The solution? Moving.

As I was driving C to the Children’s Museum this morning I realized that Zoe would be 4 months old today. And I’m okay. Unlike the previous months I didn’t wake up in an awful mood this morning, not knowing why. It hasn’t been on my mind constantly for the last week, knowing the date was looming. I’ve finally solved the problem on how to not dwell on it–MOVE! I have been completely wrapped up in moving. What do we need to pull out (ha–who am I kidding…what do *I* need to pull out. Jeff is completely and totally useless when it comes to moving) to survive for the next month without our stuff? For the beach? For an empty house? In the camper? What are we going to eat? Wear? Watch? Do? What do we need to clean the house? What can I sell/donate? What route are we taking? Where are we stopping? When are we leaving? Those and thousands of other questions need to be answered. And once I finally sit down and stop moving for the night I’m utterly exhausted. I barely have the energy to zone out in front of the TV, let alone think about the upcoming milestone and what it means.

And now that I do have time to think about everything, now that the packers are (finally) at the house and zooming through all of our worldly possessions, I’m okay. It’s difficult to imagine how things would be if she was with us. She would be 4 months old and becoming an actual baby now, not a blob. I’d be getting more sleep. She’d be starting to fall into a routine. So unlike the early days when I knew that everything would be different because I would be a sleep deprived zombie, now I have idea what things should be like. My first thought is now no longer “how should this be” every time I go somewhere or do something. My brain is finally beginning to accept that this is normal. My heart doesn’t stop every time I see a teeny tiny baby. I’m not insanely jealous of every mother is see with three kids.

Of course that’s not to say that on Friday when all of our stuff is gone and we say goodbye to this place that everything won’t come flooding back and I’ll have a breakdown (or ten). When I take our traditional goodbye picture in front of the house and there are only two children instead of three. When the 22nd comes. When the 14th of July comes. When we show up at Leavenworth and qualify for a 3 bedroom instead of a 4. When I meet a mom whose baby girl is 4 months old. And when any (or all) of that happens, it’s okay. Because I know now that this is survivable. That the bad phases are just that–phases. And although what happened will never be okay or right, it is what it is. We’re different people because of it. Hopefully better people because of it.

People who commit horrific acts have always baffled me, and now even more so than ever. People like the Orlando shooter who have obviously never experienced any kind of senseless tragedy. If they had they would never want to inflict that kind of pain on anyone else. I am dumbfounded by what our society is becoming and hope now more than ever that people will come to their senses. Develop empathy. Appreciate the preciousness of human life–all human life. There’s enough “natural” tragedy in the world–why would you intentionally cause harm to others? All I can hope is that my children could never fathom intentionally causing harm to others, physically or mentally. And if they are ever in a terrorism situation they’ll have the presence of mind to stay calm and do what they can to help keep others safe. It’s a sad world we live in now and the only way we can fix it is to raise the next generation right. It’s a simple as following the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated. Respect. I saw this somewhere (probably Pinterest) awhile ago and it stuck with me. It’s especially relevant today and a lesson I hope to instill in our children. And in ourselves. imageHmmm, kind of got off topic there. Nobody should be surprised.

Image

Okay so Felt Mats are Just as Addicting as Quiet Books…

After making a road felt mat for C for his 2nd birthday I wondered if I could make a princess version for J.  In case you’ve forgotten (oh, if only I could forget…) she is completely obsessed with the Disney Princesses.  She has a bunch of these pop up board games that came with tiny princess figurines to play.  I think we played the games about a dozen times before she completely abandoned them and now just carries the princesses around with her everywhere.  Between those and her sets of felt people, I thought it would be fun to make a princess mat for her to play on!

I started off like I do with all projects:  Pinterest.  Unsurprisingly these aren’t nearly as popular as the car mats are.  I found three possible inspirations.  First, a Tangled one on My Decoupaged Life.  Although I loved it, I didn’t want to focus on just one princess story.  In retrospect I do kind of wish I would’ve got this route instead–made a small felt mat for each princess.  I just might do that down the road…

The second one I found was a little bit different.  Instead of focusing on the outside, All the Joy made the inside of the castle.  I stored this idea away for the future.

The one I relied on the most for ideas was A Girl and a Glue Gun.  I decided to make a mat that included something from each princess story.

One mistake I made was to make this project while J was home sick from school for a week.  I got a lot of input from her, which was both good and bad.  Like she wouldn’t let me include anything for Mulan, Pocohantas or Merida, even though that had been my original plan.  She’s only had the mat for a couple of weeks and she’s already complaining that they don’t have a home.  I knew I shouldn’t take advice from a 5 year old!

When making all of the buildings I referred to Google images for pictures of what they looked like in the movies and then did my best to replicate them.  I did a better job on some…  The animals especially turned out rather interesting…

I started off with a piece of dark green felt for the background.  I added a square of white for Elsa’s kingdom and dark brown for the woods.  Together those two were the same length as the dark green.  I cut a strip of light blue for the sky that was the same width as the dark green/white.  Last, I cut some dark blue for Ariel’s ocean.  I cut the top so it resembled waves.

I also wish I would’ve made it bigger.  I didn’t realize just how much larger C’s mat was until I had already cut the background felt for J’s mat and it was too late to make it bigger without having to scrap the pieces I had.  It didn’t need to be much bigger, but a little bit would’ve been nicer.

But here’s the final product, warts and all!

J requested the North Mountain first…no surprises there.  I made an Ice Castle for Elsa.  I used blue and white puffy paint to embellish it a bit and glued just one side of the door down so it “opens”.  I cut out a sleigh and Sven, a bunch of white triangles to represent mountains or snow mounds or something.  The light blue is a path for the princesses to walk on (J requested markings on the part leading up to the castle for stairs).  Marshmallow is guarding the castle and Oaken’s Trading Post is in the bottom corner.  diy-princess-felt-mat-north-mountainNext we worked on the woods.  I made a stream that leads to the ocean.  There’s a bridge that crosses over it.  The woods are supposed to represent Pocahontas, Merida, Snow White and Aurora all at once.  J requested a bench, an owl, squirrels and the three fairies from Aurora (just in case you were wondering what the hell those shapes were, hahaha).  The orangish/brownish felt is the path.diy-princess-felt-mat-woodsThe ocean scene was up next.  This one turned out to be waaaaay to spacious.  I should’ve made Ariel’s castle a lot bigger, but I didn’t realize how small it was until I had already glued it together and I didn’t feel like starting from scratch.  But this section has Ariel’s underwater palace, Eric’s ship, sunken treasure (I just needed something to throw in there!), Sebastian, Flounder (not sure where he is…), Ursula and her lair.  I also made Flotsam and Jetsam but by the time I was ready to glue the underwater scene down I had lost them.  I think they ended up getting swept up with all of the other felt scraps.  I haven’t gotten around to making another one set of them yet.  diy-princess-felt-mat-ocean

And then the rest of mat all crammed together.  Aurora’s cottage and spinning wheel.  A bookstore and fountain from Beauty and the Beast.  The Snuggly Duckling, tower and cave from Tangled.  The Wishing Well from Snow White (J had me add a blue sapphire ring at the bottom.  There’s a short story about Cinderella we read once where she lost her ring in the well and the mice had to retrieve it).  A pumpkin and carriage from Cinderella.  Tiana’s Palace (which I had to fight J tooth and nail so I could add it).   The magic carpet from Aladdin.  And, most importantly, Cinderella’s castle.

diy-princess-felt-mat-kingdom

I also added a back to the mat.  Since I used a bunch of different felts to make the different backgrounds I figured it would help to make it roll up easier.  Although really this mat isn’t large enough to roll.

I finished the edges of the front and back with some ribbon.

Voila, finished!  J uses it all of the time, just like I thought she would.  I really am considering making a different mat for each story.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll start that right now…