Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I Chose to be Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games for Halloween

Being a parent is hard.  Logistically speaking, it’s a lot of packing lunches and snacks, cloning myself so I can simultaneously be at both a T-ball game and swim practice.  But that’s just the surface.  These kids are watching every single thing I do.  I feel a lot of pressure to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

I don’t like to say eat vegetables, and then never eat a carrot stick myself.  I don’t feel right to talk about the importance of reading and never open up a book.
I can’t say pick out an appropriate Halloween costume and then choose to be a sexy Olaf.  (Seriously, click on this link if you want to be horrified by a sexy snowman).
This year, Harrington and I were invited to an adult costume party.  At first, I didn’t think too much about picking a costume since dressing up for Halloween is not my jam.  But Marie took it upon herself to find research costumes for us. 
No surprise that every. single. costume. was sexy.   A sexy flapper. A sexy Red Riding hood. A sexy zombie. A sexy Beetlejuice. Really, a sexy Beetlejuice? The costume had a corset with a super short skirt.  That’s not Beetlejuice at all!
courtesy of Party City 

I was frustrated on many levels.   I was frustrated that these costumes didn’t really register with Marie as gratuitously sexy (which I guess is a good thing when I really think about it).  When I looked at the costumes in the junior section, the same ones Marie will pick from in a year or two, I felt nothing less than rage-y.

That is when I decided to take this Halloween costume dilemma into my own hands. I needed to show Marie that a catalog filled with sexy costumes does not dictate what I should wear.

I dressed as Katniss, the strong female character from the HungerGames series. I wore my work out clothes bought a mockingjay pin and a bow. I didn’t fall for the sexy huntress that I could have easily bought.  (Who hunts in a short skirt and stiletto heel boots)?!  Harrington dressed as Peeta.  He wore his black warm-ups, and I made him a District 12 sign to wear.
  
erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot diy katniss halloween costume

I know that I am not alone in this war against sexy costumes.  I love the conversation Angela from Jumping with Your Fingers Crossed had with her daughter about feminism and her Halloween costume choice.  I hope that one day Marie and I will have an organic conversation about this because I feel very strongly that a woman should not be valued according to how cute she looks in a sexy corn costume.  (Seriously, corn.  Go home corporate Halloween costume creators, you’re drunk).  

I know feminism is all about choice; if that choice is to dress sexy, that is a valid choice. However, if a girl or a woman wants to dress up as a firefighter, her only choice is a sexy firefighter.  So it’s not really a choice at all.  By not putting any other costumes on the market other than sexy ones, I feel that girls are being told this is the only way to be.  I don't want Marie thinking that her only choice is to be sexy, and I don't want Thomas to think that is what he should expect from women. 

Changing the world by taking on corporate America seems impossible at this time since I have a hard time remembering changing my sheets. But I could show Marie by example that she didn't have to feel bound to the choices that someone (probably a room full of guys) thought were a good idea.

I don't know if it will ever register that their mom made a choice that exuded dignity, but hopefully it will be filed away for another time (and never look twice at the sexy corn costume).

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot diy katniss halloween costume



What are your thoughts on sexy Halloween costumes?




Friday, October 24, 2014

My Art Therapy: Halloween DIY Decorations



Teaching junior high was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Convincing eighth graders the importance of subject verb agreement, especially when a prepositional phrase came between the two, was excruciatingly difficult.  

I remember the day this mom came in to dispute her daughter's homework grade.  She demanded that the verb should agree with object of the preposition.  When it agreed with the subject, it sounded "ghetto."  (Her words, not mine).

I tried not to be spin into a downward spiral of rage as she questioned not only me, but the grammar book’s instructions that were clearly printed *on the same page;* however, I was completely distracted that she looked and sounded just like Joey's agent on Friends.  The only thing missing was a cigarette, but judging by the smokey smell emanating from her poufy hairdo, I’m guessing she had one in the parking lot before she arrived at my classroom.

On soul crushing days like that, I would need to do something to alleviate the anger and frustration. And since I wasn't the kind of teacher to keep a flask filled with alcohol in my desk, I kept a box of Crayola crayons (the 24-count box to be exact; 8 and 16 never seemed like enough, and I didn't have space in my desk for the best box of 64) and my Celestial Seasonings Tea Coloring Book.  No matter how much I wanted to tell someone to go to hell, my anger always dissipated when I had completed coloring and created something pretty.

Earlier this week, I needed some art therapy. For the past few days, I had let the fear and frustration of others bring me down.  So I took out some cards stock, Modge Podge, and some Halloween cutouts that I bought for a rainy day. 



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I had some calming chamomile lavender tea and played my Andrew Sisters Pandora station.
I may be 94 years old.




Here is what I created.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I took a Halloween cutout and used some glossy Modge Podge to glue it on some brown card stock.




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I let it dry overnight before I cut it.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I then used these double-sided foam stickers and stuck it on orange card stock.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
Then I stuck it to the paper. . . 



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
and cut out the outline . . . 


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
then used a hole punch.  




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I took some jute and tied a knot.  I hung it up with some other decorations.



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I always wanted to use these chipboards, but I never knew what to do with them.
I traced the shape with orange construction paper.




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I used some Matte Modge Podge to glue it to the chipboard.
.  Here's a tip: less is more. I had to work out all of the air bubbles before it dried.




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I took another cutout and traced it on brown card stock.  I glued it with a regular glue stick.



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I glued it to the chip board with Matte Modge Podge.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I used some scissors to push through the holes that were already there
and tied the jute in a knot.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
I then hung it from our cabinet.  I am not going to quit my day job(s),
but I am pretty proud of how it turned out.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
This was a final product that didn't turn out quite like I had hoped.
I used the Matte Modge Podge, but it kind of curled up more than I wanted to.
I still used it and punched a whole to hang it up.



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
For this one, I just used those double-sided foam stickers and cut around it.



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
Same for this one.




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings halloween diy craft decorations
Here is what they all look like hanging above my kitchen sink.
I almost used orange curling ribbon, but I am glad I used the jute.
It goes nicely with the brown card stock.



When I was done, I felt that same sense of accomplishment and peace when I was done coloring.  Plus I had some cute decorations to hang up in the home.

Do you have a favorite activity that saves you from stress?