About Me

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I'm a hand-holding, swing-pushing, story-telling Mama with a creative streak and a nurturing spirit. I like growing food and flowers (and people, hehe), sewing clothes and quilts, cooking and eating and running, a long, tight hug and the color yellow. I love date nights at home, spontaneous trips to the bookstore and hearing my babies laugh. I am indecisive, exaggerrative and I overuse parentheses. I am reflective and sentimental and quick to laugh. I think I still picture myself as a 22-year old, yet every year my life gets more fulfilling. I am still figuring out exactly who I am. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Lonely Weekend

Noah had his first weekend-away tournament of the season this last weekend, to which I was not looking forward.

The morning he left, Friday, was awful, with me being emotional when he left and Claire slapping me across the face and yelling "No, Mama!" Oh, that was not her brightest moment. Or mine, because through the frustrated and overwhelmed and mournful tears, I pleaded with her, asking her why she hit me and what she needs to do when she makes someone sad. I think it was a combination of being sick (she's has diarrhea for almost a week now) and being confused at Mama's tears (I don't usually have much to cry about), that made her not know what to do.

I knew what I needed, so I dropped the kids off at Oma and Opa's house and went to Anthropologie for some me-time. Of course about 20 minutes into my excursion I missed them, but it was still nice to go into a store and only worry about how much money I was going to spend and not what pricey item they might break.

I can't resist their linens, so I got two towels for the kitchen, plus what I thought was a really good bridal shower present for Mira (a book on cooking for two and entertaining friends- they love to have people over, plus an apron and some dish towels). I got a nice little birthday discount too, so I didn't spend TOO much money.

The rest of the weekend was much better tears-wise, though much lonelier.

The nights were the worst. After the kids were in bed and asleep, I had nobody to talk to, so I occupied myself with The Tudors on netflix and Slumdog Millionaire, both of which Noah is pretty uninterested in!

We were over the moon when he got home, and very much looking forward to this weekend, with no water polo, no school, just us. All I need. :)

project 365: day 180


I had started to feel like they were watching too much tv, with watching Elmo and Word World every weekday, so two weeks ago I banned them from watching tv. They never complained, and it was an easy transition. Instead, we spent that time before naps reading or dancing, and that was a lot of fun!
Yesterday, though, I decided that I didn't have to ban tv completely, just allow it in moderation. I think there is a lot of good that can come from Sesame Street and Word World, so I turned it on for them, and as you can see, one little girl was very happy! The boy is actually really happy too, most proud that he is sitting on the couch, but in the picture he has tv eyes. :)
It won't be an everyday thing, but it doesn't have to be a no-day thing either, you know?

project 365: day 179


Bubbles!! It's all we needed for an afternoon (yes, an entire afternoon) of entertainment. Claire's an old pro, but Alex just could not figure out how to blow the right way. He did, however, enjoy putting the lid/blower thingy into his mouth, at which point I confiscated the bubble cup, rinsed it out and filled it with water. Eat away now, Buddy (though it will be very difficult to get a bubble out of it!)

After all the bubbles were gone the cups and lids followed Alex around everywhere he went. I think they're just the right size for chubby little fingers. :)

project 365: day 178


Ok, this is kind of a cheat project 365 because the picture was taken on wednesday, not day 178, but I don't care. :)

We were invited to a birthday party for Kris's niece, and between the pool and the bounce house, these two wore themselves out pretty good!

project 365: day 177


Me: "Oh, Claire Bear, that is a beautiful bunch of morning glories."
Claire: "Yes. They need water to drink."
Me: "Ok, let's get them a cup of water. Who are those flowers for?" (hint, hint!)
Claire: "They're for the dirt!" :)

project 365: day 176


This little boy loves, I'm talking LOVES, putting things into containers and taking them out again. He gets particularly frustrated when, say, a ball, won't fit into, say, a water bottle cap (who wouldn't?!), but here he is very content filling up his cup with crayon after crayon after crayon...:)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Routine

Last summer, we got into a pretty usual routine,

and this summer is pretty much the same (although the child constantly attempting to climb out of the wagon has changed).

The defining feature?
After Daddy leaves for water polo, me and the kidlets go on a walk.
Last summer we hid out inside a lot, so it was pretty much the only time we went outside.
This summer, due in large part to one boy's seemingly insatiable appetite for sunshine and dirt, we spend a lot of the morning outside too, but we still love our walk at night!

Now all we need is a certain Daddy to come along!

I predict next summer will be the same again, only then I will have a baby in a backpack! (Do you think two toddlers and a carseat can fit in that wagon?!)

Well that was not a particularly enjoyable morning. :(

For all my praise of mornings spent snuggling in bed, we sometimes have mornings like this one. Awful, in a word.

It started at 6:30, when I woke up to shrill and whiny cries coming from Alexander's room.
It was the kind of cry you can't try to ignore and hope he goes back to sleep.
It makes your head and your heart hurt to hear.

So I got up, turned the fan away from Noah (apparently I am a barrier between him and the fan when I am in bed, and unlike me, who loves the air right on me, it makes him cold. I'm such a thoughtful wife, hehe), rubbing my eyes on my way to Alex.

Oops, Claire beat me to it. Almost.

"Mama, Alex is sad."

"I know, sweetheart, go back into your room, and I'll come snuggle with you when I'm done feeding Alex, ok?"

(At this point I still had visions (delusional though they may have been), of getting back into my comfy bed after both (what was I thinking?) kids went back to sleep.)

Then my dramatic daughter flung herself onto the ground in a crying fit, which prompted Daddy to shut his door against the noise (thanks for the help, babe) and Mama to get frustrated first thing in the morning.

And no, Alexander was not thinking of going back to bed, and yes, Claire cried for about ten minutes for no real reason.

But then I pulled out the magic weapon (vitamins, or "bita-bins") and all was pretty much well.

And what morning isn't a fabulous morning when you are going to the bookstore, I ask you? :)

Here's hoping the afternoon has a bit less tears and a bit more lounging (which is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to beat the heat) :)

Matchy-Matchy and Experimenting with the Self-Timer

Yes, I am aware that some (many?) people might find mother-daughter matching nerdy.
No, I don't care. :)

Claire thinks it is so neat that Mama has a butterfly skirt too, and you know what? So do I! Particularly when we wear them at the same time and try to get pictures of ourselves using the self-timer...

Oops, not fast enough!

Keep trying...

Almost...

Got it!

And another!

And another!

Well of course a skirt is no fun if it doesn't twirl, right?
Note to self: try this one again in better lighting...:)
Note to self #2: crop these pictures a bit before printing. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

project 365: day 173


Due to the unseasonably mild weather, we have been spending lots of time outside.
Particularly in the morning and after dinner, while Daddy is at polo practice and this Mama sends the little ones outside while I quick clean up the kitchen.
I didn't hear anything as I as washing dishes, listening to NPR and humming to myself, so I popped outside to see what trouble they were getting into.
Oh, no trouble, really, just old soda cans (with sharp edges!) and water bottles left over from polo tournaments and old (REALLY old) milk cartons!!
Eesh, what am I going to do with them?
All recylcles are now on top of the trash cans where little hands cannot reach. :)

project 365: 172- scarf girls


Yep, I can see many more of these babies coming in the future...:)

Evidence of a super fun graduation party. :)










Very few words are needed. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

project 365: day 171


Today was the graduation party for Laura and two of my cousins, Elizabeth and Melanie. I could have chosen any of the number of adorable pool photos I got of them, but I chose this one for my project 365 because right when we walked in the door they went straight to Uncle Brendan and just rocked with him in the chair, totally mellow, for awhile.
I remember a time when Claire cried every time he tried to hold her. Not anymore. :)
And Alex, well, he just looks like Brendan's mini-me. :)

project 365: day 170/aka summer of sewing project #3


This was so easy to make and it has already come in handy many times!
It is a stationery pouch with pockets for pens, stationery (cards, envelopes, address labels) and stamps.
Plus it has cute little ties, and who doesn't like cute little ties??
So you can see it all closed up:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Outside Boy

This little boy absolutely adores the backyard.

All I have to do is say the work "outside" and he seriously will push you out of his way to get to the door.
It's all we have to do to make him happy.






You can see he takes his outside-time seriously. :)

He splashes in the mud, he climbs up on the swing, he follows his big sister around, he gets into the recycles (they are now up out of his reach), he plops himself into the sandbox, he yanks on the drying laundry, and most importantly, he holds onto multiple pieces of chalk (often in his mouth).

Yep, he's an outside boy.
And we are so happy we have this backyard for him to explore. :)

bee sting



Well, the bad news is that she got stung by a bee tonight (her first ever).
The good news is that she's fine (no sign of throat-constriction as would happen to her daddy) and that she got to snack on frozen strawberries after their inital purpose of numbing the pain was defeated due to her biting through the bag.
Silly girl.
Then she proceeded to walk all around the yard apologizing to the bees for stinging her. No hard feelings, you know? :)

Let the sewing begin!

After getting my two birthday sewing books in the mail and marking all the projects I want to do, I thought it was time to get started!!
I took a solo trip to Jo-Ann yesterday for a few odds and ends I needed, and last night, Claire helped me sew the first thing:



You didn't think it would be anything but yellow, did you?
(I'm still wearing it right now, hehe)

Then this morning, in bits and pieces while Claire and Alex were either playing in the back or watching me, I sewed this for Claire.



And of course, what good is a skirt if it isn't a dancing skirt?



It turned out ok, but I learned a few important lessons.
Like don't use sheer ribbon on the bottom (you can see the raw edges of the skirt fabric which it is supposed to cover up)
And make the casing for the elastic larger than the pattern calls for (because otherwise the elastic has to fold on itself to fit in the whole)
And include the offspring when sewing (when possible), because they're curious and it's pretty cute when they get excited that what you are sewing is for them!

I also learned another important lesson today when I went searching through my fabric stash for a cute cotton for the shorts I'm sewing next for Alexander: I need to broaden my fabric purchases beyond pink, flowers and butterflies. The closest thing I have that could work for him is a turquoise eyelet, and as much as I try to ignore gender-profiling (i.e. pink is only for girls), I am not putting my boy in eyelet. Or pink flowers.
So he will have to wait a bit, but I have some really cute boyish fabric coming, so pretty soon, he too will know the joy (haha) of mama-made clothes.

I have been searching for boys sewing patterns online, but just like cltohing stores have a hugely disproportionate stock of girl clothes, so too is there a dearth in boys patterns.
He will have to be happy with some cute and comfy elastic shorts for now. :)

I combined two of never-ending quests (one to be crafty and one to be more friendly to the earth), and created the easiest reusable wipes possible. I just used pinking shears to cut up some shirts of Noah's that were too old to give to Goodwill but not bad enough to throw out, and voila! Problem solved!
It may sound crazy to use cloth wipes, but really, how much more work is it to rinse out a few wipes when I'm already rinsing out a huge full diaper?
Not much. Exactly.
Plus, they clean his little bootie better (I just dip each wipe into a bowl of warm water), without chemicals and without the cost (except for the cost of washing, which is minimal since I wash the diapers anyway).
All in all, I say, Genius!!

project 365: day 169

So you probably know that I am married to a walking specimen of allergy.
I challenge you to find a loaf of bread that he can eat.
It seems easy, but then you look at the ingredients list and every single loaf has either gluten, yeast or milk, or most of the time, all three.
Even Whole Foods, my sanctuary for allergy-free foods, carries like a single type of bread he can eat, and with a name like "rice bread" it does not look appealing.
Trust me.
So in my quest to make an actual sandwich for him for lunch (instead of just wraps, or when I get really lazy, pieces of tortilla mixed with meat and mustard and lettuce, hehe), I googled "yeast-free loaf bread."
I printed out the first recipe, whose only five ingredients are whole wheat flour, water, olive oil, baking powder and salt, and got to work.
The fruit of my labors:



Too bad it tastes like cardboard. :)
The kids really like it though.
All morning they snuck little bites and this Mama turned her head the other way. :)
I'm going to have to play with the recipe.
It needs moisture (so maybe add some eggs?) and sweetness (so maybe a touch of sugar?) and maybe some more texture (so maybe some oats and/or sunflower seeds?).
We'll see, but for now, only those two and under will be dining on this first loaf. :)

project 365: day 168


"Can we scrapbook, Mama?"

Well, pull my arm, Angel Girl. :)

project 365: day 167


Yes, I realize I have already posted this picture, but not for project 365!!

I mean, seriously, these particular strawberries deserve two posts. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

project 365: day 166


Devouring delicious locally-grown boysenberries.
Seriously, he ate (er, swallowed whole) two whole pints by himself.
That's a LOT of boysenberries. :)
He would have eaten more if we had let him too! :)

project 365: day 165


Claire just loves helping me hang laundry on the line.
She hands them to me and I pin them up.
And often, she has little tidbits she wants to hang up herself.
Like two used latex gloves, a santa hat and yes, a bandaid. :)
I love that silly girl. :)

project 365: day 164


You go, girl!!! :)

project 365: day 163


I see these beautiful, vibrant marigolds everywhere I go now, because they just love the sun and the heat so they grow really well here.

They have yet to actually be planted, but they still brighten up the yard in their little flat! :)

project 365: day 162


I don't actually know what these are called, but they were given to me by my Mother-in-law for my birthday and they are lovely. :)

project 365: day 161

More images from my growing garden.

Next up: star jasmine.



Love the tiny white star-shaped flowers, love the low-maintenance factor, love the sweet milky scent.

Doesn't hurt that it always reminds me of our perfect little Ramblewood house either. :)

Random Goings-On

Reading:

- Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See

- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

- Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda

Implementing:

- the principles of "slow parenting." It's the difference between scheduled activities and playing in the backyard; between picking up fast food and making dinner together; between eating a bland strawberry in January and waiting for the perfect strawberry in June; between turning on the t.v. and reading books; between setting an alarm and snuggling in bed together on Saturday morning...you get the picture.

It just feels right. :)

Devouring:

- locally-grown boysenberries (dropped off in his tiny little pick-up truck by the farmer who grows them, how cool is that?) that are to DIE for...and let me tell you, I changed some interestingly-colored diapers this afternoon. I have seen my fair share of rainbow-colored presents, but blue? That's a first.


-...and almost-local (grown on the coast...it's too hot here already apparently) strawberries.


Waiting to be sewn:

- for baby-on-board- many many of these to go with little flannel pants. So comfy, right?


- for the kidlets and Mama to huddle under and read books (or whatever) when the days inevitably get unbearably hot but we still want to be outside...

- for Claire and Alexander (to be personalized, of course!)


- for the living room wall...


- and for me!



You gotta aim high, right?? Yeah, I have way too many projects going...:)

Waiting on this fabric:

I don't know what is going to be used where, but you can't deny the loveliness, can you? :)







It's good, right? Can't wait to get it. :)

So how's that for random?? :)