Friday, December 30, 2011

~this moment~ Plan B

I need more moments like this one. We all need more moments like this one. Beach, baby, beautiful view, balmy weather, bliss. It's these moments we savor, sometimes with camera in hand and blog at finger tips. But more often than not in the quiet corners of a busy mind.

Busy. That's where I am right now. And that's where I need to be more and more. Busy with the kids. Busy learning new things. Busy with the boat. Busy with work. Busy with new projects. Yes, Cid... that project.

Here's the long and short of it, gears have shifted and the Master Plan has melted into Plan B. Master Plan had us casting off in 2012. But Master Plan had no second child. No baby-turning-into-toddler. No economic down turn. We had a hard time saying goodbye to Master Plan. He was very alluring. He led us on for a long time.

But Plan B understands all of these things. Plan B gets that cruising with a potty trained proto-human will be much better for mental health than cruising with a diaper wearing drunken sailor who is new to planet earth. Plan B gets that all that once-steady work can no longer be counted on and needs to turn into work that you make yourself so you don't need to depend on others. Plan B knows that stringing up new tramps and re-rigging the boat and painting on new non-skid with a tot is nothing short of maddening, especially when you have no Mary Poppins, no family support to take the kids even for an hour. So Plan B says exhale Plan B says create a new to-do list, keep your eye on the prize but don't make yourself crazy in the process. She says 2014 is ok. It will be no less fabulous.

So in the spirit of all that Plan B dictates that we blog less, sleep more, work harder, and find more of these moments. I won't be here regularly. But I will be here... more with the changing wind rather than with the rising tide. Quality over quantity. So dad, you'll need to log into Facebook to see more frequent updates about the kids :)

I hope my 2012 and yours are filled with moments of bliss. Yes, that is a good plan.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

how I killed the sewing machine (hohoho)

The sewing machine and I have had a tenuous relationship at best. I need her. She taunts me. I swear at her. She fusses and jams. We agree to get along for the promise of a cute project. But during the holiday rush she handed me her letter of resignation.

Dear Cindy,
You are a foul mouthed rookie and unworthy of my delicate machinery. I am tired of your crooked stitches and your wobbly cut cloth. I quit.
Your Sewing Machine

And just like that she left me... mid-project of course. So I thought I would share the items I was working on for the holidays that did her in.

Exhibit A: The cheesey cute matching pajamas

These are your basic re-purposed sweater pants. I got an XXL men's sweater from Goodwill and made the sleeves into pants for Naia and the body into pants for Zach. The machine did not like this. Not one bit.

Exhibit B: Cloth Bags to replace wrapping paper

We had some cloth wrap bags from WrapSacks from years ago, but now that I "know how to sew" I thought I would make a whole bunch in different sizes to have and to hold for years to come and make a trash-free holiday. I used all kinds of fabrics and even a vintage Christmas tablecloth I got at a consignment shop. I think it was the thickness of the tablecloth that did her in. That's when she REALLY started acting up. Or it could have been the ridiculous way I was fudging the hems. Nah... it had to be the thick cloth.

Exhibit C: The Super Hero Collection
Did you know that Batman is an inventor? Yeah, me neither. In the serial story telling sessions that Doug & Zach have night after night, Super Heroes are invented and others are the old school classics. Of the old school Batman is Zach's favorite because according to my husband Bruce Wayne is a famous inventor (and I have to take his word for it because I just don't know about these things, which is ok by me.) Zach wants to be an inventor one day. And so Batman is cool in his world. I scored this Batman sheet at Goodwill ages ago. I made a pair of pajama pants and then made this roll up which I hand sewed first and then as I was trying to finish the inside the machine gave it's final swan dive. SuperJen saved the day and finished it off on her machine just a couple of days before Christmas. You want to see who lives inside the roll up?
Cute eh? No, I didn't paint them myself. I would have to exist in an alternate universe where time has a pause button or I am surrounded by an army of chefs and nannies (ha!). I got them at this etsy shop. They are awesome and the boy is thrilled!

So now I am saving up and researching a new sewing machine, hoping to score one by spring so I can make some cute dresses for the wee girl. Maybe the easter bunny will bring me one?

Monday, December 26, 2011

spiraling in the darkness

For many winters I have had this vision during the winter solstice. I wanted to borrow from the Waldorf tradition of an advent spiral and make it our own for the longest night, creating a spiral on the beach of driftwood and evergreens and candles. The problem in making this happen in years past was that I couldn't find a suitable place to make it happen and I couldn't find a group of people who were like-minded to share the idea. But this year that all changed. I put it out there to see what would happen and it all magically came together. My friend Cindy totally "got" what I was thinking and graciously offered to host a gathering on Solstice. The people, the weather, the joy of the children, the location, the food, the friendship, the darkness and the light... it all came together so beautifully. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The place...

Getting ready...

(our fabulous host)

Getting darker...

The longest night...

Friday, December 23, 2011

~this moment~ the longest night

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Solstice

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'tis the season

Sometimes I float through the days as if looking back on the snapshots as they happen. I can see the memories being made as Zach seems to pick and choose those holiday traditions that hold meaning to him. We didn't have many concrete family holiday traditions growing up, so I am sort of winging it. And I watch and wonder what Zach will hold on to and carry with him when he's grown.

And sweet Naia just cares about the lights. "Lights! Lights! Lights!" She wants to touch them and stare at them and say hi to them.
There are spurts when Naia self entertains and Zach steals away with the Chronicles of Narnia and I'm able to stitch and wax and bake. I go and go, The Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett fueling me on the Pandora feeling like I am so on my game.

And then I peek up around the bend from the galley to see why Naia is so quiet and a scene like this one unfolds. Sweet chaos.
Already my mind is drifting to January, that exhale time with no holidays, no parties, no plans, no projects. But I also try to anchor myself in the here and now and savor these moments with these tiny beings bursting with the excitement of the season. They bring me magic. They make it all worth while.

Friday, December 16, 2011

~this moment~

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

slow days

I feel like we're in a slow motion dash to the holidays. So many potential things to see and do and make, but nothing urgent. Motivation is thin. Lists have been checked off for the most part. Things we could do, but do we have to? Do we want to? Sometimes, yes... other times we're just doing some of this like good hibernating bears.
Mostly, I am savoring the sunny goodness of our bubble. Clothes can dry. Children can play. Water kefir can happily ferment.

Things may be slow here in blogland as we spin our way towards the holidays.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

~this moment~

A Friday Saturday (seriously, I had no idea what day it was all day long) ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. - via soulemama.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

better than fish eye soup

This is that time of year where we all get caught up in the season... picking out special items for our little ones... crafting our fingers off for family and friends... baking and eating like mad... making lists, checking them twice and all that jazz. I have to say first, I don't think there is anything wrong with giving your kids gifts and spoiling the tar out of them. I am very stingy about not buying toys for Zach or Naia during the year. I do not fall prey to the little trinkets at the hardware store or "just one thing" at the market. I am very comfortable saying no day to day. Which is why I don't mind giving generously (yet choosing carefully) for the holidays to my kiddos. With Christmas, Hanukkah, and Solstice all getting equal time in our family we live it up.
But like many parents I want to make sure my kids realize how lucky they are, I want them to be grateful. Back in my day, when I would sneer at the food on my plate and refuse to finish my dinner (my dad would make things like fish eye soup and made meals from a books called A Russian Jew Cooks In Peru, really can you blame me?) My dad would give me the line. You know the one. "There are children starving in China who would kill for your fish eye soup! How could you turn your nose up at a warm meal?!" And like every kid who has been the recipient of this line, I went rummaging for a box and some postage stamps ready and willing to send my soup to those poor kids in China.

The moral of the story? You can not guilt kids into gratitude. Nor can you lecture them. And while you can plan a charitable act for your family... if you the parent are the one who starts it the lesson falls a little flat. I really believe that when kids come up with ideas from their own hearts and minds it sticks with them.

So as I was filling our winter book basket with Astrid Lindgren stories and our anthology of Jan Brett Christmas tales I tossed in a few extra reads. I didn't say anything. I just placed them in the middle of the basket to see what would happen.
I found him one morning curled up with the "catalogs" from Save The Children and Heifer International. I said nothing and went about my business. He finally looked up after a long while. "Mom, are there really kids who can't afford a soccer ball? Or even art supplies?"

Yes that's true of many kids.

"Mom, did you know we can give some family honeybees? We can send them honeybees for a gift and then they will have all that delicious honey and all that wax. It's only $30 mom. Can we do that? Or wait, look at this. a whole flock of baby chicks for only $20! Then they would always have eggs to eat. We need to send chickens too so they won't be hungry anymore."


Before long he was scurrying about his room and came up with a bag of HotWheels and tears in his eyes. "I don't need ALL of these cars. We should send them along with our honeybees. Those kids should at least get some cars to play with."

"Oh Z, that's a very nice thing to do. But why are you crying?"

"Because sometimes doing the right thing makes you feel happy and sad at the same time."

The moment was completely his own. Sure I cleared the trail, but he chose to walk it. No syrupy mommy led project. No lectures about kids starving in other parts of the world while he picks at his dinner. Along with his toys and books and stocking stuffer surprises, I am happy knowing I gave him something that will hopefully last and grow in his heart for years to come.

Heifer International
Save The Children
World Wildlife Organization
Kiva (a great way for older kids to get involved, support a small business, and track its progress)

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