Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On A Chilly March Morning

March came in like a lamb and out like a lion this year. And here in our household that has meant that these past few chilly days have been spent rediscovering those winter activities that keep us happy and occupied: painting, reading, covertly sneaking into the pantry. Covering the dining room table with butcher paper and pulling out the paints is a quiet and fun way to spend an hour or two. But you know that if Hugo is quiet for too long, he has found something wonderful to explore. Perhaps the toilet? The pantry? The dogfood? Life is a big adventure when you're 9 months old.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend This and That

The whole world is blooming! I love it. It is absolute magic to step outside and be surprised by a new flower or plant. We've been in our little home for almost four years now, and even so I'm still entirely surprised each spring as the plants come up and the flowers bloom. Spring really is magnificent like that.

Weekend highlights included a neighborhood outdoor happy hour on Friday, a quiet rainy afternoon reading at home on Saturday, some good friends over for dinner on Sunday, and a wonderful early birthday present which I'm sure I'll be showing off later this week. And that little crafty corner of mine has been quietly calling my name. "Make something!" it seems to be saying. I'll have to see how I can oblige later in the week.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cherry Blossom Haikus

The leafless cherry,
Old as a toothless woman,
Blooms in flowers,
Mindful of its youth.
From all directions
Winds bring petals of cherry
Into the grebe lake.
On a journey,
Resting beneath the cherry blossoms,
I feel myself to be in a Noh play.
From all these trees-
in salads, soup, everywhere-
cherry blossoms fall.
A lovely spring night
suddenly vanished while we
viewed cherry blossoms.
The oak tree stands
noble on the hill even in
cherry blossom time.

Photos, courtesy of our cherry blossoms, haiku courtesy of Basho.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cloth Diapering Update (Months 0-9)

I'll start with a warning: diaper talk below! If you're not really interested, or eating breakfast or something, just scroll through the cute pictures. :-)

I thought I would take a moment to share our cloth diapering situation with Hugo. After all, here he is 9 months old and all, and here we are, still cloth diapering him (just look at that big cloth diaper bum!). This is actually the longest we've cloth diapered any of our kids: with Zosia, we called it quits when we moved from Boston (and when she was 9 months old herself) first because we were staying with my parents and didn't want to impose our cloth diaper on them, and then because our washing machine was an old rickety thing, and we didn't think it could handle the extra work. Well, here we are, two washing machines later (one salvaged from a house about to be demolished, one actually purchased from the store), and we're back to cloth diapering and I'm happy to say it's pretty easy peasy.
We start the week with a changing table that looks something like the above picture. We have about 6 covers, and then something like forty prefolds: my favorite covers are thirsties with snaps (which hold up better over multiple kids than velcro), and just plain old prefolds are the best as inserts. This quantity just about gets us through the week (sometimes we end up washing diapers a day early): the trick is reusing the covers unless they should get messy. And yes, we actually just wash them once a week. We store them in a wet bag, and then come Friday, we soak them overnight, run the rinse cycle, then in the morning wash them on hot with some Charlie's soap, dry them, and that's it. They come out clean and sanitized.
He wears a disposable overnight and whenever we're leaving the house, because we don't really care to sacrifice sleep or ease of travel for diapers. But when we're home, throwing on a cloth diaper is just as easy (and a lot cheaper!) than using a disposable. That's what keeps us doing cloth diapering: it is easy, practical, and cheap.
Now I will say that these past few weeks, we have noticed a change. During months 0-9, as you probably know, babies mainly just drink breastmilk. Their diapers aren't too messy or stinky, nor do they get very stained. However, right around 9 months, their diapers start to shift in consistency and texture. Suddenly, it becomes quite necessary to shake out the poopy diapers in the toilet every time (a step that those breastmilk diapers never required). This extra step is sometimes easy, sometimes tricky, and often a bit of a hassle, truth be told. Especially with two bigger little kids playing in the house and a dog who actually enjoys eating the contents of messy diapers (so they may not be left anywhere other than a zipped bag for any amount of time). Yuck.
So perhaps in nine more months I will share an update about cloth diapering in months 9-18, or perhaps this summer we'll switch over to disposables. In any case, I am quite thankful for these trusty old cloth diapers and the help they have been! We've gotten by on a handful of disposable diapers (as opposed to a box a month, which is about what we went through with Lily), which has saved us hundreds of dollars.

If any of you have tips on cloth diapering in this more mature phase of babyhood, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Little Weekend Happy Dance

There's really no greater joy than just being together. Wishing you and yours a happy weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2012

9 Months Old

This little cutie is 9 months old. His great loves include his sisters, his mommy, banging on pots and pans, eating cheese, and snuggling. When you place him anywhere in the house, he will crawl to the dog dish in 10 seconds flat, and see if there's a little snack there for him (directly after taking the above pictures, I removed five pieces of dog food from his mouth).
Lily just told me, "When I was a baby, I prayed and prayed for Hugo to come to our family." My feelings exactly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home!

My camera finally arrived home (I sent it away in January!), and I am so thrilled to be able to catch up with a few "real" pictures. Welcome home, old friend! Just in time for some spring time fun. And with that, I'm headed outside to enjoy some of this 80 degree weather. Running through the sprinkler, anyone?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Call Me Premature,

but I'm ready to go ahead and call it spring! Here is the evidence, you decide for yourself:

:: spring clothing is out of the attic and onto people's bodies, and winter clothing (save for a few items) is packed away. I have realized that the children have grown since last year. A lot. And now I am back to my eternal quest to figure out exactly the minimum amount of clothing that the children need (Right now I'm thinking four dresses, four shirts, and two shorts for the girls. A few onesies and something fancier for church should do the trick for Hugo). When you only have one drawer for clothing, you have to be selective! (although as I'm thinking about the fact that our kids spend most of their days running around like crazy outside, I'm realizing that maybe a few more changes of clothes would be nice to have).

:: the yolks of our eggs have become BRIGHT orange. We still get our eggs from the same farm, so I'm guessing this means that the chickens have gone off of feed and onto a natural outdoor diet? Does anyone who has kept chickens know why this might be?

:: we are in full swing planning for several exciting parties coming up this spring (baby shower, hypnobirthing picnic, AND Lily's third birthday. Woo hoo!).

:: Ben and I can quite comfortably sit on the deck and drink a glass of wine after the babies are in bed.

:: we have started defaulting to walking (/biking, in Ben's case) everywhere, and I'm loving the slower pace!

:: popping over to have an outdoor food-truck picnic with Ben has suddenly become quite alluring! I think we need to compile a Northern Virginia version of this. So far, I've been really impressed with food truck fare!

Can you tell by all the exclamation marks that I'm excited? Spring is perfect here in Virginia. I'm so ready.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Outside

Life seems to go more smoothly when it's warm enough to go outside. There is running off of energy, soaking up of sun, and our day-to-day develops an entirely new, more effortless rhythm. A smoothie date with the littlest ones seems entirely in order to celebrate.

Yes, I am thankful for these warm days, even if there is still a sprinkling of cold ones left this March. Yes, those are my children running around a neighborhood park barefoot. And yes, there's Hugo "grazing." He is part very sweet boy, part bovine these days. But how else will he get his daily dose of dirt? By the end of summer, these kids will have resilient immune systems and leathery feet. Perfect.