And then they…

the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

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!

We Are Seriously Loving This Early Spring Weather

Like, seriously loving it.

And Then They - Alma AroundAnd Then They - 4 WilliamsAnd Then They - Alma UpAnd Then They - Alma AwayAnd Then They - Alma Basket HeadAnd Then They - BaskingAnd Then They - BasketingWe really have to take advantage of the spring before the spring takes advantage of us with its relentless rain and pollen.  Our kids are such a great age for playing these days.  Alma can almost independently play at a playground.  Harriet is content to roll around on a blanket, or nap in the Ergo.

These photos are from earlier this week.  We are now in the middle of a 10 day rain storm.  Such is life in a Willamette Valley spring.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Identity

And Then They - Identity

Last night I went to see Divergent with the ladies in my book club.  Before the movie we met for dinner and drinks and discussion.  We talked about which faction we would be in (if you haven’t read the book, or seen the movie here’s a quick rundown:  in a future Chicago, the city is divided into different factions – Erudite where everyone is smart, Abnegation where everyone is selfless, Dauntless where everyone is brave, Amity where everyone is kind, and Candor where everyone is honest).

We talked about the faction we would have chosen when we were 18, and the faction that we really belong in.  (in the book and film the characters choose where they belong as teenagers… perhaps a reflection of the absurdity of choosing a major in college at such a young age.)

I don’t know where I belong.  I am an eternal optimist, so that makes me feel like I should be in Amity.  I like to think I’m kind of smart, so that makes me feel like I belong in Erudite.  When I was 18, I thought I was pretty bad-ass, so I might have chosen Dauntless.  I believe in the strength of truth, so maybe Candor.

But, I sort of feel like I’m trapped in Abnegation.  I spend most of my days living the life of a two-year-old.  The other days, I’m serving and teaching slightly older than two (but not necessarily mature-r) children.

I sat at dinner last night looking at, and listening to, amazingly smart professional women.  I know how I must look to them.  A mostly stay at home mom.  A teacher.  I am not oblivious to the fact that our society doesn’t respect the intelligence of teachers (if you can’t do, teach).  I also get the ideas about a woman who spends her days with kids.  I really do get it.

My life resolves around my kids.  My main goal for each day is to entertain kids, keep them clean, maybe even clean up the house a little bit.  I don’t spend the day expanding my brain, solving problems, creating things, even talking to adults.  Sometimes I don’t get out of sweatpants.  My vocabulary is very elementary.  I talk about poop.  I talk about poop a lot.

Anyway, abnegation.  Some days I feel like my self is melting away.  I can see myself blending into the lives of my children.  If my daughter asks me to do something, I often do it.  If my daughter has a two-year-old melt down, I am along for the ride.  If my baby needs to nurse, that’s what I do.  What would my dauntless 18-year-old self think of this?

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here.

I know that I love how I am able to stay home with my kids.  I love that I am giving them a great gift by doing this important job for them.  I know that they will soon be grown up and gone, and I will look back on these days with shining rainbows and unicorns in my hindsight.

If you’re still reading, I’ll try to get to a point.  I feel like I am missing something by not being a professional adult who spends time with other adults.  I feel like I might be wasting some of my self by not being outside the home.  But I also feel like there is no greater job than the one I have now – and no better place for me to be using my talents.

Now that you’ve read this far, I will tell you that I don’t have the answers.  Just musings and questions.  Let me know if you have the answers.

Thick as Thieves

Alma has some pretty great friends.  None so great as our neighbor, Rory.  They have an unspoken way of communicating.  Sometimes this can be a problem.And Then They - 1 Come On, Ro-roAnd Then They - 2 ChasingAnd Then They - 3 So Much JoyAnd Then They - 4 PlanningAnd Then They - 6 They're OffThere are some amazing adventures in their future.

Novruz 2014, Toddler Style

And Then They - 01 NovruzHappy Novruz, everyone!  It’s spring!  I love spring so much.  The flowers, sunshine, the green.  It’s my second favorite time of year, but every year at this time, it’s my favorite time of year.

And Then They - 02 DyeingThis year we had our playgroup over for a Novruz celebration.  We started by dyeing eggs, which was a wonderfully frantic (and surprisingly mess-free) dash.  We had nine two-year-olds, and various aged babies along for the ride. 

Jesse explained the meaning of Novruz – the toddlers listened very attentively – all the earth, wind, fire, water, rebirth, newness.  Then, we went outside to jump over the fire!

And Then They - 04 Hattie And Then They - 05 AlmaI love this ritual of leaving all our troubles, and worries, and problems in the fire.  I’m always one for a fresh, clean start – especially when spring is springing.

It was an amazingly beautiful day, so we all went to the backyard to play with all of Alma’s bikes, and her slide.  It was perfect.  I love how our kids are old enough to pretty much just play.  We don’t have to hover and help like we did last year at this time.  It gives us grown-ups time to chat and catch up. 

And Then They - 06 PlayingWe are so blessed to be a part of this great group of families.  We all (pretty much) met through the Birth Center, where most of us had our first babies.  After getting to know each other at the weekly Baby Clinics, the idea was born to have a monthly playgroup.  Not only do we all have two-year-olds, but most of us are on the second round these days, too.  It’s wonderful.

After playing for a while, we had to play the egg game.  I think Alma’s friend Beatrix won this year.

And Then They - 07 Egg GameWe were also really lucky to have our authentic Azerbaijani friend, Elvin up for the celebration.  It’s fun having him so close this year (he’s studying in Long Beach, California).  He’s a great dost, and both our girls truly love him.  So do we.

And Then They - Azeri

Happy Novruz!

 

And Then They - 03 Samani and Eggs

Friday Gratitudes 11

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Friday the 14th: Patience.  I totally lost my voice and my students were amazingly patient.

Saturday the 15th: Novruz!  Fire jumping, egg cracking, baklava eating!

Sunday the 16th: Dad’s. Dinner at my dad’s was great.

Monday the 17th: Voice.

Tuesday the 18th: Fenugreek.  Holy milk.  Thank God for this little miracle.

Wednesday the 19th: Students. I asked a lot from my kids for the last day before spring break and they rose to the challenge beautifully. Mock trials, Socratic seminars.  Amazing.

Thursday the 20th: SPRING!

A Little Moment 8

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Alma got her third two year molar (only one to go! Yay! ).

Harriet got her very first tooth (ohmygosh still so many left….).

I survived two mock trials, two Socratic seminars, and two movies on the last day of school before spring break.

Jesse is just generally fantastic. 

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