Monday, January 31, 2011

In Color

Yes, I should say it's about time to start looking for some color indoors... all that white outside is beautiful but just so monochromatic. What a nice idea! I think I'll be looking at my house differently all day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Dance

These two were all dressed up to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house, and I captured their little happy dance right before we stepped out the front door. Pure joy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Tale of an Outdoor Snowday

Yesterday was a real snowday-- enough of an excuse for my handsome husband to go in to work late in favor of a morning of sledding, hot chocolate and the like. Above: my travel companion.

Here: my travel companion, with "the bump" in proper view-- I am hoping the Ergo will give me a few more months of Lily wearing through this pregnancy. (note: to those of you who helped give me advice about keeping Lily's hands warm, thank you! As you can see, her hands are nice and enclosed in a fleece suit that has little foldy things).

Zosia loves the snow this year. She loves to eat it, spontaneously drop into it to make snow angels, and sled in it. She had quite the morning.
Above: Ben and Zosia out front before we headed to the slopes (a gentle hill where the whole neighborhood takes their little ones, not to be confused with the intense mountain behind the school where the big kids go). We had a lovely time sledding, and while I love you guys, the camera stayed home. As you can see, I had plenty to carry.

Hot chocolate awaited us at home (Ben and my morning treat: hot chocolate in our coffee... yum).

Even Selma had her own special treat after a run around outside: a bone in front of the fire.

And then I discovered this little scene unfolding in Lily's room. I think this must be one of my favorite pictures. For the record, two of Lily's favorite words are "nakie" and "sorry" which actually go hand-in-hand wonderfully given the amount of, ahem, accidents that "nakie" seems to involve. Above, some wholesome reading in the nude.

The End.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Tale of an Indoor Snowday

Yesterday was a snowday, but not quite the "go out and spend all morning sledding" sort of day. Rain, sleet, snow, all mixed together and coming down in the morning and then again in the afternoon.

So we...

Made mailboxes out of old cereal boxes covered in brown paper, and the spent a good two hours delivering mail to one another. I got to be the mailman.

and then made eggs, snakes, stamps, and who knows what else out of it.

Took a bath (not totally an honest picture... I hopped in with them right after taking it)

Ate popcorn (or "copporn," as Lily calls it) to our hearts' content.

Each picked out as many books as we could carry and read in bed.

The End.

Next up: the tale of on outdoor snowday (perhaps a little more exciting, although I'm not sure!).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along

We've been getting creative in the house these past few days, and for me that has meant working on some on the go-veralls for the little boy headed our way (thanks knittermama, for the inspiration!) between batches of homemade playdough and the like (perhaps more on all of that tomorrow). Do you recognize the yarn? Whew, that skein has lasted me through a sweater, these overalls, and possibly a hat or two.

I finally picked up some winter reading for me, and I'm looking forward to getting into it (some historical fiction, a new genre for me!), although with one of our very favorite out of town guests staying with us this weekend, I have been more than happy to wait.

What have you been knitting and reading? Check out Ginny's page for some more inspiration!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


We're all so excited! A boy? In these parts? Quite the adventure, if you ask me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Household Yin and Yang

It's a bit of a social contract around here. The yin and yang of our household, if you will. He has the coffee ready in the morning when I stumble out of bed, and in return, I have the dinner ready when he comes home from work. It really seems quite fair and balanced to me, because doesn't everything seem a little peppier after a cup of coffee?

And I have been particularly enjoying our latest adventure in coffee using a french press-- very flavorful, sort of halfway between coffee and espresso, and I usually just put in a quarter cup of coffee to three quarters cup of warm milk. Delicious!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Something For Me

The last few days have been a beautiful journey of sorts. For years now, I've been feeling a gentle calling. And even as it has tugged at my heart, I have always taken a deep breath and realized that the time has not been quite right-- yet. A nursing baby, another commitment, difficulty attending a training. And then the other week, the tug surfaced again, and this time, everything was just exactly right.

A training, which seems to be offered almost entirely overseas, a short drive from my house. The very next week. An incredible teacher who, upon hearing of how I stumbled upon the class, simply remarked, "Coincidences are miracles in which God chooses to remain anonymous." A patchwork of childcare that made me feel that at every moment, my little ones were being loved and nurtured. And then four days in which I got to know some beautiful women, all with remarkable stories, and all with this very similar calling. There were stories shared, tears shed, friendships formed. And, perhaps most importantly, the shared bond of following our purpose.

And now, on the other side of this wonderful experience, I am looking forward and realizing that I am standing at a new beginning. I will be doing something I am passionate about, helping women prepare for peaceful and gentle births, and my step into the unknown is also a journey into unseen beauty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yarn Along

Her sweater is done, and she likes it! I never imagined I could actually make a sweater. But this one was quite an easy pattern to follow, and I would have finished it in under a week were it not for, ahem, motivation issues. I still feel like I need to work on picking up stitches (which I had to do for the collar and the sleeves). I've watched all the how-to videos, but somehow am not quite satisfied with the results. Does anyone have a tip?

Now I've promised Zosia her own sweater, and even purchased the yarn for it. Any suggestions for a good girly sweater for an older toddler/young kid?

While I have no photo to prove it, a friend who has spent enough time with my family to know that my reading time is divided into quite small snippets gave me a book entitled "The Essential Wisdom of the Saints," and it really is a nice way to intersperse wisdom into a full day (each quote is just a sentence or two long, and stands on its own).

Here are a few I have loved (you'll see why: aren't they both perfect for a mother of small children?):
I know God. He is a father, a mother, who in order to be happy must have his child upon His knee, resting on His heart.
--St. Therese of Lisieux

Try interrupting the meditations of someone who is very attached to her spiritual exercises and you will see her upset, flustered, taken aback. A person who has this true freedom will leave her prayer, unruffled, gracious toward the person who has unexpectedly disturbed her, for to her it's all the same-- serving God by meditating or serving Him by responding to her neighbor. Both are the will of God, but helping the neighbor is necessary at that particular moment.
--St. Francis de Sales

And as always, I'll be looking for more knitting and reading inspiration over at Ginny's page! You should take a look.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baking Artisan Bread

I wish I could say I made this bread . I think I almost made it because it was baked in my oven, even if my sister Irene was the one who prepared the dough down to the very last step. That counts for something, right? But seriously, isn't this bread beautiful? And it tastes amazing, with a soft and bubbly interior and a crunchy, chewy crust.

We have been experimenting with making nicer artisan bread around here (last week it was this recipe, highly recommended by my sister the baker, which did turn out very nicely). And here are a few of the tricks of the trade I've noticed:
  • Use a recipe that requires an overnight rise along with additional proofing.
  • Throw some water in your (very hot) oven during the first few minutes of baking-- this makes the crust very chewy.
  • Bake your bread on a hot stone. Irene actually uses a tile she purchased from Home Depot for some very small amount of money, like $3, and it seems to work well (although occasionally will crack).
  • Use a starter. If only I could keep one alive. Oh well.
Baking bread is definitely one of the more refined branches of baking, and there seem to be so many little tricks you can do to enhance your result. I know as a matter of fact that there are more experienced bakers out there, so share your tricks! How do you make artisan bread?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Present and Grounded

I've been slowing down a bit this past week, and somehow life around me has been keeping pace and even speeding up. A few days in, I realized that simple practices of self-care and cultivating joy were more important than ever. So, in the past few days I have:
  • taken a nap every afternoon when Lily naps and Zosia takes her quiet time.
  • accepted help to accomplish the basics, and then accepted some more help to take a long bath.
  • tried to accomplish at least one task each day that will not immediately be un-done (laundry and dishes are more of a cycle than a chore around here, but something like taking a box of donated items to the thrift store, or cleaning out a drawer, feel more lasting).
  • stopped absolutely everything I was doing when things started to feel crazy to just sit down and play with the kids.
Work is still busy, my pregnant body is still adjusting to new life it's creating, but I do feel joyful and present amid all of the life that's happening around me.

How are you staying present and grounded?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yarn Along

I have come to two realizations: I am not wonderful with transitions, and I sometimes just need a bit of mindless entertainment.

First, the transitions. Above: Lily's sweater, still in progress. The reason? I have to switch to 4.5mm needles for the cuff, and such a transition is just so tricky for me to actually accomplish. So there it is, a lovely sweater still on the needles. I promise (to myself, perhaps) that I will have some pictures of my little one frolicking in her sweater next week.

And second, the mindless entertainment. I finished Little Bee, above, and it was beautiful. Beautifully written, compelling, and yet a bit too challenging. I will carry parts of it with me for a long time, and yet I don't think I would read it again. I suppose when you spend your days wrestling with the very primal elements of human nature with two little humans, you don't need to be reminded of it in the evening. We did, however, receive The Story of the Snow Children in the mail today, and it is absolutely perfect. Now I just need to find a similar book that is intended for adults. Any suggestions?

Looking forward to catching glimpses of everyone else's yarn alongs (which can be found on Ginny's page!).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

new year's rhythm

We're back in the daily routine around here, and it feels like a breath of fresh air. I tell you, there's nothing quite like feeling like my children are cared for and happy, my house is in (relative) order, and my husband can come home to some peace and beauty. Perhaps I'll start sprinkling in some creative endeavors and I'll be set! Yes, I would say that January 4th feels like time to call the holiday season over and return back to a nice rhythm of normalcy.

Lily and I spent our first alone time in weeks cooking up a storm, her request, of course. I've been enjoying experimentation with my new kitchen gadget, the dutch oven (this recipe in the works, above. if anyone actually tries it, I recommend cranking up the oven to 400 and cooking uncovered for 15 minutes to brown the chicken up at the very end). Any favorite dutch oven recipes to share?

And did I mention that my body has been cooking up a storm itself, with a more and more prominent baby bump making itself evident? 16 weeks and showing, I would say this is a personal record. I am just a bit proud, if you can't tell (note to self: learn to take more steady pictures. note to reader: can you spy a little girl hand?).

Ben has been sharing his favorite music now that I have a pandora-playing setup in the kitchen, so here is a bit of the soundtrack of our home. And with that, dear friends, shall we toast to this new year?