Wednesday, February 25, 2015

10 Months

Ten months! It's funny, because I reread through Grey and Micah's ten month update this morning, and my first words of that post are still exactly how I feel:
"Ten months. It sounds a lot like twelve months. Which is one year. Which is SO old."

And now, somehow, my baby is at the age when people without babies expect you to say "About a year," when they ask how old he is. Unlike his brothers, August isn't walking yet. He doesn't have any words (Micah could say Dada and mean it) and he doesn't have any favorite toys or books. It's amazing how different a creature he is than his brothers. But, like his brothers, he is so active and wiggly that the only way I could get him to hold still for pictures was to put him in a high chair!


August is obsessed with figuring how things work. He can stack blocks and even Mega Blocks (the really big Legos-knockoffs) which Grey and Micah couldn't do until they were much older.
If the boys build a big castle or tower, he won't knock it down, but will sit- patiently dissembling it a piece at a time.
If he sees someone plug something in, he wants to plug something in. If we push a button, turn the faucet, fill a container, or use a clothespin- he is instantly underfoot, trying to mimic us.

If we shut the bathroom door to keep him out, he doesn't bother pushing or banging on the door. Instead, he exerts all of his energy in trying to reach the doorknob. He knows that's how to do it.
Likewise, if his brothers are on the couch and he wants to play, he can already figure out how to push cushions or toys over to make himself steps to climb up.



He wants to feed himself, and insists on holding his own cup, applesauce, sandwich, or other foods. He loves feeding himself with a spoon, and will lie the spoon on his tray, carefully put a Cheerio on to it, and then try to feed it to himself. His loves drinking from a cup or eating ice chips and will beg and cry for my water.



This week, in an effort to "sleep train" him (he's been getting up a lot in the night this month), we took away the pacifier. By night two, he was not crying at bedtime, but waving bye-bye and curling up with his snuggle-blanket. He still wakes up once in the night to nurse (Uuuuugh), and nurses three times during the day (before each nap and bedtime).
He isn't walking, but he's so close. He walks with push-toys, along furniture, or holding hands with us. He can stand up, crouch down, stand back up, and then sit down in the middle of the room without any hand-holds. Then he just stands there looking around. Sometimes he'll pant in excitement, reeeeeeach out and then drop to his knees and crawl.  He wants to walk, but hasn't quite figured it out.

He loves music and will dance and sing if any music is playing, whether its rap (Jurrasic Five), Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, church hymns- anything. He starts bouncing and wiggling and singing his little heart out. It's the loudest sound he ever makes!

He has five or six teeth (he won't let me in there to check), and has turned into a BITER. A hard biter, too, and an intentional biter. He does it on purpose! Though I don't think he knows it hurts us, just that it elicits a funny reaction from us.



But the words that best describes this little man is pleasant. Every day, we discuss how pleasant he is. He is so nice. silly, calm, happy, and quiet. He observes and mimics, he rarely cries, and he loves his family and especially his brothers. We love this little "one year old," and can't believe we've had him for almost a year!


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 8

I love these boys. This week I even got a good picture of them all looking at the camera and smiling! I think it's the best picture I have of them. August is finally big enough to sit up on his own, look at the camera and smile on command. Hurray!
All of these pictures were taken the same afternoon, but I love them. In fact, I'm going to include a lot of pictures besides just the three portraits. But I'll start with those:

Grey:


Grey is so snuggly and sweet. A friend once described her twins as one being physically demonstrative for his own sake, and the other more likely to love and comfort those around him for their sake. Grey is definitely my boy who snuggles and hugs for other's sake. He gives me hugs, kisses, and love because he knows that I want them.

Micah:


Performer, entertainer, music-maker Micah. Here my little Bob Dylan is making music for his Mom.

August:


I love, love, love this picture of August, because it is very true to life. My happy, cute boy is almost always thronged (over-crowded) by his brothers. They're leaning on him, trying to pick him up, trying to get his attention, and generally harassing him. It's good to be loved.

And now some more pictures:

Here's one of Motherhood:

Micah took this one and I love it. I love that Grey and I are reading a story while a baby climbs over us and I'm holding him so he doesn't fall off the couch, while still letting him "explore" a little. Motherhood requires more than two hands and the ability to mulitask.






So far, I'm on Morning Three of waking up and announcing "Today is going to be a really good day," and so far- I'm striving and succeeding at obedience to that decision.
Okay. The days aren't that good. Travis is still sick, and yesterday we found out that our car is so totaled that it essentially needs a new engine, so goodbye $4,500! But I've had happy children, and we've eaten yummy foods, made messes, read stories, and the baby is officially off the pacifier (cold turkey, holla!).
So good. "I gotta feeling, ooooohhhoooohhh, that today's gonna be a good day, that today's gonna be a good, good day!"


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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gardening in Utah pt 1

Since some of you said that you'd like to hear what I'm learning about gardening, and since I'm likely to forget everything I learned anyway - I wanted to record some of the information I've been gathering.

Turns out, my garden dreams for this spring, however, have been mostly dashed. Our car broke down on Wednesday, which has put a damper on house buying plans for a few months. Instead of moving in the spring, we are now probably (hopefully) going to move in the summer.
And I just can't do it! I can't cultivate a yard, carefully create magical dirt, plant seeds that I water diligently, watch them grow- and then abandon them right before I get to see the (literal!) fruits of my labors!

So I've started to plan.

A Garden in Three Parts:

Part One: Spring 2015
I will plant a small number of plants (three tomato plants, a pepper plant or two, and some heads of lettuce) into large buckets. Five gallon buckets for the tomatoes and peppers, probably number 10 tin cans for the lettuce. (I'm also considering a hanging basket of strawberries, but think it might be too dry here. Has anyone in Utah successfully done this?)
These can be transported to our new house in the middle of the growing season and hopefully bear some fruit.

Part Two: Summer and Fall
When we finally do move into a new house, I will start preparing my garden for next year. I'm going to make space for the beds, fill them with the right mixture of compost, dirt, and other things. I've even learned about soil PH like some kind of garden scientist. (Most plants prefer a PH of about 6, but most Utah soil is above a 7 or 8- so I need to add limestone or sulfur, but most importantly- compost! See? I've learned so much.)

Part Three: Spring 2016
Real gardening will begin and by Fall 2016 I will be living completely on delicious salads I grew in my yard. Okay. Maybe not completely. 
I've even made a list of seeds to buy this year and next year. The good news is, if stored properly, most seeds last 4-5 years at least, and if you buy good quality materials, and keep composting and fertilizing your dirt- your garden just keeps improving. So even though these first few years might be more expensive, I have high hopes that it will eventually at least even out. (I'm not sure that I'll ever really grow enough to save money, but it's not totally about that for me. It's more about knowing where my food comes from, having a relationship with the earth, teaching my kids, being obedient, and lots of other cheesy things.

Resources:

Places to buy seeds:
Seedsavers.org - This seed company is actually a non-profit, dedicated to preserving unique, heritage, and heirloom seeds. Request one of their catalogs. Go on, do it now. It's wonderful bedtime reading material.

Nativeseeds.org - Another non-profit, this one specializes in preserving seeds specifically for the hot desert south west (think Arizona, Mexico, and Utah to lesser extent.)

JohnnySeeds.com - I don't love this site as much, but I'm nostalgic, so I like sentimental internet-seed-stores the best. But it's still really useful and a great place to find cool mixed packets of seeds like these swiss chard seeds, which I'm excited to grow next spring.

Books:
The Square Foot Garden - Recommend, recommend, recommend! This book was awesome! I actually even read it from cover to cover. I kind of assumed I understood the gist of the book without reading it (Plant your garden in square blocks instead of rows), but there was a lot more in there than I anticipated. There's a lot of information on what kinds of soil to grow in and how to make it, how much sun plants need to grow, how to till, rotate crops, and how to plant the right amount of food to feed your family. He even has a little section about gardening with kids where he lists everything you should have your children grow (fast, satisfying, brightly colored plants like radishes, rainbow swiss chard, marigolds, and snap peas). Awesome. Buy a copy of this one.

The Quarter Acre Farm- I enjoyed this book and read it cover to cover, too. It was less helpful than encouraging and the thing I wanted most was a map of her yard and garden. She did have lots of recipes for foods straight from the garden, and advice and tips that will prove useful (like water tomato plants when they look wilty. Make them look sad and thirsty first, and then swoop in with tons of water.) I would check this one out from the library if I were you.

Month-by-Month Gardening in Utah - Maybe this book is more helpful if you want to know about growing flowers and ornamental trees and having a lush lawn, but I'm all about growing food. And the food section in here was pretty slim. This book was also arranged in a weird way, which was not month-by-month. It was arranged by plant type and then it listed what to do in each month if growing that plant. It just seemed counter-intuitive and I didn't really read this book.

Rocky Mountain Vegetable Gardening - another book I would recommend checking out from the library. It seems helpful, but less reader-friendly. I think this is a book that I'll go back and get again when it comes time to determine how much I should water onions versus carrots. But it is helpful that it takes high elevation, cold winters, and hot dry summers in it's advice. The other two books above both were written in very different climates than here. The Square Foot Garden actually recommends only watering once a week in the summer! Pretty much everything would instantly die here if I followed that advice.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A book that I love and have loved for many years! Barbra Kingsolver is totally preachy and has way more resources than the rest of us, but it's amazing and enlightening to read about their gardening experience, going from little gardening know-how (still more than me) to being a complete homesteader.

Some Websites:
When to Plant Calculator - In case you were wondering, Salt Lake City's average frost free date is sometime in the first week of May, but everywhere in Utah is different.

Utah State's Vegetable Recommendations for Utah - Wondering what varieties of green beans or tomatoes grow well in Northern Utah? Tah-dah! I found a list o'them.


"There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard." Prepare Ye by Ezra Taft Benson




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Friday, February 20, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 7

Ugh, people. Ugh.
This week has been one of those weeks. We've been sick since last Wednesday, all taking turns feeling poorly and August teething with diarrhea four times a night.  Our car broke down, too, which is going to cost a nice little parcel of cash to repair and in the meantime, we have no car for TWO (count 'em two) weeks! And once again, I had to delete my phone, for about the one millionth time, and this time I couldn't back it up again because it turns out- the backup was the problem. (Duh.)
So I lost all my notes again. About three hilarious weeks of Conversations with Three-Year Olds, which I didn't save because I was sure that they were being saved on my iCloud this time.

But the weather has been generally cheery, and my sick husband made a run to the grocery store on Valentine's Day for "juice" and came home with a dozen roses. Grey held them behind his back and said, "For the best mother," then Micah chimed in "You're the best woman," and Travis said, "For the best wife!"
Then Grey pulled out the bouquet with a flourish and yelled, "We said it JUST right!" And since then they've practiced their little speech many times. (For the best mother, you're the best woman...) I really like it.
So what I'm saying is: This week had some good stuff going on, too.

And here are some pictures of my boys:

Grey and August:



I will usually try to get a picture of the boys separately, but sometimes I can't help it. I love how they love each other.

Micah:


I love him. He's cute.



And, just for you, a Valentine's Day Special of me and my weird husband:




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Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Bit of Earth



On Sunday, I stopped a woman at church and said, "I hear you're the person to talk to about growing a garden. I really, really want this to be the year that I actually have a successful garden and I need your help."
"Of course," she said, and with a look of genuine surprise she added, "But I can't believe you don't know how to garden! I had you pegged as an expert gardener and green thumb. If you don't know how to garden, I can promise that this is the year you discover your hidden, natural talents as a gardener."
So, obviously she's an expert teacher- since the words I most like to hear are words of praise and assurance in my abilities.
But every year I have tried to garden, and every year I have failed. Admittedly, I have no idea what I'm doing, and have previously been too cheap to spend money on things like dirt. (I'm sorry. Spend money on DIRT? I might as well buy fancy bottled water and an oxygen tank to breathe with.) It just seemed unbearable. It seemed like the "garden industry" (that's a thing, right?) was trying to trick me into spending money that I didn't need to spend.
But this year, I'm in it to win it. I want a garden! I will even spend money on dirt!

I went to a garden store and asked the manager questions like "How much should I water plants?" Even though he was of no help whatsoever and kept looking at me like I was an idiot and saying things like, "Water as much as needed."
But wait.
First they say "Don't overwater, your plants will drown, your veggies will swell and rot." Then they say, "Don't underwater, your plants will die of thirst and shrivel up and turn into crunchy brown vines." So, what's the right amount? Do I strive to keep the soil moist at all times? Do I water it a ton every few days and let it dry out in between? What?
And what kind of helpful advice was I given?
"Just as often as seems necessary."
I went to the library to find books about gardening and came home with Square Foot Gardening and Patio Gardens and I learned that both authors assume you have basic understanding of how to keep the herbs on your windowsill from turning yellow and losing leaves. I have no such knowledge. I have no gardening knowledge at all.

To be fair, I grew up in the garden of Eden. And in the garden of Eden (Minnesota) it is warm and damp and lovely, and not hot and dry and terrible.
If you want a tomato plant to grow in your yard, you just need to think about tomatoes and you'll find they've sprung up. In the summer, you need to uproot trees from your drainpipes because all the acorns that fall sprout into oak trees.
I moved here ready to weed every couple days as needed, but completely unprepared to water twice a day.
If you forget to water ONE TIME in Utah, your whole garden is pretty much ruined. No wonder I've failed! Realizing that now, I feel pretty guilty about the friends' gardens that I've neglected and killed while they were on vacation. If you forget to water in Minnesota, it's not that big of a deal.
But it's a big deal here.
I also have yet to figure out the sun. Plants need sun, but how much? How hot? I know it depends on the plant, but I don't know what each plant needs- even when the seed packet says "Full sun" or "partial sun." How much sun is partial??
See what we're dealing with here? Total garden ignorance.
But I think I'm off to a decent start this year.
For one thing, I have been composting my little heart out. Throwing a big bowl of kitchen scraps out on the pile every day and adding a bucketful of dried leaves every once and a while. I even come outside and stir it up every few days. It's starting to look like that "black gold" the Internet promised me.
I have also successfully planted and grown seeds.
My first little seedlings!
They're kind of a failure, but I am still proud. I mean, I planted a big container full of spinach seeds about two weeks ago and now I have 8 tiny sprouts. They definitely don't look like they're going to be enough for us to prepare a salad out of- but let's blame my also-excited four year olds, who regularly uproot my sprouts to wave them in my face and yell, "Look how big our plants grew!"
I ordered a few seed packets from The Seed Savers Exchange. I had a really hard time keeping myself to three tomato plants and three lettuces, but I figured I should focus on a few "easy" plants this year and build up my knowledge and abilities.
I planted three seeds from each packet 6 days ago, and now I have 8 little seedlings. 10 seedlings to go!
I know that seeds turn into plants and plants produce fruit, but staring at these tiny little seeds, I find it almost impossible to believe that they could produce food to feed my family. How can it even be real?!

But I am hoping and praying that I can do it. I am aching to grow something. I want to do it. I want to pick my own berries and cut my own salad. I want to eat warm, red little tomatoes off the vine and stockpile homegrown squash against the winter.
I want to be a homemaker and homesteader in every sense (ps I tried and failed to make cheese yesterday and I'm super frustrated.) I want to collect eggs in the morning, and lock my hens in at night. I want to sow in the spring and reap in the fall. I want to learn how to coax food and flowers from the earth.
So teach me.

You gardening pros (especially those of you in Utah), lend me your tips, tricks, and expertise. What plants do you grow well here? How can I actually grow my own salad and salsa? (I've been trying without luck!) where should I start and what should I know? Raised beds? Patio gardens? Kitchen composting? Have you ever put potatoes in those above-ground cages I keep seeing on Pinterest? For real. Teach me! I'd love to read any comments, and promise to click on all your links.


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Monday, February 9, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 6

I really, really like my kids. I think they are so cute, so beautiful, so funny, smart, weird, curious, adventurous and capable. They are the best little kids in the world. 
Yes, sometimes they are really naughty. Sometimes they drive me insane and I want to lock them in their rooms for the rest of their lives.  Sometimes my husband comes home at the end of the day and I cry and "overreact" (Travis thinks most displays of emotion are overreactions) and am too tired for motherhood. 
And yes, I know it's biased to say that my children are the best, most wonderful children in the world- especially when they are so imperfect.
But I think mothers, at least, are allowed to be unbearably biased in favor of their babies. And I am highly imperfect, and yet I hope they think I'm the best mother, or at least, their favorite. 
I love picking through these portraits each week, looking for good pictures of my little men- though it's weird not having photos for every day. It turns out, I miss it when I'm not forcing myself to do it unwillingly! 

Grey: 

Wearing a backwards shirt (dressed himself), and gazing unseeing into space. This is Grey. I have pictures of him gazing into space from every week of his entire life. I love that his little mind is just whirring away, building up dreams and stories. He is my little thinker. 

Micah:

 Micah asked to climb this tree, and immediately scurried right up to the top, far out of my reach or ability to help him. No fear, this one!

August:


This picture of August was actually taken by Micah! (on my friend Brittany's camera). This poor little man is teething, complete with running nose, diarrhea, sleepless nights, and a desire to be held by mother or entertained by brothers every waking moment.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Anne (and Becky) of Green Gables

This is the picture on my old worn copy of Anne of Green Gables, so this is the picture I've always held in my mind of this starry-eyed girl. 


I have often and loudly expressed my love here for a little red headed girl named Anne Shirley.
A few weeks ago, my mom texted me that she was finally reading Anne of Green Gables. "I know why you love her," she said, "It's because you're exactly the same!"
She's sent me photos with entries from her journal from my childhood and teenage-years with the caption "Becky of Green Gables," where she's written funny, solemn, dramatic things I've said.
Yesterday, Grey said to Travis "You should try one of these muffins, Daddy. They're extremely delicious," and unbidden into my mind came Anne's little voice saying, "People tease me for using big words, but if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them." I love when my little people use big words, just as I used to.
Having never seen the Anne of Green Gables movies (Show? Miniseries? I'm not sure...) the entirety of my knowledge of that Anne-girl is based on Lucy Maud's little literary creature.
And the literary Anne and I are very, very similar. There are ever characters in books that you feel connected to, a kinship with, sympathy and understanding towards- but Anne is one of those characters that I understand completely. Opinionated, talkative and imaginative (sometimes to a fault!), dramatic, stubborn, sometimes easily-offended (for Anne it's the redhair thing, for me it's other stuff I can't bring myself to mention), and sometimes quick to laugh over sleights. Sometimes our tempers flare up, the smallest little grievances send us to bed weeping in the depths of despair, while some small piece of beautiful poetry, first green buds in the spring, or a pretty thought about something imaginary can give us thrills and leave us weeping again (though this time in joy and wonder at the beauty of the world.)
In Anne of Avonlea, Montgomery writes "Anne had never gotten over the habit of talking to herself."
And I laughed when I read it, because I too, have not gotten over that habit.
Everyday my kids say, "What Mom? What are you saying?" Or sometimes, "Mom, why did you say 'What have I done?'" (Or any number of things I may have said.) and I have to explain that I'm just talking to no one at all.
Anne and I have many habits that I find I haven't outgrown yet. Another is writing myself to sleep. While Anne laid in bed composing beautiful prayers, apologies, and stories: I fall asleep writing blog posts (like this one), planning elegant and spiritual things to say in my lessons at church, conducting conversations and speeches wherein I say extremely witty or moving things. (But nothing ever sounds as good when you think it all out a second time.) I often imagine myself into elaborate scenarios and find I can't get to sleep (hours go by!) because I need to successfully imagine my way out again! Sometimes, I inadvertently find myself imagining horrible things like the death of my husband or kidnap of my children and (like Anne and the Haunted Wood), I KNOW it's pretend, but now I can't stop thinking about it and fearing it.
I also find myself imagining a great deal, and the things I imagine are UNBEARABLY embarrassing. I don't want to tell you. But I shall, a little.

I will share one example. On a very, very regular basis (think almost every day), while i am making dinner, I imagine I hear a knock at the door.
Who is it? Why, it's Jamie Oliver! Hi Jamie! Come on in for dinner!
Jamie is obviously very impressed by the hand cooked dinner that I am making for my family. He peeks in my cupboards and is highly delighted by the lack of sugary cereals and high-fructose-corn-syrup snacks, and applauds me. Sometimes, my kids are there obediently eating their snack of local apples and fancy cheeses.
Sometimes, Jamie's wife and strangly-named children are there too and we all enjoy a delicious dinner together, which I made entirely up out of my own head and Jamie asks me how I seasoned it so deliciously.
This has many, many variations.
Sometimes, his TV crew is there. Sometimes, he quizzes my children on vegetables and they proudly shout "Artichokes! Eggplants! Beets!" when he asks them what each is.
Sometimes we are eating Chinese food takeout and my kids are crying on the floor yelling "I only ever want hotdogs and never never any fruit again." And my cupboards are full of Cap'n Crunch and I'm praying Jamie doesn't ask to see inside them.
And THOSE particular versions of my day dream are especially embarrassing. To me. And to Jamie. And to the Cap'n.
And yet, I just can't turn my imagination off. I can't simply make dinner without pretending that someone, somewhere is highly pleased and impressed by me- and I would probably be on TV if all was right with the world.
Because, Anne.
I am Anne.
One thing that Anne and I do not have in common, is that Anne seemed to have magically grown up and matured into a lovely woman by the time she was 16. Sure, she still is naive, sometimes her temper flares up, or her daydreams catch her off guard and she imagines the afternoon away sitting at a window, but she is generally responsible and kind and rarely gets into 'scrapes' anymore.
Sheesh. I am ten years past 16, and haven't quite grown up yet. I have an especially hard time turning off my mouth and my temper, and I still weep often and easily. Yet, I can only hope that someday- someday- I'll be a grown up, too. As it is, I often feel like I'm still just a fourteen year old girl who is unacceptably vain, just can't help but love pretty things, and has a bit of a "flair for the dramatic."

“There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting.”

*a note: I was going to get out my book and properly look up quotes, but I have twins.
I really don't think anyone with twins can be expected to look up book quotes, now tell me. Do you think they can?

** a second note: As I finished writing this, I've thought of so many other things that I have in common with Anne. (The mere fact that I can't shut up about this idea might be an example.) Besides our penchant for hyperboles, (er... and big words), for loving things merely because they're pretty, for having wild and busy imaginations and loving books like a drunkard loves liquor:

1. We both have a fierce love and passion for our friends, and finding and maintaining friendships. I actually think that being a good is one of my "special skills." 
I'm good at remembering to call on birthdays, I'm good at engaging people in conversations, and I'm good at falling head over heels in love with many people around me and wanting to be bosom friends with many different people and support and serve them. I even have my own Diana Barry (but her name is Lauren). 

2. I found an amazing husband who is the perfect combination of men for Anne. A little bit of Gilbert Blithe and a little bit of Mathew Cuthbert.  He is passionate about improving the world around him, handsome, smart, funny, and engaging. Adventurous! Hardworking! (Did we mention handsome?) But, he also is often content to just listen to me, to let me talk and dream aloud, to support when I need it and just nod along when I don't need anything but an ear.  Just as Matthew was content to listen to Anne without contributing to conversations, sometimes Travis will call home from his travels and say, "You just talk to me, and don't make me do any talking."
Which actually usually suits me fine. I have a lot to say about this lovely old world, even if I never do anything exciting in it. 

3. Twins. Obviously. Need anymore be said on that?


Okay, Annes. Come out of the woodwork wherever you are. I could always use a few more kindred spirits. Fess up and tell me that you're out there and you, at least, don't think that I'm a crazy person. (Whatever, Josie Pye. Your opinion of us isn't important.)



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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 5

Last week they were all posed, looking at the camera. This week, they're candid. I love them. I think the boys are going through growth spurts.  I couldn't figure it out! They've been so tired, falling asleep every afternoon and often complaining that they're sore and that their arms and legs were hurting. It didn't occur to me that they were feeling growing pains until another mom said her kids were experiencing the same thing. Oh, great! Growing pains! Welcome, have a seat over there next to Teething Pains and RSV, under the canopy that says "Things that hurt my kids this week and made me feel frustrated and helpless."
But it's only right that I should get some pictures of Grey sleeping. It's a rare thing for a toddler child to fall asleep in the living room in pretty lighting. 

Grey:


Twice this week, Micah has come running to find me to exclaim in total disbelief, "Grey fell asleep!"

Micah:

 I love their passion and interest in books. I just wish that they loved books of my choosing! Please, please, please don't make me read Batman versus the Man-Bat any more!

 August:

My baby thinks he is a lion, (Micah went through a similar phase at his age) and makes this awesome face all.the.time. I love it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

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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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