Saturday, July 25, 2009

kickin it

Sam seems to have endless supplies of energy. Some days it is hard for me to give him enough physical activity. He rarely appears to be truly "worn out," and in fact he often has so much pent-up energy that he clenches his fists, chatters his teeth, and shakes his entire body! I do what I can with parks and walks, but strangely, in those situations he often just wants to sit near me or be picked up. Sadly, we haven't found our exercise rhythm together these last many months. So imagine my happiness when we found we both enjoyed kicking the soccer ball around the backyard last week. I was never much into sports as a kid, preferring reading or wandering around the woods, but I think with such an energetic child I will have to start learning a few things. Turns out, kicking a ball around isn't so bad, especially when Sam squeals with glee as if all my kicks are awesome, and always volunteers to retrieve the ball from the bushes. And even if 45 minutes of hard playing didn't slow him down one bit, it's a start.

Friday, July 24, 2009

here we go

Yes it's true, potty training has begun in earnest. We are still within the first 24 hours of serious commitment. Despite Sam's past refusals to try to use the potty, I am making the effort now because preschool is right around the corner. Once we start on that schedule, we won't have continuous days when we can stay home to focus on the process. I am hoping that making a big push now will get Sam at least "potty-learned" for preschool. We will be staying home as much as possible, armed with a stack of kids' potty books from the library, a boy baby-doll who can pee in his own tiny potty, calming music (right now, Iron and Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days--haha), doorlocks to lock off the carpeted rooms of the house, nakedness (for him), rags and towels (already in use), and, hopefully for both of us, giant quantities of patience. I cajole the nakedness, but otherwise I am mostly letting Sam take the lead.

So far, he is most interested in giving his baby doll the water bottle so that babydoll will pee. As for Sam's own pee, well, he keeps saying, "I already peed!" and then shows me where to clean it up.

It's almost 10am, and I've had 4 interruptions writing this post. I am exhausted already! But positive, and determined.

Monday, July 20, 2009

beautiful redwoods

It had been feeling like a long time since we'd gone on a fun summer outing as a family. So many other things beckon: swim lessons, naps, the garden, the sewing machine, the dirty bathrooms, the cluttered garage, "unstructured time." This past Sunday we set all that aside and finally got ourselves out to a new place: Armstrong Redwoods near the Russian River. Above is the obligatory heads-up shot of these majestic trees, the tallest trees in the world.

Even after living in this area for 10+ years these trees still amaze me. Even after I lived down the road from Muir Woods and snuck into the groves in moonlight after hours, or pitched a tent on a ridge nearby (also illegally) and spent the night, or visited on rainy days when the crowds were elsewhere staying dry, redwoods have not lost their power.

It was a hot day at home, but we planned (and hoped) for possible cool fog in the coastal redwoods. We were sweating in our tshirts though, as it was hot there too, with hot-bright patches of sun surrounded by very warm shade. We let Sam run freely as much as possible on our easy hike, explore the picnic area, point to and identify letters on the signage, and climb into fire-hollowed bases of huge redwoods. My favorite part was asking Sam who might sleep in the burrows of these trees. Below he is wondering if a bunny is in there. The hat Sam is wearing was picked out by himself and his Daddy, and has a basketball on the front (not something I would choose myself). All day I was loving how his blonde hair curls up from under that cap.

Monday, July 13, 2009

making things

I love the new look of our closet door with this simple curtain I made with fabric from one of my favorite fabric designers. Our bedroom has beautiful blue walls and crisp white trim, and this new curtain adds the perfect touch of pattern. It replaces a wooden folding door that was just too loud and bulky for my tastes. I'd still like to add some weights to the bottom hem to help it hang a bit better, but I love it already.

I whipped up these baby bibs for a playgroup mom friend expecting a baby girl. (Excuse the ugly fake wood background; I had to take this picture in a hurry before the baby shower brunch yesterday.) This was a fun project because it was quite easy and I learned how to use a snap setter. The pattern came from this awesome book.

I made these dresses for another playgroup mom friend who just had a baby girl. The pink one is for the newborn and the green one is for her older sister, Sam's friend Sadie, and I like that they are the same style without matching. I used a great free pattern found here. I loved making these because they were actually my first garments ever, and I think they turned out beautifully. I learned a few new skills here: making gathers and attaching piping and bias binding.

I made this felt board awhile ago, using this free tutorial. At the time, Sam was very interested in learning letters, but alas, since I made this, his interest has waned a bit. He knows all the letters pictured here and a few more, but I can't really say that he has used this felt board and learned anything. Maybe in the future!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

this chair

It's just a cheap lounge chair, not pretty, not even particularly comfortable. We bought it at Fred Meyer in Boise when I was pregnant with Sam three years ago, and this past weekend we dusted off the cobwebs in preparation for our first summer bbq.

Yesterday during Sam's naptime I pulled it into the sun for a few minutes of reading. I couldn't help thinking about those early summer days three years ago, when I was just coming out of the worst of my debilitating morning sickness, during which I lived prostrate on the couch trying not to hurl the single piece of peanut butter toast which was the only food I could bear to eat each day. But I was feeling a bit better, and I requested from Denis that we buy a chair so that I could recline outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather. I was eating a slightly bigger and more varied single meal each day, and I would lie on this chair, still too nauseous to read, so grateful that I could eat more and that it wasn't nose-biting cold anymore and that I could even see buds on our lilac bush. Sitting in this chair three years ago I started to feel like myself again.

Yesterday I sat here for the first time in three years, and felt gratitude again. For the successful 5th of July bbq we had, the wonderful family who came and had such fun together, for the comfortable yard in our new house, for the perfect sunny day, and for the opportunity to read (without nausea) a great book (The Liars Club) while my not-quite-three-year-old (finally) napped inside.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sam's lens

That round steel object in Sam's hands is the lid to a nutchopper kitchen gadget (to us). To him, it is a camera. This is a picture of Sam taking a picture of me. Usually he just carries his camera around, after pulling it out of the kitchen cupboard, occasionally announcing its presence to me, and plays with it on his own. I love hearing about his imaginings. Lately, he has been going to various stores in the backyard on his tricycle. Over by the shed is Macy's, the side yard houses the ice cream store (the site of a booboo), and his favorite store TJ Max (or as he puts it, "ChayChainNax") seems to be located in the front yard some days, and down the street other days. Lots of little things become keys and doors (longtime favorite objects finding new ways to amuse him). Backyard gravel becomes salad for dinner. Many months ago, soon after we moved here, Sam even alerted me to the presence of imaginary people, usually "the lady," who would sit with us at the table, but who have not appeared lately. We encourage all of this of course, which is why I asked Sam to take a picture of me today. It's not a request I normally find myself making, but for my little dreamer-with-a-camera I'll do it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

preschool bound

We have just confirmed Sam's enrollment in a wonderful preschool beginning in late August. This curious, active, loving little guy will now have more stimulation, space, and people in his happy life. I could not be more excited. I visited the school twice, including two classroom observations, and I literally got chills imagining Sam's world expanding to include this lovely preschool. Sam himself kept talking about going back to school after we left. The time is right for me too---I have been craving more time to work on my own projects, which hopefully will help bring in some money to help pay Sam's tuition.