And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Friday Gratitudes 15

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Friday the 11th: Jesse.
Saturday the 12th: Muscles. 
Sunday the 13th: Leia.  My wonderful friend. She is smart and fun. AND she generously shares her milk with Harriet. What a blessing.
Monday the 14th: Jesse. When I forgot my keys at home, Jesse brought them all the way across town to me.
Tuesday the 15th: Steve.  Not only was it Steve’s birthday, but he also brought me another forgotten key. Trying not to make it a habit…
Wednesday the 16th: Augustines. Harriet’s fun August friends brought their friends over for dinner.
Thursday the 17th: Church. Read my post about Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday

I wouldn’t say we go to an experimental church.  But, yesterday our church had an experiemental service.  They offered their first annual Maundy Thursday Family Service.  I would call the experiment a success.  The only thing they should change would be saving the nice towels for the adult service.  More on that later.

During the Gospel, there was a full chorus of children singing various versions of the typical child-song.  During the prayers, there was a line dance happening in the back pews.  During the children’s sermon, I counted at least three children who were expertly expressing their emotions.

Then came the main event.

Our lovely priest washed any child’s feet who wanted their feet washed.  There were pitchers of water, a big bowl for the feet, beautifully pristine white towels for drying.

The first spill happened right away, so it was good to get it out of the way.  The first spill was born out of exuberance and happiness. Feet were washed.

More water was spilled.  And more.  More feet were washed.

Then came communion.  When the kids gather around the altar, to be involved in the Great Thanksgiving, it was exciting, as always. Kids were watching the priest.  Kids were sitting together.  Kids were doing suspicious dancing, ending with mad dashes to the restroom.  Kids were refusing to stand with their friends.  Kids were spitting up.  Exciting.

One thing that our church does is this – before the priest says, “The gifts of God, for the people of God,” he hands the bread and wine to the children to hold up.  As he handed the pitcher of wine to Alma and another child, the priest said, “Here you go, Alma.  And Carolyn.  Help them.”  No more spills, here.

Then the service was over.

There were muddy little footprints in the aisle.

All the pristine towels were soaked.

The children had clean feet.

The priest had damp robes.

I felt overwhelmingly happy that this was our church, and this was what our church does.

And it was good.

 

Friday gratitudes 14

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Friday the 4th:  Fridays.  I was really feeling gratitude for having fridays.  It could be because I had worked a full week, and was just very happy to be home for a whole weekend with my family.

Saturday the 5th: Henrys.

Sunday the 6th: Jerry’s.   We started working on our fun shelving project!

Monday the 7th: BBQ.  Yay spring!

Tuesday the 8th: Gram’s House. I know.  Two words.  But one idea.

Wednesday the 9th: Sunshine.

Thursday the 10th: Magic. I had a wonderfully magic day with my students – full of social justice, self advocacy, hijinks, and hilarity.  Then I got to go meet the magic that is baby Ashland.  My sweet and talented friend Evynne and her husband, Peter have a new baby. I was lucky enough to take them dinner, and hold Ashland while they ate.  I was blown away by the positivity that all three of the Hollens were exuding.  And I was blown away with the realization of how fast this flys by.  My baby was Ashland’s size mere months ago.  My oh my.

 

A Little Moment 10

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I am grading persuasive essays. This is actually many of my little moments these days.

Friday Gratitudes 13

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Friday the 28th: Wilson. It is always so strange to have a final doctor appointment with a specialist who did a very important thing. How do you say goodbye and thank you? Dr. Lori Wilson was a blessing to Alma and our whole family.

Saturday the 29th: Celebrations. A baby shower for my beautiful friend, Evynne Hollens. A birthday party for my other beautiful friend, Hannah Vasey-Viers.

Sunday the 30th: Lazy.

Monday the 31st: Grams.

Tuesday the 1st: Epinephrine.

Wednesday the 2nd: Badımcan. Our sweet bunny.

Thursday the 3rd: Love.

Badımcan

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Our bunny died tonight.
Jesse and I were both with him and he just sort of went away.
Processing grief and sadness is always an eye opening thing for me.
I need to hold it – feel it – roll it around for awhile.
Badımcan was a nice, old bunny.
He.
Was.
Old.
Was.
He had a better life than most.
He was soft.
Impossibly soft.
My first thought was that I am glad our daughters are too young to need to understand.
My second thought was that we are never ever never ever getting another pet.
My relationship with him was so simple.
Easy.
But I never want to watch that again.

Goodbye, bunnykins.

Sarah Guthu – a new painting

I had a friend in high school who was extremely talented, even back then. We spent hours in the theater at school creating sets, listening to music, and painting.  My most favorite memory of Sarah is when we were doing Once Upon a Mattress and she was tasked with painting a huge sheet of plywood, that was supposed to look like a constellation of a dragon, that would be hung in the wizard’s chambers.  I ended up helping her on it quite a bit, and it was amazing.  It ended up being almost a pointillism style dragon.  Sadly, for some reason (maybe she remembers), the director didn’t use it in the staging.  It should have been used.  I still remember the hours spent making little dots on a huge black board, having great conversations with a great friend.

Since graduation I’m not sure if I’ve even seen her, but I’ve kept up with her on Facebook, and on her beautiful blog.  Sarah is the kind of person who, I’m convinced, has more than 24 hours in her day.  She is always posting about her creative endeavors, culinary adventures, academic pursuits, and so much more.  I don’t know how she does so much, but however she does it, and whatever she does, it is sure to be inspiring.  A couple years ago she posted about making sugar plums, and I commented that I didn’t know they were actual things (I thought they were just fairy/ballet related ideas), and she generously and graciously sent me a box to try.  That’s just the kind of person she is – the best kind of person.

I have been eying her paintings for years.  She has a really interesting, original style.  Just a couple months ago, she started selling prints of her paintings on Society6.   I decided that I needed a print, and luckily she posted one of my favorites right around my birthday.Screenshot (2)

“Breath” has always intrigued me.  I love the motion in the girl’s pose.  I love the colors.  I love the mystery.  Since I hung it in my house, I’ve been trying to figure out the story in the painting.  It’s a little creepy, but really, truly beautiful.  When I asked Alma who the girl was, she said, “Mommy.”  I love this, because part of why I chose this painting is because it reminded me of how I picture both of my daughters looking someday.  The girl in the painting looks like she’s on an adventure, and I hope for many adventures for my girls.

And Then They - Breath by Sarah Guthu

We hung it over our front table, in the living room.  I love that, while a print, it is also a great piece of art.  Not just a poster or something.  Having real art makes me feel fancy (this is making me think that I should do posts about all our art, because looking around the house, I’m realizing that we actually have a lot of original, beautiful artwork!).

Breath Closeup

(the weird spots are glares from the glass in the frame, not part of the painting…)

So, if you’re looking for some creative inspiration, check out Sarah’s blog.  And if you’re looking for some beautiful art for your home, check out her Society6 shop.  AND, if you’re looking for an original, one-of-a-kind dress for a little lady in your life, look for her soon to come Etsy shop of literary inspired children clothes (areyoukiddingme?).

Thanks, Sarah, for your wonderful art, your incredible spirit, your constant inspiration, and for the memories.

Friday Gratitudes 12

Last week was so beautiful and lovely that I am just now getting around to posting. Oops and yay!
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Friday the 21st: Plans.

Saturday the 22nd: Party. It was a fun day in the sun with friends at a park, then with Rach at her house.

Sunday the 23rd: Room.

Monday the 24th: Break. As in spring break.

Tuesday the 25th: Clinics. Allergy shots, and baby clinic. I feel very cared – for.

Wednesday the 26th: House.

Thursday the 27th: Action. I took my girls to a rally- of – sorts in support of a pregnant woman who was fired for strange reasons.

A Little Moment 9

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A moment alone at one of my favorite places in the world.

Baby Led Weaning: How To Do It and What You’ll Need

And then They - Baby Led Weaning

Oh, the exciting time when your baby is old enough to sit up, interact with you, smile, laugh, and eat!  I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not really a baby person.  I like the little babies, sure, but I am always so excited for them to grow up a little and become more interactive and fun.  Six months is an amazing age – they are doing such fun things, and becoming more of an active part of the family.

In our family, we love dinnertime.  It is a time of day that we all gather and spend time together.  I remember long, lingering dinners growing up.  We sit at the table every night.  We light candles every night.  We use cloth place mats, and cloth napkins every night.  These are important to me

It is also important to me that my kids eat what we eat.  There are many reasons for this.  It’s nutritious, it broadens their palates, and most importantly, it’s easy.  I don’t need to cook three different dinners, and keep track of minute dietary details.  This leads us to Baby Led Weaning.

And Then They - Harriet BlueberriesFirst of all, I want to clear up a misconception.  The term weaning in this sense isn’t how Americans typically understand it (as in the taking away of something, like nursing, or bottles).  It means that you will start introducing foods to a baby’s diet, in addition to breast milk, or formula.  The baby should still be getting the huge majority of their food and nutrition from breast milk.

If you start your baby on pureed foods, you need a huge number of things:  food mill, food processor, jars, spoons, time, planning, processed baby food, money.  If you make your own purees, it is time consuming, messy, expensive.  If you buy pre-made baby food in jars, it’s also expensive, and you don’t really always know what’s in the jars.  You also always need to carry pureed food with you.

If you do Baby Led Weaning you need three things:

  1. A baby
  2. Food
  3. A sense of humor (and maybe a bib or two)

Seriously.  that’s all you need.  For real.

We did this with Alma, and she’s two now.  She’s the best eater I know.  She eats Thai food, Mexican food, vegetables, soups, and her favorite food is Sushi.  So, we are doing it again with Harriet.

And Then The - Alma Sweet PotatoI like to start with sweet potatoes, or yams, cut into French-fry shaped sticks, and roasted.  The shape is good for beginning eaters because it is easy to grasp and get to the mouth.  It’s important to only try one kind of food at a kind, and wait a couple days before trying the next, to make sure your baby doesn’t have a reaction.

We’ve been doing it for about a month with Harriet and she loves it.  Her favorite foods are roasted, then frozen cauliflower bites, blueberries, sweet potatoes, peas (so cute to see her pudgy little fingers pick up a pea and get it to her mouth), rice cakes, yogurt, applesauce, green beans, asparagus.

And Then They - Harriet EatingAnother plus to BLW is that it really encourages independence and fine motor skills.  Harriet can pick up a tiny pea, and get it to her mouth just fine.  She’s also getting pretty good at using a spoon to get applesauce from a bowl to her mouth.

It’s pretty amazing to see a little baby feeding herself.  She only has the beginnings of her two bottom teeth, but she can chew up all her food, work it around in her mouth, and swallow it, no problem.  It is so natural and instinctual (not like purees, if you ask me).

And Then They - 1 Harriet CauliflowerAnd Then They - 2 Harriet CauliflowerAnd Then They - 3 Harriet CauliflowerOne thing to be aware of is that babies will sometimes gag (this is the case in BLW, and with purees).  It is really important to understand that gagging is very different than choking.  Gagging is a sign that they are figuring it out, I see it as a sign of success when Harriet gags a little.  It teaches her how to keep the food in the right part of her mouth until she’s ready to swallow it.

One of my favorite parts of BLW is that we get to eat dinner as a family.  We each sit up at the table and eat.  Jesse and I get to enjoy our meals.  We’re not constantly focused on Harriet, trying to force feed her.  Harriet eats until she doesn’t want to eat anymore.

And Then They - Harriet CauliflowerI think it’s empowering.  Harriet gets to choose what she eats from what’s in front of her.  She gets to choose the pace in which she eats it.  She gets to choose when she’s had enough.

And Then They - Harriet popsicleShe’s a happy eater, so we’re a happy family!  Let me know if you have any fun baby feeding stories, or if you have any questions!  Cheers!

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