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Thursday, March 28, 2013

celebrating spring

Easter is a'coming! It snuck up on me this year, what with the whining about the cold and the foot of snow on the ground. But, it is coming still. And we can believe it more these days. The eaves are dripping and the kids are running around outside in sweatshirts and snowboots (so what, foot of snow!? it is 35 degrees out!!)

This year we are trying to integrate some Passover elements into our week. We've read the story of baby Moses in the reeds and then grown up Moses leading his people to freedom. We plan on a Seder dinner this weekend as well.

And then we of course, dyed eggs to hang on a branch from outside. And, as we did last year, planted a little Easter garden with a stone tomb at one end. We used marigold and forget me not seeds lying around from last year...I hope they actually grow! HA.

We read the below story yesterday and made tiny wool rabbits for our garden. They were super simple and quick to do. If you have wool, or even cotten stuffing, you could do this in a snap.

Anyway, happy Easter week to you all!

divide one end, to be the ears. i rolled them a bit in my hands to make them

fold the body end in, rolling it a bit

now pull a bit through the ears to form the head

secure with a bit of thread
i wrapped a bit of thread around the ears too, then some for the tail.
cute right??

goodbye snow, hello mud.

The below story is from my favorite website.

A LONG time ago, in a far-off country, there was a famine; and this is how it came about: In the early spring, when the first grass peeped out, the sun shone so hot that the grass was dried up. No rains fell through the long summer months, so that the seed and grain that were planted could not grow, and everywhere the fields and meadows—usually so green and rich—were a dull gray-brown. Here and there a green tree waved its dusty branches in the hot wind. When fall came, instead of the well-filled granaries and barns, there was great emptiness; and instead of happy fathers and mothers, there were grave, troubled ones.

But the children were just as happy as ever. They were glad, even, that it had not rained, for they could play out of doors all day long; and the dust-piles had never been so large and fine.

The people had to be very saving of the things that had been left from the year before. All the following winter, by being very careful, they managed to provide simple food for their families. When Christmas came there were not many presents, but the children did not miss them as we would, because in that land they did not give many presents at Christmas-time.

Their holiday was Easter Sunday. On that day they had a great celebration, and there were always goodies and presents for the little boys and girls. As the time came nearer, the parents wondered what they should do for the children's holiday. Every new day it was harder than the day before to get just plain, coarse bread to eat; and where would they find all the sweetmeats and pretty things that the children had always had at Easter-time?

One evening some of the mothers met, after the children were in bed, to talk about what they should do. One mother said: "We can have eggs. All the chickens are laying; but the children are so tired of eggs, for they have them every day."

So they decided that eggs would never do for an Easter treat; and they went home sorrowfully, thinking that Easter must come and go like any other day. And one mother was more sorry than any of the others. Her dear little boy and girl had been planning and talking about the beautiful time they were to have on the great holiday.

After the mother had gone to bed, she wondered and thought if there were any way by which she could give her little ones their happy time. All at once she cried right out in the dark: "I know! I have thought of something to make the children happy!"

She could hardly wait until morning, and the first thing she did was to run into the next house and tell her neighbor of the bright plan she had thought of. And the neighbor told some one else, and so the secret flew until, before night, all the mothers had heard it, but not a single child.

There was still a week before Easter, so there was a good deal of whispering; and the fathers and mothers smiled every time they thought of the secret. When Easter Sunday came, every one went, first of all, to the great stone church—mothers and fathers and children. When church was over, instead of going home, the older people suggested walking to the great woods just back of the church.
"Perhaps we may find some flowers," they said.

So on they went, and soon the merry children were scattered though the woods, among the trees.
Then a shout went up—now here, now there—from all sides.
"Father, mother, look here!"
"See what I have found—some beautiful eggs!"
"Here's a red one!"
"I've found a yellow one!"
"Here's a whole nestful—all different colors!"

And the children came running, bringing beautiful colored eggs which they had found in the soft moss under the trees. What kind of eggs could they be? They were too large for bird's eggs; they were large, like hens' eggs; but who ever saw a hen's egg so wonderfully colored?
Just then, from behind a large tree where the children had found a nest full of eggs, there jumped a rabbit, and with long leaps he disappeared in the deep woods, where he was hidden from view by the trees and the bushes.

"It must be that the rabbit laid the pretty eggs," said one little girl.
"I am sure it was the rabbit," said her mother.
"Hurrah for the rabbit! Hurrah for the Easter rabbit! Hurrah for Herr Oster Hase!" the children cried; and the fathers and mothers were glad with the children.

So this is the story of the first Easter eggs, for, ever since then, in that far-away land and in other countries, too, has Herr Oster Hase brought the little children at Easter-time some beautiful colored eggs.

For more ideas on getting outside, check out this great website!
Sunday, March 24, 2013


It goes by so quick.

This is my aim lately, to keep this in mind.

Baby shrieking to be held. Boy fighting with girl. Dada late from work. House a mess. Feeling tired and worn and well, a mess.

It goes by so quick.

I wrote recently about a day like this and my mother, who is facing an empty nest, says oh, how I miss those days.


Or stories of families who now have teens, off to activities, or hunkered down in their bedrooms with books and texting and such.

It goes by so quick.

I am trying to remember.

This winter really wore me out. I need sun and green. But also something different. This new perspective, taking a few steps back to think about my life as a woman, a mommy, a wife, and also sister, friend, writer, creator, a go-getter, and in the big picture of all of this, these few years at home...Just a breath. A blink.

And so. I drink them in. I remind myself over and over in this bloggy space. DRINK IT IN. Suck the marrow and all that good stuff. Remember who you are and the big picture. Your career, your life path, could have a thousand turns yet. My new chiropractor is a wonderful 70+ year old lady, who went to chiropractic school at 50. Who knows what the decades ahead hold!

But this is now. These little guys, who need us so much now.

A say this kind of thing a lot here. But I think its something that is so hard in the mommying phase, not being able to see the forest through the trees. You know? We are so IN it. So very IN IT. That we can't imagine the other side, nor can we see our day to day. The little moments we let slide by, in our anxiety to GET THEM IN BED. You know?

And it goes by so quick.

And they are so precious.

And these little years are so precious.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a felted flower project and a sweet spring story

The baby is sleeping. The kids are playing with the neighbor girl who comes over once a week for a mama-sanity-break. I am sitting at the counter, with a pot of strong English tea. I just talked to a dear friend from college for more than 15 minutes, without interruption. Did I mention it is sunny out? And now, a quick blog post so I can bask in my freedom while writing. Writing. I am writing more lately. And I am gonna try for that "novel in a month" thing again. And I have a good idea for it.

And then, I had another brilliant idea the other day. A June book!! Would you read it? I am super excited about it and am working on a first draft. As soon as I post this, a spring story, and a dear little felted flower craft. One your kids will actually do, no seriously they will. Even my boy loved this. There is a foot of snow on the ground and it is in the teens outside, but dammit, tomorrow is spring. And she shall be celebrated, in whatever form she arrives.

Yay. Spring, snow and all.

Gather wool rovings, lots of colors. Wool is also super easy to dye.
A few minutes in boiling water with a drop of food coloring and a glug of
vinegar to make it stick.

prepare a pan of warm water and a bar of soap

get wool good and soapy and wet and rub in between your palms to make a ball. it takes time but it will work

wrap your ball in plastic wrap and add another layer of wool rovings.
a hint to make the layers stick or cover holes, use a super thin layer and rub
gently at first, use plenty of soap too.
a pot of tea to get me through this craft.

we did a center ball, two more layers of colors, then a layer of green
(for the leaves) here are the finished flowers

now cut a little x in the top of the first layer, then gently snip to make leaves, and remove the next layer.
at this point the kids were all...OOOOOOH. (after making me finish theirs because they were tired of the felting process)

its BEEE-YOU-TEE-FUL! (yes, this is how she says beautiful lately, HA HA.)

little man's sunflower, colors chosen by him specifically to make it look like a sunflower.

And there you have it. Isnt that super fun?? I love it. Here is a sweet spring story to go along with it.
HAPPY SPRING!! (take THAT you blankety-blank-blank-blank foot of snow!!)


Once, in the long ago, there was a most beautiful garden where flowers of every kind grew. There were stately hollyhocks and fresh white daisies and roses and violets and pansies and hyacinths and poppies and every other kind of flower that you ever dreamed or thought about.

Early one morning, when the bees and butterflies went to pay their morning calls, they found all the flowers in a perfect flutter of excitement.

A strange knight had passed through the garden the evening before and left word for every flower that the king of the garden was coming soon on a visit, and to the most beautiful flower he would bring a golden heart.

"To the most beautiful one was the message," nodded the crimson rose, pressing her baby buds close to her side.

 "To the most beautiful one," rang out the lily bells, sweet and clear. "We heard, we heard!"

"To the most beautiful one," whispered the violets, bending their heads in prayer.

"Yes, yes," chimed in the snowdrops, one by one; "to the most beautiful one. We heard the message clearly.

"But who can be more beautiful than we, with our dresses of spotless white?

"Surely the king will choose us, and for his coming we shall save all our sweetest nectar juice, all our pollen, all that we have we shall save for him who is our king."

Thus talked the flowers together in the garden. Of course, everyone wanted the golden heart, and everyone began to work, trusting and hoping that its blossom might be the most beautiful one.

Now in those days, snowdrops held their heads up, and not down, as now,—neither did they have green spots on their dresses then. They were snowy white, and now that the king was coming, they thought so much more about their beautiful white [88] dresses that they seemed to forget that it was better to be beautiful on the inside than on the outside.

They even forgot—these snowdrops—to be kind to their best friends, the bees and butterflies, and refused to give them either pollen or nectar juice.

And again they forgot to say good-morning to their other friends, the lovely violets, growing so close to them and making the breath of the whole garden fragrant with their perfume.

Indeed, the violets thought so much about making perfume for others that they forgot all about themselves, and even the colour of their dresses.

But the days passed quickly in the old garden, and it soon became a bower of glory indeed, as flower vied with flower to become the most beautiful, when the king should come.

The morning-glories hung out joy-bells of white and pink and blue, climbing to the top of the garden wall that they might be first to tell the news that the king had come.

The trumpet vine climbed yet higher, even to the top of the tallest tree, that he might be first to see and welcome the king.

But the snowdrops only stood still and fretted. "See," they cried, "our dresses are losing their freshness and the nectar juice will be spoiled. Listen, do you not hear footsteps?"

Yes, someone was coming down the path, but it was only a wrinkled old woman, feeble and worn with the heat of the summer day.

As she passed slowly along, her eyes fell on the pure white snowdrops, and stretching her hands towards them, she said:

"Oh, you beautiful blossoms, can you not spare me one?"

"No, no! we have none to spare to-day," replied the snowdrops; "go away and come some other day. We are saving these for our king. Ask the violets close by. They can spare you some."

"Yes, yes," nodded the violets; "we would love to give you some. Take all [90] you please. See, our bed is full,—enough for you and enough for our king."

And as the old woman stooped to gather the purple violets, her face seemed very fair to look upon.

"To-morrow, surely to-morrow the king will come," fretted the snowdrops; "we have waited so long!"

But when the next day came, there was only a little bird with a broken wing that passed that way. Faint from hunger, he fell in the sand near the snowdrops and begged for just one tiny seed.

"No, no!" again said the snowdrops, "we have none to spare. Come some other day; we are saving these for our king."

"Take ours," cried the voice of the violets close by; "take ours, pretty bird, we have plenty to spare."

And the wounded bird ate and hopped away, and again his face seemed beautiful to look upon.

It was night, and the breezes were just lulling the flowers to sleep when another visitor stopped by the side of the snowdrops. But they sighed and turned their heads [91] away, for this time there was only a crippled frog with an ugly bruise on his head.

"Water, only one drop of water, pretty snowdrops!" the frog said. "Your cups are full with sweetest nectar juice. Give to me, for I am dying with thirst."

But again the snowdrops shook their heads and turned away. "No, no!" they cried; "go away, ugly frog. We need our water to keep our dresses white, for the king is coming this way".

"Here is ours," called the violets sweet. "It is fresh and pure. Drink, tired frog, and rest among our cooling leaves."

And then something wonderful indeed happened. The frog vanished from sight, and in his place stood the king of the garden himself, clothed in gold and royal purple, and in his hands he held a shower of golden hearts which fell among the violets and lodged lovingly beneath their fragrant petals.

Then turning to the snowdrops, who had hung their heads in shame, the king said:

"Spotted like thy heart oh, snowdrops, thy dresses shall become, and when on them thou dost look, think and remember:

"Beautiful flowers are those that do,
Deeds that are loving, kind, and true,
The long day through."

"Footsore and weary, I asked of you; hungry, I came to you; thirsty, I begged of you; but you turned me away."

"We did not know, we did not know," sobbed the snowdrops. "Come, we have saved all for thee."

But alas! it was too late, for the king of the garden had come and gone,— leaving the snowdrops with spotted clothes and heads bowed low in the moonlight.
Sunday, March 17, 2013

my baby, growed up

Mama! I dump my pot!

I turn around and look and there my baby stands, holding her tiny Ikea potty, with a little sprinkle of pee pee in the bottom.

Um. You peed? By yourself? And didnt wet the floor? And now you are carrying it in to dump it by yourself??

She then wore training underwear to church, and peed on the potty there.

WAAAH! tears of joy!! WAAAAH!! tears of sad!! My baby is growing up!!!

As far as a potty training post goes. Well, she is kinda doing it on her own. It could of course just be a phase but, one can hope. My best recommendations would be this: Be consistent. Go for lots of naked time around the house (shirt or dress only, to make runs to the pot pot easier) We try to do a diaper free time every afternoon after her nap. Then build on those successes to do more diaper free time. And stay clear of pullups. They give the kid the illusion of being "big" but they are so super absorbant the kid has no incentive to not wet them. My two cents on that anyway... But otherwise, the best thing I have heard about potty training, besides the naked time, is to be loving and gracious about it. Yes, even when cleaning up those icky accidents. You wouldnt yell at a kid for falling down when they were learning to walk, how can you when they are learning to potty? I heard this when little miss was in the phase and felt horribly guilty because I was NOTpatient with it with little man. A good perspective to keep though, you know? In any case.

Shis is growing up too fast. And I cant wait to see who she is, as she gets bigger and bigger, and BAAAAAAABY. Sniff.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

take good care of yourself, you belong to me

I clearly remember standing around the piano with my grandmother, maybe on a hot summer day, as we kids came inside from the heat for popsicles. Her fingers would flash across the keys as she flipped through the pages of an old song book. I still remember the words to many of them, "Cows eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too. Doo Doo Doo." Except you sing it like this "Cowzy doats and dozy doats and little ams ee divy. A kiddle dee divy too. Doo Doo doo.." One about a farm wife and her child, but I don't remember it all.

She would play and we would sing.

One that sticks with me, lately this days incessently (and I'll try to find a youtube video) has a chorus that goes "Take good care of yourself, you belong to me." (I just looked up the rest of the lyrics, hilarious. I will post below with video link)

Take good care yourself, you belong to me.

I think about this as I sit down every afternoon, my new habit of late, as the kids nap or tear about the house or play quietly or color with me, sometimes with my notebook or laptop, always with a cup of tea. Sometimes I draw. I have decided to be artsy this year. I might take up painting. Like full on canvases with oils. I have been writing poetry too. As much as I can with kids crawling on my lap.

Sometimes I need to remember who I am. I am artistic.

Take good care of yourself, you belong to me.

I think about this as I buy nice body lotion the other day. Like the absurdly expensive all natural stuff that smells like gardenias. And I buy epsom salts for a nice soaking bath. And I actually take the soaking bath.

And I have been eating better again, no longer subsisting on grilled cheese crusts and bites of rejected fried eggs. (Please, for the love of all that is holy, EAT MORE EGGS CHILDREN. Those hens are LAYING. Sheesh.) I am currently eating a bowl of homemade yogurt with homemade strawberry jam and raw honey from my parents neighbors. And I have quinoa sprouting on my counter. This is not to brag, I also just ate an Oreo. This is to say this body of mine feels like its falling apart some days. And I want to be strong for these kiddos, for our family. I may even try going for a run, if the snow could just melt.

Take good care of yourself, you belong to me.

I stop at the flower section in the grocery stores. Daffodils. I buy some. Only because they make me smile.

Take good care of yourself. You belong to me. I belong to them. I need to remember who I am, for me, for them too. I belong to them. I need to be strong, for me, but for them too. I need to do things that make me smile, for me, for them too.

You know?

I know you know. But its hard to do some days. We go from task to task. Ignoring beauty. Ignoring our need to create, to breathe, to relax, to soak in life.

So, this is my call. Take care of yourself (SARA), we belong to them. They need us, to be the best us, to be the strongest, happiest us. Put down the laundry basket. Get outside for a walk. Sit with some tea and a blank piece of paper. Buy some flowers. Write a note to a friend. Get to a yoga class (SARA!) If you have a hard time doing it for you, do it for them.

Listen, big boy, Now that you got me made,
Goodness, but I'm afraid,
Somethin's gonna happen to you!
Listen, big boy,
You gotta be hooked, and how,
I would die if I should lose you now!
Button up your overcoat,
When the wind is free,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Eat an apple every day,
Get to bed by three,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Be careful crossing streets, ooh-ooh,
Cut out sweets, ooh-ooh,
Lay off meat, ooh-ooh,
You'll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!
Wear your flannel underwear,
When you climb a tree,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Button up your overcoat,
When the wind is free,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
When you sass a traffic cop,
Use diplomacy;
Just take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Beware of frozen funds, ooh-ooh,
Stocks and bonds, ooh-ooh,
Dockside thugs, ooh-ooh,
You'll get a pain and ruin your bankroll!
Keep the spoon out of your cup,
When you're drinking tea,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Don't sit on hornet's tails, ooh-ooh!
Or on nails, ooh-ooh! Or third rails, ooh-ooh!
You'll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!
Keep away from bootleg hooch
When you're on a spree,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!

Monday, March 11, 2013

picture this

Picture me. Setting the table for tea. Book of "The Greatest Composers" on the table, ready to read the short biography of Johann Bach whilst listening to the great master on Pandora.

Picture the children. Hitting each other with balloons whilst sliding down the stairs, playing chase, little miss dressed only in leggings and a tank top, saying she is hot, braids askew. Now, little man offering to dance with her, wildly twirling and whirling. Now screaming again, and there they go down the hall, baby shrieking "MY BAWOON!!"

Picture my life.


But then I start reading anyhow. And we all dance and the tea is ready and here we are. And we just saw the most amazing bird out the window, a mama cardinal grey and orange and red. We hope she comes back.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

a rainbow cape for little miss

So, I found this sweater at a thrift store the other day. I thought it was perfect for a craft for little misses birthday. SO here it what I did with it. This is kind of a half-assed tutorial but I promise it was super easy. Yay for crafting with sweaters! I may make one for baby now too.

apologies. these photos all uploaded sideways...

first step, cut off sleeves. sew shoulders together slightly sloped

a hat from another sweater. SEW easy to make.  (HA HA HA)
simply cut along the edging of a sweater in a slope to a point and sew together,
but dont sew the last few inches.

sew the hood on around the neck hole
here is the cape with hood sewn on and a silvery sweater pocket with more
sweater scraps from my stash.
i originally cut little arm holes near the pockets. she didnt like that.

i ended up slitting the little arm holes all the way down
to the bottom.

she LIKES IT!. and she is watching a cartoon
and wont look at the camera. HA HA.
cute though, right??
Thursday, March 7, 2013

sick on the couch

Cuddling kids. Watching Tom and Jerry (groan). Ignoring messy house, uncooked dinner.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

you complete me

As I type the sun is trying oh so hard, in a mid-March way, to make its way out from behind the haze of clouds we have had the past few days.

I NEED sunshine.


It seems like everyone in my Facebook feed is off to Cabo or Florida. I type at home surrounded by grey and snow, trying not to be jealous.

I write about the weather a lot. A symptom of boring-yoga-pants-wearing-mom-ness I suppose. I write about that. And my kids. And coffee.

And why my kids wont eat the mac and cheese I just made. WHY? WHY??

In any case.

Hi. I am boring today.

I have had a lot of big things rolling around in my head lately though. Trying to process them through the haze of greyness and sniffles is proving challenging. So I type to see what comes out of it all.

I guess I started feeling it around Valentines Day, when we were making Valentines cards for everyone. Little miss colored a smiling guy and asked "How do you spell Sara?" which I then wrote on the inside of the card. Then later I ask little man if he had finished his, and not wanting to have him feel showed up by his little sister, did he make one for mom and dad too. Oh, yes, I did, for dad. Oh, um, well, I dont need one. Okay he says.

In the meanwhile I dropped out of a free online course. Realizing I dont have the time to do the work(or willpower to get up at 5am to do it, lets face it). And, just like with dropping out of my novel writing challenge this past fall, that feeling hits, oh yes, outside of kiddies, I DONT EXIST. (Is this, good, bad, selfish, sad? I dont know, go ask your dad. HA HA HA. Little bit of Dr. Seuss there to lighten it up.)

And then, last night little man was raging at me. All day really. Dada's train was late. Baby only wanted held. I yelled back. Then felt terrible. He took a break on his bed. I nursed baby. Then he went to the kitchen table, pulled out his crayons and wrote a letter. His first real umprompted letter. And I was touched. "I love you mom. And I am srrrey."

And then he planned a family meeting, adorably making signs and arrows and badges to first place winners. Little miss won for "fastest runner" Dada for "best cook" (I wasnt even nominated in this category, HA.) and baby dear won for "best potty training."

Oh, and mom, you get best mom award. But, oh, I guess I didnt make you a badge.

Oh, I say.

And ridiculously, my eyes fill up with tears.

Why is it I want recognition from him? Its funny when a kid gets to a certain age we expect them to start behaving like little adults. To give me props for the stellar homemade mac and cheese skills. For the crafted mushroom gnome houses (that get overshadowed by 50$ lego sets).  To eagerly rush to do school with a happy smile. (You gave up writing/career ambitions to school us at home?? Gee, THANKS MOM.) To see the logic in cleaning up their bedroom (see, more room to play!)

You know the scene the title here refers to right? With Renee Zellweger and Tom Cruise? (before they both looked wonky from too much plastic surgery. LAY OFF THE KNIFE RENEE!) They look at each other across the room, you complete me, he signs. And she jumps into his arms.

Why is it that I expect my kid to fill that? To complete my mommyness?

I dont know, too heavy.

As mothers, we have no work quotas to fill. We have no annual reviews. We have no bonuses. No pats on the back from the boss. Just the little people in front of us, who may or may not show us gratitude, who may or may not scream in the middle of Target for another gosh darned toy, and whom we hope not to screw up, not too badly anyway.

Anybody out there get me?

Dammit motherhood is hard. And yes, clearly I need an attitude adjustment. Or more coffee.

And then, and then, I pause in my writing to shoo the kids outside. (GO PLAY. NO I AM NOT COMING.) And as I am tucking little man's sock into his boot he leans over and kisses me on the cheek.

Ah. Motherhood. Somehow, somewhere in there, it does complete me, in ever surprising ways.

And now the blue sky is shining through my woods in patches. Here is hoping for a full sunhiney morning tomorrow...while I sip my giant cup of coffee...with my dearie kiddos by my side.

little man honest to goodness reading to baby. swoon.

very pleased with her big girl undies.
pee pee on the pot pot!!!


she really loves her brothers robot arm toy

i need to stop taking pictures of birds

a dark eyed junco out on the snowy deck

Monday, March 4, 2013

just hi.


Nothing much to say today. March is bringing us a blizzard as I type. So lovely of her.

We had a nice little indulgence weekend away, staying in a hotel, shopping in the big city. It was good.

And now we are home. The laundry is piled. The snow is swirling. And dare I say it out loud? The kids started hacking over the weekend, and now I have it. Another cold??? Perhaps the same one making a come back??? Ridiculous.

In any case. I called off school.

The kids are rejoicing in their new legos, while hacking in each others faces.

I am trying to ignore the toys strewn around the house. At least until 5pm when ada is due to get home. Dont want to look like a total slacker.

So, that is March for us so far.


I have nothing inspiring to say. 

How about you?
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