May You Live In Interesting Times…

It would seem the nation has fallen under that old and terrible curse.

Interesting is certainly one word for the election year in which we find ourselves. These “interesting” circumstances leave many voters at a loss. What is right to do? Who do I vote for? Do I vote at all?

Really wrestling with all the questions involved in voting responsibly is perhaps long overdue. If it is challenging to figure out maybe we’ll take it more seriously. The reality is though, that this year people of good will who have for years seen eye to eye on politics will make widely different decisions about how to cast their vote. Some will believe whole heartedly in a major party candidate. Others will dislike, perhaps even loathe a candidate, and yet vote for them all the same in hopes of stopping an evil they consider greater. Still others will choose to cast a third party vote, or even write in a candidate rather than support someone they feel they cannot. Some even argue that refusing to vote may be done as a positive political statement not simply an ommission.
I personally am spared this decision by my lack of citizenship. I am married to an American serviceman. I raise little American babies. I love this nation and everything it has given to me in my time here. But I don’t have to choose because I cannot vote. So it is from the strange inside/outside position of the legal permanent resident that I observe with sadness the fracturing of opinion and the increasingly angry rhetoric amongst my friends and co-religionists. And it is from this perspective that I wish to urge one thing.
Be gentle with each other. Be gentle with yourselves. We all probably have had friends on the opposite side of the political spectrum in the past. Sometimes our patience with them is tested in an election year. Yet because we believe in the American experiment, and care for each other we find a way to get along. But this year will be a different challenge. This year, those long considered political allies will fundamentally disagree with us. This may be harder to bear. It may feel like a betrayal. In some cases, it may even be one. There will be plenty of disillusionment to go around.
For the most part though, what we will find is good hearted, serious minded, God fearing men and women struggling to determine what their consciences demand and will allow. They may be confused, angry, despairing. And at the end of the day they may choose differently than you. And they may be wrong. But we need to find a way to respect and love each other through this. By all means spend now to November arguing for your point of view and trying to win over others to what you sincerely think is best for the nation! By all means reserve a decision until it is time to cast your ballot. But somehow don’t let anger enter between friends.
I live in a house with a proud American who has put his life on the line for love of country. We have spent long hours hashing out the issues of this election cycle and we haven’t completely agreed yet. Oh the hours we’ve burned debating! The many more I’m sure we will spend this summer and fall! In November that man will go out to the ballot alone and do what he thinks is right and I may hate it. I could say this about many family and friends. But I won’t hate them. Because they will still be the people I’ve known for the last 15 years who have found themselves making a tough call in a confusing year. I know they will have researched, prayed, considered and done the best they could.
In the end you are so lucky to have a vote. You are lucky to have the horrible burden of deciding what to do with it, or even if you can find a way to use it this year. Voting is a voicing of our freedom. And that particular freedom springs from the fundamental freedom, freedom of conscience. In the words of Gaudium et Spes, quoted by the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” In the end no man can tell another what his conscience demands and a man must do what his conscience dictates no matter what his friends may think. Let us acknowledge this terrible responsibility with charity for each other.

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Flora, Fauna and Merryweather DIY: In Which The Third Least Crafty Woman On Earth Makes Fairy Hats

When children are little we as parents have the opportunity, nay duty, to make awesome Halloween costume decisions for them before they’re old enough to object. Having acquired a third daughter I am now in the enviable position of having the required ingredients for many any fairy tale stories. Or we can do plenty of Shakespeare: Macbeth witches, Lear’s daughters… But since that’s a bit heavy this year I am fulfilling my lifelong dream (read 3 year old idea) of dressing them as the fairies from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Strangely enough this is not an easily acquired costume. I did find an Etsy Shop to order the dresses. I long ago accepted that I cannot have children and sew. Because I am the third least crafty woman in the world. I am guessing third least because least crafty probably refuses to do any and second least probably produces horrible results. I am capable of pulling something off in a pinch in a very inefficient way while making a horrible mess and being stressed out. So third sounds like a good placement.

But back to the fairies. The Etsy shop costumes look to be gorgeous (they haven’t arrived yet so fingers crossed) but they were lacking what I consider a crucial feature: the hats. So I wandered the Internet in search of those for sale. Absolutely no luck. It appeared the third least crafty skills would need to be activated. So I looked for a DIY blog or YouTube video. Nope. Now and then I’d find a picture of somebody else’s fabulous home made fairy trio but nobody was spilling on how to make these darn hats. So I made em. And I figure I’ll share the DIY for the next least crafty mom in a bind. So without further ado: 

How To Make Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather Hats

1. You will need

  1. Doll size witch hats from craft store. 
  2. Two sheets of felt each of blue, pink, and green.
  3. Needle thread and thimble 
  4. Scissors
  5. Blue, pink, and green tulle 
  6. Blue, pink, and green children’s headbands
  7. Fabric glue
  8. Measuring tape 

I got these in the doll clothing section at hobby lobby. I bought two sizes, larger for the older girls and little for the baby.

2. Wrap cone of the hat in felt. Trim excess but no worries about perfect edges. Glue in place.

3. Trace brim of hat on other sheet of felt. Trace again so you have two circles.

Bonus points if you do this while holding fussy infant

4.Cut out circles.

5. Measure the width of the brim and then trace a circle in the centre of your larger circle based on that measurement. You can eyeball it. So long as it is centered it can be a little narrower than the base of the cone as this will overlap with your felted cone.

6. Cut out centre circle. Repeat with second brim sized circle. 

7. Glue one circle to the bottom of your hat and put the other over the cone and glue to the top side of the brim. 

8. Cut generous length of tulle and wrap the base of the cone. Look now the seam of your felt pieces is hidden. Hah. 

9. Put headband on willing child and note where the hat would attach to it stretched. 

10. Remove hat from child before sewing.

11. I wrapped the tulle so that it was along the brim inside and out rather than just on top. This prevents pulling down on the brim when we tie the hat on but it’s preference. (Make sure extra length of tulle is on outside of headband if you go with our method) Sew from bottom of hat through headband and tulle, through hat and through tulle on top. You’ll want a thimble,  it’s pretty thick at this point. Back and forth til firmly attached. 

12. Stretch headband as it would be on the head and sew again on opposite side of hat. 

13. Gleefully admire handy work.

The tulle is purely decorative and the hats are held on by the headbands.

In case you have kids who hate scratchy stuff under their chin. 

Or have babies who have no chin, or rather, several chins.

14. Realize you still have to do costumes for your boys and they aren’t going to let you pick.

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