Friday, May 29, 2009

Water Paints

Sabrina had this idea that we could make and mix our own watercolors instead of using the ones in little dry cakes. It was somewhat of an experiment but worked out nicely. We just mixed a drop or two of tempera paint with a little warm water. Sabrina got quite ambitious making a lime green, her own pink, a nice lilac, a bright green, and different shades of blue. With large sheets of paper and paintbrushes in hand they got to work on a series of abstract watercolors. I loved seeing how they interacted while painting, inspiring each other to try new colors and techniques. It was also interesting how Sabrina wanted again and again to do what CC was doing!

It was a lovely time just watching them and just assisting with fresh paper, a few wipes of pooling water here and there. Like so many things with children, this required me to do the set up and then get out of the way.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


CC and I are signed up for yoga at YogaChai and it's been such a joy to spend this special time together. We both love the space, the teacher (a good friend and very inspiring Mommy), the other children and families, the books and songs we discover.

More and more I find myself hungry for little moments of inspiration throughout the day when time stands still and I can clearly see and understand what it is I am doing now that I often feel that I'm not doing much... or rather not getting much done.

The yoga class is an hour that opens my mind and heart, reminding me of my purpose right now. I sing to CC, I roll on the ground with her, feel her compact little body on mine, try to work my own body as much as possible, listen to the teacher's soothing voice and messages, breathe.

I would love to have this same experience with Sabrina, but alas we seem to have no free moment to do something like this. So I'm investigating yoga DVDs that we could do together at home a few times a week. I could use more of this kind of time, for me, for my children.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Print Studio

Our dining room was transformed today into a print studio. Inspired by this post Sabrina and I worked on prints all afternoon. Oh, it was fun. My young artist is bold and inspired as ever.

It's been too long since I planned afternoon "while CC naps" activities. Sabrina is often at friends' homes for playdates or has friends over to our home. And when she's home without a friend over she seems to like playing on her own. I'm grateful for the extra time to catch up on my own little things like email, the blog, housekeeping, the bills.

Sabrina comes and goes, asking for my help or chatting happily while I do other things. It's nice, but it's even nicer when we're able to spend the entire afternoon doing something together--reading, snuggling, playing, making art, cooking. Because really, we need this time, as much of it as possible. In the fall, with Kindergarten starting, these afternoons will be gone. So from now on, unless there's a friend to play with, 1 pm to 3 pm belongs to Mommy and Sabrina. Which in a way, it always has.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Child's Garden

Last year we cleared out and set aside a portion of our flower beds for Sabrina and CC to nurture and called it our fairy garden because fairies helped the flowers grow. It was so much fun that this year we added another spot. We select easy-to-grow things like wildflowers and go through all the steps of gardening--preparing the soil, weeding, watering, planting, watering some more, and more... watering is everyone's favorite part. Last year we were rewarded with wildflowers all summer long.

This year, on Mother's Day, we planted seeds from a packet for a cutting garden of sunflowers, shasta daisies, zinnias and cosmos in one spot, and wildflowers in another. Sabrina really wants to grow carrots and other vegetables, but I have no idea where to begin with that. For now we planted herbs in small pots.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

"Did you know we have these beautiful flowers in our garden?" said Sabrina of the tulip tree flowers I never thought much of.

Scratch art made by Sabrina in school.

Roses picked by Sabrina and bought by Daddy.

I love the matching outfits, the eyes, and that we're both wearing the purple suede ballet slippers I actually own that Sabrina loves.

Mother's Day was perfect in every way. I got to do everything I love about mothering. Things like playing in the yard with the girls. Gardening together. Having a delicious crepe breakfast (made by Patrick today) while planning the day's activities. Enjoying the sunny day. Reading together. Being showered with art, found gifts and love notes. Snuggling in bed. Eating ice cream. Shopping for and planning a craft project at Paper Source, one of my favorite stores, and now Sabrina's too. Going for a walk. Trying new foods for dinner. Watching the girls play and chat. Rather than take a day off, I plunged into being the ideal mommy living an ideal day. It was perfect! I ended the day further inspired by a book, Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves, that has opened my eyes to some ways to live ideal mommy days all the time.

I hope your day was lovely, whatever you did!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Giving Simple Cakes

Sometimes my days seem to be jigsaw puzzles I have to lay out at dawn and keep track of every hour to make sure I'm on track to complete them. The smallest miscalculation or surprise can throw everything off leaving me guilty or frustrated at the end of the day.

So when I realized last night that today I was to bring dinner to a family who just had a new baby, I panicked. When on Earth was I going to make this food? Looking at my calendar it seemed there was literally no long enough stretch of time in my day to make a meal and deliver it by dinnertime.

But somehow I found the time. I asked Patrick to go buy the ingredients, assembled meat loaf in the morning, baked it while we ate breakfast and dressed for school, made potatoes before baby yoga and green beans after, baked a simple chocolate cake with Sabrina while CC napped. We took the meal with us in a cooler to gymnastics class and delivered it afterwards.

While cooking I thought about that tiny new baby, and what these days must be like for her mother who has two older children my own girls' ages. With Sabrina we talked about the oldest child who is her school buddy. We packed food and decorated the cake with powdered sugar and wrote a card. I made double of everything so we enjoyed the same dinner as our friends, saying a special blessing for them.

And slowly something that had seemed to be just the thing that would send me over the edge and ruin my plan for the day turned out to be what it should have been all along--an act of giving, a lesson of love, something that strengthens community and human bonds. Something that brought peace and harmony to my day like few things have lately.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spin Art

I've been wanting to get a little spin art gadget for a long time. Spin art reminds me of carnivals in Europe where the highlight (for me at least) was always making my glossy spin art piece that we'd display in the house all summer long. Thanks to this I can now do it anytime! It was really fun introducing Sabrina and CC to this "art" and they both loved seeing their paint create unique designs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CC Turns 2

I think I mentioned April is a big party month in our family. After much brainstorming it dawned on me that for CC's party it was okay to use some of the same ideas I had used for Sabrina's, particularly those yards of handmade garland and the many leftover crafts and goodies. Sometimes I take the whole "treating siblings equal but different" concept too literally and drive myself crazy, especially when preparing parties for two children whose birthdays are just two days apart!

CC was so excited about the party, and beyond thrilled about her cake. It's all she kept saying she wanted for her party: I EAT CAKE! She also thought Swedish fish and fish motifs were necessary for an authentic birthday celebration, so using the same theme as for Sabrina's party worked out great! I did adapt things to suit CC's preferences: ocean creature finger puppets, tubs of water filled with fish and balls and large pony beads to string on pipe cleaners replaced other activities. We decorated with flowers CC picked out herself.

The birthday fell on a Saturday, so we actually had her party the day of CC's birthday. It was a small brunch with family and friends, but still enough children to make it festive.

I love the planning stages of a party. But there are always surprises. Two things I could not have predicted: by 10 am on that day it was 89 degrees and getting hotter. That's why CC looks a little sweaty in her photos and why after the guests left she was allowed to strip down. Also, 30 minutes before the guests arrived CC fell on the patio and scraped her knee, hand and upper lip. That's why the bee stung lips in the photos.

Still adorable--more than ever, this sweet funny lovely child who at two gallops and skips, says so much (no diaper either, I hate this food, I love you mami, oh it's a worm, I want bubble juice, common mami quick quick), hugs stronger than anyone, kisses with gusto, helps, directs, cries and yells really loud 20 times a day and loves us all the time. CC, you are my bright delight.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sticker Bookmarks

With all the reading going on in the house--I seem to have gotten back into a great reading rhythm and always have a few books at my fingertips and Sabrina has been reading (or rather Mommy and Daddy have been reading aloud) mostly chapter books now--we were in need of some bookmarks. I like how these came out, once again making use of those foam stickers that we'll probably be reaching for through CC's preschool years!