Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cooper's Big Day

Everyone with children knows that there is nothing linear about child development. For whatever reason kids grow in fits and bursts. Today was one of those days for Coop.

Today Cooper:

  • Zipped his coat all by himself
  • Jumped off the high jumping board at school (he has been very scared to do this all year)
  • Put his coat on all by himself at school
  • Realized, while doing it, that he knows how to skip
The pride in my boys eyes, inspiring. Leaps and bounds. The boy is growing fast.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Painted Rocks

Cooper and I completed the wonderful Wishing Rocks activity in the Spring edition of Rhythm of the Home. What a fun activity!

We first carefully chose a number of rocks. Then I led Cooper in a conversation about what wishes we have. I don't think that Cooper completely understands what wishes are yet (is that weird since he's 4?). He kept talking about who he wanted to give his rocks to, which is sweet in its own right. I decided to just talk about all the things I want to do this spring and summer, which was a bit more concrete for Coop.

Cooper really enjoyed painting the rocks. We used my "good" acrylics to complete the project and I'm so glad we did. Cooper took his brush at one point and dragged it through all the colors. The effect was perfect, and gave us the swirly, almost marbled look on parts of the rocks. The best part of the entire project was Cooper singing to himself "I'm an artist! I'm an artist! I'm an artist!" This from my boy who used to avoid any sort of artsy activity. What a brilliant change!




Saturday, March 27, 2010

A New Habit

Warning to my mother. This post may cause you serious shock. Please relax, and yes, it is true, most days.

I am always on the quest for things to improve my current state of being. Sometimes they are found in big places, and sometimes in small. For the past several months I've been doing a pretty small thing that has truly made a difference to me.

I've been making our bed.



I know, this seems like nothing big. There have been moments in my life when I actually argued the ridiculousness of bed making...you're just going to mess it up, right? I've become a bed making convert.

Karen Maezen Miller was part of my inspiration to make our bed in her post on Shambhala Sun. I wish I could say my own mother, a very dedicated bed maker, was my inspiration. But instead, I will say this was mostly my own inspiration, in a quest for a small way to feel some control over my life, to have a space, however small, that is clean and neat and beckoning rest. Our bed, made neatly or hurriedly, gives me that. And I'll take any little peace that I can.

The stack of books on my headboard? Here they are, if you are interested.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Choices

This post is a few days old. Sometimes they need to linger before hitting that "publish" button.

As I washed a big pile of dishes tonight, I thought about choices. We usually give the 'big' choices the credit as we move through life -- marriage, jobs, children, home. We have had a lot of those in the past year, and some still staring us down. They can be exhausting, overwhelming, consuming.

Tonight I was thinking, maybe it is actually the little choices that really set us on course, that set the tone for our life much more than those big ones. Today I think I made more right choices than wrong. Like...

  • going for a walk with the kids this morning instead of sitting in the house.
  • going to story time at Barnes and Noble and reading more books with Cooper, even though I said just one more.
  • making a real dinner for just me and the kids, which is something I rarely do when Erik travels.
  • calmly cleaning up the mess when Cooper spilled his milk all over his dinner instead of freaking out and yelling and huffing and puffing about it, like I do too often.
  • letting the kids stay up late to go see some live music at the library.

Maybe, if we just pay close attention to the little choices, if we move through the day mindfully, those big choices will all fall into place naturally.

And now I'm off to my last good decision of the day:
  • eating the rest of the apple pie.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Nature Table

I've wanted to create a nature table for some time now. I love the idea of celebrating the seasons with the kids, taking the time to reflect on the passage of time, and closely observing nature and all it offers every day. But, living in a seriously tiny house I just couldn't figure out where it could be. Then I read a suggestion to put it on top of a piano and thought...that I can do!

Our little spring nature table:


My favorite part of the nature table is being able to use some really special items. I have a number of beautiful embroidered napkins and tea towels that were my grandmothers. I will never forget the day my mom and I were going through some of her things and seeing all the exquisite linens. I could not bare to see them go. The reality is that I have never used any of them. But I love knowing that they are there. I knew they would be just perfect as the base for the spring nature table.

This one is Cooper's favorite. He said that it was perfect for Spring.

Such a sweet matching yellow and blue set.

Can you get over how adorable that little flower is?

The detail, the beauty...amazing.

I also used two figurines that were Erik's mother's. The Beatrix Potter bunnies are just perfect. They eventually will be displayed in Ellery's room, but with her so little and her dresser working as her changing table, they presently live on a display shelf safely inside her closet. But not now! It's so nice to be able to see them every day.


Cooper and I will be adding to the table throughout spring. Watch for updates!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How I like to Eat

Simply.

Tuna salad. Fresh baked bread. Spinach salad with olive oil, a tiny bit of red wine vinegar, kosher salt and ground pepper. Lovely.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Being Dairy Free

Tomorrow marks a big day. I get to try reintroducing dairy to my diet. I haven't had an ounce of dairy in five months, and limited amounts the month before. I've spent a whole lot of time reading labels and being amazed at how hard it can be to find bread that doesn't contain milk.

It's ironic in some ways that I've been dairy free. I am a serious dairy lover. One of the first things I loved about Erik was that he loves cheese as much as I do. (Sorry Erik, it's true.) I've always had milk with dinner, even through college. Erik and I have been known to have cheese parties for dinner. When hearing of breastfeeding moms giving up dairy due to their baby's sensitivity or allergy I have exclaimed..."oh I could never do that!"

The further irony is that I'm not really very excited about bringing dairy back into my diet. Now, don't get me wrong. After we know Ellery has outgrown her sensitivity I will be all over an entire wheel of brie. And I will feel very lucky to not have to worry about everything that Ellery eats. I'm fairly certain she is going to do just fine. But, I have to admit that I have found some benefits of being off dairy. The biggest one is I feel lighter and can not remember the last time I had that "I can't eat another bite" feeling. I get full, but I don't have that heavy full feeling. There are times I feel like I can't even get full, which is frustrating  since nursing an 11 month old burns a whole lot of calories.  I feel like I have more energy, despite still being far from a full night's sleep. I feel healthy and vibrant. And, all that baby weight...gone and then some with no effort. Not bad.

I don't know if all the benefits are from eliminating dairy. But I do think that there is a connection. I am going to eat dairy tomorrow. I'm starting slow, with some yogurt every day and see how Ellery does. I am not going to give up dairy. I still love cheese even though I haven't had it in months. I am going to eat dairy in moderation though, probably for the rest of my life. It just feels good, and it just feels right. Sometimes what seems like the hardest thing ends up being a gift after all, a gift in different possibilities.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh, the plans I have for you

Meet my new friend.

I'm slowly learning how she works. I have lots of plans for her. I'm ignoring the fact that Home Ec. was my lowest grade in middle school. (For the record, it was a B. I turned in an assignment late because I missed the last few days before Christmas break to go to California.)

Stay tuned for some greatness!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Crocuses

Remember my post the other day, all about spring coming? Well, the picture you saw, of the crocuses. It wasn't mine. Which I think is totally fine. A picture of crocuses was the perfect thing for the post. And there weren't any around. So I browsed Google Images.

Well, yesterday on our morning walk Cooper and I found these.

They are real, right down the street.

The world looks like an entirely different place. I like it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I almost forgot

When spring arrives I get an overwhelming feeling of survival....and hope. As much as I loath bundling by the end of winter, I can not imagine living in a place without the distinct separation of the seasons.

We had the kind of weekend here in Columbus that serves as a reminder of what is coming. Sun filled days riding bikes and air warm enough to enjoy a day at the zoo without shivering. What a treat. I know that we will soon be seeing green plants poking through the ground as the grass is now winning out to the snow.

Dar Williams expressed it so well in her song February:

"And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together
You stopped and pointed and you said, 'That's a crocus'
And I said, 'What's a crocus?', And you said 'It's a flower.'
I tried to remember, but I said, 'What's a flower?'
You said, 'I still love you.'"


I forgot, like I do every winter, how glorious the warm sun feels, how freeing it is to walk outside without bracing for the cold, how much lighter life itself can feel when the evenings are bathed in sunlight. And, as Cooper said at the zoo, how wonderful it is to have "a beautiful day for running".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Colored Ice

Found this idea over at The Artful Parent. I actually just saw a picture of it and kind-of made the rest up.

All we did was fill a bowl of ice, pour some salt over it (Cooper really loved that part), and Cooper used an eye dropper to cover the ice with colored water. It looked super cool!

 
  
 

When finished we dumped it out in the front yard and then went inside to make some more colored water to make some more colored snow. Too bad I didn't get any pictures of that!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fun with Flour

So many cold cold days. We've been stuck inside, a whole lot. Here's what I came up with for some fun in the afternoon. A cookie sheet filled with flour!

He started with some letter writing practice (as prompted by me, the mother with the BA in Elementary Education).

 
  
  

 

And quickly evolved into car play. Of course.


Surprising to me Cooper was occupied for about an hour.

Sure it resulted in a big mess since there were requests for more flour to bury cars


but that led to another activity. Mopping the floor!



Great fun!!