The Kissing Hand for Evie Raccoon

“Chester Racoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried. ‘I don’t want to go to school,’ he told his mother. ‘I want to stay home with you. I want to play with my friends. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing. Please may I stay home with you?'”
~ The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

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October 29, 2014 PART I

It was three days before Halloween and I thought I was let off the hook from making a costume for Evie because, I repeat, it was THREE DAYS before Halloween and she had a dozen other costumes hanging in her closet. I was 4 months pregnant and ultimately too tired to do anything that required my focus. But just as I was confirming with her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she grabbed a book off of her shelf titled The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. She was a bit obsessed with this story for the entire month, asking everyone to read it to her repeatedly. It is about a young raccoon named Chester, who is a bit nervous about going to school. Mrs. Raccoon kisses his center palm and tells him that “whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.’

While every little girl in the world wanted to be Princess Elsa, Evie [5 years old] wanted to be Chester Raccoon. She read the book over and over again and thought that it was the cutest story of a raccoon and his mother. I must have asked her a dozen times, “Are you sure you want to be a raccoon?” She was absolutely unwavering about the idea.

Third Fitting

PART II

Evie wanted her entire body to be covered in fur, but I told her that we should just make a fur coat that she could add to her fall/winter wardrobe. We went to the fabric store to find grey faux fur, and I worked on her costume over the course of 2 days…

PART IV

PART III

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick o' Treating

PART V | Fashion Valley Mall Trick-or-Treating in the daytime

Trick o'Treating with her best friend, Graham

Evening Trick-or-Treating with her best friend, Graham

Raccoon DIY Costume

Raccoon-Costume-6-2014SUPPLIES FOR COAT:
Grey Faux Fur [1 1/2-2 Yards]
Black Thread

SUPPLIES FOR EARS & TAIL:
Grey Faux Fur
Black Fabric
Black Thread
Headband
Safety Pin [to pin tail on coat]
Polyester Stuffing

I don’t have any photos of the process, but it’s simple if you know how to duplicate a pattern. I started with a basic pattern–tracing the front, back, and sleeves–using a coat she already owned. We used one of her black headbands and sewed ears onto it. The tail was stuffed with polyester stuffing and the selvage side of the fabric was incorporated to look like stripes. There wasn’t quite enough fabric [approx. 1 yard] so the tail and sleeves were a little short. Had I bought more fabric, I would have made her tail longer and spray painted thick black stripes. To complete the outfit, she rummaged through her drawers and found a plain light grey shirt, black leggings, and a dark grey tulle skirt [Zara Girls].

TheKissingHandPresently, 10 days before Halloween, I asked her what she wanted to be. One would think she would be influenced into being a Disney Princess after seeing other little girls walking around in their costumes throughout the month of October–but Evie blurted out to our neighbor last week that she wanted to be a… mammal from the weasel family. Predictably, our neighbor’s eyes bulged out of her sockets and her nose and upper lip scrunched up on one side as she muttered under her breath, “A whaaaaat?” I presumed she was expecting to hear that she was going to be a pretty and dainty something

…But Evie has another original idea–unwavering in her decision, again. She’s also hoping that I would agree to dress Emaline up as the same thing.

xx
Jena

Autumn On A Sunday.

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There was a chill in the air, the lovely patter of rain on the umbrella just outside our window, when I awoke to a tiny finger tapping on my arm.   The little person whispered her request to play with the Bible app on her iPad.  I shook my head and shut my eyes, “not right now“.  Sabbath, the day of rest. …Not for our household. My husband wakes up at nearly 6 a.m. and is out of the house before 7. My Sundays are filled with motherly duties while he is at church for most of the day leading worship [from the drums] and then teaching private lesson(s) between services. Sometimes, we take mid-day naps, which gives us an extra boost of energy for the second half of the day. Finding rest for my soul is a different story. It’s a spiritual stillness that is sometimes hard to find when my mind is cluttered with thoughts of the duties and demands of life that call after me. My time of stillness on a Sunday might only be that moment I sit in to listen to the sermon, while Evie is in Sunday school and my husband juggles squirming Emaline on his lap.  Somewhere in the midst of the crowd and pastor speaking, I might encounter that stillness with my eyes fully open and hear a Word from God.

Evie and Emaline

The moment I roll myself out of bed every day, I am desperately wanted by my hungry daughters. I am not a morning bird, but I’m rooting for myself to be! It would be a dream to wake up at dawn to see the first ray of sun, read, journal, and drink my coffee in silence. Unfortunately, there is hardly a morning that I am motivated to get out of bed without a cup of coffee hovering above me– because no matter how late my husband let’s me sleep in, it never feels like I’ve had a solid amount of sleep, even if uninterrupted…. just one more minute, just one more hour, please?

In the brief moment of walking from my bed to the kitchen on a Sunday morning I rejoice because I have conquered my tiredness, did not press snooze, and did not succumb immediately to the demands of motherhood. First, coffee. Lord, just let me sneak into the kitchen to brew the coffee and then I will surrender myself. Smelling the coffee and listening to it brew as I walk to the girls bedroom to pick up sweet Emaline from rolling around on her quilt is music to my ears, and makes my Sunday mornings much lovelier even if we’re running late. I love waking up to see Emaline’s contagious smile, stretched from cheek to cheek, the moment she catches a glimpse of me in the doorway while Evie is in her zone creating something.

I never regret getting out of bed and making it to church on Sundays, as much as I doubt the night before that I will be too tired to attend. I am elated just to see my handsome husband on the drums, his blissful place. It’s nice to see friends and also to feel Evie’s excitement as she runs to children’s church where her teachers know her name. Seeing all the other families arrive late with their children is a reminder that I’m not the only one who likely had a long morning, even if it just started.

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In-n-Out…doors.

My husband scheduled a private lesson with one of his students after church. We typically meet up at home to eat lunch and take a nap, and I usually have no desire to prepare lunch after church when we’re all tired; especially if we made all of our staples throughout the week– stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas, stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas.

We have a very popular fast-food restaurant on the west-coast and scattered around the mid-west, called In-n-Out. Driving from our church in Kerny Mesa, it’s about 10 minutes away in Mission Valley. Lunch time in Mission Valley on a weekend is one of the busiest hours of the week. I anticipated a very long wait in the drive-thru, but thankfully it only took us about 15 minutes. I ordered our usual: 1 grilled cheese with grilled onions, 1 cheeseburger without onions, and 2 fries (1 well-done).

Going through the drive-thru is where the day took a twist from ‘lovely’ to ‘mini-meltdown’. Evie has a great imagination and a cunning way of manipulating someone into thinking they are supposed to go somewhere they didn’t even plan on going. I’m sure she’s used this tactic on her grandparents many times. Somehow she learned how to do this at the age of three years old. Many times she would be at the door in her bathing suit saying, “I can’t wait to go to the beach!” and many times we’ve had to sit her down to explain that she needs to ask us before she gets her hopes up. This was one of those days she put in her mind that we were headed to Grandpa Sterling’s pool. It was a gloomy Autumn day, and she wanted to make it like Summer again!

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I drove the girls up to one of our favorite spots at Presidio Park to have a picnic on one of the cement picnic tables underneath the shade of a Peruvian pepper tree. It smells like peppercorns, but the red berries on this tree are not edible. While we ate our meals, we watched adorable ground squirrels eat tiny pine nuts on the surfaces of tree stumps. Evie decided to leave tiny green immature pine cones on those stumps before we left, just in case a squirrel got hungry.

It’s hard to believe that it was only Evie and I just seven months ago. Our family will only continue to grow bigger, and I am overjoyed at the thought that there will be more little feet and hands getting muddy.

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Rain, rain, don’t go away…

Hearing the rain streaming through the gutters and gusts of wind breezing through the trees is reminiscent of home in Hawaii. The ironic thing is that I’ve always wanted to look outside of my window at bare trees that lost their leaves, but such a thing never happened living in the middle of the Pacific. Watching t.v. shows like Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and Gilmore Girls entertained the idea of someday living in a place where all four seasons were apparent. It still feels like a fairy tale to step outside to the beauty of fiery red, orange, and crumpled brown leaves at our feet and to look down a street lined with gilded trees. Unfortunately, we know the cool weather will only last a day or two. The forecast for the rest of the week looks identical to summer.

Autumn always brings a breath of inspiration. I am refreshed without having to search for it. I am inspired without having to go anywhere. Every simple pleasure is enhanced and perhaps it is because Autumn is like the prelude to the magical holidays. We begin to think about the ones we love and if you’re a gift giver, you have already began searching for the perfect gifts, or creating them by hand. I love Autumn for so many reasons to list- but most of all, it is a season to gather and such a perfect time to forge wonderful relationships.

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As our days get shorter, my evenings indoors get longer. Thus, my sewing machine and knitting needles will not be idle much longer. Home projects have been pushed to the bottom of my list as our home school was pushed to the top. Hopefully I will get a chance to write up a new knitted pattern soon.

Here is a free pattern to fingerless gloves that I had altered from an the original source linked in this blog from two years ago…

FREE FALL KNITTED PATTERN: Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

xx
jena