Sunday, August 31, 2008

CC Loves Art Too!

Nice work!

See what I drew, Mama?

CC wants to do everything Sabrina does, and so drawing and using all sorts of art materials is of huge interest to her. We've been experimenting and every day I make sure she gets some of her own art time. So far, a few scribbles and then everything goes to the mouth! But I remember vividly starting this early with Sabrina and thinking she'd never get interested... and look at her now!

Many of the auctions that started on Nie Nie Day end tonight, so don't miss your chance to bid on fantastic things and contribute to a worthy cause. I've placed my bids and am crossing my fingers!

Enough art, time for a snack.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Poor CC was not feeling good. So she wanted to snuggle and lay on me all afternoon long. I sat back and got my fill because usually this little child will.not.sit.still, not even for snuggles. Once in a while she'd look up and give me a lovely grateful smile. Born sweet and happy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Return from Lala Land

Ahhhh. Vacation. It was lovely.

We spent some days on Cape Cod together with my sister and her family. We had a nice routine of spending the mornings at the beach, coming home for lunch and spending every afternoon exploring the Cape’s towns, beaches and beauty and discovering a new place for dinner. The children played and drew. The adults read to them, fed and bathed them and invented a few games. We tidied the small house, washed the kitchen plates by hand, showered outdoors with the sun on our backs, rocked on the hammock, sorted through pebbles and the occasional seashell.

And many trips to the beach later, we found ourselves repacked and heading back home. We weren’t quite ready to come back, so we extended our break by three days and eased our way back to “civilization.”

We saw vineyards, new beaches, islands, lavender fields, a few of the loveliest small towns I have ever seen. We ate in a restaurant inside a caboose and found a treasure trove of vintage toys and books in a small Pennsylvania town. We visited working farms and discovered that our new absolute favorite Italian restaurant is on Staten Island.

And it's also lovely to be back, full of energy and plans, dreaming of the cooler days ahead and return trips to some of our new discoveries, thinking of the school year, seeing our projects and home and possessions with fresh eyes.

For more about the vacation and some recent fantasies I've had see the latest Week of Wonders post on BabyCenter.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Live the Nie Nie Way on Nie Nie Day

Today is Nie Nie Day in honor of one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Nielson of the NieNie Dialogues, who was recently in a plane crash with her husband. Thankfully, both of them survived. But they also sustained terrible burns over large parts of their bodies and are in drug-induced comas facing months of recovery. Many of those who love Stephanie and her charmingly positive and enthusiastic outlook are doing what we can to support her, her husband and their family. People are organizing auctions, making purchases, giving donations, offering prayers, releasing balloons, writing tributes and rereading Stephanie’s blog to find hope and inspiration in it.

Ever since discovering Stephanie’s blog about a year ago, I have found her influencing me almost daily. On Nie Nie Day I want to thank her for how she has provided me with inspiration and helped keep me on track this last year. After “visiting” with Nie I would always look at my husband and children with more loving eyes, I would smile and laugh more, I would feel energized and pretty even on a bad day.

More than once I looked for one of her gushing posts about her husband to remind myself to be a loving and romantic wife. Her funny posts about her children's mischief and proud ones about their cuteness and talents always charmed. The colorful pictures of her delightful and at times unapologeticly messy home helped me relax and have more fun in my own homekeeping efforts. And her posts about food and parties always made me want to celebrate for no reason other than love of life and family.

Nie Nie helped me find humor in mothering, romance in my marriage, faith in my life. I love that this woman, 10 years younger than I, showed me through example how to bring together intelligence and optimism, devotion and independence, hipness and domesticity, humor and sweetness. Things that I aim but sometimes struggle to keep in my life at all times. Stephanie did so effortlessly and guided me in being a better mother, wife, and person.

I do believe that things happen for a reason, but find it hard to say that about Stephanie’s circumstances. Why must she suffer so? Why must both she and her husband be hurt, neither of them able to care for their four children? Why must such a beautiful woman be hurt in a way that will affect her appearance?

For now, I turn to Stephanie’s influence on me. If her current ordeal serves to expose more people to her blog, her life, and the amazing rallying that was taken place in the wake of her accident, then maybe that is the reason behind this story. Maybe, like happened to me, people who never would have known Stephanie will read her words, see the lovely pictures of her life and channel a bit of Nie Nie into their world, their home, their family to make it a better place.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beach Treasure

Some weeks ago when we went to the beach we collected and brought back all kinds of treasures. Today, in anticipation of our next beach trip, we sorted through the bucket of treasure. Sadly, it seems like there are fewer and fewer seashells at some beaches. But Sabrina, always one to find the silver lining, decided that pretty rocks are just as great. So we sorted the rocks into different colors--black, gray and white. Neat.

Tomorrow we leave on vacation and I'll be taking a break from Good + Happy Day. See you in a little while!

You can read the new Week of Wonders about, among other things, my fool-proof vacation packing system.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Bug House

This adorable bird house caught Sabrina's eye at the craft store. Today we painted it and in the process the house became different things: a bird house, a fairy house, and finally, a bug house that we are to "leave outside while we're on vacation so the bugs have somewhere to go when it rains."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Enough Hair for Pigtails

This little girl:

Climbs her way onto any table.
Sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in a magical made up language.
Takes up to 10 steps at a time but still loves to crawl.
Plays tag with her sister... up the stairs!
Drinks with a straw like the rest of us.
Eats with a spoon and fork... when she feels fancy, otherwise it's chubby fingers to mouth.
Points and asks about everything.
Is starting to want to make art, and has learned to hold a crayon and use it to scribble instead of chewing on it.
Loves to get her teeth brushed and says aaaaaah the whole time.
Won't sit down in the bathtub.
Calls her sister Nana.
Smiles at and makes friends with everyone.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Homemade Play Dough

Are we the last family on Earth to make our own play dough? I've seen time and again photos of people making their own and was always intimidated. But today we did it! It was easy and quick and, no lie, this homemade version is more fun to use than store bought. It's more flexible, less crumbly, cheaper, and doesn't have that weird smell. Plus, making it was half the fun. Sabrina loved the cooking part so much she took a long break afterwards before starting to make things with the dough. We doubled this recipe and to get the vibrant colors, added these gel food colors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jewelry Making

We bought a bag of glass beads and some hemp string, and here is what Sabrina came up with. The longer one she made for Patrick, and the shorter for me. I actually wore it a few times this weekend and got lots of compliments, it's got that chunky boho vibe I really like in jewelry!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nature Artist

Yesterday's walk ended with a drawing session, all about seeing again. Sabrina had gathered little treasures during the walk and we sat at a picnic table to spend some time drawing them. I love how she captured so many details in her drawings. I think she was extra aware of her sense of sight after our meditative walk.

Also: in the latest Week of Wonders at BabyCenter I come up with a surprising answer to that age-old question, what would I save from my burning house?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Our Five Senses

I've been thinking very seriously about how to engage all our senses a bit more. We love art and so tend to focus on seeing. But what about smelling, hearing, touching, tasting? I especially want to focus more one all the senses for CC, because so many of our activities are beyond her abilities. But exploring all five senses (often at once) is something CC is an expert at!

Today we went to a nature trail with the intent to really focus on all our senses. As we walked around I brought our talk back to these topics. What do you hear? What can you smell? How does this feel? I offered CC different things: a dry rock, a wet rock, a leaf, interesting plants. I wet her feet in the creak and we paused for a long time by the babbling water. Sabrina caught on immediately and found new things to experience: running through tall grass tickled her legs, a plant felt soft on her face, she noticed birds chirping and the musty earthy smell of the trail.

I really loved doing this. It was a meditation of sorts: we never strayed from exploring our senses and kept our focus. We had been to this nature trail many times but today we experienced it like never before.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mail Kit

This weekend I finally had some time to put together all the little things I had been gathering for Sabrina's mail kit. She is very happy with it and has been showering me and Patrick and the neighbors with mail.

I included blank cards and envelopes in pastel colors, lots of 1-cent and 2-cent stamps and some first-class stamps for "outside the neighborhood" mailing, stickers for decorating the envelopes, a small pencil case with pens and pencils, and Sabrina's very own self-inking return address stamp, probably her favorite part of the kit. It all fits neatly inside the box, a simple tin that is easy for Sabrina to open and close.

Since she can't write much more than her name and a few other words, she mostly draws her correspondence, signing on the back and sometimes asking me to write a note to the recipient. It's a sweet way to pass these summer afternoons and has me thinking I should put together my own kit so I'll start writing little notes to dear ones more often.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Weekend Reading

As much as I like eye candy and visual inspiration, wise words prompt me into life- and day-changing thought and action. Here's some wisdom that has recently inspired me and I hope will do the same for you:

How to be a Great Mom from zen habits
A High Calling by Molly Balint of mollycoddle
No More Junk Toys! by Jennifer Lance of eco child's play

Also, a new Week of Wonders is up on BabyCenter: Week of Wonders--the Mommy list is about my obession with lists and the one list that supercedes them all.

Have a wonderful weekend!