Friday, August 21, 2009

with friends

our week has been spent with friends, none of whom we see regularly. one family in town from alaska for a wedding, one friend here to see the alaskan friend, and all us meeting up with another friend for a playdate.

the shortest friendship in the lot (among the adults) is 18 years. amazing, don't you think?

wishing you a happy friday!
(fingers crossed for our family, please. rumor has it massive layoffs are happening at mike's work today.)

(sharing this one only because it was one of the few i took of finnian, who surprised me by sitting in an adult chair, using an adult fork, happily eating pizza.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

crafting at the lake

i couldn't remain idle while sewing machine-less, could i?!
you really cannot beat propping your feet, listening to an iPod, and knitting away with a view like this, can you? (add water and hot chocolate and all is right with the world.)

so, i haven't knit since march. and march is when i learned to knit, so....

i started with the sampler i had left off months ago and tackled a pattern. anyone see a heart down there? this was a good lesson for me, because i also forced myself to remove rows when i made errors, so i had to learn to do that, too! now, i need to learn to bind off (and even out my tension)!

once i completed the heart pattern, i actually wanted to knit something! i started with a washcloth....and this is as far as i got. (fifty stitches per row takes me awhile!) no worries...i don't intend to leave this sitting for the next five months!

and yes, i did make those needle felted acorns from the little package marina gave me! they are looking sweet on the table that ultimately collects bits of nature from outside.

happy crafting!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

when we got home...

...we fell right back into happy normal rhythms.

in addition to all the images below, we came home to mike, who was as happy to see us as we were to see him. and we came home to a spotless house. it was so clean, we could literally have eaten off the floor. while away, mike removed all the trim in the kitchen, the first step towards painting. after doing this, he did a thorough clean-up.

and lastly, i came home, checked on some of my favorite blogs, and was honored to read a thoughtful post by genny and to learn olivia had bestowed a blog award upon me. (i will get to answering those questions soon...i hope!)

thank you, ladies. while i admit, i did not miss the internet while i was away (i really needed to have those ties loosened for a was getting addictive!), i happily surfed my way through my favorite blogs, with a new goal of better time management, online and off!

now, those of you wondering why, 3 days home, i am still blogging about being away, the answer is 2-fold: 1) i really wish i were still on vacation, and 2) this week is very busy for us, and posting about our time away allows me to reflect on and record my thoughts about our break.

we are off to spend yet another day with friends from out of town. we are soaking in their company, the sun, and the final days before school begins. hope your day is just as nice!

(by the way, if you scrolled this far....see that laundry? one of the things i made solid note of while we were gone was how much i appreciated quality outdoor clothing. we have some pieces from north face, rei, marmot, mountain hardware, and other quality brand names and all are so appreciated and well made. in fact, finn's rei jacket looks brand new, but belonged to 3 kids before him (thanks eph!), his rei fleece vest was once his sister's and her spf shirt worked fabulously (thanks for both, grandma and nonno). i know, we can make fun of patagucci...i mean patagonia...but truly, items can be scored on super sale or used. quality items can truly be worth the money.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the kids at the lake

i wanted to dedicate a post just to my kids during our time away. both of them grew so much during the time we were gone. (and so did i!) does that really happen? a short time away, simply because one is away, can produce so many more changes than had we stayed here? i think so.

we left for the week, still struggling with temper tantrums from bella. she continued, through the week to challenge me/us. but somewhere along the way, with input, support, and breaks from my parents and brother (mike left us monday afternoon), we seemed to find a cause for much of her angst, and i simultaneously got some suggestions on how i might handle the outbursts a bit more succinctly. despite my being tired, it was not these rough moments i remember about the week. it was her excitement at fishing with nonno, her pleasure in hiking up the trail with no fussies, her eagerness to paddle the canoe, her care of her little brother, her excited memories and comfort with where we were and her pure pleasure at being there, her pride in kicking back and forth in her inner tube, with no-one holding onto her...these are the moments i will remember.

and finn...i know i have said this before, but he is getting to be such a kid. standing next to his sister, who also recently had a growth spurt, his head meets her shoulder now. he is still in medium diaper covers (my girth barometer), but his height keeps creeping up. his words keep flowing in. not long before leaving for our trip, he learned how to nod. that funky, entire torso sort of movement that is so cute on a toddler. but mid week, he added "yeah" and "no" to his repertoire, vastly expanding his ability to communicate and have his needs met. i had forgotten how helpful those two little words could be. he is a little engineer, quickly getting into and figuring things out. and boats....oh, does finnian ever love the "bo! bo!"

what amazed me the most, amazed all of us, perhaps, was the mellowness and acceptance with which he took on each new physical challenge. the boy likes nature. he hiked (well, as much as a 1.5 yr old can), he splashed around in the lake, you name it. his sister's appreciation of being physical in nature has always been a little more reserved and has had to be encouraged along the way.

i am holding onto these memories, because, while i shared these joys, i was tired. adding to my fatigue were mike's absence for most of the week and sharing a room with two little people, one or both of whom could not manage to sleep through a single night. interrupted sleep, especially days of it, does me in. somehow, though, it is a night that finn (who had a cold and congestion the entire time we were gone) woke, would not be consoled, and ended up in bed with me (there were three nights like this), that is sticking in my mind. on this particular night, the only way he seemed to get comfortable, was to literally lay his little head on mine. so we snuggled, cheek to cheek, for hours.

coincidentally, one of my close mamma group friends sent the following poem in an email. it touched home as we close in on kindergarten, a 5th birthday, and as i continue the daily challenge of being the best parent i can be.

If You Can Remember
If you can remember that it takes three of my steps to equal one of yours;
If you understand that I must view life at an eye level three feet below yours;
If you can touch my life with your faith, without taking away my need for self-determination;
Then I can grow, learn, and become.
~ ~ ~
If you can remember that it takes time for me to gain the experience in living you have already had;
If you can understand that I can only relate to those things which have meaning on my levels of maturity;
If you can let me take a step of independence when I can, instead of thrusting me out or pulling me back;
If you can touch my life with your hope, without destroying my sense of reality;
Then I can grow, learn and become.
~ ~ ~
If you can remember that it takes courage for me to try again after failure, just like you;
If you can let me find my own path when I want, instead of choosing for me the way you think I should go;
If you can touch my life with your love, without taking away the space I need to breathe;
Then I can grow, learn and become.
~ ~ ~
Marti King For The Montessori Foundation

Monday, August 17, 2009

home again...

we are home, in body, if not entirely in spirit. more later, but memories of highlights....

family: food: paddling: hiking: summer night sky: meteor showers (oh. my. god. beautiful.): mountains: wildflowers: meadows: lakes: rocks: trees: bird calls: deck sitting: golden yellow sunrise: pale pink sunset.

you would almost think i was nature deprived the way i soaked it all in, appreciatively. i wish i could capture for you the smells, the peace, the sounds of nature (and the lack of human made noise).

my camera battery died mid-week, so i spent as much time simply enjoying each moment as i spent capturing them.

we are home to a very full couple of weeks ahead. two of my best friends and their babes are in town for visits and kindergarten starts next week!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

time to get away...

it is time, again, for a little summer get-away to the lake we have gone to with my family since i was a baby. we go to the cabin of family friends, a rustic little place with no electricity, no hot water, an outhouse, no telephone, no internet, and no road access. we canoe in and we must bring all of our gear and food.

perfection. my only sorrow is that, for the 4th year, mike's vacation request was not approved. he will join us for a long weekend and then leave us with my brother and my parents. so, while it is a much needed get-away for me, it isn't the family vacation our little family truly needs. we're still working on that one!

i thought about leaving you all with scheduled daily posts, but have decided against it. instead, i wish you a joyous week and weekends, and i will return to regular posting and blog reading catch-up on the 16th. (and if you scroll down, you will see that i posted twice today. the first post below is a fabulous blog-loving list of links.) i doubt that i will be missed in this vast, virtual world of amazing bloggers, but if i am, please make your way over to the "roughly sorted" list in the right column, pick a topic, and catch up on some oldies.

be well...

lovin' the blog world...

i am loving the blog world these days. perhaps a bit too much as it really can suck a chunk of time away from me! in fact, my sewing has suffered as a result! (although i don't feel too bad about that, since my brother is with us right now and my sewing nook is in his room!)

here's some bloggy love. in the form of gifts received and links appreciated!

needle point felting starter kit, gifted to me by marina, of a small tribe. marina is a sweetheart and brought it to me after i commented on her adorable acorns!

wrap dress i won for bella from bayan hippo in a give-away on soule mama. it is beautifully made and came complete in its own handmade bag. from turkey!

have a good week!

Friday, August 7, 2009

our first graduation

photo album bella's preschool gave us as a farewell gift. photos of her days at school. priceless.

my baby girl isn't a baby anymore. i know...she hasn't been for a long while now, but now, she is moving from little to big kid! today is her last day of preschool. she has been in an assortment of care situations since she was born, all but one of which have been fabulous, but she has been at this school for the past 2 years. its a small preschool a short walk from our home. she will miss it. we will miss it. (yes, finn will likely go there when he is ready, but we have a year before that happens.)

and leaving preschool means graduation. growing up into a beautiful big girl who is headed to kindergarten in just 3 weeks. and kindergarten opens the door to a whole new path ahead.
(i think lala and i are equally nervous about the changes, but i am desperately trying to hide my nerves, whereas i think hers may be the explanation for her recent erratic behavior.)

as a farewell gift to the preschool, i made a star patterned cape for their dress up corner. the N on the cape represents the first letter of the preschool's name. below, modeled by finn.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

on food

a few weeks ago i linked to a post and subsequent comments (you must read the comments!) over on the blog beauty that moves. it was a fascinating conversation (because really it turned into one) on the value of food, its cost, how that plays into our budgets, our health, our spending power, and more.

it was a timely post for me, because mike and i have been challenging ourselves for a year now, to get our grocery spending down (to $400/mo), all the while not being willing to compromise on certain foods and food sources that we have been using. i knew i could get my spending lower, after all, i had it at $300/mo for awhile. but that $300/mo was prior to my buying organics, prior to two kids, at a time i was still okay with some processed foods, and long enough ago that food prices have changed. and my budget includes toiletries, the types of which have also changed! as a result, $400 per month has been a difficult average to achieve and my new goal is to better balance my budget to reduce spending in other areas, allowing us some food budget wiggle room.

about the same time as heather's post, i decided to weed through and recycle magazines and newspapers that collect in a basket in our bathroom. i came across an issue of a local parenting newspaper (frustratingly, not available online, so i cannot link for you) entirely focused on food.

in one article, a woman challenged herself to feed her family as though she were doing so entirely on food stamps ($1/day/person). she almost managed, but not quite, and it seemed entirely due to her unwillingness to compromise how she spent her food dollars. i am with her on this, but i read/heard loud and clear - many families do not have this option.

another article featured several families, each from different parts of the world, each showing all they had bought, for how many, and what they had spent. this article was a portion of the book, what the world eats, by peter menzel and faith d'aluisio, which i have not yet read, but the highlights (reprinted in the local paper with permission) noted that the american family of 4 spent $159.18 US for a week's worth of food, much of it processed and prepackaged. the guatemalan family of 8 spent $75.70 US for a week's worth of food, almost all of it fresh, much of it home grown. scary what that says about americans and our diets on the whole.

food seems to be a hot topic these days. what a fundamental need that so directly affects our health.

in the middle of listening my way through animal, vegetable, miracle on CD, i made a trip to costco, and was shocked at what i loaded into my cart, feeling all items were needs, knowing all items would be quickly consumed by my kindreds, but hating the feeling of being tied to the big box store.

there are enough reviews of animal, vegetable, miracle, that i will skip doing that. i will say this... my expectation was that i would feel frustrated at my inability to equal her level of commitment to sustainable food consumption, given i cannot pick up and move to an established farm in a community in which i am already known. instead, i came away realizing how much i already know and do (and take for granted!) and feeling more informed. although i wish there were one, no farm awaits me. however, i can make more of my food dollars local. it did remind me how extremely fortunate i am to live in an eco-conscious, agriculturally rich hub. it did spark ideas of how i can garden more effectively. and it did make me look at my costco cart (already despised for packaging) more critically.

the thing is, i do shop quite a bit locally. we buy most non-food items used. i try and buy what is in season. but there must be a way to do this frugally in an urban environment.

it all leaves me with so many questions. most fundamentally:
how can we continue to economize, without compromising our desire to eat in a way that supports our environment, local economy, our beliefs, and our health?

perhaps you would all share your input?
to spark a conversation, i have questions to which i am seeking answers!
  1. there was a lot of cheese in my cart! if i had to start with one vegan cookbook/guide, what would it be and why?
  2. buying do i connect with one locally? how do they work?
  3. does anyone reading make cheese? any simple, clear beginner links or books?
  4. do any readers here grind your own wheat? where do you get it and how do you grind it?
  5. foraging. do any of you do it and if so, how?

in general, i would love to hear your thoughts on food!


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