Friday, October 30, 2009

Almost Hallowen


My Mama always made our Halloween costumes when I was growing up. Actually, she did not always make them, but when she made them she made some doozies. My brothers usually reaped the benefits...they were fashioned into a video arcade game and The Thing in years past. I was usually some type of ballerina which likely came from personal requests from my own mouth.

I remember looking at the pictures of those years and wondering how I was cheated of the wonderful costumes that she made, but I can totally forgive her now knowing that in that young incarnation of myself, I probably demanded the pretty fluffy tulle over the awesome-ness of a costume composed totally of shredded newspaper glued to a giant garbage bag and placed over the head of my younger brother (I just saw a picture that he was uploading for his wedding slide show, but I could not find it to me, it was awesome).

In my mind. performing a proper Mama-hood requires mandatory costume making. Without the attempt, I would equal a Mama-hood fail. Last year I mustered up enough energy to dress them and slick their hair back, the year before I could have cared less for Halloween when juggling twin 6 month old babies.

This year I started early, just a vague concept in mind. Initially I wanted to go with Lewis and Clark, turn their red wagon into a covered one and outfit them in buckskin. I Googled the phrase in images and came up with a ton of pictures, all of the pair sporting 2 foot long muskets...guess men were better off with a trusty sidearm in those times. That idea was shelved, so then I turned to the entomologist in me and determined that they would make amazing spiders.

It is now the night before Halloween as I write this and they are sleeping and I should be finishing the last of my cobbled together idea.

The costume consists of homemade hats, t-shirts fitted with three pairs of spray painted cardboard tube legs (with joints, thanks to Tim) and adorable tight girl leggings and high top Chucks. I have a bit more to do (like make the whole second T-shirt costume part) but I would rather write.

Halloween means so much again. It means excited boys chanting "Halloween" and "Nienies", it means meeting Pumpkin Jack and Sally in person at Disneyland and watching our boys choke and freeze up in front of their idols.

It means cobbled together costumes that started over a month ago and are not quite done, but damn well will be tomorrow.

This is my favorite month of the year, a month of change and death and loss and calls to me deeply.

It is also a month of sweets and coyness, play and false is just perfect. I love Halloween. I remember one year when I was sick and fell asleep the afternoon of Halloween, woke to a sky lit and panicked when I though I had slept through the night, missed all the activities. I think I was 4.

So, despite a bone weary body, the knowledge that Tim is leaving Sunday morning for a photo trip to the Grand Canyon and then I leave to San Francisco when he returns, despite thinking it would slow down after the wedding event, despite all on the To Do list...tomorrow morning I will wake up, finish the other Spider legs and arms, finish my Beehive costume and Tim as Beekeeper, and then we are going to have a blast. Because Halloween is my favorite night of the year and it only comes around once each 365.

Have a ghastly ghoulish deliciously sweet Halloween, my friends. (Cue evil laugh).


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wedding Photos :: Check

Sometimes things just work out. Sometimes, when you have sweat enough and practiced enough and the moment comes and you take it and run...well, sometimes it all works out.

I did not feel this way Saturday night at 11:00 p.m. I was convinced we missed every shot, lost every opportunity and blurred every important moment. Wedding photography is not for the weak.

Then we did a quick scan Sunday morning, then a full Monday processing and now I feel much much better. And I thought I would share .

Just please remember, half of these shots are Tim and all the great shots are his. The guy sure knows his stuff. We worked so well as a team, what I missed, he caught and vice versa.

I present to you ::

The Bride


The Ceremony


The Couple


And the shot of the day, courtesy of Tim.


That one takes my breath away.

You can click on the links to see a slideshow on black. There is still much to do, but this is their share via social media. I doubt we will go into business, it is just too hard, but I am shooting Em's wedding when it comes...she even said I could.

Congratulations, Alon and Jeanette Bout!!!!! We love you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I started a list a few years back on my birthday and I like the way it gives me time to reflect on the year...updates as follows...

1. Make the Easy Lap Quilt from Angry Chicken's book using my Heather Ross fabric swatch.
2. Lose the 10 pounds I gained post-partum. Yep, gained.
3. Do at least one headstand a day to receive the benefits of yogic inversions.

4. Travel with the boys to the place where we made them. Canada, that is, eh?

5. Snowboard on a fresh powder day on the slopes of Mammoth.
6. Take very deep breathes when needing to renew my spirits.

7. Reinstate long daily walks with the boys.

8. Bring my reusable grocery bags to the store at least 95% of the time, and if I do not, insist on carrying items out without bags.
9. Help out another mama-of-multiples the way so many other mamas have helped me.
10. Use some yarn stash for unique and simple gifts for family/friends.
11. Stop thinking I can do it all, stop trying to justify not being able to.
12. Get a real haircut.
13. Eat more green food, try to get fresh juices into my daily regimen.

14. Assist Tim in making matching furniture for our bedroom.
15. Knit this sweater despite the fact that I live in a climate that will afford little wear.
16. Move to a climate where I can wear it (maybe). (The move, I mean).

17. Buy pants that fit correctly and get them tailored to the correct length if they do not.(Modified :: Work on learning to make my own pants now that I can sew)

18. Learn how to properly use my mother's sewing machine.
19. Clean the floors of the house more often.
20. Write to my friends in NY and Ireland.
21. Start and finish reading a book.
22. Retain some information from said book after the completion of reading
23. Go to Church to renew that feeling I once had as a child... that feeling of awe.

24. Visit my Opa in Holland with my husband and children. (Modified :: He came to us! And met the boys and cried to see his little great grandchildren play. My Opa looks like Yoda. He is so cool).
25. Let go of wrecked nap times when they occur.
26. Send my parents on an all-expenses paid weekend away...or at least pay for their gas when they drive to see my other siblings.
(Well, we let them leave frequently now...that has to count for something)

27. Shoot the boys in a studio setting with black and white real film. (Going to happen :: Professional photo session next month is planned)

29. Stop watching inane TV.
30. Maybe just stop watching TV altogether. Except Pushing Daisies and The Office.

31. Raise beautiful baby boys.
32. Kiss my love every single day and thank the Source for my life as it is and as it can be.
(I am doing this but I cannot strike this because I know it is something to renew on a daily will never be a strike).

33. (?) Must have forgotten to add one last year...but I will make it up by adding Blogher 10 to this year's goals.

34. And the doozy....sell the Ford F150, buy a VW Vanagon, pack it light come next August and head out for a three month trip with the boys to see the islands and Vancouver, Banff, Glacier and Yellowstone and the Tetons and more....all with two three year old boys. It may seem like trying to reclaim a life that has passed by but I always thought we could embrace the way we lived before the boys and introduce them to a life lived freer than most, not exactly following the Dead, just pursuing the best mountain bike rides, the best hikes, the quietest campgrounds, the best camp spot.

Getting little shivers as I write it because somehow there is power in the writing and the sharing. And I just cannot wait.

Hi, 34. You look and feel nice so far.

So many posts brewing, I just do not know where to start. The wedding was magical, beyond magical...taking the photos was a tough gig. I have so much respect for wedding photographers. Whew.

The boys were awesome, so far the birthday has been at the hotel room at the Magical Kingdom taking a little down time before we head back in for more Disneyland. Glad to be back here though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On the Pot

the big pumpkin

I promised a post on potty training last week and I am sure it is not really a topic of great interest to most, but I decided to write about it anyway. My reasoning? Well, it just feels like I am forgetting things as they happen lately, all the sweet lovely things they say, all the huge steps they are taking forward. And this, well, the potty thing, this I do not really want to forget. Even though it can be a bit gross at times.

So, I mentioned eons ago that Owen had started to show an interest in potty training. It started with peeing standing up. Actually it all started with being naked. Over the summer the boys took to being commando. All the time. I mean, we would put clothes on them and within a span of an hour they had removed every item or made themselves so freaking filthy that they could not wear the clothes anymore. What could make them so dirty, you ask? Hmmm, you must not have boys then. Naked as jay birds, they would run around and occasionally pee. Everywhere and more than occasionally. We thought it a sign and gave some half-heartened attempts at potty training. That consisted of buying 4 little pots from Ikea and strategically placing them in each bathroom and outside, investing in a package of pull ups and getting out the stack of clean character underwear donated by a good friend.

Only problem was that they never used the pots and had no interest in wearing anything. Instead they learned to pee standing up, outside, usually in the grass or one of the bushes in the backyard. It was always outside, so it was a little hard to protest. Owen was an immediate expert, right down the posture most guys assume as they, erm, pee standing up. It was hilarious to see. But there was also not a lot of potty use going on. Let me say that poop was not a terrible issue as they are morning boys and they had a diaper change in the morning before ‘naked’ time began. But, yes, there were some disastrous episodes involving poop and match box cars. Enough said.

So, there was really no great progress to speak of. They did not use the pot, but they did start to tell us when they had to go pee or poop. Well, they usually told us after, actually. That cannot really be called potty training, right? I did notice something interesting though. The naked time seemed to give them much better feedback about the whole act of eliminating…they may not have controlled it much, but it seemed as if their awareness of the whole thing started to really form.

Enter September and school. Speaking of school, it is great! And it has been great for the whole world of toileting. I recall some fear on my part that they would:

A) Never make it through the day with all their clothes on and
B) Be found peeing outside in the grass by a teacher or other student.
(To be honest, Mrs B reported it did happen in the first week with Owen, but she found it hilarious and then gently directed him to the bathroom) (Did I mention I absolutely adore Mrs. B?) . But something truly magical happened with school in the picture. Do you know what that is?

A child sized toilet and sink.

There is nothing more magical to them than a child sized toilet and sink. I am wondering why parents spend so much money on useless play items when really we should be renovating our homes to temporarily accommodate child sized things. It was totally on once they identified that this equipment was for them and functioned like the grown up sized items. There is a potty break at 10:00 a.m. at school where each kid goes to their bathroom to try and, for the most part, we get reports that they go every time. And now Owen asks to be taken to the bathroom every time at school. Mace? Not so much, he has his own schedule in the area of potty training. His is the “Not right now” schedule.

Now Owen gets up in the morning and is pretty much in underwear until bedtime. Mace, on the other hand, flips a bit between diapers and underpants…he is a lot less predictable and prone to hide it if he makes a mistake and pees or poops in his underwear. (And just to be clear, they both wear diapers at night because I am not that brave. Not yet).

The current status in training has really brought something to light for me. I see how each of them is at a different comfort level when it comes to this step and we have been respecting that level. When Mace has his accidents, we let him know it is okay and if he asks for a diaper, we put it on. I do not want to bring a negative light to the whole thing and just figure he will be ready when he is ready. And for Owen, if Mrs. B says he is ready for underwear at school, well, I will just have to trust her and send him in his favorite pair (or maybe second favorite pair).

It is funny, whenever I sit down to write these things, trivial as it seems, it helps me process something about parenting. In this case, it reminds me just how different they can be despite having been raised in exactly the same parameters. They each have chosen their own way and we try to consistently respect that. It is awesome to sit in witness of their personhoods unfolding and becoming, it makes something like potty training something I want to remember. There is such autonomy in claiming control of one’s own body and I am simultaneously proud and sad as we move forward into yet another aspect of independence, the Age of the Toilet.


Someday it will seem totally normal for them to go on their own. Someday the sight of them in little underwear with a character on them will not be cute anymore (gawd, you should see Mace pose in his “Purple Car” underwear….both of them showing each other their butt characters…it is hilarious). And that may be just the reason I had to write this.

Though they will kill me when some jilted girlfriend with a broken heart finds this and links it to her FB profile. Sorry, boys.

And now onto the wedding much to do, so little time. We have a full few days ahead, might be a little quiet round these parts. Have a great week, friends.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Loves :: Pumpkin Style

So many good things are cropping up this week. I am loving on the cool weather, the lull in demanding work, the time I am carving out to play with Halloween costume ideas and sewing projects.

Here are a few on my weekly loves...the pumpkin edition...

Roasted pumpkin which became a chunky sauce over pasta. Sweet and smokey and Fall all over it.

Silly bumpy warty gourds that have the potential to be very cute Halloween people. But will likey just hang out on the mantel until Christmas.

The boys' new favorite about a witch and a giant pumpkin. It has spurred much conversation about making a pumpkin pie, something that has become a daily request. Made even sweeter by the fact that it cost a quarter at a local yard sale.

Not pumpkin-y, but damn cute. Tomorrow is their first school picture day. The weather is warming up enough to sport short sleeves, so they get to take these for a spin.
For School Pictures

And what would a pumpkin post be without our first trip this year? The park up the street holds the best event, this will be the third year for the boys. Here is year one, year two and now...

They hold the chickies.

They sit by big pumpkins.

And we find a few old treasures to capture.
not trash
(photos courtesy of Tim)

More pictures here.

And while I am sharing good things, I thought I would mention a few new blogs that I loving a lot ::

Sasikirana Handmade :: Delicious projects and she loves Heather Ross, maybe more than I.

Rambling Roses
:: Beautiful photography and knitting projects and now she is in Canada, B.C. to be exact. Heaven, to be even more accurate.

Tangerine and Turquoise
:: Great name, lovely sewing, lots of Alabama Chanin and a happy one year blogging.

They have infused me with new inspiration and lots of good reads. Check them out if you need a crafting kick.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Me Do It!

I alluded to the current stage we are going through in my previous post. It is the “Me Do It!” phrase/phase when independence is not merely an assertion but a matter of life or death. Well, maybe just tantrum or no tantrum. The need for independence manifests in various ways, from trying to get in and out of the car (including the opening and closing of the car door) to attempts to make Mama coffee in the morning (resulting in some chewy and very hearty brew. Mmmmm). We have learned to not interfere too much with the chosen activities because it usually takes more time to calm the hysterical child. So we guide them through the steps and try not to impatiently tap a foot as we wait (and wait and wait for Owen to go through his rituals).

The perks to independence has been some “Me Do It” time for Mama as the boys explore play scenarios and reading “Meself” books. I took advantage of the energy generated by our fall weather and finished and blocked the Damson.

I found the knit fairly simple, it was a whole lot of knit stitches on both sides until the border, the pattern was easy to follow and gave very lovely results. Blocking lace never fails to amaze me, the bloom and opening that occurs with a good soak makes all the ticky ticky effort of lace so rewarding. In this case the end really justifies the means. I did find the merino/silk blend from Karabella to be splitty at times but the silky texture of the yarn just about made up for the splitting. It has been given over to our bride, she graciously modeled it for me this week.


We spent an evening up at the wedding site to get a feel for the light and space.

My creation

I doubt I have many master carpenter readers, but I am gonna’ drop a name here that might excite them (if they read). My brother and J are getting married at the home of Sam Maloof, a renowned carpenter. My Mama has worked for him and his wife for many years and they have a fabulous foundation home with native Californian gardens.
Wedding Site

Sam passed away this year and he is missed, we are all so happy that the place will be home to such a special event as it holds so much created and natural beauty. It sits lightly at the top of our Foothill community and the way the light bounces around up there is nothing short of magical. Taking a few test shots made me beyond excited for the quickly approaching day. I have always loved walking the garden paths and finding the art treasures revealed at every bend and curve. 2 more weeks. So excited.
Wedding Site
Wedding Site

The whole family will be in town for the wedding, so I had to use some of the energy I discovered to make up something for my delicious niece. This is the Girly Dress from Jennifer at JCasa.
girly dress :: Jcasa

It is free and simple and so much fun. You basically draft your own pattern.
girly dress :: Jcasa

I used one of the boys 24 month t shirts just to make sure it would fit her for a bit. I had a great time picking out my colors and used mainly pieces from my stash. (Hey, Lori Z, recognize the fabric at all?) The only new fabric is the lining, a sweet school day ‘print’ I found at our local quilt shop.
girly dress :: Jcasa

I had this dress done within one school day session for the boys. The boys were nice enough to hold it for me while I took some shots. And yes, I did make Mason try it on as a test subject….he is the smaller of the two and I was trying to gauge my success.

girly dress :: Jcasa
girly dress :: Jcasa

It felt a little tight at the armholes, so I would recommend that if you try the pattern you give ample room in your draft pattern for the armhole opening. I plan on trying to wrangle the niece and my two boys into a photo shoot in their home sewn clothing. I also plan on making more of these simple dresses. Thanks, Jennifer, for yet another wonderful pattern. You have to check out her newly redesigned site with easy links to her patterns. This woman cranks out the creativity…with twin girls and a hugely busy schedule. I love her work and you will too.

Now onward to a weekend full of family and more Fall weather. I am excited to see what else I can do with the “Me Do It” time on my hands.

Next up :: a scintillating post on potty training and the success and failures of boys in underwear.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

At Night

I lean in, the convex of his forehead meets the curve of my nose, a perfect fit, and I rest for a moment in the pre-dawn light, breathing in the sleep silence of my small children.


They were crying out all night, random phrases like "Truck!" and "Boat!" then it just became "Mommy mommy mommy mommy..." until I came into their darkness and laid down with them under their blanket. My legs folded up in the too small pushed together toddler beds, a boy on each side.

All Smiles

Owen starts and shifts, saying "Me (garble) me (garble) me flower". Quiet. Then "No Daddy me do it, me do it." They must dream now, living in that other world of make believe and circumstance when eyes close. Maybe that is why they cry out.


I once yearned for the night when they would no longer need me, when sleep would be mine. And most nights it does belong to me, in my bed with my husband. I sometimes feel bereft when I wake from a full night sleep, unsure of where I am.


Now, in those rare hours when we lay warm and tangled in blankies, foreheads touching for a moment, I feel our souls meet. The knowing of them is beyond precious, beyond privilege. It extends into Pure Love.

Hiking @ Mountain
Hiking @ Mountain

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oh, the Possibilities

The cool air has settled over our little piece of land and it is breathing energy and dreams and ideas deep into my soul. Summer burned out some of that energy, these gentle temperatures hovering just below 70 are bringing it all back. I feel excited and happy and I cannot stop thinking about all the things I want to do, all the projects and plans and secrets that just might happen.
Fall Flowers

So, what is in the pool of my mind right now? New yarn projects...the Damson came off the needles during the relatively mild bachelorette party and she is not blocked yet, but she is done. Casting off 500 or so stitches is daunting, especially when I was on the third beer, but she made it out the other side and now a good soak and stretch are in order.

The only thing I am knitting right now is the ever increasing circle of stitches for my aptly named Pinwheel Sweater (free pattern). It is mindless but not mind numbing, and the 100% wool is knitting up to be light enough to guarantee use if the temps stay low. There us just not much to show except a blob-ish shape.

I did take it off the needles to check the fit and I think I will like it. Katie has her finished version blogged here and I loved it so that I cast on immediately, even though a few weeks ago it was in the 100s round here.

This has left me with idle needles begging for something, maybe another owl vest to give the other boy. Maybe a soft and stripey hat. Maybe an Ishbel in an icy blue to wrap gently around the neck of a friend who will need warming soon.
Yarn Finds
Yarn Finds

I have all this blue yarn gathered, it is a color I am learning to embrace and love. And with so much to use, the possibilities seem endless.

And then there are these buttons. Oh, I had a fun time during our trip away, digging through dusty tins of buttons, snatching special finds
Button Finds

and some run-of-the-mill strands.
Button Finds

I came away with quite a steal when the kind shop owner dumped them all in a bag for 2 dollars for the lot. A score. I glanced through this book once and found some sweet ideas, but part of me just wants to keep them for fingering through and counting.

Button Finds

These will eventually end up on something special... maybe a little girly dress like this one....hmmmm.

No pictures of this one, but I am the garden keeper at the school and it required some attention last week. I ripped out three huge tomatoes plants and found half a dozen giant horned tomato worms. Ugh. They were so gross, but the kids loved them and kept asking me to touch them. Anyway, the raised beds are just waiting on some amended soil and grubby little seed planting hands. I am thinking lettuce and cabbages, brussel sprouts and sweet peas and chard (always the chard, right?). I like the idea of the kids pulling potatoes out of their hidden depths, but I am not sure if those will grow in the beds. I guess it cannot hurt to try.

Let us hope that the fickle fall here gives me a few more days to revel before it slams us back with the inevitable triple digit Indian Summer. Until then I will be making away at whatever I can get my hands on. I hope fall is inspiring and activating you too. And thank you for all the words of encouragement on the picture gave me the boost I needed, lovely reading friends.