Thursday, January 29, 2015

Love Oregon Baby Quilt



A few weeks ago, I finished the prettiest baby blanket for my friend Elizabeth.  She lives downstairs and is happily expecting her second daughter.
Before she knew if she was pregnant with a boy or girl, we talked about the blanket I was going to make her. I had made another quilt for a friend using all green and gray fabrics, and Elizabeth requested the same feel. "It's just so Oregon-y," she had said.
As Elizabeth and Tyler are both from outside of Portland, it was just right for them, regardless of baby gender. (But I couldn't help adding a little pink. I have heaps of pink fabric and hardly any chance to use it!)









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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Long and Short of It







Today I saw an old friend for the first time in years. He saw August and asked "Where's your other baby?" Serval long moments went by before I realized what he meant. "This isn't one of the twins," I said. "They're almost four. This is a new baby."

"Wait, really?!"

Sometimes it feels like life is so slow. I see friends after months and have no news. I just do the same thing, day in and day out. Yesterday we collected sticks at the park. Today I made homemade graham crackers. Tomorrow August will get his fourth tooth. Things that are small. Non-noteworthy. Things that I tell Travis over dinner, or forget to tell him.
But not things you write on Christmas cards.

That's what they say though, right?
The days are long and the years are short. Sometimes, it feels like no time at all has passed since Travis and first held our two newborn sons four years ago. Sometimes it feels like lifetimes have passed.
Often within the same day, I find myself thinking "Last week on Halloween..." and "Next week for Halloween..."
Time seems pretend. It's all wibbley-wobbley and it doesn't seem to know that it's supposed to pass at a regular, constant speed.
Watching my littlest monkey at the park this week, I kept thinking of when Grey and Micah were his age and would crawl around in the woodchips. Beg to be pushed in the swings. Climb on to the playground equipment like somekinda big kids. I used to get so mad at the bigger kids (think 18 months old) who would run and knock past my babies.
Be CAREFUL. I wanted to roar at them.
And then my kids were 18 months and the four-year-olds at the playground would push them off of things without even noticing, or pick up their toys and wander off without thinking. I was furious!
Where are these kids' mothers? Why aren't they watching? Why aren't they shouting, "Go back and say sorry to that baby!" instead of making "I'm sorry" eyes at me?
And now my kids are four.
(And the ten year olds at the playground are my new enemy.)
But I understand. And when my kids are racing and not looking, they stumble over babies and shout "I'm sorry!" over their shoulders, and I make sad eyes at the Mom and remind my kids to be careful.
But really, it's the Ciiiiiiircle of Liiiiiiife.
I guess.
And time moves and it doesn't move. I always get contemplative about time in the spring. It's not really spring, I know. It's only January! But it sure feels like Spring. And I've been reading through seed catalogues and pinning composting tips.
The last two days were in the high fifties (felt warmer!) and we spent much of the day outside. I dug in the garden, raking up dead leaves and mixing my compost and the warm, wet earth smell hit me so hard. Lines from The Secret Garden kept running through my mind and again (in every spring) I started thinking so much about life. About time. About seeds and babies. Growing, changing, staying the same, repeating the circle.
And my boys are turning four in a month.
Micah has requested a shiny blue bike, Grey has requested a book.
And some things never change.







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Monday, January 26, 2015

Portraits of My Boys 4

Look at me! I am four weeks in and doing fine! I haven't had to cheat a single time yet and take pictures on Monday morning. And not only that, but this week I'm all heart-eyes over the pictures I got, and (with the exception of August) these pictures were requested. 
"Mom, look! Take a picture of me!" Yes, sir. I definitely will. 
I love my silly, handsome men. I'm a seriously lucky girl. 


Grey:

"Look at my new hat, Mom! I love it, because it has all the colors and it keeps my ears warm!"

Micah:

Trying on my new glasses from Warby Parker. His hair naturally parts down the middle like Dwight or JTT, and even though I comb it back to the side a million times a day, it almost always ends up like this again.  Sometimes it drives me nuts, but truth is- I love it. I love the little quirks and individualities of these boys and their "identical" bodies.

August:

My happy, sunshiney boy!


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Friday, January 23, 2015

9 Months


Little August is 9 months old. It's so strange to think that he's been out in the world for longer now than the length of my pregnancy- especially since I felt like my pregnancy was so long it might never end, but I feel like the days since August's birth have flown by!

At nine months old, August has three teeth, can stand by himself for short periods of time, can wave, and sign all-done. He crawls everywhere, climbs everything, and loves to wrestle and tumble with his brothers. He has an amazingly good sense of balance and will crawl all over the bed and couches, right along the edge! without falling. In fact, he'll often crawl to side of the bed (or tops of stairs) and lie down so he can peer over the edge, then back himself up to safety.

Can you see his top left tooth is in, but his top right isn't. It's just so swollen! Soon it will pop through!

His favorite thing in the entire world is taking baths. If he hears water running, he'll crawl to the bathroom and whine and bang on the door. If we dare to wash his hands in the sink and don't immediately strip off his clothes and give him free reign over the water, he'll scream and scream!
Once in the tub, he crawls around, pulls himself up, and collects all the toys to carry to the faucet. He'll sit or stand at the faucet and wave each of the toys, soap bottles, and washcloths under the running water, one at a time- testing them out. Scientific tendencies, I'd say!

He loves to eat and try new things, especially food he can hold himself. But when he's really hungry, he doesn't even try to feed himself! He wants applesauce or puréed food, and seems to understand that he'll get more (and quickly) if we feed him.



August can wave and besides waving "hi" and "bye-bye," he'll also wave "ni-night" when he's feeling sleepy. He'll lie down on the carpet or a blanket and wave to everyone when he's ready for a nap, and if I pick him up when he's feeling tired or overwhelmed, he'll wave goodbye. A baby that requests nap time! (Above, he's waving at his brother as Grey ran by.)

He also signs all-done, occasionally claps (but more often, he smacks his legs instead of clapping) and does "So Big!" when he wants to show off. He knows that we sign for food and more sometimes, but often can't remember the hand motions, so if he sees something we have that he wants, he'll start waving frantically and smacking his lips.
He smacks his lips to make kissing sounds and "sings" if music is playing, or we are singing ("Ahhh ahhh ah!") but besides that and baby sounds (like mumbling) he doesn't make any other sounds like talking. (Like "Ba!" Or "Goo-goo!")
I'm not too concerned. With Grey and Micah, I followed the charts of What Baby Should Be Doing obsessively and was worried and ecstatic in turn when the boys were fast or slow. Now I've realized that kids all move at their own pace, and August is so good and smart that I don't bother comparing him to any other babies.
He is such a delight, and so unbearably sweet! I often find myself having panic attacks (although they are decreasing in their occurrences) that he's going to die- because God doesn't just give out babies this wonderful! He's too perfect for this world!
Oh. Yeah. I know that's crazy. You don't have to tell me.
But seriously, he really, really is perfect. And I'm not biased, everyone who meets August agrees- he is the best baby in the world.


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Conversations with Three-Year Olds


Lately, Grey has been narrating what's happening around us (or what he thinks is about to happen) like it's a story.
The other day, as all three little boys and I were snuggling in bed in the early dark hours of morning, Micah reached over and turned on the light. Grey instantly roared, "I AM TOO POWERFUL! TURN ME OFF! says the light."
A few nights later, as we made Swedish Pancakes for dinner and waited for our friends, he started talking (in different voices), "Soon, Josh and Kelsee will get here. What's that yummy smell? It's Pancakes! says Josh. I want some pancakes, says Kelsee. Mmm, I love these pancakes. I've never had pancakes like this before! says Josh. I haven't either, says Kelsee. I love them!
It's so hilarious, because he doesn't just tell us what he's imagining. He tells it like he's reading us a book!
He's also been confessing to a lot of things that I know he hasn't done. For example, when Travis lost his wallet, Grey was quick to admit "I did it! I hid your wallet to trick you," and when lights were left on in the car and the car died, Grey said, "I snuck out while you were sleeping to turn all the lights on inside the car."
Although when pressed, he'll fess up "It's only pretend. I'm just making up stories for you!"

Stumbling out to the kitchen in the semi-dark a few mornings ago, Micah saw me standing at the counter and whimpered, "Wh-where's my Mama?"
"I'm your mom," I said.
There was a long pause, before Micah finally said, "Okay. Good morning, Mom." Haha, still sleeping?

Grey: Let's go practice shooting our bows and arrows and then- do you know what we will have for dinner? BAD GUYS!

**Kicking a pile of dirty old snow**
Grey: It's a dead snow owl.

Grey: Those aren't pirates, they're water Cowboys!

Micah: My tummy hurts. That cereal is punching me from the inside.

Micah: You have a beard. You're a beardy little man. You're a dwarf!

Micah: I do not ever love it the very most. I just love it the littlest bit.

Grey: Be Maid Marian.
Micah: No, be just Mom.
Me: I can be both. I can be anyone!
Micah: Be Wonder Woman!
Me: Okay.
Grey: If you're Wonder Woman, then show me that you can jump SO HIGH.

Me: Do you want a cookie?
Micah: Yes, indeed!

Grey: Giddyap! Giddyap! I'm an outer-space horse!

Grey: Mom, you are covered in puke.
Me: No, I'm not.
Grey: Well, you smell like it.



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Accidental Hippie





They say that recognizing your own faults is in itself a virtue, right?
Well, here's one fault of mine that I am highly aware of:
I am a mocker. Self-satisfied, pretentious, judgmental. I don't think I'm a bully, but I do gain a lot of satisfaction from watching people from afar and judging them silently.
Oh, man. This turned out to be much more confessional than I was anticipating.
I'm also, like, super nice.

Anyway. One group of people that I have previously loved to mock and totally judge are hippie mamas.
You know. Co-sleeping. Non-vaccinating. Cloth-diapering. Home-schooling. Breastfeeding-until-age-6. Vegetarians, maybe. Wives of farmers, probably. Those people are the worst.

Except. Thanks a lot, universe.
I think I might be joining them. 

It happened innocently enough. Obviously, I breastfed the boys, because... that's how babies get milk.
I really didn't realize (until after my kids were born) that some people choose not to breastfeed, out of convenience or something. I just figured, everybody breastfeeds. So, I inadvertently joined the breastfeeding clan. (Yeah, guys. It's a clan.)

Then, we decided to cloth diaper the boys. I can honestly say that 100% of my decision there was that I wanted my kids in those cute little diapers! But in order to convince my more-practical spouse, I did a lot of research and learned about how cloth affects the environment, saves money, and is better for your baby, etc.
So, I guess I joined the cloth diaper clan, too.

Then I started learning how to cook. I grew up with daily homemade meals and cookies, so I was all about home-cooked food to begin with, but I didn't care that much about where my food came from. But in an effort to be trendy and hip and interact with my city- I started going to the farmer's market.
And again, my penchant for pretty things drove me to buying things like copper and turquoise chicken eggs, and meat wrapped in brown paper packages tied up with string. And I watched Food Inc and (like the rest of America), wanted to throw up at the idea of fast food burgers. I read a couple books about food and was sucked into the slow-food and whole-food movements.

And it's getting worse.

I think we'll probably homeschool the boys, at least until they're 7 (the age at which you legally have to send your kids to school or get an affidavit to homeschool.) I have lots of reasons that seem minuscule when I list them out, but honestly- it's just a feeling. I feel like homeschooling. Just like I felt like cloth diapering. No real reasons matter, except that I want to.
I read books about it all the time, seek out homeschooling bloggers and instagramers to follow, and am now officially part of the Salt Lake Homeschooling Email Group. How did this happen? I love to mock home schoolers! And I super-extra love to mock books with titles like "Bible Science."

Now, Travis and I are hoping to buy a home this summer, and I entertain myself for hours looking up regulations on backyard chickens, tips for kitchen gardens, advice on composting, and trying to find local farmers who will sell me an entire cow or pig at a time. (Our first big, new-home purchase is going to be a great big freezer. I, like, cannot wait.)
I hate animals. I also hate yard work.
But you guys, I really, really want chickens. I think about my future chickens all the time.

And we skipped rice cereal, and went straight to table scraps for our puppy baby.
We outlawed all television on weekdays (except the occasional YouTube for educational purposes or dance-parties).
We bought some kind of camping thing? Once? Just kidding. Travis buys camping stuff all the time -including state and national park passes, and often pretends that someday we'll use it all and our kids can learn about nature. Luckily for me, that's all talk so far.
(I'm just not ready to also face nature.)
I even purchased an insanely expensive bottle of essential oils, once, in a moment of weakness.

I just find myself accidentally turning into a hippie.
Sometimes I feel like it's all or nothing.
If we think local, hormone-free meat is sooo important, how can we vaccinate our precious babies?
If I cloth diaper my kids, they should also only wear upcycled thrift-store clothes.
If I am super religious and like to talk about Jesus, how can I possibly believe in evolution or probably-aliens?

You know, none of those things even seem related to me.
Sometimes I just want to know that other moms exist who think the same way that I do. I just want there to be other slightly-hippie moms who are cool and awesome and not insane.
(Just to clarify, I do not think that I am necessarily cool, awesome, or not-insane.)

And it's strangely embarrassing and awkward to tell people that I'm thinking of home schooling. I've avoided writing about it here for months. 
But whenever people ask, "Are the boys starting preschool yet?" I get all shifty.
"Uhhh. Nooooooo. They, um. You know. I'm thinking 'bout.... so. That weather, huh?"

Anyway. I decided it was time to come out of the hippie-closet and admit to you that I sometimes actually make my own granola and graham crackers. You know, to avoid high-fructose-corn-syrup.
And I kind of want to move to Portland.
And sometimes, I think about riding a bike- but don't worry, people. My lazy legs and asthmatic lungs always nip that idea in the bud.


I hope you appreciate these unrelated pictures of August sleeping. I've included them because he is cute and perfect and you'd want to home school him too, if he was your baby. Because then you'd get to play with him all day.

** Don't freak out. We totally vaccinate. I am all about vaccinating. Shots are a modern miracle.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 3

Last week, after I wrote the boys letters one afternoon (you got them over three days, but I wrote them all at the same time), I started trying to find opportunities to take pictures of them to go with the letters. So you've seen the portraits of Grey and Micah already.
Here they are, anyway:

Grey:

I love his zoned-out attitude. I have pictures of him lost in thought as an 8 month old, a two year old, and now an almost-four year old. This boy is a dreamer.

Micah:

Despite what you may think, this is not a picture of Batman smiling. "Batman NEVER smiles!" It's more of a grrr! face. Except he can't help but smile a little, because he's so nice.

August:

Oh, my sleepy little snuggler. Just looking at this picture makes me want to scoop him up and tousle his hair. August has been sick this week, but even a sick August is really, really nice.


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Friday, January 16, 2015

To my Dreamer and Believer





Dear Grey,
Thank you for being so thoughtful and sincere. Although you sometimes get mad or frustrated with others, you rarely are an instigator of trouble.  Lately, I've cherished reading stories with you, and telling stories to each other. You love to hear stories about your Dad and me, and always beam and giggle when I talk about how we fell in love, became engaged, or got married. It's your favorite story. Sometimes you tell stories to me, but you don't like to as much- you'd rather be listening and asking questions. Every time I finish you say, "That wasn't a very long story! Tell me another!"
You're such a good big brother. You take good care of August and Micah. You always bring them toys or blankets, share your own food or treats with them, and try to make them laugh. The other day I found you making silly faces and noises while Micah laughed hysterically. When you saw me, you looked up sheepishly and said, "I'm just making jokes for Micah."
You always talk in different silly voices, depending on how you're feeling, who you're imitating, and how you want us to react. It's so funny, and so emotive!
It's sometimes hard to get you to agree to leave the house or play with friends, because you just like to be at home with your family and maybe Elanor. But once we are out the door, you're adventurous and love finding and playing in new places.
You also always ask me really thoughtful questions- about life, death, religion, science, emotions, people, and the world. I'm often surprised by how well you listen and remember things.
You are so complimentary and tell me everyday that I am the best mom, that I'm pretty, that I'm good at cooking, sewing, saying my ABCs, or whatever else I'm doing at the time. If I brush aside your comments, you will try to stop me and look in my eyes, "Mom. I love you. You ARE the nicest mom." Thank you for being so good, and caring so much about how the people around you feel.
I love you so much,
 Mom

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

To my Lover and (Crime) Fighter






Dear Micah,
My silly, friendly, imaginative boy! I love listening to you play with friends, or even by yourself. You are so creative and funny, inventing stories and adventures everywhere you go- and often while dressed as a superhero!
You are always so brave and friendly, and hate coming home after we've been out playing. You make friends with everyone and explore everywhere. Recently we went to a climbing-rope jungle gym. You climbed bravely to the top by yourself and then came back to get Grey and show him how to get up, too. You love playing with Grey and August, and your feelings are easily hurt if they don't want to play with you. You always offer to check on August and take care of him when he's in his bed crying. You especially love to make him laugh, and if you're both in your beds-supposed to be going to sleep- You can't settle down because you know how much August would love to play with you! I hear you in there, playing peek-a-boo in the middle of the night and trying to find the baby's paci in the dark.
You love to laugh and make people laugh, and every time you have an audience- you take full advantage! If you do or say something funny, you shriek in pretend laughter at yourself until the people around you can't help but laugh too!
You are passionate and excited about every little thing that happens, whether you find a missing toy or it starts to snow, and you'll describe things as being "the saddest, worst ever" or tell me you, "ever so much love it!" You often tell me that I am the nicest, prettiest mom (or sometimes that I am the worst, meanest mom!)
You are so funny and such a delight and privilege  to be with,
I ever so much love you!
Mom


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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

To my Mover and Shaker







Dear little August,
Oh my sweet boy, I didn't know that they made babies as nice as you. Everyone who sees and meets you agrees that you are the sweetest boy. You are so friendly and love being with people, especially your family. It's so sweet to have you reach for me or beg for your Daddy. You love to snuggle in under my chin, pat me happily on the chest, and plant kisses on my face.  You learned to wave this week and proudly show off your new trick all day. You were the star in church this week, as you crawled back and forth across the Relief Society room, turning to look back and wave every few minutes.
Sometimes, you get stressed out by lots of people, though- especially at noisy parties or family gatherings. You'll fuss and cry, and if I pick you up- you'll wave happily goodbye! Then you like to sit by yourself in your bed, singing little songs and rattling your toys until you either go to sleep or decide that you want to come back out and join the fun.
You love your brothers so much, and your new favorite game is to wrestle with them and Daddy. They toss you and tumble with you and the four of you crawl and climb over and under each other- all laughing and silly. You rarely cry unless you're hurt, and even then- it's only for a moment.
You also love to take baths and will beg at the bathroom door like a puppy until we take you in and start running the water. You crawl and splash around in the water long after its gotten cold and your little lips start to turn blue! It's been so fun watching you learn and grow -especially over the last few months!- and to watch you try to keep up with your brothers.
I love you so, my darling little boy,
Mom


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