS (Mormon). However, for those of you are not Mormon and do not know much, if anything about this church then I invite you to watch General Conference tomorrow. General Conference is basically like a church meeting being broadcast to all of the members of the church (or anyone interested) all around the world, but we are listening to talks given by the leaders of our church, both male and female. There were already two sessions today, but don't worry there are two more tomorrow! They are broadcast live at 10 am and then another session at 2 pm (mountain standard time). You can watch it here.

In case there was any doubt, I want everyone to know that I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. While there is truth is most churches and religions this is the only true church with a prophet who speaks from God just the same as in biblical times, because God does not change even if the rest of the world does. My testimony is simple. I know God lives and loves me, along with every single person that ever was, is and will be. I know Jesus Christ saved all of us because He and God loved us so incredibly much. I know that the Gospel left the earth when the last of Christ's apostles died, but was restored to the earth in its fullness in the 1800s through Joseph Smith. I also know family is central to pretty much everything and that God wants us to be happy and to be the best possible version of ourselves just like our parents do here on earth.

You can watch this little intro to conference video here:
My friend, Becky, also wrote a very good post on the same topic here.

To many people, believing in God may seem like that person is so very hopeful or simply uneducated. However, I am aware of the world, aware of science and I know that everything makes sense because of God and because of this Gospel. It really makes sense and that is why I believe it. It does make me happy, but more than anything, I know and have felt how true it is and cannot deny it.