Friday, August 27, 2010

{this moment} - late birthday gifts!

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I feel like such a terrible mother right now. Here I am, at my computer, researching how to go about weaning my middle child. While he sits on my lap. Ugh.

I've always been so proud to be nursing my toddler. He'll be two at the end of next month. And I've always said I'd be happy to nurse him as long as he wants (within reason - I don't think I can nurse a teenager, sorry). So why do I have all of these resentful feelings right now? Every time he wants to breastfeed I inwardly cringe.

When the Beast was born, the Imp started nursing more. I expected that. Everyone said he would slow back down eventually. It's been four months. He still wants to subsist solely on breast milk. He wants me to nurse him throughout the day, just before sleeptimes, at meals. He completely freaks out if I need him to wait. He leaks all over me and demands that he feed from both sides. If I stop him before he's ready, the world ends. And you know what? It's uncomforatble. I keep hoping that it's a transistional thing and that his latch will go back to normal. But it isn't. It doesn't hurt exactly, I just don't like it.

So I have all of these conflicting feelings. I don't want to resent nursing him. I don't want to force-wean him. But I don't want to feel like a put out doormat, either.

I'm going to try to get to a local breastfeeding support group next Wednesday. I'm not sure I have a lot of hope that they'll help at all. But I need to try.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wandering, Work-In-Progress Wednesday!

Another Wednesday with GardenMama's Wandering Wednesday photo challenge. Read about it here.

Here I stand with my Impish helper. We're trying to transform the cat room into a play room. Okay, so I'm trying to transform it. The Imp is happy to watch the dust dance in the sunlight while prancing about with his new shoes.

And here I sit. Wow. I got a whole few minutes to myself. The baby was sleeping, the older boys were watching a movie (I'm terrible, I know). I sat on the cat/game (soon to by play) room floor and took pictures of things. And petted a cat - a cat that wasn't Ramses, Pilot, or Faustus. Another "wow!"

Resting on my leg is a needle felted tree stump that I've been working on. It's for my aforementioned giveaway! It seems like it needs something, though. A mushroom friend? A critter? I don't know. Something.

This is the piece I was working on when I learned to knit. It hasn't grown a great deal, but I'm proud of it anyway. It's lopsided. Somehow I gained between four and eight stitches (at last count). Oops. And there are a few holes at the beginning. But it's going to be felted, so I'm not worried. The problem is that I only have about a month to get it done. And I'd wanted to make several - nesting bowls. It kind of implies more than one, you know?

My step-mother made this bag for me. I adore it. It's crocheted and super-sturdy. I've hauled around my knitting, a library book, my glasses. We stuffed it full of library books for my oldest over the weekend. I can't wait to use it at the farmer's market. Yum!

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Misadventures in wet felting.

Yesterday was the Elf's birthday. Things were very busy - hence the lack of posting. However, as promised, I am here to share my wretched failures in wet felting. And my last not-so-wretched not-quite-failure end result.

To start with, I didn't have any bubble wrap, bamboo place mats, etc. So I used a large trash bag. It worked pretty well, all things considered. For my first attempt I thought I would be clever and use undyed wool for the core. So I felted a mass of wool and attempted to add color to the top. No, this does not work. Some of it stuck a little. But for the most part... no. So I stuck it in the washer in hopes that it would help. Ha. Ha. Ha. No. It did not. Rather, it fell apart. The white core didn't shrink, though. Weird.

My solution? Needle felt the colored bits back on. Only, the colored bits were much smaller now. Oops. I eventually gave up. However, since showing it to the Elf yesterday, he has asked that I finish it anyway and let him play with it. Was all my extra work a waste? Who knows. Sometimes the kid is easier to please than my perfectionist side.

My second attempt, I did not use the white core. I dyed up a bunch of green and made a roughly 12x24 inch mat. Doubled sided, too! I was thrilled. It looked great. My not-so-brilliant mind decided that rolling it up in a pillowcase and washing it could only improve the awesomeness of the mat.

Well, the mat fell out. And it shrunk. A lot. It now measures something like 6x10 inches.

On to my third attempt! Here I thought I was super clever. Make the mat huge (roughly 2.5x3 feet)! That way, when it shrinks in the washer, it'll be the perfect size! This time I had bubble wrap. I bought a roll of it and taped it together to be roughly twice the size of our table. I laid everything out (mostly forgoing the double-sided idea) and lo! I really didn't have enough green wool for this. So it was *really* thin. "No problem," thought I, "it'll shrink and thicken in the washer!"

So I put the gorgeous (but freakishly thin) mat on a sheet, wrapped it up, pinned it shut, and hoped for the best.

It definitely shrunk. And it did thicken up a bit. It was still too thin, though. And now we had the added bonus of being completely misshapen! Whee! But it was extremely late and the night before his birthday. What's a crazy mama to do? Shrug and move on, that's what.

I spent the rest of the night sanding a stacker from Clickity Clack and finished it with my homemade beeswax goop. I wrapped everything in tissue paper and went to bed.

Wouldn't you know it? It was all accepted with love. Though he did seem more enamoured with the plastic junk from other people - of course. He has played with it several times, though - even incorporating his new legos into the mix.

Despite my massive failures, I plan to try this again - with thick enough layers and no more washing machines!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shopping and gifts.

This weekend we went to a farmer's market. I've always wanted to join CSA but it's too expensive - and we're not great veggie eaters. So we hit the market. For $11 I walked away with: five organic apples (four of them didn't even make it home - we ate them in the car), a white onion, six or seven roma tomatoes, a yummy ear of corn, a bunch of basil, some peppers (hot, but I don't know what kind - I'm going to use them to pickle garlic), and a box of blueberries. Whee!

The opressive heat has calmed a bit. It's still humid as all get out, though. There's a delightful breeze today. At least, it looks delightful. I haven't actually been outside yet.

I tried to make a play mat based on this tutorial on Morning Sun Rae for the Elf's birthday present. Only, I thought I'd be clever and use white for the core and colored stuff on top. And wouldn't it be easier to felt the core and then add the color? Excellent! Only, once you felt part of it, the rest won't felt to it. Gah!

So I dyed up some more wool and set about doing it properly. It worked! It was awesome! But it was a little thin. So I searched my memory banks and decided that washing it in hot water with the diapers would be a good idea to help thicken it up. Well, it did get thicker. And shrunk to a third of the original size. Gah again!

Last night I dyed some more wool. The last of it is soaking right now. Tonight will be my third attempt. And I better get it right this time. The poor kid's birthday is on Wednesday!

I'll take photos of all the attempts and post them once I've finished. It'll give you a good laugh.

Also. I seem to have won two more giveaways! One was a book from MamaRoots. It arrived today and my oldest and I have already read it. It's such a sweet, sweet book. The other is an assortment of LuSa products from Progressive Pioneer. There's a bug spray included and I can't wait to try it out. The mosquitoes around here are the size of large cats.

Anyway. I feel the need to host another giveaway. Karma sort of demands it. So I'm working on some ideas of things I can make that won't take too much time (and that other people would actually want to own). Keep an eye out for that in the coming days!

Friday, August 13, 2010

{this moment} - Pilot

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Mere days after releasing our first Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly of the year we found another caterpillar on our parsley in the garden. Since my parsley is looking pretty sad outside (I never trimmed it and it was nearly three feet tall and going to seed) I bought another from a local native nursery. The next day I decided to buy some dill to add to the garden, just in case any more butterflies cared to lay their eggs in our yard.

Imagine, if you will, how surprised I was to notice teeny little black and white squiggles on the dill (which had been sitting in the bedroom awaiting a time for me to plant it outside) when I went to lay the Imp down for his nap. The Elf and I quickly rounded up the dozen or so caterpillars and added them to the vivarium.

Now I have to go out and buy more plants to feed them. Again. If you've never raised a caterpillar, let me assure you that they eat just as much (if not more) than an almost-eight-year-old human boy during a growth spurt. Now multiply that by the 12+ little critters we have in there. Yes, I see more parsley in my future.

Also. Happy 100th post to me (even if most of them are old book reviews)!

Black and White, Wandering Wednesday!

Another Wednesday with GardenMama's Wandering Wednesday photo challenge. Read about it here.

Here I sit with my two older boys, enojying a rare (mostly calm) dinner out. Despite the sweltering heat, we had a great time.

Which brings me to my contribution for Natural Suburbia's Black and White Wednesday.

My oldest (the Elf) had me buzz his hair the other day. Here he is being goofy at Panera while we ate dinner last night. Out of focus in the background, you can almost make my husband holding my youngest (the Beast).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I haven't forgotten about this space. I have a number of things I'd like to write about. Life just seems to keep getting in the way. I'm trying to be more present with my kids and I have to admit that it eats into my computer time.

Things I hope to eventually post about (mostly listed so that I don't forget about them):
- new caterpillars
- the toys I ended up buying for the kids
- the Elf's birthday gift flop
- my recent kitchen adventures

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eastern Black Swallowtail

This is the second (third?) year that we've raised Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Normally we find teeny ones on our parsley around the Elf's birthday (the 18th of this month). But this year we found giant ones a few weeks ago. I was able find one of them after buying myself a new vivarium. So we fed it parsley, watched it form a chrysalis. And today - when no one was looking, it hatched.

This little guy is now out in our (extremely hot) garden feasting on a dark purple butterfly bush. I love the way my kids' eyes light up when they see things like this.

{this moment} - Figuring out the Kangaroo hold!

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Lovely Swap!

Let me preface this post by telling you that my photographs simply cannot do justice to the amazing creations that I'm about to share with you (holding a squirmy baby at the time did not help, either).

Marie, the incredibly talented fiber artist of Softearthart, was kind enough to swap goodies with me. Receiving her package in the mail yesterday truly brightened my whole world.

She was so generous. Just look at all those adorable gnomes!

I couldn't help myself. Don't they look happy next to our tree stump?

Thank you so much, Marie - you're an amazing woman!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wandering Wednesday

Another installment of GardenMama's Wandering Wednesday photo challenge. Read about it here.

Here I stand, taking a *very* brief pause in my near ceaseless pacing. One little three-month-old Beast has discovered that facing out while in my arms is infinitely preferable to any other position in any other location. Just call me the baby chauffeur.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adventures in Tie-dye!

A week or two ago I tie-dyed some onesies for the Beast and a few of the Elf's stained white shirts. I was so tired of putting plain white clothes on such an adorable baby. Something had to be done! Little did I know that the Imp would become emotionally attached to wearing his older brother's much-too-large tie-dyed shirts. So I vowed to dye some appropriately sized shirts just for him. Also, it wouldn't hurt to dye up the rest of the Elf's shirts and some tank tops for myself - to speak nothing of my attempt at dying wool yarn!

I laid everything outside on an old, greyish fitted sheet yesterday. I figured that it would make the sheets more fun, if nothing else. The heat was near unbearable. After being outside for only a few minutes I had sweat dripping off my nose. Heat indices have been between 106 and 115 for a few weeks.

I was supposed to let the dye sit in the fabrics for six to eight hours. After five and a half hours I just couldn't wait any more. It was getting dark and I just *had* to see my yarn! This picture was taken while the yarn was still damp. It's a bit lighter now, but I'm in love with it! I'll be using it to knit felted bowls for the Imp's birthday. My goal is for them to be nesting bowls, but we'll see how that turns out!

This morning, after sleeping on lovely and colorful sheets, I laid some of the shirts out for the Imp to choose from. Apparently he agrees with my husband and prefers the first dying attempt with the darker colors. He passed up all the new shirts and opted for his older brother's previously dyed shirt. Bah. Oh well. I suspect he'll wear the new ones eventually.

People have been posting images of themselves on their blogs lately. It seems to have all been prompted by Shaktimama.

Well, let me start this with the confession that I've never been comfortable with my physical self. Never. I was labeled "fat" by peers and ridiculed in school. It wasn't just peers and strangers, my father (who has changed considerably with age and grandchildren) was never much for tact. I'd been made to feel ashamed for who I was.

Nine glorious years with my husband have helped to change all of that. He's helped me to see that I am not repugnant. That I am worthy of love. That other people can see my beauty, even if I cannot.

So I've posted an unaltered (aside from cropping and resizing) picture of myself (in which my head looks teeny). In all my bleary-eyed glory, this is me. This is also my fabulously dyed tank top (yes, I'm quite pleased with it).