Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Shared Room

One of the many joys of having a growing family in a small house is all the ways you learn to share space. There is the dining room that doubles as an art studio for little hands. There is the living room that doubles as a playroom. The bedroom that doubles as a gym. The precious lone bathroom that, occasionally, while administering baths, doubles as a library or simply a space for adults to chat. And now, I am happy to report, we have an official "big kids room" that is a shared room for Lily and Zosia.

(the reading chair, moved from Lily's room)

It took a little convincing to have Lily give up her little room, but somehow, yesterday, the stars just aligned. And Zosia, might I add, couldn't be happier. She puttered around saying things like, "Now I'll never be lonely again! I'll always have company." (She had actually offered to have the baby in her room once he comes, saying, "I'll take such good care of him!") Her only disappointment this morning was that Lily wasn't still in her crib when Zosia rolled out of bed at 8:45. Ah, that girl has a sleep schedule after my own heart.

(And the mandatory 29 week belly shot. That little guy is growing!)

The girls have gotten together to lobby for their first major cause: to paint the room pink. It makes my heart a little sad to see that beautiful sunny yellow go (my favorite room color in the whole house!), but I'm sure this isn't the last time that these two independent souls will have their own unique ideas. So ballet pink it is, which, now that I think about it, is just right for these two.

Monday, March 28, 2011


another little baby of mine! As many of you know, I have been following a dream of mine these past few months: being trained as a Hypnobirthing instructor, and teaching Hypnobirth classes to moms and dads to be. These past few weeks I have been teaching my first two classes and it has been a beautiful experience. The couples I am working with are wonderful, and I cannot say enough to praise the preparation that Hypnobirthing gives for a peaceful natural birth. It gives me chills to think of the importance of this work, especially knowing how instrumental my own birth experiences have been in my life.

So, if any of you find yourselves in the DC area looking for a birth preparation class, please let me know! And feel free to send over any questions about Hypnobirthing or natural childbirth preparation: there are few things I love talking about more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

thrifted loveliness

It is such a pure delight to buy sweet little girl clothes for our two little ladies. The bows, the frills, the smocking.

I think my only wish when I stumbled upon these sweet dresses was that I could find one in an adult size. Ahem... adult maternity size.

I'm sure there will come a day when frayed pants replace ribbons and bows, and that will be fine with us, too.

But in the meantime, I think I will just enjoy the fact that I have two sweet girly girls who love nothing more than a dress with a bow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Nest

There are still a couple of months to go before the baby arrives, so it feels silly to be gathering the supplies for our nest, but here we are. The nest is slowly being built, twig by twig. Friends are returning items that were lent, hand-me-downs are being passed along, our own baby clothes are being thumbed through to see what can be reused. And, I will admit, Ben and I have both been guilty of returning from the store with a little item for the baby on the way.

I've been trying to do my research to catch up on cloth diapering: how could so much innovation have happened since I diapered my baby Zosia a few short years ago? What type of diaper covers should we buy? What type of system should we set up to keep them clean? (and yes, those of you with ideas and experience, view this as an invitation to share!). They're all details, but as we start to gather the supplies for our homebirth, the arrival of this little one is starting to feel so real.

So much will happen before the baby arrives: rooms will be switched, walls will be painted, diapering supplies will be washed and folded. And this little baby will keep growing until it's a plump little thing ready to hatch. But in the mean time, it is such a lovely sight to see a little bassinet filled with folded baby clothes, saving a place for that precious little member of the family that will so soon be in our arms.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daydreaming Inside and Out

This warm spring weather has me doing two things: daydreaming about things to do out and about with the family these coming months and doing some major spring cleaning. They're both so wonderful, I don't know which one wins, but here are some of the things I just can't wait to do:

and, on a more domestic note:
  • cleaning out all of our closets
  • finding a good storage solution for our tools outside so the backyard can be truly childproof
  • getting the baby's space ready!
Where are your energies pulling you, both inside and out?

Friday, March 18, 2011


I know that seeds are supposed to sprout and all, but somehow I am still totally, entirely, unbelievably shocked when they do. Our Easter grass is growing! Talk about a lesson in faith.

Here is a precious remnant of morning play. I swaddled up the much beloved bla-bla doll, only to find him in this little make-shift cradle. I really don't mind that belt being out of commission for a while.

And the daffodils out front are blooming. Balmy and 75, I feel like putting on my spring colors, too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eyeglasses, a Magazine, and a Diagnosis

Nearly two weeks into our current bout with illness, complete with ups, downs, and many, many times we thought "Okay, this is the end," we have learned that our family has strep throat. Apparently this strep throat is a sneaky thing: it can look like a cold, a stomach bug, the flu, or at times like all of these at the same time. Whew, nature can be a cruel thing.

But you don't here me complaining, because we now know what has been ailing us and have some extremely effective medicine to deal with it. Amen to that! I swear, I was convinced that we had every possible sickness on the globe at some point in the past two weeks, but here it is just pesky strep. In our family "Go away!" is a very serious command that we reserve basically for stink bugs (do you guys get these in your house too?). But here I am saying it, "Go away, strep!" There. That felt better.

In the mean time, I suppose because of all this yucky sickness stuff we've been dealing with, I seem to be receiving countless little gifts from the universe. This morning? Not only did I get a magazine in the mail, but Ben got his much awaited funky new glasses only to realize he had mistakenly ordered them in MY prescription. I hate to steal his "thing" and all, but these glasses a pretty great, no?

Monday, March 14, 2011


: the saving grace of popsicles
: a child who woke up early Sunday morning and just said, "I'm so hungry, mama." Health is on its way!
: a not yet 2-year old who has taken it upon herself to potty train, just like that.
: an extra hour of daylight
: our first front yard picnic of the year
: coffee and lesson planning in bed with two babies reading and playing on the floor.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


And so we enter the third trimester. I'll be honest: we have been sick. Icky, yucky, sick. Aside from Lily, who, true to the picture above, is phased by next to nothing, we have been tired, sluggish, sleepy and a little teary (not to mention some other symptoms which decidedly fall into the "TMI" category). But life is still beautiful, and the real daffodils are getting ready to bloom, so what's a little flu?

And we have celebrated our several days together at home with many puzzles, some nature videos, a drastic reorganization of the linen closet, and a lot of naps. Oh, and Zosia's haircut! Just when it seemed that our little one had lost the will to live entirely yesterday, I decided to finally cut her hair, and she spent the rest of the afternoon dancing in front of the mirror saying things like, "What a cute haircut, mom!" See, the little things do make a difference (more pictures of that haircut without a hat one of these days).

Okay, sending tidings of health and spring to you all!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Preparing Little Souls for the Alleluia

We rung in the beginning of Lent quietly: on Zosia's bed reading bedtime stories. Ben and I both home sick, the girls sleepy. "Ben, why don't we give each other ashes?" I suggested as an afterthought. A few minutes later, Ben was smearing ashes from our fireplace on two moist, newly bathed foreheads. The contrast between our reality-- two fresh faced and beautiful little toddlers-- and the words he said couldn't have been more striking: "Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return." Dust? But here is life in its fullness.

The coziness of our sweet home verses the reality of death; the innocence of our little girls verses the existence of evil. Ugly, startling contrast. But yet, isn't that what Lent is all about? Because here we are in the desert for forty days when come Easter Sunday we will be a Resurrected people. Could there be a more striking contrast than that?

Celebrating Lent in our little family has been a journey: how do you talk about something so serious, so grim, so real with babies? Advent, the birth of a baby, yes. Lent, the murder of God himself, not so much. But this year we are taking little steps towards living this duality, this contrast that is so central to the Christian life. Because I really do think that even small children can begin to get it.

Fresh soil and a jar of grass seeds: one seed for each time we put others above ourselves over the course of the day. Journals to start counting our blessings, our "favorites," as I had to explain to the little ones. And, this being our home and all, of course some Lenten pretzels, which Lily seemed to take to as much as her papa.

We were lucky to be given some wonderful resources: some sweet activity packets with daily readings and stickers (!) for children and a Lenten Devotion book for adults with Bible verses and selections from the writings of our very favorite spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen. So this year we will be tentatively, hesitantly, but trustingly journeying towards that great Alleluia together.

"Dear Jesus, I look at you, and you open my eyes to the way in which your passion, death and resurrection are happening among us every day. But within me there is a deep fear of looking at my own world. You say to me: 'Do not be afraid to look, to touch, to heal, to comfort and to console.' I listen to your voice, and, as I enter more deeply into the painful, but also hope-filled, lives of my fellow human beings, I know that I enter more deeply into your heart." -Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Introducing the Ballerina

We have arrived at the age of the ballerina. This child of mine wakes up in the morning dancing. She dances in the streets, she dances on her way to school, she dances when her friends come over. She guides us by the hand to a seat in the living room, so we can be the audience to watch her dance. She leaps, hops, twists, tiptoes, and curtsies. All of life seems to be one continuous dance, and that, I say, is a beautiful thing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Postal, or, what to do in DC on a rainy day

A few years ago I got a tip about a great place to go with kids in DC. And I guess I sort of half forgot about it, half stored it way in the recesses of my mind. So Sunday morning, as Ben and I were drinking our coffee and wondering what to do with two lovely little girls and a rainy day, it came to me, and I felt so clever as I casually responded, "The Postal museum is supposed to be great for kids."

Okay, anyone with kids who comes to DC should go to this place. There are mailboxes, stamps, airplanes, wagons, and trucks. You can play with most of them, and you can climb into a train, a truck, and a wagon.

I actually noticed that it was my husband who lingered in the truck when it was time to move on. Although it was Lily who commandeered the steering wheel, swirving like a maniac as she yelled "Poland! Poland!" I guess that girl has her sights set on places far and wide.

I think my favorite part might have been buying each girl a stamp and a postcard in the stamp shop to mail back home to ourselves. There's actually a real post office right there, so it's perfect.

No, scratch that. My favorite part was stumbling upon Capitol City Brewing company, located just upstairs, where they serve not only complimentary soft pretzels (Ben's favorite), but sweet potato fries (my favorite). And Ben informs me that their beer is quite delicious, too. And as a woman who has dined on the Smithsonian multiple times, let me tell you that this place actually feels like a place adults might consider dining and is not in the least bit touristy. Quite a nice breath of fresh air.

And if you're REALLY trying to make a day of it, the museum is right next door to Union Station, where I imagine you could do some wonderful train watching, although my two pretty ladies agree trains are just soo noisy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Party for a Cause

I think my two little ones felt a little like guests in their own home as they stumbled out of their beds this morning. What was filled with music, clamor, and voices at their bedtime was replaced with the usual silence of a Saturday morning. Furniture moved to new places. The house part cleaner than usual, and part filled with objects that are new and unusual. Hour by hour, a few things have gotten put away and moved back to their usual places, but there's still the punch bowl, the flowers on the table, the chairs in the living room. Zosia was a bit surprised that all of the people weren't still in the house. I mean, the party was so good, why would anyone want to leave?

It's been a classic morning after a big celebration, complete with a lunch comprised entirely of leftovers: Haitian chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains. And we actually had even more to celebrate last night than the wonderful company of amazing friends (who really are the best): my sister and her husband are preparing for their second aid trip to Haiti this year, and so we decided to throw a Haitian themed dinner party to help them raise funds for their trip. And I must say, as someone who is fully occupied raising little children at home, it is such a gift to participate in something so important and exciting. Check out the video below to learn more about the La Croix Mission, where they're going with a big group of teenagers, and if you feel like you want to help support them, too, learn how on Irene's blog. I hear they're just short of meeting their fund raising goals!

La Croix Haiti Mission from CTTS Productions on Vimeo.