Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vay-Cay Recap


We went to the beach for Memorial Day weekend. And while we were there... We played on a pirate ship.

Went crabbing off the end of GiGi and PaPa's dock.


Played on the beach.


Saw a circus.


Walked hand in hand.


Watched a robin take a bath.


Showed Henry a crab.


Saw a bull nose skate.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Things I Don't Need

I struggle with even putting this into words.

We're working on this teaching in yoga called aparigraha. It means non-grasping. In its simplest form it's about letting go of worldly possessions. That new purse I don't need, the shoes that won't actually change my life, the table cloth, vase, toys for the kids that won't bring me happiness or inner peace but will simply serve to clutter my life.

Aparigraha is about the belief that objects can bring you happiness. Shiny new toys will not make me better or happier in any meaningful way. But my hobbies make me happy. I love yoga and I have a really great mat to practice on. Is that wrong? Making things with my hands- making art- brings me joy, it's about the process as much as it is the product. That doesn't feel wrong to me. I'm getting ready to throw a big birthday bash; I think it's okay to get ready for the event.

I need to find balance with this. I shouldn't feel guilty for the occasional craft here and there, or my new camera (birthday gift) or my new iPad (also a birthday gift). These things help me take better pictures of my kids and read blogs and articles about my interests. The items themselves don't bring me joy, but what they do makes me happy.

With the exception of food and basic toiletry supplies I can't think of anything I covet right now. I'm going to try to buy only the things I need and only the things my family needs and leave everything else behind. No impulse purchases (because in all honesty they just make me feel guilty in the end). No more extras falling into my cart at the grocery store. No more inventing an errand to run just so I can get out of the house.

I want to try this experiment where I only take what I need (what my family needs) and no more. I don't know what it will mean. I have no idea what challenges will come up along the way, but I'm going to explore this Yama and see what happens!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The View

We're enjoying the view from here!

Where are you this Memorial Day weekend? What does your view look like?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Morning walk

and spontaneous hand-holding.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cheap Upgrades

The couch needed some color so for $30 I picked up some fabric and re-used some old pillows and voila! New trendy pillows that match the colors of the room! Fabulous!


The dining room wall needed some interest.

A bunch of old unused picture frames, 2 cans of white spray paint, and some black and white photos.... TaDa!

I love that trying to do thins inexpensively forces me to get creative with what we already have. As an added bonus this means I'm keeping old things out of a landfill by giving them a new purpose!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Winners!

AubreyLaine, you've won a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby!!

Stacy, you're the lucky winner of my Favorite Things!!

I'm contacting you via e-mail/facebook respectively. Thanks for entering, and thanks to Random.org for choosing the winners!

Walking makes all the difference

Henry first walked on Mother's Day.

Jack suddenly saw him differently. He was an equal, a playmate, a buddy. Before Henry was walking Jack saw him as simply the baby. Now he refers to Henry as "My best friend" or "My brother."

It's amazing to me how one change in Henry can change everything for Jack.


p.s. Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Water

The thing with water is, when you have it it's easy to take it for granted. You could leave your tap running every time you brush your teeth and hardly notice a difference on your water bill. (If you have well water -I'm very jealous of you- and you would notice a difference on your power bill.)

You turn on your tap and have access to safe filtered water any time for any purpose. But you don't need to water the garden with drinking water. You don't need your kids to swim in drinking water. You don't need to wash your car with drinking water. But there's rarely an alternative to using water from the tap. Fortunately, now we have a choice. While it's impractical to wash my car from my rain barrel I can water the veggies and fill the kiddie pool with rain water. We put it right next to the garden to make it even easier to get the water where it needs to go.




The tomato plant likes it.The garden likes it.


The radishes like to be rinsed in it.


I love that this change is more eco friendly. I love that we're saving money (even if it's just a little bit). But I really love that this makes caring for the veggie garden even easier. No more lugging the hose out there and then needing to wind it neatly back up when I'm done. This is one of those "Why didn't we do this before?!" type of projects. It's genius!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Birthday Giveaway pt. 2

Favorite Things!!! I'm not Oprah, so you're not getting an iPad. But here are 4 of my favorite things. And it's my gift to you, gentle readers. You can enter the same as before, one for a comment and bonus for being a follower. This giveaway will also close at 6:31pm this Wednesday.Voila!This Hazelnut flavored Agave Sweetener is my favorite addition to my morning coffee. It makes me feel like I've gone to a fancy coffee shop but it's a natural healthy sweetener and it tastes amazing and it's more budget friendly than a 4 dollar-a-day coffee habit! So in an effort to bring my addiction to you, I'd like you to have one.
I love having a sweet treat on hand. I like these Ginger Candies because they're yummy and comparatively speaking, good for you. And if the kids try to pilfer from my stash I don't feel guilty about sharing because they contain natural ingredients.
Speaking of the kids, this is a great "It's time to leave the playground/ Go to the store /Finish your meal bribe" And they're made of natural ingredients! Because they're gummy they take a while to eat which is an added bonus for me!



Last but not least: an infinity scarf I crocheted from my own made-up pattern. It's aqua-ish, sea foam-ey turquoise. Made from naturally dyed cotton. (I'm allergic to wool.)






Don't forget to leave comment love!

Delicious

Both the meal we ate and yummy cuteness of my boys!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birthday Giveaway pt.1

Today I'm kicking off my birthday week with the first of 2 giveaways. (I'm paying for this myself so, there's only two! I'm not made of money!) This first giveaway is a gift card to a favorite store of mine. It has all my favorite things: Crafty things, Decorative things, Gardening things, Fabric things and even Painting things!

Hobby Lobby!

I'm giving a $10 gift card to a loyal reader who leaves a comment.

This is also a not so covert way for me to see how many readers I actually have.

*So you can get 1 entry for leaving a comment (and if you are so inclined tell me something you like to get at Hobby Lobby).

*And you can get 1 additional entry for following my blog publicly (please leave another comment saying as much).

Entries close at 6:31 pm on May 25th. Because I will be 30 at EXACTLY that moment.

If you are my parents, in-laws or husband you are not eligible to win- but I love you anyway!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A thoughtful comparison of first child to second child.

When I was pregnant with my first child- I read every parenting book I can get my hands on. Second child- I was re-reading Twilight.

First child- I ate for two, or maybe three. Second child- I wised up ate healthy but it was almost always grab-and-go.

When I drove home from the hospital with the first child I rode in the back of the car next to the baby... just in case he needed me. Something catastrophic could have happened. With the second child I rode in front because it's much more comfortable, and they're fine!

When the first baby cries I jumped and sometimes I felt like my skin was electrified- because my ability as a mother was in direct proportion to how often my baby cried. When the second baby cried I did the best I could... cause it ain't no thang.

Every time I left the house with my first I packed everything, 5 toys, 10 diapers, 1,000 wipes, 4 changes of clothes, changing pad, snacks for me, bottles of water. Was I backpacking across the country or going to Target. Second- I forgot diapers, left the toys at home, never brought a changing pad.

With my first I was so worried about developing 'bad habits'. I didn't let him sleep in bed with me (but he only napped at the boob for the first 4 months) I tried to make him learn to fall asleep on his own, I tried to teach him, drill him, push him. With my second I snuggled him, slept with him, followed his lead.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can I tell you something

So remember when I got those 'cloth for mom' pads. I have to tell you, they are ah-mazing! I've been cloth diapering the kids from the beginning. I've been aware of (and totally not interested in) cloth pads... I mean, they call it "on the rag" for a reason. I was never interested.

I finally decided to take the plunge for three reasons 1. I found a product that sounded like it was right for me and for a price I felt was fair. 2. I was tired of needing to run out and buy 'feminine products' for myself every month, and I was tired of always running out at the WRONG time. 3. I read about a mom who noticed she had an, um, embarrassing reaction to the chemicals in a certain brand of pads and I thought 'that sounds kinda familiar'.

Seriously, it's not gross. Really, it's not. We (unless you're my husband, father or brother... sorry guys) have all had to rinse out underwear or sheets or even our fave pair of jeans because of ::ahem:: blood. This is no different. A little rinse and then toss them in the laundry with everything else. My period is LIGHTER now... apparently the going theory is that the chemicals in tampons and pads draw out the tissue and actually cause women t bleed harder & longer. I have less cramps... same theory, because chemicals are evil (or something.)

I'm totally converted. I went from "I already cloth diaper, what more do you people want from me?!?!" to "Oh my fluffy decadence how have I not tried this before?!?!"

So I tried to refrain from tagginf this as "cloth diapering" but, to be honest it kinda fits.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Boots

I now have hiking boots. I am breaking them in by trying to walk 3 miles (or more) every day that the weather cooperates. Getting ready for our trip to the Grand Canyon is kinda fun!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Harvest!

We are now officially enjoying fresh veggies from our garden! I've had a few radishes here and there but now the lettuce is bountiful enough to enjoy as well. So here's the thing with lettuce- even if you get it from a store, if you want it to keep longer store it in water in a plastic or glass case. This means you've already washed the whole stash so all you have to do is grab a handful and shake it off. I HATE when lettuce goes bad before I can eat it all and I love this sollution!

If you grow your own lettuce and you want to keep the plant alive you can pluck individual lettuce leaves and the plant will just continue to grow more and more leaves for your culinary enjoyment!

I like to look back at early pictures to see how the garden is changing.



Onions- not ready yet. Radishes- ready a few at a time. Lettuce I- delicious. Lettuce II-and nutritious!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The new playroom

Our deck has become another playroom. With the sand table and the little wading pool the boys love spending a warm afternoon out there. It's 1/2 in the sun 1/2 shaded but I wish we had the ability to have instant shade as the sun increases so for now I'm using the clothing line to make a canopy with a sheet (which I feel like was a genius idea but don't have a picture of.)

I'm now negotiating with my husband how to address the need for shade. Sail Canopy? Pergola? Umbrella? Gigantic mushroom? Any ideas? I'd like to come up with something so we can enjoy the deck all summer long, but I don't want to spend more than I have to. Help me 'sell' this idea to my frugal husband.


Eventually, all good things come to and end. Henry was NOT HAPPY to learn that playtime was over.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My boys might be scarred for life... or not.

Every other night I shower with the boys. It saves me time, it saves water, and it ensures that I shower a minimum of 4 times per week. (I'm a dirty hippie.) About 6 months ago Jack noticed that Mommy didn't have the same parts as Daddy. He asked, we explained that Daddy, Jack and Henry each have a penis and Mommy has a vagina.... which technically is a vulva, but hardly anyone uses the proper terminology so who cares. After a quick explanation he's had no interest since.

So my kids see me naked 4 times a week and then sometimes they take a bath together or they shower with Daddy. Nudity isn't really a big deal around here.

There was the time earlier this week that Jack wanted to play in the little baby pool on the deck and he just stripped down and hopped in. So we had to have the conversation about how your privates are.... private... and the neighborhood doesn't need to see them. So maybe nudity should at least be a small deal. I want my kids to know there's nothing wrong with the human body. There is no reason to be ashamed... clearly I'm not if I was willing to whip a boob out in public to feed the baby.

Jack is 3 and Henry is 1. I don't believe that seeing their parents naked is going to scar them for life... yet. Like most things in my world I'm operating under the assumption that my gut, instincts, mother's intuition, Ouija board will tell me when it's time to cover up. I hope that the need for change will become evident at the same time that Jack and Henry are able to reliably shower without constant supervision ensuring that they actually get clean. Until then I will continue to shower (with my boys) with a respectable regularity.

So what do you do in your house? What are the 'rules' regarding nudity?

Friday, May 13, 2011

From Friday

with love.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

30 Years in 30 lines... or less.

30 is coming. And I'm so ready!

Don't get me wrong my 20's have been a blast. Perhaps too much of a blast, more on that later.

My first 10 years the goal was just growing up. I wanted to be bigger, older and more independent. And by the time I was 10, I'd certainly accomplished everything I set out to do.

Getting to 20 was.... rough. 10-15 was painfully awkward. Braces. Acne. Training bra... oh wait, still wearing one of those. Shaving my legs- which you should NEVER EVER do dry! 15-18 was all about rebellion. Be home at 11. 11:15 (I know, I was such a bad ass.) Then there was college. I felt really alive like the world was my oyster. There was so much to learn about the world, about myself.

And then there I was in my 20's. And I was trying to find myself... until I found my Husband (at 24.) I have to say, the only thing more exhausting than spending my teens trying to find and keep a boyfriend was the energy I exerted in my 20's trying to find myself. Looking inward is always harder than looking out.

But as my 20's draw slowly to a close I see myself, I see my husband, I see my kids. And life is good.

I will always change, always evolve, but something feels so warm and comfortable about settling in to who I am, sitting back and enjoying the sweet life I have.

30, brace yourself. Here I come!

The Birthday Countdown begins!

I got an Olympus E-PL1 for my 30th Birthday. Lucky for me my husband wants to be sure it's on time for May 25th! Today the doorbell rang and the nice man from UPS handed me a package. So purely in the interest of being a careful consumer ;-) I spent an hour or two playing with it. You know, just to be sure!

I tested out some of the settings like this one called 'pin hole'. And this one 'soft focus'.

And this one 'pop art'.


The kids were willing to pose.

And pose.

Poser.

We got a lens adapter so all of my husband's fancy lenses will work on my (not film) camera.



In vaguely related birthday news I'm thinkin about doing a little giveaway for my birthday week to try and get some people to come out of the woodwork. I'm thinking about making a criteria to enter becoming an official follower. Fair? Not fair? I know there are probably people getting updates using RSS, but it would be ever so lovely if I knew you were reading me. (Obviously, any giveaway I do is totally funded by me or items made be me... or both.... hmmmm...) What do you think?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I made that!

Hanging clothes and diapers on the line to dry is great. Trying to juggle clothes pins and wet clothes is not. Move over June Cleaver! Problem solved.

Perfect!


Cold at night while watching TV?

No problem!


Okay, I didn't exactly make this but I grew it and it was delicious!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

These boots are made for walkin'

But since I don't own a pair of hiking boots I have to go buy some.

Why? You ask.

Because I'm going to do a whole lot of walking come August!

The Nerd-tastic Husband and I are going to Las Vegas. We're driving to the Grand Canyon and hopefully hiking all the way down to the bottom (maybe camping down there) and then hiking all the way back up!

That's a hard trip to take with kids! You say.

Yes, it is, that's why we're leaving them in the capable hands of their grand parents for 7 days!! SEVEN! I cannot wait!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Things happen on a holiday


video


Well, there's something about a holiday and important things happening. Apparently Henry has been reading the blog and noticed I was making fun of him for not walking. He decided to prove us wrong. After only taking a step here and there today he finally decided he could do more!


My baby is growing up!

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope your day is as lovely as I expect mine will be!

I'm starting things off with a lie-in. Lovely!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm not sure how I feel about this

Henry is so determined to climb things that he crawls down the stairs just so he can climb back up. He will push toys over to taller objects so he can use them to climb. And here he is showing off his Karate Kid climbing and balancing skills.

Today in an act of desperation I let Jack play on the Wii for the first time. He bowled 10 frames and then bicycled around the Wii Resort Island (as seen here) about a million times. Seriously, he was so good at the bicycling that he unlocked a bunch of new levels. How is that possible?! I'm all for intuitive gaming but this is just WILD!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Seeing my children for who they are.

Early in parenting I spent entirely too much time thinking about who my kids were not. I was always comparing Jack to his peers. Who had a longer attention span, who was a better sleeper, who walked faster, who had more teeth (never Jack, poor kid). I was not at any point blind to his more charming qualities, but I was preoccupied with thoughts of what needed to be changed.

I felt like I did so many things to create the more difficult parts of Jack's personality (you know, the parts that mirror my own with frightening precision). He's controlling, and bossy and he used to be a terrible sleeper and he never once was willing to take any kind of bottle. I always assumed it was the result of something I did, or perhaps something I didn't do. How naive. To think I had that much power. I've taken enough psychology courses to understand the principals of nature vs. nurture, but I assumed that nurture was the more crucial part. Silly me.

Before Henry was born I was going to do things differently! I was going to make sure to change all the mistakes I made the first time. I don't know when it started but it's like someone cleaned the window and the view is finally clear. Turns out Henry was just an entirely different baby. Sure, I did some things differently... but it was never because I was determined to alter the course of his life. He was different so I changed for him, it was merely from necessity.

It seems so clear now. They are each so unique and the universe in its infinite wisdom made me capable of parenting them differently. It's what they need, it had nothing to do with me.



Honestly, I was so worried about having two boys. I was so worried that they'd be so similar that I wasn't going to feel like I was getting the variety as a parent. I was worried they'd be so different that I'd have a favorite. It seemed like these things would be magnified by having two of the same gender.


Which do I like more: the beach or the mountains? Both, neither, it depends on my mood.


Henry is laid back, happy, snuggly and unlikely to overreact. He's also emotionally needy, cranky as hell when he first wakes up, and unwilling to feed himself if he's feeling crabby.

Jack is filled with infectious enthusiasm, he's imaginative, independent and empathetic. He's also bossy, frighteningly independent, wild and impulsive.


There isn't a thing about them I would change (not that I could if I wanted to). I finally see them for who they are. They are unique and special and beautiful. Truly seeing them as they are also allows me to finally see myself.


I'm just enjoying the view.