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Saturday, March 24, 2012

while mama is away

It is really strange to think about leaving my little family for more than a few days. I did do that trip this past spring, just for a long weekend though. To be gone for ten days? Really? I can do that?

What is crazy is that I have done this before. Long trips overseas working. But never EVER as a mama. Leaving dada, I have done that, but leaving my babies??

Okay, so I am taking one baby with me (the actual in fact baby) dear little bugga (short for buggaboo, which I started calling her for some reason in the weeks after she was first born) she will keep me company, keep my mama-ness intact, lest I forget. (HA. Sarcasm)

It is strange though, isnt it? Yes, I can exist apart from this little world within four walls, snug and cozy and ... monotonous ... and lovely and dear. I can. And there are parts of me that are "un-mama" Parts of me that love new ideas, new places, interacting with adults in intelligence (rather than say, on commenting on my kids cute-ness in the Target parking lot). This can happen.

And, what is more, I can still think. Use my brain for things other than, say, how to follow the Lego instructions to build the Ewok treehouse (incredibly complicated, I might add).

And, what is even more. It is okay. Okay to be excited about using this other dormant part of me.

Quite so.

But I still feel guilty, leaving my guys behind. "But there are volcanoes there!" sigh little man. "I WANT TO SEE THEM." Yes, yes, I know. We will go again. (Soon-ish?) "But I want to be with mama!" says little miss. Yes, yes, I love you too.

They will survive, right? Dada is perfectly capable. (Though, he ISNT mama) And grandma is leaving her farm for a few days to come and help out too.

my hack job of a book, attractive, no?
So, to make myself feel better (NOT because others can't manage without my input, but, seriously, to feel like part of me is still here, helping) I have compiled a little book (suggested by a friend who has left her brood behind for long trips before) A book of "Mama notes" with meal ideas and quirky nuances of each child and their daily lives that only mother's seem to know (bug catchers are in the green box on the shelf. Bugs MUST be released from captivity after a day. Please no wearing nice leather shoes in the mud. Etc. Etc. Etc)

I also purchased little tokens of affection (also known as bribery) at the Target dollar spot and wrapped them quickly for opening after dropping me off. (Dont be sad, dada can say, lets go open your PRESENTS!) On the back of the book is a little calendar to mark off the days until we will return and a note that little paper hearts are hidden around the house, to remember that mama LOVES YOU.

Okay. It will be okay, yes? Such a mix of emotions. A BREAK! SUNSHINE! HANGING OUT WITH MY SISTER (who is coming to watch baby while I teach my seminar) USING MY BRAIN! And then, LEAVING MY BABIES!!! GUILT! DADA USING VACATION TIME SO I CAN GO ON VACATION!! Etc. Etc.

Okay. Seventeen hours of flights and layovers with baby. A week away. Nineteen hours of travel home. A whole lotta nice-ness in between.

Go me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

to the about-to-be-mama

Two dear friends are about to have their first baby, one my own sweet little sister (who I clearly remember as a newborn, my nose pressed up against the glass of the hospital nursery, to see the little squalling pink bundle) the other a grad school friend, back from work overseas.

This is an exciting, amazing time in a woman's life. Transformative in so many ways. Do you remember?

You read books. You paint the nursery. You fold diapers. You look up burping techniques on the internet. You read about swaddling. You dream. You plan. You get a little panicky. But. It will happen. It will come.

And the thing is - and this is key - YOU CAN DO IT.

You can.


First there is labor. Oh so much worry. You try not to read horror birth stories (like mine, oops!) You take your classes. You practice breathing.

Here is my best advice for this.

Trust your body. Trust the process. Let it happen. Be open.

And I really think it is a mental game. The pain, its so so, its bad, yes, terrible at times. But mostly its the waiting. The not knowing. The "what-if-my-body-cant-do-this" vibe.


You are powerful. Your body is amazingly and wonderfully MADE to give birth. And for those instances where c-section does result (mine!) ITS OKAY. You still did it.

My next bit of advice.

Breathe. No, really. That is all. Breathe. Just do it. One. Contraction. At. A. Time.

You can do this, remember. Just one. That is all you have to do right now. It really is about being in the moment. Dont get caught up in how dilated you are, how much longer is this going to f-ing take?? (And you WILL do this, I did with all three labors) STAY IN THE MOMENT. Enjoy it. YOU ARE HAVING A BABY. A new life, into the world, you are doing it.


And that is my final bit of advice. You rock. You are an all-star-super-amazing-being. YOU ROCK. And this, this is the best thing you will ever do. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself.

And then, the same advice goes for once baby does come. That tiny little bundle. In your arms. What now, you blink at each other??

Trust yourself. Listen to your instincts. Baby needs milk? Feed him. Baby needs held? Hold him. Dont time feedings. Dont chart out naps (Oh, I TOTALLY did this with little man) Dont get caught up in what you "should do." Do what YOU do, as a mother, feel it out, listen to your gut.

You are about to be an amazing creature. A mama. And you, you will ROCK.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

and so it goes

And so it goes. And you're the only one who knows...

Okay. So I just googled the lyrics to that Bill Joel song and its all about heartbreak and such which isnt at all where my head was as I wrote this. On the contrary. Life is full of happy lovey funny babies, busy busy busy times, and hopeful happy nice dreams of things to come soon (A house! A trip to a tropical island to TEACH! Did I mention the house? And the island??)

And yet, I feel like I am kind of floating along with it. Do you know what I mean? Rather than savoring or "sucking the marrow out of life" as it were.

Its so easy to do this. To become kind of float-y in the head about life. Mechanical. Get up. Diaper changes. Coffee. Granola. Sunshine sitting for a few. Dishes. Napping baby down. Fielding requests to find my shoe, attach this lego piece, how do you spell "Dear Mom, I Love You?" And then lunch and wrestling little ones to obtain 15 minutes of peaceful "quiet time" and then picking up the couch pillows that somehow ended up in a big heap in the middle of the living room, then herding children outside (there are only two? really? Might as well be twice that by this time of day.) Then playtime outside, then some cartoons (TOM AND JERRY!! they yell with glee) then dinner prep, dada comes home (YAY!), and dinner and bathtime and dada wrestles kiddos down to bed and mama nurses baby to sleep on the couch watching TV and drink in hand my quiet time of the day.

And there you have it.

And so it goes. And so it goes.

And I suppose a lot of you know.

And this is why I come to the computer to write, most days. Capture it. Nail it down. Remember it. Savor it. Because good things are a-happening and I dont want to just let it all float by.

buds. on the lilac bushes. in MARCH.

crazy haired missy

little man with his new hairdo.

big swing fan, this one.

my card this morning from little man (just because) complete with
three layers of heavily taped paper and a tape bow

"i love mom. you are..."

"...really great. love jack." :)
Friday, March 16, 2012


The weather has changed. Suddenly. And I havent written much this week because I am outside, with the kids, drinking in the sun and the birds and the blue sky and the warm. And it is warm. Basically our winter was March and our March is now June. An unbelievable delirious 79 degrees today. 79 DEGREES.


And my week in the sun teaching what I went to school to teach is going to work out after all. So I am scrambling trying to remember how to use my brain, writing handouts and figuring out a syllabus. Trying, trying, trying.

I can do it.

Except for the sun. And the breeze. And, oh, I am delirious with spring!

a few weeks ago. bundled up when it was still winter.

we love swings!

birdwatching a few days ago.

our pretty bog

the last of the snow

sleeping baby

a little log, just right for the first picnic of the season
Here is where I forced the kids to listen to a sweet story about the robin and how he got his red breast, a la Waldorf-y stories. They liked it. Also, this little poem.
The wind
told the grasses,
And the grasses
told the trees.
The trees
told the bushes,
And the bushes
told the bees.
The bees
told the robin,
And the robin
sang out clear:
Wake up!
Wake up!
Spring is here!

baby cousin

ditching the sweatshirts.

the river
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

anti-recipe #48 a perfect spring salad

Its kind of cheating to call this a recipe. Its a salad. Not rocket science. However, I always forget about this lovely combination, so I am writing it down here to remember it. (No scratching on pieces of paper to stick in a box somewhere for me. I blog my recipes. HA.)

I have a hard time with salads when its chilly out. I am just not in the mood. I would rather eat potato soup or a good casserole. But, eat greens, we must, right? And this is a salad you can eat in winter and early spring (and summer and fall too.)

So. Arugula (I just had to google that spelling. Really? It looks wrong) A really underrated, underused green (in my house anyway.)

Toss some on a plate.

Fry up a few pieces of bacon (of course, any salad worth eating has bacon). The restaurant I stole this idea from used pancetta, use that if you have it lying around.

Set bacon aside.

Meanwhile, boil up a potato, finely chopped. One is enough.

Now crisp up the nearly cooked potatoes in the bacon grease. No really, do it.

Sprinkle potatoes and bacon on the plate of greens. Add lots of globs of creamy goat cheese, or bits of blue cheese.

Drizzle on a bit of a vinaigrette. (Olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic.) (Good grief that looks wrong too. Vinaigrette? Okay. Whatever)


Oh so good.
Friday, March 9, 2012

woolen overalls for baby

So, I made a pair of these sweet overalls for baby weeks ago but never took pictures. They really are my go-to winter outfit for her, that and her lovely silk/wool blend long sleeve shirt underneath. No worry about a cover for the fitted diaper she wears, the wool does the trick nicely.

The other day I made a few more pairs, both lighter weight to be able to use into the summer. Wool is wonderful for summer too. It breathes more than plastic covers do! One out of a vintage pink wool sweater, the other out of a bright green cashmere sweater I got at Target on the cheap years ago. Both pairs are so yummy.

Anyway, so I decided to chop up another sweater and show you how to make a pair too, in case you are interested. And I swear, this is the last of sweater chopping posts. Seriously. (What, you dont believe me?? WHY NOT?? Do you think I have a problem or something??? HA.)

So, as the children watched cartoons and the baby cooed on the floor and the sun streamed in the window, I sewed. (And I took pictures this time.)

the cashmere overalls for spring and summer
notice how brothers toys are WAY more interesting :)

cut off your sweater arms and cut slits on the seam. measure to get it right.
these will be big and more for next winter. you want the slit high enough
to make up the body of the overalls.

i would cut up the sweater to make the top part of the bodice but i cut off the arms
of this super soft sweater and kind of liked it...for me...

the pants, sewn up. (yes, little miss is
sitting in a box)

the bodice, cut from another sweater. sides sewn up

getting ready to sew the pieces together.

while i left to feed the baby the kids stole the camera
and took pictures. HA.

not bad, right?


the sewn up overalls

the buttons added

i am scared of the button hole attachment and confess i never use it. i just
zig zag stich back and forth and cut a hole in the middle

the (much too big) woolen overalls

i made this little dress for her the other day.
(since this is my last woolen project post)
the pic is fuzzy because she WONT HOLD STILL
seriously, while i was putting buttons on she scooched
across the entire floor of the TV room, chasing a balloon
(which is funny itself because i literally had a panic
attack the first time little man, at 9months, came into
contact with a balloon. HE WILL CHOKE AND DIE!
and now i am telling the kids to move it around to get
her to chase it. HA HA.

isnt she delicious??


sisters. (yes, i had just nursed her. HA)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

felt flower dolls

I had it in my head to make a whole bright colorful garden of small pocket "flower dolls" for little miss for her birthday. I got as far as my prototype, this lovely little rose doll, and her baby.

I got the idea from this site which I found on my new ultimate time-suck, Pinterest. (ACK. DONT JOIN, or do, whatever. HA) And then from my new fav crafty book "The Children's Year" which is amazing.

I love this little doll. I had a hard time giving her up. I am totally making more, which may or may not be for the little miss to play with. HA HA.

i cut a round circle for the bottom, then a rectangle type shape for the body
trimming to make the cone shape of the body. then i added a little
wool stuffed head and sewed it all together. i put some rice in the body
and then stuffed with wool to make it more stable for playing with
(if i let her play with it, HA)

this is the book. so fun
i cut a large flower shape with a hole in the middle for the layers
of petals. and then a similiar one for the hat, out of pink
then green. (obviously, HA.)
the finished doll and her baby, rosebud.

our nature table basket, all ready for spring
the rosebud baby was made very simply with a folded piece of felt and
a little scrap of peach for the face, all stuffed with a bit of rice and some wool.
her bedding was made out of a leaf shape, sewn like a sleeping bag.

our nature table. with spring books and our flower dolls. i am making more
and i also want to make a robin, nest, and eggs.

Fun, right?

Okay. It is 50 degrees here and I promised some antsy little children a walk to the park. Happy Spring! (soon!!)
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