Thursday, January 14, 2010


To do list for today:

a. (Dress 3 people, feed dogs, medicate dog, shovel off car, get out of snow covered driveway)

1.  Diner for french toast

2.  Consignment store - empty trunk of all toys to sell

3.  Recycle drop off (overflowing bucket somehow)

4.  Buy dog food

5.  Library: kids play on computers while I sell my soul in overdue fees

-----HOME FOR NAPS BY NOON!--------

6.  Strip beds.  Start laundry

7.  Pick up veggie CSA share down the road

8.  Target for new twin sheets

9.  Plug kids into TV while I start to clean

9-A.  Tubbies, if any time


10.  Begin second shift, as Homestead Mama working til 9pm.  Do more cleaning to get ready for parents arriving tonight.

Sounds completely manageable. 

I need to alter list to reflect first item: Figure out how to stop Pequita from making Chewbacca sounds as she tosses a tantrum about mean pirates.  (I've no clue, as usual)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The kids have embraced winter. Snow angels, sledding for the first (and second, third, fourth and fifth) time, shoveling snow in a productive and actually helpful way, bushwacking, vaulting off the deck into the drifts of snow, all followed by hot chocolate at home or the cafe. We are having a great winter!

Snow Shoes!

Homestead Mama has a full-blown fantasy of snowshoeing this weekend while my parents are here. She has a set for all of us, and has restrung the bindings on them. The kids have been trooping after her as she stamped down a path around the property begging to join her.

Yesterday I took the kids to EMS to buy them their own toddler-sized showshoes. They had a blast; shortly after arriving, Monito pronounced the store "the best place ever, Mommy!" I believe it had something to do with the kayaks suspended from the ceiling, the vast array of sharp pokey things like ski poles and knives, and the ramp just perfectly sized for toddler-jumping-off in the boot department.

We left the store with a pair of pink and a pair of blue snow shoes rated for 40 - 80 lbs. I was worried the kids would have a hard time with them and they'd have to be returned. Both kids clutched them all the way home in the car, and insisted on going for a little jaunt immediately upon being freed from their car seats. I had no reason to worry - they zipped around like pros in the snow. Homestead Mama is onto something, for sure.

One thing that parenting is giving me is a true sense of amazement at what tiny little people are capable of. I wouldn't have imagined a 2 year old doing half of what Monito does, and Pequita blows my mind on a regular basis.

New Years Eve

He played with his little buddies for a couple hours. He didn't mind boiling them at the end of it all, and he kept pace with me eating the meal of lobster in garlic saffron cream sauce over linguine. He's my boy.

Wool Longies, Just in Time

I believe that in the winter, one wears layers. When outside, we have thick down coats on, woolens wrapped around all our exposed skin, and warm sturdy boots. Inside, we aim for 3 layers on top and two on the bottom. I keep the thermostat at a frugal 65 degrees day and night. We have friends who keep their houses 80 degrees and their kids play all day in t-shirts and thin pants, which boggles me a bit. It would feel lovely on our skin, but offends my sense of season.

I was recently shopping for woolen long underwear for the kids since the winter is sustaining the cold temperatures and snow that I so love. $70 for a set of long johns - and I'd need at least three sets - quickly set me on to a new path and I decided to sew my own. I bought a bunch of wool and cashmere adult sweaters at the local thrift store and felted them in the washer, folded them and then waited for the trifecta of enough time, energy and inspiration to strike at the same minute. It took about a month.

You can find other folk's tutorials here and here. I just winged it after perusing those posts. My kids are big enough that pants to fit them used both entire sleeves and most of the chest of the sweaters; this gives the pants a slightly "built-in panty" look, like I did a far sight more sewing than I actually did. Pequita's pants were made from a matronly vintage pink boiled wool cardi, Monito's from a women's merino sweater that hadn't been in fashion since I was 11 years old, dancing with a sweaty Kelsey Mason to a young new band called The Police. The sleeves were so long that when he wears his pants, they fold up almost his entire lower leg; these are like having on leg warmers over pants.
Both kids loved them. Cozy, stretchy, and made just for them. (I am really lucky that they get a thrill out of that, enjoying the process of making as I do.)

In the above photo, I asked them to smile at the camera so I could take their picture. Pequita opted to have me record her for all eternity earnestly singing her favorite song, Ariel's aria from the Little Mermaid. Monito? He's my little ham.

We ran errands all morning, ending up at Jillian's Drawers, an amazing cloth diapering/natural toys web business that has a home base in my town. They sell the special pacifier that Monito requires, and the kids love their selection of toys. Pequita was playing with the wooden toy kitchen while I chatted with the lovely owner and then I saw it, the expression of surprise and panic on her face that could mean only one thing: accident. Her play lately has been increasingly focused; she gets very deeply engrossed in her imaginings. It has caused a few accidents as she misses her body's cues that were before huge red flags for her. So there we were, on the store's carpet (of course) with no extra pants or socks, soaked from the waist down. The owner couldn't have been kinder, and whipped out some absorbent cloths for me to remedy the situation. I squeeze-dried the wool pants for a minute and they were fine, dry enough to comfortably wear out into the cold. I LOVE these new pants! I'm delightfully motivated to transform the rest of the stack of sweaters into pants. That might mean a continued diminished blogging level, but I'll do my best to balance all my creative endeavors.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


My 2 year old son just marched into the room with a 3' pool noodle and the cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper.

"This is me shooter gun and this is me sword. I'm going to FIGHT you."

Then he gave me a kiss and went off to fight the swings in the dining room.

I'm just sitting here shaking my head in wonder.


Homestead Mama is due back tomorrow after 5 days upstate. It has gone surprisingly smoothly. It has bee frigid, snowy and absolutely beautiful outside; not the best weather for playing outside with toddlers. They can handle snow and cold, but add -15 degree wind chill and they are a little cranky.

We spent lots of time in the house, baking cookies and gingerbread. They have painted many pictures at the easel. Pequita is enchanted by the Barbie Holiday watercolor book she got in her stocking (gack) and Monito is totally in love with 'surprise' pictures. I draw a garbage truck or digger on white paper with leftover clear wax crayons from Easter egg dying kits. He then paints over the whole sheet in great sweeping colors bringing to life the mystery picture below. So easy, such a crowd pleaser.

We have spent an embarrassing amount of time in bed, rolling around and tickling, playing airplane, and reading all our myriad stories. They are willing to wallow with me for an hour or more after waking in the morning or from naps. I KNOW this will end soon, so I am reveling in it.

We have had tubbies whenever the mood strikes us, not just. Before bed. Morning tubby has become a favorite, and a couple days ago they mostly spent the whole morning between waking and nap time in the tub, with brief interludes of eating naked in front of the fire. They spend a lot of time in the summer naked, and clearly miss it. Monito is potty training himself reliably as long as he is naked, so this served double duty.

Without the safety net of my wife coming home from work in the cards, it has been fairly refreshing to just get in my groove and deal with being the only mom here 24/7. We've fared well, I think, with a few play dates, a few forays out into the cold but mostly remaining home bound.

I had plans of completing many renovation projects to wow and amaze H-Mama when she returns. Instead, she is going to be amazed by how calm, tidy, and peaceful the house is when she finally gets back.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Every day at naptime my son drifts off with my hand clutched in his, our fingers laced, pressed against his cheek.

My daughter isn't settled until her cold feet are pressed against my warm skin somewhere on my body.
I love naptime.