Friday, June 19, 2009

Flying Away

We leave this evening for Europe and will be gone for nearly a month. As tends to happen, despite my best intentions of packing light and keeping cool I've been packing and repacking, shopping in excess, preparing for all eventualities and generally working myself into a frenzy this week. But with a wedding and visits to Madrid, the beach, Stockholm and the Swedish countryside, I had to be super careful about what I decided to bring.

Now, with just a few hours to spare, I'm definitely ready. Backpack full of diapers and snacks and doodads for the 8-hour flight. Suitcases filled with small gifts and well-edited outfits. Some room to spare for goodies I intend to bring back.

I'm excited to get away for a while, and frankly look forward to the break from our routine more than I ever did when I worked outside the home. I'm also looking forward to seeing Europe through different eyes. My children's eyes, my own more seasoned parent's eyes. Two years ago when we were there I was not as interested as I am now in the world of children. I was a relatively inexperienced mom, still eager to reclaim my days of long hours on the beach and late nights on the town. My view is so radically different now as I wander the world with my little clan, and my idea of a good time so much more pure in a way. I wonder how Europe will hold up.

I leave you with a collage of Sabrina's, something she whipped up while I packed. The child is beyond thrilled to be flying so far. This might be the first European trip she really remembers. May it be worthy.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the summer. See you in a about a month!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Learning Together with Mandalas

I've noticed that the girls take a lot of interest in everything I do lately. Maybe it's because Sabrina is getting older and is more aware of being a girl, or maybe it's because we're together so much. But they both love my clothes, my books, my art materials, what I eat, the music I listen to, even my piles of paper hold mystery and wonders for them. Everything I do is fascinating.

So the other day when I returned from a workshop about creativity and meditation with my first mandala, they were all over it. Sabrina wanted to know what it was, how I had done it, what kinds of markers I had used. CC kept exclaiming that it was pretty. The following morning I found some mandalas online for us all to color, and next thing you know Sabrina drew her very first mandala too.

I love moving through this world together like this, sharing our interests and discoveries. It feels very natural and special to learn as a family. All through the school year we kind of followed Sabrina's preschool curriculum--when the class was learning about the rain forest, we got into it as a family. Castles and fairy tales took over our days for a while as Sabrina created costumes and prepared Medieval feasts at school.

Now with the summer days wide open and my children looking to me for inspiration, I realize I have an opportunity to select new things, guide us in the direction of my own interests and passions that often seem to be reserved for my me time. But why only focus on them during those times when I'm alone? It's a huge relief to just give in and realize that while alone time is rare and hard to come by, I can have me time all day long if I wish, it'll just be with my two most precious people around, which really is not a bad deal now is it?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pretty Clay Bowls

Inspired by this post we worked on our own small clay bowls decorated with colorful beads. When we were done Sabrina pointed out they would be perfect as candleholders. Maybe we'll try that one of these summer nights. For now they look pretty in the sun. I love how more and more of our art projects are now suitable for both girls. In this case I made CC's bowl but she pressed her beads in herself. Sabrina needed a little help getting the clay soft, but executed the rest of the project alone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One Giant Step

Today Sabrina and I went to our neighborhood elementary school to register for Kindergarten. I'd been slow about getting the paperwork together, and even once I had it I didn't drop it off. It seemed like something we should do together, mindfully and with time. So while Patrick worked at home and CC napped we went.

After turning in the papers we explored the school. Sabrina was quiet and tentative as we walked the hallways, peeked in classrooms, admired the art on the walls, met teachers and were awed by the possibilities contained in this one small building. After a while I saw appear on her face that little smile she gets when she's come up with a great idea she can't wait to implement. I hope that's the feeling she has--that Kindergarten is one great idea waiting for her to make happen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What We Do ... 6

We love ... to skip Sabrina's camp on a rainy thundering morning like today and instead all three of us snuggle in the big bed, go to CC's music class and then get pastries at the nearby bakery ... a fresh box of sidewalk chalk ... doing yoga in our livingroom with the help of these new DVDs ... a special sculpture at the library that CC calls Beana and CC Reading Book ... this idea for summer fun shared by The Artful Parent that we must copy ... Papier mache, an amazing new online magazine.

We read ... we're still reading, among many other books, the Magic Tree House series and found a really fun way to track our progress with the passport and stamps available on the website dedicated to the series. We're now on #31 and the stories are getting spookier and more complex, and are definitely growing on me and Patrick ... to each other. Sabrina has begun to read stories to CC. She either recites them from memory or makes up the words. It's wonderful to see and listen to.

We make ... sandpaper prints by drawing on sandpaper with crayon then ironing the image onto sheets of paper ... houses for our pastic bugs and snakes ... forts from beach towels.

We play ... in the inflatable pool whether it's full of water or empty.

We eat ... picnic lunches in the backyard ... soft pretzels shaped into pictures just like like summer ... real food (most of the time) ... homemade popscicles from plain yoghurt, any fruit, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and stevia.

We watch ... ToddWorld, based on Todd Parr's colorful books that we love for their sweet messages and positive lessons. The shows are just the same, with a character named Pickle that Sabrina adores. We get the DVDs from netflix or the library.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sabrina Ballerina

Sabrina's ballet recital was a success in all the ways that matter. She was in love with her costume, knew the choregraphy to Over the Rainbow by heart, was thrilled to be on stage, enjoyed her time in the green room with the other dancers, tried her best to dance well, was excited to get flowers and lollipops from her Daddy and had a big smile on her face the whole time. The sweetie was exhausted afterwards so Patrick whisked her off away from the crowds and noise. She was proud of herself for days, though not as proud as Patrick and I. She's come a long way from the little girl who cried and cried and had to be pulled out of her first ballet classes.

This was a big day for CC as well... she sat through 2 hours of ballet recitals, clapping and watching the whole time! I can't wait to get the DVD of the whole recital so we can watch it with Sabrina.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What I Do ... 7

I love ... these abstract prints and cards by meander ... The color grey ... This print from the Feed Your Soul: the Free Art Project. What an inspiring idea, art for free ... Giving up and settling into the rhythm of rainy days without end. Who needs to go out anyway? ... Rachel Bone's dreamy and mysterious work (found via Design*Sponge) and knowing we're almost neighbors (okay, Baltimore is an hour away from me, but still) ... Anna Bond's adorable illustrations and her IKEA picks for her new studio. I can't wait to see how it looks when it's all put together. Shouldn't there be a contest out there to see who can put together the best room using only things from IKEA? ... This neat blog called Missed Connections. Wouldn't it be cool to recognize yourself here? And to have a great illustration to go with your message?

I read ... A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, which many of you have also been reading. It's a sweet and candid book and reading it felt like a good chat with a friend. The recipes in it are wonderful and have that feel of having been in my repertoire forever. The Bouchons au Thon (see picture) is my favorite so far ... Other books about food--Real Food by Nina Planck and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Enjoyed and was enlightened and inspired by both, but am now struggling to avoid a lot of things I used to eat wihtout seocnd thought

I watch ... Man on Wire about Philippe Petit, the artist who walked between New York's twin towers in 1974. I especially love the interviews. I think Monsieur Petit is on my list of people i want to have to dinner ... I'm probably the last one to do so, but I finally watched Marley & Me and despite wanting to dislike it (sometimes I think I'm too cool for school) I loved it, giggling and sniffling throughout the whole thing.

I'm excited about ... watching a special rainbow ballerina whose dress rehearsal was lovely perform on stage tomorrow ... a first-time trip to Sweden in just three weeks. Right now all things Swedish are of interest, like they weren't already. However, I've given up on learning any of the language before the trip. It just won't sink in ... Sugar City's new quarterly magazine. I'm inspired just waiting for my copy to arrive ... The bottle of wine sitting on my counter waiting for this evening. Yes, it's been that kind of week, friends!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Collaborative Collage

Sabrina and an artistic friend worked on these mixed media collages for a good hour. The inspiration were blue scraps of paper we had left over from birthday garlands. The children used tissue paper, construction paper, watercolors, tempera paints and crayons and glue to make these. It was wonderful to witness!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Favorite Tree Friends

At Longbranch Nature center, one of our favorite places. Scooters, cousins, nature treasure, snacks, stones plopping into the creek. A wonderful relaxing time that suddenly, inexplicably, turned whiny. But my brilliant sister, who is very very good at turning children's moods around, decided we really couldn't leave before everyone picked a favorite tree. The very idea of having their own tree thrilled the kids and so we had to take their pictures with their new friends.