Monday, June 30, 2008

Feel the Love

I've been thinking about Love lately. I think it has been prompted by this book, a book I have been slowly working my way through, trying to take the time to reflect on her lessons in love. This weekend was a study in Love as so many events came loaded with it.

The first was a baby shower for Julia, a lovely woman I have been able to befriend in the real world.
Through her I have met some amazing knitter women with a wonderful love for the craft of knitting, for the world of fiber. The shower was unique, full of gifts that were lovingly handspun, handmade, thought through, sent from afar.
It is a real statement when those around you choose to bring their best to your table,
baby gifts
and you can know each stitch, each piece is literally imbued with love, to wrap and surround and protect this new little boy who will be coming to stay. Each gift brought forth a lot of the coos we women do when looking at tiny beautiful things, but it also made us all realize what a community is formed by the Love of something.

I assembled an assortment of handmades, sewn and knit,
My contribution
and had great fun with the preparation. The bibs are just a simple pattern I made up with cotton batting sandwiched between the layers to absorb whatever copious fluid child is making, the ubiquitous footie warshcloth, the cubes are a tutorial found here with an added i-cord loop for hanging and the booties are hand-me-downs as I had two pairs.

And then in true crafter form, all the bags came out and projects emerged and we got down to the business of making. Not one shower game to suffer through, because that ain't their style.
Shower 'Games'
I have a few shots that I caught that speak for themselves.
mary heather's hands
Thanks to all the women, and to you, Julia, congratulations.

The evening was spent with our two favorite people, Mike and Kate. Mike is a long time friend and was my husband's best man, Kate his fiance. They are the go-to people when we have time to get out but the last year their living situation was less than ideal. Not terrible, just in a space where others were still living a life of parties lasting until 4 a.m. and including copious amounts of all things toxic. They extricated themselves and now are down the street, in a old little home in our historic area. They now have a screened in front porch and a phenomenal roommate that radiates goodness. We all sat on the porch with cold drinks and a seemingly endless desire to talk; Obama, self-sustaining lifestyles, past lives, family, hopes and dreams. It was good. We stayed up too late but it was worth every moment to reconnect and revitalize our community, our connections.

(I have to brag about Kate for a moment. She just finished her Master's in Soc and has already secured a position as a professor at one of the largest community colleges in Southern California. All by the age of 26. Damn. That is good).

You know those times when your well feels a bit dry, lacking the nourishment you need? I was in that space, but after a weekend like this one, well, it feels filled. It feels good. So, what do you do to fill your well of Love? I am finding it takes reaching out, letting go and believing in being loved. I'll leave you with a little something I love most-est....

Sweet Sour
Have a good week.

(Just changed up the blog format so the flickr pictures show up in full. I like it better. What do you think?)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fourteenth Month

14 months snuck up on us, as I am sure 14 years will in time. There seems to be a inversion factor going on, those early months that seemed so endless at times are long gone, replaced by a whirling time of change and some chaos, the feeling of watching something happen breathlessly, trying to catch up.
eating my plum

You, my boys, apparently take things very literally. In the teething department, at least. The day after you turned one, you started teething your one year molars. At first I though, great, lets get it over with. But two long months later, Mace, I just glanced and saw the bottom two have finally slightly pushed through. Which apparently sent you into a tailspin last night, causing a screaming fit from 130 a.m. until 4 a.m. from which you recovered by waking at 535 rather than 505. Owen, I see yours coming through, but it seems to give you less trouble, less reason to scream anyway. Occasionally I have prayed for deliverance from this, but laugh because once these teeth pass through some other phase will start, probably the one where you start telling me’ nope, not gonna’ do it.’ Or something equally as fun.

One other mama I just started reading said phases are rarely good things, you just do not hear parents say, my kid is in the ‘compliant all the time with a smile’ phase. She is right, so on to other stuff.

The amazing thing in the last few months is the pace of your discovery, your exploration. You both have found that the world outside is where you prefer to be for hours and hours. The backyard your safe haven,
outside all the time
the front yard Mama’s terror. Because you just leave. No qualms about walking out and off. No comprehension yet of street vs. sidewalk. Actually a preference for street. Especially you, Mace. When in public we are practicing having you walk with us. Owen, you love to hold Daddy’s hand, love to walk at our side (for 100 feet or so). But Mace, you are so fiercely independent, so like me, it is frightening.
peek a boo
We say ‘bye-bye’ you scoff and walk the exact opposite way that the other three family members are going. We want to pick you up, you claw and writhe and throw your beautiful blond head backward. A challenge, a real challenge.

Owen, you have found affection and you love to give it. You will give a nice sloppy open mouth kiss on demand, but my favorite are the kisses you initiate. I will turn and there you are, grasping at my face and leaning in.
It took me a few times to realize what you wanted, now I relish every single kiss. Both of you have taken to coming and plopping down on our laps and lately, the Mama bear wrestle is all the rage. That, by the way, is when your Mama is supine on the ground with exhaustion (usually late afternoon) and then I find two slightly tired very aggressive young toddlers climbing on every limb, twisting around my body and each other and jostling to eject the other. Not always the most comfortable thing for Mama, but seemingly wonderful for the two of you.

Owen, you totally got hit on at our last playgroup, and the scary thing, you did not mind at all. You are in love with another Mama there, Nicole, and you were lying down next to her, gazing at her shorts locks when, Baam!, your friend Mia straddled you and started planting kisses and hugs all over you. And you grinned, like the cat that swallowed the canary.
our ladies man
Wish we would have had the camera handy for that moment. Actually moments, as she followed you for quite some time and you did nothing to dissuade her advances. She would take you down and you would just grin this cheesy grin and let her. I have a feeling we might be in trouble in this area.

Mason, you are showing me lots of new sides to your self lately. You love to figure out things on your own, only want adult things (the baby spoons and forks are rejected and we have to provide full sized utensils, preferably metal. So far both eyeballs are still intact. So far). I can rarely feed you now, I can rarely do too much for you. You want to see it all, know how it works, then find a new way to twist it’s use, whatever the ‘it’ of the moment is.
mace and mama
Very innovative, loving getting in things and loving running away. You also get truly frustrated when unable to do things and get a defiant glint in your eyes when disciplined. All things I remember about myself when smaller. Or even now, I guess. I think this will be both your blessing and challenge as you grow. I sometimes wish I did not see as much of me in you as I sometimes feel like my person is a challenged person, too complex for my own good. But I will equip you with what skills in can to take on the business of being you. And try to hold my patience when your shrill screams bounce around my head.
not good, the screaming

To the both of you, I must say thank you. The way you live your life is reopening closed areas of my own. My imagination feels like it is resurfacing as I try to look at things in a new way, new light. My creativity is called to try new things as I watch you do so. My desire to just be present to watch grows as you do. And that is so very different than I thought I would feel.
I reached a milestone just today. I returned to my Friday morning yoga class. You both went eagerly into the gym kiddie place, barely glancing back at me. You stayed whole and well and very happy for 90 minutes and though you ran to me happily when I came for you, it was more of a ‘hi’ than a desperate move to get out. And now I know I can continue with this class I cherish, a class at 830 a.m. with dim lights and quiet people and very, very challenging asanas. A milestone indeed. I have also made a few decisions regarding my Self. I am going to try the Master Cleanse (shuddering as I write this) to open other blocked areas, then really approach life in a way that promotes my health and longevity, both for you, me and Tim. The 30s are proving a big change, slowed metabolism, aching joints, hurting feet. There has to be some solution to get it all realigned and I am working towards it.

So, just now I am trying to be as present as possible as we both walk through all these new things. I hope you are feeling my love and joy as much as I am feeling yours. I hope my times of frustration and losses of patience are not as well remembered as my love. And I hope, oh, I hope you know how much your Mama loves you, so very much.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To Craft or Not?

I mentioned in my last post that I did not accomplish as much crafting as I thought I would. I always pack a huge bag of projects that I think I might finish while away. Even before kids I would never get to them. There is something about sitting on a deck with a cold beer, idle hands, and my husband that just feels sufficient. No other distractions as we talk about things: hopes, dreams, plans and the future. Not to say that happened every night. But most, most nights my hands were idle.

I did have a chance to work up these shirts for the boys, just a few more embroidered AA lap shirts.
Someone asked how I did the design on dark fabric. I used an iron on stabilizer on the front of the shirt. Like so....
Robot prep
Then tear away when finished. A little tough due to the stretch fabric and the delicate stitches, but do-able. I saw a dissolve in water stabilizer at Jo-Ann's but this works for me. The designs really take such little time to do, and the end result is so adorable. Here are the models, each in their own colors. I seem to choose blues for Owen and red for Mace, but we switched it up this time, as per my husband's suggestion.
jelly in action
They actually exchange clothes quite often as they are the same size. It is only in my mind that I ascribe them the color groups. Mamas are weird.
Jelly in action

Before we left I wanted to whip out a smaller purse for carrying bits. I love the Pleated Beauty Bag but it is big. Cumbersome when I only want to take my stuff. So I tried the Charming Handbag from BTRS.
Charming handbag
Love it. Simple and fun and just right for the things I take along when a purse is needed. The outer fabric is something from JoAnn's, the lining a little more from my Heather Ross. I am having such a great time learning to sew, I do tend to massacre seams and have issues with straps but in the end, I find it fun and cathartic and it does seem to get easier. I actually thought about bringing the sewing machine to the Cabin, then realized that would be a bit overboard. It stayed home.

The crafting has gone well since our return. I will show the other stuff next week after the gift has reached it's new home. Nothing too fancy, but all very fun. Just little shout out to Liz. I say to you, put thee machine on the desk in the den and sew a few seams. It can be done, though I am finding the boys really want to catch that needle as it moves up and down. I want to see your quilts....and then ask you for advice as my quilting has yet to reach standards I can be proud to show here.

One last craft, not of my making, though.
Puzzle for boys
This beautiful puzzle was a gift to the boys from my sister for their 1st birthday. I plan on framing it and finding out how to order more as I find it stunning. The artist is local to the Humboldt area and I am sure she can bring two three or ten more to frame and hang. Until they are old enough to play and not destroy it.

I also forgot to finish my photo upload to Flickr. Here is a set of pictures of the boys on their first wheelbarrow ride. Fun for all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Home again

Ah, the end of a great vacation brings mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is nice to settle back into the routine of the familiar. The other hand is the routine of the familiar, no exciting things to contemplate on this hot afternoon, no lake to go jump in. Always a blessing and a challenge, each experience.

It was a great week away with a lot of work and a lot of firsts. The boys' were great, the traveling a bit more challenging (gone are the days of falling asleep in the car seat at bedtime...Mace screamed for three hours on the way up....poor baby, poor parents). But there were the days of exploration, playing in the lake, discovering the life that resounds all around. Both boys seemed to take to that just fine.

Our family cabin is the greatest of blessings, but also requires some effort to maintain. There were a lot of pine needles to be cleared, which the boys tried to assist in by alternately eating and throwing.
what to do first?
The mounds of soft dirt under the pine needles were irresistible and i thank my insightful Mama for buying a load of used overalls for outdoor play. Really effective at keeping some of the dirt at bay.

Our first trip to the lake was quite surprising as Mason decided to walk right in, no hesitation, no fear. Just right in. I was almost prepared but did not quite catch him as he dove in. A little bit of a shock. We spent the rest of our lake side time playing referee as he tried to drown himself repeatedly. He loves the water. Loves it. Once we established that, we put him in his floating thing and he was in heaven.
basitas (No water shots, just not a good idea to have babies and SLR camera together near water. Not a good idea at all.)

Owen loves the lakeside mud and granite rocks ringing the shoreline. he spent many an afternoon throwing said rocks into the water. Usually into the water, not at us, thankfully. He would pick up some huge ones, and Tim and I would marvel at his brute strength.
movie star
The kid is strong, determined and just about the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

We also discovered ducks and bull frogs,
climbing on new furniture and coffee tables (which we do not have at home), eating in booster seats (really messy). It was so wonderful to watch the boys truly discover the freedom of the world out there. I can still see Mason chasing ants on the ground, pointing with his little finger, trying to follow the little creatures in and out of the pine fall, looking up at me with true wonder at the ant's ability to scamper away. And the O, dipping rock in dirt and eagerly eating it off. Yum yum.
overall us

It was great to just let them go, not worry too much about what went into their mouths, and watch them discover. It was also exhausting. And when naps were a little too short, and the Cabin felt a little too small...well, that is vacation, huh?

We made it to the grove of giant Sequoias. I will always remember their first moments there. They walked up to this giant, this tree that has seen millenia, and just put their hands on him and stared up.
first embrace

Fascinated, almost reverential. It lasted a few moments, then they were off. But it was like they knew. The last time we were there, the boys were about 8 weeks gestation and we had yet to find out there were two. those trees, it must have seemed an eye blink. It does to me.
so small

The week away was restorative and exhausting. a lot less crafting than I expected, a total unplug from the blog world (as I now realize it should be) and waaay too much food and a wee bit too much Guinness (my waistline is in protest). We have a late summer trip planned to go back. It seems too far away already.
the boys

Now back to the mundane and comforting. I have a few projects to wrap up for a special event this weekend. A few fun knits/sewing to get together for a new little one. Wish me luck. Hope all is well where you are, whether a vacation in imminent or not. Missed ya'll. If you would like to see more pictures the set is here. Smiles.

Monday, June 16, 2008


This weekend was nice. We slipped out Saturday to attend a wedding. It was a gorgeous heart felt ceremony and reception with so many lovely homemade touches.
The Aisle
Those are always my favorite, when you can really see the bride and groom in the event, in the evening. We had food and drink, as is required at weddings. We also were able to sneak some great shots in during our evening.
I read a great post on Shutter Sisters a few months ago. The author suggested shooting for the couple, just some extra shots, and then putting it together for them. Usually it takes some time before the photographer gets the pictures back to them, this way she (because you know that is the half that needs to see right away) has something to view right away.
It was fun to snap away, Tim and I both took the shots. He even got a few of me in (a true rarity these days as we are always snapping away at the babies).
All Smiles for him

Now we are off to the Cabin. Hard to believe it was about one year ago that the babies first visited. I am excited and a little frazzled with the packing. Last time I literally forgot everything for me, so concentrated was I on getting the babies and their stuff (oh lawd, the stuff) there. Now I am a bit better; hair care and sundries almost packed, clothes for all clean...and so much less stuff for them. I cannot wait to see what they do when they are confronted with miles of calm lake shores and giant sequoia trees.

Here is a shot Tim captured the other morning.
This sunflower is about 8-9 feet tall, it just started blooming. It was a transplant from the backyard, centered in the middle of our large front picture window. It grew until it reached the roof line then started blooming. Such a great reminder to reach for the light, for that which makes us feel lighter, brighter, feel like blooming. Taking pictures is one of the things that brings more light into my days, filling a need to capture and create a bit. What does it for you? What makes you reach upward, toward the light?

Looking forward to our week away. We will definitely be reaching for some great shots while playing and enjoying the mountains. Might see you during the week as they now have wireless in town (how things change over time).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Serendipitous Crafting

Wow. The sickness has finally left our house and it feels really good to get back to normal. You know, just the molar teething and summer allergies....without the poop factor. Thank god. Anyway, I have had a bit of time here and there to do little projects and I realize that it really has become a definitive factor in my life, this creating/crafting. I am not one to be an original creator, I mainly find and follow patterns that I love or crave. But I must be doing some craft at some time during the day. Otherwise I feel not complete, not whole.

I have been reading The Creative Family, a book by the lovely Soulemama. I anticipated this book for a long time but did not pre-order. Books seem to fall further down on the list of things that fill my 'me' time. So when I finally did receive my copy I told myself to sit and read, put down the needles and read. So very glad I did. She writes about creating and the need to do these wonderful and engaging things with her children. The thing I loved was the feeling of permission that she bestows on the creator/crafter.
rock star II
That we have to nurture that part of our selves and let our children learn to create also. I always feel vaguely guilty for crafting these days, as if the time should be devoted to something more important. But my boys already love the sewing machine, are fascinated with the gorgeous colors of embroidery thread and want to hold my knitting needles. I guess that is a good start to the future invitations I would like to extend for them to be involved in these things I so love. And just because they are boys does not mean I would limit this exposure, rather encourage it (between all the make believe sword fights and car pushing that I know will ensue).
rock star I
But for now this is them wearing the fruits of some very satisfactory labor on my part. I love these little shirts and find that a small project like this can go outside with us, they run up and touch the hoop and the stitches and really try to go for that needle. And I get little bits done here and there. Fun for all.

I had a moment of true serendipity this week. There is a book, Weekend Knitting, that I have owned for years. All of my first projects came from this book, I would pore the pages, dreaming of learning this or that technique. One piece always held my attention. It is the Cache Coeur Bergamo by Veronik Avery. I have always loved Avery and her unique designs and innovative construction.

The first time I read the pattern it was pure gibberish. Slowly it began to make sense, then I finally understood. But then I never had a chance to actually do it. This weekend I was cleaning out a stash of long forgotten yarn and found bags (yes, bags) of yarn from a sale at the Yarn Lady.
bergamo yarn
My first sale, when I knew very little about yarn and its properties. So I bought bags of yarn I have barely even touched. And this was at least four years ago (might be having a giveaway round these parts soon).

And then it clicked....that bag of purpley pink Bergamo yarn...hmmm. Where have I seen that name before? Pulled out WK, turned to the pattern....oh, look....Cache Coeur Bergamo made with Bergamo yarn...I had exactly 7 balls, exactly the amount needed for the size I would knit up. Ah, Serendipity. How I love it when you visit. Sufficed to say all other projects fell to the side and today I have the back and sides done,
cache coeur
waiting on a very lovely and intriguing border to be tried, and I have a feeling this will all come together just right. Whether for myself or another, it feels good to make an adult piece and a beautiful one, at that. Stay tuned for finished pictures.

And, (jeez, this is stretching it out a bit, don't you think?) I have a very old project that I wanted to show because I recently realized how very much I love it.
This afghan was a labor of months of love. I learned the very simple stitch from the wife of a patient, right before I left my job to travel to South Africa with Tim and a few others. I actually brought it with me and carried it for months in my cramped backpack. It grew and grew and I crocheted and crocheted. The bulk was done in Portland, Oregon while Tim and I snuggled under its growing dimensions, freezing due to lack of proper heating in our Victorian building. It has been passed back and forth from our bed to my brothers' room (they seem to really love it) and recently back to us.
afghan detail
Perfect summer weight when laid over our sheets. Made up with good old Red Heart Soft, 100% acrylic. Has lasted an unbelievable amount of use, abuse, washing and wear. Still looks pretty good, wouldn't you say? I anticipate it will last a little longer. Hope so.

The final thing I've got is this great bag from Bend the Rules Sewing (from here on out BTRS, I have a feeling you will be seeing more from Amy's great book).
Pleated Beauty bag
The pleated Beauty Bag caught my eye on Flickr and I had to try it. Love it. Still working on the sewing part. But I love the roomy nature of this bag (It is BIG, people) and find it can stand in as a diaper bag/purse quite easily. Fun and easy sewing, very pretty.
Bag detail
I used linen and some more Heather Ross fabrice for the bag then glanced at my 'real' diaper bag and realized it is the exact same color scheme. Predictable, am I not?

So, apparently, though I used to feel a little guilty crafting, it sure did not stop me. And now with full license to craft, who knows how much more I can get out. Just kidding. I think. There are a few more cute pictures of the boys here and here. In action, you know. Mason looks like he is on the war path because of his teeth. Owen is just stinking cute (though not literally anymore now that the pooping has stopped...1 box of Costco diapers in a few days, people. That is a lot of diapers.)

Oh, learned a great tip for diaper rash. Put the cream on then sprinkle with powder. Holds it there better. Thanks, Gina.

And as a little teaser....someone might be getting a little space of her own and a little personal redo this week. We shall have to wait and see, eh? Hope all is well out there in Blogland. Leave a hi if you have a moment, been feeling a little lonely round here.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Food Friday

Time to blog has been sorely lacking lately, time to read or to write scarce. But one thing that I have found myself able to do is cook. This is awesome to me because I love cooking but it had fallen to the wayside in the wake of twin life. I have always felt really comfortable in the kitchen and loved trying out new recipes and this handy internet/blog thing has been a blessing in the finding of new recipes.

In the last week I have made three or four great meals from references or google searches. Thought I would link you to a few in case you are seeking inspiration.

:: Spinach and Cream so so good. And easy. If you love pasta and do not mind the splurge on cream, try this. I actually added milk to the sauce as I was short on cream and it tasted lovely. And I doubled (tripled?) the garlic cuz' I am crazy like that.

:: Pink Sauce Pasta...again, really easy pasta. You basically make a red sauce and instead of adding cream, add cottage cheese. I did this and blended it with an immersion blender and the husband loved it. And he hates cottage cheese. Hates it.

:: Portuguese Chicken in Crock....better for cooler weather (which we had a few days ago). The recipe calls for chorizo but I used spicy sausage as that it was we had. Simple prep, cannot beat the crock pot for doing the cooking. And you must add the olives and artichokes as suggested because it elevates the dish to Portuguese vs. just plain crock pot chicken.

:: Ciabatta Brushcetta...this is just a made up recipe on my part.
Basically gather tomatoes (the yellow are from our eternally producing tomato vine outside our sliding door), chop and drain juices, add balsamic and olive oil and one crushed garlic clove and a generous potion of shredded fresh basil and let sit. Meanwhile, slice ciabatta (I like the individual rolls from Costco, they carry La Brea Bakery bread...mmmmm) rub with cut clove of garlic and olive oil and place on grill. Slice up some good mozzarella and lay on bread and let melt a bit on grill. Pull off grill and place whole leaves of basil on cheese. Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and spoon tomato mixture over. Wah-la! Easy and filling summer dinner. Served with Rice a Roni, currently the only thing my children will eat.
Quick dineer

Have a great weekend, hopefully full of good food and an easy welcoming of the summer months.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

To Lift Me Up

This weekend did not start with a BANG! but rather with a bug. A very nasty bug that wreaked havoc on our household, starting with Tim, moving onto me and then the boys. Hit us with the works, including multiple trips to the vomitorium for Mummy and Daddy. Not fun, especially not with two non-vomiting toddlers who instead were expelling their sickness via the diaper end. Over and over and over. Ugh. To our credit, we switched off diaper responsibility in a orderly and considerate fashion. Thank god for good husbands.

Things are starting to settle (literally, for the adults) down and Sunday looks like a better day. Except for the molars busting through and the resultant diaper rash on both boys (which they avoiding for 13 months....I finally had to open the Boudreaux's Butt Paste I received at the baby shower...I prefer Balmex, truthfully). Anyway, I decided to post a few precious photos from some previous water play, you know, to lift my spirits and remind me of better times. The hot temps are coming back and we will likely be scooting through the backyard with hoses and sprinklers again.

Water Drips,

water drips

Water Drops,
water drops

Water Sips,
water sips

Water Sops.
water sops

And this last one was caught by Tim. I swear to god he is the reincarnation of Lou Ferrigno. Incredible Hulk. Arggg.

The Hulk

Hope your weekend was a bit gentler than ours. Here is to wishing us all a good week.