march

2.boys

Hi!  It’s still March, right?  I’m getting this post up just under the wire, of my personal March deadline.  Yes, no problem.  When I only post once a month, it seems like there is so much  that happens!

Our lives have been a flurry of kid-paced activity these days…which is to say, sometimes I feel like we are whirling around doing a thousand things at once and sometimes I feel like time has never moved so slowly. (i.e., while I’m waiting for someone to put their own shoes on….)

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year in Portland.  It’s rainy and grey and still cold — I am sick of wearing corduroy pants and wool cardigans.  I’m tired of soup.  And yet — the daffodils bloom all over town early March and I feel like they are speaking to me personally!  As if to say, “hold on, Mary.  Spring is around the corner, summer is coming!”  Have you ever seen a friendlier face than that of a daffodil?  Oh, I just love them.  The spring blossoms in Portland are just outrageous — all the flowering trees make it seem like a magical kingdom and their soft pinks and sweet lavenders and buoyant whites poke out in colorful majesty against the grey sky.  It’s breathtaking just walking/driving/biking down the street.

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Orlis and I have been busy with projects — grabbing our duo hours here and there while Lenox naps and doing messy things with them.  Glueing fabric scraps to pieces of cardboard and making volcanoes with baking soda!  Endless fun!  This past Christmas, Orlis’ most beloved godmother gave him the greatest gift ever — a subscription to Green Kid Crafts.  Every month he gets a box in the mail with 3 craft projects inside.  They are great!  We’ve made soap, shadow puppets, volcanoes, stuffed animals, paper lanterns, and all kinds of other cool stuff.  The crafts in the box get us going and then we get craft-minded and start making up projects of our own.  I love making things alongside little hands.  It’s like having a new pair of eyes.  Wonder-filled.featherhangingfeather

before

When you live in Portland, you need to have indoor hobbies.  That’s what I always tell the checkout folks at the grocery store while we watch the rain outside — “it’s a good thing for indoor hobbies!”  I’ve been sewing every little chance I get.  Reversible sun hats for the boys (hoping the sky will take a hint), some placemats out of a table runner that I made last year and never used, a fun springy version of the Washi dress (hoping the temperatures will take a hint; I’d actually like to make about 5 more of these in every cool fabric I see), and some very cool little feather quilts for my walls.  I felt these two walls flanking our little living room side window were begging for some art, so I decided to turn Anna Marie Horner’s feather quilt into some mini’s for the occasion.  Anna Marie gave me the pattern, and wonderful Melissa from her blog gave me the courage.  They bring such a softness to this room, and a sense of whimsy.afterlenoxo.w:farmtablerunnercut tablerunnerplacemats.ongreenpants

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Mostly we are spending our days remembering to breathe through the moments that require lots of patience and reminding our hearts and bodies to laugh.  Growing pains are hilarious if you allow them to be.  Rough little hands can so quickly become soft hands with the right coaxing, and I know someday, I’ll sleep!  In the meanwhile, summer is coming soon, and my mind shifts towards that moment when I realize we are spending more time outdoors than in.  With that in mind, we have mud piles and sand piles to create for summer fun, and maybe — if it doesn’t incense the neighbors too much — the makings of an outdoor sound wall in the backyard.  And in the meantime, there’s leftover birthday cake to eat and an endless supply of fabric in my studio…..

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lenox hatorlisringcakebirthdayblowoutHappy Spring!  See you next month….

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february

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Happy Love Month, friends.  Here I am, checking in mid-February, as promised.  It’s been strange, wild weather around here — most of January sunny, bright, and in the 50s, and then the last 4 days we’ve been completely covered in snow and ice.  We didn’t leave the house for 3 whole days and I think they were the 3 best days of Lenox’s life.  (re: no carseat time).  We’ve been busy — especially with our hands!  Late January and through this ice storm, we have had our hands in a hundred projects all at once, just the way we like it.  Oh, how I love these winter days with some good excuses to stay inside and delve into our “indoor hobbies” as I like to call the best things in life (cooking/sewing/crafting/baking/reading).  The rituals of this time of year are dear to me — slow-cooking winter soups on the stove, flannel pajamas worn into the lunch hour, and time to dream and make bucket lists of all kinds.  We’ve been talking a lot about our nighttime dreams these days — sometimes acting them out and sometimes just remarking how weird and wonderful it is to dream.  And, we’ve been dreaming about all the things we want to do before…hmmm…I don’t know, summer?  Like make more goop.  And make more flubber.  And make more playdough in every color.  And make more baby quilts out of old sweaters and make more magnetic fish for our magnetic fishing pole.  (Sometimes Orlis can catch 5 fish on his line at one time!)

Finally, I got around to making a simple valance for our dining area window and then Orlis and I sat at my machine and sewed a heart garland to mark Valentine’s week.  We caught wind from the preschool that it’s ok to bring a Valentine for everyone this Thursday so, as you might imagine, we got right to it and cut up our garland scraps and started collaging some paper hearts.  Orlis chose the word “friends!” to mark his sweet creations.  I just love them.

Lenox is getting to be quite the tubble-butt — boy, does that boy like to eat.  (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there.)  Now he crawls around following Orlis wherever Orlis goes (which is in mad circles around the house from dawn until we strap him into his bed at night….j/k)  To prompt brotherly cooperation, we’ve taken to letting Orlis brush Lenox’s 6 teeth which makes everyone giggle and still gets the job done.  The soup/stew section of our family favorites recipe book is getting a lot of love — we go back and forth between potato leek soup and baked potato soup and throw in some winter root vegetable chowder for good measure.  I’m finally getting into the groove of bread-baking, finding a natural rhythm with it, and finding it is, of course, so easy.  Just a whole lot of do-nothing, really, with this recipe.  It’s SO delicious and makes our house smell the way I imagine heaven smells.

I’d like to make a bucket list of slow-cooker recipes but only absolutely delicious ones, and make my way through them in the next month or two.  I have a few I like but not enough.  I’d love some vegetarian ones too — maybe something Indian-inspired.  Do you have anything you’d love to share?

Happy Valentine’s Day, by the way.  I’m thinking we’ll start ours with a dance party to appease the mini-bootyshakers in this house, and end it with a round-table appreciation ritual at dinner time.  Now that’s lovin’.

See you next month!

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january

3.boys.at boys.playing boys.side.by lenox.sucks holding.ontomaking orlisorlis.lovessewing.w:.orlis

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Hi.  I’ve missed you.  Happy New Year!  I’m so happy it’s January.  I like the twinkly, food-and-wine heavy, long (short) days of December but, for me, they don’t hold a candle to the fresh, buzzy days of early January.  In December we made gnocchi, we played instruments, we took walks, we lit lots of candles.  It was lovely.  But, ahhhh….January.  A new year.  A new list.  A few resolutions.  A bustling energy for cleaning out drawers and amping up the old morning jog.  Ah yes, this is much more my speed.

I feel that I owe you an explanation for my relative absence in this space the last several months.  Of course, I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m just busy now with 2 kids — and that is, indeed, mostly why I haven’t been checking in as often.  I only have about a total of 3 hours a week of “me time” (on the mornings when Orlis goes to preschool and Lenox is taking a nap) and truth be told, usually I’d rather be sewing or reading than going anywhere near my computer during those cherished 3 hours.  So, I’ve been sewing a LOT and I’m so sorry…not showing you ANYTHING!  (shame!).  But, the other issue is, I just haven’t been taking that many pictures.  Oh, please help me with this!  I find my hands are occupied and still-lifes are a thing of the past, but even sweet, real-life moments are so much harder to capture these days.  I find myself reaching for the camera on two consistent occasions: 1. when Lenox is being especially cute, I think to myself, “don’t be lame and not take pictures of your 2nd child!” so I try to capture some of that stuff for posterity, and 2. when the boys are loving on each other (or more rare, playing easily alongside each other), and I’m think to myself, “Oh!  They do like each other!  This is going to be okay!  I’d better take a picture so I can remember this peaceful, loving, gentle moment!”  …….and that’s about it, my friends.  The rest of the time, I have no idea where my camera is.  And what’s a blog without photos?

One of my resolutions for the New Year is to answer my phone more often and also to be better about flossing.  Whenever I read those articles about people who are on their deathbeds saying what they regret about their lives, both “neglecting one’s dental health” and “not staying in closer contact with those they love” always rank really high.  In this I see that my bad habits are somewhat universal.  So, those two things for sure are at the top of my fresh start list this year, along with at least a once-a-month blog to check in with you fine people.  I also made a commitment to use gentler words and tones with my kids….especially the one that pushes my buttons (who shall remain nameless).  I also plan to amp up the craft nights, game days, playdates, and dinner parties around these parts, and to put half of our toys/stuff/crap in storage.  Who knows — maybe a garage sale is in my future.  I think it’s safe to say that the theme of my year will be about simplicity and connection.  At the very top of my “to-do” list (is it a To-Do list when you can’t really ever check it off??) is to help my boys become great brothers.  And by “help,” I think what I mean is “watch and trust.”    My instincts say that all the ingredients for solid brotherhood are there, they just need to simmer.  Finding my best, most useful role in this is the task of the year, indeed.  And who to listen to most closely about this very close-to-my-heart topic?  My mom or my brother?  My friends who are parents of two or more?  My myriad of parenting books?  My kids? ….my heart?

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these days (october)

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lenox

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These days we’ve been….

*not blogging much.  I find my hands are often occupied and my mind is nowhere to be found, but I very much appreciate all the gentle nudges I’ve been receiving to get back in this savored space.  We are still here — alive and kicking!  Thank you for your loyalty.

*loving the changing colors and the fact that Portlanders treat October like they do December — a whole month of decorating in anticipation of one spooky day upcoming.

*sewing, sewing, sewing.  My mom’s visit last month reignited my fire, and in my few spare moments you can almost always find me sitting on my studio floor cutting fabric and making my way through some new fun patterns.  Orlis, too, has taken to some sewing of his own, and lately has been accompanying me into my studio to “make blankets.”

*doing a whole lot of cuddling (as you can see in these pictures).  Oh, these quilt-loving, snuggle loving boys.

*having many-a-spontaneous music party, usually in our pajamas

*teasing out a stubborn (breastmilk-born) food allergy in Lenox.  So far, we haven’t been able to figure out what it is that he’s allergic to.  The process of pinpointing it (and helping him be more comfortable) is taking nearly all of my energy, not to mention slowly dwindling my food options.  Luckily he’s a pretty happy little guy, hives notwithstanding.  Cross your fingers that we’ll get it sorted out soon.

*loving the particular rhythms and rituals that accompany this time of year — pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, bulb planting, leaf raking, art walks, and crunchy bicycle rides — all the glory of a bright and glorious fall.

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big boy bed

orlis.quilt

Hey, wait a second!  When did my little boy become such a big boy, and a big brother at that?  It’s a fascinating thing having a baby ’round these parts, and the effect his tiny-ness has on my perspective of Orlis.  Who seems so huge.

A few months ago, as my nesting phase went on longer than expected, I did what any semi-insane pregnant woman would do — I made a quilt.  While making baby quilts — for gifts — has become a symbol of my very existence, I had never ventured past the 3X3 foot terrain into larger, truer, longer-lasting bed quilts.  Seeing my [now older] child grow inches on the wall, and make his way s.l.o.w.l.y out of the family bed, I figured it was time he get a bonafide, mama-made quilt of his own with which to grow into late-toddler, little boy, (gulp) older boyhood.

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For many years, I’ve had my eye on the simple, fresh design of the sunny-tied quilt from the Purl Bee.  I decided it would be the perfect design for my color-loving boy in his bright orange bedroom.  I had a great time picking out lights and mediums and darks and patterned fabrics to accentuate his two-toned bedroom, and got to work immediately, cutting them into scraps and piecing it all together.  Without much deliberating, I also decided that doing that many yarn ties (as the tutorial dictates) to hold it all together would exacerbate my pregnant crabbiness and poke a hole in my thumb, so I sent it out to be quilted instead.  As soon as this sweet thing got back, I tacked on the binding and threw it on his bed.

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And, oh glory, isn’t it adorable!  I love the way the few subtle blues pop out, drawing attention to the mis-match lineup of the two sides, and I love the way the oranges and whites bring to life the birds I stenciled on the walls.  Mostly I love how much he loves his cozy quilt — making a burrito of himself during a sweaty nap, and burrowing deep for the long nights.  He’s learning how to comfortably be alone, and I’m learning, too, how to help him do it.  As he is warmed by his own homemade blanket, my own heart is warmed knowing that, in good company my little Blackbird dreams.  ”I want “mama cuddles” he calls the quilt already, as we settle him in for slumber.  And I think to myself, “oh, baby.  You can have Mama Cuddles.  Do take them to college too, won’t you?  But not for a good, long while.”

full.vieworlis.climbinghappy.guy.on.bed

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a reading nook

4

Forgive me, I’ve gotten a bit behind in sharing with you some of the exciting things going on this house.  There’s been birth, baby, post-partum, yes of course.  But there were other things going on a few months ago during my supreme and most-elongated nesting phase that I had the wherewithal to photograph, but not necessarily the wherewithal to post.  So here we are.

A long while back, I shared with you a few projects that I did around the house as a result of taking a really cool online course called “The Playful Learning E-course.”  It’s a really neat go-at-your-own-pace class that gets you inspired to make some simple changes and doctor up your house so it’s more child-centric.  I did this room, this little space, and this wall organization as homework for the class last summer.

One of my favorite things about this e-course is how the teacher encourages you to find little nooks and crannies around your house.  With a little imagination and usually some objects you find lying around elsewhere in your home, you can re-create these small spaces as mini-learning and playing centers.  The nook you see below, at the top of our stairs, has always beckoned my attention.  When we moved in to this house, we immediately painted this hallway space (you can see a horrific “before” and lovely “after” here).  Once it was sparkly white, I fell in love with this little space that’s about 4 feet by 3 feet.  But I didn’t know what to do with it.

At first, I put a shelf and some toys there in hopes that Orlis would want to play there, but it never drew him.  So, I thought for a few months, and then decided, after taking this course and learning the importance of creating a cozy space for reading, to make it a book nook.

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after painting, before reading nook

I took a class to learn how to make some zippered floor pillows.

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(I’m very proud of these.)

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Then I knocked out four more regular pillows while Orlis serenaded me.  I gathered up some books, a bit of artwork, and a couple of fluffy rugs…

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and a reading nook was born.

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After! A reading nook.

(Wall art by Johanna Wright; faux lambskin rugs by Ikea.)

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And, oh, what a cozy place it is — to snuggle up with some good books and my cuddly boys and treat ourselves to a good read.

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Note: I updated the books on the sidebar recently — there are some good reads floating around this house (and landing in the reading nook).  Check ‘em out!

 

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birth

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Sometimes things happen a little differently than we plan and other times things happen just the opposite in every which way.  One of my coaching mentors from years ago used to say, “if you want to make god laugh, tell her your plans.”  Oh, the infuriating truth in that statement.

And so it was, with the birth of this tiny treasure who now makes us a family of four — he arrived in a fashion absolutely nothing like what I had prepared myself for or what I had hoped for.  I’ve noticed, some folks are quick to say, “all that matters in the end is a healthy baby and a healthy mama.”  And while I get what these folks mean and I am, of course, enormously grateful to have a healthy babe and to be a healthy mama, I hold a different view.  Birth matters too.  How we birth our babies and the unprecedented rite of passage for women that birth is matters too.   To me, it matters a whole lot.  It would be easier, for certain, to tell you here today, “the babe is here!  nothing else matters!”  But, I believe that you, dear readers, deserve a fuller story.  This blog is about process and transition and rites of passage, so as difficult as it is to share vulnerable details I will likely be processing for a good long while, I would be remiss in sharing only the joy that I now feel with this babe in my arms.  I feel much joy, but I don’t only feel joy — I feel many things.  It is with this in mind that I share this story.

For the four weeks before Lenox Bear’s birth I did little more than hope and yearn for things to get rolling.  Three weeks out, contractions constituting pre-labor began and happened sometimes all day every day and sometimes just in the evenings.  I tried, but didn’t sleep much.  And as I bypassed his due date by days and then a week and then two weeks plus, in deep and almost constant discomfort, I began to lose my sense of humor about all of it.  I dodged neighbors and phone calls.  It became so that I couldn’t stand another well-intentioned person saying, “are you STILL pregnant?!”

And then, as somewhere deep in my gut I knew it would, it began, late on a Sunday night.  At first, it was the same contractions I had felt for weeks, but they fell into a rhythm and I found, after 45 minutes or so, that I could no longer be alone.  Fast and furious they came — we tucked Orlis securely in bed with his grandma and called the midwives.  They took one listen over the phone and arrived within minutes of each other, just a half hour later.  Now I knew we were in business.  Feeling what seemed like an unmistakeable (and early!) urge to push, I was reminded by these amazing women baby-catchers to listen to my body.  Upon checking, they confirmed, “just a bit of a push past the pubic bone and we’ll go upstairs so you can have your baby on your bed.”  This sounded like a simple, easy task.  I remember thinking to myself, “after the longest drum-roll ever, this might be the easiest, fastest birth.”

Five long, extremely difficult hours later, I was still, in every position imaginable, trying to do just that — push that baby past my pubic bone  We had gotten exactly no where — not one millimeter closer.

While the baby was doing just fine, I wasn’t.  It was then that I knew I needed to get some medical help, and as much as it was the last thing I wanted to admit to myself, my exhaustion had overcome me, and my belief that this passage could happen in the comfort of my home by the sole efforts of my own muscles and the encouragement and expertise of the midwives and Rob deflated.  We drove to the hospital.

And there, with the delayed but most welcome relief of an epidural, I entered into another matrix entirely.  It was, just as I had read about so many times, a domino effect of interventions — first an epidural, then the worried looks on the nurses’ faces as they saw the effect take the baby’s heart-rate down, then an oxygen mask, then pitocin, some more pushing (and no budging) and finally, the dreaded moment when the doctor said, “I hate to skip to the end of the story here, but we are looking at a c-section.”  How could this be? I wondered.

And then, we decided to make one final attempt using forceps — a tool whose use is accompanied by laundry list of possible scary side effects for me and for baby that left me trembling.  But it was my last chance at a vaginal birth.  With a crowd of 12 people (3 nurses, 2 doctors, 2 extra medical personnel in case of emergency, 3 midwives, 1 grandmother, and 1 loving partner) all around me chanting and smiling and coaxing me along, I closed my eyes and gave all I had and then…a baby boy.  ”Thank you,” I said to the doctor over and over again.  Thank you.

 

That’s the story.  And the week that has passed by since then has been a beautiful, challenging, tearful, painful, joyful, busy, sore, and heartwarming one.  Neighbors and friends have come by with watermelons and flower bouquets from their gardens and whole, delicious, colorful meals.  There have been visits from midwives, and calls from the doctors and a whole lot of advil coursing through my veins.  There has been daily diaper laundry and other laundry and cookies and muffins to eat, and the amazing help of one wonderful grandma.  And there’s been baby feet to hold, and the ups and downs of new nursing, and one bright sweet and appropriately confused and cuddly big brother just getting a handle on things in the ways a 2-year-old knows how, with challenging and tears, and moments of utter, heart-wrenching kindness.  ”Are you okay, mama?”  ”Why is baby Lenox sad?”  And there’s been the tender and tricky navigation of new roles and new chores for both mama and papa as we navigate a shifting center of gravity with as much tired grace as we can muster.  And there’s been, of course, a sweet little babe to love and hold and to remind us, that loving and holding is about all there is to do right now.

 

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things to do on one’s due date besides have a baby

ice

A few years ago, I got into the practice of keeping a gratitude journal.  Have you heard of such a thing?  I think there’s no real “right” way to keep a gratitude journal.  Here’s how I did it:  I decided it should be the last thing I do before I go to sleep, so as to flood my consciousness with positive images and memories and to allow my brain to purge whatever was lingering before I shut off for the night.  I did this gratitude journaling just listy style for a good while, and I have to say, it was a wonderful ritual.  It served me in thousands of ways.

As much as I loved (and reaped enormous benefits from) gratitude journaling, it fell by the wayside, as things tend to, when I had a baby.  I think nursing or trying-to-keep-my-wits-about-me replaced journaling as my final to-do before bed.

Over this past weekend, as I faced my still-pregnant body in the mirror and thought to myself, “what should I do?” — gratitude journaling came to mind.  Perhaps some gratitude for this 40+ week state I’m in could do this gal some good.  I won’t lie to you — this waiting game is torturing me in some ways. But, when I really look at it, I must admit, there are some sweet things arising in these un-planned-for-still-pregnant-days.

So, I pulled out a notebook, and got some ideas down in my gratitude journal yesterday. I was not surprised to see that a few things were obvious (1. more time with just Orlis,  2. the opportunity to teach myself how to crochet a granny square,  3. getting a head start on May’s book club book,  and 4. indulging in a few more episodes of Breaking Bad after Orlis goes to bed than I thought I’d have time for).  Those rolled right off the pen as I perused my week in review.

But then, I noticed a few more ideas flowing onto the journal pages that sunk a little deeper in my heart, as yet another reminder that things happen in their own good time.

1. I do love the feeling of being “held” so closely in the thoughts of so many people I love and who love me.  I’m reminded of this via text, voicemail, email, and phone call by many good people each day.  There’s a lift I feel in this, like being suspended in the air on a big balloon.  This feeling is so so very rich.  I wish I could bottle it.

2. I am grateful for the opportunity to feel more empathy for the way this end-of-pregnancy period affects, I would guess, most women both physically and mentally.  Having had Orlis at 38 weeks, I didn’t go through this last time, and I am appreciative of the experience this time around — specifically being with the not knowing; being so physically uncomfortable and also being with the gradual nature of birth; feeling pressure of all kinds.  It’s its own special psychology, and knowing how universal it is makes me feel bonded, in some small way, to women everywhere, and from the beginning of time.

3. I’m glad to be learning, by happenstance, the way I think the other half lives.  Which is to say — without so many simultaneous projects and lists and to-dos going all of the time.  A week with not much planned at all and few goals — this is foreign to me.  I wouldn’t want it all the time, but I’ll admit, I like it right now.

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these days (waiting)

These days…oh, these days.  I am waking early and noticing, “hmmm…still pregnant.”  These days are those strange and sacred ones during which I inch so humbly close to an elusive “due date” knowing, at any moment we’ll begin.  It’s these days that are, I think universally, a challenge for many of us going through this rite of passage.  The psychology is odd — yearning for something that we know is likely to be a bigger challenge and also a bigger joy than any we’ve known and not knowing how or when it will start, but knowing it will…it will…at just the time it should.  It’s a peculiar place to sit for days on end.

Dearest friends and family are checking in, daily some of them, wondering if I feel anything.  (ha!  ”yes.”  I tell them.  ”I’m feeling every move my body makes with the most acute awareness.  Who needs meditation practice when I have this waiting game on which to feast my every sense?”)  Other dearest are, I think, deliberately not checking in, but I know the pins and needles on which they sit.  There is just nothing quite like this anticipation.

Well, what are we doing with ourselves while we wait, you might be wondering?

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*Playing with the neighbors.  The youngest among us donning our bicycle helmets and going belly-forth on the skateboard.  (The maternal among us holding her heart and breath with every such endeavor.)

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*Checking and double checking the birth supplies we’ve organized.  Appreciating how many of the things that are gathered in these baskets are homemade and handed-down and otherwise used and loved so well already.  What better to wrap up a new baby in than an already beloved blanket that holds some legacy and embedded warmth?

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*Making birth art.  Toddler-style and mama-style.  Loving the way watercolors work and move together.

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*Fixing, fixing, fixing.  Using our tools as much as we can.

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*Ah!  Enjoying bringing in the bits of spring that so abundantly grace our out-of-doors.  And loving the streaming sunlight too.

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*Just…waiting.

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*Beginning, at friends’ insistence, some sewing projects that I know won’t get finished for awhile.  Being okay with the idea of a long, unfinished project.  Loving the challenge of sewing projects that are well beyond my skill level (and the knowledge, too, that my mama is coming soon and will know how to help me).

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*Appreciating the thoughtful things I was mandated to include in the Mama Birth Supply Basket by the midwives.  Oh, those midwives have mamas in mind all the time.  I am so grateful for that.

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*Staring dumbfounded by the amazing versatility of sticks.  All day long we pick up sticks.  I had no idea they were so very much fun.

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*Applying bandaids where we have no ouchies and wearing them like costumes.  Because what is more fun than bandaids to a 2.5 year old?  (And what is a better lesson for this mama than embracing and loving our scratches, bruises, and scars?)

mt

*Employing every natural induction method I can think of ….acupuncture, pineapple, wild dance parties.  And doing as I’m told and making my way to Portland’s Mount Tabor Park (affectionately nicknamed Mount Labor Park to those in my situation) to walk the stairs.

stairs

*Bringing my sidekick with me.statues

*Imitating statues together and having a good giggle.

table

*And doing my very best to cherish this precious table for three — with hearty meals and silly moments and a bushel of lilac from our generous yard out back.  We are in the business of falling in love here, I remind myself.  And we don’t ever really get to know the precise moment that will happen.

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springing

bush.w:.sky

rose.up.close

white.flower.bush

dead.flowers.w:.truck

running.in.grass

roses.blooming

white.up.close

view.to.garage

This baby-in-utero has not, as of yet, sprung forth, but in the meanwhile, spring has.  And oh, in such glorious ways.  I’ll take it — all of it.

I’ll take these friendly and most perfect blossoms outside my window in the morning, and I welcome, wholeheartedly, the sun, yes Oregon sun, that pours in, rendering my own home almost unrecognizable.  (Did someone accidentally leave the lights on last night?  Oh, no, that’s the morning sun.)

I’ll certainly take the blue skies that beckon us, Orlis and I, outdoors to sit quietly together and make tools with sticks and rocks and mud and fallen dead blossoms.  We can spend hours “fixing” the steps to our driveway and “washing” them with rock “soap” and brown, wilting petal “washcloths” and I’m floored by the way this enchants him.   I see the imagination of my 2 and 1/2 year old exploding with the simplest of found-object “toys” and I’m so grateful to have stood my ground about keeping things relatively spare and simple in the toy department, even when it makes me unpopular with some well-intentioned gift-givers in our lives.  Because nothing, truly, could be more engaging and engrossing than the mud on our shoes and the way spring, in particular, has offered us a little something new each day with which to make our world.  I don’t always love getting my hands dirty but I adore seeing a little brain believe so wholeheartedly in the stories he creates.

And, I see nature offering me some very timely reminders that good things do happen in their own, sweet time.  The faces of flowers emerge just when they are ready, and then, I notice, open so very wide I am amazed by their vulnerability; their unabashed showing of their true natures.  These things, these offerings are not only metaphors for what’s to happen in our home in the coming hours, days, maybe weeks…but also simple gifts in their own right.  Nature knows just what to do.

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