Saturday, April 25, 2009

now blooming

Right now we have a potato vine in full flower; yellow, pink, white, and gorgeous burgundy roses; my favorite type of tiny-bloomed dark purple lavender; alyssum; and two flowers, a white one and a pink one, that I don't know the name of yet. California poppies are still abundant and bright; pink and red camellias are still hanging on; and the low-growing ceanothus is just going by. On their way very soon are a couple of purple irises and a dark pink azalea. I'm still picking the blooms off our strawberries to encourage vegetative growth. I can't wait for the hydrangea!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


We celebrated a secular Easter this year, with some egg dyeing...

backyard egg hunt...

and strawberry planting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

rainboot afternoon

On rainy days, I love how my child is more interested in going outside, putting on his own rainboots, wearing a hood, and exploring the yard by himself. I love that our newly planted raspberries and vegetable seeds will get a nice long drink from the sky. I love the light when the afternoon sun peeks back out, and makes our humble yard feel like a wonderland.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I finally finished this patchwork duvet cover for Sam's crib. I purchased a crib-sized washable comforter from Ikea, and then pieced squares of cotton flannel for the duvet cover. The flannel is mostly blues and greens and includes some animal prints. This was my first patchwork attempt, and the squares don't line up perfectly everywhere, but even with flaws it managed to come together fairly easily. The back is a bright green super-soft lofty polyester knit, I think they call it minky fabric, which was not fun to sew but feels very soft and comfortable. As a closure on the bottom I put in 3 snaps (since I didn't want to attempt making buttonholes). The comforter fits like a glove!

Sam has been waiting for this blanket for a couple of months now. Just in time for summer! *cringe* He worked alongside me as I cut out the squares and did some of the sewing, but anytime I hit a challenge, I had to put the project away for another time by myself. It was nice that he could anticipate getting it, because this morning when I showed it to him, all complete, he was quite excited. He's sleeping soundly under it right now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

sew a little something

In my free time, I've gotten back into sewing and other crafts. I have a 50's era Singer sewing machine that I bought for $25 about 10 years ago, as well as a very small stash of fabric from around that time. Until last spring I hadn't done much sewing since then. Now it is my favorite non-parenting activity, and I think about my projects all the time. I've been lucky to have a husband who supports my habit by doing a lot of Sam-care on the weekends. I don't have as much time as I would like for my crafty pursuits, but I still manage to make something every month or two. My most recent completed project was a curtain for our kitchen window. I spent quite awhile looking for the perfect sunny yellow fabric and never did find it, but I settled for this, and still managed to get the look I was going for with that cute crocheted trim on the bottom (click on photo). Making the curtain would have been much simpler and easier without that trim, as I had to hand-sew it, taking several days, but it was well worth it I think.

Works in progress: A patchwork duvet cover for Sam, a way-overdue birthday gift, and some embroidered flour-sack dishtowels

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

library time

Our local library branch has a nice storytime on Wednesdays for the 18-36month set with songs, rhymes, stuffed animals, and stories. For some reason it really chokes me up to see Sam get so excited as each song begins. I become that grinning mom with tears in her eyes trying desperately not to explode with sputtering pride and quite unable to get out the words "If You're Happy and You Know It" with the rest of the group.

Last week Sam brought his stuffed bunny with him and ventured a step or two from my lap to participate in the hand motions of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (more teary eyes and overwhelming happiness in my shoes). A cute girl about his age sat down beside him and he became interested. They exchanged looks a few times and then Sam inched his stuffed bunny towards her knee. She looked at it but didn't respond at all. A few seconds later he inched it closer so that it was actually touching her leg. The girl looked at the bunny, looked at Sam, looked back at her grandmother, then forward at the story being read. Sam pushed the bunny closer so that it was slightly squished against her leg. Again the girl didn't touch it, just looked at the bunny, at Sam, back at her grandmother, then forward again. Sam tried again and pushed the bunny closer. Again the girl looked down at the bunny, at Sam, her grandmother, then back to the story ahead. I could barely contain myself with feelings of pride at his affection and generosity combined with a painful empathy that she was not receiving his advances. I leaned over and whispered to him that perhaps she didn't want the bunny. He tried again though, and soon after that the girl's grandmother suggested that they move to another open spot away from us. I was crushed, but Sam took it in stride. When the group had a period of free play, Sam kept picking up stuffed animals and offering them to other kids. My little sweetheart!

Sam is also quite enamored with the 'wadey' who leads the songs, rhymes, and stories. She is young and has pretty tatoos and bookish eyeglasses, and I think she projects a really nice balance of sweetness and fun without being cheesy. When she smiles and says "Yay!" after the kids sing each song I can see precisely why Sam likes her so much. Once a month they do a craft instead of songs and stories, so this morning we walked in and the Wadey gave us a paper cup to decorate with markers, fill with soil, plant with grass seeds, and water with a little watering can. We went through the motions, but I could tell that Sam wasn't exactly satisfied with this change in routine. To compensate, as we were leaving, I stopped to say something to the lady (must learn her name next time). Using a voice that Sam could hear, and barely able to get the words out with choking up again, I told her, "Sam was excited to see you today." She smiled, bent down, and addressed Sam's shyly bowed head, "Would you like to bring these watering cans back outside?" He grabbed the cans and practically ran to bring them outside as she had asked. I think the smiling lady was saying something like "Good helper!" but I had to turn my own gigantic smile away or else I was going to lose it in a fit of proud giggles.

This library is dangerous. It slays me every time.

milestone update

Sam's language is progressing quickly with some fun updates the last couple of weeks.

Sam is no longer Pam-- he pronounces his name with a perfect "S" sound now, and is transitioning from referring to himself as "Baby" or "You" to "Sam" or "Me."

He recognizably sings several songs now, either with us or on his own. It has become a custom lately to have a little family sing-along at the table after dinner. Along with Row Row Row Your Boat, which he's been singing for awhile, he now also sings Itsy Bitsy Spider, Baa Baa Black Sheep, ABC's, and You Are My Sunshine. My favorite line to hear him singing to himself very accurately is "now I know my abc's, next time won't you sing with me." And I get choked up to the point of not being able to sing anymore when he pipes in with parts of You Are My Sunshine.

Sentences are more complex, containing more of the little words like the, my, to, his, etc.

Colors have really clicked. For awhile everything was gaween, but now he is pointing out red cars, wewoe flowers, bue pants, white trucks, puhple markers, tan houses, and gaween shirts.

Interest is peaking about letters. He can id the capital "wetter A."

He can count 1-2-3 and identify when there are two of something (as well as one of something). He knows some other numbers by name as well and will "count" when prompted.

He still loves to read, and will recognizably "read" (from memory) his books (he's been doing this for awhile). When we read books together before nap and bedtime, he gets to pick 3 books. With each one, Denis or I read it first, and then Sam reads it by himself ("read it telf" or "Sam read it").

Phrase of the month: "That's siwwy!"