Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday tidings

It's been nothing but Winter wonderland and holiday cheer around these parts.  Not much to say, but lots of pictures.  Happy holidays friends.  

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tra lalalala

The big birthday blow-out is behind us, and holiday preparations are in full swing.  So no time for blogging, just some pictures.  The bike was Diego's main b-day present.  Al and I were more excited than he was (the banana seat!  the  chopper handlebars!).  The dolls are some of the group that are for sale over at Vix.  Two have already sold!  That's it for now.

Birthday a day late...

Six seems really old to me...
But then, it also seems like a really long time ago that he was this small...


Friday, November 20, 2009

The family dinner

If there's one thing everybody seems to agree on, it's that families ought to sit down together to eat a family meal most nights.  It's healthier to cook at home; it's a good time to catch up on your days; children whose families eat dinner together are smarter, less likely to do drugs and more likely to graduate from college, right?  You must have all heard this.

Easier said than done.  We have several barriers to the family meal.  My kids go to bed at 7pm at the latest.  This means we need to sit down for dinner by 5:30, at the latest.  Al usually walks in the door at around 6:30, so already we have problem #1 with 'the family meal.'  Also, he walks in the door and wants to change clothes, have a beer, tidy the kitchen (God I love that man), and the put the kids to bed.  Notice I didn't say that he wants to sit down and eat at any point there.   If I eat dinner at 5:30, then my metabolic demands require that I eat second dinner around 9 pm (Al kindly reminds me that this is a technique sumo wrestlers use to put one weight).  Also, Al and I share a deep and (for me, slightly shameful) love of eating dinner in front of the television.  Really.  I love nothing more than sitting down with a giant plate of something (preferably chinese take-out) and watching trashy tv or movies while drinking white wine and spending quality time with my man.  I've never read anywhere that the family meal in front of the tv is wholesome or beneficial...

We have tried several variations of the family meal.  I've tried cooking food that everyone will like (this basically limits us to burritos).  I've tried bullying Al to sit down to dinner the instant he walks in the door (which means holding the kids off with endless snacks and usually television).  I've tried eating a nice meal with the kids and pretending that I'm a single mom.  Let Al fend for himself...

Lately we've gone to a 2 step meal plan.  This means the kids sit down to a nice, home-cooked meal almost every night, at about 5 o'clock.  Shortly after dinner, the bedtime machine is activated and they are usually in the bath or pyjamas by the time Al comes home.  He then helps me with stories and bedtime or cleans the kitchen from dinner #1 while I finish putting them to bed.  Then he and I sit down to a nice home cooked meal while watching Lost or Mad Men or even Nova or Frontline.  

This has provided me with a good opportunity to practice letting go.  Letting go of what I think we 'ought' to be doing, letting go of what other people say we should be doing, letting go of an ideal of family life, and just embracing what works right now.  

Now I have to go watch 'Star Trek' (the latest movie) and eat dinner...

Also, just because this used to be a craft blog, and not just a place for me to rant about parenting issues, I've been in a doll-making frenzy and I will have pictures soon...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The real reason I want Diego to play soccer...

No, it's not Penelope dressed in her new poncho and Jane Eyre bonnet (although I like that).

And it's not Claudia cheering them on in her own handknits (though I like that too).
It's not all the cute little rugrats running around after the ball and eating the healthy snack we provided either...
It's this:

Honest Tom's taco truck.  Yummm.

I think I have potential as a soccer mom.  I really like it all...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A wizard, a giraffe and a...

fairy leopard?  
Ahh, Halloween in West Philadelphia.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My question is this: are other moms of young children able to accomplish anything when their children are around?  Everything that I want to do and many things that I don't want to do but ought to are crammed into the 1-2 hours when Claudia naps and the big kids are at school, and the hours after they are asleep.  

The rest of the time I seem to spend feeding and cleaning up from feeding the kids.   Not to mention preparing to feed them.  

I am aware of quite a few other moms who seem to get quite a lot done and they must either need a lot less sleep than me or (and this is what I fear) they sew quilts and bake cookies while their children play quietly and independently (and then quietly and independently clean up any messes that they have made).

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One year ago today...

Claudia was born.  It seems like she's been with us forever.  I can hardly remember our family before she was with us.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Other News

The day that Claudia killed a mouse in the front room, we knew it was time to get some cats.  (Yes, she really did kill a mouse--I try not to cross her, who knows what she could do to me!).  Anyway, here they are: Hickory and Polly Honey Cat.

Kittens are fun and a lot less work than puppies.  Where have they been all my life?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can it really be over 2 months since my last blog post?  To be perfectly honest, the summer was pretty rough.  Having all 3 kids home all day with almost no planned activities was really really hard.  It felt like a constant cycle of cooking, feeding, cleaning up and breaking up fights. Obviously I'm not a home schooler type and my experience this summer makes me even more curious how folks like SouleMama manage to do what they do.  And her kids don't watch tv!

Anyway, now that the kids are back in school, I am feeling more human and less like a sow with a litter of piglets, and more able to perform tasks that require higher brain functioning (like blogging).

Last month I sold (or rather offered for sale), some crafty items at the newly established Satellite Craft Fair.  I must say, 50th and Baltimore is a slightly dicey location for a craft fair of all things.  I mean West Philadelphia has come a long way, but I'm not sure it has come that far (Vix and Dock Street notwithstanding).  I did sell a few things and I had a lot of fun, sitting at a table, knitting and chatting with the other vendors.  I'm going to participate again in October.  This is how my booth looked:
Other happenings: we had a great birthday party at the lake in NJ for Penelope, back in August.  Can you believe she's 3? It seems like a long time ago that she was a newborn, so I guess I can believe it.  Her party was wonderful, made especially so by the addition of our much missed friends Christine and Silas who came all the way from California to celebrate with us.  Plus Christine made the oh-so-delicious and important 'butterfly cupcakes' that P had requested.

I've started teaching undergrad ob nursing students and am enjoying my 12 hours a week of getting out of the house.  

I have more to catch up on but Al just arrived home with our Chinese take out and the next dvd of 'Lost', which means I must go.  Hopefully I will be in this space more in the weeks and months to come.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best dog ever

Sweet, funny, quiet and good-lookin'.  

More than one person has stopped me on the street to compliment me on his posture.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Getting and spending...

Most of the time I really enjoy the internet.  But I think I am much more susceptible to the advertising on the internet than I am in any other format.  I guess because it's such perfect niche marketing.  All the websites I frequent are like one big advertisement for my hobbies and interests and lifestyle (and fantasy lifestyle--much more insidous). with the natural toys, cloth diapers and slings, ravelry with the yarn and patterns, flickr with, well, just about everything.  All the blogs that I read make a point of sharing their 'amazing finds' on the internet and usually justify the blatant consumerism and marketing on their personal blogs by making it about supporting craftspeople or worthy causes.  Which I can totally get suckered by--even when it really is just about getting and spending, just like Wal-Mart and the mall.  

I'm reading this book called 'Born to Buy' (recommended by my very insightful friends Christine and Kevin) which is about the effects of consumer culture on children (can you guess--not good).  So I've been a little more aware of my own relationship to acquiring and have noticed that the internet is really the most dangerous place for me (followed closely by any children's book store, fabric store, yarn store or Target).  I'm trying to focus more on our experiences this summer, than on acquisitions.  And I think I might ask Al to move the computer to the basement, because I am weak.  Very weak.

To wit:  look where I spent most of yesterday: 
And here
And here

It's a sickness I tell you.  And yes, I did make some purchases-because they will enhance  our experiences this summer...(or so I tell myself).  Here's the biggest covet of all
It looks better in person than in the pictures...

Oh, and if you try to feed Claudia, she takes the food out of her mouth and puts it down on the table, then feeds it to herself.  So there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I finally tidied up Claudia's room and took some pictures of her new (not so new anymore) set-up.  The curtains turned out well, though not as light-blocking as I had hoped.  If it looks as though I wouldn't be able to open the closets on either side of the crib, well, you're right.  I can't.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dontcha just love facebook?  I got 'friended' by a woman whose home birth I attended about 3 years ago.  At the time, I was taken with her old house which was full to bursting with all kinds of hand-made goodies--knitted cupcakes for her daughter, felted gnomes, red Le Creuset pots (obviously not hand-made, but just contributing to the overall homey-artiness of the place).  We stayed in touch for a while after the birth, discussed getting together, never did, then gradually lost contact.

Anyway, I was thrilled to see that she has started selling her amazing felted creations.  They are so beautiful I had to share:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is what Diego does while painting: takes a color on his brush (say yellow, for example), and smears it around the page while singing (to the tune of 'The Farmer in the Dell') "yellow takes over white.  Yellow takes over white hi ho the dairyo, yellow takes over white."  Then the next color: "Blue takes over yellow, blue takes over yellow" and so on.  I think it goes without saying that his paintings are not yet 'figurative.'    

I'm sorry to be sexist, but I think this is a y chromosome thing...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just some pictures

Just some recent pictures of my kiddos.  I can't seem to manage to get any pictures of any of the stuff I've been making, but at least I've caught a few of the kids...and I did make Penelope's dress...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer vacation

Thanks to my library-savvy friend Nikki, we have the original "Annie" for a week.  We watched the whole thing on Monday and Diego and I have both been a little obsessed ever since: he prancing around the house singing "It's a knock-hard life" complete with jazz hands and fancy feet, me, imagining a whole store just full of clothes that look like what the orphans wore before they were rescued.  A store called "Smocks and knickers."  I've been searching through my fabric stash for drab blues and browns.  Off to craft...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Before photos...

What?  Your dining room doesn't look like this?  
This is one of my projects for the next few weeks: relocating my crafting to the basement.  Actually, we're shuffling a lot of stuff around in the house these days.  Claudia sleeping in the back room means we're down a guest room.  Although we never seem to have friends over anymore, we do have family visiting often enough that we need to have a comfortable place for folks to sleep.  This means moving the television (and a whole lot of other crap) up from the basement.  I'm going to try to contain my crafting stuff in the back corner of the basement so that we can have a dining table again.  

Also in the works: moving a large bookcase from Claudia's bedroom to ours, moving Claudia's clothes out of the bathroom and into her room, moving the cradle out of the dining room and into the garage, reorganizing the kid's art stuff and setting up an art table for them.

Every now and then I feel sort of hopeless about the state of this house, the size, the amount of stuff contained therein.  But today I'm feeling optimistic--like a little rearranging might just make it work.