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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finished

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

help.w:smiling

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…..

volcanorealdoingheartl.piano.owashiback3.boys

lenox hatorlisringcakebirthdayblowoutHappy Spring!  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

orlis.mama.sewing

orlis:lenox

bottle.and

tree try twinkle.L's twinkle.o's

nose

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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