Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yarn Along

Here's my knitting just as I found it: splayed on the couch, with needles sticking every which direction. Knitting on double pointed needles really is like wrestling an octopus, isn't it? But all that aside, I am thrilled to report that my tiny tea leaves for Zosia is almost done. Just the rest of one sleeve, some buttons, and some blocking. And just one more to go, and my knitting goals for the season have been met (and I start on my really big project: a winter sweater for Ben!).

Here's the sweater after I went over and tidied it up a bit, along with some books. These days I am up to my ears in early childhood education books. I'm re-reading everything I've read, discovering new books and trying to get a little bit of vision for what I want education to look like for these little ones. I love Montessori, love reading aloud to them (a la Charlotte Mason), and love Waldorf-style education, but don't really fall into any one category. I guess at the end of the day, you read all you can and then just do what you know best.

What are you knitting? Do you have any recommendations for resources about early childhood education? What style of education do you use with your kiddos?

Joining along with the Yarn Along again!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Littlest Two

This little guy's hair is the envy of every man in the neighborhood. And I think that smile makes waking up every few hours to a baby with the sniffles worth it.

And Ms. Goldilocks herself, perfectly independent and yet perfectly attached to us. Two is a beautiful mystery.

Monday, August 29, 2011


(a tea party is a perfect way to spend a blackout afternoon)

Our street is always the first to lose power. Old big trees, above ground power lines, and just that special bit of (bad?) luck means that our street-- even when every neighboring street still has power-- has a blackout during every blizzard, rain storm, and yes, hurricane. We lost our power when the winds kicked up Saturday night, and got it back sometime in the middle of the night last night.

(thankfully, knitting needles are not powered by electricity)

I will admit, a blackout has its drawbacks: will the backup sump pump do its job, or will our basement flood? (it didn't flood) Will the food in our fridge go bad? (no, thankfully, by some miracle even the milk was nice and cool) And, this is the clencher, where will we get our coffee? (a trip over to my parents house, who had power, fixed that problem... next time I think I will start a cold brew going overnight the day before the hurricane)

(I have decided that our clean milk jars must go somewhere, look just lovely, and might as well go on the mantel)

But a single blackout day also has its beauty. There is no email, no noisy housecleaning, no elaborate cooking (all of which I had just plenty of preparing for a lovely big family gathering on Friday at our place, thankyouverymuch). Dinner can be leftover barbecue on hamburger buns and watermelon, all cold and delicious. Cleaning can consist of rinsing off a couple of plates and picking up a few toys off the floor. And when the hurricane clear, and the air is dry and the wind is breezy, open windows will bring just the right amount of freshness into a otherwise still house.

Oh, and the evening: this is just magic. When the only glow in your house is a single flame, when all the kids are asleep and the crickets are chirping and even the outside is black because the other houses, they don't have electricity either, this is perfect.

When I went in to feed Hugo this morning, the power was back on, and I did give a little sigh of relief. Afterall, there is laundry to be done and food to be cooked and other such important matters to be conducted. But, while I'll probably be singing a different tune in the dead of winter when we are snowed in without heat and nowhere to go, a blackout can be just the best, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yarn Along

I've been loving the tiny tea leaves! I just started this week, and it's just such a simple and pleasant pattern to follow. Since this picture, I've finished the body and now just need to find some properly sized needles for the arms. In the meantime, I'm trying to decide whether to dye some more yarn for Lily or find something else in my stash that will work.

And in the reading department, I've been doing lots of reading to the girls, who seem thrilled to curl up with me on the couch and read books all together, which is new and very exciting! This week we're in a "Tikki Tikki Tembo" phase, which, I must admit, is quite the catchy book.

What are you knitting or reading? And be sure to check out the yarn along for inspiration!

And for those of you who have asked or wondered, we did feel that earthquake yesterday, but as with most people in the area are just fine. The girls were playing outside and I grabbed a napping Hugo and ran outside too. Ben walked home from work to check in on us, and we were (read: I was) a little shaken in quite the literal sense, but just fine. I think Irene relished the opportunity to call me from Haiti to ask how we were doing after the earthquake. I suppose she was happy to be safe and sound in Haiti this time. :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Painted Paper Lanterns

I'm sure you've seen these paper lanterns all over the place. You can find them up at Target, Ikea, or just about any home store. They're adorable, inexpensive (especially when on sale), and very cheerful. You can get single large ones, small ones, square ones, circular ones. This weekend I picked up a string of white lanterns with a goal in mind: a family art project.

Within a few minutes, I had everyone in the family: Ben, Lily, Zosia, even my mom, painting their own little lantern with some watercolor paints. I love them! Each one is so different, just like the people in our family. And the truth is, with watercolor paints, you really can't go wrong.

What sorts of family art projects have you been embarking upon? Please share, I love new ideas!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turning Four, Dinosaur Dresses, and Zosia

Can it be that my first baby is four? Four is just so BIG, don't you think?

It's been a year of low-key birthdays, which is just as it should be with a new little baby in the house. So this weekend Zosia had her customary birthday tea date with Daddy.

And this morning we celebrated in style with chocolate chip pancakes in bed (delivered by Lily), a mama-sewn dinosaur birthday dress for both the birthday girl and her new dollie (little sister got a new dollie, too... I suppose this is one of the perks of being two), and a little camera for our budding photographer.

When I was picking out the fabric for Zosia's dress (with just my Lily), a sweet seamstress who was having hers measured next to mine, looked over and said "I love that fabric." I agreed, because how often do you find such a cheerful dinosaur print for your budding dinosaur enthusiast? As we were checking out she looked over and said knowingly, "It is hard to sew for a boy, isn't it?" I smiled politely and said yes and then started chatting about Hugo, not quite knowing why she brought that up, and only on my way home realized she had assumed my dinosaur enthusiast was a boy. No, no: a dinosaur dress. For my little girl who will walk up to strangers and starts listing off facts about the Euoplocephalus, because, you know, that is quite a normal thing to chit chat about, wouldn't you agree?

This afternoon it's ice cream at the pool with a couple of friends (bought from the pool: this is the ultimate special treat), and now we officially have a four year old.

Happy Birthday, Zosia! You are such a sweet gentle soul, and we think the world of you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Freshly picked flowers, courtesy of two sweet little toddlers and a reminder of a lovely smoothie date/walk with a girlfriend. Boy will I be dreaming of these days come February.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yarn Along

This week I have been getting my yarn ready for Zosia's fall sweater. I now have three skeins of grapefruity pink yarn ready for knitting save for a bit of leftover dampness (I think I will make her a tiny tea leaves, which looks just adorable!). I used some instructions I found for dying yarn with food coloring (just a little different than the other instructions I used a few months ago), and it worked well. I must admit, I am still quite a novice and have a hard time controlling the end results, but that is sort of the beauty of the whole yarn dying process-- the unexpected results!

And in the reading department, I am between books, so above is Ben's current reading selection: The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.

Don't you love that little icon in the back? A friend brought it back to me from the Holy Land, and I absolutely *love* the way Mary is sort of releasing Jesus into the world. I must admit, I can relate to the feeling of having to release a little one into the world, and I can attest to the fact it is not nearly as easy as this Mary makes it look!

Be sure to check out the rest of the yarn along!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Why, is that a lemonade stand? How convenient! I'm so thirsty. Wait. Is that a little tuft of curly hair I see over the counter?

Yes it is! Hello there! How much is the lemonade? Twenty dollars, you say? I'm afraid that's a bit too much. No, two cents, you say? I think that might be too little.

And I see you have a business partner? Wonderful. Invisible lemonade is absolutely my favorite.

How are you spending these last days of summer? Over here we've been planning for and dreaming about a lemonade stand: and as of this morning, we even have some lemons for juicing. Perhaps I'll be back here with an update in the next few days of our fabulous business venture, but for now there is a lemonade stand in the living room. And no lemonade.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Zosia's View

There is a budding photographer in the house, I just couldn't help myself from showcasing a few of her favorite pictures. Here is the part of the couch Zosia affectionately calls her "egg" (something to do with the dinosaur pretend world she lives in). This spot must be very special, because it got about 50 pictures.

The window box out front where not one but two batches of petunias have up and died on us (!), but worthy of a photo none the less,

And Hugo's middle, which she carefully documented in her "Hugo from Top to Bottom" series (most of which turned out blurry).

Any other budding young photographers out there? Has anyone actually purchased a camera for a little one (we do have a birthday right around the corner)?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Weekly Gallery

Can you tell who this is?

It's Hugo! The drawing was later amended to include a pacifier and a sling, which is quite appropriate, come to think of it.

And here's Lily hard at work. I still can't get over those curls. A work of art unto themselves, I would have to say.

She's in a "strawberries and hearts" stage, I think I would call it. Our blackboard is graced by many of these, every day. Circles, big and small, which are either strawberries or hearts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yarn Along

Whew, it's been a while since I've been sharing a yarn along! But this week, a mix of having a doctor's appointment that I went to all by myself paired with some thrift store yarn I was itching to use (in green, my favorite boy color of the moment) resulted in a little pilot cap for Hugo this fall: and as a first, my gauge actually appears to be right on!

I'm excited because the pattern also comes in toddler, child, and adult sizes, so I see little pilot caps for all the littles in my family in our future (plus some little ones of friends!).

And reading has been sidelined for the time being in favor of recording-- something I feel like I do a lot of because of this space here, but in reality often skip. When my dear friend Rachel, the fourth of five children, reminded me that each child really deserves to have a well documented childhood, I immediately ordered "The First 1000 Days" books for each child in the family. Because I figure Ben and I will remember all those little details so much better now than in ten years, and even though we haven't been great about recording the details, we can start today. And I did. And this way ten years down the road we won't have any griping, because each little one will have exactly the same book filled with exactly the same amount of care (who am I kidding... I'm sure they will still notice little differences :-).

Oh, I so hope I have a charmed afternoon so I can browse through all the other Yarn Alongers!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

After the Storm

Last week, we had a few days of a grumpy baby. And everyone knows that when the baby is grumpy, everyone is grumpy. And tired. And grumpy.

Well, just like the rainbow after a storm, this little guy rewarded our patience with a glowing social smile that came into full bloom at the end of the storm. I think it just might have made it all worth it. Okay, definitely.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Season's First

This year, given the many (very little and very cute) competing demands on our time and attention, we made the decision to just grow a few things that we know our family loves: tomatoes, basil, and strawberries. The strawberries get nibbled and eaten by the littlest of the family and occasionally brought by the handful for adults to enjoy: the basil gets made into pesto, which is a bit of an addiction in these parts: and the tomatoes get sliced, salted, and eaten immediately.

Above: the first ripe "big" heirloom tomatoes of the season, a beautiful pinkish/orangeish/yellowish hue. And absolutely delicious!

I do dream of one day having a huge garden full of fresh fruits and veggies, but for now this will do.

What are you growing?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Baby that lived in a Pack

How could a woman survive without the miraculous pack (or, in our case, sling or moby wrap)? This baby comes with us everywhere: swim lessons, walks, friends houses. He vacuums with me (I think one of this favorite things!), goes to the midwife with me, sits in the rocking chair with me when I need a little break. He acts as a sort of bib, given that half the time I eat my meals over his head. He is awake in his pack, sleeps in his pack, and nurses in his pack. This baby is quite completely a pack baby, and for that I am truly grateful.

Many a friend has commented on the fact that from a short distance I continue to look pregnant, because Hugo is continuously strapped to my front, and I am not complaining (talk to me in a few months when he's doubled his weight a few more times). Not one bit. Because right next to my heart is exactly where he belongs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camping: Inside and Out

What better way to spend the summer than in a tent? These two have been dreaming of a real life camping trip. We've been trying to figure out how to make it happen sometime this fall, but in the meantime our little makeshift tents, inside and out, will have to do.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Clean Slate

After a few years of thoughtful deliberation (read: procrastination, inability to get our act together to actually do it), we made a blackboard for the girls on a little wall that divides our dining room from our kitchen. A neighbor gave us the inspiration: she did this years ago for her two, now three little kids, and it's always fun to see what the kids have drawn up on the wall.

In the end, it was one of the easier household projects we've completed, and most cost effective. I think the can of paint cost only a little over 10 bucks, and two coats did the trick for making a bone fide blackboard from our formerly plain wall (covered in peanut butter finger prints!).

Of course I have dreams of using this space for writing out the week's menus, or writing a to-do list, or maybe even writing a love note to Ben.

But for now it has been very joyfully taken over by the girls, and we just as joyfully get to see their imaginings boldly on the wall.