Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally mobile!

In the walker

And the beginnings of some sort of crawling motion
Yay, onward and upward S!

Let's go fly a kite

Kite flying is such an essential part of childhood, no? Once K's kite really got stuck in a tree! Thought that only happened in comic strips.

Friday night feast: Paninis and Antipasti

All recipes can be found in this inspiring and scrumptious book -

Mmmm, roasted garlic, carmelized onions, pesto, grilled ciabatta - could eat like this every night and never tire of it. J, on the other hand, was in sore want of a slab of steak.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The beginnings of a spring wardrobe...

I finally got around to sewing clothes for the girls. First up, an appliqued onesie and "capri" pants for S. K's summer dress in in the works. Considering what pitifully little time I actually have to sew because both girls have to be down for their nap at the same time, I project the dress will be
finished sometime around Thanksgiving 2010.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Links on the sidebar

I've started adding links to my favorite online stores, resources and blogs on blog sidebar, as a reference for myself and others (yes, you, the two people that follow my blog besides my husband, and even he only checks in quarterly I think). This sidebar will grow exponentially once I get into the rhthym of posting all the links to things I think you might find helpful and interesting - they are all jumbled in my head at the moment.

I've also started this book and am a mere 286 pages away from becoming the perfect parent: I laughed out loud when I realized, upon brief perusal, that the advice in this book would probably do more our marriage than for our parenting. Ha! Read it and ye shall understand.

This is terrible in all its randomness but I had to post this picture - I painted my kitchen backsplash a few weeks with a zero VOC paint from Yolo colourhouse. If you can believe it, it had nearly no odor, no harmful chemicals and no solvents (so no headaches for the wee ones, yay). Yolo has some great color palettes; the kitchen wall was painted in Sprout 01, which is a nontoxic washable paint created with concern for children in mind. This was my first time painting anything beside my nails so I'm stunned that it wasn't a complete disaster.

Is my Orla Kiely a la Target consumption too much to stomach??? This is not even a small fraction of it. The rest of it is stashed away in the pantry closet and scattered throughout the house so J doesn't realize I have a problem and make me return it all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday morning

Baking with K (she so loves to help me bake and I love her enthusiasm. I don't so much love all the flour and sugar that ends up on the floor.)
Chocolate chip walnut banana bread! The most moist and simple recipe ever (no mixer needed) -
K made this herself, nearly! I helped paint the hair, make holes in the dress for arms, and cut out the bag. K painted the face, picked the fabric, cut out the fabric, glued the fabric and most importantly, played with her afterwards!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The days are long but the years are short

This post is inspired by a close friend who is also a mother and bemoans her tendancy to not live so much in the moment with her child, but rather is drawn to the future, the next milestone, etc. Her wistful thoughts reverberated within my maternal heart because I am guilty of the same. When people ask me to compare S to K, there are only vauge impressions to recall, largely due to my failing to be mindful of the present and being preoccupied with the next meal, day, week, month (also due to trauma-induced amnesia as a 1st time mom).

This good and kind friend reminded me how fleeting are these moments with our children. And I am deeply eternally grateful for the reminder. There are days when I dread the task of having to go through the morning routine for the girls - S gets her morning bath, dressed, nursed + K gets dressed (meaning I have to chase her down) and fed breakfast (more chasing down). Then I grapple with the dilemna - how to keep K occupied while I put S down for her morning nap (does your infant fall asleep on her own? then you are living my fantasy.). The options include TV, sugary snacks, or allowing her to run aimlessly rampant - all these options strike daggers of guilt into my mommy heart. By the time I put S down for her nap, I'm ready for a break! But K has been waiting all morning to have mommy all to herself. And so I just fill up my coffee mug and push myself to spend quality time with her. What has happened is that I view each day as filled with a list of duties, that if not accomplished, make me an unfit mother. And when one merely goes through the motions of doing something just to do it, and not thoughtfully and with desire, the moments of the day are bereft of joy.

Naturally during these types of days I long for a day when K and S are both not so needy. But I also understand, with a heavy heart, that when this day finally arrives, I will merely find myself longing for the days with which God has graced me now. Ugh! Tragic!

My dearest Katherine and Sophie: The most I can do is give you countless hugs and kisses each day and may there always be spontaneous and uncontrollable laughing and dancing. Your childhood is like wisps of soft smoke - I cannot hold onto it. I can only do my best to blow it in the direction that I believe is best for you - toward God, compassion, independent thinking, appreciation of beauty and good food, etc. I imagine heaven is a place where mothers can relive their children's childhood and for the first time, live fully in each and every moment. I am so utterly humbled to be the mother of two such lovely girls. J's genes must be dominant in them because they are both so entirely clever and beautiful and sweet.

Truly the days are long but the years are short. So eloquently put by this fellow mommy: (yes I cried big alligator tears after watching this). My only hope is to not do anything I do for my girls begrudingly (even with that 10th diaper change or cleaning up the 10th juice spill), but to see every day through their eyes - each day as full of wonder and adventure and to share their joy in every thing. I will have no regrets if I can say, at the end of it all, that at least once every day I paused upon looking at my daughters and said to myself, "this is what matters and this is what i want to remember for all time".

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First bite of solids!

Afer days of S lunging at our food and salivating while watching us chow down, I finally gave in and introduced her to rice cereal (just shy of 5 months! we waited until 6 months with K due to J's family history of allergies). Of course we're all excited that S is moving on to solids. If distraction is the key to preventing meltdowns in your child (in the car, at restaurant, whenever their good behavior is critical to your sanity, etc.) then food is surely the ultimate distraction. Yay for snacks!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Art in the home and the building of an atelier (ooh la la!)

Since we've decided not to send K to preschool until this fall or next (apparently I've grown comfy with the angst of raising a toddler + infant all day every day), I've been scrambling to help K ward off aimlessness and bordeom at home. I've never been completely at ease with having K watch too much TV because after an hour, she slips into zombie-mode - meaning the light behind her eyes start to dim, lethargy grips her, and brain cells visibly die off due to non-use. I normally don't allow her to watch TV for more than one hour and the TV is not otherwise on (not even for the super bowl! J still hasn't forgiven me.). It doesn't help that J's beloved flatscreen takes up more than half the living room wall - its' presence is dramatic. I wonder about those families who choose not to have TV in their homes and how they otherwise occupy their time. I imagine the children would at the very least have a dedicated art room and it would look something like this:

What child wouldn't be inspired to create, write and imagine in a space like this? More info on the breakdown of this lovely atelier can be found here:
I think that children who grow up in the U.S. have little or no exposure to the arts and are not taught to understand the importance of beautiful and natural quality materials (ie. not plastic) compared to their counterparts in Europe. Which is tragic because at what other point in your life do you have more liberty and natural inclination to engage in art (I've observed that young children are naturally and passionately drawn to the act of creating)? Once they embark on becoming schooled in this country, the emphasis will mostly be on rote memorization. So how precious is this time for a child to enjoy, with little inhibition, the wonders of painting, drawing, crafting, writing, etc. - in other words, being creative and expressing their unique selves!
Which is why I'm working on my own little atelier for K. Since my background in art and teaching is nonexistent and I have no natural artistic abilities to speak of, this project may very likely be abandoned in the next five minutes. Abandoned with vigor becuase I'm also contemplating the mess that will come with encouraging art in the home - crayon on the walls, paint on the furniture, oil pastels scattered throughout the house. UGH. The longer I am a mother, the more I am convinced that a full-time maid/housekeeper is the answer to everything.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My first bag and japanese loveliness

For a friend's neice

And then for K. Although there was no complicated sewing involved, it took a good chunk of time for me because of all the measuring and cutting from following a pattern. Ugh, I destest measuring and cutting! Which is why I'll probably never be a great sewer (or baker). I have an aversion toward nit picky details (a lawyer's bread and butter, no less!) and following instructions to the letter. Which is why I have a stack of patterns for children's clothing on my desk that I look at with much longing but zero motivation to attempt. Do these pictures not make you melt into a pool of cuteness overload...

The japanese children's clothing books come complete with patterns but alas, no english instructions!! So will be playing it by ear. All purchased via

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mere survival

The question I am naturally asked most often since Sophie was born is "how do you do it?!" They never specify "it" but it is an upsoken understanding between moms that "it" means taking care of a 3 yr. old and infant everyday without having spiraled into clinical depression/pyschosis/obesity from all the anxiety-driven snacking. It is an ever present challenge and I have survived thus far thanks to the following emotional crutches:

1) Wine (I wish it was before noon, but alas, only in the evening)

2) Chocolate in every form (my current favorite: dark chocolate covered pretzels! oooh, and melting baking chocolate chips in a bowl to dip fruits, nuts, bread, anything...). my stash is hidden everywhere around the house so that it is never more than an arm's length away in case spontaneous tantrum/whining/general negative toddler behavior erupts.

3) Venting. To anyone who is willing to listen really, but mostly to J and empathetic girlfriends. Although J doesn't see it as venting so much as unbearably whiny complaining. He has fast become desensitized to my outbursts and is convinced I am suffering a post-postpartum depression. The vent sessions with girlfriends are awesome. The toxins are purged my soul and I am made whole again. Until the next tantrum of course.

Seriously, things are in a sad state of affairs around here. K is at a very difficult age at 3, growing increasingly willful, obstinate, demanding and unbending to either of her parent's wishes. I didn't fully understand until now how much grey area there is in parenting. When type of behavior deserves a timeout? If she refuses to eat should I allow her to starve or accomodate her picky palate? How much TV is too much? Is it ok that she plays independently while I sit here enjoying my coffee or am I guilty of child neglect and putting her squarely on the path of becoming a serial killer???? OMG, my head hurts (as well as my heart).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

K's 3rd birthday: Pinwheels and Polka dots

The invitation

The favors (painted with the initial of each guest)

The favors packaged


More banners! (still mildly arthritic from cutting out a jillion triangles)

The spread (would you be surprised to know that there are very few foods that are naturally pink?)

Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry puree-cream cheese frosting

Can't have a pinwheel party without pinwheels

Polka dots galore (yes, I wrapped those chocolates with polka dot gift wrap. insanity, thy name is mommyhood)

The birthday girl blowing out some very tall candles in her birthday crown. Happy birthday K!! Can mommy take a nap now??

Monday, April 13, 2009

A day in the life

Breakfast! Waffles are on the regular rotation along with oatmeal, cranberry bread with peanut butter and rainbow cheerios (nothing makes a child wake up faster than bright neon sugar coated o's)...

Playing side by side, kinda...

Always have fresh flowers in the home. Even in these tough times, it's the one luxury in which I continue to indulge. You can't have enough things to provide an emotional lift when home-bound with a toddler and infant in the dead of winter!!!

The bonding begins

It's a thrill to see my two girls together. I envision the paths they will take - I cannot know how rocky or smooth they will be; only that their paths are eternally intertwined. Hurrah for sisters!

J's big 4-0!

It's tramautic yet unavoidable. The day you turn 40. I try to dull the pain with braised short ribs and a good wine. And a visit from a good friend.